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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1216 & 1217

Post by Solarflare » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:41 am

It is great to see you posting new chapters. I can't wait for more of the story line

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1216 & 1217

Post by speeddemon » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:13 pm

Good to see the new chapters, can't wait to see more.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1216 & 1217

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Solarflare wrote:Hi
It is great to see you posting new chapters. I can't wait for more of the story line
speeddemon wrote:Good to see the new chapters, can't wait to see more.
You won't have to wait long: if all goes according to the plan, the entirety of New Vindicators #111 will be posted on Monday... I forget the date.

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1216 & 1217

Post by speeddemon » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:26 pm

All right, sounds good :) .

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Re: NEW VINDICATORS: Chapters 1216 & 1217

Post by McGuffin » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:25 am

Michuru81 wrote:You won't have to wait long: if all goes according to the plan, the entirety of New Vindicators #111 will be posted on Monday... I forget the date.
...Goddamnit. Well, at least it'll be fun. ;)
McGuffin's Workshop: Warp, Naga

Why crawl when you can walk? Why walk when you can run? Why run when you can fly?

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New Vindicators, Chapter 1218

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:32 pm

NEW VINDICATORS #111: Ana’s Song (Open Fire)

Chapter CXVIII: As Long as We Got Each Other
Doctor Cheryl Colbenson thundered down the halls of Patriot Robotics’ fifty-fourth floor, ignoring the protests of those employed here. She pushed open doors and scanned rooms, seeking out the man who ran things.

To the public, Doctor Noah Meinstein was the CEO of Patriot Robotics. He was an industrialist who strove to continue his great-grandfather’s goal of improving the lives of his fellow man. They revolutionized prosthetics, made advancements in pharmaceuticals, and had even picked up a military contract or two…

Cheryl knew that Doctor Meinstein’s dealings went beyond that though: he had supplied her outfit, Black Box, with the weapons they needed to take down and restrain Neo-Sapiens. He had even gone so far as to provide her with Sentries and with a mechanical means of entering the Astral Plane.

Cheryl knew that it didn’t end there: Meinstein’s fingerprint was all over some of the innovations the Church of Genetic Purity employed, from their body armor to the Zero drones they had used on occasion.

If an organization viewed the Neo-Sapien race as a pox in need of a malady, Doctor Meinstein was likely supplying them with the tools they would need to purge such a scourge.

Unfortunately for Cheryl, Doctor Noah Meinstein was weaning her off of his support. The Affiliation’s attacks were wearing her resources thin. Coupled with the government’s disavowing Black Box’s authority, her militia was circling the drain. She had viewed Patriot Robotics as her last bastion of hope, but that too had dissolved. She understood now, if she was going to continue her life’s work, she couldn’t ask the man for his aid—she would have to force it from him.

A figure lunged out from behind the door—from the shadows—and grabbed Cheryl’s wrist. This was it—the moment she had been waiting for. She knew she needed to work fast and plant the tracking device… As the genetically-engineered Neo-Sapien pulled Cheryl back into the shadows and out of the room, she affixed the miniscule device to his uniform.

The act of teleporting was a new sensation to Cheryl and one she did not enjoy. When they emerged once more from another shadow in the building’s underbelly, she felt nauseous; her knees felt weak. Collapsing to the steel diamond plated floor, the woman emptied her stomach at Doctor Meinstein’s feet.

“How dignified,” the man intoned.

Cheryl brushed the back of her hand across her mouth and then lifted her head to fix him with an intense glare.

“Is that meant to intimidate me?” he asked.

“Where is she?”



“Your sister?”

“Autumn Colbenson,” Cheryl corrected.

“Why do you want her?”

“Dammit, Noah, just tell me where she-”


“Noah, you have to-”

“I don’t have to do anything,” Noah said.

“We can wipe them out,” she said. “All of them. Imagine it, Noah: a world without their kind-”

Noah sighed and shook his head sadly. “You really are an ignorant little girl, aren’t you?” He turned away and Cheryl looked back to where Nocti had been; whether he had left their cohort or whether he simply blended into the shadows remained unknown. Regardless, the woman climbed to her feet when Noah began to walk away and she hurried to fall in line behind him. “The world you yearn for is not the world I want to see,” he admitted. “Haven’t you wondered why I’m content to study and simulate your sister’s remarkable ability rather than evoke it? I’m well aware of what would happen if Autumn’s powers were to awaken: we would be looking at a monumental opportunity for several individuals—yourself, Pastor Bedford, or anyone who hates Neo-Sapiens, really—to greatly reduce the super-powered populace.”

Noah stopped and turned to face the woman. “The answer is simple: money.

“Do you know how much it costs to build a Sentry? Quite a lot, actually… and yet, I was giving them to you like they were nothing. I’ve always believed that you have to spend money to make money, though: Black Box played with the toys I gave them and showed the world what this company is capable of. All that you had to do was ensure that world’s checkbook holders saw Neo-Sapiens as a threat—make them see things the way you see them—and I’d be in business.

“That’s the keyword though: business. This? The Sentries, the Zero drones, the armor and guns… The world views the Neo-Sapien race as a problem and I’m in the business of selling solutions. How am I supposed to profit off of their extinction?”

An angry glare stood over Cheryl’s clenched jaw. “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” she asked. She refused to cry. She was determined to face this moment with dignity. “You wouldn’t be tell me all of this if you weren’t going to kill me.”

Noah raised one arm and Cheryl’s eyes bulged at the sight of electricity crackling around the limb. “You’re a Neo-Sapien?” she asked.

Noah shrugged. “I’m something else, actually…” He moved to grab her—to put a hand on her shoulder and send a lethal current through her body.

Cheryl shut her eyes. She prepared herself for the end, and then… “Wait!” she snapped. “Please, Noah… Before you kill me… let me see my sister one last time. Please, take me to see her.”

Noah laughed softly. “A few minutes ago, you balked when I called her your sister. Now you suddenly care?”

“A lot’s happened,” she said, eyeing the hand hovering just inches from her body. “She’s here, isn’t she? Please, Noah… Whatever you are, you still have a heart, don’t you? I’m begging you: take me to her.”

“Sadly, your sister is not here. How would my son put it? ‘Your princess is in another castle’? As I said, it simply would not do for my business if your sister’s abilities were to awaken. I took precautions to protect this world from her powers…”

“You’ve been keeping her on the Astral Plane,” Cheryl said, realizing the truth.

“As a Nephilim, it wouldn’t do to simply put her into a drug-induced coma: her infernal side would take control and then I would have a much bigger problem on my hands. It also wouldn’t do to simply keep her in isolation as she could activate her powers at her whim. The only way to play it safe was to relocate her to the Astral Plane and, I’m sorry, Cheryl: I’m not about to take you up there.”


“Yes, back to the surface. The urge to try and escape your fate would be too great and, armed with what you now know?” The energy began to arc between the man’s fingertips. “I’d just rather you not make a scene.”

“You don’t have to worry about me making a scene, but Vincent tends to stir things up.”

Noah hesitated. “Vincent?” He let out a tired groan. “All right, I’ll bite: who is Vincent?”

“You don’t know Vincent?” Cheryl asked innocently. “Vincent Haynes, one of the students from the New Vindicators Academy Black Box captured and reprogrammed? Tends to follow me around everywhere?

“Has super-hearing?”

Noah gave the woman a bored, agitated look. “Find him, Nocti,” Noah grumbled, “before he finds the door to Autumn’s room.”

“Yes, sir,” came the reply from the shadows.

Noah sighed and shook his head. “I suppose I should feel foolish, telling you my entire plan like the villain in a bad movie, but you should feel even more idiotic: your little lackey might have actually gotten to her had you resisted the urge to gloat.”

“Unless I know something you don’t,” Cheryl said. She shrugged. “Kill me and you’ll never know.”

“I’m hardly that inquisitive,” Noah said, advancing slowly with his electrified hand.

Cheryl closed her eyes and prepared herself for the end. The hair on the left side of her head began to stand out—drawn to Noah’s energized touch. She could hear the energy crackling. Her body tensed and she considered cursing him for taking so long—for taunting her…

Then she heard something land behind him. It was soft but definitely accompanied by the sound of fabric rustling. She opened her eyes and gasped.

Noah had heard it as well, it seemed, and turned to take in the sight of green-skinned man behind him. His nose was blunt and his nostrils elongated—like two vertical slits in the middle of his face. His eyes were dark and his pupils were more serpentine than human.

Scales covered what little of his skin the hairless man exposed: the majority of him was bundled in a trench coat, a T-shirt and jeans.

It was the second time Cheryl had seen the being, the first having been one week ago, when she and Tinnitus had come looking for Black Box’s records. They had encountered the reptile-like man here, in the underbelly of Patriot Robotics, and had not known if he was a Neo-Sapien come to spy on Meinstein’s secret projects or the product of the man’s twisted experiments, posted as a guard.

Regardless, as she too had been trespassing, it was not an encounter she had reported to Noah, and as she watched the creature use the same lightning reflexes it had used to dodge Tinnitus bullets to disable Noah, she was thankful she’d had the foresight to stay silent.

“Come on!” the creature snapped, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her away. He maneuvered her onto his back and took off at a run, through the shadows, and away from Noah…

“Who the hell are you?” she snapped.

“My friends call me ‘The Reptile’,” he said.

“You’re a Neo-Sapien?”

The Reptile nodded.

“Why are you saving me?” She imagined he wouldn’t have been so valiant if he knew who she was, and all she had done to his race…

“I remember you,” the Reptile said, “you were down here with the man. You have access, right?

“I’ve been stuck in this hell hole for a week. Lady, you’re my ticket to freedom.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Tinnitus.

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New Vindicators, Chapter 1219

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:35 pm

Chapter CXIX: Echoes
“You’ve been keeping her on the Astral Plane.”

“As a Nephilim, it wouldn’t do to simply put her into a drug-induced coma: her infernal side would take control and then I would have a much bigger problem on my hands. It also wouldn’t do to simply keep her in isolation as she could activate her powers at her whim. The only way to play it safe was to relocate her to the Astral Plane and, I’m sorry, Cheryl: I’m not about to take you up there.”


“Yes, back to the surface. The urge to try and escape your fate would be too great and, armed with what you now know? I’d just rather you not make a scene.”

“You don’t have to worry about me making a scene, but Vincent tends to stir things up.”

Tinnitus nodded. That was the signal: the moment Doctor Colbenson uttered his real name, he was to move. His assignment was simple: use the information she would coax from Doctor Meinstein to locate Autumn, evoke her abilities, watch as humanity seized the opportunity to purge the Neo-Sapien menace from their collective.

“Find him, Nocti,” he heard Noah Meinstein say, “before he finds the door to Autumn’s room.”

Nocti would attempt to find him through the shadows. His abilities were derived from the Shadow’s: so long as he was cloaked in darkness, the darkness was his eyes and ears.

Step one was blinding him.

Tinnitus flipped the switch and all of the lamps turned on. It was a setup similar to the one Alcatraz had employed in keeping the Shadow contained for years: the light drove shadows away, giving Nocti nothing to see—or walk—through. He could scan the building all he wanted and still not find Tinnitus.

When Nocti failed to locate Tinnitus, he would be forced to wait for him. Nocti knew what their goal was and would have no choice but to position himself outside of Autumn’s cell. Tinnitus looked down at the laptop’s screen and waited for the inevitable moment when Nocti, wearing the tracer Doctor Colbenson had planted on him, teleported again…

It took a few moments—moments made tenser by the sounds of Doctor Colbenson’s flight from their benefactor. Still, the transmitter jumped a second time—suddenly finding its way to Meinstein’s living quarters.

He knew the location of the doorway—now he just needed to remove the threat Nocti posed. It was simple enough: Tinnitus turned the lights off, and waited.

