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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:59 pm 
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Hephaestus 1 stared up at the hole in the ceiling. It wasn't every day that you got punched out of the sky by a supervillain, much less one where you get punched through the roof of a famous comedy theater. He brought his huge metal cybershell into a sitting position and shook the cobwebs out of his head. It was a reflex from the days when his brain was still housed in its natural space; now it just floated in a tank of biogel, hooked up to all the primary and secondary sensors it could handle.

Nervous comedians and audience members looked at the giant blue cyborg in front of them.

"Sorry about that, folks," Heph said. "I asked to get punched through the history museum but it was closed."

The comedians and audience stared.

"What? Nothing? Not even a rimshot for the sake of tradition? That joke worked at Zanies down the street! You people are philistines! Well, back to work."

With a mighty leap, Heph was airborne once more to look for the villain who attacked him.

The next morning, the headline of the Chicago Tatler read "Area Loudmouth Destroys Second City Roof, Bombs On Stage"

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:57 pm 
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One day a year, Hephaestus 1's internal filters turn off, allowing him to get drunk in accordance with his ancestral traditions.

One day a year, the big blue cyborg makes a complete fool of himself.

St. Patrick's Day is that day.

This is proof, found somewhere on the Northwest Side of Chicago:

http://www.jibjab.com/view/BY6uBwJn1joxJdAd

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:30 pm 
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The apprenticeship program that the City of Chicago required of its licensed superheroes was often rife with corruption, family politicking and instructors of dubious competence.

For Hephaestus 1 it was like he'd never retired from the police department.

Today's apprenticeship training involved classroom work. Heph stood in front of his young charges, looking over them for signs of greatness and finding little to recommend them.

"Okay, class," the big blue cyborg started, "we're going over the Illinois Compiled Statutes, traffic section. We don't normally get involved in traffic stops, but you never know when-"

There was a thump as one of his students' heads hit the desk. The remaining students turned in their seats to see a young man named Thunderhound slumped forward. An empty styrofoam coffee cup rolled lazily on the desk.

Heph ran to his student's side. "Thunderhound?

The teenager's body began twitching and convulsing as a burbling, gurgling noise came rumbling out of his mouth. Suddenly Thunderhound shot straight up out of his chair.

"BEHOLD! I AM PANOPTIKON, HE WHO SEES ALL! BASK IN MY GLORY, MORTALS! THUS COMMANDS PANOPTIKON! BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!" the young man shouted before he ran to the door. "THE SECRETS OF THE WORLD ARE KNOWN TO PANOPTIKON ALONE! I CAN SEE THE MUSIC!"

Heph picked up the cup rolling on the student's desk. His chemical sensors picked up intense alkaloid stimulants in the remaining drops of coffee left there.

The Paperwork Ninja stuck his head through the door. "Heph, why is one of your students running across our campus naked and screaming about terrible universal truths?"

"I think he drank our special faculty coffee," Heph said.

"Wait, he had the coffee-flavored coffee?" the office ninja asked. "The stuff where we make coffee, then use it to brew another batch of coffee instead of water?"

"Yep. Mid-term exam strength," Heph said.

"Oh, he's going to hate himself shortly," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Yeah, it takes a mature digestive system to handle this level of caffeination."

The random shouting from the campus building steps fell silent for a moment.

Heph and the Paperwork Ninja counted quietly to themselves.

"Three, two, one," they said.

"MAKE WAY PANOPTIKON MUST POOP" echoed across the quad.

Heph turned to his remaining class. "Let that be a lesson to you all: if something says 'Faculty Only' don't mess with it."

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:28 pm 
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Heph stared at the comic books and manga littering his desk. "I tell you, Papes, this crap is the reason so many kids with minor abilities think they can be licensed superheroes."

"It's not bad to inspire people to learn how to use their abilities properly, Mick," the Paperwork Ninja said. "It's better than never learning how to control your powers. I mean, if all you can do is light things on fire by looking at them, you might want some fine control of it."

"That's really not how these comics approach it, though," Heph said. "Look at the Herocore series for example. It's basically 'We're college kids learning to use powers! Let's all go to war!' Seriously, man, it's not good."

