Dark Destinies


Max was sleeping when the alarms went off. Dozing in his chair after an evening of working on the annoying but necessary paperwork required to keep his company running smoothly.  He jerked out of his chair half standing already when the phone rang. "Hello?" he said, as he began typing furiously into his computer, tryng to figure out what was going on.


"Max, it's Sam down in Magnetics.  We have intruders – there's shooting, screams, and explosions. i think they took out the turrets… we need help, man! we got a Code: Zentraedi!   We… oh, shit.." The line went dead with a buzz. He blinked and tried very hard to imagine his friend of twenty years was just the  victim of a cut comm line and not violence. He straightened up, turned and walked to the south wall of his office.  Reaching under the monitor screen, he pressed a concealed button. It slide to the side silently to reveal a gleaming set of armor. Red, white, gold and blue and the most advanced and magnificent thing he had ever created.  Tonight he would use it to defend his home and his people. These invaders were about to get far more than they dreamed of.  It took only moments to suit up. "Showtime!" he said. A bright flash of light lit the room and his nameplate as he disappeared, and Maximilian Alexander Sterling  went to do battle with evil again.

Specimen P-001
Parasites. They're good for you. Really!

"Well, the persuasion parasite otherwise categorized as specimen P-001 was a complete success. The test subjects followed their orders without any real regard for consequences. I suspect that stronger willed individuals of the common species homo sapiens could resist it to some degree, though that was a calculated and known quantity. Being a parasite, it can be easily ingested via common consumed food or drink, though alcohol tends to kill it making that medium of transmission impossible."

Dr. Goodman turns off the recording by tapping the tablet computer and thinks for a moment before resuming.

"Of course, given the base organism on which this parasite is derived, the infection of other common homo sapiens would be socially unlikely since the consumption of infected homo sapiens by otherwise normal homo sapiens is typically frowned upon. From experience, the flavor of them is not unlike other cattle species.

"Given the promising results, several avenues of study present themselves. Augmentation, such that the effect is stronger making subjects more susceptible to suggestion is obvious, so much so that it is hardly worth noting. More intriguing is to change the effects to induce cannibalism, which would widen the number of vectors for infecting other homo sapiens. Though, I must admit that flesh eating humans is definitely cliche. Besides, if the intent was to wipe out humanity, there are far more efficient ways to accomplish this. Of course, zombie apocalypse would be far more entertaining compared to a more virulent ebola or the like. Perhaps an airborne transmission could be devised or to use alternate species to transmit it to humans could hold promise."

Dr. Goodman pauses again, scratching his head with one of the horn protrusions from his wings.

"Some refinement is required to narrow the range of individuals from which suggestions would be followed. In initial testing, a subject could be commanded to follow only the instructions of one individual or, barring any suggestion to the contrary, allow the subject to accept instructions from anyone. Since it is possible to transmit the parasite fairly easily, I've placed all the samples in a lock box safe. That precaution was more for the laborers we have, as my companions could easily open such a box, though perhaps the possibility that they may become the unwelcome recipient of some awful strain of disease or worse will safeguard the boxes.

"Obviously, a serum to negate the effects was immediately developed to reverse the effects due to accidental exposure. I'm sure that my companions would be much more comfortable knowing that such a serum exists. The serum must be injected to the host of the parasite for it to be effective."

Dr. Goodman taps the tablet's screen again, saving the recording for his research. He taps again to start another file.

"Research began on the enhancement of the homo sapiens into homo perfecta. Obviously with such a dull species as a base, the perfect variant leaves a lot to be desired. That said, I have high hopes for this first stage of human evolution. And with so many test subjects nearby, I'm nearly assured of success."

