FEBRUARY, 1962 : Mission -- Fandango in Havana

Vanguard is asked to send a delegation to help celebrate the inauguration of President Estefan of Cuba. President Estefan has been elected since the successful Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban patriots who overthrew the usurping government of Socialist Fidel Castro three years before. Instrumental in the invasion was the super team known as Libertad, six heroes of the counter-revolution who are saluted as the great liberators of Cuba. The six members of Libertad are:

       Ciudad, someone using the Juggernaut suit, which had been missing.

       Liberator, a brickish sort of marital artist who seems to be the commander.

       Inferno, a flaming fire projector on the model of the Human Torch or the French Flamberge.

       Guerilla, a fast master of combat, both hand-to-hand and weapons

       Harlequino, a quick and powerful fighter with a collection of embarrassing attacks.

       La Fortunada, a woman who seems to have an incredible amount of luck in combat.

       Senor Rapido, a super-fast fighter.

The Vanguard delegation consists of Mr. America (the new American representative, a Golden Age hero who was given access to the Freedom Force formula before FF went off to join his old teammates like Mr. Boomerang and Devadasi wherever they went.). Captain Britain (the former Swifty), Vajrah, the demigod who has replaced Devadasi as India's representative, Red Star (the second one), Mouse, Iron Cross, Tiw Lin, the Tiger of Burma, Earth Spirt, Azul, the energy master of Chile, and Nanduti, the Spider Witch of Paraquay.

Intended delegation members Zeebreis and Sphinx are unable to attend due to last minute problems, and Mujahadeen joins the delegation to help replace them.

Arriving in Cuba and attending a welcoming banquet, the members of Vanguard realize two things. (1) For Cuban patriots, many members of Libertad show a less than commanding grasp of the Spanish language and (2) Hellspawn seems to be firmly entrenched amongst the power elite of the new government.

The members of Libertad also seem half-drunk or drugged.

Zysygny the Vampyr, of Hellspawn, attempts to seduce Nanduti and seems to be making headway. Former Vanguard member Ishtar tries to give a warning to some of her old teammates, but they are suspicious. Then Captain Britain and Red Star realize that Helen Williams (wife of Bart Williams and suspected of being the Black Queen) seems to be abducting Mr. America.

Mr. America disappears despite all their best efforts, but after some quick investigation of the tunnels and caves that run beneath the volcanic soil of Cuba, they realize that Mr. A has been taken to a set of caves that overlook the Bay of Pigs. Racing to the caves, they are attacked by implaced machinegun nests and battle their way inside, where they must first confront a wind elemental that none of them have been amongst the group long enough to recognize (see episode 2, the Williwaw).

In the next chamber of the complex they find Libertad (Looking not at all ready for a fight) waiting to meet them, along with most of Hellspawn and their bound member, Mr. America. As they move to engage, Dr. Kronos says something in German that Iron Cross translates as, "This should finish them once and for all." Immediately afterward, Reaper yells, "No, you fool!" but he is too late.

The team, along with Mr. America, finds themselves in a somewhat altered room, facing a rather startled but much livelier-looking Libertad, as well as Dr. Kronos and Sunfire. The rest of Hellspawn has disappeared.

Libertad attacks, Dr. Kronos and Sunfire manage to get out, and the Vanguard heroes are victorious. They then find that they have been set back a year, to 1961. Moreover, the Cuban Army seems to have been attracted to the site and they are now meeting the Bay of Pigs invasion, apparently with great success. By defeating Libertad, Vanguard has changed history. Castro is still in charge in Cuba.

Nanduti manages to find the weft and weave of time threads to bring the team back to their proper time. Leaving the dusty and unused chamber, they are confronted by the Cuban Army, backed up by the current incarnation of the Red Guard. They are thrown out of the country, along with their prisoners.

Rather than disappear because their back story has changed, the team members find themselves merged with their selves that have lived the last year in the changed world. Some of them have to face charges for abandoning their posts because the "new" versions stay with the Cuban team rather than wherever they had been.

Questioning Libertad, they find that all but one of them are former WWII heroes who had missed their glory days and were persuaded by Hellspawn to take treatments to gain super powers, which included an addiction to heroin (a Hellspawn trademark for their endowed supers). Apparently they wanted Mr. America because they needed to tap into his powers to continue to empower Libertad. This would imply that other heroes have been taken over the years to empower the supers that Hellspawn has employed over the years.

The Libertad members turn out to be:

Liberator is The Patriot, who had a distinguished career as the second Captain America until he retired in the mid-50s.

Inferno is Firebrand, who had been jealous of the glory his sister, who used the same name, gained because she had flame powers.

Guerilla is Commando Yank, who had missed his days fighting the Axis behind the lines.

