Age of Wonders thread IV

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Voltron64 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:13 am

Thinking about it, Red Jade is probably the biggest mother of fearsome foes since Echidna, Tiamat, and Ungoliant.

:wink:
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Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Libra » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:00 pm

I wasn't planning to post this until it was completed, but I'd like some reassurance that I haven't made a complete mess of things - please treat it as a sort of preview, a taste of things to come and proof that something is actually en route!
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The Wildcard Shuffle - A Losing Hand

Postby Libra » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:01 pm

They weren't The Lamplighters, not any more at least, but they kept trying to do their best despite everything.

They were a collection of the cynical, the indomitable and the secretive, those mystery men best-suited to endure the fallout following the implosion of the small community of costumed do-gooders that Earth-1986 had been able to sustain following a gradual withdrawal of government tolerance and the sudden collapse of any affection the public had been able to summon up for their would-be protectors even after any great degree of popular enthusiasm for yet ANOTHER generation of peculiar adventurers had been locked away with the Weird threats to public safety that had briefly justified their existence.

They were the last hand Wildcard had to play against the faceless, fatal conspiracy that had become his arch nemesis before age withered him into a terminal decline.

They were the heroes who knew the Public still needed them, even if the Public would never realise it; they were about to learn that there was SOMETHING going on that involved the deaths of might-have-been-heroes, wannabe-villains and more government agents than the Cold War, that SOMEONE had taken great strides towards blinding the world at large to threats The Lamplighters had barely been able to handle and worse yet might very well have learned how to harness those terrible, perilous powers for their own ends.

They never had a chance in H--- of stopping what was in motion, but that didn't stop them from trying.


Ketra (Doctor Ilya Yakimovitch Zelesky): A Soviet defector who had made a run for the West when he realised that Mother Russia had time neither for his suspiciously Rasputinian beard nor the barely-scientific theories he had constructed concerning the Laws of Reality and the best way to abuse the loopholes in those Laws in order to produce a Communist counter-balance to Captain Zero, Professor Vinazie was a very strange individual even BEFORE he acquired a degree of Omniscience and Power best described as 'Godlike' but somewhat embarrassed when he realised that he did not possess anything like the degree of confidence required to USE those powers as a superhero.

A distant observer and only on certain rare occasions a reluctant assistant of the E-86 mystery men, Ketra was still a potentially invaluable source of information and intelligence, being able for instance to perceive the strange manipulations of reality performed by The Octagon through employment of the Chimerical Engine even before he understood just what he was seeing - and long, long before anyone else could work out quite what on Earth he was talking about, lacking as they did any key to unshackle insights from a perspective without precedent in human history filtered through the mind of a distinctly idiosyncratic genius.

The only one who ever seemed to willingly consult him for his advice - rather than seek to court him for access to the superhuman power so rare on E-86 - was Codename Wildcard, who was desperate enough and open-minded enough to treat Ketra as his personal Oracle, at great expense of time spent trying to make head or tails of what the 'Demigod' was talking about - an endeavour at which Trenchcoat, of all people, would prove himself to be most skilled (possibly due to those obsessive tendencies, coupled with an excess of free time), albeit with certain consequences for the credibility of Intelligence thus acquired.

This surprisingly fruitful series of consultations was not to last; Ketra was simply too powerful for even his most secretive associates to escape the scrutiny of a ferociously close watch and while Latham was a Government Agent of long standing in good standing it must be said that not even his patrons within the the US Government wanted to see him employ the services of the World's Second Superhuman to his own ends - they trusted him, but not THAT much because quite frankly the idea of a wildcard working hand in glove with a Person of Mass Destruction gave them nightmares.

In the end, the Government despatched Captain Zero in a last-ditch bid to either win the loyalty of Ketra or just spur him into finally declaring his loyalties - whether to the Soviets or just to himself; the plan succeeded, but the consequences of the first known face-off between two superhumans on E-86 ended in the apparent demoralisation of Captain Zero and the verifiable disappearance of Ketra - The Octagon, which had been able to compensate for one nigh-omnipotent superhuman on the Government payroll, but NOT for an additional superman left as an imponderable on the playing field (still less for one operating in tandem with Codename Wildcard!) breathed a sigh of relief.

Had the Government not made that particular Bad Call through sheer paranoia, they'd have had to make it for them (and they didn't have the materials for ANOTHER Nixon Robot … or the patience).


