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Heroes of Vigil City


Vinny
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After your eyes adjust to the glare, you find yourself standing in a huge room, decked out with all kinds of high tech machinery and gizmos.

 

To your left, there is a rectangular conference table made of shining steel, with upholstered swivel chairs surrounding it. In the middle of the table is a large indentation with a projector unit that, currently, is amazingly creating a life-like, three dimensional holographic rendering of the base outline, both the cathedral and the underground station, every detail shaped in the glow of lime green pixels up to and including the church pews to the very room you are standing in, mapped out. There are 10 chairs around the holographic projector table, with 4 on both sides down the rectangle, and 2 at both ends. The seats are fancy, very comfortable, and very high tech, with enough springs to actually make it conform comfortably to whatever sitting position one takes.

 

To the right are several rows of computer panels scrambled with codes. Some of the monitors are turned to certain volumes of the archive. Next to these, lined against the walls, are two rows of huge black modules with masses of wires hanging out from them and coiled down below the floor. There is a shimmering, as if a forcefield, protecting these machinery from anything.

 

This first half of the room is elevated and lined by railings to watch over the floor below. Two tiny flights of steps takes one down to the main area, where there is another, large circular holographic projector.

 

But the main catch of the room, however, is the huge supercomputer lining the northwall. A tiny desk and keyboard is melded into a massive array of machinery that culminates in huge monitor the size of the nearly the entire north wall; a screen the size of a truck's broadside. Currently, it is on, thus causing a bit of the glare, and you all find that, on-screen, an archival file is open. Althought there is nothing activated in particular, you do notice your names an aliases on the selection box to the side of the program.

 

Templar walks to the center of the room and, standing at the railing looking down at the supercomputer.

 

"Welcome to the Temple. This is the war room. This is where we organize and plan any and all attempts to thwart the evils of this world."

 

He turns to face you, brushing off his hood and taking his mask off. Eddie notices it is the man who he pulled out of the confessional booth, but his voice is different and so is his complexion; being grimly serious and even cold. His grey hair and beard betray his aging state, and while he seems strong enough (especially during the fight), there is a feeling of wearyness to him.

 

"We stand here at the heart of the Zealot's Confession. From this room, we Templars see all and know all, and it is our sacred duty, has been and always will be, to monitor and obstruct anything that endangers the well-being of our world. This is why I bring you here today. Once upon a time, my father relinquished the duty to me when he lost his strenght. Now, losing mine, I would wish to grant the task to those worthy of the responsibliities. I am offering... asking you... to join me as brothers and sisters in this crusade. What say ye?"

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"You have a strange way of getting a person's attention," Pulse says taking in the room and sensing all the flowing electricity. "Sounds like doing the right thing but who's version of the right thing is this? What proof do we have that this isn't a way to use us to do evil rather than good?"

 

"When faced with the choice, often men are hesitant of doing good and exceptionally hasty in commiting bad. We of the Templars have pledged our lives to protect the innocent from harm and to bring justice to the guilty. Wether one is guilty or innocent... that hard question is in the eyes of the crusader, yes? That is why I require dependable people. Not only those gifted as you all are, but who possess strenght in character as well was in powers."

 

"As for proof. Well, behold." he says, gesturing to the room at all the machineries and computers, the monitors scanning and rescanning databases, updating every minute at every second.

 

"In these computers are the records of all of our deeds, from the ancient days of the Lionheart to Great War to now. You be the judge of wether or not we are righteous."

 

Behind the group, 001 twirls and begins stomping its way out of the warroom and down the corridor, leaving.

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Eddie looks around the room at all of the technology and is not impressed. "I've seen this same computer crap before, an' it was in tha hands of bushwhackin' bastards every time. I don't know 'bout the rest of these guys...and, um, lady," he says, "But I have trouble trustin' folks who just attacked me. Without provocation. Ya did take your mask off, though, an' that's somethin', at least. I guess I'll stick around a while longer, listen ta what ya have ta say. I'm not makin' any promises 'bout joinin' your crusade whatsis, though. Last time I joined a group promisin' ta 'Wipe out evil' didn't turn out so hot."