Security Briefing Theta 27-5

U.N.T.I.L Sky Fortress Tempest

Location Unknown

1500 Hours EST

“What have you got, Flores?”  Lieutenant Danica Flores turned to Commander Vaughn as he strolled into the Situation Room. “Report from the Vault Robbery down south, Sir.  The preliminary investigations are interesting. It seems there is at least one teleporter. The bank vault had an anti-teleportation mesh built around it that energized the second the pressure sensors were tripped without an access code and the vault actually opening.” Flores motioned to the monitors displaying what was left of the vault door. “As you can see the thief was not only able to teleport but also telekinetic, as well.  Data analysis reports a 79% likelihood we are dealing with a powerful new mentalist. “

Commander Frank Vaughn, 30 year veteran of UNTIL shook his head and arched an eyebrow. “What else have we found out?” Flores turned to the table top and tapped in a few commands. “We have several correlations and we believe we know who we are dealing with.  Follow the bouncing ball.  The South American bank cameras were tampered with. No good ID’s off those. But we DO have images from the parking garage cameras two blocks away. Now the resolution is not anywhere near what we hoped but we do have a shot of several people going into the bank including this man in the Hawaiian shirt and tourist hat.

We cannot identify anything from this image BUT, we DO have several images captured from Steel Guard from after the incident where the same person verbally communicated with Mesmerelda and was seen following them several times. Image enhancement leaves us enough to do facial recognition and the hit that came back was this sleaze bag, Markus Kincaid. Formerly a highly paid lawyer in the US and of course head of an organ-legging ring. Convicted, he was set to serve consecutive life sentences before escaping from Blackstone Prison LLC three weeks ago. Two days after the escape, which also included these four individuals, the prison had a … mishap. Leaving this cratered ruin.  The two survivors reported missing inmates and equipment, odd lockdowns, then massive explosions.

S.H.E.I.L.D responded to our request for information with one of their own but also sent this. This is armor-cam footage from the body armor of several of their Fast Response Security Team members along with camera footage from the Vegas Airport Tower.  You can clearly see Kincaid here in the back of what appears to be a Stealth vehicle of some kind. The girl with the bot in the air to the right appears to be Tizianna Black, another escapee. We have no ID at all on the aberration involved in the fight. Ditto on the shadow woman fighting Lady Spectrum, though there is a 65% likelihood it is Moira O’Shea. And the last escapee, McKalya Crafter, is at the helm of the vessel. She is the only known escapee whose skill-set includes piloting.”

"Sir, it is the analysis team’s determination that it is these five escapees who are responsible for the theft of the gold as well as the theft of materials from the Boeing facility.  And the destruction of the prison. We believe and have corroborated circumstantial evidence that these five criminals, between their escape and subsequent attack on the prison, had an 'origin'."

"We do not know how or even why these five alone were selected, nor do we have any theories, as yet, as to how they gained their powers. We have no profile yet to how they select targets or for what purpose."

"What is clear, is that they have no compunctions about killing and they seem to be just getting started."

Commander Vaughn looked at her for a moment thinking then nodded, “Good work, Flores, keep at it. And in the meantime, recall Team Gladius from vacation. I want them ready to meet this threat the next time their poke their heads out. “


Data Stealing

Some acquisition of information…

A nice jog

Tiz slowed to a cool down jog and made a few more laps around the 5th level of the base. That fucking mook had pissed her off pretty good and she’d been real close to finding out exactly how much damage her new gauntlets would do to the asshole. Instead she’d simply jacked him up a bit and let him know if he didn’t do as he was told, she’d slow roast his leg and feed it to that crazy ass lizard/bug Dr. still attached. Needless to say the smart mouthed little nerd got to work configuring the routers she would need later. She would of course have to thoroughly check his work and it wasn’t really saving her any time in the long run. But, she’d learn a few very important things about the little punk for having made him do it. 

