Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vanguard: Issue 190: The Deep End

Vanguard agreed unanimously to next target the Artifact of Power that lay in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They separated to make final preparations before they disembarked in the Manta Craft.

Slate headed to the basement, to the Quartermaster to requisition his equipment.  Stace, the young agent that had helped him before was working late, sitting before his computer inside the cage that surrounded the storage area.  “Hey Stace, I need to get a few things,” Slate said smiling.  His smile was short lived… Stace practically snarled at him, “I’m not giving you anything.” 

After an argument, Stace finally said, “All right, all right. Come back, kid.  I can get you all this except the harpoon gun.  But this is really the last time.”

Slate turned back as Stace's face softened, "I really didn't mean to get you in trouble," Slate said as he walked back to gather the supplies he could still get.  "I'll talk to my dad and see what we can do regarding making things official after this mess is over."

Stace said, “Cool.  By the way, do you think you could… explain just how you work? I hear you’re a robot or something.  I’m a gear head and all but you’re on a whole other level.”

Slate tilted his head to the left slightly looking at Stace, his large eyes reflecting the equipment around them… “I haven’t thought about it in some time, I mean I believe I’m the product of my parents, but I don’t really know what that means. 
I’m not a robot, but I do have mechanical parts.  I’m not sure how much you know about Vanguard and their adventures, but if you do a search on the Digital Zone it might help you understand a little better.  Basically, there is another dimension that is connected to ours, but for me it’s more like a case of dual citizenship.  I’m a creature of that Digital Dimension, but I was born here.  I hope that helps.
“We can talk more later, I have to get back upstairs.”


Slate overheard Slingshot and Nanite through the door of his parents’ apartment.
“Wait, tell me this again,” said Nan as Scott packed. “I thought you were in some kind of industrial accident that transformed you. How can your powers be “magical” in nature? And just when did that “magic” take place? I mean, how old was that book with your picture in it?”

Scott scratched his head in confusion, "That's exactly it. I was at the job site and there was an accident. I was doused in chemicals, several of which were tar based and the cocktail somehow gave me my powers."

Scott continued with a shake of the head. "Yeah, I know how it sounds. I always figured there was something else, but I have to say that, for myself, this was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was a superhero! I could do things! Amazing things! I was recruited by CHESS?! On my first outing, I met you! If it hadn't been for this, I wouldn't be here holding your hands.
"Some time ago, we figured out that my body was completely and irrevocably changed and I was much closer to a one-celled organism than I am a man. Now this news that my powers are magical in origin, possibly Cthulhu-esque? I don't know what to say. Could it be that it was magical in nature all this time? Or that accident triggered my powers to save me from certain death? I can't say, although it sounds a more likely scenario than a chemical exposure changed me into a one-celled creature." Scott kept holding his wife's hands as if the physical touch will reassure her more than his words.
"I'm still Scott. I love you and Ethan. I love my job, although I could do without the doomsday scenario." He said with a smirk. "I don't know how old is the book, but it's not for the faint of heart. If you want I'll see if Ethan can pass it on for you to research. I wasn't keeping this from you.  We hadn't found anything conclusive and I just didn't think there was anything to this information that was serious."

Nanite tightened her grip on Slingshot's hand. "And I love you." She tried to sort it all out, thinking out loud: "But Scott, if your powers, your entire physical makeup, was already in place before the accident... lying dormant and awakening only to save you... then... have your origins been "magical" from the beginning? I mean... that heinous book predates your birth."

Nanite was quiet for a moment. Then: "Scott, I think you're going to have to call your father."

Scott looked at Nanite then nodded pensively. "That's what I was thinking too." His demeanor showed clearly that he was dreading it. 

Symbiote found Doc Rocket in the special projects room.  Symbiote had come to charge the Harper Harness.  Doc was looking at the remains of the Janus Chair.
“You know, of course,” said Doc, “that your brilliant invention, the Janus Chair, gave us the artifact locations at one moment in time.  With each passing hour, the likelihood increases that one or more artifacts will move… to locations we haven’t yet divined. What then, my boy?  What then?”

Hal turned to Doc Rocket with a tired smile:  "Doc, I honestly don't know," he said.  "That's one of the many reasons I'm glad you're around.  An extra first rate brain to think of the things the rest of us may overlook.
"The short answer--I don't know.  We're headed out to the mid-Atlantic, which I think means we will encounter the Star Giant creature that Vanguard encountered during their very first adventure.  I get the idea that thing doesn't move around too much,"
Hal continued.  "After that?  I guess we use the chair again, no matter what."

Doc replied, “I’d best repair the Chair then… I only hope the minds of Sentinel and Menagerie can withstand a second use.”

Lightning Strike went to his old quarters and used his superpowers and skills to retrieve what email had come to all his various identities before the internet went down. There was an anonymous message, sent to a secret account that Lightning Strike only used to send from. It could only have come from one person:  Lightning Strike Omega. 

It read: “This world is done. I don’t plan to live through another apocalypse. I’m leaving this dimension. Come with me. Save yourself.”
Lightning Strike replied: “You have little faith on how much we can change in this universe!  Just because your Vanguard failed does not mean we will.  You are a wild card in our world which means you can change anything.  Don’t give up but hold out until everything looks as bleak as it can be.  You have a chance to be the man you were called to be.  Don’t miss it for a second time.”

By the time Strike had to report to the Manta Craft hangar, there was no reply from Lightning Strike Omega.

