Stirling City Stories

Stirling Heroes #42
Wating

Following the dramatic fight with the ghost Quickdraw, the Stirling Heroes spent time preparing for the villain’s inevitable return. While HuBot recuperated, Alek Tron was able to adjust the multi-gun making it capable of firing a concentrated proton beam that could ensnare incorporeal targets. They’d gotten the idea from a movie.

At one point The Linebacker found himself standing in the freezing cold at the end of the Larston Docks late at night. Once again, he had no idea how he got there.

Weeks continued to pass, but there was no sign of Quickdraw

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Stirling Heroes #41
A Ghost of a Chance

The Arc-Angel was still trying to accurately catalogue his altered abilities (as he had been trying do since they arrived home several days ago) in his secret base, when a phone call for Alek Tron came through to him, informing him that a “Mr HuBot” was at Larston General Hospital and was in quite a serious condition. Wasting no time, Alek enlisted Shadow Stalker to teleport him to the hospital where he was able to take possession of the still mostly frozen (but alive, now) HuBot. After depositing HuBot back in the secret base’s infirmary, Alek and Shadow Stalker then took a quick trip down to the Southside Morgue where they learned that HuBot (and a priest) had been found frozen inside a church. The police were currently treating this as suspicious.

With HuBot still comatose, the remaining Stirling Heroes teleported to St Mary’s Church to investigate (and hopefully find HuBot’s gun, which they realized was missing). At the church they found some evidence of freezing (indoors) as well as an indent in the wooden floor that looked a lot like HuBot’s multi-gun. While Thorn and Shadow Stalker went off to call other churches in Stirling City (in case this icy attack was religiously motivated), Alek Tron phoned the police and was able to find out that the multi-gun had been impounded as evidence. Although unable to arrange its immediate release, he was able to arrange a meeting of the following morning with the lead detective, Detective MacKenzie.

Having rung many churches, Thorn and Shadow Stalker eventually spoke to a priest who suggested they might need an exorcism for their ghostly problems. He offered to try and track down an exorcist for them.

The following morning, Alek Tron met with Detective MacKenzie and was able to regain possession of the multi-gun (thanks in part to the impressive amount of paperwork he brought with him). Then, a few hours later, HuBot regained consciousness and was able to fill the others in on what had led to his frosty demise. Thorn liked the idea of holy water and enlisted the aid of “the teleporter” (sometimes known as Shadow Stalker) to track down some holy water of their own. HuBot, convinced more than ever that fire was the answer, managed to talk Alek into trying to incorporate some kind of flamethrower into his multi-gun. Dutifully Alek began working on this over at Tron Labs and, since he wasn’t quite feeling his usual self, HuBot decided to watch him.

The following day, a Wednesday, as Alek was continuing to tinker away at HuBot’s multi-gun a chill came over the lab where he was working (and HuBot was lurking). Somehow Quickdraw’s first shot went wide of the mark and then he was further flummoxed by the sight of HuBot being not dead, giving HuBot a chance to contact Thorn, Shadow Stalker and The Linebacker (who were back at the base) and let them know what was going on before he got all shot up. Once more the heroes fought desperately against the now complacent ghost, however he was soon in for a surprise when not only could Thorn spray him with holy water, but The Arc-Angel’s newly charged electricity was found to be able to disrupt (marginally) the very fabric of Quickdraw’s being. Briefly they thought that fire might be the answer to their problems, but a kicked metal drum of burning material failed to do anything to the ghost.

Shadow Stalker, having been given the holy water spray bottle by Thorn, soon gave that idea up and (passing the bottle on to The Linebacker) used his ESP to locate a suitable font of holy water that he was able to teleport in on top of Quickdraw! Although not a deadly attack, it was yet another weakening blow to the ghost, who would most likely have dealt severely with Shadow Stalker if HuBot hadn’t managed to fire another perfect shot (somehow capable of hitting an incorporeal target) and send Quickdraw spiralling backwards through the wall and into the unknown.

Although HuBot, Shadow Stalker and The Linebacker searched for some time, they were unable to find any trace of Quickdraw although they surmised he probably got knocked into the river.

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Stirling Heroes #40
Quickdraw

Once back in The Arc-Angel’s secret base, the heroes began trying to figure out who, exactly, their ghostly opponent was and how they could defeat him. Thorn tried all of her contacts (some of whom weren’t available) as well as trying to call in assistance from her military superiors, all to no avail. The Linebacker tried the MRC to see if they knew anything about this ghost, but he wasn’t on their database and they were of little help.

