The Rise of Undertown

A Quiet Night
Trouble Brewing Underground

It was a quiet and warm evening in Manhattan. Not a real Manhattan mind you, but the Manhattan made from our pulp fantasies. The kind of city with dark alleyways and sewer grates spewing steam. On every street corner was a rough unshaven character waiting to collect his graft and have his shot at the big time. Above the filth and moral degeneracy of the street level stood the skyscrapers. These glass phalluses were populated by their owners, suits of great wealth and even greater willpower. Some honest, some crooked, but all capable of immense cunning. But even standing above the money men and their towers were the rooftop dwellers, the human flys, and the eagles of the night. Yes, the superheroes. These primary colored pugilists roamed above the city leaping from rooftop to rooftop like Apollo darting across the sky in his chariot. You see, they were the beacons of hope for a city rife with crime. Even the scrappiest roughneck on the docks looked up to Captain Vigilance (even while taking one on the jaw from him).

However, our story isn’t about those superhuman adonises. Our tale concerns those on the periphery. Heroes who haven’t reached the rooftops and people who haven’t even reached the slimy gutters of the dankest alleyway.

So, as we return to our quiet spring night, we need to emphasize that usually in the Manhattan of our fantasizes, it never is quiet. And indeed it didn’t take long for that quiet to be shattered by the sounds of breaking glass. The glass you see, was a window of one of those gleaming steel towers. It was a owned by a recently sucessful startup company called Enertech.

At this point, this is where our heroes enter the scene. Gravitell, The Searcher, and Professor Paranormal were all wandering through the labyrinthian streets for reasons of their own. These heroes were not the new American gods in tights, like Captain Vigilance, but merely a step up from your average slub, but each possessed an above average sense of morality.

Looking down the alley from which the sound of broken glass pierced the night, The Searcher was able to perceive the tail end of a child slipping into the newly created entrance into the building. After quickly forming an alliance between each other, the three heroes followed the child into the building. While the child was too quick for the heroes to keep within their eyesight, The Searcher was able to use his tracking ability to follow him through the darkened offices of Enertech. The child was quick enough to avoid both the heroes and the building’s security. Unfortunately, our protagonists did not possess the same elusiveness. As this modern age Artful Dodger was slipping out the backdoor of the building, a security guard spotted our heroes and blamed THEM for breaking into the building.

The officebreaker shot out into the street as drivers slammed on their brakes and fishtailed their cars trying not to hit him. In his hands was his prize, a six foot long energy weapon. Not to be deterred by the shouts of, “Stop! Stop,” by the security guard, Gravitell, Professor Paranormal, andThe Searcher leapt out into the boulevard. Professor Paranormal and Gravitell slid across the hood of a stopped taxicab and climbed up the back and over the roof of a Camry trapped in the traffic jam.

From the top of a parked car, Gravitell could be seen to have furrowed his brow from using his telekinetic powers. Suddenly, the child criminal became alarmed that he was no longer moving forward, but was instead floating into the air. In his panic, he dropped the energy weapon down on to the pavement.

Meanwhile, the security guard, not being in the best physical condition became alarmed of the possibility of losing his quarry, our three heroes. As his last resort, he drew his weapon, a .38 revolver, and pointed it at The Searcher. Feeling newly empowered, he screamed, “Freeze!” The Searcher, not wanting to escalate the situation anymore readily complied and surrendered himself to the guard. “You too,” the guard yelled to Gravitell, distracting the mutant hero enough for him to lose his hold on the child perpetrator. Gravitell reluctantly allowed himself to be handcuffed while the child took off down the street in a mad-dash away from the heroes.

Professor Paranormal who also complied with the guards request to “Freeze” could be seen to be visibly torn. His eyes darted back and forth between the guard’s gun and the fleeing child. Finally, deciding to take his chances, he disobeyed the security guard and took off after the now distant child. The guard uttered a deflated, “You were supposed to stop,” as Professor Paranormal vanished from view. Gravitell now saw that the guard was more bark than bite, quickly broke his handcuffs and followed Professor Paranormal out of sight.

