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The Book of Ataniel

Enigma Archives (August 1998)

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

Title of Post: Teamwork
Author: Eric Gasior
Characters: Maggie and Evelyn
Storyline: The Wall


Enigma gathered in the kitchen for lunch. Evelyn had arrived early and seemed to be checking out the intercom system.

"There you are," her companion said, "you should be working with Aries in the lab."

"I'm confident he can handle the analysis of the Rift material on his own." Her vaguely British accent was strained by her effort to sound unconcerned.

"Maybe, but you know it would more quickly if you helped. And besides..." Maggie let her voice trail off.

"Besides nothing!"

Maggie smiled an amused smile and let the scientist go back to her distraction. She was talking to Kyria when Rog entered the room.

"Are you Roger? I'm Maggie. I'll be going with your team to the Tucson Rift." She then grabbed and kissed him. "I'm looking forward to it."

Title of Post: Answers, or More Questions?
Author: Evan Haag
Characters: Aries, Gladiatrix
Storyline: The Wall

Aries was already reaching for a sample dish when Gladiatrix came in the room. As she showed him the black rock and asked him what it was, he turned and said, "Put it on this. Do you want the short answer or the long one?"

"I probably want the long one. Can you give it to me?"

He grimaced. "Not really. The short answer I think you already know: it's a piece of the wall that's covering Tucson. I wasn't able to find any significant pieces of it lying around; I'm glad someone was able to find something that I can work with. As to the long answer, well..."

Gladiatrix leaned forward, expectantly. "Well, what?!"

"Well, it bears a superficial and functional resemblance to the energy that Warp taps into when he uses his power. I've already begun to compare the readouts I got from Evelyn's computer with the recorded data on Warp's power, and so far the mainframe has matched them up. Not exactly, of course, but close enough."

"So this has something to do with Warp, is that what you're saying?" Gladiatrix looked a bit worried at that possibility.

"No, not with Warp." He took his reading glasses off and laid them on the desk. "You see, while I was getting readings from the wall, I noticed something that I don't think anyone else was able to notice. This black Warpite, for lack of a better name, has an audible element to it. I can hear what is either old, rusty machinery, or..." Aries paused and rubbed his eyes. "Or screaming."

Gladiatrix looked even more worried. "Warp's power makes a noise, too, doesn't it?"

"Not really. The noise his power makes is nothing more than air molecules shifting and vibrating around the area affected by his power. The power itself doesn't generate a particular noise. This black Warpite, however, does."

"And it sounds like screaming?"

Aries nodded ruefully. "Yeah, sort of. I don't know what to make of that, though. I just don't get it."

Title of Post: Toshi As Kantian
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Toshi, Amy
Storyline: Nemesis


"Pleased to meet you," said Amy, shaking Phil's hand.

"Dude," said Toshi, and made a Satanic sign at the supervillain spy with his left hand without looking up from the TV. "Hey, look, Amy, two guys were shot over on 18th Street, not far from our apartment. Figure I could have stopped that?"

"No," said Amy.

"I bet I could have if I hadn't come here. I move pretty fucking fast."


"Why does it matter?" said Stanley.

"Don't ask," said Amy.

"If I could use my superpowers to save somebody's life and I don't do it, it counts as a kill." He rooted in his pants pocket for his mini-notebook. "Inaction as action and all that."

"Don't even get him started," said Amy. "He was a philosophy major or something."

Title of Post: Priorities
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: Tessaract


Kyria turned up the dimmer in the trophy room. "Warp?" The hero was sitting by himself, holding a familiar-looking leather jacket with something resembling a 7 on its back. He didn't respond. She crossed to him quickly and grasped his shoulder. "Warp!" He turned his head. His eyes were brimming. "What are we going to do about this," she said softly, putting her arm the rest of the way around his shoulders.

"How did you know," he whispered.

"I didn't. I'd been going to give you a status report. Tell me what's going on with her and then tell me what needs to be done."

