Freedom [CVnU]

Ivana paced the cave like a tiger inside a cage.

Arrachtach placed the Space Lavaliere into a metallic aperture constructed from a superconducting alloy and linked to the Oculus by dozens of fiber optic cables. Richard stood beside him, double checking the blue furred mutants progress against a digital tablet filled with schematics.

The Lavaliere fell into place with a click.

"There." Arrachtach dusted his claws off on his stained labcoat. "Instillation completed and it has been a resounding success, if I do say so myself."

Richard, or what had once been Richard, crossed his arms across his broad chest and inspected the device with his calculating gaze.

"Agreed."

Ivana turned, the light from the harsh halogen bulbs overhead casting her face and tattoos in stark relief. She raised an hand.

"I will use Occulus."

"Why? I have used it before. I built it. I know how it works."

"Because. I know him best. And you, you still have old Richard. He still alive. In there." Ivana walked to her son and tapped him on the forehead with her index finger. "Give him chance, he cause much trouble."

"Ah." A scowl and he batted her hand away. "Don't trust me."

The Seventh Secret Master made her way to the Oculus and set. "No. You I trust. But you not only person in your head."

A muscle in Richard's jaw flexed but he fell silent as he helped Arrachtach set the chrome headpiece upon her head. The machine hummed to life. They walked out to a wall of computer monitors Arrachtach had installed and watched the array of graphs, code readouts and other instrumentation play across the cold glass.

One of the screens was a digital map of the globe. A light appeared over the west coast. LA.

The machine whirred to a halt and Ivana walked out, joining the two.

"We saw." Richard said, tapping the screen. "LA."

"Da. But look." She pointed at another screen upon which coordinates glowed.

"Indeed. Not merely Los Angeles but Avalon."

Richard was already in motion. "I'll have the jet fueled on our way to the airport."

Ivana tucked the Soul Lavaliere in her pocket on the way out of the cave.

Hours later the trio descended into the basement levels of Avalon tower. Two in black and Arrachtach in his white labcoat. Many barricaded doors, traps and other barriers bared their passage and it took all of their combined skill, powers and gadgetry to penetrate the lowest floors until Arrachtach's GPS pinged; they stopped.

"It sees we have arrived at last. Yet I must point out the obvious; he is not here. As a point of fact--" Arrachtach waved a hand around the spacious, and entirely empty, basement level. "--no one is."

"The Oculus was calibrated correctly. You made a mistake." Richard scowled as he looked to his mother. She ignored him.

Arrachtach took a device out of his pocket and wave to Ivana for the Lavaliere. The tattooed Strigidae tossed it too him. He inserted it into the back of the hand held scanner and pressed a button. It projected a green light and Arrachtach played it back and forth across the room until the device beeped.

"Huh." He narrowed his furry eyebrows at the handheld gadgets small display screen.

"What it is?" Richard peered over his shoulder.

"It seems to be some sort of spacetime anomaly. Quite the unique phenomenon; I have only seen the like a few times. The last time I saw this was-"

Ivana met his eyes from across the room. "-the hidden fortress. Ah. All is revealed."

Richard snatched the device from his hand and peered at the screen. Arrachtach blinked, then shrugged and continued. "You see long ago the Arcani developed a method to interact with the fabric of spacetime and create what you might term, for lack of a superior term, a pocket in reality and-"

"-And this is one of them. I can read." Richard snapped, tapping the numbers streaming across the screen with a black gloved finger and tossing the gadget into Arrachtach's chest. The mutant fumbled to catch it.

"How do we open it?" Richard said as he paced a circle on the floor, scanning the room in multiple frequencies with his cowl. "You said you had encountered this sort of thing before?"

"Quite so, quite so. It can be a challenge at the best of times but given that this pocket in spacetime was no doubt devised to lock away the most wanted mutant on earth for all time it seems reasonable to presume certain precautions have been taken."

"Traps, you mean?"

"Indeed my avian themed comrade." Ivana took the device from his hands as Arrachtach spoke. "I recognize that Avalon was before your time but they were an assortment of most clever characters with a profound ability to predict and prepare for the behavior of their adversaries."

"We'll have to find something they overlooked. Didn't prepare for." Richard said. In the background Ivana pulled the Lavaliere from the device.

"Perchance we could utilize the resources of your company to devise a method to establish a network of quantum tunneling tachyon particles-"

Richard caught on quickly. "-and bypass the initial layer of spacetime interference by syncing with the harmonic of a subatomic particle resonator." He nodded. "Yes, I see where you are going with this. What about-"

"-a micro particle collider! Most ingenious, I agree wholeheartedly and should we combine it with-" In the background Ivana clutched the Lavaliere in her fist and closed her eyes.

Richard noticed. "Hey! Stop! STOP! You don't know what you're doing, that's dangero-"

Reality split open like a wound in the universe. A cut, blacker than midnight, appeared in the center of the room. It widened. It didn't take away space in the room, it expanded it, stretching the room like a rubber ball that had a spike driven into it.

Arrachtach tried to shout but suddenly there were no sounds and absolute silence descended upon a perfect circle 87.45 meters in every direction. Not just sound. There were no vibrations period.

Then something came through. What it was, none could say. It didn't have a shape or a form. It didn't have a color. Yet it could be seen. It was real. But incomprehensible by the human mind.

IT charged Ivana.