Sentinel and Shelley Harper said their goodbyes in Sentinel’s quarters.  In an hour they would part again.
Shelley said, “I wish I could come with you and help. But I know now the whole Zephyr thing was just some crazy sibling rivalry that got out of hand.  I’m not cut out to be a superhero, like you… or Hal. But with the world on the edge, when I feel like we’re about to lose everything, there’s been this sudden realization that there’s something I want to be, more than anything else. A mother. I want to bring life into this world, even in the face of Armageddon. Kirk, let’s make a baby… right now. Cthulhu can go to hell.”
Her eyes were wet. “Because love conquers all.”

Kirk took her cheeks softly into his hands and looked deep into her beautiful eyes and felt he could happily be lost there forever. Tenderly he said, "Shelley Harper, my Shell, my love and my life, for you I would do anything; anything to make you happy and complete. I know you would make an absolutely unbelievable mother, and there is with no one else I would even consider starting a family with. And if this was just about the two of us, I wouldn't hesitate. Not for a moment. But this goes beyond us. This decision involves another life, the life of a child. Our child."
As Kirk said that, his eyes glanced away from hers a second imagining in an unbelievable way the possibilities and he smiled even further and looked even more intently and deeper into her eyes in a way that didn't seem possible. "But as much as I adore your vibrant free spirit and the way you bring out the spontaneity in me that I never knew I had, for this... for this... there is so much we need to consider together; I need some time to think.”

Shelley said, “Time? There is no time, Kirk. The world could end in two days. This isn’t a spontaneous whim.  I know what I want. Read my mind. Yes. Read it and see.”

Sentinel scanned Shelley’s thoughts: “Kirk, you’re my soul mate. I’m completely committed to you. And us. It’s time. I want to bring our intimacy to a new level… so you always know what I truly feel and want.  I want to share everything with you always. Complete honesty, freely and without reservation. Will you do the same?”

Sentinel’s answer was a kiss. Together, the two of them permanently bonded their minds, their very souls, with a telepathic intimacy beyond what other people could possibly share. They committed to each other here and now, forsaking all others until parted by death. They began to make love, cementing the bond forever.
(OOC:  From now on, Sentinel and Shelley can read each other’s thoughts, and communicate telepathically, at will within Sentinel’s telepathy range.)

Avatar meditated in his Spartan quarters before he set out once more to war. He drifted to sleep and the eternal champion found himself in the familiar broken landscape that he had come to learn was the City of Dead Gods. He was dreaming, and he dreamt that he met Penumbra there. “Don’t look so surprised,” she said. “Of course I survived our last encounter.  Did you ever doubt it?”

In her hand she held the iron mask of the Dark Avatar.
“Cthulhu must be stopped,” she said. “If I regained the powers of the Dark Avatar, I could stop him. I could save the world. You know that to be true.  Will you help me, old friend?”

Avatar said, "And how would I help you to do that, even if I thought it were true?"  Avatar knew this was a trap of some sort but he also knew that the enemy of one's enemy could be a least for a time.

Penumbra replied softly, gently: "By sacrificing your power to me."
Softer still, and slowly: "It would be a noble sacrifice. One for which you shall be remembered for eternity, as the savior of the world. You would become as myth, at long last; your weariness and toil finally done."
She placed her small hand on John's broad shoulder and looked up into his eyes.
"You will be the honored and exalted god at the center of a new pantheon... that will last forever. The god who willingly sacrificed his life, so that all men should live. No longer merely an avatar of the gods... but a true god yourself. What better fate could be hoped for, by one such as we?"

Avatar gazed into her eyes, a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.  "Wouldn't that be grand?  Well...except the sacrificing my life part.  While I'm up for that if I think the situation might require it, I don't think that sacrificing my power to you is such a situation.  Why not sacrifice YOUR power to me?  Would you not want those same honors?" 
He placed his big hand over hers and gently removed it from his shoulder. "Do you think me such a fool?  After the whole 'Dark Avatar' thing, why would I think that you had anything but your own elevation in mind?"
Penumbra’s face lost all of its sweetness. “Fool. Blind as ever. I should be the one because you lack ruthlessness, guile and intellect. You have no understanding of what dire threat we all face. Your ridiculous quest with those youngling heroes… you waste precious time and energy. I’m our best chance. The world’s best chance. Hopefully, before the end, you’ll realize that, and finally embrace your fate.”

Avatar opened his eyes. He was still in his Spartan quarters. He rose from his meditation stance, gathered his weapons and went to the Manta Craft hangar.

Menagerie met with his spirit guide Archimedes to meditate.  Afterwards, the two observed Central Park from their skyscraper aerie. Central Park was burning.  Specifically, the grove of the Lady of the Lake. 

Menagerie wanted to rush into action.
“Wait, boy,” commanded Archimedes in his thick Scottish accent. “Ye’re about to embark on the next leg of yer quest. THAT is yer destiny.”
Archimedes used his mystic vision and observed the arsons of the sacred grove. “Baron Samedi… Jack Lantern… Le Fou… The Fly. Nihilistic fools, all. They’ve come to dance at the end of the world. Leave them to me.”

Menagerie stared at his friend. He wanted to argue with Archimedes that this wouldn't interfere with his destiny. He wanted to plead that he take Sgt. Stone and others with him to help. He wanted to debate the odds and how 2 to 1 was better that 4 against 1. He wanted to remind Archimedes that they were a team.

