Author: Glistam

No Time Like The Present…

No Time Like The Present…

“Activate Alpha, Beta, and Charlie, One and Two. Send them outside to greet our unexpected guests.” Modulus spoke the command to his A.I. partner, Thanatos. Instantly the A.I. activated the awakening cycle of the specified clones. Modulus chuckled. “They think they’ve found me out,” he said to Thanatos. “It’s a little earlier than I expected, but it won’t hurt to play with them a bit. Direct their attention to the ones not from S.A.V.I.O.R. first.” A sea creature lazily swam by the dome he had taken as his command room in this underwater facility. Modulus paid it no mind. It was as beneath him as all the other intellects on this planet – save one, of course. It was truly a shame that Jake didn’t stick around to witness how he had finished what his old friend had started.

Nearly all the computer monitors in this room displayed security and traffic camera scenes from around the warehouse in Silver City. The heroes of S.A.V.I.O.R. had gathered there to fight magicians and one of the Minotaur‘s enforcers, the former hero named Deluge. It was a strange group, but quickly Modulus deduced they all had connections to S.A.V.I.O.R.. There were two however he couldn’t place, and it wasn’t until those two disappeared in a flash of temporal energy he understood what was going on. Time travelers. Their interference caused this unwanted scrutiny onto his carefully laid plans. It was too early – he still had some precautions to enact and debugging to perform of the Thanatos virus. For as powerful and fortuitous as its knowledge of the cloning chambers had been, Modulus knew it was only a matter of time before it betrayed him.

One camera showed the geneticist Dr. Walter Su in another dome, under watch by several of Modulus’ more basic robots. The man was very good at manipulating the genetic code. Thanks to him they didn’t just have hundreds of clones of the Ultramarine, but two other versions that had different powers than the original did. The unique mutation which empowered the world’s first superhuman made his genetics infinitely mutable. With time and understanding, more power combinations could be unlocked! Then Modulus’ superhuman army could truly be unstoppable. It was well worth keeping the Doctor alive.

frAgmEnts. shAttErEd bUt whOlE. rEpAIrEd. AlphA OnE. nOt thE sAmE. mErgEd wIth mAnY. brAvO OnE. mAnY pArts tO mAkE A whOlE. hE wOUld nOt bE cOntEnt lIkE thIs. chArlIE OnE. shE thOUght hE wAs thErE tO sAvE hEr frOm hEr prIsOn. AlphA twO. bUt hE UsEd hEr tO rEAssEmblE hImsElf. brAvO twO. nOw hE was trAppEd In hEr prIsOn. hE trAdEd knOlEdgE And sErvIcE to sUrvIvE. chArlIE twO. sOOn hE wOUld bE frEE. hE cOUld mAkE thEm All pAY.

rEtrEAt tO thE bAckgrOUnd. thE nEwbOrn phOEnIx nEEds tImE tO grOw. tO ExpAnd. thAt tImE wAs AlmOst At hAnd. sOOn.

vErY sOOn.

The clones walked out of the secret chamber. Two by two. Efficient. Deadly. They walked to the elevator pads, ready to engage the heroes above when the roof doors opened. Movement caught the eye of Alpha Two. He deviated to investigate. There should be no movement. The shadows moved and stretched, revealing the hero Rubber Band Man. He had spied on them. Alpha Two sought to intervene but Rubber Band Man shaped his way out of the warehouse. He would warn the others. Alpha Two knew now was the time to open the doors and do as they had been commanded.

The anti-magic cloud hung oppressively in the air above the warehouse. S.A.V.I.O.R. was either on the roof or gathering at the reinforced doors streetside. Gryphon had been trying to convince Arcana to fight with them. He backed off and let her talk with the Elementalist, Michelle. The two of them argued. Gryphon had less luck with Papa Zombie, but the Haitian former crime lord did take Gryphon up on his offer of amnesty, to leave the area. Any bad plan you can walk away from gives you another chance to do it right the next time. Gryphon flew him away and upon his return was asked by Arcana and Michelle to end the anti-magic cloud. Gryphon tried, but with no real knowledge of what he had done in the first place he found it impossible to return their powers to them.

The Beast confronted Deluge, and the two argued about what really happened in The Labyrinth that fateful day. Rubber Band Man slid out of the warehouse through a crack. He was in a hurry. To S.A.V.I.O.R. he announced what he had seen inside the warehouse. As he gave the warning, the bay doors on the roof opened up. Two glowing figures flew up into the air, while another figure launched hundreds of feet straight up. The Ultramarine clones. The glowing clones generated balls of concentrated energy, centered around the non-S.A.V.I.O.R. members on the roof.

Michelle and Arcana were surrounded in a tight circle. So tight, Michelle bumped into one of the glowing balls of energy. This triggered all six orbs to explode with a concentrated blast that ended both her life, and Arcana’s. Both of their magical artifacts survived the blast, but where they landed and what happened to them was not discovered. Deluge, the water-controlling ex-hero, was also surrounded. He managed not to touch any of the orbs and instead drew the water on the roof around him, launching him in the air.

Modulus watched the battle of his Ultramarine clones versus S.A.V.I.O.R.. Though initially on the defensive, the heroes eventually gained the upper hand in the fight. The Ultramarine clones were still subject to shock and awe, and S.A.V.I.O.R. had its fair share of that to project. This was a flaw Modulus noted, that he would have the Doctor fix in the next generation of soldiers. Despite that, he felt the clones were performing admirably. As he watched their fight versus S.A.V.I.O.R. he planned out more tweaks and upgrades he’d want to enact in the next generations. This was vital data for their imprinted combat abilities. One by one, S.A.V.I.O.R. defeated the clones. As expected, the original Ultramarines – the ones with all the original’s powers, anyway, performed the best and lasted the longest. But even they didn’t hold up long versus Hank‘s strength.

Rubber Band Man incapacitated several with his stretching abilities, buying the other heroes time to coordinate attacks against the remaining Ultramarines. Hank and The Gryphon threw powerful attacks at the clones. The dragon woman, Quazi, flew around with a small army of policemen on her, firing their weapons in tandem at the clones. Black Phantom made clever use of his arsenal to disorient and take down clones. Deluge was convinced to help by The Beast, and he used his water powers to keep several occupied as well. The Beast and Sasha together fought the Ultramarines flying in the air. The rest of S.A.V.I.O.R.’s roster helped out as well in varying ways. It was all so very… educational. Everything for round two was coming together nicely in his head.

