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.


2 Replies to “Fight the Future”

  1. S.T.E.V.E.: Synthetic Technician Engineered for Virtue and Encouragement.
    A.R.C.H.I.E.: Artificial Robot Cerebellum Housing Intellect Experiment.
    N.E.X.U.S.: Nanotech Empowered eXtrinsic Union Symbiote.

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