Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Vanguard: Issue 202: Funeral Pyre


Vanguard Vault was destroyed, incinerated by controlled demolitions, but the Empire State Building remained standing. With the top four floors completely demolished, its new zenith burned like a funeral pyre, creating a sickening, black shroud across Manhattan. 

Vanguard hovered 80 stories above New York City, near the ravaged Empire State Building. Above them raged the World Storm. Below them, a city rioted.

Sentinel used his energy sense to scan the collapse of Vanguard Vault for survivors.  There were none.
Sentinel recognized the energy signatures of Shelley Harper, Doc Rocket, Sgt. Stone, Agent Drake, Nathan Lamb, Larry Manetti, Archimedes, and Oracle.

All were dead.

Slingshot looked at his leader. "Sentinel, how are you? How long can you keep us afloat?"

Sentinel didn’t respond, but seemed alert and aware. Then Sentinel collapsed downward onto his knees as if he couldn’t support his own weight as all the color drained from his face. 

Sentinel and Menagerie barely crash-landed the energy sphere that held Vanguard onto a nearby safe rooftop, dozens of stories below.

Sentinel had the sphere release the team; as it happened the construct shook like it could fall apart at any moment and Kirk was doing all he could to keep it together to keep them safe.  At that point on the rooftop Kirk’s head hung downward and his body convulsed.  They got the idea he would have vomited had there been food in his stomach to release.  Tears welled up in his face which now began turning beet red as he spoke.
“They’re gone.  They’re all gone.  We’ve lost them all.  I can feel it.”
And he cried her name in an undertone as tears fell down his cheeks, “Shelley. My Shell; my love; my life.”
Then he stood up and looked upward and screamed back in rage at the darkened heavens above him, “SHELLEY!”  And took off like a rocket towards the building.  Back into the debris.
He zeroed in right to her body by what remained of her energy signature.  Nothing around him kept him from her as his energies responded to his feelings as opposed to his thoughts to clear the path to her; his energy flowed to his wishes, sort of like seeing an image out of the corner of your eye – knowing it is there but barely perceptible to where you are at.
He found her and cradled her body and kissed her head.  Their link severed.  A piece of him gone.  Her energy signature was like a degraded photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy worsening with what made her having been lost to the greatest enemy, death.  Then his hands moved towards that second faint energy signature within her.  He memorized every nuisance of his child that he could.  To hold that memory as part of himself; as he would her.  And he wept over them.
“No.  No. No no-no-nonono; he kept repeating and he rocked her body back and forth.
And he thought to himself how useless he was now.  How truly powerless he was and how he needed to be more.  To be better.  To do more.
As he did this, his power reacted to his emotions: resummoning what energies he could and focusing on his body.  His physically battered and worn body.  His permanently scarred never to be whole again psyche and his energies shown around him anew. The skies thundered back as if mocking him. 
And with his energies renewed a composure came over him.  A sense of calm.  He closed her eyes with his hand and tenderly touched her cheek and kissed her lips one last time and whispered, ‘my love,’ and stood up amidst the wreckage.
His energies flowed from him and he felt and retrieved the forms of his lost friends.  His murdered, sacrificed family.  In all directions at once his energy moved and they came to him.  He didn’t know what he was going to do with them, but he damn well wasn’t leaving them in this.  Here.
His construct formed a darkened layered construct holding the lifeless bodies of the heart of Vanguard and Chess that were taken from them in the explosion.
It would seem that Kirk’s life as he knew it truly was over.  Everything he had built since that first rooftop meeting years ago.  Everyone that meant something to him, that was the core of the family he built were gone.  And a part of his life that he never dreamed he would have and share, was ripped from him before it truly had a chance to even begin. And he decided.

Meanwhile, back on the safe rooftop, Dr. Monster gently woke up Clone.