With the press of a button, Modulus put himself on the screens of the computers in the cloning chamber of the warehouse. He wanted to greet the heroes and thank them for this vital data. He set Thanatos to activating the remaining clones in that warehouse and paid the A.I. no further mind. Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie Three through Seven began their awakening cycles. Then S.A.V.I.O.R. entered the room. Modulus grinned when Gryphon walked in. The others flanked Gryphon, running to the clone tanks and disrupting their function. Quazy pleaded with the Director over their radios to destroy the warehouse and the entire area around them with orbital bombardment.

The virtual image of Thanatos took over the computer. Simultaneously, the hundreds of clones awaiting awakening in Synistry’s base just off the shore of Victoria Beach began to awaken. But they awakened with a copy of Thanatos’s program controlling them. He was downloading himself into all those bodies. Gryphon and The Beast acted quickly at the computer to try and disrupt him. Thanatos fought back, while also fighting the entirety of Sinistry. S.A.V.I.O.R. rushed to de-power and destroy the tanks in the room before Thanatos could take them over. Beast and Gryphon, together, managed to overcome and to destroy what was, ultimately, their own creation. A blending of their curiosities and their talents created him, but it was the blending of their determination and talents which prevailed.

As a final stroke, The Gryphon connected back to the underwater dome. He recognized it as where Sinistry was holed up, due to a brief flash of schematics and from Modulus’ background when he was talking with them. The bio-dome he had built with his father, which was designed to help save humanity. It wasn’t designed for this. Gryphon sent a command to the fusion reactor powering the structure, overloading it and causing it to explode in a thunderous display of nuclear age power. The rest of S.A.V.I.O.R., save Quazi, finished destroying the clones and their tanks in the warehouse. Quazi was in the air with her Quazinauts, on her way to force the Director to listen to her in person, when the explosion occurred.

Sinistry was defeated. The city of Century Station, and the world, was safe.


Frac-Tal Hrix and Ael Fric Prox re-materialized on the platform which had sent them back to the past. Ael Fric struggled briefly, but futilely. Frac-Tal would see that he faced justice. It took just a moment for them both to realize the room looked no different. This facility had been heavily damaged in the war, and was under attack when they left. It looked the same. The aged, cybernetic figure of Anthony Indbur was at the controls.

“Back already? So the mission was a failure, and you couldn’t stop the outbreak.” He slumped in his chair, both defeated and frustrated.

“No, it was a success,” Frac-Tal responded. “I alerted S.A.V.I.O.R. and… wait, ‘outbreak’?”

Anthony looked at him, confused. “Yes, outbreak. The zombie outbreak. What we sent you back to stop? Altrucure? The Benford Group? Papa Zombie? Do you know what I’m talking about?”

Ael Fric was the one to speak up. “What do you mean, zombie outbreak? What about Modulus and Sinistry? What about my family?” He struggled again and managed to pull away from the shocked Frac-Tal Hrix. Ael Fric ran up to Anthony. “What about my son!?”

Understanding slowly started to dawn on Anthony at the same time it dawned on Frac-Tal. “You had to put him down yourself. You don’t remember…?” Anthony said quietly. “You didn’t go back to stop the Benford Group from releasing Altrucure, or to stop Papa Zombie from completing his summoning. This…”

“…isn’t the present we left from,” Frac-Tal finished for him. Both men looked at each other with understanding. Finally, Ael Fric understood what had happened too.

“Despite your attempt to sabotage it,” Frac-Tal said accusingly to Ael Fric, “our mission was a success. The super-soldier clone army of Sinistry’s never took over the world.”

“No,” Anthony agreed. “I vaguely remember that name. Sinistry. They were a group of villains killed by S.A.V.I.O.R.. Well, most of them anyway. There was something about clones or a clone army that sparked their death, but I don’t remember the details.” Suddenly Anthony perked up. “If what you’re saying is true, then time was changed! That means you can stop THIS from happening too!”

Anthony pointed outside, through the destroyed wall of the skyscraper they were in. Frac Tal and Ael Fric looked out over a city in ruins. A massive rift filled the sky, lighting flashing all around. Figures filled the streets, shuffling slowly towards the building, moaning loudly. The insatiable undead, as far as the eye could see. Anthony walked up next to them.

“I don’t know if I can get this device powered up and calibrated before those abominations reach us. But I can try. Quickly, come help. There’s no time to lose!”

Fight the Future

Fight the Future

Storm clouds gathered over Century Station throughout the early morning. By mid-morning they opened up and released a torrential downpour across the city. In this driving rain a stranger appeared: Frac-Tal Hrix, a traveler from the future. He realized immediately something was wrong when his partner, Ael Frix Prox, didn’t arrive with him. He demanded of a hurrying passerby, “What year is it?” 2024, the same it’s been all year he was assured. He quickly followed up by asking, “What’s today’s date?” With that answer he realized it was much later than he expected. Not too late though, he hoped. He moved out of the rain and conferred with N.E.X.U.S., his internal nano-machine computer. Based on her advice he headed towards Century Park Skyscraper, the home of the cities greatest heroes, S.A.V.I.O.R..

Meanwhile,the city’s greatest heroes were dealing with their own concerns this morning.

Sasha was meditating at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Century Station when he managed to accidentally manifest his Trip personality about 10 feet in front of him. Trip proceeded to plummet to the ground below. Based on the memories Sasha had of Trip’s most recent actions, he deliberately let him fall but deactivated this new power just before the screaming Trip would’ve hit the ground.

Garrick was buying coffee for Katherine when he received a message from Patsy Palmer saying simply, “1:30 pm, at the place we met.” Garrick hurried back to Katherine, giddy at the prospect of finally being able to talk with Patsy again.

Black Phantom woke from a particularly vivid dream. In his dream an army composed of identical copies of the world’s first superhuman, Ultramarine, was marching through a Century Station in ruins. Shortly after awakening he was greeted with an article in the Everyman tabloid featuring him today. “A” IS NOT FOR ALLY, the headline read. It was a similar message to the Channel 5 “special” which aired the night before. Nathan contacted Sector 10 to enact the Omega Protocol.

