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Offline Scrasamax

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Superheroes Ltd
« on: May 19, 2005, 03:18:58 PM »
Setting: Van Buren City
Called the VBC by those in the know, and those who want to sound like they are in the know. This large city located in an ambiguous location on the Eastern Seaboard is a geographically large and diverse locale. The city is built around a large harbour, and was Port Van Buren until 1915 when the shipside industries fell alongside the growing steel industry. It was a few years later that Detroit stole Van Buren's thunder and became the steal capital of the US.

The city retains a large population through economic diversity. Textile mills, coal mining, shipping, and heavy industry are all well represented along with the well accepted, if not Ivy League UVB. The city has an advanced power grid, thanks to having a substancial nuclear power plant, and associated safeguards. The military retains a small base, Abigail Airforce Base, which serves both the air force and the marines.

The population is in the vicinity of 500,000 but a large percentage is below the national average. Crime is common, and the police are often overtaxed trying to contain the drug dealing and petty violence. Vigilantes are nothing new to Van Buren city, and the police often turn a blind eye to their activities, so long as things dont get out of hand.

The First Supers
1946, unbeknownst to the local populace, Doctor Herrman Reinquist formerly of the Nazi special weapons and research center, had moved into town. The doctor used monstrosities of metal, walking tanks and flame cannons to hold the city hostage in a plan to create a safe haven for other escaped Nazi's. This was not to happen.

In times of need, there will rise a hero. Apparently from common roots came a vigilante of outstanding posture...Ultraman! This hero repeatedly thwarted Reinquist and his band of Ex-nazi cronies. The populace rejoiced to hear his exploits on the radio, they had a super like upscale Gotham and Metropolis. This was the way of things for many years.

...But Ultraman grew old. It was time to hang up the cape and put away the mask, but the hero couldnt lie down. Heroes dont retire, they dont move to condos in southern Florida. They face their arch-nemesis and are slain in a glorious, selfless way that inspires others to take up the mantle of herodom. Still, that didnt take the grey out of his hair, or the fact that Renquist, his great nemesis was ten years in the grave.

Hanging up the Mask
In 2003, a new nemesis appeared, calling itself Hellbender. The entity commanded powers of pyrokinesis and telekinesis. The battle lasted several hours and ended with Ultraman destroying Hellbender by collapsing the East Wing of the Van Buren Coal Processing Center on it. Hellbender was destroyed, but at a great cost, Ultraman was horribly maimed, it seemed his vaunted invulnerability had weakened with age.

Three weeks later the millionnaire recluse George Cranston appeared with severe injuries identical to those infliced on Ultraman, including the loss of both legs, and his right arm. His secret identity revealed, Ultraman formally retired, the fact that he could no longer walk made being a super...difficult.

Today
Two years have passed with crime slowly on the rise, and no supers to stand it its way. The city has become morose as the police are increasingly unable to handle the problems but thankfully no supervillians have appeared demanding the attention of the supers.


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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2005, 03:28:01 PM »
The rain broke over the city, shrouding the peaks of the skyscrapers in veils of mist and torn cloud. An iron grey sky reflected the dour mood of the city, brooding like a anxious beast. The lights responded to the darkness by flickering on, casting their sulper vapor orange glow across the slick asphalt. The traffic droned on, barely slowing for the rain.

*****
Some of the faculty at the high school fretted over the computers in the AV lab, making remarks of thunder and lightning damaging the machines. The storm poured down rain, but was not the roaring monster of thunder and malice that they imagined.

"You cant trust those surge protectors," one of the assistant teachers warned, "Its a false sense of security. If lightning hit the building, you could be electrocuted by the modem." she said with a tone of admonishment.

>News VanB.net<

Inserted photo of a humanoid creature eight to nine feet tall clad in a suit of blackened metal. The suit is as much H.R. Giger inspired nightmare as it is insectile and alien in nature.

...photo taken by local photographer yesterday. The suspect eluded persuit, but authorities from the Nuclear Power plant are taking the matter seriously. A few make mention of 'Hellbender' from 2003.


