Mighty Crusaders: Curse of the Red Circle (updated 10/13/1)

Unfinished fan fiction. Works in progress.

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Mighty Crusaders: Curse of the Red Circle (updated 10/13/1)

Post by Xanadude » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:32 am

Author's Note:

Comic book time is, by its nature, very fluid.

The story you are about to read (I hate that phrase but it seems appropriate) takes place in the present day. In order for this to happen, I had to, like DC and Marvel, compress time a bit. However, I chose a different way of doing this.

Simply put, all published stories (with one Major exception and a few minor ones) are still cannon. However, the Red Circle/Archie Adventure books chronicle events, which took place fifteen years earlier - the RC/AA comics, follow the Mighty Comics series almost immediately. Imagine there was no publishing break. It actually works fairly well - a few minor details which didn't work in the first place have to be ignored. For example, Paul Patton is the Fox - not Paul JR, which also eliminates the fact that both father and son were in love with dancers named Delilah. Similarly, the Web is the same Web from the 40s, married to the still disapproving Rosie - no confusing father/son mix-ups here. The story in the Mighty Crusaders #11 is a flashback story to when Lancelot Strong was still around (notice how I didn't say still alive). Just remember that all those stories happened at the latest in the mid-70s, with the last time we saw the Crusaders being around the 1976 for the bicentennial (and my fifth birthday). I know some people may not agree with this, but, hey, it's my story.

The only major published story that has been relegated to the scrap heap is the Red Circle Comet mini-series, for reasons that will become apparent in the story.

In any case, I hope you enjoy my first attempt at Mighty Crusaders fanfic.

If you don't know some of the characters, don't worry -- I'll catch you up as we go along. And if you THINK you know some of the characters, hopefully you'll be surprised.

Ray Sablack



"Mom! Dad!! I'm home!"

Timothy Troy threw his backpack onto the kitchen. School was finally over for the semester - his last final was brutal, but he knew he would at least pull a B. Math was never his favorite subject, but his mother was an excellent tutor. His mother...funny, he'd never have guessed his mother would be good in math. After all, she was an actress. What would she know about numbers? When he asked, his father, Thomas just laughed and said that she had had to pinch pennies for a long time, and when she DID make it, she had to watch out for unscrupulous agents and managers.

"I did OK on the history test, I think," he yelled, not waiting for an answer and gulping milk from the carton, "but the Biology one was a killer. You'd think I'd be better at dissecting insects, but, you know how it is.."

He grabbed an apple and started to walk through the halls to his bedroom. Most afternoons it was just his mother home, sitting in the study, leafing through scripts and trying to decide whether to accept any new acting roles. She gave up acting for the most part when Tim was born, but lately Kim Brand (she kept her maiden name since that's how the public knew her) had been wanting to act some more, especially with Tim going away to college in the fall. He had just unpacked his bookbag when he realized how quiet the house was. There was usually SOME noise - a radio, the computer, bustle from the kitchen or study, his father humming some song he remembered from his days in the orphanage - something. And no one had answered when he came in - or yelled at him not to slam the door.

Tim went to the study. His mother HAD been there, as the newest batches of scripts were stacked on her desk. Maybe she had just gone out to the grocery store. That wasn't it - she would have left a note for him. He looked out his window to garage and saw that both of his parents' cars were there, which meant they had both been home.

Something was wrong. Tim raced through the hallways and finally ran into the master bedroom.The place was a mess. His parents were meticulous housekeepers and wouldn't leave so much as a pillow out of place, but the bedroom was a disaster. Furniture was overturned, sheets were ripped, and the phone looked as if it had been crushed - and on the wall above the bed was a large red circle, freshly drawn and dripping down the wall.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Whatever happened to the Fly and Fly Girl?

