Monday, December 17, 2007

Letter to Granny #2

Dear Granny:

It’s all still a mystery to me, Granny, why the sweet little baby Jesus came to free me from my torment, only to have it all happen again. As the days go by, I can feel myself growing weaker and weaker, and now I can only assume it was all a dream. I will keep the faith, Granny, and be my own judge as I reach the last of my days. I regret only that I didn’t do the amount of good that I could have, and worry that the decision to work for the lady was the wrong one.

But while I still have breath, Granny, I will do what I swore to do. My friends have survived another day, thwarting what would have been another strange murder at the hands of the group they call DEMON. I was able to assist again, this time using the memories within me to investigate a home owned by a missing couple. Well, they weren’t really missing, you see, because I was able to track their bank information and found that they were spending a great deal of time going between their home and another home they owned in Redbark. They were also buying a lot of meat and ding dongs.

You might ask what the heck that has to do with anything. Well, the guys were able to figure out, with the help of that mysterious beauty that joined up with us, that a very bad man by the name of Dark Paladin was involved. They also deduced that another baddie, Griffon, was in on these murders. The mysterious beauty also chimed in that her sister was probably involved. She’s a witch, that sister, and a bad one at that. The kind that deserves to have a house dropped on her, if you know what I mean.

Well, anyway, we thought maybe the griffon would need a lot of raw meat to eat, and the witch likes ding dongs. Go figure.

So, I help break into this home in town, right? And we find all kinds of evidence about the griffon and other corroborating things. Plus, we find the name and other information about a girl, probably the next victim. So off we go to Redbark, to the other home these guys own, just in time to stop the poor girl from being killed like the others. It was a dang hard fight, and the Paladin guy got away. I think maybe someone else did, too. But Granny, let me tell you, I’m beginning to believe in heaven a lot more these days because after tangling with this bunch I’m convinced there is a hell! I fought the best I could, helped take down some of the bad guys, but it kills me that some of them got away.

Well, I think we’re about to talk, Granny, so I better quit writing. Don’t worry, though, unless a miracle happens it won’t be long before I come see you.

Chase

Sunday, December 16, 2007

High "Society"

I have to admit, I have a lot more questions than answers regarding what has happened today. The puzzle pieces slid together easily enough once we had them. A wealthy couple disappears from notice the same time a series of serial murders begin to take place. It almost has the feel of stumbling on this information by accident. Without aid from a "benefit" that I happened to be in attendance and vital info from Witchcraft who just happened to be at our base, I fear we never would have gotten to the bottom of all this. It was no surprise that this horrid ritual involved a group of mortal enemies of mine. I do have to agree with Vanguard, that we have stumbled upon some creepy mystical crap. The “Society,” seems to be involved in some ritual that is going to bring back someone or something. They had a girl & we are still unsure if her involvement in this is voluntarily or not. She is still alive, which is more than I can say about the poor girls that came before her. Who or what are they trying to bring back. The forensic evidence seem to suggest the girls were mutated to have some of the same features before they were murdered. I should not say before they murdered themselves. My hope lies in the idea that they did not do this by choice. I did however see the woman that we currently rescued in some sort of ritual about to take her own life. I may have to get inside her head in order to be sure that she will not do something strange like try to take her own life again. Of course, two of the main suspects fled the scene. I guess I know where to find them eventually. Once our team has the means & the strength I hope to rid the city of LA of The Society of the Silver Sunrise. Black Paladin and Witchcraft’s sister were the key players in this ritual. Were they controlling the girls mind? Like I said a lot of questions. I hope soon to get a lot of answers. I have a feeling that they won’t come together as easily as finding the next potential victim in Red Bark. Also, what happened to the owners of the home the ritual was taking place? Are they involved? There is something about their story that does not quite add up either. Perhaps I have found the secret identities of some super villains. How fitting that would be considering that I was able to piece some of this info together by recognizing a resemblance between Witchcraft and her sister. A sister I first saw when I was staking out the base of our, “Beloved” Society. I didn’t realize it, but I also saw Black Paladin & Griffon that evening. So how do the French guy & the werewolf fit into all of this then? Will we catch them at a later date trying to perform the same ritual on some young helpless girl in the future? I repeat I have a lot more questions than answers surrounding this. It is almost as confusing as figuring out my tattoo. Although, my new, “heavenly light,” did aid in getting Black Paladin out of the picture today. I am both excited and terrified at discovering what my new powers will bring. The member of Demon said that I may be able to activate “Daath.” Looking at the biblical reference of this scares the hell out of me. Am I a walking key to the abyss? Will coming into my powers bring us one step closer to the war that is bound to happen? I grow tired of questions for now. I have to decide if I am strong enough to handle the answers.

Cryptic Comet: Armageddon Empires

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Check out this great old school turn based strategy game. There's a free demo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A (slightly) dated Hooligan journal entry

(Date removed)

I've learned many things about many things recently.

Deep.

First of all, make sure to write Trauma a script if I ever need his help breaking into a morgue again. (Did I actually think that was a good idea?)

Secondly, make sure if taking Trauma to help me break into a morgue that Legion is going through the back door at the same time, working a little magic on the security and surveillance systems. I get the impression he's dabbled in a bit more of this B&E nonsense than Trauma has. Or I have, for that matter. OK, some aspect of his brain has ... you know what? Thinking about Legion's brain makes me tired. Makes me want to put down my pen.

I need to commit a few things to paper, if only to help my own sanity. These murders have gotten under my skin. Seeing four young women snuffed out too young... it brings back something awful. I'm not about to let the Freedom Bunch know that my emotions are running high over this. I don't need lectures. I don't need Sister Vanguard and Mother Superior Durante rapping me across the knuckles with their yardsticks. We'll stick with the "good" Hooligan for now. I promise.

1 Tonya Morris DOB 7/7/1978 Worked for Lareau Pharamaceuticals, a division of OCP. No criminal record.
2 Sylvia Blass DOB 6/27/1978 Worked as a jr. accountant at Hewson Electronics. No criminal record.
3 Jill Heilmann DOB 8/14/1978 Worked at Latham and Associates law firm. No criminal record.
4 Hillary O'Conner DOB 7/30/1978 Waitress at Denny's, one arrest for possession of marijuna.

They were young. Very young.

I don't trust the LAPD to chase crapping dogs off of the mayor's lawn, so why should I trust the medical examiner to do a passable job either? That's the trouble with government work, I guess. At least I have Trauma. (God help me.) We concoted a plan to get into the morgue to have a peek at the young ladies. In all reality, there was no real reason for me to be there, but I needed... I needed to see. Or thought I needed to see. I don't know. I'm a little confused anymore.

Trauma took on the form of some poor schlub who worked in the morgue. The plan was he would walk us right past the front desk while Legion did his business in the back, and we'd all meet in the middle. The Janus "excuse" for getting us in, however, lacked a little ... something. I believe he claimed to have left his lunch in his locker. I almost died. Suddenly, I wanted to be anywhere but in the lobby of the morgue.

I let him founder a bit more before explaining to the desk jockey that "Jake" here owed me some money after the Lakers didn't cover last night, but that he'd conveniently left his wallet in the back. If he'd just shut up, let "Jake" grab his wallet and not worry about things, I'd be happy to split the $40 with him, since I was in a hurry.

This calmed him down a bit, and he let Trauma past. Trauma's post-bribe boobery is for him to explain, not me. I stalled the cops for a couple of minutes to give him time to get out the back, something he apparently hadn't thought about. We finally told him over the radio to run AWAY from the police and out the back, where we were waiting to spirit him away. Sometimes I think that lad is a little too naive for his own good. He undoubtedly loves justice and freedom and whatnot, but ... man.

However, while with the actual bodies, he and Legion managed to find a few things that had escaped detection by LA's finest...

- Some fibers were found on the victims which seem to have come from a very expensive Persian rug. No flying carpet or anything, just a really nice rug. (I assume it tied the room together.)
- Some of the cuts on Sylvia Blass look like the claw marks of a giant cat.
- Legion found a sliver of metal in a breastbone of one of the victims that seems to be bronze with some sort of metallic blood like substance included as well. Blood, but not blood?
- One of the victims (Hillary?) had markings on her palm from some sort of leather wrapped handle. Maybe she had a weapon of her own? The autopsy report is clear that it didn't appear she resisted in any way, and that her own wounds may have been self-inflicted (*cough* BS *cough).

We did some analysis of the photos as well, and none of our theories proved true on that front - apparently, they were being morphed into the same person.

Clear as mud, all of it.

Some cult or ritualistic group is apparently abducting young ladies born in the summer of 1978 and trying to morph them into the same person, but with so far unsatisfactory results. Perhaps we can use the pictures we have to assemble what their "target" looks like - black hair, yellow eyes, etc - and see if they're anyone that the group "knows". Seems like a flyer at this point, but I'd hate to see another one end up like you, Annie.

Annie, there's too much revenge to take in this world. This armor is the best and worst thing that ever happened to me...no, no it isn't. Nothing was as horrible as losing you.

