NEW VINDICATORS (Books I - XIII)

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
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Michuru81
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Post by Michuru81 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:22 am

Chapter VI: Fields of Despair
The New Vindicators knew the rest of the story. The next call made to Corey Ander’s cell phone was from Kylie Garrett. She was hysterically when he answered and he had to ask her to repeat herself numerous times before he could make anything she was trying to tell him.

She told him that Dominique had grabbed Prende that night and dragged her back to his room. He had used his strength to keep her pinned and laughed at how futile her attempts to fight back where. Dominique Infinity raped Prende and then coerced Kylie to use her powers on the girl, causing her to forget the nightmarish event.

It meant that Prende was innocent, although she didn’t know it. It meant Corey could forgive her. It meant they still had a future.

And then Corey found out just why Kylie was so hysterical.

He had teleported from his mother’s house in England and apparated in the medical wing. It wasn’t hard to find where Prende was- there was a gaggle of students looking on and hoping and praying and watching as Taegan Mallory used his powers on Prende Kreshnikëve.

She had made her way from Corey and Peter’s dorm room and ascended the stairs towards the roof. She had jumped from the top of the five story building and collided with the quad below- right in the middle of some freshmen playing football.

At first, the students pushed him aside as Corey struggled to make his way through. Those who saw who was coming through jumped aside to let him through. Corey made it to the eye of the storm in time to see Professor Altair put his hands on Taegan Mallory’s heavy shoulders. “You did everything you could,” he whispered to the weeping young Grecian. “She’s gone, son…”

Taegan Mallory would never forget Prende Kreshnikëve. She was the first person he had not been able to save. She was a precursor for darker things to come. As he stood in the war room of the New Vindicators Academy of Europe, no longer a student of the school but a Vindicator, he thought back to that day… and to the girl he couldn’t save…

Corey Anders could never forget Prende Kreshnikëve. She was the first girl to slip into his heart and make herself at home. She was the first girl he kissed and the first girl he whispered three little words to. She was the first person whose blood dripped from his fingertips. He shouldered the responsibility for her death, but he was determined not to carry it alone.

He wondered if Dominique Infinity had ever forgotten Prende Kreshnikëve. Her death was a footnote on his record with the school. Kylie Garrett had come forward, saying that he had raped Prende and confessed that she had helped. Corey was disheartened to hear the young man deny all that he had done and watch as the Department of SPB Affairs began to investigate. An autopsy was performed and physical evidence was discovered, revealing that Prende had been raped. Forensics could not determine the identity of the rapist, despite Kylie’s testimony.

Dominique Infinity had escaped untouched and continued with his business as usual.

“We can’t involve Falkenburg,” Quintessence snapped. “We can’t get the Vindicators involved.”

“Corey…”

Taegan was silenced with an intense look from his friend and teammate. “Prende was one of us and Paragon was one of us. You and I… we’re the only students of this school promoted to the Vindicators. Taegan… this isn’t their fight, man. This is ours.”

“This is the New Vindicators’ fight,” Backlash said, grinning anxiously. He was ready to fight alongside his old friends again. “We’ve got to do this.”

Quintessence smiled to him and then both men looked to Kiln. The young Brittan rolled his head on his shoulders before letting it sag. “I s’pose I can’t say ‘no’ then…”

“Why would you want to?” Hubris said with a smile. “We get to take down Paragon!”

“Peter?” Quintessence asked, looking to his former roommate.

“I’m hurt you had to ask,” Pict said, flashing him his most winning smile.”

“I suppose I have to go then,” Fey said, fluttering from where she hovered above Pict and landing down on Hubris’ shoulder. “I mean, so that this mission isn’t a complete sausage fest, ye know?”

“Mezers go where Taegan goes!” laughed the Rhino, slapping Taegan on the back and expecting Taegan to voice his affirmation as well.

“I’m not going,” Taegan said. The Rhino sputtered and spun around to fix him with a look of sheer surprise. “I’m a Vindicator now, the same as you are Corey. We can’t just… decide that we’re going to assemble a team of our old friends and track down a dangerous SPB! There’s a protocol that has to be followed here and… no offense to anyone but you aren’t the people to handle this! Paragon is out of our league. We need to let the Vindicators-”

“No one is forcing you to come,” Quintessence said as he rose up and motioned for his team to move in close. “I’m just asking that you let us do this, Taegan. I know you don’t respect our decision here but… at least try to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

And with that, Taegan and the Rhino watched as Quintessence teleported the New Vindicators out of the medical bay and, very likely, out of the school.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Michuru81
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: Pekin, IL

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:33 pm

Chapter VII: Fury of the Storm
Finding Paragon had not been a challenge. Dominique Infinity was hardly a criminal mastermind. He had a lot of raw power and he used that to take the things he wanted. While Fey debated that Paragon simply didn’t think of the trail his crime spree was leaving, Quintessence knew that it was even simpler than that:

Paragon didn’t care that he was leaving a trail. He was egotistical and believed himself to be stronger and tougher than any opponent he would ever face. In Paragon’s mindset, anyone foolish enough to challenge him wasn’t a hurdle in his path…

There were stepping stones.

No, finding Paragon was not a challenge; taking him down was the fight.

Paragon’s fist slammed into the middle of Hubris’ chest and knocked the wind out of him. He moved quickly, seizing the Grecian’s wrists and turning to fling him at the oncoming Kiln. Kiln was forced to power down in an effort to avoid burning the young man with his flame aura. Still, he caught him and dove through the snow. “Are you-”

“Fine,” grumbled Hubris, taking a moment to regain his bearings before lunging back into the melee. “Forget me! Go!”

With a thought Kiln’s powers were reactivated and he rode a current of flames into the air once more. From above he watched as Backlash trudged through the snow and swung wildly for Paragon. The man was defying everything Fey had assumed about him; Paragon was not dumb enough to attack Backlash. Instead, he began to play things defensively, opting to dodge the futile blows Tyson threw, laughing the entire time. “Laugh at this, mate…” Kiln muttered under his breath, opening his hand and channeling his flame into an orb of fire.

Fey leapt out of the path with god-like reflexes granted to her diminutive stature. Her Neo-Sapien powers made her hard to hit and hardly lent anything to her offensive abilities. Still, she was a natural leader- capable of directing the heroes in the battle and dispensing tactics whenever she found openings. She watched as the fireball exploded against Paragon’s back, hardly phasing him courtesy of his impenetrable flesh.

Knowing what she had to do, she flew ahead and hovered before Paragon’s face. “Hi, there!” she exclaimed cheerily. “Tell me something…” He swatted at her but she quickly zipped around his head to stand on his ear. “Does it ever bother you to know that you haven’t slept with everyone in our graduating class?” Paragon slapped the side of his face with his hands but Fey moved again, this time hovering right before his left eye. “I mean… you and I have never… you know, had relations.”

“You are an annoying little-” And then Paragon understood the role that she played. It was Fey’s own special brand of teamwork; she couldn’t hurt him and Backlash couldn’t hit him, but the distraction that she provided was enough to siphon his attention away and lower his defenses enough for Backlash to get in a quick punch.

Paragon was surprised to feel the blow not only connect… but count.

“It’s something I’ve been thinkin’ about ever since Evan an I ‘elped take down a bloke what’s called the Wisent,” Backlash said, noting Paragon’s surprise. “Me reflective aura lets me rebound attacks, right? Well, seems I can focus it enough to ‘elp my punches penetrate other people’s defenses, if y’know what I mean.”

Quintessence rose up from one of the snow banks, helping Pict get to his feet and handing the young man the swords he had produced from his arms. Pict had been the first to fall fighting Paragon, but Quintessence’s control over cosmic energy allowed him to restore things to their previous state. Pict slashed a blade through the air, feeling refreshed and as good as when he had started this fight.

“You all annoy me,” growled Paragon.

“Fair enough,” Quintessence said with a shrug. “You disgust us.” He raised his arm then, sending a blast of quintessential energy to bombard Paragon. He smirked, knowing that the attack’s intention was not to injure but cripple. It was no ordinary blast designed to obliterate but one designed to destroy… to disintegrate.

The attack found its mark and Paragon grunted as he felt his defenses waver. Pict charged him, swinging his swords deftly and connecting with Paragon’s impervious hide. “Out of the way!” snapped Hubris then; his muscle-bound body was courtesy of his own self-confidence, rendering him as strong and tough as he believed himself to be.

“Pests,” muttered Paragon, raising his arm towards the flying Irishwoman before him. A blast of red hellfire shot from the villain and impacted against her. Worse, the nightmarish energy began to envelope her body.

Ensnared by Paragon’s attack, Fey could do little but scream for her friends to sever the connection. Backlash swung his arm through the tether that allowed Paragon to exert his strength over Fey’s body, only to achieve no real result.

“Let go of her, big boy!” Kiln snapped, landing behind Paragon and hugging him tight.

Quintessence lifted up from the ground and hesitated to project another disintegrating blast from his palms. He wouldn’t risk the chance of hitting Kiln instead. He readied himself for the attack though- ready to strike the moment Kiln got clear.

Pict slashed down, trying to cut through the red energy with his blades. Hubris ignored Fey’s plight and focused himself on taking Paragon out of commission. His logic was simple: if they could take Paragon down, Fey would be freed. His swollen fists hammered into Paragon’s face and stomach but the roguish Italian barely registered the attack.

Instead he swung his arm back, elbowing Kiln in the face and breaking the young Brit’s nose. Then he swung his arm around, snapping the snared Fey through the air and towards him. He opened his free hand then, catching her as his energy entrapment reached him. “Nobody moves!” Paragon laughed, holding up Fey for all to see. His thumb pressed against the back of her head- ready to snap her neck if provoked.

Fey screamed in pain. “My wings!” she exclaimed. “My wings!” Encased in Paragon’s fist, his hold was crushing her wings- likely disabling her ability to fly.

“You like to fly?” Paragon laughed, pulling back his arm and relaxing his grip on her.

Quintessence read his movements and knew what was coming. “No! Don’t do it!” Too late, he watched as Paragon pitched her, throwing Fey’s body through the air and letting her slam down in the snow.

Immediately, the Vindicator flew off to find her. It would be as challenge given her height. Her size would make her almost impossible to find on the slopes. Still, he had to get to her soon. He could heal her wings. He could get her back into the fight…

He paused then and looked back to the other four continuing the assault. Paragon laughed as he moved, ducking under Hubris’ wild swing. He flew up then, slamming himself into Hubris’ stomach and carrying him up higher and higher. Determined not to let him carry through on whatever vile plot he had concocted, Hubris rolled off of Paragon’s shoulder and went into a freefall, knowing his augmented toughness would absorb the sudden stop at the end of this plummet.

Paragon careened then and charged through the air to chase after him. A wicked grin flashed across his face as he thrust his fists out, plowing them into Hubris’ chest and driving him into the earth.

Snow exploded up around them, creating a shimmering aura of cold crystals. Kiln burst forward then, letting the intense heat he gave off obliterate the wall of cold to reveal an unconscious Hubris lying beneath Paragon’s boot.

Paragon shot forward himself and introduced his fist to Kiln’s face. His knuckles were singed, brushing the flames Kiln was enveloped in, but it was nothing he couldn’t withstand. He grabbed Kiln’s shoulders and head butted him. Upon release Kiln staggered backwards, momentarily stunned by the frontal assault.

Pict and Backlash charged Paragon together. “Please,” the Nephilim groaned, dodging Pict’s first sword strike and then side-stepping Backlash’s fist. Paragon flew back a few feet, jumping out of the path of Pict’s downward slash. Backlash gave a mad snarl as he rushed to tackle Paragon; it was easy enough to turn and let the Brit barrel past him.

Backlash tripped and fell face-first in the snow, but he quickly picked himself up and was ready to try again. Paragon turned his back to the young hero and instead focused himself on Pict. He hurried forward, meeting Pict’s charge and seizing his wrist with both hands. He guided Pict’s sword behind him and grinned as a horrified expression came over Pict’s face then.

Stepping out of the way, Paragon smiled warmly on what he had created. Backlash was impaled on Pict’s blade- somehow, the Scotsman’s attack had found a way around Backlash’s reflective aura. If he had to imagine how, Paragon assumed it was because of the nature of Pict’s attacks. The swords he was swinging were animated tattoos and while they were indeed physical… they were only an aspect of his ability and did not truly exist.

It was the same as Kiln’s energy aura- it was a defensive ability used for offensive measures and still capable of harming Backlash.

Quintessence looked over the five who had joined him. Fey’s wings were crushed and she had been flung off into the distance. Unless she was conscious, finding her would be almost impossible on the landscape of blinding white.

Hubris was unconscious and Kiln was struggling to keep himself from joining him. Pict had just been forced to drive his sword through the stomach of his friend.

They had joined Quintessence to fight a fight that was his. They had all come to help him fight his opponent. They came to help him put down his enemy.

“You bastard,” Quintesence growled, gathering energy in the palms of his hands. His Neo-Sapien power allowed him to evoke quintessential energy- the very energy the stars were believed to have been composed of. Some had theorized that one day, Quintessence’s abilities might allow him to create anything. His father pointed out that the universe was composed of quintessential energy. Perhaps all of reality was the manifested dream of someone with powers similar to Corey’s. Perhaps one day he could create his own reality.

If ever he found himself in a position where he could birth a universe into existence, he would have populated it with people as good and caring and sweet and smart and wonderful as Prende Kreshnikëve. He would have made sure that in his world, no one was ever forced to meet anyone as terrible as Dominique Infinity.

So many people told him that he had the potential to be one of the most powerful men on the face of the planet. If that was true then why did he have to involve these people in his battle?

Why wasn’t he able to stop Paragon when it was one-on-one?

Why wasn’t he able to save Prende?