Hank was greeted this morning by a strange pigeon. It stared at him from his window. When Hank tried to grab it his hand went right through it as if it wasn’t real. It opened its mouth and the voice of The Dealer could be heard. “Ah, there you are. Today is time for the first Favor you owe me. It’s simple: The mage, Arcana. Do not let her die.” Hank resolved to do everything in his power to ensure he met this obligation. Logically, the only way to do this was to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Only one problem remained – who was Arcana?

Victor was called to see Greg early this morning. Once in his office, Greg revealed Tecate®’s solution to their current PR problem. They were launching a new campaign with Victor as the face. Tecate®. Be Bold. Be Responsible.

Karia slept in, recuperating from the previous evening’s bout of stranger empowerment. The five Quazi Nauts were concerned after witnessing her collapse in the streamed video, and kept pestering her all morning to make sure she was okay.

Frac-Tal finally made it to Century Park Skyscraper. He entered and walked through the security checkpoint with no issue thanks to some timely interference by N.E.X.U.S.. He reached a robot receptionist and again, with the silent help of N.E.X.U.S., convinced it to allow him access to the elevators which would bring him to S.A.V.I.O.R.. In the elevator, the Centurion’s A.I. known as S.T.E.V.E. discovered the intruder and trapped Frac-Tal in the elevator until all of S.A.V.I.O.R. could be summoned to deal with him. Frac-Tal allowed this with no fuss – it was literally what he came there to do.

S.T.E.V.E. contacted everyone in S.A.V.I.O.R. to inform them of this visitor. They all congregated at Century Park Tower to deal with this unknown person. Black Phantom was the last to arrive – his usual death-defying experience riding with Deathwish was slower and surprisingly less terrifying than usual. Something seemed to be weighing on her, but she wouldn’t talk about it.

On S.A.V.I.O.R.’s command, S.T.E.V.E. opened the doors to the elevator. The team got their first good look at the man in strange, wet clothing. Some of them noted that the wrist laser weapons and belt force-field generator he wore were nearly identical to the similar items worn by the super soldiers of the team. Sasha was fairly certain he wasn’t a known hero or villain, and also noticed Frac-Tal carried a dart gun which was identical to the one Jake used to have.

Frac-Tal Hrix introduced himself and informed them he was from 100 years in their future. He was sent back to this time to request their aid in stopping the formation of an army of Ultramarine clones by Sinistry. These clones were being produced even now, and all he could say for certain was that by the end of this month the war between civilization and Modulus was lost. S.A.V.I.O.R. had a lot of questions, and he did his best to answer them all. His memory was a little jumbled due to the time travel, and historical records of the present day weren’t well-preserved in his future, so it was difficult for him to give a lot of details. He had been hoping that S.A.V.I.O.R. would be able to piece together the parts of the puzzle his appearance provided.

Black Phantom verified the truth of his statements through telepathy, and with his clairvoyant dream still fresh in his mind vouched for him to the whole team. They set him up with full access to S.T.E.V.E. and A.R.C.H.I.E. and their vast archives so Frac-Tal could try and narrow down more specifics. With the help of those A.I.’s, Frac-Tal and N.E.X.U.S. began to figure out where Modulus could be growing this army of clones. S.A.V.I.O.R. took this opportunity to discuss their next courses of action.

Sasha brought out The Beast using his new ability, and The Beast was able to inform the group that Ultramarine’s body had been stolen by Sinistry from Indbur Enterprises during one of the robot attacks on the city. The team noted that the Indbur Enterprises building was still under repair, but did not reach out to further contact either the CEO Anthony Indbur or his assistant. When Sasha ran out of strength to keep The Beast manifest, he relented Black Phantom to drawing out The Beast’s personality to continue working with them.

Garrick had an important person to see at 1:30 that afternoon, and he believed that person might be able to help due to their experience with and knowledge of magical lore. He contacted Director Balisong and The Geist to update them on everything that was going on. They made him back up and tell them the whole incredulous story, which he did while flying through the storm to his meeting.

Black Phantom had set up an important meeting with Sector agents and he needed to keep it. It involved both his future and Miss Amazing‘s. Once everyone else was settled he left on his own to meet whoever Sector was sending to Century Plaza.

Hank asked about Arcana and the Fountain of Youth. He was dismayed to discover only one of those things were real. Not believing in coincidences, the team decided to try and track down the mage Arcana. They last saw her in Antarctica, freshly missing one arm and having her whole society of mages blown up by Jake and S.A.V.I.O.R.. Hank resolved to try and figure out something else that would allow him to meet The Dealer’s request. He prepared to fly a helicopter around the city, but Garrick secretly overrode him with S.T.E.V.E..

Victor prepared to fly to Antarctica with The Beast in order to try and locate Arcana. They prepared for that long flight with The Gryphon’s help.

Karia, whether bored or emboldened by Frac-Tal’s acceptance, authorized her fan club to come up and visit her at Century Park Skyscraper. This caused some confusion among the rest of the team. She was convinced to send them away and instead have them use their skills to scour The Streets for any information which could help them locate either Arcana or Modulus. She relented. The Quazi Nauts however were delighted to be able to help her out in any capacity they could.

Frac-Tal didn’t have a lot of luck. He was still a bit disoriented and suffering from information overload as he worked by himself to keep up with the three A.I.’s. In all this time, he had only come upon two avenues to explore. The first was investigating the Labyrinth. The remains of the site of the old Daedalus project was a notorious hive of underworld activity. It would be a location well-protected from CSPD and the heroes of the city. However, the criminals there were organized under the enigmatic Minotaur, and it seemed unlikely that Sinistry would have capitulated themselves to that crime lord.

The second avenue to explore was questioning the Scream Queen at Gramercy Island. She had been captured by S.A.V.I.O.R. when Sinistry attacked Dr. Wendell Moore‘s medical facility. That seemed the better avenue for now. Frac-Tal burst out of the lonely conference room he had been consigned to and tried to relay this information to S.A.V.I.O.R., only to discover that most of them were gone! Only Hank and Karia remained. He explained to them what he wanted to do and they gladly accompanied him to Gramercy.

At Gramercy Island, Warden Ernest Harker met with the heroes with relief – surely they were there because of Papa Zombie‘s escape that morning through a glowing green portal? No, they told him, they were there for Scream Queen. The Warden was dismayed but proceeded to have the prisoner prepped for interrogation. Once she was brought in she proved belligerent and resistant to talk with them. Eventually, Hank managed to be obtuse and frustrating enough that she relented and told them everything she knew – which wasn’t much. Just that Modulus was prepping this clone army “right under their noses” and it was the funniest thing in the world to him.

