Stirling City Stories

The Arc-Angel#10
Irregular Circumstances: For Science!

The Arc-Angel is busy in his lab, studying the arcane books recovered from The Toadstool, when he is forced to divert his attention to answer the phone (as Alek Tron). It’s a call for HuBot, of course, from Tron Labs… but the news is dire!

Apparently an anonymous person has sent various media outlets a statement claiming that The Arc-Angel has created the new superhero Agent Gibbs using illegal animal experimentation. Tron Labs obviously wants HuBot to distance himself from this potential PR nightmare (HuBot makes enough of them on his own). Alek promises to pass the information along.

Furious at being judged by the common man, The Arc-Angel immediately begins seeking a way to clear his name from these “spurious” (although entirely accurate) claims. He briefly attempts to enlist the aid of a publicist from Tron Labs, but they want nothing to do with him. So, figuring that it is best to put the whole matter to rest with a written statement, he proceeds to type out a statement of his own, in which he explains how he has done nothing wrong and how Agent Gibbs was just a fortunate discovery while he was in Africa…

The general media opinion of his statement is that he’s lying. Poorly.

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Stirling Heroes #68
Irregular Circumstances: C-Dogs.

With the trail dead, The Arc-Angel declared he would investigate the occult texts left behind at the crime scene for any clues. With Shadow Stalker’s assistance he transported the large collection of esoteric books back to base.

While this was taking place, Frostbite had told HuBot (and Flicker) what was going on. Thorn mentioned that they should perhaps look into what taxi company Francis Fabien had used when he left The Toadstool, so Flicker took the initiative and remotely accessed a nearby computer terminal. From the computer terminal Flicker was able to find the most prominent local taxi companies and was then able to hack into the network of the top Google result, Stirling City Cabs. In the Stirling City Cabs network, Flicker was able to uncover recent passenger information and was able to determine that Francis Fabien had not only used this company on the night in question (which was convenient) but had taken a cab to Tennel Enterprises. When Flicker mentioned this to HuBot, the synthetic man recalled that this was the company that Francis Fabien worked for and was also the pace they had taken Sveln and Njordos.

In short order the Stirling Heroes had teleported to the reception area at Tennel Enterprises where the receptionist was able to arrange for Mr Jones from security to come and see them. Mr Jones in turn escorted the Stirling Heroes down to the basement headquarters of the Stirling City Irregulars where they met Eric Tennel, the CEO and owner of Tennel Enterprises. Eric Tennel was pleased that they were looking into the disappearance of Francis Fabien and the Stirling City Irregulars.

While Thorn checked the security footage (courtesy of Mr Jones; it showed the Stirling City Irregulars leaving the building using chromed jet bikes) Flicker proceeded to use the computer facilities (mainly their large computer table) of the Stirling City Irregulars to bring up their most recent files and documents. All of these files related to the homicide at The Toadstool, with the most recent documents relating to ballistics reports (the bullets used were unique in construction) and witness statements (people had seen C-Dogs gang members leaving the club around the time of the shooting). Flicker was also able to find a note mentioning a known C-Dogs hang out, a lowdown bar in Denning.

Moments later Shadow Stalker had teleported everyone to just outside the bar in question (Flicker caught up a few seconds later, as usual). HuBot immediately entered the bar and asked for information, while Shadow Stalker made straight for a bar stool. Thorn, having become invisible, also entered the bar to provide back up. HuBot’s sudden entrance and request for information made the bar fall silent. Then Hound stood up from a table and Mutt stood up from the bar (and Junkyard Dawg return from the bathroom) and demanded that HuBot accompany them outside.

The resulting brawl did indeed take place out in the street, although all of the Bar’s customers were affected by HuBot’s opening flash-bang. Hound and Frostbite wrestled for a while and Mutt took the fight to HuBot. Thorn was rendered blind and deaf by the flash-bang (as was Flicker) while Junkyard Dawg tried to close with Shadow Stalker (who in turn secured himself a drink and captured the bartender, who was a good source of information). With the fight turning against them, Hound raced away on his cybernetically enhanced legs with Frostbite giving chase moments later. Catching up to the gang member in an alley, Frostbite found the confined quarters a hindrance and was soon overcome by Hound’s relentless attacks. When Shadow Stalker fond the unconscious alien Hound was long gone.

Meanwhile, Thorn had been able to pry some valuable information out of the mind of Mutt. It turned out that The Colt had come to this bar after information and had also ended fighting some members of the C-Dogs (with the other Stirling City Irregulars also). From there the heroes had gone off to see C-Dawg himself. So, with Mutt to lead the way, the Stirling Heroes set off to speak to the leader of the C-Dogs.

