Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Century Club ep04 : Spirit of the Century


The Century Club
Spirit of the Century

Episode Four
"The Plan"

The Silver Line was the first intercontinental train that was to cut through all of Europe and the neighboring countries.  It was capable of immense speeds and was affordable only by the rich, the popular and the influential.  It had just opened its doors to the public after a few weeks of testing and monitored travels and had a passenger capacity of 150.

The train had been taken over by the Normalists.  Faceless and dangerous, these vile agents of terror had taken over the technological marvel.  And the Century Club learned only of this when Whilemina Wheeler, Fearless Reporter Extraordinaire happened to call them using the strange futuristic portable telephone that she was able to filch from one of the enemy agents.  Wheeler warns them that faceless soldiers have commandeered the vessel.  Knowing they should best try to go help in secrecy, Walter Le' Frogge is able to contact an old friend, a human-animal hybrid like himself who had also escaped the clutches of the Brotherhood.  The ally is part of a travelling circus, and he knows someone who has a plane.  The ally flies them to the next upcoming bridge that the Silver Line was to pass and on the right moment, the three leap to land on the car's roof and get there stealthily.  There is golden light surrounding the front of the train's engine as it approaches.  Kenji Katana wishes Cosmo was still with them.  Victor Knightfellow wished Svetlana Sol was with them but she quit the group after getting tired of hearing them repeatedly lamenting the loss of a member of the group which she had no recollection of:  Cosmo.  True enough, as Percy warned them, only they recalled Cosmo's existence in the team, and after his disappearance, Svetlana felt the three were teasing her about an imaginary member, to the point she felt they were insulting her for being part of the Soviet Union.  Victor had the added issue of no longer being in touch with his Spirit Companion.

They land, but Kenji's metal body slams against the roof too hard and the train's Shifting Directions does not make it easier.  Victor Jumps At the Call and gently lands on the roof.  Kenji bounces off the roof and begins to roll down its length!  Walter laments all these attempts to do stealth with the man of steel.  A crash!  Kenji crashes through a sky roof in one of the cabins and hits the carpeted floor.  The people dressed in their wonderful clothes and rich garments stare at Kenji realizes he had just landed on the food tray.  As Victor and Walter make their way to see what happened, Kenji finds Wheeler holding a young sixteen year old girl behind her.  She mouths, Get Out Of There, and Kenji rolls to the side with the table cloth wrapped around him to cover him.  The door slams open.

A soldier steps into the caboose, and he demands an explanation for the noise.  The man is dressed in a military uniform, with no insignia or political markings on his clothing.  There is a thin wire extending from his ear to his mouth.  He demands for an explanation and Wheeler misdirects and explains that the food cart smashed into the sunroof when the train hit a bump.  Walter laments how she is not a good liar.  The soldier asks if she is trying to make a stupid joke.  Walter watches from the roof, balanced perfectly with his sticky feet as being the First Human Frog.  Victor notices Walter does not see the incoming tree with a low hanging branch!  Unable to call out to warn him, he uses the Talisman of the Wylde to attempt to usurp control of Le'Frogge.  It works!  But that split second, Victor's unconscious body nearly slides off the roof from the moving train.  Dropping control, Victor leaps back into his own body and Walter reaches out to grab the Man of Mystery before he falls off the edge.   Thankfully, Victor's coat snags on to something on the train.  Back in the train, Wheeler insists that is what really happened and Kenji realizes she is motioning him to throw him OUT of the train.  "Well you never know if it will happen again."  Kenji grabs the soldier's leg and with his incredible might from his New Metallic Body, he flings the soldier out of the caboose and the man slams into another low hanging branch.

With the three gathered together, Wheeler quickly updates them on what is going on.  She tells them it seems to be the same people who attacked the welcoming party.  Victor wonders if the Normalists had this kind of masks.  The other captives ask the group to help, citing their daughters and family members in trouble.  Wheeler reminds them there isn't much time.  The faceless soldiers are working with a group calling itself EGO or Earth's Guardian Order.  And they are lead by a talking dog.  Victor mutters that the day has finally come.. a day which they worried about how they would fix given the mistakes of the past.  Kenji cites they are more or less the in middle of the train, and that whoever is controlling the train is possibly at the front.  Wheeler admits most of the best and Europe's finest are in the train.  Today was the first public opening.  The train doesn't have any special cargo.  Five of the trains contain first class guests.  The rest was wine, caviar, and other wonderful things for the guests.  The security had been forced to sleep and locked into the rear of the car.  Walter admits that would be something Cosmo would do, but even Wheeler does not know who Cosmo is.  One bystander adds that one of the members is a Mister ID, who uses strange lights.  Another shares the frightening tale of a dog that talks.  It calls itself Sputnik.  Victor mumbles about Sputnik sounding like a Russian name.  There is mention of one last member, a woman who is always in the shadows. She appears as an afterimage after Mister ID used his abilities.

