Doom Train (Villain)

doomtrain1Code-name: Doom Train

Full Name: Warlock Faustibal

Faction: Necroplane

Under shroud of darkness, several cautious figures crept through a yard full of wreckage. Flanked by hand-picked body-guards and two Necro-Servitors, Sanguine picked carefully among the stacks of decommissioned trains and twisted metal that was the railway graveyard of Royal Investments. Something remarkable had occurred there a week earlier, and his Necroplane master wanted to know what lay behind it.

Doomtrain-page-001Sanguine sniffed the air, supernatural senses keenly attuned to his surroundings. The yard was clear; he could clearly discern that above the odors of rusting metal and oil. The facility guards had made themselves scarce tonight as instructed after the shooting incident several days earlier. Shots had been fired at a desperate man, yet no body was found. All that was told to the PCPD detectives who responded was that the guards had scared off an intruder, a thief deterred by flying lead. However it was clear that there was a much deeper mystery afoot.

The smell of dried blood carried on warm air to the vampire, its coppery taste like a beacon through the night. Caution abandoned, Sanguine strode forward. In the heart of the mass of derelict metal he found the broken hull of a train marked with the name-plate emblazoned with ‘Francesca’. This was it, he knew without doubt.

Doomtrain-page-002Sanguine ran his fingers across the place where the blood had dried on the hull. There was a rent here in the side of the engine, as if metal had been torn free by some inhuman force. Something magickal had happened here, something that could potentially be twisted to the will of Tenebrous. He set the Necro-Servitors to work while his body-guards kept watch.

A year later, deep in a Necroplane citadel. A storm of purple lightning raged outside.

Screams echoed all around a dark chamber lit only by sporadic green light emanating from equipment scattered around the room, casting an eerie glow on proceedings.

At the heart of the room was a gurney tilted to a forty-five degree angle, and strapped to it a bizarre amalgamation of man and machine. The man in question, what was left of him, screamed out in pain once more, before at last his spark of what passed for life in the Necroplane finally gave out.

Looking on, Dr. Tenebrous pondered for a moment then signaled to a Necro-Servitor to remove the equipment that had been fused to the dead man. A whirling blade did just as commanded with speed and surgical precision. Another Necro-Servitor carefully and thoroughly washed bodily fluids from the operating table.

“Next subject,” commanded the lord of the Necroplane, inpatient for this experiment to succeed.

“Subject seventeen, proceed. Warlock Faustibal. The warlock has undertaken all the required rites and undergone blood-cleansing. The subject is ready,” intoned an emotionless Necro-Servitor.

doomtrainconceptTenebrous locked his gaze with the warlock. Like the magician’s entire ilk, he was ambitious, yet in this one the fires of ambition raged brighter than any Tenebrous had encountered before. A sinister smile played across Tenebrous’ thin lips.

The warlock was carefully strapped onto the surgical table. He knew what was coming. There would be no analgesic for this procedure as the subject needed to be brought to what passed for death in the Necroplane for the experiment to succeed. He let out no scream as the first saw blade tore into his flesh.

Hours later, Tenebrous stood satisfied, as he glanced upon his latest creation. A towering mix of blackened-iron and once-living being was before him. The last energies of the warlock would be siphoned into the armor to sustain it, for how long was not yet certain. However, what mattered most was what now remained; a powerful fusion of near-lifeless husk and magick-imbued metal.

“I call you Doom Train, and in you there is great potential now as you serve me,” said Dr. Tenebrous as he let out a malevolent laugh. Those fools in Earth’s Heavy Metal had worked to foil his plans, but little did they suspect that the power one of their own would be turned against them.

 

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Terror Cotta Warriors (Villain)

Full Name: Terror Cotta Warriors
Allegiance: Jade Cult

In a labyrinthine lab complex hidden far from prying eyes far beneath the streets of Tokyo, Dr. Hideo Takahashi trembled inwardly. Trying hard to focus and compose himself as assistants busied themselves all around him, he resolved not to reveal his fear, for his master was nothing if not capricious; yet rewards for the Green Emperor’s most capable servants were truly great.

