Freedom City Capes

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
andrewmclaren26
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Freedom City Capes

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:37 pm

Freedom City Capes is a Mutants & Masterminds (2E) campaign. The campaign season is of 12 sessions or "issues" (after the comic-book theme). While set in the core rulebook's cityscape Freedom City there are some changes to "de-power" the city and its history.

While superheroes (coll. "Capes") are well-known to Freedom City they are not as high profile as the standard setting and there are very few Cape-oriented buildings or other landmarks. Municipal law recognizes Capes and their place in crime-fighting but the city's administration is not pro-Cape: in fact the current mayor is anti-Cape. One of the features of season one was a series of revelations about how deep the graft runs in the city.

Some other house rules and points of game etiquette have also been added to upgrade the hazards of heroism:

Impervious (Toughness or Forcefield) has an absolute maximum of 5, and costs double;
Ranged attacks can utilize Aid Another so that a character becomes far easier to hit with a volley of shots;
Minions may Combine Attack so that they become much more lethal in general as well as being able to punch through any amount of Impervious; and
Minions can Power Attack.
The campaign level began at PL10, and Power Points are accrued (see next paragraph). PP are spent as the season progresses, meaning that each new season should see characters that have been in each issue and have won all bonus points enter at the next PL.

One Power Point is dished out per session barring exceptional heroism. A further bonus is awarded for a mission completed. Hero Points are as per rulebook, though only once has one been awarded for anything beyond being present and GM fiat. No 'complication' has been rewarded at all.

The main alteration to M&M2E "as written" has been the near-elimination of minion fights. The last climactic fight of the season (Issue #10) featured an all-Cape set-piece, with one of the villains deploying a powerful gun firing lethal penetrating rounds.

Miniatures
Having tested out a few combats, and read Elric's combat examples we chose not to use minis. In some situations counters are useful (especially in a zoom-in type of battlezone microcosm where the requirement is to see who is "adjacent") but in other cases the zone can be large and highly three-dimensional.

The team, season one
The team was assembled by an existing superhero, the Avenger, and brought a variety of abilities together: a Mystic who provided "Magic User" type powers; a Super-mind who provided mental attacks as well as a giant brain; a Powerhouse who brought the Fighter type into the mix; a Wallcrawler who brought "fighting rogue" type abilities in; another more rogue-like Costumed Adventurer who used gadgets and generally stayed out of combat; and a Battlesuit type with incorporeal powers!

Team changes, season two
The Costumed Adventurer proved least satisfactory to his player though it would be fair to say every player experienced some angst about balance within the team. After some arm-twisting the Costumed Adventurer is back having had a free rejig to make him more physically imposing.
http://partybickering.wordpress.com/category/capes/identities/
http://www.partybickering.wordpress.com/category/capes
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Re: Freedom City Capes

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:43 pm

Capes! Season Two Intro

Three months have passed since Panoply was killed by an assassin’s bullet whilst trying to thwart the plans of the Bomb, and a new team of Capes now watches over Freedom City: Freedom City Massive.

The FCM has had some successes. FCM caught the Bomb, before he could obtain enough nuclear material to enter his own arms race. They apprehended a number of Meta-killers operating in Freedom, and perhaps most importantly, the Massive has learnt the key secret to crime in Freedom: Underworld.

At the top of the Freedom City Criminal fraternity is a Meta Powered villain called Underworld, whose influence reaches beyond crime. Using Mr. Eddie, the manager of the Golden Calf Casino, as his bargaining agent, Underworld's influence has infiltrated the democratic institutions of the City itself, and reaches through the often corrupted FCPD even into the Office of Mayor. Although seldom seen, Underworld has a reputation of using both violence and his influence to reshape the crime in the city. The most telling example of this use of influence was when Underworld destroyed one of the city’s three Mafia families utterly. The Tonifanni family had not been able to guarantee a steady supply of Boost to the city, and they paid the price for that failure. There is now a steady supply of Boost in circulation in the city. And this source of Boost has been the center of Bad Tripp's investigations.

Former member of Freedom City Massive, now Lone Wolf, Joe Tripley/Bad Tripp has started investigations into the supply of Boost. Working undercover, and usually in his non-Meta state, Tripp has noted that the Southside C has taken to distributing Boost, and the dealers are marking themselves with an unusual wearing of tie-died scarfs, t-shirts under their jackets, or doo-rags.

Disturbingly, Tripp has discovered that Boost is not being produced in back room manufacturing labs! These Tripp would easily destroy. It is being manufactured in a well-hidden location. So far Tripp's hunt for information has been unsuccessful. Even when Tripp kidnapped the Southside C senior man Haze, tearing open his car and then dangling him off an eight story building, his investigation didn't truly advance. Haze was barely able to cough out who his source was – Candyman, just in from the West Coast, backed by a squad of freaks, the Chemical Brothers. The dealer couldn't say who or where Candyman was, but it was obvious he was scared. More scared of this Candyman, than of the looming muscled bulk of Tripp. This gave the Metahuman pause to think – a few Southside C gang members had disappeared recently.

For the rest of the Freedom City Massive the fact that the City has not been threatened by a major villain for three months has given them a chance to re-organize themselves. Patrol rosters have been set up, enabling the Freedom City Massive to maintain a presence in the City, and also for members of the team to maintain their lives outside of their costumes.

Thadd Reynolds/Holmes, the only member of the FCM in regular contact with Tripp, has complemented his caped activities with his out of costume interest in community / police co-operations in Lincoln. This co-operation has enabled Thad to discuss 'issues' with his old friend Detective Malcolm Harvey. And absolutely no one considers it unusual if Thad has a private conversation with Harvey, while Harvey’s partner Popodopulus keeps others out of earshot of this conversation with his normal gregarious manner.

Additionally, Thad is making enquiries into which possible candidates may be standing against Mayor Moore’s team at the next round of City elections.

Nike Williams/Skylark has found employment options difficult, and remains working for Andrew Orlando at the ‘Never-ending story’ bookshop. With a more organized timetable she has been able to be a more reliable employee, and better at keeping up with her friend. The only cold moment in recent months was a visit to the shop by Jeremy Falweather, a man from her activist past that causes unease in Nike, and a strong dislike in her co-worker Toby. Indeed, shortly after this visit Toby described Falweather as ‘Oily’ and ‘a cold fish’, even musing over his half-finished muffin that Falweather was absolutely positively up to something.

Matt Grey/Wraith has had a change in fortune, while working at Backstab Bill’s Gaming Emporium. While there Matt was recognized by a former workmate Andy McCrae, who after a conversation asked him if he would be interested in some development work, for not much money. So Matt has gone from working at Backstab Bill’s for pretty much nothing, to working out of an office in Northside for almost twice that. This hasn’t afforded him a chance to move out of his sister’s basement but at least he is back working in development.

Working away at trying to get a break as an actor, Drake ‘Terry’ Terrance/Performer’s new agent Bernie has been pushing his client's interest. One thing Terry can say about his agent is that he is earning his fee, though the extra work and in-store promos isn’t where he wants to end up. On the other hand, Terry is making something close to a ‘living’. If you include the clown gig.

Martin Remillard/Nightfall has dedicated himself most to the team. With a surprising determination, Nightfall has worked on his combat skills, learning new techniques to enable him to go toe-toe with most combatants. Additionally, Red has worked on developing a light-weight, low profile jet pack for Nightfall. The jet pack does not enable flight, but it does provide enough lift to boost Nightfall’s leaping to superhuman levels. And, should Nightfall drop from a high building, so long as he is conscious, Nightfall can use the jet pack to control his descent.

Although there hasn't been a major villain incident for three months, the effect of a reliable source of Boost in the city is beginning to play out in increased petty crime incidents, and related violence in Freedom City.

Boost is a drug with euphoric and occasionally hallucinogenic effects, and in addition grants those who consume it varying degrees of Meta abilities. While these physical changes normally include increased physical power through increased strength or damage resistance, other more drastic changes have been documented. The drug is also highly addictive, and commonly recorded mental side-effects are mania, delirium and disorientation in the short-term. Studies on the long-term effects of the misuse of this drug are still not complete, but preliminary results indicate that there is a link between use of Boost and the onset of schizophrenia-like symptoms in long-term users. A number of users have been found dead, indicating the granting of temporary Meta abilities can also physically imbalance the body to a fatal degree.

Yet despite the power of Underworld, and the spreading of Boost addiction, crime and corruption is not unopposed in the underfunded FCPD: Five police officers, Barb Kane and Sam Davis in Central City Homicide, Pete ‘The Hippo’ Hungary based in Southside, and the partners Malcolm Harvey and George Popodopulus in Lincoln, have begun to network. Having been indirectly linked via Freedom City Massive, these five gained confidence in each other and have started discussing interlocking cases. Cases, which may not see a court anytime soon; cases they don't discuss with their superiors. Cases that one day may be solved.

(For the first season's events in detail read Capes Book 1 here: http://partybickering.wordpress.com/cat ... es-book-1/)
Last edited by andrewmclaren26 on Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Issue #13

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:46 pm

Back in the FCM

13 November 2010: When they enter the common room, Joe Tripley is lounging against the wall opposite the TV. He seems to have put on more beef. Maybe not as much as Nightfall, whose iron-pump grunts have become an annoying constant of the gym.

“Yo!”

Wraith nods, moves to his favorite seat on the couch. He’s far more interested in the Meta lead Holmes called about than the return of Tripley. Performer bridles a bit, pretends to be surprised, begging a compliment. Joe obliges:

“My Man! Looking very smooth, Performer!”

Skylark scowls. She'd been glad to see Bad Tripp go, three months ago. Now he's back, all confidence and goodwill! Joe leers at her: tries a compliment:

“Lookin’ good!”

The icy stare she fires back has the same effect that a .32 slug would have on Bad Tripp. She moves to the couch, opts to ignore Joe as the moral high ground recedes.

Holmes comes in from the hall leading to the garage: nods to Red, who dims the lights a little.

“Joe has been working with me part-time over the past few months. I’ve been his cover for his work, and he’s helped me out.”

“How does he help you out?” Performer asks, hilarity in his tone.

“Volunteer work, on bettering communities.”

“What?”

“I bin workin’ with m’man Holmes, fosterin’ better safer communities. We like to say, making Communities out of Projects,” Tripley explains seriously, raising a clenched fist in a black power salute.

“It’s a good thing you don’t do that in real life Joe,” Skylark says cattily.

“Actually he does… it’s kind of awkward. But my people figure all white folk talk like that when they’re working in Lincoln so…

“Anyway, Joe’s been investigating Boost activity. He called me in on a Greenbank incident. It was an abandoned warehouse: this is what I’ve reconstructed of the incident:”

Greenbank negotiations

Three RVs have been driven into the warehouse, sub-woofers thumping as they churn out hip-hop beats, and twelve of Southside C’s finest, distinctive in tie-dyed bandanas or T-shirts, are checking the loads on their handguns and watching for trouble. Eight of them are simple bangers, but four are the South-C elite: Haze, Riptide, Little Leroy – obvious from his size – and Cheese Combo.

“I didn’t know you had so many friends, Haze,” comes a mocking voice from the shadows. A man in a multi-colored three-piece – patterned with the rainbow of tie-dyed colors and with rose-tinted sunglasses and a bizarre Mad Hatter hat – steps out.

“This better not be a set-up, man,” Haze yells, “what’s this about?”

“It’s about too big a cut, and too much profit-crimping, and yes, it is a set-up.”

Abruptly the sub-woofers in the RVs cut out and a Sammy Davis Jr. number begins:

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two…

Haze blusters: “Yeah, I don't know how ya did that, but it don't matter! Fancy tricks win ya nothing: if you don't like the deal ya gettin' – which may I add is very generous – you try’n’ find someone else to sling ya product aroun' Southside. Ain’t gonna happen Bitch.”

There’s a report, like a magnified single shot, and seven bangers fall! As the others react, firearms vanish from their hands! And there, stepping from the shadows, come the Candyman’s crew:

A blonde, wrapped in 70s-surfer style muslin;

Howling with glee, and with blur-swift movements, a man who hunkers down and pants like a dog;

A spider-limbed strider;

Roid, the impossibly-swollen powerhouse;

And finally, stepping arrogantly out to stand near Candyman, is the guns’ confiscator: he’s a speedster, four holstered automatics strapped on, carrying the ones he’s just grabbed.

“You really want to know what this is?” Candyman laughs.

“Yeah, yeah OK, what’s the deal?”

“The deal is this:”

There’s another report and Haze and Riptide drop, head-wounds spurting blood. The speedster seems to have instantaneously reappeared on the bonnet of the nearest RV.

“One of you lucky survivors gets to come back to my Fun-land for special treatment, and oh yeah – you get to drive,” Candyman adds, pointing to the lone surviving banger. Nothing loath, the banger clambers back into an RV and Little Leroy and Cheese Combo turn woebegone to Candyman:

“Special treatment?”

Candyman hauls out a coin, flips it:

“Your call….”

“So that’s the post-cog: now, we need to work up some leads.”

The Beat

Drake Terrance

Terry flips over the latest callback sheet as he thumbs in Bernie’s speed-dial. The sheet’s no better reading than it was just before Holmes called. His brain is dull, his eyes feel leaden. He feels like something’s going to give. Bernie’s rasp fills the mic:

“Hey, kid, sorry about that toothpaste gig, but don’t sweat it, I got lotsa irons in th’ fire!”

Terry pretends to be glad not to be a tooth model then winds round to the reason for the call:

“So Bernie, uh, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. I’m trying to track down an act… it may feature a wild man or dog-boy… and a surfer chick with long blonde hair…”

“Huh? Ya want I should sign some kinda geek act? Kid, that went out with the horse n’ buggy!”

It’s uphill work and Terry suspects that somewhere between the Armory and his apartment and Bernie’s spin on it the plot has been lost.

Matt Gray

Matt spools through the phone company search results. Still nothing. Strike two.

“Murphy’s Law: the one you want is the last you try.”

To be honest the third company had real security and even his powers of cyber-persuasion had not cracked it inside the hour. He jots results up on the Armory whiteboard in case someone checks back in, and walks through to the real computer room to begin serious attacks. To date he has the real names of Little Leroy and Cheese Combo and little else. On second thought: he's also given the others the results of a quick property search for fun-parks, fun-houses and the like with title changes over the past 4 months. Enough for them to get going on!

Nike Williams

Nike leaves Toby quietly fretting – or perhaps sulking – as she heads away to somewhere a little more private and calls Jeremy Falweather. He quickly – eagerly? – agrees to meet for lunch. She names a burger bar: there's something in his confident assumption that she would still be Vegan that makes her want to bite into a juicy meat burger.

Over lunch – Jeremy opted for the vegetarian – Nike explains that she’s interested in new music acts; asks him what’s new in the city. Jeremy enthuses about a new style of multi-act, all-night trance gig he is involved with named Dream Raves. DJs aplenty: he mentions Hep and Hex, from the Coast.

“If you’d like to try it, it gets humming about midnight and… you probably shouldn’t linger on too long into morning.”

“Why’s that?”

“Oh… the odd sour note… people on a down… not hooked up and nowhere to go… Eclipse is the next venue: Southside, you know?”

Nike does know: she spotted it while slumming with Joe Tripley in Mars Bar over there. Not one of her fondest memories.

Joe Tripley

Joe wanders into Rocket Records and up to the counter. Al Mozinski the record-store manager is on duty: nods to Joe. They spend a few minutes discussing NMA over the Clash, and Joe forks over currency in exchange for a moderately common pressing of Vengeance (1984). Then, having warmed the audience, he asks about surfer-acid and recent buyers.

“No… though when you say acid we had a little run on the Chemical Brothers.”

Joe grunts: this latest crop of Metas, even the narcissism is superior. He offers to slide across another 20 for more info. Al refuses:

“But say – you know Wendy? She’s looking for her boyfriend Eric. She mentioned the Chemical Brothers when she was talking about her problem. Four weeks now.” He digs under the counter and comes up with a picture and phone number.

“Wendy huh? That the cute chick works here?”

“Yep, Wendy Boys. That’s her number on the bottom.”

http://wp.me/p1dyFR-jY
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Issue #14

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:47 pm

Southside Boost

15 November 2010: 0135 hours: Southside

Performer admires the stars on this clear Fall night. Here on a Southside roof, there’s not so much neon that the sky gets blocked out. He’s sheltered from wind off the river by the bulk of Bad Tripp, squatting like an over-muscled gargoyle on the rooftop between Shelley and O’Donnell.

“Dat’s our ride. But checkit: de secon’ truck’s Li’l Leroy’s.”

Performer follows the inky gargoyle’s gesture: there’s a late-model SUV rolling quietly towards their tenement, followed by another.

“Best ya call fer backup on de M-phone, ‘case de Chem Bros’ in dere ridin’ dirty.”

Performer’s speed-dial finds Wraith, Skylark and Holmes in net. Holmes is tied-up with something but the other two agree to make their way over.

Performer and Tripp watch: an empty re-up valise is let down for the re-up team to fill. It’s tossed back: before it can be hauled back into the tenement, Performer levitates the second SUV on top of the first, and Bad Tripp leaps down on top of the pile!

Auto-glass showers onto the pavement and road as the bottom SUV’s door panels give out, but the top SUV is well-reinforced and the windshield merely crazes. Panicked shots erupt from inside it up through the roof. Tripp slides onto the bonnet, turns and glares down through the windshield:

“BAD TRIPP!”

He drops down onto the pavement; picks up the valise; sneers back at the re-up crew; slopes off into an alley. He’s not followed.

As a grace-note, Performer flips the top SUV 180 degrees so it’s upside down and still on top of the re-up crew’s mashed truck. He calls the success in so that everyone can meet at Armory.

Afterthought

0137 hours: A minute or so later, the last banger has crawled out of the wreckage and run – keeping away from deep shadow. Holmes’ ghost drifts into the scene and reviews it. Little Leroy was the chief in the second SUV, and when things went off, Leroy assumed it was the Chemical Brothers re-negotiating his contract: he was relieved to find it was only the Massive!

Holmes drifts off back to his own body. Cheese Combo may be somewhere in the Candyman camp with a makeover of some kind. Holmes feels a little sorry for him.

The Right Signature

15 November 2010: 0600 hours: Armory

With a key of cut Boost to work with, Wraith puts the rest of the night in: refines out the cutting agent; reverse-engineers the pure compound into the base chemical ingredients. Then it’s back into the computer room on the trail of firms that ship them in.

“I’ve got two local firms,” Wraith mutters as he finishes his filters. “Majestic Industries, and Pinni-Chem. Hmm, Majestic… reputable, ISO-9000 certified, known processes… or Pinni-Chem, a small outfit with… no apparent contracts. I think we have a winner.”

Joe Tripley takes the printout of Pinni-Chem directors and copies it, hands it round.

“I’ll get in touch with activist networks,” Nike offers, “they may have Pinni-Chem on a red-flag list. But that won’t be for a few hours.”

