Knights of Albion

Issue 9 (Volume II )
Quiet please

You have to be a member to borrow the books…


Bursting through the back wall of Professor Pride’s office, our heroes are forced to fall back from the dozens of Ninjas heading towards them. Lady Britannia rips up the mobile shelving nearby and closes the breach behind the team. They have broken through into a vast archive of legal journals, and shelf upon shelf of papers vanish off into the darkness around them. As they party moves forward, with Catseye sailing across the tops of the racks and scouting ahead, the motion sensing lights flicker on as they pass through the paper lined corridors. The lighting does more to reveal what lays behind them more than it does to illuminate what lays ahead, and progress is slowed for Maximillian to lead the way. The enhanced senses of Catseye makes her perfectly at home, and Lady Britannia uses her diadem or radiation send out brief pulses radar signals to navigate by. But then the power is cut! The shifting shelves are shrouded in stygian gloom for a moment, but then the floor mounted emergency lighting flickers dimly to life. The red arrows highlight the floors between the rows, and the show the way to the nearest exit, but not much else. Activating her echolocation abilities the Serpentine Spectre is as at home in the darkness as a bat, and quickly shouts her warning to her comrades that there are a couple of dozen people moving stealthy around them!

At that moment the Engineer, who is most closely guarding Professor Pride, finds himself fending off an ambush! As the flurry of blows is exchanged between them, once again he moves with preternatural speed, his Queensbury style more than match of the Ninjutsu he faces. He even has the time to take a phone call mid battle! Before any other team member has time to react he downs one ninja

“Yes, right oh, understood, you need to sing the national anthem”

Another swift combination drops the next would be assassin

“…oh and list as many of my discoveries as you can, you know Watkins particles, Jeremiah fields and so forth…”

He easily evades a vicious spinning back kick and swiftly delivers a stunning haymaker of his own to the hapless Shinobi he is now standing behind

“… in short, try to be more like me and that should help you enormously”.

Panting a little as the rest of the team look on somewhat taken aback. Jeremiah adjusts his collar

“We had best get as move on Ladies and Gentlemen; it seems that our magnificently attenuated domicile is undergoing a similar tribulation from these Asiatic footpads”
Professor Pride provides a suitable modern translation “Good lord you mean the Shard is also under an attack from these Ninjas?!”

There is no more time to discuss the issue as Lady B, Catseye and Serpentine Spectre shout out their respective warnings and the team is swamped with shuriken and sword blows form all sides!

Catseye has swollen to the huge form of the ‘Grimalkin’ phase her people are capable of, but whilst her combat skills are much improved in this state, her self-control leaves a lot to be desired. The searing pain of the shuriken, combined with the flashes and bangs of the distraction bombs utilised by the Si Fan assassins unlocks the fury caged within! All control is lost, and her hunting instinct will not be sated. With a furious roar she leaps into all-out attack, striking at barely seen targets in the darkness. dfe14d08228ce5f43039617fd15d0f06.jpgThe black and green clad Si Fan retreat and let the Knights of Albion deal with their enraged colleague. Wasting no time lady Britannia scoops the enraged feline form up into her arms. The scrape of her claws at the armour protecting her vitals is sickening to listen too, and the Catseyes claws and fangs sink in the very flesh of the good lady B several times, but she stands stalwart to the end. Well accustomed to the battle rage are the Asguardians, and lady Britannia has the fortitude to withstand the rending attacks the hellish spitting fur ball is trying to unleash upon her. Yet through it all lady B stands firm and calm. Eventually the battle madness subsides. Catseye looks aghast at the damage she has done to her friend, but there is no time dwell on the situation, and all are thankful that battle garb provided by the engineer has proven is so successful at defending the parties resident battle tank.

The sinister game of cat and mouse rages back and forth, with Ninjas striking in full force and then quickly retreating to launch their next assault. For brief moments the ill lit battle rages through the stacks once again. The Si Fan use every trick known, and few the team have never hear of! It is clear that a small number of these nightmarish murders have some sort of meta human or supernatural skills, and lady Britannia is forced to focus her will or risk losing her mind to their mesmeric attacks, flashes of light, clouds of burning pepper and smoke grenades billow through stacks, but are quickly nullified by the spectral Paul T Geist, as is the fire set at the far end of the archive where the stair well to the library vaults are located.

At last out heroes are making their way down the stair well and come the great vault of the British library. Once again Lady Britannia takes the lead, and once again she utilises her Asguardian diadem of radiation to prove she has a full spectrum of super human powers at her command. Her radar sense quickly identifies not only the furtive killers waiting for them to enter the vault, but also the complex network of traps they have obviously set up for the team at the entrance. Never one to waste time, she quickly wrenches the remnants of the vault door form its hinges and hurls it bodily at the trip wires and I the general direction of the ambushers! In their haste to escape the tons of steel heading their way the majority of them are helpless to protect themselves from the blinding flash of light the Diadem of the Æsir.

Meanwhile the rest of the team battle in the stair well against the final assault of the ninja team following them. The ice attacks of the engineer, the electrical fists of the Serpentine Spectre and the giant blue anvils of the Blue bolt soon have them on the run. The few remaining combatants try to take down Catseye in the final moments of the battle but her reflexes far exceed the obvious description of ‘catlike’ and they cannot land a single blow on her. Not to be out done Clara also displayed a degree of agility and fighting prowess difficult to comprehend. The shuriken of the midnight murderers fly uselessly around her as she finishes off her sword wielding opposition.

Finally making their way in the main vault, our team of heroes, plus one librarian, quickly slap the bracelets on the disoriented and blinded brigands. All bar one.

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It seems the leader of this operation is still very much in the fight, and is obviously looking for the original copy of the madman’s mutterings. He is clad in heavier armour than his underlings, and what little can be seen of his face seems distorted, almost lizard like… without a word he does not so much as vanish in a cloud of smoke, it seems like he transforms directly into smoke and dissipates away!

Professor Pride shouts with joy and points to the shelves in one section of the vault “he hasn’t found it yet, its sill in section 18!”

A disembodied voice chuckles and shouts its thanks, Catseye snatches up a fallen piece of one of the traps so recently detonated by the vault doors rapid transit, and hurls it at the security sensor in the alcove that contains the madman’s mutterings. Hardened steel shutters descend with an ominous rumble and locks off that section of the vault. However the next thing we see is the figure of the uber-assassin coalescing next to the book. Wasting no time the Engineer assess the situation, strides up and uses his freeze ray to fill the entire transept with ice!

Forced into a confrontation, the leader of the Si Fan assassins gets to work.
The smoke like form vanishes from view, and only Clara has a hope of tracking his movements, and even she struggles to pin point the spectral killer.
Suddenly the Si Fan materialises behind lady Britannia and strikes! He penetrates the engineered armour that so often protects her with ease, striking where the weakest locations with the razor sharp Shikomizue that delves deep to inflict horrific wounds
Before anyone can react the Shinobi master has gone from view once more.

