God and the Devil
Pellon Cross is the leader of C.O.P. (Confederacy of Police) with a decorated past. He has not been active for several years but remains a deadly adversary, and is reputed to be one of the world's most dangerous men. After the surfacing of Grendel Eppy Thatcher, Cross is commissioned by Pope Innocent XLII to hunt down the rogue devil. Cross is offered a percentage of the Catholic Church's income (a substantial sum of money) to assist in bringing the Grendel down. Cross gets his first lead as to the devil's identity after Grendel stole the belt of Saint Elvis from the church. Cross examines the tapes of Grendel flaunting the belt until he noticed the inscription on the blade of Grendel's staff, a strong blade that could only be purchased at a few places. This proves fruitless, however, as each of the stores did not keep record of such a purchase. Cross can only cite the stores for their record keeping, but otherwise this lead goes cold. In fact, he ends up walking right past Thatcher in one of the stores without knowing it.
He is also not blind to the Church's possibly dangerous motives in hiring him. He also investigates them, learning of their connection to LASERUS-Solar. He assembled his top aides, Captains Alfonse Kierch and Zebra Herriman, to help. They start to build a profile on Grendel based on his use of technology and, potentially, the drug Arcana Prime, a.k.a. Grendel. Cross tracks down the few Grendel suppliers in the area and starts to get some names of their users.
Cross's first confrontation with Grendel was at the Church Bazaar. He shoots and wounds Grendel and then allows him to escape, but not without further damaging the Bazaar. The second confrontation occurs again at the Bazaar. During the Bazaar's re-opening mass Grendel appears, stealing the Pope's hat. This time Cross pursues Grendel on his hover-bike. Grendel is equipped with a personal force-field. Cross slams into Grendel several times to weaken the bubble before ramming him through a brick wall. Cross lets his guard down and Grendel knocks Cross in the head with a brick. Cross is forced to land his speeder, giving Grendel the opportunity to escape into the sewers.
Meanwhile, Cross is also helping Innocent get at Orion Assante, who is also trying to take down the Pope, albeit through legal means. He tells the Pope about the Deva Princes and the Pope has them arrested and tortured. Assante has already quit the group, however, so the Inquisition don't get him.
Immediately after the second incident with Grendel, the Pope would not take visitors, allowing Cross to garner more information from one of Innocent's men about the Church's doings. In Cross's dealings with the Catholic Church he realizes that the Church is spending far greater amounts than it needs just to continue building the Church's tower. Cross learns of a weapon and plot orchestrated by Innocent. Upon confronting the Pope with this information, the Pope tells him the details. The great weapon Innocent is building is called the Sun Gun, a weapon powerful enough to block out the sun from entering the Earth's atmosphere, casting darkness and cold upon lands that required solar energy to survive. The powerful Catholic Church would become the sole provider of power and warmth to the frightened masses. One crucial element needed to power the weapon is highly illegal after the nuclear wars: plutonium. This element can only be found in the radioactive storage depots which held such materials, and due to its heavily guarded nature the Pope needed Cross's help in retrieving it. Cross agrees and sets off for the nuclear storage to retrieve the Pope's plutonium. However, this is all a ruse by the Pope. He actually intends to destroy the sun altogether, and is just using Cross to get the plutonium.
Retrieving the radioactive material is not an easy feat. Cross has to have a specially designed suit and his bike is retrofitted with armor. The depot is in the middle of a desert and kill drones are activated by anyone who is tracked by security. After riding his bike through the desert to get there, the first barrier is a wall of lasers surrounding the storage area. Cross's armor and bike were built to withstand the lasers, and Cross is able to get through unscathed. Activated by Cross's entrance, the second barrier is a wall of levitating rocks which spins around the inner building. Giant boulders almost smash Cross and his bike as he motors through the torrent of stone with amazing skill. Finally, a light force-bubble is connected to a giant weight that hovers precariously above where the materials were buried. The smallest puncture in the bubble would cause the massive weight to drop, crushing anyone attempting to retrieve the materials. Cross is able to get through the bubble without puncturing it, and makes his way to where the plutonium was buried. He digs up enough materials and puts them in a protective case. No longer caring about the bubble, Cross rushes out, nearly getting crushed by the descent of the weight. The concussive blast of the weight hitting the ground knocks him down and damages his armor. A robot attacks, so Cross doesn't have time to rest before entering the rocks again. On the way back out through the wall of stone a boulder smashes his bike, ejecting Cross through the laser wall once again. Cross's armor, bike, and all his equipment are destroyed, save for the radioactive material. Cross makes his way back through the desert on foot, and very nearly dies before getting rescued by Zebra and Kierch in a C.O.P. helicopter.
