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Shikarr

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Posts posted by Shikarr

  1. Re: Base Maps Question and Request

     

    Some more maps. These are from Synergy. Great maps that he made and has let me post here. They are a hero base, a River boat, and a house. There is another one but it seems to big to post I will see what I can do to make the file size smaller.

  2. Re: Base Maps Question and Request

     

    I think part of the problem was I didn't scan at a high enough dpi. The first time I tried it they printed out fine but later when I redid the scans the dpi was set lower and I think that is the problem. I will try to rescan them and swap them out later. But here is something else.

  3. This is a general question for the powers that be and everyone here. Over time, I have noticed a great deal of debate and questions concerning maps. Whether there is going to be a book of them, what goes in them and such so the question is: Would it be alright for us to post the maps that we have made over the years in the free area. I have made a few to scale maps that I use (minor note: Just made a villain base map recently actually that my group is going through presently) and since they are made up completely or at least mostly would it be acceptable to post them? And also I would call upon anyone else that has made a map that would be handy to use to post it also. Mine are hand drawn on hex or graph paper and then scanned in as jpgs. I would, of couse, stipulate that these should be personal maps and not commercial of any form, gained, or taken from anyplace but the person's mind that drew them and posted them.

  4. Re: Transfer power and me

     

    There is one character in my game whose only powers are drain and transfer. It can be very unbalancing if just allowed overall. The character in question can drain, transfer and aid mutant powers. That is his limiter. Not much of one mind you and when I have been unprepared for his abilities it can definitely cramp the game.But as long as he doesn't abuse them and as long as I stay ready for him his character can greatly contribute to the fun in the game. At other times he still contributes to the fun as my group sees me strugling to throw everything in the way of a newly boosted stregth brick or some such when he gets a good aid roll. True it might wipe one combat but eventually it evens out and as long as it is fun. :)

  5. Re: New PRIMUS teams

     

    Well for mine. I am using the PRIMUS formed team in my campaign and it went like this. PRIMUS provided the base, and some support staff(mainly psychologists disguised as the service staff although the team doesn't know that. Afterall PRIMUS is very concerned about anyone with superpowers going crazy and wants to be on top of that from the get go.) But also some tech support and 3 recovered and rebuilt vehicles. Also computer support which is also heavily monitored. They have a PRIMUS Liason and basic press agent to smooth over stuff although not officially on the PRIMUS payroll. All of this was provided with some simple expedient rules. Follow general police procedure, turn over any captured equipment or villains for incarceration, storage, or study. Investigate leads that we have if possible and share information with PRIMUS about all supervillains. In return they get the base, tech help, and press help. PRIMUS gets access to a great deal of information and a level of deniability when needed. Is it a good deal, fair deal, or such. Depends on how it is played. So far it has been a good deal for them. But that does not mean it always will be.

  6. Re: Campaign Notes so far

     

    June 1, 2003

    Oh I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven! It was quiet over the weekend so I supervised the transfer of my experiments to the new lab. My very own new lab! It’s as good if not better as the ones I had at NCBI and NCGR. The processing power of the computers alone would make any scientist at NCBI drool with envy. And such security! The keypad is secured with a blood sample and palm print, required for access’ it can also be programmed for retinal print; though we may need to add a codeword since I might have a clone running around! Considering the tight security access down here, the lab is even more secure than what I had at PRIMUS. I’ve assumed that with the new Acts in so many states, I’ll be doing more sample analysis for the various government bodies. That testing as well as my own experiments is now on a secured server, no other access but mine and mine alone (though I’m sure that the powers that be have a way of checking up on me if they need to).

     

    I am exceedingly happy over the new secured conditions. Especially since Matt’s confession, I am so upset and disappointed in that man. I mean for God’s sakes if your going to spy on someone you don’t go and tell them about it later; what did he think he was doing by telling me he tried to break into my computer to hack my journals to find out information on me? It certainly didn’t win him a friend! What the hell is wrong with communicating on a regular basis, just going up to someone over coffee and say “hey, tell me about yourself.†You know what he said Mom? Slate said, “well I know how you scientist types think, the only way to find out anything about who you are is to go through your journals.†WTF?! Maybe that’s the way his ever-so-touted scientific parents might of done it, maybe they didn’t talk to him so he had to hack their computers to see how they lived (could be that anti-social tendency in him I’m seeing). Me, I’m still normal enough to enjoy a good discussion over a cuppa. Jesus, I’m not some antisocial freak, I’m a normal person in that mutant exterior, why the hell didn’t he just ask? Besides I have two journals, one to you two and my scientific journal; doesn’t he realize that so many scientists have had their work stolen from them that were overly paranoid about it. Especially mine! I’m constantly changing passwords and acceptance codes. I know Artemis can track the access but she’s not copying or tracking the work, all my work is encoded/encrypted as it saves within the computer, if you don’t have the right pass code you don’t see squat! It’s like the Enigma Device, same principles except on a computer; even these personal journals are encrypted.

     

    Ok, here is what he did, a few nights ago; in order to try and get information on me (that he could of asked for!) he tried hacking into the computer system from a peer terminal in another room. Well one, PRIMUS knew about it automatically since Artemis tracks all access. Which she detected his hacking attempts and reported it immediately. They kept an eye on him as he continued to try and break in, which he eventually gave up and left. Slate told me about it today. I went to Clark, personally I want Slate off the team now, he’s broken any trust he had started to develop with me; am I supposed to trust someone who is willing to B&E within his own command structure? Slate is an excellent engineer, but he’s really lacking in the common sense department, he’s also a security risk. I was immensely peeved with Clark over not telling me about the break-in to begin with, Clark told me that Artemis notified him immediately of the attempted break; they waited to see how far he could get; apparently he didn’t get too far, either way Slate is now on their watched list.

     

    With the possibility of their being a mole in PRIMUS leaking information to VIPER on our team (and other information) we cant afford to have any leaks. We were all watched to begin with, now he’s got some extra surveillance. No matter, as Johann Lavater once said, “Trust him not with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.†We’ll see how long Slate lasts.

     

     

    June 5, 2003

    I was able to catch a sneak preview of The Hulk today. A highly cartooned version of the comic and the TV show, enjoyable but ultimately silly and a bit of a disappointment. However, it did clue me into something I was missing. Gene therapy. I’ll have to ask permission to contact several other scientists working in the field and the folks at ASGT in Milwaukee. I have an excellent working knowledge of the process; however, I’ll need to collect some information on what’s been going on in the last few years while I’ve been “on sabbatical†and I will have to somehow see about getting accepted to the protocol.

     

    Incase you didn’t know Ma, Gene Therapy is an approach to treating disease by either modifying the expressions of an individual's genes or correction of abnormal genes. By administration of DNA rather than a drug, many different diseases are currently being investigated as candidates for gene therapy. These include cystic fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases such as AIDS and cancer. The first successful gene therapy on humans was performed in 1990 by Drs. William French Anderson, Michael Blaese and Ken Culver, researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Four-year-old Ashanthi DeSilva was treated for adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency, a rare genetic disease in which children are born with severe immunodeficiency and are prone to repeated serious infections.

     

    It’s incredible work in the fight against cancer and other diseases. If I can use that same therapy as a way of treating the mutant genome, I might be able to actually activate a “script†within the genome, thereby allowing for a more confined variable of mutant powers. Imagine, being able to inject a specified grouping of Trigger particles and able to actually get one of the powers you tried for; it would be like pulling from a deck of 52 cards only the diamonds and picking only from the diamonds; ah, I can dream.

     

    I’ve got a lot of begging to do.

     

     

    June 7, 2003

    The tetramethylrhodamine dye assay for group 10E study, subcellular distribution and lateral mobility is running smoothly. The PCR for templates OT2 and the Theta 12 genome are nominal.

     

    Everyone will be arriving tomorrow either to move in and or get the tour. The kids are going to freak; they no longer get to live off of just pizza and soda, not if Mrs. Beulah Pinckney has anything to say about it. She intercommed me 4 times as a reminder about lunch and then groused at me for 20 minutes about missing breakfast, (coffee and toast does not qualify as “proper breakfast†in her book) and being late for lunch once I finally got up there. It’s like living with my dorm RF again.

     

    Mr. Walter Nelson (our butler) is a wonderfully proper English gentleman’s gentleman, he reminds me of Sir John Gielgud as Hobson in Arthur; he’s very proper; however I have no doubt that he’d tell me I’m an idiot in a second if he felt the need to.

     

    Ms. Kimberli Abel is the maid, I have no doubt that the boys will be hitting on her as soon as they get here, she’s in her late-twenties but looks younger than that. She is also very proper and a wonderful conversationalist once we got past the odd first meeting. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come into the bedroom to awaken me promptly at 7am for breakfast, especially since I hadn’t gotten to bed till almost 3am. I must admit I wasn’t the most gracious or verbally kind at that point and I apologized profusely to Ms. Kim immediately after I got my head back together. It was taken in stride and she accepted my apology graciously.

     

    One must remember never piss off the household staff; they run the house, not you!

     

    I’ve been able to chat with each member of the staff individually now. They themselves are PRIMUS agents so we don’t have to worry about security problems and such, you can also guarantee that they will be submitting reports back to PRIMUS on our conduct. I’ve asked Nelson to come up a good list of general rules for the members of the team to abide by as to avoid bugging the staff unnecessarily, he has agreed to undertake the task and will have it prepared by the time the team is ready to move in.

     

    Captain John Caldwell is my eyes and ears down in the base. He gets to sit behind that unfortunate clear wall keeping the lifts’ under surveillance, allowing access to the lower levels. I have no doubt that if I pissed him off he’d deny me access in a heartbeat. He’s not happy with the position (he made that quite clear to me); however he has accepted the responsibility with all the decorum of an old military man. I wonder what sort of security measures they have in the lifts?

     

     

    June 8, 2003

    Everyone has arrived (yes, even our Batman wannabe Huntsman). A full tour of the house became the event of the day, with ooohing and aaahing everywhere (copious drooling too). The van and hover van are for general use, so were, technically, the motorcycle and hover motorcycle but Huntsman laid claim to them both (hence the drooling). >^_^< Slate is already all over the engineering lab (more drooling). I haven’t told the rest of the team about his little escapade, I’ll keep my own counsel on him for now. Jet came really, really close to pissing off Capt. Caldwell by taunting him (I’ll call you Bob, comments didn’t go over well). I’ve asked everyone to not bother my security guard in the future. Caldwell put her straight though, Jet asked what could he do to her and he said simply “deny you entrance to the base.†She shut up; kudos and 5 points to him.

     

    I explained to the team that everyone has own room (there are over 40 in the mansion) even if they don’t plan on making it a permanent residence, to at least think of this base as their safe house and home away from home.

     

    We sat down for an early dinner and to discuss some of the day’s findings. Nelson brought the mail and my heart skipped a few beats. PRIMUS forwarded to us invitations to a gala ball/benefit on June 6th, on behalf of Dr. Tellios, who will be giving his cure for AIDS to the world that night.

     

    Huntsman and Shadowkahn noticed my surprise and fear and asked what had scared me, so I told them.

     

    Dr. Tellios, the one who contracted VIPER for my blood. Tellios is one of the most amoral men in the world experimenting on anything and everything he can get his hands on, creating clones (illegal!) without regard for the original and yet, one of the true genius in the world of genetics. Oh how I admire him, oh how I drool over him, oh how I fear him. While I was at University and during my stint at NCGR I corresponded with him over several ideas on DNA, this was long before I knew his record; I still respect him and the work he does; I must admit he is also one hell of a good looking man.

     

    PRIMUS has a dossier on him, but there is absolutely nothing we can pin officially on him. And now this, a cure for AIDS, he’ll be the most beloved man in the world. Even if PRIMUS was to try and take him out one, there is no guarantee that it would actually be the real Dr. Tellios and not a clone and two, taking down the man who created the cure for AIDS would ruin PRIMUS’s reputation forever. However, PRIMUS wishes us to attend this gala as our “normal†selves and I will not miss this incredibly opportunity to once again talk to Tellios scientist to scientist.

     

    At that point everyone the team began talking about how they would go, Huntsman was worried about his having to be out of costume, to which Shadowkahn pointed out that we have never seen him out of his mask either and there was nothing wrong with a good disguise. Wire Walker started talking about colors for a tux that would make clowns vomit. Jet was worried that she might meet Angelica again. And somebody asked me, who exactly are you? So I figured it was time for a good introduction, so I stood and told them all “I am Vivian Stratford, Doctor of Medicine and Professor of Genetics specializing in mutant genetics.†To which I got some decent appreciative nods and then from the end of the table out of Slate’s mouth came “gene freak.†Everybody clamed up and stared at him, I said the only thing you can say to insults like that and I told him in loud bold terms, “FUCK YOU!â€

     

    Needless to say the group immediately found something else to speak about at that point.