A few moments later the smoke coalesces again this time behind the engineer. He is forced to retreat from his ice-capade but manages to remain unharmed. The third time the vaporous villain substantiates the team are ready form him. Paul uses his air control to prevent he villains escape, Lady Britannia braces herself, shrugs off her awful wounds and unleashes the full barrage of her attack strength, and the rest of the team each launch their respective attacks. Once again the villain vanishes, but he has left behind a lot of blood this time….

At the far end of the vault he rematerializes, and unleashes a long range firestorm at our assembled heroes. Shielding the hapless professor the team take the onslaught as best they can and repeat the successful tactic from before. With Paul T Geist limiting the ability of the misty apparition to appear and vanish at will; it gives the rest of the team time to finish him off. With a wry smile the engineer unleashes his latest gizmo… the Ninjas armour is transformed by some sort of ray from steel to paper! Next Carla takes on the form of the black shuck and phases an attack straight through him, which actually sets his paper based armour on fire! Finally Catseye launches a flying assault, accelerating her attack not only with her 3D manoeuvre gear but, judging by the tell tail blue glow, significantly enhanced by the kinetic manipulations of the blue bolt! But where is Paul? Has the sheet of engulfing flame destroyed him?

The force unleashed is too much for anyone to withstand and the last of the Si Fan are at last defeated, and the Madman’s mutterings is secured once more.

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Mopping up

With both books now secured and the British library safe once more, our team rush at full speed to help out at the Shard. The scene that greets them is a diabolic horror show. Dozens of dead litter the 22nd and 23rd floors of the shard where MI13 London makes it home. Paul is already back here, in his solid physical body doing his best to mop up. The engineer rushes around returning life to the lifeless and the healing the sick with his resurrection clockwork. Meanwhile the rest of the team head off toe Li Min’s antiques and curiosities shop. During the fight at the library Catseye’s phone received several calls, and it seems that her mysterious contact has launched an assault on the place aided by the Master Wu and the white tigers!

They quickly locate the secret Dojo and temple under the shop, and there can be no doubt that this was the main London base for the Si fan. A pit of serpents is in the middle if the underground temple, and there is clear evidence of battle. Injured, dead and dying White Tiger Ninjas lay everywhere and the walls are peppered with cuts and shiruken. In the middle of the alter are two letters one addressed to the KoA and one addressed to the Engineer personally. The letter to the team is read out by Catseye, and it seems that whoever her contact in the Si Fan was, he has blown his cover now.

To the KoA

My dearest friends, I am sorry I could not give you more notice; but it was clear that something was happening here and I thought it too important to risk waiting for your help.

Sadly, this may have been mistake. Despite the valiant help from my colleagues the White Tigers; I could not prevent Li Min from escaping with my father’s body. I have no choice but to pursue them to where ever they may have fled. We can be sure of only one thing: They will never stop their insane quest to return his monstrous evil to life.

CS

As for what the letter addressed directly to the Engineer may be, he does not care to share its contents, but the smile that transforms his countenance as he reads it is tender

The end (for now)

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Issue 8 (Volume II)
180.0348.Ninja

A few days off?

Having dealt a major blow to the Richardson families drug network, and apprehended the nefarious Chemist, a degree of normality has returned to the streets of London. Our team enjoy a few well-earned days rest and relaxation (or zoological study and work in the engineering labs for some).

As Cats-eye completed her martial arts training under the guidance of Master Wu Fong, she is surprised to realise that someone has been rifling through her clothes… A few moments later the phone placed in her pocket starts to ring! A distinctly upper class British accent is on the other end of the untraceable call, and he seems keen to share information with cats-eye, but is clearly under an extreme time constraint that makes communications almost impossible. Who is this person, and have they truly managed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Si Fan as they claim?

Meanwhile the engineer uses the time available to renew his friendship with the Blue Bolt and the two of them work together to make changes and alterations to whatever insane gizmo he is currently obsessed with. Clara locks herself away and hits the books, her Zoology degree aiding the rapid expansion of her powers. Her time spent as part of the Knights of Albion is rapidly increasing the control she wields over her abilities.

Taking a few moments out of his busy schedule the Engineer is confronted by the spectral Paul T Geist. The Engineers constant allusions on the deathly status of our resident ‘spook’ were not just based on his inability to accept the supernatural! The Engineer has developed a ‘life detection ocular filter’ to his energy detecting googles, and he informs Paul T Geist that he is in no way dead, that in fact not only is Paul still very much alive, but the engineer is certain he can, with a just a little effort, locate the exact position of his unconscious body!

Hardly daring to believe the truth of it, Paul and the engineer set off. A few minutes later the two of them are at the back of the the west end theatre where he performs every week! The small courtyard at the back of the building shows an on obvious area where the cobbled courtyard has been dug up and repaired. Uncertain as to what he will find, Paul allows his spectral form to sink into the ground… moments later the engineer is appaled to hear muffled scremscreams coming from beneath the earth!

Wasting no time he uses his incredibly powerful ‘Fist-i-guns’ to smash the earth between him and whatever hellish torments his comrade is experiencing. Putting the call out to the rest of the team, in moments Blue Bolt has flown Lady Britannia and Casts-eye to the scene . Her Asguardain thews glisten with the exertion required but Lady Britannia has soon uncovered an awful sight beneath the earth…

Paul T Geist is very much alive, just as the engineer had said, but his body is a burnt ruin! The barely human howls of agony are quickly quelled by the feline grace of Cats-eye however. Utilising her ab-human blood she places a few drops into the open wounds of her compatriot and passes on the ability to regenerate damage to her scarified comrade for a few minutes.

The unparalleled healing ability is soon at work and Paul is returned to the land of the living! It seems the tragic accident that engulfed him on stage several years ago did not kill and bring him back as a disembodied spirit; instead it awoke a previously unknown supernatural power! Our friendly ‘ghost’ is in fact a spirit or psychic projection of some sort, and it is clear from the prolonged entombment that whilst in this state Pauls living body goes into a state of deep suspended animation – the wounds he suffered on the night of the accident had been as a fresh and raw as the day they were first inflicted!

Coming to terms with his new status leaves Paul a little confused; but this soon passes as he can once more, after his skin has grown back, revel pass the delights of physical sensation!

Another few days pass by and the peace that has descended on china town is a welcome reprieve from the mayhem of the recent weeks. The Dragon Lords are gone, and with no clear adversary to antagonise them, the Faces of Fear move into the area and take of the reins of petty crime and in the power vacuum left behind with no significant disturbance. The deaths from the synthetic poison crafted by the Maggia/ Chemist have stopped. For that small mercy everyone is truly grateful. As part of the celebrations the team are invited to a ceremony of thanks and recognition to be held next week.

il_570xN.500281399_jcd0.jpg Before they have time to feel complacent however Cats-eye is contacted by her mysterious friend once more. It seems the White dragon has allied himself with his former enemies the Si Fan, and they are still actively trying to return the nefarious Fu Man Chu to life.

Later that same day the receive from a mysterious, red shōzoku wearing, figure. She appears out of nowhere in the main meeting room of the KoA during an afternoon briefing session! She reveals no name for herself, and her conversation is terse to say the least, but the lovely assassin makes it plain that the KoA need to act to prevent the rise of Fu Man Chu and they need to act now! It seems the Si Fan are making an attempt to rob the British library and they intend take the Murmura Furentium to raise their dread master from the dead.

