Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vanguard: Issue 151: The Audition.


In the crazy months of celebrity and fame that led up to the wedding of Slingshot and Nanite…

Vanguard was agreed. They would license their likenesses for an animated series, over which they would have final approval. Felicity Chase was thrilled. She’d begin securing a toy partner right away. And she pushed Slingshot hard to permit Slate to be in the series, “Imagine what the show could do for him,” she said. “Don’t you want your son to be loved by millions of kids?”

To Alex’s question about voice talent, Felicity replied, “There’d be no harm in asking. Sign here.”

[Replies? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Sentinel and Zephyr shared with Vanguard that they were a couple! [Replies, Vanguard?]


Clone, Sentinel and Symbiote tracked down a cold lead on the lost lab of Dr. Swastika, in what was once Nazi Germany and what was now behind the Iron Curtain in Soviet-controlled East Germany. Satellite imagery showed an indistinct structure in the target area. Ajay said, “Only thing I can say for sure is that there’s something there.” 

Sentinel said, “Perhaps we can have Grey have the building and area checked out low key.  Surely Chess or one of her allies has access to undercover agents in the area that can check the area for current activity.”

Symbiote was more than willing to join any covert effort to find out what's going on at this mysterious bunker.

Grey acquiesces to Symbiote’s request. “OK. We could use a genetic scientist for recon of one of Swastika’s labs. I’ll put things in motion.”  [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Symbiote met with Mother Russia. At one point, she said, “I want a new costume and name to disassociate myself from my former homeland, but can’t decide what.”

Hal replied,  "Mother, we just hired a publicity consultant--God help us--so maybe she can help you with some aspects of this.  If you want to call her we'll give you a card, she left about a million lying around," Hal says.  "I'm not much of a fashion designer, but as for a new name?  How about Knockout?" he says, looking her over approvingly and remembering that Talon has removed himself from the playing field.

Mother Russia smirked. “The problem with mad scientists is: you never know if all they’re after is your DNA.”

But she softened at Clone’s costume design. She said in Russian, “Alex. Still with the sensitive soul of an artist. It’s beautiful. But do you think it could be another color than red?”

[Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


 Sentinel said to CHESS Director Grey, “I do understand.  Thanks for trying here.  I suppose after we get through things here perhaps Hal and I can pay a visit to Chess Castle to assuage some of our concerns and see just what is going through their minds and happening there. Do you think it would be possible to get access to the MEDUSA agency mission statement and what is available to other agencies?  I’m not looking for top secret access here, but a bit beyond what I’m sure they’ll let me see now.  I’d like to see the picture they are presenting to their sister agencies as to what they are.”

Grey said, “I’ll do what I can.” [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Symbiote, Sentinel, Slingshot, Menagerie and Doc Rocket began to plan another expedition to the Digital Zone! Symbiote agreed with Slingshot and Sentinel that it’s prudent to wait until they have more information about current events in the Zone.  He'll continue blueprint work on the craft and design a few probes to launch into the zone, hopefully to get some telemetry about the current situation.

[Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Avatar manifested the oratory and diplomatic ability of the Olympians to learn more about the anonymous buyer. Sotheby’s buying agent replied, “You’ve no need to worry. Your collection will be in good hands that appreciate its worth. The buyer is a scholar himself, and a collector of antiquities. But he is a very private man. I don’t believe you would have heard of him.” This seemed to rule out Silas Caine.

John tried to force the issue (diplomatically, of course).  “I would like to meet the buyer to assure myself that my life's work will be going to someone who would appreciate it.”

The agent said with sincere regret, “I’m afraid I cannot help you in this matter. It would mean my job, my career. My reputation would be ruined.”  [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Menagerie heard Archimedes speak in the language of birds: “Your duty is to defend Nature, aye. But the manner of your death has shaped your focus. Distorted it. Because you died defending animals, you think your duty is to defend the animal kingdom. But there is so much more to Nature than that. Open your mind, boy. What do you think Nature is and how we might best serve it?”

Menagerie replied, "I would do my best of open my mind. But an open mind is worthless unless it is filled. Please Archimedes fill my mind, teach me about Nature. What it is, what it means, and how to best serve it.”

“That’s just what I intend to do, boy,” said the owl. “But there are some things only you can learn for yourself.”

[Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]


Rachel Ray replied to Clone’s YouTube video shortly after it went viral. She let him know she wasn’t looking for romance. She just agreed to be Clone’s date for the wedding to show her support for the heroes of Vanguard. But she was a single woman. [Reply, Clone?]


Lightning Strike reached the cabin ahead of Sentinel, Symbiote and Menagerie. The cabin on the lake was off the grid; no power lines, phone lines or cell phone service, and therefore the Vanguard communicators would be down. The night was dark like only the countryside can be.

Lightning Strike got his arms around Hank Archer and said: “Hank, if there was any way to prevent what happened to you, you know I would have done it.  I couldn't tell you everything that happened for your own safety.  The people behind all of this will stop at nothing.  You were used as a pawn to get at Silas Caine and although every fiber of my being wanted you to pull that trigger and gun the bastard down for what he has done, I couldn't let you do it."

Archer growled belligerently but stopped throwing punches for now.

Strike continued, "Others from Vanguard are on their way here.  We probably have only minutes until they get here.  You have to tell me where my counterpart is.  Vanguard won't stop until he is hunted down. If he is here, tell him to come out.  Neither of us can harm one another so he knows I am not a threat to him.  In fact, there may be a way for him to help me bring down Caine but if Vanguard takes him out, he will be condemned to hot sleep and be in a coma for the rest of his days. Vanguard will see to it."

“He’s not here,” snarled Archer. “And he told me you’d say that. He said to tell you, of course I don’t know where he is. Would you have told me that?”

Strike left without a word, leaving his uncle to the mercy of Vanguard!

Sentinel, Symbiote and Menagerie soon made their cautious approach on the cabin and found Hank Archer alone. “More capes?” he snarled when they revealed themselves. “I’ve had it with all of you!” [Replies?]

[end flashbacks]


Now! The wedding of Slingshot and Nanite!

