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April 1st, 2013. 11.45 AM

Bridge of the Grievance Heart, In orbit of the Far Side of the Moon


The red-skinned creature in the squat chair was thin and almost overcome by the folds, swaths and shadows of its voluminous red/black cloak and long green robe. Lean as a rail and with a narrow face drawn tight over its malleable skull supported by a hand cushioned with a supple black glove, two green eyes blazing luminously. The room about ihm was dark and cold, ancient metal supporting a myriad of viewscreens that droned out endless reports in languages even older.


The lights scattered around the floor and ceiling burned with a crystalline blue, giving the place a mysterious cast that Phantasmagore, Grue Arcane and master wizard, liked immensely. He stared at the viewscreen directly before the chair once held by some forgotten child of the stars, gazing thoughtfully at the warm blue and green and brown circle shining in the distance, and from it to the gray fields of rock and dust of the satellite kilometers away, from them to the glittering city of spires in the smooth crater.


'No reason to overplay myself' the Grue thought placidly, tapping a nearby button that sent a roar of power into the engines of the Grievance Heart, one-time superweapon of the Lor Imperial Armada, and propelled the enormous angular craft serenely towards Farside City!



One hour later...


"Attention, people of Earth!" thundered the voice from every loudspeaker in Freedom City, as the unmistakable face of a Grue appeared on every screen. Glaring out at his audience, Phantasmagore stood in the middle of a mystic light show, rearing up to his full height as the wizard's robe swirled in a mysterious breeze. Pointing a hand at the screen, the alien mage declared "I have the city on the Moon in the sights of hundred-kiloton cannons, a full plasma battery and a planet-cracking beam. I dare you to stop me before I reduce your precious satellite to a cloud of dust! And by the way..." an ironic smile appeared smoothly as his face grew a mouth "If I detect anyone from the Freedom League, I will not hesitate to take action. The very best of luck to you!"


With a faint electronic whine, the signal hijacking ceased and his image vanished.


Approximately ten minutes and an emergency conference later, the Freedom League had sent out a quick series of coded messages to AEGIS headquarters and Director Harry Powers, a dispatch to the star galleon Ages Lost, Johnny Rocket raced to the door of Henry Mason, and Jennifer Fray at FLSCH(Freedom League Special Circumstances Housing) received a very terse call.


All of them were directed to the same point, almost 20,000 feet above the city and directly above Freedom Hall..

Edited by Arichamus
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Henry heard what was going on. This...well, this wasn't good. If they needed him, he was going to make sure he was available. He ran to his room, fetched his costume, and got dressed as quickly as he could. Seconds later, a blue streak blasted across the sky as the Solar Sentinel went into action.


The Grue. He'd seldom had any interaction with them, but he knew them by reputation. They were not to be trifled with, something he knew well. He wasn't sure who he was going to work with, but he hoped they could get to work taking down this Grue villain before his plan was put into action.


He arrived at the location and floated in place, waiting for the rest of the people to arrive.

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Above the city, Victory was caught on his lunchbreak (eating a sandwich while sitting inside a cloud) by the sounds of every PA system in the city going off at once, a phenomenon that his enhanced hearing could not ignore, even from that high up. He raised his finger up to re-activate the broadcast systems in his helmet, when it turns out that home base was already doing the same, overriding the sleep mode he had put his comm system on.


"Is this about that massive amount of noise I just heard from down below?"


"Right on the money. Here, we'll send the recording over. Take a look."


Victory watches the transmission on his helmet-mounted screen, while finishing off the last few bites of his lunch and dusting the crumbs from his hands.


"Oh, it's this lug, huh? Wonder if the Grue are still salty about all those landing ships I destroyed during the invasion a while back? Well, I'm sure not Freedom League, so this sounds like an invitation to me. And the moon's not too far. I could probably get up there pretty quick."


"So you got this one? We've actually already made a contact on this to get you a ride. We'll send the rendezvous co-ordinates over. Oh, and V? Make sure the people know you're on this one. A lot of people saw this, and I'm sure they'll feel a bit more confident if they see you're on it."


