D.O.J.I./New Guardsmen

Issue #14
Enter the Troubleshooters

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Doctor Satano and his new ally have the sexy detective Benjamin Smoulderpatch in a bind, trapped between a bear and… another bear. Does the team have what it takes to deal with the machinations of an A-List super-villain and save the Private Eye from becoming Spotted Dick?

The party confronted the two villains behind the operation, but Doctor Satano quickly teleported away from the action. The remaining foes, two huge mutant bears and a Sidhe Oracle, fought the party tooth and rapier. While Wicasa created a wall of earth around Smoulderpatch, Velocity ran to a nearby store and stole all the food he could carry to distract the two bears; meanwhile Phoenix and Redline engaged the Oracle, whose supernatural toughness failed her at the wrong moment, allowing Redline to deliver a devastating blow.

Fearing for her safety, the Oracle offered a deal to be spared in exchange for information about breaking his curse. After forcing the Oracle to add a promise not to harm any more mortals to the bargain, the party acquiesced and let the Oracle leave. The Oracle told him that the nature of the upturned curse came from death and life coexisting, and that they could unravel the mystery by returning to where the curse was cast—which was back in Russia.

Learning that they could not travel internationally without registering with the United Nations or the DOJI, the team finally chose a name, the Troubleshooters, and contrived for Wicasa to be legally declared Phoenix’s sidekick to get around his underage status. In the short term, the team was invited to a gala that Zoya Cherenova is holding in Napa, but whether they make it to the party is anyone’s guess.

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Issue #13
The Curious Case of Benjamin Smoulderpatch

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Who is The Woman on the Billboard and why does a cosmetics CEO need the help of a private investigator and superheroes? Redline takes a step closer to answers… and to Ninjas!

The party goes into research mode and discovers that the woman who looks like Redline’s lover Stefana is named Zoya Cherenova and runs a very successful cosmetics corporation out of her office in West Covina, California. Traveling to the West Coast, the team learns that Cherenova hired a private investigator, Benjamin Smoulderpatch, to look into shipments of her company’s cosmetics that were going missing. Unfortunately, the detective has been out of contact and Zoya fears that he has been captured or killed.

The party investigates Smoulderpatch’s house and finds that it has been ransacked—and the culprit is still there. A Ninja of the Scarred-Skull was hired to destroy any evidence the detective may have acquired, but the party was able to put him out and learn that whoever hired him was using a local junkyard as a base of operations.

Velocity waited with the Ninja for the police to arrive while the rest of the party scouted the junk yard. There, they discovered a shocking sight: Doctor Satano of the Masterminds and a strange magic using woman—a woman who could see Phoenix’s remote viewing projection!

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Issue #12
Punked in Podunk

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
The party has finally met Task Manager face to face and nobody knows what to make of it. Will the party still trust their benefactor after last issue’s shocking reveal?

Velocity and Phoenix have to politely inform Harmony and her family that Harmony looks exactly like a cosmic-powered supervillain that the party met months ago in New Cityton, and who had an unexpected cameo in Velocity’s nightmare sequence on the Train of Thought. Perplexed and distraught, Harmony claims to have no idea why she and Diskord look alike, speculating on the fact that Diskord is a shapeshifter and could actually look like anything, to actually asking Rachel if Harmony has a long lost evil twin.

Meanwhile, Harmony realizes to her horror that Sarah and Rachel’s memories about their past don’t match up with hers, in which the adopted younger girl had never actually met Harmony until the accident that took her leg and—Rachel speculates—may have activated a dormant super-intelligence meta-gene in Harmony.

On the other side of town, Wicasa and Warbucks discover that the fire was delibrately started, and Wicasa learns from local water spirits that the flames had a sentience of their own and a desire to burn. Interrogating a group of cosplayers who witnessed the fire, the party learned that one person present at the convention, Emelia, was not a cosplayer but an actual flame elemental fleeing a boyfriend (or parole officer?) named Ralph. After talking to a small dog, Wicasa followed its nose around the bend to see Emelia sucked into what appeared to be a Pokeball by a nondescript man with significant magical ability. Deducing that this was ‘Ralph’ the party confronted him, only for him to flee and attempt to erase the memories of the encounter from the party’s minds, claiming to be a member of the ‘Physics Police’ and from another universe.

The memory erasure did not work, and Redline latched onto his escape vehicle, a cardboard TARDIS replica, only to be knocked off when this ‘CARDIS’ smashed into a billboard. Of course what Redline saw on the billboard would have stopped him in his tracks, even if he hadn’t fallen fifty feet onto a children’s springy duck toy: the woman who he has been searching for….

