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Monday, October 20th...


AEGIS Headquaters, Federal Building, Downtown...


Agent Kawene left AEGIS in a nervous state, dressed innocently in a non descript suit and nondescript tie, but perspiring more than he should now the heat had left the city with the fall. He had a look, that could not be concealed, of concern. 


He tried to put it out of his mind, tried to think of his family, and his daughter who would be visiting. 


But his concerned lined his face and could not be ironed out. 


Hailing a cab, he made his way back home, drumming his suitcase...


As the Cab headed home...


Agent Huggit was briefing Argonaut deep below the Federal building of AEGIS, and was just as concerned. 


"The man's name is Henry Hand. Ex military, joined AEGIS a year ago. Not the best agent, but not the worst. We had some..concerns...about his psychological profile. Impulsive, poor empathy, thrill seeking. Still, an effective man"


Huggit was an older man, grey haired, thin, a face of experience and caution. Whilst concerned, he had weathered worse in AEGIS. He had seen more crisis that most men had had hot dinners. 


"He was exposed to a Daka Booster. We don't know where the technology came from, and where it came from...thats a story for another time and a higher clearance level. A device that extracts the energy from Daka crystals in fast and unpredictable ways. It bends space, bends dimensions. And, it seems, had bent Agent Hand..."


"Hand has since been acquiring a multitude of devices. We need to stop him, before he gets his hands on anything truly dangerous..."


He flicked through to the file on Agent Kawena. 


"And here is our bait. Agent Kawena. He knew Agent Hand, was even friendly with him. And we have arranged for Agent Kawena to look after our special items. We hope Hand will make his move on his friend. And we hope you can be around to stop him. And protect Agent Kawena..."

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Stronghold- Haukea- grinned as she hugged her sister, then her mom, before they started to drive home. Claremont was nice- she'd gotten used to not sleeping with Kalani in the same room, not having her family within short reach- but it was still nice to spend weekends at home.

The journey was spent in idle chatter, before they arrived home, just before her father…

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Agent Kawena arrived home and wiped his brow. He dropped his keys to the door from the fumbling. 


"Hi, I'm home!" he called out to his wife and daughter, and proceeded to flop to the sofa, kicking off his shoe and loosening his tie. 


Why is this tie so tight...I can't breathe...he swore at himself, knowing, in his heart, he was anxious, palpitating. 


Agent Henry Hand..gone rogue...he was always a loose canon, always self interested...but...now? And with all he knows? This won't end well...


"How is everyone? He asked, forcing himself to relax without any success...."




A jet black car pulled up, with no number plate. A tainted window slid downwards, revealing the face of Henry Hand. A grizzled, square face, hair cut short, lean like his body. A few scars criss crossed his skin, and dark glasses covered his eyes. He was wearing standard AEGIS gear, with gun and armoured suit. He gave a grin. 


"Sorry buddy, but you are my ticket to greater things..." he said, and not without regret. Whatever regret there was, it was tempered into a harder determination. 

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Argonaut listened to the briefing.  Taking the time to comb through the pictures on the account.  Argonaut held traitors in the lowest regard.  Annihilists betray their people dooming them to death and damnation.  Leading to people becoming like her.  The scale was different of course.  But as a matter of principle, she held pity for the fate of a traitor to AEGIS.  The very organization that turned her life around.


"I understand why Kawena is the bait.  He is an experienced agent and has a connection with the target of this sting operation.  But, how are we going to fake the items?  Assuming, he's heard enough of the AEGIS rumor mills to identify at least one of them."  Yves didn't want a repeat of the Australia situation.  If his judgement was so questionable beforehand, who was to say he wouldn't try to take out an agent before being captured.


Not that she could judge anyone else on the merits of a psych profile.

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Haukea walked over to hug her dad, smiling.  "I'm good!  Going pretty well, in a couple of areas..."


Her family knew about her bearing the Ring, of course.  She couldn't really have concealed it from them if she'd wanted to- the Ring itself wasn't really very concealable.  "It's been interesting at Claremont.  I've got a new roommate, actually, she's nice."


Kalani grinned as she spoke up.  "Oooooh, nice, or nice nice, kaikaina?"


Haukea blushed heavily.  "Not like that, 'lani!  She's just a friend, I haven't had the time to get to really know her in the first place!  And I don't think she's like that, anyway!"

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AEGIS briefing room...


"Fake items? We can't do that, at least, at this short notice. Perhaps, to the casual eye, but Hand is an experienced AEGIS agent. He won't be fooled easily. Which is why Agent Kaewna is the bait. Human bait"


"I don't like it, Argonaut, but that's all we have. And even that is a long shot. Kawena is in charge of dangerous exotic artefacts, and Hand knows it. If he can get the information out of Kawena...but we have taken precautions. A hypnotic mind wipe of the information from Kawena" he explained. 


