Promethian Titans

Black Skull Attacks!
In which Black Skull's armed might descends upon the Titans

Knockout’s log

We’d gotten back ot the base just long enough to debrief (and get Warden to patch up my bullet holes from Apex, owie) and hear that the other team had teleported back in when the alarms all sounded, up the elevator we went and Xaedas is there with Midnight. He’s wearing a really expensive-looking suit that suits him quite well…

When we get to the briefing room, Warden has got all the screens set up as one giant battle map. Something airborne is approaching, and the Nautilus has already disgorged its fighters to tangle with it. As it gets closer we realize there’s something on the surface too, as well as something under the water, and the Nautilus is taking fire within 75 km of the base. We can hear twenty or thirty Centurion voices all talking at once, I can sort of pick out what they’re saying but Midnight sums it up for us and advises Valkyrie, Seven, Red, Phoenix, Xaedas and Autumn to prepare for air defence. Just then, we feel the base shiver and hear the muffled “CRUMP!” sound of the artillery firing.

Captain Awesome and Ivanka come up. “They’re here for Lord Havoc .”

Midnight asks if we should call Atlas, Black Dragon could get here within 5 minutes.

The Captain replies, “No, they can handle it. And it’s time we got them their new uniforms.”

Midnight looks at him, “You want them to get used to them in combat?”

He shrugs. “We did.”

Ivanka rolls her eyes and leaves again, muttering, “Yes, yes. I get, I get…”

" Black Skull has come with their airship and landship, and it looks like they found Megashark. You non-fliers, if the ship gets near us, they will try to board. Stop them. If they get to Lord Havoc, they’ll probably crack the Vault while they’re there, and we don’t want the items stored therein in their hands."

Ivanka returns carrying a box of discs about the size of a CD. Each of us grab one and Midnight demonstrates how to activate it (tap it against your front where your belt buckle would go) and tells us, You’re going to find it’s more than just cloth. Try not to let it mess with your head."

We activate ours, and cloth unfolds from it and wraps around us, and it sort of feels like there’s someone there with me… not quite in my head, more like behind my ear? Weird. Cassanova does an active ping of the suits and determines that they are not their own sentience, more like an emotional echo of their wearer.

Captain Awesome exclaims, “To Victory!” as he and Miss Midnight head down to the prison level. I make my mental link with the fliers as they take off to get the Black Skull’s air force off the Nautilus so that it can go deal with the landship.

X asks Warden to put up Megashark’s stats and starts reading them off to us, really, really large shark, natural and not cyber so maybe I can control it? I don’t know if my powers work on animals or not.

Looking at velocities of incoming vehicles, we figure we’ve got about two hours before they’re on our doorstep, they’re all moving around 35 knots.

We discuss what each of us might be able to do while the fliers are doing their thing. Shockwave gets started on a device to jam their communications. Lady Lightning hacks into their communications to allow us to plant some misinformation, and Cassanova starts figuring out what misinformation to feed them to help take some of the pressure off our fliers. Lightning then starts developing a computer virus to download into their system and puts it on all the media she can scrape up, even one of those old big 5-1/2" floppy discs in case it’s that archaic… the plan is that she and Pulse will teleport in to download it manually into their system and then teleport back here. Lightning and Jade notice some seismic activity along the ocean floor, Warden assures us that all entrances to the station are secure and that they are likely targeting the Vault and the prison. Once the comm jammer is deployed, the activity down there halts. Pulse and I had meanwhile been getting out deep sea suits for everyone and after he was finished with the communication jamming device, Shockwave turned to modifying one of the suits to fit Jade in his bug form.

Meanwhile, the other group’s hiding behind the Vipers, air-to-air dogfight with the two remaining wings of bi-planes after Cas’s misinformation sent one back to the airship and the other off to “support” the group on the ocean floor that was closing in on the “primary target” and then to wait for further communication… then they hit Shockwave’s big red button and jammed all the communications… At which point the seismic activity down below stopped entirely. Then the submerged contacts (Megashark and his handlers, presumably) increase their speed.

