The Tomorrow Legion

It's Friday Night and I Feel Alright
A Typical Friday Afternoon and Evening at the Tomorrow Legion Headquarters

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Spirit was just the kind of guy who could be her friend. He was a super-hero. He was decent-looking. And he had money. Like…enough of it not to bat an eyelash when he gave her a credit card with $20,000 limit and told her to add some super-heroic modifications to her mode of transportation. CHA-CHING!!!!!

Yup! Guys like Spirit had their hearts and their wallets in the right places. They could be her friend any damn day of the week.

“Ahem.”

“Uh, oh…uh, what?”

“Lady, are you fuckin’ serious with this req?”

“Ahhh…” she leaned closer “to take a better look at his name tag” and give him an ample glimpse of her personality. “Bruno, is it?” The name tag was badly smudged with something dark and dirty. Gross. “Listen, Bruno, put it on the card and throw it in the bag. You seem like the kind of business man whose time is at a premium. Do us both a favor and make my bike go six-hundred miles per hour.” She leaned back and put on her best Super-Heroine Loves Chocolate expression.

“You’re fuckin’ crazy. Besides, best I can do is four-fitty and you’re guaranteed to break every bone in your motherfuckin’ body within the first week.”

“Gah! You hobo! What do you care? You get paid regardless. Besides, I have health insurance.”

“I don’t like seeing my custom work get shit on by amateur riders who think they are super-human — or worse…professional. I’m just giving you the standard disclaimer. I’ll take your money but you’re gonna end up in the hospital. It’d be a shame to ruin such a pretty…face.”

“Hey Creep…just fix my fuckin’ bike and I’ll be back in two weeks. Besides, I’ve got Uninsured Motorist’s Insurance too.”

“Yeah, and you got an answer for everything. Let’s just review the req okay? Top speed four-fitty, cruising at 145mph – $8,000, light bike armor – $2,500, 7.62mm Machine Gun fixed-mount – $2,500, (4) count ’em rocket launch tubes – 2 on each side, $500 ea., external fuel tank – $1000, smoke screen – $1,500, theft alarm system – $700, theft proof lock s- $500, (2) suits of super-slick cycle-armor – $250 ea., (2) portable tool kits – $150 ea. Did I get that right?”

“You’re pretty quick for a mechanic…and you can read.”

“Charming, aren’t I?”

“Better make that (4) suits of cycle-armor. I almost left $500 on the card.” She flashed him a brief smile.

“Lady, all the armor in the world isn’t gonna save you when the concrete turns your face into tapioca pudding and your body into a pretzel. I’ll see you in a month.” Bruno certainly was a character. If Hazel didn’t know any better she might have thought that he liked her.

“Hey, Bub, I said two weeks.”

“Lady, I’ll see you in two weeks but your bike won’t be ready for four. You wanna come back to chat just stop by tomorrow.”

“Whatever. Jerk. I can’t wait until you need a super-hero and some saving.”

“Yeah yeah…that’s what they all say.”

Huff!

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Hey Matty,

Guess what day it is…!!!!

FRIDAY!?!? That’s right! And as long as no one needs saving this is gonna be a primo weekend rife with relaxation and lots of fun!

Oh wait? What’s today’s date? Argh! The lunar calendar is so frustrating! If I grew claws and fangs when a full moon was out I wouldn’t have to mark it on my Goggle calendar. Oh wait. Maybe I WOULD! Backwards logic. Instead of running for the hills to lock myself in some concrete bomb shelter I have to run to the drug store for extra tampons. Sigh! Lunar calendar my ass! It’s like this whole thing is a hoax! The Telestic Society keeps such a low profile they must not get very many new members. Ah well…I’ll try again next month…which is almost here. Sheesh! The time has been flying so fast lately. With all the construction at the House and all the investigation and lead-following. Matty, I’m surprised I’m still standing. Thankfully, I’m not answering the phones anymore.


(Beepbeep)

“C’mon Virge…c’mon c’mon…”

(Beep beep beep)

“Pickup the phone Virgil. Pickupickupickupickup!”

(Beeepbeeep)

“Where is that guy? It’s Friday night! That means pizza and beer – or wine coolers – with a nod to you Matilda.”

(Beeee, click) “You’ve reached the MobileLGT Voice Mailbox of - Vigilance - leave a message at the tone.”

“Hey Verge where are ya? It’s Hazel and this divebox is runnin’ ragged! Hit me up on your way home and don’t forget to pass by Mario Brother’s – I already called in an order but their delivery is backed up like…an hour or something. I’m FIENDING for some garlic knots and a slice o’ pepperoni. I picked up a bottle of Jose Squarevo with our names on it. I think we should slip a little to the Squirrel before we kill the dorm’s security cams. Anyways callmeback kkthanxbai!!”


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“Alright wittew Korashi bashi Kobayashi…let’s see what you’re up toooo. I know you’re hiding something. Now be a good boy and cough it up!” (hic)

This shtuff is strong!

(Computer Operation roll 42%, success)

Let’s do a basic dive into the non-Goggle information channels. We all know those are basically worthless. Chat rooms. Hmmm…no one’s talkin’ about ‘em. Relay Chat? Nah. Deep Web? (Computer Operation roll 81%, fail). Let’s try forums. Okay — lots of info here. Advanced Search Algorithm (Computer Programming roll 18%, success) – keywords “korashi” "technics""traffic" “trafficking” “gun” “laser” “energy” “weapon” “alien” “laser” “Jack” “Ballard” “His Superior (whose name Hazel would remember)” and just for shits ‘n giggles “Iron” and “Mike” oh and “patent” / “patents” / “patented”. Okay, now that engine is gonna run for like an hour. (hic) That’ll give me time to go refill my drink and check on the Meat Market.


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“Veeeeeeerrrrge!”

“Wha? Huh?”

“Oh, dare you are! I came to get a refill and to check on your scrawny ass — make sure you’re not up to no trouble now, y’hear?”

“Just hanging out. Looks like most of the other dormers are out and about tonight.”

“Oh yeah? Are we the only ones with no lives?”

“No. We’re the only ones who are ‘on call’.”

“Are you shitting me? ‘On call’ like a Doctor? Virgil that’s AWESOME! Why didn’t I think of that?!?!”

“You’re buzzed.”

“Duh!” Hazel plops down on the couch next to the big man. “What’s on the tube?”

“Not much. I’m watching re-runs of American Gladiators.”

“That sounds kinda gay. Wanna come check out this Search Algorithm I wrote to comb all these different forums for anything about that Kobayashi Techniques company? Admittedly it’s really nerdy but it’s not gay.”

“Sure but I wanna finish this episode first. This is the farewell to Nitro when he goes at it with Laser in the Powerball and Joust.”

“Oh, um…of course. Why didn’t you say so?”


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“No. Nononono dude. I’m serious!”

“Uh Hazel you’ve already had three slices of pizza.”

“Gahhhh! It’s so good!!!! I feel like Michaelangelo! Verrge…Verge watch…”

(Hazel jumps in the air like a rabid wombat having a seizure) “KOWABUNGA!!!!!!!!!”

“Alright, take it easy there. It’s almost midnight. You know this is around the time the calls start coming in.”

“Gnarly!!!”

“You do a great Michaelangelo.”

“Thanks Virge — you’re not a bad Leonardo yourself.”

“Wait, wasn’t Leonardo the stuffy party pooper?”

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“Haha!” Hazel darts out of arm’s reach like a dizzy bird.

“I’ve got the radio on wireless and I’m monitoring the channels. C’mon, let’s go see this search algorithm.”

“Oh, we’re gonna see it alright. But first…a detour. I wanna show you the invisible tripwire spell I’ve been working on.”

“Didn’t you say it was called Magic Alarm or Mystical Alarm or something the other day?”

“Oh yeahhhh! I’ve been doing some of my own arcane research and it turns out I’ve been calling that spell by the wrong name for the last 8 years. Old habits die hard.”

“But you said that this spell would alert you whenever someone touches the alien gun or tries to enter the room…or any door or room its cast on.”

“That’s right my dear Watson. Watch and learn…”

They came to the hallway before the Tomorrow Legion Vault that was now home to a briefcase with a highly top-secret alien energy weapon. The floodlights were glaring at the room was lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Hazel, are you in the right frame of mind to be casting spells?”

“Nope.”

She begins muttering and mumbling and moving her hands.

“Wait, what?!”

“SHA’ZAAM!!!!”

“Really? I’ve never heard you cast a spell like that before.”

“The embellishment doesn’t hurt. Besides, how else would you know that I had finished?”

“I dunno. Can we check it out?”

“Sure! Let’s walk into the room. As soon as we cross that threshold I should get a feeling that one of my spells went off.”

“You’ve done this before, right?”

“Yup.”

Hazel and Vigilance walked into the Vault and were almost blinded by the great floodlights that bathed every inch of the room in their sterile glow and eradicated any possibility of shadows. As they crossed the threshold into the room Hazel expected to feel the mystic tingle alert her…but didn’t. She waited. And waited. And waited.

“Hazel? Lashe? Is everything alright?”

“Shh!” she hissed.

“What is it?” he whispered.

“Nothing. But that’s weird isn’t it?”

“Well Spirit had motion sensors installed in the Vault along with pressure plates and temperature sensors. You still have time to fine tune it.”

“Nothing to fine tune. The Mystical Alarm bell should be ringing in my ear. Hey what about the lights? Did he get the break-proof bulbs with 1m hours of life and set them behind shatterproof glass with sensors on the housing? I told him we also needed an alarm on the generator and one on the backup and another on the double redundancy backup. The lights in this room stay and stay bright even in a nuclear holocaust.”

“You really are buzzed.”

“Duh! Race ya to the last slice!!!!” Hazel shoves off the big athlete and runs pell mell out of the Vault.

“Hey! That’s not fair! You got a head start!”

