Cry Wolf: a HERO Television Special
Kill Team Edelweiss
Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes,
Swaying to the Symphony…
From “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeath
KILL TEAM EDELWEISS
If the contractors of the DAU are the brooms and mops of SHADOW, then the small squad of specially-trained, heavily-equipped commandos codenamed Edelweiss are both the sledgehammers and the scalpels. Each operator was exposed to the Insania Virus through one form or another which granted them unique abilities and lived to tell about it. This makes them far deadlier than their counterparts in the DAU. The team is also referred to as Kimberly Anne Foxglove’s “trump card” that is meant to deal with missions that even the Disinfestation Annihilation Unit would find impossible to handle.
At present, the disreputable Edelweiss unit is the fifth (and by far) the only super-powered Kill Team in SHADOW’s employ. While those who are aware of the unit’s existence abhor their methods, calling them ruthless and inhumane at the very least, no one can doubt the importance of keeping them on the Company’s order of battle as evidenced by their long list of exemplary (and questionable) mission successes particularly against Starspawn and their minions.
What also sets them apart from the other armed branches of SHADOW is that the members have pledged their loyalty to the Kill Team itself and not the Company that spawned them, and any orders from the latter only come second to the commands of their team leaders Foxglove and the Deadly Nightshade.
“The Edelweiss is a Disinfestation team. Exterminators for hire. Not a rescue unit. Not that we back down from challenges but hostages are a complication, and we specialize in getting rid of complications, not saving them.”
- from a recorded conversation between Foxglove and Nick Fury
SHADOW Company began the Kill Team program out of simple pragmatism. It was noted by Foxglove that despite the DAU’s significant state-of-the-art war material and first-rate manpower, there is a limit to the effectiveness of conventional armaments and tactics when utilized against powerful extra-terrestrials and other unpredictable empowered beings. This resulted in a massive program that sought to recondition the physical and mental competence of the Company’s existing field operatives with the aim of increasing their survivability in hostile environments and improving their combat efficiency. Just like the regular army of Disinfestors, most of the operators in the kill teams come from ambiguous backgrounds.
The early modifications were mostly chemical, genetic, cybernetic in nature and later enhancements were made using samples of the Insania Virus. All the efforts resulted in dreadful failures that cost the Company a good number of its well-trained personnel and enormous sums of money.
Five kill teams were formed through the years with only the latest incarnation, Kill Team Edelweiss, being the most successful and the only unit whose members survived their transformations. Instead of using NATO phonetic alphabets (Alpha, Bravo, etc.), they made use of the first letters of flower names as their designations. The callsigns, flower name meanings, the (likely) fates and status of each unit are listed as follows:
1st Attempt: Team Angelica (“Inspiration). Status: Deceased; all members perished during enhancement process
2nd Attempt: Team Basil (“Hatred). Status: Deceased; all members perished during enhancement process
3rd Attempt: Team Cedar (“Strength”). Status: Deceased; destroyed under orders from Foxglove
4th Attempt: Team Daisy (“Innocence”). Status: Missing; possibly rogue; termination with extreme prejudice a top priority of the DAU and Kill Team Edelweiss
5th Attempt: Team Edelweiss (“Noble White”). Status: Active; high rate of mission completion; present members still under constant surveillance
The current members of Kill Team Edelweiss have been divided into two fire teams. These sub-units are named after the two mythical creatures from “The Odyssey” and their line up are as follows:
BLACKTHORN (Gertruda Migla) = Recon / Sharpshooter
FOXGLOVE (Kimberly Anne Foxglove) = Medic / Field Scientist
MARIGOLD (Shanelle Cadwalder) = Assault / Flamer Specialist
ROSEMARY (Lucca Zanetti) = Support / Field Technician
ANEMONE (Marit Vintervolff) = Medic / Sharpshooter
GENTIAN (Sebastien Eunika) = Support / Demolitionist
LAVENDER (Violeta Fantomas) = Assault / Heavy Weapons
NIGHTSHADE (Marzanna Kriegvogel) = Recon / Assassin
While the Edelweiss may appear like any contingent from the DAU, their nature and abilities as unnatural Revenants are kept an absolute secret. To maintain this, SHADOW Company has imposed their brand of military discipline on the Kill Team much to the latter’s consternation. Each squad member’s public datafiles have been painstakingly deleted and replaced with false identities and histories. As such, they are considered officially dead to the rest of the world. Those members with families or relatives that are still living are strictly prohibited from making any form of contact.
