Grimm Lee Chan (Hero/Villain)

 

grimmleechanCode-name: Grimm Lee Chan

Full Name: Grimm Lee Chan

Faction: Grimm, The Way

June panned her camera around taking in the spectacle – it looked like everyone in Little Asia was kung fu fighting! And in the heart of it all, was a peculiar little humanoid in a yellow jumpsuit, near-hairless with violet hued skin, its odd face split by crooked pointed teeth. The strange-looking thing twirled two nunchakus with lightning speed, a whirling vision of martial arts motion. He knocked down Ankle Biters with every crunching strike, punctuating his attacks with a shouted ‘Ki-ya!’

As Pulp City’s leading reporter on all Supreme matters, Channel 4’s June Summers had covered many strange stories, but she suspected that whatever lay behind this one would make it a doozy.

grimm lee chan-page-001June filmed the fray before her, trying to capture the action without getting caught in it. A hot tip had brought her looking into one of the stranger denizens of Little Asia, but she had not expected to suddenly become embroiled in an all-out street battle. She continued filming as it became clear that the district’s shadowy, unofficial protectors – The Way of the Fist and Blade – were vanquishing their last foes, although June was sure she glimpsed a villain in a long coat with a toothpaste-commercial smile escape into a sewer.

June watched as the curious little thing she was interested in executed a spinning aerial kick to a badly-damaged re-purposed Terror Cotta Warrior, sending it crashing to the ground. With that, stillness came over the scene, broken only by sirens as the Supremes of The Way broke for the shadows, melting from view. It was time to start the real digging for her story.

***

grimm lee chan-page-002June began investigating at a nearby restaurant, the House of Jade Lanterns. It quickly became clear she was not welcome from the twitchy manager’s frosty reception. Her next stop was a newspaper seller, his wooden stall scorched, no doubt by some recent Supreme conflict. The wizened old man smiled when he understood June’s inquiry. He nodded enthusiastically while decrying the repair bill he faced. Fifty bucks unlocked the snippet of a tale he had to tell. The vendor explained that the creature, Lee Chan to his friends across the community, arrived a few years earlier. Ever since then he had looked out for the people of Little Asia, protecting it with all he had. When June asked about where Lee Chan lived, the vendor shook his head and closed up his stand.

June continued asking around; people knew the Supreme she described, but few were talking. The scraps of information she gathered were at times contradictory, occasionally outlandish, even when benchmarked against the Supreme stories she had covered. One guy said that Lee Chan could never bathe or mirror-copies would spawn. Another explained he should not eat after midnight or he would turn into an evil twisted version of himself. June dismissed that one as she had seen the little creature with her own eyes, and he looked pretty twisted as it was, in a strangely cute way.

The next few days saw June continue trying to put the pieces together. She felt she had a lead connecting Lee Chan to the Grimm, but the whole story felt just out of reach. She had met resistance before, but this was different. The people she talked with smiled proudly when she mentioned Lee Chan’s name, becoming reticent when they realized she was seeking more information.

GrimmFuLRAfter another fruitless day, June decided to finish up as dusk encroached. Realizing she was a few blocks from her car, she spotted a narrow alleyway to use as a short-cut. It was dimly lit by hanging decorative lanterns, but June could handle herself so was content to press on. Halfway down the passage hairs on the back of her neck rose. She was being followed. June turned to see two shadowy figures. Ninjas! The city was crawling with rent-a-Ninjas in the past few years, so she had no idea who had sent them. Suddenly, she heard a familiar ‘Ki-ya’ shout as a short figure in a yellow jumpsuit blurred past her. June watched fascinated as Lee Chan swiftly knocked out the Ninjas with well-placed strikes and kicks. When the little creature was sure the would-be assailants were subdued, he turned to June and gave a toothy grin, accompanied by two thumbs up. He then barreled his way from the alley and was lost in the twilight.

June did not file her story. Little Asia had its protector, who did what he could for anyone in the area, even those just passing through. The community wanted to keep their shared secret about their unique guardian. June realized that she would not be the one to expose the tale. She thought about her little savior and how strongly his neighborhood protected him, and smiled as she wiped her tapes.

