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New Vindicators, Chapter 896

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:28 am

Chapter XLVI: Flirtin’ With Disaster
“There is a legal term for what you have just done,” said Libra as he looked upon his opponent. “Felo de se—“felon from himself”—is the legal term for a suicide.

“This was a hasty and unwise decision, son of Abaddon.”

Phobos stabbed the xiphos into the ground and used it to stay standing. He was panting heavily and his free hand was clutching the empty socket that was a present from his brother. “I am sorry for this,” Libra said as he swiped his sword through the air. “Ordinarily I would prefer to meet an opponent evenly when executing my judgment but…” Libra raised the white xiphos and stood poised to strike at his opponent. “…You did bring this upon yourself…”

He ran for Phobos and Deimos screamed in agony. Through the constricting barrier he watched as the blade swung to claim his twin’s life—to steal the joy of ending Phobos’ existence himself.

“I did, didn’t I?” asked Phobos.

A fiendish smile crept across Deimos’ face and Libra’s eyes widened in shock as Phobos reached out and seized the tip of the Areopagus’ blade with his bare, blood-stained hand.

“Trouble is… I’m a little too much like my brother…”

Phobos looked up and while his remaining eye remained normal, black flames were crackling in the empty eye.

“I don’t think I have it in me to just lie down and die!” he snarled as an eruption of hellfire ejected from the lost eye. The flames formed into a massive cone and Libra was engulfed in the nightmarish blaze.

Over Libra’s tormented screams, Phobos could hear his brother’s maniacal laughter. “Yes!” he laughed. “Keep going! Finish him and then you and I can settle this!

“Kill him, Phobos! And then I can finally kill you!”

Libra trembled as he tried to fathom where the Nephilim had found this reserve of strength. When Phobos had drawn the xiphos, he had been near death and yet he had somehow found the strength to continue… His thoughts went to that fateful day so many months ago, when he found Deimos asleep before Blanche Gareth in Tokyo. The aged Nephilim had attested to Deimos’ indomitable will—was it a trait the brothers shared?

Phobos lifted the sword and began to falter; Libra watched the Nephilim stagger as he attempted to find some sort of stability. “A fluke then,” he assessed, realizing what power it was he had just seen. Again Phobos was forced to use the xiphos as a crutch. Still, he was cautious as he approached Phobos and Phobos simply sobbed, sensing the end near.

“Farewell, Phobos,” Libra said as he raised his blade.

Phobos’ head hung low as he bent over the hilt of the borrowed blade. “I’m sorry, Asmodeus,” Phobos whispered.

“I failed,” he incorrectly assumed.

Deimos watched in horror as Libra brought the blade down and the barrier disappeared: Phobos’ body fell limp atop the roof of Hub Enterprises and his head rolled to Deimos’ feet. Phobos’ face stared up at his brother almost mockingly. It enraged Deimos and yet his rage was dwarfed by another’s…

A savage scream erupted through the night and Deimos turned in time to see John Doe’s tear-streaked face as he thrust his soul-weapon—his curved, archaic sword—through Deimos’ chest. “He was my brother!” John snarled. Deimos’ blood splattered over John’s hands but John’s spittle pelted Deimos’ face. “He was the only family I had!”

Libra’s eyes widened as he noticed the jagged protrusions forming under the back of John’s uniform. More unsettling was the faint sound of screaming his snarling drowned out and the stench of sulfur the Vindicator secreted. “Impossible,” he said as the evidence began to consolidate into his greatest fears. “He can’t be…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Xanatos Gambit.

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New Vindicators, Chapter 897

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:29 am

Chapter XLVII: I Want it All
“You want me!?!” Coldfire screamed as his eyes flared. “Fine! Go ahead, Semyazza! Go ahead and kill me! I don’t care anymore!” The Fallen was genuinely surprised that the young man could even continue standing in its presence; seraphim exhumed so much raw power that the pressure caused most mortals to fall prostrate before them. “All this time—all the crap you’ve done to me—I’m sick of it!

“You put a curse on my father! You destroyed my family! You incinerated my childhood! You sent Goetia on me, right? You forced my family and me to run from city to city, never knowing peace—never allowed to simply BE!!! Just when I managed to carve out some measure of normalcy for me and my wife and our children you maneuvered Ryan back into the scene to make sure that our happiness didn’t last long!

“You pushed the limits of my sanity with that illusion! You nearly destroyed my marriage—one of the few good things I have salvaged from the ashes left in your wake—and I’m sick of it! I’m sick of the games and I’m sick of being your pawn! You want to kill me? That’s fine! You’d better make it quick because I promise you: as long as there’s a breath of life in me, I’m going to defy you! I will devote my entire existence to making sure that you are denied everything you want and then—and only then—will you even come close to understanding just what it is that you have spent too damn long doing to me!”

Semyazza glared threateningly at Ben and then it spoke: “Remove the aegis, Pisces.”

“What?” Pisces asked. It was a question repeated by Coldfire.

“As I told you, Ben Altair: I will use you to destroy this world and to wipe the game board clean. I have invested too much in you to simply cast you aside. Of all your threats, the only one that concerns me is that you would take your life. Mark my words and mark them well, mortal: I am not afraid of you or whatever you believe you could possibly do to me.

“Remove the aegis, Pisces. You failed to do what I asked of you and you cease to have a use to me.” Semyazza allowed its sword to vanish and then adopted a guise that failed to pour out the sheer power its natural form did: Semyazza transformed into an attractive woman with a figure that caused Coldfire to forget his wedding vows.

Long dark hair spilled onto snow white skin exposed by the backless, sequined, green gown. “Until we meet again, Ben.”

Semyazza disappeared and neither Ben or Pisces could comprehend that everything had played out exactly as the Fallen had hoped it would…
To Be Continued... wrote:John Doe's true identity...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 898

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:30 am

Chapter XLVIII: I Grieve
Whether it was the pressure emanating from John Doe or the lethality of his attack that left Deimos stunned, no one could be sure. If anything, John failed to care: all he knew was that Deimos’ momentarily paralysis gave him an opening he was going to make good use of it…

John grabbed Deimos by the throat and immediately unleashed a blast of hellfire into the hybrid’s neck.

Deimos’ hands flew to John’s wrist but he found the man held him with an iron grip. Unable to break from of the vicious Vindicator’s grasp, Deimos concentrated on using the Gemini earring to manifest a clone of himself. John’s eyes never left Deimos’ face—he tried to absorb the look of stark fear there—as he waved his sword to the right and cleaved the clone in twain. “He was my friend!” John snarled. “He was my family!”

“S—so am I…” Deimos managed.

“There is a difference between being someone’s relative and being their family,” growled John. “You and I may share the same genes—we may have the same father—but you are not my family! Family are people who love each other—protect each other! They guide! They shelter! They strengthen! You… you are selfish, sniveling worm who doesn’t understand what love is!

“How many people have shown you love, Deimos? Josette? Taria? Magnus? Ben? Maria? Atlanta? How have you repaid each and every one of them?

“You’re not family—you are an infection! Any who allow you into their lives have their souls corroded for the trouble!”

“You know what to do with an infected limb, don’t you?” Deimos asked. “Cut it off!”

John nodded in agreement and then he let Deimos go. He turned his back on him and Deimos jumped to his feet. “What—what are you doing!?!” he demanded from the amnesiac. John proceeded to casually walk back to the door that would lead back to the lower floors of the building. “Where are you going!?!”

“My brother—Phobos—he said that the greatest insult to your precious pride would be to spare your life.” John turned around and fixed Deimos with a burning, black gaze. “Know this, Deimos: today, I chose not to crush you like the insect you are but to spare your miserable, wretched existence. Every fiber in my being is telling me to seize vengeance for Phobos but… instead I will let you live… because it’s what Phobos wanted.” A wicked grin spread across his face before he turned back towards the stairs. “Never forget that you owe your life to him, Deimos. Let that one thought haunt you and torment you and eat at you… the way you’re presence has caused our own thoughts to fester.”

Deimos conjured his scythe and moved to charge John but Libra quickly stilled his hand. “No,” he said. “You be too reckless to understand it, but your life was just spared by a being with more power than you or I could ever comprehend.” Libra trembled as he watched John fade into the shadows. “If this is all he has chosen to do, then count your wounds as trophies and abandon the battle for today…”

“Why?” asked Deimos, still unsure what the Areopagus meant. “Who was that?”