Advertising lipstick.

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Issue #11
Discordant Harmonies

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
The party tries to have some down time in the unremarkable town of Podunk, Idaho, when a fire breaks out at a nearby apartment complex. And that’s not the weirdest part: it just so happens to be the residence of Task Manager’s mom!

The party drove the Tank from South Dakota to Idaho and stopped for a ludicrously large meal at a martial-arts themed burger joint, Brob and Velocity being the heaviest eaters. During the meal Task Manager alerted the heroes to an apartment fire in Podunk just a few miles from their location. The party leaped into action, rescuing all the tenants from the building. Two of those tenants happened to be Rachel and Sarah Conner, Task Manager’s mother and adopted sister. The party split up after everyone was rescued, with Phoenix, Brob, and Velocity taking Sarah and Rachel to the home of Task Manager, also known as Harmony Conner while the rest of the party stayed behind to investigate the fire.

Phoenix and Velocity got the surprise of their lives, however, upon meeting Harmony for the first time and realizing she looks exactly like Diskord, minus a leg.

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Issue #10
Good Job Breaking It, Heroes

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
The tiny air force takes flight! Deep beneath the quarry, on the lowest sub-level of Basement Θ, Promethius X reveals his mad scheme, and the mystery of the stolen cows is finally solved.

After coming out of their trance in Sublevel 4, the party discovered that they had been wondering around for nearly four hours. Proceeding to Sublevel 5, the heroes discovered Promethius X and two strange Gold and Blue-clad soldiers standing in front of a huge sphere inside which a city and the surrounding countryside contained with in it, miniaturized. Candide explained that the city was called Mildendo, and it was the capital of Lilliput, a fragment of a destroyed Micro-Universe.

A fight broke out between the party and the two Lilliputian soldiers, whose-quantum containment suits made them formidable fighters; Promethius X meditated on top of the Sphere, calling forth reinforcements from Mildendo in the form of the Lilliputian airforce, enhanced with technology that allowed them to achieve a 1:64 scale integration with the outside universe. The party was able to dispatch the planes before they did any serious damage, though one of them used some sort of intoxicant missile on Brob.

Brob hurled a three-ton metal crate at the last three Bombers that emerged, but in the process also hit the Sphere, causing a fracture in the warp bubble. Fearing the destruction of Lilliput and the Basement, Candide convinced one of the soldiers to break off from the fight and help him put a temporary seal on the fracture until an actual quantum physicist could look at it.

The other Soldier grew erratic and furiously stabbed Redline, rendering him unconscious, but then Velocity waylaid Promethius X with a flurry of punches. With the psychic influence of the “Ape Lord” no longer clouding his doubts, the Soldier began to question his orders and the party was able to talk him down. The party and the soldier compared notes, realizing that Promethius X had been manipulating the Lilliputians with his psychic powers; he suppressed their doubts while spinning a yarn that the United Nations were planning to invade Lilliput and conquer it, and began preparing a Lilliputian invasion army of his own, though what X hoped to conquer with them is unclear.

After the rupture had been sealed and Velocity had run into town to get everyone some food, the party was debriefed by Celadon Cyclone, even as representatives of the New Guardsmen and DOJI appeared at Basement Θ in response to the security breach. The question remains to be decided: what to do with Promethius X?

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Issue #9
The Veracity of Velocity

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Who is Brandon Haynes? The team may find out the hard way when they delve into Velocity’s psyche. And what of the B.A.D. Agent Roger Candide: are there any skeletons in his closet?

The party made its way through Velocity’s psyche, the denizens thereof persistently trying to reveal Brandon’s secret identity. After confronting some of his fears and wild speculations about his mysterious origins, the team encountered a memory of the cosmic entity Diskord, who they fought in a parking garage while Velocity found himself powerless.

Afterward, the heroes made their way to Engine of the Train of Thought and were about to shut it down when Promethius X summoned ‘the Conductor’ to delay them further. Taking the form of one Maxwell Collins, a man from Roger’s past. The group was brought to a hotel room in which Roger conducted an affair with Collins’ wife, Crystal. Maxwell, representing Roger’s fear that the affair was what lead to Crystal’s death.

This fear manifested itself in Roger’s mind as a giant Gundam that Maxwell Collins attempted to kill the team with, until Brob was able to force it off the building and giving Redline the opportunity to commandeer the Gundam. After destroying the Maxwell apparition, the form the Conductor had taken, the Train of Thought malfunctioned released the group from its illusion.

