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 80

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Feb 17, 2007 9:55 am

Chapter LXXX: Another Day in Paradise
Ben Altair watched the nightly news with little enthusiasm from over his steeped fingertips. The press was becoming more and more familiar with the New Vindicators given their exploits in recent months. They had been the ones who had saved Chienne Bedford from Tide. They had stopped Suicide Dave. Now Ben’s peers had not only rescued their teacher but they had apprehended five of the criminals who had escaped Alcatraz Island just months prior.

“I’m here with Rumble, the young woman responsible for bringing down both Tooth and Nail tonight. This young woman, still in high school, single-handedly bested two super-powered serial killers tonight.”

Ben changed the channel, only to find another reporter interviewing Adonis. Once more, Ben surfed up, passing by a reporter inquiring if Hourglass’ codename was because of her powers or figure. He clicked again and found himself staring eye-to-eye with Lodestone. He clicked again and landed somewhere safe… QVC.

“I probably wasn’t the only one who missed tonight’s mission,” Ben said softly. That Katie had no roommate was a liberating thing; it allowed Ben to speak freely about his secret life as a New Vindicator, without fear of who might overhear from the bed adjacent. “Two weeks ago, a little after Valentine’s Day, they found Deimos. He’d been missing for four days, actually. He said his aunt abducted him and his girlfriend and tortured them. He figures she was trying to leave him for Bogart to find… He won’t say why, but this guy apparently wants Deimos dead. I guess he wouldn’t need a reason though. I mean, I figure a lot of people probably want Deimos dead.”

Ben forced himself to grin down at Katie. “You know what else? Ever since he came back, nobody’s seen this mystery girl of his. He said he’s talked to her since but… he’s never left the school. I bet he’s probably making her up. I mean, who’d want to be with a guy like Deimos? It’s kind of sad really… having an imaginary girlfriend.” Ben sighed and shook his head. It wasn’t the only thing that was sad. The events of the last few weeks were news to Ben—he had only found out about their misadventures were Bogart was concerned yesterday. In the two months since Katie had been admitted to the hospital, he rarely left her side. He was out of the loop were things were concerned at home.

He had found out that Lex and Jacque were back together but he barely registered that they had broken up. Magnus was dating Maria and Adonis was not dating Cassandra. Life had gone on without him and no one else seemed bothered by his lack of a presence at the institute these days.

“I really wish you’d wake up,” he admitted. “I—I never really mattered to my mom but my dad… he was always great. I got my powers from him, actually. You know—most of the kids at school… they got their powers from their parents. Well, they’re Neo-Sapiens; they’d have to get them from their parents. Well, most of them… their parents either didn’t realize they were Neo-Sapiens or they tried to hide it. Take Adonis’ dad? He was a lawyer and he’d been using his powers subconsciously to win cases. Some were more like Lex’s mom and hid their powers. My dad though… he knew about his powers and he didn’t hide them. Well, he did… but he stopped. He stopped right around the time I was born.

“He used to tell me I was the kick he needed to be a man. He’d say stuff like, ‘I wanna protect this world, because my little man is in it.’ He never called me a boy—I was a little man. It always made me feel big, you know? Dad was just a musician… but if he saw a way to help people by using his powers—he jumped on it. Some people were thankful for him helping them and some weren’t. People—people treated us pretty badly. I mean, I can remember my mom hugging me, hiding behind a chair while people banged on the windows—screaming that they were going to kill us. That—that was probably why mom was so happy when he died… and why she was so upset when my powers kicked in.

“I had just turned fifteen a few months before and… well, I was detasseling. I grew up in the Corn Belt and it’s kind of like a rite of passage for us there. It was my first job: just going through the fields tearing the tassels off corn. It was really hot that year and… well, my powers kept me cool. I know, it’s a lame way to manifest powers. I mean, it’s not as dramatic as Magnus or Adonis—or Drew even—but… it’s what I got.

“It’d be really nice if you woke up, because these one sided conversations are kind of boring.”

“I’ll say.”

Ben spun around, shocked to find a man a few years older than him standing in the doorway. A growth of hair trailed from his bottom lip, straight down his chin and a mop of shaggy brown hair hung in his eyes. He wore a leather coat over his simple white shirt and jeans—his comfortable style accented more by the open-toed sandals. “‘Ow’s our girl doin’?”

“How—how much did you hear?” Ben asked, worried what this man might now know about his other identity.

“Nottin’ I ‘adn’t ‘eard before,” he said, his Australian accent more apparent now. The man advanced at a casual pace, letting his hands relaxed in the pockets of jeans as he swaggered up to Katie’s bedside. “I can ‘elp y’out there, Ben. I can ‘elp y’with y’powers.”

Ben blinked in surprise but attempted to hide his sudden shock. “Powers? Who said anything about-?”

“According to the dossiers, y’s’posedda be able to generate ice and shape it to y’will. Codenamed Frostbite, y’were born on February 10, 1989 to Alan and Alison Altair. Yer eighteen-years-old, six feet an one inch, two-‘undred pounds.” The man flashed Ben a wide grin from atop the pocket notebook he read from. “Porker.”

“Shut up,” grumbled Ben.

“I’m kidding. Based on y’BMI, y’only about fifteen pounds over.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Files from the New Vindicators Academy, mate. Like I toldja, I can ‘elp y’with y’powers.”

“What makes you think I need help with my powers?”

The man pointed to Katie. “‘Ow’s it feel to know that, you spent a semester at a school who’s stated purpose is to ‘elp Neo-Sapiens rejoin society with the knowledge an ability to protect themselves and their loved ones from the backlash what goes ‘and-in-‘and with bein’ an NS and y’still couldn’t protect the s’posed love of y’life?”

Ben said nothing, he only bit his bottom lip and was hardly surprised to taste blood.

“Up until now, y’ve… what? Y’ve gone an covered y’self in ice. Sure, it protects y’smidgen and ‘ides y’identity an’ all but…” The man flipped a few pages back in his notebook and shook his head. “It took Drew Jenkins usin’ y’powers to teach y’to use them to bind y’enemies? ‘Ow’s it feel to ‘ave someone else use y’powers better’n y’ever could?”

Ben bit harder.

“I’d like to ‘elp y’learn more about y’powers, mate… if y’let me?”

“Lead the way,” Ben grumbled.

The man grinned and lead he did. The pair spoke not a word as their procession slipped out of the hospital and through the streets of Roosevelt Island. The man took Ben out towards the island’s east shore. This time of night, there were relatively few people around—the man seemed to find these the perfection conditions for their training. “Why didn’t we just go to the Wreck Room?” Ben asked timidly.

“Ice up.”

“Here?”

The man nodded and watched as Ben casually coated himself in a thin frost. “Right… now, freeze the water I send up.” With a wave of his hand, the stranger evoked a wind from the east and hammered it down at the surface of the East River, sending a spray outward towards Queens. Ben reacted, aiming his arms out for the spray and freezing the surface. “Now flatten it.”

“What’s the point?”

“Flatten it.”

Ben concentrated on the ice and the man nodded as the surface leveled out once more, forming a still image of an ice flow. “‘Ow precise are ya?”

“Fairly-”

“Sculpt y’girlfriend’s face.”

“Look—what’s the point of this?”

“Y’armor is still on.”

“Yeah? So?”

“Y’mean to tell me you can armor up and sculpt ice… but y’never thought to sculpt the armor?”

Ben froze, unsure what to say to that. He had never considered sculpting the armor he coated himself in. “Y’could ‘ave so many applications of y’power but y’never thought to use them to ‘eighten y’melee performance though… didja?”

“What do you mean?”

“Add spikes—make it ‘ard for an opponent to punch ya! Add density to the thickness and y’increase your strength. Who knows, maybe y’can even use it to grow, Ben? All y’ever thought about was ‘iding who y’are. What would y’dad say if ‘e could see y’now? ‘E didn’t ‘ide… not when ‘e ‘ad somethin’ worth protectin’.”

Ben concentrated. He formed the image in his head. He imagined the frost armor, thicker and denser; he imagined Lex’s physique then—but covered in spikes. Suddenly, the crystallization snapped him out of the stupor and he looked down at himself.

His shoulders and back had become a wall of quills and his arms and chest seemed more impressive than he ever dreamed. He stared at those arms again and was shocked when his body responded to his thoughts, erecting blade-like spikes from the elbows and wrists. “I’m Wolverine!” he exclaimed, looking down to the three ice-claws jutting out from the back of his hands.

“More like a porcupine,” the man said. “I’m ‘appy for y’Ben… I am… Listen to me though: my name is Nor’easter. Don’t even start on me bein’ from the southern ‘emisphere either. My powers are focused on the wind but… they’re weather based. That’s why while I was at the New Vindicators Academy, I learned everything I could about meteorological phenomenon an’ the role wind plays on the world. My powers can do more than a little gale force vorticity—I can can create floods or erosion… even blizzards if I like. Point is… it’s not enough to just use y’powers—y’gotta know about ‘em.”

Ben grinned as he turned back to normal. He was sure with these new tricks, he could be a hero; he could be Katie’s hero if she ever woke up. Nothing like this would ever happen again. He looked up and was surprised to find Nor’easter walking away. “Hey!” Ben called after him. “Aren’t you going to come back with me to the school?”

“I’m not from the school,” Nor’easter said coldly, a hint of hesitation in his voice as he offered the truth. “I’m from the Affiliation, Ben… We’ll—you’ll be hearing from us again soon.” Averting his eyes from Ben’s wide gaze, he offered one final piece of advice: “Stay by your girl, Ben… and enjoy the time you still have.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Playing pretend.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 81

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:57 pm

Chapter LXXXI: Everything You Want
Magnus Loder and Maria Espada walked through the promenade, hand-in-hand, posing as the happy couple they had practiced hard to appear as. “The Affiliation is organized into tiers,” Maria whispered to him. “At the top is the leader and only the two under him know his true identity. Of those two, I know only one: Blitzkrieg.”

Magnus nodded along, knowing this much already.

“Under him are a handful of former Vindicators,” she said softly, pretending to nibble at his ear. “Miss DiMera was the one who recruited me, back when we were in Japan.” She had already told Magnus about how she had been too afraid not to accept—she dreaded sharing the same fate Addison Truman had suffered. “Mister Jorgenson was the one who asked me to get close to you… to coerce you to join.”

