Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Issue 35: The Wee Small Hours of the Morning

Big City. Investigation Day Two, 3:00am to 5:00am

Lightning Strike and Sentinel stayed in the Bronx for now, to complete the interrogation of their captives. Kairos joined them, perhaps to watch against any more mock executions.

The fire was out. Residents were returning to their homes. The dead gangsters were carted out and the live ones awaited carting to jail.

Sentinel said to Grey: “When this is over I’d like to get access to the files regarding Freedom Force’s training and recruitment process... It would also be nice to gain access to information on the profiles you have on other extranormals. You and Drake both seemed comfortable enough to offer membership to Kairos, so I assumed you knew about him as you did the rest of us.”

Grey nodded. “We did. You might consider junior membership for the new ones, until you’re sure they’re on the up and up. That’s how the FF worked it. And yer new security clearance gives you access to those kinds of files.”

Sentinel used his computer skills to transmit a repeating message through cyberspace via a CHESS laptop. The intended target was Nanite, or what was left of her. There was no reply yet.

Ajay contacted Vanguard again over the communicator before he went off duty for the night. “Internet chatter is starting up again. Rumors flying that the Five Bosses have called a peace conference. No location or timetable. I’ll keep monitoring…”

Kirk searched his memory for extranormals who would be likely suspects for the sort of attack that killed Nanite. His memory had one answer: Lightning Strike. The electric avenger had drained power from the Doomsday Robot into himself. Could that be why Lightning Strike had reacted to the report?

Lightning Strike turned to the CHESS agents and Sentinel and said, "Further interrogation may lead us to other safe houses of The Octopus so that we may hit the attackers before they strike. We should plan a surveillance exercise as soon as possible."

When questioned, Spider Girucci snarled, “Keep it up and you’ll end up with a bullet hole in yer head fer brains to leak into.”
But the Shivering Kid gave up two addresses run by the Octopus. Detective Archer radioed them out for immediate surveillance. An answer came back: ‘But Hank, we’re already there.”
Both addresses now held burning buildings. One inferno had men pouring out like rats. The cops were trying to round up as many as they could to continue the interrogation chain.

At one point, Archer and Lightning Strike had words alone and Archer gave him a business card.
In addition, LS suggested finding out the circumstances behind Whisper’s death. Hank Archer jerked his head toward some of his men. “We can work that angle.”
Strike ended with: “If I were a believer in coincidence I would chalk up the fact that the address she located was in the Light Industry district. But since I don't, we should narrow our search to that area first."

As CHESS agents checked for recent power losses, Strike, Sentinel and Kairos set out for Hell’s Kitchen, their first search area. (…continued below)

Meanwhile, Forester and Slingshot were at the dilapidated tenement that held Nanite’s body.
Forester said: “But what's up with all these bad guys brought back from the dead?... Do super-villains have a monopoly on reincarnation, or do they just keep getting booted out of the spirit world?"

Doc Rocket brightened and said: “You’re quite right, my boy. That would make a fascinating study. That twisted genius Dr. Swastika mentioned that he found biological source of superpowers… centered in the brain. I wonder if there is a physiognomic answer to your insightful query!”

Forester requested permission to do a focused search of CHESS computer/clippings files for evidence of connections between Cat and any Asian organizations with mystical/metaphysical leanings.

Grey grants permission and Forester accesses a CHESS computer from one of the agents at the high tech crime scene and finds no files under the alias The Cat. Forester does find tantalizing hints of an Asian underworld organization with suspected mystical capabilities and suspected ties to the Yakuza, the Triads, and several governments. It took an hour. A fuller search might find more. (OOC: I’m assuming that Forester will do this after the stakeout he said he wanted to attend?).

While fully following all police instructions, Forester does his best to investigate Nanite's corpse and the surrounding area for markings/signs that might suggest mystical/occult activity.

