M.O.D. (Hero)

 

modCode-name: M.O.D.

Full Name: Modular Operations Droid

Faction: Heavy Metal

M.O.D. quietly wheeled through the otherwise deserted workshop, dust-pan in hand, sweeping up the remnants of a small explosion from Captain Hadron’s latest energy regulating device. The only sounds from the small bot were the almost inaudible electric whirr of his mono-wheel, and the tinny noises escaping his headphones. On his little personal cassette player World in Flames blasted out ‘It’s What It Is’. M.O.D. really enjoyed the fast, energetic music, but was too shy to let Lady Cyburn know he regularly listened to her former band.

Designated as Modular Operations Droid, chronologically M.O.D. was just a few months old, created by Androida and Dr. Mercury primarily for research support and lab cleaning. They modeled his personality and artificial intelligence on idealized features of a bright young adult human, and his learning capacity surpassed even his creators’ expectations as M.O.D. constantly devoured new experiences. The genial little robot felt that he had been designed for real purpose, and if that was to support the Heavy Metal team, then he would happily play his part.

mod-page-001With the workshop tidied up, M.O.D. did his rounds to make sure everything was put away in its place. He may have been just a small cog in the mighty Heavy Metal machine, but he saw his role as being the one to make sure that the Supremes could focus on the really important matters they wrestled with every day: battling Villains, halting invasions, closing dangerous Quantum Holes and most importantly – serving the public. Right now, most of the team was scattered across Pulp City, trying to contain the crises resulting from the rampage of Monsters which had befallen the metropolis in recent days. M.O.D. inwardly hoped they would all come back safely. He had become part of their team, and as he grew emotionally, he accepted they were inextricably part of him.

As M.O.D. serenely moved down a clean, bright, high-tech corridor, the lights suddenly flickered – once, twice, then darkness. Emergency lighting bathed the interior of Wilson Tower red as an alarm klaxon rang out, signaling an intruder alert. M.O.D. raced to the nearest access panel which slid aside at his approach. From a forearm he extended a smooth metal tube plugging him directly into the building’s main-frame, which still worked under emergency power. He rapidly examined schematics to gather intelligence on the interlopers. Cameras were inoperative in their location, but heat and pressure sensors placed them on the floor below, having exited the elevator shaft. They were approaching the Monitor Room, and the only Supreme in the building– he had to help Chronin!

mod-page-002Sending an alarm signal to Heavy Metal, M.O.D. rushed to the stairwell. Crashing through the door he engaged his shock absorbers to maximum compensation and bounced down the steps with precision. He approached the next door cautiously. Carefully nudging the door open, he peered around it, counting five dark-clad figures moving like shadows creeping stealthily into the Monitor Room.

From within the chamber he could hear Chronin, her voice loud and firm, “I see you, killers, and I will not yield!”

Recognizing there was no time to waste and that he was the only support that Chronin had, M.O.D. raised his energy shields and raced forward. Androida and Hadron had engineered countermeasures to allow him to approach volatile energy experiments, but he suddenly realized they could serve him now to protect against enemy attacks.

M.O.D. rushed into the room, positioning himself alongside Chronin. One attacker lay nearby, felled already. A database search immediately indicated he was a Ninja affiliated with the Jade Cult. Scanning the room, M.O.D. detected two other Ninjas, one masked and in standard garb, the second wearing more ornate accoutrements, its uncovered face an inhuman visage. The final two figures were near-identical visually, but markedly different under spectrographic analysis, one a shadowy double of the other, formed of an energy whose properties were unrecognizable to his systems. The pair looked feral, part-human, and wore clawed gauntlets.

One of the clawed trespassers exclaimed gutturally, “The sword will be reclaimed!”

The masked Ninja approached Chronin and was struck down in a swift flurry of blows. Chronin looked down at her smaller companion with a grim smile, raising her sword and adopting a defensive stance. A multitude of options ran through M.O.D.’S computer-brain in that moment. He analyzed programs and sub-routines, and then had his answer. He re-coded a workshop assistant program in a matter of seconds, pulling scripts from several different sources simultaneously. Ready, he reached out, energizing his ally. Chronin felt a tingle of electricity wash over her, not painful, but invigorating. Her smile widened.

