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The Book of Ataniel

Enigma Archives (June 1998)

NOTE: Posts are listed in reverse chronological order,
and all posts are copyrighted to their respective author(s).

Title of Post: Gladiatrix Phone Home
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Gladiatrix
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:
"Hi, Ma! Guess where I’m calling from?
...
"Tuscon has no communications with the outside world, remember? If I were calling from there, I wouldn’t be getting through, now would I?
...
"We hitched on the Warp Express to Paris. It was way cool.
...
"I am taking this seriously! We’re on a break, okay? Apparently it’s like a union thing - two fifteen minute breaks and an hour lunch -- you know?
...
"Yeah, Warp and Manstalker and some new people. It looks like Engima is reforming.
...
"No, Ma, I told them I wouldn’t touch the team with a ten foot pole! What do you think I said?
...
"Ma! I am not going to ask him about the 401k plan!"





Title of Post: Ahh, Paris...
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Gladiatrix
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:
Jane exhaused what she remembered of high school French ordering a cup of coffee. "Oh, sure," she replied to Warp. "I’d love to join up. You know how hard it is to make normal friends doing the superhero thing?"




Title of Post: It Must Be The Romantic French Countryside
Author: Eric Gasior and Laura Redish
Characters: Pulsar and Nova
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:
"What's wrong, Ev?"

"I'm getting huge readings of some completely unknown energy source from this woman, plus she appears to have a physically impossible amount of psychic mass and there's a pocket dimension in her backpack and she says she's a temporal mechanic."

"She's probably one of your people. So how about the pecs on that Rog guy?"

"Maggie! We've got more important things than your love life."

"Don't complain just because you can't get Aries to notice you."

Evelyn blushed. "Anyway, she is not one of my people."






Title of Post: Advice From France
Author: Eric Gasior
Characters: Marc
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:
The waiter noticed Marc. "Monsieur Reilly, a pleasure to see you again. Will Mademoiselle Bond be joining you?"

"No, not today." Marc replied, trying to hide his feelings from his voice.

The waiter leaned down and whispered, "Then I suggest you pay more attention to the young lady who just changed her costume."






Title of Post: Naming Can't Be This Easy
Author: Eric Gasior
Characters: Evelyn Pulsar and Maggie Nova
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:
Evelyn smiled and answered without missing a beat. "Pulsar and Nova, respectively, will do."

"For now." Maggie Nova agreed as she picked up her mineral water.






Title of Post: The Important Questions First, As Always
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Comments:

Warp frowned at Maggie and Evelyn.
"I thought you weren't superheroes. Do you have superhero names? Or should I come up with some for you? Just something for the ID card, you know."




Title of Post: Jacinta Has Done This Before
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall

Comments:


"Don't forget Maggie and Evelyn," murmured Kyria, ever-inclusive.

"Ya si," said Jacinta, buttering her croissant, "let's give it one mission with option to renew, okay? I need my city back, and I need a net connection, of which I assume you have one at headquarters, so I'm in on this one, but I've got a job and a life and stuff now."

"After we eat," said Aries, looking over Evelyn's shoulder at her unusual scanning device with interest, "let's head back to base and I'll start seeing what I can do about an analysis."

"I need some more spare costumes," mumbled Energy Erin, handing Kyria's bathrobe back to her.

"I'm starting to see the theory behind the flame-retardant spandex," agreed Kyria, replacing the robe in her backpack.

Evelyn ran her scanner up and down in Kyria's direction, her brow furrowing. "That backpack--is larger inside than out."

"Pocket dimension," explained Kyria. Evelyn was giving her a really funny look. Kyria wondered if the scanner was giving her "immortal symbiotic life-force" readings or if she just had brie on her face. She wiped her mouth just in case. "Someone could try tracing Rift's AOL account, too. I doubt they're stupid enough to put pertinant information there, but you never know, they are using AOL."

"If he gave them incorrect user information, we can get his account deleted," offered Jacinta.

"I'll see what I can find," said Marc.

Kyria nodded. "And I'd like to spend a little time running diagnostics on you," she said to Warp.

"Now we're talking!" said Maggie. "Hey, big guy, need any diagnostics run?"

Roger was a little taken aback. "What?"

"Maggie, behave yourself," said Evelyn, without turning around.