I'll get them, Annie. Soon. Get the people who did this, and get the people who got you.

We'll be together again, Annie. Soon. I promise.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FROM THE PRIVATE DIARY OF SGT. EAGLE

A letter to:
Doctor Cosmonaut, 86 Memory Lane, wherever commies go when they die

Dear Doc;

It's not so easy to put the past behind us as we always wish it would be. Or at least, not until that final putting behind. The Freedom League asked me to join up (capes aren't a requirement with this group, pretty clearly). Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you carping, but I don't have a lot of options, here. You served your Red masters, and when they said frog, you said "rib-bit"; I serve Truth, Justice, and the Star-Spangled Way, and I've already proved I don't do that very well by myself. You remember, you were there. Or at least, you were there for a while.

You would have loved it, it was a disaster from the git go. These guys are strange, and I'm having a lot of trouble adjusting to crime-fighting again. There are a lot of little things I could mention, like the fact that when a bunch of zombies attacked their base I was practically useless, pinned in a corner and struggling just to keep vertical, but after the fight this clergyman that had been the target of the attack walked up and shivved the wizard I had finally managed to put down. Vanguard started to explain to him that this was a no-no, but I went off half-cocked and stormed out. If I'd stuck around I'd have found out that they did arrest the guy, like I thought they weren't going to.

In my own, poor way, I'm keeping the faith with you, Doc. I suppose public embarrassment is the least one can expect from trying to do a good turn for a commie, but I do owe you one. Or a dozen. I wrote Triple-Forte a bitter letter, and he wrote back explaining my misunderstanding. If I haven't learned prudence in over 50 years of crime-fighting, I suppose I'll never learn it at all. You can't teach an old dog to do gnu tricks.

This particular herd of gnus has some odd ones. Foxbat has been around, applying for admission to the group, and they're stringing him along. It seems mean-spirited, somehow. And then there's Mason: I still haven't figured him out. Just before the zombie attack, he disappeared. Did he have something to do with it? I have to think he did, since he locked the door so that the zombies could corner me. What is his game? Kluxers, zombies, and then in the latest battle he just lay on the floor and pretended to be hurt while the team was getting blitzed by a gryphon, an enchantress, and a couple of fire-breathing dogs. Nobody else seems to notice. But I am a stone. My middle name is Proudence, er, that should be prudence, but oh, well. If I can't be prudent, I can be patient; that I did learn over the years, if not on the Delta then up the river.

Our current mission revolves around some mystical invasion of L.A. that rumor has it is taking place. DEMON (the guys with the zombies), the Dark Masters, the Circle of the Scarlet Moon, and, I suppose, Howdy Doody and the League of Psychotic Ventriloquists. Four women have been murdered in what appears to be a ritual way. Our available clues are sparse, but we pick one and track it down, and it's a winner. (I think that was the thing you hated the most, that we heroes get the lucky breaks in the end. Clean living, you pinko bastard.)

The townhouse of a missing high society couple yields a gryphon nest (we think a gryphon was involved in the murders) and a scribbled note indicating the name of the next victim. We have no choice but to race off to the couple's estate north of town. It's Howdy Doody time!

We interrupt the ritual already in progress, and fight the aforementioned dogs, gryphon, etc. I focus on the dogs, that being the assignment given me by Vanguard. It actually works out okay, they being about my speed (one old dog to another and all that). The gryphon caught me off guard, and rang my bell a little, and then more than a little with a pretty nasty cut across my chest: it would be another scar for my collection, if I scarred very easily, but Triple-Forte gets me back on my feet. There's no gnus like good gnus.

The battle starts going our way, with our various foes mostly down and mostly staying down, although there's still this crow-woman swooping about. No one has interrupted the ritual yet, though, and it looks like it is getting close to completion. Wasn't that Mason's assignment?

I take out the last of the hounds. Suddenly, a careening Mack Truck strikes me from behind, driving a 12-foot lance through me, or at least that's what it feels like. Say goodnight, Gracie.

You know what, Doc? I hate to leave things hanging in the middle of the action like this, but I think I'd better go get some sleep, the quicker to heal this lance wound. I'll finish this another time.

Keep cool, cat, (to the degree possible where you are),
Sgt. Eagle

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dear Granny, letter 1

Dear Granny:

The bartender at the Slush told me the best way to get past a serious personal problem is to talk about it with someone you trust. I’m writing to you because you were the only one I knew that I could turn to when things were going crappy.

I got hooked up with my old buddies again, after a long time working for the lady I can’t talk about. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about her, but I can’t just now. I got caught up in a mess trying to help them out, I went to tell them that a bad guy organization called VIPER was out to kill them all, and ended up in a battle with another bad guy bunch called DEMON.

Yeah, DEMON. They had a bunch of zombies and other baddies, and the dead guys were controlled by this voodoo lady names Madame Entienne or some such name. Seemed like a Haitian.

Anyway, we beat them somehow, and ended up with 18 dead bodies to clean up. But that ain’t the worse, see, she put a spell on me, said I was gonna die in 5 weeks, and she tried to bargain with the team to break the spell and save her own hide. I wouldn’t let them do it, and told her that I’d rather kill her myself and die than let her go free.

But my friend Durante, he’s got mind powers, he did something for me. He gave me a vision somehow. Well, it was pretty horrible, actually, because I had this long painful dream about dying in the worse way. I mean, it’s like I was actually THERE. If you put me on a Bible and asked, I’d swear I was there. But then the baby Jesus came down from Heaven and saved me, gave me another chance.

But that was a vision, Granny. They explained it, sort of, afterwards. But I don’t know if it worked. I’m still dying, Granny. I can feel it.

But that’s my own problem, right? I got to figure this one out on my own. We took the bad guys to jail, even one of the good guys that came to give us some key that DEMON was after. He killed a bunch of people, burned one of the “witches” and wanted to kill the voodoo lady too. I think he was cut loose and sent back to Europe, but dang that’s just not right.

Well, then we went out to the morgue to check up on some dead girls that Hooligan had some papers on. Something wasn’t quite right and we needed to do our own autopsies. I went with Hooligan and Trauma, snuck in and did an autopsy using my doctor friend. I found some weird things, Granny. Later on we figured out that these poor girls were killed with stab wounds, and each one was bring altered to look like the same person. Plus, there was a sliver of metal from a middle ages era brass weapon in one of them. Her wounds looked like they could have been made by a great cat, and her wrists may have been bound in leather when she died. Sounds gruesome, Granny. Plus there were fibers from a Persian rug of all things!

Well, I got to get back to work. I’m running a math problem to calculate the most likely places the bodies were dumped. I’ll catch you later!

You know what? I know you’ve been dead for 10 years, but talking like this really helps. Look for more letters soon!

Your Granson,

Chase

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Letter to Triple-Forte

A couple of days after his departure, Sgt. Eagle sends this letter to Triple-Forte...

From: Sgt. Eagle
To: Triple-Forte
Subject: Bylaws

Sorry that whole parole thing didn’t pan out for us, but I only work with teams that arrest murderers. In fact, I was on a team once where one of the members committed negligent homicide (it was our team leader, actually). He went to prison; that’s just the way things are in my world, cats. Best of luck, though. Maybe it will click for you with Super-Bat-Fox-Guy-Man.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing is that you expressed an interest in what team bylaws looked like, so I am enclosing a (redacted) copy from a team I was on, once. Make of it what you will.

THE BYLAWS OF THE SUPERHERO TEAM KNOWN AS [team name]

SECTION I -- PURPOSE
[team name] is dedicated to protecting the weak, promoting the common good, and upholding the laws of the United States of America. To these ends we have gathered in a single body, combining our powers, talents, and skills that Justice and Freedom may reign among men.

SECTION II -- MEMBERSHIP
A. Initially, the membership of [team name] shall consist of [redacted list of members].

B. Applications for new memberships will be considered at the Annual Meeting (sect III), or at special meetings called for that purpose by the president.

C. To be considered, an applicant must:

.....1. Have been working in the public eye as a superhero for at least two years, or must come recommended by a non-member superhero of good reputation working in the public eye for at least five years.

.....2. Be of high morals, with no stain on his character.

.....3. Have powers, talents, and/or skills which will strike terror into the hearts of evil men everywhere, or which will support and complement the powers and abilities of the existing team. These powers must be demonstrated in an agreed way at an agreed time and place to the membership at large or such members as they choose to delegate.

.....4. Vow to adhere to the letter and the spirit of these bylaws, and to never disgrace [team name].

D. Applicants which do not meet some or all of standards of paragraphs C1 through C3 of this section may be accepted as Auxiliary Members (hereafter Sidekicks) for an indeterminate probationary period, under the specific tutelage of a member in good standing. No exceptions can be granted to paragraph C4.

E. Applications are debated in a closed meeting, during which all existing members are expected to voice their views on the applicant or applicants. At the close of this meeting votes are taken, and a given application passes only on a unanimous vote. Sidekicks may be taken on with a 3/4 vote, and with the approval of the appointed tutor.