“I read once that he was first called Maonghah but has had many names throughout the ages: some call him the Locust King and some know him as the Angel of the Abyss. Others refer to him as Apollyon. Whether or not that being realizes it… he is one of the Fallen. He is Abaddon.” Libra registered the wide-eyed look in Deimos’ eye and shuddered to think of how close they had both come to being unmade just now. “That man, Deimos… was your father.”
To Be Continued... wrote:The Warden

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New Vindicators, Chapter 899

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:31 am

Chapter XLIX: When You’re Gone

The Aurelia had imagined the basement of a church in San Francisco and an instant later she had appeared there. Boson had one hand on her friend’s back and another on the invisible surface of the box she imprisoned Forecast in. Though the woman didn’t remember the events of the last few months, Coldfire remembered her siding with the Affiliation and Wilt corroborated his testimony.

For her part in orchestrating the White War, the Vindicators were imprisoning Forecast in their makeshift prison on the Astral Plane.

Boson kept her hands in place as the Aurelia cast a second spell—one that would now transport her and her passengers across the dimensional rift that divided the material plane from the domicile of the Aurelius.

“Welcome to your new home,” Boson said as she released Forecast from her prison. “If you want to survive, you’ll play nice with the people in charge. Doctor White sees to it that you get three square meals a day and all the necessities of life. Step out of line and that’ll stop.”

“Doctor White?” Forecast asked. “You mean Atlanta’s father?” She rolled her eyes as she remembered her senior year spent as the Georgia Peach’s roommate. “Wouldn’t lethal injection have been more humane?”

The Aurelia sighed heavily. “Can we please just go, Rissa? I wanna get out of here before we have run into the warden…”

“You know how it works,” Boson said. “We need to go introduce Doctor White to his newest guest.” Boson walked down the hall and motioned for the two women to follow.

It was a short walk to the Aurelius’ den—the surest place to find Earth’s Master Mage. The amputee’s overly dramatic voice met them before he did. “-told them to get back, lest they tumble into the spiritual well that would spiral their very souls into oblivion!” he pronounced as he told one of his old war stories from his years leading the Vindicators. He cut off as Boson entered the room. “Ah, Miss Townsend! A new recruit for our otherworldly penal colony, I presume?”

“It’s always inmates,” bellowed the gravelly voice of the prison’s warden. The Aurelia shuddered and wondered if she would be chastised too sternly for abandoning Boson here. “You never bring me anything nice! We never got anywhere nice to eat… Sometimes I wonder if the romance has died!”

“Hello, Doctor White,” Boson said. “Hi, Connor.”

The Aurelia slipped into the room and took in the sight of the behemoth sitting on the sofa whose legs had been replaced with cinder blocks in an attempt to support his weight. Connor Crete’s body was permanently transformed into stone and his mentality was forever transfigured to the equivalent of an adolescent boy.

Several months ago he had been counted amongst the Vindicators but the Aurelia had objected to his lack of sensitivity when one of their teammates had been killed in action. Blitzkrieg had tried to be diplomatic in handling the situation and approached Bulwark with a job offer: keep the inmates in an extra dimensional prison in line while spending his free time with Earth’s Master Mage.

While the Vindicators had lost their secret weapon they had regained their sanity.

“How is my little girl doing?” Doctor White inquired.

“Yeah,” said Bulwark as he fondled the air. “How’s his little girl?” He punctuated his question by blinking—although he had intended to wink.

“Who’s this?” Forecast asked, staring strangely at the titanic figure before her. The Aurelia rolled her eyes, Boson slapped her forehead and Doctor White pinched his nose in anticipation of a headache.

Though Connor didn’t need to breath, he took a deep breath before beginning: “I am Bulwark, Supreme Galactic Eminence; Master of Time, Space and Dimension; Lord of All He Surveys; Omnipotent Omnipresent; Last King of Sealand; Grand Herald of the Letter ‘M’; Dark Overlord of the Universe; Brobdingnagian Emperor of the Lilliputians; Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future; Larger than Most in More Ways Than One; Stalwart Defender of the Meek; Nemesis of the Number Four; Lord of the ThunderCats; Wielder of the Mighty Stalactite of Justice; Guardian of Canadian Athletes; Warden of Doc White’s House and Just a Darn Good Fellow, Esquire!”

“And that’s why you don’t ask,” said the Aurelia.

“Hey, Adrianna!” said Connor cheerily. “Watch any ex-boyfriends die recently?”

Boson’s eyes bulged at the question. Though the Aurelia had yet to say anything about his death, Quint had told her all about the conversation she had had with Phobos. Coming only a few hours on the heels of Phobos’ death, Boson worried what Bulwark’s inquiries would do to the magus.

“Uncle Steve, this is Gale. Gale, this is Uncle Steve and Connor. Have fun.”

“STEVEEEEEEE WHITE!” Connor proclaimed. A depressed look flashed over his stony face then. “It’s just not the same,” he said as the Aurelia grabed Boson’s hand and set it down onto her shoulder. She quickly cast the spell that would remove them from the Astral Plane and moved to cast another that would transport them from California to New York.

“Anna?” Boson asked, interrupting her casting. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

“Quinton was right,” the Aurelia grumbled, “we do say that too much. Maybe ‘do you wanna talk about it’ should be our official battle cry?”

“I’m being serious. Quinton told me about you and Phobos. The argument you both had in Denver? He overheard it. The communicators-”

“I get it. Nothing actually happened between us though so… no sense in going all emo over him, right?” The magus narrowed her eyes at her teammate. “Look, we can talk about this all day but… there’s a lot to go. Mister Altair asked us to get back as soon as possible. We’re moving to that new base today, remember?” In the wake of Pisces’ attack on New York City, the Vindicators’ home in Hub Enterprises had been compromised. “Besides, I think there’s someone who needs your shoulder more than I do right now…”

Boson grimaced as she read through the Aurelia’s words: Quinton Jorgenson’s Neo-Sapien ability allowed him to split into five copies of himself. Deimos had slain four of them and ever since, Quinton had been unable to create a single duplicate.

For the first time in his life he was truly alone.

With a heavy sigh, Boson rested her hands on the Aurelia’s shoulders again and watched as the young woman wove the very fabric of reality to adhere to her will.
To Be Concluded... wrote:Betcha didn't see this coming...

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New Vindicators, Chapter 900

Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:32 am

Chapter L: When Hope is All You Have
The duo was spirited across time and space to instantly appear in the wreckage of the command center. There, Coldfire and his family waited beside Chienne, John, Wilt and Quint. “Are we ready?” the Aurelia asked, exhausted from so many jumps. She had tried to coerce Coldfire into having Quintessence teleport them to their new home, but Coldfire conjectured that the magus needed to familiarize herself with the landscape in order to assure the most accurate teleports…

Coldfire nodded to Quint and the young man stepped forward and handed the mage his cell phone. She looked down at the screen and at the image he had searched the internet for. In order to travel to a place, she needed to be able to picture it. She had never before been here and now she would be moving there.

She cast the spell again and transported the Vindicators across the country once again… They now stood on the slopes of a mountain, guarded by a starry night sky.

“Last year, after Mister Goodman died, Hikari came to the school saying that the school only prepared us to be heroes and what the world needed were soldiers.” Coldfire began leading them up the mountain, hoping that he was going in the right direction. “Those of us who joined him, he called the Next Vindicators—a group he trained specifically to fight Apocatastasis.”

“He trained us here, at a secret base built in 1979 by David of Moksha, after Walkabout helped him fake his death. Hikari brought us here, to Glacier National Park and to Going-to-the-Sun Mountain.”

After an hour of searching, Coldfire found it: the entrance to the abandoned base. He opened the doors and was disturbed to see the long hallway that led down into the complex lit.

Coldfire led their procession down the sloping shaft and soon they arrived in the main chamber of the stronghold. Surprisingly it was furnished—not in the luscious couches they had gotten used to at Hub Enterprises but by mismatched sets likely pilfered from a thrift store or absconded from the curb side.

The sound of kettle’s whistle shot from where Coldfire remembered the kitchen being and he as he moved to investigate, their enigmatic host stepped out and into the open. “Hello, Mister Altair,” Doctor Howell intoned; the simian hardly seemed surprised to see the Vindicators here. “You’re just in time: the water’s come to a boil; can I interest you in some tea?”
  • The End

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Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:38 am

  • Guess this means you’re sorry
    You’re standing at my door
“Thanks for inviting me to the wedding,” Bulwark said as he looked down at Magnus and Maria. “Oh, wait… you didn’t. Not gunna lie here, guys: that was kind of a dick move.” He shoved his luggage into Magnus’ arms. “My room better be just the way I left it! So help me, if anyone touched my collection of Troll dolls painted to be the 90’s X-Men heads will roll!”
  • Guess this means you take back
    All you said before
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Prompt said. “Shadow beats rock. Know what though?” She stabbed the psionic blade she deftly wielded through Lebender Schatten. “Psychic sword beats shadow so… whatever.”

“Look who took a level in badass,” the Aurelia said as she watched the young woman walk away from the defeated wraith.

