Police Blotter: As Ice Melts, Vigilante Cycle Chases Heat Up

CCPoliceBlotterIf last night’s activity throughout Cobalt City is any indication, the kind of high-speed motorcycle antics once common when Gato Loco was active is on the rise once again.

9:32 PM — A Lamborghini reported to be car-jacked by superhuman means was chased through the streets of downtown by two individuals on motorcycles. One of those individuals was later identified as the sword-wielding vigilante Muramasa, most recently associated with the group Justice or Something, though her companion is as of yet unnamed. The Lamborghini was recovered, and two masked individuals were detained on the scene. Police later tied the two suspects to ultra-hacker Joyride who was detained on the South Docks in Quayside later that evening.

12:29 AM — Witnesses report an early-model phantom hearse pursued through North Karlsburg’s Little Warsaw neighborhood by a spectral figure some have identified as recent hero Ghost House. Witnesses claim that Ghost House, uncharacteristically riding a motorcycle, appeared to herd the phantom hearse towards the vacant parking lot of what was formerly Unicorn Bakery. Once the car was isolated, it was picked apart by the ghostly hero in a quick and efficient manner. By the time police arrived on scene, Ghost House had vanished, taking his cycle with him.

1:14 AM — Five members of the white-supremacist and allegedly Satanic cycle gang Hand of the Beast were pursued through the streets of The Cannonade at high speeds by a vigilante some have identified as Caterwaul while others have insisted it is the return of Gato Loco. The incident began with an attempted arson at the Whalebone Lane Meeting House, a historic church in the heart of the Cannonade. The perpetrators were pursued to Ditko Street as far and immobilized over a stretch of eight blocks. All suspects are in custody, though the vigilante responsible did not stick around to answer questions.

3:00 AM — City traffic cameras seem to have captured what appears to be a high-speed race between Muramasa and the rider identified both as Caterwaul or Gato Loco. The riders were picked up on camera entering Harkness Street Bridge from the north, and then again crossing Quincy Street Bridge from the south to then vanish into the warehousing of the North Docks. For the curious, if this was a race, Muramasa appeared to have a several-length lead when last seen.

The publishers of Cape and Cowl would like to remind its readers to drive responsibly.

And keep an eye out for cycle riding vigilantes.

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Interview: Edirin Okoloko

alleyWe had a chance to sit down with Edirin Okoloko, former member of The Protectorate under the name of Knockabout. Currently in town on a diplomatic mission for D’habu where he serves as a senior member of the state security force, Ku’whinde, we were delighted to catch up and reminisce about his time in Cobalt City. We caught up with him at the Capital Club and he was gracious to allow us a few minutes of his time.

Q: It seems like it’s been a long time since you’ve been back to Cobalt City? When was your last visit?

E: In an official capacity? It’s been a few years. Unofficially, I still have a few friends from my Protectorate days who live here, and I’ve been known to jet over for a long weekend to visit from time to time.

Q: Next year will be a decade since the Protectorate officially dissolved and you returned to Africa…

E: D’habu.

Q: What?

E: D’habu. It’s the name of the country, my homeland. When you say Africa, you’re referring to the entire continent which is huge and has countless distinct nations, languages, and cultures.

Q: Sorry. No offence intended. If there was anything you wanted the casual reader to know about D’habu, what would it be?

E: (Chuckles) That we’re not your enemy? I mean, I know things are tense and there’s a certain degree of xenophobia and technological envy, especially after some of the recent events in the area. D’habu has been insular for hundreds of years. It never fell victim to the colonization that has been the legacy of the rest of the continent, and we’re quite aware of the position that puts us in. We’ve done what we can to provide aid to our neighbors as needed–Rwanda to the north, Uganda and Burundi to the west, Tanzania to the south. But for the most part, we’ve isolated ourselves. Now that that policy is changing, it changes the game board for a lot of nations, and people are nervous.

Q: Why now? What’s brought about the change in policy?

E: Because aid from other nations, the World Bank, and multi-national corporations has, historically, come with significant strings. King N’kala and his cabinet have gradually come to realize that the stability that comes from providing aid without conditions outweighs any threat to our own security that isolationism provides. The vast resources of Africa have been plundered by others for centuries. The only thing that’s really changed has been the method. We believe that African resources should remain African, and that upsets the status quo. But in exchange, it’s enabled us to help empower tech regions and economic turnaround in places that desperately need it. It’s helped enrich not just a powerful few, but entire communities. Twenty years ago the idea of the Pan-African Space Program would have been ridiculous.

