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Post by smashed247 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:15 pm

They're fighting an enemy that can mimic SPBs with SPBs!? How is that ever gonna' work?
"...Then he comes at me with the teapot and he asks, 'Why so British?'" ~Bakura, Yu-gi-oh the abridged series

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Post by Michuru81 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:34 pm

smashed247 wrote:They're fighting an enemy that can mimic SPBs with SPBs!? How is that ever gonna' work?
Apocatastasis' mimic has been something my players have put some thought into. They know that his mimic only extends to genetic abilities- meaning Aesir, Nephilim and Neo-Sapiens... which, composses the bulk of our campaign universe.

There are, however, a few heroes who don't buff the big-A by going up against him:

-The Aurelius (Dr. White and Coup)
-Detective & Gumshoe
-the Patriot
-Shirley Holmes
-William Benson

Sclera's only Neo-Sapien power would be his super-senses, his Chi comes from mystical training and is not something Apocatastasis can mimic. Portal's only Neo-Sapien ability is an immunity to his siblings' powers. That wouldn't protect Apocatastasis from Blitzkrieg, Lodestone, Quint, ect... but rather from his siblings if mimicked- meaning Deimos is screwed (but he's used to that).

As of the current story arc, the Aurelius is training five new apprentices. All are Neo-Sapiens but they possess powers he doesn't think will be influential in the battle:

-The Damned
-The Rhino

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New Vindicators, Chapter 403

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:37 am

Chapter CVIII: Fall of the Peacemakers
As Hikari swept his sword through the air he was hardly surprised to find his target missing. With Walkabout and Gabrielle both present, Apocatastasis had more than enough spatial distorting abilities to choose from. “He’s still here!” Hikari cried out, using his abilities to see the infrared spectrum. “He’s using my powers now, bending light around himself to turn invisible…”

Just then Dipole cried out and the invisible became visible. Apocatastasis’ body was elongated and composed of water; his hand had fused into the young man’s breathing passages, suffocating him and dropping his platform out from under him in the process.

“Slow him, Ben!” Hikari screamed.

Frostbite disappeared, slowing down time to allow himself to react with uncanny speed. However, Hikari’s command had been enough warning to Apocatastasis. With both Frostbite and Walkabout’s Neo-Sapien ability to manipulate temporal energies, he was capable of defending against Ben’s worst assault. Though everyone else appeared to be frozen in time, Apocatastasis still moved at his normal speed. “Child’s play!” he hissed, swiping his sword and threatening to take Frostbite’s head with the blade.

With his friends frozen in time, Ben closed his eyes and prepared himself to be reunited with Katie. He was astonished to feel hands pushing him out of the way and opened them to see Walkabout diving to spare him from the lethal blow.

“You persist to annoy me, old man!” thundered Apocatastasis. “And yet I find your abilities to be exceptionally nutritious!”

“Eat this!” barked Frostbite, speeding up the molecules around Apocatastasis to cause the area to ignite.

Stepping through the fire and the flames, Apocatastasis emerged unharmed by Ben’s assault. “I know that’s not the best you can do,” said Apocatastasis, approaching him slowly. “I know because anything you can do, I can do.”

“I strongly doubt that,” Frostbite snapped. He sped out of the path of Apocatastasis’ sword’s deadly stroke and laughed at the sight of the Nephilim’s hands. “I can wear gloves comfortably.”

“ENOUGH!” bellowed Apocatastasis, letting light pour from his body and blind both of his opponents.

Walkabout unsealed the area, allowing the others to begin to act as they would. Fathom watched the light fade and scanned the ground for her opponent. She found him some ways behind her, engaged with Walkabout and Frostbite and suddenly everything made sense. “I’m really getting tired of everyone freezing time,” she mused aloud, arching across the battlefield and moving to suffocate Apocatastasis.

“And you, my girl, are more foolish than the rest!” Apocatastasis thundered as he assumed a form similar to her own. “You yourself do not need to breathe… what makes you assume I do?”

“How about the fact that you’ve spent the last six thousand years drowning?” Fathom asked.

“Yes, yes, you children certainly know how to make witty banter. Are you hoping I will die from laughter?” The Nephilim slashed his sword at Fathom, only to have it blocked by Hikari. “And you… you I terribly pity.”

“Why is that?” asked Hikari, stunned to see him push aside Apocatastasis’ weapon, granting an opening he couldn’t help but exploit.

“It seems my brother had found shade,” Apocatastasis said, smiling as he mimicked the abilities of the Shadow- specifically his ability to absorb light and use the energy to heal himself. “Your attacks only make me stronger, boy!” Hikari turned invisible then, having realized he could only hinder their efforts in this fight.

Gabrielle appeared, standing on the tip of Apocatastasis’ sword and hurried down in, spinning her azure blades as she charged. He raised his off-hand then and sent a powered blast of black hellfire for his cousin. Only five feet from him he watched as his blast dissipated before making contact. Gabrielle had used her manipulation of space to stretch the distance between them and render his ranged attack mote.

Her daggers swung for his exposed flesh and then he was gone, utilizing Walkabout’s ability to pause time to appear behind her, sword overhead and ready to cleave her down the middle. Gabrielle disappeared as well, spared by Walkabout’s own spatial manipulations. “You annoy me, old man!” hissed Apocatastasis, pointing his blade at Walkabout and using Gabrielle’s elongation to reach across the battle field and thrust his blade into Walkabout.

The Aborigine gave out a great cry and fell forward on the blade. He was conscious but weak; he knew that using his powers would be a tremendous strain on his body but he had to risk it. He had to save these children from this monster. Distorting space, he moved the Next Vindicators to Roosevelt Island and collapsed before them.

“I told you our luck would change!” Fluke exclaimed at the sight of the heroes.

“Gabrielle!” Gabriel exclaimed happily.

Hikari looked around him and instantly realized when and where he was at. “The Sentries are here,” he mused. “They’re taking the New Vindicators to the camps.”

“Over my dead body!” hissed Frostbite, summoning a spike of ice that erupted from the frost-covered ground and pierced through the chest of one of the giant robots.

“It’ll be over Walkabout’s if we don’t do something for him!” thundered Hikari. “Everyone- New Vindicators and Next Vindicators! Gather around Gabrielle!”

Silverback called his remaining students in and Iris echoed Hikari’s orders, pulling her four teammates in around the Nephilim.

“Where can we go?” Gabrielle asked. “Should I take us back to the mountain?”

Hikari shook his head. “America isn’t safe for Neo-Sapiens anymore.”

Silverback knew where to go. “Vancouver!” he exclaimed. “Miss Farouk, can you take us all to Vancouver?”

“The New Vindicators Academy of Canada?” asked Bulwark.

“I can get behind it,” Fluke said, his Canadian accent flawless.

The Sentries were closing in and Walkabout was losing blood. “GO!” Hikari screamed.

There was an explosion of blue light and reality rippled around the gathered heroes. The Sentries halted their attack as they registered their targets were now gone.

A helicopter landed and a handsome woman in her early thirties stepped onto the grounds of the school. She stepped to the center where the New Vindicators had only just been standing, gathered into one big group.

She stopped and turned to her associates. Of the agents she had brought with her, one had strayed from the group. He stood looking down at the memorial gardens, his attention torn between Patrick Goodman’s grave and the memorial erected for the students who had lost their lives fighting the Affiliation.

He realized quickly which name was missing from that plaque.

“Where did they go!?” she thundered, crossing the quad to be heard over the mechanical whirl of the Sentries’ awkward movements and the helicopter’s blades. “You went to this school, so you should know where their safe house is!”

“There isn’t one,” he said, turning his back to the woman. He hated to face anyone. He couldn’t help but feel as if they were always staring at his burns. Ironically, he had the power to wear whatever face he wanted; it would take so little effort for the Agent to alter his appearance to how he had looked before he had been burned. Yet he had been conditioned not to use his powers unless granted permission…

The woman turned to the trio who had arrived with them- the other three agents she had recruited. “Well?” she asked.

“He’s not lying,” said Reon Okami, terrified of what the Director would do to her if she mouthed off again. “There is no safe house that I know of.”

The blonde woman looked from Reon to Peter Titus and Max Fitzpatrick- the two men nodded in agreement and evoked a sigh from the Director’s lips.

“Doctor Colbenson!” announced one of the SHAKE agents, emerging from scouring the school for survivors. “We’ve found two in the lower levels. We’ve IDed them as Troy Carpenter and Dawn Wright. They were members of the Order of Movement, being held prisoner here on campus.”

“Mister Goodman told us all of the Order of Movement escaped capture,” Doctor Colbenson mused. “Fine. Prepare the prisoners for a transport to programming. They can join Mister Volkov as the newest members of Operation: Black Box.”

“Doctor Colbenson?” Her attention shifted to her first find- the young man covered in burns. “You said I would be given a new mission. I humbly request the parameters of such an assignment.”

“We’ve got their students,” Doctor Colbenson said, sighing and shaking her head at the boy’s stubbornness. “When we take them to the relocation farm, I’ll want you in there. I want you to use your father’s powers and assume the identity of one of them. Find out what you can about what Doctor Howell was plotting, bringing in Mister Bradshaw and Miss Bedford.”

