Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vanguard: Issue 170: DoomQuest of Great Cthulhu!

 On the morning of the sixth day after the Aztech assault, three magical beings had come before Vanguard, seeking an audience with Earth’s greatest heroes:

Archimedes, the great, ancient owl who was known by Vanguard to be the spirit guide of Menagerie.

The Mystic, an enigmatic sorcerer who had been the sometime ally of the WWII super team, the Liberty League. Vanguard had last seen him in the City of the Dead Gods, when he had infiltrated the Crimson Coven under the assumed alias of Okmenhotep.

Oracle, a visionary prophet who had served with AEGIS before that team was murdered by one of their own, the Primate. Vanguard last saw her at the escape attempt of the Primate from CHESS Castle.
All three were quiet as Menagerie made introductions. Their mien was grave, as if they were in mourning.

Sentinel’s eyes inconspicuously looked them up and down as if measuring them; because that was exactly what he was doing. He had taken to examining the unique energy signature and friends and foes. It seemed in this age of shape shifters and mental domination he did well to be able to recognize everyone on another level. In fact he was waiting for the opportunity to compare the unique energy signature of a known entity with that of that same influenced or possessed known entity to see if he could sense it. Kirk’s experience with this sort of energy… magical…had been somewhat limited so he took special note.
He gave a knowing glance and smile towards Oracle. He had tried to keep the lines of communication open with Oracle since their mission with her and his feeling her sadness and seeing her isolation. But it seemed beings of tied into what we called magic tended to traveled with their own… despite outreach. Was there something about that particular power that drove them that way? And would their teammate Menagerie succumb to that same influence as he grew stronger in its ways? He was determined that wouldn’t happen to Frank.
Sentinel’s energy sense confirmed the same readings he detected when last he encountered Oracle, Archimedes and the Mystic.

The Mystic and Oracle treated Archimedes with obvious deference. The owl signaled that they should begin. Then the Mystic said: “Gentlemen, I am honored to formally meet you. I had been fortunate enough to work with Earth’s champions before, the last time an occult power attempted to alter the destiny of humankind… Which brings us to why we are here.”

Oracle said: “A dire situation has been revealed to us. This world is in need of its greatest heroes again.”

The Mystic said, “We speak of nothing less than the end of the world. Judgment Day.”

“Ragnarok,” said Archimedes.

“Armageddon,” said Oracle. “As prophesized by the Mayan calendar, we have begun the End Days. Its arrival was clouded to our eyes by another threat from a future that that has just recently been averted.
(OOC: The threat of The Entity and the Digital Zone triggering an Omega Universe here; averted last story arc.)

Avatar, who was a trained archaeologist, had seen the actual calendar stone, and saw it now in his mind.

The Mystic explained, “The Mayans, and the Aztecs after them, worshipped a pantheon of gods unlike any other in history. The Norse Myths, the Greek, the Egyptian, the Native American, they all spoke of gods that appeared and acted with human motives and personalities. But the otherworldy Mayan Gods came from the stars and were completely alien to any culture on earth. But the Mayans could only comprehend a fraction of the truth. Their insane gods came not from the stars, but from another dimension entirely.

“Only one man has come closest to understanding these gods, and their motives. The madman, H.P. Lovecraft.
“That’s right. Cthulhu is coming.
“The stars will be right this winter solstice. December 21, 2012. We have just seven days to avert the destruction of the world.”

Oracle projected a psionic vision of what would transpire in one week into the minds of Vanguard, who understood it to be a prophecy of a future certain.

They saw Cthulhu come to Earth. The giant monstrosity strode the earth as a storm blanketed the world and the sun was eclipsed forever. Behind him followed Azathoth, Ithaqua, Hastur, Shub-Niggurath and all the rest. Then followed Chaos, Madness and Pandemonium.

