The Big Villains Thread

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Villain of the Day:  November 24 (The Snake Charmer)

As with many villains, Ulio Renata was among the most gifted in his field.  It just so happened that his field brough feat to the hearts of individuals across the world already, and Ulio had little to do to inspire terror in those he sought to conquer.

Ulio, as it turns out, was a Snake Charmer.  Or, more specifically, a zoological herpetologist.  Ever fascinated by all things reptile, Ulio worked at one of South Florida's premier reptile houses, milking venomous cobras and wrangling alligators for throngs of admiring (and often horrified) guests.  Ulio particularly liked showing off his left hand--after having been bitten by a king cobra during one of his acts, Ulio was forced to have the hand amputated as the antivenom was administered too late to prevent the toxicity from spreading throughout his palm.  In its place, Ulio wore a menacing hook, which he often used in his snake handling act to display animals to an adoring/astonished public.

Ulio's unorthodox occupation, however, turned to villainy when he first caught word of the menacing Nightsnake--a fiendish metahuman with similar temperament and affinity for reptiles and amphibians.  Seeking to ally himself with Nightsnake, Ulio immediately gathered his workplaces' most venomous specimens and set out for the Phoenix area.  Unfortunately for him, Ulio was too late--Nightsnake had already been captured by the Southwest Sentinels and turned over to the 'proper authorities'.  Ulio, though, was undeterred.  Putting together a costume and equipping himself with all manner of toxic creatures and spray-bottles full of venom, Ulio took up the mantle of The Snake Charmer, preparing to orchestrate a breakout.

Needless to say, Nightsnake was astounded when this pudgy, one-handed man with squirt-bottles of cobra venom appeared in front of his cell and began deactivating the power dampeners that held the metahuman bound.  Since that day, Nightsnake has called upon Snake Charmer a number of times, anytime the creature needs a degree of backup.  As it turns out, Snake Charmer has something of an affinity for heists and is quite well-suited to incapacitating individual guards and taking down security systems.  A well-placed Vietnamese two-step viper has the propensity to do that, I suppose...

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Villain of the Day:  November 25 (Mack the Knife)

Just a jacknife has old MacHeath, babe / and he keeps it out of sight...

Four bodies washed up on the shore of the McKinley River over the course of six days.  Megalopolis police were dumbfounded.  No fingerprints, no evidence, not even a speck of blood or hair were to be found on any of the bodies outside of their own.  Four throats slit, their bodies weighed down with concrete blocks, and not a single lead.

That is, outside of an old song.  Mack the Knife was back in town.

An old swing hit from the 20s, made popular by a number of the Rat-Pack performers in the 60s, Mack the Knife tells the story of the highwayman MacHeath, from The Threepenny Opera, who made his way across the highlands on a rampage of rape, theft, and murder.  Known to use a switchblade knife, MacHeath was supposedly hung at the end of the opera, with his spirit consigned to the deepest underworld. 

Obviously, this couldn't be the original--and fictional--Mack.  Someone out there has been following MacHeath's lead in the underbelly of Megalopolis, leaving no trace of their crimes outside of a string of bodies in the McKinley River.  Until this crime is solved, no street may be safe from Mack.

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Villain of the Day:  November 26 (Captain Ernest Calhoun)

If you were to ask Captain Ernest Calhoun to describe himself, he'd gladly expound on his lineage and how he is latest in a long line of explorers who have circumnavigated the globe, dove into the deepest trenches of the ocean, and soared to the greatest heights.  

If you were to ask anyone else?  Ernest Calhoun may well be the dumbest billionaire alive.

It's true that Calhoun comes from a long line of explorers:  his father's side of the family comes from British aristocracy, with Calhoun able to trace his lineage to (and beyond) Captain Cook.  Calhoun claims that his forbearers dated back to the Vikings who traveled to Newfoundland in the early 1000s.  An elder cousin on Calhoun's mother's side was married to Don Walsh, one of the first individuals to reach the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.  As such, Calhoun thinks it to be his birthright and destiny to find the hidden things in the world.

And, unfortunately, Calhoun himself is utterly inept as an explorer.  While he has taken countless courses in cartography, survival, and biology, Calhoun never seems to be able to translate his coursework--in which he excels, as he'll brag vociforously--into actual field experience.  This has, unfortunately, led to a number of accidental deaths:  two guides were trampled by a pack of rhinos during an African safari, while a sherpa guide died while Calhoun attempted to climb a mountain he *thought* was Everest (and turned out to be a totally different mountain entirely).  Calhoun has gotten lost countless times, misplaced critical equipment on nearly every expedition, and has emotionally broken down on a number of occasions, requiring critical evacuation and extraction.

Nevertheless, Calhoun perseveres.  His family fortune has allowed him to pursue any interest he could muster and, unfortunately, Calhoun is utterly convinced that he is destined to find some great new vista for mankind.  Lately, this has led to two-fold interests:  the exploration of the Solar System (especially a private expedition to Ganymede, courtesy of Nautilus Industries) and a complete mapping of Magmaria.  In both cases, Calhoun wants on board...