F. Sidekicks are not full members, and do not have the right to vote. They may attend closed meetings only with the unanimous approval of the members. Sidekicks who have worked with [team name] for at least two years may be promoted to full membership by a normal membership vote, on the unqualified recommendation of their tutors. For this vote paragraph C1 of this section is waived, although paragraphs C2-4 apply in full.

G. Members are cautioned to apply their full judgment to any vote of membership. Heroes are expected to be above personal vindictiveness, yet at the same time team morale issues due to internal friction can become a serious impediment to the smooth functioning of the team. An "aye" vote is a dedication to work for the full integration of the new member with [team name].

SECTION III -- BUSINESS MEETINGS AND VOTING
A. A "Business Meeting" is defined as a meeting for the purposes of carrying out the formal business necessary to keep [team name] functioning at peak efficiency. It is expected that in the normal course of things that [team name] and also various sub-portions thereof will regularly meet to investigate crimes and combat villains, and to promote the general welfare in other ways (such as by appearances at high school assemblies): none of these other meetings are business meetings for the purposes of this document.

B. Once a year, on the first Monday after [the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic], [team name] will gather to elect a new president (sect IV) and to review the team’s finances (sect V) and battle drill (sect VI). The team will also meet at such other times as the president shall direct, to deal with other business that may arise.

C. The president shall, except in case of emergency, provide two weeks notice of any business meeting. Members have the right to waive this notice by a majority vote.

D. Attendance at all business meetings is mandatory, but said attendance may be accomplished by phone, menta-beam, or other remote communications option at the individual member’s discretion.

.....1. If physical circumstances or actual emergency prevent a given member from attending, he may appoint some other member his proxy, notifying the president by written note or other means of communication.

.....2. If a member does not attend a meeting even by proxy, his vote shall be recorded on all votes taken as "Absent", which shall count as an abstention. Disciplinary action shall be initiated as indicated in Section IX.

.....3. If it proves impossible to notify a member of a meeting, his attendance is waived.

E. All votes are simple majority of non-abstaining votes cast unless otherwise indicated. In the interests of transparency all ballots are open and recorded by name.

F. Debate at business meetings shall be conducted with decorum, under the guidance and example of the president.

SECTION IV -- PRESIDENCY
A. The president of [team name] must meet the following qualifications:

.....1. He must be one of the most experienced members of the team as regards crime fighting.

.....2. He must be a man of high personal honor, without any appearance of partiality.

.....3. He must be willing and able to make the extra commitment to the formal business duties of the team, without in any way letting his crime-fighting duties suffer.

.....4. He must be a full member of [team name], in good standing.

B. The president of [team name] has the following duties:

.....1. He presides at all business meetings (sect III), and resolves tie votes.

.....2. He is responsible for the team's finances, including the organization of fundraisers (sect V).

.....3. He leads the team's battle drill (sect VI), or delegates this duty to the most qualified member.

.....4. He organizes team charity events, team mentoring events, and evaluates all team members on their participation in the public events program of [team name] (sect VII).

.....5. He sets an example of ethical behavior for [team name] to follow (sect VIII), and is responsible for the administration of discipline within the team (sect IX).

.....6. He keeps his eyes open for potential new recruits, especially such recruits as will cover holes in the team's capabilities, and encourages likely prospects to apply (sect II).

C. The president is selected for a one-year term at the annual business meeting (sect III). A reasonable time is allowed for nominations, and if there is more than one nominee then an election is held immediately.

.....1. If no candidate gets a majority on any given ballot, then the candidate with the fewest votes is removed from consideration and another vote is held.

.....2. In the case of a tie (for either first or last) a second vote is held as before, and if the tie persists then the candidates in question must attempt to settle the issue among themselves by negotiation. If negotiation fails then the sitting president breaks the tie.

D. If at any time the president is no longer able to carry out the full duties of president, he should call a business meeting for the purpose of stepping down and allowing the election of an interim president until the next annual meeting.

.....1. If the president's inability is temporary, he may at his option request a pro tempore replacement, until such time as he is able to resume his duties. In this case it is possible that only part of his duty load will be transferred.

.....2. If the president is unable due to disability even to call a business meeting, the senor team member aware of the situation shall call the meeting, and shall preside at it until an interim president can be elected.

.....3. If the president is failing at his duties, and refuses to step down, any member can call a meeting for the purpose of a Vote of No Confidence. If the president refuses to preside at such a meeting and hold the necessary vote, then the senor member present shall preside.

........a. Upon a successful Vote of No Confidence, the president is removed from office, and the senor member present presides over the election of the new interim president.

........b. Upon a successful Vote of No Confidence, the former president is stripped of his good standing.

...........i. He is not permitted to vote until the next annual business meeting.

...........ii. He is banned from ever standing for election to president again, unless reinstated in that right by a unanimous vote of the membership.

...........iii. His other rights within the team are suspended temporarily until the interim president has reviewed his case and made appropriate ruling.

SECTION V -- TEAM PROPERTY AND FINANCES
A. An account will be established for handling [team name]'s funds with [epstein's mom] or whatever financial institution the members shall designate. The president shall monitor the handling of the funds by the designated institution.

B. Funds for the team shall be raised by donation from the members. Members are encouraged to donate to show their support for the mission with which [team name] is entrusted.

C. In the event of a shortage of funds for necessary purposes, the president shall call a meeting of the membership, to first solicit donations, and to then if still necessary discuss fund raising options. In the event that a fund raising scheme is approved by the membership all members are expected to participate as directed by the president.

D. All durable goods used exclusively by individual heroes remain their property, and other members of the group have no call on said goods, although the owning member may loan such goods on a short-term, one-time basis as he sees fit.

E. All durable goods owned by the team itself (e.g. [mercury's bathtub]) shall be used only for team activities, and not for private activities; note that crime fighting is normally a team activity, but that it shall be construed as private when individual team members intentionally eschew team participation in their investigations. In activities of questionable case the president shall rule whether the activity is a team activity or a private one.

F. All durable goods used by the team as a whole shall be owned by [team name] rather than accepted on loan from individual members or others, to simplify issues of authority and responsibility, as quibbling over goods is harmful to team morale.

G. [fire base tango], or whatever future base(s) [team name] may acquire, is off-limits to non-team members, except with the permission of the president. Guests may be brought into the outer security antechamber while their entry into the base proper is being discussed. Guests admitted with the president's permission will be issued passes limiting their access to the briefing room, certain labs, and/or the temporary living quarters.

H. [Redacted paragraph of legal boilerplate dealing with the ramifications of the destruction of other people's property during a super battle. The laws have changed since then. Consult your favorite shyster for more details.]

SECTION VI -- BATTLE DRILL
A. The president or his delegated substitute (hereafter "Drillmaster") shall establish the battle drill for [team name], to insure effective crime fighting technique and response to various threats. This battle drill shall consist of:

.....1. A general training schedule for the membership, emphasizing teamwork and the protecting of innocent bystanders on the field of battle.

.....2. A remedial training schedule for any member or members who are deficient in basic combat technique, speed of battle response, or alertness.

.....3. Special training schedules on the request of individual members who desire to improve some specified aspect of their combat preparedness.

.....4. General tactical plans for use in battle, consisting of such things as normal areas of responsibility, code words for special situations, and chain of command.

.....5. Special tactical plans for use in battle against specific foes.

B. The battle drill will be revised from time to time, as experience reveals weaknesses in the team's approach to combat, and a report on the general combat preparedness of the team will be prepared by the Drillmaster for presentation at the annual business meeting (sect III).

C. As super powers involve quantities of force which can easily prove fatal when used carelessly, all battle drill will emphasize the importance of clear fire lanes, awareness of civilians on the field of battle, and economy of force against non-super antagonists.

SECTION VII -- PUBLIC EVENTS
A. [team name] has a strong commitment to mentoring and public example in the encouragement of freedom, honesty, and justice. To this end the president shall from time to time arrange public appearances of the team at high schools, civic events, and the like.

B. Each team member is to select a personal charity to which he will devote a portion of his energies.

.....1. Monetary donations that the hero receives for individual exploits become the property of his charity.

.....2. The hero will make public appearances on behalf of his charity. (Amended) This provision is waived if it violates the hero's religious strictures.

.....3. The hero will personally participate in the work of his charity from time to time, as his schedule permits: serving food, building homes, etc.

C. A hero's personal charity must be selected with the purposes and reputation of [team name] in mind.

.....1. If, in the opinion of any member, a hero's personal charity reflects poorly on [team name], he shall speak to the president, who will consider the matter and counsel the hero in question, reporting back to the concerned member the outcome of the conversation.

.....2. If a hero's charity becomes a matter of concern for the group, a vote may be taken at any business meeting, and if a majority so direct the hero must select a different charity.

SECTION VIII -- TEAM ETHICS
A. With great power comes great responsibility. All members of [team name] will hold themselves and their teammates at all times to the highest moral and ethical standards.

