Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Issue 61: When Wakes the Sleeper!

Special Giant Sized Annual #3
The top secret location of CHESS Castle, 30 miles north of New York City, beneath Ossining Penetentiary (aka, 'Sing Sing,' or 'going up the river.')

The thunderous hailstorm raged on as the super maximum security jailbreak continued!

In the prison yard…
Accelerator and Symbiote were still climbing higher into the cloud cover. “You’re in trouble now, sucker,” laughed the speed demon.

Symbiote whispered back to his entangled antagonist, "In case you hadn't noticed, Zippy, you're along with me for the ride. Pretty much anything that happens to me from this point happens to you too. Don't worry, I've got an idea that'll make it a real interesting experience for you."

Accelerator replied: “Whatever happens to me has to go through you first!”
Then he touched Symbiote again, releasing the last of his “stored” velocity.

Symbiote and Accelerator hurtled straight down. BOOOOMM! The two cratered the prison yard but not before crushing another unidentified extranormal convict under the 400 lb. rubber pinball. (OOC: 30 points of damage! Roll with 8. Take 22 hit points. You don’t fall unconscious on the % roll) “Speed kills, huh?” laughed Accelerator weakly.

Hyena lost sight of Kairos and reared around to face Forester, who had been bravely taunting the leering lycanthrope, using his own body as bait to delay the feral freak’s flight. This time the resolute ranger’s luck ran out. SLAAASSSH! (OOC: 15 points of damage! 6 to power. 9 to hits) “There it is!’ Hyena laughed. “Let’s hear more of your funny words, nature boy! Tell me ‘gain how you wanna help me!”

Gadget Girl got the fallen CHESS Knight’s jet boots off, modified, and on her feet. VROOOOOW! They fired up and the gizmo-loving gal was airborne. The wind and hail threw her off her path but she was heading over the wall!

Forester shouted over the storm: "You've lost your edge, Gadget Girl. One might even say you've gotten rusty." He fired a corrosive arrow at the ad hoc antagonist. Despite the powerful winds, the amazing archer’s aim was true! THUNK! SSSSsssssssss. The arrow struck her newly stolen left jet boot and its acidic compound started dissolving it! Smoke and sparks pouring from her one boot, Gadget Girl lost what little control she had and slammed into the ground hard.

“Damn!” she cursed as she squirmed out of the boots. “Give a girl a break, willya?”

Figment, the strange little man, did another strange little dance and sang:
“While wary, I weary. Don’t tarry, be not teary. Hullabaloo and pell mell. I bid thee fare unwell!”
With that, he folded in on himself like a non-Euclidean piece of origami and was gone!

Symbiote didn’t need a parachute anymore. But Accelerator was out of gas. Symbiote stepped on the Accelerator (sorry! Couldn’t resist) and ruthlessly strangled him into unconsciousness!

Singularity said, “That felt good. So many years without the use of all my capabilities. But no more.” The air around him moved again, space itself rippled and Singularity disappeared!

Inhuman lay paralyzed in the hailstorm. Jellyfish was not out of range yet! He found he could not activate Jellyfish’s powers by manipulating the water in her body. But due to the extreme levels of water in her form, he could primitively move her limbs like a puppet in a grotesque pantomime of human movement!

Jellyfish slapped Crab Man to get his attention, pointed wildly at Gadget Girl and then pulled her hand across her own neck in the “kill" signal. Then she tried to wrestle free from Crab Man’s arms.

Crab Man said, “Huh? What is it baby? Dat girl over there is boddering you? Is she what’s got you sick? Hold still,” he said getting a better grip on her, preventing her “escape.” The criminal crustacean stalked toward Gadget Girl. “Dis one? Dis one here, baby?” he asked tenderly.

“What?!” squeaked Gadget Girl, still rubbing her butt from her fall. “No wait no wait no wait no wai-” WHAAMM! Crab Man smashed a giant claw into the maiden of mecha. She was down and not moving.

Slingshot cursed the loss of the communicators. He yelled out to the friendlies close by, "Stay alert people, bogeys from the sky. The clouds are giving them cover! Stay Alert! We need to stop the flow of criminals. Anyone who thinks they can go down and do it, get to it fast. I'll try to hold the fort here." The heat and flames searing his flesh, Scott yelled at the crustacean villain. "Crabman! Stand down! I don't want to hurt Jellyfish. Stand down and stay put and I'll let you be."

