Sunday, August 31, 2008

039: Charleston Charge, Hobo at Large

The week after the battle... or, as the world at large knew it, the return of the Paragon People... was not a good week for Charleston Charge. He had woken up the day after the battle to find himself unemployed and under investigation by several government agencies. By noon, he was also homeless, all of his assets seized. Lacking anything else to do, he attempted to travel to the city of his birth, the Lost City of Uhld. This was hard to do when you were under investigation by the government, however, and he eventually decided to go out for some delicious waffles. This is also surprisingly hard to do when you are under investigation, with your assets seized.

By the end of the day, he was unemployed, homeless, hungry, thirsty, and penniless. He found fifty cents to use at a payphone, but was unable to find a payphone, and so he bought a bag of chips which only served to make him thirsty and moderately less hungry. Since he had no means to contact his friends, he could also be considered friendless. In the span of one day, he had become a virtual nobody, forced off the grid.

The rest of the week had been a continuation of this state of events. Eventually, he was able to find a soup kitchen and a trash can with a fire in it. He wondered if he was ahead of the game, as far as being a member of the hobo community was concerned. After finding a clean piece of cardboard and a permanent marker, he was sure of it. After pondering it for a bit, he decided to write down "Will work for food", which was a very clich├ęd thing to write, certainly, but concise. Towards the end of the day, he made plans to find a park and learn a talent he could put to good use. After all, he had a hat which money could be thrown into.

The next morning, exactly one week after Charleston had become homeless, he found a newspaper on the bus. He had begun using the public transportation system several days earlier, and each day he saw new bits of the city from his mobile headquarters. To his surprise, there was a minor article about the dismantling of TYRIS from which he learned that most of the agents were being absorbed into the new CAST, an endeavor supported by many people whom Charleston recognized from the battle. Several more gifted agents - the reporter's description - had been accepted into the Astounding Superhero Syndicate. Charleston noticed that he was not mentioned at all, and slowly realized that of all the agents of TYRIS, he was the only one who got screwed. Well, he and Robin Banks, but Robin was also being cared for in one of the city's top hospitals for an extreme bipolar disorder. Charleston was out on the streets reading discarded newspapers.

He had been shown an entire world he had not known, and it had been snatched away from him with ease.

He would have cried out angrily against Fate at this point, but did not want to get kicked off the bus. Not until he got to the public library, in order to use its Internet. Once he was at his stop, he departed the bus and screamed at Fate. Then, he went into the library to use its Internet.

The first thing he did was look up the current roster of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate. He had a hunch he knew whom would be added, a hunch which was quickly verified. Land Captain and the Witchyologist were the two newest members, alongside such luminaries as the Forgiver, Serial Hang-Man, and Mark King. He nodded quietly to himself, and continued to surf the web. He looked up Anderson Smith, and found that he worked for the Detroit branch of a major television channel. Coincidentally, the headquarters of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate was also in Detroit.

Mister Lucky was not on the Internet, except in some anecdotes about the Basset Hound Brigade and reported sightings over the years. Obviously, you only found Mister Lucky if he wanted to be found. Charleston had a lot of time and a lot of experience with finding people.

Charleston logged off, and stepped outside. Someone was going to help him get out of this situation, whether they wanted to or not.
Whom should Charleston seek aid from?
-Mark King
-Anderson Smith
-Mister Lucky

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

038: Always Remember, Never Forget

Continued from 037: Here Comes Mister Lucky
"How did you get here?" said Charleston.

"I flew us here," said Vinny Fitzgerald, "Eh yo, there's our plane." Vinny had crashed it on top of the bear machine, meaning that the amount of bears would not increase. This was fortunate.

Mister Lucky nodded. "My name is Mister Lucky, and today's your lucky day! I'm going to fix all this right up. But wait, there's more! Someone's gonna pay! All right, Frinky! You're up!"

Mister Frink looked like John Rhys-Davies to a point where the resemblance went from uncanny to just plain creepy. "I shall kill you one day, Mister Lucky. Depend upon that."

"Just do it, Frinky! Work your special brand of magic!"

"It's impossible for the fighting to stop!" said Frink, and the fighting stopped rather quickly. Dick Douglas, the Basset Hound Brigade's detective, looked over at his manservant Jojo Jenkins and punched him. "See? I'm right! Violence is eternal."

"Now I need Edolie DePrit. If she'd get out of the car's back seat, we could fix things up," said Mister Lucky.

Edolie peeked out of the back seat sheepishly. "How did you know?"

"Just lucky, I guess! Now, I need you to hold hands with Frinky here while we get things back to normal! You'll lose your powers, though, but not your messed up hair. Also, I don't care if you're okay with it because this is bigger than you!"

"Oui, monsieur," said Edolie, slipping back into her accent.

She and Mister Frink held hands. They both began to glow, much to Frink's dismay.

"Say, is it possible for Clarence Claybourne to be alive again," asked Mister Lucky.

"It's impossible!" said Frink.

Clarence's body regained some measure of vitality and trotted over to Frink and Edolie.

"All three of you hold hands. Mark, you hold hands, too. Good. Now, is it possible for everything to go back to how it was before this whole fight started?" said Mister Lucky, "I think it's witchcraft!"

"It is impossible!" said Frink.

"Yeah, this fight was witchcraft," said Clarence.

Mister Lucky stood next to Charleston, and began to explain: "Both Mister Frink and Clarence Claybourne have this sort of field around them that allows them some measure of reality manipulation. I think it's because Frinky is so stubborn and Clarence has the imagination of a brick. This power, coupled with Edolie's ability to warp reality gained from that machine she destroyed, should get us back to how it was. Only thing is, everyone will remember it for a little while. You, me, Mark King, and that Anderson Smith fella have to have ourselves a talk."

"Do you know if it'll work?" said Charleston.

"If I'm lucky!" said Mister Lucky with a wink.

A small orb of power manifested between Frink, Clarence, Edolie, and Mark King. It expanded until it engulfed the entire area. Not everything went back to normal. While the multitude of bears, monkeys, pyramids, and dogs vanished the Paragon Platform did not. All who died returned to life, with the curious exception of Tal Andreos. Later, it would be discovered that she had been horribly mutilated and sexually abused by a robot. The Spork Avenger once again became the Spork. Plasticine Cube, Metallic Spheroid, and their friends were sent home. The nursing home was rebuilt, as well, though the house the False Prophet lived in was still destroyed. However, this was still the problem of so many heroes and villains in one place. Mister Lucky had a plan for that, too, and he snapped his fingers.

"What do you want," said yet another Double O.

"Right now, I just need you to get all these heroes and villains back to where they belong," said Mister Lucky.

"Fine, whatever," said Double O, and moments later, the only people left in the area were Charleston, Mark King, Mister Lucky, and Anderson Smith.

"If things worked out how they should have, then everyone should remember something big happened here today," said Mister Lucky, "If we're lucky, then they'll just think it was the return of the Paragon People. Anderson, I need you to get to work on that. We can blame the house on Bad Higgins, I guess."

"Right-o, Mister Lucky," said Anderson.

"I still need you here for now, though. We have to talk to Charleston here. Not you, though, but your two bosses."

Anderson sighed, and let his mind wander.

"Now then, a few decades ago me, Mark, and another guy met up and discussed the whole supernatural and superhero problem. We decided that the super-naturals would leave the super-people alone, while the civilians should be just that. Innocent bystanders at most. It would seem, though, that there's a thing that's sort of undermining everything. A little thing called TYRIS. Well, Charge, what's it all about?"

"They sell insurance," said Mark King, "In fact, the Astounding Superhero Syndicate buys their insurance directly from TYRIS."

"Most Paci Custodis do as well," said a voice through Anderson Smith.

"I had no idea," said Charleston.

"I believe you," said Mister Lucky, "However, who was it that sent the Paci Custodis off to fight vampires and pretty much started this whole thing?"

"Robin Banks? He's just my manager, though. I doubt he'd do anything evil," said Charleston.

"Check the name, kid. He's bred for trouble. I bet if we investigate enough, we can bust this whole TYRIS scam wide open and get things back to how they were, more or less."

"If you think that's best."

"I do, kid. I do."

-

The investigation turned up several disturbing facts. One, Robin Banks had been the Dispatcher for several years after disclosing the Dispatcher's secret location to the Mafia. He used his connections to scam people into buying insurance, and to use TYRIS as his own personal army. The case of the giant frog, in fact, was merely an attempt to blackmail a herpetologist who lived nearby. In the end, Robin Banks was jailed for dozens of counts of insurance fraud and hundreds of conspiracies. TYRIS was shut down, leaving Charleston, Edolie, Land Captain, Liana Koleyna, and countless others out of jobs.

While most people who were present had only the vaguest idea that something big had happened that day, Anderson made sure they thought it was the return of the Paragon People. A few people were given the task of never forgetting what happened: Mister Lucky, Mark King, Anderson Smith's bosses, and Charleston Charge.