     

    He doesn’t know jack shit about me and he’s calling me a gene freak? Doesn’t he know that geneticists are responsible for finding cures to cancer, for stem cell treatment, for finding cures to genetic diseases? What the fuck is his problem?! That’s strike two, one more and if I don’t fry his ass in the process, he’s out of here. I’ll not stand for unconstructive insubordination of any caliber, it will ruin what little cohesiveness we have if I allow anyone onboard to harass another member of the team including myself. PRIMUS has rules just like any company about harassment it will not be tolerated. I don’t mind constructive insubordination, after all I am new at command and suggestions would be helpful and if you don’t question how do you find out anything new?

     

    Granted I shouldn’t have given in to my emotions and responded like I did; this isn’t a schoolyard we aren’t children. Next time it will be handled in a businesslike manner as team leader and not some pissed off chick. I’ll write it up and keep it on file, along with my response, Clark will have to address both of us at some point. Maybe with some outside mediation we can find out what the hell is bothering Slate.

     

    As a side note, after I had gone upstairs to change for dinner I noticed that the white edges of my hair had tinged red/orange. I’m starting to wonder if the odd hair bleaching changes with whichever power I use more often. I had been using my fire more often than the ice lately, especially during training. I’ll start to keep a chart to test this theory.

     

    An hour later, Shadowkahn came to the team tonight with some good news. It seems that his contacts on the street have heard that Talisman is trying to contact a member of Demon called Sebastian Sarrazine, according to PRIMUS files he’s a Morbane (middle/upper management) of Demon and a necromancer. Yippie. Anyway, Shadowkahn heard that they would be meeting at the waterfront warehouses at 2am tonight. A little computer poking around told us that all 5 warehouses are currently rented by The Great Sarrazine Magical Shop (go fig) aaaand the warehouses all form up in the shape of a pentagram. Sigh…. magic…grumble…

     

    Huntsman upon hearing this news took off to scout the area before we could move in. He broke in, knocked out the guard with a gas grenade and then began rifling through the paperwork on the desk as to what sort of stuff this Morbane of Demon might be holding onto. We had all piled into the van to follow and get to the warehouse prior to the meeting so we could ambush them both. We got a little suspicious of the “farm equipment†from Idaho and told Huntsman to check the crates. As he did so he started to notice that there was some magical residue in certain big barrels filled with “hydraulic fluidâ€.

     

    After a little radio debate he broke one open dumping out the fluid and what should pop out but a Skelebot from Genesis, which then pulled one of its power rifles out and started talking about “destroy the intruder†and “all other Skelebots active attack modeâ€. I yelled for Huntsman to get the hell out of the warehouse, but as he began to move the Skelebot’s gun disintegrated and then as it switched to its secondary weapon (the arm blade, nasty!) and took a step out of the barrel, the Skelebot disintegrated. At that point we were all a little confused as to what the hell happened, I mean Skelebots don’t disintegrate themselves, they disintegrate you.

     

    One of the magic trios got a good look at the spell on the barrel and identified it as a type of preservation spell. Which meant for every little glowing spot they saw, could be a Genesis robot of some type, there was quite a few of them and we resolved to get the bots out of the area so they couldn’t be used against us. Shadowkahn and Jet joined Huntsman in the warehouse to await Talisman and Sarrazine.

     

    All I can say now, looking back at it, we must have been out of our minds. In a fit of absolute stupidity, we loaded another barrel into the van and Wire Walker, myself, Geiger and Slate drove off to the city dump to unload the barrel and see what surprise might pop out of that Kinder Egg. I claim insanity brought on by the panic created by finding intact Skelebots in a necromancers warehouse, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

     

    We drove to the dump and brought the barrel under the electro magnet, I figured that the Skelebot, should it prove to not disintegrate on leaving the barrel, would be zapped by the magnet and get it out of our way; oh how wrong I was.

     

    We set up a good distance away from the barrel and Wire Walker popped the top and floated above it so we could get a good shot at it if necessary. However, what stood up in the barrel wasn’t a Skelebot, nnnooooo, we had to have picked something different. Christ, we picked up a Genesis Mechwarior Mark 3, in ICT self-destruct mode. I had pushed the button for the electro magnet, thinking that might blow the Mark 3, I was so wrong.

     

    Apparently Wire Walker’s personal magnetic field holds the same attraction and got sucked up into the magnet instead of the Mark 3. My God, how embarrassing for a scientist to freakin not remember polarity. As the Mark 3 stared it’s meltdown I flipped the off switch on the magnet releasing Wire; and flew at Slate and Geiger grabbing them both by the collar and took off away from the Mark 3, Wire Walker flying in hot pursuit.

     

    Let me explain something Ma, Mark 3s don’t go down in a bang, they go out with a small thermonuclear explosion that is contained in a magnetic field generated by the Mark 3, it encompasses its targets and itself and then blows to kingdom come, creating a circular crater where it once stood. Only one PRIMUS agent has even been known to of survive a ground zero blast and even then Commander Stone took weeks to be repaired/healed. Needless to say we got to the van and got the hell out of the city dump as fast as those little wheels could carry us. After the static died down I called into Huntsman and Shadowkahn and told them not to open any more barrels.

     

    Shadowkahn radioed that the warehouse had magical protection vs. teleportation on it and this would be perfect to capture Talisman since once she stepped through the doorway she wouldn’t be able to utilize her teleport spell. I gave the go ahead for capture (since we had the inducers in the van, we could easily keep her unconscious until we got her back to PRIMUS base). Shadowkahn and Huntsman made themselves comfortable in the rafters, taking positions for stealth and observation.

     

    At 2am Shadowkahn radioed in that 4 living persons in robes had just stepped out of the 12-foot crate in the middle of the warehouse and were moving into positions to observe, with Salazar and 4 zombies walking out behind them, a strange green fog crawled out of the box following Sarrazine and completely covered the floor of the warehouse. Coincidently, on the floor right under Shadowkahn and Huntsman’s positions, they went to radio silence after that. We waited in the van a block away, while Jet played Gargoyle on the rooftop.

     

    A minute after 2am a black car pulled up outside the warehouse and Talisman got out of the drivers side and went into the warehouse. What followed afterwards is just what we were able to hear from Shadowkahn’s and Huntsman’s headsets. Talisman greeted Sarrazine and cut right to the chase, she had raised a soul from the past with an artifact, but not as a summon spell but to contact it for information; unfortunately the soul manifested and Talisman was afraid for herself and felt she needed protection. Sarrazine was understandably concerned since the spell she did shouldn’t of had the effect it did, and he wondered if the soul was in hell somehow tied to the dagger or a demon disguised as the soul. Sarrazine said he would research what could have happened to the spell. He tells her goodbye and leaves through the same box he came through. Talisman begins walking towards the door.

     

    I hear some chatter across the line saying to let her leave so we could follow her and all I can think of is the moment she thinks she’s in trouble she’ll teleport away, keeping her in the warehouse is the only way to keep her from teleporting. So I break silence with Shadowkahn and tell him to take her out.

     

    What happened while we were on route from the van to the warehouse was relayed to me afterwards. As Talisman gets halfway to the door he jumps her and the shit hits the fan. The guys in hoods and capes pull out wands and start attacking Huntsman and Shadowkahn with spells. Talisman slips out of Shadowkahns grasp and heads towards the door, Jet swoops down and kicks open the door and tries to scare the hell out of Talisman, which I’m not sure worked since Jet gets blasted tail over teakettle over the car a second later. Slate takes up a snipers position and sends several shots into the building, keeping Talisman away from the door. Jet gets up in a rage (very scary!) and roars flying back through the door and right into Talisman knocking her backwards into the warehouse. Talisman in a fit of panic starts fireballing the warehouse, so instead of getting the chance to attack her, I start playing fire engine and start icing everywhere she’s hit with fire, it’s a large warehouse so I fly above the commotion below. Geiger makes it into the warehouse and jumps Talisman bear-hugging her and Jet, who’s grappled with Talisman as well; we hear a tiny gasp and Talisman passes out.

     

    During that fight Huntsman and Shadowkahn had to grapple with 2 of the guys in robes. The other 2 remaining guys aim their wands at Jet and Geiger blasting them off of Talisman and into the warehouse wall. We hear some strange words from within the crate and suddenly the 4 guys with the wands start screaming; their cloaks have come alive and are eating them! The cloaks eat themselves and there is nothing left but the spray of blood. I call for Slate to bring the alpha wave inducer from the van so we can keep Talisman unconscious.

     

    Huntsman investigates the 12-foot crate only to hear another strange whispering and he sees all the magic fade from the building, including the drums. So if Sarrazine was using a stasis spell on the various Genesis robots they will of all disintegrated once he turned off the spell. So we have no evidence of Sarrazine’s wrongdoing.

     

    We gather all of us up, pick up Talisman and get to the van long before the police and the fire department show up at the warehouse. Which is good since we’ve committed several illegal acts in getting Talisman. Huntsman, breaking and entering, assault, damage to private property; Shadowkahn, breaking and entering, assault, damage to private property; Jet, damage to private property, assault; Slate, discharge of a weapon in city limits, damage to private property; myself damage to private property; Geiger, assault. Sigh. Isn’t it nice that we’re the good guys? That discussion about how we explain how we did what we did goes on till we reach base and a consensus is reached that we simply tell the truth, that Shadowkahn had a lead on Talisman and we followed it. Were not exactly lying are we?

     

    It’s a long night, but very fulfilling, Talisman is in lockup at PRIMUS base and we’ve gotten a pat on the back from the powers that be. Minimal damage, no loss of life (unless you count the bad guys) and one known supervillian under wraps. Even better is that Miss. DeWolff has come out of her coma and is now sleeping normally.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

    But I’m worried. What was Talisman saying about the spirit manifesting? Could this young woman not be Miss. DeWolff but that spirit instead? I’ve voiced my concerns to the others an to PRIMUS, which assured me they would continue their surveillance of Miss DeWolff anyway, since she is the only living witness we have to Talisman’s murder spree.

     

    And what about Black Paladin? Did he really leave Talisman behind to survive on her own or is he waiting to come get her? And now we have Sarrazine and DEMON drawn into the mix. If it were a chemical combination, I’d say I was heading towards and explosive and unstable compound.

     

    Tomorrow night is the ball with Tellios, the team will be there as “normal†as can be. So far my ID as Vi and Firefrost have remained separate and secret from the population at large, let’s pray nothing happens that will change that.

     

    Well I’m retiring with a nice hot bath, a glass of wine and some chocolate. I’ll sleep in tomorrow since it’s nearly 4am now, I do want to look my best for the ball. I’ll give another shot at dying my hair tomorrow afternoon since the dye stays in until the first mutant shift after application. I’ve got a sexy yet conservative dress all picked out in a dazzling black and gold with that lovely onyx and gold set you left me for jewelry. I think I’ll wear my hair in a partial up-do to cover the radio I know we’ll wind up having attached to our heads, (need ear buds).

     

    Good night Mom, Dad, I’ll tell you all about tomorrow, tomorrow.

     

    Love ya,

    Vi

     

     

    June 10, 2003

    Oooh, I love being who I am. We scientists have a very odd (we’d call unique) way of looking at the world; similar to Georges Seurat, we are fascinated with our dot, knowing the dot is key to the relationship of all that is around us. Renoir once said of Seurat, “the dots are not simply technique; they are a tangible surface and the ground of important qualities,†I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point Mom. Seurat's dots are a means of creating a special kind of order. They are his tangible and ever-present unit of measure. Through the difference in color alone, these almost uniform particles of the painter modulate and integrate molar forms; varying densities in the distribution of light and dark dots generate the boundaries that define figures, buildings, and the edges of land, sea and sky. A passionate striving for unity and simplicity together with the utmost fullness. Mutant DNA is my dot. Up close it is a single speck of color within the grand canvas, which is the human form.

     

    I know I’m waxing poetic, but that is what is singing away within my soul tonight. I was amongst my peers, able to speak on subjects, which boggled lesser minds. Espousing the virtues of the protein data bank and the nucletic acid database, RNA solution structure of the mutant complex. Ah, it was magnificent; I haven’t had such stimulating conversations in years, I had forgotten how wonderful it could be amongst one’s peers, if only it could have lasted longer.

     

    Though I imagine, it must have been like watching aliens from another planet converse in their native tongue for the non-scientific members of my team.