Crab Man looked up from Gadget Girl, down at Jellyfish and back at Slingshot. “All right.”
Then: “Baby, wake up. Dat girl can’t hurt you no more.”

Black Ice fired ice from his hands! ZIIINNG! It formed an ice slick across the prison yard and the intemperate terrorist started “skating” toward the damaged section of the outer wall!

Slingshot saw Black Ice. The malleable man of might stretched his long arm out to envelope him. Black Ice had some effect that made him hard to place, like his namesake! But he was unaware of the giant black hand’s attack! Slingshot scooped him up and hurled him into the fire of a nearby ruptured gas main! FVWOOOOSSHHH! His icy covering melted but Ice was still moving!

Three more convicts emerged from the broken access building! Cockroach, Gator and Slugg! (see images at right) The terrible trio had been captured years ago by Freedom Forcers Paladin and Pulsar in their sewer lair.

Inhuman felt his overwhelming numbness subsiding. He struggled and stood up!

Meanwhile, in the prison’s electrical system…

Lightning Strike turned into electrical form and headed for the backup generators. Any one villain in Hotsleep might be too dangerous to stop. If all of them escaped, the consequences could be disastrous!

Strike saw that Elemento had been controlling the storm. Elemento had been an Intercrime thug but his infamously weak will (Reduced Charisma and Intelligence), despite his amazing array of powers, made him a likely stooge for any strong personality.

Strike found that the back up generators were somehow off line! He could not power them!!
Strike traced the circuits down to the Hotsleep cells. He found that it had been unpowered for minutes now! Strike’s only course of action was to power it himself! SHA-KOW! (OOC: Uses 40 power points to fuel Hotsleep sector, aka Sector 5. It will be enough to power the sector’s voracious energy needs for 40 minutes.)

Sector Five came back to life! Lights, air, security cameras, and some data access. From cyberspace, Strike does not understand what the Hotsleep process entails, but he was able to ascertain the identities of the prisoners in Hotsleep! He did not know all of them. They were:
-Prometheus: The S’Korian murderer of the original Paladin! This cosmic-powered alien killed Paladin at his own wedding, right in front of his bride, Venus!
-Biosorb: A creature than can absorb living bodies into his own!
-An Intelligent Tyrannosaurus of some kind!
-The Pendulum: the time traveling mastermind!
-A prisoner known only as John Doe

Strike was right. If these beings gained their freedom, the results would be disastrous. This was likely the reason behind the failsafe mechanism he discovered: A tactical nuclear weapon! It would detonate should any two sleepers simultaneously awaken!
The Hotsleepers’ biological status was accessible and all remained in suspended animation.
All… save one!! (to be continued below!)
Meanwhile, in the impact crater! Agent Drake, Kairos and Sentinel descended into the smoking pit. They had left Elemento behind at the crater’s edge. “He’ll slow you down and divide your energy between protecting yourself and containing him,” Drake said as he unlimbered a high-powered flashlight from the network of pouches that webbed his combat uniform, revealing the fire blackened crater to be 100 feet deep. The sides were scorched, the generator disintegrated.

They could hear into the prison. Sounds of rioting. Prisoners fighting each other. Explosions. Yelling. CHESS Knight energy weapons. Near the bottom, they discovered a man made tunnel into the side wall of the pit, toward the prison! Steel and rock had been pushed aside. There were no markings from tools.

The tunnel opened onto a prison level whose walls were marked ‘Sector Five’! The lights were working! This level had power! The trio followed Kairos’ prison guard’s directions to the backup generator, passing by signs to an area called Hotsleep.

They found the backup generator room and that it held an auxiliary security center and three prison maintenance workers who sure were glad to see CHESS and Vanguard!
In no time the problem was explained: a cable as thick as a man is tall came undone from the quake tremors. The three workers couldn’t budge it, but together, all six could get the backup generator on line! As the heroes were struggling to move the great weight they thought they heard pounding but eventually it faded. With a mighty effort, the generator was working again!