Wraith sticks his head into the common room:

“I’m going to get some shut-eye, but come business hours, I’ll have a walk through the Pinni-Chem employee files and see what security checks have on them.”

“Me, I’ll see if Narcotics know anything about these guys,” Tripley growls. He unholsters his snitch phone and calls Hippo. The narcotics detective is on shift and agrees to the favor.

“Just run th’ names up th’ flagpole an’ see if anyone salutes,” Joe concludes. He stretches, decides on another brew and a short sleep before calling Wendy Boys. Holmes walks in, nods cheerfully.

“Sorry I couldn’t make it earlier, but I could see the two of you coped easily with the Boost boost?”

Performer laughs agreement, entertains Skylark and Wraith with an impromptu stage-play on the car-flipping. Joe grins slightly, agrees:

“Fun…”

The Beat

Joe Tripley: Wendy Boys is a cute 20-something with a lot of red streaked into her dark brown hair. It’s a cooler day on the street, but she still wears a midriff top. Nails, the black varnish chipped a little, tap nervously on the tabletop at Redeye as her hazel-brown eyes assess Joe. It is awkward: in some ways she knows him well – Wendy knows more about Joe’s taste in music and what kind of sound system he uses than any other woman alive – but in other ways he’s a stranger, and not a reassuring one. But he does his best, crinkling his rugged face into a brotherly smile, keeping his body language open, waiting ‘til they both have their coffee, then just being a good listener as she re-hashes what now seems a lost cause.

Joe winds it up with an offer to help her find a new apartment and with a “seeyaround” they part. He finishes jotting it up into his casebook and asks himself: what do we know?

Wendy’s ex, Eric, is recruited at one of the Dream Raves Skylark got a lead on. The rave is known to be organized by the Chemical Brothers. Candyman himself may do the recruiting. It occurs around four weeks prior, and Eric is separated from Wendy that same night. She is drugged but not molested. After her fliers go out Eric, apparently strung out on something, reappears to break up with her. He is already disassociated from his previous life and does not want his own belongings. When she persists, Wendy is physically threatened both by Eric and by having a moped thrown through her window.

“Rave on…”

Nike Williams: Annoyingly her ex-activist contact Connie – she of the odd boyfriend – mentions Jerry Falweather as the only one still active. Nike finds it hard to analyze why Jerry’s name should make her bridle. It’s not as if I slept with him! Maybe it’s his borderline condescension?

Nike turns her attention to her other idea, and comes up with Freedom’s Eyes, a corporate watchdog NGO right there in Riverside.

Matt Gray: Matt unzips Pinni-Chem like a cheap schoolbag and opens its employee list for inspection. It’s not the lack of NCIC matches that’s surprising, it’s the lack of any actual chemists or researchers. “We have drivers, store people, and some dispatch clerks: that’s it apart from the directors,” he explains over the M-phone to the team.

“Yeah… those d’rectors… gotta flag on the name Campbell. M’man Hippo tagged him fer me: he’s got real juice; one of the Grant Conglomerates directors which means he’s in th’ dirty crew pumpin’ funds ta Hizzoner. Ya ‘member Frankie an’ Lester both rated Grant Conglomerates…”

“And of course, they were the nuclear materials importers,” Thad agrees.

“All I’ve got on him is a home address,” Matt adds regretfully, “I’m sorry, but I need to sleep. Nowish.”

“Say Nike, if’n ya got access ta a computer, how ‘bout gettin’ profiles on Campbell’s family. Wife, kids, where he golfs… we need to ream this mutha’s life out an’ be ready to work him over.”

Nike Williams: Turning to the PC at Neverending Story, Nike moves Toby adroitly out of the way and begins working through social networks, but soon gets bored and calls Freedom’s Eyes instead. She’s in luck: and soon finds herself entering the premises further down on Riverside.

Dennis, a young-old man who looks like an ex-pat Englishman but isn’t, repeats Joe’s information – only with no expletives – about Campbell. Grant Conglomerates is a corporation they have many suspicions of, but their legality is secure. Nike feels as if she has made a good contact as she leaves.

Will you won’t you will you join the dance?

15 November 2010: 1745 hours: Armory

Nike’s report is simple. Matt, Thad and Terry have nothing extra. Joe reads out his notes on Wendy’s story, then turns to the obvious:

“So OK, Friday night tonight: who’s up for the Dream Rave? Wraith, ya wanna be there or at least be a ghost there?”

“I’ll be there in my suit, invisible and intangible,” Matt confirms.

“An’ Performer, ya must have a nice outfit, right?”

“Oh, sure, I can be there. It’ll be good to get out somewhere I’m not the entertainment!”

“Skylark, ya gonna go with this Falhouse guy…?”

“Falweather, but no, I’ll be there on my own. Jerry’s not my thing.”

“Holmes?”

“Sure, I’ll be there. I’ve got the street cred to pull it off.”

“An’ I’ll be there, hopefully with a date. It’s my turf. Should be fun!”

Meet: Awkward

16 November 2010: 0025 hours: Eclipse, Southside

Charlie’s pleasantly surprised at Joe’s invitation. Being Joe/Charlie: it nearly turns into a fight. But she bites her tongue; turns up in a classy vampirefreaks outfit. Joe dresses in clean black jeans, polished steel chain, tight mesh vest and immaculate ‘do. The phones are still clipped to his belt in a leather holster, but by the muffled thumping from inside Eclipse, they aren’t going to be much use.

Nike walks round from the nearest parking lot: sees Joe and his date.

“Connie?”

“Nike?”

“Gnh?”

Nike starts talking to Charlie as though they are close friends: Joe discovers that Joe’s girl Charlie is Nike’s friend Connie… from back in FCU days. Uh-huh. Joe looks suspiciously at Charlie, then at Nike. Nike is definitely older than Charlie. But by the drift of the chat, Nike was a mature student to Charlie’s fresher. Then, to make matters worse, as introductions proceed, Nike reveals she already knows him then calls him Tripp!

“Sure ya know me – ya can’t even get m’***deleted*** name right!” he retorts and stomps on into Eclipse. Behind him Nike is carrying it off as best she can, talking about working together on a community project with Thad.

Charlie wants to talk about it, but she and Joe work their way through the vast, throbbing cavern that is Eclipse, towards the DJs, and with the music and smoke and everyone jumping, she starts enjoying herself and forgets to puzzle why Lincoln community organizing is so popular.

Dream Rave

16 November 2010: 0045 hours: Eclipse, Southside

Joe looks around. At the stage end, there are two exits, both with security. He recalls Holmes’ briefing:

Eclipse has been set up as a gigantic barn, with smoke machines and light trees on every second pillar. The entrance is far end opposite the stage: the bar on the corner right of entrance. The controls are up above the corner to stage left. A green room is stage right. Behind the control booth stage left a two-story prefab has been attached to the old brick original building, accessed from the Eclipse floor and allowing access to the control booth.

Terry’s already in the mosh pit, below Hep n’ Hexie the Coast DJs. His good looks have drawn several pretty girls to him and he’s really enjoying himself. Joe works himself and Charlie closer to the door leading to the two-story. A two-man security team is on it. From where he is, Joe can’t see any details of the control booth. He decides to bide his time and let the other team members get into position: the music is telling him to relax and dance!

Thad wrenches his mind away from the pulsing beat! Now he is sure: this is more than just trance music and pheromones! There’s something hooking people: the smoke, lights, subliminals maybe: whatever it is, it’s no match for his titanic will! He flashes the message round. Terry confirms the same: he’s on his way out to the fresh air: he had wished to investigate the bar, but something was stopping him.

“I thought it was all that firm young flesh rubbing up against you?” Wraith suggests cruelly.

Joe asks Wraith to check the control booth. Wraith is distracted by the need to sample the music, lights and smoke. He can’t pick anything in the former two, so decides to steal a smoke machine.

Nike, warned by Thad, drops into a patch of shadow and climbs swiftly up a column to the ceiling arches. There, she becomes Skylark! She begins homing in on the control booth. As expected, one of the techs is clad in tie-dyed gear!

Thad gives up on gaining access to a toilet cubicle as a voice booms out over the PA:

“Well well well! We have intruders! My people! Search for intruders! Search the shadows!”

Candyman’s image has replaced the DJ show and the trance beats have stopped. Eerily, hundreds of ravers begin casting around, looking for people hiding in shadows. Even more eerily Thad can sense an intellect roaming across the dance floor, seeking him! He pulls up his camouflage power: dodges the questing hands!

Terry breathes deep: the night air is beginning to revive him. He slips out of sight and then to a rooftop: becomes Performer. He can no longer raise Thad mentally: pulls out his M-phone and calls Wraith.

Wraith slips out from under the building with the smoke machine on him; drops it up to Performer: slips back inside to help. Immediately, there’s a call in from Joe:

“C’n ya hear me?”

“Yes, I have you loud and clear.”

“OK I’m gonna stream this to ya…”

A mofeed comes in: video from another of Joe’s phones, showing two bouncers guarding a doorway.

“C’n ya do somethin’ ta get ‘em off th’ door? We gotta get inta the control room!”

Wraith chuckles evilly:

“Leave it to me: this’ll be a pleasure!”

Skylark, now costumed, crouches upside down on the ceiling waiting for the Wraith’s move. Suddenly both guards stagger away, wrenching their headsets off! She sees Joe slip past them into the two-story beyond.

Chemical Brothers

0115 hours: Joe looks around: thick electric cables snake across the floor towards another open door to a lit area. The lower room he’s in is shadowed. He crouches in the deepest shadow in the corner, and begins the change to Bad Tripp.

Even as he does so, he sees shapes through the open door: human shapes, changing their own form: Dog boy and Strider at least; and maybe someone larger again?

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Last edited by andrewmclaren26 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

andrewmclaren26
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Issue #15

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:49 pm

Ballroom Blitz

16 October 2010: 0115 hours: Eclipse, Southside

Sure enough: the larger shape beyond the other two metas is Roid!

Tripp slams both walls out and away and pretends to have stepped in from outside:

“BAD TRIPP!!!”

Then steps back, grabs the prefab walls, and rams the whole building off its footings and into Roid! Sheets of sidewall, insulation, cheap roofing tile and innumerable splintered boards fly apart to litter the ground, but Roid’s still standing. He looks pissed.

As Roid begins pulling himself through the rubble, it abruptly and severally leaps up and wraps itself around him! High overhead, Performer sails, weaving the fabric into new and tangling shapes. But to no avail! Roid simply pops the tangling wreckage away, and leaps over behind Tripp, so as to smash him into the solid wall of Eclipse. Tripp sneers:

“You’re excused!”

Startled, Roid’s swing is off-center and wide. Tripp wastes no time on a hardest-chin contest, stepping over to the open rear door through which a new and tempting target has presented itself…

Dynamo and Stretch (known respectively as Dogboy and Strider to the Massive) hasten out into Eclipse’s chaotic dance floor, to be immediately attacked by Skylark, who’s lurking above, and Nightfall, who’s swept in from the Green Room.

Skylark, safe up wall, mocks Dynamo: “Down, boy!” Then calls over:

“Fashionably late, Nightfall?”

“You make your entrance, I make mine,” Nightfall replies grimly, rippling muscles sending his combat boomerang slicing into Dynamo. To the alarm of the two heroes Dynamo’s frame nearly disintegrates as a “Boost event” is triggered.

“That was something else! I just puked into my mouth a little!” Skylark calls, then bounces down off the wall, snaps a ball-breaking kick up into Stretch’s groin, and swings round him ready to send him flying into Bad Tripp, who’s now blocking the doorway. The males in the audience wince as Stretch folds over the pain like silly putty. Nightfall bounds over and slugs him on the jaw, hard.

Back toward Eclipse’s main entrance, Holmes has finally made it to the door. Sprinklers – set off by Wraith – are hosing the crowd now and many are coming to their senses and staggering out. But many others have been slugged by the Speedster who’s searching for Holmes, and have fallen to the floor to be trampled and kicked.

Tripp puts Stretch out of his misery by slapping a hefty paw down onto his bowed head. Turning, he manages to crane his head round on swollen neck muscles enough to see that Roid has been dazzled by one of Performer’s patented light bursts and is wasting time hurling jetsam into the air in a futile rage. Performer hardens the air around Roid into cable-like strands, but again the titanic crimson lump snaps them like cold taffy. Tripp sees that Roid is being effectively stymied: and that a tech marked with tie-dye-bandana is trying to clamber down a makeshift rope from the control booth. Tripp walks across to stand under him: beckons him down, menace in every line. Behind him, Roid shakes off the dazzling effect of Performer’s spells and leaps away.

Gazing around at the victory, Skylark dials 911. Nightfall is trying to determine how badly hurt Dynamo is. There’s no sign of “Muslin chick” or the Speedster. Holmes walks away: he’s not in costume and is keeping cover. Skylark sees Joe Tripley, armed with a 2x2, leading Charlie/Connie away past the Channel 3 news-crew as they set up. She bristles protectively as she overhears Joe telling Connie he’ll take her back to his crib. Her attention is drawn back to a familiar front-person:

“This is Amy Feng, Channel 3 News: The Eclipse Nightclub, a popular night spot and music venue has been the center of a devastating Meta powered incident. Initial reports indicate that as many as ten Metapowered individuals engaged in combat in and around the premises, endangering the lives of hundreds of club patrons. Some of these club patrons Freedom City Emergency Services personnel have informally diagnosed as suffering under the influence as a yet unidentified drug….”

0115 hours: A rooftop, Shelley and O’Donnell, Southside

Performer uses the M-phone to rally most of the team to the familiar rooftop. He’s brought the smoke machine at Wraith’s request, and two suspects: the tech – conscious – and the unconscious Stretch. Performer concentrates on keeping Stretch inside a telekinetic cage: this will be one slippery prisoner!

Nightfall flexes newly-honed pectorals: interrogates the tech. Apart from Candyman’s drug theory (the meta drugs throw up outlier reactions from crowds: it’s the outliers he’s interested in) they don’t learn a great deal from him, and he willingly submits to a spell that removes the interrogation from his mind.

Nightfall turns to the now-conscious Stretch: but here, he finds a tougher nut to crack.

“So what, you gonna slap me round? You ain’t gonna off me – White Hats don’t do that! So what – I seen your bad cop an’ you ain’t scarin’ me none!”

There’s a heavy thump as something big lands on the rooftop.

“Bad cop? Oh… you thought I was bad cop!”

Something large, graffiti-smeared and ugly comes out of the darkness. A large mitt fasten on Stretch’s head and slams it several times onto the asphalt roofing.

“TALK, MUTHAFUCKA!!!”

Quite soon, Stretch is happy to fill in the detail lacking from the tech’s data:

Candyman: no known real name: Secret base is accessible under Eye Openers, up in Hanover; that’s where Funland – the lab level – is located and where Cheese Combo is held.
Speedster [not real codename]: Aaron Bexley: Has an alcoholic weakness;
Roid: Denzel Rotherham: No other details;
Stretch: Eric Olsen: Wendy Boys’ ex and unapologetic;
Angeldust: Michelle Ken: Mental analysis ability; and
Dynamo: “Tas” who is an Australian.
0230 hours: Eye Openers, Hanover

Eye Openers is located near Wraith’s workplace and not far from HIT. The Massive gather in the shadows near enough to scan the empty street. It’s a two-story building, unlit, with a service bay featuring a roller door and office door to one side. It backs up against a large office block. There’s another door for foot traffic on the near sidewalk. Further down, a 1971 Caddy El insolently flaunts its pop culture associations.

Bad Tripp snarls:

“Th' Narc squad oughta be ready about now. They bin warned ‘a stay back tils we calls in. Now: I had about enough ‘a this ***deleted***’s 'tude…”

The Caddy whistles up into the second-story windows and with an almighty BANG opens a sedan-sized gap. Tripp, Skylark and Nightfall bound in after it. It’s deserted and long so.

Below, Wraith and Performer drift in and find a mish-mash of low-rent office equipment. The ashtray on the service counter yields fairly fresh butts. Through a supervisor’s window, Wraith has a view of the service bay interior: there’s a late model van and some loading trolleys.

There’s another massive impact as Tripp smashes his way down through the floor. Wraith disables the van and the five search for access to the hidden base. Eventually it’s Tripp who lines up the service trolleys with a rack of shelving in the docking bay and rips them away: they’re booby-trapped but once the gas clears away around Tripp – who doesn’t seem to care, or even notice – the four others who have recoiled to safety behold a broad ramp leading down to steel doors.

“Wraith… dey might be trapped…”

“Oh, ya think???!!!”

Tripp idly tears the van’s rear door off as Wraith finds and disables an electrical trap on the doors below. Now, he’s got a makeshift riot shield. Tripp uses it to screen himself and the other corporeal heroes as he shoves through the steel doors into a large white laboratory.

Here, four zoned-out trippers are jacked into chemical feeds as they rest near a full range of industrial-volume chemical production vats. Two elevator doors and a stairwell door lead away. Skylark snarls as she reads what’s lettered on each drone’s chem-pack: “Joy though work!”

Wraith locates a variety of traps and the general layout of the building they’re under, which is of course the large office block. It also happens to be the home of Lacey Pizza, a goth-girl-themed pizza service catering to the tech/geek trade. More importantly: the Candyman is using at least two of the floors: the Massive decide on a top-down approach and climb into the defused elevator.

The elevator lets onto a lobby area on the fourth floor: Bad Tripp barges across it, smashes through the flimsy interior doors into reception/office space and smashes open a final set of doors leading to living quarters. Across from him and the flanking Skylark and Nightfall, Angeldust and Candyman stand, alarmed and unready!

Skylark leaps at Angeldust who evades her, only to fall to Nightfall's cunningly rebounded combat boomerang! Even as Bad Tripp raises a ruined door to throw, Candyman raises both hands in surrender! A syringe lies beside him: a Plan A he’s decided not to activate.

“OK. Ya got me. Big props!”

Wraith and Performer sweep the area suspiciously, but things are what they seem: confirmed when Tripp clamps an iron grip on the villain!

“Yeah, sure. Cornered by Buzz Kills in my own pad. Downer smile. So what now, what do you want to know?”

“Why are you doing this?” Performer wants to know. “Is it just the money?”

“Hey, ya got me wrong. I’m a scientist, a researcher on the frontier! Think about it: a thousand people fall into… nuclear waste. 999 die painfully: one walks out with steel skin and laser beam eyes: that’s a 0.1% outcome. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to improve those odds? Say… by a decimal point.”

Skylark’s eyes narrow, but Candyman talks on as if he just don’t care:

“Oh, I would love to know how you tick, what a study of you could teach us all. Think what great things you could achieve… if you put yourself into my hands!”

Surreptitiously, Skylark acquires the loose syringe and tucks it away for later. An idea has formed in her head.

