Childhood's End

206 - The MESH Cometh
And worlds shall burn.
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205 - Dreaming Trees
Trees have nightmares too.

Plants burn as blue flames lick their green barks. The screams of dying plants echo around her ears. Helpless, Vine simply turns in horror as the trees struggle to put out the flames killing them. She knows they won’t succeed. She knows the truth. Every plant is burning. The entire planet is dying as the three moons look on in the night sky.
__
Awakening suddenly, Vine realizes it was all a nightmare.

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204 Army of Light
As Atlantis makes moves to invade the Earth, will the heroes be able to stop it in time?

Heroes escape from rooms in Atlantis.

Lilith and Sigma begin to damage the shield generators protecting the city from the shadow beasts.

The American and Vine begin seperating the city from the continent it’s sitting on by punching holes in the continent and tearing it apart with plants.

Mecha Mistress hides in a closet and hacks the city’s control systems, getting ready to bring the city’s defenses online.

The shield goes down, allowing shadow to invade the city. Sigma, Lilith and Light Bearers start defending the city from the shadow.

Celestial starts lifting the city and continent chunk up, taking help from Mecha Mistress converting the city’s power grid into an anti-gravity generator.

Light Bearers on Earth activated the Dimensional Anchors, pulling the city onto Earth. A shadow hitched a ride.

Celestial began to lower the city down, along with the help of Push, who, along with others, came to help out, slowly lowered Atlantis into the Earth’s crust, thus creating a new continent.

The rest of the group fought the shadow, which turned out to be Dark Beast, manipulating the shadows. The group defeated Dark Beast. Lilith died during the event, her powers controller being destroyed.

A week later, Lilith came back to life again, but this time, unable to switch her powers.

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203 City of Shadows
A city sitting in a dark realm reaches out towards the light.
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It's a Wonderful Season
Christmas? What's that?

The wind was cold and biting as Tank and Shifter patroled the streets of Slumville. Ever since the Knights of Neumond had saved the world from the Second Storm, they hadn’t paid much attention to the town of their namesake. So, it was left to heroes like Tank and Shifter to keep the citizens safe from would be crooks and killers.

Which was exactly what the city needed as the duo heard an explosion not two blocks away.

“Well, what do you think? Should we take a look?” asked the grey, skinned Tank.

“Might was well. Might be we find something interesting.” Shifter was really in the business only for the excitement of fighting and showing off his powers.

As per their usual modus operandi, Shifter began to shrink till he was about six inches tall. However, he no longer looked human. Instead, he looked like a mouse. Tank carefully picked his partner up off the floor and looked in the direction of the blaring alarms.

“Sounds like Neumond 1st Bank.” Squatting his powerful legs, Tank lept into the air and sailed in the direction of the bank known for giving loans to the poor and less able to pay back.

It was especially needed this time of year, towards the end of December as winter drew in so close. If people were willing to rob a bank during the brutal cold months, then there was no hope left.

As Tank sailed through the air, he began to see the bank ahead. Walking out of the bank were a handful of would be thugs wearing masks and toting guns. Tank grimaced as he realized he’d have to take it easy so he didn’t kill any of them. Then, he saw a criminal he knew all too well walk out of the building. It was Cannon, a supervillain who’d tangled with All-American Man, now called “The American”, himself.

Nodding to Shifter, Tank settled his mind on their usual tactic. Something called the “Furry Missile”. Landing in front of the bank robbers with a pavement-cracking thud, Tank immediately launched Shifter at Cannon. As the small mouse flew through the air, his shape and size changed quickly to that of a grizzly bear, which hit Cannon at full speed, causing the villain to step back and drop his money.

Taking advantage of the situation, Shifter swung his massive paw at Cannon, but only managed to knock him back another step. He’d read the reports. He knew this would be a tough fight.

Regaining his senses, Cannon swung his fist in front of the bear-man’s face and fired a full blast. Shifter was glad his bear-form was technically stronger than a real bear, or this would have been a fatal shot as he took it full in the face.

The thugs with guns immediately opened fire on Tank, who yawned as he began to walk towards them.

“Really? Guns?”

Taking in a deep breath, the metal-man blew as hard as he could. The criminals were thrown by the gale-force breath into various buildings and cars, all falling unconscious.

Taking another swing, Shifter tried his luck again, this time managing to ring Cannon’s bell. However, the super-charged meta-human was not to be outdone and blasted away again at Shifter, only to see the scars begin to heal themselves immediately.

