Barnabas LeVite/Section 2
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Section 2: The Son of Encouragement.
Section 2.1: Molting.
His best friend was dead, and shortly after, Erma fell odd the grid. ARSOC fell apart. Barnabas had his work condemned and took a considerable pay-cut. He was transferred to another sector and made Arachnos' liaison to Blackwing Industries, an Arachnos-supported private military contractor led by Pontius Blackwing. It was an insult. A slap in the face from Lord Recluse, the man he once lived to impress. But, Barney had been an Arachnos tool his whole life, and had nothing else to hold on to. So, he let life roll. It was all sitting behind a simple desk and filling out meaningless paperwork until Barney met Lia. The beautiful redhead with more bite than bark and the adoptive mother of Collin, a little boy whose hi-jinx are an acquired taste.
As expected, Barney took a perfect liking to Lia in no time. She had a knack for attracting that kind of attention from men, and Barney had plenty of it to give. Being around Collin and Lia woke something up in Barney. He saw how much Collin loved his mother. He'd do anything to protect her and have no quarrel killing someone who tried to prove him wrong. Aside from cancer-inducing superpowers, Barney and Collin had a lot in common.
Not long after making acquaintance, Barney spotted a bloodied Lia dragging her broken body through Pocket D. He lifted her into his arms and laid her down on a sofa, thumbing through his mental list of contacts. There was no doctor available, not even a medic. The only person that could help was a demon, also under Pontius Blackwing's employ. He sent her an urgent page, and soon she arrived. Barnabas sold his soul to repair Lia, a near-perfect stranger. He was striking the kind of deal that most people live to regret, but for some reason he know that he would never feel remorse for his actions.
Days later, Barney and Lia were in Pocket D and witnessed a scuffle breaking loose. Someone holding a Bane Spider mace was attacking a friend of Lia's, Fen. Lia intervened, but the soldier threw his mace at her. Barnabas fired off his channelguns and pinned the mace to the adjacent wall, then positioned himself between the victim and the soldier. The assailant fled.
The assailant was later identified as Executioner Dusk. The leader of his own Arachnos squad.
Barney dropped contact with Blackwing and Arachnos immediately, repainted his armor, and tried to stay on the neutral ground of Pocket D. Nowhere was truly safe from Arachnos, but anywhere was safer than the Isles. During his mini-exile, Barnabas was introduced to many new friends and acquaintances, including Molly Andrews (The Arachnos defector that Fen's harbouring of made him Dusk's target) and her twin sister Holly Andrews.
Friendships blossomed and rivalries spawned between Barnabas and his new company over the next few weeks.
He couldn't head to Paragon City because the Crab Spider backpack didn't rub the border security too well, so he had it removed by Tom Sherwood and Bridget Cross. He donned a new name, "Web, the Son of Encouragement," and fled to Paragon City to live under the guise of a hero with Chris James and Lightning Strike Initiative.
Being Web was a new beginning for Barnabas. The demon who took his soul seemed pleased with his progress, and dubbed him her own personal Einherjar. The similarities, she said, were apparent. He was a mighty warrior, taken into a new life to prepare for his day of judgement on a new field of battle.
On a patrol with the Demon, Web noticed a gradual boost in his strength. He'd always been a heavy hitter, but he was punching enemies all the way across rooms. He asked her, "Is that your fault?" She explained to him that he'd already paid the toll. Before long, the power he harnessed in his hands was enough to fell foes stronger than he'd ever faced. He took flight. Barnabas was becoming a superhero.
Sometime in the weeks following, it was announced that Holly Andrews was pregnant with Barnabas' child.
Section 2.2: No Rest in War.
The LSI pulled together an emergency meeting. The topic of discussion was the Tribuo Animus, a stone that steals the souls of those that come into physical contact with it. Barney was fuzzy on the timeline, but as he understood it, the stone had a sentience in the form of the Lingering Sentiment, and had captured and tortured Chris and his wife, Jordan. Barney looked over his shoulder to the Demon, then back to Chris. "I might could handle this one, Skipper." The Demon clarified that that Web was immune to the stone's defenses.
"Long story short, I sold my soul to save your sister's life." Xeden and The Son of Encouragement faced evils together on a daily basis. It became an unspoken truth to both of them that they were becoming partners, if not some twisted variety of friends. Christian James was the White Knight, a hero of the city. Web was nearly his opposite. The Black Knight, a vigilante who would assassinate someone as soon as rescue them. But they had a common enemy in the Tribuo Animus, and Web had the advantage of being void of a soul, which would allow him to make physical contact with The Lingering Sentiment. Chris saw Web's cavalier attitude toward destroying The Sentiment, and dubbed him the first of the LSI's new Chaser Knights.
