June 21, 2016
172. THE ALPHA INITIATIVE
Lt. Rashard Bonds, Liberty Star, Black Jag, Musashi, Interface, Brolic, Orenda, and Encore
General Hank Garrison
Recruited by Captain Noble and Lt. Rashard Bonds, Early 22nd century (Core Reality)
The Alpha Initiative is a team of elite heroes and hyper-humans who have come together to battle some of the world’s greatest threats. This is an account of their very first meeting.
The Presidential Meeting Room at the Dwight D. Eisenhower NASA Station in southern Platinum City was normally cold and sterile. Planning committees and debriefing sessions were typically conducted there around the long, oval, plush oak table. In the expensive black leather office chairs were usually NASA officials, Senators, President Enid Remington’s staff, as well as the POTUS herself on occasion. It was a domain for discussing top secret missions, experimental projects, and other sorts of “need to know basis” information.
Agendas and attendees for meetings in the Presidential Room were known only by those who were to be in the room, and lips were sealed tight as they exited. The information shared on the huge 4D virtual reality displays were only ever for the eyes of the extremely privileged. The audio heard over the extensive and advanced surround sound system only ever blessed the ears of the chosen. A plethora of history altering decisions had been made in the Presidential Room. Thus, when super-soldier Lt. Rashard Bonds stood at the head of the oval table, looking out upon his hand-picked team of heroes, he could not help but feel the magnitude of the moment. Black Jag of the Platinum City Knights, the samurai superhero Musashi, the Iga Clan ninja hacker Interface, the Platinum City super cop Brolic, the mystical Iroquois warrior Orenda, and the hyper-human street hustler Encore were sat at the table, listening intently.
Lou spoke to them in an earnest and commanding voice. He expressed his disdain for how villains – ranging from the pestering to the maniacally genius and alarmingly deadly – had been causing devastation and wreaking havoc across the world for too long. He continued by elaborating how the greater universe was suffering the same fate as a number of intergalactic incidents had also been reported. Cities were stricken with disaster; whole planets had been destroyed, annihilating entire species. All of it, Lou continued, had been at the hands of villains living somewhere on the spectrum of wickedness between demented to genocidal.
The only hope during these times had been the deeds of the righteous. However, Lou declared, a glimmering light of hope here and there was not bright enough to shine through the ever-increasing veil of darkness and evil shrouded over Earth and beyond. A supreme force of good needed to be brought together. He explained how it was imperative to the survival of the innocent, and the reality of a free world. Lou then informed everyone how his old friend, Captain Noble, knew this before anyone else did, and that he vigorously fought for it, up until his disappearance. Lou then said it was on them to take up the torch, and make Captain Noble’s ideal a reality. And with that, he directed everyone to the portfolios sitting before them. On the front was the Great Seal of the United States crisply engraved in gold, and underneath it in the same color were the words THE ALPHA INITIATIVE.
Next, Lou introduced the man standing to his right. It was the Alpha Initiative’s lifeline, General Hank Garrison. The general was their liaison to the Pentagon, the US Dept. of Defense, and the White House. All missions needed his approval. Luckily for the heroes, he was also a mentor and father figure to Lou. Gen. Garrison ensured they would be able to operate without any red tape or bureaucracy, and they would be given any resources they needed, such as the Presidential Room; it was virtually the only place they could meet, without being vulnerable to enemy infiltration. Not even the POTUS could get into their meetings without going through multiple channels of clearance, spread across numerous government agencies. Weapons, technology, funding, transport, additional soldiers, administration, infrastructure; all, and more, was provided, thanks to Gen. Garrison.
Lou then introduced the woman standing to his left, the ex-Navy SEAL, and current leader of the superhero squad The City Watch, Liberty Star. She was an old comrade and sister-in-arms, and would serve as second in command. Lou and Liberty Star had combined forces back in the day, when the Marines and the Navy engaged in joint missions. Lou trusted her with his life. Plus, the higher ups had informed Gen. Harrison that if this team was to be allowed to operate, they would want solid and trusted soldiers running the show – and they don’t come much more trustworthy and dependable than Lt. Rashard Bonds and Liberty Star.
Following the introductions, Lou directed the heroes to open their portfolios. As the individuals flipped through the documents, they saw detailed information on each member of the team. Included were their personal histories (if known), combat experience, heroic feats, powers, and expertise. Lou explained, for them to be a cohesive unit, they had to know one another like the back of their own hand. Information about Lou and Liberty Star was included as well. The heroes perused the portfolios with great interest. As they came across a new person with an interesting ability, or read the headlines of articles detailing famous acts of heroism performed by a member, the reader would often look across the table at the person. It was a superhero icebreaker, and the Alpha Initiative was indeed talented and accomplished.