One person was given the task of always remembering all the lives that had been lost that day, all the senseless violence, and to never stop remembering.

That person was Robin Banks.

Choose Your Own Blogventure is going to be taking a short break while I polish up what we have so far. Stay tuned for the future adventures of Charleston Charge, though! It should be fairly soon.

037: Here Comes Mister Lucky

Continued from 036: The Battle Erupts
The heroes were outnumbered and suffering heavy losses. Dry-Man, Fadeaway, Captain Depresso, Solar, Dismembro, Serial Hang-Man, Photogra-She, Player One, Player Three, and many others had fallen in battle. Breakneck was doing her best to whisk her fallen comrades to the medical tent where several doctors had set up. Unfortunately, only a few were actually competent. Doctor Bob Smith, who may be a centaur, was one of them. The other was El Scientist Magnifico. The other doctors were Steve the Wanna-Be Doctor and Doctor Marth, who had a degree but got it because his roommates kept dying. Needless to say, things were looking grim.

Charleston sat on the hood of Ishmael with Land Captain by the tent.

"Where's your girlfriend?" he said, sipping cocoa.

"She's out there with her fish."

"My goodness. Hey, you're a superhero. Why aren't you out there?"

"I'm not good at these all-out brawls. I may pop in, in case they need me."

"I think they do."

"I hate to interrupt," said Ishmael, "But I'm receiving a list of the fallen."

"Say it," said Charleston, who had become quite pale.

"Captain Depresso, deceased. Player One, deceased. Shrugs, deceased. The Forgiver, deceased. Player Two, deceased. Fadeaway, deceased. Shizamablock, deceased. Papery Pyramid, deceased. Clyde the Embryonic Man, deceased. Dismembro the Dismembered Man, deceased. Serial Hang-Man, deceased. Photogra-She, deceased. Dry-Man, deceased. Solar, deceased. Benji, deceased. Vehigirl, deceased. Clarence Claybourne, deceased. Tal Andreos, deceased. Jimmy Swift III, deceased. Ben Johansen, deceased. Liana Koleyna, deceased. Shall I continue?"

"No," whispered Land Captain, "That won't be necessary."

"We didn't have that many people to begin with," said Charleston, "Then they got those armies. We never stood a chance."

"I need to get out there. If I don't make it back, take care of Ishmael for me. You've been a good friend, Charleston."

Charleston nodded, but was silent as Land Captain ran into the fray. Minutes later, Ishmael began to drone on again:

"Land Captain. Deceased."

"Ishmael. Shut the hell up," said Charleston softly.

Charleston sat in silence, and waited for the fighting to be over. He guessed, though, that even if the villains won they would continue. When they won, he should say. He decided that he would have to do something, and he hopped off the car and began to stride off into the battle.

A firm but friendly hand on his shoulder stopped him. Charleston turned, and came face-to-face with two men in suits, one of them a battered Anderson Smith.

"Are you Charleston Charge?" said the one who was not Anderson.

"Yes. I need to get out there. Better to die now than wait for death to find me," said Charleston.

"My name is Mark King, and I speak on behalf of a select group of individuals when I say I can't let you do that. We're the good guys, after all. We'll win out in the end."

"I just listened to a good friend die, and many others besides."

"I know, and I'll be Mark King it down in my report. Get it?"

"Now is not the time for puns!" shouted Charleston, "You bastard! You utter bastard, standing here and making puns while men and women risk lay down their lives!"

"I know what I'm doing, son. Now watch. See that, up in the sky?" said Mark King, pointing.

Charleston strained his eyes, and saw a tiny dot become gradually larger.

"Is that a gyrocopter?"

"Indeed. It's the European branch of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate, and just the first wave of reinforcements."

The gyrocopter crashed into the giant Nazi mech, taking it out. Several figures erupted from the remains of it, taking the fight to the villains. A man in a sphere flew into battle and began shooting balls at the armies of bears and monkeys.

A Scotsman with a box leapt in front of Watt, and bellowed, "Do ye want to see what's in me box?" He opened it and pulled out a large rubber hammer which should not have fit into the box. He hit Watt with it, but was cut down from behind by a Middle Eastern man in a robe. Before anyone could react, he exploded.

"Llwellyn, deceased. Scottish Box Man, deceased. Kinetosphere, deceased. Scooter, deceased. Englishman, deceased. Captain Monocle, deceased. Britain Sandy, deceased," said Ishmael, unbidden.

The Middle Eastern man emerged unscathed. Charleston turned to Mark King again, who simply put his forefinger to his lip. Charleston watched as the good guys were pummeled.

Elsewhere, Wyandotte Thompson, who had helped Player One and Shrugs begin their quest, arrived being ridden by a full-sized brachiosaur. This was Brachiosaur B. Brachiosaur.

"Please, Brachiosaur, I can't carry you much farther!" whined Wyandotte.

"Brachiosaur!" said Brachiosaur.

Before they could reach the battlefield, a monkey with the head of a tyrannosaurus rex blocked their path.

"Brachi!"

It was a stalemate.

Back at the battlefield, everyone had mysteriously stopped. A robot shaped like an ass was walking through, singing a song, followed by a marching band. The band was whining about not eating in months, but the Ass-Bot paid them no heed. Hero and villain alike watched as Ass-Bot marched his way through the battlefield, but once he was gone, the battle raged on.

Plasticine Cube and Metallic Spheroid were having a difficult time of it. While they were adept at fighting pyramids, other things were beyond them.

"For once, I wish the Flesh-Pod and Ostrypus were here!" said Metallic Spheroid as he rammed a bear.

"I do as well!" said Plasticine Cube as another bear slashed him, "PAIN!"

Spheroid rushed over to him. "Are you all right, my friend?"

"I am damaged. I fear I shall not make it."

"No! I shall not lose you as well on this day!"

"It is too late. I... am... off..." Plasticine Cube said no more.

Metallic Spheroid turned to the bear and rammed it as hard as he could, screaming while he did so.

"You have taken all my friends!" he screamed, running in a circle, "I shall have no more of this tom-foolery!"

"Not all of them!" said a bean-shaped green creature with a golden energy-filled hat.

"The Mikep!"

"I brought some friends, too! In fact, one of them sort of brought me here because I had no idea what was going on, but now I'm here!"

"Hey, I'm going to go hang out with Doctor Derangemo instead," said a bird-thing named Cruton, "See you later."

Mikep was too busy to notice. Elsewhere, a vampire who looked vaguely like Willy Wonka had gone into a blood rage.

"BANGLES!" he cried, savagely attacking the dogs, even as one devoured an Asian member of the Bicycle Pozze.

"Oh, hey!" said Graves, who was nearby, "You'll just be hungry an hour later!"

"Instead of the Asian eating the dog, it's the dog eating the Asian!" replied Ethan.

Ethan and Graves' eyes met, filled with rage.

"Mine was better," said Graves.

A gnome in a pointy hat stood on a dish high above the battle and he incanted spells. Below, another Double O fought valiantly with a sword. There were a lot of Double Os.

Motley Shakespeare had gathered several members of the Pozze and converted them into a theater troop, which was performing for several hobos around a trash-can.

"Sammiches?" said one, who was heavily armed. This was Baggy Brigadier.

"Sammiches," said the other, who was Baggy Johnson.

The nefarious Baggy Satan was also there, deciding some time ago he liked this better than doing any actual work.

The battle stopped again, as three figures ran onto the battlefield singing a song:

"Napkin Man, and the Spork! Fighting crime, and doing stuff! When they get home, they'll eat pie! It is called Hero Pie, and it is made with cherries or apples! The Spork likes cherries, but Napkin Man does not!"

More loudly than the first bit of song, they shouted, "It's innuendo!"

Napkin Man wore a flannel shirt and a napkin mask, while the Spork merely used Sporks to fight with. The third member of the team, the Napkin Vixen, wore three napkins. One on her face, the other two covering her chest. Napkin Man was an enigma to most people there, and when the fighting raged on and he gave his life for Napkin Vixen's, no one really cared but the Spork and Napkin Vixen. The Spork screamed with rage, and declared himself to be the Spork Avenger.

Charleston stood on the sidelines with Mark King, who was still holding him back.

"It's working itself backwards," said Mark King.

Charleston knew he would get no answer if he asked what.

The next person to arrive was a young man with a large sword. He punched out Shoshy Raphael and vanished.

After him, however, a plane appeared in the sky and several people sky-dived into the fray to take care of the Zodiac. Leo Leopolous declared his intention to kill agents, and the fight was on. Fighting most valiantly was Agent Villain, a brilliant double agent. He even made it look like he was attacking his own allies, he was so dedicated. In the sky, the Paragon People returned on their platform and joined the fight.

"Is that what we were waiting for?" asked Charleston, awed by what he was seeing.

"No."

