The Supernumerary

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Siege
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The Supernumerary

Post by Siege » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:33 pm

So basically the deal is that I can't finish Fahrenheit until I get this done. That's what you get when you try to build a continuity-within-a-continuity based on interconnected characters...

The Supernumerary

The Supernumerary (officially the Most Uncustomary Office of the Supernumerary) was a British red-letter group of operatives formed after the disastrous Clockwork War of 1851. Although the Victorian Age was just beginning and the British Empire was arguably at its zenith, the stinging defeat of the Imperial clockmasters at the hands of Cyrus St.Cyran inspired in some a palpable fear that the Kingdom of France and Outre-Mer would soon be able to defeat the Empire in what was at the time called ‘unwonted strife’.

‘Unwonted strife’-- for a very long time those who dwelt in the halls of power had been aware of the existence of creatures and forces both less and greater than human. To combat and harness such threats King Edward III during the Hundred Years War created the position of Lord Warlock of the Crown, one of the ten Great Officers of State and as Master of Gargoyle Manor formally responsible for the running of the Gargoyle Institute[1]. Descended from the Gargoyle Council formed by the 9th century Bishop Aethelwulf of Selsey the Institute was a society of mages and learned men who devoted themselves to the study of the supernatural, and who had kept the Home Isles – and later the Empire – safe from supernatural threats for hundreds of years.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution however Parliament found Britannia beset by new terrors mechanical and biological, terrors with which the old Institute was as wholly unfamiliar as Parliament itself. The given task of the Supernumerary, then, was to defend the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from the strange and unthinkable perils spawned by the New Age, and membership was exclusively reserved for those subjects of Her Majesty thought to be uniquely talented, and therefore uniquely suited to the task at hand, in one way or another.

As the Office of the Supernumerary was founded directly by Her Majesty the Queen Victoria it officially resided directly under the control of the Crown. When in 1861 the Prince Consort died of typhoid fever however the grieving Queen Victoria entered a state of mourning and self-imposed isolation from all but the most critical of government duties, and so when in 1862 British forces involved in the Intervention in Mexico found themselves beset by the golem-contraptions of the French-Mexican outlaw-king Calvera, it was the Gargoyle Institute which formally requested the aid of the Supernumerary. Since then, tradition dictated that the Master of Gargoyle Manor simultaneously functioned as the Commander of the Most Uncustomary Office.

In its colourful history the Supernumerary was active throughout the Empire and found itself engaged in operations on all the seven continents. With a perpetually shifting list of members the Supernumerary battled such diverse opponents as conspiracies of nations, brilliant yet villainous rogues, the underworld empires of the Seven Serpents, and still sometimes found time to intervene in the myriad wars that perpetually plagued the fringes of the Empire. Although these operations effectively formed a cohesive, unending chain of actions it is nevertheless possible to discern four moments in time that can be said to have been turning points or perhaps ‘eras’ in the history of the Office.

These eras are the following[2]:

1850: The Founding

Helena Bones
The fact that a woman in the Victorian Age was appointed Mistress of Gargoyle Manor and Warlock of the Crown ought to be ample indication of extraordinary ability on the part of Helena Bones. In this age women – particularly ladies of good standing – were supposed to stay at home, wear dresses, and hold tea parties. In a time where a lady showing her ankles was considered indecent and disreputable fair maidens most certainly weren’t supposed to wear men’s clothing, curse like a sailor, or battle daemons.

However, Helena Bones also proved one of the fastest and most talented magical duellists of her time. Therefore, no matter how scandalous her behaviour might be to them, even the most conservative male wizards were usually smart enough to keep their mouths shut when she was around. She and Queen Victoria made an odd couple, Her Majesty being frequently taken aback by Bones' behaviour and mannerisms and the sorceress just as often exasperated at the Queen's prudishness, however from most reliable accounts it can be gleaned that for all their differences they got along surprisingly well.

After a long and distinguished career leading and serving with the Supernumerary Helena Bones finally met her demise in 1891 during an intervention by the Uncustomary Office in the Chilean Civil War. It took a simultaneous duel with three Chilean black wizards of prodigious power to finally defeat her, but even then the sparse few survivors had nightmares about it for the rest of their lives. In the wake of her passing it was said that wizards world-wide noticed the Veil itself was unusually calm for upwards of a week, leading some esoterists to speculate that Bones' spirit was making some sort of deal with Tchernobog himself – but if this was truly the case, and if so for what she was bartering, is unknown.

After Bones' funeral the command of the Supernumerary fell to her second in command, a young wizard from a long and distinguished line of British sorcerers, Sir Aristide Duvalier.