It was an inevitable question at every social function. Whenever there was a lull in conversation, some invariably asked the question. Someone always knew that that certain sitcom star who had dropped out of site due to a botched face-lift; or someone heard that a popular politician from years ago had fathered an illegitimate child and disappeared to raise it. But no one knew what happened to the Fly and Fly Girl. One moment they were patrolling Central City and adventuring with the Mighty Crusaders, the next the Crusaders called a press conference with the Fly Team conspicuously absent to announce that the Fly and Fly Girl would be retiring immediately. They never appeared in public again, and all subsequent inquiries regarding them were summarily dismissed. It had now been almost twenty years since the world had seen the heroic pair, and with the upcoming Induction Day ceremony, the question was raised again. People always reviewed the history of the Crusaders with a fine toothcomb before Induction Days, yet no one had ever been able to discern the fate of the Fly team.

Ben Reubens HATED Induction Day. Whenever the Mighty Crusaders induced a new member, theyheld a formal ceremony called Induction Day and broadcast it over MLJ-TV, the official network of the Crusaders. Ben Reubens had founded MLJ-TV, the Modern Legends of Justice Network, in the early 1980s as a specialized cable network, similar to CNN and Court TV, but focussing on issues relating to the ultra-human community. Since the Induction Day ceremonies were announced with little lead-time, Ben Reubens had to hastily rearrange his entire network's schedule on short notice. Every advertiser wanted to sponsor programs dealing with the Induction Day, but the network made sure that any sponsors had to donate an equal amount of money to the Crusaders' charity fund. Sponsors of programs displaced by ID festivities inevitably wanted equal time, and accommodating them all was a headache Reubens mostly left to his subordinates.

Ben Reubens had a deeper reason to dislike Induction Day, though - in his youth, he has had a brief career as a little known ultra hero called the Red Rube. As a child, Ben had to simply say the phrase "Hey, Rube!" and was immediately transformed into the ultra powered older Red Rube. His career was short lived, as he started his ultra career as many others were ending theirs, and, with the height of Cold War paranoia against anyone who was even slightly different or unconventional, Ben abandoned his ultra career and focused on his schooling; his love of entertainment leading him to focus on the business end of the entertainment industry. And, although he was undeniable powerful in his ultra-identity, he had never been asked to join the Mighty Crusaders when the formed several years later. His ultra-heroic career was merely a footnote in history; he was a third rate hero with delusions of his own importance. Ben accomplished more in his human identity and for the most part gave up his heroic identity by the time he turned twenty.

MLJ-TV's top personality. Lydia de Fellin, broke the news of the newest Induction Day on Friday. The ceremony was to be held on Sunday evening. Ben grudgingly welcomed the ratings surge but resented his self-perceived outsider status. In truth, Ben was the only network head the Crusaders trusted. The Crusaders' attorney, Thomas Troy. Regularly met with Reubens, and allowed the network access to files, photographs, information, and media on an exclusive basis.

Lydia de Fellin, on the other hand, loved Induction Day. As one of the most popular personalities in the world, hosting her own long running daytime talk show and having presenting duties on MLJ, Lydia boosted her already high profile with the ID ceremonies. She was especially excited about this ceremony, since she herself was secretly a member of the Mighty Crusaders in her other identity of the Sphinx. The Sphinx, however, was not just a colorful nomenclature; Lydia was actual an immortal who was the inspiration for some ancient civilizations' concepts of the Sphinx. As an immortal demi-goddess, Lydia craved attention and even worship - when she awoke after a long slumber in the present day, she adopted the identity of Cat Girl and was a persistent foe to both the Fly and another ultra hero, the Jaguar. Her crimes weren't meant for personal gain, however - they were designed to draw much needed attention to her. Gods - even demi-gods - were only powerful and truly alive as long as they have the attention of humans - worship provided the greatest source of strength to them, but mere admiration or attention also provided sustenance. Awakening in an era where her pantheon was relegated to the status of myths, the Sphinx realized that the quickest way to gain attention was through displays of ultra-power. She eventually realized that she would gain more admiration thorough acts of heroism, and so acted accordingly. - plus, she was an inherently moral creature.

