Atomic Age

Summer of Discontent

Museum_of_History_and_Technology.jpgThat summer afternoon in 1966 was hot, but it didn’t stop the protest from drawing a sizable crowd. Many students from around the country converged on the National Mall in Washington to show their support for voting freedoms for all. It hadn’t rivaled the 1963 March and Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “I have a dream speech”. Still, the organizers were quite pleased with the turnout, and hoped to sustain their efforts to insure that Civil Rights Legislation was successful. In addition to the students, many other dedicated parties lent their voices to the movement, and news cameras were rolling to capture the event.

This was the Damocles Agents’ worst fear. President Kennedy had secretly created the Damocles Agenda within the Central Intelligence Agency to monitor the alarming rise of genetically altered individuals. The existence of this had to be kept secret, much like Roswell, for the security and tranquility of the free world. Already the term ‘mutant’ had slipped into the public consciousness. It was impossible to close Pandora’s Box; the world was awakened and all too aware of the existence of altered genetic individuals. The intent was to limit the world’s awareness regarding the scope of this phenomenon. Life magazine captured the beautiful American Angel in her daily life, as well as her more public displays of heroism. None was more public than her last minute heroics at saving the President from assassination that day in Dallas in November of 1963. America knew her, and loved her. They also knew of the golden tyrant from the Soviet Union, Paragon. Outside of those isolated cases, the world remained ‘normal’ to most people around the globe. The news cameras threatened to unravel the lie.

For starters, the Damocles Agenda had been creating their own chemical altered genetic individuals (AGI). The Proxy project was in full swing, and while the serum was still radically dangerous, there were volunteers who continued to agree to participate. As of the protest, there had been six categorically successes. In fact, Proxy 6 was on scene to try to help limit the disaster. She was a young girl, but a quick study. An AGI incident had been reported in Silver Spring, and Proxy 6 was sent to contain it. The AGI was freakishly strong as well as fast, and fled the scene by car. The Damocles agent followed, but the woman found her way directly into the protest. Worse, it became clear that two other AGI’s were on scene as well. Proxy 6 categorized the other two with little resistance, and the primary threat, code named Amazon, was subdued.

Network News was irritatingly efficient as usual. The disturbance was caught on camera, complete with car doors and fireworks. Luckily, technology of the day prevented the identities being known. The footage was grainy, and captured from afar. By the time reporters fought through the crowd, the incident had ended. The only identity confirmed was that of Amazon, one Ms. Linda Hawkins. It was unfortunate, but the Proxy agent’s identity remained protected, as did the other two. One had abilities that were only suspected, not confirmed. The second had the foresight to wear a fedora and sunglasses. Whether that was luck or not was irrelevant. It controlled the damage.

As often seems the case, outside factors conspired to make the Intelligence operation more difficult. A small fire broke out at the new Museum of History and Technology as they hosted a brand new exhibit of ancient artifacts from Mesopotamia. The fire itself was of small consequence. One artifact was completely destroyed, several others damaged by smoke and shattered glass. There were no fatalities, and only one injury- a student from the protests named Jessica Vanderwal. Yet the girl’s coma persisted, unexplained. The exhibit moved on, and was on tour somewhere in out west. Nothing else came of it.

Since that summer afternoon, things were quiet. Two more Proxy agents were in the field, and isolated AGI events were contained with no fanfare. Damocles kept the three subjects under observation. One remained in a secure facility within Level 20. As the headquarters of Damocles, this was dangerous, but unavoidable. The technology simply didn’t exist to keep her detained anywhere else. The other two caused no further disruptions, and continued their lives without interference from Damocles. President Kennedy’s Swords remained vigilant. They watched, and they waited.