“Less get dese ***deleted*** tied onta some evidence!” Tripp snarls, tiring of the monologue. Performer and Nightfall take charge of Candyman while Skylark shoulders Angeldust, and the Massive move down to where Cheese Combo is shackled to the wall. It’s pretty clear he’s being turned into an alligator-human hybrid!

Skylark rounds on Candyman; hisses:

“How can you even think this way?”

“I’m a people person, people love working for me," the rose-spectacled villain replies calmly. "I love how I take care of them, and they know I’m in charge. Ask the joy through work crowd. They work for me, and I give them everything they want. Where’s the crime?”

Leaving the Massive attaching the villains to the lab benches, Tripp slips away: becomes Joe Tripley: calls Hippo on the snitch phone so the Narc Squad can descend on the premises. He lurks out in an alley as Performer Skylark and Nightfall move out: fishes a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his jeans: lights the driest one up. It's been a good night for him and a better one for Bad Tripp.

0250 hours: Candyman’s Funland

Skylark doubles back and slips up the stairwell into the lab level again. The sirens are blaring and she’s got about two minutes, tops. Candyman grins knowingly up at her as she preps the syringe; moves over to him. But as she’s baring Candyman’s arm, a voice sounds in her ear:

“Skylark, I hope you are not thinking of using that. I have a blaster ready and I will shoot.”

Skylark’s jaw muscles work and her eyes glitter manically: but she keeps on task.

“I don’t bluff!” Wraith warns again.

As she moves the syringe to inject, it spins out of her hand, impelled by Wraith’s blaster! Skylark wastes no more time debating: she walks over to the syringe, stamps it into shards, and slips out.

0630 hours: Armory

The news – all local channels and two national – is still rehashing the drugs bust that FCPD announced that morning. Nightfall switches over to his pop’s favorite radio channel: it’s become a habit. Don Phelps is on:

“So people, what do we have here? The city has been overrun by Boost, and Boosted crazies, every councilman complaining about it, the commissioner bewailing it all. But nothing happens!

“Then all of a sudden: the biggest haul of Boost in the history of Freedom! So much the FCPD can’t even say how much they got yet. You know what I think? I think the only reason that the FCPD found this place at all is some Capes – Meta-powered individuals if you will – made it their business to clear up the streets.”

There’s a long audible drag on a cigarette.

“They made it their business and once they succeeded, they made sure that the PD couldn’t do anything but bring in the drugs.

“Just an idea: this was not a police operation: it was handed to them as a surprise. Well, I guess if the Mayor won’t I will:

“‘Thank you Freedom City Massive, this one goes out to you. You’ve been quiet for a while, but now you’re back: so here’s… AC/DC’s Back in Black.’”

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Last edited by andrewmclaren26 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Issue #15: In the News

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:50 pm

Hanover "Boost Factory" Busted

- FCPD quiet on possible involvement of FCM -

The Freedom City Police Department are downplaying the possibility of the Metapowered group 'Feedom City Massive' playing a significant role in this morning's pre-dawn swoop on a major Boost production laboratory in Hanover.

300 Kilograms of processed Boost was captured, along with a sophisticated lab facility designed to produce the illegal meta-drug. A number of individuals of interest have been taken into custody, including the suspected criminal mastermind who remains, as yet, unnamed. It was confirmed that this group included individuals with metapowers.

The police department claim that this remarkable coup came from efficient following up of an earlier mass-drugging incident at the Southside nightspot Eclipse. While official police sources have confirmed that metapowered individuals were involved in the criminal conspiracy, unofficial sources from within the department have clearly stated that this was a 'Cape Intervention' by none other than the Freedom City Massive, the supposed Caped guardians of the City.

FCPD have released a warning that a suspect has escaped from custody. Eric Robert Olsen, described as a metapowered individual of interest to this case, escaped from the Central City Police Station and is presently at large. Olsen is described as being dangerous and not to be approached by the public…

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Issue #16

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:01 pm

16 October 2010: 0430 hours: Nike Williams
Following the incident, Nike heads home, unable to explain her actions even to herself. It takes her a number of hours to drift off: hours of eating ice-cream from the tub and watching late-night cinema. She’s always opposed vivisection, and here’s Candyman experimenting on people: boasting about it, and claiming that if only he could open up the heroes, what he would learn! But – her mind leaps the other way – to execute a prisoner, to chance killing or maiming him... what possessed her?

It’s the dream that wakes her but already it’s slipping away from conscious recall. She’s on an operating table, unable to move, barely able to focus… there’s a deep voice speaking, but she can’t understand the words. Then: lunging into her view with a roar! A dark face, mouth agape, monstrous teeth!

She calls in sick: takes a hot and cold shower and towels off, still in turmoil. The Skylark costume goes in her backpack and dressed for parkour Nike takes to the alleys, hurling herself up down and over the cityscape for two hours before checking into Armory. Entering the common room she heads straight to the fridge: grabs a beer out: slumps down next to Bad Tripp on the sturdy couch and chugs it down.

Bad Tripp may be all kinds of asshole but he doesn’t waste words noting the obvious. He sets a newspaper down as he reaches back for another beer: he’s been looking at the crime section and it catches Nike’s eye:

Hanover "Boost Factory" Busted
- FCPD quiet on possible involvement of FCM -

The Freedom City Police Department are downplaying the possibility of the Metapowered group 'Feedom City Massive' playing a significant role in this morning's pre-dawn swoop on a major Boost production laboratory in Hanover.

300 Kilograms of processed Boost was captured, along with a sophisticated lab facility designed to produce the illegal meta-drug. A number of individuals of interest have been taken into custody, including the suspected criminal mastermind who remains, as yet, unnamed. It was confirmed that this group included individuals with metapowers.

The police department claim that this remarkable coup came from efficient following up of an earlier mass-drugging incident at the Southside nightspot Eclipse. While official police sources have confirmed that metapowered individuals were involved in the criminal conspiracy, unofficial sources from within the department have clearly stated that this was a 'Cape Intervention' by none other than the Freedom City Massive, the supposed Caped guardians of the City.

FCPD have released a warning that a suspect has escaped from custody. Eric Robert Olsen, described as a metapowered individual of interest to this case, escaped from the Central City Police Station and is presently at large. Olsen is described as being dangerous and not to be approached by the public…


1840 hours: Moving On
“So – we don’t kill th’ bad guys, period. ‘Kay?”

Bad Tripp closes off any further post-mortem on Skylark’s attempt to dose Candyman with his own medicine by pulling out his well-thumbed spiral-bind pad.

“Anyhoo… I bin goin’ t’ru m’ case notes. Gotta say… our clearance rate’s in th’ toilet. But hey – at least it’s better than FCPD!

He waits for the chuckles to die down and continues from his pad:

“Case a’ th’ exploded car: still not closed. We got th’ Bomb, on’y he wuz set up by Calculus II, who wuz so far as we know workin’ fer Underworld, t’ru th’ Broker. So:
Calculus II: to be arrested
Underworld: to be arrested
Then we got th’ Broker who we found could be bribed, so sumwun mus’ be able ta get hold a’ him. Then we got Grant Conglomerates: they implicated? Nuclear material? No security? And we added dat guy Campbell. So th’ case is still growin’.

“Case a’ metadrug supply: mostly closed, since we just got Candyman, on’y dere’s perps still out dere. Candyman was brought in by Underworld, ‘member?
Underworld: to be arrested
Th’ small fry: to be arrested: Roid an’ th’ Speedster – we ain’t even got a handle fer him! We got Dynamo, Angel Dust an' Stretch – and' Stretch jus' escaped!

“Oh yeh – related case - Wendy Boys: I promised her I’d find her a new pad, an’ wid’ her boyfriend Stretch on th’ loose dat oughta be done real soon.”

The common room phone rings and Red picks up. Bad Tripp plugs on:

“Finally… case a’ Alvin Hester AKA Demolition*… not stric’ly our territory but de Big Five kinda pushed us onta him.

Mebbe foller up wid’ Doc Alice over ta’ Providence, ta git access ta’ Hannah Swartz?* Sumthin’ fer Wraith mebbe.
“There’s a call in from Avenger,” Red calls, “Switch on Channel Three!”

The Sky’s the Limit
Channel Three is running raw tape of Amy Feng presenting: at another Casino extension function at the Southside Palace. Mayor Moore’s up on a makeshift outdoor stage, boosters, minders and card-carriers around him. The Massive can tell that her heart isn't really in the puff piece she’s running about this latest mayoral photo-op. The noise of an aircraft intrudes across her broadcast: she breaks off:

"... Cut Bill... We'll have to take that from the top. What's going on?"

Amy starts running – backwards, while still commentating – to the stage:

"Keep up Bill! …The official function seems to be under attack by large Black Robots of some form, which dropped out of a large black aircraft."

Mayor Freddie Moore and some others are being snared by the robots: the crowd is repelled by some sort of arm-mounted weaponry on the robots. One robot lands in front of Amy: she advances on it, extending her microphone as though to get color comment. The camera joggles towards the pair a shade more reluctantly.

"If I could just get a few comments..."

Amy is snared by the robot: nearly drops her mike. The camera turns: the view is first of the ground being rapidly covered by panicky feet, then of the ground receding.

"Bill! Turn the camera up this way! At me Bill!"

Risking a rush of blood to the head, Bill re-angles the camera on Amy: she’s pinioned by thick bands and appears to be being drawn into some form of black aircraft: a wing can be glimpsed. She heroically keeps up her commentary:

"It appears the Black Robots are part of a mass kidnapping attempt. I will continue to try and get a comment from..."

The transmission cuts: Channel Three’s main presenters segue straight into the related attack on the Golden Calf: some type of robotic attackers kidnapped “key personnel” from the casino.

Avenger enters Armory with the air of a boss returning to the factory floor for a quick rah-rah. He summarizes what’s known:

“The probability is: this was a Demolition caper. If you go back to the shot where you can see a black airplane…” – Wraith quickly pops that angle up – “I pick this as the Vulture, a craft Demolition used up to the early 90s. So how about the FC Massive puts its heads together and get some leads going? How sweet would it be for Capes to rescue Mayor Moore! He’d find it hard to run an anti-Cape campaign after that! Can you dig it?”

Avenger steps over to Red and takes him aside. When he returns, he finds the Massive have quickly assembled tasks and matched them to personnel.

17 October 2010: The Beat

Terry Terrance/Performer; Matt Gray/Wraith

1030 hours: Performer and Wraith fly out to Providence Asylum: Dr Alice is expecting them and moves them expeditiously through the institution and to Hannah Swartz’ comfortable drawing-room. Hannah pours them tea and listens politely as they outline their needs.

“It’s nice of you to visit, but I don’t know that I can add anything. Demolition did begin working on robots during the time that… my other persona was with him. He found some of us – Huckster and Calculus – easy to work with, and others – the Bomb and I suppose I should include my other persona as well – more difficult.

“You know,” Hannah continues, sipping her herbal tea, “Demolition has only two ambitions left.”

“And what are they?”

“He always wanted to be recognized as one of the inner circle… of villains, I suppose you would say. Doc Simian was in… Demolition wasn’t. I suppose it irked him.” She trails off, mind clearly elsewhere.

“You said there were two?”

“Oh yes: his second goal is to kill Panoply.”

“Who is now dead.”

“Well… perhaps. I’m not sure that Demolition has really accepted that. He would have wanted to check Panoply out face to face.”

“Maybe the years inside Blackstone changed his mind?” Performer suggests. “Maybe a sniper’s bullet was good enough?”

“Perhaps. He did leave Blackstone as soon as he pleased.” She pauses. “I suppose you know how he got out?”

“Well, we have ideas…. naturally….”

“He would have been teleported out… I’m sure Joanna would have obliged.”

The pair nod sagely. Joanna Worowitz, codename Bolt, was still at large and had once, perhaps, been Demolition’s lover.

“Is there anything else you can recall…?”

Hannah’s attractive brow wrinkles in concentration. “I do recall that he asked….” – Here Hannah breaks off and makes a conscious effort – “Death Mistress to visit the Nacht Islands to find out whether there was a source of magic there that would power robots.”

“Magic?”

“Yes… there were reports and rumors of magic there. But… she reported magic that was powerful and evil and Demolition decided he wanted to be sure to control his own robots, in any case.”

Thad Reynolds/Holmes; Martin Remillard/Nightfall

0930 hours: Holmes parks a respectful block from the Golden Calf’s parking lot: no need to court trouble with security this time! With Nightfall guarding his body, Holmes ghosts through the casino. The high-roller floor is sealed off with police tape but, thanks to the co-operation of FCPD, the pits are open, slots chiming. Holmes drifts up to the high-roller floor, finds a focus: post-cogs the event.

Mr. Eddie and Ginger are greeting a high-roller: glad-handing him round the tour. Suddenly the ceiling above them bursts open: security cameras, cables and battens, along with shattered ceiling tiles, cascade onto the group! And through the roiling dust descends a huge power suit. Even the dust can’t obscure the word stenciled on it:

DEMOLITION

Mr. Eddie and Ginger are each clasped in a huge powered hand and Demolition springs away!

Nike Williams/Skylark

1130 hours: Nike heads over to Southside. The Massive couldn’t come up with a possible lead for her to follow up, so she’s volunteered to cover Joe Tripley’s promise to Wendy Boys. The short trip over on light rail gives her time to think about Avenger’s private word to her. He as much as said that he himself was on the point of executing a villain and was talked down by Glory Girl. Maybe there’s something there for her.

Rocket Records has a good smell about it. Nike finds Wendy sorting and stacking contemporary R&B CDs.

“Hi! I’m Nike, and you must be Wendy! I’m a friend of Joe’s… he mentioned you needed a new apartment and hey, I’m kinda needing a new roomie. Can we talk?”

Wendy gains permission to sign out and the two women walk through the brisk fall to the Redeye coffee shop. They size each other up over coffees. Nike is a poised, fit and determined young black woman. Wendy is white, young, street-chic and personable with a hint of vulnerability.

“So, you know Joe from…?” Wendy asks.

“We do community work together.”

Nike can just about see Wendy picturing Joe in an orange boiler suit with “Corrections” stenciled on it. She moves swiftly to the point:

“It’s not a long-term let: I’m house-minding but it’s such a great location, you know: Riverside, views, easy walk from all sorts of great places. And I understand you have an ex-boyfriend you need to be away from. I totally get that! Why’n’cha come round, see if you like it, and we’ll settle terms.”

Joe Tripley/Bad Tripp

0800 hours: He’s got the easiest beat of all. He slips into the men’s lockers, becomes Joe Tripley: calls the Hippo. Hippo is OK now with two-way exchanges of information. But he warns Joe:

“Joe, hope ya don’t mind: next lead ya bring me, I gotta turn it over to someone else. See, there’s too many eyes on me now. I’ll vouch for this guy. That OK?”

“If you vouch for him Hippo, then it’s jake. So: this snatch: ya know much?”

“Well… apart from hizzonner, we got a short list of people got snatched. Uh… Constantin Urallos of Majestic Industries… Amy Feng of Channel Three an’ her cameraman… a couple uniforms… Lester Hillerman from City Hall... an’ another booster of the Mayor’s by the name of Jonathan Grant.”

“How about the aircraft?”

“We made a black airplane heading west to the bridge, then dropped smoke an’ stuff an’ bounced down th’ Denwood Valley an’ then more smoke an’ we lost it.”

Joe signs off with good wishes on both sides and wanders back out looking for Red. The van’s been sounding a little whiny and another service seems indicated. He finds no Red, only Avenger, who looks surprised at seeing him.

“Oh – hi, uh, Joe!”

“Hi! Say, ya seen Red?”

“I sent him on another part of the mission.”

Joe’s demeanor shifts: the planes of his rugged face alter imperceptibly from amiable to suspicious.

“Yeah? Ya wanna tell me why ya did that?”

Avenger looks surprised:

“It’s my estimation that we’ll need something that Red has the skills to organize – why?”

Joe bristles even more. He’s definitely moved from Nice Tripley to Not-Very-Nice Tripp.

“Lissen: I got a problem with us bein’ micro-managed. So next time: ya f####n tell us before ya ‘organizes’ Red anywhere without our say-so, ‘kay?”

“Why – sure! I hadn’t given it much thought but yeah, I’ll be sure to do just that.”

Briefing

1530 hours: Whether Joe’s ‘tude reminds Avenger of his own outbursts among the Freedom City Crew or not, nothing more is said until Avenger and the Massive pool intelligence later in the common room. Avenger’s own NSA sources confirm the FCPD lead Tripley brought, and Swartz’ memory of the Nacht Islands ties it together.

“Back in the 80s,” Avenger explains, “the island group passed into private hands. Demolition probably took over the military base and limited airstrip on the main island. There’s also a satellite-tracking station that he may have made operational.”

So the question of where the snatch originated is rested, and the team moves on. The only other question around the snatch is how Demolition “saw” through several floors of hotel to Mr. Eddie. Holmes’ recalled replay of the scene reveals that the “high roller” at the scene was in fact Huckster!

“So that’s how Demolition was able to pinpoint his targets!” Holmes exclaims.

“We sh’d learn frum dat fer nex’ time we go after Mr. Eddie!” Bad Tripp rumbles.

Avenger’s trump card is drawn:

“While you were out on the beat, I got Red to prep the Falcon for flight. The Falcon is Panoply’s jet. It’s about the same in performance and range as the Vulture. I can pilot it: we’ll need it to get out to the islands. Order any gear you think we need from Red: and rendezvous at Wharton State Forest!”

“Wharton State?”

“Yeah… there’s another Armory there… Panoply called it, Armory Three.”

“Huh. How many Armories are there?”

“Oh… more than two…”

“How about explosives?” Skylark asks.

“Wha - ?”

“If we want to take down, say, a re-tasked satellite dish, explosives seem like a good idea.”

“Do any of you have expertise in demolitions?” Avenger asks suspiciously. And though Wraith tries manfully to explain how his electronics expertise will cover it, and Skylark mentions her activist days, Avenger vetoes the idea.

“Say, Wraith,” Performer asks innocently, but with a twinkle in his eye: “With Demolition being an expert in battle-suits and robots and all, are you sure your suit has enough layers of protection? What if he tried to jack you?”

Wraith’s faceplate is blank, so no-one can see the paranoid twitches and tics now developing, but the body language says:

Never… enough….”

Armory Three

1900 hours: The aircraft named the Falcon is somewhat alike an F-117 for appearance, but more like a Learjet 40 XR for cabin space. Even Bad Tripp, who throws down a mattress from the bunkroom, doesn’t make it look too crowded.

Holmes runs a post-cog on it as the Massive settle in:

Avenger and Panoply are going at it hammer and tongs: the furious dissension is around someone’s death: each is throwing plenty of blame. It seems to be the early 80s….

He’s wrenched away back to the present by an anguished howl:

“OH F##@@KKK!”

Bad Tripp, a broken Meta, moans:

“We fergot ta get any beer on board!”