“Was it me?” asked Bulwark. “At least I won’t incur any XP penalties since ‘Badass’ is my race’s favored class…”
  • Like how much you wanted
    Anyone but me
The Aurelia wasn’t sure what to say now that she was face-to-face with him again. She settled for: “What happened?”

“K. C. died. Taegan died,” the Rhino said sadly.

“So you just take off without a word to anyone? Did you think you had no one else!?! Did you think that no one cared!?!”
  • Said you’d never come back
    But here you are again
There was a flash of blue flames on the desert sands as Gabrielle Farouk used her ability to distort spatial topography, making the lair of the Vindicators a hop, skip and a jump away from her homeland. “Bamf,” said Bulwark as he barreled through the azure fire. Renewal was on his heels but in no time Coldfire and Blitzkrieg were ahead of them.
  • ‘Cause we belong together now, yeah
    Forever united here somehow, yeah
    You got a piece of me
    And honestly
    My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you
Bulwark swung for the Nephilim and watched as his fist met nothing but air. “You can’t hit what you can’t catch.” The behemoth turned and narrowed his eyes at the sight of the glowing blue flames that burned in Gabriel’s skull. “I’m too fast for you, fatty.”

Again Bulwark swung and again Gabriel’s temporal abilities allowed him to easily dodge the brute’s attacks. “Why can’t you just accept that there’s nothing you can do to me?” Gabriel asked.

Bulwark flailed and Gabriel easily jumped back. His eyes widened then as he realized it was all a feint; Bulwark hadn’t meant to attack him but to grab at a chunk of the temple. Light poured through the ceiling as debris rained down over them. In Bulwark’s arms was one of the columns that supported the roof. “You think grabbing a weapon is going to mean anything?” Gabriel asked.

He watched then as Bulwark swung the column into another column and destroyed another support. “What do you think you’re doing!?!” Gabriel exclaimed.

“Bringing down the roof,” Bulwark said matter-of-factly. “You’re quick…” he said as he watched Gabriel dodge a sizeable chunk of the crumbling roof, “but are you indestructible?”
  • Maybe I was stupid
    For telling you goodbye
“Sometimes I think about how my life would have been different if I had never joined the Affiliation. I think about graduating high school and going through the Trials—maybe I would have become a Vindicator. Maybe I would have gotten married.” Lurker shrugged. “Eh, I’m not much of the marrying kind, I guess.”
  • Maybe I was wrong for
    Tryin’ to pick a fight
Rumble grabbed the flaming scorpion’s tail that extended from Deimos’ body and swung him around and through the air. He tried to aim his hands towards her and clip her with a blast of hellfire but he couldn’t focus on her. Instead he was helpless as she swung him down and into the ground.
  • I know that I’ve got issues
    But you’re pretty messed up too
Sclera rushed forward and swept his arm through the air; his palm collided with Lodestone’s chest and immediately the Vindicator collapsed to the ground and was claimed by violent spasms. The Bengali wasted no time in confirming that he had downed another opponent; he simply continued forward as he led the Mokshans through the city.
  • Either way, I found out
    I’m nothing without you
Something pushed him to the ground and held him there—some invisible force that pinned Anthrax too. Black boots stepped over him and a blood red cloak brushed through his field of vision. “I remember you,” his rescuer said. John struggled to look up; he couldn’t move his head but he strained to see her out the corner of his eyes. He saw that the raven-haired woman regarded Anthrax dispassionately.

“I remember you too,” Anthrax said. “From the Trials. You’re one of the Americans.”

“Was,” Tripper corrected darkly. “I was one of the Americans.”
  • ‘Cause we belong together now, yeah
    Forever united here somehow, yeah
    You got a piece of me
    And honestly
    My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you
Mia stood paralyzed by the gruesome sight before her.

“SUCTION!” Atlanta screamed at her, snapping her back to reality and sending her bustling to do her job. Atlanta looked down into the field and held a hand out to Mia. “Umbilical clamp…”

Mia hurried to comply, attempting to make up for lost time. Atlanta cut the cord and tore the baby from its womb. “Tube him!” she thundered, handing him off to Mia. She glanced to Alexa, still squeezing the bag that was keeping Alicia breathing. There weren’t enough hands to tend to both of her patients now. She needed to divide them but couldn’t divide herself.

“Alicia?” asked Ben, frozen by the sight of his wife lying so still and with tubes in her mouth. The monitors went off. “What’s that?” asked Ben, registering the look of sheer terror on the faces of the medical staff.

“She’s crashing!” Alexa exclaimed.

Ben watched as history replayed itself…

Ben Altair sat in the corner, chewing on his cuticles as he stared at the crimson explosion that had erupted from his wife.
  • Being with you
    Is so dysfunctional
    I really shouldn’t miss you
    But I can’t let you go
    Oh yeah
At the sound of bullets loading into the chamber of the gun, both men stopped. “Hands where I can see them!” the sergeant demanded. Both men complied and the man chuckled. “Well, at least we got two of them…” There was no mistaking the shape of Doctor James Howell but the other—the one who hid his face under a hood—was an enigma. “You!” he thundered. “Show me your face!”

A wry grin spread over the only visible portion of the young man’s face. “Whatever you say…” said Adonis Skraag as he pulled back his hood.
  • ‘Cause we belong together now, yeah
    Forever united here somehow, yeah
    You got a piece of me
    And honestly
    My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you
Quintessence’s body folded around the hilt of the xiphos thrust into his stomach. A cocktail made from his blood and vomit coated Libra’s arm. “I expected more from you…” Libra intoned. As an unsettling laugh rose from Quintessence’s mouth, Libra was visibly disturbed—even with his ivory mask hiding his face.

“You always were too weak, Corey!” said a voice that came from Quintessence that was not Quintessence’s. “I have to admit: I was actually surprised that you had the stones to do what you did to me!”

Libra jumped back as crimson flames billowed out from his own skull. No longer could he channel the very energy that composed all of creation. Instead, the powers he had copied from Quintessence had transitioned into something else… “Hellfire?” the Areopagus asked. “But… you’re not a Nephilim!”

“Corey’s not…” Quintessence said. He lifted his head up and Libra was shocked to see white streaks spreading through his bangs. “But I am!”

“Who—who are you?” Libra asked as he watched Quintessence’s body unravel on a molecular level. It was as if every cell in his body was slowly rearranging itself—transforming him into someone else.

“Me?” Paragon asked. “I’m just everything Corey wishes he could be!”
  • ‘Cause we belong together now, yeah
    Forever united here somehow, yeah
    You got a piece of me
    And honestly
    My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you

“I cannot tell you how good it feels to say this,” David said. He turned to look at Cassandra and wondered which of them was wearing a bigger grin. Deciding it would simply remain and unsolved mystery, the young man turned back to the hulking figure standing beside them with a jubilant look on his face. “Doctor Howell?” David asked. He took a deep breath before he continued. “Welcome to the New Vindicators Academy of America.”

Doctor James Howell simply continued staring at the school and try as he might he couldn’t see any soldiers or Sentries or any evidence of Black Box’s occupation of the campus.

“What do you think?” asked a cheery Cassandra.

“I’m honestly at a loss for words,” Doctor Howell said, “but at the moment I can’t help but think…” He breathed in, savored the familiar smell of the grounds, and smiled. “…We have a lot of work to do before we can open up for the next semester…”

  • NEW VINDICATORS: contraria contrariis curantur

    "The Opposite Will Be Cured With the Opposite"

    Coming Soon...

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Post by Michuru81 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:42 am

Did you miss me? Probably not. Still, I decided to try and make up for lost time and posted the entirety of NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se--that's fifty chapters, all posted for your viewing pleasure. The story begins here and the next story will pick up in a few weeks so... feel free to take your time tackling this. Enjoy and kanpei!

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se (Chapters I - L)

Post by GPrime » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:57 am

Brilliant work, as always. I just spent at least two hours reading through, and loved every second of it. Cassie's not dead, so my wrath will be forestalled until a future occasion, The White Witch was awesome, you managed to put in a cheap plug for me, Phobos totally rocked, even at the end and now there's another book to look forward to.

Also: TRIPPER!!!

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se (Chapters I - L)

Post by Smiler » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:18 am

Quite the thread, I'm only beginning to look through it, but keep it up! 8)
Smile with me!

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se (Chapters I - L)

Post by Tattooedman » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:20 am

wow. :shock:

That about covers what I can say about this arc. Great stuff as usual Mich. :mrgreen:

Keep it up! Plus I'm looking forward to any story that includes the European School. There's a great cast of characters just begging to be written.
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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se (Chapters I - L)

Post by Manintights » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:50 am

Hey Michuru,

have started work about 5 hours ago, but didn't get anything done yet. I just couldn't stop reading.
I loved the story, great job.

