Gateway City

Winter's Hunger

Our story begins when The Cabbie became aware of a series of mysterious disappearances. Talismonger, learning of them, was convinced that they were linked to a dark premonition he had had — someone was trying to raise Gisinibi the Hungerer once again.

While Talismonger sought out the mystic loci connected with this cold and hungry power, Cabbie conducted a more mundane investigation in his civilian identity. Both discover the traces of a secret society, called the Frozen Banquet. Led by a man named Anthony Lavoie, the banquet is a cannibal cult dedicated to ancient beings of cold and hunger.

Scrying out the places of power, Talismonger determined that two of them were warehouses, presumably where potential sacrifices were being kept before the Banquet’s dark ritual. The third was a stately home in a posh neighbourhood, likely the headquarters of the vile cult.

Meanwhile, Cabbie contacted Lavoie in an attempt to infiltrate the cult. He is quickly exposed (thanks to his unsubtle pitch), captured, and left to the mercies of ravenous Windigo-zombies. Only the last-second intervention of Talismonger prevented his gruesome death.

Regrouping, the two heroes call for aid. They send Pillar, Strongbow, Pacifier and Solar to the warehouses to free the abductees while they attempted to infiltrate the Banquet’s sanctum.

The pair arrive at the house and easily locate the secret passages down to the ritual chambers below. Unfortunately, the Cabbie’s earlier call to the press has alerted the cult, and they are prepared for the heroes. The cultists spring a magical trap, and then leave both our heroes and several hostages to be devoured by windigo. Talismonger is able to shatter the trap and Cabbie summons his cab and rescues the hostages, but Lavoie is long gone.

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A Little Problem

After picking up White Dwarf up as a fare, The Cabbie heard an alarm coming over his radio. When they arrived, they found a few fist-sized round holes in a 4th story window. After making a new entrance with his cab, The Cabbie and White Dwarf made their way to the laboratory where the alarm was going and there they found a few of Gateway City’s Finest locked out of the lab in question. A few seconds later, the Cabbie opened the locks and they were in.

In the lab they found the curious sight of various lab equipment and samples floating through the air and landing in a neat pile. The Cabbie then exclaimed that the floating objects were actually being carried by about a dozen little floating aliens… Lilithans he called them later. While the two were dealing with some of these Lilithans, the others had collected most of their loot… and all of their fallen comrades… and teleported away… all except the remains of one of their teleportation belts.

Plugging the remains of this belt into a port in his cab, the Cabbie was able to download the location of the Lilthan’s base… down in the storm sewers below Gateway City… and he learned their leader’s name… Overlord Tznitpuk.

Somehow navigating his cab through the storm sewers, The Cabbie pulled up to the entrance to the Lilthan’s underground base.

White Dwarf said that it was now his turn, and tore the metal door out of the solid rock to reveal about a dozen Lilithans. The two heroes dealt with them easily and then looked for another exit from the room… and found a door that White Dwarf could barely squeeze through and that The Cabbie would almost have to crawl through.

After White Dwarf quickly enlarged the tunnel, they made their way past some automated turrets to another door. This time, White Dwarf charged the doors and flew through what he left of the doors as they entered the room.

After dealing with about a dozen of the Lilithans again, Overlord Tznitpuk marched into the room in his armored combat suit.

White Dwarf and The Cabbie tried everything they could think of. They looked for weak sections of the armor… they tried to smash the power source… to no lasting effect… then The Cabbie came up with an idea.

Having his cab smash its way through the whole complex on its way, he used it to ram Overlord Tznipuk. This actually seemed to damage the combat suit!

Before Overlord Tznipuk could recover from the first hit, The Cabbie quickly got his cab to back up and ram Overlord Tznipuk again, sending the pint sized alien flying back… but before they could do anything more, all the Lilithans disappeared… they must have teleported away again. Looking around, the two heroes found the stolen lab equipment and samples, and looking back down the passageway that Overlord Tznipuk had come from, they found a Lilithan sized supercomputer. The Cabbie managed to disconnect the supercomputer and was preparing to take it away when they heard what could only be a countdown on a self destruct device. The Cabbie quickly turned his cab around while White Dwarf somehow managed to throw all the Lilithan’s stolen goods into the back of the cab and jump in the back seat just before the whole base exploded.

With the flames of the explosion licking the back of the cab, The Cabbie managed to outrace the worse of the explosion and excaped back into the storm sewers.

Without any solid evidence, though, the Gateway City Police were not very convinced of the presence of these “Little green aliens” that had stolen everything, but were thankful that White Dwarf and The Cabbie were able to recover all of the stolen items.