18 October 2010: Welcome to the Nacht Islands

Bright sunlight lends glints to the Falcon's lo-viz coat as it flies in at wavetop height. The Falcon circles the Nacht Islands and lands gently on a small islet, about two miles from the military base. The bright sunlight drenching white-sand beaches makes the setting seem strangely tropic, a welcome change from Freedom City’s fall weather. The Massive – and Avenger – disembark: Wraith scans for electrical activity, Holmes reaches out with ESP to sense any other awarenesses, and Performer focuses on magics. There’s nothing… so far.

The main isle lies across a strait of about a mile from them like a peanut-shell, the south-west “pod” the larger of the two halves and the supposed site of Demolition’s base. Performer lifts the group across to the north-east beach on the smaller “pod.” His concentration is errant: the group lifts a little too high:

“Hey!!!” Skylark squawks, pointing the way they came.

Behind them, a buoy of some kind launches three missiles! Wraith sees them almost too late – but then his uncanny control of electronics reaches out and one missile detonates the others!

Landing, Bad Tripp uses his momentum to bounce off the beach up to the road that runs around the islet. There, trees extend back up the islet towards the crown, providing good cover for any enemy. Tripp catches sight of something: leaps towards it with a fierce roar:

“BAD TRIPP!”

“Oh – apparently, we’re in action!” Skylark comments a trifle acidly, and before Holmes can say “don’t forget to cover the non-fighter” she and Nightfall leap after Tripp while Wraith drifts out of visible ken and up the beach after them. Only Avenger holds post to cover Holmes and Performer, who yells:

“I sense magic!”

Suddenly, a outrageously costumed duelist flashes into view, rapier and parry dagger poised!

“Alors, mes amis!” Marauder mis-pronounces, “Now ze boot is on ze ozzer foot, hein?”

Performer wrenches the beach under Marauder upwards but the surcoat-draped villain merely laughs and tumbles aside. Avenger takes a mighty swing at what looks like an easy target but again, Marauder steps aside – and the fist smacks crisply into Holmes!

“Sorry!” Avenger calls.

As Holmes snaps a mental blast past Marauder’s defenses, weakening him, matters suddenly get a lot more complicated: a ravishing gypsy beauty appears, arcane energies blazing in her pretty fingers; and a football team of duplicated toughs pop up next to the three heroes; and a lobster-like form emerges from the surf, waving its pincers menacingly! The beauty weaves her blazing energies around Performer, trapping him, while the drones beat down on Holmes! Avenger is isolated against lobsterboy!

Up on the road-stead: as the heroes land next to Tripp, a shot blazes down at them from the treetops! The four can just about see a gracefully-built battlesuit re-positioning itself closer to the beach. Bad Tripp wastes no time: swipes up a tree and launches it like a javelin! The battlesuit fends it off.

Wraith works up a datalink into the exoskeletal armor: then a voice comes back over his radio feed:

“Wraith? Is that you?”

“Gunship?”*

Gunship has built a whole new, more feminine suit. And she’s learnt from Wraith: she’s immediately tagged his frequency. Now, she turns to her beach-bash buddies:

“Call it off!!!”

*Here are links for the main issue featuring Gunship:
http://partybickering.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/issue-9/
and for the main issue featuring Alvin Hester/Demolition and Hannah Swartz:
http://partybickering.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/issue-6/

andrewmclaren26
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #17

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:11 pm

18 October 2010: 1300 hours: Nacht Islands

Meet Agent Sam: Samantha Gerrard, SOG, US Marshalls. Addressing the Massive from behind opaque shades, she thinks her team “Redemption Squad” will do well through the parole system:

    Crab
    Dark Sorceress
    Duplicator
    Gunship
    Marauder

Bad Tripp, looming behind Performer with one hand protectively – or is it? – on his shoulder, studies the “allies.” Gunship is positive about the twist of fate. Crab and Duplicator are fairly relaxed: Crab's even gotten a beer from a chilla-pak! Marauder is still hurting from Holmes’ mental blast and has little else on his mind. Dark Sorceress clearly feels above her company: she’s a long step and swing of one of his arms away from him – though her chest is quite a bit closer than that.

Skylark scans the tree-line above the beach. Performer’s getting edgy this long on the beach and Tripp is way past edgy moving to postal. She picks up a glint, as of a lens: warns Wraith.

“It’s an electronic device,” he confirms. “Time to get ourselves off this beach.”

“What’s your plan, Avenger?” Agent Sam asks respectfully.

“This team fights well together: I’m simply offering support.”

“We could approach the naval base, see what signs of life there may be?” Performer offers.

“I t’ought we wuz gonna ***deleted*** over de Sat-Dish, see what comes up at us?” Bad Tripp rumbles.

“Well, it should certainly draw a reaction of some kind: and the enemy would be attacking us and not the other way round…”

“C’n you fly?” Bad Tripp asks the Redemptions.

Dark Sorceress sneers prettily:

“But naturally.”

In response, Tripp grins menacingly at her.

“You’re a take-charge kind of guy, aren’t you?” she comments Mae West-style, not overly fazed at being loomed over by a massive graffiti-smeared hulk.

Sat-Dish Attack

1315 hours
: One second, the sky over the sat-dish building is clear and blue. The two big mechas patrolling the building’s premises have no alerts. Next second, a dark blob arcs down, smashes through the dish as though it were cheap cardboard, and lands next to them!

"BAD TRIPP!!!"

Unluckily, being mechas, they don’t waste even nanoseconds ejaculating or dealing with abstracts such as where Bad Tripp came from: instead, they pump heavy concussive blasts into the still-crouching Tripp. The blasts rock him: the hurtling drop he and Performer used to impact the dish hard enough has hurt him: he leaps away.

Dark Sorceress floats effortlessly over the razor-wire perimeter: fires a searing energy bolt: the mecha shrugs it off. In response, ‘pressor bolts strike Dark Sorceress and narrowly miss Nightfall, whose graceful gliding leap carries him onto the holed dish. Skylark leaps down from the building, connects solidly with one of the mecha’s “heads” and bounds back up: nothing happens: these mechas are tough!

Gunship's auto-cannon chops a hole in the perimeter and the Redemptions swarm inside: the ground around the dish’s plinth seems be full of Duplicators.

Agent Sam, Avenger, Performer and Holmes are positioned well back at the tree-line away from the compound. Performer concentrates his awesome telekinetic powers: a fair-size tree begins wrenching out of the ground! Tripp once again takes position near him, checking to see that Holmes is guarded.

Back near the compound, the invisible Wraith is tussling with someone whose mad hack skills are on a par with his own: Wraith’s accessed a mecha but is being locked out of each system he tries to hack! A line of clear text scrolls up:

<Is that you? {;)>


He doesn’t rise to the bait: keeps attempting to gain control of the mecha’s weapons and motive systems. It’s at least enough to allow Dark Sorceress to strike with another energy bolt: the mecha is damaged. Then the cry comes from Skylark from her vantage up on the building:

“Heads up! There’s a wall of little saucer thingies swarming in!”

TIMBER!!!”

Performer’s tree falls accurately across both mechas: there’s a satisfying CRUNCH as timber meets hi-grade steel and ceramics! Bad Tripp leaps from Performer’s side to the plinth of the dish: clamps hold of the steel struts and PULLS

Nightfall, still perched on the dish, has an unusual feeling, as though he were a fly on a fly-swat that was being swung….

Saucer Spillover

1316 hours
: Gunship blasts the remaining mecha as it attempts to push the tree off, then looks up: a wave of saucer-like discs seems to blot out the sky: smoke capsules are being dropped and visibility fogs over. She directs her auto-cannon up, frightened of hitting her team-mates. Around her, she can hear grunts of pain as the Duplicators bear the brunt of the discs' ‘pressor-beam attacks: then even that becomes hard to hear as a siren-like buzzing sounds all round the compound! Then her comms begin fritzing: there’s some kind of comms blocker being generated by the little suckers but how things a couple feet in diameter could do that, she’s too busy reconfiguring to work out. There’s a deep THUMP and the ground shakes: something really big has impacted nearby! Seconds tick by like an eternity while she brings her optics back up. Then she gets a good view at last and her auto-cannon blasts a half-dozen out of the sky! Scanning around as best her IR allows she realizes that the dish has swatted down atop the building, smashing its roof in; that Nightfall has been knocking down several disks as well; and that some of the discs have been lying on the ground in a pattern, combining to create the comms and sound chaff field that has given her so much trouble.

Up atop the ruined building, Skylark shouts down her comms again:

“Six new mechas! Six! Flying this way!”

“Holmes is down!” Avenger calls. Bad Tripp curses: Avenger was supposed to be protecting the Brain dude. Tripp launches himself up over the smoke and down to the tree-line, taking out a disc as he lands, turns, POPS his palms together in a wasted attempt to knock more down or clear some smoke, then runs – clothes-lining another disc – to where he last saw Avenger. He can see Agent Sam hunkered down under a tree, but the pair have gone. He lumbers over to Sam, bellows:

“Where’s Avenger?”

“Went up – up that way – took off…”

Sam’s gesture is toward the way the mechas are coming in. Bad Tripp gets a nasty feeling, like seeing a car wreck a-coming but nothing you can do about it.

“The mechas are pulling out….” Skylark’s voice is faint over the patchy comms. “They’ve got a couple of prisoners…”

Taking Stock

1320 hours
: Agent Sam is neither disappointed nor elated. She reassures Gunship, who is feeling blue:

“Sure, Marauder and Duplicator are out. But you gave a good account of yourself. And Dark Sorceress stayed the course. Nothing to be ashamed of. Now: Leave No Man Behind! We gotta do something for our captured people!”

Wraith's voice comes over the comms: “I can’t raise either Avenger or Holmes. Since it’s next to impossible they are out of range, I’m guessing the electrical interference accounts for it.”

Performer notices Bad Tripp motioning him away from the group that’s rallied in the bare ground before the compound. He walks over toward the tree-line. Bad Tripp has been quite solicitous this mission: the least he can do is hear what Tripp has to say.

“De mechas zapped off dat way” – here Tripp nods toward the Nacht Islands’ highest point, the dormant volcano – “whyn’cha ghost over, see if’n ya c’n find de hideout?”

“Guard my body!”

Bad Tripp drags Performer even further into screening undergrowth as the young man’s body slumps inert. He operates best from the shadows and the night: all this blazing sun and clear sky is making him paranoid. It’s like he can feel the Massive waiting to do a tell-all about its MO, powers, intel on the enemy….

1321 hours: Performer’s astral form alights on the volcano. Magic – evil magic – swathes the area. He pushes aside his repugnance and reminds himself that very few things can harm him in this state. Swiftly his form glides over the decayed caldera, through the near-tropical greenery on the slopes. There! A ruined entrance of some type: perhaps once man-made, now it seems more of a natural opening. He drifts in: the sense of evil becomes even more pervasive. Decayed light sketches in sickly illustrations of the local fauna: slithering flat-headed snakes, yellowish centipedes and scorpions… gaahhh! He pulls back into his body!

1326 hours: As Performer stands up and shakes out his limbs again, movement in the clearing beyond catches his attention before he can report. From roughly the same direction his own team arrived, Amy Feng hastens towards the gathered allies, microphone outstretched! Behind her, and dragging his heels somewhat, Bill the cameraman follows, steadycam on shoulder.

“Can I get a comment?”

Just as Performer opens his mouth and begins to step forward, a mighty paw clamps over his mouth and nose and he is drawn firmly back into the darkness of the undergrowth: there’ll be no wild-fire comments from Performer today!

1330 hours: Agent Sam is visibly sweating as she attempts to ward off Amy’s questions while preventing Gunship – who is a little star-struck – from babbling too much. Amy turns to Nightfall:

“You obviously work out: tell me, do you have a female fan base yet?”

“Yes…”

Amy’s about to open up a whole can of EW exposé on that when the arrival of two FCPD cops, carrying hampers, interrupts the give and take of the interview. Then an all-gray battlesuit, built for stealth not fighting, shimmers into view. So this must be the Wraith guy Amy heard at Eclipse! She turns the full force of her personality on him!

Meanwhile Performer, purple from lack of oxygen, is violently signaling Bad Tripp, who bends down, growls in his ear:

“Ya ain’t gonna go runnin’ ya mouth off ta no media, right?”

Released, Performer explains what he’s found over on the volcano. It’s a lead, though not a solid one. They gaze out at the group, who are now downing subs and drinks from the hampers.

1335 hours: “So, you found yourself in the old naval base?” Wraith confirms with the admiring Amy, who is now taking shorthand notes, having mysteriously lost camera, recorder and backup to short-circuits. He’s enjoying the unfamiliar attention: he can’t stop babbling on and on about the Massive, the hostages, the plans for rescue… then a symbol on one of the sub’s wrappers catches his eye. It reminds him of something but he can’t put his finger on it.

“Got something?” Agent Sam asks alertly.

“Could be… what do you make of this little egg-like mark?”

Agent Sam pulls a magnifying glass out of her vest, then checks, waiting for mockery. None forthcoming, she eyeballs the mark:

{;)


It appears to be a smiley wearing a helmet, one eye large and oval, the other a lens. Solemnly she, Wraith and Nightfall look it over, nothing leaping to mind.

“I know someone who might make more of this…” Wraith comments, walking off to the last point he saw Performer and Bad Tripp. There’s a rustle and the trees move a little, as though something big had moved rapidly away. Wraith looks blankly about, then shrugs, annoyed.

“Let’s get ourselves away… we need to be somewhere the media aren’t going to listen in,” he hears over his comms. It’s Skylark: she's also hiding in the trees.

On the far side of the compound Performer briefs the Massive and Redemptions on his find. It’s pretty slim: Performer remembers that Hannah Swartz distinctly said that Demolition did not want to use evil magic to power his robots. In return, Wraith summarizes the information from Amy and the two cops. So the naval base is out too, being the wrong direction and the holding place for the “collateral” hostages. He shows the Massive the little logo.

"Calculus II" Skylark explains. Well, that explains the hack-meister stopping me from controlling the mechas, Wraith realizes.

"He's one 'a de people I got pegged Demolition c'd be workin' wid," Bad Tripp comments, dragging his notebook out between thumb and forefinger. "Lessee.... Bolt or Kid Bolt, Huckster - he's definitely used dem - den Calculus 'r Calculus II, Creep, Noose an' Envision, an' maybe Buttonman an' Cracker..."

Gunship, who has somehow attached herself to the Massive, protests:

"My dad - I mean, Buttonman - I don't think he'd team up with Demolition!"

Seeing the quizzical looks directed at her she elaborates:

"It would be beneath him..."

Bad Tripp glares over at Gunship: as though to say:

"You ain't off my list!"

It's formidable opposition if even half are there. The team splits up responsibilities: Tripp, Skylark and Nightfall will stand guard while Wraith checks the electronics spotted back on the beach and Performer combs the line the mechas took, between themselves and the sea.

Performer returns swiftly, reasonably sure that the terrain does not hide any secret lairs. Now to find what Wraith has made of his lead: and if that leads nowhere, then it’s off to the volcano of evil!

http://wp.me/p1dyFR-lv

andrewmclaren26
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Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #18

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:25 pm

Gunship shuffles away from the menacing glare, interposing Wraith between the bad-tempered ugly and herself.

“I should be going on that scout,” Wraith announces.

“I’ll come with,” Gunship volunteers.

The two nerds fly off: discuss battle-suit minutiae for some while: realize they are virtually on top of their first target, the landing beach. But it takes a good 30 minutes scanning the undergrowth before they lock onto the original signal.

Wraith takes point: Gunship covers. He’s invisible and intangible – of course – but now she can track him and add firepower. Great! Reach out and touch faith… your own… personal… Gunship…. The paraphrased lyric is somehow right for filtering through sub-tropical undergrowth sneaking up on… a crab?

The crab is a robot: that’s obvious from its swiveling lens-casement. Otherwise, it’s a lot like a large tree-crab, edging back and forth along a branch. From here, it commands the loop road on both sides of the islet.

Wraith reaches out with his uncanny data-sense: the bot is emitting a simple “I’m here” monitoring signal. If interfered with, that could change to an alarm, an attack… or it might even unfurl a flag and stand to attention while playing Yankee Doodle: this is speculation, not data, Wraith reminds himself.

Time to report back!

1415 hours: Nightfall, part-concealed atop the wreckage of the dish, waves the pair in. Agent Sam, Skylark, and Dark Sorceress are resting on a makeshift groundsheet under shade, while much further back in deep shade that blocky uncouth lump of darkness must be Bad Tripp. Bad Tripp with a beer! He must have picked up Crab’s chilla-pak somewhere, thinks Wraith. Performer’s back from his own scouting: he’s enjoying the attention of the three women, standing at ease in the open, speaking with ease and grace. Smug, thinks Wraith again, then: Bastard.

“Heads up! We’re back to report!”

“It’s all bad over in the volcano of doom,” Performer returns, “evil magic, evil insects, all poisonous… and did I mention the evil? Giant economy-size!”

“It sounds… fascinating!” Dark Sorceress murmurs with a little shiver. Performer looks doubtfully at her: finds his gaze drawn inexorably down to her heroic cleavage: vertigo threatens. A small snort, as of a female thinking poorly of the male species, escapes Gunship:

“We found a crab-bot!” she exclaims. “On surveillance, in the trees!”

“Could there be more of them?” Sam Gerrard asks.

1430 hours: Wraith drifts over the islets forming the main isle as swiftly as practical, marking out where crab-bots can be detected. They cover the loop road, and cluster quite thickly round the old naval base and airstrip. There’s a couple of unfamiliar signals too, mixed in. He detects a few more as he drifts back up toward the dish site: there’s an abandoned villa compound – no! Not abandoned! A light screen of crab-bots and a few of the “other” signals. Interesting! Time to report.

1500 hours: Performer swoops across the trees to the villa: ghosts in. A short, chubby man, dark hair slicked back and receding, is taking his ease enjoying the view over the pool. Two servitor bots – rather like an industrial vacuum cleaner topped by a utility-heavy swivel casement – busy themselves tidying the rooms.

Performer drifts in to the naval base compound: Bill the cameraman is sitting in the sun beside his camera. He’s got it open but – lacking tools – seems to have dealt with the grieving process and have moved on to relaxing and enjoying the break. Nearby, the two cops are sitting in that cop-with-time-on-hands way. Amy’s inside: she’s trying to get her phone working. Performer smirks.

1530 hours: The allies – the remnants of Freedom City Massive and the Redemption Squad – ease slowly to within 100 feet or so of the villa compound on the uphill slope from it. It’s easy to see why at first glance Wraith assumed it to be abandoned: trees grow abundantly across an old access road up from the naval base and the villa walls are mossy, its roof thick-spread with leaf-mold. But the swimming pool out front is clear.

“Point me inta where dis mug is sittin’,” Bad Tripp rumbles, grinning in anticipation of mayhem. Performer obliges: the graffiti-stained Mohawk covers the distance in a bound, smashing through the roof and landing beside the shocked inhabitant: and in a swipe of his mighty arms bundles the wretch tight, immobilizing him!

