Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vanguard: Issue 74: Missing Links!

Athens! A massive junkyard! Night!

After taming the savage Symbiote, Vanguard needed to piece together information to defeat the Primate and stop his global Animal Revolution!
Sentinel implored Crab Man for info and aid. “It’s disappointing that given your seeing the direness of the current situation you can't look beyond yourselves for the moment to help the world at large.”

Crab Man gave a rueful little shake of his small, armored head. “Yep. Damn shame. But that’s the world we live in, pal.” He lumbered off, and then stopped. He turned and said: “Primate ain’t going ta Africa alone. He’s got more Ani-men with him. The Owl. Monarch. The Centipede. Ratman. Slugg. An’ ol’ fish-face hisself,” meaning Inhuman. “Good luck. You owe me.” Then the colossal crustacean lumbered off into the night with Jellyfish in his arms. Vanguard had only heard of Ratman and Slugg.

Vanguard searched the flaming wreckage of the Pegasus and reclaimed the unconscious bodies of Hyena and Cockroach, but Viper was gone! All that remained was the melting iceberg that had once been his prison. A search turned up nothing on the snake!

Slingshot and Symbiote absorbed plastic and rubber wreckage into their bodies to regenerate!

Vanguard headed back to the AEGIS Spire. They saw that city-wide, the animal attacks had stopped but the city was still in chaos. Once inside the Hellenic neo-deco Spire, Vanguard got to work…

Sentinel, Symbiote, Lightning Strike and Oracle started getting the defunct superteam’s immense computer mainframe up and running again.

Manetti was waved in. The Manta Craft landed in the skyscraper’s hanger. “What happened?!”
he asked. Larry will examine, repair and refuel the craft.

CHESS Rook Jen Christensen could provide first aid. She too was starved for information.

Oracle provided AEGIS wrist communicators to Vanguard, so they had secure communications again, but no GPS. Kairos got a funny vibe again from Oracle when she handed him his new communicator.

Forester meditated a while and then slipped outside. The wily woodsman found a park and practiced his uncanny camouflage ability. Observing local wildlife undetected, he was convinced they were no longer controlled by an outside influence!

Strike departed from his teammates to enter cyberspace and see what remained of Europe’s infrastructure. Drawing power to heal his power points, Strike discovered the attacks had stopped all across Europe! At approximately the time that Vanguard engaged the Primate’s saucer craft. It must have been a relay point for the transmission that Doc Rocket had discovered!
Europe was still in bad shape but at least the onslaught had halted… for now!
Strike discovered the transatlantic cable had been cut, likely by marine life! But he detected that the animal revolution phenomenon continued in Asia and Africa!

Symbiote shouted to Sentinel and Oracle, “OK! Try it now!”
BZZAMM!!! Lights came on all over the building. The crypt-like temple softened with illumination.
Power was on and the mainframe was running. Oracle overrode all systems’ security for Vanguard.

Vanguard contacted Vanguard HQ in the Empire State Building without using CHESS frequencies. After a while, someone replied. It was Doc Rocket! There was a visual. From what looked like a jury-rigged web cam. He was in a lab that was trashed and darkened. Doc looked injured. In the back was Shelly Harper, a new CHESS scientist who made it to the building after all. On the floor were dead birds, cannibalized machines and muddy paw prints. Doc said, “Thank heavens you’re alive!”
Shelly craned to see Vanguard. Everyone swapped stories. Doc told them:
“I’ve had no contact with Grey, Drake, CHESS or even CHESS Castle.
“No, the animal attacks have been continuing here, I assure you!
“No television or internet… we’re on power generators… not much time left…
“Yes, we’ve had a breakthrough! We can dampen the broadcast transmission in a local area of about 100 meters!” Doc explained to Symbiote and Lightning Strike the schematics for his invention! It looked like a radardish flamethrower, complete with hose and backpack. It would take 4 hours to build.
“The Primate has already defeated Hotsleep. We have no way to contain him. Do you understand?”
(OOC: Replies, questions to Doc before the connection is lost?)

