Whimstorm Home‎ > ‎The Super Cell‎ > ‎

Arbor's Deep Shade

For hundreds of years, mankind has dreamt about super-human ability. That dream is about to be realized and it will redefine our world forevermore.  For a fortunate few, the very fabric of reality is theirs to weave.  Buddy Chance, the president of a major global investment firm in Arbor City, is about to be one of those few. 

Background - The Evanshade Event 

Oct 2012 -  Arizona Amateur Astronomical Society meeting near Tuscon - Amateur astronomer 51 year old Louis Evanshade observed a strange hazy cloud while searching for star cluster CS141 during a star party.  The very next day he reported his findings to the Steward Observatory, University of Arizona.  The next evening UA staff confirmed the find and plotted the cloud within our solar system.  By the third day, orbital plots projected that the cloud is moving away from the sun and into Earth's path.  Earth's orbit would intersect with the interplanetary cloud in approximately 8 weeks.  Feverish work ensued as this news began to spread through observatories worldwide.  Many astronomers confirmed the findings and an official report was submitted to the US government.  

After several days of secret committee meetings a statement was prepared and the President made a special executive address to the nation. 

Special Presidential Address Oct 14th

"Good evening fellow Americans and to all distinguished leaders of our nation and to our friends and allies around the world: 

Today, I wanted to take some time to announce and discuss an important discovery.  Last week,  an amateur astronomer by the name of Louis Evanshade observed what he believed to be an uncharted nebula - a cloud of interstellar dust.   He reported his observation to Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, and they confirmed his find the very next evening.  However, the haze that Mr. Evanshade observed appears to be a cloud of intersolar dust passing through our solar system.  Simply put, this never-before-seen cloud is crossing through planetary orbits.  This is an unprecedented event and we congratulate Mr. Evanshade.   

So why then does such a discovery prompt a Presidential press conference?

Steward Observatory, in cooperation with much of the astronomy and astrophysics community around the world, have projected that Earth's orbit will intersect with this cloud; but be assured there is no cause for alarm.  This cloud of dust is not expected to have any detrimental effect on our planet, but it should make for some extraordinary viewing of the night sky.  Scientists do expect a display of aurora-like activity, even into lower latitudes. 

Orbital intersection with the cloud is projected to occur on December 21st and the electro-magnetic activity may last for several days.  I must emphasize that this should not be taken as some sort of apocalyptic sign or any reason for panic - even though it coincides with the end of the Mayan calender.  There is no indication or reasonable expectation that this event will pose a significant threat to human well-being. 

In reality, this is simply a tremendous opportunity for scientists to observe and record a unique astrophysical event.  Therefore we are partnering with NASA and scientist around the world to launch the Evanshade Probe to sample the composition of this cloud.  From those findings, we can better anticipate how these tiny particles will interact with our atmosphere.   

In closing, let me again state that this is not a threat to be fearful of, but rather an exciting opportunity to witness an interplanetary event like nothing the human race has seen in recorded history.

NASA will provide updates as we learn more and progress with the Evanshade Project.

November:  An international team is quickly assembled and begins working in around-the-clock shifts to prepare the probe with an aggressive target launch date of the 23rd.  

Some details about the Evanshade Probe Project...  
As the Earth approaches, it will cover another 5% of the sky per day.  Earths orbit speed 67k mph/1.61 mil miles per day.  Escape velocity is about 25,000 mph, which wouldn't get the probe to the nebula in time for any meaning results.  So we will build separation speed by slingshotting the probe up to 110,000 mph. The probe will reach the nebula only 8 days ahead of the Earth.     

The probe launch is delayed by technical gliches and again by inclement weather.  The probe is moved to an alternate site and the launch finally occurs on the 27th. It is televised worldwide. By the time the probe launches, the nebula is easily visible to the naked eye, appearing as a silver-colored cloud about the same size as the moon.

The probe finds that the cloud consists of 48% helium and 45% nitrogen and the remainder is various trace particles.  [classified findings are concerned with the 7% of matter that could not be readily identified.]

Mr. Chance is preoccupied with damage control as world financial markets go into a deep decline in the next week. The nebula slides across the sky from 3 a.m to 3 p.m. and it’s dominance grows larger, longer, and more ominous with each passing day.   Doomsday riots begin and national guard units are activated to enforce martial law where necessary.  Things are getting ugly.  

A few days later, Earth plunges into the cloud and the sky lights up electromagnetic storms in the upper atmosphere for over 14 hours.  Howling squelch-like thunder can be heard at ground level.  All manner of radio wave signaling is disrupted including the full spectrum of TV and radio, cell phones, wireless routers.  Life in the US is completely disrupted. 

For the next week, most areas suffer rolling blackouts as the power grid becomes hard to control and surges destroy millions of electronic devices. Routine thunderstorms grow to incredible intensity as the atmosphere is super-charged with static electricity.  Governments around the world struggle to maintain order as panicked masses erupt in violent chaos.   The sky remains hazy, especially at night, but the sunrise and sunsets are spectacular.  Scientists say that the Earth’s gravity field retained a portion of the solar dust. 

In the next couple of weeks, as conditions steadily improve and people realize that the worst has past, life slowly settles into a somewhat regular pattern.  Order is restored and civilization begins to rebuild.  Scientists observe that the solar dust is compressing toward the equatorial gravity belt.

In the following months, two world-wide changes are evident:
The Earth develops Saturn-like rings, a process that was expected to take years took only months.  The science community believes that charged particles are magnetically attracted, accelerating the transition.  From the upper hemisphere, the rings appear as a silvery rainbow across the southern third of the sky.
Meta-humans emerge, for better and for worse.  There is a media frenzy that follows the adventures of these new celebrities.  
In the months following the Evanshade Event, Buddy Chance was consumed with keeping his company, Chance Investments, viable in a free-falling world economy.  The demands on him were relentless and he often found himself leaving a darkened Chance Tower late at night. 

One night as he caught the elevator, some unusual noise from the floor below drew his attention.  Arriving on the 29th floor, he immediately noticed that a security guard was down in a pool of blood. He also heard footfalls and whispering in the cubicles to the right side of the floor.  Buddy checked the guard, probably dead, his service pistol missing.  Buddy peeked down the aisle, counting three intruders and then he circled around the conference rooms to the left side of the floor. He saw one of the bad guys walk into an executive office. At this point, he also noticed that the men had braced the maintenance elevator doors open at the end of that hall. 

Unhooking a fire extinguisher from the wall, Chance ran up, shut the door behind the intruder and busted off the doorknob, trapping the man in the office! Chance spun around to find another man charging him, so he cut loose with the extinguisher, diverting the man's attack. They grappled along the wall.  This guy was pretty tough and he wrenched Buddy's arm and fire extinguisher hit the floor.  As they wrestled over the submachine gun that was slung around the man's shoulders, Chance managed to fire it, hitting the extinguisher which exploded into a spinning white cloud!  Chance shoved the man away and he fell into an office across the hall and he sat-up firing the sub-gun!  Buddy had a slow-motion vision, he could see what was going to happen. Relying on this strange instinct, he lunged forward and managed to slam the door as bullets splintered the wood!  He should have been on the floor bleeding-out! It was a moment that would replay in his mind hundreds of times later, but he had to run, NOW!