He was completely unprepared for Tank’s next move, which was to launch himself at the energy wielder, fist extended. No doubt it would have been a tremendous blow, but for the fact that the titan overshot, and sailed harmlessly over Cannon’s head and into the bank wall.

Cannon, realizing that he was no outnumbered, decided to use some tactics and lifted himself into the air, aiming another energy blast at the walking bear-man. Realizing that the would-be crook was out of his reach, Shifter instead picked up a nearby Pontiac, hurling the vehicle through the air at his target.

The car exploded around the villain, leaving him unprepared for Tank’s second jumping punch, this one landing and spinning the floating meta-human around. Seeing his chance, Tank lept into the air, far above the city. He’d timed it perfectly, as he started to plummet directly at Cannon’s head. Extending his arm, Tank let gravity do all the work.

P. The resounding thud was the signal that the fight was over, as the titan landed on the ground, fist lighty touching the pavement. Tank uncurled himself and looked at Cannon, double checking that he was unconscious.

Soon afterwards the police arrived with a pair of Gadget Girl Gauntlets:http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/childhood-s-end/items/gadget-girl-gauntlets for Cannon, taking the crooks away.

As an officer spoke of the lack of hope in the world, Tank and Shifter both noticed when time itself stopped. A shimmer appeared in the air, worrying the heroes as to what was coming next. The shimmer flashed and a man in green and grey clothes appeared.

Thank heavens I found you. My name is Tempus, and you have to help me set things right!

Tank and Shifter looked at each other for a few seconds, as if deciding what to do. Tank spoke first.

I know you. You’re Tempus. You’re one of the villains the Knights of Neumond fought off before they became world-wide superheroes and left the city. Why shouldn’t we just pound you and take you in?

Tempus looked confused for a moment. Oh! No. You’ve got me confused with my earlier self. Or, I guess from your point of view he’s my current self and this might be my future self. You see, a long time ago, or a while from now, I will change, or have changed, my ways. I work to preserve the balance of time. I work to keep the universe spinning. And, right now, this time line is wrong. It’s wrong to the point that I’m having trouble staying in this temporal location. The universe is literally fighting to get rid of me as an anomaly.

Shifter wasn’t impressed. Really? You really expect us to fall for that old trick? ‘I was bad but now I’m good.’ Please! We’ve seen that trick a million times before. Or, at least several.

No! You must believe me! Tempus was clearly growing discomforted. Strain was clear on his face. You have to come with me. I was barely able to establish a connection to this point, and now to you. If you don’t come with me, the world will…

With that, Tempus disappeared in with a blur and a scream. The office finished his thought and walked away. The snow continued to fall. The helicopter overhead flew away.

Well, began Tank. What do we do now?

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1.09 - Lightning Strikes Twice

Prologue

As he ran down the gleaming hallway, his breath began to come up short.

I should’ve kept in better shape.

He realized the oddity of that thought entering his mind at this moment. He was, after all, running for his life.

Turning a corner, he slammed into a wall and kept running, desperately trying to make it to the exit and his car before he was discovered. Clutched in his hand was a small vial, containing what seemed to be a cloud of silvery particles floating around.

Sweat dripped into his eyes as he started running down the stairs. He knew better than to try for the elevator. They’d catch him too easily that way. Knocking someone over in the stairwell, the man tried to offer an apology as he continued running. This was too important, it had to get out.

Finally, he saw it. His hope of making it out alive. Driving himself into an all-out sprint, the man finally burst through the doors and pulled out his smart phone. He didn’t stop running as he began to dial the number, but he knew that now that he was out of the cell-jamming building, he had to risk it. He had to make the call. Someone had to be told.

Then his whole world went sideways. He saw the ground in front of him turn to lava, the light poles to snakes, and his legs to cement. He knew his moment had come. Still, even though he couldn’t see the phone, he told his fingers to press down, praying they were in the right spot.

Then his mind went blank as the monsters began to swarm over him, tearing his flesh from his bones.

Two people walked over to the small scientist curled in the fetal position on the pavement, screaming in agony.

“Will his mind survive?” Maximillian Mars stepped out of the shadows and looked down at one of his formerly best scientists.

“It doesn’t have to.” Lord Etheric stepped to meet Max and glared down at the pathetic scientist who’d worked for the industry for so long he’d thought he worked for a family.

This is what you get for working for the MAN!

