Tag: aces wild

G. Brett Williams #13 – Atticus Spade, the Ace of Spades

| November 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Atticus Spade – A member of the all-black 369th Infantry, the group known by the nicknames “Harlem’s Hellfighters” and “Black Rattlers,” Henry “Hank” Needham was the first African American to earn the French Croix de Guerre. During a battle in WWI, Needham and his fellow infrantryman William Roberts were attacked by a German raiding party. Roberts was injured in the battle and was being dragged off by German soldiers when Needham, out of ammo, attacked his friend’s captors and beat them savagely with the butt of his rifle. The Germans were cowed by Needham’s savagery and abandoned their plans. The two men had driven off an entire German raiding party. Needham came home to a country still divided on the issue of race. Weary of war and death, he did everything he could to distance himself from the military and his legacy, not that many people cared much for his legacy anyway. He bounced around the country, always finding odd jobs where he could and supplementing his income with a little gambling here and there. Eventually he ended up out West where he found work on the Boulder (eventually Hoover) Dam project. The project’s proximity to Las Vegas, which legalized gambling in 1931, made it the perfect place for Needham to find some extra cash. At that point in his life he was a very accomplished con man and card sharp and he put those skills to good use in the fertile ground of a young Sin City. He was enjoying life on the grift, as much as anyone can, when the government came calling. While Needham had abandoned the US military as soon as his service was up, his friend Will Roberts had continued to serve. Roberts had been trained as a spy and sent to Africa in an attempt to gather intelligence on strange occurrences on the African continent that led back to the rising socialist movement in Germany. Roberts lost contact and was presumed compromised. Rather than risk losing those secrets to a mounting German threat, the Americans went after the one man they thought best capable of finding and rescuing (or eliminating) his former partner. This is how Hank Needham became Atticus Spade, the Ace of Spades. It is the retrieval of Roberts that serves as the first team mission for the Aces.

G. Brett Williams #12 – Amelia du Couer, The Ace of Hearts

| November 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

Amelia du Coeur – Amelia was born into a prominent French family with very, very old money. Her mother and father were both anthropologists and archaeologists. Unfortunately for Amelia, they were also very busy and rarely ever home. Both parents loved their daughter, but they weren’t exactly cut out for parenting. They didn’t think that the girl might need constant doting or attention, because that’s certainly not how they were raised. They’d seen as much of their schoolteachers and housekeepers as they’d ever seen of their parents, and they turned out alright. So it was decided that, from a very early age, Amelia would be sent away to the best possible boarding schools in Europe. She did some years in France, some in England, some in Spain, and it made of her a very worldy and well-rounded young girl. When Amelia was thirteen, her mother died suddenly of an ailment she’d contracted while adventuring. Her death sent Amelia’s father into a fit of depression. He became addicted to morphine and liquor, he railed against the world and he let a hatred for his own daughter boil up inside of his soul. For him, Amelia’s presence was nothing more than a reminder of his dead wife. It seems awful, but one can understand how he felt stronger for the mother than the child. After all, he’d hardly spent any time with this young woman now thrust into his care. So he decided that he was no longer capable of taking care of the girl and Amelia was sent to live with her grandfather, her mother’s father. Amelia’s grandfather had been a decorated soldier in the French army who had eventually retired to take up a life of adventure. So at thirteen, Amelia gave up the life of boarding schools and girlish tropes and instead went out to see the world with her grandfather. The man had a tough, stoic exterior and he was never what one would call easy on the girl, but it was obvious that he cared for her a great deal and that his life was better for having her in it. See, he had lost his own wife some years before and the years since had been filled with a vast loneliness. His vibrant and eager young granddaughter now helped to ease that loneliness and he rewarded her by teaching her anything and everything he could. Amelia learned to appreciate fine foods and wines, she learned how to sing old folks songs and dance the night away, she learned to hunt, fish, track and shoot, and she cherished every second of it. The time she spent with her grandfather was the happiest of her life. Because of her unique experience with various locales throughout the world, Amelia is the team’s specialist on international affairs and etiquette. She is also quite possibly the most dangerous person in the world with a firearm. A woman in a man’s world, Amelia works and fights twice as hard to prove herself. She is as rough and stoic as her grandfather but as beautiful and full of life as her mother was. Amelia has assumed the role of leader in the small group.