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Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2005, 04:04:57 PM »
Trevor looked up from the text and the image on the computer when the assistant teacher spoke. He blinked. Trevor looked down at all the insulating static mats on the floor while continuing to wind up the cord for the VCR cart he was winding. He thought, "It was unlikely that anyone was going to be directly electricuted, unless they spilled a pop on the computer, the floor, and themselves. Of course, the computer could fry, but still.... I guess this is where urban myths start... with assistant teachers."  With a sigh, Trevor went to retrieve the last cart.

The cart made its familiar k.k.k.k.k.k.k.k.k as it went down the tiled hall to the AV court. He unconciously brushed the imaginary crud from his butt as he passed the trash can he had been so unceremoneously deposited earlier in the day. At least having super powers made such treatment unpainful.

He used his key to enter the AV court, the fancy name for the spare classroom that all the various AV equipment was staged in at the school. For all his supposed wisdom, the teacher had left one of the computers on. Trevor absorbed as much of the information as he could from the article. Opending three windows, he started three searches on some external sites, seeing if additional information could be dredged up. While the little clock idled on the computer screen, he looked outside at the rain. He really should go out and check this out. He wondered if his invunerability made him immune to colds.
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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2005, 10:56:02 PM »
Source: AP
 - Police and associated special personel have been dispatached to the Eastern Seaboard in hopes of identifying the newest figure in the polarized arena of xeohumanity. The newcomer has not made any moves other than brief appearances in Norfolk, Van Buren City, and Savannah...

Source: Reuters
 - Detective Van Dyke of the Washington Bureau of Xeohuman affairs had no information on the unnamed xeo currently making rounds through the South-eastern seaboard. Van Dyke has expressed interest in the newcomer but has declined to deploy special tracker units until the suspect makes himself known to be a villian.

"It has happened too many times that a xeo just wants to be weird and left alone. Persuing them just pushes them to worse things. It is my sincere hope that this new addition will voluntarily register himself as per the Xeo-Registration Act passed in several states..."

Source: Weekly World News Online
 - Gala debut of Nega-Man, newest hero of the United States. Clad all in black Nega-Man has met with not only the President but Bat-Child and The Roswell Grey Man all of whom vouce for his moral fiber. Paris Hilton has claimed the Nega-Man is secretly the father of her as yet unannounced pregnancy.


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2005, 01:41:16 AM »
A seedy bar.
Another lukewarm mug of mediocre beer.

David Borean nurses his alcohol on the odd-smelling sticky counter. The regulars know him as Zero, his nickname, and disregard his odd appearance. Newcomers think he's an albino.

Sip.

Two men walk into a bar, tall, squarish, Secret-Service-looking types.
"Mr. Borean," one of them says.

The white-haired, white-skinned man drums his fingers on the bartop. His other hand curls around the glass mug, and a thin layer of frost crawls around his fingerprints.
"Jesus, you people. Can't you see, I'm drinking!" he snarls towards the men in black sunglasses, who glance about slowly and waft away the thin curls of cigarette smoke that compose approximately 74% of the bar's atmosphere.

"Mr. Borean, the executives will not be happy about this. This is the fourth time this year you've broken contract, and the contract stipulates that..."

"@!#$ you," Zero says lazily, tossing long, thin, straight white hair out of his blue eyes.

The head suit sniffs. "This isn't just a matter of contract, Mr. Borean. Your health is at stake here- if you don't get a booster shot of dampener, you know what could happen."

"@!#$ you," Zero repeats. A moment passes. He sips from his beer, and the icy glass is now fogged over. A thin layer of ice forms beneath the palm of his hand on the counter.

The bartender sidles over to wipe it away with a filthy rag. "Hey, Zero, watch the finish. Yer' ice s**t ruins it."

"Mr. Borean, I'm afraid this is a large breach of contract and...," the headman trails off meaningfully.

"Yeah, no s**t. Go @!#$in' deal with it, 'cuz I'm tired of it. Why don't you go on back to those mother@!#$ers down at the Concern and tell them that they can suck my fat one? I'm fed up with your d**n contract," drones Zero, repeating a refrain he's done a thousand times before.

A moment passes.

"Yeah, gimme the d**n shot," Zero says, holding out his wrist. A suit comes forward and opens a shiny metal briefcase on the bar, pulling out a small syringe of bluish-grey fluid, which he jabs into the pale man's artery. Zero hisses like a cat, and for a moment, the air around him crackles with a sudden instantaneous cooling and re-warming.

