The Plots of Hellspawn

Hellspawn has been a constant menace to Vanguard throughout its history. This is a description of every Vanguard adventure they have been involved in, some very peripherally. Other long-time Vanguard foes are also found herein.

2/1/47: Fourth Mission--Minions of Hell (Gm: Tom McKimmy)

In Chicago on a multi-national good will tour, BOOMER, RED STAR, STELLARI and WHITE LOTUS are suckered into answering a bogus plea for help which WHITE LOTUS discovers psionically to be a trap, just as the informant suddenly dies.

Following the directions obtained in the interrogation, the team goes to a warehouse owned by BART WILLIAMS, a local financier. There is no evidence of wrong doing or wrong doers at the warehouse. Following several leads, the team attempts to beard Mr. Williams at his home -- to no avail (Vanguard later discovers that Williams is a major contributor to its funding). There is a certain acrimony between the capitalist Bart Williams and RED STAR, and none of the team likes his attitude towards his workers.

On the way back from Williams' home, the team is attacked by four powerful supervillains who state that their purpose is to demonstrate that Vanguard cannot defend the earth, or even itself. The villains seem to be part of a larger group with what WHITE LOTUS describes as "Infernal Connections". For the moment the four assailants are being referred to as REAPER, WRAITH, BLACK QUEEN, and PSYCHIC WARRIOR and their group is code named THE HELLSPAWN. None of these villains have ever appeared before.

The fight does not go well for the team. At the end, ALL of the Vanguard members are down, and Reaper, Black Queen and Psychic Warrior all disappear. Wraith is captured, but when he is questioned, he seems to make a "deal with the devil" as the team watches and he vanishes.

This organization looks to be a very potent future problem for the world at large, the United Nations, and Vanguard in particular.

NOTES ON THE HELLSPAWN:

REAPER is a very fast, very proficient, martial artist.

BLACK QUEEN has a definite command of space and time through her staff, though she used White Lotus's jade focus quite well when her own was taken from her.

WRAITH had an ability to destroy a person's body by touching them, and had a skeletal appearance until an amulet was taken from him.

PSYCHIC WARRIOR is blue-skinned and possibly other-worldly (demonic?) in nature. He uses a variety of weapons which he seems to power out of his own psychic energies. Most of his attacks actually seemed to affect the mental plane, not the physical.

There is no known tie between this group and Bart Williams, though Mr. BOOMERang and RED STAR suspect there might be one.

2/22/47: Seventh Mission--Detour To Danger (GM: Tom McKimmy)

AMAZONIA, BOOMER, EFREET, PRINCESS PHOENIX, STELLARI, and WHITE LOTUS, are sent to France to recruit a Dr. Stetner who is rumored to have developed an incredible bomb, more deadly than the one dropped on Hiroshima. As the team makes ready for the trip, BOOMER and STELLARI are braced by Bart Williams, who pumps them for any information they can give him. STELLARI cannot withstand his blandishments. At their first stop, Italy, they run into a woman who tries to pump them for further information, but they realize what she is doing and resolve to move immediately to France.

Arriving in Nice, they find the Doctor's house and succeed in recruiting him to the United Nations cause, despite an attempt at interference from the RED GUARD. However, on the way back in the Flying Wing, the plane is hijacked by HELLSPAWN and they find themselves on a desert island in the Pacific. They are confronted by REAPER, PSYCHIC WARRIOR, RISING SUN, CONDEDERATE and an invisible "gadgeteer" who manages to send AMAZONIA, BOOMER, the doctor, and WHITE LOTUS back millions of years in time. Fortunately, WHITE LOTUS gets the group back. The fight goes well for Vanguard otherwise, as the Hellspawn are sent packing and they manage to capture Psychic Warrior. However, Hellspawn gets the bomb, so a trade is arranged, and Hellspawn regains Psychic Warrior but gives up the bomb.

7/26/47: Twenti-Second Mission -- South Of The Border (GM: Tom McKimmy)

BOOMER, EARTH SPIRIT, RED STAR, and STELLARI are briefed by Colonel Patterson that South America seems to be cutting itself off from UN. AMAZONIA (who had actually left some weeks before to return to her tribe and bear the "first of the Baby Boomers"), EL CONDOR, EL JAGUAR, EL GAUCHO, etc. have been recalled. Red Star finds through her "contacts" that all intelligence agents of all non-South American countries in South America have been captured and presumed killed.

This team is sent to investigate the situation. Brazil seems to be the center of the activity, so they sneak into that country. They find that (1) the situation began six months ago with a visit from Bart Williams, (2) Williams Enterprises are the only North American company allowed to operate in all of South America, and they are building a lot of buildings for the continent and (3) records show all missing intelligence agents are captured and "awaiting deportation" in Brazil's main prison until after the "great unification."

Confronting the lead minister in Brazil, the four are attacked by the minister, who turns into a demon, and four other demons. The minister and one other demon are "killed," and the team finds itself accused of assassinating the minister.

Trying to get more information from people who were around when the situation started, the team breaks into the Brazilian prison, to find it is empty. Have the prisoners been used to feed the demons?

Trying to get back to the light plane they flew to Venezuela, the team finds five super-powered people leaving the site and the plane burning. Stellari is outraged and challenges the five to combat. The rest of the team reluctantly back him up. The badguys attempt to arrest our heroes. The leader of the badguys is the notorious PRIVATEER (See Mission #1). He has four assistants, one of whom is a Japanese who syles himself RONIN, and another a Greek calling himself ARES. The names of the others are not revealed immediately, but are later found to be LEGIONNAIRE and RIFLEMAN. Rifleman uses a psychic weapon like those used by PSYCHIC WARRIOR of Hellspawn.

The Vanguard team seem doomed to capture or death except that Privateer seems reluctant and falls easily. However, the others are more serious and Ares, who seems to go berserk, stays when the others flee at Privateer's order. He almost kills Red Star. Only heroic efforts on the part of Earth Spirit save her life. Boomer, too, is almost wounded unto death. However, the team manages to bring down this battle-mad killer and brings him back with them to the United States, where Red Star is placed in Intensive Care.

This "grand unification" of South America would seem to be a demonic plot, perhaps involving our old friend Sorcerer and almost certainly involving Bart Williams and, if Boomer and Red Star are right, HELLSPAWN.

Vanguard must do something.

8/16/47: Twenty-third Mission -- Flying Down To Rio (GM: Tom McKimmy)

At Vanguard base, ARES is discovered to be addicted to heroin. He also claims to be the real Ares and willing to atone for his misdeeds by taking RED STAR (whom he expresses a "warm regard" for) to his brother, Apollo, for healing. Reluctantly, Vanguard lets him do so and he reappears with a healed Red Star in his arms. He then leaves for "Olympus," which WHITE LOTUS claims is a "pocket dimension" which could very well contain the mythical home of the Greek Gods. With all the magicians and avatars wandering around Vanguard base already, Colonel Patterson refuses to make judgements.

