The Breaking

Season 3 Issue 4 - The Dark Rises Part 2

Aurum, Firework, and Jesuit find themselves in a vast canyon made of black, onyx rock. The sky overhead rumbles with thunder and black lightning. Darkness surrounds them. They see the Blackguard flying overhead, causing Firework to summon an illusion of a home made of the same black onyx, shielding them from view.

Bouncer finds himself on top of the cliff making up the valley. He is confused as to how he arrived, but figures his team did something. He sees a flying figure above and manages to hide, as he sees the imp of the Blackguard, Gravik, fly by, laughing hysterically calling out, “I’ll find you! I’ll find you and then we can play!”

On the opposite side of the valley, Juanito & War appear. Juanito lights up their path as they try to find their friends. They don’t see the trap laid before them as they fall into a pit, tumbling head over heel. As they land, they hear a voice go, “Hey! This is my hiding spot!”

A female with short red hair, with a cybernetic eye, wearing body armor, and pointing a blaster at them, stands before the two heroes. She goes, “Great, now they’re going to see us!” Her gun whirs on.

Juanito goes, “Wait, wait. I can help!” He casts an illusion of the ground above them, covering them from view. In moments they hear Gravik screech, “Come out come out wherever you are! Let me take you to your friends! It’ll be fun!”

They wait until the hysterical giggling trails off.

The woman speaks, “Okay, a) who are you and b) how’d you get here and c) give me one good reason not to blast both of you.”

After some back and forth, the woman says her name is Captain Cutlass. She escaped capture from The Blackguard but is trying to get her way back into their HQ. She says they have her crew. War convinces her to join them while they find their friends.

After some mishaps, the team reunites in the fake rock home. Aurum spreads out with his magical senses, trying to get a lay of the land. He senses that magic is sparse here, but there is a dark energy surrounding the planet. Jesuit activates his Angel Eye and tries to get a sense of the twisted world. The darkness covers the sky, even blocking his sight.

War, Juanito & Cutlass tell the rest of Cutlass’ predicament. She says that if they help her get her crew back, that she has a way off the planet.


Jesuit is able to tell that Cutlass is from Earth, and it turns out she is originally from Emerald City. She’s even heard of The Key family. She was kidnapped by aliens when she was younger. Those same aliens killed her family and sold her off to be a slave. She was able to escape, joined up with a rough crew, and made her way into the spaceways. She tells them eventually she got herself a crew and that they fight against the slave trade and fight the good fight.


Firework and Jesuit converse, realize that this is a good opportunity to get The Night Stone, the object that gives the Blackguard their power. Using Juanito’s newfound vision powers, they’re able to deduce that the power surrounding the planet emanates from the giant citadel miles away, the homebase of The Blackguard.

The team agrees to help Cutlass. She says that she can try to stealth their way in, the way she escaped. Bouncer suggests having a distraction. As the team discuss their options, Wildheart and Juanito take off!

“So much for the element of surprise.” says Bouncer.

Wildheart and Juanito fly straight towards the citadel, blazing light as they streak across the sky. From a distance, they can see that members of the Blackguard start pouring out of citadel, heading to interpass the two light heroes.

Firework gathers up the rest, turns them into spark form, and zips through the ground towards the Citadel. It’s tough going through the onyx rock, but they get there in no time. Just as they’re about to enter…they slam into the energy shield protecting the fortress, causing the team to land unceremoniously on the ground, just under the open door where Blackguard members are flying out.

Dozens of Blackguard surround Wildheart and Juanito. They’re able to fight them off, Juanito’s light blasts being very effective against the villains. Wildheart let’s go of Juanito’s powers and latches onto a Blackguard, channeling their power to slam the darkness against them.

The darkness surges through Wildheart. This isn’t Nevernever energy. He’s never felt anything like it. The power, though…the power is intoxicating.

They’re able to hold off for a few moments, but they are soon overwhelmed. Wildheart orders Juanito to join the others, letting loose one last blast, knocking several of the guards down. He then pops out of the fight.

Back on the ground, the team battle against the Blackguard. Firework summons duplicate illusions of themselves, which gives Aurum time to summon a magic beetle that is able to chew through the shielding. They hold off the onslaught, as War, Jesuit and Captain Cutlass slip in through the defenses.

Inside, Cutlass leads the way, battling through the somewhat empty fortress. Most of the Blackguard swarmed outside, leaving the inside with a skeleton crew. Jesuit, his Angel Eye activated, leaves War and Cutlass and follow the trail to where he thinks the Night Stone is. He finds it. It’s the throne where Blackstar sits. Blackstar says out loud, “So you made it this far. My liege gives his regards, Jesuit. He says he misses his favorite toy.”

Jesuit then hears the voice of the being that captured his essence and tortured him for a year. He hears the voice in his head, beckoning to him, telling him to return. Jesuit is able to fight through the fear and focus his sight on the throne, trying to figure out how to take it. He realizes that the throne is just the portion of The Night Stone that he can see. The Night Stone itself is the core of the planet!

That’s when the doors shut, sealing Jesuit inside with Blackstar.

Even with the illusions, and the turning of one of the Blackguards against his mates, Firework, Aurum, Juanito and Wildheart begin to get overwhelmed. There are dozens of Blackguards, fighting to protect their fortress and their master.

Inside, Cutlass and War make haste to the dungeons, flirting along the way. Inside, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of prisoners. Cutlass ignores them and heads straight to the back. She finds her teammates, but has to hack into the system in order to release them. War gives her cover. War hears a voice in his head, a watery one, telling him to tell Cutlass to cut the shield as well. He says this and she does so.

The cell opens up and out pops her team, a talking platypus, a blue skinned male, a giant made of shiny crystal, carrying a small jar with a green oozing eyeball inside. They immediately back up War, with the platypus causing an explosion that knocks the bad guys down.

Blackstar, not standing up, says, “You are a fool to challenge me here. Here, in my place of power!”

Bouncer, through the mindlink via Aurum, is able to size up Blackstar. He realizes that Blackstar could give The Huntmaster a run for his money! Bouncer says they need to go, now!

The magic beetle finally chews its way through the shield, just as the outside teams is almost down. Firework immediately scoops them up and swarms inside. He snatches up Jesuit, War and The Star Raiders. As he picks up the crystal man, Firework sparks immediately flare up brighter and hotter than before. His power has just gotten a boost somehow!

Using his new found strength, Firework scoops up as many of the prisoners as he can, dozens out of the hundred or so, and jets off into the sky. The Blackguard corp follows, the thundering voice of Blackstar ringing through the fortress.

The rainbow streak of Firework blasts through the thunderclouds and rips through the atmosphere. As they break free, they turn around and see the planet disappear! The shield, which Cutlass took down, came back online, mere seconds after Firework’s escape. If it had been up…

Cutlass yells out, “Our ship, The Maurader! Behind the asteroid!”

Firework drops off the Star Raiders, who immediately head into warp drive. Firework, his sparks full of his friends and refugees, blast off into space, heading back to Homeworld.

Season 3 Issue 4 - The Dark Rises

The team is transported back to The Citadel, and once more speak with Mentor. Mentor, back in this holographic form, thank the team. He says the Blackguard have never been able to infiltrate Homeworld before, and that their numbers are growing faster than anticipated. He welcomes the team to stay as long as they wish, and to show Homeworld’s gratitude they would provide transport for the team, for the duration of their stay.

They discuss the possibility about opening trade agreements, and having Earth join The Stellar Imperium. The whole team decides that it’s a bad idea. Nations on Earth can barely get along with each other, let alone adding a whole other galaxy. Mentor says he hadn’t planned on extending the invite for several hundred more years, so he will follow the team’s suggestions.

As the team explains Earth’s current political climate, Aurum declares that he is planning to run in the next presidential election. He has been working with those in AEGIS, as well as making his own political connections, to get the word out. He will soon declare his intentions publicly. As is, he will be going up the Primary Republican candidate, Trump, who is running on an Anti-Paranormal ticket, and Primary Democrat candidate, Clinton. Hate crimes against Paranormals have started to slowly increase, and a lot of pundits are pointing fingers at the Trump rhetoric.

Aurum implies that if he wins, he may be able to help ease the world into accepting The Stellar Imperium’s offer.

Mentor says he would be happy to give the team a tour of The Citadel, which the team is happy with. As they’re about to step out, Jesuit notices that certain members at the various terminals in the control room are acting oddly. Some seem to be ducking under their terminals, while others are arming themselves. Mentor stops in his tracks and begins to some sort of scan.

He says, “Jesuit, please…stay where you are. Do not make any sudden movements.” Jesuit, who was reaching for his own weapon, points out they have been nothing but civil, and even assisted them when they needed it. That everyone else is making aggressive actions towards him and his people.

Mentor nods, tells everyone to stand down, and begins to explain. “Apologies. We are still on red alert, after the attack from The Blackguard. Our scans have indicated that you, and just you, is contaminated with a…dark energy, one that is unknown to us, but similar to the kind that The Blackguard uses. We must ask, would you be willing to undergo examination, to make sure that you do not pose a threat. To yourself, or anyone around you?”

Jesuit agrees, and Mentor escorts Jesuit and the team to an examination room. War & Juanito go off on their own, and discover a viewing room where they have access to millions of alien entertainment programming. They found alien cable tv.

Meanwhile, Wildheart has been busy with SCIENCE. With the advanced alien technology, he has been examining both Nevernever energy that fills every paranormal, and the dark energy that resides within Jesuit. He is trying to figure out just how Nevernever energy works, how it can be harnessed, and exactly what the black energy is.

He asks for assistance from a nearby technician. A female alien, purple skin with gold eyes and wavy, snake like hair, comes over. She begins to assist Wildheart, and seems fascinated by Nevernever energy. She asks if she can continue studying that energy, while Wildheart focuses on the dark energy. He agrees.

Wildheart explains to the technician about Nevernever energy, about how it changes his species and gives them extraordinary abilities. The Technician is confused, saying she doesn’t understand. Wildheart asks if there is something that her species can do, that no other species can. She gestures to her hair, and it moves on its own. She says that its prehensile, and that to her knowledge, only her species can do it. Wildheart says that with Nevernever energy, maybe someone on his planet can do that, while others can fly, or shoot lasers from their eyes! He gets excited while he speaks about the possibilities of Nevernever energy, which cause the tech to dive deeper into her investigations.

Jesuit is brought to an examination room. After a series of alien tests, Mentor says that the dark energy is unknown, but shares similar properties to the energy that powers The Blackguard. The real test was to see if it was viral, whether other people could be infected. Mentor explains that though Blackstar does recruit people with darker natures, they seem to become more chaotic and evil after being infected with the black energy. Mentor worried that Jesuit was being used as a trojan horse of some kind.

Jesuit says that he believes he became infused with the energy when he was ripped from this reality and thrown into that darker universe, where everything except a few dozen planets was gone. He explains how he was imprisoned for a year, tortured, but only for a few moments had passed in his world. With Mentor’s help, he creates a hologram of the one who was in charge, the giant one with a flaming skull. Mentor says he will use The Stellar Imperium resources to look into it.