“Understood,” the burned man said, walking back towards the helicopter… anxious for his next mission to begin…
To Be Continued... wrote:Lodestone's new direction...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 404

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:40 am

Chapter CIX: Burnin’ for You
Terahertz touched down onto Liberty Island once more and was astonished to find both Lodestone and the Shadow had already joined Apocatastasis. She hung her head in shame, realizing that she had been of no service in the attack. “My lord,” she announced, kneeling low and putting her face to the earth, “I humbly beg your forgiveness! Though I do not deserve it, forgive my uselessness.”

“Rise,” commanded Apocatastasis. “You will not have to beg forgiveness ever again, neither you nor Lodestone. In fact…” Apocatastasis dropped to one knee and lowered his head before her. “I owe you two much. You are my heralds- the two who made it possible for me to return and begin the reunification.”

“My lord, I need no thanks-”

“I do,” said Lodestone. “Your father made a deal with me, Apocatastasis. If I helped bring you back to life, you’d do the same for me. There are some people very dear to me- all dead.”

“My abilities are great,” said Apocatastasis proudly, “but even I do not command the grave to give up its captives.”

“There’s a man in a hospital, Nikolaos. His power heals…”

“And you wish for me to adapt his powers? So be it. I owe you much, Lodestone and this I shall not deny you. Tell me more about this man who heals. Tell me about this Nikolaos.”

“Emmanuel Nikolaos is an evangelist- a man who preaches the gospel and gets rich off it.” Lodestone looked at him oddly as Apocatastasis closed his eyes and began to hum, leaning slightly to the west as if he were trying to see around the young man. “He claims his power comes from God and that attracts more followers.”

“I have him.”

“What?” asked Lodestone.

The Shadow grinned at the heralds’ lack of information. He had been feeling underappreciated in that he alone had fought side by side with Apocatastasis. It was his powers that spared his brother from that boy’s light blade… Why did he kneel to them and yet mock his brother? “One of Apocatastasis’ gifts is the ability to find anyone, anywhere.”

“Yeah?” the blue-haired Lodestone called as he descended from the skies. “You can find anyone?”

“If I have enough information,” said Apocatastasis, “and so long as their will is not-”

“Yeah, yeah- I’ve got a guy I want you to find for me.”

“What about your loved ones?”

“In a minute!” snapped the blue-haired Lodestone. “I need you to find this guy for me… his name is Adonis Skraag. He’s a Neo-Sapien. He’s makes women weak in the knees when they look at him.”

“I have him,” Apocatastasis said opening his eyes. “He- he is here in this city…”

“Where?” barked Lodestone.

“A warehouse… along a river… in a place called Turtle Bay…” It was enough information for Lodestone. He took off, eager to finally find Adonis and settle the score between them. Still, his red-haired self remained hopeful that Apocatastasis would keep good on his word. “Shall we, Lodestone?” Apocatastasis asked. “I know where to find this man, this… Nikolaos.” He adopted the Shadow’s abilities and walked his cohorts through the darkness and into the depths of the Spider.

At the sound of their arrival those in the cells rushed to the slits to peer into the halls. The eyes of Jason Thorn, Micaiah Heller, Vernon Schwartz and Joel Thompson fell on their procession. A pregnant Pandora ignored them as they passed her by though Evangeline Carlson shuddered as they passed her door. Phobos ranted and screamed as they passed him, threatening them if they didn’t soon let him out. “It is a palette of powers here,” Apocatastasis said, looking to his brother curiously.

“Our father gathered them for you,” the Shadow said, carrying Abaddon’s still form and laying him in one of the empty rooms. He left them as they stopped before Nikolaos’ room.

“Their names?” Apocatastasis asked. “The names of your deceased?”

“Don’t- don’t you need their bodies or-”

“They will be revived where they are.”

“But dad and grandpa are buried back home in Ohio-”

Apocatastasis chuckled. “You forget who I am. Once they are once more amongst the living, I can find them anywhere. In their crypts they are in darkness and my brother’s ability will allow to me to reach them… to set them free. Give me their names, Lodestone… that you might embrace them once more.”

“Maria Espada,” Lodestone said, yearning to smell her hair and hold her hand more than he wanted to see his father and grandfather. “James and Jacob Loder…” And then the one that was his fault. The one he had killed. “And Drew Jenkins,” he said, his voice wavering slightly.

“The girl is alive once more,” said Apocatastasis, adapting to Nikolaos’ ability to call back the departed souls. “James Loder and Jacob Loder yet breathe…”

“And Drew?”

Apocatastasis’ eyes widened in shock. “I am sorry, Lodestone. I cannot resurrect one who is not yet dead...”
To Be Concluded... wrote:...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 405

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:41 am

Chapter CX: Fight the Good Fight
Her hand felt across the nightstand beside her bed and seized her alarm clock, glaring at the red 1:37 that now faced her. Again the doorbell rang and with a groan she rocked forward and sat up in her bed. “I’m coming,” she muttered, stifling a yawn as she stepped out of bed and lumbered across the floor.

Outside her room she hit the switch that turned on the lights in the hall and slowly shuffled towards the stairs. “Who is it?” asked her mother, stepping out of her room, clad in her flannel robe and the Winnie-the-Pooh slippers her daughter had given her one Christmas morning in 1999.

“Could be Abbey,” the red-headed, freckle-faced girl said as she slowly made her way to the foyer. “I told her if Ron hit her again to come here…”

Before she could fully descend the stairs the doorbell rang again. “I’M COMING!” the girl yelled. “When you’re seven months pregnant we’ll see how fast you move…”

She opened the door and was shocked to find Doctor James Howell standing on her doorstep, holding an unconscious Jacob Lang in his arms. “When I am seven months pregnant, I shall indeed move fast,” the gorilla said with a hint of agitation in his voice. “I will have called every medical journal known to man so fast your head will spin.”

“Doctor Howell?” Alicia Gladstone said, stepping aside to admit the simian into her parents’ home. “Is that Mister Lang? Wasn’t he in Moksha? What- what happened?”

One-by-one the heroes filed in and Alicia’s eyes only widened at the sheer size of the procession. Her mother stood at the railing that overlooked the foyer, her eyes large with wonder as she watched their battle ravaged guests slip in.

“Miss Gladstone, you are already acquainted with Mister Altair and Miss Hawk…” Doctor Howell pointed to the five graduates of the Asian Academy. “And you already know Miss Raja and Miss Ahodori; Mister Carter, Mister Sekai and Mister Un…” He looked over the students who had escaped capture and frowned. One-by-one he introduced her to Bulwark and Geiger, Boson and Savant, Bluetooth, Suicide King, Renewal and Wilt. He introduced Gabriel and Gabrielle, Dipole, Stockholm and Orbit. Finally, he introduced Hikari to the former New Vindicator and a sad expression crossed his face.

“Miss Gladstone… the American government has begun to hunt out kind down. Many of the students have been taken to concentration camps, where their families have been waiting. Worse… an ancient Nephilim has been resurrected and if Hikari’s knowledge of the future is to be believed, he will dominate this world if left unchecked.

“The school has been invaded and we find ourselves without a home…

“Without a country…

“Miss Gladstone… can we stay here?”
  • The End

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Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:51 am

“Winston Churchill wrote, in the History of the Second World War: ‘In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: good will.’”

With a cry, Aya Kwon gave out a horrible scream and collapsed to the ground. Her body began to curl up- her legs began to bend backwards; the collapsing soles of her feet touched the back of her head. Few knew how it happened, but the Purity party possessed a weapon capable of disabling Neo-Sapiens when they appeared.

Bulwark’s eyes darted about the battlefield. Wilt was down but breathing. Stockholm was missing, likely buried under all the rubble. Gabriel lay not too far from him and Savant was even closer. He always believed that so long as he was still standing, he always stood a chance. Now though, he understood that they would have no chance if their opponent got her hands on what she wanted.

“Do it,” Geiger said. Bulwark spun around and met her intense gaze. He shook his head and whipped back around as Terahertz lowered herself. He was all that stood between Terahertz and Geiger. He was all that remained in the woman’s path to even more power.

“Bulwark, do it…” Geiger said, urging him to do what he knew he had to do. Bulwark’s fingers tightened around the street sign he had been using to fend off the murderess. With it, he would become a murderer himself. “DO IT!” Geiger screamed, crying as she made her peace and Bulwark swung…

Behind Loess stood Anomaly, Tripper, Hourglass and Jetstream; Deimos lurked behind them and Portal pushed his way to stand beside Loess. “One of Apocatastasis’ goons took the entire Illuminati,” Loess said.

Hikari nodded. “Yes, they’ll take Coup Field and-”

“I don’t care about Coup Field!” Loess snapped. “They have Atlanta! They- they have Atlanta and Magnus went over… and joined them…” Though her voice weakened, her strength surged once more, quickly recovering from her moment of doubt. “I- WE refuse to abandon them. They were our classmates and teammates and… they’re our friends…”

“They’re our family,” Anomaly said.

Portal turned to Fathom and Frostbite, grinning big under the helmet he wore. “We’re putting the band back together,” he said; even in a time like this he still couldn’t resist quoting old movies and television shows. “We’re on a mission from God.”

The Rhino tossed his horn and muttered an incantation in the Language of the Birds. Instantly the arcane energy he had mastered stitched his wound back together, making him whole once more. “Taegan is going to be SO jealous!” he laughed. “Meezers can turn into ANY rhinoceros AND heal! Meezers just made Taegan obsolete!”

Goetia’s eyes burned yellow. The glowing boline she wielded spun between her fingers as she slowly approached Alicia. “I’ve seen what could happen,” the sage said cryptically. “I’ve seen the damage Margaret will cause to the empire Lord Apocatastasis is forging.”