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Villain of the Day:  November 27 (William)

William is always a gentleman.  Regardless of the situation.

Select few people are among those who know the identity of The Chairman.  Fewer still are ever granted an audience with the man himself.  Those managed to work their way up through the ranks of The Organization often find themselves receiving their orders from William.

No one knows William's last name.  Officially, he sits on the C-suite of Pike Industrial, though unofficially, he is Chairman Pike's personal valet and 'handler'.  All meetings with The Chairman move through William.  All orders from The Chairman come down through William.  All reports of profits and loss are directed specifically to William.  Any amount of news, good or bad, gets filtered through William.  Details down to The Chairman's preferred tie brand and what goes into his coffee rest upon William's head.

No one seems to know how The Chairman met up with William or how William came into the Organization's fold.  Many have conjectured that, like The Operative, William may have been groomed for this position since childhood.  Still others believe that The Chairman holds some deep secret over William, effectively blackmailing him into perpetual service.  However, one source has related a lengthy store involving the crime families that once held sway over Rook City before The Organization, a masked vigilante subjected to years of psychotropic conditioning, and a mob wedding gone horribly wrong.  This rumor, however, is completely unsubstantiated.

William's role in The Organization has been well-known to the members of Dark Watch for years, though they have yet to capture or even to approach William at any level.  The reasons for this, however, are as unknown as William's last name.

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Villain of the Day:  November 28 (Nurse Stitch)

Student loan debt is no joke, as Hope Birtles quickly found out.  

From her earliest days of middle school, Hope wanted to be a doctor.  While she studied her heart out through high school and college, Hope was never at the top of the class, never among the most elite prospects.  Nevertheless, she forged through, following her dream all the way into medical school at a state college not far from her home.  However, as she entered the first year of her residency, the reality of her financial predicament had finally started to catch up with her.  Despite working numerous jobs to pay for her apartment, books, and other necessary items, Hope often found herself pinching pennies and ending up late on bills, even suffering through the worst winter Rook City had seen in decades with no heat in her apartment.

After a long shift in the Overbrook Medical Center ER, Hope hit the brick wall.  Heading off to the nearest bar, she held her head in her hands as the bartender of the Wretched Hive poured her a double whiskey sour.  As she took her very first sip, the doors swung open, with an openly bleeding thug being carried in by two compatriots, who splayed the wounded man out over a table, yelling for towels and trying to calm the victim into quiet.  

"Call a doctor!" the call rang out.  And, as if on cue, Hope set down her drink and went to work.

After five hours in The Wretched Hive's back room, Hope managed to extract all of the bullet fragments from the thug's abdomen, had managed to keep the wound from going septic, and had stitched him up fairly cleanly.  As she cleaned up in the bar's kitchen sink, the adrenaline finally wore off, as a group of well-dressed men walked into the back door.

"Hey, Stitches.  Nice job on Tommy.  Here..."  The smiling man reached into the pocket of his white suit and tossed her a bundled wad of cash--$5,000 in total.  "You got a number, if one of my buddies slips and falls again?"

Since that day, Hope Birtles--now known as Nurse Stitch--operates a cash-only clinic out of the back of The Wretched Hive.  When henchmen are wounded, when villains need a broken leg set or a wound cleaned up, they need only look no further than their local watering hole to find one of the best doctors in the business, ready to serve.  Hope, in truth, has taken to this new lifestyle with aplomb.  Her undergraduate loans are already paid down, and Hope's sights are clearly set on finishing off her medical school loans well before she turns forty.  Every day brings new challenges and another way to make her medical degree matter.  What more could one ask for?

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Villain of the Day:  November 29 (Alvie Adcox)

Never play dice with the universe.  Especially if you can play the odds instead.

Alvie Adcox grew up in the Vegas area, surrounded by the bright lights of the strip and the whirl of roulette wheels and slot machine tumblers.  He knew he was destined for a life in the casinos, so as an undergrad statistics major, he was quick to look for work as a croupier, a blackjack dealer, and eventually a floor manager at the Grand Stampede Hotel and Casino.  There, as he watched the news footage of the carnage in Megalopolis during the climactic Vengeance event, Alvie had a brilliant moneymaking idea.

Speaking with the oddsmakers on the floor below, the Grand Stampede posted the first ever registered Las Vegas odds on a metahuman event:  Legacy over Baron Blade as a 3:2 payout.  For the next twenty minutes, the oddsmakers' office went beserk, with a near-record day of wagers made on both sides.  When Legacy eventually prevailed, Alvie Adcox's idea hit its true payoff:  a net profit of nearly $1.2 million to the Grand Stampede on just that evening.  Needless to say, his efforts met with phenomenal accolades from the Grand Stampede's executives and a promotion came in short order.  Within the next 6 years, Alvie made his way all the way to the role of Chief Financial Officer for the casino and Lead Oddsmaker at SportsBook Stampede.  Today, Alvie employs a legion of researchers and computational analysts, assessing everything from in-combat performances to training regimens to what's being served at the Freedom Plaza for breakfast.