Q: Now it’s a reality.

E: Not only a reality, but a competitive reality. The first rockets were a huge success, and construction of the orbital platform is on track to begin late next year. It’s entirely within the realm of possibilities that we’ll beat everyone else to a Mars colony.

Q: Is that part of what brings you to Cobalt City on official state business?

E: (chuckles again) It’s related. There are certain overlap with what we’re trying to do with the orbital platform and work that Jaccob Stevens has already done with Starcom Industries, though on a very different scale. We’re trying to broker an agreement that benefits everyone.

Q: Would access to Tascinarium be part of these agreements?

E: It’s no secret that Starcom Industries, along with virtually every other tech company in the world, has been eager to gain access to our national Tascinarium reserves. But it’s not something we consider lightly. D’habu has been the only place in the world where the metal has been discovered. It’s rarity and unique properties have been the subject of much speculation since it was discovered in the eleventh century. But whether you consider it divine providence as we do or blind luck or even extra-dimensional intervention, the fact is that no one else has Tascinarium, and that distinction and our determination to protect it has made D’habu the power that is today.

Q: What is it about Tascinarium that makes it so special? Is it just the rarity?

E: Its weight and flexibility to start with, plus its reactive and conductive properties.

Q: Reactive?

E:  It responds to certain wave-forms in a way that no other metals have been known to do. Tascinarium is not entirely of this world. It’s a true Nth-dimensional metal. We’ve had centuries to try and understand it, to experiment with its potential. We’ve seen enough of that potential to know how it can be abused. It’s our responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Q: On lighter topics, do you have any other plans while you’re back in Cobalt City that you can share?

E: This is very much a work trip, so it remains to be seen. I haven’t had good crab cakes in a while, so fingers crossed I get some soon. And I have a friend whose son wants a Goblin Records t-shirt, so I’ll probably swing by their store in Ruby Tower since it’s right there near Starcom.

Q: One last question?

E: One more.

Q: Is there any chance of the Protectorate getting back together?

E: Considering how things ended almost a decade ago, I doubt the city would want us back together. Anyway, most of us have gone off on our own directions, started very separate lives. We stay in touch. Most of us, at least. But it’s up to the next generation to show us what they can do. It’s one of the things I love most about Cobalt City. There is always another hero waiting in the wings to show you what they can do. I have every confidence that the city is in good hands.

 

Ask a Villain: Nicodemus Candledark

desk With cold and flu season around the corner, Cape and Cowl Magazine has approached noted virologist and mass-murderer Nicodemus Candledark to field a few reader questions.

Q:

There seems to be a lot of conflicting and confusing information on the subject of vaccines and their link to Autism. Who do I believe?

Candledark:

I’d like to suggest that if you’re looking at the one discredited study linking vaccines to Autism and weighing it against every other doctor’s insistence that there is absolutely no link, and then turning to a man known worldwide for killing people with engineered viruses for some kind of support, that you’ve already made up your mind. You’re merely looking for support for your own bad decision. Secondly, you are unfit parent. Vaccinate your children. Third, I lost track of several of my dormant genetic experiments before my current incarceration, so if you truly want to be safe, I suggest you stay away from “free range chicken” for the next five-six years until the for-now-dormant Sangrange-11 virus mutates to something that doesn’t cause blindness and explosive anal leakage.

Q:

How effective is hand-sanitizer, really?

Candledark:

Let’s say that any contaminated surface you touch has, conservatively, 1,000 microbes on it. Keep in mind, the number is likely much higher and on surfaces you would never suspect. The best sanitizer I have ever encountered is only 99.9% effective. So that’s at least one microbe that’s getting through. And it’s going to be the toughest of the bunch. He’s angry because you killed all his friends. He knows where you live. He lives where you live. And he only needs to get you once. Just once. And you’re sick. I tell you, sparky, you better bet that on that day it’s just some dumb cold or flu virus and not something I cooked up when I was out of my mind on peyote and ignoring every single safety protocol.

Q:

Are you single? I’m a professional woman in the prime of life who likes pink wine, southern rock, and true crime TV. I also love the scientific bad-boy type.