She came around the corner and quickly dodged Kincaid on the way into his rooms. She didn’t quite get that guy. Okay let’s be real, she didn’t get any of them really. And she damn sure didn’t trust any of them. This little band of wanna be villains she’d managed to get tangled up with. They’d all been busted out of prison by the robot. And she used that term loosely, Iota was certainly more than just a robot. She’d busted them out, they’d retrieved the key to this base, entered it, and then everything had turned into a fucking shit show. A shit show with benefits mind you, but getting shot at by a giant fucking battle droid for lack of a better term definitely qualified as a shit show in Tiz’s book. The room had been blown all to shit and the pods along with it, releasing the powers that the crazy fucker that built this place had been storing like trophies. The getting shot at had sucked, the powers, that for whatever reason seem to be absorbed by her and her companions, not so much.

Tiz was quite happy with the powers. She could feel the electronics in her vicinity, and better yet, to some degree she could control them. This was going to be fun!! She’d pretty much been working them out every waking minute since she got them. There was a lot to be done around here. Everyone wanted her help with something. And they needed internet god damn it. She was fine with being busy, she loved this shit. It didn’t hurt that she was learning every electronic inch of this place inside and out. That little self-destruct hitch was mildly concerning, but she was pretty sure had that under control as long as it stayed powered.

Yeah, busy was good. It kept her from thinking about exactly what her new companions were capable of. She’d seen some amazing and fucking creepy shit already. Well, at least she had the camera feeds in most areas to let her know what they were up to, especially the Dr., that dude was just….yeah…no words. Her jog turns to a walk and she heads back to check on the mook before hitting the shower. It was gonna be another long day.

Selection of the Navajo Tribal Leader

Goodman's to-do list prior to selecting the new Navajo leader:

  • Take some of the gold and melt it down. Leave some in irregularly shaped nuggets of about 8 ounces each.
  • Take some other gold, add turquoise, fashion an expensive necklace.
  • Hoard the remaining gold for future use.
  • Create a teaching curriculum to educate his pick of a leader.
  • Learn Navajo, inclusive of Navajo culture, history, and legends.

The selection of the child will be based on the following criteria:

  • Intelligence and academic performance, determined by breaking into schools and reviewing files.
  • Current grade in school between 7th and 9th grade.
  • Gender of female.
  • Socioeconomic level of lower class: low household income.
  • General plan:
  • Teach the child "correctly" all academic subjects.
  • Teach the child "correct" Navajo culture, history, and legends.
  • Support the family financially, but not directly. For example, leaving them cash purportedly from winning some contest, or faking IRS tax return errors, or long lost relatives inheritance, etc.
  • Masquerade as a servant of the human form Monster Killer from the Third World. In the legends, no such servant existed, but Goodman plans to sell it, given his powers. Part of the back story will include that Goodman represents parts of the living world, combining the powers of many animals of legend. Including animals that the ancestors could never have known existed. For example, chameleons and dinosaurs. However, Goodman will not reveal himself to the chosen child for some time, just invisible visits. Note for the GM: you might want to do a quick search for this online.
Some Adjustments
Dr. Goodman's Personal Journal

My new form is… awe inspiring. All of those experiments that I performed on myself after safety tests with my "students". The fruit of that labor produced a vast improvement over the human form. Perfection, though, has not been reached. More experiments. More trials. More improvements.

It takes a couple of days for the extra appendages to finally finishing growing and molting. Then the new version of me, the improved version, takes shape. The wings are large enough to carry me, and the interaction of the bird DNA and the reptilian DNA interact producing wings more akin to the legendary dragons than to some mundane terrestrial fauna. How delightfully appropriate.

The changes from the acceleration of my genetic alteration continue to grow in strength and, based on my calculations, will continue for some time. I find that my hardened, armor-like skin and carapace affords even greater resilience to damage. Some testing was necessary to determine the base line, something Aaron seemed absolutely terrified to do. I remember his first few shots with the pistol missed altogether as he closed his eyes to do so. I implied that he was becoming less useful, which would make him expendable. This renewed his strength to properly fire the weapon at me. Inspired him with confidence apparently. When it came to a second test with the pistol, Aaron did not hesitate. I picked up the flattened bullet from the floor where it fell after striking me. I do admit a certain degree of giddiness.

