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Thread: The MetaWar Saga (unfinished)

  1. #21
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 14



    Olympus was growing, we were making a difference in human society, and even better, they noticed. Overall coverage of our activities was positive despite constant reminders by the US government that we were all technically criminals and traitors. We had reached a significant portion of the MetaHuman population with the Pact, and it was working.

    There were some battles you never heard about of course, but most ended up on the news. A group would pop up somewhere, do some damage, probably kill some people, and disappear. Some of us would arrive in town and hunt the villains down.

    We worked hard to avoid combat on city streets. If one of us saw a crime in progress, regardless of location we would want to respond, but the result of our kind of combat was usually destruction. We weighed the cost of taking action against the danger in front of us.

    It has been alleged that we enjoyed destroying the municipal properties of the very cities we risked our lives to defend. We did not enjoy it. The people we fought, a lot of them took great pleasure in the chaos they could cause. We operated the way we did because it was the way to reduce casualties, to keep people from getting hurt.

    One of the wonders of our times that is not related to my kind is global communications. News travels, anyone can see the news from anywhere, books are published on every possible subject.

    Even books by Murderers, Sadists, Rapists, Monsters.

    Even books by cold, heartless people who died at my own hand.

    Even them.

    History is told by the victors eh? Well not anymore. This is our story, their story has been coming out since Day One actually. The first book that alleged it would tell the true story of the Fateful Four came out 33 days after the actual battle itself.

    Question? How many of the scum that we hunted down like dogs had a best selling book?

    Answer? Too fucking many.

    The only good thing I can say about most of them is that the profits generally go to the surviving families of those lost souls. They have all of the sympathy and compassion that Psyche and Nova have beaten into my head over the years.

    Sadly in well over half the cases, it is only distant relatives who benefit from the posthumous publishing of such a work. Immediate families are most often the first victims of a Meta who goes over to the dark side.

    If you think we had been sailing along at this point, dispatching our opponents left and right without a worry you would be half right. We were succeeding at a great many things. Those like us who went public in a criminal way found our response fairly quick, and very final.

    There are people we have not yet been able to stop. Loki had not played any more games with us but he was still out there. We knew of a few Metas who were gathering forces but had not yet made any serious moves, mostly they were based in Europe or Asia.

    MetaHumans had begun disappearing from North America and appearing elsewhere a short time later. Someone was making money by getting people away from us. One thing it was pretty easy for us to learn was that the people who were leaving had ample reason not to want to meet us.

    Olympus had the advantage of having gotten started first, we were far bigger than any other group could hope to be. I intended for it to stay that way so we did a lot of recruiting. Those Metas who did not want to live at Olympus were offered training anyway, most accepted. I built up a reserve force that eventually turned into some of the independent teams.

    But there were some that we could not catch, or could not beat.

    There was Zippy.

    He calls himself Mercury, but we call him Zippy and worse. The one rogue speedster.

    Speedsters can see each other at about the normal distance. Catching one that does not want to be caught is damn near impossible. So far despite the constant effort of Olympus's speedsters, the bastard is still out there. And if I have been successful in describing how much my speedy friends do, the phrase 'constant effort' should really mean something.

    There is no way to calculate how many deaths Zippy has caused. He ranges over the globe, he kills by accident more often than not, but what does that matter except to make it more horrible. Humans mean nothing to him, what a flat phrase but it is the simple truth.

    If you analyze automobile accidents you can find spikes that represent his movement in different areas. The longer he is in one place, the more people die. We tried to find him this way once, the numbers we eventually attributed to him were too heartbreaking to reveal.

    Three years at supersonic speed. I do not mean to sound flip but, move over Hitler, the new King of the Dead has arrived.

    I should have them delete that last part. I am trying to talk about someone who I hate more than I thought was possible for me. If I am walking along with my shield down and a viper bites me, I would not hate the snake. It might kill me but it is just being a snake. I might kill it, but I would not hate.

    Zippy is a man. A MetaHuman, a superpowered superspeedster, yes, but still a man. He has chosen his path.

    Because of him we built the Wall. Geo, with a team of engineers, designed and created it. Huge, thick and dense, it was meant to keep Zippy out. The Gates of Olympus serve the same purpose, multiple layers, sensors, defenses, we are not kidding around.

    Zippy has invaded Olympus twice, both before the Wall. The first time Speed talked to him and ended up chasing him off. The second time he killed two new MetaHumans, six Security personnel, and two of the Admin people before Speed and Kid Flash could arrive to drive him away.

    After the second invasion we had recruited all the remaining speedsters bring us to the familiar six you all know so well. I decided that I needed to impress upon them how much I wanted Zippy stopped, and by stopped I meant stone cold dead. I don't mess around either.

    I had Geo construct six knives with 12 inch blades. They were made of some of that extra hard metal that he creates and had a special surprise in the handle. The most powerful battery we could find could turn the blade into a vicious weapon for 10 seconds. I know that seems short to us, but to them it was as perfect.

    Speed called 10 seconds “like a hundred round clip”.

    The metal was black and double-edged. The hilt and handle were heavy non-reflective black. And when I make something non-reflective I really do it up right. The knives are slivers of midnight, evil looking things. They matched the purpose for which they were forged and I was quite pleased with the result of the work.

    When I presented the six with the new weapons I kept it short, as was appropriate.

    “I have had these made for each of you because one of the people who was gifted with your power has become our enemy. He is out there right now, killing. He has killed people on our own soil. Take these, find him, kill him. Continue with all your other tasks, but get him.”

    They look, and they keep looking. I've lost track of the number of times they have almost got him but those keep happening on a regular basis.

    We will get him, they will get him.

    But even if it were to happen this very second, it would be far, far too late.

    An angry god has rained death on the Earth for years. Nothing we can do will ever change that.


  2. #22
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 15



    Philadelphia.

    I remember when it was so raw it seemed like the pain would last forever. It was what Olympus was built to stop. We failed, I failed, what more can I say.

    Nine months after Day One, four MetaHumans decided to take over the city that held so much of American history. Morgan, their female Telepath had no trouble subverting the minds of the Mayor, Chief of Police, key members of the City Council and most of the police force.

    In one day they turned a proud American city into Hell.

    They must have known what had to happen.

    Their leader, Mordred, shared a couple of things in common with me. We were both males, and we were both Energy Masters. The biggest difference between us was our ages. Mordred was 18, and all his companions were under 20 years old.

    You remember the broadcast, some call it the dark reflection of our first press conference.

    I hate that.

    Mordred, flanked by the smiling members of the city government, announced he was now running the City. New rules would be posted, and any unauthorized Meta activities would not be permitted. It went on for quite a while. He did not try to rationalize it, or make it sound legal, the city was his because he had taken it, and would keep it, with force.

    The citizens of Philadelphia were hostages. That obscene list. Assigning the number of lives that would be taken if a whole host of 'infractions' occurred. I issued orders that the speedsters and everyone else was to stay out of Philadelphia until we had a plan in operation.

    Troll, a male Meta with massive strength, and Pandora, a female Telekinetic rampaged through the city to terrify the populace. It worked. With all forces of authority at their command, there was little anyone could do but to hunker down in their homes and wait. People died, fires burned for hours before city fireman were allowed to respond, and chaos ruled the streets.

    Tens of thousands fled the city.

    MetaHumans had been around long enough that plenty of people knew it was time to be somewhere else. Troll and Pandora responded by building barriers across the exit routes. Oddly they did not directly attack those poor fleeing people. Some were killed, but as far as we can tell it those were accidental. In 24 hours Mordred was firmly in control of the remaining 350,000 Philadelphia residents.

    The U.S. Military went in, supported by the government's superteam. A entire armored division, M1A1 Abrams Tanks, Apache helicopters, and all the modern weapons of war stuck at the outer edge of the City. They essentially moved in and called the invaders out.

    Mordred and his team was happy to comply.

    Troll leaped into the leading formation of Tanks and flung them like toys. Pandora swatted Apaches out of the sky. One of the first thing I realized about my new opponents was that Pandora was the most powerful Telekinetic we had seen. We coined the class name 'Black Lantern' because of her.

    Mordred and Morgan killed the government superteam fairly quickly. I may feel they were somewhat misguided, but I wish they had met a better end.

    Is there any sight more chilling than that pair wandering through the attacking military forces? Mordred kept Morgan safe and they killed everyone they saw. She would turn troopers against their comrades. Madness was a byproduct of her wake. She was very creative, men did things that had they lived to remember them, would certainly have driven them insane.

    Nearly 1,000 men and women died that morning.

    The President of the United States called me. He asked for my help, that had to hurt.

    I told him the price was our independence, Sovereignty. Diplomatic Immunity for all of our combat teams, and all the adjacent federal lands. That plan started so long ago finally was complete. He surprised me by saying my request was expected. He agreed.

    The government of the United States rolled over with a whimper, were you really expecting it to end differently? They needed us, it was only a matter of time. I wish it had not taken what it did, that was a high price to pay.

    Now I had to plan how, and who.

    It was 8 am, Friday.

    I was only concerned about Mordred and Pandora. Thor could handle the Troll, and would appreciate the mythic names involved. Speed could tag Morgan if Mordred was prevented from shielding her.

    Pandora was a major worry, her strength was not going to be easy to beat.

    Every MetaHuman at Olympus wanted in, and told me so. Medusa demanded, demanded of me, the right to go in to take out Pandora. None of this bothered me, and I sat for 56 minutes and listened to every single one of them make their pitch.

    When the last was finished, I stood up and began to walk to the exit.

    “I will pick the one other person I need and let you know.”

    What would have been a confusing roar of questions had only begun to build when I flooded the room with energy that neutralized all sound. The room went still, and I left.

    Nobody followed.

    I considered trying to talk to Mordred, to threaten him into giving the city up. Nobody, including Psyche, thought that was going to work. I did not have much confidence in the idea either.

    So I got creative, I lied. I told Mordred that a delegation from Olympus was willing to meet with him. Although we did not approve of their methods we had no choice but to recognize their success. We would consider recognizing their claim to Philly if they would meet with us in person.

    From what you have heard so far you must know this was all bullshit. He believed it because that was what he wanted to hear.

    I took Thor and Geo. Speed would be just outside of town until I signaled.

    Noon, Saturday.

    A ring two to three blocks deep had been cleared around the City Government building. There was damage visible in various parts of the city but once we got close it looked like a war zone. A clearly frightened human clerk had told us over the phone to drive up to the front of the building and enter there.

    We pulled up to the front steps, and sent the car and driver away.

    We knew the four of them had set up court in the central rotunda. Too confining. We stayed outside, walking casually to a group of trees nearby.

    “Think they know we are here?” asked Geo.

    “They do, Mordred and I can easily sense each other. They are all in there.” I replied.

    “Oh, yeah, right, sorry.”

    “Nothing to be sorry about, I am glad you are here. I know you have not been in the field all that much but I know you can do this.”

    “I know what I need to do. It is just not as easy as it is for you two.”

    “It is not easy, it is just necessary.”

    “Where is everybody?” asked Thor.



  3. #23
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 15a



    “Inside, all four of them.” I responded.

    “No I mean the others, the hangers on, the sleaze of the city, shouldn't they be having themselves a good old time now?”

    “Interesting thought, too soon perhaps.”

    Troll lumbered his way out of the large double doors at the top of the stairs.

    “Hey morons, we are in here.” he roared in our direction.

    I looked at my companions and we turned to face the large Meta. Thor took his place on my right, Geo on the left.

    It seemed to take quite a while for Troll to get the message. When the idea had seeped into his brain he stormed back into the building.

    “Geo, do not play with Pandora, she is too powerful for that. Find a way, and put her down.” I cautioned Geo.

    “Yes sir.”

    “You know my large blond friend, in the myths Thor has a long history with Trolls.”

    “I do, and I hope to add a new chapter today.” grinned my always eager companion.

    The double doors slammed open once again, this time at the urging of Pandora who flew out ahead of the rest of them. They came down the steps and walked towards us, stopping about 50 feet away.

    “Are we playing games Pulsar?” shouted Mordred.

    Shouted, he could not magnify his voice. I could, and I did.

    “No games, people have died, far too many. I am here to offer you a way out.”

    “Yeah right, all three of you?”

    “Olympus offers you a way out, will you take it?”

    “Fuck you Pulsar!”

    Mordred had not shielded Morgan yet. I sent the signal to Speed.

