Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Issue 56: The Big Sleep in Big City!

In Morgue’s stronghold beneath the lost catacombs of Lonely Town…

Morgue croaked: “DON’T!! Kill me and yer friend dies! The kid in the white costume!”
He meant the Ghost! The heroes paused for just a moment.
Morgue growled up at them: “You saw him dead! I’m the only thing keepin’ him alive! Bump me off and yer killin’ yer own friend! His blood’ll be on your hands! …Again.”

Forester said: "I will not let you use my friend as a bargaining chip. If you are keeping him alive through some twisted or unnatural means, it would do him no favor to let you continue. And if he is still alive in his own right and you simply have the power to sentence him to death, then his death will be on your hands alone. You are foolish take credit for his noble existence. You don't deserve the honor of using him to extort your escape."
Forester fires his arrow! As ever, the amazing archer’s arrow found its mark… THUNK! …squarely in Morgue’s throat. But it wasn’t enough to sever the ghoul-gangster’s head!

Morgue snarled through clenched teeth: “You punks ain’t got the stomach fer this work!”

Sentinel, warned by Inhuman, detected more anti-energy as…
Poker Face and Femme Fatale descended from the stairs!
Sentinel cautioned his team mates to not meet Fatale’s entrancing gaze, spoiling her attack.
Poker Face, his travesty of a body further ruined by the avalanche, flicked a playing card at Inhuman! KA-BOOM! It missed the aquatic adventurer but he still caught some of the force (8 points damage!)
Other undead creatures were coming down the stairs!

Then the Ghost phased through a wall into the chamber! He still appeared anguished and tormented (see image above). He faced his friend and mentor, Forester. “I’m sorry,” he rasped as he placed his hand inside Forester’s torso! (OOC: 10 points directly off hit points!) The pain was excruciating.
Vanguard was surrounded by the Damned. Morgue laughed. “Yer finished. Like all the others.”

Sentinel and Inhuman launched at Morgue and he met them. The two heroes grimly began the dirty work of decapitating a powerfully strong, undead madman. Inhuman moved his controlled water from around Morgue to form a blast at him! His water jet and Sentinel’s energy construct blade severed half the thickly muscled neck and Morgue roared! “This ends now,” stated the beacon of liberty with steady determination. They locked with Morgue and tried to finish the grisly job.

Morgue, eyes wild and with his last breath, defiantly grabbed Sentinel’s face with his bare hand! They both yelled with all they had and suddenly fell silent. Sentinel’s constructs vanished, along with all the light in the dank, muddy chamber beneath the lost catacombs of Big City.

Forester lit a flare arrow. Morgue lay decapitated from Inhuman and Sentinel’s attack! Sentinel, Fatale, Poker Face and the Ghost all lay lifeless on the ground! Inhuman and Forester found Sentinel alive but stunned. (OOC: Morgue got past Sentinel’s armor and used his Death Touch attack. Kirk made one saving throw out of two, and lost all his power points, but lived.) Before he could form energy constructs, Sentinel would need to rest. But time was short and air was running out.

Inhuman lifted Morgue’s head by the hair and moved it from the body. Then he began sandblasting a path out, at least to better air. It was slow and dirty work. Forester guarded the revenant remains and in time Sentinel rested enough to help Inhuman burrow out. The trio of battered and bloody heroes emerged from the catacombs to a waiting CHESS team of Rooks and medics. The heroes had emerged with the remains of Big City’s former criminal masters. And with the remains of the Ghost.

(OOC: Replies, responses to any of this. Then continue below...)

Meanwhile, in the penthouse offices of Caine Corp Citadel, The Luddite concentrated and absorbed Lightning Strike into him! The electric avenger disappeared into the ebon shadow shape of the Luddite. Strike was gone!! The Luddite’s form distorted and rippled. Tiny sparks, like firework stars popped and arced along his surface. “All who oppose me will meet a similar fate,” warned the human black hole.

Super-scientist Symbiote called: "Slingshot!! Wrap up Archer and Caine to protect them, it's about to get hot in here!" he said to the Vulcanized Vigilante. He then turned to the Luddite. "You're looking a little overfed, there, Spooky. Bit off more than you can chew tonight? Well, how about another spoonful?!" Symbiote snarled. He extended both arms, and then shouted to the disembodied Lightning Strike, praying that the Amped-Up Avenger could still hear him somewhere within the Luddite's form. "LIGHTNING STRIKE!! HE'S OVERLOADING!! HIT HIM WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE!!!" Symbiote readied a powerful electrical blast but…

The Luddite repeated, “I said, I can absorb electricity. You who are made of it are most vulnerable here.” He concentrated again and absorbed Symbiote directly into him! The myrmidon of mimicry vanished into the void of the shadow man! Symbiote vanished! The Luddite’s form warped and undulated again. Sparks, like stars in spinning galaxies, swam along his surface. Symbiote’s light source has disappeared but the Luddite was now giving off illumination. He frowned.

Slingshot did what Symbiote requested, using his non-conductive form to safely wrap up the civvies Detective Archer and Silas Caine. Archer wasn’t pleased with this. Caine was conscious and watchful.

Silas Caine called to Kairos from the viewport Slingshot had fashioned from his elastic epidermis. “You there! The one who disappeared was right! This thing is overloading.” Indicating lit buildings through the windows, he said: “Not all power was extinguished. If there is power left in Caine Citadel, use it to overload this creature!” The man’s way of speaking was persuasive and intelligent.

Kairos (whose weakness the GM is activating) was wary at first. Then the veteran of countless battles leapt into action. Kairos scaled the building’s exterior to the roof and the waiting CHESS hovervan. Using as few words of explanation as possible, the soldier of Fortune itself got the pilot to turn off the engine and open the hood. Kairos quickly released the vehicle’s electric power source and swung back down through the broken window into Caine’s offices carrying it! The champion of eternity landed and without a word, cracked the casing with his steel staff and hurled the sparking, unstable electrical power source at the Luddite whose form was already losing its integrity.

The Luddite said only: ‘No.”

Meanwhile, Symbiote’s and Lightning Strike’s minds were conscious and floating in a black void. Neither was aware of the other. Neither could not see anything, not even their own body and were in fact not sure they still had one! But both activated their powers and generated as much electricity as they possibly could! SHA-KOWW!!!!!

The Luddite detonated, releasing white electrical arcs that engulfed the room! Slingshot shielded his eyes, Archer and Caine. KRAKKA-BOOOM! (Kairos and Slingshot each take 11 points of damage!)
When the blinding light subsided, standing where the Luddite had been were Symbiote and Lightning Strike! The Luddite was gone! The murderer of Nanite and Lightning Strike’s wife had exploded into oblivion. All the windows had crashed outward and the night air blew through Caine’s offices.

CHESS Rooks arrived from the roof, medics among them.
Detective Archer checked Caine for injuries and quickly separated him out. He had questions for the billionaire and he also wanted him away from Vanguard in case any of them wanted to take another shot at him.

(OOC: Replies, responses to any of this. Then continue below...)

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 5, Power Points: 63
Inhuman: Hit Points: 1, Power Points: 10
Kairos: Hit Points: 9, Power Points: 53
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 18, Power Points: 39
Sentinel: Hit Points: 3, Power Points: 10, Creation Points: 20
Slingshot: Hit Points: 26, Power Points: 80, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote with Strike’s powers: Hit Points: 13, Power Points: 20, Harness Charges: 0
Chapter Two: Big City Big Wrap-Up!
The CHESS Omni-Carrier. Off the coast of Big City.

Vanguard was patched up. Those that took stimshots crashed and slept. The rest just slept.
The next day, Detective Archer, Agent Drake and Director Grey thanked and debriefed the team. Sgt. Stone and Doc Rocket (famous, retired heroes of WWII) were present. So was CHESS Knight Nathan Lamb. From the debriefing, an event timeline was created for CHESS’ files, as best as they could figure it:

22 years ago: Freedom Force destroys Intercrime, creating a power vacuum in Big City’s underworld.

20 years ago: Black Bat is thought to be destroyed. He escapes to East Asia where he begins to amass power in organized crime.

10 years ago: After many short-lived regimes, Big City’s underworld is seized by the mysterious Five Bosses. They impose a ban on extranormals, to avoid attention from CHESS or the Freedom Force.

Between 20 years ago and 1 year ago: The Cat (one of the Five Bosses) becomes an agent of Black Bat’s Asian crime empire. The Black Bat later described the Cat as “a willful servant” to Vanguard. Still, it’s likely the Cat is the Black Bat’s eyes and ears into the actions of the Five Bosses.

One year ago: The Freedom Force go missing after they vanquished an alien invasion of Earth by Eon the Eternal and the S’Korian Empire

Six months ago: With the Freedom Force dead or missing, the Black Bat contemplates returning to America to build a power base there. His plan is to divide the Five Bosses against themselves.

Five weeks ago: Whisper, Femme Fatale’s lieutenant, goes missing. Suspicions abound and fractures grow between the Five Bosses. If the Black Bat is to be believed, he disappeared Whisper to divide the Bosses against each other. It works and the bosses are moving to war.

Over one week ago: Morgue escapes Dr. Swastika’s Body Farm and arrives in Big City. Shortly thereafter, he comes under the power of the Black Bat. Morgue acts to further set the Five Bosses against themselves. Killers and gunmen are coming to Big City for the war.

One week ago: Haven, the Marksman’s refuge, is burned to the ground. The Marksman warns Forester of a quasi-mystical crime lord and cult leader coming to Big City from the East.

Two days ago:
In an apparently unrelated matter, Nanite is murdered by the Luddite. His motive is a hatred of advanced technology.

Open gang war between the Five Bosses. Vanguard intercedes.
Vanguard’s arrival begins to unite the warring Five Bosses against a common enemy. Morgue (and Black Bat) try to keep fanning the flames, to no avail.

One day ago:
Luddite’s lair is discovered. At dawn, a death trap is deactivated. His journal is found, revealing his motives and abilities.

The Five Bosses are reunited against Morgue. A secret peace conference is planned, with both sides planning a double cross. Through Spider Girucci, the Five Bosses offer Vanguard Morgue’s location if they will take him and leave Big City.

Alone against the Five Bosses now, Morgue (and Black Bat) start building an undead army of the damned. To buy time, Morgue (and Black Bat) hire Homicide for Hire to kill Vanguard, which could eliminate the Five Bosses’ common enemy and get them fighting among themselves.

Vanguard defeats Homicide for Hire. Following Spider Girucci’s info, they track Morgue to his lair.

Meanwhile, the Five Bosses move on the CHESS safehouse and are intercepted by Morgue’s men.

Vanguard arrives at Morgue’s stronghold to discover the undead army and that the peace conference occurred, and that Morgue killed the Five Bosses and raised them from the dead as his slaves.

The Black Bat is found alive and in control of Morgue somehow. Bat discovered that the Five Bosses had an Overboss, and wrested his identity from Lightning Strike: Silas Hamilton Caine.
Bat sent half of Vanguard to kill Caine and then disappeared.

Caine survives the attack. The Luddite is discovered and destroyed. Caine is questioned and released.

Vanguard tries to recover Morgue’s body and finds him still alive. He uses Ghost as a hostage of sorts. Vanguard kills Morgue. All of Morgue’s revenants are destroyed, including the Ghost!

Gang War activity is ended. Big City underworld is preternaturally quiet, no doubt reeling from the seismic changes the last few days have wrought.

CHESS is recovering destroyed revenants in the catacombs and sewers of Lonely Town.

Funeral services for the Ghost are planned. He was a 16 year old kid. His parents had no idea.

Caine is pressing charges on Vanguard and the US Government. His lawyers wants classified materials on extranormals released, including their identities as he wishes to formally charge them in court. He claims no connection to the Luddite, who could have followed Vanguard to his offices for all he knows. After all, he was instrumental in the Luddite’s demise (to hear his lawyers tell it).

