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Thursday, 6 September 2018

Hell is Empty...

Previous Session: An Invitation, or as good as

Simon (Shadow the Beacon) & Javi (El Serpiente the Nova) exchange glances as they stalk the new arrivals who are here to meet with Brad Armstrong. Simon will stay incognito, while Javi will try to speak to the woman who's handling the man Excelsior warned them about.


Javi steps in front of her, provoking her with a drink under her nose, asking about her plans with Brad - yes he's that bold! The approach appears to work though, and after she introduces herself as Estelle Roux she admits that she has an appointment with Brad, and then (distractedly) confesses that he did evince some interest in meeting with Javi later on tonight.

Estelle Roux 
Notable consultant for
Halcyon Analytica
She sees her charge through a set of doors which lead to some suites and meeting rooms. Javi is sure that the man, Barbarossa, is a buyer for Project OBSIDIAN.

Brad sees Javi as the young man approaches a knot of sycophants clustered around the billionaire. Brad finishes the discussion (whether Javi was going to give him more than a few seconds, we'll never know) and clasps Javi by the shoulders. He's has his eye on Javi, real talent that needs a bit of moulding and mentorship - if he might be so bold.

Javi is taken in by the charm for a moment, he can see himself fulfilling this vision that Brad has of him. Until he reminds himself what the mission is here tonight. He gleans what he can from the discussion - the close personal attention of the most powerful man in Halcyon City! Brad is planning to take over the entire city, and he wants Javi to be the trailblazer in this new programme of his - all he has to do to take this relationship to the next level is join up...
Brad tells him to call him (handing him a business card with a direct line) and they'll bring him in.

***

Simon follows Barbarossa to the doors. He waves away a waiter from a trolley, and takes his place.
Brad Armstrong
CEO of Halcyon Analytica
and Lucia's Nemesis
Guess his tuxedo is plain enough for him to pass as one, and he wait for just the right moment before sneaking through the locked doors.

He scans the meeting rooms all along the corridor, before finding one with quiet voices inside. Simon sneaks into the next room, and stands up against the adjoining wall. Still not good enough to eavesdrop, so he takes out the gadget he took from the dangerous-looking woman hogging the champagne outside earlier.

He presses the button on the 'key-fob' and a sphere of phasing energy appears around him. It extends slightly into the carpeted floor, but more importantly, it goes right through the wall next to him and doesn't appear to be visible to anyone inside that room!

Barbarossa and Brad Armstrong are sitting on comfortable chair around a large coffee table. Estelle Roux is leaning against a sofa - she's not part of the discussion, but is obviously paying attention. Barbarossa is delivering OBSIDIAN to the Red Queen, for an undisclosed price, and it's happening soon.

Simon is shocked, even knowing everything he does about Brad Armstrong, that the deal is on the level. Still phased inside the Orb, he walks out the doorway. But sees Viper, the woman he stole the device from walking down the hallway looking at her smartphone intently. He has only a moment to decide and goes out the wall rather than retreat back into the meeting room...

**

Javi heads back to Anita, where he finds her talking animatedly with Lynette. Conversation turns to how dangerous things are for the team when they confront super-villains and Anita wishes that he could tone it down a little, but he pushes back on the idea - despite working in a green grocer he si a bit of a freak, transforming his hands into snakes to prove the point! Anita's still cool with that, or at least they're still cool with each other...

Simon steps through the wall, to find nothing under his feet. There's a steep cliff face plunging down into the river far below! He turns back as quickly as he can, releasing the device and grabbing onto the rocks for dear life. He narrowly avoids falling and he imagines he hears the fob tumble down the cliff-face and into the water.

He scoots over to a nearby balcony and catches his breath in relief.
Viper
SuperHero
Not bad, so much as badass

Viper is waiting for him, calm as you like. She holds out a hand, obviously expecting the key-fob to be handed over. Simon wimpers (he's pretty sure that she's a villain who's going to cut him up for breakfast).

She wants his name and he puffs himself up
-I'm Shadow. Unhand me!
She scowls, but she knows who he is and has his number. She waves him off and climbs up onto the balustrade and dives off into the river far below.

Simon can't resist checking out the dive - it's pretty impressive!

*

When he returns to the group at the main party, Lynette notices his suit is muddy so he tells her the story. Simon tells her he was worried about having a close encounter with a SuperVillain, but she knows about Viper. At the newspaper they use different colour tints for photos of heroes and villains (that's an editorial choice to help readers, obviously).