The doctor’s laboratories were state of the art, bedecked with bleeding edge computer work stations, engineering equipment, and related paraphernalia so advanced that it had not yet even reached market, all stolen from under the noses of its various developers. The Green Emperor always got what he desired, and in turn his underlings were given the best to work with. They did so with a simple understanding – failure was not an option. Dr. Takahashi understood that tenet as well as any servant of the Jade Cult.

Dr. Takahashi’s lab-complex was home to not just the acquired technologies that allowed it to undertake the research and development demanded by the Green Emperor, but it also served as a small-scale production facility for the creation of the Green Emperor’s fearsome Terror Cotta Warriors.

The best and brightest minds selected to serve the Jade Cult saw to their primary task: scientists and engineers designing and building new Terror Cotta Warriors through a melding of ancient relics and bleeding edge technology. An army of the robot-soldiers had been amassed under the aegis of the Green Emperor, to be dispatched in unobtrusive shipping containers to ports worldwide where the tendrils of the Green Emperor’s influence could be felt when the time was right. The Warriors were his foot soldiers, the armored fist of the Jade Cult. They represented his unrelenting, unflinching might; a networked phalanx to crush his enemies. The scope of the Green Emperor’s ambitions was vast – far beyond the understanding or realizations of a scientist such as Takahashi – but a general needed his soldiers, even a general as powerful as the Green Emperor, and that is what the Terror Cotta Warriors provided.

Half-completed torsos and leg drive trains hung from ceilings on chain-hoists; rocket and missile launcher mechanisms were laid out within dust-free assembly pods; spear weapon-arms on wall racks; CPU chips-sets were boxed awaiting installation; self-destruct mechanisms ready to be transplanted into the literal heart of these soldier-machines. All parts awaiting assembly. And for completion, a further enhancement would be necessary. Takahashi had once playfully mused to himself that it was like a robot autopsy in reverse.

Takahashi thought he felt a sudden slight chill in the lab. From the dark corners of the room stepped Shadow Mask, the master assassin and greatest of the Jade Cult Ninja Assassins. If Shadow Mask was here, then the master would arrive shortly. And if Shadow Mask had allowed Takahashi to see him, then that was significant. The assassin in the darkness could have killed the doctor without alerting him to his presence if that was what the Emperor intended. That he had not done so provided Takahashi with a boost as it offered a modicum of reassurance. He affirmed to himself that surely the Emperor would be pleased with his team’s latest achievements. ‘Yes, that would be it’, he thought to himself, ‘the Green Emperor is surely satisfied’.

The doors to the lab swished open, and a powerful and imposing figure strode through from the dark without. The Green Emperor, bearing the armor that he was never seen without. The force of his personality was so strong that Takahashi felt he almost filled the room. The Emperor was flanked by four Jade Cult Ninjas and the deadly and beautiful Green Serpent. The chill of terror touched Takahashi’s soul once more as Jade Serpent sinuously glided across the room to stand some way behind him. It took all of his remaining resolve to not look behind himself

“An update, Takahashi,” instructed the Green Emperor, his powerful voice devoid of emotion, revealing nothing to the scientist.

Bowing, Takahashi rattled off the latest accomplishments. In the last quarter more than one hundred Terror Cotta Warrior units had been produced, exceeding the set target by ten per cent. All were being packed into shipping containers to be dispatched to cities around the world to be deployed when required. Engineers had worked double time to get achieve the quota. Takahashi hoped that his master noted that they had surpassed expectations with the latest production run of Terror Cotta Warriors.

“And what of the failure rate, doctor?” asked the Green Emperor. Steel and threat were in his voice this time. As the question was posed, Takahashi tugged at his shirt collar, his fear palpably growing. Terror Cotta Warrior’s had seen the Green Emperor’s technologies advanced one step further. Human nervous systems had been grafted into the units from dead servants of the ruthless Emperor found lacking. However, the process was still in its infancy and success rates yielded high rate of failed implantation. The science and engineering team had worked doubly hard to strive to achieve their targets, but had ultimately faced many set-backs. Takahashi hoped his master would recognize the difficulties in marrying the myriad technologies within a single controllable unit.

“We have had some modest success, master,” began the scientist, his voice tremulous, “But overall reliability has been compromised due to difficulties in –“.

The Green Emperor cut him off with a brief sweep of his hand.