“Leave me friends alone,” Quintessence said, determined not to let Paragon hurt these people any longer. “This is our fight, Paragon… just you and me… no one else…”

“You’re wrong!” came Taegan’s voice. Quintessence lifted his eyes to the horizon and he was surprised to see Taegan and Axeion riding on the back of a wooly rhinoceros, Rush running ahead, kicking up a screen of snow in his wake. “This is a fight for the New Vindicators, Corey… We understand that, we respect that and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Michuru81
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Post by Michuru81 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:20 am

Chapter VIII: My Spirit Will Go On
“You’re in for the goring of a lifetime, bud!” The Rhino stamped his foot in warning, ready to charge if Paragon so much as coughed without permission.

Taegan helped Backlash get to his feet. Though the young Brit’s uniform was stained with his blood, his skin was whole and unbroken. Taegan’s biokinetic powers had sped up Backlash’s body’s natural ability to regenerate itself, healing the stab wound almost instantly.

Rush smiled as Hubris began to come around. “Did we win?” the Grecian asked, slightly surprised to find himself woke by the Scottish midget.

“We’re about to, lad.”

Paragon’s morale began to slip away as he watched his defeated foes rise up once more. Only Fey failed to stand before him- the heroes had no way of finding her and could only hope that she was alright.

“What’s the plan?” Axeion asked, fists clenched and ready to duke it out.

“My disintegration has softened him up enough that he’ll feel your punches,” Quintessence offered.

“Stupid Paragon,” muttered the Rhino. “He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips! He doesn’t even have a prehensile lip!” A devious grin came across the talking rhinoceros’ face then. “No offense though. I mean, none of youzers have a prehensile lip. It’s nothing to end youzers life over… just weep and cry and realize that youzers’re just not as awesome as mezers is.”

Quintessence rolled his eyes then as he had just watched a rhinoceros shrug. He had seen numerous things over the years… but nothing as strange as the sight of a rhinoceros shrug. Suddenly, he had a new-found respect for his teammate; how Taegan had put up with Alexander J. Tharivol for as long as he had…

“Beat him up, but don’t get in over your heads… Paragon’s craftier than we really suspected going into this. When you’ve taken a few of his punches, pull back and let Taegan and myself use our powers to patch you up…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… enough talking, more hitting stuff!” Axeion was the first to charge Paragon and the first to draw his attention. Paragon rushed to meet his assault and was surprised when Axeion suddenly leapt back.

“Buh-da buh-da buh-duh!” exclaimed the Rhino as he plowed into Paragon from behind, doing his best to imitate Scrappy-Doo. “RHINO POWER!”

Paragon seized the Rhino by the horn as he rolled off of the hero’s head. His strength allowed him to heft the massive form, swinging him up and into the air, letting the Rhino drop down onto his back.

Paragon grunted as Axeion dropped his fists, doubled over each other, down into the small of Paragon’s back. Still, he swung back his fist, throwing all his power into the punch intended to take the young man out of the brawl. His eyes widened in horror as Backlash moved between them- taking the hit on Axeion’s behalf and sending all the force of Paragon’s attack right back at him.

Hammered by his own strength, Paragon went flying back and used his own flight to pull himself out of the blowback. He hovered in the air and was surprised to find two of the heroes already on him there: Kiln and Pict, one propelled by a jet of flame and the other carried by angelic wings on etched onto his back, attacked him with their respective mediums. A jet of flame cascaded over Paragon’s chest and left him exposed to Pict’s blades from behind.

The Nephilim swung around, determined to grab Pict and failing to lay a finger on him. He raised a hand, determined to reel him in with his hellfire snare, only to be attacked from behind…

…With a snowball.

Turning to the ground, Paragon was surprised to find Rush using the quickness granted by his super-speed to rapid fire snow balls through the air. He rolled his eyes at the futile assault and was prepared to ignore the nuisance until one hit him in the face. His hands went up, determined to cast the slush aside and pulled back to reveal yellow snow.

The annoyance he was prepared to shrug off, but the affront to his countenance he would not allocate. Flying through the air he dove to attack the speedster and watched as the obvious occurred: Rush ran and was immediately out of his reach.

Still, such a taunt had pulled Paragon back down to the ground level, leaving him open for an attack from those incapable of flight. Backlash and Axeion tackled him from both sides, each grabbing onto an arm and struggled to hold on as he shook them off. Paragon’s strength sent both flying several feet back but the two smiled as it left them out of the drop zone.

“CANNONBALL!” screamed the Rhino as he jumped off of a swift drift. In the air he changed shape, turning into a white rhinoceros and falling atop Paragon in his heaviest form. Still, it was not so heavy that Paragon couldn’t throw him off of him and climb to his feet.

“Pests!” snarled Paragon. “You think you stand a chance against me!?” He raised his hand to the sky and struck Kiln with his hellfire tether. Snaring the airborne hero, he swung his arm down and slammed Kiln into the ground. Steam rose up from the impact- Kiln’s flame aura rapidly melting the snow around him. Pict dove through the air, swords prepared in the charge.

“Idiot!” Paragon snapped, flying forward and grabbing one of the blades. It took little effort to tear it from Pict’s hands and little more to drive it through the young man’s shoulder.

On the ground, Taegan was running to Kiln’s side. The steam had cleared, revealing Kiln’s unconscious form lying on a bald spot dotting the ski slopes. Paragon tore the sword out of Pict’s shoulder, tearing a scream from the young Scotsman in the process, and moved to intercept Kiln before the healer reached him.

Taegan’s jaw dropped as Paragon landed over Kiln and drove Pict’s sword into the hero’s stomach. The sensation snapped Evan out of his stupor and left him screaming in pain as Paragon began to twist the blade inside of him. “Did you all think it would be so simple!?” snarled Paragon. “You honestly thought I’d just continue to be ganged up on while you patched up your soldiers and sent them back into the game?”

He turned to Quintessence then. “And you! You said this was our fight… but you haven’t come within reach of me yet.”

Quintessence teleported then and Taegan rushed to join him. “Don’t let him goad you, Corey!” he cried. “It’s what he wants!”

“He wants a fight, he gets a fight!” Quintessence snarled, raising his arms and gathering cosmic energy in them. “This is for Prende you stupid son of a bitch!”

Paragon raised an eyebrow then. “Who?” he asked.

A mad snarl, like the cry of a wild beast, tore itself from the depths of Quintessence’s soul then. He unleashed his blast, throwing everything he had into the attack. The others shielded their eyes against the blinding light and were forced to rely on their hearing instead.

A pained scream followed the explosion out and their spirits soared. Slowly reality came back into focus and the New Vindicators looked up, prepared to lay their eyes on a defeated Paragon.

They watched him wretch Pict’s sword out of Quintessence’s body and watched as one of their own tumbled to his knees.

“Seriously…” Paragon said, looking down at Quintessence. The young hero clutched his wound and spat blood as he writhed on the barren ground. “…Who’s Prende?”

Taegan didn’t care about leaving himself exposed to Paragon now; he recognized that Quintessence was in trouble. He needed to get in there and work his magic if they stood any chance of saving Corey.

Paragon raised the sword overhead, ready to bring it down through the neck of the hero kneeling before him, when another snowball hit him. “Hey, Paragon!” Axeion cried, hurling another snow ball.

Paragon turned slowly and shook his head in disgust. “At least yours were white,” he muttered as he lifted his eyes to meet Axeion’s gaze.

A grin came over Axeion’s face then as he used his powers…
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Michuru81
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Post by Michuru81 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:51 am

EPILOGUE: Dammit
When the effects of Axeion’s petrification wore off, Paragon felt sick to his stomach. He felt weak. He felt drained. It was a sensation he had felt once, many months before, but one he wasn’t familiar enough with to recognize.

Paragon lifted his hands and his eyes fell on the metal bands around his wrists, connected by a thin chain the led down to the manacles locked around his legs. “Please,” he muttered, throwing his hands apart in an effort to snap the restraints.

They did not break.

“Do you remember me?”

Paragon looked up and searched his memory for the Chinese girl’s name. “I’m not good with faces,” he said. “Maybe if you’d take off your clothes, my memory would be jogged. I’m not making any promises though. I remember tastes and smells though… What do you taste like?”

“You’ll never get the pleasure,” she growled, folding her arms across her chest and glaring angrily at the Nephilim bound before her. “After Axeion turned you into stone and Taegan got Quintessence up, they thought to call me to deal with you from there… Quintessence remembered me from the Trials. I was a student at the Asian Academy. My name is Huo Ten… codenamed Cabal. We fought, you and I…”

“It’s not ringing any bells.”

“You put your hands all over me… you humiliated me!”

“Can you be more specific?”

In a flash she had drawn a pair of nunchaku from behind the red sash she wore. She moved fast, striking him across the face with those silver-colored weapons. “Owe!” snapped Paragon, rolling head back up to glare back at her. His nose and lip were bleeding. “That hurt you-” He froze then, registering what that actually meant. “That… that actually hurt me. How- how did you-”

“Mithral,” she said, shaking the weapon in his face and grinning proudly at her work. “It’s a very rare material… a form of tektite that actually hurts your kind.”

“A substance capable of hurting the Nephilim… I suppose what David let fly from his sling and killed Goliath was made of this?”

“You- you know what you are?”

He smiled fiendishly and shivers ran up her spine. Very few Nephilim actually knew about their demonic heritage. Her family had been exterminating Nephilim for years and in their experience they had found that most were compelled by something in them- some trait that linked them to their fathers. They weren’t evil, they were just slaves to their natures. Dominique Infinity was the first Nephilim she had met who was aware of what he was.

“You should know… those bands are made of mithral. Your kind can’t break through it…”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Paragon said through a bloody smile. “What do you intend to do now that you have me though? Make me pay for my crimes or some romantic idea about me seeing the error of my ways?”

“Quintessence called for me because my family hunts Nephilim. We find them, we fight them, and we… well, we’ve tried numerous tactics. We’ve tried to reform them and… it never works. There’s this seed in you that just… gives you these urges. I have my own theory, actually. You’ve heard of the Seven Deadly Sins? I think that each Nephilim is compelled by one of them. Some we meet are more prone to anger or greed… you… I’m not sure if it’s pride or lust.”

“Maybe it’s all seven,” Paragon said simply. “I always was indecisive. I could never settle for just one compulsion.”

“Whatever… the point is… it was a mistake to think any of you would ever change. The second our backs are turned, you just go right back to it.”

“That’s true,” Paragon said matter-of-factly. “If it weren’t for these restraints, I would have bent you over-”

“That’s why I’m going to kill you,” she snapped, not willing to listen to anymore of his boasting.

“Please. If you were going to kill me, you would have done it by now.”

“There’s still so much we don’t know about your kind. My family- we- we try to get as much information as we can before we kill you. I don’t imagine I’m going to get much more out of you.”

“Like I said, take off these manacles and you’ll be guaranteed to get a lot out of me.”

“You’re disgusting.”

Paragon continued smiling and Cabal’s curiosity peeked. “You don’t think I’ll do it, do you? You really think I’m just going to let you go.”

“Oh, no… I know you won’t let me go.”

“Then why are you smiling?”

Paragon wasn’t sure how to answer her, but fortunately… his father was prepared to field such a question. Astaroth’s fingers closed around Cabal’s throat and raised her into the air. Two feet of air lay between her dangling feet and the floor. She swung with her nunchaku, but the fallen angel caught the weapon easily enough.

Throwing the young girl aside, he was so focused on his bound son that he didn’t see her skull crack against the cement wall. Astaroth didn’t see her body leave a smear of blood down the gun grey walls as she fell in a heap in the corner. Instead he grabbed the chain that connected the mithral manacles and gave a quick tug.

Paragon smiled and rubbed at his wrists, thankful for his father’s intervention.

“You let them get the best of you,” Astaroth snarled. “You were supposed to draw the Anders child out and kill him. Be done with him. If he is allowed to live, my plans will never…” Astaroth cut off and fought to reign in his temper.

He had a terrible temper.

“I got his little girlfriend to off herself,” Paragon said in his defense, “and it still wasn’t enough to push him over the edge. I’m not sure what it’ll take, father…”

“He was so close,” Astaroth growled. “During that battle, he almost… no matter. You need to learn, Dominique. You are powerful, yes… but you’ll need more. I’ve made arrangements with Abaddon. He is planning something and he has agreed to allow you to be a part of it. He is expecting you in New York, Dominique. Go there and do as he tells you. Learn, Dominique. Learn well because next time I will not accept failure.”

“Yes father,” Dominique said humbly. It was only in the presence of his father that he truly showed humility. “I promise you, the next time I will not fail you.”

Astaroth grinned. Lucifer ruled Hell and commanded all of the fallen angels- including the handful of seraphim who had fallen. Samael was now dead but the other five still struggled to find a way to usurp Lucifer’s throne.

Asmodeus had long ago secured the Seal of Solomon, a ring that allowed him complete control over the lesser angels who had fallen, as well as the Nephilim who walked the earth. He seemed content to sit back idly, waiting for all the pieces to fall into place. It was unknown just what he was up to, but of all the Fallen, he was closest to overthrowing the ruler of Hell.

Leviathan had long been Asmodeus’ pawn but now, the twisted one was trying to wrest some measure of control away. He had steered his daughter, Lilith, and several young Neo-Sapiens to rebuild Moksha, attempting to create an empire of Neo-Sapiens he could manipulate. His plans had been foiled by the combined campuses of the New Vindicators Academies. What measures he was preparing now were an enigma.

Semyazza was not attempting to control the world but destroy it. The envious one’s first puppet had been Atlas, conned into using his power over centripetal force to destroy all life on earth. He had twisted Ahasuerus into attempting to erase existence. Now, his ambitions revolved around an American named Ben Altair…

Abaddon had been struggling to breed a Nephilim worth as much as his beloved Apocatastasis. It seemed he had given up on those plots though, instead he was using his children as soldiers in a war… one that he believed would let him see his cherished child once again.

Astaroth lacked the patience for such intricate plans. Astaroth had never cared about the scheming of the others or their petty war. Then, through his son, he learned about a Neo-Sapien more powerful than they could have imagined. In their pride, the Fallen wrote most Neo-Sapiens off as being inferior to the Nephilim. They were a watered-down product of their blood. Still, one surpassed his ancestors. His ability, born through Neo-Sapiens breeding with other Neo-Sapiens, creating a new genetic template, allowed him power over creation and destruction. He channeled the very energy of the cosmos.

