| Priority Code: Alpha
Published: January 5, 2009
Priority Code: Alpha
The hum of the gravitational lift did little to soothe Dr. Aeon’s nerves, his hands alternating between tapping his leg and adjusting his equipment. This was not going to be a good meeting.
With a slight shudder and a hiss, the lift came to a stop and the doors opened into the main audience chamber. Around the room, being attended by their flunkies, were Lord Recluse’s four lieutenants: Sirocco, Ghost Widow, Black Scorpion, and Mako.
“Lieutenants, indeed,” Aeon sneered silently to himself. “If Lord Recluse wanted a real lieutenant, I was the only logical one for the job. Now I have to go through these four to even get an audience!”
Composing himself as best as he could, he turned and approached the nearest of the four—and the one with whom he shared the most common ground—Black Scorpion.
“Scorpion,” he said, his voice sounding hesitant and timid to his own ears.
“What is it?” Scorpion growled, pulling his eyes away from yet another adjustment to his armor.
Aeon cleared his throat. “As you know, I have sensors up all over Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, cataloging anomalies, power that is used, super-powered beings, and potential Rikti invas…”
“Yes, yes, I know all of that,” Scorpion said, cutting him off. “Don’t insult my intelligence or waste my time! Now out with it!”
Scumbag, Aeon thought to himself. If you knew half of what I do, you wouldn’t constantly have to fix that erector set you laughingly call ‘armor’.
Aeon gathered himself again. “Very well. My sensors have picked up a massive super-human power spike, the like of which we’ve not seen since the Rikti’s last invasion.”
“So the heroes are up to something again,” Scorpion sneered dismissively, giving Aeon a brief hand gesture to send him on his way. “They can’t touch us here, so what difference does it matter to us?”
Aeon ground his teeth, but kept his composure. “But that’s just it. It’s not hero activity I detected—it’s villain-based, from right here in the Rogue Isles!”
“WHAT?!?” Scorpion thundered, turning so suddenly that his tail sent one of his technicians flying against the far wall. “WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? WHERE? WHO WAS IT?”
“Why all the yelling?” asked Ghost Widow, as she glided into the conversation. “Did someone use the wrong size battery again, Scorpion?”
Scorpion acted as if he would answer, but Aeon knew his information was too important to be delayed. “It’s this power spike I detected, Widow….a villain spike…in the Abyss.”
Ghost Widow’s nostrils flared slightly, an indication that she had been severely stunned by this news. “Indeed. That is something of note. We must inform Lord Recluse at once.”
“Inform him of what?” snarled Mako, spitting carelessly on Aeon in the process.
“A potential threat has been identified by our dear Dr. Aeon, here," she replied smoothly. "It is something of which Lord Recluse should be made aware.”
“Bah! Let’s just go take out whoever it is and be done with it,” Mako snapped, dripping even more drool on Aeon’s shoes and causing acid to start eating away at the marble floor at this feet.
“Feel free to go try,” Widow said, a sinister smile playing on her lips. “We’ll send someone along behind you to pick up the pieces and ship them to the nearest sushi restaurant when you’re done.”
Mako slobbered and strained, clearly trying to restrain himself, and Ghost Widow’s glare was like looking into the face of lady Death herself. Aeon took a slight step back. If there was going to be a confrontation between Widow and Mako, the last place he wanted to be was between them.
“Fine,” Mako finally grunted. “Go tell him and be quick about it. The faster he knows, the faster we can do something about it.”
Widow smiled knowingly, took Dr. Aeon by the elbow, and led him toward the throne where Lord Reclose sat in meditation. As they walked past Sirocco and his Mu attendants, electricity seemed to fill the air, and Aeon could feel the hair on his head—and the back of his neck—standing on end.
“An ill wind is stirring,” Sirocco sighed.
Ghost Widow nodded to him, then turned and mounted the steps to the dais where Lord Recluse’s throne sat. When she got to within several feet of it, she stopped and stood waiting in silence. Aeon, bursting to speak, knew that to do so before he was given permission would mean instant death, no matter what his news. He may try to maneuver around the others, but he was not about to cross Lord Recluse.
“Speak,” came the hollow voice from the throne.
“My Lord, Dr. Aeon has brought us information of such importance that I felt it needed your immediate attention,” Ghost Widow said promptly. Aeon gritted his teeth, noting that, in one simple sentence, she had effectively taken credit for bringing this urgent matter to Lord Recluse’s attention.
