The Lost Lands, Antarctica! Morning. The mysterious Temple in the Swamp.
Within a swamp, before an otherworldly, humming, stone temple, Vanguard stood face to face against the Soviet Super Soldiers!
Siberian commanded in fluent English: “Halt! This place is the possession of the Soviet Union! You have no jurisdiction here! You are ordered to come with us! Now!”
Sentinel thought: “Possession … jurisdiction … you have no rights to either of those things here! Who are you to order us?” But he heard Symbiote begin to speak first, and held his tongue.
Symbiote looked at the potential enemies before him. He knew these people were heroes in their own homeland, and that Clone--or at least some version of Clone--had fought alongside Vanguard under the streets of Big City. He had to at least try to reason with them.
"Siberian, we aren't here to cause trouble," he says. "We have an injured teammate--Nanite, Clone knows of her--and we have reason to believe that the means to help her is here."
“Clone knows of her?!” repeated Siberian, while looking at Clone.
Clone was stunned and silent.
The Duplicating Diplomat continued. "Your country and ours are signitors to the Antarctic Treaties, which dictate that this continent is neutral territory, owned by nobody and to be set aside as a natural preserve and for scientific research. We came here in the spirit of scientific and medical research, and we have no interest in interfering with whatever reasons bring you here."
He eyed the eight Soviets in front of him. "If you'd like to assist us, we'd appreciate it. Otherwise, we respectfully ask that you stand aside. We'll find what we need and get out of your way."
Mother Russia, Clone and Siberian spoke to each other in Russian.
Symbiote spoke to Accelerator, but was really signaling Slingshot to use the same tactic as “last time” against Accelerator.
Soldier watched the Soviets closely and noticed something. Their team was divided. Their body language betrayed a split in their forces. Mother Russia, Accelerator and Clone formed one faction. Siberian, Polar Bear and Cosmonaut the other. Echo was neutral or pensive and Shatter did not possess anything that could be called body language.
The sharp-eyed veteran had seemed similar divisions in combat troops and the results could be deadly.
Siberian broke off discussions with his team mates and barked orders savagely in Russian. The intent was unmistakable! Soldier yelled, “Ambush! Take cover!” and the battle was joined!
Accelerator hurtled around the area, nimbly leaping over swampy ground, gaining speed as he chuckled to himself. Then he stopped on a dime in front of Sentinel. “Hold that pose, kid,” Accelerator said as he touched Sentinel’s solid energy shield. ZOOOOooooM! Impossibly, Sentinel flew off at incredible speeds across the swamp. Accelerator’s previous momentum was somehow transferred to Sentinel with just a touch! He crashed against an ancient prehistoric tree trunk with a crash! The sinister speedster smirked. “Get’s ‘em everytime!” (OOC: 16 points of damage. All to shields.)
Symbiote, who had duplicated the powers of the black-feathered bird man, used his new-gotten speed and wings to fly directly at Clone! Symbiote picked him up, not harming him, and started flying straight up! They were soon out of earshot of Vanguard and the S.S.S.!*
"Clone, you know me--we've shared the same powers," Symbiote said, trying to reason with the Replicating Russian. "You also know Nanite. I'm glad you're alive, but a fight between our teams accomplishes nothing. Help me stop this!"
Clone snarled: “Stupid! Reckless! Amerikanski Cow-Boy! You have no thought what it is that you have just been doing! Now you must trust me now… regardless of what it is that I must be doing!”
With that, Clone began duplicating himself! Soon there were five of him, all hanging onto Symbiote, the original Clone or another Clone! Their combined weight surpassed Symbiote’s carrying capacity and the super-scientific superhero was plummeting out of the sky, with all the Clones falling with him!
Talon said to Mother Russia: “Hey good lookin'. Whatdya say we go some place private? We can build a little love nest in this tropical paradise, and spend some time getting to know each other.” Adam took a non-threatening posture with a smile on his face, and his gaze fixed on Mother Russia as if waiting for her to reply. Then the lethal lovebird hurtled straight up 100’ to observe the melee and their Soviet opponents through the thick jungle foliage. If any of Vanguard was in a very tight spot, he would aid them. On his ascent he stealthily tossed his communicator, and Lightning Strike, behind the S.S.S.!**
Soldier, likewise, chose to observe before acting!
Avatar chose to manifest the powers of the Olympian Hestia! The air crackled with energy and from it materialized a circular Greek shield of mystical glowing light! (Power cost of 25! Another -4 to be hit)
The wind caught his cape and Avatar reminded one of legendary Hercules, Theseus or Achilles!
