Africa. Night. The Primate’s volcanic island.
Vanguard was restored to humanity and gathered on an unburning clearing on the jungle island, near the Manta Craft and the AEGIS Phaeton One. Lava and flames were the primary source of illumination now.
Everyone was inoculated against the Microorganism that turned men into apes.
Oracle raised Interpol and in time, Doc Rocket. Reports were coming in. The global crisis had ended! The animal revolution was over! Doc, CHESS and Interpol were busy in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
Inhuman made his confession. Manetti’s hand rested on his pistol holster and he did not answer questions put to him by Inhuman. Sentinel couldn’t ignore Manetti’s surface thoughts. “He controls liquid. Over the Atlantic, he could stop fuel to the engines. I hope Vanguard knows what they’re doing. If I were running things, Inhuman would fly back to the states in Christensen’s Hotsleep sarcophagus. What if the Primate still controls him? These extranormals sure are loyal to their own kind. Hundreds of thousands dead and they’re talking about handing out pardons to those responsible like Crabman.”
Inhuman could not detect those thoughts, nor the presence of the Devolution Microorganism within the range of his Hydrokinesis. Perhaps it was destroyed by the heat of the eruption.
There were no plastics on the surface of the natural island for Slingshot or Symbiote to use for regeneration. And the Manta Craft had already been stripped of unnecessary plastics on the flight over for that very purpose. The Phaeton was already rather bare. Inhuman’s wet suit offered little material.
With the sudden loss of adrenaline, Sentinel crashed from the stimshot. (Power Points reduced to zero!!)
Kairos had said, “If we want to claim the mantle of heroes, delivery of the Primate to the authorities is what needs to be done and that needs to be our major focus for the immediate future.”
With their captives safely secured in massive restraints, Vanguard readied to board the Manta Craft. Rook Christensen prepared to sedate the captives for the transatlantic flight home.
Then Oracle broke her customary silence. “Wait! Something in the future is wrong.”
She rushed to the restrained Primate and slapped him awake! “Simon!” she yelled. Smack! Slap! SLAP!!
“ROAR!” The great silverback roared to life. But something was wrong. His eyes were different! Not filled with the terrible dignity and fierce intelligence of the Primate. Nor did he did speak. As tense moments passed, their captive’s behavior revealed him to be a normal mountain gorilla and nothing more!
Sentinel telepathically scanned the ape’s surface thoughts and could not read them because the ape was non-sentient! It gave the reading of a normal animal mind!
Most apes looked alike to humans. This one was a large, male silverback, and grievously wounded. Covered in dried blood. The wounds seemed to match those inflicted upon the Primate, as best as Vanguard could remember. After all, at the time, they were apes themselves. Forester spied a puncture wound that could have been caused by his razor arrow.
Most of Vanguard had seen this ape unconscious and in custody since they regained human form. But they were apes for nearly two hours, during which time its location was not always clear.
The island was deathly silent save the sound of flowing lava and burning foliage. The mountain gorillas that were the natural denizens of the island were forced toward the clearing by the fire line. But they made no aggressive moves toward Vanguard. At 50 yards, in the dark, their number was hard to see.
“That long sob story was a stall to buy time,” barked CHESS pilot Manetti at Inhuman. Then, louder:
“Where the hell is the Primate!” His pistol was out of its holster.
Please give me your immediate actions only.
Downtime has not yet begun, nor have you received your Character Advancements yet from increasing levels.
Replies are due in a week and a half, but if everyone replies sooner, I’ll move the game along faster.
Forester: Hit Points: 8 Power Points: 61
Inhuman: Hit Points: 2 Power Points: 48 Water: 10 lbs.
Kairos: Hit Points: 3 Power Points: 76
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 2 Power Points: 49
Sentinel: Hit Points: 7 Power Points: 10 Creation Points: 20
Slingshot: Hit Points: 5 Power Points: 79 Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote/Sling: Hit Points: 7 Power Points: 81 Invulnerability: 8 Charges: 9
Before firing a razor-sharp arrow at Primate, the anticipatory archer had tagged the great ape with a Scented Arrow. One of that arrow's intended purposes is to allow Forester to identify and track opponents. He will spend his next action confirming if the gorilla in our company has the correct scent (and is in fact Primate)--and tracking the aroma of his Scented Arrow as the case may be. --js
OOC: the Following to me is not clear, however I assume that in person it would be. Was Oracle calling what we assumed was Primate Simon? Or was that one of the two members of Chess?
Kirk looked at the clearly agitated Manetti, the man who had served at Vanguard’s side, coolly navigating their safe transport through numerous perils, shouting with his pistol pulled. With Kirk’s shields cascading around him, Manetti would have no way of knowing just how ineffectual they were at the moment. He spoke with confidence and authority despite the situation because things called for him to do so.
“Larry, I’ve no problem with you being prepared for action here, and unfortunately Inhuman has given good reason for us to be suspicious by his not being totally forthcoming, but before you actually discharge your weapon it would be wise to make sure it’s at the right target. Think man; if Inhuman was in league with Primate why even bother to cure us of the devolution virus? Why help us escape with our lives from the lava flow? If it was his intent20to betray us, he could have eliminated us as a threat earlier by his simple inaction.”
Kirk made no move to disarm Manetti at this point, but treated him with the respect he would give any other member of Vanguard. Kirk turned to Inhuman and said, “See what you’ve sowed here? Perhaps it best you give Manetti reason to believe your innocence.”
Then Kirk turned to Oracle, “Before anyone does anything rash, tell us exactly what you’ve seen. What happens in the future?”
… If we get that far after getting additional facts, Kirk would turn to Hal and ask, “In the hours you spent saving Vanguard and working with Inhuman was20there anytime Inhuman or Primate was out of sight when an exchange could have been made?”
Those would be Kirk’s outward actions; here are his additional thoughts and internal dialogue.
“Something isn’t right here. It could be my reaction to the stimshot (why did I have such an adverse reaction to the thought of using it) combined with the ape transformation and cure … but the effect of ‘coming down’ from it was far worse than it should have been. Also, I ‘heard’ Manetti’s thoughts about Inhuman without even trying, that isn’t how my telepathic power has worked to date. Again, it could be this whole situation has affected me physically or something new developing with my powers … or it could be a sign that things here aren’t exactly what they seem.
Kirk inwardly cursed Inhuman for not revealing exactly what he told Primate about Vanguard’s powers. Is what I experienced with Manetti’s thoughts perhaps how Primate thought my ‘telepathic power’ should work and are we somehow experiencing something initiated by Primate here?”
Kirk thought, “I wouldn’t trust my telepathic scan regarding the ape being a normal ape and not Primate since I would think the true Primate could dance around my limited telepathic skills and inexperience based on his abilities that we’ve seen in controlling the animal kingdom, and fool my perception of things, but ‘lucky’ for me there is an ability that no one knows about me and thus Primate would have no knowledge about it and strangely enough, I haven’t been consciously noticing it recently (OOC No GM feedback despite some previous inquiries).
Kirk began to reach out with his ‘energy sense’. Is it working? Or is there ‘nothing9 there? If it is working, does it appear to be functioning normally? If so, what do the energy signatures around him tell him? Is the ape we thought Primate, and now not Primate, reading as a normal ape (compared to all the other apes) or something extranormal? What about the energy readings of the other apes? Are they all the same or is one of them reading as an extranormal?
OOC Kirk is playing it both ways here. Reacting to what is happening as he would if it were happening, but he feels things aren’t what they seem to be and doing what he can to try to determine exactly what is going on if that is the case without confusing things for his teammates at this point if he is wrong.
OOC: *calmly tosses another series of plans out the window*
1. Animaliculum: I don’t believe I was Inoculated so therefore might there be some Animaliculum on/in me? Shouldn’t there be some in our lab materials for testing? I know I wanted some samples (to at least study in order to see if I could get a partial reversion for my sorry state!). And doesn’t a standard inoculation only kill off some of the problem creature?
2. Who are the captives? Myself and Primate?
3. When I Hydroscanned last the Primate was his weight different? At any time I hydroscanned the Primate did he have any unusual materials on him (plastics, metals etc…)?
4. How was the Primates location unclear at times from my POV?
5. Whoo hoo I might get to level 3 after all!!!!!!!
6. First Black Cat then Simon Simian, geeze without a doubt any sort of Animal-man hybrid seems to go bad. Oh Mighty Gm do you have an Animal+men combos from the past that DIDNT go bad?!?!?! *XO-Borg begins warm up exercises* Eddie Izzard Commentary: Look, no one has used super science and computers to take over the world yet.. Yeah, Yeah, That could work!!!
The Oracle replied to Sentinel. "I was looking forward at the Primate's path... that he would safely be delivered to the proper authorities. And I saw that in the near future, questions arise as to this ape's true identity. There is a scandal.
So before we left the scene, I thought we should confirm his identity now.
Beneath the wounds and blood, I cannot positively ID him."
Sentinel, your energy sense has been working normally. Sorry if I missed a request in the recent avalanche of messages.
I don't believe you ever spent an action using your energy sense to fully scan Primate, but one big thing you can detect now is that the ape before you does NOT read as an extranormal! And the Primate DID read as an extranormal.(Correct me if I'm wrong about having used an action to fully scan him.)
Sentinel, the Manetti thought intercept was unusual, but not impossible. You were "open" to receiving Inhuman's thoughts, and Manetti's thoughts were "screaming" so loud, Sentinel couldn't ignore them.
Forester, over two hours have passed since the Scent Arrow was deployed. That said, the scent is currently strongest on the mountain gorilla you have in captivity. Inhuman and Symbiote are second strongest.
Inhuman knows that Manetti's first name is Larry and the other CHESS agent is a woman. It appears Simon is the Primate.
Inhuman wrote: Animaliculum: I don’t believe I was Inoculated so therefore might there be some Animaliculum on/in me?
GM Reply: Of course. I was responding to your Hydrokinetic scan of the surrounding environs. Your Hydrokinesis is not refined enough to detect the AniMan Microorganism inside you or others.
Inhuman is inoculated so that he not a carrier.
Your 'ally power' does not work on microorganic lifeforms. It works on fish or amphibians like yourself.
Inhuman wrote: Who are the captives? Myself and Primate?
GM Reply: Yes, and the Owl's corpse.
Inhuman wrote: When I Hydroscanned last the Primate was his weight different? At any time I hydroscanned the Primate did he have any unusual materials on him (plastics, metals etc…)?
GM Reply: Your hydrokinesis indicates this mountain gorilla is the approximate size and weight of the Primate. And no.
Inhuman wrote: How was the Primates location unclear at times from my POV?
GM Reply: That statement was meant for the rest of Vanguard, who were apes for much of that time. That said, you and Symbiote were involved in intense labwork, so both your attentions were at times not on the unconscious Primate.
Inhuman wrote: First Black Cat then Simon Simian, geeze without a doubt any sort of Animal-man hybrid seems to go bad. Oh Mighty Gm do you have an Animal+men combos from the past that DIDNT go bad?!?!?!
GM Reply: You mean aside from Inhuman? ;D
Private to GM: Assuming I still have the Eye water. As aside you do realise that it only takes about 8#'s of pressure to pull out eyeballs....)