G. Brett Williams #11 – Johnny Diamond, The Ace of Diamonds

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Johnny Diamond – Johnny is your typical clean cut, blond-haired, blue-eyed, apple pie-eating, All American boy. He’s also something of a technological genius. Engineering ran in Johnny’s family. Going back to the days of the Civil War, his family had been responsible for supplying arms and armor to the American military. Some call it patriotism, some war profiteering, but to Johnny it was just the family business. He never gave it much mind. Johnny spent his youth building things, taking things apart, drawing up plans and schematics, working with his father in his lab. Anything the boy could do to learn more about the science of engineering, he did it. Johnny was a very advanced student and by the age of 19 he’d already completed a bachelor’s degree in science. At age 22, he was completing his masters in engineering. That same year, his parents were murdered and Johnny’s childhood home was burned to the ground. The word had leaked into the criminal community that Johnny’s father was developing a top secret weapon for the military, the kind of weapon that could hold the country hostage with fear if it ever fell into the wrong hands. The secret criminal organization known only as the Order of Osiris attacked Johnny’s family in their home, where his father kept a secret underground laboratory for his most dangerous projects. Somehow the Order found out about this lab and launched an assault on the mansion. Johnny was away at school at the time, so he managed to avoid his family’s gruesome fate. His mother and father were both killed, the plans for the weapon were stolen and the house was burned to the ground. This meant that the time for Johnny to inherit the family business had come. There was a certain unease at the prospect though. To Johnny, the pursuit of newer and more potent weapons was the thing that had ultimately killed his mother and father. Could he justify continuing in his father’s footsteps knowing what he knew about the dangers of munitions manufacturing? Could he put the word in jeopardy as his father had through his carelessness? The thought weighed on him. Johnny knew that he couldn’t simply dismantle the entire company. Regardless of what he had grown to believe about his father’s pursuits, he wasn’t so naive as to think that America would never need weapons again. So instead of completely suspending the company’s production of munitions, Johnny retasked a portion of the company’s assets toward the exploration of non-violent weaponry and fringe science. He appointed himself as the head of this new division and left the running of his father’s company to more qualified men. During his time as the head of this new division of his family’s company, Johnny made new discoveries and created new technologies that drew the attention of scientists and military leaders from around the country and America’s allies in the world. It was a very exciting time for the young savant, but there was always something missing. Johnny never forgot what had happened to his parents, never forgot what the Order of Osiris had done to his family, so when the government came to offer him a chance to fight back against people like the Order and their ilk, Johnny was happy to oblige them.

G. Brett Williams #10 – Gunzi, The Ace of Clubs

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

Gunzi – A quiet and reserved warrior, Gunzi is by far the group’s most formidable fighter. Deadly with a weapon or unarmed, he has mastered many aspects of China’s various martial arts, creating a hybrid fighting style all his own. He is a quiet, introspective man with a great knowledge of history as well as combat. Gunzi was a soldier in the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army. Though he followed Chiang Kai-shek, Gunzi more firmly believed in the policies of Chiang’s forbear, Sun Yat-sen. Sun Yat-sen, more versed in Western culture than his successor, espoused an ideology based on three principles; nationalism, democracy and the livelihood of the people. Gunzi was a young man filled with national pride and the willingness to defend his rapidly growing home country when Chiang took over control of the Kuomintang. Allying himself with the Soviet communist party to further his own nationalist ideals, Kai-shek took control of a large portion of China, including Shanghai. His overthrow of Shanghai led to the Shanghai Massacre of 1927 which saw the politically motivated murder of many communists in the city. While he feared the communist ideology, Gunzi certainly didn’t advocate the wholesale slaughter of his neighbors simply because they chose to believe in it. The Shanghai massacre turned his stomach so that he decided to escape the army and flee to England. In England, he took up with various institutions and learned as much as he could about Western culture, making his assimilation into that culture quite easy. Gunzi was an excellent student of history and politics. When he wasn’t practicing his martial skill, you could always find him devouring texts by the leading philosophers of the past and the present. He eventually found a job in the British armed forces, teaching code breaking and Chinese translation to communications officers and hand to hand combat to anyone who would listen. He found that, despite the problems he had with certain aspects of the West, he liked the culture as a whole. He felt comfortable with the relative freedom that Western ideology afforded its people, but part of him yearned for home, yearned to once again get his hands dirty in the fight against tyranny. So when the British government came to him with a proposition about the Aces program, he was more than willing to listen. Gunzi is the group’s oldest and wisest member, the one they always turn to for counsel when things are at their darkest.