 

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Red Bella (Hero/Villain)

 

redbellaCode-name: Red Bella

Full Name: Red Bella

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee (A.R.C.)
Red Bella’s journey to Pulp City was long and strange. One of five primates who survived the crash of Module 2, Red Bella awoke alone amid wreckage in the mountains of China. Desperately searching for her crew-mates, she stumbled delirious for days before finally collapsing outside an ancient temple. There she was found by an unusual group of monks, and with them a band of academics who called themselves the Midnight Scholars, and with them the remnants of her crew.

Red Bella quickly learned that the Midnight Scholars were a secret international society of academics and scientists researching occult history. Well-funded and supported by old money from Europe, they sought to unearth ancient artifacts of power and preserve them to ensure the world’s safety. With the monks, they nursed the injured Bella to health and explained their purpose. Bella absorbed lore and history like a sponge, eagerly asking questions. After a few months the team was ready to move on. A voice deep within Bella told her that her place was with them for now. She and the other primates from Module 2 all agreed to travel with the Scholars.

red bella-page-001The monks of the mountain promised Bella that the debris from her craft and the knowledge of the survivors would be protected. They and the Midnight Scholars concluded that it was dangerous information better left on the mountain. With solemn vows a pact was made, and the company departed for Hong Kong. The inner voice, which was not her own, commended her decision.

Over the next couple of years, the adaptable Bella learned to read, write and speak a dozen more languages. Her own research helped uncover lost artifacts including the Wyrd Colt, once carried by an American adventurer who travelled to China. Her expeditions and exploits earned her the trust of Hong Kong’s own Supreme Iron Cloud. Iron Cloud soared through the skies using a jetpack he himself had designed and battled injustice, a popular local Hero. He trained Bella in the use of the bullwhip, and listening to the Midnight Scholars’ concerns he joined their party. Despite Bella’s newly acquired skills, her recent accomplishments were not what she was truly seeking, simply a means to an end. Her passion, and soon her obsession, greater than that of her simian companions, became the great Hanuman, the Monkey King – a being she now believed spoke to her and had guided her to the temple and her journey.

red bella-page-002Finally, after years of searching the globe, Bella uncovered what she believed to be Hanuman’s temple, hidden high in the Himalayas. She returned to Hong Kong to consult with her allies in the Scholars and plan her expedition.

Unbeknownst to Bella, her tomb raiding exploits had brought her to the attention of the Green Emperor. Realizing the danger that the Midnight Scholars represented to his own plans, he unleashed his greatest assassins. Upon returning to the Midnight Scholar’s quarters Bella found nothing but death, and even the mighty Iron Cloud could not stand against the Emperors’ fury. Of her remaining simian companions, she found no trace.

Bella fled the scene, grabbing as much as she could, including Iron Cloud’s jetpack. Soon arriving in the lower reaches of the Himalayas, many days of climbing frigid peaks followed, as she wanted to preserve what fuel remained in her flying device. The very air seemed to confound Bella, many times she found herself going in circles. She persevered despite the setbacks, the cold, and the blinding snow. Her food supply was almost exhausted, and she was convinced something stalked her. Bella found peculiar footprints that matched nothing she had ever seen or heard of. Noises split the night; yowling singing that chased her even in her dreams. Tormented day and night, she refused to turn back.

Then Bella heard the voice again. She followed it even when it urged her to walk places that seemed unsafe. She took leaps of faith again and again. In a deep ravine near the summit she at last found what she sought. The temple was nothing more than a shallow cave with a simple dulled-brass idol, set with glowing red rubies. The idol was strangely warm to the touch and free of ice and snow. The gems glowed brighter as she approached and the inner voice rang out stronger than ever.

redbellafinalprev“For an age have I waited for you, Bella. The faithful is first and others will follow. Take this token and it shall be part of you always. Heed my words and know that my children are not forgotten.”

The voice sounded clear in her head and as she reached for the idol it seemed to reach for her. They embraced like long-separated mother and child. In that moment Bella saw visions of great and terrible things. She knew that a larger destiny lay in store for her and the other Awakened. And then the Yeti struck. Appearing out of the snow like a giant terrible phantasm, it struck Bella down and dragged her to the Green Emperor.

Bella endured months of torture before Chimp Chi found and freed her, returning her gear. Never though had she despaired, never was she broken, for she had found the Ruby Idol and awoken the Primates of Power. She, Bella, had opened the door to save her kind. Now all she had to do was get the others to listen. How hard could that be?