In the mid-1960s, the Sphinx adopted the human guise of Lydia de Fellin, jet setter, as well as adventuring as Cat Girl. In the
1970s, she changed her ultra identities' name to the Sphinx, and started a career in the broadcast industry as Lydia. She eventually became a talk personality to rival Oprah Winfrey - gaining admiration and adulation in the process. Lately, however, people were beginning to notice the Lydia was not aging. She was able to attribute it at first to plastic surgery, but that excuse would not work forever. She would soon have to discard this human identity and adopt a new one.

When the current Crusaders held a final vote to determine their new recruit's membership, the Sphinx knew that the next ID Ceremony would be the perfect endpoint to her Lydia identity. Her friend and teammate The Shield was already using his government contacts to help her establish a new identity, while permanently discarding the old. With her ability to manipulate her glamour - her outward appearance and charisma - a new identity would be fairly easy to assume.

The Shield had been a mainstay of the Crusaders since their foundation in the 1960s. Of course, the Shield who had helped found the group, Bill Higgins, was only with them shortly before being replaced by his father, the original Shield, Joe Higgins. Bill had not particularly enjoyed his time as an ultra hero, while his father - well, his father epitomized everything that an ultra hero should be. Joe Higgins prepped his team for the upcoming ceremony. He felt the current roster was one of the most stable he had worked with. Many were descended from other ultra heroes or were what Joe called "spiritual descendents" to heroes he had worked with in previous decades.

The new recruit, Shadow Dancer, had already proven she could work well with them - now all that was needed was to hold the formal Induction Day Ceremony and welcome her officially to their ranks. Joe also prepared himself for the first question the new recruit invariably asked at the private Crusaders' gala following the public ceremony - Whatever happened to the Fly and Fly Girl?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Web-Screen came on so quickly that Melanie Reeves almost jumped out of her seat. It had been only a week since she had been inducted into the Mighty Crusaders as the Shadow Dancer. The normally soothing voice of Don Raymond was tinged with urgency...it was unsettling to her.

"Web to Crusaders - we have a problem." Don had assumed his father's crime-fighting name, the Web, even though he himself was not an active adventurer. His small and spindly frame housed one of the most scientifically advanced minds of the century. Don monitored the globe for emergencies that may need the assistance of the Mighty Crusaders. He also invented their communication devices and their long distance teleportation system, also called the WEB, with capital letters. By "surfing" the WEB, a Crusader could travel from their headquarters in Capital City to anywhere one of the web strands traversed.

"We're all here, Don. Go ahead. What's the the problem?" asked the Shield.

"The Brain Emperor's back."

"No problem, then," said the female adventurer known as Impact. "We've beaten him before - the eight of us should be able to take him down pretty quickly."

"Actually, sis, there's a HUGE problem." Don had bantered like this with his sister Donna (aka Impact) all their lives. "One Brain Emperor you all could handle. How about FOUR Brain Emperors? Four individuals claiming to be the Brain Emperor and all exhibited his powers have been spotted doing tremendous amounts of property damage. One's on the West Coast in Capital City, Goldwater on the East Coast, Dallas in the South, and Centre City in the North. Might I suggest that it's a ploy to split you up?"

"Of course it is, big brother," Impact smiled at the screen. She loved to tease Don, who was five years older than her but in no way bigger. "So who wants to go with me to Dallas?"

The team quickly divided itself up and entered the WEB Room. Impact and the Blue Hood would go to Dallas. The Shield and Siren would travel to Centre City. Bob Phantom and the Sphinx would go after the Brain Emperor in Goldwater, while the Comet and Shadow Dancer would stay and deal with the Emperor in Central City.

"Entering coordinates for Dallas." Don punched the code into the WEB System. "Keep your com-link on. Good luck!"