She lifted a hand and suddenly the distance between herself and IT became infinity. Neither Richard nor Attachtach could say how they knew this nor even how such a thing could be possible for they both clearly perceived both Ivana and the thing in the same room. Yet they both knew it was so and the thing charged and charged at dizzying speeds yet could never reach Ivana no mater how fast it moved.

The thing so vanquished Ivana stepped into the gaping hole in reality and was immediately within a maze. The three of them could see the maze from every angle simultaneously while also simultaneously perceiving the whole of the maze in their minds.

They could all see that the maze had a center and they knew, as if coming to a sudden and inexplicable revaluation in a dream, that the only way to solve the maze was to reach the center. At the same time they could also sense that the maze was of infinite length and depth and width in every direction and thus it was impossible to reach the center because regardless of the time spent in the maze and the speed at which once moved through the maze it would take a literal eternity to reach the center.

Ivana closed her eyes once more and the Lavaliere glowed in her hand. One moment she was at the outer rim of the maze. The next she stood at the center.

Outside in the ordinary world Arrachtach bent over and vomited, his visual cortex overloaded by the perception of an infinite and impossible series of inputs.

Every instinct in Richard's body screamed for him to look away from the tear in reality. But he didn't. Wouldn't.

Ivana passed through the center of the maze and there he was. Over seven feet tall. Bound by adamantine chains bolted into the walls of a pocket universe barely large enough for him to stand. There was no oxygen. No light. Emaciated by years of starvation yet alive; trapped in eternal torment by his own x-gene-- immortality.

Ivana lifted a hand. The chains fell away. The immortal dropped to his knees. His eyes were bloodshot with a lack of oxygen for he had not drawn breath in years. The Seventh Secret Master waved a hand and they were back within the world. IT was drawn back inside and the portal closed.

Arrachtach knelt. Richard lowered his head. Ivana tossed the former prisoner a ration bar from her belt. He fumbled, weak from years of torment, and tore chunks free with his teeth, eating with ravenous hunger.

Atrophied muscles begin to heal before their eyes. Color returned to his bronzed skin as he gulped the water from Ivana's canteen.

Finally, he stood. White hair fell about his shoulders and his violet eyes swept the trio until they fell upon the Lavaliere in Ivana's grasp.

He didn't need to ask questions. He already knew what it was. What it could do.

Ivana held up the stone. "Time has come. Time to end it. End human race. End human universe."

Violet eyes met hers. "Agreed." Said Amaranth.

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Born Again

Clouds rolled by outside the windows of the black Learjet and in the distance the swollen orange ball of the sun sank beneath the deep blue of the ocean.

Within the luxurious cockpit Richard set behind the wheel and Ivana in the co-pilot's seat. Her feet were resting on the control panel. Richard took a sip of water. His throat was sore; he hadn't talked this much in a long time.

"Is not bad for twenty one year old." He could swear he saw a flicker of something in her eye. Pride?

"Yeah. There was a lot to do and not much time. So you said your friend, Arrachtach, will meet us in Venezuela?"

Ivana nodded.

"If these IFF codes don't work we're in a lot of trouble. Venezuela doesn't take kindly to intruders in their airspace."

"They work."

The pair fell silent for a long time. The sun sank below the horizon and stars begin to dot the black canopy of the sky.

"I have a question."

"Ask question."

"Why didn't you ever come see me? When I was in the Temple, I mean. You were-- are-- a Strigidae but you never visited."

Ivana shrugged. "I didn't know you alive. Secret Masters had program to create next generation of Strigidae. Need eggs, DNA, stem cells. I say 'okay' and never hear anything about program again."

"Ah."

Silence fell. The jet cut through the midnight black of the Venezuelan sky until a light begin to blink upon the instrument panel in front of Richard. Both their eyes fixed on it immediately.

"Is that the signal?"

"Da."

Richard nodded and his broad hands took up the controls, guiding the jet into a gentle spiral downward through the clouds until the lights of a runway glowed before them. Under the shroud of night Richard guided the jet down until with a thump the wheels touched the runway and the jet coasted to a halt.

The Son of the Shogun gathered his belongings and joined his mother at the exit ramp. It opened into the humid breeze and the chirping of crickets. There wasn't another light in sight besides the runway; Richard assumed they must have landed on an isolated private runway.

At the foot of the ramp stood a creature covered in blue fur and wearing a stained labcoat.

"Ah, you arrive at last. My heartfelt greetings and I trust the turbulence was none too severe?"

Richard's eyes narrowed. "You're friendly for a terrorist."

Arrachtach placed his furry paw upon his heart. "You wound me sir, you wound me. I prefer the term 'freedom fighter.'"

Hawkshade snorted.

A jeep snarled to life and it's headlights pierced the midnight gloom. The former Shogun pulled around the jet as her son and best friend tossed some supplies into the rear compartment and climbed in.

Into the darkness they vanished.

Hours later the jeep's off-road tires rolled to a halt atop a field of thigh high weeds. The headlights illuminated a stone ziggurat grown up with mold and vines. Ivana hopped out and the rest followed.

"That's it?" Richard raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"No. Inside."

The CEO and vigilante took a several of glowsticks out of his pocket, shook them and tossed one to Ivana and Arrachtach. Ivana lead the way into the ziggurat. It smelled of mold and the musty air of deep soil. Their stone passageway arched downward and soon became an underground cavern.

Richard lead the way, glow stick held above his head to illuminate the path. Behind him came Ivana and Arrachtach.