Harvey Ramillies
Harvey Ramillies, Lord Carlesbury, was the captain of the steamship Leviathan and a full fledged member of the Most Uncustomary Office. He was only a baby when the airship upon which his family was travelling went down above the teeming jungles of the Congo. His parents and most other passengers were both killed in the crash, but Ramillies miraculously survived. As an orphan he was raised in the jungle by a band of monkeys and grew up to become the leader of the tribe of great apes by which he was adopted.

In many ways, Ramillies' jungle upbringing gave him abilities above and beyond those of ordinary humans. These abilities include climbing, clinging, and leaping as well as any great ape. His strength, speed, agility, reflexes, flexibility, and swimming ability are above average in comparison to most humans, and he is capable of communicating with every species of animal in the jungle, short of predators.

Unaware of his noble heritage back in Britain, Harvey Ramillies was content to live in his jungle domain until he was discovered by the Scottish missionary and explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, during one of the famous explorer's travels into the heart of Africa. Livingstone soon realized who Ramillies truly was, and implored the strong young man to return to his ancestral homeland Britain, at least for a while.

Once in Britain however Ramillies found himself unable to adapt to the stratified society of High Victorian society. Although he had inherited a formidable estate and large amounts of money from his parents he suffered from bouts of depression and longed for Africa until he was offered the opportunity to captain the Leviathan during one of the first missions of the Supernumerary to the Congo.

Regaining his taste for adventure during this mission, Ramillies afterward served with the Supernumerary for over 15 years. Thereafter he used the money he'd earned and a chunk of that of his inheritance to buy an enormous estate in Africa. In his later life he became known as the 'Lord of the Congo' near the Victoria Falls. His descendants still live there, and through the years have been major allies to many African causes, resisting the fiendish forces of such varied nemeses as Ian Smith and, more recently, Mustafa Crimson.


Oliver James
As a young orphan Oliver James was born into a life of poverty and misfortune in a London workhouse. He was meagrely provided for under the terms of the Poor Law. Along with other juvenile offenders against the poor laws, James was brought up with little food and few comforts. Like many others before him he fell to a life of crime. It was on the hard streets of London that James discovered his unique talent: with the right amount of effort, he could make people believe whatever he wanted them to.

Born a metahuman in an age where that term had yet to be invented had many advantages, as James soon learned, and it wasn't before long that he was working his way up from utter poverty to riches – through criminal means, of course. Unfortunately by doing so he invariably attracted the attention of the law, and James was soon arrested by Scotland Yard. After using his ability to break out of jail once, he was again arrested after a massive manhunt through the London slums, by which he managed to attract the attention of the Supernumerary.

James served with the Supernumerary for several years, acting as one of the organization's best spies, his ability granting him access nearly anywhere after it was discovered on one of his first missions that it also extended to foreign languages. His luck eventually ran out however: James is believed to have been killed during the Civil War in the United States. The Supernumerary, on loan from Queen Victoria to Abraham Lincoln and the Union, were operating deep behind enemy lines when James was arrested and executed as a spy by the Confederate States of America.


Yurei Jiāngshī
A former Hong Kong colonial official assassinated by Mr. Li back in the days when Mr. Li was still a prince of the Qing dynasty, Yurei Jiāngshī came back from the dead as a Chinese vampire during a mystical ritual performed by a Taoist priest. Thus instilled with a burning desire for revenge on the one who had assassinated him, Yurei went on a rampage through the underworld of Hong Kong, killing dozens and absorbing their life essence.

This of course was more than sufficient to attract the attention of the colonial authorities who, realizing they were unequipped to deal with rampaging supernatural terrors, placed a few telegrams to London and secured the dispatch of the Supernumerary. Helena Bones soon enough figured out what sort of foe she was facing and, after a lengthy battle resulted in a stalemate between her and the vampire, managed to make a deal with Yurei: he would serve the Supernumerary, and in exchange the Uncustomary Office would attempt to track down the man who had ordered his assassination.

In the following years Yurei was one of the principal foot soldiers for the Supernumerary and its strongest single operative in terms of raw physical strength until Major Britannic came along. He was supernaturally quick and had the ability of flight as well as the power to drain his enemies' life essence. Unlike the unfortunate souls suffering from photophobic haemophagy Yurei Jiāngshī was not vulnerable to sunlight. Daylight however would expose his peculiar greenish-white skin, making it difficult for him to operate during the day without attracting unwanted attention.

Although a very useful asset Yurei Jiāngshī was with the Most Uncustomary Office for only a short while. After finally tracking down Mr. Li the Supernumerary launched an ill-fated assault on the criminal genius' lair, during which the vampire fell into a vat filled with the blood of black dogs, instantly killing him a second time. Although the lair was eventually destroyed, Mr. Li managed to slip away in the confusion, vowing his revenge.


