Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vanguard: Issue 171: The Lost Laboratory of Dr. Swastika!

The Mystic said, “It’s time.
“We will attempt to gate you near the location of the first Artifact of Power. “Near” because we dare not place you directly upon it, for fear that the artifact’s power could affect our spell.”

Archimedes said to Menagerie, “Once there, ye’ll be able to detect ets presence.”

The Mystic said, “Once there, contact us so we know from where to bring you back. Remember, it could take as long as an hour before we’re able to return you.”

Oracle closed her eyes and concentrated on the many paths the future might hold.

The Mystic and Archimedes wove a magic spell before Vanguard’s eyes. Hieroglyphic equations of otherworldly geometry formed in midair in bright lines of gold and blue. An all-seeing eye, not unlike that which emblazoned Sentinel’s chest, grew within an expanding circle that then cut into physical space itself. The circle glowed bright as the sun and the air shifted as static electricity built up within the room.

Sentinel noticed the eye of the spell and unconsciously glanced at his own insignia and the similarities. His conversation with Lancaster about its choice and origin flashed into his mind… about some of its background being intertwined in mystical origins… why was it that although there, Kirk never pursued it further? Was there something more about the symbol that he needed to know? That mattered?
And then his concerns were lost as …

“Go now Vanguard!” called Archimedes over the wind and white light that blasted from the gate!
“And may She watch over ye!”

The six remaining members of Vanguard advanced into the light in the formation suggested by Menagerie and suddenly all went black!
The light, the wind and the noise were gone. Vanguard was in a pitch so absolute they couldn’t see their hands before their faces. All was still.

Vanguard activated the mini-flashlights that had recently been added to their Vanguard communicators.
Sentinel brightened his energy shields.

Through the darkness they saw they were in a large, incredible laboratory, overtaken and ruined by time and disuse.
The long walls were lined with equipment and bookshelves. The air was bad, almost dangerous. It was quiet as the grave. There were power generators, long silent.

There were human-sized chemical vats, long empty.

The windowless chamber was 30 feet wide and over a hundred feet long, extending into the darkness, beyond Vanguard’s light. There was one exit, a rusted steel fire door, and it was closed.

Menagerie’s Nature Sense revealed no living predators within his range. As Archimedes promised, Menagerie could detect a power source, the first “Artifact of Power.” It was coming from the direction of the door.

Sentinel’s Energy Sense also detected the power source of the First Mysterious Artifact, a type of energy he had never experienced before. Save Vanguard, there were no other energy sources within his range.

Avatar, a scholar, archeologist and historian, quickly scanned a few titles from among the vast collection of tomes. “Mostly German language. 18th century… 19th… nothing beyond the early 20th century. Science. Philosophy. Ancient History. Mythology…”

Symbiote’s scientific training told him they were standing in an abandoned biochemistry lab that had not been used in many decades. Its equipment was antique but arrayed in new and groundbreaking ways, yet unseen even in the 21st century.

Slate found no computer equipment of any kind within sight. He flicked light switches on the wall and there was no power. He saw everyone’s Vanguard communicator had no connectivity. Slate performed a quick modification on his, and got the GPS working for a only moment. “We’re in East Germany. Behind the Iron Curtain,” he reported.

Slingshot’s engineering skills told him they were underground, to judge from the bad air and the design of the stone floors, walls and ceilings. He slowly, cautiously stretched his arm, and the communicator flashlight, down the length of the long hall, seeking its end. The light revealed two more rusting fire doors before reaching the chamber’s far wall. It held a hearth large enough for a man to walk into.

Above its mantle was a life size portrait, an incredible oil painting of drama and chiaroscuro. The striking subject pulled back a blood red curtain to reveal a new world beyond. The eyes were filled with brilliance and the proud face was as severe, jagged and gothic as a broken stained glass window.
Sentinel was the first to recognize him. The portrait’s subject was a young Dr. Swastika.