HuBot, however, went off to ask Francis Fabien if he could help. Luckily (considering it was a Saturday) Francis Fabien was at the Tennel Enterprises building and HuBot was able to get to talk to him (along with Thorn and Shadow Stalker who teleported in to make sure wasn’t breaking stuff). Francis Fabien believed their tale of time travelling and ghostly cowboys (he’s been around super heroes before) and agreed to get some of his team to look into it on Monday.

After returning to base, the heroes then set to occupying themselves to pass the time. HuBot ended up heading off to Tron Labs to try and find Dr McGaan in the computers (much to The Arc-Angel’s confusion). The Arc-Angel was meanwhile occupying himself with trying to figure out why his powers had been slightly unstable ever since they had returned to the present. No one noticed when The Linebacker wandered off.

The Linebacker was surprised, some time later, to find himself staring out over the water at the end of the Larston Docks. He had no memory of coming to this place. A little confused, he had just begun heading back to The Arc-Angel’s base when he was ambushed by the wrathful ghost! Unable to defend himself, The Linebacker was luckily able to call other Stirling Heroes to come to his rescue. Once more they all fought the ghost and once more they were barely able to do anything to it, eventually only making it flee because they had caused it a small amount of damage.

By Monday, the Stirling Heroes were more than eager to hear back from Francis Fabien who had found out a little about where they had been (in the past). With his information, The Arc-Angel, HuBot and Shadow Stalker had soon teleported across the country to the town of Wild Springs and had located a historical society there. At the historical society they were able to discover that their ghostly opponent was Jack “Quickdraw” O’Malley, one time leader of the Dust Valley Gang (the cannibal outlaws that they’d rounded up when in 1870). During the outlaw’s brief trial, he had been quoted as claiming that if not for the angels that had been against him, with their thunder and lightning, he would never have been captured. Unfortunately, all the Stirling Heroes could learn from about this Quickdraw was that he had been hanged in December 1870; his grave had long since been lost and there had been no known relatives.

Back in Stirling City, the heroes were back to having little idea about how to proceed. HuBot, after a brief conversation with Francis Fabien, went off looking for salt and holy water. Salt was easy enough to come by, there was some in the base, but holy water took some finding. Eventually, after asking around at several churches, HuBot ended up at St Mary’s Church in Larston. The priest there, Father Steven, was very helpful in supplying some holy water and, having heard of its intended use, even offered to arrange for an exorcism. It was then that Quickdraw attacked, felling the priest to begin with and then swiftly felling HuBot also (after being unaffected by some thrown salt). The malevolent spirit then stood above HuBot’s semi-conscious body, allowing his aura of extreme cold to slowly freeze HuBot (and poor Father Steven) solid, leaving only when the red glow finally faded from HuBot’s ice-encrusted eyes.

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Stirling Heroes #39
Welcome Back... Now for Revenge!

Having arrived safely back in the high tech laboratory of Professor Atom, the Stirling Heroes are a little unsure of who these “Other Guys” are who are there to greet them. Before Professor Atom can explain, time freezes and Dr Time (also known as the strange guy that The Linebacker met at the beginning of time) explains why he plucked them from various points in time and set them down in the wild west. He explains that without their timely intervention, The Chinaman and “Engine” Pete (as history remembers them) would never have begun travelling together, so they would never have formed the Weird Riders in 1872. In turn, tales of the Weird Riders would never have inspired a young Strong-Man to become a super-hero and form the original League of Heroes in 1980. Dr Time also mentions that he has placed Skyman and Lord Calamari in chronal stasis, awaiting the Stirling Heroes’ return to the present day. While time is frozen, all of the heroes’ injuries heal and The Linebacker becomes denser and more rock-like. Time resumes and Professor Atom outlines what has happened over the previous couple of weeks, detailing how The Other Guys were instrumental in saving the Stirling Heroes (despite Lightning Hachi disputing their group’s name).

Over the next few days the heroes catch up on their lives. Thorn contacts her handler and begins compiling a detailed report for her superiors. Alek Tron manages to convince Dr Simon Trevallin (the CEO of Tron Labs) that he had trailed after HuBot when HuBot and the Stirling Heroes had recently disappeared to alternate realities and distant timelines (HuBot helped the conversation by talking about the dinosaur he encountered). The Linebacker got accustomed to his new density. The Arc-Angel also arranged to hand Skyman and Lord Calamari over to the MRC, who were happy to take two super powered criminals into custody.