 

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Green Serpent (Villain)

greenserpentCode-name: Green Serpent

Full Name: Chiyoko

Faction: Jade Cult, The Way

Twenty Years Ago
“Again,” barked the Ninja Sensei. At his command a young Japanese girl of five years of age slapped her hand against water sitting in a large simple wooden bowl.

The two were the only figures in the main courtyard of a vast temple set high into a remote mountainside. The air was cold and bit at the girl’s tender skin, but she made no complaint as she diligently undertook her training.

Water was displaced with each slap as she struck, and when the bowl became empty she was instructed with the same single word ‘again’ to refill it and start over once more, this time slapping the water with her other hand.

The girl did what she was told because it was what her father wanted, and father’s will was all she had ever known.

greenserpent-page-001Thirteen Years Ago
The girl, now on the cusp of adolescence, but having lived a childhood hard like no other, knelt before a sack of cold, wet sand. She had carried it up the side of the bleak and forbidding mountain as her Sensei had ordered. She had been instructed to creep undetected into the village below, escaping with her worthless prize. Shadows embraced her as she did as she had been told. Without any words of protest she clambered up the mountain with her heavy burden, slowly ascending step after painful step, as icy winds lashed at her slender body.

Returned to the citadel, she knelt before her prize and at a single nod from her Sensei began to rhythmically and repetitively punch the sand, over and over, right then left, then right, then left, until she could no longer count the blows and her knuckles bled, and she continued despite her pain and beckoning exhaustion.

Her task was what her father wanted, so she carried on without question.

greenserpent-page-002Eight Years Ago
A large windowless chamber deep within the ancient stone fortress; burning torches along the walls cast flickering light, leaving dancing pools of shadow around the room.

She was poised, her lithe frame ready for what she faced. A dozen ninjas stood motionless before her, each waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Each had failed the Jade Cult in some way, so each had failed the Green Emperor. Redemption could be claimed by one of their number if he or she slew the Emperor’s daughter. Her task in turn was to slay them all. She was he father’s daughter, and without mercy or hesitation she completed her bloody task, stepping silently through shadows to effortlessly kill the doomed cadre, as her father demanded.

jadeninjagirljpegToday
Her father was different now, reborn but still the Green Emperor. His demeanour was changed, and the Oni Queen had gained his favour, sitting at his right hand. He had gathered new recruits with talents to compete with hers, and worse than that, there was the dog he had bequeathed the title Shadow Mask to.

She had dutifully followed his instructions, establishing a headquarters in Pulp City to suit his plans. But while she was her father’s daughter, he had changed. And so had she. Amid a brutal and brutalised childhood, she had slowly earned her father’s respect. This Green Emperor was different. She did not command the same respect from her new ‘father’. The cycle had been changed. Her position had changed. And with that she knew his power could become hers. She would one day become the Green Empress.

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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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Jade Hawk (Hero)

Code-name: Jade Hawk

Full Name: unknown

Faction: The Way

“Car 54, we have a code 1025 in progress at 827 east 32nd street at the U-Hock-It pawn shop.”

“Ten-four dispatch. This is car 54, we’re en route.”

A voice whispers in the darkness….. “Armed robbery sounds like my kind of scene.”

A dark figure leaps from the rooftop and into the shadows. The hunter has begun stalking its prey.

Only blocks away four thugs were piling TV’s, electronics, and handfuls of jewelry into the back of an old beat-up van. A pawn shop employee lay crumpled on the ground next to the loading dock. While the other three ran inside for more loot, one thug jumped into the driver’s door to start the getaway vehicle. He barely turned the key before a green claw burst through the side window and tore the man from the cab. The next thing he noticed was the unpleasant taste of asphalt and a piercing pain in his back. He barely let out a gurgle before passing out.

Two of the other thugs walked up to the van carrying a large box with a 50 inch flat screen TV. “Benny, what the heck is that?” called Freddie.

It was too late. Benny felt a sharp pain across the back of his knees before his legs gave out from underneath him. The shadowy figure leapt up from behind Benny and pounced off the box – pushing it directly onto the chest of the collapsing thug. This pulled Freddie forward and off balance just in time to receive a kick to the face.