     

    But such excellent ideas I have now! Dr. Quentin and Dr. Goodwater suggested RNA for mutation acceleration purposes (I danced around the subject quite well actually).

     

    Many scientists believe that with the discovery of ribozymes it added to the evidence that RNA, not DNA, was the earliest genetic material. Many scientists think that the earliest genetic molecule was simple in structure and capable of enzymatic activity. Furthermore, the molecule would necessarily exist in all organisms. The enzyme ribonuclease-P, which exists in all organisms, is made of protein and a form of RNA that has enzymatic activity. Based on this evidence, some scientists suspect that the RNA portion of ribonuclease-P may be the modern equivalent of the earliest genetic molecule, the molecule that first enabled replication to occur in primitive cells.

     

    In all honesty, I never even thought about RNA, as I said, DNA is my dot. I believe I need to step backwards and look at Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte without the magnifying glass.

     

    Oh and what a night it was, our grand ball awaiting Dr. Tellios and his grand gift to the world, Tellios was more than fashionably late, of course. I had made sure that Rose Crane had a ticket and Dennis had a tux for the evening (after all when does a 15-year old ever get to take his mother out for a fancy dinner?) Wire Walker surprised me with a very elegant and somewhat understated silk tux with high a French collar to cover the gorget, the purple paisley with yellow and green accents cummerbund was excusable. Succor came in a nice tux, without the skates, thank God. Jet was dressed in a plunging neckline long sleeve gown; so blue it looked black, defiantly dressed to kill-or to tempt men’s souls; I’m not sure which. Slate looked fine in his tux, but you could tell it didn’t fit quite right on him; we all knew the armor was on underneath without him telling us, smart though, since the only way he could have it immediately available was if he wore it. Shadowkahn altered his face to look like and everyday Caucasian male and was dressed in a simple but elegant tux (not like I know what he looks like anyway). Huntsman surprised the hell out of us by coming down not only in a tux, but also as a black man! He had worried about his being noticed; somehow I didn’t see anyone knowing the 6-foot tall sandy blond white guy for this dashing, almost Denzel Washington looking black gentleman. I think we all cut quite the fashionable and tasteful group, thank you Lord.

     

    I had called Shadowkahn into the study earlier for a private conversation. I wanted a bodyguard for the evening and had decided that amongst all of our freaky little darlings, he was the one I trusted the most with my safety. Even though I had learned some interesting things about him only a short time ago, Shadokahn had never lied to me, never done anything that I hadn’t seen as totally upfront and honest, when the others tried to hide the mirror, he brought it forward; he didn’t hide his past when we were confronted by it but explained it to us. Out of all of them, I felt I could trust Shadowkahn to do everything possible to keep me safe should the shit hit the fan this evening at the gala. Not like I didn’t believe the kids would do whatever it took to keep me alive, they simply weren’t adult enough to be able to remain focused. Huntsman and Jet would have been my next in line when it came to trusting for my safety; Jet probably over Huntsman because of her ties to me; I know Huntsman wouldn’t let anything happen but if he had to go and be elusive/mysterious on us I’d be SOL; Slate is still on the shit list so no way was I asking him.

     

    For those of us who hadn’t really been in Millennium City it was quite an experience, like entering NYC or Chicago for the first time. Almost at the edge of the city the buildings spring up, there is nothing under 30 stories within the city itself. There are autoways everywhere, most of them connecting buildings at the 10th, 20th, and 30th floors; it is truly quite the masterpiece of engineering.

     

    8 PRIMUS agents and 8 UNTIL agents handled security, on their best behavior; which we all knew was strained since there isn’t any love loss between our two factions. Another 6 suites of Italian Renaissance armor stood at attention (we were trying to sneak looks all night to see if they were cyber-suits). Wire could sense all of the wi-fi in the building adding to the security/surveillance. Actually Wire had commented he had had a headache within minutes of entering Millennium City, which would make sense considering how heavily wi-fied out the entire city is.

     

    Over two hundred individuals were invited; reporters, scientists, super heroes, amongst that group of notables were the Vision and Scarlet Witch of the Avengers; the Millennium City Champions and the Millennium 7 (which is another trial group like ourselves, except we have more magic vs. they have more tech).

     

    I never realized that supers were just as rumor-mongering as any old human, the topics of most of the conversations surrounded who was doing who and how. The War of the Immortals was also on just about everyone’s lips. Here are the latest rumors and confirmed events for posterity:

     

     According to reports out of the UK; Thor is dead, he had been summoned from NY to a small island off the coast of Ireland by a Catholic Werewolf (who knew?) where a 20 megaton bomb went off, killing them both. *Not 100% confirmed but close.

     The White Ninja is dead, Grey’s whereabouts is unknown and Black was severely hurt when they went up against Red Dragon for the second time. Apparently Kigeri of the Shadowclan Assassins, (reportedly to be Red Dragons son), jumped into the battle from behind and beheaded the White Ninja. *White Ninja is dead, 100% confirmed by his 2 remaining buddies.

     Taurus and Hercules fought each other somewhere in the Mediterranean. *It has been confirmed that Hercules died with the Minotaur’s great axe buried in his chest.

     Doctor Destroyer and Techophanes attacked each other while down in Antarctica. Techophanes had to retreat from Doctor Destroyer’s onslaught. One manned onslaught; Doc Destroyer took on Techophanes and his army of undead alone and won! That fact alone scares the shit out of me more than seeing his face on the monitors in that secret base. While Techophanes was retreating, he was attacked by an entire Genesis battalion (incase you didn’t know Mom, that’s over a thousand Skelebots with Mark 3, Mark 4 and a Mark 5 at the lead). Techophanes is reported to have been killed. Which makes me wonder what the hell Genesis was doing in Antarctica.

     Alucard and Viperia fought each other. Viperia is VIPERS major league weapon, she too is supposed to be immortal and as she is a nasty ass bitch herself VIPER doesn’t let her out much because they can’t control her; to a certain extent it’s open the box and run like hell when they let her out (she has single handily destroyed two Genocide Minute-Men, if that ain’t tough I don’t know what is). Although the rumors say that Alucard supposedly survived the onslaught, we don’t have much proof as the African village they were fighting in and roughly 2 miles of the surrounding area is nothing so much as a fiery smoking ruin; over 150 villagers were killed, fortunately most of the villagers escaped before the shit really hit the fan.

     There has been no word on any attacks on the immortals of DEMON or The CIRCLE; however, nothing has been heard of The Master of CIRCLE for the last 6 months.

     Mechanon has reportedly had more than one of him running at one time, it has been unconfirmed that up to 5 of him have been around and active at some point in time. Which could be anything from a malfunction to some bizarre psychotic AI plan we just don’t understand.

     The Catholic Church claims that since Immortals are out of the grand scheme of things according to GOD, they must be of Satan and therefore, their executing each other is fine with the Holy Seat. The Holy Seat also has 2 organizations that work within it to get rid of heretics and enemies of the Catholic Church, the 13 and a subgroup of the 13 called the Sanction. Incidentally, an enemy of the Church means anyone that isn’t following the Catholic Church. Sheesh, makes me ashamed to be Catholic, didn’t we stop this stupidity back in the middle ages with the Crusades?

     

    We mingled around for the first hour or so drinking and chatting; that’s where we heard all the rumors filtering in. I spoke with some of the other doctors I knew, got caught up in several conversations about our relative fields. We sat down for the dinner about an hour after being there and lo to my the Remington Steel agency were at the round table next to us. Mr. Steel, Ms. Takanada and Danny Darko were easily identified; however, a young oriental gentleman, a beautiful black haired (non oriental) woman with a fan and an absolutely gorgeous blond sitting with them were totally unknown to us.

     

    Steel, acting like the gentleman he is, asked if there had been any resolution to the situation we had discussed earlier (i.e. Tellios/VIPER wanting my blood). I had to tell him that we really weren’t sure, after all we didn’t know if VIPER had gotten the samples to Tellios before the base went up. Kimeiko Takanada was dressed like a dragon lady, quite the expressive figure actually and I noted that Dennis shivered whenever he looked at her, probably thinking about his last encounter with a Dragon Lady. Danny was having loads of fun photographing everyone with his “special cameraâ€, I asked for copies of the photos tonight (I’ll pay out of my own pocket for these!) and he agreed. I was introduced to the oriental gentleman, who responded “your a lot better looking without your armor on.†Which confused the shit out of me until he phased a ghostly hand out of the hand I was holding. I managed to keep my response calm but Lord knows I was about ready to jump out of my skin! Here I was holding the hand of some poor schmuck that Grey Ninja had bodynapped. I looked at Grey in shock, how did he know who I was? Then it hit me; they had hunted me down, so of course they knew that PhD. Stratford is Firefrost.

     

    I said, “obviously the reports of your demise are greatly exaggerated†and looking at the two females asked Grey if the reports were true. Which is where I got the confirmation that White was 100% dead. Black, waved from behind her/his fan, apparently demons can not only change their looks but change their sexual disguise as well (I wonder if Jet could?). I refrained from telling Dennis about Black Ninja sitting within arms reach of him. However, the gorgeous blond turned out to be a Miss Angelica Gates; Jet and Shadowkahn filled me in that she’s an Angelic being (yea.)

     

    Shadowkahn simply stuck with the name Kane and refused to give Remington any further info; so although Remington knew it was Shadowkahn he didn’t get any further. With Remington’s usual perceptive abilities he picked out who in disguise was whom, which I noted pissed off Huntsman, but Remington gave him quite the complement on his disguise skills, since the only way he figured out it was him was by process of elimination within our group, Huntsman took it in stride. I find it amazing the different types of people that Remington can call “friends,†he truly has a remarkably diverse cliental.

     

    The evening was fairly quite until Tellios finally arrived. He strode out onto the stage to the podium, two incredible blond women to his right, two equally devastatingly beautiful brunette women to his left. Rumors I had heard years ago were that these women bodyguards had limited life spans and were completely devoted to saving his life, to the point of standing in front of any threat and dieing for him. I spent some time staring at the women, wondering if my DNA might be part of them, if one of them could be me, it would have been classic irony really, but I’m being egotistical.

     

    Tellios opened right away, no apologies for being tardy, no explanations of the ladies at his side; so typically Tellios, indifferent to anything other than himself. Well maybe I’m being a little harsh, Tellios is a magnificent scientist and one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, and I’d say he is even more intelligent than Einstein. He simply has, what some of us has come to call, “the scientist mentality flaw.†I and many other scientists have fallen into this way of thinking; you become too involved in your work, to obsessed with it, you begin to not see humanity as individuals with souls, one begins to look at humans around them as nothing more than a future experiment, another lab animal to be picked apart and studied. There have been many times in my life when I have looked at that gray wash of humanity around me and thought; “I wonder what would happen to him if I did this?†How often I have crossed the line and looked at mutants and humans and wondered about the possibility of splicing genes, altering DNA, tweaking this and tweaking that; all for the sake of scientific advancement; for the sake of what, where, when and why. When you stray over that line of thinking for too long you become armorial, thinking how above everyone else you are, how it is your right to “fix†things to make things better, be damned that the thing on the slab your experimenting on might have been a human being at one point, it doesn’t matter, all that maters is the outcome of the experiment, you are the creator of life and death, God. Tellios is playing God and by all accounts, doing it quite well at it; let me explain.

     

    Tellios owns the island of Tiagua, population 75,000; it is a sovereign nation recognized by the UN, it is a tropical paradise, where everyone is beautiful and perfect; beautiful and perfect because the majority of the population (if not the entire population) are clones. Cloning is illegal everywhere in the world except on Tiagua, actually it’s illegal there too but Tellios dosen’t care. Although the UN has listed 75,000 people as it’s population, the UN also has listed a standing army of over 1 million; makes me think that he’s got his extras in cold storage. Tellios owns MI Pharmaceuticals and several other companies that research pharmaceuticals. As I said, playing God very well. But in all, he’s a great man. Even now after meeting him all those years ago I got a little thrill hearing his deep, slightly accented voice. My God, I’m 35 and his voice still sends a thrill down my spine. Such genius, so unperturbed by humanities foibles, or at least uncaring for the lesser life forms; why cant they understand why I find it to be such an honor for Tellios to of selected me, my blood, to become part of his experimentation. No matter what I continue to do with my life, this body, another “me†will live on in a genetically perfect world as a genetically perfect individual, it’s quite flattering really.

