The Adventures of the RPGC Task Force!
Issue 1: The Call to Something Greater...
Heaven's Soldier, Pokefreak and Fou-lu entered the small building, now destined to be the headquarters of the newly-formed RPGC Police Department. The entire first floor consisted of a single office, with only a few small cells in the side to break up the wooden floor and crumbling ceiling. Three desks were placed perfectly symetrically in the center of the office, all completely bare except for a phone on each and a small television on the back desk. A door led into an empty basement, while a staircase led onto the roof.
The three placed their small boxes of stationary, laptops, flashlights, house keys, DVDs, and porn on their respective desks, with Heaven's Soldier taking the back, Fou-lu taking the front, and Poke taking the center. After a long, awkward period of all three simply staring blankly forward, Poke finally broke the silence. "Why the hell are we doing this again?"
"Because since Wil's out of comission, there's no other law enforcement agency," said Heaven's Soldier. "RPGC is in desperate need of some order. Fou-lu, can you check on the streets again?"
Fou-lu nodded in acknowledgement, and opened the front door. Already, the streets were swept up in a massive panic, as looters attacked everything in sight, drunks murdered little babies, and some guys made a sequel to Anaconda. Satisfied that RPGC was doomed, Fou-lu closed the door. "Let's check the news."
Heaven's Soldier nodded in agreement, and turned on the television, which was conveniently on the right station.
"This is Channel 9 News, live at 3:15 in the afternoon. In today's top stories, the United Nations Commitee on Superhuman Regulations and Control was again in session, as the member nations continue to debate whether to permenantly strengthen the regulatory actions placed on superpowered beings.
"As many of you know, following an attempt to kidnap several UN ambassadors by a superpowered terrorist group, which simply called itself 'The Nukleoids,' sentiment against exceptionally gifted beings has grown far more hostile. The UN responded by the Superhero Licensing Program, which requires that all those who wish to use their powers register with the UN for proper licensing and registration.
"However, since the act was passed, laws have steadily grown more and more strict, culminating in a complete ban on new registration, allowing only those who already possess licenses to actively use their powers and abilities. Now the movement appears to be towards banning these beings altogether, allowing for their seperation from the rest of society.
"In related news, Wilfredo Martinez, a former superhero who was said to still occasionally fight major criminal enterprises, was found in an alley this morning. He was apparantly pummeled to near death, and then further beaten and stabbed before being dumped and left for dead. Evidence from Martinez's house indicates that he was currently involved in a sting operation involving a smuggling group called 'The Eye.' And now for sports! The Dodgers lost yet again when-"
Heaven's Soldier turned off the television. "As much trouble as I know I'm getting into just for saying this, we need a new Task Force."
"Wasn't the last one assembled simply for merchandise sales and profit?" asked Fou-lu.
"That's what we need to avoid this time," said Heaven's Soldier. "We need to find people who honestly fight for truth, justice, and hot armies of babes!"
"...Isn't that just a little sexist?" said Poke.
"Freak, we have a female population of ten," said Heaven's Soldier. "And from those, the only ones with any real abilities are Weiila and Wil's niece. The former is a sworn pacifist, and the latter is barely out of diapers if you know what I mean. I think I know two guys, though..."
GG Crono slowly walked down the long, long sidewalk, whistling a small show tune while taking in the quant old homes, all of which were painted a fading white for some unfathomable reason. Finally, he left the quiet suburbs and made his way into RPGC's slums, a long-ruined section of town inhabited by those that had slipped beneath the radar of the rest of RPGC. Despite the rabidly-degenerating surroundings he found himself in, he nonetheless continued to walk down the sidewalk until he reached a corner liquir store.
Pierson sat on the curb, drinking a Pepsi while watching a bunch of drunken bums suspiciously watch a number of people pass by. GG Crono took up a seat next to him. "Okay, what's this all about?"
"Those bums," said Pierson. "They've been mugging people all over the slums the last couple days. The only reason I didn't stop them before was because the UN's gestapo was all over the place."
"...Then, why are we doing this now?" asked GG Crono.
"Because they're gone," said Pierson. "They always take a day off to eat at Marie Calender's. By the time they all get a table, it'll be noon tomorrow. Now, let's just wait until..."
Suddenly, the bums went after a young woman, visiting from a nearby town for some unknown reason. As the raggedy men drew switchblades and surrounded the woman, Pierson and GG Crono rose from their sitting spots and approached the attack, making sure that no one of any import was watching their movements. Finally satisfied of their safety, they grabbed the bums by the collar and slammed their heads together, quickly ending the menace.
"Are you alright, ma'am?" asked Pierson. The woman responded only by dumping the contents of her purse and running in panic. Sighing, GG Crono reached down to help pick up the purse's contents...and heard the sound of M16s cocking. Sighing even heavier than before, he straightened himself out, and found himself staring directly into the helmet of a United Nations Special Forces soldier. "We finally got you, Pierson and GG Crono!"
"I thought you guys were at Marie Calenders!" said Pierson.
"We went yesterday," said the soldier. "They were having a great sale on pumpkin pie!"
As the two were loaded into the back of a van, all Pierson could say was, "Damn you, pumpkin pie! DAMN YOU!"
Meanwhile, from a safe distance away, Poke and Fou-lu returned to the RPGCPD's only car (a badly beaten, worn-out Pinto) and gave chase, determined to rescue their only contacts to the superheroic underground. Meanwhile, from another safe distance, the obligatory shadowy figure teleported away, having satisfied his mission to observe the UN forces.
SECRET ISLAND PRISON, SOMEWHERE IN THE ATLANTIC
Wilfredo Martinez was wheelchaired into the guardroom next to the prison's sole cell block. At a small metal desk sat a woman, about forty years in age, wearing the same uniform as the UNSF soldiers. "Alright, warden, what is this all about?"