Firework comes up with an idea. He says that if he wants Jesuit to get rid of the energy, that all he has to do is not be able to house it. He latches onto Jesuit, and they fly up to the sky, past the planet’s atmosphere. Mentor’s consciousness follows, as does Aurum, leaving Bouncer behind.

Up in space, Jesuit protected from the vacuum by Firework, Firework explains that he can change Jesuit to pure Nevernever energy, and that maybe that way, they’ll be able to separate the dark energy and contain it. Jesuit agrees, and Mentor monitors the situation.

Firework concentrates and he transforms into his pure energy form. The energy swallows up Jesuit and he becomes pure Nevernever energy. Instead of the rainbow that is Firework, Jesuit is mostly Light Blue, Indigo, and gold. Mentor detects the black energy and tracks it. Aurum casts a spell and try to exorcise it not just from Jesuit’s body, but destroy it as well. He succeeds, partly. The black energy is ripped from Jesuit, but it immediately flies away, faster than the heroes can track. Mentor can track it, but it is difficult.

Back in the lab with Wildheart, the lights flicker momentarily. Everyone looks more then a little confused, since that never happens. Wildheart looks around, trying to figure out what happened, but no one seems to know. He turns to talk to the tech he’s been working with, but she’s gone. She seems to be walking out somewhat quickly. Wildheart shrugs and goes back to his work. But he quickly realizes that all the information on the Nevernever energy is gone! He goes to check in with the team.

Mentor tracks down the energy, near the science division of The Citadel, but he can’t narrow it down further. Firework and Jesuit are the first to arrive, being pure energy, and begin their search. Bouncer is on the way, and Aurum hovers above, providing air support.

Mentor says that the Science Division is reporting there was an energy fluctuation that caused a momentary black out. He checks the video surveillance and pulls it up for the team. They see Wildheart and the SNEK haired tech working together, but when the lights go out, nothing. When the lights go back on, the tech is uploading files onto a device of some sort and then walks away.

Mentor says he can detect the energy approaching. From down the hall, the tech appears, followed by Wildheart. Before Wildheart can do anything, the tech’s hair comes to life and wraps itself around Wildheart. She yells out, “Let me pass, or your friend will suffocate!”

Firework smiles. He says, “Hey Wildheart. Aurum is right above us.” Wildheart doesn’t move, but then POPS out of the tech’s grip, and appears next to Aurum. Aurum lets him fall a bit before he catches him.

The tech looks around, sees that she’s surrounded, and swallows the device with data on it. She makes an attempt at an escape, but Jesuit blasts her before she can make it, severely injuring her. The Citadel’s healing machinery activates and begins to heal her. Firework attempts to get the device from out of her, but instead discovers that it’s gone! It seems to have been teleported out somehow. He can “feel” what seems like a mini-wormhole inside of the tech! He thinks about jumping in when Aurum arrives with Wildheart.

Aurum pulls out his golden key to The Lair, channels some magic into it, and sticks it into the tech’s chest! Immediately the entire team is teleported out and reappear on a rocky, jagged environment, surrounded by black obsidian stones and cliffs. They look up and see black thunderclouds, with powerful lightning bolts ripping through the sky. As they look around, they see several members of the Blackguard fly overhead.

The team has been transported to the world base of The Blackguard.

Season 3 Issue 3 - ...In Spaaaaace... Part 2

The team is enveloped in darkness. The only light stems from Firework’s sparks, Sri Lerus armor, and the alien energy powering the plant. Firework spreads out his sparks a bit, but the darkness almost seems to be fighting back.

The winged alien says, “I see you made some new friends. Perhaps they would like to meet MY friends!” The aliens get into battle formation, except for the imp, who seemingly jumps into the darkness itself, disappearing from view.

Sri Lerus gives the Golden Gate Guardians the low down on The Black Guard. Their leader, Black Star, was once a Star Knight known as Rojan Lhar. He became corrupted and abused his power. Mentor and the rest of the Knights took him down, and imprisoned him. Somehow, Lhar escaped and discovered a power source known only as The Night Stone, which allows him to empower his followers. The Black Guard are sworn enemies to not only the Star Knights, but the entire galaxy.

Sri Lerus yells out, “We must take down that dome! Then we can have all of Homeworld here to capture them!”

Aurum looks up into the darkness, sighs, and envelops himself in golden light. “This isn’t magic…but I’ll see what I can do. Do be a dear, and cover me, as they say.” and rises to the top of the dome, and begins casting.

The team battles hard, going one on one with the Blackguard.

Auroch charges at Bouncer, who is able to turn his own momentum against him.

Izeel flies towards War, deflecting his arrows with his shadow wings.

Gravik the imp plays hide and seek with Firework.

Sri Lerus flies into the air and fights Karess, backed up by Jesuit.

The battle goes on. Auroch is hard to hurt, but not hard to trick. Izeel plays with War, until War stops playing and uses explosions against him. Karess dances with Sri Lerus, until Jesuit finds her weak spot.

As his teammates get taken out, Gravik shouts in an alien language, summoning shadow versions of himself. They attack en masse.

The team is able to take out the additional numbers, as well as the rest of The Black Guard. Before they’re able to capture the slippery Gravik, Gravik screeches and yells out, “BOSS!”

Tentacles of shadow rip through the ground and capture each of the Golden Guardians and the Star Knight, except Aurum, protected by magic, and Firework, who slips through.

From the ground rises the leader of The Black Guard, Black Star. He inspects the team, as he slowly crushes them. “Interesting. Which planet do you hail from? I would like to…visit…”

None of the team answers, as Firework starts to light up the place. Black Star looks over at him, and says, “Well, you would be most fun to play with, I think…”
From above, Aurum yells out, “He’s taken!” as a blast of golden energy pierces the shadow dome. From the outside, dozens of Star Knights are attacking the dome with energy weapons of all kinds.

Black Star releases the team, dropping them to the floor. “We’ll continue this another time. Good bye, Star Knight. I hope to see you again…soon…” The shadows themselves wrap around the Black Guard, and they teleport out.

The Star Knights begin to see to the injured, and begin repairs on the Power Plant. They take Sri Lerus’ report. Sri Zarius shows up, envelops the team in an energy field, and flies them back to The Citadel.

“The Black Guard have never been able to penetrate our defenses before. For them to so boldy attack our power grid…”

Jesuit speaks up, saying what everyone is thinking, “Sri Lerus. I do believe you have a traitor among you.”

Season 3 Issue 3 - ...In Spaaaaace...

The team talks wit the green armor alien, Sri Lerus, while the blue armor alien, Sri Zarius, talks with President Obama. Zarius & Obama make plans to have a proper diplomatic meeting at Camp David later, when things quiet down.

Lerus asks the team again if they’d like to come to Home World, home of the Order of the Star Knights. The team agrees, but asks if they can have some time to get their affairs in order. Lerus says to take their time.

Firework & Aurum check up on the home, and see the damage that was wrought when Johnny 5’s security systems went haywire. They see damage on the street, a few cars scorched, and the lawn burned. Inside, the house is in disrepair, but looks salvageable. AEGIS is already on site, cleaning up and doing repairs.

Upstairs they find Melody, who had been hiding in the command center. Jackson is with her, and they’re looking over a black metallic box. Jackson says that Johnny 5’s AI matrix is inside, but he’s not sure if he’ll be able to salvage it. Thanks to Firework’s text, Jackson was able to get Melody to begin a contingency plan he had in place, so there is hope, but it’ll be tricksy.

Firework and Aurum look outside and see neighbors huddling around, taking pics of the chaos. They realize their “secret headquarters” is no longer secret. They make the decision to permanently move to their skyrise building in the city. They make the only entrance accessible via the bird sanctuary island off the shore of San Francisco. How the non-fliers of the team will get access to their homes, and what AEGIS will say, is left for future them to worry about.

Meanwhile, Aurum gets a call from Princess, one of the team members of the Emerald Knights, the AEGIS team based in Emerald City. She asks to have a word with Bouncer, in person. He agrees, and they meet up at SFO, in an area designated for government agencies.

Princess arrives with Xeno, another Emerald Knight. Bouncer is accompanied by Jesuit. Bouncer has met Princess before, and read about Xeno, a shapeshifting paranormal whose “default” state is that of an alien humanoid.

Xeno asks for discretion and requests Bouncer’s help. She says she’s here in regards to the two aliens that have been captured by AEGIS, War Witch and Drakko. She fears for their safety, and from what she’s heard, they weren’t in full control of their actions.

Bouncer tells them that they’re safely locked up in AEGIS HQ in the Presidio, until they’re transferred. Though aliens, they’ll be treated just like Paranormals. Xeno goes, that’s what she’s worried about.

Xeno confesses that she lied to AEGIS. She’s not a Paranormal. She’s actually an alien herself. She arrived on Earth years ago, and with her natural shapeshifting abilities, blended into society. When The Breaking happened, she saw it as an opportunity to “come out” and be who she was, although she would still say she used to be human. Her team, The Emerald Knights all know, but they all promised to keep it under wraps.

Xeno says there’s a small community of aliens who are too, well, alien looking, living off the coast of Emerald City on Star Island, and she’d like to bring War Witch & Drakko there. She’s been digging into AEGIS and has discovered that certain “paranormals” have gone missing, paranormals she suspects were actually aliens.

Bouncer and Jesuit mention the time that Pack Rat’s people were attacked by Men In Black, and wonder if there’s a connection. Xeno says she and the Emerald Knights would look into it. Bouncer says he’ll talk to Dr. Brennan and see what strings she can pull. Xeno & Princess thank them both.

Meanwhile, Melody is not super happy with War, who seemingly was not concerned with her well being as Johnny 5 lost control. He quips that of course he was concerned, but knew she could handle herself. She was not impressed.

When the team reconvenes, they tell Sri Lerus that they’re ready. Sri Lerus creates a green bubble around the team and they shoot off into space. Maria Jackson, The Star Knight of Earth, waves goodbye and tells them she’ll keep an eye on things there.

The trip is exhilarating. They travel deep into space, with stars and planets passing them in the blink of an eye. They go further than any human ever has (except for Firework). They see the infinite vastness of space, and are awed.

For the first hour. Then it just gets kind of boring. It takes several hours for them to arrive to their destination. But once they do, it’s another spectacular scene.

They see Home World before them, an Earth size planet that is busy with life. Ships go in and out of the atmosphere, space stations circle the planet, and streaks of light come to and fro, faster than the team can keep up. Those are the other Space Knights.

Sri Larius explains that the Order of the Star Knights are the peacekeepers of the Stellar Imperium, the coalition of different planets and civilizations. They stay out of interplanetary politics, but intervene when outside forces put a planet into danger, or when they are asked for assistance. Most of the alien civilizations are considered allies, though some more reluctantly then others.

The leader of the Order is called Mentor, and he lives in the Citadel, the largest structure on Home World. That’s where the team will be taken.