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Havoc In The Skyway!

It’s a special day at the Skyway Mall, as Angelina Jolie is making an appearance to promote her new film. Security is tight, with none other than Deputy Chief Tyler in charge.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a gang of unusual thugs show up. The all-woman gang was outfitted with roller blades and pads, and dressed like a punk band. Moving at blurring speed, they ganged up on the security force.

While the security deals with her roller-grrls, Havoc moves in to take out Angie! The Vixen of Velocity hadn’t reckoned on Gateway’s supercop, however. Tyler blocked her attack on Ms. Jolie, and engaged her in hand-to-hand combat. Unfortunately, Havoc knocked Tyler flying, his form disappearing into the spray of a fountain.

Luckily, some of the Vigilants were nearby to respond to Nick Tyler’s call for aid. The Cabbie zoomed in through the open roof, laying out several of the roller-grrls with a swipe from his flying Cab. Solar took care of the inner ring of roller-grrls, stunning them with blinding light and allowing the terrified crowd to flee. January, in the meantime, has moved to check on the starlet’s state of health.

Havoc once again moved on Ms. Jolie. She didn’t get far before finding herself attacked — by Nightstick! The dark vigilante grappled her, allowing Angelina to retreat, escorted by January.

Two of the roller-grrls, having broken away from the fracas, swoop in and grab Angie. Unfortunately, they reckoned without January’s touch, which drained their speed enough for Solar to stun them. Angelina, no stranger to the bad girl’s role, broke away from her captors and dive-rolled into the waiting Cab.

Meanwhile, Havoc had broken away from Nightstick by vibrating into intangibility. By the time he’s recovered from the setback, Havoc is halfway to the food court. The Cabbie, not willing to give her an inch, fires one of his electro-nets at a pair of pillars, creating a trap that shocks the speedstress into unconsciousness. The day is saved, and Ms. Jolie invites the three Vigilants (minus Nightstick, who has disappeared once more) to attend the screening in her company.

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Lord Tyrannos Returns!

For our heroes, things began when The Cabbie spotted four men with guns bundling a wriggling laundry sack into a van. Ridding himself of his fare, The Cabbie took off in pursuit, and within scant seconds had stopped the fleeing van. Solar and Talismonger, responding to the call for assistance Cabbie had put out, showed up in time to help the Heroic Hack take the criminals into custody.

When interrogated, the criminals turned out to be members of the Dinosaur Island Task Force, and had no memory of what they had done. The victim of their kidnapping attempt, Dr. Eric Jansen, was a noted paleontologist, one of several scientists who had been the victim of recent kidnapping attempts. Clearly, everything pointed to Lord Tyrannos, a fact which was confirmed when Talismonger probed the men’s memories and saw them talking to Lady Tyrannos. Talismonger reached out his eldritch senses and contacted Keil.

Keil had been on the trail of this evil himself. He had seen humans go into Tyrannos’ fortress, and not all of them had returned. Moreover, there was now a strange wall of light guarding the fortress doors. Interrogating one of the patrols which had entered, they told Keil they had never been there. Clearly, the Lizard King’s mate was at work. When Talismonger contacted him, Keil invited them to the island, giving them the “magic words” to pass the guard-posts.

Once on the island (which took a little more talking than expected – Lt Calhoun wasn’t impressed with The Cabbie), Keil explained his side of the story, and guided them to the doors to Tyrannos’ fortress. The “wall of light” was a force field, one strikingly similar to those used by the Argalians.

They decided they needed to get inside immediately, and Talismonger provided the means. He mystically disguised them all as Sauronids, and then opened a gate in the force-field using his magic.

Once inside, they found the ancient halls once more populated, mainly with strange half-Sauronid men with blasters. They fast-talked their way past the first guards (no thanks to The Cabbie’s short-sighted enthusiasm) and reached the main mustering hall. There, a [[The Conquerers, pt. II | Manoran viewscreen and teleporter had been set up]], and were being modified by the scientists, overseen by the demi-Sauronids that the heroes now suspected were part Manoran.

The heroes split up to prepare for a daring break-out, but The Cabbie’s enthusiasm got the better of him. He contacted the Task Force base, triggering an alert. The heroes, not quite as startled as the guards, sprang into action.

Solar disarmed all the guards with a stunning display of solar pyrotechnics, while Keil began striking down guards nearest scientists. Talismonger, thinking quickly, trapped all the guards in a mystical shield, leaving he and his companions routes to the exits. Then he began preparing to teleport everyone, guards and scientists, back to the Task Force base. Cabbie found himself in battle with the entryway guards as he prepared the team’s retreat.