"Roger. On my way."


Victory put his body into high-speed mode, as his boosters charged up. A couple seconds to chart his trajectory, and Victory blasted....down! He flew down to the level where the people could easily see them without having their ears destroyed by the roar of his engine, streaking right down the city Center, letting the people get a nice, good look at him on his way to stop this dastardly plot! And there was much rejoicing.

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Jeni Frey had left her small dorm in the Freedom League housing complex, via a staircase up to the roof. There, she closed her eyes, feeling her shoulder blades melt out and grow slowly outwards into a large bony structure, feather-like scales appearing in mottled patterns until they'd formed an even coverage.


She flapped these alien wings hard, lifting her body off into the sky and towards the point she'd been directed towards. Shortly, she arrived to the sight of two brightly costumed men also in the sky. She slowly inclined her head in a gracious nod towards them. "Scholar," she said tersely. "I infer that you two are also here for this operation against this lunatic? Honestly, orbital cannons, what sort of response would such a being expect? Casual indifference?" She looked somewhat bored at the concept, bright green eyes dulling somewhat as she spoke of Phantasmagore.

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Grue... they're never a good sign. Captain Silvia helms Ages Lost personally this time, guiding her from low orbit when called. She had done battle with them before, in small skirmishes well away from the Earth, but never against anything as powerful as the ship she was just sent scans of. They'll need the help.

A flying Spanish galleon approaches the assembled heroes, seeming to radiate starlight from her sails as some form of propulsion. As it gets near and slows down, some of the deckhands shout over, "Hurry up, get on board!" as if flying Spanish galleons asking people to board are a commonplace occurrence. Which, to him, they are.

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The Ages Lost made excellent time as it soared out of Earth's atmosphere, sails glistening with the light that sped it at incredible speed towards the Moon.


As the anachronistic vessel soared around the desolate glowing ball they quickly came into view of the massive ship Phantasmagore had made his announcement from, the sun glinting dully off its deep green, scarred and pitted hull, a distant speck that soon grew to fill a massive part of the space ahead, blocking the stars with its bulk. It was wholly dark, save for the engines ruddy glow.


Passing over the cratered surface, the crew and passengers could see the frail silver spires of Farside City, right under the shadow of the tremendous battleship's weapons. On the side facing them, in letters stretching over a mile, were archaic letters spelling out something that only Stormbreaker recognized and still couldn't understand. Scholar could read them though: the Grievance Heart. Whatever that meant, it conjured up images of destruction and terror.


In a slight recess around the midway point, an enormous door opened to reveal a deeper darkness. Over the ship's communications the same voice that had rang out over Freedom City spoke softly "I am glad to see such honor. The Farsiders will praise your memories, come aboard and face me."

Edited by Arichamus
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Silvia positions her ship near the enemy vessel and studies the bigger ship, planning her approach. If she could take even a piece of that monstrosity intact, it would be worth a fortune, but surviving it may be the key point.

When the enemy sends her the key to victory, she smiles and nods to the helmsman who takes back the wheel.

"An honorable bout against their captain. Very well. So, do you all believe we have the firepower to take out their weapons while he is expecting us to arrive for this duel, or would someone like to sneak in and blow out their main reactor while we distract him?"

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Jeni shrugged. "Where does honour get you? Probably better to win underhandedly than die on the moral high ground. I can shut down their main reactor easily, if someone can get me on the ship." The alien woman grinned broadly. 


"Just keep his attention on this ship, I'll figure out my way through his, and destroy the reactor so he can't deploy his weapons against us. Which means, if all works well, he'll be unable to continue with his plans, and unable to stop up apprehending him." She took a quick look around at the group. "Any objections?"

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As it happened, there weren't.


The ship cruised into the massive docking bay without incident, blazing starlight only enough to cast the vague hanging machinery in even starker shadows, and the onboard sensors revealed an atmosphere at least moderately breathable in the immense gray bulk. The haggard doors remained open to space, so some kind of very advanced force-field tech was the only obvious reason.