Every seat in the monolithic, 133 year old, Neo-Gothic, Roman Catholic Cathedral was taken. Shelley went down the aisle first and everyone stood up and turned around to see the beautiful bride.

Nanite was crying tears of joy by the time she reached Scott. The couple held hands, the congregation was seated and the Archbishop of New York began the ceremony.

Then Lightning Strike’s phone silently vibrated! It was the phone the “Killer with No Name” had been given from Homicide for Hire! Without looking at it, he used his powers to “read” the incoming text. It said:

“Go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral immediately.
Any of you that kills a member of Vanguard passes the audition and becomes a member of Homicide for Hire.
Good luck.”

Lightning Strike discreetly informed Vanguard via their communicators.

Slingshot asked the Archbishop to stop the ceremony for a moment. The congregation murmured. Nanite looked at Scott in surprise.
Slingshot leaned over to Nathan Lamb, his best man and whispered. “Put the CHESS teams in high alert. They are to keep everyone outside the church. Alert the secret service. Get the President out of here.”

Lamb nodded solemnly. He gave Scott his ring, said, “Good luck, Scott,” and left out the side door so as not to cause a further disturbance. Sgt. Stone and Vanguard followed him, save Slingshot [and Slate? Up to you, Jon].

Before he left, Symbiote turned to Slingshot.  "Scott, enjoy your wedding.  I'm sorry most of us aren't going to see it, but we'll all get drunk and watch the video later.  When you're done saying your vows, excuse yourself and come out and join us.” Shelley longed to go with them. Her eyes followed Sentinel out.

The audience was buzzing now. Then the President was calmly escorted out and down an interior stair case, and the crowd inside the church began getting very concerned. The camera teams kept rolling.

Slingshot told the Archbishop of the emergency situation and asked that the ceremony be shortened.

Nanite smiled, relieved that the ceremony was at least continuing. The Archbishop agreed to Scott’s request and continued the ceremony.

Vanguard regrouped in a side vestibule with Lamb and Stone. One Clone was with them. The other Clones were still in the cathedral, lining the walls as ushers, save one who sat with Rachel Ray.

Sentinel raised his communicator, “Ajay it’s happening.  Eyes in the sky ready.  They are on their way.  Let us and the Knights know what you pick up on aerial feed.  Keep NYPD in the loop as necessary.”

Ajay replied, for all of Vanguard to hear, “Roger that. Uh, Vanguard, I’ve got some cloud cover moving in. That’s funny. Forecast was clear today. Satellite’s not going to be much help. Pulling files on Homicide for Hire. Silencer and Hyena are incarcerated at CHESS Castle. Atomic Brain is dead. Penumbra aka: Dark Avatar is believed dead. Zero G and The Mercenary (aka Jim Harrik) are currently at large.

Zero G is an extranormal with the ability to alter and control gravity.

The Mercenary is a trained military soldier and expert combat tactician. Both are extremely dangerous.”

Symbiote said to the team, "This is a two pronged attack, on both our lives and our reputations. Even if we win the fight, there's a good chance that innocent bystanders could be hurt or the cathedral could be damaged, and all the hard work we've put into good publicity could be instantly wiped out.  I can just see the headlines in every paper that Silas Caine has a controlling interest in--'Metahumans Destroy Famed NY Landmark, Dozens Injured' or some such crap.  Well, it Ain't. Gonna. Happen."

"We have to stop these imbeciles outside, before they get a chance to wreck everything, before most people--especially the papparazi--know it's even happening.  We've got to give them some targets to shoot at and we have to stop them before they put the slightest crack in even one pane of stained glass," Symbiote said.

"And today, gentlemen--today we play full contact. These @$#&%*!$ are coming here, to a house of peace, and trying to kill us and disrupt the wedding of two people we love.  That gets them more than just the normal thumpin' and cuffin'.   I'm not saying we fight back with lethal force, but my heart isn't going to break if the CHESS Castle infirmary is at full capacity tonight."

Sentinel said, “Drake, you on this?”

CHESS Agent Drake’s unflappable, unhappy voice came over the communicators, “I am. Is it too soon to say we wish you had followed our recommendations for the wedding? You won’t have air cover. Repeat, there are no birds in the air. We’re not firing live rounds inside Manhattan.

“The CHESS Knights’ first priority has to be protecting the bystanders in the street. I reco that any extranormals in attendance who aren’t affiliated with Vanguard join CHESS to defend the church and the public.”

Lightning Strike turned into electricity and SHAKOW! he was gone!

Menagerie silently closed his eyes and contacted the bird and rat kingdoms to determine if the assassins have arrived yet.  They were starting to come. But were keeping their distance. Waiting. One of the would-be assassins caught Menagerie’s attention. Viewed through the eyes of a lurking rat, he was somehow anathema to the Natural Order. Menagerie somehow knew his name was The Fly. [see image]

Sentinel exited the side door out into the street with Nathan Lamb and Sgt. Stone. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets. The crowds were half a block deep in all directions and they cheered, happy to see Sentinel!

Nearby, CHESS Knights were speaking with electronically amplified voices: “Everyone! Please leave the area! We have reports of trouble! This area is no longer safe! Please leave!”

But the majority of the crowds thought it was all an act; all part of the circus atmosphere. They settled in, hoping to see a theme park stage show of fake bad guys “fighting” Vanguard! Cheers rose in the crowd!

Sentinel used his energy sense to scan the crowd for extranormals or unusual energy sources and found none within his range of 100 feet!

Symbiote raced up the stairs to the bell tower, dropping his tuxedo coat on one floor, his vest on another, his shirt on still another until his costume underneath is revealed.  He reached the roof, activated Talon's telemetry and launched himself into the air, swooping around the venerable church and the surrounding area, using Talon's enhanced vision to scan for possible enemies! Alright, you bastards, he thought. Come get some.

The Harper Harness replicated the following powers:

1) Animal/Plant Powers: Avian (-2 to Strength, -2 to Endurance, +3 to Agility)

a) Wings: Talon has large, black, feathered wings that are silent. Permanent +3 to Agility.

