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Hadean: The Brave

Atlas City

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a part of Hadean: The Brave, by Lord Saethos.

Our City will rebuild! No matter what happens to us, we will continue to be on the front line of innovation, science, industry, and heroism! Remember March 12th, and remember that in Atlas City, we're helping build a better future for everyone!

Lord Saethos holds sovereignty over Atlas City, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

4,199 readers have been here.

Setting

Atlas City, home to approximately 800'000 civilians, of which an estimated 1000-5000 are supers. Some have minor powers, not able to do much more than parlor tricks, others have abilities uniquely suited to the many careers and burgeoning industries in Atlas City, and some are destined for the greatness of heroism, or the infamy of Villainy.
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Atlas City

Our City will rebuild! No matter what happens to us, we will continue to be on the front line of innovation, science, industry, and heroism! Remember March 12th, and remember that in Atlas City, we're helping build a better future for everyone!

Minimap

Atlas City is a part of Hadean: The Brave.

20 Characters Here

Akiko Bong [130] "What's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost."
Henry Stewart (Macroman) [122] Can't just be strong for your own sake. Not always.
Sasha Belov [114] The undying demon of Russia, Sasha's dark past remains a mystery to all but a select few.
Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) [112] "True heroes do what is necessary."
Devon Metzger [107] "I guess you could say that I'm living on borrowed time. Then let's not waste it."
Sheri [102] drafted into service
Liz Baker [88] The Alchemist
Vicki Vortex [80] "I'm not here to save the world, I'm here to rock out in its final encore."
Carnifex-04 "Scourge" [71] "All I need is PAIN!"
Klaus Zeit [65] Trapped in the past to find his future

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman)
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Sheri took one last look around Sasha's barricade. Yeah, she wasn't going to be much help here. Better to leave it to their heavier hitters, and the one-woman cavalry. Who... she recognized, now that Sheri got a good look at her. The woman who had jumped from the helicopter. What was she doing here? Had George pointed her in their direction? This was a hell of a coincidence if he hadn't.

But there were more pressing matters to be concerned with than a potential intelligence leak. "Refocusing toward the original objective," she relayed into the commlink in her ear. "I'll head out with Detective Bong."

Then she was off running away from the beach, suddenly very difficult to focus on for the others gathered as she triggered her perception filter and slipped through the crowd unnoticed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Inferno
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When the screaming insectoid came back out of the water in it's blazing fury Devon had no chance to fire any interception shots at the missiles fired at his allies barely finding the time to switch out one of his guns for the mace as it rushed him without any form of hesitation.

It's blows were heavy, relentless and wild. Between having to watch out for the saws teeth potentially catching anything, the speed at which the flurry of attacks came at him and the weight put behind each and every blow Devon couldn't manage to do more than deflect the blows with his mace and the armor plates on his arms and even then he was being pushed back strike after strike. Wraith form was always an option, but considering those who'd become the target of these punishing attacks should he slip away... He doubted that anyone else would be capable of dancing with the hot headed insectoid.

It was then that some assistance came in in the form of Klaus's signature disks giving him the precious fraction of time needed to finally slip out of his purely defensive stance giving the whirring sawblade a good smack with his mace deforming it just enough to jam in the brace and sending a wave of electricity coursing through the metallic body.

Moments later another assailant entered the fray with an explosive burst of air putting a sizable hole in Inferno's back which released not a small quantity of fleshy viscera confirming there was still something organic within that shell. Taking full advantage of the momentary distraction Devon fired shots at Inferno opting for a mix of cryogenic and high kinetic in hopes of shattering that armor with the thermal shock and blunt impact of the mixed ammo.

"How about we get this damn foundry reject to calm down first, we'll talk later." Devon yelled at the airborne super before putting another dozen shots into the canned zombie.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Inferno Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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Richard smirked right back as Vicky cast that less-than-friendly smile at him. With a irreverent shrug, gaze following her, he responded in a light and (insincerely) friendly tone. "Yeah, it's kinda my thing not to leave a 'lasting impression' on a lot of the people I meet. Unless we're talking about a physical one that is..." Just as he got finished saying that, a hole was blasted through the back of Waspinator, causing an instinctive raise of the eyebrows by Richard.

"Yeah, kinda like that actually. That's more my style." He followed that up with a low whistle as he admired the handy work of the Superstar Super.

As she continued, he crossed his arms, partly to look a bit disapproving of her flippancy, but also partly because the subject she brought up made him a bit more uncomfortable than he'd like to admit, and he needed to find some place to put his hands before they fidgeted or something.

"Ahh, so you're now realizing that eh? Well that's good to hear. As for what we're doing here-"

His words were cut off by Devon, whom Richard only now realized was still battling the Transformer. "Ah, right. Good point." He looked back to Vicky quick, making hand gestures in the air as he tried to summarize everything while making his way over to the Deceptive Decepticon. "Long story short, we're playing Superhero VICE. George is worried about those drugs the Witchfinders were using, so we're gonna try to put a stop to that. Not entirely sure how it connects to the end of the world, but until we learn more about the things that lurk in the dark, we're gonna try to make the world a little bit safer from those psycho terrorists."