Dr. Swastika was a mad Nazi scientist with a heart as twisted as his name. Creator and leader of the nefarious Ubermensch, Swastika was believed killed in 1945. Remains of his body were recovered from an explosion and identified.
It was only discovered in the Third Age of Heroes* that his head had survived, when he launched American nuclear missiles in an attempt to trigger a nuclear war and the destruction of civilization. (see Vanguard issues 1-26, true believers!)
He was seemingly killed after Vanguard stopped his mad plans, but Vanguard knew Dr. Swastika had mastered the insidious ability to transfer his consciousness in order to possess other people’s bodies!
(*First Age of Heroes: WWII. Second Age: 1980’s. Third Age: Now!)

Sentinel knew.  As soon as he saw the human-sized vats, he knew.  No need for the reconnaissance.  They were personally investigating Dr. Swastika’s ‘abandoned’ lab. Avatar’s dating the literature provided evidence.  Slate’s GPS check confirmed it in Kirk’s mind.
There, it came together.  Part of him said he was being paranoid.  Part of him thought himself being practical.  He was always looking for Swastika’s unseen influence, never believing him gone.  And it made sense, what with his ability to control minds and inhabit the bodies of others.  With the way he had influenced the course of history with no one discovering it until far too late.  With the pain he caused those close to Kirk, to Kirk himself.  He had thought that Dr. X might have been at least a pawn of Swastika or perhaps a refuge for the mind of the inhuman being himself… and there was evidence of it staring at him on the wall.

He gazed knowingly at the picture.  With an uncharacteristic disgust in his voice he whispered, “Swastika.  I hate that guy.”
Realizing that back at the Russian Embassy both his and Menagerie’s senses were blocked he said, “Give me a moment.”  He approached closer towards the object.  Perhaps they could both sense that and other things be blocked because of its unnatural power.  He took note of all he could about its readings as he walked closer.  And then he tried a mental scan of the area.  Would that identify other beings in the area when his energy sense wouldn’t?

Sentinel detected no conscious minds within his range. He suggested that after opening the door, if they still see nothing, he send a human-like construct in towards the object first to see if it triggers any scientific or mystical devices or booby traps guarding the object.  “There is no way it is sitting here unguarded and unclaimed where we can just walk in and retrieve it and leave.  It couldn’t be that easy!”

Slingshot retracted his arm and looked around. He wasn't sure if being overwhelmed by the historical horror of what was done here or by the sheer fact that he stepped into a relic of a momentous time (no matter how ghastly it could have been).

It was quite a disconcerting moment. He immediately tried to take in the situation, Ethan's reaction (while he is behaving like a young adult, Scott can't help but think he's still a child in many ways).

And he kept an eye out to Symbiote. There was probably a treasure trove of things and information from a science of the body perspective in such a place. While Slingshot trusted Symbiote with his life, he had been known to have had some errors in judgment that led to disastrous consequences. Looking at a place like this, you wonder if a young Swastika wasn't just a few errors from being a Doc Rocket?

Slingshot stayed vigilant for any beasts or guardian that might still remain in this place. The place is quiet. Over all, he will wait on Sentinel or Menagerie to point to the artifact so we can move before something wakes.

Scott kept his voice down. He looked at Sentinel and Menagerie. "This place sleeps, let’s get what we want and get out."

Menagerie focused all his senses, physical and magical on the lab. He fell to the stone floor!

Menagerie’s mind reeled at the animal psychometry that assailed him! Countless lab animals had suffered and died here in ways unimaginable. Among the nightmare memories of torture and agony that threatened to drown him were images of their cruel author: Dr. Swastika. (A successful Charisma save is made and…) Menagerie regained his composure.
The quick thinking hero managed to piece together a partial floor plan of this house of horrors from what he had seen in the mind’s eye of the pack of the damned. (see partial map below)

"What kind of monster creates this place and what kind of monsters did this place create?"
Then he said to Slingshot, "Agreed." He would lead him to the artifact. He doesn't open the door but stands back to allow one of his stronger, heartier teammates to open it.  He was on watch ready to transform as needed.