“Dr. Takahashi, I do not care for justifications of failure. I care only for achievement, for success. I reward those that meet my standards with boons they could otherwise only dream of. All of my servants know this. You know this, doctor. The price I place on such standards, on such generosity in success, is that failure is not an option.”

Takahashi paled. He was aware of such overwhelming forces around him: Shadow Mask; Green Serpent; the Jade Cult Ninjas. Any one of them could end his life within a single movement. But to be faced with the recognition of failure by the Green Emperor himself; that suggested a far worse fate was in store for him.

The Green Emperor turned to Takahashi’s number two, and commanded:

“You are promoted Dr. Watanabe. Do not make the same mistakes as your predecessor. I suggest the rate of failure has been compromised by process. From now on, please ensure that nervous system grafting is from live and intact subjects. Start with Dr. Takahashi and see how things proceed.”

The room swam in Takahashi’s field of vision. His body felt chill through to his bones.

The master of the Jade Cult then swept from the room, imperious, followed silently by his deadly agents. Behind him the screams of Dr. Takahashi rang out as the poor scientist realized his wretched fate.

 

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Iron Train (Hero)

 

 

irontrainCode-name: Iron Train

Full Name: Tony Miragliano

Faction: Heavy Metal

Tony Miragliano is the first generation of his family born as an American. His parents came to Pulp City from Sicily more than sixty years ago. Brought up in a loving home and in admiration for hard work, Tony respected his father for his skill as an engineer, keeping the trains running on the Pulp City Line.

As Tony grew up, the most obvious career choice was to follow in his father’s footsteps and start working at railroad. Thanks to the Miragliano men’s hard work, the train tracks that ran from Pulp City like an intricate spider web, reaching New York, Chicago and San Francisco, were always smooth running and almost no problems; the lines were the envy of the nation. Praised for his dedication, young Tony was quickly offered the position he always dreamt of, working as an engine driver. For twenty-five years, he served as a driver on the Pulp City-Chicago connection (naming his train Francesca). He loved his job, and proudly helped to firmly establish the name and brand of NAMTRAK, the company he worked for.

irontrain-page-001But life was not meant to stay that way for Tony. As it became more successful, NAMTRAK was taken over by French millionaire Guillaume Sanguine, owner of the mighty Royal Investments group, and the new owner’s corporate raiding policy was simple; he would sell off the tracks to bigger players on the market, and shut down the company after asset-stripping it into inconsequence.

Tony protested vociferously to his mangers and anyone he could get to listen, even fort a few minutes. He was not the first to try to stand in Sanguine’s way; he was only the ruthless businessman’s most recent victim. In a vain attempt to thwart Sanguine’s plans for NAMTRAK, Tony organized a strike by all the unions. This cost him his job and Tony started to suspect something dirty and rotten was at play when not a single court verdict went in his favor. Left depressed and a broken man by the lost battle, now fifty years old, Tony left the station on his long, slow trip to degradation.

irontrain-page-002When it seemed that nothing could lift him out of his alcoholic mire, Tony read about Sanguine’s most-recent outrage. The French millionaire refused to retire the old trains to the City Museum, instead Francesca and all other engines ended up in the junkyard, destined to become scrap.

In a drunken delirium, he broke into the metal recycling facility, ignoring the warning calls from the guards. As bullets bit into his body, he collapsed over the wreck of his beloved train. Not even Tony Miragliano knows what really transpired next on that fateful night, but he woke up in the desert to the north of the city, healed and now clad in iron armor, obviously made of parts from his beloved Francesca.

irontrain-artTony stopped speculating over what truly happened that night some time ago; today he is thankful to whatever power that intervened to give him a second chance and literally a second life. Taking that belief to heart, Iron Train is the iconic defender of Pulp City, loved by the public and his colleagues in Heavy Metal alike. Relying on the preternatural resilience granted by his armor, Tony can withstand almost anything that Villains bring to the battlefield, and he is a beloved and steadfast defender of the city he loves.

 

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Rook (Villain)

Code-name: Rook

Full Name: Jason King

Faction: The Coven

Jason King was adopted by a progressive couple who grew up on hippie movement ideals. Few facts are publicly-known about his apparently happy childhood, and even fewer about how he became the world’s most sought-after personal bodyguard.

