Champions: The Mutant Chronicles

Into The Looking Glass
Mirrorverse Mayhem

Campaign Dates: February 12, 2018
Sessions: 6 so far
GM: Jason

  • Session 1: Wed, Feb. 28, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Mar. 7, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, Mar. 21, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 4: Wed, Mar. 28, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 5: Wed, Apr. 4, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 6: Wed, Apr. 11, 2018 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Witch Hazel
Hardcore
TKkid
Nuke
Psi-Kick (Missed Sessions 1-3, 5)

Mirrorverse PCs
Headstrong (Mirrorverse Hardcore)
Sarge
Slacker (Mirror Universe concept)
Widowmaker (Mirrorverse Witch Hazel)
Fallout (Mirrorverse Nuke)
Psi-Kick (Mirrorverse Character)

Notable NPCs:
Jeanette
Angelica
Rebecca The Ghost
Tesseract
Displacer

Adversaries:
The Mysterious Witch
PRIMUS
Trask
Minutemen Robots
The Ultimates


Session 1 – Narrative:
Alright look, I am not much of a writer so don’t give me any shit about tenses, punctuation, grammar or any of that crap. I am just gonna tell you like I remember it, okay?

So I woke up two days before Valentine’s Day and remembered that I still had to get something for Nicole. When I got out to the lounge some of the others were watching news reports of flowers around the LA area looking like crap and everybody was freaking out. Personally I just figured that I would have to find something other than flowers for Nicole. I guess Jeremy must have really thought that the issue warranted our attention because he set out like a fiend. With Hazel’s help he went out into the city to get some samples then locked himself in the lab to try to figure out what was going on.

After a while he apparently found some type of mutant signature on the flowers and then came up with a tracker to track down where it was coming from. The fact that it came from a mutant intrigued the old man and he had Hazel send him to Stronghold so that he could speak with Blackthorn, the plant dude that we spoke with a while back. Well, Blackthorn didn’t know shit and Jeremy and Storm decided that they would have to take a trip to the flower market to begin the trace. When they got there they found that the ugly flowers were turning people into plant creatures and the stakes had gotten a lot higher.

They came back to the Keep to get the rest of us and we set out looking for the source. Jeremy was able to track the signature out into the boonies of Castaic and a quick portal by Hazel took us out there. What in the hell did we do without that chick’s ability to get us anywhere we need to go? We track the mutant signature to a little hut out in the middle of nowhere and walk up to the gate. We can hear someone sobbing beyond the gate. I couldn’t help myself, it sounded like someone was in trouble, I jumped into the compound.

I found the woman who was crying and she kept sobbing and apologizing. The rest of the team followed me in and when Hazel met her she confirmed that she knew her as Weeping Willow. She could only continue to apologize to Hazel. We finally decided to go into the small shack. The shack in itself was a bit of a shock as it was far bigger inside than out.. Inside an old mysterious woman said to us that we had been spending so much time correcting bad things that it was causing issues. According to her we had fixed things that were supposed to stay broken.

John reached out and tried to get control of the old Witch but found her mind too difficult to grasp hold of. She, in turn, cast a spell on me that immediately put me to sleep. Now I didn’t actually see what happened next but from what the rest of the team told me it went something like this…

Nuke and Hazel attacked the Witch to no effect. Jeremy grabbed her with telekinesis but she promptly teleported out of it and she cast a spell on John which knocked him on his butt. In general it didn’t seem like the team could do anything to the Witch but she systematically put each one of them down. Obviously this was someone that we were not equipped to deal with…damn magic.

Session 2 – Narrative:
When we all finally came to we found ourselves in a rather small apartment that we had never seen before. But the really crazy thing was that none of our minds were in the right body. I found myself in Nuke’s body and he in mine. Hazel had control of Storm’s body and he found himself in hers. Most upsetting was that Nicole was in Jeremy’s body and that little shit was in hers. Jeremy was actually extremely pleased by this and immediately took off for the bathroom. What he was doing was pretty obvious to all of us and I was able to use Nuke’s ability to reduce his density to move through the wall into the bathroom. Jeremy immediately took off for the bedroom and locked himself inside. None of us were very skilled using the powers of the body that we were in but each of us practiced a bit to try to get the hang of it.

It turns out that the practice would be put to use pretty quickly. Jeremy-Kick spotted a group of PRIMUS agents surrounding the building and jumped out to see what was going on. They said something about Jeremy-Kick being in some group called the Myrmidons and they attacked on sight. Both of the agents that attacked missed Jeremy-Kick but Jeremy-Kick sure didn’t miss them. He lashed out with Psi-Kick’s blunt Psi-weapons and knocked both of them out. I flew out the window and attacked one of the agents after using Nuke’s ability to increase his mass. I clobbered him pretty good and I didn’t think he would be getting up anytime soon. The rest of the team began to come out of the apartment to join the fight. Nuke came leaping out in my body, which I have to say was weird to watch. He threw one of the agents into another one and it looked like he took them both out of the fight. They tried to put up a fight but it didn’t last long once all of the team were outside.

We were pretty confused and all of us wanted back into our own bodies….well with the exception of Jeremy who was having a good old time in Nicole’s. He had a vision of some nightclub in a downtown area and we used some tech magic to find the place. Hopefully it would lead us to someone who could help us out.


I don’t believe that you could accurately perceive us as an entirely altruistic group but The Myrmidons do try to do what’s right…well most of us that is. When we discovered the anomaly with much of the flora in the city it fell to us to investigate. It didn’t take long for me to assess the source of the anomaly and I gathered our rag-tag bunch together. What we found was somewhat startling to say the absolute least.

The Myrmidons are a loosely organized band of Mutants. Our roster is comprised of myself, Sarge, a giant blowhard of a man but an exceptionally strong one; Widowmaker, a mysterious woman with the ability to become invisible in addition to her tremendous pugilistic capabilities; Fallout, a literal nuclear battery with the ability to condense his form into an extremely dense state or become insubstantial; Justice, a moderately capable combatant with the ability to generate a lethal psychic lightning barrage; and Slacker, who in spite of being the culmination of his name is extremely fast and lucky. A ragtag bunch as I said previously.

We proved no competition for the Mysterious Witch that we found ourselves in battle with and to speak of the battle would be as much an exercise in futility as the battle itself.

Afterward we found ourselves in a small apartment. I quickly deduced that we had undergone some sort of dimensional shift. A group of large robots that we had never previously encountered soon laid siege to the apartment. The ensuing battle was a relatively quick one and I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the combat prowess of my teammates. Though calling them that is somewhat galling to say the least. I found it somewhat odd that the robots continued to address us as other entities and said that our temporal signatures were off. Well at least I knew that I was correct. In the wreckage of the robots I was able to find that there was someone who may be able to make sense of this and get us back to our dimension, Tesseract.

Session 3 – Narrative:
So we found our way to the nightclub in Jeremy-Kick’s vision. It was a “Gentleman’s” establishment (read Titty Bar) called The Asylum. Needless to say Jeremy was in heaven and immediately started dancing. When he started drinking and making an absolute fool of Nicole’s body I had to put a stop to it. We finally drew the attention of the proprietor of the place who came over and looked at each of us.

When she spoke to Jeremy-Kick she said: “What do we have here? Another scrumptious young plaything straight out of life and into my club? You smell new, like fabric softener dew on freshly mowed Astroturf. Ooh, I’m not frightening you, am I, duckling?” What a nut.

When she spoke with Hazel-Storm she said, “Well Jane, it looks like we have a real page turner”. Whatever that meant.

When she talked with us she was somehow knew whose mind was in each body and continued with: “I… am… Jeanette. An this bit of chaos crammed in a certifiable giggle is my club. Oh, I’d just love to give you funny feelings all night, sweetheart, but I really must trouble with some business.”

Even I was able to tell right off the bat that we were dealing with a certifiable nut-job but she was our only lead. She left for awhile to let us think about things and keep Jeremy-Kick out of trouble. When she returned she said that she could help us get back into our correct bodies but she needed us to do something first. She had an artifact that she needed from someone who had stolen it. She gave us the area and a quick John-Witch trip and we were at the intersection where the man was supposedly located.

Not being one to spend a bunch of time looking around I, using Nuke’s flight, went to the middle of the intersection and yelled, “Alright, which of you is Trask?” When he tried to take off we spotted him and immediately started to duke it out. The guy was tough and seemed to be a Wizard of some sort. To throw a complete curve-ball into the mix, Jeremy-Kick decided to split because he didn’t want to be turned back…little shit! Unfortunately we had Trask to deal with before we could track down Jeremy-Kick. We traded blows with Trask and were doing fairly well except that Trask’s Flaming Sword was slowly transforming my body with Nuke inside it. We finally whittled Trask down until he gave up the trinket, a silver key of some sort.

Happy with what we accomplished we headed back to the Asylum. We weren’t quite prepared for the fact that Jeanette wasn’t there and instead we spoke with her sister Angelica. Fortunately Jeremy-Kick had returned to the club as well and we were able to rein him in. Angelica was Pissed (yep capital P). Apparently she had given Trask the key to do a job for her and we had screwed that up. She had just bought a house that was apparently haunted and she wanted him to exorcise the spirits from it. Guess who that task fell to now? I wasn’t having it. That just pissed me off. We were able to talk Angelica into swapping Jeremy and Nicole back to their own bodies as an act of good faith before we set out. Thank goodness.

With Jeremy and Nicole back in their own bodies we headed to the supposedly haunted house.

The key got us inside and after a period of time we met the spirit who was haunting the place. It was the ghost of a little girl named Rebecca. We tried to coax her into relocating but had to do a couple of errands for her first. We had to first find her doll which after scouring the place we finally did. Then she wanted us to track down her dog’s toy and I, personally was starting to get tired of this. We did what she wanted and then had a long conversation with her that ultimately brought out that she was not the little girl that she had been portraying. She was actually an adult and in order to leave the house she wanted to possess Nicole’s mind while we had sex. Fuck that, I wasn’t having it. Nicole has been through too much especially with possession shit. Rebecca finally agreed to possess Hazel while the old man gave it to her. Holy Crap! Way to take one for the team Hazel! I have to laugh because I wonder just how much Viagra Storm took to fulfill our part of the bargain?

Session 4 – Narrative:
With our part of the bargain complete and the ghost relocated we headed back to the Asylum. Angelica had the balls to actually try to get us to do something else for her. Um…hell no! She finally held up her side and switched us back. Ahhhh! My own body. No offense Nuke but I like it a lot better. My first order of business was to give Jeremy a nice little flick in the head. Fucker! Use my girlfriend’s body as your plaything your lucky I didn’t snap your damn neck.


Locating Tesseract was a relatively simple matter of scouring this world’s version of our Data-net. It did take some time but I had an address. When we arrived at the address, it was a small apartment in the midst of a large city they call Los Angeles. As we stepped up to the door a female voice beckoned us in. Tesseract informed us that we were indeed in another dimension and would need the assistance of one of her compatriots if we were to get back to our own dimension. It appeared that we were about to become felons in this dimension. I felt somewhat bad for those whose place we had taken but necessity dictated that we do as the woman wished.

We arrived at the PRIMUS facility and managed to convince them that we were The Knights, the group that Tesseract explained that we had replaced. Oddly enough they seemed to react best to our most belligerent and foul mouthed member…Sarge. I guess he finally said something right as we were escorted into speak with Displacer and a collection of minions that were being incarcerated. They allowed us into the common room and we put our plan into action. We managed to unlock the cells which of course set off the alarm. As the PRIMUS response team entered we were able to overpower them relatively quickly and get Displacer and a handful of minions away.

We returned the group to Tesseract and were informed that we would need to seek the audience of a very rich, intelligent and corrupt individual named Mister X. We were enroute to the location we were given when we were accosted by a group who apparently calls themselves “The Ultimates”. A bit arrogant if you ask me but I felt that we might be taking them down a peg or two.

During the midst of the melee Justice nearly killed one of their members. I heard him referred to as Binder. I will give them accolades for taking down Sarge, something I hadn’t seen very often. They apparently overloaded his ability to adsorb the damage done to him and overcame his rather enormous defenses to take him out of the fight.

Session 5 – Narrative:
Again I find myself needing to give a nod to Slacker who did a magnificent job of taking down their most elusive member. Widowmaker and Justice both added their prowess as well and even I felt that I held my own pretty well taking down the one known as Blackstar as he was trying to escape. In the end we were victorious. Ultimates indeed.


Session 6 – Narrative:
- Coming Soon -

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives ? XP
TKKid receives ? XP
Nuke receives ? XP
Hardcore receives ? XP
Psi-Kick receives ? XP
Witch Hazel receives ? XP

Jason receives ? GMXP for running the adventure
Deadman receives ? GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

? is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Speedy Trial

Campaign Dates: January 24, 2018
Sessions: 2
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, Jan. 31, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Feb 07, 2018 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Hardcore
Nuke
Psi-Kick (Missed Session 2)
TK Kid
Witch Hazel

Notable NPCs:
Capital
Whiplash
Silver Avenger Alex Richardson

Adversaries:
The Blur
Cheetah
Fullbore
Hellbent
SloMo
Whirligig


Session 1 – Narrative:
Over the last few months PRIMUS remodeled The Keep’s roof to provide an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool and basketball hoop. Work was also done in The Pit by equipping it with TK Kid and Tweaker’s latest development – holographic technology utilizing force fields to generate realistic and challenging practice experiences. During this same time, the media at large unilaterally dropped ‘Hollywood’ from the ‘Hollywood Knights’ moniker, referring to us only as the ‘Knights’. Frankly, I would have preferred the media not call us, at all, but if they’ve got to call us something, ‘Knights’ seemed a lot less juvenile than ‘Hollywood Knights’.

Now established as a Genocide Task Force, the folks in charge also made it clear they didn’t want us focused solely on Genocide. Clearly we had all been made GTF agents, but apparently the ‘G’ had just been changed from ‘Genocide’ to ‘Government’. Or maybe ‘Generic’ would have been more appropriate? The more I thought about it, the more it made sense; that was my angle, and I planned to stick to it…

As I gave myself a mental back-pat for the acronym, Merlyn announced we had an incoming call from Silver Avenger Richardson. Psi-Kick had Merlyn put him through while I silently lamented the loss of Bob Webster as our local contact. Richardson was a good man, but Bob Webster-level good he was decidedly … not. A moment later Richardson’s voice was heard by all: “Well do you want the good news or the bad news?”

I responded that we preferred our dessert, first, so Richardson continued: “The good news is that the Masters of Speed resurfaced. The bad news is that they managed to free Fullbore, Whirligig and SloMo. Fullbore was broken out of a Canadian lockup by The Blur, last night. Then, this morning, Cheetah and Hellbent attacked a transport from Stronghold carrying SloMo, Whirligig, and Whiplash. They grabbed SloMo and Whirligig, but I guess they didn’t like Whiplash all that much, because they didn’t break him out. That might be a good place to start, as he’s likely so pissed he’ll sing like a canary.”

Richardson then explained that he wouldn’t be able to help with Whiplash because he needed to look into a new hero that had been playing Mr. Boy Scout all over town – someone who was extremely strong, capable of flying, and could project energy form his eyes. Apparently the newcomer had saved a plane from a bird strike and kept a crane operator from falling to his death by welding the broken crane with his eyes. Lorelei Lawrence of SSN, the parent company of Super Hype, had apparently obtained an interview with the guy who was going by ‘Capital’. During that interview, Capital indicated he was just here to help. I found myself wondering where he was a few months ago and why he had suddenly appeared … but I suspected we’d find that out, eventually. Psi-Kick observed that Capital’s powers seemed extraordinarily similar to those of Vanguard, the “World’s Most Powerful Superhero”, who was supposedly killed in 1997 during the Battle of Detroit.

A quick teleporter trip to the L.A. PRIMUS facility had us staring at Whiplash within minutes. I took the interrogative lead with him, but he seemed more interested in Psi-Kick’s tits than any deal I could broker for him – so Hardcore and I made a good showing of bad/good cop and then excused ourselves to let Psi-Kick work her magic. Unfortunately, we found that oozing sex appeal was as depreciable a skill as shooting; one must use it or lose it. In Psi-Kick’s case, she hadn’t used it in a long while … and appeared to have lost it. However, she did manage to clue into the fact that the guy was horny as all Hell and that porn might get him talking – specifically Lisa Ann porn.

I returned to the interrogation room and offered to pull a few strings to get Whiplash what he wanted … as well as some better meals … and it was enough to get him talking to Psi-Kick after I exited the room, again. As he began to sing, we learned that Hellbent had sent SloMo’s cousin to Stronghold to tell SloMo, Whirligig, and Whiplash they wouldn’t be there long. Whiplash also mentioned Hellbent had been investing in Darkside Industries, a KC, Missouri-based electronics manufacturer who didn’t seem to manufacture anything. Apparently Cheetah had also sent him a letter suggesting their attorney’s fees, relocation costs, and the cost of a new RV had left the group strapped for cash. In need of cash and with Hellbent being the vindictive type, it was obvious their next score would likely be less-planned than usual … and in our back yard in order to give us a black eye.

Leaving Whiplash to his porn and one-handed fun, we headed back to The Keep and attempted to figure out likely targets for the at-large MoS members. A few hours later, just as we had narrowed the possibilities to three local banks, an alarm sounded at Pacific Western Bank of Woodland Hills on 21600 Oxnard Street. Hazel got us on the scene within seconds … where we saw Fullbore standing guard outside.

Given how effective it was the last time I faced him, I induced hallucinations in Fullbore, but his mind shrugged off the effect – likely the result of something I noted strengthening his willpower and mental defenses … and that of his teammates. He immediately alerted the MoS that we were on the scene, careened off two walls, and flung himself into Nuke who he knocked a good 30 feet just as Capital showed up.

TK Kid advanced and generated a ball of telekinetic force behind Fullbore that sent him flying toward our group. As he did so, Capital spoke up and said: “Very powerful young man. I think that you need to use a bit more restraint against your opponents until you know their capabilities.”

Sensing opportunity, Hardcore and Psi-Kick coordinated their attacks against the poor bastard, stunning him while sending him flying backward like a ping pong ball. Not letting up, Hazel teleported Fullbore from his landing spot to a location within reach of Psi-Kick, who struck him twice and knocked him out.

In the midst of this, Hellbent, Blur, Whifligig, and SloMo emerged from the building with a funnel cloud of cash whipping about Whirligig. Hellbent made a beeline for Psi-Kick and stunned her with a single hit that siphoned off some of her agility. Meanwhile, Whirligig attacked Nuke with a whirlwind that entangled him. Nuke immediately broke out and advances on Whirligig while Capital offered up more irritating commentary: “You know you’re giving off trace amounts of radiation, don’t you? That could prove quite hazardous to normal humans over an extended period of time…”

As Hardcore leapt into the fray yelling his signature, “Bring it, bitch!”, Capital spoke again: “Young man! Vulgarity in public is completely disrespectful to those around you.”

If I could have penetrated his mind, I would have ordered Capital’s useless ass to shut the fuck up, but his mind appeared to be completely beyond me. Apparently sizing him up earned me an annoying slur, too, as said to me, “So do you always stand idly by and let the rest of them do all of the heavy lifting. You have a sidearm perhaps you should use it.”

Meanwhile, Hazel teleported inside the building as TK Kid launched another telekinetic explosion at both Whirligig and SloMo. Whirligig saw it coming and sped out of the way, but SloMo ate the full brunt of the attack and immediately took a dirtnap. Cheetah, unseen until now, hauled ass from around the far side of the building. She sped directly for me and retracted her claws at the last second to slam a fist squarely into my jaw, stunning me. As SloMo recovered, Hazel pummeled him with two baton strikes through one of her portals, earning her a snide comment from Capital: _"Batons? You may want to think about using a weapon which isn’t so easy to take from you."

Session 2 – Narrative:
Cheetah then swung around to pick up speed and coordinate with Hellbent against Psi-Kick, who dodged them both. Witnessing the double-team on Psi-Kick, Capital moved in and struck both Hellbent and Cheetah once, each – knocking them both out and causing them to go tumbling through the facade of the building. He spoke again: “I have to tell you Miss, you are quite pleasing on the eyes. However, I think your bondage theme is a bit much for today’s impressionable youth, don’t you?”

Whirligig swung by Blur and SloMo, picking both of them them up in his whirlwind while heading for Cheetah and Hellbent. Hardcore leapt in front of him to cut him off and jabbed Whirligig in the jaw, nearly knocking him out. Capital followed up with a passing strike to Whirligig took him down.

Deciding to bug out, Blur headed away from the Knights while Hellbent recovered, picked up Cheetah’s limp body, and sped off in the opposite direction. Hazel, having none of it, teleported Cheetah out of Hellbent’s arms as Nuke and Capital pursued Blur. Doubling back, Hellbent picked up Cheetah, once more, and sped away until I stopped him in his tracks with a mental paralysis.

Both Hazel and Hardcore went to retrieve Hellbent and Cheetah as Psi-Kick gathered up SloMo, Fullbore, and Whirligig so that she could easily keep an eye on them. Hellbent stalled for time in the face of both Knights, recovering enough to easily give them the slip – at the cost of leaving Cheetah behind. Nuke, unable to catch Blur as he fled underground, was overtaken by Capital, who began tunneling into the ground after Blur. Eventually he overtook Blur, knocked him unconscious, and brought him back to the rest of the unconscious MoS members – just as the media showed up. Capital then spent time taking more credit than he deserved, revealing himself to be a gloryhound. We were happy to let him have all the glory he could handle – knowing that no attention is generally the best amount of attention.

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 2 XP
Hardcore receives 2 XP
Nuke receives 4 XP
Psi-Kick receives 1 XP
TK Kid receives 2 XP
Witch Hazel receives 2 XP

Surrealone receives 2 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP
None

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Storm Watch
We're with the government, you can trust us...

Campaign Dates: Nov 20, 2017 to Nov 22, 2017
Sessions: 9
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, Nov 22, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Nov 29, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, Dec 06, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 4: Wed, Dec 13, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 5: Wed, Dec 20, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 6: Wed, Jan 03, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 7: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 8: Wed, Jan 17, 2018 – 1800 PST
  • Session 9: Wed, Jan 24, 2018 – 1800 PST

Main PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
TK Kid
Witch Hazel

Notable NPCs:
Amber
Golden Avenger Johnson
Lazarus
Silver Avenger Webster
MUV Personnel

Notable Minor NPCs:
Black Thorn
Davis Dawes – PRIMUS Director of Intelligence
Edge
Enrique (Nurse)
Evelyn Chambers (Former Secretary to Bernard ‘John’ Storm)
Fuse (James Rogers)
Maxx
Stiletto (Lawrence Dobbs)
MUV Refugees

Adversaries:
Avery Vazquez
Genocide Minuteman Mk V Robots
DAGGER Operatives
Hemorrhage
Hideous
Mechassassin
Rainbow Archer
Thunderbolt II
Utility
Project Titan Personnel

  • Astraeus
  • Atlas
  • Metis
  • Perses
  • Prometheus
  • Selene

Session 1 – Narrative:
Following the typhoon, I saw glints of gratefulness in the eyes of the members of the police and harbor patrol who had been present during the demonic attack. Reporting the structural damage as typhoon-caused while omitting the typhoon’s otherworldly phenomena greatly simplified their paperwork. Throughout the following three weeks, repair crews worked around the clock to reinforce The Keep and repair all “typhoon-caused damage,” and things soon returned to normal.

With the Knights effectively furloughed, PRIMUS leaned heavily on its tactical teams to address issues the Knights would typically handle. In many cases, the Iron Guard experienced failures in situations where the Knights would have easily succeeded, but one would never have known it from the media. All Iron Guard successes were actively celebrated with extensive media coverage, while failures went either unreported or heavily downplayed in traditional Friday news dump fashion. Were it not for my security level and PRIMUS access, this fact might have been lost on me, as the government had wielded the media like a skilled surgeon manipulates a laser scalpel.

Unfortunately, sequestration took its own toll on the Knights. They were clearly bored, and knowledge of the media’s spin-jobs only made things worse. Emotions ran roller coaster-like as the Knights vacillated between their desires to help mutants avoid persecution and their desires to avoid persecution, themselves. An out of the blue call from Edge to Psi-Kick changed all of that. He indicated that the Mutant Underground had a group of mutants who evaded capture and needed a quick exit from the United States; apparently, their evasion of a group of ECS Agents made them high-value targets. He went on to explain that Portal was in Genowa with several other members of the Mutant Underground — meaning their usual means of teleportation was out of the question. After explaining the situation, Edge then asked Psi-Kick if the Knights could help get the group to Canada. Psi-Kick wisely inquired as to whether the mutants in question had done anything untoward, and Edge responded in the negative. That out of the way, Psi-Kick indicated she’d need to bring it to the group and get back to Edge.

A lively conversation ensued on this topic across the mind link, and everyone agreed the Knights should help the Mutant Underground with its request. However, concerns were raised that doing so while on mandatory furlough would make targets of the Knights. The MU was wanted by the authorities, after all … and aiding/abetting the MU would reflect poorly on the Knights if caught at it. I spoke up and indicated the best way to proceed would entail official permission from PRIMUS on the matter. Unsurprisingly, this suggestion met resistance; PRIMUS had as many (if not more) leaks as any other governmental agency. I noted this was exactly the point around which we should frame our request: we could request sanction for the escort mission of a group of mutants to safety based on actionable intel received from a CI that Genocide was after this mutant group, too … and use the mission request, itself, to see what later leaked from the pipeline (and where), since the mission request would have to go upstairs to the highest PRIMUS levels for approval. Webster and I already had firm suspicions as to the leak, but this would potentially confirm it — and likely indicate not only a source of the leak but its destination.

The team reluctantly approved this plan, after which I headed to PRIMUS HQ to sell it to Webster. Under cover of a conversation about his family’s Thanksgiving plans, I mentally communicated my idea to Webster, and he quickly got behind it. He also informed me of something that had not been in the news, at all: Arthur Samuels’ company, Corpsec, was now calling itself SENTRY and was responsible for handling both the round-up and containment of all potential mutant terrorists, as ECS had lost its contract. Our approach in synch, Webster and I then held the appropriate and camera-necessary verbal conversation, wherein I made my request, gave my reasons, and Webster responded by indicating he’d have to take the request upstairs while the Knights continued their sequestration.

Someone upstairs must have had a serious hard-on for the mutants Edge wanted us to help, because Webster called me with the official go-ahead within moments of my return to The Keep. I informed the Knights that we had the approval we needed and, soon after, we were on our way to meet Edge at a neutral pick-up site in the Sky Cruiser. Upon landing, Edge handed off a disheveled group of seven mutants to the Knights: Berta, Bobby, Eddie, Jack, Maxx, Sue, and Taisha. With no time for pleasantries, the cadre boarded the Sky Cruiser and we immediately headed for Vancouver in stealth mode along a flight path that deviated from the one that had been filed.

