Stirling City Stories

Stirling Heroes #71
World at War Prologue: Quickdraw's Revenge!

Continuing his research into the arcane, and trying to put the whole “illegal animal testing” thing behind him, Alek Tron settled in to begin scanning through the numerous scanned mystical texts that he had just acquired. He was so engrossed in his task that he didn’t immediately notice when the temperature took a sudden dive and it was only several minutes later when he happened to take notice of his breath steaming in front of his face. With the base’s computer unable to find anything wrong, Alek quickly ascertained that there was some malign force attacking the base. After teleporting to his secret lab (usually only used for “illegal animal testing”) and changing into his Arc-Angel form he began trying to figure out what, or who, could be making his regular base so cold (the cold wasn’t penetrating down to his secret lab). After ruling out yetis and ice giants he stumbled across some old case notes that mentioned Quickdraw, a ghost who had managed to kill HuBot by freezing him solid!

Figuring that he was on to something here, The Arc-Angel returned to his chilled base (although this no longer concerned him in his altered state) and was immediately attacked by the enraged ghost Quickdraw. The Arc-Angel soon realised that the ghost would be almost impossible for him to defeat by himself, so he contacted the other Stirling Heroes and requested their immediate assistance.

Within moments Shadow Stalker had teleported the heroes from the empty warehouse owned by Dynamic Solutions (where they had all recently gathered together to figure what to do next), allowing HuBot and Frostbite to charge into combat. Agent Gibbs chose to instead charge towards the fridge to secure a cold drink or two.

For a few tense moments the heroes struggled to deal with their incorporeal enemy, while in turn the deceased cowboy kept on blithely firing his spectral pistols into his hated foes. But then HuBot was able to connect with his plasma-tether-thing and then Shadow Stalker was able to posses the ghost (which was an odd turnabout to be sure). Thorn had chosen a stealthy approach to this combat, but stood ready to unleash her mental blast powers if needed.

With Shadow Stalker steering the ghost’s “body”, the heroes walked down to the holding cells in the hopes that the power nullifiers down there would hold the villain. Here they discovered that the prisoners (The Linebacker, Hunter, Hound and C-Dawg) had been suffering a bit from exposure to the extreme cold in the base. The heroes then determined to move C-Dawg in to share a cell with Hound so that Quickdraw could have his own cell. Frostbite moved into the cell to grab C-Dawg, but he resisted and fought back (even with his depleted capabilities). Thorn assisted by firing at the gang member. HuBot, deciding that Frostbite needed some more help, flung the ghost captive into the cell before changing gun modes to shoot at C-Dawg himself. Now inside the cell, Shadow Stalker tried walking through the cell walls and succeeded. Seeing that their plan was now going to fail, he walked back through the wall and was immediately thrown from Quickdraw’s ghostly body (as the cell’s nullifier succeeded in cancelling his powers this time).

Wasting no time, Quickdraw withdrew from the cell and blasted HuBot with his spectral pistol, dropping the synthetic human where he stood. Thorn was then able to send a vicious mind blast into the villain, causing his body to begin dissipating. Sensing that the day was lost, Quickdraw screamed out “I wanted to kill you mahself, but I will be content to leave you to them Shadow Nazis!” before firing a parting shot at Shadow Stalker and disintegrating into ectoplasmic vapour.

With the ghost gone, Frostbite was able to disentangle himself from C-Dawg and reseal the holding cell. The heroes, concerned about Quickdraw’s mentioning of the Shadow Nazis, decided to contact Professor Atom (who was, after all, an expert on inter-dimensional travel). They were able to catch him in the midst of war preparations.

He quickly told them how the tolling that everyone had heard in their heads (which confused Thorn, who hadn’t heard it) had been an alarm sounding throughout the entire world of an inter-dimensional breach. Already the MRC were teleporting all of their forces into Berlin, where several large portals were reported to have opened to allow thousands of Shadow Nazi soldiers to begin an invasion. The Stirling Heroes were then worried when they lost contact with Professor Atom in mid explanation. Luckily it was only because The Eagle had been teleporting the assembled Heroes’ League (and Professor Atom) to Germany. Strangely enough this interferes with phone reception.