The high-flying American cyborg and the veteran of wars on Earth and beyond left first, to catch Phantasmagore's attention with two massive sources of energy. Even at their astounding speeds the two men had a lot of room to maneuver, the ship having remarkably few cramped corridors near the dock and plentiful enormous halls crowded with control panels and dim tech readout screens that whizzed by in flashes of blue. Most of them were smashed or melted by blaster-fire, and ancient corpses lay scattered on the floors.


A thick patina of dust and grime lay over everything, and nearly masked the trio of towering robots that dropped gracelessly from the ceiling and blocked their path through a room scattered with . Focusing laser-like green eyes on the duo they ground out a distorted "Intruders! Power down and return to your ship at once, or be killed!" As they spoke heavy doors slammed up to seal them inside the room!



Scholar made good time as she went in search of the Heart's reactor. Everything was dimly lit at best, but even in the gloom the lights of sensors were easy to pick up as they rolled back and forth across the walls. And the dark didn't mean a thing to them. The ways around the search were mostly small access shafts meant to let crew at delicate equipment without leaving it wholly exposed during a chaotic fight. The cramped and frustratingly narrow confines weren't helped by the slurping, whispering creatures that had taken up shop inside the superweapon's guts like worms in a corpse. They weren't much threat to a shapeshifter, but fighting them would risk sacrificing valuable time, and the sensors were the simplest of Jeny Frey's technical problems...



"Captain!" the three-headed communications-cum-science advisor waved Silvia over, looking nervous "There's a buildup of power in the hull around us, It's not charging any weapons configurations, but whatever it is isn't good. Your orders ma'am?" they asked, one head tearing away from the screen to look at her.

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Before Victory could speak,he heard the doors seal behind him, and glanced back in a bit of irritation. However, he turned back to the robots, raising a hand up as if to say "wait!"


"Hold on, we were invited here. Who is in control of your systems currently? Or are you entirely automated...?"


Victory kept his hand up, trying to remain calm.


"Besides, how are we supposed to go back when the room is sealed up like this?"

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"Helm, evasive maneuvers. Circle around, away from the power signature," she commands, stepping behind her specialist in communications, science, and unusual-but-surprisingly-good pastries.

"Comms, hail the Grievance Heart."

She takes a breath, then addresses the enemy ship in a firm, clear tone, not belying anger or fear, merely stating fact with all the authority she can muster. "This is Captain Silvia the Stormbreaker of the Ages Lost. We have detected power being redirected to your tractor beams. Our personnel have arrived on your vessel to accept your challenge in good faith under all rules of hospitality. Power down your tractor beams; failure to do so immediately will be interpreted as both a violation of hospitality and an act of aggression, with all due recourse."

And I want at least a couple more minutes before I start blasting your ship apart.

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With a sound like rock grinding on rock, the answering tone shuddered through the cavernous hull, followed by Phantasmagore's voice.

"Your attempts to bully me with petty morality are useless, Captain Silvia! I am the master of this ship, and you who dared to face me should not need to worry about their friend drifting outside. In a moment you will feel the iron hands of the Lor's ultimate weapon upon your petty craft, and shall understand the true folly of this assault! Bwahahahahahahaaaa!" his laugh echoed long after the signal cut out.

"Thank you for powering down, unknown entity" the robot said as its cannons began to glow with an opal-like fire "Please follow us" It added warmly, the mechanical trio taking up a firing stance. As one they took flight with a roar of ancient rockets and began racing towards the heroes!

Edited by Arichamus
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  • 2 weeks later...

Silvia just raises an eyebrow at the response. "Speaking with the Grue is so rarely worthwhile. Such a rude lot."

She turns, strides across the deck, and takes the helm from a many-armed pilot who steps out of the way for her captain.

"Ready a full broadside. On my mark, target their tractor beams. Comms, open a channel."

With a click, the channel is open. "Attention Grue vessel. We regret your obvious inability to function as proper hosts. To such an insult, there are few appropriate responses, so please do not be offended as we expound upon our grievances properly." A gesture, and the line is cut.


