Super Sunday: The Feral Pirates of the Circle

The Feral Pirates of the Circle

The Circle is a small, but very densely populated galaxy (which we encountered as the home to the Dellwellians). With many, many planets making up a galaxy-wide society, there are vast shipping lanes that bring supplies between worlds. This is prime territory for criminal activity, and one crew of such criminals go by the name “The Feral Pirates”.

Murb Deel

Murb Deel is a Drutag, and Drutags are not a species native to the Circle. Back home, Murb was a test pilot who was flying a new type of spacecraft when something went wrong. Murb has no idea of the physics of what happened, but the next thing he new he was in a new galaxy and surrounded by Space Pirates. Luckily, the Drutag are a species who advance in rank by being superior in combat, and that worked with these pirates too. Murb is now in charge of a pirate ship with a crew from a bunch of species from this strange new galaxy. Though Murb is not bloodthirsty, crimes being committed to make a living are fair game. And, of course, proving the superiority of the ship in battle is a must.

In any other story of this sort, this is the role that would be occupied by a human. If it isn’t clear by now that PDR don’t necessarily play that way, I don’t know what to tell you.

Haqwad

Second in command to Murb Deel, Haqwad is the femme fatale of the crew. Skilled with martial arts and espionage tactics, Haqwad’s real skill is the art of seduction. Haqwad occasionally hints at a mysterious past in which she was an assassin, but that is just to draw suspicion away from her real mysterious past as a member of a law enforcement agency.

Henjuen B

Henjuen B is from a species that could best be described as “brain cells inside large floating devices”. Henjuen B is the pirate ship’s chief mechanic, keeping the thing running even when it is being blasted apart by enemy fire and replacement parts are just too expensive to get right now. Perhaps rightfully so, Henjuen B is a cantankerous sort and plays it up, often playfully bantering with the rest of the crew, especially Pilot.

Pilot

Pilot is not a robot, but a member of a species who used their advanced technology to upload themselves into computers. The rest of the species has suffered bad times, with a sort of computer virus corrupting their memory banks and forcing them to go into sleep mode. Pilot now works with the pirates in the hopes of finding the means to save the rest of the species, but is also not averse to having a fun time along the way.

Swobbin

Swobbin is something of a loose cannon. Nobody else on the crew is quite certain if Swobbin is typical of her species, or if even among them she would be considered crazy, but she is almost suicidally reckless and unpredictable. She’s the sort who might betray the crew for the right price, but she’ll probably then kill the payers when she loses interest. She’s the type who might try to trick the crew into going to a planet where there is supposed to be treasure, but there is actually a bunch of people she wants to beat up. They can only justify keeping her around because she is really good in a fight.

Dworreh

Dworreh is the team’s muscle. From a species who are so feared that they aren’t even allowed to leave their home sector without permission from law-enforcement agencies, Dworreh is the secret weapon that the pirates don’t advertise unless they are planning on taking no survivors. Dworreh is less concerned about keeping the secret and is more eager to get into action than the others would consider wise.

Super Sunday: Efmon Space Commandos

Efmon Space Commandos

The Efmons are a massive family of magically-enhanced world conquerors who were exiled from their home dimension. Trying to establish a new base of operations, they conquered the planet Zezwek. Using this world as a beachhead into the new universe in which they find themselves, the family have begun magically travelling to other planets and, when they find intelligent life, conquering. Their resources are limited, though, so when possible they have been recruiting the conquered alien species to their cause. This is a special forces team they have created with the intent of going into enemy lines for missions.

Phillin Efmon

Phillin is a young Efmon, born after the family’s defeat in their home dimension. He was trained at a time when the family was pushing its hardest to return to power, and had to start young, and saw combat even before his ceremony that gave him his mystical powers, something which never would have been allowed on the homeworld. Phillin showed such skill as a warrior that it was decided he would be the perfect Efmon to keep the alien commando unit in line.

Exxo Palavo

Exxo Palavo has committed wholeheartedly to the worship of the Efmon’s god, Thalamaya. Having fought the Efmons when they first began their conquest of Zezwek, Exxo saw such miracles as could not be explained but by magic. Any force that could make such things happen was beyond the scope of Exxo’s imagination. During a battle Exxo surrendered and was put in a prison. There, introduced to the teachings of the Efmon, Exxo never doubted the new faith and was rewarded with a chance to serve Thalamaya’s mission.