Archimedes said, “Cthulhu and his forsaken pantheon are the antithesis of Nature… Of Life itself. They are not evil, like the Dark Avatar, but Destroyers, Pestilence, Disease, Decay, Madness and Death. They are An Inevitable, cosmic force, like Time or Gravity.”
The Mystic said, “Against them, there can be no victory. They will eventually devour the souls of every living being on Earth and leave it a dead husk, like every world they have visited before.”

Vanguard now witnessed what became of people whose souls were devoured. They appeared dead and mindless, and yet were overcome with an unholy urge to devour the living.

Vanguard beheld a planet of the walking dead. It was Earth, a mere seven days from now.

They saw Nanite and themselves barricaded in this very room.
While Doc Rocket, Shelley, Agent Grey, Sgt. Stone, Detective Archer, Ajay, Nathan Lamb and more, now soulless, cannibalistic zombies, were breaking through the doors to kill Vanguard!

the bloody zombie horde smashed their way in and reached Vanguard, And the vision of the future dissipated and Vanguard was back in the present.

Oracle was visibly shaken. A moment passed as comprehension set in.

The Mystic broke the silence. “When the dimensions are aligned this winter solstice, a summoning ritual will still be needed to bring Cthulhu’s Pantheon to Earth. There are many mad enough to attempt this, but the ritual requires incredible power. Therein lies our only hope. And our plan of attack.”

Oracle indicated Mystic and Archimedes, “We three have divined that there exist only nine objects on Earth powerful enough to rend asunder the fabric of our reality. Any one of them, if they fell into the wrong hands, could be used to bring Cthulhu here on winter solstice.”

The Mystic said, “We need to secure all nine of these artifacts of power in the next seven days, or risk them falling into the hands of agents of the Cthulhu Mythos, who would bring about an Armageddon final and complete. We three can guide you, expending our energies locating each artifact. And transporting Vanguard to each one, in the interest of time. But that cost will be terrible. Our power exhausted in the effort of location and travel, we’ll be too weak to secure the artifacts ourselves with surety.
“So it must be Vanguard’s quest to secure these nine artifacts of power. We can imagine none better suited.”

Archimedes spoke. “As we here act on Earth, the Lady of the Lake, the Spirit of Nature itself, has left this world to prepare to confront the Enemy as best she might. I fear she’ll not survive.”

The Mystic faced Vanguard directly. “We need to begin immediately. Your world is in need of champions this day. Who among you will answer this call, before Earth falls into eternal madness and shadow?”

Slate was in shock after receiving the response from Cosmonaut (last ish! –Ye Ed). Cosmonaut, or some part of him was still in the Digital Dimension, the repercussions of that were staggering... everything that Slate sent there, was it still there? What of the Luddite, was he still out there? Slate had considered him destroyed... but what if... This would have to be investigated.

As he continued to ponder the implications of Cosmonaut's response, the Harbingers arrived.

After hearing the details of their plan, and listening to the discussions of his elders, Slate looked between Archimedes, Oracle, and Mystic, "I will answer the call."

Avatar chuckled. "Sounds like a season for heroes! I'm in."
Slingshot answered, "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not planning on getting eaten by zombies. I'm in." Scott looked at the three, "Something like this, prophesied as it is... wouldn't you have some sort of riddle regarding some sort of guardian of these powerful artifacts? The fact that you need us to "retrieve" these things, you're expecting trouble. What can we expect?
"We need to break up the team in pair to accompany each of the three. We need to know how we want to team up. Two of us are highly magical, two of us are highly technical, two of us are powered. I'm thinking that of pairing magic and tech together and us powered be on our own, but a review of any information before running to the items might change my opinion."

Sentinel replied, “My gut says not to fracture our power base unless totally necessary. Would it be possible to do this as a team with perhaps several members taking the lead on each artifact, those more suited to the location and threat involved but not dividing us. It seems we should put the call out to our ‘reserves’ and those that have recently left us, at the very least perhaps they can reinforce us in some of the latter retrievals.”

Slingshot asked the three, "These artifacts… can we destroy them? Because gathering them will only set us up for an attack."

Sentinel added, “Scott is right. We don’t want to do their dirty work for them. If we can’t destroy them doesn’t gathering them together create a greater threat having all that power in one place?”