When the first residual check arrived, though, the Freedom Five were left in a conundrum.  While refusing the check was easy, getting the Grand Stampede to stop their morbid oddsmaking practice was much more difficult.  While the group filed a cease-and-desist order through their attorney, Brianna Hawke, a Las Vegas area court ruled that there was no violation of intellectual property or personage through the Grand Stampede's oddsmaking practices.  While the casino was banned from using any official Freedom Five logos or imprints, the prescedent for oddsmaking on celebrity activities had been well-established:  even Punxatawney Phil has odds each year, on whether the little rodent sees his shadow.  There was little more recourse that the Freedom Five could take.

To date, nearly every hero to rise to any degree of public prominence has been paid a visit by representatives of the Grand Stampede; while the Freedom Five have exhorted anyone in the new Sentinels of Freedom to refuse any sort of outside compensation for their heroics, it may only be a matter of time where a funds-starved hero cashes that check.  And from there, it may just be a matter of time before a hero takes a dive during a critical conflict, which could lead to all manner of chaos and carnage...and a huge payout for that hero.

After all, the house always wins.

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I'm stunned by how possible that final pronouncement could be.

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Villain of the Day:  November 30  (Donald Harvey Palmer)

You'd never figure him to be a criminal mastermind to look at him.

Donald Harvey Palmer--Harv, to his friends--stands all of 5'7", a slightly pudgy 265 lbs, with a set of wire-framed glasses and a likely-stained polo shirt that's seen better days.  Each day, he walks into his office at the Reno branch of Sportsbook Stampede, boots up his computer and goes to get his first cup of coffee for the day.  He often stops to talk to some of his coworkers, chatting idly about recent movies and tv shows:  Harv has a well-known love of the Game of Swords series, with a picture of himself with star Krystin Klein (the Stiletto Queen) sitting on his desk in a decorated fame.  He likes watching football on the weekends, cooks a mean lamb curry, and is generally an affable fellow.

He's about the least likely person anyone would figure to be a TALOS operative.  And that's just the way Harv likes it.

At the behest of his TALOS handlers, Harv compiles and analyzes countless terabytes of data, ensuring that all manner of information compiled by Sportsbook Stampede reaches the ears of his superiors.  As a representative of Sportsbook, Harv often meets with would-be heroes, introducing them to the wider world of oddsmaking, even as he plants the seeds of converting those very heroes into TALOS operatives.  And worse yet, he serves as a primary point of contact for a new team of unpowered TALOS special operatives:  he's even got Sjambok and Riposte on speed dial.

If the best place to hide is in plain sight, Harv will be camoflaged for the rest of his long, profitable life...

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

With that, we come to an end of No-Powers November!  After 30 days of unpowered menaces, it's time we flipped the script.  Starting tomorrow, we enter Decimation December--31 days of villains with plans of ultimate destruction, world-ending cataclysm, and multiverse-shaking power.  

For those curious, Decimation December will be the last month (at least for the foreseeable future) for my Villain of the Day project.  All told, we'll be looking at a total in excess of 350 new villains, ready for that imminent Sentinels Comics rpg kickstarter.  I'll likely drop in now and again with a new villain or other NPC, but a full year of villains should tide yinz over for a while... 

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I think this month had the highest ratio of "how is this a villain?" A lot of people whose motivations were sympathetic and means relatable.

That said, I love the idea that yon TV show focuses around trying to secure a sword made out of thrones. :V

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Isn't it funny how that happens? The more relatable the characters, the lower power they tend to be.  Not always the case, but it's really hard not to empathize with the nerdy data analyst who loves fantasy shows or the med school resident struggling with student loan debt.  Especially compared to galactic conqueror and interstellar spies. 

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Welcome to Decimation December, the final month of the Villain of the Day series!  This month, we've got our eyes on world-ending, genocidal threats with the power to shake the Multiverse to its very core.  31 days to go!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Villain of the Day:  December 1 (Pathogene)

Upon his first appearance, Pathogene nearly annihilated every living soul in Chicago.  And, if not for a case of the hives, Pathogene might be behind bars already.

in the months following the OblivAeon event, emergency cleanup and recovery efforts were in full swing.  However, the destruction to the infrastructure of nearly every major metropolitan area worldside had been particularly severe.  Roads were sundered, rent sewers openly spewed waste into clean waterways, and even the best supplied areas suffered for basic supplies:  food, water, electrical hookups, and shelters.  Disease ran rampant, and the hospitals overflowed with the wounded and sick.