     

    But I digress. I knew his donation would be a great gift to humanity, but his distaste for the idiots of this imperfect world dose show through time and time again; though I kept my thoughts to myself, I believed there would be a catch to his “gift†and I was quickly proven right. Parts of Tellios’s speech are reprinted here. “The AIDS cure is not a complete cure; it puts the disease into remission, so long as the person takes the drug over an extended period of five years it will eventually cure them. His drug should eradicate the disease in roughly six to seven years. There are no side effects, although rigorous testing was done to try and prove there were, none were discovered. The drug can be stored for up to ten years and it’s complete cost, including marketing and materials is $35 dollars.†The CE had already approved the drug without any information of its chemical make up; however, the FDA is fighting its approval since Tellios will not turn over its formula for analysis. Which means that the USA will be sending requests overseas to fill the drug requests (kind of like the morning after pill the FDA fought for 6 years). Amongst the reporters yelling, Tellios continued. “I care very much about the world and it pains me to think that the world could not come up with such an easy solution.†Which the papers will have a great fun in reprinting I’m sure. Immediately after his announcement he left, bodyguards forward and trailing him.

     

    We spent roughly another 20 minutes chatting with other guests (that’s when I ran into Dr. Quentin and Dr. Goodwater and we proceeded into our chat about RNA). The lights slowly dimmed as the hotel subtlety told us to get the hell out of dodge. So we hung it up and headed towards the cars. It had turned out to be a very nice, elegant evening. Then it all went to hell.

     

    As we were getting into the hover van (which it so cool), an explosion from about two blocks away drew our attention. Before I could begin to assess the situation and get folks into some sort of working team, Geiger had Succor boost his leaping power and he leapt away, clearing the two blocks in record time. Once again, putting himself into the middle of the situation before we even knew what the hell was going on. I ordered for the rest of the team to follow and assess the situation while I got Mrs. Crane out of the danger area. I rode with Rose till we were roughly four blocks away, programmed the car to take her home, told her goodnight and sent her on her way with Huntsman and Jet as bodyguards (just in case). I’ve ruined the dress I wore as I shifted into my hero form and flew towards the commotion, trying to raise anyone on the radio (which appeared to be frequency jammed).

     

    By the time I got there, it was a total mess; three limos were under attack, the lead limo had been blown to pieces; same with the chase limo, there was one surviving limo in the center but it’s front end had been reduced to so much rubble, I could see the remains of one of Tellios’s guards in the twisted metal of the drivers compartment, there would be no saving her. Another girl lay not too far from the passenger side, not much remained of her either. An occasional pistol-waving arm would sneak out of the passenger compartment and fire at the attacking skelebots. Oh, I had forgotten to mention that the limo-train was under attack by 4 Genesis skelebots and 1 Mark 1? Right as I fly up I see the Mark 1 “paint a dot†on Geiger, who’s pounding the hell out of a skelebot, and within seconds a missile drops out of the sky at sub-sonic speeds (we all heard the crack! as it came into range) and proceeded to plow into Geiger. It didn’t teleport him like I thought it would, instead it went boom. A plasma boom, apparently Genesis wasn’t going to take any chances with Geiger. The plasma wave radiated out from Geiger enveloping the limo, Mark 1 and skelebots. When the light cleared, the bots were unharmed, save the one Geiger had damaged, it vaporized. Geiger was unconscious on the ground and the limo had vaporized, leaving behind only the armored passenger compartment clanging to the ground. The rest of the team slowly came into the fight, thank God after the plasma blast had torn through.

     

    You know, I’m starting to believe that were going to get ourselves killed. Our luck is going to hold out for only so long and then it’s going to go to hell. We had already jumped into the situation without knowing what the hell was going on and one of us was already down. Then the Mark 1 painted a dot onto Slate; as the missile came in I tried blasting it out of the sky but my shot wasn’t powerful enough to destroy it and Slate was blasted by the missile, except this one exploded over him covering him in what looked like a ton of marshmallow whip; I was reminded of the scene from Ghostbusters when Mr. Peck is almost drowned by the remains of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man; except this stuff solidified as it hit Slate and sealed him within a thick cocoon.

     

    Two members of the team down. Shadowkahn tried several of his throwing stars into the skelebots only to have them bounce off. Succor had been holding back and I yelled for him to skate in and at least pick up Geiger, heal him and get the two of them back under cover; only to see another dot appear on Succor’s chest. I knew we had to get rid of the Mark 1 otherwise I’d spend all day trying to blast missiles out of the sky but I couldn’t move fast enough to get a shot in before the missile came into range. The suddenly a little blue dot appeared on the Mark 1’s head and we heard it say “SKADE Detected.†All I felt was the velocity draft rush past me as the Mark 1’s head turned into Swiss cheese; it exploded a moment later. (What SKADE is and what it means to Genesis will be looked into later.) I launched a giant icicle into the other skelebot that was attacking Succor damaging it; the missile that had been summoned up by the Mark 1 appeared above searching for Succor, it took a concentrated shot to take it down before it found him. Shadowkahn attacked the skelebot behind Wire Walker and punches through the thinks chest destroying its power source; Wire Walker attacked the skelebot next to him freezing it in place. In the mean time Shadowkahn finished off the one I had speared with the icicle. It was finally over; we had won but, my God, we had been pathetic. I had to land because I had exhausted myself flying and attacking, Succor managed to heal Geiger but the poor boy was still unconscious. The cocoon Slate was stuck in was porous enough for him to breath normally but we couldn’t break it open, it resisted all attempts to burn it, chop it or cut it off. Genesis must have an enzyme that dissolves it once its transported back to their base. The police and fire department arrived on scene, it took the rescue crews almost an hour to pry open the cocoon with the jaws-of-life.

     

    Tellios was safe in the confines of armored passenger compartment, one of his bodyguards had the gun fused/melted to her hand and obviously she hadn’t been quick enough to avoid the plasma explosion. What freaked me out was that she made no noise, didn’t cry, didn’t complain; here she is with all that nerve/tissue damage and she acts as if nothing happened. That right there was proof to me that Tellios was playing God, to have created these women to withstand anything as his bodyguards; they aren’t truly human are they? Tellios was very happy to see us, especially since we had just saved his life (though I’m not sure it’s really him and not a clone, but…) I watched Tellios’s eyes slide over everyone, appraising, they finally landed on Succor and looked at him for a moment longer than the rest of us. Tellios pulled out a business card and handed it to Succor “call me we need to talk.†Tellios and his two bodyguards got into a police car and they drove him away.

     

    Geiger was just sitting up holding his head and groaning; I walked over to him and asked if he was ok. He flexed a few times and said yes; I then smiled at him and cupped his chin in my hands, “I’m glad your alright,†I told him, “because your GROUNDED!! You are going to spend the next two weeks training, learning how to restrain that impulsive attitude of yours that is going to get you killed! You are going to learn how to WAIT and WORK WITH BACKUP!†I whorled around at looked at Succor, and yell at him “You too young man! Your going to learn how to moderate how much power you dump into people, I am not having this stupidity happen again.†I looked at the rest of the team, “now gentlemen, if you don’t mind,†I said, “were all going to head back to the base, check and make sure that Ms. Crane is safe and then were all going to fill out our reports on this fight and work on this little thing known as teamwork.†I radioed into PRIMUS headquarters and they sent us a car to travel back to Hudson City.

     

    I am not making myself popular, but this idiocy needs to stop. We lost two team members in the first few moments of combat, if it hadn’t been for our luck holding out and that SKADE thing showing up blowing holes into the Mark 1, I’m sure that we would all of been carted off to Genesis by now. I’ve heard the kids tell Slate to just listen to what I say and then do what they do and ignore me, well that’s bullshit; I’ve tried being nice about it; I’m through being nice, were going to become a team if it kills them.

     

     

    June 11, 2003

    God what a day its been, I woke up still fatigued from yesterday, I had nearly exhausted all my internal energy during that fight, that was the first time since I obtained my abilities and begun training that I had gotten so close to passing out from using my powers. I found a note at breakfast from Shadowkahn, he has been spending time watching our last Talisman victim, Margery DeWolf. Were not sure if she might be still on their hit list, after all, too much of what went on during that incident is way over my head. There was also an urgent message from PRIMUS regarding the fight with the Genesis squad last night, and that Talisman would be available for questioning today.

     

    I asked Slate to begin work on some little unnoticeable tracker bugs so we could place them on Miss. DeWolf. Actually it would be a good idea to have tracker bugs for use anyway so if we manage to loose prey during a fight we can find them later. Granted the bug might not have much of a range but if we properly utilize the electronic surveillance systems already in place within Hudson City and Millennium City we might really get somewhere. I was having flashbacks of Batman comics when that thought came up.

     

    I rang in Shadowkahn and told him that I thought it would be best if he and Huntsman would interrogate Talisman. They would have the best possible understanding of what she would be talking about and they would also be able to tell if she was lying. Shadowkahn was reluctant to leave Miss. DeWolf but I assured him I would take over watching her and as a plus, during her lucid moments I could ask her questions about what occurred during her kidnapping and possession. Having that extra degree in psychology would allow me to ask her questions without disturbing her further and to ascertain if there had been any odd personality shifts. I would have to travel to Millennium City anyway to sit in on the briefing PRIMUS wanted on Genesis, so it wouldn’t be difficult to stop at her hospital afterwards and have the guys go to interrogate Talisman in the special holding cells for magic users in the Millennium City PRIMUS base.

     

    I left Geiger, Succor and Jet training in our facility, with strict instructions to Jet not to hurt the kids; they were to learn restraint after all. Slate buried himself in the tech labs to work on the bugs.

    The briefing at PRIMUS was mostly an interrogation on my behalf; the Commander wanted a full explanation of what had occurred. The main problem with what had happened is that Genesis had changed their tactics, 4 skelebots and a Mark 1 with a mobile missile platform launching within city limits (they found traces of the casings and grounding marks at a parking lot); Genesis attacks usually consisted of an entire squad of skelebots with a Mark 1 running the show. The missiles were tiny things, roughly 12 or 15 inches long, they looked like toys, but they were launched from this mobile platform at sub-sonic speeds, like a rail-gun. This was totally unprecedented, Genesis had never worked like this before and PRIMUS was worried, after all, somewhere out amongst the crowded city streets were a mobile rail-gun platform doing Genesis’s bidding, it wasn’t a happy thought.

     

    Before I left to meet Shadowkahn at the hospital I stopped at ARTEMIS to do a checkup on what SCADE was. Unfortunately there was no real information in the database; although there were some notations that the Charleston Champions had a few run-ins with something called SCADE, there were no specifics. I sent a request through processing for someone to wrack Commander Stone’s brain for more information on SCADE; after all, if Genesis bots were “afraid†of it, they could be quite the asset to our fight against Genesis.

     

    I relieved Shadowkahn at the hospital and sent him off with Huntsman to PRIMUS. I had them keep their radios on transmit, they could only receive if one of us pushed the send button, that would keep outside questions down to a minimum. I settled into the chair in her room and awaited Miss. DeWolf’s next waking period; while I waited I pulled out a notepad and jotted down Talismans answers broadcast over the radio; the interview was quite disturbing.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~

     

    Here is a brief transcript of Talisman’s interrogation; Shadowkahn did most of the talking. Talisman was talkative but very arrogant, as I listened and took notes from my chair in the hospital, I could hear her words seethe with contempt and although she answered the questions her answers were vague. This was a woman that knew she had been used as a tool and was angry, but if angry with us or angry with Black Paladin who was to say?

     

    Q: What is your association with Black Paladin?

    A: We seek to bring for the antichrist the woman is the vessel.

    Q: Who is the woman?

    A: Her soul will open the way.

    Q: What does the dagger have to do with the ritual?

    A: It focuses the witchery we do.

    Q: What is the purpose behind the altering of the victims?

    A: The antichrist wants to be beautiful when she walks the earth.

    Q: What were the Randolphs doing with you and Black Paladin?

    A: They are lackeys of Black Paladin.

    Q: Who transformed them?

    A: I don’t know, they were like that when I got to the mansion.

    Q: Is there anyway to reverse what was done to the Randolphs?

    A: I don’t know, I didn’t do the spell; you’ll have to ask Black Paladin.

    Q: Did the antichrist manifest?

    A: Only partially.

    Q: Where did it go since she didn’t completely manifest?

    A: Wherever spirits go to.

    Q: Why do you need a protector? 2. Your conversation with Sarrazine?

    A: What? What are you talking about? Well it is always good to have extra information. Just like you are doing now, is it not?

    Q: Where is Black Paladin?

    A: I don’t know. I was supposed to meet him at a time and place but it’s unknown to me.

    Q: Are you sure he just didn’t take the dagger and run?

    A: He did not abandon me.

    Q: Are you sure that Black Paladin still needs you?