Avatar stood at the ready, a vigilant guardian alert to any danger that might present itself. 

Symbiote thought to himself, “Dr. Swastika,” barely controlling the urge to spit. “It figures. The worst evil Vanguard has ever faced, and he has to be at least somewhat involved.”

Though he hadn't been a member during Vanguard's one encounter with Dr. Swastika, Symbiote considered the man to be the team's most hateful enemy, maybe the worst of the metahuman age. Part of it was that the two men weren't that dissimilar--both were scientists, both were fascinated by the metagene and its potential for human improvement. But Hal--imperfectly, admittedly--had tried to use it to help people. Swastika had used it for some of the darkest perversions imaginable.

“Wonder if Zero G's power would be sufficient to completely crush this place into a pit? “ He thought to himself. “Might look into that later, if we manage to save the world. Time to focus on the task at hand.”

"Let's get this done and get out of here," Hal said aloud, with controlled disgust in his voice. He walked towards the doors, the obvious source of the power they were looking for. Hal would try to be particularly aware of the ceiling if trouble erupts--if there's anything sharp and pointed up there he may try to reverse gravity on an opponent and impale him or her on it.
And while it appears that Dr. Swastika hasn't been here in a while, if The Bad Doctor does show up...Hal's going for him first.

Slate curiously approached the equipment... it appeared ancient to him... how did humans accomplish anything before computers came along... without IT's influence they'd probably still be using steam power he thought to himself.  He looked at the gauges and dials, how imperfect, how clumsy this all seemed, probably years ahead of its time when it was created, but about as useless as a tea kettle today.  He ran his finger across the rim of one of the vats, looking at the dust it left on his finger and quietly said, "Mom would love this place" glancing at his father’s back.

Slate began to actually try to figure out what it was that had been done here.  Analyzing the types of equipment, placement, and connections... maybe if he could figure out what they had been trying to do, he could figure out what this power source or artifact might be, and who or what might be protecting it.
He used his Heightened Comprehension to figure out what the equipment in this room was used for, and if there is any evidence... papers/reports/logs, he would quickly look through them in an attempt to figure out what they might be facing.  He would stay close to the group, closest to Slingshot.

The human computer determined that this equipment was used to create extranormals. This place was the cradle of the Ubermensch.
Amongst the papers, he found a thick, dusty leather-bound book. It was the journal of Dr. Swastika!

Filled with incredible illustrations and handwritten notes, the tome was in German, but Slate’s incredible mental abilities (Heightened Comprehension) allowed him to understand some of it. He scanned the pages quickly, reading and absorbing information at an incredible rate.

Dr. Swastika’s given name was Victor. He was born in 1751 (!) near what is now Switzerland.
He attended the University of Ingolstadt, in Bavaria. A medieval university where the Illuminati were born.
Slate’s photographic memory recalled he had read somewhere that the Illuminati movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University. Dr. Swastika was among them.

Many believed the movement represented a conspiracy to infiltrate and overthrow the governments of the world and replace them with a New World Order.
The symbol of the Illuminati was an all-seeing eye in a pyramid, depicted on the back of every U.S. dollar bill.

After university, Dr. Swastika began experiments in biochemistry designed to extend his life, and then to create life itself. In the 1930’s, he had joined the occultic Nazi party, whom he saw as the continuance of the Illuminati and the Thule society.

The journal spoke of his search to create the Over Man, the Aryan ideal. And that he conquered science itself to achieve that goal.

It also revealed Swastika’s fascination with sorcery, especially the Cthulhu Mythos. There was an amazing illustration of the Star Giant, penned in Swastika’s hand.

The journal covered the Nazi expedition to the Lost Lands of Antarctica, wherein lay the Temple of Terror. There were illustrations of the Dinosaur Men, and of temple hieroglyphs depicting the race of Inhumans.
Next to that, to Slate’s surprise, was a depiction of a creature that resembled his father, Slingshot!

Slate was jarred from the book by the sudden sound of rending iron!