Hazel looked over her shoulder as she bolted — quicker than one might expect — and taunted, “the pepperoni is mine!” The look on Vigilance’s face was priceless! And as her ankle caught on something hard she felt her center of gravity immediately begin to shift. The look on the big man’s face was still priceless but now it was one of surprise and…was that laughtOOOF!!!!!

BANG!!! SLAM!!!!!!

The small red-haired woman slammed face-first into the floor and tumbled ass over tea-kettle until she dead-ended against the wall across the hallway from the Vault door.

A mystical alarm rung incessantly in her head.


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After Game 3
Local Law Visit

Thursday afternoon at the Tomorrow Legion HQ, Lobby Room. Approximately 7pm.

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Detectives from the North Kilgore Precinct stood in the lobby of the TLHQ, awaiting Mr. Lance, after being welcomed by the lady behind the desk. She had introduced herself as Hazel — not only the secretary but also a member. Detective Claxton observed Sergeant Raspberry squirming. The younger detective had a telltale fidget when attracted…on duty.

Hazel sighed. The Tomorrow Legion’s present lack of a receptionist gave her nothing better to do than try to make herself useful to the team and helpful to visitors. Spirit might be the financial-backing philanthropist in the high-tech can-opener but she was making herself the front page Face of the Tomorrow Legion. When the phone wasn’t plastered to her ear she was grinning like a jackass eatin’ cactus. “I’m sorry, the restrooms are for customers only.” “No, sir, Kent Clarkson doesn’t work here.” “Uh, ma’am, this is a privately owned super-hero facility — not a daycare center.” “Babysitting service? I’m sorry to hear that. No, I can’t send someone to watch your son. I’m sorry to hear that. No, I don’t have any children of my own. Of course not. No. Ma’am, I didn’t mean it like that. No. I’m sorry. I have to go.” Click. “Tomorrow Legion, this is Hazel speaking, may I help you?” “Well did she break the law? Sir, your wife is allowed to disagree with you. That’s called an opinion and it’s not illegal. Oh? Where do you come from? Really? Women aren’t allowed to- sir I will not abide that kind of- sir, please. Oh? Is that so? Excuse me? We have caller I.D. you piece of- What did you call me? What language is that? Sonofa- LANCE!!!” Click.

Virgil’s timely entrance gave Hazel pause. He made his way down the stairs to the lobby in his street clothes and stopped at the reception desk.

“What’s up Hazel? You look heated.” Vigilance hadn’t seen her look so flustered. She was scowling and her cheeks were flushed.

“It’s not worth mentioning. Answering the phones is just a diversion and ”/characters/spirit" class=“wiki-content-link”>Spirit pays me overtime for being ‘on call.’ Regardless, I wasn’t sure if you had gotten the page. I think the intercom’s busted down in the gym again. Spirit said the electrical would be a bit fritzed while they wire the new security system."

“I was actually in my room getting ready for work. Who are these men?”

“Johnny Law?” Hazel queried with an incline. “He’s an amateur bird watcher. Caught him ogling repeatedly while nonchalantly pretending to admire the lobby. His partner with the manners is a senior detective. I’ll let them make their introductions. I already checked their badges and I.D.‘s with the local precinct and they’re legit.”

“Thanks again. I know we’re short-staffed these days and the reception duties aren’t easy.”

“Don’t mention it Virgil. I’m no stranger to takin’ one for the team,” she replied slyly with a wink.

Vigilance grinned and turned to the approaching detectives.

When Sergeant Raspberry realized “THE” Vigilance stood in front of him he extended his hand in greeting. “Vigilance, I take it?”

Vigilance grinned and affirmed it with a nod. He shook the detective’s hand while asking, “how may I help you?”

“You’re something of a hero down at the station — and not the usual costume-wearing Centurion kind.” He paused a moment as if choosing his next words carefully. “I am Sergeant Raspberry of the North Kilgore CSPD and I owe you an apology. I misjudged you for severely injuring Jesse Roach. When I saw you run out of the precinct to save that kid after the bloodbath…I, uh…I’m sorry for how I acted."

“Your apology isn’t necessary but I appreciate it.”

The other detective took the opportunity to offer his hand in introduction, “Mr. Lance, I’m Lieutenant Detective Claxton. It’s an honor to meet you.”

“Thank you.”

Hazel used the brief surcease to casually join the men and stand beside Virgil. “Lieutenant,” she began and reached her hand out to clasp his in introduction. “I’m Hazel.” She spared a glance for Raspberry and nods curtly, “Sergeant, I believe you’re already acquainted with me.” The blush on Raspberry’s face belied his namesake and it was just enough to set the tone and make him a little uncomfortable. The top of her red-head barely reached chest-high in the boy’s club circle. “So gentlemen, to what do we owe the pleasure? Surely you haven’t made a regular occurrence of visiting the Tomorrow Legion HQ to hand-deliver apologies.” She flashed Virgil a knowing smile, stepped subtly back to flank him, and let him lead. But she had made her point and the slight crease at the corner of Virgil’s mouth spoke volumes. They’d have a good laugh about this one later!

“We come to you today in the spirit of cooperation.” Claxton paused. “Consider it an alliance after a fashion. We know you’re looking for this “Shadow Man” character and you’ve made it known that you are currently harboring the high-tech weapon here. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist who made an alien weapon to figure out that you’re setting some sort of trap for this villain but the CSPD is worried that you’re making TTL a very big target. You saw first-hand what the “Shadow Man” can do and…well…”

Raspberry interjected for the lieutenant, “we wouldn’t want to see you guys butchered like those gang-bangers!”

Claxton nodded. “The Shadow Man is bad news and so is his purported employer, Iron Mike. While the Centurions have bigger Sinistry fish to fry it’s up to all of us to do our parts and pick up the slack.”

“Thanks, Detective, we appreciate the vote of confidence,” Vigilance replied half-heartedly.

“Just don’t think you’re alone on this. If there’s anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call. In return, if we find anything we’ll definitely reach out to you.” Claxton fished out a business card and handed it to the burly athlete.

“Do you have any leads on the man who broke into Jesse’s room the other day?” Hazel inquired during the exchange. “Virgil’s quick-thinking got us there in time to save that young man’s life. The massacre at the police station was more than just tying up loose ends.”

“I’ve read the file extensively, Miss Hazel, but I can’t say that the evidence is adding up. We don’t have any leads on the “Shadow Man” but I put in a request to S.H.A.R.D. for his criminal file and I’m working my street contacts for any sightings or information.”

With a nod to Vigilance she responded, “Virgil, here, knew we’d find your evidence locker empty and that the Shadow Man and the alien weapon were headed to the hospital for the coup de grace. If it weren’t for his intuition the perp would be gone, the evidence would be lost, and The Tomorrow Legion and the CSPD would take some pretty bad press…and we’d deserve it.”

Claxton grimaced. “You’re right. We owe you more than an apology, Vigilance,” he said with a pointed look at his subordinate, Raspberry. “The slaughter at the station was…horrific. That it was only a distraction took us completely off-guard. The evidence…the last living witness…you really were a hero that day Vigilance.” Claxton smiled genuinely. “I’m surprised you never tried out for the Force. You’d have made a hell of a detective.”

Detective Claxton shook Hazel’s hand and made direct eye contact with her then moved to do the same with Virgil. The big man slowly extended his hand to hesitantly clasp Claxton’s. The detective’s eyebrows rose when Virgil gave no grip at all. Claxton and Virgil never broke eye contact.

Hazel thought she was watching the silent-stare-down competition of the Century.

She used the opportunity to offer, “Detective, the Tomorrow Legion is a team of very diverse and often “eclectic” talents. We have members with very versatile specialties and expertise in a wide range of vocations. TTL is equipped to handle matters of a technological, criminal, gang-related, investigative natures, and even matters of the occult; I, personally, specialize in matters of the obscure, occult, and arcane.”

Claxton’s smiled in kind, “I’m glad to know The Tomorrow Legion is covering all its bases; and even more importantly we’re all on the same team.” He let his grip of the big man’s hand fall away.

Hazel continued, “Spirit, our leader, has endorsed a mutual relationship of support and cooperation with the authorities. We’re both working toward the same end: A brighter future and a cleaner, safer Century Station.”

They started to escort the detectives out.

“Ah, I almost forgot,” the detective slapped his forehead as they headed for the door. “Mr. Lance, the update on Jesse Roach: He is on schedule to make a near-full recovery. The doctors won’t know the extent of the brain damage — if any — while he’s still in a coma, but physically he will pull through.”.

“Thank you for the update. The nurses said the same earlier today during our visit.”

Silently, they all thanked their lucky stars. Hopefully, whatever information could be salvaged from that kid’s head would break this case wide-open. If it didn’t. Or, heaven forbid, if he woke from the coma as a vegetable or never woke at all — they’d find themselves, once again, behind the eight-ball.

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Game #3 - Vigilance Against the Undercurrents

Vigilance

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Although the team found a bunch of new leads and different information, something is not adding up in my head. It feels almost like we have the last piece of a puzzle, but it just does not fit!

The feeling of frustration and being distracted has made an unwelcome return. The thoughts of the “how it use to be” always comes to mind whenever I find myself feeling this way. The past is the past.

I had just returned to the lobby of Tomorrow Legion from our gym center working with some of our new recruits. Diane, Hazel, Doc, and Bogart had gathered to review information about the “”/characters/shadow-man" class=“wiki-content-link”>Shadow Man" and to see where this cell phone from the victims of the jail slaughter would lead us.

Surprise! Surprise! <not> this cell phone did not belong to any of those poor characters.

Since the tech wizards of Diane, Hazel, and Doc P were handling the tech investigation I decided to take a walk to the hospital to visit Jesse and Bogart followed. My furry friend was even less talkative than normal during the walk to the hospital and turned down the almonds I offered. Apparently something is bothering him. I will try cashews next time.

There’s been no change in Jesse Broachman’s condition. The nurse informed me he will be moved out of ICU soon and to a regular room in the next day or so.