About an hour after takeoff the Sky Cruiser suddenly lurched to one side as if caught in something, and twin Genocide Minuteman Mk V drones were spotted behind us. Clearly, they could see through our stealth mode, and obviously, our flight plan deviation was of no consequence; they had some other means of tracking us. Worse, whatever beams they were using were powerful enough to have brought our craft to a dead halt in the sky. As the group we were escorting began to panic, I barked for them to shut up, informed them that both they and the Knights were bait for precisely this sort of attack, and ordered them to work together. They complied as I thought, “Welcome to mutant boot camp, bitches…”

As we hung in the sky trapped by the twin drones, one of them announced over a PA system that we were being detained and were to cease/desist all hostile activity. TK Kid, Hardcore, and Amber responded by exiting the Sky Cruiser. Amber and Hardcore remained on opposite wings while TK flew halfway between the Sky Cruiser and the PA-using drone. The Kid then telekinetically hurled Hardcore at the drone, with Hardcore successfully landing on it and tearing off one of its arms. The drone responded by opening fire on the Sky Cruiser and blowing a hole in the aft section of it. Its twin also fired and blew off one of the engines, yet the Sky Cruiser remained suspended in the air by the tractor beams of both robots. Hardcore smashed his drone again and TK followed up with a telekinetic haymaker, rending it into a non-functional ball of falling junk – but not before it got off a shot at TK that stunned him and sent him plummeting toward the earth.

Hardcore leapt from the disabled unit to the Sky Cruiser and turned his attention to the second drone as the Sky Cruiser lurched to one side due to the loss of one of the tractor beams. Meanwhile, the second drone shot out the Sky Cruiser’s remaining good engine while Eddie did something that restored the aft cabin to its original, unmolested state. Psi-Kick ordered me to take the plane’s stick and hold it steady as she leaped out of the pilot’s seat and exited the Sky Cruiser. I halted my preparations for a crash and did as she ordered while she single-handedly shredded the remaining drone in a triple-shot from her psi weapon. As the Sky Cruiser fell toward the ground, I pulled hard back on the yoke to try to level it, but it continued its nose-dive. Psi-Kick, Amber, and Hardcore piled back into the cabin, and Hardcore took up the pilot’s chair using all of his strength to level out the craft. TK recovered from his tailspin and flew after us.

The inevitable crash came, but it was relatively controlled and as uneventful as a crash into an open field could be. With only bumps and bruises, we exited what was left of the Sky Cruiser and took stock of our situation: everyone was alive, yet we were only an hour from L.A. and would soon have company. Eddie couldn’t restore the missing engines from the Sky Cruiser, and remaining in place was a non-starter, so we’d need to get moving. Just as we departed on foot, a portal opened and from it, a female in grey fatigues and goggles appeared and confidently said: “Come with me if you want to live.”

She immediately opened another portal to a heavily forested area, and we all piled through it. I went last, removing my earpiece and crushing it with a rock just before doing so. I pocketed its remains on the other side as we were greeted by cooler weather and a darker sky – Vancouver, no doubt. A fat, robed guy, a robed, white woman whose face was obscured, and a huge charcoal individual stood before us. The charcoal one spoke first: “I am Onyx. It is great to finally meet the esteemed Hollywood Knights. Thank you for getting these people to safety. The US Government is certainly keeping us busy up here of late. I hear that Genowa is also experiencing a bit of a population explosion. Please allow us to have you over for dinner tonight. I know that many of you are associated with the Los Angeles chapter, but I can show you what it is that we are doing up here.”

At Onyx’s suggestion, another portal was opened by the goggled militaristic woman, and we passed through it into a run-down building. More formal introductions were made by the mutants we had done our best to assist, and we learned that Eddie was a forger who could assist MUV (Mutant Underground Vancouver) with new IDs for refugees. The facility was staffed by ~20 mutants of various abilities and housed ~50 U.S. refugees, with ever-growing numbers due to recent goings-on within the United States. As Onyx continued to share MUV-specific details, I began to separate myself from the group – aware that the less I knew, the better off they might be. As I did so, the robed, white woman cryptically stated: “I have once before sensed such a tide rising against the mutant community. We stemmed that tide by relocating the Storms. We must talk John.”

She looked right at me as she said it, and her words somehow struck a chord with me. I knew she was not talking about regular storms; she meant my family. As I moved away from the group she followed, asking if I could spare a few minutes. As I nodded to her, she said: “I don’t quite know how to tell you this John: you have been living in the dark your entire adult life. There are so many things you do not know. What do you know about the fate of your parents?”

I briefly recounted finding my mother’s cold body on the kitchen floor and learning of my father’s death from my grandfather. To this she responded: “For reasons that should be apparent, I have no knowledge of your parents’ whereabouts, but I do know that both of your parents survived what you thought was their demise. They were brought to Canada and assumed new identities. We try not to keep too much information on those that we relocate. I am sure you can understand that we cannot be compelled to confess that which we do not know. I wish that I could tell you more, but I have seen that the information your father has may be able to once again stem the rising tide of mutant hatred in the United States. You may want to speak with Maquillage; he was responsible for your parents’ new faces and may be able to help you discover more. My best to you Agent Storm, for the good of us all I hope that you are successful.”

As she left I asked for her name and was given her code name – Moira. Via the mind link, I learned that her next stop was with Amber, who had also separated herself from the main group (now involved in basic combat training for the Gamma level mutants we’d assisted) as she’s prone to doing. As cryptically as she addressed me, Moira also addressed Amber: “Young lady I fear I must be the bearer of ill tidings. You cannot continue with Hollywood Knights. You seem to be a beacon of sorts; something was implanted within you when you were with PRIMUS and they are tracking your every move. Our jammers, here, are keeping them in the dark for the moment, but they now know that you are in Canada. We will need to remove the tracker before you can go anywhere. Unfortunately, only a powerful Cyberkinetic such as Tweaker or IQ can help us with this, and one is not available now. I am afraid that you will need to remain here when your compatriots move on. There are nefarious dealings within PRIMUS and while the agency is not corrupt, corruption within it is prevalent enough that you should be wary.”

I was pretty sure that spiel of Moira’s frayed every conspiracy-oriented bone in Amber’s body, but I was equally sure it might cause her to listen (for once) – instead of being her usual, contrary self. Time would tell. In the meantime, I had bigger fish to fry, as I went looking for Maquillage. He was apparently the fat, robed guy we’d seen, earlier, and he had his own space in the building – which meant he was a staffer. As I entered his space I could not help but notice it was literally wallpapered in headshots of people of all shapes, sizes, and races. Some of the images were even amalgams assembled from different features. On a counter were several human busts made of clay – each in a different state of completion.

Maquillage was there, lounged on a recliner with a glass in his hand, his head back, eyes closed, with earbuds in his ears. He seemed to be singing something, but since it wasn’t K-Pop I didn’t recognize the tune. I must’ve startled him as I entered because his eyes snapped open and he remarked: “Oh shit, sorry! I didn’t know you were there. Good thing I wasn’t singing, huh? What can I do for you? Can I get you a drink?”

I agreed to water, and he poured us each one. As he did so I introduced myself and shared with him the fact that Moira indicated I should look him up regarding the relocation of my parents. When he asked how long ago, I gave him the precise date of Sept 5, 1986. He remarked that we were talking a long time ago as he began looking through several notebooks which he’d pull and return to a bookshelf. As he worked, he mumbled: “Lessee … Storm. Storm… Ah, here it is: code name Polygraph and a plus one. Dammit! Looks like I am missing the pictures, but I have the specifications. This is going to take some time. Okay. Nose: 370937a; eyes: 98734c; mouth: 627435u; chin, hair, ears, head.”

During his mumbling Maquillage made notes of the specs he’d rattled off, and after ~40 minutes of rifling through other books, he began to work on a bust by molding the clay. As he did so, he remarked that working on flesh was faster than working on clay, and I wondered why he didn’t fix his own disfigured face if it was so quick and easy.

He also warned me that his effort might take some time, so I sized up his mind, found it relatively open, entered it, and probed his thoughts for images of my parents. Strangely, on the surface what I found were thoughts of the specifications — as if they meant the same as images to the man. Plumbing deeper into his memories I found what I was after — images of the new faces my parents had been given over two decades ago. What I also found surprised me – my mother’s ‘death’ was faked using a corpse made to look like her … and my father’s ‘death’ was handled in similar fashion. As my father had always been a company man, the faking of his death didn’t surprise me – but my mother’s caught me off guard.

Feeling bad about my unwarranted rummaging within the man’s mind, I informed Maquillage that I had probed his mind to save us both some time and then promptly apologized for doing so. He graciously waved me off, indicating that he’d worked with mutants for years and it wasn’t the first time someone else had been inside his head.

Session 2 – Narrative:
Maquillage’s response bothered me, as it raised concerns about who else might have brained the guy. However, his response also amounted to consent to be in his head, so I took it upon myself to look around a bit more. In doing so, I learned: he had been in mental contact with Switchboard of the Mutant Underground via a mind link; several months ago Blindside of the Mutant Liberation Front had exerted mind control on Maquillage to force him to divulge where Red Racer was located; he’d had regular surface-level contact with Jasmine of the Mutant Underground via telepathy; and an extremely powerful entity I couldn’t quite pin down or place had been in Maquillage’s mind at one time to do a very deep, thorough dive … and hide its tracks. The last of these was, of course, worrisome, so I tucked the knowledge away for future reference and/or use.

Meanwhile, TK Kid, Hardcore, and Psi-Kick watched Armstrong as he helped some of the new mutant arrivals learn to use their powers cooperatively – until a woman they all recognized caught their collective eyes. Cindy Jasper, star of one of the hottest movies of the summer (Blaze of Glory) walked into the room, called Armstrong by his first name in asking how the new groups were coming along, and introduced herself to the Knights upon noticing their presence. Pleasantries were exchanged and, after asking how Cindy had come to be at MUV, the Knights learned that Cindy began going by Cinder after she outed herself as a mutant in support of mutant rights on the Jimmy Fallon show. (Apparently all the special effects in Blaze of Glory were actual effects produced by Cinder’s mutant powers.) Her coming out party went badly enough that a bodyguard was soon required, which is how she met Jason Armstrong.

The Knights also learned Armstrong and Cinder had been attacked by a Genocide Squad they managed to evade thanks to the squad’s failure to account for Armstrong being a mutant. Unfortunately, their evasion led to an unexpected problem: a few SENTRY squads showed up and took the pair to a facility for their own so-called protection … a facility that turned out to be a mutant detainment camp. Both escaped despite the strength of SENTRY’s power neutralizers … along with five others from the camp. The group then headed to Canada based on rumours of the Mutant Underground helping those in need … and stuck around to try to help others.

Heading upstairs to look in on the latest news reports, Cinder asked Psi-Kick to join her since MUV’s computer guy was apparently a Psi-Kick fanboy. Psi-Kick obliged, and the pair arrived just as Maquillage introduced me to the same man – a nerdy fucker named Kabir Chambal who was dressed in ratty jeans and a t-shirt that read, “Gamers Don’t Die, They Just Respawn.” He was playing three video games, reading multiple online chats at a rate I could barely keep up with, and watching several news channels – all at once, while sitting back and drinking a Dr. Pepper. For whatever reason they called this guy Data. If he wasn’t so much older than Tweaker, I’d have thought they might someday make little nerdlings together.

Apparently, our arrival surprised him, because Data’s chair quickly spun around to meet us as we showed up. While Data got over an initial G-Man-induced anxiety attack, a news flash on one of his screens indicated CORPSEC had been awarded a coveted U.S. government contract that resulted in it reporting to the Department of Homeland Security. The initiative was labeled SENTRY, which stood for Superhuman Entity National Tactical Response Yield. My lightning-quick mind noted how similar the word homeland had become to fatherland while Eva Sanchez reported from the Fort Collins Federal Detention Center – a mutant detention camp that had been attacked by Kinematic and members of the Mutant Liberation Front to break out 23 mutant detainees at the expense of significant casualties and public property destruction.

Introductions were made, and Psi-Kick offered to bring Data into our mind link – an offer he eagerly accepted. Via the link I shared with Data images of the two faces Maquillage had rendered to me, and I asked Data if he could run facial recognition on them. He agreed and within minutes he turned up a pair of matches: Norman and Barbara Squall, living at an address in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Psi-Kick, accustomed to having fans, flirted with Data a bit more, and signed his poster before bidding him farewell and dropping him from the mind link. I’d bet she made his year.

Meanwhile outside the cafeteria, Hazel spotted a former acquaintance – a woman named Jasmine who worked with Hawthorne as an interrogator during Hazel’s SHOOT days. Jasmine was busily tending to a young, unconscious woman in another room – wiping her memories of MUV and its location from what Hazel could gather from Jasmine’s dialogue with a nearby man wearing a cowboy hat. She heard Jasmine call him Sundown as she walked up and caught Jasmine’s eye. The two hugged briefly and then spent a few hours catching up regarding the last few years apart. Hazel learned that Jasmine: worked with PRIMUS in Dallas as a therapist; was cut out of the loop after Director Dawes visited the facility and told Silver Avenger Gray PRIMUS was cracking down on powered assets; and fled the United States while aiding the Dallas Mutant Underground in the relocation of some mutants. She had remained in Canada with MUV ever since, as her specific mental talents had proven useful.

Later that evening we headed to a communal dinner in the cafeteria. On the way, Onyx explained that he and Sundown pretty much ran the MUV show. He then introduced us to several MUV members we had not already met: Armstrong, Bubbles, Jasmine, Grey Wolf, Nappy, and Stratolifter. I recognized Jasmine and Stratolifter as former PRIMUS operatives, the latter of these once going by the codename Hercules. I also observed that Hazel wore a beret with a SHOOT insignia on it, suggesting she was a former member of the Super Human Opposition Ordinance Troops – an all-female mercenary group once employed by the U.S. government to fight mutants.

Onyx directed us to a large table at the front of the cafeteria, and we seated ourselves. He remained standing and addressed everyone in the room: “Folks, by now you are probably aware of what went down in Colorado this afternoon. Things are escalating more rapidly than we thought, and it is probably going to get busy, here. People are being rounded up in certain areas of the States just for being suspected of possessing Mutant powers. This is instilling a lot of fear in everyone, so we need your A game. You may have noticed that we have some guests. The Hollywood Knights were kind enough to help us out with an extraction today from California, so I would like to thank them publicly for their assistance and wish them well when they return."

The Knights gracefully accepted MUV’s show of appreciation while I remained seated. Across the mind link I gave the team a briefing: Moira indicated my parents were alive; my father might hold the key to undoing this godawful mess mutant-kind was experiencing at the hands of the U.S. Government; Maquillage had provided them with new faces; Data had tracked those faces to an address I had in Pictou, Nova Scotia; and I had to look into this with or without the Knights. I tried not to let my tension show, but I think Hardcore sensed it, as he was quick to back me up by volunteering to help. Psi-Kick seconded him as he suggested we look for a ride, to which I responded with a thought that the teleporter, Hazel, might be ideal as she was from L.A., combat-trained, and could transport the group.

As dinner concluded we approached Hazel. I thanked her for her assistance with the extraction, and Hardcore in his ever-subtle fashion, asked her directly if she’d give us a ride to Pictou. When queried as to why, I explained the situation in full and suggested that Hazel might make a good addition to the Knights given the recent thinning of their core membership, her combat training, and her specific skillset. The team agreed to give it an informal try, Hazel was added to the mind link, and soon after dinner we prepared for the trip by having the dope fiend among the new mutants change my suit and the Knights’ costumes to look like civvies.

Moments later we found ourselves on the street in front of the address Data gave me. It was dark … and late … for we’d failed to consider the time zone change. Not wanting to waste the opportunity we scouted the area. I noted there were no visible human minds within the house. Likewise, Hazel saw no one inside using her IR goggles; just a cat. Noting the oddity of a couple in their 70’s not being home and asleep after 11pm, we presumed the couple must be out for the evening and decided to check things out the next day. Hazel contacted Data, informed them we were inbound, and teleported us back to MUV where we bedded down for the night.

The next morning, we headed back to Pictou, this time arriving a bit before noon in a discrete location away from the street side of the house. TK Kid used his telekinesis to flip open the latch on one of the windows, let himself in, and float through the house. It was again empty, but he noted someone had packed in a hurry, the cat had been recently fed, and the garage was empty. He let himself back out the way he’d come in, relocking the window behind him. Witch Hazel then contacted Data, asked for makes/models of vehicles owned by the Squalls, and learned they owned a 2014 blue Honda Accord whose plate was recently noted at Southerland Harris Hospital. A quick cross-check of the hospital’s records by Data revealed that Mr. Squall had checked into the hospital on the previous day due to a broken hip.

I scanned for my mother’s mind and was rewarded to find it – a sight for sore eyes after so many years. She was on the opposite side of the hospital, so I asked the team to wait and strode in as if I owned the place, knowing that walking with purpose in a deliberate direction would likely avoid any questions. As expected, no one stopped me, but I slowed as I neared the threshold of the room she was in. The door was open, but I knocked, anyway, and heard my mother’s voice inquire: “Yes?”

I entered the room slowly, removed my glasses, and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Squall? I was wondering if we might have a few words?”

My mother stopped in her tracks at the sound of my voice, looked me up and down, then ran to me and hugged me as tightly as she could while saying through tears, “John, my baby!”

I instinctively hugged her back and heard my father say, “Oh my goodness, John, I never thought we would see you again. I am so sorry, my boy, but it was to ensure that you were protected. When I discovered who was behind the car bombings in Syria it was over for us; we had to leave.”

Across the mind link I informed the team of the precise location of the Squalls’ room. I then indicated I had others with me and asked my parents if it would be ok for them to join us. They agreed, and all the team except TK Kid made its way to the room … and I made the polite and proper introductions. Out of concern for someone who might be listening, I then initiated thought transference with my father and asked him what he meant about Syria. He mentally explained that he was a mutant who could detect lies and that Vazquez had been launching a campaign of his own from within PRIMUS – due to some vendetta he had against mutants. Vasquez apparently staged the hijacking in Pakistan just to take out my father and one other. My grandfather had all the information and was going to blow the lid off the whole thing…but my father never heard back from him … and couldn’t reach out to me for fear of putting me in harm’s way. Aloud he said, “There is only one way to bring this thing down. You must find Lazarus, he’s got all the information. Only he knows how deep this goes.”

At that moment a nurse entered the room and said, “Well Mr. Squall, how are we feeling? We need to get you ready, so perhaps your guests should wait outside.”

I asked the nurse, directly, if she was there to help my father get better – hoping to leverage his ability to detect lies. She nodded an affirmative, so I gestured for the team to exit the room. As we began to leave the nurse said, “Now just relax Mr. Squall everything will be just fine.”

Via the thought transference my father exclaimed, “John, she’s lying. Something’s up!”

Session 3 – Narrative:
The nurse’s fingers extended into blades which she plunged into my father’s chest before anyone could stop her. Witch Hazel came to his aid using her aportation to remove him from the equation while Hardcore interposed himself protectively between the nurse and my mother. Psi-Kick spotted two Genocide Knights in the hallway and unloaded on each of them with her blunt psionic weapon. Both hoisted their blasters and returned a hail of laser fire, striking Psi-Kick once as I gathered all the mental strength I could for the most forceful command I’d ever given. TK Kid raced into the hospital and headed for us. A moment later I established mental contact with the assassin, dominating her mind with a command my anger could not prevent me from also speaking aloud: “Don’t move a muscle…”

As I fixated on the nurse’s tattoo of a black queen’s crown, her mind writhed and slipped past my mental grip as she leapt at me … her next intended target. All I could do was dive out of the way and render myself someone else’s problem as the shame of failing my father in his penultimate time of need washed over me. Hardcore scooped up my mother and whirled to place her on the hospital bed behind him, once more positioning himself protectively between her and the assassin as TK Kid continued his advanced toward the room.

The nurse, perhaps sensing her failure, vanished, leaving only the Genocide agents for us to deal with. Psi-Kick busily pressed her attacks, hammering both Genocide Knights again. One returned fire and struck Psi-Kick three times while the other pulled the pin from a grenade and lobbed it. Unfortunately for them both, Psi-Kick sensed the danger posed by the grenade and quickly slammed the door shut, resulting in a hallway explosion that nearly incapacitated both Genocide Knights. Hardcore and Witch Hazel finished off both Knights as TK Kid arrived on the scene and took out the Genocide Pawns with a telekinetic explosion. I picked myself up off the floor demanding over the mind link to know where Hazel had sent my father, and then bolted after him.

I found Norman laying in an ever-growing pool of crimson and immediately set to the task of stopping his bleeding while someone called for the trauma unit. Knowing they’d not arrived before he bled out, I rent the bed’s top sheet into thin strips and packed Norman’s wounds with them. It wasn’t pretty, but my field experience had worked, as evidenced by the trauma team telling me I’d probably saved my father’s life. “At least I didn’t fail at that,” I thought as I exited the room.

Worried that Norman might still die … and with him information potentially vital to the salvation of mutant-kind … I reluctantly probed his deep memories in search of information about his and Lazarus’ shared past. What I found was mind-blowing: PRIMUS’ former Director of Intelligence, Avery Vazquez, was a mutant whose daughter, Juana, was slain by a mutant supervillain in 1984 while evading capture. Out of angry grief and a desire for vengeance, Vazquez initiated a scorched earth policy by turning on other mutants. He did his work strategically and at arm’s length using operatives of a like mind so that his own hand was never directly involved. However, one of PRIMUS’ operatives assigned to Project Open Eyes found out the real objective of Vazquez’s operation – his name was Robert Storm and he was also a mutant.

I probed more deeply to learn what happened and found out that Lazarus was an operative of the Paranormal Executive Action Cooperative Endeavor (PEACE) working as a contractor for the U.S. Government. The car bombings in Syria in the 80’s that had left nearly 150 dead were ultimately Vazquez’s doing and were aimed at killing all six PEACE operatives, but Lazarus (Evan Dalton) escaped without Vasquez being the wiser. Remembering my father’s words, I then plucked an image of Lazarus from Norman’s mind and stored it for future use, as my father’s memories indicated Lazarus was in Washington, D.C. and that he had been hunting Vazquez.

Digging around for a way to contact Lazarus, I noted that he and my father communicated once a week via the Sunday New York Times classifieds. In his ad, Lazarus would give a new burner phone that my father would use to contact him. The ad always followed a formula that started with three words whose first letters provided the abbreviation for the given month while the next four numbers indicated the date range that the burner phone would be active … followed by ten numbers indicating the phone number of the burner phone.

When talking, the pair also spoke in code involving a challenge/response system, wherein the challenge would be the first noun in the ad and the returned response should be the last noun in the add. In addition, Vasquez would be referenced as the second noun in the ad while Norman would be referred to as the house and Lazarus would be referred to as the car, each with locations referred to as the yard and the garage, respectively. Meeting arrangements also followed a similar algorithmic format, which I also learned.

As I wrapped my mind around the depth of it all, I rendered myself someone else’s problem and stood guard over my father as the trauma team went about its work. Meanwhile, Psi-Kick wrapped up a deep dive of the Genocide agents’ minds and informed us that they had somehow tracked us to the hospital. The Knights and Witch Hazel then quickly exited the building with my mother in advance of the authorities’ arrival and made themselves scarce for a few hours. Once my father was stable I alerted the team to it, and Hazel brought the Knights and my mother to his room. She then alerted MUV that we were headed their way with wounded, and we took my parents back to MUV through one of Hazel’s gates. Upon our arrival, hurried discussion ensued, after which Hazel disappeared, only to return a few minutes later with Tweaker and a mutant with healing powers who began tending to my father.

My family safe, I went to Data and asked him for a burner phone and to bring up the NYT classifieds. Unsurprisingly he had both on hand and in a matter of moments I’d found what I was looking for in the Times – an ad matching Norman and Lazarus’ algorithm that read: “Need One Vintage Comic Book – Collector seeking Sentinels #19 in VF to Mint condition. Will pay top dollar. Also interested in Black Mask #22, Vanguard #21-28 and American Eagle 45-53. Serious sellers only please. Call Tim between 6pm – 9pm. 347-639-6546”

I committed the ad to memory headed back to the rest of the team, sharing all that I had learned over the mind link. By the time I reached them I had decoded the ad to indicate that Lazarus’ phone would be active from Nov 19-22 at 212-845-5369. I formulated a response, dialed the number, and upon it being answered I began, “Hi, I’m responding to your ad about the comics, but I can’t talk long because neither the…”

The line unexpectedly went dead mid-sentence, and then I realized I had failed to provide the challenge, so I revised my response and dialed again, saying the following when the line was answered, “Hi, I’m the son of an avid BOOK reader responding to your ad about the comics, but I can’t talk long because neither the HOUSE nor the YARD I’m in are conducive to it now. I’m not an avid COLLECTOR, but I grew up hanging around the HOUSE with a father who knew one, and as a now-nerdy middle-aged man it seems like your interests and mine are similar. Can we meet so you can see what I’ve got, and maybe arrange a trade or sale?”

Lazarus provided the proper response by saying, ““Tim? I wasn’t expecting you to call. How is the house?” From there I related who I was, what had happened to my family, and my interest in Vasquez to Lazarus using his and my father’s code. He responded by suggesting that we meet … providing the time and place using their meeting code which I decoded to mean the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in one day at 5pm … and to look for a man wearing a grey hat drawing attention to the name Dave.

We spent the next few hours trying to figure out how we’d been tracked and learned that a tiny device had been embedded in my body – most likely during mandatory PRIMUS inoculations. The tracking device, itself, was originally part of a needle’s tip – designed to break off and lodge within the vein without causing discomfort or being noticed. Tweaker and TK Kid marveled at the object and asked if they could disassemble it to see how it worked; I told them if they could put it back together such that it functioned exactly as before it would be ok — since we’d need it to throw the dogs off the scent when we headed to Washington, D.C. I also suggested checking both Jasmine and Stratolifter for tracking devices, since both were former PRIMUS agents. When they checked, they found that Jasmine had a tracking device embedded within her while Stratolifer did not — suggesting that the covert installation of them commenced somewhere between two and five years ago.

