RPG Library

Night City(22): Vanguard vs. Black Bolt

Krane looks at Prism, a little surprised. "Your talents would be very helpful in this situation. Hopefully the leader won't have some kind of enhanced senses that can detect you."

If everyone else seems agreeable, Krane continues,"We can all stay out of sight while you sneak up to get a good look. That way we'll know what we're dealing with. Try to see how many of them there are and how many hostages there are."

Krane


Vincent stumbled around the apartment trying to gather his bearings. The pile of bills that had confronted him upon his return wasn't half as frightening as the pile of moldy food in the 'fridge. Electricity was one thing, but a guy's gotta eat. A quick shower, a longer hunt for some clothes, and then a half-hearted attempt at finding something edible for breakfast later, Vince was ready to face the world. Or at least the half of it that he currently didn't owe money to.

First things first, a man needs a car. Vince's was last seen a few blocks down from the accident. It would be a miracle if it was still there, but maybe his luck was finally going to start changing. Grabbing his coat, checkbook, and a tattered book of phone numbers, he headed out the door. (He hadn't mentioned the car to the police because that would have been one more embarrassing thing to answer questions about.)

Vince caught the first bus headed that way. Another "wonderful" morning in the city. "Well, here's hoping for a miracle," he muttered to himself as he rounded the corner to see the spot where his car had been parked...


Glimmer gives a listen. Anything interesting that: 1) the rest of the team doesn't know about and 2) the rest of the team should know about?

Like, who did the red-shirt get orders from? Are the red-shirts and spaceman alone in the Almost-A-Bank? Are there any people in the other shops?

(I'm going to visit my out-of-town wife for the Valentine's day weekend and probably won't post again until Monday. If you feel that you could make the game go faster by posting a Glimmer statement on my behalf, please do so. For example, she'd be sure to say something like, "there's a s.w.a.t. team approaching the almost-a-bank from the rear," or "they've got the pope as a hostage." Assuming that either of these was the case, of course.)


Prism, hearing no suggestions to the contrary, shrugs his massive shoulders and fades to transparency (while ducked out of sight of the occupied shop, naturally). "Okay," he says, "keep your eyes open. I'll try to come back with a scouting report first, but if they spot me, or I see a good opening, things may get ugly quick. Keep ready."

After a final pause for further advice, he begins heading towards the occupied storefront, keeping out of direct sunlight if he can and stepping as lightly as an 800-kg crystal man can.


Prism creeps forward, transparent, but trying to keep out of sight just in case. He gets close enough to the plate-glass front window of the Almost-A-Bank to peek around the edge and look inside.

The lobby of the Almost-A-Bank is small, maybe the size of an apartment bedroom. The back wall has a small teller window in it, but next to the window is a large melted hole. Through the gap Prism can just make out the feer of a tied figure. In the front lobby area, the red-shirts are gathered around the white-suited spaceman. It would appear that he (as Prism and Glimmer soon hear, it's a man inside the suit) is in charge.

"Yes, I, the Mathster, have once again used my superior mind to bring to heel the non-comps around me," says the deep, resonant voice of the spaceman.

"Actually, boss, it looks like we're pretty much screwed," a red-shirt pipes up.

"Yeah, screwed. There's no way we're getting out of here," the second of the three red-shirts adds, nodding.

The space-man spins, bouncing lightly as if he is on the moon.

"Fibonacci! Newton! You dare question the Mathster? I have an IQ more than all of those pathetic policemen put together! They are no match for my massive intellect!" The space-man waves around his Buck Rogers style laser rifle as he pontificates.

"Um, sure Mathster. Whatever you say," a red-shirt shrugs, apparently unconvinced.

"It appears you need a demonstration of my power," the deep voice resounds from the space helmet. The Mathster lifts his laser rifle to his shoulder, aiming at one of the police cars parked across the parking lot...


And points it at the bank...

Presuming the rest of us are aware of this, this would be the point at which Adaptor's staff snaps into his hand almost of its own accord, extending to its full length as it does.

Adaptor, staying low behind the police cars, scuttles towards the car the wepaon is pointing at. He quietly hopes that these overly-intellectual would-be villian's penchant for melodrama will allow him suffcient time to position himself.

Adaptor will attempt to make the split-second decision required to determine whether the weapon has a beam effect of some kind he can attempt to block, or if it simply going to make the police car blow up or something like that. If the former, he will leap over the car as the beam arcs towards it, and snap his staff smartly into its path, allowing its mysterious energy absorbing properties to do the rest. (Missile Deflection)

If it seems that there is some more catastrophic effect about to occurr, he will leap at the policeman nearest the affected vehicle, and try to carry him out of hrams way with a tumbling roll across the pavement of the shopping center (Dive for Cover, 3 hexes).

Adaptor
-Jim C.


The Mathster lifts his laser rifle to his shoulder, aiming at one of the police cars parked across the parking lot...

"the space man is about to shoot at that cop car," Glimmer reports, pointing to the appropriate vehicle.


Assuming that Krane can even tell what's going on in the bank, he feels that Adaptor has the situation well in hand. So he will simply try to get any police officers and civilians out of the line of fire.

, Krane


"It appears you need a demonstration of my power," the deep voice resounds from the space helmet. The Mathster lifts his laser rifle to his shoulder, aiming at one of the police cars parked across the parking lot...

Well, crap, thinks Prism. A quick glance back towards his teammates reveals that they seem to be staying under cover, and Prism's not sure what any of them could do against a laser beam (or whatever) anyway. Weighing the advantages of a surprise attack vs. the PR advantages of a non-destroyed police car, he comes to a quick decision and darts over to stand in the (projected) path of the beam. If the Mathster, et al., don't seem to notice him, Prism will brace himself to take the hit. If they do seem to detect him, or hesitate for some other reason, Prism will rush the Mathster through the plate-glass window, still invisible, hoping his allies will take the cue...


