NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

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Michuru81
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
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New Vindicators, Chapter 96

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:14 pm

Chapter XCVI: Broken Wings
Rumble and Tripper led the procession of the damned through the ruined remains of the gymnasium. Anomaly followed them; what remained of his graduation gown would have been hanging from him, were it not for his increased size. In his arms he carried Doctor Styles—the real one—whose leg had been injured helping the civilians escape the carnage.

With them was Jetstream and Frostbite; the frigid warrior helped the blue-haired Lodestone as he limped along. For once, he was quiet; he had no innuendo to spout or cruel comments to vomit. He was missing his other half and he knew the effect it would have on his constitution if the two remained apart for long. Hourglass and Fathom followed them and Deimos brought up the rear, carrying an unconscious Copycat they had found amongst the wreckage. He shifted Drew’s body and noticed that once through the doors his teammates had stopped to stare at the sky. “What’s going on? Is there a cloud shaped like a boob or something?”

He stepped out and noticed a canopy of white radiance overhead. “Well… that ain’t natural.”

“What is it?” Anomaly asked. “Is—is it light?”

“No,” Halogen said, shaking her head at his suggestion. “No, I’d recognize an effect similar to my own power signature. This is something else. I- I’m not sure what though. It can’t just be a coincidence though. This has to be tied into the Affiliation.”

“What should we do?” asked Tripper.

“Right now… let’s just get to the van. I’m sure there’s something on the news.”

Anomaly did as Doctor Styles had said and escorted her to the passenger van she had driven many of the students to the graduation in. Once in she began to use her own abilities to tend to her injuries and any her students might have. “Let’s take a head count…” she called back as she turned on the radio. “Sound off if you’re not here.”

“They took Adonis,” Jetstream said sadly.

“My mom and dad too,” Hourglass interjected.

“The Loder’s were taken too,” Anomaly offered. “We’re missing… Magnus and Maria… Marcos?”

“Mae and Gale,” added Jacquelyn.

“Mae… Mae’s on their side,” Frostbite said. “Cassandra and I fought her…”

“Gale is too,” Fathom admitted. “What about Cloud?”

“He wasn’t here this morning,” Jetstream explained. “He—he must have left last night.” She knew the truth; Cloud Goodman had been killed months ago. The being known as Chimera had been posing as her boyfriend ever since.

“So the Affiliation has abducted six of us?”

“Well, six, not counting the Loder’s,” Anomaly said as he transformed back into Lex Sway. Given his weight, he would tip the van over upon climbing in. “What’s the plan, Doctor Styles?”

Halogen shook her head as she turned off the radio. “It’s not good… Apparently that white blanket over us is covering all five boroughs. It’s some sort of force field—it’s a dome preventing anyone from getting in or out of the city.”

“How is that even possible?” Fathom asked, pressing her face to the window as she scanned the vacant skies. “I mean, aren’t these jokers supposed to be just… just former students of the academy? This seems bigger than even the Vindicators!”

“The Vindicators!” Halogen snapped, suddenly realizing a piece of the puzzle she hadn’t before. “They’re—they’re outside the dome. They were scrambled to take down Atlas before he started another panic.”

Rumble took a deep breath. “Mae and Forecast tipped their hands, right?” Her peers looked at her with their confusion apparent on their faces. “Ah mean… they were sleeper agents for the Affiliation and… they’ve been activated. Those of us still here… Ah mean, we… we can trust each other, right?”

Doctor Styles took a deep breath before whispering, “I truly hope so, Atlanta.”

“Then… then Cloud isn’t Cloud.”

Jetstream’s eyes widened. “He’s Chimera,” the Georgian native explained further. “Ah—Ah’ve known for months now. Ah’m sorry Ah didn’t say anythin’ but—it was just…” The blonde girl sighed before going on. “Ah think Chimera is Atlas.”

“What?” thundered Deimos. “Where did you get something like that?”
“When we were goin’ after the Reagan boy, Drew… well, he freaked out again. It was exactly like the last time.”

“That’s impossible, Atlanta. Chimera can’t be Atlas.” Hourglass took a deep breath, ready to explain her case and suddenly she realized she didn’t have one. “Well… well, he just can’t be, okay?”

“It would make sense,” Doctor Styles said. “I was willing to assume Atlas was a part of the Affiliation. It doesn’t fit—given that Atlas is so strong he doesn’t need minions or teammates… but… there has to be an explanation for his suddenly showing up today of all times. It’s too convenient that he appears and the Vindicators are trapped outside of New York City while the Affiliation does what it pleases.”

“Ma’am?” asked Anomaly, eagerly anticipating his orders.

“Radio said communications weren’t getting out of the dome but they likely don’t have our capabilities. We need to get a message to the Vindicators or to Michuru. We also need to rescue the others.” She mused on the other factors and realized that the institute was still a target. The Affiliation had been preying on their students to increase their numbers—the younger classmen might be in danger. “The school may not be safe; they may be attacking there next. I’ll go—I’ll go alone. I’ll attempt to rally the other teachers and make sure the students are protected. Meanwhile… Tripper will go to Michuru’s apartment.” Immediately she began to write down the man’s address for the young girl to find. “The Affiliation shouldn’t know about it and he should have some communications equipment that can breach the dome. Rumble will be your muscle and Hourglass your stealth. Better that you took Jetstream and Copycat with you. Be careful as… this attack has probably put the island—no, the whole city in a frenzy.

“Anomaly will lead a group to track down the others. It’s going to be dangerous, given that we don’t know who all is working for the Affiliation. There’s no way to know what you’re walking into but…”

“How are we supposed to know where to go?”

Lodestone grunted and raised his hand, waving to Deimos. “I can sense the other me… like a beacon. I could walk right to him.”

“I'm pretty much an NS detector,” added Drew. “Maybe I should go with Lex instead?”

Halogen nodded in agreement. “Take Lodestone, Copycat, Deimos, Fathom and Frostbite with you, Anomaly. I’ve got some spare uniforms in the back. Get suited up and… I want everyone carrying a GPS tracker. If anything happens, I want to be able to follow the signal right to you. Professor Alston and Doctor Bradley should still be at the school—same for Pandora, Breanne and Walkabout. I’ll rally them together and rendezvous with Lex’s team as soon as we can. Any questions?”

“It’s not a question…” said Frostbite nervously, “but… Doctor Bradley tried to recruit me to the Affiliation.”

Halogen’s eyes widened in surprise. “What?”

Anomaly and Tripper nodded. “Ben already told us,” Anomaly said. “He said… Doctor Bradley told him that Professor Alston and Miss DiMera are in on it too.”

Frostbite and Tripper were nodded in agreement but Halogen was shaking her head in disbelief. “That… that’s impossible…”

“If you’re going back to the school,” Anomaly said, “be careful who you trust.” He smiled warmly at the young woman. “You know how this morning you said we were kind of like your kids? Jacque and I… our parents aren’t in the picture, Doctor Styles. The thing is… we’ve always seen you as like… a mom.”

“You’re like my big sister,” Jetstream said.

“Seconded,” said Fathom.

“Thirded,” offered Hourglass.

“You’re that weird cousin I have funny feelings for,” Deimos muttered.

“Y’all have been an incredible mentor to me,” Rumble said, “and an even better friend.”

“You got great legs,” said the blue-haired Lodestone.

“You’re the one who got me into this,” said Copycat finally. “I don’t know where I’d be if you hadn’t come into my life, Doctor Styles.”

“I think what we’re saying,” offered Anomaly, “is that you’re important to us and you’d better take care of yourself.”

There was no holding back the woman’s tears as she nodded to them. “I love you kids,” she finally said. “You all be careful out there, okay?”

With their spirits rejuvenated the New Vindicators climbed out of the van one-by-one, slipping off to change into their uniforms and save the city. They were blinded by their purpose and failed to notice the stragglers left behind in the disruption. David Meinstein was scouring the ruins, looking for anything that would point him in the direction his brother had gone.

For years, David Meinstein had been best friends with Quinton Jorgenson. The young genius always dreamed of working for David’s father at Patriot Robotics and David had been determined to help him get there any which way he could. The young men often slipped into the corporation David would one day inherit a fifth of and he would give Quinton free reign. With access to the best in tools and components, Quinton was able to invent such wonders as the Morph Buckle and the Amber Armlet.

“The magnitude of the electrostatic force between two point charges is directly proportional to the magnitudes of each charge and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the charges,” Quinton had said as he offered a perplexed David the wristwatch and accessories. “A small charge carries between the watch and this ring and these ankle bracelets. The charge is harmless enough—but it’ll flow between them through your body… empowering you.”

“How so?”

A demonstration had proved to the young Meinstein what he had already known: Quinton Jorgenson was a genius. So long as David had that watch, he was capable of interfacing with technology. It was what allowed him to ‘datalink’ as Quinton had called it.

It was what turned the Portal armor into a puppet David could manipulate from any distance. Without the watch he couldn’t summon the bionic warrior… he would have no choice but to go where he had stashed his father’s stolen device and don the armor himself.

“You’re going to fight, aren’t you?”

David turned around and narrowed his eyes at the man. He didn’t recognize the middle-aged man… though he was intrigued how he had deduced that he intended to join the battle. “I’m not sure what you-”

“Don’t patronize me, Portal.”

David traversed the space between them casually and sized up the man. If things turned into a fight, he was positive he couldn’t take the man. David Meinstein was physically unimposing and this man appeared to be a seasoned combatant. “I’m listening…”

“My name is Detective John Long and… I was a young hero once myself. I worked side-by-side with the Detective. I was his partner: I was the Gumshoe.” The man took a look at the abashed expression smeared over David’s face and sighed. “It was in the eighties—everyone used embarrassing codenames.”

“I’ll bet.”

“The Detective trained me to be… well, to be a detective. It’s how I pieced together what you were up to. It wasn’t hard… the ZERO and Portal armors were both lifted from your father’s laboratories on the same day—during Atlas’ attack. It stood to reason that it would have to be a student, given that-”

“I don’t want to sound cold but… I really don’t have time for any exposition, sir. The city needs saving.”

“And you’re going to do it? Just you?”

David never turned back as he walked away from Detective John Long. “‘Fear is the path to the dark side’,” he said proudly. “‘Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.’ Master Yoda, episode one… I’m not afraid, Detective Long.”

“You’re not some character from a movie!” the Detective called, hurrying after the young man, intent to stop him and persuade him to abandon this suicide mission. “You’re not—not a Jedi!”

“Obi-wan Kenobi… is my hero,” David said sternly. He had stopped, but he was still opting not to face the man. “And if I’m the kind of person who runs away when his power is taken from him… then what does that say about my character?”

