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The Book of Ataniel

Enigma Archives (July Part 2)

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





Title of Post: Suspicions
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Gladiatrix (and Warp, a little)
Storyline: The Wall

Comments:
Jane shook out her costume and something heavy fell to the floor. It was the chunk of black stuff that was curently encasing Tuscon. I completely forgot I had this in my pocket. I should take this to Aries in case he didn't get enough samples. As she picked it up, she sensed the same strange energy that had intrigued her about it in the first place. It felt as if it were alive somehow - or at least a part of something alive. In fact, it was definately a piece of something rather than the whole, because she could feel a connection between it and ... she did a quick mental calculation ... in the direction of Tucson, of course. It wants to be back with the rest of the wall, I guess.

Then she felt the other thread. It was weaker, but closer, almost as if it were close by, maybe even inside the base. Jane felt a moment of alarm, then realized it probably just meant that Aries had brought samples back with him. Well, I feel silly. She started to follow the pull through the hallways. This way I know I won't get lost fininding the lab.

She found herself stopping ... outside Warp's office? The doors slid open automatically, revealing Warp staring at some paperwork. "Jane. What can I do for you?"

"I, um," Jane turned her hand so he couldn't see the chuck of black stone in her hand. "I ..." I just followed the trail of a piece of the wall you swear you have nothing to do with and it's pointing right at you. "Did you know that your eyes keep changing color?" she blurted.

Warp looked a little uncomfortable. "It's a side effect of this Rift thing. Its nothing serious."

"Oh. Well then, um, I took a wrong turn but I think I have my bearings now. Sorrytohavebotheredyoubye." Jane stepped back and let the doors close, taking off down the hallway at a fast stride.

Warp swore that he had nothing to do with that wall. He even got angry everytime anybody mentioned it. Why would he lie? Is he so defensive because he has something to hide? She brushed past Kyria in the hall, barely noticing the cleric's presence.

She turned into the lab. "Michael," she said, plunking the rock onto the tabletop. "What is this stuff?"





Title of Post: Off-Guard
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall

Comments:

"Well, there's no doubt about it," said Kyria, mystic energy wisping visibly from her fingertips as she took them from the side of Warp's face. "You're definitely supercharged. I haven't seen power like this since--it's been a really long time. And as I suspected, the memory read is showing a lot of fluctuation in your power supply, with a sudden spike just before you passed out in Tucson. I think that black Warpite jacked you up to an unstable energy level, and you're having trouble controlling or modulating it. It explains why you haven't been feeling the usual amount of exertion from your warps, it explains why you overshot the island, and it explains why you tapped enough power to short your own system out back there with the A-bomb."

"It was actually a Russian warhead," said Warp. "That's more like, the equivalent of thirty A-bombs."

"No nukes is good nukes, I always say." Kyria stood up. "You figure you and I take the thieves and scientists to snoop around the Ravagers' place and track down the A-warhead, and Roger and Jane take the ass-kickers through the rift?"

"I'd been hoping you could take charge of the group I wasn't with."

"I hear you," she said, "but right now the one who needs a cleric most is Marc. Energy Erin is new at this too, but she absorbs everything but direct physical attacks, and Roger ought to be able to intercept those. Marc's susceptible to everything, and I'm his best protection. Once I get sanctuary on him no one can target him and he can distort energy patterns behind the scenes. He's safer and more useful when I'm around." She paused. "It's also entirely possible you might suffer another power spike, and there ought to be somebody there who can cover for you while you're unconscious."

Warp nodded. "All right, then," he said wearily, as if he hadn't slept much at all.

She paused in the doorframe, her reflective eyes twinkling. "Hey, do I have to do your lines for you too? Is that the only reason?"

"What? Reason for what?"

"Is that the only reason I want to go with you?"

"I--how should I know? Is it?"

"I don't know, that's your side of the conversation now. Keep me posted. I'm curious." She grinned at him as the automatic door slid shut between them.





Title of Post: One Last Entry
Author: Sylvia A. Rudy
Characters: Deathshrike
Storyline: Nemesis

Comments:
The door swung open and a silver haired gentleman in a conservative business suit walked in. He glanced around the room at Nemesis. He walked over to Edith. "You must be Pantheon," he said, and I suppose this" he waved at the assemblage, "is what answered your ad?" He had the resigned tone of a man used to having to make do with inferior materials.

"Yeah ... and you," she answered calmly. Either he was baiting her or he was just a natural jerk, and the wisdom of Athena told her that either way, there was no point in responding.

"I suppose they'll do."

"And you are ..."

"Dr. Jacob Shrike"

Edith sighed. "Doesn't anybody use codenames anymore?"

"Very well, if it satisfies your need for melodrama ..." He brought a walking stick out of nowhere and slammed it nto the ground, causing a deafening roar of thunder.