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Stirling Heroes #67
Irregular Circumstances: Finding Francis Fabien.

Months have passed since the arrest of Death Scarab and life has been quiet for the Stirling Heroes. It is a usual Monday when Professor Atom phones the base trying to contact them. HuBot answered the phone. He’s good at that. Professor Atom requested a meeting with the Stirling Heroes as he, and someone else, had something to ask them. HuBot agreed that this sounded ok and arranged to meet up with them at Tron Labs within the hour. Alerting the rest of the team to the impending meeting, including The Arc-Angel who was taking time out of his extensive biological enhancement research, HuBot then rocketed off to Tron Labs and proceeded to patrol the facility (at the speed of sound) until the others arrived and Alec Tron was able to prevent the labs from going into a full lockdown (in response to HuBot’s alarming behaviour).

Soon Professor Atom and Night-Ward arrived at Tron Labs and they all got settled into a secure meeting room. Night-Ward explained how, several days ago, Francis Fabien had agreed to take his new group (the Stirling City Irregulars) of (mostly) untried heroes out into the field to try solving a multiple homicide that was committed at The Toadstool. Francis Fabien and his group began investigating and were following up on leads. They now haven’t been heard from in 24 hours and so Night-Ward would like the Stirling Heroes to take up the search. The Stirling Heroes agree that this is important work and so after they regroup back at base (where The Arc-Angel decides that Agent Gibbs is in no condition to go around helping people at present), Shadow Stalker teleports the group to just outside The Toadstool.

While the uniformed officer at the door of The Toadstool is finding out if he can allow the Stirling Heroes in, Shadow Stalker begins nosing around the bar, looking for untouched spirits to “investigate for clues”. Eventually the others are allowed in and The Arc-Angel asks Shadow Stalker to stop contaminating the crime scene, so he complies. The group makes their way down into the secret basement of The Toadstool where they find evidence of a slaughter (for further details, see Captain Awesome #4). Shadow Stalker uses his ESP to look for secret rooms surrounding this arcane ritual area and is rewarded with finding a well-furnished study, walled with bookshelves full of books in a variety of different languages. Of those books that are written in English, the heroes are able to notice an occult theme is prevalent in the subject matter.

With no real clues left for them to investigate here, Frostbite uses his powerful sense of smell to follow the lingering traces of Francis Fabien up into the main section of the club and then out, past the confused uniformed police officer, onto the busy Old Stirling sidewalk. The trail, though faint, led down the sidewalk to the curb, where it then mingled with the smells of the dozens, if not hundreds of cars that had pulled up there in the past few days. The trail had gone cold.

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Captain Awesome #4
Irregular Circumstances: Prologue

Captain Awesome returned to Stirling City with no fanfare. He’d been through a lot over the past twelve months or so and he was looking for a break, if however so brief. A place like Stirling City was perfect for that, as there are so many other costumed heroes around to take care of any problems that crop up.

He dropped in to the Magic Bar, a place he’d heard catered well for exotic clientele (which was an understatement, some of the customers defied belief!) and hoped that he’d be able to just blend in. Unfortunately the owner, Jack, noticed him and came over to speak to him. Jack mentioned straight off that there was something that Captain Awesome would need to see over at The Toadstool. Captain Awesome knew the place (he’d done a small gig there once or twice) and so he could get there pretty quickly. Particularly when he could just fly over the traffic.

The Toadstool was a crime scene. Police were all over the place, but they let him in on sight (they seemed to recognize him, probably because he’s AWESOME!) and showed him to where Night-Ward was speaking to Francis Fabien. Both stood in the middle of a room littered with dead bodies and spent shell casings. The corpses were dressed as cultists, maybe they even were cultists, and some of them seemed to have blue skin. Night-Ward was asking if Francis Fabien thought the Stirling Heroes should handle this case, but the detective didn’t think they were good for this case. He instead offered his new group of heroes, the Stirling City Irregulars, as the investigators for this case. Night-Ward seemed happy enough with this.

As Francis Fabien left, Night-Ward spoke with Captain Awesome. He mentioned how someone (he was evasive about who this someone was) had told him that he would meet Captain Awesome at this crime scene tonight. Sure enough, here was Captain Awesome. Night-Ward then asked Captain Awesome to go on a short mission for the Heroes’ League. All he would have to do is go to the World of the Jade Emperor and ask to borrow the Chime of Warning from them. Apparently the people of that alternate reality do like the Heroes’ League but are only willing to lend the chime to someone with divine blood (hence, Captain Awesome).

