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December 29, 2016

363. PLACEBO

Part 2 of 5

BIRTH NAME:

Francine Fray

ALIASES:

Chess Master

BIRTH DETAILS:

Lafayette, LA, USA, Earth (Core reality); Late 21st Century

SPECIES:

Hyper-human; female

Intelligence

Mental Powers

Strength

Speed

Energy Projection

Tactical Skill

Durability

Agility

Power Rating: 1 – 100

POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS

Placebo possesses a plethora of psionic abilities including telepathy, telekinesis, mind control and more. She can also fly and breathe and exist in harsh environments such as outer space and underwater through the use of psionic force-fields.

THE STORY CONTINUES

It wasn’t long after I left Ebb and Flow that I first realized I could psionically connect with and influence hundreds of people simultaneously. It was in the aftermath of the infamous Smash and Grab robbery incident in Platinum City.

HEIGHT: 5’10”
WEIGHT: 162 lbs.
SKIN: Brown
HAIR: Black
EYES: Brown

The hyper villain trio of Hysteria, Kray Kray and Deleria, also known as The Disturbed, had orchestrated a plan in which every bank in Platinum City was hit by thieves at the same exact time. Hysteria used her mind-controlling powers to convince hundreds of average citizens to act on her behalf. Chaos ensued. Dozens of vigilante heroes – including Black Jag, Night Bird and Metro of the Platinum City Knights, and Liberty Star, Brass Eagle, The Prosecutor, Colonel Justice and The Gavel of the City Watch – worked to eventually bring The Disturbed down. And Platinum City supercops Ox and Brolic, with unlikely assists from the druglord Spliff and some of his cronies, namely Blunt and La La, helped to bring the robbery spree to an end.

However, there were still hundreds of petty criminals under the influence of Hysteria’s control, even after she was captured and taken to the Enclosure prison brig. And while I still had no intention of doing the hero thing, this situation offered me a chance to test the limits of my powers while also doing a little bit of good. I psionically linked up with every individual who was under Hysteria’s spell and removed the effects of her hypnotism, then gave them the urge to all turn themselves into the authorities. Luckily, Hysteria’s plot had been uncovered by then, and the innocent mind-controlled individuals that had taken part in the robbery were, for the most part, exonerated. It was the first time I’d linked up with hundreds of people all at once. It was incredible.

Equally incredible – but in another way – was when I decided to take a crack at someone with a little more power and influence: the Mayor of Platinum City, Gemini DeLisi. I found that he was living with three distinct personalities. It was the first singular-hive-minded being I’d ever encountered and it was quite disturbing. He was confused, embattled and paranoid. But honestly, that could have been the product of his career as a politician, as pretty much every politician I’ve ever linked up with including President Enid Remington and John Pathkiller – has been a muddle mess of entitlement, hypocrisy and double mindedness. When I took my first stab at controlling him, however, I found that the mayor was already being manipulated by another extremely powerful psionic being – Edgar Lockhart.

Edgar’s mind was the first mind that truly scared me. Aside from his hyper-abilities, his strategic acumen was far beyond anything I’d ever experienced. I can imagine he would be an incredible chess player. But he had no interest in chess; he wanted to run Platinum City, and by proxy, the world. His business dealings stretched internationally and even intergalactically, as one of his earthly cohorts, a man named Ashtar, was actually an alien from the planet Tromokrate. Ashtar’s mind was my first experience with a non-human psionic connection. With all of those new experiences and powerful hyper-beings, I decided not to attempt to meddle in their minds. But I did watch how Edgar operated, and I learned a lot from him. His mental maneuvering was masterful and when he needed to send a physical message, his team of assassins – Caliber, Dezzie, Rosko, Chopper, Doc Holiday, Tumbleweed and Brandi Beretta – were there to take the lead.

Eventually, this all lead to my discovery of the Iga Clan Master Danzo and his vast community of followers and warriors. I was intrigued by their single-mindedness and their loyalty. And after probing the city for Iga Clan warriors, I linked up with thousands of them! Amazing warriors like Enzo, Kai, Kiri, Nana and the master hacker Interface populated Danzo’s temple. And to be quite honest, I became envious of the father figure they all had, for of course I had none. That lead to me diving into Danzo’s mind – or at least trying to. Danzo has the most powerful chi in the universe, allowing him to manipulate a spiritual realm of energy that, at the time, I could not effectively manage. I danced around on the outskirts of his consciousness gleaning as much knowledge and power as I could without alerting him of my intrusion.