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Issue #8
The Vile Vurnier

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
With the psychic baggage of Redline behind them, the party delves into another train car and confronts the demon that haunts Phoenix’s psyche: who is the sinister Doctor Vurnier and what does he want with the Sensational Psionic?

The party dispatched three figments that attempted to impede their progress and found an entrance to the next car of the train. Inside, they were confronted by apparitions of Phoenix’s past. Several years ago, twelve elementary school students at the school where Phoenix was a teacher were murdered by someone called Phillip Vurnier, a self-described doctor who promised he’d explain why he murdered the children if Phoenix would only join him.

In the apparition, a figment of Vurnier appeared to taunt Phoenix, triggering her PTSD, and leading her through a gauntlet of past horrors to a castle, where a superhero, a young boy that referred to Phoenix as his aunt, attacked Vurnier. This boy was then disintegrated by a defensive turret, but from his ashes rose a copy of Phoenix. This ‘Dark Phoenix’ attacked the party, but after Redline was able to destroy the figment of Vurnier, Wicasa and Brob made short work of the Dark Phoenix.

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Issue #7
I'm Burning I'm Burning I'm Burning For You

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Now knowing who their enemy is—the bizarre extra-dimensional ape Promethius X—our heroes make their way deeper into the sub-levels of the Basement, but nothing is what it seems in the caverns of psychic illusion that the sinister simian has created—using the heroes’ own memories as the building blocks!

The party pressed deeper into Basement Θ, the more powerful psychic illusions distorting their perceptions and erasing the exit behind them. Forced to board Promethius X‘s Train of Thought, the party came face to face with Redline’s dark past—reliving his failure to save his beloved from a burning building, the guilt at his constant inability to do so. The illusion ended with a showdown by a frozen pond, the manifestations of the first and most recent incarnations of his beloved attacking Redline in the form of a woman of fire.

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Issue #6
Weird is the new N.O.R.M.al

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Investigating the strange happenings at Basement Θ, the party encounters strangers: The odd and seemingly Irish Professor Warbucks, and his armored assistant and sidekick Brobdingnagian, a woman with the magical power to transform into a giant. But all is not well within the depths of the Basement. Is the party ready to face the wrath of the monstrous N.O.R.M.?

The party was allowed into Basement Θ, with Warbucks and Brob joining the team, at least for now. They also met a BAD Operative in the base, Roger Candide, who was too distracted to notice the odd happenings because he was elbow deep in writing a novel to shake the ages—or so he believed. In fact, the computer he was typing on didn’t even have a battery, Candide having fallen victim to a psychic illusion.

Celadon Cyclone, fearing her own power turned against the team, elected to stay behind on the upper level while she sent the party and Candide into the Basement’s sub-levels to discover the cause. On the way down, the party encountered strange facsimiles of BAD Soldiers made from an enchanted copying machine, and a huge neurologically controlled robot called NORM. After defeating norm, the party discovered a smattering of books on the floor, including some tufts of hair from paper cuts. When Wicasa determined that hair belonged to some form of ape, a chimpanzee, perhaps, the party realized who they were dealing with:

Promethius X.

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Issue #5
Cattle Rustlers from Another World

FC – 22 Pages – $2.99
Our heroes don’t know what to think when Task Manager sends them after cattle rustlers using a flying saucer as their getaway vehicle, but they may be in for more than they bargained for. What is Basement Θ?

Scarab Man departed the group, called away to aid the Egyptian gods. The party answered the call of a farming couple about their cattle being abducted by aliens, and staked out their barn and fields through the night. In the process, they met a traveling merchant called Wicasa, a native American shaman and fledgling superhero, whose ability to speak with animals allowed him to interview the cows and learn more about the abductions.

Sure enough a strange craft began to steal cattle from the farm that night. The party took the craft down, only to discover that it was a model flying saucer that could be purchased at a hobbyist store, and its cloaking device was a fairly standard (if pricey) military fiber-optic tarp. The only extraterrestrial element was a strange gem attached to the craft that warped space and time, pulling the cows from the farms to an unknown location.

Determining the relatively short range of the flying saucer, the party tracked it north to a quarry where they were surprisingly ambushed by Karen Vandermeer and her BAD Operatives. Though they tried to explain themselves Vandermeer came under the sudden mental dominance of an unknown force and ordered the party’s arrest! After nearly losing Velocity and Wicasa to enemy gun fire, the part managed to incapacitate most of the soldiers.

At that moment a Vulture Transport arrived… and off stepped DOJI member Celadon Cyclone.

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