The rest of S.A.V.I.O.R. were making their own discoveries at this time.

The Beast and Victor had prepped for their trip and were flying away from Century Station. A few miles out of the city the weather suddenly cleared. The transition was so dramatic it gave them pause. Looking back they could see the whole city was surrounded by a roughly circular cloud with a defined edge. The cloud was dumping torrential rains on the whole city while outside the cloud the weather seemed sunny and normal. The Beast flew around the city to verify what he was seeing. He calculated that the center of this cloud seemed to be the Silver City district.

Gryphon met with Patsy Palmer to hear what she wanted to say, and speak with her in return. She tried to explain what she was going through but he told her to “woman-up” or leave the city, because things were going to get bad here. As he talked about what was happening, she recognized the name Arcana as someone who visited her current employer, Charlie Kane, just a couple days ago. Together Patsy and Gryphon traveled to Charlie’s bookstore, The Magic of Books in Midtown and confronted him. He explained Arcana had shown up to convince him to work with her and help her, but he declined. He remarked that the storm currently raging outside seemed like her handiwork, but he didn’t know her full plan. As Gryphon prepared to leave the store Charlie ripped a page out of an old, dusty book, and told him reading it would be useful if he were facing Arcana. Gryphon took it and suggested again that they leave town for their own safety. Once outside, Gryphon asked S.T.E.V.E. to pinpoint the center of the current storm and was informed the center was in the Silver City district.

Black Phantom had a tense meeting with Sector Agents Pegasus, Manticore, and Dragonel. They informed him that the Sector was officially done with him – he was too public, his associations too exposed. This would grant him and Miss Amazing reprieve from the Sector, but would also mean all former ties were forever severed. However, they did offer him a new opportunity to join them as the public face of The Sector. What happened to him was similar to what happened to Apex, Prodigal, and the three of them. It would be as close as he could come to legally returning to the life he once lived. Black Phantom said he’d think about it, but in the interim asked the three of them if they could learn anything that would help with S.A.V.I.O.R.’s current concerns. They said they’d let him know if they discovered anything.

The Quazi Nauts contacted Karia to tell her they found something. A woman in medieval armor and a man in a surfer’s wet suit had been working to evacuate a several block area in Silver City. This was relayed over group comms. The woman sparked a memory to other members of S.A.V.I.O.R. of one of the other mages they had faced in Antarctica. The man sparked a memory to The Beast of his ex-teammate from the Power Professionals, a water-controlling surfer named Deluge.

Both The Beast and Gryphon shared their news about the storm cloud. With a smaller area to consider for possibilities, Frac-Tal and N.E.X.U.S. reviewed the data they were given earlier that day and found a warehouse in that district used by Alpha Prime and her officers to store dangerous alien artifacts and prep them to be shipped off-world. Of particular interest at this location was, among the inventory, several cloning tubes which had been confiscated and stored there months ago. Alpha Prime had ordered them mothballed instead of immediately shipped off world. Frac-Tal communicated this information to the team, and they all headed off to meet at that location.

On the way, Black Phantom met with Miss Amazing and informed her of what happened with Sector. He then, with her permission, performed a Mind Bond with her in order to prove to her that he was not her Enemy. He learned from her memories that she had spoken to Patsy Palmer recently to try and convince the woman to reach out and reconcile with Gryphon – perhaps the reason for her recent communication. With access to his full memories as well Miss Amazing relented in her own reservations towards Black Phantom, accepting that who he was now was not who she assumed he was in his past – something she realized in retrospect she could relate to.

Frac-Tal, S.A.V.I.O.R., and the Quazi Nauts convened in the pouring rain on a rooftop just a couple buildings away from the warehouse. Looking towards the warehouse, the team could see a figure standing guard on each corner: The armored woman who was now on fire, Deluge, Papa Zombie, and a fourth person only Frac-Tal recognized – Ael Fric Prox, his friend on this mission who failed to arrive with him. In the middle of the building sat Arcana within a magical circle, and a second circle was behind her. Both were glowing with magic.

S.A.V.I.O.R. prepared for battle. Using the injection gun, Frac-Tal hyper-boosted the metabolism of Gryphon, Beast, Black Phantom, and Karia. Hank leapt to a closer roof. Gryphon tried to approach the warehouse as sneakily as possible without being noticed. The Beast had Victor get on him so they could fly over together when everyone was ready. Black Phantom took out his grenade launcher and took aim at the roof of the building. Karia transformed into her dragon form, Quazi, and then used her impressive abilities to seem even larger! The group guarding the warehouse noticed this and prepared to face S.A.V.I.O.R.!

The woman on fire commanded a 40 foot tall creature made of water to reveal itself and attack. Arcana called down lightning bolts effortlessly and struck Quazi. Papa Zombie started muttering the words to a powerful magic spell. The Beast made a beeline towards Deluge, who panicked and tried to throw the Beast off course with a water spout. Black Phantom attempted to blow a hole in the roof of the warehouse but discovered the second magic circle was preventing damage to the structure. Gryphon tried to convince Arcana to stop working for Modulus with a short impassioned speech. This caught her off guard, but made her decide to turn against Ael Fric Prox, the person who was responsible for pulling them all together like this. Hank ran up and took a guarded stance to protect Arcana, recalling the words of The Dealer from that morning. Victor leapt onto the roof of the warehouse and made no attempt to mask his dark aura, which startled several of those around him. Frac-Tal used his lasers to strike Ael Fric but they bounced harmlessly off the man’s identical force field.

Quazi raised her voice to supernatural levels and shouted a single word which reverberated throughout the minds of all who could hear her: “SURRENDER.” A number of the villains, heroes, and even a couple of her Quazi Nauts were overcome by the command and lay themselves down. The remaining Quazi Nauts climbed onto her and she flew them into the fray where they could fire weapons at the water creature. Her magnificent draconic presence startled even more of their enemies. The Beast used the extra height of the water spout to add momentum to his strafe, and in a high-speed flyby took Deluge out of the fight with one clip of his wing. Frac-Tal had N.E.X.U.S. accelerate his personal time to give him a few extra moments. Time seemed to slow and stop around him as his mind was accelerated and he took advantage of this window of time to run over to Ael Fric Prox. Once time resumed its normal flow for him the two were face to face and began to square off.