With the other three men enveloped in a white cloud, Chance circled back around and spotted the copier room... He suddenly had another plan.   Chance shoved one of the heavy print/copy machines away from the wall and wheeled it quickly toward the spreading fog and the shouting men. He could hear them near the elevator shaft as the prepared to escape.  Chance's legs burned as he built up speed with the machine.  He burst out of the cloud as three of the intruders were packed around the open doors and rammed the machine into them!  The 500 lb copier and the men all tumbled down the shaft and out of sight.  It turned out that the fourth man was already part way down the shaft when the copier arrived. 

Chance said to himself, "That will be a hard feat to duplicate." 

After this incident, weeks and months passed as Buddy Chance came to realize he was gifted with more than just great intuition.  The foresight that made him a world-class investment advisor had been amplified since the Evanshade Event. He was like one of those "meta-humans" that have been popping up in spectacular news stories around the world.  In the United States, they had been dubbed "shades".  These people thrived in the darker paradigm of the stormy new world. The shadow of the Rings of Earth fell on them, enabled them, and they could bend reality to their will.  

Mr. Chance explored his new abilities and honed his control. Short-term precognition granted him a significant level of danger sense. Mastery of this ability came to him quite naturally, but it wasn't long before he found a much broader power. He could alter probability.  Chance cautiously toyed with fortune and misfortune at first, causing small "re-directions" in his day-to-day life. The potential applications for such subtle power began to unfold for him. 

Meanwhile, he watched-on with the rest of the citizens of Arbor City, as other  not-so-subtle "Shades" began to apply their powers for selfish or misguided purposes.  Tag Team was running rampant and growing more brazen in their brushes with the police. Choke Chain began unifying the punker subculture into a formidable street gang called The Spikers. Street violence was escalating between the more established gangs like The Rumblejacks and Blaze-Yah-Red. 

As other ill-meaning Shades began to rise and stake their wicked claims in Arbor City's crime scene, Mr. Chance wondered, where are the good guys? Why were these Shades all bad?  Abuse of power, perhaps?  The ugly core of human nature exposed?  Was Arbor City destined for chaos? He reflected on his family's history, legacy, and the future of his father's corporation. With his resources and these newfound abilities, Chance began to ponder if he was in position to do something about it. Resolved: He would. Somebody had to tip the scale in the other direction. He may not be bulletproof or strong enough to throw cars around, but he had to do something. And so the work began. Chance trained with twin semi-auto pistols and began to seek the limit of his luck-bending powers.  

When the transition was complete, his new persona was as dark and mysterious as the new breed of criminals he was bound to oppose. His head and face were completely covered in a charcoal gray fabric underneath a deep crimson, wide-brimmed hat with a broad black headband.  Part gangster, part wizard.  A dark gray leather jacket with a cross-buttoned flap in the front with black gloves and matching gray leather pants with black boots completed the look.

Mr. Chance also decided to have his father's beloved Rolls Royce Phantom heavily modified (turbo-charged and remote controllable, with a silent-running mode) and reinforced to handle the addition of armor and impact-resistant glass.  The vehicle's profile was chopped-down and it was wrapped-up with a glossy black finish. He referred to the predatorial-looking machine as his "chariot". 

Considering the whole ensemble, he was still undecided about what to call himself. Perhaps he should just remain nameless and faceless, working the unknown to his advantage. 

Chance didn't have to wait long for his first opportunity to make an appearance.  One Friday night, police and government comm-channels filled with reports of a major threat taking shape in Ballenville, the city's decaying industrial district.  In the empty parking lot of an abandoned refinery, The Spikers were setting-up for a concert to protest the cancelling of Ballen's Ball, an annual music festival. The word on the street was that Cyster Misfit, Choke Chain's band, would headline the show. 

A Bad Omen...

Chance had a surreal feeling as he donned his outfit and revved-up "the Chariot".  First time - a debut on the streets.  Once he reached Ballenville, the punkers - many probable Spiikers - paused as the glossy black car glided by with the menacing low rumble of turbo-charged 12-cyclinder engine.  Chance slowly turned and the car was swallowed in the dark shadows of an alley. He flipped a toggle-switch on the dashboard and the engine converted to whisper-mode.  This engine was specially modified to run extremely quietly at low RPM, using only four of the cylinders.  If he needed a sudden burst of speed or power, the whisper-mode would automatically shut-off and all cylinders would fire. 

He spotted a fire escape to climb and rolled to a stop, got out, then he jumped up grabbing the corroding squeaking metal framework.  Once he reached the flat roof, Chance took a glance at the car's remote control to confirm that it was locked and alarmed before stowing it. He could hear the thump and sizzle of loud music emanating from the next street over. Arriving over the buttressed front, he gazed down at a belligerent chaotic crowd jumping and thrashing to the sound. 

Even amongst this wild throng it wasn't hard to spot Choke Chain. Tall and lean, her purple hair spiked-out in every direction made her look taller than most of the men.  The crowd parted as she came to the makeshift stage. 

"Come on misfits!  This is our day!" she screamed, her voice overmodulated in the battered microphone. "#%&#! the City of Arbor City!   Say it!!"  [the crowd began to chant]  She cackled and cussed some more. "Anarchy cannot be stopped! It's our natural state!  The government said there would be no Ballen's Ball Music Festival this year.  Well, we say otherwise!  #%&#! Arbor City! #%&#! Arbor City! #%&#! Arbor City!"  

Chance watched from the rooftop as the APD (Arbor City Police) riot vans moved into position. Another hip-hop styled gang wearing red doo-rags approached from a side street, shouting and antagonizing the punkers, making it known that they should have a place at Ballen's Ball.  Things could get ugly real quick.  The police riot control tactics moved to keep the groups separate. Tear gas cannisters were prepped. Apparently satisfied that their statement was made, the gang known as Blaze-Yah-Red backed away from the scene. 

Choke Chain appeared again and began to incite the crowd against the police!  Chance decided it was time she was confronted. He stepped out on the edge and stood defiantly in front of an old flickering neon sign. As people slowly began to take notice of the silent silhouette, her  diatribe faded.  Clearly enraged, she dropped the microphone with a loud POP, followed by droning feedback.  Choke Chain screamed at the stranger "What the #@%@& is this?!!"  Chance didn't answer, but he subtly worked the car remote.

Angry red headlights emerged from the alley and his black car rolled on to the street below him. Chance jumped down landing on the sturdy hood of the car.  The crowd parted as Choke Chain walked toward him unravelling the chain around her torso. "I don't know who you think you are or what you THINK you're gonna DO!"