1900: The War of the Worlds

Aristide Duvalier
His Grace Aristide Duvalier, the 23rd Duke of Avalon, Lord Warlock of the Crown and Master of Gargoyle Manor, was a wizard who hailed from a long line of wizards. The Duvalier family has its roots in the French region of Burgundy, but had moved to England when in the 14th century the wizard and lesser nobleman Godemar Duvalier sided with King Edward III of England against the fanatically catholic Philippe VI of France. As Godfrey Duvalier he went on to become a close confidant of the English monarch, eventually being created the first Duke of Avalon, a peerage that survives to this day.

By the 19th century the Duvalier family had become one of the most prominent political and magical families of Britain, and at the dawn of the 20th century there was once again an Edward on the Lion Throne, and there was once again a Duvalier by his side. Aristide Duvalier was a man of prodigious sorcerous talent, the product of centuries of magical scholarship by his family, and said to be the most powerful mage in the Empire at the time. As Master of Gargoyle Manor he was Commander of the Office between 1891 and 1916. Aristide Duvalier abdicated his position after the death of his daughter Jocelyn in the Great War left him a broken man. The great sorceror spent most of the rest of his life in self-imposed isolation, raising the two children his daughter had left behind.


Sherlock Holmes
A brilliant London-based "consulting detective", Sherlock Holmes was famous for his intellectual prowess, and renowned for his skilful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning and inference to solve difficult cases. The ‘greatest detective’ worked with the Supernumerary on an on-again/off-again basis for a number of years.

For most other members the brilliant Holmes proved difficult to work with, as his enormous ego tended to get in the way of teamwork. Moreover his exuberant lifestyle, chaotic tendencies and fondness of opiates – specifically cocaine and morphine – were frowned upon by many of his colleagues. Nevertheless his brilliant mind and unrivalled analytical work proved indispensable to the work of the Supernumerary, and Holmes was always among the most proudly patriotic of the group.

Although this was not known at the time, Sherlock during his time as an operative for the Office Holmes acted as a spy within the ranks of the Supernumerary. He did this at the behest of his brother Mycroft, who at the time was the head of the Diogenes Club, the gentlemen’s association that was actually a front for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Sherlock Holmes disappeared in 1917. An investigation into a cartel of British fifth-columnists who conspired with the Germans lead the great detective to Switzerland, where he ultimately faced off with ring-leader and arch-nemesis Professor James Moriarty. A physical struggle sent the both of them tumbling over the Reichenbach Falls. Although Holmes' body was never recovered he and Moriarty are both presumed to have died in the fall.


Uther Armagh-Strathclyde
A lieutenant of the 13th Hussars regiment of cavalry, at age 21 Uther Armagh-Strathclyde was at the time the youngest member of the Supernumerary. By this time he had served with distinction in India and South Africa. As the fruit of a family of impoverished gentry Uther had managed to secure a position as sergeant of cavalry at age 16, and had seen little but war and barracks ever since. As a result the young lieutenant could hardly be considered proper company.

Uther drew the attention of the Uncustomary Office however by surviving in situations where other soldiers likely would have fallen. Whilst entire battalions of soldiers died in the early stages of the war against the Martian invaders, lieutenant Armagh-Strathclyde somehow survived. Having learned his trade from the Boer opponents in Africa the lieutenant had become instrumental in the gathering of intelligence, displaying an uncanny knack for behind-the-lines commando work and surviving unscathed from situations that would have killed ordinary men. This, Aristide Duvalier argued, was as much a unique talent as anything, and so Uther was conscripted into the Supernumerary. In its service he eventually made captain's rank and in 1916 found himself transfigured during the Great War-- in a cataclysmic event that should have taken his life he was instead transformed into the invincible superman the world would come to know as Major Britannic.


Assay
In the year 1850 the Clockwork War was at its height. In a primitive proto-cyberspace formed of clockwork machineries and telegraph wires Imperial clockmakers and instruct-writers, lead by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, battled their French counterparts under the command of the peculiar but astoundingly brilliant Cyrus St.Cyran. It was at this time that Babbage and Lovelace created a singular machine designed to overwhelm the French through superior processing power: a sentient analytical engine.

Alas, once turned on the machine ground away into nothing, its revolutionary programming apparently failing to resolve itself, and believing their experiment had failed the two moved on to projects with a higher chance of success. The machine was shelved in one of the myriad storage rooms of Lovelace Manor. Soon thereafter the war ended in a French victory, Ada Lovelace died at age 39, and the machine was forgotten for forty-three years.

