There was a time when Star City, that seemingly mystical compass-shaped island just off the eastern seaboard, was quite. Well, relatively so. The US-annexed plot has always had a curious habit of spawning super-powered individuals of either moral persuasion, and when the power level of the villains gets cranked up to eleven, so too are the antics of an epic scale. Caped heroes clashed with armor-clad or mystically-empowered villains ever since the godlike cosmic being known as the Outsider crafted the city out of the sea in 1955. The place attracts all manner of folks, from mundane, to meta-human, to extraterrestrial—all with their own potentially skewed moral compass.
As it turns out, you happened to be one of those whose moral compass points right back at yourself. You are a villain, fallen from grace and now survive (or stalk) the mean streets of Star City.
Roughly two years ago, you received a notification from an anonymous source. The messenger states that there was a shipment of goods coming in to the Docks tonight and, unbeknownst to the day laborers, there’s a cache of goods hidden within one of the warehouses. In the cache is an item known as a “protean orb,” a sphere of power that—supposedly—can imbue the user with superpowers. The messenger wants the orb and says that, in addition to the hefty payment he’s offering, you can sort through the remainder of the goods and keep or sell to your black heart is content. You’re told to rendezvous with the others the messenger assembled for the job beneath the overpass where the Docks and Southpoint meet; there’s an alley sandwiched between two dilapidated warehouses where the others will be at 9 PM sharp.
Fast forward, you stalk through Star City, making ends meet, until the time is right and then head to the meeting place. It’s easy to find, and you’re able to dodge a fight with the locals before getting to the spot. There, you find the others: a motley crew of two-bit villains and haggard ex-heroes gathered together by the common vice of avarice.
There’s Cerberus, the ex-special-forces commando who has donned a light-weight, high-tech suit that further enhances his nano-tech-infused body; he’s got all manner of weapons sheathed and strapped to various points in the suit in a borderline organic sort of way. Ma-ti was another hero who had seen one too many horrors in life; he’s the last surviving member of the Planeteers and wears the four elemental rings of his deceased teammates, giving him limited elemental powers and the ability to transform into an incomplete, difficult to control version of Captain Planet. Temptest was a former Atlantean noble with enhanced psionic abilities who has fled to Star City to try and live a common life and has, much to her chagrin, gotten herself involved in some sordid affairs. Inkwell appeared from the shadows, explaining that his body has been transmuted into an amorphous mass of bio-engineered ink that he can now shape using his will. The most mundane-looking member of the party was a presumed meta-human teenager named Nova, who was dressed in typical street clothes but later displayed an extremely potent control over heat and combustive powers. Finally, a woman by the code-name of “Hellwolf” appeared in mundane clothes with a pair of weathered nullifier-shackles bound to her wrist.
Most members of the above motley crew had scouted the Docks hours before meeting. Through mental manipulation and old fashioned sleuthing, they found out that a shipment would be arriving in Warehouse 17 later that evening.
After gathering in the alleyway, the group had a rather cold set of introductions, each as standoff-ish as one would expect an anonymously gathered group of villains to be. A short time after their introductions, half a dozen thugs approached and asked if they had gotten the same call. The party agreed. After a short discussion, tempers flared when the leader of the thugs felt like his crew didn’t need any competitors for the protean orb, and they were going to take it for themselves. The party quickly incapacitated most of the thugs, with one being exploded into a fine red mist by Nova, who seemed to be still getting the hang of her powers. The last remaining thug quickly offered up the only bits of information he knew: the shipment the messenger wanted was housed in Warehouse 17, but he didn’t know where it would be at.
The villains race across the Docks district toward Warehouse 17. They arrive, noting that the place is abandoned. They quickly find the warehouse, a long, simple industrial building used for holding material that has been and will be shipped around the world. It doesn’t stand out from the other warehouses it stands parallel to. The villains find that the main entrances have been chained shut. Cerberus and Tempest scout the inside of the building using their technological and psionic sensory powers, noting that there are two human heat-signatures patrolling inside. They debate on how to stealthily enter the warehouse, recalling that the messenger specifically tasked them with causing as little collateral damage as possible. Hellwolf decides that the only way in is through brute force. She unhinges the nullifier shackles and immediately, violently transforms into a hulking demonic werewolf. She slices through the metallic door and chains with her infernal claws and shoves the door over with ease. The villains follow her into the warehouse.
The warehouse is a massive labyrinth of industrial sized steel shelves lined with boxes marked with symbols of various corporations and goods. The villains examine them for a short time, finding nothing of use. A doorway leads to the back where Cerberus and Tempest noted the human presences. Seeing no other way around it, they enter the back.
As they enter the back, they see a few more sporadically placed shelves with various crates from the other room. A figure emerges close to the back wall and stands beneath an isolated light from above. He haughtily announces himself as the Arbiter, a hero who has brought the foolish and greedy villains right into his trap. He explains that he is tired of the Star City authorities not doing more to eradicate the plague of super-villainy and he, as a virtuous hero, has the authority—no, obligation!—to bring down the villains once and for all. He immediately makes use of a metallic gauntlet over his right hand, shaped like a medieval gauntlet with overlaid plates that appear like waves crashing into another, colored like the ocean. Vibrant violet energy crackles down from the ceiling splashing into the floor and darting up the legs of the villains…who shake off the paralyzing force without effort. They immediately launch a counter-attack, laying into the Arbiter in unison led by Hellwolf.
From behind the shelves, another figure appears. He looks similar in costume and haughtiness to the Arbiter, but a few decades younger. Kid Constitution, he announces himself to be, darts around and immediately hurls his scroll-looking shield at one of the villains, diverting their attention. Hellwolf and the Arbiter go toe-to-toe as the hero tries, in vain, to channel the gauntlet’s relic-powers into the villain. Nova, meanwhile, hides in the back of the room, worried that she will unintentionally murder another person, this one being a well-known hero. Ma-Ti, using the Earth ring’s powers, burrows into the warehouse with Tempest while Kid Constitution darts into a nearby office building. Soon, he unleashes a swirling blast of purple energy that radiates through the Arbiter’s gauntlet, granting him the ability to flight. He soars into the air, away from his foes to gather his powers…
Kid Constitution squares off against Cerberus in a round of melee and, just as he looks like he may be getting the upper hand, Nova appears and hurls a devastating pulse of heat at him. The Kid blocks the attack, but throws him off guard, allowing Cerberus to take control of the fight. Ma-Ti and Tempest team up to put a stop to the Arbiter before he can gain any more powers from the canopic jars hidden away in the office buildings—a fact that Inkwell relayed, while stealthing through the darkness behind the party, surveying and waiting for a time to strike.
Hellwolf didn’t let them finish. She hurled herself into the air toward the Arbiter and carved out a sizable portion of his chest. The hero crashed into the ground near the back wall, bleeding profusely and bordering on death. She approaches, bloodlust in her eyes…
The back wall is torn open by a horrendous explosion. Metallic and stone shrapnel tear across the room, but the villains managed to dodge out of the way, save for Hellwolf; she’s thrown backwards by the blast but quickly regenerates. Once the smoke and dust clear, the villains notice half a dozen armor-clad warriors marching toward them over the rubble. They each have a vibrant, pulsating blade and futuristic guns in their blue-scaled hands. The hulking figures look like a cross between an alligator and a shark, all teeth, muscle, and barely contained ferocity. One of the Fins—as they’re called due to the large dorsal fin running down their backs—approaches the downed Arbiter, points the barrel at his skull, and fires. The hero becomes nothing more than a fine ash.
“Annihilate the meta-humans,” the leader growls.