MODFolding time, Chronin unleashed an impossible fusillade of lightning-fast sword strikes as the three remaining Jade Cult approached. First the final Ninja was struck down, then the shadowy double. Suddenly, another figure crashed onto the scene, smashing through a window amid the roar of jet engines. Having heeded M.O.D.’s alarm call, the war-suit wearing Tomcat levelled his weapon systems at the remaining invader. The feral half-man glanced around the room before seeming to melt into the shadows.

“It is not over,” said Chronin thoughtfully as she turned to M.O.D., “But thanks to you my little team-mate, it is a battle we can face another day, together.”

“T-team-mate,” stammered M.O.D., a vocal sub-routine glitch as he processed the recognition of her words.

Tomcat slapped M.O.D. on the shoulder, “Welcome to Heavy Metal, buddy!”

 

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Tekkna (Hero)

 

tekknaCode-name: Tekkna

Full Name: Erika Mitros

Faction: none

Beneath a purpose-built university building in Greece, Erika Mitros blew on her coffee cup to cool it down as she sat waiting outside a climate-controlled vault full of antiquities. The professor was late. The professor was always late. Professor Adam Stamos was handsome, charming and brilliant, but time-keeping was not one of his strengths. Still, she could tolerate that in the name of being his lead researcher.

Minutes passed, many minutes. When Erika realized she had been waiting for almost an hour she prepared to leave. As she stood, Erika heard a commotion from the corridor leading to the vault. She saw Adam and a security guard running toward her. Shots rang out and Adam stumbled as the guard fell to the floor. Adam ran on, clearly injured. Blood seeped through his jacket and shirt as he clutched a hand to his wound.

Tekkna-page-001“Erika! We must escape!” he panted, as she saw two armed men approach, both dressed in dark suits.

Adam frantically pressed the code for the vault, leaving bloody fingerprints on the keypad. A hiss followed and he and Erika tumbled through the door. She glanced over her shoulder as the two men advanced. Suddenly the gunmen realized what was happening as the vault door began to close but they were too late to stop it.

Inside, Erika and Adam sat on the floor. Already her boss was looking wan and pale. He looked up at her as she pressed her hand against his wound.

“Erika, you must listen, we don’t have much time,” he said, words catching in his throat from the pain.

“We need to get you out of here,” she said, ignoring his plea, before continuing, “Who were those men?”

Tekkna-page-002“Cultists. True believers. Men who sold their souls in the service of an ancient power. Agents of the Forgotten.”

As she listened his words made no sense. She wondered if Adam was already delirious from injury and blood loss.

“We have little time,” he continued, coughing as blood specked his lips, “I don’t have much time. Here, take this.”

Adam pressed a circular metal item into Erika’s palm. On it were etched various sigils and Greek characters. Erika gasped as she realized that there were several wheels on the disc’s surface that rotated with her touch.

“The gift is within you,” coughed Adam, “That I have always known. Use this and decode the Scroll of Daedelus, the one that seemed like gibberish when we examined it. It was written in code, and that device is one half of the cipher. You are the missing half of the cipher.”

Adam weakly motioned to a scroll held in a transparent hermetically sealed box, suspended by metal wires from the vault’s ceiling. Erika stood, dazed, and wandered over to the encased parchment. As she approached, holding the disc, its array of characters changed as wheels moved into position. At last she heard a faint click as movement ceased and the circles locked into place. The strange device then shimmered with its own light. Automatically she raised it and spoke aloud the words it translated on the scroll.

The sigils on the scroll flashed through Erika’s mind’s eye. Knowledge dormant within her blood-line was unlocked in a single moment, lost scientific concepts and tekkno-sorcerous formulae tumbling through her thoughts. In that instant she understood it all. She was heir to Daedalus’ Cult Mekkana, foes of Phalanx and Hellsmith, and ultimately the Forgotten. A vision played out of their evil rising once more, and she knew that she had to fight to stop it.

tekknaErika looked down at her hands which glowed with energy. She was transformed, her skin taking on a strange hue and marked by tracery of tekkno-circuits. Her garments had changed into something more fitting to her needs. Erika Mitros was gone, transformed into Tekkna, daughter of the Cult of Mekkana.