Nevek Sang

Nevek Sang comes from the nearest inhabited planet to Zezwek, and the species could hardly be more different than the Zezwek People. Voracious carnivores that prefer to live solitary lives, Nevek’s people actually had knowledge of certain mystical practices before the Efmons arrival, which only allowed them to sense the power of the invasion force. It only made sense to ally with such a powerful army, and they opened up their world to the otherdimensional family. Nevek is a particularly bloodthirsty example of the species, often going out of the way to make an enemy’s death more painful than it need be.

Comtor

Comtor represents a species that is intelligent in the ways that we, as humans, consider important, but was not the dominant species on their world. Apart from some mild tool use, the species had not advanced technologically, and their small population was beset by the dangers of predatory species and inclement weather. The small predatory species would hunt game, running faster than cheetahs, but were often driven outperformed by flying animals. When the Efmon forces arrived on that world, Comtor was one of the first beings inquisitive enough to investigate, and that is how the Efmons discovered their intelligence. The species has now been introduced to advanced technology and suddenly finds itself living at the top of the food chain in what seems like a magical paradise.

Cot Rondar

Cot Rondar is the team’s tank. A large snail-like creature, Cot’s regenerative cellular structure makes it almost impervious to most damage, and its strength makes it ideal for carrying heavy weapons and supplies. Cot actually has no technical loyalty to the Efmons in general, but is from a species whose hierarchy is designated by shows of dominance. The Efmon’s invasion of Cot’s planet proved that they are the alphas in that galaxy.

Super Sunday: The League of Space Doctors

The League of Space Doctors

“The Mutant’s Curse”, “Malevolent Entity Disorder”, “Space Horror Disease”. These are all names for an apparently intelligent and definitely evil virus-like lifeform that has been spreading to various alien species trying to reach all the corners of the universe. The League of Space Doctors is an organization made up of representatives of many alien species that have banded together to put an end to the virus’s spread.

Dr. Vedzax was a Space Doctor who was covered during Superhero Sunday year. Now we shall meet some of his allies:

Dr. Ardakkus

Ardakkus is a close friend of Dr. Vedzax, both of them having been in the Space Doctor Academy at the same time. Sadly, Ardakkus is one of the last few survivors of the Urvarkan species, their homeworld having been ravaged by the virus that the Space Doctors came together to fight. After witnessing the destruction there, Ardakkus joined the Academy and became one of the League’s most talented surgeons.

Dr. Lykstam

A member of an aquatic species that must use a special backpack that keeps her moisturized, as well as allowing her to fly around, Lykstam specializes in battlefield medicine. The virus has been known to use wars as a means of entry into various species, so the Space Doctors try to help out when possible. There is some division among the League about how much time should be spent working on health issues apart from the virus, but Lykstam is a proponent of helping wherever needed, whether the virus is present or not.

Dr. Gartok

All of the Space Doctors have been through trying times, but Gartok was in charge of clearing the virus out of the Hezzitar System, but failed. Millions of beings died because of that failure, a fact that weighs heavily on Gartok. Other Space Doctors are worried that the stress may cause Gartok to make more mistakes in the future, or spin into depression and even become suicidal, but Gartok refuses to stop working. Still, even Gartok can’t help but notice the quiver in their tentacles that were not there before.

Dr. Bampo

Bampo is a magnificent genius. Though Bampo is a Fleddian, a species that does not possess hands that would make medical work more easy, Bampo has a brilliant mind capable of recognizing symptoms and making diagnoses at lightning speed, as well as charting the potential infection path of the virus. Bampo also takes on interns as assistants, helping them to learn enough to become the next generation of Space Doctors.

Dr. Yelon

Dr. Yelon is from a species that has not yet made contact with other alien races and Yelon intends to keep it that way. Yelon happily works as a Space Doctor, with special sense organs that essentially let Yelon see inside of patients, but is always concerned about the possibility of the virus making its way back to their homeworld. As a result, Yelon is very secretive, even among the other Space Doctors.