Once an objective has been set the Edelweiss make use of every resource available and then focus on options that would give them the best result. Being a true black operations unit, they give emphasis on intelligence gathering, sabotage and assassination and apply ambush, secrecy, concealment, surveillance, counter-intelligence and other similar methods in their battles.
What they lack in the numbers of large armies or the powers of costumed teams of heroes and villains, they make up with speed, skill and hardware. Under Nightshade’s training, each member has become accomplished in guerrilla style fighting and hit-and-run tactics. When they locate their target, they strike brutally and swiftly, devastating the opposition with as much firepower as possible to achieve their goals, and then vanishing just as fast.
Their actions are unhindered by outside rules and regulations and bereft of any concept of pride and morality. Civilian bystanders are considered unimportant and even their own allies are deemed as assets to be expended when the situation calls for it. For the Edelweiss, the orders set by Foxglove (acting on personal and corporate interests) are all that matters. While the team is allowed to retreat when the tides of combat turn against them, total failure is unacceptable and they do not lose sight of an objective until it has been attained (or destroyed).
Apart from missions in the “real world”, the Kill has also been sent on covert operations in other dimensions thanks to Nightshade’s ability to open portals. Such undertakings have taken them to other parallel versions of their present universe where their presence and actions were often detrimental to the peoples of those alternate worlds.
“Sorry, dipshit, but if you were expectin’ to see girls with guns and bad attitudes wearin’ skin-tight bodysuits or camo-bikinis then you’ll be disappointed. Well … you’ll definitely see lotsa guns and bad attitudes, that’s for sure!”
It is said that appearances are deceiving, and this is ever so true with the Edelweiss as they blatantly turn against every conceivable stereotype of the all-female fighting unit. At first glance, they are just like any other member of the Disinfestation Annihiliation Unit. Because of their standard heavy load of armor, breathing apparatus, weapons and other gear, as well as the fact that they speak out loud through built-in voice scramblers (if they do so at all!) the kill team is always wrongly presumed to be composed of males. Both the high-ranking members of SHADOW and the roster of the Edelweiss do nothing to correct the misconception.
The unpredictable nature of the Insania Virus, coupled with the supposed vaccine the Amaranthus serum, has given the members of the Edelweiss a broad range of powers with varying intensities. Listed below are the most common powers found in each member.
Durability: Toughened skin and muscle as well as the ability to withstand most minor blunt trauma or pain. Their bodies are highly resistant to elemental hazards allowing them to survive in harsh heat and cold. For instance, they are able to endure artic conditions practically naked and suffer little ill effects.
Healing Factor (SFX): The most potent Warp-based power of Kill Team Edelweiss is their rapid healing that allows them to regenerate damaged or destroyed flesh, bone and organs with a great degree of speed. They are able to fully heal injuries ranging from slashes, gunshot wounds, severe burns and even lost organs or limbs in a matter of moments.
Mystic Attack: The Revenants of the Edelweiss have the uncanny ability to imbue any physical attack (notably brute force from unarmed strikes and both melee and projectile weapons) with deadly Warp energy. While the power requires the focus and mental energy of the user, this drawback is countered by the attack being able to bypass physical defenses, whether they be metal plating of powered exoskeletons or the tough carapace of Starspawn.
Reflexes: While most Kill Team members have their reflexes increased to two to three times the normal human response time and hand-eye coordination, Nightshade has hers heightened to ten times the response time and coordination of an ordinary human. Due to the alterations on their bio-electrical nerve transduction, they can now perform amazing feats such as dodging high-velocity projectiles fired at point blank range and striking at their foes with seemingly blurring speed.
Psychic Resistance: The indomitable will of each Edelweiss Disinfestor stems not only from the alterations made to their brains, but all the endless wars and conflicts they have participated in. The countless unimaginable atrocities they have witnessed (AND committed) have rendered them practically immune to fear and totally jaded against horrible sights and events that would drive others insane.
Senses: The Edelweiss possesses extraordinary levels of awareness, akin to that of predatory animals. Two members’ senses in particular, namely Marigold and Nightshade, can reach beyond nature, offering incredible levels of awareness.