She turned then to Adam, but his last breath had been drawn. Her mentor was gone. Raged coursed through her, and Erika reached out with her mind to those of the killers beyond the vault door, each collapsing to the floor from the assault of her ancient curse. With a thought she vanished from the vault, reappearing beside the unconscious assassins. Moving quickly she connected her mind to the personal digital assistant one carried. Effortlessly she sundered its encryption, freeing its secrets. The men had been dispatched by the heads of the Forgotten to claim the scroll, no doubt to usurp her power. The PDA revealed that the agents had travelled from Pulp City. That was her destination. She could do nothing to help Adam now, but would devote every waking moment to the downfall of those responsible for his death. The Forgotten had gained a new enemy this day.

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Gemini X & Gemini Y (Villains)

 

Gemini X and YCode-names: Gemini X & Gemini Y

Full Name: None that exists outside of the twins’ own mental connection

Faction: Ulthar

Ulthar twins are extremely rare among the egg laying species. When they are born there is always a male and a female. Each pairing shares an innate psychic bond and Ulthar culture holds that twins are a single being sharing two bodies. Twins are always immediately claimed by the Gemini Caste and secluded into the most secretive and intensive training program imaginable.

Gemini X-page-001From their birth, Gemini twins are subjected to biological, chemical and psionic treatments designed to enhance their inborn psychic abilities. By the time a Gemini emerges from their secluded training they are stunted, distorted versions of the normally tall and slender Ulthar physiology. Their original gender characteristics are suppressed leaving them almost genderless and indistinguishable from each other. The most disturbing of all their features is their distinctive skull implants, their upper cranium removed and replaced by a special crystalline matrix which amplifies their psychic powers.

Geminis are always found close to Aquarius Warlords. They serve as counsellors and advisors constantly in the background of any meeting, so much so that most Ulthar pay them no notice. A perceptive outsider might observe that a Gemini never speaks, nor are they ever directly spoken to by any Ulthar. They are simply present, silent shadows at the highest level of the Ulthar war-machine.

Gemini X-page-002The Supremes now known on Earth as Gemini X and Gemini Y are themselves products of this entrenched cycle. Gifted and powerful beyond other Geminis, they were chosen for an exceptionally difficult task and assigned to Ra’Leigh, the most rebellious and troublesome of Warlords, although he believes he won their services due to his own cleverness. Their duty was to see Ra’Leigh brought to heel and made to comply with the Ulthar directive, or failing that, ensure his destruction.

Instead Ra’Leigh survived and thrived. He sought counsel from Stormblades’ whispers, and embarked on a quest to conquer Earth and the lost colony. Gemini X and Y concluded that the most efficient way to undermine Ra’Leigh’s mission was to guarantee his defeat.

The true secret power of Geminis is population control, psychic manipulation that keeps billions of warlike Ulthar locked into their stagnant Caste system. Gemini X and Y withdrew the mental hold they normally exerted on Ra’Leigh’s forces, and the normally precise and clocklike movements of the Ulthar structure failed. Troops experienced doubt, fear, and failure for the first time in a hundred generations. The invasion was defeated. This should have been the end of Ra’Leigh, ensuring that Earth was left alone forever.

Gemini Y-page-001The Gemini plan failed. Instead, like some horrible disease, a semblance of the independence seen on Earth began to creep through Ra’Leigh’s Patriaship. Sporadic signs of individualism occurred among the lower Castes. The presence on Earth of the great turncoat Virgo further inspired rebellious thoughts and free expression. The most terrible change however was in Ra’Leigh himself. Defeat inspired him.