The trio worked their way through the cavern for perhaps thirty minutes before coming upon a large clear area with a pool of liquid. It glowed a golden orange and whips of luminescent vapor rose from it. Stalagmites rose up from the ground and the glow cast their shadows as great and sinister teeth upon the walls.

"What the hell is that?" Richard's deep voice rumbled through the cavern.

"Resurrection Pool. Ancient secret; forbidden by Secret Masters. Reverses flow of time. I use it after blinded taking Venezuela."

Richard took the Space Lavaliere from his jacket pocket. "And this will destroy the Lavalieres?"

"Yes. Reverses flow of time-- takes them back to before they were created."

He walked forward, stone glowing in his broad fist. "I need to take a sample back to the Cave. Run some tests. It's too dangerous to-"

The crack of a gunshot rang through the cave like a thunderclap. A neat red hole appeared on Richard's forehead. He fell to his hands and knees and with a groan he tried to rise.

Ivana stood above him. Smoke rose from the barrel of the pistol. She fired again. The sound was deafening in the stone cavern.

Richard dropped flat.

"To betray Strigidae bring one punishment. Death."

He put his palms on the ground and grunted as he pushed himself to his knees. Blood ran from his lips and there were two holes in his forehead.

Ivana smiled. "You really are my son." There was pride in her voice. She pulled the trigger a third time. Richard stayed down that time.

Arrachtach took out a camera, flipped Richard's corpse over and photographed him. His eyes were open and he stared blankly into the darkness above.

"Send to Secret Masters."

The blue furred mutant only nodded. He didn't say a word.

Ivana gathered Richard's jacket and shirt collar in her hand and lifted his upper body off the floor, dragging him to the Resurrection Pool and sliding the powerfully built body of her son in.

He sank. The Pool begin to boil with bubbles. Arrachtach backed away. Steam rose. Ivana ejected the mag, tucked her pistol under her left armpit, fished three loose rounds from her pocket to top off the mag and then re-holstered.

The Son of the Shogun exploded from the pool. The whites of his eyes were visible and the madness of Resurrection was upon him. He let out a guttural roar and charged the first person he saw: Ivana.

The 23rd Strigidae tucked her left arm behind her back and parried his flurry of strikes with her right hand, neither advancing nor retreating.

At first. But Richard's maddened fury drove him to preternatural heights.

She blocked a kick with one forearm but the power of the kick was so great it sent her sliding backwards. Richard pounced and for a moment his berserk frenzy overwhelmed Ivana's defense; a fist slipped around her guard and clipped her jaw and a leg kick like a sledgehammer sent her stumbling backwards and to one knee.

Richard flew through the air and caught her in the temple with a flying knee before she could rise from the crouch. It knocked her flat. He dove into full mount with a flying elbow to the bridge of her nose-- or tried. Her legs twisted upward like serpents and she caught him in a triangle choke before he landed.

"Think you are first rogue Strigidae?" Ivana laughed "This never happen before? Secret Masters, they not have plan?"

He fought with the ferocity of a pinned tiger. It didn't help at all. Only one person who had gone to the ground with Ivana had risen again under their own power. Richard wasn't the second.

She grinned. "Ever have thoughts not your own? Think things alien to own mind?"

A vein in his forehead bulged as the choke tightened.

"Find self doing things for reasons you not know? Preparing for something. But what? Why?"

"I know what. I know why."

Richard let out a strangled growl as he fought the encroaching darkness.

Ivana leaned in and whispered in his ear. "Onomatopeia."

The frenzy faded from his eyes. Another personality arouse in his mind and in his the madness induced by the Resurrection he did not have the state of mind to fight it. Will was of no aid without the rational mind to direct it. And so the artificial personality the Secret Masters had psychically installed in Richard when he was but a young child with a defenseless, malleable mind arose from the black waters of his subconscious like some eldritch leviathan awakening from its long slumber in deep waters.

It was in the drivers seat now.

Ivana brushed the wet black hair up off his forehead; no gunshot scars. Richard tapped on her leg. She released him, rolled backwards and stood.

"I'm awake. I remember. The Great Machine. The plan. Who I am. I remember everything."

Ivana smiled. The Shadow of the Hawk knelt before her.

"How did you know?"

"Know?"

"The code word to activate me. Only the Secret Masters know."

"Oh, this I learn during two years away."

Richard stood. A new man. A man reborn. A man without scruples. Without fear or doubt. A bio-weapon, body and mind crafted by the Strigidae. A weapon who had gained the trust of many of the worlds heroes. A weapon which had infiltrated the organization that had taken down Amaranth. That could hold many of the secrets of the Knightfalls.

The mental barriers that had blocked off his powers fell away.

"I thought you were being tortured by Valerie."

"No. She lie. You believe."

"Then what were you doing?" He asked as he picked up the Space Lavaliere and tossed it to her. They headed out of the cave.

"I return to Strigidae. And I become Secret Master."

The Shadow of the Hawk blinked. Then he laughed. Arrachtach laughed. The Seventh Secret Master laughed.

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The Return

It was his. He had it in his grasp at last. The blue stone glowed in his fist as he paced around and around in the darkness of the cavern that was his true home.

But what to do with it? How could it be destroyed? And if not destroyed, how could it be hidden?

Those questions raced through his mind but something else was bothering him. His mother, Ivana. When he had first broken free of the Strigidae he had searched the world for her to no avail. She was no where to be found.

There had, however, been a single clue. Valarie Huntington, white queen of Venezuela. They had fought and she had told Richard she had captured Ivana and imprisoned her. She had given Richard a vision of his mother in torment. Tortured.