“Wha – Who are you? Why are you here?”

“SHUDDUP, PUNK!!!!”

“Ple – please don’t hurt me! I’ve got nothing to do with him!”

Hard on Tripp’s heels, Nightfall, Performer and Wraith arrive and the two servitors are taken apart: it seems they have been built not for defense but for domestic duties.

Bad Tripp, victim still pinioned helpless, bounds back out and with him, slouches into deep shade. Suspicious stains, as of broken leaking beer bottles, drip from the battered chilla-pak. It doesn’t improve his temper. Grabbing the man by the scruff of his neck, Tripp raises him high: the wretch, sweating, asks:

“Wha – Who are you? Why are you here?”

“I’M DE GUY AKSIN’ DE QUESTIONS! SEE?”

“Ple – please don’t hurt me! I’ve got nothing to do with him!”

“OH ’HIM’ HUH? AN’ I BETCHA NEVER HEARD ‘A DEMOLITION!”

Bad Tripp slams the little man face-first into the loam and rubs him into it, hard. He jerks his victim back up: the man’s left forearm folds back, and an impressive cannon muzzle aims at Tripp’s massive torso: before anyone can think to kick the weapon away or block the attack:

BLAM!!!

The blast and smoke clears: and Tripp, unscathed in spite of the massive impact, reaches down and snaps off the droid’s arm: for droid it is.

“How about that? It was a droid all along!” Nightfall exclaims.

“Amazing attention to detail: the thing looks and sounds like Peter Lorre. Sweats like him too,” Performer remarks.

“Can ya use it ta get any intel?” Bad Tripp asks Wraith.

“No, I think we had best be rid of it.”

Tripp picks the droid up and heaves his arm back: Wraith sends a massive overload into the droid’s circuits: Tripp throws with full force, and a flaming lump of fried circuitry sails out away from the island and out, out, over the ocean depths and is lost to sight. Tripp scratches his chest idly and rumbles darkly:

“Dey must be some reason dat droid was dere.”

1540 hours: Performer ghosts below the villa: there’s nothing under the pool, but there’s an elevator shaft beneath the villa’s lounge, leading down to a cell with five prisoners:

Mayor Moore, Lester Hillermann, Big Al, and two competent-looking men, one young and fit, the other middle-aged and hard. The latter two are working on the elevator doors: apart from those there’s a sealed hatch in one wall and a door to an en-suite toilet in another.

1545 hours: Buying time and creating a diversion, Performer and Dark Sorceress both depart their bodies and appear visibly near the naval compound:

“Amy! Amy Feng!”

Dark Sorceress is doing a Megan Fox impression, vamping Performer: she’s obviously enjoying herself and Performer goes with the flow! Amy’s granted a free interview by the happy pair, at which Dark Sorceress announces that she and Performer are officially an item!

1550 hours: Meanwhile, Wraith and Nightfall probe the villa interior looking for physical access to the prisoners. It takes a while: there’s a false wall. Wraith finds a few surveillance cameras and some booby-traps. He makes those safe, and does enough to speed the escape of the hostages so that it will appear they escaped on their own. But that still leaves the “freaks” as Bad Tripp calls them: Mr. Eddie, Ginger, and their own teammates.

1600 hours: Performer’s powers of rapid search while astral have eliminated the sat-dish station and he’s working his way through the naval base, when he’s shaken “awake” by Bad Tripp.

“We gotta call: lissen!”

It’s faint: but through the M-phones, Avenger’s voice sounds!

“Like I said: sometimes there’s only one way to find the secret lair and that’s getting captured! It took me a while to escape! I’m at the saddle… between the two islets… bots are after me….”

“Click twice if’n ya wants us ta come getcha!”

Two clicks sound in response!

1605 hours: Wasting no time on subtlety, Dark Sorceress lofts the team while Performer readies himself to use his own telekinesis in attack. Bad Tripp, Nightfall and Gunship crouch poised for action: it is on them that the bulk of offense must fall. Wraith stands cool and ready to drop away: against bots of any kind his weaponry is as deadly as any.

The decayed blacktop road is glimpsed through the tree-tops: Wraith drops away from Dark Sorceress’ field, easing into a good vantage near the top of a tree. He can see two mechas: oversize bipedal bots of the same model the team squelched up at the sat-dish. Then a third: behind his blank faceplate, Wraith grins like a maniac:

“Heh heh… this must be how Tripp feels when a fight starts!”

He reaches out, begins his data-link. Off to his left up the road Skylark takes up a defensive post with Agent Sam. Nightfall and Gunship leap down and Performer hovers lower. Bad Tripp leaps, smashes down by one mecha, grabs it, and flings it across the road at the second mecha!

Wraith’s first target fries satisfyingly and he turns his attention to the next, the third mecha. Across the road, Gunship exchanges fire with one of the mechas, neither scoring. Nightfall is knocked back through the air by the second mecha’s ‘pressor beam but flips in midair and lands unharmed: his boomerang rebounds off the third mecha with little to show for it. Dark Sorceress’ energy cage wraps round it, part-trapping it.

Skylark glances up in surprise: Avenger steps out of concealment to stand with her. Then more movement through the trees: three more mechas join the action! Avenger grimaces:

“You can see why I was keeping quiet!”

Bad Tripp and Nightfall team up on one of the new arrivals but it shrugs off their attacks: Tripp snarls:

“We’ll do better one-up! They’re easy ta tag! Give it ever’t’ing ya got!”

Two mechas pound over to join in: suddenly it’s three to two! Bad Tripp doesn’t look worried. Performer swoops over: casts his mystical snares around one of them. Nightfall clobbers it good and hard and it goes down. Bad Tripp steps away to give himself a run-up: runs through the second mecha, knocking it prone: smashes a massive paw into the third: grabs it in the same motion and wheels round, smashing that one against its prone companion! There’s an expensive-sounding crunch: head-casings and body armor shred off as both mechas crumble!

On the opposite flank, Wraith strips the circuitry from the fifth mecha: he can sense Calculus II trying to counter his hacks on this one, but way too slow this time!

Save for one damaged mecha trying to get to its foot-pods, the opposition has been dealt with. Then a mocking voice comes from the last mecha:

“Oh, yeah: datalink guy: well done!”

“I just live for your approval!” Wraith sneers.

“Yes, and so you should!” the voice responds. It’s hard to tell since none of the team have heard him one on one, but Wraith is guessing that this would have to be Calculus II!

“Well hey! I’ve got a deal for you all! And it’s a good deal!

“This is my offer: you get to leave. You collect up the civilians and the hostages that are free now. I’ll even release your buddies in the funny suits. Then you go.

“It’ll make great press: the heroes rescue the mayor and bring back the little guys too! So whaddaya say?”

Wraith nets in so that he can hear everyone and vice-versa: asks quietly:

“Agent Gerrard? What do you say?”

Sam shakes her head: even if this “voice” can guarantee her team will be released and allowed to leave safely there’s still the original goal of apprehending Demolition!

Wraith turns back to the mecha from which Calculus II spoke:

“Sorry, shit-stain, no deal!”

He overloads the robot's systems without waiting for a reply: leaves it a shell spewing smoke and flames! He looks around:

“Bring it!”

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-18/

andrewmclaren26
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Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #19

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:41 am

Boss Fight
1640 hours:
Wraith’s voice comes through over the comms:

“The shaft is clear: no traps: come on down!”

Up on the surface amid the forest: in spite of Wraith’s OK the Massive/Redemptions keep a respectful distance from Bad Tripp as he flexes his fingers, works them into a firm grip on the hatch. It seals a big vertical shaft leading down to Demolition’s lair, according to Avenger. There’s a scream of protesting steel and an almighty SNAP as the entire shaft-head is ripped away. Tripp tosses it casually to one side and the “forward team” – himself, Nightfall and Skylark – drop down. Performer levitates swiftly after them. Finally, the “hostage rescue” team of Avenger, Gunship, Dark Sorceress and Agent Sam follow, heading for the life-support tubes Avenger escaped scant hours before.

According to the intel Avenger brought back, there’s a rough tunnel leading from the tubes to a large natural cavern, and inside the cavern a building has been erected. Wraith ghosts through: sure enough, the cavern’s there. The roof is relatively low, with stalactites raking lower: those will make leaping around a problem. Light from the small building glints off a lake, and back-lights a huge battle-suit standing on guard to the approaches to the building itself! From either the suit or a PA in the building, someone’s playing Elvis:

A little less conversation/A little more action please…

“I have located Demolition – or at least a battle-suit that he might use. I’ll keep pushing on…” Wraith reports, veering right to see if he can work around the lake.

Skylark erupts out of the rough horizontal shaft, her scarlet costume dull in the limited light of the cavern. She runs up the left cavern wall as though gravity has no meaning! Far back, the darkness conceals Nightfall and Bad Tripp. A little to their rear Performer’s white Tux marks him out as he drifts through the air at leisurely speed.

“Oh yeah!”

The massive battle-suit shrugs itself into action, revving its right arm in a wind-up motion.

“We’re engaging Demolition now!”

Skylark sprints along the wall: then leaps off horizontally, crescent-kicks the suit’s head unit, and vaults over it to a promontory projecting from the building’s platform into the lake. Nightfall, near-invisible in his dark suit, runs along the cavern floor near the wall: presses himself into it, waiting to see what the suit does. Bad Tripp runs full at the suit: he’s about 20’ short when a cable-like appendage whips out of the cavern floor to send him tumbling!

The suit is limned by the light coming from the open building about 50’ behind it: enough for Performer, far back in the cavern, to summon a thickening of the air around the monster: but with a shrug of its enormous mechanized shoulders it dispels the snare. Skylark, sensing an opening, bounds over and again kicks the suit’s head unit: this time the suit rocks with the colossal impact: Skylark finishes her leap near Tripp. Performer next throws out a dazzling flare around the suit’s head. To no avail: glare-filters snap down over its lenses!

Nightfall re-positions himself to the promontory: his boomerang, thrown with force, whips by without connecting, returning to the dark one’s hand. Bad Tripp rises to his feet: runs at the suit: in spite of the difference in size he sends it toppling to the floor: but his run takes him a little past it, and a second snare flicks out, again tripping the inky Mohawk!

The battle-suit, at this range clearly seen to have DEMOLITION stenciled across its torso, bounces back up, turns, steps over to Tripp and boots him into the cavern wall with terrifying force: the graffiti gargoyle’s body falls limp to the floor!

Skylark screams in anger and launches another leaping attack: but rage makes her aim a little shaky and this time she fails to connect. Her leap ends near Tripp’s body: she spins, ready to defend him!

Panicky, Nightfall lobs smoke and the area Demolition is defending is swiftly obscured, aiding neither friend nor foe. Performer whips around the cavern, over the lake round the smoke and down to Bad Tripp, levitating him up and away out of further danger.

Skylark plunges up the wall and through the smoke and out the other side, without finding Demolition. Nightfall nimbly hops from the promontory to the edge of the smoke: waits. Sure enough, Demolition comes striding through the smoke like a titan of legend: Nightfall’s boomerang smashes hard into his head unit! But the suit ploughs on, swinging a mighty steel arm up to connect solidly with Skylark where she crouches on the wall! She is knocked off, to skid along the cavern floor some feet distant. And Demolition strides after her!

Performer realizes that Skylark is barely capable of defending herself! He summons his full power and sends a blast of energy arcing across: the giant suit is clearly rocked by the impact! Nightfall bounds past the unit, scoops Skylark up, and leaps over into the smoke:

“Some help here!” Nightfall yells into the comms.

“I’m attending to things,” Wraith responds coldly.

Avenger’s voice comes back:

“We’ve revived Crab OK: dealing with a bunch of defender bots… may be able to peel someone off…”

“I’m OK! Let’s get that mutha!” Skylark yells, shaking off the cobwebs and lifting her head to scent the dank cavern air. In spite of the smoke she can clearly smell the metal and coolants of Demolition’s suit, and leaps up and after him: only to catch herself on a stalactite where she clings, stalled. Another bolt of energy from Performer sizzles past, missing everything. The elegantly suited one whips into the smoke.

Skylark leaps down, kicks Demolition in the head unit again, and leaps back up: the repeated concussions are beginning to tell, she’s sure. In response, Demolition raises a barrel-like arm, and machine-gun fire blazes around the scarlet-clad wall-crawler: she drops to the ground, out of danger!

With a roar of jet pods, Gunship blazes into the cavern! Her IR and LI arrays easily pick up the monster battle-suit and without further ado her auto-cannon blasts suppressive fire around it! Performer connects with another massive blast: again, Demolition seems affected. Both Skylark and Nightfall land solid blows and clearly rattled, Demolition plunges into the inky blackness of the lake. Wraith, finally beginning to focus his attention on the all-time hits going on, grinds his teeth in fury and lowers the blaster he has just drawn.

Gunship readies herself at the lake’s edge: about 20 feet along, Nightfall too stands ready. Wraith once again turns his attention to the traps: he’s beginning to work out how they trip some people and not others. Performer slides through the air back to Bad Tripp: the big ugly is just rubbing his head, getting up: his eyes are burning yellow pits – a healthy sign for Tripp!

“Hey – you’re OK!”

“Uh! Gnh… Yuh… I guess!”

Then Bad Tripp’s attention is caught by a huge form rising out of the lake: Demolition’s back! He’s heading straight between Nightfall and Gunship, towards Skylark!

Gunship’s scanners catch frequencies being opened by Demolition and she attempts to jam him: but not quick enough!

“NOW CALCULUS! NOW!”

As the huge battle-suit advances on her, Skylark connects with a punch: but Demolition shrugs off the blow and his return swing sends her reeling back, virtually defenseless! Nightfall, more concerned with covering Skylark than throwing with all his power, fails to have any effect, but Performer’s blast again jolts the suit. Performer flashes by at full speed, taking cover again in what’s left of the smoke. Tripp charges: he’s confident that there are no trip-falls out in the open cavern: but his swing is wild and his follow-up grab slides off.

The PA blares again: this time it’s Calculus II’s voice:

“Sorry, big guy…. Writing on the wall…. Best of luck and all that but seeya!”

Wraith catches a strange “SCHUMPF!!!” noise from the building behind him, as of a hole being ripped in space. If Calculus II was ever in the building, he’s left, along with Elvis. Huffing in vexation, Wraith again levels his blaster and fires, once.

Demolition topples, face up. Gunship leaps onto the mighty torso: levels her auto-cannon at the face-plate:

“OPEN UP!!!”

Freaks and Forensics
1655 hours:
“What’s in de building?”

“Oh… right. I took a few seconds back there to scout it … I found Mr. Eddie and Ginger strapped into pods in there, and a big rank of old-school computers. I haven’t investigated further: seemed like you needed my help.”

Bad Tripp can hear the smirk in that last crack. He glances over at Demolition: the old man is leaning against the wall for support, dried blood still visible on his jowl where it hasn’t been completely wiped off. Age catches up with us all. Surrounded by the assembled allies, he’s not going to stage any great escape. Tripp drops fragments of Demolition’s battle-suit and wanders over to the building to look at the captives. They both look like they’ve been interrogated. The inky Mohawk grins: makes no move to release them: pulls back out of the light.

“Yo, Holmes!”

“I’m here!”

“Drift on down here, m’man. Gotta coupla mugs f’ya ta mind-fuck.”

1700 hours: Holmes is re-capitulating Demolition’s interrogation of Mr. Eddie:

Demolition: Why Moore?
Mr. Eddie: Why not, he does what he is told. He isn't a vital piece but he is a good one.
Demolition: How do I talk to Underworld?
E: Talk to me and we'll see.
D: What do you get out the relationship?
E: Everything I want out of the relationship.
D: Who killed Panoply?
E: Don't know.
D: The only villain who moved to profit out of Panoply's fall was Underworld. He moved immediately to clean up his little messes. Took down Tonifanni, moved in a new Boost dealer.
E: Given an opportunity he profited. Who can blame him?
D: So, he knew?
E: I don't know. I know he was ready.
D: Does he know who did it now?
E: He doesn't tell me everything.
D: Come on, you are intrinsically involved in his crime empire. You know about his moves against Tonifanni, you know about his involvement in Boost. You know he bankrolls the Mayor as a patsy. And you know what deals he does behind the scenes because you brief Hillerman. You organize all of this, run the daily operation – true?
E: That doesn't mean I know who killed Panoply.
D: Sure it does. Who hired the killer on Panoply?
E: and why do you care Alvin? Did someone ask Panoply to the prom before you had the chance to? Aaaarghhh!
D: Back to my question: who killed Panoply?
E: Ask the Broker.


“That’s all I’ve got,” Holmes explains apologetically. “I got nothing much further from Eddie himself. From Ginger, I learned that Abigail Bauerschmitt is her mother.”

“Huh! So… lemme tink… dat means de Executive wuz Ginger’s grandpop, huh?”

“That’s how I read it,” Holmes confirms.

“An’ dat means when Buttonman took out Executive… Demolition took over de Bad Boys…”

“Yes,” Holmes concludes, “So Demolition had Ginger's grandfather killed – and she knows it!”

“Well, we’ll see what Alvin has to say for himself,” Wraith rejoins.

“Uh… you want me to probe Alvin Hester?”

“C’mon, dude!” Tripp rumbles, “grow a pair! He’s an old man – ya c’n take him!”

“You could soften him up first, Tripp…” Wraith suggests.

“Hey – Holmes bendin’ his brain ain’t like me bendin’ a bat over his skull! I c’d kill ‘im. Ain’t gonna happen.”

You’ve Been Told
1710 hours:
the main cavern: Holmes has a fairly short, tense mental struggle with Hester. He glances at Wraith: shakes his head. Wraith mentally flexes, stretches and begins: his opening is suave and neutral enough that Alvin Hester begins answering. It’s only when Wraith asks straight out: “If you weren’t trying to take out the top dogs, clear the deck and run crime in Freedom City: then what were you doing?” that the old man explodes:

“Your job! Because, you haven't been doing it! Sometimes, to figure out what’s in a box, it's best to pick it up and shake it till you hear something break!” – He breaks off to motion towards Bad Tripp, who has unconsciously nodded agreement – “That guy gets it! Panoply spent nearly 40 years saving the world, cleaning up a city: someone puts him in the ground, and where are you? Where’s the slap down?”

“We’ve been doing our duty…” Wraith protests stiffly, but Alvin has the bit between his teeth and is about to run a lecture!

“Look, some basic police procedure for you: if you don't know who did the crime, “follow the money.” Panoply is taken out. Who profits? Come on, who profits? Panoply is downed, and next thing, the Freedom City drug market gets a shake up from the bottom up.”

Again, Bad Tripp’s body language gives him away: the thought of Avenger – always so handily on the scene, making the team take out opposition that is getting in Underworld’s way, rescuing Underworld’s people on the island, and with a known grudge against Panoply – is coloring the way the Mohawk gargoyle is standing.