"If I knew that, I--" Warp held the bridge of his nose. "Something's--happened to her. I found her at the center of the universe, destroying it."

"I know that part."

"You do?"

"Jack Paris was a good friend of Tim's. What's happening here?"

"I'm hearing her voice," Warp confessed. "At night. Last night it was free-floating. Tonight she called me on the phone. I couldn't trace it."

Kyria slung her backpack off her shoulder and shuffled in it for her crystal ball. "Let me see what I can do."

"What were you going to report about?"

"I checked the new people." She paused slightly. "And Fallout. None of them are magic-resistant, and none of them are evil." She moved her fingers over the crystal ball. "Also, Aries was hearing strange moaning noises coming from the Wall around Tucson, and as far as AOL knows there never was an account for "Rift". Which is weird, because AOL has an account for just about every conceivable word in the English language. And Marc and Energy Erin seem to be easing into the superhero thing a little better." She shook her head and put the ball back. "She's not on Ansalia."

"Fuck," whispered Warp.

"We'll just have to broaden our search."

"I thought you didn't want to leave Ansalia."

"This is personal," said Kyria, and squeezed Warp's shoulder.

Title of Post: And Then There Were Five...
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Pantheon, Flat Stanley
Storyline: Nemeis: The Gathering


Pantheon sighed. A supervillain named Phil wasn't exactly the "striking terror" market she was looking for, but it fit for a covert operative like Phil promised to be. She was already calling upon the trickery of Apollo to modulate her personality enough to, hopefully, elude his personality radar. Still, without the wisdom of Athena, it might not work.
Stanley had already introduced himself to Phil.
"I'm using my real name, too!" Stanley said. "But... with a twist, to make it supervillainy."
"I didn't say it was my real name," Phil said, deadpan.
"We're doing so well! Five of us now, and only seven members of Enigma... we're almost there!"
Pantheon sighed.
They would need a lot more power than this.

Title of Post: Not Who You Would Have Expected...
Author: Evan Haag
Characters: Pantheon, the new recruit
Storyline: Nemesis

Edith Graves had just shown her two new teammates into the other room, where they were busy searching through catalogs of super-apparel. As she closed the door and turned around, she saw a rather ordinary man sitting on the other side of her desk, reading last month's Sports Illustrated. His feet were propped lazily up on the desk, and he had a lollipop in his mouth.

She hadn't heard him come in. That meant he was either an applicant...or trouble.

"Excuse me, sir. I didn't hear you enter. You are...?" She extended one hand in greeting.

"Most people don't, don't sweat it. My name isn't important; fact is, I don't even use it anymore. What is important is that you are hiring, and I'm available." He stood up and shook her hand politely, then put his Reeboks back up on the desk.

"I'll have to call you something. And I'll need to know your qualifications. Otherwise you are wasting both our times."

The newcomer nodded lazily, and said, "Okay, qualifications, I got those. Have you ever heard of photographic memories and photographic reflexes?"

"Of course. The first is fairly well known even to ordinary people. The second is a less common ability usually found in star athletes, high-ranking martial artists, and stuntmen. As I recall, it allows a person to learn a physical skill or action just by watching it. Am I correct?"

"Basically, yeah. Well, what I have is a photographic personality."

She looked at him severely, waiting for his inevitable explanation.

"Okay, since you seem so eager to find out what that is, I'll tell you. Give me twenty minutes to an hour to observe an individual, and I can mimic them exactly. Give me enough background data on them, and I can fill in the blanks in just about any conversation. I also have enough photographic memory and reflexes to keep my cover secure. In addition to all that, I have extensive training in espionage and covert operations. Plus, I've seen every single Jack Nicholson movie at least four times."

Pantheon arched her eyebrows, slightly incredulous. "Is that so? And of what use do you think that will be to us?"

He smiled goofily, and said, "I also happen to be one of the best friends of one of the new members of Enigma. Or so he thinks."

She smiled for the first time. "Which one?"

"Marc Reilly."