The warden left her desk and wordlessly opened the cell block doors. The guards continued to wheel Wilfredo in after her, as they passed cell after cell of superheroes and supervillains. Wil sadly hung his head at the sight of so many caged heroes, but in his heart, he still felt that the UN was justified. After all, not everyone with special abilities was a pure, justice-seeking hero; some were just nothing more than thugs and murderers.
Finally, the guards stopped just outside of one of the cells. Wil was completely stunned at who he saw inside: GG Crono and Pierson. The two RPGCers simply stared at their comrade, who responded with a cold glare all his own. "This...RPGC of yours is quickly becoming a troublespot," said the warden. "We just got these two today, only after they'd apparantly tried to snatch a woman's purse."
"That doesn't sound like them," said Wil. "Still, is this all? Surely two people don't account for-"
The warden showed the next cell over. Inside was a being Wil had never seen before, a formless man in a brown cloak. It was placed within an electromagnetic stasis field, electricity cackling and coursing through its body every fifteen seconds. "This...thing calls itself a god," said the warden. "It took the lives of several men, but we still managed to capture it as it exited a dimensional portal. It seemed quite surprised when we managed to weaken it."
"Maybe it was powerful on whatever world it came from," said Wil. "Now, is there anything else-"
"Actually, there is," said the warden. The entire tour group turned to the opposite cell, and saw Mabatsekker and Galloway, each trapped behind a series of forcefields. Galloway sat on a bench, seemingly resigned to his fate, while Mabat continued to pound on his own barrier, but to no avail. "These two were especially difficult. Galloway was already wanted for the murder of an Iranian diplomat in 2002; it was through some small miracle that he happened to be at the same place as a bank robbery. Mabatsekker was a bit more difficult, as Finland has not been exactly cooperative with the UN, but he was stupid enough to set foot in Russia, thanks to a small train incident."
"And...what do you want me to do about this?" asked Wil.
"All five of these people attempted to be superheroes in some fashion," said the warden. "You need to make them understand that there is no need for these kinds of heroes anymore. If they can just understand that small premise, we might be willing to release them back into society."
Wil cringed at the warden's words. They had never liked each other, as the warden was too paranoid and metaphobic to even listen to heroes or villains, and Wil believed that people like her took the law too far and only resulted in more destruction than was needed. Still, as one of the few sanctioned superheroes, Wil had no choice but to cooperate with the UN, and with her. "Fine, I'll do it. Just...give me a couple minutes alone with them."
The warden nodded, and she and the guards left the room, leaving the wheelchair-bound Wil to the prisoners. As he was about to begin speaking, however, his cell phone began to play a synthesized, ear-shattering show tune. Cursing his poor taste in music, Wil answered the phone. "Hello, this is Wilfredo Martinez. How may I help you?"
As the voice on the other end began to talk, Wil began to let out a wry smile, only to immediately wince in pain as his smile muscles flared up once again.
After a few minutes, the warden reentered the cell block, accompanied by her trusy guards. The RPGCers were all deftly silent, including Wilfredo Martinez. "Well? Have you had any luck?"
"More than you could possibly imagine," said Wil. "Not only have they sworn never to fight crime again, but they've promised to never use their powers and abilities ever again, whether in public or private."
"Is this true?" said the warden.
"Yes," moaned the five captives.
"Well, I guess they can leave, on probation of course," said the warden. "Now get these punks out of my sight!"
Wil muttered a curse best not transcribed here under his breath, but fortunately the warden did not hear his defiance. The guards lowered the force fields around the cells, allowing the five to join with Wil. The guards escorted the six to a helipad just outside the warden's office. Fortunately, the helipad was already occupied with a stealth helicopter, the kind used to secretly spy on the lives of every living being on the planet, and therefore the perfect vehicles for transporting prisoners from a technically illegal prison.
As they neared the helicopter, Wil nodded to demigod and Mabat, the two closest to the peripheral guards. Without a moment's hesitation, demigod grabbed the guard next to him and tossed him over the helipad. At the exact same moment, Mabat uppercutted his guard into the air and roundhoused him over the other side. Meanwhile, Pierson grabbed the guard wheeling Wilfredo around in a Vulcan death grip, rendering the poor sap unconscious. The RPGCers quickly resumed wheeling Wil into the helicopter, while Mabat somehow used his blue mage skills to pilot the vehicle off the helipad and off of the island.
Meanwhile, the warden sat in her office, enjoying some fine operatic music while chowing down on a dinner of chicken, rice, and salad. She didn't even notice the chopper flying off without any of her precious guards on board.
Mabat continued to pilot the chopper, while Galloway took position as co-pilot. demigod hid himself in the back, while Pierson and GG Crono sat across from Wil. "This is a suprisingly spacious helicopter," said Pierson.
"Of course it is," said Galloway. "When you're transporting someone with superpowers to a prison, it's usually a good idea to distance yourself as far away from them as possible."
"Now that we're all together," said Wil, "back to the subject at hand. Heaven's Soldier wants to rebuild the RPGC Task Force. He wants you five to be its first members."
"You mean...we can be official heroes?" asked GG Crono.
"No, not right now," said Wil. "However, he does have an idea that might improve the standing of metahumans in the world community. We have to continue where I started, and stop 'The Eye.'"
"...What is this...'Eye?'" asked demigod.
"They're an international organization of weapons dealers, drug smugglers, assassins, terrorists, and general bad guys," continued Wil. "They're setting up a base in Puerto Rico. I was looking into it when they ambushed me."
"But why bother with Puerto Rico?" asked Galloway. "Surely there are more-"
"Because nobody would look there," said Wil. "They've managed to get ahold of a large warehouse full of ICBMs, and plan to sell them to North Korea and Iran. It's a lot worse than that, though; the Nukleoids are working for them."
