Heroes: Endings and Beginnings
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Author:  B4UTRUST [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Heroes: Endings and Beginnings

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

"Downtown Detroit was the stage today of another series of anti-Meta demonstrators and protestors. Their target was the regional Ultima headquarters where protestors took to the streets to vocally voice their anger over the recent governmental efforts to recruit newer, younger metahumans.

"In the wake of the Omni Corporation War, Ultima has been stepping up registration movements and recruiting in order to boost is declining numbers. Opponents of this have viewed it as an attempt to glamorize the real Ultima and its sordid history of loose cannon agents, death and wanton destruction en masse.

"We go now live to our reporter on the scene, Jessica Sparrows. Jess?"

"I'm here, live, with one of the demonstrators, a Ms. Kathleen Richardson. Ms. Richardson, you're obviously here against the recruitment drive. What is it exactly that you find so disagreeable with this?"
"It's a farce! The real Ultima isn't this grand organization that they're making it out to be. They're full of murdering, blood-thirsty maniacs with no regard for the law or innocents. How many times have we seen them in their flashy costumes tearing up whole city blocks trying to get one guy? How many times have bystanders been hurt, or worse, killed in the pursuit of a single suspect? How many times are we going to sit back and let them do this in the name of 'protecting us'."
"There are those who argue that without Metahuman agencies and independents, that the problems would be far worse that they are and the devestation and destruction at almost catastrophic levels. What are your thoughts?"
"It wasn't until these so called super heroes started dancing around shooting everything that these guys even showed up! I think that without them here, the so called escalation in violence would never happen and would never have happened. Face it, Ultima and all those independents out there are more trouble than they're worth! Now they want to recruit our kids fresh out of high school? Take them in and brain wash them and stick them back out on these streets to 'protect' us? No, no. Not here, not now, not ever..."
"There you have it, folks. Back to our studio."
"Thanks, Jess. A open look at the state of metahuman affairs today. But how does the flip side of that coin look? Some of our sister stations across the country have recently ran interviews with former government metas as well as independents who have given up the game, so to speak. Lets take a brief look at some of those."

(Clip fades in, a tall white male is shown sitting in a leather chair in the interview. He appears to be the epitome of WASP breeding. The slump in his shoulders and the look in his eyes shows the stress and weight he carries. Physically he appears in his early thirties, however, the lines around his eyes and creases in his face seem to advance that age a few more. His work has not been kind or easy to him, it seems)
"I have with us today, Tempest. I understand that you've as of late retired from your independent work, is this correct?"
"Yes, it's true. I quit. I couldn't do it anymore."
"Can you tell us why? What motivated you to stop doing it after so long?"
"Riots in the streets, protestors carrying signs, my face up on posters saying how many innocents I was responsible for killing. A dozen reasons, a hundred reasons. You figure it out. You walk outside and look around and tell me what you see and then you ask me why I stopped. I had people wanting to kill me for what I am, who wanted to see me jailed because I tried to help them. I-I don't need this..."
"Since you stopped the crimefighting gig, how has your area responded? Are you more accepted and open with them now? Do they respect you again or is there still a level of animosity towards your past?"
"Since I quit, do you want to know what's happened to me? Every night I hear police sirens constantly in the distance, ambulances race up and down the boulevards and I hear those same voices rising up from the streets again. The same ones that scorned me. Mocked me. Hated me. Wanted me dead. And now that I'm gone, they cry for me in the night to save them, to help them, to heal them and rescue them.

"Do you want to know what I do at night now? I look down at them from the rooftops and I answer them with a resounding 'No.' Every night, I sit there and I listen and watch. And every night it kills me a little more inside. But I won't do it. I can't do it. Because those same people that want me now, will want me dead tomorrow when that brave light of the morning sun has shown them through another long night..."

"Here's another interview from our station in Atlanta."

(The camera zooms in on a young black male. He looks nervously at the camera and shifts uncomfortably around. He's young, fresh and still full of life. He hasn't been worn down, not yet. But he's unsure of himself, and lacks that confidence that might come in time.)

"Here we have with us tonight a youth from one of the lower income areas of Atlanta. He has requested that his name not be said.

"So tell me, what is it that you were trying to accomplish?"
"I just, y'know, wanted to help. I saw my 'hood and it was full of *bleep* and junkies and *bleep* and drug dealers and all that *bleep*. I just got tired of it, y'know? Tired of seeing that same *bleep* every day. Got tired of seeing my Gramps have to worry about goin' to get some damn food from the store. Tired of waking up at night to people shootin' *bleep*. Man, I didn't want that *bleep*. I didn't wanna grow up like that. Nobody does! We down there dying because that's how life is where I'm from. But I didn't want that. And I had something that could change that, make it better. So I did."
"So what do you say to the people who you tried to help, who said you were the problem?"
"*bleep* 'em. I quit."

"And finally we come to a report directly out of San Fransisco. This individual, likewise, did not wish to be named, or in this case, even seen. His face has been blurred out and voice modified to protect his identity."

(The screen shows a thin, but well built white male. His face and identifying features are blurred out and his voice heavily filtered.)
"So what made you decide to get into the lifestyle?"
"I was there when Omnicorp went nuts. I was saved by some of those same heroes that everyone else has damned. And even though I was just a researcher, I have a little power too. What can I say? They inspired me. They showed me that there was something worth doing outside of R&D. So I joined them, I tried to help them. But you want to know what? All I've seen from this is a very harsh truth. No good deed goes unpunished and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. So I said screw it and quit, changed my name and god a new job in research."
"Would you ever consider going back? Doing it again?"
"Ha! Lady, you're funny. No, thanks, but no. I don't feel like getting sued or stabbed."