Slingshot couldn't believe what he was seeing and hearing. All dead? Nathan... damn it. He looked at Sentinel and thought about Shelley and their child. Stone, Doc Rocket, Oracle… why did she die without reverting things?
There was this little voice inside him that kept praying for the safety of his wife and child. How were they doing? Could they return? Were they stuck in the Digital Zone?

Scott lifted the cultist at eye level. His form seemed to bulk up, grow more menacing. With a low, slow and rumbling voice, Scott said, "You think me a Minion of Nyarlhotep. So you know what I'm capable of doing."
He took a moment to let that sink in. His tentacles involuntarily spasmed, tightening the man further.
"I need to make it to the summoning. Where is it? Tell me now or I'll make you suffer like only one of my kind can."

The cultist’s hood flew back from the rough treatment, revealing the cultist’s face.  It was the face of Scott’s only brother, Todd! A face filled with fear and hate.

Scott could not believe his eyes. His anger at the devastation, at the loss of life, all this because of some misplaced idealism. "You. You did this? You're behind this Cthulhu summoning! Why?" He grew large and threatening.

Todd said, “You insufferable idiot! Even now, you don’t question your origins?  How do you think you became a minion of Nyarlhotep? Father, mother and I have faithfully served the Mythos, awaiting this moment all our lives, as have our grandparents and their parents before them! The Great Convergence has finally come. The threshold is about to be torn asunder. Our parents sacrificed their first born, and I my only brother, to this glorious cause. To this one event. Do you think threats of physical pain can stop me now?”

Sentinel returned to the rooftop he had left Vanguard moments earlier. With him, on the black slab construct were the broken bodies of Vanguard’s dead loved ones.
As he descended to land he began to recite looking at his remaining teammates, “Doc. Sarge. Drake. Nathan.  Manetti.  Oracle.”  Looking to Menagerie with a face of disbelief and nodding his head, “Archimedes”.  And then he walked over to Hal and said putting a hand on his should and shaking his head, “Shelly”.  And he shook his head no again looking downward saying, “My Shelley.”  And he looked upward again into Hal’s eyes and said, “My son Hal, my son”. 
Sentinel took a deep breath and then spoke in an emotionless calmness.  It was frightening and alarming.  “I don’t accept this.  I reject this.  And I cannot think about this.  And neither can you.”
“This is going to be undone.  Whether it is an Oracle wake-up call or some other sort of miracle, we are going to find a way.  This will not stand.  And that is the final word.”

Dr. Monster grieved for his old friend and colleague, Oracle.

Symbiote blinked hard. Upon surveying the devastation, and realizing just how much--and who--has been lost, Hal grew very cold, even as the effects of the Fly’s power left him. [OOC: Symbiote is no longer Fatigued]

He turned towards the cultist, Scott's brother (if that is who he is).  "Let me try, Slingshot," he said, pulling a small pen knife out of his tool belt.

He looked the cultist in the eye for a few seconds, and then began to speak, very slowly and deliberately.  "I am, among other things, a medical doctor," he said.  "A very good one.  A very smart one.  I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of how the human body works.  I know, among other things, exactly every pressure point in your body.  I know what parts of your body are the most receptive to pain.”

He cocked his head and looked at the cultist coolly.  "For example, did you know that with the exception of the genitals, the hands have more nerve endings than any other part of the body?"
Hal then stabbed the pen knife into the top of the cultist's hand.
"I don't care what your bosses have said they would do to you, idiot," Hal said, grabbing the handle and using the Accelerator power to vibrate the knife at super speed, sending waves of agony through the man.  "I guarantee, we can make it worse.  WHERE.  IS.  THE.  SUMMONING?"

Todd grit his teeth against the pain, “You haven’t done this before, have you? But at least you realize the truth of the matter: Might makes right. And none are mightier than Great Cthulhu. Cthulhu Fthagn!” Todd yelled in nihilistic joy.

Sentinel scanned Todd’s mind and found he had mental defenses against telepathy! Sentinel couldn’t read his thoughts.