“Chimera’s posed as Missus Reice,” Magnus growled. His memory drifted back to that meeting just after the new semester began. The revelations Chimera had bestowed on the young man were still unsettling and he couldn’t help but shudder at the reflection. “It’s trying to recruit the delinquent Neo-Sapiens, like Deimos or Mirth and Girth.”

“Three other teachers are rumored to be involved but I haven’t been approached by any. Under them are the students that they’ve tapped. Marcos and J.T., Mae and Gale… Rumor is that a few kids from outside the Academy have been drafted—like Mirth and Girth. Also, I hear a few of the juniors are involved, like Lawanda was…”

A quiet Cloud Goodman appeared before them then and on his arm was a nervous Donna-Anne Manther. They were out with her best-friend, Jacque Webber, and her beau Lex Sway. At the sight of them Magnus turned on Maria and pushed her against the wall of the theatre. Immediately his hands began pawing at her waistline and his lips massaged her jugular. Soon enough the foursome noticed the lovers; Lex was content to leave them be, fixing them only with a wry grin, and Cloud was more than content to pay them no mind at all. Jacque grinned sheepishly at the pair and made a mental note to tease Maria about their display later. Donna-Anne hardly noticed the affectionate pair; she was too lost in the mire of her own troubles.

“Mmm… Magnus?”

“Yes?” he asked as he nibbled at her dark flesh.

“They’re gone.”

He pulled back and smiled slyly at her. “Sorry,” he said. “I saw them coming and…”

“I understand,” she said abashedly. The two didn’t know who they could trust. Chimera had commanded Maria to pose as Magnus’ girlfriend and seduce him to the dark side. Maria asserted that any number of the Affiliation’s agents might overhear their plotting to shatter the society from the inside and hide their conspiring with random make out sessions and heavy petting. “It’s just business…” she tried to tell herself.

The truth was that she was beginning to like Magnus Loder more and more. Rooming with Cassandra Goodman she had spent the bulk of her career at the New Vindicators Academy in the other girl’s shadow; she found it preposterous that any of her male peers might look on her longingly. As such she had never entertained the notion of having a boyfriend, making the rouge she carried on with Magnus her first relationship.

A kiss he delivered to cover their conversation when Deimos had appeared further down the hall had been her first and it was everything she had ever dreamed it would be.

The truth was that ever since she had first laid eyes on Magnus Loder she had been infatuated with him. As fortune would have it she somehow ended up fighting side-by-side with the young man in the handful of combat sessions Mister Bradshaw had put them through. Her feelings had built up and then they had ended up in the onsen together and then he had appeared at the door to her room…

She had wanted so much to kiss him then and there but she reminded herself that he had been involved with someone else then. Then he had belonged to Chienne Bedford…

Her smile was uneasy as he took her hand in his, leading her down the boardwalk and through the throng of other young people enjoying a quiet Saturday night. She couldn’t help but wonder if this façade of a relationship could somehow turn into something tangible. Such thoughts were forced from her head as the sight of an armored figure shattered past the pair, tackling a middle-aged man to the ground.

The devices that resembled shuttlecocks shot from ZERO’s shoulders and hovered in the air, forming a glowing green grid around the area that dampened Neo-Sapien energies. “You’re not teleporting out of this one, Oakley!” came the garbled voice of the one who donned the armor. The mysterious vigilante was vehemently devoted to hunting down Neo-Sapiens who used their powers for any illegal act, executing the same vicious brand of justice each time—no matter how severe or minor their illicit activities had been.

A gauntleted fist pulled back and swung down into the skull of the man pinned under the bulky figure’s body. Again and again it pulled back and dropped down, each time bearing more crimson over the metal knuckles.

“Get him, ZERO!” someone exclaimed. “You’re our hero!” thundered another. Others continued to exuberantly praise the murderous figure’s actions; cries that condoned the violence only encouraged ZERO to continue and drowned out Magnus and Maria’s pleas to stop.

Maria stepped forward and Magnus pulled her back. He knew her enough to know that her passion had seized her—she had been about to involve herself in the scuffle. “You know as good as I do that our powers are nothing now,” he said into her ear. “I hate this as much as you do but… what good can we do here, Maria?”

ZERO left the man breathing, which was more than the hulking brute did for most of its arrests. Greg Oakley laid prone beneath the armored figure, unconscious and easy prey for the police who were now trying to slip through the throng.

The black visor of ZERO’s helmet reflected Magnus and Maria’s faces and the figure stopped. Magnus was paralyzed with fear; did ZERO know what they were? Would the tyrant attack them next? It was obviously looking right at them… but why? Why was ZERO so transfixed on them?

Before the young man had his answers ZERO took flight and Magnus stood gazing up at the sky, trying to wrap his mind around what had just transpired. In the daze he was oblivious to the sound of Maria’s cell phone ringing, or her exchanging a few words with Professor Alston. “We need to get back to the school,” she said, tugging at her faux-boyfriend’s arm. “They want to brief us for a mission…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Mission: Impossible
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 82

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:33 pm

Chapter LXXXII: Mo Money Mo Problems
“This is Emmanuel Nikolaos,” said Doctor Styles, standing before ten members of the senior class. Behind her, on the cylinder-shaped monitor that rested in the center of the War Room, was the image of an olive-skinned man with dark, graying hair; he wore an expensive-looking suit that was the color of a winter’s night sky and on his hand rested a exquisite gold watch and immaculate rings adorned his fingers. “He was born here in New York City, in 1949, to Greek parents who had fled their homeland after the war. When he was twenty-three he began working full-time in the ministry, joining Riverview Pentecostal Church in Texarkana, Arkansas as the associate pastor there. He later became the pastor of the First Pentecostal Church of God in Murray, Okalahoma in 1981 and he’s been there until last winter when he set out as an evangelist in the charismatic movement.”

Magnus Loder looked over the other New Vindicators assembled and then to the smattering of their teachers who sat in on this briefing. Cautiously he raised his hand and when the albino nodded in acknowledgement of him he asked, “Sorry but… I care about this guy because…?” For a moment she simply fixed him with an exhaustive stare. “Feel free to finish the sentence,” he said, shrugging under the gaze of the other educators.

“Nikolaos claims to be charged with the power of God,” Mister Goodman said, stepping forward as he came to his younger colleague’s rescue. “His sermons typically conclude with people lining up and one-by-one stepping on stage. Nikolaos lays his hands on them and they’re healed.”

“So what sets him apart from every other crackpot religious fanatic out there?” Magnus asked.

“He’s actually healing people,” Mister Goodman had returned with. “We need confirmation on his activities… It’s fairly obvious that he’s a Neo-Sapien. He wouldn’t be the first healer we’ve encountered either.”

“On the Vindicators VII there was a young woman, Bridget Hart,” said Doctor Styles darkly. That name seemed to evoke something in all of the Vindicators as they thought on one of their own—one who had sacrificed her life to fight the fight they had all fought at one point—but her name seemed to have an additional weight to Doctor Styles. “She was codenamed Bio. Any wound she touched instantly healed over and her own wounds automatically knitted themselves back together.”

“And yet she died,” Deimos grumbled. “Cleaved in half, right? How did her team not think to just put the two ends back together and let her powers go to town? I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time a Neo-Sapien’s bounced back from the dead.” He shot a glare at Drew, slightly jealous of the young man’s experience with Suicide Dave. “Lemme tell ya, if I was that chick and I came back from the dead and found my team just wrote me off like that, I’d probably be out looking for revenge.” Again Doctor Styles’ reaction was much different compared to that of the other faculty members; while the former Vindicators glared at him for speaking ill of one of their own the woman seemed especially burdened by Deimos’ cruel words. “Probably wouldn’t take me that long to find it either.”

“So what’s the problem?” Rumble asked, looking to distract from the Nephilim’s razor tongue. “What’s so bad about some guy helping people? He’s just giving them what they want… He’s not doing anything wrong.”

“Once upon a time,” Doctor Howell intoned from his seat, “people said the same thing about Adolf Hitler.” The simian had not turned to face the young belle; he continued to stare intently at the image of the evangelist as if trying to decide something. “If left unchecked, this man could become a hazardous situation. He has quite the following: some Christians are convinced he has the power of God and… well, the Jewish persuasion sees his deeds as the sign they’ve been looking for. They think he’s the Messiah. How long before he supports such an idea? How long before he asks his followers to fight for him? To die for him?”

“It gets worse,” Missus Goodman announced. “Emmanuel Nikolaos claims that God has given him the power to heal anything… including the affliction that is being a Neo-Sapien.”
To Be Continued... wrote:The New Vindicators put on their Sunday best...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 83

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:40 pm

Chapter LXXXIII: Amazing Grace
Lodestone and Loess passed through the open flaps of the tent and found two empty folding chairs set up in the back rows. The New Vindicators had arrived one-by-one, to avoid looking overtly suspicious. If everyone had followed the plan, Copycat and Fathom had already slipped in just after Deimos and Rumble. Anomaly and Tripper would be slipping in soon enough. Lodestone rolled his eyes as their target lifted his arms to the heavens. “That’s where Paul found a sorcerer named Elymas. Paul had come bringing the word of God and Paulus wanted to hear the word of God. Elymas fought to keep Paul from preaching and Paul laid his hands on Elymas and the magic man was blind.”

The people present cheered and encouraged the charismatic preacher in their own way. The Greek-born evangelist Emmanuel Nikolaos was their target. Looking at the sheer size of the congregation gathered to see him, Lodestone understood why. For months the man had been sweeping his way across the states, hitting the country with his hurricane-tour of preaching. Most weren’t coming to hear what he had to say though. Most came for the miracles.

Lodestone shook his head as he listened to the evangelist’s sermon. “He was blinded—same as Paul had been when he stood in the path of the gospel. The difference is, God’s word tells us what happened to Paul after that. Paul made the decision to live for Christ and sow the seeds; Elymas, from his disappearance from history, we assume did not.

“When Paul was thrown into prison, he sang hymns and prayed and witnessed. When Peter found himself in jail, he rolled over and fell asleep and woke up to an angel smiting him in the side. It’s simple, my brothers and sisters… God gives us each a choice. We are all at a crossroads and we need to decide what to do from there- which road do we take? Do we learn from what we’ve already been through or do we ignore the lessons of the past?”