The detective nodded. “C’mon… I’ve got my old equipment in the trunk of my car. If there’s no stopping you, the least I can do is help you.”

“You could come with me,” David said.

“My step-son is missing,” Detective Long said sadly. “I know this city is in trouble… but I promised my late wife I’d watch out for him. His name is Jack… Jack Olsen. He was eight when I married his mom—his dad had run off with the boy’s Sunday school teacher three years before. The boys, they… they always called me dad, even though I wasn’t their father… They said I was as much of one as they’d ever known. When—when Jack’s brother was sixteen, his father’s Neo-Sapien powers manifested publicly and… we moved around a lot to try and spare Jack any of the social backlash.”

The detective opened his trunk and produced a small duffle bag stuffed with his old costume and his utility belt. It wasn’t much, but it would give him an edge until he could get his armor back. “Troy couldn’t cut it—knowing what he was doing to the rest of us—and… he—he killed himself… He killed himself with his own powers and his mom died trying to stop him. I told her I’d watch over him but… I’m not sure where he’s gotten to or what’s gotten into him. Still… I have to save him. I know that one life doesn’t balance against a city full of innocents but… a promise between a man and the woman he loves is the promise of a lifetime, kid.”

David couldn’t stop staring at the costume he had been handed—while they certainly felt durable, he wasn’t happy with the color scheme. Green and red didn’t even look good together at Christmas—why would anyone willingly wear something so gaudy?

With a sigh, David looked for a place to change. He would have to endure the atrocious costume long enough to cross the city if he was going to make it to where he had hidden the Portal armor…

…he would have to make it to the New Vindicators Academy of America.
To Be Continued... wrote:With four chapters remaining until the Affiliation's leader steps out of the shadows, Neo-Sapiens have taken over the city and stolen his daughter; Forrest N. Bedford wasn't about to just sit idly by and do nothing. As we near closer to the end, Anomaly's team faces off against the Church of Genetic Purity.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 97

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:59 pm

Chapter XCVII: We Didn’t Start the Fire
Anomaly’s fist ruptured the molded armor each of the men wore. The hard plastic contoured, bestowing some level of protection to each member of the militia. Behind them billowed long, white cloaks that formed into hoods the men kept pulled over their masked faces.

The Ku Klux Klan had come a long way from their conception in 1866. Originally founded by veterans of the Confederate Army, their main purpose was to resist Reconstruction. Intimidation was the order of the day and was heavily poured over the Northerners who had migrated to the South. Southern Republicans had been immersed in their favored tactic. Freed slaves however had been burnt by their marriage of ignorance and intolerance.

Despite the Klan’s destruction under Ulysses S. Grant’s ambitious Civil Rights Act of 1871, the organization experienced a revival in 1915, courtesy of William J. Simmons. Over the years, their popularity would wax and wane and they would manage to share their special brand of hatred with other groups: Catholics, Jews, Communists and homosexuals… They would fall further during the Second World War, due largely in part to their support of the Nazis.

As the Klan transitioned into the twenty-first century, they watched as a Neo-Sapien brought about the events of 9/11 just three days after the disbanding of the Vindicators VII. An ambitious Grand Dragon, leader of a New York faction, opted to take the initiative he felt the group needed and founded a church within their collective. Forrest Nathan Bedford was a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, discharged after sustaining substantial damage to his knee during a combat exercise.

It was two years after the formation of the Church of Genetic Purity that their members saw their first martyr; one of his founding members, Bedford’s own son, was killed during a protest by a Neo-Sapien. It bolstered not only the cause of Bedford’s church, but spurred his wife into announcing her candidacy for senate the following year.

Since then, the Bedford family had been a powerful one. Forrest controlled the Church of Genetic Purity while his wife served as a senator to New York; their daughter, Chienne Bedford, all but ruled Eleanor Roosevelt High School. They had an ironclad grip on New York’s society—one that matched their convictions well.

Still, to evolve from men in white sheets lighting crosses ablaze into armored soldiers hunting Neo-Sapiens in New York City was a leap few could have anticipated. “Anyone ever see the Power Rangers movie?” Copycat asked as he threw back one of the soldiers with a handful of icicles thrown courtesy of the powers he borrowed from Frostbite. “Not that crappy Turbo one, but the one with Ivan Ooze… Their armor kind of reminds me of the one they wore in the movie!”

“Wasn’t that a show for preschoolers or something?” grumbled Frostbite.

“Dude, I had such a crush on Kimberly,” Copycat said, feeling his childhood heroes threatened. “I think I read somewhere her actress did a nude scene or something somewhere.”

“Drew can read?” the blue-haired Lodestone asked, genuinely surprised by such revelations.

“Seek help, Drew…” Fathom growled, seeping her aquatic tendrils under the mask to suffocate a Klan knight.

“You know who else is hot?” Copycat exclaimed as he mimicked Anomaly’s density. The augmented strength allowed him to grab one of the warriors and hurl him through the air and into a nearby building. “Stephanie on LazyTown!”

The blue-haired Lodestone froze at Copycat’s suggestion—providing one of the Klan knights the opening he needed to land a swift uppercut into the manipulator of magnetism’s jaw.

“Anyone else think we were asking for this fight by walking around in our uniforms?” Copycat asked as he slammed into the man who had stunned Lodestone. “I mean, they’re looking for Neo-Sapiens and… well, aren’t the Vindicators synonymous with Neo-Sapiens? Seriously, I dare you to name me a Vindicator who wasn’t a Neo-Sapien!”

“Detective,” Anomaly said as he felled another of his opponents.

“Falkenburg,” added Lodestone, shaking off the shock from the surprise attack, “Tick-tock too, I think.”

“Rumble’s dad,” said Anomaly.

“Okay, fine!” pouted Copycat. “I betchu can’t name me ten!”

“If I suffocate him, he won’t be able to talk anymore,” Fathom pointed out. “Would you like me to suffocate him, Sexy Lexy?”

“For the fifth time, no, Fathom.” Anomaly rolled his eyes as he turned to face his female companion. “Behind you!” he exclaimed, spotting the soldier charging her from behind.

The blade of a scythe composed of glowing black energy cleaved through the man’s chest. The man fell to the ground before the equally-dark clad Deimos, wreathed in the very energy he commanded. “Learn to watch your back, blondie,” the dark child hissed. Fathom mouthed a vulgar insult his way, but her voice faded as she caught sight of one of the men holding Frostbite hostage.

He reached to his belt and produced a hypodermic needle. “Lodestone!” Anomaly exclaimed as the needle broke the flesh of Frostbite’s frost-covered neck.

In no time the needle wretched it way free of Ben’s skin and the man’s hand. The soldier was shocked to find it gone and scanned around him for any sight of it.

“He has more!” came the voice of Julie Harding. Anomaly was shocked to see the tendrils of long, golden locks seize the remainder of needles from the knight’s side. A junior at the New Vindicators Academy of America, the young woman had been dubbed Rapunzel by her superiors—likely due to her prehensile hair.

She was joined quickly enough by three others from the junior class: Chad Davidson, Brian Murphy and Aurora Leigh.

Chad Michael Davidson was a depressing youth better known as Beekeeper due to his ability to transfigure his form into a hive of bees. Brian Murphy was one few liked to see coming; each of his additional arms was capable of corroding matter, earning him the codename Shiva. Still, his name wasn’t just due to his powers: Brian Murphy destroyed everything he touched.

Aurora Leigh had been the young Neo-Sapien girl Anomaly and Tripper had been dispatched to attend to. They had saved her from herself, quite literally. As Stockholm she had the power to transform the mindset of any she touched to mirror her own. The trouble was that she had no control over the power—she could not turn it off. As if that alone didn’t make her dangerous, there was the complication of her fragile psyche to consider…
Instantly, Beekeeper transform and his particulate body swarmed on another knight. Shiva grabbed another and let his destructive powers seep through the man’s armor to expose his considerably more-vulnerable chest before launching a volley of punches.

The trio made short work of the zealots, though Stockholm found her abilities slightly useless in the fight as the knights failed to expose their flesh. Her powers needed skin-to-skin contact to work. “Not that I’m complaining but…” Anomaly approached them, rubbing the back of his neck as he dreaded asking what he was about to ask. “Doctor Styles took off for the school about an hour ago. She was afraid the Affiliation might attack there.”

The group seemed to look to Rapunzel as their unofficial leader. “They did,” she said sternly. As Deimos uttered a curse, Frostbite sighed sadly. Lodestone echoed Deimos under his breath.

“God, what—what happened?”

Rapunzel shrugged. “It was while you were at the graduation ceremonies. The Affiliation had a few sleeper agents in the other classes. They were ordered to attack and they did.” The New Vindicators shuddered from the cold pouring from her lips—she seemed so unfazed by everything that had thus far happened. “A lot of students were killed.”

“Shannon?” Copycat asked, worried about the under classman who roomed with Adonis, Lodestone and himself. “Is—is Bramble okay?”

It was Shiva who answered: “I watched him die, Drew. He’s gone.”

“Are there other survivors?” Anomaly asked. “Like yourselves, I mean?”

“I imagine it’s possible,” Rapunzel mused.

“How did you guys survive?” Frostbite asked, impressed enough by how effortlessly they had taken down the mob of knights. “How did you escape the Affiliation’s attack?”

Without any further inflection than she had given her explanation of the massacre of students, Rapunzel simply told them, “We didn’t escape the attack… We caused it. We are the Affiliation.”

Anomaly barely had time to react to such admittance before the group made their move. “Shiva, get on Copycat! He’s the most dangerous! B.K., take down Lodestone! I’ll handle Deimos!” True to her word, her long golden tresses reached for the hellfire-cloaked youth, snaring him with her gleaming mane. Easily, she hefted him into the air and slammed him against a nearby building—forcing the Nephilim through the window.

Writing Deimos off as finished she turned her attention on Copycat. He was the most affective counter the New Vindicators had; she knew that once Shiva was close enough Copycat could simply fight the youth’s grappling prowess with his own. Still, if she could take him by surprise, they might be able to handle him the quickest. Unless he mimicked the ability from someone else, he had little to protect him from attacks.

Whip-like strands of hair lashed across Copycat’s back, fraying the durable uniform and testifying to the strength of Rapunzel’s Neo-Sapien ability. “If you’re anything like me,” Frostbite exclaimed, aiming his arm towards her to build a frost over her long hair, “your hair hates the cold!”

“Well, I’m not anything like you,” Rapunzel retorted. “My girlfriend isn’t in a coma!”