After Devon had unloaded a few rounds at the robot, Richard raised a hand to pause the onslaught. "Gimme one quick second." Slowed down by the cryo rounds, Richard was able to charge at the robot, jumping up and clambering onto its torso, where he jammed his right fist inside. His skin felt the wet, mushy flesh around it, a little warm, but it quickly began to cool. As the cyborg tried to take a few swipes at him, Richard held on and grit his teeth through the pain (back becoming even more incensed by the continual injuries it was enduring), but eventually let go and dropped down when he felt comfortable in his efforts.

His hand was now covered in sand and viscera. Gross. He tried to wipe it off a bit, but it became apparent he'd need to wash it soon. "Based on what he's done so far, I doubt this will kill him, but should buy us some time. Freischütz, Whirlwind, either of you have a power that can make him evaporate or something?"


_________________________________________________________________________________________


Maxwell kept his gaze even and calm as Wolfram introduced himself. He studied the card in his hand briefly, taking a moment to consider his own response, before placing the card in his jacket pocket. "Seems you're acclimating quite well to Earth Commandant, I take that to mean you're well read and learned." Maxwell, for his part, plucked a business card of his own out of a pocket, passing it to Wolfram. Having taken a little card from the... Infant Alien? Maxwell decided to take another out and pass it to him as well.

"Willoughby, Ulysses, will you please excuse us?"


The two nodded to Maxwell as they got up and began to leave the room, but the look the cast behind Wolfram's back was one of great concern. They both hoped Maxwell knew what he was doing. Of course, they didn't have much choice but to trust he did.

Maxwell saw what their eyes said as the doors closed behind them. Truthfully, he too felt rather... Overwhelmed. He was having a 'business discussion' with apparently a space demon, who belonged to some sort of 'galactic empire'. That was much further above anything Maxwell was used to. Still, when opportunity came knocking, Maxwell learned to keep his head on straight.

"I must say, I am intrigued so far by what you've been saying. Your empire seeks to assist villains on our planet? Please, tell me more about this, why this is something your empire is pursuing. And, while you're at it, please have a seat if you like. Care for anything to drink?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Inferno
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Inferno’s focus on Devon was unrelenting, perpetually moving, clawing, tearing, slashing, the shaft on its buzzsaw arms flexile like scorching whips. ”GOH-!” Klaus’s stasis disc provided those precious two seconds of respite...

...Which Devon and Vic alike took advantage of. His mace bent the metal saw and crushed its geas. Her air cannon crumpled his turbine, blew off his left wing cover, and sent lava-coloured guts and molten metal gore splattering out of his ruptured back.

”SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE….!”

The metal insect stepped back, and further. Blood-like lava trickled down his newly formed cavity, carving grooves into his own armour. Grooves which were soon riddled and by a new barrage of bullets. Ice and impact spread cracks across the broken armour. Inferno’s bent saw arm turned a bright orange, melted, and reshaped into a vast, towering shield. He bent his knees and hunkered low. Devon’s bullets pelted his shield with a crescendo of clanks and ricochets, but it stood strong.

...Of course, the shield did little to protect him from Richard’s assault. His mandibles clicked and he screamed, and thrashed, and screamed and thrashed. Any other human who dug his hand into the creature’s guts would’ve had their limb melted off in an instant… but Richard had the power of cryokinesis at his side.

”RAAAAAAAAAA!! A THOUSAND CURSES ON YOU AND YOUR PROGENY! May they forever BURN IN GEHENNA!”

The viscera in Richard’s hand quickly hardened into steel, and the blood melted into the sand and crumbled into glass.

Lava continued to spurt and pour from Inferno’s wound. The moment the heroes started chatting and theorising, Inferno reshaped his tower shield into a disc-shaped one, then pitched it towards Devon and Richard in an arc, the heavy object spinning on its axis as it launched.

Inferno jumped backwards. His wing cover parted and exposed insectoid wings of flame, which took him far, far, and further, towards the edge of a beach, until his talons slammed down on the roof of a car, crumpled its roof, and sent its windows shattering into a storm of glass. A high-pitched sound came from within his core as the vehicle overheated, imploded, and then absorbed into his body, reshaped into metal patches that plugged his wound shut.

”I will ANNIHILATE YOU!” The monster announced, his booming voice audible even to the shores. The remains of the vehicle which he did not absorb spun around him rapidly, then slammed together, forming a gigantic, misshapen cannon, its seams still raw with red-hot, volcanic cracks. He tilted back and aimed the cannon high.

Boom.

Boom.

Great balls of iron and flame launched from the barrel, high towards the skies… then arched down, down, down, towards where Vic and Klaus stood.

BOOM!

The mortars exploded the instant they touched ground, scattering sand, fire, shrapnel, and shock waves all around them.

Boom. Boom. BOOM!

Inferno fired on and on, periodically absorbing the metals from his surroundings to refuel his mortar.




Even as sand turned to glass and explosions rang their ears, Scourge and Lilian remained out of Inferno’s bombardment range as they departed. He glanced towards the Doctor, her fingers around two of his massive ones to keep him from interfering. Even as worry tugged at Scourge’s heart, and his mind drifted towards Vic.

She’ll be fine, he thought. She DID kick my ass.

Still, Scourge couldn’t help but wonder. ”Hey, Doc. What do ya got against Vic?” He asked, his eyes wide and questioning.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Sheri
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Akiko wasn't sure why she was always surprised at how absolutely mundane some of these nefarious locations looked. A lot of her previous cases had dealt with ordinary issues, everyday people, and yet, yet, she always expected some sort of obvious sign of villainy. Maybe some dastardly crepe paper that hung on the walls or a neon sign at the front of a bar that announced it was a villain hideout. The most obvious it had been was when an evil monster jumped out, cackling maniacally, spilling their guts in an attempt to taunt her. Shinigami could easily count the number of times that last one had happened on one hand. But still, she was always disappointed when she arrived to investigate.