PR: 1 per hour of flight. The wings are concealable with a special harness. However, the discomfort of the harness prevents rest, and therefore healing, while worn. 203 MPH.

b) Natural Weaponry: Retractable claws on Talon’s hands give +3 to hit, and +6 to damage

c) Heightened Strength: +7

d) Heightened Endurance: +7

e) Heightened Senses: Talon has vision and hearing 3 times the human norm. Detects X 3.

As Symbiote burst from the belltower, the crowd cheered in excitement! The show was really starting now!

He soared to altitudes over 50 stories to survey the area. They were nearly surrounded by skyscrapers. Rockefeller Plaza lay to the west. Lower, residential buildings to the east.

Symbiote’s extranormally-enhanced eagle eyes saw a ring of killers slowly forming at a radius of two city blocks! Some stood on rooftops. Some in the streets. Some flew. He could see eight of them.

  • An armored woman with whip!
  • A dark, flying insect man [The Fly]!
  • A man in a grey uniform!
  • A flying man in yellow and black!
  • A high-tech archer!
  • Two were just silhouettes against the setting sun which was on the horizon, beyond the cloud cover.
He only recognized one:
  • Web, the human spider who had been one of the Primate’s Ani-Men. He had never been captured.
All were too far away to capture an image to relay to Ajay.
They were holding their ground, watching each other, waiting, but for what?

Lightning Strike rematerialized SHAKOW! far from the church, incognito as the silent assassin. Having seen via traffic cameras where some auditioners were, he arrived out of their view. The electric avenger transmitted a coded message to Lightning Strike Omega’s communicator frequency on the outside chance he was monitoring it, and then casually joined the assassins’ ranks, east of the Cathedral.
 
Strike stood on a rooftop at sundown, between two men, who were each a rooftop away, standing in shadows.

Strike recognized them both [with a successful Criminal Subculture skill roll].

One was Catman, an expert infiltrator and thief who usually worked alone [see image].

The other was Dexter Sinister Jr., the psychotic court jester of crime, and bastard offspring of the former member of the Five Bosses, Dexter Sinister, now deceased. [see image]

“Innocent bystanders,” grinned Dexter Sinister Jr. merrily. “I do so love innocent bystanders. I don’t think… I’ve ever seen… so many… all at once!” His dark eyes twinkled with glee at the prospect.

Catman ignored Sinister and nodded at the Silent Killer. “We’re not enough yet for a siege. Won’t be long now, though.” His telescopic goggles adjusted automatically. “Sentinel is on the street. Talon’s in the air. Enough of Vanguard to go around, friend. Enough of Vanguard to go around.”

 Meanwhile, inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral…

The Archbishop of New York said: “Do you, Nan, take Scott, to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Nanite said, “I do!”

The Archbishop turned to Slingshot: “Do you, Scott, take Nan, to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

[Reply, Slingshot?]


To be continued, in Issue 152: Homicide Unlimited!

OOC: Actions? Have fun.



Current Conditions:

Avatar: Hit Points: 58,  Power Points: 85,  Manifestation: None

Clone: Bodies: 22,  Hit Points: 1 each,  Power Points: 43 each

Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 48,  Power Points: 76,  currently disguised as the Silent Killer.

Menagerie: Hit Points: 26,  Power Points: 64,  Form: Man

Sentinel: Hit Points: 30,  Power Points: 68, Creation Points: 136

Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 73

Slingshot: Hit Points: 79,  Power Points: 92,  Invulnerability: 8

Symbiote: Hit Points: 91, Power Points: 94, Charges: 12, Copied: Talon






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Avatar:
John is curious about this mysterious buyer.  He enlists the aid of Symbiote with the idea of putting a few tracking devices in with the collection to see where it would finally reside.

At the wedding…

Avatar slips outside, heading toward Sentinel's location.  He doesn't manifest any powers as of yet but, since the villains are fairly far away, he will begin to do so once he hears that they are on the move.  He will manifest Heightened Endurance first and then Heightened Strength and will most likely choose to fight with a spear at this time, saving the sword for later.

(Jeff, considering your modifications to STR and AGI in regard to Hit Point modifier, I think that Avatar would have 172 hit points and 85 Power Points after the manifestations.  To hit and damage modifiers remain the same, of course, but Car. Cap. goes to 5,026 lbs and HTH damage goes to 2d8.)

--------------------------------------------------

Slingshot:
Sentinel and Zephyr shared with Vanguard that they were a couple! [Replies, Vanguard?]

Nan and Scott decided to celebrate by inviting the other couple to a nice supper out on the town. Both couples have lots in common, between their work with REACH, they expect to have a great time with an excellent supper, some wine and maybe even some dancing?


Meanwhile, inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral…

The Archbishop of New York said: “Do you, Nan, take Scott, to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Nanite said, “I do!”

The Archbishop turned to Slingshot: “Do you, Scott, take Nan, to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Scott looked into Nanites eyes. Focused solely on her, holding her small hands in his, he took a moment and savored the fluttering he felt in his heart. "I do"

For the vows: "I had a long speech, but I'll make this short. Even though, it was the first time I ever met you, you supported me in a way that I hadn't seen since the accident that made me what I am now today. Since that time, I knew there was something special about you. You are special to me and I'm more than happy to spend the rest of my life with you."

[Pausing a moment to finish the ceremony, ring exchange and the signatures.]

He turns to the assembly and calmly speaks, "Thank you one and all for coming. This day is of special importance, not only for Nan and myself, but for all of the Supers community. I wish to thank you all for your support. As you well know, we have had a large campaign trying to call for understanding and acceptance. Obviously, it is also the occasion to make a statement against such it. We have been alerted that Vanguard has been chosen as the target of such a statement. There is no need to panic, you are likely safe here as possible, since all the members of Vanguard, including me, will be going outside to meet these people." He turns to Nan, kisses her deeply and whispers, " Keep them calm, if CHESS wishes to evacuate them, help and encourage." He smiles at her and says, "It's time to be brave again." This last was a inside joke regarding the first time they ever met. With that, he takes one giant step across the church, exits and closes the doors behind him.