As the heroes and police scramble, the Mathster puts the laser rifle to his shoulder, takes aim at a police car, and fires. Crackling scarlet energy corruscates across the weapon's cooling fins, then lances out. It melts a clean hole through the window, the immense heat turning the plate glass into glowing orange syrup.

Just past the window, however, the deadly beam is interrupted in its course. It appears to explode in mid-air, multicolored beams shattering and scattering harmlessly across the parking lot. Where the deadly crimson beam meets its multicolored offsrping, the figure of a man is illuminated. He seems to be transparent, lit within from the lethal energies coursing through him.

When the split-second blast of energy is over, a glowing translucent man stands in front of the Almost-A-Bank, the cooling glass puddling around his feet.

All the normal humans, including the red-shirts, are speechless.

Prism notes: The attack does 14 Body and 42 Stun. By my reckoning, Prism takes no Body, and 18 Stun. Prism is not Stunned. Due to the SFX of the attack, his armor does not ablate from the attack. It doesn't do any knockback to him, but he does feel really weird, like that time in grad school when he was popping 357 magnums (caffeine and ephedrine) to stay up late and study for an exam.


When the split-second blast of energy is over, a glowing translucent man stands in front of the Almost-A-Bank, the cooling glass puddling around his feet. All the normal humans, including the red-shirts, are speechless.

Prism, his body seeming to vibrate in the after-effects of the volcanic blast, decides to take advantage of the minions' momentary lapse of courage in an attempt to end this confrontation without further violence.

"MATHSTER!" he bellows, his voice sounding oddly heavy and liquid. "SURRENDER NOW!" Prism begins to plod slowly, implacably, towards the molten window of the Almost-A-Bank, each footstep leaving a dent in the newly-warmed asphalt. One glowing arm raises to point at the Mathster like a fiery finger of doom. "DROP YOUR WEAPONS AND SURRENDER, OR FACE MY WRATH!"

[This, in case anyone hadn't figured it out yet, is a PRE attack. Heh.]

[Oh, BTW, I won a new car. Take a look at the "Special Events" section of www.msn.com if you're interested in further details...]


Adaptor knows an opening when he sees one. Without pausing from his leap into the oath of the beam, he bolts across the parking lot towards the open window. He seems remarkably unditurbed byt eh fact that his bare feet are slapping over semi-moltem asphalt. It may be because the feet only seem to touch the ground for a split second before they're moving again. He will attmept to stay behind Prism until the last possible moment, at which point he will step neatly to the side of the crystal man and dive through as far to the (left as he's facing it) side of the window as he can. He doesn't expect not to be seen, but perhaps Prism's actions will give him the extra split-second he needs to assess the situation inside the bank. He hopes so, because he's going to take it...

Adaptor
Jim C.


Krane will take the cue from Prism and Adaptor and also charge in toward the bank. As Adaptor darts to the left he will dart to the right, Escrima stick at the ready. Hopefully this three pronged attack will throw the criminals off a little. It would be nice to end one of these things without and civilian casualties just once [grin].

, Krane


Vince caught the first bus headed that way. Another "wonderful" morning in the city. "Well, here's hoping for a miracle," he muttered to himself as he rounded the corner to see the spot where his car had been parked...

(I guess I get to determine whether the car is there or not.) ...not 200 feet down the road was the most rusted, dented, beautiful sight Vince had seen in two months. Well, at least something was going his way. Mental Note: People really DON'T want to steal this car.

Well, one hurdle down. Now to go get some groceries and stuff. First stop, the bank for some cash.

(I'm hoping Vince might pick up a news report on the radio about the Almost-A-Bank routine and at least swing buy to satisfy his curiosity.)

If not, Vince is going to spend the rest of the day putting his apartment back together and tacking stock. The plan then is to start hitting the libraries and stuff and find out some more about the "nutty" professor.

-Rob


[I'm sorry, Rob. I wrote this up and *thought* I sent it a week and a half ago. sigh I took some liberties with Vinnie's thought ballons. I don't like to do this quite this much, but I want to speeed up Wraith's introduction into the game.]

Vinnie walked around the corner...

Well, it could be worse. At least the car was still there. And with a new windshield, he might not even notice the huge tear in the convertible roof. And a set of new tires shouldn't be too expensive, although he didn't really know much new rims would cost. And he had wanted a new stereo... and new speakers, he noticed, as he got closer... anyway. Yeah, well... it could be worse: the upholstery was vinyl, which meant that the vomit should wash off pretty easily. He lifted the hood, prepared to see an empty engine compartment. Okay, that's not too bad. Batteries weren't too expensive, and his spark plug wires probably needed to be replaced anyway (why would anyone steal spark plug wires?). And while he did need a new radiator now, on the bright side he now had a new screwdriver. He pulled it out of the grill, and flouresecent green fluid dribbled down from the hole.

Leaning down, Vinnie looked to see if the tags were still on the car. Nope. Somewhere out there, a stolen car was running red lights with his license plate. Sigh.

If not, Vince is going to spend the rest of the day putting his apartment back together and tacking stock. The plan then is to start hitting the libraries and stuff and find out some more about the "nutty" professor.

Vinnie cleans out the glove compartment of the car, gets his hideout gun from under the fender, and heads to the AM-PM on the corner. A quick glance through the Pennysaver shows him a couple of cheap cars within walking distance, and a few rusting hulks later Vinnie is driving again, in a car just slightly nicer than the one he left behind.

Now for some cash to replace what Vinnie spent on the car. Oops, not here. They have enough police cars... what, some nutcase open fire in a McDonald's? Vinnie patted his piece reassuringly. Ah, this is more than just a smash & grab. From where he was sitting at the red light, Vinnie could see at least two supers, a guy running too fast to see and a big glowing guy made of glass. This is trouble: these guys tend not to pay too much attention to whose car they're tossing around, and Vinnie didn't have enough spare cash to buy another one. Still, he watched the scene as he drove by... maybe those types might know something about the... tricks... he'd been doing lately. Something to think about.