"What we need is for Kawena to be protected. We could send some agents, or even Super-MAX armor to do so, but it will scare Hand off. This is a calculated risk. We need you to observe Kawena from afar, and step in if you see Hand. Providing Hand does not see you first"


Huggit switched off the projector, Hands file fading from the whitewall. He didn't like the situation, and he didn't like the solution. He had several other cards up his sleeves, of course, to track Hand...but this was there best, and riskiest, shot. 

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The Kawena Household...


Agent Kawena smiled and laughed, and was pleased to find it was only half-forced. 


He just hoped Agent Huggit "Had his back". He had asked for family relocation, but Huggit had persuaded him that he was putting their best agent onto protection duty. And besides, his family was settled in Freedom City. Running away would, in a sense, let Hand know he had won...


The vaults of AEGIS...If Hand gets his fingers onto even a small fraction of them...


He shook his head free from such thoughts. 


"Lets just stay in tonight, order some Pizza, and watch some bad TV, huh?" he asked his family. 




The car was silver, and just short of ostentatious. A fast sports car, clean and slick. It was parked a few hundred yards away, giving a prime view of the Kawehana household. 


Inside, a man was looking at the house through high powered binoculars. He had a rugged face, with stubble and short cut hair. One or two scars lines his face. It was the very same face that Argonaut had just seen. The face of Henry Hand. 


His mouth broke into a grin. 

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There were a few things Argonaut wasn't allowed to do while wearing the Argonaut armor.  The most important of which was actually arresting someone.  Those in the upper echelons of the agency needed plausible deniability.  So, while Argonaut was recognized by the Freedom City base as a consultant and nothing more.  Agent Yves Zermeño was a very real agent with all the legal ramifications implied thereof.


Luckily, this was a job for Argonaut.  Huggit was too low on the totem pole to be a personal security risk for Argonaut.  Which meant there was only one thing left to with the briefing complete.  Time to get to work.  Carrying the briefcase made out of her compacted Omegadrone Armor, Yves waited until the briefing was over to slip into her "work clothes" as it were.  Argonaut immediately making her way to the open air so as to make her way to the Kawena household.


Here's hoping I get there before the unstable traitor.

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Mere Argo-moments later...


Argonaut flew through the air to catch Agent Hand in the act. And so she did; for Hand had wasted no time in tracking down Agent Kawena. 


She saw him, in the dark, striding, boldly, to the Kawena household. The standard incospicious black-grey suit, with gun in hand and a grenade in the other. He did not pace fast, and did not stroll slowly. It was just a measured, alert walk to the Kawena household...

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Now Argonaut wasn't apart of Agent Kawena's neighborhood watch.  But, she was pretty sure a  suit that blended into the night and gun in hand was on the 'stranger danger' list of things.  It was by stroke of luck that there was already an intruder approaching the grounds.  It meant her job could be completed without any real risk to the Kawena household.  If only she acted quickly.


So, Argonaut did just that.  She dove down towards Agent Hand.  Her intention to fly smack dab into the man holding the grenade in one hand and firearm in the other.  Hoping to drag him away from the household before he even reached the front door.  Didn't think I would get to step in as soon as I had arrived.  Good thing the meeting didn't run any longer.

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As Argonaut swooped down, Agent Hand started and spun, his gun in, appropriately, his hand. 


"Argonaut! I should have guessed they would send you! I had hoped it would just be an agent or two, but I guess they think I am more of a threat"


He closed one eye and took aim. 


"And they would be right! Agent Hand would be just your regular agent gone 'bad'" he explained, twisting the last word like a mockery of the whole concent. 


"But I am more than just Henry Hand now. You can call me the Handyman!" he said he squeezed the trigger of his blaster pistol, and a bolt of ionic energy flew straight into Argonauts helmet. 

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There were many ways Argonaut expected her night going.  Perhaps a boring stakeout in which Hand never showed.  Or maybe even an easy dramatic take down in which she brought in Hand without difficulty.  What she did not expect.  To accelerate with her jet boots with such speed as to lean her armored jaw into the way of the blast that normally wouldn't have scratched her armor.  It still didn't, but the same couldn't be said about Yves head that was sent rocking inside the armor.


Thrown for a loop it was all she could do to not crash into the nearby foliage.  She couldn't even complain about the ridiculous of the name.  Not when he had managed to get the drop on her.  With blurred vision and focused rage, Argonaut tried to keep her mind on bringing Hand in before the family was made aware.  Just as soon as the stars stop floating around my head.

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Haukea paused as she heard a noise outside.  "Hey, dad, just going outside to check something, okay?"


