SHOWDOWN ON EARTH-OMEGA An Introductory Story to INVULNERABLE RPG By Joshua Kubli The car ground to a halt in the dusty

street. The rickety old buildings had sauntered in straight from a spaghetti western, and the gunslinger came with them. When he stepped out of the car and squinted in the light, adjusting the brim of his hat, the sun shone bright on his dark clerical collar. “Last time I been here, there was people what lived here. A reg'lar little community. Times have changed.” The young man that stepped out next, sweating in his leather jacket, frowned at the weatherbeaten structures, chanting softly to himself, and his fingers traced hypnotic patterns in the air for a moment. “I'm only sensing one inhabitant, in the building ahead. His thoughts are strange … I can't make them out.” Another young man followed, tense, edgy. His skintight suit held the shape of a man, but where there should be flesh, there was glowing, crackling, translucent … energy … instead. In a voice like the buzzing of bees and the snapping of clotheslines, he said, “Lots of power in there. Perfect for a trap.” Finally, an impeccably-dressed man in the driver's seat stepped out, straightened the tie on his threepiece suit, and twirled a pair of silver throwing knives. His thin mustache rose on either side in a devilish smirk as he said, “It would have been rude to turn down so interesting an invitation, would it not? And if our host should by some chance bore us, we can present to him” – the twirling of the knives stopped – “gifts of our own.” The four approached the building cautiously. The wind whistled ominously in the distance, and the squeak of the door as it opened was an assault on the ears. The room was dark, but strangely, there was light in the kitchen within the saloon, a sound of music trickling out. A low rumbling – was it humming to some music? – could be heard throughout the room. And then a voice. “How good of you to come. I thought that the details of a possible invasion of shapeshifters would be too much to pass up. But first, there is business we must attend to. Most serious business.” The door opened. Four figures tensed, ready for action, for violence. Then four jaws dropped. It was an ape. Easily eight feet tall, with a metal whisk in one hand, whipping some frothy yellow something in a metal mixing bowl. It wore a frilly apron. “I loathe talking serious business, even the nigh-eschatological business at hand, on an empty stomach. So then, Reverend Gunslinger, Autodyne, Kid Magus, and Jack Savage, I must ask you … How do you like your omelets?” This was how our as-yet-unnamed little team first met Dr. DNApe, and began the hunt for Vunorian agents of the Andromedan Armada, readying Earth for conquest. The rest of the mission got … a little strange. ***** “So wait a second … what is this freedom thing, again?” Kid Magus sighed, slouching in the back seat of the van. “You could try paying attention. It's called the “Freedom Soul”. It's what was supposed to give Captain Freedom his powers.” “You were paying attention to what the giant alien ape guy was blathering on about. Everyone else was complimenting him on his freshly-squeezed orange juice. I was paying attention to his death ray robot in the corner. Sue me for having priorities.” Autodyne frowned, his voice crackling like cellophane. “Only one problem with that there, partner. Whadda you mean, 'sposed to'? You mean it ain't what gives Cap'n Freedom them powers 'o his? That's what they say on all o' his commercials.” Jack Savage snorted. “Commercials. Government PR campaigns for their hand-picked thorough bred super-celebrities.”

Kid Magus sighed, pulling off his leather jacket. “That's the deal. According to Doctor DNApe back there, Captain Freedom I and II were both powered by the Freedom Soul, but the current guy, Captain Freedom III, doesn't have it.” Autodyne hummed and sparked. He growled slightly in irritation. “Look, I'm new to all this hero shit. What exactly is this Freedom Soul thing?” “No one knows. Some sort of supernatural infusion from the spirit of liberty itself? Some sort of alien artifact? A cloud of nanomachines? Who knows? According to the big gorilla, the Freedom Soul disappeared, and the government has been lying to us.” Jack Savage spoke up for the first time, caustic, gentle. “Surprise there. But why should it matter?” “Because in the darkest days of World War II, Captain Freedom and the Freedom Soul saved the day. Captain Freedom I led the Patriot Force against the Andromedan Invasion after the war, saving the day himself at one point. Captain Freedom II held his own against Unstoppable Man at the Metahuman Massacre, preventing it from being a complete rout. Over and over, Captain Freedom has been this shining figure of truth and good, turning the tide and leading us to peace and victory with some preternatural power from a higher source. And now it turns out that it's all a lie … “ Savage smiled a wicked smile. “Great. We adding philosophical conundra to our agenda? What are we going to do about it?” This time Autodyne answered, his voice reverberating in the van as it sped through the desert. “We're going on a road trip. We're going to find out what the Freedom Soul is, where it was lost, and what asses we have to kick to get it back.”

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