Following the handover of the criminals in the blistering cold alongside the Redspring River, the heroes were attacked by a ghostly cowboy! They recognised the cowboy as one of the outlaws they defeated back in 1870, but we’re sorely pressed to be able to fight back against the wrathful spirit. Eventually, they were able to drive him back temporarily and make good their escape.

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The Arc-Angel #3
Unseen Intruder

While assisting with the cleanup from a battle with Roboteka drones, The Arc-Angel received an urgent message from his sister, Ange Tron, saying that she though there was someone in the house with her. Without waiting to explain to everyone else what was going on, The Arc-Angel quickly convinced Shadow Stalker to take him home.

Arriving at home, Alec quickly spoke to Ange (who was a little confused as to why Shadow Stalker was there, until Alec explained that he was a friend of HuBot) to determine that she’d come home early to try and avoid the robotic chaos going on in the city and had been going to have a shower when she felt as though someone was watching her. She also found an open window.

Shadow Stalker quickly scanned the house with his ESP and was surprised to discover a draw in Ange’s room opening itself. He alerted Alec and then they both teleported directly there, with Alec transforming The Arc-Angel and attempted to grab around the area in front of the draws. Briefly his hand brushed against someone, an invisible someone, but he was unable to get a solid grab. For the following few moments, Ange’s bedroom became a violent battle scene as Shadow Stalker attempted to grab the invisible intruder and The Arc-Angel blasted the area with lightning (scorching everything in the room except for the intruder). Eventually they expended their search to the rest of the house, but were unable to find the intruder. It was then left to Alec to explain how superheroes had trashed his sister’s bedroom…

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The Arc-Angel #2
Work Stuff

Alec Tron found himself summoned in to for a private meeting with Dr. Simon Trevallin, the CEO of Tron Labs. Although a member of the board of directors, Alec was also a researcher at the labs and so he was both Trevallin’s boss and underling all at the same time. This meeting, however, was concerned with allocating Alec to work under Dr. McGann on Project Prometheus. With the US Army’s renewed interest in the project (once they found that HuBot could come back from the dead), it was felt that the company needed to allocate more resources to the research. Alec was fine with this arrangement, as he was already accustomed to working closely with HuBot.

Reporting to Dr. McGann, Alec was informed (to his delight) that he would be working on decreasing the biological fallacies still evident in HuBot’s basic design, while retaining the biological benefits (basically, making him more robotic while still being able to heal naturally).

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Stirling Heroes #15
Strange Visitors: Part Four

As the smoke and dust billowed out from the freshly collapsed building Shadow Stalker stood in stunned silence for a moment or two before gathering his wits and teleporting down to the ground to begin clearing rubble. Within moments he was joined in his efforts by Scarlet Streak, who prioritised clearing the injured SWAT team members to a local hospital. A few minutes later they were both joined by Water Sprite who used her water based magic to scan the rubble for survivors or at least bodies. It was with some surprise that she then reported that there were no bodies under the rubble. Aside from the SWAT team members who had (by then) all be taken by Scarlet Streak to the hospital, there were no other survivors (or victims) to be found.

As this news was sinking in, a military helicopter arrived carrying Thorn (straight from Thorn #3). She quickly found out what had transpired since she had been kidnapped and then both she and Shadow Stalker returned to The Arc-Angel’s headquarters to question the captives. Using her mental powers, Thorn was able to break into the minds of their captured enemies to discover that they were a race of people who called themselves the Master Race… they came here from an alternate Earth for reconnaissance… on this alternate Earth there were billions of other master race… they ultimately reported to someone called The Shadow Mage… they had no other planned hideouts to retreat to… and they had no idea where the bodies of their fallen comrades would have disappeared to. Momentarily stumped, the two heroes set out to look for more leads…

Meanwhile, in a dark room somewhere else, HuBot and Nick had regained consciousness. Nick was soon able to break the door to their prison, at which point they discovered that they were in someone’s cellar and they had been imprisoned with the still unconscious Arc-Angel! A little further searching turned up HuBot and Nick’s missing equipment (as well as the missing master race bodies), so they then set about breaking their way out of confinement. Being as this was a standard house, this wasn’t too difficult with their considerable talents.