It was at that moment that the Tyrant Lizard himself arrived, clad in space armour and armed with a strangely-shaped energy blade. He charged Talismonger and dealt him a painful blow. Talismonger escaped using the powers of his amulet, and Solar blasted the monster. The power armour took the blow, which did little except give Talismonger time to regroup. Keil struck next, and his blow was much more telling. Slamming his spear into the unprotected neck of his foe, he dropped the massive Lizard King in a single shot!

Victory was in the grasp of the heroes, when Lady Tyrannos took it away. Shouting “My lord will be reborn in fire!”, she let fly a strange spell. Tyrannos disappeared, and the volcano that the fortress abutted began to shake.

With the main threat departed, Talismonger dropped his shield and transported everyone back to the Task Force base. They reappeared in a holding cell entirely too small for them, and the heroes made quick work of the Sauronids, with Keil and Cabbie fighting them off, Solar stunning them with flares of light, and Talismonger undoing their unholy transformation. (One strange note was when a still-fighting Manoran looked at Cabbie, and uttered “A Justicar?! Here?” immediately before being clobbered).

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The Reactor Plot
Featuring the Death of Radiotron

In the twilight hours, a strange ripple passed through the Experimental Fusion Reactor, off-shore near (but not too near) Gateway City. Out of the ripple came over a dozen men. They were dressed like bikers, but carried strange weapons, like some ray rifle out of Buck Rogers. They fanned out, moving with sure knowledge. Behind them came four strange individuals. The RadioActives, along with their sometimes associate Dr. Radiotron.

By the time the police arrived, the villains had taken control of the entire building. They communicated with the police: the island was to be turned over to them by the city, the U.S. and Canada by noon the next day, or the RadioActives would cause the reactor to go supercritical.

It was nearing midnight by the time the heroes arrived, in quick succession. The Cabbie, Jeneal and Talismonger flew in and landed by the docks where Captain Henderson had set up his Extraordinary Crimes Unit post. Ilsa, on the other hand, bypassed the police presence, and began to take a look around itself.

The heroes were (reluctantly) filled in by Cpt. Henderson, and given a look at the layout of the reactor. Talismonger sent out his astral form to look around, while Cabbie and Ilsa planned a daring raid (using the chameleon feature of the Cabbie’s suit). Talismonger determined that all four RadioActives were present, along with over a dozen of the raygun-armed thugs. Meanwhile, Ilsa had snuck up and found a window (s)he could enter by, but held off for now.

Cabbie activated his cloaking device and snuck past the guards at the front door. Talismonger guided him to the main superstructure, a closed door with the RadioActives behind it. Distracting the guards with clever sleight of hand, Cabbie slipped into the superstructure room and moved into place.

Talismonger teleported Jeneal into the raised control room at the same time as Cabbie leaped and swung from ground level up, and threw himself through the glass of the window. He landed in front of the main control panel, just as an invisible Jeneal (again courtesy of Talismonger) drove a penetrating slash up into Dr. Radiotron from behind, dropping him immediately, in agony.

Roentgen blasted the Cabbie with his radiation bolts, missing the young hero but blasting the controls into slag. Cabbie dived under the panel, frantically trying to rewire the control panel and shut off the reactor. Jeneal switched targets to the far more dangerous (and hard to hit) Roentgen.

In the meantime, Ilsa had joined the fray, diving to ground level to taunt and bait Carcinoma. The glutinous grey hero dodged the living tumour’s blows in impossible ways, encouraging Carcinoma to lay waste to the inflow pipes for the reactor. Talismonger, meanwhile, was preparing to contain any blast caused by Blast Shadow, who was inside the reactor itself, ready to set off a catastrophic reaction.

It appeared, however, that Blast Shadow had a more convoluted plan in mind. The light from the reactor turned an impossible glowing black, and then began to flood the superstructure chamber. The eerie black light began to transform those it touched into shadows like the Soviet super-villain, until Talismonger teleported a black pearl into the control room. The mystic gem began to swallow up the strange power.

Jeneal had managed to blind and disorient Roetgen with a slash to the face, and ran back to the control room in response to Cabbie’s cries that Radiotron was recovering. Jeneal smashed her boot into the doctor’s pelvis once, twice. The doctor spewed blood and fluids from his ruptured body, then lay still.

Blast Shadow, sensing his dark power being drawn off by Talismonger’s pearls, attempted to overload them, either corrupting or simply shattering them, but they were too strong. Finally, out of desperation, Blast Shadow activated the links he had previously forged with his compatriots, and teleported the RadioActives (and Dr. Radiotron’s corpse) away.

