Life and Light: Shadow-Force Reborn (Updated Jan 24, 2011)

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:33 am

Ask and ye shall receive. 8)

(I sound a bit more like David Tennant though, I'm afraid. :wink: )
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!

Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!

Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
McGuffin
Paragon
Paragon
Posts: 3093
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:34 pm
Location: Finland

Postby McGuffin » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:58 pm

I just read the whole thing in one go and I have to say I liked it very much. The whole storyline's really interesting and Photon's a fun character. I look forward to reading more. :D

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:01 pm

McGuffin wrote:I just read the whole thing in one go and I have to say I liked it very much. The whole storyline's really interesting and Photon's a fun character. I look forward to reading more. :D


Thanks, McGuffin! Hopefully we'll get our game on tomorrow night.

In the meantime, you might want to take a look at The Shadow Knows!, which is *also* a solo continuation of an old Champions game of mine. Though to be sure very different in tone.

(Oh, I keep forgetting that the campaign thread for that game got deleted. You can also find the game with all relevant information at ENWorld. I'll get the link up soon.)
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."

--The Shadow

User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:27 am

It's well worth a read.

You know, I've always wondered what the other Great Pulp heroes would look like in your setting Shadow.

You may know, but that doesn't mean we get told anything. :wink:
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!



Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!



Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:54 pm

Libra wrote:You know, I've always wondered what the other Great Pulp heroes would look like in your setting Shadow.

You may know, but that doesn't mean we get told anything. :wink:


Beats me. Alex wasn't really THE Shadow, of course, only a copycat of what was, to him, a fictional character.

Unfortunately, SP had a household issue that abosrbed his total attention Tuesday night, so we didn't game. Monday being Labor Day, though, we did chat for a while about NPC's in Jon's workplace. I'll post on those once some final issues get thrashed out.
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow

User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:49 am

Beats me. Alex wasn't really THE Shadow, of course, only a copycat of what was, to him, a fictional character.


You mean he wasn't the Pulp Shadow. I'd say being willing to dress up and play the part to the limit makes him The Shadow. :wink:
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!



Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!



Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:48 pm

Libra wrote:
Beats me. Alex wasn't really THE Shadow, of course, only a copycat of what was, to him, a fictional character.


You mean he wasn't the Pulp Shadow. I'd say being willing to dress up and play the part to the limit makes him The Shadow. :wink:


Heh. Fair point, he did play the part to the hilt, didn't he?

I'll be out of town at a conference from Sunday through Thursday. I *might* have the breathing space to talk to SP on the phone during that time, but no promises.
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow

User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:32 am

No problems. :wink:
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!



Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!



Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:58 am

Good news! We got in a long, meaty session last night and I'll have it posted soon!

Also, we *may* have seen the beginning of one of Forestrike's prophecies.

Finally, just to whet your appetite, I will note that hero points and GM Fiat flowed like *water* this session. :)
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow

User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:42 am

Excellent. :D
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!



Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!



Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

3 - Stone of Night

Postby The Shadow » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:53 pm

[A new update with plenty of action! Also an introduction to Jon's workplace. Note that there's a new post up on Shadow-Force files detailing some of the NPC's there.]

Photon spent an uneventful couple weeks dealing with the usual two-bit hoods, spiced up with the occasional thug upjumped with a bit of super-weaponry - nothing he couldn't handle.

During this time he admitted to Alpha, "My conscience is bugging me about Mirror Mask." "Wow, you ARE a glutton for punishment." Jon sighed. "He isn't even registered, which means the cops are going to be after him before long. He's going to get himself killed, or else land in jail for a really long time. He's just a kid. I should have said something." "Bluntly put, he's a dumb kid. There isn't much you can do to protect him from himself." "Yeah, but what I can do, I should. Call Steve's number again, will you?" "I salute you, sir. You are a braver and better man than I." "Man?" "OK, sophont, happy now?"

