Friday, September 09, 2005

Hooligan's Log

Here is the last installment of Matt's log. I think it's been long enough that I can safely split the remaining xp between he and Tim, nobody else is submitting. I'll still take submissions for the final bonus (some kind of reward for the overall log of the year award) but hurry for those too. Matt and Tim have pretty much got the hammerlock on all the goodies this arc.

Ooze apparently killed the security guard on duty inside the fake tank after escaping from his containment unit – sure hope it didn’t happen after Vanguard tried to cut the phone lines. We also learned that the legitimate employees here and Allied Chemical in general didn’t seem to know about the research going on – in fact, many memos had been sent up the chain asking why the facility hadn’t been decommissioned, as it was obsolete and inefficient.

On our way out of the tank, we heard the sirens, and it was no surprise to this son of the Tartan when we came face to face with P.A.R.T. I went quietly. Again, it occurred to me that we had broken laws, and perhaps weren’t such good guys. The team took a very Machiavellian view, letting the ends justify the means. Lucky for them, P.A.R.T. went with it, and let us go. (So – next time that I let the ends justify the means, will the team back ME up? Oh fuck no. Flea will seem shocked at my actions, Vanguard will spew mumbo jumbo about what we “can” and “can’t” do, Trauma will insist that I need to be rehabilitated, and Mason will…probably take my side. I’m liking this Mason guy more and more.)

The reason they let us go was that Justin Grisham showed up and claimed to know none of us. Needless to say, yours truly was burning a little bit under the collar…I mean, this guy did try to kill me…but I stayed quiet while other members of the team snapped at him. We soon learned an interesting little tidbit – Justin has a twin named Raymond who runs Allied Chemical and Grisham Industries. (Mental note – stop going out of your way to trash anything emblazoned with the name GRISHAM, Hooligan.) He gave us a ride back to the SkyBox and even offered to sponsor us as a superhero group, something he apparently did for the New Guardians as well. Sponsorship would be nice. He seemed like a decent enough chap, and put us on a month long probationary period before he formally sponsored us. He also told us he wanted to be the first to know if we ran into his wayward brother. Seemed like a fair deal to me.

We went back to discussing a group name, and after several not-so-wonderful ideas were put forth, I suggested a patriotic name to deflect some of the post 9/11 criticism we’re sure to endure. Much to my surprise, the group agreed! (Side note – HOLY F’ING SHITE! They…LISTENED to me! Just waiting for the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse…) We finally settled on the name Freedom League. I think it has a ring to it, actually. We did well with this one.

Other interesting tidbits which happened in the last few days…

- I went down to the jail with Tripleforte and Mason to have a talk with Lodestone and Proton. Got there just in time to see Lodestone being freed by a group calling themselves “IMAGE”. It’s an acronym. I don’t give two shits what it means. Something about Mutants fighting for themselves. Can’t wait for the Mutant v Human war. It’ll be a hoot.

- The group is still pissed about the fact that I killed some skinhead scum. I wonder very much what their attitudes would be had THEY lost anyone close to them. The next time the death of my wife is trivialized or compared in scope to the deaths of a bunch of racist scum, someone is stepping outside with me. An ass will be kicked and kicked hard.

- Mason got into Marshall Endicott’s compound and found out three very interesting things…

1. Howard Fitzwater, Jr. is in league with the neo-Nazis.
2. The Neo-Nazis have brought in a fella named Blade to kill Mason.
3. Blade is supposed to kill me next.

This can only go well! We discussed having Mason “die.” I offered up the thought that maybe Mason’s redneck persona could “kill” me to shoot him up the ladder a bit. Apparently, Endicott doesn’t call the shots – there’s a big guy above him. Now we know where to throw our line in the water, at least. When I get my hands on these bastards…man.