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Once again the blue bolt rockets them to the scene, and in moments our team are racing through the ground floors of the greatest library on earth. The irreplaceable treasure to either side weighing heavily on their minds as they battle the green clad Si Fan stalking through these hallowed halls. The team quickly recover the duplicate book in the main display area, and realise that both Maximillian Pride, chief curator of the library, and the original version of the ‘Madman’s’ Mutterings’ are also targets of the massive Ninja onslaught. Worse still in the middle of the battle in the display area, a broken phone calls is received. It seems Cats-eyes mysterious new contact has located the headquarters of the Si Fan and is seeking her aid in launching a sortie to recover the body of the Celestial One, and they need back up from the KoA! The name ‘Li Min’ is mentioned before the call is once again abruptly terminated. As they run through the halls the Engineer reveals that he has been investigating Li Fan of the antiques and curiosities shop… his finances are intricate and byzantine, far more so than a simple shop keeper would ever need. Cats-eyes contact must be about to confront Li Min, or someone else who is using the venerable gentleman’s business as cover for more nefarious acts…

Meanwhile Paul drifts through the building to protect the chief librarian, who has barricaded himself in his office. With walls of solid air, combined with the unerring aim of a geriatric Webley in the chief librains hands, the deadly assassins are held off long from the elderly, yet brave, academic as he stands to defend his inner sanctum and his life. In the nick of time the rest of the team to arrive to help. The battle is short and it seem the KoA are more than a match for these low level Si Fan Killers. Snatching up a communicator from their fallen bodies, the Engineer quickly masters the odd dialect of Cantonese they speak, and relays that there are several other units heading for the original copy of Bartholomew Jacobs’ unspeakable tome. Meanwhile another red clad Ninja appears in front of the Blue Bolt and informs him that there are some 40 Si Fan heading their way! With Professor Pride leading the way the team hurriedly make their way to the vaults of the British library: Will they make it in time to stop the Si Fan from stealing the book? Can they battle through the vast hordes of assassins sent to stop them?

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Tune in next week to find out!

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Issue 7 (Volume II)
Down Among the Dead Men

stay away from the light

As Lady Britannia cradles the lifeless form of the Engineer, she notices a distinct ticking sound, quickly followed by a tell tail glow coming from the inside coat pocket of the Engineers finely crafted Coburn-Greatcoat (Gieves & Hawkes of course) he so often wears.
With the quicksilver speed inherent to the Asguardian mind, barely able to believe the truth of what she suspects is about to happen, she places the device on the Engineers patulous rib cage… surely even the mind of Jerimiah Watkins could not dream to reach so high?

With a hushed awe evident in her voice lady Britannia gets the attention of her comrades… “I think you all need to see this”

Our mighty heroine tentatively depresses the obvious button in the middle of the intricately worked brass box: With a clacking whirr, a spark of flame and puff of steam the device activates…

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Like some toy from a bygone age the brass casing opens and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny brass and copper insects crawl out of the box and enter in the very flesh of the fallen Hero. In a matter of moments the gaping chest wound is closed, metallic stitching appearing across Jerimiah’s muscled torso… a tremor passes through his body… then another… and at the third tremor his eyes flash open, he draws a breath almost like a scream and sits up, and then stands with his customary alacrity!

“Jolly good, you figured it out then, I really need to put some sort of automated activation switch onto it but imagine the horror of being repeatedly revivified 10,000 feet below sea level for example, hardly worth thinking about, I wonder if these modern day press chappies will start renaming me “the Resurrectionist”? Their grasp of modern English is not very good and it really is quite likely, which is a shame as Messrs. Burke& Hare were thoroughly objectionable by all accounts though I must admit medicine advanced quite well with their aid and the aid of others like them in fact I would have struggled to complete the very device that resurrected me were it not for the work of Dr…”

With a determined air Blue Bolt strides up and punches the babbling Engineer full in the face! His relief at the return of his friend far outweighed by the indignant anger coursing through him

“Why didn’t you tell us you could do this?!!”

With an uncharacteristic pause Jeremiah looks at his friend with compassionate concern. “Why my dearest chap, I had no intention of causing unnecessary worry, but I really wasn’t sure if it would work or not”

Captain Britain and Lady Britannia quickly restrain the Blue Bolt from completing another assault on the baffled looking Engineer, as the Serpentine Spectre walks up her newly revived friend and says “next time make sure you tell us about these things in advance!”

With Captain Britain marshalling the Knights of Albion, Cat’s-eye reports the dilapidated rooms recently vacated by the Dragon Lords held several other Dragon Lord gang members and a ragtag bunch of youths all tied up and terrified. It seems the Silver Samurai was quite prepared to kill them all in order to find the Celestial One. She also reports that several other youths have been taken away by the Dragon Lords, and our feline scout leads them underground, following the path already traversed by Cat’s-eye as they seek to find out what the Silver Samurai was doing here, and what has happened to the missing members of Excalibur.

In the basement of the building is a perfect tunnel spiraling down underneath the mud and gravel that London so often rests on, its walls somehow aggregated together. It is not long before the tunnel pierces the side of yet another underground structure. This one is very obviously of different construction. Captain Britain lets out a gasp

“Impossible! These were shut down and filled in decades ago!” It quickly transpires that the tunnels and transport tubes so clearly evident were part of an old ‘R.C.X.’ and Excalibur transport network. As part of the ‘legacy Project’ initiated by Mr. Williams (in response to the clear evidence that Black Air has been using old UK government sites that were supposed to have been decommissioned) Spitfire and Killpower were tasked with following an old access tunnel to make sure everything was properly deactivated. On the far side of the underground complex they can clearly see the molten steel and concrete created by Killpower as he blasted his way from that structure into this one for whatever reason. The facility the KoA now find themselves in is a rapid-transport-system station! Heading north the tunnel is obviously unused and barricaded off. But heading south, the polymer transport tubes seem to be intact and operational. Parked in the middle of the structure is an unusual tunnel digging device, which the engineer quickly recognises as being the work of the Fixer, a villainous duplicate of whom he encountered the previous year.

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The digging machine is host to several day-glow vest and hard hat wearing goons with several hostages both inside the cab with them! But it is only a few moments work for the team, aided by the spectral Paul T Geist and his uncanny ability to manipulate the very air itself, have subdued them all and rescued the hostages. It is far from clear what is happening here, but these gun toting sappers are not the usual Dragon lord scum, and have more of the discipline and cunning of the Maggia goons our team have encountered before.

After freeing the hostages, and with no other obvious clues, the team mount into the transport system. With breath-taking speed they soon find themselves travelling not only outside of London, but across the sea bed. The membranous plastic seems to hold the vast weight of the water above them at bay with little effort. In an almost dazed fashion, hardly aware of what he is doing, Paul T Geist allows his spectral arm to drift through the side of the transport carriage, and perhaps hoping to startle a passing basking shark, he attempts to pass his arm through the membrane.. and lets out an almighty scream! Whatever this plastic is, it far too dense a material for his phasing ability to pass through: Fortunately he suffered only minor abrasions, and counts himself lucky not to have lost an arm!
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Soon enough the hyperspeed of the transport device has taken them to yet another underground station. This on obviously some sort of underground terminus, with a columnar structure rising up through the roof, to the murk obscured surface somewhere in the English Channel. Exiting onto the platform they are met with a most disturbing site. Two Maggia dreadnaughts are hulking over the obviously unconscious forms of Killpower and Spitfire!