It was moments before Nocti must have seen him. In his zeal, he failed to register the halo of lamps. The Prime took the bait and appeared in the darkness. The instant Tinnitus’ hearing exposed the invisible man’s soft footfalls, he turned the lamps back on.

The look on Nocti’s face said everything: he had not only trapped Nocti in the room with him, he had stripped him of his powers.

Nocti bolted for the door, and Tinnitus lunged for the man. Before enrolling at the New Vindicators Academy of America, he had been a star of the gridiron and floor mats. Tinnitus summoned up his experience as a football player and wrestler in subduing his opponent. Pinning Nocti beneath him, Tinnitus moved to put the dark-headed man into a sleeper hold. Before long, Nocti was no longer resisting.

For a brief moment, Tinnitus considered taking the unconscious Prime with him. Doctor Meinstein had others—other Primes he could summon. They were trained killers, though; there wasn’t a one of them who would hesitate simply because he had one of their teammates hostage. Nocti was worthless to him alive, and would inevitably regain consciousness. He needed to be dealt with…

Tinnitus drew his sidearm, put the barrel to Nocti’s head; he pulled the trigger, and Nocti ceased to be a threat.

Rising up from Nocti’s corpse, Tinnitus hurried out of the room. Hundreds of square feet of darkness blanketing the unused floor stood between him and the elevator. Trusting his ears more than his eyes, Tinnitus relied more on echolocation than the moonlight filtering through the windows to blaze a trail to the elevator.

Determination pushed him forward. Doctor Meinstein was no doubt in contact with Nocti; he had to have heard the gunshots. When Nocti failed to respond to the man’s hypothetical hails, it would be apparent what had happened. The other Primes would be coming for him. They would be looking for him, and while they could not know that he knew precisely where Autumn was, some might be commanded to stand guard over the door.

His only hope was in getting to the door first.

It was ironic that the device he used to steal access to Meinstein’s penthouse had been given to them by the man himself. Soon enough, Tinnitus stepped out of the elevator car and listened for signs of company. At the realization that he was, for the moment, alone, he went to work at finding the doorway.

Tinnitus scoured the dwelling, looking everywhere for a door that led nowhere. It didn’t take long to find that Doctor Meinstein’s second closet was secured with a biometric lock. It was here that Tinnitus was forced to admit defeat. Doctor Meinstein was a man with unlimited resources, and he had employed those resources in securing Autumn. There was no simple retinal scanner between Tinnitus and Autumn; he didn’t need a password to liberate her. Doctor Meinstein’s lock employed three-dimensional fingerprint scanning.

Doctor Meinstein’s door read more than the pattern of his fingertips: it checked the depth of the valley that rested between each ridge. It scrutinized the capillary patterns in the skin and checked pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature so that even cutting off the man’s hand wouldn’t be enough to win access to the Astral Plane.

He could capture the man, and force him to open the door; the other Primes would be on alert though, and Tinnitus stood no chance against them. Even if he could get the jump on Doctor Meinstein, his servants would liberate him with ease.

Bluffing was one possibility: he could tamper with the panel, and hide in wait; there existed the chance that Doctor Meinstein might open the door for him, provided the man thought Tinnitus was already inside. Still, in such an event, he would likely bring a Prime or two along with him and Tinnitus didn’t imagine a scenario where he bested any of them.

There was another way—albeit one with too many unknowns… Patriot Robotics had served as Black Box’s benefactor. The technology Tinnitus and his colleagues had employed had come from this building. Somewhere, buried in the bowels of Patriot Robotics, there may have been another doorway to the Astral Plane similar to the one Black Box had used in Peoria.

Darting back through Meinstein’s living quarters, Tinnitus boarded the elevators once more. He set a course for the sublevels, all the while sifting through the sounds that filled the building for any coming threat. He heard receptionists answering phones, accountants cursing their software’s newest upgrade, and engineers hard at work creating tomorrow. He heard the dial tone of fax machines, the sound of sparks whizzing through the air in the welding workshops, and fingers tapping on keyboards. Tinnitus heard everything, and nestled inside all of that, he heard Doctor Meinstein’s voice. “Nocti’s down,” he said, “Tinnitus will be on the move for my penthouse. Find him, and kill him.”

With the Primes dispatched to the spot he had just vacated, Tinnitus knew he had some time. He would need it. Beneath Patriot Robotics were several floors of labyrinthine halls, and he had no idea where to even begin looking for the portal.

Eighteen minutes into his hunt, he heard them discover Nocti’s body. Three minutes later, he listened as Doctor Meinstein divided his forces, commanding Epitome, Providence, and Steam to search the lower levels for their quarry. Eleven minutes later, Tinnitus heard Providence closing in on him. Tinnitus concealed himself, bided his time, and struck when the Prime showed Tinnitus his back.

Providence’s powers manipulated probability, but it needed to be focused. So long as Tinnitus took him by surprise—and took him out before Providence could use his powers to jinx him—he stood a chance.

Once Providence was unconscious, Tinnitus wasted no time in ensuring he would not persist to be a problem. Snapping the Prime’s neck, he moved to hide the body behind the closest door…

Whether Providence’s abilities had bestowed some measure of luck on him, Tinnitus didn’t know, nor did he care. All that mattered was that he had found it—he had found the room where Doctor Meinstein had stored the surplus of equipment he had engineered for Black Box.

Tucking Providence away, Tinnitus went to work on finding the portal. He remembered the approximate size of the doorway in Peoria and in Doctor Meinstein’s quarters, and quickly ruled out the crates too small to contain what he sought. The sixth crate he opened yielded fruit: packed away was a portal to the Astral Plane…

As he hurried to set the device up, he continued to listen to the other two Primes scouring the underground facilities. Steam had no corporeal body and Epitome was as tough as she was strong. There was no beating either of them. There was only eluding them…

Once he had the portal powered up, Tinnitus hurried inside. The Astral Plane was a world that almost perfectly mirrored the real world: everything was in the same place and the same size, just made out of a sort of transparent, incorporeal energy. What kept Tinnitus from falling through those burnt orange floors was an enigma, as nothing prevented him from walking through the walls.

He watched as specters moved further out—no doubt the other Primes Doctor Meinstein had sent to find him. Here, he could see them, but they couldn’t see him. It was unnerving, being so close to them, and yet being safe from them. It was almost as unnerving as the relative quiet that dwelt here.

Tinnitus’ Neo-Sapien powers enhanced his sense of hearing: he could hear the faintest of sounds, and with a range much more magnified than a normal human. Normally, he had to focus—he had to sift through the background noise to listen to what he wanted to. Here, he did not need to. Here, there was only one sound…

Trained on that sound, he began to climb. There were no stairs in the sublevels, and elevators didn’t work in the Astral Plane. Ultimately, he had been forced to climb to the roof of the car and climb the cables. It was strange, being able to pass through most matter unless he needed to physically grab it. It was almost as if there were no laws governing this realm…

As if to try out such a theory, Tinnitus let go of the cables and slowly began to drift back down. He crouched—he readied himself jump. Suddenly, he sprung forward. At first, he ascended slowly, as if he were in space. Then, he willed himself to go faster. With a thought, he had turned into a rocket. He shot up the shaft, and past the other floors. He shot past the engineers and developers, the mail room clerks making their rounds, and the gophers passing out coffee orders.

Closing in on the sound, he willed himself to slow down, and eventually to stop. He began to walk, and began walking across the ethereal floor of Doctor Meinstein’s domicile. Sure enough, the other Primes were standing guard in the man’s bedroom. Where his closet should have been, Tinnitus saw only a box. Concrete blocks had been brought over from the real world and stacked to create a prison for Doctor Meinstein’s secret weapon. There was a hole in that fortress though—a hole that would only be there when Doctor Meinstein came to check on the girl.

Tinnitus wanted to laugh: had Doctor Meinstein done nothing, he would have had no chance of getting to Autumn. That the man had opened the doorway on one side devoured a section of the wall. It let Tinnitus walk right through the Primes and right through the doorway…

Doctor Meinstein slammed into Tinnitus with the same speed Tinnitus had borrowed to get here. His body was enveloped in electricity—energy that now coursed through Tinnitus’ body, forcing a pained scream.

“Clever!” Doctor Meinstein snapped. Tinnitus opened his eyes and spotted a redheaded woman, fearfully watching them. “You and Cheryl gave it a good run, but it just wasn’t enough!”

Tinnitus struggled to fight through the pain and cast Doctor Meinstein off of him, only to realize that the man was stronger than he looked. The scientist continued to dispense the crackling energy, and Tinnitus feared the end of his fight, and his life. “You have to go, Autumn!” he screamed. “Get away! Get out of here!”

“Stay right there, Autumn!”

“Your sister sent me!” Tinnitus screamed. “Cheryl sent me to free you!” Doctor Meinstein swung a fist down into Tinnitus’ jaw; it felt like being hit by a steel bat. “Go, before he kills you next!”

Autumn sprinted for the doorway, but escape meant going through the two of them. In no time, Doctor Meinstein rose up from where he had pinned Tinnitus; he swung his arm around, and slapped Autumn with the back of his hand. “Go back to bed,” he snapped at her.

Tinnitus tackled him from the ground. His arms wrapped around the man’s legs. Unbalanced, Doctor Meinstein toppled to the ground. “Go!” he commanded once more.

As Autumn moved to hurry past them, Doctor Meinstein was again surrounded by an aura of electricity. Crying out in pain, Tinnitus was forced to release the man. He cursed himself as Doctor Meinstein rose to his feet. Autumn was passing through the portal, but even with her ability to shut down Neo-Sapien powers, it wouldn’t be long before she was shuffled back into the Astral Plane.

Tinnitus needed to buy her some time. He drew his sidearm and trained it on Doctor’s Meinstein back. He fired, and the man staggered just slightly…
He did not fall.

The athletic man was on his feet in a second and racing for the only door out of this nightmarish prison. Doctor Meinstein moved to bar his path; he was fast, but Tinnitus was still armed. His finger squeeze the trigger, burying a bullet between the madman’s eyes.

As Doctor Meinstein fell back, Tinnitus raced through the doorway. He chanced a look back, saw Doctor Meinstein steadily climbing to his feet, and reached for his only hope… Tinnitus emptied the clip into the wall surrounding the door’s control panel, knowing that somewhere under the drywall, he would find the power supply.

When the doorway shut with Doctor Meinstein sealed on the other side, he breathed easily; then, he remembered the man’s minions… Garuda and Ambrosia were here, and they had Autumn.

Immediately, Tinnitus pinched his nose. All their efforts would be for nothing the moment he took a whiff of Ambrosia’s pheromones and became one of her thralls. There was only one hope now: “Autumn,” Tinnitus said as Precipice began to advance on him, “you need to use your powers.”

Autumn frantically shook her head.

“Autumn, these people work for Doctor Meinstein. They don’t want me to get you to your sister. They are going to kill us, if you don’t-”
Before he could finish another word, Autumn used her powers: the woman was surrounded in a milky white, transparent orb that slowly expanded, harmlessly passing through all solid matter as it grew.

Tinnitus saw the barrier’s effect where Garuda was concerned: as the energy cascaded over him, he transformed from a monstrous, anthropomorphic bird, into a normal person. As it grew, it began to sweep over Ambrosia…

At the sight of his opening, Tinnitus took his hand from his face. In an instant, he ejected the clip of his pistol and drove a fresh one home. Without a moment’s hesitation, he pulled the trigger and slew another of the Primes.

As Ambrosia fell, Tinnitus wasted no time in training his weapon on Garuda. Autumn closed her eyes and cringed as he pulled the trigger again. Garuda’s head was flung back from the impact of the bullet crashing through his skull; his grip on Autumn relaxed as his body crumbled atop Doctor Meinstein’s bed.

