Gateway City

The Plague of the Golden Orchids

It began quietly. Only a few heroes noticed.

Pillar was on patrol when he spotted a panic in a bookshop. He found a delivery man who had been transformed into a savage, raging half-lizard thing. Quickly subduing it, he left it for the police. He took the flowers the man had been delivering, and went in search of someone who could help him understand how they might be linked the the strange transformation.

His search took him to a local laboratory, where coincidentally Solar was visiting with one of his few contacts on Earth. The scientist was fascinated (if somewhat disturbed) by the description of the transformation, and set to work immediately.

Meanwhile, in Southside, Dr. Ellen Sheridan was dealing with a crisis of her own. A patient had been brought to St. Jude’s Hospital because of a severe allergic reaction. However, while in the ambulance, the patient had transformed into another of the lizard-creatures. It took a number of the hozpital’s guards and orderlies to subdue the being, while Dr. Sheridan examined it.

Sensing the man’s life-force, the good doctor managed to learn that the poor soul had been transformed into a lizard-human hybrid through the agencies of the golden orchid flower he wore as a boutonniere. Before she could deduce more, she was called away. Apparently, the man was only the first of MANY at the wedding to be so transformed!

When January and the rest of her medical team arrived, the police had formed a cordon around the wedding hall. The reception had been awash with the golden flowers, and everyone in close proximity to them had been transformed. The altered wedding party and guests had then turned on the still-human guests, attempting to rend them limb-from-limb!

Between them, Dr. Sheridan and Nick Tyler devised a clever plan. Tyler’s officers stormed the wedding, containing the lizard-creatures while Sheridan’s medical staff entered to quarantine the flowers. It was all accomplished in short order, and both lizard-men and flowers were taken to a staging area set up to contain the threat.

By the time Tyler, Sheridan et al arrived, the staging area was handling a number of “outbreaks” from across the city, though none as widespread as the wedding. Solar and Pillar had found their way here, directed by a city official who had called on Solar’s scientist friend. The heroes sat down to exchange their paltry information. They had learned that the flowers had all appeared mysteriously. While looking like orchids, they were apparently not – they were the ancestors of orchids, from the distant past!

Keil appeared, having followed the trickle of Sauronids here. He identified the flower as the “sacred Nara” of the Dinosaur Men. A quick check on Dinosaur Island confirmed that it was possible that Lord Tyrannos and his mate had slipped off the island. But where to find him?

A clue was provided when the report came in of an aborted disaster. A gardening club was about to embark on a charity planting drive of the golden orchids, when the flowers were seized by police. This time, there was a clear source – one of the club’s members was a gardener at the Emerald Park greenhouses. A team proceeded there, while January stayed back to try and cure those transformed.

The heroes discovered a single greenhouse taken over by Lady Tyrannos, and overgrown with the flowers on strange vines. Taking the Sauronid Brood Mother by surprise, they were able to knock her unconscious, while Solar defeated her minions with gouts of flame. Nightstick appeared, taking care of some of the stragglers. to their chagrin, the heroes discovered that the flowers could defend themselves, as the vines animated and began trying to smother the heroes!

January arrived just in time. She drained the life from the vines with her powers, and between her and Solar, they were able to finish the deadly vines off.

Investigating the ruins of the greenhouse, the good doctor realized that the plants had had their pollen harvested. clearly, Lord Tyrannos was out there, planning on releasing the pollen on Gateway City.

A police report came in, letting the heroes know that Tyrannos and a force of demi-Sauronids had invaded Robard Towers. The heroes were there in a flash. Arriving as the Dinosaur King and his minions took control of the Tower’s roof, the heroes were off like a flash. While Solar had little trouble flying to the roof, and Keil climbed the Art Deco exterior with ease, others were forced to improvise. Nightstick and January ascended the sabotaged elevator shaft with grapples. Pillar stood briefly frozen, worry apparent on his face. He quickly shook it off, however, and raised a column of stone to carry him to the roof.

Once on the roof, Solar launched a blast of fire at the pollen bag. Unfortunately, this backfired, spraying pollen down around the building, and forcing the Living Sun to burn it off before it endangered those below.

In the meantime, Nightstick exchanged threats with the Dinosaur King while January held off the demi-Sauronids. The Dark Avenger’s words hit home, sending Lord Tyrannos into a psychotic rage! Nightstick used the Tyrant Lizard’s rage against him, choking the giant mastermind into submission.

