A SHORT HISTORY OF VANGUARD, 1947

January, 1947

1/11/47: First Mission -- Secret Refuge  (GM Tom McKimmy)

After introductions in their San Francisco headquarters, a Vanguard task force led by WHITE LOTUS and NIGHTINGALE, including MR. BOOMERANG, THE GEMINI, TYR, PARTISAN, DEVADASI and PRINCESS PHOENIX follows a lead to an old Incan temple in Peru, where two Axis supercriminals, the German DOKTOR BLITZEN and the Japanese SHUGENJU are hiding with various unknown followers.

 The battle is long and bloody. POLLUX and CASTOR both take extensive damage, as do NIGHTINGALE and DEVADASI. MR. BOOMERANG spends most of the battle unconscious. At the end of fight, Vanguard holds the field, though both DOKTOR BLITZEN and SHUGENJU make their getaways. Caught are the French collaborator PRIVATEER, the Japanese egoist MINDTIGER, BISMARCK, the iron-armored battler, a mute martial artist known as TENRYUKAZE, and two men mutated by DOKTOR BLITZEN into the gigantic BEAST and the slavering MAD DOG.

 The heroes of Vanguard come away knowing that they will have to work harder on teamwork to ensure 100% success in their endeavors.

1/13/47: Second Mission -- Arctic Doom (GM: Steve Perrin)

Hardly have the heroes returned to their San Francisco headquarters when expected new member MANHUNTER (RCMP inspector Regis Preston), who has not reported in yet, notifies them that he has a case in Canada that calls for super-powered assistance. Entire villages in the Yukon have been devastated by incredible windstorms, and people seem to have been sacrificed in some pagan ritual. Manhunter needs all the help he can get.

        Vanguard immediately dispatches most of the on-hand force, consisting of NIGHTINGALE (who has been the recipient of WHITE LOTUS's new healing magic), FREEDOM FORCE, SWIFTSURE, WHITE LOTUS, DOCTOR KONG, EL JAGUAR, SPHINX, STELLARI, and ZEEBRIES.

        Meeting MANHUNTER in the little Yukon town of Old Crow, they learn that something called THE WILLIWAW is destroying towns. Evidence is that the shaman creating the Williwaw has to sacrifice a follower to summon the Williwaw. The shaman, tentatively identified as WOLF BROTHER by a fellow shaman, is out to drive the white man from Canada.

        Sure enough, the Williwaw strikes. After a knockdown, dragout, battle which sees both Freedom Force and Zeebries unconscious at various times, both Zeebries and Doctor Kong badly torn up, and several of the members blinded by an illtimed Flash attack from Stellari, Vanguard defeats the Williwaw, the shaman, and the spirit bear, spirit wolf, and spirit hawk summoned by the shaman to protect him.

        Vanguard receives the congratulations of a grateful Canadian government, and Manhunter joins the ranks officially.

1/18/47: Third Mission--Errand of Mercy (GM: Steve Perrin)

GEMINI receives a message from his brother in Greece. Their sister, Melina, has been kidnaped by Communist guerillas and their brother-in-law killed. Colonel Patterson, who reads the letter first, grounds Gemini before he can leave and calls together a task force of twelve heroes to check out the reported problems in Greece. One sub team, consisting of WHITE LOTUS, STELLARI, PRINCESS PHOENIX, and Brazil's AMAZONIA is given the initial mission of trying to look into Melina's disappearance and to do what they can for a teammate.

        Combing the hills of Macedonia, the team eventually finds the tiny mountain village where Melina had lived with her husband and his family. The residents are still devastated by the attack of the guerillas and know where the bandits are holed up. One villager volunteers to lead the team to the old Mycenaean hilltop fort where the bandits are camped.

        Approaching the fort, the team is confronted by several red-clad superbeings with Soviet insignia. An initial misunderstanding causes a fight, which includes the Vanguard members on one side and the RED GUARD of five super powered people (RED LEADER (mentalist), RED FLAG (Martial Artist), RED FORCE (TK expert), RED FLAME (obvious), and RED POWER (brick) and six elite soldiers on the other.

        By dint of luck and power, the Vanguard team wins the fight, then straightens out the "misunderstanding." The Soviets were simple observers who were camping with the guerillas momentarily and had no idea that these women who were working for the guerillas were not there voluntarily. The Red Guard goes back to Bulgaria and the Greek women are returned to their families, or what is left of them. Sure enough, the prisoners include Melina Hamouris, Castor's sister.

FEBRUARY 1947

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.

2/8/47: Fifth Mission: Stolen Heroes (GM: Tom McKimmy)

BOOMER and WHITE LOTUS are briefed by Colonel Bradley Patterson. It seems that the super teams known as THE RED GUARD and THE COMMANDOES are both missing. Worse, information received from Bart Williams states that they are being held at a US Government facility at a now-building experimental atomic power plant in Tennessee.

        The United Nations has no wish to embarrass the United States, yet cannot let this kidnapping of a member's offical heroes go unpunished.