Was it true? He suspected it might be. But he could do nothing against the psychic powerhouse.

Until now. Now he had the Lavaliere. Now he could free his mother.

It would only take a thought. Just one. The Lavaliere would do the rest. Then he could return to his mission and destroy the rest of the Lavalieres.

Sure, power was seductive. Sure, the Lavalieres had seduced his brother Kellan. But they wouldn't get him. After all he would only use the stone once, and for a good cause.

Besides, what kind of hero would he be if he abandoned his own mother?

Richard held the stone in both hands and closed his eyes. Focused his weary mind like a laser upon a single thought.

'Bring my mother to me.'

There was no flash of light. No crack of thunder. One moment Richard was alone in the cave and the next he wasn't.

When he opened his eyes Ivana stood before him. Hair as black as his, the sides of her head shaved and tattooed. Tattoos running down her neck under the collar of her armor. They had the same eyes. Identical.

He blinked. They had never met before. "Mother.."

She snap-kicked him in the stomach. "Who the **** are you?"

It felt like being hit by a truck and Richard stumbled backward, dropping to a knee. He hadn't slept in days and his mind was reeling in shock. And she was strong. He had never so much as sparred with a Strigidae of her rank before. He wasn't expecting the power or speed of the blow.

"I'm Richard. I'm your son."

One broad hand wrapped around his midsection and he wheezed, trying to get his wind back. Something gripped his other wrist. His mother's tattooed hand. It felt like a vice.

"Uh huh. What is glowing rock?"

"The Lavaliere. I used it to find you. To save you-- I've been looking for a year, since I left the Strigidae."

She tapped his arm with two fingers and it went numb. The Lavaliere tumbled from his limp fingers. As she scooped up the Lavaliere it occurred to Richard that he had made a terrible mistake.

He climbed to his feet.

"Don't use it. It's too powerful for mortal hands. You could destroy everything."

Ivana grinned. Her white teeth gleamed like a wolf at night. "I know."

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Tech Files: Oculus

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π•Ώπ–Šπ–ˆπ– π•±π–Žπ–‘π–Šπ–˜: π•Ίπ–ˆπ–”π–šπ–‘π–šπ–˜

PASSWORD: ****************

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <Hawkshade>

Access file: <Oculus Design Notes>

Open file?: Y/n

Notes: 2/09/2020

Kellan has returned. He has told me of the Lavalieres; jewels that grant universal power over one aspect of reality. Six gems for six talents. Power. Space. Time. Mind. Reality. And Soul, which stripped my brother of his soul and turned my adopted city into a playground of terror.

I must find them. They must be destroyed.

Notes: 2/10/2020

I have begun putting feelers into the underworld for the location of the Lavalieres. This will take time. It will also alert villains who also seek the Lavalieres that someone is looking. An arms race; they fear destruction if a villainous rival or extremest hero finds the Lavalieres first. Second place in this race could mean death.

My usual contacts won't be fast enough. I need to cut the line.

2/11/2020

To discover the locations of the Lavalieres I started at the bottom and worked upward. Form, matter, means and ends. As I ironed out as high resolution a concept of the Lavalieres as I could I eventually struck upon the realization that the Lavalieres must have some way to interact with the human mind if it is to turn desires into reality. The mind is nothing but chemical reactions and electrical impulses.

This mirrors the x-gene which can turn a thought into reality. Just as the effects of x-genes are limited in scope (an x-gene that manipulates fire will not allow the manipulation of water, for instance.) This implies that the two have some mechanism in common. The Lavalieres could even be seen as simple x-genes writ large.

2/12/2020

I have an x-gene. The same as my mother, Ivana. It perceives and controls the particles known as Tachyons. When I defected from the Strigidae my powers were deactivated for reasons I have yet to uncover. My mother used them to 'read' the nervous systems of her foes to predict their movements. These tachyons served as a bridge between nervous systems by some mechanism that is not yet known.

I theorize that these tachyons are also capable of interacting with a Lavaliere because these Lavalieres can also interact with a human nervous system. If this is the case then I should be able to detect the position of Lavalieres via tachyon. Perhaps even control them remotely.

This could be the secret weapon I need.

2/13/2020

I haven't slept in two days. My experiments tell me my x-gene itself is not disabled. Instead my brains ability to control my x-gene is 'off-line.' (The work of the Secret Masters?)

I have begin construction of a device that will interface directly with my brain and link my brain to my x-gene. In theory this will allow me to bypass whatever is blocking me from using my powers. In addition I have devised a method of amplifying tachyon particle/waves. This will increase the range of my 'tachyon senses.' However it comes at the price of sensitivity. A crude tool. But an effective one.

2/14/2020

It has been three days since I last slept. All of my energies have been devoted toward constructing the device. I have named it Oculus.

2/15/2020

It is done. There is no time to rest. No time for a controlled test. Every I delay could see a Satar or Charlemagne acquire the Lavalieres.

Now is the time.