All of this was brought to a halt by a personal appearance we had to make for Durante, who is still trying to get his radio show off the ground. We (WE?!? When did I agree?!?) agreed to make an appearance at the opening of Omega World, which is a theme park based on the superhero drama “To Save the World.” Things were wrong from the start – before we even got through the gates, we saw a large carousel in the entrance concourse spinning out of control. Flea tried to jump through the wildly spinning animals, and was rewarded by being smacked across the park. Trauma put a stop to it with his gigantism, and we got the people off. Mason meanwhile wandered to the Bullet Train, the world’s fastest roller coaster, and found that the ride was out of control. A recorded message said that if the speed of the cars fell under 120 mph, a bomb would go off, but with the cars continually picking up speed, the ride was about to shake itself apart. Vanguard and Flea took the task of getting into the cars and finding the bomb while Tripleforte and I scampered to the next ride, Adamantine Mountain. As we were running in, we heard a vicious explosion behind us, and saw that something had gone horribly wrong. This being the first time I’ve ever been confronted with an innocents body count, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind, but Morgan and I pressed on into the ride. We saw a girl tied up by the wrists dangling over the tracks while a maniacal teddy bear (WHAT THE FUCK?!?) hacked at the rope with a knife. Worse still, as we ran towards her a cage descended from the ceiling and trapped us good. I didn’t let this stop me, unleashing a soccer ball which turned the teddy bear into a ball of fluff. The only obvious way out was a large red button on the wall inside the cell which was labeled “PUSH TO OPEN CELL DOOR.” I knew it couldn’t be good, but after a few frantic moments of trying to find a different way out, I whacked the button – and the door swung open! Of course, it also freed a bunch of maniacal toys from another cell, all of them bent on killing the girl. I took a running start, jumped the tracks, grabbed the girl in midair, and yanked her to safety on the other side of the tracks, after which Tripleforte and I finished off the very painful process of destroying the toys.

Of course there was no rest for the weary, as a trip to the Knights of the Realm ride revealed a bunch of robotic knights and a hooded executioner about to behead another young lady. A recorded voice told us we’d have to bravely fight the knights to save the damsel – which we did in a good damned hurry. The executioner skedaddled, but had no useful information to give us.

The voice seemed very familiar to all of us – the Idiot King. This can ONLY get better.

We tried the JFO Tower, reasoning it would give the Idiot King a good perch from which to watch our progress, but struck out. We spotted him ducking into Hecate’s Hall of Mirrors and gave chase.

I’m not sure what all happened inside. We split up early on. I came to a dead end, turned around after hearing the sound of glass breaking, and found myself trapped in my dead end by an ominous looking cloud of gas. Eventually it cleared up and I wandered out. It seemed that other team members came out a little worse for wear. (Who knew that the Idiot King would anticipate we’d break the mirrors? Sometimes I wonder how my teammates made it out of primary school. Good Christ.)

We then managed to stumble into the Idiot King’s control room, and the fight was on – for most of the group. I zotted the Idiot King good with a soccer ball, but was quickly double teamed for my efforts and knocked into next week. When I woke up, I learned that the Idiot King had been apprehended thanks to the timely reappearance of Samuel Mason. Good for us – more than 30 dead, but the King is in custody. (Why?!? What possible use does his continued existence have for society? He spends two separate existences – he’s either a drooling vegetable leeching resources from society, or a dangerous master criminal killing innocents for sport. Why not put him down?!? The rest of the team seems eontent to let the system take care of these super baddies, and in most cases I can give in to their wishes, but in this guy’s case, I just don’t see it. The system can’t cope. How many more people have to die before someone puts this guy out of our misery?)

No time to mope, of course, because now Holocaust – the same mutant who slapped Executive Sanction out of the way and attacked the Pentagon – has given the people building the new City Center an ultimatum: stop construction on the building within 48 hours and tear it down, or he’ll do it for them. Personally, I think the thing is an eyesore and a drain on taxpayer resources, but I have a general objection to freelance demolition.

We started pondering what we could do, when we could do it, and how we’d go about it – and this is when my frustration began to grow.

We had an incredibly sensitive and dangerous situation on our hands. This will be our first time out as the superhero team defending Los Angeles, and we’d be fighting a mutant who single-handedly fought the U.S. government’s hand-picked superhero team to a standstill. You would think, given the circumstances, that the team would be entirely focused on the task at hand.

They weren’t.
Tripleforte was still moping about people dying at the theme park. He was too busy worrying about his stupid tattoo and his wacko friends. He was too worried about getting Mason in touch with the “right” people. Apparently, none of this could wait until our defining moment as a superhero team had passed.

