Silverager (Hero/Villain)

 

silveragerCode-name: Silverager

Full Name: Silverager

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee

Dr. Red and Guerilla were angry once more, engaged in one of their frequent battles of will. Spittle flew as both alpha males leaned towards one another, voices raised, each ignoring the proclamations of the other as they made their own demands. Their latest conflict was yet another example of them jockeying for position. Each favored their own brand of militant action, and neither would fully endorse the request of the other. Along with other ARC members, Silverager watched on warily, wondering where this most-recent explosive dispute would next take the team.

After several minutes, and with the threat of imminent violence looming, Silverager coolly stepped in. With calm demeanor and a few brief words of rational interjection from the mighty cybernetically-enhanced silverback, order once more prevailed. With both ARC leaders placated, the team dispersed allowing heads to cool.

silverager-page-001Silverager returned to his workshop-lab, accompanied by the diminutive Virus. As they walked, Silverager’s bionic foot rang out a familiar clanking rhythm. Of all the ARC members who survived earth-fall, he had been the most seriously injured. His own expertise combined with that of Virus had made him something more, an amalgam of ape and machine and something quite different to his comrades in the revolution.

As they walked, the little monkey explained that he had some ideas he wanted to use to upgrade Apebot, and he valued Silverager’s technical expertise and input in implementing them.

silverager-page-002Silverager was glad for the company, and quietly pleased that his technical capabilities were recognized. Reaching his lab Virus and Silverager began to study the schematics for Apebot, mapping out Virus’s proposed changes. This quiet moment of technical contemplation was broken with the stormy arrival of Guerilla. Silverager had thought the ARC leader becalmed, but obviously some of the gun-toting primate’s legendary fury remained. Guerilla had decided that they needed to make another supply run, which could be a euphemism for many types of mission in Silverager’s experience. In this instance it meant ripping off an illegal Coven weapons shipment under the cover of darkness. They had a tip-off of what was headed where, and so Guerilla quickly set to gathering a handful of troops. He had arrived to insist on the presence of Silverager.

“I don’t think Red Bella would approve, nor Dr. Red” said Silverager flatly, as he carried on his work, hoisting up a piece of armor plate using his cyber-arm grapples. He was not seeking to inflame the notoriously volatile Guerilla; not from any feelings of fear, but simply deeming it unnecessary and wasteful of time and energy. He had to be careful; he knew that despite their respect for him, Guerilla and Dr. Red were suspicious of his motivations and his clear allegiance to Red Bella; that they regarded him as her strong right-arm. He suspected their cautiousness stemmed from the fact that he had been first mate on the second Andryshnikov satellite, aboard with Bella and the others, separate from Guerilla, Dr. Red and their crew. Selected as the calmest example of his silverback troop, at the hands of Dr. Andryshnikov, Silverager had undergone an experimental pharmacological treatment to enhance his combat capabilities. This was before joining with Bella and the rest of the simian crew of the second satellite. What followed – the crash of the satellite to Earth-side and their subsequent journey to the West from the mountains in the East – was what brought him into the ARC fold.

“She is not here, and Dr. Red knows we need more munitions to wage our war for equality!” was Guerilla’s firm retort. At this Silverager knew there was no denying the choice of mission: he was in, like it or not.

In due course Silverager found himself alongside Guerilla, Howler and Chimp Chi at a dockside loading bay washed by a cold sea breeze. They waited patiently for the delivery to arrive – two trucks brought in at speed to be stripped down and their contents scattered to where the Coven wanted them to go. Guerilla had other ideas. He launched the strike, lightning fast, with Chimp Chi dropping from shadows to surprise a couple of Coven soldiers as Howler rushed forwards to spray gunfire at a third.