Features and Characteristics

Osmium Casing Lens
The Oculus is encased in an orb of Osmium. Osmium is the densest metal in the universe and the orb is angled to maximize the gravitational lensing of tachyons. This has the effect of 'focusing' tachyons on the center of the orb.
Neural-Bio Interface
A helmet connected by dozens of fiber optic cables to a distributed artificial neural network emplaced in the interior walls of the Osmium casing. The helmet scans the brain and transmits the results to the neural network which identifies thoughts which are attempts to utilize an x-gene, then turns those thoughts into neural commands. These commands are sent to layers of stem-cells impregnated by x-genes stored under the cells. In theory this could allow the user to utilize any x-gene so long as they possessed a DNA sample but Richard has so far only installed his x-gene into the Oculus.
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Tech Files: Gallium Pellets

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π•Ώπ–Šπ–ˆπ– π•±π–Žπ–‘π–Šπ–˜: π•²π–†π–‘π–‘π–Žπ–šπ–’ π•»π–Šπ–‘π–‘π–Šπ–™π–˜

PASSWORD: ****************

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <Hawkshade>

Access file: <Iaculum Design Notes>

Open file?: Y/n

Notes: 11/14/2019

Excalibur tower attacked. Perpetrator was metahuman. Made of living clay. Analysis of body composition taken from remains at the scene still on going in off-site lab as to prevent discovery of main cavern or Excalibur connection if main labs are used.

Notes: 11/15/2019

Used heat to fire clay inside opponents body. Appeared to cause pain. Reduced available mass. But this weapon was improvised. Need more efficient method to disable him in future encounters. Chemical that dissolves bonds in clay?

Notes: 11/16/2019

Experimented with several compounds. Nothing promising. But stumbled upon metal known as Gallium during research. Alloys with other metals on contact and degrades their molecular bonds. Investigate.

Notes: 11/17/2019

Acquired shipment of Gallium. Experiments begin. Gallium effective but slow. Modifications required.

Notes: 11/18/2019

New Gallium alloy created. Fast acting but creates toxic smoke. Dangerous to civilians. Develop new alloy.

Notes: 11/19/2019

Three potential alloys developed. Tested. Safe. Fastest acting dubbed the universal alloy. Ceramic pellet casing designed. Remote micro-fuse installed. Test tomorrow.

Notes: 11/20/2019

Testing complete. Outcome satisfactory.

Form and Characteristics

Gallium Universal-Alloy
Gallium is a non-toxic metal that is liquid at room temperature. It is silvery in coloration. Standard Gallium forms a molecular bond with certain other metals on contact. This bond interferes with the crystalline molecular structure that gives metals their strength and the metal becomes soft enough to crumble under light pressure. This process takes several hours. Hawkshade's Gallium universal-alloy is significantly improved. It bonds with any metal aside from Vibranium and Adamantium instantly upon contact. A small amount of universal Gallium will degrade a substantial quantity of steel but metals of a greater density require more Gallium.
Ceramic Pellet Casing
The casings are hollow tubes cast from noncrystalline ceramics. These are hard but brittle and will break if thrown with force, stepped on or deliberately crushed in the hand. A miniature fuse with a micro transceiver is built into the interior of the casing. When triggered by a radio signal from Hawkshade's Cowl a white phosphorus fuse will ignite. The high temperature causes the liquid Gallium to swell, breaking the casing. This allows the pellets to be triggered remotely.

No Caption Provided

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Tech Files: Armatura and Mantellum

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π•¬π–—π–’π–†π–™π–šπ–—π–† 𝖆𝖓𝖉 π•Έπ–†π–“π–™π–Šπ–‘π–‘π–šπ–’

PASSWORD: ****************

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <Hawkshade>

Access file: <BlackHawk Drone Design Notes>

Open file?: Y/n

Notes: 4/26/19

Unable to replicate Arrachtach's carbon fiber armor. All experiments failed.

Notes: 4/28/19

Tessa's assistance invaluable; created working carbon fiber prototype.

Notes: 5/2/19

Carbon fiber plating is lightweight and protective but stiff. Non-aerodynamic. Vulnerable to electrical weaponry.

Notes: 5/4/19

Comparing alternatives. Kellan gave me an armor once used by Satar's henchmen; study of it's properties show it can be replicated.

Notes: 5/5/19

First prototype suit built. Based on Satar's designs. Lightweight. Flexible. Not as protective as mother's armor but more mobile. Aerodynamic; won't interfere with cape.

Notes: 5/10/19

Prototype failed second round of testing for resistance to bullets. Problem with Aramid weave?

Notes: 5/15/19

Aramid weave issue resolved. Adding non-conductive layer for protection against electrical weapons.

Notes: 5/21/19

Non-conductive layer absorbs water. Thirty seven percent decrease in swimming speed, increases chances of death by hypothermia by fifty nine percent in subzero temperatures. Not acceptable.

Notes: 5/25/19

Neoprene layer replaced old non-conductive layer. Water resistant. Non-conductive. Tests show a seven fold increase in resistance against electrical weaponry and a forty two percent increase in swimming speed. Chances of death from hypothermia reduced by ninety one percent.

Notes: 5/25/19

Fluoropolmer fibers added to neoprene layer. Highly resistant to acid, bases and solvents. Combination with neoprene increases resistance to all chemical agents by six fold.

Notes: 5/26/19

Final test; suit is resistant to all ballistic, edged, chemical and electrical weaponry. Lightweight. Aerodynamic. Flexible. Meets all benchmarks for protectiveness and mobility. Named Armatura One; the first armor.

Notes: 5/27/19

Cloak design taken from Arrachtach's files functional but controls require debugging. Speak to Tessa.

Notes: 5/28/19

Controls debugged and integrated with Cowl.

Notes: 5/30/19

Added bullet resistant coating to cloak.

Notes 5/31/19

Bullet resistant cloak causes drag; air-borne maneuverability decreased by fifty four percent. Coating removed.

