Stirling City Stories

Stirling Heroes #1
Clowning Around: Part One

The five heroes independently encounter groups of clowns attempting to kidnap innocent civilians off the street. The Arc-Angel was able to scare off his assailants, as were Thorn and Shadow Stalker with their opponents. HuBot and Captain Awesome, however, both suffered grievous injuries, which allowed their opponents to escape.

Shadow Stalker tried getting information about the clowns out of Thorn, but she was unforthcoming (not having any to give) and so did some research on his own, which led him to stake out Tron Laboratories to find out about HuBot.

Thorn’s superiors soon sent her to team up with HuBot (and, inadvertently, with The Arc-Angel) to get to the bottom of the whole clown situation. The three heroes soon meet up with the newly recuperated Captain Awesome. From the outset, Thorn and Captain Awesome didn’t get along, but eventually the decided to move on as a group to further investigate the clowns. Shadow Stalker continued to follow them from the rooftops.

After getting the names of the two kidnapped civilians, the four heroes went to look around the apartment of Mike Selinger (one of the kidnapped people). Captain Awesome was able to convince the landlady to let them into the apartment where they searched, but couldn’t find any reason for the kidnapping. HuBot (who had been checking on security cameras at the site of the kidnapping) spotted a group of clowns loitering in the alley next to the apartment. With the flare of rockets, HuBot attacked and was soon joined by the other three heroes (including the now transformed Arc-Angel). With the start of combat, Shadow Stalker also joined the fray. A brief bitter struggle ensued before the heroes were victorious and the clowns were defeated. The somewhat battered heroes then awaited the arrival of the authorities…

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Stirling Heroes #2
Clowning Around: Part Two

With the Killer Clowns defeated, the heroes awaited the arrival of the police. As the authorities arrived Shadow Stalker did his usual vanishing trick, leaving HuBot, Thorn and Captain Awesome (and shortly Dr Alek Tron) to answer the police officers’ questions. Although Thorn’s military connections were enough to get her out of any trouble over the unfortunate death of one of the clowns, her superiors cautioned her to take better care in future as they could ill afford any further bad publicity.

The group split up at this point. HuBot and Dr Tron returned to The Arc-Angel’s secret lab while Thorn and Captain Awesome continued to aid the police. When the latter two couldn’t find Dr. Tron at Tron Laboratories later they decoded to turn in for the night and recuperate.

Independently, The Arc-Angel and Shadow Stalker were able to find out about a strange new circus that was supposedly coming to Stirling City; but they could find no evidence of the circus itself.

Thorn, having read the minds of several captured clowns on the previous day, had managed to get an image of the mysterious Ringmaster as well as images of several streets in Felldale. With Shadow Stalker’s assistance she went to check out the location only to run into more clowns. After taking care of them (and unfortunately allowing one to escape), the police were able to supply the heroes with the registration details of the van they’d impounded earlier; it belonged to a certain Charles Barnum. With a quick phone call, HuBot and The Arc-Angel were quickly dispatched to check out Barnum’s address, only to find it inhabited by Killer Clowns (and automated gun turrets).

Thankfully HuBot was able to “track down” the elusive Captain Awesome so that the following morning the whole group could descend upon the secret base of the Ringmaster!

With cunning the heroes assaulted the hideout, dispatching Ringmaster’s minions until Shadow Stalker could nab the villain and teleport him into the open where they could make short work of him, finishing him off with a mighty “power chord” from Captain Awesome.

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The Arc-Angel #1
Endings and New Beginnings

As the heroes gather to help The Arc-Angel clean up his destroyed secret base, a local police officer, Sergeant Dennis approaches them to break the bad news that two of the villains (Wrackit and Hound) had to be released as they didn’t have anything to charge them with. He commends the heroes for their good work and thanks them for helping to try and make the streets safer.

As the sergeant leaves, Scarlet Streak speeds up and tells the heroes that they are invited to a “special hero event”, hosted by The Heroes’ League. Although Shadow Stalker decides he has better things to be doing the others agree to go along and are immediately teleported (by the master elemental sorcerer, The Eagle) to the steps of the House of Mists in Boston, where they are met by Water Sprite and Blur. Within the mysterious House of Mists the heroes are greeted formally by Darkblade, who prefers to be called Sir Darkblade, who offers them the hospitality of his house and reassures them that no matter how long they seem to be within the House of Mists only a matter of moments will pass in the outside world.