Tinnitus rushed forward and took Autumn by the wrist. The only sign of her expanding barrier was the field of white retreating from the window. If Doctor Colbenson was right, that barrier would soon encapsulate the planet, negating Neo-Sapien powers, so long as Autumn willed it. “Come on,” he said, leading her away, “I need to get you some place safe…”
To Be Continued... wrote:Where Carl really came from.

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New Vindicators, Chapter 1220

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:37 pm

Chapter CXX: Waiting to Derail
Carl and Candace were adrift in a sea of lovers. All around them, the Howells, the Altairs, Norman Goodman and Eli Cron, Fiore and Pandora—newlyweds and married couples, relationships that had weathered so much and those just starting out—were dancing slowly to the band’s rendition of ‘Wild Horses’, and Carl and Candace were no different.

Carl held her gently and her head was rested on his chest. The smell of her shampoo wafted up and into his nostrils, intoxicating him instantly. An hour ago, he had ached at the thought of them being apart; now, the blonde-headed young man mistakenly believed that not even Gregaro’s sudden lapse of sanity could shatter the euphoria their rekindled romance left him in…

Urgency must have made Gideon forget where he was: only moments ago, Gregaro had attacked the reception; when the time-traveling robot exploded onto the scene, several panicked faces met him.

Reading the exigency in his roommate’s expression, Carl forced himself to let go of Candace and make his way out of the throng, and across the quad. “Is everything all right?” Carl asked. “Did Gregaro get loose?”

“Is Christmas all right?” asked Candace.

“Everyone is safe,” Gideon said. “Gregaro is back to being Gregaro. Something happened to me, though. I can’t explain it; all I know is that I remember everything. There’s this… cube. Touching it restores lost memories. It healed Gregaro’s mind and helped me to remember everything I’d forgotten. I have so much to tell you, Carl, and I’m not sure where to begin.”

“Our room,” Carl suggested, moving to turn away with Candace, “after the reception.”

Gideon grabbed his friend’s arm and made him to stop. “I remember everything now, Carl: I know who Sol Invictus is.”

The blonde youth’s eyes bulged at this news. “You do!?! Who? Who is he, Gideon?”

Gideon bowed his head mournfully. “Perhaps it would be best if we spoke in private?”

Candace nodded glumly, able to take the hint. When she turned to leave, Carl stopped her—albeit employing gentler methods than Gideon had in stopping him. “Just tell me, Gideon,” Carl said. When Gideon hesitated, peering about the festivities anxiously—the other guests had returned to dancing—Carl motioned to a vacant table.

Gideon seemed to accept the solution offered and led the couple to sit down. There, he gazed up at Carl nervously, anticipating the inevitable question: “Who is Sol Invictus?”

“You, Carl,” Gideon regretfully said. “You’re Sol Invictus. In the time I hail from, you’re a tyrant who has installed himself not only as the ruler of the universe but also its god. You’ve sired a pantheon of super-powered beings and have enslaved mankind, and the only one capable of standing up to you is… you.

“You are both Aphelion and Sol Invictus. In the era I hail from, you are both the hero and the villain. You enslaved mankind, and you fight to liberate them.”

“But don’t you come from far off in the future?” asked Carl, skeptically. “How am I still alive?”

“Do you remember Vienna?” intoned Gideon. “The injuries Jack gave you should have killed you, Carl. We all thought you were dead but then…”

Realization flashed on Carl’s face. “I woke up…”

“And your body quickly healed. Carl, I don’t believe that was some strange aspect of your command over light: I believe that you may be immortal.”

Carl began to shake his head. “That’s ridiculous,” he said, turning away from him.

“In the future, you are so much stronger than you are now, Carl. You command light, but also magnetic waves. Factor in that I fought you alongside you and… Carl, Aphelion has red hair and Sol Invictus has blue hair. That is a trait two other Neo-Sapiens possess: both are members of the Loder family.

“Lorna Loder, daughter of the third Lodestone, and Magnus Loder, her brother’s son, both possess the power to separate themselves into two beings. However, while this affords them the luxury of being in two places at once, it also divides their consciousness: one represents everything good about their persona while the other represents everything that is evil.”

“So… what? I’m a long-lost Lodestone?” Carl asked, skeptically. “That doesn’t exactly explain the light powers or this immortality you think I-”

“Lorna Loder is a member of the Order of Chaos. Her lover, Solar, leads them. Carl, his powers let him generate light and project it as focused energy blasts.”

“That’s absurd,” Carl said, shaking his head. “I can’t be their kid. I mean, that’d make me… That’d make me Mister Loder’s cousin, wouldn’t it?”

“The Loder family is from Ohio,” Gideon said, “where you were left by your birth mother. I’m sorry, Carl, but… it fits with everything we know.”

Carl began to ruminate on everything else that had been happening to him: if he was a member of the Loder dynasty, and capable of dividing his consciousness into two bodies, it would certainly explain the voice he sometimes heard, compelling him to behave in a manner opposite to how he normally acted. Was the voice he heard just his negative side coming through?

Was that the voice of Sol Invictus?

Something else dawned on him, though—something so small and insignificant… Weeks ago, on Governor’s Island, Absalom had secured Candace with handcuffs—handcuffs that fell off, as if by magic…

Neo-Sapien powers manifested out of necessity and he had been fraught with worry. In his determination to save Candace, Carl now realized, it was he who had commanded the handcuffs to release.

Carl’s hand shook as he aimed his palm at the table. He focused his attention on the cutlery across the table. He cringed, knowing what was about to happen. When the spoon flew through the air and into his hand, Candace gave a startled squeak.

He couldn’t help but think back to the nightmare he’d had: “Maybe you don’t like seeing innocent people hurt,” Sol Invictus had told him, “but I’m guessing we have some similarities…” He had called them two sides of the same coin: was that his subconscious’ way of telling himself what he was? Had Blanche Gareth somehow known what Gideon had forgotten and been trying to subtly tell him about his other persona?

“I’m a Loder,” Carl said, realizing Gideon’s theory was right. “I’m the son of Solar and Bipolar.”

Candace leaned over and rested her head on his shoulder, trying to comfort him. Carl was far from comforted though: he knew that if Gideon had been right about this, he was likely right about everything else…

Carl was an immortal destined to become Sol Invictus, a tyrant who ruled the future, and Gideon had likely been sent back in time to stop him.

As Carl wondered if Gideon were considering how to execute him, the spoon fell with a clatter from his palm. Before he could question it, a wave of milky white energy washed over the party, and a scream exploded from the dance floor. The youth’s head whipped around and his eyes were seized by the most peculiar of sights: the night sky was replaced by a snow white sheet that blocked out the stars and the moon.

“Carl,” Candace said meekly. Her arm was outstretched, she pointed towards the crowd. “Look.”

Beside the bride was a man in an ill-fitting tuxedo. It was simply black and white and lacked the traces of color the groomsmen wore. There was no question that the man was wearing Headmaster Howell’s clothes, but Carl had never seen him before in his life…

Slowly, he realized what was happening: “Maybe Sol Invictus won’t be such a threat after all, Gideon,” Carl whispered. “I think whatever just happened to the sky took away our powers.”
To Be Continued... wrote:Plans.

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

New Vindicators, Chapter 1221

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:40 pm

Chapter CXXI: Powerless
The revelation that the headmaster had transformed into a human was the catalyst for countless others testing their abilities. Chienne watched as Ben Altair found himself unable to generate ice; she watched Maria Loder discovered that she could no longer command the earth; Cassandra Goodman could not transform; Pandora Filash failed fly.

Some rejoiced at their newfound freedom: Andrew Woodford excitedly smoothed his hands across the maroon tablecloths, and rejoiced at his inability to leave white streaks in their wake. Eddie Vermeulen normally existed outside of time and space; the Freshman was now taking advantage of his newfound tangibility by touching everything in sight.

Only a handful retained their abilities: Connor Crete remained in his rock form while Martin Curie demonstrated that he still possessed his malleable physiology; the Espers the school hosted discovered that they still wielded their respective abilities and Carl found himself still able to generate light; Gideon and Anne Newton were still capable of transforming their arms into the light-firing cannons.

For Chienne, losing her powers was both a blessing and a curse: she could no longer hear her demonic side whispering in her ear, trying to coax her into wanton destruction. She felt vulnerable though: ever since her abilities had awakened—ever since her half-brother had trained her—she had been strong. She had been able to defend herself. Now, she was just a twenty-year-old woman who knew how to hold a sword. She might not have been able to fly or run at staggering speeds or control people’s emotions or split into two people, but she could still hold a sword.

She still had a use, she told herself.

Prompt arrived on the surface, leading a quartet of the depowered: Dane, the Cold Detective, Torrent and Phase followed her timidly onto the quad.

“We need to work on calming the students and getting them to a secure shelter,” Headmaster Howell said to a group of teachers. “Ben, Alicia? I’ll leave that to you.” He glanced over to Peter McClanahan and Iulia Catargi. “Your students may be more apt to listen to you over them. Work on getting them to the Wreck Room for now.

He turned then to David Meinstein and his date. “Mister Meinstein, how long until you can get your armored friend here?”

“If Adrianna teleports me to my locker?” David said. “A few minutes.”

“Go then.” Chienne envied David for the opportunity to leave and change: she was not anxious to fight anyone while wearing the slender gown she’d worn to the wedding. “Until we have more information, we should treat this as the opening crescendo to an attack on us. With so many of us depowered, we’ll need all hands on deck.”

David nodded to the headmaster and then turned to Alex Winter. “Let Connor know we’re on full alert.”

“Mezers will help,” A.J. Tharivol offered, “mezers still has magic.”

“And I still have my powers,” Christmas said. Chienne turned to the young woman standing beside her, and watched the Esper roll her eyes. “Imagine that: me having to save everyone’s asses again.” As she walked off to join the others, she grumbled, “Still think I’m too young to be a Vindicator?”
Ignoring her, Chienne watched as David turned towards his girlfriend. “Go with Quint, Rissa, your mother and your brothers,” he said as he gently took Cassandra’s hand, “and stay down in the Wreck Room.”

Cassandra shook her head. “I’m a Vindicator; I can’t run-”

“Do you remember Magnus and Maria’s wedding? I almost lost you that night. I don’t think I could handle that again. Please, Cassandra: you don’t have your powers. You’ll be safe in the Wreck Room. Just… please, go. Don’t fight me on this, just…”

Phase put an arm around his twin sister and met David’s eye. “She’ll be fine,” David’s old friend promised. “Besides, I’m pretty sure mom’s going to want to have words with us.”

David had an audience as he kissed Cassandra; the spectacle made Chienne pine for Adonis.

As the depowered Vindicators retreated and Adrianna teleported away with David, James Howell looked over the remnants of his forces: his bride, Isaac Newton and Bethany Fischer, Ephraim Dane, Zachary Jenkins, Lex Sway, Chienne Bedford, Magnus Loder, and Jesus Manuel followed the man in the ill-fitting tuxedo below and into the Wreck Room. Once there, the American institute’s headmaster wasted no time in getting straight to the point: “We need to know what we’re dealing with and deal with it.”

Chienne frowned as she turned towards her maternal aunt. Bethany cleared her throat; when all eyes shifted to her, she took a deep breath. “I’m afraid this is the work of my daughter,” she confessed. “The barrier, your powers vanishing… Those are Autumn Colbenson’s abilities.”

“Did you just say ‘Colbenson’?” Dane asked. The man rose up from his seat and sneered at the headmistress. “As in Doctor Cheryl Colbenson? As in the woman who runs Black Box? As in the woman who sent soldiers to my home, and murdered my wife and son!?!”

Bethany sobbed as she nodded somberly. “Fischer is my maiden name,” she confessed. “As most of you know, for several years, I was married to Arthur Colbenson. Cheryl and Autumn… They’re my daughters.”