Winter of Discord
Prologue II

New Orleans, Louisiana circa 1966 pictured above

Lafayette, Louisiana
December 18th, 1966

Agent Kiruk was to meet with Proxy 6 at a safe house in the swamps of Louisiana. He was dressed the part, looking to blend in with the other locals. Agent Kiruk had not yet met one of the Proxy agents, and was anxious to see how they performed in the field. The overwhelming number of Damocles agents were exactly like him- agents who had been recruited from a variety of federal agencies to create the new top secret branch. Agent Kiruk had seen action in Korea, and volunteered for the assignment in exchange for a higher grade of pay, and some additional ‘enhancements’. He was forced to make do with his wit and experience, and his natural physical gifts. unlike some of the other swords (the nickname for agents of the Damocles Agenda), he didn’t resent the Proxy agents. He was no fool. He’d seen enough footage of Paragon and American Angel. There were going to be times where you needed to fight fire with fire. He wanted some of that fire on his side. And the Proxy agents were recruited, trained, screened. Most of the AGI they would be working with would be involved by fate or chance alone. They weren’t trained, and would likely be unprepared.

When Proxy 6 arrived, he wasn’t disappointed. The young girl was small in stature, but when she made the 30+ foot jump to clear the water, he realized these agents were as good as advertised. He was a bit unsettled by the thought of one of these agents going rogue, but he put that aside. No sense in borrowing trouble. Damsat had picked up a high level AGI presence in New Orleans, and it was not moving. They flew in Proxy 6 to assist, and he would debrief her on her contacts with two AGI’s from six months ago.

Bethesda, Maryland
National Institutes of Health
December 17th, 1966

Samuel Parker was a student at the University of Memphis. The first time he had been to the nation’s capital was six months ago for a protest regarding civil rights. His friend Jessica Vanderwal was caught up in a bizarre disturbance he still couldn’t completely understand. She fell into a coma, and had not awoken. six months later, he returned to DC to check on her condition. The nature of her coma remained a mystery, and she was kept at NIH for close observation.

Samuel got off the bus, wishing the bill that had been passed earlier that year to create a transit system and subway like New York’s had already been in place. It was a maze navigating the city and it’s suburbs. Memphis was a large enough city, but it was a different sort of place from Washington.

He could of course just ran. Samuel was what was referred to in the papers as a Mutant. A mutant was anyone who was different than a ‘normal’ human. Some were born with their abilities, some were made. Samuel was one of the former, and had made sure to keep his abilities a closely guarded secret. He took to wearing sunglasses, hats and overcoats to try to conceal his identity. And whenever possible, he avoided using his gifts. Last summer a lot of people were in danger, and he did what he always did. He acted to try to help people. It’s why he was so involved in the Civil Rights movement, and why he tried to help Jessica. In the end, it didn’t matter. His best friend died when he was younger, and now Jessica was in a coma she couldn’t wake up from.

Two men in black suits, black ties, and black sunglasses were waiting for him when he got off the bus. They took him into a small room where another young man, just a couple years younger than himself, was waiting with two men in black of his own. He instantly recognized the man as a bystander during the protests. He couldn’t tell exactly what this man’s gifts were, or even what his name was. When the agents finally convinced him to share his name, the man did it where Samuel couldn’t hear him. The stranger certainly wasn’t known for his charm. All he knew was that he had a knack for getting inside other people’s heads. As far as Samuel was concerned, that was one of the scariest mutations out there. Today though, once more, fate brought them together.

The agents explained that Jessica had woken in the middle of the night, and was on the run. They explained that before the summer, Jessica was a normal human- but after the coma, she was a high level AGI. AGI was the Feds’ name for mutants, and according to them, she was as powerful as any they’d tracked save perhaps American Angel herself. Because Samuel and the other kid, who finally identified himself as Thomas (not Tom), had been present during the episode that created Jessica, they wanted their help to track her down. This was Samuel’s friend. Of course he agreed. And despite Thomas’ chilly disposition, he seemed to want to help as well. The men were given a driver, a car, and a general direction. They drove all night to the southeast when Jessica finally stopped.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana Museum of Modern History
Evening of December 18th, 1966

Thomas and Samuel made their way to Jessica’s satellite signature, which appeared to be at the site of a local museum. Unfortunately, it was the Smithsonian where Jessica fell into her coma. The exhibit that day? The same traveling Mesopotamian artifacts that were now in New Orleans.

Waiting for them was Proxy 6, the super soldier who handled the crisis in Washington 6 months ago. With her was another Damocles agent, this one an Indian of some kind. Thomas and Samuel were told to expect two Damocles agents to meet them, so they were prepared for that. Apparently they also brought along two other mutants as well. One was some disabled vet from ‘Nam, with his eyes covered by a bloody bandage. They couldn’t figure out what that poor sould could do to help. The other was a black woman who glowed like a light bulb. All were there for the same reason. Jessica was inside, and she was dangerous.