“Avenger,” laughs Alvin, “You know your history kid, but one thing I definitely did was ruin any chance that feud would kill anyone. Back in the ‘80s I made the biggest mistake! I was under pressure, the Slaughterhouse 5 War had broken up my old team, and I had a new set of clowns, not as good, felt I needed to keep showing them who was boss. All the while, the internal frustrations of the Freedom City Crew were being worked out on any villain they found. Remember, this is before Nightwalker was outed. I was under pressure and I did the stupidest thing in my life.

“I was jumped while collecting my protection from the Golden Calf: Ragdoll, never could hit the leaping woman, a lot like you kid.” – He nods to Skylark – “But that night I connected, she dodged into my feint. I smacked her 40 yards out over the car park, and we were on the roof when I did it. She must have been unconscious: she didn't even try to control her fall. Hit the ground and didn't move. Within 24 hours Panoply and Avenger had buried the hatchet, called in reinforcements and started going nuts to bring me down. They still didn't like each other, but I sure gave them a common enemy.”

Wraith wrestles the interrogation back, though he senses Alvin has just about done monologuing:

“Fine. Am I going to find anything nasty on your computer?”

“Since you’ve been quite adult about this, I’ll tell you. It’s not gimmicked. You’ll find tapes of all my interrogations to date. And there’s one or two other details in there about Calculus.”

“Uh, thanks… by the way, since you’re heading back to the Rock: did Bolt get you out?”

“No… she's dead. Three years ago, heroin overdose in Thailand. The woman could go anywhere, anytime she wanted, but I'm told she ended up dead in a shitty backpackers down on the coast looking half-starved. She always had that demon, but when we were together we worked on it. Thing about Teleporters, shifty unless someone can call them on their bullshit every time: they think they can get away with everything.”

“Well it can’t have been Kid Bolt...” – Hester remains impassive – “Was it Calculus II?”

“No it wasn't him, not a chance. I found him first. I had an advantage: he didn't expect me. He had a plan beyond the Bomb of course, but it wasn't killing Panoply. It would have been a real money spinner, but the death of Panoply blew it.

“Here’s a final tip and then I’m done talking and you can take me back and bury me on the Rock again: you kids should really try to turn young Calculus. He’s got access to everything.”

Romancing the Nacht Islands

Performer/”Terry” Terrance; Dark Sorceress

“Are you doing anything tonight?”

“I was planning on studying up on some incantations,” Performer says, but his attention is swiftly gained by that dizzying sense of vertigo again. He cancels his plans.

Wraith/ Matt Gray; Gunship/Deborah Taggart

Wraith has been chatting to Gunship as he downloads the computer’s drives. Not about much: just enjoying each other’s company, in a nerdy sort of way.

“So… no epic drops by the Boss, but level bonus points maybe?” Gunship asks.

“The number for Broker led me to an actual person. Not a group or syndicate. That’s kind of epic.”

“Cool so uh are you like seeing anyone?”

“Me – ulk – gluh – no?”

“We could maybe meet… without suits… in you know, a real face to face way?”

“Um yes OK but um don’t expect anything in the way of good looks, I’m pretty normal under this tech.”

“OK Cool! Um… what do I call you?”

“Matt uh… call me Matt. And you?”

“Debs – Deb – uh Deborah. Deborah.”

“OK. Great. I mean, great!”

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-19/

andrewmclaren26
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Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #20

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:22 pm

Prologue: On Return

Avenger's statement is brief:
Demolition has been returned to custody, his hostages have been returned to Freedom City. The press has been quick to credit me with this achievement: this is incorrect. The credit belongs with the Freedom City Massive which spearheaded the rescue. It is an irony that the Freedom City Massive has rescued the Mayor who makes that group's existence illegal. Clearly, the Massive acts because that team knows the difference between Justice and Law, and perhaps this City's citizens should demand an administration that will work to change the divergence between the two.


Avenger steps down from the podium: Channel Three's Amy Feng quick-draws her personal recorder and fast-steps towards him, making a "tight on me" signal: but the Avenger exits with the practised speed of a veteran at dodging media scrimmages. Amy turns on her new camerawoman:

"Charlie! Stay on your toes! Keep up with me and watch for my signals!"

Amy would have more to say: but speeds back to the wired mike-stand where Mayor Moore is making some spin-doctoring after-remarks. Charlie's too buzzed up by her first day on her new job to take offence or to wonder if this is why Bill quit. She can't wait to surprise Joe with her new identity as Charlie, action girl camera crew!


Intrusions and Interruptions

"OK there! Nike's leaving Freedom's Eyes... there's a big black dude smoking a stogie... he seems to step behind her... she's out of frame."

"Next camera!"

"Bringing it up... this one's the city traffic cam for the avenue. I'll run it back to the last timestamp...

"OK here we are at 3pm even. Just a minute forward... nope, two more minutes... OK go. Yep, there's the same black dude waiting. Same cigar. He waves - check Nike: it's more like 'OK you waved, I don't know you' than 'yo bro' isn't it?"

"Yes, that's how I read it. Not that I'm any great judge of body language. So where does she go?"

"OK here: she swings down the alley, fast: the big guy swings in after her. Then nothing."

"Call it over to Tripp and Holmes."

At the alley, Tripley finds the stogie butt: hands it to Thad. Thad runs a post-cog:

Nike is walking out of Freedom's Eyes. She acknowledges the wave with a briefly-lifted hand, but obviously doesn't know the guy. When he falls into step behind her, she tenses up. Then she spins down the alley: gets set for a duke-out: two darts take her down from behind!


"Nice pieca' work: they knew her MO: got it all laid out an' took her down," Joe comments.

"That seems to leave the big black dude as our next step," Nightfall replies.

"Ya got that right kid: yo Wraith! Punch that face inta law databases, get us a match."

"Will do: and I'm going to enjoy tangling with something a little more challenging than FCPD's system!"

While Wraith is sneaking through the ultra security warding various face-matching programs, Tripley calls the lead he got from Charlie: Talip Hassan. Once he explains how long Nike has been missing, and assures Talip that he won't be invading Jerry's home or anything crazy like that, Talip is willing to share. Talip passes on Jerry's details: another tony address, this time over in Kingston.

"I got a weird result on the face match," Wraith reports eventually. "It's two different guys, both with a record, but living in different states."

"Huh. That is weird. We've got th' stogie bagged up: nuthin' else here. Well hey, I got us Falweather's address an' I plan ta pay th' creep a visit."

"Who do you want to bring this time?" Performer asks eagerly, "You took Holmes to Providence and Nightfall to Candyman's apartment: do the rest of us get action?"

"How's about all of us - I feel a home invasion comin' on!"

"I thought you just gave your solemn word you wouldn't break in?" Thad asks ironically.

"Hey - I won't be - but I happen to know a big f@#%er who will be!"

"Ahh, alternate identities: how we love them," Performer laughs.



Kingston: Wraith drops away from Performer's ride: ghosts through the well-built detached house with its privacy screen of mature bushes.

"Empty, I'm afraid."

The Massive turn the place over: and they're not subtle. There's nothing incriminating except two chunks of raw meat in the refrigerator. Tripp slips out of sight: becomes Tripley: redials.

"Say Talip? Is Falweather a vegetarian, would ya know?"

"Ah... strict Vegan in fact... you... you aren't <gulp> breaking and entering are you?"

"Huh? Uhh, no... I didn't personally... but some people I know did... and Jerry ain't here - there I mean."

"Oh my God! You have involved me in an illegal burglary!"

"Hey - ya ain't involved, 'kay?"

Muttering about how sensitive academics can be, Joe rings off. He's about to return to helping the others with the search when everyone's M-Phone rings. It's Red:

"Freedom City Massive are needed! Armed intruders at Providence Asylum!"

Joe grunts in mixed anger and satisfaction: for once, his suspicion has actually been noted: Red's overwatch of Providence means they should get there before the perps leave for a change: but perhaps at peril of Skylark's life!



One hour earlier:
It doesn't take Wraith long to bring up the footage: the nearest city security camera to Freedom's Eyes "just happens" to be pointed squarely at the civic liberties group's building. He already knows the timeline and zips along to 1500.

Two hours earlier:
The timeline is built by Joe, as the Massive either in civvies talking to Nike's contacts or suited up and retrieving security footage, stakes out Nike's movements the previous day.

Nike had headed to Freedom's Eyes for a heart-to-heart with Dennis, a little after 1400 hours, from her work, The Neverending Story bookstore. She had been tense and upset since her return from lunch. Toby, her work-mate, has been covering for her since her absence.

According to Toby, Nike had left for lunch as normal. Joe verifies that at the Guiltless Bean, a Vegan diner, where Nike met a man matching the description of Jeremy Falweather. Thad manages to post-cog some of Jerry's conversation:

"You're very important, Nike: you're part of such a great thing!"


This - a near-match of Candyman's insane raving - is no surprise to Joe, who had set Red the task of pulling Falweather's details the moment Red called them on Nike's absence. The only surprise so far is how incompetent at getting those details Red seems to be. Perhaps all Armory's resources are devoted to keeping a watch on Providence Asylum?


Eight hours earlier:
Providence Asylum, of course, is where Candyman is being held. He, and Angel Dust, AKA Michelle Ken. Bad Tripp and Holmes interrogate the two villains using a mixture of mental and physical persuasion.

Candyman brags that the Chemical Brothers still on the loose love him and will come for him: Bad Tripp takes him seriously:

"Dat Stretch guy - Eric - an' Speedster - Aaron Beckley - I feature dem tryin' ta free up supplies: an whut else'd dat be but bustin' Candyman out?"

"From Candyman's point of view, the love of an addict is true love," agrees Holmes.

"It ain't jus' bein' hooked! Speedster's a bad hat an' Eric's gotta streak'a woman-bashin' nastiness too!"

"How about Denzel - Roid? Not such a bad type?"

"If'n ya get whutz Michelle's sayin' den Denzel's a real strung-out junkie jonesin' fer his next fix. So: if'n we gets called out, getcha Roid-cream prepped! Haw haw haw!"

Four hours later:
The solid lead the interviews produces is a tony address in Central City. There, Candyman had kept a reserve stash of Boost. But as a terrorized doorman reveals, a cleanup crew led by Ginger has already gotten to it and removed it!

"Dat's de trouble wit' bein' nice ta dese mugs, an' aksin' permission ta talk ta dem!" Tripp growls, thick fingers flexing as though squeezing a certain strawberry blonde's neck. "Time we getsta dem, de intel's old an' trail's cold!"

"That was 'being nice'?!?"

It's at that stage that Red sounds the alarm: Nike has been out of contact for too long: the Freedom City Massive begins its Nike-hunt!


Epilogue
"Now remember Charlie," Amy Feng says, her voice pleased-sounding, "Watch my signals, listen to my voice not what's going on around. This could be a big one: my first source said gunfire and my second one said a 550 had been called in."

"550?" Charlie asks, her breathing coming fast. So much to remember! The Channel Three van races down the I-9 across Centery Bridge: they'll be at Providence Asylum within minutes!

"It's a police code: Capes 550: it means Capes or Super-villains are on-scene.

"If you're really quick, you might spot something in the sky!" Amy finishes, laughing, then chants:

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No - it's a Pulitzer!"

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-20/

andrewmclaren26
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Bystander
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Re: Issue #21

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:55 pm

25 October 2010: 1905 hours: Providence Asylum

The big old place is well-lit. Something about the way the lights and the shadows moving across them suggest things aren’t right. More obviously: three large vans are drawn up in a semi-circle on the turning court in front of the main entrance. A half-dozen of dark-clad men, all armed with SMGs, stand guard. They don’t realize that from the air, the concrete roundabout their vans are parked around makes a good target.

They are alert: suddenly, one shouts and points: all loose off their weapons at a fast-descending object! Then with tremendous impact, Bad Tripp lands right on that target! As he lands he smashes both fists down onto the concrete: the shockwave topples all six guards!

Some 200 feet back, Performer sets Wraith, Nightfall and Holmes down and rises up far above the Asylum. He’s wearing an immaculate tux for the occasion, a crisply perfect top hat and a glossy cane. Puttin’ on the Ritz! With a grin, he begins weaving his telekinesis spells and the vans shift uneasily on their suspension.

Wraith seals Nightfall into his intangible form and with him, planes up to the fourth floor of the eastern wing. Briefed by Holmes, they know that Candyman is being held in the big corner suite.

“Ready? We’re going in!” Wraith says grimly.

“Eeuhhh… I’m not ever getting used to that!” Nightfall mutters as the two slip right through solid walls and into the padded cell. He scans the area swiftly: at a glance, he can see the doors have been blown or smashed in. There’s nothing in the cell, save for a discarded straitjacket. At the doorway lies an empty spectacles case.

Wraith drifts past Nightfall, through the outer security doors – also smashed in – and to the wing corridor.

“Nightfall! There are three goons with sub-machine guns standing guard! They’re at the T-junction leading to the nearest stairwell,” Wraith calls, effortlessly matching what he sees with the plan layout he’s carrying in his head. Once seen, never forgotten.

“On it!” Nightfall raps. This is what all those hours in the Armory gym have been for! Nightfall is bigger, faster, and stronger than at any time in his life. But he’s had very few chances to see action and put his training into practice. Self-doubt assails him again. Over the past months since Avenger recruited him, there have been many such moments: moments when one of the others showed off “super-powers” that he could never emulate. But then a private exchange with Avenger comes back to the youngster. Before they left the Nacht Islands, Avenger had debriefed the Massive: had stepped them through the big show-down with Demolition and Calculus II’s getaway. Maybe he’d picked up on something in Nightfall’s voice. Whatever the reason, he’d found a moment away from the others.

“If I didn’t think you had the ticker,” Avenger had said, punching his fist gently into Nightfall’s chest, “I wouldn’t have recruited you.

“Nice work with the glide-jet by the way! That’s pretty much how Tin Man started off. You know – you could be the next Panoply!”

You can’t get bigger props than that! Nightfall focuses all his energy then unleashes himself around the doorway, through towards the waiting gunsels. The lead sprays and chunks are torn out of walls and ceiling as they try to pick the racing, tumbling figure off. Then he’s on top of them!

Nightfall throws a punch and even as he swings, his body’s moving out of the line of fire. But he’s too focused on not getting hit, and though the gunsel’s knees wobble, he shakes the punch off!

Wraith shifts position, trying to find where Candyman has been taken: opens the comm-link.

“Holmes! I’m dropping down the stairs – there are three more guards – still can’t see our target!”

Far beyond the mad crowd, Holmes lurks in the well-manicured topiary as adeptly as possible for a black man Ludakrisly attired in tweed: he comms back:

“Go back and cover Nightfall: I’ll run a sweep from here: I’ll get back to you if I can pick up Candyman!”

Wraith slides back up, drawing his blaster: sets to stun. “I’m on your shoulder Nightfall: just wipe up the next three and I’ll finish the first lot!”

Nightfall tumbles through his first three adversaries and around the T-junction into the next three. This time he’s got the timing, power and tumbling right: his fist lashes out like a trip-hammer and all three fall unconscious! Spinning, Nightfall poises ready to leap back into action: sees Wraith calmly checking over the three goons slumped at the corner.

“Easy!”

Outside, the six goons clutch at the ground as a menacing voice, so far into bass they can feel it through the ground like a sub-woofer, growls:

“If’n youse muthas wanna stay healthy: stay down!”

Up in the air, Performer allows himself to drift a little lower. He waves his cane as though conducting an orchestra with an outsize baton. The gunsels wince and cringe as beside them, one van tumbles up, slams on top of another: then a third revolves gracefully through the air and slams down on the pile. No-one will be driving away in those! Performer turns his attention to the six SMGs. He glances back: there’s no sign of Holmes, which is as it should be.

A spray of sub-machine gun fire comes through the open doors of the main entrance, taking Bad Tripp square in the chest! It’s great grouping: but the graffiti-stained hulk merely frowns and in response, claps his massive hands sharply together in the direction of the doors. POP!!! All of the glass in front shatters, and there’s an echoing tinkle as the shockwave is funneled through, knocking the shooters down and smashing out any glass in back of the full-width atrium. Tripp hops up onto the wide entrance steps: glares through looking for more trouble.

“Holmes,” Wraith comms over, “we’ll work our way down to link up with Tripp and Performer.”

“Fine with me!”

“Where are you, anyway, clown-boy?”
Nightfall comms. He’s feeling on top of his game and looking for some more butts to kick!

“If you’re blue then why don’t you go where fashion sits…” Performer sings softly. The song’s brain-hooked him but why not: he comes floating down to the broad entranceway, juggling six SMGs. "Maybe I can shoot them all off as I go..." he muses, then: "No, what would Auntie say?"

Second verse, same as the first:
As Bad Tripp lumbers gracelessly over the broken glass and onto the fine tile of the reception area, two torpedoes open up with their sub-machine guns from the mezzanine of the atrium! Bullets smash the valuable tile to shards and chew higher insurance premiums out of the solid timber door-frame. Bad Tripp growls. He knows Michelle Ken’s room is up on the second floor west: it looks as though the gunmen are going to get a visit, close-up and personal! Then from the ground floor west comes a cry:

“Hey Capes! Back off! We got hostages!”

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-21/

andrewmclaren26
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #22

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:31 am

The Reveal

25 October 1900 hours: Providence Asylum

Candyman
sits, strait-jacket encased, wrapped in thought or concentration: the cell door explodes in off its hinges, though without sufficient force to carry through into the cell and harm its occupant. An imposing black man walks in: stares levelly at Candyman: “Keep an eye out,” he raps back to Kevin O’Shaunnessey who’s hovering at the door still dressed as a patient: turns back to Candyman.

“I’ve got a deal: and don’t even bother to pretend to think about it. I give you your freedom, and you give me the information I want. And make no mistake: I’m in charge.”

As he speaks, the black man’s features become heavier, more ape-like, his legs dwindle and his chest expands: until at last, Doc Simian is fully revealed. He slips Candyman easily out of the jacket, and hands him the spectacle case. Then as subtly as it began, the ape’s form shifts again as he and Candyman head for the exit stairwell. The Bomb falls in behind the pair as Simian instructs the gunsels on the stairwell to be on guard. They mount to the asylum roof. There, Doc Simian raises his head, as though expecting a visitor from the stars: instead, his renowned hover-chair appears out of the dark. The super-villain takes his seat of honor and the other two cling onto the rails as the chair departs.

Preliminaries

“Hey Capes! Back off! We got hostages!”

1705 hours:
Bad Tripp snarls: he’s tempted to just smash his way in but hostages will need something faster and more subtle than he can deliver on his own. He carries on with his first instinct: smacks his paws together to send a shockwave blasting the two gunsels back off the mezzanine balustrade: then follows them up with a leap. They’ve been pummeled back into the wall behind them and are out.

“Wraith!” Bad Tripp grunts, “Gotta hostage situation back in de lib’ry wing: gonna need ya ta ghost t’ru.”