With Professor Atom’s signal back up and running, he was able to briefly say: “There are thousands of them already and then there’s… I’ll call back when I can, we’ve gotta go.” And then his signal went dead again.

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Blue Steel #3
Irregular Circumstances: LA Steel

Frankie (aka Blue Steel) had been lying low since her misadventures with the Stirling Heroes. Prospects for the film had dried up and McT was starting to look for the next big thing… but then, out of nowhere, a producer had appeared and within a few months both Frankie and McT had relocated to Los Angeles where their film had final entered pre-production. Or possibly pre-pre-production. Regardless, it was now looking like getting made. Frankie was being paid well to make various prototype suits for filming (lighter suits, stockier suits, suits that could do different things, suits that were more/less reflective, etc.) and life was looking good.

Frankie was working in her workshop (her workshop; her own private, well-funded workshop!) one sunny afternoon when a sharply dressed visitor knocked on her door. He introduced himself as Bob and then proceeded to talk her into returning with him to Stirling City to rescue The Other Guys (who had gotten themselves into some predicament). Although she didn’t want to leave her old comrades in danger, she also didn’t know this guy from any of the other smooth talkers you were likely to meet in LA. With great reluctance he then explained how, basically, the world was doomed unless she came back to Stirling City with him. Sensing her reluctance he then shared (directly into her brain!) his visions of a world to come: a world with ruined cities and people being led away by ebony skinned soldiers to an unknown fate.

When she finally agreed, like Bob had known she would, he allowed her some time to contact McT (who was out in his new convertible) and let him know she’d be out of town for a few days. The she packed her field suit into a packing case Bob had arranged to get delivered before they were both driven to LAX for their pre-booked flight to Stirling City.

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Stirling Heroes #70
Irregular Circumstances: Joining the Dots

Outside the shattered ruins of C-Dawg’s house, HuBot quickly set about healing all of the injured people he could find (mostly C-Dogs, including Hound and C-Dawg). Then the police arrived and, to avoid complications, Shadow Stalker teleported the away with Thorn, Frostbite, C-Dawg and Hound. HuBot and Flicker remained on the scene to search for Agent Gibbs.

Back at the base, the two villains were quickly stuffed into separate holding cells before Thorn dug the information they needed out of C-Dawg’s mind. Francis Fabien had visited C-Dawg and had, after a brief tussle, left to investigate a certain warehouse. The warehouse was where C-Dawg had met with the people who had paid him to hit The Toadstool (though he didn’t know exactly who his backers were).

Back at the ruined house, HuBot was running into problems with authority as they were a little leery about him being around a whole lot of devastation (stories of Merton were still fresh to most people). Flicker had been unable to find Agent Gibbs and HuBot’s method of searching the rubble (by chopping it apart with his chainsaw) was a bit unsettling. Then Shadow Stalker returned and HuBot retreated (to chop up a fallen phone pole) while the police and EMS began picking through the rubble in earnest. In short order Shadow Stalker was able to discover Agent Gibbs with his ESP, so HuBot was back on the case with his chainsaw. With Agent Gibbs freed, HuBot shot the gibbon with his medi-shot… only to have the police begin shooting at him (and then a confused Agent Gibbs disarmed him and ran off with his multi-gun). Luckily the situation got sorted out before anyone except HuBot was hurt and then Shadow Stalker took the other two heroes back to base before more mayhem could ensue.

From the base Shadow Stalker is able to ESP the warehouse and (having found no sign of anything (or anyone), he is able to teleport the group. The warehouse looks new, practically unused. They find computers that have never been fully installed, empty desk draws (and fridges, much to Agent Gibbs frustration) and no sign of the building ever being used for a legitimate purpose. They did find signs of a pitched battle in the actual warehouse area (bullets hole and scorch marks). Frostbite was able to determine that Francis Fabien and the Stirling City Irregulars had been all over the place, but he could find no trace of them leaving the warehouse.