    A: Of course he needs me; everyone had needs, including you.

    Q: Where did the dagger come from?

    A: The past.

    Q: Why raise the antichrist?

    A: It would remake the world in a better image. The world would be a better place for the likes of us.

    Q: Better image? If it were the antichrist it would be Armageddon.

    A: That would depend on if you were on the loosing side wouldn’t it.

    Q: What did Black Paladin originally approach you to do?

    A: To contact a spirit.

    Q: Do you know what Black Paladin wanted with the dagger?

    A: To contact the spirit, the dagger has direct contact with the spirit, the spirit is the

    antichrist.

    Q: Is there a way to change the victim back to her normal looks?

    A: That would be up to the antichrist, after all she is the one that transformed the victim, she

    would be the one to change them back.

     

    ~~~~~~~~~

     

    Shadowkahn then called for the guard and told them the interview was over. Huntsman radioed that he would go talk with Father O’Malley and Shadowkahn stated he would have to go off radio for a little while that he needed to make a phone call. I patiently waited watching over Miss. DeWolf and mulled over what I had heard.

     

    Could it be possible that a soul trapped in hell could be the antichrist? I had been taught that it would arise as a new birth on this world, not an old soul. The more I thought about it, the more I believed that we were probably talking about Black Paladins girlfriend over in France and his wanting to raise her from the dead. What a horrible love they must have had for thousands of years later to be still trying to bring her back to him. While I was pondering this, Shadowkahn radioed in that he had confirmed they couldn’t be trying to raise the antichrist, that prophecies strictly state it would be another three hundred to four hundred years in the future that the term “antichrist†was not to be taken in the Judea-Christian context.

     

    Huntsman went over to the church with Father O’Malley. The Father was so shocked with Huntsman telling him that Black Paladin and Talisman were trying to raise the antichrist that his accent dropped right off. Father O’Malley stated that Sir. Demorphant (Black Paladins original name) had indeed lived back during King Arthur’s time and had been gravely wounded (unto death) by Sir. Galahad. Back in that time Demorphant had found a local village woman that was a beautiful as she was evil and that together the plumbed new depths of depravity and evil that had never been seen before. The story goes that when Chantal found Demorphant near death she used her witchcraft to place him under a spell, which put him into a healing sleep, but the sleep would last thousands of years before he would be completely healed. Knowing that she would never live to see him rise again, Chantal committed suicide with the dagger and was laid beside him. There was a poem that was written about their love, “When it rains, the world is weeping for Demorphant’s love.â€

     

    Father O’Malley went into a little more, but the jist of it was that this woman was so evil; calling her the antichrist was probably not too far off the mark. Huntsman told O’Malley of what had been happening with the murders and O’Malley assured us that Miss. DeWolf would not be attacked again. If the spirit manifests and transforms the person’s body, it is because the spirit is trying to take over and evict the current soul, but if the spirit finds the body not to it likes the spirit uses the dagger to destroy the victim. Since Succor told us that Miss. DeWolf was struggling with the dagger to keep it from plunging into her chest, more than likely she wasn’t suitable. Father O’Malley said that the soul of the victim would need to be of a particular quality; to have the capacity for great evil to exist at all, they would need to find someone with the potential for great evil within them, even if it wasn’t acted upon, the intent had to be there. I radioed Huntsman if Father O’Malley knew of a way to destroy an evil spirit, which I should of thought about what I said before Huntsman repeated it. I could Father O’Malley’s indignation over the radio, “souls are not meant to be destroyed,†he spoke, â€souls are to be judged and sent to where ever they were to receive their judgment, be it heaven or hellâ€. So I reworded myself (I’m so going to have to deal with confession this Sunday…) and had Huntsman ask Father O’Malley if a soul could be banned from being summoned. Father O’Malley said that if the dagger is what she used to kill herself and its part of the rituals, than having the dagger blessed, by holy water on holy ground would destroy the link the spirit has with the item and it could not be used again for its purpose. Shadowkahn had arrived around that time and asked if Father O’Malley wouldn’t mind donating a gallon of holy water so we could purify the dagger. We got a pint.

     

    Huntsman thanked Father O’Malley and both he and Shadowkahn returned to our base. I flew in from the hospital; Miss. DeWolf had not awakened while I was there and with a consensus that she would not be preyed upon again I felt it was appropriate to leave her in the care of the PRIMUS guards and hospital staff’s care.

     

    We gathered everyone around the planning room table in the base; Jet told me that Succor and Geiger had done well during their training. Huntsman and Shadowkahn told Succor that Talisman had asked about him, probably to hurt him for clocking her during the spell. For those who hadn’t been on radio during the interrogation and the subsequent conversation with Father O’Malley, Huntsman and Shadowkahn repeated each interview. At the last comment about needing a woman for the sacrifice that had an amoral soul, I noticed that quite a few looks briefly came my way. Now come on guys, I’m not evil, nor am I drawn that way. Yea so I experiment on animals and such but that’s a normal scientist thing; I haven’t experimented on people without their permission, I haven’t done anything illegal; yea so I occasionally feel that the world is full of nothing more than specimens to study, but I haven’t turned to the Dark Side. I couldn’t see what they were hinting at it was insulting really.

     

    We had a long conversation about Black Paladin; he was still out there, with the dagger that would raise his beloved and all he needed was another evil magic user that could summon spirits. Shadowkahn figured that since, by all accounts, Black Paladin couldn’t teleport far, he would be using the catacombs under the Delecroix mansion. The old catacombs were where the monks would of buried their members during the time the grounds held the abbey and Shadowkahn was sure that is where we would find him. With some general reluctance everyone agreed to be part of the attack, we would begin tomorrow morning.

     

    I watched Succor and Geiger shudder momentarily; I’ve read their files and know that the boys and I share one psychological disadvantage; all three of us are claustrophobic. Succor reacts the harshest, with even hating to get into any form of enclosed transportation. Now here we are going to go underground into man made catacombs, I could practically feel the panic radiating off of him. I’ll discuss with them, us taking a little anti-anxiety medication before we go underground. We certainly don’t want to have any of us freaking out underground, while the rest of the team are trying to get that dagger away from Black Paladin and to subdue him; it would be disastrous and potentially deadly.

     

    At dinner we caught the local news, apparently the Immortals War is still going strong. Black Ninja was dead (Geiger cheered at that sound clip). One of Red Dragon’s other sons had taken the task of defending his father; it had been a simultaneous kill between the son and Black Ninja. Grey Ninja has fled, but now knowing that they never take a contract they don’t intend to enforce, we know that he will return to try and kill Red Dragon again. I could see little lines of worry crinkle around Shadowkahn’s eyes, but gave no other response to the news. Jet on the other hand, was quite upset; she had so hoped to date Black Ninja at some point in the future.

     

    A call came in from Millennium City PRIMUS on some of the information requests I had made. Apparently Technophanes had accidentally run into Genesis down in the Antarctica because Genesis had (I underscore HAD) a base down there. While the humans of Genesis escaped, they send every robot in the facility out to attack. The “crunch all you want, we’ll make more’ mentalityâ€, someone echoed. Nothing yet on SCADE, but they would keep trying Commander Stone. Two sets of invitations came to us through PRIMUS; apparently Dr. Tellios was very impressed with us saving his life and had invited all of us to dine with him in two days. The other invitation came addressed to me, specifically, PhD. Stratford, inviting her to dine with Tellios in three days. Shadowkahn said that he’d still play bodyguard for me if I wanted it. Though with almost all of us (except Jet and Huntsman) on the invitation the day before, if he wanted something from us, he’d certainly have the chance to get it then.

     

    We all went in our separate directions after that information came in. I retreated to my lab to catch up on the solution structure of the RNASE P RNA (M1 RNA) P4 stem C70U mutant oligoribonucleotide complex with cobalt (III) hexamine, NMR, ensemble. And to write in today’s entry in the journal. I hadn’t realized how important this journal is to me. I’ve kept my ideas in here, my worries and fears, my hopes and dreams. It’s my way of speaking to you, Mom & Dad and I suppose, in a way, I’m also talking to God. You know I’ve always hated the idea of going to confession to a Father, I’ve always felt that in the teachings God let’s you talk directly with him, why did you need a surrogate? I’ve always asked the difficult questions, the ones that demanded something more than the “it is a miracle†quote. As a scientist I’m searching for the link of God and man, looking into who, what, why and how. Somehow I hold onto my faith, even in these times, even with all that I’m seeing, with what I do! I mean I’m working side by side with a Demon, how can that be a good thing even though she “working†for the side of good to do good? Sigh, I guess I need to go and sit down with a Father or someone and talk about it, do churches council superheroes? Hah, could you see a Father in the confessional, hearing “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned, it’s been seven days since my last confession. Let’s see, I had to kill a undead creature that was trying to summon an evil demon…†Hah! They’d have you sodden certified!

     

    I don’t know Mom; I guess I’ll have to figure it out though.

     

    Love you both. Goodnight.

     

     

    June 13, 2003

    With the unpleasant idea of going underground looming in the damnably near future I contacted PRIMUS for a psychiatrist to help me get over my claustrophobia. I told Avenger Clark about our upcoming return to the “Mansion of the Dammed†and he put me in touch with the departments’ psychiatrist, Dr. Tieshia Goodwater, ASAP. We made an appointment to begin this afternoon.

     

    While I had that planned, Shadowkahn and Slate caught the investigator bug about the timely intervention of this thing called SLADE and why it happened to pop in during our excursion with GENESIS yesterday and went back to the combat site. With some proper digging they were able to get a video clip of the shots flying past me, when slowed down it turns out they were actually fléchettes rounds, Titanium fléchette rounds, hundreds of them, flying at Mock 8x the speed of sound, fired from over 2 miles away. I about passed out when they showed the video, no wonder I had only felt the wind and heard a wine when the shots few by, my shields would have been tissue paper to those rounds. Thank God that SKADE is more pissed off at GENESIS than at the rest of us. Between Shadowkahn and Slate they found one fléchette, 45ft down imbedded in the road, it took a lot of work but they managed to get it out and bring it back with them. Slate took a scraping sample for his personal experimentation processes and we turned it over to PRIMUS for further analysis. Which lead to several other questions that popped up. SKADE does not exist in Artemis’s database; however in the reports we received from PRIMUS (not bad timing really) there are 3 references to SKADE in reports from the Charleston Champions but only blurbs of “SKADE was here;†as we dug through the reports from Charleston further, we discovered what looked like, for lack of better words, a “lack of information†on SKADE from the C. C. Information not deleted but for whatever reasons, glossed over by in the reports, like it didn’t mean anything. Commander Stone made most of the reports with a few from Professor LaDeane Shadowfax. Professor Shadowfax’s whereabouts and that of her son Damien are currently unknown, suspected to be off world, possibly off dimension, but Stone, we could still be grilled on what they didn’t say in the reports.

     

    Dr. Goodwater arrived a little after lunch. I was unable to get Succor and Geiger in to see her with me, both of them saying claustrophobia wasn’t a problem for them…right. Succor never wants to get into a car and it’s not a problem for him. Sigh, hopefully they’ll come to their senses before we head underground and get therapy instead of acting all manly and in denial. I am worried about me going ballistic underground, hence the psychiatrist. Dr. Goodwater’s voice is very modulated, I have a feeling she always speaks in a neutral tone, but it was very natural and immediately comforting. She shook hands with enough pressure to not be “girly,†her left and right hands cupping my right, her nails were well manicured and unpainted. She’s a very attractive black woman, coffee “light on the cream†skin dark brown eyes that were almost black, her salt and pepper hair pulled up in a slightly schoolmarmish sort of way. She was striking, quite an incredibly presence and to be honest, I felt sort of dazzled by her, not sexually God no, but well, I just knew instinctively that she could help me, would help me.

     

    Looking back on the session, it’s a little bit of a blur. I don’t remember a lot of what we talked about; we spoke about other subjects for a while, taking about professions and such. She drew out my concerns and thoughts never interrupting until I had finished my statement. I know we eventually got around to talking about my childhood, the accident that caused your deaths and what I suspected to be the birthplace of my claustrophobia. She suggested a hypnosis trial, to which I agreed, after all I trusted her, PRIMUS had sent her, if I couldn’t trust this then I’d never survive working with them. I had thought I would be a hard sell for hypnosis, in my college days I had put myself in for a sleep trial and failed miserably in the hypnosis session, but listening to her voice talk me down, I went right under. When I awoke I felt refreshed and, well, “different,†I felt different. I couldn’t place my finger on it. It wasn’t the “burden lifted†feeling but something totally different. Dr. Goodwater and I spoke for a few minutes afterwards about how I felt and she complimented me on how well I did under hypnosis. As I walked her to the door, she suggested just 3 more sessions over the next 3 days. Nothing had been “regularly†scheduled in the hero department, so I readily agreed. I am truly amazed at how good I feel.