Alicia shook her head, tears running down her face in rivers. “No,” she begged. “Don’t kill my baby… I’m begging you…”

“I won’t kill your baby,” Goetia said, gripping her soul weapon tightly. “I’m just going to kill her whore of a mommy…”

“How does a Nephilim become a hellfire beast?” Apocatastasis asked, looking over the brothers standing before him. “When one of our kind loses control- when they are experiencing no emotions whatsoever… the power takes over and they evolve into a symbol that has terrorized this city and left a lasting mark embedded in their fears…

“My power is to steal away the consciousness- leaving my victims as a hollow husk no longer in control of their bodies.”

He pulled the four into his arms and embraced them all lovingly. Aamon and Barbatos, Pruslas and Rashervak ceased to be… and the power took the over. “Go forth my beasts,” Apocatastasis said, backing up to witness their transformations. “Go forth and cry havoc.”

“You think I’m the same person I once was!?” thundered Deimos, throwing all of his hate and rage and pain behind his attack as he swung the spectral scythe down for his half-brother. Against such aggressive strikes, the Shadow could only take to the defense and fought to intercept each slash from the massive weapon. “You think I’m still weak?” he snarled. “You still won’t acknowledge me!?”

Deimos drew the katana strapped to his back and pointed the blade at the faithful son. “Step aside,” he warned. “That Sanada guy in Japan said this sword was going to be used to kill one of the Fallen and maybe you used it to off Samael but who’s to say it can’t take down another one.”

The Shadow refused to move. He would not abandon his father to Deimos’ wrath. “I’m giving you one last chance to step aside,” Deimos snarled.

“I won’t abandon our father! I will not let you slay my master!”

“Always the loyal dog,” Deimos growled. “Oh, well… I’ll let you join him in hell, brother…” He charged forward and the katana’s tip shattered out of the back of the Shadow’s skull.

Ka's flame blast struck against Hikari’s back as the demon jetted across the chamber. Arthropod moved to help Hikari stand and shook his head to Boson. The young woman looked out over the rest of their team, incapacitated and dying unless they got the break they needed and soon.

Anomaly felt like he was about to collapse, but he wouldn’t stand down. He held Tripper’s unconscious form in his arms. Hourglass’ still shape was at his heels, prone on the ground between himself and Fathom. “I never stopped loving her,” Fathom admitted, not chancing to look away from their opponents to regard Hourglass. “I get that she… she doesn’t feel the same though. She probably never will. Still, no matter how much it hurts to lie to her and tell her that I’m fine with us just being friends… it would be worse to scare her out of my life completely.”

“Stop talking like we’re not going to survive this,” growled Anomaly.

“We’re not,” Fathom said. “Stop talking like we still have some shred of hope.”

Aamon charged forward then and Anomaly turned to shelter his wife with his entire body. He was surprised when something else leapt between him and his attacker; out of the corner of his eye there was a blue glow when Aamon’s attack made contact and Anomaly looked up in time to see the Nephilim flung across the chamber by his own power. “I- I know you…” Anomaly said, recognizing the young man from his experience with the Trials last summer.

A jet of flame struck Barbatos, sparing Fathom from further harm. “You!?” she asked, unable to understand if this was just another illusion or if relief really had arrived.

Metal fingers closed around Pruslus and Rashervak’s necks, hefting the brothers off of the ground and cracking their skulls together before casting them aside. Brass approached the cluster of New Vindicators, a scowl worn across his usually happy face. “So what’s the deal?” Kiln asked as he descended to the floor. “You guys regroup but you didn’t call us?”

“We ruddy well fought by your side b'fore,” Backlash snapped, standing as a shield before Anomaly and Tripper. “It ‘urts thatch didn’t tinkta call us now, if y’know what I mean?”

“Where’s Atlanta?” Brass asked, taking a stance between Fathom and Anomaly and readying himself to tear through each and every minion Apocatastasis had summoned to his side to find her. “Where’s my Atlanta!?”

“I’m a fair man, Magnus…” Adonis said, the hood of his sweater pulled low over his face.

“Don’t call me that!” snapped Lodestone.

Adonis never turned. He merely kept his hands folded on the desk and his eyes on them. “…and I’m going to give you a chance you don’t deserve. Leave now and you can leave with your pride.”

“Leave? But I came all this way just to see you!”

His fingers seized the hood and as he pulled it back Adonis turned and the two finally came face-to-face once more…

  • NEW VINDICATORS: Para Bellum

    “Prepare for War”

    Coming Soon…
Last edited by Michuru81 on Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:29 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:07 am

NEW VINDICATORS #34: Time NEW VINDICATORS #35: The Pretender NEW VINDICATORS #36: Lithium NEW VINDICATORS #37: The Beast and the Dragon, Adored NEW VINDICATORS #38: Do You Realize?? NEW VINDICATORS #39: All Star NEW VINDICATORS #40: Leave Out All the Rest
Last edited by Michuru81 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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New Vindicators, Chapter 406

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:07 pm


Chapter I
All across the nation, men, women and children put their lives on hold as their televisions displayed the proud, noble image of their president. President Clement Origen seemed somber this evening. His eyes had a hollow look to them, as if he had lost a great deal of sleep in recent nights. It was no wonder, given that his nation was on the brink of war.

Still, the man did not wear the uniform of the military- despite that he commanded it. Tonight he was regally he was dressed in a navy blue suit, his black tie trimmed elegantly with red. “My fellow Americans,” he intoned, his voice tired and drained. “It is with a tear-laden heart that I announce that the Japanese Alliance has declined our invitation to disarm and assimilate into the United Nations of America.

“With heavy hearts, the Synod has declared war on the Japanese Alliance. Moments ago, a wave of missiles was launched… and Japan has responded accordingly.”

The feed cut to outside the nation’s capital, the Spire of Alexandria, and to the bright, glowing shape that hurtled towards the guards who watched helplessly from the grounds. The Rising Sun landed with an explosion of flames- her plasma energy so hot that it incinerated the humans who were unfortunate enough to be near ground zero. Her hair whipped back as she rose up to her full height and slowly stepped out of the crater she created.

With a cry, Aya Kwon gave out a horrible scream and collapsed to the ground. Her body began to curl up- her legs began to bend backwards; the collapsing soles of her feet touched the back of her head. Few knew how it happened, but the Purity party possessed a weapon capable of disabling Neo-Sapiens when they appeared.

It had been twenty years since the world watched in horror as Lodestone used his powers to assassinate Senator Amy Bedford. In the wake of her death, a new face emerged amongst her husband’s congregation. Clement Origen was an ambitious young man… and a charismatic commander who, with the Reverend Johnny Vance’s guidance, had easily usurped the reigns of leadership following Forrest Bedford’s disappearance.

Four years later he found himself elected as President of the United States of America- the last man who would ever serve in that position. It was during his first term that a new nation was born- the United Nations of America. Under his direction, Mexico and Canada were assimilated into the union and members of his political party- the Purity party –took over as a new branch of the newly founded government.

Under his direction Neo-Sapiens were hunted down. The man preached a message of unification and restoration and spoke candidly of his dreams that America return to its former greatness- known in ages past… before Nazi Germany’s rise and the revelation of the existence of Neo-Sapiens.

The man didn’t call himself a prophet, but he was accepted as one. Islam embraced him as such and his message of unity was realized when the Middle East joined the United Nations of America. Soon, the churches he represented were amalgamated into one and a new religion swept over the kingdom he established.

By 2028, there was little resistance to the reconciliation President Origen preached. Those who fought against his domination rallied together under the banner of the Japanese Alliance. “They have declared war on these great lands and with a heavy heart, I have deployed measures to defend our borders. The Synod has been dispatched to punish our enemies…”

President Origen’s visage was replaced then with the ministers who oversaw the territories. Lord Gerald Abrams, the man elected to govern England, the thirty-seventh empire to be admitted to the union, boasted that this was a sure sign that by tomorrow the Japanese Alliance would have no choice but to accept the unification and reconcile with the source of all creation.

Many loyal Americans around the globe believed that this was a sure sign that the resistance was over. Three members of the Synod, the governing body that had long ago replaced the House of Representatives and the House of Senate, touched down on what a decade ago had been known as China.

They were not surprised to find the resistance in full force.

“So how does it work in the Citadel?” Emily lifted a hand to push her horned-rimmed glasses back up her face and chuckled slightly before folding her arms under her ample chest again. Her honey-blonde mane bounced as she giggled sweetly; the pulchritudinous young woman flashed her ice blue eyes then as her apple-red lips curled into a fiendish grin. “Do they start at the bottom and those are the lackeys sent out first?”

“I think they just draw straws,” Hikari said as he stood stoically before their enemies. The young boy had white hair and white, almond-shaped eyes. That eye color was a trait normally found in the Nephilim; still, Hikari was only the child of a Nephilim, and though he bore more of a resemblance to his mother, Rift was haunted by memories of his late father every time she met this boy’s cool and collected gaze.

She managed to shake off those feelings she had tried to put behind her and Rift’s eyes went to the necklace around Emily’s neck and followed the silver chain down to the ring that was buried in the young woman’s exposed cleavage. Emily’s blouse was two-sizes two small; even if she had been bothered to button the top buttons, it was likely she would have burst them off.