Slingshot pulled the fire door from its hinges as quietly as he could and Vanguard peered into the dark stone hallway that lay beyond it.
Menagerie and Sentinel detected the emanations of the artifact of power coming from the north.
Sentinel prepared to create a man-shaped construct to trigger any traps that lay in their path when suddenly the air shifted!
Somehow there were now more people in the lab! Even in the poor light, Vanguard recognized them!

Mother Russia! Strong, invulnerable and courageous!
Polar Bear! The ursine abomination!
Hammer and Sickle! Experienced, ruthless super-agents!
Siberian?! Vanguard knew the frozen fiend was in custody in CHESS Castle! Could this man be his successor?
The Collective?! This man looked like the Clone when Vanguard met him in the Lost Lands!
Proletariat and Revolution! Vanguard knew their appearance and names but no more, despite the fact they had researched the Soviet Super Soldiers earlier that day!

Both super-teams were equally prepared for trouble, so neither got the jump on the other!

The Soviet Super Soldiers were 100 feet away from Vanguard on the other side of the dark, abandoned lab!
The air here was bad, almost dangerous.

Mother Russia shouted in Russian, “Super Soldiers, Go!”

To be continued!
OOC: Actions?!
One combat round worth of orders, please.

Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 38, Power Points: 85, Manifestation: None
Menagerie: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 66, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 61, Creation Points: 122, Shields: 100
Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 73
Slingshot: Hit Points: 50, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 55, Power Points: 91, Charges: 13, Copied: Zero G



Private to The Collective!
“Hail Comrades! The Collective has succeeded in his glorious mission to defend The People from the evil capitalist empire of America!
Unbeknownst to the lackeys of corporate power, he had infiltrated their ranks, observed their vile actions and now returns home triumphant to his loving Doctor X!”

Alex now believes the following:

He was an extranormal called "the Collective" who was always a loyal member of the USSR, and was chosen for a very special undercover mission: he was going to pretend to defect to the USA.

Doctor X and the Puppet hypnotized him, creating a new personality: the foolish, harmless laughingstock called Clone. Beneath this ridiculous exterior, he was really a sleeper agent, designed to lull the American government into finding him completely harmless. He would then infiltrate the extranormal program called Vanguard and report back everything he learned to the Homeland.

Doctor X had command words that could trigger responses from “the Clone” without his knowledge, to facilitate regular reports.

His “family” were other sleeper agents. Their “escape” from East Berlin was an elaborate show to cement America’s trust of “the Clone.” Alex’s real family died years ago. The Soviet Super Soldiers are his only family now.

He, Mother Russia, and Polar Bear had just been recalled from deep cover via a trigger word, and their original personality restored, because there is a grave threat to the People. A monstrous, psychic creature from another dimension threatens to invade the world. The Soviet Super Soldiers stand ready to stop it.

They need to retrieve several artifacts to do it. They’ve been transported to the first site through Doctor X’s mental power of teleportation. They expect Vanguard to be there, thanks to the Collective’s years-long reconnaissance. But the decadent imperialists cannot be trusted in this mission. Not when the lives of the People are at stake!

The Collective knows Mother Russia and Polar Bear.
The Siberian is a new agent, using the technology of his brave, martyred predecessor.

Hammer and Sickle are experienced secret agents who the Collective knew before his deep cover assignment to infiltrate Vanguard.
Proletariat and Revolution are new members of the Super Soldiers!

The Collective has shared everything he knows about Vanguard with his comrades. They are ready to do what they must, for the glory of the People!

Current Condition:
The Collective: Bodies: 1, Hit Points: 22, Power Points: 64, Hit Point Pool: 22




Have Menagerie and Sentinel actually communicated to anyone else that the artifact is to the north?

We have to keep in mind that we have several of these things to get and can't spend ourselves on any one if we can help it. "Snatch and grab" rather than brawling should be our goal on each of them. This is a fight we wouldn't likely win without serious depletion of our resources.


OOC: I'll rule that they indicated a northern direction beyond the fire door, which is all they know at this point. 