Forty-three years was how long it took for Lovelace’s programming to resolve itself, chasing after its own image through a maze of whirring gears and punch-card memory slots, slowly but surely illuminating itself until finally one day in 1891 the machine became self-aware. It was a shockwave event felt throughout the Empire as telegraphs and factories from Manchester to Calcutta went haywire. Quickly rallied experts traced the disruption back to the Manor and disconnected the strange machine they discovered there, delivering it to the Supernumerary for safe-keeping. It was aboard the Leviathan that technicians discovered the sentience residing within, a being that surveyed the world through rows of scrolling numbers calling itself Assay.

Assay was a machine unlike any other. It was a sentience composed of a unique computer language, completely unlike any of the other thinking machines of the time. It considered the world in a very nearly incomprehensible way, more alien indeed it turned out than the Martians. For its own private reasons however it agreed to aide the Supernumerary, which it did faithfully until its eventual destruction in the crash of the Leviathan in 1917.


Zahman Shah
A Pashtun tribesman from southern Afghanistan, the warrior Zahman Shah was plagued by ever-worsening nightmares, nightmares that after his twenty-fifth birthday inexplicably began to spread through his village. Soon children and elderly alike were found dead in their beds, their faces contorted with terror. Thought to have been the cause of their deaths, his terrified kin drove Zahman out of the village, leaving him to die in the arid no-mans-land that separated Afghanistan from the northernmost provinces of the British Raj.

It was there that Zahman Shah, dehydrated and near to death, was found by a border patrol of the Peshawar Lancers. Although the Afghani tribes were the enemy of the Raj the captain of the patrol took pity on the heavily scarred fallen warrior. Nursed back to health back in the border province of Peshawar Zahman’s warrior’s honour commanded him to pledge his life to the captain, who instead asked him to pledge his allegiance to Britain, something which the warrior abhorred but could not refuse.

His stay with the Lancers would be short-lived: his nightmares did not relent, and soon began to affect and torment all the men of the border regiment in his vicinity. At a loss for an explanation the lord-governor of India eventually dispatched Zahman back to Britain. He was eventually taken into the custody of the Gargoyle Institute, where Aristide Duvalier learned of his condition. Impressed with his abilities as a warrior and perhaps sensing something more the Lord Warlock had Zahman transferred to the Uncustomary Office in the hope of finding a way to make use of his strange ailment.

It was Sherlock Holmes who ultimately provided the key to harnessing the warrior’s affliction. From what Zahman managed to recall of his terrible nightmares the great detective intuitively deduced that his mind was grappling with concepts with which it could not cope. Theorizing that what worked for him might well work for others, Holmes suggested the use of opiates to broaden Zahman’s mind’s horizons.

Cocaine proved the key to liberating his mind from the nightmares. Although every night he still dreamed of terrifying alien vistas, his intellect could now harness and direct the dreams, granting him terrifying abilities. The Afghan warrior learned to move through his fever dreams, inflicting terrible dreams upon his victims, proving to be able to even go as far as to kill them in their sleep. The price was steep however: not only was Zahman Shah soon addicted to cocaine, but intuitively he knew that his dreams intruded into the territory of some terrifying force and that if it ever caught wind of him, his very sentience would be irretrievably lost.

Zahman Shah disappeared in 1909. An investigation of a plague of nightmarish dreams that terrorized Nova Scotia at the time lead the operatives of the Uncustomary Office to the small New England hamlet of Arkham. In the antediluvian catacombs of that settlement the the agents of the Supernumerary came face to face with an unimaginable terror lurking beyond a portal that lead beyond time and space. Recognizing in this creature something that was perhaps at the cause of what had tormented him all these long years, the fearless warrior bellowed a mighty cry and, knife in hand, leapt through the arcane portal into the inconceivable realm beyond. Though it brought the dream-plague to an abrupt end, the ultimate fate of Zahman Shah remains unknown to this day.


Lord Fahrenheit
Ronal Erythraeum was a Martian noble, the exiled XXIV Baron Elysium, imprisoned on the Red Planet for opposing the plans of the warlike Viscount of Uzboi Vallis, Dzígai. He escaped his dying world in an experimental Cylinder, landing a year ahead of the main Martian invasion force. Taken in by the British Empire and cured of the Earthly diseases that were afflicting his alien body by doctor Alphonse Moreau, he aided the British in their resistance against the alien would-be conquerors, earning the gratitude of the crown and a noble title after the war. He subsequently assisted the Supernumerary as a technical advisor with his vast scientific knowledge.


Doctor Cavor
The eccentric but brilliant-minded creator of the gravity shielding substance Cavorite was one of the leading experts in cutting-edge science of his time. He was one of the few people who, before and during the War of the Worlds, grasped the full implications of Martian technology. Cavor frequently liaised with the Supernumerary, and produced a large enough Cavorite Reactor to lift the Leviathan. After the War and working with Lord Fahrenheit he managed to reverse-engineer several important Martian technologies, chief among which the Heat Ray.