     

    Later that evening we managed to actually get a video call through to Commander Stone. What we learned was amazing. Although Stone stated that Professor Shadowfax had had a little more “personal†contact with SKADE, he hadn’t realized that they had left so much information out of his reports to PRIMUS and avowed to correct that oversight. It took some coaxing to get the living stone monolith to talk a little more freely about the adventures of the Charleston Champions, or as he had said Diversified Dynamics, LaDeans favored name for the troop. He was also quite pleased to see Jester’s son, Wire Walker amongst us carrying on the grand tradition of superheroing; I think that, amongst anything else is what got Stone to talk to us freely about SKADE.

     

    GENESIS created SKADE; it is an AI, probably the most powerful AI in the world, with one driving goal, the obliteration of its creator GENESIS. He couldn’t remember all the specifics but he did remember several items about the SKADE androids. One of them can pass for human, right up unto the time the laser comes out of the head and tries to kill you; there were 3 types, one didn’t look human at all, actually rather spider like; infiltration bots that take on the personality and knowledge of those they emulate, and the “Hero†model that has actually emulates a superhero. The good news was that SKADE is out to destroy GENESIS at any cost; the bad news was that SKADE is out to destroy GENESIS at any cost. For whatever reason, the SKADE bot that fired the fléchette rounds into the Mark 1 decided to not fire through me but past me, it could of just as easily been the other way around.

     

     

    June 14, 2003

    Tomorrow all of us will be meeting with Tellios for lunch at his Millennium City office, he prefers lunches; this is our congratulatory for saving his life. It should be interesting, though since we learned of his penchant for unsolicited blood donations, were going paranoid, very paranoid.

     

    Dr. Goodwater came by after lunch again. Again I felt relieved to be in her presence. She must be a mutant of some sort for her to have these “vibes.†Again we talked about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness though this time we spoke a little more a about my love life, or more specifically the lack there of. I must admit my first love has been and always will be science; I’ve had my sexual fling with various guys, starting in college going over the last 10 years, but no one man set my world on fire. Well, that New Years Eve with that professor from Germany was quite the blowout, but that was a one-week shot (giggle). I’m just not interested in dull men. After all, why would I want to engage in sex with something that couldn’t have an intellectual conversation with me? Did I just write something? Yes I did, hmmm. I wonder if I said “something†instead of “someone†when I spoke with Dr. Goodwater, Freudian slip, perhaps? That’s one of the reasons I have such a “crush†on Tellios, intellectual superiority is so much more stimulating, though I did have to admit that I’ve had my share of sexual fantasies involving Tellios and myself. I know I have a superiority complex, but what genius scientist doesn’t? 

    I went under hypnosis just as easily as yesterday and awoke just as refreshed, with that feeling of “different.†She suggested that tonight in the Danger Room I begin testing the limitations of my phobia; we discussed how to program the computer to allow me complete control over the experiment. I will try it tonight.

     

    ****

    My hands are shaking as I write this but I need to, it’s good therapy she says. Writing is a good therapy. After I had digested dinner and the rest of the team had gone to sleep or off to their various nighttime excursions; I went below to the Danger Room and set up the claustrophobia program. I created a maze to go through with various items to attack and defend against, including traps, several of which would be, if trapped within, enclosed blocks. These blocks would seal, I would then have to try and control my fear of the claustrophobia. If I couldn’t control the fear with my code words the trap would shut off and I’d get free. Or so I led myself to believe. I programmed the scenario and ran myself through the gauntlet; doing fairly well with dodges and attacks with both fire and ice, until I blew an attack on a target and the trap hit me. It pinned me under the block as the four walls went up sealing me inside. I was ok for a few minutes, until I realized the air was starting to taste bad and my flames looked odd; God help me, for all my smarts I didn’t remember the first rule of chemistry, I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. There I was standing in an enclosed box with my fires still burning, eating up the oxygen trapped with me. That realization alone freaked me out beyond my capacity for rational thought and I blew the trap apart. The shockwave alone tore the steel to shrapnel and send me careening into walls, thank God not at full thrust or I would have killed myself; instead I’m badly bruised, cut up, sore as hell with a mild dislocation in my left shoulder, which I reset as soon as I had presence of mind enough to. The room shut itself down and the sprinklers came on dowsing the fires I left burning in the metal.

     

    Freaking idiot, that’s what I am. I would have suffocated and nobody would of learned until they came down to the room for their own workouts, freaking, I.Q. of turnip. I set the computer to auto-repair to get the room back up to snuff. I either need a good dose of brains or to mutate some life support, I think the brains will come first.

     

     

    June 15, 2003

    I hid the damage under a lovely sapphire business suit-dress, dark stockings hid the bruises on my legs; fortunately I hadn’t damaged my face. We got to Tellios’s penthouse 10 minutes early and were seated by his incredibly proper butler in the drawing room. The rooms were tastefully decorated with nothing but the finest materials, books of every type and philosophy sat on the bookshelves. Through a large window we could see Tellios moving through his morning workout. I watched Shadowkahn with interest as he followed Tellios’s every move with his eyes. Tellios was fighting animated arrows, flying at him with amazing speed, he dodged or deflected each of them as they came, sending them careening into the statues in the arena, chipping and shattering them. Sweat glistened off of Tellios’s torso and, Lord have mercy, as I watched him, places tightened in me that hadn’t reacted in that way for years. I leaned over Shadowkahn’s shoulder and whispered, “How good is he?†Kahn whispered back, “better than me, he’s at least an 8th degree;†his honesty surprised me, but at least Kahn is aware that this show was for our benefit as much as it was for Tellios’s morning work out. I turned away to look at the specimens in jars in several locations amongst the shelves, honestly trying to avoid drooling over Tellios and letting that heat get the better of me. Tellios finished and disappeared through a doorway that opened in the wall of the arena. While I looked over two jars with organs in them, one labeled Lightning organ, one named Clear-sight organ, Tellios’s butler asked us into the dining room for brunch. There he stood at the head of the table clean, dry and dapper dressed, I felt vaguely reminded of the scene from Star Wars when Princess Leila, Han Solo, Chewbacca are invited to lunch by Lando, only to find Darth Vader waiting on the other side of the table.

     

    His four ladies were in positions around the room; the one that had had the gun fused to her hand had a nice new shiny cybernetic attachment. Everyone was on their best behavior, ultimately paranoid but we slowly relaxed, well some of us, Shadowkahn going in full disguise didn’t touch a thing; but honestly, if Tellios had wanted anything from us he already had access to it. We sat and talked for a while; he was very gracious to all of us talking to each of us; especially as to why GENESIS was trying to either capture or kill him. Tellios explained that he often provides GENESIS with medical knowledge when they come to him. Tellios was especially interested in Succor. I should have realized he was never in fear of his life during the attack and I should of guarded my comments in bitching at Succor and Geiger for the stunt that landed Geiger early into the fight. Tellios heard everything I said and then some.

     

    We asked him if he knew anything of SCADE and he supplied to us the same information that Stone had. As we were getting ready to leave I looked at him and asked if he had gotten the blood sample he had requested from VIPER on me, all he did was blink and smile, he replied, “yes, however it came long distance, by way of Zuric, UPS.†I smiled back at him, shook hands and we agreed on lunch on the 16th at Lucanios. We all piled out after that and headed home.

     

    My third session with Dr. Goodwater went well, I told her of the fiasco last night and she actually laughed! After feeling mortified for a minute, so did I. We talked in earnest about how to overcome some of the training obstacles in the future and chatted about my theories on running a gang of diversified nutcases for PRIMUS. We laughed some more before she put me under. Again I awoke refreshed and feeling good. Dr. Goodwater said that despite the setback in the Danger Room, I had progressed very well and should only need one more session tomorrow. I was incredibly happy with this news. We decided to try a Danger Room session without my powers on just to test how well I adapted to the idea of confinement. I did very well, no phobic reaction for over an hour; I didn’t want to stay longer since I was bored out of my skull. Next time I bring a notepad and pen. Actually I got bored enough I started reciting the table of elements and then moved onto various chemical computations.

     

     

    June 16, 2003

    I awoke from an incredibly steamy dream involving Tellios and myself, hadn’t had a dream like that in many, many years. I can’t lie; I’m drooling over my luncheon with Tellios tomorrow. Took a long shower and spent the rest of the day catching up on research until my final session with the psychiatrist. Dr. Goodwater put me under again and after I woke up suggested going down to the Danger Room to give our newfound freedom from phobia a try. We ran another non-powers test (brought computations to do while I waited) I lasted over 2 hours. Then we ran the powers test, I didn’t freak out this time, we had modified the box to allow for normal oxygen flow and we ran it until I was exhausted from using my powers. (Snowmen keep for quite some time in enclosed spaces.) Dr. Goodwater congratulated me on a job well done and looked forward to keeping in touch for future counseling if we ever needed her.

     

     

    June18, 2003

    It’s around midnight, I’ve been thinking a lot about this afternoon’s lunch. Tellios is brilliant, mentally he is everything I’ve ever aspired to be, well, honestly, physically too. His science is pure genius and God knows he has given me some wonderful ideas on improving my research, but then, then I think about what he has done, or more specifically rumored to have done (since the law can’t pin anything on him). Illegal experimentation, cloning, murder; he has gotten so far along in life, rich beyond the dreams of Midas and yet at what cost? I was a struggling scientist, living from grant to grant, trying to do something good with my knowledge, a genius in my own right, but there is such a difference in our lives. Is conscience what divides us? My morals keeping me back? He’s accomplished so much, obtained so much; yet here I sit a product of my own design, living the life of scientist and super hero. Am I really trying to make life better for others? My knowledge could be used for horrific purposes, put on the block for the highest bidder any country could begin creating their own mutants for destruction; I am one of the greatest medical miracles of all time, ok besides Tellios’s clones, but no one can know of it. I cannot publish all my findings; I cannot patent my formula for fear of misuse. How much danger would I be in if the world at large knew I could create mutations on a whim?

     

    I had started wondering why the government hasn’t asked me to create a new line of superheroes, so I did some digging and what I found only confirmed my thoughts that governments are dangerous. Back during WWII several military personnel volunteered to be part of an experiment involving radiation. They were told that it was to check the protection levels of new radiation suits, to insure that Americans military would be safe from fallout. The suits they were given to test did nothing to protect them from the lethal doses of radiation they were exposed to it was nothing but a thin layer of cloth. Why? Because the American government and military thought it would be a good idea to start creating their own mutants to fight the war, their own super powered army men, and they did it without the men’s permission, experimented on them without their knowledge or consent. Out of the 10 men exposed, nine perished, horribly, ravaged by the radiation. The 10th mutated, his base atomic structure became unstable and in essence, he became as deadly as the atomic explosion he had been exposed to; his name is now Gigaton, guess what he does. Can you guess who he works for? Doctor Destroyer, and even he won’t unleash the power within Gigaton, you don’t set off a nuclear explosion capable of shattering the planet you live on, its not good policy.

     

    Now here I am with the knowledge to create stable mutations, even if the powers (right now) are on the roll of the dice. Can I honestly let that knowledge roam free and not expect the consequences to be ghastly? I’m still experimenting, still trying to refine the process to lower the variable of the mutation properties, but at what cost do I keep doing this? I can never let my knowledge be used for evil purposes. I’m condemning myself to permanent disappointment, there will never be a Nobel Prize, no recognition from peers; I’ve trapped myself in a loop of unusable logic. Why do I keep experimenting, why do I go on with it knowing that there cannot be a application that wouldn’t be destructive to the human race by those in charge?

     

    Why am I being attacked by throws of conscience now instead of when I started the project? I’ve grown up over the years, perhaps my vision has widened from the narrow it had been. Perhaps it is because I look at Tellios and see what I could become if I let my conscience and morals slip, let my guard down and allow the pure scientist through without regard for others, I will become as much the void as he is.