        Bart Williams offers cover identities for a team to make a sortie to discover what the problem is, rescue the kidnapped heroes, and discover where the strange weapons said to have been used by the abductors came from.

Not trusting Bart Williams, the team scouts out the plant using SALAH-ED-DIN's wind powers, and determines that the heroes are being kept in a highly irregular secret base, seventy feet underground. They then use the earth-burrowing powers of formidible new member, EFREET, to tunnel into the complex.

        The team, consisting of the above-mentioned heroes plus AMAZONIA NIGHTINGALE, RED STAR, EL CONDOR, PRINCESS PHOENIX, and STELLARI, find that the stolen heroes have been transported somehow through some kind of still-open dimensional gate. All that are left in the room are a half dozen badly-armored US soldiers with strange energy weapons.

        The team fights off the soldiers and dashes through the gate, to find another half dozen soldiers, some strange, pasty-faced folk who seem to have no permanent shape, and the SHUGENJU and DOKTOR BLITZEN.

        From the evidence later presented by EFREET, this is a whole different dimension. The team members feed themselves in piecemeal to the new room and are roughly handled by the waiting villains. However, they prevail and manage to catch Doktor Blitzen. Shugenju escapes and the leader of the other-dimensional aliens finally sends the stolen heroes back to the right dimension and tells Vanguard to clear out, the complex is going to blow up.

        Vanguard leaves, and the complex on the Earth side of the gate folds into itself and leaves nothing but a pit.

        WHITE LOTUS's mind probe of Doktor Blitzen reveals that the aliens had contacted Blitzen and offered him weapons for the opportunity to study super-powered people. Shortly thereafter, the United States offered him the chance to create a group of heroes for the USA, based on the same experiments used to create the Red Guard.

        Doktor Blitzen provided the interdimensional weapons and "men" to use them, and the US kidnapped the Guard and the Commandoes. Blitzen created the superteam for the USA and then studied the captured heroes for the aliens. That's about when the Vanguard team arrived.

        Needless to say, the United States involvement in this affair is being carefully hushed up. As far as the press and general public is concerned, it was all a master plot by Doktor Blitzen, who is now safely in the UN's hands and will pay for his many war crimes.

2/10/47: Sixth Mission--Intruder Alert (GM: Steve Perrin)

On a rainy, overcast, day, a DeHaviland flying boat arrives at the Treasure Island base with the newest member of Vanguard, the Czech freedom fighter, PHOTOS. However, just as she is being welcomed by several of the resident heroes, an alarm bell rings in one of the office buildings. An intruder!

        Within seconds, the team members find themselves assailed piecemeal by a strange, tall, alien with white skin, dark blue clothing, and a copper-bladed scythe. When the scythe touches a team member, the member disappears. Though a few members manage to hit the alien, he never seems more than momentarily discomfitted.

        Team members AMAZONIA, DEVADASI, GEMINI, JAGUAR, NIGHTINGALE, PHTOS, SALAH-ED-DIN, SPHINX, STELLARI, SWIFTSURE, WHITE LOTUS, and ZEEBRIES found themselves first floating in a void, then standing in a circle on a featureless plain with the alien and an enigmatic machine in the center of their circle. Suddenly, the machine bathes each in a beam which commands them to attack a designated enemy, and attempts to make them berserk at the same time.

        Teammate fights teammate, with much blood drawn on all sides, until PHOTOS, WHITE LOTUS, and ZEEBRIES, acting independantly, all attempt to destroy the machine, and cause it to misfunction. The alien then tells them all (each in his native tongue, simultaneously) that they have done well, and he will give a good report of them to his masters. Then he disappears and Vanguard finds itself on the grass of the base's athletic field.

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.

MARCH, 1947

3/2/47: Eighth Mission -- Traitor in Our Midst (GM: Steve Perrin)

The Iraqi member, DERVISH is introduced to the group just before a team is scrambled to intercept a cargo ship in Mid-Atlantic which is reputed to have the Nazi arsenal of chemical warfare devices on board. The infamous Dr. Qual is reputed to be awaiting them in Peru, where another team has been sent to find him.

      DERVISH joins AMAZONIA, DEVADASI, PRINCESS PHOENIX, RED STAR SALAH-ED-DIN, STELLARI, WHITE LOTUS, and ZEEBRIES in intercepting the ship, which turns out to be guarded by THE COMMANDOES. The team charges in and engages the waiting superteam, engaging in a hard fought battle which ends with Vanguard victorious, though some members have come close to death, as have some Commandoes members. The Commandoes believed their employer, who claimed the chemicals were harmless. They are, indeed, the gas warfare materials the information said they were. The ship is diverted to Barbados and the chemicals turned over to the British in the name of the UN.

