Stirling City Stories

The Exalted Alliance: Issue #5
Searching...

18 June 2017

While waiting for the Spirit of Sobek to return to the city, the other heroes head to police headquarters to meet with Detective Daniels who has mentioned that crime scene techs have uncovered a few things. Daniels led them into a room where photos of the armoured car robbery are on display before beginning to run through what has been discovered.

Detective Daniels explains that they have thoroughly gone over the two stolen SUVs that were used to herd the armoured car to the side of the bridge; while these were largely devoid of prints (aside from the legitimate owners of the vehicles), there were two sets of fingerprints that belonged to former security personnel of Dynamic Solutions (being Dominic Jones and Frasier Newcomb). So far the police have been unable to track these two down, as they haven’t been home since the robbery. Daniels explains that they are now trying to chase down known associates of these two.

Next the Detective confirms that all of the bullets fired during the robbery were special rounds developed by Dynamic Solutions and almost exclusively used by their own security forces.

Lastly, Detective Daniels thanks the heroes for tracking down various bits of security footage that shows the thieves making their escape. While the imagery is grainy, they have been able to enhance some of it to show a group of figures wearing Dynamic Solutions security armour. They seem to be flying by the use of jetpacks.

Detective Daniels notes that there is an obvious theme here, of Dynamic Solutions equipment having been used, potentially by former Dynamic Solutions security personnel. The Herald, The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger all then begin discussing various possible avenues of investigation, and they ask if the weapons from The Marionette have been recovered yet. Daniels replies that they are still, frustratingly, waiting on a judge to sign the warrant.

The heroes recall that the site of the old Dynamic Solutions building is still lying in ruins in Gaviston and they wonder whether someone has been removing old equipment and transporting it to The Marionette. Detective Daniels isn’t able to help them with what may, or may not, have been found at the Dynamic Solutions ruins, as they were searched by the FBI, the MRC and a couple of super hero teams, none of whom made their findings public. When the heroes then begin talking about having a look around the ruins, Daniels politely reminds them that perhaps he shouldn’t hear any more and they part ways to continue their planning.

As they don’t know what might be in the ruins (radiation, toxic waste, or worse), The Herald heads back to base to do some arcane research into a detection spell while The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger head to the site for a “quick look”. Of course, the “quick look” turns into a brief search of the area, with neither of the heroes finding anything of interest in the collapsed piles of concrete and steel. However, they do find evidence of a section of fencing being rigged to allow easy access to the ruins, while the Stirling Slugger catches sight of signs of rough sleeping arrangements inside the unstable building remains. The Inquisitor has a closer look at these sleeping areas, which seem to belong to homeless people, and then narrowly avoids having some falling masonry falling on him as he exits the building. They then decide to return to base to confer with The Herald.

Back at base, The Herald decides that a detection spell probably isn’t necessary (as the other two don’t seem to be radioactive or anything) and so they head back out to the former Dynamic Solutions site. (The Inquisitor does take some time to ensure that the Stirling Slugger isn’t showing any ill effects of their earlier visit, which he isn’t.)

Back at the ruins again (about an hour after their first visit) the heroes head back to the unstable building to see what they can find. Unbeknownst to The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger, The Herald, of course, uses her invisibility and illusion powers to appear where she isn’t (an image of The Herald walks around 15 to 20 feet in front of where The Herald actually is). In the dim confines of the unstable building The Inquisitor sees a figure scrambling away and so they give chase and, despite dislodging a bit of masonry again, the Stirling Slugger is easily able to catch the fleeing homeless man. With The Herald’s friendly questioning techniques, they are then able to learn that there has been someone (or some people) moving around in the rubble area. They thank the homeless man and head back out in the daylight, managing to once again dislodge some masonry which this time leaves the Stirling Slugger and The Herald with minor bruising.

After resting up, they then do a more thorough search of the large rubble covered area and manage to find signs of foot traffic leading to and from another section of fencing that has been modified to allow easy entrance. The Stirling Slugger then begins moving rubble to see what may be hidden underneath, which is when he finds that one slab of concrete is a lot lighter than it looks and is even hinged to allow for easy movement. Beneath this hinged piece of concrete they find a concealed stairwell leading underground…

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The Exalted Alliance: Issue #4
Stakeout

Part 1: Observing The Marionette

17 June 2017

With “The Simian Strangler” case all wrapped up, the heroes are able to focus all of their attention on the bank car job once more. Returning their focus to the gun runners they learn from the Spirit of Sobek (who had been perched, watching the goings on at a dingy bar called The Marionette the previous day) anything useful he had observed. While most of his time spent watching had been futile, he had seen one person arrive who greeted with enthusiasm and/or respect. Everyone agreed that this guy sounded like he could be the boss. Hoping to see him arrive again, they all headed back down to Larston to put The Marionette under observation once more. The Inquisitor takes time to explain to everyone how his spy-drone invention will work and how he hopes to be able to use it against this “boss figure”.

Back in Larston the heroes take up position on the rooftop across the street from The Marionette and settle in to wait. Hours pass.