From the auxiliary security center, they saw through the surviving security cameras that there was now power on every prison level! Rioting prisoners on level three stopped for a moment with the return of the lights. Two CHESS Knights on level four were rallying a group of prison guards who had holed up there. Prison security devices were activating. Drake broadcast across the PA: “Attention prisoners, this is CHESS and Vanguard! We have regained control of the prison! Stand down! This is your final warning!” It sounded believable.

Meanwhile, in the prison yard:
Perimeter flood lights came on. Drake’s voice was broadcast on the outdoor speakers. Then something happened near the smoking impact crater. A man shaped object leapt from the crater straight into the sky! It was grey and possibly seven feet tall. His coloring, skin and build reminded one of an elephant or a rhino. The powerful Pachyderm held a dark figure in his massive arms. Just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone in the low storm cloud cover!

Then something else happened! A dark circular shape appeared in the storm clouds where the Pachyderm has disappeared! Its size was difficult to gauge! It hovered lower and beams of light radiated out from its underside! The beams struck people and they began to ride up the light against gravity! Crab Man! Jellyfish! Hyena! Cockroach! Ratman! More! The pattern was clear! It was all of the convicts who were animal empowered! …except one! The unconscious Dr. Chiropterus was not among them. But Inhuman was!*

When the extranormals were aboard, the lights died and the ship quickly pulled back up into the storm and was gone from view!

Meanwhile, inside the prison’s electrical system…

Lightning Strike found the identity of the one missing Hotsleep prisoner: The Primate! The hyper-intelligent simian who had vowed to destroy humanity before humanity destroyed the Earth!

OOC: Actions?

*Aided by the ice and hail, Inhuman made his save between turns vs. Paralysis! He has time to do something before he is pulled into the ship and it takes off. He is no longer paralyzed but he is in the anti-gravity beam’s powerful grip! Let me know what you would like to try to do, Skip! Thanks.

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 18 Power Points: 54
Inhuman: Hit Points: 25 Power Points: 51
Kairos: Hit Points: 42 Power Points: 71
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 40 Power Points: 21
Sentinel: Hit Points: 20 Power Points: 50 Creation Points: 100 Shields: 68
Slingshot: Hit Points: 33 Power Points: 71 Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 35 Power Points: 73 Invulnerability: 0 til Ish 62 Charges: 13


Backup Feature!
A Freedom Force classic reprint** from 1993! AEGIS! For a United Europe!!

“Primate: noun1. (prī'māt') A mammal of the order Primates, which includes the anthropoids and prosimians, characterized by a large brain.2. an archbishop or bishop ranking first among the bishops of a province or country.3. Archaic. a chief or leader.

“A telling choice,” rasped Professor Fahrenheit, the brilliant leader of AEGIS.

“Silence,” commanded the Primate as he looked over his captives, all imprisoned in filthy animal cages:

-Professor Fahrenheit of Sweden! The ingenious master of ice!

-The Lion of England! The queen’s chosen champion!

-Oracle of Greece! The prescient priestess of power!

-Monolith of Germany! The obsidian titan or stone!

-Centurion of Italy! The supreme soldier!

-The Chevalier of France! The chivalric adventurer!

-Dr. Monster of Romania! The creature of myth and mystery!

“How the proud have been brought low. Soon you will understand how it feels to be a subject of scientific experimentation!” the Primate glared.

“Simon, please! I only ever wanted to help you! Look at all I’ve done for you!” pleaded Fahrenheit.

“Yes,” murmured the Primate. “And I intend to put it all to good use, my dear Professor. For the kindness you’ve extended me, you shall die first. Let it not be said that I am without mercy.”

The Primate was good to his word. In the coming days over half of AEGIS was killed by his black hand, but not before stopping his diabolical plan to devolve all of humanity into ape form! The European superteam captured him alive and disbanded shortly thereafter.


OOC: Assuming that the ship's last movement rate, does Scott thinks he's got a chance to catch a ride on it by Slingshotting to it?


Forester wants to use a cable arrow to tag along before the menagerie of captured extranormals disappear -- to investigate and help Inhuman escape. But the woodsman is too slow to follow Plan A.