Maybe I am lazy, she thought with some bitter amusement as she perched herself on top of a warehouse. She dropped Intangible and In Flight before looking down at her watch again. The information had led her to a bustling warehouse district at a port that was abuzz like the feeling in her chest. The Witchfinder's buzz however was like more of an angry hornet's nest compared to the quieter, bee-like one of the workers below. Invisibility was still up so she wasn't worried about any of them spotting her. It was Sheri she was concerned about.

Shinigami kept her eyes peeled for any sign of her. She couldn't have her new partner think she had ditched her after all.

Sherko... Akiri... Ghouo... Akiko frowned as she tried to think of names for their duo. As the names grew increasingly worse, she paused, realizing something.

"I'm on the roof of building..." her crackling voice went quiet as she looked around to find some kind of indication. She hopped down as quietly as possible, noting the large "C" that graced the side of the warehouse. "...Warehouse C?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge"
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#, as written by Sepokku
As Lilian and Scourge made their way to Rodeo Drive, one could almost hear heavily implied biblical overtones that whispered "GEHENNA!" Her skin began to crawl with trepidation at the remainder of their visit; fire and loss followed in the wake when parahumans with differing beliefs met, such was this world's dogma. Her thoughts would have ended in a dark place were it not for Scourge’s presence.

”Hey, Doc. What do ya got against Vic?”

The bioweapon’s query reverberated off the concrete jungle in a low basso. The question seemed to add to the clamor that was threatening to overload her senses; at least Atlas City was moderately spaced out with clear skies and green grass, a pinnacle of capitalist engineering. This city was… cramped, even as they walked a grime-covered man could be seen sleeping in the nearby bushes, determined on ignoring the impending danger. The smog in the air certainly did nothing to clear her head.

They walked in silence for a few more moments while she thought about the proper way to answer. “Nothing. Or everything. I quite like Vicki actually. But you know why we are here, don’t you?” The transient sleeping in the bushes finally woke up when an ember landed on his pants and began to burn through the leg, though he patted it out and rolled back over, seemingly determined to wait until it was too late.

“Would you ‘got it against’ her if the covert mission really did ‘fuck’ her? Or if it fucked you? What if it left you unable to do the things you loved?” Her eyes relaxed as she spaced out while walking, thoughts drifting to another time, “Stuck in a dark room without sensation. Forever. Would you forgive someone's callousness if that happened to you?”

An ear-piercing screech reverberated through the city, echoing back off the mountains that weren’t far off, ”I will ANNIHILATE YOU!” There was suddenly something beautiful about the city, fireworks that soared high into the sky and illuminated the cramped city of Angels.

Lilian looked back over her shoulder at Scourge, the molten iron in the air created a twinkle in his eyes. Was it getting hot, or was it just a side effect of the red hot steel soaring through the sky? “Not that it matters, so long as no one messes up, this should be a risk-free excursion.” She skipped slightly as they continued forward, “And even if someone does, we’ll be there to provide technical correction.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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1.25 INK

Wolfram graciously took the business card, placing it in his jacket pocket. D'Artagnan too graciously took the business card offered to him and began to nibble on it until his father gently pulled it away. "Of course!"Wolfram nodded, taking a seat before continuing,"Water shall be fine, thank you!"

"Baba, baba!" D'Artagnan insisted.

"Ah, of course, son! I wouldn't forget!" Wolfram chuckled, drawing a bottle filled with a dark red liquid. Unscrewing the plastic cap, he handed the bottle over to D'Artagnan, who quickly began to drink. "Slow down, son! The beast blood isn't going anywhere!" He advised, the infant nodding and obliging.

"Now, as for my intentions, allow me to speak a bit of our great Empire. Our Valiant and Vile Empress Conquesta has masterfully captured hundreds of worlds in the name of spreading the reach of our great Armada. And now that her campaign has come to a halt, she has decided to turn not towards further conquest but forming alliances!" Wolfram explained, raising his arms to the heavens in a grandiose fashion.

"That's where I come in! Near and far from our fleet, there are vast organizations, criminal underworlds, and societies of sin that need just one little boost to truly soar from obscurity to infamy. On a galactic scale! It is my personal goal to not only aid in the expansion of such organizations but to raise them to a point that we can form a POWERFUL ALLEGIANCE with the Space Demon Imperial Armada!"

"A true Intergalactic Alliance of Evil. So exciting it causes one's gizzard to shiver, eh? ...Earflings do have those, correct?"

"Gizzy, yum yum!" D'Artagnan added.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Inferno Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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Richard dusted off his hand (which hand thankfully managed to avoid being either boiled, incinerated, or permanently encased in metal) as the robotic attacker bounded off towards some nearby vehicles. Vehicles that, as it would turn out, acted as handy ammunition for their aggressor. As fire and metal arced their way to the beach, cascading down over the sands, Richard bolted back towards the boardwalk, diving underneath a flimsy looking patio dining table.

”RAAAAAAAAAA!! A THOUSAND CURSES ON YOU AND YOUR PROGENY! May they forever BURN IN GEHENNA!”