It never occurred to Etheric that he now worked for the man also.

Mars bent over and took the vial from the scientist, straightened his suit, and turned back towards the research center.

“Make sure that it doesn’t.”

Etheric simply smiled.

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1.08 - Super-Friends
Who needs enemies?

Prologue

Coolant dispersed from the tubes as the hoses disconnected themselves. Servos whirred as the metal arm reached inside and pulled out one small vial. Behind reinforced glass stood several men, one of whom was working the controls to the mechanical arm. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he carefully moved the precious payload to its container.

“Be careful,” said the man standing behind, overshadowing. “That vial’s worth more than what you’ll ever make, so you can guess how I’d feel if you dropped it.”

Not even taking his eyes off of the metal arm, the man gently laid the vial in its bedding of custom foam before letting go of the controls. Once that was done, a panel opened in the wall, and the box, foam, and vial came sliding out. Stepping out of the shadows, Maximillian Mars retrieved the vial and held it gently.

“Gentlemen,” he began. “We’ve just made history. This vial contains one of our most powerful designs. I have no doubt that many a small army will pay through the nose for it.”

A group of men came walking, two of them carrying a large box between them as they walked down the plank to the truck.

“Boss wants this package delivered to the Vault as soon as possible. We don’t stop for nothin’.”

The other heavily armed men all nodded in agreement as they climbed into the truck. Pulling out of the parking lot, the truck sped down the road, intent on its goal.

Two blocks down, though, they ran into trouble in the form of the Knights of Neumond fighting off against Death Magnetic. The battle had halted all traffic, making it impossible to get through.

“Gah!” screamed the driver. “How’re we supposed to get to the Vault with this crap going on?” His question was answered as his truck suddenly lifted into the air. The would-be security guards realized that their trip was going badly as they saw Death Magnetic’s outstretched hand guiding the heavily metal truck into the air, before attempting to swing it at Push. As the truck flew through the air, the men tumbled in the truck head over heel, and straps that had been considered tight enough for a drive came loose, causing the cargo to fly out the back of the truck before it was caught by All-American Man.

Inside an apartment right on the edge of the fight stood a young man watching the battle rage on. He especially paid attention to Push. Loathing and hating boiled up inside of him as he saw the hero fighting.

That should’ve been me. It should’ve been me.

He saw the truck flying through the air to be caught by All-American Man, as he figured that it would be. However, he was surprised when a large metal box landed in his living room through the other window. His eyes widened as the box’s custom made locks had been disabled by Death Magnetic’s powers, causing it to open.

Pushing the lid aside, the young man looked down as a voice whispered in the back of his head.

Destiny is finally fair.

Summary

The Knights of Neumond, arrive at the scene of a plane about to crash. Push, acting quickly, catches the plane in the air, pulling it to a stop and holding it in the sky.

Suddenly, he is knocked aside by a fast moving object slamming into him. The plane drops only to be caught by a strange new hero. This hero, wearing what appears to be a last-minute attempt at a Superman costume, easily carries the plane down to land it safely on the ground. He tears the side of the plane off and tosses it aside, endangering several window seat passengers.

The media, instantly intrigued by this real-life Superman, totally ignore the Knights, focusing on him instead. He goes on to give a speak that is point-for-point the story of the man of steel, even calling himself Kalel. The city eats it up, all claims of his falsehood being overridden by people’s desire to see Superman. The knights return to the Cave to get away from this obvious fraud, but he is on every channel. He has been going around the city saving people, but doing so in a sloppy manner that puts people at risk.

After watching the TV for a while, the team is amazed when this Man of Steel comes crashing through the roof! He throws himself into a heroic pose and blatantly offers the heroes to join him as some sort of “Justice League” as if it is his decision to make. The group is less than receptive to this idea, and Kalel is confused by their unwillingness to join him, for some reason deliberately avoiding Push in any way. Looking confused and angry, he takes off again, leaving another hole that the Cave needs to fix.

After some time, Gadget Girl is able to analyze Kalel’s DNA and discovers that he is not actually a Stormer. He seems to have had his DNA altered to specifically become a Superman. The change is not permanent, however, and he will lose his powers in about a week. No one on the team seems upset by this knowledge. They debate whether it would be a good idea to even let him have that week, seeing as his exploits put as many people at risk as they save.