The next day passed slowly as we rested and waited for the appointed time to draw near. As it did, Hazel teleported back to Pictou, hailed a cab for a short ride, and dropped my functional tracking device in it as she paid the fare and exited the cab. She reappeared at MUV, picked up the team (still in civvies), and transported us to an out-of-the-way location near the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. The team hung back as I walked along the memorial looking for man in a grey hat drawing attention to the name Dave – who I found and to who gave me the appropriate meeting challenge and to whom I gave the appropriate response. And that’s how I met Lazarus…

We walked as we casually talked, no doubt appearing to onlookers as two long lost friends reunited for the first time in years. At one point he called me ‘kid’, and I realized that despite looking younger than me in years, he probably looked pretty much the same when I was just a boy. As we chatted it became apparent that Lazarus had been tracking Vazquez for some time, and that he knew where Vazquez was located. He indicated that Vazquez was typically guarded around the clock by a team affiliated with DAGGER – some of which were hired superhuman mercs, such as: Hideous, Mechassassin, Rainbow Archer, Thunderbolt II, and Utility. The picture was grim: this was a man who lurked in the shadows behind minions and a veneer of righteousness. Aware of our limited time, Lazarus committed to getting us the rest of his notes and we agreed to keep in touch in the usual manner so that we could bring down this monster

After our chat, I met up with the Knights, and Witch Hazel returned us to MUV with a lot to chew on…

Session 4 – Narrative:
Over the next several hours Data, TK Kid, and Tweaker nerded out by webcrawling, data-mining on the dark web, and whatever-the-fuck else tech-savvy mutie kids did for fun … to collate/formulate their findings into a single cohesive report on the life and times of Avery Vazquez. The report also leveraged follow-up details Lazarus provided via several secure transmissions to Data.

Vazquez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a poor farm couple in 1942. A child prodigy who was unsatisfied with farm life, Vazquez exploited his intellect wherever possible, and in 1960 at the age of 18 he left Puerto Rico to attend Princeton where he graduated with a B.S. in political science in just two years. He then attended U.V.A. law school where he obtained his J.D. in 1965. That same year he entered the U.S. Army as a Captain and served in JAG Corps until 1975. By that time, he had made bird Colonel at only 30 years of age – the youngest full bird in the military at that time, in fact.

The guy was obviously bright – quick on the undergraduate work but a bit slow on the uptake (by my standards) getting his J.D. I reasoned I might be a hair sharper than Vazquez, but I also recognized that what he lacked in raw intellect he compensated for with manipulative drive. Entering the Army as a Captain was rare, and making bird Colonel in only 10 years was unheard of … strongly suggesting he’d manifested his mental abilities in his late teens … and exercised them judiciously to ladder-climb during his military career.

The report went on to indicate that Vazquez signed on with PRIMUS as an Intelligence Commander under Director of Intelligence Bernard “John” Storm – my grandfather – under whom he served with distinction for 15 years. In 1990 when General Storm had a heart attack, Vazquez stepped in as the acting Director of Intelligence and on July 4th, 1990, Storm resigned as PRIMUS Director of Intelligence, naming Vazquez as his successor. Following General Storm’s resignation from PRIMUS he lived in virtual obscurity, spending the last 8 years of his life in a VA hospital in Albuquerque, NM suffering from dementia.

Four years later in 1994, Daniel James Johnson was promoted to Golden Avenger with Vazquez’s recommendation. Later, in 2002, Director Glenn retired, and Richard Henderson, Director of Agents, was promoted to the Director position over Vazquez – surprising many within PRIMUS. In 2006, a Genocide facility was taken down by the Sentinels aided by NY PRIMUS agents, and during the subsequent investigation Director Henderson was implicated, tried, and convicted, resulting in President George W. Bush appointing William David Tyler to be the new Director of PRIMUS. In 2014, Vazquez fell under investigation by Tyler and was forced to resign in relative disgrace. Tyler then promoted Intelligence Commander Davis Dawes to Director of Intelligence.

I found myself wondering if Henderson had gotten in the way … and whether Vazquez’s forced resignation was a cover to move his pawns up the ladder … or whether Tyler had truly been able to force Vazquez out. I knew Webster didn’t trust Dawes, but Tyler seemed above reproach – the perfect puppet, if that was the case.

As I mused, I turned to the dossier’s section on Vazquez’s personal life. He had been married three times and met his first wife, Janice, in 1971 while at Fort Benning, Georgia. That same year she bore him a daughter, Juana … but their marriage fell on hard times and ended in divorce in 1979. Janice moved back to Atlanta, retained custody of their daughter, and eventually remarried one James Van Buren – something that ultimately contributed to Juana’s death on March 16th, 1984, during the escape of the mutant supervillain named Black Thorn from the Atlanta courthouse where James worked as federal court judge.

Vazquez met his second wife, Angela Caruso, in Washington, D.C. in 1977. She was an aide to Congressman Jasper from Michigan, and the two had a whirlwind affair which clearly led to Vazquez’s divorce from Janice. After his divorce in 1979, Avery and Angela were promptly married in 1980, and they remained so for 10 years. Unfortunately, Angela was killed in a car accident on April 6th, 1990 – with nothing suspicious noted and her death ruled an accident.

Later, in 1994, Vazquez met Charlotte DuBois – a former French supermodel and powerful spokesperson for Ligue des droits de l’homme (Human Rights League) in France. They married a year later in 1995 and remained so for 22 years – the last three of which had been somewhat estranged as evidenced by most of Charlotte’s time being spent in Europe while Avery’s time tended to be spent in the U.S.

The lowdown, while a mouthful, seemed simple: Vazquez cheated on Janice with Angela … so Janice dumped him and took their kid with her. Vazquez then married Angela while Janice also remarried, and one day while at court to have lunch with the new stepfather, BAM, their daughter was killed in the crossfire created by a mutant trying to escape his hearing. Rather than blame himself for being a shitty husband/father who ultimately caused Juana to have a stepfather in the first place, Vazquez blamed Black Thorn as the source of the incident and commenced his crusade. Then somewhere down the line Angela got sick of Vazquez’s shit – either because he was cheating with Charlotte or she’d seen a change in him … so he offed her … just under three months before my grandfather had a heart attack and resigned.

That last bit was a leap based on some damn thin timing, but it seemed worth a look – along with a looksee into PEACE. With a little bit of digging used in conjunction with some of Lazarus’ notes, Hazel and I learned that PEACE was assembled by Nigel Fairchild (known as Peacekeeper) in 1980. The original team consisted of teenaged mutants brought together to learn to control their powers and use them for the betterment of mankind. The original members were:

  • Bliss (Shelby Carson aka Shelby Kyle)
  • Pulse (Michael Evans)
  • Silhouette (Maria Navarro)
  • Steel (Ronald Jefferson)
  • Volt (David Kyle)

In March of 1983 the original team was captured by an evil mutant called Overlord and, to rescue them, Nigel assembled a hit squad of older, more experienced mutants. The rescue team consisted of:

  • Agbara (Kimba Chidike) … name meant Strength in Yoruban
  • Brechung (Hans Albrecht) … name meant Refraction in German
  • Lazarus (Evan Dalton)
  • Salvaje (Andrea Martinez) … name meant Savage in Spanish
  • Shade (Rebecca Daines)
  • Shimo (Genzo Saito) … name meant Frost in Japanese

The rescue team succeeded in saving the teenagers, and shortly afterward it began working with the U.S. Government as a strike team to combat villainous superhumans. In 1986, while tracking down the evil mentalist Aelaa Damagh (Supreme Brain) in Syria, the strike team was ambushed, and, as far as the world at large was concerned, it was systematically eliminated. Years later, Nigel died of a brain aneurism in 2007 … but remnants of PEACE remained in his wake. Two of the original members, Bliss and Volt, married and continued to pursue Peacekeeper’s original ideas by founding a school in Chicago, IL to help gifted students in much the way Fairchild had provided instruction and safety. In addition, Steel became a teacher at Ravenswood Academy in Millennium City, MI while Silhouette retired to Payson, AZ with her husband, Oliver Luckman. Pulse, however, was killed by Holocaust in a battle in New Orleans, LA in 2004.

In pursuit of a potential lead with PEACE, Hazel teleported Psi-Kick, Hardcore, and TK Kid to Chicago where they took a cab to the PEACE school under the guise of Jeremy potentially joining. Upon entering the large, Victorian building, they were greeted by a couple in their 50’s – David and Shelby Kyle. Someone checked the mutant signature of all three, recognized them as mutants … and as members of the Hollywood Knights … the latter of which prompted the David Kyle to ask why they were really in the neighborhood. TK explained that he thought learning PEACE history might help with the current situation and got David talking about Overlord, but no leads or useful info presented itself in either his responses or their observation on the school’s grounds. Soon after, the three returned to MUV.

While they were gone, we dug into some of the details Lazarus had provided and learned it was DAGGER who was responsible for the assassinations of most his team. Being very well known in merc circles, Hazel contacted a guy named Harrelson to ask about DAGGER. He was a fixer who knew everyone and could get practically anything … for a price. A lengthy conversation and a hefty fee revealed that, back in the day, DAGGER was headed by a former Special Forces Captain, Lawrence Dobbs (codenamed: Stiletto) and was comprised of other black ops mercs from various agencies, namely:

  • Boomer (Timothy Kowalski)
  • Diesel (Kenneth MacTavish)
  • Bullet (Randolph Ball)
  • KO (Kellen Okafor)
  • Black Rose (Rosemary Uribe)

Bullet reportedly started his own merc group called The Raiders, while Stiletto was imprisoned in Chino for over 300 murders (nearly 50 of which occurred since his incarceration). The rest of the DAGGER team members were systematically eliminated by Lazarus as payback for the wetwork they did against his team in the 80’s, but the world at large theoretically had no insight into that, and we had no intention of shedding any light on that subject. Harrelson didn’t know where to find Bullet, but he indicated that Stiletto would be willing to talk.

Feeling that we’d gotten our money’s worth out of Harrelson, I made it clear I needed to head back to The Keep to retrieve something. Hazel was kind enough to get me to a non-descript location in L.A., from which I cabbed to the harbor patrol HQ and asked if the guys who we’d spared some paperwork might give me an off-the-books lift to The Keep and back. They obliged, and while they waited I quickly entered my quarters, retrieved my grandfather’s invitation to join PRIMUS, and returned – hyper-aware that I was likely being monitored and dismissing Merlyn, entirely. Another cab ride back to Hazel, and we were soon back at MUV … staring at an envelope containing a yellowed letter dated July 4, 1990 … inviting me to join PRIMUS and signed by my grandfather, Bernard “John” Storm. Beneath his signature were six hand-written words that read: “Mole KIA – Happy Belated Birthday, John.”

I explained to the team the significance of the letter and the oddity of receiving it years after it was written. I wondered aloud at who had delivered the letter and within minutes the nerdlings had identified one Evelyn Chambers as my grandfather’s former secretary using whatever super-Google-algorithm they used. They even had an address – a retirement community in Orlando, FL.

The web of data had become so tangled in such a short period of time it felt like it might take forever to pick it apart, but from past JAG cases I knew it to be normal … especially for 30-year-old cold cases, which is what this was. Fortunately, Lazarus had given us a head start … as had my grandfather’s letter. The date on that letter and the timings of both his heart attack and resignation were so stupidly close in time … I just couldn’t label it coincidental. Thus, the Knights, Hazel, and I saw three viable leads to explore:

  • Blackthorn (incarcerated in Stronghold) – to learn his take on what happened to Juana
  • Stiletto (incarcerated in Chino) – to find out what he knew about DAGGER’s contract
  • Evelyn Chambers – to find out if there was more to my letter than the words on the page

Stronghold and Chino being relatively close to one another, Hardcore went with Psi-Kick and Hazel to both — figuring the girls would be welcome sights for both long-imprisoned men. At Stronghold, they learned Black Thorn’s story was pretty much verbatim from the old news reports we’d reviewed: he had been caught at a bank robbery by PEACE and was in a pre-trial hearing. As the hearing was about to commence he noted the stenographer had a fern, so he leveraged it to strangle both her and a bailiff and then made his way out of the courthouse. Once outside, he controlled other plants to make his escape, casually grabbing a girl (Juana) for leverage. According to Black Thorn, the marshals opened fire at him and killed the girl; he didn’t do it, he only killed the marshals – something he owned. The coroner’s report, however, attributed Juana’s death to ‘puncture wounds’, not gunfire, and so Black Thorn got the wrap for all the deaths associated with the escape attempt.

Because the visit to Black Thorn took place in Stronghold, it was most assuredly monitored by PRIMUS with a high potential for word to get back to Vazquez. In addition, Psi-Kick was unable to telepathically read Black Thorn as they spoke, so she had only his words to go on – but she believed him … as did Hardcore and Hazel.

The visit to Chino was a different matter, as it was a ‘normal’ prison. Hazel led the questioning about Syria, and Stiletto indicated it was a wild ride wherein they had been hired to take out a couple gene freaks while making it look like a bigger hit. He indicated Boomer was responsible for most of the action. Psi-Kick read him the entire time he spoke and was able to determine that he was lying, and that Vazquez assembled Stiletto’s team to take out the PEACE mutants as revenge for an on-shore job they had conducted. Over the mind link I suggested that Hazel dangle the carrot of a pardon in front of the guy, and when she did so he said that in the unlikely event she could arrange it, he was willing to sing like a bird. Fear of that exact problem was probably why the guy had killed 50 people while serving his time. On the way out, Psi-Kick picked up on a guard thinking to himself that he had to make a call to a specific D.C. number to report that Stiletto had a visitor – something she noted across the mind link. Back at MUV we relayed that number to Data, who noted it was to the D.C. PRIMUS facility in which the Golden Avenger’s office is located. TK Kid suggested we try to get a recording of the call – complete with voice analysis to confirm the Golden Avenger’s involvement.

Hardcore, Psi-Kick, and Hazel then popped back to MUV, and Hazel took me to Orlando to see Mrs. Chambers. Upon arrival at her retirement community, I waved my badge at the gate guards, and they let us through without any hassles. We made our way to Mrs. Chambers unit, and I politely rang the bell. An elderly woman answered the door with an inquisitive look, and I introduced myself while presenting my driver’s license to her for both her scrutiny and confirmation. Fixated on my face she ignored my credentials and a glint lit up in her eye as she exclaimed, “Johnny, is it really you!?”

I introduced Hazel as Mrs. Chambers let us in, closing the door behind us. She offered us lemonade and I accepted, following up with questions about my grandfather, who delivered his letter (which I showed to her), and anything she could remember that she felt was important about that day. As she answered, I furtively probed deeply into her mind and learned that her words matched her recollections: on July 4, 1990, my grandfather handed the envelope to her, told her to send it by way of same-day by courier if he died, requested it as an unofficial favour, and demanded that no one was to know. Beyond that, she said she could remember nothing else, but her deep memories revealed something more – my grandfather had taken a meeting later that same day with a shady-looking contractor who introduced himself as ‘Fuse’ upon arrival; he didn’t stay long.

The conversation then turned to my grandfather’s post-PRIMUS time in New Mexico, and Mrs. Chambers had only good things to say about his nurse, Enrique, and the high quality of care he had provided despite my grandfather’s ever-declining condition. Life after Storm at PRIMUS was the next logical topic, so I asked about Avery Vasquez, and Mrs. Chambers had absolutely nothing good to say about him. In fact, I could tell that she loathed him and that he was one of the chief reasons she resigned shortly after my grandfather did, choosing to work for a brokerage. Rather than keep this kind woman’s mind on topics that clearly weren’t pleasant, I turned away from the past and refocused her on kinder things: how good the fresh-squeezed lemonade was; the lovely mauve décor of her home; how nice it was to make a connection with someone who knew my family after being so alone for so long, and the like. After more chit-chit and some thank-you’s, we excused ourselves, exited the way we came, and popped back to MUV once we were sure no one was observing us.

A bit of checking by Hazel revealed that Fuse was the former codename of one James Rogers, an explosives expert consulting for the NYPD bomb squad. Figuring I might be the best to make an inquiry with him, I asked Hazel to transport me and TK Kid to NYC. She plopped us in Central Park and from there we made our way to police HQ, where I flashed my badge and asked to speak with Mr. Rogers. After being given no hassle and both a floor and door number, TK and I ascended the stairs. We found Mr. Rogers’ door open, so I politely knocked on the threshold. Once Rogers invited us into the office, I closed the door behind us, introduced myself, provided my full credentials for his scrutiny, and indicated that I knew he had taken a meeting with my grandfather on July 4, 1990. He put on his best poker-face and ignored my assertion, so I called him by his codename and pressed him to know what he and my grandfather had discussed. To this he responded by indicating he’d not been called Fuse in a long time … and by asking me the name of my grandfather’s secretary and her favourite colour … as a test to see if I truly was who I said I was. After answering both questions correctly, Rogers made it clear that he didn’t have a lot to say – that he had crafted and delivered an IED vest for my grandfather upon his request. I asked no further questions and, upon the suggestion that we be careful, I made myself someone else’s problem while TK Kid flew us out the window and back to Central Park. Shortly thereafter, Hazel picked us up and took us back to MUV.

Upon our return, Data confirmed that a man named Enrique still worked for the VA hospital in New Mexico, and since Hardcore, Psi-Kick, and Hazel had been in the western US recently, it made sense for them to go back. A quick jump from Hazel followed by a cab ride saw them at their destination, and a quick interview while Enrique was on break revealed that he thought my grandfather was nuts, but that across 8 years of care several things he angrily repeated while mumbling within his dementia stood out. He then quoted the following phrases: “It’s all Avery’s fault. He was supposed to die. I had one job to do and couldn’t do it. I had the best in the business try to take him out, but even they couldn’t get it done… slippery one that Avery. I just walked in with a suicide vest on. That was my plan…didn’t go so well. He made me step down, he always wanted to be top dog, and when I couldn’t kill him he turned me into this.”

Upon their return to MUV, I told Hazel and the other Knights it was clear what had happened: my grandfather learned that Vazquez was the mole within PRIMUS, ordered a hit on Vazquez; it failed; Vazquez retaliated; my grandfather tried to do it himself using an IED vest; he failed; Vazquez retaliated again, directly and in kind … and the rest had become PRIMUS history.

It was a lot to take in – perhaps too much. My earlier failure still sat heavily on my soul: my father’s would-be assassin was still out there because I wasn’t strong enough. And now I questioned my own adequacy once more – in the face of a man with powers like mine who had killed people, torn my family apart, and turned my grandfather into a mental defective … and gotten away with it all … for at least three decades. I wanted some payback, but I still saw no viable attack vector or weakness other than Juana and Vazquez’s hand in her death. It wasn’t promising. Worse, if he was keeping tabs on people, Vazquez would be growing suspicious as soon as news of our inquiries hit him. The clock was running…

Session 5 – Narrative:
It dawned on me that there might be a deeper agenda hidden within the mutant round-ups; were they furtively tagging/tracking mutants much like Jasmine and I had been tagged/tracked? I shuddered at the thought of it and promptly asked Onyx to check everyone at MUV for traces of the nanotechnology that had been used to LoJack me. It also occurred to me that the only thing we knew about Project Open Eyes was its name, so I asked TK Kid to work with Data to look into it. That left the questioning of former Director Richard Henderson at USP Leavenworth to the girls and Hardcore while I sought out Jasmine.

I found her in the cafeteria and struck up a conversation, learning what I needed to know: her ability allowed for very precise, surgical memory erasures. A few hours later, I was relieved to hear that no one else at MUV had been LoJacked. Yet, at the same time, I was also disappointed because lack of furtive tracking meant we had no hard evidence of 4th Amendment Right violations by the U.S. Government on which to hang a solid case. Fortunately, TK Kid had some better news. Open Eyes had been a U.S. Government project designed to ascertain whether the emergent mutant population presented a threat to humanity. Ultimately, the project determined mutation to be a legacy-type ‘affliction’ carried via completely normal parents, resulting in no clear means of so-called ‘preventative measures’. In time, Open Eyes was succeeded by a follow-up Project Safeguard – a project in which mutant experimentation took place on a volunteer basis, at first, and then eventually moved to a compulsory basis. If we could find evidence of forced experimentation – we might FINALLY have some evidence of wrongdoing. And if mutants were disappearing from the Corpsec camps to be used a guinea pigs, we’d have a solid/verifiable case…

The Kid had also taken solid initiative to get a tap in place monitoring the guard who had planned to call the D.C. PRIMUS facility – and the guard made the call, informing its recipient as to Stiletto’s recent visitors. Interestingly, voice analysis of the recorded call confirmed it wasn’t the Golden Avenger who received it, but Director Dawes. At about the same time, Hardcore and the girls returned having learned little. Henderson had nothing negative to say about Vazquez, fully admitted to being a Genocide informant, and knew surprisingly little about Genocide for someone who supposedly worked with them. It seemed fishy, but we still had absolutely nothing that would withstand legal scrutiny: an imprisoned mercenary with more than 300 ‘murders’ to his name who would sing if we could get him a pardon; a disgraced and imprisoned former Director of Primus who might have been the victim of mental tampering, a current Director of Primus who might not have pursued charges against Vazquez because of similar tampering. Speculation, speculation, and more speculation.

While we debated our next move, Data came running and informed us that there had been an explosion at the home of Judge Van Buren and his wife, Angela. Both had been home and neither had survived. Clearly, our time was up; the clock had run out and Vazquez was now covering his tracks. Psi-Kick suggested we try to anticipate his next move, but I already knew what it would be – he’d go for the soft targets … and that meant Evelyn Chambers’ home. As if on cue, the news channel we were watching was interrupted to cover a fire ravaging a retirement community in Orlando, FL. Our failures now had a body count, and the team mused that Stiletto would be next. However, I postulated he was likely safe where he was for the moment, as he’d withstood the tests of time well enough, so far.

Vazquez’s puppet, Dawes, was likely next, but we’d have to be quick and play it cool to keep him from going underground. To that end, Hazel opened a portal back to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. From there we cabbed to 800 K Steet, Northwest. The PRIMUS Department of Intelligence was located on the 12th floor, so we made our way up under my credentials. Upon our arrival, I asked Dawes’ administrative assistant if we could see him sans appointment, she announced us and confirmed he’d see us, and we entered his corner office. I officially introduced myself and the team while the group closed the door behind us and took up positions in Dawes’ office.

As Dawes seated himself, I informed him that we had come in person to report that we had credible intel regarding PRIMUS infiltration by and leaks to Genocide. His expected reaction of disingenuous surprise was accompanied by an unexpected crunching sound from his window. At the same moment, Psi-Kick shared an image of Dawes’ office exploding over the mind link, and I verbally barked for Hazel to get us out of there.

Hazel immediately opened a portal to the street, below, while Psi-Kick grabbed Dawes and carried him to the edge of the portal. Hardcore shoved them through it while interposing himself between Dawes’ desk and Hazel … as I ran through the portal and TK Kid erected a force field. Running to the building across the street for cover, I heard the familiar sound of an AT4 unguided missile launch, followed by multiple mind link transmissions of a massive explosion within Dawes’ former office. TK Kid and Hardcore soaked the blast well enough, but Hazel promptly fell unconscious despite Hardcore’s attempt to protect her.

On the street, below, I amplified my running and endurance while making my way to the edge of the building opposite the PRIMUS facility. Psi-Kick, however, decided to run back toward the PRIMUS facility, keeping both herself and Dawes in the middle of the street without any cover. Her open invitation was well-received by two gunmen on the roof who opened fire with their assault rifles, one of which struck Dawes twice, rendering him unconscious and bleeding. I noted one gunman at ground level and observed a total of three minds moving in maneuvering patterns, so I popped into view of them all, confirmed my targets, and held them with a mental paralysis.

Meanwhile, back in Dawes’ former office, TK Kid launched himself from what was left of the window, flew partway across the street, and wrangled both of the rooftop gunmen within telekinetic chains. Hardcore scooped up Hazel’s crumpled body and leapt from the window with it. As I radioed for PRIMUS support units to acquire the captured gunmen, Hardcore landed on the ground and reached Psi-Kick in a follow-up leap.

I ran to meet him and field dressed Dawes’ wounds while the Kid plugged Hazel’s wounds. Psi-Kick took the opportunity to pick the brains of the three mentally paralyzed operators on the ground, learning that a $100k contract had been placed on Dawes by DAGGER’s leader, Caliber. She also learned that the DAGGER team had planned a two-fold approach to the hit – the rooftop operators would take out Dawes’ office while the other three planted a bomb on Dawes’ BMW 740i within the parking structure. All five had planned to escape using a van parked around the corner.

Psi-Kick relayed this across the mind link, and I radioed PRIMUS backup about the bomb and the van. Once PRIMUS reinforcements took custody of the DAGGER team, TK Kid scooped us all up and got us the hell out of there … since we had no idea who we could trust. We contacted MUV, provided a sitrep, and Stratolifter was soon dispatched to deliver a healer and the PRIMUS tracking detector to us. With 4-5 hours to kill, we laid low and kept on the move. I used the time to pick through Dawes’ memories and learned that he was chock-full of potentially-useful intel.

Apparently Vazquez was working with a Geneticist named Dr. Jeremiah Katalist on Project Titan – a PRIMUS endeavor aimed at creating a second superhuman group that was better than the Avenger Corps. In addition, I became aware that he knew I was the son of Robert and grandson of Bernard, and he tried to have me killed using a drug meant to induce a hemorrhage in my brain – under the guise of cyberline treatment. When it didn’t work, Vazquez was forced to keep things quiet due to the development of my abilities, which Vazquez was somehow aware of.

It was also Vazquez who suggested that my requested transfer to Hollywood Knights be approved … and Vazquez who tipped off Holocaust as to Street Angel’s plight. Vazquez was in deep with Genocide … all the way up to the inner-circle, whose structure was known to Dawes as follows:

  • North America: Controlled by White King, supported by White King’s Bishop (Vengeance aka Former Silver Avenger Darin Falswell)
  • South America: Controlled by Black Queen, supported by Black Queen’s Bishop (Razor)
  • Africa: Controlled by Black King, supported by Black King’s Bishop (Warrior)
  • Europe/Asia: Controlled by White Queen, supported by White Queen’s Bishop (The Baron)

If we could reach safety, keep Dawes alive, and maintain his sanity … I was pretty sure he would testify. I half-wondered if the safest way to secure Dawes was to acquire his tracker, put his face on Lazarus, give Lazarus the tracker, and let Lazarus soak a DAGGER hit. However, the success of such a plan presumed Lazarus’ willingness, that his power was actually true to his namesake, and that we had time to make it happen.

Session 6 – Narrative:
When Stratolifter arrived, he handed the PRIMUS tracking detector to TK Kid while the healer went to work on Hazel. The Kid checked Dawes for the expected device and, upon locating it, I removed it and had TK Kid stash it for possible future use. By then Hazel was well enough to resume her duties, so she opened a portal to MUV and got us out of D.C.

Back at MUV, the healer straightened out Dawes’ wounds and then headed back to her duties as we debated our next course of action. As usual, the Kid wanted an immediate and direct frontal assault sans preparation of any kind – demonstrating just how wasted his so-called intellect really was. On the flip side, I recognized that we needed to be a surgical instrument rather than a blunt weapon – but that we still had no justifiable/probable cause we could use to convict Vazquez. The rest of the team was just as paralyzed by the abject lack of evidence.