As rescue workers moved rubble and recovered bodies, none really expected yet another supervillainous attack.  Of course, that's when plague strikes, doesn't it?  Victims carrying a number of rapid-moving symptoms--boils, vomiting, intense fevers and delerium--started flooding the Chicago local hospitals in droves, with the young and the elderly dying within 36 hours.  Doctors and hospital workers suffered next, as the disease seemed to be resistant to all manner of anti-microbial and anti-viral loadouts.  After the first two days and the first 500 fatalities, the truth made itself known.  A message dropped to a Chicago-area radio station was immediately forwarded to police, the message reading as such:

Circle of life, peasants.  The cow eats the grass, you eat the cow, and now its your turn to be eaten.

Long live the true inheritors of the earth:  the viral, the microscopic.  We are legion, and I am the hand that will deliver you mammals from existance. 

I am Pathogene.

Police investigators, accompanied by a number of Dark Watch-affiliated heroes, immediately started a manhunt spanning the whole of the Chicago area.  Analysis of security camera footage revealed a strange interloper at the radio station:  a short visit by Dr. Melvin Partes, a noted virologist and epidemiologist.  Dark Watch raided his apartment by night, only to find the good doctor already packing to leave.   A fight erupted and the team seemed on the verge of triumph when Pathogene tossed out a small grenade-like sphere.  While all the heroes were caught in the blast, Red Lynx caught the worst of it, her skin erupting in hives as she descended into anaphylactic shock.  The heroes were forced to beat a hasty retreat, allowing Pathogene to escape.

While an international manhunt continues for Dr. Partes, the last known data actually shows him in the Kyoto area of Japan.  One can only imagine what might happen if Pathogene managed to take control of some vestige of the titanic Invirodan.  The whole world may face an unimaginable plague...

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Villain of the Day:  December 2 (The Man in the Moon)

Some people called Steven Galbrecht a lunatic when he said that the moon smiled at him.  Turns out, it was more  of a predatory grimace.

In days long past, when Thule, Atlantis and Lemuria fought their epic wars for dominion of the primordial Earth, Lemuria fielded a warcaster known as Ordinale.  Called "the Breaker" by those who faced him in battle, Ordinale wielded eldritch magicks with aplomb, alternating gouts of sorcerous fire with titanic blows from his two-handed hammer, Shatterstone.  Ordinale the Breaker faced down two full legion of Atlantean sky cavalry by himself, felling all but four of the dragon-riders before they could manage a desperate retreat.  All the while, Ordinale called for more:  more bloodshed, more death, and more challengers.

While alliances were the orders of the day for the three-way Arcanists' War, Ordinale rose to the top of the list of concerns for both Thule and Atlantis.  Negotiators from Atlantis were brought before the Thulian Elder Mind, who offered a suggestion.  If Ordinale could not be slain, perhaps he could be imprisoned.  Thulian and Atlantean spellcasters began devising a plan...

Lemurian spies quickly learned of a ritual being planned by the Thulian Elder Mind; one that would align a powerful eldritch force with their own cunning and intellect.  Supposedly, a retinue of Thule's greatest spellcasters were dispatched to an island (now known as Easter Island), where the ritual was to take place.  The warcasters of Lemuria were convinced utterly:  they dispatched Ordinale to the island to dispose of these upstarts.

As Ordinale arrived, cthonic sorceries swirled about the island as the Thulian warlocks were midway through their ritual.  As he shouted a war cry and drew forth Shatterstone, Ordinale leapt to the battle...only for invisible Atlantean arcanists to catch the warcaster in mid-air with a holding incantation.  Ordinale struggled to counter the spell, but even as he did so, the Thulian warlocks completed their incantation.  The seas surrounding the island parted, as chunks of stone and rock tore themselves free of the moorings of the Earth's crust.  Shouting one last curse, Ordinale was imprisoned within tons upon tons of rock and stone, which sped off in a blast of crimson and azul energy, embedding the stone prison deep within the Earth's moon, in what is now known as the Aitken Basin.

Ordinale slumbered for centuries, unable to gather his conscious mind long enough to manage any modicum of freedom.  That is, until a strange beam struck the moon, pulling a chunk of the celestial body and slamming it into the Earth.  Brought closer to the natural ley lines of the Earth, Ordinale's eyes opened, and he looked upon the Earth once more.  There was one thing that could bring him his freedom:  shattering the Moon against the Earth itself.  Even now, he worms his sorceries into the minds of weak-willed individuals, intending to reactivate the beam that nearly freed him in the first place...and eradicating all those simpletons on the surface of the Earth.  Even here, with the Arcanists' War a forgotten memory, Lemuria may yet be ascendant.

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Villain of the Day:  December 3 (De'jah Vu)

De'jah Michonne Thorpe knew that this wasn't the future she was promised as a child.  As an Earth resident in the collapsing human mess of the 23rd century, Thorpe couldn't help but think that something had truly gone wrong along the way.  