Despite the massive psionic energy surges I felt, it was the emotional surges that affected me most. Especially the feeling I experienced when one of his fellow ninja – Fuji – fell in battle to the supreme samurai superhero Musashi. The potential for all out war between these two masters loomed. And I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt a bit of happiness when Musashi and Danzo discovered they were actually on the same side, and began working with The Platinum City Knights and the City Watch with the goal of taking Edgar down once and for all.

My attention was then grabbed when yet another new mind popped up on my radar. It was the precognitive hyper-being Kharma Lucky. After obtaining powers during a bachelorette party in Las Vegas she gained the ability to anticipate the short-term future. Her friends also gained powers and she became the leader of a team of heroes called the Sista Clique, comprised of Cybernetica, Girl Six, Madam Deadhead and Ember Brook. The sensation of being psionically linked to a precognitive mind was an extreme adrenaline rush to my senses. It’s like being inside of a constant echo of every single frame of every single moment. I stayed with her for a little while, watching as she and her friends gained control of their new powers and battled against a slew of supervillains that worked on behalf of Edgar Lockhart. Lockhart and Reina Valencia, the CEO of the tech company he owned, Universal Intelligence, wanted to harvest Kharma’s mind and the minds of other psionic beings for use in their artificial intelligence computer and appliance products. (I can only imagine what Edgar and his scientists could do with a mind as powerful as mine).

The Sista Clique was forced to contend with the likes of Kharma’s ex-boyfriend and powerful Las Vegas mogul, Ray Carnel, as well as hyper-beings like Shanga, Blindspot, Mania! and Balayage, and evil teams like the hyper-speedy foursome of Courtney Quick, Zipporah Zing, Jessica Dash and Swinn Swift, and the senior citizen super-villain squad known as the Blue Zone Killers, comprised of R.C. Allen, Chaos Kao Kwan, Slasher Vinnatori, Diabla Diaz and Annihilator Anatoli. For a time it was nonstop headaches for the Sista Clique, and I admit that I may have influenced the outcome of one or two of their battles. It was during those times that I tested my limits to control the minds and actions of a number of hyper-beings simultaneously.

Following the Sista Clique and their entanglements with Universal Intelligence eventually lead me to Captain Noble, a man with whom I would one day share a very intimate and personal connection. I was enamored by his story and by the complexity of his mind. He was practically created in the most pristine test tube and groomed – or should I say cultivated – to be the perfect superhero. And not just in the sense that he was strong, fast, nearly invincible, and impossibly optimistic; but in the fact that his very look was what most of the world found to be acceptable as a hero and a savior. He literally looked like a mix between Jesus and superman; his face perfectly symmetrical, his hair perfectly groomed; his body perfectly sculpted. He was endorsed and employed by the US government. And he wanted nothing more than to serve and please the people. Everything came easy to him, and so he couldn’t help but be incredibly naive. And to be honest, the powerful heroic positivity that flowed through his mind was difficult for me. He had such a loving relationship with his father, and so many others looked up to him as the example of a admirable father figure. It made me miss Leroy even more.

When I first began following him, he was attempting to chase down the war criminal known as Ramses “The Pharaoh” Hondo. I immediately connected with his consciousness as well and found that his mind and anatomy had been altered and augmented by technology from Tromokrate – the same planet from which the Alien Ashtar hailed, meaning Lockhart and Hondo were indeed in league with one another (though I still did not feel comfortable enough to further probe Edgar’s mind.) At that time I was unaware of the Tromokratesian warlord Emperor Kako, for I had yet to test my psionic powers beyond Earth. However, as I followed the masterful game of cat and mouse between Noble and Hondo, the events that would eventually lead to the penultimate manifestation of my hyper-abilities were set in motion…

While searching for Hondo, Captain Noble had to contend with an army of Tromokratesian-enhanced hyper-villains such as Fahim Nuru, Askari Badru, Shefali Chisisi, Jamad Musa, Qadira Azizi and Shafaf Ottah, as well as other international hyper-criminals like Attrition and Militia. Captain Noble kept pressing on through all the obstacles though. Additionally, between his dealings with Ramses and his crew, he had run-ins with the likes of the villainous master trickster known as Fiasco as well as the giantess named Tectonica – another pair of totally different and unique minds I took the time to explore. Furthermore, Noble’s Interactions with Tectonica lead him to the mystical Library of Sir Vellichor and his Book Club comprised of Cliché, Binder, Chuck Chapter, Lexicon, Lady Paige and Bookmarc.

