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Ordinary Men

Avenger Assembled

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Particularly in a superheroic genre, it's common to imagine oneself as a righteous crusader for justice in any reality save the ones where the good guys by nature are bad guys by nature instead. But history tells us that things usually don't work that way; heroes by nature are exceptional people, of course, and not typically subject to these laws of narrative, but most people are the way they are because of the society where they grew up. Faced with brutal dictatorship, people who were heroes in happier times may find that they were forced to make some grimmer choices on other Earths.

If anyone's feeling depressed enough to speculate like this, go right ahead!


"We are dead and this. is. Hell."

Sharl Tulink and the inhabitants of Tronik were very lucky on our world. On others?

On Erde, the Ubermensch rescued the inhabitants of Tronik from the Curator almost by accident, wresting their hard drive from the Curator's burning ship while hunting for salvage in low orbit. (The whole world is Kal-Zed's, but he still enjoys getting his hands dirty with some alien scum.) Believing they'd successfully transported themselves to an alien world, the citizens of Tronik soon began to realize how much peril they were in as bizarre accidents rippled through the city: millions of people disappeared in flashes of light, leaving just their clothes behind, while sky and ocean warped and buckled as they watched. Their outlook was grim, and the general consensus (from the city's surviving scientists) was that they had accidentally transported themselves to an unstable parallel dimension. At least, that's what they thought until the first giant face loomed in the sky and a startled exclamation in German filled all their minds. All this time, they'd been helpless; their lost people and warped city a product of clumsy, inexpert computer tampering.

The discovery of what they were, computer programs in the captivity of a brutal, primitive alien civilization, was grim enough to drive some inhabitants of Tronik to suicide: luckily, that was before one scientist discovered how to reverse the death algorithims and bring stored programs back to life. Others became test subjects for fascinated computer programmers across the Reich, the lives and deaths of sentient programs from Tronik helping pave the way for new leaps and bounds in German artificial intelligence. The inhabitants of Tronik, those not taken away for research, learned to live under the watchful eye of their organic masters and to embrace the world they'd been given.

Sharl Tulink dreamed of more than life as a slave for himself and his family, one whose life, death, and very soul is in the hands of his masters, and so 'volunteered' among other boys in his gymnasium for a chance to see the world outside. The resistance has many computer networks blooming now, and what better than a program to destroy and infiltrate those systems? He survived extraction and alteration, and as Soldat, the computer warrior, he joined a group of Reich-trained teens as part of a new generation of Aryan defenders. Sometimes he feels guilt, terrible crippling guilt in his room in a hard drive in their base, but it's not like he's ever had to really hurt anybody: he's a hacker, not a killer.

And other times, deep down, he feels nothing but disgust for this planet and its so-called civilization, where even kings and gauletiers live worse than the inhabitants of Tronik-That-Was. This is a vile planet of savage aliens, what does he care what they do to each other as long as his people are protected? There are thirty million inhabitants of Tronik whose lives depend on his every move, on his unswerving loyalty and his defense of the Reich. He can't fail them. Whatever the cost. He's their only champion.

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