Their enhanced sense of sight can reach far greater distances with perfect clarity and can enhance various forms of light unseen by a normal human’s eye, giving them a limited form of grayish night vision. Their sense of hearing is heightened in the same manner, allowing them to pick up sounds impossible for unaugmented humans to hear and can hear sounds at much longer distances. The new ears filter out deafening sounds and can block out extreme environmental effects such as white noise, making the twins immune to motion sickness.
They can recognize and remember people and objects by scent even if they are well hidden. This strong sense of smell allows them to track their target by scent and taste even if the scent has been covered by flora and fauna, tainted by time, weather and other natural factors. This same hyper-olfactory gives them the ability to detect lies due to chemical changes in a person’s scent. When coupled with their enhanced hearing to detect erratic changes in heartbeats, their chances for detecting lies are extraordinarily high. Their heightened sense of taste also allows them to identify the chemical components of anything they eat.
Stamina: The altered stamina of the Edelweiss allows for rapid recovery from injury, resistance to most terrestrial diseases or toxins, and the ability to operate at maximum capacity for several hours even without sleep or sustenance. Their altered lungs allows the Kill Team members to survive in the vacuum of space and the pressures of deep sea diving, and they can hold their breath indefinitely. Changes to their skin pigments give them high resistance to radiation, cold and heat.
Their stomachs have been changed in such a way that they are able to eat and swallow usually inconsumable matter without harm as the enhanced digestive track extracts necessary material and synthesizing them into needed nutrients.
When coupled with their Healing Factors, their stamina grants them better blood and oxygen distribution and high immunity to lactic acids and other fatigue-generating toxins secreted by their muscles when performing physical actions.
Strength: Their muscles have been strengthened by chemical alteration and when coupled with their Regenerative Healing Factor, they can push their muscles far beyond the natural limits of the human body without injuring themselves. This level of strength is further increased by the demand placed on their frame due to their hardened bone structure, allowing them turn over cars, break through solid barriers, bend ordinary iron bars, and perform other feats of strength that can damage a normal human skeleton.
It is worth noting that Lavender has the greatest level of strength among the Edelweiss, allowing not only her to bear the enormous weight and bulk of her armor, weapons and ammunition, but she is also capable of lifting and throwing vehicles, smashing through stone and metal, and tearing apart most barriers.
Extensive Spec Ops Training: Foxglove’s extensive contacts in the military and mercenary world gave her access to innumerable providers of training and indoctrination for the Disinfestors of SHADOW Company, and all the more so for her much favored Kill Team not even including the training given by Nightshade whose experience is defined by two centuries of combat. Each member of the Edelweiss is highly skilled in various forms of unconventional warfare that parallels those performed by the official special operations forces present in the various military organizations in the world.
Their tasks include (but are not limited to) airborne operations, counter-insurgency, terrorist tactics, covert ops, direct action, mobile warfare, guerrilla warfare, intelligence gathering, rescue and/or assassination of high-value targets, CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear) warfare, and most especially extra-terrestrial extermination missions.
Master Melee Combatant: The Edelweiss members have been thoroughly drilled in the exceptional forms of a number of both armed and unarmed melee combat emphasizing on the need to neutralize targets as swiftly and silently through the use of brutal counter-attacks, aggressive grappling and holds, and simultaneous defensive and offensive movement. These art forms include Krav Maga, Combat Sambo, Ninjutsu, Hwa Rang Do, Savate, and Chin Na.
Although trained in the art of Moo Gi Gong (a sub-discipline of Hwa Rang Do) which allows them to use almost any object into a makeshift weapon, the Kill Team’s primary focus is on bladed weapons such as knives, machetes and axes.
Expert Marksmen: Each Edelweiss Disinfestor is a professional markman skilled with the repair and handling of virtually every type of firearm as well as thrown weapons such as knives and grenades.
Like other Disinfestors, the team has access to SHADOW Company’s expansive armory. Every item ranging from their combat armor, Hazmat gear, and surveillance equipment and other paraphernalia are of better quality than those issued to the DAU. Aside from the customary hand signals, the team makes use of their own encoded radios to better communicate with their companions.
Though they are known to fight on foot, oftentimes being deployed by fixed-wing or rotary wing aircraft, it is not uncommon to witness the Edelweiss heading into battle on heavily-modified motorcycles, Humvees or Fast Attack Vehicles.
Because of the nature of the enemies they face, the Kill Team is equipped with specially-designed weaponry and ordnance ranging from energy-based guns to blades and ammunition fitted with adamantium and vibranium.