      Going home, that night SALAH-ED-DIN is hit over the head and his sword stolen. During the search, DERVISH lures PRINCESS PHOENIX and DEVADASI into his room, then tries to kill them both with the sword! Fortunately, he is not used to such a weapon and drops it, and the quick thinking RED STAR snatches it away and gets it back to Salah-Ed-Din. DERVISH dies in the ensuing struggle and the Iraqi government is informed that he has died of wounds incurred during the fight on the ship, and asked not to send any more representatives. This latter request causes a major uproar in the general assembly.

      Because of the death of the DERVISH, no reason for the theft and attack is found. Colonel Patterson decides that it is simply the work of a fanatic, and that may well be the true cause of the incident.

3/10/47: Ninth Mission -- Dragons and Demons (GM: Steve Perrin)

SWIFTSURE, EL JAGUAR, SALAH-ED-DIN, DEVADASI, WHITE LOTUS, AMAZONIA, THE SPHINX, and ZEEBRIES are sent to North Carolina, where the United States has maintained a research station during the war. It is now being turned over to the United Nations.

      At the station, the team meets THE AMERICAN ELITE, the products of the experiments done by DOKTOR BLITZEN for the US Government. With typical teutonic thoroughness, the nazi scientist had created six men who modelled characters out of American mythology. Led by PECOS BILL the team also consists of the shape-changing THUNDERBIRD, nautical STORMALONG, hammer-wielding JOHN HENRY, steel-bodied MAGARAC, and the gigantic, axe-wielding PAUL BUNYAN.

      As introductions are made, the base is suddenly attacked from two sides by the lumbering JUGGERNAUT and the speeding VELTRO. As the two teams deploy to handle these menaces, the Japanese SHUGENJU appears in the sky and calls upon "My Children" to attack Vanguard.

      Instantly, the American Elite (with the exception of John Henry, who seems to make a monumental mental adjustment) turn on their international compatriots. Fortunately, mentalists DEVADASI and SPHINX manage to break whatever conditioning had led to this change of coat in all of the Elite members during the course of the battle.

      At about the same time, ZEEBRIES thinks of investigating the experimental station and discovers that the insidious DR. QUAL and the magic-using SHINYU are busy stealing secrets over the collapsed bodies of several scientists. EL JAGUAR handles Dr. Qual before his awesome mental abilities can come to the fore, and though Shinyu turns into her Dragon form, she is toppled by the psionic skills of DEVADASI, with an assist from Magarac.

      Shugenju gets away, but all the rest of the villains are captured, including SHOCKTROOPER, who arrives late and is ineffective.

      No one has any idea of what to do about the strange conditioning that Shugenju (who was working with Doktor Blitzen at the time of the group's creation) seems to have implanted on the Elite members. This could cause grave problems in the future.

3/15/47: Tenth Mission - Singapore Shugenju (GM: Steve Perrin)

The most recent briefing from Col. Patterson reveals that both DOKTOR BLITZEN and DR. QUAL have apparently died in their cells. Autopsies show that Dr. Qual is not really human, but an android-like figure that did not even have any way of assimilating food. White Lotus checked out the cells and found traces of Shugenju magic. His conclusion is that the consciousness's of both men have been shifted to other receptacles. Oh yes, and the prison cell Shinyu was put into couldn't hold the dragon form. She's out again.

      Soon thereafter WHITE LOTUS is notified that Shugenju has been seen in Singapore. Gathering AMAZONIA, DEVADASI, PRINCESS PHOENIX, SALAH-ED-DIN, and STELLARI, he goes to Singapore and, between his magic sense and DEVADASI's Mind Scan, manages to locate the general area of the Shugenju. The team attacks even as Shugenju and three acolytes are ending their evocation.

      Shugenju, as usual, gets away. The three acolytes are cpatured, but not before a demon is unleashed. During the fight with the demon, PRINCESS PHOENIX hits it, but her fire blast seemingly goes right into the demon without damaging it. In fact, it looks healthier. Finally, the demon manages to get away.

In a special office set up in the Singapore fotifications, the team manages to determine that an article of jewelry from the Iranian royal collection, a heart-shaped ruby in a phoenix-motif necklace, is actually the heart of the demon. This is confirmed when the demon attacks as WHITE LOTUS is analysing the magic of the necklace. Mostly due to the creature's vulnerability to magic, it is defeated decisively, turning to ash and blowing away. Then, WHITE LOTUS attempts to transform the necklace into an equally lovely item without a magical trace. He succeeds, and gets the definite feeling that the demon died completely when the necklace is transformed. 

3/17/47: Eleventh Mission -- Images Of Doom (GM: Steve Perrin)

Shortly after the team returns from Singapore, a somewhat different one is headed out across the Pacific, this time to lonely Easter Island. A Chilean destroyer has been sunk by a ray beam(?) from an immense dirigible(?). AMAZONIA, DEVADASI, FREEDOM FORCE, EL JAGUAR, SALAH-ED-DIN, SPHINX, STELLARI, WHITE LOTUS and ZEEBRIES are dispatched to investigate the incident.