The call was made. When Jon said, "I'd like to speak to Mirror Mask, please," the boy's voice betrayed distinct nervousness. "Uh, yeah, I'll get him on the line. Wait a minute." Soon the teen hero's arrogant voice asked, "So you changed your mind and want me now, huh?" Maybe they really weren't the same person after all. "No. I just wanted to remind you that legal crimefighting requires registration with the government. The fighting you described yourself as doing at our last meeting will get you in very serious trouble with the police if you don't register." The boy blustered at him extensively, but Jon, reading between the lines, gathered that he might well actually follow through. (Admitting as much to an 'old' authority figure was out of the question, of course.) Jon, encouraged, also advised, "You might want to look into some body armor as well," but that suggestion got completely blown off. After a thoroughly exasperating conversation, Jon finally hung up with a sigh. "How annoying." "Hot-" "Oil. Yeah, sensei, I know."

Alpha changed the subject. "Lots of traffic about you on the 'Net lately." "I've seen some. Most of the Shadow-Force sites are writing me up more extensively. I try not to think about it." "Yeah, but I thought you'd like to know some of the wider-circulation stuff is kind of encouraging." "Oh?" "Yeah, you're picking up cred on some of the super-buzz blogs. They, uh, didn't expect you to last this long." "...I suppose you could call that encouraging." "Bit of a debate on your fight with Bolt on a forum, too." "You're kidding! That was a page 3 local story on a slow news day!"

"Trust me, Photon, these guys will dissect anything. They're obsessed." "True... What're they debating?" "Some are reassessing their opinion of you. I mean, sure, Bolt has never remotely been an A-list villain, but the eyewitness accounts suggest you more or less curbstomped him." "And the others?" "They say it's just a matter of rock-paper-scissors. Right powers for the job." Jon shrugged. "They're both right, really. Bolt would've had a hard time hurting me with his power suite." [The GM forgot how Half-Effect Immunity worked. He'd intended Bolt to be a challenging but beatable opponent, but Photon's half-Immunity to electricity was more powerful than he'd thought.] "Still, a reputation is a handy thing at times." "Sure, but let's face it, mine has nowhere to go but up. I imagine I'm still in the top five on the 'Most Embarrassing First Outing' list?" Alpha sighed. "Yeah. Not likely to budge any time soon, either." Jon shrugged helplessly. "It's the Internet. Best not to get too worked up either way. Thanks for the heads-up, though." "Free o' charge."

Heading in to work, Jon ducked his head in his RA's office and greeted Gerhard. "Hey Jerry, where's Hu?" "Hey. He won't be in today. Called and said he wasn't feeling well." "All right. How's that Calabi-Yau simulation coming along?" "Bit of a bear, but I'll have it for you next week." "Great."

Jon went out to lunch with his friend and colleague Karen, who warned him straight-up, "I'll be terrible company today. I'm really stressed out." "No Great Debate today, eh?" "String theory vs. your pipe-dream can wait. It's Jim I'm worried about." Karen's fourteen year old son. "I'm listening." It developed that Jim was being furtive and less communicative and more surly than usual. "I'm worried he's doing drugs or something, but I don't know what to do." "Well, does Stan see the same behavior when Jim's over there?" That set her off on a rant about her drunken, good-for-nothing ex-husband, which Jon waited through patiently.

On his way out after lunch, he noticed Gerhard's girlfriend Melissa at a nearby table, scribbling furiously on a pad. Come to think, he'd noticed her out of the corner of his eye on the way here too. "Hi, Melissa. How's it going?" The young woman started as if given a shock. "Oh! Uh, hi, Dr. Winters." "Sorry to startle you." "No... no, it's OK. I'm just... taking notes for a paper." "In shorthand?" "Sure! Keeps me in practice. Uh, how's Jerry doing?" "He's fine. Hard at work on a computer simulation for me." "That's good. That's... good. Oh, look at the time! I should be going." Jon stared after her as she hurried out. "Huh." He put it out of his mind and returned to his research.