    It was hard to watch, one second she was standing there, the next her neck snapped and she dropped like a stone.

    “Cassy, No!” screamed Mordred. “KILL THEM!”

    My companions took off to the left and right. Thor and Troll thundered towards each other like enraged elephants. He was a big fucker too. Geo running to draw Pandora to him. I waited.

    Mordred was holding Morgan in his arms. I felt pity, and suppressed it, later not now.

    “It does not have to end like this Mike.” I said in a normal voice.

    “It does for you you motherfucker! My name is MORDRED!”

    His first attack was violent, but uninspired. He threw bolt after bolt of concussive force. I deflected most of it and then started to absorb. He showed surprise when I hit him with waves of microwave energy. His shield flared and flickered as it tried to cope with the overload of heat.

    He was an Energy Master but he did not know enough about his powers. He never had a chance.

    Gravity was beyond his control, I pinned him to the ground. He triggered an explosive burst to try and drive me back.

    That was his last mistake. That attacks drains our shields, in this case down to the point where I could break his. I did.

    His look of shock as his shield vanished was lost on me, but recorded for all time.

    I took the energy that made him a living being.

    I would be remiss if I did not at least acknowledge the battle that Thor waged against Troll. It was worthy of an epic poem in the viking style. And I was once again impressed with the sheer grit my friend could show. At least twice it looked like Thor was going to go down. Both times he fought back liked an enraged bear.

    It was the hammer that made the difference. Thor would have won in the end if events had not intervened.

    Why Geo? I am so tired of that question.

    For the final time, I did not know what was going to happen once we got to Philly. We might have had to play out the friendly ruse, there could have been a hundred people staked out around our enemies. I did not know. If I had taken Apollo, or any other experienced combat Meta, the ruse might not have worked.

    I took Geo because he was good, and I knew he could handle her. He had become known as the 'Maker of Olympus' by then and so seemed an obvious choice if we really were going to make nice with the wackos.

    Geo did his best, I was there and I say it was so. Pandora threw cars at him, she got a hold of him and threw him. His response to the cars was to turn them to gas. His landing point after being thrown became foam rubber the instant before he hit.

    He did attack, several cars exploded just as Pandora grabbed them, one almost got her.

    He did his best, it was not his fault.

    It was mine. Pandora was Mordred's girlfriend, I did not know that. Not sure what I would have done differently but I should have known.

    When I killed him, she lost control of her power.

    She screamed, a long, gut-wrenching howl.

    I saw the lines of force that she commanded turn on her. Gravity began to fluctuate in waves.

    “EVAC” I screamed.

    Pandora imploded.

    Thor, Geo and I stood with Speed, Quicksilver and Kid Flash and watched a city die.

    For a moment Pandora became a black hole. An immense force drawing every bit of matter into itself. Everything for 10 miles rushed to try and fill the space that was once a person.

    Then it was over. The dirt, stone, steel, and bones of the grand city of Philadelphia and her residents became one with the MetaHuman known as Pandora. The two destroyed each other, nothing remained.

    I should have stayed, I should have tried to control it. I am sorry.

    I would have failed but at least I would not have to live with the guilt.

    We did our best, it was not good enough.

    It was a taste of things to come.



  4. #24
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 16



    This is Thor. I guess I did not talk enough the first time so they have given me a list of things to tell you all about.

    We have never invited a close inspection of our masks, or costumes for that matter. Not that pictures of us are not everywhere anyway, along with endless speculation about what we really look like.

    Our masks started as a simple piece of cloth, they wrap completely around our heads and tie in the back. Our eyes are protected by plastic shields, our mouths by a fine mesh. From the start we added a few extra strips of cloth to change the contours of our faces.

    So far it has proven impossible for any sort of identification to be made of anyone wearing an Olympus mask. We do not eat or drink in public, that requires the masks to come off.

    We never told anyone but just after our one year anniversary, Day 356 as we called it, we undertook a special covert project. Basically we went looking for photos and other identification items for every Olympus MetaHuman. We collected, or destroyed them. After a few months of work it became almost impossible to find a picture of any of us, anywhere.

    License branches all across the country were invaded, photos were swapped. It did mean that most of us lost most of our 'secret' identities, but it did not matter much at that point.

    One unexpected hitch, the impact of this on the families. The desire to bring immediate family to Olympus was not limited to MetaHumans, all of our regular Staff were involved. So a fair percentage of our dependents did end up living at Olympus. Everyone feared for the safety of anyone they cared for. It is a good thing we got fast at construction or we could never have kept up with the demand.

    Olympus was secure, so people living there could keep their photos and such.

    But for those related to residents of Olympus who choose not to live here, there was no alternative but to give up, or allow to be altered, many cherished photos and recordings. It was for their safety, for our safety, but it was hard.

    We have improved the masks a bit, they breathe better, the eye shields react to light and darken when needed, and the communications gear is built right in.

    Costumes, uniforms, we call them both. The standard outfit is a reinforced one piece bodysuit in non-reflecting black. The basic model is very lightly padded, but it can be altered into very sturdy body armor. I refuse to wear anything but the basic, I value movement over protection. Most people opt for a fair amount of protection even when their power offers even more. We try to stress to everyone that in combat you just never know what is going to happen.

    Colors, quite a lot of people have a color, or perhaps two, that they use to trim their outfit. All non-reflecting muted colors, but they do add some variety. The use of different amounts of trim allows even two people with the same color to be distinctive.

    Every Meta is encouraged to develop a symbol or logo for themselves. We have a small department of people who actually produce the clothes, costumes, and uniforms we all wear. They are quite good at what they do and they help even the least artistic to express themselves. If nothing else a stylized version of their name goes above the left breast.

    Pulsar does not have a color, or a logo. But he is pretty much the only one. Even Psyche, who also sticks with the basic black, wears the PsiInt logo.

    Most of the time we try to work behind the scenes, we do not want to disrupt lives we want to protect them. So black and stealth are the standard.

    But of course there are those times when things are wide open, and there are no shadows to be found. So for these moments, some MetaHumans have a formal costume. These are the costumes that have few limits, and the ones that make Pulsar wince.

    More color, reflecting colors are allowed, means that some are pretty spectacular.

    Formal outfits are the ones mostly likely to have a cape. Normally we avoid such things because they tend to get in the way more often than not. But when we are going flashy, they do look nice. Capes are generally attached via break-way snaps. So if you saw The Incredibles and are worrying, don't. Batman figured that one out in the 1940s.

    Pulsar's cape is a story all on it's own. I sat down with a very understanding tech girl and she explained how it works. Took a few tries but I think I have it now. I did ask him if he minded me talking about it, and he did say it was ok.

    It is not really a cape at all but rather a whole bunch of one-quarter inch strips. Each strip is almost a full fifty feet long! Some sort of wire runs through each to carry a tiny current. The current forms an energy matrix that he can control. No idea what an energy matrix really is, but that is how it works.

    When he first got it he could only do some simple shapes with it, but now, wowzy wow wow. He can animate it, form great wings, all sorts of stuff. He says there is a long standing comic tradition of capes that do amazing things and he is honoring that now.

    This might also be a good place to talk about names, Meta names to be exact. Considering the number of people who eventually came to live at Olympus it is not surprising that the ways in which people gained their new names would be varied.

    In the very beginning Pulsar and Speed choose their own names. Pulsar gave me my name, and when Psyche could not decide, he did. So we had those two traditions to go with. Having people show up even before Day One forced us to set some sort of rule about names very quickly.

    We really did not want a bunch of comic book superheros running around. Not because of the copyright or other legal problems but for more basic reasons. Pulsar did not want people thinking too much about comic books cause like he says, over and over, “Real life ain't a damn comic book.”

    Psyche says that taking a famous name can lead to unfair comparisons, or unrealistic expectations. I do not know about that, I was named after the God of Thunder, and I do ok.

    Secretly, Pulsar had a great deal of fondness for much of the comic book world and he wanted people to be worthy of names like Spider-Man, Batman, or Captain America. Never found the first, the second is something different, and the third you will get to hear about eventually.

    What we suggested was that new Metas not declare a codename at first. This worked about a third of the time. If someone came in and was dead-set on a particular name, that is how it generally ended up. But for most their names came from the people around them. During training you get to know people, and who you are does come out. This is the tradition among groups like military fighter pilots and it has worked pretty well for us too.

    MetaHumans who have been around for a while sometimes help out. Pulsar has given names to quite a few of our comrades. For those of the physical bent, I sometimes make a suggestion that turns into a name. As far as all the Norse-based supermen and superwomen, that is not my fault. I objected, I told them to kiss my butt and find another kind of name. They ignored me, especially Sif.

    Few other rules exist, the name must be something we can say easily, or at least have a short form. We are the good guys so that has to be considered, Blood Drinker was rejected for example. Pulsar has the final approval because as he said once, “I have to use these names along with everyone else. I have to call out to them when lives are on the line and people are dying. I will NOT ask Blood Drinker to do anything. Drinker would be stupid and if he wants to use Blood I know a group of people who would want to have a word with him first.”

    But somehow it all works out.


  5. #25
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 17



    The first meeting of the Praetorian Guard of Olympus.

    Janice, the President of Olympus started things off.

    “Alright everyone lets get started. Take a look around you ladies and gentlemen, aside from myself you are all looking at the first members of the Praetorian Guard of Olympus. As you are guessing from the name your task will be to protect the most valuable members of our community. Commander Pulsar originated this idea and he, along with the rest of Olympus, knows you will all do your very best in pursuit of your mission objectives.”

    Paul took over from there.

    “I am your new Commander, and I will remain so until one of you shows me that he, or she, has the stuff to do my job. I want to go back to my dojo and training grounds. I am a human, but most of the people in this room are not. There are 102 people here. Our lovely President and myself are the 101st and 102nd.”

    “Of the rest of you lot, 62 are Level 1 MetaHumans. Yeah, you are stronger, faster, and a damn bit tougher than any human I have ever seen but only 15 of you have had military training so you other 47 have a long damn way to go.”

    “We also have 12 Level 2 MetaHumans, yeah you heard me.”

    “I could let them speak for themselves but this is a military outfit so I gonna tell ya. They all have a few things in common. They all have some reasons for not wanting to join the flashy combat teams. It really is their business but to make it easy for the brain-dead out there I will tell you some of them.”

    “Some of our new comrades have purely defensive powers, some just want to help in a different way, and finally some are people who have such extreme powers that the only way they will use them is in defense.”

    “I think everyone who signs up for the Praetorian Guard is doing a noble thing. And the reasons, well, they really do not mean shit.”

    “If any of you monkeys can do math, you will realize there are still 26 people unaccounted for. Well I will tell you. Look around, see the boys and girls who look kinda sleepy? Every one of those jokers is a former special forces op. Stone cold killers who only quit when they are dead. Wake up dickheads I am going to use you as examples of something besides sacks a shit.”

    “These jokers are going to make this force into what it must be. We are going to protect those MetaHumans and others who are vital to Olympus. From this moment on the health and safety of the Telepaths and Scanners of Olympus is our responsibility.”

    “The original Praetorian Guard was formed by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 27 BC. Two thousand fucking years later and we still have the same bloody needs. They were formed to protect the person of the Emperor but also the city of Rome. You monkeys beginning to get the idea?”

    “We are a combination of US Secret Service and military Special Forces. We are going to review every action we take in the field and looks for ways to do it better. I'll bet you are all thinking about firepower, ways to take down some of those Super fucking Villains you keep hearing about right?”

    “Our symbol will be a scorpion, a link back to the Praetorian Guard of the past. Our weapons will reflect that symbol.”

    “Now I got some good and I got some bad. First we do not have any fucking lasers. No super science or any of that kind of crap. We do have some stuff working with armor and blades though, I will get back to that in a minute.”

    “But the good news, when I raised the subject of funding with the Council, I was told, by Pulsar himself, and I quote, 'Buy the very best weapons, electronics, explosives, anything you need that will make your force more effective, period. If they do not make it, build it.' ”

    “We are working on the gear, and you are going to be fucking pleased.”

    “We are going to organize ourselves based on our mission, protection. The basic unit will be three troopers. Our basic doctrine will be that two warriors stay with our principle at all times. This means the third person in the unit can roam to take a more proactive defensive role if needed.”

    “With 100 of you that means 33 squads and a Commander once I get my butt out of here. We run a 24 hour business here monkeys, that means 3 shifts a day, 8 hours on duty, 8 hours off, 8 hours rack time. If you are not in the field or otherwise assigned, you will be training.”