You must really like me, writing in anthropod!!!

Keep on keeping on (chienne quoted me woohoo)

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

Play by post games:

New Vindicators: [Gae Bolg]

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

Re: NEW VINDICATORS: felo de se (Chapters I - L)

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:48 pm

GPrime wrote:Brilliant work, as always. I just spent at least two hours reading through, and loved every second of it. Cassie's not dead, so my wrath will be forestalled until a future occasion, The White Witch was awesome, you managed to put in a cheap plug for me, Phobos totally rocked, even at the end and now there's another book to look forward to.

Also: TRIPPER!!!
Cassandra won't die so long as I continue to enjoy writing her (although facing your wrath is also a good motivator), I'm glad someone enjoyed Bizarro Rumble, so long as you continue to entertain me, expect plugs and it pleases me to know that Phobos got to go out with a bang. The goal was to make him a bit more of a badass in his own right and not just a pale imitation of his brother.

As for Tripper... I've been eluding for sometime that someone who appeared to die in New Vindicators #49 wasn't actually dead. I've said that I edited a chapter to remove the moment of salvation and... that would be Jacque's. Here now, for your viewing pleasure, is the original ending to said chapter...
New Vindicators #49: Tell Me Why wrote:None of the young heroes knew how to react to the revelation that no matter how hard they fought Gog and Magog need only touch each other to heal any ailment they suffered—including death.

Arthropod sprang forward and tackled one of the four who had reached them. Mirage launched into another, whirling the weapons about expertly while Loess buried one alive and Tripper pinned the last to the ground.

“We can’t keep this up,” said Quintessence sadly. “If what he says is true, the second he goes down his brother can revive him and this madness starts over again!” He forced himself to give the order he didn’t want to give: “Everyone… run.”

“No! We must keep fighting!” Mirage barked. “My… my girlfriend is here!”

“What?” Arthropod asked.

“Dude,” bellowed Bulwark, still holding the unconscious bodies of Backlash and Nano, “someone’s actually dating you?”

“I left Béni behind,” he said. “I thought she would be safer. I won’t leave her on the island if creatures like these are still walking about!”

Arthropod bowed his head sadly. “I am sorry. During the Trials I found myself unable to conjure anything but respect for you.” He turned and landed a heavy punch into Mirage’s stomach. The young martial artist doubled over and Arthropod folded his fists together and dropped them down into the back of Mirage’s head, knocking the young man out cold.

“Take him,” the Malaysian said to Quintessence, looking to the mass of Nephilim held back by both the Trip Field and walls erected by Loess’ powers. “I will stay and buy you all as much time as I can.”

“You’re strong,” Tripper said, “but you can’t hold them all back.” She started to cry, knowing what needed to be done. “I’ll stay. I can keep them back longer than the rest of you can.”

“No way!” snapped Loess. “I refuse to leave you!”

“There isn’t much time!” declared Kiln, pointing to the looming threat of Magog. “He’s getting closer!”

Tripper stood her ground. She closed her eyes, clenched her fist, and shouted her command: “GO!”

“Don’t have to tell me twice…” Mutt said, throwing his hands on the floor and sprinting across the ground on all fours.

Pict shook his head as he watched the army of Gog pouring like a tidal wave over the landscape. Crying for his cowardice, Pict summoned the pair of angelic wings tattooed on his back and took flight to escape such an impending doom.

Magog grew to impossible heights and swung his massive blade through the air, determined to swat the young Scotsman out of the sky. With such immense power and reach did not come accuracy and before he could try again Pict was gone.

Quintessence continued to hold the young martial artist; supporting him with one arm he used his other to direct a blast of cosmic energy skyward, only managing to scratch the giant towering above them. “We can’t even hurt them!” he screamed. “We have to get out of here!”

“NO!” Bulwark screamed. “No one gets left behind ever again!”

“Maria!” screamed Tripper, still fighting to push back the army of Nephilim rampaging towards her. “I can’t buy us much more time to get out of here!”

“Then let’s go!” Bulwark screamed.

“Just go!” Tripper screamed. “I’ll hold them off! It’s the only way!”

Bulwark was reminded of Chelsea Burk urging him to kill her to keep Terahertz from growing any stronger.

Quintessence wasn’t willing to stay to watch anyone else taken down. Oafeon still tucked behind his belt, Quintessence teleported himself and his three passengers away from the madness that was Gog and Magog.

Loess understood what she needed to do and with her geokinetic powers she flung Bulwark into the air and as far from the battle as she could.

“One more thing…” Tripper said, the dam on her tears finally breaking. “Tell Lex…”

“He knows how much you love him!” Loess exclaimed. A chunk of the street tore away at her command, lifting her into the air. “He knows!”

“No,” said Tripper sadly. “Tell Lex… that I’m sorry…”

Loess lifted out of sight but she never took her eyes from her old friend, calmly watching as the sea of Gog poured over her. She tried to filter through the sound of savage snarling and maybe pinpoint Tripper’s voice. The young woman was brave to the end.

She never screamed.

She never gave them the satisfaction.

Magog swung down with his massive fist as a legion of Gog poured through the bottleneck. Tripper stood defiant, facing what she knew in her heart of hearts to be the end.

Everyone’s wrong at some point…

Magog’s arms flew back to his chest as his face contorted in pain. As he halted his attack his brother halted his—Gog stared up at the Nephilim in wonder. “Brother?” the smaller of the twins inquired. “Brother, what ails you?”

The massive coronary Magog experienced killed him and his enormous body crumbled to the earth; though he was already shrinking to his natural size his form carried enough weight to cause the streets to shake and possessed enough width to crush many of Gog’s clones.

Tripper stood paralyzed with confusion—she wasn’t sure what had just happened or how such a miracle had come about but she wasn’t about to begin rejoicing: Gog had already showed them that all either of the brothers had to do was touch and they would breathe life once more.

Gog’s sword dissipated as he moved to activate his healing powers and he was shocked when it yielded no effect. “How are you binding my abilities!?!” he thundered, glaring at the lone hero left to stand against him.

“She’s not,” said another. Tripper turned with Gog to face the newcomer to their brawl and her eyes widened in recognition.

The woman wore the uniform of the Vindicators. Once upon a time Tripper had worn that uniform; it was standard issue at the New Vindicators Academy. The hem of her ankles, wrists and collar were frayed. Still, the uniform this young woman wore was tattered and torn and riddled with holes. She wore no boots or gloves—her bare feet trod the streets of Staten Island and each step she took naturally, as if the soles of her feet were too thick to feel the rough and dirty surface of New York’s city streets.

Over that she wore a blood-red cloak with a deep hood pulled low over her face. Her hair, long and blonde, spilled out from under that cape and ticked the ground as she walked. As she moved forward a warm wind caught her hood and her hands moved fast to seize it. Too late—Tripper saw her face and instantly recognized her savior.

“No…” the Guardian breathed as she set sight on the woman. “It… it can’t be… You—how can… how…? This is impossible!”

“You prevent my brother’s return!” Gog snarled, conjuring his curved sword once more from the crimson flames that swelled in his soul. He charged the woman and snarled wordlessly, like a wild animal.

Such a sound brought a grin to the woman’s lips: she knew it to be indicative of his desperation.

“You’re aware of how weak your healing is,” she mused as she stood perfectly still. The blade sunk into her flesh and she never even flinched. “You only have a few minutes to bring him back before he’s gone forever. Was it the last time you died that you learned it? Seems like… six thousand years you’ve been dead—rotting on the ocean floor?” She giggled in delight as she senses his distress at her uncanny knowledge. “Is that about right?”

Gog’s flaming red eyes widened in fear as he watched the injury he had given the woman heal around his weapon. With a mad snarl he tore the sword free and then swung again, this time threatening to claim the woman’s head.

His muscles seized and his body froze in mid-swing. Then he began to shake. Then he began to tremble. Then he began to spasm as he experienced a tonic-clonic seizure.

“Let me guess: your brother died before you and it took you too long to get to his side? He died and you learned that you have… I’d say about three minutes to save his wretched excuse for an existence?”

Gog tried to say something and bit through his tongue.

“Be still, be silent, and die.”

Gog did just that and Tripper fell to her knees.

“Im…poss…ible…” she managed before slipping into unconsciousness.

The woman sighed and shook her head. “Poor girl,” she said as she advanced on her. “You obviously know me but I certainly don’t know-” She froze at the sight of Tripper’s forehead—some of the girl’s long, dark hair was matted with blood from a shallow cut she had received in the scuffle. The sight of her crimson life force dried and flaking on her brow caused the woman to hesitate and then she too fainted before the corpses of Gog and Magog…
Tripper's been alive this past year. Where she's been, what she's been doing and why she hasn't come for Lex have yet to be revealed though...
Smiler wrote:Quite the thread, I'm only beginning to look through it, but keep it up!
Will do! And welcome aboard!
Tattooedman wrote:wow.

