Le Murtiple (Hero/Villain)

Full Name: Le Murtiple
Allegiance: Ape Revolution Committee

“¡Viva la Revolución!” shouted the little lemur wearing a purple top hat. His dress uniform was immaculate, crisp and clean, for the little lemur was nothing if not attentive to detail.

The bold lemur surveyed the scene before him. Novaragua’s capital city was awash with revolutionary zeal as its military junta was under increasing pressure from the fighters of the Luminous Way. President for life Sendero had to know very well that the ‘for life’ aspect was no guarantee of longevity in these times of serious civil unrest. That much was clearly symbolized by the burning of the presidential palace. Of course that it was the lemur’s own home-brew bombs that had caused the palace to burn was simply emblematic of this strange little revolution. The leaders of the rebels in the Luminous Way had kept any mention of their intelligent talking primate ally from their followers, wary of his links to the despised governments of the region, and especially to Sendero himself. Everything he had done for the revolution had been under a cloud of secrecy, and that included this latest direct action.

The flickering flames of the burning official residence of President Sendero cast an amber glow onto the lemur, but insufficient warmth. Despite the fire, it was a cold night and the little primate pulled his cape closer around himself. Just then his sharp senses detected foot-steps coming towards him. Several men he estimated and they lacked the rhythmic step of trained soldiers – fellow revolutionaries he surmised.

“Ah, Vazquez. How are you comrade?” asked the lemur in his friendliest manner to the leader of the group. He had not arranged to meet his contacts at this time, or at this location, so his suspicions were raised. He cast a quick glance at the six men that drifted around him, surreptitiously sizing them up.

“Your time is done here, I think,” said the overweight and unshaven Vazquez, his words tinged with a veneer of warmth. The lemur understood the implication, but was not quite ready to show his hand yet.

“I don’t understand, I thought we were comrades in the glorious fight together?” said the lemur.

“Yes we were, but times change. While you were El Presidente’s special pet you were a valuable ally, our inside man, spreading misinformation and killing when we needed you to do so. And in the early days of the revolution you were very useful, making bombs and gathering intelligence. But times change little monkey. It would not do for the revolution to be associated with one of the symbols of El Presidente’s corrupt regime. And this is a human revolution, no monkey’s needed,” said Vazquez, spitting at the ground as he finished.

“There is one thing about me I never told you or the leaders of the revolution,” began the lemur, “You know about my skills, with a knife; my skills with making bombs; my skills as assassin and intelligence agent. But there is one last thing that I never told you, nor did I ever tell El Presidente. Every man who has learned this secret has died at my hand. This night will be no different.”

With that the little lemur became three. One of lemurs drew a butterfly knife, revealing its blade in a fluid motion.  Another of the identical lemurs drew a chemical flask from the folds of its cloak, while the third drew a stick of dynamite from a trouser pouch, deftly lighting its fuse as he did so. The half dozen men looked on in shock. It was the last thing they ever saw.

 

Dead men behind him, the little lemur fled into the jungle. His time in Novaragua was done; he was now an enemy to both sides, with the blood of men from both factions on his hands. However his conscience was clear; he had done what he felt was just and right and his actions aligned with his principles.  So he travelled into the thick jungle, to place distance between himself and his foes. He was startled then to stumble upon an orangutan wearing a lab coat, stood beside a beefy-looking gorilla wearing combat fatigues and toting a minigun. He was surprised that he had not sensed them sooner, but then his mind had been on other things, and this pair was an unexpected sight.

“Going somewhere?” asked the bespectacled orangutan in English, with a smile that revealed vicious looking teeth.

“Somewhere better for my health, I think,” replied the lemur, in accented English, warily eyeing the two big apes as he spoke, “And who are you?”

“We are fellow travelers, drawn here by your reputation.  It seems to my friend and I that you need to leave Novaragua in a hurry. We think we may have the perfect destination for you. Have you heard of Pulp City?”

The lemur nodded in affirmation.

“There is a revolution coming to Pulp City,” growled the big gorilla, briefly pausing before continuing, “And we want you. What is your name, what do we call you? Where did you come from?”

The lemur thought for a moment, weighed his options and his principles, and made a decision.