“And the Department of SPB Affairs trusts you with the kids over at the Vienna school?” Dane snapped. “How long before you round ‘em up, and hand ‘em over to that bitch you brought up, lady?”

“Dane!” James snapped. “I understand you’re upset, but-”

“No! You don’t understand—none of you do!” Dane thrust an accusatory finger at Bethany. “This woman gave birth to a psychopath—a woman who aspired to be everything Adolf Hitler was! Her baby girl killed my wife and son—my boy!” Dane broke down crying. “He… he would have been twelve this March, and he…” Zachary rose up and put an arm around his friend, guiding him back to his seat and nodding for Bethany to continue.

It was Chienne who continued on Bethany’s behalf: “Cheryl and Autumn are only half-sisters: same mother, but different dads. Cheryl’s Uncle Art’s daughter but Autumn’s father was Samael.”

“‘Uncle Art’?” Magnus asked.

Chienne nodded. “Aunt Beth is…” She gestured to the New Vindicators Academy of Europe’s headmistress. “This is my mom’s sister, Bethany Fischer.”

“And this Autumn girl is Samael’s kid?” Lex raised an eyebrow at the depowered Nephilim. “So your cousin is your half-sister?” Chienne shot an angry glare at the bald man. Before she could open her mouth to chasten him, her cell phone began to ring. She looked down at the display, saw it was an unknown number, and slid it back into her pocket.

Bethany took the initiative to tell the group all she had told Chienne—how her husband had left her and how he had eventually come back for Autumn; she told them how she her country had betrayed her and how she had become an expatriate. She was in the middle of telling them about her hopes of winning custody of her daughters back when Chienne’s cell phone began to ring again—again with an unknown number displayed on the screen.

Reluctantly, Chienne answered the phone. “Hello?” she asked, a hint of agitation in her voice.

“Chienne?” There was no mistaking his voice.

“Adonis.” She said his name breathlessly, and yet, it affected the room as though she had screamed it.

“We’re almost to the school. Traffic on the bridge came to a standstill when that barrier went up… We have information about the reason our powers are gone—about Autumn Colbenson. Can you meet us at the gate? Just in case anyone isn’t thrilled to have us paying you all a visit?”

“I’ll be right up.” Hanging up, Chienne looked at the expectant group. “The Affiliation is on their way here. They have some information on Autumn—maybe they know where she is, or how to stop this…”

“I know where she is,” Bethany confessed, halting Chienne in her tracks. “Weeks ago, I spoke with Cheryl and she all but told me Autumn was in the custody of Patriot Robotics.”

“So, we go storm the castle,” Magnus said, “make the princess stop being crazy.”

James shook his head. “If memory serves, that is not a strategy that has ever succeeded for us in the past. In the past, breaking into the building has not been a problem: accomplishing anything from that point onward has proven to be an improbable feat.”

“Especially with us so short handed,” Samantha intoned. “We have… what, five or six people with abilities?”

“More than that,” offered Jesus. “Of the Vindicators, there is Portal, Mirage, the Curler, and the Aurelia. Further, William Benson is a normal human who employs mystical artifacts, and while A.J. Tharivol may not be able to transform into a rhinoceros, he is still in possession of his arcane talents.

“Amongst the students, at this school, Christmas Clark, Carl Hamilton, and Gideon Newton are still in possession of their powers; Anne Newton, Martin Curie and Jason Lamperouge still have their powers from our own academy.”

“Jason?” Samantha asked, perplexedly.

“Twelve,” Lex said. “Twelve powered people in our camp versus everything Patriot Robotics has.”

“I’m hesitant to involve the students,” James said.

Bethany sighed mournfully. “When I took this position, I wanted to protect my students—give them the safety I failed to give my daughter. When that trouble with Laputa started, I tried to keep them in the dark. In the end, I learned that you can’t shelter them from things that are going to threaten them.

“James, this barrier… There’s no telling how far it extends. There may not be any running from it. Right now, our students are powerless. They have no way of defending themselves against a world that fears and hates them. Like it or not, our students are involved in this. This is happening. We can’t pretend that we can keep them safe.”

Chienne glanced down at her phone and quietly excused herself. Thinking she still had time before ushering the Affiliation onto the grounds, she made her way down the hall to the Wreck Room.

In the control booth she found Quinton and Clarissa. The two greeted her with silence and turned back to the window as she strode forward. “Everyone accounted for?” she inquired.

“I think so,” Quinton said. “Ben, Alicia, Peter and Owen’s aunt are running the show below. Tyson and Evan are combing the school, looking for anyone who might be in the dorms or whatever.”

“How’re things going?” Clarissa asked nervously.

Chienne took a deep breath before lying. “Good. They’re… They’re good. We’re making some headway. Just planning things out. I’m headed topside: the Affiliation’s coming in—Adonis says he can help get us through this. I’m going to go bring them in…”

The couple nodded to her and Chienne made her way back into the hall. She made her way through the infirmary—nodding to Kayla Hudson, who was tending to the unconscious Annette McMenamin in one of the rooms.

Boarding the elevator, Chienne made her way to the surface. The school was quiet—as quiet as a graveyard. On the quad, those who still retained their abilities stood on guard: Connor Crete stood at main entrance. Prompt was in the middle of the yard, scanning her surroundings and ready to react to anything. Though she couldn’t see them, Chienne knew that Mezzanine and Sentry were also stationed nearby.

Solar Flare landed beside her as she strode towards Connor’s post. “How are things going below?” the young man asked.

“We’re making progress,” Chienne said. She told herself to be mindful of what she told him—that despite her aunt’s words, the headmaster of this school may yet choose not to involve his charges. “We have some reinforcements coming in; I’m here to meet them.”

“Oh.” Solar Flare was quiet. He said nothing, but he failed to take to the skies once more. The young man simply continued to walk beside Chienne. “Miss Bedford?” he asked once he had finally worked up the nerve. “I’ve… heard the others kids talk. I’ve seen the Memorial Gardens. The Affiliation, Terahertz, Black Box, Deimos…

“Justice and Absalom…

“This school gets attacked a lot.”

Chienne nodded glumly, but continued to march forward. “We’re going to get through this,” she insisted. “The only way anyone dies is over my dead body.”

“That’s… It’s just… Gideon told me that I… He got his memories back, you see, and he told me that in the future, I’m some sort of tyrant and…” Chienne turned her head and scrutinized the senior. “He said that I… I just…

“I’m afraid that things like this are what would make me do that. I mean, what if we get attacked? What if more kids die? What if Candace…?” When he began to cry, Chienne stopped. She turned towards him and did not hesitate to pull him into a warm hug.

“I was raised by Forrest and Amy Bedford,” she told him, “two of the most outspoken Neo-Sapien haters on the planet. My brother was killed by a Neo-Sapien. My mom was too. However you want to look at it, so was my dad…

“I had a million and one reasons to hate Neo-Sapiens. Here I am, though: teaching you kids, and beating myself up over Lloyd’s death, wishing I could say the right thing so Pandora didn’t hate me, waiting for the Neo-Sapien I’m in love with to come walking through the gate, all while hugging you.

“Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, Carl. Some are good and some are bad, but all of them? They change us in ways we could never expect. Whatever Gideon says you’re going to become or whatever you’re afraid you’ll be, it’s not set in stone. You’re you, and… yeah, maybe horrible things will happen, but…” She sighed. “I don’t know. I’m not really that good at this kind of thing.”

Carl nodded and slowly pulled away. “Thanks, Miss Bedford.”

“Are you gonna be okay?”

Carl shrugged. “I guess we’ll just have to see…”

“If you need to talk, come find me.”

Carl nodded and slowly rose back into the sky. With his parting, Chienne was free to continue her march towards the front gates.

At her approach, the Curler nodded. He had apparently worn his uniform under the suit he’d worn to the wedding, though his neck tie was now tied around his forehead. “The Affiliation is on their way,” she said.

“I am ready and willing to deliver an ass-kicking.” The stone giant chuckled. “That rhymed.”

Chienne held her forehead. “One: no, it didn’t.”

“It sorta did!”

“It didn’t. Two: we’re not fighting them.”

“Maybe you’re not…”

“They’re here to help.”

“Fine. Just let me stomp a few of them.”


“Just let me stomp Gabby.”

“Connor…” Chienne said warningly.

“It’s ‘The Curler’, so long as I’m in the uniform.”

The blonde woman sighed and shook her head. “I’ve been meaning to ask about that: what’s with the name change?”

“When we became the official Vindicators, I thought Canada deserved to have some representation on the team.”

Chienne eyed him curiously. “But, you’re not Canadian.” It dawned on her then that she knew next to nothing about the behemoth. “Are you?”

“What are you talking about!?!” the Curler thundered, pounding on his chest. “I’m thirty-eight-percent Canadian soil!” Suddenly, the Curler looked towards the road. “They’re here,” he said darkly.

Chienne looked up to see two pairs of headlights coming towards them. Soon, the shadows vomited out a van and a truck—both, no doubt, commandeered. Ordinarily, Adonis would have had Gabrielle or Lurker teleport them to the school, but with the white force field overhead, that option was off the table.
At the sight of Adonis stepping out of the van, Chienne’s heart soared. She held her breath as she anticipated his greeting. In lieu of kissing her, Adonis began to give her and Connor a report: “Bluetooth and Pack Master are watching Patriot Robotics,” he explained. “Rapunzel and Beekeeper are nearby the Church of Genetic Purity’s camp; Lurker, Fluke, Renewal… I have eyes watching every road to the island. If they come by land, we’ll know it and relay the warning to Cerulean.”

The blue-haired girl beside him nodded curtly. “Cerulean, stay with Bulwark.”

“Actually, it’s ‘The Curler’,” the titan corrected. “Been thinkin’ ‘bout changing it to ‘Captain United Nations’ though. I would uphold anachronisms and defend ineffectiveness.”

Adonis hastily apologized for the slight and continued. Adonis turned to Chienne. “Where is Doctor Howell?”
“In the War Room, with the rest of the smart people,” Chienne said, before hastily adding, “and Magnus.”

As she led Adonis and the remainder of the Affiliation towards the school, she found herself lamenting how awkward their reunion was. In her mind, this had happened a thousand other ways. In several scenarios, he lifted her up and pressed his lips to hers; in almost every variation, he professed his undying love for her.

Now, with his entourage huddled around them, she felt that even the act of holding his hand would be an awkward one.

They rode the elevator back to the sublevel. She watched as Adonis silently comforted one of his own—he patted Mirth on the back as they progressed past the spot where Deimos had claimed the tall man’s arm—and felt a tinge of jealousy: even without his powers, Adonis was empathic enough to know what his followers felt, so why couldn’t he read her as easily?

“I imagine it’s already crowded enough in there,” Adonis told the Affiliation, as they moved through the infirmary. “This is where I’ll leave you.”

Chienne and Adonis continued on alone and only then did he entwine his fingers around hers. “I’ve missed you,” he said softly.

Just before the doors to the War Room, he pulled her aside and steered her around a corner. With her back pressed to the wall, he moved in and kissed her more deeply than ever before. “I love you,” he told her. Bowing his head in sorrow, he muttered, “I wish it were happier circumstances that reunited us…”

She forced a wry smile. “What are you talking about? Doctor Howell got married today.”

He chuckled. “I was going to ask about the dress…”

Chienne narrowed her eyes on him. “You didn’t think I got dolled up just for you, did you?”

“I was hoping.” He turned and planted himself beside her. Again, he took her hand in his; he held on tight. “It looks good on you.”

“But it would look better on the floor of my bedroom?”

“Vile temptress,” Adonis said. He smiled and gently pressed his forehead to hers. “How long do you think we could just… hide from it all? Put off going through those doors?”

“Probably not long,” she said sadly. “We have a job to do.”