Seeing that the still-unconscious bat-menace was left behind raises Forester's suspicions. He didn't expect the effects from the sonic attack to last this long.

"Holy disappearing acts, Dr. C.," Forester says to the seemingly unconscious bat-menace. "I wonder if you might be the key to what's going on."

"This might be redundant," he continues, as he fires a Tangler Arrow over the motionless opponent, "but I'm worried that you're playing opossum--and I can't risk you waking up and flying out of here."


OOC: Great issue as always...a couple of things...
1) Can I get a quick headcount of how many "hostiles" are up and within potential striking range?
2) Related: Is the "Animal Ark" (or whatever it is) gone, along with Inhuman? As in, out of range of any reasonable attack or action by the time I could take any actions?
3) Could you explain exactly how Slingshot's regeneration power works again? It may have been explained in detail during our downtime issue but I don't remember and I don't really have access to the archives from this computer. Seem to remember something about having to consume petroleum products to make it work...what does that mean, exactly? Do I have to literally chug down a quart of forty weight to activate it? (Stephane, maybe you could field this one while Jeff's out of town, if you'd be so kind).
Enjoy your vacation, looking forward to the saga continuing.


OOC: You need rubber/petroleum/plastic material to absorb while you regenerate. You will use an action per round (2 issues, I think) and you will regenerate your healing rate per round. Here's how I see it, but Jeff can correct me. You apply it as a bandaid/balm and the skin simply absorbs the material and closes wounds. Keep in mind that it doesn't work for heat/fire damage.


GM Replies:
Slingshot: Hard to say. It went up into the clouds and out of sight.
Symbiote: Thanks.
1) See map. It's just Black Ice and two still unidentified convicts in the storm swept prison yard. Inside the prison, who knows??!
Well, okay, maybe Kairos and Sentinel know.
2) It went straight up into the clouds, out of sight. So range is hard to determine.
3) Thanks Stephane for explanation. I didn't see it as drinking the materials, but absorbing them.


OOC: Understood, just from a personal point of view standing up is a bad idea in Inhumans mind, he is operating just fine in the prone position, he sees no need to stand and make himself a target and when the 'abduction' occurs pretending to be paralysed may grant him an advantage in what he views as a terribly dangerous but brave situation he is willing to allow himself to be placed into.

Clarification: Inhuman will use some fragment of the water to operate the communicator, taking pictures, deactivating the tracking device, preventing reception of calls ect....

I was thinking of keeping in mind all of the dark things that has happened to Inhuman since he became a hero in the fore front of his mind. Berkley rejecting him as a professor, the loss of his scholarship, finding out about how the rest of thoe world looks at him now and rewiting some stuff in his head like having Kairos (and Aquon for that matter) be an insensitive jerk, Sentinel a puffed up popinjay, Symbiote, Agent Grey and Doc Rocket laughing up their collective sleeves at his fears of a sea invasion and his desires to return to normalcy. As well as having feelings of disdain and disgust from the others in the group all of this with the objective of concealing his feelings and making it more likely for him to not be discovered as a mole in the organization while he seeks to have opportunities to convert Crabman, Jellyfish and other sea life to the good guys.

I also plan on "returning" the communictor with a few pictures and a message in it about how I "found new friends (pics enclosed) who wouldn't treat me like a freak, and Kairos just because you are 'pretty' it doesnt make you good in combat, remember our last conversation where you were like a jerk? well here is what i really think about you and the other losers who can't work together for a goal... PHHHHHHHHHBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTT!!!! Vanguard? Ha! No-good is more like it."

If I get into combat on the ship (say Crabman attacks me) I intend to evade and use my water powers to see If I can't either get him to open a way to the outside (say by punching a hole in the ship) or destroy the engines/controls and crash the ship with all on board. Hopefully, before I have to abandon my communicator.
in one episode of Justice League Batman allows himself to be capured in order to keep the Joker from going hog wild. Similar ideas operating here.


OK, I guess I understand the regeneration thing. Jeff, please let me know if there's a rubber/plastic/petroleum source nearby I can use--a spilled puddle of gas that hasn't caught fire yet, the tires from a prisoner transport van, whatever it might be.

