RPG Library

Night City(19): Those Damn Robots

Adaptor finishes talking to Prism in time to catch the tail end of Mesmeron's description of the battle.

Mesmeron looks back at Adaptor. "Is that sufficient?"

Adaptor nods. "Factually, yes, unless there is technical data you can provide that might assist Kakker in evaluating this device. I am more curious about your impressions. Did Amanda seem to have any idea s to why she was being attacked? Did she mention another organization? [Adaptor then relates what Vanguard knows of Amanda's run-ins with the skycycle-riding capture teams, and her escape from the 'Bad People' she was living with previously. Does any of this ring any kind of bell with Mesmeron?]"

As Prism trudges back to the base (it'll only take a few minutes -- he didn't get too far), a big robot zooms over his head and cooks off toward the base. It's really moving, too -- it'd have to be going 70 or 80 kph at least.

Ares changes course to get into closer sensor range of this "thing", She wants a visual and she also wants to find out if it is in radio communication with anyone or anything else. If it is, listen in.

She will follow at a distance. Hopefully, she will be able to get a good target on it. Weapons will lock on target if possible (electromagnetic). WILL NOT FIRE. If this thing gets hostile, she will come in in full combat mode. If not, she will follow it and land about 25 feet from it.

(I am assuming that Vanguard has some sort of reputation and I am also assuming that Ares does not recognize this guy as one of them. If the opposite is true, she will not lock weapons, she will follow for a little bit and just watch from above what happens.)

The machine (which is not a Vanguard member to the best of Stephanie's knowledge) ignores Ares completely, heading directly for Vanguard. Scanning radio frequencies, she discovers that it is sending a radio burst every three seconds. She cann't make any sense of the transmission, but she can tell that it isn't exactly the same message each time. She records a few transmissions to study later.

The machine doesn't seem to be slowing down as it heads to the base, but at the last minute it reverses direction, aiming it's huge feet at the base, and fires its thrusters to decelerate.

Inside the base, no indication of the coming death and destruction alerts the team. One moment, Adaptor is running the show and everything is calm. The next, the back wall of the base explodes and a huge humanoid robot walks into -- and I do mean into -- the building. Of the men present in the meeting room, it is Mesmeron who reacts first: he picks up Amanda's body.

Whenever Kakker or Adaptor open the door, they are greeted with what can only be the robot that Mesmeron said killed Amanda. It's dark green, about four meters high, and it has no neck. Where its head and neck would be (were it human) is a black dome that extends midway down its chest. It has what looks like a missile pack on its left shoulder, and it's carrying an enormous double-barreled gun in its right hand. Someone with particularly keen eyes can see a goldleaf "VI" on its left chest-plate (the insignia is only about 4 cm high; it's easy to miss).

Prism looks up, the California sun glinting into (and off of) his crystalline eyes, and stares for a moment at the massive and swift robot as it thunders toward Vanguard HQ. It does not look friendly, and memories of Adaptor's last conversation spring unpleasantly back into his mind.

Desperate now to get back to Vanguard in time, Prism begins to run.

Krane thought that Beowulf had implied that the 'Wulf car would take him to the hall. Krane will try some voice commands first (he doesn't want to just go punching buttons-- especially with the weapons in this vehicle).

"This is Krane. Take me to the Hall."

This is more or less a ploy to see how the car will react. All of the action at Vanguard HQ will interrupt Krane's journey to the Hall (assuming I'm no the right track here). Once Adaptor starts asking for us to return, Krane will attempt to drive the Wulf Car to HQ.

Ares follows the creature's path. I assume that she was able to keep a lock on it. She will continue to monitor and save radio messages for later for as long as she can.

Being that this creature is machine (to my knowledge so far...), let's see how well it's circuits are protected. She will fire the tasers at it (entangle) to attempt to stop it or slow it. If that works, she will immediately (round 2) put a force wall around it. If not, on round 2 she will use the blast.

On round 2 she will drop the Radio listen and bring up heat sensors. "Tis, scan target for energy source or battery pack".

It takes less than a tenth of a second for Adaptor's ears to stop ringing from the blast, and he is already moving, while talking into his ring, again employing his apparently latent talent for understatement:

"Krane, Prism, this is Adaptor. We have been attacked please respond with all urgency."

Adaptor leaps casually onto the table where he has room to maneuver. Somewhere during that leap his staff has snapped out into his hands, and he is holding it extended in a deceptively relaxed defensive posture, awaiting its move.

"Mesmeron, please fly to the second floor bedrooms and protect the boy you find there. Kakker, what do you make of this device? Can you suggest a means of disabling it?"


"Take me to the Hall."

Immediately, a screen on the dash lights up and the transmission shifts into gear. Pushing aside the car parked in front of it, the van pulls into the street. The van accelerates and speeds down the street, screeching around corners and running red lights. Krane grips the streering wheel involuntarily, and the engine immediately revs down to an idle.

Just then, Adaptor's cool monotone comes over the commlink asking for reinforcements. He sounds calm enough, but then, Adaptor always sounds calm. Better get to the base.

Tentatively, Krane shifts the van into low and steps gingerly on the accelerator. The van lurches forward like a high-strung racehorse. Slowly, Krane adapts to the performance tuned power plant under the van's hood, and he gets to the base in record time.


