Interviewing Leather and Interviewing Trey both take place between Justice Wing: The Apocalypse Agenda and Justice Wing: In Nadir, with Interviewing Leather taking place a couple of years after the Apocalypse Agenda, and Interviewing Trey taking place a couple of years before In Nadir. The timeline is fluid and approximate.
The following Cast Lists are specific to the stories in question, so entries will be repeated. This list will update and grow over time, especially as Interviewing Trey gets written.
- Todd Chapman: A moderately successful reporter for Amplifier Magazine — a magazine that specializes in music journalism, and has a reputation for serious work, but which more often than not produces reports and stories that accentuate the careers of musicians and serve the needs of their publicists. Chapman is good at spending time with musicians and then writing “slightly sycophantic articles” that put them in a good light but still more or less tell the truth. Chapman dreams of being a New Journalist in the Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, or Hunter S. Thompson traditions, but has to date fallen short of the mark. Chapman is considered a mid-list reporter for Amplifier, which is at best a mid-list magazine in an era when print was dying. He is sardonic, and has a tendency to keep asking questions when any sane person would shut up.
- Leather: A C-list — or “third tier” supervillain. Leather has a solid reputation as a thief and a glory hound, wanting to steal attention right alongside jewels and money. She has a few friends and contacts in the industry, a good reputation with the various villain support services, and a solid career, but wants more. She was originally a superhero named Dynamo Girl, but dropped out of the career when she realized no one was paying much attention to her — at least, so she says. A fully expressed parahuman, Leather has inhuman balance and flexibility, incredible dexterity and agility, highly trained and superhuman gymnastic and acrobatic ability, the ability to heal quickly that actually counts as low grade regeneration, super strength enough to lift at least a thousand pounds over her head (albeit with effort), and enhanced speed and reflexes. She can ‘burst’ faster speed still, which she often uses to disarm opponents. Her combat style shows more practice and familiarity with her paranormalities than martial arts training, and is extremely flashy. Leather has a strict ‘no-kill’ rule both for herself and her henches. She has several tattoos and dyes her hair regularly, tends towards leather public outfits, and generally has a ‘cheerful alt-punk model’ disposition that comes across as sweet and mercurial. She does have a temper, however, and when pushed over the line can be very scary indeed. Leather believes that heroes need villains, and therefore she fills an important niche for those heroes. She is giving this interview as a calculated move to raise her profile and hopefully move up closer to second tier — as well as feed her ego. She has abandoned any form of ‘secret identity,’ and only uses civilian clothes/wigs et al so she can go out publicly without being recognized.
- Marco: Marco is a large (six foot two and broad) Latino man who is one of Leather’s ‘henches’ (a villain’s employees), the supervisor of the other henches, and the Henches’ Guild representative and foreman in Leather’s organization — small as it may be. On jobs, Marco is ‘Wheel’ or a ‘Wheelman.’ He’s the getaway driver (typically of a large military-like vehicle dubbed the Leathermobile), rides shotgun — though generally won’t get into combat if he doesn’t have to, that being Leather’s job — and is responsible for getting the other henches and (preferably) the loot away from the job while Leather distracts any law enforcement — superpowered or otherwise. He is somewhat older than the other henches and Leather alike, and has an almost paternal disposition towards the villain. That said, there are hard limits to what he is willing to do — he has a job and doesn’t stray from that job — and has little trouble telling Leather if he thinks she’s wrong. He is cheerful enough, but can sometimes jump to conclusions. He’s a moderately good brawler, though it’s not his primary job. That said, of the three henches he is the only one who’s actually expected to fight if need be — specifically to get the other henches and loot out of the area. Marco has claimed to be married, though it isn’t known if that’s true. ‘Marco’ is not his actual name and may be a job title like the Steve.
- The bagmen: Two men — one a blond, the other brown haired — who otherwise seem almost interchangable. The bagmen are responsible for gathering the loot at a given job, getting it into the Leathermobile or other vehicle, and getting away with it. They also generally take responsibility for getting the merchandise to the fences or other destinations, getting quotes and manifests, and reporting back to Leather. The bagmen are not fighters and are generally trained to flee if possible or surrender if not. The bagmen are essentially regular joes doing a job that pays really well but has some risks. Neither one use their names in everyday life, and most of their coworkers have some personal way of identifying which one is which. They have worked together for some time, and have a well established banter.