As they leap onto the platform a holographic head the size of a car flickers into life. The scarified face is in no way improved by the aviator sunglasses that obscures the eyes from the MI13 agents.

“I have been expecting you Captain Britain; you have fallen into my trap as I knew you would! This day will go down in history, for today my legend will be born, today will be known as the day when The Chemist killed Excalibur!”

With that the disembodied head leans over to one side and there is an audible click from somewhere nearby. Captain Britain plunges to his knees, clutching at his head and gasping like a landed fish! With his energy detecting googles the Engineer quickly shouts out that the lens above the door to the cylindrical shaft is where the attack against the good captain is coming from. In a flash Cat’s-eye is using her 3D manoeuvre gear and is ripping out chunks from the Fresnel lens above the door way.

“…and as for you Knights of Albion, you have no comprehension of how far out of your league you are, I, The Chemist will not lower myself to soil my hands with the likes of you. Dreadnaughts, kill them all!!” With a maniac laugh the deranged Chemist switches off his holographic feed.

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Having learnt her lessons from fighting them previously Lady Britannia wastes no time in unleashing all of her might against the dreadnaughts, devastating the first one in a flurry of blows before it can activate its electrical defences. Meanwhile the rest of team make short work of the remaining dreadnaught. It is a matter of moments for the team to force open the doors to the next chamber and the astonished chemist is caught flat footed as the Blue Bolt, Cat’s-eye and the Serpentine Spectre quickly capture him. Meanwhile the Engineer dismantles the death machine that the Chemist has been using against Excalibur, and Lady Britannia tends to the wounded, which includes several young men and women who have obviously been subjected to the insane experiments of the Chemist. Some of them have been killed by his dark dabbling, but with his new resurrection device, even death is no barrier to a happy ending when the Engineer is around!

Paul floats down through the ceiling and reports that there is some sort of luxury speed boat up top stuffed to the gunnels with the chemist’s vile and deadly drugs. The engineer and Paul quickly take charge of the haul, saving the lives of who knows how many hundreds of hapless addicts? Meanwhile Blue Bolt, Cat’s-eye, and the Serpentine Spectre walk the Chemist to the transport tube, place him on it, and wave him a fond fare well…

Returning to the rest of the team they are non-plussed at their outrage and disgust, and it quickly becomes obvious the Chemist has some sort of awesome mind control powers!

Wasting no time the Blue Bolt scoops up Jeremiah as the rest of the team secure this end of the transport tunnel. Flying above the waves of the channel, the speed of the Blue Bolt is more than match for that of the escaping Chemist. They arrive in time to greet him at the Vauxhall Gardens end of the old R.C.X. transport network, and with a deadly force they combine to subdue him before he can unleash his psychic powers on any one. Once again the engineer returns the life to the lifeless, with the Chemist now firmly bound, gagged and nullified.

Tune in again to learn who dies next week!

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Issue 6 (Volume II)
A Death in the Family

Use the door next time…

After spending the morning recuperating, and talking to the police, the Knights finally have a few moments to think, and to consider their next moves.

After the virtual destruction of the White Dragons army of street toughs, the streets of China town seem much quieter and safer than usual. Sure there are new faces lurking at the edges, almost certainly the ‘Faces of Fear’ looking to expand into the power vacuum left behind. But, for now at least, the streets of China town seem safe once more. After a day or so of additional study for Catseye and the Serpentine Spectre, with the engineer doing… whatever it is he does in the lab of his, and Lady Britannia undergoing a series of interviews and assessments. The team get together on the Tuesday morning. It is time to stop reacting, and become the hunters instead of the hunted.

Returning to the murder scene where they found the dismembered Dragon Lord gang member a few days ago, Clara activates her tracking power. There are as usual several scents to possibly peruse. But one in particular stands out:- Metallic; with a strange lack directionality. Almost as if whatever, or whoever, the scent originated from had vanished in mid-air. The team are sure from the bisected corpse and appearing/vanishing nature of the trail, that they are tracking no one other than the Silver Samurai.

They begin to scour the city in the Flying Junkman (much to the disgust of the Engineer re-christened the ‘Watkindenburg’ by Serpentine). Combining the monstrously effective tracking powers of a komodo dragon with the Engineers energy detection skill, the Flying Junkman is the perfect vehicle for aerial reconnaissance of this sort.

It takes a few hours, hampered somewhat by the ‘There-again-gone-again’ nature of the scent trail, but the team close in on their prey.

vauxhalls_1_.jpg At Vauxhall Gardens the the trail stops, but the scent is still strong and fresh… they are close, very close. The team exit the Junkman, Lady Britannia declaring the nearby park, combined with a few building scheduled for demolition on their periphery, are about as unpopulated an area as they can hope to find in central London.

Before they have time to evacuate the nearby buildings and close in on their target, a piercing scream echoes across the park!

With the shattering sound of glass a figure is defenestrated from the 8th floor of the nearby tower block!

Like lightening the blue bolt is there and rescuing the falling figure. The Engineer (sporting his latest invention of flying umbrella that has the side benefit of also turning him invisible) and Catseye are both hiding at the edges of the window so recently used as an unwanted exit as they catch up to the much faster blue bolt.

Form inside a gruff, synthesised voice bellows out “I wont ask you again, where is the Celestial One? What have you done with him?” and with that a second figure is launched through the window!

The newest falling man is also caught by the Blue Bolt, his characteristically glowing kinetic energy constructs form a second giant blue hand to catch the falling figure. Unfortunately it also catches eye of the person doing the throwing, the Silver Samurai!

With a barley coherent snarl of rage the lustrously gleaming figure is out of the window and immediately fires himself with an ear-splitting sonic boom directly at Lady Britannia on the ground below. She neatly sidesteps his first wild swing of the battle and is able to land a mighty blow of her own as he rockets past her.

Meanwhile the blue bolt has lapsed into unconsciousness for some reason! Scrambling desperately Catseye and the Engineer manage to rescue the blue bolt and the two gang members he had been holding up. By the time the five of them are back on the ground, Blue Bolt seems to have recovered his senses, and with a curt frown he mutters to this comrades the samurai is too fast for him to keep up with.

High in the sky above London the Samurai is performing deceptively lazy looking loops, hardly visible but for the tell-tale shimmer of the sunlight on his mechanised suit. As he loops closer, but still well outside of the range any attacks the Knights can launch at him, he lunches a weirdly spinning disc, about the size of large coin, directly at Paul T Geist. Almost suicidally drawn to the prospect of being able to feel something once again, our spectral air-bender is shocked and alarmed to discover the the coin is not just heading towards him, but directly at him with a fair amount of speed. He valiantly dodges out of the way. Pausing to produce a dense cloud cover a hundred feet above the heads of the team (and so blocking the Samurais line of sight), the spinning coin catches up with him! It pierces his body and Mr Geist lets out a howl of pain that seems a recognition of not only the attack, but the intensity of the experience of being touched once more! Having reduced the flight ceiling of the enemy our phantasmal hero sinks into the ground to rid himself of the exquisite torment offered by the hovering silvered disc.

