Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Issue 32: Burning Down The House!

Big City, the Bronx. Investigation Day One. 11:07pm

When the bullets stopped, the two Tommy gunners peered through the smoke and saw Slingshot still standing. “Jesus,” one gasped.

With a snarl, Slingshot projected his voice over the roar of the fire. "Drop the guns and I'll let you go. Keep the guns and I'll tear down the roof around your heads." To punctuate his speech, the huge hero expanded his remaining fist and made a motion towards the ceiling.

The two mobsters threw down their guns and ran into the back of the store, toward the source of the fire! They disappeared, leaving their compatriot in Slingshot’s (giant-sized) clutches.

Slingshot exited the burning building through the doors he had bowled over.

(OOC: continued below)

Meanwhile, the back of the burning building wasn’t long for this world. Two of the crooks closest to Kairos were buried alive in the flaming wreckage, screaming all the while: one club and one knife.
A deadly wave of crushing heat descended and good air was now hard to come by.

“Ice ‘em!” yelled Kairos’ lone crook to the two Tommygunners as the floor started to creak.

Kairos yelled, "Follow me or you'll die when this building collapses on top of you!"

“Da hell wid dat!” barked a murderous Tommygunner as he took aim.

Kairos leapt into action! He struck the Tommygunner in the head with his steel staff! KRACK! Kairos switched his leverage on the staff and hurled the Tommygunner hard into the club-wielding crook. SLAM! Two more of their adversaries were down.

Lightning Strike calmly approached the last thug, the one who shot him, and stated, "I hope you know that machine guns are excellent conductors."
Lightning Strike grabbed the Tommygun and sparking, white electricity ran through it, shocking the gunsel into unconsciousness!

Without another word, Strike went deeper into the burning building, searching for more crooks!

Alone now, Kairos dragged the three stunned killers to the window and lowered them to the ground without a lot of tenderness with his cable line and then, with moments to spare, leapt down to the alley as the back of the building gave way!!! KARRRAAAASHH! Kairos and his three captives were safe!

Meanwhile, Lightning Strike searched the second storey and found it empty. The flames were getting worse and he descended to the first floor and surprised another gunman.
The young killer, coughing from the smoke, had just seen two Tommygunners go upstairs. He heard the Tommyguns roar. And then he saw Lightning Strike was the only one to emerge from the killing floor. The punk dropped his weapon and surrendered.
Strike grabbed him and got out of the burning building.

(OOC: continued below)

Meanwhile, Sentinel flew at top speed to the closest water having calculated the time to get there and back and the amount of the precious liquid he could bring to extinguish the blaze

Witnesses would speak of a young glowing caped man descending from the skies to the water, a beacon of light blazing through the smoky sky. The lone figure came to reside on the surface of the water, astonishingly standing without sinking. His arms outstretched the bright energies flowed from them leaving him touching the surface of the water and reaching into it. Onlookers would speak of the awesome sight, as a bright red fire engine began to emerge from the waters, written across its side in big bold letters was an emblem, “Vanguard Supports the Bronx Fire Department”. The young man leapt aboard the out of place vessel which promptly took to the sky zooming towards the source of the smoke.

Sentinel reappeared at the blaze in a flying fire engine! The truck sprayed water and Sentinel got both fires under control, saving the residents of the neighboring building! As they exited their building onto the street, and saw what had happened, they cheered Vanguard!

(OOC: continued below)

Vanguard was outside the building, reunited, enjoying the adulation of the crowd, and an unknown figure was with them, Kairos!
(OOC: Insert greetings/conversation here and/or wherever you deem appropriate)

The heroes quickly set out to round up any criminals they could:
Slingshot still had one triggerman in his giant hand, alive and wriggling!
Lightning Strike held another young killer.
Kairos has the three mobsters still tied in his cable line.
The three unconscious arsons that were left behind the building by Kairos and Lightning Strike were missing!!
Sentinel quickly flew to the rooftop where he had restrained a hitman with a piece of metal garbage he found. The man was still there, held tight in his iron bonds. Sentinel drew closer and saw a bullet hole in the man’s forehead!
The would-be hitmen that were massacred first, in front of the store, were all dead.
A scan of the area turns up no other suspicious people in the rainy night.

