Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Issue 11: Run Silent, Run Deep!

6:15 am EST, Atlantic Ocean. 18,000 feet below sea level.
Time until Tsunami Machine Activation: 5 hours 45 minutes.

Venus did not answer anyone’s calls. Whatever happened to her onboard the omni-carrier prevented her from re-establishing telepathic contact.

Viper followed the flare arrow out as far as it went, before it started downward and finally burned out. He found no trace of U-Man or the hammerheads, and swam back to the group. Likewise, Forester could detect nothing.

Lightning Strike set out alone, to probe for unusual electrical signatures.
Outside the electronics-loaded Manta Craft his senses were sharper. He was like a man who left the city limits to better view galaxies swirling in the night sky.

Once Lightning Strike was gone, Sentinel dimmed the glow of his energy constructs, and the heroes extinguished their flashlights. All went dark.
Dawn at 18,000 feet below sea level. It was pitch black.

Lightning Strike swam on using Sentinel’s decoy constructs as cover, hoping that U-Man and his hungry school of hammerheads would not detect him among so many other man-shaped objects.
Strike continued out and allowed the absolute darkness and silence to focus his mind.
A complete sense of blind, deaf, cold floating. Extreme isolation.
Then he concentrated. He let his senses extend outward. He lost the notion of himself and allowed his awareness to wander, in search of any spark of electricity.
Time in the cold darkness stretched out, washed over him. Had hours passed or was it just minutes?
Then, in the darkness, there was something.
It was weak and faint. It was far below him. But it was there.
He had a direction that he could follow through the black, cold, silent water!

Meanwhile, Slingshot’s stretched fingers connected the heroes together. Sentinel deployed dozens of man-shaped decoys in every direction that too were connected by a filament-thin web.
The heroes waited silent and motionless in ambush, for what seemed like forever. They waited for U-Man to take the bait.
A hundred heartbeats passed. Then a hundred more. Sentinel strengthened the decoys that were slowly being crushed by the water pressure. Then he strengthened them again.
Time in the cold darkness stretched out. How long had it been? Then something brushed by Forester’s thigh. It was big. It might have been a hammerhead. Forester willed himself to remain motionless.

Suddenly, there was the rushing of water and a powerful crash. The trap was sprung. Sentinel let all the constructs glow at once, almost blinding the heroes who had grown accustomed to the darkness. U-Man was there, with the shattered remains of one of the decoy constructs. The remaining forty decoys suddenly came alive.

Twenty of the faceless, featureless man-shaped puppets moved toward U-Man and joined hands. They merged together and lost their individual shapes, forming a moving arc-wall that became a transparent glowing globe around U-Man!
Swimming furiously around and around inside his giant fishbowl, U-Man was trapped!
The water quickly drained out of his orb through microscopic pores, to be replaced by air. U-Man crashed onto the dry floor of his sphere, grabbing at his throat. He could not breath.

The remaining twenty decoys then did the same around all the heroes: forming an air-filled orb that safely contained them all. Then Sentinel merged the heroes’ sphere with U-Man’s sphere, forming one large globe with a diameter of 20 feet.

They were now all together in one large, glowing, air-filled orb. U-Man stood up and held his breath to prevent the deadly air from suffocating him. “Come, leiben. Even on land, I am more powervul und experienced zan eny ov you!”

Viper moved before anyone else had a chance to! His serpent eyes gazed upon U-Man and trapped him in some sort of hypnotic trance. The Nazi stood motionless.

Forester quickly knocked and fired a normal arrow into the statue-like U-Man’s right thigh. Thwump-p-p-p! The fish-man’s swimming would be severely affected.

The arrow aroused U-Man from Viper’s trance. He snarled, ”Verdammit mongrels. You’ll pay dearly for zat.” He reached to his belt and detached the breathing apparatus that everyone recognized from the 1942 photo. It would let him breath on land and in this sphere.

Suddenly, Agent Grey knocked the apparatus from U-Man’s webbed hand. “Not so fast, Nazi.”