Into the communicator, he tells CHESS to secure the assembly, if they can't bring them outside, possibly bring them into the basement.

--------------------------------------------------

Lightning Strike:
OOC: I will actually try to get ahead of the curve this time.  I have one OOC question before deciding on my action.  I want to know all about the two stooges that are on the roof with Silent Killer/Lightning Strike.  Given that Strike made his underworld knowledge roll, do I have any feeling for how tough these two guys are.  Strike would prefer to catch them both by surprise and hopefully take them out in one shot and then have Chess pick them up before anyone is the wiser but I would prefer not to blow my cover this early.

I will also attempt to wrap up the storyline with my uncle that I left hanging last issue.

Thanks,
Tony

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GM:
OOC: Ahead of the curve? Well it's certainly the season for new year's resolutions.  ;)
Merry Christmas!

--------------------------------------------------

Slingshot:
OOC: Merry Christmas Everyone!

-------------------------------------------------

Menagerie:
OOC: And a Happy New Year!

Awesome issue Jeff!  I can't imagine how you and the players have keep Vanguard going strong for 150+ issues. It is a real accomplishment.

Viva Vanguard
Tom

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GM:
OOC: Thanks.

Speaking for myself, it must be stubbornness. Or slow learning.

:)

--------------------------------------------------

Slate:
Menagerie: He will watch Ethan from a distance and will have the animal kingdom keep him under surveillance whenever he leaves the Vault.

Slate: Slate awakened with the sun streaming through the window on his face.  He glanced over at the clock on his nightstand… 7:00 glowed… it was always 7:00.  He wondered at that for a moment, then got up and began to prepare for the day.  He slipped on some Sweats and shoes and went to the kitchen to be greeted by his mother.  Nanite seemed to always be there, always awake, always looking like she was just waiting for him to come in.  She offered to fix him breakfast as she did everyday, but he declined and reached for a bowl and spoon.  He found he was very fond of Fruity Oh’s.  Nanite reminded him again that they had very little nutritional value, but he really liked the way they tasted…

They began the day with his studies, Nanite had convinced everyone that she was better prepared to teach Slate than any human teacher could be, and that certainly appeared to be the case.  Subjects flew by; Slate had reached almost at a high school level in most of his subjects in only a few weeks.  They utilized a desktop PC that Symboite and Doc Rocket had designed just for this purpose.  It was loaded with educational software and reference materials, lacking only a modem or any type of connectivity software.  Nanite taught Slate about the World Wide Web, and changes that had occurred in the world with the advent of the computer, but Ethan’s own experience in this area was extremely limited.

After they had finished the studies Nan had planned for the day, she gave Ethan some time to “Play.”  He had learned very quickly that the games that had been loaded on the computer held no challenge.  The way Ethan saw things; they were all very much like the pen and paper game tic tac toe.  If you did what you were supposed to do, you always won or tied, and Ethan could always see what he was supposed to do.  It wasn’t that he was cheating; it’s just that he could always tell what response the computer was looking for.  It was like he was seeing the code through application, all he had to do was enter what the programmer had created, and match that response.  Whether it was a move, a button press, or a word made no difference.  They all looked the same to Ethan.  He did however enjoy being able to do free studies, and began to research some subjects that were not in his mother’s curriculum.  The pressing topic of the day was farm animals…

Later, he snuck to the door as he prepared to go down to the gym.  He quickly threw open the door, startling the small white goat standing there.  It quickly darted down the hall and around the corner.  Slate smiled, he’d caught the goat following him around the vault over the last week.  It was always out of the way, hanging back, around a corner, or up a flight of stairs, but always following him.  Today, Ethan had a surprise for his little shadow.  He pulled a baby carrot from his pocket, laid it on the ground, and slowly walked away.  He glanced over his shoulder to see the goat come out of hiding and cautiously approach the carrot.  Unable to resist, it took the bait.  Ethan stopped and watched as it quickly chewed the carrot.  He laid another on the ground, and again walked away, but not as far.  Again and again he performed this process until the goat was only a few steps away, and then he gently held a carrot out to the goat.  Cautiously it approached, quickly grabbed the carrot and fled.  Patiently, Ethan tried again.  After only a few more carrots, it no longer fled.  He cautiously reached out and brushed his hand along its nose, which was moist and soft.  The goat stood, rigid.  Slate’s hand moved up over its head, between the horns, and behind its ear, gently scratching.  The goat’s eyes closed in obvious pleasure.  After this the goat began to openly follow Ethan around.

After making a friend, he headed down to the gym, Seargant Stone was there waiting for him.  He had become Ethan’s self appointed coach. He put Ethan through his paces, first on the treadmill, then free weights, then in the ring.  Ethan pummeled away at Seargant Stone, who calmly walked around giving advice.  A couple of times he would take a light swing when Ethan wasn’t keeping his guard up, or keeping an eye on his opponent, sometimes sending Ethan sprawling across the ring, but that happens less and less.

Vanguard was agreed. They would license their likenesses for an animated series, over which they would have final approval. Felicity Chase was thrilled. She’d begin securing a toy partner right away. And she pushed Slingshot hard to permit Slate to be in the series, “Imagine what the show could do for him,” she said. “Don’t you want your son to be loved by millions of kids?” To Alex’s question about voice talent, Felicity replied, “There’d be no harm in asking. Sign here.”

[Replies? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]

IC: To Slingshot, “C’mon dad, it would be soo cool.”

Clone, Sentinel and Symbiote tracked down a cold lead on the lost lab of Dr. Swastika, in what was once Nazi Germany and what was now behind the Iron Curtain in Soviet-controlled East Germany. Satellite imagery showed an indistinct structure in the target area. Ajay said, “Only thing I can say for sure is that there’s something there.”   

Sentinel said, “Perhaps we can have Grey have the building and area checked out low key.  Surely Chess or one of her allies has access to undercover agents in the area that can check the area for current activity.”  

Symbiote was more than willing to join any covert effort to find out what's going on at this mysterious bunker.  

