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Caught

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Just a little comic featuring some characters from the IN LAK'ECH Mythos: my original story project, which I originally seek to produce as a series of independent comic books and graphic novels. It's a large universe and the main storyline has a really wide background, so if you're looking for some kind of introduction I'd invite you to read the descriptions of the Cuetzpalin (some of the series' original protagonists), the ancient Cuetzpalin, the Gods of Aztlán and take a look at this short descriptive video (The way things are growing, I suppose I should release some kind of encyclopedia, perhaps even as an appendix to the comics).

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This short story takes place in a road on New Mexico, in early October 2011.
The characters featured here are (from left to right):
William Ford Jr, federal agent. From Michigan, Detroit. Pursued the same career as his father, mainly because he could legally shoot people or just having people fearing him. Clumsy and clueless, spent most of his time working in the intelligence division than on the battlefield. William is often assigned to espionage of social movements that could go out of hand.

Lana Bridges, CIA agent and the leader of a squad William is part of. The adopted daughter of weapons industrialist Joseph Bridges, stepsister to the heirs of Joseph's fortune, the US army lieutenant Kenneth Bridges and FBI agent Carl Bridges, Lana don't know very much about her early childhood except that she was raised by nuns in a christian community somewhere near the countryside of Avignon, France. She got rapidly used, however, to the military discipline which Joseph applied to his sons - and at first, refused to educate her towards a military career. It was out of her own will that she pursued a career similar to her stepbrothers, and arguably performed even better than them, although she's never been that much recognized outside the AXIS Institute - an international, top-notch private security agency and military academy, sponsored by Joseph's enterprise the ABEL Inc. and a germanic weapons developer Ulhaden. Some of ABEL's finest creations, the Alpha-Omega series armors, were legally owned by AXIS, and trusted to agents which exceeded in some of their multiple exams. Before joining the army or federal police, Lana has applied for AXIS, in 2006, when she was 18. There, she managed to legally earn the permission to use the NI armor during AXIS' missions (that ranged from persecution and arrest of groups and people accused as terrorists to assassination of non-human individuals labeled as demons). The NI armor grants her the power of telekinesis. This story takes place in early October 2011, a time when AXIS was no more and the Alpha-Omega armors were scattered and owned by very distinct parties - some were even in possession of so-called anarchist individuals. In most cases, remotely associated to or at least known to a non-human "demon" individual self-proclaimed "Cuetzpalin Paynal", who in his early actions became a major enemy to AXIS. Lana legally owns the NI armor both as a special CIA agent and as a possible heir to ABEL Inc (following the death of one of her stepbrothers, Carl Bridges, during a mission in August 14th 2009, on the Akwesasne community, between the borders of US and Canada on the states of Quebec, Ontario and New York. In the occasion, Carl's squad was hunting down Paynal, who was visiting some of his allies that are members of Iroquois and Algonquian commnities, when Paynal got into Carl's military helicopter and killed him in action. This left a scar in Lana's life, she had fought and lost to Paynal earlier but was spared, now she harbored more vengeful, personal feelings against Paynal).

    Lana's squad, what includes William F. Jr, was put in charge of a barricade in a road on New Mexico, following alleged sightings of Cuetzpalin in the area by the CIA. This maneuver, however, was done to prevent the contact between individuals of distinct first nations communities, like the Hopi and Zuni, who were being observed by the government as a possible meeting place for associates of an international terrorist paramilitary group, the "Necoc Yaotl" (from the nahuatl "Enemy of both sides", one of the many names used to refer to the pre-hispanic deity Tezcatlipoca). Even more convenient, this blockade prevented members from both communities to prevent the capture of some of their own by the outlandish forces led by Ometochtli (from the nahuatl "two rabbit"), a crime-lord, slaver and drug dealer from Aztlán (outside the planet) that also acts in the US, and apparently has allies within the government and police (for it makes their job easier). Ometochtli's true agenda concerns the elimination of the Cuetzpalin, but before that he planned the capture of Paynal and Montezuma, for him to deliver them to Aztec authorities (that wanted Paynal's death after he liberated Cipactli between 2009 and 2010) and earn some reward for it. Ometochtli's very existence, however, is unknown to William and Lana. In their way, they confiscated a truck that was being driven by an Algonquian/Canadian citizen, Paul P (on the right corner, in the first board).