Patterson calls a team consisting of RED STAR, WHITE LOTUS, BOOMER, FREEDOM FORCE, HUSSAR, PHOTOS, EARTH SPIRIT, and STELLARI into a briefing where they meet two anonymous gentlemen who claim to represent the Russian KGB and US Military Intelligence. They find that the suppression of information out of South America is not as thorough as they thought. There is also a three-month-old letter smuggled out of South America from AMAZONIA saying that her people have been destroyed and she and a few survivors are fighting Hellspawn's forces. Having already heard that Amazonia is carrying his child, Boomer is very anxious to make the expedition to Brazil to try to save her. The others also think this is a good idea.

The team is smuggled into Brazil on an American submarine (taking about a week) and Boomer, Stellari, and Freedom Force try to find both the contact supplied by the KGB and MI and with Amazonia. They find a clue left by Amazonia in a brothel (she knows Boomer and Stellari too well) and also find the contact. However, they also find the hard way that the contact was picked up before they came and they have contacted an enemy agent.

Once they have straightened out the hassle with the real resistance, they hear that apparently Amazonia's force was wiped out a month before. Is Amazonia dead?

The resistance also tells them that there is a special camp near the place where Amazonia's people were destroyed that might be very important to Hellspawn's plans.

The team attacks the camp, Freedom Force, Hussar, and Stellari attacking frontally and Earth Spirit taking the others in a tunnel into the main building.

The main building is guarded by about a dozen demons such as they had fought before, and has rows of sleeping middle-aged men.

The outside force is engaged by PRIVATEER and his team of RONIN, LEGIONNAIRE, and RIFLEMAN while the inside force manages to haul the sleeping men off of the platforms. They prove to be all the replaced heads of state in South America. As they are taken off the platforms, the demons replacing them in al the capitols vanish in clouds of smoke, the spell broken.

As the heroes try to get the heads of state out of the camp, the Hellspawn main force of REAPER, BLACK QUEEN, DR. KRONOS (the invisible gadgeteer of "Detour to Danger"), CONFEDERATE, PSYCHIC WARRIOR, RISING SUN, and HELLION arrive, alerted by an escaping demon. In the ensuing struggle, the heroes get away with the heads of state, except for Freedom Force, who covers for the others and is pounded unconscious.

As the heroes re-gather, they find themselves confronted by three women in garb similar to that usually worn by Amazonia. They inform the heroes that the "tribe" which was destroyed was a group of volunteers, including Amazonia, who were set up to look like the whole tribe and put Hellspawn off the scent. Despite her pregnancy, Amazonia had to be with the diversion group or Hellspawn would have known that there was still some of the tribe left. The rest of the tribe has been hidden by magic until now, when the heroes have broken the plot.

Even now, they say, Hellspawn has left the camp and are fleeing South America to avoid their well-deserved fate. As far as the Seers can tell, Amazonia is still alive, but not in South America. Hellspawn is taking Freedom Force with them, to use as a future pawn.

The team takes the surrender of PRIVATEER and his group, finding that they all, like ARES, are hooked on heroin -- courtesy of Hellspawn. The team then hears that a special follow-up group led by SWIFTSURE has raided the Rio de Janeiro HQ of Williams Enterprises and seem to have just missed them. The files are burned ruins.

8/23/47: Mission Twenty-four -- Magic By The Lake (GM: Steve Perrin)

Shortly after the South American teams were sent down, Patterson got another tip from his sources and assembles DEVADASI, MANHUNTER, NIGHTINGALE, and new Ukrainian member WEREWOLF into a stealth team to go into Bart Williams summer resort house near Winsor, Canada. There is evidence that the house is far more than it seems.

Scanning the minds of the visible guards, Devadasi discovers that none of them are human; they are all demons, using the forms of several humans lying dormant in the basement.

Devadasi dances the dance of the earthshaker and tunnels into the basement. The group was spotted, but Devadasi has a hunch this is the case and, rather than tunnel through the side wall of the basement, she burrows underneath and comes up from the floor. As the team pours out of the hole, they realize they have come up in the middle of a inscribed pentagram, and the tunnel breaks one of the lines.

The fight with the six demons in the cellar is fast and furious, as is the one with the other half dozen who charge down the stairs from the floor above. After the fight, they open a vault door and find twelve sleeping men. Bringing them off the slabs they are laid on, the team sees their one ego-paralysed prisoner disappear in a puff of smoke after one of the sleepers is awakened.

The sleepers have memories of what the demons did in their forms, and none of them like the memories.

Manhunter and Nightingale lead the sleepers to the dock where they can signal the waiting RCMP forces, while Devadasi and Werewolf climb the stairs to the second floor, where they find two doors that scream danger to their senses.

Before they can do anything about the doors, they realize that something had happened in the cellar. Racing downstairs again, Werewolf sees that REAPER, BLACK QUEEN, HELLION, CONFEDERATE, RISING SUN, DR. KRONOS, and a huddled, naked, body have appeared in the pentagram, and are all looking at the tunnel mouth, where an obvious seventh member of the party (PSYCHIC WARRIOR) should have stood.

Black Queen and Dr. Kronos link hands and disappear again, while Reaper and Hellion investigate the tunnel and Rising Sun heads for the stairs, where he is ambushed by Werewolf. Devadasi moves outside and tunnels into the side of the basement and is attacked by Hellion, who misses. As Hellion runs past, Manhunter takes aim and fires, killing the maddened mutate with one shot.

In the continuing melee, Black Queen reappears with a satchel full of papers. Then she, Reaper, and Rising Sun disappear. Dr. Kronos never reappears. The team captures Confederate.

The upstairs has been left aflame. Rushing upstairs, Werewolf bursts into the room beyond the dangerous doors, taking a burst of soul fire as she does so that burns off every hair on her body. She sees AMAZONIA strapped down to a cross frame and struggling weakly to get out. The deceptively simple leather bonds are extremely tough but vulnerable to Werewolf's claws, and she gets the bound Brazilian free in time. Despite her advanced stage of pregnancy, Amazonia gets herself out of the house in record time.

The house burns down fast, the last of the heroes are just in time in leaving. There is nothing left to tie Bart Williams to Hellspawn except for the former sleepers' testimony, which is not admissible in court. However, they do identify him as their kidnapper.

Bart Williams denies everything through his lawyers. He has too many friends and too much money to be jailed on the evidence provided, except for the kidnapping, and he takes up residence in a country without an extradition treaty with Canada. However, no national government can afford to be seen being friendly to him now. He goes into ostensive retirement, though Vanguard knows that he, and Hellspawn, will probably be back when they least expect him.

8/30/47: Mission Twenty-Five--Mayhem On Mindanao (GM: Steve Perrin)

One unexplained event left from the previous mission is the whereabouts of PSYCHIC WARRIOR. Checking news reports from all over the world, the most obvious event was the rumors of Japanese holdouts on the island of Mindanao and stories of people unable to get to the mountain gardens because of some sort of psychic attack. A team consisting of WHITE LOTUS, RED STAR, WEREWOLF, PRINCESS PHOENIX, EARTH SPIRIT, and member from New Zealand SELKIE journeyed to Mindanao. Given the general location of the strange events, they took one of a half-dozen trails up the mountain.