Forester detects no occultic signs. He does see leaked coolant near her hand. In it, Nanite had begun to write a word. She got as far as “LU-”

Forester saw that the tiny, shabby apartment was barren. No table, no chair. On the cracked bathroom mirror, there was finally something that indicated someone lived here. It was a photo of Slingshot. Scott recognized when it was taken. It was from Nanite’s point of view. She must have had a camera function within her silver eyes and printed it out at some point. Slingshot was frozen in time, smiling his big goofy grin. He didn’t know he looked that happy when he was talking to Nanite.

Slingshot said to Doc Rocket: "Doctor, if I could make a request, could you please leave her body as intact as possible? And return it, whole, to the Vanguard HQ when you are done with your research?"

Doc raised an eyebrow and murmured softly, “Of course, my boy. But you realize it appears that all systems lost power suddenly. She might have lost… consciousness before she could… do anything.”

Slingshot found the nosy neighbor awake, and asked if she saw anything of interest in his most affable demeanor. She was an old, black woman with pink hair curlers and a ratty, floral bathrobe. Taking Scott’s ebon skin as kinship, the woman opened up. “The building had a blackout today. But the super couldn’t understand it. There was no fuses blown downstairs, and no other building on the block had any such trouble!”
She also said a young boy who lives upstairs was messing around the fire escape a while ago.

Forester, Slingshot and some CHESS agents found the boy upstairs and recovered the crowbar he took from the fire escape. He wanted it as a souvenir of seeing a superhero, Slingshot, fly off the building. He ruined any fingerprints there might have been but when questioned he said he saw a big long car, a black limo, out front during the building’s power outage. Out of place in this neighborhood. Slingshot hadn’t seen it and it wasn’t there now.

Forester and Slingshot went to the address that Doc Rocket recovered from Nanite’s fragmented history file. It was a building in a section of Hell’s Kitchen licensed for light industry, far out on the west side. Slums and the ancient ruins of Big City’s lost manufacturing base.
Two stories, brick, long, narrow and covering half a block, maybe it was once a factory or a warehouse, like the forlorn structures surrounding it. There were no lights inside and the windows were covered in grime.

By now it was 3am. The rain wasn’t stopping. The two friends began their vigil. Forester hid in the shadows and Slingshot plastered his black frame thinly across a brick wall on a nearby rooftop. After two hours, they had detected nothing. 5:00 am and lonely newspaper trucks and cabbies began to stir. There was a bleak light in the eastern sky.

Slingshot was thinking of his dry, warm bed when Lightning Strike, Sentinel and Kairos quietly appeared. Sentinel’s energy scans detected no people inside the building, nor anything unusual in the area.

OOC: Actions?
Thanks everyone!



After the heroes compare notes from Issue 34, including the "LU-" clue that Nanite left behind, Forester says, "Well, it's time to shed more light on this investigation and finally crack this case."

Forester heads to the eastern side of the abandoned manufacturing building and fires one arrow at a second-floor window and one arrow at a first-floor window to let in light from the rising sun. He uses his bow to clear away broken glass and, with his heightened agility, hops through the first-floor window.

OOC: Hey Jeff, during the SKULL mission, Forester recalled how two other students had left Marksman's dojo during Forester's original training. These two students had Panther and Dragon totems.

1. Did Forester meet either of these former students? Would he recognize them?

2. Does Forester know if the "Dragon" used fire in any way? Given the burning buildings in Issue 34 and the way Marksman's original dojo and burned down, it's worth asking.

3. Is the former student with the "Panther" totem the treacherous Cat-like student who Marksman sent Forester to apprehend? Or did that Cat leave Marksman's tutelage before Forester began his training?


Lightning Strike:

Strike curses the fact that they were two steps behind again.
"Whoever has started this gang war almost knows what we are thinking.
It can't be long before The Octopus retaliates in some way, if he has any people left."

LS will continue to look for evidence of how this massive power drain was done, hopefully tracing to the source. LS will also ask CHESS to look up any extranormals with any electrical abilities.

LS will help out on any continued stakeout.