The crystal man's thunderous steps eat up the pavement, and the wind whistles past his angular form. It would almost be an enjoyable experience... if it weren't for his destination.

As he turns the last corner, he spots a Cox Cablevision van pulling up to the Vanguard gate. Inexplicably, Krane hops out. But there is no time for questions, as the sound of explosions and walls being smashed comes from the base.

[Pretty much everyone else]

The machine is implacable, unstoppable, impervious to Adaptor's feeble staff strikes. At least, that's the way it appears to Adaptor. Some of his hits do seem to have an effect on the robot, cracking the paint and leaving shallow dents in the dull metal beneath. It doesn't seem to slow it down any: Adaptor narrowly avoids the plasma blast that destroys the wall behind him.

Kakker holds back, trying to figure out the best way to take out this thing. [Until Jeff posts something, anyway.]

Mesmeron, carrying Powersurge, rises a few centimeters into the air, and a shimmering force bubble appears around him.

Just then, a small figure appears on the stairway behind the robot: Amanda's 10-year-old brother, Jerrod. The machine swivels, and aims its enormous cannon directly at the small boy.

Above the base, Ares scans the IR trace of the rampaging machine. "Tis, scan for heat sinks and vents."


What she does with this information remains to be seen.

Sometimes appearance arent deceiving. This seerms to be the case with this behempoth, Adaptor thinks to himself. His tentative staff strikes failed to find any weak spot on the thing, so he sets the tactical part of his brain to work on the problem while he devotes his conscious aciton into nimbly leaping out of the way of the monster's blasts, attempting to delay it until someone capable of disabling it arrives.

Then Jared decides to take away his time to think.

Several dozen options are considered and rejected in the time it takes Adaptor to cover the distance between himself and the swiveling robot. Adaptor knows he can't damage the thing, and the distance ot the boy is too great for him to cover. But he may be able to disrupt its aim.

The barefoot hero whips his staff down between the things legs and, when it appears the robot is just about to fire ( a whine before the cannon blasts, a click; Adaptor's ears are tuned for any clue...), cranks the indestructible metal shaft to the side as hard as he can, hoping to twist the thing's legs out from under it and point its cannon in any direction other than at the ludicrously frail target it is now aiming at....


(I take it my blast had no effect on it due to insulation. Also, I assume that heat vents and the exhaust are the same, and therefore, shielded.)

Ares lands behind the robot, over the rubble of the blasted wall. "Target exhaust ports. Attempt penetration of protective shields with high intensity diamond-head laser. Erect electromagentic barrier in front of target, to come between it and other occupants in the room to protect from possible explosion and/or shrapnel. Scanning systems still locked on target, monitor structural condition and continuing effectiveness of target's shields."

Sending this privately because, heck, it might be an interesting surprise for the other players if it actually works...

If/when Prism sees that Jerrod is the target of any of the robot's attacks, he will invisibly interpose himself between cannon and child. The robot may or may not be able to sense him despite his invisibility (and Prism is betting that it can), but he knows that he can withstand the blast far better than the boy.

Prism yells to Krane as he pounds across the lawn, "Giant robot of some kind; didn't get a good look at it. I think Adaptor's the only one here. I may be able to sneak up on it if you can distract it."

Without waiting for an answer (though he is listening in case one does come), Prism fades to transparency once more and tries to make his way to the source of the crashing noises by the most direct route possible, whether it be around the base or through it.

Kakker's head whips back and forth bewteen the emerging robot and Mesmeron and Adaptor [and possibly the new armored figure?] and doesn't know which way to jump. But when the machine takes a bead on the boy, he leaps flatfooted to the muzzle of the enormous cannon and begins attemtping to disable it.

[I'm assuming it is intregral to the robot, or at least gripped tightly enough that his weight and the leverage of the weapon's length doesn't dislodge it.]

Kakker's experience tells him that curved surfaces bear force loads better on their convex than their concave sides. He thusly braces hands and feet as required on the inside edges of the rims and with a might grunt does his best to split, spindle, or mutilate the weapon, blocking the bore all the while.

Krane leaps heroically in front of the robot, and reaches up his full height to grab the inside of one of the weapon's two barrels. The softball-sized muzzle seems to be made of stern stuff, but it can't withstand the polymer-impregnated strength of Kakker's hands: it cracks, and a piece of the weapon comes off in Kakker's hands.

Suddenly, another intruder appears: this one looks like a human in powered armor [Renata will have to describe what it looks like]. The figure lands in the rubble that used to be the hallway leading to the laboratory. It brings up an arm and aims it at the big robot: a bright blue beam strikes the side of the robot at about waist level (for the robot -- it's about eye level for a human). Steam erupts from the robot's side.

[This was her 6d6 EB-ED Killing, AP, with a -4 OCV mod for aiming at the weak spot

Meanwhile, Adaptor deploys his staff and uses the leverage to pull the robot off balance. It attempts to compensate, swinging the cannon back toward the boy. With a sound like frying bacon, the plasma cannon fires: its beam strikes a meter to the boy's right, blowing a volleyball-sized hole through the wall, and the wall beyond that, and the wall beyond that.

Jerrod is paralyzed: his eyes are wide, and his right hand is clenched in a death-grip on the bannister.

[Prism is invisible somewhere, and I don't know where Krane is.]