The beach glimmered, glinted, and shone with a newfound light as it was pelted relentlessly by the attacker. The ice-wielding hero couldn't help a little smirk at the monster's shrieking and rambling. "Down to Gehenna, or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone." After taking a moment to reconsider the situation, he looked back at Vortex for a moment. "Then again... Never hear a bad word about Duos..."

Picking up the table and holding it above his head for cover, he made his way back towards the superstar.

"Feel like doing me a solid? Return some of this to sender." He nudged his head towards the shrieking insectoid.

Vic gave a nod, though didn't seem overly enthused to be taking any orders/direction. As she whipped up a massive whirlwind aimed at Inferno, Richard dropped the table and sprinted back to the fire hydrant, hopefully for his last bit of destruction of private property.

Lumps of molten metal flew back to Inferno, some splattering against him without leaving much of a mark. Not yet.

Richard held tight onto the cold red metal, ice coating its exterior as pressure built up again around the chunk he'd formed to keep this thing from bursting again. Mistakes were made, but luckily could be unmade.

And so, with an explosion of ice and water, it was unmade, and a stream of cold water jetted out in the direction of Vicky's whirlwind.

The water mixed with the wind, fire, and molten metal, and collided in the parking lot with Inferno. As the molten metal hit him, it quickly cooled, creating jagged plates that covered an eye, part of his face, and other parts of his body. They were slowing him down, but by how much?

"Devon! Think you can finish this guy off?" Now for the Trio.


_________________________________________________________________________________________


Maxwell gave a nod and a grin to Wolfram and his 'son' before making his way over to a bar area set up at the side of the room. He went to the other side of the counter, opening a minifridge to produce a cool jug of water. Placing it on top of the black with white streaks marble counter top, he poured the General a glass.

"That is quite impressive of your Empress, being able to expand as she has. But I must say I'm curious General, why form an alliance?" He maintained his smile as he began to pour himself a glass of Scotch. Maxwell rounded the bar counter once more, returning to Wolfram to hand him the drink.

"Certainly the idea isn't an unpleasant one. After all, we denizens of Earth often trend towards... Independence, you could say. Sovereignty is quite popular with us, myself included." He went back to the other side of his desk, taking a seat in the black leather and mahogany office chair.

"So I do believe an alliance would be beneficial to Earth of course, and myself especially. The expertise, resources, and possible information it could offer would be indispensable! But again, returning to my earlier question, why choose the path of alliances? Why not simply continue the conquests?" The Shape quirked an eyebrow to signal his curiosity in his guest, and his superiors.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Klaus Zeit Character Portrait: Inferno
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Almost as soon as they let the damn hotheaded insect have a moment of respite it launched a chunk of blazing steel at them, Devon fired as many high-kinetic rounds into it as he could before having to dodge the projectile hoping he could at least force it to plow into the sands behind him instead of wrecking the boardwalk beyond. With his almost too late jump to the side he could feel the searing heat radiating from the disk as it passed within an inch of his body.

But with the metaloid insect having retreated there was no moment to contemplate just how close that had been, seeing it wasn't done throwing things at them and these exploded as he noticed first hand getting caught up in one of mortar impacts. With another bout of non too graceful tumbles through the sand he managed to get back on his feet with a couple extra sore spots. While keeping an eye on the sky for more incoming mortar shells Devon switched out from his pistols to the rifle on his back.

"Let's hope you aren't jammed with sand." He muttered under his breath as he aimed his rifle at one of the shells aimed at his proximity. Putting all his faith in his rifle Devon took the shot smashing a hole through the incoming mortar shell and causing it to high in the air making it rain it's shrapnel payload limiting it's damage. "Well this place is going to be hell to clean later." He said taking aim and shattering another few of the shells thrown at them.

With the mortar fire being stopped at least momentarily Devon now had the opportunity he had been waiting for, Vic and Richard had put all the cards in the right place partially freezing the mass of flame and steel. He could clearly see he was straining against the frost trying to break free, but Devon wouldn't let it get to that.

"I can and with pleasure!" Devon replied as he put the half frozen firebug into his sights. Even over the torrent of noise that was Vic's whirlwind a cacophony of piercing cracks and loud forceful explosions could be heard at Devon fired with deadly precision at the to be corpse before him. First a set of two striking a hole clean through it's heart and brain placed so close after one another that it would be hard to determine which one hit first. Followed by a volley of explosions from within it's body sending out cones of steel, flame and a fine mist of viscera flying into the sea behind it aided in their flight by the whirlwind of Vic. More explosions rained around the metal husk that as if to spite those who it had attacked was still remaining upright, only after every last bit of the creature had been thoroughly destroyed did Devon stop firing.

Only now that the assault had been stopped did he actually look at the bigger picture of the carnage he had turned the firebug into. "Damn that looks like overkill... But why doesn't feel like it?" He said to himself before walking over to Richard and Vic. "Are you guys okay?" He asked the two, though mostly aimed at the one who had been pulling crazy stunts like jamming his hand into a walking talking foundry.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akiko Bong Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman)
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It was a simple thing to slip inside the distribution center, no one sparring her a passing glance so long as her Shade was active. The detective had gone off on her own to skulk around the warehouses, leaving Sheri free to infiltrate the office. The redhead nosed between cubicles and behind shipping/receiving windows, peering at computer screens replete with spreadsheets and emails of load numbers, pallet numbers, pickup numbers, driver codes. While none were likely to have the words "CULTIST CONTRABAND" emblazoned across them with bold letters, it should be simple enough to find what she needed as long as she knew where it was coming from.