Without Blast Shadow’s intervention, Cabbie was able to rewire the console and deactivate the fusion reactor. The black pearls, no longer occupied with the dark power, began to draw the shadow taint out of those affected, including Ilsa and Jeneal (whose regenerative abilities protected them to some degree).

While recovering his fluid form, Ilsa discovered something strange. Carcinoma’s tissues registered as identical to her own to her reflexive regenerative abilities. This bothered the amorphous hero, who took great pains to expel the matter that had once been part of the monstrous destroyer.

Once they received the “all-clear” from Cabbie, the ECU took over. They took away the RadioActives’ minions (minus one ray-gun, which the Cabbie kept as a souvenir), and debriefed the heroes. In the process of the debriefing, Jeneal’s killing of Dr. Radiotron came to light. While Capt. Henderson was decidedly upset at this turn of events, he had no proof that Jeneal had not acted in self-defense, and so let her go, for now.

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Fire in the Belly

It was a pleasant day in early spring, and Emerald Park was filled with people enjoying it. One man, though, seemed to be more troubled than enjoying. He had a bottle of alcohol in one hand, and was scratching at himself with the other. It was when he rolled up his sleeves (revealing reddish blotches) that someone decided to step in and help.

The someone was a man clad in layers of unrecognizable, bulky rags. He grabbed the man and restrained him, trying to find out what was bothering the man. It became apparent that the man (clad in disarrayed business shirt and slacks) was craving some sort of stimulus, and resisted anything that would prevent him from getting it. Seeing this, the homeless man charged him with some strange blue energy, which made him go wild.

Both Doug Katt and Max Berretti were attracted by this strange scene, the more so when the blue light erupted. Changing into their costumes, they arrived in time to witness the homeless man release the suffering one, who was clearly out of control. Cabbie subdued the man with an electro-net, and then encouraged the others to climb aboard his flying cab so that they could take the man to the hospital.

An incredibly rapid (and somewhat harrowing) trip later, the cab pulled up at the doors to St. Jude’s emergency room. The heroes plunged inside, demanding to see Dr. Lazarus. Luckily, Dr. Sheridan was still onsite, and she took the heroes (and the hapless man) to an examination room.

The good doctor was able to determine that the man was contagious (though the heroes had managed to fight off the infection), and stabilize the man. She seemed dubious in her ability to cure him, however, and sent the heroes off to locate the epicentre of this epidemic. Reflex searched the man’s wallet, and found out that he was Stanley Lawson, a broker at Brucker & Hillson. As the heroes left to follow this lead, they heard Dr. Sheridan being summoned once more.

Arriving in front of Brucker & Hillson, Cabbie noticed (thanks to the IR goggles in his helmet) another infected person stumbling out of a nearby bar. Cabbie netted him, and checked on the other patrons. Seeing them all infected, the group called St. Jude’s and requested January’s help. The nurse told them that Dr. Sheridan was busy with a number of cases similar to what they’d brought it, but she would send an emergency response team right away.

After setting a watch on the bar using Cabbie’s cab, the three went up to Brucker & Hillson. The receptionist was a bit stunned, but was able to tell them that Stan had concluded a big deal with Xiandong Imports, a large import business working out of Chinatown.

Returning to the cab, they found that the emergency medical team had arrived, but was waiting for backup before rounding up the infected in the bar. The heroes waded in, and Cabbie lured the infected out by telling them that there was a bus to the REAL party outside. The patrons but up a bit of a fight when they found out they’d been duped, but presently they were subdued and taken away. The EMTs (and Gateway PD’s Extraordinary Crimes Unit) informed the heroes that there were outbreak points across the city, including the Halcyon Building and a restaurant in Chinatown near Xiandong Imports. The heroes set out for this last, suspecting they would find the heart of the mystery.

Arriving to find a riot in progress on the streets of Chinatown, Cabbie pacified the area by deploying an extra-large electro-net, and set them down in front of the import company. The receptionist discouraged them from entering, but was summarily ignored. They charged in, looking for the person who had met with Stanley Lawson.

Instead, they found a pair of strange, yellow-skinned men with glowing eyes, clawed fingers and whips. Reflex made short work of the pair, and the three continued the search. They found that a number of offices in the company had seemingly been taken over, apparently to import some kind of liquor. The M.O. brought to mind the Lord of the Hell of Burning-Off Flesh, an enemy of the Tao.

At this point, a larger contingent of enforcers appeared, including cloaked and masked figures with supreme skill in martial arts, and burning skeletal figures clad in the remains of business wear. Reflex engaged one group (copying the strange martial-arts style), while Star challenged the other and Cabbie leaped out a window to get his cab.