So unnerved were the Gemini Caste that they agreed to assemble the fleet for a massive invasion of Earth. Shaken and uncertain, the Warlords truly took control of the Empire for the first time since the Great Schism. This conquest failed also. Gemini X and Y judged that this was due in large part to unprecedented doubt among the Gemini Caste, coupled with the Ulthar’s inability to come to terms with such determined, clever, and powerful Supreme opposition. They devised a final strategy to save the Ulthar Empire and convinced the rest of their Caste of its necessity.

Gemini Y-page-002As the Gemini’s machinations were put in motion, the Empire turned on Ra’Leigh, stranding him and his followers on the far side of the galaxy. Destroying the Warlord’s vessel was simple, its deck-plans and security schedules leaked to ensure that the traitorous Virgo and Tritonious knew when and where to strike to cripple the great Patriaship. The Geminis guided the crew to assure destruction of the most troublesome and independent-minded of them. Yet somehow several resisted their mental commands and were not eliminated as the Geminis had planned.

Now the most powerful of Gemini twins are trapped on Earth, their place within the Empire sacrificed, doomed to die on a primitive world, their purpose served preserving the eternal Ulthar Empire. With no need to expend so much of their energy subjugating a vast populace, the Geminis are finding their power evolving. New and strange ideas are forming within them, and their own value as individuals is becoming apparent. There is inspiration to be found in Pulp City, especially the private empire of Mysterious Man. It is a new paradigm to the Twins, but perhaps a good one they think. Perhaps they should seek something for themselves.

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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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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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Vector (Hero/Villain)

 

VectorCode-name: Vector

Full Name: Gerald ‘Gerry’ Rose

Allegiance: none

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.

vector-page-001All 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.

vector-page-002Gerry 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.

pixels-page-001Gerry 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.

pixels-page-002Black 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.

megapixel-page-001Gerry 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.

megapixel-page-002Gerry 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.

vector“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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Nuclear Jones (Hero)

 

nuclearjonesCode-name: Nuclear Jones

Full Name: Mark Jones

Faction: Heavy Metal
There is one man that knows much more than almost anyone else about Mysterious Man and who is very high on the evil mastermind’s list of targets.

Once upon a time, in the darkest alleys of New Port, two brothers led a sinful life of crime and terror. Mark Jones and Samuel Jones, Pulp City street-raised twins, were working low profile dockside jobs before becoming enrolled into Mysterious Man’s black market empire. Nature granted Samuel an ox-like build and bird-sized brain which was great when you considered his job. Mark was different in every way. Before he became one of Heavy Metal’s Supremes, Mark Jones and his twin brother eventually rose through the ranks of the Mysterious Man’s organization to run various shady operations for the overlord in the docks area. Such were their feats that the watching eye of the Mysterious Man turned their way with intent interest and he nominated them the ambassadors of his evil empire in Pulp City.

nuclearjones-page-001Years passed, and both had attained positions of power and influence; but unlike his brother, Mark was smart. His bro was like an anchor, dragging him down, but Mark would never lose Samuel’s loyalty or attachment. Irritated with Mark’s inability to sever this umbilical cord, Mysterious Man seized an opportunity when he faced a Heavy Metal attack. He covered his retreat using Mark’s brother… and unleashed a very furious genetically-modified dinosaur of his own creation – the Occultosaurus 17.

The rampaging dinosaur, blinded with rage and bloodlust, could not discern between the Heroes and its allies and snapped at Samuel, cutting him almost in half. Mark tried valiantly to stop it from finishing his brother, but as he bravely intervened he suffered the same horrific treatment. The beast tore the goons to pieces before the might of C.O.R.E. stopped him. One of the brothers was beyond help, but the other still lived.

nuclearjones-page-002Left for dead by Mysterious Man, Mark’s body was recovered by Iron Train who was so impressed by the brave action of Jones that he ensured the Team took his badly maimed body to Heavy Metal headquarters in a bid to save his life. C.O.R.E. placed Mark’s bodily remains in a medical stasis field. In the subsequent experimental process that could have killed Jones or grant him new life, the leader of Heavy Metal managed to accomplish the latter but at a high price. Using all of his downloaded knowledge, C.O.R.E. managed to revive the mutilated man’s body with cybernetics powered by an experimental nuclear reactor. To sustain his life, his body was rebuilt around a small atomic reactor, his nuclear heart.