Sheri slipped behind the desk of one Mike Call, who's desk nameplate declared him the facility's chief intake manager, clicking through his… rather counterintuitively named files for the one she was after. "I need a verification on the point of origin for those imports," she said softly, one finger going to the commlink in her ear. Her head flicked to the side briefly, assuring herself that she wasn't drawing anyone's attention… or that the desk's intended occupant had made his reappearance. "I'm seeing a lot of Eastern Europe."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sheri Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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"Yeah there's a lot of Poland here, some Croatia, Ukraine. I'm thinkin' those are a red herring anyone giving this a casual glance off the scent. It's mostly Russia and Romania," Henry responded after a few minutes of clicking, browsing over a long string of listings, and tracking history. "But...funnily enough, none of these ports actually exist. Each and every name fabricated...eh, except one in Gdansk, Poland."

***


"To put it simply, we wish to avoid spreading ourselves too thin. We are as wise as we are ambitious! Galactic Civilizations, spanning planets much large than Earth are under our domain. And then there's squashing the occasional uprisings, settling land disputes amongst our generals, culling the initiated...there's much work to be done, and as formidable as our forces are, we only have so much manpower to spare!" Wolfram shrugged.

"Thus our Empress, brilliant and terrible as always, decided that it'd be in our best interest to form alliances with like-minded individuals. For in the future, we will once again expand, and inevitably in the future, we will come across similar roadblocks such as the one we face currently. But invasions will go much more smoothly if we have allies to call upon when the time comes. Allies across the cosmos, from distant galaxies that can one day mature their fledgling organizations into wide-spanning Empires of their own! And we would help you in turn, should you ever acquire out assistance, of course!"

"Abaaaaaaaaa!" D'artagnan agreed with a nod. "Fwiend!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge" Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Inferno
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Inferno's own projectiles, returned by Vic's whirlwind and combined with Richard's deluge of ice and water shrouded Inferno's jet black carapace with a sheen of glittering frost. The hell bug's assault stopped, his voice halted, and his steps slowed into a crawl, accompanied by the symphonic cracks and crinkles of his struggle against the icy prison.

This moment of vulnerability was all that Devon needed. The gunman launched an alpha strike which rivaled the hell bug's firepower - and exceeded his precision. A million holes ruptured his metal shell, and molten lava blood came gushing out, the heat granting Inferno just enough freedom from the frost to lament his destruction.

"RAAAAA! IMPOSSIBLEEEEEEE! I CAN NOT BE EXTINGUISH-"

Whatever curses Inferno would spat were soon drowned out by the torrent of explosions, which left nothing but molten scrap and metal guts, one indistinguishable from the other.




Scourge blinked. He took in the good doctor's words, that dim glint in his eyes struggling to process them. There was... sorrow in her voice, juxtaposed by the literal fire which seethed upon her eyes.

"Who… hurt you, Doc?" he asked, with a voice that lacked his usual bombast as they continued walking. "Do you wanna talk about it?" He folded his arms and leaned close as he whispered, "I'm a GREAT listener."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilian Anderbilt Character Portrait: Carnifex-04 "Scourge"
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#, as written by Sepokku
Lilian's feet slowed to a stop, as Scourge asked his question. The sounds of the city seemed to fade away and Scourge was suddenly very close, his towering height leaning down so that the extra foot and a half he had on her current height was negligible.

"I'm a GREAT listener."

Her slate-colored eyes looked into the Bioweapon's for two long seconds; as if she were searching for something in his yellow irises. With a frown, she put an arm on his shoulder, "Hurt is... part of the human experience. Almost everyone hurts everyone they meet." Her nails extended slightly as she put her other hand on Scourge, digging her fingers into his skin and throwing herself onto his shoulders. Her heels kicked him lightly in the obliques as if spurring on some kind of bipedal stallion.

"To hurt is to be alive. There was the hurt of sorrow when Vicki suggested we might never see her again. The tiny hurt of joy when I hold my daughter and think she'll be too big to do so one day. It hurts to know I'm here, relatively happy when my people are still living a life of oppression."

Lilian looked up at the sky, holding a silent prayer in her heart, "We're all animals, and pain is in our nature."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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Richard looked over the metal, fire, and flesh pecked sands of the beach, offering an exaggerated grimace to Devon. "I like overkill, let's say that's what this was and that we aren't gonna spend the rest of our day trying to squish this bug." He sighed and rolled his shoulders slightly. "Anyways, I'm good for the most part." Richard flexed his fingers, hand still feeling the faint echoes of warmth, jacket still holding a few specs of cooled metal that hadn't yet been dusted off. Funny, he hadn't thought he'd see shrapnel again in his life, at least not perhaps so soon.

He took a look over at Vicki, who seemed to be mostly alright from the fight, but there was definitely the sensation that something was off about her. Not now, specifically, but in general. Maybe he'd been too harsh on her before, but it was hard to not feel that sense of indignation. He was of the opinion that those who could help, should help, especially when there was still so many people today who couldn't help themselves.