      They find a mile-long spaceship hovering over the island, with all the natives under its guns. The aliens, who look like the models for the famous Easter Island statues, state that they had been to Earth some 3,000 years before and been driven off by the heroes of that period (perhaps the progenitors of humanity's various god myths?). Now they are back with their own champions, and challenge the Vanguard members to defend their world.

      Nine challengers meet the Vanguard members in a protracted battle in the land, air, and sea. Only WHITE LOTUS and STELLARI escape damage, and three of the alien champions are killed (two by ZEEBRIES) during the course of the battle. By the end of the struggle, Vanguard holds the field.

The aliens pick up their fallen but not dead champions and leave the earth again, vowing to return with even greater warriors to enforce their claim on Earth.

      Meanwhile, Swiftsure is called away to England for some "personal business."

3/24/47: Twelfth Mission - Return to Treasure Island  (GM: Ken Mace)

At 6:00 AM, word came in that President of the United States Truman would pay a visit to the base within the hour. Just as Colonel Patterson has SPHINX hit the assembly alarm, the causeway linking the island to Yerba Buena blows up. Suddenly, frogman invaders in Nazi uniforms are invading the base along a wide front. Included in the invasion are SHINYU, a large muscleman called BRUISER, SHOCKTROOPER, recently freed from prison in a daring prison break, and a mentalist called VENOM attacked from the opposite side of the island, singling out DEVADASI and BOOMER.

      Opposing this force are the aforementioned heroes, plus AMAZONIA (who is immediately distracted by a demon appearing in her room who seems to be solely interested in her), FREEDOM FORCE, EL JAGUAR, RED STAR, STELLARI, WHITE LOTUS, and ZEEBRIES, plus the usual military guards on the base, who are underequipped and undertrained.

      In the course of the attack, a specially constructed Messerschmitt 262 jet plane buzzes the island and drops someone in a JUGGERNAUT suit on the headquarters building. The Juggernaut tears out the foundations and wades out of the ruins as it falls. The pilot of the plane then crashes the plane into a set of labs after ejecting. He proves fast and dangerous, as neither BOOMER nor WHITE LOTUS can touch him. The base is also shelled by an artillery mortar set up on Yerba Buena until STELLARI takes it out.

      Several of the leaders of the attack  are very talented normals with the ability to regenerate.

      By the time the attack is over, most of the regular troopers have been caught, as well as three of the regenerating leaders and Venom. ZEEBRIES catches Shinyu when she is unconscious and drowns her, later bringing back the body for proof. 

      On the minus side, the headquarters building and several lab buildings have been demolished by either the jet's attack or the efforts of the invading troopers with satchel charges. Hundreds of technicians and base military personnel are badly hurt or killed.

      Interrogation of the prisoners reveals that the leaders considered themselves Immortals, something already hinted at when the leader was talking to WHITE LOTUS in the course of the battle.

      Then comes word from the team recently sent to Anatacrtica...

3/24/87: Thirteenth Mission -- Way Down South (GM: Steve Perrin)

Meanwhile, a force consisting of BEARZARK, EL CONDOR, THE GEMINI, JOTUN, PHOTOS, PRINCESS PHOENIX, SALAH-ED-DIN, and the new Japanese provisional member, EARTH SPIRIT have been traveling south to Anarctica to investigate the disappearance of expeditionary goods stockpiled there in 1941. Following the trail, the team discovers a Nazi holdout inside a glacier, and attacks. They find that DR. BLITZEN is within the hideout, along with several dozen Nazi troopers. The base itself is obviously not built by the Nazis, merely discovered by them. The carvings on the walls are unique. During the course of the battle, EARTH SPIRIT digs deep and uncovers a great worm-like monster, which joins the battle and mostly eats Nazis. Heat attacks seem to do extra damage to it, though it never showed any real damage.

        When it is unconscious, Vanguard evacuates the base and Earth Spirit seals it up. The team recovers most of the stolen supplies, and adds in those brought by the Nazis for the exploration team about to make a try for the South Pole.

        Dr. Blitzen dies during the course of the battle, seemingly from a self-inflicted injury.

        Papers found among Dr. Blitzen's effects show this base is one of many held by a world-wide group. Some papers even mentioned the proposed assault on Vanguard headquarters ("Operation Hammer"). More papers discuss a vast underground army, apparently cloned by Dr. Blitzen from Jews thought killed during the Holocaust.

        Papers also hint at something buried at Nagasaki. Mind probing from WHITE LOTUS while FREEDOM FORCE asks leading questions reveals that some potential Immortals were buried at Nagasaki just before the atom bomb was dropped. Obviously, this group has high contacts in military circles everywhere. Another paper refers to "Pandora's Box", which questioning of the prisoners reveals to be in Argentina.

        Finally, and perhaps most chilling, the leader of this underground army seems to be Adolf Hitler himself! Apparently the body in the bunker was just another of Blitzen's clones.