Fathom’s eyes widened and she turned her attention off of helping Lodestone fight off the swarm of bees. “You—you’re a lesbian?” she asked, running her eyes up and down Rapunzel’s form. “Mmm…”

She felt Beekeeper’s sting then—the toxins he secreted began making their way through her system. Fathom reverted back to Alexa Hawk, now considerably puffier given the source of the attack. The young blonde wobbled before falling to the ground; she was conscious but barely able to control her motor functions.

Almost instantly, Alexa’s medical mind went to what had happened. Bee venom mostly contained Apitoxin: a colorless anticoagulant known to cause local inflammation. Still, that wasn’t enough to cause such a reaction in her system. She had to think fast and find a way to counteract it before the entire team succumbed to such an attack!

Apitoxin was composed of Adolapin and Apamin, amongst other things. Adolapin was a natural analgesic—a painkiller. Apamin increased cortisol production in the adrenal gland and was a powerful nerve toxin. Was it possible that Beekeeper’s venom had such elevated Adolapin and Apamin that he was able to numb the body with his sting?

“Eth—ethanol,” she managed. Her speech was slurred as her tongue had swollen. Her face was lying in a small puddle of her own drool. “Ethanol!” she called to Lodestone, knowing that Ethanol was an affective counteragent against Apitoxin.

The blue-haired Lodestone looked down at her curiously, not sure just why she was muttering such things. He had little time to question her any further as the swarm turned once more, returning to strike at him a second time. “Cold boy!” he screamed. “Forget about goldilocks and take out the hive!”

Frostbite spun around and raised his hands for the swarm. At Lodestone’s words, Beekeeper moved to attack Frostbite. He had not been recognized as even a potential threat by the group. Their tactic had been to take out as many as they could before they all jumped Anomaly together; Rapunzel hadn’t been sure of their chances against the big man.

As Frostbite decreased the temperature around the collective swarm, Beekeeper’s movement became more erratic. Bees were dropping out of the sky and soon pooled together to form into the young man whose lot was to become the swarm.

“That’s one down!” declared Anomaly.

“Bigger problems, boss!” Frostbite said, as he pointed to the blue-haired Lodestone, staggering where he stood beside Stockholm.

“Magnus?” Anomaly asked, half afraid of the answer he’d get.

“Not even close,” Lodestone said through a Louisianan accent that was slowly becoming more comprehendible. “Vous des garçons pourriez aussi bien abandonner. You don’t stand a chance.”
To Be Continued... wrote:The countdown to the big reveal continues as David Meinstein makes his way into the New Vindicators Academy. Still, without his armor, will he stand a chance against a seasoned Vindicator? It's David Meinstein versus Professor Incendiary.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

Michuru81
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5693
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

New Vindicators, Chapter 98

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:37 am

Chapter XCVIII: Let’s Hear It For the Boy
It had been nine months since Atlas had attacked Patriot Robotics. David Meinstein had ran for cover—he kicked himself for it, but deep down he knew there was nothing he could have done.

Doctor Jenkins had been the one to issue the command to retract the armors to their safety zones. Prototype weapons were kept in specially constructed vaults. Unfortunately, David had hidden himself on the conveyer belt that withdrew the 001 into the docking bay.

Sealed off from the rest of the room, he had begun to panic. His first instinct had been to attempt to use the Amber Armlet, the device Quinton had constructed to attempt to open the vault. Still, once an emergency docking sequence had been initiated, only a manual override from outside would open the vault.

David’s eyes fell on the armor then and he began to see it as more than a possible way out of this prison. When Atlas had arrived, everyone had been pinned by his powers; everyone but himself and a handful of others at least. Quinton was one of them.

‘The Amber Armlet,’ mused David as he thought on why he hadn’t been affected. ‘Quinton must have built something in it to protect me from energy attacks. He must have made one for himself too…’

David’s eyes went back to the armor. For years, he had dreamed of heroes. He idolized the selfless do-gooders fiction provided him: Obi-wan Kenobi, Spider-man, Link… He didn’t have the power to stand up to Atlas but he was still immune to his attacks. He stood the best chance of any.

‘With the Amber Armlet, I could probably operate you by remote,’ he thought, looking over the armor, ‘but then you wouldn’t be immune to his powers. His magnetism would probably just rip you apart, wouldn’t it?’ He had managed to convince himself that what he was about to do was justified.

Piece-by-piece, he hastily equipped the armor.

Any normal person would have been intimidated by the alien controls. The suit operated on a scale different from any machine this side of eternity—it would have taken weeks of preparation and practice to adjust to the controls…

At least, it would have taken anyone who hadn’t been playing video games since they were three that long to adjust…

It had been his ticket to being the hero he had always dreamed of being—that and the armor was the best video game he had ever played. He had considered returning it and just telling his father about what he had done. Then he recalled the events of Daniel’s departure and the needle their father had put into his arm.

How would Noah Meinstein react to the news that his son had been playing hero and using the armor to battle it out with a villain of Atlas’ scope?
It had taken him a while to think about it but he opted to keep the armor. It had taken him even longer to think of where to hide it. There was a man within his father’s company—an aged engineer by name of Fox he was sure he could trust. Still, he didn’t want to take the chances stashing it somewhere his father had eyes and ears.

For months he had been hiding it in the upper levels of the Lighthouse—an actual lighthouse affixed to the north shore of Roosevelt Island. He had set up a little security at first, just monitoring how often anyone came up to the defunct building. He was pleased to see that nobody disturbed the loft—as if the layer of dust and cobwebs hadn’t told him that.

Still, his investigation of the Lighthouse revealed more to it than he had dreamed. The Lighthouse was part of a private school—that much any resident of the island knew—but few suspected it was a training ground for the New Vindicators: a group preparing to become the next generation of Vindicators.

Many years before, the island had been known as Blackwell Island and it had played host to a prison and asylum. The mistreatment exposed by Nellie Bly had begun the reunification process but the remainder of the complexes had become the lower levels of the school—the areas were the young heroes trained beneath the island.

For a time, Portal had considered approaching them. He was doing fine serving as a vigilante thus far, but he worried over the increased activity. He had been handling simple thieves and petty criminals but how would he handle things like Atlas should he surface again?

Still, something always prevented him from outing himself to the bunch. On some level, he just preferred having the anonymity the mask provided. Other times he simply enjoyed working alone.

This was not one of those times.

As David slipped down another hallway he found more dead bodies. He didn’t know their names; he only knew that they were Neo-Sapiens and they had died horrifically. It was a terrible sight and one he had to endure if he was going to retrieve his armor.

Normally, he would have used the armlet to bring the armor to him. The small device allowed him to manipulate other devices, including the Portal armor he had discovered. Without the watch, his only hope of becoming Portal again rested in snaking his way through the school, climbing to the top of the Lighthouse and donning the armor manually.

David was unwilling to gamble as to whether or not whoever had killed the students had stuck around, so he moved with what little grace he could afford. David was far from being as physically impressive as Jack Olsen, but he was still an athlete. He may not have conditioned himself on in the ring or on the gridiron, but he was a natural on the soccer field and on the tennis court.

David thought back to the schematics he had stolen when he first began to investigate the school. He knew the layout well enough. He knew the security and defenses installed in the school. Some were in place to protect the students from a mob of angry humans and others were in place to protect the academy’s wards from other Neo-Sapiens. While they couldn’t prepare for every contingency, they did have numerous measures in place.

One David had already initiated and ensured the command could not be overridden.

As he came around the corner, movement caught his eye amongst those on the floor. One of the students was still alive.

Kneeling beside him, the hero placed a gentle hand on the shaken youth’s shoulder and cupped his hand over the boy’s mouth to stifle his scream. “I’m…” David looked down at the costume he had put on. “I’m the Gumshoe,” he said. “I’m one of the good guys. What happened here?”

Josh Cron fought to keep from crying. “S-s-some of the o-other students said- they said…”

“The Affiliation,” came a girl’s voice. She seemed much calmer than her cohort was at least. Mackenzie Lawrence had seen so many of her classmates murdered by a few members of the Affiliation and yet she gave off such an air—even after living through such a tragedy? She stood before David wearing the blood of her friends and yet… she seemed so unfazed. “Gumshoe?”

“Don’t judge me,” he asserted.

“Hey, if Doctor Howell hadn’t suggested ‘Orbit’, I would have been calling myself ‘Gravity Girl’. I’m in no place to judge anyone.”

“You seem to have things together… much better than him. I need you to get out of the school. Take anyone you can—anyone still alive.”

“Duh,” Mackenzie offered. “Really, if it hadn’t been for you, I’d still be laying here waiting for Professor Alston to come back through-”

“Alston?” the Gumshoe asked. “Alston as in Professor Incendiary? Alston as in the Vindicators IV?” Suddenly, the Gumshoe realized the set up. In television and movies and in comic books, whenever a character asked for such verification, inevitably that very person was looming over them at that very moment.

The Gumshoe spun around and himself facing Professor Philip Alston. Though the years had touched the man, they had caressed him gently. His handsome face had been hardened just slightly; wisdom brought a slight glimmer to his eyes. His hair was winged with grey and his spectacles only enhanced his maturity—not ruined the illusion of power he had once given.

His hand went back to the utility belt, producing a few tricks as he seized the hem of his cloak. The black cape he had adopted was made of NOMEX, a material utilized by firefighters in their great undertakings. He had anticipated the first move the man made, failing to be surprised as Professor Alston burst into flames.

The cloak protected him from the explosion of heat and the flames tickling his flesh. He ignored the eruption of fire that engulfed the man and was also shielded from the flame retardant foam that rocketed from the walls of the compound, saturating Professor Alston in them and nullifying his powers.

“According to the blueprints, they were installed to protect the school from Michuru,” the Gumshoe said, throwing back the foam-coated cloak and juggling the small bombs he had produced. “Apparently, if he got angry he’d burst into flames. The system was in place to contain large fires quickly, before they got out of hand should his emotions get out of hand. Looks like someone forgot to take the safety off.”

“Computer!” Professor Alston screamed, spitting the horrendous-tasting foam from his maw. “Override fire prevention system!”

“PASSWORD?” inquired the cold voice of the system computer.

“Entropy!” barked Professor Alston.

“I’m sorry! That’s the wrong answer!” the Gumshoe laughed. Mackenzie had led Josh out of the hall and hopefully out of the school. “Some inconsiderate person must have come in and formatted the computer. Likely he was just concerned with the amount of property damage your powers would cause.”

“Insolent little brat!” Alston screamed as he lunged for the Gumshoe.