Quintessence was the greatest weapon the other Fallen never knew of.

“I promise you father,” Paragon said, kneeling before the ageless demon, “Quintessence will indeed be yours.”
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Post by Michuru81 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:15 am

NEW VINDICATORS: Absit Omen

NEW VINDICATORS #24: Imitation of Life NEW VINDICATORS #25: How to Save a Life NEW VINDICATORS #26: Here Is Gone NEW VINDICATORS #27: Runaway

NEW VINDICATORS #28: In the Sun NEW VINDICATORS #29: My Evil Plan to Save the World NEW VINDICATORS #30: Overkill

NEW VINDICATORS #31: Distant Early Warning, Part I of III NEW VINDICATORS #32: Distant Early Warning, Part II of III NEW VINDICATORS #33: Distant Early Warning, Part III of III
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New Vindicators, Chapter 296

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:32 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #24: IMITATION OF LIFE

Chapter I: Hell is For Children
Sharon Tannin gave three raps on her son’s door before fully turning the knob. Her left hand had been on the knob since the moment her foot reached the top of the stairs. “It’s time to get up, Elijah,” she intoned in her typical, early-morning sing-song manner.

Her scream pierced through the rest of the Tannin household, jarring Elijah’s little sister, Ester, from her attempts to conquer the maze on the back of her cereal box. The girl was on her feet slowly, scuffing her lace-trimmed socks across the meticulously scrubbed kitchen floor. Cautiously she peered up the stairs that twisted and turned and led to the upper level’s bedrooms.

Ester’s mother tumbled down the first six stairs and collided with the landing. She righted herself as quickly as she could and seized up her precocious seven-year-old daughter. “…of death, I shall fear no evil…” She continued the prayer in a rush as the two Tannins made their way onto the front lawn where the good lady collapsed atop the child.

Agnes Crowley was an elderly widow who had lived in 1010 Westchester Road since 1945, when Shamus Crowley had returned home from the war and made her his bride. Mister Crowley had died in 1989 of liver failure and the people of Lakeshore Baptist Church had mourned the passing of their beloved reverend.

It was in 2004- fifteen years to the day later that Arthur Tannin had left his wife and children. Their middle child, Enoch, had been wandered out of the backyard one afternoon- only to find his way to the railroad tracks a block over.

He would have been ten, this coming July.

Arthur’s unshakable faith had been shattered that day. He had renounced the very God he had praised every day he had woken up breathing. He began drinking and his church began praying for him. He began sleeping with Gretchen Caldwell, a pretty young blonde he had met one night at the bar and still Sharon Tannis prayed her husband would come around.

All the while, she conducted herself as though nothing had changed- she felt she owed that to her children. She continued to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord and Agnes Crowley had been her pillar of support. Agnes was always weary of some of Sharon’s convictions- the woman was a purist and an extremist. She was a woman of tremendous zeal… and because of that, Agnes prayed all the harder for her.

It was often the case that those closest to God fell the hardest.

“Sharon!” Agnes exclaimed from her beloved rose bushes. “Sharon, what’s wrong, child?”

Sharon’s eyes were frozen in terror on that window- the window Agnes quickly marked as being Elijah’s. Her mind registered that the boy was not present- not with his mother as Ester was.

Agnes could tell from the look of pure terror on the woman’s face that she would get no answers from her. Still, Ester still appeared someone reachable. “Baby girl,” she said sweetly, “I’m gonna need you to go in my house and call 9-1-1. You know how to do that?”

The girl nodded, but Sharon shook her head- her arms coiled tightly around Ester and she clutched her youngest with a fervor unlike anything Agnes Crowley had ever seen.

The old woman marched into the house and took the phone from the wall by the stairs. Peace and serenity filled the house- there was no sense of foreboding dread coming from the upstairs… from where Elijah had been soundly sleeping. “I’m at 1008 Westchester,” she pronounced crisply. “I think something has happened to my neighbor’s son…”

“Ma’am?” the operator asked. “Can you tell us what’s happened?”

“I’m heading up the stairs now… something isn’t right though. The boy’s mother- she’s in shock or something in the back yard.”

“We’re sending someone over right now, ma’am. Ma’am can you see what’s wrong with the boy?”

Agnes dropped the phone as she peered into Elijah’s room. The fourteen-year-old’s bed sheets had slipped to the floor beside his bed, his body hovering two feet over the mattress.

Elijah Tannin’s pajamas were stained in blood- the crimson taint mostly concentrated around his upper body. As Agnes looked at the bloody mess she realized that the boy was missing the lower half of his jaw. More than that, his throat had been cut open and his vocal cords pulled out. His eyes were still shut soundly, some dried drops of his own blood flaked over his lids.

His hands were perfectly clean- he had not done this to himself… someone or something had torn out his throat. Something had attempted to render the child mute…

…and failed.

“…is coming,” the boy pronounced clearly, his voice much, much deeper than Agnes had ever recalled. An eerie black glow emanated from his sundered maw. “Apocatastasis is coming. Apocatastasis is coming. Apocatastasis is coming. Apocatastasis…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Three months later...
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New Vindicators, Chapter 297

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:34 pm

Chapter II: A is for Action
Cameron Kirk ran for cover behind a mailbox and fought to catch his ragged breath. “As you can see, yet another villain has surfaced in the city,” the intrepid reporter dictated. “Months after the arrest of the Wisent, New York’s criminal element has exploded. On a daily basis, new criminals are surfacing- new criminals… like Treant, a madman apparently able to both become and control vegetation.”

Trees and shrubberies rampaged in the background and Cameron’s cameraman fought to keep himself rooted to the spot; the flora sunk vines and roots into the side of First Manhattan Mutual and tore away the foundation with a mighty tug. An enormous chunk of the building was casually flung through the air and cascaded down mere inches from where the news-bringers were squatting.

It only made Tyler Stern want to make a run for safety all the more.

What may have kept him from running were those four little words. There was nothing calming about the voice- on the contrary, the new arrival to the attack spoke through a garbled speaker system. His real voice was electronically masked, giving the young businessman inside some level of anonymity.

“I hate property damage,” the cold, computerized voice of Portal muttered as he appeared with a flash. He seemed to notice the reporter and his cameraman then, for he turned, waved and announced, “Hi, mom.”

“Your mom’s dead,” muttered Lodestone, hovering in the air above Portal and making a quick assessment of the situation.

“They don’t know that!” Portal exclaimed. “Great… there goes my secret identity. I mean, now that they know my mom’s dead it’s only a matter of time before they piece together that I am actually Victor Temple of Douglas, Wyoming. Thanks, Lodestone… Thanks a lot.”

“You talk too much,” muttered Nock as the archer used his bow to slide down a well-aimed grapple, placing him on the street beside the armored titan.

Brimstone leapt off of the platform Loess created, landing ahead of Ark, thundering to catch up with the others. “I agree,” the young woman said, her eyes glowing red as she channeled the strange energy that filled her soul. “Less talk, more killing things!”

Ark nodded in quiet compliance, but looked to Nock for the command to move on the villain. Though Lodestone was officially the leader, the Department of SPB Affairs wasn’t about to put the Vindicators in the hands of someone so young and inexperienced. They wanted a seasoned Vindicator at his side as an advisor…

…An advisor who could overturn any one of Lodestone’s orders at any time.

At first, Colonel Crowbar had considered Rosa Freeman, the woman known as Onyx, to fill such a role. Having served on the Aurelius’ sixth team of Vindicators and led the seventh incarnation of the team put her ahead of the other candidates, but even so many years after the seventh team’s disbanding she wasn’t mentally ready to be put in such a position. She had led Bio and Xianbei to their deaths- walking into a trap set by one of their own teammates. She had even been having an affair with Chimera, Xianbei’s husband and Oynx’s second in command. Guilt wore down heavily on her soul and made her unfit for such a responsibility.

“What’s the plan there, chief?” Nock asked Lodestone, nocking and arrow and training his weapon on the target. Treant didn’t seem at all slowed by the arrival of the Vindicators. On the contrary, he seemed to barely register their presence.

“We’ll have Brimstone wake him up…” Lodestone began. There was more to his plan and it was quite ingenious. The trouble was for all of Lodestone’s tactical planning, Brimstone was a hot-headed young woman with a trigger finger.

“Got it, boss!” she laughed, charging forward and lunging into the melee. It was hard to believe that she had been allowed onto this team of Vindicators- considering that she had fought the New Vindicators so many years ago. That had been in a time before Magnus Loder found himself enrolled at the academy though- she had fought the class led by Caliber, by J.J. Manther.

Sometimes, Lodestone couldn’t tell if she had truly reformed or not.

Lithe and agile as ever, Brimstone tumbled through the area and raised her hands- sending up a spiraling column of hellfire, centered on her, that engulfed the trees and caused Treant to take notice of their band of adventurers.

“What’s the plan now, chief?” Nock asked.

Lodestone sighed. “Hit stuff. Just… just start hitting stuff.”

“I like this plan,” Ark said as he charged in.

“People!” Portal thundered. “Hit people! Save the landscape, save the world!”

Nock let an arrow fly and Lodestone shook his head in exasperation. He snapped out of it and back to reality at Loess’ touch- at her lips gently brushing his cheek. It was a new sensation and a welcome one. Her sessions with Doctor Pickford had made her capable of touching men- at least, so long as she initiated the embrace.

Still, for Magnus Loder, it was good to know her kiss again. “I’m sure your plan would have been wonderful.”

Lodestone smiled at her before devoting himself fully to the frenzy before them. “I love you,” he whispered.

“Ditto,” she said with a smile, the section of rock she hovered upon flew forward, taking her nearer the battle. Immediately she began to use her geokinetic abilities to put the terrain back together. Lodestone ignored Portal’s exclamations of ‘My kind of girl!’ and simply reached into a pouch on his belt, producing a handful of ball bearings.

He turned then and smiled to the young man beside him- identical to him in all ways save for his hair. “Ready?” the red-haired Lodestone asked to his other self. When he used his duplication ability, it divided him into separate polarities; one side represented all that was good in him- his positive side –while his negative side represented his darker half.

“I was born ready, pinky!” the blue-haired Lodestone laughed, using his magnetic powers to let the ball bearings fly and pierce the bark coating Treant.

Cameron Kirk watched the battle unfold before him and shook off his amazement. “The city is in chaos as a power vacuum threatens to swallow our once peaceful streets. Still, with the Vindicators defeated months ago in Berlin, our forces are severely limited… Joined by the armored vigilante known as Portal, Nock now leads this battalion of young people…”

Just three months prior, the Vindicators had responded to a distress call from Berlin. The Sixth Reich, a reincarnation of the villainous organization the original Vindicators first banded together to fight, had set a trap for their long-time foes. Though the decades had done away with many of their original enemies, Crusader still fought on wearing the black and white of the Vindicators. The woman may have appeared to be in her twenties but the truth was she had been born in the later end of the nineteenth century. She was immune to the passage of time- or at least she aged exceptionally slowly. She did not progress in age, but the tyrants believed she could have her age reversed…

They had used Hyperborean artifacts to turn a young Neo-Sapien girl’s abilities against the heroes. They found a way to turn Antiquity’s ability to manipulate her own age into an attack that could de-age the heroes.

Though Falkenburg and Tick-Tock were immune to the attack, being temporal anomalies in their own respect, the other heroes had been reverted to infancy. Crusader’s immunity proved only to allow her to resist the effects- leaving her a teenager and denying her little of her power.

Tick-Tock had called upon his other team, maintaining dual membership with both the Vindicators and the Illuminati. The paranormal investigators arrived and tried their best to protect the de-aged heroes…

…And failed.

The result was that four of the seven Vindicators were killed: Blacksmith, Phenomena, the Hound and Detective had perished that night in Berlin.

“The Department of SPB Affairs introduced this group as the Vindicators of America- debuting the European and Asian teams around the same time. Still, this new team has had its hands more than full in dealing with this crisis swallowing the city.

“They are not without help though. Channel Six has received footage of several solo efforts to thwart these sinister ambitions.”

The screen displayed images of the new Detective grabbing Calico from behind and forcing her into a headlock. It then cut to show a blaze of motion society had come to know as Momentum, rocketing past cameras to stop his younger sister, Miss Initiative. Nano leapt through a police line and clotheslined Artillery, while more footage showed the Patriot engaged in fighting Triple Threat.

“Reports are coming in from across the Big Apple- telling of SPBs now in a bid for power to claim as much of the Wisent’s steadily-crumbling empire as possible. The newly formed European and Asian branches of Vindicators and the Illuminati have struck out against more serious threats to the world itself, but as many people here in the boroughs wonder over their fate… they’re looking to anyone who may have the answers.”

“…and if elected president,” Amy Bedford proclaimed during a recent press conference, “I will employ a task force of humans- specially equipped by Patriot Robotics -to hunt down these people and bring them to justice.”

“I’d vote for her!” howled Murray Murphy, an elderly African-American man who claimed Peaceful Shores Retirement Community as his place of residence. Few dwelled on the irony of a man of his race siding with the wife of a man who had once held the title of Grand Dragon in the Ku-Klux Klan. Still, the parallels between the Neo-Sapiens’ plight and that of blacks or Jews didn’t matter to most. There was a difference in being persecuted for the color of your skin or your religious beliefs and being persecuted for being a living weapon. Neo-Sapiens were dangerous and a threat to humanity.

Several other senior citizens staying at the assisted living facility voiced their agreement as the television reverted back to displaying the brawl happening live in Manhattan.

One occupant didn’t share such an opinion though. Grannie Donna had recognized the face of Atlanta White on the news one day. The young woman had been instrumental in stopping Tide and saving Chienne Bedford. She had been on the news again months later after stopping a group of villains who had escaped from Alcatraz. The wizened old woman thought fondly to the girl’s volunteer service here at the retirement home and beamed as she recalled Atlanta’s regular visits to brighten the day of everyone here.