3/26/47: Fourteenth Mission -- Pandora's Box (GM: Ken Mace)

After alerting the world's military forces about the revealed locations of the various units of this so-called "Fourth Reich", the members who fought at Treasure Island assemble in the Flying Wing and head for Argentina. Following the hints of local natives, the team locates the ancient temple being used as a base for Operation Pandora's Box. The "Box" turns out to be a gigantic robot which few of the heroes can seem to touch, even when Zeebreis goes inside it.

        After an extensive battle inside the complex which created the robot, the team manages to capture most of the technicians, but the Immortals inside the robot get away with the battle machine. Worse, the technicians report the robot is armed with atomic weapons.

The team resolves to go on to Nagasaki, to intercept the unburying of the "samples."

3/27/47: Fifteenth Mission -- Ground Zero (GM: Ken Mace)

At almost the ground zero spot in Nagasaki, the team (minus FREEDOM FORCE and DEVADASI, but with AMAZONIA and PHOTOS added on) find a small cavern with 29 dead bodies and one barely holding on to life. As this is being discovered by WHITE LOTUS and EARTH SPIRIT, the rest of the team is confronted by the RED GUARD and the AMERICAN ELITE all of whom are wearing new belts with Nazi insignia on them. The brainwashed national teams attack Vanguard and a long drawn-out battle ensues, with nearly every member of each side knocked out or stunned at least once in the course of the battle. Several participants, such as BOOMER, are reduced to almost dying status, but none die, thanks to active paramedic work by various combatants.

        The fight ends with STELLARI snatching up the body of the surviving Immortal (if it is an immortal) and flying off with him, then Vanguard disengaging and leaving the other two teams to explain why they have devastated several blocks of newly-rebuilt-Nagasaki.       

APRIL, 1947

3/31/47-4/7/47: Sixteenth Mission -- Busman's Holiday  (GM: Ken Mace)

The immediate aftermath of the Nagasaki encounter is a flurry of news stories blaming all the destruction on Vanguard and praising the Red Guard and American Elite for attempting to stop Vanguard's atrocities. Thus does the team learn a lesson in public relations.

        Under pressure from his superiors, Colonel Patterson suspends all Vanguard activities. What's more, no one seems to be doing anything about the Immortal threat. Everything is "tied up in committee."

        No longer under Vanguard authority, a group consisting of BOOMER, EARTH SPIRIT, FREEDOM FORCE, HUSSAR, EL JAGUAR, RED STAR, SPHINX, STELLARI, SWIFTSURE (with his new partner, SWIFTY), WHITE LOTUS, and ZEEBRIES go to Stellari's home in Sicily for a "holiday." As they change planes in New York, they are joined by a United States Marine colonel who says he has some troops in the Mediterranean who could use a holiday, too. Apparently someone in the USA military heirarchy is willing to take action, even if the United Nations aren't.

        In Sicily, the team charters a tramp steamer (having to rebuild it in the process) and heads for the map coordinates given for the undersea main HQ of the Immortals, picking up 50 hand picked Marines who are "on maneuvers" in the process. On the way, they are attacked by a submarine, the same one that had unloaded troops in the attack on Treasure Island. The main event resulting from this encounter, aside from sinkng the submarine, is a contretemps between White Lotus and Earth Spirit in which EARTH SPIRIT attempts to kill White Lotus.

However, EARTH SPIRIT is instrumental in getting the team into the underwater dome housing the Immortal menace. Emerging from the floor of the bottommost level, the hydroponic farm, the team uses earthen ramps to approach the ceiling and blasts through the floor of the main assembly room of the complex.

There and in adjoining rooms they run into ERIC--the lead Immortal, ADOLF HITLER, PANDORA'S BOX -- the giant robot from Argentina, DR. QUAL, BRUISER, SHOCKTROOPER, and a few guards.

        The robot is the most durable of the opponents, taking the combined efforts of Freedom Force, Red Star, and Zeebries to destroy, with a little help from their friends. Eric gets away in the fight.

        After the fight is over, and while members of the team argue about whether Hussar should take off Hitler's head and put it on the end of his lance to show the still-defending Nazi guards, Hitler suddenly flashes green and dies. Obviously his "soul" has been transported. Dr Qual does the same thing.

        However, during the above argument, BOOMER had started exploring and, at about the same time, came upon the vats wherein clone bodies were being grown and where several bodies were being kept, obviously ready for instant use if the previous body of the owner was indisposed. He immediately begins flipping off switches. One body, labeled "Fuehrer," has just glowed green when BOOMER turns off its life support switch. Later checking found that the body is dead.

        BOOMER also finds another tank labeled "Grossdraken" which is empty; SHINYU is alive somewhere. There was no body available for DR. QUAL, DOKTOR BLITZEN, or SHUGENJU, which leads one to believe they have bodies stashed elsewhere.

        The team report their findings to the United Nations and get lukewarm congratulations and nothing much in the way of an apology. The team also discover a hoard of gold, much of which it sequesters for the rebuilding of the Treasure Island base, creating trusts for the families of the Marines who did not survive the assault, and salting away in a Swiss bank account for emergencies.