The Gumshoe hurled the small devices forward. They impacted against the professor’s flesh and sent up an explosion of light. The Gumshoe had been prepared for the attack, shielded once more by the cloak. Professor Incendiary found himself stripped of his vision however.

“I may be an insolent brat,” the Gumshoe muttered, “but at least I’m not a condescending old fool.” The elder man stumbled about, the light of day denied from his peripherals. The Gumshoe easily sidestepped him and swept the ground with his foot, taking the professor’s feet out from under him.

Alston fell backwards and slipped in the foam. The Gumshoe quickly produced a retractable quarterstaff from the back of the belt, hammering it down quickly into the one-time hero’s jugular. As the former Vindicator fought for breath, the Gumshoe threw himself amidst the corpses that littered the halls of the dorms. Professor Incendiary fumbled about blindly; at one point his hand fell on the Gumshoe and he used the youth’s chest to push himself off the floor. Incendiary turned about, demanding of the infinite white before him that his opponent reveal himself.

The Gumshoe took his time and aimed it just right, jabbing the staff upward and connecting the butt of it to the base of Alston’s skull. The blow knocked the man unconscious, dropping him in a heap on the floor. The Gumshoe breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way to his feet, determined to continue his way towards his armor. Still, there was one more in his way.

“It’s not there,” the familiar voice said. The Gumshoe instantly recognized the voice of his shadow-cloaked guest. “Blitzkrieg had it moved to their new base…”

One-by-one they stepped out of the shadows. The Gumshoe came face-to-face with all five of them. There were so many things he wanted to say, so many things he wanted to ask but as he had told Detective Long, there was no time for exposition.

“The armor’s back where it was built,” Quinton Jorgenson said. “It’s right back at Patriot Robotics.”
To Be Continued... wrote:With just two chapters until the big reveal, Lex goes wild. It's Anomaly versus Rapunzel, Shiva, Beekeeper, Stockholm and Lodestone and believe me... he's going out with a bang.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 99

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:34 am

Chapter XCIX: Maneater
“Get up!” Anomaly screamed to Frostbite. “Ice pillar, NOW!”

Frostbite took Alexa Hawk in one arm and aimed his other at his feet. In moments he was thirty feet over the street and entirely out of Stockholm’s reach.

“She can just take you and use your strength to get them down here… painfully,” said Rapunzel. “It’s futile, Lex.”

Anomaly blocked her strike with his arm; tendrils of her long, golden hair coiled around his appendage and brought a grin to his face. Grabbing the hair with his other hand, Anomaly pulled at her and began to spin…

Rapunzel screamed as he tugged at her scalp. As prefect, he had been in charge of her growth and development as much as the teachers had. He knew how each of the students fought as surely as Caliber knew how he had developed in the two years the men had known each other. He knew what she was capable of. He knew how much she could endure. He knew she was at her limit—the speed of her attack had told him that much.

Hurling her aside she collided with Lodestone, toppling the possessed man to the ground. Before he could breathe easy he was rushed by Shiva. The wrestler ducked in time, letting the multi-armed youth sail over his back. While bent over, Anomaly dug his fingers into the asphalt and tore a chunk of the street up and easily hefted it over his head. He said nothing as he began to slowly approach the youth. “L—Lex!” Shiva pleaded. “It—it’s me! It’s Brian!”

“You said you saw Shannon die, Brian… Was that because you killed him?”

Brian Murphy, the Neo-Sapien known as Shiva, could form no words.

“How many!?” screamed Anomaly.

“I don’t-”

“HOW MANY STUDENTS DID YOU KILL!?!” Anomaly snarled.

“I lost count!” Shiva cried, lowering his head as he knelt in the street before the imposing figure.

With a scream, Anomaly brought that chunk of the road down and broke it across Brian’s back. It was enough of a demonstration for Chad Davidson—the New Vindicator known as Beekeeper took off, flying for anywhere but here.

Frostbite saw him move to flee and quickly juggled Alexa, allowing him to bring an early frost for the hive.

As the cold snap stole consciousness away from David he reverted back to his natural form and began to plummet towards the earth. Anomaly was aware of the youth’s descent. He was aware of how easy it would be for him to stop the fall. He was aware of everything… but there was a great difference between awareness and will. He wasted no energy in catching his former charge. He let Chad collide hard with the street. “He’ll survive,” he grumbled.

For a moment he was proud of Stockholm and the improvement she had made. In the three months that she had been at the school she seemed to have made great strides in her therapy with Doctor Jason Pickford. Now her mental duplicates had no desire to murder the original. Now they actually moved to defend her.

“I have no problems with going through him to get to you,” Anomaly said as Lodestone interposed himself between Anomaly and Stockholm. “The thing is… the more innocent people you hurt… the harder I’m going to hit. Are you really sure you want to add another to the toll?”

Lodestone didn’t back down and Anomaly had his answer. “How many did you kill?” Anomaly asked quietly as he stepped forward. The street lamp bent and groaned as Lodestone attempted to uproot it. “How much blood is on your hands, Aurora?”

“None,” Stockholm and Lodestone said in unison. “Yet.”

The lamp bent around Anomaly as it collided across his shoulders. He shuddered from the impact, but his stride was never shattered.

Lodestone raised his hands, moving to hurl the mailbox at Anomaly. That and the fire hydrant that came after it failed to dent his super dense flesh. He was within the young Loder’s reach now. Anomaly barely looked Lodestone’s way as he backhanded him, knocking him out and into the passenger-side window of a Buick parked along the street. “No more,” demanded Anomaly. “NO MORE!”

“I couldn’t agree with you more.”

Miss DiMera’s voice snapped him back to reality. He turned and locked eyes with the dark-haired vixen. “I can’t have you hurting any more of my students,” she said, taking in Rapunzel, Shiva and Beekeeper in turn. “You’ve been more than rough.”

“They’ve killed people,” Anomaly said. His senses warned him of Stockholm sneaking up behind him and quickly brought back his fist into her stomach. The girl doubled over, collapsing at his feet. “They’ve done horrible things.”

“Our leader needs them,” Pandora said, looking over the four fallen members. “Well, the leader needs one of them…”

“I’ll oppose you and your leader as long as-”

“How touching.” A fiendish grin appeared at the corners of Pandora’s mouth. “You could continue to argue with me… or you could hurry along…” Behind him, Deimos was making it to his feet, shaking off the effects of Stockholm’s attack. Copycat was getting to his feet as well. “I mean, right now, Tripper and her girlfriends are all walking into a trap.”

“You’re bluffing.”

“Michuru’s apartment.”

Anomaly’s eyes widened as he reached for his communicator. “I don’t think you’ll find that functioning right now…”

“Drew!” Anomaly called. “Can you feel Jacque and the others?”

Copycat closed his eyes, half afraid of what he would find in the ocean of darkness his powers lived in. “I’ve got her,” he said. “Change of plans?”

“Grab Lodestone and let’s move!”

Wings erupted from Deimos’ back, carrying him out of the building Rapunzel had hurled him through and helping him to follow as Frostbite and Copycat both surfed over the streets on separate paths of ice. Frostbite carried Alexa in his arms, still numbed from Beekeeper’s toxins. Copycat struggled with Lodestone as he navigated the way to the girls.
Anomaly ran along under them and soon Copycat was pointing ahead. “They’re in there!” he called, as if he needed to tell them. At the entrance to the loft waited Rumble, standing guard whilst the others ransacked the apartment for any means of getting a signal out of the city.

“Atlanta!” Anomaly exclaimed as he moved to hurry past her. “Is everything okay? Have you seen anything suspicious?”

Rumble narrowed her eyes on him and threw out an arm to bar him from entering. “First things first,” she said. “Do this.” Stretching both arms out to the side, she touched her nose with the left, then right, then left again.

“I don’t have time for this,” Anomaly growled, brushing past her to enter the building.

Rumble grabbed his wrist and shot him with a glare. “It’s a shame, sugah. How am Ah gunna know whether y’all are really Lex and not Chimera?”

Anomaly’s eyes widened—he hadn’t thought to test for one-armed shapeshifters. He performed the task quickly and pushed past her without waiting for her to admit her satisfaction at his identity.

“Jacque!?!” he called frantically as he barreled into the house.

“What’s goin’ on?” Rumble asked, following the other New Vindicators up the stairs and towards Michuru’s apartment. “Did y’all find the others?”

“We ran into Miss Di—we ran into Pandora,” said Frostbite glumly. He told himself that the woman was no longer their teacher; the moment she had showed herself as a member of the Affiliation she had forfeited all rights to his respect. “She said you were walking into a trap.”

Anomaly came through the room and found the other girls rummaging through the apartment, searching for anything that could have pierced the barrier around the city with a signal. “Lex?” Tripper asked at the sight of him. “What’s going on? Did you find-”

“Everyone out!” Anomaly barked. “Hurry!”

Copycat slipped through the room, enchanted by the scope of their former teacher’s apartment. “This place is huge!”

“Found it!” Hourglass called, lugging out a heavy, steel-plated case from the hero’s bedroom. “I love how every inch of his apartment is spotless but there are warzones more organized than his closet!”

As she swung the case up onto the table she caused the chess game in progress to topple to the floor and Anomaly’s eyes widened at the blinking light on the bottom of the case. He commanded his legs to move and hurried to stop the girl from opening the case.

“BOM-” An explosion of flames silenced the rest of Anomaly’s warning and the initial blast flung him through a cabinet that hid the Vindicator’s television set. A wall of flames met him and he had the sensation of being swept off of his feet and into the air.

The New Vindicators had walked into a trap…

The bomb the Affiliation had planted had detonated…

The only heroes capable of stopping the villains had been dealt with.
To Be Continued... wrote:The wait is over. Tomorrow the Affiliation's leader will reveal their true identity... and you won't believe who it is. Next up, the New Vindicators greatest enemy is born. As the fabric of the OUBLIETTE universe will be shaken, questions are answered and everything changes. It's all downhill from here, people. Kanpai.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 100

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:14 pm

Michuru81 wrote:Hi. So, here it is, as promised... NEW VINDICATORS: Radix Malorum Est Cupiditas, Part C... which would be the 100th chapter. The wait is over and the Affiliation's leader steps out of the shadows right here... right now...

The story will be on hiatus for a few days after this. Everything should continue soon with Chimera's exposition- answering all the lingering questions.

Anyway, enjoy... and thanks for sticking with us for this long.
Chapter C: Addicted to Love
In her own teen years, Natalie Styles had served as the Vindicator known as Halogen. The war between good and evil had stolen the best years of her life. She had been robbed of her childhood and… even when she was liberated from such an existence, she was never truly free. Her time as a Vindicator ruled over every relationship she ever had or attempted to have. Normal friendships were denied her. Normal boyfriends were but a dream. The reality was she had been largely affected by all she had seen and done.