Their first encounter was with local headhunters, who left after confronting Werewolf. Then White Lotus spies, on another trail, a party consisting of SORCERER, DOKTOR BLITZEN, and three other oriental men in skintight costumes, plus four orientals in Japanese uniforms. Sorcerer is trying to find Psychic Warrior, too!

        As the teams converge at the point where the trail met, the Vanguard team comes under fire from Psychic Warrior and another couple of Japanese holdouts. One member of Sorcerer's team turns out to be a super-speedster, who catapults into the middle of the party to do battle. Both he and Psychic Warrior are taken out of the fight quickly, leaving the team with Sorcerer and his other followers to contend with.

By the end of the battle, Sorcerer has almost been caught or killed, and only escapes by teleporting away while staunching the wounds in his body with his hands. The rest of the team, including Doktor Blitzen, has been captured. Doktor Blitzen has, so far, shown no inclination to die and be resurrected elsewhere. Observation of him shows that he seems old even for his 50+ years. Perhaps the resurrection process takes more out of a person than has been suspected? The other three super-powered types, which also include a brick and a mentalist, are Japanese holdouts converted by Doktor Blitzen into super-types. They are all now in prison in the Philippines.

Psychic Warrior, once revived and communicated with by White Lotus, proves the biggest surprise. He is, in fact, a displaced wanderer from another world. Hellspawn had been the first to contact him and convinced him that they were fighting a war. He enlisted on their side. When presented with proof of their innate corruption and illegal status, he decides that his rightful position is with Vanguard. He is now serving as a security officer for the base.

05/08/48: Mission Thirty-Two -- Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine (GM: Heather Mace)

PRINCESS PHOENIX is notified that she has a special visitor, an envoy from her brother, the Shah. The envoy, an old and trusted follower of her brother, informs her that a marriage has been arranged for her. The name of the bridegroom is not available at the moment, but she should come home soon.

The Princess says she will, thinking that she should at least find out who this suitor is before rejecting him out of hand. However, she is suddenly assailed by EFREET, who shrugs off her every fire blast and teleports away with her.

A team consisting of BOOMER (back from Israel), EL JAGUAR, MASAI, NIGHTINGALE, SELKIE, and SPECTRE leave for Iran immediately. There they are welcomed and informed that the Shah has no idea why Efreet had kidnapped the princess, especially since Efreet's Lamp was to be the brideprice! The Efreet's Lamp? Yes, the suitor was Bart Williams, and he had offered the lamp to the Shah as the price for his sister.

The team is at a loss, but decides to go to Petra, near Isreal, which is where Princess Phoenix gained her powers. They first go to Jerusalem and contact the now-smaller team there commanded by Freedom Force. They are loaned trucks and use them to get to Petra. There, they find that there is a spectacular ceremony underway, with Princess Phoenix and Efreet as guests of honor and HELLSPAWN as the functionaries. The team resolves to sneak up on the ceremony, toss in some grenades to spook the opposition, then charge in and rescue the Princess and Efreet.

Halfway in their sneak, they are visited by FOX, who has been sent by FREEDOM FORCE to find out what is happening. They send him back for assistance, continue their stalk, and get into throw­ing range. They pull the pins of their grenades and throw them. There is an immense explo­sion, a great wash of flame engulfs them, including Fox, CONQUISTADORE and Freedom Force, who have just teleported in, and they suddenly find themselves on a hilltop that has no sign that Petra had ever existed, even though the surroundings show that this is the same spot.

05/15/48: Mission Thirty-Three -- The Honeymoon Express Has Been Derailed (GM: Heather Mace)

BOOMER, CONQUISTADORE, EFREET, FOX, FREEDOM FORCE, MASAI, NIGHTINGALE, PRINCESS PHOENIX, SELKIE, and SPECTRE find themselves in another world. Their garb, with the exception of Conquistadore's, has all changed, and their remaining grenades are now round glass balls with something inside them, Boomer's throwing sticks are now a series of different objects, etc. Fox does a series of teleports all around the world and finds it very different. Among other things, Rome does not look like it was ever ravaged by Vandals and Visigoths. The Coliseum is still intact and in use.        

Since the place looks like where Petra should be, they go back to where they left the trucks, and find an encampment like one out of the Arabian Nights, where attendants welcome back Princess Phoenix and the mercenaries sent to rescue her. The group is loaded onto flying carpets and carried back to Iran, fighting off a Roc along the way.

In Iran they confer with the Shah and find that many things are much the same as in Vanguard's own world. Worse, Persepolis is being bombarded by psychic storms. They try to contact this world's version of White Lotus and find that there is no White Lotus, just the monestary full of various Lotuses of different persuasions including one that is duplicate of their White Lotus, although he is a Blue Lotus, a specialist in communications, here.

A group of Lotuses (Red Lotus, aggressive magic; Green Lotus, defensive magic; Grey Lotus, transportation; and Blue Lotus) join the team and manage to pin down the location of the center of the menace. It's in Pompeii, near the center of the still-existing Roman Empire. The team heads for the area and Efreet disappears.          

Moving onward, they find a way into Pompeii, which is still mostly under the ash, and enter a villa, finding HELLSPAWN and SORCERER awaiting them. The struggle, as usual, is fierce, but Spectre turns the tide by finding and holding onto Efreet's lamp. Hellspawn flees or is captured and the Lotuses, using the lamp as a focus, manage to find a way to send the team home, and bring the real residents of this world back. They cannot take the Hellspawn members they have captured with them, because this is the Hellspawn of this world, not the Vanguard world!

 They get back, and the lamp stays in the other world. But they arrive in Petra, and go to where the trucks are and find the drivers waiting for them, holding on to Efreet's lamp in this world, which the other world's team had left for them.

Efreet's lamp is given to Colonel Patterson for safekeeping, and Efreet is even more hostile than normal to Patterson from then on. It seems he has a problem with anyone using his lamp -- and the curse that ties him to the lamp does not allow him to affect it in any way.

 

09/22/48 (actually 10/7/88): Mission Forty-one -- Night At The Opera (GM: Heather Mace)

WORLD EVENTS: President Truman speaks in San Francisco as part of his campaign against Republican candidate Thomas Dewey.

Foulke Bernadette, the official UN negotiator in Israel, is assassinated on Sept. 17 by Israeli fanatics, despite the actions of Vanguard. His proposals are presented posthumously on Sept. 20 at the UN and well received except by the nations immediately involved.

The Berlin Airlift is still going on.

The Russians in North Korea and Americans in South Korea are still trying to solve their differences.

In San Francisco, the Italian bass Italo Tajo is making his San Francisco Opera House debut as Don Basilione in "The Barber of Seville." It's a major operatic event.

During the day, FREEDOM FORCE is asked to meet with Harry Truman. The President asks Freedom Force to join the CIA. Freedom Force accepts. When he asks where he will be stationed, Truman asks him to just stay with Vanguard, and someone will contact him later with particulars of his assignment.