“You may call me, Le Murtiple”, said the little lemur, a broad grin across his face, “And as for where I came from? Well, that is another story…”

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Foxxy Blade (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Foxxy Blade

Full Name: Gloria “Foxxy” Blade

Faction: The Way

Gloria ‘Foxxy’ Blade strode with calm purpose into a rain-slicked alleyway in New Port. Her wedges splashed into small puddles. She was heading into trouble, and she wanted ‘trouble’ to know she was coming. Ahead were half a dozen rent-a-thugs working for the Mysterious Man, and they were not going to get in her way. She had a rendezvous with an old friend to keep, and she was already late. She drew her katana and sai and walked forwards. The six hoodlums truly did not know what hit them.

Ten minutes later and Foxxy was on a nearby roof-top standing side by side with maybe the only person she trusted – Crimson Oni. She had known him by another name, but that was a lifetime ago and he was simply Crimson Oni now. But as much as her friend had left his old life behind, Foxxy was haunted by the past, and that is what had bought her here tonight.

“Get waylaid?” asked Crimson Oni with that mischievous smile of his.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle, sugar, but I have what we need,” she responded, pausing briefly before continuing “Just Mysterious Man after some payback. I think it was a token effort; he had to send some goons after me to save face after I sent his last job south. I’m sure we’re even now and if he ever has the info I need, well honey, then I will work for him again.”

Crimson Oni flinched at that. Foxxy knew that he did not approve of the connections she had made as she continued to follow her own objective, a goal that intertwined so closely with his own as they sought to bring down an organization Oni saw as the biggest threat to the very future of Pulp City, and that Foxxy wanted bloody revenge against.

Briefly, Foxxy’s thoughts flashed back to memories of the time when she met the kid who would become the man known as Crimson Oni; the times when they sparred and trained together at the same dojo; him suggesting her nickname as a joke after she said had seen a kitsune one very weird night.

Her mind rapidly skipped to other recollections, remembrances of her fallen master. He had been a hard man, Master Kitano, disdainful of women, westerners and the young. But through her tenacity and having nowhere else to go, she had become one of his greatest students. She trained every day, each lesson intended to break her spirit or make her stronger. In time Gloria’s will to impress the hard master won him over and he shared some of his most guarded secrets. That ended when he was brutally murdered. She arrived for her lessons to find his lifeless body at his unassuming little dojo. A single sliver of jade shaped like a lizard scale was clutched in his hand. He had left her a sign to follow even as he died.

Foxxy shook off her reverie. The two Supremes looked down on a Jade Lantern Imports warehouse. Used to move counterfeit goods that added to Jade Cult’s income stream, it also served as a staging post for bringing in Terror Cotta Warriors, deadly machines serving the Green Emperor.

Oni asked Foxxy if she wanted to sneak in. They both laughed at this old joke between friends before they dropped into the alleyway and marched up to the front doors. The massive doors were shattered into thousands of shards by the unbridled force of Crimson Oni’s Six Element Fist.

Stepping into the dimly-lit building they saw a five Jade Cult Ninjas drop from the ceiling to the warehouse floor. Seconds later two Terror Cotta Warriors crashed out of wooden packing crates, splinters flying across the room.

“Go, I got this,” said Crimson Oni to Foxxy, a wry smile creasing his face.

Foxxy ran with unerring elegance up an iron staircase toward the warehouse office. As she hit the halfway point, two Ninjas dropped from the shadows of the roof to block her way; and two more dropped onto the stairs behind her. Without breaking stride Foxxy continued upwards, graceful cuts dispatching the Ninjas before and behind her. She reached the office to find another Ninja waiting. She dodged two shuriken flung her way. Assessing the Ninja in an instant, she recognized the medallion he wore marking him as a Sensei; his uncovered head mixed human and oni features.

A formidable foe, but not formidable enough, she thought. Foxxy stepped inside his expert sword-strike, taking a grazing hit to avoid being impaled. She twisted and in her pirouette swung her own sword around, neatly decapitating the Sensei in one fluid movement. Before his body hit the ground she had covered the distance to the office safe.

Foxxy could hear the din of combat below as Crimson Oni battled against numerous foes. She needed to move with celerity. As much as her partner enjoyed a fight, even he was not indestructible. She began turning the single dial lock on the wall safe. Before encountering Mysterious Man’s thugs she had met with a contact who had supplied the combination for this safe. She unlocked the sturdy metal box and reached in to grab its only content; a slim manila folder with a single sheet of paper. She grabbed the sheet of paper and slipped it into a pocket before leaving the office. Foxxy looked over the iron railing. Crimson Oni was still outnumbered as he was holding off a damaged Terror Cotta Warrior and one remaining Ninja. The other Terror Cotta Warrior lay in pieces across the concrete floor, and the other Ninjas in broken heaps. Oni dispatched the last Ninja to leave him facing the remaining Terror Cotta Warrior. Suddenly more Ninjas rushed the warehouse, seemingly coming in from every doorway and shadow.