After the connection was lost…
Symbiote created the machine to Doc’s specs. With Europe no longer affected, he could not test it.
Running out of time, Hal downloaded all files on Simon Simian for review on the trip to Congo. Then he stole into the silent hall that displayed the costumes of the fallen heroes of AEGIS. Professor Fahrenheit’s was a futuristic white and blue uniform that obscured much of the head and face. It would fit. Symbiote discarded the tattered remains of his costume and…

Oracle found him. She gasped. She almost fell over. Hal pulled off the mask and made frantic explanations, including how he thought it could affect the Primate to see his old master again.
In time, Oracle calmed down. In more time, she looked at the mannequin of Monolith, the ebony stone man. She looked where the sword of the Chevalier used to hang. Then she shared her take on Symbiote’s idea with everyone. “Vanguard should disguise themselves as AEGIS.” (OOC: Replies?)

Sentinel discovered Europe was offline and out of communication. With Oracle’s help, he raised Interpol. Sentinel transmitted the coordinates of the Primate’s Lair, that Lightning Strike found on the saucer ship. “We shall move a spy satellite into the region. Stand by.”
While he waited the hours it would take, Sentinel researched gorilla behavior and the Congo. The internet was down, but the news files of AEGIS were considerable:
The Mountain Gorilla has longer hair than other gorilla species, allowing it to live in hot or cold weather and travel into areas where temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It has chosen a life on the ground more than any other non-human primate, and its feet most resemble those of humans. This subspecies is on average the largest of all gorillas. Adult males are called silverbacks because a saddle of silver-colored hair develops on their backs with age. Males reach 6 ft in height, with an arm span of 7.5 ft and weigh 550 lb.
The Mountain Gorilla is highly social, and lives in relatively stable, cohesive groups held together by long-term bonds between adult males and females. The dominant silverback generally determines the movements of the group, leading it to appropriate feeding sites throughout the year. He also mediates conflicts within the group and protects it from external threats. Experienced silverbacks are capable of removing poachers' snares from the hands or feet of their group members. When the dominant silverback dies or is killed by disease, accident, or poachers, the family group may be severely disrupted. When a new silverback takes control of a family group, he may kill all of the infants of the dead silverback. Infanticide has not been observed in stable groups.
The Mountain Gorilla inhabits the cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 7300-14000 ft. They are critically endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, disease, and war. The Second Congo War, beginning in the 1990’s, devastated the country greatly and involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War". In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of rape and violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people so far.
Sentinel noted that gorillas were massacred in this conflict months before Primate turned on AEGIS.

The Interpol satellite was in position. The coordinates were in Congo… a small volcanic island within the massive Lake Tanganyika, the third largest freshwater lake in the world.
Interpol executed a magnetic resonance scan from orbit, a technology whose existence was not public knowledge. It discovered a complex two story structure across the island!

Slingshot had experience in construction. He identified some of the structures in the image.
(See Issue 75)

The trip to Congo would take 16 hours in the Manta Craft.
It was dawn in Athens and the Manta Craft was ready to launch.

Actions? Plans? Thanks!

Current Conditions: (everyone without regeneration received one healing rate to hit points)
Forester: Hit Points: 13 Power Points: full New quiver
Kairos: Hit Points: 21 Power Points: full
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 11 Power Points: full
Sentinel: Hit Points: 7 Power Points: full
Slingshot: Hit Points: full Power Points: full Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: full Power Points: full Charges: 8



GM, Private to Symbiote:
In his clandestine research into the secret files of Professor Fahrenheit, Hal discovered that Fahrenheit performed brain and throat surgery upon a large male mountain gorilla. After the surgery, Fahrenheit administered a series of experimental chemical treatments to further alter higher brain functions.
In looking at the reckless actions performed in the name of science and discovery, Hal couldn't help but be reminded of himself in the Pachyderm encounter!

Armed with Fahrenheit's notes, Hal believes he can reverse the chemical treatments with a formula delivered via a hyperdermic needle!

The formula will also require:
-Two hours in a chemistry lab. The AEGIS Spire has the proper facilities and Hal can do this before dawn but Vanguard or Oracle might become aware of his time in the chemistry lab. This work can't be done on the Manta Craft.
-One Luck Point. (see Rules for Luck Points, which replace Inventing Points.)