Slingshot, contemplating the situation at hand, realized what this could be. He looked at the members of the team, "We're going against Dr. X, aren't we?". He sighed deeply. "Let's get all the information we can get on the Soviet Super Soldiers, powers, weaknesses, etc.. Similarly for Dr. X."

Sentinel had been thinking the same thing. He had concluded that there were no coincidences. Especially with the message Slate had retrieved from the Digital Zone. He added, “We have files on the Soviet Super Soldiers, but our working knowledge of Dr. X is extremely limited. More about what he was known to have done than anything about him himself. But at this point we should have access to more… and he glanced to Mystic… adding, “An honor sir. Wish you’d dropped in under better circumstances, and he smiled while stating that thinking about Lancaster’s recollections of his time with the ‘man’, but what can you tell us about that last time an occult power attempted to alter the destiny of humankind during World War II? Who and what was involved and does it relate in any way to this time?”

The Mystic replied: “The last time an occult power attempted to alter the destiny of humankind WAS World War II. That occult power was Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.”

Sentinel continued, “What do you know about Dr. X and all of his activities? At the very least you were active during the time when he was last most overt in what he did… but I’d suspect you know more.”

Kirk then glanced towards Hal, “and let’s not just fall into the whole ‘this is magic and we need to confront it that way mindset”. Hal perhaps you can get Shelly and Doc on the path towards a scientific response to preventing this as a fall back before we depart to work on securing the items. What can be done scientifically to prevent the dimensions from aligning?"

Kirk, thinking about heroic lore and just how all of this will go down, looked towards the three magical beings, “And let’s face facts… this many objects in that a short time, this ends with all of us at a summoning at the last moment and our trying to prevent it. Not being a pessimist here, but that’s how these things always go. How does a ‘summoning’ ceremony work and what how can we prepare in practical way to disrupt one?”

The Mystic said, “That is our intent. The summoning ceremony will require one of these nine artifacts of power. Deprived of them, the Enemy will be powerless to bring about the end of the world.”

Sentinel said, “Surely there are areas of power… places of alignment that would be best suited to the ceremony. Do we have a means to locate those to prevent access or is there some means to taint them for usage? We have a week… let’s hit this thing from all possible sides…”

Archimedes said, “Cthulhu perhaps could taint a site like Stonehenge or the Pyramids, lad. But lettle else in this world could do et. And thank god for thet.”

Slingshot followed Kirk's thoughts about being disruptive. He looked to the three mages again. "Would Dr. X have his own mystics? How would he have gathered the information on their locations otherwise?”

The Mystic said, “The Soviet Union has long researched psychic phenomena (OOC: in the real world too), approaching it from their religion of science, rather than the mysticism of the Nazis. I would not be surprised if Dr. X had a battery of psychics at his disposal. As the architect of The Program, all extranormals in the empire fall under his authority.”

Slingshot asked, “Is there any chance we can send them a mystical disruption something or another to block their capabilities? A fog or something? If they can't find/get to the items, they won't be able to do squat.
We also need to be able to mask the location of these items once we have gathered them. I'm not sure we want to leave them here. Maybe another location? Would putting up magical barriers be best or technological ones work better? A mix?"

Sentinel said to Oracle: “Last time, you showed us the progression of events so that we could see our wrong path and prevent it. This time you just showed us the sad outcome. Do you have any insights to assist us to avoid the wrong course of action?”

Oracle said: “Yes, Sentinel. The path that the Mystic has defined. I helped him carve it.”

Symbiote thought to himself, Cthulhu's real,  facepalming for a few seconds and rubbing his tired temples. Cthulhu's real, and we're going to mix it up with him. Y'know, Hal, you could've set your sites lower. You could have made yourself into a street level superhero and spent your time beating up muggers and purse snatchers. Instead, you're going up against Cthulhu.