He responded by drawing the twin pistols. Choke Chain kept coming.  And the APD got antsy!  Over a bullhorn, "Cease and disist!  Put away the weapons!"  The warning repeated and Chance complied.  He hopped off the car and began to walk toward Choke Chain, saying, "It's time all school girls to run home to mommy."  She laughed it off, and snarled "None of my mothers really cared that much!"  

About that time, someone gave the order and the riot teams deployed cannisters and started dispersing the mob.  Figuring there would come a better time for this confrontation, the mysterious stranger jumped into his car and disappeared in a swirl of white smoke. 

The next day, The Arbor CityHerald website headline read "A Bad Omen for Choke Chain?"  The talk of the town was this unknown stranger in the peculiar crimson hat who had called out the infamous Choke Chain. 

"Omen" thought Buddy Chance, "That's it then. I am Omen."
In Omen's next appearance, he confronted two car loads of street gang thugs at West Shore Park.   The members of Blaze-Ya Red had taken over the park and driven families off with load music and obnoxious behavior.   Things were about to take an ugly turn when Omen intervened.   He took them out one-by-one and left them in a heap their cars.   That's where the police found them with their loud stereos tuned to a country station!
A few days later, Mr. Chance was attending a broker's meeting, sponsored by the newest company in town, Amerinvest.   Chance learned that an old rival, Daniel Nash had taken a new position with Amerinvest and was relocating to Arbor City.    The meeting was disrupted a short time later, when a gang of 6 masked, armed robbers stormed First Chesapeake State Bank.  They called themselves the "Dirty Half Dozen" and they all had masks of old action stars, Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson and so forth....

In the ensuing chaos, Chance shoved and threw office furniture and managed to knock-out of couple of the robbers using his incredible Hand of Omen, probability powers.  He then remote-contolled the Chariot and used it to punch a hole in the wall, allowing some of the businessmen to escape.   Circling around to an alleyway, he used a taser-gadget to fry the circuitry of the security cams!  Then after a quick-change in a dumpster, Omen used his whip to take-out the driver of the escape van and placed himself behind the wheel in disguise!   

To Omen's surprise, only Telly Savalas exited the building and yelled at him to GO GO GO!!!  As he drove in a half-hearted get-away, a black figure appeared in the distant rear-view.   The silhouette seemed to be flying on a high-tech snowboard!   Omen -still in disguise - swerved to throw Savalas' aim off as the dark figure closed in on the back of the van.   The flying snowboarder raked the thrusters on his board over the back of the van, blasting in the back windows and blowing Savalas toward the dashboard with his rubber mask melted to his face!    Moments later, Omen swung the van into an emergency room off-load area where he got a quick look at the mysterious flying snowboarder. 

Before re-appearing at the bank, he changed back to Mr. Chance of Chance Investments where he helped in the aftermath there.  He met Officer Sheila Durant of the Arbor City SWAT Unit, who identified the flying hero as Black Diamond. 

Chance Investments has signed on as a major sponsor of a new City Heritage Festival.  Mr. Chance received a call from the Mayor’s secretary asking if he would be available to make a short speech at the upcoming launch event.  When he agreed, he wasn't expecting  to make this appearance as Omen!

Choke Chain crashed the press conference at the Keeling Center.  She pulled up in the Cyster Misfit van and threw the back doors open as the police rush in. Loud blaring music disrupted the scene as she and her punks - the Spikers - take out a few cops.  Then she confronts Mayor Foley about her music and her fans - she's clearly upset about being excluded from the new festival.  But then Omen swung down from the rafters and kicked her into the back of the van.  He held her off while battling a couple of Spikers.  She charged at him swing her trademark chain, but Omen was one step ahead of her!  Again he slammed her into the back of the van and stood triumphant on top of the van, signaling his role as the city's new guardian. 

Omen was patrolling in Ballensville - keeping an eye on the Spikers - when emergency reports came in about a major disturbance in Liberty Heights, 2 miles away!  Heavy gunfire and casualties.  A paranormal is in the middle of it!   It was Johnny Reb, a super-racist nightmare wielding a cutlasse and spewing racial slurs.  He taunted the locals and drew out gang members from Blaze Ya Red.   Omen raced onto the scene and drew Reb's attention and then he fought him in the middle of Camden Boulevard.  He had to fight smart against this ghaslty foe, luring him into a trap, Omen popped-up from behind an overturned car with both guns blazing!  It was just enough to stop Reb in his tracks.  Omen claimed Reb's sword as a trophy and helped the wary locals, some of whom knew him as an enemy before. 

ISSUE #7  Blitz on Arbor City PD
[Downtime phase: Designing an EMP Device for the car]

News item: Homeless Population Decline (various sources)  
Arbor City PD has noticed a sharp decline in the city’s sizable homeless population.  According to Capt Sommers, local shelters and charities say they are still near capacity, so indications are that many people have simply given up and left the city for whereabouts unknown.

Chance began investigating this as his secret identity.  He visited shelters and pledged financial support to their missions. In the process he learned that the segment of the homeless population that is shrinking is the white segment...   

Then came the alert that Arbor City PD headquarters was under siege!  The Arbor-Chesapeake Times article below described the scene:

Johnny Reb's sword was secured in a leaden glass trophy case in Chance's 30th floor penthouse.  Since the weapon had been taken into possession, Chance's restless nights - full of visions and psychic chatter - had grown considerably worse.  He saw himself saluting with the weapon as the city burned.  It seemed to  whisper in his dreams saying, “Incorruptable.” “White heat”...  “Untarnished blade Untarnished breed”.  And it was beginning to take a toll on him, but despite this challenge, he pressed himself to complete the design of the EMP device for his car, nicknamed "Trinity". 

Chance also resolved to get acquainted with Officer Baker. He conducted his own background investigation, using his financial expertise to pull credit checks and so forth. Young Mark Baker had been a juvenile con as a member of a street gang called The Rumblejacks. However, indicators are that since his rehab and release at the age of 17, Baker had been clean and is currently in good standing on the police force.  Chance decided to test the young officer with a fortunate influx of money - just to see what he would do with it - and maybe see if the Rumblejacks would be baited by it.  So Mr. Chance again put his knowledge of banking and finance to work, anonymously devising a gift card raffle scheme as part of the Annual Arbor City Law Enforcement Ball. There were press releases sent to the media to ensure public coverage of the story. He would then track which card Baker received and make a $50,000 anonymous deposit later on.  Then Chance would sit and watch. 