At the end of it Archimedes was his mentor, his guide. This wasn't his destiny and the risk of injury was too great. Menagerie didn't say anything. He simply nodded that he would obey.

As Archimedes flew away, Menagerie unleashed an anguished howl of rage and frustration which could be heard all across New York, especially in Central Park.

It was 3am. Vanguard was ready and they boarded the sleek black amphibious vessel, the Manta Craft. At 50’ by 100’, it held them comfortably. Onboard were pressurized suits and personal micro air canisters in case of emergency.  There were wrist radios for everyone as CHESS satellites were still down.  The radios had a radius of one mile.
CHESS Rook Larry Manetti would pilot for Vanguard as he had during the CHESS Castle jailbreak, and for the Freedom Force before. He introduced his copilot, CHESS Rook Danielle Ortiz. The 30-something woman looked up from her systems check in the cockpit to nod hello.

VROOOOOOOOM!  The Manta Craft rocketed out of the hangar bay on the 85th floor of the Empire State Building and started climbing up hard. Vanguard saw the city was blacked out and dotted with burning fires and then the city disappeared as they climbed through the clouds. 

In Vanguard Vault, moments after the Manta Craft took off for the middle of the Atlantic, a Clone peered out of his quarters. Careful to avoid detection, he stealthily made his way across Vanguard Vault.
He skillfully chose a path that would let him pass unseen by all, even the Vault’s surveillance cameras. 

Clone finally stopped at the door to Mystic’s temporary quarters. He knocked softly.

A voice replied, “Come in. I’ve been expecting you.”

Clone entered the room where the powerful mage took his rest. Mystic was in the lotus position, levitating a few feet off the floor.  “Yes?”

Clone looked at him confidently and said, "I won't try to dazzle you with some convoluted tale, or insult you with a complex lie . . . because I would imagine you already know why I'm here."

“Go on,” said Mystic.

The look on Clone’s faced changed slightly and with a strong sense of urgency in his voice he said, "You and I both know that at our current rate of recovery, not to mention the fact that there are other groups out there competing against us, Vanguard may not be able to accomplish the task at hand in the amount of time we have remaining.”

“Yes,” said Mystic.

Clone continued. “I think we both know that it’s time we stopped playing it safe and started thinking a bit more proactively . . ." The look in Clone's eyes suddenly got a bit darker as he concluded his thought, ". . . I think it’s time we send me back to Moscow.”

Mystic said nothing for a moment, as if contemplating. Then, “If that’s what you wish.”
“NO!” shouted a woman’s voice. Both men turned and saw Oracle standing in the doorway to Mystic’s chambers. “It’s suicide. Clone alone against Doctor X and the Soviet Super Soldiers!”

Mystic replied, “It’s his choice. If he succeeds, our cause stands much to gain. If he fails, we lose little.”

“A risk-reward analysis?!” snapped Oracle. “I’m talking about a man’s life!”

 “And I’m talking about every life on Earth,” said Mystic. “The hour is late. None of our options are desirable now.”
Mystic returned his attention to Clone. “With Vanguard flying to the next artifact, I am fully rested and can cast a gate spell right now. Where, specifically in Moscow, would you like to go?”

Oracle pleaded, “Clone, don’t do it!”

[Reply Clone?] 

Four hours later, the Manta Craft was beginning its descent over the Atlantic, and Slate woke up Vanguard.

“Strap in!” Ortiz called as the jet descended through the whirling thunderstorm.
KRAKA-BOOM!!  Lightning exploded off the starboard side. The Manta Craft lurched violently. Sirens blared from the cockpit.
“We’ve been hit!” said Manetti.
“Damn it,” said Ortiz.  “Lost an engine!”

Menagerie and Sentinel could suddenly detect the energy signature of next Artifact of Power! They were plummeting straight towards it!

“Pull up! PULL UP!”
“Something won’t LET IT!”

VRASHHHH!  Light flared through the cabin, longer than a lightning flash and without the sound of thunder.

Manetti started pulling the Manta Craft out of the dive and began to straighten her out. 
“Can’t keep her up! I’ll put her down in the water! Brace for impact!’

SPWOOOOSHHH!!!!!   The Manta Craft crashed across the surface of the ocean a few times before its momentum finally gave out. The craft settled atop the ocean waves and rocked like a boat.  Manetti said a silent prayer. Then he opened the hatches.

Vanguard and the pilots climbed up out the hatches and stood on the wings of the craft as it floated atop the calm waves. Something was wrong. The storm had lessened in strength. No rain or lightning, just cloud cover. The sky was lighter. It should be noon, but it appeared to be afternoon. And it was too warm for the season.

“What the…” Manetti said, looking at the sky.
“Engine’s gone,” Ortiz confirmed as she crouched near its smoking remains. “We’re dead in the water.”
Manetti reentered the cockpit. “Satellite’s still down. No GPS. Nothing.”
Slate glanced as his watch. 8am on the east coast. Two days and 14 hours until the end of the world.

Menagerie and Sentinel could still detect the Artifact of Power. It was somewhere below them. How far, neither knew. It was beyond the ranges of their senses (120 feet for Sentinel, 550 feet for Menagerie). They could only detect direction now, not range.

“Radar’s picking something up,” reported Manetti from below.  “From the east. Something big.  Slow.  A few miles out. “And three little bogeys from the same direction. Coming faster.  Coming our way.”

Ortiz stood up and looked at Vanguard, “What should we do?”