Inhuman proceeds to form letters that become words.
KAIROS I ASK YOU TO WATCH ORACLE
MAKE CERTAIN SHE NEITHER BETRAYS NOR SELF DESTRUCTS. NOD TWICE FOR AGREEMENT.
Private to GM and Inhuman:
Kairos nods twice.
Kirk asked Hal, “In the hours you spent saving Vanguard and working with Inhuman was there anytime Inhuman or Primate was out of sight when an exchange could have been made?”
“No," Hal replies, putting himself (and Slingshot's copied invulnerablility) between Inhuman and Manetti. "Larry, I wasn't an ape when Primate finally went unconscious. I was copying Snow Leopard's DNA and I had my full human intelligence. I've had Primate's body in sight more or less every moment since. And Inhuman as well...we worked side by side on the antidote and I had to keep copying his DNA every ten minutes in order to keep from succumbing to the virus myself." (OOC: Jeff, I assume this is true, that I never had Primate or Inhuman out of my sight for more than a few seconds. Even if it isn't, it's what Hal will say in order to defuse the situation.). Symbiote makes eye contact with the CHESS agent and says in a level, calm voice. "Put the gun away, it isn't helping."
The Scientific Superhero then turns to the restrained ape. "So the real question is, what happened to him?" He stretches his neck in closer, Reed Richards-style, trying to see how the animal's pupils dilate. Even with Slingshot's powers and the creature fully restrained he doesn't want to get too close, and tries not to move too quicly so as to alarm him. "I suppose brain damage is a possibility. The fight while we were all apes seems a little hazy...do any of you remember tagging him particularly hard on the head?" Hal asks as he tries to check Primate's skull for serious contusions.
(OOC: Same question to Jeff, do any of us remember hitting him hard on the head?).
Hal will do a cursory exam of the animal. Unless he sees obvious signs that it isn't Primate, he'll then recommend sedating the ape and heading on to New York. We probably don't have the equipment to give him a thorough exam here (Hal and Carl both had to use luck points to come up with the antivirus, after all) and I, for one, am less than sanguine about hanging out beneath an active volcano.
OOC: I didn't have the opportunity to scan Primate in official gametime since I was a gorilla during our meeting with my powers not functioning properly and after we beat him and we were restored to human it was 'in issue', so I appreciate your giving me the before reading since I would have scanned him once restored and you've confirmed a switch for Kirk.The reason for my suspicion was that I had asked a couple of times when Kirk was an ape and you never responded (I just assumed he couldn't interpret the energy sense at that point or focus it in the way I wanted) about the virus and then in the current issue you spoke about Inhuman and his hydrosense, but never said anything about Kirk's energy sense.
Re: Overhearing Manetti’s thoughts: I'm fine with this and this actually goes more along with Kirk's beginning his journey into this powerset and the advice given by Lancaster about needing to learn to master control step by step (and its similiar to what I've hinted at with Kirk mastering his energy sense) however, I didn't know how you were working it and I read your description of the power on Kirk's sheet and it was along the lines of me choosing a target and spending a power point to 'read' a subject, so this didn't seem within the scope of his power.It makes more sense that it would happen this way, but it hadn't happened before and Kirk was already paranoid with the situation and trying to figure out what was going on and made him (me) more paranoid. Going forward I won't have any concern if you throw stuff like that in.
Now I don't know if you want to change the 'read' info you gave me, but given that Kirk didn't have the opportunity to 'read' Primate at their initial meeting (unless I'm remembering wrong and you want to say Kirk got that before they devolved) and he wouldn't have had the opportunity until he was human, then that means that the substitution occured after we were cured and not while Symbiote and Inhuman were working on the cure.S
o I guess my question to you would be, am I correct in that assumption, or did Kirk somehow read Primate prior to their being turned to apes or during the time they were turned to apes? Let me know when Kirk got to do his initial energy reading of Primate.Thanks.SethPS Kind of ironic that Kirk's 'energy sense' which was almost a 'throw in' power when we did character generation (I think at the time you said this can 'help with your computer skills') has actually turned into a major defining nature of Kirk's character (and likely the source of his future development) and actually quite a power in and off itself... although perhaps you intended it that way from the beginning; the GM is, after all, all-wise and all-knowing
"I believe the gorilla we have in custody is Primate. Or at least the
BODY of Primate," Forester tells the others.
"I am certain that PHYSICALLY, this is the animal I struck with my Scented Arrow. But we know that some telepaths can transfer their minds into others. Dr. Swastika comes to mind," Forester continues.
"So if Primate's identity is in question, I propose that one of two things is taking place. Either Primate transfered his intellect into another body--possibly exchanging minds with an ordinary mountain gorilla--or this is Primate, mind and all, but he is psionically casting doubts into some of our minds so we let him go," the archer adds.
"We must keep this gorilla in custody. But if Primate's mind is floating around in the body of someone else, does anyone here have the power to hunt him down?" Forester asks.
Symbiote will also go ahead and inject Primate with the sedative. He'll do this for two reasons: He wants somebody with invulnerability doing it, he's concerned that Primate may still have a trick up his sleeve...er, arm hair.
Also, he wants to mix the sedative himself. There's still something about Christiansen he doesn't trust.
OOC, Private to GM:
...and the sneaky third reason Hal wants to deliver the sedative: If Kirk starts scanning for surface thoughts, he wants him to see that Hal has recent memories of giving Primate an injection.
WHICH injection is irrelevant.
Private to Symbiote:
Hal's deceptions are causing his team distress.
The first Charisma loss was from destroying the Primate's mind.
The repeated lying to his partners is going to cost a Charisma point as well.
Inhuman slowly and deliberately raised his hands in surrender; his face became that of a minnow as his mind raced furiously “I know you don’t believe me Manetti, but I not only resist Primate, I can’t even hear most of his commands, that is knowledge I had to pay the price for at the teeth and claws of the other Ani-men. If I had known about his phase 3 plans I would have been better able to argue against him. I think that he had taken over every other partial or wholly animal form on the planet when I got that headache nearly a day ago. And at one point The Owl did say ‘…I have some other inventions, for my personal defense, rest assured. But I can’t give away all my secrets just yet.’ The Primate and the Owl did develop the flying saucer together; perhaps their fight was over those last inventions of the Owl’s. I think we need to find where Snow Leopard went, I may be the only one who can do so.”
Inhuman turned his attention to the rest of the team “Forester, look for tracks or signs of passing, maybe something Invisible was around Like a Snow Leopard camouflaging ability Check up top too, if it could fly or slightly levitate it could have disturbed something up there. Sentinel scan for energy signatures. Symbiote, check the lab equipment for the Animaliculum’s bodies. Anyone intending on flying these craft had better start up warm up procedures because if Primate wakes up and sends those apes to attack us, we are dead.”
“Larry" Inhumans voice was cool and mellow like a professional animal trainer dealing with a wild animal, "judging by her reactions I suspect that the ‘Simon’ she called out was in reference to someone she loves. He’s part animal isn’t he? Look at her reactions, she loves Simon, She called his Name, she was with us looking for him or clues to where he went, and up and until a few moments ago She thought she had him with both her ultra normal and womanly senses… And Now He’s Not Here! I don't have any powers to make that level of switcheroo. Besides I should have escaped if I really knew what was going on knowing you guys were going to be looking at me when this little incident left me holding the bag.” Inhuman's teeth practically ground in frustration while he still managed to give Manetti a look of logical triumph as if he was still debating in College.Inhuman changed streams of thought again "Manetti, Larry, If I had really wanted to betray Vanguard I could have easily done so by revealing many of the secrets I did keep after all how long would Slingshot over there have lasted against the 'heat' of battle with me revealing what I really know or if I Suggested a way to pull the Plug on Symbiote? CHESS has been active for what, over 20 years? In that time CHESS has never in any of it's Espionage cases had a incident wherein a communicator exposed CHESS? I find that hard to believe, even harder to believe that CHESS didn't learn from that. According to the FEMA Incident Command System someone had to be operating in the position of either the Incident Commander or Communications Chief for the Rapidly Expanding Incident when I was kidnapped. Who were they? Someone in that Chain of Command near the top is partially or wholly responsible for the fiasco dealing with CHESS screwing up about my Communicator. Essentially betraying CHESS and nearly getting me killed by blowing my cover. SOMEONE in CHESS is not 100% behind Vanguard or CHESS itself. Think Larry, Primate disappeared shortly after we got in contact with people at CHESS. Think long and hard before you kill someone who isn't resisting and not standing in anyone’s way except the bad guys who nearly killed me and then threw me in a holding cell. You will be doing Primates Revenge for him if you kill me."
Inhuman said to Manetti: "... You will be doing Primate's Revenge for him if you kill me."
Manetti repeated his question to Inhuman, calmer this time. "I said, where the hell is the Primate?"
When Symbiote takes the needle from Rook Christensen to sedate "the
Primate" himself, Oracle is taken aback.
Symbiote moves toward the captive mountain gorilla...
Forester wrote: But we know that some telepaths can transfer their minds into others. Dr. Swastika comes to mind," Forester continues.
"So if Primate's identity is in question, I propose that one of two things is taking place. Either Primate transfered his intellect into another body--possibly exchanging minds with an ordinary mountain gorilla--or this is Primate, mind and all, but he is psionically casting doubts into some of our minds so we let him go,"
GM Reply: fyi, the Primate has never shown those abilities before. In fact, he hasn't even displayed the ability to telepathically communicate to humans that weren't Ani-Men.
Sentinel, yes, your energy sense was not available to you in ape form.
Re: Scanning the Primate: In the now-classic Issue 77, Vanguard bored into the power station of the Primate's volcanic island lair! Upon deploying there, Sentinel scanned the area as they challenged the Ani-Men to appear. Primate was on the edge of his scan, about to enter the station, when Sentinel fell victim to the Ani-Man virus.
But that general scan indicated the Primate to be an extranormal.
Once Sentinel was an ape, his scanning ceased, as the Energy Sense power was lost to him.
I don't recall that you Energy Sense scanned him immediately upon awaking in human form. (if you did, please let me know where that was written.)
But scanning him now, after Oracle said something was wrong, shows this ape to not be an extranormal.
Symbiote, your and Inhuman's attentions were likely diverted from the captive Primate for minutes at a time. Afterall, he was beaten into unconsciousness. Restrained. And you two were frantically working to restore Vanguard to humanity before your Harness ran out of charges and Hal reverted to ape form.
OOC: Hey Jeff, Considering how many of us there are--and how powerful
Primate had been--it seems odd to me that we wouldn't have made sure that at least one of us, or Manetti, was eyeing Primate at all times.