Candledark:

Yes, I am single. And though I have rocked out to some Gov’t Mule in my time, my current legal situation coupled with the fact that I am more contagious than the abattoir floor in a third world field hospital during a plague makes long-term relationships difficult. Might I suggest loving yourself first. And if that fails, try the Alibi Room in Karlsburg. You should be able to find a scientific bad-boy or someone pretending to be one without too much difficulty. Throw a rock in this blighted city and you’ll hit one. So by all means, throw it hard.

 

From the Mists of Time: Madjack Concert Becomes Lovefest (5-1-1980)

Tower2

A concert tonight featuring the “alien who fell to earth” act of Madjack, real name Brian McVittie, got out of control this evening, leading to over a dozen public indecency arrests. Venue manager Robert Cooley commented “This the kind of carnal revelry the Saturnalia hasn’t seen here for almost a decade. And while it’s refreshing that people can still find the trust to let love in, some people felt the public fornication might have been a step too far.”

“It’s just love,” McVittie said, “How can that be a bad thing? Two blocks from the Saturnalia, a place called The Apple Theater was showing far worse on screen than what I witnessed from the stage tonight. Worse, there is no way the movie being screened, Naked Abandon, could purport to be representative of a loving relationship. If you knew the profound sadness and anger that permeated the air there, you would arrest the producer of that film. I swear. Some times I don’t know whether to laugh and cry at your quaint human customs.”

Either by coincidence or blind luck, nine of the twelve people arrested at tonight’s show were already wanted on outstanding warrants while one turned out to be international jewel thief Arctic Fox. “I heard the new album,” Arctic Fox said from the back of the squad car. “Something about it really spoke to me, so when I had the chance to catch Madjack live, I couldn’t pass it up. Despite how things turned out, I have no regrets.”

Madjack finished out his set and did two encores after the brief interruption, and his management has volunteered to pay for any damages. The tour continues on to a sold out show in New York tomorrow and Baltimore two days after that. “We’re bringing love all the way across the country,” McVittie said with a wink. We have no reason to suspect anything else.

Black Chapel Sightings Spike on University of Cobalt City Campus

alleyFollowing several unconfirmed sightings of the infamous “Black Chapel” and what campus security has now confirmed to be a trio of suicides at University of Cobalt City, school officials and the city’s occult experts have urged calm and, most importantly, caution.

“We’ve instructed the resident advisers in all dorms to check in with their assigned students,” says university spokesperson Gerri Landry, “And we have doubled our available counselling hours. In addition, we’re looking at options to make the Administration building more, ah, spiritually sound.”

Known by it’s nickname, the “Battleship,” the Administration building for University Cobalt City was built in the early 1950’s on the site of the multi-faith chapel which had been torn own only a few years earlier. The chapel had sat vacant and boarded up since an occult sacrifice took place in its basement in 1945, claiming the lives of thirty-four people. Though Icons members The Sphinx and White Wolf assured city officials that the supernatural event had been contained, ghostly lights and sounds continued sporadically until the chapel was torn down.

Sightings of the “Black Chapel” have spiked before in Cobalt City, notably during the so-called “Vampire Wars” (1976-1979), and again during the Artemis slayings the summer of 1986. Without occult experts on the level of The Sphinx, Black Hand, or Doctor Shadow available to the city, there is no consensus on what this new activity might signal.

When reached for comment, professional occultist Louis Malenfant said only, “Some stones, when thrown, cause ripples. Some bands spawn bad cover bands. I’d start by questioning those shifty RPG players that lurk around the tunnels under campus. Hastur himself only knows what those little punks are playing at.”

In the meantime, the University of Cobalt City and Cobalt City plan on keeping the situation from escalating, and are working with the occult and psychic resources available to them. In the meantime, it is suggested students and those working and living in the vicinity avoid that part of campus after dark and report anyone suspicious wearing robes or carrying ceremonial daggers.

From the Mists of Time: Brawl Disrupts Verdi Premiere (9-7-1923)

Tower2The Cobalt Opera Society’s premiere of Verdi’s La forza del destino was cut short this evening when a figure wearing a “plague mask” and a voluminous black cloak appeared unexpectedly in the second act. Dropping dramatically from somewhere above the stage, he landed with “cat-like grace” according to mezzo-soprano Maria Genovese (making her operatic debut in the role of Preziosilla).