"Where did you two come from, anyway?" asked Aries.

"Far away," murmured Evelyn, as if distracted by something on her scanner. "This planet is in danger."

"Yeah, when is it ever not," said Jacinta.





Title of Post: Superhero Management 101
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp, Manstalker, etc.
Storyline: Enigma: Croissant Break

Comments:

"Well, whatever the wall was there for, I'm sure Aries can tell us, right?" Warp said.
"Um," Aries said. "I only just got the data. It'll take some time to interpret."
"Well, what's a team scientist for?" Warp grinned, trying to cheer the team up. Evil twins and black eyes and magical walls didn't do much for morale. Fortunately, croissants did.
"Anyway," Warp continued, "maybe now would be a good time to welcome our new members... that is, of course, if you guys want to join up. We just got rechartered, and we could use a few more hands. Gladiatrix? Fred? Fantasma?"
"Can I run for deputy leader in the next election?" S-Guy asked.
"Can I get some jam?" Fred Fiesta asked.




Title of Post: Doug's Other Superpower
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall

Comments:

Energy Erin, wrapped in Kyria's bathrobe, excused herself to the restroom with her spare costume, still quite red in the face. Kyria was sneaking some worried looks at Warp over the wine list. She didn't like the way his powers had been spiking since he'd absorbed that black warpstone. It was reminding her a little of Ransia's wild magic surges, and she was suspecting it was the reason he'd overshot his mark as well as the reason he passed out trying to warp the A-bomb into the sun. After a beat she realized that that wasn't really what was making her uneasy, though. "S-Guy?" she whispered, leaning over towards the jut-jawed superhero. "Warp's eyes are black again."

"Never fear!" announced S-Guy.

Warp looked up from ordering in bad French. "Never fear what?"

"Nothing." Kyria smiled across the table into her friend's clear blue eyes. She knew that S-Guy's color-changing abilities weren't doing a damn thing about whatever sinister plot device they were dealing with here, but she didn't care. She just liked him that way. "Get us some baked brie."

Marc seemed pensive. "Kyria, how were you able to use magic in Tucson? Radio waves and other kinds of energy couldn't get through the wall."

"I couldn't cast through the wall either," she reminded him.

"But you're drawing the magic energy from somewhere beneath us. I can see it when you do it."

"Well, Warp can't block the nexus," she said. "He's not that powerful."

"You know, I didn't put this wall up," said Warp.

"Says you," said Manstalker.

"Of course not," said Kyria, "but in all other respects it's a heck of a lot like your Wall, Warp. And no one had any problem using magic on either side of that."

"Excuse me," said the waiter. "Zere are no firearms allowed in ze bistro."

"Fascistas," muttered Jacinta. "Hey, Weege, stick this somewhere, will you?"

"Fantasma," he said, squinting one eye shut. "Were you with the Rangers or somebody, back in the eighties?"

"How the pingas did you know that?"

"My Superhero Lore roll is just off the charts."

"That's a useful skill," she said, moderately impressed.

"I think so."





Title of Post: Blink and You Miss Something
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp, Enigma
Storyline: Um, Where Were We Again?: Storyboarders Reborn

Comments:

"What?" Warp asked. "I zoned out for a moment there."
"Those were the Ravagers... I thought they were Ataniel beings... and dead for thousands of years... I ought to know, I killed two and watched a third die."
"Different Ravagers," Warp said. "I've had a couple of theories over the years, but they all sound like bad Voyager technobabble. It's a chicken-and-the-egg thing."
"I won't try, then," Kyria said.
"Look guys," Manstalker said, "I know that dead Tucson is fun and educational, but don't you feel like we're only here to be targets?"
Warp frowned. "Much as I hate to admit it..."
"Let me," Energy Erin cried. "He's right!"
"At least I didn't have to say it," Warp mumbled.
"Hey, I live here," Jacinta shouted. "Can we can the dissing of the place?"
"I've gotten all the readings I'm going to get," Aries added.
"I get it! I get it!" Warp cried defensively. "Get things moving again... message received, people!"
Warp waved one hand and opened a wide warp. "Let's head home and see if we can get our bearings."
Manstalker stepped through first...