Forced into a lower flight path to continue his attacks, the samurai is once again within reach of the Blue Bolt. There are not many who can resist the awesome force of physics itself made manifest at the hands of our azure guardian, but it seems this Son of the East is one of them! Their relative strengths are well matched. Blue Bolts power manifesting itself as chains to drag down the flying fiend, yet the Silver samurai still able to move, and even fly a little, though at much reduced speed.

Wasting no time the party launch their attacks at the enemy. Once again lady Britannia strikes home with bruising force! Realising that the main threat to his battle plan is the Bolt, the samurai launches a devastating attack at him. Ever quick to protect others, especially his dearest of friends, the Engineer interposes his body between the tachyon enhanced blade and its intended target.

As if he had never gone to the bother of creating it in the first place, the Engineers hardened steam force field allows the blade to pass through unhindered, and the Engineer is cut down in his prime… now it is lady Britannia’s turn to issue an incoherent howl of rage. Her blistering assault would give pause to even the mightiest of beings, and the Samurai is knocked out cold at her feet in a matter of moments… but all too late to save the life of the Engineer. Stunned silence descends on our group, and they barely even register the arrival of Captain Britain himself, arrived moments too late to aid them in the fight against the mechanised Si Fan assassin.

Tears streaming down his face the Blue Bolt streaks across the skies of London.

“Stay here, I think Spitfire and Killpower may be in trouble… I will get our Bolt back on mission” and with that the leader of the UKs meta human response teams flies after the distraught blue bolt.

Who knows what was said in the brief conversation above? But within minutes the Blue Bolt is back and has steeled himself to continue the fight. Captain Britain lands amongst the team once more, and quickly relates the need to locate the two missing members of Excalibur, he fears the worst and hopes they are still living. There will be time to mourn our fallen after the battle is won.

Tune in next week to see who dies next!

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Issue 5 (Volume II)
And All I Wanted Was A Spring Roll
Thursday Evening

With Catseye now updated with the latest “Service Pack” and rendered “User Friendly”, the Knights of Albion were ready to return to the fray in China Town.

At a showing of the old favourite “Enter the Dragon” (Serpentine’s Note: Distinct lack of dragons) in the Fortune Cinema, panic befell the good people on London! The Knights arrived just as a crowd of film lovers ran screaming from the cinema. Before they could react, a cab driver swerved and crashed into a jewellery store window and destroyed an innocent telegraph pole. The telegraph pole threatened to rip the neon sign of the cinema onto the unsuspecting crowds below.

The Engineer produced his weapon of choice, his Dandy Frost-thrower, and froze the sign solid before it could crush the popcorn-wielding public. The Serpentine Spectre dragged the taxi driver and passengers to safety. As the Engineer and Blue Bolt dashed inside to see what was causing the dramaturgic dilemma, Catseye tended to the crowds, giving them a heroic speech on the difference between righteous finders-keepers and devilish looting. The jewellery store kept its stash that day!

Inside, the villain made his entrance. The Constrictor lead the Dragon Lord punks into battle with thugs from the Faces of Fear. Before Blue Bolt, the Engineer, and the Serpentine Spectre could intervene, the Constrictor lashed out against the thugs rendering them unconscious with a series of electrifying lashes of his… tentacles?

While Serpentine called upon one of her powers, Blue Bolt and the Engineer combined team attacks to immobilise the multi-membered menace. It’s a battle of the Constrictor’s strength versus the power of kinetic energy and Science! The three are evenly matched, but with Blue Bolt and the Engineer combined, the Constrictor could not let loose an attack.

Finally the Serpentine Spectre, infused with the hypnotic power of the Cobra, forces the Constrictor into submission, his puny mind the only thing his armour cannot protect!

A resounding success for the Knights of Albion!

Friday

“Don’t worry, little snake buddies, I’m coming for ya!” Serpentine Spectre declared as the hunt for the Silver Samurai continued. She made some calls at the Imperial College and got in contact with an old friend and lecturer, Bhaltair Kincade. An expert in Meta-Criminology, he soon shared valuable information about the ominous “Celestial One”.

“That a nasty bastard you’re after there, missy!”

The Celestial One, more commonly known as Fu Manchu, was active between 1890s and 1970s, when he supposedly died. A criminal mastermind with not only delusions of grandeur but powers nonetheless, Fu Manchu founded the Si-Fan.

With the dreadful words of the Silver Samurai still with her, “These shall warm the dead heart of the Celestial One”, Serpentine Spectre feared the worst for her slithering compadres.

With further research from the team, the Knights discovered that Silver Samurai Senior died some years ago, and the Samurai they know and loathe currently is a successor.

Britannia also put her strategy to use and identified several construction sites scheduled for demolition. Should the Knights be forced into an encounter, they can retreat there to avoid bringing harm to the people of London.

The evening rolled around again and the Knights went back on patrol! Unfortunately Paul T. Geist and the Serpentine Spectre were pulled away from the streets to deliver their respective performances.

Catseye intervened in a drug deal, saving the life of a poor addict. The unfortunate soul told his a tale of woe. The “New Stuff” has hit the streets from the hands of the Dragon Lords, and it’s caused several deaths throughout the city.

Saturday

The Engineer was up early, bright goggled and bushy tailed, on patrol in the Watkindenburg (aka The Flying Junkman ). With heroic vigilance, he spotted evidence of the elusive Watkins particles! (Tachyon particles to those less chronologically impaired)

They quickly disperse, but they are not forgotten! The Engineer approached, calling in and cutting short the lie-ins of his fellow Knights.

Inside, they find only the jigsaw of a dismembered Dragon Lord, identified only by his jacket and luminescent hair. The Serpentine Spectre used the enhanced sense of smell of a Komodo dragon to sniff out clues. There was only one scent of note. A metal odour that was fresh but more mysteriously did not leave the room. It can only be described as “dissipated”. Blue Bolt put his forensic skills to the test and found a suspicious rock. A rock so insidious he picked it up!

Underneath was a stash of money and synthetic cocaine. The “New Stuff” one would presume. Strange, as cocaine is usually smoked or snorted, but this latest drug has been injected.

Evening rolled around yet again, relentless as it may be. The Dragon Lords were also out on the prowl as trouble kicked off at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. The Knights barely arrived in time when a Dragon Lord punk lunged at the owner with a knife. The Engineer intervened and valiantly deflected the knife by sinking it into his gut. Never fear! For flesh wounds never stop an Engineer! Only loss of blood!

But alas! It was a tricksy distraction! Two vans of Dragon Lords surrounded the Knights. But you’ll have to be quicker than that to catch the Knights of Albion with their pants outside their trousers! The Serpentine Spectre, thinking thousands of steps ahead, used Sonic Snap to destroy a paving slab before it could trip an old lady in several months time.

Not to be outdone by Serpentine’s heroics, Lady Britannia stepped forth and unleashed a devastating shockwave that destroyed not only the vans and the building behind it, but the bones of many Dragon Lords. Five lay bleeding to death and many more unconscious.