Hal raised his head, re-engaged. "Y'know guys, sometime real soon I'm going to invent an alternate reality viewer, and I won't rest until I find a possible future for us that doesn't suck," he says. "In the meantime, let's saddle up. Give me a few minutes with my computer, I want to download and start off with Zero G's power template. Since we don't know what we're walking into I suppose one is as good as another, and I've been dying to try his out. Hopefully I won't literally die from it," he finishes, with a grin filled with gallows humor.

With that, Hal stands ready to save the world again.

The three harbingers of doom were relieved and grateful that Vanguard accepted this deadly quest.

In the face of their questions and suggestions, the Mystic said, “My friends, I’m afraid our situation is direr than you understand. We only learned of this threat mere hours ago, and have no preparations ready.
Furthermore, we three are neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Our powers are finite. It might be best to explain those powers to you, at least those powers that can aid us here. It is the least we can do for you who would risk so much.

“Right now, we have not identified any of the artifacts of power. Nor do we know their locations. Archimedes has divined that there exist nine sources of power great enough to permit a ritual on winter solstice to pierce the veil of this world.”

The Mystic said, “I know a magic spell to open a Gate to anywhere else in this world. My plan is that we will forge a new spell to create a Gate directly to one of the “artifacts of power.” If it succeeds, we need not lose time and energy identifying each artifact, and its location. This places a greater challenge upon the Questors, for they would be teleporting to an unknown region on Earth. But it is more expedient. And time is of the essence. If this works, we will need to do it nine times.
“I do not believe I have sufficient power to teleport separate teams of you simultaneously, as that will require multiple portals both leaving, and returning. As it is, it will take time to teleport you back from each quest, as I regain my strength.”

Archimedes said, “I am bound to Menagerie, and he to me.  I will know when you have recovered an artifact, and I’ll tell the Mystic to Gate you back here.”

The Mystic said, “Once one artifact is retrieved, I shall open a portal to another dimension and store these artifacts safely there.
“We have no knowledge of Dr. X’s involvement, or if these artifacts have guardians to overcome. But it is very likely that these items have owners, and that these artifacts cannot be destroyed by any power we here possess.  And as I said, we know that interested parties will be searching for them to bring about the end of the world. So this task is not without danger. Or urgency. We three will be spent from our efforts, therefore it makes sense that others, you Questors, be sent to secure the items of power.”

Oracle said, “I will watch future events as we begin. Already, our involvement, and your undertaking of this Quest, has altered the future, making prophecy uncertain. With the future in motion, it will take time to see what, if any, affect we all have on the final resolution of these matters."
Her face grew sadder. "I have shared knowledge of the future before, directly causing the death of my closest friends and team mates. Understanding the stakes we now face, I will do my best to safely share knowledge of the future again."

So, here is what they are proposing:
Oracle monitors the cascading turmoil of the future.
Archimedes and the Mystic invent a spell that combines Teleportation, Cosmic Awareness and Luck to gate the Questors (Vanguard) to an artifact of power.
The three harbingers will remain behind.
Once the Questors leave Vanguard Vault, the Mystic begins healing Power Points so that he can teleport the team back! This will take up to an hour. So no matter where Vanguard goes on any Quest, they may be there for an hour.
Vanguard secures the artifact.
Archimedes, through his bond with Menagerie will know that this has been accomplished, and where Menagerie is on Earth. (fyi, some of this info could be received via Vanguard Communicators as well)
Mystic opens a Teleportation Gate to bring Vanguard back to Vanguard Vault.
The Mystic places the artifact in another Dimension for safe keeping. (Dimensional Travel)
Mystic, Archimedes and Oracle begin healing power points so this can all start again with the next artifact, and the next and the next.

With all this healing of Power Points, this process is long, hence the desire to begin immediately, and not wait to identify the names of the artifacts and their locations, or to attempts spells of confusion to mask Vanguard’s movements. If Vanguard prefers, the harbingers could spend a few days in the effort of mystical intelligence gathering and subterfuge, but then Vanguard would need to collect the nine artifacts with only three or four days to do it. It may not even be possible, given the healing of Power Points required. It also gives the opposition, the agents of the Cthulhu Mythos, a head start.)