“Roger! On our way!”

Nightfall races through two sets of fire-stop doors, westward to the atrium: an open cell catches his eye but he doesn’t pause: leaps straight off the balustrade and describes a graceful arc to the ground floor foyer. He passes Performer, who has flashed up to the top floor in case he’s needed there. For some reason, clown-boy is wearing a fancy tux and top hat rig. Smartass quick-change!

Performer spins through 360 degrees as he descends the atrium: things seem under control: it’s time to bring some intel to the team. He hurries past Nightfall into the men’s room off the foyer.

Holmes, still hidden in the bushes out on the approach, zips his mind in and races it across the west wing through the library. Yes, it is a hostage situation! Huddled on the library floor, some 30 staff and patients are under the guard of six goons who also guard the doors and windows. A seventh, perhaps in charge, paces nervously by the main door, watching the corridor to the foyer. He calls:

“I’m not gonna wait! Here’s the deal: you Capes pull back, we get outta here, an’ nobody gets hurt!”

Holmes relays the layout to his team-mates, and the Massive prepare for action.

Crisis averted: Absent Candyman

Bad Tripp
– incredibly – appears over the heads of the hostages, sliding through the ceiling like a large, ill-mannered graffiti ghost. As his feet hit the ground he solidifies: claps his hands overhead with an almighty BOOM and everyone in the room reels, dazed.
In his wake Wraith lines up three goons and lets his blaster rip: the extended stun cone knocks one down. Holmes drops another with a mental blast.

Tripp leaps over to the guard nearest Doc Alice and Michelle Ken and clobbers him! Performer, now dressed in more traditional costume, rips a dazzling line of lights across the door guards who return fire: but dazzled as they are they do not see the bullets passing harmlessly through their intended target – Performer’s mortal coil is still slumped over in the john!

Nightfall flashes like a fullback through the doors, knocking the guards there down, and Wraith takes out the last couple with close-range shots. Though the hostages are scared and clutching ringing ears, none have been harmed!

By the time the Channel Three news-van arrives, the Freedom City Massive has bowed out.


Back on the Case

1730 hours: Kingston:
the Massive wander back into Falweather’s house, through the remains of the front door. They pick up where they left off. Holmes admires the décor of a bachelor’s house: runs an educated eye along the crowded bookshelves. Some texts, he swiftly concludes, are there by necessity. These would be college set texts, and even the animal-rights material. Others are well-thumbed: ape books; a big cat book; a section of a reference book dealing with inter-species breeding.

A post-cog in the kitchen produces the disturbing image:

Jeremy is scarfing cubes of raw beef like popcorn. The phone rings:
“Hello?”
A deep voice can be heard in reply. Holmes pushes himself mentally closer to the receiver:
“…meet in the agreed place. No mistake.”
“There won’t be. She’s primed and ready.”
“That will be satisfactory.”
“OK, thanks boss.”


Wraith walks in on the séance:

“I’ve been flicking through Jeremy’s finances. He’s being paid a stipend out of the Bahamas. The house is freehold so he’s only covering utilities and local tax. Nice for some.”

“Who do we know who works out of the Bahamas?” Nightfall asks rhetorically.

“Broker, maybe, though it’s a convenient place for all sorts of financial arrangements.”

“Have a try at the phone – the last phone call was from Doc Simian,” Holmes suggests.

Wraith’s blank face-plate turns eagerly on the new challenge and he reaches out with his array of electronics. Within a very short time he turns back to the Massive:

“It came from an extension inside Hanover Zoo.”

Night at the Zoo
Bodies slumped in Joe Tripley’s van in the zoo parking lot, Performer and Holmes ghost through the zoo grounds: Wraith does the same in person. Holmes makes straight for Baboon Island, a relatively small moated enclosure where the baboons have only one dead tree to play on during the long days. Two baboons are awake and up the tree: they’ve obviously been disturbed in some way! Or are they… lookouts? Holmes’ astral skin crawls and he relays the warning.

Performer begins a search through and under the enclosure and the most adjacent buildings. One, a three-story building, appears to be a veterinary center. No windows on the ground floor. But on the ground level, eight gorillas are floating in some type of chemical, one to a vat, with gaseous compounds being fed into their breathing apparatus. This must be where those missing vats ended up!

Wraith follows up, and as he assesses the set-up, mind racing as he contemplates some Planet of the Apes type scenario, the physical Massive collect back at the van and move on the vet clinic. Performer lifts Holmes in his telekinetic grasp, while Bad Tripp and Nightfall leap and glide respectively. Over in the baboon enclosure the inmates wake and screech…

Explosive Fun
Wraith ghosts up the building: sure enough, on the next floor the Bomb is packing a duffel ready to leave. Wraith grins inside his faceless helm and drifts next to the unwitting Bomb: then becoming tangible, pulls O’Shaunnessey toward the wall! But the Bomb wrenches himself clear, spins to face his tormenter and triggers a Claymore bomb strapped to his abdomen! Only in the nick of time does Wraith realize what Bomb is doing and flicks back to intangibility as the walls are shredded apart. A noise sounds from above. Then Wraith closes again and this time, succeeds in pulling Bomb out into the air! As he floats the writhing victim away from the building, Wraith passes what he heard over to the team.

Down on the ground, the baboons have somehow crossed the moat and are gathering menacingly! Performer shreds off a string of dazzling lights and the apes recoil slightly. Holmes hits the ground clumsily as he’s released from Performer’s telekinesis: rolls to his knees: throws a scare into the dominant male! He’s bought some time: but not a lot: and Performer grumbles mightily as he wrenches Holmes back up into the air away from danger.

Rescue
The third-floor window bursts in as Bad Tripp and Nightfall make an entrance. Candyman stands cuffed to a table while Doc Simian inspects two beings: Skylark, who stands poised with a metal band on her graceful head; and a humanoid who, though bearing the muzzle, long hairy limbs and claws of a baboon, also bears blasphemous traces of Jeremy Falweather! Tripp rushes across the room, clotheslines both Jerryape and Skylark: spins to face them again, poised for action. Nightfall whips his bolas over at Doc Simian, but the BrainApe shows a surprisingly agile turn, leaping over the tangling device and activating his chair from the next room.

As Performer raises Holmes level with the window, he sees Skylark and Jerryape leap back to their feet and pound on the nimble Nightfall, who dodges Skylark but not Jerryape. As swiftly as he safely can, Performer deposits Holmes into the room: blasts Jerryape: without effect. Tripp rushes the fight: locks himself onto Skylark who struggles helplessly in his grip:

“Pull th’ gadget off’n her head!”

Performer focuses his telekinetic power: power that can pull a roof apart: the metal circlet pulls delicately away from Skylark! She blinks in recognition: she is free!
There’s a tremendous crash as the hover-chair rockets away up through the building: Doc Simian has fled! Jerryape kicks Holmes in the head and flees too: out through the window in one tremendous bound!

Performer sees Wraith casually pitch the Bomb into the baboon enclosure’s moat, whip out his blaster and with great accuracy knock Jerryape staggering to his knees on a rooftop. Next, Skylark comes bounding over with blood in her eye: screams: “Eat these ya faux-Vegan mutha!” and smashes several blows onto JerryApe. Then the carnage is blotted out as Bad Tripp leaps atop the roof and looms over the fight: a huge hand sweeps down: JerryApe struggles no more.

Absent Candyman Again

Returning from rescuing Bomb from his watery peril, Performer gets the call from Wraith:

Nightfall’s been poisoned, and Candyman’s gone!”

Performer sees Skylark bounding south to guard the southern gate, and Bad Tripp trudging back toward the parking lot toting the unconscious – and now fully human – Jeremy. Passing Bomb to Tripp, Performer sweeps the western part of the Zoo as swiftly as his uncanny powers allow. Several zoo staff wander like zombies around the darkened enclosures: but of the Candyman there is no sign!

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-22/

andrewmclaren26
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Issue #23

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:14 pm

Debriefing: and back on the case

Friday October 29 2010: Armory


“So what you recall is…?”

“I was restrained by the metal band you took off me,” Skylark repeats patiently. “I could feel that my behavior was changed. It didn’t seem scary at the time. Once I snapped out of it I could remember that Jerry was stooge for Simian and I wanted to smack his ape shack down.”

It’s a day later: the Freedom City Massive have had time to make their excuses for absence or inattention in their private lives. In Armory’s common room where the team is running through an informal debriefing, there’s an air of resignation, but a new determination as well. Candyman is in the wind or deep in hiding, true; but Bomb is back in Providence and Jeremy Falweather is already out on the Rock. The Massive can turn its attention back to Underworld.

“Who, might I just add,” Nightfall comments, pointing at the latest morning paper, “has a new Police Commissioner all of his own making.”

Major Promotion: Paul Gilbert appointed new Police Commissioner


“Ya got that pegged about right, kid,” Tripley comments. “Though I guess we can take credit as well.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, if’n we hadn’t helped clean up th’ Tonifannis so fast, Gilbert would maybe have hadda wait a few more years yet. None of our contacts – the ones we passed on the intel to – got promotions or even a lousy commendation. That still rides my shorts up.”

“He also took credit for the Capes collars we made,” Skylark reminds them all.

Performer strikes a dramatic pose:
“His end will come! And far shall he fall!
“Or to put it another way, what goes around comes around,” he adds cheerfully.

’Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.’
John Locke,” Holmes adds helpfully.

’Men are rewarded or punished not for what they do but for how their acts are defined. That is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves.’
Thomas Szasz,” Wraith tops.

“If’n youse super-brains’re finished with ya pissin’ contest, let’s start talking cases,” Tripley growls, pulling out his battered old flip-top pad.

Casework

Saturday 30 October 2010

North Bay 0727 hours: The Sunrise Grill
stands closed and desolate above a strangely Chandleresque dawn shoreline. Investigating the joint, the location of the Underworld-Candyman deal gleaned from Holmes’ mind-probing Candyman at Providence, was voted the first priority.

Whilst Skylark keeps watch outside, Nightfall and Wraith open the place up and Holmes joins them: the investigatory team commences its search. It takes Wraith only moments to spot two heavy bloodstains, still dark on the scrubbed floor. Holmes kneels down to touch the stains: post-cogs.

A couple of Golden Calf security goons stand guard at the Sunrise Grill door while four more hustle two prisoners inside. Underworld, seated, turns a fluorescent lamp on and speaks in a dark, savage voice:

“You’ve been running a scam in the Golden Calf. I have an interest in that place. You know what happens to you now?”

Despite their pleas, Underworld hauls out a blaster and blows a gaping hole in each. He dismisses the goons and waits quietly over the cooling bodies. Then Candyman walks in. The deal goes down: Candyman agrees the terms the Massive already know of and leaves. Underworld picks up a comms device and speaks directly to Ginger.


Riverside 0910 hours: Freedom’s Eyes opens at about 9, depending on staffing. Nike finds Dennis transferring some notes from his PDA to a desktop.

“Nike! You’re back – I mean, you’re safe? We heard you’d been kidnapped!”

Nike reassures Dennis offhandedly then excuses her attitude as best she can. She is focused on the next priorities: CCC, Pinni-chem and Don Campbell. Dennis warns Nike that CCC are bad news: they use FCPD contacts to keep tabs on Freedom’s Eyes. He scribbles a secret meet-place and time and slips it over. Nike’s eyes wander round the office. She’d asked Performer to have a quick ghost through in case of bugs but that did not mean there weren’t any. Slipping the note away, she moves the conversation on to Pinni-chem and Campbell. Freedom’s Eyes had very little more on Pinni-chem than Dennis had already passed on. Campbell they considered a chair-filler, an empty-headed figurehead. His family name – the North Bay Campbells – gave his directorships gravitas.

Nike heads off to her day job while Performer, satisfied she’s not in danger, ghosts back to his body, rubs out the pins and needles, and puts in a call to update the Massive.

Riverside 1930 hours: The evening traffic has dwindled and in the private nook Dennis named it can hardly be heard at all. Both he and Nike seem a little nervous: conspiracies in a good cause are always risky. Performer and Nightfall are on watch somewhere above them.

The file is relatively bulky. Nike hands it off to Nightfall, who doesn’t need both hands to travel rooftops.

A summary of the CCC file:

CCC go all the way back to 1766. In 1876 they moved the NYC, where they enjoyed success. In 1966 they relocated back to Freedom City. They have a ruthless reputation. Their senior partner is named Lucius Cabot. Grant Conglomerates is their largest “straight” client. CCC supported Freddie Moore’s election campaigns. Campbell gets placed into Directorships through CCC’s offices. The firm frequently employs Danny O’Hare as a private investigator.
Freedom’s Eyes have included a fair amount of speculation, surmise and unsupported evidence in the file. They have a sketchy series of links between CCC and the Broker, whom they use to outsource super-villains; and connections to Big Al and Mr. Eddie. The name of Mr. Eddie’s on-call attorney is there.


Armory: Wraith has his inventions ready for bugging mobile devices. The ad to initiate contact with Calculus II is placed in the personals. He flicks over some blueprints of Southside Palace that he’s downloaded from City Engineering and calls Performer:

“Hey Terry, call me when you get back into your skin. I’ve got some layouts ready for your next scout mission.”

He heads out to the weights room. Sure enough, Nightfall is working out there.

“We’re on, O Grunt Boy.”

“A buggin’ we will go?”

“Yes, I’ve got all the gadgets ready.”

“How are we getting around?”

“Let’s stick with the simplest solution. The order of play is City Hall, CCC then south across the river to Southside Palace. Performer will be scouting the Palace so he can lift us across the river; but let’s just meet up on City Hall first.”

“Sounds good! I’ll shower and suit up and meet you there.”

Thus it is that during the night, Wraith, with Nightfall running security, bugs Mayor Gilbert’s office and mobile; two palatial offices at CCC; and Big Al’s phone at Southside Palace. In Lucius’ office, Wraith’s quick “head through wall” search discovers a secret niche with a few charm doodads. Otherwise, all proceeds without a hitch. Constant streams of audio and video will feed back to Wraith for monitoring.

Sunday 31 October 2010

The Boardwalk near the Golden Calf: Ginger’s
van guns out of the staff area and Joe slips his own van out three vehicles back. As Ginger heads further south he uses his M-phone to rope in Holmes and Performer: sets up a three-vehicle tail. The other two are new to the idea but quickly get it. Holmes drives an anonymous sedan, and no-one could possibly suspect the clown-mobile as a tail! As Ginger heads out into desolate, rust-stained waste-fields south of Lincoln, Joe calls the others in and Performer takes astral form.

While they wait, standing around the clown-mobile, Joe passes on Hippo’s opinion on PI Danny O’Hare:
O’Hare worked out of Central. He made detective and moved from Vice to Homicide. He had a good cancellation rate, Hippo recalls. There’s a half-hint that some of the evidence might have “had a little help.”
When O’Hare was invited in by then-Major Gilbert to gather case notes on the FCM, Hippo noticed he already had a lot of notes to work off. He worked thoroughly and hard, treading on toes from the bomb squad to the coroner’s office.


“So, he might have some material of interest to us amongst his case file.”

“Yeah, maybe even somethin’ on th’ Panoply hit we didn’t get.”

“Still keen on roughing him up?”

“Hey, jus’ seems ta me like th’ Massive needsta be out kickin’ a li’l ass.”

Performer raises himself off the seat as he re-inhabits his body:

“Ginger met another van about three miles up. They off-loaded containers from her van to theirs. There was some kind of powder in them.”

“Interesting! I don’t suppose there’s a secret lab under the Golden Calf?”

“Mebbe ya missed th’ early movie, Holmes,” Tripley snorts. “Ya fergettin’ Ginger led th’ raid whut collared all a’ Candyman’s stash. Maybe two stashes. ‘Member how f#$%in’ fast Eddie an’ Ginger got inta action after Nacht Islands? Seemed like they had evr’thin’ lined up even before they got off’n th’ f#$%in’ plane!”

“Oh, sure. Yeah. OK, I’ll get after the second van, see where it ends up.”

“OK seeya Holmes, keep in touch dude. An’ Terry: ‘s time fer th’ clown-mobile ta get lost. Can’t have Ginger spottin’ ya now.”

Joe figures Ginger’s headed back to the Golden Calf and drives in front of her. He’s right. About half an hour after his van is safely parked on stakeout again, Holmes calls.

“I followed the second van to Riverside. There were three passengers: they loaded the containers into a barge. I’ve got the exact details in my head: I’ll brief everyone later.”

Monday 1 November 2010:

Riverside 0630 hours: Performer, Skylark and Joe Tripley
motor over to Riverside, following Ginger. She and five casino goons enter a building overlooking the moorings along the quay. Performer ghosts in after her while Skylark takes to the rooftops and Joe slips into the back of the van: becomes Bad Tripp.

Ginger issues strict instructions to her entourage: she sets up a watch on the drugs barge. If any event occurs they are to contact her. They are on no account to let the bargees see them.

Somewhat reluctantly, the three Capes decide not to interfere at this stage: maintaining a covert watch on
Ginger seems a higher priority:

“We c’n get Wraith ta sample th’ sh*t when he’s up fer it.”

“Best to make sure what we’re dealing with,” Skylark affirms. “It could be a double-bluff: you know: make it look like the barge is full of Boost but the real stash is still back at the Golden Calf?”

“It would be really funny, messing with their heads though,” Performer comments wistfully. Visions of floating by the window, or waving at them from the barge, slip reluctantly away.

1005 hours: Wraith calls in an update: most of the team are in touch save for Holmes.

“Couple of things,” he announces, setting his latte back down carefully on his workstation, “Lucius Cabot received this call from the Broker: here it is:

‘I’ve got people picking up those contracts. Expect the first one in Tuesday.’

“And Calculus II has responded in the same personals column: he calling a meeting with us. There’s a corner in the Fens, and the meeting’s timed for this evening.”

“Say, that’s the coolest,” Skylark enthuses, “I can run cover if it’s the evening.”

“I gotsta keep on th’ stakeout I guess,” Joe responds, “but th’ timeline’s lookin’ short now, seein’s how we gotta barge ta snoop, a PI ta rough up, an’ Calculus ta meet. Speakin’ of stakeouts, our pal Lester Hillermann dropped inta th’ Golden Calf fer about 20 minutes. Guess he don’t trust th’ phone no more.”

“I can run cover as well,” Nightfall offers.

“And you should be there too, Wraith: we’ll need your geek skills,” Skylark coaxes.

“I can be there: it’s just round the corner so to speak.”

“Yo Performer? You there? Ya got th’ face-ta-face skills ta talk ta th’ little creep.”

“I guess that means I get to stand round in public on a corner of the most high-crime areas in town,” Performer agrees. “You think I should be in full costume?”

“Just wear something fairly formal,” Skylark suggests.

“Hey, it’s Halloween: there’s a’ready kids wanderin’ aroun’ in fancy dress,” Joe comments wryly, “If’n ya wear a tux or suit a’ some kind, ya should be jake.”