That about covers what I can say about this arc. Great stuff as usual Mich.

Keep it up! Plus I'm looking forward to any story that includes the European School. There's a great cast of characters just begging to be written.
I just wanted to prove I hadn't gotten lazy.

As far as the Europeans go, the teasers pretty much give away that Quintessence, the Rhino and even Paragon will be playing important roles but the Americans are going to be hosting a few guests from Vienna soon...
Manintights wrote:Hey Michuru,

have started work about 5 hours ago, but didn't get anything done yet. I just couldn't stop reading.
I loved the story, great job.

You must really like me, writing in anthropod!!!

Keep on keeping on (chienne quoted me woohoo)
My apologies for keeping you from your work. If experience has taught us anything about this Brobdingnagian updates, it's that I usually attempt to time them to coincide with your vacations. :-p Guess I missed this one, eh?

This is somewhat ironic... Saturday night, I was talking with two of my players about the story and mentioned how the feedback I've gotten from replies, PMs, IMs, e-mails and Tweets lets me know who the more popular characters are in this story and... at times, it's almost like I'm exploiting them. The example I used was Arthropod. Let's be honest here: I don't think there's a single Arthropod-hater out there (The Rhino comes close but I have one or two players who despise him). In any case, so long as GPrime keeps sending me links of awesome arthropod powers to use (it's his fault Arthropod is going pistol shrimp much later on), how could I not keep writing him in?

As for Chienne... what can I say? You inspire me...

So, who's up for the next book?

Cosmic Scion
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Book 11: contratia contrariis curantur

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:52 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #81: Brand New Day--Months after Prompt led an army of Espers out of Peoria... Months after Lodestone and Tierra's wedding... Months after Phobos faced Deimos and Coldfire faced Semyazza, the Vindicators come together to solve the problem they created: they amassed an army of villains in the Astral Plane, and now that army is unleashed on San Francisco...
NEW VINDICATORS #82: One More Suicide--As the Vindicators begin to come back together, some are still estranged. A handful of our heroes head to New York, to check in on Quinton Jorgenson, and while there find themselves pulled into the latest plot hatched from the mind of Suicide Dave...
NEW VINDICATORS #83: Don't Stop Believin'--David and Cassandra are back and they've brought the keys to the castle with them. As the Vindicators settle back into the New Vindicators Academy, old wounds begin to surface...
NEW VINDICATORS #84: Help!--When Doctor Samantha Talley leaves the New Vindicators Academy of Europe to treat the sick at their sister school, her two youngest children come with her. Mario and Johnny Tharivol have other motives for coming though: they plan on locating their big brother and forcing him to come home. With the help of Adrianna Covington and Christmas Clark, that may be a possibility...
NEW VINDICATORS #85: More Than a Memory--David, Cassandra, Alexa and Mia try to have a nice, quiet night out but the citizens of Moksha have other ideas: united under their new ruler, they've returned to pick up where they last left off...
NEW VINDICATORS #86: Gimme Three Steps--When two more residents of the New Vindicators Academy of America get sick, our heroes decide to take the initiative and target the likely culprits behind these biological attacks: Blitzkrieg decides to pay his father a visit at Patriot Robotics and takes Hourglass and Fathom with him; Lodestone, Coldfire, Quintessence and Cameron Kirk knock on the door of the Church of Genetic Purity; Mithril leads Solo, Wilt, Prompt and Bulwark to Ward, Willoughby and Wolf.
NEW VINDICATORS #87: Indestructible--Facing off against Mister Willoughby, Bulwark relives his glory days spent with the man. Learn how Michael Hawpe earned one of his titles as the second chapter in Bulwark's history is told!
NEW VINDICATORS #88: Chase This Light--Maria Loder's condition is worsening and in order to save her, Magnus only has to track down the Affiliation and ask Adonis Skraag for help... NEW VINDICATORS #89: Bohemian Rhapsody--Months ago, Adonis told Hourglass that her twin brother was still alive. Now, with the help of the Affiliation, Hourglass is about to break into Black Box in an attempt to rescue Phase from the belly of the beast! NEW VINDICATORS #90: The End Where I Begin--The Vindicators know who's been behind the biological attacks on them and they're determined to bring the threat to an end! Still, while the heroes are away, who's left to defend their friends from the two figures darkening the doorstep of the New Vindicators Academy of America: Libra and Deimos are back and not everyone will survive their visit...
Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:19 pm, edited 9 times in total.

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 901

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:35 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #81: Brand New Day

Chapter I: Brand New Day
Maria Loder opened her eyes to the touch of her husband. One hand was slipped under her body and hooked around, cupping one of her breasts beneath the sheets, while the other brushed back her long, dark hair to permit his lips to kiss her behind the ears. She giggled as he tickled her ankles by running his chaffed feet back and forth over them. “Good morning, Missus Loder,” the man said as he nuzzled her neck with his black goatee.

“It’s not a good morning,” she groaned. One of her arms slipped behind her and folded around his body before resting on his posterior. As she felt the smooth surface of her husband’s backside, she recalled their wedding night and the realization that Magnus had more hair on his back than her father had on his head. One of the amenities offered by their resort was a full spa, including waxing—something she had insisted he take full advantage of. It was just one of the many things she was going to miss about Jamaica when they went back home, to New York City. “We’re leaving today…”

“Well then,” he said as he walked his hand from her chest and down her stomach. As his fingers continued walking down her body Maria shuddered and closed her eyes as she began to melt. “I guess we just have to make the most out of our time here…”

They spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon in bed; they got out only to finish the laborious chore that was christening every surface of their suite with their love making and to begin packing for the return trip home.

Magnus’ own wedding present to his wife had been that only two people knew where they had gone or how to contact them: in case of a familial emergency, George Espada and Tina Loder had the name and number of the resort. No matter what crisis the Vindicators found themselves wrapped up in, Magnus and Maria were unreachable.

Of course they had heard snippets of news: talk of the odd weather phenomena that had swept over America reached their ears and when Iconoclast attacked the Louvre, most major news agencies had turned their attention to France. It had been a temporary thing though, given that hours later a disc of ice, several miles in diameter, appeared in the sky over Manhattan following a February thunderstorm and record-breaking hailstones.

The newlyweds new that something catastrophic had happened, however, Maria implored her husband to put it out of his mind. “David, Sandy and the others will take care of it,” she told him. “Have faith in our friends.”

Within the hour, reports came in that the ice began to melt, exposing a sky devoid of storm clouds and Magnus Loder rested easy.

It had been over a month since they had seen any evidence of the Vindicators’ battles and Maria took it as a sign that all was well. The blissful couple had returned to a hedonistic lifestyle of eating, making love, falling asleep on the beach, making love, snorkeling, making love, hiking and making love.

The spring equinox signaled an end to their escape and after waiting for what seemed like an eternity at the airport the couple returned to the United States, albeit not the state they considered home: first they landed in Florida where they were forced to wait two hours before boarding a plane to the nation’s capital where they would switch flights once again. After an unexpected layover they finally began boarding and, bound for New York, Magnus shoved their carry-on bags into the overhead compartments. “I’ll be right back,” he whispered to his wife, “I need to tinkle.”

Maria couldn’t help but chuckle at her husband’s use of the word ‘tinkle’ and simply shook her head over how boyish he had become since they had left New York City. For the last few weeks, he hadn’t had to live with the burden of the Lodestone dynasty on one shoulder, the Vindicators on the other, and the albatross that was Senator Amy Bedford hanging around his neck. He smiled. He laughed. He genuinely enjoyed life and she was heartbroken to think that they were now retreating from that life…

With a sigh, Maria slipped down into the middle seat, beside the blonde-headed young man perched beside the window. “Is everything all right?” he asked; though he had said so little, his accent was more than apparent.

At first Maria found herself staring at him: she couldn’t place where it was she had seen him before, but she had the distinct feeling that they had met somewhere before. “Oh, no,” she said, covering her surprise with a smile. “I’m just… sad to be going home, I suppose.”

“I must say I miss my own home,” he said glumly. “Work has kept me from my beloved Norway for too long.” He offered out his hand in greeting. “My name is Darwin. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

Maria smiled sweetly as she accepted his hand. “Likewise,” she said. “I’m Maria. So… what do you do that has you on the road?”

“Oh,” Darwin said absentmindedly, “I’m a doctor.”

That was certainly surprising. “But you look so young. You look like you’re my age…”

“Healthy living,” Darwin said with a shrug. A devilish smile came over his face then. “So, tell me Maria: what paradise are you so reluctant to leave behind?”