"True, the manga are worse in that instead of it being college kids, it's eighth-graders with more disturbingly gratuitous nudity. I had to confiscate quite a few of those from the kids. Matty got it in his head that he should start taking solo missions as a bounty hunter from one of them."

"You sure he didn't just look up your record in your ninja farm town and decide to top that?" Heph asked. "Besides, he's 12 now."

"That doesn't matter and as for my record it's classified."

"Like a kid with a 215 IQ isn't going to be able to decrypt classified records," Heph said.

"Okay, maybe it iwas just the disturbingly gratuitous nudity," the Paperwork Ninja said. "There's a time and place for learning about that, and that's high school when you get assigned to your permanent team."

"How is that any better?" Heph asked.

"Because I don't know of any girls who were that stacked in eighth grade, for one. I feel it's setting unrealistic expectations."

"Right," the big blue cyborg said.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:50 am 
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"Heph?" the Paperwork Ninja asked.

"Yes?" Hephaestus 1 replied.

"You want to talk about it?"

"No."

"You sure?"

"Blackhawks should have won. They always win. All the time," the big blue cyborg grumbled.

"Well, this time they didn't," the Paperwork Ninja said. "Also, can I ask you one thing?"

"What?"

"Could you please get out of the Designated Visitor Lurking Area? The bright colors and shapes are killing my depth perception and you're distracting Nightjar from her brooding overwatch practice."

From their vantage point, Chicago's riverfront area lay below them: Millennium Park and "The Bean" to their south, the Magnificent Mile to their north.

"No, no, it's cool," a feminine voice said from a bark-colored patch on the day-glo painted wall. "Everyone was looking at him."

Hephaestus 1 harrumphed. "Not leaving."

"Everybody hurts, Heph," the Paperwork Ninja said. "Sometimes."

"You should take comfort in your friends," Nightjar added. "Preferably somewhere other than where I'm trying to blend in and not be noticed."

"But they're supposed to beat the Blues, Papes. That's tradition!" Hephaestus 1 said.

"You've only watched the team since 2010, Heph."

"And everyone knows we have Bill Wirtz to blame for that," Hephaestus 1 said. "I knew more about the Wolves-"

"-who are the Blues' farm team-" Nightjar interrupted.

"HUSH, NOOB," the two older heroes growled.

"Well, he didn't make it easy to follow the team."

"Regardless, you're too heavy for this Designated Visitor Lurking Area anyway. It's designed for a maximum weight of 450 pounds," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Which is why I'm hanging on this wall for dear life," Nightjar said.

"So we're dangerously overweight here?" Hephaestus 1 asked.

"Yes. So let's climb off this ledge."

"They should really put a sign up here that says 'Weight Limit 450 Pounds So No Fatties' or something," Hephaestus 1 said.

"Less talk, more not damaging the ledge by standing on it," the Paperwork Ninja said. This results in less plummeting 75-plus floors-"

"Eighty-three above ground, five below," Hephaestus 1 corrected. "This is the Standard Oil Building, you know."

"-to your death, Heph. And it's the Aon Center now."

"My death? Don't you mean 'our deaths,' Papes?"

"I can teleport back inside. Can you?"

"Oh. I hadn't considered that."

The ledge groaned a little from the high wind.

"Right, off we go," Hephaestus 1 said. "I'm gonna go be sad inside."

"Good," the Paperwork Ninja said. "Carry on, Nightjar."

"Yes, Mr. Ninja," Nightjar said.

"Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady," the Paperwork Ninja said.

The two heroes hustled back inside.

"I'm just glad that stupid goal song won't be playing for the rest of the season," the Paperwork Ninja said as the pair stepped inside the building.

"Hey..." Hephaestus 1 grumbled again.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:02 pm 
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"Glad you could make it, Mick," the old police lieutenant said from outside of the ring of police cars.

"Standard barricade situation, Ramon?" Hephaestus 1 asked.

"We have one suspect inside, no one else," Ramon said. "He apparently has a bomb attached to the gas line of the house and is threatening to detonate it."

"No one else, no pets or anything?" Hephaestus 1 continued.

"Not according to the thermal view."

"I'll send in a mini-drone to see if there's anyone else in there."

"There's only one human heat source."

"I also check for any sentient android life there as well."

"Oh," Ramon said. "I forgot to check for that."