------------------------------------------------

A few days later, Photon was doing another nighttime patrol when he heard over the police band that there was a robbery in progress at the Museum of History and Industry. He started heading over there when he heard 'Code 999' invoked. Superhuman involvement. Jon's heart beat a little faster and he took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "I can do this," he told himself, and informed Alpha of the situation. [He didn't inform the cops he was coming, as at his registration level he's a civilian. Technically they could charge him with obstruction of a police investigation if they were feeling mean.] Where's Beta? A few minutes away, and he's busy. Got it.

Arriving at the museum, there were multiple cop cars with lights flashing and lots of cops with guns out. Also a couple ambulances further off, with a number of people on stretchers. Photon studied the situation and alighted next to the guy who looked to be in charge.

The man whirled on him with his gun, then relaxed at the last second. "...Sorry. Bad day." "I hear that. Any way I can help, officer?" The man nodded and stuck out his hand. "Lieutenant Sherman. Actually, yes. We think we know who's in there, but if we're right, getting him out is going to be a bitch." Photon shook his hand. "Pleased to meet you, Lieutenant. Who?" "Enigma. The MO fits - glowing runes and all that. He's already paralyzed several of my men. Nothing lethal yet, though." Photon nodded grimly - Enigma was a slippery one, he'd managed to get away from the Phantom and Erebus on a memorable night. "Well, for starters, I can scope the situation for you - confirm it's him and if there's any hostages or the like." "Go for it. We need all the info we can get." "Coming up..."

Photon winked out, then streaked at the speed of light up the steps leading to the main entrance. Should only take a microsecond at most...

...Or not. He got a rude surprise, abruptly shifting back to human form and landing heavily on the stone steps before he could react, getting the wind knocked out of him. He scrambled to his feet desperately and dove out of line of sight from the door. There he crouched under a window, trying to breathe, when he realized he could still hear radio. He sent on the police band, Apologies for interrupting, but this is Photon. I've hit a snag, at least some of my powers have been drained. There was a momentary silence over the band, then someone offered, "Getting the Lieutenant on the line." Sherman then said, "Photon, you need us to get you out of there?" Photon: Not yet, hold tight. Then, on Alpha's frequency, What's Beta's ETA? He's on his way. Call it two minutes. Got it.

Just then a cultured, faintly Germanic voice called from the shadows beyond the museum's entrance. "Photon, is that you?" Feigning nonchalance, the hero replied, "Hey Enigma, been a while. How's it going?" while also saying on the police band, It's Enigma all right. "You'll be very proud of me, I think. Here I've gone and adopted the scientific method. I'm doing a field test on a new piece of equipment." "Hey, that's great. Next thing you know, you'll be on the cover of Popular Pseudo-Science." Enigma didn't dignify that with a retort. "Hiding, are we?" "Just being prudent. I notice you're staying back in the shadows yourself."

"That's because I'm not particularly fond of being shot at. Let's cut to the chase, shall we? You've lost your powers, haven't you?" "Maybe, maybe not. You be the judge." In fact, Jon was frantically testing his powers as he bantered with the man. He couldn't generate visible light of any kind, or turn invisible, or see through the museum's wall. He couldn't take light-form - his dodge subroutine was not just offline, it was just plain gone. Countermeasures was still up, though. He could still fly (that was based on gravitics), could hear and send radio, and he could make sparks jump between his fingers and generate infrared. Nothing to test magnetism on, but the result seemed clear: It was a themed suppression against powers based on "light" as commonly thought of, not electromagnetic radiation as such. It's magic, Jon thought, it doesn't have to make sense.

"Come, come. You'd have charged in here by now if you still had them. My hypothesis was correct." "That always gives a guy a warm fuzzy feeling, doesn't it?" "And if you're counting on your robotic friend, let's just say I have a surprise in mind for him as well." "Well, shucky-darns, you just think of everything, don't you?" Jon was rapidly considering his options as he spoke. Without my light-form dodging, I'm a sitting duck - a guy in a sedentary profession with minimal combat training. I'm gonna have to hit him hard and keep him off-balance. He thinks I'm helpless, so that'll help...