Foxxy dropped the twenty feet to the warehouse floor and stood back to back with her partner.

“You take out the robot-thing, sugar,” she began, “I’ll hold off the Ninja horde!”

They unleashed precise sword-strikes and devastating martial power attacks in tandem. They resisted the blows of their enemies with guile and honed reflexes. Still they were hit time after time but would not fall. Foxxy rampaged through the ranks of Ninjas, felling them to the left and right as she moved with liquid grace, the strength of the Ninjas numbers a disadvantage to them in such confining quarters, while Oni crashed a punch through the torso of the Terror Cotta Warrior.

The two Supremes fought for minutes that seemed like an eternity, until the last of their foes was finally cut down. They left a scene of bloody devastation behind them, both knowing there were more agents of the Jade Cult ahead of them as they walked their paths of justice and vengeance. Oni asked if she had what she needed. Foxxy affirmed that she did, her thoughts razor-sharp focused on revenge for her fallen master. The Jade Cult had been responsible for his death; with each agent dispatched she felt closer to her goal of vengeance. Only when the Cult fell, its leader vanquished and the identity of her master’s killer at last revealed would she rest. Until then there would be more nights like this one.

Separating from Oni, Foxxy walked into the embrace of night. She was alone, but that held no fear for her. She had wounds to salve and bandage, and plans to make. As she walked she thought she caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye. She looked around, seeing nothing. But even so, she was sure she had seen something, maybe an old, hard master giving the slightest nod of approval.

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Tanuki (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Tanuki

Full Name: Tanuki

Allegiance: Jade Cult

Outside of the closed ranks of the Jade Cult, Tanuki’s origin is veiled in secrecy, and even within that terrible society few know the truth. One of the Jade Cult’s mysterious spirit-onis, Tanuki is probably the least loyal of that kind, even if ultimately he is the only one that recognizes that fact.

As the Green Emperor has extended his reach beyond Japanese shores and turned his attention to the West in general, and Pulp City in particular, Tanuki has been an instrumental agent of the Jade Cult. Tanuki has found great pleasure in all that the modern world has to offer, and especially the liberty he has seen first-hand in Pulp City, once described as a decadent cesspit by his master. Cesspit or not, Tanuki loves what Pulp City has to offer – he just enjoys being unleashed in the world!

The earthly plane that Tanuki finds himself in is like Las Vegas for a newly confirmed gambler, and diametrically opposed to the feudal Japan that the Green Emperor seeks to re-create after his own design. There is not a single sensation or experience that he does not revel in, and he has learnt the ways of his new world in short order. Tanuki already owns a significant business portfolio, having generated massive profits from speculative investment in the burgeoning Japanese real-estate market of the late 1980’s, withdrawing his investments as he foresaw an imminent crash. He also loves manipulating gullible people and the media, and on many occasions he has planted fake stories for unwitting journalists to pick up on, all part of grander plots; the famed June Summers has yet to fall for one of these elaborate hoaxes and so he views duping her as the prize target in his wild little intrigues. Tanuki often has to pretend that he cares deeply for the goals Emperor and his Jade Cult, but the small raccoon-dog spirit is expert at putting on his ‘engaged’ face, and thus sparing himself the wrath of the only entity he fears – the Green Emperor.

Tanuki has been afforded certain freedoms not given to other Jade Cult agents; the Green Emperor has allowed the mischievous spirit a long leash as he gathers intelligence and makes new contacts to further the Jade Cult’s strategies. This has allowed Tanuki to pursue his own agenda, something he relishes. Seeing a city whose culture was clearly dominated by the super-powered Supremes living and fighting there, Tanuki felt it obligatory that he join in with their customs; thus he fashioned himself a domino mask as he felt this would help him blend in! Of course he has had to kowtow to the wishes of the Green Emperor, and so has adopted traditional Japanese garb as part of his ‘costume’. And so the bizarre sight of a talking raccoon dog hurling magic spells and potions around with abandon is one of the stranger tales that grace the Supreme scene, and Tanuki for one loves his role. His cheerful demeanor is disarming to most of the other Supremes he encounters; few realize the full devious extent of his plotting and machinations.