.....1. The hero shall live these standards, both in their public and in their secret identities. A double-minded man is a dishonest man.

.....2. The hero shall help and encourage his teammates and others in the community in holding moral standards, and shall look for such help and encouragement himself. None of us are in this alone.

.....3. When forming temporary alliance with other supers or super teams, particularly those of other nations, the hero shall show due deference to variation in custom, but this is not to be construed in any way as abrogating his responsibility to adhere to the moral and ethical standards in this section, to be an example of same, and to enforce the laws of the United States. At all times he should ask himself, "What is just?" and "What is the law?"

.....4. The hero must remember that as a result of his heroism, others will hold him up as a role model, rightly or wrongly. He must act always so that they do so rightly.

.....5. If the hero finds himself emotionally at odds with any of these ethical standards, he should remember than he is not a private individual, but rather is a member of [team name] and a public emblem of same. This does not mean that men of good will cannot disagree, and if the hero's conscience is truly troubled by a situation he finds himself in, he should consider the following:

........a. In the end, we must each answer to our own consciences, and so they must be the final guides of our behavior. It was our consciences, after all, that prompted us to become heroes in the first place, rather than villains.

........b. If there is time for consultation, it is always better to discuss matters with your teammates before you act. If you can trust a man with your life in battle, you should be brave enough to ask him for his advice, even if you later decide not to take it.

........c. If there is no time for consultation, then whatever decision you make, you must live with the consequences. You should do this in a way that honors the trust of your teammates, since they will have to live with the consequences, too.

........d. These bylaws are subject to amendment (sect X). They are not carved in stone. On the other hand, if you violate a rule that you could have peacefully campaigned to change, that does not make you a noble rebel. It makes you a self-seeking egotist.

........e. Nothing in these guidelines should be construed as encouragement to violate the laws of the United States of America. If we cannot obey the law, the public has no reason to trust us to enforce it honestly.

B. Certain basic ethical principles should guide a hero's behavior.

.....1. Honesty: This is the first among virtues. Without support for Truth, we cannot know right from wrong or just from unjust, and thus have no business being superheroes.

.....2. Justice: To each according to his due. To deny justice is to steal from others, whether it be their possessions, their good name, or their rights or place.

.....3. Mercy: Killing with super powers is far too easy. True heroes never kill intentionally, and take great pains to avoid killing accidentally.

.....4. Courage: As heroes we place our lives on the line for Truth and Justice. We recognize that someone must face down the evil that men do, and we gladly volunteer to be that someone.

.....5. Teamwork: One for all, and all for one. Each of us has his weaknesses, but by working together we can overcome them, or at least compensate for them.

.....6. Hope: We cannot make the world perfect, but by our efforts we can make it better. That's why we strive, and why we must never give in to despair.

.....7. Humility: We cannot make the world perfect, but if we allow our efforts to be poisoned by pride, we will not even be able to make it better, as we will begin to turn more and more to that which feeds our pride rather than that which improves the world.

.....8. Kindness: Law without love is merely a cage. What the victims of crime need most is kindness. A fallen foe is just another victim, albeit of himself, and as such should not be mocked. We do not fight from personal rancor, but to promote Justice.

.....9. Respect: All men are made in the image of their Creator, and all deserve respect of their basic human dignity, without regard of race, creed, or national origin.

........a. This respect should extend to ourselves. We should behave with dignity, and should be scrupulous in our personal appearance. (Amended) Section VIII, Paragraph B7a, Part 2, regarding personal appearance, does not apply to [giant swamp monster hero].

........b. We should also show respect to the Higher Power, as mandated by our individual faith traditions, for in our work as heroes we will encounter many examples of vile human behavior which will make us doubt the rightness of universal human dignity, and only by His example will we maintain our perspective.

C. One of our purposes is to support the existing law-enforcement structure of the United States. As such, we must obey the law ourselves, in the little things as well as the big, even where we might personally disagree, or we will become hypocrites.

.....1. When traveling abroad, we should obey the laws of the countries we find ourselves in. They have a right to their laws, just as we have a right to ours.

.....2. This applies only on a limited level to totalitarian states. In such states the people are denied their rightful sovereignty, and as such the laws are not per se legitimate. Many laws in such countries (e.g. traffic laws) will be innocuous and should be obeyed, but one must always be careful not to become part of the enforcement mechanism of an evil state.

D. There are certain ethical concerns that are of particular importance to superhero teams. These are the positions taken by [team name] on these issues.

.....1. Trophies: The team will maintain a trophy room, for any team trophies or awards.

........a. The property of others is never to be stolen to use as a trophy. Only things given, purchased, or awarded may be used. Discarded official evidence may be used, if donated by the police with assurance that it need not be returned to some other owner.

........b. It is perfectly acceptable for a team member to maintain a private collection of mementoes representing his victories in battle, displaying them in the team trophy room.

...........i. Personal items must represent personal victories.

...........ii. Care should be taken that any competition engendered by such mementoes remains healthy, and improves rather than degrades the morale of the team.

.....2. Bribes: Heroes do not take bribes. All items and remuneration given by the grateful population shall become property of the team, and if they have no application to crime fighting they shall be donated to charity. Award plaques and the like are a partial exception, and may be displayed as personal mementoes as described in Paragraph D1b of this section.

.....3. Romance: A hero is entitled to a personal romantic life, but it must be conducted in such a way as to in no way interfere with team function, and to in no way reflect badly on the team. To this end heroes are strongly encouraged to limit their romantic life to their secret identity, and not to disclose their hero activities to their inamorata. Heroes whose romances interfere with team function or cause the team public embarrassment will be subject to disciplinary action (sect IX).

.....4. Dirty Laundry: Disputes between team members are not a suitable topic for press interviews. Difficulties within the team should only be made public as described in Section IX.

.....5. Secret IDs: A hero has the right to a secret identity if he so chooses. He may keep this identity secret from his teammates, as long as he is not using it as a cover for behavior prohibited by this section. If he elects to reveal it to his teammates they must honor his confidence and under no circumstances reveal his secret (except: sect IX, paragraph B6).

.....6. Fans: Heroes will attract fans, but some heroes will attract more than others. Fans should not be allowed to become a bone of contention within a team. Fans should be treated as people rather than objects, and should never be exploited monetarily or sexually. Fans are a great motivation for setting a good example.

SECTION IX -- DISCIPLINE AND EXPULSION
A. If a team member has violated, or is believed to have violated, these bylaws:

.....1. The hero who discovers or suspects this should go to the suspected offender, and speak to him in a respectful way about his concerns. This should end the matter in a well-functioning team, but human nature being what it is further action may be necessary.

.....2. If the suspected offender cannot explain his behavior, and fails to correct it, the discovering hero should take his concerns to the president, or if the president is the offender to the senor team member other than the president (hereafter "Mediator").

.....3. The mediator shall sit down with the involved heroes and discuss the situation with them, determining the facts of the case and seeking a negotiated settlement that is consistent with these bylaws and the harmony of the team.

.....4. If the offender does appear to be violating the bylaws, and persists in his error, the mediator shall call a business meeting to formally discuss the situation. The mediator will function as president at this meeting.

........a. Care will be taken to ensure that the offender is given every opportunity to explain his point of view.

........b. After a frank discussion of the facts, a vote shall be taken as to whether the offender is and remains in violation.

........c. The offender may not participate in this vote.

........d. If the vote fails then the offender is pardoned and the team will discuss ways to resolve the current personality conflict.

.....5. If the vote goes against the offender, then he will be given the immediate opportunity to agree to mend his behavior. In cognizance of his response to this opportunity the team will vote on whether any additional sanctions shall be imposed on the offender at this time; the offender may not participate in this vote.

.....6. Available sanctions include:

........a. The offender may be censured. This puts him on warning to behave properly in the future, but has no further effect.

........b. The offender may be required to make a public apology and perhaps other amends. This is particularly appropriate when the offense is against someone outside the team. Other sanctions can be attached provisionally to this one, such that if the offender fails to make the indicated amends the other sanctions come automatically into force.

........c. The offender may be denied the right to vote for a designated period of time, not to exceed 6 months, or until some condition is met. Other team privileges can be restricted in the same way.

........d. The offender may be demoted to Sidekick, but only if he previously served on [team name] as a Sidekick.

........e. The offender may be suspended from participating on the team at all for a designated period of time, not to exceed 60 days, or until some condition is met. This requires a 3/5 vote.

........f. The offender may be expelled from [team name], with the possibility of readmittance after at least one year. This requires a 4/5 vote

........g. The offender may be expelled from [team name], with no possibility of readmittance. This requires a unanimous vote.

B. If a team member has violated, or is believed to have violated, the laws of the United States:

.....1. The hero who discovers or suspects this should report his findings in full to the president, or if the president is the suspected offender then to the senor team member other than the president (hereafter "Investigator")

.....2. The investigator shall if necessary and possible check the basic facts of the case, to be sure there is no misunderstanding. In the case of a misunderstanding he shall report the matter to the discovering hero and to the suspected offender, so that differences can be aired, and offer his services as a neutral party.