Caine’s actions and the death of the extranormal teen, the Ghost, get a lot of play in the press. The public is divided. Some politicians wish to review the existing laws regarding extranormal heroes.

CHESS carefully removes the wooden stake from “the remains of Black Bat” that had been in their vaults for 20 years. Nothing happens. DNA testing will eventually reveal they are not the remains of the Bat.

A handwritten letter makes its way to Vanguard’s new headquarters. It reads:
“Dear Vanguard,
My eternal thanks for your assistance in these matters. If there is anything I can do in return for your services, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Yours sincerely,
The Black Bat”

Villains in captivity:
· Morgue: dead
· From the Five Bosses: Femme Fatale, Poker Face: dead
· From Homicide for Hire: The Atomic Brain (dead), Hyena and Silencer (captured alive)
· Spider Girucci, Happy Jim Hacker, The Quickdraw Kid, et. al.: dead

Villains still at large:
· Skin Deep
· Dexter Sinister, The Octopus and The Cat: remains not recovered yet, but assumed dead.
· From Homicide for Hire: Jim Harrik a.k.a. The Mercenary, Penumbra and Zero G
· The Black Bat
· Silas Hamilton Caine, if he is a villain

(OOC: Responds, replies to any and all of the above)

Okay. The rest of this turn is downtime/ bookkeeping. Please answer the following 4 things:

1) If you wish to leave the game for whatever reason, now is the perfect time in terms of our story. But I sincerely hope that none of you will leave. Those that stay, please continue:

2) Onboard the CHESS Omni-Carrier, Director Grey, on behalf of the US government, asks you new heroes (Kairos, Inhuman and Symbiote) to join Vanguard in an official capacity.*(OOC: Replies?)

3) Please let me know what your character will be doing for the next few weeks or so. Again, you control the game’s direction and your characters’ lives sow the seeds for future adventures.
Sentinel and Blue Comet’s backgrounds helped form the SKULL/ Dr. Swastika story arc.
Lightning Strike, Slingshot and Forester’s interests helped form the Big City Saga.
Looks like it’s Kairos’, Symbiote’s and Inhuman’s turns!

4) Experience Point Time!
Anyone involved in:
· Thwarting gangsters at burning tenement building, gains 250 points
· Locating the Luddite’s secret lair, gains 100 points
· Invading Luddite’s empty lair, tipping him off to your presence and interest in him, loses 200 points
· Deactivating the Luddite’s dynamite deathtrap and saving the neighborhood, gains 100 points
· Defeating Homicide for Hire and capturing the Atomic Brain, Silencer and Hyena, gains 1000 points
· Entering the Lonely Town Catacombs and battling the Undead Gangsters, gains 250 points
· Defeating Morgue, Femme Fatale, Poker Face and Dexter Sinister, gains 1000 points
· Destroying Morgue and his revenants for once and for all, gains 500 points and 1 Charisma point
· Meeting Black Bat and destroying Big City’s organized crime to his benefit, loses 1 Charisma point
· Destroying the Luddite, gains 500 points and 1 Charisma point

So, everyone gains 1 level except Inhuman and Forester (sorry, you two!).

For those of you who have gone up one level: Every level increase means:
Better combat ability. (An attacker’s chance to hit is modified by the difference between his level and his target’s levels. Example: a 1st level hero attacking a 6th level villain gets a -5 modifier to hit. That same villain gets +5 to hit the 1st level hero. )
+1% to detect hidden and detect danger
Charisma/10 in Luck Points! (see below for Luck Point rules)
New powers and/or skills! Please read the below info on Character Advancement** to figure out what you want to do on this, and then let me know! Have fun with this.

OK. You’ve got over two weeks to have fun with all this stuff.
Then I’ll craft your new and improved character sheets.
After you approve them, we’ll begin the next adventure arc in our senses-shattering saga-rama!
Thanks everyone.


OOC: While I try to figure out what I want to spend my training on..
I just have to say Thank You, Jeff! for another excellent story arc. Well done!
I'll be sticking around for another story arc, for sure.. As long as you can support my occasional tardy reply.

I also have to add that I'm a bit taken aback at the death toll that we have amassed this time. It's kind of high. I know we were dealing with undead, but.. sheesh..


Symbiote:(OOC: Something extra I ran by Jeff first. Say that this happened at Caine Citadel, just before Archer escorts Caine off, and that we all heard him threatening the legal action against us. I'm hoping this little speech will deter him from filing that lawsuit. Or at least give the S.O.B. a few sleepless nights. )

(In character): When Caine threatens to sue Vanguard, Symbiote steps forward...

"Mr Caine, don't be silly," Symbiote says smoothly. "We're sorry for the damage to your building, and I'm sure Slingshot is sorry for accidentally hitting you in the dark. But we were only eager to protect you and your building, and your good name. You see, we got a tip that somebody was trying to assassinate you. Somebody must have sent that awful Luddite being after you. When Vanguard got that information--that some dark force out there was trying to kill you, and maybe still is--we rushed right over. After all, we didn't want an honest citizen like you in danger." Hal pauses and looks at Caine meaningfully. "And we didn't want your reputation in danger either. I mean, even if the Luddite hadn't been that dangerous--well, you wouldn't want it revealed that a known terrorist like that was lurking about your building, would you? I'm sure you wanted us to get rid of him as quickly as possible. After all, if there was an investigation into the matter...well, you know how people are. Some folks might get the misguided impression you were in leagues with that maniac. You wouldn't want that."

Hal turns to leave..but then, in the best Columbo fashion, turns around. "And just one more thing, Mr. Caine. I'm not even an official member of Vanguard, I'm just helping out with this case at this time, but I hope you're appreciative of the protection these brave men offer," he says. "If our tip was accurate about just who might've sent an assassination strike force after you,'ll want all the protection you can get. I'm sure a man like you has many connections and can find out who it was, even if CHESS never officially declassifies the information. All I can say is that I seriously doubt he's the type to give up. You may want to thank your lucky stars that CHESS and Vanguard are out there to serve as a shield between you and him. And you may want to have your chef start adding a little more garlic to your meals."

(IC, a few hours after the debriefing on the Chess Helicarrier):

Shelly Harper, younger sister of Hal Harper and a budding young scientist in her own right, sat grading papers in Hal's office. She'd substituted for Hal's classes at NYU and mostly worried during the past 48 hours. Hal had finally called a few hours earlier, let her know that he was alright and promised to meet her at the office within a few hours. She expected him to walk through the door any moment. So she was quite startled when a wall outlet began shooting sparks and an electrical arc shot forth and coalesced into a human form--Hal! He was back!

Hal patted down his own torso, feeling the solidity of his own body. "Man, that's going to take some getting used to," he said.

Shelly jumped up and hugged her brother. "HAL! Thank God! But what the hell was that?" she asked.

"That was a borrowed power from Lightning Strike," Hal said. "I wanted to get back quickly, and didn't want the attention of a CHESS transport dropping me off. He was kind enough to give me a boost."

The siblings chatted as Hal discharged Lightning Strike's powers, removed his costume (including the Harper Harness) and changed into spare civilian clothes he kept in his office. Hal brought Shelly up to speed on exactly what had happened, telling the story of his adventure from start to finish. Shelly raised an eyebrow at all the danger Hal had been in.

"So the claw marks on your chest?" she asked.

"The work of a furry sociopath," Hal replied.

"And the bullet hole?"

"The sociopath's boss had novel ideas about employee discipline."

"And this 'death touch' that Morgue creep used on you?"

"Interesting experience. Tunnel of bright light and everything. Mom says hello. Elvis too."

"Very funny. What about Hank Archer? Do you think he knew who you were?"

Hal paused. "I don't think so, but I wouldn't swear to it," he finally replied. "He's as sharp as he ever was, may be just keeping it under his hat. Guess we'll see. Hope he doesn't say anything to Dad if so, I don't want him worrying."

"Yeah. Terrible thing to worry family members," Shelly said dryly. "So I suppose you're determined to keep up this suicidal behavior?"

"What, and leave all this behind?" Hal quipped, gesturing around his cramped, cluttered office. He got serious. "Yeah, I think I am. I hate to give up teaching, though. Maybe I'll ask for a sabbatical next semester and then come back on a part-time basis after that, see if I can make both lives work together. But yeah...I'm definitely joining Vanguard." He paused and grinned. "Oh, and I left out the best part--I got to meet Doc Rocket."

"YOU'RE KIDDING!" Shelly exclaimed, almost a big a fan of the original scientist/superhero as Hal himself. "What's he like?"

"Brilliant," Hal replied. "I'm not too sure about revealing my real identity to anybody just yet, but I'll figure out a way to get you a guest pass on the CHESS helicarrier. You'd drool at the physics lab they have there." He picked up the Harper Harness. "C'mon let's get this over to the lab. I have telemetry on five metahumans stored, can't wait to examine the energy signatures..."

The siblings continued to banter back and forth as they walked towards Hal's lab...

(OOC: During the next few weeks, Hal will...

-Officially join Vanguard, and make the arrangements at his "day job" as outlined above.

-Visit his father periodically, try to determine if Hank Archer had anything interesting to tell the old man during their regular visits to the cop bar where they hang out together.

-Befriend his idol, Doc Rocket, and engage in as much professional interaction as possible, stopping just short of being a pest. He'll offer to help with the repair/reboot of Nanite in any way possible.

-Along those lines he'll ask Inhuman if he would like Hal to try to cure or treat his condition. Hal will give this a high priority (think Reed Richard's commitment to finding a cure for Ben Grimm). At the very least he'd like to find a way for Inhuman to transform back and forth between human and Inhuman form.

-He'll subtly make the same offer to Slingshot, though he realizes Slingy seems pretty happy with his condition and won't press it if the Ductile Defender would rather just stay as he is.

-Hal will also hit the gym. I have some ideas for modifications/improvements for the Harper Harness in the future, but for now I'd like to raise my Endurance as I mentioned a few issues back.


John felt oddly satisfied even with the aches and pains from the succession of combats in which he had recently participated. Wincing at the bruises now shown in the mirror of the bathroom of his apartment over the bookstore, he still could find no feeling of regret. Following his desire to be a costumed hero was always something that he had wanted to do and had played with in his spare time but he had never really thought that it would happen. All of his life he had honed himself to a fine edge with his practice of mixed martial arts and ancient pankration and his extensive academic studies and he was stronger, smarter, and faster than most people he knew but it had all seemed to be of no real use until now. He had made a difference. That felt good. It felt RIGHT. (OOC: I’m obviously going to stay.)

He was glad that he had been offered a position with Vanguard. He was hoping that the government agencies involved wouldn’t just shuffle a civilian, participant or not, off to the side after the action was over….or, worse yet, try to catch him and use him as some sort of scapegoat for the actions of their own agents. Again, it just felt RIGHT to be part of such a team! Didn’t hurt to be “official”, either. Hell, they even had a retirement plan! (OOC: Have accepted the invitation to join Vanguard.)

While a costumed hero has at least one more mask than other people, this group seemed to be a good bunch. There was no hesitation to take action on their parts, no thought of the welfare of self over others. Perhaps a group of true heroes? The world is in need of such.

After getting cleaned up and downing a handful of Aleve, fixing dinner was out of the question, so John took a little stroll down the street to his favorite Greek restaurant to fuel up. Fighting burned a lot of energy and he still felt drained from using the stim pack, as well. Plenty of greens as well as meat and cheeses followed by a guilty pleasure of baklava and he was quite satisfied and hoping fervently that he wouldn’t have to fight anyone until the meal digested.