The six stumbled upon another explosion- exactly like the one in the Smithsonian that put Jessica in this position originally. There, Jessica was talking like a stranger- like from another world. Her voice was much deeper, and she used words that Jessica had never muttered before. Eventually, she disappeared- the chase would not be resolved this day. A group of black clad, red scarf and beret wearing people showed up wearing snacke jewelry. They eventually discovered the symbol to be that of a new cult- the Cult of Tiamat. According to the cult, a dark god was coming to Earth, and bringing a lot of bad news with him.

The burning museum was obliterated as a result of the girl that they learned later was named Evangeline. The cult members were killed in the blast, but Jessica was not discovered until a week later in Iraq. Proxy 6 was reassigned, but Agent Kiruk would be heading the investigation, and try to uncover what the Snake Jessica was up to. Evangeline, referred to as Nova, and the poor Vet who could turn into a moster was now called the Reaper. The three were headed to the desert as part of Damocles. The two innocent mutants? They were under a lot of pressure to sign up. Samuel and Thomas decided they would think about it. Apparently the fate of the world was at stake. And a decent paying job. The least they could do was think it over.

Tales of Damocles p. 1
12/23/66: Blackfoot's Team


The smell of cigarette smoke filled the small office. Two large fans were turned up to high to try to cool the room. It wasn’t working. On this unseasonably warm day in December, the daytime desert sun was oppressive. There were a few locals who came through the small office on the outskirts of Baghdad, and they seemed unaffected. For the Americans, the sun was baking the occupants where they sat, making the temperature much warmer inside than out. If it weren’t for the cursed sand and confidentiality, the federal agent might have suggested they do their work outside.

Instead, Esther hammered away on the old military issue typewriter. Whenever she stopped to adjust the roller, she would take another drag from her cigarette. The woman hailed from Piscataway, New Jersey, and her accent was as thick as it was out of place in this desert metropolis. Her desk was covered with papers, envelopes, ashtrays and a monochrome picture of President Kennedy. She wore her army uniform, unkempt and below standards. As far as the agent was able to tell, Esther didn’t seem as though she cared one bit. she wiped the sweat from her brow, let out of heavy sigh, and looked as she was about to begin typing once more when she stopped.

“So, why New Orleans?”

The Blackfoot Indian looked up from the files spread open in front of him. He was 10-15 years younger than Esther, but he spoke with authority. He was the commanding officer of this operation, even if it currently consisted of four people and didn’t exist anywhere outside of these walls and the Pentagon.

“Why what? Why was I stationed there? Orders told me to go there. I didn’t choose that.”

Esther took another drag of her cigarette. “Fine. Be that way. You know, I didn’t just get this assignment because of my typing speed and girlish good looks, sweetie. I know how these things work. You fed types, especially you big shot fed types, you get to pick your station. But if you want to play all coy with me, that’s fine. Suit yourself.”

The Indian agent chuckled. “I passed through before Korea. Nice place. Besides, I like shrimp.”

“Didn’t they have shrimp in Montana?” Esther took another puff of her cigarette, and exhaled a long breath of smoke.

His eyes moved to meet hers, without lifting his head from his reading. He wasn’t sure he liked his secretary asking so many questions, and knowing so many answers. He couldn’t decide if she was a risk, or just nosy. He decided on the latter.

“Sure they had shrimp. It’s just not as good in Montana. How’s that report coming along?” The agent hoped his subject change would get them both back on track.

“It’s fine sweetie. Almost done. Not sure why you are going to so much trouble for the cover story. Thought Damocles position was to keep other governments informed?”

“General Arif is an empty shirt, just a puppet for the Revolutionary Command Council. I don’t trust these guys. If President Kennedy tells me to fill them in, I will. In the meantime, I want to keep everything nice and quiet.”

“Nice and quiet. Got it. Unless Sergeant Porter or Ms. Ortego walk through that door, we are just a supply depot outfit. Any idea when they are supposed to get here?”