My compatriots are clearly a cut above the lower species of homo sapiens. I particularly find Tiz's ability to manipulate technology intriguing. Technology bending to the will of a living creature? How is this possible? Perhaps she would be open to some general observation and minimally invasive testing to see the root of that ability. Well, even I, with my general inability to read people, can sense the general horror that my comrades have for my experiments, I guess feeling that I would violate their consent. Not that I would in any event. They are a means to an end. My honorable and enlightened goal of human evolution meshes well with their, ah, more hedonistic egocentrism. At least for now.

Of the lot, Tiz seems reasonably trustworthy, as long as our end goals do not clash with one another. I suppose I could say that of all my companions, but something about her seems less self serving. Perhaps it's because she works so diligently for the group overall, as evidenced by the recent mission to acquire cash from those criminal casinos. Kincaid is hard to read, though seems ruled by his passions, for all the good and bad that comes with that type of orientation. "Shadow Goddess", talk about ego run amok, has some interesting powers. I sense a live and let live point of view from her, with a somewhat dark, perhaps even sinister, agenda which remains to be seen. She appears to enjoy being in charge of the servants the others refer to as "mooks". The Mooks are no better than service dogs as far as I am concerned. Useful pets, I suppose.

Smokey saved me from falling five hundred feet to the ground after Kincaid threw me at someone attempting to foil us. While surprising, Kincaid's action made sense. After all, it's not like I could not survive a simple drop to the ground. And certainly as armored as I am, hitting an opponent poses no real danger of harm. But Smokey's action surprises me. There's more of an agenda there than may be apparent. Why expend the energy to "save me" from the fall? Is it a manipulation to engender some trust? Is it to ensure that I reciprocate? Time will tell I suppose.

And what of Fury and her plans? There seems to be a great deal of ownership of items and concern for the well being of our equipment. Though, not so much worry for the rest of us.

My final musing is this: Are my companions and I a "team" or just a collection of individuals all focused on our individual agendas? We've proven we can work together, but what happens when our goals are not in alignment?

I guess we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, swooping and flying around the large open space of the central chamber of the base proves to be quite invigorating. I cannot help to cackle as I do so to the startled surprise of the Mooks. I dive toward them, pulling away at the last minute. There is something pleasant in seeing them scatter at my approach. Kind of like flies scattering when you swat at them. Given the difference in their human-kind in comparison to me, the analogy is quite appropriate.


How goes the battle

I am not feckin' sure what the hell is going on with all of this super-powered crap, but it sure is fun to watch gits freak out as I disappear into Shadows.  There's a slight niggling in the back of my head because I'm waiting for the bad side of this to show up.  All this power has to come with some sort of catch or cost.  I keep trying to find the limits of these powers but most of them are my own brain trying to wrap itself around brand-new shite.  I flew so fast once that I wound up on another continent.  What the fuck is up with that?  I've had the start of a couple different plans bouncing around my head as I work out these powers, though, so that's keeping my mind busy, too.  I have no idea what to think of these other fools.  I'm waiting for any of them to show some smarts, thoughts or plans about what the hell we are going to do.  I'm going to get my revenge, that's for sure, and money.  Lots of money.  Those are my goals right now.

Three of the others have run off to Vegas for supplies and to win some cash or something.  That doesn't impress me and seems pretty stupid since they'll probably get found out.  I'd rather lay low til we can get shite figured out.  Fury went, too, she seems okay-ish so far.  She at least is trying to plan things out…use her brain.  I want to talk to the Mooks, too, they will need shite to keep them happy.  The stick is super useful, but carrots have their place, too.  Learned that a long time ago, only reason I'm still (was?) in the PI business.  I'm feeling very antsy, though, I think I'll take a small risk and flex my muscles a little bit.  Go out and play.  That armored car company I ran into will make a nice toy and might net me a nice little something shiny.

