The Reciprocators are a fictional supergroup of heroes role-played in The City of Heroes MMO on the Virtue Server. Each player is permitted only one character in the group, to avoid situations where one character must leave so another can be present. A player is permitted to have more than one toon if they are the same character.
The Reciprocators were founded in April 2006 after long time defender of Kings Row, Black Starbeam forged a partnership with the fledgling heroine, Static Bolter to address issues beyond the ability of solitary, unorganized heroes to handle. In a short few months the two had worked together to prevent hundreds of gang-related crimes. With Static Bolter more confident in the use of her abilities, the Black Starbeam began to work to gather more heroes to their banner.
The duo were hunting a Circle of Thorns coven who were believed to have stolen a priceless gemstone when they stumbled across an abandoned corporate research facility. The gemstone was recovered but the two noted the location, returning to claim the facility for the Reciprocators, laying the foundations for the Citadel of Defiance.
Initial recruitment was slow, but persistence paid off, and the Reciprocators developed a solid core of dedicated heroes and heroines such as Giga Gal, Burnum, Magnetic Guardsman, Spade Retenra and Ace McGwain. As the team expanded, word of the Reciprocators' successes spread like wildfire, leading yet more like-minded heroes to their banner. In a few short months, The Reciprocators started to create links to other groups, forming the basis for the Shield of Paragon.
The Reciprocators motto "returning the favor" also serves as a guiding principle for the heroes. Reciprocators tend to have clear-cut notions of the good and evil and have no qualms about fighting fire with fire, often using fear and violence in order to get the message across.
The Reciprocators, perhaps unsurprisingly, are keen supporters of Paragons' Citizen Crime Fighting Act. The Act, which allows Reciprocators a degree of independence in protecting the citizenry of Paragon also places responsibility for the proper respect for law and the rights of people, squarely upon the shoulders of the heroes themselves. Though Reciprocators may play hard, they do not condone murder in any form and take the liberties of civilians very seriously.
The uniform of the Reciprocators was originally designed by Black Starbeam and Static Bolter, going through several colour changes before being redesigned by Alexus Apollo for a costume contest. A member is granted full membership status after acquiring the uniform. It is not required, being intended for formal events and while working as a team.
According to Black Starbeam it is a symbol of unity as well as a powerful symbol of hope for the community. The idea being that once the public are able to recognise the uniform, they will feel comforted at the sight of a trusted hero. Unfortunately, the truth seems to be working out slightly differently.
Structure and Organisation
Once a new recruit has finished their trial period and acquired a Reciprocator uniform they are considered Defiant Fists. Trial periods are typically very short as the application and trialling process is quick and fairly comprehensive. Defiant Fists have full access to the Citadel and can call upon the resources and assistance of the Reciprocators as needed.
Officers in the Reciprocators are organised into Tiers. There are three Tiers. Black Starbeam and Static Bolter, as co-founders of the Reciprocators, occupy the Primary Tier; the Secondary Tiers are long-serving 'Cips Pariah Flux and Kitsuki Kaijuko. These four powerful heroes constitute the core of the leadership of the group.
The Tertiary Tier is more expansive, and new Tertiary Tiers are added when the existing officers believe a Defiant Fist has shown themselves to be officer material. The process of becoming an officer in the Reciprocators involves consensus among the existing Tiers as to a candidate's suitability, at which point the candidate is informed that they have been nominated, and have the opportunity to proceed to the Trials or remain as a Defiant Fist. The exact nature and content of the Trials is a secret guarded by the 'Cips officers, but it is known that the Tiers each create a trial designed to test some aspect of a hero's character and abilities, and a hero must complete most or all of these Trials before the officers meet to discuss the results and decide whether to accept the hero as a Tertiary Tier.
The current batch of Tertiaries are a mix of veterans and newcomers, with a diversity of skills and powers but united in their love of the Reciprocators, their belief in the group's ideals, and their commitment to the safety and defence of the people of Paragon City.