silveragerSilverager waded in, brushing aside the Coven paramilitaries. A Dead Guard struck suddenly from the shadows and thrashed at the mighty ape, wounding his arm. With a roar Silverager wrenched the Dead Guard up and slammed him across his knee, snapping his spine, before discarding the seemingly broken body to the ground. However, the ruined Dead Guard quickly stirred and struck at Silverager once more, glancing the ape’s shoulder, before the primate struck a final telling blow, letting out an enraged roar as he did so. Neurons in Silverager’s brain flared, forever altered by exposure to those experimental combat drugs so many years ago at the hands of Dr. Andryshnikov. Those neurons triggered a massive hormonal release, further fuelling his fiery battle-rage. Tunnel vision followed, and absolute focus on fight or flight – and fight was the only option for an enraged Silverager.

Silverager turned then, and subsequently barreled into the remaining Coven operatives, muscles straining with red-rage-fuelled power coursing through his every fiber. He barely recognized the reptilian Francis Gator before the two were locked in combat. Gator hurled a rusty dumpster at Silverback who caught and threw it back with interest, knocking the alligator-man into the cold waters of the bay with the force of his blow.

The battle was soon done as the big cyborg silverback rampaged through the Coven ranks. Guerilla eventually signaled that they had what he wanted and Silverager began to reassert his self-control, primal rage dissipating from his mind and body. He understood then that as much as the ARC leaders valued Silverager as a genius technician and rocket scientist, they valued the raging beast within him more. That duality gave him worth. Grunting to himself, he headed towards their vehicle, to return home to their base with the team. He had a place with them, with the ARC, and that gave him some comfort. The old ape smiled inwardly at that, wondering how things would play out when Red Bella truly returned to make her mark.

 

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Sgt. Bale (Hero)

Code-name: Sgt. Bale

Full Name: Richard ‘Rich’ Bale

Faction: Blood Watch, The Way

Sergeant Richard Bale died on an unrecorded mission, earing a burial place in Arlington as well as the star-spangled flag draping his coffin, his interment marked gun shots that rang in the sky and the tears of his beautiful wife.

A recognizable tale, if not for the fact that he already died once in the minds of the rest of his world.

Joining the secret Omega Occult team of the US Army equaled ‘death’. Families received notification that their serving died in an accident. Recruits then spent the rest of their lives on covert missions or deep in the force’s underground base with four teammates all similarly burnt out from living that zombie life as they were. Recruits died a silent death and nobody would shed a tear over the life they lost in the service of their country.

Today, Bale never talks about why he joined Omega Occult. It may be deduced that many of the events of his early childhood pushed him that way. He rarely speaks about his missions while serving unless the information is relevant to the latest supernatural threat that Blood Watch is combating.

But he will repeat the story of how he died the second time just to make the curious stop asking questions.

Neither Rich nor any of his Omega Occult team knew why they were sent to the lush jungles of Cambodia. It was pretty common for them to receive briefings right after they parachuted from their stealth transport. This time was different, and the shift in the pattern sent chills down Bale’s spine.

Their local guide handed them the envelope containing their orders: follow the guide; shoot the guide once at the destination; and recover the target from the lower levels of an abandoned temple. The executed each stage of their orders to the letter, quickly arriving at the temple.

Call-sign Tank Red, the unit’s weapons specialist, exchanged the muzzle on the gun after unloading a wall of firepower, while Bale deciphered the glyphs on the ruined walls of Beng Mealea temple, using his specialist training.

Ichiro died first as a huge chunk of the naga statue crushed his body, his blood draining into the cracks of the floor. This was the first true Omega Occult death in five years. The second and third happened almost simultaneously as the floor broke and two more fell down into the dark water below. A hiss echoed in the darkness and the water exploded with seven lashing reptilian heads of doom. Bale dodged at the last second, while Tank Red fired up his battle-suit rocket boots and flew for the surface through the cracked hole in the ceiling.

Rich was left alone facing the massive beast, a creature clearly far more intelligent than its form suggested. The behemoth whispered into his mind: Fight me? Rich knew then that this was an assignment beyond the usual good and evil, he knew that more than his life is at stake.