In the early evening the Spirit of Sobek alerts the others that the “boss figure” is arriving again. They all gather to watch as a big guy gets out of a fancy looking pickup. He’s greeted by a few people who come out of The Marionette for that sole purpose.

Eagerly, The Inquisitor then begins readying his micro spy-drone before sending it into The Marionette to listen in on what transpires. It takes him a few minutes to zero in on the “boss figure”, steering the drone without being able to see where it is turns out to be quite complex, but he is then able to overhear a hushed conversation talking about a “delivery” that will be coming in “very early” the next day. The Inquisitor surmises that this is not a typical delivery (of alcohol or food), but is rather an illegal delivery… possibly of weapons. Soon after having overheard this information, the conversation breaks up and a The Inquisitor is able to pass on what he has learned.

After a brief discussion they all decide to meet back here early in the morning to observe at possibly act upon the delivery.

Part 2: Early morning delivery

18 June 2017

With The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger installed in a local McDonalds enjoying a (very) early extended breakfast, The Herald and the Spirit of Sobek took up position at The Marionette. While The Herald used her magic to become invisible and watch from the bar’s carpark, the Spirit of Sobek climbed up onto the building’s roof and used his blending ability to stay out of sight.

Shortly after 5 am a truck pulled up to the gate and, after some messing around with opening the gate and reversing the truck, a number of crates were unloaded and taken into the The Marionette’s back room. The watching heroes judged that these crates looked like typical “weapon holding” crates. While the unloading was taking place, the Spirit of Sobek used his stealth to sneak onto the truck’s roof knowing that this would be the best place for him to “follow” the truck back to its base.

After the crates had been unloaded, and after the truck had pulled away with the Spirit of Sobek attached to the roof, The Herald made contact with The Inquisitor to say, via text, that the weapons had been delivered. The Inquisitor then contacted the police (by calling 911) to report this, but got only a lukewarm response.

It was at around this time that The Herald realised that maybe they should have taken pictures, or even recorded, the delivery taking place as evidence. So, in an attempt to get the police to intervene, she then utilised her emotion control powers to make one of the employees of The Marionette so angry that he brutally attacked his co-workers (all while The Herald recorded those parts of the attack that occurred where she could see). With this new evidence of wrongdoing recorded The Herald uploaded the video then sent a link to The Inquisitor, who was able to pass it on to Detective Daniels, who had only just arrived at his desk and was still waiting for his computer to boot up. After viewing the video Daniels agreed that this violent attack deserved a police response and organised to head around with backup.

At this point, The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger decided to relocate to be closer to the action and moved to a cafe across the street from The Marionette. Then, after thinking things over a bit more, The Inquisitor decided to head back to base to get working on a new invention, a device that could spy on people (using video) and record it to his laptop as future evidence.

Elsewhere, the Spirit of Sobek had stayed perched atop the delivery truck’s roof as it had made its way south and out of the city. After roughly 45 minutes of driving it had pulled up at a secluded farm, where the drivers were met by several men dressed in paramilitary garb. The truck was then parked in a barn and soon the Spirit of Sobek found himself alone atop the truck.

Aside from the truck, the barn contained many weapon and ammunition crates, which the Spirit of Sobek began investigating and recording with his mobile phone. Inside these crates he found high tech weaponry, which he couldn’t quite accurately identify. Luckily before he got caught up in recording evidence, he noticed that he had set off a silent alarm and was able to make himself scarce once more by the time an armed response had arrived from the farmhouse. While heavily armed men searched the entire farm, the Spirit of Sobek stealthily headed back to the highway, where he found a diner and contacted The Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor, who was now settled in his lab, agreed to pass the information (and the Spirit of Sobek’s video footage) on to the police. After this he once again The Inquisitor called Detective Daniels, who was only just then pulling up at The Marionette. While a number of police officers deployed into The Marionette, the Detective reviewed this new evidence and then contacted the state troopers to respond to the Spirit of Sobek’s situation.

At The Marionette, the police are able to arrest the violent attacker (who had been kept unresponsive, in a kind of fugue state, by The Herald while waiting for the police to arrive) and then entered the premises in search of victims. They discovered two badly beaten men and ambulances were called for and soon arrived to take these two to hospital. The Herald and the Stirling Slugger then spoke with Detective Daniels in the back room of the The Marionette, where they were surrounded by piles of what look like weapons crates. Daniels thanked them for their help, but said that they had to wait on paperwork before busting open any of the crates and proving their contents. He explained that they didn’t want to jeopardise any future case by rushing things now. As the two heroes were about to leave, Detective Daniels then remembered to ask them to come around to police HQ later on, as the forensics team had made some progress on evidence they had recovered from the armoured car heist.

Some time later that day the state troopers arrived at the isolated farm only to find that it has been cleared out. They found some trace evidence that something may have been going there, but the perps have been very thorough. Disheartened, but not surprised, the Spirit of Sobek began making his way back to Stirling City.

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The Exalted Alliance: Issue #3
Searching for the Strangler

Part 1: Taking care of Family

15 – 16 June 2017

She had just finished crossing the Old Larston Bridge when Kamgwe’s Herald had received the phone call from her mother. The message had been pretty simple: your grandmother has had a fall, you should come and help fix her up. Of course she would go and use her magic to help, but there was no reason for the attitude, right?