After they skimmed through this section, the team arrived at horrific pictures. Debriefing files of tragedies were included in the portfolios as well.Lou motioned to have the lights dimmed. On the 4D VR display were the same pictures, along with video footage. Scenes of the Smash and Grab carnage, organized and pulled off by the supervillain Hysteria, in which every bank in Platinum City was robbed simultaneously; footage of the army of zombies, unleashed by the deadly Sarcophagus; images of the battle involving Fata Morgana, right outside the Pentagon in Washington DC; and hundreds of pictures depicting the aftermath of incidents throughout the world.
This was followed by news footage from across the world, documenting terrorist attacks perpetrated by mercenaries, assassins, and hyper-powered baddies. Then, the faces of known villains, criminals, and potential threats were shown in full screen, before shrinking to smaller sizes to be lined up next to each other – Shanga, Blindspot, RC Allen, Chaos Kao Kwan, Militia, Attrition, Courtney Quick, Zipporah Zing, Askari Badru, Annihilator Anatoli, Fahim Nuru, and so many more. Before long, the entire screen was covered in nearly one hundred faces. Lou then intimated that all the pictures and footage had one thing in common – the name Edgar Lockhart.
Lou began divulging information regarding how Captain Noble received a prophecy from ancient spiritual monks known as the Zhibdeans, and how they warned Earth was in grave danger, as evil was overtaking all, and an impending doom approached. This prophecy was also experienced by Orenda’s tribe; people who had no connection to the Zhibdeans, and could not possibly have had any knowledge of them. Furthermore, several books from the mystical library of Sir Vellichor had also offered a vast amount of foreshadowing that seemed to correlate with the prophecy.
The prophecy also suggested that in order for Earth to survive and triumph, everyone needed to come together. Brolic asked what the prophecy spoke of specifically, but Lou did not know. No one did. However, the super-soldier followed up by saying, while they did not know the exact meaning of the prophecy, they had a huge lead.
Captain Noble had been chasing international war criminal, arms dealer, and god of mercenaries, Ramses “The Pharaoh” Hondo. During that time, the superhero uncovered a direct connection between The Pharaoh and Edgar Lockhart. Captain Noble was unable to follow up before he disappeared, but as Lou was putting together the Alpha Initiative he, Musashi and Interface obtained a copy of all of Edgar Lockhart’s files, detailing every single aspect of his personal, business and criminal life.
The villainous mastermind was behind every tragedy and act of terror in the portfolio, along with an innumerable amount of others. Edgar’s network and influence extended across almost every nation, government, and industry in the world. Whether they believed in the prophecy or not, Edgar and his global criminal enterprise needed to be stopped. That could only be done together. And Lou continued that in the long run, if they could prevent an impending doom, that would be the ultimate bonus.
Naturally, the team had questions. Discovering the world’s wealthiest and most powerful man was as evil as evil could be blew their minds. The answers they sought were outlined in the portfolio, though, as all of Edgar’s files were included. The team read through them, and could not believe their eyes. The extent of Edgar’s dastardly deeds and corruption was unfathomable. Then, at the end of the portfolio was the main reason why the Alpha Initiative was assembled: the file titled “London Lockhart”.
Lou explained how the files suggested that Edgar’s only true weak point was his long-hidden sister London, and their first mission was to find her, and bring her in. The two shared a powerful mental connection – also unknown to the world – and if they obtained London, they could not only learn all about how to defeat Edgar, but also use her powers against him. However, the security measures and forces they would have to overcome were unlike anything anyone had ever faced. Furthermore, Edgar knew they were coming. The mission seemed virtually impossible. However, Lou had devised a masterful plan.
More pictures were put up on the 4D VR display, as Lou began briefing the team. He told them there were two locations the Alpha Initiative needed to hit, in order to have a chance at getting London. One was a fortress in the Amazon rainforest. The other was a space station orbiting Earth. Lou detailed how Edgar consistently kept London on the move, to prevent anyone from knowing her exact location at any given time. It was done by using incredibly advanced technology, which teleported her from one holding cell to another, between ten different earthly sites. The files they possessed mapped the teleportation schedule, and the locations.
Lou continued by explaining how the next transfer was happening in a week, to the location in the Amazon. However, they could not simply storm into the fortress and break London out. Each site was protected by a force-field, which utilized artificial intelligence protocols. It was virtually impenetrable, because if it were somehow breached, it would analyze the cause for the breach, and immediately adapt to close and prevent it from happening again.