Both thugs landed hard. The dark-clad figure was immediately on top of Freddie. Only then did Freddie get a good look at the vigilante that was ruining his night. The figure had an emerald green hawk-like mask, a dark hood and cape, and a protective bodysuit. This had to be the Jade Hawk!

Freddie started to rise when the Jade Hawk planted a glove with brutal gem-like talons onto his chest. “You’re not going anywhere,” whispered the Hawk in the criminal’s ear.

The sound of running footsteps down the alley caused the Jade Hawk to turn her head. The fourth thief was making a run for it. The vigilante was not going to let this man get away, only for the others to make some sort of plea deal to turn their buddy in for less jail time. No. She would get all of these losers…

“Dispatch, this is car 54 requesting backup. We have a brown Chevy van license plate PLJ-459 with its engine running at the loading dock of the pawn shop. We’re going in.”

“Car 54, this is Dispatch, backup is on the way.”

Officers McCrery and Franklin began to move cautiously down the alley with weapons drawn when the fourth criminal landed on the hood of their cruiser with a dull thump.

Less than an hour later…

“Franklin, what happened here?” asked Detective Walsh.

“Well detective, as best we can tell, the Jade Hawk beat us to the scene again. The Hawk took out these four lowlifes robbing the pawn shop. Their prints are all over everything in the van. It seems pretty cut and dry. At least the store employee will be okay.”

“Cut and dry? We can’t have another costumed hooligan running wild in the streets meting out justice on a whim. There are laws in this town. Heroes are supposed to fight villains and leave the regular crime to the police. We have four criminals that need hospitalization here. You don’t see Iron Train pulling this kind of bull! The chief wants the Jade Hawk in handcuffs and off the streets!!!”

 

ABOUT THE JADE HAWK
The Jade Hawk is a dark figure that stalks the criminal element of Pulp City. Heroes are not generally fond of her methods but cannot deny the results. When Heavy Metal or Blood Watch find themselves hunting the same prey, Heroes like Iron Train and Red Riding Hoodoo try to mitigate the Jade Hawk’s sheer brutality. None knows exactly why she is on this crusade, but whispers from the dark vigilante seem to imply that lady justice failed her some time ago.

Evildoers owe her an unpaid debt. The Jade Hawk plans to collect on this debt – in pain and blood.

 

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Sgt. Bale (Hero)

Code-name: Sgt. Bale

Full Name: Richard ‘Rich’ Bale

Faction: Blood Watch, The Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Twilight (Villain)

Code-name: Twilight

Full Name: unknown

Faction: The Coven

Less is known about the origins of Twilight than almost any other Pulp City Supreme, and not much more is publicly known about the truth of the group she represents. Hidden beneath the web of corporations that form Coven Enterprises, The Coven is a secret organization headed up by practitioners of the dark arts. Some scholars claim that after centuries of undermining Southern social structures with voodoo and assassinations of politicians, leaders of The Coven have forged a bloody and secret truce with official authorities.

Today, following its recent public exposures and now lurking less and less in the shadows, in trying to pursue its political and economic goals the Coven deploys a small but highly skilled Team of Supremes. This Team acts not only in the South (where the location of the Coven’s primary headquarters is confidential and closely guarded), but in other important cities, reaching out to influence politicians, local businessmen and celebrities. Pulp City has become one such key location in Coven plans. Since the Coven rarely relies on brute force alone, despite the power of Loup Garou II and Rook at its disposal, Twilight, the mysterious shadow thief, is without doubt one the leading operatives for the organization in Pulp City.

It has been suggested that the Coven is hunting down those who have left its ranks or have stood in its way, and that Twilight was banished to Pulp City after a spectacular failure in Louisiana, where a young Creole managed to slay Loup Garou, an important Coven resource. Twilight was subsequently tasked with delivering the death-proclamation of the Coven, the trail leading to Pulp City where the Creole woman found refuge in the ranks of the Blood Watch. Despite Twilight’s many successes since, rumor on the Supreme grapevine is that this one failure continues to hang over her Coven career.