 

nuclear jones artThus Nuclear Jones was born, half-man, half-machine, with a debt of returned life to be paid off.

 
Nuclear Jones is a cyborg with unevenly spread bionics. Most importantly, his torso was partly replaced by a nuclear reactor, green and glowing with a visible ‘heart’. In fact, his nuclear midsection connects his more human upper and lower bodies. The damage to his body was so extensive that parts of it had to be wholly replaced with bionics. The abdominal area that suffered the most was replaced with a miniature nuclear reactor that in case of malfunction triggers a teleportation mechanism and sends Jones somewhere safe. That safe-mode is for the security of everybody else, but not necessarily for him.

 

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Dr. Red (Hero/Villain)

dr Red

Code-name: Dr. Red

Full Name: Dr. Red/Red Alpha

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee

Some beings are born to lead. The problem for the Ape Revolution Committee is that they have a few too many alpha-primates in their ranks.

When Channel 4 mentions the bravado of A.R.C., Guerilla is usually the one mentioned most. However, only a few outsiders to the A.R.C. are aware that most of the progress made by the primate Supremes in the last few years was sparked by the twisted mind of their alpha orang-utan; the self-proclaimed Dr. Red. Although his first attempt to take over the group while still in the space ended up with Guerilla beating him to a bloody pulp, Red has since plotted his ultimate rise to power, mastering the art of patience.

drred-page-001Well, at least temporary bouts of patience.

There are two things that the Red Alpha loves in life. Firstly, is when his actions affect the world indirectly; he considers the act of pulling the strings to orchestrate events to be far beyond the simple reasoning, understanding and appreciation of most of his comrades, especially including Guerilla.

The second thing that Dr. Red loves is watching things blow up; and to do so, again and again. Red still remembers the first time he admired Pulp City’s massive 4th of July celebrations, only to quickly decide that it was all a pointless display of misplaced power. He likes the pretty sight of fireworks, but even more he hates the aspect of pointless symbolism that he perceives in celebrations when there is war to be fought. When Dr. Red blows things up, it is always spectacular to behold and with purpose, at least to his own cause.

drred-page-002Red has learned a lot about explosives but rarely follows the safety instructions of the U.S. Army ordnance which A.R.C. steals and trades for with shadowy parts of Pulp City’s underworld. When he drags his giant body across the battlefield, explosive charges literally fall out of his pockets. When he throws his custom-made grenades, he never quite knows what result will be. Usually the outcome is at least as good as expected, even if his comrades are sometimes in his firing line, subject tor unexpected friendly fire.

Beneath a mask of a crazed and random primate, there is a very apt brain that constantly plans, constructing strategies to pay off in Red’s favor when the time is right.

Red artWhile not many of his comrades will directly agree with the statement, most of them would consider Red Alpha their foremost mentor and tactician. The simian brethren of A.R.C. calculate that with each passing year they will see more and more incursion into the human supremacy, based on the indirect approach to things championed by Dr. Red. And while Guerilla still triumphs in most of the missions he undertakes, when he crashes, he crashes hard. Over the last couple of months this has happened increasingly, usually when facing smarter rivals like C.O.R.E. or Dr. Tenebrous, and the various new Supremes that have been emerging since the Fall.

If it ever came to a day where the team would have to split because of different visions of the revolution, the A.R.C. will stand divided, and Dr. Red will aim to stand above all.

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Xenobi (Villain)

Code-name: Xenobi

Full Name: Xenobi

Faction: none

08:42 Zulu Time
The little mutant with the turquoise skin tugged gently at the hem of his master’s coat. Xenobi wanted his boss’ attention, but even himself as one of his master’s greatest creations, he knew well enough not to raise his master’s ire in doing so. He had seen fully what the Mysterious Man was capable of.

“Master, master, they are here. Supremes have come again,” said the freakish Xenobi. A malevolent grin played across his strange, vaguely fish-like features, revealing vicious teeth. He might now have time for sport if Kodo Island’s indigenous fauna and flora did not take care of this problem first.