- The Steve: “Every job needs a Steve,” according to Marco. The Steve is a hench whose job is to be on the scene and blend into the crowd, never calling attention to themselves, and let the others know if the coast is clear to start a job. Once the job is underway, they are effectively improv actors, apparently scared and rubbernecking — but actually being ready to hit ‘the panic button’ (which signals Leather and the other Henches that overwhelming law enforcement or a super are on hand). If Leather or the Henches are captured, the Steve’s job is to ‘make the call,’ which is to say contact the Service which then dispatches legal aid and sends out a ‘cleaning crew’ to pack up Leather’s lair and remove all forensic evidence on the site. The Steve is nondescript and generally keeps to himself, with few standout traits — in effect living the role he plays.
- Darkhood: A street level super hero in Meridian City, Rhode Island — where Leather’s current lair can be found and where Leather’s current crime wave is about to hit. Darkhood is a high tech hero with specialized devices and durable body armor which is made to look like middle ages studded leather armor. He is an archer, using a variety of trick, high tech, target, and hunting arrows for ranged combat. His bow does not follow the medieval theme — it is a high tech compound bow designed to fold down for easy travel, has an ascender that line arrows attach to letting him be pulled up high or swing out — or break a fall — and will retract its wheels and string and split into an effective flair or nunchucks. Darkhood is considered an ‘old school’ hero — acting as a vigilante but respected enough by the Meridian City Police Department to sometimes do ride-alongs. Darkhood is a third tier hero. He’s probably best known as “Meridian’s other hero,” as Meridian City is also home to the much more powerful second tier hero called Vortex. He seems comfortable with that arrangement.
- Kyle Elias: Todd’s editor at Amplifier. Kyle is a veteran of the music and rock journalism scenes, and knows a lot of movers and shakers. He works with agents and publicists, setting up the interviews which — along with reviews and features — forms the bulk of the magazine. Kyle is at best callous, not really caring what may happen to his reporters so long as they get the story to him by deadline. Kyle is the one who arranged for Chapman to go to Meridian City and interview Leather — though he left some details of the assignment out when Chapman took the job.
- Vortex: (Called Transit in the original draft) Meridian City’s premiere hero, second tier in the hero scene and an auxiliary member of Justice Wing itself. Vortex has the ability to manipulate teleportation gates with extreme skill. She is out of Leather’s league and Leather knows it — waiting for Vortex to be at a conference on the West Coast before starting her crime wave in Meridian City.
- Paragon: The most famous (and first) public super hero. Paragon is also one of if not the most powerful, capable of flight, being almost impossible to hurt, and otherwise living up to his name. One of the founders of Justice Wing and the very first of the first tier. Known for living and working in Crown City.
- The Nightwatch: A peer to Paragon and perhaps the greatest unpowered hero known. A vigilante who makes his home in Greystone City — a city known for its exceptionally dangerous and psychotic super villains. In happier times Greystone was protected by the much less dark Nightstick and Cudgel, with heroes like Shillelagh and Truncheon connected to the pair as well. Tragedy left the renamed Nightwatch alone in his fight.
- Freya: Once another first tier hero and at one time the most famous female hero on the planet. Arguably as or more powerful than Paragon at her peak. Freya was literally the Norse Goddess of myth and antiquity. Known to have turned on Justice Wing and later redeemed herself and died during the events of the so-called Apocalypse Agenda, though details are not well known. Worked out of the capital and Empire City.
- Paragirl: A second tier hero and known as Paragon’s little sister. Had similar powers to her brother. Made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on national television during the Apocalypse Agenda. Attended the Justice Wing Academy in Grantham, Massachusetts, then relocated to Evergreen City in Washington State.
- The Beacon: A second tier hero despite being the leader of Justice Wing from the very beginning. Shorter than most of her peers. Able to turn herself into light. May not be the original Beacon. Works out of Paramount City.
- Barbara Babcock: Intrepid reporter originally for the Crown City Chronicle, later relocated to the west coast. Known for most of her active career as “Paragon’s Girlfriend,” but also known as the best known (and generally best) reporter on parahumanity working. Also known for being tied to explosives and getting herself in scrapes going after the story.
- The Jack O’Knaves: The arch nemesis of the Nightwatch, dating back to the ‘Nightstick and Cudgel’ days. Believed to have killed Cudgel. Known as an indiscriminate serial killer with a reputation for unpredictability and insanity making it impossible to predict the man. Among the top first tier villains. Apparently likes to kill people at breakfast, at least according to the rumors.