I explained to Bogart what happened at the hospital. He was taken aback by the actions of Diane. There is no grey areas to Mr. Bogart and I can appreciate that, but I still explained my view of the actions. Explained far enough that I now understand that even I feel guilty of the actions taken.

I mull over the thoughts and what Bogart had to say. The law states “Though Shall Not Kill” and if found guilty the person is sent for Capital Punishment. There is no doubt of the Shadowman’s guilt and I will stand in court demanding Capital Punishment be served for Justice.

I am still not certain apprehending Mr. Cloudy will be possible. I don’t believe all the bright lights will stop the ShadowMan from taking what he wants in Tomorrow’s Legion HQ.

So Bogart & I spent some time at the hospital until I decided it was time to return to HQ. Bogart decided to spend some more time around the hospital.

The Goggle Glasses are working well for the limited use I need them for and helping with in & out data collecting plus keeping Spirit apprised of any situations.

The tech team called and informed me they had made some progress and wanted to review. I upped my pace and Bogart announced he was returning to HQ also. While making our way back to HQ we discussed the findings and threw around some new ideas.
The tech team had discovered the owner of the cell phone was Jack Ballard and his wife had reported a missing person report on him. Not good.

Hazel “telecommute” to Ballard’s place of work. From Hazel’s reported information, Mr. Ballard’s employer is a person of interest in connection to this advanced rifle.
The tech team was also expecting visitors at anytime since the cell phone had been activated. I have been a bit anxious for anyone to show up for the advanced rifle. The tech team called it and as I approached Tomorrow’s HQ, I was given notice we had visitors in the main lobby.

As I walked through the entrance into the lobby of HQ, Hazel had already greeted our two visitors. Side note – I am wondering if Dr. Preposterous is developing a crush on Hazel already. Although Doc is normally quite abrasive to be around, he has developed an extra bit towards Hazel. True affection on Doc’s terms. Hey! Just because he is super smart does not mean he is a mature acting adult!

The two visitors were dressed very unusual and claimed to be from Centurions. A woman dressed in light armor (revealing too, Yes! tata’s) who introduced herself as thee Joan of Arc and a man dressed in a costume that had all sorts of memorable dates calling himself Timeline……..I miss football cheerleaders…….

I have some concerns of how Ms. Joan of Arc reacted when she shook my hand……I hope I was not thinking too loud about her costume. I have heard of her before and it is rumored she can see the future so maybe she saw something? I asked her if she was okay? Mr. Timeline immediately stepped up and shook my hand too. I explained the situation that both of the Centurions had walked into and apologized that I needed to confirm who they were. Meanwhile Hazel requested permission to do some type of scan(?) and both agreed.

The Centurion’s HQ confirmed both their identity and location. This alone put me at ease although Hazel whispered to me not to tell them much about the cell phone or gun. Once Diane joined us and used her method of asking the “right questions” I left me guard down apparently much quicker than the rest of the group.

Timeline explained they were working with another precinct trying to find a missing person named Jack Ballard and his cell phone had been activated with GPS trace locating it here. Joan defogged or whatever was going on to say she could maybe locate Mr. Ballard if she could have the phone.

I am sure Spirit was monitoring this entire situation although he never “walked” in.

Against the rest of the teams wishes I decided to give up the phone to which Dr. Preposterous made a vocal expression of disgust. He already had all the data and pictures copied from the device. Once Joan had the phone in her possession for a few moments a sad expression developed over her face. Once she was done she conveyed that Mr. Ballard had been murdered by gang members and knew the approximate location of the body. The Centurions would take the cell phone to the widow so she could have the personal pictures from her late husband.

Joan and Timeline also shared to us what they knew about the Shadowman. Rumor has it he was working for Iron Mike and that would explain the techno gun.

The tech group here is continuing to pry into the information on the cell phone. one of the pictures is of a shadowy form holding this techno gun. Hopefully this may be another lead. In the mean time I am going to dig into Mr. Ballard’s past to see if I can find more information. Hopefully with a little more tact than has been used by the group earlier today.

Lastly, I need to talk to Hazel regarding these glasses. I think she can make some improvements so they work better for the team. Need to get ready for work tonight too.

Geez, more people here to see me and evidently both are police from our local station. This should be interesting…..

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Inveigle Investigation or Impromptu Invitation
Game #3

Whoa Matilda! Slow down for a sec! I’ve gotta get this off my chest before my er…brain explodes. Okay, that doesn’t make sense.

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So there I was, just chillin’ out, mindin’ my own bidnass and trying to plug away at that silly futuristic cell when Matt comes in and introduces me to two other members I hadn’t yet met. The first was Pompous Professor Presumptuous…harumph, more like Obstreperous. If he’s the brains of the outfit we’re in for a rough road. He actually slammed the door in my face when I first made my entrance. Can you believe that? He settled down once we got into the detective work and his expertise with Electronics eventually powered the FutureCell on so I could work my hacking mojo.

Bbbbbb…but wait, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Matt also introduced me to a pint-sized Rocky — Sir Squanto the Squirrel of Epically Bogart-Sized Proportions. He dresses like Dick Tracy but he’s the fastest um…rodent, I’ve ever seen! Uncanny sense of smell. He certainly has a head for the prying private-eyes and detecting private dicks.

Whatever.

Virgil was just coming back from a work out and Diane showed up none-too-soon. We all gathered around and hashed out ideas while we hatched our plans. Once Doc powered up the cell phone we were worried that the GPS would be turned on but we used our limited time wisely. We searched through the call log and history and contacts and pictures on the phone and found the name of Jack Ballard who came up under FaceBack as a married man. The doc did a Goggle Face recognition match and confirmed that Jack Ballard and his wife were the pics in the phone. He even spotted one photo in particular of a man dressed all in black with the alien gun. It was kinda blurry and we couldn’t make out much more but we quickly associated Jack Ballard with a company called Korashi Technics — they’re some kind of big-time shipping and receiving company who specializes in handling ultra-high technology and top-secret cargo for some big-time players. A few dead-ends and a lead got us to Bill Wilson, Jack’s superior at Korashi and Jack’s wife — who was becoming increasingly nervous about his whereabouts and his absence. Maybe that guy had gone MISSING!?!? Considering two gangs were making a deal for the weapon he PROBABLY stole — maybe he got mugged.

The last entry on his FaceBack wall was kinda cryptic, “It’s all over. A new life awaits.” Or something equally creepy.

BUZZZZ1!!!!1

Well, I guess it was too good to be true. A few random people showed up and I quickly put on my best “reception” smile. Virgil accompanied me and Diane kept watch. The doc sniggered that I’m, “the girl who works the phones!” Can you believe the balls on that guy? Huff! I’m gonna be “the girl who works the Doc!” if his tongue gets any looser.

Oh…oh wait…oh eeeew…gross. That came out wrong.

So these wannabe’s pretended to be REAL LIVE CENTURIONS!!! Good thing Diane had us covered from above. She didn’t waste any time transforming and quickly donned the visage of a goddess. Gosh! She’s so beautiful…half the time. I’m so jealous. Half the time I’m homely and the other half I’m just, well, scary. So I met Joan of Arc and Timeline for the first…um, time. I guess. I didn’t trust them or take them at their word but they didn’t take any exception to my reading their auras and detecting supernaturally ill intent. They claimed they were following-up on a missing persons case that CSPD had recently turned over to them. YOU GUESSED IT: Jack Ballard! Grade-A Home-Grown MISSING!!! Distraught wife and everything! I told Virgil not to spill that we had confiscated the dude’s phone from a bunch of gang-bangers but I think I was a little too loud. Doh! That’s when Diane came down and kinda winked slyly at us and started asked all poignant questions and stuff…like she was testing them or trying to see if they were being genuine. I dunno. She got this mysterious look in her eye like she knew something the rest of us didn’t.

Anyway, they weren’t much help but after that Virgil and Balabanto scurried off to the ICU to check on Jesse Croach. I told them they should try to monitor his brain waves and watch his dreams for signs from his subconscious. Vigilance looked at me like I was cute…but had a second head growing right out of my ass. So much for being progressive!

Diane and I headed back to the lab where Doc had hidden the weapon and the cell — the super-lit vault never knew what hit it — but we were worried about an incursion so we didn’t want the valuables to be out for too long. That was when I urged Doc and Diane to inspect the weapon. They found a serial number that we couldn’t quite trace and it didn’t come up on Goggle. We couldn’t get much more out of the weapon besides its energy source. We needed to find an alien technology weapons expert.

At about this time Diane confided in me that she had been having this weird dream where a goddess, probably Artemis (inferred from my Lore), was reaching out to her subconscious and told her that the elusive Shadow Man was a hunter, just like her, and that if he lived from his grievous wounds he would make her his next target. Diane would be the prey. Artemis also said in the dream that the Shadow Man is a minion of something very old and very dark and evil that was banished from this world thousands of years ago. She also said that her brother, Apollo, was familiar with this great evil and that his Oracle (the oracle at Delphi — sheesh! I’m glad I took that mythology and philosophy of the ancient world…101 class at university!) would know more about this mysterious figure and his powers. Wow! What a dream! I usually just dream about pizza…and Brad Pitt…but mostly pizza. And kittens. And pink…stuff.

So I yelled Eureka! Jumped up and buzzed the last phone number in the cell phone. Bill Williamson here I come! Alas, I had to go into my gruesome form to mount the phone and I prefaced the transformation with a disclaimer for my new friend. The doc took it surprisingly well and Diane just gave me the “girl-look” and the go-ahead. SHAZAAAM!!!!! Out of my skin, rending, and tearing pops the B-Movie alien bombshell! Feline-looking, sassy, and looks to kill! Thankfully they’re completely covered with this overgrown Gandalf robe and the demon mask of red death and darkness and swirling symbols and glowing runes. It’s a really nice robe though…with sparkles. BUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! And I was flowing through the phone lines in seconds! And out I popped into the Bill Williamson’s lap! I transformed back super fast and calmly explained the situation. He’s now seen my real face. I told him that I knew where his associate, Jack Ballard was, and I hinted at the whereabouts of the weapon. I told him that I wanted his cooperation. He told me I had 2 seconds before he called security. Matilda H. Q. Lockheart — it’s time to go!