Slingshot looked at Menagerie and Sentinel: "Are you saying that the artifact is directly below us or from the east where these,” pointing at the radar screens, “are coming from?"

Menagerie and Sentinel confirmed that the artifact was directly below them.

Slingshot asked, "How long do we have before the bogeys get here?"

Slate calculated: "The three small ones could be here in 30 seconds if they hold their course and speed. The large one might be here in 5 minutes."

Slingshot asked, “What are all the weapons on board? Can they be used?”

Manetti replied, hurriedly, “The Manta Craft has torpedoes and air to air missiles. They're mounted under the "wings." So, dead in the water as she is, the missiles can't be used.  Ortiz and I have been trained in the ship's weapons. We also have CHESS-issue sidearms, and the ship has a flare gun.”

Slingshot noted that both Manetti and Ortiz were wearing wetsuits. They had suited up before the ship's final approach. “Are you okay with coming with us?”

Manetti glanced at Ortiz. She replied, “Given the alternative, yes.”

Sentinel asked, "Does the Mantacraft have any self destruct sequence that could be activated remotely or directly if needed? What is CHESS protocol on this?”

Manetti nodded. “Yes, directly. Protocol is we can’t let the Manta Craft fall into enemy hands.”

Sentinel said, “Slate can you help me get the self-destruct to activate remotely?”

Slate replied, “Yes but are we certain these are enemies? I'd say leave the Manta Craft set to blow if it's molested, which is probably the intent of the self destruct.”

Sentinel said, “I’m fine having the ship set that way if it can follow CHESS protocols regarding having it fall into enemy hands, and then use the remote self-destruct only if prudent to assist our situation.”

Lightning Strike spat, “Is Vanguard debating protocol while the world is ending?  You guys should be playing violin on the Titanic!”

Sentinel ignored his partner and said, “I say we rig the self destruct, keep together, and all dive for the artifact.  The three smaller, faster bogeys will undoubtedly follow us below and I get the feeling we are going to want to do all we can to get the object and teleport out before the large bogey arrives.”

Lightning Strike said, “I disagree. You’ll never make it.  They’re coming too fast.  I’m going to modify the radar and communications systems of the Manta Craft, and transmit myself on a carrier wave to the large bogey.  Hopefully I can cause a diversion that buys the rest of you time to escape.”  Even as he spoke, Lightning Strike rapidly set to work on his jury-rigged invention!

Symbiote activated Inhuman’s template in the Harper Harness! [OOC: costing one charge and activating the following superpowers:

1) Animal/Plant Powers: Fish (add 4 to Endurance, subtract 4 from Agility)

a) Water Breathing B: When underwater, Inhuman’s Power Points remain at full at all times. Out of water, Inhuman cannot heal Hit Points or Power Points. After Charisma hours out of the water, Inhuman acts as if Fatigued.

b) Heightened Senses:
-Underwater Sonar giving a bonus to Detect Hidden and Danger of  x3%
-Nictitating Membranes that halve all chances of eye damage or blindness
-Ambivalent Electro-sense enables him to detect living creatures in the water up to 1 mile away.

c) Special: Aquatic Communication: Inhuman may speak with any amphibious, aquatic or semi-aquatic life form.  This communication ability also gives him the ability to generate, in himself and in those life forms he leads, Charisma+ defense regardless of the respective Charismas involved. 

2) Hydro-kinesis: This is not the ability to create water. This is the ability to move water without touching it.

Symbiote can manipulate water by expending one action and one Power Point, and making a successful roll to hit to gain control over the desired volume of water. Gaining control of water costs an action, manipulating the water thereafter only takes movement and the Hydro-kinetic capacity is reduced by the amount of water controlled.  The speed with which these water ‘creations’ can be moved equals the remaining amount of Hydro-kinetic capacity divided by 10, rounded up, in inches per turn. 

Symbiote’s "Hydro-kinetic Capacity" equals Int x Level x 50 lbs  ( 9,800 lbs.). This is the maximum weight of water that can be moved at once. As one gallon of water weighs 8.5 lbs., he can move ~1153 gallons.

Used as an attack, Symbiote can project waves of controlled water at a range of Agility x 2. Damage is based upon the number of pounds employed (not expended) in the hydro manipulation, as a Brawling Weapon. This may be less than the character’s maximum if the hydro-kinetic capacity is being employed in other activities.  PR = 1 per shot, and attacks as Hand to Hand on the combat table.

Used as a defense, Hydro-kinesis utilizes the Ice Powers defense table, takes one action and one PR to set up, with one PR per attack repulsed thereafter. This takes up 100 lbs. of Hydro-capacity or the weight of the attacker/weapon, whichever is greater, to form the water wall or shield.

1) Low Self Control: Transformation: Carl is in the middle of an uncontrolled, unwanted transformation. The number of years the transformation will require and its end result are unknown to Carl. In addition to the physical ramifications of this, there are several psychological ones as well, including dread self-loathing, depression and social isolation.
2) Unusual appearance: Can’t pass for human easily. No secret identity possible. -1 to all reactions
3) Special Requirement: Water. See Water Breathing B, above.]

Menagerie leapt over the water and transformed into a Hammerhead shark! He thought-sent to the others, "Let’s get the artifact as quick as possible. We can teleport out, taking our CHESS friends with us."