Several years ago, June Summers, Channel 4′s ‘all-Supreme’ news reporter did a segment spotlighting Rook. Not much light was shed on his mysterious persona but the investigation found all the surviving written records of Jason King’s life: a couple of high school and college awards, state championship in chess and football, and a police file implicating him in the murder of a family of five on a Christmas Eve. Most interestingly, a still frame from a security camera allegedly showed Jason in high-tech combat gear alongside Twilight and Loup Garou II, after planting explosive charges in Royal Investment’s missile manufacturing plant.

The Coven had been following Jason’s bodyguard career for a long time and had a high appreciation for his obvious talents which they believed were being squandered. Several attempts to recruit him had failed, thus they resorted to more devious methods. Their frame-up pinning the Royal Investment disaster on him was nothing sophisticated, but the trick was to actually make Jason believe he might have been responsible for what happened. Which as it turned out was easy to do. They simply slipped him a Mickey Finn, which caused him to black out for twelve hours, and planted a little left over bomb material in his apartment.

Like a wounded animal, Jason fled to New Orleans to disappear in the carnival crowd of tourists, pickpockets and cutthroats alike. In a blues bar down an alley off St. Ann’s, drunk on Hurricanes and jello-vodka shots and dreading to contact his adoptive parents, he was approached by a red haired beauty who knew so much about him that the encounter was instantly sobering.

And thus, Jason King became Rook in the service of The Coven, with “no” never being an option. His first assignments took him all over the world, where he oversaw technology thefts and industrial espionage. Some of these were simple loyalty tests which Rook, surprisingly, never failed. He never took the opportunity that these assignments offered him to escape the clutches of the Coven. It was as if he followed his own secret code of honor or his own private agenda, or his own personal sins for which these jobs were penance. Only Rook knew the reason.

After several spectacular exploits where Rook’s muscle and mind was tested to their limits but proved more than equal to the task, Jason was promoted to serve as a personal bodyguard to Papa Zombie, probably the most frightful man in the world. King felt creepies crawling on his back every time he had to look in the man’s eye and listen to his voice. There was something ancient and yet very threatening about this Coven master, as he chanted verses in otherworldly languages while executing hostages without remorse, using a laser pistol at point blank range.

After several years of servitude to Papa Zombie, witnessing things both horrid and supernatural, Jason King relishes every minute he spends with the Strike Team, working with colleagues such as Twilight, Loup Garou II, Zero and even the freakish Francis Gator; they are by-and-large people he respects and admits to have grown fond of. Being a very smart man, Jason knows that there will be a day when a crack will appear in the Coven’s absolute unity, and he will use his wits and martial prowess to support rebellion within the ranks. That is why, whenever the field team strikes, Rook makes sure that the Saint twins, Saint Kane and Saint Eve, are sound and safe as they might be the gateway to overthrowing the tyranny of the Elders and Papa Zombie.

Rook is stronger and more independent than any of the Coven’s pawns, but Jason is aware that a time when he is a true King is still yet come.

Rook’s combat gear was built with the technology he stole in his early days of service to the Coven. His armor grants superhuman resilience to damage while the most vital areas of his body – such as his head, arteries and heart – are protected with flickering micro force fields to disperse the force of an enemy blow. The suit is powered with liquid-chemical batteries which allow two hours of effective combat. His Super Tremor Halberd is a state-of-art weapon capable of delivering an explosive hit with the equivalent impact force of six kilotons. The Halberd is remotely connected to the suit batteries so Rook is able to power up most of the hits in a truly Supreme style.

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Stone Hawk (Hero)

stonerhawkCode-Name: Stone Hawk (formerly Stoner Hawk)

Full Name: James Proudhawk

Faction: none

Not many of the stories of Pulp City’s Supremes contribute to clichés as easily as the story of James Proudhawk, the mighty Native American hero. But that is usually the least of the concerns of the Villians that James is tracking.

To understand the present, first you need to look to the past. Two major points in Pulp City’s history link inextricably to the almost-extinct tribe of Avaje, and the man who may be its greatest son.

First, the tribe used to dwell where Twilight Hills are today. The Blood Watch claims that the presence of their angry spirits lingers and causes the new gates to Necroplane open.