Web was fully prepared to put his life on the line, but it wasn't so noble a sacrifice as it seemed at first glance. His plan was to fight Sentiment and die a hero. Gunny, his son, would be born to Holly without a father. He would, however, know that Barnabas had died to save the world. Barney was afraid that if he were a part of Gunny's life, his son would do nothing but hate him for being the man that broke his mother's heart. Barnabas was a complete psychological mess at this point. He didn't regret Holly being the mother of his child, and he would never wish that away. But he knew deep down that he didn't love her. To him, she was the 'other woman' in his life. Though their relationship was never official, Barnabas felt a connection with Emily Denton that he didn't have with anyone else. The path he had to walk was clear, but it wasn't going to be an easy one. He found Emily and confessed his feelings. They kissed. In the sewer.
Section 2.3: No Place for a Hero.
The hero work continued, but the looming threat of death by the Animus was weighing heavily on his mind. He was tearing himself apart inside thinking about the people he'd be leaving behind. His unborn son, the son's mother, and the woman he thought he might be in love with. Web became irritable to all but a few people. Xeden was one person that absorbed a good deal of Web's anger and frustration. One mission Web gave himself was to free a 'slave' known as Xross Fire from her employer, Jacob Antonescu.
Web received a message to meet someone in Talos Island. It was high priority. The contact, a girl named 'Tod', told Web that Antonescu had ordered a hit on him. Tod's team, however, wanted Antonescu. So, they were going to use Web as bait to lure him out. Web promptly put a small team together as backup and met Rowan O'Neil in the abandoned lab in Port Oakes. At Web's side were Lia, Jack, Molly and Operative Nowakowski. Rowan told the team that Antonescu wanted Web softened up before they completed the exchange. He was to be held and tortured throughout the week, and delivered to Antonescu at the Giza in St. Martial. But Rowan was on Web's side. She told him to go incognito and create a new persona while Web was 'detained'. So, he posed as a hero named Scrounge until Saturday, 28 August, 2010. The day he would die. Web told Xeden about the exchange, and seemed to have everything under control. Chris cautioned Web to let him know before he risked the lives of anyone on his team, and Web took offense. "You know what? The're my men, too. Maybe not to give orders to, but to ask favours of." He told Chris that he may be the commander, but that didn't make him the father of LSI's individuals. Regardless of their debate, and it wasn't their first one, Chris told Web he'd have a second team standing by if he needed it.
Web and his team met Rowan on top of the Giza. Today at his side was Syl, "Aaron", Molly and Ski. The plan was simple enough: Web was to be handed over to Antonescu, then break his bindings and distract Rowan while she slapped a detention collar on the target. But plans rarely follow through. There are often variables involved. In this case, one variable was Konried, an acquaintance of Web that Antonescu had hired as some extra muscle.
A Giza security guard stood nearby. Antonescu ordered Konried to execute him, and he filled the guard with bullets, apparently killing him. When Web was handed over to Antonescu, he drew weapons at him and Konried. Web's team ambushed Antonescu, and things seemed to be going considerably well. Then, the security guard stood back up and shifted shapes into that of a woman, ran up a nearby wall and jumped onto Web while he was in flight. The two of them spiraled to the ground through a rain of fire coming from Konried's rifle. Aaron's finger cannons and Molly's web grenades kept Konried busy, and Syl effectively smashed and disintegrated the shifter's body. By then, Konried had called for support. A good number of heavy hitters from the Weapons Union appeared and the real battle began. It was a mess of a fight. Everything that could have gone wrong did. The second team that Web was promised never showed up. The fight blurred past Web, and he found himself struggling in a telekinetic grip, hovering toward a man in a suit who had arrived separately from the Union. The man's hand clenched, and Web's skull caved in in two places. His head and eyes were dripping blood, but the adrenaline mutation kept him alive enough to keep breathing. A few shots from Web's teammates caught the man off guard, and he threw Web into a nearby wall, apparently dead. Web struggled with his communicator, but couldn't make out the right words. Eventually the psychic threw up a kinetic wall, deflecting any offensive blasts aimed at him as he walked toward Web's crippled frame. He lifted him up into the air and said, "Goodbye, Mr. LeVite." Web reached forward and grabbed the man's hair, holding on tight. His free hand went to his shoulder and pulled out a long pin, and his armour began to surge as its self-destruct mechanisms engaged.