A man in horn-rimmed glasses sat down next to Lodestone. The New Vindicator was incognito, wearing a metal-grey suit as opposed to his uniform. The man wore a suit nearly identical, though his appearance was complimented by a bowler hat and a sleek briefcase at his side. Loess giggled slightly beside her boyfriend, leaning over to whisper, “He looks like the bankers in Mary Poppins.” Indeed, his clothes did seem slightly odd for the period—but what did that say about Lodestone’s own choices in attire?

Several rows ahead, Deimos rose up and joined the other followers lining up to be healed. Rumble’s eyes flashed open wide. “Are you crazy?” she asked, moving to join him in the line. “You know what Missus Goodman told us! He can take our powers away…”

“Maybe,” Deimos grumbled. “It’s only hearsay though. We don’t KNOW he can.”

“We don’t know that he can’t!” she said through gritted teeth.

“Last few weeks, it’s bothered me—this scar I mean.” Deimos motioned to his back and Atlanta knew what he meant. When they had brought him back from the docks, Atlanta and Alexa had been the first to examine his wounds. Granted, any serious injuries the students had received were healed by Halogen’s powers but anything that was not life threatening the woman allowed the girls to treat; they both intended to venture off to med school next year and the woman thought it good to give them any experience she could allow them.

It was hard to imagine anything sadistic enough to carve such a symbol into another creature—Deimos’ back had been slashed in a manner unlike anything even Doctor Styles had seen. Doctor Howell had postulated that powers similar to Deimos’ own had performed such a feat. His flesh hadn’t merely been cut—the nerve endings had been seared. Cellular growth was impossible due to the fusion of skin cells. It was almost as if he had regenerated around the wounds.

Atlanta knew that Deimos was going to have those alchemical symbols forever branded on his back. Deimos had been told something similar. “Maybe this guy… maybe his powers can do what Halogen’s couldn’t. Maybe he can get rid of the scar.”

“And your powers?”

“Like I said, we don’t even know if he can do that… If he can… well, your dad said it, Atlanta: I’m not a Neo-Sapien—I’m a Nephilim.”

Atlanta moved to find Anomaly and Tripper—as the prefects the pair was responsible for the other students. It didn’t take long to find the couple, clad in their Sunday best. She opened her mouth to tell them what her partner had done and Lex shook his head; he had seen Deimos move to join the line. Lex shook his head at Deimos’ decision to gamble with his powers but ultimately he admitted the choice was for Deimos and Deimos alone: “I think given the option, most would give up their powers for a chance to be normal. Addison and Lawanda would have in a heartbeat. Deimos is eighteen, Atlanta; he’s old enough to make these sorts of decisions on his own.”

“It’s the same argument as abortion,” Atlanta said, refusing to meet either of the pair’s eyes. “What else have ya’ll got? ‘It’s his body’? Abortion is killing and… if Deimos loses his powers-”

“It’s not the same,” Lex said. “I’m pro-life too. If women don’t want to get pregnant, they shouldn’t have sex.”

“And rape victims?” Jacque asked. “What happens when a twelve-year-old is molested and impregnated by her father? Should she be forced to keep the baby?”

“God has a plan for everyone and everything,” Atlanta interjected angrily. “It’s a hard story to hear about but who knows what that baby is meant for… and who knows what God means for Deimos? We got these powers for a reason.” The line was thinning now and the New Vindicators could see onto the dais. They watched as ushers escorted old women onto the stage and Emmanuel Nikolaos laid his hands on them. One hand clapped softly on the back and other gently brushed over their faces. Slowly he lowered them back to the ground—it was like watch a Baptism on dry land. Other ushers were positioned to help them down and then help them back up. One after another exclaimed happily that they had been healed; some removed plastic tubes supplying oxygen from their nostrils and others cast aside walkers and canes. Some proclaimed that the pain was gone and others still thundered that they could see and hear again as they had in their younger years.

Atlanta watched angrily as Deimos neared closer and closer to Emmanuel Nikolaos. An usher greeted him at the dais and the young hero whispered to the man what was wrong with him. For a few, the service was shattered by an announcement of what plagued the faithful. “This is Iva,” Emmanuel said, his accent heavy in his clumsy English. “Iva suffers from fetal familial insomnia. In the three decades since this disease was discovered twenty-eight familiars have been found to have it. It’s an inheritable condition and Iva has brought along her two sons and their children…” Emmanuel’s men passed a microphone to the woman as the evangelist looked at her with sad eyes. “Iva, do you believe that God loves you?”

“I know he does,” she said shakily.

“And do you believe he can heal you?”

“He’s the great physician…”

“And do you believe he has given me the power to take this affliction from you and yours?”

The woman nodded and one by one, Emmanuel Nikolaos laid his hands on her and her family… and one by one they left the platform before Deimos was introduced.

The usher who led him up whispered to Nikolaos and the man gasped. “My friends… my family… this young man was abused by his aunt and she cut symbols of the devil in him.”

Lex smirked at Deimos’ ability to bluff his way through most anything—it was a quality Deimos had claimed to have rescued him time and time again. The crowd gasped as Deimos removed his shirt at the evangelist’s urgings and exposed his back to the congregation.

Atlanta shifted, as if to move to stop what she knew was coming. Lex quickly grabbed her wrist and was surprised to find himself unable to hold her back in his normal form. She pulled away from his grasp but understood the sentiment behind it. She forced herself to stay still and not move against these people. She watched as the evangelist laid his hands on Deimos’ scars and dipped him backwards into the waiting arms of his assistants.

The two men pushed Deimos back up with a horrified expression. Deimos turned, his face one of joy as he believed the scar to be gone forever. The people cringed at the sight of the scar—it was now pulsating with a black aura. “A demon!” one screamed as the light from Deimos’ back matched that in his eyes. “He’s a demon!”

Rumble moved to charge the stage when the sound of a gunshot cut her off. All eyes went to the back of the tent were Lodestone and Loess were shocked to see the man in the bowler hat fire a gun into the air. “Nikolaos is coming with me!” he exclaimed, booming to be heard across the tent. “Nobody moves… nobody dies!”
To Be Continued... wrote:Gunsmoke.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 84

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:00 am

Chapter LXXXIV: Blaze of Glory
Magnus’ eyes went to the man who had sat beside him. His attention had been focused on Deimos’ turn at the healing Emmanuel Nikolaos had promised and he had not noticed the man open his briefcase and withdraw a pistol. He had however noticed the gun being fired repeatedly into the air in an effort to silence the room and command his attention. “Nikolaos is coming with me!” the man said, tipping his bowler hat with the smoking barrel of his pistols. “Nobody moves… nobody dies!”

Lodestone reacted quickly, throwing up an arm to summon the guns from this man’s hands to his own. He was surprised when nothing happened. “Neo-Sapien, eh?” the man asked with a grin. He never turned to regard Lodestone or Loess; he kept his attention focused on Emmanuel Nikolaos. “These here are M1911 Colts. John Browning was a genius; he employed a short recoil principal, making it one of the most duplicated pistols on the market. It’s something of the grandfather of all guns modern guns.” By his accent, Lodestone placed him as British—Loess had been partially right in her previous assessment. Still, the New Vindicator doubted this man was a banker from the times of Women’s Suffrage. “I’ve done quite a lot of work on these… added some compensators and customized the triggers… I also made sure to make it NS-proof.”

From inside his coat he drew a second pistol. His left hand cocked under the right, aiming for Lodestone and Loess; still the man failed to look at either—keeping his eyes forward. “No magnetism to take them away…” Lodestone concentrated all of his energy into his force field, ready to protect himself and Loess from the man’s perceived assault. “No energy fields.”

Squeezing off two rounds, the man sank the shots into Lodestone’s shoulder and arm. Until now, the young hero had experienced a different sort of pain. He had felt punches and strikes, slashes with tendrils of living water and minor burns. Bogart had broken his arms but Doctor Styles had kept him from having to experience the joy of living with two casts. Being shot was a brand new experience for the young man. The force field dropped and Magnus fell to his knees. Still, despite Magnus’ howls of pain emanating just inches from him, the assassin failed to move.

He had been sent here to kill the evangelist. From this distance and given the crowd, doing it all in a single blow would be difficult. He disregarded Magnus and made his way to move towards the dais when the earth tore apart beneath his feet.

“Another NS?” he asked, leaping back and clear of the flying chunk of soil. He scanned the room, looking for the culprit and was surprised to find Maria Espada, kneeling beside Magnus, one arm pulling him close while her other directed the earth to attack the gunman.

Fathom lunged from the gathered assemblage in her aquatic form; she had transformed at the sound of gunfire. Her hands stretched, coiling around the man’s body and snaking up towards his face to suffocate him. “Back off!” he called, aiming his gun for Lodestone and Loess.

Fathom stood down; she was confidant she could easily handle the man but she was unwilling to risk anyone’s lives to do so.

Lex transformed into Anomaly and barreled forward. The patrons were in a panic and fleeing the tent for their cars as fast as they could. Their distress had given the man a veil to protect him… but it also helped his target to escape.

Anomaly led Tripper and Rumble to the stage where they quickly joined Deimos and the preacher. “We have to get him out of here,” Anomaly said. “Tripper? I’ll need you to lead the reverend out. Deimos and Rumble, go with them and hurt anyone trying to hurt them.”

“What about you?” Tripper asked.

“I’m pretty much bullet-proof,” the young hero offered. “I have the best chance fighting that man.” He didn’t want to tell her what he was really thinking though. He had heard what the man had told Magnus. Something about his guns had been modified to let them negate energy fields—he likely had different guns for different situations. One gun from the shoulder holster and one from the briefcase… each was made to counter a different power. There was no doubt he had one perfect for dealing with the impervious hide of Anomaly.

Rumble pushed aside the curtains of the tent to let the trio pass through and vanish into the folds of night. Once they were gone from his sight, Anomaly leapt from the platform and shook the ground with his landing. Like a locomotive he picked up speed, barreling down the aisle for the man in the suit. Copycat was already hard at work, using his power to mimic Loess’—albeit in a way different than any she had thought to try. Drew had covered himself in the stuff of the earth: rock and soil and dirt coated him in an armor that somehow managed to absorb the shots from the man’s sidearm. Anomaly was surprised at the youth’s ingenuity but didn’t waste much time on being amused; he rampaged across the battlefield, pulled back his fist and swung for the man…

Anomaly’s punch had sent the man flying back, toppling a few folding chairs with his landing. He hurriedly returned the gun he had drawn on Lodestone and moved for the briefcase handcuffed to his arm for the next…

The titan’s eyes narrowed on that briefcase. Apparently he had been right: when the assassin had seen Anomaly join the fight he had moved to pull a new gun—he very likely did have a gun suited for armored foes. The young man rushed forward, intent to take the fight close and take away whatever advantage this man had as a marksman. It was all to no avail though as the man drew and opened fire—his bullets pierced Anomaly’s flesh and slowed him down considerably.