Super Sunday: Raid Force Zero

Raid Force Zero

In a world where evil is winning, superheroes need to be rougher and meaner if they want to make a difference. That is exactly why Lex Techno, had to create Raid Force Zero, a team of supersoldiers intent on destroying evil once and for all. We’ve already met Captain Fire and Earth-Red’s local Beam, but who else makes up the worlds violent saviors?

With Lex Techno, I tried to make the point that 90s Comics were underrated and that their elements undeservingly shunned. With that premise in mind, I am fleshing out this team with some characters that feel to me like they’d fit into those team books that were so common back then (even though I admit I haven’t read them and my artistic skills are even worse than those maligned artists of that decade). Here goes:

Kalpa

Kalpa is an elite alien soldier who originally came to Earth as an invader. Hundreds of such soldiers, modified by alien science to appear human, were sent to Earth, but when they arrived, they found a world torn asunder by supervillains, vampires, and many other threats much worse than mere alien soldiers. Many of his ilk were killed, and Kalpa learned to hate the violence he had been trained to revel in. So now he plans to bring peace to his new home the only way he knows how: through violence.

There were an awful lot of characters in the 90s who had names that were just single words that didn’t really have anything to do with them. Thanks to the Internet, I found the term from Hindu and Buddhist cosmology Kalpa which means a very long time. It works because his human form is meant to appear Indian. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with him, since his powers are all about guns and forcefields.

Bladestrike

Trained to kill by the deadliest assassins in the world, and possessing vaguely defined energy powers, Bladestrike is a perfect killing machine. She was part of a squad formed by a shadowy government cabal to take out threats from other nations. On one mission, the threat was too much and Bladestrike and her teammates were killed. Bladestrike, though, didn’t stay killed. Revived by her employers, she was told they would patch her up and get her back into the field as the new leader of the squad. But as soon as she was strong enough, Bladestrike went AWOL. During the time when she was declared dead, she had seen something that she had not told her bosses. She realized she had to change her life around, and Raid Force Zero took her in and are giving her the chance to make those changes.

Scantily clad ninja ladies are, perhaps, the most childish way comics tried to prove they were for adults. But as I think I’ve said before, scantily-clad women aren’t a bad thing in themselves, as long as it isn’t a requirement of all women in the stories, and also that there is more to the characters than just their scant claddedness. Hopefully, I could succeed at meeting my own standards here.

Thunder Thrower

When Carlton Curtis gained the power to create sonic explosions, he decided to use them to clean up the crime in his neighborhood. For years it seemed like he was doing well, but as time went on he gathered more and more enemies, supervillains who seemed to exist just to torment him. The job became too difficult for one man, so when the chance to join Raid Force One came along, it seemed like the best option.

I am picturing Thunder Thrower as a more classic superhero who was revamped into the 90s style. He started off as a symbol of hope and wonder, but then became a bitter and violent anti-hero because the former is too hard to maintain in a world like this. His loved ones were probably all killed off by villains to raise the stakes of his adventures. Note that he does not have electrical powers, he has sonic powers. But maybe he can also fly for no adequately explained reason.

The Crunch

The Crunch is actually a sentient magnetic field created by an evil mad scientist, whom the Crunch soon killed. To form a corporeal body, the Crunch gathers up hunks of scrap metal and compacts it into a super-dense form, including when necessary a magnetically-powered railgun. The Crunch considers humanity lesser beings, and was perfectly willing to kill indiscriminately until Lex Techno brought that to and end by beating the Crunch in a fight. Impressed with Lex’s skills, the Crunch is now willing to serve as a member of Raid Force One.

It may have been my imagination, but it seemed like all the terrible 90s hero teams had a Ben Grimm ripoff. Whether or not that’s true, I felt like I should get one. With his powers, he’d be able to get comically larger every time he showed up. He’d also fill the role of the Boisterous Warrior of the team, reveling in showing off and finding new challenges.

Super Sunday: The Paladins of Podd

The Paladins of Podd

The nation of Podd is essentially a paradise. They’ve eliminated crime and poverty and disease. They’ve got the finest educational system in their world. Menial tasks are done by machines and philosophical and intellectual pursuits are enjoyed by any who want to enjoy them. Podd wants to spread their happiness across the world. Does that make them assholes?