Let me know what you'd like to do please. Thanks!


Symbiote, Private to GM:
IC: Hal studied the information in front of him. He remembered Doc's words: "The Primate has already defeated hotsleep. We have no way to hold him."

He remembered the look of havoc in the New York lab, the injuries sustained by Doc Rocket, a man Hal had already begun to think of as a revered mentor even in the short time he'd known him. He remembered the harried, tired look on Shelly's face--she'd clearly been through hell in trying to buy the world some time. He remembered the havoc in the streets of Athens on the way back from the junkyard, and that was even with Primate's chaos-inducing broadcast temporarily halted. At bottom, above all else, it's just another scientific problem, Hal thought to himself. And I have to solve it.

Hal downloaded Professor Farenheit's data into a compact disc and discretely dropped it in his tool belt. He turned to Oracle and the members of Vanguard. "Guys, since we've got some time before that satellite is in place I'd like to step into the lab and run a full diagnostic on the harness," Symbiote says. "Want to make sure it's still functioning properly, even after that shot it took from Crabman."

OOC: Yep, I'll do it. Spend the luck point, proceed forward, the damage to Symbiote's own conscience be hanged. I'll say something about going to the lab and working on the harness in my "public" response to cover for it.

I'm going to hell. ;)


Replying, down the line:

While uplinked to Vanguard Headquarters in New York:
IC: "Doc, when we knocked out Primate's aircraft here in Europe the aggressive animal activity stopped. Looks like he needs booster stations of some sort to keep his signal going, other aircraft may be serving that purpose. If you get through to CHESS, any other super heroes, the military, anybody--tell them to look for those aircraft and knock them out if they can. Thanks for the countermeasure, betting it'll come in handy."
OOC: When we contact Interpol we should pass on essentially the same advice.

After we lose the connection to New York:
IC: Hal smiles, still looking at the screen. "That was my sister working with Doc," he says, almost wistfully. "Sounds like Manhattan was going to hell, but she found a way to get to the headquarters. Clearly, 'the Harper Foolhardiness Gene' is strong with this one. Maybe I should have invented a harness to control that."
He shakes his head. "OK, we've got a problem to solve. Let's get to work."

Concerning the issue of borrowing the old Aegis costumes:
IC: "Might be the thing to do," Symbiote says. "It's not going to cost us anything, and if it gives us an edge in the fight to come it could be worth it." He looks at the statues of Professor Farenheit and the other Aegis team members. "Might even be a small way they can get some justice after all these years."

Before/during the flight to Congo:
If we have time, probably before that Interpol satellite is in place, Hal will borrow Aegis's lab facilities and do a thorough exam/repair on the Harper Harness, try to make sure it's in perfect functioning order after that shot from Crabman. He'll also charge the harness on the ride to the Congo.

Viva Vanguard,


With the world coming apart at the seams, and his own abilities of marginal use, so it seems, Forester feels oddly detached from the situation at hand.

The back-to-back crises have kept everyone distracted from an underlying reason that Vanguard came together--to fill the heroic gap left by the unexplained disappearance of Freedom Force.

If the CHESS database is accessible aboard the Manta Craft, Forester searches for relevant information about the last known whereabouts of these not-forgotten champions.


Doc explained to Symbiote and Lightning Strike the schematics for his invention! It looked like a radardish flamethrower, complete with hose and backpack. It would take 4 hours to build.

“Doc, How long does the dampening effect from the device last? Were you able to determine the frequencies or energies Primate was using to extend his influence? Do we feel Primate is the ultimate power source of the mind control with a device amplifying his abilities of that he has used his warped scientific genius to build an actual device fueling the entire mind control operation?”

“The Primate has already defeated Hotsleep. We have no way to contain him. Do you understand?”

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying here Doc? We know Vanguard as a government agency is authorized like Chess to use lethal force when necessary and that in this dire situation we need to do whatever is necessary to stop this madness, but we aren’t executioners. As bad as this all is, and it’s as bad as it gets, you can’t be telling us to embark on this mission with the intent to put Primate down permanently if it isn’t necessary to stop his rampage.”