The man fired rapidly—emptying the round into Lex’s body and bringing the behemoth to the earth. Fathom screamed as the darkness faded and only Lex Sway remained, a pool of his blood forming under him. She lunged for the assassin, swinging her arms to slash at him. With each advance the man stepped back, effortlessly dodging the frenzied assault. “You killed Lex!” she snarled.

“You people are not taking the preacher!” the man screamed in defiance. “I’ll kill you all before I let you get your hands on him!”

“Copycat!” Loess cried, laying Magnus beside Lex’s still form. “Is Nikolaos still close enough that you can mimic his abilities?”

Drew shut his eyes, feeling out with his powers. “He’s out there,” Drew said. “He’s got Deimos and Rumble with him… I think I could piggyback his power signature. Why?”

“Why? Why!?! Drew, they’ll die if you don’t-”

“What if—what if I heal them and I kill their powers though? I mean, I might not be able to control that part of his powers.”

“If you don’t take the chance, they’ll be dead! Powers will be worthless then…”

Biting his bottom lip, Drew synched up with Emmanuel Nikolaos’ Neo-Sapien abilities. “Roll Lex over,” he said softly, still unsure about what he was doing. “The preacher touched their faces when he healed them… I think I need to do the same.”

Loess helped in any way she could, hefting the two young men’s heads into her lap. Copycat gently laid one hand atop Lex’s bald head and the other slowly came over his face. “Work,” he said softly. He said it like a mantra. “Please work. Work. Work. Work…”

One-by-one the slugs were spat out of the crimson stains, rejected by his body as it quickly began to knit itself back together. Copycat laughed as he watched Lex’s body heal and he dropped low to hug the man. Lex blinked as he slowly regained consciousness. “Drew?” he asked, not sure just why the young man was hugging him.

“Drew!” Loess barked. “There’s still Magnus!”

Copycat flashed Lex a quick thumbs up as he moved to do the same thing he had done on Lodestone’s still form. Lex shook with anxiety. He knew what Drew had done; he had used the evangelist’s powers to heal and that meant he might no longer be burdened by his powers. Perhaps now there was no chance of him transforming into a black hole. Perhaps now there was nothing to fear?

All his fears and doubts returned as his skin turned black, as if in answer to his mental question; perhaps it was more a taunt than response. Seeing him transformed gave Magnus hope and courage. He waved his hand and a folding chair moved across the ground. “All right people,” Anomaly said as he rose up. Fathom had held the man off with her futile attacks long enough; Lex was thankful her fluidity had protected her from being shot this entire time. “We have a job to do.”

Lodestone rolled his eyes and lifted his head from his girlfriend’s lap. “What’s the plan of attack?” Anomaly asked Lodestone. The young manipulator of magnetism was dumbstruck by the question. “Lodestone? You’re a better tactician than Jacquelyn and I put together, so… what’s our plan?”

Lodestone soaked that up for a moment. It didn’t matter if Anomaly was only bragging the man up or if he was being sincere—for Magnus it was a victory greater than stopping the gunman. “I can’t take his guns,” Lodestone said, “so stripping him of his means of attack is out of the question. He’s just a guy though—he’s yet to demonstrate any ability beyond the art of the quick draw. He doesn’t have any real defense…”

“He also has a different gun for each of our powers.”

Magnus blinked. “He does? That changes everything… we just need someone to be able to withstand his worse long enough to get a few hits in…” Magnus concentrated his magnetic abilities, forming a force field around Anomaly. “Go get ‘im, champ.”

Anomaly charged the man, brushing past Fathom as he engaged their new enemy. With the gun he had first drawn on Anomaly, the man opened fire and watch in shock as the bullets glanced off of Lodestone’s force field. “How creative of you,” he said with a resentful smirk. He moved to draw the other gun from his holster and Lex allowed it.

“Go ahead,” Anomaly said as the bullets passed through Lodestone’s force field and reflected off his invulnerable flesh. “I don’t suppose you thought ahead to have a gun prepared for this, right?”

Fear set in over the assassin as Anomaly put all his power into a stunning punch… and then, darkness took him…
To Be Continued... wrote:The Affiliation approaches a new recruit...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:00 pm

Poor Lodestone, he's always seems to end up in a real mess.

Keep it up Michuru81

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Post by Michuru81 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:17 pm

smashed247 wrote:Poor Lodestone, he's always seems to end up in a real mess.
As of this Friday night, the third storyline for this campaign will come to an end and... next month a new story arc will begin. I have actually promised the players that I'll not be abusing Lodestone during this arc. Issue #12, horrible things happen to Lodestone. I'm talking... I did some unspeakable things to him.

Sic Semper Tyrannis starts up with some Kingpin-wannabe holding a board meeting, offering $5 million to whoever can kill Lodestone. Top it off, Anomaly's group sails through the Trials while Lodestone- just given his opportunity to lead a team, shows he has an amazing ability to suck (not the player's fault but... me... being evil to Lodestone). We get into Memento Mori and it comes out that that Kingpin-wannabe is a former costumed villain with a grudge against the name Lodestone. Lodey will be leading the New Vindicators into a final battle against such a fella this Friday night, were everything will be settled and I will cease to torture the manipulator of magnetism.

I'm gunna mess with Portal instead. :-p

To Lodey's credit, his player is the most seasoned veteran of tabletop RPGs our group has. Anomaly is a veteran gamer too- but Lodey's become used to my never ending struggle to make the PCs miserable in old school D&D (we're talkin' 2E).
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New Vindicators, Chapter 85

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:34 pm

Chapter LXXXV: Hole in My Soul
The doctors and nurses of 5-North were used to the appearance of Ben Altair; some had begun to set their watches by his somber walk down the hall to room 137. Some of the CNAs were not much older than Ben was and were moved by his loyalty to his mentally-displaced love. They watched him meander down the hall and they found themselves wishing they had boyfriends so considerate and faithful and patient.

Ben gave it no thought; he had been oblivious to nearly everything prior to Katie’s comatose condition. Needless to say, he failed to notice that the usual looks he received were more pained than usual…

Benjamin Altair stepped into the dark room and was astonished to find nothing. “Excuse me?” he asked the tall, pretty redhead at the nurse’s station. “Can you tell me where they moved Katherine Merrick?”

“Her doctor moved her,” the girl said sadly. “We’re not sure what hospital. Two men showed up and took her and everything we had on her. Her entire file, her doctor’s notes… everything. They did a clean sweep… made sure there wasn’t a trace of her left behind.”

“What doctor?” Ben asked, curious and intent to find his girlfriend.
The woman thought on it for a moment. They had left no additional information. “Doctor Kenneth Bradley,” she said, unsure if that was the name. Ben was sure of it. It was a name he was familiar with. It was one of his teachers at the New Vindicators Academy—the man who had once been publicly known as Doctor Splash. “One of the two he sent… the one was very polite—very nice. The other though…” Apparently the other man who had moved Katie had not been so polite. “His hair was gelled up in a big, black spike and he was covered in piercings.” Ben’s jaw dropped, unable to accept what he already knew to be true. “I cut my hand slapping him after he grabbed my rear… some people, you know?”

None of this made any sense: Doctor Splash was a teacher at the New Vindicators Academy and J.T. Kirk had been a student there. The keywords there were “had been”; the youth known as Lurker had betrayed the institute to serve as the Affiliation’s inside man. It had been months since the New Vindicators had seen him; it had been the night Kelvin had been killed. Ben had teamed up with Deimos to help him fight Blitzkrieg and two of their own: Lurker and Black Widow.

Ben found Doctor Bradley’s cell phone number stored in his own and dialed the man, hoping to God that the good doctor could provide some answer. “Hello?” came the garbled voice of Doctor Bradley.

“Doctor Bradley? It’s Ben… sir, I just got to the hospital-”

“And you want to know why I discharged her and where I discharged her to?”

Ben couldn’t manage any words. Doctor Bradley had released her then… but then that meant it couldn’t have been Lurker this woman had met. The only way Doctor Bradley would be involved with J.T. Kirk was if he was a part of the Affiliation. “I’ll be waiting for you in my office. I’ll explain everything there.”

It was a long walk back to the school… and one Ben hoped would reward him with Katie at the end of it. That made sense—perhaps Doctor Bradley had transferred her to the school so that Ben could spend more time on campus. Now that Doctor Howell was on the staff at school they had three doctors present. Katie had more than enough people to take care of her.
Ben knocked softly and Doctor Bradley’s monotone voice resounded with invitations to enter and sit. Ben complied and was disappointed that Katie wasn’t propped up in a hospital bed in the corner of the man’s private study. “Ben…” the liquid being said slowly, “what I’m about to tell you may be hard to hear…”

“Well… I’m here so let’s hear it. Where’s Katie?”

“She’s fine. She’s being taken care of.”

“And when can I see her?”

“As soon as we get Nikolaos,” Doctor Bradley intoned. One look at Ben’s face showed that this New Vindicator was unaware of the mission the others were currently engaged in. “He’s an evangelist who a Neo-Sapien ability to heal. Mister Goodman dispatched eight of your teammates to observe him but… the truth is we want him, Ben. We need him to heal one of our own.”

“Katie?”

“Tusk.”

“I—I don’t understand. Sir, isn’t Tusk the big guy who attacked our school?”

“To collect Jeffrey Smith? Yes, we believed Jeff had manifested his father’s ability. We were wrong though and… very disappointed when we found out Ryan Mueller had been starting the fires.”

“Sir? It—it sounds like you’re talking about the Affiliation… like you’re with them.”

“I am, Ben.”

Ben said nothing and the aquatic man sighed, knowing this would take a little more explanation. “You’re a senior now, Mister Altair… Have—have you gotten to the Canterbury Tales yet in English?” Ben shook his head. “A pity. The Pardoner’s Tale, Benjamin… The Pardoner’s Tale has something of a theme to it: radix malorum est cupiditas. Some translate it as ‘the root of all evil is money’ but… it can just as easily be translated as meaning ‘the root of evil is desire.’ That is how the Affiliation recruits, Ben. That is what we promise to each and every one of our willing servants. Everybody loves; granted… love often takes different forms… but everyone loves someone or something. I’ll admit that we exploit this—I have been exploited by this.”