"You mean, the terrorists that attacked the UN, thereby starting this whole mess?" asked Pierson. "I thought they were already locked up."
"They were, but somehow managed to escape stasis a month ago," said Wil. "The warden and I both agreed it would be better if the public did not learn about this; it would only cause an even greater panic, if not an all-out war. If we stop 'The Eye,' we might be able to locate the Nukleoids, and hopefully ease tensions even by a little bit."
"...So, we're heading for Puerto Rico?" asked Mabat.
"Yeah," said Wil. "Just be careful when landing this thing. According to the previous pilot, the landing gear's a bit-"
The chopper crashed into the side of Wil's house, practically demolishing the entire building. Fortunately, all six passengers were thrown clear, with Wil landing neatly in his wheelchair. "Once again, blue magic shows just how useless it is," said Galloway.
"If I didn't feel like crap, I'd kill you right now," said Mabat.
"Enough of this!" said demigod. "We reached Puerto Rico; that is the only important thing!"
"Not so fast!" said Wil. "First, you're going to fix the damage you caused!" The five looked around at the ruins of Wil's house, secretly thankful that everyone was too busy sleeping to notice the chopper or absolute destruction and chaos. Sighing at their fate, the five began their long, seemingly endless labor.
While the Task Force fixes Wilfredo Martinez's house, it's important to discuss the main arm of "The Eye," the hand it uses to manipulate the world's governments...THE NUKLEOIDS!
The Nukleoids were among the many who were granted superpowers during the Nuclear Mutation Age, which stretched from 1945-1969, and is directly or indirectly responsible for 60% of the superhero population, as well as 70% of the supervillain population. The Nukleoids consist of a family of three, given superhuman powers due to a nuclear plant explosion in the southern United States. The three were the only survivors of the disaster, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the contamination of hundreds of miles of former farmland and residential areas.
Shortly after the attack on the United Nations building, Papa and Mama Nukleoid were stripped of their powers using a new military decontamination chamber. Sonny Nukleoid, however, managed to escape, and broke his parents out of jail. Once on the lam, the two exposed themselves to another burst of low-level radiation, giving them limited powers. Now, they work for "The Eye," hoping to bring down the world once and for all.
Papa: Father figure, in his late 50s physically. Has the ability to project beams of radioactive energy.
Mama: Mother figure, in her late 50s physically. Can transform her body into any shape, size or figure. Can also transform into mist for a limited amount of time.
Sonny: A massive abomination, standing close to nine feet in height and with over seven hundred pounds of muscle. Is invulnerable to all damage and can lift up to one hundred tons.
After Wil's strangely abbreviated monlogue about the Nukleoids, which the Task Force already knew about, the wall was finally finished. Unfortunately, it was already daybreak, and thus time to get to their real work.
MEANWHILE, IN THE UNITED NATIONS BUILDING
A series of shadowy figures sat in a small conference room, waiting for another to join them. Finally, the last shadowy figure snuck in and closed the door behind him. "Gentlemen, this meeting will come to order," said one figure.
"I apologize for not shutting down Martinez. I thought he would honor his retirement, but-"
"You have failed us. And with this new group of heroes, we will have yet another problem on our hands."
"Not as long as I keep the member nations in fear. All it takes is a little media manipulation, some subliminal advertising, and a few irrelevant and ridiculous comparisons, and they will continue to eat right out of our hands."
"And what of the Nukleoids?"
"Everything is set. All we need is one of those heroes, and we will end the sanctioned use of metahumans forever."
After several miles of walking, accompanied by the unsuspicious screams of little children, the newly assembled Task Force reached a small alley just outside of an abandoned warehouse. The large building was cracked and ruined, its windows shattered or empty, its walls crumbling into dust and rubble. Outside the faded yellow walls was a massive yard, filed with old tires, broken wooden crates, scrap metal, and the like. There were no signs of guards in the yard, only on the roof, armed with discreet binoculars and sniper rifles.
Pierson lowered his own set of binoculars. "Are you SURE this is the right place? I mean, it looks like nobody's used it for at least fifty years. Not even you can remember that far back."
Wil's face grimaced. "I'll ignore that little comment. And yes, this IS the warehouse. Most of the guards must be inside."
Mabat took the binoculars and looked to the left side of the building. Sure enough, there were several limos on the side of the building. "Looks like the deal's going down right now. If we move quick, we might be able to catch them in the act, recover the weapons, and move on with our lives."
"All very valid career moves," said GG Crono. "That still doesn't explain how we're going to get inside to begin with."
Wil sighed, cursing himself for getting stuck with such a deadend job. "Alright, listen. Pierson, you think you could sneak through the yard?"
"Not with those snipers up there," said Pierson.
"Galloway, you think you can fly up there without being seen?" asked Wil.
"I guess so," said Galloway.
"And cloaky, what can you do?" asked Wil.
"The name is demigod," said demigod. "And I suppose I could force my way inside, if you pathetic mortals are completely incapable of doing anything properly."
"...Once again, I'll ignore that," said Wil. "Alright, Galloway, I want you to fly onto the roof and take out the snipers, preferably as bloodlessly as possible. Once the snipers are gone, I want Pierson to sneak through the fire escape and into the upper offices. While that's going on, I want demigod to create a distraction outside. The other guards should come rushing out, allowing Galloway, Mabat, demigod and myself to defeat them. Crono, I want you to cover the left entrance; if anyone tries to escape that way, capture them. We should then be able to slowly work our way back into the hearts and minds of the general populace."
"...Can you run that by me again?" asked Mabat.
"JUST HURRY UP AND GET OUT THERE!" shouted Wil.