That moment, one of the Normalist soldiers asks if all is well.  Wheeler pushes the three to head down to the next train.  Victor trusts the Devil's Luck, mumbles to somewhat supposedly match the voice, and says some glass broke when the cart hit the sky roof window.  "This might take a while.  I'm still here cleaning it up."  The soldier counters that they were supposed to work in pairs.  The sixteen year old girl pulls at Walter to hide.  Walter confirms only one soldier is approaching.  Victor stands in front of the door, at eye level, ready to entrance the man.  The girl tells Walter, "I'm very scared. I wish my papa was still here but he is dead."  Walter turns to Kenji but the man of steel is ready to grab the soldier in the distance.  Wheeler calls out, "Are you really letting your friend join us?" as she mutters aloud in a french accent.   The man opts to wait outside.   Quietly, they all make their way to the back.  Walter hands the young girl back to Wheeler.  He notices Wheeler's expression though of panic upon seeing her with Walter.  He muses there is something special about the girl.  Victor searches his mental map of who would be important at that age and possibly on the train.  As a Scion of Merlin, Victor finds himself remembering the tale of the missing Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.  Could it be her?

As they move through the next two cars, the group considers their next move.  Walter feels unsure about things.  The doors to the other trains seem to be unlocked.  Kenji considers that given the two guards are roving, there probably are not that many guards to deal with.  Kenji does wonder if there is something in the rear of the train given Wheeler's insistence to head to the back.  Walter asks who the girl is and Wheeler claims she is no one important.  Victor counters, asking if Royalty is really not important.  Wheeler admits she might be someone of import, and she is safer so long as no one knows who she is.  Wheeler shares there was supposed to be a contingent of sixteen staff on the train, but none of them have seen any of the staff since the hostage situation.  Victor muses they are all in front.  Kenji and Walter however consider that the staff are actually the enemy.  Wheeler hands them the device she used to call them, and tells them it supposedly is a telephone though it has no wires.  She demonstrates to them as the phone glows and responds to her touch.   The three realize the lit up parts resemble some parts of Cosmo's uniform.  Victor starts pressing the buttons, watching what happens.  Suddenly, a very loud alarm breaks out from the phone.  In panic, Victor flings it out the window!  Walter grabs it before it flies out and as they all get frantic Kenji asks for it and smashes it under his foot.  From the opposite car, the soldiers call out asking if there is anything wrong.  Wheeler ducks behind a seat.  Walter has slid out of a window to hang in concealment.  Victor ducks to the opposite side to Walter.  The door slams open with Kenji right behind the door.  As the two soldiers step in, they notice the open window.  As one steps forward, the other reaches into his pocket and speaks into the wire, "Something is wrong here in the rear.  Check the other cars."  One approaches the window.  The other waits.  Victor figures the device allows the soldiers to keep in touch.  Kenji takes that moment to act and he grabs the first one and slams him against the second guy.  The two hit the ground.  Victor quickly tells Kenji that the soldier has one of those telephone things.   Victor scans to see if there are any other soldiers.

Walter crawls up to the roof and moves further down to the car the soldiers came from.  Through the window, he sees the clothes folded in neat piles on the floor which confirms their suspicions that the staff are the Normalists!  From the window, a blur of motion shatters the glass.  Walter spins to the window beside the one he is looking through to barge in and slam into his attacker.  The attacker turns out to be a woman!  Walter pulls back at the last second, and he pins her against the opposite wall instead of hurting her.  The woman turns out to be a deadly Asian woman with dragon markings.  She recognizes Walter by name and declares herself to be the Lady Shi.  She admits she has heard of him many times before and has always wanted to meet him!  She tells him that Sputnik has said so much about him, and that as the member of the Sisterhood, she was vowed to someday kill him!

Victor checks the door and hears nothing.  Wheeler complains about how the team does not seem to have a leader.  Kenji pulls out the phone and notices wires sticking out of it, like dynamite or something. Victor takes it from Kenji and fiddles with it, making sure not to press the earlier combination that caused the alarm.  Kenji asks Wheeler to use the phone to contact the other guards and to tell them that everything is fine in this car.  Victor watches intently as she manipulates the phone.  She locates a list in the phone and shows there are sixteen numbers listed. Victor checks the soldier's clothes and there are numbers marked on their sleeves.  They quickly identify the soldiers they've already dispatched but before they could do more, there is a gold spark on Wheeler's forehead.  Victor and Kenji turns to each other and they realize they too have gold sparks on their foreheads as well!  "If Cosmo can read our thoughts, we are screwed," Victor mutters.  The light flares from gold to red.  They all hear telepathically:  *Comrades.  I have found the interlopers.*

Metal locks into place as Walter Le'Frogge activates his signature weapon, Spitze.  Lady Shi unleashes her Dragon Talons.  The two enter a deadly dance as they parry each others strikes amidst banter and quips.