“What?”

“I was promised Victoria,” he admitted. “It’s been… it’s been almost thirty years. I was the leader of the Vindicators IV… myself and Professor Incendiary, Coach Crag… my girlfriend—the love of my life—Miss Mist. I was going to propose but… I was captured and experimented on. One of our villains believed a horrible threat to this world was coming and the only means of stopping it would be the Four Humors: us. He sought to enhance our abilities and the procedure left me… well…

“I didn’t believe I could satisfy Victoria in this form. I feared I would be condemning her to a life with a monster… I didn’t believe I could make her happy and that pushed her away. It pushed her right into Patrick’s arms. I’m telling you Ben: I’m getting her back. When all else is said and done, when the Affiliation has the key to all our plans, I’ve been promised Victoria. Professor Alston has been promised Chimera. Pandora has been promised Doctor Styles…”

Ben shuddered. It was a stunning revelation that Doctor Bradley was a member of this group but Professor Alston and Miss DiMera were as well? Ben shook his head frantically, knowing what it meant if Professor Alston were a member of the Affiliation: Professor Alston was the headmaster of the New Vindicators Academy of America. If the headmaster was a part of the Affiliation…

“And now… I am offering you Katie.” That one statement pushed all other thoughts and fears out of Ben’s heart and mind.

“You—you can’t just make people fall in love with you!”

“We can… once we have the last key.”

Ben’s eyes widened as he realized what the final key to their plan was. “It’s like I said… I was tortured and turned into the being you see today. I’m unable to transform back to my human shape but… but it was all part of the amplification process. Technology boosted my powers and made me into this…”

“You’re going to amplify Adonis.”

“Adonis is—he is the key to our plot. Yes.”

Ben shook his head. “I’ll warn him.”

Doctor Bradley laughed. “Oh, you stupid little child… that would do no good at all! Addison tried to warn people too! She warned Professor Alston. Malachi tried to warn Deimos. Look where it got them both! Think about it, Ben: you only just found out about me.”

“And Professor Alston and Miss DiMera…”

“What if I told you there was… one more of your teachers within our number? You know about Lurker and Black Widow but… what of the other students in our collective? We are the Affiliation, Benjamin. We are many and we have eyes and ears everywhere. For now, we’ll tolerate you in the same manner we tolerate Lodestone. He knows enough but he doesn’t talk about it. So long as he keeps his mouth shut, he keeps his heart beating.”

Ben’s mind could not form a response. He merely sat there, twiddling his thumbs, attempting to find a loop hole in what he was being told. Since the day he had been robbed of his father, Ben had come to know that in life there were no absolutes. There was always hope that things would turn around, for better or worse. He hoped he could steer them towards the better. “What do I have to do?”

“We want you to be a part of our collective. In exchange, we’ll give you the one you want-”

“Yeah, yeah… you’re going to use Adonis as a weapon. Big deal, Katie already loves me!”

“Blitzkrieg isn’t gaining the affections of anyone for his role in this—only the safety of his younger sibling… his brother. When our preparations are complete and our attack is launched… he is guaranteed his baby brother’s safety. Our servants are not only promised the affections of the one they adore… they are promised that person. Serve us and Katie will be spared from all harm.”

“So what do I have to do?”

“We merely want proof of your loyalty. You deliver us the healer and he’ll heal Katie.”

“Where do I find him?”

If Doctor Bradley had a mouth, he would have been grinning. The truth was, the doctor had nothing even resembling human biology. Still, something in Ben’s voice made the man happy. He heard a tone within it that pleaded him; he knew they had won over Ben Altair.

The Affiliation had a new member.

“Apparently, another organization has become involved in the coming war and they targeted the healer for assassination—to keep him from our hands. Your former comrades stopped his termination and fled with the healer. Anomaly and Tripper were in tandem command of their squadron… they must have the man.”

“I—I might need some time…”

“Of course, Ben.”

As Ben excused himself, Doctor Bradley moved the phone on his desk and dialed a number he now knew by heart. “’Ello?” came Nor’easter’s voice. Something about him seemed… nervous.

“How is our little hostage?” Doctor Bradley asked.

“She… awake.”

“What?”

“She—she just woke up and… well, she—she knows stuff. She knows things that she shouldn’t and-”

The doctor’s curiosity had been piqued. “Let me talk to her,” he intoned.
Nor’easter passed his cell phone to his unwilling guest. “Katie?” Doctor Bradley asked once he was sure she had the phone.

“Not quite,” came her voice. “You never should have moved the body, Doctor Bradley. It put me too close… It gave me a physical anchor.”

“Too close to what?”

“To where Chimera killed me.”

If Doctor Bradley had eyes they would have been popping. “Lu—Lucas?”

“Tell me, Doctor Bradley… how do you think Ben would react if I called him? What would he do if he heard this voice?”

“What do you want, Lucas?” Immediately after he had said it he knew it was a stupid question. Lucas Howell had learned too much about their plot and his death had been ordered to ensure his silence. It was obvious what he wanted…

Still, Katie’s lips never once uttered the word ‘revenge’. “I know what you’re planning,” her voice said, speaking the words whispered to her by Lucas Howell. “I know about the coming attack… and I’m going to do everything in my power to stop it.”

“Lucas...”

It was too late: the Esper hung up on him and the man was forced to wonder just how disastrous this new player could be…
To Be Continued... wrote:Theories.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 86

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:33 am

Chapter LXXXVI: All the Small Things
Doctor Bradley slithered into the War Room, wondering how much worse this night could get. He had come at the summons of Professor Alston, his friend and college for many decades; these two men had been teammates in the Vindicators IV and again in the Affiliation.

At the sight of the senior class seated with the faculty he knew that their mission to secure the evangelist had concluded. He looked to the headmaster and the man lowered his face somberly, signaling that the New Vindicators had failed to do what the Affiliation had expected. “How did it go?” he asked. Looking over those present he realized a few of them were missing. “Where are Tripper and Rumble?”

“Adonis is interrogating a prisoner the kids brought back,” said Mister Goodman. His strong arms were folded over his barrel chest as he leaned against the far wall; he was a stoic sentry hovering behind his wife, seated at the round consul. “The girls are working to get the evangelist out of the area.”

“We didn’t think it would be wise to bring him here,” Lex Sway intoned. “Not given that we still next to nothing about the Affiliation… Nikolaos insisted on continuing his ministry but we were able to convince him that whoever is after him might hurt his parishioners to get to him. He agreed to go underground.”

“Since we can safely assume that neither Tripper nor Rumble is part of the Affiliation,” explained Doctor Styles, “Lex felt they were among the few who could be trusted with this task.”

Doctor Bradley nodded in faux agreement and looked to the rest of the senior class. Magnus Loder, Maria Espada, Alexa Hawk, Drew Jenkins and Deimos had been a part of this mission and as such he understood why they were now here; Mae O’Connell, Marcos Veron, Gale Weathers, Cassandra and Cloud Goodman had been kept in reserve but were now assembled here. “I’m not sure why the faculty and senior class is gathered for this…”

“Young Mister Skraag wanted us all to hear what he found out,” said Doctor Howell.

No sooner had the words left the simian’s mouth than Adonis stepped into the War Room and sat down in the nearest chair. “Our guest is named B.B. Jones, and he’s from Redditch, England…” Since the death of Lucas Howell, the New Vindicators Academy had been without the services of a telepath. They had little means of forcefully extracting information from the villains they captured. Still, Adonis was confident in his charismatic charms and believed he could coerce the assassin Anomaly’s team had brought back from their latest mission. “Funny part is, he claims to be part of Kurenai Kage and is in the employ of Hanyou Hajime.”

“Why does that name sound familiar?” Drew asked.

“Kurenai Kage, the Crimson Shadow, was the organization of shinobi we fought in Japan,” offered Doctor Styles. Drew shuddered as he recalled his experiences in Tokyo, mumbling ‘Ganguros…’ under his breath. “Hajime is the clan’s leader and the Ichigo twins’ older brother… but what is a British hitman doing with a clan of ninja?”

“I’m way ahead of you,” Adonis offered. “Hanyou Hajime and Okami Reon had an arranged marriage—to help resuscitate both of their failing clans. Well, Hajime had a Plan B apparently. Before we had showed up in Tokyo, he had begun to recruit assassins. He’s turned an honorable shinobi clan into a band of hired guns who specialize in slaying Neo-Sapiens. Okami didn’t seem to like what was happening and returned to the states. Hajime had her followed though. When Jones reported back that Okami was in bed with the Affiliation, Hajime ordered a hit.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” said Magnus, one arm around Maria and the other holding his head as he took in all that Adonis had learned. “You mean to tell me that we just stopped a guy who’s been trying to take down the same people we are?”

“Worst. Good guys. Ever,” proclaimed Drew.

“It gets worse,” said Missus Goodman sadly. “According to Detective John Long, the transport taking Tide from here to San Francisco was attacked. He’s out and by the looks of the scene Blitzkrieg helped.”

“Here’s where it gets better though,” Adonis said. “It seems the Crimson Shadow has more information on the Affiliation than we did. I took the liberty of accessing our files for this… Professor Alston?” The administrator of the American institute gave his non-vocal approval for the youth to continue. Tucking his long, blonde hair behind his ears, Adonis accessed the War Room’s computer and began to share his intelligence.

The monitor displayed a young man with a mane of well-kept black hair, a touch of white streaking through his bangs. He was a statuesque youth, wearing well-toned muscle under the standard uniform of the New Vindicators, broken by an oval chest window that exposed his chest hair. “Infinity, Dominique; also known as Paragon. He flies as fast as Jetstream, hits as hard as Rumble, takes a punch better than Anomaly, and is almost as attractive as I am.” Silverback raised an eyebrow at Adonis’ comment. “Almost. Still, he’s a shallow moron… ironically a bigot and egotistical.”

He clicked through to the next and summoned up the image of Aya Kwon, a young woman they had met during the visit to the Asian Academy in Tokyo. She was a slender girl with long, raven hair and a marriage of Japanese and Korean features represented in her natural beauty. “Kwon, Aya; also known as the Rising Sun. The girl is a natural born hero who claims to be a descendent of samurai. She uses her powers in a ‘be thou for the people’ attitude.”