"Now, Mr. Borean. The board would have been willing to let this behavior continue. But at the moment, there is an issue. A new xeohuman criminal has arrived in the City, and we believe that it may be something like we haven't seen since Hellbender."

"Yeah, @!#$ right. That bastard was @!#$ing Satan himself."

Zero looks up to the muted television, and sees the tall metal nightmare. Even with the sound off it's scary as hell.

"That your mother@!#$er?" he says, pointing toward the screen.
"Yes," the suit replies.

Zero takes a contemplative last sip of his beer (at least, that of the beer that isn't frozen solid) and turns to the suit.
"Go @!#$ yourself, Agent Spruance."
"Glad to have you aboard, Mr. Borean."
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2005, 09:11:39 AM »
His back against the graffiti covered wall of what was easily the filthiest public toilet he had ever seen,(and he had seen quite a few)George wiped his brow and stared unhappily at the tattered,grubby wad of five ten dollar notes hanging out of his wallet. About ten days ago,he'd had at least a hundred and twenty bucks with him when he'd arrived here to cover a story. Now it was just fifty dollars. d**n. His money was running out fast The cost of living in the VBC was sure high. Good old Chicago had never been that expensive,at least not back when he was living with his folks.

 Well,he didn't have them to rely on them now. And something told him that old Matherson,the guy who ran The Bulletin,wasn't going to mail him more money. Nah,asking old Matherson to bail him out was practically an invitation to get fired. And he was not determined not to lose the internship he had going with the Bulletin,no matter what others thought of that ''super market tabloid'' as his parents had been so fond of calling it. He'd just have to soldier on as best as he could with a lousy 50 bucks.

  Just his luck to get an internship with what was probably the most derided tabloid there was. All the same,it did give him a chance to cut his teeth on the gritty world of investigative journalisim,and for that he was grateful. If he was lucky,this bad assed xeno villain  supposedly haunting Van Buren City which he was covering for The Bulletin,would turn out to be the real thing,not some dumb hoax like most of the other outrageous stories they'd published. Not likely though. From what the old hands working there had told him,in all it's 15 years,The Bulletin had failed to get the scoop on a single genuine super. And probably never would... Not unless he decided to reveal what he truly was and agree to field a whole host of questions from them. Not like that was likely either. He liked his privacy just fine which  meant that he sure as hell wasn't going to do anything to blow his secret identity...

 It suddenly hit him like a thunder bolt,the violent rage that seized him. One moment he was silently lamenting over The Bulletin's lack of regard in the journalistic world,and the next,he was balling up his fists and fighting the desperate emotion to smash something. Silently cursing himself for being so careless,he lifted his shield back in place again and released his fists shakily. There were red scratches down each plam. God,he'd drawn blood.

 The noises of the conflict reached George a few moments after he'd felt it. There was angry  screaming coming from the women's loo. Two very angry women having a shouting fest,no doubt. For a moment or two,he considered ending it,then shrugged. It wasn't so pressing a problem that he'd have to meddle with their feelings to put a stop to it. Besides,time was a wasting and he had a xeno villain to cover. He was out of here.
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2005, 12:00:33 AM »
Daryl Waltrip walked along the sidewalk, his collar turned up against the unpleasant downpour. He had been born in Van Buren city thirty years ago and still hated the weather, hated the rain. It was an illusion but sometimes he felt like he could feel it, echoing inside his psychometric realm of perception. It wasnt really there, it was just reflecting back his own kirilian energy back at him. Reduced visibility, or so the weathermen said, he muttered a curse under his breath and took another drag on his cigarette. That d**ned old man had him pounding the asphalt looking for a few twirp kids, the kind that he thought could fill his d**ned Ultra-shoes.

Daryl, or more commonly known by the rather embarassing nickname Perceptor continued his trek, sensing the distant massed signatiures of people smart enough to stay in out of the rain. He pasued in front of a handsome stuccoed house with sprawling bouganvillea decorating the fencerow and porch. He could see, or sense their energy inside, the brilliant bonfire of excstasy. He felt mildly aroused, gaining feedback from the rainstorm and their lusty activity. He walked on before he became more distracted. Bitterly he drug out his pack of smokes and lit another one. He couldnt fly, or smash things with his fists, couldnt crush people with his mind, or shoot balls of flame from his fists. Oh, but how awesome it was to be able to see people's emotions, and sense their feelings. Fragging useless power, half-assed xeo-puke wanna be. He stubbed out the smoke on the edge of a brick stoop nearly two blocks from the lovers' house.