It was then that Charleston noticed a single man in the middle of the battlefied, dancing the Charleston. He was slightly amused by this, but he also felt a supreme amount of hate. The battle stopped, and he could hear the man singing:

"Charleston, Charleston, Cha-cha-cha-cha-Charlie Charleston. Da da da, I'm better than you!" sang the man.

An imp materialized, and the man tried to dance away from the imp. He did not succeed, and vanished when the imp touched him. Everyone applauded, and then continued to fight.

"Thank God!" said a voice from behind Charleston, "I hate that guy! Now what's all the trouble?"

Charleston turned to find himself face-to-face with Mister Lucky and the original Basset Hound Brigade.

"Is this what we were waiting for?" said Charleston.

"Yes," said Mark King, "This is it."

To be concluded in 038: Always Remember, Never Forget

036: The Battle Erupts

Continued from 035: The Villains Assemble
The gathered heroes stared at the incoming villains.

"Are those pyramids?" said Dry-Man, "Which villain is that?"

"They're new," said Captain Depresso, who had found himself on the front lines.

"Pyramids and monkeys?"

"They're new, too. At least, new to me."

"Shambling undead."

"We got those," said Player One, readying his gun.

"I estimate that we're pretty screwed," said Clyde.

Lsadfsagi appeared, "I bring hope."

"What?" said Captain Depresso.

"I bring hope."

A sphere, two cubes, and a pyramid manifested.

"Where did you bring us?" said the Metallic Spheroid, though Lsadfsagi had vanished. When he realized this, he cursed softly in binary.

"This is obviously the real world," said the Plasticine Cube, "Though why he brought us here, I have no idea."

"Yo, this is whack. Whickity-whack," said another cube, made of charcoal and dubbed Shizamablock.

"Hey guys, I think maybe we're in trouble," said the Papery Pyramid, "Look over there!"

"Legions of evil pyramids!" said Metallic Spheroid, "Also, other things which will no doubt hinder us!"

"Ah, but over here we have what appears to be assembled heroes!" said the Cube, "I see now why we were brought here!"

"ACTION!" said the Spheroid and Cube together.

"Are you guys done? We sort of have to go defend the world from an army of evil. I'm pretty sure that's Hitler over there," said Dry-Man.

"Indeed," said Cube, "Onward to action!"

"Dude, what the hell?" said Dry-Man to Captain Depresso, "Seriously."

Captain Depresso shrugged, as the amassed heroes sped forward to meet the villains, and the battle was joined. Members of the Paci Custodis fought valiantly against the hordes of the supernatural. Superheroes fought their villains, and at times each other, somehow not dying despite the odds against them. The shapes fought just as well as the heroes, and truth be told, everyone was having a better time than they had had in a while.

"Leave no hero standing!" shouted the Red Scare over the din as he held the Forgiver in his lobster claw.

"You owe me something," said the Forgiver, kicking the Red Scare in his side, forcing the Red Scare to drop him. He landed on his feet, and pounced at the Red Scare, punching him in the jaw and knocking him to the ground. He applied pressure the Red Scare's throat, and leaned in closely. "An apology."

Red Scare looked at him, befuddled.

"Do it!"

"I apologize," said the Red Scare.

"That's all I needed," said the Forgiver, standing up.

Player One was standing nearby, finishing off a ghoul. "Why do you do that?"

"Do what?" said the Forgiver as the Red Scare crawled away.

"You let him go. He's just going to go off and do more evil."

"He apologized. You have to believe in the power of forgiveness, chum."

"You have entirely too much honor. I mean, look, he just cut the top off a fire hydrant and threw it at the Moonman Marauder. Does he look repentant?"

"I'll do things my way, you do things yours," said the Forgiver, sprinting off to dole out justice and forgiveness to some deserving soul.

The battle raged on. The Astounding Superhero Syndicate assembled, fighting off monkeys and whatnot.

"Dismembro!" shouted Go-To Guy, "Get to it!"

"I can't do anything," said Dismembro, who was a mere head, "I told you, my limbs don't listen to me anymore. I think my left foot might be on its way, but past that, everything is everywhere else."

"Serial Hang-Man?" shouted Go-To Guy.

"He hung himself," said Dismembro.

"Well, that is what he does," said Go-To Guy, "Photogra-She?"

"She's off taking pictures of the battle and Serial Hang-Man."

"Good work, I guess. Two Places at Once Man?"

"Here!" he said, and another man some distance away shouted, "Here!" Both were fighting random psychopaths.

"Well, good to see we're all doing well," said Go-To Guy, and he flew off to fight the giant Nazi mech.

Thus the battle experienced its first casualty, that of the Serial Hang-Man. He got better quickly, and went off to hang himself somewhere else.

Dry-Man faced off against his hated foe, Hydrox, launching bubbles of dryness through his form. Hydro Knight snuck up behind him, leapt in, and began swimming around, causing Hydrox to become quite disoriented. Out of the blue, however, a manatee in a suit leapt into Hydrox, dislodging Hydro Knight.

Hydro Knight gasped at the sight of his sworn enemy...

"Man O. Tee! The Sea Cow of Crime!" said Lifeguard Kitty, who could talk and breathe underwater due to a complex back-story.

"Ha ha! You thought you could do something like this without catching my attention? My flippers are in all manner of crime, and you can't touch me because I'm endangered!"

Hydro Knight and Man O. Tee stared at each other for what seemed like hours, until Hydro Knight muttered, "I hate you."

Doctor Greenthumb used his power of photosynthesis to harness the power of Solar and erect a giant tree-monster, which joined the giant Nazi mech, the Texan, and America's Fastest Growing Criminal in creating general havoc. Solar, significantly weakened, dropped to the ground and found himself at the mercy of the Unibear, a loose cannon bear on a unicycle who was good or evil depending on how well he could keep his balance. In this case, he managed to keep steady and went on to maul Doctor Greenthumb.

"Oh lord," said Solar, "The bears are coming."

On the sidelines, a man who looked like a dirty Shakespeare hopped off a boxcar. This was Motley Shakespeare, and he began writing about the battle before him. Two others leapt off behind him, and they began shooting monkeys with a ray gun which caused them to do nasty things to each other. Motley Shakespeare sighed, and continued writing.


The Neo-Bassets were squaring off with the Crazy Azz Crocker Park Bicycle Pozze. This amounted to several members of the Pozze riding their bikes around the Neo-Bassets and trying to be gangsta.

"You guys are all white!" shouted Fadeaway, "Except him! He's Asian!"

"Don't be a hat-ah!" said the Asian one.

Fadeaway knew better than to punch them, since he had super-strength and they were young punks. He had no idea how they had gotten all the way to South Carolina, really. Benji, being a dog, did not care how young they were, and he attacked one, knocking him off his bike and into the ground.

"Bad dog!" said Fadeaway, "Bad... dog?" He looked up, and saw several man-dogs striding the battlefield, shrugging off nearly everything thrown at them. He turned and came face to face with a lion.

A lion riding on a larger lion.

"What?" said Fadeaway, making himself intangible.

"Honey!" said the lion.

"Okay."

"Let's kill agents!" said the lion, both attacking Fadeaway.

Nearby, more Gemini Twin Troopers appeared as if they had been hiding behind stray air molecules, and they began shooting. A cyborg appeared with a nun and a black man dressed for the disco. An English policeman wearing rocket-boots sped through the air. A man in a Pharaoh's crown instructed a squadron of women to begin the attack. Several more less interesting people stood around angrily. Doctor Aquarius saw this and smiled, for Zodiac had arrived from the depths of time. Leo Leopolous, the king of the lions. Leroy Cancer, their leader and a cyborg. Sister Mary Naida Virgo, who may have been a Vatican double agent. Balthazar Scorpius, the Mastakat, ruler of the disco. Captain Rocket Fumblecorn, crooked bobby. Gamblin' Pharaoh Pisces McCool whose true name was very long, and his Strikeforce of wives. Gem Aries and Wether Tourus, who were basically there because their names corresponded to signs of the Zodiac.

Captain Depresso saw this, and became even more depressed and distraught.

"How dare you not invite the Nantucket Dragon Group?" said a voice from behind him. Captain Depresso turned to see Shoshy Raphael, who had a white coat draped over his shoulders and a ring. To his left were a British pickpocket, a monkey, and a Native American. To his right, a mad looking-man in a robe and a stage magician.

Captain Depresso did the only logical thing in this situation, which was to turn and run. He was too late, however, as the man in a robe reached into his basket of eggs and said, "No one runs from Guy Magistro!" and hurled an egg at the retreating figure, knocking him to the ground. Magistro began pelting others with various colored eggs.

"The Amazing Rando shall make you disappear!" said the magician to Dry-Man, though he merely kicked him in the groin and knocked him down.

Guerdon Trueblood, the Native American, merely began punching Dry-Man.

"Blimey!" said the pickpocket, "This looks like a task befittin' Simon MacCockindale and his Monkey!" He managed to pick Dry-Man's pockets, despite him not having any. Dry-Man was thoroughly beaten.

