A large view screen displays the final results of the Frosty League War competition. Twelve masked individuals watch it, bodies covered by long red and black robes. There are no markings on the flowing robes, but a medallion hangs around each of their necks, with a large black stone set into the middle of it. The pattern of an ancient dragon is embedded in the stone's surface.
At the head of the table, one robed figure presses a button on his computer panel. “Now we have seen what these heroes are capable of.” He scoffs loudly, his throat clearly full of venom. “Heroes, bah. They are barely worthy of the term.”
“It is clear what we must do, and how simple it will be to do so,” A different masked figure says. “It will take planning and discipline, but it can be done.”
The room they sit in is barely visible, hidden behind deep shadows. The black table, high-backed leather chairs, and suspended display screen are the only bits of furniture visible.
“B.A.D.G.E. believes that they are preparing these fools for the future. It won’t be long before Director Nova learns how wrong he is. He prepares them for defeat at our hands. After that, this world will be ours.” A long, gloved finger pokes at the computer panel before him. A new image appears on the computer screen. It shows team images of different leagues, one by one in succession until it finally stops on one league.
“They shall be our first target.”
Daichi Kuroyama walked slowly through the crowds milling about the streets of downtown New Amsterdam. He had been in the city for nearly half-a-year now, and things rarely followed the plan he had set for himself. B.A.D.G.E. rarely returned his calls as he inquired about learning more from them. When they did, they were too busy for him to set an appointment.
All he wanted was to learn how to be a better hero. How could he do that if they wouldn't take the time to help him best learn to use his Morphon abilities.
Instead of learning how to better himself, he often found himself draw into helping another crowd of outcasts in the city. Heroes like him who wanted to better themselves, but lacked the qualities that made them more than the laughing stock of the city.
Not everyone was blessed with powers or origin stories that fit the mold of the greats. Some powers fell outside of the typical super-strong, -fast, or -smart guidelines. And not everyone that did get a power from Morphon exposure should have a power.
What really rubbed him raw was the fact that they went through all the effort to join into the Frosty League War. They had a cool name. They filled out the paperwork. They bragged about being a part of it all.
And then they didn't even get an invitation to join. Bunny Fufu cried for five days straight. Not dainty little girl tears, but heart-wrenching sobs and wails of pure anguish. The Unearthly Mitch deLich wouldn't come out of his crypt. The Deleter wrote protest letter after protest letter, trying to get a reason for their omission. Not that she expected a reply. That had been given up on long before. She just needed to continue to rail against the man.
His eye was drawn to a poster taped to a pole outside of a gymnasium.
IS LIFE NOT TREATING YOU FAIR? DO YOU WANT MORE FROM THE WORLD THAT IT IS OFFERING YOU? DO YOU HAVE POWERS BUT CAN'T COMPETE WITH THE BIG GUYS?
Dai stepped closer, nodding at the message. It was almost like it was meant for him and his friends. He ripped the flyer off the post and continued to read.
WE CAN HELP YOU FIND WHAT YOU NEED TO CONQUER THE WORLD. CONTACT US PLEASE TO SCHEDULE A ONE-ON-ONE MEETING WITH ONE OF OUR AGENTS.
This post was updated on .
There was a fierce rumbling nearby. A huge cloud of dust appeared about block or two away from where Obsidian Strike stood. Curious, he walked in that direction.
He heaard the wail of sirens as fire equipment rolled onto the scene and he noticed a strange craft settling into a landing position on a nearby street. From the craft emerged a large individual. He recognized the new arrival as the Star Force member named Highlander. The big Scotsman raced to where a fire captain stood directing operations. The captain saw him and motioned frantically for him to hurry.
“We’ve got people trapped in here,” the captain yelled. “We need to move some debris and you have the strength we need to help. Hurry!”
Highlander grabbed a large chunk of concrete that was blocking access to the site and tossed it aside as if it were little more than a pillow. He put his shoulder to another piece and pushed it aside. Looking up, he saw the hero named Obsidian Strike approaching and motioned for him to come help.
“Whatever powers you have, we can use,” Highlander hollered. “Get over here and lend a hand. We may not have much time!”
As the building continued to collapse, a steel beam came loose and dropped toward the street. It was headed directly toward a team of firefighters connecting hoses to a hydrant. Obsidian Strike acted quickly, catching the beam and keeping from bouncing to the pavement and causing injury or more damage.
“Good job! That’s what we need,” Highlander called as he himself caught falling debris and moved it aside.
The front facade of the building began to creak and the big man braced himself against the wall, holding it in place with his back as he called out once more, “GRAB THE PIECES THAT ARE BREAKING OFF AND THROW THEM ASIDE!!!”
Obsidian Strike did that and the pair of heroes continued to clear rubble and create a pathway fror rescue workers to do their job.
Once the first responders were able to access the closer parts of the building, the fire captain came over and offered his hand to the big man.
“Thanks, Highlander,” the captain said. “You came along just in time. Who’s your friend?”
“Don’t know, but he was a huge help,” the near seven-footer responded. “Who are you, lad?”
“There. That one,” said the masked individual, pointing at his computer screen. “He’s the one we start with. Obsidian Strike. He shall be the first weapon in our arsenal.”
“What of the other?”
“He is of no concern to us … yet.”
With a slight bow and a mild Japanese accent, Obsidian Strike replied, "I am Obsidian Strike. I am glad I could be of assistance."