That evening, DEVADASI puts together a party consisting of herself, PHOTOS (Princess Phoenix's maidservants are put to work making her a formal dress), VALKYRIE, HURACON, and HUSSAR to go see the opera. Independently, SALAH-ED-DIN made a date with a chubby but friendly local debutante and hired a box. His servant Muhammed accompanied him. Also, SWIFTSURE decided to take his longtime sweetheart JOAN FITZHUGH and Freedom Force took his starlet girlfriend, SUSAN WILLIAMS. During the first intermission, there is much comparing of notes among the teammembers who find each other there. Swiftsure being in secret ID, he keeps somewhat to himself; though most of the heroes know his real identity, his girlfriend doesn't. Also during that intermission, Huracon is approached by a young woman who asked to meet with him. He assents to meet her after the performance.

                But, during the second act, Salah-ed-din notices that his date is missing. Before he can act on this information, he is attacked by his manservant, who suddenly springs claws and gouges him badly. He has neither sword nor armor, and cannot stop the attack. As he lies bleeding in his box, someone wearing his face goes to Freedom Force in the audience and asks him to follow him. Swiftsure, seeing this and thinking that they are not aware that he is there, follows.

Freedom Force is ambushed and clawed before he can change. He falls, dripping blood. The pseudo-Salah-ed-din hauls him into a small office to one side of the lobby. Swiftsure arrives in time to see a Chinese gentleman leave the room. He meditates for the moment it takes and acquires his powers. Realizing that he, without his armor, is still very vulnerable, he nevertheless goes to the door and opens it. There he sees Freedom Force on the floor, and his attacker moves to slay him, as well. Desperately, he dodges, but it is not enough. The claws tear into him and he blacks out and falls.

In the meantime, Huracon has noticed that the young woman who spoke to him is in the box opposite him. Suddenly, she is taken out of the box. Fearing foul play, the Venezualan Avenger hurriedly makes his excuses to his friends and leaves the box, just in time to see Salah-ed-din stagger down the box passageway toward him, bleeding copiously.

Leaving the Syrian in the hands of Devadasi, Huracon hurries on, wishing he had his cloak with him so he could have flown over the audience. He arrives in the opposite side passageway in time to see a Chinese gentleman manhandling the girl, attempting to drag her away. He springs to her defense, bowling the Oriental away from his victim.

He then finds himself in a fight with the oriental magician and a vampire, probably the same one who had converted Jaguar in July! He barely holds his own.

In the meantime, Photos and the now-cured Salah-ed-din have found the bodies of his manservant and date. Hussar and Valkyrie are approaching the door where Freedom Force and Swiftsure disappeared behind when they are approached by someone wearing Swiftsure's face, who says he has looked for Freedom Force there, and they should check the other side. They do so, running into Salah-ed-din and Photos.

The Swiftsure look-alike, meanwhile, teleports upstairs and finds the vampire retreating from the formidible Huracon (whose winds are beginning to sing throughout the hall, to the discomfort of the audience and opera singers) and Devadasi, who has fallen. The Swiftsure fake pretends to attack the Chinese magician, then takes Devadasi to "safety," and then disappears with her, teleporting to where Freedom Force and Swiftsure are only barely beginning to wake up. Their wounds had been partially healed to keep them from dying. Apparently they were wanted for something else!

Photos joins the fight upstairs just in time to be charmed by the vampire and to attack Huracon, blinding him just as he puts the Chinese out of the fight for a long time. Operating with his sonar-like wind sense, Huracon still fights back, fading from the vampire's arms. Giving up, the vampire turns to gas and leaves.

The shapechanger, still looking like Swiftsure, takes large chunks out of Devadasi in the seclusion of his office, but Freedom Force wakes up and drives him away. Hussar attack with his dress sword, but the creature seems to have special immunity to enchanted weapons.

In the meantime, Valkyrie had called FOX at Vanguard base and told him to bring their weapons. About this time, Fox shows up with Valkyries' boots, cape, scabbard, and sword, Salah-Ed-Din's sword, and Hussar's armor, wings, and lance.

Finally, the attacks of all the heroes, including the now-awakened Swiftsure (who knocks him away from Devadasi) wear the creature down to where it turns invisible; when he realizes that Photos can still see him, he teleports to the lobby, then away before Photos can track him down.

Fox teleports the girl and Devadasi to base, where she tells Vanguard that the vampire is Zyzygny Svladislav, her guardian. He lives in a townhouse and is often visited by the Chinese, who is put into jail with some WHITE LOTUS-enchanted bonds. She identifies the Chinese as Leed Su, a Chinese Immortal. White Lotus is impressed. Svladislav's other constant visitor is an Indian gentle­man known as Ras Ram, the shapechanger. Devadasi realizes that Ras Ram is a Rakshasha.

Going to the townhouse, Vanguard finds it hurriedly deserted. Among some discarded envelopes, they find a couple with Bart Williams' return address. Apparently, Svladislav and his demonic friend have decided to join Hellspawn.

The next day, Henri Gerard issues new security regulations. Every member of Vanguard going anywhere without his normal equipment MUST wear at least the basic body armor (3/3, act on 11-) from the Vanguard shelves. Members should preferably go fully equipped whenever possible, even on social occasions. Self-powered heroes may ignore this regulation, though it is suggested that those, like Swiftsure and Freedom Force, who could be caught unaware, should think about wearing the body armor anyway.

09/27/48 (actually 10/28/88): Forty-Second Mission -- The Bitter Dregs Of Defeat (GM: Heather Mace)

Vanguard brings in MANHUNTER to try to track down the vampire Svladislav. An examination of his townhouse in San Francisco shows that he left in a hurry. The investigation team discovers an envelope for a letter from Bart Williams -- one that gives an address in Nova Scotia. Manhunter immediately forms a team to investigate the address and perhaps capture Bart Williams and/or the vampire in a place where they can be tried for their crimes.

In the meantime, someone has broken into the holding facilities at the Vanguard base and taken Tenryukaze and Mind Tiger away. Steel Tiger has apparently been reduced to his component iron particles, and the Chines Immortal transformed into a small bronze statuette. Since the Sorcerer's body was found in the bay by Zeebreis, one assumes that he has a new body, and is starting to show his power by rescuing his minions. 

The team going to Canada consists of Manhunter, BEARZARK, HUMMINGBIRD, HURACON, HUSSAR, JOTUN, MUJAHEDEEN, PARTISAN, and ZEEBREIS. Muhahedeen is not happy about the team composition, noticing that none of the major powers, such as White Lotus, Freedom Force, Swiftsure, Red Star, Devadasi, Stellari, or Salah-ed-din are around, but the others feel that they can handle the situation. After all, none of them have ever really faced Hellspawn except for Manhunter, and he did just fine (of course, he had Devadasi, Red Star, and Werewolf with him, that time). The major members of the team are busy trying to track down Sorcerer, anyway.

They take a C-47 to Nova Scotia and hire a truck to go to the address, which is miles from the nearest town, and, it appears, many miles from the nearest other habitation.

A stealth team of Partisan and Manhunter attempt to approach the house at dawn, and Manhunter is surprised by BLACK QUEEN. He shoots her, but suddenly disappears (probably the action of DR. KRONOS). This gunshot starts a general assault on the house, which brings out REAPER, SVLADISLAV, and RISING SUN.