"Enough fun! We must summon Baggy Satan to ensure our victory! Earth!" said Shoshy Raphael, holding up his ring.

"Wind!" said Guerdon Trueblood.

"Water!" said the Amazing Rando.

"Fire!" said Guy Magistro.

"Momentum!" said Simon.

"Oy! What's all this, then!" said a demon from the netherworld, the nefarious Baggy Satan.

The Nantucket Dragon Group all laughed maniacally while someone who looked like a typical vaudeville villain planted spherical bombs in places to trip up the heroes. This was Snippley Marrowind, and he was quite evil.

Elsewhere, a bear made of moldy pizza joined forces with a man in a bear suit and another bear, both who shot a disturbing liquid from their claws. They ravaged many people.

A giant of a man began to stride the battlefield, golden and glimmering with an afro like you would not believe. He had a disco ball embedded in his chest, and he shot lasers and all who touched him went into hallucinations. He spoke with two voices, and bent in ways no one should. This was Disco, and he could pleasure himself... orally.

More bears, monkeys, pyramids, Gemini Twin Troopers, and wanna-be street toughs seemed to materialize by the second. The bears were being produced by the mysterious Bear Machine, at least. The heroes began to be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

Then, from nowhere, salvation.
To be continued in 037: Here Comes Mister Lucky

035: The Villains Assemble

Continued from 034: The Heroes Gather
It had begun not too long ago, after the rescue of Player One and Shrugs. The Red Scare, after regaining consciousness, had become quite angry since he was looking at the dismantling of his plan, looking at what had become of his life. He was nearly forgotten, able to be stopped by a pitiful green creature, able to be tricked by some powerless fool.

This was not to the Red Scare's liking. Not one bit.

He looked at the computer Player Two had used to send his message, and nodded. Now he had their location, and he had a virtual army to command. However, it was still not complete. This was to be his supreme vengeance, perhaps his final attack on a world which continued to reject him. There were others like him, this he knew. He opened the files on the computer and began to read the entries of the super-criminal inmates:

"Hydrox. Formerly petty burglar Burt Easton, turned into a creature comprised entirely of water. Prefers a dragon-like form. Enemy of the New Paragons."

"Doctor Greenthumb. Formerly a respected scientist until he turned himself into a man/plant hybrid. Enemy of the New Paragons."

"America's Fastest Growing Criminal. Accident imbued him with the power to grow and shrink."

"Bootman. He wears a single over-sized boot which grants him indestructibility and some measure of control over his personal gravity."

"The Master Trawler. Pathological liar and notorious pirate."

"The Ohioan. Former Fifty Statesman with the powers of flight, empathy, and perfect balance."

"The Texan. Former Fifty Statesman with the same powers as America's Fastest Growing Criminal."

"The Child Wrangler, a cowboy-themed villain who kidnaps children and warps their minds."

"Watt. William Hewlitt. Powers of electricity."

"Wiper. He performs mind-wipes."

"Bad Higgins?"

Red Scare scoffed. Charlatans, each and every one. Amateur criminals in the truest sense of the word. The fact that they had been put into an asylum proved that. There were so few from the old days left, though. So very few. There was one, however, who was still going strong, and perhaps through him the vengeance of the Red Scare could be complete. He went to a safe in the wall and opened it, pulling out a dusty old walky-talky. He clicked it on and waited several minutes, until a voice on the other end demanded to know who it was.

The Red Scare smiled. "Doctor Aquarius, this is the Red Scare. I request your assistance against a league of heroes we have not seen in some time."

On the other end, Doctor Aquarius stared dumbfounded at the walky-talky. "All reports said you were dead, Red Scare."

"You know as well as I do that the only way you can be sure someone is dead is to grind their body to dust and make a pact with the Devil to ensure their immortal soul remains trapped in the afterlife."

"Well said. I know of some young miscreants who can help us, all over the state of Ohio."

"Ohio?"

"Surprisingly, it has turned into some sort of hotbed for villainy. I believe it has something to do with a dimensional rift situated here, or perhaps mere coincidence. It just so happens that I am also mentoring a group. I lead them, though I let them think they lead themselves. I have managed to secure three Gemini Twin Troopers to aid me."

"Excellent. I shall send you an address over the Internet. This shall be glorious, and perhaps we can deal with all these pretenders in one fell swoop."

The walky-talky clicked off, and Doctor Aquarius stared off into the distance of middle Ohio. Filled with corn and farmlands, and unspeakable evil. Granted, the unspeakable evil was mostly centralized in Athens, where a young man had taken it upon himself to lead a Fifth Reich and somehow secured the aid of Hitler himself, turned into a cyborg, and a giant Nazi mech. The rest of Ohio was little better. To the north, a roving gang calling the Crazy Azz Crocker Park Bicycle Pozze menaced the customers of a shopping center. Lycanthropes roamed the village of Linndale. Sandusky had its sinister sisterhood. Aquarius himself had taken up residence in Tiffin, and had secured himself a spot in a group of ne'er-do-wells there: the Infarious Eleven.

In addition to Doctor Aquarius himself and the three Gemini Twin Troopers, there was the figurehead leader El Presidente, a deluded young man who dreamt of power. The sinister ventriloquist Ernie Indiana utilized his rod puppet Ramses Bert in some sort of criminal endeavor. There was also the Armani Yeti, strong and fierce and on loan from the mafia. Ah, and the Pianoman who could memorize minds with his music. He realized that the team did not have eleven people in it, but paid it no heed. They would have to do.

-

Some time later, Doctor Aquarius and the Red Scare met with their various super-villains outside of South Carolina, ready to ambush the heroes who no doubt waited there.

"We were followed," said Doctor Aquarius.

"By whom?" replied the Red Scare.

"Hey everyone! I'm Chuckles Fairbanks, the Clown Pimp of Crime!" said a clown who had followed them.

They ignored him, and continued speaking. "Did anyone competent follow you?"

"I did," said a disembodied voice which solidified itself into the demon Purga.

"Who are you?" said the Red Scare.

"We seek the same end," said Purga, "I come to offer my assistance. In addition to your mutants and psychopaths, I can lend the aid of demons, vampires, and all matter of evil creature. In fact, it would bring me great pleasure to do so. I bring those wronged by fate and one who now calls himself Mikep, a small green creature-"

"We accept your aid, Purga," said the Red Scare, fire in his eyes.

"I shall bring the Magical Asexual Monkey Person, ruler of thousands of chimps. Doctor Degenerate, once brilliant but a literal former shell of himself. Dox, shapeshifter. Squibbons Johnson, a bizarre combination of undead squid and machine. Also, the mentioned demons and whatnot."

"We meet again," said another voice, stilted, and it manifested itself into a computer wearing an elf hat.

"One of yours, demon?" asked Doctor Aquarius.

"That is Lsadfsagi, whose powers are great. He is filled with malicious whimsy, however, so beware," said Purga.

He clicked his mouse, and a legion of pyramids appeared, at their head one with a goatee and another who was tiny. He then vanished.

"Pyramids?"

"INDEED!" said the goateed Pyramid, "We shall aid you in your evil quest! If you are doing an evil quest."

"All right. I think this will do. Is everyone ready?" said the Red Scare, turning to the legions of villains that had been assembled and finding them to his liking. Watt flew from the ranks and clashed in the distance, returning soon after. "What was that?"

"Scouting. We allowed to kill them?" said Watt, engulfed in electricity.

"I don't see why not."

In the distance, the nursing home exploded.

"We can consider that to be our signal. Attack!" shouted the Red Scare, leading the legions.

Doctor Aquarius sighed, and turned to Purga. "I just wish my comrades from Zodiac were here."

Purga smiled, leaving it behind like the Cheshire Cat, and said, "That can be arranged."

To be continued in 036: The Battle Erupts

034: The Heroes Gather (Part One)

Should Charleston contact TYRIS?
Yes: 4 votes
No: 1 vote

Charleston figured he might as well contact TYRIS, and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. He was somewhat amazed that it had not been taken from him, but oh well. He dialed TYRIS, got a message about how all active agents had been dispatched, and was told to leave a message in return. He had a guess about where they had all been dispatched to. He put the phone back in his pocket and squinted as he and his group exited the basement and into the light of the sun.

Ah, wait.

That wasn't the sun.

It was two men grappling in the air, each emitting brightness so strong it nearly blinded Charleston. As they dimmed, Charleston noticed they were only the first to arrive, and they were a bit down the street.

"The nursing home," said Player One, "This is going to be pretty bad, isn't it?"

"It already is," said Go-To Guy, "It's going to get far worse before the day is done, I fear. Charleston and Edolie, you two had better find somewhere safe. Preferably somewhere miles away, if you can manage it. Hold on, where did she go?"

Edolie had, in fact, vanished, leaving Charleston alone. "I'll be fine," he said, "I'll just try not to get involved."