"Hey, Ow, Jeez!" exclaimed Flat Stanley. "Do you haveta blow out everybody's eardrums?"

The man stood there in vaguely occult looking robes. "... then you may call me Deathshrike!"

Pantheon thought she remembered him now. "Hey, aren't you the guy who was doing genetic experiments and xterminated two thirds the population of a small European country?"

"I improved it."

"But, man, like, I saw pictures of that," said Toshi, "there's, like, no people left."

"Precisely," Deathshrike explained. "I eliminated the inferior element that was dragging the country down. Those that remained are the fit, the superior. Unfortunately, even those improved people had been so brainwashed by the masses of the unworthy that they failed to grasp the gift I had given them. Ingrates!"

"Uh, right, man." Yoshi had a feeling that just following this guy around could rack up the people he could not-save.

Edith decided to draw this back to order. "Ok," she said, looking over the checklist, "That covers code name, motivation, and ... what were your powers again?"

"I command the mystical science of a long forgotten race so profound you can only comprehend it as magic -"

"Right. Supermage. Gotcha."

"Say," said Phil, "Isn't a shrike a kind of small brown bird?"

"You got a problem with that?"




Title of Post: Bowser
Author: Tom Coleman
Characters: Mario, Luigi, Mushroom Princess, Yoshi, Toadstool, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Koopa
Storyline: Super Enigma 64

Comments:
"I did it! I won! I won! Hah, Kid! I knew that I could Master Bowser and defeat you in Mario Kart 64!" Roger turned to gloat at Kid Sidekick.

"Aw, Damn! He's asleep, no wonder it seemed to easy."

Roger looked around, and realized everyone else had gone off in different directions. Glancing from side to side, Roger picked up the sleeping Kid and took him to an unclaimed bedroom. "Night, Kid. I might as well go and get some rest myself. Hopefully I'll make it back before something comes up."

Roger walked to the door and turned out the light. He muttered quietly, "I woulda had ya that game anyway."





Title of Post: Nemesis Roll Call
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Pantheon, Flat Stanley
Storyline: Nemesis: The Gathering

Comments:

Edith scrawled some notes into her Palm Pilot. Overload, for all her haughty bearing, was just what Nemesis was going to need... a real wild card, something that no heroes would be able to predict.
"Overload," she typed, "Pantheon, Ninja, Nightmare, FS." She watched as the Pilot interpreted her handwriting, shaking her head sadly. The first thing they needed to steal was a decent computer system. No good gang of criminals got very far without decent hardware.
Still--she looked at her watch--there was still an hour left from the advertisement. Maybe with any luck they would get a bruiser, or even a weaponeer.
After all, patience was a virtue.





Title of Post: Early Mid-Life Crisis
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp
Storyline: Team Dynamics

Comments:

Warp watched the crew down in the rec room, snacking and playing Nintendo. He smiled thinly.
Since when did I become the grown-up? he wondered. It seemed only weeks ago when Triad and Proton were wandering around the island, snapping at his childish pranks. Even Bunny had been more the team leader than he, last time. Now here he was watching a team of fresh recruits and feeling old.
I'm turning thirty this year, he thought to himself. I shouldn't feel this old, though.
Kyria would have laughed it off, he knew... she was by far the oldest team member, she would find a mere thirty years to be ridiculous to worry about.
Still, Warp had somehow become the responsible one. The last two years of jaunting carefree through space and running the Janus scam on Ataniel hadn't prepared him for being the only real veteran trying to drag a new heroic age into being, kicking and screaming. Now, not only did he have Tessa haunting him, reminding him of his responsibilities, but he also had a whole team looking up to him, waiting for his lead.
I want to be the wacky one, he thought, looking at S-Guy and Erin going head to head.
He remembered ten years ago, when he had lobbied to captain the USS Infinity on its space journey. They had laughed at him then. A nineteen year old running a starship? Never.
Now here he was, the father figure, training a new generation of superheroes. Maybe even preparing his successors. Finding a white hair in his head didn't help, either.
"I need to get some really loud music," he said to himself, "and crank one of those bikes up to full throttle."
But first he had some paperwork to get done.


- 03/16/98 00:53:03
Title of Post: Opposite Sides of the Same Coin
Author: Jonah S Cohen
Characters: Enigma & Nemesis
Storyline: Team-Building Exercises

Comments:
"Hi, Ene--- uh, Erin!"

"Hi, S-Guy. You look different without the costume."

"Well, that's the whole point of the secret identity thing. You can call me Steve when I'm in civilian guise."

"The S is for Steve???"

"Boy, have I heard that a lot lately! Anyhow, I just wanted to see how you were, y'know, doing. And stuff."

"I'm fine, I guess."

"I was just a little worried, since everybody's been way tense since Tucson. So I thought of the perfect thing to solve the problem."