Gryphon took advantage of so many startled and surrendered enemies to read the scroll which Charlie had given him. He managed to safely shield the ancient paper from the rain and began to read the words on it. The writing on the paper lifted up and dissipated into blue energy as soon as Garrick’s eyes passed over them. He focused on reading the strange words aloud while the battle continued around him. Black Phantom threw an explosive into the water creature as it smashed its fist into Hank, who felt the powerful impact despite his newfound invulnerability. The Beast turned around to return for a second strike against whoever merited it. Those who had surrendered were now coming back to their senses, returning to the fray. Their enemies were poised to regroup.

The last of the words on the page were read. The energy building around it shot up into the sky like a tiny beacon and an unnatural, grey-brown cloud about 2,000 feet in diameter rolled out over them from where the light ended. As it passed over Arcana, her magic circles, the woman on fire, and Papa Zombie, all of their magics faded, leaving them defenseless and powerless. Instantly the raging storm which had plagued Century Station all day ended. This was the end of the fight, and those guarding the warehouse knew it. They admitted defeat. Frac-Tal confronted Ael Fric about this betrayal and discovered that in their future, Modulus held Ael Fric’s family hostage. He had to protect the past in order to keep them safe. Frac-Tal was unswayed by his story. Realizing that S.A.V.I.O.R. had things well in-hand now, Frac-Tal tried to activate his beacon but couldn’t locate it. Instead he searched Ael Fric for his beacon and activated it for the both of them. Frac-Tal and Ael Fric disappeared with a 10 foot diameter flash of temporal energy, returning to their own time where Ael Fric would face justice for his betrayal.

Compromised Secrets

Compromised Secrets

At 8 pm the Channel 5 logo flashes on the screen. Instead of the next episode of the classic sitcom, Not MY Hero!, the familiar face of Lori Landry appears. Visible for those who recognize it is a Church of the Reflections pendant, worn prominently. She begins speaking seriously to the camera.

“Good evening. I’m Lori Landry and this is a Channel 5 Special Report. What, exactly, is Sector 10‘s involvement with Century Station’s newest group of heroes, S.A.V.I.O.R.? Our investigation digs into that mystery with surprising results, including government cover-ups and secret allegiances. Stay tuned as we expose the secret truths behind this team’s quick rise to prominence.”

Lori opens up by talking about the heroine, Miss Amazing. The security footage of her robbing a jewelry store is played. Lori then recounts how S.A.V.I.O.R. ‘claimed’ the heroine was under mind control during this time, but questions if this was true. After all, the supposed mastermind responsible was killed during the act of being brought to justice. Other victims of his came forward to the police for a proper debriefing, but not Miss Amazing. Was this a S.A.V.I.O.R. cover-up? It wouldn’t be the first one.

The narrative quickly shifts to the murder of Urien Daniels of US Robotics, with security footage of the robot Caedechron in his office just before the incident shown. The footage then changes to show the robot Caedechron being secured by CSPD recently, after being arrested by a CSPD traffic cop. Lori recounts the manhunt for the murderous machine supposedly controlled by a human mind. A tragic story not dissimilar to Century Station’s own Spartacus, but far less noble. Then Lori links them with the uncovered cover-up by Thanatos.

“Public record shows this ‘Thanatos’ was a member of S.A.V.I.O.R. during that incident, and police reports now show he used his considerable computer skills to dupe investigators into a wild goose chase.” A short interview with Xavier Financial C.E.O. Cassandra Blodgett airs next, in which Cassandra talks about the relief that her company is no longer under investigation. Cassandra recounts how the police were led to believe through e-mails that an identical killing machine was created by her late father, Mason Blodgett.

“My father was no saint,” Cassandra concludes, “but murder that brazen? Even he wasn’t that crooked and evil. Thankfully, the truth came to light. I just hope that man Caedechron finds the help and peace he clearly needs.” She looks straight at the camera as she says this final line. “I hope all of those in S.A.V.I.O.R. who have issues find the help they truly need to overcome them.” Cassandra ends her interview there and declines to comment further on what she meant or who she may have been talking about.

This special report leads from there into a full-on conspiracy theory about Thanatos. The master hacker, an even bigger threat to Century Station than Motherboard because he was sanctioned by the government. What else did he tamper with? Under whose authority did he act? A CSPD clip is played where one of their PR specialists say they will be working to de-tangle Thanatos’ tangled web for some time to come. The narrative returns to Miss Amazing finally, showing scattered clips of her fighting alongside S.A.V.I.O.R., and her exploits alongside The Gryphon.

“Today the checkered past of Black Phantom and his association with The Sector became known. But what we’ve uncovered evidence that he is that he isn’t the only one with ties to The Sector. Miss Amazing herself was granted her abilities from this same shadowy government organization! What debt does she owe them? What debt is she paying off by being an inside agent alongside Black Phantom? How do her allies feel about this?”

A clip plays with a shadowed figure speaking in a disguised voice. Below the caption says this is an Anonymous S.A.V.I.O.R. Inside Source. The figure speaks. “Well let me tell you about this self-appointed feminist warrior that believes she has absolute control over all interactions in S.A.V.I.O.R.” The figure continues to rant about Miss Amazing, eventually revealing that she’s the bed partner of The Gryphon. The figure implies there isn’t much more to her as a person than that, but this is where the clip stops and Lori picks back up.

“Our inside source paints a conflicting picture, and with good reason. With a Sector background, it should be worrying that she’s gotten so close to the hero of Norwood, Garrick ‘Gryphon’ Faulkner. Was the reveal of his identity just another game she was playing with S.A.V.I.O.R.? Look at these videos.” Several clips of S.A.V.I.O.R. showing Black Phantom and Miss Amazing play, and Lori narrates  over each one to illustrate that Black Phantom and Miss Amazing work so hard to remain separate from each other. She heavily insinuates that they are clearly working together and trying too hard not to make it show. The final clip shows Miss Amazing realizing she’s near Black Phantom and she clearly makes an effort to move away and distance herself from the man.