Go-To Guy sighed and turned to Shrugs, Player One, Player Two, Graves, Clarence, the Forgiver, Captain Depresso, and the man in the business suit. "We should get over there. No doubt we'll be needed." They left.

"You look like you need to take a seat, friend," said a voice from behind Charleston.

He turned to find Land Captain, sitting on top of Ishmael with a thermos filled with hot cocoa.

"We should probably hang back for a while. I doubt we'd do much good."

Charleston nodded, and climbed onto Ishmael's hood. Up ahead, fights were breaking out.

-

Go-To Guy carried the Forgiver to the rest of the super-heroes. They landed among their allies, the Astounding Superhero Syndicate, who was hastily making plans of attack.

"Where's Mark King?" said Go-To Guy to Clyde the Embryonic Man, who was, as mentioned, a floating telepathic telekinetic embryo.

"I dunno," said Clyde.

"Is everyone else here?"

"El Scientist Magnifico went to establish some sort of medical tent, along with Steve."

"The one who wants to be a doctor?"

"Yep. That jerk-ass."

"As long as they're out of the way. Who else is here from our team?"

"Dismembro, Photogra-She, Two Places at Once Man, Serial Hang-Man, and I have word that our European branch is one their way with Sitting Tricky Pillow Man, Captain Monocle, the Englishman, Scottish Box Man, Britain Sandy, Llewellyn, and the Scooter. They're bringing some guy named Kinetosphere, too. Sounds like trouble to me."

"We need all the man-power we can get, Clyde. Hopefully it'll be enough. Are any others here?"

"Well, there's the New Society of Paragon People..."

-

During World War Two, a team of super-beings arose to combat the Axis of Evil and various other ne'er-do-wells. These beings were called the Paragon People, and in the opening months of the 1950s, they vanished along with their mobile base. Recently, a new team dedicated to the ideals of the original Paragon People arose: the New Society of Paragon People.

"I don't want to do this," said a dark-haired young man in a black and blue jumpsuit with a symbol on its chest of a drop of water with an X through it.

"We have to combat the forces of evil!" said another young man with sandy blonde hair and a bright yellow jumpsuit. He was glowing.

"I'm fine with combating the forces of evil, I just don't think we should do a roll call."

"It'll be fun! I'll go first!" He struck a pose and shouted, "Solar! Infused with the power of the sun's atomic heart!"

The dark-haired young man half-heartedly struck another pose, and said, "Dry-Man. Who can't get wet."

"This is pretty stupid," said a young woman dressed like an aviator, "Vehigirl, who drives you guys places."

"Breakneck!" said another young woman in a skin-tight purple and blue suit and a helmet, "Generic speedster!"

"Bag-Man!" said a young man in a blue jumpsuit and a matching domino mask, "I can pull things out of a bag! Seriously, Solar, you're the only one of us who actually thought this through. We have better things to do than shout out our names."

"Right you are, Bag-Man!" said Solar, "Off to fight evil!"

-

"..and the Neo-Bassets..."

-

The Neo-Bassets were another legacy team, though their precursors were simply adventurers from the 1920s. They had vanished some time ago, but their legacy lived on. This is why it was a legacy team, really.

A young man dressed in a yellow and green jumpsuit was carrying a dog in his arms and a luchadore on his back. A man in armor flew next to him with what appeared to be a human spring. They landed.

"There you go, Benji," he said, letting the dog down. He let the luchadore off his back, and said, "You too, Santos."

"Gracias, Senior Fadeaway," said Santos.

The man in the power armor landed, and struck a pose, "Worry not, fair city! Double O is here, noble protector! I shall single-handedly save the day!" The human spring next to him coughed. Double O did not lose a beat, and added, "With my sidekick Slink-E." Another cough. "And the rest of these hangers-on. Onward to justice! I am Double O, the best and only hero this world needs!"

-

"...and some random solo heroes."

-

Captain Depresso sat on a rock, waiting for the fighting to start so he could get away from it. Before he could do so, several other people walked up to him.

"Captain Depresso?" said an athletically-built young man in a skin-tight suit with meerkat markings on it. He had brown hair, combed into a widow's peak, and a black domino mask. A meerkat sat on his shoulder.

"Yeah?" said Captain Depresso.

"I'm the Meerkat. This is my partner Pilate"

"I'm the Moonman Marauder," said another man wearing those moon-shoes. He wore a gray leotard with a purple cape and cowl. He had a silver belt.

"I'm Hydro Knight," said a man in a suit of armor with gray skin, with a cat dressed like a lifeguard, "This is my sidekick Lifeguard Kitty."

A man dressed in black, much like the Forgiver but with a cowl, said, "I'm the Nightflier."

"So?" said Captain Depresso.

"No one knows more about superheroes and super-villains than you," said the Meerkat, "We were wondering if you'd like to team-up with us."

Captain Depresso hopped off his rock, and shrugged, "Why not? We're all going to die anyway."

-

"That's all for the super-guys?" said Go-To Guy.

"It should be," said Clyde, "I can't keep track of everyone, though."

"Well then, let's get out there and see if we can't keep the property damage to a minimum."

Behind them, the nursing home exploded. The voice of Double O said, "It was Bad Higgins!"

-

Player One, Shrugs, Graves, Clarence, and the man in the business-suit were with several other individuals.

"Anderson," said Player One, "I think we should get out of here. We're all screwed. There's going to be Spanish Ninja Robots all over the place."

The man in the business-suit shrugged and said, "I think we'll be okay. I mean, look, we brought Ben..."

A thin young man with a boxing glove wrapped in oily rags raised his fist.

"Kyle..."

If the first young man was thin, this one was positively emaciated with thick glasses. He seemed to have an unhealthy tint to his skin.

"Tal..."

An athletically-built woman wearing a red beret scowled.

"Mortimer..."

A goat bleated. Anderson was growing increasingly uneasy.

"Chimchim..."

A monkey shook his cage.

"Morrey..."

This man looked normal, except he was standing perfectly still and he looked slightly frightened, as if he could not see.

"...and Jimmy Swift!"

"I'm a lawyer! I don't even know what I'm doing here!" said a thin, arrogant-looking man.

Player One turned to Anderson, and said, "Why the heck did you bring all these guys?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

-

Player Two was wandering around the battlefield, and found a chubby young man in a helmet wandering around as well.

"Player Three?"

"Player Two?"

"All right! If Player Four was here, we could have a bona-fide reunion! Player One is over there somewhere. Wait, are you one of us?"

"You mean a Paci Custodis?"

"Yeah."

"Sure am."

"Hot damn!"

"Let's team-up! You and I always did make a great team."

"I'm not gay, Two."

"Never said you were, Three."

"All right then."

-

A young woman dressed in dark clothing drove up on a motorcycle with a sidecar. A bubbly blonde girl was in the sidecar, babbling incoherently.

"What are we doing here, Player Four?" said the blonde girl.

"There's going to be trouble," said other woman, "We need to be here to help make sure things don't get out of hand."

"You think Player One is going to be here, don't you?"

"So what if I do?"

"Nothing. Just nothing."

In the distance, the nursing home exploded.

"It's already starting," said Player Four.
To be continued in 035: The Villains Assemble

Sunday, August 24, 2008

033: The World That's Coming

How should they hit them?
Hard and fast: 4 votes
Slow and stealthy: 1 vote
"You're talking to several men of action, chum. What do you think?" said the Forgiver.

"We're all dressed in black," Player One replied, "Except for Shrugs and E. Are you sure you want to go in? You're wearing a flowing white robe. The last time I saw someone try to do that they got torn up pretty badly."

"What happened to them?" said E.

"They fell down some stairs."

"I think I'll be all right."

"All right, then. Let's hit them hard and fast!" said Player One, stepping towards the glowing portal. He stopped and turned on his heel. "Superheroes and E, are you the not killing kind?"

"My parents were killed by a fiendish man in an alley," said the Forgiver, "Since that day, I swore never to take a life. Even an unlife."

Captain Depresso shrugged and opened his mouth to say something, but then just nodded and said, "Not intentionally, anyway."

"I'd rather not," said E.

Player One sighed. Here he was, going into a portal filled with a bunch of vampires, and he was stuck with three people who'd be too busy trying not to get killed to be of any use. He was thankful he had Shrugs with him, who he knew to have no qualms when sending a vampire to its eternal rest. Player Two's methods, however, were a closed book to him. While they had known each other for years, the last time they actually spoke to each other was before either one became part of the Paci Custodis. Still, he was a Paci Custodis. That had to mean something, and therefore, he had a plan of sorts.

"Shrugs and Captain Depresso, you two try to get as many of the minor vampires out of the way as possible. Player Two and E, try to find this Charleston guy and get him out of here, taking care of whoever gives you trouble. Forgiver, you and I will go after the False Prophet," said Player One, to several nods. Player Two, however, stood with arms folded.

"Why do you get to go after the Prophet?" said Player Two.