Next, he looked over to Sasha, who'd held firm against the onslaught of molten metal and fire from the insectoid. He offered a little smirk. "Well I'm certainly glad fate saw fit to add you to the group. Ice doesn't do too well with fire and hot metal. Neither does human flesh." Richard chuckled. "Thanks for helping with the defense Sasha, saved a lot more lives than just ours. And thanks to you two as well, Devon, Vicki. Maybe when we're done saving the world we can all find work as really high paid firefighters." He looked between each of them, a faint smile forming. It was impossible to resist that sensation of satisfaction, of a new found sense of safety, of the ability to achieve anything.

Of a team coming together, in spite of whatever differences they may have had.

Richard snapped back to reality when he realized the rest of the team was gone. "Anyways, I don't wanna rush us, but... Well we should probably get out of here immediately before anyone else shows up, specifically people with badges. Think the others have already left, so..." He cast a quick glance back to Devon again, giving a slight shrug. "You mind giving us a quick lift to that warehouse then? If you can manage three passengers?"


................................................................................................................................................


Venice beach shook for a moment as a thunderous crack could be heard, followed by a wave of energy that shook people, windows, even buildings and cars. On lookers were dazzled as the beach shot up a fountain of sand, as there had landed heroism in the flesh. One might even say America in the Flesh.

Captain Valor.

Crowds began to quickly gather and erupt into cheers. With the mysterious heroes who'd been there only a few moments before gone now, it gave everyone near a sense of safety and relief to have him there. He ran a hand through his well groomed, Prince Charming-esque hair before giving them a million dollar smile and a wave. But it wasn't only him waving to the crowds. To their glee, he was soon joined by others from his All American team.

There was the wavy golden hair of Lady Liberty, and her brand new sidekick Lieutenant Liberty, a young girl from one of the flyover states, and who was essentially in training to one day become the next Lady Liberty herself. Both had been selected specifically for their mastery over fire powers, the 'Torch of Liberty' they would carry. There was also Marshal Freedom, Major Justice, and American Eagle (no relation to the brand).

NAHLA agents soon began to arrive on scene, working to disperse the crowd and get them to vacate the beach so they could begin work.

Valor sighed. This felt pathetic. The only reason he and the others were there was to restore some sense of 'safety and security' among the public, after everything that had happened in Atlas City. It had been a PR nightmare for NAHLA, and now he was showing up to the scene of ANOTHER hero group's victory. The news would find the best way to spin it of course, and Valor had already been coached on the talking points for when the cameras got rolling. They'd turn the narrative to one of congratulations for the most definitely unregistered supers, talk about the ways every day people, in every corner of the country, can swoop in to save the day. The idea being that Americans had nothing to fear, no matter where they were, there were heroes to save the day.

In other words, deny the reality that crises can happen anywhere, anytime, and without any way to predict to prevent them. Sleep comfortably knowing that unregistered heroes can always save the day, because they'll get there way quicker than NAHLA can. Valor knew this wasn't NAHLA's fault either, or anyone's for that matter, save for the Commies in the USSR or PRC. But not everyone thought this stuff through rationally. People want someone to blame, a witch to burn, and they will look ANYWHERE to find one.

A hand landed gently on his bicep, Lady Liberty stepping next to him, eyes narrowed with concern. "You good Cap?" She asked in a tone trying to balance sympathy with neutrality, not wanting to seem like she were babying him.

He flashed a grin and nodded. "Yeah Lady, thanks for asking. Just annoyed coming here to play PR for somebody else's mess." Valor chuckled slightly, but Liberty only gave a half hearted smile and nod, not feeling overly convinced, before she went to join the others.

He missed Lone Star. That had been on his mind since the end of the attack. It broke his heart, tore through him to his core. They'd fought side by side for decades. And now he just... Vanished. Like he'd never even existed. No body, not even a scrap of flesh to try to cremate or bury. That, too, shook Valor to his core. He wanted to believe he could have survived it, that if it had been him there Lone Star would still be alive. It was a mix of wanting to punish himself, but also trying to reassure himself...

Reassure himself that he wouldn't be just disappear.

He had to hold onto that belief.

Valor went over to join the others, cameras now rolling and already asking their questions. Of course, the questions immediately turned to who the heroes were, why NAHLA didn't respond sooner, what they'd do in the future, etc. etc.

The Captain flashed his million dollar grin, and kept it simple. "Listen, before we get into the logistics or legality of anything, I want to thank those heroes. They did a fine job here, a real fine job. This is what the American Spirit - no, actually the Heroic Spirit - is all about. People standing up to do the right thing. In every part of the world, at every moment, everyday people are accepting the call of that spirit to stand up for those in need. It makes me proud of this country, of heroism. No matter what happens to us, there's always brave souls ready to stand up for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now as for the question of the legality..."

He cast his gaze directly into the camera, speaking not to the audiences, or politicians or executives. He was talking to The Brave.

"We're always hiring, and you'd do me and the others a great honor by joining our teams. Whoever you all are, my offer is always open."

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A thick black fog dissipated, revealing directly in front of Richard, Devon, Vicki, and Sasha, the back of the van Henry had acquired. He felt a strange sensation still coursing through his body, had been a VERY strange experience, but at least he was still alive. Well, at least he hoped he still was.

The icy hero gave two thumbs up to his beach buddies, once more congratulating them. "Great job back there again. Now... i Believe some of us already have some experience with warehouse investigations, so lets get to it, shall we?"