Twilight is a mistress of avoiding detection and cheating death. Her enemies claim that she possesses the skill to disappear into shadows or to strike from behind with her twin blades, known as the ‘fangs’, only to reappear a hundred feet further in the blink of an eye. Some experts in Supreme matters have speculated that her origins may lie to the East. Others have wondered whether Twilight is just a codename for an assassin in the Coven’s ranks, or whether there is there a troubled woman behind Twilight’s mask? Nobody outside the Coven knows the answers to these questions, or if they do, they are not saying.

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Chimp Chi (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Chimp Chi

Full Name: Chimp Chi

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee, The Way

Mishka: a name you don’t want to mention around Chimp Chi.

Well before his consciousness was developed the way it is today, Chimp Chi was a regular lab rat; well, a lab chimp to be precise. When their experimental shuttle was shot down and the future A.R.C. apes and monkeys started developing human traits, most likely due to their exposure to cosmic radiation, each of them began specializing in one area of expertise. For Chi it was different. He was quiet and shy, always getting out of the way of others. And that was as far as his talents went.

Guerilla was annoyed by a chimp that would not handle a gun nor win a fist fight and teased him mercilessly calling him ‘Mishka’. “I’m no lab rat”, Chimp Chi thought, and his resentment grew each time he heard Guerilla’s booming voice mocking him with that name.

Soon, Guerilla decided to send Chi on a wild-goose chase, hoping that this experience would either bring out the best in the chimp or overwhelm him completely. Chi’s mission was to verify the rumor that the Soviets launched a second spacecraft full of apes and recruit any surviving passengers for the A.R.C.

His journey was long and arduous. Chimp Chi used the estimated crash coordinates handed to him by Virus, the A.R.C.’s own technical genius. The tracking device Virus created took Chimp Chi to the Far East. High in the mountains lay a monastery where monks strove to achieve an equilibrium of body and mind. The crashed shuttle, now adorned as a shrine for some obscure reason, was there, but the passengers were long gone, their tracks lost in the deep snow.

The monks knew the secrets of the shuttle but would not share them with a stranger. Chimp Chi, for the first time in his life instead of getting out or getting away, decided to join their ranks to obtain the information he needed.

Chi trained hard for long hours each day of many weeks to pass the Three Trials of the Brotherhood.

The Trial of the Unspoken Evil sent Chimp Chi to a mountain village. Days passed, and the chimp could not figure out why he had been sent there. So he waited patiently in hiding until it became obvious that something wrong was going on in the peaceful settlement. It turned out that the leader of the community had been closing her eyes to the fact that the elders were offering first-born daughters to a Yeti. Chi spoke to the council and managed to convince them he would take care of the bloodthirsty creature of the mountains.

Next, the Trial of the Unseen Evil took place in a complete darkness of the cavern, far below the monastery. Chimp Chi had to recover an object from the monks’ treasury stolen many decades earlier. Descending the stairs into utter blackness, he relied on his sharp hearing and sense of smell. Hearing snoring and smelling the Evil, he crept past it to the deepest level of its lair. There he searched by touch the Evil’s loot until he felt the markings of the monks’ property. When he returned to the light, Chi saw that he held an ancient ninjaken that felt like feather and cut like a razor.

Armed with his new weapon, Chimp went searching for the Yeti, to complete the Trial of the Unheard Evil. The quest took him to Yeti Mountain. When he was nearing the summit, the howling winds rose and snow fell in thick flakes. Silently, the creature attacked for the first time, the weather its ally. The thing of the mountains was a true hunter, leaving no tracks behind and striking out of the blizzard and retreating like a ghost behind the curtain of ever falling snow. The cuts from the icy claws bit deep into Chimp Chi’s back and the chilling gusts of the storm froze his blood into red icicles. Weak and vulnerable, Chi closed his eyes and forced the sound of the blizzard to fade in his mind, switching to his instincts. When the Yeti attacked again, he was ready; one swift slice from the ninjaken severed the beast’s head from its body. The fallen body faded into an icy mist, and then in the far distance Chi heard the Yeti’s plaintive roar.

The monks were impressed with Chi’s prowess and gladly told about a group of five apes and monkeys led by Red Bella that headed towards Hong Kong. When the chimp made it there, his quarry was already long gone but left many enemies bent on finding them.

Traces of Red Bella showed up here and there around the world, now and then. Chimp Chi was always there, seeking any sign of her, believing that one day he would find Bella and her adherents and prove his skills to Guerilla. That day has come, and Chi is no longer called Mishka by Guerilla, as the A.R.C. has been changed forever by the little chimp’s quest.

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Chronin (Hero)

Code-name: Chronin

Full Name: Yuriko Kobayashi

Faction: Heavy Metal

Yuriko Kobayashi was the first student to benefit from the prestigious scholarships provided by Heavy Metal, as she conducted research alongside famous celebrity Supremes such as Dr. Mercury and Androida.

But the truth is that the scholarship was the only way to keep her out of harm’s way.

Her Supreme story started about a dozen years ago in Tokyo, when Mr. Kobayashi confessed to a man known as the Green Emperor that upon the birth of his second daughter, his wife had suffered complications and would never bear a child again. That was a death sentence to the Kobayashi family as the Jade Cult needed more warriors to one day will reclaim Japan and dethrone all the traitors that followed the dreadful European-American ways. Not even the fact that Kobayashi had been a steadfastly faithful researcher for the Green Emperor helped. An ultimatum was handed over to Kobayashi in the form of a ritual set of swords and three hours’ time to end the lives of his wife and two daughters, and then his own as the last male of the line.

Mr. Kobayashi fled the Jade Cult’s secret underground base and rushed home to attempt an escape. Unbeknownst to him, Shadow Mask, the Green Emperor’s Supreme assassin, followed him under the veil of night. The Kobayashi family clambered into a cab, but for Kobayashi there was a third ‘child’ remaining, the one the head of the family cared a lot for – his secret research project, so the car stopped at his office on the way to the airport.

While the soon-to-be traitor of the Green Emperor’s cause bolted up the stairs, little Yuriko noticed a shadow just before a sword punched a hole in the roof of the cab and impaled the head of the driver. Shadow Mask then began to kill first Yuriko’s mother than her sister with bloody efficiency.

Yuriko was the only one to make it out of the car alive, as the Shadow Mask’s blades delivered the Emperor’s message. The killer was just a step behind her – she did not hear it, but she felt it. In her father’s lab, the seven year old dashed forward as the blade cut through the air, just missing her. Yuriko’s father intercepted the next strike, pushing away his daughter as the sword cut through the improvised shield of his research log and through his body.

The girl screamed but she landed inside a glowing chamber attached to strange machinery. The door automatically shut behind her, cutting off all the sound. She saw the grimace on the Shadow Mask’s face, a cruel smile, as he wiped blood from his blade and walked slowly to the control console. He turned on the machine and set all switches to maximum levels. The whole place started trembling. A liquid substance rapidly filled the chamber as he watched the girl struggle for a while before leaving. Just then he was overwhelmed with surprise as he found himself starting to slow down, trying to lift his hand but it did not react to the impulse sent by his brain. He saw the little girl, dark eyes burning with fury, who pulled his own sword from its scabbard and in one swift move, decapitated him. His eyes studied the slow motion blood splatter around him and witnessed the rest of his body’s fall to the ground before all life in them slipped away.

On that feral night, Yuriko Kobayashi lost her entire family and thanks to Shadow Mask gained the Supreme potential her father had been working on.

Thanks to the eventual aid of Dr. Mercury, she learned that her father was researching quantum hole theory to apply to military assets. With the ability of very limited time travel (from milliseconds to several seconds), quantum field generators could enable vehicles from planes to tanks to battleships to easily avoid incoming missiles or assist their targeting and driving systems. Yuriko’s exposure to the extreme amounts of liquid quantum turned Yuriko into a human quantum field generator.

Today Yuriko controls her powers through both emotions and mind. Nobody could explain what exactly had happened, as the onset of her new skills was immediate, and nobody knows how a seven year old could master them instantly.

Completing her father’s research is of vital importance to Yuriko. Under the guise of Chronin, the media’s favorite samurai girl, she tries to make the world a better place and save at least a couple of childhoods from the nightmare she had to go through. Her sole existence is a disgrace to the Green Emperor and in the long history of the Jade Cult, the first case of such.

Chronin still keeps the Shadow Mask’s finely crafted blade. She is fully aware that in the Green Emperor’s court, there is always a Shadow Mask and one day, the next will come to reclaim the sword along with Yuriko’s life. But she will be more than ready.

 

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