Reflex was on the defensive, scoring transient hits against the masked figure while defending himself from the mob. Star fared worse, his innate protections being insufficient against the masked warrior’s skill.

Hard-pressed, the heroes unleashed their big guns. Star let loose a blaze of blue-white power that sent his enemies flying, battered. Reflex was still on the defensive, but Cabbie came to his aid, slamming his cab through the wall of the building and into the massed demons. Cabbie’s rash act also put a crack in a wall opposite, attracting the team’s attention to the signs of flames in the warehouse beyond.

Crashing through the wall, Cabbie revealed an army of the burning damned being massed by the Demon Lord’s servants, while the Demon Lord himself laid a dark enchantment on several cases of alcohol, in the midst of an octogon of sinister flame. When Cabbie flung himself (and his cab) at the flames, he discovered that they were a solid barrier!

Not solid enough, however. The Cabbie smashed down the barrier, and disrupted the Demon Lord’s spell. His minions sprung to attack, and the Cabbie was soon surrounded. Reflex joined the fray, striking the Demon Lord but having his blows ignored by the supernaturally potent foe. The Demon Lord mocked his strikes, contemptuous of the “foolish mortals”.

Midday Star, frustrated by the resilience of his enemy, targeted the Demon Lord: “Taste the power of true immortality!” His blue radiance surrounded the Demon Lord, and then ripped him in two, in a great burst of light! So bright a light, in fact, that all were blinded and stunned for a brief moment.

On seeing their master seemingly destroyed, most of the subordinate demons fled. Two more masked warriors leaped to avenge their master, however, and the swarm of burning damned continued to mindlessly attack Cabbie and Reflex. Between them, driver and athlete dispatched the shades, while Star defended himself. With another burst of power, Star annhilated the two assassins.

With the revelation of the source of the plague, the epidemic was contained, and most of those who had been infected were healed through the combined powers of January and Yin of the Tao.

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Running Hot!
Gang War Saga, Part 1

War has erupted on the streets of Southside, and the city’s heroes are feeling the effects. While helping with a renovation of public housing, Pillar hears a crackle-crack, and looks out to see a nearby warehouse on fire! The Man of Stone plunges into the burning building, ultimately rescuing six men dressed in familiar-looking grey jackets.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sheridan has her hands full at St. Jude’s. The bombing of an apartment (or possibly even a whole floor!) left collateral damage from not only the building but a party being held in the building’s courtyard. Even as she works, the good doctor ponders who could have done this, but gets no answers.

Nightstick, on the other hand, is more lucky. His interest aroused by the seemingly-impregnable legal wall possessed by the Catch-22s, the Dark Avenger takes to the streets, shaking down Southside’s criminal elements. What he learns is chilling – the Catch-22s are at war with the Hot Rods over turf, and the Hot Rods seem to be winning!

In spite of being a man of action, Pillar is attempting to investigate the disappearance of three former felons from The Foundation’s programs. Speaking to the mother of one man, he definitely gets a sense of something funny, but isn’t sure what. He goes looking for a better investigator.

Nightstick has been distracted by an altercation at O’Flanagan’s Pub: an irate customer is hauling off Old Man O’Flanagan! The criminal turns out to be Roentgen in civilian clothes, and while Nightstick takes him down handily, he suffers radiation burns in the process. This takes him to St. Jude’s Hospital, and January. She treats his burns, and listens to his story. Nightstick goes out again to investigate further, while Dr. Sheridan uses her contacts to check on the Catch-22s surprisingly-able lawyers.

The good doctor has discovered a common element between the three: therapy, combined with a notable lack of information on the therapist. When Pillar comes to her describing the fearful mother, it all seems to tie things together.

In the meantime, Nightstick has infiltrated one of the Catch-22s’ staging-points, where he finds them mustering for an all-out assault on the Hot Rods, being orchestrated by The Heirophant, whom Nightstick remembers from a previous encounter. Placing tracking devices on the Catch-22s’ vans, he returns to January to confer.

On hearing this latest information, the three heroes decide to try and contain the savagery which will undoubtedly be released by such an assault, and perhaps take down both gangs in the process. Nightstick heads out, to be followed soon after by Pillar and January (once they call the police with an “anonymous” tip).

The strong man and healer arrive to find the Hot Rods’ garage besieged by the unnaturally-ordered and disciplined forces of the Catch-22s. Pillar wades into the fray, throwing cars and knocking Catch-22s senseless, just as the latter gang makes a push to invade the garage. January follows along, boosting Pillar’s muscle control with her strange healing powers.