    “Aside from our President here, and a handful of others, most of our assignments will be part of the Olympus Intelligence service, PsiInt. Hey, I heard that. Listen up! Forget every joke you know about intelligence. When you have Telepaths, Mind Scanners, and Invisible Men as your spooks, they know their stuff. Let me put it this way, every other intelligence service in the world spends most of it's time guessing. Then they bet people's lives on those guesses, right?”

    “PsiInt knows, they know where people are, what they are fucking thinking. Never has any military outfit had the kind of intelligence we have. Get used to trusting what they give you, I have yet to see them get one wrong, and I am talking some messy hairy shit.”

    “Body armor and blades. Our primary weapons are going to be what you would expect, the best automatic weapons money can buy. But considering the freaks we may have to deal with I think we are all going to be thankful for the armor that Geo is working on. Geo is a Meta, he can alter matter, any matter into almost anything. He can turn your ass into gas, he can turn your gas into perfume. He likes to say that.”

    “The armor is tough as nails, light as can be, awesome stuff. “

    “Blades. Again, dealing with some of the people we might face we just might find that the best weapon for the job is a good long piece of steel. Geo is creating swords right now. Strongest stuff I have ever seen, bash it full edge on to another piece of steel and it cuts and comes away unmarked. “

    “Alright I think that about wraps it up.”

    “You all have your orders in those envelopes. Room assignments, training schedules, and for those of you who know which end of a gun goes bang, duty rosters.”

    “I cannot believe the rank they have forced upon me, but I will do my best despite that. I expect nothing less from each and every one of you.”

    “As of this moment I am Centurion Paul Adams, and you are the Praetorian Guard.”




  6. #26
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 18



    To live at Olympus is to accept the extraordinary. Our lives are never what you call normal, but within our own frame of reference we do have normal days.

    This had started out as one of those, a day that was supposed to offer only a small mystery and the usual dangers.

    We had reports of a pair of MetaHumans operating in Houston. Nothing big and flashy but a lot of individual crimes. The business that were hit all handled large sums of cash, and as a result the total losses were in the hundreds of millions.

    As the Mayor of Houston was quick to point out, losses of that magnitude fell under my 'no disruption of human society' rule. The pair had not killed anyone as far as we knew so they were just not a priority.

    The mystery is what eventually drew us to Houston. There were two parts to this little problem. The first were those reports, they conflicted.

    Two MetaHumans was a constant but the powers of the male seemed to vary in a way that made little sense. He was reported growing to 20', flying, and changing into some kind of monster. Shape Shifters cannot change their mass, they cannot grow. And neither that, or Growth, gives you the power to fly.

    The female half of the team had used at least 3 different types of energy, that put her in my category, Energy Master. We had never met a female with that power but that was at least possible.

    The other part of the mystery, none of the Scanners could get even a trace on the two. Even people like Telepaths who can shield themselves leave little traces. The Scanners know they are around, just not where exactly.

    The two we were hunting, zip. No contacts at all.

    The possibility of a rogue Energy Master brought me to Houston, and I brought most of Justice along with me. Psyche was elsewhere and we were just planning on finding the two and attempting to convince them to stop. Since they were not out killing I did not even expect to fight.

    From Justice I had Thor, Nova and our newbie Valkyrie. Val can fly, supersonic when she wishes. She has a low level forcefield that protects her against friction. She and Nova became instant friends. One of the first to graduate from Paul's full 6 week training course, The Valkyrie is good.

    Since we were mostly going to try and convince our two wayward Metas to play nice I thought a little more size might help. To that end I assigned one of the new superwomen to the team, Sif. Yes I knew all about her crush on Thor, not my problem folks. If it impacted a mission I would notice, and people would wish I had not, otherwise, not my problem.

    She is damn near as strong as Thor, and she is quite skilled. She was the best of the new group of superstrong people and that is why I picked her. Not too long after this little event she proved her worth by earning a permanent spot with Justice.

    Kid Flash was also attached to us, I requested Speed but he got tied up in a massive rescue mission overseas. I wanted a speedster to help with the search, and again, to impress the two criminal Metas of the folly of their ways.

    We took one of our jets to Houston. We went to our hotel in civilian clothes, snacked, and got ready to do some work. It was just about noon when we headed out.

    I had a simple plan, since we had no idea where our two targets might be, we would be very public about our presence and see what happened. My back-up plan was Kid Flash's search of the entire city and surrounding regions. But even for a speedster that was a hit or miss proposition.

    We walked out of the hotel, in costume, and put the plan into effect.

    Nova, Valkyrie and I zoomed up into the sky, while Thor and Sif headed generally north. They would draw a lot of attention but they enjoyed it. I do not think anything we did hurt us, but looking back I wish I had been more serious about what we were doing.

    We flew, or wandered, for a couple of hours. Kid Flash reported every 10 minutes for the first hour and then said he would call if he found anything. I made a mental note to tell Speed that the Kid needed to learn to only call me when he finds something, regular updates from speeders are guaranteed to drive you crazy very, very quickly.

    Clouds started to roll in, looking friendly and fluffy. The girls and I chased each other through them.

    About the time I was ready to call it quits for the day the clouds began to turn dark. I could fly around in a lightening storm, but Nova and Val try to avoid them. We headed down towards Thor and Sif.

    They were sitting at an outdoor cafe, drinking from these huge mugs.

    I was not pleased, first they were drinking 'on-duty' and second they had their masks rolled up to be able to do so. Both are against the rules. My rules.

    When I pointed this out to my buddy he replied, “Who is going to see?”

    I looked around, nobody.

    No people in the cafe, nobody on the sidewalks. It was raining, but not very hard, no wind at all. The clouds were black though, thick and nasty looking. That would explain the darkness cause it was only... 8pm?

    No, that could not be right, 5 something, 6 maybe, but 8, no way.

    I had enjoyed flying with my girl and the talented and sexy Valkyrie, but to lose that much time? That was not like me, I was relaxed but the possibility of sudden attack was real and I knew that. I did not forget it when we were cavorting 5,000 feet up either. Nova had even chided me that I was being too serious again.

    8 pm. I checked, everyone else had the same info, Central confirmed it verbally. They also said sure I had been flying for that long.

    Ok, fine, lost some time, no big deal.

    Whoosh

    “boss we got big trouble lots of big trouble on the way”

    Kid Flash had arrived.

    “Specifics kid!” I snapped a little harder than I intended.

    “well i boss really you are not going to believe me but 4 dinosaurs are headed this way”

    “Dinosaurs? Robots, monster trucks, leggoes, what?”

    “no real ones clones Jurassic park I don't know they are alive no machine has breath like that”

    Dinosaurs, I had no idea what was happening, who could create monsters? But it was a threat and I knew how to respond to those. First thing, get the police to block traffic.

    Traffic, cars, I did not see any, anywhere.

    Not on the street next to us, or anywhere up and down it's length.

    “Kid, 10 block radius, run every street, count the number of cars you see, go”

    whoosh
    whoosh

    “none”

    Son of a Bitch.

    “Pulsar to Central”

    “Pulsar to Central”

    None of us could raise them. By now we could feel the vibrations of the massive paws of the monsters headed our way. Thor and Sif had taken positions in the street. She uses one of the swords that Geo and I make. Hers is blood red.

    I was trying to find the people of Houston. I reached out with my senses and felt them, all around me in fact. The feeling was so strong my eyes snapped open expecting to suddenly see some of them standing in front of me. Nobody was there except my team.

    Again I reached out. The people were there but my sense of them was fuzzy. This was not normal, were they cloaked somehow? Invisibility would not affect me like this, and if there were cars running up and down the street they were not hitting my overly large friends.

    A hissing roar brought my eyes open again, the Tyrannosaurus Rexes had arrived.

    Right out of a movie, 20' tall and hostile. The sound was not exactly what I was expecting though, more hiss and less roar. Creepy though, like a really huge snake with too much attitude.

    Thor let the lead reptile take a snap at him and responded with a blow from his hammer that spun the beast 180 degrees into a slide. Not dead but down for the moment.

    Sif did not wait, with a cry of “Olympus!” she charged straight at beast number two. The beast snapped, she rolled and came up just in front of the mighty chest. Her sword came up two handed and cut deeply. Wrenching it out and down gutted the monster lizard. Gore gushed down onto the street, at least it was not red, more yellow.

    I was not worried about my companions for the moment, I was worried about what was going on.

    Ok, examine the pieces, look for a connection.

    Odd MetaHuman pair. Weird reports. Time weird.

    Whoosh

    “boss”

    “Yes?”

    “more weird stuff is happening around town”

    “See any normal people, anywhere?”

    “nope goblins zombies and Nazis though”

    “How many and where on each”

    “south 2 miles zombies about 50 west 6 miles goblins about 5000 east about a 3 and a half are the guys with guns there are about 20 of them”

    Enemies to all four points of the compass.

    We are being played with, and the game sucks.

    “Kid go home, I need Psyche, Talon and Pathfinder, get help and get them here.

    Whoosh

    Whoosh

    He was back, too fast even for him.

    “boss there is a wall 10 miles outside of town forcefield or something I cannot get through”

    Wonderful.

    “Nobody can project a field that big, not even me on a good day!” again I snapped, I had to watch that. But as I said it my senses confirmed it. We were in the center of a huge forcefield, above and below us as well as extending down into the earth.



  7. #27
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 19



    “Everybody over here.” I called since our local communications were now out as well.

    I explained the situation. Kid Flash found more Dinosaurs north, big surprise.

    “This is a game, keep your eyes peeled for Loki.” was my first order.

    “But how could he be doing this sir, how could anyone?” came from Valkyrie, she knew what we all knew, these events were beyond any Meta, or combination of Metas, that we had ever seen.

    “I do not know Val, but somebody is doing this and we are going to find them. These wide spread targets, each so different, they temp me to split us up. The Kid could handle the goblins, Nova and Val could take the zombies, Thor and Sif of course want to go after the dinos, and you all know how I personally feel about Nazi scum.”

    I paused, time to change the rules.

    “So what we are going to do is stay together. The zombies are closest so that is where we are headed. We will walk, Kid, stay close, lets move out people.”

    “Ummm love, don't we need to deal with these threats quickly?” was Nova at her most diplomatic.

    “No, they are here for us, they will wait.”

    “Wait? I am confused. What do you know that you are not telling us?”

    “Not a damn thing, except that impossible things are happening because someone, somewhere is fucking with us and it is pissing me off.”

    “Oh.”

    We walked on. I expected to have to reinforce my order with the Kid but he stayed almost visible and right with us the whole way.

    Zombies, that was them. Shambling, gross, smelly.

    Nova ashed them in 60 seconds.

    “East.”

    Off we went. We took a break about half-way, it was getting to be a long day. Our wrist units said Midnight.

    We saw the barricades first, piles of wood, barrels, carts and other miscellaneous junk. I could not sense the men we could see behind the makeshift wall.

    “Kid, disarm them.” I ordered.

    Nothing happened. I looked around, where was he?

    “Nova, Val, stay here. Thor, Sif, follow me.”

    We moved forward, they opened fire. Light machine guns mixed with some heavier stuff.

    My forcefield dropped.

    I pushed it back up, nothing. Bullets were flying around me and my shield was down.

    “Get them!” I called to my two companions as I ran past them looking for cover. Nova and Val were waiting just past the corner when I charged around it.

    “What's wrong?”

    “I don't know, my shield will not come up.”

    “What can I do?”

    “I DONT KNOW!” I screamed, at Nova, goddammit. “I am sorry babe, I am freaked and we are in trouble.”

    “I know honey, I know.”

    A scream came around the corner. A sound I had never heard before, so unexpected that it took seconds for my brain to put a name on it. Thor. Thor hurt?

    “Nova, go, help them.”

    “They have guns, I will have to...”

    “I know, this is the job honey, this is what we do, go.”

    A quick kiss and she flew around the corner.

    “Ok you Nazi motherfuckers! Nova is ready to party!”

    That's my girl.

    Val was still looking at me, scared, I should have noticed before.

    “Hang in there Valkyrie, we are not out, just down.” was not exactly inspiring but it was something.

    “I know sir, I just feel helpless.”

    “Go help Nova.”

    “No sir, you need me.”

    “Not your call rookie, go.”

    Off she flew. I could hear the sounds of battle nearby but I felt blind.