“That remains to be seen,” Lord Recluse replied, turning to look directly at Dr. Aeon for the first time. “I shall let the gravity of the news speak for itself.”
Trembling, Dr. Aeon stepped slightly forward. “My Lord, by your command I have continued to monitor Paragon City and the Rogue Isles for all forms of power output, superhuman activity, and any other strange phenomena. I was ordered to report anything of note.”
“Indeed you were, Aeon,” Recluse purred, “Although I seem to recall that such reports were to be sent to me through regular computer channels. Why have you insisted on bothering me in person?”
Shaking more than ever, Aeon opened his mouth to speak, noting how dry his throat seemed to be, and closed it. He swallowed with difficulty as Mako, Black Scorpion, and Sirocco moved up behind him, close enough to hear his response…or carry out his death sentence, if Lord Recluse commanded it.
“M-my Lord,” Aeon stammered, “I would only d-do so in the most extreme of situations. S-surely you know my faithfulness and loyalty to you is without q-question!”
A small, evil chuckle rumbled from the throne. “We shall see.”
Seizing this opportunity, Aeon turned the laptop tablet in his hand around so that Lord Recluse could see the readings for himself. “As you can see, My Lord, the power readings are nearly off the charts. Put that together with the level of superhuman activity and its location, and there can be only one conclusion.” He cleared his throat again. “My Lord, someone has defeated the Hamidon.”
The silence stretched for an interminably long time, and Aeon could feel the sweat trickle down his back. He inched his hand ever so slightly closer to his belt, hoping to be able to trigger his duplicates in a last attempt to escape, should the need arise.
“That is significant news, Doctor,” Recluse said finally, causing Aeon to slump slightly in relief. “But it has been done before, as you well know. Why is this event more significant than they?”
Aeon knew that this was his last card. If this failed to satisfy Lord Recluse, he likely wouldn’t survive this encounter.
“My Lord,” he said with all the calmness he could muster, “All of these villains wear the same colors…and they are not the colors of Arachnos. I feared that, if they were able to defeat the Hamidon, they may pose a threat to Arachnos itself.”
The red gleam that shone from under Lord Recluse’s helmet intensified for a moment, and Aeon was certain that he’d gone too far. The tension mounted for a few moments, and then, to Aeon’s amazement, Lord Recluse began to laugh. His rumbling, evil roar filled the audience chamber, and seemed to relieve the tension like someone letting air out of a balloon.
“Doctor, it will take a great deal more than a one-time show of strength to threaten the might of Arachnos,” Recluse said, turning back to his contemplations.
As Ghost Widow took Aeon by the elbow to steer him away from the throne, however, Lord Recluse continued. “Still, anyone who is that organized could potentially become a powerful pawn…or perhaps a useful ally…as surely as a potential adversary. We would do well to keep tabs on them. Assign them Priority Code: Alpha.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Aeon replied. “It will be done.”
As the four lieutenants moved back to their positions, they shared guarded looks with Aeon and with one another. Clearly, this was something of staggering proportions, as Priority Code: Alpha had only been used previously on one occasion—for the Freedom Phalanx itself.
“Oh, Doctor,” Lord Recluse called from the throne.
Frozen on the spot, Aeon turned back. “Yes, my Lord?”
“What do these upstarts call themselves?” Recluse asked, the red gleam is his eye again.
“The Twilight Avengers, my Lord,” Aeon responded, and quickly made his way back to the lift.
Discuss this article in the Forum!
View Comments (1)
I Am Hamidon!
Published: February 21, 2008
Conquest.......... Domination............. Annihilation............... Read More...
Ridding this planet of the infection known as humanity. I have evolved beyond their ability to harm me. They cannot hurt me now, I am too strong, my defenses are too formidable.
But in the back of my mind I feel a psychic twitch of pain. My loyal Thorn is gone. Obliteration................. And again with the pain, and the Quarry falls. With increasing frequency the twitch becomes a throb, the throb becomes an ache, the ache becomes a irritation, the irritation becomes a true spike of genuine pain. Lattices, Quarrys, Thorns and Straphorias fall by the dozens.
The usual absence of human presence seems to be the norm with the exception of about 2 dozen life forms. I cannot abide by these parasites destroying my subjects, I will see to this nuisance myself. With a surge of mental energy, The Hamidon forces his presence into the Prime material plane. With 18 Mitochondria and Myself, we shall make short work of this infection of humanity.