We had just begun to question Dawes again when I saw his mind light up as if lased by an IR target designator. Before I could shout “Incoming!” I felt a mental lock clamp down on his mind … followed by a mental blast wave that bowled Dawes over. Claxons simultaneously sounded within MUV HQ, and Onyx began barking evac orders to his people. If we were lucky, it’d be Vazquez coming to do his own dirty work for a change – something I suspected he’d avoid but secretly hoped MUV defenses would force him into. Sadly, it was more of his flunkies – individuals I recognized as members of Project Titan from some internal PRIMUS memo I’d read a while back – and they were outside demanding that Dawes be released.

As Psi-Kick and Hardcore headed to the entrance, another mental blast wave washed over Dawes, shocking his mind deeper into unconsciousness. Meanwhile, Hazel opened a portal to MULA, I took up a defensive position beside her, and TK Kid flew up to Data’s command center to live stream the threat … all as Onyx’s people quickly ushered the MUV refugees to and through Hazel’s portal.

Outside, one of the Project Titan members known as Atlas grew several stories in height and redemanded in a booming voice that Dawes be released. Psi-Kick stalled by indicating we had saved Dawes and that he was under our protection. This was met with a repetition of the original demand by Atlas … which caused Psi-Kick to conclude and warn us that Atlas might be stalling, as well.

No sooner had she warned us than I saw Perses’ mind somehow phasing through the wall next to Hazel, so I filled his mind with psychic static to keep him off her … just as the last of the MUV refugees passed through the gate. Hazel casually side-stepped Perses’ blind attack while inquiring if there was anyone else to go through the portal, to which Onyx replied that he was the last and that Cinder, Sundown, and Armstrong would remain behind to help.

A second later, a blinding flash of light engulfed the room. I couldn’t see shit, but Hazel’s goggles protected her. She slammed her portal shut and relayed across the mind link images of Project Titan members I recognized as Prometheus and Astraeus emerging from a portal. While Prometheus stopped just inside the room, Astraeus blew past Cinder and knocked her into a wall while rapidly making his way across the expanse of the room. He then doubled back and took a swing at Hazel, failing to connect as he moved by. A few meters to my left I heard Armstrong and Sundown both cry out, followed by two thuds. Hazel reported both were down for the count … thanks to the handiwork of Prometheus’ and Selene.

Sensing imminent danger with the odds sitting at four of them against two of us, I made myself someone else’s problem while rolling down, back, and to the left – warning Hazel that from our opposition’s perspective she was likely the only person left in the room. The next image I received from her was one of Atlas phasing through the wall right where I had been … followed by her teleportation out of that room, to safety.

Meanwhile, Hardcore retreated inside to meet up with Hazel, Psi-Kick scouted outside, and TK Kid rocketed toward Psi-Kick via one of the compound’s windows. Drawing closer to the several-story-Atlas, Psi-Kick noticed his massive boots were leaving no indentation in the ground, surmised that he wasn’t real, reported this over the mind link, and continued to advance. A sharp pain immediately burned through her mind, and she knew, at once, that she had been mentally attacked by Metis, so she switched to a slower, stealthier approach. Her wingman, the Kid, did his part by telekinetically sending everything around (and including) Metis flying using his telekinesis. This drew Metis’ fire as she seared TK Kid’s mind with pain.

Meanwhile, inside, Hazel and Hardcore took up positions near the door of the room I was in. Furtively observing the Titans, I noticed none of them were talking as they maneuvered … and that Perses had headed back outside while Astraeus had leapt through Selene’s portal toward TK Kid, who I could see through it. I warned the team that the Titans were using a mind link and that Astraeus was coming for TK Kid, so the Kid erected an invisible barrier between himself and Astraeus, into which the latter unexpectedly slammed. Sensing my own pre-emptive opening, I became visible to Selene and Prometheus, mentally paralyzed them both, and cued both Hazel and Hardcore.

Hardcore nearly broke the door off its hinges as he ran into the room and slammed into Prometheus, who went barreling into the closest wall after the impact. I suspected Selene freaked out a little, as she shut down her portal to keep us from using it and then applied all her mental strength to break free from my paralysis. I warned the others she was loose, made myself someone else’s problem, again, and rolled right and a bit closer to the door just in case someone lobbed something where I’d been. Selene promptly opened another portal, used it to exit the building, and closed it behind her … not realizing I could still see her mind through the building’s wall. I relayed her location to Hazel who then opened a portal of her own, and Hardcore ran through it, stunning Selene with a well-placed jab.

Back outside, a still-blind Perses slowly made his way toward the fight with Metis, obviously being guided via the Titans’ mind link. At the same time Atlas and Metis focus-fired TK Kid, who had erected a telekinetic shield around himself. Sensing an opportunity, Psi-Kick moved toward Astraeus and struck him three times with her psi-blades, rendering him unconscious.

Session 7 – Narrative:
Metis pressed her attack on TK Kid, who casually shrugged it off as Prometheus tried and failed to break out of my mental paralysis. Psi-Kick, turning her attention to Metis, swung her psi-blades through the compound’s perimeter wall and missed. Hazel teleported outside to assist Hardcore and was knocked down by Perses as Atlas rushed to Metis’ defense, missing Psi-Kick.

Selene opened another portal, and through it strode a man wearing shimmering golden armour. The fluorescent lights from some sort of lab on the other side of the portal gleamed off the man’s helmet as he removed it, and there was no mistaking DJ Johnson, the Golden Avenger as he demanded: “Everyone stand down! Someone care to tell me what the hell is going on here? Where is Director Dawes? I swear I will have every one of you in a Stronghold solitary cell if you’ve let anything happen to him. You people are supposed to be sanctioned heroes, what are you doing in Canada?”

The presence of the Golden Avenger was so palpable that TK Kid steadily tripped over his words as he spilled his guts in response to Johnson’s demands. We let him ramble in order to buy time for Psi-Kick’s passive telepathy to build. She quickly gleaned that the Titans’ minds had not been tampered with, sharing that info over the mind link as I arrived outside carrying Dawes’ unconscious body. Johnson turned his attention to me, and before he could ask, I explained that we had been present when Dawes was attacked, saved his life, removed a covertly planted tracking device from him that he seemed not to know about, and then brought him to where we all stood to heal him and try to keep him safe. I punctuated this by explaining that someone had mentally attacked Dawes right before he fell unconscious, and that we did not know the source of that attack.

At that point Metis spoke up and indicated that she had mentally knocked out Dawes while following her orders – and apologized. Johnson responded by explaining that after the attack on HQ, PRIMUS reviewed the attack’s footage and found that the Knights had ‘absconded’ with Director Dawes. He then thanked the Knights for taking care of the DAGGER group that attacked and, in the same breath, chastised the Knights for exceeding their jurisdiction by taking Director Dawes across international borders.

I gently set Director Dawes down and explained that the Knights did not ‘abscond’ with anyone; they had been under fire, under duress, and Hazel and Dawes had needed prompt medical attention. Once provided, it made sense to seek refuge in a location where others would not look, hence our presence in Canada. By this time Psi-Kick’s read on our opposition was complete, and she indicated across the mind link that the DJ Johnson had been mentally tampered with just as Dawes had been. She also noted that the very same mental signature was present. As she did so, the compromised Golden Avenger stated that we were under arrest for violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1201.a – kidnapping and transport across international borders.

As he began to Mirandize us, I cut him off by pointing out that if we were outside of our jurisdiction … so was he. This clearly pissed him off, and he retorted by asserting that I had left him no choice but to do things the hard way. As if on cue, Captain Fucking Canada stepped from Selene’s portal and verbally confirmed that the Canadian authorities were working with PRIMUS regarding this case. My hip pocket devoid of additional legal ammo, I suggested over the mind link that we go quietly, as the live steaming of this event would serve only to confirm us as legitimate fugitives from justice if we resisted and/or ran. TK Kid wanted to fight, of course, but the Knights managed to make him see reason.

Stepping forward, I indicated that despite the false accusations made against us, I was willing to submit myself to our country’s justice, as I had nothing to hide. Johnson responded by demanding my sidearm and shield – both of which I willingly surrendered as he told us we’d have our day in court before a jury of our peers. I watched in quiet disbelief as nullifiers were slapped on the non-resisting Knights, a set of handcuffs wrenching closed around my own wrists as I looked on. With the mind link shut down by nullifiers, TK Kid spoke his mind, shouting at Johnson that he was the one who should be in nullifiers because he was compromised and working for the bad guy. Johnson, however, did not hear, as he was busily completing a perfect recitation of the Miranda card.

Selene then gated us to the Seattle base for processing, with TK Kid yammering all the way about Dawes’ confession. He implored Selene to review what was on his phone and think/judge for herself, however it was unclear if he’d broken through. A few hours later we were transferred to the L.A. PRIMUS holding facility pending transfer to Stronghold. While waiting, I was informed I had a visitor and led to the visitor area, where I seated myself. A few moments later Bob Webster walked over and sat down before me. We picked up the corded phones and I spoke first, greeting Bob by apologizing for the situation. His response was serious, and he said: “John, what is going on? I must be fair, here, and let you know that, officially, you’re suspended. PRIMUS will not be picking up any of your legal expenses, as you were acting outside of your duty and jurisdiction. It’s probably a good idea for you to get ahold of a good attorney. This goes all the way to the top. You’ve always been pretty straight with me, but my hands are kind of tied.”

As he spoke, I heard some quick tapping that sounded like Morse code coming from the wall that separated us. Unfortunately, my mnemonic abilities had not kicked in back when I learned Morse as a kid, so I couldn’t decode it. However, I committed it to memory in case one of the others could decipher it, told Bob I understood, and thanked him for visiting under these circumstances.

Upon transfer to Stronghold, the nullifiers were removed, and we were able to convene in a common area. I furtively related the details of my visit and tapped out the Morse code on Hazel’s downward-facing palm hoping she could decode it. Unfortunately, she was as rusty as I was. TK Kid, however, recognized it as Morse, so I repeated the tapping on his downward-facing palm, and he informed me that it was a phone number followed by a letter: 213-458-4941 G. Recognizing that the number was likely intended to go with the suggestion of calling an attorney, I located a phone in the common area and called the number.

A woman named Amanda with an organization known as Garrison & Clark answered and asked how she could direct my call. After I permitted the obligatory announcement about a collect prison call to finish, I informed Amanda of my name and asked to speak with Mr. Garrison. She accepted the charges and promptly put me through to one Jeffrey Garrison, who told me we were all over the news, indicated he was glad I had called, and asked how he could help. After giving him a high-level summary of our situation, he said he thought he could help and then directed me to hang up, tell the guard that I needed to call my attorney, and to dial 202-746-6767. He then wished me luck and hung up.

The 202 area code had me curious, as it was a D.C. number. However, in this day of portable mobile phone numbers, it could simply be a burner. Regardless, someone on the outside was poking around and might be able to help, and our prospects within Stronghold looked grim by comparison, so I followed Garrison’s instructions by informing a guard that I needed to speak to my attorney. The guard scoffed and indicated that it was unlikely I’d reach anyone so late in the evening, but he followed protocol and brought me to a room where I could have a private conversation with attorney/client privilege in play.

When I called the number, I was greeted with a simple, “Hello, Mr. Storm. Answer my questions with a simple yes or no.” I was then asked if I understood, to which I responded in the affirmative. Next, I was asked if I knew the location of Avery Vazquez, to which I responded in the negative. Two more questions followed, asking if I had access to Polygraph and if I was able to contact Lazarus, both of which I answered in the affirmative. What followed surprised me, as the voice on the other end finished with: “Thank you. Mr. Storm, this is Director Bill Tyler. I have reason to believe that PRIMUS is severely compromised, and I need your help and that of your compatriots to fix it. For obvious reasons there are very few I can trust within the organization. The only way to hold this bastard accountable for his crimes is to bring him in. Tonight at 02:30 the cells that you are in will open. You and your compatriots will then make your way up the back staircase to the loading dock. Someone I trust will be there to collect you and fill you in on the rest of the plan. Do you understand?”

Again, I responded in the affirmative, and Tyler’s voice followed as if he’d read my mind: “I know that you may be wondering if I am on the up and up. I assure you that I am. Your grandfather was a mentor of mine, and, if it means anything, I know of the letter you received on the day he died. Do I have your cooperation?”

Once more I responded in the affirmative, at which point Tyler instructed me to inform my friends, thanked me, and hung up. I exited the room, met up with the Knights, shared the go-forward plan, and then we retired to our respective cells. At 02:30 our cell doors did, indeed, open, and we quickly made our way to and ascended the back staircase without issue. At the loading dock we were met by Webster, who quickly ushered us into a plate-less, unmarked delivery van as he explained that time was of the essence. The security system had been placed on a timed camera loop that would soon expire, and we needed to be gone before then.

We met no resistance on the way out, and after one change of vehicle in a parking garage, we were in the clear and on the way to MULA. Upon arrival we were shown to a room where one Director Tyler sat, waiting for us. After introductions and appreciations, Tyler offered to open his mind so that we could see that he had not been corrupted by Vazquez, and Psi-Kick noted that he was completely unreadable. Expressing this discovery, aloud, Tyler explained that he was a mutant, and that the inability to touch his mind was his one ability. With this assurance that he had not been corrupted by Vazquez, talk soon turned to Polygraph and Lazarus, and I indicated that Polygraph was at MULA and that perhaps we should all contact Lazarus, together.

Fetching my father at Tyler’s instruction, I also acquired a copy of Monday’s New York Times and returned with both. A call to Lazarus ensued, and Robert Storm, Bob Webster, and Evan Dalton all spoke together for the first time in years … while Director Bill Tyler had Tweaker pull up data on Vazquez’s residence and hatched a plan to bring Vazquez in. In preparation for the effort, Tyler handed us nullifier-based headbands that act as neural inhibitors, while Lazarus warned us that Vazquez’s personal guard consisted of the mutant villains known as Hideous, Mechassassin, Rainbow Archer, Thunderbolt II, and Utility. Hearing this news, Tyler instructed Webster to contact Sherry at the base and to get a contingent of agents set up for a raid on Vazquez’s house – to be led by Webster in a stealth suit.

Session 8 – Narrative:
Webster followed his orders as we poured over aerial photographs and construction plans of Vazquez’s mansion provided by Tweaker. The place was solidly constructed with no clear means of unobserved approach to it once inside the perimeter wall. Someone suggested we try an approach from a nearby rooftop, and I spotted a tall apartment complex to one side that seemed to have the best view. With the clock ticking until someone noticed we weren’t in our cells at Stronghold, Hazel opened a portal close to the apartment complex and both Webster and the Knights went through it.

As Webster suggested we recon the grounds, TK Kid lifted Hazel off the ground so that she could get an overhead view of the apartment complex. Once she had a good fix, she opened a portal to the roof before us. Landing nearby as we appeared on the rooftop, we met up with the Kid and Hazel and began to plot our next move. We elected not to use the mind link because it would likely be visible to Vazquez, so comms were to be used, instead. We also acknowledged that Webster had a point about recon. Psi-Kick being the best suited among us, was to lead the way … so Hazel opened another portal – this time into the top floor on the side of the mansion closest to us. No sooner had Psi-Kick entered than the lights came on: motion sensors! Someone or something in a nearby room then paralyzed her, which resulted in Hardcore to rushing into the portal to her aid. Our recon plan instantly blown, TK Kid and Webster followed suit. I mentally boosted my speed, running, and defensive capability, after which I entered the portal … followed by Hazel.

Psi-Kick haymakered her way out of the mental paralysis as Hardcore assumed point position down the only hallway leading from the room. He was soon followed by TK Kid and Psi-Kick, while I issued a defensive mind control to him: “Disregard orders, commands, suggestions, or other communications issued to you by Avery Vazquez or those operating in/on his behalf in any way, shape, or form.”

At the end of that hall a door opened, and from it an arrow ricocheted off the opposing walls multiple times, exploding before Hardcore in a ball of light that left him, Psi-Kick, and TK Kid sightless. Hardcore then heard something run down the hallway, felt a stuff punch land on his jaw, and found himself on his ass. TK Kid, still able to perceive by way of touch, entangled Hardcore’s attacker, Hideous, using telekinetic chains. Hardcore got to his feet as something else bolted from the room and attacked him. He suffered no damage as it moved on to Psi-Kick, who sensed its mind coming and blocked it while it passed by and landed a square hit on TK Kid, who was sent flying past Psi-Kick back into the room I occupied. Next it made a quick pass and scan of the room I was in, and then doubled back from when it had come. Over comms I reported it was Thunderbolt II as he whooshed past us – just as another arrow flew down the hallway and exploded near Psi-Kick into a choking gas that filled both the hallway and room, affecting all of us except Hardcore.

As the cloud dissipated, Thunderbolt II made another pass down the hallway and into the room, barely missing me, TK Kid, and Hazel as he headed back out of the room. TK Kid got to his feet and erected an invisible telekinetic force barrier at the end of the hallway as Rainbow Archer unleashed a volley of three arrows. The first blew a hole through the barrier while the second whizzed through and struck Psi-Kick as the third harmlessly slammed into the wall near TK Kid.

As Hideous broke out of the telekinetic chains, Psi-Kick advanced down the hallway and attacked Rainbow Archer with a martial strike that failed to connect. Hardcore then jabbed Hideous and sent him flying backward down the hallway. Unable to withstand that sort of physical combat, I maneuvered into corner where I could keep an eye on TK Kid as I boosted my speed and endurance. Hazel and Webster must have had a similar thoughts, as she disappeared through a portal while he furtively headed into the hallway and down a staircase.

Hideous got up as Thunderbolt II rolled down the hallway, into the room, and then back to his point of origin – flattening Psi-Kick and striking TK Kid on his pass. TK Kid retaliated with a pair of telekinetic thrusts against Hideous and Rainbow Archer that sent the former into the wall behind him while knocking out the latter. Expecting Thunderbolt II to go after TK Kid, I did my best to mentally paralyze him before he reached the Kid, but I wasn’t quick enough. I managed to freeze his mind just as he connected with and knocked out the Kid.

Back up the hallway, Hazel indicated over comms that she was going to legsweep Hideous to set him up for Hardcore, and the pair worked their magic one-two style using a legsweep/kick combo that left their opponent unconscious. Meanwhile, Psi-Kick and TK Kid recovered, as I unleashed a pair of angry mental blasts at Thunderbolt II that left him crumpled on the floor. A short breather ensued as I wondered what had become of Webster. Before I could give it much thought, Psi-Kick alerted us to a group coming up a staircase behind a door near the end of the hall. She then opened up with her psi blades through the door, striking the first up the stairs twice. He yelled in surprise as someone whose mind seemed oddly like my own unleashed a mental paralysis that affected Psi-Kick, Hardcore, and Hazel.

I retaliated in kind with my own mental paralysis that snared four minds in the room with the staircase. Another breather took place, and, as the mind like mine broke free, I followed up with psychic static to blind it. In reaction to the static, the mind disappeared from my vision, right before Hazel and TK Kid double-teamed Mechassassin through the closed door, knocking him out.

Session 9 – Narrative:
I dropped a psychic crush on Nuke right before Hardcore, Utility, and Nuke all broke out of their respective mental paralyses, after which Nuke turned on Utility and shot him in the back with a radiation blast. Surprised, Utility yelled, “What the fuck?! You must’ve broken your conditioning!" as he fired back at Nuke with an electrical blast. Sensing opportunity, TK Kid pushed a pair of telekinetic thrusts that cold-cocked both Utility and Hemorrhage, sending them flying into Mechassassin’s unconscious body.

I made myself someone else’s problem and headed for the stairs to try to find Webster while the battle with Rage continued. Once on the floor below, I sensed an unconscious mind I knew to be Webster’s … in a room with a powerful mind that could only have been Vazquez’s. I reported it to the team as Rage created a shockwave with his hands that hammered Psi-Kick and blew Hardcore and TK Kid down the hallway and out the side of the building, missing Hazel only because she followed me downstairs. As Hardcore, TK Kid, and Psi-Kick engaged Rage again and noted that he seemed to be getting stronger with each onslaught.

Hazel advanced to the door nearest Vazquez and attacked him through one of her portals, wounding him badly and rendering him unconscious with a single, well-placed strike. She then opened the door and I ran through to Vazquez will reporting, “Tango down!” on comms to let the team know our mission had been accomplished. Still scrapping with Rage, Hardcore as what the hell a tango was, and Hazel clarified that we could and should exit the building and leave it to Rage, as we could get Webster and Vazquez out by portal. Seeing the wisdom of her suggestion, Hardocre, TK Kid, and Psi-Kick withdrew while Hazel opened portal to the awaiting PRIMUS agents – through which we brought Vazquez and Webster.

As the PRIMUS paramedics revived Vazquez, his head twisted slightly and he seethed, “I knew that this would come. I simply have too much information, and they will not allow me to be taken. The White King controls it all. Beware the son, J…”

As I watched the man who drove my grandfather insane and tried to kill my father expire, it occurred to me that his brain was not yet dead. I promptly initiated though transference and probed his dying thoughts to find a spiteful little man who felt there was no stopping what he had set into motion. He believed that better people than us had tried and that arresting him would only cause the snowball effect to accelerate. His thoughts then turned to his daughter, Juana, who he felt was innocent and didn’t deserve to die. He believed her death to be evidence that mutants were predisposed to violence because they couldn’t help themselves, and that the only way to affect lasting change was to eradicate all mutants. His spirts then lifted a little as his mind went blank, and cold – his last images of Juana’s death, and the meaning behind that having been what set into motion a machine he believed could not be stopped.

In the wake of the battle, we learned that the computer systems in Vazquez’s house had developed a virus which destroyed all data … as well as that on networks associated with Vazquez’s system. Sifting through the rubble of what had once been Vazquez’s office, a handwritten note was found concerning Hemorrhage’s creation … as well as a reference that read: “Subject S1 incubation accelerated for testing purposes. This will require periodic booster injections to stabilize neurological synapses. Further subjects to remain at standard aging rate to ensure stability. Katalyst."

Over the course of the next few months, the Knight’s status was reinstated as PRIMUS-Sanctioned heroes. DJ Johnson was suspended as Golden Avenger, and Robert Webster was placed in the position pending a full investigation. Director Dawes was similarly relieved of his duties, and Helen Robinson (Intelligence Commander of NYC base) was elevated as his replacement by Director Tyler. Alex Richardson was transferred to L.A. as Silver Avenger, and Stephen Xiao took over for him in Denver.

Tyler then opened a full investigation into PRIMUS to be conducted by members of a multi-departmental group from within the government. He also proposed a working relationship with the Hollywood Knights which would establish them as a Genocide Task force answering to him personally. That’s when he gave me the bad news, as follows: “John, I called you in here to let you go. Son, while you have proven a great asset to PRIMUS, I think your talents would be of far better use working with the Knights on a more permanent basis. To be truly effective, they need to trust you … and that isn’t going to happen if you have obligations to PRIMUS, directly. Now technically you’ll still be working as a sanctioned deputy … so not that much will change … but you don’t have to report to us, any longer. The group has earned our respect, and with that, a bit of space would be a good thing. Effective immediately, you need to spend some time with your parents; it’s been a long time, and now that you have them back in your life, you should embrace it.”

What choice did I have? As a reward for services rendered I’d been administratively severed from PRIMUS … the very group for which I had voluntarily ended my military career. For the first time in my life I felt lost and confused, for I had finished what my grandfather and father had started, but been given a back-handed ‘thank you’ for doing so. I would lick my wounds in private while maintaining my composure, for that’s what a good officer does … but deep down, I was pissed, despite the absolute need and desire to catch up with my family.

Sadly, the laws on the books and the public perception of mutants didn’t change in the wake of our ‘success’. TK Kid’s broadcast of our battle with the Titans in Vancouver actually made people more paranoid. The Titans were, of course, detained and subjected to a full spectrum physical and mental screening while PRIMUS PR spun the whole video as a ‘training exercise’. For obvious reasons, the whole story was buried … and a memorial was held for Avery Vazquez who was buried with undeserved full military honors. We attended, of course, and noted a huge turnout among which one thing stood out: his estranged wife looked every bit the grieving widow that she should.

The Mutant Underground relocated both their L.A. and Vancouver bases …. doubling down on its efforts to help mutants. We assisted quietly where we could, and I decided that their assistance to us would be something I’d gladly return in kind, if ever asked to do so…

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 10 XP
Hardcore receives 10 XP
Nuke receives 4 XP
Psi-Kick receives 10 XP
TK Kid receives 10 XP
Witch Hazel receives 20 XP

Surrealone receives 10 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Agent Storm is voted MVP for the first set of three sessions, receiving 1 additional XP.
Hazel is voted MVP for the second set of three sessions, receiving 1 additional XP.
TK Kid is voted MVP for the third set of three sessions, receiving 1 additional XP.

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The Details Are In The Devil
Hell Onboard

Campaign Dates: November 1, 2017
Sessions: 2
GM: Russell

  • Session 1: Wed, Nov. 1, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Nov. 15, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
Hardcore
Psi-Kick (Missed Session 2)

Notable NPCs:
Priest/Angel?
Monsignor ???
Harbor Patrol
Detectives
Unnamed Boy

Adversaries:
The Devil?
Demons
Huge Demon


Session 1 – Narrative:
A big storm is coming in. News reports say it is the storm of the century. A huge typhoon that is going to play hell with the West Coast and it is headed right for The Keep. Storm takes a call from PRIMUS and we are to remain on the base. General Snell wants to try to raise Mutant sentiment and apparently doesn’t want us screwing it up. What a crock of shit! At least Merlyn feels that the Keep can handle the storm and we shouldn’t be swept into the air and thrown away like an old tin can. Where the fuck is Twister when you need him?

We are all more or less sitting around watching the news on the storm when Merlyn says that a vessel is approaching. It is a tiny little boat and it will no doubt get trashed by the waves. I head out to the dock to see what the hell is going on. On the boat is a man wearing a black trench coat and a fedora. We save the man and also find a bundle that is actually a small child. We bring them into the reception area and lock down the rest of the base.

Storm “sees” that the priest has a very high willpower, in fact abnormally so. The kid looks terrible as if he has been through some tremendous ordeal. The priest says that we need to restrain the kid and I grab hold of him. The priest starts sprinkling the kid with the contents of a vial and the kid starts to squirm and moan. I hold him tight and Nicole reads the mind of the priest. The priest is absolutely terrified of the kid. She tries to get into the kid’s mind but cannot get past the pain. When she reaches out to touch the kid pain shoots through all of us in mental contact with her.

Storm puts the kid to sleep and tells him to have peaceful, pleasant dreams. The priest says that the boy is possessed by a demon and he needs to exorcise it. We move the boy to a guest room and Amber binds him to the bed. Nicole tries again to read the boy’s mind but sees only the dreams that Storm told him to have.

Merlyn warns us of another boat approaching. This is a larger boat but it too is getting pounded by the waves. We reach out to the boat and find that it is the Harbor Patrol. They want to know if someone has com into the Keep. Storm inquires as to why they need that information and they report that they are looking into a kidnapping. Nicole goes out front to find out what is really going on. Using her mental gifts she reads the minds of the group on the boat and determines them to be on the up and up. Two harbor patrol officers, two detectives and a man who identifies himself as a Monsignor with the Catholic church come into the Keep.

