At long last, Vanguard have completed their quest! After battling...
• The Soviet Super Soldiers in the Lost Lab of Dr. Swastika:
• The Black Bat and his Cadaverous Captains of Crime in Big City:
• The Crimson Coven at a New Jersey U-Stor-It:
• 2000 Dino-Men in the Ruins of Remorse in the Lost Lands of Antarctica:
• The Original Ubermensch and the Japanese Imperial Guard:
…whilst alongside the original Liberty League in WWII:
• A schism faction of the Crimson Coven in a Broceliande forest fire:
• A titanic, eldritch horror in Mystic’s otherworldly pocket dimension:
…Vanguard, Nemesis and Doc Monster found the Artifacts of Power they had long quested for!
1. The Spear of Destiny from the Lost Lab of Dr. Swastika (and the SSS!)
2. The Splinter of the True Cross from Black Bat's penthouse vault.
3. The Sacrificial Dagger of the Maya from the Crimson Coven's U-Stor locker in New Jersey.
4. The Stone Idol of Cthulhu from the Ruins of Remorse in the Lost Lands of Antarctica.
5. The Ring of Eon from the Liberty League in the mid-Atlantic circa 1943.
6. The Sword Excalibur from Broceliande, France.
7. A Bronze Mirror crafted in ancient China.
8. A Green Gem.
9. An Iron Crown.
It was midnight EST aboard the CHESS Omni-Carrier, over the Atlantic Ocean.
Vanguard had all the Artifacts of Power, and the timeline now read:
End of the world: 48 hours.
• Rebuilding the Janus Chair: 23 hours remaining.
• Aperture’s Dimensional Travel Portal from his modular nanotech power: Complete!
• Aperture inventing a Digital Pulse Cannon from his nanotech power: 6 hours remaining.
• Menagerie and Avatar re-inventing a spell to block teleportation: 6 hours remaining.
Vanguard knew a confrontation with the Mystic was coming, and soon. They believed they might be able to choose that confrontation’s location. They debated and discussed their options.
After much meaty discussion they decided that:
Onboard the CHESS Omni-Carrier:
• Menagerie and Avatar will invent the Anti-Teleport Spell.
• Aperture will invent an Anti-Magic Cannon, Clone helping with labor.
• Sentinel will read the Necronomicon.
• Lightning Strike and Symbiote will re-create the Janus Chair, just in case, Clone helping with labor.
Then, in 6 hours, when the first two inventions are complete, all of Vanguard except Symbiote (who will need more time for the Janus Chair) will teleport (via Aperture’s modular nanotech) to the Salt Flats to await Mystic's coming.
Vanguard got to work! (OOC: Sentinel, see separate email)
Four hours later, at 4:14am EST, alarms blared across the CHESS Omni-Carrier.
Director Grey called Vanguard from the bridge.
“Radar’s picked up something on approach to us. It’s all the former members of Vanguard, flying in, requesting permission to land. They’re here to help!”
Aperture: Hit Points: 25, Power Points: 73, Nanotech: Disintegration Ray (default)
Avatar: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 85, Manifestation: none
Clone: Hit Points: 7/6, Bodies: 1/1, Power Points: 67/67, Hit Point Pool: 13 (Stats: NYC/Russia)
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 23, Power Points: 85
Menagerie: Hit Points: 16, Power Points: 66, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 7, Power Points: 70, Creation Points: 140, Shields: 0%
Slingshot: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8, damage that can’t be regenerated: 30
Countdown: 44 hours until the End of the World.
OOC: It's here!! <little dance>
Aperture stepped away from the workbench, on which his gleaming metal creation sat. Polished chrome stared back at his metallic eyes, creating a picture in picture reflection that continued on to infinity. The casing was complete, but the internal components were not. Turning to another table, covered with wires and circuitry he sighed. Two Clones worked in silence, removing hardware from other devices as they had been instructed, looking up as he changed position.
His mother who had been sitting in the corner on a chair with her knees held before her gracefully unfolded and moved to her son's side. "Is there anything I can do to help," she asked, looking with some pride at what her son had done.
"I don't think so mom," he responded. "The concepts for the machine are the portal IT created when he sent you and Nemesis here. I've modified it to open a portal of focused digital energy, basically allowing it to flow in a controlled manner from that dimension, into ours. If I'm right, it should nullify, and even damage magical creatures. Of course the only ones I have to test it on are the members of our team, which I'm unwilling to do. I know you want to be here, but I'm fine," he smiled looking back to his work. "There are others on our team that could use your help, and I have all the help I need," looking up at his friends. "Sentinel and Menagerie were both hurt in our last encounter. Maybe you could check on them while I finish this?"