"There you have it. Two opposing views of the issues at hand. In other news tonight Primus forces have been deployed to the Congo to deal with infamous genocide-for-hire group The Grey Legion. Reports indicate heavy conflict in the area and that fighting has been intense. No definite end of the fight is in sight at the moment, but we have little doubt that Primus will come through. And now to John, with sports.."

"Thanks, Katie. The MAA is really gearing up and pushing its PR forward as much as possible. Already there has been a positive response to the NMFL and several big-name sponsers are rumored to have been taking serious considerations into team purchases and stadiums. This could be a big boost to the MAA if this season goes right..."


A hand grabbed the remote and turned off the TV.
"Disgusting, I tell ya. Those damned protesters are everywhere. They're like cockroaches. You squish one rally and three more pop up."
"Well, sir, they do have some valid issues."
"Yeah, I know. Thats why we're trying to get these younger kids in and mold them to the service before they end up independent and we get them later. We don't need any more loose cannon groups out there. We've had enough of those in the recent past."
"Yes, sir. And most of them are no longer currently with us."
"Thank God. If nothing else, that Omnicorp incident was good for something. Helped us clean house. Now if we can just get the masses to shut their yaps long enough to get our numbers up and show them we're trying, my life would be a whole hell of a lot easier."
"Yes, sir. But I believe it's all for a reason."
"Yeah, yeah. What's the latest reports?"
"Well, sir, we've had another repeat sighting of a rogue mechanized unit bearing Omnicorp logos wandering out Chicago. So far it has avoided police units and has engaged numerous small time metahuman criminals. It's actually done a fairly good job of avoiding civilian casualties and collateral damage, by all accounts."
"Well Halla-fucking-lejuh. Get a couple hundred more of those and the public can rest easy. Of course they'd probably rip our asses new ones for daring to put Omnicorp tech on the streets."
"Probably, sir."
"Well, we better not let this thing show us up too much more. Do we have any teams in the area that we can use to go track this thing down and figure out what's going on with it?"
"Hmmm, yes, sir. There's a newly merged team that was transfered to the field office there a few days ago. A rather... interesting mix of agents, I would say."
"Hmmm, alright. Give them their marching orders and have them investigate this robocop thing."


Downtown Chicago

"Jeez, Hammer-man, you gonna be at that lock all day? The alarms been hit man, we got a couple minutes left before we gotta book it! Hurry the fuck up!"
"Fuck, fine, I was tryin' to finesse this a bit, y'know give it the ole soft touch, but fuck it, you want the lock out fine!"

The giant muscled man pulled his arms back then shoved them forward into the enormous metal safe door. He gripped, yanked and pulled as the metal groaned and tore free from the hinges. He turned and hurled the safe-room door through the bank windows and out onto the street, smashing a car or two in the process. The others ran inside the newly opened room and started grabbing stacks of bills, shoving them into sacks until they were full.
"C'mon c'mon man, we gotta go!"

As they started to leave, they felt the ground shake as metal feet pounded concrete, several tons of mechanized force approached quickly.

Author:  General Havoc [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cars screeched to a halt, bystanders screamed and pointed and flashed their digital and cell phone cameras, news helicopters thundered overhead, but the center of attention appeared to pay none of it any mind. Its heavy, measured footsteps sent shock waves through the asphalt, though its feet were wide enough not to carve potholes in the ground. Drivers abandoned their automobiles and ran, some in panic, some simply trying to get out of the way.

It was easy to see why. The center of attention of this enormous spectacle was not the bank robbery in progress less than fifty yards away. It was the sixteen foot tall, bipedal, armored robot walking relentlessly up the street towards it. The enormous weapon-arms on either side of the robot's main body remained even and level as it slowly turned from side to side, pivoting on its "waist". It glanced at the various pedestrians, cars, and drivers, for less than a moment each, yet it stored every byte of data from them for future reference, planning out the most efficient path to the bank doors itself, and caring nothing for what the civilians might scream or point or shout or take photos with, so long as it was permitted to accomplish its primary directives, which, though they did not know it, included their own protection.

One mother screamed helplessly as she fought with her jammed car door, trying to get it open so as to retrieve her baby from the back seat before the robot stepped on the car. She needn't have worried. Though the door stubbornly refused to budge, the robot stepped effortlessly around the car, and as it passed, it extended a manipulator arm from one side of its body and wrenched the offending door off its hinges without breaking stride, dropping it to one side and moving on towards the bank, leaving the mother to snatch her baby up and watch the robot walk away. Nobody knew what the robot was thinking of course, but as it happened, the robot had calculated that the damage to the car was justified, given the mother's hysterical screaming, and that the baby might have been suffering a seizure or some other ailment necessitating immediate attention. It did not cross the robot's mind that the mother was afraid the robot was about to crush her baby to paste by stepping on the car.

Ahead loomed the bank, cleared fortuitously of cars out front, and the robot positioned itself directly in front of the doors just as the metahuman bank robbers came boiling out, no doubt expecting to see their getaway vehicle or perhaps even the police. Whatever they were expecting to meet, this was unlikely to be it.