Getting back to the family house in Stirling City hadn’t taken too long, she’d already been on her bike after all. The drive in the family car up to the reservation, though, seemed to take about four thousand years rather than the four hours it had actually taken. This is why she avoided family things.

Grandma Eagle was propped up in her bed and in a lot of pain. She’d broken some bones, maybe her hip, when she’d fallen trying to do something she was too old to be doing. Her children were all there and they were concerned. They had all heard about Kamgwe by now; most, probably, did not believe. But they would. So The Herald stood beside Grandma Eagle’s bed and worked her magic and the old lady was healed.

The Herald wanted to immediately head back to Stirling City, as she had work to do, but this was not to be. They all stayed overnight and Grandma Eagle insisted on cooking for everyone. It was a Thursday night and no-one else had much of anywhere to be, so a great deal was made and no-one left that night. Her family even made noises to indicate that they would be staying for the weekend as well, making a short holiday out of the whole event. Luckily though, during dinner, The Herald’s Uncle, Tom Eagle, did kindly offer to drive her home on the following day, as he had to get back to work in Stirling City.

The following day, of course, things did not quite work out that easy. They planned to get going early, but somehow they ended up having lunch with everyone. Finally they got going, but then there was a lengthy detour that they had to follow, which managed to turn a four hour drive into something even longer. So, it was not until quite late on the Friday night that The Herald arrived back in Stirling City.

Part 2: Searching the Streets

16 – 17 June 2017

The Inquisitor had only just finished working on his invention and was explaining it to the Stirling Slugger when The Herald finally returned to their headquarters. They both immediately set to explaining to her where they had gotten to with the case, as well as explaining about the new so-called monkey attacker case as well.

As they were planning on using the night time to search for the attacker, The Herald made use of her police contacts to get further details about the case (location of attacks, number of victims, etc.). From what she learned they decide to have someone pose as a potential victim and wander through the areas of previous attacks in the hopes of attracting the attacker. While The Inquisitor was happy to be dressed up as a potential victim, his unusual appearance made him a little unsuitable so they eventually settled on disguising the Stirling Slugger as “a drunk guy in between nightclubs”.

While The Herald took her time getting the Stirling Slugger’s disguise to look just right, The Inquisitor spent his time devising their tactics for when (or if) they did encounter the attacker. He also remembered to communicate with the Spirit of Sobek, who had been still hanging out observing the seedy bar they had visited earlier that day. (The Spirit of Sobek agreed to head back to base soon, but then got distracted by something.)

Finally they set out from headquarters at a little after one in the morning. The Stirling Slugger led the way in his disguise, while the other two followed at a little distance (with The Inquisitor carrying the Stirling Slugger’s gear). Slowly they made their way from nightclub to nightclub using predominantly dark shadowy alleys, working their their way from Avery down into Old Stirling.

Luckily, after two and half hours of wandering and hoping, as the Stirling Slugger was walking down yet another dark alley, a hairy figure appeared out of the darkness and grabbed him, stunning him in the process! (Hooray, progress!) As The Inquisitor and The Herald then hurried to catch up, the Stirling Slugger did his best to try and fight off the crushing arms of his attacker. In the dark shadows of the alley The Herald found it difficult to even make out where the attacker and the Stirling Slugger were grappling. The Inquisitor had no such problem and was able to easily close with the grappling pair and hold out the Stirling Slugger’s baseball bat for when he had a free hand (while also firing his own pistol at the monkey-looking attacker to little effect).

Eventually The Herald was able to accurately perceive the attacker (which had been made difficult due to the poor lighting) and was able to mind control the simian attacker. Despite its animalistic appearance it could understand her commands and she was able to make it lie down and allow itself to be handcuffed. With The Herald managing to keep the creature docile, The Inquisitor was able to call the police and they all headed out of the alley to a more well-lit location to wait.

Within a few minutes several police cruisers had arrived and they applied power nullifying restraints to the captive. They had discovered that while the attacker could clearly understand English, it seemed unable to speak (at least in any way that could be understood), so the heroes could not fathom the reasons for an oversized monkey to go around mugging people. For the time being, at least, the police then took the creature away into custody.

At that point, since it was after 4am and they were all pretty tired, they headed back to base to rest.

Much later in the day, when they had begun to rouse, they found that the news outlets were calling their assailant “The Simian Strangler”. Their capture of the creature was the BIG NEWS of the day.

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The Exalted Alliance: Issue #2
Daylight Robbery (Cont.)

Part 1: Following Leads

15 June 2017

The Herald had only just crossed the Old Larston Bridge when her mobile began ringing. From a nearby rooftop, The Spirit of Sobek watched her pull over to the side of the road to answer and then, moments later turn her bike around and head straight back across the bridge. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but decided to keep tailing her just in case.