"That being?"

"Duh! Food! Jane and Marc and I picked up stuff for a BBQ. Roger's making some kind of salady thing, and I even got a bottle of the extra hot Chernobyl Brand sauce. Plus something absolutely guarenteed to lift anyone's spirits." She looked at him and he g ve her the big, hero smile. "Trust me!"
* * * *

With amazing speed and agility, he grabbed his opponent by the neck and yanked. The head came off and blood fountained all over the place, then his enemy fell lifeless to the ground. Ninja raised his arms and gave a triumphant shout of "Hiiiyah!"

"You ARE the awesomest ever!" Stanley said, admiringly.

"Oh, he just spends way too much time playing Nintendo," Amy said. "My turn!"
* * * *

"Look out for that boulder!"

"Oh no! I'm falling into the lava!"

"Hah - eat banana peel!"

"Damnit, Toadstool just doesn't corner worth crap."

"You were right, Steve. This game is cool. Too bad someone keeps winning all the time." All of Enigma turned towards the offender.

"And still champion!" Kid Sidekick said proudly.

- 03/15/98 18:15:18
Title of Post: Don't Forget Your Red Shirt, Mr. Reilly
Author: Eric Gasior
Characters: Marc
Storyline: Recruitment Drive

Comments:
Marc didn't turn around when Aries entered the library. It was easy for him to spot the scientist with a high metabolism even with his back turned.

"Hi Aries." "An encrypted message came in for you on the group email account. We don't have individual accounts yet. Strange thing is that there's no indication of which decrytion key to use."

Marc went to nearest computer console and logged in. "I think I know which one to use."

Marc frowned when he read the message.

To: Marc Reilly
From: Executive Office, U.N.D.I.N.E
Top Secret, Eyes Only
Effective immediately you are restored to active duty, with your previous rank on lieutennant, junior grade. You are assigned to duty with Engima until otherwise instructed.

Furthermore you are ordered not to discuss the terrorist incident that you were invovled with in Connecticut with others not cleared for that information. At this time no other member of Enigma has such clearance.
Marc turned to Aries ansd said, "Damn. I've been drafted."





Title of Post: Reactions To Kaitlin
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Amy, Toshi, Stanley
Storyline: Nemesis

Comments:

"You were Delta Phi?" said Amy. "I was Delta Phi."

"I was ROTC," offered Toshi.

Flat Stanley was rather openly gaping at the Ass of Power the new superheroine had brought in with her. I think I'm really going to like being a supervillain.





Title of Post: In The Morning
Author: Laura Redish and Kristin L'Kar Andersen
Characters: Kyria Vesper and Energy Erin
Storyline: Enigma: Save Vs. Comfort, Y'All

Comments:

Energy Erin was sitting in the computer room, looking numbly at a sheaf of printouts. "Foxfire?" said Kyria. "Do you want some breakfast?"

Erin shook her head, biting her lip a little. Kyria made a small internal sigh. "Foxfire?" she said gently, sitting next to her. "What's wrong?"

"Lichen," she said, muffled.

"That's 'liches'," corrected Kyria. "And don't worry, I can turn them."

"No, I mean lichen." She handed the papers to Kyria and put her face in her hands. Kyria looked at it. It seemed like a DNA analysis. "Aries ran some tests on my blood. I have mutant lukinesis genes. I'm closer to lichen than I am to a human being."

Kyria paused. "I know how unexpected life can be," she said, and squeezed her arm. "I still remember how stunned I was--one morning I was a normal person, and the next morning, well. My whole conception of who I was, of what a person was, was just turned upside down. But there was nowhere to go but on."

"At least you're human," said Erin.

Kyria paused. "Well," she said, softly, "not really, actually. I'm, ah, I'm a demon, Foxfire."

Energy Erin took her arm back. "You're WHAT?"

"A demon," said Kyria, quietly. "When I was twenty-four, I was entered by a demon who was fleeing--another place. We've been together ever since. It's kind of a symbiotic thing."

"So you--" Energy Erin blinked a few times. "You're possessed by a demon."

"Something like that," said Kyria.

"So what does that mean," she said, carefully, "being a demon, as opposed to being human?"

"I'm a different kind of life form. I don't sleep. Alcohol doesn't affect me. I can't be mentally controlled..." She paused. "I don't eat babies or anything, if that's what you're asking.

"Well, thank GOD!" said Erin, a little shakily. "I couldn't stay here if my teammates were eating babies!"

"I understand if this upsets you, Foxfire. It's a very normal reaction. I--suggest you talk it over with Warp, really. He's known me a long time, and he can vouch for me. I imagine it's not very reassuring to hear me tell you I'm a good person and you can trust me." She smiled gently.