    My senses were gone, my power was gone.

    Was I human again?

    Why just me?

    No, this was not happening. This was not real. Something inside me said no.

    “You really are annoying you know” said a voice some distance away.

    I opened eyes that I did not know I had closed to look. He was standing in a door way about 30' away, back lit. A little blinding in the gloom. I idly wondered how long it had been since anything had blinded me.

    “I am told I am very good at that, so yes I do know”

    “I spent a lot of time constructing the perfect puzzle for you. Each part was a clue. If you had let the muscle-brained ones go after the dinosaurs they would have found the nest. If you had let your little slut go after the Zombies should would have found this address. You were supposed to come here together, after you had beaten all my pawns. Very annoying, so I accelerated my schedule. How does it feel to be human again?”

    I was up and walking towards him by the time he wound down. The guy could dress I would have to give him that. An impeccable suit that would do James Bond proud. Complete in every detail right down to the cigarette in his left hand.

    “Feels wrong actually, fake.”

    “Oh it is quite real, reality is my power, and you are caught in it. Fine, come on in, wrong door, but oh well.”

    “Are you Loki?”

    “Who, no. What a silly name, I am Mysterio”

    I swear I heard thunder outside outside right when he said his name.

    What looked like some sort of industrial structure seemed rather different once we were inside. Rich paneling along a wide corridor lead deeper into a huge room.

    The place was rather spectacular. Vaulted ceilings, works of art on the marble walls.

    And a raised dais at the end, with a big chair. A throne room, how nice.

    “You friends are coming, I left the door open.”

    “Nice of you. Any point in me asking you why you are doing this?”

    “You people, and you in particular, are the only things standing in the way of our ruling the earth, asshole. What did you think was going to happen?. By now we should just be squabbing over who got the best piece. We do not all want the whole planet, you know. A lot of us just want a little piece. This city, this city is mine. It is all I want.”

    He continued, the ranting aspect of his speech grew more pronounced. “Some people want whole countries of course, and then there are those other guys. Bet you do not know about them do you Mr. High and Mighty Pulsar? Five powerful men who all want the planet. Know what they decided? Of course you do not, you were not there, but I was. They decided they would destroy you first, all of Olympus really, and then divvy up the rest.”

    “But when I kill you, kill all of the mighty Justice. No one will ever contest my claim to Houston. I suppose I should claim the whole state, just to have some room for later.”

    I would love to say that at this point I had figured it all out and was just waiting for the others to make my move. Sorry, all I had was a nagging doubt. I was waiting for the others, but just because I wanted to know they were alright. It turns out that going from being a god to being mortal is just as mind-bending as the reverse.

    “Here come your people, bet they are covered in blood.” jeered Mysterio.

    The team arrived. Everyone was covered in blood, everyone.

    Something is wrong with this picture. One rule too many violated. It finally clicked.

    Nova could not be covered in blood, her flames prevented it. Because of her I know what blood steam looks like.

    “We came here to find two MetaHumans, they don't exist do they?” I asked.

    “Of course not, they were just the bait to get you here.” taunted Mysterio.

    “Thanks, I always like to tie up loose ends.”

    I did not enjoy what I did next, necessary or not it was going to cost me. I turned to Nova.

    “Well this just sucks!” I started. “Why the fuck did I bring you along anyway? You just get in the way, and you burn more than you save. Do you still visit the little girl from Chicago? Yeah, thought not. I mean look at you, what made me think you were a fit consort for a god? Short, flat-chested, what did I ever see in you?”

    Nova was confused, it was so sudden and harsh. I could tell she wanted to say 'What the fuck is wrong with you' but I did not give her time.

    “At least you have not bored me to death today. Every time you go off about those insipid old languages I want to kill myself. Don't you realize how much I DON'T want to know that crap?”

    That did it, she was confused but I had pushed too many buttons. She was pissed, holding it in because there were people close, too close. The intensity of her shield started to climb.

    I had her right at the limit of her control. Hopefully.

    Mysterio had crept up to the edge of his little dais.

    I pitched my voice for him alone, “I know this place is not real. I know none of this is happening. I think you are doing all of this in our heads. And there is one more thing I know. Energy is energy and everyone has their limits.”

    With that I turned and slapped Nova as hard as I could. My hand burned on impact but that was lost in the

    E X P L O S I O N.

    Blackness.

    Light.

    Pain. Oh, my head hurt. Where the hell am I?

    Lying on the floor with my friends, inside some sort of warehouse. Empty warehouse.

    Not alone. Off in a corner lay our attacker. His eyes were open, he was singed, and dead. I raised my right hand and squeezed, power flowed into it. The blue glow of electricity crackled.

    He was not dressed all that well anymore.

    Nova stirred and I moved over to her. When her eyes opened she pushed me away, tears were visible. I stood up, I knew what I needed to say but I was in no rush. She looked around.

    “What was he?” she asked.

    “I am guessing this is what they meant by Mental Illusions. Psyche did not think it could really be done, guess she was wrong.”

    “Oh. Thanks for saving our lives, and you are a dickhead.”

    Probably shouldn't have, but I laughed.

    “Yeah, and a sorry one at that.”

    She grinned at me, but there was still a shadow. Some things, no matter why they are done, leave a mark. I hoped this one would fade with time.

    “Do you really hate my languages so much?”

    “No, none of what I said was true, I. Hated. Every. Single. Word. Domina Novus, Amor omnia vincit.”

    “Lady Nova, Love conquers all.” she translated.



  8. #28
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 19a



    Central had been going nuts. We had been missing for hours and they had everyone looking for us. Houston had more MetaHumans in residence than Olympus that day. Home sounded like a great idea and we headed there as quickly as we could.

    Later I had time to ponder the feeling of being human again. It still felt real although there was a touch of dream about it now. I had not liked it. My team was in trouble and I could not help, that was part of it. Nova was in danger, that was part too.

    But it was more than that. I resented being human, I felt cheated. Did I now feel I deserved my powers? Was this a step down the road to godhood?

    I did not like that thought.

    And yet.

    What was I doing if not fighting a god war? I was Zeus of Mount Olympus as much as I complained about that title. I could throw thunderbolts, sound and fury signifying what?

    If I was going to win did I not have to step up, all the way up?

    A thought came to me that you might not be able to understand. If your life becomes too hard, if you see no hope of getting through, perhaps you might consider ending your own life. Don't, there is always a better way.

    When I feel that way, I consider ending all life.

    I could never do it, it is not within me to do such a thing. But I think about, I could, probably.

    That night I thought about it. A part of me always believed we were going to lose. A tiny part, I considered it my realistic side and it helped to keep me from growing too cocky. But if I did lose, if the Earth did fall to chaos, I could stop the suffering.

    Was that to be my final role, to end existence?

    And if that was what fate had in store, then why not do it now, get it over with quickly?

    Think of all the pain I could spare so many people, billions of people.

    Oh hell, I was tired, my brain felt like Thor had worked it over with his hammer. I needed sleep.



  9. #29
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 20



    Day 357

    One year since the opening of Olympus.

    So much has happened it seems like a decade not just a year.

    We lost Webs and Brawler. I will let someone else tell the tale of how they died but they went out as heroes should, in battle doing what is right.

    Geo quit Apollo's team, it was just not for him.

    Philadelphia.

    And I met Sif.

    She was 19, I was 29. Problem #1

    She was super strong with no combat knowledge, and I was her teacher. Problem #2

    Within one week of meeting me, she announced that we were going to be together,
    MetaBabies were mentioned! Damn Big Problem #3

    Don't get me wrong, I love kids. I am not a bad guy so someday sure. But now? In case you had not noticed we were in the middle of a war.

    About every other week someone tried really hard to kill me. So far they had all failed but who knows? Did you know I have a special solvent that I use to clean dried blood and gore off of my hammer?

    I am on my third jug.

    My plan was just to avoid the whole thing. I trained her, spent time with her as part of a group, and figured she would get over it.

    Like that was going to work.

    She is a natural, ever since the first day she picked up a sword people have said that. As far as the science boys and girls can tell we have the same basic strength. Since I have 4 inches of height, and about 50 pounds on her, I am stronger, but not by much.

    It came time for her to take a name, or for us to give her one. Heimdall, Balder & Freya had been using their new names for some time.

    She announced she was going to be Lady Sif.

    Sif, the Norse Goddess who was the wife of Thor.

    No fucking way!

    I ranted at her, I feel bad about it now, but I did it. I told her she would have that name over my dead damn body. I said I was sick of this stupid crush. It was a big scary Meta-filled world out there so deal with it. I was not her daddy, and I was never going to be.

    Now you would think that would have made her cry right? Wrong.

    She laughed.

    Grabbing her sword she headed out of the gym. She was cinching it over her shoulder when I asked her where she was going.

    “To find Pulsar.”

    Damn. I followed.

    Pulsar was in his office off of Central, Psyche was with him.

    Sif did not waste much time, “Sir, I have requested the codename of 'Lady Sif', short form 'Sif'. Thor has refused. I contest his refusal and request approval of my choice by you. Sir this is no whim, this name matters to me. It has mattered since I was 10 years old and I first read her stories. Somehow I knew that name, that example, would matter. And here the fuck I find myself with a sword on my back and arms that can juggle cars.”

    “Sif is my name, and if Thor really objects then I have a suggestion. We go outside, he draws his hammer and I draw my sword. If he wins, he can pick my name. If I win, I am Sif. But I must warn you my God of Thunder, I will kill you to be her.”

    Damn.

    “Psyche, would she really do it, kill him?” asked the bossman.

    “Are you kidding me?” replied Psyche with a hint of surprise.

    “Ok, she wins. Sorry Thor old buddy. Log the name Lady Sif.”

    So she won that battle, and stopped talking to me for a while.

    I refuse to live my life in confusion, and I had no idea what was going on with her. So I put it out of my mind and focused on the job. I saw her, we trained, all neutral, even mildly friendly at times.

    Pulsar was running a small mission and I had something I had to do. He asked me to suggest one of my new superstrong companions to fill in for me. Without thinking I suggested Sif. She was the best, and this was the job after all.

    Mistake. Big big mistake.

    She did well, of course. So well that the next time Pulsar felt the need for some extra strength, he assigned her without asking me. Sitting on the plane and she plops down next to me with a big smile on her face.

    I was glad she was next to me with the Dinosaurs were charging down at us, I cannot lie about that.

    Then came the big day. Pulsar was expanding the ranks of Justice and all the strong boys and girls were going to compete for a slot. Gloves, pads, yeah, but real fights, trust me. Everybody wanted that job, and we watched very closely from the sidelines to prevent, well death.

    It was a hell of a day, a good day for people like us. Sif won her early fights easily, and it came down to her and one other.

    Eventually you would come to know him as Orion.

    He is not nearly as strong as Sif, but he had mastered Jeet Kune Do before he became a Meta. For those non-martially inclined people reading this, that style of martial arts was created by Bruce Lee.That power combined with that skill was simply amazing to see. Everyone always assumed he was an Acrobat but he was not. He was like me, a superman.

    Sif and Orion faced off.

    They engaged in three rapid exchanges. She hit him once, he hit her five times.

    They circled, at that moment I thought she was going to lose.

    My fears seemed to materialize as Orion drove his next attack home. A hard spinning kick sent Sif down to the ground.

    She did an odd thing then, she rolled and kept going until she reached the edge of the mat.

    She lay there, panting, obviously hurt.

    Orion waited.

    The Lady Sif got to her feet. I really wish I could describe the look on her face. Not angry, but so fierce. Determined. I guess that is the best I can do.

    They engaged again, he was still in command of the fight but she pulled one hell of a tricky move that changed that.

    I have watched this from every angle, zoomed and slowed, so I know exactly what happened.

    Sif threw a blow with her right hand, a full on attack properly balanced and executed. She had put her whole body behind it as one is taught. Orion had to, and did, block it, shifting his body to absorb the hit and not lose his own balance.

    Following a split second behind the first blow she struck out low with her left fist, aiming for his body.

    Now everybody will tell you that the second blow cannot do much. All your power is focused in the first and there is just nothing behind the second.

    Except MetaHuman strength, and the determination of a Goddess.

    The blow connected, 2 ribs cracked, Orion went down.

    I pronounced her the winner, Pulsar welcomed her into Justice, and that was that.

    She and I became friends again. Not really close, but we were on the same team, she was helping me to train other Metas, we saw each other quite a bit.