Kakker is ASTOUNDED by the penetration of the weapon and is thoughtful a split second, before preparing to spike the other barrel by cramming the fragment of the first barrel down inside it.

A couple of clarifications:

The interior walls of most of the base are conventional construction: wooden frame, drywall, etc. It is sturdier than most modern buildings because of the vintage of the construction (the 2x4's are real 2x4's, etc.), but it isn't going to stand up to a real epic-villain scale attack (which is what it just got hit with for the third or fourth time).

Also, the double-barreled cannon has been firing plasma blasts out of the left barrel. Nothing has (thus far) come out of the right. Given the split-second nature of Kakker's leap, I flipped a coin and had him grab the right (as in non-left) barrel. However, he has now had an up-close look at the weapon while it fires, and knows that the barrel he's damaged is not the one that has been firing.

Ares stands a little over seven feel tall. The Armor is dark grey and black. It moves in powerful steps, attesting to the weight of the armor. A powerful exoskeleton gives support to the torso and arms, stretching all the way up to the neck and head. When Ares moves, there is no sound and the movement appears as normal as if there was no exoskeleton. Two large weapons appear to be built in to the arms (the laser you just saw came from the left index finger). The visor is black and covers 180 degrees in the front part of the helmet. Two pieces of fanned out metal stretch out on either side of the helmet where the ears would be to about 4 inches over the head, both pieces exactly the same. The armor seems to be seamless, completely sealed.

Next turn Ares will attempt to put up the force wall. "Tis, enter defensive program, prepare to execute evasive maneuvers. I think we just got its attention"

(Steph's conversation with Tis cannot be heard outside the suit...)

Krane pulls in just in time to see the giant robot come crashing to the ground. Prism's plan seems to be unnecessary (although he would have gladly complied).

Assuming that the battle has not yet ended, Krane will leap from the van and join the fray. He's not confidant in his ability to damage the creature so he probably will stick to annoying/distracting tactics to draw fire (as per Prism's request). He will of course be as defensive as possible.

Adaptor will simply continue to crank his staff around in an effort to get this thing off its feet or at the very least keep it off-balance. Does Mesemeron seem to be moving to pick up Jerrod?

Since the *other* armored gatecracher appears to be on our side for the time being, Adaptor doesn't worry about her. But he does steal a quick glance. Do I recognize her from my perusal of Vanguard's history files?

He has seen too many people fight these machines, and fail. He has seen too many people die. He has no desire to see any more.

A flickering bubble of energy surrounds Mesmeron and the red-draped body of the girl he holds in his arms, and he rises into the air. The robot's rampage has destroyed a large portion of the roof, allowing the white-haired man to rise unimpeded into the starlit sky.

After he gets a dozen or so meters in the air, he gestures with one hand at the young boy below. A similar energy-bubble englobes the boy, and he rises up to the level where Mesmeron floats. As the boy rises into the air, he begins to scream and cry.

The robot is too busy to deal with the boy's abduction. It rests on one knee, with Adaptor's staff preventing it from gaining its feet. Meanwhile, a spray of steam continues to spew from the laser-cut hole in its side. Prioritizing its attacks, it turns to face Adaptor.

An armored panel opens in the behemoth's breastplate, revealing a dozen small metal spheres the size of baseballs.

Would it be a fair assumption that the boy is being taken against his will (or maybe he's just scared? I know that she may not be able to tell, but in the split second Steph has to make this decision, which one does it look like to her...)?

If not, continue with action stated before (force wall). If so, Steph will will disengage the robot (there seem to be enough super people here to deal with this robot), and follow this white haired man. Locking target's on this man instead, scans on the robot will be dropped, "Tis, scan energies around target, determine possible permeability of defenses with stunning weapon." (entangle)

(If there is a possibility of permeation, Steph will fire and prepare to catch the the unconcious body.)

Seeing that he is only one or two seconds from sustaining an injury that not even *he* will be able to adapt to, Adaptor flicks his wrist imperceptibly and suddenly retracts his staff back to its one-foot baton length. He then pauses in a catlike crouch.

If the robot topples as the staff is removed, he will flip back over the other side of the table to let the heavy hitters get a poke at it.

In the event that the sudden removal of resistance is not enough to upset the robot's balance even further, Adaptor will snap his arm out to the left and shoot his staff back out, give it the same twirl he did back at the apartment building, and deploy the grappling line he discovered there, firing the clawed hook into a side wall. When the robot seems determined to fire (pauses for a fraction of a second, the silver balls vibrating or humming, or simply launching), he snaps his wrist *HARD*, retractibg the line and yanking him boily out of the way of whatever ordinance the robot hopes to deliver...

Very well, Ares will engage new target as stated before. I assume that I am the only "Flyer" here - other than the white haired guy...

Krane is less than pleased to see Mesmeron taking off with the boy, but there's not much he can do about it (other than try to keep an eye on him).

Krane doesn't even consider using the weapons in the Wulf car, which is probably just as well since he doesn't really know how to operate any of them properly.

Since he can't really do anything about the boy, Krane will try to help Adaptor distract the robot. He will be prepared to dive for cover if anything particularly nasty comes his way.

Prism glances up at the departing Mesmeron, feeling impotent once more as Mesmeron and Jerrod waft easily out of his reach. Time waits for no man, however, and he decides to concentrate on something he can affect -- namely, the Giant Robot from Heck.