Meanwhile, the Stirling Slugger and The Inquisitor had driven to a street in West Larston where they had roughly determined that the armoured car robbers had turned south. Independently they worked their way down the street, talking to people and attempting to get further security video footage (for either themselves of the police) as they went. The rocket pack wearing robbers had left an impression on the locals, though the sight of people flying under their own power wasn’t special enough to have made any of them call the police. After walking for several blocks they crossed a major road and began to find that no-one had seen the criminals, so they must have turned off somewhere. Realising that they needed a different point of view, The Inquisitor called The Spirit of Sobek (who was still trailing after The Herald) who agreed to meet up with them. Thanks to his speed, they knew this would only take a few minutes.

While the two heroes were standing on the corner waiting for The Spirit of Sobek to arrive they noticed a group of five men approaching them. All of the men were wearing distinctive black hoodies that partially concealed their features. The group came to stand in front of the heroes and demanded that the heroes clear out, which they refused. Then, after a small misunderstanding a brief fight broke out in which one of the five thugs pulled out a machine-pistol and tried (successfully) shooting both The Inquisitor and Stirling Slugger (the remaining thugs drew knives, to lesser effect). Despite incurring minor bullet wounds, the heroes were quickly able to overcome the thugs and call the police.

By the time that The Spirit of Sobek had arrived, the police had also arrived and were taking the five assailants into custody. While Stirling Slugger and The Inquisitor gave their statements to the police, the reptilian hero then climbed to a nearby roof to survey the area. The only nearby detail that stood out to him was the three storey parking garage a few buildings away, as he could see security cameras installed on some of the building’s corners.

Once the other heroes had finished with the police they all then walked up to the parking garage where they learned, from the helpful attendant and his limited surveillance cameras, that the bridge robbers landed on the roof level of the garage and climbed into waiting vans before driving off. The van drivers (who were possibly two of the robbers, not wearing helmets) paid their parking fee and left, heading south. The Inquisitor called the police again and reported this new development to Detective Daniels. Before leaving the garage the heroes also arranged for copies of the surveillance tapes to be sent to the police and themselves, and had taken some pictures (on their phones) of the van drivers.

With no further trails to follow, the three heroes head back to headquarters where they found that The Herald had left them a message explaining that a family emergency had cropped up and that she would be back in touch later.

While The Spirit of Sobek and the Stirling Slugger went about their usual business, The Inquisitor then spends some time analysing the evidence they gathered earlier. While he isn’t able to learn anything from most of the evidence, he is able to learn that the bullet casings they had gathered came from custom designed ammunition (for custom weapons) designed and constructed by the now defunct Dynamic Solutions, which had been at the centre of all that controversy (and inter-dimensional invasion) several years earlier.

Part 2: New Directions

16 June 2017

The following morning the heroes go about their usual routine until The Spirit of Sobek hears (from the morning news) that a fourth victim of a possible ape/monkey assailant is recovering in hospital. As this makes him think that The Sewer King, or one of his other experiments, may be involved (if not directly responsible) The Spirit of Sobek takes particular note.

The Inquisitor then gets around to calling Detective Daniels to tell him about the bullet casings (which the police CSIs may very well have already discovered). The Inquisitor asks if there could be any illegal weapon’s deals going on in the city, to explain how people could be using specialised Dynamic Solutions weaponry. Detective Daniels agrees this is a possibility and mentions that there are rumours of arms dealing going on in Larston.

While The Inquisitor is on the phone, The Spirit of Sobek reminds him to ask about the armoured car’s guards (who they had forgotten to inquire about the previous day); as it turned out, they were both fine. The armoured car company had a policy concerning super-powered (or over-powered) attacks and so the guards had stayed out of the robbers way and had not been hurt in the slightest.

After further prompting from The Spirit of Sobek, The Inquisitor also asks Detective Daniels about the so-called monkey attacks. Detective Daniels is happy enough to transfer them through to another Detective for this, as he isn’t handling that case. After being on hold for a minute or two, The Inquisitor is able to talk to Detective Harris who doesn’t seem too impressed at being “in charge” of the “monkey case”. Harris tells them that there have been four attacks in the north Old Stirling/ Avery area, with one fatality so far; the three surviving victims needed some medical attention and all report being attacked by a hairy ape/monkey/person. He does note that the former enhanced animal superhero known as Agent Gibbs is currently a person of interest (The Inquisitor dismisses Agent Gibbs as a suspect, having met the creature the previous day and thinking him incapable of violent, physical attacks). The Inquisitor informs Detective Harris that The Exalted Alliance will be looking into these crimes.

While The Inquisitor initially wants to go and immediately search Stirling Park for the “monkey attacker”, the Stirling Slugger talks him out of this and the three heroes instead hop into The Inquisitor’s car and drive to Larston in search of illegal weapons (and illegal weapons dealers). However, once they had arrived in Larston (and parked the car in a secure facility), they had some difficulty finding anyone who was willing to speak to them, with many passers-by actually crossing the street to avoid them entirely. Eventually they found their way to a seedy bar occupied by half a dozen bikers, where they ordered some drinks and tried to settle in before interrogating the bikers. The bikers decided pretty quickly that the “freaks” should leave, quickly, and reluctantly the heroes complied (after finishing their drinks) to avoid any unnecessary unpleasantness.