The Mystic said, “We hope this helps your understanding. If you see a better path for us, we would happily hear it.”

Sentinel grimaced upon hearing the additional revelations. "It is direr than we thought. I think we need to leave on the first retrieval as soon as you can be ready for us to do so.
"How safe are these objects in the dimensional space? Could someone else retrieve them from there? What are the plans for the objects once the threat has past? If we have legitimate non-threatening owners could we promise a return? This might facilitate retrieving some of them."

The Mystic ignored the first two questions, and the unintentional insult they represented. “Patience,” he thought as he said, “We have not considered what to do with these artifacts should we all survive. I see no objection to returning them to their rightful owners if they pose no threat.”

Sentinel asked, "What about my question about geographic places of power where the summoning ceremony would take place - might there be a means to identify these or could it be done anywhere? My guess would be one of those Mayan temples would be ideal since they were purposefully set up in the past by their worshipers... If so, perhaps CHESS can secure them while we work on the artifacts."

“I've another thought,” Kirk said turning to Symbiote and Slingshot, and then to the three mystical figures. “I have an additional sense. I can see the world around me differently by the means of an energy perception. Magical energy is limited in comparison to other patterns out there, quite unique. I've got to think that these artifacts should be registering high in energy levels to be of the power needed for the summoning. However my sense is very limited in scope to the distance around me. Might it be possible either by scientific or magical means to temporarily amplify that power to the world wide level so we could discern the locations en masse? Perhaps after securing an artifact or two I might be able to identify a unique energy pattern to them to help hone that sort of search further? Is something like that possible and might it make the toll on Archimedes less burdensome?”

Slingshot mused, "That's an interesting idea. I'm not sure we know what we need to amplify, we could start looking into it.”

(GM Reply: OOC: Re: Inventing a Magic Spell for this: The three harbingers are about to spend 9 Luck Points, lots of time and power points under the existing plan. Not sure they can take this on too, all in one week.
So, maybe a scientific invention. You, or someone else, will need to spend a Luck Point as Doc and Shelley are clean out. But they have the skills to do it. Hal too.
Such an invention will take time, and Sentinel will have to be present for much of the time as the device will need to be attuned to his unique powers after all.
So it’s a tradeoff. Sentinel misses retrieval(s) in exchange for the useful information such a device could provide. Up to you. )

Slingshot spoke up. "I will talk to Nanite. She has the ability to help people recover health. It might be useful to help Mystic's recuperation. Which reminds me that we will likely have to gather some material for my own recuperation. I foresee pain in the future."
"While we are thinking up ways to help. I would like to minimize opposition. I'm assuming that Dr. X is somehow controlling SSS. How we could look at something to block his control over them?”

(GM Reply: OOC: This could be a Scientific Invention. You’ll need someone with the appropriate skills to spend time and a Luck Point to invent it. Having Dr. X, or one of the SSS, to study would help too.)

Menagerie watched in quiet deference as the mighty mystics explained the dire situation to Vanguard. He was glad to see his friends would join him in the Quest. He was prepared to do this alone but they would have a better chance as a team.
He smiled as suggestions were made to the mystics on how best to accomplish the Quest. He had the same reaction when he had been told. He was confident they would succeed. Vanguard had eliminated the technology threat… they will defeat this one as well.
“It is time to figure out how we will act once we enter the portal. Do we go through as explorers or as warriors? The hardiest should go first with the range attackers behind. I will follow the range attackers. We will have one hour to retrieve the artifact and keep it. Do we need extra gear?
“Sentinel, whether we face Dr. X or a different enemy is it worth losing much needed time to figure it out here. If needed, we could teleport near the artifact using half of the hour to scout the situation before acquiring it. That way we can know the keeper and any other seekers without having to guess at it. What do you think?”
"Archimedes, do we have time for you to consult with Nature to find out if Dr. X calling his forces involves the artifacts?"
Nay, me boy,” replied the great owl. “We must begin shortly.”  (And the cost to his Power Points would delay the casting of the first gate)
Vanguard quickly made preparations and bade farewell to their friends and loved ones.
Nanite used her healing ability to help those most in need. (OOC: any PC with more than 10 hit points of damage)
Without a word she touched the wounds of Avatar, Menagerie and Slingshot and they were healed.
(OOC: Avatar gains 7 hit points. Menagerie gains 6. Slingshot gains 7.)
Then she kissed her son and her new husband goodbye. “Come back safe to me.”