     

    I’ve managed to depress myself thoroughly. The worst part of this is that I must work alongside individuals that I am unsure of, whose personalities are very different from mine. I believe that if necessary, they would kill all threats regardless of their being human or not. I worry about the kids, especially Geiger being corrupted by the others. You know I’ve never associated well with children, even when I was a child, I’m unsure as to where the kidding ends and the serious talk begins. There have been several times when his impetuous nature overrides any impulses of self-preservation he might have, which drags us into one combat or another. I’m still unsure about Slate, he hasn’t given me anything new to doubt him for, but he hasn’t bothered to come forward to the others or discuss further his actions, it’s almost like he’s just biding his time. I trust Shadowkahn because he has never lied to me and has proven to be an effective bodyguard, it was so strange seeing him sit and talk with Tellios’s bodyguards at the table next to us, but he does his job well. Huntsman is still as elusive as ever, I haven’t been able to pin him down yet; however, he has proven to stand strong when necessary. Wire and Succor still give me pause, I feel like I’m talking in out ear and out the other, nothing sticks. Succor is much more likely to get himself hurt while trying to keep us alive, I’d love to keep him away from combat, I’m insisting he work on defensive maneuvers. Wire’s lack of understanding of our world is somewhat crippling, he looks at everything very innocently, though if I understand correctly he’s be raised in one of the most devious locations in the known universe; which confuses the hell out of me how he cannot understand some of the simplest things. They are so thickheaded and very into the teenage idea of 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I know it’s the same for children everywhere, we did it to our parents, you did it to yours, our children do it to us; when were young we always think we know everything, not realizing that the adults really are the voice of experience.

     

    We have fought so much, and yet so little. So far we have fought demons, creatures, ghouls, hellhounds, robots and possessed humans. We’ve killed several VIPER agents trying to kill us, self-defense of course; we almost killed the possessed humans. But does self-defense justify our killing people? I’ve had a badge to hide behind for a while now, now everyone falls under the Act. Dose that mean we can kill any easier? It’s the same fear I’ve seen in comic book heroes, providing their morally responsible, your extremes would be Spider Man who’s very paladin like and wouldn’t kill, to The Authority who are anarchists but believe in setting things to right no matter who they step on. I especially worry about being in Jet’s proximity; she is a demon from hell, although she works with us to do “good†she is still inherently evil and made of the sins of the world. I fear we contaminate ourselves being with her. I’m continually worried by these thoughts, I need a spiritual councilor, I don’t know if PRIMUS can suggest one, I think I shall visit Father O’Malley, I believe that he would be understanding, he after all is a protector of the city, should he not protect and pray for us as well?

     

    I think its time for bed. Pray for me Mom & Dad, how long can one hunt the monsters before becoming one?

     

     

    June 21 & 22, 2003

    I woke up later than I had originally wanted to after my late night insomnia writing; though I do feel better that I did last night. Today’s fight was one for the records books; I don’t think I have ever had such a day battle of ups and downs in all my life. Though I’m sure read back in the future and see these words and go “yep, been worseâ€.

     

    Shadowkahn came to us this morning with a strange look, he showed us a news report stating that last night Red Dragon and Grey Ninja went at it again; knowing that the Ninja’s were under oath to complete their contract Grey went back. He is now rumored to of been killed in the final showdown with Red Dragon. The “Immortals Wars†appears to be slowing down, Dr. Yin Wu had resurfaced back in China, and there hadn’t been any further deaths. I had concern for Shadowkahn’s mentor Grey Ninja, no matter what they had done to us in the past; they had always acted honorably in accordance with their code of honor, I hoped for Shadowkahn’s sake that the rumors were false.

     

    However, Shadowkahn had come up with a plan for finishing off Black Paladin and his girlfriend’s dagger in the catacombs under the mansion. We visit Father O’Malley for blessings upon our weapons and us; he also gave us a supply of vials of holy water to destroy that damned dagger.

     

    We drove to the mansion and using the architectural designs one of the team had found, we decided to go into the catacombs through the entrance under the giant cross. Jet (or Dark Hunter) could still feel some remnants of holy power from the cross, but it wasn’t enough to deter the overwhelming stench of evil that permeates the place. After Geiger moved the cross, those that couldn’t fly descended a set of rusty handholds stamped into the wall. I floated down keeping my fires low but it was good enough for everyone to still see. Huntsman, Shadowkahn and Jet could all feel the evil still in the air. Succor had a case of the sweats about 3/4ths of the way down as the light above got smaller, but he kept his claustrophobia under control. I’m glad I had gone to therapy, I wasn’t feeling any panic. We bottomed out into a long man made tunnel, heavy rocks were used to build the passageway heading into the catacombs of the old mansion. Huntsman told us that he could “see†the magic in the stonework itself, the entire place nearly hummed of magic. He couldn’t identify the type but was sure that the magic reinforced the walls of the entire structure.

     

    We walked for a while, finally coming to a large room, that broke into 2 other corridors, both of them dark, with some strange writing (or sigil) as Huntsman called them, carved into the archways of the halls, the sigil to our right said “summon†the one directly in front of us said “fireâ€. We investigated the stonework of the room, coming close to the archway and hall closest on the right. There, Huntsman spied 4 odd objects in a line on the stonework: a drop of dried blood, a small dagger, a snake fang and a piece of iron; under these were odd sigils he translated as “summon†as well and told us to avoid disturbing the 4 objects.

     

    Here is where the age and treachery overcomes youth and skill, Black Paladin set his traps well. Geiger decided to try and get a better look down the hallway with the “summon†sigil on its archway and stepped OVER the 4 objects on the floor. To my eyes he didn’t touch a damn thing; however apparently something on him brushed the piece of iron. Next thing we know the 4 items glow, disappear and in their place are 4 demons, one made of blood oozing everywhere, a serpent demon with antlers, a goat hoofed Greek warrior with a 4 foot long sword and a shield and finally a iron demon that looks like it has scale mail for a body; they moved in for the attack.

     

    Shadowkahn immediately leapt into the battle using some sort of claw hand attack against the snake demon ripping its torso open, the demon healed itself but we could see it was staggered. Slate blasted the blood demon and I fry it with a fireball. Succor came up behind me and I felt him touch me, next thing I know, I get this incredible surge of energy and my shields thicken. However while that was happening the blood demon oozed up to me, grabbed me by the head and planted a kiss on my lips, I convulsed and tasted blood in my mouth as it started to drain me of blood, healing it. I felt a blast of heat rip past us both and the blood demon flowed away and I staggered back badly hurt into Succors arms. I watched through dazed eyes at Geiger and the iron demon beat pounded on each other until Geiger grappled it, the iron demon reforming itself into thousands of spikes piercing Geiger, pinning them together. Shadowkahn continued ripping into the snake not giving it a chance to heal; Slate continued to fire at the blood demon and Huntsman and Wire Walker kept the war demon (as Jet called the one with the sword) occupied.

     

    Succor tells me to hold on and I feel power surge back into my limbs clearing my head but I was still staggered and he tells me to stay close because he’ll hit me again with another “upgrade†in powers. I stay in front of him and watch as Shadowkahn rips the chest away from the snake demon. One of Wire Walkers “disks of doom†fly past the war demon, I take a chance and send a fireball into the war demon and then get the shit beat out of me when it hefts the sword, transforms it into a spear and rams it into me. I heard the meaty sound of bone shattering and screamed in pain as the spear shatters my humerus and pins me to the wall and for the moment I black out.

     

    The next thing I know I’m wide-awake and howling in pain as the bones and flesh of my arm try to knit back together around the spear shaft because Succor, not seeing my left arm pinned touched me to heal me again. I couldn’t pull the spear out of the wall so I had to pull myself down the length of the shaft, and as I fell to the floor in more pain, the arm slowly closed up around the open hole. Succor came up behind me again and I again flared to life, but this time he increased my fire potential. I staggered up and tried to get an appraisal of the situation.

     

    Shadowkahn plunged his fist into its snake demons chest crushing its heart killing it. The spear disappeared out of the wall and back into the hands of the war demon, where it transformed into flail and the demon advanced on Slate, as Slate was busy reloading. Wire Walker tried another spinning disk of doom and it “spangs†off the war demon careening down the hall past Succor’s hiding spot. Geiger punched the iron demon in the head separating the two of them. Jet attacked the war demon with claw attacks along its back and strikes with a huge fire attack staggering it, in its dying act it retaliates by transforming the flail into a war pick and slams it home into her shoulder, then falls away to dust. The iron demon seemed to pull its fist out of Pittsburgh and punches Geiger so hard the boy goes flying over our heads into the hallway with the arch that says “summoning†on it and into the darkness, we don’t hear him land.

     

    I lit up; my flames are white hot and I sent a blast into the blood demon vaporizing it into gray ash and then turn towards the last remaining demon; Jet sends a blast of hellfire into the iron golem the same time I hit it with my fireball. Then it does something bizarre, it liquefies and moves again into the attack. Jet and I looked at each other stuptified, the power of both our heat blasts not only healed the iron demon but gave it its secondary form. It flows towards Jet, forming a blade out of its arm and slams it through her, the smell of charring demon flesh follows with it and Jet howled in pain and anger. Wire tried to magnetize it, the demon swung at him knocking him flat into Slate and Huntsman bowling them over. I figured since our combined heat healed it, cold should revert it and do it harm, so I turned up the ice powers and encased it a block of ice. The demon solidified and with a second shot of ice bolts it shattered.

     

    Then all was quiet. Strangely quiet.

     

    In the aftermath of everything a sudden calm came over us, over the area and suddenly a figure in samurai armor appeared kneeling in front of Shadowkahn a long wooden case in its armored hands. We could see inside the helmet, there was nothing inside. We watched Shadowkahn take a reactive step backwards and then catch himself as a sepulchered voice echoed out of the armor. “Let the Oath be completed,†Shadowkahn reverently took hold of the case and the armor disappeared. Shadowkahn looked up at all of us for a moment and then turned his gaze back to the symbol on the box, 3 green cloverleaves in a field of black. “My oath, my clan,†Shadowkahn said, “This means the rumors of Grey Ninjas death are not rumors but fact.†My heart went out to him; I had begun to assume that Grey was something of a father figure as well as teacher to Shadowkahn. Shadowkhan opened the case revealing a scroll and a Ying Yang symbol formed in clay. He read it to himself and looked thoughtful for a moment, rolled up the scroll and placed it back into the box. He took out the symbol and closed the case and then tucked it into his shirt. He looked at us and said, “I’m sorry, but my oath comes due,†and snapped the clay symbol in half. Jet shrieked aloud and screamed “NO!†she seemed to struggle with her own body and marched forward wrapping her arms around Shadowkahn and they both vanished in a flare of fire and brimstone.

     

    We all blinked at each other for a minute or two and then from down the hallway he had flown we all heard a loud, “I landed in something squishy,†from Geiger. The entire episode dealing with the summons had taken God knows how long but it was as if time had stood still. The worst thing is that all I could think was there goes our two powerhouse fighters against evil. There was a collective shrug as the remainder of us ran down the hallway towards Geiger’s voice. I didn’t know at the time that Huntsman had lingered behind and had gone into combat with a monk zombie that had shambled out of “fire†hallway as we entered the other; he finished it off admirably.

     

    Before we got to the end Wire sent a magnetic light source down the hallway illuminating the room Geiger had landed in. We saw strange tentacles wiggling from the ceiling with Geiger arms waving at us from below ground level; apparently he had landed in a pit of some kind. Huntsman came up behind us and commented that he had seen some more sigils on the walls, ones to keep something in, he said, pointing to the tentacles waving up above Geiger. Double-checking that Wire didn’t have his force field on to redirect his fire, Huntsman launched a lightning bolt into the tentacles above and we watched the thing writhe in pain. I launched myself into the air and flew towards Geiger’s flailing arms, I pulled him from the pit he was in, unfortunately the far wall was too close and I wound up smacking both of us into it. The creature above disengaged itself from the ceiling and started flying towards Huntsman to attack. Geiger picked himself up and looked down into the pit he had recently been floundering in and swore. I looked around him and stared in horror, the “wormy†things that had been flailing around him were small tentacles grasping down into a toothed maw, they thing had been trying to eat him. This look of revulsion went over Geiger’s face and he used a power we hadn’t seen since his time training after his “upgrade,†two bolts of energy lanced out of his hands as he blasted the creature in the pit. It writhed in pain and went up in flames.

     

    While Huntsman dodged the freaky flying squid, apparently the thing in the pit was related to the thing in air because the extra dimensional thing in the air decided that putting its beak through Geiger’s chest was a good idea. Succor tried sneaking around the edge of the room only to scream as he almost walked into a zombie dressed in monks’ robes shambled out of a smaller hallway leading out of the room, I spent no time in blasting the zombie to atoms. I then turned and tried to fire blast (should I name my attacks? Komaha maha!) the flying squid but missed and wound up hitting Geiger, fortunately since my fire is energy based it healed him, but I was mortified that I had hit a teammate. Huntsman launched another volley of lightning into the flying squid killing it, and it floated to the ceiling as fried calamari.