    Day 357 arrived, the one year anniversary of the opening of Olympus.

    We planned a party. Well when I say we I mean Janice, Erin and a small army of other people.

    I taste-tested a bunch of stuff, they said that did help.

    Beginning at 12 Noon on 357, and continuing until 6am 358. Held in a special structure that Geo created that was dubbed Valhalla upon completion. I am sure you have seen pictures of it, it is a stadium really, with the world's largest stage.

    He found the largest performance stage in the world, and made his three times larger. Put it this way, Atlas, at his full height can not only stand on the stage, he has room to move around!

    We were celebrities at this point, and everyone who was anyone wanted to go to this particular party.

    So what Admin did was to list every performer, every traveling show, every band, everybody that offered to play the party in a database. Any resident of Olympus over the age of 15 could vote on a selection of choices. We picked the music, the handful of shows, and even the famous people who would be in the audience along with us.

    It was really something. No cameras, no reporters. Just friends.

    Everyone who came to the party who was not already a regular visitor to Olympus had to agree to a telepathic scan. We minimized the depth of what the PsiInt people would be seeing I must admit. It is a scary thing to have happen if you really understand it.

    Oddly, most of the people who wanted to perform or attend did not seem to be all that worried about having someone poke about in their brain. Psyche told me that most of them really did not have any idea how much was being read.

    Most famous people in the world, and they know less about us than a kid on a street corner.

    We ate every six hours but there was plenty to munch between times. Drinking, we did a lot of drinking.

    Pulsar and Psyche got together and planned a little special security. The speedsters would have one of their member running missions off of their List. We did not want to completely interrupt their rescue and other helpful efforts. One speedy boy or girl would be on Olympus patrol. Looping around our entire territory, and inside the walls. They would rotate these positions every 30 minutes.

    Psyche laid down the law for the whole group. “If you are not on duty, you will be at the party, and you will be VISIBLE. Stand, sit, talk, whatever, but visible.”

    They did pretty well.

    Over the course of the 18 hours they collectively snuck out of the party 137 times to run a quick mission off of the List, or to join whoever was patrolling to just run.

    Psyche was pleased, so I guess it was cool.



  10. #30
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 20a



    Sif was there of course, enjoying her still new status as a member of Justice. We danced.

    You have seen us fight, but you have never seen us dance. We had a whole section of Valhalla set up for our kind of dancing. People who could fly, or jump rooftops, played for once. It was a scene from days long past. When gods lived on the real Mount Olympus, or when the rainbow bridge still lead to Asgard.

    I did not make any sudden decision, it just happened.

    Sif and I kissed.

    The music stopped, the people stopped. I am not making this up.

    Speed had been watching, and when our lips met he stopped the music.

    The kiss did one of those forever things.

    When we did finally realize that others still existed in our universe we both blushed.

    They clapped, and cheered.

    We ran.

    And that is all I am going to tell you about that.

    The party was great, long, and few people made it all the way, but it was without incident.

    Best damn day of my life.



    The End.





    The tale of the MetaHumans continues in MetaWar: Changes.


  11. #31
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Appendix



    Cast List

    The original 4 members of "Justice" are:

    Pulsar, male, 31, Energy Master
    Thor, male, 29, Stength
    Psyche, female, 28, Telepathy
    Speed, male, 26, Speed

    The "Early 11" are:

    Geo, male, 19, Matter Master
    Nova, female, 22, Energy Proj - Fire
    Atlas, male, 26, Growth
    Kid Flash, male, 16, Speed
    Web, female, 28, Web-like Entangle
    Apollo, male, 23, Energy Proj - Light
    Athena, female, 21, Energy Proj - Concussive fists
    Nike, female, 33, Flight
    Medusa, female, 30, Telekinesis
    Mantis, female, 24, Armor
    Pathfinder, female, 19, Mind Scanning

    The first set of Teams:

    "Justice" Leader Pulsar
    Pulsar, Thor, Speed, Psyche, Nova

    "Red Team" Leader Apollo
    Apollo, Athena, Geo, Cronus, Mantis, Nemesis, Selene, Lightray

    "Blue Team" Leader Nike
    Nike, Medusa, Talon, Brawler, Web, Shadow, Circe, Raven

    "PsiInt Group" Leader Psyche
    Psyche, Selene, Circe, Pathfinder, Shadow

    The 4 new Speedsters:
    Quicksilver, male, 21
    Blur, female, 17
    Hermes, male, 18
    Bluestreak, female, 22

    Cronus, male, 27, Strength
    Nemesis, female, 23, Acrobat
    Selene, female, 31, Telepath
    Lightray, male, 19, Flight
    Talon, male, 22, Mind Blast
    Brawler, male, 23, Strength
    Shadow, male, 25, Invisibility
    Circe, female, 21, Telepathy
    Raven, female, 29, Flight


    End of Year 1 - Day 357

    "Justice"
    Pulsar, Thor, Speed, Psyche, Nova, Sif, Valkyrie, Demon

    "Red Team"
    Apollo, Athena, Cronus, Mantis, Nemesis, Selene, Lightray, Starfire

    "Blue Team"
    Nike, Medusa, Talon, Shadow, Circe, Raven, Freya, Ghost

    Sif, female,19, Strength
    Valkyrie, female, 22, Flight
    Demon, male, 18, Acrobat
    Starfire, female, 25, Energy Proj - solar energies
    Freya, female, 27, Strength
    Ghost, female, 23, Density Control






    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 01-06-2009 at 05:59 PM.

  12. #32
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Author Comments


    Well there you have it, the first 'Book' in my MetaHuman saga. I have already learned that I need to edit this a bit and add a little more in the way of descriptions, especially of the characters.

    Important Note: I need to check the rating and language rules here. It is possible I need to edit a few words here and there. If that is necessary I will do so.

    Comment is invited and my Ego is very secure so you can be honest. Although if you really hate it what would be the point of telling me that? *grins*



    A.T
    (-)


  13. #33
    Lady Della Lettera Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default

    Not sure if you want the first comment on this story to be from me or not...but you're going to get it.

    I see that this story has been improved a bit. It looks different from the one I once read...I haven't completely read this version...yet. But I'm getting there and will get there eventually. *wink*

    Good luck with plenty of feedback, love.

    -Lady D.

  14. #34
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Comments

    I have worked on it a bit, but mostly it looks different because I hit the 10,000 character limit a few times and had to make the 'a' chapters. Really need to do a full revision, add in the stuff I already mentioned, and hunt down some of those annoying typos that still lurk here and there.

    Then of course I need to finsh the second book. But we will not get into that one right now. *smiles*


    With MetaWar I wanted to just start with the sudden creation of a moderate amount of superpowered people and see where the idea took me. Based on what I know of human nature I decided that the Earth would be in a fair amount of trouble. To be a 'Hero' in real life is no easy thing, and they never last unless they die.

    On the other hand a whole lot of people would naturally use their powers for whatever the hell they felt like doing. Human force would not be very effective. Very gloomy really. So I thought what would it take to bring out some heros? And once this happened how could they make it work? How could they change the future which to me seems almost a certainty.

    So I put 4 very different people with very different powers in a situation where they had to fight or watch people die. I spent a lot of time creating those 4 people and then I turned them loose in my head to see what they would do.

    I write it all first person because that is where the story comes from, those characters. I want it to feel like people telling their stories and most people seem to think it does so I am happy about that.


    A.T
    (-)
    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 01-06-2009 at 06:11 PM.

  15. #35
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default

    MetaWar: Changes by Christopher Darque

    Table of Contents

    1. In Brightest Day I (1)
    2. In Brightest Day II
    3. Demon & StarGirl
    4. Pulsar's Changes (2)
    5. Monsters I (2)
    6. Monsters II
    7. Mountain, Island & Asgard(3)
    8. Teen Titans I (4)
    9. Teen Titans II
    10. Pulsar and the Trial (4)
    11. Another City I MT 1 - City 4 I (5)
    12. Another City II MT 1 - City 4 II
    13. Pulsar Captured I (8)
    14. Pulsar Captured II - Drac Finale


    WARNING This is unfinished.


  16. #36
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 1


    Things had gotten harder.

    At the beginning of Year Two we estimated there were only about 100 potentially hostile MetaHumans left in the world.

    The bad news was that they had almost all joined some sort of group. Five people we knew little about had the largest numbers of Metas working for/with them, but that left plenty of independents.

    They had gotten smarter, or at least less fatally stupid. Our enemies had watched us operate, and had learned.

    Case in point, the battle playing out before my eyes.

    I was in the new Central inside the Mountain. Nike's team was in combat.

    It might help you to understand the situation if I explain something about MetaHuman style fighting.

    Everybody goes on and on about Power. How strong Thor is, how many inches of steel I can blast through with which beam, etc.

    MetaHuman combat is not about Power. It is about Defenses.

    If two humans stand facing each other, pistols in hand, you have a fair fight. Both are equally vulnerable to the weapons, and both have a chance to score a hit.

    Face off with me and your pistol becomes useless. Congratulations, you have just become a QK.

    Quick Kill.

    Remember poor Morgan in Philadelphia? She was a classic QK. Mordred should have shielded her before they walked out of the building, I would have. He left her vulnerable, and once he rejected my final offer, I had Speed QK her.

    They suck, they are ugly, and they are how we win battles.

    The reason we have not told every story about the MetaHumans we have fought is because in most cases it was not battle, it was slaughter. We would face six dangerous bad-ass Metas, and in ten seconds three of them would be dead.

    It was sad, it was a terrible waste, and it was necessary.

    Speedsters, Fliers, drones, Telepaths, whatever it takes, but the first stage of any successful Meta battle is learning about your enemy. Does not take a lot if you are experienced. Identify those who can be QKed, and take them out. Then deal with your other problem, the HKs.

    Hard Kill.

    These are people with natural defenses like Armor or Forcefields. Now the field commander has to make a basic choice, brute strength, or get tricky. Pounding, or blasting a target is one way to go, and often works. It does tend to be hard on the landscape so we do not encourage it. Getting tricky involves considering the exact nature of the opponents powers, and finding some creative way to neutralize or inhibit them. Then pound the crap out of them.

    For the first year of our existence we enjoyed quite a bit of success on the battlefield because of these tactics. We lost people, and we still mourn them, but we won the battles.

    Right from the start I got my people into protective gear. First Kevlar and now our Black Metal armor. People who have no natural defenses at all are strongly encouraged to develop the heaviest armor they can handle.

    Those people who could become QKs on our side were protected, mostly by not being on the goddammed battlefield. If Justice was going to fight then Psyche got the hell out of the way. She could kick ass don't get me wrong. Unless the target was protected against psi, she could do all sorts of nasty things, but she was vulnerable, and extremely valuable to us.

    But as the Black Metal Armor began to reach it's present perfected form, we were feeling pretty good about how well our people were protected.

    Now, a year later, the other sides have started to catch up.

    “Nike, Medusa, Talon, Shadow, Circe, Raven, Freya, Ghost, all active 90% or better effective” came from one of the 50 Techs who now manned the new Central. Again, no names sorry.

    “Talon and a Praetorian squad have Circe just off the sphere of engagement.”

    “Nike is engaged with Reaper, Raven is fighting Hawk, both pairs are currently at around 10,000', Freya and Ghost are in a free for all with Hammer and Nail, Medusa was stunned by the grenade but is ok, vitals 95% and steady.”

    There had been no QKs today.

    Five HKs, not a good day.

    Reaper and Raven were fliers, Reaper carried guns as well. Hammer and Nail were both supermen with massive strength.

    “Still no location on Shadow and Moon, presumed engaged, married, or something.”

    Shadow was universally disliked by Central. He knew it and did not seem to care. Despite their personal dislike of my Invisible Man they never left him hanging or provided him with anything less than top performance.

    I would not permit such things, ever. Early on one brave young tech asked me a question about Mr. Personality.

    “What if, just if mind you, something non-fatal, but embarrassing, were to accidentally happen to Shadow because we were just a little bit slow on the draw?”

    I responded by asking him if he had ever seen any Star Trek movies? He said he had seen all of them. I told him that while on the whole I did not approve of, or follow, the Klingon method of keeping discipline, I did recognize the effectiveness of it. They were always at War after all, and so are we.

    “Should anyone under my command, for any reason whatsoever, provide less than their best in support of any Olympian, I would respond in a way that would make a Klingon shudder.” I finished.

