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.


Epilogue.

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!”


5 Replies to “No Time Like The Present…”

  1. Out of the frying pan…into the fire.

    Of course, this result is one of many possible outcomes. Make your own fate…

    1. Actually I think they keep doing this until it becomes Rifts Earth and Inbur is no longer there upon their return. Start up the next Rifts Campaign. Dun, dun, DUN!!!!!!!

      1. Dead Reign, Splicers, Chaos Earth, Systems Failure, Chaos Earth Resurrection, Armageddon Unlimited, Mechanoids… Palladium has no shortage of world-ending events. Am I missing any?

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