“Her honeymoon.” As Darwin looked up and Maria turned, the woman’s smile brightened at the sound of her husband’s voice. Neither recognized the jealous glint in Magnus’ eye as he sat down in the aisle seat.

“Darwin, this is my husband,” said Maria. “Kennedy…” She employed Magnus’ alias; Magnus Loder topped the FBI’s Most Wanted List. “…This is Doctor… I didn’t get your last name, actually.”

“Doctor Straus,” Darwin intoned as he moved to reach past Maria to offer his hand to Magnus. A pinging noise quieted the cabin as the captain announced his intent to takeoff and Darwin sat back into his seat before he could shake Maria’s husband’s hand. “So, what business are you in?”

“Insurance,” Magnus said quickly. He grinned as he leaned back into his seat and fastened the seat belt. “We’re in the business of keeping people safe.” He opened his hand and Maria’s fell into it reflexively as the plane began to ascend.

Darwin watched as the two shared a kiss and then reached between his legs for the small bag that carried his laptop. As the two lovebirds lost themselves in each other’s presence, Darwin delved into his work.

Soon enough the plane landed in New York City and, hand-in-hand, Magnus and Maria disembarked. They navigated the airport lazily and eventually found their way to the luggage claim. Magnus spun Maria around and wrapped his arms around her waist as he kissed her once more. He didn’t intent to let go but the sound of rapid gunfire caused their embrace to shatter.

Six men, each armed with an automatic weapon and garbed in ski masks and bulky winter coats, stood in the sea of cowering people. “You!” the lead gun man snarled as he pointed his gun at Darwin. He motioned towards a luggage cart containing several bulging bags. Some of the bags were open and Maria could see piles of cash stuffed into them. “You’re coming with us!”

“Push the cart!” demanded another of the gunman. His voice was higher than his associate’s was. He rushed forward and hauled Darwin to his feet. Darwin kept his hands in the air as he was lead to the cart and shrieked in terror as the man opened fire into the air. “Who here’s a pilot!?!” he demanded. “We need a plane and someone who can fly it!”

Before either newlywed could do anything they watched as the guns leapt from the masked men’s hand. Maria immediately rounded on her husband but the instant she registered his surprise she knew that he hadn’t used his magnetic abilities on them. As they both pondered who had, the culprit revealed herself…

The blonde woman wore a sleeveless, black leather shirt. Emblazoned over her chest was a white ‘V’: the symbol of the Vindicators. She wore raged blue jeans with faded cowboy boots. Most remarkable about her where the white flames burning where ice blue eyes should have been. She held up her hand and every gun was magnetically drawn to her palm. “In case the uniform didn’t tell you?” she asked, smirking at the men. “You boys are screwed…”

The rest of her team rushed at them then. The first of her teammates were a pair of girls in their late teen years: while the girl with the flaming eyes had a bobbed cut, the first girl had long, hair that curled under her jaw. Her tall, thick frame was garbed in the standard uniform of the Vindicators and covered by a short jacket with a white ‘V’ on the back. The other wore a body suit with thigh-high boots. The cut of her uniform bared her thighs which, at the moment, were covered in white fur. Her ears were tufted and whiskers extended from her nose: the young woman was an anthropomorphic feline.

While her appearance may have been startling, it was not as alarming as the appearance of an ape who wore black scrubs with the same white ‘V’ that the others wore. Over the scrubs he wore a white lab coat.

He led the charge of the young men in their midst: one seemed to be in his mid-teens. His hair had a ruffled look and his standard uniform was accented by the tassels that hung off of his gloves and from the cuff of his boots. Slightly older than him was a young man in black leather pants with an apron tied over his chest to give the monstrous bat wings protruding from his back room to spread.

The next had burning eyes that matched the first of their cadre, save only for the color of their flame. While the woman’s eyes burnt white, his were an eerie black flame that filled his skull.

Behind him was a young man whose head had been shaved bald. He wore a long, black trench coat over the T-shirt that reflected the style that unified the others costumes. His pants conjured the memory of German soldiers: they were bunched out on the sides of his thigh and just under the knee stuffed into his black, military-issue boots.

His eyes flared with an eerie blue glow as azure flames burned inside his skull. With a thought he commanded the moisture in the air; he forced the particles to slow, creating ice from thin air around the gunman’s body.

With an uncanny precision the group eliminated whatever threat the masked men posed and stacked their unconscious bodies one-by-one atop the bags of money that were haphazardly tossed onto the luggage cart. “Are you all right?” the simian asked as he bent down to help Darwin up. The two younger women hurried to lead them both out of the area as the bald hero began to form a dome of ice that would not only hold the gunman until the proper authorities arrived but also keep the crowd from seizing any of the pilfered funds.

“U.S. Marshal!” a man screamed as he trained his pistol on the group of heroes. “Hands where I can see them!”

“They just saved our lives!” cried one of the people in the crowd.

“I don’t need saved by no stinking NS’s!” another screamed.

“It never gets old, does it?” asked the youngest of their group. A breeze wafted through the area as the young man stepped forward. “I know you’re not going to shoot me, Isaiah.” The Marshal trembled as he heard his name uttered by someone he hadn’t given it to. “I know that you’re only doing your job. I know that you actually sympathize with Neo-Sapiens.” In this day and age, that was a rare thing to find: since the end of World War II, the world had known of the existence of Neo-Sapiens, men and women born with fantastic abilities that the rest of humanity both feared and hated them for.

Some saw their animosity as justified, given that an overwhelming majority of the super-powered community had made careers out of misusing their abilities. Some sought personal gain; some strove to grasp vengeance; some simply wanted to make the world quake in fear of their awesome powers. Still, for every being who misused their abilities there was one who dedicated themselves to safeguarding humanity.

The most renowned of these people were the Vindicators—men and women identified for the white ‘V’s worn over their chests on a field of black.

“Your step-son is one,” the youngest Vindicator said. “Colin can make animals obey his will. It’s not an ability he inherited from you or your wife but one you suspect came from his biological father, Jackson.”

Isaiah trembled as he kept the gun trained on the young hero. Finally, Darwin put a hand on the Vindicator’s shoulder and gently pushed him aside to take his place. “These men and women saved me,” he said meekly. “They have committed no crime other than being born differently.”

“Anna?” the bald Vindicator said as he looked to the feline in their midst. “I think it’s time we left…”

“We still have to pick up the love birds,” the simian intoned. His eyes scanned the crowd and lit up at the sight of Magnus and Maria. “Mister Loder! Miss Esp—forgive me…” A warm and loving smile spread over his face as he corrected himself: “Missus Loder.”

“Loder!?!” screamed a man. “Magnus Loder’s here!?!”

“The guy who killed Senator Bedford!?!” screamed another.

The youngest Vindicator pinched the bridge of his nose. “I told you it would be a bad idea to bring Doctor Howell, did I not?”

“I couldn’t wait to see them,” the simian said defensively. “My apologies, Breeze.”

The woman whose eyes had burned with white flames rushed into the crowd and grabbed Magnus and Maria’s hands. “Come on,” she said as she led them towards where the heroes were gathering around the feline. “Let’s get out of here…” Holding their hands, one of her teammates dropped a hand over her shoulder, forming a link from the honeymooners to the fur-covered heroine.

“Tropelet,” she uttered. An instant later their surroundings shifted and they were no longer in an airport but in an unfamiliar chamber. Magnus and Maria Loder had been expecting the nexus of Hub Enterprises—they presumed they would be staring out a massive window at the Manhattan skyline. Instead they were in a windowless room with mismatched furnishings that were hardly the posh lifestyle David Meinstein had made them all accustomed to.

“Where are we?” Magnus asked, spinning slowly to take in the entirety of their alien surroundings. He stopped as he watched Breeze immediately depart their company and vanish through a threshold that led to another room.

“In a complex hidden inside Going-to-the-Sun Mountain,” offered the bald headed hero. Magnus knew him as Ben Altair, the Vindicator codenamed Coldfire. “Mister Mayhem built it in anticipation of reuniting with his temporally scrambled friends. It’s where Hikari trained the Next Vindicators, where Doctor Howell took the school after Black Box attacked the new school and where we went after Deimos trashed David’s house.”

Magnus struggled to process everything he had just been told. “Okay, where…” He trailed off as Breeze emerged again, carrying a kitchen chair. “Where’s David?”

“He’s on leave,” said Chienne Bedford. As a Nephilim, whenever she called upon her abilities, her eyes were engulfed in heatless white flames known as hellfire. “The night of your wedding, he and Cassie were in a car accident. We almost lost her but… Knitter saved her life.”

Breeze put the chair behind Maria and immediately the woman fell backwards and onto it. Magnus stared strangely at him. “Uh, how...? Who…?”

“I’m Josh Cron,” Breeze said. “I know stuff.”