Avatar was still. He had no immediate reaction, merely taking in the destruction and death and rolling it around in his mind.  Someone will pay the ultimate price for this, of that he was certain, but rash actions will not result in the desired outcome.  Revenge is a dish best served cold.
He will let his active powers fade away and will wearily take a seat, thoughtfully examining Excalibur.
The heroic historian knew that Excalibur was the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. In some accounts Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur's lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate.
Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake sometime after he began to reign. When Excalibur was first drawn, in the first battle testing Arthur's sovereignty, its blade blinded his enemies. Excalibur's scabbard was said to have powers of its own. Loss of blood from injuries, for example, would not kill the bearer. In some tellings, wounds received by one wearing the scabbard did not bleed at all. The scabbard was stolen by Morgan le Fay in revenge for the death of her beloved Accolon and thrown into a lake, never to be found again.

Avatar said, "My friends, I urge caution in our next actions.  Our foe will take advantage of any weakness."

As Menagerie found out what has happened to his spirit guide, his closest friend (poor snowball), and all his other friends, he turned cold. He stayed in Terrordactyl form and watched the cultist, thought-sending to him, "You will not welcome your master. I will eat you first."
If Todd heard Menagerie’s telepathic words, he gave no indication.

Menagerie rested and waited for the others in Vanguard to finish with the cultist first. He considered the events that lead to this and reviewed all that had died and were lost. Menagerie attempted to keep his rage to a low boil. There will be vengeance for this atrocity but it will be deliberate and measured.  "Sentinel, were you able to locate Mystic?"

Sentinel was calmer. More normal.  “Mystic’s body was nowhere to be found.  No trace of him.  I haven’t trusted him from day one and even the past we rubbed each other the wrong way.  Quite convenient that despite him gating us back he was nowhere to be found and escaped the explosion.”

Lightning Strike said, “SKULL set the demolitions.”
Strike had lost everything long before this. He would not sit still and wonder about all he had lost.
“Time is short and we will all be losing all we know in a matter of days. War is Hell! Vanguard needs to understand that we are in a war!”
SHAKOW! Strike dematerialized and headed to his nearest safe house to research everything he could find out about SKULL so Vanguard could react asap.

Vanguard knew that SKULL was a worldwide subversive terrorist organization dedicated to global domination. It is the most extensive, powerful, and dangerous such organization in history. They are steeped in mysticism and have access to rare technology and considerable wealth. Their legions are fanatically loyal. No SKULL agent has ever been captured alive. Vanguard first encountered SKULL when Vanguard first formed [ Issue 2! ].
They last encountered them yesterday, in 1943.

Vanguard prepared to torture their prisoner again in search of answers, further heightening the weird sense of déjà vu the burning skyscraper gave them about Vanguard Omega. Vanguard saw Shelley’s broken form and remembered that she quit Vanguard when she learned that Vanguard Omega was their future selves.

Dr. Monster said, “… Stop. Please…”
“My friends… if I may have… a word.”

Dr. Monster picked up a girder that had fallen to this rooftop from the Empire State Building and bent it around Todd’s hands to cuff him behind his back and weigh him down.  He wasn’t going anywhere.

Away from Todd, Dr. Monster softly said to Vanguard, “My friends… I am… sorry… for your loss…
“…How… did you know… the location… of Excalibur?”

Vanguard told him of the Janus Chair, which had just been completely lost in the destruction of Vanguard Vault.

Dr. Monster said “…Could the Chair… be… remade?”

ROOOOOOAAR!!! American fighter jets hurtled by in formation to get a visual on the Empire State Building.

It was just after 1pm in New York City.  Less than two days and 11 hours until the End of the World.


Clone passed through the steaming hole in the impregnable vault door. Mystic was gone. There were cases that had been shattered, and their contents emptied, all under the silence of his spell. 

Clone saw an alarm inside the vault was blinking.  Were it not for Mystic’s spell of silence, it would be blaring.