- Leonardo Lucas: The arch nemesis of Paragon, and perhaps the ‘sanest’ of the first tier super villains. A genius particularly in robotics, and often referred to in deferential tones by most other villains. Lucas has no physical powers but stands toe to toe with the strongest of heroes — this has gotten him a lot of respect. Generally works out of Crown City.
- Lady Velvet: The former first tier queen of Greystone City’s underworld, since retired.
- Bandolier: One of the Beacon’s regular nemeses, working out of Paramount City. Third tier, more than likely.
- O Gato Cinzento: One of Darkhood’s recurring nemeses, generally working out of Meridian City. Third or fourth tier.
- Silver Horseman: A long standing third tier hero working out of Santa Domingo.
- Todd Chapman: A noted reporter and expert on parahumanity, particularly the so called “super villain lifestyle.” His Amplifier magazine article “Interviewing Leather” caused a nationwide discussion on heroes, villains, parahumanity and so called ‘villain chic,’ elevating Chapman and changing how many people looked at the formerly black and white world of heroes and villains. Chapman went on to write the successful nonfiction book Low Society, interviewing multiple villains, the heroes that opposed them, and the people affected by them. He has become a regular on the talk show circuit, panel shows, news programs and the like, and his original article is in negotiations to be made into a movie. Despite all this, Chapman has become largely bored — the world of villains may be dangerous, but it’s a job. He has begun work on his followup to Low Society, specifically focusing on the fourth tier villains at the bottom of the pecking order… at least, until a madman from the top of the pecking order comes to visit…
- The Jack O’Knaves: A former stage magician, professional gambler, card sharp, and serial killer, the Jack O’Knaves’s story really began the first time Nightstick and Cudgel put him behind bars. After that point, the Jack’s story became entwined with Greystone City, and his descent into the very worst ranks of villainy helped to herald the darker era that Justice Wing has found itself in. Believed to have killed Cudgel. Known to have killed dozens or more. As a stage magician, the Jack — or ‘Mister Oaknavés’ as his staff calls him — is meticulous in planning his every move, and there is always some question over which action is the actual trick, and which one distracts from the trick. Dangerously insane and unbound by civilized conventions of morality or ethics, the Jack’s motivations are indecipherable by most… and made all the worse when it becomes clear they do still exist. An expert in close up magic and many other forms, with dozens of tricks and devices and a showman’s flair that makes it difficult to engage him. Despite his insanity, he is extremely charismatic — able to draw followers in with his magnetic personality and a mentalist’s skill at cold reading and observation. Perhaps the most dangerous — and worst — human being on Earth, and the very top of the first tier of villains. The Jack has kidnapped Chapman out of pique that Chapman wrote about ‘nobodies’ like Leather and not about him, though this may be a ruse. Enjoys needling Chapman over his perceived environmental consciousness and finding new and more demeaning fabrics to mis-identify Leather in conversation. The Jack is one of the original Dark Gods of Greystone City.
- Trey: One of the Jack’s henches — specifically one of the Hearts. The Jack’s henches organize in the four traditional playing card suits, with Diamonds providing infrastructure and support, Clubs acting as thugs and enforcers, Spades acting as his parahuman specialists, and Hearts as his direct assistants. The hearts in particular have a fantatical love and devotion almost programmed into them, and Trey is no exception. A former ballet and stage dancer who fell into drug abuse and pain, Trey ended up being drawn into the Jack’s organization out of desperation for work and found herself in her true calling. One of his showgirl magician’s assistants, Trey has been rigorously trained in stage and close magic, knows all the tricks for distracting an audience, is an expert Dianic style dance fighter, has a number of concealed weapons on her person, and will kill or die at the Jack’s command. What she has a problem doing is leaving the Jack’s side, but with the death of her partner Deuce Trey finds herself babysitting Chapman and being forced to do as he tells her and answer his questions — a job she resents at best. As a reward, however, she has been tasked with finding the next Deuce, so that she can be trained and the act can be put back together. Utterly devoted to the Jack, and utterly hates essentially everyone else in his organization — a common Heart trait. Trey is certain that she is destined to be by the Jack’s side forever, and doesn’t see how the Jack’s perfect record of killing the Hearts applies to her.