The Searcher, who knew he wasn’t as physically hardy as either Gravitell or Professor Paranormal didn’t want to chance getting shot. With the sound of police sirens drawing closer and the shaking of the guard’s gun-hand becoming more pronounced., The Searcher decided to convince the guard using the language of the street, money. Offering the guard a sum of money, the resolve of the guard to catch the perpetrators of the break-in quickly vanished. With that, The Searcher was back on the chase.

Using his tracking ability, The Searcher found his two companions on an underground subway platform with a hopeless look on their faces. “We lost him,” Professor Paranormal said dejectedly.

“Not yet,”The Searcher said and led his friends down off the platform and across the tracks using his tracking ability. When they reached the other side of all the tracks, the heroes came to an electrical maintenance closet. The Searcher swung the door open quickly to find the child cowering in the corner from them. “Gotcha!”

“Don’t hurt me,” the child cried. “I’m trying to help my parents. There are people underground. They are trying to kill us. They’re trying to kill everyone in Undertown!”

Entrance into the Underground
Finding the door to Undertown

Undertown, it seemed was a city located beneath the streets of Manhattan. It was populated by society’s castoffs. These were people who had been broken in some way against the anvil of social progress and capitalist greed. Now shells of their former selves they had no choice but to withdraw from the world. It so happens that they congregated underground and were united by a mysterious leader known only as Jacob.

All this info the heroes were able to extract from the young officebreaker they had pursued through the streets and down to the entrance of the underground, that is linked to New York’s subway system. The boy, who calls himself Peter was adamant that he only committed the theft of the energy weapon in order to save his parents from certain death. You see, the Underground had been invaded by some sort of mercenary force who were threatening to invade Undertown and were slaughtering all they could find in New York’s underbelly.

The Searcher, having a soft spot for children in danger gave his most earnest promise to find Peter’s parents and save the folks of Undertown. After dropping Peter with a friend who could take care of him, The Searcher, Gravitell, and Professor Paranormal entered the Underground.

As they passed through the underground corridors they were made uneasy by the watchful gaze of an electronic eye and a large number of traps to evade. With skill and grace, the heroes finally advanced far enough into the Underground to hear the sounds of combat assault their ears. Gunshots and the noises of those dying and in pain echoed down the hall like waves crashing against some tormented beach. They had walked into the middle of a firefight! Could this be the entrance to Undertown?

On one side of the firefight stood many thuggish looking individuals who were no doubt the invaders. Behind cover, on the other side of a large pillared room were their opponents. A contingent of scruffy, but suprisingly well armed denizens of Undertown. Without hesitation, Gravitell, Professor Paranormal, and the The Searcher plunged into battle to aid citizens of Undertown. In a very short time, the heroes were victorious over the thugs. However, when they turned to greet the inhabitants of Undertown as friends, they were fired upon as the invaders had been before.

A second firefight commenced, but the heroes made short work of the party from Undertown. This bothered The Searcher as he had hoped that he would be greeted as a friend when he first encountered the people of Undertown. He knew he had to find the mysterious Jacob, leader of Undertown, and convince the man that they were on his side against the murderous invaders.

Professor Paranormal, Gravitell, and The Searcher set about doing just that. They needed to find a way from the underground tunnels into Undertown proper. After much wandering and searching, they found two ways in. One would allow them to sneak into Undertown through a tunnel in some broken stonework and the other led through the front entrance. Opting to keep things above board, they decided to go in the front. After traversing through an entranceway filled with traps, the heroes finally entered Undertown. However, before they could look around, a voice shouted down to them from a fortified parapet, “Down on the ground, surfacers. I’ve got you dead to rights!”

Reluctantly, the group complied because they knew they were at disadvantage and still wanted to win the friendship of the Undertowners. However, a feeling of dread consumed them because they were now at the mercy of Undertown and its leader, Jacob.

Captured by a Madman!

The heroes, Professor Paranormal,Gravitell, and The Searcher found themselves the prisoners of the citizenry of Undertown. They were led across the surprisingly green and lush city of Undertown. After being handcuffed and chained at the legs by the leader of Undertown’s military, Sammy, they lead before a large black bunker that overlooked the huts and farm fields of Undertown like a gloomy disapproving big brother.

Sammy attached each of them to a pole at the foot of the bunker as an angry crowd gathered around them. On a balcony, a wheelchair-bound man flanked by heavily armed guards was wheeled to the balcony. The man was frail and obviously suffering from the effects of a terminal disease. He directed the men around them, spitting commands out as angry rebukes. Occasionally he would be overcome by a coughing fit and have to recharge himself with some gasping breaths into a nearby oxygen mask. This was Jacob, the feared leader of the denizens of Undertown.

“Why are you here,” Jacob spoke with a rasping, but surprisingly loud voice down to the three adventurers. “You were sent here by Sullivan, weren’t you? Sent here to destroy ME!”

Not wanting to be misunderstood and killed outright by the mob that was growing increasingly angry and violent, The Searcher responded to the accusations. “No, we’re here to help you! We were sent here by Peter to help you beat back the invaders who threaten you. We’re your friends, not your enemies!”

“LIARS!” Jacob shouted back angrily, “You’re here to kill me. The God of Undertown. I took this place for these people in these dark, dank old service tunnels and turned it into a fertile sanctuary. It is an eye in the hurricane of a society that hates them. If you want to prove your peaceful intentions toward me, you must kill my enemy, Sullivan.”

“But we don’t kill,” The Searcher said weakly. “We can try to stop him and help you people, but we can’t go as far as murder.”

Angered by The Searcher’s refusal to obey his commands, Jacob ordered that they all be thrown into a cell to await his judgment. The leader of Undertown would decide whether or not they would killed in the morning. For several hours, the three heroes sat upon a dirt floor surrounded by iron bars trying to figure out the best way to escape from the nightmare of Jacob’s Undertown. At the moment the thoughts and frustrations of their situation were becoming overwhelming, the heroes heard the sound of their cell door unlocking.

A man poked his head into the cell. He introduced himself in a whisper. He was Isaac, the father of the boy namedPeter they had met earlier. This was the father of the family they were sent to help! Sadly, they were in no position to help him. In fact, it was Isaac who was going to help them! With all of Undertown asleep, he led the heroes from their cell across Undertown and back out into the underground tunnels.

The heroes had faced certain death at the hands of Jacob, but now they wanted to face the man who had somehow created the madman. Yes, they had to track down the owner of Enertech, Sullivan. From Isaac, they learned that Jacob was a former employee of Sullivan’s. The current leader of Undertown was a member of Enertech’s Research and Development department. Jacob had discovered an alien technology that could be used to create advanced energy-based weaponry that would prove extremely profitable. Jacob, who was in failing health and failing sanity disagreed with the use of the technology Sullivan had proposed. He took the alien technology which he had perfected and enhanced and fled underground.

Now, Sullivan was able to contact to aliens, known only as The Razed and make a deal with them to attack Jacob in his Undertown stronghold. The alien technology was unfortunately unstable, but Jacob had found a way to solve this. Both Sullivan and The Razed wanted that secret.

Armed with this new knowledge that Isaac was able to provide, the heroes decided it was time to pay Sullivan a visit at Enertech. Before they left, Gravitell pleaded with Peter’s father to come up to the surface them.

Isaac responded sadly, “No, I can’t go back. I’ve been underground so long your world would be too foreign to me. I belong underground.”

With a sad heart, The Searcher, Professor Paranormal, and Gravitell left their new friend behind as they went back up to the surface. However, as they saw the profile of the Enertech building against the sky at dusk, they hardened their hearts again. Next they would get answers from Sullivan!


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