The third intrigue...  Omen began to lay the groundwork for his grand design to create a cutting-edge headquarters in downtown to supplement the damaged and aging police department.  His master plan involves: 
Omen approaching potential investors about the need for a super team in Arbor City and the establishment of a secret foundation that would support the venture.
Planting high-def speech pattern/recognition devices in the offices of key board members for future security purposes. 
Technology to hold board meetings and keep all members anonymous.  Chance himself would appear as Omen before them.
The anonymous acquisition (through real estate portfolios) of the 25-story Tressom Tower, next to ACPD. 
The subsequent overhaul of Tressom Tower into a super HQ...  In Chance's own words, "It will house "special" underground state-of-the-art holding cells for "special" criminals. I want the building reinforced, strong enough to withstand major damage, even an earth quake, explosions, fire etc.. The lower floors will be for the Police and the Special SWAT to use. There will be a garage for special SWAT vehicles designed for combat against major villains. The upper floors will house the first-ever HQ for a "supers" team ... that I will personally put together and lead. The roof-top will contain a landing-pad for a VTOL aircraft to be built or purchased later."
Lastly, Mr. Chance was informed that one of his employees, Maddie Fuller, was missing.  Company security reported that nobody answered at her residence either, but they did not have rights to enter.  So later that evening Omen investigated.  At Fuller's apartment things seemed to be in-order, but he did find a church bulletin on which one event was circled, the homeless outreach program which occurred the previous weekend.  He then delivered this piece of evidence to Officer Baker, taking Baker for a ride in Trinity, he asked the young officer for his help with forensics on the item.  Omen then exited the vehicle and commanded Trinity to take Office Baker back home!  Of course, Baker was a bit flummoxed by the whole scene!  He gave the car a bewildered wave as it dropped him off, bid him goodnight, and sped off into the dark.

ISSUE #9  
This episode saw the completion of the EMP device, now an operational feature of Trinity.  Also, Chance began his next project, the Free Arbor Network - a high-speed wireless network with an encrypted and hardened backbone reserved for special use.  The network will ultimately pay for itself as public access grows.  This is another step to establishing his foundation and the Trust Tower project to come.

On the downside, Johnny Reb's sword continued to wear at his psyche and the "Balshamon Blade" was taking a physical toll as well.  Omen had to do something quick.  He arranged to have the blade encased in a concrete form and added to a coral reef project off the Atlantic Coast.  While prepping for this, alarms sounded at Chance Tower.  He was under attack!  Mr. Chance hastily loaded the wet concrete form on to a flatbed truck and pulled away from the loading bay as Johnny Reb smashed a door off it's hinges and bellowed in the darkness!   Chance would spend the next 12 hours on the move, hoping that Reb or Blitz would not find him.   Later, he completed the ceremonious burial at sea for "Uncle Balshamon". : )

An exhausted Buddy Chance concluded a very long day with the following press conference:

"As some may have heard, the Chance Complex was attacked yesterday when a rather notorious individual known as Johnny Reb attempted to gain access to our private vaults. This would seem to be a reoccurring theme these days with so many Shades now loose on the streets unchecked as they spread their chaos and disorder. In most instances, they take what they please with little or no resistance. Like so many other institutions, our vaults contain a variety of private collections and valuables from fine citizens across this great city, all stored away in secure lockboxes. I alone have access to our more private vaults."

"Yesterday, when dealing with some private affairs, I received notice that one of our private lockboxes contained something of particular interest to Mr. Reb and that he wouldn't stop until he acquired said item. This was mere moments before the attack, and as destructive as the attack was, I cannotbegin to imagine the level of destruction that may have been caused had I not escaped with the lockbox in question though our underground parking garage. I returned the private box to its owner, whom unbeknownst to me was another Shade named Omen. He uncannily knew Mr. Reb would come after the item."

"Omen wished me to pass on his sincere apologies for placing others in harms way. Johnny Reb would have killed me to gain entrance to the vaults and I own my life to those who stood in his path, they will not be forgotten."

"I have an additional announcement ... as a result of this encounter, I have decided that any questionable items shall be removed from the Chance Complex's private vaults immediately. Chance Investments regrets any inconveniences this may cause, but the world we now live in is not as safe as it once was. No longer are our valued possessions ours, they belong to those with the power to take them from us. I can only hope that one day someone, or some group will take back what's been taken from us ... our right to live -- not in fear -- but in peace, our security, our dignity, our trust in our fellow man. Thank you for your time."

Omen secretly signal Trinity to drive by slowly so the reporters take notice. Mr. Chance gave a nod to "Omen" ... then signaled Trinity to speed off down the street.

Mr. Chance struck a chord with his press conference and a groundswell of public support began to build in the wake of recent incidents at the Keeling Center, the massacre in Libertyville, The siege at APD, and now the Raid at Chance Tower.  In an effort to appease the constituency, Mayor Foley making public statements alluding to the need for more help.  Talk on the street swirled around the STU, public bond elections, or the prospect of raising taxes... And then rumors mounted that the Mayor was going to make a big announcement regarding the city's stance on Shades at special meeting tomorrow in Arbor Square. 

At that meeting, Mayor Foley stated:

“There comes a time when you must fight fire with fire.  Up until now, the city has been dubious about using Shades as our defense against other Shades, but heroes such as Black Diamond and Omen have displayed a penchant for justice and unmatched effectiveness in dealing with super-human criminals.  We need more Shades like them to join us in taking Arbor City back from ill-meaning powers!  It is clear that some of these Shades are working together for the worse and it is time for us to come together against them. So, I stand before you today with a new commitment to partner with them in my new Shades of Light Program.”

*BLAM*  Suddenly, the tone of the Mayor's speech were shattered - along with his sternum.  A shot rang out and the Mayor dropped behind the podium as police and city officials scrambled.  Chaos erupted!  The crowd scattered, except for one curious figure who stood calmly and watched in a the sea of pandemonium!  This peculiar, professorial-looking man was one of several interested Shades who had come out to hear what Mayor Foley was proposing.  His name was Samuel and he had a dark and powerful secret.  Another one watched from the 3rd floor of an adjacent building and he quickly sprang into action, exiting the building by deftly running across a power line!   His name was Nathaniel and the crackling power lines beneath his feet seemed of no concern at all!  Omen, of course, was nearby.  He swung down behind the scene and landed on the stage.  Leaning over the dying Mayor he said, "Your dream will not die with you."  

With the intensifying sound of helicopters approaching, a wicked-looking creature of hell-fire burst into the Arbor City Square courtyard!  It charged toward a high-rise building opposite from the stage - the same building that Omen was also approaching.  Nathaniel made his way to the adjacent building with unnatural grace. Separately, but together, the three Shades scaled the exterior walls and closed on the enemy - a team of black-clad commandos - who were being extracted from the rooftops by two state-of-the-art helicopters!

Omen's grappler snared the landing skid of a helicopter and he reel himself up to it, just as the hell-beast arrived.  It rushed forward and grabbed a rappelling line halting the chopper's ascent. Meanwhile, Nathaniel - who would become known as Amp - infused a spike with electrokinetic energy and  threw it into the cockpit of the other helo!  Electric arcs and smoke poured from the cockpit as the aircraft pitched over the edge and fell toward the street! 

Atop the adjacent building, the battle continued.  Omen climbed into the chopper and brawled with the commandos as the demon anchored it with incredible strength. Amp threw another spike and hit the engine housing with astounding accuracy and the second chopper began to drop.  The demon, who would soon be known as Zaratos, caught aircraft and eased down to the roof!   One straggling commando took aim with an assault rifle, but Amp hit him with another projectile knocking him back into a ventilation duct!  Then the three heroes gathered on the roof to sort out the situation...