Looking back over the past few days, he had to admit that he really needed to step up his training. While he had long been a champion in various types of unarmed fighting matches from amateur boxing to kickboxing to submission wrestling, going toe to toe with mutants and supernatural stuff was something WAY different. The weapons helped, of course, and he would continue with the staff and sticks but he might have to add something else to his arsenal. Not sure what but he would put some thought into it.

He also needed to add some speed. While he was already faster than his teammates, some of the foes were faster still. He decided to step up his training in martial arts and to start really practicing the parkour that he’d been dabbling with the last couple of years. Seeing the Cat in action had given him pause and Hyena wasn’t so shabby, either. Yup, he thought, training is about to get tough. (OOC: Kairos is going to train toward gaining a higher AGI score)

Later, in the still of the night, he lay awake thinking of Penumbra and some of the things she had said. She had obviously recognized him in some manner but he could not under stand exactly why or how she had known him. Interesting woman, of course, but it kinda looked out of the question that he would be quizzing her about it on a peaceful basis. Still, he couldn’t quite shake the fact that she, and even the Bat, knew something about him that he didn’t. He’d always known that he was a little different than others but not so much that he thought that he had special powers or anything. Still, chance seemed to favor him an inordinate amount and he had given up long ago on understanding why. Perhaps his parents had some knowledge? Oh, well…time enough for speculation later. Now is time for sleep…


When the timing seems right, Forester strikes up a conversation with Sentinel. "I know better than to take anything a vampire says seriously, but I was thinking about the way Black Bat commented on your insignia underground, since that was the first thing I noticed about your uniform."

"When I first asked about the 'eye' on your chest early on, I had a hunch that you wore a version of the image that appears on the back of the dollar bill."

The green-clad hero takes out a one-dollar bill and turns it over. Forester also takes out a hand-held mirror so Sentinel can see his chest symbol and the back of the dollar bill at the same time. (OCC: See the attached screen shot I've been saving for this moment. -js)

"In this configuration, the pyramid historically stands for strength and durability, with the foresight to continue and flourish. Given your patriotism, respect for tradition, and downright ingenuity, that interpretation seemed to make sense," the archer adds. "Of course, symbols can mean whatever we want them to mean, but that's still what I see when I see you."

After a pause, Forester says, "Well, I should probably put this dollar away.
Unlike your energy creations, super arrows cost a lot of money to replace."

Before the next mission, Forester replenishes all of his arrows. His standard compliment will be 2 Flash Arrows, 1 version of each of his other trick arrows, and 5 razor-sharp standard arrows, for a total of 16.

In the days ahead, Fred Knoble (aka Forester) attends Ghost's funeral. He wears civilian clothes.
Is there a funeral for Clone, too? If so, he will attend that as well.

If his security clearance allows, Forester will spend time studying the CHESS records for the following opponents: Hyena, Penumbra, Cat, and the winged, bird-like ally/enemy from Dr. Swastika's body farm.

Forester informs Brian Grey that, upon arriving to the battle scene most recently, Black Bat asked about Marksman's whereabouts.

"I'm not sure if Black Bat knows that spent time training with Marksman,"
Forester says, "or if saw my bow and arrows and made a good guess, since I didn't say anything to tip him off."

That said, Forester finally decides to share with Grey the secret location of Marksman's dojo, trusting that Grey will treat this as highly privileged information.

Forester also speaks to Grey about Hyena's earlier remarks that Forester smelled like a "coyote." The wily weapons-master tells Grey that he used the coyote as a totem while training with Marksman. "But it never occurred to me that might give me a particular extra-sensory coyote scent."

Forester requests to visit Hyena in captivity. If the request is granted, here's how he'd like things to go:
After nodding hello, Forester will sit down (or stand if need be) so he can see into Hyena's cell--and so Hyena will see Forester as well. Then Forester will do a contemplative meditation about Hyena, silently watching the villain, and listening to him for 45 uninterrupted minutes. Afterward, he will nod goodbye and leave. If possible, Forester will do this two, maybe three days in a row.

Since the ranger is not a trained interrogator, and knows that his acting isn't good enough to fake the part, this will be his best attempt to acquaint himself with the mysterious opponent. Who knows? Maybe Hyena, with his often-talking temperament, might say something revealing along the way.

OOC: If Hyena says or does anything significant, let me know. --js


OOC: I’m going to see if the following personnel are willing to attend a brief ideas session on dealing with a few ideas about the current state of affairs dealing with Vanguard
Head of Chess
Chess’s PR head
Legal Council to Chess

Here is what we are faced with as far as Silas Crane goes:
1 . information has been presented to us that appears to link him to various criminal or at least unsavory practices.
2. he is apparently trying to use both the press and legal sources to negatively impact Vanguard for that reason alone he has identified himself as an opponent to Vanguard.
3. the man is apparently greedy, thus every dime he spends is a mortal blow to his heart.

I recommend the following strategy for dealing with the Crane Problem.
1a. Legal delays: every day he has to pay a lawyer to attend court costs him. If this is done properly the court expenses can far exceed any possible recoup, secondly we have every reason to believe that we will out live him, even though we are in a dangerous position the Black Bat has marked him as a target and rival afaik his days are numbered, thirdly these tricks have been used against us it’s about time that they got used in our favor.
1b. Countersuit for at the least legal expenses, plus endangerment if he loses getting him into a doubling loss proposition just makes it that much sweeter the money can be used either to defray the legal expenses if necessary OR as a charitable donation to those who have lost lives or property to the actions of the 5 Bosses J.
2. any sources of public information that seem to have links to Silas Crane we find rivals for their audience and provide opposing information. If necessary public radio or tv may be viable alternatives to the media sources he employs. Public appearance (ie as talk show guests or granting reporter interviews) may be a necessary part of the counterintelligence program. However under ANY circumstances are there to be no meetings of any sort with Silas Crane by anyone associated with Vanguard or Chess unless it is for Silas to express a cease In his actions against or possibly a public or private apology for the accidental strike against.
3. Even though Black Bat may appear to be a more pressing problem, the reality is neither problem will go away of it’s own accord. At this point Black Bat can be fought one way and Silas Crane must be fought another regardless of why they oppose us. Which is the reason why we must perform a delaying action to prevent having two fronts, if we have to tying it up in the courts for 20 years, his death or ours is not an unviable solution.
4. I am not saying he is officially our enemy, merely that the actions should indicate that he is someone to deal with cautiously and that may involve keeping him at arms length as well as possibly investigating.

Silas Crane since he seems to have some sort of Power and does appear to be negatively operating against Vanguard he should also probably be investigated if it has not been done so and I would also like to review the points of his file I have clearance for.

These are, of course, my thoughts on the subject and not dictations of policy I appeal to you to use your best judgement in the situation, but keep in mind what we are dealing with. If anyone has any better suggestions then by all means let us share them.

Useful actions for the following weeks: as a character note at first it will appear that Inhuman is energetic even though stiff and limping from combat, however a slow change will come over him during the weeks that follow. Though at first most of his time will be spent active. any meetings or research sessions Inhuman will attend at first will be inhuman prompt if not early then as the weeks progress he will begin showing up late if at all and he seems to be occasionally sleeping in the bathtub which does not help at all he will seem to be sleeping later, appearing tired and irritable, excepting the Saturday thing unless that seems to be going bad. At first random encounters with him will see him whistling happy tunes but by the end of this period he will be more likely to be encountered in his rooms listening to the top 20 equivalent of disturbing emo/ goth music.

The Day after we get out of the tunnels I will request to meet with the sub aquatic operations members (Seal and or Frog men equivalent operatives) and explain the operation I have in mind. I am planning on carrying through with the brief plan I tried to set up with the Octopus. I will find a lonely dock less than a mile from the mouth of the chosen river for the Octopus to approach. I will use my cleaning/repowering ability (water breathing with side effects) to create a clean spot (essentially a stream in the river) that he should try to find me in. I will then take water and discarded supplies in the water (ie Seaweed and various pieces of trash) found in the water to generate a humanoid form that appears to be a very wet fisherman ( ie look for boots, gloves, jacket/raincoat, hat, trousers and something to form a face and hopefully a fishing pole with line ) have that sit on the dock being animated by my powers while I wait under the dock to meet whoever shows up. For fun and entertainment I will try to get my creation to whistle by creating an air pocket and altering the shape of the aperture while changing the size of the pocket of air (ie moving air ). The Aquatic operatives I would like to have on standby and close in case someone tries to attack me. I understand that I will only be at 5 to 7 HP at this point and that it is risky… but it must be done. In addition any sea life I encounter I will speak with and inquire as to any spotting of unusual fish.
Getting information from Octopus may help us deal with Silas as well as Black Bat. And giving him an opportunity to deal with us may be the best we will get.

If something approaches I will try to deal with it to the best of my ability, avoiding combat if possible. Should nothing occur then I will wait a week and try again at a different dock. Same procedures, starting at 6:00 am and going until nearly midnight on both occasions.

I will try to form a working relationship with the aquatic operatives Chess has both during and after this, in some ways I would like to see what ideas they may have about other usages of my hydrokinisis as well as forming a natural working relationship with in essence my peers in the team.

Every Saturday I will head to a public swimming pool in a poorer neighborhood of Big City (probably the same one unless something negative seems to be occurring). I will offer my services as a waterslide engineer to the kids. I will simply put form waterslides out of my water control according to the children’s directions (keeping in mind safety considerations) for the child who designed it to slide down changing it to the specifications of each child. I will also explain that the simple thing is I am trying to increase my mental flexibility as well as show off how much fun having this power can be. I also will create child sized “water nerids” to play with kids for rousing games of tag or water volleyball heck if it possible I will create undirected but semi-gelatinous balls to be tossed about (essentially creating spheres of water that are outside of my direct manipulation). In addition I will sign up for and attend lifeguard training classes for certification at said pool to ensure that the staff has an understanding of myself and my powers so that misunderstanding are less likely to occur. I will happily offer to pay for any re-chlorination of the pool every day I am there.

TESTING: I will also see if I can control Water in all three of its states (solid, liquid & gas) as well as sense it. In addition I will be working on capturing part of a mostly invisible gas trying to prevent the reformation of Black Bat or possibly preventing his escape by capturing part of his gaseous essence in water bubbles. Not that I know whether or not this will work but it might be an idea of a way to stop or slow him.

I would like to see if I can add or remove moisture to/from the local weather area and then check with the National Weather Laboratory about the possible effects of these maneuvers on local or small range weather effects (ie power Weather Control usage for instance and maybe reducing duration or effectiveness).

I will test myself as to whether or not I can gain control of water through glass, solid objects, around corners or through smelling the water via my ambivalent electro sense.

I will also see if I can generate ionized water paths to aid Lightning strike or Symbiote in his LS form in either combat effectiveness (ie grounding to increase damage or aiding their accuracy by “painting the target”) or spreading the damage by enabling them to hit one line of water to attack two or more ppl ( instead of the damage being divided by area perhaps with two or three ppl working together the divisor would be less)

I will also research as to whether or not I can create bubbles that are not fully enclosed (ie thin, half curves of water ) and as to whether or not these are suitable for such ideas as parachutes, hang gliding or sail making as well as other air resistance usages.

I will also see if I can create water constructions that can perform CPR (say on a test dummy) as well as other lifesaving techniques. And the hydro stethoscope, in essence I will attempt to replace any medical supplies I can think of with water constructs and see how far that gets me.