Galloway quickly flew around the building, ducking next to the warehouse wall. A sniper stood right above him, his eyes locked on the streets below rather than on the wall. Smiling evily at his fortune, Galloway grabbed the sniper by the arms and threw him over the edge, sending him screaming to his death several stories below. The other snipers raced towards their former partner's spot, while Galloway flew around the side of the building and climbed onto the rooftop. As the snipers turned back to him, Galloway raced towards them, slamming them to the ground harder than Wil after a 72-hour bender.
Galloway raised his hands, alerting Pierson and demigod below. He was so overjoyed by his victory that he didn't notice the hulking shadow sneaking up behind him until hands twice the side of his head grabbed him by the torso and tossed him to the street behind the building.
Pierson easily snuck around the side of the building, catching sight of a small fire escape. He raced up the escape, making sure not to rattle the steps too much or to fall over the side to his horrid demise. Finally, he reached the top floor, where a conveniently-placed window was cracked open. Grabbing a nearby piece of sharpened metal, he pried open the window. Once he was certain nobody was inside, he climbed inside.
The office was sparse and rotten. A moth-eaten carpet sat in front of the broken, hanging door. An incredibly worn desk sat in a corner of the office, while an armoire sat in a corner for no discernable reason. Sighing at the sheer number of plot contrivances in one small space, Pierson searched the desk, only to find one document of any interest: a small manilla envelope.
Before he could open the envelope, however, he looked outside the small window looking into the warehouse exterior...and saw nothing. Absolutely nothing. Fearing that they may have indeed had the wrong warehouse, Pierson jumped over the railing, landing with a thud on the warehouse floor below. The only discernable marks were several pools of motor oil and large tire tracks, all of which seemed fresh, as if made less than an hour before.
Suddenly, Pierson's eyes darted for another figure, as a heavy banging began outside. He managed to duck into the shadows in time, but the figure walked past and jumped from a window into the yard below, accompanied by a small earthquake. The sound of fighting intensified, and then was replaced by silence...
FIVE MINUTES AGO...
Once Galloway had given the signal, demigod moved towards the yard, quickly zoning in on a pile of sheet metal hanging precariously from some stacked truck tires. Behind him, Mabatsekker and GG Crono crouched into position beside the front entrance to the warehouse, waiting for whoever was inside as well as Galloway and Pierson to return. Once everyone was safely prepared, demigod raised one hand, revealing a blue set of long, talon-like claws. With another motion, he tore into the metal, shredding it apart with the sound of nails on a chalkboard.
When that didn't work, he grabbed the nearby pieces and threw them into the air. When they reached his eye level, he raised his hands and fired a small bolt of energy in the center of them, sending pieces flying against everything. The force of the blows filled the air with the ringing sounds of clanging and thudding. Finally, at long last, some noise began to emerge from within the warehouse, in the form of a loud, heavy stomp. Everyone prepared to ambush the guards as they emerged...
Suddenly, a hulking figure jumped from the roof, slamming into the ground with enough force to create an enormous shockwave. The warehouse was unharmed, but GG Crono and Mabat were thrown against the wall, while demigod barely managed to stay on his feet, the blast only pushing him back a few feet. The source of the blast was a giant of a man, his body overflowing with what looked like a mixture between muscles and flab. He was dressed only in a pair of spandex pants, and his hair was long in the back, but with a very noticible bald spot up front. His entire face looked like it had been on the wrong end of a baseball bat, his mouth locked in a snarlish grin.
"...The hell?" said Mabat. "Where's the rest of the guards!"
"Stupid idiots," grumbled the hulk, his voice barely audible over his loud breathing. "You feel right into our trap!"
"We have no choice!" said demigod. "ATTACK!"
GG Crono reached the figure first, swinging his sword at the man's side. The man, however, simply grabbed his comparatively small attacker and slammed him into the ground, holding him down with one foot. Mabat managed to reach him next, quickly calling up a shield as defense. The hulking figure swung his arm back, shattering the shield and sending Mabat flying into a pile of tires and rusty spikes.
demigod fired a bolt of flaming energy, only to have the target laugh as it bounced harmlessly off his chest. The hulking figure grabbed a nearby crate and threw it at demigod, sending him falling to the ground. GG Crono, meanwhile, reached for his weapon, unable to move at all beneath what seemed like seven hundred pounds of human flesh.
Suddenly, a surge of lightning raced from the alley, knocking the figure off of GG Crono. Wil wheeled himself out of the alley, his right arm still cackling with energy. The figure eyed Wil angrily. "You! You take a lot to kill!"
"They always say that, Sonny," said Wil. "You'd think they would have figured it out by now."
Sonny stomped towards Wil, fortunately missing Crono's head by a few inches. "This time you aren't going to have some miraculous-"
Suddenly, a knife ripped into the figure's back. Enraged, Sonny turned towards the warehouse door, and saw Pierson, his hand reaching for a nearby pipe. His eyes returned to Wil. "You got lucky, mage. We'll meet again!"
With that, Sonny jumped into the air, soaring high into the stratosphere.
Fortunately, Mabat and demigod were not badly injured. GG Crono had a crushed spine, but a quick chiropractic movement restored him to normal. Finally, Galloway stumbled from behind the warehouse, his head bleeding profusely for some ungodly reason. "Well, that plan really went to freaking hell," said Galloway.
"I'm sorry!" said Wil. "I didn't expect Sonny to be back here!"
Meanwhile, Pierson opened the envelope, and saw a stack of papers, including several thousand dollars in small bills. It didn't take long to learn just what was going on. "This is an order to attack the UN again! The entire missile deal was a setup, even when Wil was looking into it!"
"Then...when is the attack supposed to happen?" asked Mabat.
"According to this...five hours from now," said Pierson. "We need to get to the UN Building NOW, or we'll have another mess on our hands!"
MEANWHILE, AT THE UN BUILDING...