They get conversation back to more mundane matters, but when wondering how her apartment is doing, Simon lets slip that Javi (El Serpiente) was actually responsible for leveling the floor of her building, and not the RedCaps as the story went before...

Thursday, 23 August 2018

An Invitation, or as good as...

Previous Session: Believers

As the team take stock of what they know, Lucia (Bruja, the Doomed) starts on her project to create a vaccine against the Project OBSIDIAN 'virus'.
She'll need a sample of the 'virus' (from the Halcyon Analytica lab), to infect someone with it and observe its behaviour, help from Dr. Schneider (who Gus has heard of), and it is definitely connected with her doom.


Javi (El Serpiente, the Nova) track down the Redcaps. Using a variety of social media to track incidents of them moving through the city and out towards the rally point that Xerox saw they narrow it down to one route southwards towards the border. They hit the road, planning to stop by every dive bar or diner on the way and cast around for news or sign of their passing.

They pull up outside Toad's. It's too early for most clientele to be here, but there are a few hawgs and a pickup parked outside. Javi heads inside, the others follow. Javi has a red baseball cap on and he takes it off as he sits at the bar, ordering a whiskey.

The barman looks pissed off and pulls a double-barrelled shotgun and levels it at Javi. Javi curtails his instincts to power-up and level the guy or take the blast and whips out a hand to disarm him. He towers over the older man and pushes him to spill what he knows of the RedCaps. But Toad doesn't know - they rode through here yesterday and broke up the place.

Javi looks behind him, the others are arrayed or sitting around, the place looks rough but maybe a bit light on intact chairs. They aren't regulars and the usual bikers avoid them whenever they hear rumours. They drove southwards, and that means the border.

Javi hands him back the shotgun and they walk out.
As they discuss the best way to track them, a bunch of AEGIS SUVs pull up alongside their car. The security personnel fan out, but they're not treating the team as an active threat (as such).

Excelsior steps out.

Excelsior
SuperHero and AEGIS doyen
Shadow (the Beacon, aka Simon) starts to walk away towards the car. He's not interested in any confrontation with AEGIS.
Excelsior scoffs. Shadow probably shouldn't be there anyway, right? That gets Shadow's attention and he turns around to find out what Excelsior wants.

Turns out that Excelsior wants the team to go to a very important party tonight. It's short notice but all the great and good of Halcyon City will be there.

The kicker is that it's hosted by Brad Armstrong, for his charitable foundation. Excelsior believes that Armstrong is meeting with some undesirable tonight, or at least someone with an undesirable agenda. And they are the type of people who would be able to find out exactly who it is and what deal Armstrong is cutting - without a high profile like Excelsior they can stay under the radar.

I guess that means they need dates, and to go shopping!

***

Gus (Tag the Innocent) rushes back to the docks, where he's due to meet the Wyrm of Ages with Betty (aka K-0S). The tall stylish woman is drinking a carafe of wine (not sure exactly how she was served it in the café) and Betty warns him that she's tricky and easy to provoke before she introduces them.

The Wyrm of Ages
Marvellous SuperVillain
The Wyrm considers him cautiously, as if she knows what he's capable of. She tells him that she doesn't really care about Catcher, but if it'll help her in her feud with The Beast, she'll help him

He pushes back on her idea of vengeance, to find out exactly what she'd be happy with. She senses his discomfort with her just killing him outright, and suggests that she could live with justice being his life-imprisonment in the AEGIS-operated SuperVillain detention centre (where-ever that is, she doesn't intend to find out.)

Betty is really excited when Gus tells her about the Gala tonight, given that Excelsior might be there. She has an uber nerd-crush on him and is shocked when he doesn't really seem to appreciate how much technical wizardry he's shown over the years - constantly redefining himself and on the cutting edge (that's not weird, is it?).

**

Simon
(Shadow)
Lynette
Simon is the first one to be picked up by the limo (that Excelsior has arranged for them). His sister, Sydney is pleased to see him going out as himself, a real social life is a healthy thing. He picks up Lynette (who's staying at her aunt's place while her apartment block is being rebuilt). She's in a stunning dress and is pleased to meet him as Simon (instead of just Shadow). They chat as the limo meanders across town to pick up the next lot. She works as a photo editor in the Halcyon Herald, hoping to get an impromptu assignment as a photographer soon. Some champagne helps Simon relax.