While Paragon’s attention was held by Emily’s chest it was that ring which captivated Rift; those rings were what made these children so dangerous. They had heard of an ancient ring, created by the first Aurelius. The Anathema Ring rendered whoever wore it immune to Apocatastasis’ powers. They hadn’t been able to find the ring but they had been inspired by it. Rift remembered her capture, so many years ago, and how David Meinstein had taken her barrettes to be used as the template to create those rings.

Those rings protected Emily and anyone else blessed with one from Apocatastasis’ telelocation and his mental blasts… the Synod’s secret weapon.

Those rings kept Apocatastasis from discovering where the Vindicators and the Illuminati were hidden.

Those rings were what made allowed these children to fight the futile war they immersed themselves in.

Those rings were the symbols of the Vindicators.

Neige’s hand fingers wove themselves between Hikari’s and as she took her lover’s hand Emily’s glare found the pair and her eyes were filled with scorn. Unlike the rest of them, the red-headed, freckle-faced girl wore more than one ring. She wore the one that protected her from Apocatastasis’ powers and she wore the ring Hikari had given her the day he asked her to be his bride…

Soon, the pair would each be adding a new ring to their left hands…

“Just three of you?” laughed Red Shift as his eyes swept over Hikari, Neige and Emily. “You always were a full, Hikari,” the aged man laughed. “Three-on-three… ever the gentleman.”

A cocky smile cracked the calm expression he wore. “Everyone ready?” Hikari asked.

Besides cloaking them from mental abilities, the rings acted as communicators- carrying the Vindicators’ voices between each other. One-by-one they appeared. Hikari had been using his powers to bend light around the Vindicators, rendering them invisible to the Synod’s eyes. Now that their trap was sprung, the time for hiding was over.

Paragon, Red Shift and Rift glared at the young heroes… the people who gave hope back to mankind.

“Let’s do this!” Hikari exclaimed, attempting to encourage even himself as they faced off against a fraction of their most deadly foes. Everything they had been training for had come down to this…

“Vindicators, attack!”
To Be Continued... wrote:The Storyteller

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New Vindicators, Chapter #407

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:10 pm

Chapter II: Absolute Beginners
Doctor James Howell simply stared at Hikari from over the top of his folded hands. The gorilla clad in a torn lab coat sat across from the young man, at the long table housed in the dining room of the Gladstone’s residence in Vancouver. Their hosts, Joseph and Lucille Gladstone, sat between them at the head of the table. Not far off, in a cushy chair Bulwark had brought into the room, was their daughter Alicia, a former student of the school Doctor Howell found himself the headmaster of.

He had inherited the post of administrator when his predecessor had been killed in battle, defending their students. Twice before had there been attacks on the New Vindicators Academy of America and many students had lost their lives. Doctor Howell had hoped his term would see less death and bloodshed, but less than a month into the position, the school had been raided by the Department of SPB Affairs, a division of the United Nations Security Council. Many of his students had been captured- placed into concentration camps if Hikari’s knowledge of the future was to be believed.

Alicia Gladstone had been one of the New Vindicators- the children trained to follow in the footsteps of the world’s defenders. She had left when she found herself with child and in her time away a slew of new faces had ascended to the rank she and her classmates had once held.

“Exactly how many of you were there?” asked one of those new faces. He was a very ordinary-looking young man with a very ordinary name; the young man had been born John Smith, though due to his ability to influence luck and fortune he was codenamed Fluke.

“There were eight of us,” Hikari offered, huddled in the sea of refugees from Doctor Howell’s school. “We were all just like you,” he explained. “We were all students of the New Vindicators Academy.”

“Which one?” asked Iris, a graduate of their sister school in Tokyo. The young Bengali girl prayed that in the future the New Vindicators Academy of Asia still stood strong.”

“The only one,” Hikari said sadly. “In my time, after the government raided your school, their doors never again opened.” He didn’t look up from the surface of the well-polished table, but he could feel their despair. “That- like many things –is something I hope to be able to change.”

“Wait a second…” interrupted Alicia Goodman, using all her strength to sit forward. Being seven months pregnant introduced new challenges to her life- where before no challenge had existed. “Let me get this straight… you’re from the future, but not this one?”

Hikari nodded. “I am from the future of an alternate dimension, one in which the point of divergence is apparently the death of my mother. In my world, Doctor Natalie Brad- er- Styles… survived her battle with Rift during the White War. She married my father and… died… giving birth to me.”

“Wow,” groaned Connor Crete, “a lot of people die in childbirth, huh?” He looked to Ben Altair, formerly the advisor for his now-amalgamated squadron. Though Connor Crete, codenamed Bulwark, was unable to change out of his rocky form his size ceased to be intimidating to those who knew the happy-go-lucky young boy within. “Didn’t your girlfriend die the same way?”

Ben barely knew what to say and Hikari answered for him. “Yes,” he offered. “I’m… I’m glad you mentioned that. It’s important to understand that if you are going to understand the events that led to my being here.

Doctor Howell processed this and then nodded for Hikari to continue. “You were telling us about there being but a single school, Mister Bradshaw…”

“However, after England joined the United Nations of America, the European Academy predicted the rest of the continent wouldn’t be far behind. They didn’t want to become like America and so the school evacuated. The Asian Academy took everyone in and was renamed the New Vindicators Academy. Doctor Howell was elected unanimously as the headmaster…” A smile shinned through the dark grimace typically taking residence on Hikari’s face. “We- we all thought of you as a second father, sir,” he offered, shyly glancing up at the gorilla before him. “You have to understand that most of us never got to know our parents. Remember that, or you may not see the full scope of the things I am about to tell you. For me though… you were like a second father and more, Doctor Howell.”

Doctor Howell felt awkward at being complimented for his behavior in an alternate dimension. “Yes, well… perhaps you should tell us about your team?”

Hikari nodded. “Yes, well… after I was given the mantle of leadership, my fiancé was appointed to be my second in command. Her name was- is Neige. Neige Altair, the daughter of Ben Altair and Katie Merrick.”

Many heads turned towards Ben and the baby he cradled gently in his arms.

Connor raised his hand and Hikari nodded to him. “Is it creepy for you that your fiancé is, like, a baby? I mean, would you be emotionally scarred if you had to change her diapers or something?”

Hikari sighed and shook his head, choosing to not even dignify the question with a response. Instead he turned back to Doctor Howell, ready to continue with his story. “Fine!” bellowed Connor. “Don’t answer me! You have to tell me this though… who’s this Emily chick? How hot was she?” Once more Hikari turned to face Connor, his eyebrow raised in confusion. “How big was her rack?”

“Forgive me,” intoned Hikari, glancing to Ben and the slumbering Neige, “I- I love Neige very much but… even the most loyal of men would find their eyes wandering when Emily walked by. Emily Stewart was the eldest of the siblings. Her Neo-Sapien powers didn’t just make her beautiful that… well… she was…” He shook his head and dropped low in his chair. “There aren’t works in any known language to do her justice,” he finally admitted.

The young narrator sighed, knowing how his audience would react to his revelation. “Like I said, most of us never got to meet our parents. Emily… Emily was one of the rare ones though. See, not only did she remember her adoptive parents but after they migrated to Asia, she… she got to meet her biological parents too.” He cast a worried look to the Gladstone’s and noticed that Alicia was already beginning to cry. Already she knew where he was taking this. “The family that adopted her where the Stewarts… but her biological parents were Adonis Skraag and Alicia Gladstone.”

Ben Altair and Alexa Hawk, former teammates of Alicia’s, looked on her and knew it wasn’t her hormones that now caused her to sob uncontrollably. A year ago she had given birth to a girl and gave the child up for adoption. It was the daughter produced when Adonis Skraag used his powers to seduce her, rape her, and leave her with no memory of what had happened.

Not a day went by that she didn’t think about what had happened to her little girl…

“Like I said,” Hikari continued, “she was… well, she was the eldest of the siblings. She never considered them her siblings- being raised by the Stewart’s. However, blood bound them together. The next eldest was her sister…”


Hikari nodded, affirming what Alicia knew to be true. The red-headed girl stroked her belly lovingly. “I- I’m having another girl,” she said. “I was going to name her Margaret…” Her voice faded but Hikari made out her happily whispering, “Maggie…”

“She took after her father,” Hikari said, speaking about an unborn child as if she had already lived her life and died without regrets. “She even took up his codename when she joined the Vindicators. Margaret Gladstone became the fifth Lodestone…”

“WHAT!?” exclaimed Alexa. “Aly… you’re kidding me!? You- you’re having Magnus’ baby?”

Alicia nodded sadly and hung her head, sparing her from the sight of Alexa turning her back on her. “It was when Maria was on trial, right?” the blonde woman asked. “You and Magnus hooked up and… God, Aly, how could you?”

“What do you care!?” snapped Ben, pushing his long, white hair out of his face as he stormed forward. “You had abandoned us, remember? You joined the Watchers! You were working for Chimera!” He cast a worried glance towards Forrest Bedford, seated at the table beside Doctor Howell. Inside the man’s body was the soul of Silvia Jorgenson, the woman who had been both the Vindicator known as Xianbei and the second villain to call herself Chimera. “You weren’t even there then! You have no idea what it was like at the school! You don’t know what she was feeling or what Magnus was going through!”

“She was Maria’s friend and she- she seduced her friend’s boyfriend! She’s pregnant with his baby!”

“And how is this at all different from when you tried to break Lex and Jacque apart!?” Ben thundered, now shouting to be heard over Neige’s crying- now that their arguing had awoken her. “What, it’s okay for you to destroy love but no one else can!?”

“What do you know about love?” growled Alexa. “You’re still a virgin!”