In the meantime, the priest begins to drift off and the boy addresses Amber. “Your a tender little slit aren’t you?”
**********I will get back to the first session when I get home and have my notes

Session 2 – Narrative:
We are in the eye of the storm. The wind is no longer buffeting the Keep like a battering ram. Through the windows of the kitchen we can see a humongous monster that looks like a spawn of hell approaching. I figure I may be the only one that can survive this and I run up to the roof. Amber, the little whack-job, follows me up. Well I have to admit, the kid has balls…well figuratively anyway. I move to the edge of the roof to intercept it. As it gets there I smash it with everything I have. It does seem to hurt it…a bit. I am going to have to hit it harder. Amber puts up a wall and we find that Storm has joined. She puts one up in front of him too. I’m not sure what he is going to be able to do against this thing. I mean, shit does it even have a mind. Amber makes Storm all shimmery and he glares at the thing. I’m not sure what he did but I don’t think the thing liked it. Some unearthly light begins to grow within its third eye and I leap onto its head. A wide beam erupts and smashes through Amber’s barrier barely scathing her. It doesn’t make it past the one in front of Storm. Storm does something again and the monster seems peeved. I pull back to attack its eye with everything I’ve got…and fucking miss. Crap, how the hell do you miss something this big? Amber tries an attack at it but it seems to have little effect. Storm really pisses it off and it lunges back into the water taking me with it. I plunge into the water and with my weight sink quickly to the bottom. I run along the bottom back toward the Keep and the elevator. The monster grabs hold of the Keep and crushes it. It takes a bit but I get to the elevator and head back to the top.

While I am headed back to the roof listening to some God awful rendition of Iron Man the monster resurfaces and fires again. Psi-Kick brings the priest up to the roof and he starts saying prayers while Amber gives him a shield. The shot does little to Amber but destroys the barriers protecting both her and Storm. The priest goes flying off the roof into the ocean. Amber retreats into the base to catch her breathe and Storm concentrates on improving his capabilities. The monster lashes out and smacks the crap out of Storm taking him out of the fight. The monster attacks the people in the kitchen sending them diving for cover and some hurt pretty bad. Amber comes back out and shoots the thing with another needle which again doesn’t seem to do squat. I get back to the roof and leap onto the thing’s head again. Suddenly the priest appears again but this time he is flying! That’s right he’s actually got wings. I smash the thing and grab hold in case it tries to go swimming again. The priest levels his hand and fires a bolt of bright light at the monster which sends it reeling. That one hurt him and leaves a deep wound on its head. The priest and Amber fire at the monster again and the priest’s blasts seem to be severely hurting it. I see my opportunity and smash my foot down as hard as I can into the wound that the priest created. The monster reels and releases the Keep plunging into the ocean. Its massive body seems to dissipate as it sinks. When I get to the bottom I search and find the body of the kid. I get him back into the Keep and straight to the infirmary. The priest joins us and says a prayer over the dead kid’s body. As the boy begins to heal the priest turns black and his wings begin to shred. He gave his life to save the boy…wow, now I have seen it all. Could that thing have really been a Demon from Hell? Could the priest have been an actual Angel? I have always said that I needed proof to believe in God. Could that be what I just got?

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 2 XP
Amber receives 2 XP
Hardcore receives 2 XP
Psi-Kick receives 1 XP

Russell receives 2 GMXP for running the adventure
Deadman receives 2 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Hardcore is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Daddy's Home

Campaign Dates: October 2-16, 2017
Sessions: 2
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, Oct 18, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Oct 25, 2017 – 1800 PST

Main PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
AMorph
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
TK Kid

Minor PC’s Involved:
Berta Dieterle
Bobby Wilson
Eddie Moore
Jack Heimer
Susan Blime
Taisha Andrews

Notable NPCs:
Silver Avenger Webster
Street Angel (Braindead)
Twister
Hound

Notable Minor NPCs:
Edge
Maxx

Adversaries:
Holocaust
Scorch
Ambush
Assault
Battery
Red Racer
Executive Control Services (ECS) Agents


Session 1 – Narrative:
Date: Sunday, Oct 2, 2017 02:47am
From: John Storm
To: Robert Webster
Subject: SENSITIVE INFO – HK Monthly Report (Sep 2017)

Major Events: None
Minor Developments:
Amber:
- Purchased a motorcycle and learned to ride it
- Dumped by Steven, who is now banging Stitch
- Retributive response expected if/when opportunity presents

Amorph:
- Spent time digging into DEMON and its mutant interest
- Found correlation between ‘Old Gods’ and mutant bloodlines
- Correlative work was penned by Dr. Harold Devanopolis
- Devanopolis supported by Angelstone Labs; may be worth a look

Hardcore:
- Babysat TK Kid while the Kid worked with Tweaker
- Coached TK Kid on the hazards of charging into battle
- Changed hairstyle; he’s getting a curling iron for X-Mas
- Drank a lot, as usual

Psi-Kick:
- Freed of Nevermind’s influence but lost some mental powers
- Asked by Quinby to be her maid of honor
- Shopped with Quinby and bought lots of dental floss outfits
- Will make you sure get an invitation to the wedding/slutfest

TK Kid:
- Worked with Tweaker on some kind of helmet project for Hound
- Kid is smarter than he looks or acts
- Crushing on Psi-Kick, proving that brains != common sense

Twister:
- Unexpectedly dumped by Dana due to her personal issues
- Loved by her too much for her to watch him endanger himself
- Spent most of the month in the bottom of a bottle
- Not seen much at The Keep, resulting in a leadership vacuum

Agent Storm:
- Caught up on paperwork
- Performed required monitoring functions
- Continued to dig into the whereabouts of Locks (no luck)
- Continued to dig into leads pertaining to TechnoSmith (no luck)

-John

Col. John Storm, HK Liaison Officer, PRIMUS Intelligence Division

-———————————————————————————-

My monthly report filed, I looked forward to a calm, relaxing day – but it wasn’t meant to be. Webster called me into an unexpected 9:00 am meeting to personally express his concern over the recent lack of leadership in HK. Maybe I should have downplayed that in my report, but it was too late; he went on to caution how even one public mistake by the Knights could tip the delicate balance of public opinion regarding mutants. Across the discussion, it became evident that Webster felt I should assume a leadership role with the Knights. I told him I’d bring it up and see where it went.

As we concluded the meeting I met Webster’s gaze and, without further words, he knew I understood every aspect of the situation as well as he did – while I knew that Col. Avery Vasquez may have had a hand in my father’s death and that those potentially loyal to Vasquez within the PRIMUS Intelligence Division (which is most of the Division) were likely compromised. Webster seemed both relieved and surprised by this exchange … most especially with regard to my ability to keep it a secret. I mentally shrugged. A means by which we could request similar communication being needed, we agreed that his mother’s name would be our code word. Issuing a verbal, “Be careful, John,” as he always did at the conclusion of our face-to-face discussions, we parted ways, and I headed back to The Keep.

The rest of the morning was relatively uneventful if one discounted Amorph’s rude impersonation of Webster … and its resulting ire. I could have warned him over the mind link that he was treading on thin ice, but I figured the guy needed to learn for himself. Over the link, Hardcore expressed surprise that his father, Bull, was out of the slam and looking for his kids. Irritated, he headed to see Tweaker get her take on the development. It was pretty clear he had no interest in seeing his old man, but Tweaker managed to sway him into agreeing to see him. I looked forward to meeting the guy, as it presented an undoubtedly ripe opportunity for new shit I could give Hardcore.

While Hardcore was talking with Tweaker, TK Kid’s technobabble abruptly ended in a “Eureka!” moment that also bled across the link. Images of Hound trying on his new helmet excitedly washed over the link … as did Hound’s next words, “Oh my god! This is amazing! I can sense so far and … there are two Omega Class mutants in the immediate vicinity of the federal building!

Something wasn’t right, as I knew there were no Omega Class mutants being held in custody at HQ, so I turned on the TV where I saw a man I knew to be Holocaust hovering in mid-air and speaking in an electronically amplified voice: “Human gnats have you no regard for your betters? To imprison my son is the ultimate disrespect for my God-like stature. You will produce my progeny now or face my wrath. My fiery friend here is prepared to take down the whole building if necessary. Disobey at your peril.

Damn it! This guy would be a mess to deal with, as he could shoot energy beams from his eyes, had other energy powers (flight and telekinesis, to name two), could absorb energy to improve his various powers, and was even known to be able to sense energy patterns – making it VERY hard to sneak up on or surprise him. I also recognized the so-called fiery friend as Scorch – daughter of the leader of The Downtrodden and a former case file of the Hollywood Knights. She was an Omega Class mutant that could melt steel into slag who had gone missing a few weeks earlier during a prisoner transfer to Stronghold.

I made sure the Knights knew both his and her deal and then lept from the couch, enhanced my running, and bolted for the teleporter to HQ while instinctively instructing everyone on the mind link to get to HQ ASAP. AMorph and Amber followed me while Tweaker did something that teleported the HK members with her at the Underground to PRIMUS HQ.

Sensing an opportunity, I suggested that we give Holocaust what he wanted as fast as possible – in the form of AMorph posing as Street Pizza. No one put forth a better idea and AMorph was willing, so I bolted for the infirmary where Street Pizza was being kept and used my access/authority to get AMorph to the vegetable for proper mimicry – with Amber in tow providing speed enhancements and protection.

The rest of the Knights headed outside to deal with Holocaust. As they arrived, two fighter jets swooped by as if to warn Holocaust and Scorch of humanity’s capability and will to defend itself. Undeterred, Scorch blasted one out of the sky to educate humanity about mutant capabilities and intents. As PRIMUS defense forces moved into place, the smoking jet careened left and vectored on a gentle downward slope, the pilot obviously fighting hard to avoid loss of horizon in a heavily populated area. No chute appeared, and the THUD of ground contact soon followed – a mutant-caused human death televised live on TV for the world to see.

In that instant, everything seemed to pause … and then it was gone … a moment of recognition shattered by the sound of tanks rolling on concrete in the distance. The world’s eyes then turned to Holocaust facing off with the Knights. Instead of laying into them, he leveraged his airtime to malign them: “Well if it isn’t the esteemed Hollywood Knights, traitors to their kind? You, of all, should know what we are up against … or do you not remember our time on Warth? My son was a member of your group, and when he held issue with becoming pawns of the government you ensured that he would plague you no more. For this, you will suffer as he has.

Lovely. So Holocaust blamed the Knights for his son’s stupidity. The rotten apple clearly hadn’t fallen far from the tree. As AMorph and I reached the infirmary, he hid Street Pizza in a closet, took his place on the gurney, and quickly plugged an IV into his own arm while I got on PRIMUS comms, identified myself as Colonel Storm, and demanded to know who called in the Army. Someone responded that it was the National Guard, not the Army… and that no one had requested them or the jets. Fuck! This was a setup… intentionally caused to televise it. God damn Genocide! I demanded to know who was in charge of our defensive posture, and one Arthur Kinkade responded to say he was. With the authority of a bird colonel and the experience of seven tours thick in my voice, I barked: “Mr. Kinkade, you get the God damned Guard on the horn and turn back those tanks! Call the governor if you have to, just get it done … fast … or this is going to become a bigger fucking media disaster than it already is! You have your orders…

After a brief pause, the expected “Yessir” came back while I wheeled the gurney for the infirmary door. No sooner than I had, four humanoids popped into existence just inside the infirmary. Shit! It was Assault, Battery, Ambush, and Red Racer … and they were clearly there to retrieve Street Pizza while Holocaust and Scorch distracted everyone with the random and devastating fire they were unleashing outside the HQ building. I relayed this over the mind link, threw my hands up in surrender, and Amber followed suit. As they reached for the gurney I pushed it in their direction and exclaimed in my best ‘fearful’ voice: “Hey! We’re just trying to get him outside like the man ordered! If you’re here for him, take him! We don’t want any trouble!!!

As hoped, they bought it … pulling AMorph’s convincing Street Pizza facsimile off the gurney and winking out of existence with him as the IV stand clattered to the floor. Our subterfuge intact, Amber and I headed outside to see what we could do to help. However, we stopped short as the rest of the Knights heard Holocaust’s electronically amplified voice utter the following to the world just before he and Scorch disappeared: “The war has just begun, humans. Prepare yourselves…

Unfortunately, AMorph’s mimicry wasn’t as good as we’d hoped; he was discovered as an imposter by Holocaust within ~15 minutes of his departure. Assault, Battery, and the other two flunkies immediately returned for the authentic vegetable while AMorph made his escape, and no additional hostilities were encountered thanks to Amber rapidly dropping off Street Pizza’s limp body.

PRIMUS HQ began licking its wounds, counting 24 dead (including the pilot) and 283 injured. Hurrying to whatever had his attention, Webster and I crossed paths. He stopped and said: “Well this is going to change shit. The country isn’t about to lay down for an attack directed at a federal building. Fuck! How the hell did this happen?! How did Holocaust even know that Street Angel was here??? Storm, your team is on lockdown until further notice. Keep tabs on them and don’t let them out of your sight, that’s an order!

I gave a crisp “Yessir” and reached out to Webster mentally again, telling him directly that this was clearly a false flag operation as evidenced by the National Guard being called in by someone other than us. He inquired how I knew this, and I replayed my dialogue with Arthur Kinkade for him. Taken aback, Webster warned me to be wary of Kinkade – who might be aligned with Vasquez given that Kinkade controlled the Iron Guard. His mind then turned to the leaks in PRIMUS, to which mine replied with but a single word: “Devanopolis”. He nodded with nothing else said, and hurriedly headed off to wherever he was going. I made my way back to The Keep with the Knights, decidedly thankful that my official monthly report had already been filed.

Session 2 – Narrative:
The attack on the federal building in L.A. resulted in massive and sustained public outcry which, in turn, generated governmental pressure to deal with the so-called ‘mutant problem’. As a result and in a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress enacted several new laws, each of which was rapidly signed by President Ronald Wharton. While the new laws were touted as applicable to all individuals within U.S. borders and territories, they were obviously architected by the Institute for Human Advancement (IHA) lobbyists and squarely aimed at mutants.

Under the new laws, brandishing superhuman powers became punishable as a form of simple assault (entailing a misdemeanor charge in most jurisdictions) while the use of superhuman powers against another person became a crime punishable as felonious assault. In addition, the American Superhuman Paranormal Registration Act (ASPRA) was stepped up by legislation causing the harboring of a mutant registration dodger to be punishable under the same laws and with the same penalties as harboring a fugitive from justice – effectively rendering registration mandatory for all mutants while branding all unregistered mutants as fugitives from justice.

The new federal laws also provided additional funding to enable expedited roundup and detention of unregistered mutants. Make-shift detention centers akin to the internment camps used for Japanese Americans during WWII were hastily erected, and two civilian contractors, Executive Control Services (ECS) and CorpSec, received generous federal funding aimed at rapidly filling those detention centers.

Governmental sanctions of mutant groups like the Hollywood Knights remained intact, but group monitoring was immediately tightened-up by a new requirement for all members of such sanctioned groups to wear body cameras as part of all sanctioned operations. In addition, the federal government established a fledgling department charged with the enforcement of new “anti-terrorist” laws. In the wake of the establishment of this new department, Archer Samuels, the de facto leader of the IHA and CEO of CorpSec, lobbied heavily for CorpSec to become an actual enforcement arm of the government. His proposal gained a lot of traction in Congress…

For all intents and purposes, the punishment of crimes associated with the use of superhuman powers went from typical … to the maximum allowed by law … in the span of two short weeks immediately following the L.A. Terrorist Attack (as it was quickly dubbed by the media). Unsurprisingly, the Mutant Underground got ridiculously busy in those weeks … but Bobby Wilson and Jack Heimer had no idea about that. Both were construction workers on a job site where things were not going well. The job was behind schedule and, in a bit of cosmic irony, their supervisor yelled at them: “You fuckers better get this job done on time and on budget because I’m tired of being yelled at.

Rattled, Jack shook violently – so much so that particles around him began to partially solidify in a most unnatural way. Uttering a lame excuse about needing to take a leak, Jack tried to walk away, but his hateful co-worker, Bobby, laid into him by calling him ‘mutant scum’ as Jack reached the porta-potty. Pissed off, Jack turned around, ran over to Bobby, and started pissing on the spot where Bobby was working. Unfortunately, Jack’s tremors got so bad that he pissed all over Bobby…

Seeing this weirdness, others on the job site began slinging mutie slurs at Jack as they armed themselves with hand tools. Rather than risk injury from the mob, Jack took off running just as he was grabbed by one pissed-on Bobby, whose arm visibly stretched like a rubber band to span the ten feet Jack had just run. Bitter and emboldened, the mob approached both of them levying angry shouts and slurs. Rather than face what he’d started, Bobby ran after Jack.

Running until they could run no more, both ducked into a local bar where they briefly set aside their differences over a couple beers. Before they could order a third round, an Asian guy approached them and said, “Look, it won’t be long before people like us are rounded up and put in the new detention centers. Now might be the right time to get out.” He set a card on the table in front of the two and left. Bobby grabbed the card before Jack could, noted it had a name and address for a coffee shop on it and tucked it into Jack’s front pocket so that the name faced outward: Maxx’z. Jack, stiffed with the bill, quickly paid it and followed Bobby.

Berta Dieterle, a tattoo artist by trade and roller derby queen in her off-hours, accidentally smacked a teammate unusually hard during practice. The bitch, of course, turned on her, and let fly a string of mutie-specific accusations. Frustrated and hurt, Berta left practice early, headed home, filled up her Toyota hatchback with everything from her tiny apartment, and decided to run for the border. About to get into the car, she spotted a folded slip of paper under her windshield, retrieved it, and noted it was an ad for a place called Maxx’z that appeared to make subtle implications about its mutie-friendliness. Intrigued, she looked the place up and headed there.

Susan Blime had been running out of places to crash in the wake of being kicked to the curb by her daddy. To make matters worse, she had likely overstayed her welcome with Chuck, an Executive Control Solutions employee who had just been called in to work. As he put on his uniform, a new wand-like gadget on his belt went bat-shit crazy. It was a mutant detector, of course, and its squawking quickly informed him as to why Sue had been kicked out of her home by her family. Because they were friends, Chuck overlooked Sue’s mutant status instead of dragging her to a detention center. However, he warned her not to be in the apartment upon his return as he walked out the door and pulled it shut behind him.

Hurt and frustrated, Sue left before Chuck could change his mind, drove off in her Mercedes, tried to book a cruise to Cancun, and found her credit card declined. She angrily pulled over in order to dial the credit card company and bitch at them. While fumbling around to find the right number, a man who looked like George Clooney greeted Sue, bantered with her a bit, and handed her a card with the address and name of a bar: Maxx’z.

Eddie Moore was at a buddy’s place and had just finished blazing up a fattie with his bros on the front porch when a squad car eased down the street, switched on its blues, and rolled to a stop at the curb in front of them. Eddie, knowing they all had their medical marijuana cards, greeted the officer politely and asked what the problem was. The officer informed them the drugs weren’t the issue, it was the neighbor-reported illegal squatting that was the problem. Irritated, Eddie told the officer it was his bud’s house, to which his bud replied that he thought it was Eddie’s house. Surprised, Eddie offered for the group to be on their way in order to save the officer paperwork, and the officer agreed subject to each of the young men submitting to a wanding with a device Eddie had never seen before. Rather than find out what it did, Eddie bolted as one of his buddies was wanded; the rest of his group took off in different directions, as well.

Eddie finally stopped to catch his breath in an alleyway off Waverly and Third. As he huffed and puffed he forced his pants, jacket, hair colour, and eye colour to change such that he looked nothing like the young man who had just been stopped for squatting. Before he could get moving again a chick in black spandex leapt off a five-story building and landed perfectly on the street. She told him she was with The Underground, that she knew he worked for the pawn shop, that she helped with the cops, and that next time he might not be so lucky. She also told him to go to a place called Maxx’z if he got the munchies – which sounded good to him since they’d already set in.

At Maxx’z, a 30-ish-year-old bartender was all over the place, obviating the fact that the establishment was probably his. Jack, Bobby, Berta, Sue, and Eddie had all found their ways to the place. Berta started hitting on Sue, muscling an apathetic Eddie out of the way. Having lost his seat, Eddie found a new one across from a dark-skinned woman who said her name was Taisha. Time passed, chit-chat was made, and Maxx eventually began to notice the six of them. One by one (over time) he pulled them into the back room of his establishment, called them out as mutants, and told them he wanted to help given the recent turn of events. All remained in the establishment until closing time, with Eddie passing joints in the storage room for any who wanted to partake.

While getting high in the back room, Jack cracked the alleyway door and saw a guy with a gun. He alerted Maxx, and Maxx informed everyone that it was time to leave. He then led everyone out a side exit with Berta and Eddie right behind him. Five ECS agents unexpectedly revealed themselves on a rooftop across from the trio and commenced arrest procedures with a warning for the trio to stop or be shot. Maxx ignored them, interposing himself between the five agents and Berta. As promised, the agents opened fire. Two of them hit Maxx with some sort of energy beam which he seemed to absorb as he grew large enough to rip through his clothes. Berta skated away southbound as the remaining agents took pot shots at her, and Eddie retreated back inside with Maxx following.

Berta continued to skate, circling around the west side of the building where she crashed through the wall of a warehouse located just north of Maxx’z place. Sue noticed the calamity while scouting through a wall of Maxx’z place and reported it to those trapped inside. Poking her head through the wall again, Sue confirmed it was clear, after which Maxx led the way through an alley side exit. Upon exiting, Eddie blocked the side of the alleyway nearest the ECS agents from the ground to rooftop with bullet-resistant glass that appeared out of nowhere.

The group then headed west for the hole created by Berta, entered it, and Eddie took a moment to repair the wall by the sheer force of will in order to cover the group’s escape. The group worked its way through what appeared to be a dimly-lit warehouse and found an exit in the northwest corner. After scouting through the west wall, Sue declared it clear while Eddie noted the crash bar on the door and transformed it from a working alarm to a non-working alarm.

The group hurriedly exited the warehouse and piled into a getaway van driven by a guy named Edge while Maxx complained to him about how much he would miss that place. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Knights watched the storming of Maxx’z place on the news – concerned for the implications of its loss on The Underground. Following a commercial break, the news moved on to detail a massive typhoon that had rapidly formed off the coast of California. All of the then-current spaghetti models suggested the typhoon would move toward greater L.A. – likely passing right over The Keep. Baffled, Agent Storm noticed his phone buzzing, removed it from his pocket, and read the caller ID: FEMA.

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 2 XP
Amber receives 2 XP
AMorph receives 2 XP
Hardcore receives 2 XP
Psi-Kick receives 2 XP
TK Kid receives 4 XP

Surrealone receives 2 GMXP for the Adventure Log

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Hold My Beer
I Got This

Campaign Dates: September 4, 2017
Sessions: 4
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, Sep 06, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Sep 13, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, Sep 27, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 4: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
AMorph
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
TK Kid (Missed Session 4)
Twister (Missed Sessions 3 & 4)

Notable NPCs:
Constable Dantes Panza
Lt. Daniela Barrera (of UNTIL)
Silver Avenger Webster
Los Defensores de la Libertad (‘The Defenders of Freedom’)

  • Serafín de Guerra (‘War Angel’)
  • Puma
  • Velocidad (‘Velocity’)

Adversaries:
ARGENT
Genocide
TechnoSmith
Voltiac
The Crimelords:


Session 1 – Narrative:
Labor Day — A day of respite celebrating the American labor movement’s historical contributions to the lives and future well-being of working Americans. And how did the Hollywood Knights spend it? The day started with a public appearance in L.A, followed by a few hours of fan selfies, autograph signing, and other annoying PR shit. Could they paint a bigger target on their backs for Genocide?? I’m stunned Little Miss Conspiracy didn’t avoid the scene on the premise that some of the ‘fans’ might be operatives gathering intel on the Knights…

After hearing “O my gawd u r so hawt, Twister! Can we get a selfie?” nearly 100 times per hour, I was in a cantankerous mood. Thankfully we returned to The Keep shortly after noon, so no one was the wiser. When we got home, Hardcore set about hauling a load of beer and booze up to the rooftop deck while I fired up the grill and started some burgers, brats, and BBQ. Shortly thereafter Sarah, Dana, Grim, Edge, Quinby, and Steve showed up, and what began as a relaxing afternoon somehow morphed into an engagement party for Quinby and Edge. Grim got an actual ID, too -something I didn’t list in my next report lest it reflect poorly on Sarah, who I strongly suspected to have had a hand in it.

I’m not sure when I began to think of The Keep as ‘home’, but that’s what it had become. On this day, however, it had also become a romper room full of drunken children which tapered off only after Quinby and Edge left. Sarah and Grim soon followed, while Amber and Steve sidled off to who-knows-where. (Probably fucking in the gym, again — as if the rest of us can’t smell the stink of sex each time they ‘work out’ in there.) Zeke and Dana headed to Twister’s room only to have Dana return and complain to Honey that Zeke was too drunk to fuck. Before I could chime in with an appropriate put-down, Webster called, indicating:

John, the PRIMUS tech guys went over all of the TechnoSmith equipment recovered from the recent Genocide fight. They found that the power core shielding was an alloy of questonite and a highly energy-resistant substance they labeled rodonite. Intelligence tracked the origin of the rodonite to the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, so we sent a couple squads to the area to rendezvous with UNTIL forces. Contact with the combined team was lost yesterday as they were about to enter a mine near Torondoy. Our UNTIL contact, Lt. Daniela Barrera, sent another squad to recon the mine and they have not been heard from, either. Obviously this is above PRIMUS capability; we could really use the Knights’ help. Your past reports suggest the Hollywood Knights are still pretty green; we could call The Protectors if you don’t feel the Knights are up to it.

PRIMUS and UNTIL lives were on the line, and we were within the most important window for missing persons – the first 24 hours. After the morning’s HK PR, what was I supposed to say? Despite Twister’s drunken stupor, I committed the team without hesitation. Webster sounded pleased, but worried. He cautioned about the near-indestructible nature of the new alloy, TechnoSmith’s potential to have created as-yet-unseen gadgets, and the lack of clear intel regarding with whom TechnoSmith had been working. He also indicated that Torondoy lacked an airport and provided coordinates for use with our sky cruiser’s VTOL capabilities. I provided a midnight PDT departure projection and estimated a 9am local time ETA so that Webster could coordinate our meet-up with Lt. Barrera.