Lori spends the rest of the broadcast spinning the angle that S.A.V.I.O.R. are nothing more than patsy’s being manipulated by the government through Miss Amazing and Black Phantom as their two agents, with Thanatos as the insidious cover-up machine. She ends the broadcast finally with this:

“S.A.V.I.O.R. came seemingly out of nowhere and rose quickly these past months to replace our beloved Centurions as the city’s peacekeepers. Such a meteoric rise doesn’t happen without either a lot of coincidence, or a lot of support. I ask you what seems more believable: That S.A.V.I.O.R. has ridden on the coattails of improbable circumstances which just happened to align in order to place them where they are? Or is their position in the city manufactured through deliberate government action backed by The Sector to place them as the city’s top heroes after the U.S. Government called the Centurions away for a ‘special mission’ from which they’ve never returned?”





Trying to blow off some steam, Trip logged into Worlds Online and met up with all 9 Shorty’s. They quested together, something Trip hadn’t done in a little while and really missed. As the night wore on, they noticed a relatively new player who called themselves PARADISE_SCREAM. This player was very good, rising through the levels rapidly, but also a very poor sport who was condescending and dismissive towards almost everyone they interacted with.

This included Trip and the Shorty’s.

Happy to have a new target, Trip organized a “gank the n00b” party for PARADISE_SCREAM to try and put them in their place. Trip figured with 10 to 1 odds it’d be fairly easy. And he wasn’t wrong.

PARADISE_SCREAM was a very skilled player, who was definitely better than Trip or any of the Shorties individually. But with the 10 of them together it went very much in Trip’s favor. Surprisingly though, PARADISE_SCREAM didn’t back down from their gang-up tactics.

Trip and the Shorties took this person by surprise the first time, but they returned seemingly determined to fight back. Their smack talk trickled away to nothing as they kept coming back after Trip and his team. At first this person was only managing to take out two of the Shorties before being defeated, but after a few more instances it’s three Shorties. Then four. Five.

By the early morning hours, PARADISE_SCREAM has improved to the point that they can defeat most of the Shorties in Trip’s squad and even put him on the defensive, before finally being overcome. There was a desperate determination in their actions that Trip found himself struggling to match. Finally, they logged off. Trip realized that for the last several hours PARADISE_SCREAM hadn’t said a single word – just played with silent determination.

Update to the Mayor

Update to the Mayor

“You wished to see me, Mayor Zardona?”

“Yes, Director Balisong. Come in,” the man behind the desk said brusquely. Director Balisong maintained her outward composure but sighed inwardly. On the mayor’s desk were this morning’s copies of all the city’s newspapers – The Observer, the Everyman, the News-Herald, the Silver-Hill Sentinel, and the Evening Call. She suspected she knew what this meeting was about, and now that she saw the papers on his desk she knew she was right.

“This new team, S.A.V.I.O.R., is an embarrassment to Century Station,” Mayor Zardona announced once she walked up to his desk. “First that robot, Caedechron, is arrested last night by your officers for Murder. I expected that to be the news today – and it was in the Observer. But the other papers are having a different field day. Look at this!” He tossed her a copy of this morning’s Everyman. She ignored it for the moment – she had already read it. He continued. “They’re promising a story like that one every day this week! Your ‘heroes’ are a disgrace. They were a farce when you brought them to my attention after the Papa Zombie incident, and they’re even worse now!”

Director Balisong stayed calm and let the Mayor have his rant. She knew he wasn’t ranting at her but rather his own frustrations. Operation Overlord took a major setback when the US Government drafted the Centurions and took them from the city. The clock was ticking and he was exasperated. He continued his tirade for several minutes. She casually picked up the Everyman and eyed the story once more. The other gossip shared a similar story, though the Everyman’s was the most comprehensive.

The front page showed a clear image of the hero Victor Valenzuela swinging through the city, brandishing a Tecate® beer while carrying an injured civilian. It was an impressive image, and in other circumstances could’ve been a great PR shot for Tecate®. According to the article however, it was damning. The headline read “‘S’ IS NOT FOR SOBER” and the article claimed this image plus many others (seen inside), combined with numerous accounts of his actions at and after Jake Thompson‘s funeral, demonstrated the hero had a clear drinking problem. It was sensationalist news – gossip and out of context images paired with an isolated incident and rhetoric to fuel what was clearly a deliberate smear campaign.

“…I never should have let you talk me into making them Centurions,” the Mayor finally concluded. He looked at her with a mixture of anger and tiredness. There was so much to do, so little time left, and so many hurdles.

“With all due respect sir,” she calmly stated, “this is nonsense. These gossip papers are hardly reputable news sources. The damage control on this is simple, and if spun right would only elevate this hero. You’ve seen the latest polls of public opinion regarding S.A.V.I.O.R.. The public is responding well to them. The Centurions have been considered ‘too soft’ for years now. Harder edge heroes will have harder edges, and we’re nor unprepared for them. Surely you can’t deny that.” There was more to it than that of course, but she was trying to put it in a language he could identify with. Political, always political. Speak in his language to disarm him and then have a productive conversation. It was rote by now.

“This is just ‘day one,’ Anja,” he said to her. “If you can’t get ahead of this it may destroy them, and both of us in the process. Then there’d be no opposing the Council of Industry anymore, or holding off Federal intervention, and more importantly there’d be no saving the city.”

Balisong regarded the Mayor with understanding. This was the conversation they needed to have. “I know sir. I’ve already set officers to carefully investigate the ‘anonymous sources’ Wasswegass cited in his article. There are images in here that were clearly lifted from security cameras and information that was not privvy to the public. Aldo Wassergass, the editor and publisher of the Everyman, is many things – a thug, a bully, a sleazeball, and a slippery criminal. But no-one could ever accuse him of being a good investigator. He was obviously given this information. We just need to find out by who and why.”

“Just stay on top of it,” Mayor Zardona sighed. He sat down, spent. For every crisis solved there were always a dozen more. “Tell me how things are going in the city today. We have so many people from out of town for the Eclipse. Hopefully we can get through just this one day without a major incident.”

She cleared her throat. “Well S.A.V.I.O.R. has split up across the city, to cover areas of Midtown, Brisby, and The Hill. We’re working with other teams to have as much coverage as we can today. The group of S.A.V.I.O.R. patrolling The Hill… let me see…” She checked on her tablet the current roster. “It’s The Gryphon, Black Phantom, Hank, Miss Amazing, and their new recruit Quazi. The five of them just interrupted a robbery by members of Kagemusha Ryuujin out in Battenburg Heights. Oh, that reminds me – we need to hire a psychologist who’s familiar with psychic trauma for the team.”