Bursting out into the house’s lawn they discovered that they were in an upmarket (probably Northshore) property with an encircling wall. As HuBot covered their escape (by judiciously firing his rocket launcher into the house’s kitchen), Nick (carrying The Arc-Angel) found the main gates and busted them open. Once outside they were able to quickly determine their address and were just in the process of passing this information on to Shadow Stalker (who they had finally thought to contact via commlink) when a slavering, demonic centaur-like creature came bounding over the wall after them.

Like lightning it sprung to the attack, exhaling chilling, clinging shadows at HuBot before smashing him across the street with one massive fist. Then it turned its attention to Nick, who just had time to put The Arc-Angel somewhere safe before he also came under attack. For a moment or two it looked like this demonic foe was more than a match for the two heroes, but they soon started to fight back against it and then Shadow Stalker teleported into the battle with Thorn and the beast’s fate was all but sealed.

In the aftermath, Nick called the MRC (who were already on their way in response to the monster battle that had been reported) to come and take care of the demon centaur. When a small squad of MRC Field Officers arrived in their power armour they were led by Hawthorne, who was able to tell the heroes that the house they had just broken out of belonged to a wealthy restaurateur. With many mysteries still to solve, Hawthorne promised to include the heroes in a debriefing at the MRC headquarters within a day or so.

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Thorn #3
Hunted!

Having helped discover the location for the dark-skinned villains (see Stirling Heroes issue #13), Thorn returned to her apartment to get changed back into her uniform. Arriving there she opened the door, only to find a stranger waiting for her. Before she could react, the strangely clad man stepped forward and knocked her into insensibility (which is why she disappeared in Stirling Heroes issue #14!).

Some time later, Thorn came to in what appeared to be a homemade prison cell. Looking around, she could see a mannequin against the wall in the room outside her cell, it was dressed in some strange red costume. As weird as this seemed, the sound of someone moving around out of sight to he left of the room was of more importance. Poking her between the bars of her cell, Thorn was able to catch sight of the man who’d knocked her out at her apartment. He was still wearing his urban camouflage bodysuit and he seemed to be fiddling with something on a workbench in front of him, with his back towards the cell.

Having appraised the situation, Thorn squeezed her head back between the bars and checked on her concealed knife, which had been missed by her assailant when he took the rest of her equipment. Having had a close look at the poorly installed cell bars, she figured that her best chance of escape was knocking one free, which she set about doing with great success.

As the bar clanged noisily to the floor, Thorn jumped to her feet and began squeezing her body through the larger gap now available. Luckily she got herself through before her assailant could stop her. Throwing her knife before her, she managed to distract him as he fired the sniper rifle he’d been working on. Briefly, they tussled and her assailant called out for aid from a man called Jock, before Thorn could lay him low with a low blow! Picking up the now discarded sniper rifle, she was then able to pick off Jock before he could get a bead on her with his machine pistol.

In short order, she bound both attackers and had discovered her assailant’s advanced stealth helicopter. Then, using her mind probe she was able to discover that Jock was the pilot and friend of her assailant, who he called Hunter. Hunter had tracked and killed every dangerous creature on the planet and now he had decided to move on to meta-humans. Thorn had been his second target.

Thorn then forced the injured pilot to fly the stealth-copter to the nearest police station. Luckily they recognized her and were happy to take Jock off her hands, unfortunately Hunter had regained consciousness during the flight and had escaped his bonds, managing to slip away once the helicopter had landed.

Before Thorn could begin to search for him, however, she was to learn that her companions were in grave danger.

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Stirling Heroes #14
Strange Visitors: Part Three

Having decided to observe the intruders and see what they did next, the heroes settled in for the long haul at The Arc-Angel’s hideout. As she was still dressed in her civilian clothes from her meeting with Carlos the Shark, Thorn took the time to return to her apartment to change.

After several hours of watching the enemy’s base, Shadow Stalker realised that Thorn hadn’t returned from getting changed. A quick ESP reconnaissance of her apartment revealed that she wasn’t there and that the door was open. Although puzzled (and a little alarmed), the heroes unfortunately couldn’t spare any time to discover where their companion was as the strange intruders had left their hideout.

As Shadow Stalker watched the strangers travelling eastwards, Nick made his way to what seemed to be their next target: the Southbay Dock. Finally, when the strangers paused to make their plans the heroes moved into action!

The Arc-Angel managed to catch the enemies’ attention with a dazzling sheet of lightning, allowing Shadow Stalker to capture one of the strangers just before HuBot began laying down a devastating barrage of rocket fire. With the strangers firmly on the back foot, Nick then charged up to help ensure that things would end quickly. Seeing how the battle fared, the leader of the strangers gestured dramatically and they all disappeared.