Our artillery goes quiet momentarily as we take a direct hit to the deck and it knocks out all the centurions out there. Jade and I get into our SCUBA gear, and I drop Phoenix and Seven out of the mental link so I can link to Lightning and Jade, and we head out the lower docking door while I’m asking Lightning for an update on Megashark’s location…

It is COLD out there. That’s about the only thought I have until I see the black shadow in the distance.

Jade, did you see that? “Tastes like… a really weird sharkfin soup? And you need to get out of my range.”

His shriek rocks me back a bit, the massive shape turns towards him and heads to him faster than we’d have thought possible. It’s huge, it makes Jade look like a snack I try to mind-control it but it’s thoroughly animal… so I go looking for its handlers. 3 of them with companion sharks that have lasers on their foreheads…

Meanwhile Cassanova has discovered that our new suits have built in communications and asks X why the airship just went off the radar… the response was, “Red Star make go boom!”

Lightning and Pulse take this as their go-ahead to teleport onto the deck of the landship… Pulse knocks off the crewmen with her pulse while Lightning gets to the bridge, where an officer pulls out his sword and pistol, she tases him and he falls to his knees, only to discover that her virus is useless because there are NO computers. At all. With the landship’s complement of Marauders pouring onto deck, they settle for throwing the engines into reverse and then demolishing the bridge before escaping. With landship immobilized and defenceless, the base’s heavy artillery rapidly pounds it into a smoking ruin.

I catch the mind of one of the handlers and tell him to order Megashark to go bite the landship. The other two start frantically messing with their consoles after Megashark veers off and Jade goes after one of them after punching Megashark does nothing more than scratch his chitin.

Valkyrie is apparently gleefully using a piece of what used to be our dock crane as a baseball bat. Although with not all that much left to do, the fliers are recalled to the base. Jade and I come back in through the hatch. I wonder at the gauge on my oxygen tank, it’s still reading “full”…

Lightning and Pulse teleport back to base just as the briefing room displays Megashark pulling a whale-flop on the landship, causing it to fold in half and start sinking… a whole lot of Zodiac inflatable rescue vessels seem to be zipping about gathering soggy Black Skull soldiers.

Final indignity small

It didn’t take that long for the seismic activity to resume after the communication jamming, only we now pick up 7,000 contacts. Apparently they’ve got their own devices. Fortunately we got everyone’s suits ready, so everyone except Seven and Valkyrie suit up and Warden has us go down to the bottom level in the regular elevator, corss the hall to the other elevator, and press “down” three times. And down we go, I feel like the construction worker in that Bugs Bunny episode… or maybe this is what a vacuum tube message cannister feels like, we are shot down a big glass tube that isn’t precisely straight, 30 seconds for a 2 km drop… and as we get down to the bottom, we see the complex: 6 huge glass domes. Phoenix says, "This is rather freaky, it looks like it’s something right out of “Rise of Atlantis”, the TV show from 1972."

X says, “Well, we have The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Nautilus, original series Battlestar Galactica Centurions, colonial Viper Mk IV fighters, Star Wars Tie Fighters, A-Wings and X-wings. I’m not actually all that surprised.”

We can see Crazy-Frog’s war-bots parked in between the domes, surrounded by a ring of centurions, and X-wings flying by overhead.

Captain Awesome and Miss Midnight are standing there in their uniforms… “All right up there?”

“Yup, we got everything taken care of, we’re letting them pick up their men overboard.”

“Good. Here are the hatches, left, then right.” As we were waiting for the pressure equalization, I idly wondered what would happen when Phoenix let rip with a fire power underwater… but when we got out, her wings of flame went right through her breathing apparatus.

It’s really heavy down here, the pressure is pretty impressive and it’s gotta be right around freezing, I’m glad all skin is covered in these suits. Since I’m not sure about my oxygen tank, I decide to only breathe as much as I need to.