She smiled, laying her hand gently on his head. Leaning over she gently kissed him, and turned silently leaving the room smiling at the Clones.
Aperture did not turn to watch her go, as he began focusing on the targeting array... he had to make sure this would work.
A Clone entered the room, informing them of the arrival of the reinforcements... Aperture longed to rush to greet the new arrivals. He had studied each of them, and felt his youthful excitement rising at the thought of working with these historical members of Vanguard, but he instead tilted his head to the left, and turned back to his work, "Thanks for letting me know, that is great news," he said with some hope of a victory for the first in what seemed a very long time.
There would be time for introductions later, this had to be his priority.
Menagerie introduced himself to the newcomers. Forester created a sense of uneasiness in him. "What is it about him? There is something unnatural about him. Never mind, as long he is a hero he is welcome." Menagerie thought to himself.
Menagerie worked with Avatar to create the spell to block unnatural movement (anti-teleportation). He planned out how to place a salt protection circle around their defensive positions. He made sure that every sandbag had salt in it. He tried to draw on the experience of the previous Vanguard members in creating fortifications at their chosen location.
He asked Soldier if he would lead the efforts with detailing our defensive setup. Menagerie asked Forester if he had any special insight in creating defenses against supernatural and occult opponents. He explained to all what Mystic had been up to and speculated on what forces he might have at his access. He listened to any suggestions they had.
If I read correctly - We are 4 hours in so there's 2 more hours before we have our first batch of inventions done.
Since Scott has no specific task with the inventions - He'll warmly greet all the newcomers. Great embraces and catching up with each of them as much as he can. "Where are they now? What have they been up to? How are their families? Did they manage to keep them safe? Etc.." He'll make sure they have time to go let them set themselves up in the helicarrier.
Part of the questioning is also to see who has changed, who hasn't. In these times, Scott is very suspicious - His father and brother were in on it. So he'll work them, nicely, to understand if allegiances have changed. He'll prod if something is off. He'll enlist his wife to help him (for two reasons, 1) he'll have her close 2) she's got her own way of getting information)
In the meantime, he'll try to let the other finish their work while occupying the old gang.
After four hours Sentinel put down the Necronomicon in frustration. He felt drained from his fruitless efforts so he meditated to focus his mind in as positive a way he could to prepare for the final battle. He used his senses and training to check himself and the ‘dreaded book’ to be as sure as he could be that he was ‘clean’ from its influence. And to see if anything had changed in the energy readings of the book itself from his interaction with it.
Joining the rest of the team he tossed the book down on the table as if it was an unsatisfying trashy novel. Then he looked to Menagerie and slid it across the table to him. “Check it out if you want to do so but I got nothing useful to help us. Frankly, I don’t get the big deal here. Talk about ‘an elder race of mad, malevolent, alien, all-powerful, God-like entities who wish to enter this world,’ tell me something I don’t know. Give me an edge to fight them. Or the key to defeat them. Read it or don’t, but it comes with us where we go. If Mystic took it, that’s all the reason not to let it out of our sight. And I figure if we leave it behind someone or something comes to retrieve it and there’s already been enough shed blood.”
Although Kirk somehow looked more drained than when he had stormed off earlier to read it, he now seemed calmer and more focused then he had in days.
And he added, ‘Oh yea. Almost forgot,’ pointing at himself, “Still me, at least as far as I can tell,’ for those concerned about the book possessing him.
He saw them coming, and he couldn’t help but smile. His first smile in some time. It was poetic in a way. It seemed that with each leg of their journey for the artifacts they had come into contact with virtually every major opponent they had previously faced from their most prominent missions since their formation. It was appropriate that as the endgame was upon them that those heroes that fought by their side over the years would be here too… the Vanguard Reserves!
“Gentlemen, thank you for coming. When each of you left you said if you were ever needed you would stand by us. Today is certainly that day.”
Kirk helped to make introduction between the two teams and in the roll call gave a general description of the capability of the heroes so they could mesh together as a team… perhaps for the final time.
As Kirk did this he paid special attention to the energy readings of all in the room including Vanguard and Grey and especially the returning Reserves. He would use every means at his disposal to be sure his team would never be infiltrated again by those that might use them for their own selfish ends. His days of awe for those of the Golden Age were passed. The best of them had been his close friends, the worst of them betrayed them all and slaughtered them. And if he wouldn’t be awestruck by those heroes, then he would be awestruck by no one and nothing.