19 kills later, with a smug and satisfied air about himself, The Hamidon breathes a little sigh. So Soft, So Breakable, these "heroes" are so "heroic" that they scatter at the first sight of me in my splendor. I am Perfection, I am the epitome of evolution, I am the pinnacle of Life.
What is this...... One of them is standing on a Spire within my domain and has the audacity to be spouting charges and accusations of crimes against humanity. HA HA HA Crimes against humanity, my goal is the obliteration of humanity, and I shall start with HIM. With several flashes of yellow, a bolt of blue and a ray of green and of course my own swirling ball of purple, he is no more.
I can sense they are cowering behind the rocks, i can smell their fear, their apprehension is almost palpable. the terror they are displaying is almost intoxicating. "come out and play!" I demand, but soon realize that their unevolved brains cannot understand the thoughts and projections I am giving them.
Wait...... Wait... They must have understood me, here comes one........ and several more......... and a dozen and a half more....... they do want to play. "Unleash Hell!!!"
I ...... I ...... I...... don't understand, my attacks....... they are washing right off of them....... they seem to have an essence about them, some earthiness that shields them. They...... They.......... They are defeating my defenses. they are carving off pieces of my Mitochondria. They are defeating me. They are defeating me AGAIN.
I recognize them now and that detestable symbol they wear upon their chest. These Twilight Avengers are not ordinary humanity, they are more than just "heroes". I have evolved to beat them, My goal of ridding this planet of humanity will never come to pass unless I overcome them. If I have learned anything in the last 4 years, I have learned patience and I have learned anger. I am still the Pinnacle of Life, I am still the epitome of evolution and this is nothing more than a minor set back. I WILL FIND A WAY TO BE RID OF THESE ACCURSED TWILIGHT AVENGERS!!!!!!
View Comments (0)
Rikti War Zone
Published: August 6, 2007
In a battered part of Paragon, that many used to call home is a ravaged little residental. Whether it earned the name before or after the first invasion attempt years ago, I just don't know and I never ventured to digging through the rubble. Perhaps there is a plaque memorial somewhere on the block but the shells of old apartment buildings falling further into ruin is a sad enough sight.
Not far, the crashed Rikti mothership lay, a huge mass of foreign technology hermitting away in a green inpregnable bubble sustained by eighteen constructed pylons drawing energy from an undetermined source. The Rikti had been quick to put them in place and equipped each with a daunting defensive system to take care of anyone that became overly curious. For years, officials and heroes alike attempted to speculate the number of surviving inhabitants, its continued threat, and what secrets it held. A few even tried to crack its shell, but without success. In the recent days, the rikti activity in the area have tripled and finally a question has been answered. The mothership had been dormant, assessing more carefully its opponents and squirreling away its civilization in preparation.
In their debut, the Freedom Phallanx answered the call and lived to tell the tale. Eight heroes remained of thousands. Only eight, and now in a paragon's darkest hour the invasion begins a new. One could wait for the rallying call, for Statesman and Lady Grey to stop their bickering amongst themselves long enough to provide leadership, or they could set their courage to the sticking point,
straighten their cape, and cry, "Battle!" One against thousands with a one in thousands chance. The odds sounded pretty good considering history. There was a Hamidon once apon a time and he was just as big.
This city, this world, would be safe. It was sworn long ago and in repetition by multiple voices though now they number only a few dozen assembled. More would be appreciated but not necessary. In charge is a man known as Cody and his Twilight Avengers reflect the elite. As an avenger, I know my duty and live or die for my oath, so there I stood awaiting a strategy that ultimately determined the fate of millions. It was to be the fine-tuned product of our greatest minds because it had to be, and led by one with reflexes as sharp as his name implies. Talon had salvation.
"Pylons fall first and then it's open season on Rikti after we leave a few surprises on their ship courtesy of a few confiscated bombs." Hellions are good for something after all. They make a hell of an explosive. He continues, "Watch your back for..." I really should be paying more attention yet all I can think is bad commercial puns. "Raid kills Rikti dead." Didn't some one tell me once that they were mutated humans from a parallel dimesion who used up every resource? They obviously don't like to share and want a new place to squander to themselves.