Doc Rocket shook hands with everyone and volunteered to update CHESS Director Grey about all of this, which would be a task neither small, enjoyable nor enviable.
Shelley kissed Sentinel and Symbiote goodbye.  “Love you two. Be safe.”

The Mystic said, “It’s time.
“We will attempt to gate you near the location of the first Artifact of Power. “Near” because we dare not place you directly upon it, for fear that the artifact’s power could affect our spell.”
Archimedes said to Menagerie, “Once there, ye’ll be able to detect ets presence.”
The Mystic said, “Once there, contact us so we know from where to bring you back. Remember, it could take as long as an hour before we’re able to return you.”
Oracle closed her eyes and concentrated on the many paths the future might hold.

Sentinel formed his energy shields!
Symbiote activated the superpower template of Zero G and the Harper Harness came to life!
(OOC: Replicating these powers!
Heightened Strength: +15: Symbiote’s Strength is now 30. He does 1d12 HTH.
Gravity Control: As per V&V 2nd edition.
Flight: As per V&V 2nd edition rules except that his maximum altitude is his Gravity Control range (30” or 150 feet) above whatever is beneath him, i.e.: buildings, the ground, etc.)
Weakness: Reduced Agility: -5: Symbiote’s Agility is now 13. His Accuracy is +1. )

The Mystic and Archimedes wove a magic spell before Vanguard’s eyes. Hieroglyphic equations of otherworldly geometry formed in midair in bright lines of gold and blue. An all-seeing eye, not unlike that which emblazoned Sentinel’s chest, grew within an expanding circle that then cut into physical space itself. The circle glowed bright as the sun and the air shifted as static electricity built up within the room.

“Go now Vanguard!” called Archimedes over the wind and white light that blasted from the gate!
“And may She watch over ye!”

The six remaining members of Vanguard advanced into the light in the formation suggested by Menagerie and suddenly all went black!
The light, the wind and the noise were gone. Vanguard was in a pitch so absolute they couldn’t see their hands before their faces. All was still.
Vanguard activated the mini-flashlights that had recently been added to their Vanguard communicators.
Sentinel brightened his energy shields.

Through the darkness they saw they were in a large, incredible laboratory, overtaken and ruined by time and disuse.
The long walls were lined with equipment and bookshelves. The air was bad, almost dangerous. It was quiet as the grave. There were power generators, long silent. 

There were human-sized chemical vats, long empty.

The windowless chamber was 30 feet wide and over a hundred feet long, extending into the darkness, beyond Vanguard’s light. There was one exit, a rusted steel fire door, and it was closed.

Menagerie’s Nature Sense revealed no living predators within his range.* As Archimedes promised, Menagerie could detect a power source, the first “Artifact of Power.” It was coming from the direction of the door.

Sentinel’s Energy Sense also detected the power source of the First Mysterious Artifact, a type of energy he had never experienced before. Save Vanguard, there were no other energy sources within his range.*

(*Rules: Sensory ranges (in inches) are reduced by the Structural Invulnerability of any wall or structure the sense is passing through. 1” on a game map equal five feet. So, Sentinel’s sense range is 20” or 100 feet. Every time his sense passes through one foot or less of granite wall, subtract 6” (30 feet) from his range.)

Avatar, a scholar, archeologist and historian, quickly scanned a few titles from among the vast collection of tomes. “Mostly German language. 18th century… 19th… nothing beyond the early 20th century. Science. Philosophy. Ancient History. Mythology…”

Symbiote’s scientific training told him they were standing in an abandoned biochemistry lab that had not been used in many decades. Its equipment was antique but arrayed in new and groundbreaking ways, yet unseen even in the 21st century.