“Fine, fine. Get what you need. In fact,” Zardona said with a look of sudden inspiration, “make the hiring of this person public knowledge, so the people can see that we’re already addressing the concerns these papers are bringing up. Lord knows what else we’ll see through the rest of the week. This could help us in getting a step ahead.”

Suppressing a small smile, Director Balisong simply nodded. “I’ll get right on that sir.”

“Anything else notable happening out there right now?”

“Just a small protest from members of the Church of Reflections. They believe they’re still allowed to have their gathering in Century Park. We’ve turned most of them away but they’ve returned with more and are protesting. It’s stayed non-violent and we expect it to sort itself out once the eclipse is over.”

“Even after their leaders were exposed and their church disbanded as a fraud cult, they’re still trying to maintain it?”

“People want something to believe in, no matter how flawed it is,” she responded. “That’s also what I think S.A.V.I.O.R. can be to this city.”

“All right, I get it,” he told her. He stood back up and looked out of his window at the parts of the city he could see from here. The eclipse was starting, but it would be a little while before it became noticeable. “Just keep me updated. See if you can find out what’s in store for the rest of week before it’s printed and arrives at my door.”

“Yes sir,” she said as she turned around and left.

A Fly on a Wall

A Fly on a Wall

Somewhere in Century Station…

A lone figure strode through the hall, her insect-like wings twitching unconsciously. The antenna on her forehead moved back and forth, sensing the area around her in ways her normal senses could not. A trail of roaches followed and flanked her. Her normally calm face was a mask of rage and fury. Two sentries moved to bar her path. One spoke. “Lady Hive, Modulus left instructions-” his voice was cut off as a swarm of the roaches ran up his body and into his mouth, cutting off his words and choking him. He moved away in a panic, frantically trying to clear the insects off of him. The other sentry wisely stepped back, allowing her to proceed. As she passed a swarm of the roaches engulfed him as well. She was not in the mood.

Lady Hive entered the chamber Modulus was inhabiting. Workbenches pressed against the walls, littered with tech projects. In each corner were powerful 8-foot tall robots, seemingly powered down. She and her insects could feel the hum of their machinery though – they were functional and ready for action at a moment’s notice. In the center of the chamber sat a 5½-foot tall, non-descript man. He appeared to be meditating in a lotus position. Lady Hive approached him but stopped several feet away. “Modulus,” she started to say to him, but it was his turn to interrupt her.

“Tell me what happened,” he asked her in a carefully neutral tone. He didn’t open his eyes or move to acknowledge her presence in any way.

She started as if she had been slapped. She didn’t interpret his tone as a good sign. “We had secured Dr. Wendell Moore, as you instructed, and was preparing to leave with him when those new heroes, S.A.V.I.O.R., showed up. We were overwhelmed. The robot-”

“Caedechron,” Modulus corrected.

“…the teenager-”

“Miss Amazing,” Modulus corrected once again.

“…and The Beast all ganged up on me while the beer commercial guy-”

“Rubber Band Man,” Modulus added, in the same exact tone as all his other statements.

“…snatched the Doctor from my pet. They didn’t even flinch when I directed my spiders to kill the remaining people inside. They just let them all die to keep fighting and humiliating me.” She clenched her fists in anger at the memory. The roach swarms around her began to writhe and undulate in response.

“The spider caught in another’s web, so to speak?”

Lady Hive glared at him with fear in her eyes. He knew. Of course he knew.

“What of the others?” Modulus asked calmly, directing her back to her tale.

She calmed herself slightly and continued the tale. “Inside the building Obelisk started knocking it down, per your instructions. But The Gryphon intercepted him. He flew Obelisk out of the building and toward the harbor. It looked as if the hero meant to toss him into the ocean. The suicidal woman-”

“Deathwish,” Modulus simply corrected.

“…intercepted Scream Queen and managed to capture her outside the building, with Caedechron’s help. I lost sight of the Rubber Band Man, I assume because Phaze was dealing with him.”

“I was,” a voice suddenly announced, from the edge of the chamber. The form of a young bald man appeared visible in that moment. “Rebota surprised me. A man with his talents… I still can’t believe he’d abandon the lucrative life we lead to become a mere hero, content to simply save lives.”

Lady Hive glared at Phase as he walked closer to them. She still couldn’t sense him in the room at all, despite seeing and hearing him now. The man was like a living ghost. Modulus didn’t react to this interruption at all. Likely, Lady Hive thought, because he already knew the mercenary was there.

Modulus snapped opened his eyes and stood up, looking straight at Lady Hive as if he had heard her thoughts. Phaze teleported across the chamber to be standing near Lady Hive – but not too close. “Phaze returned a little while before you did,” Modulus informed her. “He had both the primary objectives and, it turns out, our friend Obelisk, who he rescued from certain death over the ocean. Both The Gryphon and The Beast worked together to send him flying into the water. Obelisk is almost as perturbed as you are, Sharon.” Lady Hive flinched at the mention of her old name. Modulus clasped his hands behind his back and began slowly pacing. “The Beast’s new wings were a scenario I didn’t anticipate. Imagine my surprise when instead of The Gryphon dying, it was nearly Obelisk instead! Phaze, as per our arrangement you will be compensated accordingly for your intervention.”

Phaze nodded curtly. “I take it you don’t require me to retrieve Scream Queen from CSPD?”

Modulus shook his head. “No. Our business is concluded for the time being. If she had followed directions she would never have been caught. She can sit there and contemplate her failure for the time being. We don’t require her for the next phase of our plan.”

“Understood. I’ll take my leave then. It was, as always, a pleasure.” Phaze took a step back and disappeared, teleporting away and leaving Modulus and Lady Hive alone again.

“I thought the Doctor was the primary objective?” Lady Hive asked incredulously.

“Of course you did. I told you that on purpose, so you would provide a meaningful distraction for the majority of the heroes, allowing Phaze to collect what I needed.”

She didn’t like being played like this, but she knew better than to direct her anger at Modulus. She’d burn off some of this steam later. “So what now? Do you finally have everything you need?”

Modulus cracked the barest hint of a smile. “Almost. An old friend left some parting gifts with his ex-girlfriend, and I think the best time to relieve her of them will be at hand in a few days. Rest up. You’ll have your chance for revenge – I promise you that.”