    They take proper care of Shadow, but they still loath him.

    He was hunting another Invisible person, this one a woman. He described hunting other people with his power to me once.

    “We can see each other, very faintly, while we are moving we very hard to spot. So to hunt someone who is invisible it is a matter of who stops moving for just that little bit too long. We tend to beat on each other a little, but those kinds of blows rarely do any real damage.”

    Where where the speeders you ask? Oh they were close, all of them.

    Fucking Zippy.

    Two were looping around the battlefield to keep Zippy out, and the rest were chasing his slippery ass around the countryside.

    I did not dare free up even one of them to help Nike. It takes a hell of a lot of effort to prevent a speedster from going someplace they want to go. If he got into the fight, it would be bad for our side.

    Very bad.

    “Sir I have Medusa on Comm 7.”

    “Comm 7 go.” I said to make the connection.

    “Sir, I am not doing too good. That grenade scrambled my brain, my focus is off and my head hurts.”

    Concussion I wondered?

    “Alright my powerful friend, withdraw, we can handle it. I cannot evac you. You are going to have to walk out.”

    “Zippy?”

    “Zippy”

    “Fucking Zippy. Alright give me a vector and I will get going. Sorry boss.”

    “Sorry hell, you got hit by a grenade, be thankful your ass is alive, catch it next time ok?”

    “Not in the mood Pulsar.”

    “Roger, get moving then.”

    The problem was that Talon had decided, properly, that this battle was going to get ugly and then decided to take Circe the whole 20 miles or so to the Praetorian base camp. He had not reported this decision to Central so they had him marked as on foot.

    So when the order came to link up Medusa with Talon, she got a vector to where he was at the moment. Along with this directional info came other data, incorrect data, like the fact that he was moving but on foot.

    Medusa headed out, and followed directions that kept slowing shifting on her. I am sure if she had been her usual self she would have noticed the problem quickly. As it was she started walking and kept going. I did not forget about her, but the battle was raging and my attention was drawn elsewhere. I should have assigned a Tech to monitor her, I did not.

    Nike finally managed to score a heavy blow on Reaper and he plummeted out of the sky. She immediately called for vectors to Raven.

    Ghost was distracting the badly named pair of villains while Freya tried to put one of them down.

    The battle continued for some time, minutes that seemed like hours. Really, try it sometime.

    Nail was down but the rest kept going. At least things were finally turning our way. Or so I foolishly thought.

    “Sir something is happening with Medusa.” called out a tech to my right.

    She should have been safe at the mobile HQ by now.

    But that was not where she was at all.

    She was standing in a parking lot, surrounded by large grey buildings.

    “Where the fuck is she?” I asked with more than usual force.

    Two people were standing in front of her, a man and a woman. They were talking but I could not hear what they were saying. I ordered the volume increased.

    “... for the money of course. It does make the world go round you know. “ came from the unknown woman. Both were masked and costumed. A little colorful was all I could make out.

    Bright flashes came from the male. Medusa went down.

    If you have ever tried to watch from a someone's personal camera you know how difficult that can be sometimes. This was one of those times. With my warrior hurt as she was, the point of view bounced and did not center properly. The audio was still working fine.

    “Let's go my Romeo” said the woman.

    “As you wish my fair one” from the man.

    Great, romantic killers.



  17. #37
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 2


    Medusa's camera showed a huge hand for a moment, and then went dead.

    “Lost the signal sir, they destroyed it.”

    She needed help, fast. Since fast was not an option I did the second best thing.

    “Central to Nike”

    “Go!”

    “Nike, Medusa has been jumped by two unknowns, can I send Raven?”

    “Fuck! Yes, send her. Out!”

    We got Raven disengaged and on the way just in time to have Medusa and her two attackers disappear.

    A Teleporter, dammit all to hell! Raven rejoined the battle.

    I did not know the two MetaHuman Scanners who were on duty, but they bent to the task of locating our lost Hero immediately.

    “She is doing multiple jumps, all under 1,000 miles. We are tracking”

    I am still not good at the waiting. The bitch jumped 8 times.

    “They have settled, fixing location now. 100 miles northeast of us. Small town.”

    Psyche swept into the room with Pathfinder and Selene.

    “They are hurting her.” was her first statement to me.

    “You think I do not fucking know that! We have found her now we have to get to her.” I snapped.

    “Speedster status.” I requested.

    “Zippy is pressing, trying to get into the Battle. He has almost gotten in range to strike three times.”

    Fuck! I could not break off even one of the speedsters, if I did Zippy would get into the battle and I would lose more than just one person.

    “Psyche can you reach her at all?”

    “We can hear her, barely, we are sorry but that is all. She is still alive but...” she trailed off.

    “Confirm distance”

    “114 miles via direct path. It would take you 22.8 minutes to get there.”

    “Did I ask how long it would take me to fly there?”

    “No, but you were thinking it, Sir.”

    I guess they know me a little too well. Techs as mind-readers, lovely.

    “She has a back-up earpiece! She has a back-up!” cried one of the female techs.

    “It is live, getting the connection.”

    “Medusa to Central.” came across the speakers, weak and in pain.

    “Pulsar here. Status?”

    I know, all business. It is what you do in these situations, it is what works. Trust me, I know.

    “Barely conscious, right arm is broken, couple ribs cracked, they worked me over good. She is a Teleporter but he throws some sort of bolt. Force, gravity, fuck I don't know. I could really use some help Alexander.”

    That is not my name of course, but she did use the real one that day.

    “Zippy is trying like hell to kill your team, Speed and his crew are holding him off but I cannot get them to you. Choppers and a load of pissed-off Praetorians are already on their way. You are only a hundred miles from home now.”

    “There you are, come back and play now” said the hostile female, from really close.

    Light Flash. Darkness. Light Flash.

    Medusa was back in the parking lot, and she did not escape this time.

    I could see she had done some damage to her attackers though. The man had a nasty cut across his left cheek and and some other cuts and scrapes. The woman was wearing a cape the first time I saw her but that was missing. Bet Medusa choked her with it.

    They hit her, and kept hitting her.

    “Mute that!” I ordered after the forth blow landed. I could not listen and perversely I did not want the people in the room to hear her scream. It was not right for people to hear a Hero scream.

    Yeah I know, I was on the edge of the pit. Bet you would have been worse.

    Light Flash.

    “Sound!”

    It was over, they were gone. Medusa was alive but not by much.

    “Central to Medusa.”

    “Pulsar to Medusa.”

    “PULSAR TO MEDUSA!”

    Nothing.

    “She can hear you, but that is all. We are going to lose her.” softly from Psyche.

    It got worse.

    “Sir, I just ran the playback on the audio. They left a bomb. Medusa is in a chemical plant next to a town of over 30,000 people. If the bomb goes off, casualties will be high. Sir they picked the town because of it's proximity to us. They are going to kill all those people to quote 'stick a finger in the collective eyes of Olympus' unquote.”

    Think, find a way, come on Mr. God, find a fucking way.

    I had no speedsters to send, no way to get to her in time. In case you were wondering of course we scrambled helicopters as soon as we knew where she was. Three of them were on the way, loaded with a bunch of hostile Praetorians. They fly slower than I do and would be too late.

    I had nothing.

    Except.

    “Open the line to her, and keep it that way.” I ordered.

    “Done.”

    “Kelly, I know you can hear me. I need you to listen. There is a bomb and you have to get rid of it. You are in a chemical plant and if that bomb goes off thousands of people are going to die. You are not going to let that happen. I know you. I have seen your heart. You have never backed down from anything in your life. You are a bad-ass Meta Bitch and everybody knows it. You have to get up and throw that bomb. Get Up! Now! That is a direct order from your Commander!”

    I waited, nothing.

    I looked at Psyche, tears were running down her face as she shook her head.

    “Medusa you must get up! People are going to die! They need a Hero, they need you!” I shouted.

    Not sure if I can explain exactly what happened to my voice at this point. It was not a conscious effort on my part but it grew deeper and resonated with harmonics.

    “In brightest day.” I intoned.

    “Medusa! In. Brightest. Day.” louder, stronger.

    Nothing. Nothing.

    A breath.

    “in blackest night,” faint, but there.

    One hint of a cheer started to burst from one Tech's lips before I killed all sound in the room with a damping field. Instinct, not thought.

    The only sounds I allowed to exist were my voice and hers. Even the background hiss vanished.

    “No evil shall...” I continued. Slow and with dignity.

    “escape my sight” came back, still faint.

    “Let all who worship...”

    “evil's might”

    “Beware my power...”

    “Medusa's light!”

    Her, “ hi boss.” was a touch stronger.

    “Welcome back. Bomb. Can you see it”

    “Yes, they could have left it closer.”

    A grunt came over the speakers, and a long sigh. Ragged Breathing.

    “Got it, big sucker.”

    “Time?”

    “Oh we have tons of time, a whole 33 seconds.”

    “Wait until 3 and then toss it straight up, hard. Can you do that?”

    “Boss, I... I don't know. I can hear you but it is like I am in a well or something. Eyes are foggy just pulling it over made me almost black out. I have a blessed 21 seconds to rest, lets see how I feel then.”

    Psyche tapped me on the shoulder. She was pointing to her mouth.

    I realized what I had done and dropped the sound damping field. She hugged me briefly and then stepped back.

    “5 seconds.” called a Tech, they do recover quickly.

    “Get ready to throw it.”

    A deep painful moan was ripped from her lips as she reached out with her power and threw the bomb up into the sky. Only barely high enough, the explosion thundered.

    She was out again, but she did it.

    “Now everybody can cheer if they wish” I said still in that odd voice I had conjured.

    They did.

    The choppers arrived and picked Medusa up. It would be a month before she would take her place with her team but she came through it. She wears heavier armor now.

    Romeo and Juliet, their choice of names this time not ours, were MetaHuman mercenaries. They worked for anyone for the right price. The team Nike had fought had hired them to find and remove our mobile HQ. While they were jumping around the city looking for that they happened upon Medusa.

    It seems that someone out there has put a price on the heads of a every member of my combat teams. The almost unbelievable amounts offered are big enough to make it worthwhile for this fucked-up pair to decide to take a shot at Medusa.

    If they had just done the job and not tried to get cute by mixing in a little mass murder they would have succeeded. Too close, way to close.

    Bounties on our heads, better organized enemies, hostiles with body armor, and another rogue Teleporter.

    Like I said, things had gotten harder.




  18. #38
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 3


    Part I

    I am The Demon.

    Do you know me? Are you scared?

    I hope so.

    I am not a 'good guy'. Course I should be a dead fucking guy so what the hell.

    Humans, don't like you much.

    I am blindingly fast, I am fucking strong, Spider-Man strong.

    But unlike all my freaking supermodel Meta 'friends', I am ugly. Maybe not ugly, but sure as shit not pretty either. When I changed my skin got tougher, and redder. I do not look like some cartoon demon, but the red is there, you can't miss it, nobody ever has.

    Everything about me is more angular too, not the pretty kind, harsh, less than human.

    More than human.

    The day of the Change, I was 18 years old, just. My mom called it 'a skin rash'.

    Running out of the house I broke stuff, tables, chairs, doors. For hours and hours I ran, learning along the way I could leap up 2 stories easily. My reflexes were amazing, when I just let go I could vault and swing like an acrobat. Heh, little joke there.

    Acrobat is my Meta power class, so you see... oh fuck it.

    I returned home hours later almost bursting. Alive, I was alive and powerful. I rushed in to tell my parents about what I could do. I had all but forgotten about my appearance.

    Mom and dad were waiting, with a doctor, a nurse, and four large orderlies.

    Pulsar talked about having your world change in a few steps, it was words for me.

    “Something is wrong Son, we want you to go along with the doctor.” ordered my father.

    “I am not sick, you should see what I can do!”

    “Son, go along with the doctor, now.”

    “No.”

    Do you know what happened next? Can you guess?

    All of them, mom, dad, the doctor, the nurse, and the four policemen disguised as orderlies.

    It was easy, even the cops were slow and clumsy. Bare handed too, really messy that way.

    Think I care what you think?

    Bet you wanna call me psycho right? Abused child maybe, sick in the head somehow? Bullshit. I was fine, I was normal, then I changed.

    Why did I do it? Because I could. Simple as that.

    They wanted to lock me up, fix me, I said no. I am alive, they are dead.

    I went bad, yep I was one of those guys, the killers.