Absentmindedly the Mysterious Man brushed away the insistent attentions of the peculiar little mutant. The Mysterious Man’s focus was elsewhere, on his latest grand creation – a gigantic monster designed to sow terror as an extension of his indomitable will to power. Whatever distractions the diminutive Xenobi had noticed could be taken care of by others, Xenobi included. He resolved that that would be sufficient.

“Xenobi – whom do we have as a guest today? Nuke? Take him and whatever creatures you want from the Cloning Vats, and deal with the problem.” He commanded, before belatedly adding “I am occupied.”

Xenobi dutifully trotted off and went to his own little armory to pick up his big ‘boom-gun’, muttering to himself in a sing-song manner as he went: “I’m gonna hurt the heroes, I’m gonna hurt the heroes!”

It was proving to be just another day in the strange life of the strange pint-sized mutant.

Xenobi’s journey took him to one of his favorite places – the Cloning Vats. In the vast silo there were all manner of misshapen creatures housed in glass and metal tanks, fashioned by one man’s will and scientific genius. Organisms with form and function that had nothing to do with nature waited to be used in the latest scheme of their creator. Occasionally the Mysterious Man would allow Xenobi to play with them or use them on his own recognizance, and Xenobi enjoyed that so very much.

Xenobi walked up and down aisle upon aisle of tanks, examining the contents of each carefully, his tongue poking out between his lips as he concentrated. Decision eventually made, he kicked the side of one tank to wake its occupants – strange things with myriad tentacles adorned with sharp hooks in place of arms or legs, and bulbous bodies that contained all other sensory and vital organs.
One of the tentacled- things – Mysterious Man called them Ravenopods – roused to grasp a hunk of raw, bloodied meat lying at the bottom of the tank, lifting it up within the hidden folds of its tentacles for noisy consumption.

Xenobi tapped on a keypad which in turn opened the tank, and as the hatch hissed aside the tentacled things stepped onto the deck plate of the silo. Rasping breaths were taken by the things as Xenobi barked his orders to them.
Xenobi liked to give orders. He barked an extra order just because he could.

 

10:01 Zulu
Satisfied with his selection of mutate muscle, Xenobi headed for the guest living quarters to find Nuke. The little mutant had to be careful. He enjoyed being in charge, but Nuke was powerful – he could probably incinerate Xenobi with little effort; even if Xenobi’s small brain did not understand the word incinerate, he understood the concept having seen Nuke in action.

Xenobi arrived and explained the situation briefly to Nuke – instructions were always necessarily brief with the atomic horror. He reported to Nuke that there were uninvited Supremes on Kodo Island and they were to take care of the problem. The radioactive Supreme seemed disinterested, barely acknowledging Xenobi’s explanation, yet finally offered agreement with a barely perceptible nod of its fiery head. Xenobi saved his favorite part to last as he carefully explained that he, Xenobi, was in charge, and that Nuke should do as he says. With no response from the radioactive horror, Xenobi added the caveat of ‘if that was okay with him’.

 

12:16 Zulu
The operation did not go quite as planned, essentially because Xenobi did not have a plan. Nonetheless he simply ordered Nuke and the Ravenopods to attack when they came upon the two interlopers.

They found the invaders to the island at the edge of the verdant jungle. Xenobi poked his tongue in concentration, thought for a moment and guessed that they came ashore from the sea in which the island drifted. Xenobi recognized these transgressors – Virgo and Tritonious – and knew they were occasional allies of his master. In his dim-witted brain he knew also then that they should be allowed to live lest he himself face the master’s terrible fury.

Xenobi’s orders to attack give, Nuke stomped and clanked in his radiation regulating suit towards the trespassers, as Xenobi hung back, commanding the Ravenopods to grasp hold of the intruders. All the while he threw insults at the invaders, questioning their prowess and the legitimacy of their parentage along the way. That last insult seemed to make the big one – Tritonious – particularly angry, who then proceeded to try and get close enough to squish little Xenobi. The battle that followed was fierce and brutal, the Ravenopods’ pitiful lives ended in its course. Yet thankfully for little Xenobi, Nuke was eventually able drive away Tritonious and his female companion, the alien woman known as Virgo, as Xenobi skulked as far back as possible firing his ‘boom-gun’ and triggering his own random mutations.