That's why I'm still betting on telepathic transference. --js
OOC: ‘Upon deploying there, Sentinel scanned the area as they challenged the Ani-Men to appear. Primate was on the edge of his scan, about to enter the station, when Sentinel fell victim to the Ani-Man virus.’Ok, got it, thanks for clarifying when I got my initial scan.’Once Sentinel was an ape, his scanning ceased, as the Energy Sense power was lost to him.’I'm going to interpret that along the lines that his ability to properly understand, interpret, direct, and control his energy sense was lost to him since it doesn't cost him power to use his energy sense and we had established that it is pretty much 'on' at all times, but it he has to 'focus' on it (ie movement) to properly comprehend the readings, and that would go along with the idea of the limited intelligence (if that's acceptable).’I don't recall that you Energy Sense scanned him immediately upon awaking in human form. (if you did, please let me know where that was written.)’We 'woke up' in 'issue time' meaning you directed the action at that point. It would be in character for Kirk to have performed that action. After the transformation certainly Kirk would have used his energy sense to 'ground' himself back into reality. But I never did specify it, so it would be your call as to whether I paid attention to his reading at that time.
At this point can you tell me whether the pack of apes a re within Kirk's distance to 'read' their energy signatures or not? At this point Kirk needs to do an in depth energy sweep of the area. I'd like him to be within distance of a reading on the 'pack' to be sure there are no extra-normal readings among the apes. I'd also like him to be within distance of the area Primate was kept while Inhuman and Symbiote worked on the cure (and since then if possible) to check to see if there is any residue readings of any type of energy that could have been a means to swap out Inhuman's body. At this point Kirk hasn't elimated the possibility of a mind switch or a body switch. And while we're at it, Christiansen has been too quiet here. Are the readings on her and Manetti still human or something more at work (I think Manetti is safe right now, but let's say Kirk checks everyone out).I would think that this would encompass all of Kirk's movement for this turn to try to get as accurate and intense a read on everything as possible. At this point, my 'action' would be to evade since he is on defensive anyway and there isn't anything more he can do other than gather the intel as best he can.However, I'll reserve the right to adjust the action if other postings and your replies make some of this moot or cause him to need to do something else instead.
Also, Can you give us a greater description of Oracle being taken aback?There seems to be little reason for her to be 'taken aback' by Symbiote moving to sedate the ape be it just an ape, so is this a sign that at least part of her is showing something more important is happening here?
And let's add a scan of the Owl's body to see if there are any energy signatures of inventions for personal defense that might still be operable.Thanks.Seth
PS: Nice, we've got Forester confirming that this is indeed the body of the ape we fought. And we've got Kirk's energy sense (known only to him) telling him it can't be that ape since the ape present isn't an extranormal ... and there should be no way for for Primate to be aware of Kirk's being able to sense that or effect his perception of it.You would think that if Primate somehow did transfer his consciousness that his physical body would still be embued with extranormal energy signatures.Something is amiss. It would seem logical that although we still don't know all of Primate's abilities, perhaps that which gave Primate intelligence isn't what we thought it to be either?You're tricky Jeff!!!
"You do realise as A Biologist and a professionally trained medical person I am probably the best trained person to make the determination of if the wounds exactly match the damage I know the Primate took."
Forester wrote: Hey Jeff, Considering how many of us there are--and how powerful Primate had been--it seems odd to me that we wouldn't have made sure that at least one of us, or Manetti, was eyeing
Primate at all times.
GM Reply: The "many of us" were apes at the time.
Only two, Symbiote and Inhuman, had to herd the ape pack out to safe ground, search the Owl, locate, hack into and review the Owl's secret files, and find a cure that was so tricky it required two Luck Points.
Manetti was quarantined at first, then landed to give them access to equipment on the Manta Craft after they realized the island facility was overrun with lava. Then Inhuman and Symbiote needed to create the cure, racing against the clock or else the smarter of the two,
Symbiote, would revert to a simian state when his Harness charges gave out.
In that mess there were certainly, in total, a few minutes of
nonsequential time (meaning: 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there) when no one was standing guard over the unconscious prisoner. And there were many minutes when only Inhuman was, if you want to open that can of worms. (In fairness, there were times when only Symbiote guarded him, or Manetti or Christensen, too.)
Ever since Vanguard was restored to humanity, the prisoner was always closely watched, in keeping with your "considering how many of us there are" thought. But Vanguard were apes for almost two hours.
Sentinel, you gave a list of orders after awakening that were very thorough. Even telepathic scans of the Primate. But no energy scans.
So since it seemed the event was over, and you didn't call it, I'll say you didn't do an Energy Scan of the Primate at that point. Sorry.
Sentinel, the ape pack are too far away for your Energy Scan (Your scan range is 100 feet. They are 50 yards, or 150 feet away).
You said you want to Energy Scan everyone here, fly to the ape pack at the edge of the clearing to scan them, and scan the Owl's corpse.
What's your order of priority, please?
Clarifications on Oracle:
The "Simon" line doesn't necessarily mean she loves/loved the
Primate, any more than one of you guys calling each other by your real names does.
She knew the Primate for years as Simon Simian. It could be like Reed or Sue calling Doom, "Victor." Or she might not want to dignify him by calling him by his 'new' chosen name.
By "taken aback", I meant the Oracle was surprised. But her face is partially obscured by her costume, and she's aloof and hard to read at the best of times.
Christensen had been silent and stunned since Inhuman's confession.
Inhuman said, "You do realise as A Biologist and a professionally trained medical person I am probably the best trained person to make the determination of if the wounds exactly match the damage I know the Primate took."
Manetti replied, "It's a shame that after your confession, we can't trust you to make that determination."
Private to GM: Sigh. You're right, this is getting a little out of hand.
I'll keep up the pretense as long as there's no actual act of violence. If it REALLY looks like Manetti is going to pull that trigger, or anybody else looks like they're about to pop a cap, I'll 'fess up.
I did this with "Identity Crisis" in mind (the Dark Secret of the Justice League! They once lobotomized Dr. Light!). Also I remember a mini-series in the '80s...think it was a Fantastic Four/X-men mini...where it was hinted that Reed might have actually secretly planned for the team to be irradiated with cosmic rays. And of course, there's the whole Illuminati storyline among some major Marvel characters over the past few years, though I haven't really followed that. The "hero with the dark secret he's hidden for many years" storylines kind of intrigue me. But I'm not going to let Inhuman take a bullet for it, or get kicked off the team either.
So you really were prepared when your Dad told you you'd have to tell a thousand lies to support the first one, huh?
OOC: Fair enough, Jeff. At this point Kirk will allocate via distance, doing the scan of close entities first including the Owl's corpse. Assuming that something has not happened by that time to reveal the Primate, he'll explain to the others that he wants to fly by the pack to see if he can visually spot an ape that might show injuries similiar to those of Primate.He'd like to take one of Vanguard with him so there is another pair of eyes to check. Also he states that he doesn't feel it wise, given the possibility of a mental ambush by Primate, that any of the team go off alone. He'd also prefer someone with a range attack in case we feel we do have him hidden amidst the pack. I'm thinking Forester because of his keen senses and he would likely have an arrow attack that not only would provide range, but could also likely 'mark' him further from the rest of the pack so he doesn't blend in. Given Symbiote's currently occupied next choice would be Slingshot, and then Lightning Strike. (I don't believe Kairos has exhibited a range attack and given they haven't really 'teamed up' previously there would likely be additional trust issues between the two with the current situation). Inhuman is out because too many distrust him at this point.Naturally although a visual scan would be done, Kirk's primary goal is the energy scan to check for extranormal readings amongst the ape pack. Also he'd try to keep a reasonable range above to prevent any sort of attack from the apes be it from natural apes aggravated by their presence or a concerned Primate who feels he has been discovered.And as Kirk flies through the area he would be alert to any other energy types present that shouldn't be (evidence of foes at large or concealed, a backup base by Primate, etc).
Forester agrees to accompany Sentinel. Whatever the beacon of justice asks, Forester will do. If possible, Forester will use his camoflague ability while joining Sentinel.
Forester does not have another Scented Arrow on hand, but he does have other arrows available in case we come under attack.
"OK, stop," Hal says, just as Sentinel and Forester are about to step outside the ship. He turns to Manetti. "Warm up the engines, we're getting out of here. Nobody's going any closer to that volcano, nobody's stepping out into that night with God knows what waiting for us out there, and he"...Sentinel gestures towards Inhuman..."isn't taking the rap for something he didn't do."
Hal takes a deep breath and looks at Primate. "That ape over there is Primate. Or at least he was," Symbiote says. "But the important part of him--the part that made him Primate--is dead.
"I killed him."
He lets it set in for a moment. "Remember Aegis Spire, guys? The one message we got through with Doc? How he told us hotsleep just couldn't hold Primate any more, about how it was do or die, how we'd have to make a decision about him?" Hal asks. "Well, before we took off for the Congo, I made the decision for all of us. I didn't borrow Professor Farenheit's lab to repair my harness," he says, pulling a hypodermic needle out of his tool belt. "I borrowed it to make this."
He lays the hypodermic on a galley counter. "Among the many, MANY regrets I have about this mission, one is that I'll never get to meet Farenheit," Hal says. "He was a hell of a scientist, brilliant. His notes on how he raised Simon Simeon's intelligence were very clear. I understood exactly how he did it," he pauses to again look at the now-bestial Primate. "So it wasn't too hard to figure out exactly how to reverse it."
"It was a lobotomy compound, guys, for lack of a better term. It reversed everything that was done to Simon. I hid it in my belt and gave it to him while the rest of you were in ape form and Inhuman was in the other room, sanitizing some beakers for me while we were working on the antivirus," Symbiote says. "It...seems to have worked pretty well."
(OOC: I'll assume somebody will say something to the effect of "why didn't you tell us.")
"Because it was murder guys...maybe not in the strictest sense of the word, but murder in every way that counts. The compound took away every thing that made Primate special. People who believe in a soul might even say it destroyed his soul," Hal said. "He's still breathing and who knows, maybe he can live out a normal ape's life in a zoo somewhere now. Maybe even be happy, as gorilla's go. But that doesn't change the fact that I effectively killed him."
Symbiote sags for a moment, looking more tired than any had ever seen him. He then straightens, almost defiantly. "I did it so nobody else would have to," Hal says. He looks Kirk square in the eye. "Sentinel, you may be one of the finest men I've ever known, and I've never seen anybody work so hard to do the right thing, every time...would you be able to look yourself in the mirror if you'd been forced to execute Primate in cold blood?" he asks. He turns to Forester. "You have a respect for life unlike anybody I've ever met. You'll fight hard when it's your life or the lives of innocents at stake, but would you really be ready to kill an unarmed, defeated foe?" Hal then turns to Kairos. "You...frankly I still don't quite 'get' you, but it's pretty clear you're dealing with some powers and principalities way above our pay scale. I don't think killing an unarmed, defeated foe would be good for your...'karma"...for lack of a better word."
He looks at all of his teammates. "This team might well have been torn apart if they'd had to execute Primate. It wasn't a burden we all should have to carry," he shrugged. "So in my idiotic, headstrong, arrogant way I decided to carry it for you."
Hal sits down. "My plan was to just do it and then blame it on brain damage, let it be just one more unanswered question," he said. "But, I didn't count on all the questions about Inhuman. I didn't count on the level of distrust in the room, which I freely admit I have now done nothing to reduce. I didn't count on Deadeye Manetti over there threatening to shoot Inhuman for something he didn't do." He turns to the CHESS pilot. "Whatever else Inhuman did or didn't do, he didn't switch apes or help Primate transfer his mind out of that body. I destroyed the mind in that body. Me. I'm responsible."