Grey acquiesces to Symbiote’s request. “OK. We could use a genetic scientist for recon of one of Swastika’s labs. I’ll put things in motion.”  [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]

OOC: Slate really wants to be involved in this, if everyone turns him down, he will try to stow away and go anyway.

Symbiote, Sentinel, Slingshot, Menagerie and Doc Rocket began to plan another expedition to the Digital Zone! Symbiote agreed with Slingshot and Sentinel that it’s prudent to wait until they have more information about current events in the Zone.  He'll continue blueprint work on the craft and design a few probes to launch into the zone, hopefully to get some telemetry about the current situation. [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]

Slate floated in a world black with billions of glowing chrysalis gossamers that formed shapes, landscapes, cities of data. The gossamers connected to billions of diadem screens, windows into our world. More gossamer strands erected a reverse angle cyber reflection of a digital Vault.  He looked around in awe.  As he scanned his immediate area, a figure approached.  As it drew closer, he could tell that it was male, but little else, it appeared to be similar in shape and age to himself. 

As it drew near it spoke, “Welcome young one.”  Slate was surprised, its mouth had not moved, but he clearly heard the words… “Who are you”, he thought back and equally surprisingly, it appeared to hear him.  “That is not important right now, I am here to make you comfortable, and to answer any questions you might have.”  Slate’s mind raced, he tried to remember how he had come to be here… even as the thought crossed his mind the figure seemed to know it.  “You are not physically here,” it silently intoned.  “Part of you is always here, but you are not conscious of that, yet.  For now, you are only able to come here when your higher functions are disengaged.  Unfortunately, that means you will not remember our interactions clearly when you awaken.”  “Awaken,” Slate thought, “Am I asleep, is this a dream?”  “This is not a dream, the figure responded, “You do dream, and those dreams have wrought havoc here at times. I/We are hoping that by creating an interface for you, those turbulent, interactions can be lessened. For now, you are about to cycle.  I/We will be here when you return, do not be concerned.  We have much to speak of.”

With that Ethan becomes aware of light streaming through a window, and looks at his nightstand, 7:00 blinks at him…

Slingshot: He turns to the assembly and calmly speaks, "Thank you one and all for coming. This day is of special importance, not only for Nan and myself, but for all of the Supers community. I wish to thank you all for your support. As you well know, we have had a large campaign trying to call for understanding and acceptance. Obviously, it is also the occasion to make a statement against such it. We have been alerted that Vanguard has been chosen as the target of such a statement. There is no need to panic, you are likely safe here as possible, since all the members of Vanguard, including me, will be going outside to meet these people." He turns to Nan, kisses her deeply and whispers, " Keep them calm, if CHESS wishes to evacuate them, help and encourage." He smiles at her and says, "It's time to be brave again." This last was a inside joke regarding the first time they ever met. With that, he takes one giant step across the church, exits and closes the doors behind him.

Into the communicator, he tells CHESS to secure the assembly, if they can't bring them outside, possibly bring them into the basement.

OOC: No way Slate is missing this… his friends in action, someone attacking his parents wedding, and making his mother unhappy… someone’s going to pay…

IC: Slate watches as the Chess Agents start to evacuate the wedding attendees, moving them to “safer” areas.  But his eyes are really on the door Slingshot exited the building through.  Not having a communicator, the only information he’s got is what’s been said aloud, and he feels an odd sensation/emotion for the first time, anger.  This is not right, today was to be a happy time for his family, and someone is intruding on what should be a celebration.  Slate begins to deliberately stride toward the door with intentions of finding whoever is responsible and stopping them.  If anyone enters the Cathedral with what appears to be maliced intentions, he will strike.  First attack would be to destroy any obvious devices/weapons, then focusing on confusion/damage… I don’t think he’d directly use his disintegration power on a living being without being thoroughly provoked, but he’d drop lighting, pillars, sections of ceiling etc… on them, or open up the floor if they do not appear to have flight to take them out of the .  If no one appears he will follow Slingshot outside, and try to prevent anyone from entering.

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Sentinel:
OOC: Loved the goat scene :)

Seth is very interested in the Ethan dream sequence under the Digital Zone (knowing Kirk knows nothing about it) ... nice stuff for us for future character development/plotline.

With everything else happening and with Ethan first 'learning' its too soon, but we do need to introduce him soon in a secure controlled environment (as best we can with his talents) to the online world and see what happens...

Kirk will definitely take an interest in Ethan's computer skills - Kirk has an affinity for the computers and their language and how they work; I'd guess that Ethan's talent will easily and quickly surpass Kirk based on your little description regarding the computer games - Ethan lives the tech.  This could be something that bonds them a bit since Kirk sees the world differently than most with his energy sense and when it comes to the computers, Ethan might be the only one that could bring a perspective to Kirk beyond what he's had before.  That's pretty cool.

Seth

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Lightning Strike:
Strike/Silent Killer observes Catman and Dexter Sinister Jr.  and after sizing up their abilities he figures he can take them out relatively quickly.  He gets close to the two of them but slightly behind them while the three of them are observing Vanguard. 

"He speaks to them softly.  What separates Vanguard from us is that they have a strategy all the time.  We can't rush into this without a plan."

Strike gestures as if to huddle up with the two of them while still observing Vanguard.  As they huddle, Strike attempts to quickly electrocute both of them.  Hopefully it will surprise them and they can't roll with it so it will knock them unconscious.  Once they are incapacitated, Strike will radio Chess to pick them covertly so as to not bring attention to the rest of the assembled assassins.

Happy New Year,

Tony

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Slingshot:
If he manages to get out of the cathedral this turn, then he will target the closest assailant. He will stay within one move of the cathedral (which can be a pretty big area for Slingshot). If there is no close/easy target, he will stand at the main entrance, holding his move.

Vanguard was agreed. They would license their likenesses for an animated series, over which they would have final approval. Felicity Chase was thrilled. She’d begin securing a toy partner right away. And she pushed Slingshot hard to permit Slate to be in the series, “Imagine what the show could do for him,” she said. “Don’t you want your son to be loved by millions of kids?” To Alex’s question about voice talent, Felicity replied, “There’d be no harm in asking. Sign here.”