.....3. If the case cannot be proved to be a misunderstanding, the investigator shall call a formal meeting of the team to inquire into the situation. If in the opinion of the investigator the accused is a flight risk, he will take whatever steps he deems prudent to negate the possibility of flight.

.....4. At the meeting the accused will be given the chance to clear himself. On a unanimous vote in his favor the issue is put to rest. The hero initially making the accusation shall not participate in this vote.

.....5. If the vote is not unanimous, then trusting in the justice system of the United States of America, the accused will turn himself over to the authorities.

.....6. If the accused refuses to surrender to the authorities, [team name] will do everything in its power to apprehend him, and will cooperate with the government even to the extent of revealing the accused's secret identity. In this case the accused automatically forfeits his membership in [team name].

SECTION X -- AMENDMENTS
These bylaws can be amended by a 3/5 vote at the annual business meeting (sect III). Proposed changed to the bylaws should be published to the membership at large at least two weeks prior to the vote. In urgent situations these bylaws can be amended at any business meetings, without prior publication, with a 3/4 vote.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brimstone

Vanguard Mission Log:

In the aftermath of the Viper raid, we manage to work well talking to the press. I did ok, and Tripleforte seems to have a real knack for public speaking. All the press was great, just the thing our fledgling group needed.

We talked to the solo hero's about possible membership in the Freedom League. Mr. Nobody and Starburst agree to become reserve members. Having Starburst to call on will be a nice reserve bit of power if we need it. Mr. Nobody has many skills that could help us during investigations. Sgt. Eagle agrees to join at least on a probationary basis. This makes a lot of sense, he doesn't know us very well and we really don't know him.

Black Phantom warns us that Brother Hood is trying to start a race war. He's bringing in some heavy hitters. Phantom says that he will let us know if he finds out more.

It seemed like a good time for a team meeting to get our bearings. I take a role of open "cases":

  • The Knights of Genetic Purity: Led by Flare, these are the guys responsible for the Flea's condition. We need to find them and get justice.
  • The Endicot situation: Mason is working on it, and Sgt. Eagle says he may have some contacts that might prove useful.
  • Trauma says something call "The Church of the Army of the Lord" attacked him. He doesn't seem to have many details or information beyond that, but that's Trauma for you.
  • Nicodimus escaped from Canada: not sure where to begin with that one
  • Hooligan is working on a series of murders that appear to be connected. He needs assistance from Mason and Trauma.
  • Tripleforte says he needs help to find "Micheal." He doesn't give a whole lot of other details. I confess that "Mystic Shit" gives me the creeps.
We were just getting into the meat of the open cases when a disguised Foxbat shows up looking to join the team! I was temped to just knock him around and be done with it, but then I figured, why not have some fun? I told him he had to spar with The Hooligan as his first test. I didn't think I'd need a second test. I was wrong. I think our attempts to real in the Hooligan may have worked too well. Foxbat left him in the dust. I quickly came up with a essay hoping to keep Foxbat busy for a while.

Meanwhile, Legion returns. Not sure where he's been but it was good to see him. He warns us that Viper is already arranging hit squads to come after us. I hope Legion can turn up some more information.

If that wasn't enough, Jeremiah Gabriel shows up (more Mystic Shit!) with a friend. He tells us that the "thing" is causing them all kinds of trouble with DEMON and they want to give it back. This seems like a really bad idea to me. All of use are essentially part-time so I'm not sure how we can guard it full-time. He also informs us that the entire inner circle of DEMON is believed to be in L.A. Ok, that cannot be good at all. Something big is about to go down.

As if on cue, a portal opens up in our freakin' conference room. At least you can't fault DEMON for not getting to the point. In pours zombies, DEMON agents, Morbanes, and some awful looking "Death Knight."

Of course the battle rages. Things went pretty well despite the odds. I tried to stay in the back and trouble shoot a little, throwing a shield over Gabriel at one point, but I ended up face to face with the ex-Knight. Tripleforte assisted me to take the big ugly down. Sgt. Eagle spent most of the battle surrounded by zombies, but managed to come out mostly unscathed and he took a bunch down single handedly. He never panicked; he's gonna be a good addition I can tell. I'm not sure what all Trauma was doing, but I'm never usually sure.

Mason discovered other elements of DEMON doing something else in the base. Gabriel went to assist and I sent Legion with him. I can't think of a better member to send when we don't know what we are getting into. Later, Mason and Gabriel asked for more backup. I hated to pull someone off the main battle, but sounded important. I sent Hooligan to back them up. It turned out to be a good choice, as he was able to subdue an inner circle member with his special brand of hospitality. As much as Hooligan sometimes gives me a headache, it's nice to have someone who knows how to kick ass and take names once in a while.

We managed to take out the entire strike force. Another problem surfaced, as we discovered Gabriel offing DEMON agents with a hideous knife. I managed to get him to stop, but this in going to be a stick issue to deal with. More on that later.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Who Are My Allies Anyway?

The day started simply. A meeting to discuss what our team had pending. We had our slew of usual projects. The “Endicot” problem. Hooligan & some mission with the local police. I mentioned the need to find Michael. I was of course blown off in getting any help with that. When the war comes we will not be ready without him & yet nobody takes me seriously. Vanguard told me this was a personal problem. Are not all of the missions we go on personal problems of some kind or another? I really have no vested interest on a personal level with Hooligans cops or Endicott yet here I am putting my neck on the line for their interest & getting blown off in return.
I do have to admit that I find myself sounding like some kind of, Holy Roller Quack,” whenever I mention what it is I need to get accomplished. If I were in there shoes, I might also think the same thing. Perhaps this is what caused Kane to go, Bug Nuts,” & start killing people who don’t follow his agenda.
Anyhow, Legion showed up to let us know that we had made some serious enemies with, “Viper.” They plan to hit us hard in the near future & we need to watch out backs. Great! Just one more group that is after me now! Let’s see I now have: Viper, Demon, Society of the Silver Sunrise, Endicott & his thugs…… am I forgetting anyone who wants me dead besides old girlfriends?
After an annoying visit by Foxbat another problem of mine shows up. Jeremiah Gabriel & Brother O’Brien arrive & need our help. Apparently, since receiving the heart of the Demon that Mason, Trauma & I recovered, the Vatican has been under attack. I did try to explain that we do not have the resourced to guard this when Vanguard interrupts & tells them flat out “No.” We can’t keep it here. Also, what is up with Mason. Ever since my friends arrived he is suddenly feeling sick and has to be excused? He did return but only after Vanguard had already made up his mind that Freedom League was not going to touch this project. Then Gabriel informs us how bad things are in LA. Apparently a bunch of big wigs in Demon are gathering here. Gathering like it is time for something to happen. It was about then that Demon attacked us. Zombies, Demon Warriors, & several Witches pounded our base & several members of the team. We were able to fight them off but the battle was messy. Then Gabriel started killing people. We were able to talk him down eventually but not until after some were already dead. I must find a way to prove to Gabriel that killing is not the answer. Hooligan, could also use this lesson.
I’ve decided that regardless of Vanguard’s opinion I am going to take on the Demon heart. There really is no other choice.
Sgt. Eagle mentioned when I asked him to join what our declaration of principles is. I had no idea what to tell him. What kind of a group are we without one? I think we should help others doing the right thing at all costs. Although, I don’t approve of Gabriels methods, I do think he is fighting a worthy battle against the forces of evil. If Vanguard & the others don’t agree with this then perhaps it is time for me to part ways with the Freedom League.

Sweet humiliation

I've reluctantly contacted Mason and Trauma to enlist their help in solving this string of murders the LAPD dumped in my lap. I'm not sure either is willing to ... oh, how to put this ... "bend" the law in the ways that the LAPD wants it bent in order to solve these cases.

We'll see. The litmus test will be breaking into the morgue and getting a better look at the victims.

Thus far theories and ideas are few and far between. They all seem to have been young women, decent jobs, upwardly mobile, and with no discernible relationship between them. All seemed to have been killed in the same manner, and that manner suggests the possibility of cult involvement - as does the fact that they all seemed to have rather drastically changed in appearance before (after?) their untimely demise.

Oh! Farmer Jack's is running a special on imports. Must stock up.

We had an official Yellow Alert meeting to bring everyone up to speed and decide who would work on what. We still have unfinished business with Endicott and his bunch (business I look forward to finishing, if you catch my drift). We're still looking into this whole vampire/mob/our secret IDs business (which I suppose is a high priority, but somehow I'm just not terribly worried about it. I should be. Why am I not?). We've also got these poor dead girls, which is going to be my priority.

During the meeting, we got a visitor - a new applicant to the team. Someone named Superbatfoxmanguy. I was asked to put him through the paces in the training room. I did. He then pulled a gun on me. Perhaps I should have made the parameters more clear? Hand to hand? I hate Foxbat. I hate him so much. This is what I get when I try to not harm someone. Next time I won't play nice. I'll use him as a damned caber.