Notes: 6/3/19

Added vantablack coating to cloak; reduces visibility in low light conditions by three fold. Finalized design and added cloak to costume. Named it Mantellum One; the first cape.

Armatura One

Inner Layer
Wove from Aramid fibers soaked in a Polyethylene based sheer hardening fluid. The fabric combines the traditional resistances of Kevlar weave to tearing, cutting and ballistic weapons with the protection of non-newtonian fluids that harden when subjected to a high velocity impact.
Outer Layer
Neoprene reinforced by a Fluoropolmer weave. The neoprene is closed cell and thus waterproof. Because it is waterproof it protects against chemical agents with a liquid delivery system. It also insulates Hawkshade against the extremes of temperature and will not conduct electricity. The Fluoropolmer weave is acid, base and solvent resistant which protects Hawkshade from most other types of chemical weaponry.
Design
The suits design elements are based on the suits of the Knightfalls as well as many other Gothic vigilantes. This is a deliberate choice to obscure his identity from the Strigidae by making him blend into the crowd of wannabes who have followed in the Knightfall's footsteps and make it difficult for investigators to differentiate him from other Gothic vigilantes.

Mantellum One

Glider Cape
Constructed from a sheet of memory polymers this so called 'smart fabric' returns to a preselected shape when the correct electric current is applied. The first shape is a generic glide mode designed to generate lift but it is also programmed with a dive mode for maximum speed, a breaking mode to slow falls and seven shapes designed to facilitate certain aerobatic maneuvers.
Vantablack Coating
Vantablack is a commercially available chemical substance composed of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays. Richard buys it from the dark web black market to remain anonymous and applies it to both his cape and his cowl. It is the darkest artificial substance known to man, absorbing ninety nine point nine five percent of visible light. This has two benefits. First it provides camouflage in dark environments. Secondly it provides concealment against thermal detection such as infrared and thermal vision.
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Reflections: I [CVnU]

Hawkshade returned from Venezuela at nine PM on a Friday afternoon. His left arm was broken in two places. All of the fingers of his right hand were fractured, he had multiple third degree burns, seventeen stab wounds and nine gunshot wounds as well as a large assortment of contusions, cuts and a concussion.

Another man would have died but Richard connected himself to an IV to provide nutrients and fluids, lay upon the bed of the medical bay and closed his eyes.

Powers of concentration honed to a steel edge in the halls of the Strigidae Temple cut through the fog of pain and the Son of the Shogun entered into a recuperative trance.

For three days he slept like the dead. On the third day he awoke. His wounds were not completely healed but the infections that had wracked his body with fever had been vanquished and he was no longer in danger of death from blood loss.

He climbed out of the bed, removed his IV and limped to the main computer. He set and opened his diary.

My mother is in the hands of the Huntington Dynasty which currently controls Venezuela. I must recover, study their weaknesses, assemble a team and free her.

The letters flickered, digital green on a black screen. He looked at them for a long time, then stood up and walked to the edge of the platform. There he crossed his arms over his broad chest and stared out into the darkness for a long time. His wounds caused him great pain but he paid them no attention.

Eventually he returned to the desk.

Even as I typed those words I could see how impractical they were. The Huntingtons are composed entirely of mutants with powers classified at the Omega level. I could not resist Valerie's psychic powers for even a second and she showed no signs of strain. No team I could assemble could defeat the entire family. It is impossible. Men cannot fight gods.

But there is another way.

He saved the document to his journal and logged off.

27 Comments

Tech Files: Blackhawk Drone

No Caption Provided

π”…π”©π”žπ” π”¨π”₯π”žπ”΄π”¨ 𝔇𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <Hawkshade>

Access file: <Blackhawk Drone Design Notes>

Open file?: Y/n

No Caption Provided

Notes: 4/01/2019

Cowl's vision suite is useful but I need eyes in the sky. Drones fit the bill. They need to be cheap. Maneuverable. Quiet. And untraceable; some will fall into the hands of my enemies. Look through Arrachtach's notes for mentions of drones.

Notes: 4/2/2019

Notes contain zero mention of drones. Odd.

Notes: 4/5/2019

First challenge is power source. Needs to be light; the heavier it is the bigger the engine has to be. Can't use any exotic materials that could be tracked to me. Lithium and polymers?

Notes: 4/9/2019

Drone needs to be agile enough to operate indoors or underground. Fixed wing designs not appropriate. Try rotary wing design? Perhaps ducted fan?

Notes: 4/11/2019

Lightweight construction. Polymers.

Notes: 4/14/2019

Airborne sensor suite. Need camera, microphone and laser microphone at least. Consider Geiger counter and atmospheric sensor as well; look into costs and weight.

Notes: 4/16/2019

Looked at drone prototypes in Japan. Memorized schematics. Useful. Ordered tools and raw materials.

Notes: 4/20/2019

Built first prototype. Too heavy. Second prototype nonviable design. Third using ducted central rotor; successful. Continue this design.

Notes: 4/22/2019

Drone design finalized. Adding sensor suite.

Notes: 4/23/2019

Sensors unbalanced drone. Re-distribute and counterbalance with inboard radio control circuits.

Notes: 4/24/2019

Project successful. Codenamed Blackhawk.