Still invisible [for whatever it's worth] and trying to stay out of Adaptor and Krane's way, he maneuvers around to the steam-venting rift in the robot's side, and with nary a moment's hesitation, winds up and drives one massive crystal fist into the hole -- up to the elbow (steam notwithstanding).

[Not that I'm going for any armor-piercing or other special bonuses, mind you; it just seems like The Thing To Do. I'd call it a plain ol' right hook, or maybe a Haymaker.]

The as-yet-unknown armored figure blasts into the air after Mesmeron. Inside the armor, the occupant talks to the on-board computer...

"Tis, scan energies around target, determine possible permeability of defenses with stunning weapon."


The scientific method would indicate that the only way to find out conclusively is by experimentation.

"Fire stunning weapon."

The electrical blast crackles from the armor's outstretched hand, sending sparks popping and arcing across Mesmeron's shimmering force field. The white-haired man winces from the pain, and the boy drops, screaming, several meters toward the wreckage and robot below.

Ares alters her trajectory, catching the falling boy in her outstretched armored limbs. [At least, I assume that's what she'll do -- if not, let me know and I'll adjust.]

Mesmeron pauses and regains his equilibrium. He shakes the pain away and glares down at the armored hero. A voice speaks quietly, yet forcefully, behind her eyes.

"I will not tear this boy in half fighting over him, Modulator; that killing machine will come after us as soon as it can, and for all my vaunted power I cannot stop it. If you value the life of the boy and the sanctity of your mind, I suggest you take him away from here as fast as your absurd prosthesis can carry you."

Mesmeron then turns away, and continues rising into the air, the cape wrapped around his burden billowing out behind him. [Stephanie estimates that she can catch up to him if she cuts in the afterburners a.k.a. pushes her Flight just a little-- his max flight is about the same as hers.]


Adaptor tenses as the open chest plate swings toward him. Baton ready, he waits intil the very last moment to flick the grappling line's retract stud. Wait for it... NOW!

One of the metal spheres in the exposed chest-bay is blasted toward Adaptor on a stream of supercompressed air. It narrowly misses the hairless hero, striking the wall behind him, releasing thousands of snarling, coiling, razor-sharp wires as it does so. The wires lash and entwine everything with three meters, cutting through upholstery and entangling anything not nailed down.

Meanwhile, Krane dances in under the reach of the robot, striking rapid blows with his escrima sticks across the great machine's torso. It seems to have little effect, other than chipping the camouflage paint from the behemoth's metal hide.

Suddenly, a resounding crash is heard by the heroes. Sillouetted in the steam leaking from the robot's side, they can barely make out the form of the crystal man, Prism. He strikes with all of his massive strength, striving to further tear open the breach in the robot's cooling system. It does seem that the steam begins to leak more forcefully for his efforts, but it doesn't seem to be slowing the machine down.

The heroes take turns striking, baiting, striking, trying to keep the robot off-balance as they wear it down. But it doesn't wear down.

After several attempts to stand (all of which were frustrated by the combined efforts of the heroes), it finally regains its feet. Fire erupts from beneath its feet as its rockets ignite, thrusting it upward after the fleeing Mesmeron and Ares... and the boy.

Ares does not reply to the white haired man. She does not like people invading her personal space, and this man spoke to her in her head!!!! (this is her first encounter with a mentalist). How dare he! However, if he is correct, her first priority is to save the boy, obviously he must know something or have something of importance for someone to send this thing after him. She will commit this white haired man's face to memory and instruct Tis to save his energy readings, even though they are unknown. Also, she will save the readings of what happened after the blast hit him (since Tis was still recording).

She turns to the boy in her arms, and in a very level voice, which sounds neither male or female, "I will carry you to safety, hold on and trust me."

Now, the robot problem. Well, with the boy in her arms (I assume that she can carry him with one arm - she will leave her laser hand free, unless she fears that she will lose the boy - he is her primary concern), she will attempt to fly away at top speed.

Steph will try to think of a "safe" place to take this boy to (I really do not know the area very well, but I bet Steph knows a bit...). Obviously, she will not take him back to her place - the last thing she needs is for this creature to know where she lives!)

She will attempt to contact the vanguard members by radio, scanning all frequencies. Ares' serene voice comes through the radio "Vanguard, can you hear me? Acknowledge."

As the automaton takes off, Prism leaps for its legs, wrapping his arms about one (or grabbing any available handhold). Ignoring the fiery afterburners, he tries to cling on, hoping desperately to be able to do something useful. He lets his body return to its normal, visible state and (assuming he is able to do anything more than hang on, if that) tries to climb slowly towards the robot's head. His objective is to stay aboard first and climb higher second; he doesn't want to chance losing whatever progress he may make.

If he misses the leap, Prism will stare upward from the ground, muttering helpful advice like "shit shit shit..."


The robot isn't simply blasting off into the sky. It will take it at least a few seconds [a full phase] to get off the ground. More than enough time for the ground-bound heroes to try one more thing (whatever that thing might be).

Well, since he has the chance, Krane will try to circly around the robot and leap onto his back. He's not overly concerned with falling off (because of his concealed gliding wings) but he would like to avoid getting hit with the robots jets.

Krane's not really sure what he going to do once the robot takes off, but he really hates to be left out.