As it turns out, most of the team expected me to break him into a million pieces. Sometimes I find my 'friends' are less predictable than Foxbat...err, Superbatfoxmanguy.

Also, Legion showed up. Did I mention Legion showed up? Legion showed up. I'm sure a long story is forthcoming. I'll need more Belhaven. Ahh yes! Farmer Jack's! Have to finish this up. Getting thirsty.

Yet another intrusion occurred during our meeting - Jeremiah Gabriel and some monk lookin' bloke showed up and started spewing a bunch of gibberish that I'm fairly certain didn't apply to me. That is, didn't apply to me before the zombies showed up through a portal looking for whatever it was that they were protecting for the Pope.

Here again I must question the tactics of the team. They get so wrapped up in taking down the big bad guys in the room they forget about the little guys - the little guys that end up nickel and dime-ing them right into unconsciousness.

Not me. I had me a go at some zombies, and I took out more than my share. After clearing my side of the room, I started in on some of the bigger looking guys in the corner, but Vanguard suggested I would be of more use out in the base aiding Gabriel and Mason. (And Legion, I guess. He was as sleepy as Mason when I arrived.)

I quickly dispatched some goons and a scary looking voodoo priestess. Gabriel took the chance to shoot her dead, but I was forced to intervene when she said, "If I die, your friend dies."

I don't know if she was referring to Mason or Legion, but since Mason is immediately important to me for my LAPD gig, I was forced to talk him out of killing the villain. I've gone soft. Too soft. It doesn't seem like so long ago that I would have been yanking the gun out of his hand to do it myself.

He insisted there were witches to kill, and that I needed to not get in his way. Maybe even back him up. I agreed. I felt a little better about it.

Of course, the rest of the team objected to his witch killing (predictability returns!). There was some moralizing about right and wrong and good and bad and blah blah blah. I just kept my mouth shut. The fight was won. As far as I know, we still have... well, whatever it is we still have. Thanks to Gabriel for putting us all is such danger without so much as a warning.

I'm thirsty. I'm off to the store. I'll write more when I get a chance.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

That Voodoo that She Do...

An old friend of mine asked me recently, “So, whatcha been doing?” I answered with a smile and a quick “Just keepin’ alive.”

Yep, that about sums it up. I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I left the old group to come work for the boss. Can’t rightly say she bewitched me, but she did make a hell of a good offer. With the training and equipment she could provide, it was like living a dream. I was so busy it was almost maddening at times, but it was worth it all.

But I missed the old days, too. Sure, now I was offered all sorts of chances to set up surveillances in the most secret of places, I was learning how to become practically invisible, and I was learning so much more about how to take advantage of the “legion” in me.

But still, there’s nothing quite like kickn’ butt with the Hooligan. Well, and getting your butt kicked back.

It started with the morning news. Hot on the wire was a story about my old buddies, working under a new team name with some other guys I never saw before. Freedom Force, they called themselves. I sat back and reminisced a bit, then the boss called me in to let me know that my old buds were in trouble. Wow, talk about timing, huh?

She said that VIPER was sending a hit squad out on them. One of the big bad teams, maybe Snake Pit, maybe someone else. All I could really get was that it could be 6 or 8 baddies. Really bad baddies. She gave me some time off to do what I wanted, which of course was to go see the old guys and warn them. Maybe even offer to help.

I went to the Tower, found it easy to get in. Met one of the new guys, Mason somebody, and started up the elevator. Lo and behold, who should arrive right then but Foxbat. I almost split a side, he was disguised as some superhero wanting to join the team! He looked goofier than a size 10 Sallie in a size 4 baby doll shirt. But they humored him, and sent him into the training room with Hooligan to get his butt kicked.

But then it REALLY got funny! Old Hooly got his own butt kicked! He’ll never live this down, not if I got anything to do with it. But then Vanguard sent Foxy packing with an essay assignment. It was 10 pages, so we probably won’t be seeing him for a few days.

Well, I warned the guys about VIPER. They didn’t seem too worried about it, but I don’t know if they really understood what I was trying to get across. They hit the big time now, and whatever they’ve been playing up until now was chicken feed.

Then two froofy religious guys showed up, the place sure was hoppin’! Jeremiah Gabriel and Brother O’Brien, that’s who they were. This Gabriel guy said his team has been killed off, and something about how every member of the Inner circle of DEMON has moved here to LA. He wanted to give back the item that Durante gave them, just calls it “the thing”. Doesn’t want to keep the Holy Father in danger to keep the item safe, DEMON has attacked the Vatican even.

Well, I didn’t know what the hell they were all talking about, but I figured if I kept my mouth shut I’d find out. It was something they found in Antarctica, a holy relic of some sort. And now they had brought it here to turn over. What had these guys gotten themselves into?

Just then this guy Nicadamus called up, said “they’re coming for you!” Sure as shit, right then a portal opened in the wall, big and red as a beaten hiney, and a bunch of zombies came rushing in. With them came a couple of dead looking guys and some things they call “demon warriors”. Hell yeah, we fought! I took out a zombie and a couple of the warriors. I thought I saw some wand get passed from Gabriel to Vanguard, and then he gave it one of the bad guys! I hope he meant to do that, or he figured out that he shouldn’t and got it back! I could stick around to find out, Mason call over the intercom that he was up shit creek and needed help in the control room. I took off with Gabriel to see what was going on.

We left the combat at hand and ran down the hallway. We met with a weird zombie voodoo lady, and a couple of her cronies. I went to take on the zombie lady and knocked her down, but she was able to shoot a blowgun at me that entangled me with something. Before I could break free, one of the cronies stabbed me and I went out.

I was mad at myself when that entangle hit me. I haven't been in a real combat situation for a long time, and the sight of that dead-looking voodoo lady freaked me into doing something stupid. My style is firstly one of stealth, and of scattering the enemy's defense before engaging directly. Instead of using my tools of blinding and concealment, I rushed her head-on. I am grateful that I lived through this, to learn, but I fear the consequences will remain with me for some time.

All that time I was out, I was having one hell of a bad dream. I was back home, down in the backwoods near Leeville. I thought for a minute that Tommy Thibodaux was with me, like that night we snuck into picture show and dumped a bucket of toads we collected around Cocodrie. I remember looking down into that bucket in this dream, but there weren’t no toads. It was that strange lady’s face looking up at me, and then all I remember is her chasing me in the woods.

When I woke up, the guys told me that they took her down, but she did something to me to tie our lives together. She cast a spell, dammit! I can feel the taint of the voodoo on me as I write this, and I know I have to do something. I plan on heading down to the sticks, see if I can find myself a transplanted hoodoo and see if there’s a name for this spell, and maybe a way to break it.

But for now I need to go get debriefed. There's a lot of questions to ask, and some explaining to get from the guys. I can't rest until this spell is off of me, and the guys won't be resting either. That team that came in was not from VIPER, which means now they got two major bad-guy groups after them.

Yeah, sometimes it's all you can do to just be keepin' alive.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Snake in the Grass

Vanguard Mission Log:

We were contacted by the hero group known as the Justice Foundation. They tell us of a plan to simultaneously attack several Viper nests in order to triangulate their computer transmissions back to the main Viper instillation. The plan was bold and we agreed to assist. We needed to attack the L.A. Viper nest, which is one of the world's largest. The Justice Foundation suggests that we get some other local hero's to assist, considering how much resistance we might face (not to mention that Legion is not around). We put the word out and manage to get some local heroes to agree to the plan:

  • Crusader and Starburst agree of course. Crusader has no love of Viper and Starburst usually is willing to help out Crusader.
  • Nightstick: a street vigilante operating out of Chinatown. He doesn't agree to help us fight, but will use his considerable infiltration skills to scout the base for us.
  • Mr. Nobody: a shapeshifter.
  • Sgt. Eagle: A new face, at least to us.
  • Life Line: obviously he won't help us in the raid, but will be around to assist with injuries.
  • Black Phantom: technically retired, but he agreed to help in a limited fashion.
We put together a simple plan. The plan was for us to disable Viper's vehicle pool, then while the rest of us assault the main base, Mason, Black Phantom, Mr. Nobody, and Nightstick will secure the vehicles and watch our backs.

The base was of course well staffed with Viper agents wielding high tech gadgets. Viper did have several superpowered villians at their disposal.
  • Brick: superstrong and able to throw chunks of himself
  • Damage: a mutant who wears and armor suit
  • Hammerhead: a powersuit wearer with a really big plasma cannon
  • Mindwipe: a mentalist who is a little unstable
  • Faze: and energy projector who "fazes" in and out of reality
  • Shattershot: crazy hit man who likes shotguns
  • Shadowfist: bodyguard of the head Viper, Style
Things went relativity well. We made it into the base with a bit of resistance. On the first level, things got a little hectic. I guess it's not to surprising when you throw a bunch of heroes together who aren't used to fighting side by side. It quickly got disorganized, and the appearance of Mindwipe messing with Trauma's head didn't really help too much. We did manage to overcome the agents on that level, although I managed to get caught by a Viper blast and didn't see the whole battle. I'm told that Trauma's "girlfriend" Black Diamond showed up also, I can't even begin to make sense of that.
Things got a little out of hand after that. Mindwipe was down but not exactly out, and we failed to make sure he was out of the fight. Before I knew it, Hooligan and Starburst went ahead to the next level down and met the main Viper force. At this point we lost local superiority. The next few minutes were a blur of fists, blasts, and gunfire. It was a hard slog, and tactics went out the window and it turned into a superpowered scrum. Hammerhead was as nasty as we thought, and his plasma cannon caused a lot of difficulty. There was also a mystery guest that we didn't know about, and we still are a little unsure about.