The team had to act fast to prevent the loss of lives that day, and fast they did. Blue Bolt and Serpentine deal with the Punks harassing the Buffet Owner, while Catseye, Britannia, and the Engineer stepped in to administer first aid and stabilise the thugs.

Before Catseye to could even open a vein, the Engineer had used his powers of infinite deduction to suture, stitch, and seal the wounds of the men.

Lady Britannia, forlorn, could only look on with regret for her actions. “This new power does not seem within my control.”

But the Knights cannot rest yet! The Beetle apparently attacks! But is incapacitated by the Blue Bolt at the exact same time Serpentine fail an intuition roll.

No lives are lost, but it was not the victory the Knights had been hoping for. Clearly, this had been a Maggia trap to lure the Knights into the open.

Who knows what’s in store for the Knights in the next book.

FIND OUT TOMORROW FOR JUST £3.99!

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Issue 4 (Volume II) - extended volume
Haunted by the past

What could possibly go wrong?


With the door to the bunker responding to one of their own, the Knights of Albion venture inside, placing a call to the Shard to warn them that something might be about to happen. Little did they know how right they were, or how troublesome it would be.

pantha_redeux_by_monkitty.jpgWith a grind of disused machinery the door opened at Catseye’s touch, a strange blue-green glow of energy permeating it. With the team all safely inside and without instruction the door irised closed, and despite the pounding of Lady Britannia’s Asgardian fist, it remained sealed. As they searched for a way to escape this sudden but not unexpected trap, a voice came scratchily over some kind of internal speaker.

“Good afternoon. Can I confirm please that you are the Knights of Albion? I’ll need a security code as well, if I could trouble you.” As mystified as his comrades it was Jeremiah who responded first, confirming their presence and offering the most basic security code he knew. A few tense seconds pause and the voice returned. “Very good. I’m Agent Brown, and honestly I don’t quite know how you managed to even get into this place. It’s supposed to be abandoned and sealed.” Catseye offered up her own involvement and excited the voice confirmed “Catseye? Oh this is very helpful indeed!” A verbal code played out through the speaker, and in a daze, Catseye suddenly responded in kind… much to the confusion and alarm of her team-mates. More codes followed, and in a burst of unexplainable growth the petite cat-woman bulged with muscles, and a new, dangerously feral light shone in her eyes.

The other Knights had only a moment to absorb the sight, as they were on the spot plunged into darkness. A darkness broken by the low, rolling growl of the monstrous looking predator in their midst.

Quick thinking, the Engineer donned his trusty energy goggles and discovered a clear view of the now hulking Catseye, with the same blue-green energy pooling and dripping from her. He had no real chance to offer a warning before the feral creature tore into the wall, ripping the speaker unit free with a snarl; Catseye was apparently aware that ‘someone’ in that place had done this to her, and the experience was clearly not appreciated. Unsatisfied with this vandalism, she bolted for the inner door, night vision having no problems, apparently, with the darkness still engulfing the group. maxresdefault.jpg

The door, much as the first had, responded to our enraged and transformed heroes presence, and easily opened to admit her, snapping shut on the cat-creatures heels before the wash of light could lure the rest of the Knights into the room beyond. Untroubled by doors, walls or potential traps, Paul T. Geist set off in hot pursuit, only to discover that his own modest ‘foot speed’ was not enough to keep up with the mad-cat dash of Catseye’s new form. He trailed on across a room strobing red with security lights and into corridors beyond, halting before he became horribly lost in what looked to be a maze of twists and turns.

In the entry-way and somewhat hampered by the darkness, the Engineer battled the door controls to free the rest of them to take up pursuit. Disgruntled by the lack of action, Britannia suggested “Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to open the outside door and just leave here in here? She’s gone kind of crazy.” Neither the Engineer nor Serpentine Spectre offered more than a cold stare, lost in the dark, as they continued to struggle with the unusual format of the security concealed behind the door panel.

By the time the door was irising open once more, the bleat of intruder alarms was growing tiresome. The room beyond was an open affair, with a desk and a door beyond… and computer controlled turrets swinging to bear on the doorway. The heroes wasted no time; moving immediately to engage the rapidly tracking turrets as Watkins barrelled toward the far door. Wise to the trick of opening it now, he was hard at work in seconds as Britannia and the Serpentine Spectre made short work of the laser defences.

The alarm shut off at last, and the engineer completed his work on the door beyond when the team’s communicators stuttered to life, popping and hissing. “Knights of Albion? Knights of Albion, come in please! This is Agent Day at the Shard! Please report!” The worried voice was not familiar, and after their interaction with ‘Agent Brown’ the team was not in a trusting mood. Calling on Day to confirm his identity by code, they relaxed only when it proved to be one they knew.

Day explained he had been handed the urgent task of contacting them when previously inert security systems reported an intrusion at the very base they were investigating; a base dismantled and closed off in the days of Black Air! A slow and laborious code entry allowed him remote access to the centre and its security, to speed the groups search for their missing friend.

Meanwhile, his prisoner in hand, Blue Bolt was contacted by the Shard himself, alerted to the sudden break in radio communications by his team. The security guard was quickly turned over as he moved out at top speed, arriving at the old facility minutes after departing the site… held for precious seconds at the sealed outer door before it was released long enough for him to rejoin the others.

Agent Day had spent the time trawling through archived plans and had the map of the facility to hand. With a direction from Watkin’s goggles, and the dire warning that there were energy signatures showing the base restoring its own functions, the team moved out post haste. Winding corridors passed in a blur with the distant agent clearing their path of sealed doors, until they chanced across one which had not opened with the general command. Like several rooms before it, the door was labelled; the Armoury.

Cautious in case of more security, the Knights decided to investigate and discovered (after more tinkering with the door) that the room beyond had not been cleared as the records claimed. Rack upon rack of weapons stood beyond, of a design familiar only vaguely even to the engineer. They were of a style with others he had disassembled for MI13 in the lab, and the report of this brought alarm into Day’s voice. Agreeing between them to leave the room closed and seal it against other intruders, they moved on. With the door locked behind them, they waited for Day’s next instruction… but nothing came.

Calling with growing alarm for a response, it was with a shock that the next voice to answer was the panicking Barry; the man always on the spot in the Shards phone exchange. With relief, he explained that the Shard had been trying to contact them since their radio’s went dark… when the doors had first closed on them! In hurried conference they confirmed there was an agent Day employed by the agency… but she was out on holiday. Barry confirmed that an old security alert at their location had been sounded, and that it looked like someone had been feeding commands through old Black Air filters to control it.

To add to the team’s concerns, Barry added that there must be a second group in the facility with them; the Engineers energy detecting lenses confirmed it, and they were engaging with the feral Catseye! Urged on by the renewed and recognisable contact and hurled through the corridors at breakneck pace in a Blue Bolt brand toboggan, they crashed onto the scene to discover mysterious suited men and robots tangling with their comrade. The men carried rifles of an immediately familiar design, the closed off armory having been full of them. dfe14d08228ce5f43039617fd15d0f06.jpg Catseye, still a hulking and rage-filled creature, was struggling to break free of some kind of magical binding, while simultaneously attempting to tear free the throat of one of the battle-robots that awakened with the rest of the base.