The robot, encumbered by several heroes clinging to its flanks (and one hanging from the barrel of its weapon), lifts slowly from the ground. As it does so, the coolant leak (it looks like steam, but it smells like caramel) gets worse, spewing the pale blue fluid across what's left of the Vanguard living room.

Kakker, hanging from the as-yet-undamaged barrel of the weapon, twists his hands and stresses his biceps, pulling with all his might. Suddenly, the edge of the barrel gives way with a [SNAP!], leaving Kakker hanging by one hand from weapon, with a piece of weapon barrel in his other hand.

The robot takes no notice. It lifts from the ground and rises some 20 meters into the air (WHOOSH!). [Anyone afraid of heights?] It levels off in the air, heading toward the retreating armored figure [Ares, although the heroes don't know that]. As it gets closer to Ares [both Ares and the robot each getting a phase worth of flying], it lifts its right arm and aims the weapon at the fleeing figure -- or rather, at the precious payload it carries.

The weapon explodes [I hope Kakker let go], blowing off the robot's right arm from the elbow down. All of the heroes clinging to its flanks take 8 Body and 25 Stun (Energy, you get your normal defenses).

Up ahead, in Ares' arms, the boy is holding on for dear life, eyes wide with fright. He isn't making any sound or trying to get away.

Kakker is caught by the explosion while trying to move from the gun to the rip in the robot's side or the foot-thrusters. [Your call as to whether he was still gauging the lunge, but he wouldn't just let go.]

Kakker is caught in mid-leap by the exploding weapon [taking the same damage everyone else takes]. He manages to grab the knee of the robot as it flies past him, dangling high over the ground. He pulls himself up, wrapping his legs around the bulky robot thigh. The slippery coolant (some liquid polymer, it looks like) makes his hold precarious, but he should be able to hold on.

Prism hangs tenaciously on, though parts of his crystalline "skin" shatter and flake away in the force of the blast; they twinkle down onto Vanguard's lawn like a swirl of shimmering snowflakes. [The ablative portion of his Armor is hit, but he takes no damage] Other areas of his body are blackened from the heat and flames, but his grip does not slacken.

If any of his teammates begin to fall off due to the blast (or for any reason other than their own free will), Prism will try to catch them before they're out of reach; otherwise, he will continue his attempts to clamber up (over?) to the robot's head.

First things first. Is the robot gaining on me (even though he has others hanging on to him?). And if he is, approx. how fast?

"Tis, scan robot for energy and heat signatures. Maybe this puppy's overheating...If we're lucky!" (also using evasive maneuvers - i.e. - levels to DCV?)

I guess that Ares is attempting to fly out of the city - towards a forested area maybe? (If there is one nearby - I'll settle for a park, but making sure it has many trees). Now, gauging by this robot's previous reactions, do I think that it is more agile than me?

Last but not least, if it aims for the boy again, I will attempt to protect the boy by bringing him closer to me.

Trees would be good, winding and close together ....

Adaptor detaches the clawed bulb from the wall and with a twitch of his wrist restracts the staff back to its hip-sheath length. Despite the less than a second it takes him to do this, the battle seems to have rocketed into the sky without him. He considers using the grapple to follow for exactly the time it takes him to observe how crowded the robot is already. WIthout much to do until the battle loses some altitude, he takes a few moments to quickly scan the damage done to the base. If anything is in imminent danger of combusting, exploding, or generally being damaged any further than it already has been, he will deal with it, in descending order of importance.

[Brandon, during the battle, Mesmeron referred to Ares as 'Modulator'. Was this a) a slip on your part, b) something we heard him say, or c) something he said to her *just* her telepathically and so we wouldn't have heard it and it's totally moot? Regardless, it does bring up the question: Does Ares' armor bear any resemblance to Modulator's? With Adaptor's interest in Vanguard history (such as it is), itseems like a detail he'd hone in on...]

RE: Ares flying away

If she takes evasive action, he robot will gain on her (slowly). If not, she can outdistance it pretty easily. She's about 50% faster than it is. Also, thermal scan does show increasing heat in the robot's side and leg, on the side where she damaged the heat sink. Could it overheat and explode? Maybe...

RE: Adaptor at the base

Now that the battle has moved on, the base's condition is pretty stable. There are a couple of small fires, easily extinguished, from where the robot shot it's plasma weapon. Nothing looks like it's going to collapse.

Mesmeron was speaking to Ares solely telepathically, and no one else heard it. And no, it was not a slip on my part. However, Ares' armor looks nothing like Modulator (other than being a 2m+ tall suit of flying armor, that is).

The blast doesn't really hurt Krane, although he was more than a little nervous when he saw the weapon pointing at the boy. He considers continuing to beat on the 'bot with his sticks, but decides that it's probably not in his best interests to annoy the creature just now. Instead he sits still, waiting for something to occur where he can make himself useful.

Kakker is filled with new respect for Krane! Jesus! That black-and-purple outfit is tough!

Krane (the only hero riding the robot who is made of fairly normal flesh-and-blood) can feel the skin of the machine heating up under him. He's no gadgeteer, but even Krane knows what happens when a car gets a hole in the radiator... and the ground isn't getting any closer.

Meanwhile, Ares is getting farther and farther away from the robot, but has thus far not succeeding in losing it. Even when she dodges behind buildings, hills, etc., it seems to zero right in on her.