Julie
Lucia
(Bruja)
Lucia assumes that Gus is taking her. She asked on the way back to the city and he avoided answering, but when he breaks it to her (she did know he had the date the other night) she can't even...she tells him to get out!

She goes out shopping with Anita, but is frustrated when her funds won't stretch to cover her outfit. Anita helps her out (best friend ever!). They talk about her +1 and Anita suggests she gives Julie a call. She knows everyone anyway, so it'll be easy and not too awkward.

Julie has even less time to get ready, but has something nice for work which'll do in a pinch.


Javi
(El Serpiente)
Anita
Javi & Anita are next. Only Javi's snakeskin boots and bolo tie belie his unfamiliarity with this kind of event. But he and Anita look pretty good together and they introduce themselves easily to Simon and Lynette.

Let's be honest, Simon doesn't spend much time outside his Shadow persona! Everyone's a bit giddy from the champagne and the unusual setting.



Betty
Gus
(Tag)
Gus and Betty meet up outside his place. Gus has an old-fashioned suit on, but he rocks the retro look. Betty suddenly realises that Gus' friends don't know she'll be there (she tries to tell herself that they mightn't recognize her...)

Betty is less and less happy about the arrangement, like she's the villain here if something awkward happens. And she feels even worse when Gus lets slip that Lucia thought that they were going to go to the Gala together! Super awks!
But as soon as she steps into the limo and Gus introduces her (as Betty) Lucia and Simon peg that it's K-0S; that rooftop cocktail party encounter in the VR construct kind of gave her away. But they're more surprised at Gus, that he's seeing a SuperVillain (albeit one with a cause and motivations that they can definitely relate to). Lucia isn't sure how she feels about them though.

There's some chit-chat on the way about Lynette's apartment and the RedCaps. Lucia pointedly looks at Gus when she declares that there are few people she dislikes more than them!

*

At the grounds of the hotel, they're amongst the first to arrive. Way too small-fry to arrive fashionably late! But also they'll need to keep an eye out for Brad Armstrong's mysterious contact. They get an update from Excelsior - he gives them the registration plate of the car that'll be bringing the contact from the airport.

They make sure one of them has eyes on the entrance all the time, the rest of them can circle (and maybe enjoy themselves).

Simon does the first circuit and spots two interesting people; neither of whom he recognizes til he compares notes with the others. The Wyrm of Ages is quietly observing everything and everyone who enters. A SuperHero, Viper is scoffing down champagne (confidently taking an entire tray from a waiter. Simon lifts her key-fob from the table where she puts it down to work her way through the tray. It's not from a car, but is definitely for some kind of high tech device/vehicle.

Barbarossa
Mysterious Super
Lucia relaxes with Julie, telling her everything about this thing with Gus. But Julie doesn't' react to this revelation the way she expects. She was just Lucia's second choice. And how does Lucia expect it to go down when she asks someone out she KNOWS is seeing another girl already? Julie wonders if Lucia should apologize for being a bitch. And then she walks off to the bar.

Brad Armstrong arrives at the party and attracts Lucia's attention as she goes after Julie. The allure is strong, and she contacts Simon telepathically to see if they can scan him; but Simon convinces her to stay out of Armstrong's brain.

They spot the car from the airport. A middle-ages man climbs out. He has an assistant with him, but as Simon closes in to try to get her away from him to interrogate her about their agenda, he recognises her as the person who was consulting with Brad Armstrong in the Halcyon Analytica offices the night they found out about Project OBSIDIAN

Next Session: Hell is Empty...

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Believers

Previous Session: Bad to the Bone 
Gus (Tag the Innocent) gets in contact with K-0S (Betty) and despite her paranoia she doesn’t seem to have any trouble letting him into her setup. Neither does she regard his era-blind strangeness as a notable thing.
Gus is invited to a meeting inside AEGIS to discuss his future and options, and perhaps the ramifications of there being two of him (Tag/Catcher)...the Trojan Horse virus that he brought in for K-0S goes to work from his coat pocket alongside a networked PC as he sits in a meeting room. It gets a whole raft of relevant data but that takes time...