[OOC: Menagerie Hammerhead Shark stats are:
Weight: 600 lbs.
Agility: 11
Ferocity: 22
Hit Points: 14
Power Points: 66
Accuracy: +1
Damage: 2d8
Swimming: 127” per turn
-Heightened Senses: can detect living things, or blood, in the water at a range of 1 mile.
-Waterbreathing B: (see above for description)  
-Speed Bonus: +75” swimming]
-Special Requirement: Water. Out of water, acts as if “drowning.”

Slingshot stretched his pliable form into a manta-like shape to make himself as aqua-dynamic as possible.

Slate looked around, he'd never seen so much water, and it was almost overwhelming.  He took off his gauntlet putting his hand in the water... the temperature was 65 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than he had expected with the storms, and as he pulled his hand out, he licked his fingers, fascinated by the saline content.  He pulled on his glove, the body suit he wore had no helmet, Slate didn't really need the swimsuit, but thought it looked cool.   He turned back to the team, to see what the plan was, as Menagerie jumped into the water becoming a Hammerhead as he hit the water.  Slate watched in awe as he circled the craft... now that was cool. Slate thought to Menagerie, "well, things didn't work out so well last time, care to try again?"
Slate would attempt to piggy back on Menagerie.  He'd stick with the group as much as possible, watching them and trying to learn to swim, but his skills would be basic at best, as he's never really been in water, but he had no fear of it.

Avatar manifested the awesome powers of Poseidon! (Water Breathing B (see above) and Swimming skill)

Clone, since he has no long range attacks and it looks like the team is about to abandon ship, would simply don his deep sea diving suit and say in coy yet questioning manner, "Let’s get wet?"

Sentinel had re-programming the Manta Craft’s self destruct.  It could work remotely now, at a range of one mile. And if anyone attempted to tamper with it, it would self destruct.  (OOC: Cost one Luck Point for the one shot invention)
He marveled at how well the team quickly adapted to the situation; Avatar manifesting the powers of Poseidon, Symbiote replicating Inhuman's powers, Menagerie transforming into a sea creature.
Kirk manifested his energy shields and hovered down into the water.

Lightning Strike finished jury-rigging the communications dish.  “Here goes nothing,” he said as he aimed its transmission at the large bogey.  SHA-KOW!  Lightning Strike transformed into living electricity and was gone!  (OOC: Cost one Luck Point for the one shot invention.  See private email to follow.)

The rest of Vanguard hit the water and prepared to dive!

[OOC:  fyi, for those of you that are interested in the rules, I’m mostly using Monkey House Games’ V&V Rules for Underwater Combat and Movement. If you’re not interested in rules, just jump down past this OOC aside. Thanks!

Characters without a method of breathing underwater can hold their breath for Endurance turns (ie: Endurance x 15 seconds) at a Power Point cost of 1 per turn.
If they are surprised at the sudden loss of their breathing method, they must save vs. Endurance on d100, or have their breathing time reduced to Endurance phases (ie: approximately Endurance seconds)
Once a character is out of air, they pass out and must save vs. Endurance on d100 every turn or die.
Characters with Willpower A may double their Endurance score for the purposes of these Breathing rules only.

Swimming in “calm” waters costs 6 Power Points per hour for humans, and characters must save vs. Current Power Points on d100 every hour, or be forced to stop until Power Points are fully healed.
If a character has the skill Swimming and successfully makes a skill roll, then their chance at this save is doubled.
If a character is swimming while carrying anything (armor, gear, weapons, other characters), his d100 save is reduced by the proportionate reduction of his Carry Capacity. (ie: If you are carrying something that weighs 10% of your carrying capacity, your save is reduced by 10%).

Swimming speed for humans in “calm” water is 50% normal movement rate (including flying), with these exceptions:
a)    Wings are useless underwater, unless amphibious in nature.
b)    Characters with Water Breathing, Adaptation or Non-Corporealness move at 100% their move rate.
c)     Characters with Life Support may move at 75% their normal movement rate.
d)    Vibratory Powers treat water as having a Structural Rating of 2 for movement.
e)    Characters with Robotic Body, or who are otherwise too heavily encumbered to swim and unable to fly, will “fall” until they reach the bottom. There they can walk, at 33% normal movement rate.

Menagerie, in Hammerhead form, is immune to all these modifiers.
Slingshot, in manta shape, can move at 75% his movement rate, I will rule.

So, here is Vanguard’s water speed:
Avatar (with Water breathing): 64” per turn  (14.5 MPH)
Clone: 26” per turn  ( 6 MPH)
Lightning Strike: 29” per turn  ( 6.5 MPH)
Menagerie Hammerhead:  127” per turn  (29 MPH)
Sentinel (in construct bubble): 124” per turn  (28 MPH)
Slate: 41” per turn  (9 MPH)
Slingshot (in manta shape): 57” per turn  (13 MPH)
Symbiote (with Inhuman’s powers): 55” per turn  (12.5 MPH)

Emotion Control, Force Fields, Hand to Hand without weapons, Telekinetic Blasts, Mind Control, Paralysis Ray, Devitalization Ray, Magnetic Power and Transmutation may all be used underwater as per normal.
Disintegration Ray, Light Control and Power Blast lose one point of damage per game inch ( ie: per 5 feet) of water between user and target. So will Ice Power, as it leaves a trail of ice 1" ( 5 feet) thick between attacker and target. A victim immobilized by ice will float to the surface at half falling speed. Ice Creations have double creation points when underwater.
Flame Power is utterly unusable.
Lightning Control generates ball lightning, radius = Endurance/2”, with a chance to hit all within range.
Sonic Abilities may be used as normal, with twice normal range.
Hand to Hand:
Melee weapons and stabbing weapons (Knives, Spears, Tridents) have no further modifications.
Swords and axes are -2 to hit.
Clubs are -4 to hit and do half normal damage.
Muscle-powered ranged weapons (spears, knives and variants) do normal damage, but their range is halved.
Normal tech ranged weapons are unusable. Except spear guns, which act as crossbows.
Explosives may function normally, depending on design.
Brawling Weapons receive To Hit and Damage at two levels weaker than normal.  Range is quartered.  Velocity damage is halved.