Adonis sighed mournfully. “We always have a job to do…” Once more, he kissed her. It seemed to go on forever, and she realized he was trying to put off breaking their embrace. Finally, he drew back, sighed, and pulled her to follow him into the War Room…
To Be Continued... wrote:Strategy.

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

New Vindicators, Chapter 1222

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:42 pm

Chapter CXXII: Before the Worst
“-to invest all of our resources on this strike,” one of the War Room’s occupants was saying as Adonis led Chienne into the circular chamber. He had heard that one of the administrators at the school’s Viennese counterpart was an ageless Isaac Newton. He presumed the white-haired man to be him, but never would have guessed at his identity had it not been for the intelligence Lurker gathered. The years had changed the man’s appearance from what was depicted in surviving portraits. His white hair was worn in a short Caesar, and rather than the clothes of his contemporaries, he wore an expensive-looking, pinstripe suit. “Even gathered in the Wreck Room, we can’t guarantee the safety of the students if our enemies come here. We need to be able to protect ourselves!”

“And we can,” Magnus said, “so long as we can get to Autumn quickly and-”

“No one has struck yet,” Adonis said. Immediately, all eyes went to him; his eyes were locked on his old roommate. “Don’t you find that odd, Magnus? To them, Autumn Colbenson is a weapon. Her powers take our powers away—rendering us weak and vulnerable. Why launch a missile if you have no intention of attacking?”

“Maybe they don’t know where we are,” offered Lex.

Adonis shook his head. “No, they know. Honestly, I think the only thing keeping them from storming the gates is the work the Vindicators have been doing to improve how the public views us. When they raided the school last May? It was a deterrent. The world had just seen Magnus Loder kill a human for daring to speak against us and they were afraid. To attack us now would be tantamount to committing political suicide: those who see us as a threat are in the minority.

“Simply put, it may be possible that they’re waiting for us to fight back. They know that our resources are stretched to their thinnest right now. They know we’re going into panic mode. They’re hoping we make the first move, so they can show the world how justified they were in hitting us back.”

“Unfortunately, not everyone is so methodical,” said Zachary Jenkins, the father of Adonis’ late roommate, Drew. “Noah may wait for the justification to wipe us all out, but the Church of Genetic Purity is hardly that cautious.”

“Tell me about it,” Adonis grumbled.

“We need to be able to protect ourselves,” said a middle-aged man whom Adonis was not familiar with. “We need to get rid of this energy field.”

“Then we get rid of it,” Adonis said, matter-of-factly. “How would you do that though… I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“Dane,” the man growled.

Adonis hastily introduced himself. “How would you go about getting rid of the energy field, Dane? You want to attack Patriot Robotics, yes, but have any of you thought far enough ahead to consider what you’ll do when you find the source of our problem?

“Our intelligence suggests that Autumn has been the catalyst behind so many of Doctor Meinstein’s more heinous creations: Zero’s negation field is adapted from her abilities; the Primes were an attempt to mass produce her abilities; Boost was manufactured as a way of increasing Autumn’s range. Given that this barrier is effectively encapsulating the world? It may be that whatever experiments were conducted on her have not long left her with a staggering scope, but torn control from her.

“When you get there and find her unable to stop generating this barrier, what will you do?” Everyone shifted uncomfortably. “Will you kill her?” Bethany began to cry. “That may be just what our enemies want…

“Public opinion of Neo-Sapiens is up, but what would happen if footage of someone executing this poor girl were leaked out? I take it you haven’t been watching the news: a pre-recorded message from Doctor Colbenson has been broadcast, telling the world just what this thing does. The world knows we’re powerless and if we’re seen murdering the root of it, we’ll be right back where we were before the Basileus attacked Chicago.”

“Then what the hell do we do!?!” Dane snapped.

“We kill Autumn’s connection to her power: we need to exile her to the Astral Plane.” Adonis took the room’s stunned silence as invitation to continue: “Chienne’s eighteenth birthday party was disrupted by the appearance of Tide.”

“One of your old minions,” Magnus off-handedly added.

Adonis ignored the man. “Tide abducted her, and Mister Himura moved to lead a group of New Vindicators in rescuing her. They received help from the Aurelius, who took them all into the Astral Plane—the same place where Black Box constructed their concentration camp.

“According to Gabrielle Farouk—another former student of this institution—Nephilim are cut off from their powers there. If we can locate Autumn, the Aurelius can take her into the Astral Plane, severing the connection to her abilities-”

“The Aurelius is out of commission,” Magnus grumbled. “He lost an arm when we fought Apocatastasis. He’s incapable of casting a single spell.”

“What about Solon Carlyle?” asked an exasperated Dane.

“His arm’s still messed up from the Governor’s Island incident,” Chienne said. “There’s still Adrianna though.”

“And my Alexander,” offered the newly wedded Doctor Talley-Howell.

“And apparently Mister Lamperouge,” offered an obvious chagrined Bethany Fisher.

“Find out which of them can reach the Astral Plane,” Adonis commanded, “and we’ll take one of them with us to Patriot Robotics.”

“‘Us’?” Chienne asked.

Adonis nodded. “I intend to go with this team. Once we have her on the Astral Plane, my powers will return. Convincing her to come work with us instead of against us will be a cinch.” He looked across the table to his former roommate’s father. “Doctor Jenkins? I’d like to ask you to come with us.”

“M-me?” the man stammered. “I don’t have any powers though.”

“Even before this, my powers weren’t exactly combative. I believe in working smarter, not harder: you used to work at Patriot Robotics, so you’ll know your way around. Further, depending on what the team encounters, you may be able to bypass whatever defenses the man has engineered.”

Doctor Howell grimaced. “Perhaps it would be wise to take Portal as well.”

Adonis eyed him strangely. For the headmaster to suggest that Vindicator over the others implied something: either the armor he wore gave him some sort of edge where electronics were concerned—perhaps control over them, not unlike Melynda’s Neo-Sapien ability granted, or a sensor that would detect and assess electronic systems—or the man inside the armor had a history with Patriot Robotics…

“The Espers still have their abilities,” Adonis said. He looked across the table to Magnus. “The young woman who helped you locate me a few months ago—Prompt, correct? Her abilities could be instrumental in finding Autumn.”

Chienne sighed. “I’m not sure Christmas is the right one for this mission,” she said. “She resents us for not making her a full-fledged Vindicator after taking down the Basileus. I doubt she’ll be the most helpful if we politely asked her to help us save the world.

“She got her power from one of the teachers here—Kat Wellor.”

“This is getting ridiculous,” Dane grumbled. “First Zach, now Kat? Magnus has two newborns—maybe you want to put them on the roster for this little mission of yours too?”

“While Doctor Jenkins, Kat, Quinton and I may not be the most capable in battle, I’m hoping we won’t exactly see combat,” Adonis offered. “If we do, Portal, the Curler, the Aurelia, and Mirage should be able to handle it.”

Magnus let out a groan. “That’s just going to affirm their decision to put Alex onto their roster.”

“Time is going to be of the essence,” Adonis said. “The longer we sit here and debate, the more time we give our enemies to catch us off guard. We need to move, and we need to move fast.” When no one said anything further, Adonis grinned at Doctor Jenkins. “Well, then… I think it’s about time you and I got suited up.”

Doctor Howell took the initiative and began giving out orders: Lex moved to notify Mirage of the plan, while Magnus left to notify the Curler of his newest assignment; Dane shuffled off in search of Fossick, and Doctor Jenkins left to find Horde.

As the war council moved to assemble Adonis’ team, Chienne followed Adonis into the hall. “I’m going with you,” she told him.


She quickly headed off any argument: “Autumn’s my cousin. Granted, I don’t know her, but… my mom, my dad, my brother… They’re all gone. I don’t have a whole lot of family left, and I’m not going to sit here and do nothing while other people move to save her.

“Plus… don’t tell anyone, but I’m kind of sweet on you. Storming an industrial complex isn’t exactly at the top of my list of things I want to do with you, but I’ll take what I can get.”

Adonis couldn’t help but smile at her. “If you’re coming with us, you’ll need to get changed…”

“Maybe you could help with that?” she suggested.

Adonis grinned dopily. “I’d like nothing more.” Once he had offered out his arm, Chienne hooked her own appendage around his, and let him lead the way back to her room.
To Be Continued... wrote:The B Team.

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1223

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:44 pm

Chapter CXXIII: Dog Days Are Over
As his arm moved, the black material began to fade away. It didn’t peel back or tear or disperse—it simply ceased to be. The Frenchman’s uniform was seamless. It was impossible to tell where it ended and his flesh began. To his classmates, it was nothing; to Prompt, it was almost as nauseating as what came next…

Poking his index finger through the diamond-pattern metal mesh, Fluxx closed his eyes. A tiny cut appeared on his fingertip. The cut opened—the skin pulled back—and an eye began rolling about there in the tip of his phalange.

“We’re clear,” he whispered. He brought his finger back down and opened his eyes as the eye in his finger vanished. Putting his hands on the grate, the Frenchman dissolved the metal, granting the entire team access to the lower levels of Patriot Robotics.

Fluxx was the first one up. His arms stretched to impossible lengths and appeared to reel the rest of his body up the hole. Shaking off the wonder that came from watching him use his abilities, Prompt turned towards Sentry. “You and your sister are up,” she whispered.

With little more effort than she reserved for blinking, Prompt telekinetically hoisted them into the air, one after the other. If they followed the plan, they would be flanking the hole, staring down separate ends of the hall, and keeping guard while she helped the others up.

Déjà vu was the next one up, followed by both of the students who had claimed the name Prodigy. Once they were clear, Prompt nodded to Solar Flare. Unlike the others, Solar Flare didn’t need her help in ascending: part of his powers allowed him to defy gravity.

With the last of their squad up, Prompt herself rose up out of the sewers and Fluxx immediately moved to reassemble the grate from the molecules he had torn it into. When he finished, he joined the others in looking to her…

She was beginning to get used to people looking to her. Not long after she had arrived from the sublevels, and found the bulk of her classmates divested of their powers, Prompt found several looking to her for an explanation. It wasn’t just the Espers—the clique she had led across the country: as the only one of the students who had routinely fought beside the Vindicators, the student body believed she had a rapport with them, and would be privy to whatever information they had.

Unlike the Vindicators, the students believed in her. The Vindicators saw her as a child to be coddled; the students saw her as the one who had defeated the Basileus and saved the world. With her telepathy, she was able to gleam enough information to tell them what was happening, but she could not tell them what came next.

For that, the students turned to Cale Ueshiba…

One of the Espers Prompt had met in Peoria, Cale’s ability let him see the future while he was unconscious. When he slept, his dreams showed him what would happen to him from the moment he woke up to the moment he again went to sleep. If there was going to be an attack on the school, Cale would know about it.

“I’m sorry,” he had told the students, “I didn’t see any of this coming. Somehow, something’s blocking my vision of this…”

That distressed Prompt even more. Was it possible that whoever had staged this had found a way to blind Cale’s precognitive sight? Alonzo Menendez had made her dream about being a villain: it stood to reason there could be others like him—Neo-Sapiens and Espers—capable of manipulating what a person dreamed about.

Even without his knowledge of what came next, Cale was an experienced martial artist. That was why Mister Altair had asked Cale to stand guard with the others. It wasn’t much of an edge, but with so many of them suddenly powerless, the New Vindicators Academy appeared to be looking for any edge they could get.

Naturally, Prompt had been amongst those asked to stand guard on the surface—to act as the first line of defense against any assault that might come. She watched as the de-powered students were herded below to the safety of the Wreck Room.

Not long after, she watched as the Affiliation were greeted like old friends and led into the school. As they passed, she skimmed the surface of Miss Bedford’s thoughts, only to find them rife with fantasies starring the Affiliation’s leader.