The reptilian heads struck at him again. Bale waited calmly and in the last moment grabbed one to ride it like a cowboy on a bucking bull. The beast tried to shake him off, trying to crush him against the wall but to no avail. Bale just waited as the six remaining heads hunted for the burdened seventh. He leapt from head to head, and watched them kill the next in turn until there was only one left.

Out of options, the last man standing of Omega Occult fired his entire clip into the gaping mouth of the dragon as the beasts flaming breath engulfed him. The fire felt good, cleansing, forging a bond between the ancient creature and its slayer. Rich fell into the water, his right arm burnt as the shrinking dragon snaked around it, leaving a mysterious tattoo and thus sealing the Dragon’s Pact.

It would all have seemed a bizarre and horrific nightmare if not for the fact that a small flame danced on Bale’s hand, guiding his way. The union with the dragon made him strong and powerful.

Six months later Richard Bale infiltrated the HQ of Omega Occult, a place he had called home. He was not here to pick up his stuff, as he headed straight for the commander’s office. No robot, no beast and no soldier could stand in the way of his dragon’s fury. Sgt. Bale burned his way through all resistance, the dragon on his arm seeming almost alive as it spewed flame on all his enemies and ignited their bullets.

The journey ended fast and Bale had only one question: Why?

They do not have to divulge details, but villains at gunpoint always talk and talk and talk. So Sgt. Richard Bale learned all he wanted and even more. Omega Occult’s top brass had decided that better a one man army with the ancient power of dragons than a team of five replaceable covert operatives. The dragon had to choose only one as its champion. A new occult contact, a woman of great power, promised that more soldiers would be able to fuse their bodies with ancient beasts, to promote US military interests. Bale could be the leader of a new hybrid Omega Occult.

A flaming bullet to the head of his ex-commander was a clear answer to this promotion opportunity.

The US military acted swiftly to cover up a very unfortunate chain of events, and so Sgt. Richard Bale had a second funeral, amid a newly concocted story about his death while defending American security.

Sgt. Bale and his dragon powers went on the run, and sought a refuge, as he knew he was too powerful and too dangerous to return to his twice-widowed wife. He was approached by many: government agents; power-hungry tyrants; the woman that claims she knows the spirit that slumbers in him. He rejected them all, accepting an offer from the mysterious V.H. and her Blood Watch Team, finding a home at last. They all accepted his grim presence because none of them doubted his loyalty and total dedication to a greater good. His journey later took him into alliance with The Way, the Dragon charting that path. Yet if Bale’s allies in both Factions only knew about Bale’s nightmares of a seven-headed dragon setting the world ablaze and bowing in front of a snake goddess…

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Hellsmith (Villain)

Code-name: Hellsmith

Full Name: Hellsmith

Faction: The Forgotten

Stygian, the leader of the awakened ancient dark gods known as the Forgotten, describes Hellsmith with one word: inhuman. From the mouth of a being who plots with and against the Lords of Necroplane and has killed and vanquished thousands, ‘inhuman’ is almost a compliment.

Hellsmith was a minor deity of forges in the Greek pantheon, his true name long lost in the sands of time. Asleep for aeons, gods sometimes wake up when their name once again evokes strong emotions, leaps of faith, fear, anger or lust. Hellsmith’s tale is that of the forge guardian who lived in the shadow of Hephaestus, the master weapon-smith.

The brilliant weapons crafted by Hellsmith were always credited to the Hephaestus, and so Hellsmith’s frustration grew. At the time when mortals fought for Troy, messengers of Hades offered Hellsmith a chance to betray his master and become the chief armorer of Hell. The plot was uncovered by Zeus when Hellsmith betrayed himself with his drunken boasting, and punishment was enacted immediately.