Daryl found his target, somewhere inside Van Buren highschool. The echo of a xeo was unmistakable, even if it was muted. Daryl puffed a third cigarette before crossing the street and heading into the building. He followed the signal, it grew stronger, and more defined as soon as he entered the building, shielded from the refracting droplets of water. He walked down two hallways before finding a kid sitting alone in what passed for the geek locker.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for someone, on behalf of the Cranston Concern..." Waltrip said. There was no way that this little twig of a kid was the xeo that the old man was looking for. d**ned old bastard was recruiting children. "You know, Ultraman." he said, despizing the words as he said them.


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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2005, 12:10:05 AM »
Agent Spruance replaced the syringe, and the suits with him moved away from the two. Spruance looked a little more pertubed than normal, but the unshakable man in black had been his handler for just that reason.

"Zero, Dave," he says, waving away the bartender for a moment. "The Concern has a job for you to do, and it has to do with buckethead here on the TV. We've determined that the freak, no offence, has laired up somewhere here in VBC." He finally submitted to the glare of the bartender who generally didnt like customers who didnt spend money, and especiallat the sort who made the other patrons nervous, and didnt spend money. He ordered a single beer, but an expensive one.

"Seems the board of directors would like to use you as the leader of a head-hunting party to recruit this guy, or bring him down early in case he ends up being a whack job worse than Hellbender." Spruance said, his hand squeezing his own upper arm. The agent had been one of the few norms who came face to face with Hellbender and survived, but with only a broken arm, and second and third degree burns over about half of his body.

"Some of the other agents have been recruiting you a team. What do you say David?"


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Offline Scrasamax

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George
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2005, 12:20:26 AM »
Melissa Dubois hung up her cellphone and returned her attention to the glowing computer monitor in front of her. The hard drive hummed softly as she skimmed through back issues of the Bulletin, a weekly tabloid rag. She had to suppress a small laugh, they had been close on Hellbender a few years ago, they didnt know how close, and the Concern intended for the rag to not know. The other papers were almost always off base, useless in fact if you wanted solid reporting on the weird s**t. One name appeared over and over, especially in the last six months. The writing was above par for the magazine and there was a genuine interest in xeos.

The best investigative reporting on the planet, her boss had said, almost busted my secret identity, but the boobs never knew how close they were. Now they wanted that sort of sleuth on their side. The team was assembled, three full fledged xeos, plus three support personal. She was to go along as a liason, along with two other norms and two as yet to be named xeos. Melissa sighed, knowing that she would have to use that ridiculous code name that her boss had so lovingly given her. Arazi wasnt a super hero, or even a good field agent, it was a suit designer, or a runway model.  She dialed the number that Matherson at the Bulletin had given her, she hoped that the reporter was inside a calling area. Matherson had said he was in VBC, but there were a number of cellphone dead zones. She hoped as the phone rang.


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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2005, 05:50:48 AM »
As George stepped out of the toilet into the dinghy interior of the small eatery where he'd stopped to have his daily breakfast of bacon and eggs,the cell phone in his the right pocket of his jeans begun to blare out it's cheesy ring tone. Wincing, he reached inside and fished it out. He had a very good idea of who would be on the other line. Old Matherson no doubt,wanting to know why his sleuth was taking such a long time to get a lead on the tin helmetted goon that was terrorizing the VBC. Sighing,George answered it.
 
 ''Mr Matherson,I know you're worried about loosing this new xeo villain to some other paper,but believe me,I'll be the first to get a scoop on this story,just like I have always been the first to get a handle on every story that you've assigned me to handle. You will have something vital by the end of the week,I promise you.''
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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2005, 08:08:44 AM »
"That's wonderful to hear, Mr. Michael," A woman said on the other end of the phone, her voice was the sultry southern type. "But my name is Melissa DuBois and I work with the Cranston Concern. We have inquired about your services as a free lance reporter and your manager Mr. Matherson gave us this number.