Amp takes a swig from his camelback (AMP energy Drink) looks quizzical for a moment then introduces himself.  "Names Amp, (surveys the wreckage) bloody mess".  (Looks at Omen) "Now what?"

Zaratos, now just smouldering from head to toe says in a deep, unsettling voice, "I am called Zaratos. It is good to meet other Light Shades. Glad to be of assistance in thwarting these evil doers. How are the victims?"

Amp looks Zaratos up & down "It's refreshing seeing something other than the goth look.  You just might start a new trend. All right let's go check the yokel's and see if they require assistance. Perhaps we can discuss today's events in a more secure environment later."  
As Amp approaches the roofline, Black Diamond rises in front of him, hovering on his skyboard! He's carrying one of the commandos. In an electronic voice he says, "So THIS is where the party's at."
"Ah! A straggler. Add him to the heap Diamond." Zaratos indicates the pile of soldiers contained in the cargo netting.

"I suppose it is up to us to form an alliance. How are we to communicate when the need arises?" Motioning to his smouldering form, "My circumstances are a bit complicated for moving about the city in the open."
Black Diamond stacks the subdued soldier with the others and looks to Omen, "I see you've got some new friends, but yet you're still in the middle of a mess."

Omen glares at the massive smoldering figure uncertain what to say. Responding to Amp's question, "I'mmm not sure -- I am -- aaas new to this as anyone of you, but it -- would appear -- that even the Good-Guys come in various Shades of Light. If your --- intensions were to help -- then I thank you my friends. Black Diamond, it isss good to see you again, looking good as ever I see. I suggest weee adjourn for now. Perhaps meet back here at Midnight tonight --- we ALLL need to talk." Omen looks around again, but never completely taking an eye off the large "demonic" figure. Suddenly, he spots a reporter, Omen leaps from the building swinging from the rooftop. "III have a statement to make."

Black Diamond in reply to Omen:  "Of course I look good!  You'll find that style is the better part of valor in this business.  By the way, I hope you stick the landing on your statement.  I already nailed mine!"    

Omen swings to ground level, the cable retracts automatically as he advances on the reporter. "I need a cape," thinking to him. He smiles under his mask. "You there -- a wooord please!" Omen stares for a moment while the slightly-shakened reporter signals to his cameraman. The reporter slowly raises his microphone.

Omen looks deep into the camera, "I have a word for those who would take life and offer no cause."

Omen pauses.
"The Mayor of Arbor City has served the public with diiistinction, doing what he thought was best in a chaaanged world. And you would take this life and toss it aside for your owwwn dastardly purpose. You belieeeve you are safe because you are anonymous and have resources to hire thugs to kill for youuu, when in fact, that makes you a vulnerable coward."
Omen moves closer to the camera, "Look into myyy eyes, I promise you this -- whether the Mayor lives or dies, no matter, one night you will fiiind yourself alone and innn the dark, and you will here this voice. And innn THAT darkness I will do what I dooo best. And innn THAT darkness you will do what cowards dooo best. So, watch for the signs, an ill-Omen is heading your way."

A black-beast of a car then drives up and stops next to Omen, then door swings open. There is no driver within. Omen seats himself, gives one last glance to the reporter, closes to car door and drives away.

In the hours before they meet again, coverage of the Mayor’s assassination goes wall-to-wall.  There is a brief clip of Omen and Zaratos scaling the side of a building together.  But the most spectacular footage shows Black Diamond catching an STU officer who had fallen from the building when a helicopter crashed into it.  Then he is seen saving a commando too after he fell toward the street.  Media runs with the footage, but there’s no film of what happened on the rooftops. 

During the evening hours there were a couple of Breaking News bulletins: WAAT Ch4
Mayor Foley confirmed dead at Greater Chesapeake Medical Center at 5:04 p.m.
Media estimates: 4 “terrorists” killed, 5 with minor injuries.  7 people in custody.  1 suspect unaccounted for. 
The statements of Black Diamond (WAAT) and Omen (WNEC Independent Ch2) appear as exclusives on the evening news.

Behind the scenes, Office Baker was pushed-out of the investigation loop by Detective Frank Latham and told to go issue some traffic citations.  When the three heroes reconvene, this news prompts Omen to visit the Sheriff's Department to visit the detainees.  Omen leaves a personal message for Det. Latham.   He also gave his new partners instructions for installing a WARNET encryption app on their phones. 

Nate, a.k.a. Amp - after frying yet another cellphone, got a belated voicemail from his girlfriend, breaking up with him. 

Samuel a.k.a. Zaratos also received an interesting call from a colleague at the Arbor University Historical Society asking if he would be interested in harboring a couple of items at his shop. It has something to do with Deutsches Historisches Museum placing a formal request to the US State Dept to have Nazi artifacts returned to Germany. 

A couple of days later, Office Baker, on a mundane street beat spots suspicious activity in Old Towne, including someone matching the description of the missing Chance Investments employee, Maddie Fuller.  Omen activated WARNET and they converged on Old Towne and carefully advanced on the scene of a raucous concert crowd gathering at an infamous basement venue called The Grotto.   Amp blended in with the young rowdies and snuck in, while Samuel and Omen made their way down through an old stairway from the abandoned 2nd floor as Amp fed them some alarming video from his phone - video that included the massive Fatima Celicz and some eery-looking "roadies" congregated in the corners behind the stage!

ISSUE #12  The Brawl in the Basement
When the band launched into the next song, the weird "roadies" began to wade into the crowd and waylay civilians!  Concert-goers thought it was part of the act and they began a violent mosh!  The heroes sprang into action!  Omen activated his EMP device casting the whole scene into pitch darkness!  Amp used the pulse to generate his own field of electro-vision!  He could "see" the electrical arcs running through everyone around him.  So he stood his ground in the middle of the crowd, taking out the pasty minions with electrokinetic blasts!  Omen crowd-hopped toward the stage as Samuel slid along the wall to stage right.   Fatima Celicz beared-down on Amp and she shook-off a round of shots from Omen's pistols.   Samuel transformed into Zaratos just before Blitz arrived on the scene.   She charged into the demon and deflected off of him crashing into the drum kit!  Omen squared off with Blitz as Zaratos went after Fatima.  Amp cleared the way by drawing the attention of and taking down most of the waxy-looking minions.  In the end, Blitz was forced to flee from Omen and Zaratos choked-out the freak-show, Fatima.   Amp found the body of their missing person,  Maddie Fuller, amongst the minions. 

At Cedar Valley High, Nate had a couple of encounters with young ladies.  It turned out that the attractive Amy Terenza has taken a shine to him.  Maybe he'll have a new prom date after all!

Samuel got a surprise visit from his friend Arturo "Art" Plinea, an anthropologist by day and Zoroastarian Priest by night. Art had some concerns about the foggy veil of fate that surrounds Omen. 