Hal raises his head, his face _expressionless. "Maybe it's part and parcel of being a college professor. Maybe you have to think you have all the answers, all the time," Hal says. "But I did it. I violated about a book full of bioethics and I lied to you all about it. I suspect CHESS will have some hard questions for me as well as Inhuman, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look Doc in the eye again, but there it is. I suppose you guys will need to vote on whether I'm even still part of the team.
"But for now, can we please get off this godawful island?"
"Well, Vanguard, that explains a lot. Let's get going. We've got a lot to consider.""Symbiote, you faced a tough choice but it almost led to some fighting in the group and that, above almost all else, is to be avoided if we are to work toward higher goals. You've also robbed the world of a chance at some sort of "justice", if such a thing exists. You've turned the Primate into a regular animal, effectively giving him peace and tranquility rather than having him stand subject to the judgement, and likely punishment, of the world. You may have done him a greater favor than anyone else. That's the last that I'll say of it, though, because I was, as you thought, ready to end his life, myself, if he were about to cause harm to come to any of us or attempt to escape."
"Now...let's go, people! None of us are in any shape for more fighting and it's a long flight back to what passes for civilization for us. Best to rest and ruminate and re-visit this after it's settled in and we have some distance from it."
Slingshot had been silent for most of this. He was quietly absorbing Inhuman's monologue and not saying much while everyone went a little crazy around him. He was still bothered by how enraged he became as a gorrilla. He needed some time to assimilate all this. He chose not to speak, but he understood what both Inhuman and Symbiote did. So he just walked up to them, each in a moment of relative solitude and patted their shoulders in silence before returning to whatever task was necessary to be accomplished at the time.
OOC:Unfreakinbelievable! I'm supposed to go to work now???Talk about being blind-sided!Ok, as I read through your posting I found tears welling up in my eyes.Posting to follow when Seth gets time and Kirk pulls himself together.....sob....Seth
"No, that's not true," Forester says, shaking his head at the end of Symbiote's speech.
"Because ... I KILLED PRIMATE ... in the billiard room ... with a candlestick. I had to do it because Primate is really ... my son!"
In a more serious tone, Forester says, "I can't believe how these last two hours have turned from a tragedy into a farce.”
"After Inhuman's performance, I certainly wasn't expecting an encore," Forester says to Symbiote. "It must be fun watching the rest of us running around, trying to figure out what's really going on. No wonder you were so adamant about waking up Primate. You wanted to find out if your experiment worked."
"I couldn't care less about the gorilla's lobotomy at this point,"
Forester continues. "Apparently the new objective of Vanguard is to out-manipulate the other heroes."
Flashback: The Roof of Liberty League Headquarters Circa 1943:
“How could you do it Clark?” Lancaster asked as he entered the roof area where he found his colleague Doc Rocket sitting sipping his scotch. There was frustration and some anger in his voice.
“I knew this conversation was coming. Can’t you just let it go, Sir Lancelot? Neither of us wants to discuss this further.” He said the words in better humor than he expected, likely as a result of the drink having already soothed him from the day’s events. “Here, sit,” he said as he poured a drink into the second glass he’d brought and pointed to the seat beside him overlooking the city.
“You know I hate it when you call me that.” Lancaster walked past him accepting the drink but choosing to lean against the balcony railing facing him instead as he spoke.
“But it suits you, especially in the here and now. Lancaster my boy, when will you learn to accept you can’t save everyone from the scars of this war?”
“Do you realize what you’ve done?”
Now his voice turned colder and bitter, “Don’t insult me here. You know me too well for that. I did what needed to be done; plain and simple. It saved countless lives. I would do it again if I had to. There really wasn’t ‘a choice’ involved.” He sipped from the glass and placed it down and looked Lancaster in the eyes, his voice softened again, “We both wish I was a different sort of man where your question would have had relevance. We both know how this weighs on me. And now we’re both done talking about it.”
Lancaster looked down dejected for a moment, there was more that needed to be said between them, but he looked up and simply replied, “Where do we go from here?”
“From here … there’s still a war to win. We wake up tomorrow and we continue the fight. We do what it takes for victory. We make the world a better place.”
“No, I meant us; our friendship. Where do we go from here?”
“That, my boy, depends entirely on you?”
It would have been less painful had someone hit his bare head with a two by four … repeatedly. He was shocked. He was speechless.
As Hal explained further, Kirk stared as his eyes grew red with sadness and his mind raced over the enormity of Symbiote’s choice; the impact of it all consumed his thoughts.
Symbiote looks Kirk square in the eye. "Sentinel, you may be one of the finest men I've ever known, and I've never seen anybody work so hard to do the right thing, every time...would you be able to look yourself in the mirror if you'd been forced to execute Primate in cold blood?"
He knew that Hal’s question to him was rhetorical but still he looked down ashamed that this weakness on his part had caused his friend, perhaps the most optimistic man he knew, to make a decision that he knew would distress him for the rest of his days. He was grateful when Hal turned his gaze to Forester to further his explanation.
Kirk thought about Doc and that conversation at Aegis Spire and how he felt the weight Doc carried with him about decisions he had made. At that time, Kirk couldn’t understand how he came to make those decisions. Kirk just couldn’t comprehend the circumstance. Now he understood all too well.
At the time he thought, “There is always another way.” Now, at this moment in time, he wasn’t sure.
It was sadly poetic that his thoughts back then turned to his friend Hal and he ‘vowed’ that he would never let him fall into a situation like Doc had experienced. That he would ‘protect him’. “Good job, ‘hero’,” he thought to himself.
He had spent so many years reading and training! Figuring out exactly just the sort of hero he wanted to be; how to best help the world; how to avoid the mistakes of the past; how to properly live up to the legacy of The Sentinel. He had so much hope!
And he thought he had found a kindred spirit in Symbiote. He knew that Hal too had the need to make the world a better place, and for all the right reasons. He felt it within him; he saw it in his actions.
And now, ‘killed … lobotomy … murder … execute’ the words danced through his head as Kirk’s mind raced with Hal’s continued his explanation.
Could the hero he had spent his life preparing to be accept what Hal had done this day? Could Kirk live up to the mantle of the Sentinel if he did accept it?
Hal was still talking as Kirk’s mind reeled further and recalled the words,
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
And Kirk reasoned to himself, “Really? Not to discount such a sacrifice, because it is indeed a great one, but once the life is gone, it’s done. That person doesn’t have to live with the ramifications of that sacrifice afterward. They’re gone. How much greater is the sacrifice when one surrenders a piece of their soul, an integral part of who they are, to save someone else from doing so … and has to live every day with the pain of that decision?
Kirk was no longer sure about the heroic thing to do here, but he knew the right thing to do. Perhaps his ideal of the hero he was to be lost focus, but he was sure of the man he wanted to be.
He began to focus again; he realized Hal has stopped speaking and it was Kairos he heard trying to bring order to the situation… and he snapped out of his self-inflicted fog.
He caught the eye of Manetti and gave him a slight nod of respect and then he spoke.
“Kairos is right, let’s move out.
And people, the world has just lived through an apocalypse, hell on earth. The weight of the loss hasn’t even begun to set in. The world needs to heal and it needs its heroes to believe in … to give them hope in the darkness of the night when they think about nightmares like Primate and Swastika and who knows what else. We are that hope! They need us to be that hope.
And that means everything that we discussed these last few moments is classified top secret.” He looked at Manetti and Christiansen as he spoke that, “I know that you’ll respect that as agents of Chess.” And then to the rest of Vanguard, “All of this stays with us, when we return, if we need to make statements, we stopped the threat. Primate was stopped. That’s it! Grey will help us to sort through this and then we can each decide about things, but for now, the world has to believe in only the best in each and every one of us. They need this. And we can’t be selfish about it, even if our consciences are telling us otherwise. We need to respect all the losses and all the sacrifices made this day!”
He turned to Oracle, “I know you aren’t Chess or Vanguard and we can only ask, but I implore you to consider my words and the events of the past hours and to agree. The world needs something to believe in, now more than ever. Please honor the sacrifices that were made.”
As Kirk began to help with final preparations to leave he thought about Grey and the Freedom Force, and wondered how much of the ‘history’ was edited for the good of all, and then as saw Oracle, he thought of the legend of egis, and yes, his thoughts turned to the Liberty League. How much of the legends were truly heroic and how much just edited to be?
As they went about the preparations when Kirk had a moment alone with Hal out of the earshot of everyone else he spoke to him.
“How could you do it?”
Kirk wanted to ask him. But he didn’t.
“Hal, I know enough about the true you... how will you be able to live with yourself?”
“Do you realize the path you’ve now chosen?”
Kirk thought all of those things, but said none of them.
Instead, he turned to his friend and simply said,
“Hal, whatever you need, however I can help, I’m here.” And he gave him a hug.
For Greg and Jeff - At some point in time when appropriate, prior to Vanguard's Chess debriefing, but not as a part of Kirk's last conversation with Symbiote, Kirk will speak to Hal so he can explain further about Primate's 'life' and his actions towards 'ending' it. Kirk will need to understand things better so he can make a moral decision about how he feels about this.Aside from that, Kirk intends to stand by Hal. He is seeing his personal moral belief as a separate issue from protecting and supporting his teammate here (ie even if he feels Hal is morally wrong, he is going to do everything he can to help him). I guess as this plays out if Jeff feels this is against his 'weakness' instead of my character advancement being my stat, it could be buying back the weakness. However I think some of the dialogue shows that the 'right thing' here is honoring the sacrifice Hal made. Hal did something that may have been morally wrong, to protect not only the world, but also his teammates, and at terrible cost to himself. It was unselfish and motivated by his desire to to do good. Kirk's supporting him, if not the action, is the right thing.
On the flashback sequence, hope it doesn't conflict with anything you had in mind for Doc. I tried to keep the tone along the lines that you've portrayed him and purposely left the actual 'event' out. But as I was thinking about Kirk's posting, I thought a flashback to Lancaster's interaction with Clark when he made his first 'necessary' decision was so appropriate it absolutely had to be done here.If it messes with something else you had in mind you can adjust accordingly, but hopefully you can deem it Liberty League 'canon.'
OK, time for Strike to put his two cents in and wrap this thing up.
Strike looks around at the assembled "heroes" and shakes his head. The concept of the team was crumbling around him. Here he was the one who thought the team concept was kind of dated and preferred being the lone wolf and now he is struck by not one but two betrayals.
"Now, before we leave does anyone else have anything to confess. Perhaps one of you is secretly working with Black Bat on an experimental vampire drug. I have never claimed to be the best team player but I certainly haven't sold any of you out. Nor have I appointed myself judge, jury and executioner. I certainly don't condemn you for what you did to Primate. He is responsible for countless deaths and probably should be chopped up into little bits and spread across the ocean."