This not only lead me into my first psionic foray into another dimension, but it opened my mind to the vast knowledge of the most well-read individual in all of the cosmos. Additionally there was something about him that I could relate to: his extreme sense of boredom. I hadn’t been able to put a word to how the exponential growth of my powers made me long for something more… challenging. Sir Vellichor had a desire to be steadily entertained by a stream of new stories that were created when he kidnapped humans, hypers and other beings and inserted them into his mystical books. The idea spoke to my sensibilities. It was at that point that I made the decision to truly kick my power crawl into high gear. Despite this newfound source of inspiration however, I was relieved to break away from the Grand Library, as Sir Vellichor’s relationship with his minions proved to show yet another example of a present and attentive father figure.

After returning to Earth I continued to track Captain Noble through his attempts to capture Ramses Hondo. In the process, I found the perfect subject through which to test a new limit of my powers. His name was Shuttershock. He, along with his fiance Lightrider, had gained cosmic hyper-abilities through the catastrophic impact of a meteor in Midwest US. While Lightrider was slung 100 light years into space, Shuttershock became Captain Noble’s sidekick. But he wasn’t cut out for hero work, and was thus wholly unsure of himself and hesitant. I decided to apply my placebo effect, working on not just his mind, but his entire molecular structure, to convince him he was capable of achieving incredible feats.

It worked! Alongside Captain Noble, Shuttershock fought against Ramses’ hyper-mercenaries, as well as an army of the undead during a horrifying Platinum City event perpetrated by the living mummy, Sarcophagus. Additionally, I achieved another milestone in my power crawl, as I found that I could wield psionic influence over the undead as well. The Shuttershock experiment was a wild success, and this brings me to the being that truly kickstarted the path to the pen-ultimate manifestation of my powers… The Zhibdean Master Hosho.

Captain Noble and Shuttershock, in their continued pursuit of Ramses Hondo, were lead to the mysterious Zhibdean Temple, and while there they were forced to battle three powerful entities, the Zhibdean triplets – Genko, Dairyu and Dainin. Together they triumphed, but eventually came face to face with Hosho. Hosho was a celestial everlife. Everlife beings have the responsibility of keeping the multiverse in a balance between light and darkness. At anytime if either side becomes too heavily weighted, the everlifes act accordingly. Hosho revealed to Captain Noble that the universe was on the precipice of falling deeply into darkness and that he needed to warn the warriors of Earth and beyond to prepare for war. That darkness of course, turned out to be The Tromokratesian warlord Emperor Kako, who was attempting to collect the third piece of the triplos asteri.

The triplos are three stars that hold a portion of the essence of the goddess of the universe, Armonia. If anyone collects all of them and then answers the cosmic question, that individual would become a deity alongside Armonia. The stars were spread throughout the universe and the third one had been hidden deep in the core of Earth. Through his connections with Edgar Lockhart and Ramses Hondo, Kako, who had spent thousands of years searching for and finding the first two triplos, was having the star excavated – a process that had taken years and still needed lots more time complete. Hosho was warning Captain Noble and Shuttershock because Kako’s obtainment of the three stars would potentially throw the universe way out of balance.

The duo of heroes left the temple with new resolve to prepare for the forthcoming evil. I also left the temple with a new resolve for I had taken the opportunity to tap into the consciousness of Hosho. And let me tell you, my mind was completely and utterly blown! I was inside the mind of a being with god-like powers! I cannot describe the intense and wondrous rush of celestial energy I felt. The vast visions of the cosmos and the multiverse, the entire space-time continuum bending and circling before my eyes, the past, present and future converging through the needle head of existence. It was glorious, it was all-consuming… it was control!