Minutes more past and soon, others funneled up, approaching the other guards: Mirage and the Curler vacated their posts, heading below. In their minds, Prompt gleamed more information. She learned of the plan to find Autumn Colbenson and exile her to the Astral Plane.
She also saw Mister Loder’s memory of the clandestine meeting: “I’m not sure Christmas is the right one for this mission,” Chienne had said. “She resents us for not making her a full-fledged Vindicator after taking down the Basileus. I doubt she’ll be the most helpful if we politely asked her to help us save the world.”

She had been nominated for this mission, only to be dismissed so easily. In her place, Miss Wellor had been nominated. The woman’s only gift was telelocation. She was incapable of reading minds, switching bodies, telekinetically moving objects, manifesting swords forged from sheer mental energy… Since meeting members of the Espers who were either enrolled or employed at the Vienna school, Prompt had added several more abilities to her repertoire.

Months ago, she had done what no one else could do—what none of the Vindicators or their students could accomplish: she alone had defeated the Basileus, and now, the people she had fought to save were slighting her...

She couldn’t wait to see their faces when she saved them all again.

She moved quickly: the Vindicators had Portal to move instantly from the school to Patriot Robotics. They took inventory of who still possessed something resembling a power—something that would give them an edge over their enemies.

Prompt did the same.

As androids, it was hardly surprising that the barrier failed to negate Sentry and Mezzanine’s powers, but Solar Flare and Fluxx had been surprising…
When pushed for an explanation, the Frenchman had merely explained that he was “somezing ozer zan a Neo-Sapien”, which Prompt translated as permission to probe the recesses of his psyche. It helped that he was thinking about what separated him from his classmates: Martin Curie was unlike any of the other students at the New Vindicators Academy of Europe, in that he had never technically been born. The two he considered to be his parents—Basil and Jeanette Curie—were one and the same entity: a being known as Entier, born in the bowels of Patriot Robotics. Entier had escaped, fled to France, and managed to pose for years as a family of four by dividing itself into several bodies.

Solar Flare had been just as tight-lipped, but better defended psionically. When Prompt tried to invade his mind for an explanation as to why he still held onto his ability to manipulate light, she found herself blocked. Strangely, it didn’t seem like Carl had been the one to repel her invasion of his mental stronghold, but rather someone else…

It was almost as though Solar Flare was two personas inhabiting the same body. After the fiasco with Max, she hoped that wasn’t the case…

Whatever quirk allowed him to retain his abilities, Prompt was thankful for it. She wasn’t sure what they would encounter, and any measure of firepower was welcome.

Perhaps that was why she had included both Prodigies—Kasunda Itou and Jason Lamperouge.

Kasunda was one of the Espers who had followed Prompt to New York, and for the last few months, Cale’s girlfriend. As an Esper, she still retained her ability to absorb the knowledge those around her possessed. With Cale in her vicinity, she was as good of a martial artist as he was.

It certainly didn’t hurt things that Topher Emerson had granted her his psionic sword.

Jason Lamperouge, however, she knew next to nothing about. Fluxx had suggested him: “‘E’s Neo-Sapien powers give ‘im ‘yper-intellect,” the Frenchman had said, “which ‘e used to learn magic. Even wizout ‘is powers, Jason should still ‘ave tricks up ‘is sleeve.”

The boy was unusually calm, despite what was unfolding around them. Without his augmented mental faculties, it took little for Prompt to probe the depths of his psyche, and see what made him tick.

The entire ordeal with Laputa was enough to send chills up her spine, but it showed her the boy’s commitment and innate ability to persevere.
Ironically, both Kasunda and Jason had chosen the same codename for themselves: Prodigy.

“Our teachers are evacuating everyone to the Wreck Room,” she had explained to them, “but they’ll be sitting ducks down there, unless someone turns their powers back on…

“I know who’s doing this; I can find her; I can stop this… but I can’t do it alone.”

She watched as Martin looked to one of his classmates—a girl with long, red hair. Carl looked to Candace, and Cale gave Kasunda’s hand a squeeze. Christmas had looked to Gideon, hoping to see some measure of care for her well-being in his eyes. When she saw nothing but the cool stoicism he normally exuded, she found herself envious of the girls her teammates were fighting for.

She shook it off—told herself to focus on the mission. Once more, it fell on her to save the world; perhaps this time, the Vindicators would realize how much they needed her on the team…

Prompt closed her eyes and concentrated on what little she had gleamed from Doctor Fischer’s mind about Autumn Colbenson. She could still feel her inside of the building—high above them. “She’s above us,” she said. “We should be in the sublevels. We need to find a way to the surface.”

“I could go zrough ze ceiling,” Fluxx offered. He waved an arm through the wall to demonstrate. “I could take you all one-by-one?”

“You don’t know this place like I do.” Prompt was lying: she had never actually been inside—only heard stories from the others who had dared venture here. “We’re in the lowest sublevel, and each one of these floors is supposed to be a deathtrap. It’ll take you too long to move us, and someone is going to be left defenseless if we’re caught off guard during that.

“Besides,” she added, “this is where Entier escaped from.” Dropping Fluxx’s parents’ name drew surprised looks from the two students of the Vienna school, and puzzled expressions from the others. “You don’t really think Noah Meinstein never bothered to patch up that chink in his armor, do you?”

“‘Ow do you know about zem?”

Prompt simply smiled, intending to leave it at that. Sometimes, it was good to have an air of mystery. “She reads minds,” the female Prodigy offered.
The American expatriate rolled his eyes. “Assuming the sublevels have some measure of defense against Fluxx’s powers, we’re left with sticking together, and finding some sort of access to the surface. Any elevator or stairs likely have some sort of security system in place.”

Fluxx nodded and then sniffed the air. He covered his mouth and fought back the urge to vomit. “Mon Dieu.”

“What is it?” the male Prodigy asked.

“Zere are several people down ‘ere,” Fluxx explained. “One… I am sorry: zere is just so much blood.”

Solar Flare looked to Sentry and then back to their guests. “You can smell people?” he asked.

“I can smell ze elements zat compose an individual,” Martin said. “Carbon, Zinc, Molybdenum… I can smell ze fluorine zat ‘ardens zeir tooz enamel, ze disulfide bonds zat strengzen ze keratin zat forms zeir fingernails… Zeir are four people down zis ‘allway, and to ze right. Two are furzer back, and two are up ahead… One of which…” He sniffed the air again, and again seemed overpowered by the stench. “Someone is dead. Ze stench… I can smell ze bile in ‘is stomach. ‘Is colon…”

Déjà vu and the female Prodigy, as the two most inexperienced members of the strike force, seemed unnerved by Fluxx’s description of what lay ahead.
“It’s too late to turn around and go back,” Prompt growled, hoping to steel their resolves. “Everyone is counting on us.”

She led them forward, following Fluxx’s directions to the source of the stench. Soon enough, they came into view: a teenage girl, garbed in a uniform the New Vindicators were not familiar with, knelt before half of a man, wearing a matching uniform.

The vent was covered in blood—blood which painted the wall below it and the floor of the hallway. It was though the man had been suddenly cut in half by the ventilation system.

Prompt scanned the girl’s mind and found out what she needed to: codenamed Steam, the deceased possessed the power to transform into a scalding vapor. He must have been in his intangible form, passing through the vent, when Autumn’s powers nullified his. Instantly forced back to his natural form, he had been cut in half just inches above the waist.

“They’re Primes,” Prompt said. “Steam and Epitome.”

The girl rose up and fixed them all with a glare. “We’re on the same side,” Prompt said, reading the girl’s intent to attack. “Your teammate died because of a woman named Autumn Colbenson is using her powers. We’re here to get her to stop.”

“It’s no use,” Déjà vu said as Epitome started to snarl. “She’s just like Black Box’s agents! She’s been brainwashed!”

Solar Flare growled. “Like Gregaro?”

“And Jack,” Fluxx muttered.

Epitome charged, and Solar Flare thrust his arms out, sending a blast of light between Prompt and Fluxx. The beam struck Epitome, but hardly seemed to faze her. Dauntless, the girl continued her charge.

Prompt pushed out against the air and send a wave of telekinetic force to bowl Epitome over. “She’s so strong,” Prompt grumbled. “That should have thrown her down the hall…”

“There’s not enough room to fight here,” Déjà vu exclaimed.

“Perhaps not for you,” Fluxx said. His arm elongated; his hand fell on the girl’s shoulder. Prompt watched as Epitome’s uniform stiffened. “Zere. Transmuted ze fabric of her uniform to titanium. She should ‘ave trouble-”

Epitome writhed and her uniform snapped at her joints. “She still has her powers?” Solar Flare asked incredulously.

“Why not?” asked the male Prodigy. “You do!”

“She must have been cloned from an Æsir,” Prompt grumbled. As Epitome got to her feet again, Prompt grinned. “Good. We could use someone with a little muscle.”

Suddenly, Epitome stopped. Prompt looked around, obviously perplexed. “Carl! Gideon!” the immortal girl cried.

Immediately, Gideon understood: the android pushed his way to the front and swung his fist into Prompt’s stomach, knocking the girl out cold.

Fluxx rounded on the robot and quickly coiled his body around the American. “What ze ‘ell are you doing!?!” he roared.

“It’s okay, Martin,” Epitome said. “It’s me: Prompt. Sorry about the confusion, but… part of my ability lets me switch bodies. I’ve still got all my powers, and now I have Epitome’s too.”

Fluxx looked horrified by such a revelation. “I apologize,” he said to Sentry, flowing off of him and taking his natural form once more. “When I first enrolled at ze academy, my classmates and I dealt wiz someone who could take over anozer’s body.”

“So, you basically just had a ‘Nam flashback, huh?” the female Prodigy asked.

Fluxx shuddered. “Somezing like zat.”

“Moving on,” the other Prodigy growled. “Which way now?”

Though obviously upset over the turn their mission had taken, Fluxx sniffed the air, and began to lead them towards the next closest group he had found…
To Be Continued... wrote:Brotherly love.

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1224

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:46 pm

Chapter CXXIV: Naomi
A ball of electricity exploded in the middle of Noah Meinstein’s penthouse, and in its place stood a disc of energy—a doorway that connected the grounds of the New Vindicators Academy of America to Patriot Robotics.

“Hello!?!” bellowed the Curler as he stepped through. “Your majesty? Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

Mirage was the next one through, followed by the Aurelia. The sorceress took point beside the portal, only to fall in behind Doctor Jenkins and Fossick as they crossed over. Each of the Vindicators was tasked with a particular job: the Aurelia was to protect the two members of their strike force with no combat training, offensive or defensive powers. Mirage, meanwhile, began to scout the floor, looking for any ambush they might spring.

Horde stepped through the portal hesitantly, followed by Adonis and Chienne. Once Portal was through, the doorway closed behind him, leaving the Vindicators and their allies stranded in their enemy’s den.

“I think you were wrong, Portal,” the Curler intoned. “Princess Naomi’s not here.”

“For the thousandth time, her name is Autumn, and she’s not a princess.” Behind the helmet of his armor, Portal rolled his eyes. “And I never said she was here: you’re the one who insisted she would be in the top floor.”

“Where do you keep the princesses you hold prisoner?” the Curler asked. “I can’t tell you how many laws your dad is breaking by not keeping her in the tower.”

Adonis looked to Chienne. “Is he always like this?” he asked.

Before she could answer, Mirage returned from deeper into the penthouse. “I think you guys need to see this…”

Darting ahead, Adonis and Chienne hurried after him. Before the others could pursue, the Curler lurched forward, only for his broad figure to meet some resistance in the form of the threshold. As he ducked, he began to chant “Suck it in! Suck it in!” Turning sideways, he tried to follow the others into Noah Meinstein’s bedroom.

Once they had rounded the corner, the two saw what Mirage had summoned them for: a man and a woman were lying in pools of blood on the floor. The woman was lying face up—a gunshot wound through the middle of her forehead more than apparent.