It's worth noting that unlike in many groups, the nomenclature of the hierarchy of the Reciprocators does not imply a progression to officerhood as being a progression of the hero. All 'Cips are seen as equal - the heroes take to the field without differentiation or preference, all bearing the Reciprocators' highest title, that of Defiant Fist. Officer status does not represent being a better hero, or a better Reciprocator. Those appointed to the position have shown above all else their ability to support their fellow 'Cips, both in the field and on a personal level, and have demonstrated leadership qualities, making the position of officer - especially of the Tertiary Tier - one of support, not superiority. Officers in the 'Cips are those you go to for advice, support and understanding rather than being simply the most powerful or longest-serving members of the group. In fact several of the officers are among the weaker members of the group, purely in terms of raw power, and some are quite young and comparatively inexperienced, while some of the most powerful and experienced veterans are Defiant Fists. This egalitarian approach to heroing and the recognition that raw power, or a lack thereof, does not make you a better or lesser hero is one of the strengths of the group, as when the Defiant Fists take to the field, they do so shoulder to shoulder, as equals, allowing the group to harness the full potential offered by the diversity of heroes who wear the black, blue and gold.
The history of the Reciprocators is primarily based on storylines roleplayed by the characters in the group. Any player is welcome and encouraged to start a storyline at any time.
April: Black Starbeam and Static Bolter start working as a duo. They form The Reciprocators, bringing Unit SR02 on board shortly afterwards. Before long, they were joined by Giga Gal, and The Reciprocators were on the road to success.
September: The Reciprocators join in coalition with the The Silver Guard after a chance meeting between Black Starbeam of The Reciprocators and Blinding Strike of the Guard under the statue of Atlas. The Reciprocators soon coalign themselves with the Young Guns, and after discussion of the possibility of a closed coalition, discover that The Silver Guard and Young Guns are also allies. The Shield of Paragon is born.
October: The Citadel of Defiance is named, and re-designed. Soon after the changes, Citadel security is breached by a group of aliens, the Arcadians, seeking Ace McGwain. The Citadel's defenses are drastically upgraded in the wake of the intrusion.
November: Black Starbeam is contacted by his uncle, Walter Neuman who was believed to have perished during the war, offering him an advertising deal with Bannitronics, now a subsidiary of Saintly Enterprises. As Bannitronics was the company run by his father, Starbeam refuses the offer after much deliberation.
December: Ace rejoins the Arcadian invasion of Earth, taking Spade Retenra with him and forcing The Reciprocators to circle the wagons against the coming invasion. After several weeks of maneuvering from the Reciprocators, Ace reveals he was always working in the favour of the human race, and returns to The Reciprocators with Spade. Ace leaves earth to take part in an intergalactic civil war.
January: Black Starbeam's faceplate is stolen from the Citadel, rendering him powerless. The theft is attributed to Starbeam himself, though he has no memory of it. Walter releases an advertisement featuring Starbeam which he has absolutely no memory of participating in. Various activities around the city are attributed to Starbeam by the media, despite him having no recollection of them. Vermillion Star attempts to gain information from Walter, returning with several pieces of evidence, indicating that Starbeam may be under some form of mind control. Spade Retenra, Diavolina and Emily Kincaid attempt to find the source in Starbeam's mind. Starbeam assaults Bridgit O'Malley and Mr Mountie, dislocating Bridgit's shoulder
February: Black Starbeam faces what is revealed to be his clone. The clone has the advantage of posessing Starbeam's regenerative abilities. After a brief rooftop battle, it escapes into the night. A raid is mounted on Saintly Enterprises to recover the faceplate and bring Walter to trial for theft and unauthorised use of genetic material. The Shield of Paragon forms a large assault squad and faces Walter and the clone. Starbeam and the clone face each other in single combat, Starbeam defeating the clone. Starbeam offers to help the clone to his feet, the clone responding by killing Starbeam with a sucker punch. The Shield defeats the clone, and revive Starbeam. Walter escapes the building, though is killed by a radiation leak elsewhere in the building. Vermillion Star, believed to have been killed the night before the raid turns up alive and well, and is revealed to have betrayed Starbeam to his uncle.