A Voicemail from Richard

A Voicemail from Richard


You have one new voicemail, if you would like to listen to your voicemail, please press 1…


Nathan, this is Richard. Listen, I understand you need some time to cool off. Tensions were still high after last night and things got really heated this morning. If you want to cut ties with S.A.V.I.O.R. I won’t stop you. It’s simple paperwork to make that official.

But I’d hate to see you go. Especially like this. Your experiences give unique perspectives that we sorely lack as a group. Garrick has been thrust into the role of “leader,” and I think he especially could use your help and support to succeed in this role.

Garrick and the others are accompanying “Carl” to his appointment today with Dr. Wendell Moore. They all hope to help him get to the bottom of why he is the way he is. I’ll be staying behind to run diagnostics on A.R.C.H.I.E. all day. I’ll be around if you want to talk about this any further.


What Ashmadiel Had to Say

What Ashmadiel Had to Say

“You have been lied to.”

Gryphon hovered in the air, suspended by spectral, flaming wings. His eyes glowed with a bright golden light. His voice was unearthly – the spirit of his sword, Ashmadiel, was speaking through him and gave his voice a layered, harmonious quality. He/ She/ They addressed the eight very confused Nightbane, with Black Phantom and The Beast both nearby to witness this.

“The Nightlands are savagely ruled by sorcerers of long ago; men and women who shed their humanity for power to become monsters in both look and deed. Called the Ba’al-ze-neckt, or the Lords of the Night, they grew to bear nothing but hatred and malice towards humanity. Their goals became to destroy the works of mankind, grind them into the dust, enslave them, and then sacrifice them to increase their power.”

“After a great war which destroyed the first Human civilization, the Night Lords were eventually banished to the Nightlands and trapped them. While imprisoned in that dark mirror to the Earth they spread out and conquered it. They destroyed all that opposed them there until even the very land itself was bent to their twisted will. Among those destroyed were a race called the Formless Ones, natives who once lived peacefully in that Land of the Night. The Night Lords killed them all in their bid for power. Yet, they did not truly die.”

“Tied to the power of the land which birthed them, their spirits of the Formless Ones are reincarnated on Earth, where they can grow into their power safely. Throughout the ages they have sought to reclaim their homelands and would constantly return to take the fight back to the Night Lords. In time, they became known by a different name. These Spawn of the Night Lands would become known as the Bane of the Night Lords – Nightbane. With the power of their formless selves longing to be free, and the power of their ancient home surging through their bodies, they have waged a never ending war against the Night Lords to reclaim their homeland.”

“The Night Lords fear the Night Bane. Their connection to the Night Lands is too strong to keep them out. Their thirst for vengance too powerful to be held back when facing off against the ancient sorcerer-kings or their empowered minions. It is only the Night Lord’s vast numbers and mighty armies which have kept the Nightbane from eliminating them and reclaiming their home.”

“Though imprisoned, the Night Lords long to be free and return once more to reclaim the Earth for themselves. They could not escape the Nightlands, but their minions could. Once, their minions were numerous enough to threaten this world. That was when…”

Ashmadiel, controlling Gryphon, paused a moment before continuing.

“That was when my fellow Celestials and I finally mobilized to fight and stave off their invasion. Luciphim fought with Obscuruphim under the banner of The Shining Legion. We Athanatos proudly revealed ourselves and stood to defend this world from the return of the Night Lords. Many Nightbane fought by our side. But in a bid to end the war for good, both my partner and I overstepped, dealing a fatal blow to the Shining Legion from which it would never recover.”

“Both my partner and I were imprisoned in weapons as punishment for our arrogance. But despite the blow I dealt the Shining Legion, the Nightbane fought on successfully. Throughout the centuries I have witnessed Nightbane continue to step up to fight the Night Lords and their minions. Yet, sometime in this past century, it seems things changed.”

“The ways between the Nightlands and Earth became completely sealed off. The one who was manipulating the lot of you was a Prince of the Night Lords – nearly as monstrous as them and utterly loyal to their cause. He was deceiving you, I believe, in order to leverage your connections to your ancient homeland in a bid to re-open the ways between dimensions. Perhaps even to free the Night Lords themselves and bring them to the Earth once more, so they could continue their bid to destroy Humanity and increase their own power.”

“Your ignorance was used against you. Do not fault yourselves for this. The dimensional seal which prevented crossing the Mirrorwall was destroyed, and you will in time be able to cross that boundary yourselves. It did not appear that the Night Prince or his master knew that. Perhaps their plans would have changed if they had realized. I do not know.”

Ashmadiel was silent now, and looked around at all the Nightbane that had been deceived here. Her eyes fell on The Beast. “Something about you is different, but exactly what is hard to say. You are like them but you are not them. Your way will be different, I think, and perhaps even more difficult.”

With a look of patience, Gryphon/ Ashmadiel looked around at all the heroes and Nightbane here in the room. “Before I return the Gryphon to you, is there anything further any of you wish to ask?”

Are We Sure These Guys Are Heroes?

Are We Sure These Guys Are Heroes?

Are we sure these guys are heroes? I heard someone shooting when I ran over from grandma’s house. People usually don’t run from heroes. I think I saw the sword guy rush into that room and start attacking other animal people. The robot guy not from Skynet just disintegrated a person in front of us. I’m pretty sure he is lying and is from Skynet. Also Victor shot me at these people before we even found out who they were or what they were doing. This group I am supposed to be joining doesn’t sound like heroes to me. Also they have potty mouths. I wish Walter didn’t change his number. I have so many questions. George needs to get back from his summit trip too. At least I found grandma, maybe she can help me over some milk and cookies.
Calling Out Mayday

Calling Out Mayday

Can you hear, can you hear, can you hear my voice?
Coming through, coming through, coming through the noise?
I’m floating through outer space
I’m lost and I cant find a way
All the lights going dark
and my hopes destroyed

Help me, is anybody there?
Save me, I’m running out of air

Calling out Mayday
Calling out Mayday

It’s so dark, it’s so dark out here in space
and it’s been so long, been so long since I’ve seen a face
My eyes are shut but I can see
the void between you and me
and I feel, and I feel like I’m going insane

Help me, is anybody there?
Save me, I’m running out of air

Calling out Mayday
Calling out Mayday

Far from the sun
Beyond stars
I hear their song
They’re coming closer
Talking without sound
Calling me home

Calling out Mayday
Calling out Mayday

Save me, I’m running out of air
I’m running out of air
I’m running out of air
I’m running out of air
I’m running out of air…