He sweats buckets but they think it’s about something else
The supervillain involved 'The Wyrm of Ages' agrees to a meeting with them. She’d be on for some cooperation with you to take down her nemesis from the confrontation, The Beast...
He develops a close working (or maybe more?) relationship with K-0S and have a safe and secure way to contact her in an emergency in the future
Also, he sees the footage of the fight, including Catcher (still obviously trying to be a good guy) fighting against The Beast. It's not enough to save Betty's family but it is an eye-opener for him.
~
Lucia (Bruja the Doomed) works with Anita to trace K-0S. Using her access to Halcyon Analytica to run a scan of unusual activity on AEGIS-related servers, she's able to get a read on what the villainous hacker is up to!
However, things don't go smooth on the way out; K-0S is alerted to your activity and while you find out what she’s up to, she’s in the wind.
Security at Halcyon Analytica is pretty tight. Lucia's sure they’ve put a trace on her and brought this little incursion to the attention of Brad Armstrong
An electronic tripwire within AEGIS alerts the The Beast to her interest…
Lucia ensures that Anita’s place in Halcyon Analytica isn't threatened, clearing up the mess in her log-files and traces so they can't be picked up by Internal Audit…

Gus, Lucia & Simon all meet up at Hank's Arcade. They debate telling AEGIS about their (not too) close encounter with the Red Queen; but they decide against it. AEGIS are well aware of the threat anyway, so she should be able to take care of it.

Simon (Shadow the Beacon) shows them the 'microfiche' sheet he took from Halycon Analytica. Lucia sets up a psychic construct (which kinda blends in a little with a few of Hank's VR rigs) for them to read it.

Project OBSIDIAN is pretty worrying stuff. Even though they only have some of the most technical information on the sheet, and none of the operational or strategic planning.
It's a dual element bio-agent. The first bonds itself to whatever gives the super their powers, and is dormant until it's not given the second element after a year, whereupon is deactivates the superpowers and leaves the subject entirely mundane.

They are animated in their discussion of what Halcyon Analytica intends this for? For them to control supers, or for AEGIS to? Or for some other, darker purpose...Regardless, the others are onside when it comes to believing that Brad Armstrong is up to no good...

***

Agent Jones and Anaconda from AEGIS arrive at the arcade, politely 'knocking' on their VR setup to get their attention. They're here to put some pressure on Lucia regarding her breaking into AEGIS systems during her hunt for K-0S.

Anaconda relaxes against the nearby bar and gets a beer from Hank, but Agent Jones is on point. She contends that Lucia is really not good enough to get away with this. She pushes back but doesn't quite convince them. Jones also nods back to Anaconda as if to reinforce her point. He's dangerous, but he's inside AEGIS.

As this conversation is going on, Shadow has slipped the OBSIDIAN sheet back into its manilla folder to get it out of view, and that doesn't attract their suspicions. Lucia spills the details of her
Agent Jones
AEGIS
operation (but nothing about Anita).

Gus reads the table, and how to stay out of the trouble it promises. To get this over quickly he can convince Lucia to give them everything; or just ride it out and have K-0S destroy all evidence of their own incursion...

Lucia wriggles, offering to give them all her data, and show them how she infiltrated their systems and maybe even help them fix the holes and track down K-0S. But Jones shakes her head at the implication that she could be a team-mate (Anaconda gets jealous). When she hears Lucia's mini-rant against Brad Armstrong, it's like her confirmation that Lucia was 'one of those' is confirmed.

Agent Jones has Lucia under the spotlight now, and through a series of probing questions. She determines that she really is trying to destroy Brad Armstrong, stop Halcyon Analytica and save the world. She'll give her everything she has on Halcyon Analytica if Jones says she believes her. And she really just wants Jones to believe her.

Jones is satisfied with that, they'll arrange a follow up (handing over her card) to go through the fine details of the hack. But as they turn to leave, Jones mentions the motorbike outside. Shadow gulps with regret. They grab that and the matching hat, remarking that it might be an idea to bring that sort of thing to AEGIS' attention and into their possession asap next time.
-You're welcome for those two we left for you to pick up!
snaps Shadow as they head outside, but they're oblivious...

**

Lucia heads to the toilets to recover her poise and deal with this resurgent imposter syndrome.
Gus also heads to the toilets, but he zips out the back to arrange for a meetup with K-0S.

They talk some more when they're all back at the table, they wonder if the Red Queen is infiltrating Halcyon Analytica to take Project OBSIDIAN and use it herself in her efforts to take control of the city!
Lucia is too down on herself to take much notice of this particular threat. She tells them she's not able to take on K-0S and Gus jumps on this, telling her that she already has too many things on her plate. Shadow encourages her and she's a little less insecure.