Now, Thorpe was hardly a schlub, trudging her way through the crumbling remains of what could have been a utopia.  She was a noted theoretical physicist, having worked for a number of the largest research labs across both this world and on Mars.  And, while she'd never resorted to implementing some of her more outlandish ideas, Thorpe had finally decided that her time had come.

Using her high-level credentials to steal a prototype micronized quark director, Thorpe outfitted herself with a massive amount of technology and armaments and set out to work backwards through the timestream, fully intending to change the past.  However, one more than one occasion, De'jah Vu's interference has changed the present in subtle, destructive, and chaotic ways.  Believing to take down the ancestors of a noted dictator, she has destroyed the lives of numerous future scientists and political leaders.  In her efforts to restore the future's climate, she has crippled the economies of nations.

When confronted, De'Jah Vu's 'futuretech' devices are easily a match for any current armaments, and her particle shielding provides her nigh-invulnerability, albeit on a temporary basis.  However, the greatest danger surrounding De'jah Thorpe are not her immediate attempts to 'repair' the timestream, but rather the continued use of chronal reversal on the whole.  Each time she leaps backwards into time, she weakens the chronal integrity of the timeline, making it easier to fracture and less likely to result in causal links.  As such, reality becomes more and more chaotic as the fundamental laws of the universe are unraveled to their core.  De'jah is aware of this, but in her hubris, believes that if she could just find the correct temporal anomaly to correct, the whole of the universe would fall into place like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle.

However, one too many jumps, and there may not be a world for De'jah Vu to 'save'.

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Villain of the Day:  December 4 (That Which Consumes)

The denizens of Magmaria have always had a strange relationship with the Crystalline Behemoths that lurk in the deepest tunnels of the Earth.  Even as the Magmarians can use the behemoths as a food source, the hulking creatures are also feared and revered by the tribes lurking beneath the earth's surface. Those that can communicate with Magmarians may well learn the truth of this reverance:  the Magmarian shamen know what lurks at the heart of the world.   

It has no name.  They call it That Which Consumes.

According to these shamen, the creature sleeps encased in the molten iron in the Earth's core.  In time immemorial, when the Magmarians ruled more openly, the creature slid its way across the spaceways, feeding upon world after world, swallowing them up not unlike eggs swallowed by a snake.  As such, the creature would have fed upon the whole of the earth. 

The ancient Magmarians, though, knew of such creatures that roamed the primordial spaceways.  Were they able to consult some cosmic scribe or historian, they might have even compared the creature to that strange beast known as Ta-Lor-En-Da-To.  They scried upon the draconic beings in bowls of purest molten nickel.  They sought wisdom from their greatest minds, and they trained their greatest warriors harder than ever before.  As That Which Consumes arrived within the solar system, the ancient Magmarians were ready.

Calling forth a powerful arcanoscience ritual, the Magmarian shamen called upon the creature's natural bioelectric current and the Earth's own magnetic field, pulling it bodily into the earth itself .  The meteoric strike which slew the dinosaurs, so many million years ago?  That was none other than this creature, slamming into the earth and being pulled towards the Earth's core.  As the being thrashed its way through the Earth's crust, Magmaria's warriors leapt to the attack, stabbing and slashing by the legion.

Weakened tremendously by its impact with the world's surface and the continual bleeding from Magmaria's finest, the creature was in no shape to eat or even to defend itself.  There, in the deepest bowels of the planet, it coocooned itself within the natural minerals, preventing any further damage to itself from the Magmarians who interrupted its meal.

And there it sat, driftlessly dreaming within the core of the earth, occasionally arising only to peck at the infernal shell which contains it.  The great Magmarian civilization rose and fell, and That Which Consumes became nothing more than a legend. 

Then, more than a legend.  Massive crystalline eggs began to appear within the Earth's mantle; from these eggs hatched the beings now referred to as crystalline behemoths, devouring all within their path.

The Magmarian shamen of today know the truth.  That Which Devours is awakening from its self-imposed slumber.  Its progeny already feast upon the world below, and the fallen Magmarians have nowhere near the might of their long-lost aeons.  When That Which Devours finally emerges from its shell, it will surely be hungry...

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Suck it, dinosaurs! >:V

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Villain of the Day:  December 5 (The Automaton)

He calls himself a machine, yet he walks like a man.  Nonetheless, he wishes that he wouldn't.

The being calling himself The Automaton has been positively identified as Tom Rutherford, once an employee at IMAtrix, a global producer of medical implant devices and biomechanical creations.  One of their lead programmers, Rutherford was hospitalized for an arachnoid cyst in the center of his cerebellum and volunteered to be one of the first to attempt a radical new surgery to eliminate the cyst and restore his normal brain activity.  

