Lords of Chaos, Part 4: Division of Labour

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(July 8th)

“Okay, wait, wait. I want to make absolutely sure that I am clear on this.” Lucky massaged his forehead. “There is another evil me.”

Moonbeam nodded. “That's right. He's from an alteration made to the timeline by Jormungandr in May. You might recall some dizziness around the 23rd?”

“I do not.” Lucky glanced over to the others, who shook their heads. He was sitting on the couch of his living room, with Nadia and Amber all close by. Moonbeam and Blastwave had just arrived with the news of their latest assignment, and were standing in the room trying to explain it.

“Whatever, it's not that important. We get twenty of those a year.” With a shrug, Moonbeam continued. “Anyway, he was trying to unmake his defeat back in the seventies, so he managed to magic up a world where all of the heroes from back then were evil. It was dealt with, of course, but along the way the evil alternate of Lucky managed to slip through the magical cracks and make it to the real world.”

“Again.” Amber said dourly.

“Well… yes.” Moonbeam replied.

“Is this going to become a habit? Because this whole 'slipping through the cracks of reality' thing is kind of a pain.” Nadia said thoughtfully. “So, why would he bother coming here?”

“Scourge is looking for a way to recreate his universe – not uncommon with dimensional alternates, especially monstrously evil ones.” Blastwave pointed out. “And as it happens, Patchwork City is home to some of the best tech for rewriting reality that way…”

“That damned gun.” Amber cut in. “Hasn't Doctor Ecchs destroyed it yet?”

“Maybe, but he made one. He could make another one, and Scourge is probably going to try and force the issue.” Moonbeam shrugged. “We don't know exactly what he's up to – he spotted the last agent we had tailing him and shot him. We lost track of him after that, but we've seen the aftermath of his passage, and we're fairly sure he's heading this way. He could be in the city as early as tomorrow.”

“Hm. On a scale from one to Manson, how ax-crazy is this guy?” Lucky asked.

“At least two Mansons. He's sort of like you, except that his soul was dedicated to the Serpent that Devours the World at birth, rendering it essentially null. He knows a few basic spells of poison and concealment, plus he has all of your natural narrative capabilities.” Moonbeam shook her head. “Years of combat training to optimize his skills for quick killing, he makes extensive use of poisoned weapons to ensure that a single hit is fatal… this guy is deadly, and he's focused, and he's good.”

“And we have to take him down.” Amber winced. “Sounds like fun.”

“No.” Blastwave spoke firmly.

“Sorry, what?” Amber looked up suddenly.

“We're getting you out of the area. You're good heroes, but you aren't trained for something like this. We need commandos.” Blastwave glanced over at the bush in the corner. “Ash, we could use the help of your drones, but your nexus is not allowed into this operation either. Scourge knows too much about how the Champions operate, and he has too much training with killing.”

“We fought Judgment! We beat up Psi-Borg!” Nadia protested, ignoring.

“You did not fight Judgment, you just faced him. There's a difference.” Blastwave shook her head. “I'm not budging on this one – orders from the top. Eclipse and Highbrow will support us in our hunt for Scourge.” Before the others could protest, she leaned in. “We've got another job for you, if you'll take it. High importance, and you three were specifically requested by the Sayleen Council-in-exile.” She smiled faintly. “We've got a lead on Oligarch operations taking place in Milwaukee, but all of our agents are in operation extranationally. It was either send you there and fight Scourge here, or we go there and you fight Scourge. Dudeman decided to give you the job you can handle.” She gestured to Nadia. “You're taking her with you.”

“I'm not allowed to leave the city for another year.” Nadia pointed out faintly.

“Government override. Dragonfly's in Milwaukee, so that's where you're going. No one knows him the way that you do – you might be able to provide support.” Blastwave watched Nadia closely. “This is an official mission, as part of your continuing duties with the Champions.”

“I understand.” Nadia nodded hesitantly. “Dragonfly, huh? What does Don want there?”

“We don't know. That's why we're sending you.” Blastwave turned to the others. “Amber, Lucky, you already know the superheroes of Milwaukee, so there shouldn't be any problems there. The situation is a bit tense – it's possible that the Oligarchs are planning on exploiting the bad feelings the two teams have for one another.”

“Possible.” Lucky allowed. “I would hope they wouldn't fall for that.”

“Maybe not, but you need to find out. If you can capture Dragonfly, we might be able to get our hands on the portal the Oligarchs were using to reach Sayleen. If we can, we're back in that war.” She smiled. “To that end, the Council is sending two Sayleen champions to join you. Carath Jhim and Shinn Zuki will be assisting you in uncovering the Oligarchs.”

“Jim!” Amber grinned. “We can get behind that. I haven't seen him in the last couple months. When do we leave?”

“Tonight, if you can. We're informing Doctor Ecchs – I assume he'll be focusing on his own protection, so you shouldn't have to worry about any major plots waiting for you when you get back.” Blastwave smiled. “Leave the city to us – we'll deal with Scourge. You just worry about getting your friend's planet back.”

“Sure, no pressure.” Amber smiled wryly. “Well, on the bright side, I have an excuse to cancel my family dinner.”

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