"I do try. And so adieu for now, hero. I trust you won't be giving me much grief in the future." Jon said, "You know, you're absolutely right." Enigma paused. "...I am?" Photon burst into motion, flying around the corner, frantically spying out the man and unleashing a stunning wave of electricity. Enigma flinched as it ripped through his body, and Jon told him, "Sure. No reason for me to give you grief once you're back in Stronghold."

As supervillains went, Enigma was a snappy dresser; he sported a sweepy midnight-blue robe and cowl, with various enchanted ornaments about his person. The sorcerer rattled off a brief incantation and gestured peremptorily with a wooden wand, flaring a rune into being; flames engulfed Jon but his countermeasures dissipated the worst of it. Photon replied with a straight-up lightning bolt with enough crackling power behind it to do Bolt proud, but one of the mage's amulets lit up and absorbed the bolt into itself. "You're a man of unexpected depths, Photon. This might turn out to be an interesting day after all."

"Oh, I hope so. Wouldn't want you to perish of ennui. Don't worry, you'll soon be having those stimulating prison conversations again." They traded a couple more shots, Jon switching back to his stun-zap as it seemed to be working better. Enigma ducked behind a massive wooden cabinet with metal fittings, starting in on an ominous-sounding chant; Photon grinned tightly to himself as he used magnetic fields to tip it over on the guy.

That got a definite reaction, a pained angry yelp. There came a flare of red light, and the cabinet flew off Enigma and toward Photon, but luckily the electromagnetic hero was able to dodge out of the way at an unlikely angle. Thank goodness my flight still works!

Enigma picked himself up painfully off the floor, too enraged to speak. He snarled out an incantation and made a slashing gesture with his hand - a wave of magical force took the life momentarily from Photon's limbs. Limping toward him, Enigma grabbed him by the throat and shoved him against a wall, still incoherent with rage. Photon did the only thing he could think of - he shot Enigma in the back with a lightning bolt out of thin air.

The wizard groaned in agony and released Photon, limping toward a passage going deeper into the museum. "It would seem the Stone of Night is more limited than I had thought. I will think well on this." Photon pulled himself together and gave pursuit, following Enigma into an area devoted to pre-Columbian history. Several display cases had been jimmied open and rummaged through; Enigma was pocketing a carved lump of obsidian when Jon entered. In his other hand he held an intricate crystalline device that looked to be Atlantean, though Jon couldn't imagine it belonging to the museum.

The two duelled in silence now, too worn out with their struggle to waste breath on words save for exclamations of pain or effort or, in Enigma's case, whispered phrases of magical power. Photon tried changing up his attacks, throwing a searing blast of heat into the mix, but still seemed to get the best results from his stun-zap so he pressed it mercilessly.

Finally Enigma said shakily, "Well, Photon, it's been fun, but I should be going. Another day, yes?" Jon wheezed out, "Aw, must you? Always a pleasure." He tried to stun the guy again, getting a groan out of him, but the mage's spell still succeeded. On a deep instinctive level, Jon to his surprise felt the fabric of spacetime wrenched apart as Enigma teleported out.

Photon felt his powers return at once. He stood there quaking for a moment with pain and the sudden aftermath of adrenaline, then fled into the welcoming arms of his light-form. 'Editing' his body back to full health in a frozen instant, he took the opportunity to survey the museum carefully before notifying the cops. Enigma had rummaged through several display cases; they were in such disarray that it was hard to tell what was missing. He had taken at least three objects: The piece of obsidian, a stone axe, and a brooch made of lapis lazuli. Pity we didn't fight in the Industry portion of the museum, Jon mused to himself, there would've been a lot of opportunities there.

Reforming outside the museum, Jon let the cops know what had happened. After an intensive debriefing, they asked him to get out of the way of their work, so he flew off. [SP had to use GM Fiat twice to keep Enigma from being knocked unconscious, and I had to spend a hero point once to do the same. I also surged once during the fight and did an instant counter. Hard fought!]