Back at the apartment, Vinnie cleaned up while he contemplated his options. This guy was a scientist of some sort. Those types tend to join professional associations. Vinnie didn't know this fellow's field, but he did know his name: Dominic Cabon. This was a stroke of luck: if his name had been John Brown, Vinnie's favorite PI trick wouldn't work. Vinnie headed to the library....

American Medical Association member listing... nope. American Association of Chemical Engineers.... negatory. Who's Who in American Cybernetics... uh-uh. American Association of Electrical Engineers... nada. And so on in book after book after book....

Vinnie kept flipping. The number one rule in the PI business: persistence. Three hours later, it paid off:

"Dominic Cabon, Ph.D., EDS, TCoRF, University of Southern California."

Vinnie read down the biography. This guy went to school in Belgium, did post-grad work in Paris, Berlin and USC, and had been teaching at USC since the late 70's. A pretext call to USC turned up some more info: Professor Cabon taught post-grad classes in organic electro-chemistry and bioengineering. Bingo.

-=-=-=-

By the way, Rob, whatever e-mail program you're using appends a second version of the message in HTML format to the end of each letter. Is there a way you can turn this off?


Glimmer remains behind, keeping a watchful, um, whatever-it-is-she-uses-to-sense on the situation.


"Organic electro-chemistry, hmmmmm, no idea what that one is. Bioengineering, now that's a little more familiar." Bad scenes from the Six Million Dollar Man flash briefly through Vinnie's mind. Well, at least this is a place to start.

Well, the next step is going to be a trip to USC to get a better idea about what Professor Cabon was working on. That will have to wait for morning though.

As evening slowly falls on the city, Vinnie pulls up in front of his apartment in his "new" car. The next two hours are spent attending to the more mundane aspects of life: shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Finally, with all that out of the way, it's time to practice.

Vinnie slowly concentrates and stares at the light across the room. If anyone were there watching, they'd notice inky black clouds flow in and cover his eyes until they are completely black. Ever so slowly, the shadows in the room start to shift. Sweat starts to bead on Vinnie's forehead. With a final grunt of effort, the shadows leap from the floor and strike the light, shattering it. "Damn, that didn't happen last time. Well, just chalk it up as another mystery I have to solve."

After sweeping up what's left of the light, Vinnie turns in. It's going to be a LONG day tomorrow.

--- Wraith


The heroes deploy with power and precision. The Mathster responds with similitude.

"Uh-oh," says the hollow voice from the chrome-domed helmet. The space man drops his laser rifle and grabs two handles that project from the sides of his space suit. Fire erupts frrom the bottom of his enormous backpack, and he slams headfirst into the ceiling with a Kirbyesque KER-SMASH!

From the outside, the police and the heroes that are not right at the front of the building can see the Mathster smash through the roof of the strip mall, bits of debris falling from his accelerating body.

As the flying man makes his hasty retreat, he shouts "You haven't seen the last of me! I'll be back! I'll be baaaaaaaaaack!"

(Since none of the heroes can fly -- Krane's gliding wings notwithstanding -- I don't see how you can stop him. But if anyone has an idea, go for it.)

Meanwhile, a soft electric BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ is heard by Prism, Krane, Adaptor, and Glimmer.

Behind Prism appears a caped man in an orange and red costume that covers his entire body. He is hunched over in a posture reminiscent of a mad scientist from a 30's horror movie. From his hands drip what can only be described as crackling black acid energy. This man is immediately familiar: Black Bolt, the man who killed Blue Star. He chuckles in a distinctly sinister fashion, and thrusts one hand at Prism's chest. The black energy eats deep into Prism's crystal ribcage, doing (after defenses) 7 Body and 44 Stun. (Needless to say, this is quite painful.) Prism staggers (his next action will be to recover from being Stunned).

Behind Glimmer appears an enormous figure (three meters tall) apparently made from orange rock. His eyes glow a dull yellow. He grabs Glimmer in hands the size of Volkwagen tires, hands as unyielding as stone. Glimmer feels like she's been cast in concrete. "Please don't move, ma'am," says a low grating voice, like blocks of stone rubbing slowly together. "I don't want to hurt you."

Next to Krane, a man appears. He appears at first glance to be made from ice, but on close inspection Krane can make out some kind of blue-grey jumpsuit under the cold-steaming figure's icy outer shell. His eyes are covered by round black goggles, and his hair is long and (under the ice) black. When he moves he makes hissing noises. Even his long hair is encrusted with ice: when he turns his head it snaps and crackles as the brittle frozen strands break and re-freeze in place. He grins, and it starts to snow around Krane. Krane takes 19 Stun NND (and I'll let you guess what the defense is).

In front of Adaptor appears a woman dresses neck-to-toe in skin-tight silvery-blue metal. Close up, Adaptor can see a fine tracework of parallel lines in the metal surface: the armor is fully articulated (if you've seen Cyblade you know what I mean). From her eyebrows to her cheekbones is covered by square-ish black goggles that wrap around the sides of her head, similar in form to the ice-guy's but larger and more streamlined. Her hair is blonde and crew-cut on the top and sides, but braided into a long ponytail in the back. There seems to be a space of a few centimeters between her feet and the ground. Adaptor's keen eye notices that a row of four golfball-sized metal balls are on the ground under each of her feet, and her feet hover about two centimeters above these balls. (She basically is wearing roller-blades, but the wheels are held by some kind of magnetic field instead of by skates.) With the skates, she's a little taller than Adaptor. Without them, she'd probably be around 180cm tall.