Meanwhile, back at the base, police cars start rolling up... several hundred meters away (hey, they aren't stupid). Eventually, police officers will (cautiously) come close enough to investigate the scene.

Adaptor strides calmly and purposefully out of the large hole in the wall, arms at his sides, staff tucked into the sheath on his leg.

"Good afternoon, officers. My name is Adaptor, and I'm one of the new members of Vanguard. Tyank you for your quick response, but unfortunately, the device which attacked our building seems to have fled..." He points skyward, indicating the steam-trailing dot quickly receding towards the North.

"I will answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability."He hopes his conversational tone will sooth the almost-certainly nervous officers, but he has doesn't walk too far out from the safety of the building, just in case.

The two police officers look nervously at the sky, then back at the damaged building.

"Are there any injuries? Have you taken anyone into custody? Do you need FSPD backup?"

Adaptor can see that two more officers remained with the vehicles, way down the block.

'Yes, we do have at least one casualty in the building. I would appreciate it if you would summon an ambulance. However, it appears the device that attcked us has moved off in pursuit of the rest of my team, so SFPD assistance will be unnecessary. Tyank you for your prompt response, officers."

Adaptor then turns and reenters the building, unless they have more questions for him.

In that case, Ares will choose the speed, doing her best to keep the boy protected (she will make sure that she is between the boy and the robot) should the creature fire at her.

Well, if it is not firing at me and the boy, we're ok. Ares will continue to fly , avoiding it, and keeping an eye on the fuel gage. When my fuel gets to be at 1/3, start looking for a final destination to land.

We may have to figth this one out still... "Tis, taking in to account all information we have on robot assailant, and it's current damage level, what are our chances of neutralizing it on ground?"

"Preferably with having enough of it left over for me to make some sense of it?"


Meanwhile, even Kakker and Prism have noticed that the heat coming from the robot has increased, and it has ceased spraying coolant. While they ponder this, panels set in the robot's shoulders swing open, revealing racks of missiles. The missiles are the size of one-liter soda bottles, and there are about a half-dozen in each shoulder.

Kakker climbs up over the closed chest panel the machine's front and attempts to snatch the topmost missle out of the rack. Assuming enough of the missle comes out, Kakker will make a hasty estimate of the explosive and incendiary properties of the propellant and warhead and consider warping the rack, trapping the rest of the missles in it.

He tugs on it, pulling it about halfway out before it catches on something that keeps it from coming out further. He could probably force it out if he really wanted it out, but even so it looks like a missile of the light-antitank-weapon vaiety, sufficient to blow a mid-sized armored car to kingdom come.

It does seem possible to him that he could somehow jam the missiles' launching rack, either making them blow in the launcher or simply keeping them from fiing entirely (the latter is more likely).

The sudden prospect of quantities of shrapnel alarms Kakker and he tries to sneak in a glance at the ground below and the ground ahead.

Coyote country. Trees, hills, the rare mailbox. At one point the robot flies over a complex street-system like you would see in a suburban neighborhood, but there aren't any houses. A development that never happened.

Kakker gets the creeps at this; a glimpse into history's unrevealed alternatives.

Thinking a bit longer, this machine must be REALLY moving, and could reenter civilized areas soon. Time to disable the robot's mobility if he can.

Krane was considering jumping off of the robot when it was heating up, but when the rockets make their appearance he changes his mind.

When Kakker begins working on them, Krane yells to him. "Kakker, do what you have to. My suit has glider wings that can get us safely to the ground. Let me know when you're ready or if you need any help."

Kakker smiles grimly and shouts above the wind, "Check on Prism! I don't know how tough he is! He might shatter!" Kakker shrugs off the effects of the searing metal and begins to work all the faster.

"Don't worry about me," Prism shouts back, his smooth voice cutting oddly through the wind. He thinks for a moment, then begins trying to climb towards the missile racks himself. "But if you can tell me how to set those things off, I'll do it and you two can fly clear. I can probably survive the blast and fall better than either of you." There is no arrogance in his voice, just a statement of fact. At least, that's how it sounds among the rushing winds of their passage.

Kakker, clutching at the flanks of the rocketing killing machine, sabotages the rocket launcher near him. As Prism crawls his way forward, intending to do the same, a missile from the other rack.

It rockets away, leaving a smoke trail behind it as it zips away toward Ares.


Ares veers widly to the left, slamming the small boy in her arms into her right shoulder. Better a few bruises than third-degree burns, she thinks grimly.

The missile misses -- barely. The proximity fuse detonates the explosive a few meters away from her. Spinning in the air, she tries to shield the boy from the blast. She thinks she succeeds.

Kakker thinks quickly, the blast seemed like convention plastic high explosive, electrically detonated: impractical to predetonate. But the propellant....

Kakker shouts into the wind, "Can you make a spark!? Break one open and light the soild fuel inside the magazine!" Kakker turns his attention back to the magazine on his side and indeed tries to =make= the top missle come out.

Kakker, holding onto the 'bot with his knees, quickly disassembles the small explosive rocket and turns its solid propellant charge into a simple concussion-detonated bomb. As he's about to announce his success to the other robot-borne heroes, a huge hand grasps him from behind and plucks him from the robot's flank, tossing out into the air. He exchanges a last, brief glance (and perhaps a word or two) with Prism and Krane before the robot rockets thunderously past him.