All defense forms operate normally except Disintegration Ray, Power Blast and Flame Powers which are affected as noted above.


Vanguard descended into the cold ocean depths.  It was immediately apparent that their best speed would be made within Sentinel’s energy constructs. 

Sentinel engulfed everyone, save Menagerie, within an energy sphere that had a breathable atmosphere. With the large hammerhead swimming beside it, the sphere “flew” downward into the bottomless fathoms of the Atlantic Ocean.

Eventually, the sky’s light failed and they continued down through the darkness with flashlights and the glow of Sentinel’s energy construct as their only illumination.
Following the direction of the artifact’s aura, Vanguard descended.

Menagerie’s shark sense detected life forms below. Lots of them! A thin trail of bubbles rose past.

Then they saw it.  A dark silhouette beneath them.  Its size was hard to gauge. Its shape resembled a submarine. Sentinel (and his History skill) saw that it shared some similarities with a WW II era German U-boat.

Surrounding the sub were the life forms Menagerie had detected: dozens and dozens of hammerhead sharks!

Menagerie and Sentinel detected the artifact of power within the submarine! It had the familiar energy signature of the Ring of Eon!

A school of hammerhead moved to suddenly reveal, emblazoned on the hull of the sub, a swastika!  And entwined in its twisted limbs, the symbol of SKULL!

Moments earlier…
SHAKOW!!  Lightning Strike’s atoms rematerialized instantaneously, five miles away! The electric avenger was standing on the edge of the flight deck of a gigantic aircraft carrier! It was 1000 feet by 100 feet
(OOC: 200” x 20” gamewise. Strike’s position is marked by the red circle on the right hand side of the map).

Strike looked up and saw, emblazoned on the highest tower, a swastika!  And entwined in its twisted limbs like a lover’s embrace was the symbol of SKULL!  The deck had men crawling all over it like worker ants.  They were dressed in the uniform of Nazi SKULL soldiers, circa WWII! 

That was all Strike could take in because an experimental jet was hurtling down the runway directly at him, preparing for takeoff! The engines were deafening. Strike could see the white of the surprised pilot’s eyes. There was no way the pilot would be able to swerve in time to avoid impact with the high voltage vigilante!


To be continued!

OOC: Actions please?



Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 49, Power Points: 71, Manifestation: Poseidon! Water Breathing B and Swimming skill
Clone: Bodies: 2, Hit Points: 11, Power Points: 67, Hit Point Pool: 22
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 76
Menagerie: Hit Points: 14, Power Points: 64, Form: Hammerhead Shark
Sentinel: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 61, Creation Points: 122, Shields: 100
Slate: Hit Points: 31, Power Points: 73
Slingshot: Hit Points: 79, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 37, Power Points: 82, Charges: 12, Activated: Inhuman, Endurance: 26, Agility: 14


OOC: Awesome issue! The return of Skull!! Amazing!!

Menagerie will talk with the Sharks. He will try to learn 4 things.

1) Are they being controlled by Skull and if yes, how
2) Are there any other 'metal fish' like this one around
3) Is the Star Giant nearby
4) Will the sharks join us in attacking the 'metal fish'

Menagerie will use his heightened senses to scan for all living things within a 1 mile radius, Willing to spend a luck point to find a Sperm Whale that can get here next turn that would join the fight with Vanguard. :)

Via Predator Kingdom


OOC: Thanks Tom!

The largest Hammerhead replied: "Our master, U-Man, told us to stay near the big metal fish."

They've seen no other metal fish. They did not recognize the description of the Star Giant. They will not attack the metal fish with Vanguard. Their orders are to stay near it.



OOC: Hi all.

Jeff.  I was actually already thinking about the Uberman (Nazi symbol on sub) and was going to warn Vanguard and was going to try to look up the old issue to find out the status of them at the end of our last encounter (first mission).  Also what we know the ring of Eon does.

Do you want to provide a refresher to us all or leave it to us to look it up.

FYI, at this point I'm for ramming speed into the area we know the artifact to be located and breaching the hull in several areas to cause whoever is inside to be busy either trying to save or abandon the ship.  We grab the artifact while they are busy and go!  Does knowing the Uberman are involved give us a better clue on the possible objects at the surface coming towards us?

Kirk-Shelley: Wow!  I'm very afraid about what you have planned on that end... will make for some interested role playing assuming we survive the end of the world intact.



OOC:  Hi Seth,

I can do it.  :-)

The Ubermen! Nazi supervillains of WW2!
Dr. Swastika:  The mad Nazi scientist with a heart as twisted as his name!
Blitzkreig:  The lightning warrior!
Panzer:  The human tank! 
The Aryan:  The perfect man, except for his soul! 
Baroness Von Zero: Ice flows through her royal veins!
U-Man:  The human torpedo!