OOC: I agree this is a race not a brawl.
IC: Menagerie quickly asked Sentinel "Do we fight or go for the artifact?"
OOC: Menagerie will turn into a Siberian Tiger. Whether he leads the way or joins the attack, I will provide in a later message.
Viva Vanguard


OOC: I agree that a brawl is a waste. but how long have we been here now Jeff. doesn't seem too long. so how long before retrieval assuming we get the item ?

I'm leaning towards talk as we go for the item. but they are already engaging. hard to believe they would want the destruction of everything. so are they all mind controlled at this point or being misled? that would be the question.

Jeff let me know time check and I will try to post. thanks.

One other quick thing Jeff.  Is the Collective within energy sense range so that I know if it is Clone or not?  Knowing that will help in my phrasing what to say here.



OOC: Jeff, I vaguely recall that we had to stay onsite for a while (like an hour) before the mages could teleport us back.

Do I recall correctly?

If that's the case, how long have we been onsite gawking at the scenery before stumbling on the Russians?




Hi everyone.

Based on all your replies to last issue, it seems you've only been here a few minutes before you wanted to open the northwest door. You all seemed like you wanted to get this over with as soon as possible.

The maximum time for a retrieval from anywhere on Earth would be an hour. New York to Germany wouldn't be the furthest distance on Earth so it should be less than an hour, but the characters are dealing with abstract game rule stuff like how fast can the Mystic heal Power Points, so your characters have only a rough sense of how long they have. Probably infuriating for a quasi military team like Vanguard. But they are dealing with magic this time. 

Vanguard can be retrieved from anywhere, but they need to make contact with the mages/ Vanguard Vault when they are ready.

Sentinel, the Collective is within your range. Scanning him takes some of the Movement segment of your Action. I'm happy to give you the results now as they'll affect much, but wanted to confirm with you the following:

During an Action, a player may Move and Attack in whatever order they choose, but can only do each of these segments once. No one can Move, Attack, Move, for example.

So scanning now means you're choosing to use your Move segment and then your Attack segment this issue, in that order. Is that what you want?

Also, the Soviet Super Soldiers were suddenly there. It wasn't the case that they were hiding the whole time and just revealed themselves now.




Vanguard had arrived just moments ago.  With their earliest possible retrieval being almost an hour away it seemed that a conflict with the SSS was inevitable.  They couldn’t just grab the artifact and depart.

“Mother Russia… Tatiana.  Stop!  Whatever you’ve been told, this conflict is unnecessary.  Vanguard’s sole purpose here is to prevent the total destruction of Earth’s inhabitants including those under your protection.  Surely that objective is in harmony with the goal of the Soviet Super Soldiers.”

Kirk voiced the words waiting to see the response; was there free will on her part and was she misinformed or was she a puppet being controlled and manipulated against her desire?

And then suddenly it all began to come together in his head, and if he was right, it didn’t paint a pretty picture.  Vanguard has already seen at the Embassy that their enemy had the means to confound their extra sensory perceptions… the SSS appearing here at this very moment was no coincidence.  They came in response to Vanguard triggering an undetected alarm system.  And the SSS wasn’t here to retrieve the artifact… no, it was already in the possession of the one sending them here.  They were sent to protect it until the exact time it was needed.

If Swastika was the one behind this it fit his MO.  It followed what he did with the Star Giant in their first encounter.  If not him then surely the same insane thought pattern; they think they have the means to summon and control and harness the power of Cthulhu…

More to follow regarding actions... after I go out to work on removing the snow...



Damnit! Sentinel was right, they may have the same intent as we do, Scott thought. He added to what Sentinel just said, "Clone! Polar Bear! Wait! We are here to save the Earth from certain doom! We have had a glimpse of the future and if we do not do our duty, everyone will die.."

Actions: I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt this round. I'm at the ready, but not attacking.

