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December 20, 2016

354. SMOLDER

BIRTH NAME:

Unrevealed

ALIASES:

Smolder

BIRTH DETAILS:

Fresno, CA, USA, Earth (Core Reality); Late 21st Century

SPECIES:

Hyper-human; male

Intelligence

Mental Powers

Strength

Speed

Energy Projection

Tactical Skill

Durability

Agility

Power Rating: 1 – 100

POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS

Smolder is pyrokinetic and can emit fire from any part of his body. He can also fly and has incredible durability.

My name is Captain Noble and I was born and raised to be the perfect superhero. To that end I’ve fulfilled my calling in every possible way. During my nearly two decades of hero work on the behalf of the United States government, however, I was also conscripted to train to be the captain of the Starship Stratalight. Our first official commission came during an alien invasion of Earth by the Tromokratesians, lead by Emperor Kako. The following is an excerpt from the memoir I’m writing to accompany the ship’s log.

Stratalight Maiden Voyage, Day 199

THE STORY

Our situation is dire….

We’ve crash landed on a planet that does not exist on any of our star maps. Our navigation officer, the immortal Marco Crux, who possesses the god-like ability to manipulate stars and sense their locations, cannot pinpoint where in the galaxy we are. Placebo, our communications officer and one of the most powerful telepathic beings in the known universe, cannot breach the psionic shell encapsulating the planet, making it impossible for us to send an S.O.S. to NASA Central Command or anywhere else.

HEIGHT: 6’6″
WEIGHT: 237 lbs.
SKIN: White; orange/yellow (when ignited)
HAIR: Red
EYES: Brown; orange (when ignited)

And our science officer, Wavelength, has determined that the world we’ve landed on is nearly 100 times the size of Earth’s sun, and made of 100 percent psytanium – a mysterious and rare element with its own passive psionic properties. In other words, we’ve potentially found ourselves stranded on a massive living planet with enough potential psionic energy to cause a universe-wide Extinction Level Event. But those concerns, as well as a myriad of other issues or all secondary, for our number one priority is to find our lost crew member, our engineer, Smolder.

Smolder was born with the ability to emit extreme heat from within his bones. His skin and organs are coated in a malleable plasma-like substance that act as an igniter. The combination ultimately transforms him into a walking talking blowtorch. He’s also pyrokinetic which means he can control and manipulate all types of fire, lava or any other heat-based substance.

He’d easily be one of the most destructive beings in the universe if not for his unwaveringly good heart. Even from the time he was a child he had a desire to help the world in any and every way he could. By the time he was 30 he and his wife, Bianca, had been involved in hundreds of environmental and humanitarian projects and consequently earned the respect and admiration of leaders the world over.

When I was finalizing recommendations for the crew of the Stratalight, his hyper-abilities made him a prime candidate for the the job, as the craft’s hyper-magma plasma core interfaced seamlessly with his hyper-ability power set. But it was his desire to help other beings on under-developed planets throughout the universe that truly put him over the top in my mind. I offered him the job and he joined my crew. And after completing the first part of our maiden voyage, Operation: StarCover, we’ve visited a number of planets, giving Smolder – and other members of the crew – opportunities to help many many beings throughout the universe. Now, however, it would seem we are the ones that need help.

I, Smolder and 8 other hyper-beings left earth just over 10 months ago carrying the third piece of the triplos asteri – a powerful star that holds a portion of the essence of the goddess Armonia. The vile and violent Emperor Kako of the Tromokratesian warrior race had collected the first two pieces and was after the third, for he knew that combining all three stars would grant him a seat as a god next to Armonia. Kako and his armada of warships and army of advanced warriors launched a full scale assault on Earth, where the third star had been buried for several thousand years. The armies and heroes of Earth, along with the Galaxias Klykos Force under the command of General Tixus Trexion, fought back. We were overwhelmed by the strength, technology and skill of Kako and his soldiers, but I and my Stratalight crew managed to secure the star and blast off from Earth. The Tromokratesian fleet pursued us, but we were able to elude Kako long enough to hide the star in the Stavro Dome with the Everlife Celestial being called Pathfinder.

After leaving the Stavro Dome, my crew and I were asked by NASA Central Command to investigate a mysterious telepathic signal from a distant, and yet unexplored, region of the universe. We set out to do just that. Our crew began as 10; but we picked up Marco Crux a short time before arriving at the Stavro Dome, and we also made a stop at a space station in the Malcolm Star System to pick up a medical officer, Doctor Robotica.

We were just a few light years from the origin point of the telepathic transmission, when we were suddenly pulled into some sort of vortex. We eventually found ourselves caught in the gravity of this monster planet. Unable to reach the escape velocity needed to push away, we were forced to crash land in one of the most perilous terrains I’d ever encountered – a vast mountainous region full of active volcanoes. We found ourselves wedged in the side of one of the large lava-filled mountains, but thanks to the efforts of the entire crew, especially Smolder, we were able to free the ship. We continued to navigate the volcanic region with much difficulty, and it was becoming increasingly clear that the sheer number and magnitude of the explosive waves of magma coming at the ship from all directions would eventually overwhelm us.