The base is coming along nicely and I shared with the Tomorrow Legion folks who were there when I returned what Bill Williamson said. I think we’ve got a whole lot more investigation to do. And right now, I probably shouldn’t show my face around town or I’m gonna join Jack Ballard — wherever his body is.

Later,

Hazel

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Volume 1 - Issue 3
An Investigative Interlude
  • This issue saw Dr Preposterous, Bogart, Huntress, Hazel, and Vigilance all working together to pursue different clues and angles in order to further delve into the mystery of the high-tech weapon currently in the Tomorrow Legion’s possession. Much of the information revealed was due to team efforts in investigation, skill rolls, and group deductive reasoning.
  • Huntress shared a particularly vivid dream she had had the night after they chased away the Shadow Man, hoping her teammates could provide some insight.
  • Their investigations started with the phone. Successfully powering it up caused a flood of text messages to pour in to the phone. The CSPD computers also automatically noted the re-activation of the cell signal for this missing person and automatically flagged the file for follow-up. While CSPD couldn’t jump on the lead right away, the Centurions Thaumaturge, Joan of Arc and Timeline received the information at Centurion HQ. Joan of Arc and Timeline decided to head out and follow up on this lead.
  • After some successful electronics rolls, computer rolls, investigations and clever thinking, the following information from/about the cell phone was discovered:
    • It originally belonged to a man named Jack Ballard. He was reported missing about a week ago by his wife, Sheryl. Almost all those texts were from her.
    • Jack was a theoretical physicist who became unemployed when Daedalus went belly up. He had since been working for Korashi Technics. His boss was Bill Williamson and he wasn’t happy Jack disappeared.
    • The last several calls to and from from Jack’s phone were to a number not in his caller ID. Dr. Preposterous transferred all the contacts and phone numbers from this phone to his own.
    • Checking social media for Jack revealed he was unhappy at his job recently and his last update said “A new life awaits. There’s no going back now!”
    • Dr. Preposterous called Sheryl using the number for her in the phone, but other than some personal history on Jack and indicating that the Centurions were involved, she had no other information she can provide.
    • The phone’s memory card had several “selfie” pictures of Jack (with and without his wife) all taken in various locations throughout Century Station. There were also pictures of the weapon, and one odd picture
      • It’s not great quality, as if it was taken in haste or subtly. It shows a massive room filled with an array of computers and electronics. In the center is a raised circular platform. There appears to be a person in black armor laying on the platform. The picture’s too bad to get any more details but it does appear as if a rifle similar to the one that was in the case was in his or her hand. Everything in the room appears to be badly damaged – parts of the ceiling and walls have collapsed and the equipment is badly beaten up. The date stamp on this picture was two weeks ago.
  • Hazel decided to take a chance and dialed the number of Bill Williamson. When the phone was answered she used her Lightning Rider talent to transport herself there. She appeared in his office in Korashi Technics, right on his desk in front of him. He was flustered and after a quick back and forth she discovered that he was worried about getting the weapon back and didn’t really care about Jack. She provided Bill with Spirit’s phone number to call if he wished to cooperate and then Hazel transported back out before Bill could collect himself and call in security.
  • They moved on to investigating the weapon. After some successful electronics rolls, weapon skill rolls, investigations and clever thinking, the following information from/about the weapon was discovered:
    • It was a high tech laser rifle with multiple settings unlike anything currently on the market. Despite showing some wear and tear it was so durable that they couldn’t even scratch it. The weapon energy cells had no power.
    • The energy “clip” and the larger energy “canister” were revolutionary energy storage devices, easily able to store over 100 times the energy of any equivalent, current energy weapon clips.
    • It had a serial number: C12-XK7-63G3JN-864U7-HALR. This number produced no leads when it was searched.
    • It was pointed out that someone with “Find Contraband” and either “Weapons Engineer” or “Armorer (Field)” could probably glean more information from this weapon. Due to its “alien” nature they considered calling in Alpha Prime but decided they didn’t want to lose possession of it, as they were using it as bait to try and draw in the elusive Shadow Man.
  • Dr. Preposterous was so enthralled by the energy storage properties he considered trying to patent the tech. Although it would take several weeks of study before a serious attempt could be made to understand it he searched the patent system anyway to see if there was something similar which had recently been patented. He not only found that there was something about a week ago, but that it was from a company which he was able to identify as a subsidiary of Korashi Technics.
  • During this time Vigilance and Bogart headed back to the hospital, to check up on Jesse Roach and see if there were any more leads to this situation which they could glean there. The Squirrel Detective was on the case!
  • There was no change in Jesse’s condition and if there were any more clues to the situation they weren’t discovered. They stood watch in the hospital for a little while before Vigilance headed back to the Tomorrow Legion HQ. Bogart stayed behind to keep sniffing around.
  • Bogart snuck into the records room and got the name of the doctor attending to Jesse: Dr. Stewart Palmer. Bogart recalled that this doctor’s name was associated in the underworld as a doctor they could go to with injuries. A quick search through the records room failed to reveal how many other patients this doctor currently had.
  • Vigilance returned to the Tomorrow Legion at the same time that Joan of Arc and Timeline finally traced the phone’s signal to this building. The Tomorrow Legion was wary of their presence, since they weren’t 100% sure of the “legality” of their current clues – especially the weapon. But these Centurions were only here to examine the phone linked to the missing man, Jack Ballard, and though they knew about the weapon they didn’t know it was connected to the case.
  • Joan of Arc shook Vigilance’s hand when they were introduced and received one of her trademark psychic visions, this one of the fractured future surrounding Vigilance. This vision rattled her and Timeline had to step up to continue the talk with the Tomorrow Legion.
  • Timeline asked for the phone and the Tomorrow Legion turned it over to them. Joan had recovered enough by this point to perform basic psychic psychometry on it and received flashed of Jack Ballard being murdered by a gang. These visions showed her where the body was and the Centurions left to finish up this case.
  • After the Centurions left the Tomorrow Legion split up to “research” a few things:
    • Vigilance was going to dig around a bit more into Jack Ballard’s past and recent activities.
    • Hazel was going to dig more into the company Korashi Technics.
    • Dr. Preposterous was prepared to follow up on several leads, from the phone, the weapon, and the patent office.
    • Bogart continued on his own to begin a more thorough investigation into Dr. Stewart Palmer and his underworld connections.
    • Huntress was going to hit the streets to get more information on the crimelord Iron Mike, a not unfamiliar name which had come up both in association with the Shadow Man and with underworld weapons buyers.

EPILOGUE

Joan of Arc sat silently in the passenger seat of the small, two-person Centurion hovercar. Timeline was in the pilot seat but had set the computer to take them to the location in Society Hill where her psychic object read indicated they would find Jack Ballard’s body. They hadn’t said anything since they left the Tomorrow Legion headquarters. Timeline broke the silence. “So what happened back there Joan?”

She turned to look out the window, facing away from him. “I don’t know. I just didn’t expect to receive a vision, I guess.” She didn’t like lying to him – but how could she explain what happened?

“I’ve never seen you get so distracted after one of your visions. Did you see something bad in his future? He seemed like a nice guy – that’d be a shame. Vigilance, right? I think I remember hearing about him on…” Timeline droned on but Joan wasn’t hearing him anymore. She was thinking back to the vision she received when she shook Vigilance’s hand.

It was unlike any vision she had ever received before. She witnessed not one future, like she was used to, but several different futures all jumbled together. It was as if his future was in flux somehow, or… fragmented? Fractured? She didn’t know. But it seemed as if several of the futures tied into the chaos she had begun to foresee in the city’s future, and that was the most worrisome.

What she did know, though, was that she received this vision for a reason. She glanced up at the Heavens and said a silent, thankful prayer. Looking back at the city they were flying over Joan resolved to investigate the matter further.

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Brilliance Sparks and Innovation
Chapter 2: Interlude

Matty,

It’s happening…

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Once everyone returned to the Tomorrow Legion building Spirit took me aside and thanked me for helping. He actually said that I seemed to fit in naturally. Can you believe that? He asked me how I would feel about being a part of this team, “The Tomorrow Legion.” Oooh! Sounds so mysterious! I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect until he reiterated that I would help direct construction in the facility so that all my “needs” are met.

(Clap) I’m so excited!

Am I willing to become a Legionnaire and work with them?

I asked Spirit to explain a few things:

What’s the difference between a Centurion and a Legionnaire? What about Free Agents? These terms get tossed around a lot, especially in online chat-rooms and forums, and I want to make sure that I’m on the right side of the law. I’ve heard that the Centurions are officially sanctioned and even have support from government agencies and given authority to actually arrest people and all that other happy horseshit. Are they just the “big-time” boys who deal with the real threats like public enemy #1 and the likes of Iron Mike?

Spirit was VERY informative. He’s like a wealth of information!

The Centurions are actually deputized by the city. This lets them make their own arrests and act as super-powered police but it also restricts them with all the usual red tape and bureaucratic bullshit. They are also the group typically called in to deal with the big-time threats like Sinistry. Those guys make the front-page of the paper and I think it’s safe to say they’re out of our league. Legionnaires – members of The Tomorrow Legion — we’re technically vigilantes working outside the law, but for now it seems the police aren’t too worried about that as long as we’re fighting on their side of things. “Free Agents” are super-humans who haven’t acted in a manner to be labelled as either “heroes” or “villains.” They may literally be mercenaries, or they may be vigilantes whose actions have been questionable enough that the public and the authorities aren’t quite sure what to make of them. That’s a tough spot to find yourself these days — not knowing who your friends are. And worse — who your enemies might be.