Also, inside the fortress were a number of trained mercenaries who guarded the facility, and past them were specialists with hyper-abilities. Then, the actual cell holding London was equipped with a security system that could only be disarmed by Edgar, using his mental powers to match an artificial brainwave pattern that constantly changes. If anyone tried to hack the system, smash the cell open, or shut the power down in the facility, London would be teleported to a holding cell at the center of an intricate labyrinth, patrolled by an unknown contingent of soldiers, in the space station orbiting Earth. The holding cell there was also guarded by a master mercenary, whose identity and power set were not specifically laid out in the files. Furthermore, the space station holding cell was also equipped with a deluxe version of the brain-wave pattern security system. Instead of teleporting London elsewhere if someone tried to free her from this cell, London would be killed instantly.
The heroes were dead silent, and all looked at each other in utter disbelief. Some said there was no way to do what Lou proposed; others suggested to try to do it was a suicide mission. Not only were they technologically outmatched, but they were outnumbered, as Edgar was going to send everything he had at them, as soon as they moved on London. That was when Lou explained his plan.
The Alpha Initiative was to split into two teams, both would be accompanied by additional soldiers – all ex-Navy SEALs, who had previously worked under Liberty Star. She would lead Team One, and be flanked by Orenda, Encore and Black Jag. Their objective would be to infiltrate the Amazon fortress, using the Iroquois warrior’s abilities to manipulate the force-field. Once inside, they would battle their way to London’s position, where Encore would teleport inside the cell and grab her.
If they failed to obtain the subject, Team Two – comprised of Lou, Interface, Musashi, Brolic, and a squad of SEALs – would be waiting at the space station. They would navigate the labyrinth to reach the holding cell where, Interface would use some advanced tech of their own to hack the security system, so they could transport London back to Earth.
The team would have to be at their absolute best, and extremely precise, but Lou believed they could do it. Liberty Star and General Garrison agreed. The other heroes, however, were less certain. They all agreed to join up when Lou recruited them, because they wanted to stop Edgar, prevent the prophecy from coming true, or both. They did not know exactly what they were going to face, and after hearing what they were up against, they had their doubts. Lou sensed the lingering feelings of disbelief, and told them there were only two things that could happen: either they took Edgar down ASAP – or they let evil win.
He also informed them that the first stage of Edgar’s downfall was already about to be set in motion, for as soon as they left the Presidential Room, much of the Edgar Lockhart files were going to be released to the media and news outlets worldwide. He was going to be exposed, and that was going to turn the criminal world upside down. Chaos was sure to follow, as every villain and bad guy on the planet would either be scrambling to help Edgar escape capture, or begin maneuvering against him to take the top spot. The heroes all knew individually, or with their respective teams, they could not stop that type of anarchy. The only chance at setting things right was to work as a cohesive and organized team.
They also knew Edgar Lockhart had to be brought to justice, and the Alpha Initiative had the best chance at doing that. Nevertheless, the fight they were confronted with was going to be brutal, long and strenuous, and ultimately, the heroes did not know if they wanted to risk everything in a seemingly impossible mission. Alas, after much discussion, Lou told everyone to take 48 hours to think about it, as he could not force anyone to join. If they had agreed to move forward, and commit to the Alpha Initiative, they were to meet at the departure rendezvous for final instructions. Lou told them he and Liberty Star were still going to proceed on schedule with contingency plans, even if they did not show.
Over the next couple of days, everyone was allowed to stay at the Eisenhower base, while they mulled over their decision. During this time, as Lou had mentioned, Interface proceeded to release the files to the world, and the heroes were able to watch the news of Edgar Lockhart’s fall from grace in the public forum. He was immediately branded the top military target by dozens of countries, but just as Lou anticipated, Edgar’s underground network grew stronger, and rallied their forces to keep him from being captured, or even tracked.
Yes, many of his businesses took enormous hits, and he lost innumerable amounts of political and professional connections. However, Edgar knew that day might come and was prepared, as he had multiple contingency plans of his own set in motion. He maneuvered with criminal brilliance, and soon fired back. World leaders, villains, and criminal bosses who moved against him were taken down, or taken out completely. He then pulled the curtains back, revealing trump cards he held by dissolving perfectly disguised monopolies in multiple industries, causing great depressions in many countries across the globe, that unknowingly relied on his companies which controlled the majority of their economic production. Mercenary groups began centralizing under the command of Ramses Hondo at the behest of Edgar, occupying strategic territories across the globe as well, toppling governments in the process. In short, the mastermind villain had declared war on everyone.
As the world continued to delve deeper into utter disarray, the heroes all realized what needed to be done. The success of the London Lockhart mission grew greater in importance by the second. With that in mind, each hero completed their due diligence, and fully prepared for departure. Thus, as Lt. Rashard Bonds and Liberty Star were set to board their planes with the troops, one by one, the heroes arrived. Black Jag, Musashi, Interface, Orenda, Encore, and Brolic all came together, with the goal to bring down Edgar Lockhart – and save the world. Finally, the Alpha Initiative was ready!