The Vanguard team finds they are totally outclassed by these villains, despite their superior numbers. Zeebreis sees the fire/heat powers of Rising Sun and panicks, leaving the scene immediately. Bearzark charges into the house, missing Rising Sun by scant inches, and disappears, following Manhunter. After Hussar, Huracon, and Jotun are knocked out of the fight (mostly by Reaper), Mujahedeen realizes that the situation has pickled too far and slopes away. Hummingbird, so far unnoticed, tries to rescue Huracon but is stopped by Reaper. She dodges away and manages to pick up Mujahedeen and get away with him. Partisan finds that only his explosive charges can touch the elusive Reaper, and he is totally outnumbered, so once he wakes up from being knocked away by Reaper, he manages to sneak away.

The truck is crisped by a patrolling Rising Sun before it can be driven away, so the four survivors must walk to town before they can report their failure to Gerard. Vanguard must somehow see if their comrades have been fed to the vampire Svladislav, or in some way sent away from this world, as happened to a group earlier. Unfortunately, none of those captured had any real contact with White Lotus. Retreiving them will be difficult.

04/06/50: Mission Seventy--April In Napoli (GM: Heather Mace)

Gerard sends a large contingent including BOOMER, FREEDOM FORCE, PELOTA, STELLARI, TESSERACT, and WEREWOLF to Naples to back up NIGHTINGALE and MANHUNTER, who are keeping an eye on Hellspawn. The group is dogged by various spies and Freedom Force is captured by Hellspawn, which includes ISHTAR!

While imprisoned by Hellspawn, Freedom Force hears Ishtar herself say that she finds Hellspawn much more interesting than Vanguard.

The team attempts to break Freedom Force out and finds itself (with Freedom Force) suckered into being magically transported to a dome that seems to be underwater.

This is a place that Aphrodite (who is also Ishtar, you will recall) keeps her enemies. The team manages to find a way out, having to battle one guardian in the process. When they come out, they are still in Hellspawn's villa, and Hellspawn is gone.

01/18/51: Mission Seventy-Four -- Goin' To The Chapel  (GM: Steve Perrin)

The Korean War continues. So far, Vanguard has had nothing to do with it.

FREEDOM FORCE is told by his CIA bosses that the Russians seem to have a new Red Star, or maybe it is the same one. Keep an eye out for her.

 Despite the fact that the Russians have come back to the Security Council they have not yet put up a hero to fill Red Star's slot. The Russians, in fact, still want to know where Red Star is. They have little patience with claims about Olympian gods and other dimensions

GERARD calls in FREEDOM FORCE, SWIFTSURE, and BOXER. It seems that Chang Kai Shek wants to talk to WHITE LOTUS. Gerard has been gathering rumors that seem to indicate that (1) Sorcerer may still be around and on Formosa and (2) some Hellspawn people have been seen heading for Formosa.

The combination is such that Gerard wants a team to go to Taiwan/Formosa as an escort for White Lotus and, by the way, look around for whatever is going on. Oh yes, it would seem that

EARTH SPIRIT, who was on her way to Japan on vacation, got derailed in the Phillippines and was last seen (by her brother, who she left in Manila) headed for Taiwan. The team should look for her, too.

Rounding out the team with CONQUISTADORE, HURACON, MOUSE and TIGER, most of the group left in one of the flying boats with White Lotus. TIGER and MOUSE go ahead in the flying wing to make sure there are no surprises awaiting White Lotus. Finding everything above board, they help escort the Mandarin mystic to the Generalissimo.

After an interview with Chang, they start investigating the area. Boxer and Huracon go to the other end of the island with the intent of finding out what is around there. Tiger and Conquistadore check out the docks and find that Earth Spirit was seen getting off the boat, then was attacked by winged demons who snatched her off the earth before she could activate her powers. She was last seen being carried into a cloud.

Swiftsure checks with the British embassy and is told that there are some rumors about winged demons flying around the other end of the island from Taipei, just the area that Boxer and Huracon are examining.

Boxer and Huracon, meanwhile, in a small foothill village that, like the rest of the island, is bursting at the seams from the refugees from the mai

nland, have seen a Chinese gentleman  Boxer recognizes as an Immortal who tried to recruit him some centuries before. He doesn't say this to Huracon, but tells him that the man should be watched because he noticed that some of the Chinese servants are actually Caucasians in disguise (true), a suspicious circumstance. Huracon follows the Bentley carrying the man up a winding road. He sees that there are two large establishments near the top of the hill.

One is a Chinese villa that the car turns into, the other seems to be some form of temple/monastery.

As he observes the villa, he is attacked by a winged demon that looks much like the ones he fought in Sorcerer's private hell. He unleashes his new weapon (wind-driven flechettes) and shreds the armor and body of the demon. It dies in his arms. He takes it back to Boxer, who says that they should definitely put the area under observation.

 He calls the central area being held down by Mouse and Freedom Force while Huracon takes off again.

As Huracon circles the area, he sees a familiar figure leap out from the steep hillside below the monastary and

 descend. He swoops down to rescue the figure, who looks more and more like Red Star the closer he gets. As he scoops her up and sets her down, she says that she needed no assistance, and Huracon should go help her companion, who was being killed on the hillside.

Huracon finds no bodies, just some blood and trampled ground. He returns to the woman, who is, up close, not Red Star but looks amazingly like her. She identifies herself as Red Star and wants to know what happened to her predecessor, but refuses to believe Huracon's explanations. She also says that her companion and she were investigating the monastary when they were ambushed by three super-powered Japanese, one of whom is Sorcerer's longtime aide, the martial artist Tenryukaze.

As they talk, the rest of the team finds Boxer and Boxer has observed a rather nondescript car go up the road and on to the monastery, going out of sight.

The group decides to take on the monastery area. Checking the actual temple, they find nothing. There is also a well kept up paper-walled house and a concrete garage. Deciding that the garage was the obvious hq, they approach it, finding Tenryukaze, a large brick, and a speedy type who was immediately dubbed Speed Demon because of his demonic features. There were also some relatively normal agents.

The immediate battle causes a reaction from the house. Three of the flying demons appear. They are shortly followed by RISING SUN from Hellspawn. Some women also look out, then duck back in.

When Red Star and Huracon attack the house, they run into SORCERER. However, this Sorcerer does not look like the old man they used to battle, nor like Wong Lee. It becomes obvious that this is an imposter using some magical items to make a name for himself. Red Star knocks Sorcerer through the rice-paper walls of the house and into the elaborate garden behind it.

Rising Sun is knocked out. Suddenly Black Queen appears over him. Freedom Force manages to knock her out before she can teleport out again. At about the same time, Huracon and Swiftsure see one of the women reach Sorcerer's body and then teleport the two of them away. Swiftsure attempts to find them but they seem to get away.

 However, they have captured all of Sorcerer's super-powered assistants, including MIND TIGER, plus Rising Sun and Black Queen, three of the flying demons (two of whom die before they can be revived), and three geishas. The geishas are led by a Lady Nogame, whom Boxer (unbeknownest to his teammates) recognizes as another of the Immortals who tried to recruit him a couple of centuries before.