Struck down by a bolt of lightning and cast into the oily depths of the river Styx, the lifeless body of Hellsmith floated for many, many centuries until one of his most magnificent creations, the Hell Hammer, ended up as a center piece in a Pulp City Museum exhibition. The crowds were enchanted by the dark beauty and the surge of emotions it stirred up within those gazing upon it woke up the would-be armorer of Hell. The smith clawed his way from darkness to the very streets of the city. Now, recovering his power in Pulp City, Hellsmith is a vital tool in the hands of Stygian, who has gathered an army of no longer remembered gods.

There is not much wit or intelligence within Hellsmith. He makes up for such deficiencies with commitment and persistence. He doesn’t have many sworn enemies since being ‘an enemy of Hellsmith’ is often a temporary state, lasting only until he hunts them down. Cold eyes stare from the depths of the horned Spartan helmet, often transfixing victims until the moment when reality comes crashing down with a crushing blow of the Hell Hammer.

 

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Guerilla (Hero/Villain)

GuerillaCode-name: Guerilla

Full Name: Guerilla

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee

The year is 1973.

The place is the Soviet Union.

The man is Prof. Yuri Andryshnikov.

The first meeting had not gone well, he must succeed in this one. It was the only way to redeem his family’s position after his father’s betrayal so many years ago. That act, before he was even two years old, had hung over his life and his career. That he had come this far was only down to his iron will and his fervent belief in the ultimate triumph of the workers’ revolution. He had the key to insure its success, now he just needed to convince this vision-challenged party hack to approve his experiment.

guerilla-page-001“I tell you it WILL work. Our glorious ideals are inborn; they are imprinted in our DNA. We can have our perfect community of equals, free from the pollution of the West’s capitalism and morality. We need to send a group of apes and monkeys into space, away from the corruption, with nothing but Lenin’s writings, and of course enough food and water to survive. When the world sees the triumph of our technology and the perfect communist society that they create, people will abandon capitalism like rats leaving a sinking ship.”

Apes in space, what nonsense, thought the party representative, who was also the Chairman of the party. He had granted this interview for his own amusement, to see what time had brought to pass. He had arrested Andryshnikov’s father so many years ago, and that act had set his career on an upward trajectory. He knew this foolish plan would never work, but its failure would bring him a final victory over the Andryshnikovs. So he approved it.

guerilla-page-002The first tiny colony was in orbit eighteen months later, and within in a week, it was clear that a community of equals was not encoded within the apes’ genes. To Andryshnikov’s horror and dismay, a male gorilla quickly fought his way to dominance and imposed his will on the others. The ground crew saw the bloodshed that followed, declared the experiment a failure, and pushed the ‘destroy’ button. The explosion lit up the sky, and the station plummeted to earth like a blazing comet, prompting the Americans to go to DefCon 4. Frantic calls on the hotline between the two great powers prevented any further escalation, even as the station crashed in the southern United States. The party leader sent Andryshnikov to Siberia to research the social structure of arctic rabbits.

Years later, a group of mercenaries reported being ambushed and nearly destroyed by a group of well-armed, ape like commandos. Nobody believed them until a news crew from Pulp City’s Channel 4 was captured by a group of intelligent, talking apes, and forced to record its leader proclaiming his manifesto:

guerilla-art“Guerilla is FURY unchained! The Ape Revolutionary Committee will see that Pulp City becomes a community of equals! Even if that means razing the city to the ground, all will be equal in the ruins!”

While Guerilla’s position as head of the A.R.C. has more recently been challenged, first by Red Alpha, and later the presence of Red Bella and the avatars of the Ape Spirit, for many who look on he is the figurehead of the primate revolution.

Guerilla quickly became one of the most dangerous mercenaries in town, and his plan to make his manifesto manifest was to play both sides off against the other. Combining human intelligence with a powerful frame (and a deadly minigun!), Guerilla is not a typical hit man: when he hits, it is hard and loud and bloody. Hitting only where it hurts the most, Guerilla will pound and pound his target, until the only thing left is a red smear on Pulp City’s sidewalks.