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The Phantom floats over to an empty chair and makes himself comfortable.

 

"Nice set up. Your lair is impressive, I'll give you that. But let's just skip all this 'Boys with Toys' and get down to business. I'm really not in the mood to engage in any sort of Holy War or go to Mass or any of that Bible Thumping business. You're welcome to your religious trappings, but that's not for me. You want some help keeping the world safe, fine. I'm interested. But first whiff of getting enmeshed with the Church and I am out of here. So, what have you got in mind?"

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"I for one am also not into religious crusades as well, so count me out of that but I'll listen to your proposal to defend the right & just people of this world."

 

"Wars ravaged some of my homeland thanks to differences in religions & such I wish to not take part in any of that epically for churches & faiths I have no desire of joining".

 

"Also having all of these computers & fancy gadgets doesn't always show the evils of the world, sometimes you just have to get out there & see things for yourself" Cypher' says as she sits down in a chair.

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"Also having all of these computers & fancy gadgets doesn't always show the evils of the world, sometimes you just have to get out there & see things for yourself" Cypher' says as she sits down in a chair.

 

"Damn right," Eddie agrees. "I always say, ya see somethin' wrong, ya hit it with a fist."

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"Also having all of these computers & fancy gadgets doesn't always show the evils of the world, sometimes you just have to get out there & see things for yourself" Cypher' says as she sits down in a chair.

 

"Damn right," Eddie agrees. "I always say, ya see somethin' wrong, ya hit it with a fist."

 

Cricket looks at Eddie, "That would explain alot 'bout your 'issues' with the police. I for one would be willing to take part in anything that opposes criminals and isn't bound by beaurocratic red tape."

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Pulse looks at the monitors and the scrolling data examining the deeds that this mysterious group has accomplished over the ages. "Well there are certainly things that need to be done that can't always be done inside the laws. Sometimes the olny way to protect the spirit of the law is to bend the leters. If we can make a difference for good in the world I'm all for it."

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"You speak of religion ad crusade, well I tell you, this is surely a crusade. Against evil. of course. But even zealous faith is not immune to evil, as you should understand" Templar says, sounding a bit saddenned at this.

 

"We Templars have ceased to hold loyalty to any church or earthly pacts. Unfortunately, we have discovered long ago that even the most faithful, and those who claim they are faithful, possesses no immunity to temptation. Our downfall since then has taught us that, at least."

 

Templar turns to face all of you.

 

"Our purpose no longer lies in religion. We exist now to fight all powers that threaten the safety of the common and the helpless, from murderers to thieves to killers, criminals, businessmen, even the clergy if need be."

 

"Therefore, it no longer matters to us what faith or religion you practice. It doesn't even matter if you don't believe in Our Lord Christ. All that the Order ask of you is a pledge of loyalty to your duty of protecting and serving the innocent."

 

"But..." Templar says, "There is one catch, however. We, of the Templars, operate in secrecy, and thus, if you are to join us, you must respect this commitment. This installation will be at your disposal, but you cannot be tracked here. You may earn fame, love, respect, and admiration. You may even be cheered as the heroes of Vigil City.

But, no matter the cost, the people cannot know of our Order."

 

Templar walks up to your group, standing tall and straight.

 

"If you are capable of honoring this commitment to secrecy, and if you all pledge to use your powers to defend the weak and fight the wicked, then allow me the honor to welcome you to the Order of the Knights Templar."

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"I can understand the need for secrecy, but since you've invited us here, and now made us the offer, after showing us everything. What exactly do you intend if any of us choose not to join? I sensed a rather looming 'Or Else' in your statement. What happens if we are tracked here, or someone finds out? We can try our best to avoid spreading knowledge of this facility and Order, but all it takes is a simple mind scan, skilled tracker, or truly aggressive reporter to find this place, if one is determined enough. What will you do if this place does become compromised?"

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"In all honesty, which I feel I owe you for courtesy's sake..." Templar speaks as he turns to face Phantom, then the rest of the group.

 

"I erase your minds." he says.