Back in Colorado Cross gives Innocent the plutonium. As a "reward" Innocent seemingly turns on Cross, biting his neck and starting his transformation into a vampire. Cross is locked in an empty room as the transformation takes hold. Before Innocent can get back, Cross is able to break out and made his way into the sewers. There he feeds on rodents until Zebra and Kierch find him. He transforms them into vampires as well, and runs off. Now a vampire, Cross believes the experience of taking blood to be a holy one, and so his crusade against Grendel, the Devil, should continue. Cross first looks for Thatcher at the arena where the Grendel drug was sold, and, after realizing he was not there, kills everyone in attendance, after which they all turn into vampires. This is the beginning of the first vampire plague in recent memory, since Innocent had been extremely selective about who he turned into a vampire.
Cross ambushes Thatcher at his apartment after he dons the costume of Grendel. The two fight brutally and evenly, both ranting about the passion of their holy or unholy infections and infatuations, but Thatcher manages to knock him down with a bowling ball and escaped. Thatcher's enemy is the church, and he cares little about Cross. Assante comes to Thatcher's apartment looking to team up with Grendel, and finds Cross. Cross nearly kills him when Orion, in desperation, makes a cross with two pieces of broken furniture. It is this symbol that makes Cross realize who his true target should have been all along: Innocent. Assante narrowly escapes with his life, and Cross goes after the church. He climbs the outside walls of the Tower, which is hundreds of stories high, at a great rate. Orion beats him there using a flying car, however, and blasts him with flaming chemicals, having used Christine Spar's journals as an aide on how to fight vampires. Cross jumps out of the Tower in a free fall of over a kilometer. He survives and immediately killes a passerby for more blood. He is fine.
He finds Zebra and Kierch, and very rapidly he and his men create an entire army of vampires, an army that he would use for a direct assault against the church. The final battle, during the Pope's unveiling the Sun Gun, rages between the church officials, Cross's vampires, the congregation of the church whom Eppy had drugged with Arcana Prime, Assante's rebels, and between Grendel and Innocent himself. The battle ends with the destruction of the church tower and the Sun Gun. Despite being buried under tons of rubble, Cross and many of his vampires survive and flee to regroup.
Vampirism spreads dramatically; at one point 60% of Colorado is infected. The humans figure out how to fight them eventually, and so Cross leads Zebra, Kierch, and many other vampires to the System of VEGAS. At first they just hide out and prey on the weak. Cross now makes Zebra and the others do all his hunting for him, and is clearly luxuriating in his leadership position. However, he is also making thoughtful plans. The casinos do a blood test to see if you're a vampire; vampires can't bleed. But Cross sets up a special hemophiliac vampire to get past the test. Then she turns everyone inside into a vampire, and they take over. Cross renames it Grendel's Palace and it is his new base. For a while, it is a secret.
However, the new government, run by Orion Assante, finds out and turns it into an internment camp; they are locked inside and given fake blood to survive. For a while it's a chic location and humans come in to mix with the risk of being near vampires. Eventually the humans are kept out and the casino dwellers becomes more desperate. The vampires are immortal, and face a future where they are stuck in there forever.
Cross attempts to make allies on the outside world. He meets with an official from Great Japan, but the official turns them down, partly due to Cross' boorisness. Cross kills him in a fury, then sticks his head in an enormous vat of blood out of frustration, and drinks an enormous amount, after which he passes out.
Cross's next outreach plan takes him and Zebra down to South America to talk with Diamond Diego, a drug kingpin who is rumored to be working with Assante. Cross wants Diego to supply them with information they can use against Assante. Diego takes their money and throws them out with flame-throwers. They resolve to stay until after Assante comes and goes. Then they begin a campaign of fear against Diego. They show up on his balcony in their totem (animal) forms, then turn to mist and disappear. They finally break into his room and slaughter him.
By this point, Zebra is starting to get fed up with Cross, who has turned off, and then killed, both of their potential allies. Zebra believes Cross, who is now called the "First One," is getting too full of himself, and that his bloodlust is out of control. Kierch, on the other hand, remains a stalwart supporter of Cross. Kierch is captured and tortured by the guards at one point, but does not give them any information, even when they use a sun lamp.