With that, I roused the troops, except for Twister who was too far gone to notice. AMorph was kind enough to encase Twister in a ‘suit’ that ‘walked’ him to the sky cruiser, while TK Kid grabbed Twister’s costume. Six hours, multiple cups of coffee, some hair of the dog, and three time zones later found us approaching the coordinates provided by Webster. As we landed I identified Lt. Barrera amidst a squad of seven UNTIL agents. Once we were out of the sky cruiser I made my way to her, flashed my credentials, and introduced Twister and Psi-Kick as the leaders of the Hollywood Knights. While her native tongue was clearly Spanish, she responded in perfect English, saying:

Hello Twister and Psi-Kick, I am Lieutenant Daniela Teresa Molinares Barrera of UNTIL. Silver Avenger Webster told us to expect you. We were contacted by PRIMUS to arrange for an investigation in the nearby mountains and later asked to send another squad to search for them. I wasn’t originally worried. The mountains contain ore deposits that play hell with communications equipment. After the second squad went missing, I called Señor Webster with concerns. The last communication I received from our squads was that a thick fog was rolling in around the mine entrance. As you are probably aware there aren’t many superheroes in South America, so Señor Webster said that he would see if your team was available. I have spoken to some of the locals and they said that they have noticed a lot of activity in the mountains over the past year or so. They have even told stories about flying people and one that they call ‘El Relampago’, which, in English means ‘The Lightning.’ The squads that entered the mines were well armed, and I think they would have been more than a match for mercenaries. I have a meeting scheduled with the local constable shortly. Perhaps we should meet with him before we check out the mines.

The town, itself, was tiny. Uninterested in meeting the constable, Hardcore unsurprisingly headed for the nearest bar. I almost asked him why he wastes money on booze since he can’t get drunk, but then I noticed he was dragging TK Kid with him, so I kept my mouth shut. Arriving at Constable Dantes Panza’s office we learned that he had lived in Torondoy his entire life and that in the last year there had been an influx of affluent foreigners, most of which hung out at the local bar when not at the mines. Constable Panza also indicated that the mines were locally known as Bajo Obscuridad (‘Underdark’), and that all permits and property rights regarding the mines were legally obtained by one Mr. Lawrence Toliber. He then showed us a map of the mines, which we looked over, thanking him as we departed for the bar.

Besa de la Noche (’Night’s Kiss’) was a decent enough place. As we approached it we found ourselves mobbed by a group of ~14 kids, eager to receive autographs and/or handouts. Entering the bar, we noted it was unusually busy for a town as small as this one, no doubt to the pleasure of the barkeep. Hardcore had already noted that most of the patrons did’t look like locals, and we observed that several were speaking English. I spotted a woman in dark glasses seated in a booth near the back of the bar that looked a great deal like Morgaine The Mystic of The Crimelords. She got up and hurriedly exited through the rear of the bar as we seated ourselves, confirming my suspicion. Before anyone could stop him, TK Kid was off and flying after her – damn that kid!

I requested Lt. Barrera arrange transport for us to the mine entrance while I mentally briefed the Knights on what I knew of The Crimelords:

  • Dreadnaught – Huge, super-strong metallic man who is extremely tough
  • Morgaine The Mystic – Female with Elemantal Powers (Earth, Fire, Ice, Wind)
  • Starflare – Extremely fast flying energy projector
  • Tiger Lily – Very fast martial artists
  • Warhammer – Powered armour user with exceptional strength and strong blasts
  • Skullcrusher – The newest member of the group based on the last time the team was seen in the USA; manifests purple energy field around him in the shape of a huge hulking man. Probably a mentalist.

TK Kid found himself outpaced by Morgaine, but he was still able to spot where she entered the mountain near the mines. AMorph volunteered to head to the mountain as a bird in order to scout ahead, and the team agreed. The rest of the group waited for a pair of UNTIL vans to arrive at the bar, and then the team rode with the UNTIL agents to the mine entrance. ~30 minutes later, AMorph had some scouting under his belt as the vans, nearing the mine entrance, were overturned by a pair of shots fired from above. As the Knights extricated themselves from the vans, a bright flash of light zipped by and flew directly into one of the two visible mine entrances.

I grabbed one of the UNTIL agents’ heavy rifles and formed up with the rest of the Knights, leaving Lt. Barrera and her squad to shake off the hits at their own speed. Before anyone could protest, our hungover leader picked us up and moved us a half mile closer to the mine entrance — parking us smack in the middle of a field with absolutely no cover. A thick fog immediately appeared outside of the twin mine entrances.

Our position was a perfect example of why you don’t let a hungover party boy make tactical decisions: we were sitting ducks. To make matters worse, the mist obscured my mental vision, so I was effectively flying blind. Something that read as a mental paralysis unexpectedly lashed out at Hardcore from within the mist. I made myself someone else’s problem and then tried to mentally block it, but I just wasn’t quick enough; tat’s how we immediately lost our center.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I noted that I had no way to break Hardcore out; he’d have to get out of it, himself. I was in the midst of informing the team of this via the mind link when a fireball sailed out of the mist and erupted around me, my ass saved only by a hemispherical barrier Amber slammed into place at the last possible second. Apparently my typical tactic of using Hardcore as a meat shield wasn’t going to work against this team.

Session 2 – Narrative:
Twister tried to disperse the mist but found himself unable to do so. The Crimelords pressed their field advantage with a coordinated move through on Amber by Dreadnaught … coupled with an earthquake by Morgaine and an explosive blast by Warhammer that were both centered on Dreadnaught. The combination was devastating, nearly knocking me out and damaging everyone except Hardcore, who was still immobilized. On the plus side, the mist had disappeared.

Tiger Lily unexpectedly flanked the team and went after Amber, clocking her with a solid hit while Skullcrusher unloaded on Twister while Twister surrounded Warhammer with an ineffective wind vortex. Psi-Kick, attempting to draw heat off the team, advanced on Skullcrusher and grazed him with the blunt end of her psionic weapon, only to be focused-fired by Skullcrusher with a pair of area of effect telekinetic punches, Morgaine with an ice blast, and Warhammer with a piston-powered punch.

TK Kid throttled Tiger Lily, Amber englobed me, and I blinded Skullcrusher figuring I might take the biggest, fastest threat out of the fight — at least for a while. Starflare emerged from the mines and laid into Twister, knocking him out in mid-air. Dreadnaught turned around and punched me through the globe, leaving me dizzy and barely aware of the rest of the fight. Fuck, these guys were a tight team!

AMorph finally showed up and let loose a fist of proteus on Warhammer, Morgaine, and Psi-Kick just as Psi-Kick was about to get up. While only moderately effective on Warhammer and Morgaine, it was devastating to Psi-Kick. Meanwhile, Twister’s unconscious body hit the ground as Amber both attacked and dropped Morgaine, a psychokinetic ‘woosh’ passing by Amber as the blinded Skullcrusher attempted to hit her. TK Kid kept at Tiger Lily with telekinetic thrusts until she finally fell, only to have Dreadnaught close with and engage him. Warhammer and Starflare focus-fired Amorph and delivered a clean KO, while TK Kid and Dreadnaught began trading blows.

Amber drew Starflare and Warhammer to the river while TK Kid and Dreadnaught kept at each other. The pair focus-fired Amber as she exited the river and KO’d her just as Hardcore broke out of his mental paralysis. Warhammer began to lay into Hardcore while I recovered and gathered strength to try to control Dreadnaught. Unfotunately Starflare noticed me and blasted me into unconsciousness. It was only a matter of time for Hardcore and TK Kid, thereafter, I’m told.

Session 3 – Narrative:
We awoke to find ourselves in a large, lavishly decorated penthouse. Twister and AMorph had been healed and were recovering in bedrooms while the rest of the team found itself on sofas and chairs in some kind of main room. A tall, blonde-haired man with large white wings and god-like looks stood nearby, along with a woman in a silver/blue costume and a cat-man dressed in a black jumpsuit. As we gained our bearings the winged man said:

Hola, Mis Amigos. I am called Serafin de Guerra – War Angel, if you will. These are my compatriots, Puma and Velocidad. We are Los Defensores de la Libertad (‘The Defenders of Freedom’) and we work closely with UNTIL here in Venezuela. Lt. Barrera radioed us and said that help was needed. It is good that we arrived when we did, as things were not going well for you. I am afraid that communications with UNTIL were lost, and I fear that Lt. Barrera and her squads have been taken. From what I can gather, it appears that the mining operation is a front for ARGENT.”

As we gathered ourselves up, AMorph appeared from one of the bedrooms. Twister, however, was still down for the count – apparently due to his bender (if Serafin was to be believed). Psi-Kick promptly established a mind link among the present Knights, and we quickly compared notes. Hardcore and TK Kid had apparently been mentally paralyzed and then focus-fired by the remaining Crimelords. Before they fell, they noted UNTIL forces on the horizon accompanied by three superhumans — obviously Serafin, Puma, and Velocidad.

Since it looked like The Defenders of Freedom were on the level, I expressed my gratitude to them and introduced the Hollywood Knights, noting that Twister was the team’s leader and Psi-Kick was the second in command. After a bit of small talk Serafin returned everyone to the situation at hand by asking if we had heard of a man who called himself ‘Technosmith’. He further observed that this individual seemed to be leading the operation in the mines.

I responded to indicate that the Knights had experienced numerous run-ins with forces equipped by Technosmith. I also shared that Constable Panza told us all permits and property rights regarding the mines had been legally obtained by Lawrence Tolomer and that Mr. Tolomer might have additional insight to offer on Technosmith. To this, Serafin replied:

I do not know what we may be up against, but if ARGENT is involved they may have security robots in addition to The Crimelords you faced, before. I do know that if we are to rescue Lt. Barrera we will need to act quickly. I have taken the liberty of having Puma and Velocidad scout the area. There are several entrances, but all of them except the main entrance are hidden. It is fortunate that Puma’s senses are so good, no?

Everyone agreed that time was of the essence, so the Knights and Defenders of Freedom each made their way to the roof, boarded the Defenders’ VTOL craft (the Sinsonte aka ‘Mockingbird’, and headed for the mines with the Sinsonte in stealth mode. During the flight, Puma pointed out each of the hidden entrances using topographical maps, and Serafin hatched a plan entailing a split into three groups that would leverage three different entrances – forcing The Crimelords and other opposition to split their forces. In order to provide a means of keeping in touch, Psi-Kick added The Defenders to our mind link.

Soon after, Psi-Kick zoned out for a moment, recovered quickly, and began sharing a waking premonition over the mind link. Through her eyes we each saw 4 Minuteman Robots, several Powered Armored entities, some Knight Cyborgs, and thirty Genocide agents attacking the mines. There was also a brief glimpse of a frequency and code on a communicator possessed by one of two Rooks. Leveraging my rapid recall, I identified the frequency as 626Mhz and the code as A6412BZ, which I noted was most likely an encryption code. TK Kid requested permission to make adjustments to the Sinsonte’s scanner, and within moments of receiving approval, he had us listening in on coded Genocide radio traffic:

Black Rook Five this is Black Bishop Two, Hollywood Knights were taken down but rescued by Defenders of Freedom. ARGENT has fortified position with MechEnforcer Robots. There are still three mutants on site in addition to five other superhumans, eight MechEnforcer Robots and approximately thirty ARGENT troops. Recommend direct assault as soon as possible. I will move to engage primary target TechnoSmith upon engagement. Be aware secondary target Voltiac is hard target, over.

Black Bishop Two this is Black Queen. I copy transmission. Be advised Black Rook Five is en route to your location with a full contingent of assets. Can you take down internal power to early warning and monitoring devices as discussed?

Black Queen this is Black Bishop Two. Yes ma’am. Am I to proceed to primary target following instruction?

Yes Black Bishop Two but I want him alive.

Understood Black Queen, Black Bishop Two out.

Voltiac – I recognized that name as an alpha level mutant operating in South America … one of Columbian descent who had successfully taken on the likes of Gravitar and lived to tell about it. I shared this with the team and together, we reconsidered our three-group plan. Our primary goal was the recovery of the captured PRIMUS and UNTIL squads – personnel totaling 36, including Lt. Berrera. After confirming the Sinsonte could carry such a large group, we reformulated our plan to one entailing two groups, each with a primary goal of rescuing the PRIMUS and UNTIL forces while ARGENT and Genocide kept each other busy.

Nearing the mines, I scanned for Lt. Berrera’s mind as we set down and was able to establish a psychic lock. I shared the precise distance and direction to Lt. Berrera’s position with the team and then initiated thought transference with her in order to acquire additional intel. I’m not sure Berrera believed me when I told her Psi-Kick was the one enabling the sharing of thoughts, but she didn’t seem to care; I suppose being cooped up in a cramped cell with seven UNTIL agents will do that. We then divided into two groups as proposed – Alpha Team comprised of Serafin, Puma, Hardcore, and Psi-Kick and Bravo Team composed of me, Amber, AMorph, TK Kid, and Velocidad.

Bravo Team took the mine entrance closest to Lt. Berrera, with AMorph scouting ahead as water dribbling under the entrance, under another internal door into a room with two guards, past them under another door, and into a hallway. Knowing the first entrance was clear, TK Kid entered the mine and forced open a set of unscouted double doors to reveal two MechEnforcers, one of which released a gas that knocked out the guards AMorph had seen. Amber tossed up a barrier that sealed most of the gas into the room with the mechs, but the second mech unloaded five shots on it that blew it apart. Knowing I could add little to the fight, I held my breath and backed off to a safe distance where I could focus on increasing my quickness and endurance. TK Kid, impetuous as ever, pressed the fight with a telekinetic explosion that knocked down both mechs. Velocidad sprang into action keeping one mech busy while TK Kid traded blows with the other. Amber alternated her fire between both mechs until both fell from her needles, while I mentally worked with Lt. Berrera to help AMorph locate and free her group.

Meanwhile, Serafin transformed into light and bled through cracks in the next closest entrance in order to scout ahead for Alpha Team. Once inside he relayed that he was alone, so Hardcore smashed his way through the entrance, enabling the rest of Alpha Team to follow. They made their way down winding tunnels to another door which Hardcore noisily smashed open, alerting a MechEnforcer beyond to their presence. Puma, Hardcore, and Psi-Kick engaged, with Puma rending the machine into scrap metal in three vicious strikes.

Session 4 – Narrative:
Velocidad phased through a door previously bypassed by AMorph and retrieved two rifles that she promptly provided to Lt. Barrera and her sergeant. Barrera then fanned out her squad, working with AMorph to find and free the rest of the UNTIL and PRIMUS and captives.

As Amber caught her breath in the anterior room, she noticed TK Kid fly sideways into a wall and snap back to his previous position as he dropped out of the mind link. She relayed details of the oddness over the mind link as I entered the tunnel, again. Seeing nothing amiss in the Kid’s mental pattern, I walked down the hallway and set about thought transference of the Sinsonte’s location to Lt. Barrera. TK Kid then ran deeper into the cave, hung a sharp left in front of Amber, and used his telekinesis to force open the door before him. Psi-Kick, Amber, and I all protested in unison across the link, and I followed up by sternly reminding the Kid that our objective was to rescue the captive squads without attracting any unnecessary attention. Ignoring me and stating that we needed to find TechnoSmith, he advanced to the end of the hallway on foot again and forced open another pair of doors.

The Bravo Team members deeper within the mines quickly identified additional occupied cells and freed their captives. Barrera took a headcount and noted all captives were accounted for and free. Elsewhere, Hardcore forced his way through the only door left in Alpha Team’s room, exposing a hallway so narrow he had to move through it sideways. Following it led Alpha Team to another door which Hardcore also forced, resulting in Alpha Team converging with Bravo Team and the now-free UNTIL and PRIMUS squads. Hardcore made his way to the door separating the main group from me, Amber, and TK Kid … and forced it as I directed Barrera to get the squads to the Sinsonte ASAP.

Without hesitation Lt. Barrera made sure the squads complied. Meanwhile, Amber chased after TK Kid, relaying over the mind link how odd it was that he was running instead of flying. She then shouted aloud to indicate that he’d missed a door, which she promptly forced open and entered. Instead of pressing onward, TK Kid doubled back and slashed her from behind with two bizarre, metallic claws. As she fell into unconsciousness, Amber glimpsed a second, unconscious TK Kid crumpled on the ground in the same room, and relayed ’TK!" across the link.

Hearing this, Puma sniffed and informed us via the mind link that he could smell blood … plus two distinctly separate TK Kids. I initiated a psychic lock with TK Kid while Psi-Kick advanced into the room to the Kid as he pulled weird, metallic fingers from Amber’s back. She immediately unloaded on him with her blunt psi weapon, knocking him down. Puma followed up, intending to take advantage of the fake Kid being prone, but the fake was able to outmaneuver him. War Angel, following Puma, healed Amber. Discovered and obviously outnumbered, the fake changed shape into a black robot and bolted from the room via the same hole through which it had pulled the real Kid’s body. As it exited the cave Amorph dribbled toward it and launched ice cicles at it, which it seemed to ignore as it dove into the river and disappeared. Just as I was about to attack via my psychic lock, the lock was fucking broken. Bastard!

War Angel promptly attended to TK Kid while the rest of us converged on the room where he lay. However, we were interrupted by a lone, oddly confident individual who appeared from the room beyond the farthest set of doors opened by the fake TK Kid. I recognized him as Voltiac as he advanced down the hall while accusing us of trespassing. With no reply from our leadership, I spoke up to indicate that probable cause supported our presence — specifically with regard to the charge of kidnapping. His deflection was shockingly flawless – he was here on legit business as a representative of TechnoSmith, and it had been The Crimelords who had attacked the UNTIL and PRIMUS squads, imprisoned them, and posed a problem for the mining operation.

With the camera and security systems down, there was no proof to the contrary, and with all of the mine’s security equipment under TechnoSmith’s control and coming back online, I knew that by the time we had policed the scene there’d be nothing in on the servers to review or recover. After confirming with Lt. Barrera that UNTIL didn’t have anything on these guys, I advised the team via the mind link that all we could do was parley. I hated this shit, but the law is the law … and Toliber had ensured everything was squeaky-clean legal for this little TechnoShit.

At my behest, Voltiac contacted TechnoSmith and a hologram soon appeared to facilitate our conversation. The man was cordial enough, but clearly guarded. Every question I put to him and every sentence he offered … led to a dead end. He was obviously practiced at dodging unwanted question, and it rapidly became clear that anything more than ‘hi, thanks, bye’ from either of us would go nowhere. While we talked about nothing amidst verbally jockeying for position, UNTIL reinforcements arrived and took both The Crimelords and all Genocide agents into custody. Simultaneously, TechnoSmith’s forces collected all TechnoSmith-manufactured property and returned all UNTIL and PRIMUS property from within the mines – in a disassembled state.

By the end of our conversation I’d learned nothing I didn’t already know … a totally unfamiliar feeling, for me. I did have TechnoSmith and Toliber’s email addresses, but I figured they’d lead nowhere like everything else this guy said or did. Except the money — the one thing he couldn’t hide gobs of without a trail … and the only thing in which we seemed interested. He’d have an army of accountants and attorneys cleaning it for him, of course, but the money was the key to finding him. I kept it to myself, because it was the one bright spot in this otherwise hollow victory.

Tired, frustrated, and fed up, we exited the scene and headed back to the penthouse where we cleaned up. War Angel offered to cook up a meal before our flight home, and both Psi-Kick and AMorph accepted. Stories were exchanged over one hell of a dinner and the Knights invited the Defenders of Freedom to visit LA for some respite and PR exposure. I got the strange sense that Lt. Barrera was into me, but I kept it purely professional.

War Angel, on the other hand, seemed to be making passes at Psi-Kick with talk of laying his hands on her to align her with herself or somesuch. Fucking Hispanic men, sheesh! It must be in their DNA to be overbearing and arrogant to women; even Hardcore was irritated by it. Then again, the three of them did head off to a bedroom after dinner; I don’t think I want to know what went on in there…

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 4 XP
Amber receives 4 XP
AMorph receives 6 XP
Hardcore receives 4 XP
Psi-Kick receives 4 XP
TK Kid receives 6 XP
Twister receives 2 XP

Surrealone receives 4 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Amber is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Chlorine For The Gene Pool

Campaign Dates: August 9, 2017
Sessions: 3
GM: Jason

  • Session 1: Wed, Aug 16, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Aug 23, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, Aug 30, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
AMorph
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
TK Kid
Twister

Notable NPCs:
Locks
Silver Avenger Webster

Adversaries:
Genocide? Soldiers
Genocide? Specialists
Genocide? Agents
Kharmah
Suetrah
Mystery Sharpshooter


Session 1 – Narrative:
The day started out chill enough, I was hanging out in the lounge watching the tube. Nicole and Storm were playing pool. You know, just a relaxing day. I should have known that the shit was going to hit the fan.

First I got up to take a leak and while I was gone Amber came in and changed the channel to some of her conspiracy theory bullshit. Next, Zeke walked in and said that Daphne called him and would like some help with a Genocide cell. He explained that she sounded out of sorts and said that it would probably be better that the Knights handled this rather than IMAGE.

Everyone came into the lounge and Zeke shared what Daphne told him. Jeremy was so excited for action that he flew out of the lounge toward the Sky Cruiser. The rest of us went back and forth on if this was something we should do and finally decided to head out to see what it was all about.

When we got to the address Locks (Daphne) was there and said that we had to do it immediately. This struck my as odd because normally she wants a plan for everything and charging in like that was a bit out of character. I had to physically stop Jeremy from rushing in. For someone so smart the kid is very reckless.;..and this is me talking.

Storm tried to recon the building but it was apparently blocked from his mental senses. Locks got tired of waiting and moved to the doors with Jeremy right behind her. She disabled the security system and slammed open the doors. Nicole, after setting up mental communication with the seasoned members of the team, scrambled up the wall to check things out. She has changed since our adventure in the mental plane. She is now much more stealthy and prefers to strike from hiding rather that duke it out up front. I moved up behind Jeremy and told him to blast the wall where Nicole said there was an agent.

Jeremy let loose and destroyed a section of the wall so that we could see inside. I leapt in and grabbed the agent, flinging him back out to the street. I didn’t mean for him to hit the telephone pole but I got lucky. Amorph flew up to the wall as a bird and all of us began to realize that there was some type of power suppression inside.

Amber gave Storm one of her shimmering shields and Zeke flew above the wall and blasted an agent with his vortex taking him out. Locks moved in and absolutely smashed an agent nearly killing him as he hit the wall. I was beginning to worry about Locks’ state of mind about that point. Amorph flew at another couple of agents hitting them but not taking them out. Amber used her power this time and gave Jeremy a boost to his defenses. Twister let out another vortex, knocking another agent out. Zeke’s gotten a lot more powerful recently. I think it might be something to do with the new costume. Or maybe he’s just been practicing.

Locks moved into another area and took out two more agents. I was really starting to worry. I lept into the area and tried to grab Daphne but that damn hair kept me from getting a hand on her. Jeremy blasted another couple of agents sending them flying and seriously hurting them. Kid was out of control. If he’s going to be out here with us I’m going to have to do something about that.

Nicole snuck up on the last of the agents and put him down. I tried to grab Locks again but her hair again blocked it. I started to think I had to get rough. Storm interrogated one of the agents and found out that our way in was below the red door. Jeremy flew over to the agents he trounced to make certain they weren’t going to die and stabilized them.

Amorph proceeded to seep underneath the trapdoor and found that there was even stronger suppression down below which made him come right back up. Jeremy ripped the door open and both Daphne and I headed down the passage. We found that there were more Agents down below. Daphne took one out quickly and I tried to hit another, missing of course. Jeremy caught two of them in his telekinetic bonds while Amber and Nicole moved in. Daphne hit another soldier and stunned him while Amorph came down the stairs. The Agents tried to attack back but did nothing to me and missed Daphne altogether. With the whole team down there it didn’t take long to take out the rest of the Agents.

Session 2 – Narrative:

We knew that there is more to the base and we were determined to get to it. Locks stayed back to download the information that seemed to be so vital. She promised to send it to Storm’s PRIMUS email when she finished. Twister, Storm, Amorph and Psi-Kick who were probably all really feeling the Mutant Suppression in the base stayed back as the rest of us made our way down an elevator to the level below.

Amber, Jeremy and I immediately encountered resistance and took out two more agents near the elevator. Amber shot ahead. As she did she went through an area that seemed to glow and told the rest of us that it nearly sucked the breathe out of her. I took off after her and while the area seemed to do very little to me I saw what she meant. It was as if the area was literally sucking the air straight our of my lungs. Amber and I engaged agents and Jeremy followed suit.

Meanwhile, upstairs reinforcements were coming in and Twister, Psi-Kick and Amorph moved in to deal with them. Storm took control of one of the Agents and made him assist us against his group. All of us were becoming very aware that these agents were very well protected. They had decent armament too as they managed to take down Twister, Amorph and nearly Psi-Kick.

Down below, Jeremy nearly sent one of the soldiers through the wall while Amber stuck one to the floor so I could administer the coup de grace. We tried to take down the field but it seemed to be part of the base rather than some tech. I finally smashed through the door and came out in a large area with a circle that had strange markings on it. Jeremy deduced that it must be some kind of teleporter. In this area I finally realized what the others were going through and felt my powers begin to ebb

The group upstairs were finally able to take out the reinforcements but Locks warned that more were on the way. She also informed us that we had to save the scientist that Genocide had captured The team finally came downstairs braving the suppression that was sucking the power right out of them. Storm and Jeremy deduced that the only way to activate the teleporter would be for someone to stay back to operate it. Fortunately Storm was still in control of his pet Genocide agent. We all took our places on the teleporter pad and the agent threw the lever.

Session 3 – Narrative:

We found ourselves in some type of airlock and could feel the pressure of the ocean depths. The team took a moment to collect their thoughts and regain their strength. The Mutant Suppression was now at a level where even I was seriously diminished.

Nevermind that, we had to move on. It was my turn to act rashly and I smashed through the airlock door into the chamber beyond. I continued to smash them until we finally hit a hallway. We discovered a computer system that was in a language that none of us could make out. I kept smashing.

We finally came out in a long hallway. Amber and Twister moved ahead and found two women in a room along with the unconscious scientist. Amorph and I followed. One of the women touched the ground and sent an electric shock through much of the facility. Psi-Kick was knocked unconscious by the attack and it hurt many of the other members that were on the ground.

Jeremy put a field below the women hoping to shut down any further attacks like the first. I swung out with an arm sweep and hit both of the women, seemingly without much effect. Storm moved up and Jeremy managed to shut down the attack from the other woman. Amber put a shimmering shield on Storm and we prepared to really get into it. With our powers diminished it was obvious, in spite of the numbers, who had the upper hand.

Amber again used her shimmering shield, this time on Twister but it didn’t seem as thick as usual. The Mutant Suppression’s effect was clearly evident. The first woman this time let off her electrical attack in the air. Amorph had come into the room disguised as water on the ceiling and he, Twister and Jeremy were shocked by the attack. Quite literally.