The details of the battle are not so important. I feel that my leadership was not quite up to the task of this raid, and with all the extra allies, I lost control. Thing got out of hand and chaotic. On the other hand, our team showed a lot of Grit in the face of a deadly enemy. We all fought "tooth and nail" and managed to eek out a victory when things looked grim.

I will cover the aftermath in the next entry.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet Victory!

As usual nothing turns out as expected. In a way this may be a good thing though. It just changes our strategy a bit. Viper had a few more surprises then we thought they would. The first being the big energy cannon leveled on us from the roof of the main building. Second, they are not sending all of their sups all at once. They also seem to have a much larger force of “normals” then I had anticipated.
Mason & his teams plan seemed to go off without a hitch. Although, momentarily distracted by some guards that had squeezed through the cracks of his foam gun. Mason was easily able to secure all of the vehicles that were inside of the hanger.
As for the assault team, like I said, we had some extra obstacles to overcome. The grounds seemed to be swarming with viper agents. Trauma charged into the fray & was gunned down very quickly. Vanguard & I stayed behind & removed the threats on the roof of the hangar before moving forward. Mr. Nobody swooped down from the sky to take on the two agents on the cannon. The rest of the team rushed forward to aid Trauma in taking down the Viper agents that were swarming in on us. The strike forces with some strong shots from the Hooligan & Sgt Eagle were easily able to pick off the swarm of Viper agents. Meanwhile, Starburst was able to lend his support in taking out the cannons. This left me in a position to try to help Trauma back to his feet. He was hit pretty hard when I arrived though and although I felt a huge surge of power from my tattoo I was not able to revive Trauma. He would have to join us later on in the fight.
Confident, that Lifeline would follow up & get Trauma back on his feet we only paused briefly before entering the studio.
Rushing in our team met up again with a large number of Viper agent. How many bad guys can be dug into one city! We also encountered our first super. Brick Leaped forward & started to throw pieces of him at our team. We quickly took down Brick when Phase appeared out of thin air. I put the hammer down on his brain which really made him mad. He charged me & sent me flying. I landed on the ground & took a moment to dust myself off & to survey the situation. By the time I got back on my feet Phase was down. I clobbered his brain one last time for good measure & went on to resume the good fight. Next Damage popped through the stairwell. We opened a barrage of attacks on him sending him reeling. Starburst then blasted & blinded him & he retreated further into the lair. We paused briefly to catch our breath and headed into the next level of the lair
Even more viper agents! My god what were they planning to do to this city. Along with this group of agents was Mindwipe. He quickly took after Trauma which turned out to be a big mistake as no sooner did he mind control him did his girlfriend leap in to avenge him. We are going to have a little chat with Trauma about keeping well laid plans a secret. She could have compromised our whole mission. Not to mention she was using deadly force against our opponents. It’s a good thing lifeline was here to put all the pieces back together. I decided to make sure nobody was hiding out in the rooms that we were leaving behind so I decided to start opening doors. To my surprise even the cooks in the kitchen were armed. I decided to turn on the charm & pressure them into getting the team some grub. Since they were just the help & not real agents I offered to let them go after cooking me a good meal. They agreed & started right back to work. I finally caught up to Trauma & Sgt Eagle. Trauma was still under mind control. I did not realize he was so weak minded or I would have tried to clear his mind & set him back on task. I got Sgt Eagle back on his feet & prepared to head down to what was hopefully the final level of this crazy lair. Just as I started to move Starburst went flying up the stairs. It must be the work of Hammerhead I thought to myself. As he laid sprawling unconscious on the floor. He didn’t follow the plan & let me hammer him in the brain first.
The final battle took all the strength we could muster. In the end only a few of us remained standing. It was the closest & most hard fought battle our team has taken on to date, it gives me hope that we can be an effective fighting force in the upcoming war to come. I think Vanguard & I worked well as a team in the final battle. He knocked them down &I would mop them up. A great strategy for future fights. I may suggest we continue working together. I also think that as well as things turned out we should ask all the Heroes that joined us to be permanent members of the Freedom League. I do wish the Flea could have been here to see our team succeed. I think he would have been proud to be a part of us today. I think I will go to visit him & let him see how well things went. With this victory I have no doubt that we will be able to avenge his brutal attack.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hooligan Scribbles

Back to the grind with the LAPD. It had been awhile since the gits in blue had dragooned me for one of their little spills they couldn’t clean, and this one is a doozy.

Some freaked out serial killer has started picking off young attractive ladies in the L.A. area, and frankly, the Po-Po (I think that’s what Brother Hood calls them) won’t stand for attractive, young, dead white girls. I’m not a terribly big fan of them being dead myself, so I guess I have no real objection to lending a hand.

I’d just picked up some very preliminary info on the cases and was headed back to the SkyBox when I met the team rushing out. I hitched a ride to…where in the blue hell were we headed, anyway?

My questions were met with repeated answers of “YOU CAN’T KILL ANYONE!” Ugh. This shite again. I should have known. The Freedom League wants their victims alive, presumably so they can escape custody and ensure the League never goes out of business. I mean, I’m all for secure employment, but this is ridiculous!

The sketchy details I was provided were these: we’re on our way to a VIPER nest, our job being to scare them into dumping the data contents of their computers to another server far, far away. Apparently, someone was then going to make sure that info got into the right hands. Our hands? Whatever.

So we charged. I’ve elected to employ a new wait-and-see policy in combat, hopefully granting me more time awake and less time asleep. Flea convinced me it was worth a shot…Flea. Sigh. I hope he pulls through. He’s a good kid. A little na├»ve, but his heart’s in the right place. If I get my hands on the thugs…you know, maybe I’d better let the team handle it. Can’t have people dying on us. Wouldn’t be prudent. Isn’t that was President Bush used to say? The older one. Not this one. (Why is it that my opinion on this administration changes depending on which ID I’m sporting? Sometimes I love that Rumsfeld fellow.)

I digress.

My wait-and-see approach allowed to me to do considerable damage against the mooks and thugs that met us in the parking lot. One fellow in particular might have been too in the way of a soccer ball, but I think Lifeline attended to him. It gets tiresome to hear the groans of my teammates whenever I hit someone hard. They can splatter someone from hear to Nevada, claim accident, and the rest of the team consoles them. I actually do try to leave them in one piece, hit them a little harder than I’d like, and I’m a loose cannon out for blood. Utter shite.

We made it into the building – some sort of studio lot, it appears – and found more VIPER agents. We also found Phase, a right angering bastard if I’ve ever met one. What hits him? What doesn’t? When to swing? When not to swing? At least he seemed as pissed as I, and eventually we did away with him and with Damage, his little friend who ran ran ran. Mindwipe, on the other hand…a floating hippie? I moved from the bosom of Mother Scotland to find myself fighting a floating hippie?

We blasted him down the stairs in short order. Man, this fighting like a team…assuming that Starburst, Black Phantom, Lifeline, and whoever the new guy (Major Dick? Captain Falcon? I assume intros will be forthcoming after the brawl) are on our side…this fighting like a team thing could work. (It’s possible that in the heat of battle and fog of war I might have given Crusader the ol’ Headbutt of Justice. Despite what my ‘friends’ probably think, I feel just awful about the whole thing. At least there was no hugging involved.)

Making our team stronger was the unexpected appearance of Trauma’s girlfriend, Black Diamond. Oh, sure, she robs and steals and plunders and loots and is in fact a super villain, but hey – he likes her, so she gets a pass. (Are you effing kidding me? The team doesn’t like Brother Hood because of his ‘methods’, but Trauma’s allowed to bring villains to the base and blab our plans to them? WHY ISN’T SHE IN JAIL?!? Oh, right – Trauma is going to ‘rehabilitate’ her. Apparently, he has license to do that now. I’m sure he’ll produce the paperwork giving him just such authority Real Soon NowTM.)

I followed Starburst down the stairs to help restrain Mindwipe, committing not one but two errors in the process. First, I assumed either Starburst had put him out for the long haul, or the fall had done it for him (NOTE TO SELF – Please stop assuming your friends will kick a man when he’s down, no matter how necessary that may be). Secondly, in my haste to keep the mentalist from doing any more harm, I failed to notice that the stairs opened up into a room full of elite VIPER agents and supers.