“And her powers are…?”

Adonis gave Silverback a blank look for his question. “The short answer is she’s the sun.” He clicked to his next target, bringing up a short, physically-unimpressive Chinese youth with dyed-green hair. “Long, Drake; also known as Drake. He’s a fellow brother in the local chapter of ‘I’ve-Gotta-Sucky-Codename’ Society of which I happen to be president. He’s a dynasty like Lodestone: just another Dragon that’s protected China for close to a century. Still, he’s an idiot and a little hyper-active. He has potential… but lacks the discipline to use it.”

Once more he clicked, bringing up a Bengali youth with wavy brown hair, white eyes and an angry disposition. “Raja, Shaheed; also known as Sclera.” Deimos’ attention was seized then; Brass had told him Sclera was undoubtedly the strongest student at the New Vindicators Academy of Asia and encouraged him to avoid picking a fight with the young man. “Has the Neo-Sapien ability to see through anything and through mystical training has learned to manipulate his own life energy and attack his opponent’s flow. Apparently he’s a total jerk though and is impossible to control.”

“What’s the point of this?” Mister Goodman asked. “Adonis… why are you briefing us on the other academies’ students?”

“I thought it would be obvious. Black Widow and Lurker. Blitzkrieg. Okami, Tide and Tusk. They were all students of the New Vindicators Academy at one point. Further, Lazarus and Singe told Anomaly and Tripper they were testing them to see if they would be worthy recruits. Deimos got a similar challenge weeks later. Rumble is missing a frame of time, during which time Kelvin was killed. Isn’t it possible that they attempted to recruit her too?”

“They’re targeting the students,” Doctor Styles said. “Whoever is in charge of the Affiliation must have access to our files! They know who we’ve trained and…” She froze, realizing what those children had in common with each other. “That’s why they never made a move on Adonis or Hourglass or Fathom… they’re targeting students with heightened combat abilities.”

“Exactly,” Adonis said. “I thought it would be naïve to assume that the Affiliation would only look to us as their farm team. I cobbled together a list of all students at each academy who apparently meet the criteria the Affiliation is looking for.”

Mister Goodman looked over the sheets of paper Adonis began passing out to the faculty and senior class. “Circe, Coriolis, Lodestone—exactly what is this?”

“Coriolis is a fairly adept in Capoeira,” Adonis said simply, “making him an obvious choice for them. Lodestone fits the same bill as Rumble: he may not be an affective fighter, but he has raw power to compensate.”

“That still doesn’t explain why I’m on here!” Circe barked, a panic in her voice. Deep down she was terrified that Adonis may have discovered her secret: that she was already an agent for the Affiliation.

“It’s your parentage. Black Widow, Lurker and you all have something else in common: a parent in Alcatraz. It stands to reason that their parents may have been used as leverage somehow. If so, I’d expect that they may contact you—if they have not already.”

Mae’s eyes widened at the implication and Magnus wondered if it was because his rival had hit the nail on the head.

“Mister Skraag,” Doctor Howell intoned deeply, coming to the young woman’s rescue, “I must say this is most impressive. You’ve apparently profiled the Affiliation completely off of their recruitment choices.” He flipped a few pages through the booklet Adonis had also supplied and was surprised to find a chart detailing the composition of the Affiliation’s powers. “Oh, my giddy aunt—look at this! Blitzkrieg, Lurker and Okami broken down into movement and speed, Black Widow and Tusk for strength… Mister Skraag? Do you propose that you can predict who they’ll attempt to contact next, based on what weakness their roster supports?”

“More so, I think we can surmise a list of possible heads.”

“Excuse me!?” barked Doctor Styles.

“It’s simple psychosis, Doctor Styles. For instance, I don’t find it the bit odd that Black Widow and Lurker went over to the dark side, given that Okami, Tide and Tusk were recruited.”

“How are they connected?” Halogen asked.

“Okami, Tide and Tusk were all under the command of Caliber—another former student and the number two man over at Alcatraz. Furthermore, Doctor Styles, we know that in the riots at Alcatraz your brother brutally attacked Siphon. Had he killed Warden Hart it would mean promotion for Lieutenant Manther. He was put in charge of Alcatraz Island, the prison holding Black Widow, Circe and Lurker’s parents. Funny how those three managed to escape as well, isn’t it?”

“You think Caliber is working for the Affiliation?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was leading them.”

The room grew quiet. Jetstream looked as if she wanted to cry. Normally, she would have defended her brother but these days she wasn’t sure who she could trust and who she couldn’t. Besides, their older sister worked on the other side of the law, why not J.J. Manther too?

“Think about it: Caliber was a prefect here and the first two the Affiliation came after were Anomaly and Tripper, two who Caliber had helped to train in combat. He knows better than most what they’re capable of. Still, I have other suspects: Ambrosia, Boga—well, maybe not Bogart at this point—but still Nor’easter, Quint and Rift…”

Breanne Jordan, the young woman known as Rift, began to choke. Doctor Styles’ eyes widened as she looked at the young woman, finding it very difficult to believe that her new-found friend could be an evil mastermind.

“The reasoning is flimsy,” Adonis intoned, “but think about what we know concerning the Affiliation’s ranking: there’s one man at the top and he has two people under him. Only those two people know who he really is and we know one of them to be Blitzkrieg. Let’s say Miss Jordan really is in charge of the Affiliation. What do we know about Blitzkrieg?”

“He’s infatuated with Breanne,” Doctor Styles concluded, not sure why she hadn’t realized that sooner.

“Exactly. Further Ambrosia has similar feelings for Blitzkrieg. Is it so hard to accept that their little love triangle may be the top of the Affiliation’s pyramid? Further, Rift has been on the inside this whole time. If she were involved it would certainly explain a lot. The only problem is that the Affiliation has thus far shown themselves to possess a strong intelligence. There’s not a doubt in my mind that we’re up against a mastermind whose intellect parallels my own and who has thus far countered our every move thus far. No offense to Miss Jordan, but I don’t believe for a second that she fits the profile for a criminal mastermind. Quinton Jorgenson on the other hand…”

“The dossiers on young Master Jorgenson depict him as a rare genius,” intoned Doctor Howell. “I should have liked to have met him.”

“He’s still alive,” mused Lex. “We saw him when Mister White took us into the Astral Plane. I asked him to try and find him again but… we’ve got nothing.”

“If Quinton is alive, he faked his death,” Adonis said, stating the obvious. “That he has not revealed himself to us shows that he wants us to continue to believe this façade. Vegas odds are certainly in his favor here…”

“What about what Kelvin said?” Deimos asked. “You never mentioned that! Before he died, Kelvin told me ‘don’t trust Mi-’! He just cut off right there but it’s obvious he was going to say ‘Michuru’. What else could it be?”

Adonis rolled his eyes. “Tell me, Deimos… did Kai call you Deimos or Jeremy?”

“Mister Deimos,” Deimos grumbled. “The fat tub of lard was always so polite and…” He closed his eyes and sighed dejectedly. “Why didn’t I get that before now?”

“I didn’t mention Kai’s last words, because the only new information they provided were that whoever killed him was someone he knew. For all we know, he could have been about to say… Miss Cassandra or… or Mister Adonis! The only people we can rule out are Doctors Bradley and Styles and Professor Alston.” Ben glared at Doctor Bradley and Professor Alston; they were far from innocent. “Everyone else is fair game.”

“I feel like such an idiot,” grumbled Deimos.

“That’s probably because you are,” offered a sympathetic Drew. “It’s okay though. I’m stupid too. We can be stupid together.”

“Mister Skraag?” Doctor Bradley asked. “Is there anything else?”

“Nothing else I can offer,” Adonis said with a shrug.

“Then you’re all excused,” the aquatic doctor said sadly. He was in the lower ranks of the Affiliation—one of the many members with no clue who they were truly serving. He looked around the room, seeing familiar faces from within their clandestine group. Many, like him, had no inkling of their leader’s true identity. It was as Adonis said: only Blitzkrieg and one other knew that secret.

Doctor Splash’s eyes fell on the only other one who knew and he watched a satisfied smile spread across their face…
To Be Continued... wrote:Imperial.
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you are so kind

Post by Desero » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:27 pm

Smashed, you have no idea. At least someone out there loves me.
Mich, do you really, really mean it. You're backing off Lodey? Are you feeling alright?

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Re: you are so kind

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:22 pm

Desero wrote:Smashed, you have no idea. At least someone out there loves me.
Mich, do you really, really mean it. You're backing off Lodey? Are you feeling alright?
Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a bon-a-fide celebrity. Desero is none other than the player behind Lodestone, Saya (New Vindicators #6, 13-15), Thuggy (New Vindicators #9, 16-23) and Fey (New Vindicators #13-15). Hands down, Desero has the most abused PC in our campaign world.

Actually, Desero, yes... I am backing off Lodestone. Proof was last session, when the Wisent's little death trap didn't actually kill Mrs. Loder. My original plan (months ago) was to off her around #36 but... I took a step back and said, "No... that will make him pull an Anakin."

I do very much indeed intend to complicate things for Portal. Backlash and Kiln are too fresh to start with and while Flostobito is an established PC, I'm of the opinion that his player wouldn't handle it with the grace you have shown, good sir. Thus, it falls on Portal to become the new plot monkey. It's been coming for a while- Noah's creation of the Patriot, Nano and Deus ex-Machina to bring the tin titan to justice? I guess Memento Mori can be considered a passing of the torch- from one abused PC to the next.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 87

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:01 am

NEW VINDICATORS #10: The Glory of Love


Chapter LXXXVII: Incomplete
A gale force wind picked the woman up and hurled her from one rooftop to the next. She wasn’t trying to escape; she knew how futile running from the woman was. The blonde bombshell could fly faster than the land speed record. Escape was hardly an option. She was simply attempting to buy time while she considered the options open to her.

The woman’s flesh was nigh-unbreakable, making the notion of fighting her ridiculous. Her bones ached just considering the punch her opponent packed. The woman broke a sweat hefting a small bridge—dealing with a hundred and twenty pound woman would be nothing.