Hal smiles, still looking at the screen. "That was my sister working with Doc," he says, almost wistfully. "Sounds like Manhattan was going to hell, but she found a way to get to the headquarters. Clearly, 'the Harper Foolhardiness Gene' is strong with this one. Maybe I should have invented a harness to control that."

“Looks like ‘the Harper Genius Gene’ is strong with her too if she’s keeping company with Doc,” Kirk said with a smile. He was glad for Hal to know that his sister was safe, at least for the moment.

Kirk also likes the idea of Symbiote and Oracle, anything that can give us any advantage here; even momentary may make the crucial difference between success and failure. If we each match up in some way to a unique member of Aegis, we’d likely try to find some way to ‘act’ as them until Primate figures out what is happening, so you can let us know if we can do anything regarding our powers or actions to assist with that to some degree.

Any additional information regarding tribal ‘protocol’ for a member of the group to challenge the dominant silverback for his rights as ‘dominant silverback’?
OOC: Don’t know where things are going game-wise, but this might come into play if we are captured during the attack. If you don’t have research on it already, we can table it and bring it up only if it becomes necessary (don’t want to make you waste time for nothing).

The Second Congo War, beginning in the 1990’s, devastated the country greatly and involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War.”

“At least during World War II, when the Liberty League with Gramps tried to influence the world for the better, it was clear cut. The side of right had those nations and their people behaving in a moral way with a respect for life… how can we help this world to a better place when it’s lost all moral sense?” Kirk thought to himself, and “how many more Primates will it take for people to realize that they have to think about how their actions will affect everyone else before making decisions…”

Will Oracle be coming on the mission with Vanguard?

For those of us that couldn’t regenerate, do we have a supply of the stimulants onboard our carrier? If so, could you remind me of how they work again? Kirk uses them only a last resort, but at this point he’s going into battle where one attack past his shields could take him out of commission and a few more point might keep him on his feet past that.

Going into the assault, Kirk’s first concern is stopping the mind control transmissions of Primate since most of the world’s animals are still under his influence. If Doc’s device stops that then great (see Kirk’s question about duration), but it seems like we need to make sure ‘long term’ that stops the animal attacks. As they approach, Kirk would use his energy senses to try to get a ‘read’ of the complex. He wants to determine where it appears Primate’s means of causing the transmission is occurring. It would seem reasonable to think that the core of the computer systems power as well as the flow of energy from the complex would be directed especially to that area. Destroying that device or power source has to be prime concern, especially if Doc’s invention’s effect is short term in duration. Also, given Kirk’s current weakened physical state, once his power starts to wane, he is likely to be taken out of the battle quickly, so if he can take out that system before he falls, it would be the best use of his abilities for Vanguard and for the world.

If I’ve missed anything along the way so that doesn’t make sense, let me know.



A couple of things to follow up on Seth's post

Regarding the jamming device: Good questions on duration of effect. It's a pity Viper escaped, we could've tested on him and seen if he reverted back to his normal self. Anyway, I propose we use it while landing to keep the birds off us, then stay close to clear a path to Primate and any Ani-Men (I assume we'll still have to fight Ratman, Slugg and company but we can at least use it to keep the local wildlife off us). Depending on the situation Lightning Strike and/or I may want to enter his base's electrical system and try to short out his broadcasting that way, but the Primate's a pretty smart cookie--he may have some way of shielding or booby trapping that method of attack.

Regarding the source of Primate's power: When researching Professor Prometheus's notes, Hal will attempt to ascertain if Sam Simeon had developed any animal control powers up to the point he betrayed Aegis, trying to figure out if a) he had them all along, or b) this is something he developed later, whether naturally (an innate power) or artificially (through technology). Let us know what the notes say, please.

Regarding the possible "execution" of Primate: IC: "Guys, I'd say one thing at a time. First we have to find him, then we have to beat him. What we ultimately do IF we get both of those accomplished should depend on what the situation is like when we get there."

Viva Vanguard and (for the moment) Aegis Assemble,



Feeling a little odd about it, Kairos will go ahead and dress up in the Chevalier's attire. Other than that, he will await what the others dream up and we'll see what occurs.