In the swirling melee that followed, the weapons of these mysterious men proved to be energy rifles, powered by the pervasive blue-green force the Engineer had seen all through the base. The men were easily enough subdued by the team, only the robot causing any real problems for their well drilled coordination. Recognising their imminent defeat, one of the mystery men in black called for a retreat, abandoning their ‘prize’ for now.

A flash of that same light later and the men were gone, even those incapacitated by the Knights in the fight. With not a trace remaining, the feral Catseye turned a murderous stare on her team mates, before the rage drained away almost as fast as it had come. Dazed and confused, the unnaturally bulked cat-woman managed to ask “What’s going on here? Where are we..?” Whatever energy had driven her this far seemed to run out, and with her eyes rolled back she collapsed toward the floor. With the Blue Bolt to cushion her, she wafted in the waiting arms of the Engineer but before anyone could celebrate the facility belatedly responded to their battle.

Critical security breach detected. Facility termination in effect. All personnel please evacuate. You have five minutes to comply before sanitising begins” echoed out form an automated and obviously badly aged alert message.

Wasting no time, the Blue Bolt ferried the team back to the surface door as they regretfully abandoned the mysterious armoury, the unknown energy source, and whatever secrets the old base might have held. A check of the area confirmed that even the men in black were long gone, and no one was at risk. On the five minute mark exactly, a deep subterranean rumble marked the end of the base and its hill; the ‘sanitising’ brought the rock and dirt cap down with it, and sank the whole hill several feet.

In the few short minutes of their return flight to the Shard, Catseye returned to herself with the promise that she would do her best to explain at least some of the strange trouble the team had just escaped. But that might have to wait…

To Be Continued…

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Tea and Snakes

Many Thanks

After catching their breath at the tea shop, Wu Fong, the owner of the White Lotus Tea House, formally gives his thanks to the knights for their efforts in saving both his life and that of his daughter. Linda Fong also bows deeply to show her respect.

In the conversation that follows several points of interest come into view: Wu Fong gives very heavy hints that the he is the ‘Tigers Claw’; the leader of The White Tigers. Taking great care to never formally state he is a member of the organisation, it quickly becomes clear that the White Tigers are out of their depth.

Back when it was just the Dragon lords, the White Tigers were more than a match for a bunch of local street toughs and drug dealers. But now that the Dragon lords are teamed up with the Richardsons (only The Maggia use the types Dreadnought Robots that attacked the tea shop, and Paul T Geist says he recognised Davey Richardson himself), and the Faces of Fear teaming up with this new set of highly skilled assassins the Si Fan… the White Tigers need all the help they can get keeping the streets of London safe.

Without a moment’s hesitation the Knights offer their help, and Master Wu hands a set of four two-way radios out the group.

An Unexpected Present

The next day our heroes spend recovering, meeting their private obligations and catching up on some much needed studying time. The Engineers day is brightened somewhat by the unexpected arrival of a suspicious package! Daniel Lee the post master for MI13-Shard has taken charge of the parcel after it was delivered by courier with no delivery receipt… somewhat gingerly passing the buck over to the resident mad scientist he gladly exist the room and lets the inestimable intellect of Jeremiah Watkins get to work. It is the simplest of matters for our Victorian Gent to diffuse the device and disassemble it safely in his blasting room. The various parts are sent off for forensic investigation. Most telling however is the presence of a severed cats head adjacent to the bomb, with a note stating “you have been judged, found guilty: and are sentenced to pain!” It seems the Richardson’s didn’t appreciate the interference of the Knights at the tea shop attack!

Also throughout the day the extradition warrants for the Silver Samurai arrive: He is wanted for multiple counts of murder and even mass murder in both the US and Hong Kong. It seems that when cornered he is known to use a devastating area attack with little regard of the civilians who may be caught in the blast.

A Pleasant Evening Ruined

Later that day, following the advice of Master Wu and his daughter Linda, our heroes congregate near china town as the last of the evening rush hour begins to fade. London is its usual hubbub and bustle, and china town is alive with restaurant goers, tourists taking in the sites and the locals enjoying the balmy summer evening. It is only moments however before the peaceful city life is broken and the radios blear into life – there is an attack at the snake house!

Lady Britannia, the Serpentine Spectre and Paul T Geist rush off to investigate, whilst Catseye, blue bolt and the engineer stay by the tea shop in case it is a diversion to lure them away from protecting Master Wu.

At the snake house they see none other than the Silver Samurai clutching a wriggling bag in each hand! He is flanked with a dozen Si Fan ninjas as well. With a curse and a shouted threat to ‘kill them all when he next has time’ he vanishes in a coruscating flash of tachyon particles. The Si Fan launch their attack, but they are no match for the three members of the party who responded to the Snake house attack. In the mopping operation afterwards, we learn that the snake house has been raided for upwards of fifty snakes, with little clear motive. Though a matched and mated pair of Rose Pythons were also taken, and they are extremely valuable… petmania-albino-python-1.jpg

But more telling perhaps is the Silver Samurais reported statements at the time of the robbery – he was overheard to say “These will warm the cold dead heart of the Celestial One”.

The Blast From The Past

The next day the forensics report on the bomb is back, and it seems that the blasting caps used were sold to the ‘Black-Hill quarry’ operation. Further checking reveals that the black hill quarry was shut down nearly 20 years ago, but the explosives licencing body reports that they have been actively purchasing blasting materials for the entire duration since their supposed shut down!

Deeply concerned the team head out. The Blue Bolt transports the squadron there on his flying double-decker-sofa. Once they arrive it is a matter of moments for the Serpentine Spectre to sway the mind of the lone security guard with her irresistible presence (somewhat enhanced by the pheromones she saturates his every breath with!) With the guard distracted from his need to delay their investigations, the team quickly uncover what is obviously some sort of drug transfer point. Parcels of brown powder and rolls of cash are found in a locked chest. A further search of the area reveals something more. On the other side of the hill, Catseye comes across a secret entrance! It has obviously not been used for decades, but who ever built it seems to have some link to our feline heroine, as the door security systems activate as she passes her hand over it…

To be continued

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The Journal of Jeremiah Watkins (Adventure Log report)
Adventure Log from the 16th July

Dear Diary

Where was I…Oh yes. When Last I updated you, we’d just encountered a rather unfortunate chap who had had his wife kidnapped if you can believe it! Damned Chinese gang again, starting to become a bit of a problem in the beautiful city of London.

Anyway, the team and I went and found the place where she was meant to be held, only to find it was a trap. I must say, while I admire greatly our stealthy allies, they do have bad luck from time to time. I joined in shortly afterwards, only going in from the ground floor. I was reliably informed that a rather flamboyant individual with inferior tech (I later found out) Named Killer Shrike was upstairs and dealt with the team. I had the easier task downstairs of dealing with about twenty ruffians.