Mason was too worried about trying to turn the building into pudding. Too worried about his golden girl. Apparently, she couldn’t wait until our defining moment as a superhero team had passed.

Trauma invited Black Diamond, a freaking supervillain, to the base so he could take her out for coffee. Apparently, that too couldn’t wait until our defining moment as a superhero team had passed.

Vanguard had to attend council meetings at city hall. Maybe, just maybe, the time might have been at hand for him to beg off and take an active role in planning the defense of the center? Apparently, his city council meetings were more important than preparing for our defining moment as a superhero team.

Flea? I have no complaints about the Flea. That poor little guy did nothing but plot strategy. He obviously wants this scrape with Holocaust to go well. Sometimes his methods and morals grate on me, but for this day, the Flea was my freaking hero. He understands that sometimes the team needs to set all individual problems aside and focus on one situation or one goal – as a TEAM. He gets it. I wish everyone else understood as clearly as we understand. Maybe it’s the fact he played basketball. Maybe it’s because of my footy experience. Whatever the reason, we seem to understand team play, and we’ve got to get the rest of the team on the ball.

Luckily, we didn’t need to let anyone know we’d be defending the CCB, because the L.A. Times headline the next day told the world we’d beat Holocaust. None of us talked to the paper. Turns out one of the idiot partners went and blabbed to the media about our upcoming exploits.

Tripleforte went to a press conference to discuss the impending attack (I refused. Fuck the CCB.) The party largely skipped it – the gist of the thing being that we were expected to defeat Holocaust and save the building.

My part in the plan was to taunt Holocaust into attacking me. (Wait a minute – I volunteered for what?!? It may be time to cut back on the Belhaven…) It worked like a charm, except for the fact that no taunting was necessary. He and his comrades came in all guns a-blazin’, and it wasn’t long before yours truly was knocked off the building and then tornadoed a couple of times for good measure. Amazingly, when I awoke, the building was still standing and the baddies were gone. Mind you, it wasn’t in great shape, and there were a couple of Sentinels laying destroyed around the building, but we were alive and praise rained down upon us from every corner of the city.

We also managed to trace the computer to which video footage of us fighting various baddies was being sent. It was some sort of warehouse, and we rolled into action. The group debated the best way to gain admittance to the building (disregarding my “JUST DRIVE THROUGH THE FREAKING GARAGE DOOR!” suggestion) until finally Trauma simply ripped a regular door off its hinges. It was alarmed. Maybe next time, I’ll get to check for that first?

We got into a vicious rolling fight with a bunch of machine-gun-wielding mooks, but they were little match for yours truly or the rest of the team. We found a staircase in back. Flea went down first and we immediately lost radio contact with him. The rest of us went in quick succession, and the next thing I knew I was standing in a big metal box. I was able to make out a door on one side and some monkey bars on the ceiling before the floor gave out from underneath me. I jumped up to the bars and took a look down into the water which appeared under me – water teeming with piranhas. I hung on as long as I could looking for a solution until finally, in desperation, I broke one of the light casings and tried sending electricity through the walls of my cell. It didn’t work, but the wire was actually long enough to stretch to the water. On contact, it fried the poor little fishies and all I had left to do was find an exit.

I soon met up with my fellow Freedom Leaguers and we found the control room in the center, where we met Interface. It seems Interface was the one who leaked the files on 9/11 to Silhouette, and as a result Doctor Destroyer was…displeased? Yeah, that’s the word. Displeased. Interface was now a strange mix of cyborg monster and manic depressive human. He was freaking tough to take down, but take him down we did. He didn’t count on us all breaking out of our individual traps and setting upon him like we did. Apparently, way back in the “bomb in the park” scenario, the pitiful explosion and gas cloud was really meant to cover us in radioactive dust, making us that much easier to track. Sadly (HA!) for Interface, Vanguard was trying to open the gates at the time and wasn’t covered in the dust. He had little intel on the councilman, and as a result had no idea what to expect from him.

So the Freedom League found itself triumphant again. Needless to say, I think all of the team members were surprised to find out who our nemesis was – at least I was fooled.

Now, as to those Nazi sons of bitches out at Endicott’s compound…

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