When Krane sees Kakker fly off the robot, he'll follow suit. The martial artist tucks and rolls backward off of the 'bot and when he rights himself, glider wings snap out from under his arms.

Although Kakker assured him that there was no need to worry, Krane will still try to maneuver so as to be able to catch the falling hero (angling his body for the least amount of wind resistance during the freefall so that he can catch up).

Krane zips downward after the falling Kakker. Wind whips Krane's hair wildly while he plummets like a thunderbolt toward the ground. Below him, Kakker seems suspended in mid-air, floating gently while the ground grows larger and wider and closer. Krane reaches out a hand...

Kakker grips it, pulling Krane momentarily off-balance. They start to spin, Krane losing control of their flight. He twists in mid-air, heaving heavier-than-expected Kakker up and compensating as best he can for the unbalanced load on his fragile glider wings, wings obviously never intended to carry this much this fast.

The ground gets closer. Krane can see individual leaves in the trees below. A sparkle of light --

Krane angles them toward the silver surface below. Their dive becomes a curve, then the beginning of a loop, as Krane strains and pulls against the mass of the earth drawing them down inexorably down. Kakker's ankles hits something, and a spray of silver droplets fans out behind the flying/falling pair. Again: a rooster tail of white WHOOSH and there is more drag slowing Krane down, cutting their close-to-terminal velocity down to a merely suicidal speeds. The lake slows Kakker, and the pair loses altitude, finally splashing down with a tremendous spray of cold white mist. When they find the surface, Kakker and Krane are a few meters apart, treading water on the surface of a large lake. In the distance, they can see lights along the shore line: a resort town.

Far above, they can just make out the con-trail of the robot, and in the distance, the rocket exhaust of the fleeing Ares.

Ares will ask the boy in that seren voice "Are you OK?" In terms of evasive maneuvers, she will continue to do so. She will start flying towards less civilized areas, the last thing she needs now is for one of these missiles to hit someone else by mistake.

Keeping an eye on the fuel gage, she will run another scan on this creature and on the one still hanging on (I'm assuming it's just prism - in particular, she is trying to find out if he really is made out of diamond).

I assume that we are flying pretty fast, so let's try something a little different - I assume that force walls are stationary, and I hope that they can hang in mid air... (Steph probably has never tried this before, but theoretically, she should know weather or not it has potential - so if it does not, let me know and she will try something else).

"Tis, place barrier 10 feet in front of the robot..."

I'm not sure how big of an explosion Prism may be able to generate with his current plan, or even if it will work at all. And he is a pretty tough guy, after all. But just in case, I wanted to say that it would be okay if Prism wound up blowing himself to smithereens along with the 'bot.

Mind you, I'm not saying I want him to die; I quite like the character, and am immensely enjoying the, er, interesting interplay between him and his teammates. Not to mention that he seems relatively important to this whole Whoopi-Goldberg-vs.-the-Host plotline [g]. However, I do have a backup character in mind in case the worst comes, and wanted you to know that you wouldn't have to fear me dropping the game if my character dies heroically. After all, he DOES have a death wish... Basically, don't go out of your way to kill him (please!), but if this plan is as suicidal as I'm beginning to think it might be, let the dice fall where they may.

Of course, if Prism died and the robot survived, THAT would disappoint me. But it still probably wouldn't be enough to drive me away from Night City; I'm having that much fun. Hope you are too.

Emerald was important to the who's-kidnapping-the-supers plotline, and I worked around that.

El Langosto was important to the who-is-Grendel plotline, and I worked arund that.

Powersurge was important to the Project Genesis plotline, and I worked around that.

Britestar was important to the what-happened-at-Vectronix plotline, and I got around that.

Glimmer was important to the who-was-behind-the-prison-massacre plotline, and I'll probably have to work around that.

If Prism dies, he dies.

If there is anything to catch, whether it be Kakker's arm or his modified rocket, Prism will attempt to do so without plummeting after his falling companion.

If he manages to catch the rocket, Prism will ram it -- hard -- into the socket it originally came from, hopefully setting it off and perhaps causing a chain reaction among the other rockets. If that doesn't work, or seems unfeasible for some reason (like, say, Prism is too busy hanging on for dear existence), he'll try to drive it into the steaming hole in the side of the robot's torso. Whatever happens, his first priority is hanging on to the robot (assuming that there are still parts big enough to hang on to after whatever happens).

If the rocket is unavailable, Prism will resort to the brute force method that he seems so well-suited to. Using one fist like a giant hammer, he will pound on the sides of the as-yet-unlaunched missiles, trying to (a) set them off or, more likely, (b) knock them out of alignment so that they misfire (or are, at least, wildly inaccurate). Again, hanging on is priority one.

Kakker plummets from sight, but not before he hurls a small object up at Prism: with a deft motion, the crystal man snatches it from the air. It's the rocket Kakker had been modifying. Did he finish? No time to think. Prism slams the small projectile into the missile rack with his full strength.

The concussion detonates Kakker's jury-rigged charge.

As they tread water in the icy darkness of Big Bear Lake, Kakker and Krane are suddenly illuminated by a tiny sun: all around them, they see, for a brief second, green leaves, blue water, and the distant houses of the resort town. Then it is dark once again, and what looks like a dying flare falls somewhere into the woods, perhaps a kilometer away. Then, finally, the sound of the explosion arrives.... ba-BOOM! A second or so later it is followed by a crash, like the sound of breaking glass.