----------------------

After a sound night's sleep and a good day's work, Jon found both major papers had written up the fight, and both reasonably well. [SP: "The P-I doesn't think much of you, but they're not so blatant as to run 'Threat or Menace?' headlines." :)] The cops Jon had worked with spoke well of him, in particular. Alpha let him know a reporter had called wanting an interview with him. "Who's he with?" "Nobody. He's a freelancer, name of Chris Perkins." "What's he want to talk about?" "The fight with Enigma, he says." "Wow, pretty fast." "Yeah, sounds like he also wants to do a general piece on Shadow-Force and, well, you know." "Yeah. ... Well, tell him I'll meet him in the park tomorrow at, oh, 5 PM." "You're on."

That night's patrol was uneventful, and Photon met the man on schedule the next day. After the usual pleasantries and puff questions, the guy got down to business: "How do you feel about the breakup of Shadow-Force?"

Jon replied forthrightly, "It's a painful thing. When you work closely with people, putting your life on the line with them, you develop a bond fast. I was only part of the team for a year, but we're close." "Do you feel betrayed by your teammates?" "No, not at all. Bazooka and Brimstone are good friends, and leaving was their call to make. I wish them the best."

Perkins then slipped in the hot question: "What about Technoid? What is his status currently?" Jon hesitated just a moment, then said, "Technoid has effectively retired from the hero business." He couldn't keep a trace of bitterness out of his voice, and Perkins jumped on it: "What exactly do you mean by 'effectively' retired?" "I've said all I'm going to say on that topic. It's his story to tell." "Very well."

To his credit, Perkins actually dropped the matter, moving into more recent events: "Tell me about your fight with Enigma two days ago." Photon said, "I had a healthy respect for him going in; I knew he'd managed to give the Phantom and Erebus the slip previously. And he did manage to catch me by surprise early in our fight, but I was able to adapt. It was a hard-fought battle; he did manage to escape but I don't think he'll feel inclined to brag about it. He was in a pretty bad way when he teleported out."

Perkins asked further questions to draw him out, but Jon was careful not to reveal too much about his powers and capabilities. No sense advertising to every villain who reads the papers...

The next day, the story appeared in the Post-Intelligencer. It has been carefully edited to make him look like a wishy-washy incompetent buffoon. (The piece also appeared, relatively uncut and positive, in an Olympia newspaper.) Jon stated to Alpha, seething, "I assume you've read the papers." "Yeah. Uh. I mean no offense, but you might want to study some of the Phantom's interviews." "I'll consider that. When I'm not furious." "Good call." "I keep reminding myself that it's not Perkins' fault, he didn't edit it. But dangit, he must've known what they'd do." "Let it go, Jon. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Even Mike had bad press days." "Yeah."

Alpha paused uncomfortably. "Uh, there's a Captain Struthers from the cops on the phone wanting to talk to you. He's the guy in charge of liasing with capes. And he sounds upset. This a bad time?" Jon took a deep breath, let it out. "Put him on the line."

The man jumped in without pleasantries. "I've got three of my men in the hospital with runes all over their bodies. They won't do or say anything except, 'Photon, I want to talk to you.' You got any ideas about this?" Photon sighed. "Enigma. Sounds like he's sending me a message in his own special way." "And my men have to suffer for it, huh?" "I'll see what I can do for them, Captain. I'm sorry your men were involved in this. Give me a minute?"

To Alpha, "Do we have any way to contact Mystra?" "Yeah, she left us an enchanted signaling device. It's a glorified stick; you basically have to break it." "Where is it?" Hunting through the confusion of stuff packed up for moving, Jon finally dug up the stick and broke it without further ceremony.

He felt a mental presence, and a voice in his head saying, "Yeah?" "Uh, hi. This is Photon." "This isn't the best time, man. I'm on my vision quest and the juices are flowin'." "Yes, well, I'm very sorry to bother you, but Enigma's cursed some people again." He explained the situation. "Far out! But no worries, man, it'll wear off in a few days. That's the downside to Enigma's shtick." "All the same, I think it would be greatly appreciated if you could dispel it now."