Sonny Nukleoid landed in the middle of a pond, practically knocking all of the water out of the body and onto the grass. Shrugging himself off, Sonny lumbered towards a large bread truck, which was strangely parked on a small hill near the building. Inside the truck, amongst several heavily armed, body armor-wearing troopers, sat a man with thinning grey hair, as well as a heavily-wrinkled woman. Both wore full-body spandex uniforms, with the symbol of a stereotypical atom on their midriff. "Mama, Papa, I'm back," said Sonny.
Mama Nukleoid looked at the small wound on Sonny's back. "Hon! What happened to you?"
"That punk Martinez recruited some wanna-be heroes," said Sonny. "There's no way they can stop us, though."
"I sure hope so," said Papa Nukleoid. "We just have to repeat our last job, and everything will be set."
MEANWHILE, ON BOARD THE UN CHOPPER...
Mabat continued to pilot the craft, while the rest sat in the back of the chopper. "Amazing this piece of junk still works," said demigod.
"Continue reading, Pierson," said Wil.
"There's not much to tell," said Pierson. "The rest is a bunch of invoices, but the names are all whited out...except..." His eyes locked on a single piece of paper. "This one has a name..."
A cruel smile etched across Pierson's face. "NOW what?" asked GG Crono.
"Let's just say things got a lot more interesting," said Pierson. "How long until we reach the UN?"
"We won't be there until 8:30," said Mabat. "And even then, we'll have to find somewhere to land."
"That gives us only a half hour with which to stop the Nukleoids," said Wil. "Just hurry as much as possible!"
SEVERAL HOURS LATER, AT THE UN CHAMBERS...
Delegates from countless nations massed together in the room, as numerous other delegates prepared their speeches for the night. Some looked confident in their victory, while others were paniced and terrified at what was before them. Finally, the first speech of the night began, with the US Ambassador taking the podium.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a threshold. Humanity is being threatened not only by those who seek to undermine freedom, but those who possess powers and abilities above the norm. Although we misplaced our facts, we are certain that those with superhuman abilities are responsible for over 90% of terrorist acts across the planet. Although there is no getting rid of them, they must be controlled to the upmost levels of the law, so that only those that will not resort to terror tactics will be able to exercise their powers!"
The Nukleoids flexed themselves, preparing for the carnage they would soon unfold.
Next, the Japanese Ambassador took the podium. "Gentlemen and women operating outside their station, we have a long history of dealing with bizzare creatures and superhumans, mostly from the nuclear fallout of the atomic bombings. Because of the events of the last sixty years, we have learned to accept the aid these superhumans can provide, as well as how to use them to combat those that would destroy humanity. We should be teaching these heroes the values of goodness and conformity, and not simply tossing them aside and hoping they'll go away."
The chopper flew towards the building, only to have the landing gear fail yet again.
Next, the Chinese Ambassador took the podium. "Ladies, Gentlemen, we cannot account for the loyalty of superhumans. What if one is born with immortality and other powers, and conquers all of the earth? What if they band together and destroy humanity? It is impossible to account for them all, and no legal limits could possibly be set high enough. We need to eliminate the problem at its source, by locating all those with powers and keeping them from contacting society again, by any means necessary."
The Nukleoids approached the front doors. Before the guards could respond, Papa Nukleoid fired a pair of green beams. Upon contacting the guards, the helpless victims were reduced to skeletons, which then melted into slime.
Next, the Canadian Ambassador took the podium. "Folks, I'm from Canada, and thus have no bearing on the world stage, but Canada has a long history of acceptance and understanding. Metahumans provide a valuable service to the community,a assisting in matters that are either too dangerous or impossible for regular humans to solve. And remember, only an approximate 35% of metahumans turn to crime and evil. Most simply live out as normal a life as possible, desperate not to be found out. It's time to open the doors to these beings, and allow them to operate in the open, for the sake of humanity."
The chopper crashed into the nearby pond, sending the entire Task Force (plus Wil) flying into the building.
Just as the Iranian Ambassador took the podium, the doors to the hall flew open, as the massive figure of Sonny Nukleoid strolled in, accompanied by Mama and Papa. The hulking figure slammed shut the doors behind him, and slammed a pillar in front of them, effectively blocking any escape. "Alright, ladies and gentlemen, it's our turn!" said Sonny. Low screams appeared in the background.
"We're going to turn this world into a living hell!" said Papa Nukleoid. The screams began to grow louder.
"You earned it when you placed us under your control!" said Mama Nukleoid. "Face the wrath of-"
Suddenly, the entire Task Force (plus Wil) flew through the roof, landing on top of Mama Nukleoid. "Damn, that was rough," said Galloway.
"We're in the building, aren't we?" asked Mabat.
Suddenly, the ground beneath them shifted, as Mama Nukleoid flattened herself into liquid and slipped underneath her opponents. Papa Nukleoid raised one hand. "Alright, let's see how you survive a radioactive beam!"
A green beam fired from Papa Nukleoid's hand, but Mabat managed to use a shield, deflecting the beam into the roof. As Mabat and Wil turned their attention to Papa Nukleoid, Mama formed her right arm into a long, sharp blade and lunged at GG Crono, who blocked the attack. As GG Crono and demigod locked onto her, Galloway hovered over a jab from Sonny, and countered with a kick to the face, which barely fazed the hulk. He and Pierson prepared for the upcoming assault.
Meanwhile, the delegates ducked for cover, all the while taking notes on the battle and its tactics.
MEANWHILE, IN A DARKENED ROOM...
"Will this be a problem?"
"You mean these pathetic heroes? No, they will be no problem at all, high master. The Nukleoids will be more than a match for them."
Papa Nukleoid fired another green beam, but Mabat blocked the attack yet again. Wil, meanwhile, countered with a Thunder spell, blasting Papa with a huge surge of electricity. The attack sent the Nukleoid flying into the far wall, but otherwise did not seem to cause any major injuries. "Any idea how he uses that attack?" asked Wil.