While Thorn attempts to contact Professor Atom (who doesn’t answer his phone, see Captain Awesome #5 for details) and then The Arc-Angel for help on detecting whether a portal was used in the warehouse, Flicker went off and did some quick research on the warehouse (on a nearby computer network). He was able to find, with a bit of digging, that the warehouse was owned by Dynamic Solutions!

Before the Stirling Heroes could decide on their next course of action, they all (except Thorn) hear the deep tolling of a chime in their heads.

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Captain Awesome #5
Irregular Circumstances: Back in Town

With a roar of his engine, Captain Awesome screamed through the interdimensional portal. Across his back was the Chime of Warning (which tolled a deep, resonating sound in his head as he passed through the portal) and before him, standing in the Dimensional Hallway of the Heroes Hall were The Eagle and Professor Atom. The World of the Jade Emperor had been a fun place, but they had no rock music and he’d felt his powers lessening the longer he’d stayed there. He was glad to be back.

The Eagle and Professor Atom helped him get the chime of his back and then they all carried it (carefully, although it seemed to be almost indestructible) into The Eagle’s arcane laboratory, where Captain Awesome was invited to hang around for a while…

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Obfuscate #1
Irregular Circumstances: Las Vegas Interlude

This is set several days before the events of Stirling Heroes #69.

Obfuscate is worried about his friends... but LAS VEGAS

Obfuscate is in his dressing room getting ready for his show. He’s been doing well out in Vegas. He plays to sell out crowds most nights and his name is up in lights. His real name, that is, not his superhero name.

Then a scruffy looking man in a trench coat starts speaking to him. The man introduces himself as Bob (no last name, apparently), and requests that Obfuscate return to Stirling City to help out Burnished Dawn, Black Ghost and Lightning Hachi. Obfuscate is happy to help his friends, but doesn’t know if he can trust this Bob fellow. Bob then gives Obfuscate a brief view of the events to come: flashing images of armies of ebony skinned soldiers walking through the smoking ruins of a city; lines of prisoners being led off through a great shimmering portal; the shattered remains of several prominent international, and national, landmarks. Bob then sinks into a chair, exhausted from the effort of sharing his power.

Obfuscate agrees to return to Stirling City, and Bob mentions that now he has to find Blue Steel.

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Stirling Heroes #69
Irregular Circumstances: C-Dawg's House

As they are getting ready to leave the bar Agent Gibbs leaps into view and so they all take it in turns catching him up on what has transpired. In turn he looks longingly towards the bar. By the time they’ve finished, they have decided that Mutt isn’t needed after all and so Shadow Stalker teleports them all to the C-Dawg’s neighbourhood.

Shadow Stalker then uses his ESP to scout the nice suburban house that C-Dawg uses as a base for the C-Dogs. It’s a quiet enough street, but the house in question has three thugs out the front doing a poor job of concealing assault rifles. There are also three big, black SUVs in the driveway. Going for sneakiness, the Stirling Heroes decide to take the back entrance where there is only the one gang member present. En masse they appear in front of this guard and manage to keep everything quiet… until the guard sees Agent Gibbs and freaks out. HuBot then silences him, but none of his methods are particularly stealthy.

With the guards from the front of the house converging on them, Shadow Stalker teleports the heroes (minus Agent Gibbs, who was on the roof, and Thorn who was being stealthy) into the living room of the house where they find Hound reporting to C-Dawg himself.

In the ensuing battle HuBot and Frostbite took the brunt of the high powered assault rifles (sending HuBot to death’s door), while Thorn picked of gang members one at a time and Shadow Stalker did his best not to get shot to pieces. Agent Gibbs also found himself on the wrong end of heavy assault rifle fire and it briefly looked like the Stirling Heroes would meet their fate in this suburban house. But then HuBot recovered and used his multi-gun to accelerate the healing of both Frostbite and Agent Gibbs (but not Shadow Stalker, who had by now been knocked out).

With the gang defeated and with the sound of sirens in the distance, the heroes were then able to capture the fleeing C-Dawg just moments before one of HuBot’s grenades detonated, leveling the house and burying Agent Gibbs beneath the rubble!

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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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