William Mattoni is a 17 years old Brazilian high-schooler from São Paulo. What he was doing in New Mexico during class time? Unknown to most, save his trusted allies, he's the mastermind behind Cuetzpalin Paynal, the guy who can transform himself into a super-fast lizardman, and who began using these powers, way back in August 2008, to "liberate animals" and "destroy civilization, industry, mass society and capitalism", through actions such as kill frenzies, assassination of workers and people related to animal exploitation businesses, livestock breeding, fishing, the meat, dairy and egg industries, the fur industry, traffickers of wild animals, hunters and so on, even including landlords and notable politicians, on an international scale. Eventually, as his enemies grew and started to surround him, he got involved with organized crime in order to acquire lots of weapons, equipment, to train militias his own way and start guerrillas all across the place, inspired by his own views on anarchism and animal liberation. The "Necoc Yaotl" name was his idea - he's also notably informed about the history and culture of pre-hispanic american (Anahuac) cultures, also constantly advocating the autonomy and freedom of those, standing against the project of a globalized capitalist "western" society and the bourgeois democracy which coopts their struggle through the use of puppet "leaders". The preservation of their lifestyle, however, deeply depends on the area they inhabit, and the fertile lands became Paynal's most important battleground.
    Around this time, however, William was stepping out of the fight. With the recent return of an ancient Cuetzpalin, Axayacatl, a 10th Century Toltec military leader later regarded as a traitor by his former brother in arms Cuauhtemoc (who still lives, in exile), he and Paul realized that if they kept using the power to transform themselves into Cuetzpalin, they'd eventually lose their ability to turn back into human, and in Paul's case, he could even have the control of his body taken by Macoel, his Tonalcoatl (for a human to be able of transforming into a Cuetzpalin, it has first to get symbiotically attached to a Tonalcoatl, an organ from an ancient Cuetzpalin that preserves its' consciousness). It took a while for Macoel to tell Paul about that; William's original Tonalcoatl (who was separated from him years ago), Moctezuma, even didn't plan to tell him. Anyway, by this time Paul and William were aware that if they wanted to remain human, their latest fights against the State, the economical system and the corporate supremacy should be done as humans. For William, if it was years ago, he wouldn't mind becoming a Cuetzpalin rather than human. He never enjoyed that much living as a human in this society, anyway. But we're in 2011, when he believed to have found a girl from his dreams (on one of his many travels, he met a Belarusian girl, Alica K; allied to the "Black Knights" a local group of anarchists, and fell in love with her), and despite it did sound foolish, he wished at least once a peaceful life with someone he cherished. Paynal was slowly giving way to William, and this would undoubtly fragment contacts of distinct Necoc Yaotl rebel cells previously linked. This sporadization of his appearances would also lead to the frutification of betrayals among the anarchists, with some opportunists taking roles of leaderships and turning the struggle into a personal case of business, or allying with "less worse" enemies such as liberals, "social-democrats" and the kind of people that focus their efforts on some goddamn elections. People that want authority, not responsibility. Or people that want peace and comfort, and use their reason to justify powerlessness rather than to identify the causes of others's sufferings (like the economical system, the population growth, the centralization of power and money) and fight it back (fight, rather than just argue).

Paul Powhatan is a 26 years old Algonquian/Canadian citizen from Akwesasne, who moved alongside part of his family to Quebec city when he was 14. At age 23, he was working as a mechanical engineer, while he still had a deep contact with his traditions and also the movement for Algonquian autonomy in the area, as he participated in several protests against the incisive initatives of mining, oil, dam and plant projects carried out by the allegiance of government and private enterprises in his people's area without their concern. In one of those occasions, on February 13th 2009, while persecuted by bounty hunters, he escaped death and found Macoel, an ancient Cuetzpalin who lived as a Mexica warrior in the 15th Century, a guardian of the Taino (from the Caribbean Sea) in the consequent years, a liberator during the spanish occupation of mesoamerica, and was last seen in the 18th century during the O'odham Uprising on nowadays New Mexico. Somehow Macoel made it to the Iroquois and Algonquian territories from the 18th Century onwards, and Paul's discovery earned him the power to transform into a Cuetzpalin, just like Omepaynal and Paynal, whose actions against the status quo were negatively reported by mass media around the time. With his powers, Powhatan has used the identity of Montezuma and used the benefits of a secret identity to start a campaign of military training and gathering of distinct indigenous groups across north america, seeking to build a resistance against the foreigner, so-called "post colonial" government. Of course, he met opposition even within the leadership of some indigenous communities, but as soon as he got in touch with Paynal, they got rid of those in order to build what would become the informal basement of the paramilitary cells later called Necoc Yaotl.
    In December 2010, however, Paul lost his prized Spear of Time, diminishing his powers, and in late April, with Axayacatl's return, he'd find out his days as a human were counted if he kept transforming into a Cuetzpalin. Among Ichtaca, Cuauhtemoc, Moctezuma and Macoel, Macoel was the one who understood and befriended his ixiptla (host) more than the others, taking in consideration his needs, and purposing that he could finally rest after centuries with the condition that Paul would find other means to fight against the "alien shadow government". And he did, or so he thought - William should be studying for exams to get into college, however he was more concerned, among other things, with the increasing persecution of First Nations' resistance movements, and he teamed up with Powhatan in an operation of their own design aiming to capture Ometochtli and expose his cooperation with the US and Canadian governments, as well a series of private industrial sectors interested in areas belonging to reserves all across US & Canada. In doing so, they were supported by information brought by a mysterious Djinn claiming to be Vizaresh, who introduced himself to William last month as his guardian angel, and who claimed to guard the secrets for an alternative power, should William decide to not be Paynal anymore. Because they put their own lives at risk many times in this mission, Paul and William eventually became Cuetzpalin on extreme occasions, but made sure these should only be extreme occasions. Each time they transformed again, they feared for the worst. In this roadblock, they were caught by surprise, and William was about to turn into Paynal...