"I've never seen you fight vampires before. If were playing some video game with Players Three and Four and these guys, I'd put you on my team in a second. Right now, though, we're trying to rescue some guy and take out some vampires and I have no idea how well you can do that I really don't want anyone to die tonight. Well, none of us. Or that Charleston guy. As many vampires as we can get, though."

"Fair enough," said Player Two, standing next to E.

"All right, then!" said Player One, "Weapons ready, everyone! Well, Paci Custodis! I'd suggest you civilian-type people pick up something once we get in there."

Player One pulled his modified video game gun out, and made sure he had some spare cartridges and a knife. Shrugs had decided to use a crossbow with headless bolts, but he also had a rifle, just in case. Player Two had what appeared to be some sort of cannon, which he could apparently club people to death with, should the need arise.

Two by two, they entered the portal. It was empty and dark inside for a moment, and then it erupted with a hellish red light. A demonic purple entity sat upon a disc, and smiled fiendishly at the sextet.

"I am the demonic entity Purga," he said, flapping his immense wings and gesturing towards the sextet, "What do you seek here?"

Player One stepped forward, "There were supposed to vampires in here. All I'm seeing is you."

"I know of the False Prophet well. He has served me for centuries, in fact, and so at times I feel the need to intervene. I'll not let him fall to the likes of you. How foolish to think that you could just barge in and destroy a being who has been alive longer than the lot of you. The things he has done and seen and your only thought is to destroy him. What purpose would that serve?"

"One more dead vampire, and maybe all of the people he bit would be human again."

"Why would anyone want to be human?" Player One began to speak, but was hushed by Purga, "None of you are worthy to speak on behalf of humanity. All of you have either been tainted by divinity, or aspire to be as one who has. Since none of you have wronged me, I shall let you live."

Player One sighed. Every bone in his body was telling him to try and kill this demon, but his mind was asking how they would get out of this red room if the demon died if that happened. Eventually, the mind won out, and had an addendum: "Could you let us have Charleston Charge, though? We sort of came here to rescue him."

The demon looked shocked. "Charge?"

"Charleston Charge."

"Perhaps I have been too hasty in my defense of my False Prophet."

"From what I hear, it was his ex-girlfriend what done it."

The demon waved his clawed hand at them dismissively, "You can kill her, then. A few others who have been having ideas above their station, as well." The sextet vanished from the realm of Purga, and the demon began to ponder. "It appears that we shall have a problem soon enough. A Charge. No matter, we can easily take him from his protectors. Some assembly required, of course!" He threw back his head and began to laugh maniacally, well-aware that there was no one around to hear his joke, and there was little chance they would have gotten it anyway.

The sextet, meanwhile, reappeared outside the stone doors which led now to a simple hallway. The darkness took the shape of several young ladies, one of whom was leading Charleston Charge on a leash.

"I hate girl vampires," said Player One, "It almost feels wrong to take them out."

The lead vampire held out her hand, motioning for her comrades to stop. "You speak to the Mouth of the Prophet. What do you want?"

"Him!" said E, pointing at Charleston.

"He's such a docile thing, though, and I doubt any of you could reverse what I've done to him. The only way you could do that is by slaying the False Prophet, and you can't do that. I doubt you could even destroy me. Why-" Before she could say another word, a bullet tore through her head.

The sextet froze as the body slumped to the ground. From behind them, they heard voices.

"Women should keep their mouth shut," said a priest who was standing on the stairs.

"Graves?" choked out Player One, "What are you doing here?"

"Not now, gamer fag!" said Graves as another man in a suit came running down the stairs with a mallet, bringing it up as one of the vampires leapt at the inattentive Player One.

"PIE FLOWERS!" he shouted with obvious glee as he broke the vampire's jaw.

Player One shrugged and began shooting the remaining vampires, along with Player Two and Shrugs. An overweight man in a dress was attempting to tear off Charleston's head, however, and was quickly stopped by Shrugs.

"We need to keep that guy safe, Clarence!" shouted Player One as he pulled out his knife and stabbing one of the vampires, "He's Charleston Charge but I think he got turned into a ghoul!"

"Men can't get changed into ghouls, that's witchcraft," said Clarence as Charleston began to convulse.

"Ghoul, not girl, you stupid fu-" began Graves as more vampires came from the tunnel, drawn by the sounds of battle.

"Language!" said another voice.

The Forgiver, who had backed into a corner with Captain Depresso and E, looked up in surprise. "Go-To Guy?"

"In the flesh, Forgiver. Now, what... what's going on here?" said Go-To Guy, looking at the carnage ensuing.

"Vampires!"

"We're not supposed to fight vampires," said Go-To Guy, quietly. He then flew upwards and put his weight against the floor of the house, and suddenly the entire house was pulled off its foundation, exposing the remaining vampires to the sunlight and causing them to retreat, leaving Charleston behind. E ran over to him and helped him up as Players One and Two attempted to stop the businessman with a mallet from chasing the vampires, and a cacophony ensued:

"What happened?" said Charleston.

"You were changed into a ghoul, but that gentleman in the dress changed you back," said E.

E and Charleston looked at Clarence, who smiled toothlessly at them.

"Whatever. I think I'm over Lauren now, Edolie," said Charleston.

E, or Edolie, smiled at him, "I'm glad."

"Why is everyone here?" said Player One.

"We got a message from a Player Two," said Go-To Guy.

"So did we," said the man in the business-suit, trying to hide the mallet and looking slightly embarrassed.

"When did you send a message?" asked the Forgiver.

"When we were in that asylum. I sent out some emails and stuff," said Player Two.

"I thought you were tying up the Red Scare."

"The who what now?"

"The scientist with a claw for an arm."

"You know, I forgot all about him."

"Hold on, the guy who tried to build a wall around the United States?" said Charleston, "I thought those were all just stories."

"Everything you've heard is real, Charleston," said Edolie.

"I've heard a lot! Also, how are you alive?"

"I dived into the water, and emerged changed."

"Hold on!" shouted Player One, and everyone was silent. "So what I'm hearing is that Player Two sent out a message to every superhero group and Paci Custodis in the area, in a room with a seriously bad guy in it. Did you at least turn off the computer?"

"Slipped my mind," said Player Two.

"So some super-villain knows where all these superheroes are probably headed, a super-villain with an asylum filled with hideous mutant freaks, psychopaths, and other super-villains."

"At least I kept my mouth shut with the demon."

"Oh crap."

Charleston sagged in Edolie's arms.

"Just be glad he put down the wrong address," said the business-man, "We stopped at that nursing home because that's what the message said."

At this point, everyone in the basement paused, and shared glances with each other, and eventually setting their gazes on Player Two.

"Should we even leave this basement?" said the business-man, staring at the stairs which lead to nowhere.

Minutes passed, and eventually they went up the stairs, one by one, into the sunlight, into the world that was coming, and they all prayed they weren't too late, little realizing that they had always been too late.

Charleston only wondered, as he went up the stairs, whether he should contact TYRIS or not. It probably didn't matter, but he still wondered.
Should Charleston contact TYRIS?
-Yes
-No

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

032: Six to Salvation

Should Player One and Shrugs join forces with Player Two, the Forgiver, and Captain Depresso?
Yes: 5 votes
No: 1 vote
Moments later, Player One had defeated Player Two, a fact partially attributed to the judiciously applied pillow-case of Justice, utilized by Shrugs in an attempt to get things over with. Before Player One could begin another game, the Forgiver unplugged the television and placed Player One in a chair.

"I was kind of too busy to think about whether or not you guys should come with us, so just give me a few more minutes and I'll get back to you," said Player One.

Shrugs hit him in the back of the head and pointed to the Forgiver, captain Depresso, and Player Two. He gave them a thumbs-up, and nodded while heading towards the door.

"I'm glad that's settled," said the Forgiver, fastening his cape, "Onward to the Rentawagon!"

The quintet left the hotel room and piled into the Forgiver's rented van before they realized they had to pay the bill. The Forgiver went to square things away, and several currency and bureaucracy-filled moments later, he returned and started the van.

"Onward to South Carolina!" he cried, leaning out the window slightly, "Let the unrepentant know that where they are, the Forgiver will go!"

Player One, sitting behind him, snorted and made a unintelligible but obviously disparaging comment about the Forgiver's rhyme which he and Player Two proceeded to laugh at. It was no skin off the Forgiver's nose, however, and the quintet was off to rescue Charleston Charge.

Days later, kept on track by the Forgiver and Shrugs, the quintet arrived in South Carolina. After a brief rest and recuperation session, they piled back into the Rentawagon and made their way to Charleston Charge's location. Player One passed the time by looking out the window:

"Box house, box house, box house, all these freaking houses look like boxes, nursing home, box house, box house. My God, how are we going to tell which one it is?"

Shrugs, who had purchased a chalkboard and some chalk at an outlet mall, wrote "We have address" on his chalkboard, and smacked Player One. Shrugs had not enjoyed the trip. He proceeded to write down the address for the benefit of the Forgiver.

"The street number is 12076?" asked Player Two.