"That being said, we can't have a team if any of us have hidden agendas or strategies. We would never know if we were unintentionally screwing up what you were trying to do. Doubt is the one thing we can't have on this team and now I have doubts about two of you. Hal, I don't view your actions as harshly as Inhuman and if I was in your shoes I probably would have made the same decision. I don't want to be fighting this same battle again in a year from now (OOC: in some Giant Size Vanguard Special). But dammit, what gives you the right to make the decision without us."
"I want all of this settled when we get back and settled in. Perhaps this group needs some leadership and governance and most of all some responsibility. Don't for a second think that there won't be repercussions to all that has been done here. I just hope it doesn't mean the end of Vanguard!!" (OOC: Pulling out all the comic book goodies here. Need that dramatic end of issue statement to keep those readers coming back.)
With that, Strike walks away and plans to charge himself for the trip back.
Sorry for no dramatic confession. I will try to come up with one for next issue.
Looking forward to the next installment,
To Slingshot: Hal says nothing to the Stretchable Stoic, but smiles in gratitude for the pat of support.
To Kairos: "Yeah, I thought of that. You're right, in a way Primate is getting off easy. In a perfect world he'd face a jury of his peers--whatever THAT would be--and answer for his crimes," Sentinel replies. "But as should be abundantly clear by now, it's not a perfect world. The only thing I can say is that I wanted this situation, and all the carnage he was bringing, ended completely. And whatever else happens now, it's over. The world is safe, he'll never hurt anybody again."
OOC: Boy, I've done it now! Now Jeff HAS to figure out a way to bring Primate back! I've invoked the Famous Last Words! MWUHAHAHA!!!
To Forester: Hal sighs. "Yes Fred, I did want to wake him up and see if the serum was effective. But I swear, it wasn't about congratulating myself for a job well done. It was about making sure that next week people all over the world don't wake up and find the family pet clawing at their throats again. I wanted to make sure it worked so all this wouldn't start all over again," Symbiote pauses, then looks the Battling Bowman in the eye. "As for the part about lying to and manipulating my teammates? Mea Culpa. That's exactly what I did, though I did it for what I thought were the right reasons. Maybe I should have trusted you guys more, though I'm not sure we would've been any happier if we'd all had to carry the blame. For what it's worth I'm sorry."
He continues. "I'm not sure I'm still going to be in Vanguard when all the smoke clears, but I'm going to make a suggestion whether I am or not: Grey is right. This team needs to choose one person to lead. I think if we had a leader to look to some of this might have been avoided. If I do stay I certainly don't expect or want the job, and I'd still recommend it only be assigned for a year at a time, but yeah...I think we need somebody who ultimately calls the shots."
To Sentinel: Hal is taken aback but touched by the Beacon of Liberty's show of support. "It's OK Kirk, really," he replies to the hero's offer of support. "Better men than me--Einstein, Oppenheimer, Doc himself--have had to live with worse. There are two things I'd appreciate your help with, though.
"First, I want to make sure the ape is taken care of," Symbiote says. "We'll need to observe him, yes, but after everybody's satisfied that the change is permanent I really think he should be moved to a good zoo or, better yet, a preserve somewhere. I researched gorrillas a little in college. They're gentle creatures, I don't want that animal suffering for the sins of Primate. CHESS may want to tag him with a tracking device and I suppose that'll be OK, but I want him in surroundings where he'll be at peace. As Kairos might say it isn't justice, but it is mercy."
"Secondly,"--and at this Hal lowers his voice even more and casts a glance at Christiansen to make sure she's not listening--"I want us to push for an end to the Hotsleep program. It's torture, Kirk, pure and simple, and not even effective as a restraint. Primate got out of it, what's to keep one of the others--maybe one even worse--from doing the same some day? We've got to find a better way."
"A team needs to have trust in one another...that's what makes it a team. If we can't trust one another, I don't think that we can BE a team. Again, I think that we need to rest up and get a little distance from this...."
Forester makes certain to meditate on the trip home. Once Oracle gains her composure, Forester mentions how Marksman recruited him into training after he was attacked by a wild animal-thing many moons ago. Because the lycanthropic villain Hyena had been able to sense Forester's "coyote" totem. the hero has grown concerned that he may have been bitten by a were-creature on the day he met Marksman (although he has no memory of being bitten and has never become an animal (until turning into a gorilla recently, along with everyone else). Forester wonders if Oracle has anyway to see if Forester is in fact a latent were-being, if he carries a dormant form of lycanthropy or if he is worries are completely unwarranted.
Re: Forester and Oracle on the trip back:
Oracle and Vanguard are parting company now. She will fly the Phaeton One back to Athens.
Vanguard is taking the Manta Craft back home to New York.
But maybe this exchange could happen during downtime? Forester knows that the other surviving member of AEGIS was the Rumanian creature known only as... Dr. Monster!
Vanguard were now as 'taken aback' as Oracle.
Black and orange smoke lit up the night sky. On that dark jungle island, Vanguard came to grips with what kind of heroes they were going to be.
Inside Inhuman's head, quietly rang the words of the Primate and the Owl on Man's true nature.
Manetti holstered his pistol and climbed up into the Manta Craft.
"Let's get the hell out of here."
OOC: Thanks, Jeff.
When we get to the downtime stage, I'd like to use a luck point to say that Forester did not contract lycanthropy during his origin (if it is possible), although he could have been exposed to the virus, and perhaps only through meditation was he able to overcome it. Basically, I'm willing to use a luck point to overcome a weakness that I didn't even know I had when I conceived of the character. If I have two luck points available at 3rd level, I'll use them both.
I don't mind saying that Forester was bitten by a werewolf the day he met Marksman (because that actually helps explain Marksman's behavior toward Fred Knobel every since and is consistent with some of the information you introduced many issues ago), but becoming a animal-man or attacking the team would simply be redundant.
Even if this doesn't give me immunity to the disease down the road (if he's bitten again), I don't want him to have the disease now.
Maybe he was lucky and contracted only an inactive strain of the disease. I'm not sure how lycanthropy works in the campaign, but I don't want to have it.
BTW: Next issue, if it's okay, I may introduce a flashback about how
Forester was asked to leave Haven way back when. I'm thinking that he found Marksman too stodgy and started to skip practice to go out and meditate on his own--to develop his own combination of Zen perspectives instead of adhering to Marksman's school of thought. He certainly uses humor (though sometimes ineffectively) in ways that
Marksman does not. I don't want Fred to be lazy, just uncompliant. I don't see this as a "Luke going to the Dark Side" crisis. Fred is impulsive, but he was never tempted to become evil.
Could we get some details on Oracle's reaction to the revelation of things? Does it appear that she feels it best that things are kept 'classified' for now?
Sentinel wrote: Could we get some details on Oracle's reaction to the revelation of things? Does it appear that she feels it best that things are kept 'classified' for now?
OOC: The cover up begins! The lie at the center of the new golden utopia!
Seth, did you just see Watchmen or something?
Regarding, your buying off your weakness, let me think on that. I do know that if Sentinel abandons his moral code, we have truly entered the Iron Age of Vanguard!
Oracle is shaken and saddened that things have come to this. When pressed, she quietly states she will not speak of these matters to outsiders, "But do you really think you can succeed... on such a scale?
How will you explain the Primate's loss of intelligence? How will you even prove to the world that this IS the Primate. They saw him on television.
Without a trial, how will you quench their thirst for justice?"
It was clear these questions were rhetorical. She wasn't waiting around to hear the answers. The psychic superheroine walked toward the Phaeton One.
Kairos sighs sadly, shaking his head, and trudges heavily, as if under a heavy burden, to the Manta craft...
Symbiote answers Oracle. "We tell them the truth--we fought Primate, he sustained brain damage and now has reverted to ape intelligence," he says. "All true as far as it goes. I suppose there may develop some Primate Conspiracy Theorists who will say 'it's all a lie, it's all a coverup, the real Primate is out there somewhere' but I doubt they'll gain much credence, especially as day after week after month passes and Fido still isn't attacking them in their own homes anymore. If necessary we can draw blood from him, do genetic tests and compare it with Professor Farenheit's original notes if that helps.
"Anyway, I hope that's enough," Hal says. "But if it isn't, if it's decided the world needs to know whole the truth...we tell them." The Copying Crusader sighs. "I'll accept judgment--from my teammates, from the scientific community, from the world at large if that's what's required."
OOC: Actually haven't read the Watchmen graphic novel since we were kids and have not seen the movie yet.
I'm not really looking to buying back the weakness, merely stating that if you felt that Kirk had to abandon Hal based on it, we needed to consider that. However, I think Kirk needs to continue to be the moral compass of Vanguard, but tempered by a modern age and by practicality. He has taken a life in battle and was willing to do so in this battle if it came to that. Certainly Lancaster did the same in World War II (and perhaps beyond).
While Kirk doesn't feel it was Hal's place to make this call (it should have been a world tribune court likely), he realizes that took action to protect humanity and to protect the consciences of his teammates (and likely Kirk more than anyone). This at great cost to himself (his own conscience). There was no selfish motive here. I think Kirk could defend that within the scope of 'doing the right thing'. Also, per his final 'speech' the world simply cannot deal with further scandal at this point. With the death and destruction that has occurred, they need something positive to believe in.
The truth with needed obscurity would be given.
At this point the truth is that a bunch of heroes risked their lives to save the world, and they20did save the world. That's all the world needs to know and its truth. The detailed account of what happened and some of the questionable acts that took place need not be discussed and can continue 'classified' (like the majority of the government actions, and Vanguard does operate under government mandate).
The official release can be along the lines of "With Primate causing a crisis in world events the US government in coordination with a multi-national task force sent Vanguard and Chess to pursue Primate and stop the devastation. This was accomplished and Primate was captured. Once in custody, a scientific effort was made to restrain the Primate from becoming a threat to world peace in the future. Unfortunately in the course of that scientific effort, the intelligence known as Primate was destroyed. We have no further comment at this time. We will continue to investigate the situation."
And after the initial uproar, the controversy will fade into obscurity, as the next crisis occurs and people go back with being self-adsorbed in their own lives.
How many would-be dictators or causers of mass destruction stand trial? Usually they are lynched by their own people (third world countries). Or die (or likely die) under mysterious circumstances (Hitler). Or remain at large (Bin Laden). And life does on ...
PS Lancaster/Doc Rocket flashback sequence ok?
Kairos stops walking and turns around to face Symbiote."We tell them the truth, you say? And then you say we tell the "whole truth" if someone pushes the issue? So you're suggesting half truths unless we REALLY have to do otherwise? I thought that you wanted to be a hero? Do you realize that heroes are above these things? This is the REAL WORLD, Symbiote, the REAL WORLD! This is not a lab wherein you can experiment and record. This is not theory. Things MATTER here. Do you want to be the mastermind that Vanguard, or whatever hero group comes along after our fall because of things like this, is fighting next year or the next decade? What if you WERE and they captured YOU and decided that the death of YOUR intellect was better than allowing you to continue to function?"Kairos shifts his attention somewhat."And you, Sentinel...this was wrong. I thought better of you than this. A hug because you feel sorry for him and his decision? After all of the sanctimonious soliloquies, I would have thought that implicit approval would have been beyond you. A moral code is a moral code. There is no compromise...to "compromise" a moral code is to break it."Kairos shifts his attention to the general group."I was proud to join this group. In some ways, I still am. How people react to this is actually more of a benchmark than Symbiote's act itself."Kairos turns back around and gets into the Manta craft, ignoring any speech directed at him.
