From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
An excerpt from The Paragon Times. Dated 07/17/04.
The Clone Wars
By Caleb Gilligan
To those unawhere - over the last two weeks "clones" of Paragons more well-known heroes have been seen in action. This happening at the same time Portal Corp opened was no mere coincidence - for it was revealed these "clones" were not clones at all - but alternate evil beings from another universe. A force otherwise known as The Praetorians.
To many, the one they called "Emperor Xanatos" was nothing more then a Praetorian Christopher Columbus. Many laughed off his pale threats - the notion of a being called "Tyrant" destroying Paragon was ludicrous to say the least. And irrespective of The Emperors growing forces, and his slight skirmishes with several heroes - many heroes ignored his threats.
Or at least that was the appearance on the surface. One hero - known as The Requiter - investigated the "clones" further. The Requiter was a hero renown for his magical powers and knowledge of the arcane. It was Requiter who determined which specific dimension the Praetorians had entered through. And it was Requiter who first brought home the real threat the clones presented.
By this point Xanatos - the hero to who the "Emperor" was a clone had begun to make moves. Contacting Ascendant, Xanatos was able to make the call to arms at the weekly super group alliance meeting. Informing the city of the threat that threatened to engulf it. Armed with such information, the cities heroes began to prepare.
But it was not enough - mere minutes after the super group alliance meeting - the clones made their move en masse. Emperor Xanatos led his troops to City Hall - where he gave the city it's one last warning. A warning which would be unheeded.
Violence followed - with many of the City's heroes falling prey to the evil schemes of the Emperor. Antecedent, Slip Locke, and Requiter were but a few of the many heroes filling up the Chiron medical ward. Powers flared as heroes and "clones' engaged in combat. Many were injured on both sides - but in the confusion the Emperor was able to escape. But even with his absence - one question remained to chill the heroes to their very bones...
"Where is your Statesman?"
Statesman had not been seen for many months. His last appearance had been at Portal Corp - where he had been sent on a short information-gathering trip by the Paragonial "top brass". He had not been seen, and if what The Emperor said had been true - this "Tyrant" villain would be the one responsible for his disappearance.
Over the past week the "clones" activity had been minor. Several surfaced independently, but were quickly subdued and moved to the Ziggurat. According to some eyewitness testimonies, there had been some tension in the "Clone" camp - with one General Terror apparently playing devils advocate to the Emperor. In addition, Paragons foremost radio personality, DJ Tenchi, was abducted whilst on-air. His show was quickly taken over by DJ Evilenchi, his, would you believe it, evil counterpart from the "Clones" home world. The crisis was averted thankfully - with Xanatos and Ar'Candian rescuing the beleaguered DJ from certain doom.
Realizing the Clones would be quick to move - a committee of war was formed. Xanatos, Ascendant, Capt. Valor, Dwarf Star, and Tartan Matyr all comprised those who would organize Paragon's defense from the potentially imminent invasion. Dwarf Star was particularly resolute in his solution - wanting to declare martial law in Paragon. Such an action was never carried out - which turned out to be a mixed blessing.
The true leaders of the Praetorians were described as a "Dark Mirror" of the Freedom Phalanx by those few brave souls who traveled to Praetorian Earth. Tyrant - an evil duplicate of Statesman - was the planets sovereign ruler. And much like the world-conquering Caesar’s of the past - Tyrant wanted to enslave Earth for his own purposes. It was Tyrant himself who appointed Emperor Xanatos as leader of the preliminary invasion - believing his noble upbringing would make him ideal to send a message. Even if the true power of the Praetorians would never be revealed through him.
Emperor Xanatos was a fool. He believed himself greater then Tyrant - and declared war against Paragon. Word spread throughout the Praetorian camp, and July 4th was designated as an ample date for attack. So on the eve of July 4th the Praetorians planned. The city would soon be theirs...
Anticipating something was afoot, Capt. Valor called an emergency meeting. His suspicions were proved correct when Xanatos informed him of a super group known as "Evolution" breaking into the Praetorian Earth. Some of which having already defeated members of Tyrants evil council. Something was about to go down - and preparations were made. Dwarf Star had planned a celebratory party for the 4th July - and all of Paragon was going to be there.
The Party began explosively the next day. With several heroes providing fireworks and food for the Independence day Barbeque. And so the heroes waited, some dancing, some relaxing, but all waiting. Ascendant spoke to the assembled heroes - informing them of things such as Freedom, Virtue, and Honesty. Things all preserved by the American forces 244 years ago. As the sun began to set, the assembled heroes erupted in applause of the "Golden Boy" - his words were magical in a way. They always hit home.
And so the party continued, a good time was had by all, with Killer Whale almost living up to his name when someone tried to "poach" him. But for the most part - Paragon was at peace. But it was only the quiet before the storm. Emperor Xanatos appeared in the midst of the crowd - with several of his closest followers by his sides. They took the fight to the heroes - battling intensely, and wounding several heroes. It was at this point the truth behind the events of the last two weeks finally became known - to the Emperor at least. General Terror - the Praetorian Captain Valor - was supposed to beam into the party with the majority of the Praetorian forces. Such reinforcements never arrived however. And the small expository force led by the Emperor quickly fell. With Tartan Martyr being the one to finally strike down the Dark Villain.
With the Emperor fallen - other assembled clones began to fall. Project Orca, The Dequiter, and Omega Owl were a few of the Praetorians to be beaten down by the mob of heroes. Tartan Martyr held the Emperor by the scruff of his neck - demanding answers. Answers which would unfortunately never come.
A shot rang out - and The Emperor was dead. Far away, on a rooftop overlooking the plaza, the one known as General Terror stood and watched the proceeding from the scope of a sniper rifle. It had been he who killed The Emperor - at Tyrants own request no less. Assembling those Praetorians still engaging the enemy - General Terror teleported them all away to the Praetorian home world. Praetoria was under siege by Paragon's super powered heroes. The threat of invasion was over - at least form Emperor Xanatos's forces.
We will never know how many of these "clone" heroes invaded our Earth. In truth we will never know how many of them still reside here. But their forces have been stopped - and in that we must be glad. For tonight Paragon can sleep safely.
Happy 4th of July heroes!