Exiles #2 – Copperhead

And now for the other half of Nightwing Restorations/Daughters of the Dragon/the core of the All Cleavage Version of Heroes for Hire in my Serpent Society Alt Universe, Colleen Wing.  I wonder if those words have ever been strung together in a sentence…

Did anyone out there know that Colleen Wing is Asian?  I didn’t.  The reddish brown hair and green eyes threw me.  This one isn’t as detailed.  I didn’t get as much inspiration as with my Bushmaster.  And I kind of took an easy out by making her related to the most famous Japanese family of all in the Marvel Universe.

Copperhead

Colleen Wing

Fighting:        EX

Agility:          EX

Strength:      GD

Endurance:  EX

Reason:         GD

Intuition:       RM

Psyche:          GD

 

Health:          70

Karma:          60

Resources:     GD

Popularity:   10

 

Known Powers:

 

Viper Sting: Copperhead employs a pistol that can fire a burst of Remarkable electrical Energy damage or a barrage of three blasts of Good Energy damage. Copperhead receives a +2 CS for each blast when firing a burst of three.

 

Body Armor: Copperhead’s metallic costume provides her with Excellent Body Armor against physical and electrical attacks.

 

Katana: Copperhead wields a katana, a traditional Japanese samurai long sword. The weapon does Excellent Edged Attack damage. Wing has Incredible ability with this weapon as well as with other traditional samurai weapons, such as the dai-kyu (long bow).

 

Talents: Wing has Martial Arts A and E. She has Excellent Reason as a Detective. She also has Exellent knowledge of the Occult and Oriental mysticism.

 

Contacts: Sisters of the Serpent

 

Background: Despite her red hair and blue eyes, Colleen Wing is actually more than half Japanese. Her father was Professor Lee Wing, a scholar on Japanese culture and history who is of Japanese descent, and Takio Yashida, a cousin of Mariko Yashida and full blooded Japanese. She was raised in the mountains of Northern Honshu by her grandfather after her mother was assassinated by a rival clan when Colleen was still a child.

 

Her grandfather raised her in the ways of the samurai, teaching her both the ways of honor and weapons with the sole purpose of eventually hunting down and gaining revenge on the people who killed her mother. Calling herself the Viper, she set off on her quest for vengeance when she was barely an adult. Her path lead her to New York and she was almost killed in a shoot out with her target’s bodyguards. Only the intervention of police officer Misty Knight kept her from her quest ending almost before it began.

 

The two became friends as the two women followed different paths to justice. Wing’s quarry managed to stay one step ahead of her for years but finally fled back to Japan. The leaders of the Yashida clan decided to help ensure her success and partnered her with the Silver Samurai. Together, the two made short work of the assassin.

 

Left with her life’s goal completed well before she was 30, Wing had to re-evaluate her life. After months of meditation, she decided to use her skills to better the world in general. Since the Viper identity had been taken by another woman who partnered herself with the Silver Samurai, Wing renamed herself “Copperhead,” keeping the snake theme but also acknowledging her red hair.

 

Not one to follow convention, her method of helping the world was rather violent and bloody and involved not a little assassination and actions that could easily be termed “terrorism.” She clashed several times with heroes in her questionable actions but was careful never to harm of kill an innocent.

 

Eventually, the new Viper decided to infiltrate and take over the Serpent Society and recruited Copperhead to assist her. Much to Wing’s surprise, she found an old friend in the Society. Knight and Wing or Bushmaster and Copperhead happily renewed their friendship, including Knight’s friend Rachel Leighton, Diamondback in their trio. The three watched each other’s backs on their missions, more loyal to each other than the Serpent Society as a whole.

 

When Paul Destiny showed up to stage his own coup, he eliminated the Viper, a woman who had Copperhead’s loyalty and attempted to force Diamondback to become his unwilling concubine. Bushmaster, Copperhead and Diamondback along with Asp and Black Mamba rebelled and fled, forming their own group, the Sisters of the Serpent with the express purpose of defying and destroying their former comrades.

 

It was not until the arrival of the Exiles that they managed this and afterwards, the Sisters of the Serpent became agents of the Omniversal Majestrix with Bushmaster and Copperhead even becoming Exiles.

Exiles #1 – Bushmaster

Hang on, Folks. This one’s gonna get rambly.