“Oh, so that means I couldn’t possibly have loved Katie!?” snarled Ben, passing Neige to Clarissa Townsend and then coating himself in ice. Alexa immediately shifted into her aquatic form, anticipating the attack.

“Both of you, stop!” snapped Doctor Howell. Too late, the pair lunged for each other, only to find a barrier between them. The two felt around for the edge and were astonished to find not an invisible wall erected but a barrier trapping them both.

“How Mister and Missus Goodman ever thought either of you could teach us anything is beyond me!” snapped Rissa. “Honestly, you’re both acting so immature!”

“We are guests in this house!” barked Doctor Howell. “I will not see either of you soil the grace with which we accept these people’s hospitality!”

The two seemed to calm down; the ice melted away and Alexa reverted to her natural form. Still, the two moved to opposite sides of the room. Ben took Neige from Rissa and bounced her in an attempt to calm her once more. In a way, holding her helped to calm him too.

“I am sorry for their outburst,” Doctor Howell said, looking to the Gladstone’s and then to Hikari. “I am sorry.”

“It’s fine,” said Hikari. “After Margaret came her little brother…” Alicia’s eyes widened then and Hikari hesitated to tell them anymore. Magnus Loder and Alicia Gladstone’s passion had already culminated in the conception of Margaret Gladstone, but could going any further prevent the birth of one of his companions? He sighed mournfully: he had come to try and prevent his future from coming about… what more damage could he do? “We called him ‘A.J.’ for short… named after his grandfathers…” He cast a glance to Joseph Gladstone and then looked to the former hero’s daughter. “Alan Joseph Altair inherited your powers.”

Alicia looked up at Hikari and her tears stopped. She turned and looked to Ben, her eyes wide with shock. Ben, it seemed, had yet to comprehend what had just been said. “What?” he asked, noticing more and more eyes falling on him. “What?”

“Trunks just told us that in the future, you’re finally going to get some,” said Connor. “Now I’m curious if she has anymore kids with anyone else. Deimos, maybe? How about Anomaly?”

“Mister Crete!” snapped Doctor Howell.

“I’m just saying that this story might go a little quicker if Future Hiro told us who doesn’t bone her.”

Hikari closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying his best to ignore Connor Crete’s babbling. “Lex Sway did have a child,” he offered, “but… during the White War, Jacquelyn Sway was left unable to have children. She could conceive, true, but she couldn’t carry the baby to term. The two had a child though, brought to term by a surrogate mother…”

“Alicia?” Connor asked.

“Donna-Anne Manther,” offered Hikari. “Matthew Sway is the son of Lex and Jacque Sway, though brought to term by Donna-Anne Manther. The odd situation resulted in… well, in odd results. Matthew inherited both Mister and Missus Sway’s Neo-Sapien abilities. It makes sense, given that both have powers tied to gravitational abilities. However, the child also displayed powers based on the Manther power template.”

“Jank…” William Loder grumbled, staring off into nothingness.

Hikari tried to move on quickly, wanting not to dwell on his memories of Matthew Sway. “After Matthew was the twins, Stephen and Clementine Luom. Their parents were Michael and Atlanta Luom- Brass and Rumble. Stephen was stronger- both physically and emotionally stronger than any one I have ever known… while his sister continued the family tradition and became the next Aurelius.

“Lastly, there was Joseph Henry… the latest incarnation of Chronos Aeon, the personification of time itself.”

“You have named nine,” offered Melynda Halcyon, “though you said previously that there were only eight of you. Please explain?”

“There were only eight of us… Matthew… Matthew died, protecting me… on our first mission…

“Matthew was my best-friend. He- he was going to be the best man at my wedding. He was like a brother to me but… on my first mission as leader he- he died. It should have been me but he… he got between me and Inferno’s blast and… and…

“I thought about giving up then and there. How could I lead them and protect them if I couldn’t even protect my best-friend? Still… the need was there. The Synod was becoming more aggressive following our roster’s changes. I knew that if we were going to stand any chance of the Illuminati going back in time then we needed to buy them time. We needed to hold the Synod back. We needed to become the Vindicators. We had to take up the mantle and fight… and… so… we did…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Hikari's tale continues...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 408

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:12 pm

Chapter III
Emily Stewart was blessed with more than her father’s powers; she had inherited his charm and guile, as well as his intellect- all of which helped the Synod consider her one dangerous weapon. “Rift is the most dangerous!” she cried, leaping to the side of swift and inaccurate punch. “We need to take her out first! Hikari! Funnel your light energy into Neige!” Once more she found herself attacked, this time by Paragon’s energy snare. “Rift’s vulnerable to electrical assault in her intangible state! Convert the energy to electricity and let her have it!”

Just as Emily planned, Hikari fueled Neige’s powers. The young woman’s ability to absorb and redirect energy also allowed her to convert the energy she channeled. She siphoned Hikari’s light attacks and fed them out her fingertips as lightning that struck Rift and threw the woman onto her back- unconscious and corporeal.

“That’s my girl,” Emily whispered, beaming as she looked on the one who had undone Rift. Hikari still held Neige’s hand in his and he pulled her around, stealing a kiss before the pair rushed off to disable the remaining two members of the Synod.

Neige’s expression had soured at the sight of their affection. A scowl followed Hikari as he moved to help Joseph and Stephen fight Red Shift.

“Clementine!” snapped Emily, leaping clear of another grappling blast of red hellfire. “Now would be a really good time for you to try out that new spell!”

Uttering an incantation in the Language of the Birds, Clementine Luom let the arcane energy she had risked being disowned to master flow into her from the world around her. Waving her hands through the air she commanded all of reality to do her bidding and instantly Paragon felt weak.

“Wh-what did you…” The thirty-nine-year-old Italian man staggered and nearly fell to his knees. “What’s happening?”

“It’s called magic,” the Aurelius said, advancing on the man humbled before her. The closer she got, the worse he felt. “As an abjurer, my talents lie in barriers and protections… I’ve been reading the Book of the Grigori, researching a new spell, just for you and your kind.” The young sorceress threw back her head and her long, raven hair streaked with blonde whipped back. “I’ve read about you, you know… Dominique Infinity, codenamed Paragon… you started out as a student at the New Vindicators Academy of Europe, back when there was such a thing. After the Trials though, you went rogue. Your classmates took you down but you escaped and ended up in the Synod.

“You killed Quintessence’s entire team when they tried to bring you down…”

A smile broke across the pained expression on the Nephilim’s face. “Guilty,” he spat. “What of it?”

“Nothing,” mused the Aurelius. “I was merely trying to keep you distracted. If you had left the area of my warding, you’d have been spared the pain.” She watched as his body sagged and the life left him. At the sight of Paragon’s death, a smile flashed across the young woman’s pristine features. “They just don’t make Nephilim like they used to,” she said, stroking her beauty mark, just under the left corner of her lips. Her eyes darted about the battlefield then, seeking out the two most important people in her life. She found them not far from each other: Stephen Luom and Margaret Gladstone were engaged in battle with Red Shift- the only member of the Synod still standing.

“Need help?” she asked.

Her twin brother still ignored her. He had been giving her disapproving glares for days and had hardly uttered a word in that time. “I think we’ve got it, Clem,” said Margaret, narrowing her eyes at Stephen. The two stood not far from each other, doing their best to dodge the flurry of punches that came from the speedster. His path was easy to follow, given the red blur that trailed behind him. Predicting where he was going was another story entirely. Thankfully, the Vindicators were not without their own speedster.

“Hi,” Joseph Henry said as he ran alongside Red Shift. He turned around and proceeded to maintain his breakneck pace, though he trotted backwards now. “You. Might. Want. To. Look.”

Before Joseph could finish his sentence, Red Shift began to feel the numbing effect of Captain Canada’s powers. A.J. Altair stood not far off, commanding the cold and howling wind to pursue his prey and sting and bite his flesh. “Out,” finished Joseph, shivering as he felt the wind as well.

“HEY, RED SHIFT!” called A.J. Red Shift’s eyes narrowed on the young man; he had a barbed tongue and had foiled more than one of the Synod’s attempts to end the Vindicator’s threats by goading them with his taunts. He braced himself for the worse, only to hear: “YOU SUCK!”

Momentarily distracted, his opponents had the chance they needed to disable him. Joseph wasted no time in punching the speedster in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground and watching him roll across the field and stop when he landed against the stable Stephen’s alloy-coated legs. “Got him,” he said darkly, dropping to the ground and pinning Red Shift beneath him.

“Good, then kill him,” muttered Lodestone, using her magnetic control to skim across the ground.

“Does the sixth commandment mean anything to you?”

“Which one is that?” Margaret asked, stroking her chin in faux thoughtfulness. “Is that the ‘thou shalt not fornicate with thy neighbor’s ox’ one or was that one the seventh commandment? I can never keep them straight.”

“Blasphemous whore!” Stephen was on his feet in no time and A.J. and Joseph hurried to restrain Red Shift. Disabling him was out of the question; they knew about his accelerating healing. “Why do you take such joy in perverting my faith!?” Stephen snapped.

“I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this but… that invisible guy you believe in and talk to all the time doesn’t seem to care that his world is being taken over by… well, them!” She gestured to Red Shift before running her hands through her short-cropped auburn hair.

“It’s only by the grace of God that we’re still breathing!”