The robot lowered its headless main body towards the bank robbers, thirty feet away and up the steps of the bank. Its weapon arms locked themselves into a firing position, as it stabilized its great weight and activated its loudspeaker.

"XC-001 Alpha Online," it said, in a deep, authoritative, and emotionlessly robotic voice. "Unidentified Metahumans, you are under arrest for Grand Larceny, Assault with Deadly Weapons, and Federal Bank Robbery. You will drop all weapons and other held items, and lie prone on the sidewalk with your hands behind your backs. Failure to comply will result in the use of force and will compound the criminal charges against you."

The robot's internal motors whirred as the retractable metal sheaths covering the gun ports on the weapon arms slid aside.

"You have fifteen seconds to comply."

Author:  rhoenix [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

More coffee. That's exactly what he needed.

Agent Templar, during his first six months as a true Agent of Ultima (as opposed to "trainee"), had pushed himself rather hard to distinguish himself, as he'd done in the past in school, and during his on-the-job performance. As a result, he hadn't slept much the four nights before, hunting down and tracking a metahuman bank robber that simply blew holes in the sides of banks and bank vaults, causing enough explosions that it was hard to track him.

He'd been taken down simply, efficiently, and quietly. No flashy titanic flashes of power, no amazing fights on rooftops with the entire city holding its breath. It had been a fairly ordinary Thursday night, tackling the suspect, restraining him, and that was it. It had made for a fun conversation in the car ride back to the field office, however.

"What would you do if I blew up this car and us both in it, huh tough guy?" the man sneered.

Agent Templar didn't even bother looking back at the suspect as he replied. "Then I'd be scraping your DNA into plastic bags and bringing that in as evidence. Keep talking please - we need more evidence, and you're helping nicely," he replied in a professional tone of voice.

"You fucking fuzz are all the same, man, messing with your own. We metas should be running this shit man, not having us turned against each other like we are now. That's how the man does it, see - he makes sure we're all fighting ourselves so we don't realize we can fuckin' run this bitch, man! Don't you see? Or are you too much of a bootlicking goody-two-shoes little bitch to spout anything but the man's line?"

"I'd like to remind you that your idea of a well-paying and lucrative career with your abilities was stealing other people's money and killing people at random. Given that you're not a high-up government employee, the government of the United States takes offense to such things," he replied. He'd been doing this too long to dislike or even hate any of the suspects he hauled in; just their actions. Just what they chose to do, not what they said.

The suspect was quiet in response, which made Agent Templar sigh. The man's surface thoughts were practically yelling his intent to make a break for it the instant the car stopped, so he made the necessary preparations by subtly re-activating his stun-stick taser. He wouldn't run far.

They were nearing the field office, and Agent Templar could already see the protesters. He drove around to the side entrance, allowing him to both park his car and dodge the horde of angry protesters. This was more done for his suspect's protection than his - some of those outside wanted his head on a plate. One of those "diversionary" explosions had destroyed the far-left apartments, top and bottom story, of a single apartment complex, where an elderly lady lived, along with her son, daughter-in-law, and her infant grandson - all of those taken away by a robber desperate not to get caught - a robber who could cause powerful timed explosions, and who didn't care about the consequences.

As for himself, Templar was in the job he was in now because of people like this - people like who he could have been if it weren't for Amy. He knew too much about cause and effect now to seriously consider not taking such into account when choosing to act. This was why the flashy and dramatic bank robber was put down with careful aim and a stun gun, and nothing else. "Else" was a rather wide area of possibilities, and even though his powers weren't as...disruptive as some of his collegues, Agent Templar still preferred to do his job carefully, and by the book. Nobody would abuse their power without consequences if he could possibly do anything about it.

The official Ultima car slowed to a stop in the darkened, underground parking area, and just as he suspected, the suspect bolted the instant the door was open, trying to shoulder-ram Agent Templar while simultaneously dropping one of his timed charges in the back seat of the car. His plan was obvious - and easily overcome.

With two quick motions, the suspect was now immobilized temporarily, thanks to the stun-stick - but the car was an entirely different story. The explosion had taken out the rear portion of the car altogether, even melting the wheels to the pavement. Agent Templar's invisible shield of force, borne of pure stoicism and patience, had blunted the force of the explosion and protected both he and the suspect from harm, though the smell of burning rubber and plastic still surrounded them both. However, he thought with a sigh, he'd have to fill out yet another form for yet another car.

Lightly picking the man up and throwing him over his shoulder, Agent Templar walked through the elevators into the activation area, which wouldn't allow anyone without proper clearance past. His badge worked, whisking him upwards into the 5th floor, where suspects were processed. Walking with the suspect still over his shoulder, and still unconscious, he gently sat the suspect down in the processing area.

The clerk smelled the air delicately, and gave Agent Templar a look. He responded by giving a rueful smile. The clerk shook her head. "Man, if the boss finds out you lost yet another car, he's going to start making you buy them."

"Yeah, don't remind me," he replied, while filling out the appropriate paperwork for his suspect. "At least I get to go home and catch some sleep after this."

The clerk looked at him for a moment. "You know that today's when your re-assignment takes effect, right?"

Shit. He'd somehow, with the events (and utter lack of sleep) over the past four days, completely forgotten that he was meeting his new supervisor, as well as his new teammates today. After he hadn't showered in four days, or even looked in a mirror. "...yeah, I guess it slipped my mind. I'm going to go do my quick-change act."