Omen made excellent progress toward selection and orchestration of the Delvin Trust Group - investors/board members for The Trust Tower Project. (Now in Stage 2: his next TN is 4)

ISSUE #13  The EpiKore Raid
In his office atop Chance Investments Tower, Mr. Chance received a call from Daniel Nash, a brash VP from Amerivest.  Among small talk, Nash's point was to inform Chance that Tressom Tower and other properties, are part of a REIT portfolio of one of Chance's affiliates, have a lien against them that could complicate sales transactions.  Additionally, he invited Chance to join him on a Vermont ski trip next month...

Next came an alert about a raid-in-progress in lower Hydesville!  "Team Amp" responded and met on the campus of EpiKore Systems, where the police and the STU were preparing to go-in.  They found that Black Diamond was already on the scene as well.   Upon entering the ultra-modern facility, all three heroes were drawn to different sections of the building.   Amp went to the main atrium where he found an armored foe who had established some sort of dimensional control field - and the battle was on!  In this weird environment, Amp found it difficult to target the enemy.  Meanwhile, Omen followed his uncanny intuition to a DNA lab, where he found downed employees.  On the far side of the building, Zaratos rescued a woman and delivered her to the police on the front grounds. Then he went back in to find that Black Diamond was being attacked by a ...  uh... refrigerator!   What???

Amp battled against the unknown bad guy and his virtual reality.  He charged the man's controller unit and it caused the man to be flung across the room where he smashed into a huge planter pot!  Down the hallway, Zaratos and Black Diamond struggled, but eventually succeeded to defeating the Frigidaire from Hell.  And back in the lab, as Omen rescued a man, Blitz bolted out of the back room and tried to clothesline him, but his mind was quicker, and he ducked the attack causing her to smash a glass panel!  But she managed to escape his whip and get-away. Zaratos entered the main atrium and fear-blasted Amp's dancing partner into a gibbering stupor.  Amp collected the man's controller unit.

In other events, Nate and Amy went on a date and Nate noticed they were being followed by a rough-looking customer.  Nothing became of it, but Nate sent the man's photo to Omen for profiling.   Samuel solidified plans to safeguard WWII relics for his colleague Shahira Raheem, but the meeting never happened.  Later that evening, the Historical Society was attacked and Raheem was among the injured.  Zaratos wanted a first-hand look and he found indications that a Shade must have been involved. Raheem is now hospitalized.

ISSUE #14 The Beauman Ambush
While Samuel (Zaratos) focused on the heist at the Historical Society, Amp and Omen began to follow leads from the EpiKore raid.  Their efforts were inte
rrupted by reports of a hostage situation in Beauman Straights.  They responded to find a police standoff at the new Beauman Community Center.  The key 
hostage was a city councilwoman, Adelia Halstead.  Omen found a way into the building via the storm drain tunnels. They emerged in the courtyard area and began to take down the thugs holding the hostages and in the middle of the furious action, O

men was hit by a sniper shot from above!  What?  Omen realized his Omen Sight psychic sense was dulled for reasons unknown.  As Amptook out more thugs, Omen struggled to save the councilwoman, but he was hit again and was down!  They were in a crossfire.  Both heroes scanned the roofline but could not see their assailants.

Amp scooped-up Omen and took him out of harm's way.  Carrying the fallen hero, he went for the back of the building where Omen's car (now called M.A.C.K.) was hopefully waiting.  A strange voice and a vague cloaked image interrupted their exit near the back of the building.  Amp hardly even slowed down.  As he broke into open he fired an arc of lightning back at the target, shattering glass and leaving the wall smoldering!  

Officer Mark Baker saw that Omen was hurt and ran into the open towards Amp.  Another voice warned Amp to stop or the cops would get it,  so of course he sped toward M.A.C.K.  A shot rang out as Amp and Omen tumbled awkwardly over the hood of the car.   Amp jumped up and yelled at M.A.C.K. to open up a
nd finally it did!  As the car sped off, Amp made an electro-magnetic shield with the roof of the car to deflect a couple more deadly shots!   A full-on firefight erupted behind the building and when it was over, 5 cops were dead.  Officer Baker was the lone surviv

Amp and Omen later paid the hospital a visit where Amp used a new found technique to transfer his fast healing energy to others.  Baker is making a miraculous recovery from critical injuries.  (Prior to the visit, he used the same power on Omen.)   Baker was able to deliver a message on behalf of the snipers, "Arbor City is not yours to defend. It never was. This city belongs Ghostworks, so go be a hero somewhere else."

ISSUE #15   It Begins to Add Up
Samuel's "volunteer" efforts at the Arbor University Historical Society yielded the discovery of a dusty microphone behind a shelf, with a
single shielded wire going into small gray metal door with sticker that says Westerford Atlantic Security.  The wire led to a small black box with a green LED which contained a hard drive and a battery.  The device was an independent audio surveillance back-up, a rather archaic device left behind by the previous security vendor.  Apparently forgotten, the device was still operational.  It only activates in the event of a power outage (or by command from 

e to identify the man using speech recognition technology. a system that is now gone).  The recovered audio captured a few sound bytes of a man speaking in German, but as of yet, they were unabl

In other news, the ongoing investigation of EpiKore revealed that some of the sample containers have short range tracking chips.  The people saved by Omen and Zaratos provided the necessary info that enabled Omen to reconfigure the Free Arbor Network to ping and triangulate the location of those transmitters!  Nice!  The location of the devices were at an empty warehouse in the Ballensville industrial park - a 70,000 s.f. distribution center formerly leased to Solvimed Pharmaceuticals.   As the heroes prepare to move-in, Omen pays a morning visit to the Police Commissioner...

ISSUE #16: The Makeshift Lab
Omen dropped-in on one of Arbor City PD’s morning briefings in order to track down the commissioner.  The weary commissioner was impressed with the hero’s proposal for a joint op against the target he had identified.  

Working in coordination with the STU, Team Amp surrounded the abandoned Solvimed Warehouse in Ballensville.  After a careful reconnaissance of the area, Omen sent M.A.C.K. in to crash the party!   It smashed a couple of tables and sent bad guys scattering!  As the car backed-out, the silhouette Omen was backlit in the dust, casting an ominous shadow over the room. Omen soon found himself in the midst of the eery automatons he had previously encountered at the Grotto.

In an incredible display of agility, Amp dove from the adjacent building, through a broken window and landed flawlessly in the overhead rafters, rolling to his feet!  He noticed a man trying to escape though a metal-lined vent.  Amp through a charged spike imbedding it in the frame of the vent and electrocuting the bad guy!  The man slumped, hanging half out of the wall!

A section of the sheet metal wall began to glow red-hot signaling the arrival of the Zaratos, who ripped through it effortlessly!  Grinning with vengeance, the wicked-looking hero confronted a group of men who were hastily packing up a box truck.  That would not do.  The Big Z created a carpet of flame, melting the tires!  The men scattered, but would soon be rounded-up by the Lt. Durant’s STU team.