Still, if she ever hoped to work her way into the upper echelons of the Thule Society, she knew she had to avoid capture here and now. She had nowhere near the catalogue of relics the Collector possessed. The Seven League Boots could have put some distance between her and her pursuer. All that Agent Jacquelyn Webber had on hand were the Imperial Regalia of Japan—the Three Sacred Treasures consisted of the sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, the gem Yasakani no Magatama and the mirror Yata no Kagami.

Kusanagi no Tsurugi allowed whoever held the sword to control the wind. It was an invaluable tool in Agent Webber’s arsenal—almost as invaluable as the mirror had been as a shield. With Yata no Kagami, the woman was able to reflect attacks back on the attacker. She had discovered after a few encounters with the more seasoned community of super-powered beings that the more experienced the fighter, the less reliable the shield was. Against security guards and police officers it had yet to fail, but then again she still had two bruised ribs from her last meeting with Momentum.

And then there was the gem—the jewel that hung from a leather cord around her neck. It was the most difficult to control… it would be a gamble, but if it paid off she was sure she could escape without having to fight the woman…

She didn’t consider herself a coward though. Nobody sane sought to mix it up with Crusader. The woman had lived for over a century and barely looked eighteen. She was a super girl through to her core—super strong, super tough and super quick. She had fought in World War II and saved all of humanity from the Fuhrer and his Fourth Reich. Her name was synonymous with the Vindicators. It was no wonder she was their leader and one of the most recognized SPBs in the world today.

Crusader descended on the rooftop before the woman and said nothing. She was above the snappy banter so many of her companions were known for. Instead, she put her energy into one serious look and all of her might and muscle and menace seethed through the space between them and shook the former Interpol agent to her very core.

Pulling back her arm to swing the sword, Crusader moved to fly through the woman. She swung the blade, unleashing a hurricane from its tip and sending it flying straight for the heroine. Crusader stopped and braced herself in midair, letting the gale-force winds ravage against her. At the most, the attack had only agitated her. “You know what the worst part is?” Crusader cried over the roar of the wind. She blasted forward and maneuvered. In no time her fists slammed into the thief’s spine sending the pair projecting into the eye of the storm. “You came all this way to Roosevelt Island and you weren’t even going to stop to see your daughter!”

“Who?” the other woman said with a smirk. She denied her pain; she tried to coerce herself into believing the mantra she drilled into her psyche: “Pain is an illusion!” Crusader had a way of making even phantasms seem real though. Taking the gambit, Agent Webber used the jewel—transferring most of the energy welling up inside the small gem to the force fields she had discovered it capable of generating.

The field absorbed the ravages of the storm and the brunt of Crusader’s punches. The heroine slowed down, feeling her attacks reduced to almost no effect. Michuru had told both the Vindicators and the Illuminati of his students’ exploits in Japan; he had briefed them on the known properties of the sword and shield—the jewel was a wildcard however, and one Crusader quickly assumed was responsible for the cat burglar’s sudden defensive talents.

Her grip tightened around that leather cord then and the raven-headed woman’s green eyes widened in horror. The necklace snapped—sending the legendary jewel into a free fall. Agent Webber watched as Yasakani no Magatama vanished into the hurricane winds—the legendary artifact was flung across the island; it could have been anywhere by now. Denied her force field, Jacquelyn was helpless against Crusader’s uppercut.

As the woman sailed into the vortex she could feel that her jaw was broken. She went limp, letting the storm throw her body. Quick work with the sword summoned a blast to obscure her departure from Crusader and another current carried her into the East River. She had escaped capture once more… but she had lost the jewel…

…the very reason she had risked life and limb to appear on the Vindicator’s home turf: the last opportunity she would have to see her daughter.
To Be Continued... wrote:Chimera's daughter
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New Vindicators, Chapter 88

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:49 am

Chapter LXXXVIII: Karma Chameleon
The weeks passed by without incident. Slowly, the students of the New Vindicators Academy of American began to experience a strange sensation unlike anything they had come to know before: adolescence. For most, normalcy’s return was a welcomed one. At least, it was for Alexander Sway. With a wave to Mister Gordon, his fourth period English teacher, Lex made his way through the halls of Eleanor Roosevelt High School. It seemed unreal that in just a month’s time he and his fellow seniors would be hurling mortarboards into the air. Graduation was barreling towards them but prom was closing in quicker. It was with that thought that his pace had quickened. The wounds Alexa Hawk had inflicted on his relationship with Jacque Webber had healed and they felt as if they were back to how they had been before reality came crashing down around them.

It went without saying that the two were going to be spending their coming years together but Lex wanted to make it official. The bell that had dismissed him from Mister Gordon’s lecture on Emily Bronte’s lone masterpiece had also signaled the start of his lunch period. It was here that, for however brief a moment, he was reunited with Jacque as she made her way to her next class. He was intent to officially ask her to be his date for the senior prom and not assume anything about their relationship.

He didn’t want her to be able to insist that he took her for granted.
Behind him, Alexa Hawk walked with Cassandra Goodman, giving her commentary on Wuthering Heights. “-telling you, Heathcliff is my hero! I mean, look at what Bronte was trying to say: Heathcliff and Catherine’s love and passion… everything that we put on a pedestal is what destroys them both.”

“I don’t think it was love though,” Cassandra said. Since Adonis had broken things off with her, she had returned to her unnaturally vapid ways and was often seen with four or five of her suitors in tow. “I mean, on Heathcliff’s part it’s just infatuation. He mistook everything he was feeling for romance. It was just obsession. What he felt was… I dunno… it was so Machiavellian.” Lex was surprised to overhear her use the word—though he was still sure she didn’t know the meaning of it. “I mean, if he really loved her, he wouldn’t have gone on this… this mission of destruction. He kills the happiness of her husband and daughter, her extended family… even his own son!”

“He’s kind of like Adonis…” mused Alexa. “I mean, think about it: Heathcliff grows up with Catherine, right? They’re really good friends but then something happens and she goes off and finds someone new and Heathcliff is right out the window. So what does he do? He obsesses over her! I’m telling you, it’s got Adonis loves Chienne written all over it.”

Cassandra’s mood had soured. She was trying her best to honor his wishes—Adonis had felt that it wasn’t him but his powers that made Cassandra fall for him. On some level, Lex believed him right but it seemed that their time apart hadn’t changed everything: the girl was still longing for him—as if during their time together she had begun to develop genuine feelings for him, outside of whatever spell his Neo-Sapien powers had put over her. “I suppose that would make me Isabella?” the girl asked darkly, a hint of venom on her voice as she tossed her long, auburn hair back.

As Lex turned the corner, the girls and their flocking entourage navigated their way down a different hall. Though now free from their conversation, Lex found himself rounding straight into Maria Espada; her arms were hooked around Magnus Loder’s neck. The two seemed more intent that blissful; their relationship was a complicated one. It often seemed as though it were for show more than anything, Lex thought. And yet still, the pair was inseparable. At the sight of Lex approaching, Maria’s eyes widened a bit and their conversation cut off in kiss that seemed almost rehearsed. The young man shook his head at the pair, not sure what was going on… but hoping all worked out there for the better.

“Lex?”

Lex turned and was surprised to find Ben Altair reigning in beside him. It had been weeks now since Ben had come to Lex and Jacque. He had given the subject some thought and realized that the two had been scouted by the Affiliation and had both declined to join. In a world where anyone could be your enemy—where Ben wasn’t sure who he could trust—he had decided that if they had accepted the offer, they would have stayed quiet about it.

Ben had told them both about his meeting Nor’easter and the revelation Doctor Bradley had slammed him with. The pair was sympathetic and supportive as he told them of Katie’s abduction and the trade the Affiliation demanded. “We don’t have him,” Jacque had told Ben then. “Emmanuel Nikolaos left us… he said he had to continue the Lord’s work, no matter the dangers looming over him. We convinced him to at least lay low for a while—that the group targeting his life might hurt some of his followers to get to him.” That had seemed to work and the evangelist had gone underground. He was in contact with Lex and Jacque directly now—a fact they had shared with Ben.

“We can’t just trade an innocent man over for Katie,” Lex had said. “I know how cold that sounds but… we don’t know what the Affiliation would do to him… or with him. Katie’s spared… but what about everyone else? You didn’t get to hear Adonis’ report but… he thinks the Affiliation is building an army of Neo-Sapiens… and you don’t build an army unless you intend to go to war.”

Ben had been very understanding and the pair had been comforting… it was a difficult thing for Ben. He was in a place where he could easily sell the pair out; he could betray them and trade what he knew about the evangelist to Doctor Bradley and his organization. “Wh—what’s going on?”
Deep down, Lex didn’t want to tell him. He couldn’t just simply say, “I’m headed to the cafeteria to ask my girlfriend to go to prom with me.” Not with the love of Ben’s life in a coma and in enemy clutches. “Oh, not much. Yourself?”

“Just thinking, I guess.”

“You, uh—you wanna hang out tonight man? Just you and me? We could… we could go play some basketball and talk—grab a bite to eat or something?”

Ben shrugged. “Competition is kind of stupid,” Ben said.

“No basketball then. What do you say, man?”

Ben shrugged. “I guess…”

Lex nodded and clapped his hand on the white-haired youth’s shoulder. “All right man, hey, I gotta take care of something… I’ll meet you later though?”

Ben nodded. “I guess…”

The young man codenamed Frostbite left Lex standing at the top of the stairs, leading down into the sunken cafeteria here at their school. His eyes quickly scanned the hordes of students munching away on curly fries and pounding down overpriced, twenty ounce bottles of Mountain Dew. There, in the midst of everything that made high school high school, he found Jacque… kissing Alexander Sway.

Lex froze as he looked down on himself. For months Chimera had been missing—ever since Quinton’s supposed death. Lex imagined that Mister Jorgenson had begun to feel the pressure. He was the prime suspect in the deaths of three students—he must have forced Quinton to fake his death! After all, Richard would never kill his own son. Obviously, such a deed would take away the knowing looks. It hadn’t… and Chimera had vanished.

The fake Lex saw him and slowly released Jacque’s hand. He must have said something to excuse himself, he left easily enough; Jacque remained at the table with a dreamy look painted across her face. The impersonator made its way across the floor and up to Lex.

Lex grabbed the man and hurried him into one of the cloistered gardens held inside the school. Throwing the fake him forward, the two would have a modicum of privacy for this. “All right, Chimera,” Lex snarled, “you’ve gone too far now.”