When it came down to it perhaps that was why she had leapt at the chance to teach at a school for people like herself. She had been one of the first teachers to sign on with the New Vindicators Academy. She believed in its purpose; she believed with all her heart in helping young people to have a normal existence, despite the extra burden provided by their Neo-Sapien abilities. Some she knew may even go on to become the next generation of Vindicators—in a sense accepting the torch she passed.

Now, as she carefully stepped over those students’ bodies, she couldn’t stop weeping. Some she found on the front quad; they had made it outside of the school and were murdered with freedom so close… Others were slain at tables, their blood freely flowing over the pages they had died reading. Some died on the couch watching television, the screen splattered in crimson droplets. Some had died peacefully, still in their beds.

Some had died in the arms of their loves.

Some had died alone.

Others… Natalie knew she would never be able to forget the pained expressions she was met with.

Her resolve strengthened with each step she took. She had come looking to gather any she could in her battle with the Affiliation. Now it was no longer a battle—it was a war and she was intent to take no prisoners.
In the deepest depths of her soul though, guilt stirred. Despite the horror and the tragedy so apparent before her, her heart played host to such wild fantasies; she entertained the notion that when this nightmare was over, she would marry the man who shared her dream for these young people’s future.

Missus Natalie Bradshaw had a nice ring to it.

Still though, there was another who had dreamed of becoming Missus Bradshaw; her name was Breanne Jordan and she was a young woman who had also found her adolescence filled with life-or-death situations. Still, she had been blessed enough to experience those side-by-side with someone to shield her from the bitter reality.

She had been beside Michuru.

The deeper into the school she descended, the less light she found and less bodies she had to step over. Her eyes didn’t have to change to the sudden immersion into darkness—her powers allowed her to see in nearly any visibility. Still, the blackened hallways gave way to an eerie glow radiating from the communications room. Poking her head around the corner, she found the first of those she intended to recruit. Breanne Jordan would help her. Breanne was more than loyal to Michuru; she was infatuated with the man.

“Do you like what you see?” the Native American woman asked, never taking her eyes from the wall of monitors. She must have caught Halogen’s reflection therein.

“Breanne,” Halogen said, not sure if the woman’s strange behavior was from having survived such an onslaught. “Breanne… the students are dead.”

“I know,” Rift said casually. “All is going according to the plan.”
Halogen shook her head. She didn’t yet want to admit it—not so long as there was still room for doubt. “What—what are you saying?” she said, trying to laugh.

“Lazarus and Singe almost told Lex and Jacque about me. It’s a good thing Blitzkrieg got there when he did. I never should have doubted him. He’d do anything for me, you know?”

“You—you can’t be the other number two.”

“Why? Because I’m a girl? Because I’m young? Because I was a Vindicator? Or maybe because you don’t want to think of me as being the bad guy here.” Her chair swiveled around and the young woman narrowed her eyes on her competition. “Is it because you don’t think me competent enough to be?”

Her psychology rotation flooded into the doctor’s head. Her expertise was in veterinary medicine, but she knew enough to pick up on the young woman’s mental instability and she cursed herself for not seeing it sooner. “You killed them?”

“Oh, God no! I don’t think I’d have the stomach to kill anyone. No, I had the minions do it. Phil and Ken and Pandora. I couldn’t get Chimera involved considering that it’s up north taking out the Vindicators.”

“Atlas?”

“You were going to send an S.O.S. out to the Vindicators? Too bad… The Vendetta was scrambled north and went down into the arctic after a sudden EMP pulse went off. All seven of them—Crusader, Tick-tock, Phenomena, Blacksmith, Detective, Falkenburg and the Hound—are believed dead.”

“Michuru!” Halogen cried.

“He’s fine,” Rift said. “He never got off the ground. It would have put a dent in our plans if he bit it.”

“Breanne…” growled Halogen warningly.

“So let me guess… you came to fight, right? It seems so futile to me though. I mean, we have the numbers and the power. The Vindicators are down and… well, even if they weren’t, New York is shielded. They couldn’t get in. The Illuminati, Thugs Inc… none of them could even hope to get in here.”

“You… MURDERED… the students!”

Rift shrugged and turned back to the monitors. Halogen hurled a blast of white-hot light through the wall, showering the girl in glass and filling the room with smoke. Rift was unaffected by it all though—her Neo-Sapien power was the ability to disrupt her own electro-magnetic force, letting her become intangible and phase through solid matter or even other dimensions if she desired. It was a power she had utilized as the former Vindicator known as Rift.

Rift phased out the back of the chair and rolled across the floor and through Halogen. With a thought she was solid once more. “LOOK FOR YOURSELF YOU MISERABLE NOTHING!” Her hands planted firmly on the ground and her legs locked around Halogen’s head from behind. Breanne had studied to be a dancer in her younger years—she had evolved that talent into the martial arts of Capoeira.

Halogen was flung forward, he face planted against the few monitors she had not just destroyed. “Look at what’s left!” Rift hissed. “I told you! We eliminated the Vindicators and denied every other force access to New York City! What’s left to stop us!? What’s going to stand in our way!?”

“The New Vindicators-”

“The New Vindicators are dead! Get with it, Princess! Pandora and Doctor Splash confirmed it: Michuru’s little hovel of a love nest blew up real good with Anomaly and Tripper’s teams both inside.” Rift shifted and Halogen moved to attack; Breanne was too quick though—she grabbed Halogen by the neck and slammed her head against the screen again. “What did he ever see in you?” she asked as she brought her face mere inches from the other woman’s, glaring straight into her eyes.

“Maybe he simply saw someone with a heart close to his own. We didn’t see these kids as pawns in a war, Breanne… we saw them as the next generation of heroes… the people who would inherit our will… My light… Michuru’s fire...”

“His fire is going to burn for me now.”

“I know what you’re planning. I—I know why you took Adonis. It won’t work though. Adonis is one of us, Breanne. He won’t willingly serve you. He’ll never hurt Michuru.”

Rift began to cackle and Halogen’s eyes widened in surprise—just how far from reality had the woman slipped? “It’s ironic, given what you’re powers are… just how in the dark you can possibly be. You still don’t get it, do you, Halogen? Adonis is… one of the new generation, right? Your precious heir—oh, how did you put it? ‘The one who will inherit the will of light’?”

“I always thought she was a little slow,” came Adonis’ voice just then from the threshold. Halogen’s eyes craned in her skull to find the leader of the Affiliation and widened even more at the sight of the Cheshire smile on his face than at the sensation of Rift’s hand intangibly piercing through her chest.

More than the sudden cardiac jolt Doctor Natalie Styles received, Adonis’ words are possibly what truly killed her. “Get it through your head, Doctor Styles:

“I am the villain of this story.”
To Be Continued... wrote:September 8, 2001
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Manintights » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:24 am

Adonis,

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

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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Post by smashed247 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:11 pm

Oh Good Lord! :shock:

Okay, now that; I did not see comig!

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Post by Flashpoint » Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:40 pm

My brain...it explodes...

That was amazing, Michuru! All 100 bits of it, amazing, I loved it! You have inspired me for my story hour thread for Hero Academy!, I want you to know. I'm going to try and present them in a more story-like format then I'm currently doing with Night Shift, and it was all inspired from your INCREDIBLE treatment of your games.

I didnt manage to get them all read before you posted this most recent one, but Ive just finished and I Have to say, I am a huge fan. I want more, curse you! Its so depressing, and yet, so addicting :P
-Flashpoint-

Please, check out what I'm working on at:
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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:06 pm

First off, an enormous thank you to everyone for... well, for first of all reading, and second for your gracious words. Really, I've been soaring all weekend. I'll try and not to let it inflate my ego. Promise.

Still, Flashpoint, I've enjoyed the style the Night Shift is written in. As some here are aware, New Vindicators is one game played in the same campaign setting. I GMed the first year of Illuminati before handing it off to Lodestone's player (I'm now a player under him... pray for me, that he is able to overlook all I put Magnus through...) and the players have been urging me to post the narrative of all the Illuminati went through.

I've been uneasy about doing so, given that at present I'm balancing work, attempting to edit my first novel, GM Vindicators and New Vindicators, write the narrative, beat Portal's player down in Heroclix AND maintain some presence in Final Fantasy XI... My point is... I've been considering attempting to bring Illuminati here in the style of the Night Shift- though from the first-person perspective of the Apprentice (Fathom's player in NV).

For the curious, the Illuminati are a group devoted to "protecting mankind from that which goes bump". Mentioned in New Vindicators #6, they keep dangerous Hyperborean artifacts and the like from the hands of the foolish and battle such beasties as Popo Bawa, the Jersey Devil, tulpa, Black Eyed Children, shadow people, Norse gods, and the like. Their first big villain? Ahasuerus, the Wandering Jew. Right now they're just finishing up against Roger Bacon. It's oodles of fun.

The group consists of Coup Field, the Apprentice to the Aurelius; Doctor John O'Riley (mentioned in New Vindicators #8 as being the man who raised Deimos), William Benson (an archeologist and member of the Thule Society), and Tick-tock (Chronus Aeon, former Vindicator from the 1950s long believed dead). For the last few adventures they have been joined by the Wanderer (one-eyed shapeshifter) and will be joined by my PC soon enough (Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger- a tulpa created from the mind of Charles Dickens whilst he penned Oliver Twist) and... the fun ensues.
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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:38 pm

Michuru81 wrote:I know, I know, I said I was going to take a break for a few days. I had intended to play catch up in my character thread (at the very least I can post Adonis tonight) before picking this up again but... I couldn't resist. Here's the beginning of the end. Enjoy!
NEW VINDICATORS #12: In the End, Part II

Wisps of light slithered into the room as the door opened ever so slowly. For Doctor James Howell, the reformed villain better known to the world as Silverback, it was an easy thing to adjust to the banishment of darkness. For hours he and his companion had been kept in this room, shackled away in the lower levels of the Lighthouse- the building that stood as part of the American campus of the New Vindicators Academy.

For his companion, the sudden breach of light pierced his retinas and Michuru Bradshaw was forced to shield his eyes to take in the silhouette that appeared there in the threshold of white radiance. “Who’s there?” he demanded of the shadows, his voice hoarse from screaming for help.

“It’s me, Michuru,” came the voice of Richard Jorgenson, taking in the defeated teammate. Michuru and Silverback both were covered in the flame retardant foam the building was equipped with. Unfortunately, they lived in a world with no simple solutions to powers. It was no easy thing to merely turn off a Neo-Sapien’s abilities. Alcatraz Island had become exceptionally creative with some of its inmates.