Pantheon considered this, but only for a moment. She didn't need the wisdom of Athena to tell her that this man could be useful. "You're hired, Mister...?"

"Just call me Phil."

Title of Post: A Disturbing Sound
Author: Evan Haag
Characters: Aries, Kyria
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Aries just sat and stuffed his face while the rest of the group talked. He had burned up a lot of energy, not that the rest of the group knew. While they had been busy fighting the Ravagers, he had been racing around the inside of the Wall, getting readings from various points and looking out for any more signs of trouble.

I hope my readings give me something to work with. Something that can help explain what I heard while I was out there alone. Maybe I should ask Kyria about this; she said the wall was made of the same sort of energy that Warp uses when he opens gates.

As the group was getting up to leave the bistro, Aries drew Kyria aside and said, "Um, Kyria? I have to ask you something before I start working on these readings."

"Sure, shoot."

"Does the energy that Warp taps into have any sort of...sentience to it? I know it sounds crazy, but I need to know."

"It doesn't sound that crazy." She stopped to think for a second, then said. "I don't think that Warp's power is sentient, not on its own. The only sentience I've ever seen behind it is Warp."

Aries scratched the base of his horn, then said, "Well, then, either I'm getting combat fatigue, or this 'Black Warpite' or whatever it is is something other than what Warp uses."

Kyria looked at him thoughtfully, and said, "Why? Did you find something?"

"Yeah, I think so. When I was getting readings, I could swear I heard the wall...well, to be honest, I thought it was moaning in pain."

Title of Post: Whatever Happened To...
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp
Storyline: Croissant Break and Recruitment Drive


Warp shrugged. "Boy, for someone who doesn't actually sleep, you really like to push for it."
"Things aren't going anywhere while we rest," Kyria said.
"Man, you've got to get more into this," Warp grinned. "Okay, then... this time, Enigma HQ."
Warp focused, longer than usual, Kyria thought. A shimmering blue warp opened, and the team leader stuck his head inside.
"Yup! Enigma Island!" he called, stepping the rest of the way in. "Head through any time, the bill's taken care of!"

Some time later, Warp sat in his room, entering the logs for the day's business. He filled out the appropriate paperwork for the new members, and ordered their ID cards. He was glad to have Gladiatrix with them... her mother had been a first-rate heroine. Fred would do okay, if they could get him away from that damn car every now and then. Pulsar and Nova were still wild cards, but he felt good about them, and his hunches were usually right. Fantasma, on the other hand...
Warp sighed.
Closing up the computer, Warp took off his equipment, spend a few minutes on his evening calisthenics, and lay down in bed with the new Katherine Neville novel.
The phone rang.
Warp picked up the headset from his bedside table, the phone line clicking on.
"Warp," he said.
"Where am I?" came an eerily faint voice from the other end of the phone. "It's so dark here."
"Tessa?" Warp cried.
"They're coming... got to go..."
The line clicked and became a dial tone.
"Fuck," Warp said. The system hadn't even had time to track the call.
Warp got back up. He wouldn't be sleeping tonight. He headed out of his room and into the trophy room, where Tessa's jacket still hung.
There he sat, in the dark, wondering if all the choices he had ever made were wrong.

Title of Post: Says the Daughter Who's Going to Get Her Butt Tanned
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Characters: Foxfire (NOT Energy Erin, DAMNIT!)
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive

Erin pushed away her untouched plate of cheese and pastries. "I'll need to head back to headquarters at some point, at least. I have an appointment in Chicago." She looked bewildered for a moment. "What day is it, anyway? Sunday or Monday?"
"It's Sunday night here," Kyria told her, with a little smile.
"What time for Milwaukee?"
"I think it's about... five PM on Sunday there."
"Okay," Erin sighed. "They make you wait 48 hours before filing a Missing Persons report, right?"
"That's about right," Aries remarked, studying his notes. "I hear in New York it's 72 hours, but everyone goes missing there."
"Good, I think I'll just make it," she murmured.
"Your family's going to call the police if you're late?" S-Guy said, much astonished. "Boy, they don't understand the first thing about the superhero life, do they?"
"That's a pretty fair estimate, yep," Erin said, mouth twitching. She quickly turned to look at Jacinta and Manstalker. "Is the Tucson group going back right away? Because I won't be much help with a computer search, and I know I'm not going to be any use under Hudson Bay." Erin grinned ruefully. "You have the wrong MacPherson for water stuff."