That's where Rutherford's story goes off the rails.  In the days following the lengthy and messy procedure to install a grain-sized implant in his cranial cavity, Rutherford's emotional capacity swiftly drained to nothing.  He began referring to himself as a machine, not as a man, and showed no care for his wife, their children, or any of his former friends.  And, the longer they were around him, the more they became like him.  Within a few weeks, everyone within Rutherford's social circle had become emotional sponges, leeching away any ability for a mind near them to feel or experience an emotion. Those he has already 'excised'--The Servitors, he calls them--have enough of a hive-mind prescence that they act as a single unit, making them particularly deadly battlefield combatants.

Rutherford as The Automaton believes has come to believe that emotion and empathy are vestigial parts of the human experience and the sooner they are removed, the sooner mankind can move apace in the grand evolution of the cosmos.  As such, Rutherford has begun to examine ways to systematically broaden the capacity of his pseudo-psychic, pseudo-mechanical powers to encompass the whole of the world. Recent attacks on major satellite stations, cable news networks, and other mass media outlets have all been attributed to The Automaton and his Servitors, insinuating that Rutherford has found some way of manipulating his powers through sound or video.

In any case, The Automaton's goal is clear and he is frightningly close to reaching it:  a world bereft of joy, sorrow, or any other emotional response save cold, unfeeling logic.

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Villain of the Day:  December 6 (Project BASK)

A warm light for all mankind.  That was the initial hope when Nautilus Industries CEO Eliot Marklund started buying up real estate in droves in equatorial desert areas.  Employing a literal army of subcontractors, Nautilus began setting up a legion of solar panels, capable of delivering terawatts of power to areas all across Africa, Australia, and Asia.  

But that wasn't quite enough to sate Marklund's ambitions, of course.  And it just so happens that the right people are in place to take advantage of Marklund's good intentions.

It's a matter of public record that Nautilus Industries maintains a number of private communications satellites in low Earth orbit outside the upper atmosphere.  Nautilus has long been at the head of private space exploration, and many look at Eliot Marklund as one of the fathers of "space tourism", catering to the rich and influential and providing those individuals an experience that few others could imagine.  However, Nautilus' interests in space extends to a number of other venues, particularly linking to Nautilus' clean energy arm.  And, under Project BASK, that vision may be realized.

Were it to be implemented successfully, Project BASK will utilize a number of satellite mounted lenses and solar arrays to focus solar radiation into an intensified, mile-wide beam capable of delivering over 100 times the normal energy provided through solar power.  Linked into geosynchronous orbit at strategically placed locations around the globe, Nautilus plans to provide free, limitless electricity to all points throughout the world, effectively eliminating the need for carbon-based fuels in one fell swoop.  Even as the earth rotates, the satellites continue to reflect and focus the solar energy, beaming it down to Earth in a cascade of free power.

That is, if Project BASK were used to specifications.  With a significant number of strategically placed agents within Nautilus' upper eschelons, The Annihilationists will ensure that this never comes to be.

The satellite arrays currently in orbit have been aligned such that the beams are effectively weaponized.  Within mere minutes of the array's activation, the solar energy will scorch through the energy collection apparatus and burning miles-wide holes into the earth's crust.  Within an hour of activation, the focused beams would impale the whole of the earth, disrupting the natural shape of the planet and effectively cutting the globe in half roughly along the Equator.   By the end of that day, not a living soul would remain on the planet.

Eliot Marklund intends the announcement of Project BASK to be a landmark moment in mankind.  He doesn't know how right he's going to be.

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Villain of the Day:  December 7 (Hollow)

When she started, she simply wanted the freedom to use her powers as she saw fit.  By the time Hollow left Earth, she knew that would never be enough.  And in her greed, she may well bring doom to the whole universe.

Born Sarah Langley-Sizemore to a middle class household, Sarah started to manifest strange powers as a pre-teen, and was identified successfully by a GLOBAL metahuman watchgroup, whereupon her parents consented to her relocation for intensive training and control protocols.  At age 11, Sarah was separated from her parents, moved to a training facility in the Falkland Islands, and spent approximately 10 hours a day training in the use of her powers.  

The key, there, is the training.  GLOBAL never did find a method to categorize Sarah.  Generally viewed as a telekinetic, Sarah actually is capable of manipulating the weak vacuum state governing the flow of radiation across the universe.  In practice, this creates 'bubbles' of kinetic force capable of moving massive objects, pulling or pushing things within her line of sight, and manipulating the four fundamental physical forces of the universe.  As codename Hollow, Sarah was set to become a peacekeeper to rival any of the worlds' heroes.

Mind you, it wasn't until she started learning physics that Sarah actually put together the pieces.  As she entered advanced military training--including a number of science courses--she managed to answer the questions that no one else could solved:  she realized the truth behind her powers.

And that?  That utterly frightened her handlers at GLOBAL.  Naturally, they overreacted, to which Sarah immediately fled.  An international manhunt ensued, with Sarah eventually fleeing to space.