Looks like the glass domes are nestled here among underwater mountains, lots of broken terrain. We start to hear the thumping, but because water transmits the vibrations so well, it was a lot further out than we anticipated, nowhere near as close as it sounded. Cassanova is the first to sense their approach, incoming anger, about 30 targets. I wish I knew how they were running diesel engines down here like this, but there were a bunch of the marauders and a few of the terror-walkers like we saw in Switzerland. The warbots and centurions notice and engage, and Shockwave is able to go pinballing around through the enemy. I merrily start KO-ing marauders since I forgot my spraypaint and I don’t know how well aerosol paint works in cold water. Phoenix ends up against something like 8 marauders all by herself, and seems to be doing just fine… X flips them over and encases them in ice, Autumn makes a station for the centurions to retreat to, Jade tosses them around, the warbots toss the terror-walkers straight up, and the fighters lurking overhead torpedo them to flinders. Cassanova and Shockwave go patrolling around in case it’s just a distraction, but it does seem to be the bulk of the forces.

Red’s warp bolt does neat things down here. X ends up brawling with a cyborg officer inside a blob of ink. We

The final after-action report: Warden’s casualty report indicates that over half the centurions and snubs are in the parts bin, so Shockwave starts trying to put them back together. Midnight takes him aside and hands him a drawing tube containing the vellum original plans… and this is where he finds out that SHE is the sci-fi geek responsible for how everything around here looks… And I’d better get him to look at that oxygen tank gauge, it’s still reading completely full.

Lightning happens to be in the briefing room when Warden is just finishing up his post-battle diagnostics, and hears something disturbing, “Area secure. Contro returning to Titans.”

Cas gets someone to take him flying around to see if the Zodiacs missed anyone but it looks like they got everyone. Which is good, now we just have to worry about who to turn our underwater prisoners over to. We definitely don’t want to give them to the US or Russia, and Switzerland and the UN are going to be tangled up in bureacratic red tape for a few months already… Maybe Ottawa will take them? NATO will be mollified by getting some of the answers they want but won’t get everything.

We end up having a party to celebrate. I have a whole piece of pizza to myself. Red Star stays up late that night, writing a progran to hack into the Pentagon and purge his files from their records. All of them.

I get some more information on the surviving “placements”: Sara’s confirmed to be still in Sudbury, David’s confirmed to be still in LA, Nicholas’s parents were wealthy and he was kidnapped into an unmarked van, but no ransom was ever demanded, the follow-up witnesses were deemed unreliable, and there has been no sign at all since. Lisa S – original report shows domestic violence in her bedroom, but the officer in charge was reassigned and the case was marked “runaway”, I’ll have to see if facial recognition software can pick her up anywhere… Jeff – no sightings, no info, he just vanished. Eva’s been sighted in the US and there are aPB’s out on her for aggravated assault and some drug chargs, and Phoenix happened to see the list over my shouder, and exclaimed, “Huh! That’s the same path that Dr. Banner’s travels took on the Incredible Hulk TV show!” So now that’s got me wondering… I might have to dig into the police records for that, see what they think she can do…

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UFO in Mexico
In which the Titans are dispatched to determine whether UFO sightings in Mexico are actually some Promethean device.

After we get back from our artifact retrieval, we have some time to ourselves. I keep digging for info on the Next Generation Placement Agency and uncover a list of all the kids Novetnoved helped to place. Of the twenty or so kids on the list, only three of us are known to be alive and well, a 5-year old named Sarah Robinson in Sudbury, Dave Erickson who’s currently residing in LA, and me. There are a few missing and suspected runaways, one Eva Wilderman has been sighted across the US, and a few kidnappings… the rest are deceased and only one looks natural (car accident) and after seeing some of the others (violent home invasion) now I’m even wondering about that. I think I even went to school with a couple of these people. I share the list and my findings with Lightning, who holds her head in her hands and mutters something about “so much for my free time.” I’m preparing a report for Miss Midnight now, should Sarah and Dave be put under watch? Something is so very, very wrong with this picture. And I need to figure out what information I can pass to Officer Raminos to help get us information but without tipping our hand that we know OR putting him or anyone else involved in harm’s way because Chimera operatives see him poking his nose where a cop doesn’t belong. For all I know, they already know.