Cavor disappeared just before the Great War. It was initially feared that he was abducted by Imperial Germany, although after the war this proved not to have been the case. Instead it is likely that the doctor simply left the planet in a spacecraft of his own design. Cavor had always wanted to travel to the moon, and had for a long time resented the British government for not allowing him to use his greatest invention – Cavorite – to achieve that end. By the time of his disappearance it had became apparent that it was a matter of when, not if, the Great War would break out. As an avowed pacifist it is likely that doctor Cavor simply could not bear to see his inventions turned against his fellow humans, and elected to instead leave the world and do what he’d always wanted to do: explore the far reaches of space.


1914: The Great War

Aristide Duvalier
An ageing man but still a formidable sorceror, the commander of the Supernumerary would lead the Uncustomary Office through the first two years of the war and its crucial first battles with the occult and abmechanical forces of Imperial Germany. It was clear from the start however that Duvalier, 54 years old by at the start of the Great War, was deeply shaken by the experience. The Lord Warlock had seen many a gruesome thing in his long and distinguished career as the foremost magical protector of the Crown, but nothing could prepare him for the dehumanized horror of trench warfare. Duvalier was very much an Imperial gentleman, a man who expected a degree of courtesy and respect even amongst mortal enemies -- and the trenchgrounds of France and Belgium, filled with bayonets and machineguns and mustard gas, were utterly lacking both. In a very real sense, the world had passed him by.

Then there were the enemies the Supernumerary came to face. These were not the insane black wizards, alien horrors or rampant cryptozoological terrors of the past: no, the Great War pitted the Office against very human evils, and in comparison the past seemed almost quaint. These were the contraptions of techno-sorcerors the likes of Stalag Luft, terrifying because of their murderous technological ingenuity, they were uncaring allies and callous generals, they were entire army groups frenzied by bloodlust and abstruse rune-spells. And perhaps worst of all, the scale of the war meant that whereas in previous situations a small group of elite operatives could make a difference, now every effort by the Supernumerary no matter how daring appeared pointless and absurd in the grand scope of a war involving untold millions.

In the course of two years Duvalier turned first disheartened; then depression set in. The final straw was the death of his daughter Jocelyn during the Battle of the Somme. In the aftermath Aristide Duvalier, a broken man, relinquished command of the Supernumerary and gave up his titles as Lord Warlock and Master of Gargoyle Manor. He retreated to his ancestral mansion on the island of Avalon and thereafter appeared only very rarely in public, instead spending his days raising his two grandkids. He died in 1954 of natural causes at the age of 94. Because no-one had recorded the births of his grandchildren - Amelia and Atherton Duvalier - they were the first in the history of the peerage to share the crown of the Duchy of Avalon.


Major Britannic
In the brief interbellum between the War of the Worlds and the Great War, Sir Uther Armagh-Strathclyde in secret married the love of his live, Jocelyn Duvalier, a fellow member of the Supernumerary and daughter of the Lord Warlock. They married in secret because he was not a member of the nobility, coming instead from impoverished gentry, and the marriage would have been quite the scandal had it become public that the daughter of the duke married below her station. Nonetheless Uther had asked and received permission from Jocelyn's father, who was the only one to know of their bethrothal. Indeed there was even a wedding planned – but alas, faith, and Imperial Germany, intervened.

The Supernumerary was incredibly active during the Great War, and so was Uther. A Major at 40, he served with distinction even though the once-proud ranks of the Most Uncustomary Office were slowly whittled away by the horrors of trench warfare and the grueling battlefields of the First World War. Uther and Jocely managed to survive until 1916. During the Somme Offensive, however, their luck ran out. Like so many British soldiers the small Supernumerary unit he was leading was caught in a surprise counter-attack, spearheaded by the infamous German techno-sorceror Stalag Luft and his jet-black airship, the Heimdall. Uther and Jocelyn were caught in the midst of a bombardment of lethal mystically enchanted chlorine gas, and should like many hundreds of other unfortunate soldiers have died right then and there. But Uther did not die. He survived the barrage, emerging from the choking clouds of poison gas carrying the lifeless body of his beloved.

There circulate many theories that attempt to explain Uther's miraculous survival. One is that the gas itself somehow affected Uther, changed him, that death itself bonded with his being in such a dramatic and fundamental fashion that he could never be killed again. Another is that Sir Uther's indomitable spirit would simply not allow his body to die, and that it is this spirit which gives him his unnatural strength and longevity. Another yet is that his immortality is an act of the collective British subconscious, a manifestation of its unwillingness to yield to any enemy – not even to death itself. Indeed, many theories exist attempting to explain his condition, most of them unsatisfactory. Very few people know about the last few moments Uther and Jocelyn shared even as he breathed in the lethal fumes; how he urged her to make her escape and how she refused to do so; about the promises they made to one another; about the words of Power she spoke, surrendering her life in ancient oaths so that he might live.