Not many people other than Adaptor would notice this, but the woman is absolutely motionless. Most people, even when they're standing still, wobble imperceptibly from side to side as they adjust to involuntary muscle movements and try to keep their balance. Not this woman: she may as well be a statue. Adaptor can't see her eyes, but he knows she's looking straight at him. And she doesn't move. It's unnerving.

Adaptor only recognizes one of these people from Vanguard's files. The psychopath with the black energy is Black Bolt, one of the villains at the Greenfield Observatory Massacre. The others don't look familiar, nor did "The Mathster".

Meanwhile, the red-shirts -- Fibonacci, Newton, and Einstein -- turn and run into the store.

[What is Vinnie doing? Going to the college? It's the next day for him, but I can work around that.]


[ Brandon, how did these people "appear?" Did they teleport in, or did they step out of some hidden location? ]

Behind Glimmer appears an enormous figure (three meters tall) apparently made from orange rock. His eyes glow a dull yellow. He grabs Glimmer in hands the size of Volkwagen tires, hands as unyielding as stone. Glimmer feels like she's been cast in concrete. "Please don't move, ma'am," says a low grating voice, like blocks of stone rubbing slowly together. "I don't want to hurt you."

"and i don't want to crumble you into pebbles," Glimmer replies.

She fades into intangibility, drifts through the big orange guy and rematerializes on the other side, with force field on full.

"so how can we resolve this without hurting each other, hmmmm?"


[ Brandon, how did these people "appear?" Did they teleport in, or did they step out of some hidden location? ]

[Ah, I left that out. There was an electric BZZZZZZZZ, the air crackled with a corona of electricity, and they were standing there. The entire process took only a fraction of a second.]

She fades into intangibility, drifts through the big orange guy...

The big guy clutches at Glimmer's intangible form a couple of times, to no avail. "Oops," he says slowly, in his low, grating voice.

and rematerializes on the other side, with force field on full. "so how can we resolve this without hurting each other, hmmmm?"

The big guy turns ponderously around and chuckles, "Huh... huh... huh...". It doesn't seem malicious, or sinister: he seems to be genuinely amused by the idea of Glimmer hurting him.Or maybe her moving through him tickled. It's hard to tell.

"Don't be afraid, pretty lady. Siege won't hurt you. If you stay right there, I won't even grab you. OK?" He nods slowly (making that same grating-stone sound), and seems to think that this a fairly reasonable idea.


"Don't be afraid, pretty lady. Siege won't hurt you. If you stay right there, I won't even grab you. OK?" He nods slowly (making that same grating-stone sound), and seems to think that this a fairly reasonable idea.

"works for me," Glimmer agrees. "i stay put, you stay put. we're happy.

"so what brings you to town?"

Glimmer appears to listen intently to whatever Siege says. In fact, she *is* listening to him. But she's also extending her senses to cover the rest of the area, looking for that certain something special which will make cause this situation to make sense.

[ So, does she find it? :) ]


Well, it only took 10 years, but Vinnie's finally going back to school...

Waking up the next morning, things didn't look much better. The bills were still piling up, the work certainly wasn't flowing in, and these "special abilities" were just another mystery. So with those thoughts bouncing around his mind, Vinnie decides to get back to something he knows how to do. Strapping on the old shoulder holster, pulling on the nicely broken in boots, and sliding into the beat-up trench coat Vinnie once again marveled how his "uniform" managed to survive the explosion. Well, chalk it up as another mystery to solve some day.

A "hopefully" uneventful drive to USC later.

Well, this "investigation" will have to be performed on the sly. So the first stop will be the campus library to check some back issues of the school paper. Are there any articles in there about the professor's disappearance and/or death?

If that doesn't turn up anything useful, Vinnie will first go to Admisions and try to get some information about the courses the professor taught here. That might lead to a conversation with one of the members of the BioEngineering Department. If anyone gets too curious about the questioning, Vinnie will try to pass himself off as either a potential transfer student (to the less technical of the interviewees) or as a reporter (to the professors). He will be very careful not to draw too much attention to himself. Hopefully this will help decide the next move.

---Wraith


Adaptor doesn't look nearly as intrigued as he is. Either the woman is encased in some sort of total body armor that does not necessarily reflect the metabolic functions going on underneath, or she is an artificial construct of some sort. At any rate, he doesn't seem prepared to find out.

"They seem to be targeting us individually. I suggest we switch opponents,"

He says succinctly, as he executes a quick backflip away from the enigmatic figure, not waiting to see what action she may decide upon. He will attempt to half spin as he lands, allowing his momentum to bring him in line with the man who just injured Prism. He will then hold in an apparent attack stance to see what action his opponents take.

If the woman fires any sort of ranged attack at him, he will then dive for cover out of the way, hoping he has lined the attack up properly to have a chance of hitting the assailant who injured Prism (Brandon, if my Tactics skill will help with this... tactic, then I'll let you make the roll).

If he's not attacked at range, he'll respond as appropriate (and in a later e-mail : ).

Adaptor

Jim C.


He grins, and it starts to snow around Krane. Krane takes 19 Stun NND (and I'll let you guess what the defense is).

[ A parka? (grin) ]

Things change quickly, fortunately Krane can think on his feet. He whirls to face his grinning attacker and lashes out with his escrima stick, trying to take him out quickly with a quick shot to the jaw. All the while wondering if he couldn't shift his abilities to make him a little more resistant to the cold.

, Krane


"works for me," Glimmer agrees. "i stay put, you stay put. we're happy. so what brings you to town?"

Seige seems pleased and surprised that Glimmer is so accomodating. His big yellow eyes blink a couple of times.

"Oh, hey," he rumbles, "that's pretty reasonable of you. I like it a lot better when I don't have to smash anybody. I really don't like seeing people get hurt. Not like Black Bolt." The stony planes of Seige's face contort into a grimace.