Shadow gets a text message from Lynette, to thank him for saving her last night (and to wonder if he's free for a face-to-face thank you, maybe over a coffee? He gets back to her straight-away (otherwise he might be Simon when he gets around to it) to suggest that they meet at Hank's - the front of the arcade has been turned into a cafe to take advantage of the new space they have thanks to the seized VR machines.

Simon heads into work to check on those VR machines now - the ones they caught BlackJack messing with should be in Halcyon Analytica. He finds himself on the detail for that wing of the building easily enough and after some circling finds the four machines. Three of them are sequestered, with security devices in their ports, but the fourth has a drive attached that's downloading all the data onto it. It's outside the CCTV zone, but Simon knows that he won't get out of the building with it. He gets the model details and calls Lucia from the toilets nearby.


Meanwhile Gus is meeting K-0S (definitely as Betty) in a retro piano bar. She's a lot more casual than her usual self, although she's a little bit late (her paranoia doesn't quite turn off completely it seems).
Gus is drinking a soda, but he orders her a Corona. He gives her the run-down on Jones' investigation and results of the agent's leaning on Lucia.

Betty
aka K-0S, Supervillain
She wonders why Lucia/Bruja has such a desire to bring her down; Gus observes that the rivalry only goes one way. But she did thwart her attempts a couple of times and that has obviously gotten to Lucia.

In other news, The Wyrm of Ages wants to meet them tomorrow, near the docks. It would seem that villains usually want to meet way out in public, where they can spot any traps - not in somewhere like Hank's Arcade. Anyway, the Wyrm is all too happy to cooperate with them to finally get her revenge on her nemesis, The Beast.

Bruja has picked up the same model of Halcyon Analytica external drive from her local Radio Shack (although it pains her to get it ready for use by plugging it into one of her laptops - I mean who even needs to use one of these wizards for setup!)  She opens a portal directly into the cubicle where Simon is waiting for her and he heads back to the repair lab to swap it out with the data-laden version.

While Bruja is (im)patiently waiting in the cubicle for his return, she hears someone enter whistling a tune (The Girl from Ipanema, which she knows from Anita is the favourite whistling tune of Jeff) Jeff is a total douche-bag who she works with, and Bruja's anger flares up and she uses her telekinesis to whip his feet from under him. He falls to the tiled floor with a crack and Simon walks in.

He's shocked and kneels over the man to check if he's ok. He's concussed, but still alive. Simon berates Bruja but hands the data-laden drive to her and after she zips out via portal he calls security for medical attention.

*

Bruja appears in a toilet cubicle in a retro piano bar downtown. Unbeknownst to her, Betty is in a nearby cubicle and Gus notices the purple light erupt from around the door into the Ladies'. He's surprised to say the least when she appears instead of Betty.

Bruja arrives at the table just before the new order (2 bottles of Corona) Betty ordered on the way to the toilets. She wonders if the other beer is Javi's? Gus covers his confusion but switching subject to wonder if she should get to analyse the data from the drive asap, who knows what danger lurks within!

Bruja nods earnestly and tells him to say 'hi' to Javi and she drives out to her Sanctuary to continue her investigation.

Betty comes out, wondering what the hell is going on. But it seems like her paranoia is getting the better of her and Gus doesn't see confidant enough to talk her down. She leaves, troubled, and without a goodnight kiss or any promise of a future date.


Lucia has made inroads on the invasive programme that the Red Queen loaded onto the VR machine. It stays on the device, even after a full reformat or wipe. Then after it's connected to the mainframe servers it activates fully to give control over certain vital subsystems. So, if the Halcyon Analytica tech haven't been cautious there could be three versions of this live on the system.

Simon plays it safe, and sticks around for the duration of his shift without poking his nose into anything. He scouts out the vaccine laboratory though, he looks for a way to steal an ID which'll get him inside and into a full lab-suit. It's much more secure, and doesn't get services by the regular cleaning crew.

Back in the busy cafe the next afternoon, Simon considers Gus. They talk about Lucia messing things up, and sensing Gus' discomfort, they manoeuvre Lucia away from the table (to give the order at the bar). He admits that he's in a bit of a situation; he was on a date last night and Lucia teleported in...
Gus is uncomfortable under Simon's steady gaze, and admits what he is really planning. he's trying to hunt down with Catcher, but he doesn't know him well enough to know what to do.