Seth/Sentinel, The Doc / Lancaster stuff can be added to the Liberty League canon. Thanks. Great as always. In time I'll have to create a sister site to the Vanguard Vault called Lair of the Liberty League!
Now, not to get too philosophical, especially since Kairos is doing a better job of saying it, and in character to boot! but...
Seth wrote: "With the death and destruction that has occurred, they need something positive to believe in."
GM Reply: But that thing would be a lie! Or "not the whole truth" which, as Kairos already said, by definition isn't the truth.
(BTW: Your reasoning, above, is nearly identical to the speech made by the master villain at the end of Watchmen. Rorshach resisted this logic, much as Kairos resists it now).
Seth said: "The truth with needed obscurity would be given."
GM Reply: ?!?!?!?!
Again, that's not the truth. And 'needed' by whom, the perpetrators?
When CHESS makes things confidential, it's done to protect the public from harm (when they are acting morally that is).
You are making this confidential to protect yourselves from the public finding out about what acts (or crimes) were committed by members of Vanguard.
You can support your friend Hal without affecting your "Weakness."
But lying to the world is another story.
I quote from your character sheet: "Sentinel always acts according to the highest moral code. Examples: Sentinel can never lie"
I can't believe I am hearing this from our moral beacon. If the people don't trust us, how can we fully serve the people. That is our mandate, is it not/ We have enormous powers but at the heart of it we are truly glorified public servants. If we are not above reproach, then the public will question our actions and lump us in with those we are trying to defeat. Once we start going down the slippery slope, it is damn hard to get back up.
Surprisingly, I am for full disclosure. Symibiote made a decision that he believed was in everyone's best interests. The people should know that the decision was made that may have saved thousands of lives. If we don't let them know what was done, then they may think that this disaster may occur again. They will question our abilities and our motivation. If they condemn Symbiote for his actions, then we have to bear the cost of that. I will not stand with you if we hide what we have done under some blanket of obfuscation. Own up and let the chips fall where they may.
The moral beacon is dim. How can the Beacon of Liberty keep the ships from rocky shores when it's light shines so dimly...?Perhaps Kairos needs to keep a journal:"Saw dead gorilla in alley this morning. Marks of Harper Harness and energy construct through its guts...."
"The truth with needed obscurity"...? Yeah, I caught that one. It really floored me. Please come back on the straight and narrow, Seth/Sentinel....I can't take over the soliloquies, I just don't have it in me.
OOC: OK, that was funny...
IC: Hal thinks for a moment. "Screw it," he says. "When we get back to New York, I intend to include all my actions--up to and including the compound--in our report to the media." (OOC: How, exactly, are the details normally released to the public anyway? Do we have a spokesperson? A P.R. firm?). "The chips can fall where they may."
OOC: OK, that was funny...I agree. I was rolling with that line.I glanced through the emails quickly but would say a few things and will address anything not covered later.First, the last email was OOC with Seth giving some suggestions, not Kirk. In fact, I knew that Kirk couldn't be the one to suggest those things, but merely giving some suggestions as to how it could be handled (likely that Grey might come up with). Second, if my postings and emails somehow gave you the impression that Seth was anywhere nearly as good a guy as Kirk, then I would now alleviate such thoughts. Kirk is a much better person than I could ever hope to be. To clarify, at this point Kirk gave his support to Hal whom he considers to be one of his closest friends, and that moral support was done after the speech to the team (and after the posting last night, it was actually funny because I thought to myself, the hug was too much) and privately. Kirk also blames himself for allowing this to happen (because you know, he has to save everyone).
To the team he simply said for now this is all classified. Let's not fly back to the world and say, "Yes! We stopped Primate and saved the world! Oh, and by the way, along the way, one of our team conspired with Primate and betrayed our secrets and the other murdered him!" If we are asked, for now, let's just say "Yes! We stoped Primate and saved the world!" And let's talk to Grey.
Kirk knows this is too big for them to decide for now. So let's not... for now.And if you read the rest of the posting, you could see how it was eating him up. How he was concerned about not living up to being the hero he should be. But at that moment in time, he felt it best to diffuse the situation and to stand by his friend, and not to make any public declarations that would demoralize an already devastated and demoralized world when we still didn't fully understand what happened here.You can also see that part of the posting had him approaching Symbiote afterward to understand exactly what he did and exactly what Primate was so he could decide morally what happened here and how he was going to proceed.
And as a player I was discussing the possibility of disagreeing with Hal's choice made but not abandoning him because of it.The whole thing reminded me of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord because he had control of Superman and she didn't see another way. This caused a 'parting of the ways' of them in the DCU for a time. I didn't buy it there. And I don't think Kirk has to abandon Hal before everything is understood. Reread only what Kirk said to Vanguard. Not what he thought.
“Kairos is right, let’s move out.
And people, the world has just lived through an apocalypse, hell on earth. The weight of the loss hasn’t even begun to set in. The world needs to heal and it needs its heroes to believe in … to give them hope in the darkness of the night when they think about nightmares like Primate and Swastika and who knows what else. We are that hope! They need us to be that hope.
And that means everything that we discussed these last few moments is classified top secret.” He looked at Manetti=2 0and Christiansen as he spoke that, “I know that you’ll respect that as agents of Chess.” And then to the rest of Vanguard, “All of this stays with us, when we return, if we need to make statements, we stopped the threat. Primate was stopped. That’s it! Grey will help us to sort through this and then we can each decide about things, but for now, the world has to believe in only the best in each and every one of us. They need this. And we can’t be selfish about it, even if our consciences are telling us otherwise. We need to respect all the losses and all the sacrifices made this day!”
He turned to Oracle, “I know you aren’t Chess or Vanguard and we can only ask, but I implore you to consider my words and the events of the past hours and to agree. The world needs something to believe in, now more than ever. Please honor the sacrifices that were made.”
As you can see, he pretty much said, "Let's all keep our mouths shut until we sort this out."Now here are some other reasoning points (Seth, not Kirk):
(1) What exactly was the disclosure to the public regarding the whole Swastika debacle. Was the public informed that key members of government and private citizens were kidnapped and controlled and manipulated for decades? That the government at all levels has been influenced by him and corrupted for years and years? Was the public informed that the Black Bat has had undo control over elements of the world for years? That he was the cause of the recent mob war that terrorized the citizens of New York? That he caused the death of all of those villains?So why would any member of Vanguard want to get off the Chess jet and bolt over to the press and tell them to print the headline, "Symbiote murdered Primate".There never has been and never will be full disclosure... heck, we still haven't even resolved that Lightning Strike is wanted for murder from his origin story (unless I forgot that we did).
(2) We haven't discussed and only Symbiote reviewed the notes of exactly what constituted the Primate. Given that the physical being, the ape, is still alive and actually 'better' now that the influence of Primate has been removed, is it possible Symbiote didn't kill Primate, but simply 'cured' the ape that had become Primate of the influence that created the murderer known as Primate? If a person had multiple personalities with one of them being a psychopath and a psychiatrist worked with the person to cure them of multiple personality disorder, would you say the psychiatrist murdered the person? Or cured them? If a person was cured of being a vampire or werewolf and returned to a peaceful state, would you say that the person who cured them murdered the vampire or werewolf? Or would you say they cured the person?Did Symbiote murder Primate or cure the ape?Again, I'm just stating here that we don't know exactly what we are dealing with yet.
(3) You guys are just happy to have a chance to pounce on me for all of Kirk's speeches, aren't you? When I get a chance I'll try to reply to anything I missed from other other emails.
I think I did clarify things a bit so that Kirk isn't the villain of the next issue (don't get any ideas here Jeff).
But in reading everyone's replies I would add I certainly don't have to worry if I ever have Kirk start to step out of line, I'm sure everyone will let me know and keep him on the right track.
And I loved the line about the soliloquies too. I didn't know I had them in me either before Kirk. No I have them too much.
But it is quite frightening that I quoted the line and reasoning of the villain of Watchmen ... perhaps in playing such a good character the universe must balance the cosmic forces ... and Seth himself is becoming corrupted ... bwaaa haaaa haaaa haaaa!!!
Symbiote, typically announcements come from CHESS press releases or press conferences. But you've never had an event this public, or
Seth, you're still spinning.
1) You want this to be classified to cover up Vanguard's actions (not Swastika's actions or Black Bat's actions).
2) Re: the 'healing' psychiatrist: If the government lobotomized a criminal, and he ended up docile and without a personality, would that be a benign act, a cure?
Let's ask the mighty Heston, here speaking to Dr. Zaius about poor
Landon: "You did it! You cut up his brain you bloody baboon! You did that to him! You cut out his memory! You took his identity!"
(1) All I was saying was there has never been full disclosure of the happenings of any case thus far. That cannot be denied. Kirk has not said to keep things classifed permanently. Only to do so until they get back to the base, get debriefed, get all the facts, get input from those more experienced at the hero game than any of us, and then together figure out how to handle this.Once this is done, the facts could be given to the public in an organized way.Given the conscience of Hal, his choice certainly can be to come forward; it appears from his last posting he has already made that decision.
(2) Here I was giving examples of how some of this could be considered. You gave a counter-example. Which example applies in this case would depend on understanding all of how the ape became Primate and the exact details, none of which are understood or known by any of Vanguard at this point except perhaps Symbiote.
A wise person determines the best course of action after getting all the facts and understanding everything involved with the situation.
On second thought, perhaps I'm not understanding what the majority wants here. Let's land and and first course of action is to immediately go to the press without the all the facts. Who would like to be the spokesman that declares Symbiote murdered Primate? Who would like to reveal Inhuman helped him carry out his attacks?
OOC: I think we're putting the cart in front of the horse here.
Aren't we heading directly back to CHESS anyway? Wouldn't our first step be to meet with Grey et al anyway--no matter what had happened?
I think the whole discussion about keeping things classified is moot since we won't be talking with anyone until we get back to CHESS anyway. As for Hal's conscience about coming forward, he already has come forward to the rest of the team. I'm glad he did. I don't see the need for us to agree on any pacts.
Forester continues to meditate on the trip back. He's telling Grey everything when he gets back.
OOC: Seth is right. I assume that the general populace doesn't necessarily know all of what Vanguard or any other superhero group in the Jarkaverse does, just as the general populace doesn't necessarily know all the details of any military operation in the real world.
My suggestion for the rough wording of a press release.
"Vanguard was alerted and responded to a prison break at Chess Castle in New York. They managed to recapture most of the escaped extranormals. Unforunately X number of inmates managed to escape including the international terrorist Primate, the African mountain gorilla genetically altered for superhuman intelligence by deceased European superhero Professor Farenheit. Vanguard member Inhuman was also captured by Primate and his accomplices, a group of metanormals calling themselves the Ani-Men, during the battle. Shortly thereafter Primate initiated his animal mind-control offensive, leading to the recent attacks from the animal kingdom worldwide.