“Yeah, I’ll be sure to thank the big guy when I see him… Get with it, Steve-O! If there was a god, he’d have done something by now! That Apocatastasis and his goon squad had been in power this long just proves there’s no one at the wheel… Look, I’m sorry because… well, I know you don’t have much of a life outside your book of lies but face it, Stevie: religion is just a way to control people. Apocatastasis gets it. That’s why it’s his greatest weapon. The sooner you accept that, the easier it’ll be to fight him.”

Stephen walked away, no longer wishing to argue with the woman. He tried to tell himself that he was merely wasting his breath. She would never listen to him. She only threw the same tired, old arguments at him again and again.

“Do it, Clem,” she said, nodded to Stephen’s twin sister. Clementine stood over Red Shift and hesitated, unable to go against her brother on this. “What are you waiting for, Clem?” she asked as Hikari and Neige came over the hill- leaving Rift’s dead body behind them.

“Hikari,” chuckled Red Shift. “It’s good to see you…”

“It’ll be the last thing you see,” Hikari growled. “The Synod is down to nine, it seems.”

“Ten,” Red Shift corrected.

“Not for long,” grumbled Lodestone.

Red Shift began to laugh. “There are thirteen members of the Synod, Hikari. Thirteen… not twelve.”

“He’s lying!” Emily spat. “He’s desperate and he’s trying to buy a few more-”

“Apocatastasis has a mole in your organization,” said Red Shift, chuckling. “You think I’m lying? What good what it do me- I know you’ll kill me either way. At least this way I get to die watching your faces… Know this, Hikari: one of your precious Vindicators here is actually a servant of Lord Apocatastasis. All that protects you now are those rings, but once the command is given that luxury will be denied you!”

“I’m through hearing his lies,” Hikari said. “Do it…”

Red Shift only continued to laugh as a thin sheet of metal hovered over his head, ready to deliver the coup de grace. “Which is it though, Hikari? Which one of them has sold you all to the lord?” As Lodestone brought the guillotine down, Red Shift’s mad laughter stopped and an uncomfortable silence set in as all but one of the Vindicators began to wonder which one it could be…
To Be Continued... wrote:Another interlude...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 409

Post by Michuru81 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:05 am

Chapter IV: Time
“And that marked the beginning of the end…”

“Wait, you-” Jessica Hague was having a difficult time accepting what she was hearing from the mouth of the man she had chosen to follow. Not long ago, she and a handful of others had made the decision to leave the New Vindicators Academy to follow Hikari in his single-minded mission. “You killed them!?”

“Paragon, Red Shift and Rift… we executed all three of them.”

The attractive young blonde hid her face in her hands and several others seemed to want to do the same. “Hey, it’s either kill or be killed,” offered Owen, his eyes lowered to keep from looking on Jessica. Beside him stood Aurora Leigh, the other girl in his life. Aurora knew what he felt better than anyone as both of their powers prevented them from touching another human being safely. For Aurora, skin-to-skin contact caused her to rewrite a person’s mind, overriding their memories and experiences with her own. Though the effect was temporary and lasted longer depending on the duration of their contact, Owen’s powers were considerably more deadly. With a touch he siphoned the life force out of all living things, using that energy to repair his body.

They were abilities the pair found themselves without some scant few weeks ago. For a few hours they were both able to touch and the two seized the opportunity and shared a passionate kiss. They shared that and more; while the pair was making love, their powers returned- nearly killing Aurora while overriding Owen’s mind with hers.

Still, the two felt something for each other- even with their powers restored. Owen felt it was unavoidable that they might try to touch again and he couldn’t bear the thought of hurting her… not when he was beginning to feel love for her. He left the school to put some distance between them, only to discover that Jessica Hague’s regenerative abilities left her immune to his powers. She was someone he could touch and now… she was someone he lusted for.

Torn between love and lust, the young man let his shoulder-length brown hair fall over his face, hiding his dark, sunken eyes and the stubble that had been forming over the last few days after he heard Jessica mention to Gabrielle that she thought beards were sexy. It was those feelings which made it so difficult for him to speak his mind here: he saw the wisdom in Hikari’s actions- even if Jessica was disgusted by the thought of executing their enemies.

Aurora’s gloved fingers caressed his hand lovingly and Owen made no move but to pray silently that Jessica hadn’t seen the gesture.

“So…” Connor said, attempting to break the silence, “tell us more about Emily. Do you have any pictures? Wait- do you have any pictures I could, maybe, keep?”

Expertly ignoring him, Hikari continued his exposition. “Clementine teleported us back to our base. The Illuminati had made camp in Shimabara- the new location for the school. Very few knew its location but… naturally, the Vindicators were trusted… even if one of us shouldn’t have been.

“A.J. tried to get us to laugh it off. He tried to tell us not to pay any mind to Red Shift and that only made Emily accuse him of being the traitor, which Margaret vehemently denied- sticking up for her brother. Because Margaret got involved, Stephen jumped in, taking Emily’s side and the two began to tug at Clementine…

“I could see that we were falling apart and I started to wonder if this was what Red Shift had wanted. Neige tried to comfort me and she echoed my thoughts. Still, I knew I was their leader and that I was responsible for all of them. I was terrified of what could happen if one of us truly was a traitor.

“I had already lost Matthew and I refused to watch anymore of my friends die.”

“So… there really was a traitor?” asked Gabriel.

Hikari nodded sadly. “The end of the Vindicators began then… the day we learned of the traitor’s existence… and it ended when I held my precious Neige’s body in my arms. I didn’t even get the chance to bury her. After she fell, I rushed after the surviving members of the Illuminati and traveled through time- arriving in this world.”

“You’re getting ahead of yourself,” offered Doctor Howell. “You said you all returned to the school. What happened next?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Hikari, Emily and the Illuminati...

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 410

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:28 am

Chapter V
Hikari pushed open the doors that led into the great chamber where the Illuminati gathered. “What about a paradox?” came the voice of one of the enlightened ones as the young leader of the Vindicators slipped into the room. Immediately, Hikari recognized the voice of Eddison “Ed” Dubchinsky. Once upon a time, Ed had been a student at the New Vindicators Academy of England. He was a genius inventor paralleled only by his wife. After Beth had been killed in battle with Lodestone, Ed had devoted himself to the cause of rewriting history and creating a world where he could hold her again. “I mean, by us traveling back in time to prevent the rise of Apocatastasis, then we prevent our own future and thus, prevent ourselves from traveling back to undo this mess!”

“My apologies, Mister Dubchinsky,” iterated Doctor James Howell, leader of the Illuminati and headmaster of the New Vindicators Academy. Hikari stepped to the edge of the shadows and looked on the men gathered in the circle of light. They sat around a massive table cluttered with books and loose sheets of paper. Dry erase boards made for a partition- dividing them from the darkness that edged the room. Still, it was not the shadows but Hikari’s powers that kept them from noticing his presence. “I believe temporal mechanics may not actually be as complicated as you’re making them. I propose that time is more like a river-”

“Like we haven’t heard this analogy a thousand times already,” growled David Meinstein, rolling his eyes as he paused the archaic video game in his hands. His Gameboy Color was a prized possession from several decades past and one he was seldom seen without. “We’re all just sitting on a sailboat, traveling down a river on a set course… blah, blah, blah… No offense, headmaster, but we’ve been over this and, well, to be perfectly frank, I don’t buy it.

“Let’s say we do go back in time and we jump Apocatastasis the second he comes back- say right after Walkabout launches the warheads? All we’ll have done is created a point of divergence. There would be two realities then: one where Apocatastasis rises to power and everything we know to have happened happens and a second world where… well, where he doesn’t.

“You’re suggesting that time is a river- a set course that we’re helpless to do anything against but go with the current. I can’t buy that. We have free will; we make our own decisions and, sadly, that means living by them. If life has taught me anything it’s that in this life there are nothing but possibilities and the ability to reason- to decide for ourselves how we’ll leave our lives… that means possibilities.”

“I agree with Mister Meinstein,” said David Kennel.

“As do I,” announced Brian Hart.

Doctor Howell was nodding as if he were beginning to lean towards David Meinstein’s way of thinking.

“Of course you all agree with him,” groaned Alan Altair. “If you don’t, he takes his weapons and he goes home…”

“You got something to say?” snorted David.

The man in his early sixties rose up and glared at the forty-something billionaire. “I’m merely tired of coddling you, Mister Meinstein. Is the technology Hub Enterprises provided allowing the Japanese to continue to fight against the United Nations? Yes, but why should we let this be what decides every argument with you? Why do we scrape and bow to you for doing what any decent man would have done?

“You’re only a human- a human somehow immune to Lodestone’s powers, true but you’re a human all the same. This is not your fight so why are you pressuring us to listen to your tactics?”

“Like you pointed out, I’m just doing what any decent person would have done. What different does it make if I have near the fire-power the rest of you do?” David Meinstein narrowed his eyes on Alan Altair. “What I want to know is, what makes you think you have any right to judge me? You wouldn’t even save your own son and his wife when Inferno-”

“I couldn’t!” snarled Alan. “I told you! I couldn’t touch him…”

“YOU LET HIM DIE!” snapped David. “We were far from being friends but we fought together so many times. You though… he was your son and you…”

Hikari was about to reveal himself and attempt to break up another instance of infighting from the Illuminati when the doors burst open and Emily slipped into the room.