Shrugs wrote, "Yes ???"

"No reason," said Player Two, doing his best to look nonchalant.

Shrugs made a mental note to inquire about this later, if the opportunity presented itself. He could not do so now, as the van stopped in front of a small house. A cloaked woman stood outside, as if waiting for them. This was because this was precisely what she was doing.

Player One and Player Two had a minor tussle trying to get out of the van, and both collapsed in a heap on the street. Shrugs stepped over them. Captain Depresso and the Forgiver exited their respective doors, both having obtained the front seats.

Player One stood up, using Player Two to right himself, and smiled at the robed woman. "Hello, E! I was wondering what happened to you on the bus."

"I was required elsewhere, but I've now returned. I see you have brought allies."

Player One nodded and said, "Sure did! Two superheroes and another Paci Custodis. I've known this guy my whole life."

"Shall we continue?" said the robed woman.

The quintet expressed half-hearted agreement, and followed her into the house. The remains of Rocky Rode had been picked clean by something, though no one wanted to imagine what. They went through the house and into the basement, finally standing in front of the portal Charleston had entered some time previously.

"They'll be expecting us, no doubt," said E.

"So we either hit them so hard and fast that they can't see what's coming, or slow and all stealthy like ninja," said Player One, "Which one do you guys think is best?"
How should they hit them?
-Hard and fast
-Slow and stealthy

Friday, August 15, 2008

031: Asylum to Remember

Should Captain Depresso let Player Two come?
Yes: 6 votes
No: 1 vote
Captain Depresso shrugged and said, "Why not?"

"Hurrah!" shouted Player Two, "Drinks on me, everyone!"

"On your tab, you mean, ribbit?" said the Loveland Frog, his froggy eyes filled with bitterness.

"Whatever," said Player Two, grabbing a random bottle of beer and chugging it, "Do either of you have a car or anything?"

"No," said Captain Depresso, pouring out his bottle of beer, much to the Loveland Frog's chagrin.

"I only use vehicles in times of extreme duress. It interferes with my tracking ability," said the Forgiver, refusing his bottle.

"We don't need to track anyone now. It's an asylum outside of Cleveland," said Player Two, "How hard could it be to find?"

"You're right! Onward to repentance!"

The Forgiver exited Loveland's with a flourish, Captain Depresso with his shoulders hunched and his eyes on the ground, and Player Two hastily grabbing his belongings.

Two weeks passed, and all three men were in desperate need of a shower and a shave. Captain Depresso had become even more miserable, and the Forgiver's tracking skills were the only thing keeping the trio alive in the wilderness. Unfortunately, he specialized in tracking people, and not animals, and Player Two was the only one willing to do any sort of hunting. Captain Depresso's self-centered sulk, however, made him a curiosity to the local wildlife. This saved time, in the long run, and all three men were eating parts of a squirrel, roasted on a spit with an acorn in its mouth.

"You know what? This is almost the worst part of my life so far," said Captain Depresso, looking forlornly at the squirrel and slowly becoming Captain Seething-With-Rage-and-a-Gnawing-Hunger, "That's saying a lot. What I want to know is, how did none of us realize that Cleveland is a major metropolitan area and is bound to have a pretty large outside of area. Especially since we all operate in major metropolitan areas. Now, if either of you were with the Neo-Bassets, I could kind of understand. They operate in a small town, after all, and outside of it is pretty limited, kind of. Also, they're in the country, so they'd know if there was an asylum anywhere near them. Also, they all have super-powers."

"I've kind of got super-powers," said Player Two, gnawing on a branch.

"You only have super-powers when some sort of supernatural entity is about, and I doubt any of them would be helpful right now."

"So I guess you two don't want to start a superhero trio, then?"

Captain Depresso had no superpowers, unless you counted nigh-limitless reserves of depression within his soul a super-power. However, at certain times, he could utilize a stare with the intensity of a thousand imploding stars, which did no damage but made it clear that if you kept talking then he would break his super-heroic oath of non-killing just to shut you up. Player Two got the message, and continued gnawing on his branch silently.

The Forgiver watched all of this with a concerned expression. He felt that, as the elder of the three, he was somehow responsible for the two young men. He had never seen Captain Depresso like this, except perhaps before his accident, but he had encountered members of the Paci Custodis before. Player Two's abilities were not to be discounted, especially since you were probably in trouble if they perked up. All in all, he thought that he should do something to diffuse the situation, and so he smiled and said, "Let's all start a sing-song!"

Perhaps it was providence that made the bulbous-headed flesh-eating midgets attack at that point, or perhaps it was just coincidence. Whichever one it was, the three men sprang into action, somewhat limited by malnutrition. All three were used to the lackluster sleeping arrangements they had encountered on this impromptu camping trip. Player Two quickly turned his branch into a club, and began whacking midgets while shouting various quotes from Nintendo games. The Forgiver, highly trained in most martial arts, was using his own body as a weapon, knocking out midgets left and right. Captain Depresso half-heartedly slapped at them as they came near.

"Captain Depresso! Use your rage!" shouted the Forgiver as he picked up one of the midgets and hurled it at another.

Captain Depresso thought for a moment. He had an image to keep up, but the only people out here were a fellow super-hero, a Paci Custodis, and a bunch of flesh-eating bulbous-headed midgets. Not only that, but he had not always been Captain Depresso. He had once been a rich, well-rounded, happy person and that had been taken away from him so dramatically that it had launched him into a constant state of mid-level depression. He was also quite hungry, and needed to hit something badly. Since the Forgiver was his friend and Player Two was his ally, that left the midgets.

He lashed out with a fist, remembering how it felt to actually fight crime instead of sulking at it, and taking out a midget. He laughed, and said, "Take that, you melon-head!" He felt the old repartee come back to him, as well. The trio fought valiantly for some time, but soon the twin threats of exhaustion and the sheer number of melon-heads doomed them. One by one, they fell, each fully expecting to be some melon-head's dinner. Instead, like ants picking up a ham, each man was carried away to an ominous building on a hill, silhouetted against the moon, surrounded by ornate wrought-iron gates.

Why yes, that IS the asylum they were headed to.

They woke up, strapped to tables with various medical tubes poking into them. The melon-heads were caged, and a tall thin man in a lab coat stood with his back to them, staring out the window at the forests surrounding the asylum.

"Wha hoppened?" said Captain Depresso, noticing that he had been left in his so-called costume. None of this bode very well.

He heard a sigh from both sides.

"Now he's going to monologue," said Player Two.

"Of course he is, he's the Red Scare!" said the Forgiver.

The man turned around, revealing a right arm which was a giant crab-claw and a bearded face. He snapped the claw, and smiled a sinister smile.

"Indeed I am," he said.

"Who?" said Player Two. Captain Depresso groaned.

The Red Scare stormed over to Player Two, but began pacing back and forth and waving his arms around while he spoke. "I am the Red Scare, you insolent whelp! Once upon a time, I fought the forces of both the Basset Hound Brigade and CAST, but it was my opus that proved to be my undoing. After yet another defeat at the hands of the agents of CAST, I turned my attentions to benevolence, to the protection of the United States of America, a land which I hold so dear that I began constructing a massive brick wall around it. Yet, once I completed the wall at the Mexican border, a small green creature and his companions confounded me by exploding and destroying my beautiful wall. At this point, I went mad and made my way north in pursuit of this creature and committing random minor atrocities in my wake. Eventually, however, I was stopped in my pursuit by that infernal Moonman Marauder and his so-called pal, Scoop Griswald. How I hate them! I was imprisoned here, alongside other so-called mad scientists and super-villains under the pretense that no one would think of looking for us in Ohio. It was mere child's play to take over this asylum and turn it over to a new goal: the capture and brainwashing of various super-beings! Soon, I shall have an army with which to take over Ohio, and then the world!" He began to laugh maniacally.

All three men were silent, and the Red Scare put his open claw to the Forgiver's throat.

"Say it!" he commanded, "Say it!"

"Say what?" said the Forgiver, trying not to swallow.

"Call me a fiend and tell me I'll never get away with it!"

"All right. You'll never get away with it, you fiend!"

"Ah, like audio ambrosia. The green creature never called me a fiend, either. Someday I shall find him and make him pay for his insolence."

"How many soldiers do you have? Also, what the hell are those things?" said Player Two, motioning to the melon-heads.

"None, alas. It's quite hard to get heroes and the more powerful class of super-villain admitted to an asylum, regrettably. However, I have the Player One and the Shrugs, and they led you three to me. A plan emerges like Venus on the half-shell! A thing of simple beauty, oh yes! Using you three as bait, I can gather more and more super-beings, each none the wiser about the true goings-on at this asylum! Glorious!"

"Fine, but what the hell are those things?"

"They were already here. Some sort of experiment, I think. Quite useful, and actually very easy to train. I wish I stumbled upon them years ago."

"At this point, I would like to say that the Paci Custodis are not allowed to tangle with super-villains, so you should just let me go," said Player Two.