As she walked outside, she checked the Orange Ring, feeling its power- it sounded almost like a gun of some sort had been fired, and... she was aware of dad's job.  


It wasn't exactly safe, and it was entirely possible that someone had come to try and attack them.  Especially...


As she opened the door, she caught a glimpse of what was outside.  An armor-wearing something, facing off against what looked like an AEGIS Agent.  


That settled it.  Haukea glowed softly as her clothes morphed into her costume, plates of orange armor appearing over the bodysuit, before she finished opening the door.  "That's enough."


She focused, and bands of orange energy snapped around the armored figure, binding her.  "Are you all right, officer?"

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Agent hand could barely contain his laughter. 


Of all the crazy strokes of fortune...


"I am quite fine" he replied. "Thanks to your presence. I doubt I could have *snort* apprehended such a dangerous criminal without your help. You have my *snort* thanks" he smiled back, his shoulders shaking slightly to contain laughter. 


"That ring of yours certainly seems very useful" he said, snapping his fingers. 


Stronghold felt a little fuzzy warmth on the finger, for some unknown reason, a little spark of power in it, enough to make her hand pull away. 

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Stronghold pulled her hand away, frowning.  Something... was up.  "Yeah, it's pretty useful."


As she started to walk towards the agent, she looked over at the battlesuit-wearer.  "Who is she, anyway?  Heck, why's she here, of all places?  Doesn't make much sense, this is a pretty urban area.  No real things for a supervillain to steal.  I mean, they'd be going for banks, stuff like that, right?"


She didn't mention the spark of power for now.  Looked like... maybe a third party was interested in it.  Fourth party, whatever, it didn't matter.  "Either way, glad to be of help.  Um.  Something's pretty funny, I guess, but I think I'm missing the joke?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Argonaut thrashed about under her bindings.  Her nanomuscles were impressive.  But, the construct keeping her ensnared where mightier still.  Despite cracking through the snare ever so slightly it continued to hold.  The former omegadrone stretched out as far as she could to no avail.  "Child..let...me...go."   For a woman who could speak every language known to man.  Argonaut was at times not the best people person.


The skeletal omegadrone like face plate and armored form trashing about probably also did nothing to add comfort to the situation.  "Chestplate."  She was referring to the AEGIS emblem on the chest of her armor.  What little could be seen from behind it that was.

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  • 2 weeks later...



"Don't listen to her, kid" implored the Handyman, opening his hands out wide. He gave an honest smile, but the sheer silliness of the situation, the pure good fortune of having two hero's slug it out for him rather than arresting him - that gave his teeth and eyes a shimmer of out and out laughter that he could barely contain. 


"You got her, plain and simple. That makes you a hero, a real honest to God hero. One flick of that magnificent ring of yours and bam!"


He snapped his fingers into a gun and shot from the hip, pointing once again to that very same magnificent ring of Stronghold. Once again, there was a tugging sensation, faint but present, that threatened to warp that very ring...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Stronghold shrugged.  "Well, it's... part of what we do, right?"


She noticed the chestplate, frowning slightly.  Something... didn't seem entirely right here.  That was an AEGIS symbol, wasn't it?  She... must've stolen it, then.  Or managed to get it some way and misused it.  Haukea hated not knowing everything that was going on, it always caused mistakes and misunderstandings and made things really difficult to deal with.  


"Anyway, if you need help getting her to a-"


And then the tug.  And this time... her ring disappeared.  




Her costume started to melt away, leaving her in jeans and a t-shirt.  Defenceless- or at least, a lot more so.  


And no longer maintaining Argonaut's bonds, which dissolved as well.  

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"Nice! A little trinket!" smiled the Handyman. He opened up his hand to reveal the power ring glowing in his palm. 


"Honestly, you guys have given me the best laugh since Agent Bloom had a [censored] slide into his [censored] and ended up with [censored] in his [censored] whilst [censored] with two lemons and a bratwurst!!" he chortled, barely containing a raucous laugh. 


He scratched his stubble with his other hand. 


"Now lets see what this baby can do..."

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  • 1 month later...

Argonaut disappeared.blending into the air around her.  The camouflaged Omegadrone stalked her prey charging like a linebacker who has set her side on a quarterback.  Appearing at the last second she pulled back the power pike thrusting forward.  There would be no yards gained for rushing as the experienced agent easily moved out of the way of the flanking polearm.
The terminus footsoldier turned government agent retracted the blade before she could accidentally stab the teenage girl in front of her.  "I am really starting to hate this day."  Argonaut stated speaking out to Haukea for the first time since things started to get hairy.

"Your ring has safety features right? Because, capturing this traitor to AEGIS could not go any worse at this point."

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