Central City 1705 hours: The plate window of Danny O’Hare’s high-rise office smashes inward as Bad Tripp arrives, brushing the vertical blinds off his shoulders and grabbing the gob-smacked PI as he sits smoking behind his desk.

“NICE OFFICE!”

Danny is used as a cleaning-cloth as Bad Tripp clears the desk with him.

While Tripp is enjoying himself threatening, smashing and generally throwing his weight around, Wraith downloads O’Hare’s hard drive. Tripp collars the physical case-file and hands it off into the early evening to an unseen Nightfall.

As a last contemptuous gesture Tripp flicks the PI’s PC out the window and Wraith slags it: only Nightfall’s quick reflexes prevent it dropping on an innocent passer-by!

The Fens 2000 hours:

Wraith hovers. Nightfall is the lookout. Skylark is backup, stationed up a nearby wall as Performer waits on the designated corner, dressed in a smart suit. A payphone rings behind him.

“So… four of you huh? If this is a trick, I warn you: I have an exit plan and you will regret it.”

“No trick: we just want to talk.”

The door of a van parked some yards away opens and Calculus II, more or less in full costume, walks over to Performer.

“I’m primed and ready for trouble,” the super-villain warns. He’s clutching something under his coat: perhaps a plunger or deadman switch.

“Relax. I told you: we just want to talk.”

Skylark drops down to street level and Wraith hovers lower, still invisible.

“So, let me guess: you want to know why I am pursuing a very profitable life robbing banks when I could be earning, ooh, nothing, as a white hat?”

“Well, put it this way: what would it take for you to join us?”

“Be specific?”

“We are currently targeting Underworld. We want to know what it would take for you to help us.”
Calculus II thinks for several moments, then grins and replies:

“You know… I’m down with the idea. Demolition got no respect from the guy, and he messed my brilliant plan up too. But I need guarantees:
• One: full disclosure
• Two: no tap-backs on the alliance.
“You know: your main advantage is that you are not currently Underworld’s main concern.”

http://partybickering.wordpress.com/201 ... /issue-23/

andrewmclaren26
Bystander
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Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:44 pm

Issue #24

Postby andrewmclaren26 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:25 am

Monday 1 November 2010

The Fens, 2001 hours: Wraith
descends the last few feet to the sidewalk, joining Skylark and Performer: becomes visible:

“Full team disclosure, is it, Calculus? I have a problem with that. Sure, I get that you would need disclosure of information: but I don’t feature you wandering round our base and using my tech bench – or raiding Tripp’s beer fridge! And I don’t suppose you want us scoping out your secret lair and rolling round in your money.”

Calculus grins in appreciation of this point:

“How about we agree on a method of communicating that doesn’t allow back-tracking? Sure, we could both crack the encryption, but a gentleman’s agreement will be in force?”

“OK, let’s quickly work out the technical details: if we can agree on a frequency and encryption that doesn’t allow back-tracking, I can sell this to the team.”

Performer and Skylark nod and Nightfall votes “yea,” and the two master-geeks are moved discreetly to a nearby rooftop. There, far above the All-Souls crowds, the mes-alliance is concluded with an agreement that no civilians will be harmed, and nor will the FCM’s rep – such as it is.

Calculus II reveals that he has recently cased the Golden Calf. The security cameras now boast invisibility detectors; there’s some magic detection in place, and lots more goons. Mr. Eddie seems very fit and packs lots of inventions; Ginger's meta-abilities he’s unsure of; but he does know that Capes are being hired.

“Probably not against you guys,” he adds.

“CCC – the law firm – has brought them in using the Broker,” Wraith confirms. “Maybe to be used against Candyman, or us? We’re still gathering information. Speaking of that: Performer, did you have a chance to narrow down those charms I saw in Lucius’ office?”

“Yes, I did a bit of research,” Performer replies modestly. “They’re all aimed at magical infiltration: there’s a Janus trap – a one-way thing that would trap an astral entity there – a watcher that can recognize magical entities, and a pursuit creature that would be summoned to chase an astral form.”

“Thanks! I guess we chose the right person to check the offices out!”

“You got that right!” Performer exclaims whole-heartedly.

“Anyway: now that we’ve got this under way, maybe you could head back to our stakeout?”

Performer quick-changes back into his Capes costume, and soars out into the night sky. He reaches Joe’s van swiftly: Joe has nothing to report, and with Holmes now available to spell him, suggests that Performer can leave his body in the van and watch the barge from behind the five goons on lookout duty over on Riverside. Performer agrees: glad that he won’t have to smell the funky interior of the van more than he needs to.

What to do with the drug-barge

Tuesday 2 November 2010:
The stakeout is interrupted by Wraith’s comms message:

“Good morning! My sample of the barge cargo confirms those containers hold Boost! There are two goons on board: they seem pretty competent but aren’t armed for Capes. I’ve had some nifty ideas about wrecking the barge and destroying the drugs, so I’m ready to go with that mission.”

Calculus comms back:

“If it’s all the same to the team and no disrespect to your timing, I’d like more time. You’d be forcing an issue that, to my reckoning, doesn’t need to be forced. Let’s just keep gathering information. I’m in the Golden Calf, and you’re monitoring the outside and the barge, right?”

The Massive agree and surveillance continues. Joe excuses himself from midday: he’s got a few things to take care of and has put in 24 hours stakeout over the past 36 hours.

Joe Tripley/Bad Tripp

Chez Henri, Mid-Town 1830 hours: Charlie
and Joe make a striking couple as they are shown to their seats in the swanky restaurant. Charlie’s in an evening dress which pays tribute to her Goth roots with its severe black line and length and plunging neckline. Joe’s in a formal suit but now that his hat’s been taken, his Mohawk is proudly erect again.

The meal goes well, but Charlie’s beginning to sense that Joe’s attention is elsewhere: when his eyes aren’t wandering to her cleavage they’re checking his cellphone. Things go south on the dessert course:

“Joe, it seems like every time I talk about Channel Three you pull a kind of sour face – there it is again! Why did you pull that face?”

“Huh? Wha… well, why’re ya been yappin’ about Channel Three all evenin’? Hey, don’t get me wrong – it was great hearing about it the first three times!”

“I knew it! You can’t stand for me to be happy! Or is it… you’re jealous! You can’t stand for me to be doing better than you!”

“Hey – it ain’t thatatall! It’s just – why can’t ya be happy doin’ a real job instead a’ hangin’ with those talking head types?”

“Real job!?! You think sales clerk in an Army Surplus store is a real job? Did you even notice I couldn’t afford to even buy the Army Surplus stuff I was selling? Don’t you know I spent four years studying art, direction and taking a BTEC in media?!?”

“Hhnnh? What was that babe?”

“I SAID, I SPENT FOUR YEARS QUALIFYING FOR THE WORK I’M DOING!!!”

“Oh sure… that. Well, if ya count runnin’ round pointin’ a camera as work, then sure, whatever.”

“I HATE YOU JOE!!! I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN! YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!!”

The Game's Aflight

2150 hours: Holmes
points out a female figure lifting from the Golden Calf rooftop. Wraith flies after her, invisible and intangible as ever. She flies over to Greenbank: meets a dark-clad woman Wraith IDs as Creep and passes over what looks to be a cash payout.

Wraith follows Creep, but loses her across the river in Southside. Back at the stakeout, the female flier is logged in: matching logs with Calculus, Ginger is penciled in as the likely flier.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

1840 hours: Newly-sworn Commissioner Gilbert
, plus wife, enter the Golden Calf restaurant. His swearing-in has led the city news. Wraith’s lip curls in contempt: in expectation of more night larks he’s joined the stakeout team.

“Mr. Eddie’s stopped by,” Calculus reports. “Wifey’s excused herself… Mr. Eddie is still talking to Gilbert but I don’t have a feed nearby.”

2145 hours: Ginger again departs from the rooftop, flying south. Wraith follows her, this time to Bayview Heights. She meets Stretch: Eric Olsen the ex-Chemical Brother. He’s Boosted up. He, like Creep, receives an envelope: hops into an old, high-quality Volvo. Wraith slaps a bug on the car: follows it to Letterman in Southside. Wraith’s search of property titles suggests a link back to the Golden Calf. He swipes the bug back from the car: drifts into the house.

Creep’s on the third floor: she’s just reacting to an inappropriate comment from Stretch: her crossbow is loaded in a flash and the bolt’s head tucked up under Stretch’s chin! Wraith admires Creep’s severe looks, revealed now that her hood is down, but he’s into red-heads so she’s no real competition for Gunship in his eyes. Once Stretch leaves, Creep pulls out a mobile phone and calls Marauder.

Wraith hovers nearby, listening in: Marauder listens to Creep’s complaints about working with Stretch and pleads with her to turn herself in and join him: she refuses, but agrees to keep in contact. Wraith leaves his bug in the room: keeping an ongoing log of what the lady says could be valuable.

Thursday 4 November 2010

1735 hours: Joe
, frustrated and bad company for Holmes in their shift in the van, logs Lester Hillermann visiting again. Calculus tracks him into Mr. Eddie’s office where he opens a folder he’s brought, to show Eddie some property-related deals. The folder closed and tucked away under Lester’s arm again, Eddie encourages him to get the mayor into the casino once again.

2150 hours: This time Ginger flies to Wharton State Forest to meet Envision and Noose. Money is exchanged. The pair head off, and it’s not too difficult for Wraith to track them to the safe house on Letterman. He switches across to his bug: joining Creep, they wonder aloud about Stretch – he’s unproven – but Creep just replies that he was approached and took the job, so they may as well put up with him.

Friday 5 November 2010

1145 hours: Joe
clocks Ginger pulling out of the underground secure parking in a late-model Buick sedan: either a Lucerne or Lacrosse model.

“I got Ginger rolling: I’m on her,” he announces, glad to be doing something. Last night’s takedown of a dealing house in Melanti territory has done little to ease his frustration. He glances at Nightfall:

“Suit up, kid – but watchout ya don’t kick Performer nowhere or else he’ll wake up.”

“Sure,” Nightfall agrees, slipping back into the van’s body, “it’s great how Performer is really standing up to the watch!”

“Yeah – no complaints at all!”

Staying three back, Joe shadows Ginger into Mid-City and with surprise, registers that she’s pulling into the valet parking for Chez Henri!

1215 hours: Nightfall slips through the privacy hedge around Chez Henri’s dining-lounge windows. He nestles at the window nearest Ginger’s table and peeks in. She’s alone over a light but very expensive lunch: occasionally she sets her fork down and jots a note to herself on an expensively-bound memo pad. By the attentive service she’s getting, Ginger is a valued customer.

Swinging by the parking lot yet again on his block-square pattern, Joe notes that the same valet Ginger handed her keys to has just exited back into the parking lot with two bags!

To the outrage of a would-be parker, Joe swings the van across two lanes and into a reasonably-discreet parking bay. He disappears from view: then the van rear doors open and Bad Tripp steps down: hops over the corner to land beside the stunned valet!

“DAT’S MY TIP! GIMME DE KEYS!!!”

Dropping the keys and leaving the bags in the trunk, Bad Tripp wrenches the sedan up: then stops, uncertain as to what to do next. There’s no convenient police station nor body of water and he balks at just shoving the sedan into the restaurant. Then he grins as inspiration reaches him: sets the car back down and one at a time, pulls the wheels off and throws them away over the city toward the harbor.

Bad Tripp pick up the keys, tosses them back to the valet:

“SAY – MY MISTAKE: WUZZINT MY TIP AT DAT! ALL YOURS! HAVE A NICE DAY – PUNK!!!”

1250 hours:
Lunch ruined by the unexpected dismantling, Ginger returns to the Golden Calf in a cab. A casino baggage handler moves the two bags to a baggage counter where from there they are shifted to the money floor below.

Upstairs, Ginger – profanely – discusses Bad Tripp’s interference. She’s highly PO’d and it takes Eddie a while to calm her ruffled feathers.

1532 hours: Calculus comms in:

“I have a report from Southside Pen: Owen Sarsfied has escaped.”

Off the grid, Joe calls it into Red to get confirmation:

“Yeah, that’s what I have too Joe,” Red confirms, “Sarsfield, Cape ID “Jack,” escaped from the exercise yard – the prison governor doesn’t seem too sure how it was done: but it’s nothing like a super-max so I guess, wouldn’t be too hard.”

1140 hours: Mayor Freddie Moore, some visiting Chinese dignitaries in tow, arrives at the casino. He and his party are greeted and begin a happy time gambling.

Saturday 6 November 2010

0600 hours: The Massive
is minus Holmes, who will be doing some community work in Lincoln this morning, but Joe and Nightfall are just two hours into stakeout shift, Performer’s stretching the kinks out of his body before resuming watch at the barge, and Skylark is netting in from her home on her way in.

Wraith’s been on the night shift at the Golden Calf and is still sitting with Nightfall and Joe, kicking around who the Massive expect to meet: whether the barge is being set up as bait for Candyman, or for some other nefarious purpose. Red breaks in:

“FCM – there’s been an explosion on one of the Lincoln dope corners!”

“Roger that Red: call in Holmes will you? He’s supposed to be around there somewhere!”

“Done, Wraith: he’ll meet you there.”

“He’ll meet someone he can see there,”
corrects Wraith, ghosting rapidly through the city in his usual state. Far behind him, Joe’s navigating the van along the Boardwalk towards Lincoln.

Lincoln, 0615 hours: An impressive crater marks where the explosion took out a chunk of a solid brownstone, several young hoppers slinging the local Boost variant… “And a junkie,” Holmes adds. Harvey and Popodopoulus, as chance would have it, were the detectives that caught the incident: they allowed Holmes through long enough for a post-cog to take.

“Just a regular junkie?”

“He seemed kind of strung out already when he went up to the corner, but maybe a sample would tell us more.”

“On it,” grunts Wraith, becoming tangible long enough to scrape a smear of remains off the brownstone. “I’ll get this back to the lab and run some analysis.”

Armory One, 0700 hours: Wraith has run enough tests to tell him that the junkie had been brim-full of Boost, but he’s found no precursor or other explosive.

“Oh well, if this is some elaborate plan by Candyman to destroy Underworld’s Boost network, I guess I’ll have another sample before too long,” Wraith muses, switching over to his bug. He’s mentally named it “Evil Cape Radio” and it’s playing a bit of light complaint from Stretch and some fairly old-fashioned numbers along the lines of sitting, staying on post, and waiting for instructions.

0830 hours: Red sends a private-net flash: Michelle Ken has been kidnapped from Providence! None of the Massive who took part in rescuing Michelle feel good about this. As Wraith sums up:

“This could well kill her. We were warned she’s on a knife edge, health-wise: and if that prick Candyman gets his needle into her…”

Skylark shifts uncomfortably. She knows Wraith has more than once regretted stopping her from injecting Candyman, but merely responds:

“I have to go to work soon.”

“OK, yes, and Holmes is still over in Lincoln. I’ll spell Performer.”

Riverside Rumble

Riverside, 0835 hours
: The five goons detailed to watch the barge are complaining about their duties in a routine, said-it-all-before sort of way: then:

“Say –heads up! There’s movement on th’ barge!”

Wraith elevates himself a little and drifts out through the wall to get the best view: a junkie has just wandered over the gangplank and onto the deck. Two of the toughs guarding the barge – probably the full guard complement – emerge from the wheelhouse and warn the junkie off. Wraith rapidly retreats: and just in time:

BOOM!!!

The junkie explodes, blowing the two toughs off into the river, smashing most of the nearby windows and making the barge jump in the water.

As the barge begins listing at its moorings, Wraith scans around: calls the Massive:

“Freedom City Massive, assemble! I’ve got the Evil Capes being told to assemble here, and there are two vehicles approaching fast!”

All but Holmes are available: ready to rumble!

0840 hours: As Performer lifts the Freedom City Massive across to Riverside, Speedster and Roid disembark from a powerful SUV alongside the warehousing. Behind the SUV, a larger enclosed truck pulls in: a pack of super-size dogs unload, snarling and yelping as they snuff the air seeking enemies! There don’t seem to be any more of the Chemical Brothers present: for now!

The Evil Capes deploy: Ginger, clearly a little groggy from something, flies over, deploying her team:

Creep slides into covering position atop a tall warehouse while Jack drops to the south by the wharf, leveling his heavy-caliber automatic rifle and letting a long burst rip around the giant dogs.

Noose and Envision go for Roid: she weaving illusions, he snaring the big Boostie’s neck.

Speedster disappears then reappears next to Envision: his fists rain like pistons on her and she falls unconscious!

Creep, seeing her chance, lines Speedster up and her crossbow bolt flies true, kocking him out!

Jack drops back further along the wharf away from the on-rushing dogs: nails one with a good shot: but Stretch, who’s held back up until now, reveals his real loyalty by snaring Jack in a tangle of limbs!

Ginger flies lightly down next to Roid, tripping him with a dexterous move: then runs past a dog, kicking it in the muzzle hard enough to shock it, ending her run close to Noose and the fallen Envision.

“OK, kid: Skylark and ya’ll go fer de high ground,” Bad Tripp rumbles, perched on high where Performer holds he, Skylark and Nightfall. The Massive are waiting for the right moment: and it looks like this is it!

“Den Wraith, wait’ll I makes m’move, den ya blasts Noose an’ Performer, ya delay Roid!”

Creep, reloading in a blur, stuns Stretch with a well-placed shot: Jack disentangles himself: draws a massive handgun and blasts Stretch, ending his fight.

Nightfall and Skylark team up on Creep, but though surprised, she manages to roll with their punches!

Bad Tripp lands and in the same motion, smashes down with both fists:

“BAD TRIPP!!!”

The ground shudders: everyone in the vicinity is knocked off their feet!

Wraith lines up the prone Noose: yells “End of the road, damn you!” and blasts him: but Noose merely shakes off the blast.

Performer sends a dazzling line of flares across Roid and a giant dog, dazing the big Boostie: who claws at the noose still around his neck.

Creep rolls, sliding off the warehouse, dropping to the ground and away towards Jack. Jack reacts to the new arrivals:

“It’s FCM – draw back!!”

He’s maybe remembering the severe treatment he’s received each time Tripp has gotten near him: whatever the case, he seems to be looking for a clear road out!

Wraith assesses the battle from his vantage: with dogs fleeing and Roid still dazed and distracted, Ginger and Noose are about the only Capes left to fight:

“Ginger’s our priority! Go for her!”

Nightfall and Skylark leap at the shapely strawberry-blonde, but even their combined swings are not good enough to nail her. Her reply also misses.

Noose picks Envision up and flees, undeterred by a parting shot from Wraith. With Jack and Creep departing in the opposite direction, Roid and Ginger are the only Capes left in any condition to fight the Massive.

Then Bad Tripp takes a short hop over, brings his huge paw down with a roar: and it’s fight over for Ginger, unconscious and secure in the graffiti gargoyle’s grasp!

“Game over, gorgeous!”

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