Waving him in dismissal, the clerk smiled slightly even as she shook her head, beginning to process this suspect's paperwork. Agent Templar had a habit of getting overly single-minded sometimes with his assignments, especially if he hadn't had much sleep. Today should be interesting, she mused.

His "quick-change act" consisted of running up to his tiny office, grabbing the spare shirt, undershirt, pants, socks, shoes, jacket, tie, and toilet materials, and running to the showers to cut off four days' worth of growth, shower, and hopefully be close to on-time for this meeting.

With eyes half-lidded from lack of sleep, despite the strong, large coffee in his hand, Agent Templar arrived at his new supervisor, Agent Hawk's desk. He nodded to the secretary. "Agent Templar to see Agent Hawk regarding team re-assignments," he said formally.

Author:  SirNitram [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:55 pm ]
Post subject: 

Al drifted in the flow of data. It was the closest he could come to sleep; just listening not to any particular flow, but the soft, beautiful symphony of information flowing through the world. There were off-notes of course; botnets were a whole choir who were off-key, hence his tendency to dismantle then. But it was so peac-...

The information feed that he was report to the Chicago office elicited a sigh. Probably another suit trying to pin him into a portable disk, or convince him he had to go offline into a standalone. He should never have claimed to be AI... But a momentary flicker of attention across the world told him, with his body safe and hidden and unknown, it was worth it.

He loaded his front-end into the office's designated point, and a hologram flickered into view, sexless, ageless, featureless. But even as he appeared, the rest of the net was there, and through five different video sources, he watched the titan of steel face off with metas. That's something rare. I wonder if it's got a wireless downlink?

Author:  Charon [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Inferno got out of the pool and toweled himself off, he'd always loved swimming, even as a little kid, and while a pool wasn't the equal of a natural lake, it helped put his mind at ease. Inferno made his way to the locker room and changed into his uniform while he watched the news about the protesters. He could see where they were coming from, but meta-humans were here to stay, and if there wasn't somebody trying to stop the bad ones, things like 9/11 would be an annual occurrence.

In his red and black leather outfit, Inferno walked out of the locker room, smiling and waving to a couple of the clerks. This was his home town now, he'd been here for two years, and he'd made sure to be friendly with most everyone. Inferno walked the halls until he reached the outer cloister to Agent Hawk's office. They were putting him on a team again, he had been on and off different teams ever since he joined Ultima, and now they were giving it another try. Maybe this time it would stick.

"Hey Jane," he waved to the secretary. "I'm here about that new assignment, we being let in yet?"

Author:  Comrade Tortoise [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Richard Congdon sat at his desk in the Field Museum of Natural History in chicago, pouring over date he collected on the continued decline of Bog Turtles. Equations were scrawled out On several sheets of paper told him that the species was extinct. It just didnt know it yet. No offspring were surviving to reproduce, and the ones that were were not enough to replace the adults. There was nothing he could do. No one would listen to a bipedal man-turtle.

All he could do was study the problem and publish papers, hoping that someone could care. That someone would do something. But that did not pay the bills. He couldnt pull many research grants because he was just a post doc at the field museum. A permanent post-doc. They could not justify kicking him out of his office, but that does not mean they had to pay him, or that a university was going to hire him. He tried to tell himself that his colleagues respected him. This was true, but it was no consolation. Unlike most metahumans he could not hide himself in the population if he tried. This means that universities could not afford the flack of actually hiring a metahuman

Initially he had joined up with the WWF to help protect wildlife from poachers. He did extremely well at this. Nothing deters poachers on a Leatherback turtle nesting beach like... well, what happens in Gabon stays in Gabon. Working with an NGO though meant that he was rather beholden to their donors. Their donors did not like metahumans, especially when human and metahuman poachers start appearing in third world hospitals subsequent to an obvious titanic struggle after the WWF declares its intentions to protect turtle nesting sites along the Gabonese coast. This means that the work was patchy and Richard was forced to do something a little bit more... palms up. In this case he joined up with Ultima on the condition that barring major disasters he would have sufficient time off to continue research. He had enough data to last him for years anyway. Maybe he could eventually resign and get a real research position? Probably not. But he probably had a few hundred years to wait. He did not know if Turtles, among other taxa had that long.

But he got his team assignment today. Thankfully he would be working out of the Chicago office. And he would be damned if he didnt keep his office in the field museum. He flicked on the little TV he had in the office to see the news. Only to see it filled with protesters.

"What would you have us do humans?" he muttered "You dont want us to protect you from metahumans with more unpleasant dispositions, but you wont let us get any other work! What do you want us to do? Lie back, take an anticoagulant and open our wrists so you are not inconvenienced? Fickle mammals." was he bitter? Oh yes.

Still, he needed to report for duty. He picked his shelled form up off the modified chair he sat in, put a fanny pack around both his biceps (he couldnt exactly wear a belt) and headed outside. He crammed into his slightly rebuilt Geo Metro (that's right) and drove to the Ultima office.

Author:  LadyTevar [ Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Jerri sat back and carefully pulled off the medical gloves, giving them a gentle toss towards the waste basket before reaching up to rub her eyes. Eight vials of unbreakable plastic sat in a rack before her, each one with a removable stopper. It was the last of this batch of Serum, and she rose from her chair to carefully carry them over to the locked storage shelf to store them. She sat the rack down beside twelve others, all clearly labeled GEMINI.