Forester said, “Isn’t anyone going to attack these guys?!” The troublemaking troubleshooter fired an arrow at Cosmonaut! Thoooo! Spat! It hit, releasing a powerful corrosive that began eating away at his technological exoskeleton! “The Soviet space program has always been sooooo second rate,” he grinned.
Lightning Strike, as if in answer to Forester, suddenly appeared in a burst of electricity pouring from Talon’s discarded communicator! SHAKOOOM! When the smoke cleared, the dark defender stood behind the Soviet Super Soldiers and quickly fired upon their leader, Siberian! SKAKOW! A direct hit in his back! The communist comrade of cold was hurt but still conscious!
Siberian cursed savagely in Russian and then moved into English, “…sneaking, untrustworthy, American criminal!” As he chanted his litany of curses the air around him crystallized until Siberian was covered in ice armor! Zing! He flanked Strike, careful not to turn his back on the other Americans and fired at Lightning Strike! White ice propelled from his hands, hitting Lightning Strike! SHWOOOSH!
(19 points of damage! 6 from Power Points! 13 from Hit Points!) Lightning Strike was encased alive in a block of ice! Immobilized by its weight, he would continue to take damage from the frigid cold!
Soldier couldn’t try to block Siberian’s attack as Lightning Strike was on the other side of the battlefield!
Talon, however, swooped down to the ground and began hacking away at the ice block with his savage claws to free his teammate! Hack! Krack! Scrape! Zak! And Lightning Strike was freed from the ice!
Mother Russia saw her chance. Throwing Talon’s words back at him, she purred, “Very well, lovebird. But I warn you. I can be a rough lover.” The smiling soviet strongwoman closed on Talon and socked him right in the jaw! BOOM! (19 points of damage! Rolls with 7 and takes 12 off Hit points!) Talon was knocked back 40 feet! Mother Russia was a very experienced combatant. And strong. Very strong.
She laughed. Not in mockery or derision. But in joy. “It has been too long, comrades!”
Polar Bear pounced forward, growling! The massive man-beast came at Avatar with speed unexpected for his size! Theseus and the Minotaur, John thought for a second. Then the Bear slashed ferociously with his claws and KTANG! The mystical shield of Hestia staved them off! The demigod of destiny felt the air grow colder - his breath formed white mist - and he knew that this opponent was also very experienced.
Cosmonaut, his armor slowly dissolving open, turned on the vicious vandal that defaced his life’s work. His steel gauntlet pointed at the amazing archer. KZZAK!! Red energy burst forward at the most human of Vanguard’s number! BZZAKK!!! The beam impacted directly upon…
Soldier! The patriotic powerhouse had leapt between Cosmonaut and Forester, taking the energy weapon’s blast squarely on his star spangled chest! (16 points of damage! 8 from Power points. 8 off Invulnerability. No damage to hits) The agent of America stood unharmed before Cosmonaut’s onslaught!
“Thanks, Soldier!” said Forester.
Echo took to the air – the young woman could fly! She opened her mouth and said BZZAK! And the sound of Cosmonaut’s blast roared forward, only amplified a thousand fold! This sonic blast was focused and it struck Sentinel! (15 points, all off shields!)
Sentinel ignored Echo and the combat. Seeing the temple as the true target, the beacon of liberty flew within the mysterious, dark temple whose architecture was linked to the supernatural Star Giant! Inside, its non-Euclidean space and geometry were disconcerting and vertigo inducing. His energy sense was still overwhelmed by the silent signal that came from within the temple! Sentinel pushed deeper, using his energy creations to quickly take an imprint of pictoglyphs that were not carved by human hands. A nameless dread stalked among those ancient, moldering grey stones. His stomach churning, and a cold sweat forming on his brow, Sentinel found a stone stairwell that descended into blackness.
Then something happened. Sentinel was attacked by a psionic extension of someone’s, or something’s, terrible will. He received a telepathic flash at the moment of attack (see image), and knew only that his telepathic training and defenses had warded off the attack… for now!
(Use this issue’s action to evade or reform shields to 100%?)
Meanwhile, outside the Temple of Terror…
Manetti grabbed Shelley by her wrist and pulled her away from the cataclysmic combat. The two took shelter behind a fallen tree trunk and unholstered their CHESS energy pistols (both Evade!).