After this setback they made their way to a nearby medical clinic, where they managed to find a male nurse who was willing to give them some information “off the record”. He told them that there had been an increase in strange gang related injuries recently, but these were like “laser burns”, not specialised bullets (if they would even look different from normal bullets). He insisted that none of the victims were willing to speak out against the local gang, the New Crusaders, for fear of retribution.

Leaving the medical clinic, the heroes decide that they should observe these New Crusaders to see if they deal in illegal weapons. They also decide that they should have a look around at night for the “monkey attacker” (in the Old Stirling/Avery area). As it was still mid-morning at this point, they split up, with The Spirit of Sobek remaining in Larston to try and observe the New Crusaders while the Stirling Slugger and The Inquisitor headed back the headquarters.

While The Spirit of Sobek spent a long day standing watch over the seedy bar they had so quickly left earlier in the day, The Inquisitor set to work in his lab and constructed a device to allow them to remotely listen in to a specific location, which he felt would be of great use that night.

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The Exalted Alliance: Issue #1
Daylight Robbery

15 June 2017

While The Herald was visiting a nursing home, trying to pass on knowledge of Kamgwe to the residents, she was contacted by a friend of hers within the Stirling Police, telling her to check out the local news. Without hesitating she arranged this and was able to catch the coverage of the aftermath of a daring daylight attack on an armoured car while it was crossing over the New Larston Bridge. The news footage clearly revealing the seemingly gridlocked bridge, with a ring of flashing police lights and a small plume of smoke indicating where the incident occurred. Upon seeing all of this The Herald contacts the rest of her team and brings them up to speed, before arranging to meet them all at the New Larston Bridge as soon as possible.

The Herald and The Spirit of Sobek arrive at the scene first, as both could ignore the traffic snarls that this bridge incident had sparked. Upon being allowed into the crime scene The Herald speaks to the lead detective, Detective Daniels, while waiting for the others to arrive. From Detective Daniels The Herald learns that: a group of people attacked an armoured car, burst the tires and forced it to stop; they removed the armoured car’s rear door and emptied out a whole lot of money; they escaped by flying off upriver somewhere. By the time Daniels has finished this account The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger have arrived at the scene (on foot, having been forced to leave the Stirling Slugger’s car some distance away).

With everyone present, The Inquisitor and The Spirit of Sobek begin searching the crime scene and gathering evidence while The Herald talks to the crime scene techs who have recently processed the scene themselves and she manages to convince them to share their results with the heroes (once they’ve analysed what they have gained). The crime scene techs can confirm that the armoured car’s tyres were taken out first, then some sort of explosive was used on the back. Meanwhile the Stirling Slugger looks to question any witnesses, but instead gets sidetracked by an attractive woman in a nearby car (who is stuck in traffic and not interested in him).

The Inquisitor and The Spirit of Sobek succeed in gathering some evidence for later processing (including: bullet casings, explosives trace, a paint scraping, deformed spent bullets, finger prints). The Inquisitor also takes note of some nearby surveillance cameras that may have caught the attack on film. The Spirit of Sobek climbs up high to survey the surrounding area, but can catch no sight of any fleeing robbers.

At this stage the heroes decided to split up to cover more ground.

The Inquisitor (once again being driven by the Stirling Slugger) headed south to Tron Labs to see if they have any relevant surveillance footage. On the was The Inquisitor also phones the security company that owns the armoured car to enquire into footage from the car’s internal cameras, however the person who answered the phone was not very helpful (they were quite dismissive in fact). The Inquisitor then thinks to talk to The Herald, who arranges for Detective Daniels to give them access to security footage from the bridge as well as any footage from inside the armoured car. At Tron Labs, The Inquisitor and the Stirling Slugger are introduced to Gibbs, a talking blue gibbon who is apparently the head of security for the place. He agrees to check their river facing security footage and to pass on anything they may have caught. The heroes then head on to the Stirling Water Plant.

On the other side of the river (the north side), The Herald, with The Spirit of Sobek following along almost invisibly, manages to eventually find some workers who had potentially witnessed some flying individuals. However, they were viewing them from some distance and were unsure as to what they had actually seen. The workers thought the flying people might have headed south. After a little more looking around, The Herald and The Spirit of Sobek turned around to head back to the bridges to make their way across the river.

At the Stirling Water Plant the two heroes were able to easily gain entrance thanks to the gate security guard recognising the Stirling Slugger (as Billy Butler, the somewhat famous former baseball player). This recognition gained them access to the security office where Frank, the security chief, helped them check through the recent footage of the river. On one camera they were able to distantly make out what could possibly be some flying figures flying along and then flying south into the city. By getting the Stirling Slugger to head outside, The Inquisitor was then able to calculate roughly where the “possible flying figures” turned away from the river and headed inland. Thanking Frank for his assistance, The Inquisitor and Stirling Slugger then headed off to see if they could find any further traces of these mysterious flying attackers.

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Stirling City Stories: Special Issue #1
Heroes Lost!

Part 1: Preparation

Professor Atom lifted his welding mask and looked around his lab, noting the papers and light objects that had suddenly been displaced. As the waiting servo-bots whirred into action he felt a sudden rush of air and, sure enough, he caught sight of Silver Streak leaning casually against the wall pretending that he’s been there all along. The white laboratory lights reflected brightly on the liquid metal skin that covered Silver Streak’s body, making him easy to notice.