"We are very interested in the quality of your journalism and were inquiring about having you along for a special mission to identify the newest potential super on the East Coast." she said, and then he could hear the familiar clickety clack of a keyboard.

"We are prepared to offer you substancial financial compensation for your services as well as hazard pay should the xeo become violent. The first scoup would go to your parent paper, the Bulletin, and you could rival that Kent fellow in Metropolis." she said, dangling the bait in front of him.


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2005, 06:09:03 PM »
"Well, hell, I'm flattered, Spru," Zero says, using a nickname that he knows the agent hates. "I really am. But you gotta' promise me this won't be like that job you had me do up in New York..."

He turns and attempts to sip his frozen block of beer.

"That was ridiculous, Spru, really, it was. You said just about the same thing that time, and guess what team I got- some kid who could move rocks around, some chick who nearly burst my eardrums (I shoulda' ducked out right when I heard "supersonic scream"), and some old mother@!#$er who I never saw do anything!
"So, who am I going to be working with? And I better not hear anything about moving rocks, screaming, or being really old."
Zero eyed Spruance with a pale glance.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2005, 08:40:32 PM »
"The team isnt fully assembled yet, but you will be working with Arazi whom I believe you already know. She is recruiting external talent to document this new guy. Perceptor is in, I think he is up to three packs a day and he is trying to bag a new recruit who could use some training. Kind of a generalist, from what the big man says. Finally you and me kid." Spruance said, looking at the block of frozen beer.

"Ever thought of using an insulated mug, might keep the frost out of your suds."


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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2005, 11:57:02 PM »
Famous as Clark Kent? That was all it took to get George enthusastic about the offer the mysterious woman on the other end was offering him. Hell,this was the kind of once in a lifetime that every reporter dreamed about. His ticket to greatness,as he would have expressed it in his own words. For that,he was willing to face any kind of danger,even if it came in the form of a potentially deadly xeo.
 
 
 His voice trembling with barely suppressed excitement,George started talking just as Ms.Dubois finished. Ms.Dubois,it would be a great pleasure to work with your employers,The Concern. Rest assured that they will not be disappointed with my work.''
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2005, 11:49:38 PM »
"Oh god. Arazi? What're you people trying to do, kill me? Every time I see that woman...," Zero trailed off into vague swearing.
"Perceptor, eh? Good guy. Like him a lot. After the last job I meant to call him up and have a brew or two, but," he shrugged, "I lack any motivation."

There was a pause. Somebody down the bar coughed a hacking lung rocket while Zero stared off nostalgically.

"Anyway, guess we better get going, eh?" Zero stood up and shouldered past the agents, grinning insouciantly at one who flinched irritatedly, and walked out the door.
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2005, 02:17:43 PM »
So much for that Secret Identity thing, he thought.

Trevor had retreived his ex-bank bag gym bag. He headed into the 3rd floor bathroom. After checking it for people, he began to fumble with the bag. The lock actually required a jerk of superstrength to open, rather than some pickable combination.

The Suit seemed to cool when designed it. It lost a little in the actual manufacture. He tried to use Xeo-energy to store it so he could "instant change" but after shreding the practice clothes, he resolved to use his kevlar re-enforced gym bag. He checked his GPS and his police radio. And the cape. Sigh. The cape was kind of cool too. It made him feel more "ultra". Unfortunately, he kept tripping on it. Then it got caught in between the bus and the wall, practically killing him. So he remove it. Still he had a great suit. His uniform is a white unitard, with blue boots, and gloves. His upper shoulders, chest, and arms have a broad blue and red stripe. On his chest he has a yellow eight pointed compass star. Not that it really shows off his power, it is just that it is cool. He has a broad blue cloth strip mask that covers his upper face. Since his "force field" protect him and anything tightly against his skin (at full force), this uniform never tears or gets dirty.  

"This is the part of super heroing that people never mention," he said to himself, "The changing of clothes in wet and dirty bathrooms".