The battle was done when the intruders finally fled the island.

 

13:03 Zulu
The invading pair of Supremes was not killed that day as Xenobi knew somewhere in his small brain that Mysterious Man had dealings with them occasionally and might need or want them yet alive, but victory was his, even with a little help from Nuke. But Nuke was not in charge, Xenobi was, and that was all that mattered. The wretched and peculiar little mutant danced a victory dance even as the last Ravenopod expired from its injuries as nearby the nuclear powerhouse looked on, saying nothing. After his jig had ended, Xenobi wondered what the remainder of this day would bring.

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Red Riding Hoodoo (Hero)

Code-name: Red Riding Hoodoo
Full Name: Shondra Vey
Faction: Blood Watch

Blood Watch Supreme Red Riding Hoodoo, born Shondra Vey in the murky swamps of south Louisiana, did not have many years to enjoy as a child. Marie, her mother, moved them both to Pulp City when Shondra was five to escape from someone, or maybe it was from something. Marie never told Shondra the full story, but it was clear that a dark and sinister force was involved. Nor did Marie talk much about her family until the day she received a fateful letter from her own mother that would cut short Shondra’s childhood.

Without much of an explanation, Marie sent little Shondra on a plane to Louisiana to deliver a small basket of medicine to her grandma. With just a few bucks in her pocket and grandma’s address, Shondra started a trip that would change her life forever.

Upon Shondra’s arrival she soon found a secret letter from her grandma. The letter explained that old woman feared she would fall into the clutches of an evil coven of black magic practitioners. Sensing this to be the case, immediately Shondra thought desperately of what she could do. She then searched the basket her mother had packed and discovered what she instinctively knew to be powerful charms within it. Guided by the hoodoo call in her blood, Shondra set out into the dark world of long-forgotten rituals and sacrifice, and would emerge as Red Riding Hoodoo.

Time passed quickly as Shondra knew she could not delay action for long. Instinctively invoking ancient rites and calling on old spirits, her path led her to the captors. Arriving at an old dilapidated manse overgrown with vines, Shondra faced a Loup Garou, an evil man transformed into a wolf and controlled by a voodoo priest.

Shondra called on the secret powers of her blood-line, summoning the spirits of her tortured slave ancestors. The wolf-man attacked but failed to harm the girl. So powerful were the spirits surging within Shondra that she was able to trap the man in his wolf form forever, neither truly dead nor alive. With the Loup Garou dispatched Shondra was able to save her grandma and both managed to escape the clutches of the wicked cabal that snapped at their heels. Shondra returned to Pulp City at her grandma’s insistence, and the old woman retreated deep into the sanctuary of the darkest Louisiana swamp.

After several years of study, Shondra realized that she had crossed the path of the Coven, a shadowy organization that for centuries had used dark means to affect politics and the economy, building up a formidable base of power in the wider world while coveting ever darker magicks. After Shondra’s victory, the seemingly ageless leader of the Coven, Papa Zombie, instructed his Strike Team to hunt down Red Riding Hoodoo at all costs. The next few years were spent evading them, and Pulp City offered the perfect hiding place among its myriad Supremes.

Red Riding Hoodoo has mastered many of the secret arts of hoodoo. Shondra quickly became an adept at harnessing the malign powers of hate and pain, but she still seeks to learn the white arcana of healing. She is usually seen accompanied by an unnaturally big wolf with shabby fur and glowing pale eyes. Some say it is the vile Loup Garou Hoodoo had managed to defeat many years ago.

Conscious of her powers, and the responsibility that comes with them, Hoodoo has just recently joined Blood Watch, a team of haunted Supremes who have sworn to protect Pulp City from black magic and the bloodthirsty appetites of the Lords of Necroplane and the nefarious Coven.

 

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