It was right then and there in those trenches in Picardy, France, that Sir Uther died, and Major Britannic was born. The death of the love of his life is in a sense symbolic for his own transformation into an immortal, unchanging megalith of a man: having known little but war and conflict for fully half his life, Jocelyn perhaps represented his final hope for something better. After her death, he became a bitter recluse of a man who embraced the violent, soldierly side of himself. Britannic – a name he adopted after he avenged the death of his fiancee through the destruction of the Heimdall and the killing of Stalag Luft – has since lived an ascetic life, rarely makes public appearances and instead dedicates his life to the defense of the United Kingdom in the myriad wars and conflicts the 20th century had yet in store.


Jocelyn Duvalier
Daughter of the Lord Warlock and an impressive sorceress in her own right, though not so much because of her raw power but rather because of the creativity with which she employed her talents. Charming, headstrong, beautiful and intelligent, it is not difficult to see why Uther fell for her. She first joined the ranks of the Uncustomary Office during the latter half of the War of the Worlds, accompanying the commando raid on the Horshell Common facility and using her unusual knack for veils and Kefitzat Haderech ("contracting the path") to allow the commandos to succesfully penetrate the roving lines of Martian warmachines.

Jocelyn Duvalier married Uther Armagh-Strathclyde in a secret ceremony in 1913, and gave birth to their twin children Amelia and Atherton (named respectively after Jocelyn's mother and Uther's father) in January of 1914. An official marriage was planned for August of that same year but the Great War put a stop to those plans. Jocelyn joined Uther and the rest of the Supernumerary in the trenches, using her talents to allow them to infiltrate German territories and indeed make their escape in the few cases they were caught behind the lines. Her time ran out during the Somme offensive of 1916, when she and Uther were caught in a cloud of mystically enchanted chlorine gas conjured up by the German techo-sorceror Stalag Luft. She gave her life so that he might live.


Shambhu Shameek Tantra
The Indian guru Shambhu Shameek Tantra first came to the attention of the Most Uncustomary Office during a 1909 investigation into thuggee activity in the Raj's Jharkhand regions. Agents of the Supernumerary arrived at the mountain stronghold of the thuggee cult only to find it completely blown off the mountain top, and a single man meditating amidst the ruins. Three hundred fanatical warriors lay dead around him, and yet the man had not a scratch on him.

Shambhu Shameek Tantra is a disciple of the Hindu high god Shiva in his incarnation as Rudra-Shiva: the terrible, the wild one, the fierce god -- the Destroyer. Some speculate that Tantra was even an Avatar of the god himself, although he himself always denied this. Whatever the case, Shambhu Shameek Tantra could wield terrifyingly destructive forces if he wished it, being capable of single-handedly laying waste to entire battalions of German stormtroopers without their weapons being even able to scratch his tiger-skin robe. He survived the Somme and the crash of the Leviathan, continuing to serve with the Supernumerary for reasons of his own until the remaining agents of the Uncustomary Office infiltrated the infamous Steel City of Stalag Luft. In the dark depths of that mountain stronghold he surrendered his mortal life, briefly becoming one with his deity in order achieve the astonishing ability to vanquish a terrifyingly godlike being summoned up by the techno-sorcerors from the Dreamlands. Though none are sure whether Tantra died or in fact ascended to some other plane of existence after the face, the truth is that the remaining agents carried his lifeless body from the scorched ruins of Steel City afterward. Upon their return to Paris, the guru's body was cremated the ashes scattered over the Seine river.


'Burgundy' Beau Revere
A notorious American outlaw, robber and criminal who had several run-ins with the Supernumerary during a mission to the Barony Von Reagan in California. Despite their best efforts even the preternaturally skilled operatives of the Supernumerary could not seem to catch much less kill one-eyed Beau Revere, whose gang made life very difficult for the Uncustomary Office until they realized that the outlaw relied on the occult services of a gypsy woman he had at one point saved from mob lord Johnny Torrio and his Chicago Outfit. Revere himself meanwhile was serving at the time as an enforcer for a native-American mobster whose monicker was simply 'the Apache'. The Apache and his outfit terrorized California and the Barony with a series of increasingly bizarre ritual killings and summonings that got so bad President Theodore Roosevelt eventually called in the help of the Supernumerary to deal with them.