The team arrives in the city where the Citadel is located. They walk the streets and are bombarded with all kinds of alien technology, and different alien lifeforms. No one blinks an eye their way, though Lerus says that most of these folks have never seen a human before.

Once inside the Citadel they go through several security gates, pass many other Star Knights, and finally go into a vast room filled with monitors. Hundreds of them. They all have different scenes, most of alien worlds and landscapes, some of Home World itself.

An electronic face appears on the monitors, looking down at the team. They are scanned briefly, and then energy comes out of the screens themselves. A holographic human appears before the team. It introduces itself as Mentor, and explains it has chosen a body that would hopefully put the team at ease.

Mentor says that he had not planned on inviting the planet Earth to join the Steallar Imperium for another few centuries, but Zarius has said that the people of Earth have great potential. Firework himself has impressed the Star Knights, and that if the team wishes, they can begin diplomatic delegations soon.

The whole team says, “Um…no…” They all agree that the Earth isn’t ready for first contact, that Earth is still fighting amongst themselves, and throwing another “other” that is very much OTHER will cause panic and fear. Paranormals are humans, and they’re still looked upon with fear. If aliens are brought into the situation, it wouldn’t go over well.

Mentor thinks it over, and agrees to let the team decide what is best for their planet. Mentor asks them to explore the Citadel, and Home World, and when they’re ready to go back, just ask and a Star Knight will escort them home.

While this happens, Wildheart takes a big sniff. He smells no Never Never Energy outside of his friends. The whole world is barren compared to Earth. It makes him uneasy.

Aurum feels that there is magic in the world, but it’s “new” almost raw, and more difficult ot wield. He’s still able to cast spells, but it takes a bit more concentration.

Jesuit says that he would like to discuss the prison planet he was on for the year he was gone (only a few moments in our time). He describes the scene, and Mentor admits there is nothing like that in his database. He has heard of some sort of conqueror, rumors in the darkest reaches of space. Mentor says he can tap into Jesuit’s mind and project the images he has seen.

Jesuit agrees and does so. The team is able to see for the first time the planet array where the large skeletal figure held Jesuit captive for so long. The team sees the creature for the first time, and Jesuit blanches at the sight of it.

Mentor says he senses different types of energy within Jesuit, different then what the rest of the team has. He doesn’t pry too much, but seems interested in studying the energy.

Wildheart asks Mentor if there is a science station he can access, to do a bit of research on his own.

Mentor begins to answer when he flickers. He starts to loop back and forth until he gets control again. He goes into computer mode and says there is an electrical issue in sector 4. The hologram disappears.

Lerus says he’ll go check it out, and whether the team wishes to accompany him. The team agrees, except for Wildheart, who asks a technician alien to take him to the science lab.

At the science lab, Wildheart SCIENCES and learns that Jesuit has two different energy readings in his body. One is Never Never energy, another is one he’s never seen before.

Back with the team, they arrive at Sector 4, which is on the other side of the planet. It is a large power plant, one that takes up several city size blocks. The team explores to see what the situation is.

War stumbles upon a goblin like creature, in a purple uniform, clawing at several circuits. He takes aim and fires.

Shadows emerge from the ground, protecting the imp. From the shadows arise several other figures, A bull-like humanoid, a female with long blond hair, and a male redhead with black shadow wings.


A black dome appears over the area, cutting off light and communication.

The winged creature smiles and says, “Cut off from your friends, Knight. Whatever will you do? Oh, that’s right. Die.”

Season 3 Issue 2 - Stars Among Us Part 3

As Drakko roars, War Witch & Iron Monger leap into battle. The team brace themselves.

In an alternate reality…

Firework leads the way out of a tower of the Dark Necromancer, Grizhul The Desecrator. He is followed by his fellow adventurers, a group he met in a local tavern. As they take a rest, they split up the loot. Firework asks that the group keep the gold, but he wouldn’t mind one of the spell scrolls.

With the Necromancer’s dark magic out of the way, Firework’s connection with Aurum reestablishes itself. Via a telepathic mind dump, Firework realizes his friends need help. He wishes his new friends goodbye and teleports to The Nevernever.

There it’s a hop, skip & teleport to The Lair. He calls out The Caretaker and asks to be teleported to San Jose. Caretaker creates a doorway, and Firework appears in downtown San Jose.

Aurum is standing off against Erebus. Erebus has just disintegrated The President of the United States. His secret service are unconscious on the floor. Erebus’ formerly charming smile is now malicious, almost scary. Aurum keeps his cool.

Aurum tries to get Erebus to monologue, and succeeds. Erebus admits that he was hoping to get the trust of the planet before he betrayed them, but that the unexpected arrival of their prey sped up their plans. He says with the power he’ll get from his prey, maybe The Starbreed will properly conquer Earth, and rule it under his…merciful regime.

Aurum measure up Erebus. He finds him lacking. He threatens Erebus, telling him that his goons don’t stand a chance. That the power that Earth possesses, not just in technology but in raw, unadulterated power, will make the universe tremble. That Erebus would be wise to take caution, because once that power is unleashed, he’ll be its first victim.

Erebus takes in Aurum’s warning. He continues smiling, his demeanor not showing any sign of distress. Erebus remains quiet for a moment and then goes, “Bah, you are unworthy of my attention. Fare thee well, magician. And have fun explaining what happened to the leader of your world, and how you failed to protect him. “

With a wave of his hand, Erebus teleports away.

Aurum smirks, casts a spell, and vanishes.

Back in San Jose, the team leaps into action. Wildheart goes after Drakko, Bouncer charges Warwitch, while War & Jesuit take positions. Firework & Juanito attempt to clear out any bystanders.

Drakko slashes at Wildheart. Though Wildheart dodges, the force behind the hits are intense, and Wildheart knows that if they connect, it’s gonna hurt. A lot. He punches at Drakko, but Drakko just laughs off the taps.

War Witch twitches and her demeanor changes to that of royalty and confidence. Red energy surrounds her and from the ground rises red skeletal minions. They surround her and protect their Queen. As Bouncer reaches them, they slash at him, keeping him at bay.

Iron Monger taps some buttons on his wrist control pad. The Starbreed’s ship starts to power up.

Firework attempts to contact Johnny 5 & Melody. Their communicators are down, thanks to Iron Monger. He learns that the last transmission they sent out sounded bad, so he races home, in order to check in on them.

There, he finds that their home’s security defenses have been activated, and have gone wild! Blast of energy are shooting to & fro, a smoldering wreck of a car is seen down the block, while rubble is everywhere.

There are bystanders hiding up and down the streets. Some have their cell phones out and are recording. The Perception Filters are either offline or can’t hide the chaos erupting from their base.

Firework dematerializes and enters their home. Johnny 5’s systems have gone haywire. Cabinets, doors and panels are slamming open and shut. Various booby traps have been activated, including buzz saws, trap doors, and energy blasts. Firework avoids the energy weapons and heads into the control room. Inside, all the screens are flickering and changing, with various alarms going off all at once. He finds Melody, hiding underneath one of the control panels. Her clothes are burnt, but she appears unhurt.

Firework sends a text out to Jackson, hoping to get help in shutting down Johnny 5. He reaches the master control panel and tries to override Johnny 5. He inputs the master code, but something is fighting him! It looks like an outside influence is changing the code, preventing Firework from shutting down Johnny 5!

Firework gets a text from Jackson. It reads “On it.” A few moments later he texts, “Telling Melody to do the thing.”

After several attempts, Firework gets frustrated. He decides that drastic actions are needed. He goes underneath the base, finds the power lines and cuts them in half. The entire base (and neighborhood) black out. All activity has been nullified.

Firework sends a spark to Dr. Brennan, “Get an AEGIS team over to our base. We need a clean up crew, and the perception filters are down. People know.”

He flies back to San Jose.

Erebus shows up, and heads towards the immobile golden armored figure. Jesuit scans him, and the rest of the Starbreed. He sees that Drakko is a powerhouse, Erebus will be tough to hurt, Warwitch is completely unstable, and can’t get a read on Iron Monger due to his armor.

Jesuit takes a shot at Erbeus, but it stops just before it hits him. He has a force field!

War takes aim at Drakko. He tags him with a taser arrow, which Drakko laughs off. War goes stealth and takes aim at Drakko, getting ready for the perfect shot.

Wildheart attempts to put the whammy on Drakko, but his powers don’t seem to affect the non-Paranormal. Furious with Drakko and unable to hurt him, instead tells Juaunito to fly over the ocean, just off short. Juanito does. Wildheart latches onto Drakko and teleports him to where Juanito is, hundreds of feet over the ocean! He drops Drakko and mimics Juanito’s flying ability. They fly back to the battle.

Aurum arrives, surveys the scene, summons an Elvish Knight, and sends it into battle.

Bouncer takes care of War Witch’s summons. As he is about to attack her, she summons her ax and shoots blast of red energy at Bouncer!

War, his target gone, jumps into the battle and tries to help Bouncer. He is able to take out several of War Witch’s summons.

As they do so, Iron Monger finishes preparing the ship. The ship’s offensive capabilities are now online. Canon’s appear underneath the ship. They take aim and start blasting away at Bouncer & War! Bouncer barely dodges out of the way, but War is blasted into the ground, being left in a massive crater in the street.

Erebus, ignoring the blasts from Jesuit, picks up the golden armored figure and flies into the air. He yells out, “We have what we came for! Leave!”

Iron Monger says, “What about Drakko & the Witch?”

Erebus goes, “Leave them!”

As they fly up into the air, Jesuit yells out at the team “Stop them! They’re escaping!” As he does, he looks up into the sky. He sees streaks of light, different colors, emerging from the heavens, and heading straight to where they’re at.

Jesuit takes aim at the ship and starts to blast it, trying to take out its cannons. Aurum’s knight launches arrows at it, helping Jesuit take them out.

Firework arrives, just in time to hear Jesuit’s cry. He sees Erebus holding onto the armored figure. He takes a breath, hopes that the force field doesn’t extend beyond Erebus, and launches himself at them. He grabs onto the figure, dematerializes it and himself, and flies toward the ground, away from The Starbreed.

Erebus roars with rage. He flies straight into the ship, followed by Iron Monger. The ships cannons all focus on the team and start to charge up when bolts of energy start hitting it from above!

The color streaks are now in plain sight and they’re four other armored beings, similar to the golden one in Firework’s arms. They’re blasting at the ship as the purple one slashes at it with a pole axe, another with an energy sword. The ships turns and flies off, while two of the figures go in pursuit.

The two remaining ones, a blue & green one, land in front of the team.

The green one speaks, “We hear word that one of us in danger. Please, are you to assist in this?”

The team walks towards the blue & green aliens, weary. As they do, Firework rises from the ground, with the golden armored figure. As they do, the blue one says, “Fire-work?” Firework, surprised, goes, “Sri Zarius? Hi!” Firework looks at his friends, “These are my friends from…out there!” he points to the sky.