About this time, White Lotus teleports to the site and calls on Freedom Force to uncover a cistern in the center of the courtyard. Therein they find Earth Spirit, who has apparently been used as some kind of magical power battery by Sorcerer.

 

01/19/51 (actually 1/25): Mission Seventy-Five--Planes, Cars, and Boats (GM: Steve Perrin)

Earth Spirit explains that she was lured to Taiwan with the story that Wong Lee had appeared there. She also has a sort of psychic certainty that, in fact, Wong Lee is around somewhere. Looking into one of the rooms of the house, the group finds that there is one room full of machinery that seems to be keeping two bodies in clone tanks alive. Both bodies are Wong Lee. Moreover, there is space for a third tank, but the tank is not there. It is obvious that the tank was moved

third out recently.

About this time, three Nationalist Chinese heroes appear in a shimmer of motes. They are HU YING, a hero with a mystic 9-dragon trident and wings, JADE MASTER, a mystic with command of alchemical magic, and BLACK DRAGON, a young man in army fatigues who is said to be capable of shapeshifting to dragon form. Jade Master uses a potion to make sure that all of the villains are unconscious and another to check on whether either of the Wong Lee bodies contains an animating spirit. They don't seem to.

Rigorous interrogation of the agent-types reveals that a coffin-sized object was transported by truck to the villa further down the road. The entire group goes to talk to

 the proprietor of the villa, a well-connected Nationalist named CHOI LIN.

They are following . He explains that he purchased an antique chest from the monastery and shows the group a chest full of antique silks. It is obvious to the detectives in the group that the chest has not been moved in months.

Jade Master uses his teleportational powders to take White Lotus, the supervillains, the agents, Earth Spirit (who is still weak), Conquistadore (who got the short straw for being White Lotus's bodyguard), and his fellow Nationalist heroes back to Taipei. The Vanguard team decides to check out the villa again.

MOUSE goes in. Despite her lack of knowledge of the Chinese language, it is obvious to her that the household is packing up to leave and there is no sign of a clone tank with Wong Lee in it. She reports back and the group decides to watch the evacuation. The household departs in a surplus 2.5 ton Army truck and the Bentley very early in the morning. The two split company about 30 miles away and the team splits up to watch them.

That afternoon the truck stops in a small town and the crew, which is most of the household, goes in to have lunch. MOUSE, who is with this team, goes in and finds nothing resembling Wong Lee.

The Bentley, with Choi Lin, a driver, a bodyguard, and a female secretary, drives straight through to Taipei. The only stop is engineered by Boxer, who arranges for a tire to blow so he, Huracon and Swiftsure can look into the trunk of the car to look for a body. No body.

The truck team goes to Taipei and makes contact with White Lotus and Conquistadore. The Bentley team continues to follow their quarry, which ends up pulling into the parking area in front of an office of Williams (as in Bart) Engineering.

Boxer calls for support from the rest of the team, but the car pulls away with all of its passengers before anyone can get there. Huracon and Boxer follow the car again while Swiftsure intercepts the others and brings them along.

The car gets to the airport. Choi Lin, the bodyguard and the secretary go in and come out with tickets in hand. They

all get into the car, then three people get out and go into the terminal again with luggage. It is obvious to some of the observers that "Choi Lin" is actually the driver.

At the same time, Mouse notices that a woman coming from the terminal is actually her old enemy, LE CHAT. She brings this to others' attention and FREEDOM FORCE realizes that the arabic gentleman she is with is actually SCIROCCO

, the arab terrorist last seen in Israel. The two are met by a gallant Frenchman some recognize as their old sparing partner, PRIVATEER, who escorts them into a car.

The team again splits up to follow the two different cars, but see Choi Lin pull over a couple of blocks away and get into the car with the others.

Following this car, they see them go to the docks, get into a former PT Boat converted to private use and proceed across Taipei bay to a relatively unsettled area. There, the boat is lifted up (probably Scirocco's work) and beached, and the four interesting passengers go to a small shed, which doesn't look big enough for all of them. They go in. There is a guard outside.

The team gives them a couple of minutes, then follows. After taking out the guard, they find the expected trap door going down and a shaft leading to voices. Descending on the voices they discover a couple of guards, who are knocked out without being able to give a warning. Boxer, who has seen one before in

Korea, realizes that they are now in a tunnel with a Cretacian "living monorail." However, the rail seems to be dead and fossilized.

Following this, they realize that they are going steadily downhill and east, which means they are going out under the water.

They find a twisty tunnel and a couple of guards at the end of the rail tunnel. They take out the guards, then follow the twisty tunnel to a large room, where they hear a con

versation. It is Choi Lin obviously talking to some underlings, demanding to meet their master. As they listen, the team hears someone enter and say "Senor, the Master will see you now." Senor?

Letting Choi Lin and his guide leave, the team attacks the room and takes out the guards without letting the alarm be given. They realize that they are in a ruined building foundation, with a strangely-fashioned dome holding out the water. They follow the simple electric light wire that leads out of one of the entrances to the room.

They find two side entrances going to other rooms, but hear a conversation ahead of them.

Mouse goes to see and evades the scrutiny of a couple of guards.

In another domed room, she sees Choi Lin arguing with another Chinese in Mandarin. Boxer moves up and hears them arguing about whether Choi Lin should own the complex, as his people have held it for centuries, or whether the other man, called only "your excellency," essentially holds squatter's rights. Both claim "the package." Also in the room is a Spanish-looking gentleman, Privateer, RIFLEMAN (another old foe), and someone in a set of armor that looks like that worm by the former German power suit villain known as Bismarck. However, the armor looks a bit different and is festooned with strange grenades.

Suddenly, Le Chat enters the room, sniffs the air and says, "Excuse me, gentlehommes, but I think I smell a mousie!"

 A fight begins.

The Spanish gentleman turns into a man-like werewolf. The elderly Chinese arguing with Choi Lin exhibits excellent martial arts technique. And, just as the entire team gets into the room, Sorcerer shows up from one of the side rooms. Grenadier catches Huracon in an entrapment grenade. Huracon turns into wind and evades the coils.

 Then Scirocco enters the room.

To be continued.

 

01/21/51 (actually 2/2/51) Mission Seventy-Six--Secret Under The Sea (GM: Steve Perrin)

­Before the team stationed with WHITE LOTUS left to join the ones following CHOI LIN, White Lotus gave them an amulet to communicate with him. FREEDOM FORCE gave the amulet to BOXER.

 

Through the amulet, White Lotus realizes that the investigating team is outnumbered and needs help. He summons CONQUISTADORE and EARTH SPIRIT (who has recovered from her ordeal as a power battery) and tells them to prepare themselves for a teleportation to aid the others. He explains that he did a lot of the preliminary work on the spell before leaving for Taiwan.