Pillar throws a van through the wall of the garage, making a hole, and charges through behind it. Inside, he finds the Hot Rods ready to repel invaders, but they are hardly a match for his might. Pillar spots Motorhead and charges him, knocking the cyborg out in a single hit!

Meanwhile, Nightstick has been searching the Catch-22s vehicles for signs of Heirophant (knocking out gang members as he goes). He is about to move on when he spots a familiar form out of the corner of his eye – when he looks head-on, it’s gone. Taking this as a clue, Nightstick silently moves to infiltrate the van.

Inside the garage, things are dire. The Catch-22s are beginning to pour in, just as everyone else realizes that Motorhead’s last conscious act was to weaken the load-bearing pillars inside! The Hot Rods prepare to bolt as soon as the Catch-22s are inside the trap, while Pillar readies himself to hold at least part of the roof up through main strength! January has called for everyone to evacuate, but the Catch-22s are a split-second too late to hear her!

Nightstick bursts into Heirophant’s van, making a show of searching and not finding him, while his keen detective sense actually allows him to penetrate the illusion. Just as he is seemingly about to give up, Nightstick grabs Heirophant in his preternaturally-strong grip!

The Hot Rods escape the building, and push a car in front of the blown doors in order to keep the Catch-22s and heroes trapped! Pillar clears that entry and, with police sirens growing ever louder, begins to round up fleeing gang members.

January, on the other hand, stays inside the building to check for stragglers. She overstays her welcome, and just as she has assured herself that the office is deserted, the garage collapses on her!

Heirophant remains strangely calm in Nightstick’s grasp. Nightstick too is calm, but inwardly Nick Tyler screams in anguish as the Gateway’s Dark Avenger ruthlessly snaps the neck of the Heirophant, and flees into the night.

The police are able to round up about half of each gang, thanks to the intervention of January and Pillar. Police reports the next day find no trace of the Heirophant’s body, which leads Nick Tyler to suspect that the man wasn’t dead after all. Cold comfort, knowing what Nightstick attempted.

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The Conquerers, pt. II

Nick Tyler contacts his scientist associate Ben Knightsley, asking him if the superhuman Solar can be of any assistance in transporting them to Argal’s spaceship. Dr. Knightsley explains that while Solar can easily travel in a vacuum, he would incinerate the heroes if he attempted to carry them in his outer shell. Tyler suddenly recalls that the GCPD has captured some teleportation units from Argal in a previous assault, and wonders if the good Doctor could modify them. The Doctor thinks he could, and offers to have a unit done first thing in the morning (after the unit is sent over to his lab), but would need a set of co-ordinates to deliver them to the ship.

Tyler then seeks out Prometheus, desiring to inform him that while he appreciates his earlier help, Prometheus did commit a crime and should serve his sentence. A discussion of whether a crime against Olympia Financial is really a crime ensues. In the process, Prometheus brings up the presence of Abstract at the fracas earlier, and gives Tyler the co-ordinates that Argal told Abstract to meet him at. They seem to yield a location in orbit around Mars.

Investigating on his own, Gray Patriot finds a bar the Hot Rods had frequented before, and hears that Motorhead and his gang had been hired to perform the prison break. Gray Patriot meets up with Strongbow and, realizing that this is definitely beyond their ability to handle, they take their news to Tyler in his downtown office, who shows up with Prometheus.

The heroes discuss where to go from there. Hearing that Lord Tyrannos was in the crystal given to Abstract, the heroes decide to investigate Dinosaur Island and collect more intelligence. Gray Patriot contacts the Canadian portion of the joint task force monitoring the island, and the heroes journey forth to Dinosaur Island!

Some intelligent dinosaurs greet the heroes with bullets and rockets as their chopper makes its way over, but Strongbow and the Gray Patriot shoot the rockets out of the air.

It seems that Tyrannos is indeed absent, and the heroes find themselves easily able to

The heroes rescue some human captives that Tyrannos had captured from Gateway City, and set to work trying to decipher the strange equipment present in Tyrannos’ lair. It looks like he has an Argalian teleporter, but the heroes are uncertain of how to extract where it almost certainly sent the Lord and Lady, until Prometheus has

The heroes gird themselves for battle. Strongbow contacts his armourer contact Lon Porter, and first thing in the morning all of the Heroes receive an armoured suit with a breathing apparatus built-in, just in case they face a lack of oxygen. It appears the good Mr. Porter is something of a whiz with weaponry and armour.

The heroes, using the teleporters retrieved by Nick Tyler from the depths of the GCPD, Dr. Knightsley’s genius, & the co-ordinates they retrieved from Dinosaur Island, teleport on to Argal’s capital ship.