"How is your Brotherhood?  I heard they are dead?"

"Not yet.  I still live!  Where is Sputnik?!"

"Sputnik is everywhere!"

She swings but he dodges and pins her against the wall.  He hears a click, and he pushes her away as she throws a bladed knee at him.  It misses.  She leaps but he keeps a hand clamped around her wrist.

"Did Sputnik tell you to do all this?  Is he your leader?"

"We are the EGO.  We exist to serve the ID!"

"You will know soon enough."

As the footfalls close in, Wheeler turns to the rear door and runs for it knowing Walter should be there.  Victor runs to join her, but Kenji Kanata focuses on the door.  As it slams open, Kenji moves gracefully  as he tackles them backwards both back out into the earlier car.    As Victor gets into the car, he notices two new guards running into the car.  He tells Walter to handle the guards and barks at Shi, "Hey Lady!"  The martial arts mistress, however, flings a dagger at him.  Used to Playing With The Big Boys, Victor catches it at the last second and locks eyes with her.  Walter jumps forward past Lady Shi and closes in at the guards by the door.   With two blades drawn, Walter stabs the Normalists in a swift motion.  The two scream in pain as they drop to their knees with bleeding stomachs.  Victor's eyes lock with Lady Shi's.  "I am a Daughter... The Daughter of the Seven Warlords of Japan. You will not-" but her words are cut off as Victor mesmerizes her to fall asleep.  But crimson light flares that moment in her eyes as Sputnik takes over!

As Kenji slams to the earlier car, the soldiers are knocked down.  But more hostages scream for cover as two more soliders emerge at the other end.  The two open fire with their semi-automatic weapons.  The bullets fail to penetrate Kenji's New Mettalic Body.  The two stop firing, realizing its not wise to keep shooting.

A bladed knee is swung at Victor as Sputnik-controlling-Lady Shi moves in to strike.  Victor reaches out with the Talisman of the Wylde once again to usurp Walter to protect him, but even with the Devil's Luck, the edge finds flesh.  Victor drops to the ground with blood gushing from his ripped leg.  The crimson glow swirls upon Victor again as Sputnik attempts to reach into his mind.  Using Walter, Victor  flings the weapon to help himself, but Lady Shi easily catches it.  Victor takes that moment to sucker punch her in the groin. Even as a Martial Arts Mistress, Lady Shi is unable to resist the pain completely.  But given Sputnik is in charge, the woman remains standing.

Shimmering silver and rainbow hues.  Kenji Katana watches as the two soldiers fall back and a man dressed in shifting silver comes into view.  He proclaims himself as Mister ID, the ideas man, and as Kenji draws his sword to intimidate the man with his Iron Determination, he discovers the enemy is not easily intimidated. He uses his powers to dazzle Kenji with his mirrored clothing like a strobe-light, as he talks about how a warrior is useless if he cannot see.  Kenji turns away, and throws his blade into the air.  Mister ID is confused by Kenji's actions, unaware of Kenji's plan. Kenji charges forward at Mister ID attempts to tackle the man instead, making full use of the Narrow Passageways to his advantage.  Even as the lights flare, Kenji crashes into the opponent.

Victor rolls away from the Lady Shi, bleeding from his leg.  Walter regains control of himself and sees Lady Shi snarling about needing only one hit to kill her targets.  Walter rushes at her, drawing the garrote string to choke her as he was Trained by the Brotherhood.  She howls about bringing honor to her family, but cannot break free.  Victor realizes Shi is possessed by Sputnik still, and wonders if he can mesmerize him using his gaze.  He stares into her eyes and tries to possess him but instead he discovers Sputnik was never in control:  Instead, she was being psychically boosted by the canine.  Lady Shi runs up the wall in an attempt to leap over Walter and break free.  But Walter does the same that moment and the two land, still locked in the entangled state.

Crippled from the tackle, Mister ID attempts to use what he calls science to bring Kenji Katana down.  Kenji Katana unleashes steam out, being a Man of All Seasons, but Mister ID releases a low frequency throb that forces Kenji down as he feels what would be his bowels rebelling against him.   Kenji still tries to use his martial arts training to defeat the man.  His metal fist smashes into Mister ID's chest, forcing him to the ground.  Mister ID feels too Winded to fight.