G. Brett Williams #9 – The Aces Wild Programme

| November 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

 

Aces Wild – It was the 1930s and everywhere you looked, if you knew what to look for, you could see that the world was spoiling for war. The avarice of the 20s had led to the financial collapse of the early 1930s and the Great Depression had left many countries in the world weak and susceptible to totalitarian countries and radical ideals. As the world reeled from the Great Depression, wars popped up all over the planet, with smaller nations falling prey to the machinations of dangerous and powerful conquerors. As the world slipped further into despair and poverty, new threats of the scientific and the strange emerged, only now they were more often than not tied to the ideologies of these various warring nations. What had once been the evils of madmen became the implied “progressiveness” of dangerous nations. Samuel Wilde, in his time as the Wilde Card, had fought men such as Master Midnight, a master magician and scientist bent on furthering his own agenda. That was the order of the day for the 1920s. It was a time of exploration, of opulence, of self-involvement, but the Depression had ended that. Now men of Midnight’s ilk worked for dictators and religious leaders, using their powers and their skills to further deadly agendas. Combating these terrifying new villains with backing from some of the most powerful and wealthy nations in the world would require a special kind of vigilance. It would require a team.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. His New Deal policies would help combat the continued threat of economic collapse. But what the American people knew nothing about was FDR’s decision to join with the British government in an attempt to reinstate the Wilde Card program. Believing that the failure of the first program could be attributed to their strict insistence on keeping the Wilde Card largely isolated from personal relationships, the British suggested that a team be developed. The team would consist of four people with complimentary skills. The hope was that having to work closely with one another would engender the kind of close relationships in the field that the Wilde Card felt he was missing. They also hoped that having differing opinions and suggestions for how to deal with certain situations would keep the entire team sharp and competitive. The British were contracted to run the program, appointing special officer Nigel Blackthorne to head up the new program, which was now being referred to as Aces Wild. A worldwide search was undertaken and possible team members were culled from various nations friendly to the cause. From China they pulled a martial artist trained in various combative arts. He was a master of barehanded and armed combat, and it was deemed that he would be the Ace of Clubs. From France came a talented and intelligent young adventurer, a woman renowned for her anthropological and archaeological knowledge as well as her ability with a firearm. She would be the Ace of Hearts. America contributed two people to the team. The first was the young heir to the largest munitions developer in America. His family had made munitions for the American armed forces since the Civil War and had done very well for themselves for it. This young man was an engineering genius and preferred to use his family’s money and resources to create gadgets and technology on the fringe of science. He would be the Ace of Diamonds. The second American contribution was something of a mystery. A professional gambler and former soldier, the man was a master with edged weapons. His background was pedestrian compared to the rest, but his connection to the team’s first mission made him invaluable. He would be the Ace of Spades. Those four members would make up the core team and would liaise with various agents and other sympathizers throughout the globe as they carried out their mission to save the world from the terrifying new threats it faced. Each of them was given a codename and they were all strictly forbidden to divulge too much personal information about themselves to one another.