Captain Awesome accepted, of course, and so Night Ward immediately offered to take him to the Heroes Hall, where the Heroes’ League had a mystical doorway that leads directly to the World of the Jade Emperor.

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Thorn #9
Specialist Jane Doe, ret.

Time rolled around and all too soon Thorn (with HuBot and Flicker) was back up on Sky-Eye to meet with the army representatives. She listened once more to their offer and then calmly gave them her reasons for deciding to not join their new unit, whatever that was. As they began expressing their disappointment and getting the necessary forms ready for her dismissal, Thorn used the opportunity to read the mind of the head of the military delegation. From him she was able to learn that the new unit was Omega Unit and was to be primarily concerned with protecting America from threats posed by super-humans. There was no mandate within this new unit for experimenting on soldiers or attempting to create new super-soldiers.

As all of this was quite boring to him, HuBot spent the duration of the meeting remembering something more exciting. Eventually Flicker got his attention and made him sign a piece of paper. It said that he was a witness to what had transpired there. Although he hadn’t witnessed anything, he also didn’t have any legal rights; so him signing the piece of paper was a farce all round.

Following the meeting on Sky-Eye, Thorn went back to O’Harrigan’s (after telling HuBot that she was going to a secret meeting and that he should come looking for her if she didn’t show up again in a certain amount of time) where she once more made contact with The Legs. He led her out to the limo again, where the lady was waiting (again). Once in the limo Thorn let the woman know that she was accepting her job offer.

They were then flown (in the limo, of course) to an office building in Washington, D.C., where the lady explained that Thorn had just joined The X-Organization, a secret group that had once reported to the Pentagon and the White House but was now a privately funded information gathering organization. Where necessary they still kept the Pentagon and White House appraised of situations, but never directly. As far as the world is to know The X-Organization ceased to exist in the mid-1990s (most of the world would never have known they existed in the first place). The lady also properly introduced herself as Ice Queen, the head of The X-Organization.

Thorn was then given a tour of the Washington office as well as being introduced to many of the office staff. Over the following months she would be able to be properly brought up to speed on her role within The X-Organization (which, to begin with, would involve remaining in Stirling City and keeping an eye on things, and people, there). As a cover story, Thorn was “officially” hired by Sentinel Security International, a false company run as a cover for The X-Organization.

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Agent Gibbs #1
They’re at the Where Now?

Having been teleported to just outside the Southbay Arena, Agent Gibbs found himself with a great thirst. Luckily he picked up the unmistakable scent of liquid refreshment coming from a charming looking building just across the street. Leaving Thorn and the others to take care of the whole hostage situation he entered the sports bar…

It didn’t take him long to realize that this bar, although it did stock a wide variety of beverages for his enjoyment (all purchased on Alec Tron’s mastercard), none of them were quite the drink he was after (a particular daiquiri that Shadow Stalker gets from a place down in Miami). Also, the sports on show on the many monitors were boring and uninspired. He could do better than any of them.

Leaving the bar, Agent Gibbs discovered that the police and news crews had arrived, while the Stirling Heroes had apparently gone somewhere else. Having determined that he was no longer required at the stadium, and having answered some questions posed by the charming man with a microphone, he made his way back to base, stopping only three or four times for a sample of the local beverages.

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Stirling Heroes #66
Message Delivered

Having defeated the Sand Warriors, the Stirling Heroes were unsure as to whether they had found all of the missing children. They had received no official count of those missing and the children themselves were too upset to help with out (and all of the Legion bodies were quickly dissolving into dust, so they couldn’t help either). So Frostbite went back to tracking the bus trail (as it lead somewhere else after leaving the warehouse), while HuBot told Detective McLardy (who was still at Felldale Elementary) where to find the children they had rescued so far. The detective told HuBot that they have received a report of a hostage situation don at the Southbay Arena.

Returning to the fishy warehouse, HuBot told Thorn and Agent Gibbs (and a hung over Shadow Stalker, who Thorn had finally been able to contact) where they were headed next. After the emergency services had shown up (with news crews, who were very interested in talking to HuBot and Agent Gibbs) the heroes quickly teleported down to Southbay Arena (and Shadow Stalker went and located Frostbite, who was still tracking the bus trail), where a SWAT team was only just assembling.