The video footage he saw of him trying to save Betty's family and confront The Beast show that he isn't (or wasn't) a full villain. Maybe if he knows about those turning points in his life he can change his future; know what to avoid or embrace.
Can he turn out different? Or has he accepted his fate?

He admits, to Simon's surprise, that he's arranged to meet up with this Wyrm of Ages.


Lucia bounds back to the table, wondering how Javi was last night; but then the penny drops and realises that she interrupted Gus' date. She explains that she needed a portal to get out of Halcyon Analytica and he was the first person she thought of to zip to.

She gets back to business, burying the regret and jealousy. Who could help her figure out the Red Queen's code? There's a suggestion that K-0S is good enough, unless Lucia seriously lifts her game.
Perhaps she could use her Sanctuary's resources to concoct an antidote to OBSIDIAN, steal a march on whatever evil Brad Armstrong is scheming at.

Gus considers Lucia - is her animosity towards K-0S stronger than her desire to solve the problem? He reckons she could cooperate with K-0S on this, worrying only about a quid pro quo that they'll get from a SuperVillain...

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Bad to the Bone!

Previous Session: It's Complicated

Simon (Shadow the Beacon) settles into his job with the janitorial company serving Halcyon Analytica. When his shift is on, there are still late workers in the office, trying to hit their project deadlines. They all strike him as confidant and smart, but with high ambitions, not just for themselves but for their company too. He hears hushed tones of a new project 'OBSIDIAN' which is nearing completion and even that the go-live date has been brought forward.

Back at the apartment, Javi (El Serpiente the Nova) and Anita catch up. Things are fine, but she's up to something else without him. He doesn't think it's work, and there doesn't seem to be much else up with her life at the moment. He confronts her about it and she denies anything is going on. But when he pushes a little, she storms out
-I wasn't the one caught...up a tree with someone else!


As Simon is finishing up his shift he spots a shredding box that's been left unlocked and when he pokes inside he sees that the bag hasn't been fully emptied. He grabs everything and puts it in his own cart. He'll take a peek later on in a quiet spot. He knows he won't get out of the building with anything significant. There are swipe cards linked to biometric scanners everywhere.

On the way downstairs he passes Brad Armstrong himself, walking and talking with two external consultants. They sound European, but Simon doesn't stick around to listen in - he won't take the risk. The woman is about fifty, and the younger man barely 30 and looks vaguely middle eastern.

***

El Serpiente has gone outside to clear his head. He's leaping across rooftops, using his elastic snake arms to great effect. On one particular building, he's walking across the retaining wall when he sees a motorbike parked on it, and a red cap wearing tough-guy sitting astride it.

Simon searches the unshredded pages quickly downstairs, and finds what looks like a large microfiche / black overhead transparency in the middle of an otherwise unread printed report. He nabs it and dumps the rest into a recycling bin.

El Serpiente snakes out an attack at the biker's face, but he ducks underneath it and guns the bike into life, hurtling straight at our hero. He goes for the ultra manoeuvre and whips the bike out from under his opponent, throwing it across the rooftop. The biker had already been climbing up on top of the bike and slammed into El Serpiente's face with a flying elbow. The surge of power is beyond his ability to control and the blast smashes the rooftop into smithereens, small boulders cascading down into the apartments in the top floor.

Lynette
Hapless Bystander
El Serpiente slides back along the retaining wall, until his head is in air above the seven floor drop. The RedCap is still there, floating in air where the building used to be. He looks down into the apartment below and grabs (not so much grabs as uses telekinesis) a young woman from the wreckage. With pure cruelty on his face, he makes to fling her from the building and down to the street below...

Shadow is there. With BlackJack's ray-gun pointed straight at him and he sends a petrifying blast at them. The RedCap falls to the floor and Shadow has to leap into action to save the hapless (now that she's petrified) woman. He leaves her gently down to the floor inside her apartment and tucks a business card into the pocket of her jacket.

**
They hear more motorbike engines incoming, and spot two bikes roaring across the rooftops towards them. One looks like it is riding along the structures, but the other is making no pretense and is just flying!

Shadow grabs the RedCap off his defeated opponent and places it on his head, replacing his own fedora. He gets an instant connection with the motorbike 'Lilian' and it instantly rights itself and flies over to his side.