Vanguard faced them in their first mission, onboard the Star Giant "ship." It was unknown how most of the Uber-Men were perfectly preserved after 70 years.
Blitzkreig wasn't there, having died  in captivity in 1947 of old age, due to his hyperactive metabolism.
Swastika's head was all that remained of him, in a life support tank.  He kept a "body farm" of subjects that he could somehow place his consciousness into. After "possessing" Director Grey and launching nuclear weapons in a bid to trigger armageddeon, Swastika's consciousness escaped.
The Aryan murdered U-Man before Vanguard's eyes.
Panzer, Aryan and Von Zero were last seen unconscious in the Star Giant's control room as it flooded with sea water.

SKULL is a worldwide subversive terrorist organization dedicated to global domination. It is the most extensive, powerful, and dangerous such organization in history. They are steeped in mysticism and have access to rare technology and considerable wealth. Their legions are fanatically loyal. No SKULL agent has ever been captured alive.

The origin of SKULL is still shrouded in mystery! Some can date it back to the Knights Templar. In fact, it may refer to the mystical skull that the knighthood were accused of worshipping, before their order was declared heretical, and destroyed. SKULL, and the Knights, has also been linked to John Dee (the court sorcerer for Queen Elizabeth I), Adam Weisthaupt (the founder of the Bavarian Illuminati), the Thule Society (the occultic order that inspired Nazi mysticism), and even the Freemasons. (The skull and crossbones was originally a Templar symbol, appearing on their tombstones. It alluded to Gol'gotha - "the place of the skull" - and the cross - where Jesus Christ died. The symbol meant resurrection to the Knights Templar. It later become synonymous with piracy after the Knights were outlawed for sorcery and blasphemy, and turned to piracy and banditry as their only means.)

The Ring of Eon:
Eon is the evil, time-controlling, galactic celestial who led the alien invasion of Earth, ending the second age of superheroes. The Freedom Force (the 1980's pre-eminent superhero team) stopped the invasion and went missing. Vanguard found the Freedom Force member Nemesis who had been lost in time.  They also encountered Dr. Change, the shapeshifting scientist supervillain who was the archenemy of the Freedom Force. Apparently, Change had been present at the final altercation between Vanguard and Eon, for the sole purpose of acquiring the Ring, the source of Eon's incredible temporal powers. Change succeeded in his mission but the ring lay dormant as Change was trapped in Limbo for so long, he forgot his true identity. Vanguard last saw Dr. Change and the Ring of Eon (in Issue 145) when the ring awoke and Vanguard temporarily controlled it, transporting it and Change back to Limbo.



OOC: Dr Change  - shape shifting scientist supervillain? Awfully similar to a Vanguard member - just saying. I know we met him before, but I'm only drawing the similarity now.


Re: Luck point for a passing Sperm Whale:

I had an idea that could save you a Luck Point.   :-)
Menagerie can transform into any of Earth's wild predators, including extinct ones like Terrordactyls.
How about Megalodon or Leviathan?



OOC:  thought about changing too. That would keep me from attacking next turn.

If that is okay with the rest of the team, then Menagerie will turn into a C. Megalodon.



Pre-episode discussion with Quartermaster Stace:
IC: Slate tilted his head to the left slightly looking at Stace, his large eyes reflecting the equipment around them… “ I haven’t thought about it in some time, I mean I believe I’m the product of my parents, but I don’t really know what that means. 

I’m not a robot, but I do have mechanical parts.  I’m not sure how much you know about Vanguard and their adventures, but if you do a search on the Digital Zone it might help you understand a little better.  Basically, there is another dimension that is connected to ours, but for me it’s more like a case of dual citizenship.  I’m a creature of that Digital Dimension, but I was born here.  I hope that helps.

We can talk more later, I have to get back upstairs.


As the group sees the gigantic sub below, and begins to discuss tactics, “I could probably open some holes in it’s hull, might force them to surface,” Slate offers.  “Especially if we did it close to the engine room.”



Menagerie changes into a C Megalodon and prepares to attack the sub from underneath like it namesake attacks Whales.



OOC: There are two options with the sub here. Go in through the door or pound it dead. Scott would like to make sure we don't leave them to die once we get into the sub to retrieve the item.

Depending on the team's decisions, since I'm next to last to move, I'll either defend against the hammerheads if they attack or help get into the sub. Here's a couple of options:

1) defend against the hammer heads - USe my grapple attack if appropriate. I know that sharks need to move to breathe.. so I might entangle a few of them. immobilize them and see if that will scare them into leaving.
2) Open the boat to gain access to the insde- my method: straight ripping off of the hatch.
3) both are handled? the u-boat is leaving? Destroy the propulsion system of the sub (crush the propeller)



Hi everyone.

More stuff to do this morning than originally thought so here are my suggestions for proceeding as I don't want to hold up the issue... no time for dialogue and/or proof reading.

At this point the sub is basically a mobile terrorist attack unit/base of ops, Kirk sees no reason to leave it functioning and every reason to make it uninhabitable.  I say we use forcing them to abandon the sub as a means to prevent all or most of them from interfering with our mission to obtain the Ring of Eon.

At this point perhaps Menagerie can ask the sharks if they intend to protect the sub or interfere with our approach.  I'd assume 'yes' at this point and have Vanguard all approach together at once so if some of us have to stop to run interference for the others we can do so and the others can make it through to the sub and hopefully breach it this turn (ie Kirk could use his shields to repel he sharks as we move and block their approach or prevent them from attacking Vanguard)

Kirk will use his energy sense both to locate the Ring and tell the team (and assume Menagerie will do so too) along with determining if other big energy signatures (that should give us the location of the engine room).   Don't want to waste time moving through the interior of the sub to the ring so that is the primary breach point - perhaps that is the area where Slate can evaporate the hull and gain us entrance or one of the rest of us that make it can smash through the hull.