Always my problem I never pay enough attention. I suddenly realize I'm the only one remaining at the Ridge. Bouncing over the terran, my team is already at work. A pylon's defense system scatters shots in a wide arc as I land. For A.I., their aim is terrible, or maybe there is just too many of us. Wulf throws a taunt up at the mechanical eye and looks over at me. "We aren't going to save you one if you don't keep up." I don't respond and focus. You don't have to tell me twice.
Within mintues the remaining parts of the pylons that litter the map smoke and lay broken. The rikti hadn't even had the time to send something out to the field to slow us down. Only one pylon still stood. Looking at the mothership to the south as the last pylon fell, the rikti had finally emerged. I could not count how many wandered along the top of the ship, gun in hand and defense ready.
"This is it. Follow me close and for Christ's sake be careful with those things. When the bombs go you move." Then we leap in one huge mass. No one falters or hesitates. We dug in for the jump and left earth. None thinking we may not return to it until we land....Well, perhaps it occured to me. What would they do if they caught us? And what if-The shock of finding my footing was only momentary but enough to stop my chain of thoughts. The metal beneath our landing pulses its displeasure. This is not the Paragon we knew, we were far removed. Get your head straight. To the job, to the job.
Kaboo rips a grate from its hinges as the rest of us huddle close, bomb holders and healers to the center. Headman and chief soldiers rush to get at our core, to scatter and divide. Someone yells, "ED! Hole!" The noise is insane. "What did you just call me?!" He ducks in regardless and returns quickly, "GO!" We jump again. The rikti still standing along the north end of the ship feel the rumble. The ones nearest the opening fall if they clear the blast. When they stand they look after us. We are more than the fools we appear to them. There is rage in their eyes. More approach as we make the same move. Their communications must be lit up with news of us. Grate is down. Heep go. Ryu go. Frost Go. We plow through, but the waves against us suddenly lessen. They amass in the center of the ship.
Someone new has entered the game. He towers over the rest of them just slightly. U'Kon Gr'ai, the Master at Arms, is head of ship security and more than any soldier elite. He points at us without a word. Would we dare with him watching? "Mal, bomb." The avenger darts in and out. This time we land in the center. The circle sets the perfect arena. The bomb detonates and Gr'ai shakes in his armor with fury. The Quantum weapon or perhaps that's a rikti rifle at his side.....a gun is a gun. It is drawn. The real battle begins. The sound is unlike anything. I may be deaf. They are at all sides of us, teleporting and moving, but never among us long.
Gr'ai wears the red and black, but not well. Not the way that we do. He is an easily found target. We drop him infront of his own soldiers, but even with fall the waves come. He uttered something as he went. Perhaps I'm not deaf after all. "Priority: Protect Queens." Suddenly we know what awaits us inside: their breeding ground. Their final means of remaining on a planet that doesn't want them or the war they bring. Magus move on us with thier stolen magic, better weilded than any Circle of Thorns mage.
The search is one for the entrance to the inside. We do not realize that those who do not fight have been sent out to the destroyed pylons. They work to re-establish their sheild, but they are also running out of soldiers to distract us. A few scrappers break off looking for a fight. Still no door. "We find a way or make one!" The super-strong tear at the ships paneling. This could take a while even for us.
Rikti run at us from over a ridge. We are getting too close. Wulfman rips another piece from the deck hurtling it at the incoming. A few blasters unleash on the opening. It widens though barely enough for a small child to pass through. A different kind of light shines through it. Our fervor renews. We are so very close. "Knock, knock." The shortest sentence ever spoken by GG. We prepare to drop through when a crackle and hum overtakes the air. The pylons are repaired. We've run out of time. The defense systems of the shield recognize our human signatures and force us away.
Away is atop a vanguard base. They were not expecting us. One of the agents faints at the suddenly arrival of twenty-some heroes. Another pays little mind and radios that the sheilds have respawned. The response comes from Lady Grey herself. "All forces do not proceed. I repeat do not engage. Our opportunity is gone. We'll wait another."
We count heads among ourselves and find no causulty. A good number of us grin and pat fellow avengers on the back. Others eye the ship in the distance. The masterminds are thinking. The Vanguard communicator steps to Cody. "You'll all have to come with me." His reply is a laugh, "Love to, Buttercup, but we have unfinished business to take care of." He turns back to us. "You know where to go." There isn't time for protest. Within seconds, the vanguard stand alone on the compound. He'll tell his grandkids for years what he's about to see.
Avengers assemble. Round two. Straighten your cape, cry, "Battle," and we move.
View Comments (0)