Iron Mike is just a thug trying to carve out his own territory in Waingroh, across the 109. No-one’s really dealing with him yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if we start clashing pretty soon. Yah yah yah…whatever!

So…Legionnaires aren’t sanctioned like Centurions. They don’t have official crime-stopping, peace-keeping, detective-licensing, carte-blanche. They’re perfect!

I told him, “Spirit the offer is enticing on both the level of really doing something worthwhile and proving my merit — proving that I’m not just some kind of freak, but a HEROINE — and because it was absolutely EXHILARATING and sooooooooo exciting!”

I also confessed that if I become a Legionnaire it’s very important that my duties with the Tomorrow Legion not interfere with my “day” job. Part of my life, part of my IDENTITY is maintaining a normal, outward-appearing, lifestyle, day-job, yoga classes, library visits, computer games / video games, reading books for pleasure, studying the occult, and all the “normal” pursuits I have OUTSIDE of crime-fighting. So as long as the two paths aren’t mutually exclusive Spirit can count on me.

And, I’d love the chance to put a little extra money in my pocket each month by saving on RENT! LOL! The commute to work might be a little longer but that’ll be worth it…heheh. What’s a few seconds, anyway? Ring ring ring…BANANA PHONE!!!!
A few other things to catch up on:

Spirit’s contact at S.H.A.R.D. is supposed to buzz him back within a day or two regarding the Shadow Man. He said as soon as he knows something he’ll share that knowledge with everyone

While we were waiting we started to work on “dissecting” the cell phone and came up empty handed. I realized that, while the inner-workings of networks and mainframes and servers is second-nature to me — I just don’t know much at all about basic electronics; a serious deficiency for any would-be hacker seductress. I’m going to look into some online courses, tutorials, and YouBube vids to try to learn a little more about the “hardware” side of the “back-end.” Ooh! Look at all the buzzwords!

At the very least I was able to check the “contact” information, see the ID# of the phone, check the call log and history, and with that information I can dive into the ‘net and try to dig up any matches. I should also ask Spirit if he has any contacts in the detectives department or down at the station who can do some cross-referencing in their databases. I probably won’t have Haxxcess to them for some time. wink

Oh Crap! I almost forgot to tell you! The most exciting information he shared was regarding a group of mystics or…whatever…that meet in the city. Do you believe that Matty? And, as a gesture of good faith he promised to dispense the information regardless of whether or not I join the Tomorrow Legion!!!!

So of course, I practically had kittens right there on the floor! I’m gushing! Meeting new people? Like me? Who know MAGIC?!?! Where do I sign up?!?!

Spirit claims he’s not directly affiliated with them and didn’t really know much about them at all. He discovered them almost by accident and they call themselves the Telestic Society. They meet once a month or so, on the night of the new moon, in one of the parks over in Rattle Ridge. Whoa!!! The new moon is in a few days! I can’t wait to go over. Should I be nervous? I have butterflies. I’ll take the ACE just in case. A girl can’t be too careful these days.

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Vigilance against the darkness within
Entry #2

You ask someone the time and they tell you the weather. Incompetence.

It has been a rough day. I am grateful we were able to save Jesse Roach from “Smokey”. I just really wanted to get my hands on that piece of…….ah, looking back now I am glad I did not or I would have been no better than that…..again, relax, breathe, just like Coach use to teach us. Control.

Let us start over.
I was not in a good mood this morning. I was rather foul. I am not happy with myself and my actions that caused Jesse severe injury. Until this passes I decided to stay at headquarters so no further “bad decisions” are made from myself. Diane was my patrol partner today and thankfully she was okay with staying at head quarters.

I make it a point not to fish off the company pier, but I do appreciate the views here sometimes. Diane is a pretty lady even when she is not transformed into the Huntress. Speaking of views, I wonder if Miss Fire is showing off her wears again?

I am feeling a little better now.

I was trying to walk the halls around the headquarters to keep myself from staring at the walls of my dorm here. This is “home” for now, but I do not consider this place a home. Nothing in this city is a home, but here is where my job is to be done.

I was not in a hurry to pick up the phone when it was ringing and missed the call when the answering machine picked. I am not sure what Spirit has against using an offsite voice-mail package. I mean really Spirit, an answering machine? That’s so 2000’s.

I’ve seen some odd stuff before, but I’ve never seen a person grow out of an answering machine, let alone a tattooed up girl. She is amicable and asking for Spirit for a walk about. Little bit of smoke coming out of the answering machine still. I don’t think she has played any team sports and tiny. Holy crap tiny. I’ve defecated larger piles and they still flushed. Powerful gal though and I will get more into that. I was still very aware of my reluctance to shake her hand in fear of crushing her. And names, I mean really parents? Do you hate your children that much? Laz……………………….., I mean I did not even make it half way through her first name let alone the 12th part. Hazel and I will stick with her nickname. I will require her to train in the gym and she will make a good training partner with Salvo. If she joins.

As usual….Spirit makes his “grand” entrance. I’ve made it a point to just ignore it anymore. He’s been a great boss and I appreciate that he recruited me and help me learn my new abilities through training. Not sure what I would have done after that game….

Spirit gave her the 2 cent tour and Diane joined us. Then the local police department showed up and wanted us to take a ride down to the precinct less Spirit. They gave us no clues why. I was starting to wonder if Jesse had made it through the night and I was being taken in although why would they take the ladies with me? Jesse was still in a coma yesterday when I visited and his room was full of visitors that appeared to recognize me.

The station is marked off with yellow tape with several other emergency vehicles there. None of the first responders are moving with much urgency though and you know that is a bad sign. The three of us are escorted down to a holding cell where a horrific scene of blood covering every wall lay before us. I didn’t react. Odd. Diane on the other hand was releasing breakfast and I could not blame her. Hazel kept her composure. Nine “kids” lay slaughtered in the cell and they were the kids we had taken into custody two days ago. No entrance or exit shown by the murder.

You ask someone the time and they tell you the weather. This cop was one of those and already being in a foul mood I became short with him. I guess he picked up on it and thought it was a good idea to defend against it. I hate to break it to the officer, but there is a reason why you are close to retirement and not a sergeant. Obviously this officer never played football or any other team sport. You answer the questions when asked by the coach.

The officers allow us to review the tapes along with all their verbal baggage. Problem solvers these guys are not. I wish we had at least one of their detectives reviewing stuff with us rather than regular patrolmen.

I saw nothing in the video when it went dark, but from the gasps and wide eyes of both Hazel & Diane there was a lot to see with their powers. The officers are caught on video trying to get to the cell and held at bay by a wall of darkness. The “kids” screams continue until the lights come back on and the darkness disappears from stopping the officers. Only carnage remains.

Both Hazel and Diane are reviewing what they see when I have the video paused. I ask the officer to get the belongings checked in from the kids and check on the gun that was confiscated when the group was arrested…..Holy weatherman. This flatfoot is really starting to irritate me. We have the video backed up from the beginning while the officer retrieves the items. We also call in to Spirit to update. While updating Spirit we find out the gun is missing.

Finally Mr. Weatherman shows up with the articles from the kids while we are reviewing the video feed from evidence locker area. None of the kids would give their names while going through their stuff and other than a rather high tech cell phone nothing of use. We see for the first time Mr. Smokey without the darkness when it hit me like a wrecking ball. OMG, Jesse Roach.

I just left. Dropped everything and began running out of the police station for the hospital. I radioed back why. There was no time to lose and I was not going to have Jesse murdered after surviving my stupidity. Spirit interjected for me to stop and look up when I was outside to see him in the hovercar descending to pick me up. I was half tempted still to run across the city to get to the hospital. And then we had to wait for Diane & Hazel. I try to be patient……I try. FREAKING FOREVER!!!!! HURRY THE ……..It seemed like eternity.

I did not wait for the hovercar to land at the hospital. Diane followed suit and jumped out behind me and followed me through the hospital. I could only go so fast in there and with everyone out of the way in my wake she was able to keep up fairly well.

My heart dropped when I saw the curtain of darkness in the hallway with the nurses and doctors freaking out unable to get through. I didn’t slow down and plunged with all my might with my fist. I expected the darkness to pop with a large bang in my imagination and I was disappointed to find out it felt like I punched a blob of Jello.

I thought about what could be done to get “Smokey’s” attention. Punch the floor to cause a shockwave? We are in ICU, bad idea. Clap my hands together to cause a shockwave? Again ICU and I don’t care to make everyone deaf.

Diane takes my hand and leads me through the darkness where I can’t see. It is liking walking through Jello too. Hard to move even with all my strength. Diane is more pushing and steering me through the darkness until we suddenly are out of the darkness and in Jesse’s room. Amazingly Hazel & Spirit appear through a wall on the other side of the room thankfully not directly since Diane immediately releases an arrow into Mr. “Smokey” who is slowly peeling the skin off Jesse. I see hazel murmering words and moving her hands while something metallic appears under “Smokey’s” feet. Smokey turns to look at Diane who is already reading another arrow. His eyes almost glow with shock. The room goes dark.

I charge through this muddy Jello in a rage. Thoughts of ripping his arm off with the weapon he is using to skin Jesse and beating him to death race through my mind to make him pay for those 9 kids. I run into a wall.

I am thankful to that wall. It brought clarity from all that anger on what was important. I needed to protect Jesse and thoughts of revenge could put him in further peril. I felt my way to his bed and tried to cover him the best I could in case another blow were to come.

The darkness left and we heard a scream down the hall. I stayed with Jesse until the doctors and nurses were there to help then I headed in the direction my compatriots had already gone to find “Mr. Smokey” so he could pay for his sins through justice.

Diane and Hazel had tracked him to a room and told me he was gone. I followed the blood stains on the floor to a corner and gave the shadow in the corner a finger flick. I was greeted by exploding sheetrock. The bastard had gotten away.