I must say, back in my day we had both a better quality of thug and banter, these chaps were sadly lacking in both skill and witty repartee. They were quickly dispatched by my freezotron 350 and I joined in with the scuffle upstairs. Once up there we quickly dealt with the buffoon and discovered that our unfortunate friend’s wife was being held at the docks. Now, in my day we’d just charge right over there, but nowadays there’s so much paperwork.

We radioed ahead to the chaps in charge to let them know that, like it or not, we’d be coming onto their turf, and it was lucky that we did! We arrived just in time to stop some of the Torture Gang throwing the poor lass into the Thames, a fate I wouldn’t wish on any but my worst enemy. It was at that point, that the evening took an unpleasant turn! Those damned flatfoots of the harbour shot us! Taking us prisoner which seemed damned rude of them, however it did give us the opportunity to question the people involved in the kidnapping.

It was at this point, dear diary, that I must report something rather unpleasant. During our interrogation, lady Britannia used that artefact of hers to attack the chap’s brain, smoke coming from his very ears. It was at this point that I warned her that if she did anything like this again, then regardless of the consequences, I would stop her, permanently.

The next day we ventured to the White Lotus tea shop, a lead given to us upon one of the other members of the team’s interrogations. We weren’t there for long before a gang of those blasted gangsters turned up, intent on killing the proprietor of the very fine tea shop! With reinforcements in the form of three giant automatons! Tough as nails and able to electrocute anyone who touched them! We were able to take them down eventually, but it made me realise, that whoevers out to take down these white tigers, they view them as a serious threat.

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Issue 1 (Volume II)
Night of the Ninja

The China Star restaurant, Monday afternoon.

It is mostly empty, just the staff clearing up after the lunchtime rush, and three older chinese gentlemen leisurely drinking tea. The door opens, and a motley trio enter and take seats at a table. They are in civilian guise, but you may recognise them as Catseye, the Blue Bolt and the Serpentine Spectre, while Paul T. Geist accompanies them invisibly.

As they order tea, Catseye makes enquiries about the ninja battle the previous night. The waitress claims that nothing happened, and the customer she talks to next makes excuses and leaves hastily. Eddie Wong, the proprietor, leaves the kitchen and asks Catseye to leave the other guests in peace, and quietly hints that such things are best not discussed in public. Catseye returns to her table and enjoys her tea, then heads to the kitchen to compliment the chef.

In the kitchen, Eddie is somewhat more informative, but is interrupted by some banging on the window. Catseye remains with Eddie to get the story, while Paul investigates. Outside, a group of thugs are standing guard while one of their number tries to smash in the kitchen window of the restaurant. After an attempt at fisticuffs Paul chases them of, save for one whom he interrogates under hypnosis.

The thugs story lines up withthat being told by Eddie Wong: The Dragons, a local gang including the thugs who attacked just now, run protection in the local area. They were asking Eddie for his regular contribution last night, when a rival group, the Si Fan, showed up with the same intent. This rapidly devolved into a brawl, with the Green-clad ninjas of the Si Fan against the street thugs of the Dragons. The Tigers, the scum of the Earth according to the thug, a group of concerned citizens who help the locals according to Eddie, intervened to break up the fight. They brought ninjas in white, and street toughs in black coats. A lone ninja in red, presumably from the Hand, appeared just to watch.

The thug is released to meet up with his associates, shadowed by Paul, Catseye and the Serpentine Spectre. He had a motorbike stashed nearby, giving Catseye a chance to use the 3-D Manouevre gear designed by the Engineer, and the Serpentine Spectre demonstrated the tracking abilities of the Komodo Dragon.

The chase led them to the borders of the London Docklands, where a break in the fence has been arranged in a blind spot from the CCTV. Catseye and the Spectre head in, while Paul heads back to the Shard.

In the docks, they hear cries for help. Following them,they find a shipping container that has been broken into, a black van driving off and a man tied up. As they go to rescue the man they are attacked by half a dozen thugs and as many ninjas in green, one of whom gets the drop on the Serpentine Spectre and nearly decapitates her. Catseye picks up her fallen comrade and carries her off over the nearby buildings, gaining enough of a head start over the ninja pursuers that she can tend to the Spectre’s injury and radio for assistance. There is a tense minute as Catseye battles the ninjas, knocking one out and wounding a second but suffering several good hits herself, before the Blue Bolt flies onto the scene at full speed. The Serpentine Spectre returns to the fray as well, and the remaining ninja are no match for the three combined.

The Engineer arrives shortly afterwards on the airship, and they see to the rescue of the man, who turns out to be from the Docklands security force. He tells the heroes how he was attacked, and helps them check the container against the manifest to discover that the only thing missing is a box of religious statuettes addressed to a Mr Li Min. He then reports in to his superiors, and suggests to our heroes that they make themselves scarce before the paperwork arrives.

The team reconvenes at the Shard, where Lady Britannia is brought up to speed on the events of the day. The rest of the afternoon is spent making inquiries to trace the ninjas, the gangs, the statuettes and everything in between: Mr Li Min runs an antique shop in Chinatown. The statuettes came from the ship Celestial China, which has a long history of owners over the years but is currently owned by a Hong Kong plastics corporation. The White Tigers are a traditional triad, but have not been known to operate in London.

That evening, in Chinatown

The Engineer has set up a tea table on the roof of a cinema, along with the Blue Bolt, Lady Britannia and Paul T. Geist. There are a couple of empty seats set up in the expectation that some of the local colour, probably the Tigers, will stop by for a chat.
Nearby, The Serpentine Spectre and Catseye head into the shop of Li Min. Inside, a disfigured young man is sweeping up. From behind a curtain a voice says “I have been expecting you, though you bring evil news. Please, come into the back.”

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Issue 0 (Volume II)
Recaps and Revelations

Our issue opens in a briefing room in the Shard, where a visiting Interpol agent named DuPris is giving a presentation about The Hand. This organisation, he explains, have a long history of Criminal enterprises dating back to Feudal Japan, either as muscle for hire to other organised crime or to further their own mysterious ends. They are master infiltrators, and will replace key personnel of organisations they are interested in with ringers, detectable only by blood tests or DNA matching. As they have recently encountered a ninja from The Hand*, it is likely that they have embedded agents within MI13, maybe even within the Knights of Albion themselves!

The panel jumps to the Knights of Albion, arrayed watching the presentation. A year has passed since we last saw them, with a few changes to the roster. As the door clicks shut from DuPris leaving, the Engineer is the first to react. He suggests that each of the Knights demonstrates their unique powers, which no ninja could hope to duplicate, to prove their selves, then throws a small firework flawlessly formed from the refreshments on the table in front of him.
The Serpentine Spectre activates the Camouflage of the Chameleon, and fades into her chair
The Blue Bolt lifts a table with the touch of a finger.
Not to be outdone, Lady Britannia flips a table with her pinky finger, forcing the Blue Bolt to catch it before it breaks a window.
Paul T. Geist reaches into his hat and pulls out a small rabbit, which runs along the table.
Catseye pricks the palm of the Engineer with her claw, then dabs a drop of her saliva into the wound, which closes instantly.

As the team finish confirming their identities, a news report is directed to their phones of multicoloured ninjas battling in Chinatown, and our Heroes spring into action…

*See Issue 8 of Volume 1 – ed.

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