The strange dimension ship is a sight to behold. The heroes hear a patrol approaching soon after they ‘port in, and attempting to dodge the patrol stumble into an alien barracks filled with two dozen Argalian troops. Prometheus grabs an energy rifle from an alien before he can respond, trying to threaten them. Deciding that they fear their lord more than they fear the heroes, they start to raise their weapons, when Argal the Conquerer’s voice echoes through the room, beckoning his ‘guests’ to meet him in the Grand Hall!

The heroes are lead into the massive chamber, lined with the conquests of a hundred worlds, before Argal the Conquerer, who offers the heroes a bargain. He is most impressed with their planet of Earth, for very few can withstand the might of the Argalian empire for as long as Earth has. If they will become subordinate to the mighty empire, Argal will graciously accept them into the Argalian Galactic Empire, as a low-ranking new planet of course, and spare them a terrible bombardment from the Argalian fleet. For with Abstract’s kidnapped scientist, this dimensional ship can summon the entire fleet to Earth in a manner of moments, if Argal but presses this button on his throne!

The heroes reject. They attack Argal, quickly putting down the Conquerer, who is not yet used to his new body, and subdue the rest of the Guard surrounding him. A claxon rings out through the ship, and troops emerge from the great double doors leading into the Hall, attacking the heroes.

Prometheus runs through the door, hoping to find some way to solve this dilemma now that Argal is defeated. He sees an opportunity for mischief, regardless! Prometheus fires a blaster at one of Tyrannos’ minions, tricking Tyrannos into thinking that the Argalians had hired upon him. A massive melee ensues.

However, whatever foul plot Argal had devised, it appeared that he did not need to actually press the button on his throne to activate it! The ship was suddenly filled with an omninous thrumming. Prometheus runs for the control room, hoping to discover a method. His companions fend off the last of the Elite Guard in the Grand Hall as he does, and gather to retreat back to the teleporter.

The ingenious and lightning-quick Prometheus quickly finds the control room, finding the missing wormhole physicist inside. On a monitor is a view of space, showing the wormhole the great ship is generating. On another is a view from Argalian space of a massive fleet, and the first capital ship of thousands entering its maw! Prometheus threatens Dr. Dorjinsky with a blaster pistol picked up from the quarters, and while the bad Doctor does not give in immediately he is tricked into revealing how to shut down the device. Prometheus does so, and takes the Doctor with him as the portal closes on half a ship, cutting it in two.

The heroes escape the wormhole ship using their teleportation device, and they and all of the rest of Earth facing Mars sees the sliced-in-half ship collide with the great dimensionship, causing a fantastic explosion.

Talking after the event, Strongbow speaks to the group. Given that it was only through luck that the Earth was, he feels that an organized team should be formed, so that the heroes can contact each other more easily in the future, should another such threat rear its head. The name of the group he suggests is The Vigilants. The others agree.

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The Conquerers, pt. I

A siren blares through Gateway City, alerting all heroes. There has been a prison break from Hexagon Prison! Nick Tyler is first on the scene, pulling up to the prison on the outskirts of Gateway City with new superhero Prometheus in the backseat, who had just tried to break into Olympia Financial and was captured by their security. They see a hole blown in the outer wall of the pentagonal structure, and chaos reigning inside.

And who should stop by to add to the chaos but the madman Cookbook, who starts the fracas with a bang! Throwing a grenade into Nick Tyler’s vehicle as he jetpacks his way in, Tyler is seriously wounded, and the nearby officers are slain. Tyler responds by firing a shot past Cookbook’s face, startling him, and then attempts to tackle him, missing. Prometheus leaps out of the back, steals the jetpack right off Cookbook’s back, and uses it to fly in over the walls! Ilsa flies in and takes a swing at Cookbook, but misses the cagey maniac. Cookbook throws another grenade, and then scampers away from the gritty Tyler, attempting to find easier playmates.

The rest of the exterior is chaos as well, with convicts running every which way from the escape hole. New super Strongbow unleashes a flurry of arrows, taking down a few convicts before they can escape and throwing them many more meters than one would expect. A Hot Rod (they are here as well!) races his bike at another new super, Paladin, who knocks him of the bike with a sword.

The Gray Patriot leaps on to a wall of the prison, drawing blaster fire from some Argalians! What could they be doing here? It appears that his ghostly form is harmed by their energy weapons, but he returns fire and each shot slays one of his aggressors.

Shifting the view to inside the facility, Motorhead & his Hot Rods stand within the compound, beating on convicts. Motorhead himself stands over a fallen police officer, his head beneath his boot. Seeing convicts falling the villain crushes the officer’s head, mounts his bike, and races outside the prison walls.