Then suddenly Clone felt psychic pain like a knife in his heart. He knew that somewhere a Clone had just died!
Clone suddenly grabbed the sides of his head violently and screamed out in pain. A moment later the Replicating Russian fell unconscious to the floor beneath his feet.

Clone awoke to the blare of sirens. The armed Soviet soldiers filled the chamber. Doctor X was still unconscious. Soldiers stood in the smoking hole in the vault door.

One soldier levelled his autorifle at Clone and barked in Russian: “What did you do to Doctor X?! And where are the artifacts of power?!!”

Clone gently placed his hand over his face, shook his head back and forth for a moment, and then looked up at the soldier with a look of bewilderment and confusion. The Dazed Duplicator spoke to soldier in his native tongue, "I don't understand . . . artifacts of power? Doctor X?" As Clone spoke the name of his long time enemy a look of concern and fear suddenly gripped his face. "Doctor X?!?" he said as he turned his head and stared down at the unconscious Soviet Super-Mind lying on the floor beside him. His head then snapped back around towards the soldier and he exclaimed, " . . . but I don't understand. What am I doing here?!? What is going on?!?"

The soldiers’ leader gave orders to his men in Russian: “Chekov, call a medic for Comrade Doctor!
“You three, bring Comrade Collective to a high security cell! If he multiplies, or tries anything, kill him!”

Three soldiers will take Clone to be locked up in the Soviet extranormal gulag that lay beneath Red Square. 

Actions, everyone?

Jon: Please see private email to follow. Thanks

Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 18, Manifestation: none
Clone: Hit Points: 6/6/0, Bodies: 1/1/0, Power Points: 58/65/0, Hit Point Pool: 23 (Stats: NYC/Russia/NYC)
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 33, Power Points: 37
Menagerie: Hit Points: 24, Power Points: 48, Form: Terrordactyl
Sentinel: Hit Points: 7, Power Points: 29, Creation Points: 58, Shields: 58%
Slingshot: Hit Points: 41, Power Points: 89, Invulnerability: 8, Fire damage that can’t be regenerated: 38
Symbiote: Hit Points: 18, Power Points: 67, Charges: 13, Activated: Accelerator


Awesome issue, Jeff!

IC: Menagerie will turn into the form of a man.

Turning toward Dr. Monster, "I am not sure if we can build another chair or not. I will assist as best as I can."

OOC: more later, Menagerie will contribute 1 luck point to build another chair.



Lightning Strike:
Quick question.  I know we used the Janus chair to find the location of the artifacts but I remember we saw the location of all of them and then we chose which one to go for.  Is there any chance that data was stored anywhere?  Even though everything was blown up, would it be possible for Strike to recover the info?

Oops, that's two question!



OOC: The information is stored In Menagerie's and Sentinel’s heads.

Menagerie would be glad to meditate and perform yoga with Strike in an attempt to recover suppressed memories.



Lightning Strike:
OOC: I trust Menagerie over Sentinel's empty head!  :-P


OOC: Hi,
Vanguard now possess only Excalibur, from Broceliande.

Menagerie and Sentinel know the exact locations of the remaining artifacts (but not what the artifacts are):

-The Nevada desert

-Moscow (This is assumed to be the Spear of Destiny, in possession of the Soviet Super Soldiers)

-Northern California


Vanguard don't know where the following artifacts are:

-The Splinter of the True Cross, from Black Bat's penthouse vault.

-The Sacrificial Dagger of the Maya, from the Crimson Coven's U-Stor locker.

-The Stone Idol of Cthulhu, from the Ruins of Remorse in the Lost Lands.

-The Ring of Eon, from the Liberty League in the mid-Atlantic circa 1943.



(Strike) “Time is short and we will all be losing all we know in a matter of days. War is Hell! Vanguard needs to understand that we are in a war!”

Vanguard saw Shelley’s broken form and remembered that she quit Vanguard when she learned that Vanguard Omega was their future selves.