If I get attacked, by one of the big ones, I'll do a judo flip/slingshot combo and send him/it back at another of the big ones (so if polar bear comes at me, I'ff grap him and slingshot him at Proletariat, this includes mother russia, she can take it). if I get attacked by the normal people, including clone, I'll tentacle attack them.



IC: Menagerie will turn into a Siberian Tiger. He will hold his attack only attack those that attack him (first) or Vanguard (second)


OOC:  This will most likely be a move that slops over into two rounds, so there's a fair amount of if/then in my reply.  If Sentinel's attempt to reason with the SSS works, or at least delays combat for a while, Symbiote will hold his action.  If not....

IC:  Symbiote stared at the charging Soviet Super Soldiers calmly, singling out Mother Russia, specifically.  "Tatania, MUST we do this over and over again?" he asked wearily.  He waived his hand and brought the force of gravity down upon the Muscovite Maid of Might--hard, pouring on as much power as he could, making her weight double, triple, quadruple and beyond.  "Stay down, Tatania.  We're trying to save the whole world here, including the Soviet Union.  Please, I was hoping we could attend the ballet again when this is all over."

OOC again:  If the Bolshevik Ball Buster stays down--whether as a gesture of truce or because the power of Zero G has her overwhelmed--Hal will back off the gravity some, enough to keep her pinned to the floor but not enough to seriously harm her, like causing possible heart damage.

If Hotsky Trotskyite falls to the floor under the first impact of the gravity wave but then starts to get up, however (i.e., she's physically strong enough to get up and keep moving in spite of the gravity crush), Symbiote will simply stare at her.  He'll let her get up, let her get her legs under her....

...and then release the gravity crush, and instead remove all gravity from her, making her weightless.

Like suddenly letting go of the rope in a game of tug-of-war, Hal is hoping this will cause a sudden, unexpected and uncontrollable counter reaction in his opponent.  He's hoping that Mother will shoot up off the floor and through the roof (we saw her Hulk-jump once before at the CHESS Castle breakout, so this should be possible) and then, because she's poured every ounce of energy she had into those might thews and because has no gravity on her--she'll just keep on going, shooting through the atmosphere, hopefully to land somewhere many miles away in the Bavarian countryside once Symbiote's gravity whammy wears off.  As I say, this may have to wait until round two.

IC again (if it happens):  Hal looked through the hole in the ceiling Mother Russia had just shot through.  He couldn't feel too bad about rendering a little structural damage to Dr. Swastika's home.  "Lighten up, Tatania," he whispered to himself, unable to resist the temptation.

Viva Vanguard,



IC: Slate was shocked to see his friend Clone looking so different.  He slid back against the wall he was standing near... He was aware of the Soviet Super Soldiers and knew that they had fought a larger Vanguard group almost to a standstill in the Lost Lands from his studies of Vanguards mission reports. 

Staying behind his team, Slate will use his disintegration powers on the wall beside him away from the door, which should get around any mechanical traps Dr. Swastika might have set to.  He will leave the rest of Vanguard delaying the SSS and try to find the artifact so they can get back home asap.  As soon as he sees Menagerie shifting, he will attempt to let him know telepathically what he is doing... he'll try to do the same thing with Sentinel, but he's not sure how exactly this works... he's received thoughts from Menagerie before, and thinks it will work, at the same time, he'll ask if Menagerie has a "sense" of the direction/distance to the artifact.



John sees this happening and knows this is the better path.  He was going to go THROUGH a door and go to the north, anyway, but he'll go with Slate.  He'll go ahead and activate his Light Control powers.


OOC: Hey Greg.
Cool idea!

You mention quadrupling her weight "and beyond."
How heavy does Symbiote make her?

 Have a look at the rules. If you don't have a copy, I'll cut and paste the section on Gravity Control in an email to you.
Symbiote knows that for this to work, he would need to go way beyond quadrupling.  Let's say she weighs 150 lbs.  Quadrupling her weight  would make her 600 lbs.  Mother Russia can easily lift that. 

Every multiplier costs Symbiote a power point. 