Jerri closed and locked the door securely. The yin/yang magnet on the front had been a gag-gift from a co-worker. Somehow, she was starting to get a collection of the damned things.

Awww... can't take a joke, sister?

Jerri's eyes flicked to a mirror. Anyone else would have seen the reflection of a young woman, her brown hair pulled back in a bun, wearing a labcoat. Jerri saw a different young woman, with rumbled short brown curls and a smirk on her face. "It gets annoying," Jerri muttered aloud, as she often did when she was alone with just her reflection. "Besides, they keep forgetting half of that is supposed to be a MALE symbol."

You just have to be the smart one the reflection replied with a laugh that echoed around Jerri's mind. The sweet one, the good one, the quiet submissive one

"Shut up, Heidi," Jerri answered, turning away from the mirror. There came no answer but more laughter, cut off as the phone in the lab rang. Jerri answered it gladly, until she realized what it meant.

"Great... another team to try," Jerri sighed, stepping out of the lab and into her tiny office beside it, removing her lab coat and putting it in the laundry basket. "Think you can keep from sleeping your way through them this time, Heidi?"

That depends. How cute will they be? Heidi answered from the reflection in yet another mirror, watching her sister as Jerri changed quickly into the typical Ultima uniform; a black suit made out of ballistic armor, with an additional armored vest. The only marking on it was the Astrological sign for Gemini, despite more than one co-worker suggesting the white half of the Yin-Yang.

"No wonder people think I'm sexless, compared to you," Jerri muttered, grabbing up her thinkpad and the 'batbelt' as she exited her office and hurried to the elevator, nodding to the other Ultima employees as she passed. Glass and metal occasionally reflected Heidi, striding along beside her, although again no one else saw anything but Jerri. The belt was another joke, as it held bottles of the Gemini Serum in sturdy containers, as well as some of the tools Jerri herself used, including the taser.

The matte metal doors of the elevator were actually a relief, carrying Jerri upwards in rare mental silence. It was a short walk down the hallway to Agent Hawk's office.

Fuck me ... is that Inferno I see?

Jerri did not answer Heidi, did not need to answer Heidi as it was indeed Ultima's golden boy and face to the public, flirting slightly with Jane, Hawk's assistant.

Well well well... Jerri didn't have to look to see the predatory grin on Heidi's face. She could hear it -- feel it -- in Heidi's voice. I think I'm going to like being on -this- team.

"shut. up." Jerri breathed, barely moving her mouth. It was a skill she'd learned long ago, to keep her conversations with her sister semi-private. Or at least, her side of the conversation. She didn't think Heidi cared who heard her talking to Jerri.

Squaring her shoulders, resisting the urge to run her hand over her hair to make sure it looked nice, Jerri, aka Agent Gemini, walked up to Jane's desk. "Hello Jane, I got your message."

Jane gave Jerri a grin, then looked back to Inferno. "He's been delayed, Agent Inferno, but the briefing room is open. I believe Agent NExT is already inside, along with Agent Templar."

Author:  B4UTRUST [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:02 am ]
Post subject: 

Agent Hawk silently cursed to himself, not for the first or even twelth time that day. The pile of paperwork never seemed to end. The shortage of agents as of late had left a lot of the field agents pulling double and sometimes triple duty as administrative agents and field supervisors. He was still convinced that somehow he had pissed someone off somewhere to end up with all this though. He swore that the papers were somehow multiplying. And he was equally sure his boss was going to have his ass if he didn't get around to finishing that report on the Chicago block incident from last year. The investigation had ran dry after several fruitless months of fact checking, interviewing, reinterviewing, watching tapes and countless other useless tasks to resolve the case file. Whatever rogue group had decided to level nearly a whole block of the downtown while involved in a running gunfight had vanished without a trace and months of investigation had turned up nothing. Freaking ghosts. And it had been his team on call that day. He was still catching shit for that.

He sighed and finished filing and signing a few more forms and dropped them in the out box. It somehow never seemed to equal up to the in box. He vowed silently to find some way to make condoms for forms. At least that might stop them from breeding...

He stood up from his desk and stretched, bones and joints popping. He was getting to old for this shit, he thought miserably to himself. Pulling off his reading glasses he set them on his desk and walked out, heading to the briefing room where he was suppose to meet the new team he was supervising. He had read their files and knew their stories. It was an interetsing mix to say the least, but given the lack of agents in Ultima anymore there wasn't always going to be a balanced team. This one was a bit heavy on the firepower but fortunately most seemed like fairly professional agents that could be trusted not to go nuking apartment buildings. Of course he could be wrong. He prayed he wasn't, but anymore he wasn't sure who, or what, he should be praying too. Or if they were even listening...

On the way to the briefing room he swung by the supply desk to grab the box they had been trying to get him to pick up for a week now. Ever since they found out he was managing a new team. Fucking supply. Always up his ass about something to use up this or make more use of that, or they're not ordering anymore. Damn, but they were pains in his ass.