El Serpiente coils up and flings himself at one of the incoming RedCaps, but he's booted away and then dragged behind him for a while before being flung against the wall. The RedCap regards him with pity
-You're not cool enough for this crew kid

A faint buzzing is heard and an alien bubble craft appears above, it's Xerox! She's back!

-----

Xerox the Outsider is an alien being.
Xerox
She's from an energy alien collective who share their emotional experiences. They build bio-organic
suits to interact with the physical world, in order to gain experience as individuals.
Her collective wants her to return home to share her own experiences, to add to their pool of wisdom.
She loves the team because they're all glorious, unique individuals!

When they worked together first as a team against Catcher, she saw that they were all disjointed and had no synergy. She used her telepathic powers to connect and coordinate the team - that's how they came to trust each other.

She's been learning about the Earth by spending time with Javi / El Serpiente.
She has a crush on Lucia / Bruja, but keeps it under wraps.

-----

Xerox drains a lot of lifeforce out of the other RedCap and he collapses, crashing the motorbike into the building. When she turns her attention to the one who's riding straight towards Shadow, he raises up a wall of rubble against her forcing her craft to gain altitude to draw a bead on him again.

Shadow zaps him though, and takes the cap right off his head as he drives by. The motorbike wobbles but keeps going, swooping down to the road level and roaring off into the distance.

They've won this fight, but they hear other similar motorbike sounds in the distance and then they see the fast reaction team from AEGIS springing into action. They make themselves scarce, no sense in attracting attention from them as well.

*

Shadow puts on the new cap, and makes a strong connection to the owner and beyond. But is hit hard by something and passes out with a strong smell of brimstone in his brain.

The Red Queen
Golden Age Super Villain
Xerox tries it, she can turn most human technology to her will with her alien abilities. She infuses it with her energy, ignoring the pain, and identifying the the bike 'Lucille' is still being controlled by her rider. That's why Shadow got hit.

She follows him back to his destination, outside the city. He and another six riders are gathered
before their commander, the Red Queen. She's angry with their failure, and the capture of some of their brothers.

And then she notices Xerox, who tries to bat her attention away. But the Red Queen's power is great and she overwhelms Xerox's defences, leaving her insecure and afraid.

They're back at Hank's arcade and Shadow has some luck in comforting Xerox, she's so brave. But now shes' a little afraid of humans, even her team-mates.

Next Session: Believers

Thursday, 12 July 2018

It's Complicated


Later that night (well really early the next morning to be fair) Javi (El Serpiente the Nova) picks up Anita from work. He's borrowed Igancio's pick-up from the store and has flowers for her. Despite being dead on her feet, Anita's really touched and they head over to a favourite diner to grab breakfast.

The buses passes are plastered with Armstrong for Governor art. Halcyon Analytica and Armstrong have invested a lot in the city's public transportation network.

They grab a booth and Anita is pretty much falling asleep, but they are definitely smoothing over the previous night's awkwardness and having a moment when a flash of dark purple light erupts from the kitchens. The swirling vortex spits something out of the ceiling...

Bruja (the Doomed, aka Lucia) ambles through, ignoring the astonished fright of the kitchen staff. She needs Anita's help with taking on Armstrong, and finding out where K-0S has disappeared to. She wants to make sure that she gets a proper night's sleep and is ready to take on that difficult (dangerous) task. Trying to convince Javi to allow her to bring Anita home thought isn't quite so straight-forward. And they pretty much wave her back outside while finishing their breakfast. Anita and Javi laugh at how weird and strange that was; she must've been up to something else and just spotted them here, she can't have used the portal to follow them here...right?


Simon (Shadow the Beacon) plays for time at home. Eking every minute out before Sydney, his sister, loses patience and drives him to AEGIS for his appointment with Dr. Keen. She's not working until late, but still she has her limits.

Dr. Keen
Psychologist at AEGIS
She pretty much marches him inside and through the security gate. They spot Anaconda, hanging out with a few people, looking very cool (and more laid back and he'd be horizontal). A young man called Chris meets him and escorts him to the doctor's office. Simon's offered a coffee while he sits in the nice waiting area and about ten minutes later a tall stern-looking man appears. He brings Simon
into his office; it's quite large and overlooking the river and the fact that they're still on the ground floor but appear to be several stories up from the river below shows just how large and sprawling the AEGIS building is.