[Replies? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]

IC: To Slingshot, “C’mon dad, it would be soo cool.”

Scott looks at Ethan pensively, then grins, "Talk to your mother." At his son's long face, he says, "Sure, but we need to keep you as mysterious as possible. A sidekick or the kid that get in trouble at least at first."

Slingshot: He turns to the assembly and calmly speaks, "Thank you one and all for coming. This day is of special importance, not only for Nan and myself, but for all of the Supers community. I wish to thank you all for your support. As you well know, we have had a large campaign trying to call for understanding and acceptance. Obviously, it is also the occasion to make a statement against such it. We have been alerted that Vanguard has been chosen as the target of such a statement. There is no need to panic, you are likely safe here as possible, since all the members of Vanguard, including me, will be going outside to meet these people." He turns to Nan, kisses her deeply and whispers, " Keep them calm, if CHESS wishes to evacuate them, help and encourage." He smiles at her and says, "It's time to be brave again." This last was a inside joke regarding the first time they ever met. With that, he takes one giant step across the church, exits and closes the doors behind him.

Into the communicator, he tells CHESS to secure the assembly, if they can't bring them outside, possibly bring them into the basement.

OOC: No way Slate is missing this… his friends in action, someone attacking his parents wedding, and making his mother unhappy… someone’s going to pay…

IC: Slate watches as the Chess Agents start to evacuate the wedding attendees, moving them to “safer” areas.  But his eyes are really on the door Slingshot exited the building through.  Not having a communicator, the only information he’s got is what’s been said aloud, and he feels an odd sensation/emotion for the first time, anger.  This is not right, today was to be a happy time for his family, and someone is intruding on what should be a celebration.  Slate begins to deliberately stride toward the door with intentions of finding whoever is responsible and stopping them.  If anyone enters the Cathedral with what appears to be maliced intentions, he will strike.  First attack would be to destroy any obvious devices/weapons, then focusing on confusion/damage… I don’t think he’d directly use his disintegration power on a living being without being thoroughly provoked, but he’d drop lighting, pillars, sections of ceiling etc… on them, or open up the floor if they do not appear to have flight to take them out of the .  If no one appears he will follow Slingshot outside, and try to prevent anyone from entering.

[OOC: Scott will be intent on protecting the cathedral. He won't notice Slate getting out until he's targetted or he makes a big flashy move]

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GM:
OOC: "Talk to your mother."

That's awesome!

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Slingshot:

OOC: Being a father of a bunch of rugrats, these kinds of lines come easily.. :)

The best part is when you get the "I already did! She said to talk to you."

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Slate:
OOC: That was going to be my response. :)

All rugrats are the same... "She said it's OK with her if it's OK with you..."

OOC: Slate is OK with be represented as a "non-powered sidekick," if it means he can be included in the animated series.

Jon

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Menagerie:
OOC: Yeah I love when that happens too.

It is even better when she is in the room so you can give her "the look"

Tom

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Clone:
Vanguard Animated Series

Without saying a word Alex smiles and picks up the contract and begins to examine it closely. He’s seen enough of the world to know that he shouldn’t sign something without first reading it, but unfortunately for Clone his English isn’t strong enough to carry him past the first couple of lines of the document. Trying desperately not to look lost or uneducated, Clone takes a quick peek at the other members of Vanguard to see if they’re signing their contracts. As soon as the first of the pens begin to hit his friends contracts, Clone reaches for a pen and then looks over at Felicity and says, “Well, I am reading over contract most carefully and everything is seeming to be in order as it should be.” He then smiles once more and politely hands the document back to her.


Sentinel and Zephyr
Caught completely off guard by this announcement, Clone’s eyebrows raise as he quickly turns his attention towards Hal to see his reaction to all of this.


Doctor ‘X’ Sub-Plot
Clone still unsure what to make of all of this sits back quietly as his friends discuss the details of what they’ve uncovered with Grey. Still uncertain where he stands with the Director of C.H.E.S.S. and confident that his friends will help him to the best of their ability, Alex lets Sentinel and Symbiote do exactly what it was that he had hoped they would do – help him uncover the truth of his past.

( OOC: Sorry for not dropping a larger narrative down on this one, but I truly feel that Clone wouldn’t be talking much at this point. He would probably just be sitting there as the other three speak to each other - sought of like a child listening to three adults speaking. Clone knows he’s not sure how to proceed with all of this – that’s why he went to Sentinel and Symbiote in the first place. He’ll go along with whatever they say because he knows that he can count on them to help him the best they can. )


Mother Russia
Mother Russia smirked. “The problem with mad scientists is: you never know if all they’re after is your DNA.” Clone paused for a moment as she said this and just looked at her blankly, wondering if she knew more about Doctor ‘X’ then she was letting on. As she examined the picture he drew, Clone became lost in his own thoughts and tried desperately to see if he could figure out some kind of hidden meaning within her words. He snapped out of his self induced trance when she started to speak to him in Russian, “Alex. Still with the sensitive soul of an artist. It’s beautiful. But do you think it could be another color than red?"

Clone smiled gently, put aside his thoughts and started to draw up another costume using something other then red in the design. As his pen moved from side to side, Clone said to her in Russian, “Yeah; I almost forgot, that was one of the first things I changed about my costume as well.” He then presented her with another design and said through a devilish smirk in English, “How are you feeling of tight black leather?”

( OOC: see attached art for his costume suggestion )

The Wedding
As the members of Vanguard begin to prepare for what’s to come, Clone decides to take more of a defensive position. Reducing the number of duplicates from twenty-two down to thirteen ( OOC: figuring that he may need more then 1HP to get through this ), one stays with the other members of Vanguard outside the cathedral, one stays with Rachael Ray, one stays near Slate and Nanite, and the remaining ten take up guard positions ( OOC: He does not deploy his Staff Weapon inside the cathedral – he doesn’t feel that it would be right to do so in such a holy place. ) near the entrances and exits of the cathedral.