Cassanova heads downstairs to interrogate our suspect from the Swiss Black Skull incident and Shockwave asks me to investigate an email he received, allegedly from Fireball Pete‘s niece. Having just finished reading about the runaway Next Gen placement, I tell him to please not tell me her name’s Eva , but there’s no name on the email. One more thing on the list of stuff to investigate, ‘cause the list wasn’t long enough already…(SW: Lightning said the email account’s owner is Milena Virant. The account looks legitimate, it’s hosted in Maribor, Slovenia and has been in use for a few years)

Shockwave has Lightning investigate Fireball Pete, or Flaming Petyr as he was known. Looks like he’s got regenerative abilities, so that sort of fits with Phoenix… I hate withholding this from her but she’s got to sort out what she’s doing about her mother first… He ended up in a lot of humanitarian efforts that UN and Red Cross couldn’t touch for political reasons especially in the Bosnian wars, there were a few mentions of another Promethean, but they stopped in early 1995 and cross-checking the results with a discussion I had later with Shockwave, that coincides with when his parents were killed, he wasn’t quite three years old at the time and all he knows about it seems to have come second-hand from his older sister. Any case, we aren’t sure whether this niece is an actual relation or not.

Unbeknownst to Cassanova, Miss Midnight records the interrogation and watching it becomes our lesson that morning, practical application of interrodation, followed by an explanation of usual interrogation techniques and then a question period to Cassanova.

(transcript of the interrogation may be a little garbled, AJ was waiting for the caffeine to kick in, please make corrections if necessary)
Who is Black Skull? “We are the army that is the future!”
What does Havoc have that you’re interested in? “The power to change the world. He can remove the corruption from mankind. With his backing, the armies of the world will be crushed quickly, saving the lives of many who would otherwise die in a long, drawn-out war.”
Who built the armoured suits and all the gadgets? “Black Skull himself.”
Where is Black Skull now? “I do not know.”
Do you have anyone that we should advise about your wherebouts? “No.” (Cas gets horrific images and smell of burning bodies)
How and when were you recruited? “Black Skull himself recruited me around 2008. Me and my men were in the Croatian Defence Forces during the war, after the war we were demobilized and worked as general soldiers-for-hire until we joined Black Skull.”

He then asks Cas a question, “How much longer am I to be held?” Cas temporizes, picks up that the guy fully expects to be tortured and executed and feels pity that Cas actually believes othewise.

We watch Cas leave, the screen here’s still on and recording as the guy sits there. Cas makes it back to the classroom.

In the post-discussion, Red Star (who apparently also knows traditional techniques) asked why Cas was so specific about Black Skull’s location, why not ask if he had ideas where he might be found…

Phoenix asks if we can tag him and release him for later tracking, but Cassanova suggests that his group would probably execute him for compromising them to us if they found out we had him. Midnight leaves the screen on as she walks out of the room. Just as the group of us are discussing that Black Skull sounds like he could be a Second gen Promethean, she appears on the screen as she walks into the room and sits down across from him.

It seems he knows her, and knows she brougth in Havoc. “So you know that we can’t let on that we have you.”
“Aah, to the ocean, then?”
Midnight, deadpan, replies, “Would you like a steak dinner first?” All of us go silent at this.
“You are serious?”
“I’m always serious. If you can tell me what you have that makes you think you can control Lord Havoc, of all people, I will get you to Spain.”
“He would never go against his son.”
“Spain, then. It’ll be tomorrow. It’s too late today.” She gets up, waves at the camera, and it fuzzes to static, and returns to the classroom.