Title of Post: Says The Cleric
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Kyria Vesper
Storyline: The Wall: Splitting Up


"I should go with whichever team is most likely to need a little extra protection," said Kyria. "Tucson is probably the most dangerous destination, but Manstalker is least likely to need my help."

"Rog. Call me Rog when I'm off-duty."

"Sorry, Rog. Anyway, I'm more worried about Marc and Foxfire. Everyone else seems to be able to handle damage pretty well, but each of them has gone down once already." She paused. "Since your powers are fluctuating, Warp, I'd also like to stay with you if it's possible. You've already passed out once, and it could happen again."

"I'm going back to Tucson," announced Jacinta.

Kyria drummed her fingers on the table. "And," she said, "I think that we should spend the night on the island before we split up." Kyria didn't like splitting up at all, but she didn't want to belabor the point. "We have several things to investigate before we head out, and that's what headquarters are for. Besides, everyone's got temporal jetlag but you and me."

"How do you know about temporal jetlag?" Evelyn demanded.

"And Evelyn," Kyria corrected herself. "Anyway, as my mother always used to say, you kick ass better on a good night's sleep."

"Which mother was that?" said Warp.

"Eren Messala's, but that doesn't matter. I suggest we go back to the island, Aries can start his analysis, Marc can trace Rift's email account, Warp can see what he can find out about that warhead, and I'll see if I can get a bead on what's wrong with Warp. Whatever other investigative things I'm forgetting. We can sleep on it, and then we can send our teams out in the morning. Does that fly with you, or did you really want to finish this tonight?"

Title of Post: Our Next Course Of Action
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Warp, Manstalker
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive


Warp ignored Jacinta.
"Well, then," he said, "Good to have you all... when we get back to Enigma Island, I'll get you membership cards and we'll fill out the paperwork for your stipend."
"We get a stipend?" Fred Fiesta asked. "Why didn't I join you guys long ago?"
"Not enough garage space," Fred replied to himself deadpan.
"Anyway," Warp said, "we need to make some decisions about what we're going to do now. Aries, how soon can you get us the results on your readings about that rift?"
"I don't know," Aries said. "I'm not Scotty. I'll get it when I get it, I guess."
"What about Tucson?" Jacinta demanded.
"Well, it's certainly a dangerous place right now, but we've at least breached the wall... I suggest we send a team back in there to see what they can round up first hand by going into the rift."
"Are you sure that's wise?" Marc asked Warp.
"No, which is why I think that team should be comprised of our tougher members."
"Why split up at all?" Kyria asked. "Splitting the party isn't usually a good idea."
"Because we've got two other leads to follow. The Ravagers didn't come through the wall... they came through the rift. Despite what they said, I think they might be involved. Their old hideout is under Hudson Bay... I think some of us should check that out."
"And the other lead?" Manstalker asked.
"The Russian warhead. We can run it through our system to see when it fell through the cracks... and where. It's not like those things grow on trees, you know."
Kyria shrugged. "I just hope we don't end up with a whole bunch of unrelated solo sessions," she said.
"No way," Warp said, grinning. "It'll be like the old JLA... we'll even use our individual logos on each chapter!"
"I'll take Tuscon," Rog said. "This time I'll get through that thing."
"Which team needs a car?" Fred Fiesta asked.
"Okay," Warp said. "Anyone have any team preferences?"