While the two are entangled by the garrote wire, Victor quickly rushes through his thoughts for an idea to use.  He wonders where Wheeler has gone and wonders if there are knives and forks to use in the kitchen side of the restaurant.  Lady Shi and Walter, on the other hand, bark at each other about their historical training under their specific secret sects.  Walter however has been holding back from hurting Lady Shi, given his unwillingness to hurt a woman.  But seeing how injured Victor is, Walter jumps over Lady Shi's head and twists to try and entangle her despite her training.  In the last moment, Shi attempts to cut the wire to free herself but fails! "It doesn't have to end this way," Walter snarls at her as she is choking.  Victor grabs a nearby saucepan and smacks it on her head to knock her out, but she suddenly shifts to have Walter be in the way instead.  Walter attempts to kick her foot at the last second with his Ninja Skills to force her forward, but fails.  As the pan smacks Walter's head, Walter tumbles backwards slightly stunned.  Victor drops to the ground, and attempts to tie her shoes together.

Kenji looks up and sees the nozzles of guns trained at him.  However, the bigger danger is the pair of nozzles trained at everyone else.  He realizes the soldiers are threatening to open fire at everyone else.  A crimson glow then fills the room as Sputnik enters the area.  "Cosmo," Kenji gasps, "What are you doing?!"  Sputnik declares "Fire" and all the soldiers open fire.  Sputnik however freezes the bullets in mid-air.  He warns Kenjit that if he is injured in any way, the bullets get released.  When asked why he is doing this, a figure steps through the doorway, "He is doing it for me."

The Count Baron von Duke.

The Count speaks about being happy about waking up and realizing the world is a little bit different.  Somehow, he too remembers that the world is a little bit different.  "Comes with being a Millennial," he admits, "As there are people like you who are Spirits of the Century, there are beings like me who are not too happy that there are Centurions like you who are meddling with the world."  He talks about how the world is leading to a self-destruction and that the Centurions have a too-narrow-point of view to see how their actions are supporting thing.  He warns how the events in Hiroshima would pale in comparison to the acts of terror that are to happen daily, to the diseases and other injustices happen all over the world.  He even relates how more violence is to happen to animals like Sputnik as more are used for experimentation and the like in an arms race to reach the moon.  Kenji tries to say how he can try to stop such things, but the Count warns him that again he does not see the bigger picture.  He fiddles with one of Mister ID's arms and a projection is cast on the wall of a Monarch Butterfly.  He asks if they heard of the story of how a butterfly's wings can cause weather to change miles away - and relates how the same thing happens when Centurions try to change history.  "A small nudge here and a whole Millennium is affected:  Climate Change, Global Cataclysms, Chronal Disruptions, Quantum Fluctuations.  All of these are threats non-existent now but will threaten things in the future."  Kenji counters that like all rivers, it can be stopped.  To his surprise, the Count stresses that is true.  He stresses that is why he is here.  He talks about the Faceless Army needing a figurehead, and he cannot do much as merely a Count.  He was focused merely on the Century Club as a threat, but when he bore witness to how much the world has changed due to a single man's final wish, he knew the world needs more than a Count.  "The world needs an Emperor Duke."

When Kenji asked again why are they here this very moment, that's when the Count admits, "We came to lure YOU."  He stresses how they were supposed to be allies.  "Now, that will come to pass."  He reminds Kenji that if he does not surrender, Sputnik will release the bullets to kill the people in the car.  Sputnik growls at how he was left to burn in space vessel had it not been for the Count's actions that saved him.  He even stresses how his loved one, Laika, was the first to burn and how the humans still did not stop their experiments to throw animals to space.     "Fight and they die.  And you will probably defeat us but live the rest of your life knowing all these people died because of your decision.  Or you can submit, and who knows, perhaps your friends can someday rescue you.  You get to fight another day!"

Kenji surrenders.   Sputnik tells him to swear.  The Count tells Kenji to swear on his sword.  "Mitsurugi, to let these people live - I swear on the sword," Kenji declares.  The Count pulls out a screwdriver and walks up to Kenji to unclasp the soul gem once again.

"Wait, take me instead!" the young girl Wheeler was protecting calls out.  When the Count questions why she would be of any import, she reveals she has some kind of ability.  She claims to carry the essence of the last true Wizard, Rasputin.  She reveals she is the missing Grand Duchess and that she fled from her family's massacre to hide the last remaining Bloodline within her.  When the Count asks her to prove it, Sputnik reminds him he cannot do much while he holds the bullets.