 

At this moment, perhaps one or two of you may recall the voice in your dreams telling you of the meeting at the rooftop. It could well have been Templar's.

 

There is the sound of footsteps walking into the room and you all see a figure appear. It is an elderly man, much older than even old Templar, but still healthy. He is wearing a priest's vestments and, in both hands, he is carrying a tray of coffee (tea for the lady), donuts and other pastries and snacks. From his reaction, you all see he is startled to see so many people down here. Truly, you wonder when was the last time there be more than three people (and, save for 001, robots probably don't count) down here...

 

"Oh my," he says, "Pardon me."

 

He walks over to the table and sets the tray down. "Drinks, anyone?" he says rather sheepishly and stands there, feeling a bit awkward.

 

Templar, meanwhile, continues.

 

"I will prove to you now, then, that freedom of choice for you at this moment is not an illusion. You have full liberty to accept or refuse my offer if you so desire. But if you refuse, you will not remember anything that has occured today. We will return you to your home, or wherever you were last night, and it would be as if you had just woken up from a very long, peaceful slumber."

 

"I hope, however, that I will not have to do this. Your services to our Order are most desired." he says.

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"Ya know what," Eddie says angrily. "I don't like you. Ya invade our dreams, compell us ta meet ya by some kinda mind control, and don't even show up, an' now ya say 'Do what I want or I'll fry yer brain.'" His anger rises with each word, and all in the room can notice his fists glowing as he charges them higher and higher.

 

"That's not the way ta instill trust in yer potential teammates, an' I'm not havin' it. I'm leavin', an' it'll take a lot fer ya ta stop me, 'cause I ain't gonna hold back this time" he says as he punches one of the computer banks with a 75% charge, sending metal and glass and sparks everywhere, then dashes for the door and hits it with the other fist.

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"That's what I feared," the Phantom states as he phases to avoid the shrapnel, and rises fro his seat.

 

"Your honesty is welcome, however I can't say I am pleased with what I hear. Although you claim to serve the greater good, you manipulate and control as much as any supervillian. I have no doubt in your own mind, you may be serving some greater good, but your methods leave much to be desired. If you truly felt we were the people you needed, and had the faith and trust in us as characters, you would not need to resort to such methods. Although Eddie may have a more personal reason for his visceral reactions, I have to agree with his sentiment. This is not how you form a team or show trust in people you expect to be guarding your secrets or watching your back. You attack unprovoked in the guise of 'assessment,' you attack when peaceful options were made available to you, you manipulate and coerce. Frankly, I am more concerned with protecting myself from you at the moment. Now maybe I can get our friend to calm down before he tears this place down on your head, but enough of the threats. Enough of the subterfuge. Just enough. Trust us completely, or frankly, I'm gone as well."

 

The Phantom lifts out of his seat and floats over to Eddie.

"If you destroy this place, you may provoke him further, and there might be collateral damage not only to the others, who are also innocent, but also to anyone in the Church above. If you want to leave, let's do so, but we can go peacefully if he lets us."

 

The Phantom turns to Templar. "There's really no need to force this on anyone. Your options of 'Free Choice' are a joke. When the option is do what I want, or I mess with your memories, there is no freedom. I'd recommend you let us leave peacefully, and give us some time to think this through. And perhaps during that time, you can also sit back, and think about your own decision, and the consequences of this behavior. Maybe you've become what you're trying to fight, and maybe you have jeopardized a true team with these actions."

 

"Eddie, power down. You can power up fast enough if need be. Let's not give him a reason to attack further. The ball's in his court now."

 

[OOC] As soon as the Phantom returns home, he hand writes multiple letters and notes to himself about this encounter, fairly certain the Templar can access his computer network for the moment, and mails them to himself at his office, his lab, and his home. He also places a copy in his safe deposit box in addition to several locations within his home, including his safe, a book and within his office desk. The letters are written in code, and addressed as if they are coming from undergraduate students, seeking to become his graduate students. The Phantom thinks, you may try to erase my memory, but I will make certain you do not eliminate my knowledge. Let's see just how good you are.[/OOC]

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