"Kinda," said Mabat. "I doubt I'd be able to survive a direct blow, but I think I know how to sense it."
Sure enough, Papa fired another beam, but before he could even raise his hand, neeldes sprouted on the front of Mabat's body and fired at the man, causing numerous puncture wounds and disrupting Papa's concentration. Wil followed this with an Earth spell, lifting chunks of the floor into the air and flinging them at his opponent. One piece managed to hit home, knocking Papa Nukleoid out cold.
Meanwhile, GG Crono continued to strike out at Mama, but whenever he attacked, she hardened her body until it was as invulnerable as mithril. demigod leaped over his partner's head in an attempt to pin the woman yet again, but she transformed her body into a coiled mess, which then swept itself around demigod and trapped him like a boa constricter.
Suddenly, GG Crono had an idea. Grabbing his sword, he jumped into the air, flipped his sword downward, and impaled Mama across her coiled body. The woman screamed in pain, loosening her grip on demigod enough so he could bite into her body, as well as did his claws into her flesh. Finally, Mama managed to shake off both attackers, sending them flying into the air, but demigod fired a force bolt while still falling, blasting her in the back of the head. Mama Nukleoid regained her human form, and fell to the ground, completely unconscious.
Meanwhile, Pierson dug his dagger into Sonny's chest, but the hulking figure simply shrugged the blow off and knocked Pierson aside. Galloway punched the figure several times in the gut, but each attack only met the brick wall that was Sonny Nukleoid's abs. Laughing off his pathetic opponent's attacks, Sonny lifted Galloway over his head and prepared to go for the classic backbreaker finisher.
Suddenly, a sharpened miniature Cuban flag flew into Sonny's left armpit, followed by the sharp, miniature flags for Saudi Arabia, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Jamaica, Ireland, Scotland, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. As Pierson ran off to grab more flag ammo, Galloway powered up to Kaioken times 10, and slammed both fists into the confused Sonny's upper chest. The sheer force of the blow, now further powered by the Kaioken, knocked the air out of Sonny's lungs. As the giant dropped Galloway and fell to his knees, gasping for air, Pierson returned and slammed him across the back of the head with a large UN flag, knocking the giant out cold.
At last, the Nukleoids had been defeated in a fair, superhero battle. The scared delegates returned to their seats as everyone attempted to restore some semblance of order. Finally, the US Ambassador returned to the podium. "People, please! We need to return to the business at hand! We need to-"
"Not so fast!" said Wil. "If you'll excuse me, I have something to say." Obviously trapped between a rock and a hard place, the US Ambassador reluctantly allowed Wil to wheel himself to the podium. After clearing his throat, Wil began his speech.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are indeed at a crossroad, but it is not simply one of humans versus metahumans. It is a question of what is more important: maintaining the status quo or allowing for uncertain change to occur? The Nukleoids are the worst that metahumans have to offer, but these men here, the RPGC Task Force, are some of the best superhumans there are. And there are countless others like the Task Force, who simply need some guidance to show them the way.
"Remember, metahumans will not go away, no matter how much you wish it was so. The best you can do is try to incorporate them into society, to teach them how to use their powers and gifts to benefit mankind, rather than to advance their own selfish goals. If we do this, we can make this world a better place, one where everyone can live in harmony and acceptance. Remember, you are the United Nations; it's time you accomplished your purpose and bring some peace."
Everyone was silent as the UN Chairman approached Wil. "Please, will your associates wait outside? We must vote on the resolution-"
"NO! You will do no such thing!"
Papa Nukleoid climbed to his feet and fired a green beam. Wil pushed himself out of his wheelchair, pushing the chairman to the ground. The beam bounched off a small mirror on the wall, and hurtled towards the doors, past Mama, past GG Crono, past Mabat, past demigod, past Pierson, past Galloway...and right into Sonny, who was in the middle of climbing to his feet. After several seconds of blood-curling screaming, Sonny vanished in a flash of green light, leaving only a pile of green slime. Wil quickly used a sleep spell before the crazed man could fire another beam, but the Task Force stood in shocked silence at what they had just witnessed.
After several hours of waiting, the US Ambassador left the chamber and approached the waiting Wil and Task Force. "Congratulations, the UN has decided to allow metahumans to register for licenses again. I suggest you start with these five; they're obviously not old enough to be on the list."
"I will, sir," said Wil.
"And remember, it only passed by one vote," said the US Ambassador. "At least some people know how dangerous you all are. Good day, SIR." The ambassador stormed off, while the Task Force looked on in disgust.
"You know, some days I hate being an American," said Galloway.
Heaven's Soldier, Pokefreak and Fou-lu stood outside the UN building, next to a stretch limo. All three applauded the Task Force as they left the building, new licenses in tow. "...What's going on?" asked Pierson.
"Heaven's Soldier told me to free you," said Wil. "He wanted you to form the new RPGC Task Force, to help battle crime and evil in RPGC as well as the world."
"What about you?" asked GG Crono.
"I should be out of the chair in a few weeks," said Wil. "I already have enough work, though. Besides work, I still have to train my niece Nelimar, as well as Galloway's lousy brother."
"Good choice of adjetives," said Galloway.
"Come on," said Heaven's Soldier. "We have a plane to catch, and a conspiracy to unveil."
Papa and Mama Nukleoid stared at each other in their seperate containment cells. "It's their fault," said Mama. "Don't blame yourself. Once we get out, we'll destroy the RPGC Task Force for good."
Newscast: "This just in! The Canadian Ambassador to the UN, who was recently indicted on conspiracy charges linked to a group known as 'The Eye,' was found dead outside his home last night. The cause appears to be a gunshot to the head, apparantly suicide. And once again, the Dodgers lost..."
THE END OF ISSUE 1
Issue 2: He's Coming to Your Town...