It proved to Donna that just because she was born different, she wasn’t the monster so many made her kind out to be. Grannie Donna knew then that the Neo-Sapiens heard about on the news were no different than human criminals and human terrorists. It was up to each of us to make a choice and just as they chose to live a life of evil, there were Neo-Sapiens who chose to live a life devoted to fighting to protect a world that feared and hated them.

A faint ding was heard from the front doors, wafting up the hall and into the community room. Few paid much mind to the appearance of a visitor- a few hopefuls looked to the entrance, expecting to see some beloved relative or another. Instead they were disgusted by the appearance of the young man marching towards them.

The young man’s ears had been stretched by spacers- the discs removed and a pair of two inch PVC pipe had replaced them in each lobe. His bottom lip protruded out, thanks to the weight the trio of spikes in it added. One eye was bright yellow, the pupil and iris replaced by a smiley face. The other eye was blood red; both oddities were courtesy of his contact lenses.

His leather jacket’s sleeves had long ago been torn off and his tube socks had been destroyed to create wristbands. His shirt bore numerous burn holes from his cigarettes and his jeans were patched with duct tape- significantly around the crotch to make for a ridiculous gun grey codpiece.

The young man’s hair was shaved into a Mohawk and spiked up in ten points. A long braid hung down his back, swaying with each step. On the side of his scalp was a skull- the embodiment of an album cover none of the senior citizens had ever seen.

He stopped… and lit his cigarette before whipping around the guitar strung over his back. “Allo,” he said, his hackneyed British accent enforced with a puff of smoke. “M’name’s Stratocaster. I’d like what to play you geezers a tune I wrote up, all by me lonesome.”

A few stood up, having no interest in whatever brand of music someone looking as he did would play. He grinned as he watched them turn their hunched backs to him. His fingers found the right key… and he let out a single riff.

Those who had risen up were flung to the floor forcefully. Glass shattered. The television was obliterated. The elderly were now even harder of hearing than when he had first entered.

“All right, old farts!” the punk rocker exclaimed. Laying on the whammy bar, Stratocaster sent out a pulse of sonic energy that obliterated everything in his path. As a magazine table exploded, showering the senior citizens with the remains of the latest issue of AARP, the villain stepped forward. With criminals like Triple Threat or the remainder of the Wisent’s men attacking banks and larger stores, new villains were left with slim pickings. “I want all the meds!” he screamed. “Anyone even thinks about playing hero and I blast them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, y’dig?”

He belted out a few more notes before he managed to notice his breath suddenly visible before him. “I thought the older you got, the higher you kept the thermostat!” he exclaimed. “Who’s been touchin’ the ruddy dial?”

He turned… and found himself face to face with a squadron of New Vindicators…
To Be Continued... wrote:Meet the new New Vindicators!
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 298

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:37 am

Chapter III: Section 8 (Light & Day / Reach for the Sun)
Gabriel Farouk swept his twin sister into his arms and watched as the glow in her eyes dimmed and reverted to their natural color. “Is she okay?” Oscillator asked, genuinely concerned for her roommate.

“She’s just exhausted,” Gabriel said, never taking his eyes off of the girl in his arms. “She pushed herself too far with that jump…”

“She did good, teleporting us all in,” Frostbite said as his eyes scanned the room, evaluating the situation. Stratocaster stared at the band of heroes with a dumbfounded, slack-jawed expression. “Her accuracy is improving.”

“Not to mention that she brought big butt with us,” Blur laughed as he ran around the perimeter. Soon he was moving at his top speed- moving hundreds of miles per hour and appeared as nothing but a blur of motion.

“I’m not fat,” Bulwark laughed. The hero was permanently trapped in his rock-like form; his density made him a challenge for the teleporter to transport- at least, not without exhausting herself. “I’m just big boned!”

“Do you even have bones?” Oscillator asked. The girl’s long, red curls brushed the ceiling as she flew across the room. An embarrassed expression dawned over her face as she adjusted her altitude to compensate for the ceiling. She turned back, flashing a friendly smile Bulwark’s way. The young woman was everyone’s friend; Oscillator was pure sugar and spice and everything nice.

“Tend to your sister,” Frostbite said, nodding to Gabriel. The young Egyptian helped his young sister, fatigued from pushing her powers to transport Bulwark this distance. So early into a fight, his abilities were of little use at this point. Still, he felt out for the source of his powers and his eyes began to glow an eerie blue hue. His warm touch surged through Gabrielle’s body, removing fatigue and exhaustion and obliterating a small infection that had only begun to take root in her throat.

“Okay, guys… we’re going to take this guy out just like we’ve been practicing! Containment pattern epsilon-” Frostbite’s jaw dropped as Blur failed to create a perimeter with his super-speed, ensuring their opponents couldn’t flee the scene by conventional means. Instead, the zealous hero flashed forward and stopped right in front of Stratocaster. “Blur!”

“How does it feel to be the first super-villain I fight?” Blur asked, cracking his knuckles and grinning from the anticipation. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life!”

He pulled back to punch the criminal and Stratocaster found the time to strike a quick cord. At such close range, Blur’s senses were muted by the blast of sound. Worse, with his ears ringing he could barely keep his balance. It left him wide open for Stratocaster to pull back and land a quick punch, causing Blur to spin around and fall to the floor.

“Twelve seconds into his first fight and he’s already unconscious,” Frostbite said, his voice louder than he intended. Though he had not been hit by the dazzling explosion as badly as Blur had, his ears were still ringing.

“It’s a record for him,” Gabriel grumbled. “He hardly lasts that in the simulator…”

“New plan!” Frostbite exclaimed. “Oscillator! You and I are going to hit at him from a distance!” Already he had pulled back his hand, generating a small collective of icicles to throw for his opponent. As the frozen shards flew for the target, Oscillator complied and aimed a blast of radiated heat for the man. “Bulwark, get Blur to Gabriel…”

“No offense, Frostbite, but, the plan frickin’ sucks!” Bulwark charged forward then, barreling for Stratocaster. The young man wailed on his guitar and Bulwark continued on, unfazed. One of the perks about his form was that he lacked certain functions normal people possessed. While the other heroes were losing their hearing and equilibrium at Stratocaster’s attacks, Bulwark felt nothing.

“GIMME THAT!” he screamed, retching the guitar out of Stratocaster’s hands. “Bad British guy… Bad!” He swung the guitar down into the floor, obliterating it with one swing. Still, he liked to be thorough: dropping it to the floor, Bulwark ground his heel into the guitar and fixed Stratocaster with an intimidating glare.

“Bulwark!” Frostbite screamed. “Be careful! He could-”

“Do something,” Bulwark snarled in his gravelly voice. “C’mon, British guy… I dare you to do something! Anything!”

Stratocaster hammered his fists against Bulwark’s impervious chest and continued until he slumped down to his knees.

“He’s just a guy,” Bulwark said with a shrug, looking down at the quivering man before him. “He just had a magic guitar given to him by Hagar- Norse god of rock and roll.”

“I thought that was Roth,” Oscillator said, a flirtatious smile on her face.

“Nah, you’re thinking of the little blonde girl that ruined Van Halen.”

Gabrielle shambled to her feet, shaking off the effects her brother’s healing had removed. His abilities had also restored her hearing- though little damage had been done from the distance they had kept between them and Stratocaster. “Good work, everyone…” Frostbite said, proudly taking in his students.

“Poor kid is gunna end up like Tinnitus, ain’t he, boss?” Bulwark asked, looking down at Blur. His hulking form knelt down beside the speedster and a thick, rocky finger began to poke the unconscious youth. “Do you think when he comes to he’ll have morning wood and the first thing he’ll see is me and then he’ll be traumatized for life or something?”

Oscillator giggled and gently set her hand on Bulwark’s shoulder; only when he was crouched this low could she touch him here- the man was a behemoth in every sense of the word. “Maybe we should be a bit nicer to him,” she intoned sweetly. “I mean, everyone had to start somewhere… Remember what it was like when you first started, Bulwark?”

“Yeah, but you don’t…” Bulwark grumbled. “Osc… you don’t remember anything from before a few months ago, when that Japanese guy and the hot blonde chick dropped you off with us.”

Frostbite grimaced at such a statement. He had his suspicions… but the headmasters of the New Vindicators Academy had been tight-lipped concerning Oscillator’s origins. Only a handful of the students had witnessed her arrival- many of them freshman, the graduating class which had not been at the school during Michuru’s tenure.

“Gabriel, get Blur back up. Gabrielle, are you going to be okay to get us home?”

“We should leave now,” Gabriel said as he rose up and helped his sister walk towards Blur. “I hear po-pos coming in.”

“Who are we? BATMAN!?” thundered Bulwark. “We’re not exactly on opposite sides of the law. They got no beef with us…”

Frostbite nodded in agreement and turned to Gabriel, nodding to Blur to signal the go-ahead.

Rolling his eyes, Gabriel knelt beside the unconscious speedster and channeled his otherworldly energy into the young man, carrying away his bruises and reviving his consciousness. “Did- did I get him?” Blur asked.

“Are you traumatized?” Bulwark asked Blur excitedly. “Are you all gay now? Do you suddenly understand wine tasting, what’s fashionably appropriate and crave butt-sex?”

In no time Blur was on his feet, fists balled and threatening to deck his titanic teammate. “Yeah… this just in, Speedy Gonzales: my skin stops bullets and you punch like a girl.”

“I could vibrate my molecules so fast that my fists go right through your impervious hide and attack your innards!”

“Yeah… except you can’t vibrate your frickin’ molecules! You’re not the frickin’ Flash, kid! You’re just Blur and you’re totally frickin’ failing Mister Black’s history class!”

“We’re supposed to be teammates!”

“No, you’re a temp, kid…” Bulwark stomped off, back towards the doors of the retirement castle and past the police officers erupting through the entrance. They lowered their guns in a moment of hesitation at the imposing sight of Bulwark’s approach and then trained them on him again. “I’m one of the good guys!” he thundered at them. “No-vu Vindicators? Eh, go read a newspaper…”

“Bulwark!” Frostbite thundered. He sighed then, knowing that as their advisor and field commander, it was his duty to inform the police of what had happened. Shaking his head, he walked up to them and left Oscillator to chase after Bulwark.

“Connor!” she exclaimed. “Connor, wait up!”

He spun around at the sound of his name, his jaw the very image of shock and agitation. “Oscillator! I’m in the uniform now!”

“So?” she asked, not quite sure what he was getting at.

“When we’re in the uniforms, we’re supposed to use codenames, so people don’t know who we really are.” He dropped his voice low as he looked around, as if expecting someone to be lurking around every corner. “What if someone found out I’m really Connor Crete?”

“Connor… you can’t change out of your rock form. The uniform doesn’t make a difference in your case…” She could tell by the look on his face he didn’t understand, so she humored him. “I’m sorry. I forgot. I almost exposed your secret identity. Can you ever forgive me?”

“Osc… you know you’re like, my best friend! Right after Christmas and Peter and Vinnie… oh, and Rumble. She’s hot so… she out-ranks everyone. Do you think she’ll find her dad and come back to the school soon?”

“Con- Bulwark? You’re rambling.” Once more, she sighed and shook her head at him. The lummox had to have had rocks for brains too. “Connor… we can’t keep doing this…”

“Yeah, I know… if people find out who we are-”

“I meant what happened back there with Steve- with Blur.”

“They never last long anyway,” Connor grumbled. “What’s the point in playin’ nice with the noobs if they’re gunna get demoted anyway?”

In the past few months, since the Department of SPB Affairs had recruited two of the New Vindicators to the ranks of the Vindicators and one of their number left to join the Illuminati- the remaining students had been broken apart and given new responsibilities: Hourglass, Frostbite, Fathom and Jetstream would act as advisors to a new generation of heroes.

They would coach the New Vindicators in the field.

It was up to the administration to look over the students and determine which showed enough promise to be promoted to the New Vindicators squadrons- four cells of Neo-Sapiens who were more specially trained than the other students. At the inception of such a training method Bulwark and Oscillator had been promoted to Frostbite’s squadron and in the past few months they had watched other New Vindicators come and go. Students were promoted and then demoted- proving themselves not yet ready to handle such a task as important as keeping the peace of New York City.

“Why is Blur even on this team? Tinnitus was way better than him!”

“Tinnitus? You liked being on the same team as Vincent Haynes? Vincent was…” She dropped her voice then. “…An idiot…” grumbled Oscillator, slightly out of character for the normally polite and friendly girl. Bulwark had never heard the redhead insult anyone. Normally, she had the annoying habit of finding a way to excuse everyone’s shortcomings.

“So is Blur.”

“Vincent’s Neo-Sapien power was super-hearing! He’s probably listening to us right now, Connor! No offense to Vincent but, it takes more than that! I mean, what if Michuru’s power had been super-hearing? How would that have put down Atlas?”

“Me-sha-roo - wait, who?”

“Michuru? The guy from all the history books?” She smiled at the confused expression on Bulwark’s face. “Defeated Atlas? Caused the White War? Used to teach at the school?” She sighed and shook her head. “I guess Steve isn’t the only one failing Mister Black’s history class, huh?”

“History happened. We need to forget about it and move on…”

“Like you’re doing right now, by holding onto the past?” She couldn’t contain the grin that his shocked expression now evoked. “Connor… all the people that Mister and Missus Goodman promoted… they weren’t right for the team. They weren’t ready to handle the responsibility of being a New Vindicator. Alfred Williams, Jacob Wright, Vincent Haynes… they weren’t ready. Maybe they will be. I hope they will be. But for now… we’ve been on a few missions with the Farouk twins and they’re working out fairly well. Maybe if we give Steve another chance, he’ll handle himself a lot better. Who knows, he might actually surprise you!”

“He’s an idiot though!”

“You’re no Nikolai Tesla yourself, mister.”

“Is- is that the Iron Curtain’s secret identity or something?”