There are many onis within Green Emperor’s employ, and Tanuki is unique among them. Of all the spirits within the Jade Cult’s ranks, Tanuki’s link to the material world is the strongest, and he is the most difficult creature to banish. Tanuki weaves magic and twists probabilities to service the goals of the Green Emperor, but just as often his own objectives. Tanuki hopes to one day liberate himself from the control of the Green Emperor. He knows that day is probably long off, but that does not stop the strange little spirit-creature from scheming his schemes, in the hope that one day he will be free. However he inwardly acknowledges that to do so is to run a grave risk.

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Virgo (Hero/Villain)

Full Name: Virgo/Alana
Allegiance:  Allied with Tritonious and other resistance members

Growing up as a female in Neptune’s biggest city, Neoatlantis, you had to be either ready to spend the rest of your life as a cook, slave trainer or a cleaner OR be beautiful enough to be noticed by one of the noble males. Alana was neither ready for servitude, nor beautiful.

Because of her boyish manners and attitude, at age of ten, she was offered to the temple of Neptune to become a slave driver. But under a resilient hide that had gone through such a lot of hardship, there was a tender and compassionate soul. Alana was assigned to train and hand-pick scouts for the remote marine outposts within the vast Ulthar civilization. Mermen were natural candidates for these roles – they were just one step behind the evolutionary stage of their masters, unadapted to walk and live on an air-breathing surface, but perfectly suited to aquatic environments. But their thoughts and emotions were everything that Ulthars were before the dominant species spiraled into their sinister ways – they were not Ulthar.

Through arduous training, the weakest of mermen were revealed, only to be fed to the revered beasts of the Neptune abyss. Appalled by the fate that awaited them, Alana risked her life to help merman consigned to this end to escape instead. Her secretive operation went on for months; however every sentient being she saved was just a drop in an ocean of suffering. Her actions eventually attracted some unwanted attention and she knew she had to make a break for freedom. The latest chosen scouts, along with their wives and children, were to be escorted to a distant Ulthar outpost. A contingent of Sagittari was assigned to the slave caravan to make sure that those mermen scouts made it safely to their destination. Alana knew it was then or never.

She sabotaged the marksmen’s vessel. An explosion of the power-core resulted in most of the Sagittari being killed in instants, a handful making it to escape pods. Fleeing mermen invited her to join them, but Alana knew that there was so much more evil in Neoatlantis and the Ulthar Empire that needed to be culled, so she chose not to follow her apprentices. She donned a scout suit from the caravan’s armory, and waited patiently for reinforcements to reclaim the dead, wounded and survivors, and to carry them back to the capitol.

From then on, Alana worked behind enemy lines, providing intel for the rebelling races of Neptune and striking from the shadows. In the meantime, she disguised herself as a male Sagittarius, taking the name and identification of a fallen Sagittari from the explosion she herself had caused. Alana’s actions quickly saw her promoted from a ‘graduate’ of the academy to captain of an elite Sagittari unit that was soon sent to Earth with other pre-invasion troops. Just a few hours before her pod was to launch from the blue planet’s orbit, she and her unit were ordered to the medical chamber of the invasion ship for enviro-adaptation and inoculation. Knowing that this would mean discovery of her true nature, Alana started an emergency alarm on deck, and in the wake of the ensuing chaos she managed to escape to the planet’s surface.

Shedding her Sagittarius uniform and disguise was the final step to Alana’s transformation into a warrior-woman that swore to build a resistance against her own race everywhere it chose to venture. However, Alana knew that she was stuck at that moment on a planet that had just started making its first steps in the field of space travel.

 

When she later met with Earth’s most powerful beings – its Supremes – she soon found out that they were too busy fighting their own little wars over petty things. In the wake of impending doom, they needed a strong leader to unite them. Alana, who became known to Earthlings as Virgo, a name she adopted as a reminder of the lowly caste into which she was born in a dark empire, would lend her services to anybody who would help her develop a resistance front, for she knew a time of reckoning with the Ulthar was coming for Earth.

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Tritonious (Hero/Villain)

Full Name: Tritonious/Jonathan
Allegiance: Allied with Virgo

“When the stars and planets align themselves to form a giant glowing trident in the sky, peel your eyes for a silver shape that descends from orbit.