Noticing that he now had Professor Atom’s attention, Silver Streak approached at what must have seemed a snail’s pace to him. “How’s the temporal dampener coming along?” the speedster asked, after getting close enough to look at the contraption in the professor’s hands.

“It’s pretty much right to go. I can’t guarantee that the circuits will hold up in the long run, so you wont be able to field test this before deployment.”

“It’ll work though, right?” Professor Atom didn’t both to dignify this with a reply, just a look. “Yeah, sorry. Of course it will work.” Picking up the small device, Silver Streak turned it over in his hands before continuing. “Are you still planning on joining us tomorrow?”

“Yes,” Professor Atom replied. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, just in case The Chrononaut tries anything unexpected.”

“Good. The more the merrier,” Silver Streak replied before leaving in a sudden rush, moving faster than Professor Atom can follow, even with his enhanced eyes. Once again papers and light objects get blown around the lab before being gathered up by servo-bots and put back in there proper place. With a sigh Professor Atom moves over to his lab computer bank to check the readings that were just gathered about Silver Streak. At least now he has more data for his speed dampening field research project…

Part 2: Confrontation

It was a quiet morning in Riverside, particularly around the Meta-Human Research Institute. Though a cool morning, the sky was clear and it looked like it was going to be a good day. A very sharp-eyed observer might have noticed the slight shimmer of an energy field in place around the Meta-Human Research Institute, though it would have been more clearly seen in dim lighting, however this almost invisible field seemed to have no effect on the numerous people passing through it as they went about their morning routines.

This serene morning was then suddenly shattered as The Chrononaut appeared out of thin air in the middle of the sidewalk. Gathered around him were the mercenaries Bramble and Deadeye, as well as two dozen Chronobots, and they were all looking momentarily confused (except for the robots; they tend to conceal their emotions well). Into this confusion the Stirling City Irregulars sprang from their various hiding places, which had been scattered around the institute as they were unsure as to which direction the villains would be approaching from.

The hulking ice giants, Sveln and Njordos, moved to engage the villains head on, as was their preference. Making use of the giants as a distraction, The Black Ghost circled the fight, looking for a way to get close to The Chrononaut, although he was easily spotted by Deadeye and was thus engaged by that mercenary instead. Meanwhile, Lightning Hachi and Silver Streak began carrying away civilians at super speed, while Solrac the Summoner created protective stone walls to shield whole sections of the street from the battle that was already breaking out. Lastly, Professor Atom acted as a foil to the bow-wielding mercenary Bramble, who would otherwise have skewered Solrac with little effort.

Over the crash of ice giants flattening Chronobots, Deadeye called out to The Chrononaut, who was yet to engage the heroes in any way: “Why are you just standing there? Use your powers!”

“Somethings wrong!” he cried back, “Hang on…” and then a look of extreme concentration and effort came over his face. He had no way of knowing that all of his temporal abilities were being dampened by Professor Atom’s hastily constructed device; all that he knew was that his powers had suddenly failed leaving them exposed and vulnerable. Normally his “chrono-suit” enabled him to tap into the latent temporal energy that surrounded all things. He knew how it worked and he knew it should have worked. So, with an extreme effort, he reached down deep into his own previously untapped powers (perhaps powers that had been masked by the use of the “chrono-suit” all along) and reached for elusive powers of the time stream.

Then, in a blinding flash of white light, all of the heroes and villains (and a small number of civilians who were yet to be evacuated) disappeared.

Aftermath

“Heroes Lost!” “Battle at the MHRI!” “Who is The Chrononaut?”

News crews arrived at the scene almost as quickly as the police. Both groups found a scene of confusion. Civilians were wandering around, trying to figure out what had just happened. Everyone told the same story though, The Stirling City Irregulars had intercepted The Chrononaut and then everyone disappeared. The only sign that something had indeed taken place (aside from the security camera footage that would soon be played almost non-stop on all of the local stations) were ten disabled Chronobots and a magically summoned stone wall (that dissipated after a half an hour anyway).

Despite how bad things looked right then and there, everyone kind of expected the Stirling City Irregulars to reappear at any moment. They kept on thinking that for two weeks.

Now, some still hold out hope that they will all just come back; most believe that they all died on that morning in May. On the 18th they even held a memorial service for all of those who went missing in the incident, “The Incident” as some refer to it as.

Ever since that morning, super-crime rates in the city have been on the rise. Heroes such as Scarlet Streak, Water Sprite and Night-Ward are still doing their best, but they have other responsibilities as well and they cannot protect people to the same extent as the Stirling City Irregulars.