Slate found no computer equipment of any kind within sight. He flicked light switches on the wall and there was no power. He saw everyone’s Vanguard communicator had no connectivity. Slate performed a quick modification on his, and got the GPS working for a only moment. “We’re in East Germany. Behind the Iron Curtain,” he reported.

Slingshot’s engineering skills told him they were underground, to judge from the bad air and the design of the stone floors, walls and ceilings. He slowly, cautiously stretched his arm, and the communicator flashlight, down the length of the long hall, seeking its end. The light revealed two more rusting fire doors before reaching the chamber’s far wall. It held a hearth large enough for a man to walk into.

Above its mantle was a life size portrait, an incredible oil painting of drama and chiaroscuro. The striking subject pulled back a blood red curtain to reveal a new world beyond. The eyes were filled with brilliance and the proud face was as severe, jagged and gothic as a broken stained glass window.

Sentinel was the first to recognize him.

The portrait’s subject was a young Dr. Swastika.

To be continued in Vanguard 171: The Lost Laboratory of Dr. Swastika!

OOC: Actions?!

Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 38, Power Points: 85, Manifestation: None
Menagerie: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 66, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 61, Creation Points: 122, Shields: 100
Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 73
Slingshot: Hit Points: 50, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 55, Power Points: 91, Charges: 13, Copied: Zero G

Viva Vanguard!



<The Mystic and Archimedes wove a magic spell before Vanguard’s eyes. Hieroglyphic equations of otherworldly geometry formed in midair in bright lines of gold and blue. An all-seeing eye, not unlike that which emblazoned Sentinel’s chest, grew within an expanding circle that then cut into physical space itself. The circle glowed bright as the sun and the air shifted as static electricity built up within the room.>

Kirk noticed the eye of the spell and unconsciously glanced at his own insignia and the similarities.  His conversation with Lancaster about its choice and origin flashed into his mind… about some of its background being intertwined in mystical origins… why was it that although there, Kirk never pursued it further?  Was there something more about the symbol that he needed to know?  That mattered?  And then his concerns were lost as they arrived…

<There were human-sized chemical vats, long empty.>

He knew.  As soon as he saw the human-sized vats, he knew.  No need for the reconnaissance.  They were personally investigating Dr. Swastika’s ‘abandoned’ lab. Avatar’s dating the literature provided evidence.  Slate’s GPS check confirmed it in Kirk’s mind.

<Sentinel was the first to recognize him.
The portrait’s subject was a young Dr. Swastika.>

And it was coming together in Kirk’s mind.  Part of him said he was being paranoid.  Part of him thought himself being practical.  He was always looking for Swastika’s unseen influence, never believing him gone.  And it made sense, what with his ability to control minds and inhabit the bodies of others.  With the way he had influenced the course of history with no one discovering it until far too late.  With the pain he caused those close to Kirk, to Kirk himself.  He had thought that Dr X might have been at least a pawn of Swastika or perhaps a refuge for the mind of the inhuman being himself… and there was evidence of it staring at him on the wall.

He gazed knowingly at the picture.  With an uncharacteristic disgust in his voice he whispered, “Swastika.  I hate that guy.”

Realizing that back at the Russian Embassy both his and Menagerie’s senses were blocked he said, “Give me a moment.”  He approached closer towards the object.  Perhaps they could both sense that and other things be blocked because of its unnatural power.  He took note of all he could about its readings as he walked closer.  And then he tried a mental scan of the area.  Would that identify other beings in the area when his energy sense wouldn’t?

He reports what he scans mentally to the team.

He makes note of what appears to be the physical way out of this ‘dungeon’ if case Vanguard needs to use it.

If he picks up no other beings mentally then he will suggest that after opening the door to the object if they still see nothing more he send a human-like construct in towards the object first to see if it triggers any scientific or mystical devices or booby traps guarding the object.  There is no way he believes it is sitting here unguarded and unclaimed and that they can just walk in and retrieve it and leave.  It couldn’t be that easy.

