The TV signal goes all funky again, and I realized that this wuz the fifteenth time today. So I drag “Betsy” off her spot on the gun rack and set out to off a few bots. How do I know it’s farkin’ Clockworks on my roof? ‘Cause it’s always clockworks on my farkin roof! So I get on the roof to my gun shop in good ‘ole Kings Row and sure enough a cannon knight and a few oscilators are tearin into my satellite box and are stealin anything they can get their hands on. I opened up with “Betsy’s” flamethrower upgrade and it doesn’t take that long for their little copper bodies to start turnin’ white hot. Little suckers melt faster than you’ld expect. In a trick a learned from some fellow Bureau 13 agents, I mix a little epoxy into the fuel mix so the flames stick to the target. I love workin’ with people crazier than me. Anyway, the ‘bots start meltin’ and I finish them off with a plain old load o’ buckshot from what’s left of my original “Betsy.” Yes under all those upgrades and attachments she’s still just a good ole’ huntin’ rifle at her core. I would never be able to bring myself to change that.
So now you’re wonderin’ where all this is gettin’ us. Well as I got back into the store, Pat was closin’ up shop. He had left me a few technical jobs that we’re a little beyond his formidable gunsmithin’ skills, plus he left me a few “special” jobs for other heroes around town. Yeah, I work on the guns of some of my fellow heroes. Hey I figure the more guys out there with weapons, the less villains there will be out there to fire back. So I’m lookin at a guy who calls himself Corporal Justice’s assault rifle. I’m turnin’ into a fine death dealer, but I’ve got to be careful. This guy is only security level 7. No flamethrower upgrade for him… yet. Shoot, accordin’ to Paragon Hero Procedure Code 27.1453, he can’t even have a gawd durn scope until he hits Security Level 12. I guess it keeps the yahoos and the civilians from carryin’ an arsenal they couldn’t handle, but come on. We’re in Paragon City here. We’re under attack. If a few more civies were packin’ heat, I think we would have a lot less Hellions and Skulls out there. Not to mention, less bots messin’ up my cable!
I finished off the minor modifications to CJ’s gun and headed out the door for tonight’s hunt. Sure enough a few oscilators are eyein’ my roof again. I can’t wait until I’m finally clear enough to use all those farkin’ bombs I got in the basement. Let’s see what happens when those bots land on my roof when I got trip mines everywhere. Farkin’ city ordinances, even as a Bureau 13 member I’ve got abide by my country, county, city, or state laws. Anyway a quick blast o’ buckshot from “Betsy” and the bots went scurryin’. I started my hunt. I had a tip from one of my contacts in Independence Port that the Tsoo were tryin’ to push some “Rage” on some former distributors for The Family over on Talos Island. I’ve handled worse so I didn’t even call for backup. I just went in armed for bear… Well armed for Tsoo anyway.
I headed for the Tram, only a convenient block away from my shop. I thought about drivin’ the old NRA mobile around the back hills of Kentucky. I thought about all the little drug farms and wanabee gangstas that I used to bust back home. I started tryin’ to remember why I left it. Why did I come to this concrete jungle. Then I remembered it, the invasion.
That’s what the briefing said. Horace Gordon, Bureau 13’s head honcho himself, started chattin’ away at me through my velvet Elvis paintin’ back in the ole’ shop in Lexington. I think he did that just because he knew it gave me chills to see “The King” givin’ the orders. I had worked a couple of local ops for the Bureau. I helped Team Kamikazee with an extra-planar cross-rift or some-such. All I know is I got to shoot me some dinosaurs. Then I got sent to help some leprechauns find a missin’ banshee that had run off with a mermaid and it wuz hurtin’ their tourism business back home. You ever tried trackin’ somethin’ incorporeal? It ain’t exactly easy. Anyway, when I got this call, I knew somethin’ big wuz up.
“Agent NRA,” Elvis Gordon began, “we need you to pack your things and head to Paragon City. Our seers and other methods of intel have reported that the alien race called the Rikti are plannin’ on re-attacking Paragon City, since this was the site of their greatest defeat. We’re still recruiting new super-powered members and are woefully understaffed to deal with this threat in a straight forward manner. As you well know, Paragon City recently put out a distress call to all licensed heroes around the world for aid in this pending attack. While the Freedom Corps and other super-powered organizations might be able to turn the tide again, we want to be there to assist them in any way we can.”
“So what you’re sayin’ is,” I replied to Elvis, “your seers think that thing’s are gonna be worse than Freedom Corps thinks and you want even more backup there.”
“Not exactly,” the voice from the painting scolded me, I hate it when Elvis takes that tone with me. “We think Freedom Corps and the thousands of other heroes should be able to defend the city with minimal losses. However…”
I didn’t like the sound of that “however,” even more than bein’ scolded.
