There was this really pretentious non-superhero pitch spun of feeding on too many conspiracy theory and monster hunter stories. This would have been early or mid ’03. I think Invisible, Inc. had started coming together by then, but who wants to write two epic conspiracy tales at one time? I stole the best thing about this pitch from myself: The title.
In this version, Indelible, Inc. is the name of the good guys rather than the wicked fiends strangling the world. And I think I smashed together a few other failed pitches. That Craddock guy is definitely an import from last week’s horrendously named “A Love of Flesh.”
Latere semper patere, quod latuit diu.
(Leave in concealment what has long been concealed.)
–Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), Oedipus (826)
Indelible, Inc. The name is whispered in corners of high society, at that level where people are enough in the know to realize how much they’re cut out. You and I and the President of the United States have never – will never – hear the name, because it’s passed through circles we cannot imagine.
Indelible, Inc. is the guardian. The assassin. The thief and the spy and the burglar, performing the black-ops tasks commanded by the nameless cabal that rules the world. Forget the New World Order. Or the Vatican conspiracy. Or the Freemasons. They’re all red herrings.
These people have resources beyond this world, and aim to steer the future along certain orderly lines to remain in power. If the magic and monsters and aliens and lost civilizations and trans-dimensional gods were allowed to reach the public…too much possibility would explode through the world, disturbing the agenda set by these shadow-people and their map of the future.
Enter Indelible, Inc. They are the ones who planted evidence of a meteor crash at the 1908 Siberian Explosion (actually debris from the Second War for Space). They captured the last werewolf. They visit UFO witnesses and persuade them to change their stories. All like they’re supposed to do.
But in their downtime, Indelible keeps very busy, indeed. They’re swapping artifacts, recovering amazing devices, and building their own network, because Carolyn Cross does not feel these mysteries are here to be buried, but here to be solved. Not content with her company’s role of men in black, she is subverting the agenda, tripping the legs out from under the rulers of the world.
But someone in the company is a traitor. Someone tips off the elite that Cross is plotting against them and bungles what is Indelible’s most important mission yet: to retrieve an artifact that accesses other universes. The elite send another group to erase Indelible, Inc. This group is so secret even Cross, who trades information with parallel Earths, has only vague clues about their existence. This new group is called Black, Inc. They are not the surgeons, like the crew of Indelible. They are butchers, and they decimate Indelible headquarters with only a minutes’ warning.
The remainder of the team flees to recoup, but just barely. They still have some gadgets, their incredible abilities, and most importantly, their memory. The elite may have the resources, but no one knows more than Cross, who has spent a lifetime hiding valuable secrets. The time has come for her final strike at the cabal. Omniscience will challenge omnipotence in a survivors’ battle that changes the world forever.
“The world is governed by very different personages
from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”
INDELIBLE, INC. – The phantoms of the world may also be its saviors:
LADY CAROLYN CROSS: Dangerous by 20, sexy at 40. English. President of Indelible, Inc., inheritor of her father’s estate, and subversive in the fight for the future. The truth belongs to everyone, and Lady Cross intends to deliver it to them. Her position as guardian of the super-elite, and burier of their secrets, puts her in a perfect opportunity to reveal them…when the time is right.
KARINA PATTON: A beautiful young woman from Queens, NY. Raw recruit, and though she doesn’t know it, being groomed to take over Indelible one day.
DUTCH: Indelible’s oldest agent and Karina’s handler. Cheery, grandfatherly, a good mix of scholar and rascal. He’s had lots of adventure, but most of it’s behind him. He fights the good fight, and appreciates the beauty of the world, and it has all been worth it.
HUGH BRENNING: Young for a field agent, but very talented and a bit shy around Karina, due to their mutual romantic interested
HALO: The last surviving crewmember of the USC Kennedy, sent to 2005 by an alternate timeline to jumpstart a pan-dimensional golden age…and shot down by Black, Inc. Carolyn Cross’ first encounter with Black was rescuing her from them. Halo is the only one capable of operating the quantum key Black, Inc. salvaged from the Kennedy.
POPPY: She’s 900 years old and she doesn’t sleep. Speaks with an untraceable accent. Beyond that, little is known except people get drowsy in her presence, she prefers to work alone, and headless bodies appear in the wake of her missions.
DONOVAN CRADDOCK: Indelible’s monster hunter, and a monster of sorts himself. His bulk is etched with cryptic, quasi-religious tattoos…tattoos that sometimes change. Merciless to the point of vindictive. He openly scorns Poppy.
MARK: No last name known. Pale. Appears perpetually fevered. Haunted, desperate look, but a cool demeanor. He never speaks…until he does, and we can’t hear what he’s saying. He is, we discover, a ghost.
BLACK, INC. – Brutal operatives who believe they do a dirty, but necessary job:
IAN HOLMES: Ex-SAS soldier, ex-lover of Carolyn Cross, and till now, believed dead.
S: Fast, silent, unbelievably strong, and able to hide in the barest surroundings. But his eyes look reptilian and his skin is a little…off.
GHUL: A demon. Even the other members of Black, Inc. are leery of him.
ZED: An unearthly beauty…literally.