I guess I will soon arrive where I need to go, once I find out where that is.
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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2005, 03:56:15 PM »
"I went through that once, but lacking a suitable cool super power, I just stick to plain clothes now." Perceptor said, he pulled a batter but servicable nokia out of his pocket and flipped it open. He pressed a speed dial button, and a long string of numbers bleeped through the phone. He waited for a moment, fishing out his battered pack of marlboros. Ignoring the no smoking law, he lit the cigarette in the hall of the school.

"We'll have a ride in a few minutes." Perceptor said, closing the phone. He tapped ashes on the carpet. "Lets get to the roof, the chopper will be here in a few minutes, better to be there before it lands. They dont like to hang out on the roofs of buildings too long. People get real suspicious and start asking too many questions." he said.


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Offline Scrasamax

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The Carravaggio Center
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2005, 09:26:10 PM »
Built in 1995, the Carravaggio Center became a very popular structure. Dominating the Van Buren skyline, the building was the unique creation of an Oslo born architect of no small skill. Rising more than 50 stories into the air, it was the tallest building in VBC, second tallest structure to the 62 story WVBC radio tower near the docks. The main feature of the building was a keyhole six stories tall and twenty feet wide.

The Westerland Lynx perched gracefully atop the building, delivering its cargo of two xeos to the building. A small groud crew met the helicopter and began to prep it for parking. One side of the top of the building was a helicopter hanger, the other half being the helipad. A carpeted stairwell lead into the building, away from the high pitech whine of the slowing turbine engine, the decreasing thump of the rotors.

Perceptor lead Trevor through several hallways before coming to an elevator. He inserted a key into the button panel, it beeped once, and the doors closed. It was hard to tell the distance, but the elevator descended only a floor or two. If it was a high speed, maybe three or four. The two entered a small but poshly decorated room. All of the furniture was overstuffed and leather upholstered, and the carpet was thick enough to be considered padding for a fall zone.

"If you need anything, you can call out for room service, but it will take a few minutes, the kitchens are on the ground floor." Perceptor said, stepping out onto a small balcony and liting a smoke. Apparently his employer didnt approve of his smoking inside.

*****

George made his way to the Carravaggio Center, half of his remaining fifty dollars going to a cab driver who managed to get lost for ten miles claiming he couldnt find the center. It was an impressive building, a towering monstrosity of gleaming steel and glass, with a huge keyhole in the center. All he needed was for Superman to fly through the keyhole while he snapped away with a camera...

"Mister Michael?" A long legged redhead asked, her hair forming a thick mane around her round and inviting face. "I'm Ms. Dubois, Arazi. If you'll come with me, Mr. Cranston will be seeing the team in half an hour." she said. THey walked through the sixteen door lobby, facing a granite topped receptionists' desk roughly the size of a WWII carrier. The receptionist and quartet of security men nodded the duo through the interior doors. They proceded up a long promenade, overlooking the corridor that run under the building and the road. Several shops lined the aisle. Sandwiches and luggage boutiques jostled for space as people by the dozens bustled by on their lunch breaks. The smell of coffee was both strong, and appealing to a man who had subsisted on burnt convenience store coffee.

The elevator ride was fast, the cubicle whisked rapidly away into the heights of teh building, disgorging them into a large foyer. Arazi lead the reporter through a set of stained oak double doors into a small sitting room. A central table dominated the room. A teenager and a chainsmoker were the only occupants, the smoker scowling at the city from the balcony in a manner that would have made old Sam Spade proud.

*****
The ride to the Carravaggio center was old news. The car was old, not one of the new models. Guess those were reserved for the CEOs, CFOs, and WTF's of the various companies housed in the beast of a building. Lucita, the receptionist smiled at David as he walked in with the goon squad. He knew the other four goons on guard detail.

Watkins and Schaeffer, Ange and Simms. They were good guys, painfully republican and lacking in imagination. They might go far in the company, so long as they didnt mind being stuck in security until they were on a meager pension and grousing about the good old days drinking free refill coffee in the local IHOP.

Spruance and David took the express elevator up to the executive level, and broke into the main waiting room. He had been here before, several times, but he had never actually met Cranston...Ultraman, before. Four people were in the room when they finally arrived. Perceptor lit another smoke, leaning against the rail, while the others seemed to have taken their lean.