It was at the point in which it seemed all was lost that Smolder emerged from the engine room and volunteered to confront the lava head on. I immediately disagreed, as it meant he’d have to go outside the ship and stand atop its hull as we darted through the mountains. He insisted, rightfully expressing the fact that the Stratalight would be destroyed if the intense lava could not be sufficiently deflected. I considered the options, and made the decision to let him do it.

Angel Wraith, my first officer, used her hyper-abilities to phase-shift Smolder through the roof of the Stratalight, and what we all witnessed next was a thing of beauty. The Stratalight’s engineer began to manipulate and control the magma as if he was conducting a symphony of fire. Dozens of massive lava streams rushed by us, barely touching the ship’s hull as Smolder used his pyrokinesis to deflect the scalding substance with one hand, and blast a path through the volcanic region with the other. The monster planet, however seemed to take exception to Smolder’s success, as a multitude of additional explosions from below began to rock the ship violently. Tons of giant boulders and rocks smashed into the hull, causing Smolder to stumble a bit and lose some of his control over the lava.

Angel Wraith’s force-field around the Stratalight, however, had been able to re-energize and reinforce thanks to Smolder’s intervention, and Placebo’s telepathy was able to help deflect the rocks as my co-pilots, Aphelion and HyperThrust, continued to maneuver us to more stable airspace. In fact, the light at the end of the tunnel had appeared and we were almost through, when suddenly a megaton explosion from below launched an ocean of lava at us! There was no way around it; we’d have to fly right through it! We were all rocked from our stations as we hit the wall of liquid fire. The experience was incredibly intense, as I had never felt that amount of heat and force in my life. We could feel the Stratalight stretching and bending under the stress. I could hear the desperate screams of my fellow crew members, some of which did not possess the same extreme durability that Marco Crux, Angel Wraith, Chief Two Strike and I possessed. But also, we could see that we were almost through – and after a few more moments of nearly reaching our breaking points, we emerged from the wall of lava and found ourselves out of the proverbials woods, as the volcanoes were now behind us and we were in much clearer airspace.

Angel Wraith’s force-field had held; Placebo had successfully guided the ship when the pilots were knocked from their seats. And the Stratalight was still in one piece. And it was all thanks to Smolder. Then suddenly we were all nearly rendered unconscious by a psionic blast from the mind of my communications officer. It took a few moments for all of us to regain our bearings, and when I looked to Placebo to ask her what had happened, I could see the terror in her eyes. I immediately knew what had happened – Smolder was gone.

We landed the ship a few minutes later. The crew was utterly distraught, as arguments quickly broke out over what had happened and what we should do about it. Some of the crew members (Powerline, Marco Crux, Angel Wraith and Chief Two Strike) wanted to immediately fly back to the volcanic region and search for him, while others (Wavelength, Aphelion, Hyper Thrust) felt we should make every effort to get off the planet as soon as possible. It was not easy, but thanks to the empathic hyper-abilities of the Stratalight’s counselor, Euphoria, I was able to regain control of the crew and come up with a plan that would hopefully accomplish both.

I ordered my fastest crew members – Hyper Thrust, Marco Crux, Aphelion and Chief Two Strike – to fly back to the volcanic region and carefully search the area. I then ordered Powerline, Robotica and Placebo to begin repairs on the ship and calculate the escape velocity needed to blast off. I would assist with repairs. Additionally, I ordered Angel Wraith and Wavelength to survey the area around the ship for any more clues about the psytanium make up of the planet. And finally I ordered Euphoria to attempt to do a empathic sweep of the planet for the presence of any other living beings.

At the time of this entry, it has been approximately 2 days since we’ve lost Smolder. We’ve had no luck. We are continuing to desperately search, but the ship’s repairs are almost complete and the harsh environment of the planet has made me consider the possibility of taking off without him. Of course, that option poses it’s own set of problems, as Smolder’s hyper-abilities are the key to efficiently operating the Stratalight’s hyper-magma plasma core. We do have the capability of modifying the ship’s hyper modulator unit to interface with Marco Crux’s energy manipulation powers, as well as Robotica’s limited pyrokinetic abilities (she possesses the ability to mimic some of the powers of any hyper-being she’s been in extended contact with), but i would like to keep that as a very last resort.

The bottom line is that my crew is tired and growing more desperate by the hour. We’ve had to battle against what seems to be a living planet that purposely and willfully counteracts our actions and hyper-abilities. The only other signs of life so far have been a horde of monstrous creatures that seemingly spawn from the ground every few hours. To this point, they’ve been somewhat easy to kill but they, like the planet, seems to be adapting to our powers. And the fact that we cannot find our beloved Smolder is pushing my crew to a breaking point. For the first time in my life I feel no control, no sense of heroic confidence; I have no idea what to do.

And I don’t know how much longer we can survive…