"What brings us to town?" he repeats. He shrugs. "I don't know. We were flying by and the Master must have seen something he thought was interesting. It happens, sometimes. He's a curious guy. Blueshift would know: she's in charge when we're on a mission." Seige points over his shoulder at the woman Adaptor is running away from. "My job is to run interference while she gets what we came for. It's a good job. The Master pays well, but I really like that he treats me like a real person. I had trouble getting real work before he found me."

-=-=-=-

Krane seeks that inner place where he knows the outer world -- hot, cold, or indifferent -- is just an illusion. The senses can fool you. Don't trust them.

The snow ceases to bother him.

An escrima stick whips out toward his opponent. CRACK! The ice-laden man staggers backward, and the snow stops falling. Another lightning-strike CRACK! and Krane's opponent is down for the count.

-=-=-=-

Adaptor flips backward away from the woman, who he will later learn is called Blueshift. Since Adaptor's... change... he has never needed to worry about things like balance or exercise, and he has never encountered anyone who made him feel slow and clumsy. Until today.

He executes his backflip flawlessly, lining up to attack the infamous Black Bolt. In a blur, he is no longer standing there. A split-second of acceleration, and he hits the side of a police car. [After defenses & 25% damage reduction -- the attack took Adaptor completely by surprise -- Adaptor takes 28 Stun and no Body.]

As he pries himself from the wreckage of the police car and shakes the cobwebs from his head [he was Stunned], Adaptor tries to figure out what happened. He landed, skillfully as always, prepared for a possible ranged attack. In his mind's eye, he sees a blur as the woman ran past him, grabbed him by the arm, and carried him to the other end of the parking lot, letting go of him just before he hit the police car. Adaptor is dimly thankful that the woman let go in front of the police car, rather than in front of the equally-convenient brick wall a few meters away. The car absorbed some of the damage -- Adaptor can tell instinctively that the tensile strength of his ribcage came very close to being exceeded. And three meters in front of him the woman stands, perfectly still.

Before he can catch his breath [before he gets a phase to recover from being Stunned], the woman moves again. He can almost follow her with his eyes, now that he's expecting it. No movement is wasted: when someone coined the phrase "poetry in motion", *this* was what they meant.

She moves over to stand next to him, kneels down, and in a fluid motion pulls his [OAF] staff from its scabbard.

"The Master wants to look at this," she says softly. Somehow, he thought her voice would be more commanding, more assurred, in line with her demeanor, but she sounds almost timid. "He says he will return it when he is done."

[Adaptor recovers from being Stunned.]

Then she blurs into action again, and runs over to where Krane is beating the hell out of the ice-guy....

-=-=-=-

"Uh-oh," Seige says, glancing over his shoulder. "Cryo's in trouble." He leans down and whispers conspiratorially to Glimmer, "Cryotron's new."

-=-=-=-

Krane watches the ice-covered man (who he will later learn is called Cryotron) fall to the ground. Suddenly, Krane is not alone. In a blur of motion, there is a metal-clad woman standing in front of him, adjacent to the seriously unconscious Cryotron.

"We have what we came for," she says softly to Krane. "We'll be going now."

Krane notices that she is holding Adaptor's staff in one hand.

-=-=-=-

Seige puts a massive finger on the side of his head.

"Okay," he says, straightening up. "Time for Seige to go, pretty lady. It was nice talking to you. I hope we meet again some time."

He turns and walks toward Blueshift.

-=-=-=-

Black Bolt curses and looks over at Blueshift.

"You get a reprieve this time, freak," Black Bolt says to Prism, his voice nasty (he sounds like a truly pissed-off Dennis Hopper). "Next time, I melt a hole in you."

He walks over to Blueshift, the black energy dripping from his hands eating holes in the asphalt along the way. [Prism recovers from being Stunned.]

-=-=-=-

Synopsis:

Adaptor and Prism have both used their phase to recover from being Stunned. Krane just used his phase to smack Cryotron upside the head. Glimmer has a phase held.

Cryo is sleepy-bye. Black Bolt and Siege are walking toward Blueshift. Blueshift just used her phase to run over to Krane (but she'll get another one REAL SOON NOW -- but no, she's not Speed 12).

-=-=-=-

[Hey, where's Kakker? I seem to have lost track of him. Is he at the old Vanguard base?]


Glimmer will do one of two things, depending on what's going on in the Almost-A-Bank.

*** Here's what will decide ***

I'm wondering about the Master's gun. You said:

The space man drops his laser rifle and grabs two handles that project from the sides of his space suit. Fire erupts frrom the bottom of his enormous backpack, and he slams headfirst into the ceiling with a Kirbyesque KER-SMASH!

You also said:

Meanwhile, the red-shirts -- Fibonacci, Newton, and Einstein -- turn and run into the store.

By "the store," do you mean the Almost-A-Bank, where there's a tied-up teller and the master's rifle? If so, that's a problem Glimmer will address right away. If not, she's got other plans.

*** Option One: If the trio is in the bank with the gun, or if the trio is in the bank and threatening the hostage, then... ***

Glimmer gives Seige a quick, "see ya," then walks to the side of the strip mall. From there, she desolidifies her way through to the Almost-A-Bank, taking care to remain out of sight.

Then her priorities will be: - Getting to the gun before the trio does. (Hopefully they haven't remembered it.) - Preventing the trio from using the gun on anybody. (This might involve scaring them into shooting Glimmer in her desolidified state, hopefully with something a thick vault wall behind her.) - Keeping the hostage from harm. (This might involve placing herself [and her force field] between the trio and the hostage, or it might just mean untying the hostage and sneaking him/her out without being noticed.)

*** Option two: If the trio is not in the bank, or if the trio is in the bank but isn't doing anything with the gun or with the hostage or with anything else dangerous, then... ***

Glimmer gives Seige a quick, "see ya," then she stands still and watches as the bad guys gather together.