The heroes quickly found the missing school busses at the arena (they were parked right next to it) and (after HuBot had checked with his chainsaw to ensure that they were empty) the heroes moved on and into the arena (except for Agent Gibbs, who had been distracted by a nearby sports bar). While Shadow Stalker used his ESP to scout the stadium’s playing area (and then used his teleportation to take care of any guards he found there), HuBot (and Flicker), Frostbite and Thorn all proceeded inside where they encountered armed resistance from several more groups of Legion duplicates. They couldn’t find any sign of children though. Then, as the SWAT team moved in to make sure the heroes hadn’t missed anything (which they hadn’t), one of the police officers passed on the news that the Chief of Staff of the United States Army had just been assassinated, near Stirling Park!

Shadow Stalker immediately teleported the Stirling Heroes to the scene, where they were able to gather that another member of the Sand Warriors, Death Scarab, had managed to attack the official and kill him before disappearing into the park. Frostbite swiftly picked up the villain’s trail and within moments they had cornered Death Scarab where he stood in a child’s sand pit. The heroes attacked with a vengeance, but he was no easy target and chances are he could have evaded them for some time. Shadow Stalker tried softening him up a little by dropping him from 1000 feet, but the villain was able to angle himself to hit Frostbite as he came back down. Then Frostbite managed to grab Death Scarab and his fate was sealed. As the villain continued to struggle (in vain, caught as he was within the massive alien’s arms) Sand Scorpion and Nisr raml suddenly appeared in the sand pit. After a brief extra struggle, these two new villains could see that the day was lost and so vanished again in short order.

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Stirling Heroes #65
Sand Warriors

Frostbite is alerted by Freedom Fighter that there has been a reported sighting of members of the Sand Warriors in Stirling City. Usually all of Earth Front would descend on this, but events on the west coast are keeping the rest of the team occupied at present. Frostbite proceeds to check the local police broadcasts and, having found a relevant APB, leads the Stirling Heroes to Felldale Elementary where two busloads of kids have been kidnapped by persons matching the description of Sand Warriors.

Arriving at Felldale Elementary, Frostbite is able to pick up the scent of the missing busses and begins following them across town. His powerful nose is able to follow the two busses clear across the city, through traffic and is even able to notice when he comes to a point when the tracks double back on themselves and split off. He continues following the original trail (hoping he isn’t wasting time) and he eventually leads the Stirling Heroes to a warehouse that smells strongly (almost overwhelmingly to his sensitive nose) of fish.

Agent Gibbs spots someone who could be a Sand Warrior through a window (but he isn’t too good at identifying different types of humans) and goes to investigate. He can tell that there’s a whole heap of people inside holding guns, but he ducks out of sight before they do anything precipitous like shoot at him. Flicker is able to confirm that there are Sand Warriors in the warehouse, and he is also able to locate the missing children. He mentions in passing that all of the Sand Warriors look exactly the same (which Frostbite realises is because they are the duplicating villain Legion). The heroes storm the warehouse and engage the terrorists. Agent Gibbs focuses on securing the children while Frostbite, HuBot and Thorn keep the terrorists attention focused on them. After a vicious firefight, in which Frostbite would surely have fallen if not for HuBot’s new healing shot mode, the Sand Warriors were defeated and the children were freed.

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Thorn #8
Offers

Thorn is stuck trying to decide whether or not to join the new army unit that she has been offered a position in. Her distrust in the army is warring with her sense of duty and patriotism. To try and get another perspective on her current situation, she arranges to meet with Bernadette Foster, her former handler.

On the way to meet up with Bernadette Foster, Thorn is intercepted by Misty, the new secretive CEO of Super Security, who proceeds to offer her two jobs: one is working for Misty at Super Security; the other is working for an unknown group, doing something dangerous. Misty also informed Thorn that is she wants to know more about the second job, she is to pin a red card to a notice board in O’Harrigan’s Bar. Misty then takes a few steps away before vanishing into thin air.

Thorn then makes her meeting with Bernadette Foster who says she is content with the new unit, but she can’t reveal any real details about it due to its classified nature. She can say that it had a whole different agenda than Project Mind Shadow, there will be no creating super heroes with this new unit. She also mentions that half of the remaining members of Project Mind Shadow have signed on with the new unit so far.

After this meeting, Thorn then goes to O’Harrigan’s and places a red card on the notice board. She tries scanning a few minds to figure out who might be watching her to pass on information, then a English man introduces himself as The Legs and tells her to follow him to learn more. He leads her to a limo and she gets in to the back seat while he goes around the front to drive. Sitting in the in the back is an older woman who agrees to be referred to as “The Head”.

“The Head” gives Thorn few extra details. She offers Thorn a job of excitement and adventure, travelling the world and protecting the innocent. She won’t tell Thorn who she is exactly, nor who she works for (nor give any exact details of what the job would entail) and her mind is shielded from Thorn’s attempts to probe further. She asks Thorn to consider her offer and then lets Thorn out… On the roof of the hanger at The Arc-Angel’s secret base.