I head out of our compound by doing the Shadow thang and fly out onto the desert floor.  I do my best to gather my power and think "FLYSPEEDFASTGO!!" Light blinds me for a moment when I stop, and I can't focus exactly.  Takes me a few seconds to clear my head.  Jesus Mary and Joseph!  I'm over water….och! Panicking, I turn 180 degrees and fly off again.  At least this time, I'm in a city but where the hell at? Are they?  Holy feckin hell, that's Japanese or some shite they are speaking.  Ok, stop.  You're safe, don't panic again.  Slow down and think. My stupid phone won't even connect to anything here, bollocks.  Ok, slower, steadier…."FLY" and I'm off again.  I see desert and I stop.  My phone's working now…checking GPS.  California.  Pish.  At least I got the right continent.  Once more with feeling and a better idea of how many miles I need to cover.  Poof, fly…annnddd..welcome to Vegas, baby!  Thank goodness.

I find my way to the Loomis warehouse and scope out the place.  It's after hours and the staff seem to be mostly gone.  I make myself as transparent as possible (don't ask me how…I just thought "HIDE"…and my powers did the rest.) I almost seem to be made of smoke and am lighter than air, so I drift myself slowly threw some cracks in the side door….sticking to the shadows as I go.  There are a couple dispatchers still in the office, and I take a lot of time to wind my way around the room. That fella on the left-most computer has his lights dimmed…..there's a good boy.  Nice! He's got the dispatch map up talking to a driver.  I think "STILL" and just listen for a few minutes until I hear "…high value asset. AC 7227, you are GO for transport. 20 minute ETA."  That's my jam.  I watch the map for until the cute, little AC logo they use starts moving.  How convienent, the map even shows the route down Simmions Road. This is going to be a cake-walk.

Outside, I move quickly (but not too quick!) to the road their route is supposed to take them.  Sure enough, I see the truck.  It's just a standard armored truck with two guys in the front.  Once it slows down for a light, I kind of float my way around the back of the truck and push myself against the back doors, looking for cracks.  Yes!  I squeeze thru…that cannot be more than 1/16" of an inch….that's freakin' awesome!  Alarms bells….asshole with a gun inside.  Goddamn it!  Wait…..let me try something.  I wrap myself around and in the Shadows around his feet and lower legs.  I think I can do this!  I close my eyes (what eyes, you fool) and concentrate on fella and "SHADOW" and I've got him!  Fuckin' A…I've got him wrapped in Shadow and covered…in Me?  I'm so excited, I fly us both out through that crack in the doors and straight up into the air.  Dusk has fallen and there is Shadow everywhere.  I'm freakin' laughin' like a maniac from adrenaline, no idea if anyone can hear me.  Straight up about 70 feet…..and think about fella and "FORM" and he appears again.  Goddamn, is he scared! I love this power!  I release him and barely watch him start to fall before I'm back at the truck again.  The truck is still moving all non-chalantly down Simmons Road so I pull the duffle bag off my back and start stuffing it full.  As quickly as I can without sending myself flying across the country (which is not easy to control!), I packed the duffle bag, thing must weigh 70 pounds full, and turn back into Shadow and head back to the compound.  It takes me about a two minutes to make a trip and literally dump the money in my room.  Sweet!  I know exactly where this truck is headed, so I'm going back for more!  Damn, this is feckin' fun!  On my way back, I think about the guard from the back of the truck, I'd sure like to hide his body and make this a huge mystery.  I head to him and turn his body to Shadow again.  This time fella's flight is much shorter….I find the nearest multi-story house and dump his body on top of it.  Heh….that'll be gross and I love it.

I'm able to make five more trips before the truck starts to get close to it's destination.  This is sweet…I have to have half a mill here or close to it.  I'm super high on adrenaline now and grab a couple stacks of cash and go shopping.  Quick stop to find a retail security store.  I might have highjacked some good lookin handguns while the clerk wasn't looking, too.  Tiz and Fury really have hard-ons for computers and I could really use something myself right now.  Errr….where the hell can I find that shite.  Google, baby.  Best Buy?  Really?  That's your recommendation, Google.  The Shadow Goddess walks herself in her human form right into Best Buy and buys some computers.  That sounds lame.  But, that's what I do.  At least, I bought one.  And now I know what I want…I may have raided their storage room for more.  Nice!  These monitors and the shite.  Too funny.  I could really steal some shite.  Woohooo!