Then, on the second part, making her weightless would make her unable to jump at all.  Jumping is a factor of carry capacity, which is a factor of weight. Your idea would probably work best if you just returned her to her natural weight expectedly.  Then she jumps.  Once she's airborne, you could make her weightless on your third action, if she's still in your range, to boost her velocity.  But once she leaves your range, she reverts to normal weight. 

I hope that's clear.


How far beyond quadrupling?



OOC: Hmmm....I guess Hal will "eyeball" the situation and pour on as much energy as he feels necessary to slam her to the floor.  If that's ten, points, 15, so be it.  Symbiote doesn't want to do the second part of the move unless absolutely necessary (Greg, on the other hand, kind of wants to see how it'll play out.  I'm imagining her flying through the air like Yosemite Sam when Bug Bunny would trick him into a catapult and launch him into the atmosphere, letting out a stream of Yosemite Sam curse words all the way.  "RACKAMFRAGGIT!!  RACK A FRACK, RACK A FRAGGIN' FRACK IT!!")

I'll try for the "make her weightless once she's already in the air" move if it comes to that, spending a hero point if necessary.

Viva Vanguard,



Hey Jeff.

Balance of Sentinel since no actions given earlier...

Once Kirk determines that Clone is Alex, and assuming the SSS does attack them Kirk says to him, "Alex.  What is going on here with you?  The one thing that I do know is that at your core, the very center of your being, you would never willingly do anything to endanger a single innocent... let alone all of them!  Help us to help you.  Help us to save the world again."

OOC: Whatever is going on, Kirk just triggered Alex's weakness so if he is being controlled hopefully he can break the hold on him.  If it appears that Alex wants to communicate with him but cannot do so outwardly, Kirk would use his action to lock a mind read on him.  I was going to do that for my action either way, but was afraid it would just be blocked per the embassy so will only do so if it looks like it will help at this point.

If there is a fight that can't be avoided, Kirk wouldn't throw the first blow (and with his speed wouldn't be able) - his initial reaction, like other team members was to secure the item and he might be able to do this via his energy construct getting to it.  At this point with other members moving to do the same that might not be needed, but if it was, it would be foremost in his mind.

Assuming none of the above is needed action-wise, you can (1) hold Kirk's action until next issue when I have a clue of what is going to happen or (2) if Kirk is directly attacked and engaging his attacker is practical, that could be his action.  If he is attacked and failure to take some action would result in further damage, have him take that action.  I've no particular member of the SSS in mind for a sparring partner at this point.  Beyond securing the item as priority number one, finding out what is happening with Alex and helping him is Kirk's priority number two...

Sorry for not getting this balance in last night.




Just saw Menagerie needed a reply from Sentinel.

Assuming Kirk gets to reply, "Our objective is the artifact.  It would be best to avoid any conflicts that we can, but that decision may not be ours to make here."

That may lead nicely into Kirk's statement to the SSS.



Clone/The Collective:
 Mother Russia shouted in Russian, “Super Soldiers, Go!”

As quickly as Mother Russia gave the order, The Collective took off running down a nearby corridor.

 I am absolutely LOVING this story, Jeff! I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I'm having with this - Clone's 'Betrayal', getting the chance to be a PC Villain, Fleshing out Clone's / The Collective's background, Getting the chance to re-invent my characters personality - GREAT STUFF!!! I would definitely love to keep the 'Villain Thing' going for a little while!

 The Collective's plan is to break off from the main group of the Soviet Super Soldiers ( thus him running off down one of the corridors ), split into as many duplicates as possible along the way, and find the artifact before the 'American Scum' do. I'm hoping that having a million duplicates running around down there increases his chances of finding it; and if he does, the remaining duplicates can cover his escape with it. Did he get any hints from his 'new boss' as to where it might be? If so, would that increase his chances of finding it first?

 Oh, and as far as the dialogue with the members of Vanguard goes - he's literally taking off as soon as Mother Russia gives the 'go ahead' - my feelings are that he's not even in the main room long enough to hear it.

 Talk to you soon,