Back on the floor of the warehouse, Omen maneuvered until he had the automatons right where he wanted them.  Using his whip, he then erupted in a whirlwind violence taking down all six foes in a matter of seconds!  

As the police began to wrap up the scene, Amp confronted the captured driver of the truck and on his phone they found an active GPS destination that would lead the to the Estate of Dr. Rheinholdt Schwab in Canterbury.  

Meanwhile, Omen stood alone, trancelike, allowing his sense to unfold in this space. 

Convening with Lt. Durant, the heroes decided to they had to get to Canterbury fast.  No time to wait for a warrant...

ISSUE #17: The Bellweather Brawl

Arriving at 11 Bellweather Ln in the upscale neighborhood of Canterbury, Samuel first tried the subtle approach.  After being promptly turned away, he came back full force, blasting open the gates and the grand entrance to this impressive three-story mansion.  As Zaratos, he sensed ill-will as Amp and Omen followed him in to the foyer.  Immediately, the fight was on!  And it was a huge brawl...

Eery, wax-faced minions charged into the room from a stairwell, while Zaratos jumped up to the balcony to confront a dark figure.  In an electric storm of violence, Amp took down six of the minions!  Omen used his whip to gang-up on the ninja-like bad guy, while Zaratos began to squeeze the daylights from him!  With an impressive shot,the black-clad man hit a control lever across the room, opening a trap door.  Amp and Omen both avoided the fall.  As they converged on the bad guy, the sound of a boom outside was the sonic harbinger of Blitz!   

She tore into the scene and went directly at her nemesis, Omen!  With Zaratos finishing off the ninja, Amp came to Omen’s aid with an incredible electrokinetic projectile that blindsided Blitz!  She was knocked into the exposed sub-level, smashing metal and glass!   An inverted Omen opened fire on more of the minions below and began to whittle them down. 

Something was happening down there... in the basement...

Zaratos jumped 30 feet down into the sub-level crushing a work table as a tentacled monstrosity emerged from an iridescent bluish fog.  These two heavyweights engaged in a major brawl!   There was grappling, punching, knockback and collateral damage.  The mutant abomination known as Spasm was a tough foe, but eventually the three heroes overwhelmed him.  In the crescendo, Omen got the finishing moves.  He blasted Spasm with a volley of deadly shots and then swung down on his whip with a double-kick that impaled the monster on twisted metal and glass!

While the Arbor City STU came in to clean up, the heroes began sifting through the wreckage and investigating the sub-level...

Issue #18: Extending TRUST
The heroes finished their investigation at Schwab's Bellweather Estate and they came away with plenty of good information and leads, including computer files from the basement laboratory and a safe from Schwab's office upstairs. 

In the Downtime (phase I), we wrapped-up the details of TRUST Tower and all three characters began to work on personal developments.   All three characters had individual scenes:

Samuel (Zaratos) had another meeting with Art Plinae regarding extrication rituals and theories. 
Nate (Amp) was on a date with Amy Terenza when her bodyguard approached and took her away under orders from her father. (more to come on this...)
Buddy (Omen) had a vision about finding a banner buried in an ice-bound wasteland that read ODESSA

Upon occupying TRUST Tower, Omen took another step of trust in having all the heroes reveal their true identities to each other.  Good stuff. Then, following some of the aforementioned clues, they tried to track down Schwab's private jet at Arbor City International.  Omen proved that money talks, bribing his way into Schwab's private hangar.  And while he questioned an avionics tech about the plane, Nate slinked-off to find the planes maintenance and flight logs on a workstation.  Schwab's last logged destination: Presidente Ibanez Airport, Punta Arenas, Chile…  

There was also this Missing Person Report on Channel 11: And in other news tonight, the former husband of the now executed convict Anne Obermeyer was reportedly attacked by a street gang in a subway last night according to eye witnesses.  He has not been seen since.  If the name is familiar, then you may recall the dramatic trial of Mrs. Obermeyer who was convicted in the slaying of her 3 children 8 years ago. 

The gang continued their rampage on the lower west side of Downtown and the violence spree ended shortly thereafter when Black Diamond and Arbor City police confronted the men near intersection of Crescent and Eagle.    

This issue had some added play-by-post content:

From player Kevin (Amp),regarding his date cut short: ... I was wanting to AMP up and scale the building to get a birds eye view so to speak as to what is up with the abrupt departure.  See if I can get eyes and ears on the situation - I can go in all Die Hard style "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs" and use the duck work if needed…

GM: You probably weren't able to move fast enough to keep up with the Terenza "staff car", a shiny black sedan, that came to pick-up Amy and the bodyguard.  But you did get an idea of the direction they were headed.  Following your hunch, you arrive at the Tri-Con Atlantic building only a couple of miles away.  It is an older styled, 15-story building with lots of ornate gothic features - a local icon of old money.  

Kevin: I am looking for the reason her bodyguard essentially dragged her away (seemed a tad odd & mysterious) I hate mysteries they lurk in the back of my mind taunting me until properly kicked to the curb. So color me intrigued...besides what else do I have to do for the rest of the day.

See if M.A.C.K. can provide me with blueprints of the building and use her phone to locate where she is as to make the best approach.  If at all possible approach from above for roof access..if this is not an option pick the best blind-spot approach and scale the building. Once up top see what kind of access points we have available. Oh and employ the bio-metric anti-detection array (Patent Pending) so as to blind any electronic devices that might be intruding upon my privacy. I am the invisible man! Muhahhhhhh...at least to electronics.

I got it....next date will be rock climbing!

GM: Nice!  Getting to the roof is child's play for you as there are taller buildings adjacent to Tri-Con. 

Your Bio-Metric power stunt would cost a T-die.  No problem there, you'll still refresh for next session.   This is an older building and the Terenza's seem to rely on old-school security guards/henchmen as much as cams and lasers. 

MACK would normally add a d6 Power die to your Intrusion roll, however, since I assume you'd use Super Agility to, then instead, MACK will boost your Super-Agilty to 2d6.  For convenience-sake, I rolled:

8 (2d6 Agility + Mac)
2 (T-die)

Really good result: "Astounding"  far beyond normal human ability.  Using old scanned blueprints acquired from the  zoning/permits department, you have a good feel for the layout of the building circa 1968.  You quickly run into some of the differences in which MAC's info won't help.  

I roll a d6 to represent the level of challenge.  Result 5  (yikes… significant)  Apparent the HVAC system was overhauled recently.  A giant blower fan for the furnace activates with Amp in harm's way!

Super-Agility + Intrusion to overcome.  Results: 6, 5, 1 (T-die)  Your Super-Agility narrowly saves your butt!  The blower will force Amp to another route…

Breathing heavily in an air duct, you contemplate where to go… 

Kevin: If I am close enough to the blower fan I will just short it out with my sparkling personality. If not, consult the blueprints and start making my way towards where the signal from Amy's phone is coming from. Use the schematic's and her location to roughly pinpoint what room she is in and make my way humming a catchy tune. "Spider-AMP, Spider-AMP, does whatever a Spider-AMP does. The things I do to keep myself entertained." I will go ahead and text her and see what she is up to while I am getting my John McClane on.

