Vigilance

Volume 5, Issue 2

History Comes To Life

In the present day, Doc Holly Day responded to FAITH’s distress call and traveled to France, ensuring a de-armored Kang the Conqueror was arrested by the authorities. VSI Corrections took custody of the time-traveling villain. While trying to assess how to handle the situation of the missing Avengers, she received an urgent call from a close friend of Nightingale. His name was Special Agent Aloyisius Pendergast, and he was currently assigned to a security detail in London. A ceremony involving the newly born Prince was scheduled to take place the following day, and Agent Pendergast had reason to believe that the Joker was in London, and was planning something sinister. With no full-time Avengers around, Doc resolved to do what she could to help stop the murderous clown.

The Stand, Nu, Vessel and Nightingale, having arrived in the past, quickly worked to gather information. Ghost, who was also transported into the past, was questioned about when they were and why their powers were diminishing. Ghost held out on revealing the details, but Nightingale’s powers of hypnosis proved stronger than his will. Ghost revealed that because Time Travel violated the Law of Conservation of Energy, all time travelers had to be equipped with a “Time Displacement Unit,” a device which maintained an energy field allowing a person to be displaced in time. Ghost also revealed that the Time Displacement Units created for each Avenger included power-nullification technology.

Ghost indicated that time travelers have their TDU implanted within their body. Ghost’s is located in his left arm. When Ghost had attacked them while phased, he was actually placing TDUs in the Avengers. Rather than in their arms, Ghost, had implanted TDUs in there chests near their hearts. The idea was that it would be nearly impossible to safely cut out the units when trapped without appropriate medical technology. The implanted TDUs had energy enough to function for approximately three years. Once the devices failed, the Avengers would return to their present, but three years hence from when they went back in time.

The Stand analyzed Ghost’s equipment, and calculated he could use the suit and its power source to create an energy field which would short-out the TDUs. He was reasonably certain he could nullify at least one, and perhaps even two, devices. With his powers fading, however, it would be risky to mold the TDU out of a person’s chest.

The Avengers gained their bearings and found themselves close to a quarry, currently the gathering point of a number of refugees. Ghost managed to gather enough clothes and blankets so the Avengers could be adequately disguised, but Nu refused to hide her wings, instead taking to the skies to avoid having her appearance upset the people. Nightingale and the Stand used Ghost’s specialized translation ear implants to communicate with the people. The refugees were being led from the nearby city of Riems through a tunnel network that led through the city sewers and out into the quarry. The person leading them was a large, physically unattractive woman named Eutropia. The Avengers recognized her name based on Vessel’s research on the Black Mask.

While Vessel stood watch over Ghost, and Nu flying above, Nightingale and Vessel followed Eutropia. Realizing that he needed to hide his belongings in a granite block as they had been found 1600 years later, Vessel used his fading molding power to create a granite block of the appropriate size, and to store his equipment with it. He wrote a note to himself, as he apparently had before, but in-between the words “must avoid a paradox,” he wrote “do not trust Ghost.” Moments later, he recalled reading those lines on the note from the past, but not knowing who Ghost was until the confrontation with Kang was inevitable, was unable to make use of that information. It did, however, prove to him that changes to the past could have some effect on the future. With the Stand’s equipment (minus an “Instapatch” and two smoke bombs) safely stored away, the two followed Eutropia and witnessed some of the events in the City of Riems.

The Stand and Nightingale watched from seclusion, desperate to help but terrified of altering the world’s history and creating a damaging paradox, as Bishop Nicasius of Riems was beheaded on the steps of the Cathedral. Even more disturbing, when the barbarian who killed the Bishop turned in their direction, he appeared to be nearly identical to Vandal Savage, filling Nightingale with concern that he was also a time traveler. The Savage look-alike left, and the two Avengers witnessed the remaining barbarians break down the cathedral door and kill the Florentius and Jucundus. Most of the barbarians moved on to further secure the city, but two stayed behind. The Stand and Nightingale then watched as Eutropia appeared in the Cathedral from somewhere behind the altar and was attacked. While the legend stated that Eutropia died with the others, they were surprised to see her instead kill her attackers and disappear back behind the altar.

Nu, unwilling to allow people to suffer despite the concerns that changing history could have a dramatic effect on the timestream, rescued a woman and her children, defeating an attacker and flying them to the quarry. The woman worshiped Nu as an angel of God. The Avengers regrouped with Ghost, and the Stand shared his plan. He suggested that, before his powers faded completely, he might be able to mold out the TDU from at least one of their bodies. HE would then use Ghost’s equipment to disable two of the remaining TDUs. If possible, he would then disable his own, but if not, he would go into hiding and wait out the three years until his TDU shut down. While reluctant to agree with that, they were willing to test the theory.

Ghost was the first test subject, as his TDU was located in his forearm and not near a major organ. The process was painful, but the Stand molded out his TDU, and Ghost immediately vanished, apparently returning to his place in time. Knowing of Vessel’s immortality, he became the next test subject. Unfortunately, while the TDU was extracted, Vessel’s body died. Whether Vessel would animate a body in their current time or back from whence they came remained unknown. However, it became clear that the Stand’s powers could not safely perform the extraction on the others. A bit later in the evening, Eutropia, who notice that the Stand was wearing a black mask he had created (believing he would likely have to live up to the legend himself), stripped him of his mask, claiming that to disguise himself as a bandit was unwise in such a time of despair. Eutropia walked off, Black Mask in hand, to mourn her brother and her friends.

That night, Nu flew off again, and decided that, even though she was weakened, she would stop the barbarians to the best of her ability. Annoucing herself as the Angel of Death, she beat senseless several groups of Vandals before finding a group of leaders. She beat them down as well, including the one that looked like Vandal Savage. She carried the look-alike’s unconscious body outside of the city to the main Vandal encampment, and threw it down as a challenge before King Gunderic. Nu, again calling herself the Angel of Death, demanded that the Vandals leave the city. Gunderic at first was intimidated, and vowed to leave the city within two days. Nu, recognizing that mobilizing a force of 20,000 would take significant time agreed, but threatened the king that she would hold him to that. Hearing grumbles of his men, Gunderic emboldened himself and instead attempted to insult and show his men that he would not listen to a “Roman Bird Woman.” Nu promptly battered the King into defeat, and he pledged to leave the city immediately. As he called for his troops to mobilize, Nu flew back to the Avengers.

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