“Evangeline was taking care of some personal matters before flying here.” Agent Kiruk didn’t feel the need to share that Evangeline and her mother were having some separation anxiety. It took quite a bit of convincing to bring Evangeline on board. Her pay tripled, and housing was provided for the family. They got a nice remodeled home in Lafayette for her mother, and made arrangements for family to come into town to stay with her while Evangeline was on assignment in Iraq. Still, Evangeline was reluctant. The woman had a heart of gold, and was good people. The agent didn’t have any illusions that their other assignments would afford them so much preparatory time. Hopefully they could get the rest of these matters ironed out. There was only so many people floating around with the ‘talents’ that he needed. Agent Kiruk trusted her, and was willing to accomodate her to get her working with the team. He hoped it wouldn’t backfire.

“And what about that Sergeant? Not that it’s my place to question orders, but I don’t understand what a blind disabled vet is going to be able to do at some old dig site.”

“Best not to judge a book by it’s cover. That goes double for Sgt. Porter. At any rate, I heard his plane landed about an hour ago. I expect him any moment.”

“Good. Maybe he’ll feel like talking more than you, Agent Kiruk.” She smiled, took one last drag off her cigarette before putting it in the ashtray. Her fingers started hammering once more on the typewriter, and Agent Kiruk resumed his reading. For the moment, he was grateful for a little quiet.

NUMBER ONE on the Billboard Charts

Tales of Damocles p. 2
12/23/66: The Chessman

iPhone_pictures_267.jpgThomas still smiled as he remembered their faces. They must have thought he would say no when they asked him to come aboard. How could they have known he had dreamed of this? He studied Russian and Vietnamese. His father had devoted his life to being a Patriot. Thomas wanted to do the same. He grew up in the shadow of power in his hometown of Washington D.C. The row houses in Georgetown afforded him a comfortable life growing up. He saw that patriotism could provide a good life, and he instinctively understood he had the power to help. He had a hard time making friends, and generally wanted to be left alone. But the opportunity to help his nation, and use his abilities to make a difference, was too good to pass up. He often found he got along better with his parents’ friends than with his own peer group.

He was told to report to Agent Kiruk in Baghdad, and would get his orders from there. His plane landed at the airport, and his driver and assigned interpreter were waiting for him. The minds of both were littered with arabic words, and reading minds did him no good if he couldn’t understand the thoughts. He was able to glean some English from his interpreter, but the majority of the thoughts were unknowable. He decided he might try to access that part of his mind, and see if there was a way to unlock that knowledge of language or some other means of accessing another’s mental being. It seemed reasonable enough. As he grew older he had learned a great many things, and felt his gifts were almost like Christmas morning. The potential of his mind seemed almost limitless, and he had only begun sifting through his thoughts and physiological thought processes-his brain waves. Like the game of Chess he loved so much, he found the best way forward was to analyze and consider different approaches to an objective. He stirred from his thoughts, a frequent refuge, to find he had arrived at a small home in a suburb.

The house was small, and one of many in this cluster of houses. His interpreter led him inside, and gave him a number which Thomas could use to call him. He also handed Thomas a sealed manila envelope marked Top Secret. Thomas thanked the older man named Abu, and closed the door. He found some water in a pitcher within a old refrigerator, and poured himself a glass. As he opened the envelope, he read about procedures and protocol for Blackfoot’s strike team. Damocles was creating individual autonomous teams that would operate independent of one another. Blackfoot would speak with the voice of the CIA, and the team would follow his orders. That was fine with Thomas. He was happy to have someone he could talk with give his orders. His thoughts confirmed he was a well meaning and competent leader. Thomas could follow him. He sat down on a small wooden rocking chair, drank his water, and continued reading. It seemed he would be notified when he was needed. In the meantime, he would wait. Plenty of time for Chess.

Secrets of the Tome p. 1

Trident.jpgCarolyn looked down at her sleeping mother, guilt practically dripping from her like sweat. She was leaving and didn’t know when she’d be back. She wasn’t even leaving a note. How could she? Her mother wouldn’t believe her in a million years. With a quick kiss to her forehead, Carolyn scurried down the stairs and out the front door.

