- Spirit called together all members of the Tomorrow Legion for an important meeting. Once assembled, he informed them of a tip he received from an informant: Iron Mike was scheduled to receive a major shipment of weapons in just over two days’ time. Spirit verified the info and traced the arrival of the ship to Pier 19A in the Archipelago. He requested every member’s help to stop this shipment of weapons from reaching the streets. All members agreed and plans commenced.
- Vigilance and Hazel grilled Spirit for more details. Why not involve the police or The Centurions? The Archipelago, he told them, is a unique area of Century Station where law enforcement technically has no jurisdiction. He knew The Centurions, constrained as they are by regulations, would be unwilling to ambush the delivery directly. Local police of course had the same restrictive guidelines, but the additional concern that he didn’t know who in the police could be trusted – local crime lords have numerous dirty cops on their payroll and for this mission to succeed, they needed the element of surprise.
- Unsatisfied with just taking Spirit’s word Hazel demanded the informant’s name and the information which was provided. Spirit wouldn’t give up the informant but he gladly provided the information so Hazel and Virgil could run down the information in their own way in order to verify it and help ensure that this wasn’t some elaborate trap.
- Dr. Preposterous and Diane went to the pier in question to do a little reconnaissance. They each were transformed/empowered but they were not in their heroic costumes so that they could “blend in” a little better. Each of them took stock of vantage points, good areas to install surveillance gear, and other logistical data which would aid them in working out a plan for action two night’s hence.
- The other Tomorrow Legion members each began to enact their own preparations behind the scenes.
- Hazel and Vigilance were successful in using the information Spirit provided to track down the ship, the “official” shipping manifest and a list of its crew members. They traced the companies listed as involved and were able to verify their criminal connections. As they put the data together they reached the same conclusion – this was a massive shipment of weapons about to come into the city, and Iron Mike’s crew was going to be the one receiving it.
- Dr. Preposterous started working on making some high-tech, miniaturized surveillance devices and a receiver for them, with the intention of returning to Pier 19A and installing them in innocuous locations.
- Diane, Hazel, Dr. Preposterous and Vigilance met and began to discuss ideas and strategies in earnest. Together they conceived a bold new plan: While the ship was still in transit to Century Station, sneak on board and reconnoiter the shipment and crew. While they all agreed on the basic premise of the plan (to sneak onto the ship while it was still in international waters), they differed somewhat in their end goals. But with time swiftly running out they convinced Spirit to fly them out to the ship in the Legion hovercar.
- The five of them set out while it was still dark. Hazel used magic to cloak the hovercar in darkness and they approached low to the water to avoid radar detection. When the four were ready Spirit swiftly maneuvered the hovercar above the ship so the four heroes could jump down onto it. Spirit then flew the car away, intending to wait a safe distance away before called by the Legionnaires for pick-up.
- As soon as the Legionnaires disembarked and the car became visible, however, a strange tech turret atop the bridge began firing lasers at the car. Spirit deftly dodged them as he sped away.
- Diane broke her invisible concealment and fired arrows at the Port watch. It took two shots but she dropped him with no retaliation. Hazel stayed concealed and tried to magically ensnare the Starboard watch but missed him. She left him anyway and continued on toward the bridge.
- In the instant Dr. Preposterous launched from the hovercar he put his enhanced senses to use and was able to accurately pick out where the other awake crew members on deck were. Upon landing he headed towards them in order to take them out swiftly. Vigilance, deciding that stealth was no longer an option, ripped the door off one of the cargo containers and tossed it like a giant, misshapen discus at the laser which was firing on Spirit. Virgil managed to not only take out the turret, but a few additional antennas as well, unknowingly crippling the ship’s communication abilities.
- The watch standers on deck congregated towards the noise that Vigilance made. When the first one came into his view Vigilance told his teammates over the radio to jump. Then he leaped into the air and landed a massive, earth-shaking super punch into the deck, shaking the entire ship! This created a deep depression in the deck, rattled loose all the containers within about 100 feet of him (spilling some over the side into the water) and knocked several of the armed watch standers off their feet.
- Dr. Preposterous leapt after the (now knocked down) crew members coming after Vigilance and between him and Vigilance they tossed each one overboard – after making sure they were wearing safety vests, of course. One managed to take a few shots at, and hit, Vigilance with his automatic rifle before joining his friends in the ocean. Injured but not down, Vigilance joined Dr. Preposterous in turning his attention towards the aft of the ship.
- After Diane took out the Port watch she set her sights on the bridge and noticed two crew members – one steering the ship and another trying to use communications gear. But between them was a man dressed like a super, taking careful aim with a pistol of some sort through the bridge window at the deck below.
- Diane fired an arrow at the man but only managed to crack the glass between them. The man then kicked the glass out and fired at her. A large plasma ball, larger than should have been possible by the barrel of the gun, shot through the air at Diane but she dodged and retaliated, firing arrows back at the man. The arrows seems to bounce off a skintight force-field surrounding him.
- With his enhanced eyesight Dr. Preposterous noticed the man’s belt spark and flash when the force field absorbed the energy of the arrow, and he relayed that to the rest of the team. Then he grabbed his baseball bat and leapt through the air at the man. He was hit in mid-air by another plasma ball and though it was a strong attack, it didn’t knock him off-course and the Doctor flew through the window and put all his momentum behind a massive swing.
- The crew member on the comms panicked and sent out a cry for help over the ship’s P.A., alerting the rest of the crew that they were being boarded and attacked! Though none of the Tomorrow Legion members there could understand the language used to communicate, they understood the meaning.
- Invisibly Hazel watched the Doctor fly through the window and engage the super on the bridge. She sought to aid him and cast a spell of Fear over the area of the bridge. The Doctor and the super both resisted it, but the other two crewmembers weren’t so lucky and they fled the bridge in a panic.
- Dr. Preposterous decided to grab onto the villain and leap out of the window with him, towards the bow of the ship. The villain however activated his own concealed jet pack, held on to the Doctor in response and began to fly them off of the ship and out over the water. The Doctor managed to create an aerodynamic profile that caused them to speed down to the deck instead of flying straight.
- The crash and the momentum hurt the Doc, but caused the villain to fly right off the side of the ship, out of control. As the villain tried to correct his bearings the Doctor grabbed a baseball he brought and, using the bat, smashed the baseball hard enough at the villain that it knocked him off course again and right into the water.
- This bought them a few moments to breathe. Hazel entered the (now empty) bridge and managed to figure out how to stop the ship, but couldn’t figure out how to use any of the other controls. It didn’t help that there were strange, advanced technological devices all over the place, hooked into various equipment. She pulled out her own massive pistol and began firing it at the control, completely wrecking them and sparking an electrical fire on the bridge. While she dealt with that, she missed hearing what happened next due to temporarily deafening herself with her gunfire.
- Diane took some measures to help ensure it took longer for the rest of the crew to make it outside from below-decks by using her own impressive strength to warp some of the doors, preventing them from being able to open.
- Vigilance inspected some of the crates in the open and skewed containers and sure enough, found them loaded with plenty of military-grade firearms. Enough to arm a small city!
- With a splash and a roar of jets the villain emerged from the water and flew up level with the Legionnaires. He began to fire at them with his pistol but the three on deck (Vigilance, Dr. Preposterous and Diane) counter-attacked. Vigilance tossed weapon after weapon at him from one of the crates. The Doc took careful aim and smashed another baseball at him, and Diane of course fired her arrows at him. The villain retaliated by firing several plasma bolts at the group but he only managed to slag some of the shipping crates.
- With the Doc’s superhuman eyes and deduction skills he directed Diane to fire her arrows at the belt the man wore. Sure enough, a direct hit damaged it enough that the force-field protecting him dropped away. The next thing he had to deal with was an entire crate of the weapons being hurled at him, courtesy of Vigilance. Another baseball smashed into him, knocking him for a loop but then the coup de grace hit.
- Diane took careful aim and with practiced skill, launched an arrow straight through the villain’s chest into his heart. With a sickening look of panic and failure on his face, his jetpack gave out and he fell back down into the ocean. Only this time, he didn’t come back up.
- Vigilance had a heated argument with Diane over what she did but they didn’t argue for long; Vigilance grabbed a rope and dove into the water to try and pull the villain back out. Though the weight of his technology had caused the villain to sink, Vigilance managed to get a hold of him and pull him back to the surface. Surfaced, he began to climb the rope with the unconscious (dead?) villain. About halfway up Diane finally lowered her bow and arrow and helped to pull them aboard.
- The drama unfolding didn’t concern Dr. Preposterous at the moment. With the villain vanquished he set his intellect towards a different challenge – sinking the ship. He considered several mundane methods but then recalled the extremely versatile supply of nanites he kept on him to supply him with his powers. Surely it would be child’s play to reprogram a few batches in order to bore through the metal of the ship and explode upon contact with the water? He pulled out a small, specialized computer and began to do just that.
- Neither VIgilance nor Diane had any skill in applying emergency medical aid. They asked the Doc but he couldn’t help them, either. Finally they got through to Hazel, whose hearing had finally recovered enough, and she informed them she had some training as a paramedic and could be there in a moment. With the bridge fire out, she headed over to the rest of the team.
- At this point the remainder of the crew finally made it above decks. Though they were heavily armed they hesitated and stopped when they saw the mess of deck and their boss lying dead in the center of it, surrounded by the super-powered boarders. One of the Heroes told them to drop their weapons and surrender. With only a brief moment to think they all made the decision to quit while they were still alive.
- Knowing what the Doc’s plan was, Vigilance and Diane herded them into the life boats while the Doc finished reprogramming his nanites. Hazel, still invisible, tended to the villain and managed to stabilize his life – but they had to get him to a hospital and proper medical facilities if they wanted to keep him alive. Diane wasn’t too worried about it but Vigilance and Dr. Preposterous both quickly agreed with Hazel. They radioed Spirit to inform them of what had occurred so far and asked him to come get them.
- Once the crew of the ship (minus their leader) was safely lowered into the water and sailing away from the ship, Dr. Preposterous finished his nanite reprogramming. If he was successful, these machines would consume the metal of the ship, store any energy they came upon, and once they reached water they would use that energy to explode. He estimated that six batches of these nanites spread throughout the ship would be enough. He leaped around the vessel, releasing his nanites upon the shipping containers and watching them go to work.
- The nanites did their job – too well, in fact. It seemed something with the programming went wrong and the nanites began to reproduce as they bored through the ship, consuming far more material than initially planned. The very structure of the ship was becoming unstable and it was about to sink much faster than anticipated. That’s when Spirit arrived in the hovercar and they all crowded back in, leaving room for the critically injured and comatose villain.
- Diane and Vigilance had another argument on the way back over their differing viewpoints towards killing. Vigilance managed to get her bow from her and threatened to drop it out of the car into the ocean. A fight nearly broke out before Vigilance was reminded that his actions here might negatively impact the patient. He gave Diane back her bow.
- About a half mile from the ship six quick explosions in rapid succession rocked the water, and what was left of the ship quickly crumpled in upon itself and sank beneath the waves.
- Coming back to Century Station they flew to the Hospital in Killgore which was closest to the Tomorrow Legion H.Q.. This was the hospital they were familiar with from previous adventures and because Spirit radioed ahead, medical teams were waiting on the roof when they landed. As they brought him in the hospital, the medical staff removed all the tech gear from the villain in order to better treat him. Dr. Preposterous confiscated that gear and intended to research it as soon as he got back to the H.Q.
- Spirit didn’t really know what to say to the four heroes. He called the other Legionnaires and thanked them for their help but informed them that the mission for tomorrow night was cancelled. He took Diane aside and told her that while he respected her skills and dedication to being a hero, if she takes any more killing shots against her enemies then she would be kicked out of the Tomorrow Legion. Diane tried to argue for her case but Spirit was in no mood to listen to her side of things.
The next night…
The woman who called herself Amaya stood on the edge of the pier. The night wind blew cool sea spray at her face as she overlooked the calm waters of the bay. She stood so still that the wind blowing through her long, dark hair was all that betrayed her as a real person and not some sort of life-like statue or robot. An observer might look at her and think she was bored, but they would be mistaken. Boredom, like all emotions, was something she no longer felt. The weight of continued existence crushed her spirit almost as firmly as the brigands who, centuries ago, unknowingly set her upon this path. They had left her with only rage; her revenge had left her with nothing.
Behind her all up and down the pier was a large contingent of Ironworkers – men and women who were a part of Iron Mike’s criminal organization. Unlike Amaya, they were all uneasy. They were there to unload a cargo ship that was scheduled to arrive hours ago and had not yet shown up. While it wasn’t unusual for ships to sometimes be late, it was unusual for no communication in that regard to be sent. They all knew what was on that ship – this was a weapons deal that had cost their boss countless millions, and he did not like being disappointed. The longer they waited, the more nervous they got.
A shadow behind Amaya silently bulged outward and a figure emerged, pulling the shadow around itself as it stepped forward. It crept closer to Amaya in absolute silence, as stealthy as the night. Amaya made no move of acknowledgement to his presence and just continued to stand there motionless. A smile broke out on the shadowy figure’s face but immediately fell as Amaya began to speak.
“The Master wishes to know how the job fares?”
The Shadow-Man grimaced and walked up close to her, careful to keep out of her reach and to stand so that he could keep a wary eye on both her and the Ironworkers on the pier. “Yeah,” he croaked. “Iron Mike wants to know why he hasn’t heard from you yet.”
“His command to me was to receive the ship, unload it, and let him know when we were nearly finished. Does it look like we are nearly finished?”
The Shadow-Man laughed. “You are something else, lady.”
She said nothing in reply.
“So what should I tell him then?” He asked, looking down at the men and women standing around, doing nothing.
“Tell him his orders are being followed to the letter, as they always are. As he knows they must be.”
“But what about the ship – why isn’t it here yet?”
“If he orders me to investigate that then I will do so. Until I hear otherwise I will wait here to receive his ship even though it does not appear to be coming. I will then direct any of his men who are still around to unload it. And when it is nearly finished I will let him know.”
The Shadow-Man smiled. “So you don’t know. I guess I’ll just tell him that the ship is missing and nobody knows why.”
“It seems you did not need my input after all.” She said coldly.
The Shadow-Man just smiled a crooked grin and stepped back to enter the shadow he arrived in. He stopped when Amaya started talking again.
“I met her, you know.”
He knew who she was talking about – there was only one person she could be talking about. But he repressed the murderous urge that rose and asked anyway. “Met. Who?”
“The Huntress of Diana,” she replied. There was no hint of condescension, no implications, no goading. Just a simple statement of fact. This was the only reason the Shadow-Man let her keep talking. Or so he convinced himself anyway.
More surprising to him was that this was the first time Amaya had talked to him without being prompted. And she called that girl ‘The Huntress of Diana’ and not just ‘The Huntress.’ He hated every second of this game Amaya was playing but he kept his anger checked. “What do you know about her? You know I’ve been itching to find that bitch and pay her back for what she did to me.”
“I know that she, too, is late to arrive at the pier this evening.”
He could take no more. The Shadow-Man reacted swiftly – but Amaya was faster. He lunged for her, growling with hatred and rage but she deftly moved to the side just before he grabbed her. He caught his balance before falling off the edge of the pier into the water but before he could turn around Amaya gripped him by his neck and pulled him up. “That is not how someone says ‘thank-you,’” she calmly told him.
The pain in his neck was intense. He was pressed forward over the edge of the pier, held off-balance and only kept from falling in by her grip. Through gritted teeth he said to her, “In the darkness you will scream all your secrets. When your screams die and your whispered sobbing begins my shadows will construct the circle with your blood and I will invoke my Dark master who thirsts-”
“I tire of this conversation,” Amaya interrupted casually as she simultaneously pushed and let go of the Shadow-Man. He fell off the pier and down towards the water below. There was no splash of a body hitting the water. About fifty feet behind her the Shadow-Man flew out of a shadow, flying a good several feet through the air and crashing next to a couple nearby Ironworkers. He picked himself up and looked back at the edge of the pier. He saw Amaya standing exactly as she was when he arrived. He was about to yell something snarky down the pier towards her but once again, she spoke before he could say anything.
“Perhaps I will talk with you again another time,” she said while facing the bay.
“Oh, you can count on that,” he said back to her. He turned to find the two the Ironworkers staring at him. “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT!” He yelled at them in his raspy voice. They quickly turned and ran away from him as fast as they could run. The Shadow-Man laughed, relishing their fear, and disappeared into the shadows that were in front of him.