Ami Sumeragi, Tertiary Tier officer, is attacked by an assassin that has hunted her family for years known only as the Sakurazukamori. Although he marks her as his prey, he leaves her alive, preferring to toy with her. Fearing for her friends' safety, Ami leaves the Reciprocators for a short time and goes into hiding. Ami's cousin Subaru comes to Paragon City, hunting the Sakurazukamori. He and Ami are attacked by the Sakurazukamori and Subaru is killed. At his funeral in Kyoto, Ami becomes the new head of her family, and participates in a hidden ritual to assume Subaru's destiny as well.
March: Colonel Johan Stryfe, Secondary Tier, is killed in action against the Rikti in another dimension, which the Rikti are attempting to breach. Static Bolter repeatedly faces a contingent of Warriors intent on stealing an unknown item. The Reciprocators continue to investigate the gang's series of raids.
Ami is again attacked by the Sakurazukamori, but manages to drive him off while sustaining serious injuries in the process. Ami discovers that she has a greater power to regenerate than she used to have.
April: Secondary Tier officer, Pariah Flux, is assailed by a demon hunter who draws out the entity residing within her, and consequently removes the source of her power. At first glad to be wholly human again, Flux's health deteriorates, her body having become too reliant upon the demonic entity.
Ami begins to read mysterious signs and portents that point to something big about to happen. She worries the Sakurazukamori will return. Inexplicably, she begins to lose the sight in one of her eyes, and it goes completely blind and colorless. She also gains another new power--the ability to create magical barriers. Static Bolter is suddenly contacted by James Talbott, Ami's estranged father, who demands that the Reciprocators turn her over to him; he plans to use her to fight the Sakurazukamori directly. Against Starbeam's wishes, Talbott takes Ami with him back to Japan.
May: Flux discovers a mirror version of herself exists off-world, and is moving around the shard. With aid from other members of the Reciprocators she captures this 'other half' and merges with it, becoming her old self once more.
James Talbott's plans for Ami are revealed in a dramatic fashion when he makes her sign over her authority as the head of the Sumeragi family to himself, then forces her to fight the Sakurazukamori. In the final conflict with the assassin, many secrets are revealed, and he is killed; James Talbott attacks Ami with Nictus energy and nearly kills her as well. It is revealed that Subaru's soul had been housed inside of Ami when she took on his destiny, and Talbott had engineered the entire scheme in order to remove Subaru's soul from her body so Ami could be entirely "free." Ami returns to The Reciprocators from Japan.
Square Woot and Blitzkrieg Bop along with some other members of They Might be Heroes, a fellow Shield group, reveal themselves to be Villains and attack other members of The Shield. Members of The Reciprocators are called out to face them on numerous occasions.
June to December: The Reciprocators enjoy a lull in catastrophic events assailing them, allowing them to focus on combating the threats that villainy pose to the safety and security of the citizens of Paragon City. Several Reciprocators are awarded the Hero of the City during this period, the Reciprocator roster expands with the inclusion of many new members, and links with the other Shield of Paragon organisations are reinforced and further developed through the hero exchange program and many successful joint operations.
January: Reciprocator Neutron Light, surrenders himself to Crey Corporation in a desperate bid to halt the degeneration of his body, but is abducted from their custody by one Doctor Algernon. The Reciprocators mobilize to recover their comrade and he is eventually liberated by Alarcity, Phaize and Tipscout. He seems to be cured of his degenerative condition and even gains new mutant powers.
Majestic Marvel falls under a Cabal curse while adventuring in Croatoa, but it is liberated when Phaize, Tipscout and Pariah Flux venture into the past to rescue her from their clutches.
Alarcity proposes the formation of a pro-active, intelligence gathering team codenamed "Sentry".
While on assignment in the field Melog busts up a Crey lab and frees a population of rabbits that were being held there for chemical testing. The rabbits are brought back to the Citadel and kept in Phaize's office before finally having a small area set aside for them in the Atrium.
February: Alarcity's project codenamed "Sentry" begins its operation.
Neutron Light begins manifesting his dark twin personality and the presence of Indoctrination as the source of many of Neutron's mental problems become known. In a noble act Neutron's dark twin sacrifices himself to remove the indoctrination from his twin's mind and allows himself to be absorbed into Neutron's known personality. Also the existence of a weapon that can kill Neutron with a single blow is made aware to the Reciprocators.