- Mister River: The last person the Jack sees each day — and therefore ‘the River’ — Mister River is a dark skinned British national who acts as the Jack’s valet and butler. He is a hench, technically — the ten of diamonds — but is coerced into his job by threats to his wife and daughter and a bomb that has been implanted in his neck. Mister River is understated to a fault, and quite conscientious in his duties — which include seeing Chapman fed. However, as sympathetic as he is to Chapman and the Jack’s other victims, he is not about to risk his loved ones and therefore serves loyally. Husband to Madam Bank, father to Nickel.
- Madam Bank: A dark skinned woman of size, Madam Bank corresponds to the Nine of Diamonds in the Jack’s henches. Coerced into service the same way her husband Mister River was, Madam Bank is a brilliant Certified Public Accountant and economist who is tasked with managing the Jack’s broad and varied business interests. Sardonic and fatalistic, Madam Bank does what she can to extend her own life and that of her husband, while trying to keep her daughter safe despite herself. Madam Bank openly despises the Jack but won’t and doesn’t work against him.
- Sharp Top: The Four of Hearts (a four looking like a sharp point on many playing cards) in the Jack’s Hearts, and a dapper man who acts as a song and dance man, close magician in his own right, and trickster figure. Manipulates his surroundings like a puppetmaster. Always working multiple angles, and always willing to accrue debts. Sharp Top is the one to convince Trey that shepherding Chapman not only isn’t beneath her but is a sign that the Jack adores her, changing her attitude significantly. Cheerfully amoral and clearly a part of the Hearts because he wants to be.
- Kick and Stick: The Six and Seven of Hearts in the Jack’s henches. ‘Kick’ is a reference to the song Route 66 (“get your kicks… on Route sixty-six”) though in Poker parlance it usually refers to a pair of sixes. ‘Stick’ refers to the seven, which looks like a cane or walking stick with a handle — or turned upside down looks like a hockey stick. Kick and Stick are apparently a pair of showgirl style henches similar to Deuce and Trey, and have taken Deuce and Trey’s place after Deuce’s death — much to Trey’s anger.
- Nickel: The white-uniformed Five of Diamonds in the Jack’s henches. Nickel acts as the Jack’s chauffeur and arranges travel in other ways. Young, dark skinned with brown curly hair she keeps arranged so that she looks ‘proper’ with her cap on or off. Nickel is a willing hench among the Diamonds, enjoying the thrill of being part of the Jack’s crew. She knows the Jack has coerced her parents into working for him, but she blames the two of them for interfering with her life. She believes that so long as all three do their jobs well the Jack will leave them safe and reward them, so anything that happens is on them.
- Rook: A fourth tier career super villain who had developed a ‘dynamic energy belt’ which gave him enhanced powers and defenses, alongside body armor. In his mid-forties, Rook was a rogue obsessed with his nemesis Cobalt Blue. Chapman went to interview him in Harperton, Minnesota, only to have the Jack O’Knaves and his minions crash, kill Rook and his henches, and kidnap Chapman.
- Deuce: The Two of Hearts in the Jack’s henches. Deuce was the partner of Trey and like her was a Showgirl and magician’s assistant. During Chapman’s kidnapping, Deuce stepped on one of the Jack’s lines and he killed her, though he seemed legitimately sad at her death. Trey was left without a partner and therefore with an uncertain future, only to have the Jack offer to let her recruit the next Deuce. Trey has also implied that the Jack set up Deuce’s failure so that he could kill her in front of Chapman.
- Leather: A second tier super villain specializing in thievery, and a bit of a media darling despite her criminal status. Leather is a former super hero whose provocative interview by Chapman in Amplifier magazine inaugurated a national conversation on heroes and villains in society, as well as a wave of ‘villain chic’ and ‘villain as celebrity.’ Parahuman abilities include strength, agility, speed, and fast healing. Since the publication of the article, Leather has taken to contacting Chapman a few times a year, mostly to catch up or brag.
- The Nightwatch: One of the preeminent super heroes on the planet, and the protector of Greystone City. The arch enemy of the Jack O’Knaves. In the old days, there was ‘Nightstick and Cudgel’ — a duo who protected Greystone in a much brighter world. It is well known that the then-current Cudgel was killed by the Jack O’Knaves in the early stages of the Apocalypse Agenda, and Nightstick became the Nightwatch even as his city descended into darkness.