Design and Capabilities

Casing: Black Polymer
The casing of the Blackhawk drone is black polymer. Raw materials and black dye are injection moulded by Richard in the Cave. The process takes between eleven and fifteen minutes and results in an inexpensive, lightweight polymer case that hosts the internal components and mounts the rotors.
Power Supply: Lithium Polymer Battery
Batteries are a homemade Li-Po battery designed to emphasize low weight, modest production cost, long life and rechargeability. A gel polymer forms the electrolyte that separates the positive and negative electronodes.
Lift and Maneuver: Ducted Rotor Fans
The main rotor fan forms the core of the drone with the electronics layered in the polymer casing that forms the rim of the fan. Two secondary fans tilt to provide the horizontal propulsion that allows the drone to maneuver. All fans are powered by electric micro-engines mounted in the center of the rotors. These generate high torque on demand and are lightweight but due to their small size they displace heat poorly and wear out frequently. Electric engines are also quiet and Hawkshade has designed these to run near silently.
Armor: Kevlar & Teflon
Each ounce of weight reduces range, battery duration, speed and agility. Armor is light. The central casing has an internal weave of Kevlar glued to the inside of the polymer case and the outside is coated in Teflon. Neither of these layers are thick and serve to protect the drone from corrosive materials, fires and glancing hits by handguns. A direct hit from an intermediate cartridge will badly damage or destroy the drone as will a high velocity handgun or multiple close range impacts from weak rounds such as birdshot.
Control: Encrypted Radio Band
Drones communicate with 256-bit encrypted radio transmissions and change frequency ten times a second, mimicking static transmissions. Unless a receiver is aware of the frequency rotation they are unlikely to differentiate the transmissions from background noise. Range is roughly twenty five miles.
Sensor Suite: Laser Microphone
The purpose of the drone is information. As such it is equipped with a number of sensors whose combined cost equal that of the drone itself. First among their number is a laser microphone. A laser beam invisible to the naked eye is shined onto a window or other vibrating surface and bounces back to an inboard sensor which deciphers the microscopic vibrations; those vibrations are caused by sound waves in the target area and as such the laser microphone can listen to conversations in closed, otherwise soundproof rooms.
Sensor Suite: 50x Camera
A small digital single-lens reflex camera is installed in the drone casing. Though small it offers 50x zoom and can transmit what it sees to Hawkshade's cowl in HD, giving him the proverbial 'eye in the sky.'
Sensor Suite: Ultrasonic Mapping
Similar to medical ultrasound technology this device is linked to the vibrations created by the drones rotors. These sound waves bounce off of nearby objects and then return, where they are detected and analyzed by the Ultrasonic sensors. An inboard chip turns raw data into a 3D map of anything within fifty yards, allowing the drone to map the interior of buildings, around corners or detect objects not visible to the naked eye. It also doubles as a motion detector and can sense the presence of small and/or fast moving objects, such as a bullet in flight.
Sensor Suite: Directional Microphone
A lightweight directional microphone is also built into the device, angled downward as the drone is intended to fly overhead and observe events below. However this microphone's facing can be elevated to face forward, allowing Hawkshade to fly the drone indoors and listen to conversations ahead of the drone instead of just under it.
Sensor Suit: Atmospheric Sensors
Atmospheric conditions are detected by an digital thermometer, barometer, hygrometer and gieger counter. These detect weather conditions such as rain, temperature and air pressure that might effect the drones flight patterns. The geiger counter is rarely relevant to drone flight but provides Hawkshade with an automated warning if it detects elevated levels of radiation.
Sensor Suite: Radio Frequency Scanner
This device scans all radio frequencies at all times, even frequencies reserved for military use. It records them and transmits the data in encrypted burst transmissions to Hawkshade who records it and stores it in the Cave. This allows him to listen in to all unencrypted transmissions within range and record encrypted transmissions for later decryption.
Control: Manual and Autoflight
Hawkshade can take manual control of the drone by directing it's flight with eye movements inside his cowl or from the main computer inside the Cave. However the drones are also equipped with an inexpensive microprocessor and a machine learning program based on lexicographic ordering. He built twenty five drones and released them into the underground Labyrinth that leads to his base in the Cave where they learned to navigate (after twenty one losses.) Each drone records and transmits it's own flight data to the Cave's central computer where the program is hosted and it 'learns' with each error. The hardware on the drone is not very advanced so the drone is not capable of advanced maneuvers and may even crash in difficult weather without the central computer or Hawkshade taking direct control. However it is enough for the drones to perform a simple task, such as patrolling an area or following Hawkshade at a certain distance.
Utility: Spotlight
Perhaps the lowest tech but most useful device is an variable power LED beam that can be turned up to as much as 1700 lumens. This drains the drones battery quickly but on lower power levels the effect on the battery is minimal.

No Caption Provided

29 Comments

Tech Files: EMP (Cave Defense)

No Caption Provided

𝔗𝔒𝔠π”₯ 𝔉𝔦𝔩𝔒𝔰: π”ˆπ”π”“ (β„­π”žπ”³π”’ 𝔇𝔒𝔣𝔒𝔫𝔰𝔒)

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <Hawkshade>

Access file: <EMP Design Notes>

Open file?: Y/n

Notes: 2/29/2019

Talking with Kellan. He is right; electronics are attack vector. Technopath could seize control. Quantum-computer based hacking. Also, high tech enemies like Musa pose threat. Need killswitch for all electronics. Needs to be powerful enough to take out anything. Considering options.

Notes: 3/1/2019

Looked through Arrachtach's files. Found schematics for EMP weapons. All small, or require exotic materials. No source of vibranium.

Notes: 3/9/2019

Nuclear powered EMP too dangerous.