Back at The Arc-Angel’s base, Shadow Stalker hastily put the prisoner into a holding cell. Despite being captured, however, the prisoner resisted their questioning and so they returned to observing the others. While doing this, Shadow Stalker hit upon the brilliant idea of stealing the map he’d seen earlier. With deft grace he then teleported behind the leader and lifted the map out of the leader’s pouch without being noticed. From the map they were able to see the five targets that these strangers were aiming for. They’d been prevented from reaching the Southbay Dock, but the next two targets were the City Hall and Stirling University.

Returning to their observation, they found the strangers in the midst of moving to a new hideout. Shadow Stalker attempted to return the map without being seen, but was seen. Luckily the leader assumed that Shadow Stalker had only just been stealing the map and the hero was able to escape.
After observing the villains’ new base (situated only a few blocks from City Hall) for a few hours, The Arc-Angel put in a call to the police to alert them to the possible terrorist cell they were observing. Within the hour a SWAT team arrived, but the “terrorists” noticed this and gunshots ensued. To prevent the leader from simply teleporting his minions out of the combat, Shadow Stalker whisked him out from the middle of his men to a place where everyone was able to lay into him at once. Although the villain tried to affect them with his dark magic (and even managed to teleport away briefly, before being fetched again) the heroes were able to quickly subdue him.

While The Arc-Angel and Shadow Stalker placed the leader in one of the base’s holding cells, HuBot (and later Nick, who was recovering from being magically blinded) leapt into the combat to help out the outgunned SWAT team. With HuBot’s powerful rocket launcher leading the way it took no time at all to pacify the remaining strangers.

With all done and dusted, The Arc-Angel and Shadow Stalker returned to the scene and took stock. The Arc-Angel zeroed in on HuBot and flew down next to him to find out what had gone on (while keeping a cautious eye on the now burning building that had housed the “terrorists”). No sooner had this happened than the whole building, having been well and truly weakened by HuBot’s rockets, came crashing down, burying Nick, The Arc-Angel and HuBot beneath a ton of rubble!

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Stirling Heroes #13
Strange Visitors: Part Two

A trifle stymied from the lack of any solid clues to follow up on, the heroes are glad when Shadow Stalker appears to ask their help with a strange experience he’s just had (see Shadow Stalker #1). Before they can even start to aid him, however, the police patch through a live security camera feed from the Felldale Power Station where the strange Nazi guys seem to sneaking around. Being the stealthiest, Thorn and Shadow Stalker teleport straight to the power plant to keep an eye on the visitors while The Arc-Angel continues to observe things from his monitor. Nick also heads over to the plant by foot.

The heroes observe ten of the strange visitors wandering the halls of the power plant, apparently aimlessly. It is only when all ten gather together in a spot that is out of view from any security cameras that heroes decide to strike. Before they can, however, Thorn and Shadow Stalker witness a figure they assume to be the leader kneel down and cause a mysterious purple light to shine from the ground.

With the element of surprise the heroes quickly had the intruders on the back foot and it looks momentarily like they’ll all be taken down without a fight, until the leader does ‘something’ and all the intruders disappear in a swirl of shadowy darkness.

The following day they manage to meet up with the charming Water Sprite who confirms that the intruders were using magic of some variety. She’s unsure what the leader may have been doing, but the idea of marking future targets doesn’t seem implausible to her. Following the meeting, Thorn heads off to see Carlos the Shark while HuBot calmly wanders off to Denning to see what he can find (which causes The Arc-Angel no end of worry when he realizes that HuBot has wandered without supervision).

Thorn is able to get in to see Carlos the Shark who isn’t very forthcoming with any information. She is able to briefly probe his mind (before Mr. Bison calmly grows and escorts her off the premises) to find that the intruders are holed up somewhere in Denning.

HuBot is able, through the luck of the innocent, to ask several strangers questions and eventually find the location of the intruders’ hideout (after also touring a sex shop). Returning to the others, he is in time to corroborate Thorn’s discovery. Shadow Stalker immediately sends his consciousness to the location mentioned by HuBot and can verify the presence of the goons they fought the previous night. He counts thirteen in total in an abandoned two-story house and their leader seemed to have a map… but it was put away before Shadow Stalker could get a look at it.
Unsure of what it all means, the heroes decided to wait and watch what the mysterious figures did next before moving in to strike.

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