Other water power tests will include:
-creating climbable ladders/ropes,
-Does splitting controlled water into two or more objects retain the mass controlled level or does it just drop some water? In addition does it take actions and is it tiring? (so is there a benefit from grabbing a big mass then splitting it up or is it better to grab small masses one at a time?)
-how little/much friction control can I generate?
-how much hardness can I create? Ice hard? Or is it just as supple as before?
-Can I reduce/ increase the reflective properties of water?
-Can I create magnifying “glasses” or prisms out of water?
-Can I modify the boiling/freezing tempitures of water?
-Can I leave a water object in a room go a short distance away and come back to find the object in the same shape with the same properties? And can I control it from say around a corner?
-Can I essentially create Ice defense in the water under my control?
-in some ways I am seeing if I am adding levels of energy to the water at the molecular level or if it is an external energy source manipulating the water.
-Can I adjust the viscosity of the water?
-create water constructs that duplicate my general shape and some portion of my appearance?
I will also ask Doc Rocket to go over myself for possible mind control bugs and see if there are any unusual metal/material deposits of any sort in my body especially near my head.

I will also ask Agent Grey to look me over for weaknesses and see if he sees any especially as to mind control.

(OOC: do I think that Grey would have appreciated the humor of me turning over Morgues head to him in a box with a note that the gift shop on the helicarrier was all out of platters, silver or otherwise?)

I will also send a letter to one of my former acquaintances a former student of mine by the name of Hannah Goshawk that I was romantically involved with who has a lock of my hair from before my accident. I will inquire if she would be willing to allow me access to my DNA in order to have something to base my recovery upon I won’t directly describe the problem but be a bit obscure.

I will also speak with Symbiote, and inquire as to whether or not he would be willing to share his research with me in order to help on a problem of mine. I am willing to allow him use of my form whenever he so desires (pointing out the power recovery advantage) in exchange I may want to use the exosuit or build a spare to return myself to normal for short periods of time. In addition the Hyena information (as a shapeshifter) may be of particular use in reversing the transformation. I suggest testing as to whether or not these ideas are viable as well as some testing as to whether or not hair will degrade as used (see other note).
I will also confide in Symbiote and Doc Rocket my concerns that even though my appearance is apparently related to the creature Dr. Swastika was using as a base, I do know this that the deep-ocean dwelling members of the
genus Architeuthis could grow to a tremendous size, but until I as Carl was revived I had no idea that the creatures were seeking humans for their own dread studies! In addition I am concerned that they may be planning an invasion. Octopus was concerned that I was with them which leads me to believe that there is more going on here than meets the eye.

To Grey: I would like the Entirety of the Black Bat File that I have clearance for to be presented to me. (“demanding sonofabitch aren’t I?”)

Oh yeah having no life or much left of his past joining Vanguard should be a no brainer.

Inquiries: I was one of the people noting that the air was going bad, do I think that I could have helped preserve the air by breathing water and buying my fellows some additional time?

Would the scientists studying whales and whale songs like to know how to translate their speech?

Are there any local aquariums/sea parks that might be interested in my services as a translator?

Is there local interest in rebuilding/reconnecting the catacombs and did my sandstone/mud brick idea work?

In the Silver Coffin Area there were lots of bodies in the area, have we been able to identify the deceased or can we make an attempt to identify the poor souls? In addition I will have an interest in seeing those interred in the least.

Did I get my pipe wrench back?

Did we recover the Silver Coffin? If Grey has no objections I have a terrible idea for something to do with the Silver Coffin after it has been gone over for information/clues and if it is not stolen and therefore to be turned over to it’s rightful owners. I would like to Ebay it with full disclosure. Yes, and not just for the money. Though I would suggest using any monies received to fund a charity too, I would recommend that all the bidders be investigated. In addition this action will humiliate to no end the Black Bat as well as force him to make a decision does he bid for it and possibly get tracked or does he steal it from the highest bidder thus giving us clues to his capabilities as well as distracting him?

Inhuman idly wonders if Kairos knows where to get good Greek seafood, after all good baklava is
very hard to find and real Greek seafood almost as difficult.

To Sentinel: Inhuman upon review of the details will suggest to Sentinel that perhaps since he can sense the anti-energy he may be able to adjust his energy fields to similar levels of density and ability and may be able to scoop out/remove said negative energies from other targets. Whether or not this is death touch may be up for grabs but if he replaces it with positive energies this could be a way to revive the dead and or dispel mind control. Neither idea is anything to be ashamed of.

I will research the wave breaking construction used in various parts of the world in order to break up waves that may be dangerous or harmful I will give a copy of the research to Sentinel with a note that this design may be useful in case of a real tidal wave we can influence. After all if the bomb idea exists then it may get out and we may be unable to do something about it in time, conversely real waves of such destructive power may occur and since we may be able to blunt the force of the attack before it does damage I think that it is better to research that idea before hand. If it is at all practical perhaps heading over to some sort of base Chess has or can borrow in California or Hawaii and spend some small time practicing wave breaking (whistles innocently after such a self serving remark) In addition I will there also talk to sea life and since Octopus was a Pacific Octopus and his allies are mostly gone he may have headed back here rather than stay in the Big City with Black Bat breathing down his neck, Chess may want to keep an eye out here for. I will also research Avalanche deflection techniques, and again share the research with both myself and Sentinel.

To Slingshot: Inhuman will also suggest that since Nanite has no apparent way to print pictures from her body or apartment that then we check the picture for microdots telling us where the picture was publicly printed (this idea comes from an episode of Law & Order: SVU). In addition she may have a safe deposit box somewhere that would have additional storage, I would start with banks that have no or as little connection with Silas Crane as possible in addition to those that are close to her frequently haunted spots. Perhaps Chess could get and review security tapes from the period Nanite was active or interview tellers looking for strangely dressed ppl getting safety deposit boxes. Perhaps we could get a warrant could be issued along the lines of for the common good or saving a life argument. If these turn out to be false alarms and there is nothing inherently criminal in the boxes then apologize and get on with other business.

I will be researching criminal organizations Black Bat may be putting together. Perhaps if Spider Girucci is still kicking (I can’t remember if he is dead or not) he may be of help in exchange for a lighter sentence. If there is anyone else who wishes to keep up the pressure on Black Bat we should get after him ASAP.

Since there is a silver coffin involved and Black Bat has Asiatic Connections I would suggest we begin looking for BB’s powerbase to be from the areas that had been controlled by Genghis Khan. Perhaps Grey would be willing to share information with those countries in order to find BB’s power base so that we can possibly endanger that in order to reduce his activities here. Bit of a stretch I know but the more pressure we can put on him the better off we will be.

Point of Difference: Destroying Big City’s organized crime for Black bat’s benefit: This is not really what the whole destruction of Big City’s organized crime was about. Smashing organized crime is a job for heroes. Even if others benefit from this and certainly a lot of others beside Black bat will benefit from this that isn’t why we did this... we did this to stop it even if Black Bat takes over where they left off from (hardly likely as I think he cannot just step into the 5 bosses shoes) during this time of change Black Bat will be weaker and we are on to him. So long as we keep the pressure up he should be weaker than they were before he started in on them.

I would also like to point out that I tried to ally with the 5 bosses (Octopus in particular) in order to bring them down from the inside. It was going to happen sooner or later. In addition stopping the combat in the streets one way or another probably saved many innocent lives AND Morgue had them under his control. Now Black bat has no way to easily step into all of their shoes simultaneously I think. Since they are hopefully alive possibly dead and prayerfully not undead I’m not so certain on the loss of a Charisma point for that action. I would like an explanation as to the rational behind this. Unless Black bat absorbs Charisma permanentlyJ. This is more of an information acquisition rather than direct opposition and in order to prevent such losses in the future. Unless the problem with the charisma is that Vanguard’s actions forced the Bosses into a unviable and life threatening situation from which they died.

“Over one week ago: Morgue escapes Dr. Swastika’s Body Farm and arrives in Big City. Shortly thereafter, he comes under the power of the Black Bat. Morgue acts to further set the Five Bosses against themselves. Killers and gunmen are coming to Big City for the war.” Inhuman notes that both Skin Deep and Morgue were in the same life pod, If one fell under the influence of Black Bat why not the other? I’m not saying that BB was sunbathing on the shore of the city and mentally dominated them both but if he got one, both could be a possibility which means that we have only seen half of Black Bats Plan, even though
All of the Bosses are dead if Skin Deep is capable of duplicating some of the bosses (even if it was a touch based ability, then with Cat’s help SD could have easily gained their forms and from there BB would now have access to the remains of the criminal organization. Thus if we want to really rectify the situation we have to counter this possible plan.

I have an idea on how to counter this with some help from some others I believe that this particular apple cart can be upset. Now then sooner or later some of the bosses suspected cronies will be released, perhaps we could see if some of them could be released early after I have a little talk with them (even giving them a day or two to spread this information on the inside as well). Yes I know that the law’s representatives worked hard to put them there and keep them there but hear me out. If BB tries to use the criminal organization or even pick up the pieces it will be more difficult for him to do so if he cannot use the bosses as puppets.
To this end I would like to pass on information to the held suspected criminals that “Skin Deep exists and is possibly in Black Bats employ, as such seeing any one of the dead five bosses probably means that you are in the presence of Skin Deep. Now then as far as we understand it Skin Deep can only be one person at a time. So the only way to be certain that your associates are not really a mind sucking body snatcher is to meet with multiple of the bosses. Otherwise, well, it is probably some sort of powered freak trying to kill you for “your Blood” or “brain food.”
This should work as a double spike to the Organized Crime wheels reducing BB’s ability to run the leftovers and making the real survivors of the group work harder. Hopefully that should convince the Legal Eagles that this is a worthy cause for some limited form of get out of jail for less than 50$. I would also like to do so with those currently on parole also, any one of the criminals who objects to the suggestion that they are associating with criminals while they are on the straight and narrow ill simply ‘remind’ them that they may have a friend of a friend who while not directly associated with they could benefit from this and after all they by doing this would be helping to save lives an altogether noble thing that could cause some overlooking of certain indiscretions.

OOC: Since Jeff has compared me to one of the Elementals, does anyone know where to find ideas the water controlling character in the series used? Or have any suggestions along the same lines?

Skip notes that Inhuman’s “New and Improved” character sheet will be very easy to craft….. J
(PS: Inhuman: First Level and LOVING IT!! It gives me more time to plan out what to do with training)

A.ssociation of
A.ctivists and


Sentinel:Ghost Eulogy:
I mourn for the loss of my friend, The Ghost. Bobby was taken from us much too soon and there was so much more good that he wanted to accomplish. I mourn for not seeing all he would have done and for the man he would become.

But I rejoice in knowing the good that he did accomplish and that at a young age he knew what he wanted to do and acted on that knowledge. When many idle their lives away lost or in the pursuit of selfish goals, Bobby made a conscious choice to use the gifts life bestowed upon him to serve the greater good. He sacrificed his life saving the people of this fair city, this great nation. A great man once said, “No one has a love greater than this, that he should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.” Bobby loved us all.

It’s saddens me that in our modern world that takes away the innocence of youth at an ever younger age than in the past, some would use Bobby’s act of love as an excuse to take away the gift of choice and the freedom to direct one’s own steps. This dishonor’s his memory.

Mature young people have taken a stand for what they believe to be right from the dawning of the age of man. To believe that the choices youth’s make isn’t part of the process of who they ultimately become is foolishness.

In the modern history of even our nation, do some of you actually believe that young ones were uninvolved in the battle for its independence? Do you think that youths were unmoved and silent during the greatest threats to the freedom of this world in the 20th century? No; they took a stand! Their voices were heard by their action.

How can you consider silencing their voices today?

I say you can not!

Bobby eyes were open to the world and the safety of its people. He knew that there were menaces to freedom in the darkness as well as threats cleverly guised right out in the light where people should see them for what they are, but fail to do so. Instead of remaining silent, he chose to do what he could to make this world a better place.

Instead of dishonoring his decision and his memory, perhaps time would be better spent thinking about the choices in your life and how you can make the world a better place. That is how Bobby would have wanted it.