Diane & Hazel took blood samples from the “Smokey” trail of foot steps on the floor. Returning to the room we found the murder’s shoes stuck to the floor where Hazel made a spell so he could not get away. She called it sticky carpet or something. When picking up the shoes for further evidence we found the silver rifle case with the advanced rifle inside it.

“Mr. Smokey” will be back for this. Jesse will be in further danger along with all the hospital staff.. This is just getting worse.

I voice my concerns to the group about the hospital and Jesse. I will stay here to guard Jesse while the group returns to headquarters with the rifle.

Call for a Tomorrow Legion meeting and put the word on the streets we have the rifle.

Come and get it.

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Shadows and Dust
Game #2

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^ Imagine me jumping out of the phone…surprise!

Matilda Walther P. Mathau!

You’re not gonna believe this! I know it’s usually a week or sometimes two between confessions but I’ve had more excitement in the last twenty-four hours than I’ve had in the last six months since I moved! Remember that guy I told you about? The mysterious one with the dark glasses? Well he invited me back to his place after our coffee date went so well. I mean, I told him I wasn’t that kind of girl but he insisted. Hah! Just kidding. He hasn’t even seen the “real” me yet and I’m trying to keep Dark Hazel under wraps. I should be able to do-gooder and save the day without letting her out…too soon.

Anyway, work was the usual — mind-numbing and eye-squinting boredom. On a lark I shot Matt — that’s Spirit, by the way, in case you forgot already. I shot Matt a quick email telling him I would stop by the Tomorrow Legion Headquarters somewhere in Kilgore in the Midtown district. He gave me an address that wasn’t legit. Maybe it was too new to be registered with Goggle Maps. I sent him a follow-up text from my cell and told him just to give me directions. He started to explain it to me and within a few sentences my head was swimming with the possibilities of public transit. The metro, rail, buses, and trolley are woefully inadequate for the number of commuters. This is a metropolis! Not like the ‘burbs back home. You’d think Century Station would invest a little more money in its “working class.” We pay taxes here too! Well, don’t we?

Whoa! Sorry, you know how I can get tangential when I’m excited. Spirit’s directions aside I asked him for the main land-line at the headquarters. And, Matty, lemme tell ya — to his credit, he didn’t even bat an eyelash. I was coming from work so I didn’t have the luxury of riding my bike. I very casually made my way down into the basement where Mike the Janitor lets me use one of the staff lockers. He was a great guy to befriend, by the way, good call! (High-five!) So I disappeared into the Telcom room with the Exchange and hitched a ride on the little lines of fiber-optics! It’s always a little unnerving when I do it because I can’t seem to work the magic without Dark Hazel’s help. When she’s around I can Ride the Lightning like nobody’s business! I’m still a little self-conscious about that which is why I do most of my “telecommuting” (Thanks MikeyD) from home.
Where was I? Oh yeah, so you know how Gerhardt always told us to knock first and wait until you’re actually invited in — to enter? Well I was meeting The Tomorrow Team for the first time and I didn’t want them to think I was some homeless manner-less hobo-slut who just shows up unannounced and flits about in a shower of sparks and…oh yeah, wears a mask and Gandalf’s robe to cover up the fact that her body is glowing with blood-red runes and inscriptions. It’s great for parties but…yeah, not the kind of first-impression I’m comfortable making…yet. So I did what any ol’ girl would do and politely waited for someone to answer the phoney-fone. Ring! Rrrrring ring! Ring!

Buzz! Buzz buzz whirrr…! Beep beep! Like maybe they had a Roadrunner phone or something? All I know is the secretary took a really late lunch break and I was just hangin’ out in fiber-space crackling away all abuzz with my sparkly self. It’s a terrible cryin’ shame I can’t twiddle my sparkly thumbs while I’m in the lines. Oh well! After what felt like an eternity an ogre answered the phone all befuddled when I materialzed. And Matty, when I say ogre, I mean — this guy was gi-normous! He was so wide he couldn’t even fit into the back seat of the police car with us! He even had to turn side-ways to fit through the doorways! Mmm…belay that, he wasn’t all toady and warty like an ogre — he was kinda cute but…built like a…ahhh…football player I guess. Or maybe a steroid jock-monkey?

He introduced himself to me as Virgil and he was a little taken aback at my initial appearance. You know when I first materialize from out of the lines Dark Hazel’s facade is all you see. It might have been unnerving but I assuaged him and assured the mountain of a man that I had, indeed, been invited by Matt…
….who, as if on cue, arrived only a moment later DECKED OUT in a shiny battle suit armor robot…um, thing; it looked like something out of that Gibson novel Gerhardt got me for my 14th birthday, Neuromancer. He claimed to be investigating a disturbance in the Force but I have a funny feeling my electrical entrance did NOT go unnoticed. Matt, Spirit, was polite, perfunctorily pleasant and gave me the grand tour with Virgil while we made our introductions. The headquarters seemed awfully big for only two people but they assured me the other ten were out fighting crime and warding off the Boogey Man. They say Iron Man is working very hard to establish a permanent presence and take over his own little portion of Century Station. But who trusts the news anyway? The papers are all bullshit and the programs are all canned and regurgitated. I’ll believe it when I see it. His little section of town is a shithole and as long as he stays there let him have what’s coming to him. The BIG BOYS and REAL HEROES are too busy to mess with the likes of that small-time crook.

Sorry, got lost on a tangent again. So we ran into this woman named Diane during the tour and she seemed pretty nice but our introductions got interrupted by the police! They were carrying on in the front lobby reception area about needing some heroes. I wonder why they didn’t just call. Were the phones down? They offered to give us a lift to the precinct and that’s when the sheer massive size of Virgil really hit home. He actually had to squeeze himself into the back of another patrol car because we didn’t fit together. LOL! I know, I know…it’s not nice to poke fun. Sheesh! But, I wonder how big his…y’know, thing, is. Geew! Scary thought.
But not as scary as what awaited us in the holding cell block of the precinct. We literally walked into the scene of a butcher shop — it was a bloodbath. Utter carnage had torn nine perps life and limb and dismembered and eviscerated them with unadulterated vivisection. The amount of gore and viscera that limned the walls and lined the halls cemented in my mind that we were actually witnessing a labor of love. This was artwork. The murderer was not engaging in this behavior merely for higher purpose or motive — there could be that as well — but for this person killing was an art of self-expression — it was his passion. This was a bloody canvas of flesh with the glint of sharp objects for paintbrushes. I shuddered and Diane couldn’t help but yack. I probably would have lost my lunch too if I had eaten any. My stomach growled. Virgil kept cool, calm, and collected and radioed back to Spirit to inform him of the devastation. He would be on his way.

Wow! This was a real mystery-solving crime-scene investigating HERO police and detective case! It was my first REAL dose of the stuff and, while it was gruesome and macabre, I really felt like I was in my element. Virgil wanted to review the video after noticing some surveillance cameras. Diane and I went with him, deciding not to split up, although we would visit the evidence locker next. The video showed a shadowy figure blot out all the lights with some kind of darkness and liquidy viscous goo stuff. I could still see the man as he stepped out of the shadows and began slaying the blind gang members. Diane transformed into the vision of a goddess and declared that she could see the murderer too! For some reason Virgil said the whole tape was blank for him and the cop who was showing us confirmed that. The cop wanted to fast-forward it to the scene when the lights turn back on but Diane and I firmly prohibited it. We picked up a few details from the video — liquid darkness, shadowy sharp weapons appearing in his hands then disappearing and reappearing again, short range teleports kind of like Nightstalker from the old comic books. While this whole thing was going on the cops who barged into the cell block were stymied by some kind of wall of darkness. It was like they couldn’t enter the room or pass through the immaterial blackness. That’s some serious magic…or super-powers. That’s one bad-ass combination of abilities.

This Shadow Man was a whirling dervish of savage combat and he would be hell to fight one-on-one if he took you unawares or unprepared. The advantage of darkness is that he was always in his element. He would always have the element of surprise or the initiative. The fight was always on his terms on his turf. We sent an officer to the evidence locker immediately for the silver case with a sinking feeling in the pits of our stomachs. This guy — this Shadow Man — he was good. By the time he returned with the bad news, the case was missing, we had seen the villain shred all nine kids and draw what appeared to be a magical circle on the floor in the pool of their collected blood. He knelt to pray or make some symbols or something. Who knows? Maybe he was Muslim. But we all reached the same conclusion. We had to find out more about him from S.H.A.R.D.. Spirit was most familiar with their operation and could probably get us access to their super-human registry and databases. Maybe this Shadow Guy had a record or maybe he had already been cataloged. That would be a really good lead and a great place to start tracking him down.

Virgil, Diane, and I made our way to the cell to make some observations of our own. It became immediately apparent that I was going to ruin my nice new shoes if I didn’t do some Quick Thinking and come up with a Clever and Useful idea. They’re leather and I bought them right before my interview only 6 months ago. They’re not getting sacrificed in the line of duty. Not for a couple of street thugs who won’t even get proper burials. Speaking of which, we asked the cops for a record of their personal effects — contacts, next-of-kin, clues, etc. There was only one cell phone in the bunch. Can you believe that Matty? Nine guys sharing one cell phone? Sheesh! It’s like a frat house thing or some nonsense. “Uh, hello? Uh, no this is Dino. I’ll go get Trey for you. Uh, hello? Uh, no this is Trey. Scooter is um, I dunno. He’s not here. Uh, hello? Uh, no this is…GETTING OLD?!?!” See Matty, it just wouldn’t work. Can you imagine having to share a bathroom with all those people? I guess there in two different gangs but still. It seems like a real clusterfuck. Oh yeah, and what’s the deal with their funeral rites? They probably can’t afford closed caskets. And, at this point, does it even matter? The coroner probably passed it off to the Janitor. He’d have better luck with a shop-vac than a stretcher. Eeew…that’s so gross! Can you imagine all their bits and pieces getting stuck inside the vacuum? Where was I going with this?

Maybe those thugs weren’t productive members of society. But even they deserved better than what they got.
Float in the Air allowed me and Diane to avoid the worst of the “muck” and we practiced our Zero-Gravity maneuvers while inspecting the cell. She had some pretty plain loafers on when we met but somewhere in the mix of metamorphoses and transformation she donned this absolutely stunning pair of hiking boots. Bleargh! I don’t know what happened but she got a whole new outfit and a cosmetic surgery makeover madness! She was like a character right out of Robin Hood or Tom Bombadil’s lost gorgeous cousin. Hiking boots and skin-tight hunting leathers kinda stand out in the city…but maybe not on the subway; it was like, all of a sudden, she had been going to the gym every day of her life since she was born. Sigh…why couldn’t Dark Hazel be like that? She really looked the heroine part of Heroes Unlimited. Dark Hazel just looks scary.

So I got a closer look at the magical circle but even with Decipher Magic couldn’t deduce more than I already had. There wasn’t much more to find in the cell besides the random limb or severed digit. At that point Virgil took the confiscated cell phone and had an epiphany. The hospital! We had to get there STAT! We were rushing out of the building when we literally ran headlong into Spirit. He concurred that the only thug left alive, albeit in a coma, but left alive nonetheless was the LAST LOOSE END!!! His life was in jeopardy and we were the only ones who could save him.

We raced the hospital and Diane and Virgil showed me just how much slower I am than them. And I’m no slouch — but they really blew me outta the water. I hung back so we didn’t leave Spirit alone while he fed the meter and joined up a moment later. When we arrived on the hospital room floor the air was thick with darkness and we could see a wall of it clouding the hallway leading up to the room. It looked like it had snared Virgil and Diane and, while they were strong enough to pass through it, they didn’t appear to do so at terribly quick pace. Spirit grabbed my hand and pulled me intangibly along behind him and through the walls of the adjacent room. From there we were able to penetrate the wall of the comatose boy’s room — a victim, they told me, of Virgil’s Dumpster Diving Days. Y’know being intangible is purrrrdy kewl! It’s not “quite” as kewl as invisibility but it’s still pretty kewl, nonetheless. Matt, Spirit, has it down-pat!

When we entered the room it was filled with a tangible cloud of blackness as if the shadows were actually roiling and bubbling and oozing with viscous liquid darkness. I immediately espied the shadowy figure amid the black cloud and it looked like Virgil and Diane timed it perfectly to get there as well. Diane got the jump on the shadow dude. His attention was on carving up the comatose boy’s face. See! I told you guy was an artist! Diane loosed an arrow from her magical bow that got the Shadow Man’s attention. I wish I could’ve see the look on his face when an arrow literally pierced him through the heart! LOL! I guess I shouldn’t laugh. Man, the “heart” though? I thought we were heroes. Remind me to stay on Diane’s good side. I successfully cast a Sticky Rug under shadow-dude’s feet and adhered him to the floor. Going somewhere? Thankfully the Tomorrow Legion was mostly focused on the shadow guy or completely blind or they DEFINITELY would have seen the abject shock and complete and utter disbelief that one of my spells actually went off, um, without doing something really funky. Hah! It must be the company! I mean, it’s like 8 times out of 10 the spell goes casts normally but the actual effect is something unexpected or unintended or um, really inconvenient. Like that time Invisibility: Basic only affected my clothes. Or what about that time See Aura gave me the equivalent of a psychedelic acid trip? Ugh! Oh wait! How about that time that I cast Float in Air on Gerhardt as a prank while he was sleeping and…um…well he just kept floating…and floating, up up and away — like a sleeping hot air balloon! Hahaha! It was short-lived and the beating I caught for it left me bruised for weeks. But it was totally worth it!

Oh, so Virgil charged into the room and broke free of Diane but it looked like he was fighting blind. He and Spirit seemed to be having a terrible time maneuvering in the darkness and Spirit said his sensors were all kinds of clogged. Doh! The shadow guy turned to address us but discovered he was stuck. Hah! Diane then loosed a second arrow — this one missing the dude’s heart but skewering him nonetheless. It was then that I noticed her quiver didn’t appear to be missing the two arrows. Were they replenishing themselves? Wow! That’s so kewl!!! The shadow dude held his chest where she struck him again and looked like he was doubled over — maybe he was just bending down trying to make himself a smaller target. Yowch! I could have shot him with my Mystic Seine (you remember that one, right? It’s a net that’s made of magic and held in place by pixies) but I announced to the group, "Wait! Don’t kill him! Due process and the penal system will make this villain pay for his crimes! We mustn’t take the law into our own hands! I swear, I thought Diane was going to kill him! But just as I shouted, injured as he was, he bent over, untied his shoes, and melded into the darkness. I ran after him with Diane but this cockroach knows how to scurry. He hopped from shadow to shadow and all I could follow were the screams of unsuspecting bystanders and the trail of blood. It hopscotched haphazardly across the hospital floors and even intangible Spirit tried to surveil the outlying city blocks to no avail. The rat had fled his sinking ship. But he left behind a few really important clues: Virgil found the silver case under the boy’s hospital bed, the comatose boy was alive, and now we knew about him and we knew first-hand what his abilities were.

The wrap-up was pretty painless. Virgil wanted to use the case as a trap – devising an area surrounded by motion-sensors and floodlights. The alien weapon inside of it demanded further inspection before we did so. The boy would live and the cell phone was fair game. Now is the time for all the nitty-gritty detective work. I came home absolutely CHARGED on adrenaline and it was all I could do to sit here and jot it all down. But, I think I’m gonna crash. I don’t have any sick days yet but maybe I’ll catch a nap before yoga.

Later,

Hazey

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A Wilde Dream

The night after Diane’s encounter with the Shadow Man she had a very vivid dream. In it she found herself within a forest on a game path. She followed the path and it led quickly to a clearing with a massive buck in the center of it. Diane’s years of practice had prevented her from making enough noise to startle the deer but it perked up anyway and looked around nervously. It sniffed a few times and, satisfied, went back to grazing. That’s when an arrow flew from nearby to strike the buck straight through the heart. It’s off by only a millimeter though and instead of a clean, one-shot kill the buck panics. A second arrow flew at it but the deer was already fleeing and the arrow impaled it harmlessly in the side as it disappeared into the forest.

A tall woman clad in Greek-style clothing strode out of the clearing and over to where the animal was standing before it took off. She knelt down on the ground and after a moment stood back up, looking after where the buck has run off. She looked familiar and it took Diane a moment to realize that the woman looks very similar to how she looks when she transforms. As this revelation hit her Diane also noticed that the bow the woman carried is the same magic bow which empowers her. The woman in the clearing, after having stared off into the woods for a few moments, turned to look straight at where Diane was hiding and said “Well don’t be shy, mortal. Come out and let’s talk.”

Diane walked out into the clearing and found she was dressed in her usual attire for hunting, and had all of her usual tools with her. Nothing about this seemed odd as she walked into the clearing and stood next to the woman. From here Diane could see the spotty trail of blood the deer left behind as it ran off. The woman slung the bow over her back in the same manner Diane does, then she casually started speaking again. “That man you met today – he is an agent of something dark and terrible. Something which was already banished and sealed away long before my time upon the Earth came and went. How he came upon the knowledge to call upon this dark power is unknown to me. My brother’s oracle… she might have known.” She paused a moment thoughtfully, as if trying to remember something, but whatever it was either didn’t come to her or she chose not to share it.

She continued. “As the goddess of the hunt I can know certain things. And what I know now is that you have placed yourself in great danger by striking and failing to kill this man of shadows in your first shot. If he lives and recovers then you, my huntress, will become his prey. This is his desire. Tread lightly. In the coming future the shadows will not be the friend to you that they once were.” She then turned from Diane and looked back at the direction where the buck ran off.

Diane asked, quickly, “Are there others like us?”

Without looking away she replied, “There are others, yes. Though they are few and far between.” She tensed her body, as if preparing to run away.

“Do they ever gather?” Diane asked.

She turned her head slightly towards Diane, taking her eyes off the trail made by the buck but looking back occasionally as she spoke. “Rarely are you all called to gather. I think this has happened… twice?” She paused a moment thoughtfully, and stopped glancing away. “Only a great crisis to the mortal realm would prompt this. But now that your world is full of so-called ‘heroes’-” She scoffed as she said that. “It seems our era may truly be passing.” She kept her eyes fixed on Diane, waiting to see if there will be more. She was no longer tensed to sprint off into the woods.

“What else can you tell me about the shadow man?”

She narrowed her eyes as she responded to Diane. “I know that he has the heart and spirit of a true hunter and that he desires to make you his prey. Besides that I can sense his connection to a Dark power which I know little about, except that you mortals banished its previous minions more than ten millennia before my time.”

Diane had more questions. “Can he be stopped from teleporting? What are his weaknesses?”

She sighed and looked away from Diane as she answered this, slowly re-acquiring the trail the buck left behind and tensing to run after it. “His strength is the darkness and the shadows. Deny him this and you deny him his strength.” She said that matter-of-factually, as if this were obvious. “More specifics I do not have – he is not my prey, my Huntress. Perhaps you will find more satisfying answers from the ”/characters/hazel" class=“wiki-content-link”>spawn of the night, or the small one who defies his nature."

Before Diane could ask another question, and without any other words she took off running after the buck, leaving Diane to stand there in the field. Suddenly as Diane watched the woman run off into the woods she felt dizzy, as if she was falling away from the woman, the clearing, and the entire world. With a thud she landed on the floor of her room and was jarred awake. The room was dark and full of shadows. Her clock showed that it was 2:57 am.