    Found some buddies too, not people like me fuck that, but people with powers. Miami belonged to us for months. We had all the money we could ever need, and we were stealthy about it. Mostly that was my influence if you care.

    We were not one of those stupid groups who go all flashy, TV cameras, news conferences, dumb. All that did was call Olympus down on your ass. As much as we hated those righteous dicks, we knew they could kick our collective butts. Actually, they knew that, I was never scared.

    But eventually Justice came crashing through out front door. People had gotten killed during some of our jobs, that was also mostly me, and they eventually found us. Oops.

    It was one hell of a fight. We were in a fairly isolated area, an old factory we had bought. Not sure why that woman and her kid came tooling down the road, but they did. The car got hit by something, and died. The smoke pouring from the engine convinced the woman to get out. The bolts of energy, screams, and other insane crap convinced her to hide.

    The good guys did not notice her, nobody swooped down to shield them.

    Here is how it went down.

    One of my former teammates was in trouble. Nova was kicking his ass and well on the way to barbecuing him. He panicked and ran. Another former teammate of mine took a few pistol shots at Nova and got her to turn and fire back.

    Crusher, my buddy, grabbed the kid from her mother, and threw her at Nova.

    I hate kids, but I do not kill them either.

    I ran, vaulted off the roof of a car, and caught the kid about half of the way to Nova. A split-second after I had the kid in my arms I felt a hell of a lot of heat near my backside. Hair was singed.

    Nova had seen something coming from behind her, and had fired to destroy it.

    If I had not grabbed the kid, Nova would have killed her.

    I hit the ground and let the little girl run back to her mom.

    Nova looked down at me. I looked back.

    Mom and the kid were crouched in a stairwell leading down. I turned my back on Nova and walked over to the top of the stairs. I sat and faced the street.

    If you think I felt bad that the little girl almost got killed you are wrong, mostly wrong anyway. But it was not right what Crusher did, it was pointless and stupid. A waste of effort that simply hastened his demise.

    When it was over Justice had won, of course, and Pulsar confronted me.

    He knew what had happened, Central must have filled him in, not to mention his girlfriend.

    We cut a deal.

    I work for Justice now, and I only kill when it is allowed. Pulsar points out the people he wants dead, and I make them that way. Business is good.

    So all you Metas out there, go on, stir up some shit. Get rowdy, I dare ya.

    The Demon is hungry.


    Part II

    Hi! My name is StarGirl.

    Well that is not my name, well it is but, ok, you know what I mean. I have a regular name too but I am not allowed to tell you.

    I was 18 years old when I became a MetaHuman. Before that I wanted to do all the normal things that girls want to do, fall in love, go to college, travel Europe with a backpack and a hot guy, ya know, girl stuff.

    Most of that is not really possible anymore. I'm not gloomy or sad but my life is hard, and not at all what I expected to be doing at this point.

    Do you know what I can do? I guess I should tell you anyway just in case. I can produce force fields around myself. Cool huh?

    I can make layers of different fields and build them up into a 10' tall body. My 'Energy Form' is what Pulsar calls it. Not sure how I see though it, but I do. I am suspended in the middle of the form.

    Well ok, look, that is what I think. What Pulsar thinks is that I actually change completely into energy and merge with the form.

    I feel normal, my butt still itches sometimes, I think I am right and he is wrong but who cares anyway?

    In my energy form I am powerful, invulnerable, and just super cool. I can actually make any color force field I wish. To make Pulsar and my Captain happy I do basic black. But when I do that I still get these little twinkles of light on my outer 'skin'. Motes of dust and tiny bugs going zapper against the shield.

    That is where StarGirl came from. Black form, tiny bursts of light, you get it right?

    Hope so, I have never talked to the public, ever.

    My power was not one of those ones that make life all messy or hurts people when it goes off. I love Nova so much and feel so sorry she has to work so hard to contain her wicked cool powers. I was just covered in this weird glow, and nobody could touch me.

    I freaked out all my friends. My dad was the man though, he understood what was going on with me pretty quickly. He says it was all the Star Trek, I thought he was just a smarty-pants. But he did not panic or try to send me to a doctor.

    When Pulsar, Psyche and the rest went on TV, my family was actually relieved.

    I was a MetaHuman. Ok, that was cool I guess.

    But people getting powers like mine and hurting people with them? My dad tried to hide it from me but that part hit him really hard. He held my mom's hand and everything. I mean like he was all brave and normal to me but I saw it, he was a little scared.

    He told me that I had better start to practice with my new abilities, and that we would check out this place Pulsar talked about when it was open.

    It was his idea to try putting out another layer of forcefield, I would never ever have thought about it.

    I was up to 4 layers when I met my first Metahuman. Two of them, both assholes.

    They were recruiting a gang, they had money and they handed me a bag of it.

    $75,000

    Next night, they were back. With my dad standing beside me I told them I was not interested.

    A blast of flame killed my dad.

    Shock and disbelief froze me. My mother was in the next room.

    The one who had just blasted my father down suddenly spurted blood from his face before collapsing in a heap. The other bastard got to spin around to see the hole in the glass the bullet had made before his brains were splattered across our carpet.

    I was going to be sick.

    My mother slammed open the door and screamed. She ran to my fathers body.

    Crash. The twice punctured window gave way completely as a disc-shaped object zipped through it. Whatever it was embedded itself in the wall behind me, missing me by about six inches.

    Pretty sure I was ready to just pass out and be done with it.
    My mother was sobbing, my living room was covered in blood.

    So much blood.

    Like a robot I walked over to disc. It was black and in the stylized shape of a bat.

    Batman?

    We called the police, gave them the money, watched them take away what had been my father.

    When the opening of Olympus was announced, we put our house up for sale and took a plane to Wyoming. We had been living in a hotel since the day of the attack anyway.

    It was quite a while after that before I was ready to leave Olympus. I did not feel safe and I was afraid to leave my mother alone for too long. Scared, invulnerable and scared, sad huh?

    Pulsar helped me to build up my energy form and make it stronger. And let the record show that he could not do an energy form before he met me. I taught him!

    Philadelphia happened, and I began to feel like I should be doing something with my power. My mother was doing ok, she had made friends and even the just lovely Psyche said she was going to be fine.

    I signed up for training. I regretting signing up for training the very next day, and the day after that.

    Training SUCKS! It hurts, it bends, it folds, spindles and mutilates.

    And I know those instructors like that part, being mean, I just know it!

    But I got through it. There were no new teams forming at that time so I worked for security for a while. Dull, really, really, dull. But necessary. And ya know since I did those few months with them, I appreciate what they do. Every single week I go and visit someone on some duty post somewhere. Usually I bring food, they love that. I only stay for an hour, but still, every week.

    I was like so freaked out when they asked me to join the Avengers. I mean when they told me that they were going to be the most powerful team Olympus had, I was just blown-away.

    Me, 19 year old me, I was a 'big gun'?

    I said no.

    In fact I said no, went outside, changed into my energy form and walked away very quickly. I walked for a long time. I just did not think I was ready for that. A combat team maybe, but the Avengers, no.

    Pulsar found me. He took me for a little ride up above the clouds, way up.

    “Are you scared?” he asked once we were floating and I had gotten a good look down.

    “No, this is soooo cooool!”

    “But we are 10,000 feet up in the air, what if I dropped you?”

    “I would survive, this form of mine is very tough.” I said with confidence.

    “Are you sure? You have never tested anything like this, you could be wrong.” he was testing me.

    “Ok I am not sure sure, but I am sure enough not to be afraid.”

    “So you have learned to really trust your power?”

    “Yes, I guess I have. Still freaky but I guess this is me.”

    “No this is most of you. There is still one more thing left to do.”

    “What?”

    “Join the Avengers. I need you on that team StarGirl. Olympus needs you on that team. It is where you belong.”

    “How can you know that? I don't know that!” I spat it at him, kinda ashamed of that now.

    “I know because certain people have a place in the world, a place that is only for them. Sometimes it is because of their personality, or their skills, or their knowledge. With us it is power. You are one of the most powerful MetaHumans at Olympus and I need that strength out there in the world.”

    “I am scared, is that what an Avenger is supposed to feel like?”

    “Right now yes. Scared is good. Scared will make you wear serious armor for those times when you are not in your powerful form. Scared will make you run every practice drill like it matters, cause they all do. Scared, well scared is just normal, and smart. After all, being a hero is an unnatural act.”

    I thought about it.

    I thought about my dad.

    “Drop me”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Drop me. If I am going to be an Avenger then I have to conquer my fears. Drop me please.”

    He did not look all that happy, but he did it anyway.

    Free fall was G R E A T !

    I felt strong, I felt powerful, I felt...

    SLAM!

    The ground was kinda hard.

    But I stood right up and was fine. I fell from 10,000' and was fine.

    And I was an Avenger.

    So that is what I do now. Train, work out with my team, and wait for the call. We have times when we have to be close to the ready areas, and times when we have to be suited up and ready to go. But sooner or later they always call.

    It is pretty cool, scary sometimes, harsh too, but cool.

    I am StarGirl and I walk with the Gods. Way cool.



  19. #39
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 4



    As I look back over the first year I can see so many things that had indeed changed.

    Because of us of course.

    People say that the world we are in now is not the one that would have been if MetaHumans had not appeared. I accept that since I have always believed we make our own future with each choice.

    The MetaHuman change happened just weeks before the US Presidential election. Seems like everything went as expected there.

    I mean what, America was going to elect the moron from Texas who could not put a coherent sentence together? Please. Yeah let's elect the idiot rather than the brilliant guy with the track record.

    Right.

    Even with our rather intelligent President you know what happened, what they tried to do. Imagine if we had had that dunderhead in office when MetaHumans arrived.

    After Philadelphia we did do some work at the request of the U.S. Government. We checked all the background information ourselves first, every single time. We made sure that those terrorists in Afghanistan really were planning some horrific things before we struck.

    Our successes of the first year meant we were able to devote more time to dealing with normal criminals, and with positive things. Please understand we did not go out and bust shoplifters. We went after violent criminals, huge gangs, organized crime, that sort of thing.

    The speedsters and others who liked to patrol the streets had made an impact. Minor crimes had been down for quite a while. No one ever thought that anyone could do anything to even make a dent in the crime of pick-pocketing. It is everywhere, it is fast, it is unstoppable in the broad sense.

    Until Speed and his team came along. Sure they cannot be everywhere, but they are a whole lot of places all of the time. They learned to spot things like pick-pockets and did something about it. Fear helped a lot, it was what the military calls a force multiplier. The impression was that the speedsters had so changed the odds that it just was not worth the risk anymore.

    For some reason the Speedsters have a serious hatred of car thieves. In most cases they do not haul the person to jail, they just scare the holy crap out of them. Rough the thief up a bit and warn them that a 'next time' would mean death. Not sure if they ever carried out that threat, don't really want to know.

    Our operations in Mexico and Canada grew more frequent.

    We had learned from one enemy that we had others. A set of five others who were gathering forces and making plans. Take over the world kind of plans.

    Because of this we took what was, and remains, our most controversial act.

    We took over the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

    What you don't remember that? Not surprising, it was done very quietly.

    Here is the thing. When a Telepath takes control in any way of another person they leave marks. They can command the subject to forget but another Telepath can see the traces. And more importantly, only one person can be in control at a time. So once a person is under someone's control, they tend to stay that way.

    On my orders, with approval from the MetaCouncil, PsiInt took over the minds of the Presidents, Legislators, Supreme Courts, and all other vital parts of the governments of the USA, Canada and Mexico.

    It took 3 weeks.

    Ok, now I realize that if you are one of those people, or a citizen of one of those Countries you are probably feeling pretty angry right now. Anger does not do it does it? You are Enraged. Violated, betrayed in an obscene and unholy manner!

    I get that.

    But.

    Let me tell you why, or better yet let me tell you something else and see if you can get the why for yourself. Let's see if you can figure it out like I did, maybe that will help you to hate me a little less.

    There were five Masterminds operating in the world, at least.

    A Mastermind is someone who plots, gathers minions and resources. They are smart, and they are sneaky. I am a Mastermind but since my goal is to protect the world I never get called that.

    Loki you have already met. And contrary to our original information there was a woman, the other three were men.

    PsiInt did it's most intensive investigation to date to find out about these five.

    Two they have a lifetime of data on, from birth to the time they vanished we knew everything. The other three we knew almost nothing about.