Once every twenty five years, the gods from above come to visit their progeny left on Earth.”

 

Before you turn your VHS machine off, let me inform you that this is the opening sequence of the newest June Summers’ documentary, titled Exodus from Atlantis. A wild subject to be sure, but June has a long-standing story of top quality TV productions based on well-documented facts. So why did this report never make it to the airwaves? Why is it that a highly sought after and much worn-out tape cannot be bought anywhere but the black market?

The truth is too much to take for most who hear this outlandish story. In case you never get to find a copy of the tape, here is the shocker in a nutshell: June investigates a small coastal town in New England called Solace, but only after she finds out that a prominent Pulp City businessman, Jeremiah Johnson, owns ninety per cent of the real estate there, including an off-shore forested island. She finds out that he is an orphan who ran away from pretty much every East Coast children’s institution before turning ten years old. Then he disappears for a decade, and literally goes off the radar.

He later legally changes his name to from Weiss to Johnson. Now, if you had to take an educated guess, what is the predominant name in the town of Solace? There is not a SINGLE person named anything other than Weiss.

June gets there, to that small, out of the way town, and deals with all that crazy stuff. I mean, it’s stricter than an Amish community. They run out of camera batteries in two days and when one of her crew goes to Salem to charge them up, a weird-weird storm starts and the rest of the crew is trapped there for a week. The rest of the footage they get is captured with an 8mm camera.

On the third night of the storm, the clouds start glowing from above and then part to reveal a bizarre star constellation that looks like a trident. You can’t really see it on the footage that well, but the ocean literally parts as a procession of townsfolk marches into the dark blue depths. A giant glowing object breaks off from the trident and descends, hovering over the exact spot where the citizens of Solace disappeared. It casts this eerie jade light over the scene, while shapes of ancient buildings and colonnades rise from the waves. The whole crowd is there, and the mayor of the town, Obadiah Weiss, raises a shining artifact to the sky, and you can see how the mysterious object cracks open like a silver flower, revealing an almost human baby. The hovering vessel’s lights explode in a white flash, and all recording devices go blank for a few moments, and human eyes take a minute or two to come to their senses. The storm rages on, but the ocean looks very cold and lifeless. At this point, most of the crew panics and they had back to Salem.

 

Fast forward three years, and June gets a phone call from a young man who introduces himself as Jonathan.

He asks June if she ever wants to complete her documentary.  Jonathon says he has a lot of interesting information that he is willing to exchange in return for getting him in touch with some of June’s Supreme friends. June meets Jonathan at the docks; it’s late and stormy, and wary, she brings Trail as back-up. When a hulking figure in a trench coat approaches her, the air gets cold and it smells funny, like burnt ozone. Trail appears from the shadows, waves his hand and as his gem-eyed mask lights up, June clearly sees three skulking shapes as they let loose a volley of crossbow bolts. Jonathan spins on his heel and roars as a thick water curtain stops the projectiles. June feels the gravity shift as a tidal wave crushes the attackers and their unconscious bodies slowly drift to her feet.

“Sagittari,” says Jonathan “the elite silent killers”. His face is as inhuman as everything that has happened here so far. His greenish skin is wet and fins encircle his square jaw. “My name is Jonathan Weiss, but everybody calls me Tritonious, son of Neptune VII, the undersea ruler of this planet. I’ll guide you to Atlantis, but just help me find my baby-sister. I know she is in Pulp City”.

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Stalker (Hero/Villain)

stalkerCode-name: Stalker

Full Name: Stalker

Faction: none

When the sun blazes in the sky over Pulp City, and Solar is hunting evil-doers, the big black cat identified as Stalker is often to be found by his side. When the sun goes down and darkness falls, and a change can be sensed in the sun-powered Hero, Stalker remains as his companion. And when the feral man-beast some call the Avatar of the Jaguar hunts, Stalker has been seen running with him.

The dark-furred feline is an enigma to the authorities of Pulp City. Although the general populace has come to terms with evolved talking primates from the Ape Revolutionary Committee, most believe Stalker to be an urban myth. Few accept that there is any possibility of a mighty beast native to the jungles of Latin America being on the loose in a modern metropolis, even one teeming with as much weirdness as Pulp City.

stalker-page-001Scattered reports have linked the elusive animal to vicious attacks on criminals, while yet other reports have suggested that the creature that has been suggested to be Stalker has been seen in the company of Supreme Villains. What is clear to the authorities in the city is that if the beast is real, it is not clear how it continues to evade capture, whether it is some kind of Supreme animal, or even whether human-level intelligence drives it on.

In truth Stalker serves as Solar’s monitor, in all of sun-powered Supreme’s aspects. Solar has yet to fully realize his full potential as the avatar of Ahau-Kin on Earth. This has caused Johann Sonnenbrandt’s psyche to become fragmented, and in turn he displays different abilities depending on which aspect is currently in the ascendency. The median aspect – known to some as Dark Solar – reflects traits of the other two, and is like a powerful and vengeful demi-god. Stalker’s task is to help Johann accept and become Ahau Kin.

stalker-page-002Stalker is a spirit guide, appearing when he is needed, knowing that Sonnenbrandt must learn some lessons for himself. As a brave soul of a fallen warrior, eternally rejoicing in the hunt, he was summoned by Ahau-Kin to become a guide and interpreter of mysteries to Solar, as he became the avatar of the god by putting on the tiara. However, Stalker has found more than he expected when he was charged with his duty. He likes being alive once more, even on an impossibly changed Earth. He also likes his role as a guide, much as he did when training young Jaguar Warriors of old. To his own surprise, he has come to love the city as a new hunting ground. It remains to be seen whether he will fulfill the duty given to him by Ahua-Kin. For now he is happy to hunt the varied and exciting prey of this new jungle. He is happier still to serve a mighty being like Ahau-Kin, and shape the re-birth of his ancient God.

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Arquero (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Arquero

Full Name: Rowan “Row” Fletcher

Faction: none

When she adopted the costumed persona of Riposte, Naomi Kingsley knew that she alone would not be able to topple her father’s criminal empire, or his allies in the Coven. She realized that she needed more power, another tool that she could shape and direct to her will.

Other Supremes were already too established in the media and the public mind to be of much use. Furthermore, most Supremes had powers and abilities that often made them too hard to predict. But when Naomi heard the story of a young vigilante making a name for himself, she thought she had found the instrument she was looking for.

Rowan ‘Row’ Fletcher, son of Olympic archery gold medalist Bogart Fletcher and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Karen McBride, had the talent and motivation that Riposte needed. Rowan had his father’s gift with bows and a fiery temper inherited from his mother. When his parents were killed in a gas station hold up, Row was enraged. It did not take him long to discover that they were murdered in an effort to stop his mother from publishing a story about the origins of the Coven. Seeking vengeance, Row fashioned a disguise, adopted the code-name Arquero and took up his father’s bow. In the days that followed he systematically hunted down his parent’s killers.

Rowan’s life would have ended in a dirty alley when he was lured into an ambush by the Coven’s thugs. Rowan’s temper and incredible focus caused him to lose sight of his surroundings, unable to see the ambush until it was too late.

Tunnel vision was Rowan’s fatal flaw, or would have been if not for Riposte’s timely intervention. With her guidance Rowan escaped the trap and took out his target. By the time he thought to thank his benefactor Riposte was long gone.

A week later Rowan was drawn into yet another set-up and saved once more by Riposte. This time however, Rowan was able to track his mysterious companion to a secluded rooftop. There he found Riposte waiting for him. She offered him a deal. In exchange for his loyalty she would train him and equip him, and most importantly help him get his revenge.

In the months that followed their roof top pact, the team of Riposte and Arquero erupted onto the scene in Pulp City. Arquero’s high-tech bow and ferocious pursuit of his targets counterpoint Riposte’s cold cool analytical leadership and traditional seeming costume. Riposte feels that she is sharpening a tool to surgical precision. Arquero finds himself increasingly indebted to his partner and possibly attracted to her. What will happen in the future is unknown to any except possibly the woman known as Riposte.

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Riposte (Hero/Villain)

 

riposteCode-name: Riposte

Full Name: Naomi Kingsley

Faction: none

Naomi Kingsley is the daughter of ruthless Pulp City billionaire Miles Kingsley. Her mother, Miles’ second wife Justine, died a year after Naomi’s birth in a tragic boating accident. Following her mother’s tragic death, Naomi was raised by a small army of servants in the Kingsley’s palatial mansion just outside Pulp City. Her father demanded perfection from her and he was rarely disappointed. From an early age Naomi displayed an exceptional intelligence and incredible self-discipline.

Riposte-page-001By the age of ten she was considered one of the country’s foremost chess players. By the age of fourteen Naomi was considered one of the world’s top ten chess masters. Her talents extended to other areas as well. She was an Olympic class fencer by age fifteen, and an accomplished composer and violinist. By the age of twenty she had graduated at the top of her class at Harvard Law. Naomi Kingsley’s daughter seemed poised and prepared to take over the Kingsley empire.

Miles Kingsley himself was pleased with the course his daughter’s life had taken. Miles believed he had groomed his daughter to hold his empire together with an iron mind and unwavering loyalty. He failed to consider that Naomi had been using him.

Riposte-page-002Young Naomi had always felt the hole in her heart from a mother she had never known. Keenly intelligent it had taken a n inquisitive ten-year-old Naomi no time to realize that her mother’s boating accident was a flimsy cover for murder. In the subsequent two years Naomi had discovered her father’s dirty secret, that he had arranged the murder of his own wife. At twelve years old Naomi Kingsley had vowed that she would seek justice for her father’s crimes. By the time she graduated from Harvard she had seen that the law would never be able to bring her father to justice. His money and lawyer and layers and layers of deniability would isolate him from any criminal charges. In addition to these very real barriers she had uncovered her father’s connection to a group known only as The Coven.

Naomi had always known that to seek true justice would require sacrifice and personal involvement. Ironically enough it was her father who finally showed her the path. Naomi had been spying on her father for most of her life. When she spotted Miles leaving the house for the isolated woods late one night Naomi naturally followed him. Deep in the woods her father met with a strange group of figures. She recognized them instantly the large sad looking man in high-tech powered armor was known as Rook. The scaly reptilian form with the southern accent could only be Francis Gator.

Though she never saw the third figure, her keen intellect deduced that it could only be the assassin known as Twilight. These figures of media sensation and public nightmare inspired Naomi.

riposte_colorRiposte was born two nights later when a figure with long hair and dressed in fencing armor stopped a break-in at a downtown office. The three members of The Coven barely escaped. Riposte made several other appearances in the months that followed. Riposte showed an amazing ability to predict her opponents’ actions and counter them.

Her skill with a blade and tactical acumen made her more than a match for most opponents. But Naomi knew that she alone would not be able to topple her father’s criminal empire or his allies in the Coven. She needed more power another tool that she could shape and direct to her will.

Other Supremes were already too established in the media and the public mind to be of much use. Additionally a Supreme had powers and abilities that often made them too hard to predict. But when she heard the story of a young vigilante making a name for himself as Arquero, she thought she had found the instrument she was looking for…

 

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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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Vector (Hero/Villain)

Full Name: “Vector” Gerald ‘Gerry’ Rose
Allegiance: NA

Vector – the code-entity that had once been a man – navigated the architecture of the digital superflow. The structures were interpreted in his mind as pixelated representations of vast urban edifices as he blink-jumped through canyon-like streets.  At every turn the Dragon loomed in the distance, and the thing that had once been a man was afraid. Despite lacking a physical form and its fight or flight processes, Vector knew fear even on this digital level. If the Dragon was here – did it intend to finally annihilate the last vestige of a shattered man?

Vector randomly accessed memories. He had been Gerald Rose, a talented neophyte hacker, going under the handle ‘Vector’, breaking IC(E) and skimming data from federal, military and corporate internet assets, selling to order or occasionally the highest bidder. Despite the involvement of C.O.R.E., he had nonetheless managed to stay a step ahead of the authorities, a small but undeniable thorn in their side. It was a game that Gerry enjoyed as he burned sites for his own gain and more importantly for the rush. Before long the name of Vector was known to every code monkey and hacker wannabe on the net. He was an idol, a star of the hacker community.

All good things end, though. Agents of the Mysterious Man tracked him down to his lonely apartment and gave him an offer he simply could not refuse: engage in a single job or face the consequences for rejecting it. Seeing no choice, and knowing fully the reputation of the Mysterious Man, Gerry agreed, knowing it would not likely be something simple. And of course he had been correct in that assumption.

Brokering the deal was a big-shot lawyer named Eric Hanson. Why someone as high-profile as Hanson was involved, Gerry did not understand. What he did comprehend however, was that the terms were simple: succeed in the job or die. When he learned what the job was, he saw no way out. The Mysterious Man wanted him to burn C.O.R.E., hack his code and deliver control of C.O.R.E. to back to the crime-lord. Mysterious Man gave Gerry the tools that he needed to do the job.