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Volume 1 - Issue 2
Introducing... The Shadow Man!
  • Spirit, Vigilance, and Diane were the only ones in the Tomorrow Legion headquarters that afternoon. Everyone else was either tied up with personal business or on patrol throughout the city. Vigilance couldn’t shake how his actions a day and a half ago nearly killed a gang member named Jesse Roach and landed him in the hospital. The guy still hadn’t waken up.
  • The phone in the empty reception area rang and rang. Vigilance was nearby but declined to answer. Finally an answering machine picked up and that allowed Hazel to materialize in the building using her Lightning Rider power.
  • Hazel informed Vigilance that she had been invited there by Matt, a.k.a. Spirit, who wished to recruit her to join the Tomorrow Legion. The two of them talked briefly before Spirit arrived in full armor, ready to investigate the power surge that his equipment detected in the phone system. He greeted Hazel warmly and gave her a tour of the still under-construction base.
  • The ran into Diane along the way and the four of them continued to walk through the building, talking with each other, when voices from the reception area called to them.
  • In the reception area were a couple police officers who had come to request the Tomorrow Legion’s help in a matter which they declined to describe. Just that they “had to see it for themselves.” Spirit prompted Hazel to join Vigilance and Diane on this trip to see what they were all about. He stayed behind to keep working on one of his projects.
  • The Kilgore North police precinct was a flurry of activity compared to last time. Ambulances were on scene but their paramedics were milling about. The cops escorted Diane, Vigilance and Hazel through the station into the area where their holding cells were. Police tape cordoned off this area.
  • Inside the cell was a scene straight out of a horror movie – blood and core covered the floor and walls and numerous mutilated dead bodies lay haphazardly amongst the gore. Diane lost her lunch when she saw this. They were informed by the cops that these bodies belonged to the street gang members which the Tomorrow Legion helped to arrest less than two days ago. This is why the police went to them.
  • Also, it seemed the Centurians were currently busy and couldn’t spare anyone.
  • Hazel mumbled a spell to sense for evil and did not detect anything within her range, although it did faintly register traces of an evil that was there recently, as if it left a sort of residue or stain upon the area.
  • They asked to see the surveillance of the area and the police brought them to their camera room. The replay showed that the entire area suddenly went pitch black for several minutes, and when the blackness went away the scene they saw in the room lay before them. Police officers were seen rushing into the room, guns drawn, but the scene there made several stop to vomit or dry heave.
  • The police officers there with the Tomorrow Legion as they watched this tape explained that they heard the screams but when they went to investigate they encountered a black, mostly solid wall that they couldn’t push past.
  • Both Hazel and Diane, however, could see through that blackness as if it were a thick black curtain or fog. They were able to witness what appeared to be a man appear within the cell as if from the shadows and start horrifically killing the people within the cell one at a time. The thugs apparently couldn’t see him and whenever they might get close to him as they blindly reacted he would disappear, only to re-appear from within another shadow and begin the killing anew, using wicked serrated and barbed blades that he created out of black “stuff,” and that dissipated when he let go of them.
  • Hazel noticed at the end of the killings, the man cleared a small spot amongst the gore to kneel down and seemingly pray. Then the blackness disappeared.
  • After Hazel and Diane narrated this horrific scene Vigilance had the police check to see if the weapon which was confiscated from them was still in the evidence hold. The officers went to look and found it missing. Checking video surveillance of the evidence locker showed a shadow-wrapped man walk out of nowhere, locate and grab the weapon case, and then walk away and disappear. Hazel and Diane could both vaguely see through the shadowy wrapping to confirm that it was a man, and it was the same man that killed those punks in the cells.
  • The three of them contacted Spirit back at the Tomorrow Legion base in order to ask him if he could contact S.H.A.R.D. to see if they had any information or knowledge on a superhuman who could do the things they saw. After describing it all to him he said he would talk to his contact there and see what he could find out.
  • With a little more information now they went back to the cells in order to try and find some more clues. Hazel used magic to enable both herself and Diane to “float on the air”, allowing them to hover over the carnage and not have to walk through it. Vigilance stayed back but asked one of the officers if they could retrieve the confiscated personal effects of these guys.
  • Diane’s tracking skills couldn’t shed any more light on things but Hazel was able to see a small, mystical circle on the ground where the man had knelt to pray. She could tell it was an authentic magic circle. Using magic to decypher the writing and symbols allowed her to see that the circle was designed as a plea to a higher being for power – however, the higher being was only vaguely defined as “darkness,” “shadow,” or “the dark.” The magical translation wasn’t more precise. She used her phone to take some pictures of it.
  • Vigilance examined the personal effects which the police brought to him. Everything seemed fairly rudimentary except for a high-tech cell phone that was without power. He took that to have Matt or Dr. Preposterous examine later.
  • Seemingly at a dead end, the group resolved to go back to the Tomorrow Legion building and see if they could follow-up more on any of the clues they’d already discovered. Then Vigilance had a flash of inspiration which caused him to stop in his tracks, then run out of the precinct at top speed!
  • As he ran he radioed to everyone, including Spirit, that they needed to get to the hospital now because there was still one gang member alive and he was in a coma at the hospital! As Vigilance made it outside Spirit told him over the radio that he would take them – looking up Vigilance saw Spirit piloting a hovercar and bringing it down so they could all get in. Vigilance could not disguise his impatience as they waited for Diane and Hazel to get in as well.
  • Spirit flew them to the hospital where the one remaining street punk, Jesse Roach, was in the ICU. Spirit brought the hovercar down to land on the roof but Vigilance and Diane both leapt out of it before it fully touched down and they ran down the stairs from the roof straight to the room. Vigilance had visited him in the hospital previously and knew right where to go.
  • Hazel and Spirit followed once the hovercar landed.
  • Diane and Vigilance encountered a solid-black wall in the hallway just a few feet from the door to Jesse’s room. Vigilance tried to punch it but found it wasn’t resistant enough actually be damaged. Instead he slowly began to push through it. Diane followed and the two of them managed to use their great strength to get to the door in only a few seconds.
  • Spirit and Hazel also encountered the wall, but Spirit’s answer to it was to grab Hazel and go intangible through the wall into the adjoining room, and then walk with her through the wall into Jesse’s room.
  • All four arrived in the room at the same time to witness the shadow-wrapped man standing over Jesse’s bed. The man had a serrated knife in his hand and was in the process of cutting the flesh off of the comatose man. He was so focused on enjoying his task that he didn’t notice them enter.
  • Diane reacted first by notching and letting go an arrow to pierce the man straight through the heart. She was not completely successful but the arrow lodged itself painfully in the man’s chest and he dropped his knife in surprise. Before he could turn around Hazel used magic to glue his feel to the floor with a carpet of adhesion.
  • The Shadow Man, mortally wounded, reacted by instantly filling this room with that semi-solid shadow wall darkness. Vigilance, angry beyond reason, tried to charge at the Shadow Man but in the sudden darkness lost his bearings and missed him. Spirit stayed back, trying to adjust the optics in his helmet to see through this darkness to no avail.
  • Another arrow, this one less accurate, flew into the Shadow Man and nearly felled him. In a panic he teleported through the shadow to re-appear a few rooms away, shoeless. As he came out of the shadow in the corner of that room a nurse screamed. He rushed by her, dripping blood from his arrow wounds, and teleported again through the shadow in the opposite corner. He continued to flee in this manner.
  • Vigilance found his way to the bed where the dying gang member lay. He told the rest of the group to go after the Shadow Man and he would stay here to keep the victim safe. Spirit phased back through the wall while DIane and Hazel tried to push through the shadow. Hazel even tried casting the spell to meld with shadow but although it allowed her to hide very well within this blackness, it didn’t help her move through it.
  • Once the Shadow Man fled far enough away the shadow wall disappeared. Vigilance called the nurses for help and within moments a medical team was able to stabilize the nearly dead Jesse Roach. Hazel and Diane found a few of the places within the hospital where the Shadow Man had appeared and disappeared. They collected a sample of his blood for forensic analysis.
  • Spirit flew around the perimeter of the hospital for a while but was unable to find any more traces of The Shadow Man.
  • Back in Jesse’s room, Virgil collected the ratty, blood-stained sneakers that the Shadow Man left behind and noticed the glint of an aluminum weapon case from under the bed. The Shadow Man had been in such a hurry to flee for his life that he seemed to have neglected to take the weapon with him.
  • Everyone returned and together they opened the case to discover the weapon was still in there. They resolved to bring it back to the Tomorrow Legion base and secure it there in a well-lit vault. They discussed the logistics of building a medical bay that would be sufficient to move the nearly dead gang member into, but such construction would take weeks to properly finish and wasn’t feasible. Diane figured, based on the way the Shadow Man fled, that he probably wouldn’t come back for this guy anyway.
  • Together they went back to the Tomorrow Legion base in order to investigate that phone and await word from S.H.A.R.D. on what they knew of the Shadow Man.

Epilogue

A man in a suit entered Jesse Roach’s room. He looked at the broken, bandaged figure laying on the bed, breathing so shallowly and slightly. He made a mental list: Broken body, numerous lacerations, degraded brain functions. He will never be whole again, thought the man. He walked over to the table by the bed and looked at the flowers sitting there. A poor recompense for this injustice, the man thought sadly. He pulled out a business card and slipped it under the flowers. He then walked out of the room, being careful to give the electronic equipment a wide berth as he went.

The hospital at this time was so quiet that out in the hallway, away from the noisy life-monitoring equipment, one could almost hear the mechanical whirs of the man’s own concealed electrical and mechanical life-support and life-enhancing equipment. Without another look back the man left the hospital. He knew Jesse Roach would never make a full recovery. But if Jesse ever woke up then beside his bed, underneath the disappointment of a pitiful flower arrangement, he would find an opportunity to become more than he ever was. An opportunity that would allow him to help protect others like him from falling prey to the same scourge that had almost taken his life – this scourge on humanity known as super humans.

The business card left behind was a simple one. On the back was just the statement, “Don’t let them get away with this.” and underneath that was a phone number. The front simply had two words: “Avant-Garde”. Yet usually, that was all it took.

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