The golden figure stands on its own and takes off its helmut. Underneath is a young, african american woman, with big hair. She shakes her head and goes, “Wow…that was instense.”

The aliens explain that The Starbreed are infamous bounty hunters, and they were tasked with capturing a member of the Order of Star Knights, guardians of the universe. When they found out that Earth had been assigned a Star Knight for the first time, they thought it would be easy prey. With Iron Monger’s help, their ship was able to transmit a signal that interfered with Earth’s Star Knight’s armor, thus making its host lose control.

Golden Star Knight goes, “Yeah. I’ve only had the armor for a few weeks, still trying to understand it. But then today it just went kray and I couldn’t stop it, or even unsummon it. Oh yeah, hi everyone. I’m Maria Jackson.”
Firework goes, “Oooooh. So when I said that my world needed help, and you said you’d send help…”

Sri Zarius nods. “Yes, you showed us that Earth may be ready to join The Stellar Imperium. Seeing how you handled The Starbreed indicates that you are still a young species, but with great promise.”

Jesuit steps in, “Yes, well, we appreciate the compliment but…the person who you would’ve spoken too was…Erebus killed our leader, who…”

Aurum appears and goes, “Actually…” he waves his hand and a door appears. From out of it steps the President of the United States. He looks around and goes, “That Caretaker fellow is something, isn’t he?”

Aurum goes, “Bara…er, Mr. President, may I introduce to you an actual representative of the galaxy’s…something. Sri Zarius. You may continue the diplomatic talks.” The President smiles and extends his hand to Sri Zarius. Sri Zarius looks at it quizzically.

As they walk away, Jesuit looks at Maria. “So…you’re a superhero now, eh? And you didn’t think to mention it to AEGIS?” Maria looks guilty. “Well…that’s the Paranormal agency? This…” she gestures to the armor “is something else entirely, no?”

Firework goes, “Totally! But you know, if you ever wanna train, we’re here, Star Knight.”

Maria grins, “Star Knight. Yeah, I can get behind that.”

From the sky, the purple snake like Star Knight arrives, carrying Drakko. He lands him next to War Witch, who when Erebus took off fell to the ground. Drakko looks around and goes, “Oh…oh my. What…what has occurred? Where…where is my current location?”

War Witch shakes her head and twitches. “Oh dear…oh no…they took over. He…he allowed them to take over…” She starts to tear up. Jesuit walks over, says, “Your sisters?” War Witch goes, “Yes. Normally…usually I can keep them in check. They…they are not well. But I’m able to hold them. But Erebus…he did something…unleashed them, and locked me away.”

The green Star Knight says, “We are in pursuit of Erebus & Iron Monger. Erebus has a tendency to recruit unwilling agents to his cause. The only one he can’t control is Iron Monger, due to his suit. But once they are found, they will be brought to justice.”

He looks at the team. “Once the the negotiations have concluded, would any of you like to visit Homeworld? You have shown that you are all heroes in your own right, and we would be honored to have you over as guests, and representatives of your planet.”

The team look at each other. Jesuit goes, “We need to finish the clean up here, and check in on our home. But we would be honored.”

War yells out, “ROAD TRIP!”

Season 3 Issue 2 - Stars Among Us Part 2

The Starbreed, as they call themselves, stand on the ramp of the spaceship. Dozens of tourists and park goers are taking pictures and videos. Most seem to think this is another Paranormal event, but some are starting to catch on.

Bouncer calls for AEGIS back up, to help get the civilians out of the way. The park rangers and local police begin to evacuate the area, but not before the scene goes viral.

Bouncer gets notified by Dr Brennan that he must tread carefully. If these are Paranormals, then handle it like any other Paranormal situation. But if these are actually Aliens…technically this will fall outside of their jurisdiction.

Bouncer & Jesuit begin first contact. They introduce themselves, Erebus (black skin, white hair), War Witch (redhead with giant red metal ax), Drakko (giant reptilian with cobra hood), & Iron Monger (in power armor with spikes). They claim to be working for the United Galaxy Federation, and have been sent on a mission to hunt down a rogue alien that has the means of causing planet wide destruction.

Erebus does most of the talking, though in broken English. He explains the coalition is a number of alien civilizations, working together for the betterment of their worlds. They have open trade agreements, and offer each other assistance when needed. The Starbreed are the intergalactic police, who help maintain order. They tracked down the rogue alien to Earth. The coalition wasn’t ready to make their appearance known to to this planet (since they’re not space faring and thus not ready), but due to the nature of the situation, they got permission to make first contact.

The word “Primitive” was used.

Jesuit scans the team with his Angel Eye. He can sense that they are quite powerful, but something seems to be dampening his senses. Erebus is protected by some sort of psychic shield, War Witch’s mind seems to be in flux, and Iron Monger is protected by his suit.

Drakko, on the other hand, is an open book.

Drakko has done things, dark things, but whether that was in the line of duty or something else, Jesuit is unsure.

Wildheart attempts to mimic their powers, and takes in their scent. They are not Paranormals. Bouncer reports to Brennan, who tells him to keep them there until the government can take over.

War Witch had been standing at attention, seemingly waiting for a fight. She twitches, and steps forward to speak. She’s eloquent and seductive. Jesuit asks what that twitch was. She explains that in her species, siblings share the same bodies. She is actually 4 in 1. She shows them a holo-image of the rogue alien, clad in yellow body armor, holding an energy sword.

The Starbreed explain that they want to make peace, to show the world their good intentions, and that they’re willing to talk to the heads of their governments.

Jesuit asks them where they came from. He pulls up some space maps on his phone. Iron Monger asks for the phone. Jesuit hands it over. A cord springs from Iron Monger’s armor, connecting with the phone. There are whistles and a bit of tinkering, but when Iron Monger is done, Jesuit’s phone is able to project holographic images. Iron Monger brings up a space map, indicating that they come from outside of their galaxy.

After a few more minutes, the S.F. police arrives. They have been instructed by The Mayor to bring the aliens to a secret location, without the team. Bouncer & Jesuit know that The Mayor is no fan of the team.

Iron Monger punches a few buttons on his sleeve, and the ship closes its doors and launches up into the sky, where it cloaks itself.

Dr. Brennan is able to pull a few strings and gets permission for Jesuit to accompany the caravan. Erebus, War Witch & Jesuit go in a limo, while Drakko goes in a large…much larger…van. Iron Monger leaps onto the limo, and travels on top. Though ridiculously heavy, he is able to stay on the limo without damaging it.

As they’re about to take off, War tags Erebus with a listening device, to hear what’s going on and keep track of them. Melody is able to connect everyone’s comms to the listening device. On the way to their secret location, Jesuit makes small talk.

As the team listens in, Iron Monger is able to tap into their frequency. He admits that he’s impressed, and would’ve done the same thing, and allows them to continue listening in.

The caravan arrives at the secret location. It’s a large warehouse, where they meet The Mayor and his security detail. In the middle of the warehouse is a table with seats. The Mayor greets the aliens, and glares at Jesuit.

He explains that Jesuit is there as a courtesy and that he is not to interfere in any way, that this is a diplomatic situation, one that can be handled by the United States Government. Jesuit stands to the side, keeping an eye on everyone. Drakko, War Witch & Iron Monger stand to the side as well, as Erebus takes the lead, speaking with The Mayor.

In the Nevernever, Aurum is quietly reading while sipping some Brandy that he found in a hidden location, next to the book he is currently reading, The Caretaker’s diary. Caretaker pokes his head in and tells Aurum about the alien situation. He stops mid sentence when he notices his items of value.

Aurum simply shrugs, “If you didn’t want me to partake, you should’ve hidden them better.” Caretaker snaps his fingers and the items disappear. Caretaker says, “Uh huh, I’ll remember that. Anyways…aliens huh? I mean, I kinda knew they were out there, but never had the opportunity to you know, interact. Very interesting. Very interesting indeed…” Aurum got the hint, and takes his leave.

Aurum materializes in the warehouse. He tells Jesuit that he’s taking over the watch. The Mayor gets flustered and upset, but Erebus welcomes Aurum. Jesuit takes his leave.

Back at HQ, the team gathers to take a breather from their alien encounter. Which is of course when the alarms go off. Johnny 5 has picked up an emergency signal coming from San Jose. It seems someone in power armor is running amok downtown. Local social media footage shows that the figure seems to be slamming into buildings and shooting off random blasts.

The team hop onto their jet and speed off.

Back at the warehouse, diplomatic negotiations are not going well. The Mayor attempts to politicize the meeting, but all Erebus wants is for him to offer assistance in capturing “their prey.” Erebus gets a bit more abrasive, as it is clear The Mayor is out of his league.

That’s when his security detail gets a heads up about an incoming guest. All eyes go to the door of the warehouse as The President of the United States himself walks in. The Mayor’s jaw drops, as he gets up to greet the Commander in Chief. The President greets him briefly when he notices Aurum.

Aurum and the President hug and chatter about old times. They haven’t seen each other since Sascha’s graduation. They promise each other that they’ll make time to catch up. The Mayor tries to intersect himself, but the President says he can go now. Secret Service agents escort the Mayor and his security detail out.

The real negotiations begin.

After some back and forth, Aurum is able to sense that Erebus is using some sort of mind ability on The President. He steps in to stop it. That’s when Iron Monger alert goes off. He informs everyone that their prey has been spotted. Erebus abruptly stands up and motions to his team to go.

The President goes, “Now now, we are in the middle of getting to know each other. Surely you realize that you shouldn’t…”

Erebus cuts him off, “No, YOU shouldn’t interfere. Go.”

Iron Monger, Drakko, & War Witch teleport out. The Secret Service raise their weapons.

Erebus waves his hands, and the agents stand still, unable to move. Erebus looks at Aurum and The President. “That was easier then I thought. I was sure we’d have to play nice longer, even getting to know the other powered individuals of this world, before our prey emerged. Oh well, this makes things more interesting.”

Before anyone can react, a blast of energy from Erebus hits The President square in the chest. He glows for a moment, seemingly stunned at what was happening. And then…he disappears. Vaporized.

Erebus waves his hands at the agents, and they all collapse to the floor, unconscious.

Erebus turns to Aurum, who has been silently observing the whole scene. “Now then, let’s get to know each other, hmmm?”

Back in San Jose, the team arrives just in time to see the yellow armored alien wrecking havoc. It smashes into buildings, randomly, causing destruction to the building. It shoots beams of energy into the sky, hitting whatever is in its way. The alien doesn’t seem to take notice of the team arrive on the scene.

The team attempts to communicate with the alien, to no avail. Wildheart leaps into action, attacking the alien when it’s not looking. The alien quickly turns around, producing an energy shield, and blocks his attack. The alien seems to notice them for the first time.

Melody, monitoring from home, tells War to hit the armor with a hacking arrow (yes, that’s a thing) so she can try and take control of the suit. War does so, and Melody, with Johnny 5’s help, get to work.