Back in my room (lair?), I dump all my loot and relish the moment a bit. Fuck that was fun!  The Mooks!  Almost forgot.  I head upstairs and find Bard.  He seems to have at least a couple brain cells to rub together.  And he has a nice ass for a fella.  In an effort to offer a little carrot, I strike up a "friendly" conversation about the mooks.  I doubt he's buying it, but I don't really care, it's just fun to playact with people and see their response.  He is smart, he's able to word-play with me a little.  He suggests that food, booze and booty will help keep them happy, but also being sure they won't be eaten.  I certainly can't guarantee that with Goodman around.  That man/thing/whatever is fucked sideways.  Anyway!  I dance around that subject but offer up the rest of his suggestions.  I pop off a message to Fury to grab some things for the mooks while they are out.  Fury offers up the fun fact that the others are all off in the casinos, digging for gold or some shite.  I laugh to myself, thinking about how they are putting a spotlight on themselves and glad I'm not there.  I'm much happier in Shadow, always have been, really.

Bard and I finish up our conversation and I start to head back downstairs, when a random thought occurs to me.  

"Hey, Bard."


"I was in prison for quite a while and had very little entertainment since I was stuck in solitary most of the time."


"Want to have sex?  I'm down."

  "With you?  Sure!"

Neither of us last very long, it's very wham-bam-thank-you, but we have some fun.  Definitely fun.  I could hit that again.  He's cute and that ass is fine.  Carrot.

I head back to my rooms and start counting money and figuring out more shite.  I leave Tiz's nine new computers and those kick ass monitors upstairs where she's been working and start counting stacks of 100s.  I think I have between 600 and 750 grand.  Fuck, I've never seen that much money at once. Fuckin' dog's bollacks.  Now, I wait for the others to get back.  They better hurry up or I'll be finding more trouble.

Studies and Research

Dr. Goodman's continued path to enlightenment…

"How's my five friends today?" I ask. I realize that I don't really have any concern about whether they're happy or not, but this is an all "carrot" approach for these first test subjects. I need a face, as mine, is, well… not taken well by most. How unfortunate that these lower life forms simply cannot envision a world greater than their selfish existence.

They mutter some things under their breath. They are terrified, rightly so, by the disembodied voice and the knowledge of what happened to that huge prisoner I ate tartar. It's just protein and calories, but the taste is too unrefined. I'll need to work on proper meal preparation.

"Oh, come now," I say softly, "you have an opportunity of a life time here. But first, we need to ensure that you are kept safe and secure. Feel free to explore this room, but I must warn you not to leave the medical center without an escort by me or one of my colleagues." This will be a long process, but I have to get them to do two things: trust us for ensuring their safety and gain their loyalty. Initially, this will be a psychological effort in desensitization and increased attachment. This will lay the ground work for the actual genetic manipulation later.

One of them, Stuart, speaks up. "Wh-, why me? What are you going to do to me?"

"You have precisely the traits for great things! Believe me, you will be very happy to work with us. Work with us can be,.. well, very lucrative. But beyond that, how would you like to have the ability to stave off would be predators? Not to bring up a painful subject, but I believe you were all preyed upon by the larger, dominating inmates. I can give you the ability to not just level the playing field, but to put such offenders in their place." Stuart and his friends appear to be thinking about this. Good.

"In the meantime, lunch is at noon. I'm sure we can find you something much better than the prison meals." I walk in front of the door to the room so it opens automatically, but I don't leave. I stay quiet to observe the behaviors of the sheep. Perhaps there are some would be wolves that just need to be brought out of them…


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