A lot of other nations seem to think so. Podd has a tendency to stick itself into the business of other nations. Sometimes this is good, such as when they provide relief to people who have been stricken by drought or disaster. Other times their presence is less appreciated, such as when they try to force other countries to change their policies by force. We may think it is right for them to fight for sexuality equality in the neighboring nation of Kebash, but do we agree when they force the nation of Islopia to free convicted criminals? What right does Podd have to tell other countries how to go about their business? After all, only a century ago, Podd itself was a nation with institutionalized slavery and anti-religious laws. Is Podd a great nation that has learned from its mistakes, or is it a land of hypocrites?

Podd works extremely hard to maintain the moral high ground. When Podd declares war on another nation, a typical year will result in about a dozen Podd soldiers’ deaths. But their enemies will suffer no casualties at the hands of Podd. They have perfected all manner of non-lethal weaponry and they aren’t afraid to use it. Podd soldiers will gladly surrender their lives for the cause, but the lives of others are not theirs to sacrifice.

Ren Lighten is the head of Podd’s Drop Knights. This Corps of soldiers will be flown over enemy lines and parachuted in to set up strongholds and engage the local populace when possible. Ren is the son of a government official and was raised with the values of Podd at his core. He could have lived a life of luxury (but then, so could anyone in Podd), but he had to get out there and make a difference. He’s the ideal Podd soldier.

Kurk Wisher was not raised in Podd. He was, in fact, an enemy who met Podd soldiers on the field of battle. As often happens, he was swiftly beaten. But when he saw how much better Podd was than his home at treating soldiers, he questioned his loyalty. Not only were the prisoners well treated, but Podd’s own soldiers who suffered from post-traumatic stress were cared for better than anyone in his home had been. As is the practice, Kurk was given his freedom when the war ended, and he promptly signed up with the more appealing side.

There are times when some individual in some nation other than Podd, scientists and community leaders or the like, are in danger, but the officials of Podd consider that person important. Before they even realize they are the target of sinister forces, those individuals will meet Bob Felling. The hulking soldier is one of Podd’s Target Guardians. When assigned to protect someone, Bob makes sure they stay protected. Such Guardians are the last unit of Podd’s military to carry a weapon designed to be fatal: a sword. While it is fully capable of killing, the Guardians consider it purely ceremonial. Those being protected by the Guardians are usually from nations that have not yet abandoned killing as a means of defense, so it does serve a comforting purpose for them as well.

Shell Worldly is part of the newest of the Podd military’s units. Some of them consider covert espionage to be underhanded and shady. Shell doesn’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, but her role as Podd’s first Overt Spy gives her a chance to show off her skills, so she is happy with it. Raised in a house with many competitive siblings, Shell always liked to prove herself to be the best. Now she does it on a national scale. If one of Podd’s enemy nations is, for example, constructing a nuclear missile silo, and they are trying to be sneaky about it, Shell Worldly will waltz up to the gates and let herself be noticed by as many of the guards as possible. She will break in and steal blueprints or take photos and escape uncaptured, but plainly seen. The message is simple: You can not hide your evil machinations from the nation of Podd, and they don’t fear you enough to bother trying to hide anything from you.

Wearing the blood red that is universal code for the occupation on this world, Dara Talik is a field medic. Among most countries, not just Podd, it is considered a war crime to attack medics on the battlefield, but Podd is unique in the amount of focus that they give on their opponents. Talik’s family is a member of the religious minority that was brutally oppressed in Podd only generations ago, but now her faith in both her god and her nation have made her one of the bravest heroes Podd has ever seen. There is no situation too dangerous for her to try to help the wounded.

So are the forces of Podd the good guys? It depends who you ask. But if history is written by the victors, it looks like Podd is going to be writing some history pretty soon.

Notes: Podd is set in another universe not already introduced in Super Sundays. I found among my notes mentions of an idea for a “Shotguns and Sorcery” world that combine elements from modern military and political fiction with fantasy universe stuff. I like the idea, so Podd is my first entry into this new alternate Earth that has magic and monsters, but still has trucks and planes and computers and such. And now I’ve got another world to flesh out.