The Return of Argal

Waking from a precognitive dream, Talismonger rushed out to the Halcyon Building, where he went searching for a mad bomber, linked to his dream. He found the saboteur in the elevator shaft, planting some kind of strange device. Talismonger informed the police, and then delved into the saboteur’s mind.

Talsmonger learned that the saboteur had been hired by a mysterious person to plant these devices all through the building. With the deadline fast approaching, Talismonger then bewitched him into removing the devices, making him think he had placed them on the wrong building.

In the meantime, Nick Tyler was coordinating the police response. Staying out of the saboteur’s way, Tyler had bomb teams ready to disarm any of the other devices. Unfortunately, time ran out! Talismonger contained the last few devices in a mystic force-field just as a coruscating beam lanced down from the clouds. After searching in vain for the devices, it narrowed and sent down a squad of small, blue-skinned aliens. Nick Tyler, getting this report, exclaimed “They weren’t bombs! They were homing devices! SWAY teams to the roof! NOW!!”

the SWAT teams responded quickly, and thanks to Talismonger’s efforts to contain the troops, they were quickly taken into custody, but not before one threw a teleporter beacon down the hole they had blasted in the roof. The beam flashed again, and a massive, green figure emerged. The SWAT teams reported that it looked like Brute, but dressed in the strange armour of the aliens. Tyler told them to stay put, he was getting reinforcements.

Talismonger threw a quick force-field around the monster, but something in the air made it flicker out just as the creature got his bearings. The SWAT team was reduced to avoiding “Brute”’s powerful but clumsy blows, until Nightstick challenged it with the ominous phrase “You’re not Brute”.

The green giant turned, and stared into Nightstick’s eyes with his strange, glowing orbs. “Brute doesn’t live here anymore. Now it’s just me.” Then he unleashed a psychokinetic blast that leveled a wall. Nightstick dodged at the last second, only being grazed. “That almost hurt.”

The SWAT team beat a hasty retreat, leaving a smoke grenade back as a present for the creature. At the same time, Talismonger casta a spell to interfere with the monstrous psychic’s abilities. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse followed in the fog. Nightstick managed to put non-Brute in a sleeper hold just as Talismonger robbed the villain of his super-strength. Gateway’s Dark Avenger put the creature down handily, then disappeared under the cover of fog.

The police arrived to take the aliens into custody, and they were able to identify the being in Brute’s body as Argal the Conqueror, an alien warlord who had menaced Earth several times.

Breakout at Gateway Prison

The heroes (Jeneal, Pacifier and The Talismonger) responded to an alarm call at Gateway Prison. Some mysterious foe had blown open the exterior wall, and broken into the cell blocks, releasing all the prisoners.

Landing at the opening, Pacifier recognized paramilitary troopers as belonging to ARSENAL’s private forces. He took down two of them with his sonic blaster, while Jeneal demonstrated her incredible swordsmanship on another two.

Meanwhile, Talismonger had teleported in to the top of the wall. He attempted to seal the breach with a mystical force-field, but the construct was soon overwhelmed by the mass of rioting prisoners who threw themselves against it! Searching through his pouches, he found a token that caused the wall to rebuild itself. A few of the inmates attempted to hitch a ride, but Pacifier’s quick reflexes knocked them off.

The battle moved into the prison yard. Jeneal cut a swath of pain and injury through the prison yard, while Pacifier took care of the ARSENAL troops guarding the hole in the prison proper. Talismonger took to the skies, checking for stragglers (and nabbed a couple).

With the ARSENAL troops secured, Pacifier proceeded inside, looking for the source of an explosion that Talismonger said he heard. At Jeneal’s advice, he checked in the basement, improvising an entrance through the floor.

Meanwhile, inside the prison, the dark vigilante Nightstick had been helping to subdue the riot. He saw several of the ARSENAL troops head downstairs, and he followed.

Both Nightstick and the larger team arrived on scene to find that the troops had freed Dr. Radiotron, and had also just retrieved his Radiotronic Blaster from lockup. Nightstick’s aura of menace caused the ARSENAL troops to freeze where they stood, but the mad Radiotron took aim on the group instead!

Pacifier stepped in and took the Blaster away from Radiotron, while Jeneal struck the mad scientist a crippling blow. Radiotron, seeing his defeat, managed to activate an emergency teleporter, and set the blaster to explode. Unfortunately for him, the heroes were able to either dodge or resist, while the ARSENAL troops took the brunt of the explosion.

After regrouping and treating the wounded soldiers, the group set out in pursuit of Radiotron. Talismonger was able to trace his location to an underground bunker deep in the Nevada desert. He transported the group there, where they quickly detained Radiotron and handed back over to police custody.


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