First, I went to the Texas Wildflower Festival yesterday and had a VIP pass from work.  This got me free food and beer, which was nice but the highlight of the trip was probably Swan Song, a Led Zeppelin cover band.  For those who went to college with me, the lead singer reminded me strangely of Donnie.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, the guitar player was good.  Not Jimmy Page Great, but good.  And that made me think about the difference between good and great.  This guy was hitting all the notes in perfectly acceptable form but it felt like he really had to work at it.  That’s not true with Jimmy Page.  When you listen to a Led Zeppelin song, the guitar seems effortless.  So effortless that you have to think about it to realize that what he’s doing actually is impressive.  I can only imagine how crazy it would be trying to actually do it.

I think the same is true of writing and stories.  A good story makes you feel and think and keeps you entertained.  A great story makes you feel and think and keeps you entertained and is never work.  You just move through it, sometimes without remembering that it is a story.  I think that’s what every author strives for.

So, that was just a side thought that occurred to me and was too big for a tweet.  Now on to our regularly scheduled programming.

One of my dream jobs has been to write a comic book.  In recent years, I’ve focused that to wanting to revive the Exiles series.  But in my version, it wouldn’t all be mutants it would be a mixed bag of heroes serving the Universal Majestrix, you know, the one from the Captain Britain series.  They’d have the same Exiles/Quantum leap function, namely going through different alternate realities cleaning things up.

So, sometimes I think up Exiles and sometimes they obsess me.  This is one that bumped around in my head until I fished her out.

Don’t ask me why, especially since, as I’ve already said, I hate snakes, but I’ve been fascinated by the semi-obscure Serpent Society character Bushmaster since the first time I saw him in the Captain America where he was part of the squad trying to off M.O.D.O.K.  Then again, he kind of looks like a Naga and we’ve already established I like them.

Also don’t ask me why I decided to cross that concept with everyone’s favorite semi-Blaxploitation gone good Marvel Girl Misty Knight.  Maybe it was the cybernetic limbs thing.  Anyway, imagine my serendipitous surprise when I found out Misty Knight and Bushmaster actually had a shared history.  It made writing the rest fairly easy.

Oh, and in my usual word play/pun way, I did consider renaming her “Bushmistress.”  Also, the stats aren’t going to mean much to most folks since they’re from the old version of the Marvel Superheroes game.  Still, you should be able to get a feel for her powers and abilities.

Bushmaster

Misty Knight-McIver

Fighting:        EX

Agility:          EX

Strength:      RM

Endurance:  GD

Reason:         GD

Intuition:       IN

Psyche:          TY

 

Health:          80

Karma:          56

Resources:     GD

Popularity:   20

 

Known Powers:

Bionic Limbs: Bushmaster is a triplegic who has a bionic arm attached to her left shoulder and a 14’ long snakelike tail instead of legs. These modifications give Bushmaster the statistics listed above. She can also move at Good speed (4 areas/round) on both land and in water and spring up to one area away (or 2 stories straight up.) If using her tail in wrestling combat, Bushmaster may exert Incredible constricting strength on her opponent.

 

Claw: Bushmaster’s bionic arm is equipped with an 8” metallic fang. This claw is made of Remarkable strength material, inflicts Remarkable damage on the Edged chart and is tipped with snake poison of Excellent intensity. Anyone injected with the poison must make an Endurance FEAT roll against Excellent intensity or be knocked unconscious and lose Endurance ranks if a second Endurance FEAT is failed.

 

Gills: Bushmaster is equipped with artificial gills that allow her to breathe freely both above and below water.

 

Viper Sting: Bushmaster employs a pistol that can fire a burst of Remarkable electrical Energy damage or a barrage of three blasts of Good Energy damage. Bushmaster receives a +2 CS for each blast when firing a burst of three.

 

Talents: Knight has Law Enforcement, Marksman and Guns talents. Her Reason is Incredible as a Detective. She also has considerable skill with Martial Arts A and E

 

Contacts: Sisters of the Serpent

 

Background: Misty Knight was the best marksman in her class at the New York police academy, and graduated at the top of her class. She became a patrolwoman for New York’s 12th Precinct. Her friendship with Colleen Wing began when she saved Wing from criminal gunfire in the course of duty.

 

Knight was well on her way to becoming a detective when she started dating John McIver, little knowing that he was the crime boss known as Bushmaster. McIver had chosen to pursue Knight at least partially because of her position in the police force. After several months, he lured her onto his yacht and revealed his true identity and offered her the chance to become his mole inside the police department.

 

Hurt and betrayed, Misty refused, her strong moral compass preventing her from helping the man she thought she loved commit crimes. Bushmaster did not take her denial well and threw her off the yacht and straight in the path of a passing boat. Knight’s left arm and both legs were mangled by the ships screws and it was only a miracle and the quick reflexes of John’s younger brother Quincy that saved her life. Always infatuated with her, he fled his brother’s yacht at the risk of his own life to fish her out of the river and take her to the emergency room.

 

Knight had to resign her position in the police department and both she and Quincy entered protected custody while waiting to testify. Even then they were not safe and it was only the fact that Bushmaster had double crossed a corrupt Roxxon executive that saved her life. Seeing her as the perfect tool of retribution and test subject for some of the corporation’s new cybernetic systems, he offered her the chance to replace her lost limbs and get her revenge.

 

Though still depressed, Knight agreed under the advice of Quincy and she was soon fitted with a new arm and the cybernetic snake tail that would replace her legs. It took her a bit to adjust but then she was unleashed against her former boyfriend’s organization and she rampaged through it, disrupting deals, breaking up rings and generally terrorizing Bushmaster’s underlings.

 

Finally, she worked her way to the top of the organization and came face to face with John McIver, himself. Furious as she was at his betrayal, she could not bring herself to kill the man and would have brought him in to face justice but before she could, Quincy appeared and shot his brother dead.

 

Despite this betrayal of her ideas, she realized that Quincy’s support and loyalty had instilled the seeds of love in her and the pair became romantically involved and Quincy, only involved in criminal activities because of the influence of his brother went straight and studied cybernetics, eventually gaining a job at Roxxon and later becoming lead researcher and technician on Misty’s bionic limbs. Working so closely together, their love for each other grew and they eventually married.

 

In the meantime, Knight took her foe’s name as her own, taking the codename Bushmaster. Bushmaster was teamed up with two other operatives who had been enhanced with snake themed cybernetics and formed the Serpent Squad. This group served as super powered defenders, enforcers and troubleshooters for the Corporation. One of their earliest missions, and one that would prove their most fateful was retrieving the Serpent Crown from an ancient Lemuran ruin.

 

Eventually, all three became disillusioned with their employment, Bushmaster because of the questionable tasks they were often given, Anaconda and Death Adder because they felt under paid and underappreciated. Thus, they were all too amenable when they were approached by the criminal mastermind Sidewinder. He was gathering a number of snake themed super powered beings together and formed the Serpent Society.

 

Bushmaster quickly formed a friendship with Rachel Leighton, aka Diamondback, perhaps seeing a kindred soul in another woman who seemed more than a little reluctant to perform some of the more morally questionable assignments they were given.

 

Eventually, Misty was reunited with another old friend as the Viper staged a coup that stole the leadership of the Society from Sidewinder using a handful of spies that she used to infiltrate the group. One of these plants was Colleen Wing, who had since taken the costumed persona of Copperhead. If Misty needed more incentive to join Viper’s side than having her friend on it, the new leader promised to guide the Serpent Society in a new direction, becoming a covert force for good.

 

Unfortunately, this was a lie and Viper simply used the Serpent Society as her own personal terrorist strike force and assassination squad, always convincing the more reluctant among them that it was for the better good and simply paying the rest enough that they did not ask questions.

 

It is likely that many of the Society would have rebelled at some point even if Paul Destine had not arrived. Possessing the Serpent Crown, he saw the Serpent Society as the natural Royal Guard of his growing cult and operatives of his world conquering plots. And all too many of the members of the Society joined voluntarily, caring little whether they were advancing Viper’s political ideals of Destiny’s religious ones. Worse, many of those who were not interested in serving him had their wills dominated by the awe-inspiring mental powers of the man and the Crown.

 

Only a handful of the Society, namely Asp, Black Mamba, Bushmaster, Copperhead and Diamondback managed to escape. While there was some discussion of simply going to ground, the quintet instead decided to form the Sisters of the Serpent and to fight the machinations of their former comrades where they could.

 

Eventually, they managed to stop Destiny and his henchmen with the assistance of the dimension spanning Exiles and became operatives of the Omniversal Majestrix and even joining the Exiles for various periods.

 

You’re Only a Day Away

Only one more day until the release of the book I co-wrote, Lost Temple of the Soulless World.

Yesterday, after an early morning hour and a half of wrestling with Skype, I managed to be on a podcast about it.  I hate Skype, by the way.  I have to wrestle with it every time I try to make it work.