He nodded to Jane as he approached lugging the sealed box.
"They in there already?"
"Some of them are. Not all of them have arrived yet, Hawk. Want me to send 'em in when they show?"
"Yeah, I'll try to stall for a bit but I've gotta start soon. We're running behind as is."
"Tell me 'bout it. You, me, everyone. Swear if they don't start hiring some new guys soon, I'm gonna go nuts. At least they could do is give me two pay checks for the three jobs I'm working."
"Yeah, aint bloody likely. Our budget is massive, not infinite."
"Yet they got the bankroll to hire more people but not pay us for double duty in the meantime?"
"Talk to congress. I just work here. Send the others in when they show."
"Gotcha. Have fun!"
"Yeah. Right.."

Hawk fumbled with the box and the door knob, finally getting it open and jerking the door back and making his way in. The door slammed shut behind him.

The man behind the box was around six foot tall and in great shape. A desk uniform suit clung to his muscled body and threatened to rip like it wasn't a proper fit. The clothes were definately cut for him, or had been in the past. But it was obvious that he had bulked up a bit since the last time he had them altered. His black hair was short in a military buzzcut style and his grey eyes didn't stop moving as he surveyed the room and its occupants. His voice was deep and caught their attention, but seemed calm and confident and a bit friendly.
"Hello, everyone. I'm Agent Hawk. I've been assigned as your team supervisor. You'll be reporting directly to me for the meantime until I appoint someone as field lead. We'll give the others a few moments to show up before I start the briefing, but we need to begin soon. We'll keep this short.

In the meantime, someone start passing out the shirts in this box. Find a couple that fit you and pass the rest on. Supply's been trying to get me to get rid of these things so they can make room for something else. As the shirt says, your new team designation is Team Omega. Normally we wouldn't assign a newly formed group to this name, despite some of the veteran statuses some members of this team enjoy. The name seems to have a tendency to conjure up excessive egos, hubris and in some cases, god complexes. Just because Omega is supposedly the end, doesn't mean that you're all death incarnate. As you can see from the shirts, that isn't too far from what the last Omega team thought. For the record, they are no longer dancing this mortal coil. Keep that in mind. Give the others a minute or two and then we'll start. Any questions in the meantime?"

The shirts were passed out of the large box and it was clear there were enough in there to fix just about every size and numerous enough that everyone could grab several if wanted. They were simple black dress shirts, nothing over the top stylish but classy. Over the left breast was a skull with an omega symbol carved into the forehead and a flaming sword thrust downward through it, lighting it from within. Above this was stitched the word 'Omega.' On the back was only a simple motto, most likely the team before theirs had come up with it. The white thermal print read plainly: "Ushering in that last farewell."The maturity, mentality and possibly sanity of the former Omega team was obviously questionable as their taste in wardobe was dubious at best.

Author:  rhoenix [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:08 am ]
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Despite the dark circles under his eyes from lack of proper sleep, Agent Templar managed to still be perfectly professional as he picked out a few shirts that fit him, and held them beneath the arm not currently tasked with holding the ambrosia that kept him awake: coffee.

His voice was perfectly cadenced, and betrayed none of the dismay he felt at reading the team's logo. In fact, he spoke as if referencing new team desk rulers. "Sir? Will it fall under our eventual responsibilities to choose a new team motto as well?"

Author:  B4UTRUST [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:20 am ]
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"Well, son, these things seem to have a way of picking out themselves. They're like nicknames. They just happen without any real forethought. You don't really ever seem to pick out your own nickname. It's like that weird guy back in high school. You know, the weird one who had no interest in sex and was kind of overly enthusiastic about legos and other weird crap? The one who always told everyone to call him Woofie but nobody ever did because you don't pick your own nicknames? Yeah, it's something like that. I don't think you get a planning session to come up with it. It was probably some perverse thought that popped into one of their minds during a team-building exercise and it stuck with them. Oh, and by team-building, I mean binge drinking. The last group of Omegas were a bit... well, you know.

"Change it if you all want, but you've gotta wait at least six months before new shirt requisitions. Sorry."

Author:  Charon [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:25 am ]
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Inferno looked at the shirts with a raised eyebrow, he didn't have his mask on yet, no real need to. "So, we're going to be given a lot of these if we're expected to keep them right? Because I think I'm gonna be going through a lot of these. If I have to wear them, that is."

Inferno looked really confused and, slightly uncomfortable at Hawk's overly specific description of a loser kid. "And I see we've got an illustrious past to live down."

Author:  rhoenix [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:26 am ]
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Nodding crisply once, Agent Templar gave a momentary pause, during which he gulped down a lot more coffee, before he replied in the same professional tone of voice. "Thank you for mentioning that, sir. Additionally sir, what happened to the former members of Team Omega?"

Author:  Agent Fisher [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:29 am ]
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Mike sighed, rolling over, squinting his eyes at the sunlight drifting through the window. As the twenty four year old tried to get a few more minutes, the phone next to him rang.

"Fucking fuck." He mumbled before reaching over and picking it up.

"Gordon." He answered and fell silent listening to the man on the other end.

"Understood, I'll be there." Mike said, hanging up and looking at the clock. "Fuck, I miss Africa." He grumbled, getting out of bed. As a PMC who had done jobs in Africa, he was used to a sense of freedom, he and seven other guys running around, helping people out, getting paid big bucks. He was still getting paid big bucks, but the sense of freedom was gone.

One hour, two eggs, two pieces of toast, and the other required morning routines Mike Gordon walked out of the door of his new apartment, go bag slung over his shoulder, and headed downstairs.