[ Glimmer expects that they're about to do a teleport. She's got her powers cranked to the max, hoping that she'll sense something -- either before or after they 'port -- to let her know where they've gone. Their teleport trick might have a very long range, but then again, so do Glimmer's abilities. ]


The three goons ran, obviously panicked, into the interior of the Almost-A-Banc. Glimmer stretches out with her senses: at this moment they are being apprehended by police on the other side of the building. The ray gun is on the floor in the lobby, where "The Mathster" dropped it.

Glimmer gives Siege a quick, "see ya," then she stands still and watches as the bad guys gather together. She's got her powers cranked to the max, hoping that she'll sense something -- either before or after they 'port -- to let her know where they've gone.

Suddenly, Glimmer becomes aware of something. Above her... above the entire parking lot... there is a solid object. She looks up, but doesn't see or even hear *anything*. Nevertheless, her senses tell her that there is a ceiling about 50 meters above her. It's impossibly huge: she senses around for the edge of it. It appears to be a disk some 100 meters in diameter, smooth and slightly convex.

Glimmer is hit with a brief attack of terror, that "there's an enormous object over my head" feeeling, but [I assume] she manages to push it down.

[Note for clarity: "The Mathster" did not fly up into the air and vanish. He flew up and headed west as fast as it rocket-pack could carry him. Glimmer can still hear the faint roar of his rocket pack.]


Vinnie goes to the USC library and spends a half-hour flipping through back issues of the USC Monitor. No luck: no mention of of Professor Cabon's untimely demise.

Vinnie heads over to admissions, to see what courses the professor taught here.

"Hi," Vinnie says, putting on his best friendly-and-needs-help face. "I'm thinking about transferring here from UC Fullerton, and I was wondering how good your BioEngineering Department is. I heard you had a Professor Cabon who was supposed to be one of the best BE professors around..."

The faculty drone is not impressed with Vinnie. She hands him a form.

"You'll need Professor Cabon's approval to enter the BioEngineering program. Get him to sign this." She glances at her computer screen. "He's lecturing in Rosenberg Hall right now, but he should be free after that."

The drone looks Vinnie up and down. "I can tell you right now that the BE program is full. You should have put in for this back in July. But you can ask Professor Cabon about it. Maybe if he's had more than the usual number of drop-outs there might be room for you. But I doubt it."

He's not dead.


"they're about to return to their ship," Glimmer announces to the team. [ She'll be as loud as is necessary to let all of her teammates hear. ]

"the ship is floating ten, twelve stories above us. i might be able to bring it down, but it's a couple o' blocks wide and it'd make a mess of the area.

"adaptor, is that stick of yours worth fighting for, or should we just let these clowns go?"


He's not dead.

Wow, they weren't kidding when they said the professors are tough here.

Two months, two months Vinnie spent getting better in that hospital. And now the professor has been here teaching all along like nothing happened? Vinnie was starting to run out of room on his "another mystery to solve" list.

OK, let's approach this logically, maybe someone else was at the house that night. "Well," he mused, "if I'm going to transfer into this major I suppose I should see what one of the courses is like." First stop, a return trip to the library and check the recent yearbook for a faculty picture (if there isn't one in the deparment lounge.) Is this the same guy?

If it is, Vinnie's going to try to quietly slip into the lecture (only if it doesn't draw too much attention). From there, he'll spend the rest of the day shadowing him and see where he's calling home these days.

---Wraith


First stop, a return trip to the library and check the recent yearbook for a faculty picture (if there isn't one in the deparment lounge.) Is this the same guy?

That's him. Lean, angular features, around fifty or so. Greying, close-cropped hair. Winning smile. Piercing, humorless black eyes.

Vinnie slips quietly into the lecture hall. This is one of the undergrad classes on organic chemistry: the place is packed. Vinnie doesn't even merit a glance.

The professor has a casual, brisk style of lecturing. He keeps one hand in his pocket, the other hand drawing hexagonal molecule diagrams with broad, sweeping motions. Every once in a while he makes a wry joke, the sort that no one laughs at but that makes almost everyone smile and feel smarter for having gotten the jest. Most of them go over Vinnie's head.

After the lecture, Professor Cabon gathers his papers and heads to the teachers' lounge. Vinnie hangs out and keeps an eye on him the rest of the day. Eventually, Cabon drives his Audi to his home, a house in the hills above Hollywood. A very nice house. I didn't know that teachers made enough money to live here, Vinnie thinks.


Glimmer sees Adaptor simply lay still for a moment, not groaning and shaking off the blow as someone who just got slammed into a car door at escape velocity probably would do. It's almost as if he's restarting his body somehow. But then he's talking to her as he starts to roll fluidly to his feet.

And, for the first time his teammates can remember, he sounds... annoyed. Perhaps only slightly, but it sounds like the experience has put a crimp in his day.

"That "STICK" is an alien artifact that once belonged to Captain Paragon, and the only one of its kind on Earth. I'm not convinced of the sincerity of their promise to return it to me..."

There still isn't any discernable expression on his face, but there is a definite narowing of his eyes visible to anyone who might be paying attention...

If only he had been prepared. Tonight, he'll be doing some reading.

And making some calls.

Adaptor
Jim C.


Prism staggers back from Black Bolt's...blast? Blow? Bolt. The half-molten hole in his gut doesn't hurt, exactly; a body with no nerves can feel no pain. But the area feels horribly, shockingly wrong, like part of his soul was eaten away along with the crystal. Prism hunches over, shivering uncontrollably, arms protectively clenched over his gaping "wound." After a few moments, the shivers pass, but the room is still wavering as he looks up.

"You get a reprieve this time, freak," Black Bolt says to Prism, his voice nasty (he sounds like a truly pissed-off Dennis Hopper). "Next time, I melt a hole in you."