Should anyone that doesn’t need to exit ( i.e. members of Vanguard, The President, etc. ); tries to exit the cathedral, he will politely assure that there is nothing to be worried about and then asks them to return to their seats for just a few minutes while the other members of Vanguard make sure that everything is safe outside of the building.


Rachael Ray
Clone’s nervous energy gets the best of him unfortunately, and he can’t help but start to chew the ‘woman of his dreams’ ear off as Vanguard begins to secure the perimeter of the cathedral. Not realizing that she’s probably frightened by all the commotion outside, Clone takes the opportunity to act like a love sick schoolboy; he carries on about the first time that he saw her show, the first recipe he heard her discussing, thanking her for coming as his date, asking her why she is single, and so on.

Should she inquire why he’s not outside with the other members of Vanguard helping hem fight, he will continue on with his love struck banter as if he didn’t even hear the question and respond, “ . . . perhaps if it so that you are not being so busy, that you be might be coming to meet my mother. She is most excited to be meeting with you after it is that I am telling her that you are here being my date today.”

OOC:
Should Rachael Ray, Slate or Nanite become endangered while inside of the cathedral, Clone will throw himself in front of them and use himself as a human shield to defend their safety and well being.

As for Rachael Ray – I don’t think Clone is suave enough to be able to hook up with her – I could be wrong though. I think his poor command of the English language and his lack of worldly experience would just jam-up any chances he might have with her, but then again she might dig that kind of honest and na├»ve approach. I’m dying to know where this is going to go Jeff – no matter what happens with it though I’m sure its going to be fun, and I want to thank you for indulging my wacky character development =)
Talk to you all soon,

- Kev

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Sentinel:
OOC: FYI, haven't had time to read more recent player posts, so apologies if I cross anything done by others.  And sorry to post last minute.

IC: Nan and Scott decided to celebrate by inviting the other couple to a nice supper out on the town. Both couples have lots in common, between their work with REACH, they expect to have a great time with an excellent supper, some wine and maybe even some dancing?

Kirk checks with Shelly to schedule the date (and Seth hopes Jeff allows us a nice evening).

Grey acquiesces to Symbiote’s request. “OK. We could use a genetic scientist for recon of one of Swastika’s labs. I’ll put things in motion.”  [Replies if any? This plotline will be picked up after the wedding]

 To clarify Kirk isn’t trying to put this off and definitely wants in on anything done here.  His idea was to have an undercover agent gather some intel on the area (ie photos) to see if anything appeared suspicious or out of the ordinary as well as to get us specs on the area so we could be prepared.  It would take a number of days to get something like this scheduled for us to go and during that time some intel could be gathered… it’s not like we can just fly in and land overtly without causing an international incident here. Kirk also suggests that any members involved have a ‘crash’ course in undercover ops from Chess or the sister organization that handles this sort of thing.  We need to be as prepared as we can and know best how to keep from causing an international incident here… but Kirk wants in when any of Vanguard is going in and would certainly be against any of the team going in without ‘super’ backup.

Sentinel, Symbiote and Menagerie soon made their cautious approach on the cabin and found Hank Archer alone. “More capes?” he snarled when they revealed themselves. “I’ve had it with all of you!” [Replies?]

 “Hank, I can understand how angry you are about everything that has happened.  You know I’ve respected you from the day we met.   We know that you were controlled by the Black Bat and framed and have been working hard to prove it and get you released.  We know that the Lightning Strike from the Omegaverse broke you out.  Surely someone who dedicating his life to upholding the law doesn’t want to spend the rest of it running from it.  We want you to get your life and your name back and as much as we wish you could continue free now, you won’t get it back that way. You need to surrender yourself so we can continue working on your release and on clearing your name.” 

CHESS Agent Drake’s unflappable, unhappy voice came over the communicators, “I am. Is it too soon to say we wish you had followed our recommendations for the wedding? You won’t have air cover. Repeat, there are no birds in the air. We’re not firing live rounds inside Manhattan.

“The CHESS Knights’ first priority has to be protecting the bystanders in the street. I reco that any extranormals in attendance who aren’t affiliated with Vanguard join CHESS to defend the church and the public.”

 “Understood Drake.  Solid thinking, as always.  Since it appears Vanguard is the primary targets we’ll pull away from the church area as best we can to take the fight away from it and bystanders.” Kirk spoke into his communicator so all of Vanguard could hear this also.  “If things change regarding targeting, you need to let us know.  There has to be more at play here.  Harrik is one of the most experienced and calculating foes we’ve fought.  He chooses his team very specifically.  Open auditions aren’t his style.  So the scrubs out there are either to soften us up so he can come in with his A Team afterward or to distract us from his true objective here … either way we need to be alert for his real move …” and Kirk paused a moment, “and maybe that’s our move here now.”

Nearby, CHESS Knights were speaking with electronically amplified voices: “Everyone! Please leave the area! We have reports of trouble! This area is no longer safe! Please leave!”

But the majority of the crowds thought it was all an act; all part of the circus atmosphere. They settled in, hoping to see a theme park stage show of fake bad guys “fighting” Vanguard! Cheers rose in the crowd!

 Kirk fully energized and formed a device to amplify his voice as he rose.  “Citizens, unfortunately this is not an act.  It is not a show.  Please listen to the CHESS Knights and cooperate with the NYPD to disperse and leave this area as quickly and orderly as possible.”

Kirk fully energized took to the sky towards the villains he saw or sensed.  He offered a ride upward and over to any of Vanguard that didn’t have flight or easy scaling ability and dropped them above on a roof.  As he did so he spoke to Ajay stating, “I don’t take the clouds rolling in as coincidence, it appears we have a rogue with weather control here.  During the attempted breakout at CHESS Castle I took out a thug there, I think Elemento was his name.  He still locked down?”

Kirk took a place hovering above one of the buildings in area and his energy forming a giant image of his face amplifying his voice through the skies.