Prometheus goes inside the hole in the prison facility. He runs smack into Bombardier, who throws a haymaker at him with a glowing yellow fist, but fails to match Prometheus’ inhuman speed. Prometheus jumps up to the ceiling, summoning a will o’ the wisp to assist him in fighting the powerful villain. Bombardier is distracted by the flaming ball, and starts exchanging bolts with it.

Outside, Motorhead sees Strongbow, and guns his bike at the hero! Strongbow releases an arrow, but Motorhead evades it, slamming a supercharged fist into Strongbow. But it seems that the ranged combatant is tough enough to take it, shaking off the punch and falling into an aikido stance.

Tyler runs after the anarchist, taking him down this time with a solid tackle. Nightstick tries to establish control over the hero, whispering that the villain has just killed and that no prison will hold him for long, but Tyler shrugs off his alter-ego and slaps cuffs on Cookbook.

Seeing the odds turning against us as the other villains are taken down, Motorhead turns and guns his bike. Strongbow launches a parting shot, sending Motorhead’s bike spinning into a tree, but a remaining Hot Rod zips by and drags his leader out of harm.

Back inside, Prometheus catches sight of a strange figure behind Bombardier! Prometheus attempts to follow the strange figure, but a smoke bomb is dropped and the shape disappears. Intrigued, Prometheus attempts to follow … her?... , but she quickly gives him the slip, something very few people indeed have ever done. She looked odd, somehow… flat. He finds a crystal on the floor, and quickly activates a watch, trying to locate where the strange figure had gone by her image. His device points straight up, and Prometheus runs outside, snagging a grappling hook on Cookbook’s jetpack which is still flying all over the area, trying to get some additional height to figure out exactly where the figure is. He gets quite a ways off the ground, but the watch continues to point directly overhead. Doing some quick math in his head, Prometheus is pretty sure that she is . He releases the grapple and falls back to Earth, absorbing the fall with a crack of strained tendons. Prometheus reaches in his pocket and brings out some olives, and starts munching them has he plays with the crystal. It starts playing back the message, which brings up an image of Argal and Lord and Lady Tyrannos! Argal commands Abstract to bring the ‘package’ to a listed set of co-ordinates. This can’t be good.

Back at the outskirts of the prison, Ilsa retrieves a crystal from the fallen body of an Argalian. This one also plays a message, with only Argal on the display, saying that the sacrifice of these troops will be remembered when their forces conquer Earth! Double plus ungood.

Paladin notices some red-dyed sawdust on the boots of the downed Hot Rods and in Motorhead’s footprints. Gathering together the heroes, Gray Patriot recalls the presence of a sawmill a small distance outside Gateway City, that dyes their lumber that exact colour. However, it seems that the vigilante Strongbow & Gray Patriot, and the thief Prometheus have already fled, no doubt not wishing complication from lawmaker Nick Tyler. Prometheus has not yet told the heroes of his find! It seems that Tyler has put a tracking device in Prometheus’ clothing, though, so he likely won’t just vanish into thin air.

Tyler, Ilsa and Paladin follow the Patriot with a few more squad cars, and Motorhead and the very few remaining Hot Rods are taken into custody with a minimum of fuss.

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The Chaos Principle

Upon hearing that his friend Dr. Ben Knighsley had been threatened, Solar helped the GCPD to assemble a team of heroes to protect the good doctor during his journey to New York to consult on a new device to contain superhuman energies.

The team (comprising Keil, Talismonger and Wild Rose) set off in a state-of-the-art super-containment vehicle, equipped with several anti-villain countermeasures.

The first attack came in the form of a series of wires set atop the road. Talismonger spotted them easily, and conjured a bridge for the driver to cross.

When the group stopped to refuel and to answer nature’s calls, their so-far hidden attacker revealed himself. Bombardier teleported to the top of the gas station’s awning, and then charged it with explosive energies.

Unfortunately for Bombardier, Keil and Talismonger were both on top of him in an instant. Keil grabbed the young malcontent, and swiftly knocked him unconscious.

Once Bombardier had been secured, Talismonger probed his mind. It turned out that he had been set upon Dr. Knightsley in the hope of luring out Solar and other heroes. The ensuing battle was to be Bombardier’s audition for the Chaos Syndicate. His (uncharacteristic) trick gear had been supplied by Motorhead, an ally of the Syndicate.

After seeing Dr. Knightsley to his conference, the heroes returned to Gateway City, searching for the bar where Bombardier had arranged the plot with Cookbook. The bar wasn’t where it should have been, however – it had been magically moved to an unknown location by The Goblin King.

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