“Miss Stewart,” announced Doctor Howell, walking towards her on his knuckles, intent to turn her around and close the doors once more. He looked over his shoulder to Brian Hart and saw the man alert to his need. Emily’s powers worked on every last one of them; the only way to be assured that they were not becoming her puppets was for Brian Hart to siphon her Neo-Sapien energies- dampening her powers and making them his own…

Making them harmless…

“Now is not a good time…”

“Three of the Synod are dead!” Emily proclaimed victoriously.

The men began to mutter amongst themselves. Emily’s anger flared as she heard David Kennel utter, “Hikari’s team slew three of the Synod?”

“It’s only Hikari’s team in name!” Emily thundered. “I was the one who formulated our plan! I was the one who coordinated the strike! I had Hikari charge Neige’s powers and directed her to slay Rift! I had Clementine kill Paragon! Hikari’s an exceptional swordsman and a powerful warrior but he is hardly the leader that I am!”

Ed looked to Hikari then and Hikari shuddered under the gaze of that robotic eye. One of the Synod, Coup Field, was a very gifted illusionist. Ed Dubchinsky had built his cybernetic eye to be able to see all things as they truly were. So long as the young Vindicator kept downwind from Doctor Howell’s powerful sense of smell, only that eye could detect his presence.

The genius inventor watched Hikari’s reaction to hearing his shortcomings paraded before his mentors. “Hikari lacks confidence!” declared Emily. “I have it in spades! Hikari hesitates in combat! He over-thinks every battle!”

“And that’s why I chose him,” offered Doctor Howell.

“Excuse me?” stammered Emily, not sure if she had heard right.

“Hikari is careful because he was so close to Mister Sway. His death gave Hikari an insight you lack, Miss Stewart. We don’t disagree that you would be a very effectual leader. You have your team’s trust. You know their strengths and their weaknesses. You know how to guide them and you command them well… but it’s about more than that. Whereas you see them as pawns to be moved about the chess board, Hikari fights to keep from seeing any more of them die. He genuinely cares about each and every one of them… even you.”

Emily said nothing more. She merely bowed and removed herself from the room, softly shutting the doors behind her and leaving the room dark again. “Now then,” Doctor Howell said, sniffing the air, “why don’t you tell us about your battle tonight, Hikari?”
To Be Continued... wrote:Tell me how I die.

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New Vindicators, Chapter 411

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:53 pm

Chapter VI: Under Pressure
“Can I ask a question?” asked Ben, unsure if he would be able to take the answer.

Hikari paused and nodded to the young man; Ben took a deep breath and opted to test the waters with a safer question first: “How is my dad still alive in your world? Is… is it like how your mom survived fighting Rift?”

“Your father is alive in this world as well,” Hikari said glumly. “He- he is one of the headmasters at the New Vindicators Academy of Europe. He faked his death, Ben. He wouldn’t tell me much about what happened but he said the woman in green told him if he ever touched you again, she’d use you to destroy the world.”

Doctor Howell stroked his chin thoughtfully. Atlas, the original, not the identity Chimera had assumed, often said that he had been commanded to do the things he did by a woman in green. That Atlas’ actions had almost destroyed the world time and time again made it more curious.

Ben sighed. There was something else he wanted to ask… It was a little uncomfortable knowing that in the future he and Alicia would marry and conceive a son, but there was something about his future that would distress him more. “Exactly what happened to me?” he asked. “Who- who’s Inferno?”

All eyes settled on Hikari then as he proceeded to answer the question they all wanted answered for themselves. With no mention of many of the young heroes gathered here, many of the New Vindicators wondered what fate they had suffered in Hikari’s world.

“The team of Vindicators you know now will go down in history as the ninth incarnation of the team. Granted, Crusader’s elite team was never known as the eighth and Lodestone’s team was never known as the ninth but… history will remember them accordingly.

“The Vindicators X were led by Adonis Skraag and his wife Laura. Ben and Alicia both fought on it, as did David and Melynda Kennel. My father was also on this team, as were Lex and Alexa Sway.” Alexa blinked in surprise at the pairing; she had long had a crush on Lex Sway but she had backed off after he married Jacquelyn Webber. She knew Lex and she knew herself well enough to know that if the two of them were together, something tragic must have happened to Jacque.

“What about me?” asked Connor.

“And me?” asked Peter Errons. “Don’t I end up with Adrianna?”

“Am… am I dead?” asked Jessica, not sure if such an outcome was even possible.

Hikari held up his hand, pleading with them to give him time to answer everything. “Before Apocatastasis was revived, the Iron Curtain was sent to kill Connor Crete. Apparently his chest shattered through Connor’s chest and Christmas Clark reacted, using her powers to switch bodies with him. Suddenly having a sensation of touch caused Connor to panic. He tried to get an SOS out to the school but he was hard to make out and after Jessica Martin, he became the Iron Curtain’s last victim.

“The Iron Curtain left, believing his job done, but somehow Bulwark was resurrected. Still, Connor had died in Christmas’ body, leaving Christmas Clark living out her life as the second Bulwark.

“Unfortunately, in her inexperience with Bulwark’s strength, she was no match for the Synod when they struck and she was abducted along with several other students Apocatastasis wanted. They were put into suspended animation and adorn the walls of his chamber in the Citadel. It’s his safe house; if he’s attacked in that room, then he has all the abilities he needs to survive. He had Bulwark’s strength, Renewal’s regeneration, Savant’s reflex memory, Boson’s force shields, Fluke’s luck, Iris’ eyes, Backlash’s reflection field and more…

“About that time, Doctor Howell created a new Illuminati, gathering the most intelligent people to his side. He realized we couldn’t just beat down Apocatastasis; we needed a strategy if we were going to stand any chance of fighting him.

“Odin, in all his wisdom, took the middle ground. The Vindicators stood to fight Apocatastasis and his Synod. The Illuminati thought we needed to think the fight out. Odin said both were necessary. He realized Apocatastasis can only mimic genetic abilities and recruited Gabrielle Farouk to his war. He dubbed her Valkyrie and gave her a new mission: traverse the globe, looking for individuals who could fight Apocatastasis but didn’t have powers that would help him. She began to gather martial artists like Sclera and Mirage and mages like Kitten and Fey. One by one, Odin’s arm assembled… prepared for a final strike on Apocatastasis…”

“But what happened to me?” asked Ben.

Hikari sighed, tired of the constant interruptions but understanding where they were coming from. “As I said, you died. The Vindicators X walked into a trap and the Synod attacked. Their goal was in capturing Adonis- Apocatastasis wanted his power more than any other. Though they wanted to capture everyone, the Vindicators fought hard and… and the Synod decided all they could do was kill them.

“Only two men survived that team… Adonis Skraag… and David Kennel…”

“That was a year ago for me. David Kennel joined the Illuminati, determined to find a way to travel back in time and undo the damage Apocatastasis would do to the world. The best and the brightest from the Academy were promoted up and I was put at the helm. Our first mission was to sneak into the Citadel… and kill Apocatastasis’ captives.

“Adonis Skraag, Minar Raja, Peter Errons, Donna-Anne Manther… their blood is on my hands…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Why Emily hates Hikari and why Stephen hates Margaret...

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 412

Post by Michuru81 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:56 pm

Chapter VII
As Emily stepped out of the Illuminati’s chambers she fought to maintain her composure. She lost it at the sight of Neige Merrick, casually leaning against the wall near the entrance, waiting for her beau to finish giving his report. Emily was a genius who understood what the young woman’s presence meant. “He- he’s in there, isn’t he?” she said, hanging her head in shame. He had been invisible and he had heard every word she said about him.

Neige nodded and smiled sweetly on her friend and teammate. Given that the only man Neige had ever called father had married Emily’s biological mother, she thought of the blonde woman as he sister and she loved her like one.

Emily was not content to accept those feelings, nor to call them sisters.

“What’s up?” asked Neige innocently.

“I just made a fool out of myself,” Emily muttered, leaning against the wall beside Neige and shaking her head. “I went in there, guns blazing… I- I still have problems with Hikari being chosen over me.”

“For leader, you mean?”

“That’s part of it, sure,” said Emily. “It’s just… I’m so sure of myself, you know? I know that I’m more intelligent that Hikari. I know that I could be the better leader but when Doctor Howell told Hikari to lead us it was like… well, it was a slap to the face, you know? It was like being told I’m not good enough…”

Emily’s mind went back to a night from three years ago. She had just graduated from the school and was being considered for the Vindicators X. It had only taken one words from their leader to prevent her from being promoted. Adonis Skraag led the Vindicators then, with his wife Laura as his second-in-command. Adonis knew who she was. He knew her origins. All it had taken was for him to see his own abilities reflected in his daughter to understand where Emily had come from. He had taken her aside that night and told her, “I don’t think poorly of you- understand that. It’s just that… you represent a period of my life I’m not entirely proud of. What I did to your mother was not right. I’m sorry… but I can’t be reminded of the past I’ve fought so hard to bury.”

He had told her, in effect, that he wanted to pretend her conception never happened. He had called her a mistake. He had told her he was not proud of her.

“I’m not good enough for anyone…” she cried.

Neige hugged the girl she saw as her sister, no matter what Emily said, and stroked her long, blonde hair. She whispered soothing sounds, trying to still her tears. “You’re more than good enough,” Neige offered softly. “You’re so smart, Em… God, you- you’re so smart and funny and… you know, sometimes I wish I looked more like you. It’s not just your powers, Em- you’re a beautiful person even without them.”

“Really?” Emily asked, lifting her head from Neige’s shoulder and looking her straight in the eyes. The ocean crashed within her look and green fields waved a breeze within Neige’s gaze.