Cross' next plan works: he has the casino vampires start regular riots. He starts spreading the idea that the vampires' love for blood is a holy thing. Then, using his powerful charisma, he convinces one of the vampires to send his pet birds to knock over the laser fences. The vampires start another riot, and many of them, including the inner circle, finally break out of the casino. The commander of the guards, Oskar Berlinetta, almost shoots Cross, but Cross escapes. They start a camp in the mountains.
Cross discovers that he can make himself bleed by gorging on enormous amounts of blood, and that if he shares that blood with other vampires, they can acquire the same ability. He now takes on the role of a vampire Christ. He sends missionaries to the casino, where they preach liberation and holiness through the First One's blood. They send vials of their blood back to him, which he in turn drinks. He ends up spending almost all of his time drinking blood now, in order to make this process work. He starts to grow more maniacal, but his charisma is still very effective, and many flock to his sermons.
Tension continues to rise between his old assistants Kierch and Zebra, but they both still work hard to coordinate the vampires' plans. They send Sergeant Edwards, a vampire, to the casino as a plant among the casino guards. Cross' big gambit works, and the vampires manage to convert the guards into vampires, as well as the whole town. Kierch is thrilled, but Zebra thinks it will call too much attention to themselves.
Zebra keeps trying to tell the others about what's going on in the outside world: that Assante left the government for a while, that he has made himself pregnant, that he recreated Innocent's Sun Gun. But Cross and Kierch ignore him. Cross is getting fat and addled from too much blood, and just loves to hear his own voice. He has lost the precision he had as a mortal. Out of frustration, Zebra goes off to kill Orion on his own, but is captured. This event ironically reminds Orion about the vampires, whom he had otherwise ignored for decades. He sends a fleet to destroy VEGAS. Kierch, finally paying attention to the world, hears that they're coming, and tries to get Cross to evacuate. Cross, however, is nearly insane from drinking too much blood for too long. Many vampires are killed, but Kierch manages to bring Cross and others with him into the wilderness.
Cross is not seen again for years, and eventually migrates to the frozen Siberian desert with his vampires. There they have to worry less about sunlight, and the cold and lack of food and vegetation do not harm them. They can live in isolation. Cross is still revered by the other vampires as "The First," and grows fat from being perpetually overfed. Eventually his men discover and kidnap the young son of Orion Assante, Jupiter Assante, who is under the care of Grendel Prime at the time. They bring Jupiter back to the vampire compound in an abandoned missile silo to be fed to Cross. Prime, and a band of rebels who remained loyal to the late Grendel Kahn, track the vampires back to Siberia and finally their home base. They battle a legion of vampires to get to Jupiter right before he is about to be fed to Cross. During the carnage, Grendel Prime kills Cross with his energy sword.
Powers and Abilities
As a human
Pellon Cross is reputed to be one of the world's most dangerous men, in a world where dangerous men abounded. He has access to a host of weapons and technology, both offensive and defensive. He is able to buy enough tech, and has enough skill, to break into the world's supply of nuclear material, a feat unique in history. He has claws on the tips of his gloves and carried a pistol.
He is a good hand-to-hand combatant, but not good enough to stand up to the vampire Innocent XLII. He is a brilliant tactical and strategic thinker, and a strong leader. He is very methodical.
As a vampire
Cross is even more formidable as a vampire. He has enhanced strength and speed, enough to fling people through walls and climb the outside of a building multiple hundreds of stories high at ten seconds per story. He was able to knock down an enormous door down with one kick. He has incredible durability. He shrugged off shots to his torso at point blank range. His fall from the top of the Tower, over a kilometer in height, just made him feel dizzy. When the Tower later collapsed on him, and he was covered in tons of rubble, he clawed his way out without serious injury. He was able to kill an entire small stadium of people, some of whom were armed, by himself.
Cross's "totem" (the animal he could turn into) is a wolf. His wolf form can look like a real, four-legged wolf, or like a bipedal werewolf.
He can turn to mist.
Like all vampires, sun, water, and fire are his weaknesses. However, he practices staying in sun and water to make himself feel less pain. He can still be destroyed by fire.
He is able to make himself bleed when cut, which vampires normally can't do. He is also able to transfer this ability to other vampires by letting them drink his blood.