March: The divisive and unsuccessful Sentry Initiative, having never really gotten off the ground, is disbanded when Sentry leader Alarcity departs the Reciprocators. Mr Mundane proposes Project Timewave as a more open and inclusive alternative with similar goals. The initial Timewave missions are run, resulting in the development of an operations guideline for future missions.
During the Rikti's renewed raids on Paragon City, the city's teleportation system goes down and needs to be manually reset. Because the physical location of the Citadel of Defiance is not known, it takes some time for the teleporters into the base to be restored, locking the Reciprocators out of the Citadel for about ten days.
Yuki Frost after investigating her father's dealings, discovers a connection between him and the Council. Things come to a head when after performing a favour for some Council informants she discovers her father's affiliation with them extends to building them a device that permanently leeches a superperson's powers. Yuki is captured and intended as the initial experiment but the Council's plan backfires and all those involved are killed, including Yuki's father. The Reciprocators arrive on the scene to find Yuki encased in ice and in stable condition, and before leaving with her destroy all data on her father's creation.
On the last day of March, a varied group of "Giant Monster" class threats launch a semi-coordinated attack on various sections of Paragon City. Officer Zap assembles and leads a crack team of Reciprocators in a concerted effort to neutralise the threats. Media interviews with stunned citizens all over the city describe the "a wave of heroes in blue, black, and gold" sporting "a mighty fist" on their uniforms appearing as if from nowhere and descending on the threats with a rain of well-coordinated power, often leaving as quickly as they came and appearing elsewhere in the city to deal with another situation. Video footage shown on the news captures a handful of Reciprocators, prominently including Officer Zap and the Black Starbeam taking great pains to bait monsters and draw them to less populated sections before neutralisation began, often at great personal risk to the heroes involved. Early the next morning, Officer Zap is commended as a Hero of the City in a ceremony at his "home precinct" of Skyway City, and in his acceptance speech places full credit for the previous day's events on the "teamwork, ability, and willingness to put themselves in harm's way repeatedly for their fellow citizens" displayed by his colleagues in the Reciprocators. Somewhat controversially, Officer Zap added "We can, and do, bring this every day and every night. It does not matter to us if you are a mutated octopus, a giant robot, or a petty thug snatching a purse - there are Fists everywhere, watching and waiting. We will find you, we will deliver you to justice, we will Reciprocate. Stay in school, say no to drugs, bake some cookies for your mother". The PPD has declined to comment on this statement.
April: An impostor enters the Citadel of Defiance in the guise of Mr Mundane and attempts to trick the Reciprocators into revealing the location of an item of magical power by implicating Vicious Void in the disappearance of Flourescent. The officers realise he is an impostor and attempt to hold him, but he narrowly manages to teleport out of the base, never to be seen again. His true identity and intentions are never discovered.
Neutron Light is kidnapped by his Praetorian counterpart, who attempts to take Michael's place, but the deception is uncovered and he is captured by the Reciprocators.
Throughout early April Yuki Frost and Mr Mundane are trialled by the officers. They pass and become the newest Tertiary Tiers of the Reciprocators.
May: After a string of dramatic and traumatic events, Tertiary Tier Neutron Light goes on sabbatical to Antarctica. While there he communicates to some of the Reciprocators in a closed letter that he will be standing down as a 'Cip.
July: Flax Mucro, a new member of the Reciprocators, attempts to kill Secondary Tier Kitsuki Kaijuko. The attempt is unsuccessful, and it is revealed that Flax was working while under the influence of a program built into her power armour. The program is altered with assistance from Fenix Alheron of the Guardian Angels, and Flax returns to her own personality, that of a young girl.
August: Vagrant Lore has to be locked in the Citadel's containment cell after an apparent possession. It turns out that his soul is actually split into pieces, and one named Sin has gained control of the other parts. Rhythm Windsong along with other members of the Reciprocators and the Shield of Paragon perform a desperate act in which they kill Vagrant to save him. Sin is destroyed, but thankfully Vagrant survives the process, recuperating in the medbay over the next few days.