Dr. Monster softly said to Vanguard, “My friends… I am… sorry… for your loss…

“And we are sorry too for your loss Adam.  Thank you for bringing clarity to a moment that was getting away from us.”

He walked towards Strike getting into his personal space and said sarcastically, “And thank you for reminding us of where things stand.  Certainly none of us here have felt personal loss… none of us realize that we are at war and the stakes here.”  And he turned from him and walked away continuing this time sincerely, “and thank you for reminding me who I am, the man Shelley felt worthy of her love and her life.  I’d seen the possibility of a dark path from here, but Strike, the man you are reminds me of the man I want to be.”  And speaking to all of Vanguard he said, “When we experience a loss of this magnitude it can easily consume us. It can become all that we are.  I reject that path.  I’m not going to let that happen.  This tragedy will not define who I am nor the man I become.”

Walking towards Excalibur and touching it he said turning to Adam, “Unless you feel otherwise I think this belongs to you and you should guard it.  The fact that you were ready to give it up for the greater good speaks measures to your worthiness in my mind.  Vanguard? ”  And he waited for his teammates to respond.

“And to your point Adam, perhaps we need to take a step back and think differently about our situation.  We were concerned with securing all of the artifacts because any could be used to summon Cthulhu.  At this point, given Mystic’s disappearance, I think the question should be what happens if all the objects are used together.  And perhaps it’s time to check in with our Russian ‘comrades’ since they are the only other known players to have an artifact in their possession and they were in pursuit of others. We’ve lost our gateway to the other artifacts even if we can locate them.   Maybe since we have Excalibur, Mystic or whoever was using or working with him comes to us.”

ROOOOOOAAR!!! American fighter jets hurtled by in formation to get a visual on the Empire State Building.

“At this point virtually the only people I trust are on this roof.  Be ready for anything.”  Kirk extended his energy senses the scope of the area to try to ‘read’ all incoming signatures and check for extranormals.  He hit his communicator and said, “This is Sentinel of Vanguard.  We are in need of assistance.  As we returned from our mission our base exploded due to an act of terrorism by the enemy organization known as SKULL.  We have taken heavy casualties.  Please report your sitrep and ability to assist.”

Kirk clicked off the audio transmit of the communicator briefly at that point turned to Vanguard and said as if knowing things were about to get worse instead of better, “And here it comes…”

And he waited for their reply hoping for the best and expecting the worst.



Symbiote will step away from torturing the hapless cultist.  For now.

He will look towards the jets flying overhead.  Like Sentinel, he's not sure if they're friend or foe.  But he's ready--almost hoping--for foe at this point.  If fired upon he will run in a circle to kick up dust around the team and then use some of the inertia to launch rubble at the jets.

If they aren't foes....or once the fight is resolved.  Hal will suggest that the team go to his university lab to begin working on rebuilding the Janus Chair.

Viva Vanugard,



Avatar is having a difficult time processing everything that has happened.  He casually takes some cover to consider options and to rest a little.


[ooc: Am I getting that right?: Scott's family sacrificed Todd's older brother to the cause? I'm assuming that I'm the older brother.]

Slingshot, unceremoniously strips him and searched him. Any information, cell phone, notebook, GPS coordinates, anything that might be worthwhile anything in the lining of the cloak/robes.

Scott looks at his brother and shakes his head and starts laughing, not quite hysterically, but definitely at his brother's expense. His brother recognizes the laugh having heard it many times during their childhood."You silly little man. Don't you understand? Don't you know? This is the third such "great convergence" that Vanguard has faced in so many years. One was the animal kingdom was taking over. The other was the technology was taking over, now it's a magical threat to take over the world.. again."Scott almost yawns, bored."We beat them all, we will beat your little panzy plot too. Cthulu will keep sleeping."