Slingshot flattened his form as he leapt into the air. Morphing into a soft, spinning circular disc, he seemed like a pizza pie that had been tossed up by a chef. SPLORPH! The black pizza dough landed on Accelerator and quickly formed a ball that encased the surprised speed freak in thick, rubbery flesh!
Accelerator was still wriggling. He touched Slingshot and sent the malleable man of might flying. Slingshot heard muffled laughter. Speed + Rubber made for a wild combination. Slingshot and Accelerator were a 400 lb. ball that ricocheted around the swamp at deadly velocities! CRASH! A tree! BOOM! The temple’s stone side! SLAMM! The ground! CRUUNCH! (OOC: Slingy takes 30 points of damage! 8 off Invulnerability. 8 off power. 14 off hits! Accelerator takes kinetic damage equal to your hit point damage/2, but he cannot roll with it).
More laughter from inside: “Had enough? Wait… Dude! I’ve got the most intense déjà vu right now!”
Shatter may have been a Soviet but he wasn’t human. The disembodied shape sent out a massive wave of magnetics and scanned the entire area. Soldier felt it in his super-alloy bones, and Shatter took notice.
The Soviet Super Soldiers didn’t have the speed of Homicide for Hire, or even Vanguard. Nor were they as tactically efficient as Homicide. But their harsh, cold, unforgiving homeland had created in them deep reserves of endurance and determination. These people had experience with suffering and hardship. This battle was just beginning!
OOC: Actions everyone!
Avatar: Hit Points: 50, Power Points: 56, Manifestation: Hestia: Shield, -4 to be hit
Forester: Hit Points: 31, Power Points: 68, Arrows Used: Parachute, Scent, Sonic, Acid
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 30, Power Points: 63, Freed from ice
Sentinel : Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 58, Creation Points: 116, Shields: 69%
Slingshot: Hit Points: 54, Power Points: 79, Invulnerability: 0 until Issue 96.
Soldier: Hit Points: 43, Power Points: 72, Invulnerability: 0 until Issue 96.
Symbiote: Hit Points: 78, Power Points: 95, Charges: 11, As Talon: S:20 E:27 A:24 I:25 C:13
Talon: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 68
Clone: Hit Points: 3 each, Power Points: 46 each, Total Bodies: 5
*GM helping you guys out here, based on what Strike was trying to say before. Who sez I can’t be nice?
**Greg, This is normally illegal. You are trying a ‘move, attack, move.’ But I’ll allow it because Clone kinda wanted to be picked up by Symbiote. Man, I must be in a good mood.
Pressed by Polar Bear, John thrusts with his spear while defending as well as possible from his attacks.
Hi Kevin.Welcome to the game!Another new player was indeed an unexpected turn of events here ...
Any chance Kirk noticed any of the SSS starting to follow him into the temple?
On the brief 'flash image' - we have the link to the Star Giant already, couldn't help but notice all the blackness surrounding the center of the image - certainly it could have been too brief for a reaction, but did Kirk get any feelings that the 'darkness' was in any way related to or similar to the 'dark energy' he felt from Black Bat. That would be tying even more things together then he felt on his perceptions from the temple and its images and even more eerie, but since the thought crossed my mind, I'm asking.
On evading - that is only a defense against physical attacks, correct? Evading wouldn't help against a mental attack at this point, even if Kirk was 'aware' of the possibility. Two different sets of game workings, right? Just checking so I can figure which defense Kirk would use before proceeding with next actions.
Hi Kevin! Welcome to the team.
GM, I knew the rubber ball technique would hurt, but it's a good way of neutralizing Accelerator, without (hopefully) losing one of us.
While Accelerator is "inside" me, can I "hit him" or constrict him somehow for further damage? Or holding onto him is my whole action for this coming round? Just want to know what my options are.
Stephane/Slingshot/Malleable Man of Might!
OOC GM Replies:
Sentinel wrote: Any chance Kirk noticed any of the SSS starting to follow him into the temple?
GM Reply: None of the SSS have gone into that lovecraftian crypt of eldritch horror,the Temple of Terror!
Sentinel wrote: ..did Kirk get any feelings that the 'darkness' was in any way related to or similar to the 'dark energy' he felt from Black Bat.
GM Reply: Sentinel did not.
Sentinel wrote: On evading - that is only a defense against physical attacks, correct?
GM Reply: I'll allow a telepath to use evasion to gird his mind and increase his defenses.
Slingshot wrote: While Accelerator is "inside" me, can I "hit him" or constrict him somehow for further damage? Or holding onto him is my whole action for this coming round? Just want to know what my options are.