     

    We took a breather, letting Slate reload his weaponry the rest of us healing. Huntsman took time to really analyze the walls surrounding the room and came across a second passage, this one had stairs leading down. The one the zombie had come from was a long decline, we debated for a few minutes as to which way to go, I decided to send a giant iceball down the slope to see how far it went, we lost track of the light from the glow stick I encased in the ice long before the hallway ended. We gathered ourselves and talked down the hall, following my slowly melting iceball. After walking/flying the length of the passage for a mile and some we came to a door, and quite the strange looking door it was. While Huntsman peered at it trying to configure its message I did some quick mental calculations based upon how far we had actually traveled underground; I figured that by now we were probably under Lake Erie (that almost brought on a panic attack); I didn’t voice my theory out loud though.

     

    The door had strange qabalistic symbols on it, symbols of holding, Huntsman said, and very old. However there was a new symbol on the door, the symbol of the raven, which we had come to know as Black Paladins symbol. Huntsman could also feel some serious power behind the door, he said, a lay line of some sort (which in magic terms means extra power from the earth, go fig) and a “huge freaking flaming pit of evil blacknessâ€. At that point the rest of us started a debate as to what in Gods name we were to actually do, finally it came down to, lets just peek in. Carefully (I swear we must of looked like the Marx Brothers) we all peeked in, the room was huge, about the size of a football field with rows and rows of bleachers with hundreds of monks, sitting, chanting. In the middle of the room, standing on a raised dais was Black Paladin, on the large alter next to him laying down it an appearance of sleep, was the woman with black hair the dagger clasped in her hands, presumably Chantal’s body. There were strange motes of dark black and blue in dark streams of light (how light can be dark I don’t know but it was “dark†light), Huntsman whispered, “summoning magic†to the question of what the chant and dark colors were. Black Paladin was chanting along with the undead monks, and for once, not dressed in his usual armor. He stood dressed in old style garb and he looked rather good, no wonder women used to fall all over him, he was quite the looker.

     

    It was impossible for Slate to shoot him from this distance, but after further surveying the room and noticing the open beams in the ceiling above we came up with a plan. Wire would fly Slate up to a beam so he could be cover fire and active fire against Black Paladin. I would fly in with Geiger and drop the kid off in front of BP to start the pounding, Huntsman would sneak in to grab the dagger and get out with it, Succor would go for the girl (hopefully it was another victim and not Chantal herself, that doesn’t sound right does it? Hoping that it was some innocent victim and not an evil bitch from Hell.) Wire would help me take out zombies and led attack support against Black Paladin. It’s so easy to look back on what we did and actually understand the plan, because when we decided on it, it sounded stupid. We took off.

     

    Geiger and I did well, until the monks stood up as part of the ritual and then it was like mowing very rotten grass. Body parts and fluid in colors I never want to think of again flew past us as I barreled into the zombies with Geiger’s body. By the time we got to the alter; Geiger was coated in zombie goo, I think we splatted about 25 to 35 zombies, it was kinda hard to tell actually. Paladin looked up at us heading towards him, frowned at us and his armor suddenly appeared around him, lance in hand, sword in the other a large mace at his side. He tried lancing Geiger and myself but I managed an evasive maneuver that kept us out of range. Wire dropped off Slate in the rafters and started attacking zombies; Slate took up a good position and began firing; getting Black Paladins attention as Slate’s first volley slammed into him. Things got a little crazy when Black Paladins Nightmare horse (the ones that breathe fire and have fire on their hooves) started chasing Succor around the room threatening to run him over, that kid and his roller blades barely kept in front of it until Wire was able to grab him and then both of them barely kept in front of it flying at full speed. I had pulled out a vial of holy water from Father O’Malley and was going to pour it on the blade…only problem is when I popped the cork, the holy water exploded, I was showered in shattered glass and glass was embedded in the palm of my hand, my armor sheared off by the force of the blast. My scream took everyone by surprise, and I heard Huntsman over the radio say, “I guess this isn’t our home dimension, the environment here is toxic to holy objects, the holy water is like a grenade.â€

     

    Huntsman had managed to sneak up and snatch the dagger from out of the girl’s hands while Black Paladin’s attention was focused on launching his lance into Slate. I couldn’t stop it before it hit Slate in the side, but it vanished after it hit. None of us realized what had happened until a steady drip of blood began to rain down from Slate’s side, apparently the Lance of Unvanquished Pain makes an wound open. Geiger saw the oncoming crowd of zombies and used his “quake†attack, pounding both fists into the ground, it was pretty cool to see most of the creatures fall, some of them with legs snapping off, his attacks are good for group battles, I hope he starts using them more when we have mob situations. Slate was really professional about it though, he kept his sights targeted on Paladin and kept firing at him even as his blood seeped away; I must admit I’m very proud of him, I still have some misgivings and we still argue like cats and dogs but, in a pinch, in a fight, he’s reliable and tries his damnedest to do the job right. Geiger got whacked by Paladins sword and from my vantage height flying above them I could see his shadow get sucked away from him, we didn’t know what that meant until just about every trick or attack he tried started to fail, it was as if all his luck had become bad luck, which was exemplified when he grabbed the girl off the alter and tried to jump the length of the room only to whack himself in the head on the beams above.

     

    The Nightmare changed targets heading after Huntsman to stop him escaping with the dagger, it bowled into him but Huntsman managed to keep hold of the dagger and kept running; Succor got the idea of using one of the holy water vials as a suppository against the Nightmare, Succor and Wire managed to get rid of the Nightmare using the holy water as a grenade against it, when it toppled over the Nightmare vanished. I reformed my armor (that and it kept the glass from doing more damage) and formed a long ice blade, stabbing Black Paladin at the neck and shoulder joint, I actually did damage but he appeared not to care.

     

    It was very creepy, all of a sudden, Black Paladin turned and looked at me, I could see his eyes almost glowing in fury, “you will all pay for this,†he said; despite being comfortable in sub zero temperatures I shivered. I looked up to see Slate trying to get one more shot off but he slumped against the beam, fortunately not falling off. I yelled into the headset for everyone to make a run for it, the dagger was already out of the room; Geiger handed over the girl to Succor and I ordered Succor to find Huntsman and stay with him; Wire picked up Geiger dropped him off at the doorway, then laid down cover fire against the zombies as I flew up and grabbed Slate off the ceiling and headed towards the door; I gave the order for Geiger to shut the door as soon as we were all through. I could see Black Paladin apparently summon the Nightmare back to him; he mounted the horse and with a quick gallop disappeared. I shivered again, I know we have made an enemy for life, his or ours, Black Paladin will never forgive us.

     

    Geiger slammed the door home before the zombies could get any closer and the team either flew or ran down the hallway until we caught up with Huntsman and Succor; the trip out of the catacombs seemed to take forever. Slate woke up about halfway up the hall, so I put him down and let him jog the rest of the way, the lance only does damage if BP continues to concentrate on it. When we finally got to the end of the catacombs and emerged into the first room, the girl’s body disintegrated, turned to ash and blew away. Apparently Chantal hadn’t been brought fully back into the world, and with our plans for the dagger, never would be. Black Paladin would only know is love again in Hell.

     

    We made it back to the van and drove back to Father O’Malley’s. During the trip, everything Geiger touched or came within his “personal space†began to go wrong. He had tripped or walked into things as he had gotten to the van, tripped getting into the van, broke the handle pulling the door closed, the headphone radios went dead or couldn’t get a line, our cell phones lost signal, we hit every traffic light, he broke the door getting out of the van, tripped over each step to the church and knocked over the pews. I kept him from shaking hands with Father O’Malley just in case he over exerted and broke the mans hand. Father O’Malley suggested that with the removal of his shadow the boy was cursed with bad luck, we all looked at Father and said “no kidding.â€

     

    After Father dragged Geiger off to a special room for “cleaningâ€, he did the rite for the dagger, submerging it in holy water, I was expecting some frothing or boiling of the water, but the dagger went quietly. After it was submerged for a few minutes, Father removed the dagger to have it placed in their vault below. Succor spent the rest of the afternoon healing everyone; we also used a salve that Father O’Malley gave to us to make sure that our wounds weren’t tainted by our exposure to the evil dimension. Personally after getting French kissed by a blood demon and having to pick glass shards out of my hand, I was pretty happy to get any blessings I could. We had spent all of last night (the 21st) in that hellhole and I was more than happy to be in the sunshine again. Huntsman spent some time talking to Father O’Malley about what had happened down there in the catacombs, several odd magical things were discussed that I don’t have any clue about and would prefer to remain ignorant of. While the rest of us rested in the eves of the church who should walk in but Shadowkahn, our reception of him was warm and inviting but wholly sarcastic, so nice of him to miss all the fun.

     

    Shadowkahn explained that as Grey Ninja had been his sensei (teacher), and a member of his clan, it fell to him to make sure that Grey’s remains were brought together for the Reverend Elder to send his soul to peace. While he spent time in Tibet (after going through Hell, literally to get there) with the Reverend Elder, who explained that the Destroyer (as in Doctor Destroyer) had set the wheels in motion to destroy the Immortals, simply to see how immortality works. The Destroyer was also determined to see the last of the Reverend Elders clan destroyed, Grey Ninja apparently being the last. But Shadowkahn told us; the Reverend Elder said that “his†clan would last long enough to get the job done.

     

    Doctor Destroyer studying immortality, so many good and bad dead, Taurus, Hercules, Thor, the Ninjas, Technophanes; all so Destroyer could learn. Talk about eggs breaking for the omelet; with as many times as Destroyer has resurfaced you could swear he was already immortal. We greeted this news rather somberly.

     

    In the mean time, Father O’Malley had tried everything he could think of to fix Geiger’s lack-of-shadow problem and stated that he would have to stay until tomorrow in the special room in the church before he could, in good conscience, let the boy back out into the world. Dennis had become a living embodiment of bad luck, if would have been homicidal, possibly suicidal for Geiger to leave. We agreed and left him to Father O’Malley’s superior knowledge.

     

    The ride home was much easier without Geiger’s bad luck sabotaging the van.

     

    I am beyond tired; the day, hell, two days have been hard. I’m very proud of this team. In the face of adversity and strange circumstance, we did very well. We did the job and nobody on our side died, injured yes, but no deaths; Geiger is my only worry, how long it will take him to recover is unknown but Father will keep us informed.

     

    Before I wrote this I composed my report to PRIMUS and then headed to the bath. I showered and soaked myself until the water went cold and then I powered up and boiled the water some more, I think I soaked for almost 3 hours. I have some interesting scar tissue, a circle where the spear went through the humerus in my left arm, the crescent and crosscut scars on my right hand from the glass, fortunately there is no permanent damage to the tendons, bone or muscle. Succor does an incredible job of healing and although it’s appropriate, I think we should refrain from calling him “band aid.†Everyone really outdid themselves, I would of preferred for Huntsman not to of snuck out, but he kept his eye on the ball and let us handle the damage control, he had taken more than his share of hurts in the game so I’m not going to fault him. There were some odd ups and downs errors and some serious flying trajectory mistakes but in all we did well. I’m going to hang up the pen and go lay down in my nice soft cushy bed and pray for a good nights sleep and no aches and pains in the morning.

     

    Love you

     

    Vi

  7. Re: Campaign Notes so far

     

    Well some of you have written me as to what else has happened in my game and I am happy to say my wonderful note takeing character has done another of the game months worth. Remember this game month took approximately 3 months to play out.

     

    Enjoy

  8. Re: Killing Charachters/Villians in your games. Do you do it?

     

    I will generally say that the mortality rate for my games is very low but it is still there. Normals tend to get killed either accidentally or on purpose by the villans. I have had a few Heroes die and some actively sought out and killed by villains. And I have had some PC heroes kill some villains. Both are rare cases but as my players know Death can and does happen. On the other hand they also know they usually are either doing something incredibly heroic to die or incredibly stupid, not much middle ground. Now with all that being said lets look upon some numbers. I have been relatively continuously GMing Champions or a Hero type game since 1986. With the exception of my Fantasy and Modern Hero games only 8 PC heroes in that time have been killed. 15 Villains have been killed in that time, not including the ones that faked their deaths. Now agents unfortunately have not had nearly as good a time at it, but some of the games I have ran in the past have turned a trifle bloody with some deminsional or space wars. So I average a player death about every 2 years and a villain death about 1 a year. In my current game that I have been running since April of last year no Villain deaths so far and no heroes being killed as of yet although one story line will lead towards that end. Whether it gets there is of course up to the players choices.

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