A boring car ride later, and the young man strode into Ultima. After answering a few questions at the security checkpoint at the entrance, which included the checking of his firearm, Mike reached the floor of the briefing room. Asking around, he reached the door to the briefing room and slipped inside, taking a seat near the door and bringing out a notepad and pen.

Author:  B4UTRUST [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:35 am ]
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Hawk shot Inferno a look. It wasn't the same friendly one that had been seen before. It wasn't openly hostile or angry, but it wasn't exactly happy either. Either Inferno was close to the money with his comment or Hawk really didn't like being compared to the kid in question. Which one it was, was up for grabs. Without more information on Agent Hawk it was a 50/50 shot.

"Well, Agent Templar, you can read the battle report at your leisure. But the long story short is that just because you think you're god, doesn't make you god. Hubris is a dangerous thing."

Author:  LadyTevar [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:36 am ]
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Jerri had her laptop set up, the polarized screen hiding what she might be typing from those who'd try to spy. She didn't even bother with a local connection, as it was there mainly so she could 'see' Heidi and discuss the situation with her.

Oh. yum.

== that's our SUPERVISOR you're drooling over. The man over us?

I'd like him over me anytime

== I thought you were thinking Inferno.

No, I think I'll leave him for you, Jer.

The blush on Jerri's face had very little to do with the shirt that fell in front of her, motto side up.

Heh... My kinda team. Grab a few of those for us!

Jerri, saying nothing but thinking a LOT of nasty words in Heidi's direction, did as ordered, in two sizes, one larger than what her thin, athletic frame could wear.

That's when the newest man slipped in.
Now, who's this? Heidi asked, looking over Gordan with Jerri's eyes.

Jerri retreated to her laptop and answered by typing
== No idea. I've yet to be introduced to ANYONE, remember?

Author:  SirNitram [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:36 am ]
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Insofar as the silvery, featureless hologram could project opinions, it viewed the shirts and the apparently very former Omega team as juvenile. Still... Agent status. It would be better than the terrified, psudeo-caged existance he had experienced.

The hologram's skin rippled, and the icon appeared over it's 'heart' on it's chest. "Image updated." NeXT stated simply. Play stupid. "Alarms in progress within rapid-response zone."

Author:  Comrade Tortoise [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:37 am ]
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Richard, or "Sunrise" as he was now called pulled up to the Ultima field office. And it had a near riot of protesters outside.

"If my middle finger was not webbed to my other fingers I would flip them all the bird" he muttered to himself.

"Oh look, my adoring public" he once again commented as they seemed to rush toward him as he signaled to turn into the side entrance. They obviously did not want to tender him well wishes, and Sunrise had to suppress the urge to lay waste to them and consume their flesh. It was not hard. Much like a normal person had to restrain the desire to shoot his neighbor's yappy terrier.

he got out of his car, made sure the doors were locked, and got himself inside. Up to the briefing room he went

"I apologize for my lateness. Where is everyone?" he asked as politely as he could to the human they called Jane. he was pleasantly surprised. She didnt stare. Then again she had probably seen everything.

Of course if he did not have his genitals concealed in his cloaca which opened near the base of his little tail which was tucked inside his shell, she indeed would have seen everything. This was because he could not fit into pretty much any form of clothing that was not specially tailored for his anatomy and thus was nude unless in colder regions.

"They are in the briefing room, and have not started yet" she said pointing to the proper conference room.

"Thank you" he replied as he walked into the room and waited for the inevitable mouth-drops. He couldn't expect much better. After all, how often was it that someone saw a 6 foot tall man-turtle with a shell, black skin with gold flecks, webbed hands and feet and yellow throat. And nude to boot.

He waved slightly

Author:  rhoenix [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:46 am ]
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Agent Templar got the point to drop the subject. Besides, Agent Hawk was right - he could simply look it all up later. However, seeing what he would be told about them was just as important, and worth the question. For the moment, he nodded once crisply, and replied concisely. "Understood, sir."

After this, he took a single step back, and took another sip of his coffee. For now, he deliberately ignored everything his mental senses were yelling at him, as the cacophony of feelings and thoughts from so many unfamiliar minds was simply a jumbled mess. He'd meet them individually, and he'd look then. Both ways.

Author:  Charon [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:58 am ]
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Inferno picked out a few shirts that would fit him, then picked out a few more because he was already pretty sure he was going to go through them really quickly. Inferno then got a look around at the others in the group.

There was a hologram, or energy being of some sort, he couldn't be sure which, if it was a hologram, that meant some tech base, that was interesting. The very FBI looking man was definitely all business and really quiet on top of things. A rather attractive bookish woman caught Inferno's eye for a second before he pointedly kept looking around the room. Two new people walked in about then, he wasn't sure what the guy did normally, but he looked like he was military. When the giant turtle walked in, Inferno blinked a few times, the creature waved and so in all politeness, Inferno waved back.

He looked briefly to Agent Hawk before back to the others. "Well, I guess if we're gonna be working together we should get introductions out of the way." He got to his feet. "My name is George Sanjetti, codename Inferno. I'm a regenerator and blaster. I've been with Ultima for a few years now."

If Templar brought his psionic powers to focus on Inferno, he would notice immediately that it was more difficult to hear his thoughts, and any deeper scans would reveal that some sections of his memory were blocked off.

Author:  SirNitram [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:04 am ]
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Al dragged his mind away from the woman. It was one of those moments where, continents away, his heart suddenly picked up the pace and unfamiliar, long inert glands fired up.