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World at War Special #1
Epilogues

The invasion of Earth by the inhabitants of Earth-Shadow was over, but what of those who took part in the conflict? Over the following months, as both Berlin and Stirling City entered a reconstruction phase, the following things took place:

  • Blue Steel: Although she enjoyed catching up with The Other Guys, Blue Steel was eager to return to her movie set out in LA. Then she received word from LA that the producers for her film had vanished, taking her prototype battle suits with them. No record of the producers can now be found.
  • Bob Nostradamus: Having done everything that he had needed to, Bob slipped away in the confusion at the end of the battle.
  • Burnished Dawn (& White Lady): White Lady offers Burnished Dawn membership in the Secret Order of Druids, as well as training as a wielder of light magic (not something Burnished Dawn knows anything about yet). White Lady feels that Burnished Dawn has it in her to become a Luminary, one of the leaders of the Secret Order.
  • Executive Solutions: Thanks to their efforts in Avery, one third of the invading force was bottled up and so they are regarded as heroes by the people of Stirling City, with their obviously xenophobic attitudes being praised by some (and ignored by others). Zodiac (on behalf of his team) is presented with the keys of the city, a move that is frowned upon by many.
  • Frostbite: With HuBot now recognised as a hero of the city, Frostbite is no longer required to remain in the city to watch over him. However Earth Front gives Frostbite the option of staying on in the city if he wishes.
  • The MRC: They suffered severe casualties after being the first respondents to the invasion in Berlin, with over 60% of their fighting force being killed or seriously injured. Following the invasion they also find that many of their dead were stripped of their battle suits (some were then finished off, after being stripped of their battle suits). There is talk in the UN, spearheaded by the US, of getting rid of the MRC.
  • Nova: Nova powers down following the battle and heads off to reunite with his family and friends after so many years away.
  • Omega Unit: Luckily Omega Unit had been on manoeuvres at Fort Claybourne when the invasion started, otherwise things may have turned out much worse. The President publicly lauds the Omega Unit for their work in protecting America when needed.
  • Salamander: Having seen The Panther fighting against The Shadow Mage in Stirling Park, Salamander is reminded of why she became a superhero in the first place. Overcome with remorse for the decisions she’s made over the years she turns herself in to the police.
  • Stirling City Irregulars: Despite their first case ending in disaster, Francis Fabien is convinced that they show strong promise. He tries to find Nova, to offer him a place on the team, but the hero wishes nothing more than to be left alone.
  • Stirling City: Much rebuilding needs to be done in Stirling City but it is sped along with assistance from Professor Atom (and his constructobots). On the site of the Caville portal they decide to build a memorial to all of those who died during the invasion.
  • Stirling Heroes & The Other Guys: Thanks to their central role in defeating, or at least containing, the invasion, the Stirling Heroes and The Other Guys are presented with the keys to the city.
  • The Arc-Angel: Returns to his base to find that it received considerable damage (from the initial rocket attack) resulting in the prisoners escaping. Agent Gibbs turns out to be ok though, just drunk. Luckily, the investigation into his mistreatment of animals gets forgotten about (for now) in the media blitz following the invasion.
  • The Panther: The spectral hero who, when he was alive, was The Panther manages to disappear without any trouble. He is sure to return when he is needed once more…
  • The Truth: Was able to present her evidence to the US state department, which led to a thorough investigation of Dynamic Solutions. So far it looks like the company might not survive.
  • Thorn: Is debriefed by Ice Queen, who is now able to tell her that the head of Omega Unit, Colonel Miles, used to go by the code name Omega-Dawn. Some years ago this former superhero attempted a worldwide coup, but was defeated and has been in hiding ever since. Ice Queen is disquieted by the implications of the US military being willing to reach out to this wanted man.
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Stirling Heroes #74
World at War: Blowing Things Up

Following their earlier battle, The Stirling Heroes had gathered together at the head of the Omega Unit army. They had faced wave upon wave of Shadow Nazi attack, but each had been repulsed with ease. They had been making slow progress, however, due to their wish to keep pace with the Omega Unit troops.

Then five Shadow Nazi super-soldiers came to the fore and attacked the Stirling Heroes. These warriors, armed with dark, mystical lances and wielding strange powers, could almost have been a match for the heroes, but between Frostbite’s ferocity, The Arc-Angel’s elctryfying power, Shadow Stalker’s precise teleporting, Thorn’s accurate shooting and HuBot’s cheerful destructiveness they were able to win through. It was only once these Shadow Nazi Super Soldiers had been defeated that Thorn noticed that the force field, which had been protecting the portal near Dynamic Solutions, was no longer there!

Within seconds HuBot had begun launching his grenades deep into the enemy army and through the portal’s opening. Moments later the deafening explosions were followed by the great portal winking out of existence! (Though they couldn’t see it, the other two portals in Stirling City also winked out at this time.) Despite the closing of the portals there were still a large number of Shadow Nazi soldiers within the city (not to mention the hulking Shadow Colossus, and whatever had appeared in Stirling Park). So the Stirling Heroes kept fighting and HuBot was finally able to get a shot at the Boss Monster (the Shadow Colossus)!