Simon is a withdrawn participant, not easily drawn in by Keen's questions. He sees himself as a lame superhero, without any powers worth the name. He doesn't engage with Keen's techniques until it's made clear to him that until AEGIS is satisfied (on Keen's recommendation) that he's not a danger the sessions will continue. And if he's considered a danger? A different recommendation will go to a particular group elsewhere in the building.


Beatrice Bonetti
Intrepid Reporter with Channel 39
As Gus (Tag the Innocent) goes on his morning delivery route, he's met by a young trendy looking woman. Tag's not used to being intercepted at all, so he stops (he's not going to be late with his run or anything, given his super speed, so why be rude?).

She wants an interview, mostly about him (she knows he's called 'Tag'), his role in that showdown on the lake against this ultra-speedster villain, and about his fellow team-mates. She squeezes some answers out of him, including Catcher's name and he promises to give her a proper interview and put her in contact with the rest of the team!

**

To blow off steam, Simon sneaks into a nearby mansion - poking through people's stuff and playing their video games helps him relax and forget the ordeal of being Simon for an extended period of time.

Lucia also does a bit of sneaking; stalking Anita & Javi to make sure he leaves and then breaking in to steal her ID card from work. She has a plan...

Later on, the team are discussing their suspicions of the Red Queen's plot with/at Halcyon Analytica and Javi spots Anita's ID on the table. He loses his shit with her, he doesn't know exactly what it means, but this kind of stalking can't be tolerated!

Javi surges to his feet and grabs her, to throw her across the room. But he mistimes his effort and Lucia grabs him into a hug instead. Standing too close together and in this hug, Javi just kisses her - it seems hard and passionate but she has no idea where this is coming from!


Anita,
Server Engineer
at Halcyon Analytica
Lucia breaks away, confused and befuddled. She erupts into a stream-of-consciousness confession; she's sorry for everything! And then she escapes to the toilets.

Gus comforts and empathizes with Javi, wondering why he did it. Javi unburdens himself a little but Anita walks in on the revelation and is speechless until Lucia comes back out. She turns tail and walks out to the street and away. Javi thinks she'll get over it and he can catch up with her later, but Lucia chases after her.

Lucia rushes to figure out a good way of convincing Anita that...she should come back and help her. She considers opening a psychic connection with Simon to get his advice (though he's on team Javi!) or maybe moving them into a construct would help  (though that's not exactly the best honest approach to keeping someone onside).


Back inside, Simon and Javi open up. Maybe that wasn't the best course of action to take. He just got carried away. He doesn't know if he really fancies her...

Lucia jumps in front of Anita. It's not easy, but she think she talks her around. Lucia didn't mean for it to happen and Javi kissed her first. She wants to trust Lucia, they've been friends for longer than Javi's been around. If she can get Javi to admit that he kissed her, and if he reads her in about all her theories on Halcyon Analytica and if she can convince her that Brad Armstrong is a villain; then they'll be OK.

*

They head around the corner to O'Leary's for a drink. Unwind a little bit of the tension maybe.
Lucia brings Anita inside a psychic construct, where she shows her the souls shards of the defeated players from Halcyon Analytica's VR arrays.
Inside the construct they learn something about one another:
-that Anita objects to the VR project, she's uneasy about it
-that Lucia really cares about Anita and wants to protect her

They call Gus and Simon to come join them (Javi has had to go to work) and they have fun for a while. When Lucia heads to the bar to get another round, Anita siddles up to Gus to suggest that he asks Lucia out some time. She has a feeling it'd be well-received!

Wa®
Bronze-Age SuperHero
Up stalks a woman. In a sharp suit and with a platinum bob. It's Wa® a bronze-age super in the same legacy as PestilenZ. She wants to know how he died. She knows they were involved in the incident at the docks.

They're uncomfortable, she's his mother and they didn't really know her at all. But she has a scary and forceful persona (unlike the aspect she reveals when asking about her son's death).

Gus tells her the story; that Halcyon Analytica planned with Catcher to trap Tag; Lucia was with PestilenZ having coffee and when they sprang into action he went to investigate the containment device aboard the ship. Wondering what she'll do with the information, she tells them that she'll catch him and step on his throat till he's dead. They can come along for the ride, but she's exacting this brand of vengeance.

Simon wonders what would happen afterwards to her, and she brushes it off - they're be a psychological assessment of course, but nothing she can't wriggle her way through. The trick is to know the best not-perfect answers to give. She can give him tips to get a whistle-clean reference from Dr. Keen if he helps her.

Next Session: Bad to the Bone