Fire engines and police cars arrived, sirens blaring. The firemen finished putting out the fire and then laughed and smiled at the emblem on Sentinel’s truck.

Police cordoned off the massive crime scene, and undercover CHESSmen appeared from nowhere, Grey and Drake among them.

Agent Sam Drake looked skeptically at the side of Sentinel’s fire engine and showed his federal ID to Detective Archer of the NYPD, under whose jurisdiction this mess would all fall.
Archer was a big weary man, whose worn face was a cross between a basset hound’s and an old shoe. (imagine Robert Mitchum) He was unaccustomed to men with masks, but not put off by them either. He pulled his fedora down against the rain.

Archer and his men recognized the six dead killers on the wet sidewalk, those sent by ‘DS’- Dexter Sinister. Typical of the kind of hired gunmen that have been flooding into the city from all around the country lately, they were:
Ice House Olsen, his face ruined by frostbite when the Moose Jaw heist went bad.
Alphabet Shorty McCoy, who once won $100,000 in a floating Chicago crap game.
Happy Jim Hacker who once shot his way out of a St. Louis courtroom with a bailiff still cuffed to him.
Blue Point Vance, last of the Baltimore Vance brothers, killers all.
Fat Boy Clarke, the round and rosy gunman out of Detroit.
Oklahoma Slim Martin, still pale from 20 years in Sing Sing.

The five live killers, all taken from the target house, are still unidentified, as is their boss. Grey and Drake manage to get temporary custody of the captive perps. Archer will turn a blind eye til dawn.

After the opportunity to converse with Vanguard, Grey offered his opinions about Sentinel’s dead captive on the rooftop. The old tactician said:
“Dexter Sinister’s hit team seems light considering the manpower in their target house. Sinister might have had a backup team in place, probably using his own men rather than the hired guns that formed the advance crew. When their operation went belly up, the second team became a cleanup crew. The man restrained on the roof couldn’t be freed, and so they were forced to execute him. Result: we’ve got no captives from Dexter Sinister’s gang.”

Grey also said: “Blue Comet called the CHESS Omni-carrier. He’s held up and sends his apologies. He doesn’t need, or want, backup he said. Always been a loner, that one.”

In thirty minutes, firemen discover that the target house’s basement had access to the sewers. Earlier, Sentinel had detected men scurrying in the basement like ants. Those men haven’t turned up. The sewers must have been the target house’s getaway route.

Grey looked around at Vanguard’s handiwork. Burning building. Dead gunmen on the street. Cops holding grateful folks back. Press photographers shooting away. Utter mayhem.
Then he looked at Vanguard: “It’s just like old times. Well, it’s your investigation. What’s next?”

Actions? Please let me know your plans for the next 2-3 hours. It’s now 11:40pm.

PS: Blue Comet has to drop out of the game. Can’t keep up, but gives everyone his regards.
Next issue: an old hero returns!!! Who will it be??!


Lightning Strike:
Strike looks around at the mayhem and calmly walks over to Grey and Drake. "Since this is our investigation, I assume you don't have a problem with me interrogating a prisoner. Alone!!!"

Strike takes the young thug who surrendered into another of the abandoned buildings around the area. If anyone protests, LS pays them no mind.

He finds a room with some sort of lighting available and pulls a bulb out of a socket. With the bulb in his hand, he holds it up to the young thugs face and puts just enough current into it to get it to glow.

"Imagine how much more I could make this glow. Can you imagine how much current I can run through you? I suspect you can tell me much more about what went down here tonight. In fact, I suspect you will tell me many things I find useful, unless of course you want to see how much current your heart can take. I can be as delicate as a pacemaker or as deadly as the electric chair. It is all up to you."

OOC: I hope that puts enough of a scare into him to get him to spill his guts. Strike figures the youngest would be the easiest but he will attempt to interrogate others if he gets nothing useful out of this one.

If this thug doesn't cough up anything useful, then LS will shock him into unconsciousness and drag him out in front of the others and tell the police to call the meat wagon for this stiff and gesture for another to come forward and repeat the process.


Having witnessed Kairos capture and rescue of the three thugs, Sentinel realizes that this man is the unknown hero he had sensed in the building. “Great work back there, and thanks for assisting the team. My name is Sentinel,” and Kirk extends a handshake to the mysterious man.