OOC: I’m doing my original post as planned from reading the issue last weekend. I started it Sunday as I usually do, but got interrupted and couldn’t finish. I haven’t read any of the emails from anyone this past week (but was glad to see like fifty of them pop up over the last week – I’m glad everyone is into it) – if some of my stuff duplicates your actions or concerns, sorry about that, but you know what they say about great minds … and if you have sent me stuff for Kirk to interact with I hope to get to that shortly.

From the cave: Chapter 1

Kirk felt the jostling of hands shaking him and he shot upward, sitting up abruptly. It was an awkward response to for Forester and Inhuman to see especially since in Kirk’s mind he planned about to fly upward with energy blazing to finish the “mortal” combat with Morgue. His teammates steadied him pointing to the remains of Morgue as Inhuman showed off the “trophy” of their work. At that point, powerless, physically pummeled, and breathing the stale air of the catacomb, Kirk thought he almost had an idea of what it felt like to be undead … almost.

He took in the rest of the scene around him and forced himself to stand as he saw Forester kneeling over a body nearby; a body he thought he recognized all to well. Kirk stumbled forward by sheer force of will to Forester’s side and put his hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry,” was all he could say. And the words applied to all of them. He was sorry for Forester’s loss of his close friend, sorry for Bobby losing his life, and sorry that Kirk himself wasn’t able to prevent it or undo it.

After a few minutes when Kirk has regained enough energy to be of help he gathers the remains of the bodies. If there were any non-crime bosses in the area he takes them too (not mentioned in the issue, but when Kirk originally entered the lower chambers it was littered with drained bodies including women and children – this might have been the chamber leading to this final lower chamber, but if any of them are in here, Kirk takes them too).

At this point, I’m assuming that Forester would carry the body of Bobby himself as they make their way out since he was closest to him. If for some character reason Forester wouldn’t do that Kirk would carry h
is body himself, he would not just drag it along like the rest of the recovered bodies.

If for any reason any of this is out of character for Forester I certainly wouldn’t try to force any actions on him but thought a poignant moment like this would be shared in this scene. Hope that it’s ok, and if not, we could adjust Kirk’s actions accordingly.

Chapter 2
The next day, Detective Archer, Agent Drake and Director Grey thanked and debriefed the team. Sgt. Stone and Doc Rocket (famous, retired heroes of WWII) were present. So was CHESS Knight Nathan Lamb. From the debriefing, an event timeline was created for CHESS’ files, as best as they could figure it:

Points of discussion – additional details to be researched, thoughts, etc from Kirk:
n Stentor, the hero that Black Bat said he took over and got to switch his body, where is he, what have been his actions since that time? Is he living a normal life to be called upon at various times by the Bat unknowingly? Can we help him and can we find out more perhaps in hidden memories?
n The power involved to build this undead army, with the speed it was done, was certainly beyond Morgue until his involvement with the Bat, and seems to require more power than even the Bat could possess. If the Bat could resurrect such an army in a day, it would seem he would have little reason to remain in the shadows and he should have amassed a huge army of the undead to take over years ago. Why even follow his original plan with the bosses when he could create this huge army? We need to find out the source of power that could allow him to do this (and make sure he isn’t using it elsewhere)
n Silas Caine – he was under Kirk’s radar until now and knew him by his promoted reputation, but certainly didn’t know about his evil doings.
o Was Archer aware of his activities? Does he believe now that he is behind these things?
o What was Archer originally there to question him about that night? What was his reply?
o What are Archer’s plans now regarding Caine?
o What Chess aware of Caine’s actions prior to now?
o Can we get the NYPD and Chess to share information to the benefit of all here? It would seem that information about Caine would have to be kept to top level personnel until proof can be formulated, but will the NYPD (at Archer type levels), Chess, and Vanguard be on the same page regarding Caine in the future?
n What can the NYPD and Chess (and Vanguard) do to prevent a repeat of what happened with Intercrime and the Freedom Force twenty-two years ago and prevent either Caine or the Bat from seizing further control of this city?
n What about Clone? Is there evidence he escaped and is alive since we have no evidence of death other than all of the “copies” of him popped away? If not, might Symbiote know from his time copying his power if Clone could be destroyed that way and would simply disappear from existence?
n Regarding Caine and the battle. It seems very strange that Caine had none of his bodyguards present that night. Even if he wanted a clandestine meeting with the Luddite, why wouldn’t he have them outside his office nearby?
o And what about the fact that we started this looking for Skin Deep and got not a single lead on her?
o Wouldn’t someone with her abilities be someone Caine would like to have at his disposal?
o Kirk suggests that we run computer records and check to see for newly hired workers at higher levels at Caine’s company for the past couple of weeks. Skin Deep might be someone he’d put on the payroll legitimately to be used in other ways also. Has he hired anyone new to his security personnel recently?
o (as an aside, if Caine is having any public appearances that Kirk can get near him in street clothes, he’d go by to check to see if Caine is an extranormal and to see if any of his body guards or crew are extranormals)

Other actions/inquiries:
n With the destruction of the Luddite, was there any response to Kirk’s internet plea to Nanite? Was her consciousness possibly released as were Strike and Symbiote?
n In response to the political goings on regarding the death of Ghost, Kirk issues a statement to the press. See the other document for this which would be modified according to whether his true identity is know to the public at this time or not and whether anything else develops along this line. This is of importance to Kirk both out of loyalty and respect to the Ghost and he has already showed the treatment of views of “extra-normals” are of special concern to him (ie his conflict with Drake and his handling of the discovery of the new aspect of his “energy sense”)
n Kirk reads the Chess files regarding known activities and information about the “new” heroes that have joined them over this mission
n Kirk reads the Chess file regarding the career and history of Drake; he assumes much of it is classified. Kirk wants to discover why Drake has a prejudice towards extranormals. He assumes it must have to do with something and extranormal did or didn’t to Drake or someone close to Drake. He won’t try to go beyond his security clearance with the Chess files at this time. He will do some research with his own computer system set up (outside of Chess/Vanguard) to check the records to see if he can find a cause for Drake’s prejudice. This is with the intent to understand him and hopefully help him to overcome this over time.
n Kirk reads up more on the Homicide for Hire crew that are on the loose in case he can pick up anything to help them further in their next encounter, especially Harrik and Penumbra – is there anything they can do to be better prepared to handle them next time out?
n Kirk rereads Freedom Force and Chess files regarding the Bat for additional information that may help or he may have missed in his cursory reading previously. (These are files that Kirk would study in great detail anyway given that he had firsthand knowledge of the “golden” age of heroes from Lancaster and now can find out much greater details of the next age).

Further interactions:
n Kirk would suggest to Forester that they share a drink in memory and honor of Bobby. This should be therapeutic for both of them. Forester may want to talk about his loss given their friendship. This is the first hero that has perished fighting by Kirk’s side, so he is hitting him hard, particularly since Bobby was so young.
o If Kirk had the opportunity to ask Forester about what he knew about the symbol of the Sentinel and if it has significance beyond adopted by the original Sentinel, he would ask.
o He would ask Forester what he thought about the Bat’s ability to raise and control the dead and the speed of things and what he thought could be the source of such power? Did it make sense to him? Forester is the closest we’ve got to someone touching the “mystical” side of things here with the monk background.

n If there has been no contact from Nanite on the web, Kirk would speak with Slingshot regarding his efforts to contact her with messages out there hoping that she had survived the destruction of her physical form and that the web seemed to be a place she could possibly flee at the time. He’d offer any support he could and would ask if Slingshot thought there was anything that Kirk could do to attract her attention in the electronic world if she was out there. Kirk would still keep the programming hopping around at this time in hopes there still might be contact. He isn’t ready to give up hope on her yet.

n Kirk has to go to check out the body of The Atomic Brain.

o I picture a scene with Doc Rocket examining the recovered bodies of all and Kirk going in to check the remains of the Brain.

Kirk looks at the remains of the Brain; he remarks to himself, “He’s been around forever; Gramps fought him, the League fought him, I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“No one lives forever, Kirk.” Doc replied as he walked towards him.

Without looking towards him Kirk asked, “What was the cause of death, Doc?”

“GM reply by Doc Rocket“

“When I made my final attack on him, it was in the heat of battle and in desperation, I had no idea if my maneuver even had a chance of succeeding, but I knew there was a chance if it worked it could mean the end of him … I mean, he was just a floating brain, right???”

“But he had no regard for life around him, even the rest of Homicide for Hire didn’t want the train to go down when he wiped out the tracks … and his blast was so powerful, I was afraid he’d take out one of my team.” Kirk stopped trying to reason and just turned towards Doc Rocket.

“Doc, did I make the right choice?”

--- Jeff, your reply ---

n Kirk makes contact with Archer again after the meeting. He indicates that he knows Archer isn’t used to dealing with super-heroes, but with Chess setting up the Vanguard headquarters here in New York and with the power vacuum in the crime world, it would appear things are changing the in Big Apple. He hopes that Archer will give Vanguard in general an opportunity to assist the NYPD and that Kirk in particular wants to help where he can. Kirk tells Archer that he knows confidences can’t be given overnight in his line of work, and that trust takes time, but that he hopes that he’ll give Kirk the opportunity to assist and prove himself to him in the future.

n Kirk will go to see Lancaster and tell him about the mission. He’ll also ask/discuss the following:

o Where did Lancaster choose the symbol of the Sentinel from? Does he have any idea what the Black Bat meant?
o Kirk’s feelings and reaction to both his involvement in the death of the Brain as well as his fallen friend, the Ghost.

I’ll send something further shortly regarding character advancement.
If I get an hour or so I’ll hopefully put together another “scene” not involving anyone active but which should provide more background for Kirk’s character and possibly some stuff for you to “spin” in the future.
I’ll try to remember if I forgot anything else I wanted to do (although I thought I remembered a lot).
I look forward to reading and sorting through everyone else’s posts (and clearing my email box).
Glad to see everyone is posting away!!!
Best to all.


OOC: nope, I was thinking of adjusting versatility (realistically speaking), + Advantage of being able to sense through my constructs/detect nearby water (possibly X-ray in it's developent), -Disad taking Power loss through my constructs and/or nearby large damage to water. I could argue a SFX based change to the character based upon his continuing transformation, (Inhuman transformations could happen not as related to his level but passage of time, arguably) If I get 3500+ Xp next session, ill level twice (possible but slightly improbable) which would change how i'll spend my development.Water damage will increase as level increases (and posibly Int Increases will factor in there too, since I am science oriented) besides I figure this character is back loaded, not so useful at first but with greater utility with level, with a note that even if he buys up non-damage, he will have more damage potential through die size/speed bonus increases.And I'm really trying to grow away from the Pipewrench, leaving Kairos as the master of metal weaponry. (Hey Kairos, want a slightly used metal club as a back up weapon? :)) Jeff, Have you read the Hero System 5th Rules? Life support questions if you have some grounding in the Hero System.