...and found himself in a nice bistro on the bank of the Seine. He was followed quickly thereafter by Warp and Kyria.
"This isn't Enigma Island," Warp said.
"The man's good," Rog said, grinning beneath his armor.
"This is thousands of miles farther than I intended... but it felt like the right energy."
"Were you thinking about..." Kyria looked around. "France?"
"Um, I was kind of thinking about a chocolate croissant I had here once... all that fighting made me a bit hungry."
"Wow," said Jacinta stepping out of the Warp. "Great headquarters. Looks like France."
"Maybe your subconscious overrode your conscious mind... you mentioned you were tired from the battle," Kyria offered. "I could do a memory read."
"We really need a telepath on this team," Rog offered.
"Monsieur Warp," a waiter approached. "Welcome back to La Cave. If you had told us you were coming, we could have prepared... but wait un moment, we will get your team a table."
"Mmm..." Energy Erin said. "Real food."
"Sure," Rog said. "Forget all about my crepes."
The plaza was getting a bit tight as the rest of the team came through, so Warp stepped down and followed the waiter, speaking in pidgin French.
"Team meeting in Paris!" Fred Fiesta cried. "Way great! But where can I park the car?"




Title of Post: A Retreat, And A Question
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall

Comments:

Kyria turned her head in time to see Diver fling Gladiatrix at high speed into Energy Erin, who had been beating the snot out of the strangely spandex-clad Firefall. The impact knocked both superheroines violently to the pavement. "You haven't heard the last of us!" Diver shouted, sweeping Lotus' unconscious body off the ground by the back of her collar. Norna knocked Kyria a foot and a half off and took backwards to the air after Diver. Firefall was already running after them, now that Energy Erin was down, and Wagnerfume was nowhere to be seen. "Faighin!" Kyria yelled after the Valkyrie, coward, and immediately felt guilty for doing it. It had been thirteen to five, and there was no reason for the two teams to be fighting in the first place. Kyria herself would have retreated in a heartbeat in Norna's position, and her own snideness with Norna was, her high wisdom led her to concede immediately, as much a function of her own frustrated inability to parse the Fallen Valkyrie's presence here in the first place as anything else. Norna's total lack of a reaction to the taunt was not making anything clearer. "Warp?" she said nicely, sheathing her sword and heading over to see whether Gladiatrix or Energy Erin needed help. "What are the Ravagers doing on Ansalia?"




Title of Post: Flying through the air...
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Gladiatrix
Storyline: The Battle of the Wall

Comments:

Jane glanced around, puzzled. She was hearing an odd ... whistling ... sound. Suddenly she dove forward into a roll, causing the plummeting object to narrowly miss her. Up, up! she berated herself, How many times has Ma told you -- when you’re fighting supers, up is a viable direction! She scrambled to her feet, brushing dust from her uniform and trying to pretend that was exactly the maneuver she had intended.

She turned to face Diver. “Ah, I was wondering where you’d gotten yourself off to.”

You! Nobody hits my girlfriend but me!” Diver charged at her.

Gladiatrix just waited for him to come into range. He didn’t look particularly tough. Wait. Why is he running at me when he can -

Diver teleported to a spot half a foot behind Gladiatrix’s back and grabbed on, launching himself into the air.




Title of Post: Different, But The Same!
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall: Combat Banter

Comments:

Kyria Vesper's greatsword sang resoundingly against Norna's. The Valkyrie was still stronger than she was, but Kyria was older now, and her swordsmanship had caught the hell up. This pleased her more than she could articulate, but her historian's mind hadn't stopped running in the background: what are these people doing here? Could whatever evil analog of Warp Kyria had been attributing the black wall to have access to her Ataniel the same way Warp did? The window of time they could have come in from would have been a narrow one: after Norna left the Valkyrie and joined Malcar, but before the Sewer Tour had defeated the Ravagers and Firefall and Diver had died, clearly. Kyria deflected Norna's overhand blow to one side; then, to her great surprise, the Valkyrie spoke. "You will accomplish nothing by treacherously luring us here, Enigma!" she cried.

"What?" said Kyria. "We didn't lure you here!"

"You lie!"

"No, really, we didn't." Kyria couldn't believe she was having a conversation with Norna in the middle of combat, but the priestess was pretty good at multitasking. "In fact, we were lured here ourselves. We think someone or something named Rift might be trying to trap people with superpowers in here. I have no idea what the connection with Ataniel is."