His name made sense once Highlander noted his flesh had the appearance of glossy black stone beneath the stylized dark blue martial arts gi. "I'm Highlander, of the Star Force. Good to meet you."
Obsidian Strike bowed at the waist once more. "You as well. What has happened here?"
"If the firefighters let us assist, we might help them find out." Highlander looked at the nearest firefighter. "What can we do to help?"
"If you can help remove more debris, we can get in there and look for other survivors. Maybe determine the cause of this whole F.U.B.A.R. situation." The fire chief responded.
The two heroes moved back near the remains of the building. Highlander shoved more of the fallen frame out of the way while Obsidian Strike punched block after block, using his martial techniques to pulverize the stonework into dust.
After a few minutes of effort, firefighters gave the all clear for the building, claiming everyone had been evacuated.
Obsidian Strike shattered a large section of tumbled wall and froze. He stared at a small device with multi-colored wires and a digital display counting down from a red-lit panel. "Highlander, get the firefighters back. I believe I have uncovered an undetonated bomb here."
Dilemma. How do heroes handle a bomb?
Highlander had never handled one; he wasn’t sure Obsidian Strike had either. However, knowing his supposed immortality and having experienced numerous instances where he was relatively impervious to damage. Highlander felt the only avenue was to shield the bomb with as much material as possible and use his own body to help smother the blast. He and OS piled as much debris as they could gather around the bomb in case the fire department’s bomb mitigation team didn’t arrive in time. Precious moments were ticking away and he wasn’t eager to test his immortality on this, but there many be no other alternative.
“Get everyone back,” he warned the fire captain, and turning to his new found ally, he questioned him as to his abilities.
“I can handle considerable damage,” Obsidian Strike said.
“In that case, I’m going to try and smother the device. You pile as much stuff on top of me as you can, as quickly as you can, got it?”
The pair worked feverishly, all the while hoping the bomb squad was getting close.
“We’ve only seconds, Highlander,” OS said.
“Yeah, if this doesn’t work, it’s been a pleasure working with you.”
As Obsidian Strike put one last large slab of wall on the pile covering Highlander and the bomb, he heard the big Scotsman yell, ”GET OUT OF HERE!!”
OS turned to run and was hurled into the street by a massive, muffled concussion blast.
He shook his head as he raised it from the pavement and shouted “NO!” He rose and turned toward the destroyed building, only to see a cloud of smoke and a seated Highlander, clutching his midsection.
“Damn! I survived it, but I’m hurtin’ for certain!”
The big man looked down at his stomach and the blood soaking between his fingers and coating his clothes.
“I think you better get me some help,” he said as he passed out. Paramedics weren’t far away and they were closing in even as Obsidian Strike called for them
Highlander came to in a hospital room, and the first sight he saw was Fiona, standing over him.
The countenance on her face was less one of worry and more one of fury.
“Are you CRAZY!?!?!,” she shouted. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??!!”
“Uhhh … it worked, didn’t it,” he asked weakly.
“You. Are. Insane.” Fiona muttered as she shook her bright mane in disgust.
“And you,” she said, looking at Obsidian Strike. “I know this may be fairly new for you, but you didn’t think to TALK HIM OUT OF SUCH A STUPID STUNT??!!”
“Fiona, he was only following my orders,” Highlander said. “Leave him alone.”
“Sorry,” she reluctantly told Obsidian Strike.
Turning back to her husband, Fiona said, “Why do you do things like this?”
“We didn’t have any choice. We had no idea how powerful the bomb was, and there wasn’t enough time to complete the evacuation of the other buildings; we had to minimize the damage.”
“After everything you’ve been through, how in the world did pieces of metal cut you up like that? You’ve been at ground zero of numerous explosions down the years, and never got a scratch. How did this happen,” she asked.
“Maybe we’ll know more once the shrapnel is analyzed. It seemed to be much harder than anything we’ve encountered before. I couldn’t even bend any of the pieces; neither could Obsidian Strike. It wasn’t normal metal,” Highlander said.
“No, it wasn’t. Badge is doing spectral analysis. We should get answers soon,” OS said.
The robed figure in the middle of the trio remarked, “We need to provoke the one called Obsidian Strike to see how powerful he is,” the robed one said. “A confrontation with the one called Highlander would tell us much.”
The one to his left spoke, “He is too disciplined to initialize a confrontation with the bigger one. The one called Highlander has a more volatile temper, but seems to regard our subject as a beneficient one because he aided him.”
“True,” the third one said. “Perhaps, jealousy on the part of the bigger one would trigger a confrontation?”
”I feel the plan is a sound one,” said the robed figure on the left of the trio. “We use L.U.S.H. to take down Star Force – our first target – and then combine those two to take down the weakest of the 5th Precinct teams. We can then move up the ladder and eliminate the 5th Precinct leagues, combining them with the pair of leagues that we control. And then?”
“The figure in the middle nodded, “Yes. Once those leagues have fallen, we can then marshal their forces to destroy the Avengers, and then BADGE will be easy prey. Soon the world will see the capes for what they really are – imposters posing as forces of good. Once they are in our thrall, their evil works will put us in charge across the globe. We must take control of L.U.S.H., and then charge their abilities to the utmost, so they can easily take down Star Force. World domination is within our grasp, my friends.”
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