        Many members are now thinking that it was time the team took management of Vanguard into its own hands, since Patterson and/or the United Nations is unable or unwilling to give it the support it needs.

4/12/47: Seventeenth Mission -- Pawns Of The Puppet Master (GM: Ed Kann)

During a celebration at Treasure Island which includes many of the local diplomatic corps and various United Nations functionaries, DEVADASI discovers that many ambassadors are worried about changes in behavior of their heads of state. In fact, the news for the last few days has been full of announcements by heads of state that arms building will be cut in half, if not greater. Most diplomats do not think their leaders are truly themselves.

        At the same time, WHITE LOTUS avoids the noisy open-air party and works on his experiments in time travel. He manages to bring, quite inadvertantly, a young superhero named WISP back from the future. Unsure of how to send her back, he asks NIGHTINGALE to shepherd the girl until he can finalize his techniques.

        DEVADASI convenes a meeting of the resident heroes, minus White Lotus, who is busy. The meeting consists of DEVADASI, NIGHTINGALE, HUSSAR, AURIC, PRINCESS PHOENIX, GEMINI, and WISP.

        Deciding to bring DEVADASI's information to the attention of Colonel Patterson, they go to his quarters, to find that his mind is not present. Examination in the sickbay shows that he is actually just a ragdoll, a puppet.

DEVADASI's Mind Scan plus information of a package received by the colonel a week before, leads the heroes to a closed toy factory in southern France, where the heroes are met by the image of a Mad Hatter who invites them in for tea.

        Breaking into the two-story factory, the team finds itself fighting animated dolls, such as a gigantic teddy bear and a homicidal CHARLIE MCCARTHY, and several supervillains with toy motifs. There is a CIRCUS JUGGLER, a HARLEQUIN, a MIME, a WHITE RABBIT, a MAD HATTER, and a PUPPET MASTER with a deadly pair of PUNCH AND JUDY marionettes.

        Using excellent tactics, the team manages to capture the entire group of villains except for White Rabbit who makes use of her powers of speed and invisibility to get away. The Mime and Puppet Master (who was a somehow-animated actual rag doll) are slain.

        The leaders of the major world powers are found hidden in Punch-Me dolls, some the worst for wear. The team lets Major Patterson handle waking them up from their drugged sleeps and sorting out the consequences as their puppet simulacrums collapsed with the death of the Puppet Master. Again, the gratitude of the world leaders and United Nations are less than overwhelming, fueling the fires of potential secession.

4/26/47: Eighteenth Mission -- Masters Of The Earth (GM: Steve Perrin)

Colonel Patterson calls AMAZONIA, DEVADASI, EFREET, GEMINI, PRINCESS PHOENIX, STELLARI, and WHITE LOTUS in for a special mission. It seems the Americans have a problem and cannot be sure that Shugenju is not involved, so they cannot use the American Elite. The team goes to the White Sands test area, where eight scientists and technicians have disappeared through the destroyed floor of an observation bunker during the recent atomic bomb tests.

        White Lotus discovers a tunnel and the team follows the tunnel from the air until the iron ore surrounding it blocks most of his vision. Then they tunnel to the tunnel, accompanied by a platoon of soldiers minus one rifle squad guarding the tunnel mouth. Stellari stays with this team, his claustrophobia preventing him from continuing underground. At the joining of the two tunnels, the Army leaves one rifle squad and half the heavy weapons squad (one machinegun and one rocket launcher). The lieutenant, his sergeant and radioman, two other fire teams and half the heavy weapons squad stay with the heroes.

        Twenty minutes later, the walls of the tunnel open up around the intrepid team and a dozen dinosaurs, sort of like man-size Tyrannosaurus Rexes, hit the entire group. While the superheroes have little problem (though Amazonia is severely slashed), 2/3 of the soldiers are killed in the assault. The heroes send the rest of the soldiers back to the tunnel conjunction, along with the bodies and the bodies of some of the assailing dinosaurs for study.

        A half hour later, the super team, accompanied by one brave cameraman from their newsreel crew, hit a large chamber filled with various kinds of dinosaurs. Gigantic Ankylosaurs tower over the others, which include the small slashers who had first attacked, some Great Dane-sized stegosaurs, some similarly sized triceratops, and about eight humanoid dinosaurs who speak.

        The human-like dinosaurs' spokeman explains that they captured the scientists as prisoners of war, and display them in a cage-gallery on one wall. He also states that the Earth is their planet and the humans should either get off of it or prepare to die.

        The team attacks and discovers that the triceratops can fire electric bolts from their horns, the ankylosaurs move on their hind feet and hit things with their tails, the stegosaurs ccan shoot their tail spikes like arrows, and the humanoids are mentalists.

        The team makes a fighting retreat, managing to rescue all the scientists but one, a Dr. Hewlett who seems to be giving information to the dino-men, as they are promptly named.