Thorn then watches as the limo slowly takes off into the air before vanishing.

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Stirling Heroes #64
Sandy: Epilogue

(While Thorn, Frostbite, Shadow Stalker and HuBot are on SkyEye …) After several days of intense research, The Arc-Angel has come to the disquieting realization that he can’t do anything to aid Ange Tron. From the way the tests are turning out, he has determined that the result of her transformation is magical in nature, but beyond that he has made no headway and he knows he has no experience with working with magic. Luckily he was saved from having to figure out what to do with his sister by Agent Gibbs presenting him with a pair of power nullifying handcuffs (the ones that had been used to nullify the gibbon’s powers in the previous issue). After testing out the usefulness of the handcuffs (and yes, they nullified his powers), The Arc-Angel asked Agent Gibbs (who had gone to the kitchen for a fruit laden snack) to remove them. Agent Gibbs, of course, then explained that there were no keys and so they had to wait until Shadow Stalker returned to get free. While The Arc-Angel then went off to walk around the base, muttering most likely, Agent Gibbs explored the wondrous fruit drinks that Shadow Stalker had stocked the fridge with. By the time the other heroes had returned to base and The Arc-Angel was free of the handcuffs, Agent Gibbs was well and truly drunk (and loving it).

It then took very little convincing from The Arc-Angel to get Ange Tron to wear the power nullifying handcuffs (both on one leg, in such a way so that they were far less noticeable), and then Shadow Stalker took the young woman home.

That afternoon, HuBot received a call back from Francis Fabien. The detective was happy to say that he did have a job opportunity for Sveln and Njordos. HuBot (and the two ice giants) were quite pleased to hear this. But, in the process of arranging with Shadow Stalker to help transport the ice giants to Francis Fabien, The Arc-Angel finally became aware of HuBot’s secret base! Obviously The Arc-Angel wasn’t happy to find out that HuBot had hacked a hole in one of the base’s walls and had commandeered one of the base’s turrets, but he was less pleased with HuBot’s “pets” (Sveln and Njordos). Since a new home had already been found for the two giants, The Arc-Angel let HuBot off with a warning. (It’s probably a good thing The Arc-Angel didn’t find out about HuBot’s own base’s external exit…)

The following day HuBot, Shadow Stalker, Sveln and Njordos and arrived at the Tennel Enterprises building to meet with Francis Fabien. They were shown to a large service elevator, which took them down to the recently refurbished Tennel Enterprises basement. Here they were met by Francis Fabien who was eager to have Sveln and Njordos join a new group he is creating; a group designed to give people a second chance, while taking their exceptional powers and abilities into consideration. Francis Fabien made sure to point The Colt out to the heroes, as the young thief was also going to be a member of his new team. As the two giants were happy enough to go with the detective, HuBot decided it was a good time to go on patrol.

In the days following, emergency services continued to restore power to Stirling City. They pumped the water from the subway and cleared away the rubble caused by the Ice Giant attack (and maybe a little caused by HuBot). Almost a week after the attack, Mayor Shelton held a memorial service for all the brave heroes (police, emergency services, soldiers, MRC as well as the caped variety) who fought for the safety of citizens of Stirling City. At the Heroes’ Monument there is a solemn ceremony led by Scarlet Streak, where he unveils the Honour Roll to reveal the addition of Night Target to the list.

Following this memorial, there was another memorial at the hastily repaired Heroes’ Hall in New York. Here, The Eagle led a service of remembrance for Toxic Fumes, who (when he was called Smokey) had been the kid-sidekick of The Torch, and who had been in turn mentoring his own side-kick The Brand. Those two heroes in particular were still taking the loss of Toxic Fumes very hard (The Brand wasn’t even wearing her costume, just normal street clothes and a domino mask over her eyes). Afterwards, The Eagle then explained to those heroes present that despite the large range of “gimmick weapons” that the Heroes’ League had kept in their armoury (all of which had been decommissioned years earlier), the only thing that The Major had stolen was an alien artefact known as The Atomic Sword.

The Atomic Sword had been recovered from the engine of an alien battleship that had been invading earth’s solar system a year or so earlier. The sword had been the power source for the entire battleship. Up until now, the Heroes’ League had been unwilling to examine the sword too closely without figuring out some proper safeguards to put in place (as it was clearly a powerful and dangerous item). The Eagle promised those assembled that he would be personally looking into where The Major had gone to ground. In passing he also mentioned that aside from the Heroes’ League, only a few select members of the MRC had even known of the existence of The Atomic Sword

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