He knocked on the doors of the van before opening them up and entering uninvited. Richard gave a two finger salute in acknowledgement to Henry as he started to rummage through the equipment. "How're we looking out there so far Henry? Everyone good out there?" Richard began to quickly slip out of some of his civvie clothes, and into the attire of the Great White Death.

Once he got to the firearms, he quickly pushed Hrunting and Colada to the side. Today was much better suited to Tizona, Excalibur, Durendal, and Joyeuse. While the others got ready as well, he began attaching the necessary suppressors to his pistols and MP5A3. They still wouldn't be ideal for stealth, but it was the best anyone could hope for if a firefight broke out.


_________________________________________________________________________________________


Maxwell was quiet for a few moments, face stony and expressionless, even after the General had explained the goals of his Empress and her Empire. The amber in his eyes lingered on the General as he took a deep sip from his glass of Scotch. After placing it down, the stoniness dissipated, and a sincere smile began to form on his face.

"A man like me could always use good friends, and if your Empress is the same, then I think the conclusion here is forgone. An alliance between your Great Empire, and what I hope will soon be my own Great Empire, is essential for the both of us. Foregone as this may be though General, there are many details to be established still, I hope you can understand that. Before we can shake hands, sign a deal, and drink a toast, we'll need to be sure we're both in total agreement to what we expect from this. Before I get to that though, I still am curious about something. Namely, what is your purpose in all of this? Are you a diplomat for your Empress? Or will you be serving in a more direct role for her here on Earth, or in our solar system?"

He ran a finger along along the lip of his glass, giving it a slight hum as it went along. "I suppose there's another question I had as well, and please forgive me if it is at all rude, but I only seek more understanding and clarification. You said your people are... 'Space Demons'? On Earth, we have various interpretations of 'demons', but they tend to share some commonalities and features. Are your people of a supernatural origin? Or something in that vein? And are you at all aware of the connection we Earthlings make with 'underworlds', or 'lands of the dead or damned'?"

Maxwell clasped his hands together, leaning forward and offering another sincere smile. "Again, I hope I have not offended, but interactions like these, between an Earthling and an offworlder are - well, at least I assumed they were - quite rare. This is a very unique opportunity I've been afforded."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman)
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#, as written by chaotix14
Dusting off the last bits of sand, mixed with little scraps of metal and glass and doing a quick feel around over the suit to make sure none of the sore spots were more concerning than some bruising as Richard came round to answer his question and confirm that he wasn't alone in the uncanny feeling looking at the bombed out beach.

His attention then moved to the rest of the group, well mostly in reaction of Richards astute observations. Devon really got the feeling that he had a bit more of a background than his street smart appearance would let on. He could fight, but Richard well it seemed he had time spare to lead while fighting. Sasha on his part had done some superb work having been able to react in time and putting down what essentially came down to a human shield consisting of himself to protect his allies and the nearby civilians as best he could. Miss vortex on the other hand, well she damn sure did knock the wind out of that insectoid granting the others the opportunity to shred the damn thing with her teamplay.

Then came something he really hadn't expected Richard somehow bringing up firefighting. "Heh, trust me there ain't a thing like a high paid firefighter, been there done that. But it would make for a damn good firecrew, with some training of course." He said before looking at Richard like he was sizing him up. "Well, maybe a lot of training" He said jokingly before quickly adding. "... And an engineering degree. Mostly that engineering degree, most firecrews would kill for the ability to just stabilize a building with pillars of ice would save so many lives." Hist tone becoming much more somber in the latter half as he recalled some of the memories from his time in the fire department.

When Richard suggested to the group to make their escape and suggested using his powers he smiled. "Three passengers is no problem. Just grab my hand or shoulder or something." And then when everyone had grabbed on he began the much slower shift to wraith form. "Please keep hands, feet, hope, dreams and stomach contents on board for the entire duration of the ride." He said with a slightly cheeky tone of voice.

_______________________________________


After finding his way to the warehouse and most notably the backside of Henry's van Devon pulled himself and his passengers through the veil. "Thank you for flying Freischütz air, in case of nausea we request you wait until after landing." He jokingly said to the group as they came out from the thick fog. "Don't worry you get used to it after a while." He continued on a slightly more serious note.

"Well first time since I got this handy new power, it'll allow me to keep to the shadows quite a lot easier." he said as he busied himself attaching a nice set of silencers to both of his pistols, opting to stick to the muzzle break on his rifle. After all if it came to using that one, it wouldn't matter if the went loud or not.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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#, as written by PirateofPie
Henry did a double-take as the four other heroes arrived in a shroud of smoke. "Oh hey, welcome back!" he turned to face Vicki. "And welcome back! Glad you changed your mind, you were one of the big players back when that overgrown snot monster arrived on the Beach." He then turned to Richard. "So, far, so good. Infiltration going successfully, no one's run into any trouble yet...but, ah..." Henry scratched his chin, at the firearms currently being procured. "Are y'all always strapped for every occasion. What trouble do you think you'll run into that your powers won't be enough for?" he couldn't help but ask.

***

"I tend to always serve a direct role in my advisory capacity. Part of my job as a consultant is to consult, after all! And I happen to prefer or more hands-on approach to observe the fruits of my allies and I's labor, so to speak. I, of course, fill the role of diplomat as well. Normally, I'm able to run things by myself, but should there be any missives to be passed from the Empire to one of our associates, you'll hear it from me."