GM Reply: You used your last action to "grab" him in Slingy's own style. Now that you have him, you may damage him. You have bonuses to hit him because of the situation. You also have some negatives to damage because of the situation: crushing causes less damage than punching. If you want to let him out so you can slug him, that's possible, but gives him a better chance to escape your hold.
Accelerator could use an action to try to escape (in a Strength vs. Strength contest/saving throw), or could try to keep flinging you around until you give up and let him go. If he were to evade, it wouldn't work because he's considered restrained.
First, welcome Kevin! We all enjoyed your interpretation of the costumes. And it looks like right off the bat you and I are going to be working closely together...either that, or beating the snot out of each other....
IC: Clone snarled: "Stupid! Reckless! Americansk! Cow-boy! You have no thought of what it is that you have just been doing! Now you must trust me now...regardless of what it is that I must be doing!"
As Clone begins replicating Hal groans, realizing the most probable explanation of what just happened. "Clone, I'm sorry if you were undercover and I tipped your hand, but Vanguard wasn't briefed about your mission. We thought you were dead!" Even as the weight begins to drag him down Hal will scan the ground--for a grove of trees, a hill, even the other side of the temple, anything out of sight of the battling teams. He pantomimes wrestling with the Cloning Communist while not making any effort to actually harm him. "Recall enough of your clones for me to land us safely over there," Symbiote says, nodding his head towards whatever spot he picks out. "I'll set us down so we can talk in private and figure out what the next move is."
OOC: If Clone complies and reabsorbs at least some of his duplicates Hal will continue to continue wrestling with him (them?) until they are out of sight of the team and then land them both. If not Hal will fight in earnest, working to kick/punch enough of the clones off of him so that he can remain airborne. If Symbiote can identify which one is the original he'll refrain from using claws on him but all the others are fair game.
Kirk scanned the room around him to be sure there was no one guarding the entrance area inside. The lack of such led Kirk to believe that perhaps the SSS weren't working with the threat and were present investigating it themselves.
The psionic attack wasn't totally unexpected but still threw Kirk for a loop. He readied himself mind and body (OOC Kirk will evade with his prior action) for a further encounter with the creature. Before moving he tried to use what he had seen with the pictoglyphs and his brief encounter with the Star Giant to gird his mind and orient his thoughts to be prepared for this new creatures thought patterns. Perhaps this would help him interpret and repel anything he felt from it.
At this point, with the blackness of the mental perception emanating from the brief contact with the creature, he was beginning to think that the Star Giant, although similiar in alien design, was different from the creature he was about to encounter. He didn't think that the Star Giant would have been able to hide the palpable darkness even to his untrained mind that emanated from this creature... and he wondered about the true extent of what they stumbled upon here.
Kirk's energy flowed from him along the ground latching onto the entranceway of the temple. His plan was to attach himself to a physical path out that he could easily draw upon if he felt himself being overwhelmed mentally by this creature. He would leave a tether of energy along the path he followed into the descent so that he wouldn't be lost in the caverns, and if he felt mentally overwhelmed, he would try to draw on the energy almost in a reflexive action, borrowing a tactic from his teammate, Slingshot, and hopefully use that path and link to propel him outside of the range of the creature.
(OOC If this is unclear of what I'm describing Kirk is attempting, let me know)
Kirk couldn't help but recall his fictional hero's oath, one he believed based on the legacy of his own grandfather, "And I shall shed my light upon the dark things, for the dark things cannot stand the light..." and he flew down into the stairwell of darkness.Seth
After taking a second to recover from the blast, Soldier will look over at Forester. He's a little pissed that Forester initiated an attack, without letting his teammates know first, but he'll worry about that later. He'll ask Forester "Are you OK?"
As soon as Forester gives him the nod, he'll start trying to move around the right flank (right side) SSS, and working to close the gap between himself, and the closet member of their team. He thinks to himself "I've gotta get in closer. As long as were this far apart, they've got the advantage".
He'll to hit them from an angle, or from the rear, instead of coming at them straight on.At this point, I'm guessing he's hit by the Shatter's magnetic wave, and it will definitely catch his interest. He'll wonder, "What the hell was that?" . He'll assume it's some sort of attack by one of the SSS, unless someone can tell him otherwise. Not knowing exactly who's responsible, he'll keep his guard up. As soon as he's within HTH combat range, he'll make a HTH attack. If possible, he's try to grapple with his opponent, and restrain them. If successful, he'll yell out to either for one of them to hit the restrained SSS. Hopefully I've got enough moment to get all of this done in one turn. ;).