His explanation only perplexed the man further. “I don’t understand…”

“I know you don’t,” Breeze explained. “I know you don’t read comic books. That’s what I do: I know stuff.”

“You get used to it,” Coldfire explained. Some of his team shook their heads in disagreement. “Look, if you want to know what’s going on… I think Doctor Howell could explain it better.” The Vindicators turned towards the simian in their midst. James Howell’s Neo-Sapien power to transform into a gorilla had manifested when he was fourteen-years-old and about to graduate high school.

It was an ability he had never learned to control.

The world feared and hated Neo-Sapiens and trapped with the appearance of a simian, James Howell watched as his scholarships were revoked. He never went to college but that didn’t prevent him from immersing himself in an independent study. In his youth, he had believed his mind contained the solution to some of mankind’s greatest problems. He believed he could cure cancer but couldn’t secure the funding to research his theories. Ultimately he had begun a life of crime in order to further his research.

His criminal career had put him against a different incarnation of the Vindicators. Led by the Aurelius, it had been the third Lodestone, Phenomena, Onyx, Nock and Halogen who had brought him to justice and saw him imprisoned in the home for super-powered criminals: Alcatraz. In time, his model behavior caused the guards there to bring in professors who judged him more than capable and awarded him an honorary doctorate.

When he sided with his jailers during a riot, Doctor James Howell was paroled to the New Vindicators Academy of America where he began working alongside his former enemy, Doctor Natalie Styles—Halogen. He watched as Patrick Goodman succeeded Philip Alston as headmaster and following Patrick’s death, the good doctor was nominated to the position.

His tenure was short lived though as not long after Black Box raided the school and Doctor Howell took his charges into Canada…
To Be Continued... wrote:
Michuru81 wrote:
NateDogg5257 wrote:Also, what was the Affiliation up to when Big A came around?
Something more important. It's something that will eventually come out but... there is another mystery from the same period that has yet to be explained; the explanation is the Affiliation. During the war with Apocatastasis, Adonis and company were out of the country. ;)
After six months, NateDogg5257's question is answered...

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

New Vindicators, Chapter 902

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:30 pm

Chapter II: Gimme Shelter
If Doctor Howell could help it, he avoided walking on his knuckles. So many people judged him by his appearance and if there was anything he could do to help maintain his composure, he pounced on it. Knuckle-walking was a behavior synonymous with gorillas and unbefitting the headmaster of the New Vindicators Academy. Garbed in a suit and tie and wearing his reading glasses, Doctor Howell would have loved to walk down the hall and cast the illusion that he was, indeed, a man.

Urgency cost him that comfort though and as Doctor Howell raced down the hall of the New Vindicators Academy of Canada, as some of his charges had begun to affectionately refer to their new home.
Soon, Doctor Howell shattered onto the landing that overlooked the makeshift foyer. Sure enough, one such student was at the foot of the stairs and heading towards the warehouse’s front entrance. “Going somewhere, Mister Wright?”

In the fall, Jacob Wright would become a member of the senior class. The usually apathetic young man turned and fixed his headmaster with a look of disdain. “Yeah,” he said as he tossed his head back; the long, greasy brown hair that typically hung in his eyes was thrown back to reveal more of his agitation. “I’m getting out of this hellhole.”

“Mister Wright…” Doctor Howell hurried down the stairs to close the distance between them. “I believe you’re underestimating how dangerous it can be beyond those doors…”

“I’m eighteen now,” Jacob growled, “I’m an adult; I can take care of myself.”

Doctor Howell fought to keep from rolling his eyes. “Of course,” he said with faux apology, “you’re eighteen and that obviously determines your status as an adult. It has nothing to do with emotional maturity or responsibility and…” He trailed off as despair began to sink in. Since coming here, several students had decided to leave his care: Monique Arbors, Steve Potter, Isaac Slade, Carlin Witte… there were few left at this point and Doctor Howell was having a hard time understanding why he should continue.

“I can’t stop you,” Doctor Howell said. “I just wish you could see that what is unfolding around us is. Please, Mister Wright, let me call our sister school in Vienna and we’ll-”

“Why!?! What’s the point!?!” Jacob screamed. “How long will it be before what happened in America happens there? When will we run out of places to hide!?!”

“What do you propose we do then!?!” demanded the headmaster. “What do your eighteen years of experience tell you we should do?”

“Wasn’t the stated mission of this school to teach us all how to safety integrate with society!?! Newsflash: we can do it and you’re jealous of that! Just because you can’t stop using your powers and pass yourself off as a normal human being doesn’t mean the rest of us should suffer!”

For once in his life, Doctor Howell wasn’t sure what to say; he was ordinarily a verbose man who made a ballyhoo of his bounteous lexicon; at this moment though, he failed to conjure the words that would adequately convey all that was going through his heart and mind.

“Just because you’re trapped in that body doesn’t mean we have to be trapped in here!” snapped Jacob before seizing his backpack and flinging it over his shoulder.

Doctor Howell sighed as he watched another of his charges part and then he turned and took in the sight of Doctor Jenkins standing behind him.

Doctor Jenkins was one of the many refugees the New Vindicators Academy had taken in. Days ago, Doctor Howell had watched five of his students—Gabrielle Farouk, David Kennel, Melynda Halcyon, John Smith and Jessica Hague—depart to locate and liberate a concentration camp Black Box had began funneling SPBs into. The sad truth was that so many of the prisoners they had freed didn’t possess any super-powers.

Black Box had raided the New Vindicators Academy of America and had purloined the student files. The general public made no distinction between Nephilim and Neo-Sapien or Æsir and Esper; they were unaware that magic existed… So often, if a person was capable of extraordinary feats of strength or could manipulate the elements then they were generically branded as a Neo-Sapien.

Neo-Sapien abilities were a hereditable trait: if an individual possessed Neo-Sapien powers, then those powers were inherited from one or more of their parents. Doctor Jenkins’ late son Drew had spent his senior year at the New Vindicators Academy of America and that link caused Black Box to suspect one of Patriot Robotics’ engineers as the benefactor of the young man’s power template.

The man was a normal human who did not possess so much as a shred of a super-power. Still, that had not stopped Black Box from forever burning five digits—00148—into his right arm the instant he arrived in Peoria. Those five digits would correspond with a file kept on the man: Black Box had his Social Security number, Driver’s License number, medical records, middle school grades, high school transcripts and pedigree… If either of his parents were still alive, Black Box would have likely burned digits into their arms as well. If he had any living relatives, they would have shared in his fate.

Every inmate branded by Black Box was now considered a fugitive. The New Vindicators had taken them in during their flight to Canada and now represented a larger constituency than the New Vindicators themselves; only three of Doctor Howell’s students still remained in his care: Cheyenne Ford, Mort Norris and Everett McGee.

“I never had much respect for Thomas Jefferson…” Doctor Howell took off his glasses and covered his face with one of his massive hands. “He wrote, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Mark it well, Doctor Jenkins…” He slowly let his hand slid down his face as his arm went limp. His head tilted back and his face wordlessly pleaded with the crumbling ceiling. “An atheist who owned slaves wrote that all men are created equal and that their creator—creator with a big ‘C’—have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Hypocrisy, it seems, is what America was founded upon…

“Women wanted equal pay, Blacks wanted to be treated like human beings, Gays want the right to marry… Why is it that a nation founded on the idea that mankind possesses these unalienable rights is so hell-bent on ripping them from our hands!?!” The gorilla swung his fist around and buried it up to his elbow in the drywall. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness! Ha! What crime have we committed other than simply being born different!?!” He wretched his appendage free and returned his glasses to his face as he attempted to compose himself. “I remember when I was in the third grade—coincidentally at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Parma, Ohio—there was this cute little blonde girl I had a crush on. Her name was Christen Goldman and she missed the last two days of school before Christmas break. She had a very minor operation. Her feet and hands were afflicted with syndactyly—her fingers and toes were webbed. She was born different. When they’ve led us all to their gulags will they go after her next? What about congenital twins? What about autistics? At what point do we stop persecuting each other because we’re not the right gender or color or sexual preference or…” He trailed off as his emotions conquered him: he began to cry.

Doctor Jenkins opened his mouth to say something. He didn’t know what to say but he knew he had to say something. When someone with a silvered tongue interrupted him, he was glad for it… “‘I say to you that our goal is freedom.’” Both doctors looked up and to the doors Jacob Wright had left through. There, at the warehouse’s front entrance, a young man leaned against the threshold idly. He wore ratty sneakers and faded blue jeans; his hands were buried in the pouch of his hooded sweater and the hood was pulled up over his head and low over his face. “‘And I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.’