Wolfram tapped his carapace forehead at Maxwell's second question. "That's a fair question, I suppose. And not one we're often asked. I suppose ultimately most demons share a common ancestry, dating back to...well, I cannot say. I'm something of an amateur historian and my knowledge doesn't fall that far back. But generally, demons are a "catch-all" term for extraplanar entities of various origin who share a common trait in being admirably antagonistic towards their targets of conquest. Like many peoples they seek to expand and due to the aforementioned extraplanar nature, there are no true boundaries to hold back our ancestors. Even the vast expanse of space. Fortunately, our-....Egads, D'artagnan! Where did you find that minuscule rodent!?"

The infant, D'artagnan, was holding what appeared to be a wriggling rat in his hands. Upon being questioned by his father, the infant merely shrugged, "I 'unno..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"...I eat?"

"I suppose. But certainly not raw, son!"

"Hmmm....Okay!" The infant's eyes began to emanate a bright red light before a twin pair of beams fired from his pupils, roasting the rat to a crisp. "HOOHOOHAHAHA! Heeheeheehee!" the baby cackled maniacally. "Nomnoooooom! Heeheeeheee!"

"Ah, the joys of youth," Wolfram sighed nostalgically. "As, I was saying, fortunately, our ancestors had the foresight to not stay hidden in the shadows and instead focus on establishing a dominant place in the galaxy!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Metzger Character Portrait: Vicki Vortex Character Portrait: Richard Mackenzie (The White Death) Character Portrait: Sasha Belov Character Portrait: Henry Stewart (Macroman) Character Portrait: Maxwell Landon (The Shape) Character Portrait: Space Demon Knight Commandant Wolfram
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Richard smirked at some of Devon's quippy remarks, turning to face him and taking note of the similar decisions on equipment matters. As well as the differences. "Well I suppose there's a first time for everything eh? But yeah, the shadows will definitely will help out, kinda wish I was able to do more of that myself, but I guess that's what this is all supposed to be for." He waved a hand across his all black armor to illustrate his point. "Speaking of shadows actually, I kinda remember something weird from that fight at Atomic Anne's where there was some weird, shadowy looking stuff. Wonder what that was about..... Well anyways." He shrugged as his attention was taken by Henry's comment about the 'major player', Miss Vortex.

"Tsk tsk Henry, we've got three of them here! Though I have to say, I felt like our most recent Beach Fight was a bit more... Equitable. Miss Vortex can definitely pack a punch, and it certainly doesn't hurt to toss a little ice in their too." Richard gave a soft smile and a look of approval to Vicki, Sasha, and to Devon, but Henry's next comment stole the smile right off the vigilante's face.

Richard turned his gaze to Macroman, much sterner than some of the more friendly, polite looks he usually gives the group. In White Death's left hand, there was now an ice dagger, and in his right, he held a pistol. He held up the pistol first to give Henry a better look. "Do you see this Henry? This is skill. This took months, years to hone my body and mind to use as effectively as possible. Being able to wield this thing gets hard wired into you, and honestly, short of loss of bodily or brain function, that's never going to leave me."

Next, he held up the ice dagger for Henry to take a better look at. "This came to me when a missile got launched at an army convoy I was in, where I was surrounded by fire, concussive force, and of course plenty of shrapnel. I got this by nearly being turned into a charred, dismembered corpse that would need to be cremated to ensure my family got to have slightly easier sleeps for the rest of their lives. I wasn't born with it, I didn't have to go to a school or camp to learn how to hone it. No, I just had to almost die to get it."

The ice dagger clattered to the floor, shattering into hundreds of little pieces that dripped and leaked the water that made them up. Richard offered a smile again, though this one a little more tired and weary. "I try not to resent my powers Henry, and obviously I'm only to willing to use them. If you've got an advantage, don't waste it. But I also don't trust them either. They came from out of nowhere, and I don't see any reason now to trust they won't leave just the same way. My body, my mind, and a little human ingenuity? That'll be around for a long time yet. I'm not going into any battle without them."


_________________________________________________________________________________________


Maxwell nodded and smiled amiably as the General described his purposes on Earth, feeling a little more at ease with at least the claimed intentions of the guest. "Well certainly some consultation by a third party could be quite useful. I'm sure your unique perspective will offer some valuable insights. Indeed, I'd wager your empire has a wealth of knowledge taht could be useful, especially in the strange times here on Earth."

The discussion quickly was distracted by the actions of the General's son who (mortifyingly) had captured a rat. This was an old oil rig, not a cave, was this really normal for them to be here? "I think I owe your son and you thanks General Wolfram. Had I been aware I had such a problem with rodents, I'd have called for better pest control. Though evidently, your son seems to be the more skilled... Hunter?" He chuckled in a friendly cordial way, intending the phrase as a compliment.

"Now, as per your mentions of the 'shared ancestry' of demons, this certainly raises some intriguing research questions. Not for today of course, but in the future. It makes me wonder what else lurks out in the universe. What else lurks in the shadows." He went quiet for a moment as he thought over whether or not what he was going to ask about next was smart or not, but it seemed like this may very well be a good time. He stood from his desk, raising a hand to the General to ask for a moment, as he walked to a nearby coffee table surrounded by rather luxurious looking black velvet couches with white lilies and gold hues stitched throughout. He picked up a newspaper and returned to his desk, setting it down in front of the General.

"I'm not sure if you were aware of the attack on Atlas City, General. But it's got me wondering about what exactly does hide in the shadows. What do you know about this?"