- Lady Velvet: One of the original four ‘Dark Gods of Greystone City.’ The alchemist known as Lady Velvet was born Elle Chemical (seriously) and originally sought the good life through the power her alchemy gave her. Rumored to have a thing with Nightstick for years. As Greystone City became darker, Lady Velvet remained the same, ultimately ended up a hero. Currently considered retired. Her protege — Lady Violet — has broken away from Lady Velvet’s essentially peaceful methods.
- The Cipher: Another of the original four ‘Dark Gods of Greystone City.’ The Cipher was born Clinton Potipher, a brilliant analytical mathematician and logician who became the greatest cryptologist on Earth. Ultimately used his skills to decrypt and decode the security and information systems of the world while leaving complex encoded clues for Nightstick and Cudgel to follow. When Greystone City turned dark, the Cipher retired entirely and attempted to live a normal life. Died tragically some time before Interviewing Trey.
- The Buzzard: The last of the original four ‘Dark Gods of Greystone City.’ The Buzzard was born Berkeley ‘Buzzy’ Denis in South London, England. Flamboyant, gay, and unwilling to disguise it, the man who would become the Buzzard was persecuted through much of his life. Though he was over retirement age and visiting friends in Empire City, New York when Paragon first appeared, he was entranced, and when a prosahuman superhero called the Nightstick appeared in Greystone City he was drawn there like a moth to a flame. Now in control of much of Greystone’s criminal underworld, the Buzzard darkened alongside Greystone City. He is considered one of the most dangerous first tier criminals — almost as dangerous and murderous as the Jack O’Knaves despite (or possibly because of) his sanity versus the Jack’s insanity. Now positively ancient, but uninterested in retirement.
- The Dark Gods of Greystone: The unofficial name of the villains, psychopaths, misanthropes, and parahuman parasites who plague Greystone City and oppose the Nightwatch. The four original members were the Jack O’Knaves, Lady Velvet, the Buzzard, and the Cipher. Several villains have risen up to join their ranks as Greystone City has darkened, including:
- Lady Violet: The protege and former apprentice of Lady Velvet. Lady Violet uses her alchemical knowledge to increase her personal power — a process that has made her somewhat inhuman. She has dragonfly wings and slightly iridescent skin. She does not like Todd Chapman or Leather.
- Thermostat: Known for a mastery of temperature, ice, and fire. Wears a suit of armor that can be used to project heat, cold, or manifestations of either. Speaks without emotion, most of the time. Also does not like Todd Chapman or Leather.
- The Hyena: A psychotic part-viverridae beast-man who is seven feet of pure, sleek muscle, teeth, claws, and hate.
- Decipher: The inheritor of the Cipher’s mantle and methodology, but decidedly less sane and more deadly. Speaks in a convoluted series of clues instead of directly. She also does not like Todd Chapman or Leather.
- The Investors: A group of supervillains who have invested in the Jack O’Knaves’s illicit and literally underground Dispater’s Pit casinos. These include both the Dark Gods of Greystone and other investors:
- Beguile: The psychedelic siren — daughter of the mad scientist Doctor Guile, transformed into a beautiful melange of magic and science, both gone awry. A first tier villain who also served as Leather’s mentor when she was starting out.
- Leonardo Lucas: The world’s greatest mind wrapped up in the world’s greatest ego. Leo Lucas is the arch-enemy of Paragon. He has been in prison for some years.
- Delilah Dare: Delilah Dare is Leo Lucas’s right hand. She is called the ‘new Cordelia Chance,’ after Lucas’s most famous — or infamous — assistant.
- Anchor: Seagoing pirate and killer, and arch-enemy of the Ancient Mariner. Anchor has been in prison for some time.
- Malie the Destroyer: a part-shark/part-human killing machine. Malie is a horror who is devoted to Anchor’s cause and who is looking after his interests during his incarceration.
- Hecate: Former arch-enemy of the late Freya. Hecate is the Cthonic Greek Goddess of Sorcery, Death, and a lot of other things. One of the most powerful wielders of magic on Earth.
- Coldsnap: Very likely second tier instead of first, but the wealthiest of all the Paramount City based enemies of the Beacon. Coldsnap wears an armored uniform that gives her command of snow and ice.
- Amulet: A former Junior Justice Winger and the former sidekick of the late Freya. Went with Freya when Freya went rogue during the Apocalypse Agenda. After Freya’s death Amulet became a mercenary for hire and stayed on the villainous side of the aisle. Was interviewed by Todd Chapman when she was still third tier.