Weapons poke out of the archaic-looking vessel's hull, their barrels looking far more advanced than any age of expansion cannon, and a moment later, flashes of blue light up the void of space as balls of plasma soar towards the enemy vessel.

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With a dull roar and a searing flash of light the shots impacted the extending arms of the superweapon's tractor beam, leaving a dull haze in space for just a moment, long enough for it to be a little surprising when the rays of colorless energy shot through it and groped for the Ages Lost! All around the ship a faint aura shimmered into place, and the feeling of movement stopped very suddenly.


The haze cleared to reveal the archaic docking clamps were barely singed, and over the communications the Arcane Grue sneered "Bold words are no substitute for real power, pirate! I shall leave you to fiddle with this minor inconvenience, and attend to the two who are obviously meant to actually defeat me. As if any could manage such a thing, when faced with the mystic might of Phantasmagore! In but a few minutes you shall be sent back to Earth as symbols of what happens to the weak when they face the strong, and I shall leave that crystal city in peace, per our agreement" the smile was audible "I shall be pleased if you do not try to slip away without being properly recompensed for your sacrifice."


The blocky clamps began to surge with power "Of course, the Grievance Heart doesn't let go easily."

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Such an irritant," the captain mutters as the tractor beam locks onto her ship. "Ready another volley!"

Without hesitation, she maneuvers with the proper counter to a grue tractor beam; at a turn of the wheel, she points her vessel right at the beam, flying straight at it at top speed while it draws her in, pulling up at the last second. While she may be the smaller vessel, Ages Lost is still quite large, and no matter how advanced the technology, inertia is hard to argue with, pulling the galleon free of its captor.

"FIRE!" With a roll, the newly-freed ship peppers their opponents with another round of cannonfire, though it doesn't hit anything vital.

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The ancient hull rumbled impressively as the cannon fire impacted it, leaving several black, warped streaks of metal across the loading clamps. In answer the bay shuddered as a cumbersome laser turret half the size of the Ages Lost dropped from the ceiling, the vacuum around the ship soon filled with brilliant light as a an almighty deluge of firepower roared past the slender vessel, energy coursing in vivid bolts and hitting just about everything in sight except the only thing not sitting still.


The was a suspicious lack of triumphant crowing from Phantasmagore.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeni slowly prowled through the bowels of the ship in her tiger form, the powerful, lithe creature able to move swiftly and silently for a creature so large. She did enjoy much of Earth's wildlife, it was true. Such variety! Humans thought their planet was too industrialised, and probably that was true, but it was nothing compared to her home.


With casual experience, she moved past the weird, chittering guardian creatures unseen, clambering atop ledges and shimmying along narrow pipes which shouldn't be able to hold a great cat's weight with such consummate ease. Security lasers were stepped over and under, cameras rushed past in the shadows at breakneck speeds, pressure plates simply leapt over with feline grace. It was hard to detect a genius mind in the body of the perfect predator.

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The ship's corridors, gaunt and dead, slipped past Kairos's Scholar in a murky haze of decay. All around the rustling creatures sent thin whispers and buzzings through the air, voices backed by the neverending thrum of the Grievance Heart's machinery pulsing just behind the mouldering panels.


Following the trail of discharge station breadcrumbs archaic ships often relied upon, Jeni Frey at last passed through a ruined door and arrived at the ultimate goal: the ship's energy source, a staggeringly huge square reactor, transforming the raw power of several hundred nuclear explosions into streams of raw energy, coursing by mighty tubes that reached by threads and tendrils from bow to stern of the colossal superweapon!


Connected to the main transfer conduit, the power stream visible as a blazing blue light through the translucent walls, the controls hung suspended in the air directly above the reactor. The only methods of direct access were the small teleportation pad just beside the door(which had been smashed by a falling support strut for a catwalk far above her), and the small track of the maintenance tram(the tram itself taken out by the same strut).


Complicating matters were the four flying robots that looked like they had been hewed from rock, lights gleaming fitfully across their dull brown-gray bodies as they floated in an endless parade around the control room, weapons held in indelicate vices.

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