        The team also manages to get a prisoner, who reveals that the dino-men called themselves CRETACIANS and that they are one of several rival nations of intelligent dinosaurs who were the final product of the age of Dinosaurs. When the CRETACIANS saw that a large planetoid was going to hit the Earth, they hibernated, expecting the planetoid to destroy all competition. Instead, the planetoid orbited the earth as the Moon. The machinery that was to wake them after the impact of the planetoid did not function until the first atom bomb tests at White Sands, reviving their exploration party to a world far different than what they expected.

        From the evidence of the prisoner and the captive scientists, the force met by Vanguard was just the exploratory party and their geneticially altered guard animals. Many more CRETACIANS remain in hibernation, though some of the hibernation machines have malfunctioned during the eons.

        After a week of intensive grilling by DEVADASI, White Lotus, and Sphinx, the Devonian seemed to turn into itself and die. White Lotus speculates that, since the creatures are naturally telepathic, the absence of its comrades makes it pine away. This is accepted since there was no other theory available.

        Vanguard publishes this threat to the world. A follow-up expedition shows the underground complex deserted, and collapsed tunnels leading to possible further refuges. The United States, and the world, has to gird itself against another menace to survival.

        The team is commended for its work by both the UN and United States, making feelings better all around. However, there is still a movement afoot to turn the running of the superteam over to the superheroes. The OFFGUARD mimeographed unofficial newletter has had several editorials already on the subject.

MAY, 1947

5/10/47: Nineteenth Mission--Underground Empire  (GM: Steve Perrin)

A mountain within 25 miles of the last known Cretacian area suddenly becomes volcanic, spewing forth lava laced with radioactives. Suspecting a recurrance of the Cretacians, the United States asks VANGUAD to step in again.

        A special "Stealth" team is formed around AMAZONIA, AURIC, EARTH SPIRIT, EFREET, WHITE LOTUS, and the new Siamese member, FOX, Searching carefully, they discover a fissure in the mountain that leads them to a series of worked tunnels which leads to what is obviously an ancient lair of the Cretacians. They stalk carefully through the complex until they find a room where several high-ranking Cretacians are conferring with Hewlett, their "tame human."

        For reasons unknown, the heroes attack, rapidly discovering that the Cretacians are well guarded by more of their pet dinosaurs. They secure Hewlett but Auric and Amazonia were almost slain be–fore Fox manages to teleport them all away. Efreet earns some bad karma by ducking out to his own plane before the others are safe away, though his reasons were found to be satisfactory at an impromptu court martial held by Colonel Patterson the next day.

        After questioning, Vanguard discovers that Hewlett "defected" to the Cretacians in an attempt to make peace between the two races, as he has no wish to have either race wiped out. He states that there are two factions among the Cretacians, the "Reclamationists" and the "Accomodation–sts" and that his re-abduction probably creates a leaning to the Reclamationist party, which wants to eradicate mankind.

        At last report, the volcano is still active and spewing forth radioactive lava, but the United States, convinced that the SHUGENJU has nothing to do with the Cretacians, has thanked Vanguard for its assistance and turned the investigation over to THE AMERICAN ELITE.

5/31/47: Twentieth Mission--The Bard's Tale (GM: Grace Kelly)

A team consisting of BOOMER, DEVADASI, PRINCESS PHOENIX, RED STAR, STELLAIR, WHITE LOTUS, and new Swedish member VALKYRIE is asked to go to England and meet with His Majesty's government on a matter of some importance. Once there, they discover that Scotland is afflicted with a dire plague which kills both sheep and men, but only Englishmen. True Scots have no problems with the disease.

        A psychic named Lady Ann, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, pinpoints a certain shephardess as a possible culprit in the investigation.

        Exploring Kinross, where the shephardess is thought to be, the team discovers a woman fitting the description. As they attempt to talk to the woman, she shapechanges into a sorceress and her four dogs become demon-beasts. After a struggle, the four beasts are destroyed and the shephardess destroyed twice. White Lotus's magic reveals that the woman is Molly MacTeague, and she has been given certain objects of power and the demon dogs by "The Lady". What was worse, her dedication to her cause is such that she will return again as an avenging, disease-carrying, spirit, unless she is laid to rest.

        A long investigation which involves, among other things, a philosophical discussion with a weeping willow tree, leads the team to the Isle of Skye, wherein they find a circle of stones which eventually gives them access to a cavern wherein they meet "The Lady," who seems to be the embodiment of the spirit of Scotland. She reveals that Molly is working on her own, from her conviction that what is needed for Scotland is the eradication of the English and their sheep.

        The Lady reveals that she has no particular power over spirits of the dead, but she holds enthralled a bard who has coped with such things before. However, Vanguard will have to guarantee that the bard will act as guardian to a very special staff before he can be released. After negotiating with the bard, the team has then to rid themselves of the bard's guardians, four beings who reflect all damage done to them, including hand-to-hand physical attacks. Devadasi is almost killed when her own physical attack comes back at her.