IC: Inhuman sidles up to Doc Rocket with a sad smile on his face. 'uh, look, I don't know if you are up to this or the right guy to talk to, but I would like to ask for someone with a big brain on his head to help me with this.' Inhuman's look goes to a dead fish look ' But I think if you weren't planning on doing so I have a few questions autopsies of Morgue and Octopus may answer.' To the M. E. whether it is Dock Rocket or someone else: 'With Morgue, since the description every one had of Dr. Swastika neural inhibition of the use of powers did appear to be a ray or beam of some sort targeted at a portion of the brain perhaps examination of Morgue will be able to tell us where the beam was focused because one of the less interesting side effects of such focus is a tanning surrounding flesh., it also might help if one day we are looking at brain cancer for Sentinel or one of the other prisoners of the Nazi Nasty.' 'With Octopus, It appears that he has been further advanced from the same sort of transformation I have been cursed with, perhaps he can tell me with his remains what I have to look forward to... And that may help me deal with my own misguided future. In addition perhaps we can figure out how long the mysterious THEM have been operating.' The purpose of this is that when I was forcibly changed I believe I encountered a deep strangeness, however Octopus is a Pacific Octopus and I was dragged down to the depths of a watery hell near Hawaii, the two are reasonably conjectured as not being coincidences. There may be something bad going on in the depths of the Pacific that Vanguard and CHESS may need to investigate. " a wistful look crosses Inhumans face," besides I may have allready missed the 'big underwater adventure of Vanguard' " A sharklike grin crosses Inhumans face" but there may be more to the oceans of the world than one adventure". Inhuman decided to pay a visit to Sargent Stone, after all he had bothered Grey and Rocket enough. "Sgt. Stone, Black Bat mentioned Aquon in comparison to myself presumably. Do you have any ideas on how Aquon would fight Against Black Bat so that i may deceive him into believeing that I am similar in abilities to Aquon until casting off the deception would harm ol' BB?" (Pause for Gm's reply)"I Like having surprises to pass out to the Dottering Dead Man." Inhuman sat down to write a short but difficult letter “ Dear Hannah” He began, Carl chewed his pen nervously, he had not been on dry land for weeks before his transformation and had only spent 3 days on land since and here he was asking a woman it had been two years since he had seen her if she had a possible key to keeping his humanity. “I apparently need to ask you a favor, do you remember that day on the beach in the summer months after you graduated? “ Carl looked at that line and wondered if she would get a flicker of hope in her heart that he was asking her to get back together. “I have been through changes” well… that was true enough but did it send her thought paths careening down
the wrong way? Carl groaned as he realised this letter was being over thought and just going to get harder to write the more he thought about it.

OOC: There may be some notes in Octupus's house/home. I'm not certain that the lair the final battle took place in was their only residence. Pehaps we could perform a similar trick to the Skin Deep solution (say letting a Convict loose with info that Oct may be dead and a fortune in untraceable diamonds may be in his house, then play follow the convict ?). Besides what mob boss wouldn't want a decent home to spend him money on? Jeff, care to speculate on what the advantages and disadvantages are of having no bones and a limb manipulation system similar to a invertabrate of Human Size and of the Pacific Octopus order or of an Archeletulus?

OOC: Seth and Jeff, The notes about Forester's actions all sound fine. Forester will grab a drink with Sentinel. (He orders water, in accordance to one of the five precepts), but he has no problem if Sentinel or anyone else has alcohol. Forester doesn't have anything particularly fitting to say about the loss of Ghost (or the disappearance of Clone). Whether they are alive or dead, temporarily or indefinitely, he hopes they are both safe. Although he did not know either hero very well, Forester will miss working with them both.



Lightning Strike:
After the confrontation with Black Bat and Silas Caine, Strike felt continually unsettled. Instead of feeling satisfied that Luddite, the murderer of his wife, was dead, he felt the exact opposite.
There was no way to confirm that Luddite was actually destroyed and the man who pulled the strings was still at large and still a model citizen. Black Bat was still free to run the underworld and Strike
felt helpless to defeat him. Both Caine and Bat now ran empires that seemed unassailable. Yet empires have a way of falling and Strike now felt that it was time to take the battle to them, one pawn at a

Strike spent the downtime combing through the Chess archives for every bit of information available on the NY crime scene. Strike would like to infiltrate the underworld at the lowest level and undermine it in every way possible.

OOC: In game terms this would be a new skill for Strike. Strike would like to invent a persona for himself, much in the way Batman used his Matches Malone alias to go into seedy bars and underworld
meetings only to break them up and get out of his disguise. The persona, Strike will attempt to create is one Donnie "Sparks" McGee, a low level numbers runner and strong arm racketeer who using his
knowledge of who was taken out from the crime scene recently (by Vanguard) and what he has learned from chess to find a niche that is now open. Jeff, If you need any more details let me know.

That's all for now.

Take it easy,
Punctual Tony


Kirk knocks on Symbiote’s temporary quarters to speak with him:
“Hi. I wanted to formally welcome you to the team.”
Sentinel enters the room and removes his mask, “Kirk, my name is Kirk,” and he extended his hand in friendship. “Thanks for all you did on the last mission; it was a particularly brutal one, and it would have been even worse if not for your aid.”

Kirk made no indication he was expecting Symbiote to reveal his name if it wasn’t offered and Symbiote could tell he made the gesture to try to put him at ease. He likely might be surprised by how young Kirk actually is once he see his face (21 years old).

“Hope everyone is treating you well and you’re settling in ok, if I can help you to get acquainted with anyone or anything, let me know.”

If the subject of Doc Rocket comes up and Symbiote makes a gushing reply of any sort, Kirk would respond in kind, “I know just how you feel. Getting to meet him and Sgt Stone and to work beside them has been amazing. The Liberty League were the greatest there ever was and its an honor to even be in the same room with them, let alone to work with them and to begin to consider them colleagues.”

Pointing to the harness Kirk asked, “Your design? Or were you just fortunate enough to come into its possession?” Kirk would follow-up with basic questions of how it worked if Symbiote didn’t seem defensive, nothing too intense. Symbiote would quickly see that it was curiosity and that Kirk doesn’t have a scientific background.

Once Kirk realized Symbiote was a scientific genius he would comment along the lines of, “It’s going to be nice having another scientific genius in the field, and one that has a more pleasant and less volatile personality is a welcome addition.”

If Symbiote says anything about energy signatures being involved (per your posting), Kirk would follow-up that conversation more closely indicating that sensing energy was part of his make-up and asking about what you discovered and how it worked.

Kirk would be interested in knowing if you’ve scientifically discovered some of the things he’s discovered through his power regarding extra-normals. He wouldn’t reveal what he knows at this point since he is concerned about that information falling into the wrong hands, of course, if you had discovered it on your own, then its not his responsibility and he would caution you, but they could actually work together if Symbiote was keeping his research private and secret. Although, your comment about energy signatures might have nothing to do with Kirk’s discovery …

Either way, in discussing things it would become apparent to Symbiote that something more is on Kirk’s mind.

“Since we’re going to be working together, I wanted to explain my preference that you don’t duplicate my power. There are a couple of reasons.
You need to understand that for some of us; especially those born with our gifts, our “powers” are a part of our very being. Some of us are defined by them; in the same way that your scientific acumen defines an integral part of you. To share such a core part of ourselves is an act of intimacy and requires trust; it isn’t something we’d enter into lightly.
Some people might equate a forcible acquisition of their power as an equivalent of rape. It was the same when telepathy was discovered and proper boundaries of respect needed to be established regarding its usage. Just something more for you to think about as you use the harness,” and then Kirk added “and it says much about you that it appears you have thought about such things already.”

Symbiote response, if any, -- and then add, “You said a couple of reasons?”

“My first concern was the effect on others. My second is the effect on you that you might not have thought about. It would seem that the effects of the harness and the acquisition of power are short-lived, but you should be prepared that some doors once opened can’t be closed and what that means for you …”

Likely Symbiote would prompt him further and Kirk would elaborate in one way,
“Suppose you were blind, and then for a brief moment you were able to see, and then your gift of sight faded and you were blind again. What effect might that have on you?”

--- that would likely have Symbiote thinking, and there’s a good chance he would reply with something along the lines of “I would treasure the moment I could see the way everyone else could see and be grateful to have experienced those moments…”
And then Kirk would add, “But what if you never knew you were blind to begin with?”

Symbiote should walk away from this with feelings of sincerity and genuine friendship and concern for the welfare of him and others on Kirk’s part, nothing threatening or ominous from him. I’m hoping that the dialogue I wrote came off that way, but just wanted to clarify in case I failed in that regard.

Hope that an interaction along these lines would be acceptable – and again, its hard to dialogue the one side without the other (and not wanting to put unreasonable words or actions on you), so if any of this is off and you want it adjusted or if you want to elaborate for further reply from Kirk on anything, let me know.

Again, I really enjoyed reading your posting on this issue. It was a lot of fun.


Sentinel to Forester: “Thanks for the insight. Perhaps that's why he chose it. Still, better to get the answer from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I'm going to ask him.”

After a pause, Forester says, "Well, I should probably put this dollar away. Unlike your energy creations, super arrows cost a lot of money to replace."

Kirk added seriously even if Forester meant it humorously, "Seems like Vanguard should get you a special allowance for those ... and maybe some R&D funding too."

OOC: OK, Jeff, so naturally I continue to be concerned with the amount of hit points Kirk has beneath the shields, and although I can see him continuing training with the Chess Knights and Sgt Stone physically (how could he not train with Stone???) I have to think we’ll go with advancement in other areas for now.

Specifically in your examples you mentioned “Sentinel trains to increase his Charisma (Will) by 7 points.”

Given that this seems to be Kirk’s ‘thing’ among the heroes at this point and that Swastika and Bat both have major powers based on the same stat, it seems like it might be smart to have Kirk train in this to be more formidable and perhaps able to hold his own against them better when we encounter them again … also since they both have a gazillion times higher “current level” given how long they’ve been around, the higher stat might even the field a bit (although even with the increase they’d probably still crush Kirk at this level).

Perhaps you can also remind me of the next skill Kirk would be developing in his mental training with Lancaster. I’m sorry I don’t remember what came next. Kirk would spend some time in further mental training with Lancaster in this regard, even if he doesn’t develop the skill just yet.

Please give me your feedback here as to what you think would be a better progression for Kirk for the game at this point since you have a better idea of how much of a difference the increased will would make in game terms. Is this better here and now? Or would continuing to the next mental power skill be better.

In logical terms, it might make sense for Kirk to work on developing his will to be able to better control the nuances of the new “mental skill set/powers” he is working on developing. Perhaps Lancaster might even direct him one way or the other in his training “in character” in the game.

Again, I’m open to your suggestion and direction here.

As an aside on another topic, another example you mentioned was:
Game Example: Forester discovered a mystical charm on Morgue’s corpse and is foolish/ clever enough to hang onto it.

Was this just an example or did this happen and Kirk (and me) miss it? I ask mostly because Kirk has been trying to discover the source of Morgue’s/Bat’s raising the dead and so quickly ‘thing’ and it would seem something like that may be ‘it’, so I was wondering if Kirk missed it (certainly Forester could have gotten it while Kirk was almost killed before he revived, but if it was emanating any energy before or after it seems like Kirk should have sensed it). Inquiring minds want to know ….

Also, still some other stuff to post if I find the time in response to other hero postings (and the dialogue scene I mentioned to you).


OOC GM Replies:
Sentinel: 'Forester discovered a mystical charm on Morgue’s corpse and is foolish/ clever enough to hang onto it.'
Was this just an example or did this happen and Kirk (and me) miss it?

GM: It didn't happen. Just giving an example.

Re: your training. If you want, you could gain 3 points in 2 stats, instead of 7 points in one. So you could gain 3 in Charisma (Will) and 3 in Endurance which would help your hit points, power points and therefore creation points.

Re: your telepathic training: I quote from Issue 26, a now classic!:
"Over the coming week, Lancaster began Sentinel’s training in telepathy.
He stated, “Telepathy is the paranormal sense which allows one mind to directly communicate with other minds. (OOC: The maximum range (actually, radius) for the power is Intelligence x 50 feet.)

“There are four telepathic disciplines to be mastered:
(OOC: Sentinel may choose one of them to add to his abilities with this level advancement.)

“The first discipline is called “Thought Shield.” The telepath can shield his thoughts from being detected, tracked, or read at will. (OOC: The telepath with this discipline defends against Thought
Probes as if their current Power score were doubled. Some non-telepathic techniques offer similar defenses against telepathy, like those of Forester and Agent America. Also, incapacitated/
nonsentient/ animal minds are immune from any Telepathic effects.)