The fake Lex’s eyes widened with shock as the real Alexander Sway transformed into his other self. His flesh turned blacker than the darkness night and his density was magnified to an unparalleled degree. In his imposing shape he advanced slowly, ready to teach his former teacher. This went beyond violating Jacque like he had though—this was about killing Addison and Lucas and Kai and having Quinton help him.

The other Lex turned into Saffron Harris and quickly got to her feet. “You—you’re a Neo-Sapien too?”

Anomaly froze and shook his head. “That won’t help you, Mister Jorgenson…” the hero growled. “If anything it just makes me wanna hit you more.”

“Mister Jorgenson?” Saffron asked.

Then it dawned on him: was Saffron an identity Chimera had created? Had she ever actually existed in the first place? She had attached herself to Jacque at the start of the school year. Had she been an identity that Chimera had created to get close to Jacque, all with the intent of coercing her into the Affiliation? Saffron had done her best to keep the couple apart after Alexa helped to break them up—was this all part of the plan or was Saffron Harris just a victim of the madman’s plot? “Not that I care but what did you do with the real Saffron?”

“I am the real Saffron!” Saffron barked. “And—and you’re a Neo-Sapien.” A fiendish grin curled up around the corners of her lips. “You’re a Neo-Sapien… and…” She took a deep breath. “And if you tell Jacquelyn about me, I’ll tell the school about you.”

Anomaly was dumbstruck. “Wait—you—you’re not Chimera? You’re not Richard Jorgenson?”

“I’m Saffron Harris,” the girl thundered. “And you’re a Neo-Sapien.”

“I am?” asked a sarcastic Anomaly. “So are you—you—you can morph?”

“Here’s how this is going to work, Lex. I’m taking Jacquelyn to prom and you’re going to let me. I mean, you’re on wrestling, football… exactly how many sports ARE you on, Mister? Just think of what’ll happen if I out you. Every game you ever played in will come under scrutiny. Ever trophy you ever received will be contested. They just might throw you out of school for this.”

Anomaly transformed back to his other form and made no other move as Saffron passed him for the exit. This went beyond Lex and Jacque—the purpose of the senior class was to pose as humans. It was a social experiment. After their graduation, the Department of SPB Affairs would release its findings, showing that despite the pressure to use their powers, Neo-Sapiens were able to live a formal existence and endangered no one. If Saffron announced his secret… would all of their work be undone?

“Jacquelyn and I are going to have fun Saturday,” she whispered as she passed him. “But don’t wait up, Lex…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Next up... prom...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 89

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:01 pm

Chapter LXXXIX: For Crying Out Loud
Both were willing to pretend in favor of being found out. Five years ago, in the moments before she breathed her last breath, Silvia Li used her Neo-Sapien ability to trade bodies with her husband. These days, she was posing as more than Richard Jorgenson—she was utilizing his powers to hide in the guise of Cloud Goodman. Donna-Anne Manther knew part of it: she knew that the being she knew as Chimera was posing as her boyfriend and she realized this had been going on for months. Still, there was no doubt in her mind that Chimera had killed to keep its secrets—the young girl was unwilling to divulge that she knew that she hadn’t been holding hands with her boyfriend… but an imposter.

Still, Chimera knew that to fail at acting all as Cloud would have acted would be a sure signal. However grudgingly, Chimera had asked Donna-Anne to her senior prom. Not wanting to declare her knowledge of Chimera’s façade, the young woman had accepted. Still, as they danced to the music they were told was good, their minds were far from what many of their peers were thinking.

For most couples, they debated the probability of consensual intercourse: ‘will she do it?’ or ‘will she say yes?’ For others, their thoughts were filled of jealous outbursts restrained by sweet lies: ‘your dress is amazing!’ or ‘you look gorgeous!’ There was no creature in nature as two-faced as woman; all that they said failed to match what they truly thought and given the chance they would slit each others’ throats. Some had done more than consider committing social homicide: they had conspired or committed the misdemeanor.

Some were more like Magnus Loder and his date, Maria Espada. It had been close to half a year since the New Vindicators’ trip to Japan. It was there that Maria was approached by Pandora and offered the chance to join the Affiliation. The young woman had immediately concluded that this might have been why Addison, Lucas, Malachi and Quinton had died: they had been offered the chance to join the clandestine group and when they refused they had been killed before they could reveal anything to anyone. At the time, that was what she had believed and it had been the reason she had said yes.

Maria had agreed to join them… if only to extend her life long enough to stop them. She was trusted with the truth of those students’ deaths and had come to realize she had been wrong in assuming they had all died for such a reason. Still, she had not been far off. When Chimera made a similar offer to Magnus Loder, Maria had volunteered to seduce him to their side. Still, she had gambled on Magnus and the dynasty he was a part of. She didn’t believe he would join them and thus she had found someone she could trust. She had told him everything and for the last few months, the two had begun plotting against the Affiliation.

“Things are coming together quickly,” Maria said as the pair began to slow dance. “Within a week or two, they’ll be ready to strike. From the way they’re talking… they’re after Adonis. He’s the key to their plan. They think they have a way to augment his abilities—to turn him into a real life Cupid.

“That’s how they’ve recruited so many people: Marcos will be given Alexa for his service, Tusk gets Donna-Anne, Pandora gets Doctor Styles, Professor Alston gets Chimera, Doctor Bradley gets Cassandra’s mom… Lurker gets Atlanta and Mirth and Girth get Sarah and Alicia Anderson.”

“Random…” mumbled Magnus. “Okay, so… so they’ve got an army built on promises of love. What are they going to do with that army though?”

“What everyone does when they have an army,” Maria whispered as she pretended to kiss his neck. “Attack.”

As Magnus mulled it over, a voice cut across over the speakers, apologizing for the interruption and asking for everyone’s attention. “Hi,” the young man said. Confusion set in as Magnus turned towards the stage at the front of the hall and to Lex Sway standing there. No longer was he clad in the tuxedo he had been wearing when Magnus had seen him dancing with Jacque. Instead, he was clad in the uniform of the New Vindicators.

“What is he doing?” Maria asked fearing the worst. “Magnus, I—I didn’t bring my uniform…”

“My name is Alexander Sway,” the young man announced. Jacque was making her way towards him, wading slowly through the sea of people… more confused than any. At her side was Lex Sway—the fake Lex Sway—who looked both angry and terrified. “And… I wanted to be here with someone very special tonight. The thing is—God, I’m not sure where to start—there’s this girl who’s friends with my girlfriend… and she’s a Neo-Sapien. This girl can make herself look like anyone and… and right now, she’s making herself look like me so that she can be here tonight with my girlfriend.” Jacque turned to the fake Lex and was surprised to find Saffron Harris standing beside her, clad in the same tuxedo she had believed her boyfriend looked staggeringly handsome in. “She said that—that if I didn’t let her, she’d tell the school… well…” Lex transformed into Anomaly and instantly so many of the student body recognized him from the news; they knew him from the rescue of Chienne Bedford and Doctor Natalie Styles. “She said she would tell everyone about my own Neo-Sapien powers.”

“Freak!” someone screamed from the crowd. “Monster!” thundered another.

Anomaly ignored them all. “I’m on a lot of athletic teams here so… I guess this girl thought she would threaten that. You know what though? You can take all my awards away. You can expel me for whatever you want. I just wanted to let that person know that… that a few months ago, I made a promise to my girlfriend. I told her that I wasn’t going to let anything come between us and I meant that.” Anomaly’s eyes fell on Jacque then in the front row, positively beaming at him. “I also wanna let the world know that my girlfriend looks really, REALLY pretty tonight… and I love her more than words can say.”

Anomaly slipped off the platform and the ground shook. The crowd parted, leaving him and Jacquelyn room alone. “It may not be as magical as prom… but I’ve got a couple of burgers that are pretty well guaranteed to drip on that dress and a worn out cassette tape with Meat Loaf’s ‘For Crying Out Loud’ that I thought we could dance to on the shoreline. I mean… if you’re interested?”

She started to laugh and rested her forehead against his chest. “Throw in a midnight screening of the Princess Bride and it’s a date.”

Anomaly turned back to Lex and grinned as he kissed the top of her head. “As you wish,” he whispered.

The two made their way past scowls and dark looks. Immediately the female consensus began to gossip about Jacque Webber’s relationship with a Neo-Sapien. For the remainder of their careers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School neither would ever know peace again... and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“You know,” Maria said, elbowing Magnus in the ribs, “I think we could trust them.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I know who’s in the Affiliation but I don’t know who’s not in the Affiliation, you know? But… Lazarus and Singe were sent to recruit the two of them and… and they told Doctor Styles. If they had accepted, they probably would have been more discreet. I think that we can trust Lex and Jacque, Magnus. I think we can tell them what we know… get them to help us stop the Affiliation.”

Magnus shook his head. “Tonight just cements it more, Maria… We were put here to pose as humans—to hide and prove that we could live in peaceful coexistence. Lex just undid everything he’s worked for. Doctor Bradley and Professor Alston did wrong by naming them the prefects… and they’ll see that when you and I take down the Affiliation.”

“Magnus, what if-”

“We can do this,” Magnus insisted. “We can do this without them.” He stroked her cheek with his hand and gently caressed her lips with his. It wasn’t a kiss for show intended to convince people that they were a couple. It was sincere and true. “I—I think I’m… I kind of…”

Maria grinned. “I know. The last few weeks, I’d been…” She began to blush. “I was afraid you’d think I…” She sighed. Now wasn’t the time to explore their feelings for each other—not with the Affiliation so close to what they had spent the last nine months planning. “Magnus, we should tell them.”

“Maria… we’re going to be fine. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Not far off, Marcos Verón watched the pair and his fist shook. Still, now wasn’t the time for petty jealousy. He had a job to do. Marcos crossed the room to Saffron, sitting alone at a table crying into her gloved hands. The Brazilian youth slipped his lithe form into the chair across from her and leaned forward. “What if I told you… there was a way to make her yours?” he asked. He smiled as he tears stopped. She didn’t have to ask who he meant; she never thought of anyone else. “And what if I told you there was a way to make sure that Alexander Sway paid dearly for what he did tonight?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Next up... Chienne still doesn't have closure after Magnus' break up with her. Naturally, she sicks Jack "the Enforcer" Olsen on the manipulator of metal and young Loder learns just how the quarterback earned such a snazzy nickname. Kanpai!
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

smashed247
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Post by smashed247 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:16 pm

Like I didn't see that coming

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