Slingshot had been behind U-Man and now he cast out his thick ebon arms as a living fishing net that entangled him. Slingshot drew the ropy limbs tight and now he had U-Man tied up and under his control.
U-Man’s head was exposed, but the rest of him was lost in Slingshot’s black coils. The big pliable hero smiled.

Grey tore off U-Man’s mask revealing the results of Dr. Swastika’s tender mercies. U-Man was a horrifying, freakish fish-man, borne of Nazi science!

U-Man growled and cried out, a shark captured by minnows.
“All uff you vill die for zis, I swear it!”

Slingshot: You are much stronger than U-Man, but he is still attempting to escape. You have almost all your Power Points. You have full Hit Points.
Viper: You have almost all your Power Points. You have full Hit Points.
Forester: You have almost all your Power Points. You have full Hit Points.
Sentinel, you have lost another 16 power points in decoy-construct rebuilding.
You now have 36 Power Points and therefore, 72 creation points.
You are also down 8 hit points.
(Regaining Power Points is quick, but requires complete rest. Regaining hit points takes days.)
How do you divide the creation points between the giant sphere and your personal armor at this point? Remember, each turn will cause damage to the sphere, due to the crushing depths you are at. But the spherical shape of the construct is best suited to withstand this pressure, so instead of 8 points a turn, it is taking 4 points per turn.

Thanks everyone!
-Ye Editor.


“Great Scott!” Forester shouts to Slingshot. “You’ve captured U-Man.
“Now let me net our oceanic opponent even more e-fish-ently.” Safe within Sentinel’s air-filled energy sphere, the arrow-ic hero opens his pressurized suit just long enough to remove one of his stylized weapons. “You make me quiver,” Forester says as he faces U-Man, releasing his bow and shooting a Tangle Arrow. Forester is confident that Slingshot can easily slip through the netting (freeing his pliable compatriot for other actions) while keeping U-Man entangled inside. “You’ll have to take us to the Tsunami Machine before anyone even considers paying SKULL not to use the device,” Forester says to the anachronistic adversary.


Slingshot booming laugh resounded throughout the sphere at that comment. He squeezed U-Man just a little more. He looked at his fellow heroes and said, "Good team work guys. Sentinel, that was a stellar performance. Fish-face didn't stand a chance." While inside the cocoon, Slingshot embraced the aquatic menace almost tenderly and speaks softly,"You are strong, but I'm stronger. Give us what we want, give us the Tsunami device."
[OOC: if he gives us what we want, I'll let myself out of the tangle. otherwise, I'll squeeze hard.]


Viper said to Sentinel, "How ya holding up there fella? Great work!" Viper walks over to U-man. "If this guppy doesn't start talking (Viper kicks U-man) we need to filet him and get moving."
Pulls Grey to the side and quietly says, "We can't have this guy following us and we have no way to hold him. I don't hear that sweet voice in my head either. If Venus and our support are disabled...(glances over to the captured U-Man) We need to move on which means we'll need to fry this fish before we try and catch up to Lightning Strike."


Following the success of the trap, Sentinel takes a moment to gather his thoughts and prepare for what must come next. He is quite relieved when he sees his confidence in his newfound teammates is well placed as they subdue and restrain U-Man. A restrained smile crosses his lips as he hears the praise of the others.
Sentinel purposely holds back feeling that he is not best suited to interrogate and get the needed information from U-Man. He watches and waits to read the attitude and reaction of U-Man to the promptings of Forester and Slingshot and Viper. In another setting he would have been more comfortable and likely joined in the lighthearted quips of Forester, but the timing of things is wearing heavily on him, both the time left before the destruction begins, and the moments passing as he continues to feel his power wane further and further.
(assuming that U-Man doesn't crack here and start to cooperate based on what has happened thus far, which is likely the case, Sentinel takes the following actions)