Erin looked down at her hand, flushing a little. "I'm--sorry. It's not very kind of me, I know--"

Kyria waved it off. "It's not like I told you I was Irish and you freaked on me, Foxfire. 'Demon' is something you should have a negative reaction to. I'm just, I just wanted you to know that there are worse things you could be resembling than lichen."

"Damn," she sighed. "I guess this is another thing not to tell my grandma. Along with the fact that the stuff that makes me glow is called luciferin."

"That's just because Lucifer is Tob--Latin for Light-Bringer," objected Kyria.

"She won't care."

"Tell her you're like a firefly. That's nice and harmless-sounding."

"That might work." Erin rubbed her forehead. "My brothers will chase me with Mason jars."

"You're faster than they are," grinned Kyria.

"Dammit, I am."





Title of Post: Living Well is the Best Revenge
Author: Jonah "S is for Shopping!" Cohen
Characters: S-Guy, Gladiatrix, Marc Reilly + introducing...
Storyline: Nemesis

Comments:
Someone knocked on her door. "Come in," Gladiatrix said. She didn't recognize the man at first, then realized it was S-Guy. He still wore the flannel shirt and combat boots, but had traded the black spandex for blue jeans, and was sans cape and mask. He actually looked better out of costume, not that this was saying much.

"Hi, Gladiatrix. Are you busy? I need some help with a very important mission to prepare for our upcoming ones."

"Sure. What's up?"

"The all-important picking up of supplies! I need help carrying everything we're gonna need. Marc's coming to help too - plus, I'm not exactly sure what some of this equipment he wants IS," S-Guy said, studying a list. "Anyway, he asked that we go incognito and all."

"Alright, you can call me Jane, then."

"Steve. Pleased to meet ya!"

"The S stands for Steve?"

"It can."

"Hi guys," Marc said, poking his head in. "Are we ready to go?"

"Yup. But since the boss is busy, we'll have to take... THE FLYING MOTORCYCLES!!!!"

"Does he always shout like that?"
* * * *

"Warp will be pleased - this time it really is just a small fender bender."

"If you say so," Jane said. "What else do we have on the list?"

"Just groceries and stuff. Oh, and Aries gave me his own list... Geez, is he really going to eat all this?"

"Hey..." S-Guy said, his voice trailing off. Marc looked to see where his teammate was suddenly staring, then he saw why. Standing outside one of the most expensive restaurants in town was the most gorgeous woman he'd ever seen. She was wearing an armani business suit with a skirt that made Melrose Place look downright Puritanical. She was carrying a leather briefcase that looked more expensive than General Bradshaw's, and was talking into a state of the art digital cell-phone. Marc wasn't sure where to look first, her legs, her chest or her face, immaculately touched with make-up and covered with hair like sunshine. He was stunned when S-Guy said "I know her!"

The woman wrapped up her call, and had just put the phone away when she was startled to see the man in jeans and flannel standing next to her. Marc wondered if she was going to call a cop.

"Kaitlin? Kaitlin Marsh? Wow, it's been years."

"Do I know you," the woman said, regarding S-Guy as though he were mold on the bathroom grouting.

"It's me, Steve Mensch. We were lab partners in high school chemistry?"

"Ah, yes," she said, dreading the fact that she did indeed remember.

"Hey, how've you been?"

"Quite well."

"Hope you haven't had any bunsen burner accident like that one Howie did when he---"

"Yes, well, my appointment is here," she said frostily. A limo had indeed pulled up. "Pleasure seeing you again, Stu."

"That's Steve," he said, after the car had pulled away.
* * * *

"Ex-flame of yours?"

"Nah, nothing like that," S-Guy said. Enigma was spread throughout the kitchen, eating or making lunch. "She was just this girl I got partnered with in chemistry in high school. I guess I had kind of a crush on her back then. I mean, well, you saw what s e looks like."

"They were probably fake," Gladiatrix tried to offer helpfully.

"Not unless she got the surgery when she was 13. She was one of, you know, the Popular Crowd." Several people nodded gravely. "They were the kids who were rich and good looking and condescending, and everybody knew they were shallow and most of them were erks, but everybody still wanted to be like them."

"That's teenagers for you."

"Yeah. I guess I always hoped that kids like that would end up working at McDonald's, or their looks would go downhill or something. Guess that doesn't always happen."

"The Popular Crowd can go fuck themselves," Kyria Vesper said, reaching back for a bit of Shalini Kyber. "Besides, it's not like our lives are affected by the Kaitlin Marshes of the world anymore."

"You're right," S-Guy said, smiling. "Who cares? Besides, the Superhero Crowd is much cooler." He raised his bottle of IBC and everyone clinked.
* * * *

Power I wanted, power I got, Pantheon thought, smiling. "I'm very impressed," she said. "Welcome to Nemesis."

Kaitlin Marsh, aka Overload, smiled back. "It's good to be here."


Go on to Enigma Archive 6



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