*****

"Welcome," A short woman said, brushing her auburn hair out of her eyes. Her orange sweater clashed with the red and brass motif of the conference room. "Mister Cranston will be able to see you in twenty minutes. There is fresh coffee in the carafe, and should anyone need anything the building service has been authorized to use the express elevator." she said with a smile.

"If there is anything I can personally get for you, dont be afraid to ask." she said.

"There is something," Perceptor said.

"No problem Mr. Waltrip," she said, extracting an unopened pack of cigarettes from her attache. "Mr. Cranston said you went through these very quickly."

"Thanks."


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2005, 10:16:59 PM »
Zero's eyes swept around the room, his fingers tapping a stuttering beat on the tabletop.

Perceptor. Good old guy. How long had it been? Still smoking, Zero saw. Good. He figured that the moment Perceptor stopped smoking was the moment Perceptor would die.

Arazi. Yep. Still hot, in more ways than one. Zero chuckled at his own corny joke.

So these were the new xeos.
Just two? What the hell?

The first was a nondescript man in a ruffled button-up shirt and slacks. He looked rather nervous. What a wuss.

The second looked like a kid. He wore a colorful outfit, like one of the old-timer supers, and looked somewhat familiar. It was that one jack-of-all-trades xeo who'd been around for a month or two. But, crap, man, he was just a kid.

d**n, Spruance. You've screwed me over again! Zero raged to himself.
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2005, 12:10:09 AM »
George took a good look at the lavishly furnished room. Like everything else about this building,it smacked of great wealth and influence. His mysterious employers sure had plenty of money to burn.


 Sadly,the team assembled by the Concern simply didn't match up to the lofty grandeur pervading their employers. A pale albino dressed like a bum. A tough,capable looking high school kid lugging a really heavy looking bag around. Boy,did his multi-colored costume look dumb. And a morose looking man with an evidently out of control chain smoking habit. The last was starting on the new packs of cigarettes that the aurburn haired woman had so kindly given him,while the pale guy was treating him and the kid to a baleful glare. Good thing he had his emotional shield in place. The last thing George wanted was some burned out,jaded ex-super hero flooding his mind with extreme contempt and disappointment. That kind of thing tended to ruin his mood of eager anticipation. Sure he could change all that with a few subtle emotional signals to the pale guy's head,but that was unethical.  One wasn't supposed to abuse one's gift and all that. His late mentor Dr.Hoffman,had been very clear on that.  For now,he'd content himself with thinking equally derisive thoughts about the hostile albino.

 And there was another pressing matter to attend to. His thirst for coffee. Real coffee brewed from actual coffee beans,not that styrofoam tasting trash he'd become accustomed to in the past few days. Raising his right hand to get the attention of the woman,he said ''I'd like some black coffee if it isn't too much trouble,ma'am.''
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2005, 09:06:47 AM »
"Actually, I would like to get started. Or are we waiting on more people?"

Ace was annoyed by all of this. The man could see Xeo-Energy (and lots of other things) just like him, though better, just found him in his secret ID. He could only sense Xeo-energy when it was obviously in motion or when touching someone. He did not like the fact that his identity was now a corporate secret, even if the corporation was owned by Ultraman.

He was the only obvious Xeo in the entire room, or at least he was the only one who had bothered to put on a costume.  He knew most Xeos had emotional issues, but the vibe from some of these people were odder than some of the homeless he had met. For all he knew, they were corporate drones and he was the only active Xeo the corp had.

Ace wanted to know what was going on and wanted to know soon. This whole thing stank more than the cigs "Perceptor" was smoking.
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The Belly of the Beast
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2005, 04:32:57 PM »
The auburn headed woman graciously poured George a cup of wonderful smelling coffee. She allowed him the room himself to add sweetener as he liked. The preperation of coffee was something that some Americans were as fickle over as the British were with their tea. She was quiet for a moment while the others had a chance to mill around and meet one another.

She looked up when a small chime went off. She stood and smoothed her skirt down, brushing her stocking clad thighs in a slightly indulgent manner. "Mr. Cranston will see you now." she said in a chipper tone. She walked to the set of double doors opposite of the hallway and opened them. Beyond was a brightly lit room, filled with bright machinery, hanging plastic sacks and tubes, and various blinking lights. An old man lay on a large hospital bed.