Oscillator shook her head and then started walking back towards the group. “Well, is it!?” thundered Bulwark as he moseyed off after her.
To Be Continued... wrote:The diabolical plot of the power_gamers!
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 299

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:40 am

Chapter IV: White & Nerdy
Greg Gygax woke up and rolled over onto his stomach. His face pressed deep into his pillow as he fumbled about on the nightstand for his cell phone and managed to crack an eye open when he felt its familiar shape. At 1:37 in the afternoon, he opted to finally get out of bed and start his day.

He scratched at his stomach and smoothed the wrinkled T-shirt he had worn to bed over his moobs and protruding gut. The shirt was a size too small, but he loved the apparel Hot Topic offered, even if they didn’t accommodate men of his stature. Though the image of a d20 and the words, ‘That’s how I roll’ were stretched by his girth, he didn’t care about how he looked… and almost as little about how he smelt; he paused and smelt his arm pits, hesitated a moment and decided it might be for the best to give himself a quick spray down with Old Spice’s Body Spray. To many, it didn’t constitute a shower, but in Greg’s eyes any product that Bruce “This… is my BOOMSTICK!” Campbell put his name to could do anything.

“Wake up!” he snapped, stepping out of his room and into the living area. Jim Thompson, the youngest member of their group was already wide awake, sitting on the floor by the door, pouring ravenously over the Book of Exalted Deeds and the Masters of the Wild.

“Hey, Greg? Can I play a Forsaker with a Vow of Poverty?”

Greg rolled his eyes at the question. In the weeks since Jim had joined their gaming group, he had begun to pour over the books with a fervor unlike anything he had ever seen. Jim had found a way to turn the system on its head, destroying whatever balance 3.5 had brought to the game and finding more and more ways to make his GM pull his hair out.

“I’ll think about it,” was code for ‘no’. As Jim began to pout, Greg approached his pull out couch. Takeshi Neru and Kenan Elvis were sleeping there, a wall of cushions erected between them both in an effort to stave off any wise-cracks targeting their sexuality.

Garfield Richards opened his eyes and blinked the sleep out of them. “What time is it?” he asked, rocking forward to put the adjustable footstool down in the archaic chair.

“It’s almost two,” Greg grumbled, dropping down into his favorite armchair and discovering that the back cushion was missing. He found it in the floor, beside the mess of thin blankets Jim had used to make something resembling a bed. On cue, Jim seized it up and handed it over, an apologetic look on his face.

He knew he’d never get to play his impoverished forsaker now.

“Okay… I just wanted to go over the plan with everyone before tonight,” Greg said, opening his laptop and shifting through his bookmarks to find the webpage. “This is the target… it’s a fancy-schmancy restaurant- expensive food means the guests there are probably loaded. You guys know the score by now: sp4wn_p01nt ‘ports us in and then we rip it up, ‘port out when we get what we came for.”

“Dude,” Takeshi said, rolling his eyes as he slumped forward, “can’t you just hit Atlantic City again? Use your powers to-”

“At this point, no casino will let me through the doors. C’mon, this isn’t so hard. We’ve got a good system. We hit a random place in America- teleporting leaves no trail for the boys in blue to follow and we move quick enough to avoid meeting the Vindicators, all right? The only alternative is to go back to our nine-to-five world, all right?”

Only a few months ago did Greg and his players learn that Takeshi Neru was a Neo-Sapien, capable of teleportation. The Japanese-American was capable of crossing a great distance and taking an impressive amount of passengers along with him. He had hidden his uncanny gift simply because he wasn’t sure how his friends would react. Takeshi was a social reject in his own rite; he was a gamer renown for his skills as a sharpshooter across the world of X-Box Live. Though he loved the lavish world George Lucus had created, Star Wars Battlefront took a backseat to the Halo games and his mastery with dual-wielded magnums.

Only a fellow New Yorker, Zanza27, did he consider his equal in the online arena.

Still, squandering his time before his television left him somewhat socially inept. His life was a routine of waking up and going to work for eight hours, coming home to game for eight hours, then sleeping for eight hours before he’d do it all again. As much as he loved gaming, he was growing depressed. He knew something was missing.

He had found out what when he joined Greg’s gaming group. He didn’t want to lose that by exposing himself as a Neo-Sapien, but sometimes accidents happen.

One-by-one, the others came to him, trusting him with their secret as well. Soon, he laid all the cards on the table, exposing his three fellow players for what they were. He told them about Kenan’s ability to control fire and Garfield’s ability to absorb and redirect any energy. By the time he had told the group about Jim’s super-strength, Greg was ready to spill the beans concerning his own Neo-Sapien power.

“I manipulate the odds,” Greg had said shyly, knowing how damning this could be for him. He had been using his power for months on them- making it so that their die rolls were low at times and making his high. He didn’t use his powers all the time- he didn’t want them to become suspicious. Jim had been the first to notice how convenient his abilities were, considering he was their GM, but they had put it behind them soon enough. His campaigns were fun and imaginative. His stories contained twists and turns they never would have guessed.

Even a year after the scrawny enchanter, Donsia Gaskar, was exposed as a traitor to the kingdom because an elven princess had spurned his advances… his players still spoke of it as the greatest campaign they had ever played in.

When balanced against his ability to manipulate what the dice showed he still retained the trust of his players and for that he was very fortunate.

Of course, there were moments where the dice didn’t roll in their favor and they would blame him for using his powers on them. He told himself that sometimes they just needed to vent; they felt better for believing that fate had not turned her back on them but preferred to believe that his powers had simply blinded her.

“So what are you doing with your share of the score?” Jim asked, looking excitedly at the other members of their gaming group.

“Probably a few booster boxes of whatever the next expansion is,” Richard said with a shrug.

“I’m thinking a BIG screen,” said Takeshi, outlining the dimensions with his hands. “Flat-panel, high-definition… the best TV money can buy. Ganking noobs will be so sweet on that…”

“I’ve been thinking about getting a laptop,” Kenan said. “You know, so I can play WOW while we’re chucking dice.”

“I might put some back for college,” Jim said. The others eyed him oddly. Sometimes it was hard for the twenty-something men to relate to the seventeen-year-old who had only recently entered their fold. “I might go to that school where they teach you how to make video games. That would be pretty freakin’ sweet.”

“What about you, Greg? What are you doin’ with your cut?”

“I’m like the rest of you,” he began, leaning back and propping his feet up on the coffee table. “I put a little money back to live on and just nurse off of that. Thing is, I put more back than the rest of you. It lets me live more comfortably.”

“More comfortably?” Richard shook his head and chuckled softly, his barrel chest heaving as he laughed. “Greg, you still live with your mom and dad!”

“Step-dad!” Greg retorted. “This is mom’s fourth marriage… hardly my dad. And I don’t live with them! I pay her rent!”

“I’m just saying, Greg… you live in your parents’ basement. Call it what you want but… man, we make a couple thousand on these scores easy. It’s much better than when I was pouring concrete, breaking my back for a living. It gives me more time for the things that matter, you know? TCGs and miniatures, you know?”

“Yeah,” Takeshi laughed, “when we started doing this, I was able to quit my job at the insurance company and become a full-time spawn killer. My mom started to wonder where the money was coming from though. She- she actually thought I was dealing drugs or something. I had to move out… I told her I’m working as a claims adjuster now- that I just got promoted was all… I guess my point is… dude, doesn’t your mom ever get suspicious?”

“She respects my privacy,” Greg snorted.

“Dude! You spent your day working on our campaigns! I think she’s aware that we don’t pay you to let us play here…”

“I was planning to move out after a few more jobs!” Greg lied. “I just- I just wanted to have a little nest egg, you know? I just wanted to have something to fall back on…”

“It’s okay, man,” Kenan said sympathetically. “If my mom looked like your mom, I probably wouldn’t have moved out either.”

“Are you guys going to keep ragging me about my mom or are we gunna play?” Greg opened the PDF file sitting on his desktop, bringing up the module for their session. “I thought we’d try a new system… it’s d20 but… well, you only use a d20. I thought we’d try Mutants & Masterminds…”

As the others began figuring which of the archetypical heroes they would play, Jim made a discovery. “What the eff? There’s no hit points?”

“Yeah, this system doesn’t use hit points,” muttered Greg. The others reeled back in horror from his blaspheming.

“What sort of effing system doesn’t have hit points!?”
To Be Continued... wrote:School is in session.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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New Vindicators, Chapter 300

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:09 pm

Chapter V: I Summon You
Gabrielle Farouk dropped to her knees and immediately her brother’s arms were around her. “It’s okay,” he whispered to her in their native tongue. Though they had spent the last six years of their lives in America, they had been born and raised in Egypt. “I’ve got you,” Gabriel said in Arabic. “It’s fine…”

“Teleporting… Bulwark… takes a lot… out of…”

“Shhh, it’s fine. We’re back at the school now.”

Though he couldn’t understand what they were saying, Frostbite smiled to the siblings and looked around. The young Nephilim had managed to teleport their squadron back to the New Vindicators Academy of America- setting them smack dab in the middle of the quad. The sun shined down on the campus situated on the northern point of Roosevelt Island. The walls of the campus formed something of a guard from onlookers; a boater couldn’t casually look up and see the more obvious displays of their Neo-Sapien abilities…

…So long as the students kept close to the ground. It was a difficult thing to get many of them to do; those with the ability fly felt anything but the air as an alien atmosphere.

Still, at their sudden arrival, all activity on the grounds came to a grinding halt. Peter Errons missed catching the football Vincent Haynes had thrown to him and Monique Arbors stopped plucking the strings of her Guild. All eyes were on the five young people and their advisor as they appeared with a flash of blue energy.

“Hi,” Frostbite said, nervously waving to their audience. It was an awkward moment for them, and one that failed to hold Blur back.

“Everett!” he exclaimed, running towards the young African-American boy watching the suited heroes in awe. In no time, Blur was beside him, his mask tugged off to reveal the face of Steve Potter, the newest student promoted to the New Vindicators. “Everett! I got to go on my first mission! I totally took down this guy with weird guitar powers!”

Bulwark’s fists began to tremble as he heard the rookie’s boastings.

“Yeah! His power came from his guitar so I took it away! Then I used my super-speed to take it apart, piece by piece! It was awesome, Everett! You had to be there…”

Everett McGee sighed and shook his head. As much as he would have liked to have joined the New Vindicators, he suffered from epilepsy and his geokinetic powers surged out of control whenever he had a seizure. Medication was helping to control that, but it was still enough to make him a liability to any prospective teams.

Steve’s eye caught Cheyenne Ford and immediately he was transplanted to the space before her. “Like the uniform, Cheyenne? I was hoping for something in red but… they said only full-fledged Vindicators pick their uniform. Frostbite says I’ll probably be a Vindicator before the semester’s out- I’m that good. Kinda cool huh? Do you think maybe that you might wanna probably go out with me sometime? I could wear the uniform, even if it is an ugly color…”

“Easy there, big fella,” Oscillator said, putting a gentle hand on Bulwark’s shaking fists. He didn’t register the embrace- his form denied him a sense of touch; he didn’t feel any such sensation. “Don’t go killing newbie just yet…”

“You know what I miss most about being on a squad?” Bulwark and Oscillator turned around, while the Farouk twins quietly slipped away. Gabriel was one of Vincent Haynes’ usual victims; if the senior wasn’t bullying Gabriel, he was tormenting Roland Birkmeyer, a member of Blur and Bulwark’s graduating class. “The costumes…” Vincent said, his eyes slithering up Oscillator’s body. “And the way they… they… Eh, screw being descriptive- hey, Osc, wanna do it?” He emphasized his words with a pelvic thrust.

Oscillator rolled her eyes while Vincent’s jock friends laughed. The senior class was currently among the smallest class- most of the students had been killed almost a year ago in the Massacre. Vincent Haynes’ natural athleticism allowed him to survive the onslaught wrought by their teachers. Still, he didn’t owe his survival to his physical endurance alone; it was his natural ability coupled with his Neo-Sapien powers that allowed him to stand before them now. His uncanny ears had let him detect any oncoming attack and rendered him almost impossible to sneak up on.

Peter Errons and Mort Norris were typically in the jock’s wake. Mort was a member of the freshman class and possessed the Neo-Sapien power to breathe underwater. Representing the juniors was Peter, capable of mimicking any physical ability he had seen ever seen.

It was an ability Doctor Howell had termed as ‘reflexive memory’.

“Hey, Peter!” exclaimed Bulwark, ready to challenge Peter’s Neo-Sapien ability once again. “Tuesday, thirteenth of July, two-thousand and four… What did you have for breakfast?”

“For the millionth time, that’s not how my power works!”

“Dude… you frickin’ suck at using your powers. No wonder you’re not one of the No-voo Vindicators.”

“No-voo?” asked Peter.

“Yeah, well, Frostbite and Rumble… they were the New Vindicators and calling ourselves the New NEW Vindicators would be kind of stupid so I think we should be the No-voo Vindicators. See, it’s Spanish for ‘new’, which is frickin’ sweet and it’s kosher and stuff cause Mexico doesn’t have a New Vindicators Academy!”

“No-voo?” Mort Norris mulled over Bulwark’s odd mannerisms and managed to figure out what he meant. “Are you trying to say ‘nuevo’?”

“Yeah, no-voo! That’s what I keep saying!”

“You’re pathetic,” Peter said, smirking and shaking his head at the craggy titan before him.

“At least I can remember what I had for breakfast!”

“My power doesn’t let me remember things!”

“Then what’s the point of a frickin’ reflexive memory!?”

“They’re hopeless,” Vincent said, smiling sweetly at Oscillator, “but maybe there’s hope for us, Osc. C’mon… let me help you get that uniform off…”

“No thanks, Vincent. Connor?” Bulwark whipped around at Oscillator’s parting words. “I’m gunna go do some homework. Grab some dinner with us later?”

“Can I come?” Vincent asked.

“Yeah, can Vinnie come?”

“I’d rather not…” she said shyly.

“What about me?” Peter asked.

“Not you!” Bulwark thundered. “Not until you tell me what you had for breakfast in July of oh-four!”

Laughing at her teammate’s antics, Oscillator used her abilities to fly across the quad and catch up to the fleeing Farouk twins. She landed gently by their side and immediately began walking by their side. “Hey… are you okay, Gabby?”