The heroes settle into the master ballroom of the House of Mists where they find themselves amongst a large gathering of costumed adventurers. Having received refreshments from one of the house wraiths, Thorn makes her way over to the Silver Samurai, who she has long admired, to introduce herself and to speak to the famed warrior. Meanwhile, The Arc-Angel is approached by Professor Atom who has heard about the destruction of the former’s base and offers the use of his specially made Constructobots. As this would speed up reconstruction of his hideout immensely, The Arc-Angel accepts this aid gladly. While observing the party from a reserved distance, Captain Awesome is approached by a figure who introduces himself as Shiva’s Son, a fellow Demi-god who can identify divinity by smell alone (apparently). Finally, after finishing her talk with the Silver Samurai, Thorn finds herself confronted with the impressive cybernetic figure of Freedom Fighter, who has heard that she is in the armed forces. They end up spending quite some time talking about shared experiences and mutual acquaintances. Then Claw stands on a raised dais at one end of the ballroom and thanks everyone for coming before announcing his retirement from the hero business. Strong-Man then stands on the dais to ask everyone to help him welcome Scarlet Streak into The Heroes’ League. Scarlet Streak looks a little embarrassed to be standing up in front of everyone, but he accepts everyone’s congratulations (Claw is one of the first to shake his hand). Eventually The Eagle begins taking people outside to teleport them to their respective home cities and the Stirling City contingent is joined by Hawthorne, a respected member of the Meta-Human Response Corps. He mentions to the heroes how he has recently been posted to the MRCs new Stirling City office and how he is particularly interested in anything they hear about Roboteka. He also invites both The Arc-Angel and Captain Awesome to join the MRC, but they both politely decline.

Days later, The Arc-Angel is on his way to meet with Professor Atom when he has to pause to prevent a vicious mugging. Arriving a few minutes late to his appointed meeting, he then learns how to operate the Constructobots that Professor Atom is loaning him. While the two scientists see to making sure the industrious robots are properly installed in their new temporary home, Professor Atom enquires as to whether The Arc-Angel knows where the C-Dogs might have gotten their advanced cybernetics from. To this, The Arc-Angel can only say that Thorn was following this up with her military contacts.

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Stirling Heroes #12
Strange Visitors: Part One

While the heroes were trying to relax on a cool Saturday afternoon while helping Nick get accustomed to living in the modern world, they were interrupted by an unexpected explosion in mid-air above the Redspring River which, aside from creating some kind of electrical interference, sent several river boats careening out of control. As one of the unlucky boats began to sink, The Arc-Angel sprang into action to save those on board. Soon HuBot and Thorn were following his example in aiding in the rescue or ensuring that the local authorities had been alerted to the situation. Although Nick tried to help he found himself lost at the bottom of the river and became quite disoriented.

Late that same evening, Thorn received word from her superiors to take her companions to the Southside Morgue where there was a body they should see. When the heroes arrived there they were taken to see a dead man with coal black skin and silver eyes, a mysterious figure that seemed to have drowned in the Redspring River around the time of the explosion earlier in the day. He had been found wearing a charcoal grey scuba-suit with a Nazi swastika on the left shoulder. Confused but intrigued, the heroes arranged to copies of the coroner’s reports when they were done.

On Monday morning Thorn was alerted by her superiors that there was some interesting video surveillance footage from a break in at the Stirling Water Treatment plant. Upon viewing the footage at the local police station, the heroes were astonished to see that there were more of these figures clad in scuba-suits with swastikas on their shoulders. Apparently these strange figures had stealthily broken into the water treatment plant and wandered around without taking anything before disappearing. The heroes of course then sped to scene of the break in, but were similarly unable to deduce where the mysterious figures had gone or even why they had broken into the plant in the first place.

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Shadow Stalker #1
One Intruder Too Many

Night had fallen and, as was Shadow Stalker’s habit, he had decided to avail himself of a random house’s refrigerator for sustenance. True, often he would help himself to Thorn’s food, but not tonight. He chose a house who’s window’s were already dark and, after quickly scanning the inside with his mighty psychic ESP, he teleported into the kitchen and began nosing around.

He’d been there no more than a few moments when he was startled by the sound of a strange gasping noise coming from nearby. Spinning around he was able to catch sight of a dark figure, apparently made from shadow, pass out through one bedroom door, move down the hall and then pass in through the next bedroom door. Becoming a little alarmed, Shadow Stalker quickly teleported into the second bedroom catching the shadow figure with its hand inside the chest of the sleeping occupant. After a moment’s stunned silence, the shadow figure stepped backwards into the deeper shadows in the corner of the room and disappeared, leaving a confused Shadow Stalker to wonder what was going on.

Finding that both occupants of the house were having difficulty breathing, Shadow Stalker called for an ambulance before going in search of his companions. Maybe they could help with this…

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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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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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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 #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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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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