G. Brett Williams #8 – The Wilde Card

| November 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

The world after the first World War was a strange place full of political upheaval, vast social change and major technological advancement. It was an Earth reshuffled, a brave new world full of wealth, opportunity, progression. And that was just what people could see happening. Only a handful of the world’s most powerful and influential people were aware of the secrets that lay beneath the surface. For every advancement in technology, there were twenty advancements in fringe and super-science, things that were deeply classified or highly sought after. For every change in the social or political landscape, there were dark, smoke-filled rooms where men pulled strings and made puppets of those we thought most powerful. It was a dangerous and unknown future and many governments decided that they needed new ways of thinking, new methods of dealing with the problems that would blossom from the world’s great leap forward. Deep within the halls of British government, one such program was created and the world’s first “hero” was born.

The program, cleverly referred to as the Wilde Card Program was enacted by the British government as a means of defending their empire from the threats that they so desperately tried to keep out of the Sunday papers. They culled all the various branches of their armed forces until they found the soldier with the perfect combination of intelligence, physicality, individuality and patriotic zeal, then they turned him into a living weapon. That soldier was Samuel Wilde, but he became more commonly known by his codename, The Wilde Card. Samuel Wilde became Britain’s greatest champion, but it was something of a thankless job. He was always expected to do as he was told, to follow orders without question, and sometimes those orders weren’t very heroic. His handlers were always quick to remind him how important he was to the cause, but they never let him forget that he was basically a commodity, not a person. The life of secrecy began to take its toll on Samuel, though he never let it show to the people responsible for sending him on his missions.

The only person in Samuel’s life that he truly cared for was Madeline Greene. Greene was a female spy, a codebreaker in the employ of the British government. Samuel had liaised with her on various missions and the two had developed an attraction. Their love wasn’t necessarily forbidden, simply because the government didn’t think that Samuel was capable of something as deep and committed as love. To his handlers, Samuel ever finding something that he found more valuable than his service to the Empire was unlikely. They didn’t calculate that he would fall in love. Did they think he would be entirely asexual? Not at all. But they didn’t expect that he’d ever become interested enough in a woman to put his service to the military in jeopardy. They were wrong.

While Samuel battled many foes throughout his time as the Wilde Card, none was more terrifying than Master Midnight. Midnight was a particularly gruesome foe who combined the powers of conjuring and dark magic with his knowledge of science. His goals were never entirely clear but his results were impossible to ignore. He cut a swathe across the world, collecting artifacts, merging science and magic, and sowing the seeds of terror. Samuel pursued him all over the globe and their battles were titanic, to say the least. Despite the horror he faced though, Samuel could always come back to Madeline. Until Midnight found out about her. He kidnapped and used Madeline to finally gain the leverage he needed to defeat Samuel once and for all.

The government informed Samuel that Madeline Greene wasn’t worth the potential risk to their investment. The mission was deemed too dangerous to undertake so Samuel was ordered to cut her loose. For the first time in his life, he didn’t follow orders. Instead, he snuck away from his handlers and went rogue, deciding that Madeline was more important to him than anything else in the world. Of course, that’s exactly what Midnight wanted. Still, even with him expecting Samuel to come, Midnight was caught off guard by the man. The two battled back and forth with neither being able to gain the advantage. When Midnight saw that things were lost, saw that Samuel would not quit, even if it meant both of them would die, he decided to cut his losses. He cast a spell against Madeline, whom he still had restrained, that killed her in an instant. Then he used Samuel’s rage and his grief as distraction enough to escape. In his retreat, he lit the building they were in on fire, insuring that Samuel would be too preoccupied to follow him. His plan worked better than he’d expected. Samuel Wilde perished in that fire.

At least, that’s what the official report said. Samuel Wilde and Madeline Greene were listed as Killed In Action and Master Midnight was considered at large. He never surfaced again after that day, so the threat was considered handled. The Wilde Carde Program was shut down and Samuel Wilde was buried as a soldier of the empire. But rumour circulated throughout the government that the official report was anything but accurate. There were certain people who believed that Samuel Wilde faked his own death, that perhaps he and Madeline Greene had both escaped a fiery death. Some people took it even further, theorizing that the body found burned to death in the remains of the building was actually Master Midnight’s, not Samuel Wilde’s. ┬áRegardless of the truth, the government’s official position was that Samuel Wilde was dead. They wouldn’t revisit the idea of a super spy program for a few years and once they did, the program, and the world, would have changed significantly.