(OOC, yes, now Kirk really does have a ‘big mouth’, thought you’d appreciate it :)  )

“You dare come on this day to this holy place, a place of peace, with murderous intent?!?” he shouted across the skies.  Kirk’s normally warm face was now anything but that as it lit up the sky.  “Look around you. Do you really think Harrik is seriously considering the lot of you? You are his cannon fodder!  There is no element of surprise here.  We know everything.  Vanguard is ready for you.  And we are angry!    You have been set up by The Mercenary to fail.  You will fall and you will fall hard.  We give you one chance.  Turn and run! NOW!”

OOC: Fear rolls for the lot of them please and perhaps some common sense rolls for any with enough intelligence to really think about all this …

Action: If Kirk can sense Elemento (or see him) or another foe in the sky he will use his energy as a huge battering ram to hopefully smash them away from the area.  I’d love for the villains, after hearing Kirk telling them to turn and run, to see one of their own just ‘battered’ away giving any on the fence some incentive to take off and leave.  If there is no flying foe that he thinks he can hit in that manner (although if someone is hidden in the clouds and he could knock them out of them without them even being seen until they are pummeled that would be pretty cool) then he’ll go for a rooftop with multiple thugs (not the one with Strike) and he’ll ‘drop the hammer’ on them.  A huge construct hammer big enough to strike the whole roof area at once and hit the lot of them with crushing force – I’m looking for some sort of big show to go with the words to get some of them to leave… although since Hal is flying around with Talon’s power, speed, and ferocity, they should quickly find one of their own turned to shish-ke-bob and with Avatar soon to bring the wrath of the Gods down on them, a ‘show’ might not be needed here. Seth

PS: Gotta love the fishnets ...

Seth

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Lightning Strike:

OOC: So much for subtlety big mouth!!  Going undercover works really well when a giant face appears above everyone!!  I think Strike will go after Sentinel just to make this realistic!! 

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GM:
OOC: This reminds me of the new JLA #1. Batman to Green Lantern: “Turn that thing off! You’re too bright!”

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Lightning Strike:
OOC: I can honestly say that I have never accused Sentinel of being too bright!!

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Avatar:
OOC: ...but he sure is enthusiastic!  Gotta love him.

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Menagerie:
Following Sentinel's lead Menagerie turns into Eagle taking to the sky. He will use his heightened senses to identify all the assassins in the area. He will thought send their coordinates for the rest of the team. He is providing surveillance and intelligence gathering for Vanguard to help coordinate attacks and make sure no one can attack Vanguard by surprise.

Viva Vanguard

Tom

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Sentinel:
OOC: Tony, They don't know how we know anything here.   Your cover is intact (or as intact as you keep it once you start taking out villains).

The Knights and the NYPD were already trying to clear the crowds and Vanguard had left the wedding and was already taking to the streets - it is obvious that we knew an attack was imminent.  How does stating it and that we know Harrik is behind it blow your cover?

Harrik had 'open auditions' and word of it was out on the street.  Chatter about it and an informant could have come from any number of sources.  Vanguard knowing it doesn't equal Strike is disguised as a villain and trying to infiltrate HFH.  Any of the possible candidates could have been turned.  In fact, any of them that don't show their face here or turn and run would be a suspect as to the leak as opposed to someone present.

And what Kirk said is true - Harrik's MO is to choose his team for their skill set and what he needs for the job ... not to audition and bunch of unknowns and hope for the best.  If he had an 'open call' it was calculated ... for another reason ... and Kirk's stating it about his motive is likely right.

And at this point getting a chunk of these clowns to take off without endangering the bystanders is top priority.

Seth

PS: Actually, if after this attack it leaves a scenario where you are still trying to infiltrate HFH (hopefully they are captured) you could use this as a means to cover up your attacking one or two of the other villains (ie you discovered they were the leak).

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Menagerie:
OOC: How about this so it is obvious who told Vanguard the attack was coming.

IC: Menagerie informs Vanguard he senses the presence of Fly.

OOC: Sentinel can inform the villains that Vanguard has the ability to sense their presence. The Fly warned them of their coming as his presence is a beacon to Menagerie. I am okay with Sentinel naming Menagerie as being the one who sense the attack coming. It would add to his mystical rep.

Tom

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Sentinel:
OOC: I'm fine with that if it helps with any concerns here ...

Seth

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Symbiote:
In Regard To Dr. X:  Symbiote is ready for any covert training necessary.  He REALLY wishes he'd had the opportunity to absorb the powers of Skin Deep for this, but it is what it is.

In Regard To The Digital Zone:  Just waiting on the telemetry from the probes, nothing else to contribute at this time.

In Regard to Avatar and his artifacts:  Hal will be happy to help design bugs/tracers that blend in with the design of the collection.

In Regard to Hank Archer:  Hal will hang back, still not sure if Hank knows his secret identity or not.  If Hank comes willingly, so be it.  If Hank wants to leave on his own Hal will not arrest him, however, knowing that he's been a victim of false charges

In Regard to The Audition:  Time to pick a partner, Hal thinks to himself, still infuriated at the attack on a sacred day for Vanguard.  He hears Sentinel bellowing a challenge to all comers.  Let's show them we mean business.

And with that, Symbiote picks one of the villains not silhouetted by the sun--therefore assuming he himself will be coming at an opponent from the direction of the sun.  He climbs high and then divebombs for The Fly.

Hal's priorities are (in the following order)

1.  Protect bystanders.

2.  Protect Slate, if he sees him in trouble (Slate is new to this, after all, and Hal feels avuncular towards him).

3.  Protect the Cathedral.

4.  Inflict serious damage on these clowns.

Viva Vanguard,

Greg

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GM:

OOC: Thanks Greg.

The non-wedding threads are on hold til after the wedding day fight but wanted to mention:

I think the Digital Zone portal has always been just a window. Other portals have transported to it but it’s a viewer in this world. Vanguard built a portal in the Omega-verse but that was a one shot invention.

You, and anyone else that wants to that has the proper skills, will need to spend Luck Points like Inventing Points to make the viewer a portal. Then I'll need one more to invent the interdimensional probes.

Thanks.

Best,
Jeff

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Symbiote:
OOC: OK.  We'll hold off on all of that for now, see if I have to use any luck/invention points in the upcoming fight first.

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