“The second is called “Thought Scan.” The telepath can automatically detect and read the surface thoughts of all minds within his range. Language can be a partial barrier. (OOC: This costs one Power Point and an action to perform.) A person can be tracked by his thoughts. This requires continued "thought scanning" (at least once per turn, with a cost of only one Power Point per person being
tracked per hour). The prey is immediately lost if it passes beyond the telepath's Range.

“The third is called “Thought Broadcast.” The telepath may read the surface thoughts of, broadcast his own thoughts to, and act as a "mental switchboard" for as many willing minds at once as he is capable of (OOC: Maximum: One person for each Intelligence point. Mental communication takes an action to set up and a Power Point each turn (spent between-turns) to maintain.).

“The fourth is called “Thought Probe.” The telepath is able to probe people's minds, sifting through them to take whatever data he desires (assuming the subject possesses the desired information). In
order to attempt such a Thought Probe, the telepath must be close enough to touch the subject.”
(OOC: 1d6 turns of game time and 5 Power Points are required for the attempt. If the subject has consented to the probe, success is automatic. Otherwise, his total of (Current Power x 2) + Charisma
must exceed the subject's Current Power + Charisma. If the telepath's score exceeds that of his subject, he may proceed in the Probe attempt, which is not guaranteed to succeed. A failure to
successfully probe for any reason may allow the subject to feed false thoughts to the telepath.)

Lancaster wants to teach you the telepathic disciplines in the order in which they were intended."

It really depends on how you see the character developing:
a) Master of one domain, like Green Lantern: I would improve your Endurance and Charisma. (you see above how Charisma affects your chances with telepathy later)
b) Jack of many trades, but master of none: I would continue the training with Lancaster. Telepathy is pretty useful.
FYI, Lancaster waited a while before focusing on the mental powers. He improved stats a first, to toughen himself up, then once he was happy with that he moved on into other areas.
Have fun,


OOC: Tough choice here. Thought scan seems like it would be a great aid for any sort of mystery case like we just had and even for our continued pursuit of Skin Deep or our battle to take down Caine or the Bat. A great opportunity to provide clues for anything and additional insight into the character of people Kirk meets, which is an integral part of Kirk's personality (trying to help and inspire). I can definitely see this as being a big asset to Kirk and the team and a boost to what he already does. (And not to mention a convenient way for the GM to point us in the right direction when we are going wrong)

Since this is just a surface scan of thoughts and not a probing is this normally undetectable when in use. I would think someone with mental skills/training would have a chance of picking up that someone may have been listening but in general it wouldn't be, how does it work? (Kind of like a person talking on a cellphone in public.)

On training for stats, it would seem logically that he'd be better off going for the seven points in one stat this level and seven points in another stat next level because of the loss of the extra point in doing two stats. However, you've said from the beginning of the game to think more of the character development that flows from play and less of the game rules and stuff and from what I've discussed of Kirk doing, it would seem that it would follow to do the split if I go that route since he has been doing the physical training with Chess and Stone and well as the mental with Lancaster.

I'm think from the above I've determined if I do the stats, it will be split. However, I'm not fully decided on the stats vs thought scan yet. Since we've got a little more time I'll have to mull it over and let you know. I do think, other than if the game determines otherwise in new developments, that once I get thought scan, future development would be in stats for some time to toughen Kirk up some, rather than further telepathy disciplines.

Kirk would continue working along with the Knights and learning Chess systems and weaponry, etc as time allows. He has the opportunity to become more rounded a person beyond his powers and would want that - for instance, in the last mission, if we made it to the surface and there was still some sort of threat to face I'd planned for him to grab any Chess type weaponry available and try to assist even if he had no power points - it would be nice to know he had a basic skill set to take that sort of action.

Before leaving headquarters to spend some days with Lancaster, Kirk felt impelled to speak with Lightning Strike and extend an olive branch again.

“Strike, I wanted to let you know that I’m leaving for a few days. And I want you to know that I’m concerned about you. After some closure regarding the Luddite and having your name cleared in the press I was hoping to see some of the edge come off you, but it seems like your as agitated as ever. It isn’t good for you.

I know we come at the world from two opposing viewpoints and that unsettles you about me, but we’ve both been here with Vanguard from day one and I’d like to feel that we’re more than strangers after what we’ve been through together and the work we’ve accomplished.

You’re an incredibly intelligent and talented man! See the potential of what is around you here with Vanguard and overcome your natural inclination to play the loner. There’s strength in numbers. There’s wisdom in a multitude of counselors.
If you don’t, then you deprive both yourself and everyone around you.

And then Strike could perceive Kirk’s voice grow a little stronger and he even thought he perceived an unusual tinge of anger, although Kirk tried to cover it, “Think about what you knew about Caine. Had you shared that information with the rest of us, the whole mission might have proceeded differently. At least now he’s on our radar. But it took the Bat’s mind control for you to share the information.” And then Strike saw that slight tinge of anger turn to disappointment and concern, “That just isn’t right.”

“I offered my support to you previously if I could assist, the offer still stands Strike. Please think about what I said.” And as Kirk left the room he added, “A major part of one’s life is defined by those who share it Strike; I get what Caine took from you, don’t let him continue taking it.”

OOC Tony: Given Strike’s personality, Kirk might say all this with positively no reply from Strike with him not feeling it’s worth a response or he simply might not have an immediate response to such a passionate plea. Either way hopefully it will get him thinking a bit and pave the way for more positive (or negative) interaction between the two.

Sentinel to Inhuman:
To Sentinel: Inhuman upon review of the details will suggest to Sentinel that perhaps since he can sense the anti-energy he may be able to adjust his energy fields to similar levels of density and ability and may be able to scoop out/remove said negative energies from other targets.

Kirk replies to Inhuman, “That seems like a great idea. If only it were possible. Although I’m sensitive to all forms of energy, I only have the ability to manipulate the unique energy you’ve seen me wield. I’ve never encountered that type of energy before … that anti-energy for lack of a better name. And if I never felt its vile presence again more the better.”

Kirk added, “I wanted to thank you for joining us when you did. Your being with us in the catacombs allowed for as much success as we had … at least we finished Morgue and his control of the undead and released those poor souls.”

“I wish you’d been with us on our first mission. Your abilities could have turned the tide in our favor so much sooner. Your physical appearance reminds me of one of the creatures we met there, although it’s hard to even call it a “meeting”. Swastika had enslaved a giant starfish creature unlike anything I’d ever seen before. He’d forced it to become his base of operations. During our mission I was able to do something I’d never done before … it seemed like I was almost able to communicate with the creature,” and Kirk tapped his head with his forefinger, “telepathically. I only got the sense that the creature knew we were different from Swastika and that I wanted to see it freed, but I never got to actually communicate in an intelligent way with it.”

“Even as I was doing it, I was concerned about the creature itself and its motives and how it came to be a prisoner of Swastika. No living being should be enslaved to another against its will,” Kirk added with conviction. “Anyway, I operated under that basic freedom and the rule that the enemy of my enemy is my ally.”

“However, my concerns about the creature were never allayed since it took off escaping Swastika when we did. When we resurfaced from the water I remembered Grey making some sort of comment about whether it was wise to just let the creature go. Not like we could do much about it at the time anyway, but it seemed a strange comment for Grey. What made is more foreboding is that I’d later find out it wasn’t Grey who made the comment, but rather Swastika in control of Grey. Swastika wasn’t captured so we couldn’t question him on his statement or the creature.”

“So with the water being your ‘gift’ now, I ask you, what sense can you make of Swastika’s statement? Do you know anything about that incredible creature he had enslaved?”

Kirk anxiously awaiting Inhuman’s reply and hopefully some further insight into what had transpired in their first mission.

OOC: Believe it or not, that statement about Grey/Swastika stuck in my head at the time and is from memory not my scanning back issues and just had little reason to come up until now, but with Inhuman’s appearance it came back to me.

Inhuman Gives Sentinel something along "a dead eyed fish look" during most of his speech. However at the end he does seem to snap out of it. "I wish I had been there with you too however everything i know about that mission is from the notes Chess has seen fit to give me clearance for, even though there are quite a few questions to be solved I don't know if your actions may have released me even though we never met if for example there was more than one enslaved creature and freeing one in turn freed another or if one of the other metahumans you freed stumbled across me." Inhuman's eyes here glitter with a feral almost shark like cast to them. "after all Dr. Swastika did mention he had created super powered individuals, but that may have been in reference to others.

“However my memories of what happened is that i was near Hawaii, when I was dragged down to depths where the pressure killed me. Some time later I was brought back to life and apparently surrounded by a species of Archiethulus, who had also changed me to survive down there. I escaped and eventually found Aquon, and joined you guys through him" here Inhuman pauses and looks thoughful "I know what I remember but If Dr. Swastika is as good as he claims it could all be a fake out from him both to me and Octopus. More time we needed and did not have to compare notes on this." "However back to the original point I mentioned, what you can do now, and what you can do later could be two different things, I have thought alot about what I can do now and what I may be able to extrapolate from that, I also have thoght about what others could do for example replacing all of the energy the dead cells in a deceased persons body with your own energy could restart the body so long as you were careful to not rupture the celluar walls, finesse not a new type of energy is what is needed here."Inhuman pauses here.
"I have been dead, not to make too big a point out of it, and i would save even Morgue and Black Bat from that if I could, most likely the 5 bosses and especially Octopus, if for no better reason than death is so much less than life."


Since his return from the Dr. Swastika debacle, Scott was emotionally, physically and mentally battered. He still was completely flummoxed that he decked Silas Caine without more proof than a Vampire's say so. A known villain vampire that played mind games for God's sake!His temper got the best of him and he smashed his fist down on the stainless steel table of the kitchen at the Vanguard's HQ. He left a slight dent in it. He looked at it then at his hands. As he did so often, he enlarged his hands, reduced them made all sorts of shapes with them. That was something he could control. It calmed him. It was sort of a Zen mantra he went through that grounded him and at the same time reminded him that this whole thing, including being a superhero was a real thing.
Someone entered the kitchen, it was Symbiote. Slingshot smiled calmly at him hiding his inner turmoil. "I have to say that they know how to keep a kitchen stocked in here, but where they put things can be counter intuitive at times. Anything I can help you locate?" As got to know each other, he learned that Symbiote was an expert in the field of metahuman biology and that it could be within his reach to find cures for it. As Harper kept talking about some fascinating facets of his research, Scott couldn't help but think of the moment when he was cut into by The Mercenary. The black ichor that came from the wound that was presumably his blood. The muscles that were left exposed were as black as the rest of him. It's not entirely illogical that he was elastic through and through, but it was somewhat disturbing. Also the muscles were barely discernible from the rest of the stuff. It seemed more of a suggestion to his untrained eye.
He commented on it to Symbiote. He asked the scientist if he would help him puzzle it out with him? He waited for his answer patiently.
Slingshot seeked Kairos out. When he found him, he introduced himself, "I know that you've been with us for a while, but I don't think that I've been able to properly introduce myself. I'm Slingshot, but you can call me Scott. I don't think I can seriously have a secret identity with this body.. and no, wearing glasses doesn't help.." With a big grin, he said,"I already tried." Scott was fairly open about his background and welcomed Kairos into the Vanguard fold.
Scott will come up to 'Strike and ask him if he's willing to help on trying to figure out Nanite especially with his experience with Luddite.
Slingshot will make the rounds. He will talk to each member.. inquire on their health if they were injured, make a few jokes, possibly sparing with whomever is willing and generally being a friendly neighbour.
He'll pursue what he can to track down more information on Nanite. He'll follow through on Inhuman's suggestions as well as seeing if Doc Rocket can make anymore time to see into Nanite's possible recovery.He'll continue his sparing with the CHESS TeamScott will go see him and let Archer know that he wasn't proud of having assaulted Silas and it had been a mistake and that it will not happen again.

Also: "Inhuman, I don't think that I had a chance to welcome you." He extended a hand to shake." Welcome to the team, I'm sure you'll be a great asset and I certainly hope to get to know you better. I wish you'd been around when we dealt with Dr. Swastika and the Star ship." Scott listened to what Inhuman was thinking about Nanite. He grew somber, but he listened and nodded."Thank you. I will see if I can get more information." He smiled thinly. "I'll see you around."


Symbiote listened to the troubled Troubled Tire-Like Titan carefully. "It never fails to amaze me, the different forms metahuman abilities can take," Hal said. "I'll be happy to help if I can. First step is a full work up." Hal and Scott both rose from their chairs at the table, Hal wiping the remains of the chicken salad sandwich he had just finished from the corners of his mouth and finishing the last of his coffee. "The lab facilities here are amazing. Let's start with a full body MRI, and then I'm sure they've got some sort of needle here that can pierce that thick skin for a blood sample. And I'll need the full story of exactly what happened when you acquired your powers, in as much detail as you remember. When holding an abnormal form for an extended length of time, do you notice any difficulty in returning to your default form? What's the longest you've been--'extended,' for lack of a better term?" Hal continued to quiz Scott, making mental notes as they walked to the lab...(/IC).

(OC): Hal's research projects, in order of priority, are...

1) Helping Doc Rocket with Nanite, if Doc wants and needs the help (since a life is at stake--albeit not a carbon based life--this is what he's most concerned about).

2) Helping Inhuman with his condition. (Since Inhuman's long term health could be an issue, as well as his emotional state).

3) Researching Slingshot's condition, hoping to find the answers Scott's looking for.

4) Some tinkering with the Harper Harness in preparation for some upgrades to hopefully take place on the level bump after this one.


Inhuman said: "I wish I had been there with you too however everything i know about that mission is from the notes Chess has seen fit to give me clearance for…”

“I know how that goes. It seems like our security clearance of “confidential” doesn’t get us as much access as we’d like. Anything I can fill to round the files for you, I’d be happy to do so.”

OOC If there was anything omitted from the CHESS file that you’ve read in Jeff’s online posting of past issues, if Sentinel knew about it, you can consider yourself knowing what Kirk knows. He wouldn’t try to hide anything and would be forthcoming. If there’s anything in question on your end or Jeff’s end of a sensitive nature, we can go over it.
It’s hard to keep track of what’s happened in the game verses when your character knows has happened and play accordingly.

even though there are quite a few questions to be solved I don't know if your actions may have released me even though we never met if for example there was more than one enslaved creature and freeing one in turn freed another or if one of the other metahumans you freed stumbled across me."

“We weren’t aware of anyone else imprisoned other than the giant star fish creature that Swastika enslaved and the room of captured individuals we found ourselves in.”

However my memories of what happened is that i was near Hawaii, when I was dragged down to depths where the pressure killed me. Some time later I was brought back to life and apparently surrounded by a species of Archiethulus, who had also changed me to survive down there.

“Archiewhatis? I’m sorry I have no idea what those are? A species of what? Are they some kind of alien fish species or something? I guess I’m confused. Did Swastika do this to you or those other creatures?”

“Why do you feel you were killed and then brought back to life? Perhaps you were injured or near death and were saved and transformed prior?” As Kirk asked these questions he wasn’t questioning Inhuman’s integrity, he was genuinely trying to figure out if that would be possible (ie coming back to life).

OOC Jeff: At this point is Inhuman’s energy signature just like other super-humans or something different?

I also have thoght about what others could do for example replacing all of the energy the dead cells in a deceased persons body with your own energy could restart the body so long as you were careful to not rupture the celluar walls, finesse not a new type of energy is what is needed here."

Kirk was silent for a moment thinking about what Inhuman brought up, about trying to work his power at a molecular level. The possibility of affecting life for the better to that degree, the cure for cancer (and other diseases for that matter) that was on his mind, the power to raise the dead… and he thought about what he knew of his power and abilities.

Kirk looked down for a moment and sadness came over his face and then he looked back at Inhuman and replied,

“What you describe would be a gift beyond compare, the good I could do would be immeasurable, but I don’t have power over life and death.” Kirk tried to explain further.

“I have a gift of sensing energy in various forms. I cannot manipulate or control or change energy in general. I can give solid form to the one specific form of energy I manifest, but I can’t give that energy special properties and certainly not the ability to impart life.”

“What you suggest … compare it to an engine for a vehicle. For the vehicle to work, the engine needs fuel it can properly consume and process as energy. If you found a car that was out of gas and put orange juice in it, the juice might fill the tank, but it wouldn’t get the engine running. Even if I could control my power to the precise degree you mentioned, my energy is not the energy of life. It would be the same as the orange juice in the gas tank. It might take up the space, but it could never accomplish the needed purpose… “ Kirk paused another moment as if thinking further, “and that doesn’t address the issues of the intense physical weight once the energy is transferred into physical form or that its presence is only temporary, it cannot sustain itself.”

(OOC: Jeff, if somehow I’m off here regarding Kirk’s reply and our understanding of his power in this scenario, let me know)

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, but this isn’t something within my scope of power. I wish it was.”

Kirk would be interested and note anything Inhuman said about his being dead since he would want to know if that was possible. He would never say to Inhuman that couldn’t have happened to him but Inhuman would clearly see that he found it hard to believe, but that if somehow it was true, understanding how it occurred meant a lot to Kirk.

If prompted further Kirk would add about Morgue and the others, “Whatever their state that allowed them some sort of continued existence after their death, it was not life as we know it and accept it here in this universe. The spark of life, the energy that all living things have that we know, was not present in them, and whatever took its place and animated them … it wasn’t right, it shouldn’t have been.”


Sentinel said: “Archiewhatis? I’m sorry I have no idea what those are?A species of what? Are they some kind of alien fish species or something?"

Giant squid, once believed to be mythical creatures, are
squid of the Architeuthidae family, represented by as many as eight species of the genus Architeuthis. They are deep-ocean dwelling animals that can grow to a tremendous size: recent estimates put the maximum size at 13 metres (43 ft) for females and 10 metres (33 ft) for males from caudal fin to the tip of the two long tentacles (second only to the colossal squid at an estimated 14 metres (46 ft), one of the largest living organisms). The mantle
is about 2 metres (7 ft) long (more for females, less for males), and the length of the squid excluding its tentacles is about 5 metres (16 ft). There have been claims reported of specimens of up to 20 metres (66 ft), but no animals of such size have been scientifically documented. (OOC: cut and pasted from Wikipedia, Inhuman will pretty much have this and alot more basically filed in memory)

I guess I’m confused. Did Swastika do this to you or those other creatures?”

I believe that the Giant squid people did this to me, but as a scientist... I must keep in mind that new evidence shows that Dr. Swastika brags about creating Superhumans (One of his Monologing tirades), the resemblance between myself and the giant star creature, plus his mind control, well it is enough to cast doubts on any well crafted theory.

“Why do you feel you were killed and then brought back to life? Perhaps you were injured or near death and were saved and transformed prior?” As Kirk asked these questions he wasn’t questioning Inhuman’s integrity, he was genuinely trying to figure out if that would be possible (ie coming back to life).

The Experiences I had and the position I found myself in generally contribute to the belief that i had to have been deceased. after all the level of sea pressure i was exposed to kills pretty much instantly, not minutes later. That and the situation I awoke in and other sources also seem to confirm that I had to have been dead. But again i lack proof, however even in the absence of proof I will act as best i see fit.

OOC Jeff: At this point is Inhuman’s energy signature just like other super-humans or something different?

“I have a gift of sensing energy in various forms. I cannot manipulate or control or change energy in general. I can give solid form to the one specific form of energy I manifest, but I can’t give that energy special properties and certainly not the ability to impart life.”

“What you suggest … compare it to an engine for a vehicle. For the vehicle to work, the engine needs fuel it can properly consume and process as energy. If you found a car that was out of gas and put orange juice in it, the juice might fill the tank, but it wouldn’t get the engine running. Even if I could control my power to the precise degree you mentioned, my energy is not the energy of life. It would be the same as the orange juice in the gas tank. It might take up the space, but it could never accomplish the needed purpose… “ Kirk paused another moment as if thinking further, “and that doesn’t address the issues of the intense physical weight once the energy is transferred into physical form or that its presence is only temporary, it cannot sustain itself.”

"Hmmmm..." Inhuman mulls over Sentinels comparisons "well, I have not given up on the concept but i don't want to beat a horse to death either, if you are ever interested in researching along this vein or others I still have ideas that could be as least conceptually useful until they are disproven" Inhuman smiles here "preferably by rigorous scientific testing"Inhuman mulls over Codenaming Sentinel "the juice" at one point....------------------------------------

OOC GM Replies:
Inhuman: "Hmmm.... does increasing the power cost decrease the utility of gaining a new power?
Is this possibly enough to justify having a whole power for one level advancement (necessitating later training to decrease power cost to "normal" levels)?"

GM Reply: Yes, depending on the details.
The increased power cost could be a wWakness taken with the power, helping to buy down the power's cost.
With later level advancements, you pay off to eventually get rid of the weakness.

Sentinel wrote: Jeff: At this point is Inhuman’s energy signature just like other super-humans or something different?"

GM Reply: Inhuman reads as an extranormal.


Hal listens to Kirk, amazed at both his youth and his depth of thought, particularly for his years..

In discussing the energy signatures: "I've ready a bit about your case with Dr. Swastika. No matter how big a psycho he may be, my research indicates he was right about one thing: Metanormal abilities appear to come from one center in the brain, and apparently tap into some form of energy--perhaps extradimensional--to produce different results for different people," Hal says. He gestures towards the Harper Harness. "My equipment takes a reading of that particular energy signature, copies it onto my own genetic makeup for a brief time, and voila'--superhero simulation."

"Hoping to accomplish several things with this," Hal continues. "First, I'd like to work with you guys and do some good--and, I'll admit it, have some fun," he says with a not-too-bashful grin. "But I'd also like to do more to isolate just exactly what 'super powers' are, and find other applications for them. Some metanormals have been documented to have the ability to regenerate almost any injury. Imagine if that gift could be given to a non-meta, even temporarily. It would revolutionize trauma medicine. Your own power, if researched, could possibly provide a clean, renewable power source some day. The possibilities are unlimited."

"There are also some people who don't want or need their metahuman abilities, and I'd like to find answers for them as well," Hal says. "Inhuman would like to be shut of his abilities, or at least have greater control over his transformation. I'm going to help him with that if I can. And psychopaths like the Hyena--well, I think we can all agree he's abused his meta gift and needs to lose it, at least until such time as he reforms, and I ain't holding my breath for that."

When Kirk discusses his reasons for not wishing to have his powers copied, Symbiote listens carefully, finally shrugging. "You don't owe me any explanations, Kirk. It's your decision," he says. "The only thing I have to say about it is that I've now been involved in one major 'metahuman case' and read about dozens of others. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that nothing ever seems to go as planned, for anybody. If we ever end up in a tight situation where we actually need 'two Sentinels' in order to carry the day, I hope you'll consider being flexible on the matter."

Symbiote stand up, starts to put on his CHESS issued lab coat over his uniform. "Hopefully it won't come to that. Listen, walk me down to the lab--the preliminary results on Inhuman's bloodwork should be done," Hal says. He stops to wince in pain and arch his lower back, rubbing it. "And then I'm headed for the gym. I asked Sarge Stone to work up an exercise program for me, and he was sadistic enough to actually do it. That Russian Kettlebell workout is murder." The two heroes headed down the hall. "But tell me more about your powers. I assume you're not the first Sentinel, that you inherited them from the original? Because that correlates with a theory I have about the inheritability of metahuman abilities..."