Slowly, Prism raises himself upright, forcing his hands to his side as he levels his ice-blue eyes at Black Bolt. Quiet but resonant, his voice can be heard throughout the room.

"Do you think that'll stop me?"

And then, in a quieter voice, intended only for the ears of Black Bolt (though other perceptive folk may certainly catch it), he adds:

"...you _pussy_?"

[Prism is ready to do a martial Block (levels in DCV) if his taunt has its intended effect, and to take a recovery if it doesn't...]


An Audi AND a nice house? Some guys get all the breaks.

Vinnie looks at the Audi, looks at his car, looks at the Audi again, no sir, this will NOT do.

Once again, Vinnie will look for a somewhat out of the way place to park his car and approach the house when it starts getting dark. Maybe he'll even try "helping" it get a little darker near him. The scary part is, this is starting to look like a rerun of two months ago. Well, this time we'll be a little more careful.

Vinnie plans just to scope out the house and get an idea of what's around it. This all depends on how crowded the neighborhood is and how much attention he attracts. He'll start low-key and wait for a better opportunity to really check out the house.

---Wraith


[Hey, where's Kakker? I seem to have lost track of him. Is he at the old Vanguard base?]

Kakker is/was in the midst of confronting/being confronted by Dr. Redgrave's shyster, one hand surreptitiously fingering the pad of his heavily-modified, European-brand personal digital assistant, microwave impulses streaming out towards certain news-gathering organizations....

From ???@??? Fri Nov 01 16:36:59 1996 Return-Path: 1298374@anon.penet.fi From: Anonymous Tip Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 17:31:57 -0800 (PST) To: media-alias-LAMETRO.grp Message-Id: 961101173157.5ba74@ANON.PENET.FI Subject: photo op SUPER HERO

HOMELESS SUPER EVICTION @ VANGUARD BY LAWYER KAKKER PRISM ADAPTOR CRANE OTHER HAPPENING RIGHT NOW


Vinnie sneaks up on the house, keeping to the shadows... and keeping to the shadows. The house looks normal. No sign of Cabon. Something is odd, here, though. Vinnie can't put his finger on it, but he feels like he's being... watched. He glances around, but doesn't see anyone. He hears the garage door open. Cabon's Audi exits, and drives at a leisurely pace down the road.

-=-=-

"pussy"

Black Bolt stops walking toward Blueshift and the others, his fists clenched. Slowly, he turns around, the half of his face below his mask showing his teeth in a feral snarl.

Black Bolt's costume is unusual in that he doesn't look natural in it. Most normal people, even weightlifters and other athletic types, look silly in superhero outfits; it takes a real superhero (or supervillain) to look "right" in a costume. Black Bolt doesn't. The costume itself is not that strange: orange with red trim, with a cape, and a mask covering all but his lower face (rather like the Flash's outfit). But Black Bolt doesn't really *look* like a supervillain. He looks like a psychopath wearing a costume. Dripping crackling black acid from his hands.

"You say something, neighbor?" Bolt hisses.

Blueshift's attention shifts immediately, her head tilting a fraction of a degree in Prism's direction.

"Black Bolt," Krane hears her say, almost too quietly for him to hear, but in a tone that means business, very different from the tone she used when speaking to Adaptor and him. "Get over here now or you get left behind." Krane has the feeling that this would not bother her much.

Krane can feel a tingle in the air, and Glimmer, several meters away, can hear a low hum from Krane's general direction. Siege picks up the unconscious Cryotron, and waves cheerfully at Glimmer.

Black Bolt's teeth gnash: Prism can hear them grinding together. "You'll get your turn, freak. I promise." He turns, angrily, reluctantly, and steps over to Blueshift. She looks neither disappointed nor relieved.

-=-=-

"I'll have to clear this with my client, of course, Mr. Kakker," the lawyer maneuvers. "In the meantime, where can we find you if she does choose to talk to you?"

If Kakker wants newscrews there, he'll have to do some serious stalling.

-=-=-

As Steph taps her chin, thinking of what to do with a pocket AI, an alarm bleeps at her from her workstation. There's someone outside her workshop.

She wheels her chair over to the display. There's a single heat signature, about the right size for a human being. She flicks a switch, and the screen shows a grainy picture of a white-haired man in a tan trenchcoat.

It's Mesmeron.


[Writer's Note: Looks like we get an answer to the age old question: How many threads can a GM maintain at once. :D]

Cabon's Audi exits, and drives at a leisurely pace down the road.

OK, two questions to decide Vinnie's next move: 1) Did the Audi drive at a leisurely pace when it was approaching the house? 2) How far is it to the garage door and could he possibly make a sprint over to that and get in before it closes?

Vinnie's first priority is to find out some more about the professor. If it looks like he just made a stop here and is continuing along his rounds then it's time to continue tailing the professor. If the car's driving off in a strange manner (ie: hot rod driver now out for a leisurely evening drive) then he'll concentrate on the house and see if he can sneak in through the garage.

Also, at this point Vinnie should just be noticing how good his night vision has become (UV Vision).

---Wraith


"That "STICK" is an alien artifact that once belonged to Captain Paragon, and the only one of its kind on Earth. I'm not convinced of the sincerity of their promise to return it to me..."

With a slight sigh, Glimmer walks over to Prism.

[ Her next move assumes that the bad guys have teleported away. If/when that happens... ]

Glimmer turns off her force barrier.

"alley-oop, prism. i need to to toss me 50 yards straight up. i'll see if i can board the ship."

Her plan -- and it's not the best plan she's ever had -- is to turn both intangibility and force barrier on as soon as she leaves prism's hands. She'll use her gliding to maneuver. Hopefully, she'll either desolidify her way into the ship or she'll bounce lightly off of its defenses.


The car *is* leaving at a slower pace that it arrived. Vinnie sprints to the garage door and slips under it just before it closes.