The other woman again lashed out at Jeremy this time hitting him and knocking him for a loop. Twister lashed out with a concentrated air blast but missed wildly. I screamed out at the woman who had hit Jeremy and caught her right in the chest returning the favor she had given to my cousin.

Psi-Kick rushed to get to the battle while Amber again tried to boost the shield on Twister. Storm wisely moved to the other side of the room where the scientist lay and jumped onto the bed. The electric woman again touched the floor which seemed to start to burn Jeremy and further injuring others on the team. I have my invulnerability to thank for not being in the same condition. Twister tried again to hit the electric woman but he must have hurt his head because he missed again. She returned the favor on Zeke and hit him knocking him to the floor.

The woman with the whip lashed out at Nicole. I was amazed that she hit her and I watched as the woman I loved was knocked to the floor. I turned back around and yelled, “Amber, help me out here!” Amber knew exactly what I was talking about and gooped up the legs of the whip woman.. I saw my opportunity and jumped at it, digging deep into my reserves for more strength. I hit her with everything I had and thankfully it was enough, the whip woman fell to the floor.

I screamed out, “You’re next Lightning Bitch!”. Storm reached out and touched her this time taking her sight away. Unfortunately she didn’t need it to again send a shock through the floor. The team was not doing well. Only Amber, Storm and myself were conscious and we had to put an end to this.

I again yelled to Amber to set her up for me which she quickly obliged. The goop kept her immobile as I again reached down for more strength. I lashed out with two hooks, both of which found their target. I yelled out again as the Lightning Bitch hit the floor.

I scooped up Nicole into one arm and roughly grabbed the whip woman with the other. Storm grabbed the scientist and as the other members began to regain consciousness we headed back to the airlock. It was a tense moment and we wondered how we were going to get back. I think that we were all relieved when the teleporter whirred to life and took us all back where we came from. I don’t think we would have much liked life at the bottom of the ocean.

As we appeared on the deck of the teleporter we saw a very large robot that was clearly in the midst of blowing up. We rushed to the surface and found Webster and the blue crew mopping up. There was no sign of Locks anywhere Storm debriefed Webster quickly on what had happened and explained that we needed to find out what the scientist knew of what was going on. Webster commented that if this was Genocide they obviously hadn’t gotten the memo that they had upgraded their equipment. Suddenly the scientist’s head exploded into fine red bits and we all took defensive postures. Jeremy and Storm deduced that the shot had come from far off as a way of getting rid of any evidence.

We headed back to the base with Storm promising Webster that he would receive his full report shortly. I think we were all pretty pissed that the data that Locks had promised hadn’t been sent. All she left was a smiley face and the anecdote, “C-ya later”.

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 3 XP
Amber receives 3 XP
AMorph receives 6 XP
Hardcore receives 3 XP
Psi-Kick receives 3 XP
TK Kid receives 6 XP
Twister receives 3 XP

Deadman receives 3 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Hardcore is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Blame It All On My Roots
Five Decades of Influences

Campaign Dates: July 1-3, 2017
Sessions: 5
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, Jul 12, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, Jul 19, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, Jul 26, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 4: Wed, Aug 2, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 5: Wed, Aug 9, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber (Missed Session 2)
AMorph
Hardcore
Psi-Kick (Missed Sessions 1 & 2)
TK Kid (Missed Sessions 1, 2, & 3)
Twister

Notable NPCs:
David Brody
Deputy Robert “Bobby” Turlsom
Dr. Albert Jackson (aka Black Thunder)
Dr. Wraithe of The Protectors
Lt. General Leland Montague
Peter “Ol’ Pete” Gottman (Twister’s Grandfather)
Sheriff John Lewis
Silver Avenger Frank Hartigan
Silver Avenger Robert Webster
Special Agent in Charge Terrance Fisher
Victory Girl

Adversaries:
Amok (aka Warren)
DEMON Agents (Brothers, Devil Dog, Evil Eye, Initiates, & Morbanes)
Devos
Genocide Agents (Brick Busters, Dampeners, Eradicators, Swatters, & Trackers)


Session 1 – Narrative:
So, Webster is planting a new super in the midst of the Hollywood Knights, tomorrow, for them to take under their wings. Amber will love this! At least Webster didn’t blind-side me on it. I don’t agree with keeping the Knights in the dark, but I’ll say nothing, as ordered. Leaving a picture from the dossier in a place where it will be noted in the morning, however, is wide open … and should spark some interest.

[The next morning]

As expected, the reprobate found it first. Quite the distraction, too, as it kept her busy enough that she forgot to siphon away all of the coffee; clearly I need to add ‘attention deficit’ to her profile. Today’s meeting ought to be interesting since Twister’s on vacation and Psi-Kick is mentally indisposed — which means … Hardcore … is in charge. Well, at least he makes reasonably sound decisions, unlike Little Miss Trouble. Why the hell is he staring at me like that?

“I know what you’re thinking,” Storm say to Hardcore. That got his attention…

“You do?” Hardcore asks, after which Storm proceeds to tell Hardcore exactly what is on Hardcore’s mind, followed by a smug, “How am I doing?”

A quiet, private conversation between Hardcore and Storm ensues on the topic of Storm’s mental abilities, their inobvious nature, and the fact that Storm has been secretly using them to assist the Hollywood Knights all along. Something in Hardcore’s demeanor toward Storm changes.

Hours later, a quick dispatch to PRIMUS HQ to advise of inbound transport, and Hardcore, Amber, and Storm arrive for their scheduled meeting with Webster — which is stupidly brief because of a super mess downtown. A 12 foot tall homeless man named Amok is apparently yelling and violently throwing cars all over the place. Victory Girl and AMorph are already on site but need assistance, so the Knights will get to see their new flunky first-hand. Storm straightens his tie — just another day at the office.

Teleporting to the scene, Storm observes that Amok’s mind is a steel trap that’s clamped shut in single-minded fashion. Attacks only seem to make him stronger, so Storm blinds him while Amber works with the on-site PRIMUS agents to get innocents off a bus and out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, Hardcore, Victory Girl, and AMorph work together to repeatedly hold and subdue Amok. A huge pothole, a broken bus, and a shockwave later, the massive homeless man shrinks down to an emaciated version of himself in a confused daze. Agent Storm introduces himself and convinces him to accompany the PRIMUS agents to Stronghold where he’ll be fed, provided a place to clean up, and clothed. The man, whose name is Warren, agrees.

[Meanwhile]
Twister and Dana arrive at his grandparents’ house in Thomaston, Georgia to find police tending to a home invasion. A blast that left a sticky residue appears to have gone off in the dining room, and Twister’s grandfather, Pete, is being tended to by EMTs. Three man-size impressions can be seen in the drywall of the dining room, and a cuckoo clock that was knocked from the wall reads: 10:34.

Deputy Bob finds a Galaxy S7 and suggests to the Sheriff that it be sent to the lab. Twister and Dana accompany Twister’s grandfather to the ER.

Session 2 – Narrative:
Eventually, after Pete is stabilized, a hospital room is assigned. Twister and Dana camp out in the room to provide support and after what seems like an eternity, Pete fights for breath and says, “Hey boy, they took your Gram. There is some stuff you should know about your Grandma. Check the gun safe in the barn by my workbench, combination is your birthday. Dunno who they were but they had some pretty crazy ordinance and a patch with a white king, like from chess. Don’t do anything crazy just get the information to the law.” Hey, boy. They took your gram. There’s some stuff you should know about her … in the gun safe … combination’s your birthday.” And with that, he was out, again.

Leaving Dana to attend to his grandfather, Twister returned to his grandparents’ house, located the gun safe in the barn, opened it, and discovered a full-size M1911, a Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Revolver, a Remington 700 bolt action 30-06 with a brand new Bushnell Trophy Xtreme scope, a Colt M-16, a Winchester Model 101 12 gauge over-under, the Marlin Model 60 .22lr that Zeke learned to shoot with, several neatly labeled ammo containing an estimated 8,000 rounds, and an accordion file labeled simply ‘NAM’. Within the file were photos of a young Pete with members of the Freedom Squad (Mr. Motion, Captain Stalwart, Major Flagg) as well as some independant heroes like Wind Dancer, Lynx, Black Thunder, Rocket Man, and Lady Wonder.

Twister calls Bob and Silver Avenger Webster and tells both that his grandmother is Wind Dancer, that she’s missing, and that he’s looking for assistance. Bob indicates his only lead is the burner phone and that it’s still being worked, while Webster suggests working through military channels to learn more about Wind Dancer’s past … and then reminds Twister that Agent Storm is a retired full bird Colonel.

Twister then calls The Keep and informs the Knights of what has happened, after which he proceeds to search the house for things the local police might have missed. With Psi-Kick still mentally indisposed and Amber MIA after scrapping with Amok a day earlier, Hardcore and Storm board the skycruiser with AMorph in tow, and make a beeline for Georgia. While in route, Storm assembles a quick mental profile of the known facts surrounding Wind Dancer, old Pete, and the individuals in the photo, best summarized as:

  • Captain Stalwart – recently deceased (killed by a supervillain called Carcass)
  • Major Flagg – Deceased (KIA – Operation Desert Storm) by Saddam Hussein’s military arm
  • Wind Dancer – Only active during Nam and never made domestic appearances (wartime superheroine – quit after Tet offensive
  • Lynx – MIA
  • Black Thunder (Dr. Albert Jackson) – Became a black rights activist
  • Rocketman – Deceased (KIA – Battle of Detroit)
  • Lady Wonder – Not seen in 3 decades
  • Mr. Motion – Deceased (KIA – by Carcass during Hollywood Knights activities)
  • SHOC – Super Human Operations Contingent
  • SAG – US Army Security Agency Group – department which coordinated and escorted superhuman assets during the Vietnam War. Now called the ASA. If anyone has knowledge of SAG activities during the era where Wind Dancer was active, it would be Lt. General Leland Montague (Ret.), as he was active from 1960 to 2009.

A quick call by Storm to Dr. Albert Jackson (aka Black Thunder) yielded no leads. A follow-up call to General Montague urgently requesting a visit resulted in a call-back an invitation to meet at his ranch in Texas. Storm, Hardcore, and AMorph diverted to the ranch and, after being verified by General Motague, were rewarded with a full set of date-organized SAG records on a thumb drive.

Twister’s search turns up a ring-bound phone/address book that isn’t in its proper place. It contains names/addresses kept by his grandparents, and he observes that no pages seem to be missing. Hardcore, Agent Storm, and AMorph arrive on site and share what they’ve learned. Twister shows the book to Storm, who quickly reads it and notes that a different number for Dr. Albert Jackson (Black Thunder) than the one they used … is in the book. AMorph sniffs the pages and requests permission to remove the white-out from one entry; Twister agrees.

Deputy Bob calls back and informs Twister that the burner phone has only one text and nothing else. The text lists Twister’s grandma and her address … and also lists the following: David Brody, Decatur, GA. A quick Google on a smartphone reveals that David Brody is a kid who is uncannily good at sports — so good that he’s become a local celebrity in the paper due to his winning streak.

The team locates Brody’s house using some cross-references, flies there, sets down nearby, and learns from the baby sitter watching his sister that neither David nor his parents are home; they are, instead, at an award ceremony taking place at the school. The group packs up, again, heads for the school, does a single fly-over, and observes that there are armed men on the rooftop of the school.

AMorph becomes a dragonfly and exits the vehicle to fly into the school and do some recon. He observes there is an out-of-place, empty UPS vehicle that is clearly an urban troop transport — suggesting a squad is on-site. Storm radios PRIMUS indicating the currently known state of things at the school and requesting covert backup on site.

Session 3 – Narrative:
The skycruiser’s teleportal shimmers and Psi-Kick appears. Another shimmer takes places as Amber materializes. Storm provides a sit-rep and Amber notes the rooftop sentries have spotted the skycruiser. Hardcore zips away to a field approximately 5 miles away and lands, after which Twister flies the team back to the school…. except, of course, Amber, who runs … because she just has to be difficult, like that.

Combat ensues when one of the rooftop Genocide agents spots Twister and attacks. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned by some absolutely amazing technology produced by TechnoSmith… the fight is over almost as quickly as it begins, and the Hollywood Knights manage to preclude David Brody’s abduction. Psi-Kick’s telepathy reveals that an abandoned warehouse (Lewis’ Auto Parts ) in Atlanta is where Wind Dancer was dropped off … and where David Brody was to be delivered … and that this effort by Genocide was a paid engagement … funded by Devos, a DEMON cell.

Session 4 – Narrative:
“Aggregate and catalog all of their gear in the van in which they arrived, but do NOT remove any of it from the scene,” Agent Storm barks at the PRIMUS field team as it arrives to mop up the scene at the school. “We may yet have need of it. All of it – so lock them up in PRIMUS-provided smocks. And keep the media off the scene until after I’ve given an all-clear — including aerial coverage.” Before any of them can protest about freedom of the press, he adds, “Cite the usual safety and national security reasons. We have an opportunity here to leverage the media for some disinformation, and we need that option on the table or we may lose a life … and one of our heroes from Vietnam.” Special Agent in Charge Terrance Fisher, being relatively new to his position, acquiesces to Storm’s orders given both his presence and persuasiveness, even though Fisher technically outranks Storm. It is 4:35pm.

As the Genocide agents are stripped of their gear and processed, Agent Storm delves into the minds of each and determines that the trackers are the leaders (first and second in command). Probing both deeply with Thought Transference while performing the usual field questioning to bring deep thoughts to the surface, Storm learns their names, ranks, meeting and resupply locations, and orders, which entail delivering David Brody to an abandoned Lewis’ Auto Parts warehouse at 2556 S. Sunset Ave. by 6pm … alive.

With this information Storm hatches a plan entailing the Hollywood Knights wearing the Genocide agents’ equipment … with AMorph in their ‘custody’ posing as young David Brody … while the Brody family is safely under PRIMUS protection … and the media reports an abduction. Immediately following a briefing wherein he shares what he’s learned with the Hollywood Knights and one Silver Avenger Frank Hartigan, Storm proposes his plan to the Knights. “Why beat down the doors of an abandoned warehouse when we can drive right in wearing helmets and body armor … and deliver the expected package?”

The Knights, having no better option, agree that Storm’s plan will do, and by 5pm the team is suited up, in the Genocide agents’ van, and on its way to the abandoned warehouse. They arrive at the warehouse with 5 minutes to spare, and Hardcore pulls the van to the back of the warehouse and backs it up to the right-most loading dock. No sooner than the engine is cut than the roll-up door at the loading dock opens, and someone from within mutters, “Well, at least you’re punctual.”

The team shoves AMorph (posing as David Brody) forward, and he makes a good show of resisting and being frightened while one of the people within the warehouse mutters something and gestures at the boy. Seconds later, a cry emanates from within the warehouse, “We’ve been duped!” and the individual slams AMorph with some sort of spell. The gig being up, Psi-Kick, Amber, Hardcore, and Twister spring into action, with all but the last of these piling into the warehouse.

Amber, noting a pentagram on floor and an altar in the center of it to which Wind Dancer is chained, defiles the pentagram, drawing the ire of the DEMON agents. Most of the DEMON initiates and brothers attack, the Eldritch Blasts from their wands crisscrossing the warehouse in a hail of spell-driven, laser-like fire. Those who don’t have a clear shot move in for a better one. Storm waits for an opening and darts into the center of the warehouse, dropping a Mental Paralysis that freezes all but 3 of the Knights’ opposition in their tracks while AMorph shapeshifts into a demonic, insect-like creature proceeds to break the chains confining Wind Dancer’s unconscious body to the alter on which it rests. This draws the ire of one unparalyzed Devil Dog, who runs up to AMorph and hammers him so hard that he is momentarily KO’d.

Outside, a telekinetic force shoves the van away from the loading dock as if it were a Tonka Truck, taking Twister with it. Amber immediately grabs Wind Dancer’s body and bolts from the warehouse, radioing PRIMUS for a pickup once she’s far enough away to feel safe to do so. Storm rapidly exits the warehouse, as well, in order to create an opening for Twister to use his area wind powers. The Knights then proceed to pick off the DEMON agents, most of which offer no resistance due to the Mental Paralysis. A lone, unaffected DEMON Brother drops his wand and surrenders without a fight…

Session 5 – Narrative:
While waiting on PRIMUS to both show up and mop up, Hardcore confronts the individual who shoved the van out of the way — a boyish figure dressed in a raggedy, homemade costume. He demands of the kid, “Who the hell are you?!” as he’s about to attack, but Tweaker stops him, indicating that she brought the kid and he is their cousin, Jeremy Harding. She notices Agent Storm removing a Genocide uniform and inquires as to why the team is wearing them. Without waiting for an answer, she immediately changes the topic by noting aloud that there is a body camera sending a signal back to Genocide.

Raggedy Andy surmises that the camera signal can be traced back to Genocide, but before anyone can investigate further, two of the still-conscious DEMON agents break loose from their holds. Both Morebanes, gesturing and incanting, cause a portal to appear and then dive through it, tossing two figurines on the ground as they disappear. AMorph attempts to follow but isn’t quick enough to make it to the portal before it closes.

The team suddenly finds itself confronted by two large, troll-like creatures where the figurines came to rest. Each smells horrible and wields a massive club. Without hesitation, Psi-Kick and Hardcore attack one of the trolls while Twister fires a Pneumatic Lance at the other. All three immediately note the unusual toughness of their targets as the trolls retaliate in unison against the closest Knight, Hardcore. AMorph blocks one of the trolls’ clubs while Agent Storm blinds the other troll mid-swing. The latter grunts out, “Can’t see!” as it misses Hardcore, scoring a home run with the Evil Eye — piling her into a wall. The new kid on the block unexpectedly lets forth a pair of telekinetic punches that both land on the blinded troll, sending it careening through a wall and into the next room. It doesn’t get up.

Psi-Kick switches to the blunt end of her weapon, striking the remaining troll solidly three times while Twister rips into it with another Pneumatic Lance and Hardcore lands another hook kick. The combination is devastating enough to drop the remaining troll into unconsciousness.

Twister quickly turns his attention back to the crime scene and finds some official-looking papers which he asks Storm to read and summarize. They turn out to be financial in nature and suggest that the warehouse is presently abandoned due to a long-term mismanagement of funds that ultimately resulted in bankruptcy.

While delivering the financial info to the Knights, Agent Storm nonchalantly picks up and pockets the surrendered Brother’s wand, questioning him immediately after finishing his summary report. The Brother offers no resistance and informs the team that the warehouse was chosen because it is on unholy ground — land Tweaker reveals was once home to a slaughter house. Storm continues his inquiry while casually traversing the warehouse to the altar, unwrapping the fingers of a DEMON Initiate from around the dagger that was nearly used to kill Wind Dancer, wrapping it up in the financial papers, and pocketing it. The surrendered Brother, watching this, indicates that the Knights know not the power that they wield, after which his brooch glows and then consumes him in a ball of green fire.

Concerned that there might be another escape by the remaining DEMON agents, the underoo-wearing boy who introduced himself as ‘TK’ wraps the still-frozen agents in some sort of telekinetic chains and holds them until PRIMUS finally arrives. As the PRIMUS investigative and processing teams fan out to do their work, Silver Avenger Frank Hartigan again makes an ass of himself ordering Storm and the Knights around, almost as if he’s overcompensating in order to mask or hide something. However, upon Storm’s introduction of Twister as the leader of the Hollywood Knights, Hartigan’s demeanor softens and becomes almost acquiescent, much like most women behave when they meet Twister.

Hartigan, of course, demands a debrief, so Storm provides a ~2 minute sitrep on behalf of the Knights that appears to satisfy him. The Silver Avenger then barks, “Get the hell off my crime scene! And leave that gear!!” to the Knights, receives a crisp “Yes, sir.” from Storm, and the Knights remove the Genocide uniforms in compliance, as ordered, and depart. Twister ferries the team to the skycruiser — except for Amber, who insists on getting there on her own. Once arrived, they board, and Tweaker checks to make sure there are no audio or video transmissions from within. The Knights’ privacy confirmed, Storm removes the wand, dagger, and papers from his inner suit pockets, places them on the floor of the skycruiser, and tells the team that the objects might be useful for further investigation and that, absent any volunteers, Twister will be their new steward, as a) he is the leader of the team and b) it was his grandmother’s life that was almost taken by the dagger. No one volunteers…

The Knights then fly to Twister’s grandparents’ house where most of them await Mrs. Gottman’s return. Twister and Psi-Kick visit Mrs. Gottman at the Atlanta PRIMUS HQ where they find her tightlipped and awaiting debrief. They return to the farm house shortly thereafter, and Mrs. Gottman shows up a few days later – glad to be home, thankful for the Knights’ help, and as hospitable as one would expect a well-mannered southern woman of her generation to be. Zeke has a heartfelt discussion with his grandmother, and a bit later the same day, the whole team enjoys a rare, homecooked meal — even Raggedy Andy.

Soon after, the Knights fly back to L.A., saying little more to one another about the exhausting ordeal. Upon arrival they pay Dr. Wraithe of The Protectors a visit, show him the wand and the dagger, and ask a pile of questions about DEMON. In doing so, they learn that the genes that give mutants their powers are generally dominant, but can also be recessive … and that DEMON is considered to wield real/actual magic – although one man’s magic is always another man’s science. Interestingly, the magic in question is apparently based on the premise that mutants carry powers that are descended directly from ancient gods … and that they pass these powers on generationally via their blood lines.

Dr. Wraithe also speculates that with the proper ritual, the horned dagger may be able to release magical energy contained within one mutant in a way that allows it to be be transferred to another individual. i.e. The genetic material possessed of magical abiliaties moves from one corporeal body to another … but the original mind and body remain otherwise unaffected by the transfer. More than likely, this was what the DEMON Morebanes had planned for Wind Dancer and David Brody.

Psi-Kick shudders at this last bit of information, recognizing that her abilities stem from a long and unbroken line of Osbournes who had abilities similar to her own. At the same time, Storm takes an unusually long look at the Harding family standing before him, each of which have their own gifts. And then there is Wind Dancer and Twister’s common connection which was just revealed to all of the Knights. While not definitive, the anecdotal evidence all around the Knights suggests to each that all are DEMON targets … and that no mutant is safe.

Worse, the outstanding matter of the camera feed to Genocide, remains. What did it capture and who was learning from it? Presumably it transmitted both the school fight with the Genocide agents as well as the warehouse fight with the DEMON agents – right up to th point where the Knights shed their Genocide uniforms per Hartigan’s order. If Genocide continues a for-profit bag and tag operation leveraging DEMON as a mutant disposal unit, the symbiotic relationship would make both organizations far more dangerous than either of them operating independently. And Genocide just gained a pile of useful information about the Knights – especially the Hardings.

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 5 XP
Amber receives 3 XP
AMorph receives 10 XP
Hardcore receives 5 XP
Psi-Kick receives 3 XP
TK Kid receives 4 XP
Twister receives 5 XP

Surrealone receives 5 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Amber is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Holy Crap!
Knights in the Barrio

Campaign Dates: June 7-8th, 2017
Sessions: 3
GM: Erik

  • Session 1: Wed, June 14, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, June 21, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, June 28, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
Midnight

Notable NPCs:
Father Calhoun
Monsignor Dietrich
Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)

Adversaries:
Talisman
Cloaca
DEMON Initiates
Gargoyles


Session 1 – Narrative:
I was kind of hoping to spend some quality time with Nicole today. Shit’s been a little crazy lately and she has not really been herself since the whole Nevermind thing. Well honestly that probably isn’t true. Now that she has her memories back she may be more herself than ever. The psychic bond that we share gives me a lot more insight to her moods than any of the others have. I think the biggest change is a more pronounced feeling of regret. I mean hell, she just found out that she was a ninja and was a member of the Black Dragon Society. I don’t know if the mental manifestation of the leader was accurate but if it was, that dude is a fucking bad ass. Well I am just doing what I can to help her through this whole transition and hope that things turn out okay. So anyway, of course my plans get screwed up. Zeke calls and apparently his date with Dana is more important than anything that I had planned. I guess that he had already planned for the time so I shouldn’t bitch about it too much.

Twister asks Nicole to help out a friend of his with a missing person thing and I tell her that I will tag along. We head to the Teleporter pad and are in downtown LA at the PRIMUS HQ as fast as you can say, “MYFUCKINGATOMSAREBEINGBROKENUPANDSHOTACROSSTHESKY”. I generally leave Sophia, my Harley, at the parking structure so we jump on that and head out to East LA. Fuck! It’s Wednesday, I guess that means that Tacos and Tequila Tuesday is out. Oh well Whiskey Wednesday it is. So we head out to Abuelita’s Pawn Shop in East LA. This is when I am really thankful that I spent so much time with James’ family. I am not fluent in Spanish but I can get by. We walk in and the kid behind the counter calls out “Abuelita”. She takes Nicole and I into her office and explains that one of her employees has gone missing. The missing dude’s name is Jorge Solare and from what she tells us the guy is a saint. I go out to get the real story from his co-worker up front but it is just more of the same. Apparently he volunteers a lot at the local church and doesn’t really have any close friends.

I have never been much of a church guy but I walk into Saint Alphonsus hoping not to get struck by lightning or something. Nicole makes nice and crosses herself with the holy water at the door. Maybe she is looking for a little redemption for her past life. I don’t know what she is worried about, she is a great woman. Best I’ve ever been associated with anyway. Nicole goes to speak with a priest and I head up to listen to another one talking about some artifacts that they have on display. Nicole’s talk with Father Gilbert doesn’t elicit very much information and all I am able to gather from the other is that the artifacts belong to Saint Faustina. It has become readily apparent that we aren’t really cut out for this investigation shit. Time to call in reinforcements that actually know something about investigation. We start heading down to the motel that Jorge lives at and see a couple of bars along the way. I figure that no one is as clean as Jorge has been made out to be and stop at a bar named El Pollo Loco (I wonder if they’ve been sued for trademark infringement yet?). By that time The old Fed and Li’l Miss Conspiracy show up and who do they have with them? Quindy. It looks like the past few months have been good for her as she manages to actually walk by me without brushing her tits against me. I kind of think that she has always been a little jealous of Nicole and I. I’m really glad that she met Grim. He’s a pretty decent guy all things considered. Hell even if he beat her she would like it anyway. To each their own I guess.

I talk with the bartender, Jose, for a while (about 6 beers worth of time…so not long) and he is actually a bit helpful. It seems that Jorge really is something of a choirboy. I find it strange that he is somehow VERY good at diffusing problems that come his way. Sounds like he could be a meta of some sort (I know, I know…but given the world we live in anything is possible). Apparently he also spends a lot of time with Father Calhoun in a back booth (How old is this guy again? 10? Okay, I am going to Hell.) I let everyone know what I find out and Amber, Midnight, Nicole and I head over to the dump…er? motel this guy stays in while Grandpa Government goes to the church. Lo and behold the front door is open (wink) to the room and we go in to investigate. We search the room and Amber finds some clothes stashed under the bed. HOLY CRAP!…quite literally actually. It looks like the stole that Saint Faustina is wearing in some of the pictures…it’s a Stolen Stole! Meanwhile, the Secret Agent Sexagenarian is interrogating the priests back at Saint Alphonsus. Say what you want about the old man but he does know how to question someone. Apparently Jorge is in the U.S. illegally and fears that someone is after him.