[ooc] There are several things that Slingshot would like to get done. I'm not sure what timeframe is the next turn, so I'll put out my list and if combat starts, or something, it'll have to wait. [/ooc]

It seems that while last night was immensely busy night, Scott managed to botch several things. That crowbar, for example, he should have listened to his instincts and picked it up.

In the back of his mind, having given his card to Girucci might be more trouble than it will be worth. Only time will tell on that one.

Thinking to himself.. "Nanite. Damnit, I should have read more into that email. I figured she would be able to handle herself, she's a robot after all." He paused his thoughts for a moment, "My mind is wandering again. I'm getting tired and cranky."

He turns to his partner only to notice that the others are arriving. Slinking away from the edge, he says, "We have a lead of sorts, but nothing immediate. We'll have to monitor this location. Do you have anything on the mobsters?"

[ooc] List of things to do:

1- Run a search on any supers that have electrical/magnetic powers or a power stunt that would darken a building and start with Lu-.

2- Get either Vanguard or Chess techs to patch up Nanite's body back to working function, in case we find her in the "matrix".

3- get some sleep, no more than 4 hours.

4- see if there are any leads from the others that need following, otherwise stand vigil from Nanite's follower.

5- see with Doc Rocket if there was a time in Nanite's memory files when the stalker was detect more than others (night vs morning, etc..)


When Kirk got a moment with Strike out of the ear range of the Chess agents he said to him, “It seems like we’ve got no leads on Nanite’s assailant, and your as concerned about finding someone else with these abilities as we are - after our recent encounter with Swastika I’m sure you’d have mentioned if you were having any memory lapses (Kirk paused ever so briefly so that if Strike had something to say that he hasn’t he can do so), but I wanted you to consider something you might not have thought about… your sudden appearance in the newspaper headlines along with your scientific expertise that I’ve seen you demonstrate indicates a high probability of a scientific event or accident as the origin of your powers … if that is the case, is there any chance someone else might have developed the same abilities at that time – was there anyone that went MIA after the incident that caused your powers?”
If Strike doesn’t want to answer this or takes this in the wrong way, he won’t push it, but realizes that he can likely check some of the facts from their Chess files and will do so.

At this point Kirk had been thinking about the fact that they were working on these two separate cases, and in the super-hero biz, things that aren’t seemingly related all too often are related… but he can’t find any connecting factor at this point. However he did realize something strange. They had encountered Nanite as a prisoner of Swastika, but it seems unlikely she would have been taken to be used by him as a “body” since she is robotic in nature and mechanic, not organic, so his control shouldn't have worked on her. Was she perhaps pursuing him for some reason, only to be captured? Kirk will check the Chess files on Nanite and also their debriefing of her to find out how long she had been a captive, how the captivity came about, and any other facts that might help their investigation. She couldn’t have been there long if someone else was pursuing her and she was aware of the pursuit … unless that person was Skin Deep! And if so, why would Skin Deep take the time to hunt her down?
(so what's in the Chess file and what does their debriefing reveal regarding any of this)

(at the building)
As the heroes regrouped and compared notes Kirk stated, “We need to find the location of this alleged “peace conference”, it will be nothing of the sort. This is a ploy by whoever is behind all of this to get the bosses together and take them all out at once.

They’ve been hitting mostly on the Octopus for now, but none of the other bosses would upset the balance of power expecting the others to just allow them to take over the turf of the Octopus. Either one of the bosses has new backers with fire power to take out the rest or the new player is setting them all up --- likely it’s the group that Forester has been tracking and warned us about … either way, mark my words, they make their move at this “summit”.

Sentinel agreed with Forester’s decision to enter the building but first suggested that he try a closer, more in-depth scan since an aerial scan of their previous “target” building failed to reveal the activity below the ground at the building. If the others will hold off a moment to allow him to get closer to the ground level and do an in depth scan he’ll do it and report to them. If they don’t want to wait, then he’ll do the scan and then join them unless his scan reveals something more that was previously missed (and then they all have their communicators).