Sentinel stares at the cold-heartedness of the misshapen creature before him. He would normally feel pity towards one so outwardly twisted by the evil misbegotten experiments of the mad Nazi scientist; but pity is hard to feel for one that relishes such twistedness, one that has proven that his soul is even more twisted then his body. U-Man represents all that is wrong with the world and its attitudes; if there ever was an enemy of the light, its embodiment stands here before him.
An uncharacteristic anger begins to burn within Sentinel, an anger which proves to be the source of strength to react the way he feels he must. Sentinel thinks about all that U-Man represents and all the atrocities that he has done… he knows he holds the information that is needed to save millions and that a creature such as he would not break from simple threats and some physical pain.
Sentinel takes a final glance at Grey to see if the veteran has anything in mind here – he's the one whose broken more men than could be counted, so many that he's likely lost count himself. “Taking it all in to figure what tactic might work…” Sentinel thinks about Grey.

“To break U-Man we need to get him angry so that he stops thinking (what little he does) and just reacts … and the best way to push his buttons is to attack his cause … look at him, still being the embodiment of the Nazi regime though beaten down and all but destroyed decades ago … hate empowers him … and likely blind obedience, yes, that's it …” Sentinel stops thinking and begins to act.
Across the bubble the motionlessness and silence of Sentinel comes to an end. A glitter of light flickers off Sentinel's battle staff catching the eye of U-Man. The staff shrinks in size in Sentinel's hand from several feet down to one foot. As U-Man notices the change, his attention quickly shifts from the staff to the symbol on Sentinel's chest and he remembers how mere moments ago he had just sliced that symbol, trying to destroy it and all it represented, and the man with the ideals behind it. From there his eyes shift to the eyes of Sentinel and he is outwardly startled as he sees an iciness he would not have thought possible in one such as he. Once their eyes meet Sentinel's gaze locks with his, without looking at any of the others and as if the two of them were the only ones there Sentinel begins to walk across the bubble towards the restrained U-man. U-Man strains against the grip of Forester trying to force forward and meet him. Sentinel's arms both go behind his back holding the shortened staff as if to say “there's no need to take a defensive stand against the likes of you.”

Sentinel shuffles forward into the personal space of U-Man, his gaze never hesitating, the icy look in his eyes never changing. This is now beyond the meeting of two men, this is the clashing to two ideals, the light and the darkness, freedom against tyranny, good versus evil in as pure a form as it can get.
Sentinel's eyes never waver, never leave the eyes of U-Man and then he speaks into U-Man’s face addressing the others (knowing inwardly that if Forester's grip on U-Man failed, it was likely over for him).
“You give this Nazi lapdog far too much credit. Does a dog know more than to fetch when his master says fetch and to eat when food is put before him? This one, he does well to be able to feed himself.”
“Tell them, tell them that your masters put you out in the pool to play today and that's all you know, that you were playing your games like a good little Ratzi dog until they came to bring you home.”
“Must hurt knowing that everything is about to unravel for you and your ilk once again just like it did decades ago. Just like the Allies took you out years ago, it's about to happen again, but this time we finish the job for good and you can't do anything about it. Tell me, dumpkoff, do you look forward to hearing about your cowardly leader dying by his own hand alone and in the dark again. That's how it always ends for your kind, big ideas; no accomplishments! Some master race, ha, you and your fuehrer are a disgrace, little men with even smaller achievements!”

OOC Ok, let's see if this gets a rise out of U-Man and gets him running at the mouth.


Lightning Strike:
LS shakes off the disorientation of the deep and the dark. As soon as he senses the electrical impulses he surges toward it. He realizes that if he goes forward, there may be no turning back but then the analytical side kicks in. Why would Grey who was so passionate about this mission already sound so dead and what happened to Venus? If he goes back and gets the other is he leading them into another trap? Has Grey been taken over by a superior telepath? Damn, too many questions with no answers. Without more information there is little to go on other than instinct. LS thinks his best bet is to follow the signal and see if he can penetrate the installation. LS assumes that if he can get in, there may be a way to trigger off some lights or some other mechanism that would make it obvious for the rest of the team to follow and penetrate the base in their own unique ways. If other actions are permitted assuming he finds the base and can enter it electrically, then LS will attempt to find the defense mechanisms and disable them.