Michael Conner was more infamous by the moniker of the Shadow. Amongst the battery of abilities he possessed was a trait he dubbed “shadow walking”. With it, he could enter one shadow and exit another. As such, his room provided three-hundred and sixty degrees of light at all times; what furnishings he was provided were made of hard, transparent plastic- so as not to cast a shadow. In the years since his initial incarceration he had learned to sleep with a beauty mask, so as to shut out the light.

Of course, he had escaped from that rock nearly six months ago- the Vindicators had no inkling of where he might now be. Still, his jailing had been a testimony to the creativity of power containment. The Affiliation knew their enemies well- they knew Michuru’s powers. If he became angry, he would explode with flames that would rage out of his control. Only the New Vindicators Academy of America and his apartment were equipped to negate such aspects of his power template. “It’s me… it’s… it’s Sylvia.”

Today Michuru had learned that he had been a fool to trust the Chimera. He had learned that his old friend had been lying to him for months. He was not willing to believe anything more that escaped those lips. “Let us out of here you psychopath!” the caged man snarled. “You sick, demented… HOW!? How could you pose as Atlas!?”

James Howell had an analytical mind and as such he had spent the last several hours of their incarceration musing over their quandary. He had a rationale plan. He knew what needed to be garnished from their enemy; he had pontificated over the steps he should take to reach those keys. “It was a cunning trap,” the gorilla-like man intoned. “I predict it was just the first step- getting the Vindicators out of the city. Unless I miss my guest, New York has come under attack?”

Chimera nodded. “The Affiliation has New York City contained. The Church of Genetic Purity has reacted and declared ochlocracy- mob rule. They are hunting down any Neo-Sapien they can find. As such, every Neo-Sapien in the city has rallied under the Affiliation’s banner. A war is being waged through out the city and… the New Vindicators have become the first casualty.”

“LIES!” snarled Michuru, lunging for Chimera. His bare hands closed around the being’s throat and his momentum threw the being to the cold, steel floor. Chimera choked and wheezed, fighting to breath as Michuru attempted to crush the creature’s windpipe.

“It was Pandora!” Chimera barked. “She set a bomb at your apartment- knowing some of the students would attempt to use it as a safe house when they realized the Affiliation held the school!”

“Mister Bradshaw!” exclaimed Silverback. “Sir! Please, remove yourself from our jailer and calm yourself… lest we lose what connection we have to the outside!”

Michuru kept one hand on the creature’s throat, holding it down as he hammered his fist into Chimera’s face. Barely satisfied he climbed off the being and began to pace their cell. “You sick, twisted son of… they can’t be dead.”

“Lodestone was spared from the explosion,” Chimera said, feeling at its throat as it climbed to its feet. “We’ve received word from Blitzkrieg’s faction… he has successfully abducted Magnus Loder and Chienne Bedford.”

Michuru froze and turned back to Chimera, unsure what those two had to do with anything. “What?”

“It was… it was Adonis’ order. Adonis was the leader of the Affiliation. He demanded-”

“ENOUGH OF YOUR LIES!”

Chimera’s voiced raised to climb over Michuru’s outbursts. “-that we bring him those two!”

“Adonis would never-”

“It’s been building for too long, Michuru. We were all fools to have not seen it coming.”

“So… I’m expected to believe that this all goes back to the deaths of the Skraags?”

“Actually… this all goes back much farther than you can imagine, Michuru. It goes back to before the Ragnarok. It goes back to Tabac Blond, Barbara Harris, Rosa Freeman… my husband had a penchant for sleeping around. I forgave him his tryst with Tabac Blond- with Quinton’s mother… but it didn’t stop there.

“It was the February before the Ragnarok- nearly six months prior when it all began. I- I found out that Richard had fathered a child with a human woman… Barbara Harris. They- they had a daughter, Michuru. Her name is Saffron- she- she’s friends with Jacquelyn. Sometimes I saw her at the school. She inherited Richard’s powers and, well, Coriolis recruited her to our side. The ability to morph wasn’t all she took from Richard. She’s insane- as unhinged as he ever was. When I found out about her… I- I was beside myself. I didn’t know what to do. He- he told me I had accepted Quinton, I should try to accept this too. I tried, I really did. I told myself that it had happened in the past and he had changed but he hadn’t.

“Onyx… he was having an affair with Onyx, Michuru- with Rosa Freeman. When I found out, I- I saw a lawyer and I began divorce proceedings. I told him I was going to fight for custody of Quinton- my blood or not, I had raised him as my son. That’s what I consider him to be.

“Richard wouldn’t have it. He wouldn’t have his image tarnished. You should know better than most the hell of it all, Michuru… The Vindicators VII were elevated to a status unheard of in the history of Vindicators. We were hounded by the media everywhere we went. Poor Breanne was denied her adolescence because of the vultures. It was different for Richard and me. The media was not quick to forget that we had been on the opposite side of the law decades before. We truly had reformed and the tide was only just beginning to change for us; the media was beginning to see us for who we were and Richard… Richard couldn’t stomach the thought of his reputation being tarnished by our inevitably messy and equally public divorce.

“It was about that time that we fought Atlas. He- he was pulling the moon closer to the earth and then flinging it far away… I remember how taxed you and Brian were, using your powers to save Japan from those tsunamis. Brian and Richard left to find him in the mountains and… well, Richard told us he had defeated Atlas. He lied to us though… he hadn’t defeated Atlas… he had killed him.”

Silverback raised an eyebrow as Michuru uttered a very coarse, “What?”

“Richard was a Meinstein- the grandson of Uncle Sam. He shared a few strands of DNA with Atlas’ father- another branch of the Meinstein family tree. Richard’s powers are a lot more unstable than we initially assumed. If things were different, Doctor Howell, I would have liked for you to have studied the DNA of this shell I reside in. However… Richard’s power is not to morph but to rewrite his own genetic code- allowing him to become anyone he has ever touched. We always assumed that he couldn’t access another Neo-Sapien’s abilities… but he had never touched another Meinstein.

“Daniel and David both possess or possessed an ability to channel electricity and Magnus can manipulate magnetism. Those of the Meinstein family tree have a dormant manipulation over energy. Granted, Uncle Sam and the Fuhrer never demonstrated such a talent but… we have to assume that the ability was always there- dormant. Atlas was one who had unlocked that ability- thanks largely in part to his mother- the same woman who had given birth to Quinton.

“I don’t understand,” intoned Doctor Howell. “You mean to tell me that… Quinton and Atlas- while both from branches of the Meinstein family tree also share a mother?”

“Many Meinsteins do,” explained Chimera. “Tabac Blond is better known as Miss Multiple. Her ability is a perplexing one… she can create a perplexing number of duplicates... but she is incapable of reabsorbing them. Additionally, each duplicate has its own powers and abilities- apparently manifested at random. More so, some of her duplicates create a personality separate from the original. They invent a history and possibly a new name… They go out into the world and live a normal life- sometimes unaware of who they really are and where they really came from. Noah Meinstein married a duplicate of this woman, as did Jacob Loder and Archie O’Connor.”

“Oh, my giddy aunt…”

“Quinton, Blitzkrieg, Portal, Lodestone, Atlas… their all cousins and yet- half-brothers… who knows how many other siblings they may have in this world? My point though is… when Richard touched Atlas… he unlocked his own ability to manipulate energy. He manifested the same powers Atlas possesses. And then… he killed Atlas.”

Silverback’s eyes widened, realizing the problem with the coordination of events. Chimera- Richard Jorgenson killed Atlas… months prior to the Ragnarok?”

Michuru’s eyes blazed with a wrath Chimera had seen only one other time. “Then who killed Bridget? Who did I fight five years ago?”

Chimera took a deep breath… and admitted the horrible truth it had been hiding for years.

“I did.”
Next Up! wrote:Would you believe... the Ragnarok?
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Post by smashed247 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:41 pm

That revelation, while gross and interesting, seems slightly less dramatic than the revelation of Adonis as the Affiliation's leader.

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Post by Michuru81 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:19 pm

smashed247 wrote:That revelation, while gross and interesting, seems slightly less dramatic than the revelation of Adonis as the Affiliation's leader.
Yeah... as we head into New Vindicators #24- I find myself comparing just about every story element to Adonis' big reveal. Often I keep myself from using certain hooks as... I'm just replaying the past. I don't want to do another Adonis. I don't want another mystery of "who could it be!?"

Mostly, I'm interested in telling a captivating story with believable characters.

In New Vindicators, there have been mooks galore... but when it comes to major villains I draw the line at Adonis, Chimera, and the Wisent. Adonis is the one that hurts the most as... people trusted him. They believed in him, maybe even felt sorry for him. Adonis was well-liked and then he betrays it all by acting according to his character.

I think the reason this comes as no shock is because... we all almost expect this from Chimera. From the beginning, Chimera had kind of been outted as a bad person. There's little done to hide what Chimera has been doing- you know Chimera is a villain... you just don't know to what extent. As such... you're braced for the impact. What redeems Chimera as a story-element is that it actually believes itself to be a hero. Chimera sees problems and sees ways to fix them- and couldn't care less what (or who) is sacrificed for the better good. I think that makes Chimera a lot more dangerous than Adonis in that... Adonis has a clear motive. We can predict how he'll attack and what he'll go for. Chimera... Chimera is a wild card.

The Wisent (New Vindicators #16-23) was meant to be the antithesis of Adonis. While it's not established early on IC what the Wisent's intent is, the players were very much aware of the villain (as they were allowed to RP the Wisent's minions). The Wisent's presence has already been felt in New Vindicators- Bret Morris, Bogart, the Reptile and the thugs Anomaly and Lodestone beat up in New Vindicators #8 are all loyal lackies of this crime boss. I hope you look forward to meeting him in the adventures to come.

Still, the new big bad the New Vindicators will be tangling with in New Vindicators #24-30 is scrutinied too- held up to the standards I believe Adonis sets. Mister Skraag put the bar high... thankfully, I'm able to recognize that I don't need to outdo him. On some level I hope I don't. I don't want to immitate Adonis' mind boggling revelations... I just hope to entertain, I guess.
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Post by Michuru81 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:20 pm

Richard and Silvia- the Jorgenson were piloting the Vendetta over Asia. Since the Lockheed SR-71 had been retired in 1999, the Vindicators VII had been outfitted with several “spares”. Even in the wake of their decommissioning, the Blackbird was the fastest thing in the sky.