Gadget Girl is selected as the “bait” since Kalel seems to have a thing for her. She not outside a minute when he flies by and grabs her. He takes her in a flying “date” over the skyline of Neumond. It seems to go well, until Gadget Girl turns down his offer of becoming his Lois Lane. In a fit of anger, he drops her and flies off, for some reason thinking that it is all Push’s fault. Gadget Girl is saved by Raven, who takes her back to the Cave, where the group decides that Kalel needs to be taken down.

The group goes to visit Mars Industries, where Maximillion tells them that the chemical that changed Kalel was made by his company. He helps Gadget Girl to make a ray gun that would disrupt his solar charged powers. With this ace in the hole, the group may be able to defeat Kalel.

When the group takes their positions on a rooftop for the battle, they are surprised when Kalel shows up before they are ready. The group, with Gadget Girl hiding out of sight with the ray gun Kalel, focusing only on Push, almost completely ignores the rest of the group. Push, using his power over gravity, holds the superman down where the rest of the group can hit him.

After everyone helps to wear down Kalel, All-American Man grabs him and tries to hold him in place so Gadget Girl can get a shot off with the ray gun. Though the giant is blown away, about 2 miles away, his actions still allow Gadget Girl to get a shot at Kalel. He goes down and the rest of the team is able to hold him until the Mars can arrive with a cell that will hold him until his powers go away.

Heroes in attendance:
All-American Man
Gadget Girl
Lilith Riddle A.K.A. Raven
Push
Spirit Wolf
Stealth

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1.07 - Gang Wars pt 2

Summary

After escaping from Angelo “Snaps” Provolone, Stealth returns to the Stealth Cave. Upon entering, he sees the newest members of the team; Raven, Gadget Girl and Watchman, making a bad first impression. Raven sets out for work, slightly annoyed at Stealth, and heads towards the business district of Neumond.

Coming through a side street, she comes across a disturbing scene. 2 large groups, one about a dozen Russian men the other about half a dozen Italians. Suddenly, a blinding flash of light comes from the Italian group, announcing the arrival of 8 newcomers. Raven stares in awe at the sudden appearance of Octaman, The Mongoose, Lord Etheric, Lightshow, Gargantua, Cannon and Angelo Provolone.

Angelo steps forward, cigar held in 1 hand and a devilish smile on his face. “Gentlemen, you have 2 options. You can either join my organization and become my boys, or you can die. It’s that simple.” After the enthusiastic refusal of the Russians, Angelo sighs. “Kill ’em,” he says, disappearing in another flash of light. The group of super humans begins attacking the Russian gang, quickly gaining the upper hand.

Raven puts in a call to the Cave, telling the group about the situation. Gadget Girl is the first to get there, setting up her cameras to let the people see the action. The rest of the group gets there soon after, arriving with All-American Man delivering a nearly useless attack to Gargantua. The others all go below to take care of the others, focusing on the weaker members first to thin out their numbers.

From out of nowhere, a strange new Stormer appears near Gadget Girl and Raven, but passes by them to launch an attack at Tempus, which the time-bender easily avoids. The new hero, Spirit Wolf, lands on the ground like a ninja, going back on the offensive against the villains.

Not long after the battle begins, Octaman, Lightshow, and Lord Etheric are taken down, leaving only Gargantua, Tempes and Cannon. Through the combined efforts of Watchman, Push and Gadget Girl, Tempes is taken down, finally showing that he can be beaten. Cannon, despite being taken on by 3 heroes at once, still manages to stay in the game, seemingly unaffected by anything that is thrown at him. Gargantua is kept busy by All-American Man, but is taking little damage as well.

Finally, the giant is taken down by an amazing shot from Gadget Girl. The humungous man goes down, pinning Push under him. Now, with only Cannon left, the group turns their attention to him. Showing his nature as a true coward, the plasma-thrower vanishes in another blast of light.

With the battle over, the Police and Maximillian Mars arrive to clean up the mess. The passed out villains are taken into custody and taken away. After talking things through for a while, the Knights of Neumond as Mars likes to call them, go back to their base.

Epilogue

A burst of energy, and the fight was over. Cannon had managed to escape, again.

“Well, how did it go?”

Cannon turned around and saw “Snaps” sitting in a chair with a glass of wine in his hand. “It went fine, till ”/campaign/childhood-s-end/wikis/knights-of-neumond" class=“wiki-page-link”> they showed up. The others all got captured, even Tempus, for all his talk of being the ‘master of time’."