"A lot of old cops still do, Ramon, but that's why I'm here," Hephaestus 1 said. With that he took from a case a small object shaped like a cooling fan and tossed it into the sky. The fan whirred to life as the drone sped off towards the two-flat house. Within seconds, the tiny camera found the suspect sitting in a chair, a rifle laid across his lap.

"I think I found him," the big blue cyborg said, "He's alone. No sentient machines."

"How do we get him to surrender?" Ramon asked.

"I think one of my students can help. Nikash? You're up."

A young Indian man looked around nervously. "I don't know the suspect's face. It will make the job easier."

"Right. Patch your tablet there into my optics feed and you'll see him well enough." Hephaestus 1 pulled a mini-USB cable from his antenna housing and handed it to the young man.

"Piece of cake then," Nikash said. He studied the man's face for a few seconds and then the student hero's eyes glowed a pale green.

The visual feed on the tablet showed the suspect looking around, then clutching his ears. Officers outside the building could hear the man screaming as plugging his ears didn't work. After a few more minutes, the suspect fell to the ground, curled into a ball. The officers of the tactical team smashed through a window and secured the gibbering heap in front of them.

"What did you hit him with, Nikash?"

"I used my telepathy to feed him nothing but Ievan Polkka."

"An oldie, but useful music for driving people nuts," Hephaestus 1 said.

"Why do you think I want to take the hero name of Earworm?" Nikash asked.

"Makes perfect sense," Hephaestus 1 said. "Good work. This will go on your next performance report."

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 9:47 pm 
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"Papes?"

"Yes, Heph?"

"What do ninjas do when they're bored?"

"Wail on guitar, make hot toe-curling love to our wives. Often simultaneously."

"So did Prince," the cyborg said.

"Yes, and?" the ninja asked in return.

"There's no way Prince could be a ninja."

"Or could he?" the Paperwork Ninja asked. "Purple blends in pretty well with the shadows."

"What about the androgyny?"

"That worked great for David Bowie."

Hephaestus 1 stood up from his desk. "David Bowie was not a ninja. Full stop."

"You're right, I'm kidding," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Okay."

"We actually faked their deaths, kidnapped them, and now they teach music to our kids at ninja schools around the world," the office worker said as took another sip from from his coffee mug.

"See, now that I can believe about ninjas!" Heph said.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:29 pm 
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The portal opened.

"Portal: complete. MIssion: scouting: commence. Location: Chicago," the Rikti soldier relayed to his squadmates.

For the first time in years, the Rikti had returned to this Earth to invade.

They were not expecting a team of heroes clad in tiny leather shorts and suspenders to stand before them.

"Not today, Rikti!" Hephaestus 1 said as he led his apprentice heroes in the schuhplattler, the traditional Bavarian dance and known Rikti repellent. "Remember, heroes! Thighs, knees, soles and clap, clap, clap!"

As one, the heroes grumbled but began their festive dancing to the sound of an accordion-drive oompah band. Women in flowing dirndls twirled in a circle around the men who slapped, clapped, danced, leaped and whooped their way through the dance.

"Excremement: this: again: not," the Rikti leader said. "Situation: creepy: weird. Memories: bad: ancient: ancestral: returning. Retreat: ordered."

The Rikti jumped back through the portals and closed them with all due haste.

Heph took out a cigar and lit it. "Wilkommen auf Earf," he said triumphantly.

"Heph, aren't you Irish?" one of his students asked.

"Yep, but it's a known fact that Bavarians scare the living bejeesus out of Rikti, as shown during the Capitulation of Munich in 2002," Heph said. "The dancing, singing and lederhosen scared the Rikti so much they surrendered three army groups to a folk dance ensemble from Dingolfing. They'd just gotten into the face-slapping thing, which apparently causes younger Rikti to vomit and pass out."

"Well, if you're Irish, why aren't you doing step dancing?"

"Because that doesn't work, duh," Heph said. "We tried it and nearly lost Michael Flatley in the process."

"What about English morris dancing?" another student asked.

"There are laws against such cruelty," Heph said. "If the schuhplattler is like carpet bombing, morris dancing is like nerve gas."

"Ha! I told you it wasn't the food that kept the Rikti out of England, Steve!" yet another student said.

"Shut up!" the second student said. "My theory was valid!"

Heph turned to his right. "Papes, you can come out of the shadows now."