Impact and the Blue Hood arrived in Dallas a few moments later and immediately began searching for the Brain Emperor. The WEB Unit in Dallas was in downtown Dallas at City Hall. The Brain Emperor had been spotted in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, roughly several miles west of City Hall. Impact hopped behind the Hood on his custom motorcycle, which had been WEBbed with them, and they raced toward the besieged neighborhood.

Impact had always wanted to be an ultra-hero. Her father regaled his children with stories of his glory days as the Web. He had given up his ultra-career when his first child, Don, was born. His wife Rose had, by that point, stopped nagging him to quit, but John Raymond reitred without her even asking. John couldn't risk leaving his children fatherless. That didn't, however, stop him from telling the kids about his illustrious past. When Donna, at age eight, squealed enthusiastically that she wanted to be an ultra-hero when she grew up, her father objected. Her mother simply smiled.

Donna never again voiced her desire to become a hero again - at
least to her parents. Privately, though, she and her brother played
ultra-heroes and plotted their futures constantly.

When Donna was 22, her brother (27), began developing the fantastic devices he would use to help the Mighty Crusaders. Her parents never objected to Don using his science-gadgets to help OTHERS fight crime, since he himself was never in direct danger. Their father even graciously and proudly allowed Don to use his old secret-identity, the Web. Donna spent the after-party of her brother's initiation into the Mighty Crusaders alone in the Crusader's Library before deciding to go for a walk. She walked aimlessly for hours before looking into the sky and seeing a star -
the brightest star she had had ever seen. It seemed to be calling her. She stood, transfixed, staring at the star. The next thing she remembered was waking up, nude, next to a vat in the middle of an abandoned factory.


Donna awoke with a start.

She remembered nothing of the past several hours. Taking two deep breaths, Donna cleared her head. She assumed there had to be a phone someone in the factory and searched until she found one that still worked, and called the one person she knew she could trust -- her brother, Don.
Don arrived thity minutes later with a change of clothes. Donna stayed behind a pillar.

"There may be a security camera here, " Don said, averting his eyes as he handed her the clothes. "you're sure you don't remember ANYthing?"

"No, Don, I just like laying naked in abandoned factories..."

"Sorry, sis." Don knew to drop the subject and to start searching.

Several minutes later they found one, still functioning. They pulled a ladder over to the wall and climbed to it. Don plugged a remote view Video player of his own invention into the camera and the two sat and watched.

It was eerie. That sat, transfixed, and watched as Donna walked into the factory, to a table of chemicals. Her expression never changed as she added several to the large vat in the center of the room. The chemicals bubbled. Donna, still expressionless, walked over to a ladder, climbed it to the adjoining catwalk, and silently paced it until she stood above the vat.
Then she dove.

She executed a perfect swandive straight into the vat. For five long minutes nothing happened, then she emerged, climbed over the side of the vat, and crumpled into a heap on the floor. Don's first act was to take his sister to Crusader's HQ for testing. In the middle of it, he was interupted by the Comet. Don quickly told him the story.

"I think you'd better have a talk with an associate of ours, Steel Sterling," the Comet said. "If I didn't know better I'd swear you and he have had the exact same experience. And if the results of your tests are true, then you have the exact same reaction as well."


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Post by Press Guardian » Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:52 am

Another story not updated since 2001.

There must be a case of writers block going around, and it appears to be catching.

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As the author, I apologize for the long long long long l

Post by Xanadude » Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:37 pm

delay...promise I'll start getting stuff out soon, within a month.....

If anyone cares, that is....

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Re: As the author, I apologize for the long long long long l

Post by Rik » Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:44 pm

Xanadude wrote:delay...promise I'll start getting stuff out soon, within a month.....

If anyone cares, that is....
Well, I care.
With 30 hits, other people are reading it too.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

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Re: Mighty Crusaders: Curse of the Red Circle (updated 10/13

Post by captainzero » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:41 pm

That was 10 years ago. How long do we wait???

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