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Francis Gator (Villain)

Code-name: Francis Gator
Full Name: Francis Gagnon
Faction: The Coven

Little Francis was a sickly child. When he was born, his wet nurse, Sister Mary, informed his mother the child was stillborn. Francine, whose face was marked with every experience of her long, hard and eventful life as a New Orleans mistress dabbling in the occult, sighed. “Thank you, God.”

But her prayers were unanswered as the infant suddenly heaved a breath, gulped in some air, and started crying. Francine grew silent and never spoke again. The ugly baby was born with a skin disease that covered most of his body: cracked skin, greenish complexion and tough hide around the knuckles and feet.

Three nights later, Francine was found dead, little Francis licking the blood that gushed from deep raking marks across her chest. The wet tracks of huge clawed feed suggested a ferocious reptile had walked in, killed the woman and walked out; at least that is what the investigating detectives claimed. Since Francine had no family and her well-deserved reputation of an old weird woman had scared off most of the neighbors, nobody asked any more questions. Her body was buried by the fence of the cemetery wall and her ugly child was placed in an orphanage.

Francis’ skin disease grew stronger with each passing month and year, and at five years old he was a terror to behold. When Scabs and wounds healed over, they formed scales over his arms and legs, while over time his nose flattened out. Those who bullied him finally gave up on beating him, and by the time he turned seven, whenever they would hear Francis’ shallow breathing, they would run in fear.

On the eve of his twelfth birthday, that nobody cared to celebrate, the almost-mute teenager spent many hours glued to the window, staring into the darkness as if looking out for something …or rather somebody. When one of the orphanage nuns tried to chase him off to evening prayers, Francis hissed, “This is the day to say goodbye, ma’am.”

As midnight was tolled, the door to the orphanage burst open and a huge, bipedal, albino alligator-like creature walked in, scattering everybody aside as it waded towards the teenager.

Sister Mary shuddered, as she realized that the hideous rumor of Francine bedding the ancient swamp devil under the guise of an albino gator had to be true, and so the soul of Francine was doomed to spend eternity in hell.

The giant beast grabbed the boy, jumped through the window and both disappeared into the black of the night.

Thirty years passed, and now calling himself Francis Gator, he returned to humanity and began a painful attempt to meld back into society and enjoy southern comfort and hospitality.

Forty five years after his return, Francis Gator finally realized that he would never be accepted, and that his natural talents, backed up with his ‘swamp years’ experience, predestined him to strike terror in the hearts of those who would reject him.

One of those behind the Coven had a vision of a gator-man who would be a key element to one of the organization’s agendas. Thus, Francis ended up on the Coven’s payroll. Even after many years of service to the shadowy organization, he was feared and rejected by most of the Strike Team, never getting along with likes of Rook or the enigmatic Twilight who could shed their Coven apparel and go out for a beer or other preoccupations in the evening. Papa Zombie, seeing that this distance could cause more trouble, but seeing how useful Francis could be, chose to let Gator return to the swamps and the ancient shack of his mother, a place that had become the refuge of a black magic user. Gator now boards the Coven jet only when the Strike Team needs him. Since the fall however, Gator has been spending more and more of his time in the Pulp City, as the Coven seeks to reestablish their power.

Gator’s powerful physique is only a host for a mysterious demonic soul able to control the forces of nature. When Gator mutters and hisses, enemies who have faced him before know it is time to duck. In his bag of dirty tricks is the ability to control swarms of mosquito and raise nearby water levels. Some claim that he is able to call upon the spirit of his sire but if so that has never been recorded. He is brutal and cruel but only as evil as the society and rejection that shaped him. The desire to belong and be loved by people rarely ever surfaces, but if it does, it places Francis into weird alliances. One such time, June Summers of Channel 4 shot some bizarre footage of Gator side by side with Stone Hawk and Seabolt, the force of elements battling the Zoidrod X, prototype experimental military robot, believed stolen by the Mysterious Man.

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