Outside her house she saw a horse drawn carriage; quite an unusual site in Chicago. She could tell it was for her. The night was still, except for the occasional whirring of a passing car on a street some place else. Moonlight glinted off the gold of the carriage, and she saw lovely patterns carved expertly into the sides. With a sigh she climbed onto the drivers podium, her heart pounding rapidly.

The sound of crashing waves was suddenly deafening. She had grown used to it since she was first approached, but this was almost too much for her to handle. Almost. She raised up her arms, and was engulfed in a body of water.

Tales of Damocles p. 3
12/24/66: Dirt and bones

Snow-in-the-desert.jpgSam couldn’t help but feel exposed- vulnerable. Not just at the Temple of Emenanki, but in Iraq at all. The American forces were skeletal, and each and everyone entrenched in their cover. General Arif was a puppet, and the Soviets were extending their influence around the globe. Damocles wanted to make sure every corner of the world was safe for Democracy- but there was something especially strange happening in Iraq. Sam scoffed. It was hard to believe some remote third world colonial outpost could be the center of the world’s attention. No doubt that would never happen again.

Dr. Anthony DeWain walked over to Sam. All he knew was that a Federal agent was inquiring about the progress of the dig. No scholar enjoyed government interference, but today Sam’s cover was that of an official with the Smithsonian. The grant that was funding Dr. DeWain’s work would certainly encourage the archaeologist to be forthcoming. The man was in his early fifties, and his khaki shirt and shorts were sweat stained. His hands were caked with dirt and sand, and in his pocket were some brushes and tools to carefully uncover new artifacts. The dig itself had made its way well into an ancient temple. Most of the burial goods had been removed and taken to the Smithsonian months ago as part of a traveling exhibit. Dr. DeWain was no fool. He knew it was this sort of thing that paid the bills. But he didn’t have time for red tape. He brushed the sand off of his hands before shaking Sam’s hand.

“Mr. Tettleton, what a surprise. We weren’t expecting you. I appreciate your taking interest in our work.”

Sam responded to the name of his cover identity, and remembered some important tools of his training- namely not saying more than was necessary.

“My pleasure. Have you found the location of the second temple?”

Dr. DeWain sighed, unable to mask his annoyance. “We have not. The temple of Emenanki makes reference to the second Eye of Tiamat being taken to the Garden’s of Ishtomb. This was supposedly a small retreat of one of the first Babylonian Kings. The retreat was in an oasis, far into the Iraqi desert. There is no Oasis remaining these thousands of years later- we are looking for a location in the middle of the desert, and in a landscape that constantly shifts as the dunes roll with the wind. We may never find it, Mr. Tettleton.”

Sam Kiruk nodded, looking off to the southwest, shielding his eyes from the blowing sand. The sky was darkening, and Sam assumed it was just cloud cover. That much was true. But the excited voices that came next indicated far more was at work. Some workers started cheering, and pointing with glee. Others fell to their knees, found where Mecca would lie across the horizon, and began to pray. The westerners stared in all directions in disbelief. The desert air had dropped to very cool temperatures suddenly, and snow had begun to fall.

Secrets of the Tome p. 2

Scourge.jpgGabir could feel his brother following him. He had not ever met another like himself. In fact, he wasn’t aware any others existed. Yet, here was the strange westerner in his midst. Gabir remembered his name, but preferred his new form- a shape he referred to as his morphus. His skin was gray, and stitched together- composed from the bodies of several bodies- a macabre creation out of the American movies. His arm, from the elbow to where his hand should be, was replaced by a rusty scimitar. At night, he roamed the streets with an insatiable hunger. The dead, or the weak, were his prey. His Becoming was less than a year before, but he had reveled in his powers. Since that time he ravaged Baghdad, growing in power, and feeding. The evil that surrounded him was intoxicating. Why had he not felt it before? It was like too much wine- drinking it would likely lead to future regret, but now he could think of nothing else. That is, until three days ago.

He noticed the American in the Baghdad markets. Iraqi people loved Americans, and he was safe despite the dangerous neighborhood. It didn’t take him long to realize that the American was looking directly at him however. The dance had continued for days, each fascinated with the other. Each night, they came closer to the conflict that felt inevitable. Tonight, Gabir believed would be that night. Until he was called.