The house is normal. Clean, neat. Nice.

Vinnie scopes out the rooms upstairs. Nothing odd, here, either. No plaques declaring Cabon's membership in the Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow. Just the usual assortment of knick-knacks, pictures, and framed museum posters. Hmm.

BBlackmoor


"You say something, neighbor?" Bolt hisses.

Prism stands there, a slight, smug smile creasing his craggy face. [Recover, recover, recover...] "Maybe. Did you hear something? Or," he gestures towards the hyper-speedy woman, "was that just your mommy calling you?"

[If/when the bad guys depart and Glimmer makes her request:]

Prism moves a little more stiffly now that he doesn't have to look macho for the bad guys, but he will hurry to comply with Glimmer's request. He kneels down and interlocks his fingers; they fit together neatly, like some kind of acrylic puzzle/paperweight. As she steps into place, Prism looks up at her for a moment.

"I hope you know what you're doing, lady."

heave


"I'll have to clear this with my client, of course, Mr. Kakker," the lawyer maneuvers. "In the meantime, where can we find you if she does choose to talk to you?"

"I will be right here, most of the time, trying to make sure dere is a place left to be thrown out of, sirah. Ummm..." Kakker pauses, looking sheepishly at the structural damage slowly being repaired. "Regardless, here ise my busyness card, you should always be able to get in touch with me one of these ways, unless I am down a hole or under the water or something. May I have one of your own cards? I am an very experienced process server, should you need in the future to serve any difficult or obscure defendants or witnesses with writs or sub-po-inas, I have many references..." Kakker continues on with the small-talk, pleased to see he has un-smugged another lawyer.

If Kakker wants newscrews there, he'll have to do some serious stalling.

grumble No special delaying tactics, but should any newstypes show, Kakker will go on at length about how he is struggling to live the American Dream, and how terrible it is that good people cannot put aside their differences and get on with the fight agaionst crime, etc, etc.


So much for starting over on the right side of the law...

Vinnie takes some time to examine the upstairs room. His first goal is to find the master bedroom and give it a once over for signs that it actually is Cabon's house. Pictures, nick-nacks, etc. If this doesn't seem to add up, then he'll do a quick sweep of the rest of the house checking for anything out of the ordinary (body, bomb, etc.).

Question: Does Vinnie still have the something is wrong/someone's watching me feeling?

If this does turn out to be the professor's house and he doesn't find anything of interest upstairs, Vinnie will work his way towards the basement. Here we go again...

---Wraith


Black Bolt spins back to face Prism, seething with rage.

"YOU ASKED FOR IT, FREAK!" He leaps at Prism with his hands outstretched like claws. He's faster than he looks: Prism barely has time to block the attack, being careful not to actually touch Black Bolt's hands. [Black Bolt rolled a 7 to hit, Prism rolled an 8 to block. Nice rolls.] The next action is Prism's....

Siege frowns, and Blueshift looks on dispassionately. Neither makes a move to help or hinder Black Bolt. The air crackles with unseen power, and the three antagonists in front of Krane turn into sizzling blue outlines and disappear.

[Of course, this does mean Glimmer's ascension will have to be postponed a bit, unless she has another way to get vertical.]

-=-=-

Vinnie still has that feeling of being watched.

The house looks like Cabon actually lives here, but there's something missing. It's nothing obvious: there are the typical trivia that clutter up a life... neatly stacked piles of change, letter-holder full of bills (*paid* bills, Vinnie notices ruefully), a few pictures of family or friends.... Vinnie can't put his finger on it, but there's a sense that this house isn't really *lived* in. It's as though it's more a museum than a residence, like the so-called "living rooms" of people who never actually do any living in that room. He finishes searching the ground floor and basement storage room, but finds nothing that helps him figure this puzzle out.

-=-=-

The lawyer snaps out a business card in well-practiced fashion, and accepts Kakker's in return. He listens politely to Kakker's American Dream, and Kakker can almost see the $150/hour meter running behind the man's eyes. Just as Kakker is going to start on how his father came to this country seeking a new life, a midnight-blue sports coupe pulls up at the curb. Dr. Redgrave, looking as she did when Kakker first met her (long straw-blonde hair, no tentacles), gets out of the coupe and strides gracefully yet purposefully toward the base. She does not appear to see Kakker, and seems intent on keeping it that way.


"YOU ASKED FOR IT, FREAK!" He leaps at Prism with his hands outstretched like claws. He's faster than he looks: Prism barely has time to block the attack, being careful not to actually touch Black Bolt's hands.

_Oh yeah_, thinks Prism, _this was a REALLY good idea._

Barely snapping out of his haze in time, Prism brings his arms up and outward in a circular motion, forcing Black Bolt's arms up and away from Prism's already scarred torso. Hopefully, the block also leaves Black Bolt's midsection exposed for the front reverse kick that Prism delivers, his massive crystal leg pivoting smoothly up to [hopefully] deliver a pistonlike blow to the psychopath's solar plexus. [That's an Offensive Strike, all levels in OCV.]

_This better hurt,_ Prism thinks as he strikes, _'cause I probably ain't gonna get another shot._


seeking a new life, a midnight-blue sports coupe pulls up at the curb. Dr. Redgrave, looking as she did when Kakker first met her (long straw-blonde hair, no tentacles), gets out of the coupe and strides gracefully yet purposefully toward the base. She does not appear to see Kakker, and seems intent on keeping it that way.

Kakker's jaw drops and he wordlessly points to the doctor as she walks toward the door, arm moving slightly back and forth to draw the mouthpiece's attention along it. After a brief moment of introspection and declaring himself sane, Kakker asks, "Is thas the same woman who retained you this morning? It cannot be! She could not possibly be walking unassisted so quickly!"

RPG Library Rate this site at RPG Library