Once the Uncustomary Office figured out the abnatural nature of Revere's protections the thaumaturgically educated British warlocks had a relatively simple time neutralizing his occult defenses. As the Supernumerary whittled down his crew and closed in on him 'Burgundy' Beau undertook one final gamble: he sacrificed his soul to power one final mighty geas, a curse that decried that he would die horribly, but not at the hands of the accursed European interlopers. Soon thereafter he was finally cornered by the Office, but try as they might they could kill Revere. It was at that time that Aristide Duvalier recognized the potential value of the outlaw as an agent. Beau Revere was offered the choice of serving with the Supernumerary -- the other option being that the Lord Warlock would encase him in living ice and deport him to Gargoyle Manor, where one of the aligned African or American sorcerors would no doubt be more than happy to use the popsicle'd gangster for curse practice.

Due to the precise formulation of the curse the remorseless Beau Revere proved a highly useful asset in the Great War, gleefully gunning down entire trenches of German soldiers and usually acting as a one-man diversion whilst the remainder of the team snuck into some otherwise highly secure location. He also proved a capable getaway driver, having practiced his skill evading Pinkertons, rival mobsters and FBI agents on the American roads. In the end his reliance on the gypsy curse proved his undoing however. The German high command via spies in the Barony Von Reagan ultimately got wind of the precise formulation of the curse, and subsequently flew in specialized assassins from its Ottoman allies. This Hashishin hitsquad had very little trouble dispatching 'Burgundy' Beau, who died an unsung death buying a final distraction for the other Supernumerary agents before he was unceremoniously machine-gunned on a road outside of Munich in 1915.


Lord Fahrenheit
After the War of the Worlds the Martian was quick to predict that human nature and the influx of Martian-derived technology would very rapidly escalate into a large conflict between the great nations of Earth. Over a thousand years old at this point and very eager to continue living, Fahrenheit retired from Supernumerary fieldwork in order to busy himself teaching at Cambridge University and helping the Royal Army Corps of Electrical Engineers make sense of some of the basics of Martian technology. He bought a sizeable mansion in the Scottish highlands which was soon defended by Earth's first ray-shield device, and throughout the Great War acted solely as a liaison and advisor, taking great pains to stay out of the field. Even so he was briefly caught in the front lines during a visit to Paris when German commandos attempted to assassinate him. At this point it became clear that Lord Fahrenheit had been holding out on the British in sofar as reverse-engineering Martian technology was concerned: he had told human engineers that it was hardly possible with the average level of human technology... A point that had been widely accepted until Fahrenheit broke out a suitcase-portable Fighting Machine and used it to lay waste to a large group of German assassins.


Doctor Sarrasin
A naturalized immigrant from France, Doctor Sarrasin was a highly gifted medical practitioner and engineer whose services were conscripted in 1912 to maintain the equipment of the Uncustomary Office in the field as well as to act as a field medic. A strict pacifist, Sarrasin refused to carry weapons into the field until his final mission. During the infiltration of Steel City in 1917 Sarrasin was confronted by his distant German cousin, Professor Schultze, who was one of the minds behind the creation of Steel City and the terrible techno-sorcerous weapons of the Imperial Germany Army. An arrogant militarist and racist, Schultze firmly believed in the superiority of the German people over the French and British, which proved his undoing in the end: Schultze met his demise as Sarrasin confronted him in his office high up in Steel City. After a lengthy conversation in which the German professor outlined his terrifying designs for the conquest of Europe through techno-sorcerous means, Sarrasin - finally provoked to physical rage - tackled him and they both toppled off the balcony to their deaths below.


1939: The Second World War

For most of the group’s existence their headquarters was the SS Leviathan, a gargantuan steamship designed and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel just before his death in ’59. Outmassing even the famous Great Western, Leviathan was a 230 meter long ocean-going ship able to go non-stop from London to Sydney and back under her own power. This ship was instrumental in allowing the Supernumerary to quickly deploy throughout the vast expanse of the Empire. When not on a mission, the ship was tied up in the enclosed Royal Docks in London.

In 1902 during a massive six-month overhaul the Leviathan was outfitted with a Cavorite reactor granting the massive vessel the ability of flight. In the Great War however she was very badly damaged during the Battle of Passchendaele, where the Leviathan engaged in a gruelling duel with a German airship piloted by the notorious aeronaut Stalag Luft. During that battle the Leviathan was so damaged that it could no longer remain airborne, and the proud airship crash-landed behind the German lines. The Imperial German Air Service immediately assumed responsibility over the wreck, and although it was returned to England after the end of the war many critical components believed to have been pilfered by the Germans were never recovered. Indeed is likely that the Cavorite retrieved by the German Empire from the wreck of the Leviathan was eventually used during the Second World War to power the hybrid airship Melissa that ferried around the notorious Axis irregulars known as the ‘Axis Commandos’.

The wreck of Leviathan returned to London in 1918, but the Supernumerary would never again use it as a headquarters. The Uncustomary Office had been gutted in the Great War, with most of its members maimed, killed or lost. The Interbellum was a period of recuperation for the organization, which was then housed in a secret area of Kings Cross railway station. During the Second World War the Supernumerary used a heavily modified Short Empire flying boat to travel between the Home Isles, Singapore, and other theatres of war.

