The last few days have been rather eventful. It's been more than three weeks since I arrived here in St. Louis—and I've used the time wisely. I made an unofficial alliance with another local superhuman, a bombastic individual named Blitzkrieg. My legal skills have assisted his citizenship issues (since he is originally from Russia), and in return, he's been helping me with my investigation of the Second Syndicate.
We were asking some questions at a rather unscheduled "delivery" of stolen televisions when a reporter—Erica Chase—arrived on the scene. At first, I tried to foist her off on Blitzkrieg (he's always ready to chat), but she proved more persistent. After declining her request for an interview, she passed on a message from Steel Claw (one of the cities longest-running vigilante superhumans) requesting a meeting. I was intrigued, but only agreed to consider the request.
The meeting itself was a revelation. Apparently, there are quite a few "newcomers" to the region despite myself—newcomers who are independents at that, having resisted the lure of the Second Syndicate and apparently not foolish enough to sign on with ICOMP. Steel Claw was there, of course, but the other newcomers were more interesting to me.
There was the being called Contained (at least, I think that's what he gave his name as...)—he looked a lot like a floating hazard environment suit flickering with bizarre energy. My thoughts at the time were: Nice Suit.
Then there was Blitzkrieg, as noisy as ever—it's impressive that he didn't draw the wrong kind of attention. On the other hand, considering what happened later...Hm. This bears more thought.
Koyotie was certainly quite sneaky, I never picked up on her presence until she made herself known. Impressive. Not sure what else to think about her as yet, but she wears that sword like she knows how to use it.
Speaking of swords, there was another woman there with a blade—she gave her name as D'arc Tangent. Lucky for me that no one can see me rolling my eyes behind my helmet. On the other hand, considering the source of my own nom de guerre, I suppose I shouldn't throw stones. Tangent was quiet, but made some good points. I know next to nothing else about her, although she mentioned she can't (won't?) use a radio.
Her partner, Full Metal Jacket (more eye-rolling behind the helmet, and more self-recrimination about my own chosen nickname) seems like the voice of reason. Quite a level-headed sort, although he certainly doesn't seem to like the looks of me for an unknown reason. Potentially the intimidating design of the armor and its weapon systems are the problem.
With this motley crew assembled, Steel Claw proceeded to ramble on about ICOMP, the construction of the Ultramax facility, and the balance of power in the city. He even launched into a description of his early life (quite unusual, so it seems from Ms. Chase's writing...) and seemed to have a vague idea of this group working together towards some common goal.
It's all quite noble, but I'm not planning on getting sidetracked by ICOMP. My business has always been and always will be with the Second Syndicate. Nevertheless, D'arc Tangent did have a good point that I'd have greater success with them than without them. Just when we were getting to the good part (apparently Steel Claw stumbled onto some information about a Syndicate operation involving kava root—yes, seriously, kava root), all hell broke loose.
An apparition of a british-looking professor appeared, and was identified as "Blackguard" by Steel Claw—a powerful superhuman agent of the Syndicate. I must admit I lost my temper when this fact was revealed. I can only say in my own defense that the situation was tense enough without introducing someone I'd been hunting for months show up out of the blue to taunt us (or me personally, as it seemed at the time). Nevertheless, Blackguard didn't stay long, just delivered some pithy comments about Steel Claw's rabble-rousing and mentioned he'd left a gift for us on the roof.
Contained looked upwards and then said we should leave. He sounded serious, so I began the exodus just as the ICOMP radio chatter in the area began to escalate. Apparently, a box of fireworks had been placed on the roof and detonated by remote, thus alerting the numerous ICOMP patrols in the area to the presence of something going on.
Needless to say, we scattered. I'm not entirely certain where the rest of the group ended up, but I boosted my thrusters and headed for the river. When in doubt, go with what you know.
My sensors detected someone trailing me, so I went to ground near the docks only to find out it was Steel Claw himself. Apparently the more experienced vigilante was concerned that I believed he had set us all up to get captured (naturally, I had already considered and discarded that possibility—had he wanted us to get picked up by ICOMP, he certainly could have arranged something far more competent).
He left me with an address for another meeting to be held at some future time—a "safe place" where we wouldn't be interrupted as before. I'm skeptical, but the risk seems worth the prize. If we can weld these wild cards into some kind of "third faction," an alternative for other independent heroes AND open a second front for Second Syndicate at the same time, I'm all for it.
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