THREE NIGHTS LATER, AT THE RPGC STEREOTYPICAL NUN-OPERATED ORPHANAGE...
The children were asleep, while the nuns continued to wander around aimless, their evil dispensers of eternal suffering and misery (aka rulers) held tightly in their hands. The night was unusually cold and eerie, an uneasy calm filling the air, signalling that something was not right. Still, the orphanage's workers continued their usual routines, ensuring that none of the children would ever know the meaning of happiness or peace. The children themselves, however, were all sound asleep after a whole day of working, playing, and being passed up for adoption for being over the border age of eight months.
As one of the nuns made her way down one of the many corridors, her eyes darting back and forth, she saw something sticking out of the shadows. It looked vaguely like a long fingernail, only discolored and fungus-filled. "Who's there?" she said, approaching the fingernail, ruler raised for the pounding of a lifetime. Suddenly, an arm reached out of the shadows, grabbed her by the neck, and pulled her into the darkness. The woman's death screams, accompanied by the sound of her blood splattering against the walls, alerted the other nuns, as well as several of the kids. Desperate to help, they raced to the sight of the attack.
The quiet of the night was then broken by their screams, as well as the sound of splattering blood, shattering wood and glass, and a low, screechy, blood-chilling growl.
AT THE SAME TIME, IN THE HILLS JUST OUTSIDE OF RPGCITY...
Heaven's Soldier and Pokefreak led the Task Force to a large hill, their limo barely making it across the arduous climb. Nestled inside one of the hill sides was a large metal door, long rusted and abandoned, its face bearing letters and markings that were now barely legible. "Gentlemen, this is your new home," said Heaven's Soldier.
"...This is a joke, right?" asked GG Crono. "I mean, the real mansion's across the next hillside, right?"
"What mansion?" said Heaven's Soldier. "I just said you would get a base of operations, NOT a mansion. Besides, you think we can afford a place like that on a POLICE salary? We can barely afford the egg salad sandwiches Galloway keeps stealing from the fridge." Galloway looked up from his egg salad sandwich in mild embarrasment. "Anyway, this bunker's from when ShaheenJim ruled the land. It hasn't been used since then, which made it a cheap-ass buy on the black market."
"But it's a dump!" said Mabat.
"Such a place is not worthy of my presence," said demigod.
"Come on," said Pokefreak. "It's not this bad on the inside..." Heaven's Soldier pulled a small keycard from his pocket, and inserted it into a nearby card reader. After a few seconds, the machine staticed itself back to life, and the doors creaked open, revealing a vast, dark void. With trepidation, the seven stepped inside, stumbling about for a few minutes before demigod found the light switch. With a flick of his wrist, the lights slowly hummed to life...revealing a collapsed, ruined structure. Metal support beams were lying on the ground, as massive holes of dirt evidenced in the ceiling. The floors and walls were all steel, and all covered in rust and moss. Even the air seemed to have rust. The only new things were a large computer in one end and several air-packaged futons. "It's worse," continued Poke.
"Okay, it's a fixer-upper," said Heaven's Soldier. "Now we need to decide on a team leader. It's more of a formality than a necessity, but-" All five Task Force members raised their hands. "...All right, we'll settle this in the only humane way possible...Eenie, meenie, meinie, mo..."
(One round later)
"Congratulations, d Galloway, you're the new leader!" Galloway smiled...until Heaven's Soldier handed him a massive pile of documents, seemingly from nowhere. "These are all the registration forms for the UN. All five need to be filled out tonight. When you're done, you can use the futons and get some sleep in the quarters upstairs. Have a good night!"
With that passing exit, Heaven's Soldier and Pokefreak left, leaving the Task Force to forever curse their existance.
THE NEXT MORNING...
The collapsed support beams were long removed, and the computer fully installed with Unix, but the rust stains and general staleness of the air remained. Just like tears, a little bar of soap wasn't going to wipe the stains away. Meanwhile, most of the Task Force simply collapsed in the control room, which dominated the entire front end of the bunker. Mabat managed to make it halfway to the quarters, but went back to the kitchen for a beer, and fainted when he realized that nobody had done any grocery shopping. As the sun rose against the eastern sky, the computer suddenly came to life, its screen showing a giant mug of Heaven's Soldier. "HEY! Wake up, you lazy bastards!"
The Task Force groggily jumped to life. "What? What is you, you bastard?" shouted GG Crono.
"We already have a hell of a case for you," said Heaven's Soldier. "Last night, an orphanage was attacked by some sick freak. There were no survivors."
"...Damn," said Galloway.
"Any leads yet?" asked Pierson.
"No, but you've gotta come down here," said Heaven's Soldier. "Also, I took the liberty of leaving you a Crime Scene Handheld Analyzer, which should make the process quicker. Now if you'll excuse me, the three of us are going to the movies. See ya later, alligators!" As the screen turned off, the Task Force grew to hate Heaven's Soldier even more...especially since they had no car.
A few hours later, the Task Force finally reached the orphanage. What greeted them was a scene of absolute horror. Windows were smashed down to their frames. Doors were torn into pieces on the floor. The outside walls and entryway were covered in claw and teeth marks. The most striking thing, however, was the bodies, all still laying were they fell. Faces were torn off, bodies were sandwiched in half, bones and organs were ripped from their respective areas, etc. The entire Force simply stared in cold shock at what they were witnessing.
Finally, the shock died down, and they went right to work. Pierson quickly located the Crime Scene Handheld Analyzer, a small yellow device that looked like a mix between a radio and a television, and started to look at the blood. Meanwhile, Mabat and demigod made their way upstairs, and noticed virtually no carnage as compared to the first floor, indicating that the victims had ran downstairs when the bloodbath started. Meanwhile, GG Crono and Galloway searched the downstairs, barely able to discern anything from the sea of blood. That is, until Galloway looked a little to the right of the entryway, and saw a distinct blood trail leading through a door and into the basement.