The remaining members of Vanguard tracked the Ani-Men to Greece, where they engaged and defeated some of the terrorists and managed to stop the animal attacks in Europe. They then tracked Primate himself to the Congo, where they engaged and defeated Primate and the remainder of the Ani-Men with inside assistance from Inhuman, who had managed to partially undermine the Ani-Men organization.
Because previous incarceration methods had failed to adequately control Primate and because of the extreme danger of continued animal attacks Vanguard member Symbiote created a compound which reversed Professor Farenheit's intellect amplification of Primate, regressing him back to normal gorilla intelligence."
Truthful and to the point, though it doesn't necessarily give every detail of the mission. Nor should it, IMO.
While it's impossible to fully predict human behavior I predict reactions will fall into three groups...
1) The majority will just be glad that we're back to humans eating animals instead of vice versa. They'll be glad (and grateful to Vanguard) that the threat is over.
2) A few will be the conspiracy theory types who will believe that Primate was never actually captured, or that CHESS, the government or whoever is keeping the real Primate sequestered away for some sinister reason (Primate "Truthers," if you will). At least some of these people will give it up (or at least move on to some other tin foil hat crusade) as time goes by and no new animal attacks materialize.
3) A few, especially in the science community, will decry Symbiote for his actions. Given the stakes, Hal can live with this (it helps that he has a secret identity).
Seth, If it's standard that we never disclose Vanguard's activities, why is it that Sentinel is asking everyone to take a vow of silence this time?
He never did that before.
Why now, I wonder? ;)
OOC: Not sure where the vow of silence thing came in but I certainly wouldn't do such a thing.For my part, I'll say nothing to anyone, anyway, but I certainly won't lie about it or "spin" it in any way. My silence is dependent on my feeling that it's really no one's business, regardless of what Primate did. Let others deal with it. I didn't get a say in the matter of the death of Primate's "self" and I won't be taking any flack for it, either.
Private to Kairos:
Hey, After all the shenanigans with Inhuman and Symbiote, I'm loathe to start Kairos down the dark path I had been planning for.So I'm thinking -2 to be hit as the level advancement.
I'll have some in character stuff that reveals more of Kairos' story during this downtime, but it feels like the wrong time to be giving him Phobia/ Psychosis or other personality altering stuff. Unless you have objections or other thoughts.
Private to GM:
LOL! That's fine. We can do it later. I was wondering if I could do something to alter a power a little or make it more useful. I sorta regret the second Mutant Power since it's kind of a token thing that rarely aids me. You mention it, of course, to make me feel better but it's largely a wasted power. Is there any way to make it better, somehow, and more useful? I was thinking about how it might be used to project something to foes as well as to friends...maybe a limited form of Emotion Control or something similar wherein a foe or foes were a little awed by the "heroic presence" thing and ended up with some minor penalties or something if they failed a save.
Private to Kairos:
Come on, the second Mutant Power has Charisma +8, and resistance to mental domination, which has saved you from Black Bat, Penumbra in the dream sequence, etc!
And you've taken Cool Rolls out of the game for Vanguard!
OK. How about this for your Advancement:
Intimidation/Awe: Kairos may negatively affect the Morale of others.
All sentient foes, with Charisma lower than Kairos, must make a
Cool Roll to face Kairos in combat when he is aware of them.
The would-be attacker must roll 1d20 against their Charisma to see if they lose their cool. (Charisma is more than just charm; it’s the strength of a person's personality.)
If the roll is equal to or lower than their Charisma, they remain calm and proceed normally.
If the roll is higher than their Charisma, they suffer a -1 penalty to hit for every point they rolled over their Charisma. Every turn, this modifier is lessened by one point (So it takes 8 turns to wear away a -8).
A roll of a 20 means they call off the attack.
They do not make this roll every combat action (every 15 seconds) but only once when combat is begun.
I like this!
General Cool Roll info:
Comic book examples:
-Psycho-Man has Emotion Control Fear that makes everyone lose their cool and suffer such penalties.
-Batman has a skill called Intimidation. If he succeeds on his skill, he can force cool rolls on opponents. Low-Charisma goons get so scared by Batman that they can’t hit him with machine guns.
-Low Charisma Wonder Man freezes up when faced with the all-powerful
Also, a person can calm others. By taking an action to talk or yell or bark orders they can raise everyone's charisma score by their cool roll reaction modifier, to talk them down from their state of panic, etc. (Thereby quickening the duration of the negative modifiers).
Comic book example:
-Captain America’s speechifying to WW2 infantrymen or low-level Avengers, like Wonder Man.
Private to GM:
Let's do that. Potentially very good yet not overpowering or automatic.
Lycanthropy helps explain a few holes in Fred's origin story, so I'm glad you suggested the idea--in spite of all my earlier gripes. If it turns out becoming a were-beast makes him lose intelligence or feel violent, then perhaps a luck point or two would help him retain a sense of control during the transformation. That way he still experiences the first-hand drama of the affliction. That might be the best of both worlds in a way.
You're the GM, and I dont' want to be a spoil-sport, so feel free to take this wherever you want this to go. (I just wanted the other players to know I didn't design the character to secretly go wild.)
Down the road, maybe at fourth level, he might train to get immune completely.
If it's standard that we never disclose Vanguard's activities, why is it that Sentinel is asking everyone to take a vow of silence this time?He never did that before.
Why now, I wonder? ;)
Ok, now you sound like Jeff just looking to stir controversy rather than the GM Obviously I never asked anyone to take a vow of silence (was that a Watchmen line so you threw it in?). Per my prior explanation, I merely said to keep mum until we all cool down and debrief.
Just so you don't have to wonder as to why now when never before?
Never before have we been involved in a crisis that caused so much death and devastation, and never before have we had actions by heroes which were questioned by the other heroes (both Inhuman and Symbiote).
Gamewise, Kirk used his skill of 'superhero lore' to realize the potential for this matter to quickly escalate into something even worse than it already was and was hoping to prevent that. He knew that public statements made based on exhaustion and while the heroes were at these emotionally charged levels were unwise.
That same superhero lore warned him that they would likely end up in just the sort of situation to allow the things to escalate (ie the team forced to land in a public place with reporters present because the normal Chess landing area was damaged in the recent devastation).
Now I would also add, I've no problem role playing this out and having conflicts among the characters (based on character actions and decisions) short term, but do we really want the next twenty issues of Vanguard and year of our role-playing lives to be "The Trial of Symbiote and Inhuman"?
If any of you remember "The Trial of the Flash" and were unfortunate enough to have endured it (last oh, I don't know twenty or thirty issue or more issues of the original silver age Flash comic) it wasn't any fun. In fact, e ven as a kid it almost made me give up reading about my second most favorite character and when they canceled the series I remember thinking, well at least that terrible trial storyline is over!
I'm sure our trial would be much better, but I for one think we should have more fun than that anyway.
And as extra incentive against it, I can already feel the soliloquy angst of Kirk welling up.
A good weekend to all.
Sentinel wrote: Ok, now you sound like Jeff just looking to stir controversy rather than the GM
GM Reply: Who me? Never! ;)
Sentinel wrote: Obviously I never asked anyone to take a vow of silence
GM Reply: Hmmm. Actually, you said: "And that means everything that we discussed these last few moments is classified top secret.”
Then:“And we can’t be selfish about it, even if our consciences are telling us otherwise. We need to respect all the losses and all the sacrifices made this day!”
Meaning, in order to respect the losses, we must not selfishly listen to our conscience's plea (for moral action?) and discuss Inhuman/Symbiote's actions.
Then you wrote: "He turned to Oracle, “I know you aren’t Chess or Vanguard and we can only ask, but I implore you to consider my words and the events of the past hours and to agree. "
You implore her to agree with the idea of keeping mum. An agreement, or pact (Forester's word) or vow, of silence.
Then to make sure that Oracle would go along with this agreement/pact, you ask a second time: "Could we get some details on Oracle's reaction to the revelation of things? Does it appear that she feels it best that things are kept 'classified' for now?"
All that triggered unprompted responses of moral outrage from Kairos, Strike and Forester, so don't pin this on little innocent ol' me.
I can't help it that they want their moral beacon back.;)
Excepting the current issue, the Vanguard Vault is finally all caught up! The wonderful level of interaction is forcing me to create an extra issue on the Vanguard site.So this turn ends Tuesday night, and then I'll release the next issue (Issue 84) on Friday.
As a side not Inhuman will politely request to speak with Agent Grey, If anyone has my future in his hands it is He.
Jeff: I noticed that you edited out part of Kirk's speech to make your point. I'll add it back here now."Grey will help us to sort through this and then we can each decide about things, but for now, the world has to believe in only the best in each and every one of us. They need this. "I think this shows where Kirk was going with this. I think if you read through what Kirk said in its entirely it was never his intention to evoke a 'vow of silence' of to force anyone to spin anything anyway. "Grey will help us to sort through this" "then we can each decide about things"........
Hey. It finally sunk in while you all freaked out. Just now. I actually understand what has caused all of this. (this just came to me as I was typing the above explanation and rereading) .....
"All of this stays with us, when we return, if we need to make statements, we stopped the threat. Primate was stopped. That9 9s it! Grey will help us to sort through this and then we can each decide about things, but for now, the world has to believe in only the best in each and every one of us. "I am very sorry. When I was talking about 'if we need to make statements" I meant "if we need to make statements to the press".
Perhaps it was the lack of those words (to the press) that caused the confusion. For that I apologize. It was not Kirk's intent to keep what happened from Grey or Chess (or the world for that matter). I believe that the next statement about "Grey helping us to sort through this" indicates that to you - how could Grey help us to sort through this if we didn't tell him about it?In fact, I believe Forester's last post was "I'm telling Grey everything." and my reaction was "good". I now realize that he was thinking that Sentinel was somehow advocating not telling Grey everything. Again, that was NEVER my intent.
Again, if somehow my poor choice of wording caused that reaction I apologize. It was not my intent.I think this clarifies Kirk's actual words to the characters, but if there are other portions of my posting regarding Kirk's thoughts, (that I would add are available to players but NOT their characters), I would be happy to clarify what I intended and the motive and it will be along the lines of what I've tried to explain since this started. In fact, up until now and rereading Kirk's wording based on what I knew I was trying to have him say I didn't understand why everyone was even thinking Kirk was suggesting a total cover up.Again, my apologies for not picking up on that and understanding the confusion. Again, if there is anything else in the posting that caused you to feel Kirk was advocating a total cover up, let me know and I'll let you know what I was attempting to convey verses what came across.
This isn't the first time Kirk/sentinel has asked for secrecy, Issue 62 springs to mind. (yea verily I broke down under the o'oerweening pressure, I'll do my level best to not play upon any of it!) Idea for Sentinel level ability: Heroic Reserve the noble Sentinel of the Pursuit of Happyness has part (or all, I think that compared to +7 End or Agi vs. all his Cha soley for power purposes is about right) of his Charisma added to his Power score as an addition as if it had come from a regular power generating stat. Others Level advancements: Rapid Sense the character no longer needs to expend 1/3 of his movement to use an unusal sense, all other costs are as normal.