        The bard, Duncan O'Malley, is finally persuaded to accept the burden of the staff and proceeds to lay Molly's troubled spirit to rest. He gladly accepts Vanguard's offer to join them and Vanguard puts through a request to the Irish government to make The Bard their official representative to Vanguard, even though Ireland is not a member of the United Nations. There are now three members of Vanguard from unaffiliated countries -- BARD, EARTH SPIRIT, and STELLARI.

 

JUNE, 1947

6/7/47: Twenti-first Mission -- Water Sports  (GM: Grace Kelly)

BOOMER and RED STAR are on monitor duty when the BARD suddenly appears in the air near the reflecting pool, drifting slowly to earth, his staff glowing and floating in the air beside him.

        He is in sad shape, but once revived he speaks of an uncharted, and very temporary, Pacific Island were he met a beautiful lady, and another beautiful lady with beautiful claws tried to kill him. He does not know why he teleported back to Vanguard Base, but the glowing staff probably has something to do with it. The bard also says something about the ladies conjuring a demon.

        Joined by NIGHTINGALE, PRINCESS PHOENIX, PHOTOS, and WHITE LOTUS, the team heads out to the island's coordinates. To their chagrin, they find that the island is already sinking and there are six flying women there to oppose them. With only Princess Phoenix and White Lotus capable of sustained flight, the Vanguard team is at a distinct disadvantage, even though one of the women refuses to take an active part in the fight, acting only to rescue anyone who hits the water. The women finally break off the struggle, saying that they will leave Vanguard to deal with the problem.

        Swimming to a small, and sinking, ship in the area, the team finds it being attacked by a watery demon that is invisible to normal sight in its natural environment. Through the work of White Lotus the team is able to find their target and manages to hold it until White Lotus can determine a way to send it (if not back to its home dimension) at least out of this one.

        The six super-powered women are still at large. Red Star recognized one as a woman known as Storm who had a bad reputation in the Soviet Union. The female team uses Russian as a combat language, which might indicate its general area of origin. There is no clue as to why they summoned the demon, though summon it they apparently did.

JULY, 1947

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 Shugenju and almost certainly involving Bart Williams and, if Boomer and Red Star are right, HELLSPAWN.

Vanguard must do something.

 

AUGUST, 1947

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 regather, 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 followup 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 Twenti-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 SHUGENJU, DOKTOR BLITZEN, and three other oriental men in skintight costumes, plus four orientals in Japanese uniforms. Shugenju 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 Shugenju'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 Shugenju and his other followers to contend with.

        By the end of the battle, Shugenju 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.

OCTOBER, 1947

10/25/47: Twenti-sixth Mission -- North Sea, Cold Death (GM: Steve Perrin)

After resting for two months, a team is scrambled at the request of the Norwegian government. Three freighters, of English and Norwegian registry, have disappeared on route between Oslo and Archangelsk. Normal search techniques have failed -- Vanguard's unique talents are called for.

      WHITE LOTUS leads RED STAR, PRINCESS PHOENIX, JOTUN, SELKIE, ZEEBREIS, and Dominican Republic member BARON SAMEDI (with ZOMBIE) on a plane trip by Mars Flying Boat to the affected area near the town of Hammerfest, near the northernmost tip of Norway. An initial flying search is inffective, so Selkie and Zeebreis hit the waves. Selkie finds that many local seals have been shot, recently. Approaching the nearest island, Selkie and Zeebreis are warned away by SEA LORD of the COMMANDOES, whose attitude is wooden and unlike the Sea Lord that Zeebreis knows. The two sea-borne Vanguard members withdraw, realizing that something is wrong and they must contact White Lotus.

      Simultaneously, the group in the seaplane sees the intermittently flaming body of FLAMEN of the Commandoes flickering toward them. Princess Phoenix catches him and brings him into the airplane. The youngster explains that he had awoken just minutes before, apparently from a long trance, and, realizing that he was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, flew away as fast as he could, taking several bullets in the process. White Lotus heals the damage. After Selkie and Zeebreis make their reports, the team, augmented by Flamen, heads for the island.

      They are met in the air by Sea Lord, FLAMBERGE, and MISS LIBERTY. Once members land, WHIZBANG, CHAMPION and CHUCKIE, and FLETCHER attack. All are defending the hole in the island floor made by the escaping Flamen and a rock that proves to be a disguised radar/radio/mind control device. Zeebreis destroys the rock and the Commandoes snap out of the mind control.

      In the general assault that follows, the combined teams find themselves fighting SHINYU and several Nazi agents, finally confronting DR. QUAL, himself. The Nazi mastermind does his best but the combined assault of the two teams is too much for him, and he collapses, unconscious.

      Dr. Qual does not die and (one assumes) have his mind transferred to another body. Perhaps there are no more clones, or perhaps he fears the same aging results as seem to be happening to Doktor Blitzen's clones. For now, Dr. Qual sits in a cell near Doktor Blitzen's and awaits his trial in the ongoing Nuremberg war trials.