“…Sentinel quickly flew to the rooftop where he had restrained a hitman with a piece of metal garbage he found. The man was still there, held tight in his iron bonds. Sentinel drew closer and saw a bullet hole in the man’s forehead!...”
Sentinel was greatly disturbed to find the now-deceased hitman. After all, he had been in the sky in view of the rooftop except for less than a half minute getting the water and a minute or two on the ground. He had placed the killer in as concealed an area as possible on the roof to prevent a shot from an adjacent roof and had barred normal entry from the door. Even if he’d been seen bringing the thug to the roof, it would have been almost impossible for his killer to have made it to an adjacent rooftop that would have allowed the kill shot and he hadn’t seen any evidence of someone on that roof moments ago.

Kirk scanned the area visually and with his energy senses for any clues as to how this occurred and if there was any trail to follow the hitman’s killer. Was entryway through the roof door? If so, how did the killer get it opened? If that was the way it was done, likely he was still in the building given the time to get to the top, get past the barred door, and try to get away. Anything on the roof to show the killer climbed (equipment, marks from a grappling hook, etc) up the side and took the shot. Likely from the entry point of the wound and the concealment of the man, Kirk could figure where the shot would have been needed from the adjacent rooftop – does that give him any further lead (also the killer again would need to be leaving that building). Any evidence of an extra-normal at work here using a gunshot to cover his presence? It would seem it would have taken an extra-normal to get access to the thug and disappear it such a short time (unless Kirk picks up the trail here and now).

“…The firemen finished putting out the fire and then laughed and smiled at the emblem on Sentinel’s truck…”
Assuming Kirk’s above investigation doesn’t turn up anything more to take his time, Kirk would take a moment to compliment the fire chief and his crew on their organization and bravery in getting the people out of the building and containing and extinguishing the rest of the blaze. If there are any comments about his own actions, he would downplay them and use it as an opportunity to bolster the spirit of the firefighters telling them they were the heroes being on call and risking it all on a daily basis. None of this would be forced on Kirk’s part; this is Kirk’s true feelings.

“…Agent Sam Drake looked skeptically at the side of Sentinel’s fire engine…”
Kirk would show no reaction to Drake’s look. He knew that Drake likely would’ve disapproved of that as well as Kirk’s departure from the scene and primary objective of the mission in order to obtain the water to put out the fire. As much as he wanted to help Drake to change his attitude about gifted heroes, he knew Drake to be the consummate professional and that in his mind Vanguard was just a super-powered extension of Chess; that would be a continued source of conflict between the two, because as much as Kirk respected Chess and would strive to work alongside it, Vanguard had a responsibility to the people and the heroic ideal first and foremost.

Kirk sensed that Grey knew and accepted that going in, after all his year’s with the Freedom Force; in fact, he almost felt that Grey counted on it and would be disappointed inwardly if they acted otherwise, even if outwardly he would give them a slap on the hands for appearance's sake.

What was it about Drake that he just didn’t get it? What made him so hard in this regard? Kirk made a mental note that he would need to research the career and background of Drake once this mission was over and they had some downtime. He had some ideas of what could have made Drake this way – but only by understanding the formation of such mental inclinations could Kirk hope to help Drake to shape a better view.

“…Archer was a big weary man…”
When Archer had a moment alone away from Drake and Grey, Kirk would introduce himself;
“Detective Archer, I’m Sentinel of Vanguard. We’re sorry we couldn’t have done more to contain the situation and the damage here. Our team is coordinating with Chess in an official capacity. We’re doing all we can to assist them in this investigation,” and sizing the veteran up and looking him square in the eyes (and knowing the conflicts that can arise between the feds and locals), he added, “but this is your city, and you know it best, and that means we’re here to assist you and your men too.”
Any reaction by Archer – anything subtle to show that he got the point that Kirk was trying to make?

…”After the opportunity to converse with Vanguard, Grey offered his opinions about Sentinel’s dead captive on the rooftop. The old tactician said: “Dexter Sinister’s hit team seems light considering the manpower in their target house… Result: we’ve got no captives from Dexter Sinister’s gang…”
Kirk would make Grey aware of any additional facts he found in his additional investigation on the rooftop verifying (or questioning) his assessment of the situation.