Hundreds of miles to the west, an explosion of immense power called to him. He had never left Baghdad- either before or since the Becoming. Now, though, he left as quickly as he could. He comforted himself that there would be another time to ‘meet’ his new brother.

Secrets of the Tome p. 3

earth.jpgThe column of pure energy that erupted into the desert sky was several miles across and a bright blue. It pierced the clouds, and anyone who could have survived the eruption (an impossibility for miles and miles around) would have been able to see that the column reached far into space.

The Damocles agent watched via a feed as it was transmitted from DamSat to Strategic Air Command in Bellevue, Nebraska. He was brought in almost immediately. The high ranking officers scurried about the situation room, observing computer generated models and photographs while listening to incoming radio communications.

“What in the name of all the saints was THAT?” The general had asked the question for the eighth time. Those in the room stopped trying to answer it.

Several airmen were working feverishly on their instruments, reporting aloud. “Say again, the signature is NOT atomic. All readings are negative.”

“The Soviets have stood down. MiG’s from the Caucasus have been scrambled. All other forces are on high alert.”

“No movement of forces, identified or otherwise. Performing wider sweep with the same search criteria.”

The General appeared to be formulating a thought. “Someone get me a damned cigar!” He then strode over to the Damocles agent. “So we have an incident greater than dozens of any H-Bomb on record, without a trace of radiation. And all of this happening in the middle of nowhere. Time to earn your pay, mister. What are we looking at?”

The agent continued looking stoically at the scores of screens relaying information. “DamSat has the same signature that we’ve been tracking from DC and New Orleans descending in the desert. That lit what we are looking at now. DamSat can’t get a read on anything as a result. The whole thing may be useless until we can get a new one up and ready. Not sure how we are going to fix that one.”

The general was given his cigar. He bit down, spit out the end, and waited as his junior officer lit it. He breathed deeply, and exhaled the musky smoke. “Do you have any eyes on the ground?”

The Damocles agent nodded. “As it happens, we might.”

The general was growing visibly impatient. “AND?!?”

“You’ll be briefed as soon as we have something to brief you on. As long as this thing isn’t spreading, we should have time to get some answers.”

An audible gasp came up from the control room floor below, as airmen from around the floor exchanged looks of worry, confusion and nervousness.

“General Palmer, the energy is spreading.” The screens showed a web of blue lines crossing the skies around the globe, in a seemingly random pattern and intersecting as they crisscrossed in multiple directions.

“Scramble the birds. Make sure we are keeping in touch with Moscow. I don’t want this getting any worse than it already is.”

Secrets of the Tome p. 4
12/24/66: Magic comes to the Atomic Age

iPhone_pictures_059.JPGThe city was real, but those who converged on the Iraqi desert must be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Any with an understanding of history and archaeology would identify it as a Babylonian or Sumerian city. A startling difference was the striking color. The buildings were made of massive stone and mud bricks. The Babylonain style of having most walls whitewashed gave the city an appearance of glowing. It was the other colored dyes that indicated wealth, and a surprising number of large structures were dyed in blues and reds. This included a palace, a large temple on a Ziggurat, and what appeared to be wealthier homes near the palace. Walls standing 15 feet high, and 30 feet across encircled the modest sized city. As one got closer, they noticed two other striking details.

The first of those was that the city appeared to be empty. The streets were quiet, no sign of activity existed anywhere. There were no markets, there were no sacrifices at the temple, there were no travelers, and for that matter there was no road. This city emerged from nothing, in the middle of the desert. It was a landscape that was desolate and unpopulated for miles around. This was fortunate, as the force of the strange energy erupting from the city through the clouds and into space left a wake of destruction on anything caught in it’s path.

The desolation and desert was the cause for the second striking detail. The city was laced with waterways and gardens. A tall terraced building had gardens floating in its pools, as water cascaded from the top tier, to the next, and so on. There was a large canal running through the center of town, and pedestrian bridges that crossed it; connecting one side of the city to the other. There were water gardens in front of the wealthier homes, and fountains throughout the city. Yet there was no discernible source for the water. There were no lakes, no oases, no rivers anywhere nearby. The canal began and ended at the walls on either side of the city. Much like the city’s existence itself, there was no seeming explanation for the water.