Very true. However here Kirk chose to reveal to his closest associates something that was totally personal (this new power) and could have easily be kept to himself because he believed it to be the right thing to do. He thought it was the right thing because it would help Vanguard's power set and needed to be taken into account in missions and also because he knew some (Drake in particular) would have trust issues if it was later revealed that Kirk had this talent and kept it a secret. In my mind, this is more of an example of Kirk choosing to reveal information that could easily have been concealed a the time.
Certainly each member of Vanguard is entitled to keep aspects of themselves and their lives private. In fact, by becoming a member of Vanguard each hero would be obtaining a government clearance of 'confidential' which means that we are given information by the government to be used but which is for our use only and not public knowledge (hence confidential). I'm not sure the point you were making here. If its that Kirk does see the need to keep things confidential at times then there is no argument and I don't think that goes against his moral sense.
’Idea for Sentinel leve l ability: Heroic Reserve the noble Sentinel of the Pursuit of Happyness has part (or all, I think that compared to +7 End or Agi vs. all his Cha soley for power purposes is about right) of his Charisma added to his Power score as an addition as if it had come from a regular power generating stat. ‘
In all honesty I didn't even understand exactly what you were saying here. My knowledge of game rules likely runs at the 'novice' level and I would think yours is 'expert' along with Jeff. If Jeff thinks this is something to consider or something he hadn't thought about then I'd consider it once I understood it (unless he determines that my actions warrant it somehow and I don't have a choice).
’Others Level advancements: Rapid Sense the character no longer needs to expend 1/3 of his movement to use an unusal sense, all other costs are as normal.’
Character-wise I would think this as something that Kirk does develop down the road as his ultimate destiny becomes clearer and he comes to a greater understanding of who and what he is. Game-wise, for now, it actually aids Jeff in keeping the story exciting and from having to give us too much information as we enter a situation all at once. From previous discussions with Jeff it seemed prudent to have Kirk get a bit tougher under his shields before trying to develop other aspects of powers. The way his powers work, he can take great a mounts of damage due to his shields, but since his shields working are based on percentages and power levels, there are many times that it would seem if a 'bad role' came up and his shields failed he would easily be pulverized. It would be nice if Kirk had enough 'hit points' to survive a big hit under his shields like most of the team. (with Slingshot with his invulnerability and being so tough, we've got foes doing 20+ damage in one shot - Kirk's current hit points are 20 'at full'; I don't know how a character 'dies' in the game (ie the rules of how much damage beyond hit points causes it, etc) but it would seem the potential is easily there)
I replied to the request in the next issue, Issue 58: "Forester checked his medical records and came up clean."
Two days to the next full moon, I believe.
Inhuman's suggestions still leave you with unchanged hit points.
To be killed you must lose all your Hit Points and all your Power Points. You've been close before, due to the high power cost of your Energy Construct abilities.
Jeff:Would trying to incorporate small, useful devices into my equipment be considered powers or could I include some stuff for nothing more than the cost of getting it from CHESS (or even on my own)?Examples include:Medical kit, maybe with some real drugs in it (including the stim shots)Extra communicator(s)GPS unitSmall computerSpare air (small emergency oxygen supply like divers have)Mostly carried in a messenger bag or murse but maybe with a couple on my person.
This is fine.
All of you (for now) have the Power/Weakness called Patron.
As a benefit, mundane equipment (ie: not a super power) is available, along with things like your Empire State Building HQ, the Manta Craft, access to Confidential Files, etc,
Inhuman, Re: levelling in Hotsleep, stay tuned!
Jeff, please check and make sure I am on the right path if I screw up, let me know. Seth I can't specifically say all the details of how Jeffs campaign works, however from what I have seen I think I can say the following....
There are 4 stats that provide Power Points, they are (Sentinel's are in parenthesis): Strength (15), Endurance (15), Agility (15), Intelligence (15).
Added together they equal the characters Power (60 in Sentinels case).
Since Creation Points (CP) = Current Power Points x 2. Thus you have 120 CP base, If you added in Charisma with Heroic Reserve (Sentinels Charisma= 15) you would have 75 Power, 150 CP, if you go with End you will have 67 Power and 134 CP.
Heroic Reserve: this would Give up to 15 points of power for Sentinel (15 Cha), I also like making it Cha based because when we gain more Cha Bonuses your Power and CP's also go up. Cha and Xp are the two things the GM can really use to enforce his decisions with (Basically if the players behave badly they can lose Charisma as well as XP). (I really want more Cha so the more people I can get on the bandwagon the better off i'll be... :). As a side note if Kairos ever gets a hold of this... Whulf!
END: +7 End would give you: +7 Power, +14 Creation Points, +.8 To hit point modifier, +.2 to your healing rate, +.7 to Carry cap (this is somewhat fuzzy)
Which Would give you ... 67 Power, 134 Creation points, 28 HP, 2.4 Healing rate and a slight boost to how much your bare muscles can carry....
So it really is very close to each other. Rolling with the Punch: unless ambushed or in certain other cases a character can take part of the damage that would be dealt to a characters Health can instead be taken to the Power score (which is recovered much faster of course) this maxes out at 1/10th current power score, so the higher your power score the more you take to your temporary hits. but at 8 per formation you would be with 67 base Power at 59 after shield formation with 75 you would be at 67 meaning two good hits for 8 damage and you would take 4 HP worth of damage and -12 power (55 Power and 16 Health at that point) vs 6 HP and -10 Power (with 49 Power and 22 Health).
DEATH: Death Occurs only after a character loses all of his HP and Power, thus with the current 20 HP and 60 Power you in D&D 'terms' have '80 HP', Sorta... every power point you use/lose lowers in essence your HP so you more have 20 HP & 60 temp HP.As listed above you would have either 20 HP and 75 temp or 28 HP and 67 temp.
IIRC & Jeff agees it is so, HP can be spent as Power points but tis is very dangerous and is only done as a last resort, after all power is gone. An example would be Lightning Strike firing a last desparate bolt at a villian before passing out. Compared to Jeff i think i'm strictly a bush leaguer going up against a formula one racer... :)
PS: heh I just thought of somethig funny if there isnt a concept of 'leveling through experience' and Inhuman gets Tossed into Hotsleep... then he could argue that the Hotsleep made him dramaically more powerful (since he will gain 150% to his Water capacity and HydroSense) . :)
Inhuman, Thanks for the detailed explanation and all your time doing the math. If I read through things correctly it definitely is very close at this point. I think for now I will still go with the endurance increase since it adds to some of the minor stuff (healing factor). Also, I think there are some circumstances where we can't roll with damage so that also adds to the feeling that Kirk is a bit more durable with the endurance increase (although with the explanation of 'rolling' perhaps I shouldn't be quite as worried about some of the bigger hits he might take). I'm going to save your email as a document to refer to in the future Thanks for splaining .It would also seem that as charisma increases the 'heroic reserve' gets to be an even better deal. It makes sense because when we were developing Kirk (and from his good guy persona) he was seen as a Superman/Captain America charisma sort.
Question for Jeff, this heroic reserve thing, is this a one level advancement type addition of bigger? Because I think you said we get 1/4 of a superpower. What is this considered?Thanks.
If I'm foolish/generous enough to give 7 points to any stat for a Level Advancement, I guess giving approx. twice that as only a Power Point addition makes sense.
I am slightly concerned that your Construct super power, being so based upon power points, will become unbalanced a little.
But it's certainly in keeping with the nobility and charisma of the old Sentinel, before he starting bandying about notions of widescale cover ups for the common good. ;)
For now it doesn't matter since I'm doing the endurance thing, but what did you mean by that "unbalanced"?
"before he starting bandying about notions of widescale cover ups for the common good"
Seth will keep his notions to himself so as not to be confused with Kirk, and Kirk will try his best not to advocate cover ups deliberately or accidentally. I'm looking forward to hearing what Grey has to say about this whole mess in the next issue (assuming we get there).
So are you going to tell us that we've all been in the hotsleep and now we have to really go out and beat Primate?
Ye Cats, Seth....DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM!!!!
Seth, I think that Jeff means with your power score being so integral to your primary power the higher your PP gets the more dangerous/effective you are. You probably have no idea what i'm talking about though. Basically right now Heroic reserve would up your maximum weight of a Construct by 800# over +7 End, Still in the 2d8 damage range... but very close to hitting 2d10 damage. I think that would make you the heavy hitter of the group. If you buy the +15 Power on your next level increase you will be doing that much damage pretty much for the first few constructs. If you instead buy +7 to a power generating stat it would take you two more levels to do so. I probably won't get to that until 6th, OTOH I don't get weaker from using multible formations just by having my powers cover different situations :) different strokes for different folks.
There is a risk to Jeff's campaign I suppose in the aspect of inciting an arms race. For everyone else except Kairos and possibly Forester raising PP isn't that big of a deal, however skill fighter types who don't have much to spend power upon and the one exception of your power it really can be seen as a large benefit for the character. Skill fighters really get bonus temporary HP while you get all that and a bag of chips. The rest of us with expensive energy powers would probably better benefit from energy cost reduction on our main powers (which come to think of it you would too but perhaps not as much as say Lightning Strike compared to a power increase.)
Not to say more power ISN'T a big deal (because it is) there just is in the very well developed V&V system a lot of different uses for Everything.
Post Script: In our campaigns 20 years ago we considered 3 PP to one Stat increase about right. Compared to going over a cusp this was in some ways underpowered, in others (advancing to the cusp) it was slightly more beneficial than the straight stat increase. However at the x7 level.... (mind shudders away from the possibility) 21 Power is probably way too much. PPS: in this case as in every other JEFF makes the final call on everything (as it allways has been) i'm just giving my uninformed, rules lawyerly opinion in a helpful way.
Inhuman will ask someone to carry/watch a cup of water if there is an intent to put me in Hotsleep. I want to be able to give a warning before I use my powers to defend myself if necessary. I will attempt to push water away from me if I need to attack something and pull it to me if I feel the need to defend myself. Since I may be dreaming but the possibility is my powers may still work. After all the last person known to use power(s) while hotslept was an Ani-man...
OOC: What?! Who, me? Paranoid?!?!? Never.... Yeah, suuuuure.... Jeff would never let me rip out the fuel lines in the vehicle at 30,000 feet while in a forced dream state.
Seth, Alex's explanation is pretty accurate.
Thanks again.I added that to the previous document for reference.It's funny, but I hadn't even considered that Kirk could do more damage; I was only thinking about him handling more damage. Jeff is always trying to convince me that Kirk isn't a lightweight but when I look at everyone else's stats I always feel like he is, but if 2d8 is 'good damage' than I guess his shields really do let him take some massive damage from typical attacks.
And I guess no matter how tough we get it really doesn't matter because Jeff will just make the villains tougher to match Hmmm, energy cost reduction. I like the sound of that....I think a practical advancement would be for Kirk to be able to create a construct without it being his full action for the turn (ie it could be a portion of movement like his other manipulation of the energy)... when we are in the middle of battle and he loses an attack because he has to recreate the construct its a tough call... but for now I'm happy with the endurance increase.
Sentinel is so awestruck by his grandfather and other WWII legends that he doesn't realize how valuable he really is to the team!