“It’s ‘Gabrielle’,” Gabriel growled at the girl. “And she’s going to be fine. I’m just taking her back to the dorms. Even my healing abilities can’t keep staving off the fatigue; she needs to rest.”

“No problem,” Oscillator said. “Hey, Bulwark and I are gunna grab some dinner later and I wanted to see if you guys would come. You know, I thought maybe we could all get to know-”

“No,” Gabriel intoned darkly. “Go bother someone else.”

Despite how offended she was, Oscillator couldn’t keep herself from cheerily waving after them. “Offer is open anytime, you two!” she called. “Take it easy, Gabby- oops! I mean Gabrielle! I hope you feel better soon! Thanks for everything today, you two!”

Frostbite shook his head at the girl as he continued his way to the main building to give his report. She couldn’t keep herself from being friendly to everyone- including people who were nothing but rude to her. For a moment, his heart went out to her; he considered running off after her- not to console the girl. No, she wouldn’t need consoling; she was perpetually upbeat and took nothing to heart.

He put her out of his head as he slipped into the school. Poking his head into the offices of the administrators, he rationalized that Mister and Missus Goodman were in the sublevels. With haste he made his way down towards the War Room and stumbled his way into a meeting between the headmasters and another advisor.

“-could be of use to you if you’d consider…” Missus Goodman trailed off at the sight of Frostbite, looking embarrassed for barging in.

Miss Mist appeared only slightly annoyed that he had interrupted her. Alexandra Hawk looked as though she couldn’t have cared any less. Coach Crag, on the other hand, appeared ready to explode at the intrusion. “Frosty!” Coach Crag snapped at the sight of him. “Didn’t you learn long ago when you walked in on your mommy and daddy doing the no-no cha-cha and suddenly lose whatever desire for the fairer sex that you might actually have possessed once that sometimes it’s good to knock?”

“I like girls,” Frostbite mumbled.

“I’ll inform the men,” Coach Crag said dryly. “Does this cameo have a point or were you just curious how many blood vessels would burst in my head if you decided to interrupt us? It’s five, Chilly-Willy; five burst blood vessels, ah-ah-ah.”

Frostbite could help himself and laughed. “You sounded like the Count on Sesame Street.”

“Very nice. Your knowledge of all things Henson is outweighed only by how utterly useless and oblivious you are. Now go away.”

“I just came to say that my squadron took down this guy with a guitar and-”

“And we’ll be sure to put a gold star next to your name on the chart, right beside the one I gave you yesterday for pooping in the potty like a big boy, but right now we’re in the middle of something else and I would re-he-heal-lee appreciate it if you would go push someone else to binge drinking now, mmm’kay?”

Frostbite slipped out of the War Room and mumbled a passive-aggressive comeback to the empty hallway before wondering whether or not he should wait for their meeting to be finished. He knew what they were discussing: Fathom and Jetstream still lacked a squadron. Thus far, a handful of students had been deemed to be ready for the full training the New Vindicators offered. A few months ago, they had approached Hourglass and Frostbite- the two advisors with the most combat experience –with the first few students to be promoted.

Hourglass had been handed the three de-aged heroes. The European Academy demanded custody of Naomi Brewington, the young woman known as Crusader, while Nikelovich Volkov was sought after by the Asian Academy. On some level, Frostbite understood it; Crusader was a proper Englishwoman by all counts and the Iron Curtain was almost as symbolic of Russia as the hammer and star were. Still, America’s custody of William Loder remained undisputed.

It had been a bizarre meeting, for Magnus Loder to meet his great-grandfather, now five years his junior. Though William Loder was renowned for fighting alongside the Vindicators on their maiden mission while still in his teen years, the de-aging process had not reverted him to that responsible young champion history books told the tales of. Instead, William Loder was a mischievous young man who could be described as ‘hormones in tennis shoes’. A number of things were prioritized above becoming the hero he had once been and getting laid was at the top of that list.

Pulling off his uniform in the locker rooms that lined the sides of the Wreck Room, Ben Altair began to think about some of the students at the New Vindicators Academy and their sexual experience. With most of the young men, it was a challenge to determine how truthful they were in boasting their exploits. Some were so casual about it, he couldn’t help but believe them.

Such thoughts evoked a dejected sigh from Ben. It was depressing to hear how young men younger than him had more sexual experience than he did. He was still a virgin himself, though he couldn’t figure out why.

It wasn’t that Ben was saving himself for marriage or any noble ideal like that. That Ben was still a virgin defied logic, he realized. Granted, he had only ever had one girlfriend- but Katie Merrick had a reputation for being fast and easy. There was a long line of men in her past, but her party girl ways had changed when she started dating Ben.

Of course, she had experienced a relapse in their time apart. After high school, the two had broken up- both going separate ways. Ben was determined to use his Neo-Sapien abilities to leave the world a better place than when he entered it. Katie’s only preoccupation was college and it was there that she had had a drunken one-night stand with a man who’s face she couldn’t even picture.

That encounter had left her pregnant and that had lead to her being disowned by her father. With nowhere left to turn, she returned to Ben’s arms.

Thirty-seven weeks pregnant and her hormones were out of control. She was doing her best to entice Ben, but he was reluctant. He felt like he was in a catch-22: he didn’t want to have sex with her out of fear for the baby and she translated his unwillingness to make love to her as being an effect of her physical appearance. Their nightly routine was her attempting to coerce him into having sex, only to end in him trying to convince her that he did not find her repulsive.

Still, Valentine’s Day had been yesterday and he had missed spending the evening with Katie thanks to a brawl in Brooklyn where he had led Oscillator and the Farouk twins against Thuggy Thuggerton and Trigger Happy. Bulwark had arrived twenty minutes after the pair had been incapacitated, causing Frostbite to encourage Gabrielle to push her teleportation abilities to transport their massive hitter.

He had promised Katie a romantic evening, sans any love making. Reluctantly she went along with it. How could she not when he had managed to wrangle reservations for the Ambassador Grill on such short notice…
To Be Continued... wrote:Ben and Katie's quiet diner gets loud.
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by smashed247 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:58 pm

Yay! Finally. I've been waiting for this fight since the existance of the power_gamers was revealed. :D

Michuru81
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New Vindicators, Chapter 301

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:07 pm

Chapter VI: IMITATION OF LIFE [Part I]
“We shouldn’t have come,” grumbled Katie, her eyes anxiously darting about as she took in all the majesty of the Ambassador Grill. The ambiance was almost blinding as her eyes glided across the black and white marble, the chrome, the glass and then fell on her reflection in the mirror-clad hall. “I look like a cow,” she pouted. “Ben, maybe we should just go home. We could order a pizza or get some Chinese or-”

“That’s the thing,” Ben said, an ecstatic grin plastered across his face. “Katie… this place has everything. We’re in the shadow of the United Nations and… well, this restaurant caters to nearly every culture known to man. This may be the one place on earth that you can order whatever cuisine you’re craving today.” He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and pulled her ever-so-gently into the posh atmosphere. “And you look beautiful.”

“Everyone is staring at me already. I can feel them just-”

“They’re staring because they can’t believe how beautiful you are.”

“You’re stretching, Ben.” Her lips curved into an even deeper frown that proved him wrong: she could indeed pout more. “No, I’m the one stretching. I’m stretching this dress, not to mention my flesh.” She glared down at her bulging stomach and dropped her voice to a whisper. “You better appreciate what I’m putting my body through for you, Neige.”

She managed to reign in her depression as they were seated at a modest table- Ben ensured she sat with her back to the mirror behind them. As soon as their hostess dismissed herself, Katie’s doubts came bubbling back in a new form: “Are you sure we can afford this, Ben?” she whispered, hoping that those seated around them didn’t think anything less of them for their monetary aptitude. “I mean… look... Twenty-eight dollars for ‘smoked salmon salad’. That’s nearly thirty bucks for a salad. A SALAD! We could run through a Wendy’s and get that for a dollar plus tax.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Ben said. “Katie… this- this evening is about you and me. It’s a belated Valentine’s Day- a day reserved for love. I mean, I disagree with it. I don’t think you should reserve a day for this kind of thing. I think if you love someone, you try to show them that every waking moment of every day of your life. Katie… I just want you to know how much I love you and that I dream about spending the rest of my life with you.”

He reached across the table and took her hand in his. “I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else.”

“Not even Cassandra?”

And Ben pulled back his hand as he fell back into his chair. “Katie… we’ve been over this… Can’t we just…”

“It’s just that… she’s so pretty, Ben. I’m just saying, I’m a heterosexual woman and even I think she’s hot.”

“I’m not prize myself.”

“So you’re saying you’d be with her if you were in her league?”

“I’m saying you’re not with me because of how I look. You love me for who I am and it’s the same for me, Katie. Katie… even if you… even if you gained two-hundred pounds, went bald and lost a foot to diabetes… I’ve still think you were the most beautiful woman in the world.

“I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Whatever,” she said, blowing out her golden-red bangs and smoothing the black dress she had managed to find. It was a difficult thing to find maternity clothes that could be worn in such an environment. No matter how business casual the dress code was, there was something implied by any eatery that offered a blue-cheese speckled filet mignon. They expected more and what they expected didn’t exactly cater to pregnant women.

Losing herself in the crimson veins of her garment she couldn’t help but begin to smile. The boy loved her. He loved her and he had take her to a place right out of a fairy tale. She tried to look at her swollen feet- half expecting to find herself clad in glass slippers.

“I love you so much,” she whispered. “It’s… it’s humbling that you were created just to be with me.”

He smiled at her and warmth flooded over him. She was intoxicating. He couldn’t imagine being with anyone but her.

It was a perfect moment and life looks for those moments. It seeks them out and it seizes them and shakes them. Life has a way of violating moments like that, perverting them as if to remind happy, contented people that they’re not in charge- that they don’t call the shots.

Life had summoned the five young men clad in their costumes and ready with their codenames. “Listen up!” the young man in archaic armor from England’s past stepped forward. “We are the power_gamers and as of this moment, we are in control of this room!”

Ben’s eyes went over the other four. He wasn’t exceptionally versed in video game lore, but he had spent enough time with Ryan Mueller and his friends to recognize Master Chief, the protagonist of the Halo video game franchise. He seemed to stand in the midst of them- it was a tactic not lost on Ben. Given their sudden appearance, he was willing to bet on teleportation. Given their positioning, this one must have been their transporter.

Behind him stood a man dressed as a minotaur. While Ben recognized the mythological beast, he failed to know that this man was dressed specifically as the Hurloon Minotaur, a staple creature from the collectible card game, Magic: the Gathering.

To the teleporter’s left stood a young man clad in the uniform of the Starship Enterprise, complete with Vulcan ears. To Master Chief’s right was an African-American wearing simple a T-shirt and jeans, though his identity was obscured by a mask of the King, haunting mascot of Burger King.

“Way I figure, you have to be loaded to eat in a place like this!” the man in the armor announced. “You’re all going to empty your wallets and purses and put all your cash, jewelry, watches… whatever you’ve got on you, it goes in the bag!” The King and Spock began making their way around from table to table and the diners began to comply.

Katie shuddered as they made their way towards them, not from the fear of what was happening, but from the sudden change in temperature. Almost immediately she understood what it meant…

She turned to Ben, her breath misting out in a trail behind her, and watched as their peaceful evening out faded away…
To Be Continued... wrote:The New Vindicators versus the power_gamers
Last edited by Michuru81 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:24 pm, 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 302

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:09 pm

Chapter VII: IMITATION OF LIFE [Part II]
“Call Oscillator and have her get Gabrielle to teleport my team here,” Ben said as he watched the power_gamers sweep the room.

“Wait for them,” she said, fumbling in her purse for her cell phone. “You can’t take them by yourself, Ben…”

“I know,” he muttered. He wasn’t that good of a fighter, but he was compensating with raw power. “I’m not going to get in too deep. I’m just going to distract them until the others get here…”

“Ben-”

“Katie, I have to. What happens when some stubborn old man won’t give them his knock-off Rolex? What happens when some lady refuses to hand over her grandmother’s locket? They’re not violent yet but…” He didn’t want to think about what this could escalate into. He had to divert their attention before things turned.

In an instant frost covered his body, providing him some degree of protection against the worst these scoundrels could provide. He practically leapt from his seat, aiming his arms down to generate a wave of ice that carried him higher and higher and let him navigate the room.

“It’s one of the New Vindicators!”

“It’s just one!” urged the minotaur. “Keep your head sp4wn_p01nt! We knew we’d have to deal with a super at some point!”

“Spawn Point?” Frostbite asked as he surfed nearer the young man clad in the Sparta armor. “What kind of name is Spawn Point?”

“Like… in video games… It’s written in l33t!” the teleporter boomed, off-put that his name wasn’t as respected as he imagined it to be. “You know, like… with a four for the ‘A’ and then a zero-one for the ‘O’ and ‘I’.”

“Wow… you really lost the codename lottery, huh?”

“ORLY?” spa4n_p01nt asked. Suddenly, he disappeared, reappearing behind Frostbite, riding along on his arctic sled. “You should hear what we named Jimmy.”

The young man clad in the Star Trek uniform ran forward as spa4n_p01nt knocked Frostbite down from his platform. He grabbed the arctic warrior and immediately left him pinned beneath his brutish strength. “Hi,” he said dejectedly. “They call me n00b… on account of me being a stupid n00b.”

Frostbite struggled to get up, but n00b’s strength was too much for him. His only hope was that Gabrielle brought Bulwark soon- the craggy titan would put this young man’s strength to shame. In his writhing he was surprised to watch their leader- the one in the armor –reach into his belt pouch and produce a handful of four-sided dice. More curiously, he threw them- scattering them about the floor. “You have, uhn, got to be kidding me!” grunted Frostbite. “What was the point in that!?”

“I’ve always thought that d4’s make for super special awesome caltrops,” grumbled the armored man. Just then, where he had scattered the dice, there was a blue flash and the Farouk twins appeared.