Harlequino is The Jester, a practical joker in either identity who wanted one last turn at the wheel of fortune.

La Fortunada is Lady Luck, who felt that she needed to push her fortune one last time.

Senor Rapido is Minute Man, who felt neglected after the war was over.

Ciudad is a Cuban exile who was given the Juggernaut suit, and is dying of radiation poisoning, as any other user has died. Fortunately, having been taken early in his career, he can be cured.


FEBRUARY, 1963 : Mission -- Confusion on the Congo

Vanguard is suddenly faced with two missions. In Canada, Hellspawn seems to be working to cause a revolution in Quebec that would make it a separatist nation under their control. In the Belgian Congo, Hellspawn seems to be equipping guerillas to overthrow the colonial government.

For the Canadian group, General Gerard selects Mr. America, Captain Britain, Red Star, Nightingale, and White Lotus II, who seems to be gaining a fairly good control over his new command of his old master's magic, despite his master's refusal to teach him because of his former servant's liaison with the Japanese Earth Spirit.

At the last minute, however, the original White Lotus steps in and says that he will take the position in the team. He leaves a note with Gerard to explain the substitution. After studying the note, Gerard agrees.

Meanwhile, Zeebreis is given command of a group consisting of Iron Cross, Comrade Barbarossa (the new East German member), Nanduti, Azul, Dr. Kong, and Mouse to investigate the Congo situation.

When they get there, they find that a lot of the stories of attacks by guerillas are really about attacks by gorillas, using automatic weapons and armor!

Dr. Kong confesses that he has been living something of a lie. He is not a normal gorilla who somehow gained human intelligence. He is actually from a city of intelligent gorillas deep in the Congo who have lived in isolation for centuries. They are super-scientific and generally peaceful. He was chosen to join the outside world because of his intelligence, which is great even for a Gorilla City citizen, but also because he is not particularly telepathic, which most of the apes are.

He volunteered for this expedition because he has lost contact with his superiors in the city. He fears that a known rebel, Grodd, is causing trouble, as he already has for the American hero known as the Flash.

After some encounters with suspicious local partisans and smugglers, where they learn where supplies of weapons are being smuggled, the team follows the Congo River deep into the jumgle. At the landing they have been told about, they are ambushed by a squad of the gorilla guerillas, who prove to be tenacious foes.

When they are defeated, Nanduti manages to break the mind control that has been put on them and they reveal that most of Gorilla City has been placed under a vibratory stasis by Grodd. Dr. Kong leads them to the city, and the team manages to figure out a way to break the stasis without getting caught in it themselves. This turns out to free the Flash, both the current one and the original, who had recently been freed from another captivity and was visiting the city along with his successor. Together, and with help from the Vanguard team, they capture Grodd before he can do anything else.

It turns out he was contacted by Hellspawn, who supplied arms and supplies to let him make his bid for African supremacy.

When the team gets back to Treasure Island, they find that the Canadian team has not returned. Moreover, Gerard does not expect them back.

They have been captured by Hellspawn to power some of Hellspawn's activities. However, Gerard says that, in fact, Hellspawn has been trapped itself. Some time back, White Lotus had done some time traveling and learned of Hellspawn's plans. Rather than try to stop Hellspawn, he decided to set up an elaborate spell that would tap the tap, as it were, and keep Hellspawn from getting any benefit from capturing the Vanguard members.

Moreover, those who thought that White Lotus had aged more than expected in the last few years were right. He was actually the White Lotus of many many years in the future, who had switched places with his past self so that the past self could have a career in the far future of the 1990s.

(Honest, Colin McKinney (WL's first player) worked this all out. I have the full description if anyone wants to see it.).

NOVEMBER, 1963, The Fall of Vanguard

The loss of the Vanguard members representing the core members of the UN Security Council was a sharp blow to the organization. There were months of debate in the General Assembly, and the final result was a resolution to dissolve Vanguard with thanks for a job well done.

The UN, feeling the need to continue having some sort of super-powered presence, immediately commenced a program to create super-powered agents who would carry out its mandate, but without the interference of national loyalties. Until this project could be completed, they instituted THUNDER, The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserve, and absorbed all the agent assets of Vanguard into that organization.

The heroes of Vanguard are out of a job.

DECEMBER, 1963, Vanguard Reborn?

Members of the former Vanguard have received invitations to a meeting in Jakarta. Many of these invitations are presented to them by the same superiors in their own countries who had monitored their Vanguard careers. Other invitations have been presented to different heroes entirely.

In part, the invitation points out the continuing need for super-powered heroes all over the world, particularly considering the Americanization of so many super-groups like the Justice League of America and the Avengers. If the hero wants to continue the fine tradition of Vanguard into this new world of power, please come to the meeting.