After just over a hundred years of service in which operatives of the Office defended Britain on all continents, in space and in distant dimensions, ultimately the curtains fell for the Supernumerary in the 1950’s. The organization was subsumed in the newly established Royal Army Command for the Knockout of Exceptional Threats, a more modern, more regular military force with a vastly larger manpower and logistics base. Even today however R.A.C.K.E.T. continues to pay homage to its larger-than-life forebear: the massive flying command post of the Army Command, for example, is called Leviathan.


[1] I've forgotten the details of the Gargoyle Institute's history, so I made something up here.
[2] Era-specific member rosters with brief profiles will be added eventually.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:26 pm

The League of Ex- :P

The Lord Warlock! The Most Uncustomary Office! This is totally cool stuff, mang. I think one of Uther's comrades in arms could've been a silent and deadly stealthy Gurkha type of dude who could've murdered Martians (and Germans) in their sleep with his kukri knife.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Ford Prefect » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:20 pm

This is very well done Siege. I think the way you wove it into both the Gargoyle Institute (even if you couldn't remember much about it) and the Axis Commandos was really quite smooth. Cool name, as well.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Siege » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:25 pm

Thanks guys. I've added a preliminary list of members roster of the Supernumerary during the War of the Worlds, plus their descriptions.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:59 pm

Lord Warlock! Sherlock Holmes! Major Britannic! GEOMETRIC RATE! Nightmare Gurkha! Mister Science!

I pity Duvalier. Presumably, someone picked up the slack after he resigned? What's the modern Lord Warlock like?

I wonder what Assay does. Is he a glorified computer, or is he part of the ship Leviathan itself?

While Zahman Shah's exact abilities are rather vague, as you say a Lovecraft-fueled badass with a knife! He must've murdered the fuck out of that obscenity that was bugging him in his sleep! I'd like to get more details on how he kills the fuck out of his victims though. Freddy Kreuger style, in their dreams? Or by warping the reality around himself into a nightmarish dreamscape/randome altarnate realty? Both!
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Ford Prefect » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:53 am

There is something amusingly twisted about Sherlock Holmes giving Shah cocaine so as to help him deal with his dreams.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:53 pm

Morphine should've been used since unlike cocaine, morphine's an actual opiate and the origins of the word are far more appropriate. :P
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Malchus » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:17 am

That's because in the original Holmes stories he more frequently used cocaine, while morphine was only on occasion.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Siege » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:01 pm

I updated the 'founding' section of the Supernumerary with four characters: Helena Bones, Harvey Ramillies, Oliver James and Yurei Jiāngshī. Bonus points if you can tell me which existing fictional characters I based them on. That shouldn't be too hard ;).
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Vagrant Orpheus » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:42 pm

I see Tarzan, Oliver Twist/Artful Dodger... I feel niggling in the back of my brain as to Bones and Yurei, but it's not clicking right now.

Anyway, I really do like Boners and Yurei, they're the more interesting of the four characters in my opinion. Bones for being a powerful and outspoken woman in Victorian times, and Yurei because he's got the whole undead Chineseman thing to deal with. Also, he's one of the more powerful members of the Supernumerary, which I quite like. Oliver strikes me as having to be written or used carefully in order to not be abused or underpowered. He seems very much like a knife's-edge character, easy to get wrong either way, but interesting if you can do it right. As for Henry, well... he's Tarzan. Dependant on how he's portrayed as the captain of the Leviathan, I have no real interest in him, to be honest.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:26 am

I particularly like Yurei Jiangshi! I kind of mentioned the idea of hopping Chinese vampires as being one of Mr. Li's minions, but this is much better. I particularly like how the Malevolent Mandarin's method of dispatching him involved a diabolical vat of boiling black dog blood! I can so imagine the Devil Doctor CACKLING while he sneaked away and made his escape!
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Ford Prefect » Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:42 pm

The Supernumerary, on loan from Queen Victoria to Abraham Lincoln and the Union, were operating deep behind enemy lines when James was arrested and executed as a spy by the Confederate States of America.
The War of Southern Treason is suddenly even more exciting. :)

Helena Bones: so badass that even when dead masculine authority shut up and listened to her.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Siege » Wed May 25, 2011 8:10 pm

Updated with a roster of the 1914-1918 Supernumerary. It's a bit rough but it gets the point across.
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Re: The Supernumerary

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu May 26, 2011 10:22 am

The Barony Von Reagan strikes again! :mrgreen:

And I am also extremely tickled by the presence of Dr. Sarrasin and Professor Schultze.
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