From the Story Arc: The Lecture

Previous Story in the Arc: Brass Face by Rack (Tuesday, April 17, 2007)

Next Story in the Arc: Flicker by Rack (Thursday, April 26, 2007)

(posted Friday, April 20, 2007)

Brighid Moreira looked over her glasses incredulously.

Agent Indigo suppressed the urge to smile and calmly folded her arms on the table.

Azuria blinked in surprise.

“What exactly do you mean - ‘I think you have the wrong hero for the job?’

Comrade Hero stared at Azuria.

“Exactly that. Rack served in the OSS and later the CIA. No offense, but I don’t have the training, knowledge or experience to track down, let alone bring down, someone who spent a considerable part of their life hiding from and evading other people. I’m an Air Force Major, not a Spy. And I know next to nothing about Magic aside from cracking the skulls of villains like the Circle of Thorns, the Banished Pantheon and the Tsoo.”

Azuria pursed her lips. “Brighid?”

The City Representative nodded.

“Comrade Hero. You aren’t the first hero we’ve tried sending after Rack. You’re actually the fifth. The other four heroes were Magic origin heroes. All four… failed.”

Azuria sighed softly.

“Rack has too much experience in dealing with Magic users - both heroes and villains.”

Agent Indigo unfolded her arms.

“We considered sending Technology, Scientific and Natural heroes, but Rack has proven highly adaptive to the threats he encounters. The ongoing inability of Longbow to curb Rack’s operations unfortunately illustrates that rather well. Recent intel indicates Rack may have gotten his hands on Nictus technology so we can’t risk sending Kheldian heroes after him.”

“So you want to try a Mutant? And why me?”

Brighid responded to Comrade Hero’s question.

“For the simple fact you are a Mutant. It may be a long shot but we believe Rack hasn’t had as much experience battling heroes and villains who are Mutants.”

Longshot? That was an understatement if ever he heard one. Comrade Hero was skeptical, but kept his expression neutral as he listened to the City Representative explain.

“And apparently Rack cannot be killed. We want to put him up against someone who is similarly unstoppable. And you’re as likely a candidate as anyone. After all, you are 'The Man Who Fell To Earth.'

Agent Indigo turned to Comrade Hero.

“Azuria and I will provide you with the information, equipment and intelligence to bring Rack to justice.”

The reasoning made more sense now, but Comrade Hero still had some reservations.

“And I’m to do this alone?”

Azuria shook her head.

“Not at all. Rack commands the dead; don’t count on him to be alone. It’s up to your discretion if get other heroes involved in assisting you with this endeavor. We want Rack to get wind of what you’re doing. The more Rack considers you a threat, the more likely he is to come after you.”

Brighid pointed a finger at Comrade Hero.

“And that’s another reason we chose you. Rack isn’t stupid but he has the memories and experiences of Hadrian Quinn in his head. We’re hoping he also has some of the feelings. Hadrian Quinn wasn’t exactly kindly disposed towards the Russians, and we’re hoping some of that old prejudice will resurface and cloud his actions.”

Comrade Hero interrupted.

“Another long shot.”

Agent Indigo smiled.

“Another long shot indeed. But we aim to stack the deck in our favor this time. You and the late Hadrian Quinn share some similarities and some differences. Quinn answered to Washington, you answer to Moscow. Quinn was Army, you are Air Force. Quinn believed in Democracy, you adhere to Communism. Quinn was an American German, you are a Russian American. I could go on.”

Azuria nodded.

“And it all comes down to Hero verses Villain. Good verses Evil. Light verses Darkness.”

Comrade Hero’s crimson eyes flared.

“Alright. That’s enough clichés for one briefing. I’ll need to clear this with Moscow, but you have my assistance.”

Brighid began typing on her laptop. She didn’t look up as she spoke.

“Moscow has already agreed - actually capitulated.”

“Oh. And how did you manage that?” asked Comrade Hero, curious.

“Well there was that situation in the Terra Volta Reactor with the Rikti, and of course the recent incidents in Brickstown and Crey’s Folly.”

Comrade Hero let out a low groan.

“You blackmailed Moscow?”

Agent Indigo laughed softly.

“That’s a need to know basis, Comrade Hero. And you really don’t want to know, trust me. On the upside, you can expect guaranteed increased funding and material support for the CCCP for the next three years. And there really isn’t a downside.”

Comrade Hero arched an eyebrow in mock surprise.


Agent Indigo’s eyes twinkled mischievously.

“Not really, Comrade Hero. Just consider it a matter of mutual cooperation and understanding between Moscow and Washington. But that’s something to talk about another time.”

The City Representative looked up from her keyboard.

“Let’s get down to business, shall we?”