Rage and fury curled Snaps’ face as he stood and threw his glass into the fire. The alcohol burned in a burst of flame.

“Now now, Angelo. Is that any way to appreciate a Lafite Rothschild Pauillac?”

Turning around, Cannon and Snaps observed the newest person to enter the room.

“Your supers failed, Mars.”

Maximillian Mars stepped out of the shadows, a smile playing on his lips. “Failed? Is that what you think? I’d like to think of it more as an amazing success.”

Snaps furrowed his brow in anger at the quadrillion-are. “What do you mean success? My boys are dead. Most of that group you gave me are now in jail. How was this a success?

Mars smiled and focused on the throbbing vein in Snaps’ face. “You really should calm down, Angelo. Your heart isn’t what it used to be. But, you asked how I consider this a success? It’s simple. We managed to prove that the supers make an excellent army. The fight with the ”/campaign/childhood-s-end/wikis/knights-of-neumond" class=“wiki-page-link”> Knights of Neumond just drove the point home. Trust me, there’s not an army on the planet that won’t want some of our supers. MARS Tech will make a killing."

Snaps’ eyes went wide with disbelief. “You mean to tell me that my boys are dead, all that money was spent, and it was just so you could sell some weapons?”

Mars’s smile just made Snaps fume even more. “Cannon, kill this idiot!”

Cannon didn’t move. Snaps stared in anger at the bulky energy-wielder. “Did you hear me, boy?”

“Oh, he can hear you, he just can’t do much about it right now.” Snaps turned towards Mars as the genius rolled his sleeve up, showing a glowing, miniature computer on his arm. “You didn’t think I’d take the time to create the ”/campaign/childhood-s-end/wikis/01%20-%20The%20Silver%20Storm/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”> Silver Storm, and not build in a fail-safe?"

Snaps was still speechless.

Mars smiled. “Cannon, kill Snaps.”

A burst of energy, and the discussion was over.

Heroes Present
All-American Man
Gadget Girl
Lilith Riddle A.K.A. Raven
Push
Spirit Wolf
Stealth
Watchman

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1.06 - Faith pt. 2

Searching for answers to the fate of Raven’s colleague, the group visits the Temple of the Light, a fairly new church in Neumond. While their, they meet Alex, a young man who helps members of the church to find jobs. While being shown through the church, All-American Man suffers a slight injury, thus distracting Alex long enough for Raven to search the area.

After finding a hidden door, Raven quickly searches the long passageway and finds a large room with what appears to be a sacrificial alter of some sort. She takes a sample of what appears to be dried blood, then goes back to join the team.

After showing their evidence to Detective Buckner, they once again return to the Temple of the Light, this time in time to attend one of their sermons. The service is a very spiritual affair, which the group takes some interest in.

After the service, Gadget Girl searches Shepherd Jones’s office and finds a disturbing note. The others move to a secluded area, which allows All-American Man to burrow a tunnel into the chamber that Raven discovered earlier.

Upon entering the chamber, the heroes are stunned to see another sacrifice take place, which they are too late to stop. A young man, obviously a Stormer affected by the Silver Storm, is stabbed through the heart, causing the green robed figure to transform into a large lizard-like creature. The other people, some very high-ranking people in the community, turn to face the invading heroes.

A dozen surround All-American Man, doing nearly no damage, while the other heroes move to go after the lizard creature. Raven goes to remove the dagger that ended the Stormer’s life, but is blown back by some strange electric force. Push moves into an attack position, while Gadget Girl joins the group and sends the details of the situation to the police.

All-American Man swiftly takes out half of his dozen opponants, while Raven recovers and barely dodges an attack from the large lizard. Acting on reflex, she swiftly attacks the thing, managing to imbed it into the cavern wall. After this stunning attack, the remaining members of the strange cult surrender and are swiftly arrested by the police.

Gadget girl senses something strange with the alter and dagger, so she notifies Mars Tech, who send out a team to extract the strange device. The alter seems to be sending some sort of signal to a non-terrestrial source.

The Children of the Light, stunned by the sudden intrusion of the police and Mars Tech, are not sure what to do. They believe, with the arrest of their Shepherd, that their faith is somehow destroyed. Many feel like it will be a long time before they can feel secure in their faith again.

Feeling satisfied in their victory, but a bit uneasy about the way things turned out, the group heads back to their base to rest up.

Heroes in Attendence
All-American Man
Gadget Girl
Lilith Riddle A.K.A. Raven
Push

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