“Owe!” Gabriel snapped, looking down to find his feet riddled with plastic pyramids. “What the- who threw left these- these- what are these!?”

“Dice!” Frostbite called to them. “Don’t ask… I think we’re dealing with five deranged gamers…” Then it hit him that only the Farouk twins had appeared. “Where are the others?”

“Hmm, well, let’s see,” muttered Gabriel, counting off his fingers. “Bulwark is fat and exhausts my sister to teleport, Oscillator is annoyingly cheerful and Blur is useless.”

Frostbite’s jaw dropped, which, from where he laid upside down, didn’t mean much. “So you didn’t bring them!?”

“Your heifer of a girlfriend called us after contacting that twit of a girl, Oscillator. We came to save you!”

Just then, a jet of flame, commanded by the man clad in the King mask, blazed past the twins. Gabrielle used her abilities to teleport herself out of harm’s way. Her brother was not as fortunate; Gabriel took the brunt of the flame spurt.

The smell of burnt hair filled the air and the young man staggered on the spot. His opponent wasted no time in sending another blast of flame his way, striking him again and again. “Feel the burn of RedHott315!” the man laughed as he let loose attack after attack.

Gabrielle teleported behind him, ready to take him down with a sneak attack, but her moves were anticipating by sp4wn_p01nt. Just as she appeared behind his teammates, he appeared behind her. “I never met another teleporter!” he said, grabbing her from behind and teleporting her to the space above a table. Gabrielle winced as his hand squeezed on her breast as he rode her into the ground. “You’re not bad looking either. Are you Saudi Arabian or Pakistani or something?”

Not far from where the teleporters struggled with each other, Gabriel was able to shake off his stun and focus himself on the task at hand. His eyes began to glow with the blue energy he and his sister wielded and his hands were soon wreathed with that strange power as he touched his body.

RedHott315 watched in amazement as Gabriel’s wounds were healed by this aspect of his hellfire abilities. “My name is Gabriel Farouk,” the young Nephilim intoned, walking slowly towards his opponent. “I and my sister are from the great land of Egypt.” He withstood the blast of flames and continued, unhindered by the assault. “We are proud of who we are. We are proud of where we come from. More so, we are proud of what we can do…” It was that reasoning that kept the twins from taking a codename, claiming they had nothing to hide and nothing to protect. “While Gabrielle’s hellfire allows her to reject space, mine allow me to reject time. With a touch I can deny the injuries that you inflict and just as easily…” He reached out then and put a glowing hand over RedHott315’s face. “…I can reject the time your body has taken to heal itself.”

Once, in the fourth grade, Kenan Elvis got into a fight with Micah Walters. Micah had gotten a lucky punch as the playground attendant began to break up the brawl. He had broken Kenan’s nose and blackened both eyes.

When he was in the seventh grade his father gave in to his mother’s nagging about the leaky roof. Kenan had quickly been recruited to assist in the process that was re-shingling the roof up until he had fallen off the garage and broken his arm in two places. Though the presence of a cast made him think his birthday that year would be terrible, it had garnered enough sympathy from Cynthia Whitman. His first kiss was the greatest birthday present he ever could have received.

When he was seventeen he had gone out to celebrate the last day of school with Rodney Rybolt and Duane Nelson. Duane had wrapped his cherry red Chevy Nova around a tree and Kenan escaped with a mild concussion and requiring only eight stitches.

They were only pains and old injuries but at Gabriel’s touch they all returned. His right arm broke in two places and blood tricked down the inside of his mask, courtesy of a cut across his forehead and a broken nose.

“With a mere touch I can corrode away all of the time your body’s spent bouncing back from every bump and bruise, every cut and scrape you ever once received.” Gabriel was hardly as strong as some of his teammates, but his frail form was enough to knock RedHott315 out with a single punch, given how softened his body now was. “In what universe did you think you and I were on even ground?”

A shadow spilled over Gabriel Farouk then and he turned to find the man dressed a minotaur looming over him. “Let me guess… Mazeman?”

“PWNAGE,” the man intoned, decking Gabriel and sending the youth to his knees with his punch.

“You look like a moron,” Gabriel muttered as he climbed to his feet, “and you punch like a girl.” Suddenly a blur of motion separated them. It caught Gabriel by surprise until he realized what it meant. Oscillator had been called before the twins. She must have gotten word to Blur, the newest member of Frostbite’s squadron of New Vindicators.

“He’s mine!” Blur proclaimed as he came to a sudden halt. “This will be over quicker than when I dealt with Stratocaster!”

“What?” Gabriel asked. “You’re going to knock yourself out even faster? This I have to see…”

Blur became a whirlwind of fists then, striking at PWNAGE with everything he had, as fast as he could. The man in the minotaur suit simple stood back, his arms folded across his barrel chest as Blur continued to hammer away at him. “Keep it up, kid. It tickles.”

“So what’s this guy’s power?” Blur asked between rounds of volleys. “Super-strength? Impenetrable flesh?”

“I ain’t the tank,” PWNAGE said with a quirky grin. “I’m the blaster, actually…” Raising his hands up, he unleashed a blast of force that rocketed towards nothing in particular. Gabriel rolled his eyes, ready to mock the man for his accuracy, when he watched sp4wn_p01nt teleport in front of the blast, using a beat Gabrielle as his shield.

“Gabreille!” he screamed, no longer content to watch from the sidelines. “You’re going to regret ever harming my sister you oaf!” he snapped as he positioned himself besides Blur. His eyes began to glow again and hellfire enveloped his hands as he prepared himself to attack. Still, he hated the thought of working together with Blur, no matter how inviting the idea of corroding away PWNAGE’s endurance to allow Blur’s rapid attacks to count for more may have been.

“Let’s do this!” Blur proclaimed boldly. “You’re going down!”

“Could you BE anymore cliché?” Gabriel asked. Still, he watched as a blur of motion shattered the span between him and PWNAGE and then moved to make his move. His hands were ready to undo the body’s natural ability to heal itself, evoking old injuries long forgotten across PWNAGE’s form. He didn’t expect to step on one of the dice; somehow the minute rogue had made it this far from the others and caused him to trip and catch himself on Blur.

Blur’s ears began to ring, bringing the oldest injury to the surface first and reminding the speedster of his first battle this morning. Soon a mild concussion came over him, gained last week during a Wreck Room exercise. Before long he doubled over, the pain from his removed appendix flaring up mysteriously.

PWNAGE took advantage of their terrible misfortune and brought his fist up into Blur’s stomach. He wasn’t moving to punch but rather to blast him from a point blank range.

The energy knocked Blur back and sent him sailing through the air, landing down on the field of dice and leaving him unmoving. “Dun-nuh-nuh dun-dut-duh-duh-duh-DUH!” hummed PWNAGE, attempting to recreate the victory fanfare from the Final Fantasy games.

It took every ounce of restrain he possessed not to tea-bag him.

“You gain five-hundred XP!” laughed the man in the old-style armor. He kept a careful distance from the battle, opting to use his abilities from a distance to better his companion’s odds while hindering their opponents’. “You find a rusty dagger!”

Oscillator flew through the doors then, blasting the marble floors before Gabriel. “You crazy-” He trailed off, unsure of what insult would do his hatred justice.

“Get away from him!” she snapped, angry that Gabriel would have coordinated an assault without three of their teammates. “I aimed for the floor to give you the chance to fall back!”

“I can take him!” Gabriel laughed, the energy building around him. “I still have another trick…” Throwing his hands out and slamming his palms together, he sent a blast of hellfire energy through the air and hammering against PWNAGE.

“Stop it!” Oscillator thundered, hovering in the air and blasting n00b off of Frostbite. “Don’t you get it yet?”

PWNAGE withstood the worse assault Gabriel could offer and channeled the energy into his fist. There, the energy he commanded gathered around him- fueling the blasts he occasionally unleashed. Gabriel understood then that his power wasn’t simply that energy blast… He absorbed energy- be it hellfire energy, electricity or the kinetic energy that fueled a fist…

He absorbed all energy and redirected it through those beams.

Cursing in his native tongue, Gabriel went back to his original plan: resurrecting old wounds. As he charged forward, Gabrielle teleported and sp4wn_p01nt looked around, as if trying to understand where she had gone.

“Forget fighting him,” Frostbite snapped to Gabriel. “Concern yourself with Blur! Get him back in the fight!”

“Why? So he can knock himself out again?”

“Just do it, Gabriel!”

Gabriel moved to hustle to Blur’s side but PWNAGE wasn’t as dumb as he seemed. He grabbed Gabriel by the shoulder and threw him back- putting himself between the two teammates. “You’re a healer… there’s no way you’re getting close to that kid.”

Gabriel charged him, hands extended to seize him and work his magic. Still, PWNAGE had already seen what Gabriel’s touch did to RedHott315 and he was determined not to share in his fate. “Not happening, junior!” he laughed, dodging Gabriel’s glowing touch and blasting him back with his own energy. He had to be sparing with it though… he didn’t have much left from Blur’s frenzied assault.

Behind them Frostbite’s snare was holding sp4wn_p01nt in place. From working with Gabrielle he had learned how her teleportation worked… she teleported whatever she was touching- meaning her powers allowed her to displace sections of the landscape if she wished it. While she didn’t teleport the ground, she still lacked a precise enough control that made it so she couldn’t teleport out of her clothes. “If I was grappled, I couldn’t teleport out of the hold,” she had admitted to him reluctantly. The Farouk twins frowned on weakness. “Same for your ice-bonds… If you used your powers to bind me, any attempt I made to teleport would probably result in my taking them with me.”

sp4wn_p01nt hadn’t figured that out yet. He struggled and wiggled in the hold, trying his best to slither out while he teleported madly about the room. Each time he disappeared and reappeared, he was still bound in the ice.

“What’s more,” Gabrielle had told him, “the more weight I take with me, the more taxing it is to use my powers.”

Frostbite continued to stack on the snare- layering the ice to increase the difficulty of escaping as well as the density. Before long, sp4wn_p01nt’s teleports were wearing him out and leaving his breathing labored.

“Forget the fire witch!” the man in the armored cried out. “Go break sp4wn_p01nt free, you stupid n00b!”

Oscillator continued to fly just out of n00b’s reach, sending blasts of radiation at him. n00b ran for his trapped teammate, having a better idea than the one his teammate had offered. He didn’t need to waste the effort of breaking apart the ice- not when he could pit their opponents against each other.

Oscillator followed him, still sending searing blasts at his tail. The n00b hurried to sp4wn_p01nt, trying to time her blasts as he dove. Oscillator sent out a blast and was surprised when n00b rolled to the side, redirecting her blast to strike sp4wn_p01nt and obliterate his arctic prison.

He couldn’t have done it without their leader’s ability to distort the odds and he gave credit where credit was due. “Thank the GM,” n00b said to sp4wn_p01nt as the two were teleported away from Frostbite and Oscillator. “It was his idea to get you out in the first place…”

“I am the escape route,” the teleporter grumbled. “And at the moment, I’d have to suggest now as a good time to cut and run.”

The GM stepped down from the table he had been manipulating the fight from, standing beside the duo and nodding in agreement. “It’s a stalemate now, but this could get worse quick…”

As if on cue, the area was distorted by a blue glow. Gabrielle appeared, her arms around Bulwark. “Brought the back up,” she said, managing to stay on her feet. Her accuracy wasn’t all that was improving, Frostbite realized; her capacity was increasing too.

Bulwark looked over the three closest to him- from the armor-clad GM to sp4wn_point’s COSplaying as Master Chief and the n00b’s Enterprise uniform. At the sheer sight of their opponents, he couldn’t help but to erupt with laughter. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me! I mean, this is worse than the bad British guy with guitar powers… What’s next? Can we fight a guy who’s power is Super-Ventriloquism? That would just complete the experience…”

“Shut up and hit things,” Gabrielle mumbled.

“Music to my ears!” Bulwark laughed as he reached out and grabbed a surprised GM.

“You- you don’t have ears…”

Bulwark’s eyes widened then and his jaw dropped at Gabrielle’s revelation. “I- I don’t!?” he said sarcastically. “Oh, God… I’m a horrible freak. Who’ll ever love me now?” He threw back his head then, in preparation for a head butt. His rock-hard cranium dented in the visor of the plumed helmet as well as wrapping the metal around the GM’s head so that it couldn’t be taken off easily. “Why are you even dressed like this?” he asked him. “Are you s’posed to be a knight or something?”

“I’m a 13-th level paladin,” growled the GM, doing everything in his power to break from Bulwark’s death hug. He could feel the armor closing tighter around his chest.

“Really?” Bulwark asked as he grabbed the man by the legs, squeezing the greaves just as he had the helmet and breastplate. “Cause you look like a +2 mace of disruption to me.” Swinging him up, he slammed the GM into the ground, stunning the man inside the armor and cracking the floor under him. “Yeah… that’s definitely disrupting…”

n00b grabbed the GM’s hands and attempted to pull his friend from Bulwark’s grip. Bulwark managed to hold the GM with one hand- swatting n00b away with the other. It was then that sp4wn_p01nt grabbed the GM and attempted to teleport him away. “What are you even supposed to be?” Bulwark asked, pulling sp4wn_p01nt off of him and hurling him off to the side. “I mean, Spock I know but… I dunno. Are you like, a Starship Trooper or something?”

With a shrug he swung the GM by his legs into the wall. sp4wn_p01nt made it to his feet, stunned from the massive blow Bulwark had dealt him. “Screw it,” he snapped. “Let’s get out of here!”

PWNAGE blasted at Oscillator, RedHott315’s unconscious body draped over his free arm. “What about the GM? We can’t leave Greg behind!”

“You see a way of taking tall, dark and rocky?” sp4wn_p01nt thundered.

n00b hesitated for a moment; he didn’t like the idea of leaving Greg behind, but they didn’t have much of a choice. The New Vindicators were not something the pety band of super-powered crooks were prepared to deal with. As the muscle of their team, n00b was the best chance of saving the GM from Bulwark and he had already failed to do so.