Would the absorbtion work something like a disintigration touch on petrolium based products? Ie he could destroy a plastic gun in order to heal himself?

I'll make mental note of it, but I'm not going to do it for a least a turn or two. Likewise, I'm absolutely itching to absorb Accelerator's powers, but that's going to have to wait as well (though I'll stand in place as best I can, over his unconscious body). Nope, my first priority is to help round up prisoners, at least the ones on the surface. Black Ice is in the fire, not about to reach in there. But I will attack whichever of the unidentified prisoners is nearest. Nothing fancy, just a rubberized fist launched at him or her from across the courtyard.
Viva Vanguard!!


GM Replies:
Symbiote wrote: Jeff, please let me know if there's a rubber/plastic/petroleum source nearby I can use--a spilled puddle of gas that hasn't caught fire yet, the tires from a prisoner transport van, whatever it might be.

GM Reply: Some of the buildings have tar roofs. Vehicle tires. Plenty to work with here.

Symbiote wrote: Would the absorbtion work something like a disintigration touch on petrolium based products? Ie he could destroy a plastic gun in order to heal himself?

GM Reply: Yes. But if an opponent is holding the plastic gun, it’s a special attack to hit.

Kairos will go ahead and leave everyone (techs, Drake, etc.) where they are after arranging a clear path for himself up and out of the prison levels the way that the bulk of the prisoners escaped. The goal is to aid any good guys who might need aiding and to mop up any resistance still given by the prisoners and to (finally) come up and out of the prison BEHIND any prisoners who might still be active.I believe that the incident is now largely over but I may be wrong. If anyone has a better solution for me, please pipe up.


OOC: Since I didn't get time to do my normal posting I'll just do a summary type reply in order of preference.
Kirk will continue to be alert to his energy sense to prevent sneak attack on his team from hostiles.
Kirk will reenergize his shields to full capacity (as close as he gets with current power points).
I'm assuming that communications have not yet been restored even though we have power since I don't believe you told us they were. Since Kirk doesn't know if its from a villain or from something installed in the complex communications system, Kirk will use his energy sense and computer skills to try to determine if he can find the source of the problem and if so, try to reestablish communications between Vanguard as well as the Castle and Chess.

Assuming the communication thing isn't needed or doesn't take up his turn, Kirk would try to use the security systems to ascertain the scope of things and determine what could next best be done to contain the convicts/where he could best use his skills/powers. If he can access further info or video feeds on who are what caused the damage/break-in and any Intel from the surveillance systems on that he would be interested in that too.

I realize that there isn't much time for him to check the systems, so it would all depend on what he 'hits' first but communications would be his first concern.

If it makes sense from what develops, Kirk would suggest to Drake that they need to continue to give the appearance that things are under control and the is insurrection is about shut down and that they have more manpower in place than actually exists. He would suggest that Drake continue to monitor the now running surveillance system and continue to make announcements indicating that things are under control and he could even intersperse legitimate orders in between the BS. (ie. sector five is now secured, continued efforts in sector six recommended, badass villain#1 has been resecured, etc, etc) (this made me think of Mars Attacks with the Martians blasting megaphones saying "We come in peace, do not run" as they destroyed everything in sight).

If during his searching the systems he or Drake finds an area where they can best assist, he would head there to help in his next turn.


Slingshot's getting worried. They are still coming and we are not able to stop the flow. Time to be nasty.

He focuses on Black Ice and with two huge mallets for fist, he give a one-two hit to the Frigid Villain.

OOC: Two Attacks to Black Ice.


Lightning Strike:
Once the Hot Sleep was stabilized, Strike ascertained the most efficient course of action. Although Simian may be a villain to be reckoned with, Strike was in no shape to do so at the moment. His best course of action was to recharge with whatever excess electricity was available and then use movement to go through the electrical system to intercept Simian in his most likely course of escape.

If these take multiple actions, let me know and then I will adjust accordingly, although I need to recharge enough to have an effective attack so charging up is my first course of action (if Possible).

Sorry for being late,


GM Replies:
While Inhuman and the rest of Vanguard are separated, I’ll stop public posting to the Vanguard Vault.
Stay Tuned!