“He had an old pistol the size of my arm in his left hand,” Genovese said, “It looked like a prop, but too old. Too used. And the sabre in his right hand looked real enough.”

“All my time in the theater, I’ve never seen anything like it,” veteran stage manager Irving Lewiston stated. “Well, maybe once.”

The intruder proceeded to duel with Ignazio Bassani, the young baritone playing Don Carlo di Vargas while the rest of the cast fled the stage. Despite his skills as a singer, a surprising display of strength, and the massive, claw-like hands that sprouted from his back, Bassani was little match for his attacker, and was felled after a spirited effort. A final blow with the attacker’s sword caused the performer to dissolve into an oily, black substance described as smelling like “brackish water and sulfur.”

The attacker vanished as quickly as he appeared, leaping up into the darkness above stage to then flee from an upstairs window.

Police believe that the attacker may have been the mysterious figure known as “The Venetian,” a theory supported by Lewiston.

“It took me a few minutes to recognize him,” the stage manager stated. “After all, the only other time I saw the Venetian was over fifty years ago and I was just a kid then. But once the fight started, the memories came back. I’m positive that’s the same man I saw grappling with The Devil’s Coachman in Lafayette Park in 1871.”

A spokesman for the Cobalt Opera Society will be resuming performances next week with understudy Achille Barbot replacing Bassani.

 

Zithyani Breach: Ten Years Later

Commemoration of Zithyani Incursion Memorial, Cannonade, August 1, 2014

Commemoration of Zithyani Incursion Memorial, Cannonade, August 1, 2014

The ten year anniversary of a pan-dimensional invasion attempt by forces of the Zithyani Empire was marked in Armory Park yesterday. Part remembrance for the casualties, part thanks to the heroes who defended the city in it’s time of need, the event was marked with performances by the Whitman High marching band, speeches, and a muted superhero presence. In fact, other than Jaccob Stevens who appeared on the podium without his signature blue and gold power armor and Big Green who has been in stasis on the buildings surrounding Armory Park for the past decade, crowds who turned out to see costumed heroes were likely disappointed. Stevens apologized for the absence of The Protectorate co-founder Wild Kat, citing emergencies elsewhere, serving as a sobering reminder that many of the heroes who stepped in to fill the gap left by the Icons’ departure less than a year earlier are no longer active in Cobalt City.

Big Green: still in stasis. Tamika “Steel Pan” Tesla: retired to pursue science career. Zander “Dart Frog” Tesla: relocated to Seattle. Gato Loco: rumored to be active across country. Worm Queen: retired. In fact, other than Libertine and Huntsman, both of them legacy heroes with a long history in Cobalt City, the only other heroes from the Zithyani Breach are Wild Kat who sees to be less and less active in Cobalt City every year and Stardust.

Long time Cobalt City residents know these things move in cycles. Old heroes step aside to make way for the next generation. Following the formation and implosion of The Protectorate in the three years following the invasion, Cobalt City has been without a significant group presence. Could it be that the era of large superhero unions, with their public meeting halls and clubhouses like The Keep be a thing of the past, as antiquated as the FAX machine and leaded gasoline?

“It’s the fear of us against them,” says police spokesman Dennis Tran. “There’s a general distrust of any group with too much power and no obvious safeguards in place.”

There is even a growing suspicion by some in the community that superheroes should be more tightly regulated if not outright criminalized.

But despite the lack of a large superhero group in the city, despite The Keep having remained vacant for the better part of seven years now, and despite their visible presence in Armory Park for the ceremony, Cobalt City is a city of heroes.

Stardust remains one of the most prominent, both in his public identity as Starcom Inc. founder Jaccob Stevens and as the flying guardian of the city. Wild Kat, Archon, and Gallows may spread their operations out across the globe, but their home remains here in Cobalt City. The Huntsman and Libertine continue to operate as a team and as periodic anchors to the revived Mysterious Five. While an independent operator, Velvet is as present as ever, flexing her considerable might against the city’s larger threats. And despite the atmosphere of distrust, a new crop of heroes are beginning to emerge: Tempest in Quayside, Kensei in Karlsburg, the mysterious Wrecker of Engines in cyberspace and beyond, and perhaps even more.

It took an alien invasion to unite the disparate heroes of the city into The Protectorate a decade ago. If that event taught this city anything, it’s that there will always be heroes here to stand up when the need arises.

—-

Leonard Reed

Senior Features Editor