After a few moments, Melody says, “Guys. There’s some sort of interference happening. A strange signal is emanating from somewhere…up….and it seems to be interacting badly with the alien armor.”
The team look up and sure enough, the alien spacecraft decloaks and begins to descend.

War Witch, Drakko & Iron Monger step out of the ship. Iron Monger goes, “Stand aside, humans. She is our prey.”

Jesuit goes, “Perhaps we should work together, try to get to the bottom of…”

War Witch twitches, and a booming voice emanates from her. “She is ours! If you do not stand aside, we will cut our way through you.”

Melody speaks up, “Guys, keep ‘em busy. Johnny & I have almost…”

Iron Mongers voice speaks up inside the communicators, “I think that is quite enough.” Iron Monger touches something on his sleeve, and Johnny 5 screams in agony. Loud feedback rips through the communicators, forcing the team to take them out.

The team braces for battle as Drakko lets out a large roar.

Season 3 Issue 2 - Stars Among Us Part 1

The Huntmaster, a powerful, dimension hopping, cosmic weapon wielding entity, known throughout the multiverse…kneels before Bouncer. His pack of mechanical dogs, each the size of a car, lay down, but keep an eye on the whole team.

“I formally request asylum.”

Bouncer motions for the Huntmaster to rise, and calls his team in. “Um…so, like, we’re going to have to talk about this. With my…people. What is it you want asylum from, exactly?”

The Huntmaster looks to the burned area, where the Probot scorched the earth. He goes, “I intercepted the transmissions the Probot was sending. I made sure they did not get to its intended destination. It said it was under attack by powerful forces. I knew that anything that could withstand a Probot would make for potent allies. So I came here, and sure enough, you made short work of it.”

He looks at the team. “Humph. You’re an unassuming lot. However, you took down a Probot. That says something. I have been hunting for a long time for a place where I could find allies, and where I can set up a base of operations. This looks like a good universe to do so.”

Bouncer goes, “Okay…but you’re The Huntmaster. You’re like…a big bad, right? What could have you on the run?”

The Huntmaster looks down at Bouncer and scowls. “I am not running. I am strategically retreating. A long time ago, I came back to my home after a particularly long hunt and found my world…my reality…was gone. All that was left was emptiness…darkness. A void. I only barely managed to escape its dark pull. I traveled to other universes, trying to see if I could find out the cause, but I only stumbled upon more realities that were gone…wiped out. I knew that if there was something out there destroying realities, even I would need assistance going up against it. So, I spent years looking for a place where I could fortify myself, and potential allies to help fight the upcoming darkness.”

“What is it you want from us? From our world?” Bouncer asks.

“Simple. A place where I can set up a base of operations. Where I can come back to after my hunt. And, when the time comes, your help in battling whatever is causing the destruction of the multiverse.”

Bouncer smirks, “Is that all?” he says sarcastically.

“Yes.” The Huntmaster replies, seriously. “ In exchange, I will not hunt anything on your world. I will go out of it to continue my hunt. I am the Huntmaster. It is what I do. Also, if you need my assistance in battle, and it is a foe worthy of my prowess, you shall have me by your side. I will also spend time looking for this foe, or any information relating to it. And share it with you, my allies.”

Jesuit opens his Angel Eye and scans The Huntmaster. He is taken aback by the power within him. The Huntmaster is a formidable foe, every bit the legend that surrounds him. His power comes mostly from his armor, but even without, Jesuit senses he would be a difficult foe. Jesuit thinks that maybe, just maybe, the team could take him, but the collateral damage would be extensive.

The Huntmaster’s main weakness is his sense of twisted honor. If The Huntmaster gives his word, he will keep it.

Bouncer looks back at the team. Jesuit says, “I think we should consider his offer. I know a great threat is coming, and we could use his assistance. Further, it would behoove us not to have to face him in battle if we could avoid it.”

Bouncer turns to The Huntmaster. “Okay. We’re gonna talk this over with our people. In the meantime…just hang out. We’ll get back to you shortly. Don’t…hunt anything…”

The Huntmaster cocks an eyebrow. His mechanical dogs stand up, growling. The air fills with tension for a moment. The Huntmaster sends away his spear, flicking it into nothing, and motions to his hounds. They stop growling, leap into the air, and head back to The Huntmaster’s spaceship. It moves over the Golden Gate Bridge and hovers there. The Huntmaster walks onto the bridge, stopping when he reaches the center. He stares off into the Pacific Ocean, and does not move.

Bouncer breathes a sigh of release, informs AEGIS that they all gotta meet, and the team heads off to AEGIS HQ.

The Board of AEGIS is ready when the team arrives. Some telecommute from around the world, others are there in person, including Dr. Brennan & Maximilian Mars. Once there, Maximilian throws up into the air a holographic projection of The Huntmaster.

“My drones are keeping an eye on him.” he says.

Aurum mumbles under his breath, “And no doubt scanning him for any useful data.” Maximillian only smiles.

Dr. Brennan goes, “So, what do you think? Do we trust him not to attack us? Do we use him?”

Wildheart, in the corner with his arms crossed, “I don’t trust him. I don’t think letting him stay here is a good idea.”

Jesuit speaks up, “I think that as long as we get his word that he doesn’t hunt here on our world, he will stay true. He has a twisted sense of honor, one that many of these big game hunters tend to have. He will hunt you down, shoot you in the back, and to hell any stray casualties if they get caught in his way…but if he says he will not hunt here, he won’t. I have…seen what is coming. It is a danger not only to us, but all of God’s creation. We must start getting ready to protect ourselves.”

Dr. Brennan looks at Bouncer. “What do you think?”

Bouncer shrugs. “I’d rather not have to go toe to toe with the big guy, so if we can make it so he doesn’t go all explody on our world, why not let him set up camp. Just so long as he doesn’t you know, set up camp in the middle of San Francisco, or some other major metropolitan area.”

Dr. Brennan goes, “Agreed.”

Aurum goes, “Have a lawyer write up a contract. I have a feeling if he says he’ll do something, we want to make sure there are no loopholes for him to abuse. A contract that states he’s welcome to stay here, as long as he doesn’t hunt here, and when we need his power, he’ll be there. And with that, I bid you adieu.”

Aurum whips up a doorway, pulls out his Lair Key, opens a door to the Nevernever, and steps through.

“Figures. He’s always gotta make an exit.” Mars says, while looking at his tablet.

Dr. Brennan goes, “Very well. We’ll come up with a contract, and give him asylum. It’s better to know where he’s at, anyways, and better not to have to deal with a potentially devastating battle. If that is all, dismissed.”

After a few hours, The Huntmaster stats to move. He walks down the bridge and heads towards San Francisco. AEGIS troops stand ready, but are told to let him pass. Bystanders have all been evacuated from the area. The Huntmaster walks right towards AEGIS HQ. He stands outside of its gates and goes, “I demand an audience with the leader of the world. Bouncer, is it? Has a decision been made?”

The team walks out, followed by Dr. Brennan & Mars. Bouncer walks forward, with a tablet that has the contract on it. The gates open and they step outside.

“So, we decided that you can stay. We’ll grant you asylum as long as you adhere to the conditions laid out here.” He shows him the table.

The Huntmaster steps forward…and shrinks down. He is still taller than everyone there, but he is of a more manageable side. He looks at the tablet for a moment, and then hands it back to Bouncer. The tablet has been wiped, as all information on it was transferred to The Huntmaster’s suit. His faceplate shows various holo-data points as the Huntmaster reads what the tablet said.

“So, if you grant me asylum, I will be allowed to stay on your world. I will be left alone, no one is to invade my sanctuary, no one is to attack me. As long as this is the case, I will keep to myself. I will continue my hunts, but off world. If you call me for assistance, and I deem it worthy of my time, I will come. And when the time comes to face the coming darkness, you will stand by my side, to protect this realm, and all the multiverse”

Bouncer goes, “That’s the gist of it. BTW, where are you gonna live? And in what?”

The Huntmaster points to his ship, still hovering over the Golden Gate Bridge.

“That is my home, my lair. It is bigger on the inside. I have been scanning your world, via your…internet. I believe Ant-arc-tic-A will be sufficient for my needs. A remote area where I can come and go as I please, away from you lot. I accept your terms.”

With that, The Huntmaster grows back up to his earlier size, towering over everyone. He pushes a button on his suit, and his ship instantly zooms over. A tractor beam turns on from underneath his ship, and The Huntmaster rises into the air. As he does so, Mars’ drones continue to circle the ship, scanning it. Before the doors close on the ship, the Huntmaster looks down at the AEGIS members. He pushes one more button…and the tablet that had gathered all the intel on the ship that Mars was holding is wiped.

“Awww…” a disappointed Mars says.

The ship flies off into space, and heads to its destination, the bottom of the world.

Mars goes, “So…we may want to let the world’s leaders know that we may or may not have given an alien free reign on a continent that is not in anyone’s jurisdiction. Because you know that’s not gonna go over well.”

Dr. Brennan sighs. “Indeed. The alternative would’ve been to have a massive battle, perhaps one that would have spread. But for now, at least, crisis averted. Good job team. Go rest up. I have a feeling this this job just got a lot more difficult.”

Aurum arrived in The Lair and goes in search of The Caretaker. He asks the Caretaker a few questions before heading to the library. He sees that Caretaker is almost done repairs to The Lair, and that the command center has been upgraded.

In the small library, Aurum gets to work on researching the upcoming threat. He studies the history of the Caretakers, as well as the previous teams, hoping there are some clues as to what could be causing the destruction of the universes.

Caretaker comes in, knowing that Aurum has questions. He sits down, puts his feet up and goes, “If you’re that interested in lil’ ol’ me, why not ask the source instead of those dusty books? Got questions? Shoot.”

Aurum does so. He learns that Caretakers have been around for a long time, even before human civilization. In the Nevernever, Caretakers have immense power and control. Outside, in the “real world” they are mighty, but not nearly as powerful. Caretakers are immortal, but they can be killed, and have been in the past. When one Caretaker dies, another one spawns in their place.

There is one Caretaker for every reality, but they rarely interact with each other. He tells Aurum “It’s just weird. You put us in the same room, and eventually, it just gets very uncomfortable and awkward.” Their job is in their name, to take care of their reality. Usually that involves mentoring, training and helping the chosen of the reality. Other times it means something else.

The Caretaker says that The Nevernever is the “place between universes,” and that sometimes, things slip through the cracks and end up there. There are beings that live in The Nevernever, whole cities in some places, but The Nevernever is infinite, so they rarely interact with each other. He doesn’t know where everything is, but he knows a lot.

When Aurum asks the Caretaker how someone as powerful as he could’ve been defeated by Cain. Caretaker sighs, thinks a moment, and responds. “Cain. Cain was one of the best. He was a good guy, real nice, easy going, and funny. Can you believe it? He didn’t have much power, compared to some of the others. Teleportation. Useful, but not world changing…at least…we didn’t think so. When he went off the rails…it surprised us all. I didn’t know what was happening until it was too late. That he was going to each of his teammates…all throughout the world…killing them, and absorbing their power. Normally, when a Chosen One dies, I feel it. But he kept their power, rather than allowing it to move on. So I didn’t know. Essentially…he sucker punched me. He came to me, and I knew something was wrong. Nevermind the fact that he smelled of blood. He came at me, and I admit…my defenses were down. Because I trusted him. We all did. And he used that trust against us.”