Knight-Guardsman and Satin Siren (Henry Holland and Sally Lane): In many ways the bedrock of the team, no matter that they were never it's prime movers and shakers, Sally Lane and Harry Holland had become nigh-inseperable the very same night they joined The Lamplighters but like soul mates the world over still managed to find ample room for disagreement even in the midst of connubial bliss but never more so than when Codename Wildcard approached them with the intent of 'picking up the King and Queen of Hearts' for what he hoped would be his winning hand in the long game he'd been playing for the safety and security of the USA (those bits he LIKED at least).

Sally Lane aka 'The Gun-Nut Satin Siren', high-functioning pyromaniac and fond of 'Uncle Jim' as she was proved full willing to work alongside him for what he promised would be the saving of the World but utterly unwilling to put up either with what she took a certain glee in identifying as the dross amidst that glittering prospect (albeit by a variety of other names, each more vulgar than the last) or with Trenchcoat; Henry Holland alias Knight-Guardsman was willing to tolerate Codename Wildcard for his partner's sake and downright eager to help keep Trenchcoat just that little bit further back from the ragged edge of sanity despite the cost likely to be incurred (not least the unhappiness of Sally, who loved Trenchcoat just as much as she loved having her birth-mother's reputation brought up).

Both would work past their … difficulties with certain of their team-mates and prove as fundamental to the continuing stability of the team as The 'Card had expected; they were never the most spectacular of heroes nor even the most gifted of vigilantes but they WERE entirely in possession of their marbles and stubborn in their retention of them in the face of those extreme personalities and sheer oddity one confronts in the course of a career as a costumed adventurer, even on Earth-86.

In the end it wasn't those oddities, but the LACK of them that ate away at their resolve; despite the insistence of Wildcard and in great part due to the utter conviction of Trenchcoat there seemed too little in the world that required the attention of Costumed Adventurers and Mystery Men to justify their continued operations - both fundamentally sensible individuals, they decided that it was time for them to doff their masks and quit chasing the conspiracy that 'Card and Trench were firmly convinced lay just a little deeper beneath the surface.

They were dead wrong, but it would take a long time for them to find that out; for the time being they happily settled down to the hard work of making a home and a good living, catering to a vogue for 'Caped Kitsch' that the superhero community of Earth-86 had never really got around to filling.

The World forgot them or at least reduced them to colourful obscurity; The Octagon did not.


Trenchcoat (?): The sort of man who pursues evildoers with a straight razor and the un-nerving conviction that he can SMELL Evil pumping it's way into the hearts of Humankind's worst probably isn't your ideal first choice for friend and ally, but win Trenchcoat's loyalty and he'll follow you as doggedly as any other half-feral bloodhound - whether you want him to or not, since his uncanny insight into Human Psychology tends to falter outside the realms of the abnormal (either that or his allegedly-supernatural nose for trouble came at the expense of his hearing).

To the surprise of no-one Trenchcoat was one of the first approached by The 'Card, assiduously recruiting individuals who could help him not merely take the fight to their shadowy enemy but keep him alive while he tried to process the sheer SCALE of the threat they were uncovering, one conspiracy at a time - not least because Trenchcoat was (A) completely un-phased by the revelation of truths that would give hardened conspiracy theorists nightmares, as well as (B) single-minded enough to survive traps by first springing them, THEN BREAKING THEIR JAWS traits which endeared him to the slightly more pragmatic and far more explosive Latham.

On the other hand Trenchcoat's peculiar mixture of moralising paranoia and sometime-murderous monomaniac persecution of the more vile criminals have even Wildcard the chills - still, as his list of allies grew thinner and his options grew perilously few even Codename Wildcard had to admit that Trenchcoat was beginning to look like his best friend, if only because he was the last one left who didn't laugh at the mask.

He spoke more truly than he knew; The Straight-Razor Killer died trying to save his life - but failed and thus was a thread of fate left to hang lose, with Earth-shaking consequences.

Codename Wildcard (James D. Latham):
Last edited by Libra on Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Voltron64 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:39 pm

Nice work, Libra!

:D

(I'll take it you'll have the rest up soon?)
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Libra » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:06 am

So soon as I have finished them up, I shall post them. :D
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Charles Phipps » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:26 am

Amazing, as always, Libra! I can't wait to see the finished results!

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Libra » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:09 pm

You can see that tonight the article is a little closer to being complete! :wink:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Charles Phipps » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:27 am

Vanity Faire's article on G4S makes me think the World Security Organization wasn't such a crazy idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G4S

:shock:

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby MightyDavidson » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:46 pm

I do have ideas, and I will post them here. First however I must defeat my two direst enemies: procrastination and writer's block. :lol:

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Postby Voltron64 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:58 pm

MightyDavidson wrote:I do have ideas, and I will post them here. First however I must defeat my two direst enemies: procrastination and writer's block. :lol:


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Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra


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