GM: Not a problem for you!  You can short-out the electric motor on the blower.   It makes a loud enough *pop* that it was noticeable to someone nearby.  But before anybody can get access to maintenance hatch, you are long gone, following you homing signal. 

This roll, using Technology vs TN 4, will indicate the time involved for you to close-in on the signal.  
Result: 5, 2 (T-die)

So you got delayed a bit because your initial read was off by a floor or two, but you figure it out and go down a couple floors to reach her location.

Next, lets make sure you are not detected. I rolled an opposing Perception check.  Result: 3

Super-Agility + Intrusion…  Result: 2, 5, 4 (T-die).   So your Intrusion skill makes the difference here.    Feel free to narrate how you avoided a making a sound that could've easily given you away.

You hear Amy's voice and that of an adult woman in a heated conversation. Getting an obstructed view of a board room, you see the back of a stately brunette in business attire.  She's is standing, talking to Amy who is out-of-view. 

Perception check.  Result: 5, 1 (T-die in-effect)  Do you wish to max-out to 6?

Kevin: Blow off my finger "that motor had no frakin idea who it was messing with....and to think my other girlfriends said I couldn't commit. I mean come on how much more committed can a guy get. Damn it! wrong floor, damn these 2-dimensional limitations!" Time for Spider-AMP to enter Lotus Blossom Silent Mediation and a few even suggested I never took anything seriously. Deploy the whispering wind....get out my skate board and use it to distribute my weight so I can roll along with ease. Finally I think I can hear why I traversed all this way. Ah yep that is Amy for sure but who might this newcomer be? (I'll go ahead and keep the 5 pretty good roll)
I will get out my phone to record what is going on just in case I need to review for later and settle in for a skateout er stakeout. I am confident these observations should lead me as to why Amy was so abruptly yanked from our date and shed some light as to the need for a goon squad. Any other morsels of information I can glean will just be a bonus. (I'll keep track of Amy and find out as much as I can)

GM: [Tech roll just to gauge the quality of your recording… Results: 2, 5…  not bad!]

Some of the dialogue you pick up:

Woman: Your father wanted me to talk to you some more. We know you're upset, but we're also concerned about your well-being.  You're a Terenza and you will come to accept that your life is going to be different from others your age.
Amy: We?  Concerned? Don't try to act like you''re my mom now!  I already had a watchdog with me.  It's awkward.  That's not enough?

Woman: No, Amy, sometimes its not. Your father wouldn't have ordered this without good reason. Big business sometimes… it's dangerous. Greed.  Pride. Jealousy… Can drive people to do bad things.  You are old enough to understand that your father has lost people he loved before. 

Amy: Like Mom, you mean?  

Woman: Of course, yes, but there are others: Anna Zagolla, Marco Capano…  These people are casualties of business… Oh… How about Gino?  You remember that night, right?   Horrible..

Amy: I know he was killed in some sorta random deal…

Woman: Random?  Doubtful.  Things that happen in the Terenza world are rarely random. You probably don't even know that Gino was killed by a.. uh… shade, do ya?   

Amy: You mean one of those super-humans? 

Woman: Yeah. A setup probably.  He was likely an assassin.  He fried Gino with some sort of electrical shock in an alley.  [pause]

Gino was like a son to your father.  Of course, your sister has never been the same. 

[another long pause]

Amy [sobbing slightly]:  We've got enough money.  Why doesn't Dad just sell-out and retire?  Why do we have to live like this?

Woman: It's more than money, darling.  It's more than a business.  It's an empire.  A culture.  A society within a society. And there's no leaving it behind. 

From this point the conversation winds down and the woman exits, leaving Amy in the room.  

You here the baritone voice of a man in the room who says flatly, "Just pretend I'm not even here."

Kevin: Well wasn't that just......fascinating.  Just goes to show you that this relationship well never be dull that's for sure. Can't wait to see what Thanksgiving is like at the Terenza's...it should be killer.

When I get back to HQ put some of these names through M.A.C.K and see what he can churn out of that little old tin head of his. Though I am fairly certain as to the results of one in particular...it just goes to show how small of a city we really do live.

Issue #19: A New Revolution
In the days after the airport investigation, a new global threat dominates world news.   Reports from Europe show the arrival of an anti-gravity aircraft - a classic flying saucer!  But this one looks like an airborne tank and it bears the unmistakable Nazi swastika!   The craft appears in several cities in Europe, usually during public events, stoking the flames of neo-nazism.  In Berlin, a new leader emerges, announcing himself as the Iron Cross.  With Blitz at his side, he called for his new generation to rise up around the world!   

In a bleak and desperate world, the response to Iron Cross' call was surprisingly strong as it was disappointing.   In Arbor City with it's large subversive population, the neo-nazi faction was already larger than anyone suspected, apparently absorbing the former anarchist Spikers, including the resurgent Choke Chain.   Gang violence and chaos escalated almost immediately.  

At the same time, the heroes were preparing for the public unveiling of TRUST Tower and various team matters, but the pressure of street violence called them out.  They decided to join a fray where the independent hero, Black Diamond, was battling neo-nazis in the courtyard of the Wyverncrest Embassy.   Together, the four heroes made easy work of stopping 21 bad guys, including three Schwabenkinder.  Omen took-out a third of them in a storm of gunfire!   Zaratos blocked-off the entrance and sent several bad guys fleeing by his mere presence!  The demon of vengeance also took down one of the gang leaders with laughable ease!  A stray shot busted open a hydrant and Amp electrified the powerful jet stream that sprang from the side of the embassy.  This area attack effectively ended the battle! 

Afterword, Omen arranged a meeting with Black Diamond atop his new building.  There, Omen offered Black Diamond a position on the team and revealed his plans.   The official announcement would come on Monday afternoon (two days later).   It was planned that Black Diamond would make a big showy entrance as befits his style…  Omen also met with the police chief to share his vision with regards to the STU. 

When Monday came, the police commissioner himself gave the opening remarks and presented Omen to the crowd of thousands.   Only a few sentences into his speech, Black Diamond came frantically diving onto the scene!  That wasn't his cue.  Something was wrong.   Black Diamond hovered right in front of the podium and said, "Omen, we've got big big trouble!"    Moments later, a strange and deep vibration began to rattle windows and tables.   The nazi saucer eerily slid into view over the skyline!  It looked bigger and more ominous in person.  The crowd and heroes stood in awestruck silence.   Omen reached over and triggered a remote.   The banner dropped revealing "TRUST" on the shiny new tower.   Metal shielding activated to protect the windows. 

From the stage below, the heroes glared at the dark circular menace.

[To be continued!   Game Notes: All three heroes completed Phase 2 Downtime toward their goals:  Omen - boosting MACK to d8, Zaratos-Fighting skill to d6, Amp - Vander Wal Force boost to d6]