The second event occurred on the day when Stoner Hawk was born in the sweat lodge of his grandfather.

stonehawk-page-001James Proudhawk was born in a little reservation about fifty miles northeast of Pulp City. His mother worked nights at the casino, so Jimmy spent most of the time with his grandfather, a proud man who never felt like he belonged in the twentieth century. Old Proudhawk, now nearing seventy years of age, was a sight to behold. His wiry frame moved gracefully as if the years under the scorching sun had not affected him. When tracking pumas with his little kin, he was able to outrun the wild cats. None could match his eye when he shouldered his old Winchester and took down moving prey from two-hundred yards. Grandpa was Jimmy’s role model, the only person he would never argue with. When Grandpa said “Get out of here, don’t let them break your wings, go to the city, get an education”, as surprised as he was, James did not dare to defy the old man’s words.

stonehawk-page-002Pulp City was a jungle full of predators old-man Proudhawk would never understand. They were not the noble beasts he tracked they had tracked together. They were foul and deceitful snakes, hiding in the tall grass of gestures, smiles and compliments waiting only to strike. School became less and less important as the young man started adopting the ways of the reptiles in human guises that surrounded him.

James spent countless hours in Pulp City’s clubs and bars, sometimes not seeing sunlight for weeks. Without a regular job, he would chase odds and ends, mostly physical labor, but that would barely pay for the booze he drank deeply. When he entered the dreamy world of drugs, he began accept low-rung crime jobs to feed his habit. Whether breaking the fingers of a junkie in debt or helping to ‘establish’ the territory of a local hustler, James and his intimidating physique were up to any job. Jimmy was an all-or-nothing kind of guy, so he quickly became a dealer himself and the one that would always personally make sure the stuff he was selling was the best on the market, or at least got him the best prices.

After months of living on the edge Jimmy found himself in the real trouble. One of the junkies he had as customer turned out to be a dirty cop who was very trigger-happy, and with a bullet just barely missing his head, Jimmy had to snap the neck of this misery of a man. He needed a very good lawyer, and all good lawyers, even the ones that were his customers, were pretty expensive.

Stoner HawkProudhawk never saw it coming. Paying off his debt took him out of Pulp City and back to his hometown where he and another goon were supposed to ‘convince’ the landowner to sell a precious lot needed to complete the right of way for the highway. As he confronted his own grandfather, shame and guilt washed over him. He gasped for every breath, the burden too heavy to bear under the piercing eyes of the man he adored. The world slowed down as a slideshow of his crimes rolled front of his eyes. The dull bang of a gun woke him up. The smoking barrel of his fellow goon’s revolver, the staggering old Proudhawk, and the rush of the blood to his head sent James Proudhawk over the edge.

He roared and jumped at his former ally. He took a bullet in the chest, a second, and then a third before he got to the shooter and like a mortally wounded bear he literally tore the man in two with his bare hands. James collapsed to the floor of the sweat lodge, and with a dying grasp, he reached out for his grandfather, then the world blacked out.

When consciousness returned, Jimmy opened his eyes only to see a crouching ghostly silhouette of the old Proudhawk by his body. He took him by the hand and led to the highest summit of the reservation. The trip to the otherworld was his rite of the passage, the blood washed off his hands in a cleansing journey. The anger of his last years was replaced with focus, the weakness of a drugged body and mind exchanged for the strength of stone as his communion with nature and the spirits of his tribe transformed him into a whole new being.

Jimmy walked out of the dream after what seemed to be only a couple of minutes, but it was years in the netherworld. He could not bear the Proudhawk name until his redemption was complete: he became Stoner Hawk, a stigmatizing name that would always remind him of his past and his purpose.

Years have passed and his first steps towards redemption have recently caused him to change his Supreme name to Stone Hawk.

Back in Pulp City, the den of snakes, Stone Hawk usually works alone or joins forces with Ace of Wraiths, who assisted at his grandfather’s birth and skilled him in the ways of the gun. Jimmy’s powers come from communion with the Earth, as he is able to call on the powers of stone and shape it in different forms and reinforce his body with its durability. His skin becomes covered with the sandstone and his hands turn into deadly weapons. There is a peril, though, as in the stone dwell all sorts of malicious spirits that beg Jimmy to stay inside and lull him into the sleep that never ends: the stoner slumber.

But for today, Stone Hawk’s resolve is strong and he does everything to make his grandfather proud again.

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