Of course, the original Blackbirds allowed for a crew of two so the Vendettas had been converted slightly to allow transportation of the entire team and more. Behind the heroes known as Chimera and Xianbei were their five teammates. Onyx, also known as Rosa Freeman, was a natural athlete and a woman proud of her African-American heritage. She held the reigns of leadership, though she did so reluctantly. The truth was the woman not only doubted her ability to lead, she doubted her reason on this earth. Her teammates weren’t aware how truly hard her breakup with reporter Scott Stone had been; none of them suspected that the woman had attempted to kill herself as a means of releasing herself from the pain. Still, they each looked up to her; she was an inspiration to each of them in her own way.

As she was capable of transforming her flesh into rock-hard gemstone, Rift was able to distort her own electromagnetic force. Born Breanne Jordan, she had grown up in Polson, Montana- part of the Flathead Indians that had long occupied the area there. Her powers allowed her to become intangible and walk on solid air if she willed it. If she pushed she could utilize her powers to cross dimensional rifts. She had only used it to escape into the Astral Plane- to better spy on their enemies –though it was widely purported that as she grew stronger she may be able to cross into alternate timelines- presuming the Infinite Earths theory correct. Some event wondered if Rift would be able to freely traverse through the realms of Heaven and Hell.

She sat next to Brian Hart, codenamed Siphon. Brian was twenty-two-years-old, making him six years Rift’s elder. The young man had studied for medical school, intent to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a surgeon. Life had changed those plans though and he had found himself drafted into this incarnation of the Vindicators. His talent was to drain other Neo-Sapiens of their powers, letting him use what was sapped himself. Mostly, he used such a gift to suck the energy from the last two members of their band- his twin sister… and her boyfriend.

Bridget Hart was two years older than the man whose hand she held. “Yes,” he said, lifting his voice to allow Xianbei to hear the response to her question, “for the thousandth time I am sure we can trust Jon!”

“It just doesn’t fit,” the Chinese woman grumbled. “Exactly what was Lieutenant Sidell doing in the Himalayas?”

“He mentioned something about testing new breathing apparatuses for the military,” Michuru intoned. “The Himalayas are the highest mountain rage.”

“That doesn’t explain how he just happened to stumble upon Atlas’ base though.” Outside the ship was the darkness of night; it had likely been like that for a week now. The tyrant known as Atlas had used his powers to suspend the earth in her rotation- imprisoning one half of the world in perpetual day and dooming the other side to eternal night. He had claimed that a woman in a green dress had begun to tell him a new ice age needed to come about and he was willing to comply as best he could. If one side of the earth never saw the sun again- it was bound to freeze over.

Those who were caught in the darkness had begun migrating enmasse, herding into America and Canada. The nations were struggling against the population boom and riots were ensuing across the country, demanding the borders closed. Those unfortunate to be trapped in their homeland had begun to act similarly. Chaos had erupted across the globe and the Vindicators had lost sleep trying to pinpoint Atlas’ location. Finally, the call came through from Jon Sidell- an ally of the Vindicators within the military and a man Michuru considered a friend. “It just doesn’t make sense,” Xianbei argued. “It’s too convenient. It feels as if we’re walking into a trap.”

“Welche wahl haben wir?” her husband interjected as he began to descend. The Vendetta allowed for the heroes to cruise along at an altitude of nearly eighty-thousand feet. He brought the plane down as close to the coordinates would permit them. From there it was up to Xianbei’s teleportation to get them to the entrance of Atlas’ cavern.

In minutes, the collected heroes were skulking underground- each one nervously anticipating the moment they came across the madman.

Only the reverberation of their footfalls echoing back to them broke the silence as their procession slipped through the cavern. In their off time, Onyx had drilled them on team formations- proclaimed by hand signals if they needed to move quietly. With her hand she commanded them into Formation G; it consisted of Onyx leading the way in her armored form, followed by Xianbei- ready with the spears she carried crossed on her back. If the enemy appeared the fighters could react quickly enough, buying time for the others to get into position.

Rift’s job was distortion and as such she took position behind the women. Behind her moved Siphon; from the line’s middle he could react to either a frontal or rear assault. As the most versatile of their band, his role was a crucial one. Michuru and Bio walked hand-in-hand, close enough to Siphon should he require their fantastic abilities. In rear was their sharpest- Chimera was a trained spy… his eyes missed little.

“Move!” Onyx bellowed at the sudden sound of rumbling. Her eyes scanned the ceiling, cloaked in the wrappings of shadows suspended over them. From within the darkness fell speleothem- stalactites rained down for them. In her armored form, Rosa would have been able to resist the otherwise deadly impact. Rift had already phased through the floor to avoid injury and had stolen Michuru away with her. The two vanished through the floor, Michuru reaching for Bio. Siphon as well reached for his sister, only to watch as she staggered backwards, tumbling into a chasm that opened behind her.

Chimera remained calm in the eye of the storm. A mild earthquake shook through the mountain labyrinth, slowly separating the heroes In no time, Xianbei acted exactly as her husband expected she would; she teleported to his side and again to an area she prayed would be safe.

“Are you all right?” he asked, the two alone in a small cavity deep within the crag’s belly.

“I’ll be fine… just let me rest and I can teleport us out… get us to safety.”

Chimera’s hand flourished and one of the small daggers he kept hidden across his body danced between his fingertips. It was a habit she was used to- when Richard Jorgenson was bored, he played with his knives. She lowered her head, trying to steady her heart rate and praying that their teammates were all alive and unharmed.

Suddenly Chimera’s daggers dug into her shoulder and Xianbei’s scream rebounded from the walls of the small chamber. As she threw herself back, her husband wretched his knife free and lunged for her. His familiar touch pinned her by the throat and his strength pushed her back against the wall. Again and again he stabbed her in the chest, tearing the knife free with each thrust, practically digging into her body with each flick of the wrist. She screamed in horror as the love of her life stabbed her four more times before she finally moved.

Xianbei’s fingers clumsily flexed around her spear. With a savage cry she buried the head deep into her lover’s elbow. The force of her thrust had dislocated the arm from the socket there; all it had taken was her backswing to cleanly severe the appendage- showering the room in Richard’s blood.

Chimera staggered then, holding his left hand to the amputated arm. He fell to a knee, but he never made more than a grunt. “You- you had more fight in you than I expected, Silvia.”

“What are you doing?” she asked, trembling as she debated whether she would have to go further to stop the only man she had ever loved. “Please, Richard… let’s stop this. Bridge can heal you- let me get us out of here-”

“You’re not going anywhere!” he snarled.

“Are you insane? If we don’t stop Atlas now, he’ll-”

“You idiot! I AM ATLAS!”

The Chinese woman shook her head. “I killed him months ago… I strangled him with my own two hands. It was incredible… making contact with him did something to me. It woke up a dormant power, Silvia. I control energy… magnetism, gravity… electricity of earth even!”

“You’re not Atlas. You- you’re my Richard!”

“I disguised my voice as John Sidell’s and convinced Michuru to bring us here. He’s so naïve and trusting... he wouldn’t question a trap from an ally. From there, I just had to separate us… I had to get you alone. I had to get you away from the others! Now… now they won’t question it when I tell them how you died… bravely fighting Atlas…

“Aren’t you proud? I thought of it all myself. I- I’m such a genius. I- I-” Richard’s voice trailed off as he found himself looking at himself… tears forming in his eyes. Suddenly, he realized what had happened. “No!” he screamed. “No! No!”

Chimera knelt down beside Xianbei’s body and continued to cry as it dragged the blade across the woman’s throat. Richard’s screams faded into gurgling as he began to choke on his own blood. Chimera never took its eyes off its spouse. For moments that felt like an eternity… Silvia Jorgenson watched her body die… her husband’s psyche trapped in her frame.

Chimera turned… and came face-to-face with Rift.

“Breanne!” Chimera exclaimed at the sight of the young girl’s wide-eyed expression. “It- it’s not what you think!”

“You killed- you-”

“Richard was going to-”

“You killed your husband.”

It was Chimera’s turn to be surprised. As she wondered over the how, the answer came to her. Her powers had accidentally triggered once before, switching her with Breanne for a day. Breanne’s powers left her already sensitive to the strange things humanity couldn’t explain- perhaps she was attuned to Xianbei’s psyche shift. “Breanne, you- you have to believe me I-”

“It’s okay,” Rift said. “I won’t tell the others.”

The phantom pain reminded Silvia of the mortal injury she had inflicted on her husband’s body. She would not have thought it possible for her emotions to cloud her from such traumatic pain… but truth of Richard’s motives had blinded her to it. “Breanne, you- you have to help me! I need Bridget! You have to get me out of here!”

Touching her shoulder gently, Rift phased the pair of them upwards and into a larger chamber. There, Breanne left her. “I need to find Bridget!” Chimera exclaimed.

“And I need to find Michuru!” Rift returned. “I left him to find you- hoping you could ‘port us out but… I guess that’s out of the question now.”

Chimera collapsed to the floor- the strain of its injuries taxed the psyche and it began to lose control of its husband’s powers. It began to cycle through the catalogued personas Chimera was capable of morphing into. As Onyx’s face became Quinton Jorgenson’s, Rift hurried off for the nearest wall. “You can’t leave me here!” screamed Chimera. “No!”

Chimera’s cry carried through the twisting tunnels, falling on the ears of the nearest Vindicator- Michuru. He spun around at the sound of an unfamiliar voice- it didn’t sound like any of his teammates. Had he found Atlas? A warm hand grabbed his and the swordsman spun around, drawing his katana on the one who had surprised him.

Bio didn’t flinch; she knew Michuru- she knew he was incapable of ever causing her harm, accidental or otherwise. Still, his heart raced as he realized whom he had nearly struck down. “I love you too,” she said cheerily. Gently she brushed his blade aside, leaning forward on the tips of her toes to kiss his chin.

“Did you hear that scream?”

“S’not important.”

“Bridge…” The swordsman placed himself between her and the direction from where the scream had come. “Atlas may be near.”

“I felt you.”

“What?”

“I felt you,” she reiterated.

“What are you talking-”

“I fell and… and my powers healed me. I regained consciousness and there was nothing broken… a lot of blood where I had fell. I was afraid but… but I felt this thing in my head. You know that feeling like when you know you’re being watched?”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying. We need to be ready though. Atlas is near!”

“I kept following that feeling and… and I walked right to you.” Michuru froze and slowly turned to face the woman. She was calmly regarding him with a knowing smile and he suddenly found himself wanting to forget all about Atlas and the immediate danger the Vindicators were in and kiss that smirk away. “I love you.”

Underground and deep in the Himalayas, a warmth rippled through him. His fingers slipped around hers and he smiled back his response.