Plastic tubes ran under the sheets, and an oxygen line was clipped to his nose. Two sounds mingled with one another, the steady rhythmic bleating of the heart monitor, and the hiss-pop of a ventillator machine. The man survived solely by means of mechanical devices. He smiled, his eyes bright and clear despite the machines and the lights, and the fact that the freedom driven life of Ultraman was replaced with that of bedridden humility.

"I'm glad to see such a fine looking group." Cranston said, a grandfatherly smile on his face. "I see that you found my protoge, Perceptor." he said, looking directly at Ace. "I can see that you are concerned about your secret identity, and perhaps rightfully so. Here you all are, in the belly of the beast, my corporation...or what was once my corporation. Since my victory over Hellbender."

"That is beside the point. All of you, and your information is heavily encrypted, what little of it that has been commited to data form. Only I have complete access to this data, and when I die, this information will be automatically deleted, part of the programming. I understand the importance of the secret identity, and would not allow yours to fall into anyone's hands. Henceforce, no one uses their birth names, instead everyone is to use their supernames."

"I'm rambling now. I want the six of you to hunt down and investigate the black super who has made himself visible. I will warn you that I have a bad feeling and this might be very dangerous. You will suitably compensated for your serivces, which would allow you to persue your own noble agendas, as beer-soaked, smoke-filled, or iconic as they may be." he said, breaking off into a fit of coughing.

"A few years ago, my company started making Ultraman toys, they are still quite popular. Then, they decided to make the villians too, so Ultraman would have someone to fight. Last year the consumers bought three hellbenders for every Ultraman..." he said, "He died in his prime...and the people remember that."

"That being said," Arazi said, "Lets head down to the next floor and do a suit check, since only Ace seems to have come prepared."

"If you dont have one, we can synthesize one in about an hour, we have access to the same resources that Ultraman used in making his suits. After that, we can head for the VBC Ironworks, this buckethead makes regular appearances there, from what we have been able to gather."


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2005, 06:13:25 PM »
Every time Zero had seen the old man, he had been like that, but it never ceased to be unsettling. He took in the former Ultraman's words with what seemed like solemn listening, but which was really more like disguised irritation.

Following Arazi's shapely backside, Zero reacquainted himself with the halls of Cranston Corporation. He could never figure out why Ultraman's corporate entity needed such a huge building. It wasn't like the company had that many arms- what else would they do, besides Ultraman merchandise and helping out xeos? He figured that at least half the offices in the building were never occupied.

As he walked, he tapped the kid on the shoulder.
"Hey, kid," he said. "You look ridiculous."
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2005, 09:08:05 AM »
Ace head was swirling. "That's... that's... UltraMan. Is my mouth open. Am I staring. Geeze, he is old. Toys. He had six Ultramans. Kids are going to have ME as a action figure. His reverie was  broken by a tap.

#####

"Hey, you smell, need a breathmint, could sober up some, and really need to see a dentist." He casually removed the man's hand with a super strong thumb and forefinger.  He held it in two fingers. Squeezing slightly. It was not going anywhere. In fact, the hold was more than a little uncomfortable. "I think I have the better end of the deal."

"The suits are useful in terms of identification. They are modern Heraldry. People wear them so police and others know who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, and who is just a stupid idiot.  This prevents the wrong people from being bashed. I guess you need a suit, or perhaps just a big L posted on your forehead. "

He had just finished that little rant when he realized that this guy had a good amount of Xeo energy. He saw the pattern but was not sure what it did. "Great, I just peeved off another Xeo," he thought. "Since he is a nut case, he will probably try something stupid. I hope this place is insured."
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2005, 09:26:59 AM »
George's head reeled. Ultraman? Was the bed ridden old man before them really the fabled Ultraman of yore? Mighty slayer of the infamous Hell Bender? With his emotional shield in place,and the quiet yet overwhelming presence of the former Ultraman commanding all his attention,he was all but oblivious to  the little conflict of egos taking place between the albino and the buffed up kid.  
Even now,when age had gotten the better of the old lion,the man who was had once been Ultraman still had the power to overshadow anyone else in the room,xeo or norm.

A croaky voice issued from his dry throat. ''It's a honor to meet you,Mr.Cranston.''
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