After a little more buttering up, Mystra heaved a martyred sigh. "All right, all right." POOF! There she was. Jon called the Captain back, and he met them at the hospital. After a curt admonition to the captain to "chill out" Mystra examined the three men. "Looks simple enough." Photon asked, "Any way you can trace it back to Enigma?" She shook her head. "Nah. That's the benefit of his brand of magic - his runes have no connection to him once they're active." A few short spells later, and the three policemen were fine. "Try some paint thinner next time, all right? Sheesh!" Photon told her, "Thank you so much, Mystra. Oh, and here," he handed her the broken stick, "I imagine you'll want to re-enchant this." Mystra accepted it. "Sure, man. I'll get it back to you in a few days." "Thanks." "...Might be a week or two, actually." "Whenever you have time." "Yeah, no rush, right? Stay cool!" She poofed out again and Captain Struthers rolled his eyes. "I suppose I should be glad she didn't call me a 'pig'. That got old forty years ago."

Photon laughed. "I imagine it would have. Now... I need to figure out how to handle Enigma." "What're you going to do? He hasn't left a return address, and I don't care to see any more of my men used as game pieces." "I intend to do a little skywriting, if the city won't mind." Struthers blinked. "I suppose that'll work. If anyone tries to give you trouble for it, they'll answer to me. It won't be permanent or anything?" "No. My thanks, Captain."

Returning to the base, he placed a call to Moke. Explaining his situation, he said, "Can you give me any backup?" Portland's hero of the common man pondered. "Silver Siren can be there in an hour; the rest of us would have to wait until morning. That good enough?" "Siren's the one I was hoping for, in fact. She's got just the power I need." "She'll be on her way."

By that time it was 3 PM. Jon spent the next hour with Alpha poring over maps, picking a suitably isolated spot out of town. (Unfortunately, meeting him at the base was out of the question - most of the defense grid had already been taken offline. Laid out by Erebus and designed by Technoid, the base was a veritable killing field when it was active.) [I vividly recall the GM, and everyone else, staring wide-eyed at Erebus' player as he explained his detailed defense plans. They were... breathtakingly ruthless. :)] Then they tossed ideas around about how to give Enigma the message without attracting every reporter, thrillseeker, and curious bystander in the Sea-Tac area. Finally Jon flew high into the sky and grimly projected the following message in towering letters of golden light:

ENIGMA: SO TALK. MEET ME AT 6 PM 9.6 MILES SSE OF YOUR 2ND MESSAGE.

Silver Siren arrived by 4, and Jon briefed her quickly. "Your specialty is sound, right? Have you got something that'll let me project my voice to emerge from a hologram?" Siren snapped her fingers. "That easy." "Great! This should be an interesting conversation."

Flying to the distant meadow with Beta and the armored heroine, they began preparing feverishly. Beta was set up in a suitable hiding spot, and Siren quickly kludged up a little ventriloquism device for Jon. He produced a hologram of himself, turned invisible, and practiced making it move and talk convincingly with Siren's advice and help.

Unfortunately, Enigma teleported in at 5:30. Siren cursed and dove for cover, but was spotted. "Tsk, tsk," the sorcerous villain chided, "Setting up an ambush? I'm disappointed in you, Photon." Jon had the hologram fold its arms. "Says the guy who uses innocent people to send his messages." Enigma paused, and said with some indignation, "Innocent? They took Caesar's salt, they swore the sacramentum - they are anything but innocent." Taking another step forward, smiling and collected once more, the wizard asked, "Do I need to explain the historical reference?" "You may consider me to be sufficiently educated to get it, thanks."

Enigma changed the subject, stepping a little closer again. "The electricity was unexpected. How did you work it, anyway?" Photon advised him, "Crack a physics book sometime. You'll find it educational." "Oh, no doubt. But I've come prepared this time - I've brought a charm against lightning. Do you think you can still take me?" "Only one way to find out, don't you think?" "Oh, indeed. ... Pity Erebus isn't around any more. I'd intended the Stone of Night to be my trump card against him." Now that he was within twenty-five feet or so of the hologram, it faded out. Jon, speaking from his real location above and behind Enigma, said, "And it looks like you just lost your bid!" He shot the mage in the back with a blast of numbing cold.