"No," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Come on," Heph said.

"No," the ninja repeated.

"It's not like your wife isn't in on this," Heph said.

"Fine," the Paperwork Ninja said as he reappeared.

"See? That's- oh, that's why you were hiding. Got it."

"I told them knee-length," Heph's teammate said from inside his very-short lederhosen.

"So did I," the big blue cyborg said.

"I... may have intercepted and changed his order," said the Paperwork Ninja's catgirl wife. "My husband's got a nice butt. And mighty thews. He should rock them more often."

"A ninja doesn't battle in booty shorts, Wendy," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Ah, 'The Amazing Doctor Catgirl,' you mean," Wendy said. "And I've seen plenty of ninjas fighting evil in tiny, tiny pants."

"Not male ninjas," the Paperwork Ninja said.

"Well score one for forced equality, then, dear," Wendy said.

"I hope you get nothing but sauerkraut at dinner tonight," the ninja said.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:35 pm 
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Ogden Avenue and Harlem Avenue, Berwyn.

All Stevie wanted to do was go back to game night. His friends were waiting on their orders from White Castle, and as everyone knows you don't keep player characters sitting in a tavern. After all, that's when mysterious dudes in cloaks approach and offer them jobs as murderhobos. Considering this game started them out as a bunch of scribes and scriveners, such jobs would be total-party kills within the second session. He waited in his old Toyota for his moment to get into the traffic stream, or he would have had it not been for the gun that poked through his open window.

"Get the fuck out the car, man!" a gun-wielding young man said, a red bandanna covering his face.

"What?" Stevie said, his eyes wider than the handgun barrel being shoved into his cheek.

"Get the fuck out, I ain't tellin' you a third time!" came from behind an unfriendly jab by the pistol.

"I- wha-" Stevie blurted as his face was sprayed by blood.

The pistol fell to the ground still in its hand, and the would-be carjacker screamed once he realized his forearm had been cut in half.

"Ah, ah, lawbreaker!" came a cheerful admonishment. "Carjacking, attempted murder and aggravated battery are real no-nos in my hometown!"

Stevie looked up and all he saw was a dark blue hooded cloak wielding the biggest non-replica sword he'd ever seen.

"That's a big fucking sword," Stevie said.

"Now, now," the dark blue swordsman said, "You should mind your language, citizen. Are you hurt? I'd suggest cleaning your face off now and getting some bloodwork done in a few weeks considering you've just had skin contact with someone else's bodily fluids. Here, let me give you a... moist towelette I keep for just such situations."

"What the fuck, man?" Stevie said.

"Pardon?" the swordsman inquired.

"You cut that dude's fucking hand off!"

"Well, it was that or let him shoot you in the face." The swordsman turned to the failed carjacker. "MacNeal Hospital is just up the street. It would behoove you to go there immediately."

Not much else than screaming interspersed with gurgled whining came from behind the bandanna.

"Fine, fine," the swordman growled at the criminal. "I try to help you with directions and you just keep crying." The swordsman knelt down and produced a tourniquet from a pouch on his belt. With a few twists the bleeding went from a messy spray to a dribble. "Now walk yourself to the hospital and wait patiently for the police to arrive if you don't want to lose your other hand, got it?"

The carjacker whimpered as the man in the cloak set him up on his feet. "Now then, criminal scum, off you go to the emergency room... chop-chop, if you will," the swordsman chuckled.

The carjacker stumbled his way towards the hospital.

"You're a sick fuck," Stevie said.

"You enjoy using that word a little too much, citizen. I'm sure a book club would help you to expand your vocabulary," the swordsman said. "Ah! I hear the sounds of our law enforcement authorities and emergency services. My work is done here. Good day to you, citizen!"

With that, the man in the blue cloak disappeared from view.

Stevie grabbed his phone. "Dave? It's me. You are not going to fucking believe who I just met."

Twenty minutes later, Stevie finished his statement to the police.

Twenty minutes after that, notice went out to police departments and superhero organizations throughout the five counties that made up the Chicago area. The Cobalt Claymore had returned home.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:21 pm 
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"My son has a serious disease and he needs to go into that children's hospital right now!" the angry mother shouted at the nurse on duty.

The nurse frowned. "I'm sorry ma'am, but without your doctor's paperwork we can't just admit a child."

"He has Schnedeker's Syndrome! He needs to be hospitalized now!"

The nurse's eyes narrowed. "Schnedeker's Syndrome?"

"Yes," the woman said smugly.

"Your son has a syndrome that develops cysts on his uterine lining?"

"Yes! Time is of the essence and HE IS DYING right now!"

"Your son. That boy over there. The one reading an actual book."

"Yes."

The nurse sighed. "Young man, will you please come here for a minute?"

The boy walked over. "Yes?"

"Your mom says you have Schnedeker's Syndrome."

The boy rolled his eyes. "Yes..."

"Have you looked that up on Wikipedia?"

"No, Mom says it's too gross to look."

"Here. I have it on my tablet. Read it. There aren't any pictures."

The boy read the article. "EW! MOM!" the boy shouted. "I don't even have a uterus!"

"Yes you do! Now go into the pediatric cancer ward so-"

Hephaestus 1 walked by, rolling a very small child in a very big wheelchair into the hallway.

"Did you catch another Jigglypuff, Billy?"

"Yeah! I can trade for your extra Gyarados, Heph! Thanks!"

"God damn it," the mother growled.

"I told you your game was stupid, Mom!" the boy with the false medical information said.

Heph stopped in the hallway. "Are you using your child as an excuse to raid children's hospitals for Pokemon? That's so tacky."

"Don't talk to me or my son ever again!" the woman shouted.

"Sorry your mom is acting like this," Heph said to the now very embarrassed boy.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:12 pm 
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"FEAR ME, MORTALS," Morgoth Carter-Whateley bellowed, "FOR I HAVE A FRIEND IN THE DIAMOND BUSINESS!"

"That's just a radio ad, Morgoth," Heph said.

Morgoth's brow furrowed as the realization made its way through his brain. "Oh. Poo. Now how will I source diamonds for use in my arcane rituals of madness and destruction?"

"I thought you used disturbing images, like the sight of you dancing in that glittery thong," Heph said.

"Oh, that's just for fun," the ancient and wrinkly necromancer cackled. "I admit it does cause whatever I summon to bend more easily to my will."

"Yeah, because no demon wants to see old man butt. Actually, no one wants to see old man butt," the big blue cyborg said.

"Exactly! So the eldritch horrors I summon-"

"You summon eldritch whores? I knew you were desperate," Heph smirked.

"No, horrors. Horr-ors," Morgoth corrected. "And what a wizard does with his spare time is his own business, so shut up."

"Well, right now you're looking like someone's grandpa in a thong dancing on a well-lit billboard. Come down and put some clothes on," Heph demanded.

"No! The ritual is not complete! Everything is in place! The moon is in position!"

"Speaking of moons," Heph said. With a hiss and thump, Heph launched a fast-acting tranquilizer into Morgoth's right gluteus muscle. "yours is now out of position."

"Aaaargh, noooooo!" Morgoth cried as he toppled off of the billboard.

Meanwhile in the netherworld, two succubi in very tiny outfits cheered and cried tears of relief as Morgoth's summoning ritual failed.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:27 pm 
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"Armed robberies are down almost to zero in an area from the Green Line to the Stevenson Expressway," Heph said as he scanned through the newsfeeds. The cyborg hero opened up a link to an external monitor to let the Paperwork Ninja see the articles he currently had queued up for reading.

"Oak Park to Stickney?" the ninja asked. "Looks also like it's dropped from Brookfield Zoo east to Kostner Avnue on the edge of the city. All signs are pointing to the Cobalt Claymore."

"Yeah. He's using his old man's methods, too. I thought he would have been more, hmm, reasonable, I guess?" Heph mused. "CC knows reformed criminals. He's worked with them to good effect, too. Why he's on this current tear I don't know."

The Paperwork Ninja studied the map more closely. "He doesn't come into the city proper according to the sightings and known crime interventions but he's affecting crime a few blocks into Chicago. How does he scare people so much?"

"He's a sneaky bastard with a big sword who attacks from your blind spots, lays traps and has a desire to leave criminals limbless and/or disemboweled. He's like a suburban Two-Gun Pete," Heph said, recalling the days when Chicago police officers were more willing to use violence in a casual manner. "He's turning people into object lessons."

"What do we do?" the Paperwork Ninja asked. "Within the law, that is."

"Nothing," Heph said. "He isn't going overboard, like cutting a shoplifter's hand off or scarring petty thieves. He's using the right amount of force to fit the crimes and making sure any stolen property is returned to the rightful owners. The only problem is when it's a newsworthy crime or crime where someone's life is in danger. Then his antics and the sob story of the now-limbless schmuck get in the front pages."

"I'll pull his statwide license," the Paperwork Ninja said. "Even a 30-day suspension will do him some good."

"He isn't doing anything legally wrong, though," Heph said.

"The Cobalt Claymore is making us look bad," the Paperwork Ninja said. "This will be his warning."

"Dangerous precedent there, Papes," Heph said. "You know that."

The middle-aged shinobi sighed. "It's only a dangerous precedent if everyone knows about it. You distract the press, I'll talk to our erstwhile partner in justice." With a small cloud of dust the Paperwork Ninja disappeared from his chair.

"Distraction, right," Heph grumbled. "I guess it's time to re-start the GURMS project."

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:24 pm 
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If it had an edge or a point, it was sharpened properly. Chains and metal-strand cables were checked over for rust and cleaned or replaced. Smoke bombs and tear gas canisters were checked for placement in their easily-hidden bags. Load-bearing belts and harnesses were checked for rips, tears, and fraying. Finding everything in order, both the Paperwork Ninja and the Cobalt Claymore left their respective armories in their homes and closed the door.

The only difference is that one was being readied for use in case of a World Series riot, the other to be used to capture the person preparing for the final out of the last game.

One fretted over drunken fans spurred to violence. The other thought about the damage that the Cobalt Claymore could do to the hero community in one night of violence.

Meanwhile, Hephaestus 1 had that hyper-realistic dream about being a father again.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:32 pm 
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The reports were in and the results were looking better than normal. The initial shock of the Cubs winning a World Series meant that there were fewer fights and shootings near neighborhood bars. Most of the fights were found in the Chicago suburbs, save for Berwyn. Berwyn had no fights, no robberies, no shootings to report. For the most part, everyone stayed in their homes.

Hephaestus 1 and a familiar blue-cloaked swordsman sat in the cyborg's office for an after-action review.

"Well, CC, you didn't kill or maim anyone. Congratulations," Hephaestus 1 said to the Cobalt Claymore. "As for keeping people too scared to party, though, you might want to tone that down a bit."

The Cobalt Claymore leaned back as best he could in the office chair. "I made the streets safe for anyone who wanted to come out into the streets. As long as they weren't shooting guns into the air or trying to hurt someone, I'd let them do just about whatever they wanted."

"Well, that's not how it looked to the licensing bureau," Heph said.

"The licensing bureau needs a mental enema. I encouraged people to come outside to celebrate. I was wearing a Cubs hat over my mask and playing air guitar with my sword, something I never do, I might add," the Cobalt Claymore replied.

"True. I'll put that into the record for you."

The door to Heph's office opened abruptly and the Paperwork Ninja walked in with a look of grave concern on his face, followed by an equally grim-looking old man in a red wizard's robe.

"We're about to have a big problem here, gentlemen," the ninja bureaucrat said. "Allow me to introduce Johann Rötschenkel, Baseball Wizard."

"My colleagues, James Weißstrumpfen and Harry Jungbär have gone missing at a critical time. This nation is about to be invaded by demons."

"Baseball wizard? What the hell?" the Cobalt Claymore said.

"We have kept the forces of ancient malevolent powers at bay by maintaining games to entertain and distract them. These games are known now as baseball, hockey, and football," Johann said.

"Go on," the Cobalt Claymore said.

"June 30, 1908, was a sign of the ancient powers' attempt to break through our seals and reassert their dominance of humanity. They broke through a weak spot in the magic barriers we and other sport wizards had missed. This is known as the Tunguska Event. It seems that Baba Yaga decided to try bringing a horde of devils through that event. While our brethren in Europe distracted them with kicking a round ball with heavy boots on a muddy field, we baseball wizards worked to seal up the barrier once more," Johann said.

Heph and the Paperwork Ninja gave each other a worried look.