Notes: 3/11/2019

No nuclear power. No vibranium. No supertech. Need power source. Power requirements immense, but only need one.

Notes: 3/14/2019

Explosive pumped flux compression generator meets all requirements. Components simple. Purchased on dark web. Bought extra for prototypes and replacements; only good for one shot.

Notes: 3/20/2019

Device assembled. Tested in field above. Failure to detonate.

Notes: 3/21/2019

Second prototype. Failure to detonate.

Notes: 3/22/2019

Third prototype. Detonation. Too powerful; see Ashley for burn cream.

Notes: 3/24/2019

Forth prototype. Detonation. Yield appropriate. Did not need Tessa. Buy her chocolate anyway.

Notes: 3/26/2019

Finished product installed.

Design, Construction and Capabilities

  • Device Type: Explosive pumped flux
  • Purpose: EMP
Core: Copper Tube

Eighteen feet long, two feet wide and three inches thick this copper tube has a one inch slit running from one end to the other to increase collapse rate when the explosive is detonated.

Second Layer: Nickel Solenoid Coil
Several dozen yards of nickel rod, two inches wide and a half an inch thick, wrap around the copper tube with twin inch gaps between each coil encase the copper tube from end to end.
Third Layer: Semtex
A quarter inch of Semtex wraps the entire core. Unlike the other components which were ordered from factories in China on the Dark Web the Semtex was mixed himself, using household chemicals that he bought in bulk from a local Gothic farm cleaning supply outlet shortly before it went out of business.
Capacitor Bank
A fuseless capacitor bank scavenged from one of the many out of service Gothic power stations. The positive and negative are connected to the nickel solenoid, creating a constant electric current and generating a magnetic field with the copper tube.
Casing: Reinforced Concrete and Steel
The entire device is entombed within an inverted bunker, designed not to protect what is inside from explosions without but to protect what is outside from the concussive force of a massive internal Semtex explosion. The quantity of plastic explosive is sufficient to bring down a large building and obliterate the internal components.
Detonator Switch
A battery powered switch is built into the side of the steel and concrete case. A long lasting rare mineral battery within it powers a circuit that remains broke until the external lever is pulled, completing the physical circuit. This detonates the Semtex. There are no digital components whatsoever and the device cannot activate unless lever is physically moved to complete the circuit. This prevents hacking of any type or technopathic tampering.
Effects

When the Semtex is triggered the shockwave is follows the point of least resistance; the hollow copper tube, further weakened by a slit that travels from end to end. This collapses the metal tube at mach 3 which creates an inductive reaction. Induction is the link between magnetic fields and physical components carrying charge. In pure physics terms the energy of the explosion is dumped into the magnetic field via induction. This is called flux compression and it generates immensely powerful magnetic fields but only for a fraction of a second and the device is destroyed in the process.

The magnetic field is roughly nine hundred and fifty six Teslas in strength. (The strongest permanent magnet ever recorded produced a magnetic field of four point five Teslas.) This electromagnetic pulse is also called an EMP. When triggered it fills the entire cavern with an EMP of godlike power. All electronic devices would be destroyed, including nearly all shielded devices. Faraday cages are likely to melt unless they are made from heat resistant material. The cave becomes ground zero for one of the most powerful EMP devices ever used. The effect is even strong enough to cause confusion and nausea in biological organism and multiple exposures would likely cause cancerous growths. However the device can only be used a single time; it destroys itself in use.

19 Comments

Shadow Files: Alpha Dog

𝔖π”₯π”žπ”‘π”¬π”΄ 𝔉𝔦𝔩𝔒𝔰: 𝔄𝔩𝔭π”₯π”ž 𝔇𝔬𝔀

PASSWORD: ****************

SECONDARY PASSWORD: ****************

Authorization granted

Welcome <user unknown>

Access file: <alphadog>

Open file?: Y/n

No Caption Provided
Vital Statistics
  • Estimated Height: 6'7 - 6'9
  • Estimated Weight: 340 - 360
  • Hair: Blond
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Age: Unknown
  • Place of Birth: Unknown
  • Powered: Y/n
  • If yes, source of powers: Mutation
  • Certainty?: 95%
  • Family: Unknown
  • Friends: Unknown
  • Allies: Unknown
  • Enemies: Shadow Knights
  • Connections: Venezuelan
  • Threat Rating: Severe

Known Powers and Capabilities
  • Strength: Multi-tonner

Note<Hawkshade>: Flipped a car with one hand and no visible effort. Do not underestimate strength.

  • Regeneration: Extreme; cannot be killed by any known method
  • Claws: Capabilities unknown. Observed penetrating metal
  • Durability: High; limits unknown
  • Equipment: Metallic bracers

Note<Hawkshade>: Stopped a power-strike dead in it's tracks. Suspect vibranium.

Overview

First recorded in the employee of Ivana Strigidae. Internal CIA, FBI and MI6 documents indicate membership in secretive Strikeforce X, Shogunate black-ops lead by the Shogun herself. Later emerges as head of Doghouse; mutant special forces training facility. Dropped off map after Ivana abdicated throne, tracked to Venezuela by Hawkshade. Later re-emerged in Gothic City; attacked, captured and tortured Tessa Callahan.

Notes and Observations
<Hawkshade> Extremely dangerous. Do not underestimate under any conditions. His strength is far beyond human. In battle do not count on out lasting him; he does not fatigue and his wounds heal rapidly. Has never demonstrated fear or pity; appears to be driven by sadism and bloodlust.

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