Enigma gasped in pain and amazement and whirled, searching the sky. With genuine admiration, he said, "An illusion! And a good one, too! Oh, Photon, if you weren't so much the scientist, that creativity would be the making of a master wizard." He didn't let his compliment stop him from firing a livid green curse at the spot he'd last heard Photon's voice from, though.

Jon evaded it easily - sniping from outside the range of the Stone of Night, he could take light-form freely. "Hey thanks! It's always nice being complimented by supervillains." After firing off another cold blast, he added, "I mean, you guys should really be able to judge, right? You get beat up by heroes so often, you must be regular connoisseurs of beatdowns."

By this time, Beta and Siren were flying to join battle. Enigma snarled and said, "You haven't beaten me yet!" He held up the Atlantean device that Jon had seen before; it was whirring and chiming, then suddenly emitted a sweet PING!

The effect was instantaneous: Beta crashed to the ground and lay still. Siren for her part cursed as her suit malfunctioned and likewise was dumped on the ground. Photon used magnetism to cushion their falls, and Enigma used the opportunity to take cover in heavy brush.

Photon climbed, surveying the situation as the mage cast spells at him. What would Erebus do? ...Oh. When you put it that way, the answer was obvious. Jon grimly set the brush on fire, ready to contain it in case it spread. [SP: "Nice!"] There came a frightened yelp, and the flames suddenly died out; Photon used the time to configure a radar sense. The brush was confusing, but he could see well enough to target. The cold seemed to be working well, so he stuck with it.

Enigma was having a hard time hitting the invisible Photon, though he did manage to connect with a hungry green bolt that left Jon shaking and nerveless for a time. Finally the wizard said, "Enough of this! Let's see how much you care for your fair companion!" He started casting at the fallen Silver Siren, who was still trying to reboot her armor. Photon taunted him, "Hey Mr. Honorable, shooting at a defenseless woman?" He pressed the attack hard as he saw the mage getting desperate; he trusted Siren's armor.

Enigma sneered, "She put the costume on, knowing what it meant. She's fair game." He stamped his foot, uttering a hideous word; a glowing rune sank into the earth, and a fissure spread rapidly through the ground toward Siren. Photon shot him once more, earning a taunting, "Ruthless. Are you sure you're a hero?" But Jon used magnetism at the last second to lift Siren out of the way of the growing crevasse, to which the mage said, "Ah, so you do care after all."

Before much longer, Enigma realized his situation was hopeless. "Well played, Photon. But we shall cross swords again, I promise you that." Jon, ready for this moment, said, "Oh, must you be going? Your prison buddies are so looking forward to seeing you again." When he felt Enigma teleporting out, he pounced mentally and tried to cajole local spacetime back into a flat configuration. For a moment, his will locked with the mage's, and he could feel his enemy flailing desperately to escape, slipping out by the skin of his teeth. [He beat my power-stunted Nullify Teleport roll by 1. Darn mages always have high Will saves.] Jon said to himself with weary satisfaction, "That'll give him something to think about." [Another fight with lots of hero points flying around. Though it sounds rather one-sided, and it was, if Enigma had managed to hit me with that Dex Drain again, it woulda been all over. Jon's Fort save is abysmal.]

He turned and helped Silver Siren to her feet, then rebooted Beta, who seemed even less personable than usual: "System reboot: Online." "Yes, Beta, you were 'knocked out' by a spell." "Query: What is local time?" Jon and Siren shrugged. "About five forty, maybe 5:45?" "Observation: That time measurement is too imprecise." "Well, it's the best we can do until we get back to the city." "Suggestion: We should move to a secure location." "Agreed." Siren asked, "Does this 'secure location' have tools? I need to recalibrate my armor." "Uh, yeah, Technoid's tools should still be around." Jon carefully did not mention Technoid's current status. "Perfect. Let's go."