That’s all I have until we get more info to adjust things.
Jeff, great weaving of all of our posts until a cohesive whole!


Slingshot looked around. He wasn't sure if being overwhelmed by the historical horror of what was done here or by the sheer fact that he stepped into a relic of a momentous time (no matter how ghastly it could have been).

It was quite a disconcerting moment. He immediately tried to take in the situation, Ethan's reaction (while he is behaving like a young adult, Scott can't help but think he's still a child in many ways).

And he keeps an eye out to Symbiote. There is probably a treasure trove of things and information from a science of the body perspective in such a place. While Slingshot trusts Symbiote with his life, he has been know to have had some errors in judgment that lead to disastrous consequences. Looking at a place like this, you wonder if a young Swastika wasn't just a few errors from being a Doc Rocket?

Slingshot stays vigilant for any beasts or guardian that might still remain in this place. The place is quiet. Over all, he will wait on Sentinel or Mengerie to point the artifact so we can move before something wakes.

Scott keeps his voice down. He looks at Sentinel and Menagerie. "This place sleeps, let’s get what we want and get out."

Menagerie focuses all his senses, physical and magical on the lab. "What kind of monster creates this place and what kind of monsters did this place create?" he mutters to no one in particular.

<Scott keeps his voice down. He looks at Sentinel and Menagerie. "This place sleeps, let’s get what we want and get out.">

"Agreed." He leads him to the artifact. He doesn't open the door but stands back to allow one of this stronger, heartier teammate open it. He is on watch ready to transform as needed.


IC: Slate curiously approached the equipment... it appeared ancient to him... how did humans accomplish anything before computers came along... without IT's influence they'd probably still be using steam power he thought to himself. He looked at the gauges and dials, how imperfect, how clumsy this all seemed, probably years ahead of it's time when it was created, but about as useless as a tea kettle today. He ran his finger across the rim of one of the vats, looking at the dust it left on his finger and quietly said, "Mom would love this place" glancing at his fathers back.

Slate began to actually try to figure out what it was that had been done here. Analyzing the types of equipment, placement, and connections... maybe if he could figure out what they had been trying to do, he could figure out what this power source or artifact might be, and who or what might be protecting it.

OOC: Slate will attempt to use his Heightened Comprehension to figure out what the equipment in this room was used for, and if there is any evidence... papers/reports/logs, he will quickly look through them in an attempt to figure out what they might be facing. He will stay close to the group, closest to Slingshot.



Avatar will simply be there, alert to any danger that might present itself. No further powers activated.


OOC: It's amusing that Stephane/Slingshot wrote about Symbiote's possible reaction to the lair of Dr. Swastika. I was kind of thinking along the same lines, albeit from a different angle....

IC: Dr. Swastika, Hal thought to himself, barely controlling the urge to spit. It figures. The worst evil Vanguard has ever faced, and he has to be at least somewhat involved.

Though he hadn't been a member during Vanguard's one encounter with Dr. Swastika Symbiote considered the man to be the team's most hateful enemy, maybe the worst of the metahuman age. Part of it was that the two men weren't that dissimilar--both were scientists, both were fascinated by the metagene and it's potential for human improvement. But Hal--imperfectly, admittedly--had tried to use it to help people. Swastika had used it for some of the darkest perversions imaginable.

Wonder if Zero G's power would be sufficient to completely crush this place into a pit? He thought to himself. Might look into that later, if we manage to save the world. Time to focus on the task at hand, though.

"Let's get this done and get out of here," Hal says, with controlled disgust in his voice. He walks towards the doors, the obvious source of the power they were looking for. Hal will try to be particularly aware of the ceiling if trouble erupts--if there's anything sharp and pointed up there he may try to reverse gravity on an opponent and impale him or her on it.

And while it appears that Dr. Swastika hasn't been here in a while, if The Bad Doctor does show up...Hal's going for him first.