Holding his breath, he opened the door, half expecting a mountain of corpses. Instead, he found only a wooden staircase leading into a small, antique boiler room. The blood trail led down the stairs and to an open sewer grate, which obviously led into RPGC's old sewer system. After breathing a sigh of relief, he stepped down the stairs, stepping ever closer to the ancient, rusted grate. Finally, he bent over the gaping void...
As a pair of long claws grabbed him by the neck and dragged him down screaming.
The remaining four Task Force members quickly ran into the basement, only to find Galloway missing. "...What the hell happened?" asked Mabat.
"Whatever caused this, it went down there," said GG Crono. "And now, it has Galloway."
"I just finished analyzing the blood," said Pierson. "Most of it was human, but there was some DNA that wasn't...human. Or for that matter, any species known in this universe. I say we have an alien hunt on our hand."
"Then let's get down there!" said Mabat. "FOR GALLOWAY!" The other three shouted the chant as well and jumped in. As Mabat, the last jumper, landed, his eyes caught something moving in the shadows. Suddenly, a massive figure leaped from the darkness, tackled Mabat, and dragged him into the darkness. The other three ran after him, but when they reached where he had vanished, they saw absolutely nothing.
"Shit, we just lost two guys!" said GG Crono.
"Would you just calm down?" said Pierson. "We just need to find where this thing vanished to, and kill it before it kills us all!" With that, they saw a shape run off in the opposite direction, small drops of blood falling in its wake. With no other choice, the three gave chase, drawing whatever weapons they had in their wake: GG Crono his sword, Pierson a handgun he had taken off of some blind guy, and demigod his claws.
The sewer's tunnels were extremely old; the walls were made of crumbling stone, the water long since removed from human taint. A few rats scurried to and fro, but otherwise they and their attacker were the only living things down there. Even as the tunnels threatened to continue endlessly, they kept running.
Finally, they reached a large drop off, a part of the sewer system that had collapsed long ago. All they could see was a vast, endless void, and only a small ledge to jump to on the other side. "Now what do we do?" asked demigod.
"I guess we jump," said Pierson. "I'll go first." He took a few steps pack, raced forward, and leaped from the platform at the last possible instant. His hands barely caught onto the ledge, but it still held firm, allowing him to pull himself up and scoot down to another walkway, this time made of metal. GG Crono was next, repeating the same feet magnificently. Finally, demigod reared up to jump...
But before he was even halfway across the pit, something jumped from the shadows and slammed him against the wall. The attacker vanished in the shadows of the wall, while demigod feel to his apparant demise several miles below. Now the Task Force was down to two...
Pierson and GG Crono cautiously stepped down the metal platform, which apparantly led into another old section of the sewers. "I guess this is the end of the Task Force version 3," said GG Crono.
"I guess so," said Pierson. "It feels dissapointingly short, but hey, we had some good times, right Crono?" There was no answer. "...Crono?" He turned, and saw nothing, only a pair of menacingly yellow eyes and a few drops of blood. "You...You MONSTER!"
His attacker leaped forward, but this time, Pierson fired his gun at the creature. It reeled back in pain, allowing Pierson to see its features for the first time. It was a hunched, snarling monster, its face a stark white, its clothing rainbow colored and haggard, its hair held in two spikes on the side. Its eyes were a piercing green hue, its mouth lined with sharp fangs, its hands bearing discolored fingernails. Finally, Pierson realized what this was: a mutated clown.
Before he could react again, the clown struck, biting down on his right hand so hard and Pierson dropped the gun in agony. However, Pierson managed to reach a broken piece of pipe with his left hand and slammed it hard on the clown, causing it to release its grip. Grabbing his arm while still holding the pipe, he ran from the clown, tearing down the tunnel with all his strength. The clown quickly recovered and raced after him, tearing after him with the speed of a hungry lion.
Pierson ran down a side tunnel...only to find himself falling into a small pit. Half-rotted corpses were hanging on chains from the ceiling. After he noticed the bite marks, he realized he was standing in the very lair of the monster clown. Suddenly, the clown leaped towards him from behind, roaring as it did so. Cursing himself, Pierson jumped back, barely avoiding having his head torn off. The clown spun on its heels and leaped again, roaring all the while. Now desperate, Pierson raised the pipe...
The clown suddenly stopped charging him when it was mere inches from his face, so close that its breath caused his nosehairs to curl. When he looked down, he saw the reason why the clown stopped: the pipe had been literally shoved through its mouth and all the way out the back of its head. Now satisfied that the slayer of his companions was dead, he dropped the pipe, effectively dropping the clown's body, and made his way to a small corner to sit and weep for his fallen companions.
"Why the long face?"
He raised his head, and saw GG Crono, demigod, Mabatsekker, and Galloway staring at him. "Wh-What the hell?" he gasped.
"We were all pretty badly banged up, but we lived," said Mabat. "Now come on, let's leave 'Nightmare the Clown' behind us."
The five climbed out of the pit and walked towards a smashed wall leading into the new sewers. Meanwhile, back in the pit, a single, clawed finger stired, followed by four more...
SEVERAL HOURS LATER...
The Task Force was assembled back at the bunker, which was now completely and utterly clean. "Sure was nice of Heaven's Soldier to skip the movies and clean this place," said Pierson.
"Yep, sure was," said Mabat. "And it's a good thing that wasn't a wereclown, only a freakish insult to nature."
"And now that this dissapointingly short adventure is over, I have a LOT of paperwork to get to," said Galloway. "Unless, of course, someone wants to help..." Sure enough, all four other members ran like hell, leaving Galloway to fill out paperwork.
THE END OF ISSUE 2
Continue to Part 2