If Kirk’s additional actions and comments didn’t make any new leads/facts available for Kirk to pursue he would try to accomplish the following:

(1) Did NYPD or Chess on the scene hear anything from locals about the activity around the “target” building in the days preceding? Kirk would assist the fire dept and NYPD with the people from the building and making sure that they were getting needed assistance – as Kirk checked with the building’s residents did any of the crowd have anything to say about recent activity in the building that might prove useful? Every building has the old senior citizen that knows everybody’s business - does Kirk make contact with that person?
(2) Check in with the tech group regarding their various searches and internet chatter for results – anything useful regarding chatter on the activities of the evening? Any messages regarding recruitment of “talent” for the replacement of the hitmen lost tonight? Anything found on “Dexter Sinister”.
(3) Kirk would observe Chess in action regarding the interrogation of the captured men both to technique as well as hoping to hear useful information first hand. Kirk is always looking to learn and knows that this is likely a skill that wouldn’t come naturally to him.
(4) Is Chess (or the NYPD) getting operatives out to the local dives and bars undercover where someone might be talking too much after the night’s activities?

Depending on what ensues from the above inquiries, Kirk would assist/observe wherever he thought his talents would help most.


Kairos basically stands around for a little bit but, when he sees this lightning guy come out with a supposedly dead (or very injured) criminal, he steps up to say, "These men may very well be criminals caught in the act but the crime is done. Our job is done. Let the authorities take them from here...we're not judge, jury, and executioner."

Kairos further actions depend on the actions and reactions of those around him. He is mindful of Vanguard being a group that he isn't part of and so takes into account the positioning of all of them but will not back down from what he has said and will use force to prevent any more of the criminals from being injured here "after the fact".

If it is revealed that the criminal isn't actually dead, he'll still shake his head at the tactics involved and speak out against it. To his mind, injuring the criminals in the act and/or to save innocent lives or property (is property innocent?) is fine but, after they are subdued, they fall outside of Vanguard's influence and should be taken care of through legitimate channels.

He's mindful of the metal he carries and might attempt to divest himself of it if it came to a fight so he isn't carrying anything conductive.

At some point he will probably be required or requested to introduce himself and will do so as "Kairos,” declining much further talk unless it involves joining Vanguard.

Kairos shakes Sentinel’s hand and replies, "I call myself Kairos. Glad to be of assistance."

He is exhilarated by the fight and harbors a great desire to join them. If no one mentions joining with them, he'll inquire as to how one might go about doing so.

Depending on how everything works out, he'll probably exit athletically and disappear into the night, taking several turns, climbing a building or two, and just flat out sprinting to get away from anyone who might be trying to follow and will then change into his civilian clothes later.

Kairos shakes Sentinel’s hand and replies, "I call myself Kairos. Glad to be of assistance."
Sentinel replied: "Always glad to meet someone else willing to fight the good fight; and if you'd like to be of further assistance maybe you can stick around to compare notes with the other members of Vanguard. Perhaps you've learned something more than we have and can assist; in fact, I'd be glad for another hand in this mission since we seem to have lost the services of some of our members... I'd really like to talk more, but (pointing around) I've got to see if I can help with the civilian relief effort or further fire containment ..."

Sentinel adds the above when he gets good vibes from Kairos. However, he wouldn't be able to really discuss things further until assisting further in the efforts going on per my posting.

OOC: I'm going to assume that with all Sentinel was trying to get done he missed whatever Kairos is referring to about Strike since I really don't remember or know about Strike attacking a defenseless thug, and if I didn't pick up on it, I'm sure Kirk didn't have the time to notice.

If Kirk is present to hear Kairos' statement he would agree with its sentiments and would suggest that perhaps Kairos misunderstood what had happened with Strike and he was simply defending himself at the time of the encounter.

Again, I've got Kirk running in a number of directions at the scene, so unless this occurs after things have quieted down I wouldn't think he'd be present, but he definitely would've taken the moment to extend the invitation to Kairos to stick around and assist.

More OOC: Does Kairos' name, costume, gear, etc have any recognition with Kirk with his constant internet scans for extranormal activity, etc or has Kairos flown totally under known radar until now.
If Kirk has heard of him or recognizes a description that fits him from his research, let me know what Kirk knows (or thinks he knows) otherwise I'll continue to play Kairos as a total unknown.