Elvis continued, “… we do know that many of the major villain organizations will be using this invasion as cover to further their own agendas. We need you to set up operations in Paragon City and aid us in any further intel you receive. Plus we want a hero with eyes like yours to see what other heroes in Paragon City might make the cut as Bureau 13 agents. Thank You… Thank you very much…”
That may not be exactly word for word but you get the gist of what wuz said. So anyway I packed my bags and headed for Paragon City, the biggest city in the world. I remember thinkin’ “I may get on ‘True Lives of the Heroes’ yet.”
When I got to Paragon City I checked in at City Hall in Atlas Park and got my license approved for heroic operations within’ the City. I also learned the “Betsy” would be gettin’ some major downgrades until I earned enough rank in the city proper to be licensed to carry my heavier hittin’ adjustments. I figured, I’m doin’ this for my country, so what the hell. I signed off on about a dozen documents. I waited in a million lines with every other small town hero that thought he could make a name for himself fightin’ aliens in Paragon. I also got a telegram from a real estate broker that said my property wuz now ready. I blinked in astonishment. The Bureau had already bought me a new gun store in, according to my pamphlet map, the ritziest place in town, King’s Row. Sometimes I really do love the perks of this job. Shoot, they even had Pat moved in and openin’ the store while I’d been standin’ in lines all day. You would think they could have gotten my paperwork filled out for me, too. I guess the Bureau’s not that good. Durn bureaucrats and pencil pushers beat central intelligence any day. Ask any FBI, CIA, or Delta Force Commando the one agency they fear and it’s the IRS.
I got off the Tram in King’s Row and I realized very quickly that the pamphlet lied. I also realized that tonin’ down “Betsy’s” death-dealin’ capabilities wuz gonna suck it big time. King’s Row wuz one hell of a dump. Hell, there wuz even a big ole’ construction site next to my new farkin’ home. So much for Bureau opulence. Oh well, it’s good enough for government work, I laughed.
If the Bureau’s Intel wuz right, I had about 48 hours before the invasion. I needed to get some Security Clearance and some reliable back-up A.S.A.P. I turned to the “NEW HERO SURVIVAL GUIDE” and began to read. I once again thanked Gawd for my schoolin’.
Follwin’ the book’s instructions, off I went, back to City Hall and got myself signed up with S.E.R.A.P.H. (Scientific Experimentation Research and Applications to Paranormal Humans). The guy inside told me that the quickest way to get some Security Clearance Levels wuz to do some ops for him. If I handled them effectively, they might see about gettin’ me some clearance. I figured, what the hell, I got about 48 hours ’till D-Day all over again. I wanted to see as much of this city as I could in that time and see if I could figure out where the aliens were gonna be strikin’. I took some milk run assignment to go clear out a warehouse full of some local street punks. I remembered gettin’ to Lexington and pretty much startin’ the same way. What’s that Frenchie word for Deja Vu? Well I wuz havin’ that. I figured I’ve handled so much worse back home, “Betsy” and I will have no problem with this one. I found out real quick, that these Paragon City punks are a hell of a lot tougher then a grizzly bear that wuz jacked up on “Dyne.” I don’t know what’s in the water here in the city, but it sure made these punks, durn near bulletproof.
I managed to take down the gang leader after takin’ a few rounds. Nothin’ penetrated the kevlar, but that punk did manage to crack a rib or two. I started my first name basis with every nurse in every Paragon City Hospital that very night.
And so it went for that first day, I’d do an op. S.E.R.A.P.H. would send me on another one. Eventually I found a few contacts of my own that had already heard about some of my past exploits and growin’ reputation in Paragon. Only a day in town and I wuz already buildin’ a rep. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Then I met Smart Louie.
Smart Louie belonged to that rag tag group of former homeless scrubs called “The Lost.” This guy had some Alien Gun that fired a blast of pure death at my face. I’m so glad I had that medkit on me. It wuz the only thing that kept me alive as I scrambled my way back to the surface from those hellhole sewers that “The Lost” called home. That’s when I saw The Hippy for the first time. This blond beauty bends down and puts her hand on my forehead. The next thing I know is that all my cuts and bruises were gone. I felt a million times better and ready to go in and give Smartie some real payback.
“So what’s your name, Hippy.” I asked, full well knowin’ that she wuz a farkin’ hippy. You don’t run around a city like Paragon with jeans and no shoes unless you’re a farkin’ hippy.
“I’m called, Love Chyld.” She responded sweetly.
“Least I wuz right about the hippy part.” I explained to her my problem with Smart Louie and she agreed to tag along with me and give me some aid. I figured havin’ a medic on call wouldn’t be a bad thing. She may be a pacifist, but I figured she’d keep me alive and I could do all the killin’ for both of us. I wuz right. A few well placed rounds and a few quick heals from the hippy later and I had us a dead Lost Lieutenant. And the first new recruit into my Bureau 13 Strike Team.
… END PART 4, Welcome to Paragon City, NRA Avenger