"It's too late for that," said the Forgiver, "In fact, I'd wager we'll all in this pretty deep."

"I have a question," said Captain Depresso, "What happened to the super-villains here?"

"Oh, they're still here, as well as many garden-variety psychopaths. All in all, I'm quite well off, but there's nothing like the psychological edge of pitting one's erstwhile allies against each other. Indeed, my scheme shall have a magnificent pay-off, the stuff of legends!"

"This really blows. I mean, seriously. Also, I thought we had to save Player One so we could help him save some other guy? That other guy is probably dead by now. Ah, and wouldn't someone have come looking for us by now?"

"They probably are, and they'll just use our various tracking devices to find us, most likely, and once they find out what they're up against, if they haven't already, why, you'll have quite a fight on your hands, Red Scare," said the Forgiver.

"Yeah, I have two jobs, and one of them is bound to be looking for me!" said Player Two, "One of those jobs includes a bunch of monsters, by the way. You're in for some SFB, Red Scare."

"Ha! You expect me to fall for that? You three are expendable!" said the Red Scare.

"Expendable like those little strings you used to get in action figures," said Player Two, "You'd throw them away and find out later how much you needed them. We're like that."

"Captain Depresso, can't Fadeaway become invisible and intangible? He could sneak in here without any effort!" said Forgiver.

"Yeah, he could," said Captain Depresso, "Maybe Clyde is just using our minds as a listening device, too. Perhaps this whole thing was planned from the start, just to catch you off-guard and put an end to your evil scheme, Red Scare."

"You're just trying to frighten me. Also, that metaphor was awfully forced."

"OH MY GOD LOOK OUT THE WINDOW!" said the Forgiver with such force and surprise that everyone looked out the window. He quickly slipped out of his shackles and tore the tubes from his arm, and grabbed something heavy-looking from a table. He used this to hit the Red Scare in the back of his head, and the super-villain slumped to the ground. The Forgiver looked at his companions and smiled, saying, "Good job keeping him talking while I undid my bonds. Let's lock him up and alert someone to the goings-on here."

"Don't you have to make him apologize?" said Captain Depresso.

As the Forgiver spoke, he undid the shackles of Captain Depresso and Player Two, "Young man, I have been stuck out in the woods for two weeks with little food and very little hygiene. I am dirty, hungry, tired, bearded, and on of those melon-heads took a chunk of meat from my leg. I'll come back and get my apology after a good meal, a good night's sleep, a nice hot shower, and a shave. Also, with about three dozen other super-heroes so we can get this place back up to snuff. Let's find Player One and Shrugs, and get the heck out of there."

As Captain Depresso and the Forgiver left the room to search for Player One and Shrugs, Player Two saw a laptop lying underneath a table. He picked it up, turned it on, and uploaded the room directory. He recognized some of the names, but kept searching until he found Player One and Shrugs. Before he turned the laptop off and told his companions of this news, he opened the laptop's Internet browser and, after looking some things up, he sent out an email. Neglecting to turn off the laptop, he hurried after the two super-heroes to free Player One and Shrugs.

-


The Forgiver, being rich, was able to afford several hotel rooms where Players One and Two, Shrugs, Captain Depresso, and the Forgiver spent listless several days recuperating. Players One and Two, who had not seen each other in years, were overjoyed to be reunited and spent most of the time playing video games on the hotel's television. After forcibly separating the pair from it and making them shower and shave, the Forgiver held a meeting.

"From here, the only two people who really need to go are Player One and Shrugs. I figure we're in deep enough trouble as it is, so it won't hurt if the rest of us tag along to provide some support. If you two want to, of course," said the Forgiver.

"I'm game," said Player Two, "That was a pun."

"No it wasn't," said the Forgiver, "How about you, Captain Depresso?"

"Yeah, sure, why not?" said Captain Depresso, who had defaulted to his normal mindset.

"Will you have us?" said the Forgiver.

"Let Shrugs and me think it over for a minute," said Player One, "Or until I kick Player Two's butt at Super Smash Brothers again."

"So you'll be thinking about it forever?" said Player Two with a smirk.

"Shut up!" said Player One.
Should Player One and Shrugs join forces with Player Two, the Forgiver, and Captain Depresso?
-Yes
-No

Sunday, August 3, 2008

030: Loveland's

What should Clyde do?
-Contact the Forgiver telepathically: 9 votes
-Leave the Forgiver a note: 0 votes
-Leave a note for someone else to do it: 0 votes
Clyde pondered his predicament. It would seem that the lazier he wanted to be, the more effort he had to exert. However, the very essence of being lazy was exerting as little effort as possible. He decided to just contact the Forgiver telepathically, and then go off for a smoke. Despite being an embryo, he was well within the legal age to do such a thing. He concentrated, and soon established a rapport with the Forgiver:

"Hey, Forgiver! We got a mission for you. You need to find that Captain Depresso jerk-ass and head to some asylum outside Cleveland. Got it?"

"Indeed I do, old chum," thought the Forgiver, who looked a bit like Zorro without the hat and mustache, and also white as an egg, "The Forgiver will find him, and together we'll do that which we need to do. Which is what, exactly?"

"You need to find this dick-wad named Player One and bust him out. Apparently, the asylum they put him and his pal in isn't on the level. That's what they tell me, at least."

"I'm on it. I'll find Captain Depresso, or my name isn't the Forgiver!"

"Thanks," said Clyde, closing the rapport and heading off for a cigar.

Meanwhile, the Forgiver was standing outside an especially strange bar, coincidentally in the downtown Cleveland area. He turned to a young man who was staring down at the ground. Like the Forgiver, he wore nothing but black, but he wore no mask. He had no loved ones to protect, and this was why he called himself Captain Depresso.

The Forgiver turned to Captain Depresso, and said, "Clyde said I should find you. You've been found, old chum. Now how's about you and I go in and find this murderer?"

"Yeah, sure. Whatever," said Captain Depresso, following the Forgiver into the bar.

All the occupants of the bar stopped and stared at the newly-arrived superheroes, and the superheroes did the same.

Captain Depresso looked up and then looked at the Forgiver.

"Is that Bigfoot?" he said, pointing to a large humanoid in a suit. Or, at least with pieces of suit fabric stapled to him.

"I believe that's the Armani Yeti," said the Forgiver, stepping back towards the door, "He's part of the Infarious Eleven."

"Infarious?"

"The leader is an idiot. In any case, if he's here, then I've no doubt our troublemaker is somewhere around here."

"I thought we weren't supposed to do stuff like this. We're superheroes, and they're supernatural creatures. We could get in trouble."

"Ah, that's where you're wrong. Bigfoot and whatnot, they're classified as crypto-zoological creatures. So we can do what we please with them, they're fair game."

"Why are they here, though?"

"This is Loveland's," said a new voice, belonging to a relatively average looking man stepping out of a backroom, "Where crypto-zoological creatures and various other supernatural beings can come to get away from people like you. Who are you two, anyway? White Zorro and Super Emo Kid?"

"I'm the Forgiver, and this is my associate, Captain Depresso. Who might you be, as if I needed to ask, Player Two?"

"Yeah, I'm Player Two. Is this about that guy? Or should I say, that vampire piece of crap? I'm supposed to kill them! It's my job!"

"Tell that to my dead parents!" shouted the Forgiver as he lunged at Player Two.

Player Two tried to drop and roll, but was too late, and soon the Forgiver had him pinned to the ground, with a baton pressed against his throat. The Forgiver leaned in so close that his nose was nearly touching Player Two's, and said, raspily, "Are you sorry?"

"I don't want trouble!" croaked a voice from behind the bar, "Ribbit ribbit!"

"There'll be no trouble if this sinner repents!" said the Forgiver, turning to the speaker, the bipedal Loveland Frog.

"Yeah, fine! I'm sorry!" said Player Two.

"Do you really mean it?" said the Forgiver.

"Yes!"

The Forgiver stood up, and held out his hand to Player Two, who cautiously accepted it.

"Is that it?" said Player Two, brushing himself off.

"Unless my associate has anything to say about it."

"Meh," said Captain Depresso. Neither he nor anyone but the Loveland Frog had really cared about the brief skirmish between the Forgiver and Player Two.

With a flourish, the Forgiver turned and said, "Well then. I guess we're off, then."

"You never said where we're going," said Captain Depresso, kicking the floor arrythmically.

"We have to find some guy named Player One. He's stuck in an asylum outside Cleveland," said the Forgiver.

"Player One?" said Player Two and Captain Depresso simultaneously.

"Indeed, old chums."

"I like him. He's not too bad," said Captain Depresso.

"I haven't heard from him in years," said Player Two, "I want to come with you guys if you go get him."

"That's up to Captain Depresso," said the Forgiver.

"Uh..." said Captain Depresso, avidly aware that he had quickly been put on the spot.
Should Captain Depresso let Player Two come?
-Yes
-No