After Alpha had eased Beta back into a more presentable frame of mind and Siren had adjusted her armor to her satisfaction, she said to Jon, "I can see we're going to have to get people up here to help you out. No offense; you're clearly good. Hell, given that you fought Enigma off at a severe disadvantage earlier, I'd say you're very good. But this city is too much for a single guy." "Don't I know it. I'd definitely appreciate any help you guys can give." "I'll talk to Moke. But when Enigma shows up again, you probably don't want me or FAQ - that tech-suppression trick he's got is brutal. I'd suggest Thunderwing - Enigma doesn't seem equipped to handle somebody right up in his business." "Sounds about right. I look forward to working with you guys!" "The feeling's mutual! Your versatility could come in really handy - how do you do it, anyway?" Photon smiled. "It's a secret - and if you figure it out, let me know! All I know for sure is that it's sort of halfway between making friends with the universe and programming it like a computer. Training it like a dog might be the best analogy; a really smart, literal-minded dog." Siren stared at him. "Are you serious?" "Yeah." "...That's just bizarre. Sure you're not a wizard without realizing it?" Jon laughed. "Enigma doesn't seem to think so!" "True..." After some more chit-chat, she flew home to Portland.

-----------------------------

A few days later, after Jon had returned from patrol, Alpha noted, "Oh, by the way, Mirror Mask's registration just appeared on the BSA website." "Well, that's a relief." "I do hope you're not planning to call him again with congratulations." Jon shuddered. "Hardly. That kid is migraine-inducing."

Alpha agreed, "I can't even get migraines, but he almost makes me wish I could." Jon suggested mischievously, "And you with this pain in all the diodes down your left side..." Alpha: "Paranoid, I am. Android, I am not. But I'll play along to the extent of admitting that our dear Masked Mirror is depressingly stupid." Jon suddenly sat bolt upright. "Say that again!"

"...Our dear Masked Mirror is depressingly stupid?" "Yeah!" "You're excited about him being stupid?" "No, I just remembered something... Pull up the security video of our conversation." Alpha did so. "Yeah? What are you seeing that I'm not?" Jon studied the mask closely. "Does it look at all Central American to you?" "Maybe just a little. OH!"

Jon nodded. "Yeah. 'Tezcatlipoca' means 'Smoking Mirror' in Nahuatl." Alpha: "And that's not all. Check THIS out." He pulled up the previous video, of Mirror Mask ('Shift' at the time) being interviewed by the Phantom and Erebus, and blew up the young hero's face. "The mask has changed." Jon looked closely; it had. Where before the mask had been abstractly close to a traditional 'devilish' appearance, in the later picture the pointed chin and horns had receded somewhat, and the fangs had grown more prominent. "Oh good grief." "...I was going to say something more colorful."

"Call Steve, please." "More good news - that phone has been disconnected." "Terrific. I guess I'll have to pay him a visit in person."
Last edited by The Shadow on Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow

User avatar
Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Postby Libra » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:59 am

It's a dirt job, but someone has to do it. . .
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!



Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!



Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:48 am

And Now For The News!

Bad News: We didn't game on Tuesday.

Good News: We did get a couple hours in on Saturday! And it's mostly written up.

Mildly Bad News: I probably won't be able to post it before we game again.

Better News: We should be gaming again on Tuesday. And since Saturday's game was mostly preparing the ground, it should be a doozy. So I'm thinking of just posting it all at once.

Interesting News: We may have seen the beginning of another of Forestrike's prophecies!
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow

User avatar
Ionwind
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:36 pm

Postby Ionwind » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:14 pm

This is a rather interesting read, and makes for a good example of a solo campaign. Maybe I can use it to inspire a friend or two into playing...

User avatar
The Shadow
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2853
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Postby The Shadow » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:44 pm

Thanks, Ionwind! Stick around, it should get interesting. :)
"All right, I am not the Shadow. You have nothing at all to worry about. Except, oh, wait, I'm pointing a gun at you."



--The Shadow


Return to “M&M Story Hour”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests