Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ultimates - The Story so far...

A few months before the collapse of the Archer Pact, Mark Simmons - a hitman, but don't call him that - became tangled in an operation of The Shop and killed a Telepath working for them in New York City. The Shop, a large organisation dedicated to eradicting the human race in favor of Psions, attempted to salvage the operation by recruiting Mark and setting him against the local Archer cell. This drew the attention of Dr. Lothario Algernon, Archer's specialist for paranormal phenomena and leader of Division Nihil, who apprehended Mark. After convincing Mark that he'd been fed bad intel, he gladly agreed to turn the tables on The Shop. In an explosive showdown, Mark and Division Nihil took down the local Shop cell, earning Mark a position as Archer "freelancer".

An ambitious agent of the European Archer chamber - Brandon Logan alias Equinox - was likewise entangled in his own private war against The Shop; having taken down Villain X, one of The Shop's lieutenants, Equinox assembled a new group of agents for an even more daring mission: Rescue Fade, the enigmatic European chamber control, from The Shop. Mark participated in this plan, both as "insurance" and big fat distraction. Together with the other Ultimates, Mark and Equinox managed to spring Fade.

Then, the collapse happened.

In the aftermath, Equinox - now part of The Umbrella, Fade's private organisation - recruited Mark as his personal "Enforcer", a term that stuck for what Mark would subsequently do: Travel around and solve the problems that were too difficult for diplomacy, yet didn't warrant an all-out assault. Mark also helped out Dr. Algernon in his fight against the Architects of the Fringe - madmen yearning to rule this world from the Fringe - and silenced that threat. Today, Division Nihil still lives on in the New York underground, and Mark and Lothario are actually roommates in Mark's apartment. Lothario also became rather smitten with Dr. Kyla Thrace, Mark's personal physician.

Recently, Mark came into conflict with The Assassins on a trip to St. Petersburg. The Assassins were enemies of the Pact from way back, and Mark was led to believe that they were conducting a house-cleaning operation against corruption from within, using Mark as their cleaner and offering him money in exchange, with a view towards recruiting Mark for themselves. Mark fell in with Misri, an Assassin, in Australia, where they plotted for Mark to take out the Assassin leadership and replace them with Misri, in exchange for her future loyalty. Since Misri was his target, he had to pretend to kill her.

He was then led to Tokyo, where he found an elaborate ambush waiting for him - police, Yakuza and Archer's corrupt Asian chamber were all after him. Mark found refuge with the Ten Tiger Vigilantes, a group dedicated to cleaning up the chamber, but soon found that he'd been cloned by the Shop to further the deception. Tracking down his clone, the two duelled, and although the clone proved to be stronger and faster, Mark prevailed through quick thinking. Already seriously injured from the breakneck pace of his fights, Mark finally led the assault on Tien-Kai Tsong, the corrupted leader of the chamber who'd been revealed as being in collusion with The Shop. The two duelled with swords, Tsong proving to be far superior, but Mark's remarks about the trickery that had been played on him led Tsong to remark that this wasn't his doing - and realize that The Shop had set up both of them. Before Tsong could explain, he was killed by being pushed onto Mark's sword by an unseen assailant. Mark realized shortly thereafter that the entire affair had been an elaborate game to use him to both weaken the Assassins and get rid of Shop operatives that were no longer needed. Enraged at being tricked again, Mark left Tokyo, vowing to one day get his revenge on The Shop.

Meanwhile, Fade's efforts to consolidate his contacts and resources had come together into the construction of a new Umbrella stronghold on Staten Island - a project Mark in particular viewed as important. Several weeks after Mark's return to NYC, he was approached by Equinox, who had supported Mark with equipment back in Australia and now wanted to cash in on that debt. He asked Mark to train his daughter - Rowena Logan - as an Enforcer. Mark accepted, and now he may face his greatest challenge yet - raise a teenager.

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