Hammerhead took the brunt of one of my soccer balls, but didn’t seem to notice. He fired a photon blast at poor old Sunburst, putting him down for the count. I elected to retreat down a side hallway and take my chances with one or two opponents until the rest of the League arrived, but those two opponents turned out to be Scattershot and Damage. Whoops.

I put everything I had into a soccer ball on each of them, and did some hurtin’, but I knew two on one it was just a matter of time. That shotgun hurts. A lot. My teammates are here!

Scattershot’s shotgun is here. Again.

Hooligan go sleepy now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Poor Leadership

I'm taking the blame for not showing good leadership during the last battle. Something about missing the first session threw me off. I'll try to to better in the future.

--Tim

Cheat Sheet

Here's a link to a Hero System combat cheat sheet that might prove useful to some.
Find it here.

FROM THE PRIVATE DIARY OF SGT. EAGLE

A letter to:
Captain Star-Spangled, 42 Much Drive, the ash heap of history

Dear Capt.;

Writing to you is futile, in more ways than one. But that hops, as the cool cats say, because I’ve been thinking of changing my nom de guerre to “PFC Futile”.

Where to begin? “They told me that you’d been to her, and mentioned me to him.” Viper is still Viper. It’s nice that some things never change, because the attack on the base was definitively not Golden Age. More like Brass Age.

The Freedom Bunch is sloppy, very sloppy. They’re sloppy in their dress, and they’re sloppy in their execution. To them a “plan” is something to discuss in your fancy penthouse, not something you implement on the field of battle. Rather than concentrating their fire, they just spray it around like water out of a hose. They keep their more homicidal members out of the planning sessions so as not to alarm their allies, and then they have a flying medic on retainer to patch up the victims of their excesses.

Blast. Listen to me go on. I’m probably the last guy in the world who should carp about homicidal heroes. And to you, yet. What was I thinking?

I wonder if the Freedom Bunch know a flying stone-carver?

The real problem with the assault was me. I’m just glad Fen Lo wasn’t there; I’d never hear the end of it. I probably won’t, anyway. Hiding things from him is not only futile, it’s counterproductive. Elbow in. Elbow in! ELBOW IN! I must, must learn to focus. Also to pick up my feet: I got flattened by a tossed agent when I thoughtlessly placed myself downrange of my allies’ fire zone.

Due to failures in my technique I missed almost half the time, and when I did hit I didn’t always take the target down. Now that latter would be understandable against some villainous behemoth, but Viper agents are supposed to go down if you look at them cross-eyed, aren’t they? Oh, wait, that’s if YOU look at them cross-eyed. I keep forgetting. I’m probably too busy turning green watching the supes flit around through the air. Maybe I should practice flying. Based on my batting average, I’m clearly flapping my arms enough.

The gadgets: I don’t always use them at the right time, or on the right target: the gas bombs are NOT for regular villains. Once I tried to get fancy with a two-fisted gadget attack, and got nothing. Another time I muffed my throw and slopped a flash bomb right onto one of my affectionate allies; haven’t I learned my lesson about being sure of my target?

To be fair, I did owe Trauma one. During the assault on the penultimate floor of the base, he got it into his head that I needed a hug, and much slapstick ensued. This is not to blame him: I think he got mesmerized by the villain called Mindwipe. I spent most of that phase of the battle dodging his embrace. I tried to out-run him, but he was a lot faster than I expected. He’s also got a grip like an atomic vise. You would have shrugged it off, but I had visions of Valhalla.

In the end, the job got done. That’s what it all means, daddy-o. So tomorrow it’s kata. Tomorrow it’s lay out the utility belt and repack it in the dark. Tomorrow we try to get to Carnegie Hall. Tonight it’s some Ben-Gay for my bruised ribs, and a little of that Sleep of the Just. If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s always a tomorrow.

Stay out of trouble, and hope I do the same,
Sgt. Eagle

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Awakening

I have to change. My actions and deeds have led the Freedom League down a path that I still am unable myself to fathom. I have to learn to understand my destiny. For if I do not, I fear all of my allies will suffer the same fate as the flea. The foul face of the fleas attacker is now burned into the core of my own soul. The fleas attacker tortured him. Kept him at the brink of conscience & at the height of pain. He was made to suffer for what appeared to be no reason. Unfortunately, I think I do know the reason. The only logical reason to resort to this kind of torture as far as I can see is to send a message. A message that only someone with my powers and abilities would be able to see. I feel rage not only against the evil man that bestowed this punishment on the Flea. Not only on those that have the Gaul to name themselves Knights & aid in the Fleas demise as well as the murder of innocent youths. Mostly, I feel rage burning inside myself for allowing this to happen. The flea was the best of us. The one whose soul was least tainted by the everyday trials of life. Now I fear that by my lack of action against the forces of evil the flea will never be the same again. Trauma seems to have been successful at repairing the fleas body. However, his mind & soul still greatly damaged. I must seek a way to repair these wounds as well if the Flea will ever be able to join our crusade again.
It is time for me to change. Time for me to decide why I am doing all of this. Yes, these powers are giving me the fame I have always craved, but I am finding that fame may not be all it is cracked up to be. It is time I start using these gifts that have been bestowed upon me to help others more then to help myself.

With that in mind we have an opportunity to strike a blow against a large evil. Working with other heroes in the area we have the chance at striking a blow against a very powerful criminal organization called "Viper." It seems that some associates from my past have found a way to strike at the heart of this elusive organization. An organization with no identifiable center. By striking several locations at once & setting off their warning signals we can hopefully help find a way to shut down this group of high tech villains at it's core. In LA we have now assembled a team of agents & fighters to lay down an assault that will send a message back to the core of Viper. Other teams doing the same in other regions should then lead us to this "Vipers" main pit.

Our plan: To strike Vipers base in what appears to be an Indy Film lot. One strike team will go in and take out Vipers hanger full of vehicles while the rest of us will strike the area that sets off vipers warning & shutdown systems. With any luck we can also capture the leader of this cell so that we are able to extract even more information about "Viper" and its organizational structure.

This is a test for me. A test to see I can change my ways. To fight for more than my own selfish agenda but for the good of the great new world that will come.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Log

FROM THE PRIVATE DIARY OF SGT. EAGLE

A letter to:
Doctor Cosmonaut, #1000 Journey’s End, wherever commies go when they die

Dear Doc;
Temptation has come and alighted on my shoulder, again.
I felt your shade was disquieted when I re-donned the mask, as
I wrote you then. I wonder how you feel now? My recent “successes”
have borne the penalty I should have expected, but didn’t: Crusader
came to me last night, with word of a raid a local supers group is
planning against a Viper nest. These supers (the Freedom Bunch, or
something of the kind) are recruiting for the mission. I was
grateful for the invitation (although not as grateful as I had been
for Crusader’s aid against the Astrologer; Crusader is really top
drawer stuff). The thought of going up against Viper again filled me
with a poignant longing; the Captain always loved fighting those
snakes-in-the-grass. Remember the time you teamed up with them, in
Chicago? It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “political
machine”. If it hadn’t been for the traffic jam on Lake Shore Drive,
you might actually have gotten away with it, but then you’ve never
been lucky, have you? Especially not that last time.
But that’s enough of auld lang syne. I went to Freedom Tower,
to hear their pitch. They’re an odd bunch. Their leader, Vanguard,
seems steady enough, although his cape flaps gently even when there’s
no breeze (and yes, I said I was done with capes, but you don’t see
ME wearing one, do you? Others can wear them if they choose – that’s
the American Way). Durante I didn’t get a clear read on, he comes
across much like he does on television. The negro, Trauma, had a
plucky sense of humor, reminding me somewhat of the way Flamestar
used to wisecrack all the time (you remember Flamestar, don’t you?
Summer of ’60, Malaya. We really cleaned your clock that time).
The real joker in the pack, though, was the one they called
Mason. I’ve seen him before, down by the docks, driving trucks.
He’s tied in with those Klu Kluxers. Dinky dow. Clearly he’s a
double agent for someone, but the question is: Who? Are the Free
Bunch infiltrating the segregationists, or is it the other way
around? I don’t have enough information, yet, to answer that, but
during the Viper raid it shouldn’t matter. I can keep an eye on the
mole for the present. I don’t want to go shooting my mouth off when
they still regard me as wet behind the ears, that’s just asking to
get my can kicked.
That’s the penultimate difficult with this, actually: Trying
to be honest without dragging my whole, sordid past across the
table. This isn’t about me, after all, it’s about them and their
mission; I’m just one-time fire support. I’ve told them that I’m
primarily a martial artist, and that I have some gadgets, and all of
that is true. What I used to be doesn’t come into this, at least not
much. As Sensei says, do not strike at the dragon while stalking the
buffalo.
The ultimate difficulty, of course, is how you would feel about
all this. That bothers me. In life your feelings were the least of
my worries, but in death they still haunt me. Karen’s right,
though: to refrain from doing good is no way to atone for doing evil.
We go in tomorrow. I’d better close this and get some sleep.
I hope it’s not too warm where you are.

Your only mourner,
Sgt. Eagle=