Surviving in the vacuum was as much of a surprise to Sarah as it was the astronauts she passed by, but Hollow immediately felt a boost in power once freed from the bonds of an atmosphere.  And, as she found, the longer she stayed out in space, the more powerful she grew.  With an ever-increasing degree of cosmic power, Sarah's delusions of grandeur only grown exponentially; the more power she has, the more power she wants, the more power seeks.

However, Hollow has yet to realize the truest ramifications of her powerset.  Her abilities, in actuality, do not so much 'manipulate' the weak vacuum state, so much as remove it.  The longer that Hollow stays in space, the more she absorbs the ambient energies of the cosmos, the weaker the integrity of the universe becomes.  Eventually, her absorption will reach what physicists call a 'vacuum metastability event'; the fundamental energies keeping the universe in stasis will simply fracture, spinning out into the nothingness in a universe-wide shockwave obliterating everything in its path.  Hollow will becoming nothing short of a walking Big Bang; all the power she possibly could have wanted, and more.  

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Villain of the Day:  December 8 (Lepton)

Love is a many splendid thing.  That is, unless you're as petty and self-centered as Lepton.

Once an aspiring recruit with Dark Watch, Toby Wheeler is an identified Omega capable of emitting powerful radioactive blasts from his hands.  While in training, he began dating Courtney Erazo, another Dark Watch recruit known as Kestrel.  While the pair seemed to make a perfect pair on patrols--Kestrel was an accomplished martial artist and acrobat, while Lepton laid down cover fire with nuclear blasts--their romance was certainly one with no shortage of drama.  Nine months into their training and partnership, it was evident to both Kestrel and Lepton, all of their fellow apprentices, and every instructor in the Dark Watch program that the pair were on the rocks.  Despite a glorious weekend in the lakes around Lake Overbrook, it was increasingly evident that their romance was not to last.  Over those months, Lepton had proven to be not only a poor boyfriend, but also a possessive, petty individual eager all too eager to see his girlfriend fail, so that he could be right there, waiting to be on the upswing.

Kestrel, however, was no dummy.  She was more than aware of the cycles of abuse and control and grew wise to this.  When she broke up with Lepton that April, however, he went (pardon the pun)...nuclear.  His outburst in the Dark Watch training facility earned him the ire of every trainer affiliated with the program.  Lepton was discharged from Dark Watch that very day.  

Even as he applied (and was denied) for the Sentinels of Freedom program, Lepton utterly refused to leave Kestrel alone.  He called her incessantly, sent letters and packages to her apartment, even attempted to break in on no less than four separate occasions. Needless to say, though, breaking into the home of a superhuman-trained, martial-arts expert vigilante was not exactly the best idea for Lepton's personal health.  As he spent the next month recovering in a Megalopolis area hospital, Lepton started planning an elaborate revenge.  He would go to Lake Overbrook and microwave the whole thing, turning into so much steam and gas.  No more memories of Courtney.

Under normal circumstances, all this may seem rather ordinary, at least in the lives of superhumans.  However, one extant issue changes all that.  Among the tests run on Lepton during his application process included practical tests on how his powers interact with various elements and compounds.  And, of course, a rare type of runoff into Lake Overbrook has an adverse reaction with the nuclear energy that Lepton emits.  If Lepton goes through with his plan, petty though it may be, the ensuring radioactive cloud would taint approximateily 45% of the world's water with radioactivity.  Further, the weather across the entire western hemisphere would become nothing short of a burning, irradiated cloud spewing noxious water and foulness.  Within days, the irradiated water could destroy all organic life on the planet.

All that over a broken heart...

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Villain of the Day:  December 9 (Cataplex)

After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, the average human experiences impairment to coordination, memory, and the ability to form judgements in the brain, comparable to holding a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent.  After 36 hours, inflammatory markers begin showing up in a person's bloodstream, even as their endocrine system begins growing erratic, with hormone levels in the body willdly fluctuating.  After 72 hours, the body begins experiencing significant issues in concentration and other higher mental processes, experiences hallucinations and other perception-based cognition errors, and can even develop false memories.  After 96 hours, an individual might begin having violent seizures and the body starts breaking down neural tissue, resulting in psychosis and other short-term mental illness.

The psion known as Cataplex, however?  They intend to push the world much beyond that 96 hour mark, and simply document the carnage that ensues.

Originally Brian Jouvet, Cataplex was born with a rare abnormality known as an Arnold-Chiari malformation, in which some of his brain tissue protrudes into the spinal canal.  While this abnormality provides him a number of psionic abilities--a degree of telekinesis and telepathic communication--it also provides him the unique ability to manipulate the delta brain wave required for individuals (himself included) to enter a sleep cycle.  Cataplex himself can stay awake for nearly one month with "no ill effects", though his burning curiousity (and madness) has resulted in a number of strange experiments involving sleep deprivation and manipulation.  Most often, his victims die of an onset version of fatal-familial insomnia, in which his victims' neural network decays to the point where they can no longer enter any degree of nREM sleep, eventually suffering paranoia, dementia, then death.