Title of Post: Some People Worry About Changes Of Clothes Less Than Others
Author: Laura Redish
Characters: Jacinta Thigpen
Storyline: The Wall: Croissant Break


Jacinta, who had finished her croissant, was shaking her rumpled, shiny hair out with one hand and rummaging around in her faded army duffel with the other. She emptied a battered laptop on the table, and then a box of condoms, a rollerblade, some ammo, a tangle of colorful underwear, a Spanish-language version of "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being", and, finally, a T-shirt. "I've never seen so much rain," she muttered, and peeled her tank top off. She wasn't wearing a bra. "Damn El Nino."

"Uh," said Evelyn. "We're, ah, we're out in public, Fantasma."

"Yeah?" she said, pulling the T-shirt over her head. GO DEVELOP HELL, it said. "We're in France."

"We're not on the beach, we're in an expensive bistro."

"Yeah, whatever." She hitched her wet curls out of the back of her shirt and started stuffing her belongings back into the duffel.

Title of Post: The Ugly American
Author: Jonah S Cohen
Characters: S-Guy, some frogs
Storyline: Croissant Break

S-Guy turned to a waiter who was passing by and called out: "Uh, pardonay moi? Would you happen to have any grey poupon?"

The waiter looked like he wated to beat the hero over the head with a loaf of french bread. "Un moment... imbecile!" he muttered.

"What a nice country!" S-Guy said cheerily. "Hard to believe this is the home of Euro Disney." Several locals cringed visibly at the name.

Title of Post: Roll Call, Because It's Good To Do That Every Now And Then
Author: Douglass Barre
Characters: Enigma, Aviator
Storyline: Croissant Break and Membership Drive


"Sir, we've just got an update on the new Enigma. It seems that they're going for a loose Type B team roster, rather than the Type A we had previously suspected."
"Interesting," the man named Aviator said. "Warp's not as good with a Type B team. Too many directions. He'll need a good deputy leader. Any suspicions?"
"Well, it won't be Manstalker... they've got a history. Right now, the woman that we can't identify seems to be his most likely choice."
"If the new charter puts the decision in his hands," Aviator said. "So give me the full rundown."
"Warp, naturally. The unidentified woman, Kyria Vesper, apparently a sorceress of some sort. We're, ah, still investigating her."
"Good. I hate loose ends," Aviator muttered. He suspected that she might be a friend of Warp's from another dimension, but didn't want his lieutenant to know the extent of his surveillance.
"Manstalker is the only other member from the previous groups. Our latest report also shows that Fred Fiesta and Fallout, two Enigma allies, have joined."
"Did you get IDs on the new members?" Aviator asked.
"Yes, sir. Our government woman sent us codenames and preliminary files. The one with the ram's head is Aries, and we just got an address on him. The woman they picked up in Milwaukee is apparently..." The agent blinked at the name. "Energy Erin. And the man is just listed as Marc. The code names aren't apparently their first priority this time around, sir. One of them is even called S-Guy."
Aviator nodded. "Sounds like Warp's not in as complete control as he'd like. Bad leadership."
"The new members, since Tucson, are Fantasma, retired member from the Rangers... they were a--"
"I know who they were," Aviator snapped. "Go on."
"There also seems to be a new Gladiatrix. We're still waiting for inside info on who she really is. The other two women are apparently a team called Pulsar and Nova but we don't have any info on them. Finally, the, uh, Class IV being s called Kid Sidekick"
Aviator sighed. "Why is it always the Class IVs who don't take this business seriously?"
"Anyway, that's the information we have as of their stop in Paris. Our person inside didn't have a long time to leak that to us. Also, Warp is apparently making noise about hiring a support staff. We might want to to get some people placed there, as well. You know how unreliable superheroes can be."
"Not this one," Aviator said. "I trust our little cuckoo implicitly."
"We're running the data on the Tucson conflict now, sir. We should have more information about who Enigma is up against by tomorrow."
"Keep me up to date," Aviator said. "And send in the head of TechSec. I'm moving things up to Step Two."

Go on to Enigma Archive 7

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