“He said that he wanted to make the world a better place. That splitting up the power like we did didn’t make sense. That if 7 of us could change the world bit by bit, then one of us with all the power could make even bigger, better changes. He killed them all…because he wanted to make the world a better place. Can you believe it? And he thought…he knew…that I would try and stop him. That I wouldn’t…I couldn’t…let him get away with it. So he came to me. As a friend…and then…well you know. Big Battle. Lair got destroyed (of course). And the world broke.”

Caretaker gets up, goes, “I need a drink” and walks off. Aurum reflects on everything the Caretaker said.

A few weeks pass. Jesuit has nightmares, preventing him from getting a good night sleep. He decides he needs help, and after much prayer, decides he needs a therapist. He searches AEGIS’ databanks for a therapist that could help a Paranormal such as himself. He finds out that one of the members of AEGIS Paranormal Team in New York, a “Mindblast” is an empath, as well as working on his counseling degree, when he’s not saving the city. He sends a message to him to see if he can meet him, and is willing to fly out to New York to do so.
On his way to one of his sessions, he meets up with Rosa in Freedom City. He spends a few days there, teaming up with The Freedom League on a mission, and getting to know the major metropolitan area.

Bouncer spends his time in several meeting, including with the leaders of the other teams. They tend to look at him as the most experienced one, especially since his team has dealt with far more dangerous forces then the rest of the teams. He gives them advice where he can.

Wildheart spends his time with H.O.P.E., talking to other Paranormals on their behalf, and getting to know the organization. He works on his Biochemistry and hopes to discover more about The Nevernever Energy that gives Paranormals their powers. He wants to learn more about the powers in general so he can help them grown their abilities, as well as learn how to better control them.

The team is at home (or in The Lair) when Johnny 5 sends out the alarm. He says that satellites have discovered an unidentified craft that appeared out of nowhere and is heading towards Golden Gate Park (because of course it is). It seems to have had some sort of cloaking technology on when it entered the atmosphere.

The team gear up and race to the park. In the meadows, a giant vessel, which can only be described as a spaceship, lands. The visitors to the park all gather around the craft, taking pictures and videos with their phones.

A side door opens with a hiss, and a ramp comes down. Standing in the door way are 4 figures, a female in red armor, a male that is half black and half red with white hair, a figure in dark armor, and a giant reptilian looking alien.

The black and red man steps forward, and in a booming voice with a very odd accent goes, “Greetings Earthlings! We are The Starbreed! And we come in peace!”

Bouncer laughs out loud and goes, “You have got to be kidding me.”

Season 3 Issue 1 - Crash Landing Part 3

As the team races after The Probot, itself heading towards San Francisco, we take a moment to look in the mind of Jesuit.

Jesuit had tried to scan The Probot with his Angel Eye. His team mates saw him yell out in pain and collapse. But in reality, something much more serious occurred.

Jesuit’s consciousness was ripped from his body. He felt himself thrown into a dark abyss, hurtling through an empty space for what seemed like ages. He eventually saw a small speck of light on the horizon, his mind unable to change course. As he gets closer he sees what appears to be a solar system, with various planets circling a massive metallic sphere, larger then Earth’s sun. The planets are all connected with a fiery trail of energy, looped together, or chained. He sees a hundred or more, but is unable to stop and observe as he’s thrown towards the metal sphere.

There are no stars in this void. The only objects that Jesuit can see are the planets and the metal sphere. Everything else is just darkness.

As he gets closer, he sees the whole sphere is teeming with life, with various building, structures and life forms, all going about to and fro. He sees a massive citadel, he guesses the size of New York City, with a towering spire piecing the sky, going up miles and miles. He can “feel” himself being pulled to the citadel, as if the spire itself was calling to him. He lands just outside the doors to the massive citadel, themselves being skyscraper size. He sees dozens of armored figures, some humanoid, some not, all, all patrolling around the entryway.

Jesuit gazes down and realizes he doesn’t see himself. His body is not there. He tries to “feel” himself, but only gets the “impression” of having a physical form. He is conscious thought only. He decides to go exploring.

He wanders the citadel for what seems like hours, trying to make sense of where he is. No one pays him any mind, as they don’t seem to see him. He sees alien lifeforms all around, some look to have stepped off a Star Trek episode, others don’t look remotely alive, but move around to and fro. He realizes that he was unconsciously heading towards the center of the citadel, where the giant spire is.

He also realizes he can “fly” so he travels up and fast.

He arrives at a room as large as several story building, spreading out all around him. On one wall is a giant black banner with a flaming skull etched in. In front of the banner is a throne, that hurts to look at, due to the way it’s constructed. It has jagged edges going in a manner that is hard to look at, made of some substance that Jesuit cannot identify. It is also massive, several dozen feet tall and wide.

Before the throne are a number of beings, all clad in various states of armor, all militaristic looking. They seem to be squabbling in an unknown language. Jesuit tries to make sense of what they’re saying but then “feels’ the ground start to shake. He sees the squabbling aliens stop talking and get in formation, standing at attention.

From behind the throne, from a hidden door underneath the banner, steps out a massive, 20 foot tall being, clad in a onyx colored armor. His head is underneath a glass dome. Where his face should be is a flaming skull.

The creature stomps into the room, looks at his minions and begins to sit down upon the throne. Before he does so, he stops, and stares right at where Jesuit is.

“Did no one else notice the intruder?” the creature speaks, in a deep echoing voice. Jesuit is able to understand the creature, though its not speaking english.

The creatures all start to squabble again, pointing at each other, some arming themselves.

“Silence.” it says, in almost a whisper. But the fighting immediately stops.

The skull creature looks at “Jesuit” and says, “Where do you hail from?”

Jesuit tries to flee, but the creature reaches out, grabbing him. He pulls him up to his face. Jesuit can feel the heat emanating from within the glass helmet.

“Where do you hail from?” it asks again.

Jesuit tries to speak, tries to tell him that he is Jesuit, and that he comes in peace, that he was sent here by mistake, and that he means no disrespect.

He tries, but the creature squeezes too tightly, “hurting” Jesuit.

The creature says, “Very well. Maybe you’ll talk to my subordinates.” The creature throws Jesuit to the ground, where the minions scurry over him, dragging Jesuit away.

Jesuit’s consciousness is then tortured for a year and a day.

Jesuit, though lacking form, is poked, prodded, torn apart, stitched back together, and ripped open again and again and again. When he’s not being broken, he is in isolation, in a dark void, by himself. When his captors come back, he’s taken to various rooms, where other life forms are similarly being tortured.

Over time, Jesuit learns the basics of the alien language that all the creatures here seem to speak. It seems to be the equivalent of the “common” language, where as all the creatures speak their own. He learns it far faster then he expected.

Every torturer asks various questions as they get to work. Some are about the torturee’s origins, where they hail from, what solar system or planet or dimension. Others are about the creature itself, what’s its favorite color, who is its family, what is its favorite foods. The questions seem random, but they all involve pain. The pain “lessens” if they answer, and increase if the creature doesn’t answer. Often times the creature cannot answer, due to the pain inflicted, which just causes it to be hurt more.

Jesuit learns that Skull creature is in charge, and that his minions, his lieutenants are called The Annihilists. He does not learn the skull creatures name since no one dares speak it.

Jesuit tries to comfort himself with the thought that his team would come and save him, they would not abandon him. After months, he relied on his faith, his God, that he is being tested but that he will be saved. Then as that spark faded, he translated The Father’s Prayer into the common language. He would say it as he was tortured, say it as he was interrogated, and say it as he was dragged through the room of the others being tortured. He didn’t get it quite right for a long time, but kept at it, the only thing keeping him from being completely broken.

On the last day, he was dragged before the skull creature once more. The skull creature looked down at him. It said, once again, “Where do you hail from.”

(ask Jesuit to give him his speech) Jesuit looked at him, in what little defiance he had left. “You will find out soon. My planet, my planet will defeat you. My planet is a threat, and we will destroy you. On my planet, we breathe in toxins, we go to war with each other, and we nailed our God to a cross. We are not afraid and we will destroy you!”

The creature…smiled? Jesuit could tell it was smiling. “I look forward to destroying your world.” The creature waved his hand away, and the guards started to drag Jesuit back to his cell.

Jesuit lifted his “head,” looked at the skull creature, and started to recite his prayer once more.

As the minions dragged Jesuit away, Jesuit’s voice raised higher and higher. He finally got the words right, the inflections correct, and the tense proper. He said his prayer as loud as his strained voice could, reaching out as far as he could.

When he finished, his mind got ripped out off is captors hands, and was once again hurled into the abyss. It was almost a rubber band effect, as Jesuit was slingshotted.

Jesuit raises up and finds himself back in his body. It’s an odd sensation, and the pain and hurt and wounds that he’s been inflicted with are gone. He cries out, “He’s coming! He’s coming!” and stops as he looks around. He sees that he’s in the team plane, with War in the cockpit and Juanito in the co-pilot seat.

Neither of them seemed to be flying the plane. 

Juanito came over to check on Jesuit. When Juanito placed his hand on Jesuit’s shoulder, Jesuit lashed out, getting Juanito in a headlock, ready to knock him out. Juanito goes, “Hey! It’s me! It’s me!”

Jesuit comes to his senses, sees people he hasn’t seen in a lifetime, and begins to weep.

Back outside, the team continues to try and stop The Probot. Firework activates aura sight and tries to get a read on the Probot. Its aura is pitch black, as if its a void that sucks in anything around it. Firework gets hurt just looking at it.

Wildheart tries to sniff out any info on the machine. His smells nothing. Literally nothing, as if there was nothing there to sniff out. He smells void.

Melody & Jackson try to block the signal the Probot is transmitting, but it’s a weird frequency that they can’t seem to figure out. Firework comes up with an idea and instead of blocking the signal, he redirects it to the Nevernever!

Bouncer leaps from Wildheart’s back onto the creature and begins to try and smash it open. War leaps from the plane and fires an explosion arrow, getting it between the crack! Wildheart blinds the creatures sensors, while Firework tries to pry the paneling on the faceplate open.

All the while The Probot continues to fly towards the city. It blasts Bouncer with its good eye, hurting him, but Bouncer has a gargoyle like grip on the creature and does not let go.

Aurum has flown ahead and helps AEGIS evacuate the newly opened Golden Gate Bridge, getting all traffic and pedestrians out from around the area. AEGIS positions their army on the city side of the bridge, ready to attack if The Probot advances.

The creature lands just off the bridge, on the Sausalito side. He continues to scan the surrounding area, including the team. The team use team work and go at it.