"I know what will get you going.. I'm your big brother, after all. I know all your choice tickle spots. You will break." and so Scott proceeds in tickling him senseless. [OOC: I'm making the call that he was extremely ticklish in his childhood, while pain wouldn't break him, tickling would. Either that or something else that he would find have had to suffer at my "older brother's hand",a particular kind of humiliation that he's not willing to relive and that Scott is willing to inflict on him to get answers./OOC]

Slingshot questions Menagerie, "My friend, We have no items of power aside from the sword. Is there a chance that you can ensure us that the ones we gathered are still safe?"

Away from Todd, Dr. Monster softly said to Vanguard, “My friends… I am… sorry… for your
“…How… did you know… the location… of Excalibur?”
Vanguard told him of the Janus Chair, which had just been completely lost in the destruction of Vanguard Vault.
Dr. Monster said “…Could the Chair… be… remade?”

I'm sure it can be remade, but it came at great cost, personal cost, it took time we don't have and it took many of our fallen to get it done. I'm not sure we could get it done in time. [OOC: can I do an engineering/electronics/robotics roll to confirm that is still the case, and would it still take two luck points?]

Actions: I'm holding my actions until there's something good to do. So if we get attacked, Scott will respond. If we get attached by the jets, Scott will evade and not respond.
Here are my thoughts: We still don't know what to do next. we can't move on something until that occurs

Another thoughts - Not sure how stable communications are at the moment, but if we manage to get Todd's Cell, maybe Lightning or Symbiote (with lightning's power set) could use it to find where my father is. I'll assume that he's at the main event.


OOC Replies to Slingshot:

Yes. Scott/Slingshot is Todd's only brother, and his older brother.

It's at least possible that the Janus Chair could be rebuilt. It would only take one luck point, since you've already built one before. Likewise it might be possible that Vanguard could handle it. Again, it's a rebuild not an new invention. If only Slate and Nanite were here to help.



New York City:
Meanwhile, back on the safe rooftop, Dr. Monster gently woke up Clone.

Clone awoke; startled and confused, he had no idea where he was or who was standing over him. His fears immediately subsided when his old friends came into view, but he was still very confused and disoriented. Clone slowly made his way to feet and gasped in horror and shock at the landscape laid out before him. He couldn’t help but think to himself, “What am I doing here? What is going on? What happened here?”

( OOC: As the members of Vanguard discussed their options . . . )

Clone stood silently in the background listening to his friends and trying desperately to make sense of what was going.

( OOC: As the members of Vanguard start to piece together a plan of action . . . )

Clone stepped forward slowly and said to Sentinel in a somewhat sheepish tone, “Comrade Sentinel . . . perhaps it is that I am knowing that I am not knowing of many things. Is it maybe that what we are now needing to know what it is that I am not knowing? Of this, I am not sure.”

The Kremlin:
Three soldiers will take Clone to be locked up in the Soviet extranormal gulag that lay beneath Red Square.

Sitting quietly in his cell deep below the parade grounds of Red Square, Clone tried desperately to make sense of his situation. "Artifacts of Power? Doctor X? The Kremiln? What is going on?", he thought to himself. His bewildered thoughts continued, “I feel like I know whats going on, but I just can’t seem to put all the pieces together. Its as if I’m seeing shadows of a movie I barely remember seeing. I feel like I should know these things, yet I can’t seem to make sense of it all.”

Clone than took a moment to look at his surrounding and thought to himself, “How did I end up in Moscow and how am I going to get out of this cell? I can only hope that the other members of Vanguard are on their way and I’ll be out of here soon enough.”

Clone’s thoughts of escape where quickly replaced by his angst over his recent loss of memory, “Perhaps Sentinel, Slingshot, or Symbiote could come up with some way of fixing my memory. They’re so smart, I’m sure between the three of them they could think of something.”

( OOC: Clone will than sit quietly and await whatever it is that comes next - he's scared and confused )

Talk to you guys soon,



Thanks for the clarification and I'll pass this information onto the team.

We could use the chair to divine the location of the ceremony.