“Doctor Martin Luther King Junior said those words forty years ago and even today they still carry such gravity. Right now, you’re struggling to grasp where you should go from here? I tell you: you can’t know where you’re going until you figure out where you are.” He stood upright and walked into the room, leading a procession of faces Doctor Howell recognized from the files Black Box had taken from his institution: J.T. Kirk, code named Lurker; Lawanda Murphy, codenamed Black Widow; Chad Michael Davidson, codenamed Beekeeper; Julie Harding, codenamed Rapunzel; Mae O’Connell, codenamed Circe. They were joined by two young people whom Doctor Howell had never seen before: one was a young boy who’s features marked as a Native American while the female’s skin tone hinted that one of her parents was white while the other was black. Though the administrator didn’t know them, he wagered he knew the identity of the hooded man at their helm… “Where are we, then? We are standing in a stream with unassailable oppression beating against us like turbulent waters… but we are still standing! Make no mistake: when they spit on us, we rose up; when they caged us, we stood; and now… now that they hunt us… we will challenge them.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.

“Know this, Doctor Howell: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ Get on your feet… and fight!”

One more figure followed the Affiliation into the warehouse and Doctor Howell’s eyes widened in surprise at the sight of him amidst their numbers: Josh Cron, the New Vindicator codenamed Breeze, stepped forward and fixed his headmaster with a serious and determined look. “Black Box knows that you’re here,” he said, “and will be upon you within minutes.”

The hooded man shrugged. “I didn’t want to believe his doomsday speak either at first, but he quickly managed to prove himself to be something of a prophet… Nothing in the world is more dangerous that sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity; you would be a fool not to heed Breeze’s words.”

The young man before him turned toward Breeze and the magus quickly explained: “My magic showed me that Black Box was coming here, Doctor Howell. They found out where you are and… I realized I couldn’t get here in time to warn you. I found the Affiliation though and explained things to them and…”

“We’re here to help you,” said the hooded figure. “You’ll all be welcome amongst us-”

“Join the Affiliation?” asked Doctor Howell. “You’ll understand if I decline…”

“It’s not as if you have anywhere else to go…”

Doctor Howell narrowed his eyes on the young man. In the three months they had spent together at the New Vindicators Academy, Doctor Howell had tested this student’s intelligence quotient: in one weekend he had administered three separate tests; the average score of all of them gave him an IQ of 173. That, coupled with the unnatural charisma his Neo-Sapien powers granted him, made entering into a debate a fool’s errand.
“Lurker?” The black-haired youth at his side nodded before dropping through Black Widow’s shadow. “Pack Master?” The Ojibwe youth nodded before charging back out the door. “Beekeeper, go with him.” The toe-headed youth hurried after his Native American teammate. “The rest of you know what to do…”

“Exactly what is it they’re doing?” asked Doctor Howell as the Affiliation hurried to position themselves.

“Beekeeper and Pack Master are my eyes and… well, nose. They’re scouting out for Black Box. Lurker, on the other hand, is getting anyone he can out of here.”

“And where is Mister Kirk taking them!?!” demanded the gorilla.

“Montana,” the Affiliation’s leader articulated as he continued to walk down the hall. The two doctors were on one side of him while Breeze marched on the other. “As per Breeze’s instructions. He told us you have a base there.” The young man stopped and turned to face the simian. “I know what you must think of me but try to understand: our purpose here is to help you get away. Your institution may count the Affiliation amongst your rogue’s gallery but we harbor no such animosity towards you. I strongly believe in what you were doing and what I believe you will do but… I disagree with what you’re doing now. Running, hiding… Yes, Doctor Howell, I understand your want to keep your students safe but… nothing will change so long as you continue to cower.

“If you run, they will pursue you. If you hide, they will find you. The only way for them to ever truly be safe is…”

Soldiers garbed in the uniforms the New Vindicators and the Affiliation had both come to associate Black Box with swung in through the windows and the four men reflexively shielded their heads with their arms as their bodies were pelted by fragments of glass.

Silverback roared and swung his fist into the nearest soldier. The strength lent to him by his Neo-Sapien power allowed him to fling the man into the wall and through it. Through the hole he made he could see Sentries marching behind legions of soldiers and then he watched as a pack of wolves and a swarm of bees descended upon the men and began to bring them to their knees.

The simian threw his arms out straight as he spun and he caught two more soldiers for the effort. One he knocked down to the floor and the other he threw down the hall. Still, one more survived: he raised his gun and took aim on the largest target, only to hesitate to the siren’s song emanating from the maw of Mae O’Connell. “Put down your gun and surrender to meeeee,” she sang, “or else you’re going to diiiiieeeeee…”

The girl had ensnared his mind with her Neo-Sapien ability of mesmeric song. Her leader seized the opportunity snatched the assault rifle away. He didn’t fire it; he slammed the butt of the weapon into the soldier’s jaw and knocked him unconscious. “How…” He stared down at the rifle. “How do I use this?”

“You aim it at people you want to kill and pull the trigger,” Breeze said. He rolled his eyes then. “Give it to Doctor Jenkins; he knows how to use it.”

“You know who I am?” Doctor Jenkins asked, taken aback by Breeze’s knowledge.

“There is precious little I don’t know,” Breeze groaned as he watched the Affiliation’s leader hand over the gun. Once upon a time the engineer had been a weapon’s developer for Patriot Robotics; as Breeze had said, he knew how to use the weapon…

The five continued making their way down through the warehouse and eventually found Parker Gibbs’ wheelchair overturned in a room populated by felled soldiers. As the last of them fell, a vaporous cloud began to spill from the man’s mouth and soon formed into a living legend. “You’re the last people I expected to see helping us,” Miss Mist said as she glared at the pair of Affiliation members, “but I am thankful for whatever help we get…”

“Victoria…” said Doctor Howell. His eyes went to the empty wheelchair. “Is Mister Gibbs…?”

“He’s as obnoxious as ever,” Miss Mist said. “Lurker absconded with him… He took my son, as well. His… boyfriend is still fighting the invaders.” She hadn’t yet accepted that her eldest son was a homosexual but she was working to mend their fractured relationship; for far too long she had refused to speak with him because of his sexual orientation. When she saw the 00001 branded into his arm, she had realized how little time they were truly guaranteed and was now trying to make amends.

Norman Goodman’s lover was Eli Cron, Breeze’s older brother. The young man had been dishonorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. Josh, who had always idolized his elder sibling, had been crushed to see his hero fall.

It was likely why he so adamantly defended his heterosexuality—even when it wasn’t in question.

Still, unlike Josh, Eli Cron was more than capable of employing his Neo-Sapien powers in combat. Still, thanks to training from the Aurelius, Breeze had learnt to wield arcane forces, specifically in the domain of divination—knowledge magic. With a simple spell he could read minds, glimpse the future or search an area. “Lurker’s gotten most of the refugees out,” Breeze said after casting a spell that took a quick census of the one-hundred and thirty-seven people who inhabited the warehouse. “There are very few left…”

The leader of the Affiliation took out his cell phone and quickly dialed one of his teammates. “CERULEAN,” the entry read. He pressed “SEND” and quickly brought the device to his face. “Do it,” he said before hanging up.

“What was that?” Silverback asked.

The young man nodded to the shattered window and those with him were stunned to see blue flames rocket across the ground. “The signal for us to meet up,” the leader said. “Come one…”

He continued to lead their group through the halls and eventually they entered a chamber where some of the other members of the Affiliation stood amongst the still bodies garbed in urban camouflage. Through another entrance flew a swarm of bees and a pack of wolves that respectively assembled into Beekeeper and Pack Master.

Lurker dove out of a shadow and grabbed Black Widow and Rapunzel. Together they darted into another shadow and disappeared from sight. It was moments later before Lurker returned again, alone and ready to take the blonde man and the Native American through the dark portal.

Soon he helped Circe and Cerulean make their escapes, only to return for Miss Mist and Doctor Jenkins.

Part of the ceiling collapsed and Silverback gazed up at the sight of a Sentry looming over them. The wall crumbled and a small collective of soldiers poured into the room. “We have to get out of here!” Silverback cried, sensing that Lurker would not make his return in time to save them from the volley of bullets sure to strike them down.

A lone man emerged from their intended exit—he was a decorated soldier by the medals on his chest—and raised his pistol in anticipation of taking them down. At the sound of bullets loading into the chamber of the gun, both men stopped. “Hands where I can see them!” the sergeant demanded. Both men complied and the man chuckled. “Well, at least we got two of them…” There was no mistaking the shape of Doctor James Howell but the other—the one who hid his face under a hood—was an enigma. “You!” he thundered. “Show me your face!”

A wry grin spread over the only visible portion of the young man’s face. “Whatever you say…” said Adonis Skraag as he pulled back his hood.
To Be Continued... wrote:The rest of the story...