"Sealing the barrier required a sacrifice. We gathered in Cooperstown, New York, as we normally do and argued about how to seal the breach between worlds. It was then that our predecessors decided to keep one team from ever winning the World Series so as to confound the unearthly hordes. We drew lots."

"I don't like where this is going," the Cobalt Claymore said.

Johann continued his tale. "The shortest straw was drawn by Elek Bíboros. It didn't matter too much to the other teams. Elek's group wouldn't amount to anything, after all. Last place. One hundred and five games lost. Not even a successful World's Fair or Olympic Games from a few years earlier would save this city from being doomed to eternal failure in the world of baseball. And then something noble happened. Gunther Jungbär stepped forward and volunteered his team to fail in exchange for one last moment of glory."

"We did not want you to hear this, CC," Heph said.

"And so the Chicago Cubs, one of the better baseball teams at the turn of the 19th & 20th centuries took up the task of confounding the forces of evil with near-comical failure and frustration."

The Cobalt Claymore's face darkened. "So the curse was an actual curse?"

Johann nodded. "It was more of a geas than a curse, but it's close enough. I was but an apprentice when it happened."

"And now that the curse is broken, a great evil will fall upon the earth."

"The team's owners didn't believe us. They thought it was bad management and poor fiscal responsibility that caused the team to fail. They hired Theo Epstein to reverse the team's fortunes. Oh, you might also want to place a few more magically-inclined heroes at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. You do not want Nergal to bust out of there with any kind of ease."

"Yeah, your team broke a curse meant to save the world, CC."

"How was this never leaked to the ownership groups?" the Cobalt Claymore asked, still in shock from the revelations.

"You can't exactly sell the team that way," Johann answered. "So we baseball wizards did what we could to influence the owners with subtlety and quiet action. This group didn't listen, and now the gates of the underworld may very well open on the south side of this city."

Heph began to speak, but the Cobalt Claymore held up a hand to stop him. "Not. One. Word."

"Typical Cubs, always causing problems for White Sox fans," the Paperwork Ninja said instead. "How did you not know, being a son of spies and especially one who was a Cubs fan, CC?"

"I don't know, maybe Dad thought he was doing me a favor."

A flash of light appeared in the window, coming from the south of the city.

"It begins," Johann said. "Nergal comes forth!"

"All right," the Cobalt Claymore said, "I guess it's up to me to fix this."

"We're all going," Heph said. The big blue cyborg stood up and scraped his hand across the desk, revealing bare metal on the back. "Crap! I just had that re-colored."

"Allow me," Johann said as he produced a can of spray paint from inside his robes. "This should dry evenly on a metal surface. No runs, no drips, no errors."

Both the cyborg and the ninja stopped for a moment, then realized why the wizard seemed so familiar. Johann put a finger to his lips.

"We have evil to vanquish," the wizard said with a grin.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:36 pm 
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"Throw the ball, daddy!" the little red-headed girl shouted at Hephaestus 1 as she waved the wiffle ball bat over a makeshift home plate.

The big blue cyborg leaned forward as if he was reading signs from an imaginary catcher. "You'll never get this one, Agnes. This is your old man's super secret wackyball!"

With a gentle toss, Heph sent the wiffle ball towards the girl. The wobbled and weaved its way across the plate, but a mighty swing connected the bat and ball, sending the ball high into the air.

"Nice pop-up, Agnes!" Heph shouted. "But I think I got this."

A gust of wind captured the ball and and pushed it well past the cyborg's huge metal hand. The ball began to gain speed as the wind pushed it faster and faster. Confused yet determined, Heph gave chase to the little ball. As it gained speed, so did he, until his internal sensors read a speed of 30 miles per hour.

"Daddy!" Agnes shouted. "The fence!"

Heph saw the shrub-lined white picket fence almost too late. With a deft hop, he spun himself over the fence and into the hedge on the other side.

"Got it!" Heph shouted as he raised his empty hand in the machine-filled room. An alarm clock beeped loudly as his two feline companions meowed for their breakfast.

"Son of a bitch," Heph grumbled.

_________________
DocSaluki - @jchinds

Yes, I'm the madman behind the 575 pounds of awesome that is Hephaestus 1. (He's not gone, as long as you keep him in your heart!) I'm not responsible for your nightmares or broken minds, though.

So long, Providence, Hello, Detroit.


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