Kirk would ask Slingshot to use his architectural skill let us know best other areas to breach the sub hull where it would cause the most disabling damage-water entry bang for the buck.  And perhaps, if it seems that it would work game-wise and if he desires Menagerie can use the C. megalodon
attack method to swim down and then upward like a torpedo at the underbelly of a whale on the underbelly of the sub...

I don't remember U-Man being killed so thanks for the reminder and seeing the sharks around makes me think he or someone that can control the fish is here.  My guess is now that the U-Man were cloned so as to remain young and preserved and that he is back will be attacking us from the oceans pretty quickly.  I sort of remember him doing that in the first adventure.  If he or another similar Sea King ends up in direct conflict with Kirk and if it were possible I'd think the best approach would be going for the fish out of water ploy and if he grabs Kirk to just shoot up out of the water and into the sky taking him out of his element (assuming we know he can't fly and that certainly is something Kirk would know both from his superhero lore knowledge and Lancaster directly).  None of that may come into play because I could be wrong and even if I'm right he might not target Kirk or we may be too deep already beneath the waters but that was an idea I had if the scenario comes up (anyone else feel free to use it if desired and in contact with him)

So overall plan is go directly for the ring and grab it and use breaching the hull as a means to cripple and occupy the enemy so they stay out of our way.

If I missed anything else let me know.  And naturally these are all Kirk's suggestions with the understanding that everyone controls their own characters actions.  If anyone else has something better to retrieve the Ring Kirk is certainly open to it but this would be the best method to get us many of us to the sub and at the ring as possible with the known facts thus far from what I can come up with... definitely open to all suggestions to improve on the plan or point out problems.



OOC: Re: U-man being dead - there's always Inhuman. He didn't leave in the best of circumstances, but we will see.


The Atlantic:
Clones listened closely to the team as they begin to make suggestions as to how to best tackle the sub and started taking mental notes as to everyone’s overall objective. With a sharp clearing of his throat, the Duplicating Dynamo offered up another suggestion to the group, “What if Sentinel simply formed a Force Field either under or around the sub, purged the water from inside of it, and than guided the sub to the surface with his makeshift lift-bags?” His tone than changed slightly as he raised an eyebrow and said matter-of-factly, “On the other hand; if we did do that, he would have to manage the assent carefully . . . raising the ship too quickly could kill or permanently maim the crew inside.” A twisted look quickly washed over his face as he continued, “ . . . “The Bends” can be a real bitch.”

The Vault:
Mystic returned his attention to Clone. “With Vanguard flying to the next artifact, I am fully rested and can cast a gate spell right now. Where, specifically in Moscow, would you like to go?”

Oracle pleaded, “Clone, don’t do it!”

Clone looked at Oracle with a gentle look of understanding in his eyes as he responded, “I appreciate the concern Oracle; but as Mystic has already explained, the world is at stake here . . . my life is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.” Thoughts of his dear sweet Rachael than ran through his head and he thought to himself, “If by some miracle I survive all of this, I’m gonna somehow make things right with her.”

With a devilish grin on his face, Clone continued, “Besides, who says I have to go alone? If we could somehow ‘procure’ me some body armour and assault weapons . . . we could send an army through that gate.”

( OOC: If Oracle and Mystic can somehow hook Clone up with some body armour and assault weapons; depending upon the quantity, he would be willing to form up to 10 duplicates. If they can’t, than he’ll simply go in ‘solo’ and rely on his ‘super secret ninja skills’ to keep him in one piece. Regardless of the outcome . . . )

Clone than turns to Mystic; and with the wink of an eye, says in a determined tone, “Next stop  . . . Moscow.”

( OOC: Jeff, based on his jumbled memories of the SSS and their base, all of the research he has done on the SSS and their base, and his best guess-timations on the location of the SSS and their base – Clone will give Mystic the most exact location/coordinates he can. Hopefully he’ll be abel to give him something that will get him inside their base – I’ll use a Luck Point if need be. )

Talk to you all soon,



Lightning Strike:
OOC: OK, this is from memory as my PC is totally dead and I am writing from work.  If I remember correctly Lightning Strike materialized on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a plane bearing down.

The logical move would be to get out of the way and go down into the bowels of the aircraft carrier but the hell with logic.  Strike will attempt to blast the plane so that it vears toward the control tower of the carrier doing as much damage to their aerial support.

Sorry for the delay,


Avatar will grab on to the Meg and "ride" to the vicinity of the sub.  If the sub is disabled, there will most likely be enemies coming OUT of the vehicle and he'll be there to deal with them.  Swimming and Water Breathing already activated.  Using a spear.


Symbiote says "let me try something..."

He then uses Inhuman's ability to communicate with aquatic animals to send one simple message to the surrounding hammerheads.  "Leave, for your own safety.  It's bad here, you could get hurt.  Swim far away, now!"

Keeping it short and simple, hoping they'll understand and respond.  If that doesn't work (presumably on his next move), Symbiote will use the hydrokinesis power to create a watery vortex in the center of the cluster of sharks, hopefully convincing them that yeah, they REALLY need to leave.

Viva Vanguard,