(OOC: Jeff – if anyone here seems off Kirk will be looking. Including Grey who was possessed by Swastika, Talon who was imprisoned by him and in his body banks, Blue Comet with his memory lapses, Inhuman who happens to resemble one of the ancient races, Forester who seemed to come and go and hid secrets from his past, Soldier who perhaps might be manipulated by means of his nanotech, and Viper who already betrayed them in another reality. He is genuinely happy to see them and welcomes their help but it is difficult for him to trust at this time. And he is angry at himself for not pushing things further with Mystic from day one.)
Kirk asked the team to gather the artifacts and placed them on the table and had Vanguard circle around them. He consulted with Menagerie to use his mystical perceptions and he himself would use his energy perceptions. He said, “At this point whether we believe strongly in a God,’ and he looked to Clone, ‘or Gods’, and he looked to Avatar, or ‘a Universal force of sorts’ and he turned towards Menagerie, ‘the one thing I do know is that if there is a side of good and a side of life, that is the side we fight for here.
In times like this, when it seems all this ‘is, was, and will be’ is threatened, it seems in all the legends that if there is some greater force for life and good they choose champions for their cause.” And he nodded to Menagerie and Avatar, ‘we have some of them seemingly in our ranks already’.
‘We’ve been wondering what to do with the artifacts. I say we see if there is something more here. If perhaps this struggle is meant to be greater than each one of us and if perhaps these artifacts that we were told could bring destruction, could also be used to bring life.
As we stand here let’s see with the sight we have beyond the norm if we were meant to wield or carry the artifacts into this final righteous battle.”
(OOC: So Jeff, at this point Kirk is calling upon his knowledge skills and history and heroic lore. It sure as hell seems that the forces of good/life should care what happens here. If they exist in this universe this is our effort to reach out to them. Perhaps with Sentinel’s energy sense and Menagerie’s magical perception they may see a connection between a specific artifact and a specific member of Vanguard… something that shows they would be the ones to carry it and/or protect it during the upcoming battle… and perhaps it may give them something more than expected.
If something positive happens here, great. If not, after a few moments of silence Kirk can say something along the lines of ‘Well, that’s a wash’ and use it as comic relief at a tense time. They could use a good laugh even if at Kirk’s expense before what is to come.
“Those in this room that you see are all that is left of both Vanguard and our Chess brothers that worked closely with us. He jokingly said, ‘the stakes we face, well, only the extinction of all existence as we know it’.
I’ve often thought about how Gramps was able to transform his personality into one that could inspire loyalty and courage in his men during wartime. It was hard for me to envision him that way.
In recent hours I have thought about what Doc said to me after I’d taken my first life in battle, although unintentional. ‘Kirk, you did what had to be done. Don’t second-guess it. Don’t beat yourself up about it.’
As we depart men I would say, make no mistake, this is nothing less than war. We fight for humanity and for all of existence. Prepare yourselves. Embolden yourselves. And simply ‘do’. Do what must be done!”
In addition to helping with the labor needs of the group, one of the Clones will approach Director Grey at some point and ask, "Please to be excusing me, Comrade Grey . . . but would it be most possible if when it is that we are to be going to place where we are to fight Mystic, that maybe it is possible that I can have several of the CHESS energy hand weapons? I am thinking that maybe we will be needing a small army to defeat or enemy and it is that I can be a small army , , , I am thinking that this is maybe ok, no?"
I have no idea, honestly. Avatar will rest up as much as possible to go into this with maximum PR, will assist anyone who is injured with Healing skill to try and get them a little better for the coming combat, and will ready himself with a variety of weapons.
If no one has any objection he will actually look at using Excalibur as a weapon in the coming conflict, reasoning that it's a "good-aligned" magical weapon and we are good guys fighting evil guys so there's bound to be some advantage(?). While I wonder if it might not be better to do something a little less "tank" with the variety of powers that he has available, he'll go ahead and activate Heightened Strength and Heightened Endurance as soon as it looks like something is going to "go down", hopefully having both of them in place quickly and by the time combat occurs. This should give somewhere around 100 more hit points and 30 more PR points plus significantly greater HTH damage so he should be able to wade into any physical fight with the hope of doing some damage and surviving.
Beyond that? He'll make sure that his "Cool" ability is boosting morale and courage (probably gonna need it when dealing with the Mythos) and will stand to back up anyone who looks to need it when things happen. He'll have spear, bow, sword, and knife available, if that's ok. In most instances he will charge in, first throwing his spear and then drawing sword to engage an enemy unless otherwise stated.