He never returned those words. They were the first time she had said them- the first time she hadn’t been playful or teasing or sarcastic… but had said them and meant them and the only response he could manage was a smile.

Together they slipped off towards the sound of the voice. The further they climbed, the louder the tragic screams became. They entered the chamber and were relieved to find Onyx and Siphon emerge from a parallel corridor. Still, ahead of them lay another familiar figure, reaching out towards Bio.

“Bridget…” Her name escaped Atlas’ lips like a curse and in that instant… in that one single, fleeting moment where Chimera struggled to reign in its husband’s powers- the energy manipulation surged and a second collapse occurred.

A stalactite shattered through the air and Michuru’s heart was sundered as Bio’s fingers slipped from his hands. The young swordsman was sprayed in her blood as the young woman was impaled; the rock tore through her neck and out her stomach, cleaving her spine in the process. Her twin brother screamed and was grabbed by the titan beside him.

Chimera watched as the last slivers of hope abandoned it… and was replaced by a despair greater than any the amalgamated being could fathom.

When Michuru was tranquil, he could command water to move as he willed it. He had spent so many years fighting to reign in his emotions- struggling to maintain that one, solitary emotion. More often than not, the last few months he had mostly been able to control the air around him; it was an ability he only possessed so long as he was overcome with joy and Bridget brought him to that place.

If he was saddened he controlled the earth at his feet. If enraged, he surged with power and manipulated flames in a very chaotic manner. At that moment, when he watched Bridget Hart die… he stopped feeling calm or happy. He didn’t feel hurt. He didn’t feel angry. Inside… he died with her. He felt nothing. He was a hollow husk of a man.

He had become lost to the void.

Michuru turned… his eyes bleeding energy from them. The glowing white force trailed behind him, dissipating into the air and thickening it as it did. It seemed to stir the atmosphere around him, his hair was caught in the stale wind that blew around him. Slowly he levitated off the ground and the air began to harden around him.

Michuru opened his mouth and let his maw hang open; those present could see into him… and into the shell he had become. His body appeared to be an endless well for that energy. “הנּפלים,” came the unearthly choir of voices from within him. “בני האלהים.”

Michuru was surrounded in an armor constructed of that strange energy. It crackled like fire and yet… it was heatless and failed to consume and burn. The armor grew and grew, taking on the shape of a great humanoid beast that shook the cave with an unearthly howl. The being stood upright and it’s head brushed the canopy high over them all.

Instantly, Onyx knew they could no longer remain by Michuru’s side. Fearing their survival, she hurried out of the caves- the sounds of the beast beginning battle with Atlas followed them and gave them more cause to hurry. They met Rift, providing her the exposition as they ran. They told her of Bio’s death and of Michuru’s insanity. She told them of Xianbei’s body, found amongst the caverns. She told them of Chimera’s missing arm.

The trio of Vindicators broke the surface and hurried for the Vendetta. They were partway there when the mountain they had emerged from collapsed upon itself.

They never saw the white hellfire beast again.
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Post by Manintights » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:54 pm

white hellfire, now that I did expect.
"As my father taught, 'Training will raise your shield to the blow, but courage fills the gaps the shield leaves open.'"

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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Post by Michuru81 » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:45 am

“I was laying there dying, Michuru… I was looking up at the only man I have ever loved… the only man I’ve ever kissed… the only man I ever made love to… and he was to be the only man I ever died to? I loved Richard with all my heart Michuru and… and I realize now just how fortunate you are.” Michuru’s face showed his apparent confusion. “You don’t know how much it hurts to be in love with someone who doesn’t love you… who feels nothing for you.”

“You don’t know that he didn’t-”

“Don’t I!? Richard was cheating on me, Michuru! At the threat of losing me his concern was his reputation! He tried to kill me! He tried to KILL me! If he felt anything towards me- anything at all! –things would never have turned out like this, Michuru. No… if he felt anything towards me…”

Chimera paused and Michuru hungs his head in solemn respect for its feelings. Still, these were feelings the soul once known as Silvia Lee had fought to leave behind her over five years ago. Its emotions steeled and its heart hardened, it managed to compose itself quickly before continuing with its exposition.

“As he gloated over me, telling me how genius his plot had been, I realized that he cared nothing for me… and I didn’t hesitate in switching bodies with him in that instant. I watched him die, just slivers of time later. His eyes widened in horror when he realized what I had done and they just… they stayed like that.

“That was when I saw Breanne.”

Michuru blinked and an awkward pause fell on the room. “Wait, what? Breanne… Breanne found you?”

“She had seen everything, Michuru. She had seen the fight… Richard’s confession… she knew everything. She and I had switched once before. You remember? Your eighteenth birthday?”

“I remember.”

“She knew better than the rest what the full extent of what my powers were. She knew what had happened and… and I panicked. I felt guilty for what I had done- trapping my husband in my body just seconds before it died. I was afraid of what would happen to me and I…

“Richard was missing an arm. I had cut it off. I felt so… so woozy. How he had managed to stand there and gloat just moments after he had lost an appendage only hinted at the insanity in the depths of his psyche. I knew who I needed. I knew who could help me.”

Michuru’s head dropped and his tears became fading dark droplets on the concrete floor beneath him.

“I sought out Bridget.”

“No.”

“You had found her first.”

“I don’t want to hear it.”

“Pain was clouding me.”

“Stop.”

“I could barely think straight but I knew…”

“Please… just stop…”

“…I didn’t have control over Richard’s powers yet and… I reached out and found Atlas.”

“I said I don’t want to hear this.”

“Richard’s morphing powers kicked in, along with Atlas’ abilities-”

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“I never meant to kill her, Michuru but I did.”

“Shut up!”

“I know… that I am responsible. Nothing can undo what I did. I took the lives of two people… two people I loved so much, Michuru. I- I thought you deserved to know the truth.”

A chain appeared from under Michuru’s shirt- the weight of the single ring suspended from its metallic links brought it swinging down, back and forth, suspended over his teardrops.

“It didn’t end there though… Michuru… you and I fought. I know you don’t remember what happened but… fighting you was more terrifying than fighting my husband. Your strength… your true power… it was more than maddening, Michuru. When I fell unconscious, Chimera’s powers turned off. He reverted to his natural form. You pulled me from the mountain you brought down on top of us… and none suspected anything. They simply believed you had pulled a survivor from the debris. When I woke up, I found that Rift had said nothing and you had no memory of what had happened.

“Rift though… Rift knew. Rift knew and she began to blackmail me.”

“Wh-what?”

“Breanne began to blackmail me. The world would know that I was Atlas and that I had killed my husband and Bridget unless I agreed to serve her. Granted, it was years before she made her move- five years before I finally learned why she had kept silent that fateful day. She convinced me to join on with the New Vindicators Academy. We were going to form an affiliation… we were going to go after you.”

“M-me? What does any of this have to do with me?”

“Richard was right- you truly are naïve. Michuru… Breanne’s crush is more than a crush. The girl is more than infatuated with you. Rift is obsessed with you and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to have you.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Exactly. She’s unstable, Michuru. She’s rallied all of these people together… she created the Affiliation and then turned it over to a mere child! The one she believes can truly deliver what she wants more than anything else in this life. I… I tried to stop her. I attacked Patriot Robotics, posing as Atlas. I attempted to steal the Portal 000 and the Portal 001. One nullifies and the other has electrical-based powers. Either could be used to harm Rift.” Michuru’s mind wrapped around that. It was true that even in her insubstantial state she was still vulnerable to electrical attacks. It was the only way of hurting her. “I intended to take her down from the beginning but… I failed. I needed to stay by her side. I needed her to trust me if I was ever to have another opportunity to end this madness before it began.

“That’s when Black Widow told Avian about the Affiliation. The girls became close friends- both victims of their own powers, given their lives back only by the Morph Buckle.

“My son truly is a genius…”

“Avian wouldn’t join… she was too dedicated to the New Vindicators.” Michuru shook his head. “She went to an advisor and told… who?”

“Professor Incendiary was in on the whole thing. He told Rift and she had me keep the caged bird from singing. Yes. Another’s blood on my hands.”

“And then Psion… and Kelvin…”

“Kelvin was not mine. It was- it was the night you and Natalie had your first date. Rift was upset and she- she slipped into your room, had stolen your sword… She went looking for Adonis and found him attempting to enchant Atlanta. He- he was trying to use Rumble as a tool for murder. Her powers wouldn’t let her kill Kelvin however so Rift thrust the sword through him. When she let go, it became tangible and… and he died.

“I did not kill Kelvin… but I did murder Psion. I tried to make it look like Deimos. We had orders to use him as our scapegoat. He was so willing to establish a sordid reputation for himself as it was… we believed few would suspect any different.”

“Atlanta saved him though. I tried to recruit Lodestone to my private war against her. Rift’s power is to generate magnetic repulsion within her body to become ephemeral, letting her pass through solid objects, walk on thin air, utilize her magnetic distortion to scramble electronic systems, and extend her intangibility to anything she touches. Magnetic repulsion! I thought Lodestone could help me prevent all of this but… he’s an arrogant fool, Michuru. He’s nothing like his father… His father! The Loders are going to be murdered, Michuru. Adonis didn’t act earlier because he knew they would come to see Magnus graduate high school. He had amended the plan to include them too. He has them prisoner and… and they’re going to be killed, right in front of Magnus’ eyes.

“Adonis wanted Lodestone dead so badly… he wanted him to suffer. As Breanne is obsessed with you, so is Adonis with Chienne Bedford. The moment Lodestone attracted her he was condemned to death within the order of the Affiliation. Adonis is… he’s more intelligent than we ever gave him credit. Too intelligent- Michuru… he has no intention of keeping the promise Blitzkrieg and Rift made on his behalf. You’re not being given to Rift as a trophy… he’s going to make you-”

“It seems my lackey’s loyalty needs a little reinforcement.” Chimera’s eyes widened in horror at the sound of Adonis’ voice. It turned around and made the dangerous mistake of laying eyes on his unearthly beauty. “Sylvia…” Adonis beckons. “Sylvia… what were you planning to do here?”

“I was going to free them. If I could get Michuru outside of the school…”

“I can’t have that happening,” Adonis said smugly. “You- you want what’s best for me, don’t you?”

“Oh, yes,” Chimera breathes.

“Good.” The young man turned and slipped back through the door- back into the light. “Sylvia?” he called back over his shoulder. “Be a good girl and kill Doctor Howell for me.”
Next Up! wrote:Magnus Loder, Chienne Bedford and Jack Olsen must work together to escape Patriot Robotics.
OUBLIETTE - NVAE: IC | OOC

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