However, Cataplex's experiements are about to take on a whole new scope.  After years of experimentation, Cataplex has managed to locate a single wavelength capable of transmitting his psychic manipulations.  After infiltrating a major satellite relay station, Cataplex can broadcast that psychic wavelenth across the whole of the world.  And from his fortress/relay-station, Cataplex will observe his grand experiment in action...

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Villain of the Day:  December 10 (Mass Driver)

The years of FILTER's timeline-hopping infiltrations may well be over, but the remnants of their dominion in the Null Space Observatory still remain.  The metahuman known as Mass Driver is among the most dire of FILTER's mistakes, and he seems more than ready to wreak his vengeance upon whatever Earth lies below.

No current prison records seem to have any actual record of Mass Driver's true identity; both DNA tests and facial recognition technology have failed to match Mass Driver with any known criminal or metahuman.  Further, no one seems to know exactly how long or why FILTER was holding Mass Driver.  Based on limited interactions with the metahuman, it appears that Mass Driver had been held under FILTER's most secure cells within The Block, with access to him restricted to personnel with the absolute highest security clearance.  Mass Driver must have been held there for something upwards of four years, as there was no evidence of him in The Block during the Vengeance-era riots, but did appear prior to the destruction of The Block at the hands of Becky Blast and the Steel Squadron.

While physically strong and fit on his own, Mass Driver's true strength lies in his manipulation of ambient magnetic fields.  Mass Driver has shown himself capable of propelling metallic objects as projectiles, with an acceleration ratio sitting at approximately .5% of Caianiello's maximal acceleration, a number previously viewed as incalculable.  While his usage of this power has typically been restricted to the typical cars, girders, construction equipment, and other items, Mass Driver has proved only more and more deadly in confrontation, wielding larger and more potent items with aplomb, and has shown no signs of reaching any upper limit.

In actuality, Mass Driver has no cap to his powers.  As long as he is within a magnetic field of any significance, his body absorbs that field, making him stronger.  However, this has its own side effect:  the eventual demagnetization of the extant magnetic field.  On Earth, this will eventually--within the next year--result in the complete demagnetization of the Earth's core.  So demagnetized, the Earth's atmosphere would be ripped away by the naturally-occuring solar winds that stream through our solar system.  Much like Mars, the Earth's atmosphereic pressure would drop far enough that all water would evaporate before being whisked out into the ether by the solar winds.

On the plus side, though, Mass Driver is no longer on Earth.  Rather, he has taken up on an abandoned FILTER base on Mars...where he has begun extracting the iron oxide from the surrounding fifty-odd miles, preparing one last huzzah:  a mile-long lance of metal, set to spear GLOBAL Headquarters--the inheritors of FILTER, in his eyes--all the way from space.

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Villain of the Day:  December 11 (Attricia)

Where she walks, only dust remains.

The first known appearance of the woman known as Attricia reduced the Fort Stevenson Bridge into crumbled mortar.  As rush hour descended and the citizens of Megalopolis dreamed of a relaxing weekend, a dark haired woman began to stride down the middle of the eastbound lanes heading into the city.  While Attricia's prescence drew stares--reports of a 'naked' woman walking down the freeway were erroneous; as keen-eyed observers realized, Attricia was wearing a reddish form-fitting bodysuit--attention swiftly turned from the woman herself to what was occuring in her wake.

Behind Attricia, matter simply began to unwind.

Steel cables of the suspension bridge corroded and unraveled.  The concrete and asphalt in her footsteps sizzled and disintegrated into so much dust.  Cars in her wake rusted, the chassis wafting away in the breeze even as their owners fled in horror.  By the time that heroes managed to arrive on the scene, the bridge was beyond salvaging:  their efforts were pushed by necessity towards rescue/recovery and preventing Attricia from entering Megalopolis proper.  However, as quickly as Attricia arrived and crossed the bridge, she disappeared.  A swirling, rust-colored portal opened before the woman, disappearing immediately after she entered it.  As Attricia vanished from sight, the last bits of the Fort Stevenson Bridge collapsed into the river, sending half-ruined cars and crumbling cement blocks splashing into the water.  

Each time Attricia has appeared in a given place, the story goes the same.  Matter simply disintegrates as Attricia passes by; she does little to actively engage heroes or law enforcement, simply letting her very presence unravel everything around her.  Attempts to determine from whence Attricia comes have been inconclusive; residual extra-dimensional energy would seem to indicate some degree of sorcery or arcane power, though her abilities seem to disassemble matter at the molecular level, implying some form of heretofor unknown science.  

However, astute investigators have begun to realize:  each time Attricia appears, she stays approximately 25 seconds longer.  One can only wonder what will happen to the world should she decide to stay...

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What a strong image. And why 25 seconds, I wonder...

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