In Stirling Park a small band of misfit adventurers (including Jack, Memoria and others) are holding back an overwhelming swarm of shadow demons, while towering above them, each standing much taller than the nearby buildings, but both being composed of smoke and ether) The Panther battles The Shadow Mage. Bob Nostradamus, Nova, The Other Guys and the Stirling City Irregulars arrive to lend much needed assistance to the forces holding the Shadow Demons at bay. The Shadow Mage, seeing that his forces might soon be overcome, attempts to consolidate his power (activating the magic circles that have been established for him) but the attempt fails when the magic circle within the Gralein Building fails to activate. With renewed desperation he doubles his offensive, driving The Panther to his knees. The Panther then reveals his secret weapon, White Lady, but even her light magic doesn’t seem to be powerful enough to halt The Shadow Mage, until she is joined by Burnished Dawn carrying a Dawn Shard. This extra assistance is enough to destroy The Shadow Mage, sending his essence screaming back to the shadowy dimension that is his home.

With his destruction, the shadow demons, shadow colossi and other creatures of shadow magic fade away, leaving the battered remains of the Shadow Nazi army (in both Stirling City and Berlin) all alone. The surrender of the Shadow Nazi commanders follows shortly afterwards.

Perplexed, HuBot stopped evading his opponent as the giant scorpion thing shattered into a thousand shards of darkness. Must have been one of those bosses.

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The Other Guys #15
World at War: Getting Out Again

Having crept off stealthily earlier, Bob Nostradamus works his way into where the prisoners are being kept and, after waiting for the guards to be called away, he frees them. He tells the Stirling City Irregulars (being Francis Fabien, The Colt, Water Sprite, Tomorrow Girl, Sveln and Njordos) to lead the two frightened scientists to safety, but Francis Fabien insists on staying to see the job through, telling Water Sprite to get everyone else to the Tennel Enterprises building for safety. Bob doesn’t mention to Water Sprite that her son (Blur) is nearby, but he does apologise to Black Ghost, Lightning Hachi and (particularly) Burnished Dawn who he arranged to captured many months earlier. He tried to explain that what had happened was for the best, but they weren’t interested in his excuses. Burnished Dawn did listen to him, however, when he gave her a glass dagger that he called a Dawn Shard and told her that no matter what, she had to make it to Stirling Park later.

With the sound of many approaching boots sounding around them, Bob lead the newly freed prisoners into an adjoining room where they were able to meet up with Blur, Captain Awesome, Blue Steel, Obfuscate, The Truth and Nova, all of whom had just caught the elevator back to this level in search of Bob. The Other Guys had a brief reunion, before the second elevator’s door opened to reveal a squad of armoured guards!

Dealing with the guards in the elevator (and other guards who had been approaching from behind) was an easy prospect for this band of heroes, but they still didn’t know how to get out. Trying the elevator again, they take it to the top floor where they find a large squad of armoured guards waiting for them. These guards are heavily decimated by the heroes’ initial attack, but are able to counterattack with their modified Multi-Guns! Rockets and rail gun shots flew, seriously hurting the heroes (who were all packed quite closely together in the elevator), with Bob even leaping in front of Burnished Dawn to prevent her from being shot at one point (this shot left him unconscious and bleeding on the ground).

Luckily the heroes were able to persevere, defeating this second group of guards. Burnished Dawn was then able to spend some time healing the varied injuries everyone had incurred (Bob was particularly happy to find out that he had survived the combat, he hadn’t been sure that he would) in their escape, while everyone was also able to peer out the nearby windows to see the hordes of Shadow Nazi Soldiers marching out of the nearby portal (because they were, of course, inside the Dynamic Solutions building).

With everyone healthy again they all agreed to escort Burnished Dawn to Stirling Park for whatever fate awaited her there.

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The Other Guys #14
World at War: Power

Having appropriated a helmet from an armoured guard, Obfuscate had learned that the helmet’s HUD enabled the wearer to see in a number of different spectrums. A useful thing for him to know, so that he knew not to rely on his invisibility to keep him safe while he scouted around the facility. Encountering guards, he chose to retreat and find back up rather than risk an encounter…

The other heroes had been discussing what they should do, how best to get down to where the force field controls were located and shut them down. With Obfuscate showing up again, it was decided that The Truth should go and stealthily deal with the guard he had found (which she did… and then she dealt with the guard he hadn’t seen). With the guards taken care of, Captain Awesome used his music to win over the loyalty of some technicians (or scientists) working near the force field control panels. With the technicians now fully supportive of whatever Captain Awesome wanted them to do he got them to shut down the force field. For good measure The Truth then destroyed the control panels, which caused a potentially dangerous power build up to begin. From the technicians, The Truth and Obfuscate learned that the power source for the whole facility was apparently a person, so they figured they should prevent this person from exploding.

While The Truth and Obfuscate head off to see to that, Blur races around until he finds another elevator (that will lead them down to where The Truth and Obfuscate are), but in the process he finds more guards. So he, Captain Awesome and Blue Steel do their best to fight off the guards, not realising that Bob Nostradamus has slipped away without telling anyone. The heroes (in two separate areas of the facility) find themselves fighting guards, but they are easily able to deal with their opponents, with The Truth even managing to free the bound “power source” (the missing hero Nova) from his cradle. Only Blue Steel ran into any trouble and then only when she went looking for Bob, for a guard shot her down, leaving her bleeding and alone.

With Nova free and the remaining guards knocked down with a surge of his plasma energy the lights begin to dim in the facility…

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