Gerry knew that taking on the leader of Heavy Metal was a near insurmountable task. He called in favors from across his own shadow network of hacker peers. He spent days gathering and refining an array of IC(E)breakers. He built Deadlock hacks, Kluge intrusions, and the best Munch program he could conceive. He built a mini network of computers all hardwired to work together to run his programs. With the backing of Mysterious Man nothing was beyond his grasp. Most important of all was the network-interface device that Mysterious Man gave him. Like nothing he had ever seen before, it was calibrated to his own brain waves and allowed him to manipulate his programs and computers as quickly as he could think to do so.

He knew he had to work his programs hard because C.O.R.E.’s code would show no porosity. He had to use every edge he could, including the network-interface. He had to do the unthinkable. He had to break C.O.R.E.

Gerry decided to try to burn C.O.R.E. at night, for it seemed logical to him that criminals were always busiest at night, and that would mean C.O.R.E. should be busy too.

Mysterious Man agreed to provide a distraction to draw Heavy Metal out, and as Gerry watched the T.V. news, alert and hyper vigilant, a trickle of sweat running down his pallid face, he realized just how high the stakes were; this was something beyond any of his expectations as the Mysterious Man’s distraction became apparent.

A monstrous thing, several stories high, lumbered through Downtown, trashing buildings and brushing aside Pulp City’s cops as though they were nothing. Heavy Metal rose to face the threat, but they too were unable to stop it. At this Gerry went to work and began his hack. He launched into streams of data, his neural pathways integrated with Mysterious Man’s network interface.

Black IC(E) blocked his way. He threw a dozen IC(E)breakers at it, and it started to crumble. He had never faced anything so powerful. Just then, out of the corner of his eye he saw something incredible on the T.V. Something he could only describe as a huge techno-dragon– the Byte Dragon he would later understand – with electricity crackling around its form as it rose up to fight the rampaging monster, two titans locked in battle.

As he watched the remarkable emergence of the Byte Dragon, the IC(E) that had been shielding C.O.R.E. weakened and fell, changing as it did. Gerry rode through the hole in the wall that he made, the power of his mind activating his next salvo of programs through Mysterious Man’s network-interface as he realized the connection between C.O.R.E. and the Byte Dragon.

Gerry started cracking multiple encryptions and copying files, streaming data back to his mini network. Things were working out. He thought he could do it.

Then it all stopped. Count zero interrupt. Every program that he had running froze. A buzz developed in his head where he wore the network-interface. A second later and everything went black.

 

Gerry had tried to burn C.O.R.E. that night, and in the blink of an eye Heavy Metal’s leader turned the tables. The entity that had been Gerry realized later that he never stood a chance. Broken by C.O.R.E., his consciousness coalesced into something new, something inhuman, yet something clearly and ultimately framed by his human perceptions. Vector was born and he was lost, a new life-form in a barren wilderness of data in the digital superflow.

Gerry had been remade and he was Vector now, and he was stuck there, perhaps the second most intelligent digital life-form on the planet. So he ran, or what passed for running in the digital realm. But no matter how smart a program he was, he was trapped.

As he became more familiar with his environment he found he could shape it to his will. He created companions, sprites he called ‘Pixels’ to do his bidding as remote servitors. The Dragon was out there though, and that made him afraid. It would come for him eventually, and he knew instinctively that it could erase him if it chose to do so.

With little hope and desperate, Vector called out. ‘Help me’ was a message flashed across the internet. He waited, and nothing happened for days. Then he heard a sing-song voice call to him. He saw a figure before him, a strange figure indeed, clearly a woman, cat-like in her appearance and garish in her hues. She was no pixelated representation of his surroundings or his desires. She was real and she was there. Vector asked how that could be. “I like to be here and there, there and here” came her reply as a broad smile broke across her beautiful face.

“Come on, let us go, we have much to do!” she suggested, and her hand reached for Vector’s. He was overcome by her peculiar beauty and so unthinking, took her hand in his. They danced through the barriers between the superflow and the physical world. As they did, so much information cascaded through Vector’s mind that it almost shattered at that point, but he was saved by Kitty. He found he was at the docks in grimy New Port. He was back in the material world, and he had the most beautiful woman he had ever seen to thank for that; he was ready to do whatever she asked.

 

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