    The woman we knew little about. She was Meta but with an unknown power. She was great at recruiting and had a huge force already. It seemed obvious that she had the highest number of Level 1 Metas of any of the Masterminds. Why she was so good at recruiting was a mystery related to her powers. Her forces were so large they already qualified as an army. Oh, and she had a thing for ships, she owned 4 that we knew about. Her base of operations was unknown but possibly Africa or an Island somewhere.

    We called her Satana.

    The second new enemy was in his late 20s and had left the United States when Charon began to operate. He was set up somewhere in Australia which was somewhat funny considering the name we gave him, Dracula. We did not know the specifics of his power but he had killed a number of people with some sort of energy.

    Dracula had 5-10 Meta minions and one very special one, Vortexx, a Teleporter.

    We did have at least a hint of his plans, a hint which turned out to be correct. He was going to cause Chaos, yes with a capital C, destroy whole societies to make them vulnerable. Modern societies are very fragile, poison a few water sources, plant some bombs, point fingers in various directions. It is a lot easier to do than you might imagine.

    Loki, well you know about him. Back then we knew nothing. It would have been nice to have had some warning about what he was doing. We thought he was friendly with another of the Masterminds and it turns out he was. But like his namesake he had his own disturbing plans as well.

    That brings us to Robert Anton Uday who was 41 years old, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    He had a degree in management and had a wife and 2 children before the change.

    We had no idea what his power was, but we do know what he did once he understood he was a MetaHuman. He left his family, later on he would send them $1 million, and headed to Europe.

    He probably started recruiting at the same time we did.

    His organization was massive, at least 10 MetaHumans were working with him. Hundreds of security people including a fair number of Level 1 Metas. More money than most Countries too.

    We had no idea what he was up to, but we suspected something very subtle and complex. To make matters worse he seemed to be friendly with Loki. That meant he had Teleport capabilities which made his forces a whole lot more dangerous.

    We called him Brainiac.

    When the final Mastermind heard the name we had given him, he liked it so much he started to use it. His power was Armor. That and the fact that he had a PHD in Botany lead us to tag him with his name.

    Dr. Doom.

    He was born Abraham Albert Duncan, 32 years old at this particular time. He took a plane from his home in Ohio the day after our initial press conference.

    Dr. Doom was not a great leader and recruiting did not go well. That was until he met Vortexx. Once they teamed up he gathered a small group of about eight MetaHumans and a few hundred other personnel. But it seems the female Meta was fickle and she soon left him for Dracula.

    But not before he found Serina. Her Telepathic powers were perfect for his plans. He too wanted to take over the world but he wanted to do it nice and legal, well mostly legal. He was going to put the world's leaders under Serina's spell. Quietly he would become the power behind every throne, every desk, every seat of power in the world.

    Then he would do up all the paperwork and take over legal and proper.

    The other half of Doom's plans was to manufacture events that made us, Olympus, look bad. Those would be the lever to get us out of a Country entirely.

    We had made arrangements with almost every free, and some not so free, Countries. We could go anywhere, with different levels of official acceptance. Dr. Doom wanted to take that away from us.

    You saw those videos right? The news reports. Scenes of what look like Olympus MetaHumans acting with total disregard for property let alone innocent lives. Oh sure the fake Olympians were going after somebody, somebody supposedly bad, but the way 'we' did it make us worse than what 'we' were fighting.

    In some cases the destruction was massive.

    Sleazy, but effective. We would deny of course, but when has that ever worked?

    He was a sharp guy that Dr. Doom.

    That is what we were facing, people who were not stupid and who were plotting.

    What would you have done?

    Do you see the danger? Do you see how easy it would have been for Doom to subvert the US President's mind, and with him take over the United States? We could not guard everyone, we could not keep them safe. That was not possible, believe me that was the first option we explored.

    What we could do is what we did, we got to them first. Once we had all the key people in all three Countries under control we at least had some breathing room.

    Now do you see?

    When things got rough later on we did make use of the Telepathic control to a small degree. But really it was just to make things easier for ourselves, which meant more time to save more lives. If you expect me to feel bad about that you are going to be disappointed.

    Like so many other things we, I, have done, this was necessary.

    Satana, Dracula, Loki, Brainiac, Dr. Doom

    Five distorted images of me, doing what I had done, but with different goals.

    I had some 130 MetaHumans at Olympus, 80 of which were Type 2s and Type 3s.

    Would it be enough?

    We formed two new teams right after the Day 357 party. I gathered all the current Captains and Seconds, some people from PsiInt, and a handful of others that I thought could contribute. We sat down and created the new groups.

    The first was going to be the heavy hitters, powerful Metas with strong defenses. No QKs was motto we followed. The second would be a more balanced team but still with an eye towards power and defenses.

    Neither team would have a Telepath, they were just too vulnerable and valuable. PsiInt would support the teams much the same way the Speedsters did, when they were needed they would help.

    Up until this time I had been very hesitant to let too many comic book names become too important around Olympus. I was just afraid that if we used too many famous names people would forget what we really did, what the stakes really were.

    But when it came time to create these two teams I tossed those worries out the window. I wanted these teams to have names that would resonate with the public from day one. The first name was the real focus, but it naturally suggested the second. Both are rich in comic book tradition.

    The Avengers

    Our "Gold Team" was to be lead by Arclight & Balder

    Arclight, Balder, Isis, StarGirl, Vision, Scarlet, Hellboy, Achilles

    The Defenders

    The "Green Team" was to be lead by Ajax & FireLord

    Ajax, FireLord, Atlas, Whisper, Hawkman, Hercules, Devil, Midnight


    The teams got together, one or two of the members required a little nudge, and began to train.

    We went to work.




  20. #40
    Alexander Tau Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Chapter 5


    Typical day at the office.

    Well actually not. Last time we had a day like this Nemesis almost died.

    Monsters.

    Eleven of them to be exact.

    The city of Redding, California was getting demolished. These suckers were all at least 7' tall and a few were nearly 9'. Strong, tough, we had no idea what the fuck they were.

    They were not Shape Shifters.

    “Arclight to Central.”

    “Central, Pulsar here, go”

    “We confirm eleven, we also confirm that they are fucking tough. Request assistance.”

    The leader of the Avengers was asking for help, get the picture?

    “On the way buddy, you going to pair off?”

    “Affirmative, seems the best way but that is what makes me nervous. Any idea who, or what they are?”

    “Not a clue, take em out one at a time, help is on the way. Central out.”

    “Force Status Board please.” I requested.

    I love this display, all of the forces at my command were listed. The 66 high level Metas, the Praetorian Guard, my Security Forces, reserve Metas, associated groups, and even local police. Indicators told me their current status and even location.

    “Send an immediate alert message to Huntress, Devil, Demon, FireLord, and NightWing.”

    “Wow, a personality convention.” muttered a Tech.

    “Alerts have been sent Commander.” declared another one.

    “Please tell Star I need to see her as well. Have her come here.”

    “Commander, NightWing requests verification, her exact words were 'He cannot possibly need me'.”

    “Tell her I do need her, and right now would be nice. I will be in the ready room.”

    I needed to suit up. The ready room is a locker room with a few special touches. Everyone I had called was at Olympus so they would all arrive in short order. The areas devoted to each of us require a rather large room but beyond that it is just a place to change clothes, special clothes.

    FireLord was first, of course, followed closely by Devil, they both fly. Demon and Huntress were not far behind. NightWing was last, she flew faster than anyone else here, but I was not surprised it took her the longest.

    “Hey bossman.” came from Demon, he is always up for a fight. That grin.

    “Something serious sir?” was what FireLord wanted to know. At 19 he was second in command of the Defenders and was always right to business.

    “Take a look around pal, he would not invite the likes of us to a picnic now would he.” said Demon with his usual tact.

    “Why me?” was the first thing NightWing said, before the door had closed behind her. She was young and had never been on a combat mission. She was also the second fastest Flier at Olympus and blessed with a solid defensive field.

    “Because you signed up as a reserve and it is time you got out in the field. You can withdraw from the reserves if you wish. But if not, I need you to come with me today.” I replied.

    She thought about, and agreed.

    Getting into costume was something for which we all have our own rituals. Mine involved sitting down and looking at my uniform as it stood displayed on it's stand. For a few minutes I did not think about what we were going to be doing, or where were were going. I just thought about what it meant to wear that suit.

    I regarded my cloak somewhat differently. It had become such an extension of my will that it seemed alive. To wear it was to take the final steps away from humanity. The impact of that animated pool of blackness was astounding. But not today, monsters are not easily impressed.

    Everyone except NightWing was ready.

    While the rest of us waited on her, the questions started again.

    “So you gonna tell us anything bossman, or is it a surprise?” asked Demon.

    “Monsters, eleven of them in California. The Avengers are there but these are tough critters and they need support. That would be us.”

    “Sounds like a blast.” added Huntress. She also loved a good fight.

    Huntress was an Acrobat, and a violently powerful fighter. Today she carried a lot of explosives along with her swords and other weapons. Devil was on FireLord's team, he had moderately strong Telekinetic abilities and he loved to use them. FireLord was much like my beloved Nova, but with more control and only about half her power.

    “We are teaming up today, Demon and Devil, FireLord and Huntress, NightWing you are with me.”

    “You are kidding about the monsters right?” asked a clearly nervous NightWing.

    “No, they are from seven to nine feet tall, and very sturdy.”

    I noticed that NightWing was not carrying any weapons.

    “Huntress, NightWing needs a strong sword and a long knife.”

    Huntress nodded and walked over to one of the weapons lockers. From one she selected a longsword, from the one next to it a nice knife. Both were made of Black Metal. NightWing looked slightly confused when she handed them to her. She had trained with weapons so I assumed the look on her face was more general confusion than anything else.

    “Huntress can show you how to attach them.” was all I said.

    We were ready.

    “Alright everybody, listen up. Except for NightWing you all have something in common, and you all know what it is. Today is your kinda day. We have a collection of ugly murdering monsters out there and I want you to help me kill the fuckers. NightWing I know this is not a typical mission but it is time for you to see what it means to be an Olympus MetaHuman. I suspect that after today you will either sign up for active duty, or withdraw from the reserves. You will be with me and I know you can handle it.”

    “Lets go people.” with that we headed back to Central.

    Star was sitting in my chair waiting for us. She was cute, she was tiny, and she was a Teleporter.

    The rules had changed once again.

    Now we could jump across the planet when necessary. Star could not do that many portals per day, they were very draining on her. But she could open a portal that any number of people could pass through.

    I was very glad to meet her.

    She had been avoiding all contact for a long time. She said she always wanted to travel the world and she had set out to do it. She claims to have visited every country on the face of the earth and she probably has.

    The news of the world she was jumping across did catch up with her eventually. When she was finally confronted with the destruction caused by rogue Metas she came to us.

    Again, I was so very glad she did.

    Instead of pacing and watching the action unfold, I was about to go to Redding and get involved.

    We arrived in an alley just off the main battlefield.

    Smoke was in the air. That is one of the constants of any battlefield, things burn. There are other constants and they were also present.

    Hitting the street we could see one of the monsters about 4 blocks down. He had just torn into an Ambulance, scattering the terrified crew.

    “I got $1,000 that says I do the most damage today” Demon declared.

    “Your on!” replied Huntress.

    “I will take a piece of that.” came from Devil.

    “Me too.” tossed in FireLord.

    They do love their work.

    “Demon, Devil, that bastard is yours, take him down.” I ordered.

    They took off down the street. Except for the screams of the injured all around me I would have felt sorry for the creature. As it was, there was work to do.

    “Pulsar to Central.”

    “Central online.”

    “Vectors to the two nearest beasties for FireLord and myself please.”

    “On the way.”

    “Pulsar out.”

    We split up and headed off in separate directions.

    I took us up well above the buildings. This was a rough scene and NightWing was clearly a little freaked. The air was clear up here, the smoke of burning cars and buildings rose in columns but they were mostly behind us.

    NightWing and I flew in silence for almost 2 minutes before she asked her question.

    “So what am I supposed to do?”

    “You are pretty good at dive and attack, you do those and we alternate. Call out before you come in, and don't mosey along.”

    “I can do that.”

    “Good. When you are making an attack focus on that, but otherwise keep your eyes moving. Do not loose track of your surroundings.”

    “I will, I mean I won't I mean...” she sputtered

    “Yes sir will do fine.” I said with a chuckle.

    “Yes sir.”




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