“Do either of your recognize them?” the Vindicator asked.

Chienne shook her head, but Adonis nodded. “Garuda and Ambrosia,” he said. “They’re both Primes. They’re in the school’s files: the first class of students had a handful of encounters against them, but…” He sighed, and pointed to the door on the wall facing them. “We need Doctor Jenkins to look at that. If I’m right, that’s how Noah accesses the Astral Plane… and Autumn has someone helping her.”

Before Mirage could journey back to where they had arrived, another portal opened, and their teammates crossed over from the living room. “Connor was blocking our path,” Portal said apologetically.

“It’s ‘The Curler’ when I’m in the suit!” the behemoth called from the hallway.

Fossick screamed when she saw the pair of bodies. Horde looked panicked when she turned and buried her face into his chest. “Um,” he muttered, as Doctor Jenkins stepped over the corpses to examine the wall.

“I’m banking that’s how Noah gets into the Astral Plane?” Adonis asked.

Doctor Jenkins nodded. His hand hovered beside the hole in the drywall. “Yes, and someone shut it down in a hurry…”

“What the hell happened up here?” the Aurelia asked.

“Who cares?” whined Fossick. “Can we please just get out of here? Autumn’s below us. We can go after her.”

“We need to know what we’re walking into though,” Adonis offered. “Everything I know about Autumn suggests that Noah’s treated her like a prisoner. She didn’t have the luxury of just walking out of here on her own. Up until now, I had Cheryl Colbenson fingered as the culprit, but this… The accuracy of those kill shots? That’s not her.

“The door puzzles me, too. Whoever closed it did so in a hurry—likely to trap someone else on the other side. I’ve been on the Astral Plane once or twice, and as I recall, you could see other people there, but they couldn’t see you…

“Whoever was locked on the other side could be watching us right now.”

Fossick looked up from Horde’s shoulder and gave a scream. As the room’s other occupants looked towards her with agitation, they quickly saw what had startled her: someone in a suit of armor similar to Portal’s was flying towards the floor-to-ceiling windows of the penthouse.

“Get down!” Adonis screamed as he pulled Chienne to hit the floor with him. Horde emulated his actions perfectly with Fossick, while Mirage lunged to tackle Doctor Jenkins out of the armored figure’s path.

As the Aurelia dove for cover, Portal moved to meet his brother’s charge.

Glass sprayed the room as Panzer crashed into Portal. As the two armors collided, Panzer swung a fist into Portal’s helmet. Portal responded grabbing Panzer’s fist; holding tight, he moved to spin and hurled the elder Meinstein out of the window.

Panzer’s jet thrusters kicked in and he righted himself in the air. In no time he was rocketing back towards the window. Mere feet from launching himself into Portal, the sensors in his helmet picked up movement. Panzer turned his head and watched as drywall was vomited into the air around the Curler’s lunging shape. “I got this!” the Curler screamed as he threw himself for Panzer.

Panzer interrupted the titan’s charge with a punch to the face.

“Dan!” Portal screamed. “C’mon, Dan! Don’t do this! This isn’t you!”

As the Curler’s massive body staggered back, Panzer moved in to grab the Vindicator by the waist. The hydraulics in the 137 armor were pushed to their limits as Panzer hoisted the Curler overhead. The rock man flailed and swatted at his opponent’s arms in an attempt to get released; all his work was in vain as Panzer simply turned, and threw the Curler out the window.

“You know what will happen if he hits the street?” Doctor Jenkins asked.

“On it,” Portal said, hurrying after him. In order to throw himself after the Curler, however, he had to pass Panzer. As Portal charged, Panzer slapped a gauntleted hand across the Vindicators’ helm, shattering the visor.

As Portal fell over, the floor trembled from the impact of his armor crashing to the floor. He moved to pick himself up, only for Panzer to kick him in the side.

With the Curler gone, the only other ones who still possessed their abilities were the Aurelia and Fossick. The Aurelia hurried forward, weaving her hands through the complicated gestures that accounted for one-third of her spellcasting ability. The other two-thirds were vocal incantations and force of will. “Bellsack Cetant!” she cried, conjuring a swarm of writhing black tentacles from the floor. They fought to grab at Panzer, but ultimately proved themselves capable of doing little more than annoying him: her summoned tendrils were not strong enough to restrain the 137 armor.

The building shook and Doctor Jenkins swore under his breath. “The Curler’s no doubt just hit the street. Given his mass and the velocity he would have reached in an eight-hundred-foot drop, I suspect he’s ruptured his share of utility lines. We’ll be lucky if he didn’t just cause an explosion.”

Portal rose up and pushed the Aurelia to get behind him. “Everyone go,” he commanded. “Find Autumn and bring down the barrier.

“Leave him to me.”

As the others retreated, Panzer tore apart the swarm of tendrils. When he finished, he simply stood in place, staring down his little brother.

“We don’t have to fight, Daniel. No matter what he’s done to you, I know that you’re still in there somewhere. Fight him, Daniel: bring my big brother back to me.”

Panzer exploded across their father’s bedroom and Portal narrowly avoided taking the brunt of the assault. Still, Panzer clipped him, and sent him staggering back. Portal caught himself on the wall and put his hand through the plaster. “I’m not going to fight you,” Portal snarled. “I love you, Daniel! After mom died, and dad buried himself in work, you were the only one who was there for me!”

Again, Panzer lunged for his brother, and again, Portal tried to dive out of the path of his attack. “You practically raised me!” he cried.

Panzer swung and Portal took it on the chin. He stepped to the left and dodged a punch to the face. As Panzer moved to strike him with his elbow, Portal grabbed his forearm and swung the armored figure into a nearby dresser.

With Panzer showing him his back, Portal seized the opportunity. “Your armor may be a little more durable than mine,” he said, pouncing on his brother from behind, “and it may pack more of a punch… but there are some things in their design that are still the same.”

Portal brought his fist down into the casing of the armor’s power supply. When he dented in the coating, he brought his fist up and tried again. Panzer tried to buck him, but Portal’s metal-coated fingers were closed around the neck of the breastplate. Holding on tight, he continued to pound on the suit’s power supply. With a few more punches, he had breached the wall and grabbed at the generator.

With a mighty tug, Portal pulled the source of Panzer’s power free from the armor, and his opponent’s movements ceased.

“So, here’s what’s going to happen,” he said, rolling Panzer onto his back. “I’m going to take you back to the New Vindicators Academy, and have Dane or Doctor Jenkins or whoever wants to take a cutting torch to this thing cut you out. We’re going to put you in restraints until I can find a way to make you you again, and then I’m going to introduce you to my girlfriend.

“Yeah, that’s right: I have a girlfriend. She’s pretty, and she makes my pillows smell awesome, and she makes me really happy, and I kind of think that I want to ask her to marry me, and if I do, I want you there.” Portal raised an arm and opened a gateway back to the school. “And you’re going to have figure out how to throw me a better bachelor party than Elemenoh threw Magnus, because that was one of the best nights of my life.”

Dragging the immobile armor through the gateway, Portal proceeded to tell his brother about the night he had spent as a Jedi Knight.
To Be Continued... wrote:Drunk on power.

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1225

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:48 pm

Chapter CXXV: Fade
It unnerved him that they had to insist they bring her body along. With Fluxx pointing out the way to the four he smelled, Prompt had been ready to leave her body—currently inhabited by an unconscious Epitome—behind.

It was only at Solar Flare, Déjà vu, and the female Prodigy’s urging that she relented, and allowed Mezzanine to carry her with them.

As they stepped around the mess that had once been Steam, Solar Flare tried to puzzle out why she had been so ready to discard the flesh she was born into.

From what he had gathered over the course of the last few months, she had been overweight. Frequently found in the school gym, Prompt had spent the last year attacking her weight problem fervently. The result was that she was a toned, apple-shaped body that Solar Flare wondered if she was still uncomfortable in.

After all, Epitome was athletic and fit. She was strong without looking it—without sacrificing that soft, suppleness that Prompt had bypassed by building muscle. She was tall and attractive. Looking at her, it was hard to remain committed to Candace.

Prompt had short, dark hair; Epitome’s hair was long, blonde, and shimmered.

Prompt had an aquiline nose; Epitome’s nose was celestial.

It wasn’t hard to see to why someone would choose to remain in Epitome’s body, but Solar Flare feared there may have been more to it than that: Epitome was physically powerful. An Esper, all of Prompt’s power came from her mind—she possessed her powers no matter what body she was in; coupled with Epitome’s strength, speed, endurance, and the possibility that she was an Æsir…

It wasn’t a term Solar Flare had much experience with before today, but if he understood Sentry correctly, he was one himself: an immortal, whose body would regenerate after a fixed period of time. It was possible that Prompt was drunk on the possibility that by staying in Epitome’s body, she had joined such an exclusive club.

Either way, Solar Flare doubted that Prompt was simply boring Epitome’s power until they could complete their mission.

“Zrough zere.” Fluxx’s words snapped Solar Flare back to reality. The Frenchman was pointing at a door, sealed by a something more than a keypad.

“We’re not getting through,” the male Prodigy offered. “It’s a three-dimensional fingerprint scanner. Sure, Fluxx could morph his hand to whoever it’s keyed to, but without a frame of reference?”

Epitome cracked her knuckles. “Relax, kids: I got this.” Stepped forward, the blonde girl slugged the door, and managed to leave the impression of her knuckles in the titanium.

Fluxx sighed. “Allow me.” He reached out and touched the door, stripping away the atoms that had formed in imitation of a blockade.

As Fluxx melted the door, Epitome’s strength found less and less resistance. Soon, she was able to knock the door down, revealing to the New Vindicators a massive chamber, which contained three glass tanks…

Solar Flare’s eyes went over the tanks: in each, a boy—likely in his early teens—was suspended with his head above the pale green solution. Tubes and wires invaded his flesh, binding him to the machines that helped to support the triplets here.

In the center of the room stood a middle-aged man, who eyed them all with unbridled contempt.

“More people, daddy,” one of the boys said.

“Are some of them girls?” asked another.

“What the hell is this?” Solar Flare demanded. “Who are you?”

“My name is Doctor Meinstein,” the man intoned, “and these are my sons: Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.”

“What did you do to them? Why are they hooked up to those machines?”

“We’re losing focus,” growled Epitome. “This isn’t what we came here for.”

“Given your age and your uniforms, I take it you are from the New Vindicators Academy?” Doctor Meinstein chuckled. “That idiot succeeded in activating Autumn’s powers, didn’t he? And like moths drawn to a flame, you all came here…”

“What did you do to her?” Epitome demanded.

Doctor Meinstein raised an eyebrow at her. “I’ll admit, I’m curious as to why you’ve suddenly switched sides. Given the unconscious girl you’re carrying with you, I assume it’s some form of possession? Autumn’s powers don’t work on an Esper’s abilities, I presume?”

“We’re asking the questions here,” Epitome roared. “What the hell did you do to Autumn Colbenson!?!”

Doctor Meinstein looked confused. “Me?” he asked, exuding faux innocence. “Why, I haven’t done anything. Trust me, child: if I had my way, she never would have left her room.”

“Like we’re supposed to believe that,” interjected Solar Flare. “Everything I know about you suggests you have a mad-on for making Neo-Sapiens extinct. Zero, Sentries…”

“Don’t forget Knitter,” offered the doctor.

“What makes you think we’d ever believe that you’d simply hold back the one thing that could wipe us all off the map?”

Doctor Meinstein sighed. “Money.”

Déjà vu sputtered. “Come again?”

“Do you know what Zero, and the Sentries, and Knitter all have in common? They’re marketable. They’re answers to individual problems that can be massed produced, and sold for a suggested retail price. However, none of them are blanket solutions, are they? One Sentry can’t eradicate the entire Neo-Sapien populace, and one syringe of Knitter only retards the powers of one Neo-Sapien.