That podcast won’t be out for a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, here’s a link to the 3rd chapter of the book to tide you over.  If you like it and/or the first two chapters, please buy the whole thing tomorrow.  Follow my Twitter @blackguardpress for that link and the link to the podcast when it comes out.

Chapter 3: http://striker.greaterumbrage.net/the-mystical-island-trilogy/island-of-lost-forevers/iolfchapter-3/

Plot Device Part 2

A week from today, the novel that I co-wrote with an old friend will be published.  But if you want to see a preview, you can check out her blog for the first two chapters:

Chapter 1: http://striker.greaterumbrage.net/the-mystical-island-trilogy/island-of-lost-forevers/iolfchapter-1/

Chapter 2: http://striker.greaterumbrage.net/the-mystical-island-trilogy/island-of-lost-forevers/iolfchapter-2/

And now, on to this week’s plot.  This is one that I REALLY padded out from this faint outline. It turned out pretty good, in the end with the help of the players and their input. It’s also the story that our potential new player started in. Anyway, you’re going to see way more inside brackets than outside them.  I don’t know how much my players like or dislike or even notice how much I’m winging things.  Sometimes I feel almost completely unprepared and sometime, I like that I don’t have too much of a structure that I have to feel beholden to.

 

[This one began as the party being summoned to a colony on Pellis which is a moon of Sterfelle after they spent a lot of time on Caribdus in the same system, Shantos. The colony went dark, meaning that the Ki’Li’Lee stopped transmitting updates to the network. It turns out an amateur] Archeologist has discovered a mask that possesses him. [Stats for the Mask are below.] [The mask] Turns the people in the village into zombies but with pace of 6 [I called them chatter zombies because, on the spot, I decided that they were fast and chattered their teeth like chewing from Dark City or that one Cynobite from the Hellraiser series.] Mask came from an ancient temple (ziggurat.)

Thanatopsis

Agility: d6, Smarts: d12, Spirit: d10, Strength: d6, Vigor: d8

Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d10, Intimidation d10, Knowledge (Arcana) d12, Notice d8, Shooting d10, Spellcasting d12+2, Stealth d6

Pace: 6             Parry: 5            Toughness: 8(2)

Edges: Arcane background (Magic), Connections, Improved Rapid Recharge, New Power, Power Points, Wizard

Gear: Cloak of Protection +2, Mask of the Red Death (+1 Armor/+1 Attack, Intelligent. When worn those nearby must pass spirit checks each week or become zombies,) flail Str + d6 +1 Ignores shield, weapon parry and cover

Spells: 40 pts – Armor, Blast, Bolt, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Dispel, Fly, Light, Puppet, Teleport

Guarded by 4 skeletons (153) [I have several books that include the stats for skeletons, I think this reference is to the fantasy companion.] wearing chain hauberks and armed with axes.[They’re ancient guards for the master of the ziggurat.]

Sabretoothed tiger (145) [this page number is from the Fantasy Companion] has set up shop in barn/granary. Eating livestock.

[The party was ambushed on the way to the village from the lake that served as the port for the colony by a pack of chatter zombies. The village itself was deserted but before they could really start to explore, the sabretoothed tiger chased a young girl through the village. She hid in a granary. The new player established that he had a relationship with the tiger and it was almost a pet but before he could capitalize on it, one of the other characters shot it. Not the greatest start to a partnership but the group worked it out.]

[From there, the party went to the ziggurat where the mask had been excavated and that was now the home of the possessed archaeologist. Again, my new player was pretty invaluable as I was able to establish, with his help, that he’d met the man and knew where he was likely to be.]

[I next created a Dramatic Action for the resident psychic to fight off the souls of the Ancient Spirits of Evil as they tried to inhabit the animated skeletons that the party uses as troops that were back on the ship. To make sure that the rest of the party was not bored, the conflict attracted the attention of more chatter zombies. Of course, in true player fashion, they decided to smash the crystals that contained the souls, a contingency I had not planned on. Fortunately, I was able to distract them with enough zombies for my original plan to work and the psychic banished her foes back to the vile realm that they were trying to escape from.]

[There was a room at the top of the ziggurat with a hole in the ceiling that allowed the blood from the altar on the roof to flow over the witch kings in ancient times. They found the possessed archaeologist standing under this hole, flanked by his skeletal guards.]

[After almost blasting one of the players out of existence with his formidable magic abilities, the big bad was vanquished because of his weakness-melee combat.]

[We were in kind of a rush so we left it there and there are, obviously, a lot of dangling plot points. We’ll see how much the players are interested in them.]

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