Firework rips the creature open, Bouncer reaches in to try and pull out the most important looking wire, War smashes his hands into the circuitry, and Wildheart & Juanito let loose with an energy blast.

Bouncer rips out the brain stem and unleashes a torrent of green radiation, burning off his and War’s clothes, and seriously burning them. The creature begins to fall over, and Firework realizes its an environmental disaster waiting to happen. He lifts the now deactivated Probot into the air, and launches it to space. The green radiation continues to spew out, even in space, so Firework takes the creature to Jupiter, where he stashes it in the Big Red Spot.

Back home, AEGIS begins the clean up, including taking samples of the dirt where the radiation spilled out. The plants all around were decaying at a rabid rate. Wildheart tries to sniff out the irradiated dirt, but burns his nose instead. He does get a faint whiff of decay.

War & Bouncer, still naked and awaiting a change of clothes, are taking a breather when AEGIS alarms begin to go off. An incursion has been detected and the team looks up at the Robin Williams Tunnel. A blue portal opens up and out comes what can only be described as a space ship. It flies over the bridge and the city and then turns back to hover above the team.

The team has seen this ship before, though only briefly. From underneath the ship, a hatch opens and from it descends a large figure. Fifteen feet tall, in mech suit, holding a flaming harpoon, surrounded by six car sized mechanical hounds.

The Huntmaster has arrived.

Bouncer sighs and approaches the massive entity. Huntmaster towers over (still naked) Bouncer. He speaks in a booming voice, “I intercepted a communication transmission from a Probot. I followed it here. Are you the leader of this world?”

Bouncer looks back at his friends. He shrugs, “Sure?”

The Huntmaster looks down on him, judging. The hounds behind him snarl but stay where they are. The energy glowing around his spear turns off. The Huntmaster kneels before Bouncer.

“I formally request asylum.”

Season 3 Issue 1 - Crash Landing Part 2

Four drone like machines rise up from around the large boulder. They swarm into formation and seem to analyze their surroundings. Two of them turn their blasters to the most obvious threat, Wildheart, who is still standing on top of the large boulder.

Firework and Jesuit continue to try and speak to the drones, trying to show that they (despite appearances) come in peace.

Bouncer picks up a handful of pebbles and waits to see if Firework or Jesuit can calm down the situation.

War seemingly disappears from the battle field.

Aurum had remained behind at AEGIS HQ and was getting the troops ready to move out, either to help contain the situation, help the local civilian population, or to help them evacuate. General Johnson stood back as he watched Aurum take charge, giving suggestions and taking care of the more minute details. They wait until satellite imagery can pick up the scene where the team is.

Firework lets Jesuit do the talking. He sends in a spark to see what’s inside the giant boulder. With his natural illumination, Firework is able to see that there is indeed something in the giant rock. It’s a machine of some sort, unlike any he has ever seen. It is extremely advanced and complex. Firework explores a bit, but has to pull out when he triggers something. The machine start to boot up! Firework can sense the energy source for the machine and it is potent. So much so that he can feel the power through his spark.

As the rock machine starts to power on, the drones attack! They blast at the team, focusing on Wildheart.

Firework tells the others what he’s found, which gives Wildheart an idea. He teleports to Firework’s spark…still inside the machine!

Bouncer flicks a pebble at incredible velocity at one of the probes, creating a hole within it. War launches arrows, causing the other probes to spark with damage. Jesuit continues to try and reason with the probes.

The drones attack, launching blasts of energy at the team. Bouncer leaps into the air and grabs one of the drones, using it to smash into another, destroying one and seriously damaging the other.

Wildheart, inside, is almost crushed instantly by the machinery. There is no room to move, and very little light. He grabs onto the closest set of wires he can and starts to pull. Sparks leap out and Wildheart can see the intricate gears and wires that run rampant throughout the machine. As he struggles to do damage, steam starts to pour out from the machine as it starts to move! The whirls and hiss of steam activate as the machine begins to take shape, transforming with Wildheart inside! The energy that Firework felt begins to rise and it starts to burn Wildheart, as the machine itself begins to crush him. With one final pull, Wildheart tears out some circuitry and teleports out.

Wildheart is on the verge of collapsing, pushing his new healing factor to its very limits. The team stands back as the boulder’s rocky exterior sheds, leaving behind a metallic sphere, that begins to change shape.

The sphere transforms into a massive robot, nearly 30 feet tall, heavy armor covering its exterior, a powerful furnace of energy emanating from its mouth. It stands up, towering over the team, and scans them. It seems to take stock of the surrounding area as well.

Jesuit instinctively turns on his Angel Eye, scanning the new creature, trying to understand what its purpose is. His eye blazes bright, as information is acquired.

Which is when Jesuit cries out in pain and collapses.

Bouncer says, “That can’t be good…”

Wildheart, recovering slowly, tells Juanito to get Jesuit back on the plane. Juanito throws up a force field just as the other drones, still active, attack. He protects Jesuit and drags him back onto the plane safely.

The robot scans the surrounding area and turns to face east. It starts to walk, each step causing the earth to tremble.

Aurum sees all of this via his mind link to Firework. He sends Mickey to get Jackson. Mickey comes back and says Jackson isn’t answering any hails nor answering his laboratory door. Aurum calls on Johnny 5, and tells him to get Jackson on the line. Johnny 5 is able to patch into Jackson’s computer, opening up his camera. Jackson is in his lab, in a parka with black steampunk googles.

“Um…hi. I was just…getting…cold…”

Aurum dismisses this and tells Jackson about the situation. Jackson removes his parka & googles (he’s till wearing a Hawaiian shirt underneath) and begins to patch into the system. With Johnny’s help, they’re able to sync AEIGS’ satellites and show the rest of command what’s going on.

Jackson whistles, “Now THAT’S a robot.”

Aurum tells General Jackson that he’s going to help the team and races off. General Johnson turns to look at Jackson, “Find me something that can stop that walking tin can.” Johnny 5 speaks up, “Oh oh I know someone!” The view screen fills up with Melody Mist, in a towel fresh out of the shower.

“JOHNNY! What did I tell you about asking BEFORE you…wait…that’s AEGIS HQ, isn’t it…?” She holds onto the towel for dear life, as several of the AEGIS soldiers stop what they’re doing to look at the view screen.

Jackson & Johnny tell her the sitch, and she gets to work. After putting on a robe.

Back at Point Reyes, Firework flies up to face the robot. He says loudly, “Why are you here? What’s your purpose?”

The machine does not stop walking, but answers. “Probot…function…is to…analyze. Determine…threat level…report. Scanning.” It scans Firework. “Threat level…evaluating…” It continues walking. Jackson reports in that if it keeps heading in the direction it’s traveling, it’ll walk right into downtown Point Reyes.

Bouncer, having enough of this, leaps onto the robot. It looks him right in the eye and goes, “We’re no threat to you. We don’t want any trouble. Leave before…”

The Probot blasts Bouncer, knocking him down. Aurum shows up in time to see this and throws up a force field around the robot to stop it in its tracks. The Probot shoots another beam of light, and negates the force field! Firework sees that the blast was a different color than the one that blasted Bouncer.

Firework surrounds the mech with his sparks, and begins to lift into the sky, away from any civilians. The machine shoots another beam and blasts through the sparks. The machine begins to plummet when its jet pack activates. It hovers for a moment, rescans the area, and flies off in a different direction.

According to Jackson, right to San Francisco. He tells the team that he’s picking up faint transmission signals, very similar to the ones that were being transmitted by the cubes left behind by the Huntmaster! Not exactly the same, but the Probot is indeed transmitting. He can’t trace the source.

The team all leap into action, taking off after the Probot. Bouncer gets a ride with Firework & Aurum, while Wildheart replicates Juanito’s flying ability.

Everyone, except for War, who’s left with the plane and the remaining three drones.

War lets loose, running into the middle of the drones, leaping into the air and slamming an explosion arrow into the closest drone, being knocked back by the blast. It hurts like hell, but his new nanoblood transfusion does its job, healing him up. The blast takes out another drone and severely damaging the other two.

War takes as good as he gets, and eventually knocks down the other two. He gets in the jet, realizes neither he nor Juanito know how to fly the plane, and gets Melody to hack into the plane and fly it to meet up with the team.

Bouncer is dropped onto the Probot, right in its face, and unleashes a powerful blow, cracking its eye piece. The creature blasts Bouncer once more, dropping him from several hundred feet in the air! Wildheart swoops down and catches him. Bouncer contacts AEGIS, and tells them to gear up, that they need to prepare for battle.

Melody cuts into everyone’s communications. “Guys! I remembered something! I read the interrogations of…” She stops, realizes General Johnson is RIGHT THERE, and makes it so only the team & Jackson can hear.

“Anyways, I may or may not have accessed AEGIS files that were a lil’ classified…What? I was bored. Anywho, I read the interrogations of the other yous, you know, your dopples. They all said the same thing, that the final battle they had was against a ginormous robot, one that was super tough and like…scanning everything in sight. Then you know…their universe ended…”

On the plane, Juanito is tending to Jesuit, making sure he’s strapped in. Jesuit’s eyes open and he sits up fast. He yells out, “It’s coming…he’s coming….and we can’t stop it…”

Season 3 Issue 1 - Crash Landing

It has been months since the Shadow Invasion. The world is still rebuilding after the traumatic attack. All over the world people had been taken over by the shades of another universe. Chaos and riots had occurred as the masses thought the end of the world was surely upon them. But with the help of the various heroes around the world, Paranormal or not, order was restored and things went back to normal. As normal as it gets in this crazy world.

When Eldritch cast his spell worldwide, the shades in the sky and the majority of shades possessing people dissipated. But not all of them. There have been sightings around the world of individuals with faces half covered in darkness. These reports haven’t been substantiated, but the rumors persist.

AEGIS had under their custody four of the five invaders, Rebound (Bouncer’s double), Unity (Collective’s double), Roman (Spartan’s double), and Wildcard (Wildheart’s double). Radiant (Firework’s double) has been M.I.A. since the shades were exorcised. AEGIS thoroughly interrogated the prisoners, who held nothing back.

They said that one day they were in their Lair, inside the Nevernever, recuperating after a mission. Alarms started to blare all over and their Caretaker doubled over in pain. He told them he could feel the universe dying.

Radiant and Caretaker combined their powers for a hail mary. They couldn’t save their universe, but they tried to save their world. Radiant’s sparks absorbed the very souls of the people of his world. One spark for one soul. The white sparks that surrounded Radiant turned black. As their world was torn asunder, Radiant and Caretaker leapt back into the Nevernever, just in time.

Their world…their reality was gone.

Radiant knew about the multiverse. He knew the dangers of dimension hopping. He theorized, though, that if he could find a “compatible world”, one that wouldn’t reject them, they could colonize it.

The team went back and forth for a long time, debating on whether what they were doing was moral. They finally agreed that they had a responsibility to their world, to their people. They would bring back their world, at any cost.

Radiant sent “scouts” out into the multiverse. They would posses unsuspecting individuals and creatures, who in turn would go out in search of a reality that wouldn’t reject them.