November Rhythm Windsong is almost killed in a savage battle with a fellow Siren, known as Pelegia. Found and brought back to the Citadel by some fellow Cips she slowly recovers, yet becomes very keen to catch Pelegia and stop her. On a more positive note, Cyberette succeeds her officer trials and is promoted to the rank of Tertiary Tier.
December: The Reciprocators take advantage of a general lull in villain activity caused in part by the bizarre zombie risings across Paragon and the Etoile Isles throughout October and November to upgrade the Citadel of Defiance. As well as streamlining of some of the existing facilities, a Tertiary Annex is created as a central location for the Tertiary Tier officers; the living spaces are consolidated and a much-needed Barracks is constructed; a VR facility is installed, along with a danger room to allow for advanced combat training within the base; and the Arcane Sanctum is significantly expanded and increased in power and facilities.
January: Witnessing a recently-befriended hero die at the hands of a magical assassin, Mr Mundane discovers that his uncanny luck may in fact be the result of latent magical abilities, and spends the month developing his arcane powers, taking a room in the newly-refurbished Arcane Sanctum. In a matter of weeks it becomes apparent that despite his lack of training John is a talented arcanist and a powerful sorcerer.
Whispering Nova narrowly avoids going nova when she begins absorbing energy from an AutoDoc at the hospital. Between them Cyberette, Kitsuki Kaijuko, Mr Mundane and Rhythm Windsong managed to stabilise her through some creative reengineering of the Citadel's AutoDoc, and subsequent investigations revealed that Nova was the victim of genetic experimentation - perpetrator currently unknown.
June: Kitsuki Kaijuko is called into action by the kidnapping of her adopted daughter Anne, along with the family with whom she was staying for a sleepover. Signs point towards it being the work of Council soldiers, though Kit is unfortunately unable to gain any strong leads.
July: Yuki Frost finds herself detained by the police after the suspicious death of a Council Archon during a fight. Charges aren't laid at first but the case becomes a matter of concern when certain members of the Paragon City Council take interest.
A City ordinance putting a halt on the use of certain sonic technology while in the field is created after an incident in Baumton. Cyberette finds herself grounded after the incident in which she finds herself accused of levelling an entire building in pursuit of a giant Clockwork robot. Mr Mundane is also grounded when his visa is revoked over a technicality. He moves into the Citadel in order to remain in the country while the matter is settled.
Another ordinance is announced as a result of the building's collapse in Baumton requesting that all underground facilities which may cause problems for building foundations have their locations registered with the City. Black Starbeam refuses to comply with this rule and the Citadel of Defiance is cut off from the City Grid, trapping Mr Mundane inside. The other Reciprocators find help with their allies, the League of Misfits.
Due to the ordinance regarding buildings built above underground facilities, the freelance hero apartment building, the Alliance Arms, is declared unsafe and its tenants evicted. During the confusion of people moving out and workmen coming in, Static Bolter is kidnapped, taken by unknown assailants. No ransom demands are made.
August: The Reciprocators' now illegal status causes difficulties for Kitsuki Kaijuko by way of custody problems. Foul play is suspected, but Kit is forced into keeping a lower profile in order to protect her adopted daughter, Anne, particularly in light of the previous trouble in which Anne and others were kidnapped.
The Androgyne goes on the run after eir probationary status with the Reciprocators is cut off by City Hall.
Bolter's location is discovered after some weeks of investigation by members of both the Reciprocators and Misfits. Members of both groups are disheartened by the knowledge that she is being held by the Ambassador of East Libertalia as a favour to Crey, in return for financial and technological aid in his country. The two supergroups formulate a plan to storm the embassy and recover her, involving multiple teams to cause confusion at the site. The situation is complicated by the presence of Crey operatives as well as the Ambassador's own security, but the operation is finally successful, and Bolter is found relatively unharmed. It is later discovered that almost all of the Reciprocators' troubles have originated with Crey, trying to stamp out the group for costing them so much money over the years. A collaborator within City Hall is discovered and removed from power, and his most recent ordinances overturned. The Citadel of Defiance is reopened, and the Reciprocators are back in business.