“Absolutely,” Neige said.

Emily saw her chance… and she took it. She rushed in and pressed her lips to Neige’s, passionately kissing the young woman and beginning to cry when she realized Neige wasn’t kissing her back.

Neige’s head was pulled back and her eyes were wide with shock as Emily opened her eyes. Suddenly, Neige wasn’t so comfortable holding her; she began to slither out of Emily’s arms and Emily understood. “Like I said,” Emily whispered, letting go of the woman she loved and turning her back on her, “I’m not good enough for anyone…”

As she hurried off, Neige thought of going after her. She hesitated, questioning herself with what she could possible say to make the woman feel better about what had happened.

She could only watch helplessly as Emily disappeared around a corner… The young girl wished she had Hikari’s powers, so that she could disappear completely. Instead Emily rushed through the common room where many of her teammates had sheltered themselves following their victory.

“Full House is on,” A.J. laughed as he leapt over the back of the couch to fall into place beside Joseph. “I’m glad they remade this show.”

“Indeed,” offered Joseph. He often tried to say little. His mind processed information quicker than anyone else’s and he was often told that he was talking too fast to be understood. He had started to speak more slowly in an effort to appear normal. He achieved quite the opposite reaction, however. “I. Have. A. Crush. On. The. Girl. Who. Plays. Stephanie.”

“Stephen!” called A.J., seeing the young man somberly leave the kitchen, a sandwich in each hand. “Come on! The show’s about to start.”

Just then Margaret appeared in one doorway and Clementine in another. “Clementine…” Stephen said awkwardly. “I- I thought we could have some lunch… maybe talk?”

“C’mon, Clem,” urging Margaret, nodding her head for the Aurelius to follow her. “I want to show you this new sculpture I’m working on.”

For a moment the young woman debated her options before finally slipping off to follow Margaret. Stephen threw the sandwiches to the floor and rushed to the threshold Margaret had only just occupied. “Doesn’t Leviticus 18:22 mean anything to you!?” he snarled to their backs. Clementine froze at his words but Margaret rounded about on them.

“Not especially,” she hissed. “Is that the verse about not sticking your thing in the toaster, or is that Genesis 1:37? You know, I can never keep them straight.”

Stephen ignored the woman, looking around her to his sister. “It broke mom’s heart when you left to train with grandpa!” he snapped. “What would mom and dad say if they could see where you’re going now!?”

“Given that your parents have been dead for a few years now,” Margaret whispered to the young man, “I’d guess they’re not saying a whole lot.”

Immediately his arms and legs changed forms. Coated in the alien metal his strength was only increased by the adrenal surge both he and his sister could evoke as their mother’s children. He swung for Margaret and the woman’s eyes widened with terror; she knew that the metal he partially transformed into was not ferrous. There was nothing she could do against the blow…

…but there was something Clementine could do.

Stephen Luom never heard her utter the incantation. He never saw her move her arms about. He only felt the blast knock him off of his feet and onto his back.

Margaret Gladstone saw her opportunity and began to shape the metal flooring to wrap around him- forming a spike at his throat that threatened to pierce his flesh should he resist. “Give it up, little boy,” she muttered as she knelt beside him. “You’re just outclassed…” She looked up to the astonished Clementine- her eyes wide with disbelief as she accepted the reality of what she had just done. “You need to realize when you’ve lost…”

She trailed off at the sensation of Clementine’s hand on her shoulder. She stood and glared down at the young man, wanting to say so much more to him but for Clementine she would let it rest… Instead she headed off towards her workshop.

Clementine Luom looked down at her brother, tears in her eyes, and watched him look away. She hurried off then, unwilling to let him see her cry as she raced after Margaret Gladstone.

Before she stepped through the threshold she had composed herself. With dry eyes and a fake smile she stepped into Margaret Gladstone’s workshop and gazed up at the twisted metal sculpture before her. Two ambiguous, sinuous shapes spiraled around each other, branching off in what seemed like two sets of arms embracing the other. “It’s… beautiful.” Clementine had no real eye for art, but she was able to fake her enthusiasm for Margaret’s sake.

Margaret seized the girl by the wrist and kissed her familiarly. With a thought she commanded the iron frame of her bed to rise and carry itself from the corner of the room to rest just behind the young sorceress.

Gently she pushed her lover back onto it while her hand slipped around the inside of Clementine’s thigh, lifting her leg while her kisses swept down the magus’ neck. She waved her free hand to the door and the metal locks secured into place, ensuring that they were not disturbed.
To Be Continued... wrote:Zombie Adonis!

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New Vindicators, Chapter 413

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:46 am

Chapter VIII: Major Tom
“So, lemme get this straight,” said Connor, “in the future… if you’re not banging Alicia, you’re a lesbian? Those are our options?”

“Mister Crete, I am warning you…” growled Doctor Howell. “You will show some respect to our gracious hosts!”

“It kinda makes me glad I’m dead,” Connor whispered to William Loder. “Ooo!” he exclaimed suddenly, thrusting his hand into the air and waving it energetically. “I got another question!” One look from Doctor Howell had him waver only slightly. “It’s okay!” he boasted. “I’m not gunna make fun of anyone this time!”

Hikari nodded for Connor to post his inquiry and the big guy grinned. “How is it you know all of this? I mean, I know narrators are supposed to be omnipresent but… unless you were invisible, standing in the corner, watching them scissor-” He demonstrated what he meant by locking his index and middle finger on each hand together and then grinding them together. “-I don’t get how you can possibly know what was going on in there.”

“I- I was told… Margaret told me everything that happened. Other than myself, she survived the traitor’s attack.”

“I guess that narrows the list of suspects down,” grumbled Connor. “My money’s on Adonis. He returned from the grave just to betray everyone again! No one saw it the first time and no one saw Zombie Adonis either!”

The room was filled with incredulous looks cast upon the titanic young man. “All in favor of Bulwark not talking anymore?” asked Peter Errons.

Doctor Howell’s hand was one of the first into the air, followed by the entirety of the Gladstone family. Soon the room was speckled with raised hands and Connor slumped low to avoid being seen- a difficult task at eight feet in height.

“Margaret was the only other survivor of the betrayal. She told me everything that had happened then… the night that the others were killed. It was… it was very awkward. We knew that Margaret was… well, we knew she was a lesbian. Clementine hadn’t wanted anyone to know about their relationship though. As Margaret told me, she wanted to shout it from the rooftops. She loved Clementine deeply and it tore her up that she couldn’t tell anyone about their love… but Clementine was ashamed.”

“Not surprising, given her parentage,” mumbled Alexa. “Atlanta’s always been a Bible-thumper. I don’t know her boyfriend that well but Cassie said he was a real Jesus monkey too. So Stephen turned out like mom and dad and was everything they could want from a good little Christian soldier…”

“…But Clementine left to go learn the dark arts from grandpa,” said Ben, starting to understand Clementine Luom more. “Atlanta’s never really approved of her dad’s… occupation, I guess… That her own daughter would willingly choose the same path…”

“Missus Luom may have been ashamed of how Clementine turned out,” offered Hikari, “but she and Mister Luom never stopped loving her. It- it’s difficult to understand, but… they hated what she was while still loving her. I think Clementine was afraid that if they found out she was lesbian then… well, that might have pushed them off that precarious line they were walking.”

“Stephen knew though,” mused John Smith, beginning to understand why Stephen had grown so cold and distant near the end of their lives.

“Right, but Stephen was… misguided. He was over-zealous. His parents had died alongside the Aurelius, fighting his former apprentice. He didn’t realize that they… they would have loved their children no matter what they were. He thought that he could force Clementine to choose between her heritage and… well, who she was.”

“He sounds like a real jerk,” grumbled Connor. “Ooo! Is it him! Is he the traitor!? Did he betray them because his sister liked to scissor?”

It was obvious by the looks on their faces, some of Hikari’s audience was thinking the same thing. “It was Stephen, wasn’t it?” asked Connor again, now grinning like a madman. “C’mon… I know you don’t wanna give away the ending but if I’m right you can give me some kind of a sign. Saying, ‘Connor, you are a freakin’ genius’ would be a pretty awesome sign…”

“I can’t believe Mister Luom would do such a thing,” offered Doctor Howell. “Yes, he was angry with his sister and even more so with her lover, but serving Apocatastasis would have been the last thing a devote Christian like Stephen would have done.

“However, we know that Miss Stewart wanted Hikari’s position and his fiancé. It is fully possible that she betrayed them…”

“She wanted the team and Neige so she had them all killed?” asked Gabrielle Farouk. “No way.”

“I’m tellin’ you, it’s Zombie Adonis!”

“What about Hikari?” asked Gabriel Farouk, Gabrielle’s twin brother. The young Egyptian lifted his head and his long, raven hair parted to show his glowing blue eyes. “What makes any of you think we can trust him? For all we know, he’s jumping from dimension to dimension, paving the way for Apocatastasis’ coming. How do we know that this story isn’t a total load?”

“Mister Farouk,” urged Doctor Howell. Before he could argue his point, the young Nephilim continued.

“We know Lodestone made a deal with the devil… bring a few people back from the dead in exchange for screwing over humanity? How do we know Hikari didn’t make the same deal? His mom died giving birth and his dad died in the war… How farfetched is it to assume that Hikari didn’t make the same deal Lodestone did?”

The room grew quiet and suspicious eyes drifted to the storyteller, as he continued…
To Be Continued... wrote:Lodestone versus Lodestone and Lodestone