The elderly Chinese turns out to have incredible strength and lightning reflexes. Only SWIFTSURE can even try to keep up with him. LE CHAT knocks TIGER out of the fight as the Burmese detective tries to protect MOUSE. SORCERER, however, fares less well, and MOUSE manages to keep him off balance and out of most of the fight. In the main room, most of the Vanguard team is not doing well. RIFLEMAN is deadly accurate, knocking HURACON out of the air. The Werewolf (who, unlike the Vanguard member of that name, actually looks like a half-man/half-wolf) manages to knock out FREEDOM FORCE with an assist from the German in the armor suit (later found to be code-named GRENADIER). PRIVATEER keeps Boxer busy.

White Lotus finishes his apportation spell and he, Earth Spirit, and Conquistadore find themselves in a room that contains the body of Wong Lee in a tub of strange fluid, connected to an object that seems to be part animal, part machine, and part crystal. The crystal parts keep lighting up and fading. Earth Spirit and White Lotus start trying to get Wong Lee separated from the pseudopods that encompass his head and limbs, while Conquistadore heads out to help the rest of the team.

Conquistadore does not make the difference, though he does managed to knock  Le Chat out of the fight for a while. He is, in turn, knocked out by the werewolf.

Meanwhile, Choi Lin has worked himself into a corner of the room, then hit a hidden switch that opened up a secret door. When the werewolf knocks out the new RED STAR and throws away her shield, Choi Lin snatches up the shield and ducks out through the door.

Within seconds, everyone in the room realizes that the dome that is holding out the sea is starting to open! Apparently Choi Lin knows where the controls are.

Freedom Force, just waking up, snatches up Huracon and Conquistadore and races out of the room, yelling for others to follow. Swiftsure dashes away from his fight with the Chinese, grabs Red Star, and follows.

At about the same time, the recovered Tiger knocks Sorcerer into the main room, then withdraws with the others. Earth Spirit has come into the tunnel in time to start closing it down to protect the team, while White Lotus continues getting Wong Lee out of the tub. Wong Lee is just starting to wake up. Le Chat tries to stop them and is knocked out and dragged in with the heroes.

Boxer, meanwhile, has retreated in another direction, jumping over a force of Chinese sailors who are coming toward the room from the airlock where their submarine has docked. He realizes that he is trapped, with the chinese martial artist and Scirocco on his tail and more to come. Grabbing the amulet he got from White Lotus, he concentrates on an appeal for help. Just as Scirocco reaches out for him, he disappears into a shadowy Lotus shape, and finds himself in the room with White Lotus, who is holding the shoulders of Wong Lee. Wong Lee is looking with suprise at his hands, which still have the shadow of a lotus lingering on them. Apparently White Lotus used Wong Lee as a focus for his powers. Then both Lotus and Lee collapse.

Boxer calls for help and Earth Spirit rushes in. She carries Wong Lee and Boxer carries White Lotus out to join the others. The team makes its way out of the complex. Apparently the one dome is the only one being released, and Earth Spirit's ability to close the earth behind the team keeps them from being drowned.

When they get out, they notify the 7th fleet of the presence of the submarine, but there is no report of success in finding it.

Getting back to Taipei, they find that Helen Williams (BLACK QUEEN) and the Japanese known as Rising Sun have been released as innocent bystanders (there is a lot of evidence that Bart Williams, who is now in town, is a good buddy of Chiang Kai Shek's)  who happened to be at the monastery when Vanguard arrived. Lady Nogame has also been released but Sorcerer's other henchmen, however, are still imprisoned and Chiang wants Vanguard to take custody of them. GERARD okays this.

The team returns to Treasure Island with the Japanese supers and Le Chat in tow.

WAR NEWS: General MacArthur shoved the North Koreans back to the Chinese border, but has been pushed in turn by millions of Chinese "volunteers" back to the Pusan perimeter and is desperately trying to hold this remaining foothold against the invaders. There has still been no use of chemical or atomic weapons or superheroes.

08/01/51 (sometime in October, 1991) Mission Seventy-Seven--The World Against Them

Things are quiet for months. There is still no interaction with the Korean action, none of Vanguard's enemies have popped up, and all the missions have been goodwill missions and rescue missions from natural disasters. Some of the more paranoid members are waiting for disaster to happen, others are enjoying the vacation.

DEVADASI and BOXER have gone to India to look through the ruins of her old temple. There, Devadasi has found descriptions of three Dance rituals:

1. The Dance of the Demon conjures up the demon who most hates the dancer and requires it to answer three questions truthfully. The problem is that the ritual also attracts various other demons.

2.  The Dance of the Mind opens the dancer to psychic continuum and gives her some knowledge of  about all of the beings therein that are more powerful than the dancer. Of course, if they become aware of the dancer, they may try to destroy her.

3. The Dance of Contact is a ritual dance that must be danced in the central point of the monastery and allows the dancer to contact any one human mind in the world. It also has some dangers, but they are not well explained.

Devadasi would rather that Boxer did not know about these rituals, but the inquisitive doctor managed to get a look at the descriptions before she could hide them.

They also discover a manuscript that talks of a future "Day of Doom" when the new gods must stand together against the forces of the Ravager of Minds, The Last One, The Timeless, and The Hellbreed. These titles strike certain chords of memory.

Boxer has also discovered a small stone with strange carvings on it. It looks like a bottle stopper. He takes it as a lucky piece.

While they are musing, FREEDOM FORCE is off on a speaking tour and MR. BOOMERANG is on vacation in Australia.

On call team members SWIFTSURE, PELOTA, TIGER, WEREWOLF, IRON CROSS, and HUSSAR are scrambled to investigate the disappearance of villagers on a remote pacific island. They find that all but one villager are gone and there are webbed-footed tracks all over. The one remaining villager is dead. In his hands he holds a stoneware bottle. Swiftsure pockets the bottle. They also find some interesting inscriptions on a rock. Tiger copies them down for future reference.

When the team arrived on the island, the radio in their seaplane broke down. Finally getting it working, they find that they have been accused of attacking a United Nations unit in Korea. GERARD is quoted as stating that they stole a seaplane and had been acting strangely.

The team decides to go to a nearby island where there is a long range radio transmitter. But on the way, they intercept another message stating that they are suspected of being under mind control or cloned, and that a Vanguard team has been sent to track them down. It is also stated that the Vanguard base is now guarded by a "Clone Detector" devised by WHITE LOTUS.

The radio commentator also states that, with Vanguard members apparently going rogue, President Truman has taken on a new superhero team called the Defenders of Liberty to defend them. The description of the "heroes" as Dr. Time, The Count, Defender, Regis, Sunfire, and Shifter make them seem a lot like Hellspawn.

Devadasi has been having terrible dreams in which all the members of Vanguard seem to be against her except for certain ones. When she and Boxer hear the radio announcements, she is fearful, because these members are some of the ones who she has dreamed of as being friendly. She uses the Dance of Contact to contact Iron Cross, who tells her their side of the story. The team in the seaplane decides to head for India.

Boomer, meanwhile, has been getting some very bad dreams and warning visits from his grandfather and the Watanabe. Leaving Wayerpui and the kids with the tribe, he heads for civilization. In New York, he runs into Freedom Force, who had been taking a camping break from his tour and had just heard the news. As Darrel Hale and Jack Delaney they fly to Vanguard. When they arrive on Treasure Island, though, the clone detectors point to them as clones! They run, barely evading such pursuers as Stellari and Princess Phoenix.