It caused an uneasy pause from the hologram before response, adopting it's false persona. "Networked eXtelligence Technoentity, at your service. If the phrase is unfamiliar: I am a computer. Computer that thinks. Think, computer, think. I am an artificial intelligence designed to learn and adapt as living beings do. For shorthand, the shortname NeXT is quite suitable. My specialities include limited optokinetics.. Control over light.. And cyberpathy."

Author:  LadyTevar [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:11 am ]
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The turtle walked in... and all Jerri could do was stare.

What the fuck, over?

== o fpm'y lmpe

........ are your fingers on the keyboard right?

-NOW- Jerri looked down at what she'd typed, and positioned her fingers correctly.
== I don't know. But he's ..... He's... he's not wearing clothing.

Riiiiiiight. As if a Turtle would wear clothing. Then Heidi started laughing. TMNT.

== What?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Give him a Purple Headband.

Jerri had absolutely nothing to say at that moment. Which was good, as Inferno stood up and introduced himself, however, it was nothing she didn't already know about him. NeXT spoke up.. and Jerri had a moment of unease. AI.
Yeah... Computer. Can't hurt me, relax, introduce us.

She might as well get this over with. Jerri stood up.

"I am Jerri Stevenson, one half of Agent Gemini. My sister Heidi is the other half, and not able to attend this meeting at the moment" she said, but did not explain it further. "The short version is I'm the brains and she's the brawn."

Dammit! I hate it when you say it like that!

Jerri looked down to her laptop and typed quickly. To the rest, it might look like she was commenting to someone outside the room.
== Would you prefer being called the slut? Although I'm sure that's gotten around from the last team.

Yeah yeah... you know you wanted to wake up with him

Jerri coughed slightly, blushing a little. "Heidi will join us at a later point."

Author:  Comrade Tortoise [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:22 am ]
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The human named Jerri was just staring. Sunrise expected it, and he already knew exactly what he would say. Playing with the proverbial elephant in the room was one of his little pleasures. Besides, desensitization helped. They would need to get used to a giant turtle. That meant some idiosyncrasies.

"Hello. My name is Sunrise, I am classified as an armored scapper. And before anyone wonders why i am not wearing clothes... when was the last time anyone here saw an advertisement for Jay's Big and Turtle?" he walked over to the box of shirts.

"If this will make you more comfortable..." he grabbed several of the largest in the box and set all but one aside. He looked at the one he had, and using his beak like a set of scizzors altered the shirt so that both sides were essentially just squares connected by four fabric straps. As he found a chair that worked for him (someone thought ahead after reading his file it seemed) he sat down and slid the "shirt" over his shell.

"In any case, I do horrible things to other things and draw my power from electromagnetic radiation. So sunlight, radio waves, gamma rays. That sort of thing"

Author:  Agent Fisher [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:30 am ]
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Mike stood, looking around the room.

"Hello, name's Mike Gordon. Energy Blaster. I actually work for Blackthorne Security. We've been contracted to assist Ultima during the manpower shortage." He said. "I've done three job missions in Africa. And before anybody asks. No, we aren't Grey Legion and we don't slaughter civilians, so please don't lump us with them." Mike finished and smiled. "But I'm looking forward to working alongside you folks."

Author:  rhoenix [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:41 am ]
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Turning to the rest, Agent Templar's senses were no longer being ignored; but rather, focused. He went with each one in turn as they spoke, noting down all pertinent details about them mentally, though what with how long he'd been profiling people, he barely realized he was doing it.

He nodded once as each one introduced themselves, looking them directly in the eyes, his facial expression or body language never changing - even for Sunrise. When it was finally his turn, he spoke in a clipped, though still professional tone. A careful listener noted that because of how tired he was, he was reverting mentally to his Giving Reports point of view and voice, meant for giving many related facts in a short amount of time.

"I am Agent Templar, with Ultima now for several years, a full special field agent now less than six months. My abilities include telepathy, and telekinesis. I am pleased to meet all of you."

He tucked his shirts under his arm.

Author:  Dark Silver [ Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:47 am ]
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It seemed with almost precise timing, as Agent Templar finished introduced himself, the door to the meeting room opened.

The man was a man of average height, his brown hair worn in a fashionable enough way, to still be under regulations, his clothing was a simple, if not also somewhat fashionable black suit and loafers, the button down shirt was crisp white to offset the coat. He wore a pair of black sunglasses, which came off as he walked into the room. Those that watched, saw a pair of black leather gloves covering the flesh there. In fact, it appeared aside from his neck up, the man had every inch of his skin covered. His face could have been called attractive - if something would break up the monotony of it. The face was rather plain. Just a scare or blemish from being handsome.

Legion walked into the room, visibly favoring his right leg, though not enough to need a cane to help him walk. He nodded to the team members sitting at the table, and the hologram floating. He had been told last night of the team he would be working with for Ultima - and as such, as read their files that he could get to. He was familiar, tacitly, with all of them and their powers. But files were no good for the real people.

HE came to a empty seat, turned his attention to Agent Hawk, and nodded. He waited to make sure no one else to talk, before introducing himself.

"Forgive my lateness" he said, his voice was low - not low enough to be a whisper, though the standard American accent and the low timbre let it carry well. "I was detained. I am Special Agent Legion - Attache' from the Department of Metahumans Affairs, reporting for duty."

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