Lightning Strike:
OOC: Now of course all of you know that LS wouldn't deliberately hurt anyone but there is no reason to let the enemy know that. Batman used intimidation for years and Spider-Man used to drop goons and catch them in his web before they bounced off the pavement as long as I have been reading comics.

IC: If Kairos stands in front of Lightning Strike, then LS will confront him and say to him "The crime is never done. These slime spread like cockroaches and unless we step up and stop it now, it will never end. I suggest you figure out which side you are on before you take such an 'ethical' stand. I doubt they will give you that benefit."


OOC GM Reply:
Sentinel hasn't heard of Kairos before.

LS "hurting defenseless thugs" occurred in is first post to this issue, quoted here:
"I hope that puts enough of a scare into him to get him to spill his guts. Strike figures the youngest would be the easiest but he will attempt to interrogate others if he gets nothing useful out of this one.
If this thug doesn't cough up anything useful, then LS will shock him into unconsciousness and drag him out in front of the others and tell the police to call the meat wagon for this stiff and gesture for another to come forward and repeat the process."

As the process could be repeated with each captive, Sentinel will start to notice.
We players know that LS isn't killing them, but he is hurting them.
Kairos (or others) might not know that he's bluffing.


Lightning Strike:
OOC: Isn't there something like an intimidation rule that someone like Batman would get against thugs that get them to confess with only the threat of violence? That's how it works in the comics!!


OOC GM Reply:
Sure. See the Morale Check/Cool Rolls rules, which were shared earlier in the game.
Lightning Strike's attempt to scare the thugs into talking may succeed if they fail their Cool Rolls.
But his bluff has fooled Kairos (and maybe others) into thinking Strike is a dangerous, out of control vigilante.
Just like some folks think Batman is a dangerous, out of control vigilante that needs to be taken down. That's how it works in the comics!! ;)


[ooc] I'll make this short and I'll let you guys get going with the issue. I should be able to get back into it for the next one. I also haven't really read any of the last batch of messages.[/ooc]

Scott looked around amazed at the destruction: The burning building, the massacre, the ready wantonness of it. The seemingly senseless destruction which, in reality, was probably very tactically done by the mobsters, in their quest for dominance.

Every time he looked around, he had to remind himself that this war was not their objective, but finding the two superhuman criminals was.

After meeting Archer and getting Grey's assessment, he didn't know what to do for sure. Thinking to himself.. Damn it Grey, I'm a structural engineer, not a PI.

He turned to his captured man. He seemed to be a leader of men. He rallied his fellow murderers against him. He might know more than the others. So he got himself a room with a couple of chairs.

He sat down in front of him and started to talk to him. "I'm going to make this short. You know I'm a Super. You know I can literally crush you in the palm of my hand. I'm looking for a little bit of information. You play nice and we part ways nicely. I'm a man of my word, as you've already seen.
You don't play nice, we may have more than words. So it's your gamble. I don't believe in good cop/bad cop. I can do both, especially when I lose my temper."

"I know that DS's crew you decimated. What I don't know is what crew you're part of."

[ooc: time for response]

"I know this mob war is fairly clean of Supers, but the word out on the street is that there could be a few new Supers in some of the crews. That's a problem. That's a problem that I don't like nor does _my_ crew like. I need whatever you can give me on any supers that's playing with any crew."

[ooc: Time for response]

The rest of the speech will be letting him know that any crew that will be fostering/harboring/employing a Super in their criminal endeavors will have the attention of Vanguard. This will be VERY bad for them. I want to scare him so he spreads the word. Hopefully, it'll flush them out a bit.

I have no problem squeezing him 'til he sees stars. Covering him completely (let's make it icky, sort of like the Venom symbiote).

I'll press if I don't get any answers to the first two questions, but I'll leave it to shows of strength with little bruising. (Hold him so he can't breathe for a while, long enough to scare him good). Scott's not enjoying this at all, BTW, but it's something that needs to get done.

Meeting Kairos: Slingshot shakes the hand of Kairos vigorous and thanks him for his help, but otherwise is not committal. He seems preoccupied.

Depending on how long the above takes, Scott will try to get back to the apartment and snoop a bit more as well as get a report on Nanite's status. Maybe look for that crowbar.

Actually, Scott will ask Kairos if he could help with this side research (unless he's asked by someone else to do something on the main plot). If he accepts, then I'll bring him along to the apartment.