Knowing of Devadasi's trip, and thinking she and Boxer might be next, they take the next plane for India.

The Pacific team reaches the monastery just ahead of a team consisting of DR. KONG, MUJAHEDEEN, BEARZARK, and GAUCHO. There is a fierce fight, in which all but Dr. Kong are captured. Shortly thereafter, the three captives explode, leaving no trace of themselves. Werewolf is confident is that they are clones. She says that Mujahedeen tastes much different than when she last bit him.

The next arrivals are Freedom Force and Boomer. They are followed by a radio report saying that Devadasi and Boxer have attacked another Vanguard team and that the Indian authorities are being asked to assist in capturing the rogue Vanguard members.

At Vanguard base, CONQUISTADORE arrives just in time to be put into a team sent to capture the Vanguard team in India. Others include EL DORADO, EARTH SPIRIT, RED STAR, SALAH-ED-DIN, PRINCESS PHOENIX, JANNISSARY, NIGHTINGALE, AURIC and ZEEBREIS. FOX teleports the team to India and a fight ensures. The Devadasi team wins, deep probing of EARTH SPIRIT's mind shows that she is indeed a clone, and she and all but Conquistadore blow up. Conquistadore is for real. Seeing what has happened, he joins the team to find out what is going on.

08/02/51 (August 1991) Mission Seventy-Eight--Talking With Demons

The refugees first go to the Pacific Island where the core group had been before, but aside from looking at the inscriptions again and finding that the stopper BOXER found does fit the bottle SWIFTSURE found, and that it seems to be inscribed with runes that should hold in demons, there is not much found.

Putting everything including the prophecy found in the monastery together, the team decides that their probable opponents are "The Hellbreed," obviously Hellspawn, "The Last One," probably the last Rakshasa, "The Timeless Ones," probably one branch of the Immortals, and "The Ravager of Minds," who is likely Psi-Storm, who cloned various members like Boomer, Hussar, and Pelota before. They decide to go to San Francisco, to the ruins of Psi-Storm's previous base, to see if they can get a line on the situation.

They fly the seaplane to off the California coast, then ditch it. They dig into the base and find that some of the machinery is still intact enough to study. There are aspects of it that are entirely alien. What kind of entity is Psi Storm, anyway?

Devadasi finally decides she must dance the Dance of the Demon. The demon summoned turns out to be the Raksasha, which seems to have grown greatly in power from its last appearance. As she dances, the members find themselves in conflict with a half-dozen or so demons that appear as Devadasi asks her questions. Devadasi's questions elicit the answers as follows:

  1. The cloning equipment is in Vanguard base, heavily guarded.

  2. The Immortals who took away the bodies of the real Vanguard heroes are based in Long Island.

  3. The clones can be exploded by a radio signal that the Raksasha cannot give them, as he does not bother himself with such technological details.

Devadasi also finds that she is now able to sense the approximate direction of the Raksasha at all times.

 The demons are driven off with only Pelota badly hurt. She is amazed to wake up to find Boxer's needles sticking in her and fully healed.

 

08/04/51 (August 1991) Mission Seventy-Nine--New York, New York

After much discussion, the team decides to raid the Immortal's base in New York. Devadasi reaches out to FOX, insinuates herself in his dreams, and controls him into coming to them, then taking them to closed down alternate Vanguard base on Ellis Island in New York. Fox is then sent back to Vanguard with post-hypnotic suggestion to return at a certain time.

The team then goes to Long Island and hits the base, which is under a Long Island mansion. Most of the Immortals are out, so the duty officer and the agents are easily disposed of. The Vanguard members find the locations of the real Vanguard heroes. They are set up in groups of seven, which reminds Boomer, Freedom Force, and Conquistadore of their alternate world adventure when the sacrifice of seven heroes was needed to bring the anopheles "mosquitoes" to that world. Why would Hellspawn or the Immortals want to bring the mosquitoes to the world?

 

08/05/51 (August 1991) Mission Seventy-Nine--Mind Games

While they wait for Fox, several members try to get some sleep. BOOMER finds that the dreamtime is very much like the anopheles world. His grandfather tells him that they must have "Knowledge of your foes." HUSSAR's ancestral ghost cries out that "only three days remain now!" Conquistadore's ancestor who first wore his armor cries out, "The Dancer must dance. It is the only hope."

Boxer, meanwhile, takes a flying trip to the Columbia University library and uses the facilities to decipher the inscription from the island. It describes a ritual dance that can bring two entities minds together, so that they know all about each other. Could this be useful?

The lists from the Immortals base show Perth, Australia, as the place that Gerard is being kept. They use fox to get them to Australia, and Boomer uses his hometown fame to get them a plane to go to Perth. They touch down before they get to Perth and Devadasi decides that they must know more about Psi-Storm. She does the Dance of the Mind, which brings the entire group into the Psychic Plane. They, they find a big purple entity that she insinuates her thoughts into, prompting it to think of various things. She finds:

  1. PsiStorm is an interstellar entity that lives to ravage the terror in sentient minds. He intends to unleash the anopheles (whom he has utilized before) into this world to reap his rewards.

  2. The only entity he respects is the Raksasha, but still he disdains the raksasha because the Indian demon has convinced itself that the anopheles cannot harm it and they will be a proper scourge for the world that has destroyed all of his kind. In fact, Psi Storm knows that the anopheles can subjugate the raksasha, too.

  3. Hellspawn and the Immortals are dupes, tricked into thinking that Psi Storm only wants to take over the world, not destroy it.

About this time, the entity realizes what is going on and sends minions to attack the Vanguard members. However, Devadasi manages to blanket them with protection and they fight there way through a symbolic gate which allows them to get back to the material world.

 

08/06/51 (August 1991) Mission Eighty--Dance of the Demons

The master plot has been revealed, now the heroes have to deal with it. They debate whether to try to free Gerard first or have Devadasi dance the new dance Boxer found and reveal Psi Storm's plot to the Raksasha. They decide that Gerard could not give them any more direction than they have, so Devadasi takes the bottle and stopper and dances right there in the Australian desert.

Demons appear again, attracted by the power of the dance. But the Vanguard members fight them off easily while Raksasha and Psi Storm appear and swirl about them. Devadasi dances and watches as the two entities pick pieces of each other away until there is little of each left. Then she moves, scooping them into the bottle and slapping shut the stopper. Both entities are captured!

The group then moves on to the Immortal's Perth base and finds the inhabitants quirte demoralized. super-powered defenders have lost their powers, the psychic traps and tricks no longer work, and the agents remaining are no match for the Vanguard supers. They find and free Gerard, then use the radio apparatus to blow up every Vanguard clone within range. They stage a set of lightning raids on the other areas, blowing away clones as they go. In a couple of days, all the Vanguard members have been returned and the Immortals have pulled in their horns.

However, there is still no explanation for the missing villagers in the Pacific and Hellspawn is still masquerading as the heroic Defenders of Liberty, though the hero known as Shifter seems to have become a female (probably Aphrodite/Ishtar). However, the Defenders are now operating out of New York, no longer guarding President Truman.