As the Nightbane as known as the Reaper made his way across the desert, he could feel the evil getting stronger. He had been watching, studying at first, the second Nightbane in the streets of Baghdad. He never imagined there might be others like him. They didn’t look alike, but he instinctively knew they were the same. Both seemed to vanish in and out of shadow as they traveled by a variety of methods to arrive. When the Reaper received word from his commanding officer, he knew something bad was happening. The coordinates he was told to respond to immediately lay in front of him. As he got closer, he instinctively was overwhelmed by death. The death was a massive scale, but old. Older than memory- a truly ancient devastation. Yet, somehow, he could sense it was stirring. He could see the ancient city in his path from afar. There was little time to wait. Agent Kiruk, now to be referred to only as Blackfoot in the field, was moving towards the site quickly.

A separate jeep was flying across the sand, catching air as it leapt over dunes in its path. Thomas Chase, known in the open only as Chessman, was holding on to keep from flying out of his seat. Despite the stinging sand, he was enjoying himself. The sense of what was about to transpire was unmistakable. He somehow knew his world was changing, and he was prepared to be at the center of it.

One other emerged in the ancient city as well. A woman with blue and green hair pulled herself from the three story tall terraced garden. She was soaking wet, and appeared to be wearing a toga that dried quickly. In her hand was a trident, and she exuded power. Poseidon had led her here. She had learned when the carriage arrived, she would have to respond. And she never knew where the journey would end, save somewhere in water. In her short time as Poseidon’s champion, it had been rivers, oceans or Lake Michigan near her home. Today, however, it was an underground lake of some kind. She swam up and towards the light, finding herself in a fountain of incredible size. Poseidon spoke to her in visions. She sometimes would have preferred a simple conversation- but she knew the faces of those who were fighting for the same cause as she. When she found them, she would know. Considering there was no one inside the city itself, she couldn’t help but wonder how long she would have to search.

The Peacekeepers p. 1

It didn’t take much, it never had, to get Vincent to sign on with Damocles. He had volunteered for enlistment rather than having to be drafted and if not for the demons he brought back with him he would have called it worth it with a bit more enthusiasm. Losing his eyes, while horrifyingly painful and frightening, seemed a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. The Reaper however…he could’ve done without it’s evil presence. He certainly could have done without the constant fear of it’s release, or the hellish nightmares that seemed to accompany it; he still couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time before he woke up screaming. He still wasn’t sure where it came from, or how it got to be ‘bonded’ with him but they were stuck together now. Despite Reaper’s constant and vehement claims that it had no interest in the blood of innocents, preferring the taint of those who killed without remorse and even with elation in their hearts, Vincent wasn’t willing to chance mingling with crowds unless he had to and Damocles offered him an alternative; let the demon loose on the very beings it claimed to prefer. He wasn’t much for fighting fire with fire, but he had to admit it had a poetic justice to it that he found comforting.

He had only been in Baghdad a day before he found something to pull him out of his room. A feeling, much like when the Reaper ‘smelled’ blood on a person, but…different. It felt familiar; it felt the same as him. The Reaper was beyond excited, he could feel it trying to burst out of his skin. It’s reason? ‘To play’ it said, and the reason became obvious the closer he got. He had to dig his fingers into his arms, as if he could physically hold the Reaper in, as he wove his way through the streets. Even without his sight he seemed to know exactly where this ‘other’ was and the feeling he got just from being near- like his skin was crawling. He knew what that meant, even without the Reaper’s abilities he could feel it to a limited extent; this one killed, and enjoyed it-a lot. They continued this back and forth for days, even occasionally letting the Reaper out at night to try to and get a bead on this ‘other’, but that all ended the today. He had felt what others had apparently seen. A massive explosion of light according to his C.O. He had only just started out when the Reaper took over. It was so unexpected he couldn’t even resist. Before he fully grasped what was going on he was racing across the desert, many times only a shadow flying across the sands. It took a minute but eventually Vincent was able to feel what had made the Reaper so impatient; the ‘other’ was also heading towards the coordinates his C.O. gave him. Reaper was excited, that much was obvious, but the magnitude was surprising. It didn’t matter though, right now he needed the speed and strength and Reaper wasn’t holding anything back, and so they raced across the sands the feeling of blood and evil growing stronger every second.


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