Ashamed of himself, he grabbed hold of sp4wn_p01nt and the four abandoned their leader to retreat…
To Be Continued... wrote:The fate of the GM, Coach Crag's fears, Frostbite's determination, the return of several old villains and...

...Drew...
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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 303

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:37 pm

Chapter VIII: DOA
“…at which point the one they called ‘n00b’ grabbed their transporter and made their escape.”

Patrick Goodman, the headmaster of the New Vindicators Academy of America, blinked in surprise as he stared at the report Ben had just fed him. “And their names were really spelt with numbers?”

“Yeah…” said Ben, unsure how to really explain l33t speak to a man rapidly approaching his sixties.

“That has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. It’s like when Prince decided his name was a symbol. I mean, for Bast’s sake Frosty… who comes up with this stuff?” The man shrugged and slapped down another manila folder before the young hero. “In any case, your little adventure tonight has an epilogue now. The one guy your team managed to take down, the GM? His real name is Greg Gygax and just like you assumed, he’s a Neo-Sapien who manipulates probability.

“He’s going to be transferred to San Francisco as soon as he’s stable. He’s in the ICU right now. Reports say he suffered spinal damage when Connor opted to use him as a cudgel. He’ll never walk again but with some therapy he might be able to regain the use of his hands.”

“Bulwark did… sir, that…” Ben shook his head. “We’re supposed to be the heroes right? Bulwark just crippled a guy and you’re talking like we’re just sweeping it under the rug.”

“I’m taking this very seriously,” Mister Goodman said. “At the moment, the only one on your squadron worth anything is Oscillator. I’m just saying, Bulwark is too dense for his own good. He’s an idiot who barely knows his own strength. Gabriel Farouk is cocky and arrogant. It’s like the second coming of Deimos.” Ben managed to bite his tongue and keep from saying that someone ELSE he knew fit that bill as well. “His sister is coming along fine but… well, she’s so distant and withdrawn. Then there’s Blur… don’t even get me started on him…”

“Not to mention all the students who’ve been promoted to the New Vindicators, just to be demoted,” Ben added.

For a moment, Mister Goodman simply stared off into space, thinking back on days long gone. They were days when he was a young man. They were days when he had more hair and less of a belly. They were days when he wore the black and white of the Vindicators. “When I was a Vindicator, I used to be terrified… absolutely terrified… I mean, when I first realized what had happened- what I was –I thought about everyone who had come before me and… I thought about Uncle Sam and Crusader, Lodestone and Captain Canada and Walkabout and… and I don’t mind telling you, Frosty… I was intimidated by their legacy. It was such a sobering thing to see that I had some massive shoes to fill and… and believe me, I have a gigantic ego. I mean, if I had modesty, I’d have it all I… I piss excellence, Frosty. But the thing is… to this day, I don’t think I ever came close to filling those shoes. Oh, sure- I made a difference. I made a difference but… I was nothing compared to those legends.

“It was part of why I never cared too much for Michuru. Here’s a guy who puts on the uniform and he can’t even control his powers. Yet he’s going to go down in history for being the one who stopped Atlas. He saved the world. I guess I just never wanted him to believe his own hype- not unless he was deserving of it. It was the same with Magnus and Deimos… they were so… full of themselves. If they were ever going to be great, they needed to come down to earth and get a better look at what they were capable of because, and I crap thou not, we are in the business of saving lives. That’s why we put the black and white on- that’s why we do it. We do it to save lives and the minute you start believing your own hype then you can’t do that anymore. You become so clouded by your power that you make mistakes. Unfortunately, when we make mistakes we don’t get to pay for them… someone else does.

“And now? Sometimes, Frosty, I stay awake at night and I think about what’s coming. I looked at what was ahead of me and I knew I didn’t measure up and what was coming up from behind? It scares me sometimes to think that the fate of the world might someday rest on Deimos’ shoulders. These kids here? These kids like Bulwark and Blur and Gabriel… these may very well be the people who come next, Frosty. These could be the people coming up from behind.

“Do you know why Missus Goodman and I came up with this squad idea?” Ben shook his head. “Because not so long ago you were these kids, Frosty. Not so long ago I was up at night losing sleep because of you or because of Alexa or Donna-Anne…” Ben noticed there was no room for Cassandra’s name underneath that smothering blame. “Here it is, Ben… you were these kids and you kids went through hell. You survived being betrayed by one of your own and saving New York City from him. You rallied together with your brothers and sisters from around the world to fight an empire and… Zeus help me for admitting this, Frosty but us old fogies couldn’t have handled Bastion without you kids’ help. Frosty, you… you declared war on a man who subjugated all of New York City’s criminal world under him and he’s in prison today because of YOUR actions. You’ve been through hell and you’ve come out the other side and… and damn it all if I’m not proud of you.” Ben couldn’t keep himself from beaming. “You guys know what’s at stake and if anyone is going to be able to prepare these kids to become the heroes this world so desperate needs… it’s going to be you.”

Mister Goodman rose up then and hesitated before patting Ben on the shoulder. It was quick and it was rough and it didn’t feel as though there was much emotion behind it, but it was enough to assure Ben Altair that things were looking up. He could do this. He could mold these five young people into the heroes the world needed.

“Of course you realize,” Mister Goodman said from the doorway, “that if word gets out that Coach Crag isn’t being stingy with the warm fuzzies, I promise you I will sneak into your room at night and kill you.” Ben chuckled but the laughter died slowly as he caught sight of Mister Goodman’s serious expression. Then, the headmaster raised his arms and mimed a neck-snapping for Ben.

“Sleep well, Frosty.”

Ben stood, fixing a wide-eyed look on the door for several moments after Mister Goodman had retreated to his office. Finally, he rose up and picked up the brown sports jacket draped over the back of his chair, folding it across his arm. He had come here disturbed that the other four members of the power_gamers were still at large. Now he was disturbed by the thoughts that the administration may very well kill him in his sleep.

We slipped down the halls of the lower levels and made his way to the elevator that was the Lighthouse. The shaft moved up, taking him to the main level. He could hear some of the students taking advantage of the last few moments of the day. A glance at his watch told him nothing; it had been broken in the melee. Still, the grandfather clock in the foyer announced the time as forty-nine minutes until midnight.

He dreaded going back to his room in the staff apartments. He had promised Katie a romantic evening and had left her side to take down a group of super-powered criminals. She would undoubtedly mask her disappointment well, but he could read her like a book. The slightest inflection in her voice would tell him how she truly felt.

Still, there was something he wanted to do.

Stepping out onto the quad he made his way down and around to an area of the campus he had never before ventured into.

All his life, Ben had avoided cemeteries. He found them morbid and uncomfortable his entire life. He loved his father with all he was, but he couldn’t even bring himself to visit the man’s memorial back home in Missouri.

All that changed as Ben Altair stepped into the memorial gardens. A chill and ominous wind cut across the grass and blew his long, white hair into his face. Tucking it behind his ears, Ben stepped up to the memorial erected for the thirty-seven students who had lost their lives in the Affiliation’s attack last May. Spread around them were separate memorials for the five seniors who died prior to the Massacre; they were dedicated to Addison Truman, Lucas Howell, Malachi Brown, Cloud Goodman and Drew Jenkins.

“I’ve never really believed in talking to the dead,” Ben intoned. “I mean… the way I figure… if you could hear us, you’d be able to answer us and… well, I mean, it’s not like any of you are talking…”

He smiled as he watched Ben, standing just behind him.

“I guess that… I just wanted to say that… that this isn’t going to happen again. I’m not saying people aren’t going to die and I’m not saying we won’t have our losses but… I guess what I’m getting at is… we’re not going to fail these new kids. I’m not going to let them down. I’m going to do everything I can for them to make sure that… to make sure that they get to have the chance that you never did.”

He watched as Ben turned and walked back towards the Lighthouse- towards the main building the apartments were joined to. His ears registered the sound of some of the students still enjoying the night.

As snowflakes began to fall, a smile came across Drew’s face then. Exclamations of joy and surprise carried on the wind to Drew, coming from over the hill where he new a few of the students to be. He watched as Ben vanished from his sight and turned to his newest company.

They came from out of the shadows, stepping down on the school grounds here, of all places. “What’s this?” one of them asked, eyeing the monuments with glowing red eyes. Paragon traced his fingers over the names, looking at it curiously.

“This is what you’ve been gathered to do,” the leader said. Paragon turned to her, looking over all the other members of their raiding party.

Douglas Kirk, better known as Occultus Unus, was the one who had brought them all here, though he was not responsible for bringing them together. He was a short young man who should have been in his first year of college. At least, he would have been had he not been held back in his second year of high school and then dropped out after his third. He had been lured away by money; the Wisent had offered five million dollars for Magnus Loder’s life and Douglas and his twin brother JT had taken a stab at it.

They would have succeeded to, had it not been for Portal’s intervention.

Beside him stood a tall young man whose lanky frame wore a suit of lean muscle. The native Swede wore no shirt on this cold night, only black leather pants and steel-toed boots. Hans Ronke wore his blonde hair long and partially veiling his gaunt face and hollow eyes. Like Paragon, he had been a student of the New Vindicators Academy of Europe. With his ability to shape his bones and pull them from his body, he was known as Scrimshaw.

The fourth predator recruited to their group was the only human of the group. Ryan Mueller owed Patriot Robotics and the 002 armor for what abilities he possessed. The hulking battle suit allowed him to produce flame and provided him uncanny strength and endurance. It allowed him to fight on equal terms with Neo-Sapiens, as Deus ex-Machina.

“This monument was erected almost a year ago, as a way to remember the thirty-seven students who lost their lives in the Affiliation’s Massacre.” The last of their band was a young woman with a sinuous frame. Her dancer’s body moved through them, accented by the light provided by the half-moon. Though she wore a skin-tight body suit that merged with the shadows, she wore patches of silver armor over that, reflecting the light and outlining her. “Doctor Splash, Professor Incendiary, Pandora and Rift made their way through the halls of the school, attacking their pupils and leaving them to die. Many survived, though they’re traumatized by the events.”

The young woman turned and fixed them with an icy, green-eyed stare from behind the silver helmet she wore. None of them had seen her face. They could only guess at what lurked beneath: was she some exotic beauty that would send their hormones into overdrive? Did she wear the mask to keep from distracting them with her pulchritudinous visage or did was she simply so hideous that this gave them respite from such a sight?

Perhaps she wore the mask not to keep them in the dark but to fool their enemies. She couldn’t have the New Vindicators knowing what she looked like.

She couldn’t have them recognize her.

“Thirty-seven students died and the school was devastated. Gentlemen… our goal here tonight is to make the body count the Affiliation racked up seem insignificant. I want to dwarf that number and I want to see what they put up when we’re through.

“From here, we split up. Kill anyone you see but remember… Dipole must live. Oscillator must live. If my master’s plan is to work, we will need them left alive. If any of you kills them, then I promise you… I will personally end your existence. Are we understood?”

“Yes,” Scrimshaw said hastily. “Now can we go? I’m anxious…”

With a slight nod that was nothing more than inclining her head, Scrimshaw took off at a run. Occultus Unus disappeared, dropping into the shadows. Deus ex-Machina flew off towards the Lighthouse.

Paragon remained.

The woman stood looking over the memorials, freezing the image in her memory. Thirty-seven. By how much would they dwarf that number?

Paragon gently put his hands on her hips and nuzzled his cheek against her neck. “The thought of killing them makes me… excited.” He pressed his chest against her back and his groin into her posterior. “After this is done, you and I…”

Slowly, she threw back her head and slid her fingers down to his hands. “Paragon… Mister Infinity… Dominique…” She could feel his lip being drug on her covered neck. “You need to understand your place.”

Her body pulsed with heat and his skin began to boil. He reeled back in horror and gapped down at his hands; his palms were burned, as where the backs. He could trace the imprint of her hand on the back of his- where she had burned him.

Then he understood and his hand went to his lips. He didn’t feel them.

“The next time your instincts take over and you touch me with any part of your body, remember this moment and remember that whatever you touch me with… I WILL burn off.”

He backed away then, determined to put as much distance between him and her as he could. When he felt he had a safe enough lead he took to the skies, ready to do what he had been brought here for.

“They’ll never know what hit ‘em,” she mused, smiling behind the silver helmet.
To Be Continued... wrote:Abaddon's greatest opponent.
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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 304

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:52 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #25: HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Chapter IX: Vienna
“Lo, and I saw the three women, their hair like unto a flame, heralding the coming of the great enemy.

“Their power fueled the crystals and allowed what once was soaring to be raised up on high again.

“And there was a great shout and a trembling and all at once the people cried out in a voice, saying, ‘Abba, father, why hast thou turned deaf ear to our pleas?

“‘Let not our voices be as a dumb tongue. Let our prayers be heard and answered.’”

“And the Gibborim did rise up once more.”


Doctor Jason Pickford looked across the table at the child expectantly. “And then?” he asked, literally on the edge of his seat.

Micaiah Heller said nothing else. He closed his glowing black eyes to the man and opened them slowly, revealing green peepers and a naïve, innocent smile. “What happens after that?” the psychiatrist demanded. “The Gibborim return and then…? What? Do they defeat the enemy? Does the enemy crush them again?”

“I don’t feel like telling you, Mister Pickford,” came another voice. Micaiah’s Neo-Sapien powers allowed him to observe the future- which he presented in another voice entirely. Then, as the Doctor began to consider it… his bastard son had blue eyes, not green. “Not now that I know who you really are.”

“Who are you?” he asked, almost afraid of the answer.

Suddenly, the iris and pupil faded. For a moment, Doctor Pickford assumed all that remained was sclera but he soon realized the truth…

White hellfire remained.

“I want you to know, I’ve died twice now. Maybe the third time will be the charm.”

“What?”

“Whenever it is… if it’s my time, it’s my time. I guess the only regret I would have is…” He grinned at his enemy and suddenly Doctor Pickford understood.

“… Having regrets,” Doctor Pickford said, almost spitting the words. “Hello, Drew. It’s been a long time…”
Michuru81 wrote:The lights go out...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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