Kakker and Krane head toward the shore.

Far above Ares breathes a sigh of... annoyance. "Tis, any sign of salvagable wreckage?" She wanted to study that machine. This had been too costly to walk away empty-handed. Oh... there was the boy, of course. "Are you OK?" a serene voice asks the boy. He doesn't reply. Infrared indicates respiration and circulation, but he's unresponsive. Hmm.

4 Km^2 +/- 1.5 Km^2.

Far below Ares, a melted mass of metal the size of a Volkswagen sits in a crater, smoking and smouldering, and surrounded by little pieces of blue glass.

And back at the base, Adaptor continues to sweep up the mess everyone else left him to clean up (but I'm sure he doesn't mind).

Kakker dog paddles speedily, trying to swallow his gag reflex into submission at the sound of the final note of Prism's song. He looks grimly over to Krane, checking his more spiritual friend's reaction.

Well, I didn't mean you had to kill him RIGHT THIS SECOND.

I am thrown against the sky
I am raining down in pieces
I am scattering like light
Scattering like light...

-- Suzanne Vega, Small Blue Thing

Krane looks to Kakker, "You don't think?"

But he sees that he does.

"He seemed so. . . durable."

Once the pair reach shore Krane speaks into his communicator with an emotionless voice, "Kakker and Krane have landed safely. I think Prism might have gone down with the robot. We are heading over to see."

That said, he begins the trek to the impromptu landing site.

Humm... the boy is unresponsive, he might be in need of medical attention -- but then again, he doesn't look bruised or anything -- it might just be shock!

Ares descends towards the wreckege "Tis, Scan wreckege for the diamond man."

Upon landing, Ares will keep a hold of the boy, still looking around for possible foes "I'm no tactitian, but I am certainly not stupid...", Steph thinks. There could be someone else waiting.

(Of course her curiosity will be the best of her, how much of the larger wreckege can be salvaged for dissection...?)

Kakker and Krane trudge soddenly into the woods toward the crash site. They soon cross a small road, or driveway, that seems to be going in the same direction. In the sky ahead, a large star detaches itself from the clear mountain night sky and drops to the ground ahead of them.

Ares descends to the crash site. The building is -- or was -- and A-frame lodge made of logs and huge sheets of mirrored glass. The glass roof is completely destroyed, and a smoking meteor is in the center of the living room. As Steph drops down to examine the area, she spots what looks like the crystal man a few meters away from the building.

Prism isn't moving. He seems to be in one piece, but his left arm ends in a jagged stump above his left elbow, and feathery spiderweb cracks spread through his upper torso. As Steph surveys the scene, Kakker and Krane slosh up the driveway to the building.

[The chances of getting mcuh useful information from the 'bot wreckage are slim. Steph can get material samples, but no real analysis of what made the thing tick.]

Kakker's immediate concern upon seeing a building has been destroyed is to search for any surviving in habitants. He trots upand stops a moment to ask the armored figure, "Is he all right?" as he points to the boy. As the boy is apparently unwell, Kakker turns to his purple-clad comrade and asks, "can you help him, Krane?"

In his search among the wreckage, Kakker accumulates a colection of larger glass/crystaline shards in some household container, discarding pieces that are obviously panes from the house.

Adaptor answers any questions the police might have. He thinks back to the records he's checked to see if he has read anything about standard protocol for the death of a member. Should the body be turned over to the authorities? Does Vanguard perform its own investigation? He will then respond accordingly, and handle the now-lifeless POwersurge as he deems appropriate.

Powersurge was carried away by the crimson-clad psychic, Mesmeron. Where she is now is anyone's guess. Adaptor is quite alone -- literally so, since after a brief look around the police go on their way. What is there for them to do?

It looks to the heroes like the lodge is empty. Perhaps it's a time-share deal, and no one is using it this week.

You guys at the lodge, feel free to talk to each other and role-play and stuff. Except for Prism, that is (but he'll be awake in a minute or so).

Meanwhile, Adaptor is all alone. There's really no need for him to stay at the base, is there? There's no one there he needs to protect, anyway. This might be a good time to catch some shuteye. BTW, when is the last time Adaptor slept in his own bed, in his own apartment?

Kakker looks on in earnest as Krane sees to the boy. [right?]

Krane breathes a sigh of relief-- Prism is still alive.

He then turns his attention to the boy. Calling upon his abilities in first aid, Krane begins to examine the lad. He will attempt to make him as comfortable as possible.

"The boy is unconcious, but breathing." The armored figure states. "I am Ares, who are you?"

Steph will put the boy down and collect some samples from the wreckege for later analysis. Turning back to Kraker, Ares asks, "Would you like me to take your friend somewhere -- perhaps to someone who can put him togther?"

Ever the picture of practicality, Adaptor pauses for a moment to asses the damage to Vanguard's facility. Mentally flipping through buth history files and any protocols for such incidents he may have come across, he assesses his next best course of action.

I'm assuming he can somehow either activate an existing system, or write up a Purchase Order or something. Whatever the means, he will start to call contractors or agencies Vanguard might use to come out and assess and then repair the holes in the walls...

Krane looks up from the unconscious boy to answer Ares. "I am Krane, this is Kakker [motioning to his companion].

"You helped at the mansion didn't you?"

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