“So long as mankind fears and hates people like you, they will keep coming to me, giving me money for things that will solve one problem.

“If Autumn used her powers, what would happen to my bottom line? Do you think people would still come to me, looking to buy Zeroes, or Sentries, or Knitter?

“Nothing is more lucrative than unabashed hatred.”

“This is pointless,” Epitome growled. “I can still sense Autumn. Let’s go—he’s just trying to distract us.”

“No,” the male Prodigy insisted. “He’s right: if he was going to turn Autumn on us all, he could have done that at any time, right? He doesn’t want her out there, doing what she’s doing, so why, of all places, did he come here?”

Doctor Meinstein grinned. “Ah, one bright one out of the bunch.”

“It’s those kids, right? They’re connected to Autumn somehow. How?”

“You could say that they’re her children.”

Solar Flare’s nostrils flared. “You had kids with her?” he growled.

“As I said, I strive to market small solutions. If I could fabricate Primes that possess a small fraction of her ability, what would that be worth? What would people pay for a bodyguard who could negate any Neo-Sapien abilities within a fixed radius?”

“You’re insane.”

“When you have as much money as I have, the correct term is ‘eccentric’.”

“You came here hoping that their ability might be able to counteract hers,” Prodigy rationalized. “Has it?”

Doctor Meinstein hung his head in sorrow. “Sadly, they never even demonstrated the ability to negate powers—just emit an impervious barrier. Even more sadly, it seems that their mother’s power has suppressed their gifts as well.”

“So why the tanks?” Solar Flare asked. “Why the machines?”

“Why does your computer have a fan in it? Why does your car have a carburetor? Sometimes, our tools are made up of several components that allow them to function.”

“‘Tools’?” Solar Flare fumed. “That’s all they are to you!?!” His resolve strengthened, the youth turned to Sentry. “C’mon,” he said, “we’re unplugging them, and getting them away from this nutcase. He said they have the power to create barriers: the school has to take them!”

As Solar Flare moved to lead Sentry towards the first tank, the doctor chuckled. “Ah, to be young and misguided again,” he said. “These machines are all that keep them alive. Unplug them, and you’ll kill them.”

“You bastard,” Solar Flare growled. “You’re infringing on their basic human rights!”

“Human? What constitutes them being human? They’ve never known a life outside this room. They’ve never-”

“We can stand here waxing philosophic,” Epitome hissed, “or we can get back to doing what we came here to do. He’s obviously not going to be any help, and Fluxx and I just proved we can tear through whatever they put in front of us.”

“But those boys-”

“Can’t be unplugged!”

“But this… We can’t just leave them like this!”

Epitome turned and glared at one of the tanks. Suddenly, the glass shattered outward, vomiting the solution out across the floor.

“What ze ‘ell are you doing!?!” raged Fluxx as Epitome repeated the process for the next one.

“Simplifying things,” Epitome growled. “You didn’t want to kill them, but you didn’t want to leave them either.” As Fluxx stretched his body to reach the first of the boys, Doctor Meinstein sped towards her, enveloping his fist in electricity as he ran.

Before he could reach her, Epitome had telekinetically exploded the last of the tanks. “Please,” she growled, seizing the man telekinetically, and slamming him into the ceiling of the chamber.

“He’s a Neo-Sapien?” asked the female Prodigy. “The guy who’s devoted his life to eradicating Neo-Sapiens is a Neo-Sapien?”

“I’m more than a Neo-Sapien,” the doctor hissed. “You’re all accidents of nature: I am a monument to the wonders humanity can accomplish-”

“You’re a gnat,” Epitome growled, “spitting in the face of a god.”

Solar Flare saw Sentry shudder, and realized he wasn’t the only one growing uncomfortable with how Epitome was acting. “Leave!” he thundered. “Just… go! It’s obvious that you don’t need us, right? With all your power? You’re always going on about how you saved the world, so just… go and do it again. Don’t let us hold you back.”

Epitome looked to Déjà vu and the female Prodigy—two of the Espers she had led out of Peoria, ultimately to the arms of the New Vindicators Academy. Déjà vu put an arm around his girlfriend; both of them averted their gaze from Epitome.

Doctor Meinstein dropped from the ceiling as Epitome turned, and made her way out of the room. “Sentry, Mezzanine, restrain him.” As she set about to following Solar Flare’s order, Mezzanine set Prompt’s unconscious body down. Solar Flare looked from it to the hall Epitome had vanished into.

Silence fell over the chamber as Fluxx began to work—silence broken only once the world high above them shook. “What was that?” the female Prodigy asked. “An earthquake?”

“Almost sounded like an explosion,” Déjà vu said.

Whatever it was, they had felt is so far beneath the surface. That troubled Solar Flare. It was a sensation that reminded him of the sort of imminent danger the others were in back at the school: Gregaro, Will, Gage, Pandora, John, Razi… They were all powerless, and doubtlessly in danger of an attack, now that they were vulnerable. Candace was there too, and if he was going to give her a fighting chance, he needed to stop Autumn.

“Prodigy,” Solar Flare said, turning to the necromancer, “take Déjà vu and…” He sighed. “Can’t one of you just pick a different codename? It’s weird calling her ‘the Other Prodigy’.”

Déjà vu turned towards the male Prodigy. “What about ‘Erudite’?” he asked. “It means-”

Prodigy shot him a baleful look. “I know what it means,” he said icily.

“Get topside and see what’s going on. We’ll stay here until Fluxx can get these kids stabilized. And stay safe.”

Déjà vu nodded before entwining his fingers with his girlfriend’s. Together, they took off at a run after the male Prodigy…
To Be Continued... wrote:Here it comes!

Cosmic Scion
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New Vindicators, Chapter 1226

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:50 pm

Chapter CXXVI: Ana’s Song (Open Fire)
The Aurelia reappeared in the office with the Curler. “Do you know how hard it was to cast a spell down there?” she hissed. “God, I can’t even imagine how bad that stench would have been if I still had my powers. Sometimes a heightened sense of smell sucks.”

Chienne ignored her and covered her ear with a hand. “Portal?” she asked. “We’ve got Bulwark.” She glanced towards the window, where Fossick was standing, gazing out towards the west. “Fossick’s saying that Autumn has left the building. How’s your thing going?”

“On my way back to the penthouse. Think you can send the Aurelia to pick me up? It’s hard for me to ‘port to you guys if I don’t know where you’re at.”

Chienne turned and looked to the Aurelia. The young woman had heard his request through her own commlink, and sighed exasperatedly before beginning to weave her hands through the air again. “‘Teleport me here, Adrianna’,” she grumbled. “‘Now teleport me there.’”

As she vanished, Chienne turned to Adonis. “We’re going to find her,” she said. “We’ll stop her.”

Adonis forced a smile and then nodded in agreement. A moment later, the Aurelia returned with Portal. “What’d I miss?” he asked.

“Three more dead Primes,” Chienne said. “Besitz, Izzy, and Ombre.”

“I was able to tap into the building’s security system,” Horde said. “We know what we’re dealing with…” He turned a computer monitor around, showing the others the feed from the lobby.

“Okay,” Portal said, watching as a young man with a gun cautiously led Autumn out of the stairwell. “Who’s he?”

“Vincent Haynes,” the Aurelia said. “He went to the school, back when I was a student. I think Black Box might have got him.”

“Joy. What’s he do?”

“He hears things.”

Portal raised an eyebrow. “Dead things?”

Everyone looked at him quizzically.

“You know, like… The Sixth Sense? ‘I see dead people.’ No?”

“I got it!” the Curler bellowed.

Portal poked one finger through his shattered visor to touch his nose, while pointing at the Curler with his other hand.

“He has super-hearing,” the Aurelia explained, looking at her teammates worriedly.

“You mean he had super-hearing,” the Curler corrected. “Teach him not to be a god.”

“Wait,” Portal said, “I remember Phase warned me about him. When he came to me last year, he had this device—scrambled sounds so that we could talk in private, without My Cousin Vinny eavesdropping.”

“That doesn’t tell us where he’s going though, or what they’re endgame is.” Doctor Jenkins said.

Adonis shook his head. “No, but I think we already know that. You said Black Box activated one of the students during the wedding, and he tried to abduct Fossick?” The woman turned at the mention of her name. “What if that was part of this plan? Black Box knew about her ability, and knew that we could use her to find Autumn, if they took her into hiding.

“What if their whole goal is just to sustain Autumn’s powers indefinitely? Maybe leak it to the press that this barrier is shutting down our powers? What if all that they’re trying to do is take her into hiding and wait for someone like the Church of Genetic Purity to do the rest?” He sighed raggedly. “Well, we know where they are. We might as well start zeroing in. The sooner we get Autumn back on the Astral Plane, the sooner we’re not all sitting ducks.”

Lightning danced on the horizon. Horde sighed. “Storm’s coming in,” he grumbled.

The Curler glared at him. “Be more cliché.”

Portal forged another gateway—this time taking them to the street. Standing in the shadow of Patriot Robotics, all eyes were on them: the sudden appearance of a portal forged from crackling electricity and an eight-foot-tall man made of rock and garbed in spandex drew eyes. The heroes paid them no mind; their attention was on Fossick. “Which way?” Portal asked.

She pointed. “They’re pretty far. They must be moving by car.”

“Great,” Portal said. “Well, c’mere.” He gently scooped Fossick up into his arms. “I’ll take her into the air and try to pinpoint them. As soon as I have them, I’ll communicate their location, and the Aurelia can bring the rest of you in.”

Out of courtesy to Fossick, Portal did not rocket away from the sidewalk. Instead, he slowly lifted off, and began to fly between buildings, rather than soar above them. Soon, the pair was out of sight, leaving the rest standing outside Patriot Robotics, waiting for Portal to field them Autumn’s location.

It was only a few minutes after Portal had left that news vans pulled up, surrounding the Vindicators and grilling them on information about the barrier. “Well, see, there’s this Princess Naomi,” the Curler said into a camera, “and—I don’t want to get anyone in trouble with the po-pos here, Veronica—she wasn’t being kept up in the tower, which is totally against regulation…”

It was only when they realized that they would get nothing useful from the Curler that they ceased their badgering.

It wasn’t long after that that Prodigy, Déjà vu, and the other Prodigy emerged from the building.

“The hell are you doing here!?!” the Curler bellowed.

“We came to find Autumn,” Déjà vu said, a hint of apology in his voice. “We came in through the sublevels, and… We heard some sort of explosion, and Solar Flare told us to check on it.”

“Explosion?” the Aurelia asked.

“Must have been that bitchin’ cannonball I did out of the penthouse,” the Curler said. “You shoulda seen it—had to be a World Record for Biggest Splash.”

“You kids shouldn’t be here,” Chienne said sternly. Memories of Lloyd’s death were still fresh in her mind. “The Aurelia is going to take you all back to the school, right now.”

Thunder boomed in the distance. It had come from the direction Portal had gone, and she wondered if it was from the storm moving in, or if it was the result of a battle Portal now found himself in.

Chienne moved to hail him over the commlink, when there was a second boom—another thunderclap. This one was different—almost like a gunshot.

Everything happened so fast. She heard the Aurelia scream. She felt Adonis’ hand slipping from hers. She turned, and watched in horror as the man she loved crumbled to the ground.

The clouds gathered overhead broke and a torrent of rain began to pelt them. Chienne was oblivious to the damp forming at her shoulders: her eyes were on Adonis’—unblinking, staring straight ahead, and with a bullet buried between them…
To Be Continued... wrote:Doctor Colbenson and a de-powered Reptile.

Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:17 pm
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Post by Michuru81 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:52 pm

Hi! It's a new week, and I decided to kick it off by making up for lost time: eight new chapters, making up all of New Vindicators #111, are now up. You can start reading here.

Happy Monday (that has no other significance beyond being Monday)!