Back at the car, Lady Shi finally drops unconscious.  Victor excitedly things he finally was able to disable her.  But as he confers with Walter what to do next, they realize the Cosmo they know could only do Telepathy and Telekinesis one at a time.  If Lady Shi was no longer telepathically boosted, that suggested that Sputnik was using his telekinesis for something else.  As they consider going after Kenji, they realize the next cab is currently empty.  Victor turns to Wheeler as asks her if they can use the mobile phones to contact him.  In response, she throws the second phone to Walter and suggests they try something.  As they both press the buttons on the phone at the same time as she suggested, they both suddenly hear the sound of a gunshot.  Victor slams against the side of the train as a bullet slams into his chest.  Walter turns and sees Wheeler with a drawn pistol.  "Sorry boys, but the Count offered me a position.  And I think I like the word Empress."  When Victor insults her for liking the Count, she admits she actually prefers frogs.  But luck is against the heroes as Wheeler's second shot nearly hits Walter.  Walter ducks behind cover.  "Do anything, Walter, and your Man of Mystery will have a new Mystery to solve: How does a man without a head think?"

As Victor tries to lean forward to grab her leg, she pulls it away at the last second.  That's when she admits Victor's own reflection told her to watch out for his grab! Victor discovers that his spirit companion, the Demon, had just betrayed him!  Victor growls and forces a conversation with the Demon while Walter sneaks out of the car, being a Friend of the Shadows as he tries to maneuver into an advantageous position.   Victor demands the Demon explain what is going on given the Demon broke the original deal with him already.  The Demon asks Victor remembers the day they watched that play called Aladdin and the story of the wish-giver and the lamp, and how Victor never made a wish to free the Demon.  The Demon did not change the terms to be completely free.  He just gave himself the chance to have one free wish: that Victor would have such a hard time and will need him.  Victor counters he does not see the need to ever made a deal with the Demon again, but the Demon asks him if he doesn't feel the urge to learn the things that Percy knew how to do.  The Demon does remind Victor that he doesn't know any other demons and that Victor only really learned to do things that Crowley did.  "You  simply became a Master of all these things that don't exist anymore.  All the demons Crowley commanded are now free.  They probably aren't even demons anymore."  Victor admits he finds the bargain interesting - but questions how he can trust someone who is working for the enemy.  The Demon corrects him, explaining he is not working for them.   He just was silently with Victor all this time, and waited for him to feel what it was like when he was not helping.  The Demon offers a new set of terms:  Quid Pro Quo.  A favor for a favor.  The terms are changing.  Victor will have to do something first before the Demon does something.  The first exchange is offered; if Victor makes his wound worse, the Demon will help him.  As their conversation ends, natural time flows again.

Wheeler trains the gun at Victor, who then yells at her and goads her to hurt him.  She turns, and fires a shot at the Man of Mystery.  The bullet takes out one of Victor's eyes!  Walter then witnesses from his hiding place as Wheeler's own eye explodes as well.  Victor sees his own reflection do a dance of joy.  Walter swings back into the car and kicks Wheeler's gun hand.  He does not notice Victor grunt in pain as his own arm feels the impact as well! "Oooh I'm gonna love this one!" the Demon exalts and only Victor hears his joy.  As Wheeler drops to the ground, Victor slams a bloody hand against the glass and curses the Demon for this trade off.  Walter kicks Wheeler from behind one last time to knock her out and only then realizes Victor is down as well.

"Oh," Walter gasps, "The Demon.  Right.  That's what you get for doing stuff on me with your Talisman," he huffs.

"I guess it is time to go," The Count tells Kenji.  Anastasia  asks them to wait and she shows a glowing orb that swirls from her chest.  The Count glances at it, unfazed, then has Sputnik knock her out with a telekinetic shove.  As she hits the ground, the Count merely mutters how people nowadays don't realize that the Count is a man of science.  "I don't believe in Magic.  Are you ready?" he asks Kenji.  Kenji asks them to take care of the people as part of the deal.  As the gem is pulled away from its socket, Walter and Victor in the distance hear Kenji's body slam to the ground.

The Count, Sputnik, and  his Faceless men are lifted off the ground with Crimson light.  For a brief moment, Sputnik stares at Kenji's body - as if there was a recollection.. a memory... but then its gone.  They leave and Walter arrives at the car with Kenji's body and discovers he has gone completely lifeless.

"Not quite the ending I was hoping," the Demon admits, "I was kind of hoping this would be some kind of last hurray before you died..."  Victor drifts to unconsciousness but just before he does completely so, a glowing woman leans over him and whispers, "You can serve me instead... you know my name... just save my name..."

Glorianna Sheeda smiles.

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