    Lana never knew the Cuetzpalin were actually humans, even though the thought has come to her mind after AXIS' destruction. Other AXIS agents who "defected" after its extinction (like Klaus Neumann, who became a gangly "antifascist" street fighter, Nina Roux, who joined with some Necoc Yaotl cells to fight fascists during the time Pope Leo XIV launched the international Holy Inquisition Offices, Melissa Walker, who became a "righteous, selective bounty hunter with her own code" and Kai Taylor, who became a hacker supportive of anti-government and anticapitalist struggle, what put him in contact with some Necoc Yaotl-related militants) had eventually faced this truth, however this CIA agent still wouldn't know she was just about to arrest two lizardmen, two "serial-killers and criminals", one of them a young boy, the one that killed her stepbrother years ago. She could've thought this over, while William was rapidly giving in to his impulse of transforming into Paynal and taking Bridges' gun from her, but a fifth figure enters: the FIREFLY!

    Before its demise, the AXIS Insitute has witnessed a "betrayal", the case of a student and agent who was leaking information about its operations to third parties with their own agendas. This agent, during a failed mission in which his master was killed, has escaped the reach of AXIS, and his armor has been previously hacked by his mentor, an ex-AXIS teacher who left years ago, for a secret organization that runs most of the industrial sector of the Republic of Tahuantinsuyu, a country born from the Tahuantinsuyuan Revolution of 1969, overseen and carried out by the local communist party of Peru, but also sponsored by foreigner supporters, that led its expansion towards Ecuador and Colombia on the north and Bolivia, Chile & Argentina on the South. After series of tensions between Tahuantinsuyu and the US-backed satellite dictatorships set across Latin America, elections and diplomacy were restored in the nineties - despite Tahuantinsuyu was still pretty much ruled by the same, both publicly and secretly, until 2000, when its leader, Tupaq Amaru III, disappeared while in Central America. The new century, marked by the beginning of AXIS, also saw agents of Tahuantinsuyu found within its structures, working and pulling the strings to deviate the ownership of the Alpha-Omega armors, from private enterprises, to Tahuantinsuyu's own public security agency. Agent Omicron was the second to compose such a project, the semi-official Chinchaysuyu-based "Insect Syndicate" headed by Ichneumon. His role has only been explained after investigations by a team of AXIS members in August 2009, what included Lana, Dalal and Drake. Later, a team composed by Klaus, Marvin and Nina have been sent to Tahuantinsuyu, where they engaged in battle against Omicron, now Firefly, and yet another spy within AXIS - Dylan Garrett, a.k.a the synthoid Digamma. The armor, however, was never taken back, and the newly-christened Firefly (a.k.a Ninakuru, the quechua for firefly) has sent his message loud: AXIS serves no useful purpose, it's a school for disposable bounty hunters led by a corrupt staff of old men who have barely witnessed war in their lives, and it shall be destroyed by its own, for that reason, anytime soon. The Insect Syndicate, on the other hand, is a rightful militia bound by values of human enhacement, not only associated with the development of upgrades for the Alpha-Omega armors, but also to allow its users not to die for side-effects, like has been the case of AXIS and its predecessors.

   
Firefly's secret identity, Douglas Ryder, as if by fate, has met again his childhood friend Paul Powhatan (one year older than Paul, both lived in Akwesasne before he moved to Toronto and Paul moved to Quebec), freeing him from the clutches of CIA. But he's not concerned with the well-being of his and his ally William, no, he's there to serve his own purpose: hand them to the Saqraruna (a secret organization headed by aliens, the Saqraruna has supported the Tahuantinsuyuan revolution in order to develop a mining colony on earth. It's also related to the development of the Alpha-Omega armors, and unknown to most, they've been responsible for a lot of modern war-mongering, not to mention the very european invasion of americas centuries earlier), as he knows they're the Cuetzpalin his superiors have been searching for. As an ensuing battle is unstoppable, the question remains: Will William and Paul give in to their Cuetzpalin forms, once faced by yet another fighter? Will Ryder come to his mind and let his childhood friend go (or is it just an act, and he's actually there to rescue him while keeping his identity secret)? Will Lana know the truth about the Cuetzpalin (if anyone transforms into one right there, she surely would)? You'll have to wait to get these answers.

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TheLucarioMaster's avatar
*searches for death road to Canada*
*finds this*
....wat