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.

 

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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

 

Cobalt City Police Blotter Returns to Cape & Cowl

CCPoliceBlotterFollowing a public outcry about the CCPD decision to stop making the police blotter available on their website, the department recently declared it would make the blotter electronically available through publications like this one. We applaud our officers for their commitment to transparency in a city where so many citizens are devoted to disguising their true identities.

Usual Disturbance
A man noticed several parties get out of their vehicles, engage in what appeared to be a fight, and then leave. When asked how he knew it was a fight, he replied that he saw fists and feet fly, somebody punched the road and made the car alarms go off, and half the people involved seemed to be wearing masks or spandex. No evidence of damage, other than a large crack in the pavement, was found.

Duck, Boaters!
An extremely oversized rubber ducky struck a dock used by several recreational boaters. No one was hurt, but the rubber ducky sunk a sailboat belonging to a woman who described herself as important and connected to lawyers who could sue the city. She was advised that a file on this incident had been opened and the owner of the rubber ducky would be ticketed if found.

Time Travel Blamed Again
A naked man apprehended in the Parkside neighborhood blamed time travel for his lack of clothing. Stating that he had been propelled into the past, he claimed the force of this journey had separated him from his pants. The arresting officer reminded him that time travel is not considered a reasonable excuse for violating public decency statues, unlike the annual Solstice Nude Sunrise Greeting.