AEGIS realized that because the team was able to defeat all the shadow-possessed invaders, they shadows were never able to report back. Until the shadow that had possessed Cerberus Rex survived the encounter. Once it discovered that this reality didn’t reject it, it reported back to Radiant, who then plotted out the invasion.

The prisoners said they didn’t know where Radiant had gone. They didn’t know anything about what happened to him once his sparks were exorcised. They seem to have given up all hope.

Caretaker reported to the team that it would take him a while to rebuild The Lair. The fight between him and the other Caretaker had been brutal. Speaking of, the Caretaker of the dead universe was turned over to the Council of Caretakers. They would be dealing with him soon enough.

Bouncer has had various meetings with various members of AEGIS. He has briefed AEGIS as much as he could about what had happened during the battle, and how they were able to stop the invaders. He told them a good amount about what he knew, but made sure to keep the secret of The Lair, the Nevernever, and the Caretaker.

Bouncer is summoned by Jackson. Jackson tells Bouncer about his latest project. Jackson has been able to more or less perfect the multidimensional transporter. He has gone to a few different realities, done a bit of exploring, and returned…mostly unscathed. He’s wants to explore more, and thinks he can figure out a way to keep from having a reality reject him. But he’s worried that if AEGIS finds out what he’s been doing, they wouldn’t be pleased. Or worse, they would be pleased. Very very pleased.

Bouncer tells Jackson that the team will help him, but to keep it secret. He worries about what the government would do if they found out they had access to the multiverse.

Aurum was out of comission for about a week after the battle. He feels he used up a lot of reserve energy, and had very little of it the following week. Firework may or may not have found him to be a bit needy. After he got better, Aurum spent a good amount of time at AEGIS. Now that he and Dr. Brennan were on the board (along with Maximilian Mars and a few others) they’ve been very busy. He often was away from the team for a good amount of time due to the bureaucracies involved in running a government agency.

Aurum uses his political savviness to make connections, acquire favors, and helps promote the importance of freedom for the Paranormal population. He helps Dr. Brenanna immensely. Though intelligent, she wasn’t accustomed to navigating the shark infested pool that is politics. But Aurum is pleased to find out that when push comes to shove, Dr. Brennan is able to hold her own and stands up to those who didn’t believe she should be around.

Jesuit has been volunteering more and more at the Church of Jesus Christ Paranormal in San Jose. The church’s membership has exploded after the invasion, so much so that they moved to a bigger building than the community hall they were renting. Jesuit helps with security, and every once in awhile leads a sermon. He scans the crowds and is pleasantly surprised to see more and more people having true faith in the church.

He has been asked as well, to lead mass back in San Francisco. He is pleased, and a little amused, to see that membership in the Catholic Church has increased as well, and when he was on the docket to speak, the church tended to be filled to the brim.

His…friendship with Rosa also took a turn. They continued their dalliances through the months, until after a night together, she told him that she had been accepted to join another AEGIS Paranormal team. With her knowledge and Power Armor, and with the good word that War gave, she would be joining the Freedom City team, The Freedom League. Jesuit was pleased by her apparent redemption, but wasn’t too saddened by her leave.

War had spent the months training, and spending more time with Melody Mist. Melody, in turn, had spent time with Johnny 5 and learning more about the ins and outs of the his system. She contacted Jackson, because she wanted to learn more about Johnny 5’s systems. Jackson invites War to visit his lab, saying he has a proposition for him.

War brings Melody along, after she heavily implies that she wants to go. Together they go downstairs to Jackson’s lab. Jackson tells him he’s heard about his desire for a few…modifications and help in the field. He says he has some suggestions, but that he would need War’s approval.

When War asks what the modifications are, Jackson answers with one word, “Nanoblood.” War agrees to it, asks what he needs to do. That’s when Melody stabs him in the neck with an injector and knocks him out.

War wakes up to the sound of Jackson and Melody talking technobabble. He finds himself shirtless, strapped to a metal table, his arms covered in tubes. He sees a grey viscous fluid going into his right arm, while his left arm seems to be pumping out blood. He passes out.

When he wakes up fully, he feels fuzzy in the head, but his body feels electric. He stands up and asks what they did to him.

Jackson shoots him.

It hurts. It hurts alot. But in a few moments, War sees the bullet get pushed out of his skin (which hurts) and as he watches, the wound closes (which also hurts).

Jackson explains to him that he has given him a Nanoblood infusion. He now has a healing factor, as well as given the ability to survive certain environments that most humans wouldn’t be able to.

As War smiles, Jackson says, “You might want to stay away from Electromagnetic Pulses, though. Just in case.”

War can’t tell if Jackson is joking or not.

Wildheart’s life has gone through some changes as well. He has spent a fair amount of time training his protege, Juanito. Juanito has been diligently training with Wildheart, as well as with AEGIS and The Caretaker. Caretaker has also been working with Firework’s new step-sister, Heather. Together, they’ve been practicing using and controlling their abilities.

Wildheart has chosen a new codename for Juanito. He is now known as Luminous.

Wildheart has also had a change of heart when it came to his relationship. Brandon Peters, Wildheart’s one night stand turned beau, had gone through a tough time as of late. He had been one of the victims of the shadow invasion, having been possessed by a shade.

Brandon has revealed to the team that being possessed didn’t mean he was unconscious. He was completely self aware inside of his body, but unable to control it. The shade took complete control of his every action. Brandon, and anyone who had been possessed, was a passenger in their own body.

Brandon got therapy, along with some sessions with The Jesuit, trying to help him cope with the trauma. Jesuit found out that therapy patients rose dramatically after the Shadow Invasion.

Wildheart, for reasons of his own, broke up with Brandon. Wildheart told Brandon that he’d always be there for him, that if Brandon needed comfort or help, to just pick up the phone. But Wildheart had to go his own way.

Firework helped with the clean up, and assisted Aurum in during his convalescence, regardless of how…needy he was. After some time, Firework realized he needed to get away from it all. He needed to room to explore his powers and see what limits he had. He needed space.

And so, he went into space. Deep space. For several months.

He kept in touch to the team via his mental link with Aurum and explored the solar system. He went to various planets, saw things that (to his knowledge) no living human being has ever seen. It was beyond understanding, it was gorgeous, and it was breathtaking.

And then it got really, really boring.

Space is infinite, and a large chunk of it is emptiness. He may have seen things no-one else has ever seen, but after a while, it all started to blend together. He pushed himself to go as fast as he could, seeing how far out he could. He went to our neighboring galaxy, taking pictures along the way. He knew his friends at NASA would flip.

Just when he was wondering if he should turn around and start the journey home, he saw ran into something. Something he couldn’t see. He slammed into it, hard. It took him a few moments to regain his composure. It felt like a wall. An invisible shield? In the middle of space?

He spread his sparks out, surrounding the field, trying to see what shape it was. It was massive, to the point where his spark couldn’t spread out. It looked like it was spherical, but hard to tell. Firework tried to phase through, but couldn’t. He could see in the distance a planet. He couldn’t quite make it out, but there seemed to be…lights? Lights coming from the planet!

As Firework watched, a light did indeed come from the planet. It was hurtling towards him! He recalled his sparks, turned vaguely humanoid, and waited to greet whatever came at him.

He soon realized that inside the light was a humanoid figured, one in cased in blue armor. It zipped up to the edge of the forcefield and spoke. Even in the vacuum of space, and through the shield, Firework heard it. It spoke an alien language.

Firework responded, calling out his greetings, that he came from Earth and comes in peace. The figure made gestures that Firework should continue. Firework assumed he was trying to translate, so Firework spoke. And spoke, and talked more. Finally, the figure held up a hand for him to stop.

“What are you here doing?” the blue figure asked.

Firework told him, that he was an explorer, that he was the first of his kind to be this far out, and that he came in peace.

The blue armored figure said, “Did you bring rock with you? Is it yours?”

Firework didn’t understand. The figured pointed behind Firework. Firework turned around and saw, far far away, what looked like a comet, or meteor, headed their way. Firework heard a hum and crackle of electricity and saw that the blue armored figure had summoned an energy weapon made of blue light. Firework understood and said, “Hey! I can help!”

Firework charged at the incoming object. He saw that it was indeed a meteor, several dozen feet in length. In front of the giant boulder were four smaller ones. The big one seemed to be trailing the smaller ones. A group of asteroids were in the path of the rocks, and before they reached them, blasts of energy spewed out of the smaller rocks, destroying the asteroids and clearing the path!

Firework grabbed onto the biggest rock, having his sparks surround it, and slowly, with great effort, changed its course, turning the rock to very away from the shielded planet. With no inertia, and the fact that he was in space, he was able to do so.

Firework changed the trajectory and followed the rocks. That’s when one of the smaller rocks broke off from the path and scanned Firework! Firework went immaterial and tried to move out of the way. He wasn’t sure if it succeeded.

The smaller rock rejoined the group. The smaller rocks got into a formation and beams of light emerged from them. It blasted the space in front of them, opening up a worm hole! Before Firework could react, the rocks, the giant one following, flew into the wormhole and it closed behind them.

Firework floated there, unsure of what just happened. The armor figure flew up next to him, and said, “Thank you, bright creature. We have been tracking it for time and were unsure if shield would stop it. You help. Come, I show you home.

My name is Sri Zarius.”

Firework went with him and got the first glimpse of an alien planet. It was glorious.

Some time later, back on Earth, alarms started to blare out at AEGIS. Scanners had picked up some sort of spatial interference above the planet’s atmosphere. Looking via satellite, the world’s governments are able to see a massive wormhole open up in the sky. From out of it flies four small boulders, and one large one, hurtling towards Earth.

Aurum contacts Firework, telling him to come home as quickly as he can. Firework had told Aurum about his encounter, and realized that it was the same one that Firework had deflected. Firework, even at top speed, would take months to get back home. Aurum suggested he travel via The Nevernever.

Firework informed his new friends about the predicament. He told him he had to get back home. Sri Zarius told him that because Firework had helped his planet, they would send help too. Firework thanked him, pulled out his golden Lair key, inserted it into an alien door, which he opened, and stepped into the void beyond.

Sure enough, he arrived in The Lair. Firework saw that The Lair, though not in shambles, was under construction. Before he had time to explain to the Caretaker, he teleported out.

By then the team had already gathered together, trying to figure out how to sop the potential world ender. Johnny 5, having hacked into AEGIS’s readings, saw that the rocks were actually slowing down, and that their impact would land them in Point Reyes. As he said this, the asteroids crash landed, leaving a large crater, but causing no damage to any human settlement. The team leapt into action and head out.

The team arrived at the crash landing site. The large asteroid lay in a smoldering heap. The team approached slowly. Jesuit took point, hands raised, in gestures of coming in piece.

Which is when Wildheart leapt into the air and landed on the giant rock.

The four smaller rocks flew off the ground, into the air. The rock shed off them, revealing four mechanical drones. From underneath them came out what looked like guns. They began to charge.



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