Session 2 – Narrative:
The group decides to head back to the church to confront Father Calhoun with the stolen stole that we found in Jorge’s room. When we get there Fossil Fed is waiting for us at the door looking very Government like. I know that the parishioners must be thinking we are a motley looking crew especially with Nicole in a black mini skirt and Quindy’s tits spilling out all over the place. Okay, okay I may not help with my wife beater but it is comfortable. Amber makes a beeline for Calhoun and she and Quinby start in on him even before Ancient Agent and I can get there. Nicole chooses to be a bit more stealthy about it and goes around the side. Father Calhoun is somewhat standoffish with us and it takes a bit of persuading to finally get him to take us to the rectory (LOL…I can’t help myself!) so that we can meet with the other Priests. We get there and wait around while Calhoun goes to talk to the Monsignor. Well most of us wait around, Quindy can’t keep still and starts wandering all over the place. We are finally taken to a private chapel to speak with Monsignor Dietrich. I find it a bit odd that our Elderly Liaison seems to be tracking Calhoun even through the walls. Are those mirrored X-Ray shades or what?

It takes some time but we finally get to the bottom of this whole thing. Dietrich is from Poland and actually remembers Jorge being a Seminary student from Madrid who came to Krakow. Dietrich was the one who accompanied the artifacts here. We find out that in addition to speaking with our Geriatric G-Man and Nicole, Calhoun spoke with another woman. Nicole finds that he has some sort of mental block where that woman is considered and has to probe (Hahaha…probing in the Rectory) him deeper (Oh shit, I am dying here!) for information. She finds out that the woman who spoke with Calhoun left some post hypnotic suggestion for him to leave a door open to the church. Our local AARP member contacts PRIMUS to arrange for the artifacts and Dietrich to be secured at the regional office and when the church closes its doors about 9pm Grandpa escorts Dietrich and the artifacts to PRIMUS. Quindy and I stay in the Rectory (hehe) while Nicole and Amber take positions in the church. The thought is that if the person that spoke with Calhoun has a way of seeing minds Nicole and Amber are both protected while Quindy and I are not. I don’t have any idea where the Senior Citizen goes but he checks in and tells us that he is watching from outside. At about 1:30am Calhoun does a walk through of the church and leaves the side door open as the post hypnotic suggestion dictated.

At about 2am shit starts happening. The door opens and a bunch of guys in robes come in with two gargoyles and two others that I recognize as Cloaca a DEMON supervillain and Talisman, Witchcraft’s evil sister. When they get fully into the church Quindy and I make ourselves known. Cloaca attacks Midnight with no effect and just as Talisman goes to attack me Psi-Kick lets her have it with her Kasura-gami. Talisman is hurt but continues to wave her hands in the air, then Amber shoots some goo at her. The witch hits me with some spell that doesn’t seem to do anything but it stays on me. I jump into the middle of the DEMON guys and yell out, “BRING IT BITCHES!” Which of course gets every one of them to attack me…including the Gargoyles. I guess they didn’t read the memo that I am invulnerable and I punch one of the Gargoyles who attacked me, sending him flying across the church. Psi-Kick lashes out at Talisman again while Amber surrounds the artifact decoy with a barrier. The thing that Talisman put on me keeps trying to do something and has no effect while she surrounds herself and much of the church in darkness. Ya know one thing that I have to say is the damn old man just stands around and watches the whole thing. I mean c’mon Grandpa, didn’t PRIMUS teach you to use a gun. Do something

Session 3 – Narrative:
Midnight opens up on Cloaca with a focused blast as I leap out of the darkness to where I knocked the Gargoyle and wrap him up. Meanwhile, Papa PRIMUS stands around looking at everyone while Amber and Psi-Kick team up against Talisman and take her down which also drops the darkness. The DEMON initiates scramble out and a few of them fire at Midnight doing more damage than I would have thought. Finally finding the will to move Senior Citizen Storm steps forward and yells “Freeze, or the big buy will rip your arms off!”. No shit he really did. Oddly enough it did seem to work as all of the initiates freeze in place. Midnight crashes into Cloaca nearly bringing down one of the support columns and shaking the entire church. Amber uses her power to reinforce Midnight’s defenses and Psi-Kick makes certain that Talisman isn’t getting up any time soon. I rip the arm off the Gargoyle I am holding and scream out, “Who’s Next!”. The other Gargoyle attacks me but doesn’t even leave a scratch. Amber does me a solid and attacks the one I am holding with a giant amber needle and busts the shit out of it. Psi-Kick moves into range and starts kicking the crap out of the DEMON initiates while Midnight attacks the other Gargoyle flying next to me. I turn around and get ready to wallop the Gargoyle when I am distracted by something moving…it’s our Ancient Agent actually moving into the fray!! The shock makes me miss the Gargoyle though. Amber fires at the Gargoyle while Psi-Kick keeps mopping up the Initiates and Midnight smashes one of them into the ground. I have to chuckle when Geriatric G-Man finally pulls his gun to cover…Talisman? Um, dude she was knocked out a long time ago…get with the program. Amber goos up the Gargoyle while Midnight blasts away at it and I grab the damn thing. Grandpa Government keeps covering Talisman…hahaha…I can’t help myself and I say something snarky and suddenly he is in my head. WTF! I knew something was up with that guy.

We finally crush the last Gargoyle and I notice that the initiates are burning while they are laying on the ground. We can’t let them die so we take them outside and wait for PRIMUS to show up. Monsignor Dietrich shows up with them and he and Storm get into it over whether he can be detained to answer some questions. Apparently the guy has diplomatic immunity. It ends up with Webster not backing Storm’s play but it seemed to me that the old fox kind of got what he was looking for. So maybe Storm has been helping us this entire time and not just standing around. I am definitely going to have to find out more.

Post-Session 3 Wrap-Up:
Monsignor Dietrich thanks the Hollywood Knights and returns to Europe with Jorge. Agent Storm learns that Talisman ha a rivalry with her sister, Witchcraft, that she feels she’s winning … and that her greatest fear is being stripped of her powers/abilities and having to live life as a normal, again.

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 3 XP and a favor from Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)
Amber receives 3 XP and a favor from Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)
Hardcore receives 3 XP and a favor from Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)
Psi-Kick receives 3 XP and a favor from Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)
Midnight receives a favor from Sofia Mariana de la Santisima (aka Abuelita)

Drone receives 3 GMXP for playing Midnight
Deadman receives 3 GMXP for the Adventure Log
Lectryk receives 3 GMXP for GMing the Adventure

MVP

Hardcore is voted MVP receiving 1 additional XP.

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Possession Is Nine Tenths of Ownership
Head Trip

Campaign Dates: Apr 24 – May 21, 2017
Sessions: 5
GM: Tom

  • Session 1: Wed, May 03, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 2: Wed, May 10, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 3: Wed, May 24, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 4: Wed, May 31, 2017 – 1800 PST
  • Session 5: Wed, Jun 07, 2017 – 1800 PST

PC’s Involved:
Agent Storm
Amber
Hardcore
Psi-Kick
Street Angel (KIA)
Twister

Notable NPCs:
Merlyn

Adversaries:
Bulldozer
Hollywood Knights
Nevermind
Shadow Dragon


Session 1 – Narrative:
Psi-Kick awoke unusually early … drenched in a cold sweat after having having dreamt of Nevermind attacking the Hollywood Knights. She jotted it down in her journal and then headed to the kitchen for breakfast — and said nothing of it over coffee with Agent Storm.

Meanwhile, Street Angel, who was on patrol, heard an alarm coming from Jake’s Jewelry Store. Eager to be the hero, he entered invisibly and found Shadow Dragon busily stuffing a duffel bag full of merchandise. He moved in close to Shadow Dragon, became visible, and asked, “Found anything interesting?” Shadow Dragon replied, “Quite a bit, actually. You’re so predictable…”

Immediately thereafter, Bulldozer stepped from one of Shadow Dragon’s shadow disks and said, “You know that Agent Storm is just a pawn of the government, and they are working with Genocide to destroy mutant kind. Why would you ever let such a person into your group? He is also a very powerful Mentalist and has taken control of Nicole and Amber. Hardcore and Twister know the truth as well. They will meet you tonight at 6pm to take down the insurgents. You know that this is the only way.”

Street Angel left the jewelry store with the alarm still going. No theft was halted. No arrest was made. He simply went about the rest of his day as usual … with no thought of having met Bulldozer.

Twister while out and about, received a call from Jake’s stating the place was being broken up. He and Hardcore met at Jake’s, soon after, and from outside they heard a scream from Jake. Rushing into the establishment, both saw Jake standing behind the bar protecting his face with his hands …from nothing. Bulldozer stepped out from behind the bar, and Jake stopped screaming long enough to look at Bulldozer, and demand, ‘Who the fuck are you?’

Courteous, as usual despite ignoring Jake, Bulldozer replied, “Zeke. Tommy. It’s good to see you.” He then hit Twister and Hardcore with a mental paralysis, stopping both in their tracks. Looking at Twister, Bulldozer said, “How could you abandon your friends and let them be controlled by Agent Storm? You must protect them. Psi-Kick and Amber are under Storm’s mental control. Tonight at 6pm you, Hardcore and Street Angel have to strike back.”

Turning his attention to Hardcore, Bulldozer then said, “You were supposed to protect her, and now that PRIMUS goon has taken control of her. You have to team up with Street Angel and Twister tonight at 6pm to take them down. It’s the only way to save Nicole.”

The rest of the day was uneventful … until 6pm, when the post-hypnotic suggestions kicked in. Twister attacked Amber in the AV room without warning. Soaking the damage, she entangled Twister and made a beeline for The Keep’s exit. Street Angel went after Storm in the hallway, while Hardcore attacked Psi-Kick in the hanger.

Merlyn locked down The Keep as the three battles raged …until Hardcore knocked out Psi-Kick. Immediately afterward, Storm noticed a non-corporeal Nevermind descend the elevator shaft … and settle into Psi-Kick.

Session 2 – Narrative:
Psi-Kick seemed to regain consciousness just as Nevermind’s post-hypnotic suggestion lost its grip on Hardcore. However, the relief was short-lived, as it was Nevermind’s poisonous words leaking from betwixt Psi-Kick’s lips that lashed out at Hardcore, questioning aloud what Psi-Kick saw in Hardcore.

Recognizing she wasn’t herself, Hardcore immediately opened comms and called for support against Nevermind in the hanger. Storm replied indicating that The Keep was on lockdown, to which Hardcore retorted, “Use the damn stairs!” Merlyn, overhearing Hardcore and Storm’s dialog, brought The Keep off lockdown with exception to Psi-Kick. He then flooded the hanger at Amber’s request, who then made her way to it from (underwater) outside.

Nevermind, as Psi-Kick, quickly took control of Hardcore and directed him to defend her, go to the first floor, and beat down anyone who got in his way. Complying, Hardcore entered the elevator as Street Angel invisibly exited it. Storm, seeing that Hardcore was again under Nevermind’s influence, radioed to inform the team of the situation … and waited in the elevator with Hardcore — prepared to act, if needed. The elevator ascended to the first floor and both exited — with Storm heading to a guest room while Hardcore made his way toward The Keep’s entrance/exit.

Back in the hanger, Amber had Merlyn open the hanger’s outer doors while Street Angel overrode the vestibule door between the hanger and the elevator — flooding the vestibule. Nevermind, as Psi-Kick, quickly opened up on the pair, readily dispatching both in a matter of seconds. Sensing the fight through his bond with Psi-Kick, and with Storm helping to counter Nevermind’s hold on him, Hardcore broke free of the mind control and headed down the stairs with Twister to save Psi-Kick. Storm elected to remain on the first floor and monitor the situation remotely.

Before Hardcore and Twister could even enter the hanger, Nevermind detected both, induced pain in each, and instantly dropped them into unconsciousness. Sensing this, Storm hit Nevermind with a psychic crush … and he and the rest of the non-conscious Knights suddenly found themselves standing in a Japanese garden — which Storm gathered to be a construct on the mental plane.

Moments after the Knights’ arrival, the disembodied voice of Nevermind echoed from within the garden and condescendingly welcomed the Knights to such an unexpected occurrence within Psi-Kick’s mind. … and then condemned them (again) for aligning with PRIMUS. Storm shouted back, “Kiss my PRIMUS-clad ass!”

Session 3 – Narrative:
Nevermind continued… “Your firs’ time in Ne’zach I assume? It is known by many names; Talatala, Svarloka, Manas but to mos’ I’ is simply the Plane of the Mind. It is a wonderful place as once you mas’er it you can mold it to your will. As so”….He raised his arms and eight Ninjas seemed to grow and appear out of the foliage. He said simply, “Good Luck.” and vanished.

The ninjas advanced on the Knights, resulting in an immediate and severe response from Amber, Hardcore, Psi-Kick, and Storm that ended with the quick dispatch of all eight of them while Twister and Street Angel remained frozen in place. Ansatsusha, Psi-Kick’s old master, appeared shortly thereafter, taunting Psi-Kick as Twister faded from visibility.

“Well the prodigal daughter has returned. What is the matter blossom? You do not recall your master? Surely you have asked yourself about the tattoo? I am known by many names; Ansatsusha, Kuroi Ryu, Black Dragon. We trained you, and you were ripped from our grasp before you could fully become one of us. It is of no consequence; we will now see what you and your protectors are capable of. Take care little one; I am sure that you can imagine that dying here will have severe repercussions on your prime self. Defeat me and you may exit the garden.”

Amber and Storm took up defensive positions behind Hardcore, as Amber conveyed shimmering shields to both Psi-Kick and Storm. Hardcore moved to attack and was rewarded with a flurry of focused attacks that nearly KO’d. Ansatsusha turned his attention to Psi-Kick, taunting her, again. She successfully defended herself and then responded in kind, but couldn’t connect. Her old master unleashed another flurry of kicks that dropped Psi-Kick in her tracks and sent Street Angel flying into a wall. Street Angel’s body immediately dissipated into nothingness, prompting Storm to alter reality in a way that left Psi-Kick able-bodied and conscious without any sane explanation as to why or how.

Ansatsusha belted out a proud, “Well done!” to Storm and then gave him a dirt nap for his trouble. Amber and Hardcore both fell within seconds, too, leaving only Psi-Kick and her former master to continue. Psi-Kick went full-defensive, but eventually she, too, succumbed to her former master’s prowess. Impressed with her new skills, Ansatsusha applauded Psi-Kick, telling her she had learned much, gained powerful allies, and judged them worthy to pass. A door appeared in a section of the garden, disjoint and out of place, and all of the Knights except Street Angel passed beyond its threshold after licking their wounded pride.

On the other side lay a flat, within which dishes could be heard clanking from the floor, above. It felt familiar and inviting to Psi-Kick, who recognized it as her childhood home. Psi-Kick ascended to the second floor with Hardcore, Amber, Twister, and Storm in tow. There, they found Psi-Kick’s mom, Mrs. Osbourne, in the kitchen.

“Comin’ in a wee bit late are we lass? Sit back while I put the Barmbrak in the o’en. I’ve missed you mah baybeh. `T seems so long ago tha raht bastahrd took ye’. Ah guess tha good news is tha’ this is your opportuniteh ta be done wit hem once an’ fur all. Ah see ya have some friends wit’ ya. Thass good, as it will nah be an ehazy task. "

Psi-Kick introduced each of the Knights to her mom. As if on command, Hardcore’s headstrong swagger instantly vanished, leaving only polite, nervous discourse in its wake. Amber and Twister made themselves at home at the table while Storm nervously cased the points of ingress/egress, ever the government snoop.

Mrs. Osbourne went on to explain, “Cullen is powe’ful heah an’ takin’ hem down will take all of ya workin’ as one. En Natzach each of ya has a wakeness tha’ con be taken advantage of. S’good thing tha it is na all tha apparent. I am aware of Cullen’s weakness here as we do ba’elle daily. Y’see, when in Netzach the landscape changes based on the host mind, an raht now you are tha host, love. A‘parently you an’ Cullen spenta good deal o’ time in Japan, an’ much o’ the landscape reflects thaht. Ya be’er ge’ a move on lassy, hea won’ be in this state for long. Ya need to hi’ `em in tha solar plexes righ’ under his sternum if a’ all possible; tha’ll be the quickes’ way ta bring hem down. In order to trap him heah, you will haveta kill him, though. Take off his armor and tha’ shouldn’ be much o’ a chore. Tha’ will trap his mind within is’self, an since tha’ is all he has, he won’ exis’ anywhere bu’ Netzach. I love you baybeh, don’ e’er fo’get ya mum…”

Sessions 4 & 5 – Narrative:
Upon exiting Psi-Kick’s childhood home, the Knights found themselves outside the gate of a Japanese house from within which Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” could be heard playing. Agent Storm sat down on the bench and cracked his knuckles loudly while Psi-Kick stared at the home, noting it was both compelling and oddly familiar.

Impatiently, as usual, Amber opened the gate and passed through it, causing a chime to ring out and announce the Knights’ presence. She found herself in a small, well-manicured garden with a pond, and noting two doors, opened one that lead into a mud room. Worried about the little deviant, Storm got up and followed with Twister close behind; Psi-Kick and Hardcore also followed, hanging back a bit.

Continuing into the hallway beyond the mud room, Amber noted a staircase leading up and some sliding doors that led into a courtyard. Curious about the courtyard, she moved closer to it while Twister, Storm, Psi-Kick, and Hardcore assumed positions nearby. Uncomfortable with the surroundings, Agent Storm excused himself and seemed to disappear.

As the team fanned out, Nevermind’s voice echoed throughout the house, “Well I’s abou’ time yauv come, I’ been wai’in’ ‘round fureveh. Di’ ya bring ya playmates, I’d be an awful shame if they were to miss ou’ on the fun. I’ll say iam sorry now lass for once you are dead in here your mind forever belongs to meh. Play wi’ meh frien’s the shou’ sof’en ya up a bit.’”

Immediately thereafter a small horde of flying gargoyles appeared in the courtyard and began streaming into the house. Amber granted a shimmering shield to Psi-Kick, and two of the gargoyles crashed through the sliding glass doors, attacking Psi-Kick and Twister as they flew by. Psi-Kick blocked her attacker and Twister’s attacker simply missed. Two more followed suit, smacking both Amber and Hardcore as they flew past. Psi-Kick retaliated with her psi blades and missed. A third pair flew inside and hit both Amber and Hardcore, again. Amber took a moment to recover while Hardcore landed a frustrated jab on the last gargoyle that injured him.

Sensing a tough fight, Agent Storm invisibly moved to a position granting him cover from the fields of view of most of the gargoyles and then focused on his avatar to add accuracy, speed, and stamina to it. A final pair of gargoyles flew into the house, one attacking Psi-Kick as the other attacked Hardcore — neither of which seemed to do any harm to their targets. Psi-kick retaliated again with her psi blades, ripping into two of the gargoyles right before Twister formed a wind vortex in the middle of the hallway that sent Psi-Kick and most of the gargoyles crashing in all directions through the walls of the house, wounding a number of them

Obviously annoyed with Twister, three of the gargoyles ganged up on him and gave him a beat-down that left him bloody and unconscious. Two more flapped back up to Hardcore and raked angrily at him, irritating him more than anything else. Amber, having regained her bearings, was struck again by another pair of the gargoyles. Meanwhile, in another room, Psi-Kick got up, dusted herself off, and re-engaged, nicking one gargoyle with her psi blades.

Taking close aim at one of her attackers, Amber unleashed a barrage of shards that obliterated it … causing its form to fade into the mental plane’s ether like a red mist dissipating in a strong wind. Frustrated at being outnumbered, Storm imposed his will on the reality at hand, bending it to make a friend of the nearest gargoyle foe. He fixated again on the one nearest Amber, making a turncoat of it, as well. Once done, he yelled to the team, “I’m handling the one closest to me and the one closest to the plant in the foyer.” Amber followed her shards with a burning hot splat to a nearby gargoyle, massively injuring it just before it barreled into Storm, stunning him.

Meanwhile, Storm’s first turncoat gargoyle flew past one of its injured brethren, hammering it hard enough to send it back to its place of origin … and then it slammed full-on into another gargoyle in the courtyard, knocking massive chunks from its target’s body. The injured target immediately retaliated, and eliminated its attacker with its talons. The remaining turncoat went after the gargoyle that stunned Storm, destroying its charred body with wing slams as it flew by.

Psi-Kick and Hardcore ganged up on the gargoyle closest to them, quickly carving it into red dissipating mist while Amber granted a shimmering shield to a recently-awakened Twister. A gargoyle close to Amber tried to hook her with a wing as it flew past, but missed. The remaining turncoat gargoyle laid into Amber’s attacker and finished it off, then returned to Storm and hovered protectively as he added accuracy, speed, and stamina to his avatar, again.

Laughing, Nevermind appeared in the courtyard wearing a suit of samurai armor; a translucent, protective dome phased into existence about him within moments of his appearance. Storm’s turncoat gargoyle instantly attacked, ripping through the dome almost casually, to which Nevermind let out a surprised, “What?!”

Sensing an opportunity and remembering Mrs. Osbourne’s advice, Hardcore told Psi-Kick that Nevermind would make an easier target if he could grab and control him. He launched himself at Nevermind intent on doing just that, but couldn’t get the better of his foe. Working together, Twister and Agent Storm coordinated the impacts of a pneumatic lance and blast on Nevermind, injuring him only slightly. Psi-Kick attacked with her psi blades, as well, but did no damage.

Almost as if to make a statement, Nevermind turned and punched Hardcore with a telekinetic fist attack, knocking him backward through a wall and stunning him for the first time in his life. He then turned his attention to Storm’s friendly gargoyle, destroying it in a single shot with a telekinetic lance attack. Sensing an opening, Agent Storm advanced on Nevermind and set up for a called shot while Psi-Kick attempted a leg sweep and Twister took a recovery. Amber, realizing what Storm was up to, covered Nevermind in sticky goo to try to make his shot easier.

Unable to break free, Nevermind found himself stuck squarely in Storm’s sights. Storm, desperate to end things quickly while Nevermind was vulnerable, called his shot on the solar plexus, pushed his blast, and unleashed a near-perfect hit that blew through Amber’s sticky goo, knocked Nevermind back into a courtyard wall, and stunned him. Psi-Kick immediately followed up with called shots of her own using her psi blades, rendering Nevermind unconscious.

Storm let forth another blast into Nevermind’s unconscious form just to make sure he wouldn’t get up … and then reminded the team that Mrs. Osbourne warned them Cullen would need to be killed in the mental plane in order to be defeated. He then focused on the Samurai armor and willed it to be as protective as paper armor. Noticing the armor’s change and untroubled by the idea of killing something that wasn’t real to begin with, Twister let loose a pneumatic lance that devastated Nevermind’s body. His armor … crumbled … and from it arose the hazy but recognizable form of Cullen … which then dissipated into the mental plane much like the gargoyles had.

Looking around, it soon dawned on the Knights that they had won … but were stuck on the mental plane with no idea how to leave it. Amber went to the study and began flipping through its books. Most were empty, something Amber took to be a sign of what’s typically going on in Psi-Kick’s head. Psi-Kick, on the other hand, ascended the stairs and took a look around on the second floor. Drawn to a familiar-seeming bedroom, she entered it and took stock of its contents. A small, locked chest caught her eye, and when she touched it to pick it up, it released a blast of energy that sent her flying across the room.

Through her mind link with Hardcore, Psi-Kick told him she needed everyone’s help, which resulted in Hardcore fearfully telling the team, “Psi-Kick needs our help!” and bolting up the stairs. The rest of the Knights followed suit and found Psi-Kick picking herself up from the floor. With a worried look on her face, she explained what happened when she touched the chest. While the team pondered what to do, Little Miss Trouble grabbed the box without any reservations or fear and began tinkering with its lock. No longer worried what the box might do to others, Agent Storm focused on the box and willed its lock into a simpler rendition of itself in order to help Amber get it open.

Seconds later, a ‘click’ was heard from the chest, and Amber cracked a knowing smile. She opened it and from it flew bolt of energy that slammed into Psi-Kick’s forehead, cold-cocking her. She awoke a few moments later and shouted, “What the hell?! Fuck! That hurt!!!” And then her jaw nearly hit the floor…

Curse words? She could curse? And what was she doing back in the house she lived in for more than two years while working for the Black Dragon cult? The memories came flooding back … and with them … the memory of how to leave the mental plane.

The Knights awoke in The Keep exactly where they were prior to their activities on the Mental Plan — except for Street Angel, whose body was found to be braindead. Twister had Merlyn take The Keep off lockdown, and PRIMUS was contacted to effect repairs. Psi-Kick also contacted Dr. Wraith regarding Street Angel, and Wraith referred her to Dr. Kine, a mentalist working for Angel Stone Laboratories. Dr. Kine visited The Keep, listened as Psi-Kick described how Street Angel came to be in such a state, and expressed an interest in Street Angel’s case because of the challenge of it. Contacting Street Angel’s mother because she was his listed next of kin, Psi-Kick determined his mother’s preference would be for Street Angel to be housed and treated at Angel Stone Laboratories, so his body was released to Dr. Kine.

Following up on other fronts, Storm learned that Bulldozer was hospitalized for dehydration and arrested once his treatment was complete. Claiming no knowledge of his recent actions, he is arraigned, exonerated by telepathic expert testimony arranged by his attorney, and released. Boa Constrictor, Esper, Freon, and Oculon are also similarly-arraigned and they, too, try to claim no knowledge of their actions, but telepathic expert testimony shows that they were paid for their actions at the Hilton, and all of them are imprisoned except Esper, who apparently could not be read by the telepathic experts.

Psi-Kick did some research on things experienced within the mental plane and learned that the Black Dragons date back centuries, possibly even millennia. Only recently did their dealings become insidious: they have sought to overthrow the Japanese government since WWII. Looking into ‘Ansatsusha’, Psi-Kick was unable to find any information…

Hardcore reported that Edge is settling into a leadership position within the Mutant Underground and that his sister, Tweaker, is pleased with this, as she’s the thinker of the group and never wanted to be the leader. He also informed the Knights that Maquillage is helping mals moved by the Mutant Underground better fit in with society, at large.

Fin

XP and Rewards

Agent Storm receives 4 XP
Amber receives 4 XP
Hardcore receives 4 XP
Psi-Kick receives 4 XP
Street Angel is apparently Brain Dead
Twister receives 4 XP

SurrealOne receives 4 GMXP for the Adventure Log

MVP

Agent Storm is voted MVP receiving 2 additional XP.

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