Symbiote says, nodding his head towards whatever spot he picks out. "I'll set us down so we can talk in private and figure out what the next move is."
Clone 1 of 5: “Please to be landing us there.” As he motions with his head at Siberian.
Clone 4 of 5: “I can't remember how this is called”
Clone 2 of 5: “You are thinking it is “Crash” comrade Clone”
Clone 3 of 5: “Da! Please to be crashing us there comrade”
Clone 5 of 5: “I am remembering, once, Peter the Great had problem like this”
Two of the clones absorb back into the others – leaving just three.
Clone 2 of 3: “If Siberian is out of . . . how do you Americans say . . .”
Clone 1 of 3: “You are thinking it is “out of way” comrade Clone”
Clone 2 of 3: “Da! Out of way . . . this fight may be ending”
Clone 3 of 3: =looking Symbiote square in the eyes= “We must to be keeping up fight comrade”
Clone 1 of 3: He begins to mumble some kind of chat in Russian that Symbiote would quickly realize as “The Lords Prayer”
Hopefully the re-absorption of two of the Clones was enough to allow Symbiote to make a controlled decent to the ground – if not more could always be absorbed. While heading to the ground the remaining Clones will keep up the illusion that they are still wrestling / fighting with Symbiote.
I have no delusions that Symbiote and I will remain unscathed from this hard landing, but if we can try to land on Siberian and knock him out we may be able to squash this little fight since he was one of the chief protagonist. Taking a little damage might also make it possible for Clone to appear as solid member of the Soviet team, regardless of what some of that teams members may be thinking after hearing Vanguards comments.
Clone is also hoping that if Symbiote and Clone can take out Siberian that he ( Clone ) might have a better chance at restoring Mother Russian as the team leader – which may help him defect – not sure though – he’s roll’n the dice a bit on this, but considering the circumstances he doesn’t feel like he has many options open to him.
Regardless of how the landing goes, Clone would want to keep up the charade that Symbiote and he are still locked in combat.
. . . and to be honest I’m not sure how to get the fighting to stop, but hopefully Clone’s new found friend Symbiote can help out with that. Taking Siberian out “by accident” is definitely a step in the right direction I think.
Talk to ya soon,
P.S. I think we might make a pretty good team too Greg . . . just as soon as we finish beating the snot out of each other lol ;-)
I want to start by saying hello to Kevin. Glad to have you in the group, I hope you enjoy it.
OOC: Talon will take a moment to regain his senses after suffering a terrible blow from Mother Russia. He will then locate her and fly right back into the fight (BTW if anyone is available to help me with this beast I would appreciate it, because she might just kill me!).
IC: Hey, that's not the kind of love I had in mind, but I have to admit, you’re just the kind of woman I'd like to sink my claws into!
OOC: Talon will attack her with everything he's got. No more playing around with this one.
OOC: I also need to thumb my nose at Greg for not telling his buddy that this woman "HULK JUMPED" away from the Vanguard in their last encounter. Thanks for the heads up, buddy! :)
OOC: Slingshot will squeeze Accelerator for further damage this turn. Hopefully, it won't hurt as much as last turn.
It's Slingshot's turn to laugh, but in this shape it comes out more like a rumbling. A shallow voice emanating next to Accelerator head's says, "It might be for you, but not for me. The results are going to be the same nonetheless." Scott starts to tighten his grip on the speedster, "I'm here on a rescue mission and you're not going to be in my way. I'm ready for more, big boy, are you?"
Here is Strike's action.
Since Talon spent the action freeing Strike and all he got was a sock in the jaw for it, Strike felt it was time to help him out. Strike lets off a blast of electricity at Mother Russia. "Normally I wouldn't electrocute a woman but I may have to make an exception for you."
Strike addresses the group. "A prolonged battle serves no purpose here. We are both investigating the same things. We should be working together, not beating each other up. There are other forces at work here with powers greater than ours. They are the real enemy."
Given that the Russians are vastly more experienced than us, the longer this battle goes the advantage tips to them. Our only hope is to take out their most experienced members and that might demoralize the rest.
Right on time!!!
IC: Hal will comply with the Renegade Replicator's request, steering their (hopefully) controlled crash landing towards Siberian (hopefully more "landing" than "crash!"). Just before they hit the Cold Communist Symbiote will attempt to maneuver the Clones so they body check their opponent, and hopefully can get in a claw strike himself as well.