"With where?" said the Valkyrie. Their swords clanged. "Why would anyone do that?"

"I don't know. Why don't our teams stop fighting each other and try to figure it out?"

"Never!" cried Norna, parrying. "Our teams are mortal enemies! You are trying to trick us into surrendering to you, and we will not."

"Well, that's typical," muttered Kyria, in Riklandic.

Norna had no reaction.




Title of Post: Another Evil Psychologist, And Her Neighbor
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Nightmare and Ninja
Storyline: Nemesis

Comments:

"Hi," said the woman with the very straight blond hair. "I'm Amy and this is Toshi. Are you the villain who placed the ad?"

"That's right," said Edith, in her most coolly professional voice. "Pantheon, of eighties fame. Are you two together?"

"No, we just live in the same apartment building, and he gave me a ride."

"Do you have flying motorcycles?" Toshi wanted to know. He was a buff Oriental guy with curly orange-dyed hair and wonky crescent-shaped sunglasses. "I really go for flying motorcycles."

"We'll see what we can do," Edith smiled at him. "What kind of powers do you two have?"

"I kick ass," offered Toshi.

"I trap people's minds in their own nightmares," said Amy.

"Really?" Toshi sounded impressed. "You never told me you could do that."

A mentalist. Edith was pleased. "Motivations for joining a supervillain team?"

"Well, I trap people's minds in their own nightmares," said Amy. "What am I supposed to do, work for Red Cross?"

"I just like kicking ass," said Toshi.

"Any previous experience?"

"Whoa, hell yeah," said Toshi. "I've killed more than three hundred people. Three hundred and--" Toshi pulled out a mini-spiral notebook and flipped it open. "--twenty-three."

A psychopath. Well, that was less good, but every supervillain group needed one. "How about you, Amy?"

"I was with this local group in Philadelphia four years ago. The Terror Cranes." Edith hadn't heard of them, but it was a pretty cool name. "It really sucked, though. This isn't going to be a psychodrama antihero what-dark-forces-corrupt-men's-hearts kind of group, is it? Because I'm cool with ambushing superheroes and plotting to take over the world, but I don't want to play therapist to a bunch of angstful evil people. If I wanted that I would have just finished my psychology doctorate."

"I wasn't really planning this around the psychodrama angle, no," said Edith.

"Then you're not doing this because Enigma killed your only love, or anything like that?"

"No, it's an arete thing. Where there are superheroes, there must be supervillains. Such is the nature of the cosmos."

"Then I'm in, if you want me."

"Great. Do you two have working names?"

"I'm Nightmare," said Amy. "It's not very original, I know, but I'm used to it by now."

"I will be Ninja," said Toshi, in his low California drawl, moving his hands around.

"Okay, well, I brought some Supervillain Costume Catalogs for you to look through while we wait for other people to show up." Edith tossed them on the table. "Knock yourselves out, I've got a small start-up budget."

"Cool," said Toshi, flipping through. "Hey, Amy, I think you should wear this."

"I was hoping for something my breasts didn't hang out of this time."

"Looks like this might take a while, then."




Title of Post: If you can't take the heat...
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Gladiatrix
Storyline: The wall

Comments:

Jane flinched in sympathy as Erin was bathed in flames. Then the meaning of the battle dialogue sunk in. Oh, good -- she’s immune to fire she thought, turning her attention to the other attackers. I hope her outfit is, too.

She drew her sword and prepared to charge the Valkyrie chick but Kyria broke out of her reverie and beat her to it. The combat sure was filling its sword quota fast. From the look on Kyria’s face, there was something personal there. Jane figured she should let the ladies work our their issues for a while.

She scanned around for another suitable opponent. Armor-boy seems to have "Captain Plummet" taken care of ... I’m not quite sure what to do about a cloud of poison mist and ... a-ha! ... an enemy standing back smiling ... heroes acting uncharacteristically ... I’m thinking we’ve got ourselves a mentalist here.

Gladiatrix stalked silently as only a trained warrior can and moved up behind the smug-looking villainess. Reaching out and tapping her on the shoulder, she held her fist ready. Lotus did a wonderful job of turning right into Gladiatrix’s fist. She hit the ground with a satisfying thud. "I hate mentalists."

Go on to Enigma Archive 2



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