“We’re letting him go because we never had him. That would be way overextending our mandate.” Then she writes out a bunch of homework readings and tells us to get up to the briefing room, there’s a mission. Cas takes a photo of it and sends it to all our devices so those of us without eidetic memory don’t have to waste the time to write it down.

We get to the briefing room and there’s a map of Cairo up. Apparently we’ve been listening to Eagle Corp comminucationsand Cairo authorities have contacted them to assist with apprehending someone. This is highly unusual, and would look very sketchy if brouht to light, but their Lancers have been dispatched. Our information from spying on them says they’re after a scam artist called “Blade”, 7 attempts at apprehension have failed, it seems that the hacking is done from right inside the building but when the police get there, they find an empty room.

So the Eagle team has been called in to do a “Product Demonstration”, and perhaps also apprehend a suspect who may have a Promethean device helping them.

So Miss Midnight wants a bunch of us to go “On Vacation” , and perhaps also apprehend a suspect who may have a Promethean device helping them.

It seems that Blade hacks into investment companies from within their own buildings and steals large sums of money but not large enough to seriously damage the company.

Midnight puts Lightning in charge, she takes X, shockwave and Autumn.

They get prepped and Lightning teleports them out. "Now, we have a different mission for those of you who are left. There have been a rash of UFO sightings in the area of the US/Mexican border. There have been a lot of fairly consistent reports and some good footage of a flying saucer shaped object. We think it might be a Promethean artifact but can’t confirm it because we’re still having some negative effects from the recent weather disturbance. The pattern of sightings is scattered and the Mexican government (Red Star sighs in relief) has approved us to investigate and retrieve it if necessary.

So Red Star, Jade, Phoenix, Pulse and I had some time on our Lancer to go through the reports, we are however tending to ignore the reports of abduction since most of them claim it’s not their first time being abducted… We look for the consistent details and notice that the sightings seem to show a trend southwards. 6 hours later, we land in a field a few kilometers away from a tourist town named Verasoe. It’s 6 km from the border and the site of some of the more recent sightings. A lot of this information has been correlated by a watchdog website, the handles of its three main geeks are Orion, Loremaster and Veritas. They’re kind of conspiracy theory crackpots but at least they’ve done some serious legwork that we didn’t have to repeat. Red and I will go see if we can find them, Jade’s going to pitch a tent and look up while Pulse and Phoenix investigate the surrounding area. I keep in contact with Jade through most of the next part.

They’re not hard to track down. They’ve got a converted moving van with a satellite receiver on the roof, painted up with their website’s art. We head into a nearby diner where Red Star orders “your best Burrito” and then asks if anyone’s seen Orion, Loremaster or Veritas. All the Mexican heads turn in the same direction, to the three white boys in the corner. So we head on over and invite ourselves to their table… well, Red does, I don’t want to break the little rickety chairs in this place so I just stand… They look at us, and one says to the other, “I told you it ws Promethean, not extra-terrestrial! You owe me ten bucks!” Guess they’d been betting… Orion’s a skinny clean-cut guy, Loremaster is a young-looking short chubby type and Veritas looks like a reject from a ZZ-Top video, complete with beard and sunglasses. They finish their meal, Red gets his burrito to go (he gave me a bite, it WAS a very good burrito) and we all head to their Command Centre (because I have no qualms about going into strange trucks, nope, not me). Red sits at what is Loremaster’s station, he’s got something like 15 different cleansers and wipes and sanitizers, and he uses most of them on his equipment, his chair and himself before he sits down after evicting Red from his seat.

Hey Jade, we’re in their truck, reviewing their footage. "Ok, good. It’s still hot here. And there’s a piece of sand over there. We’re sending Phoenix out to do aerial recon with my camera..

Orion seems to be their leader, or at least, their spokesperson. “We have similar theories on the underlying conspiracies, and we have agreed to disagree on the details…” They’ve been interviewing the locals but the thing doesn’t show up where a lot of people will see, it stick to the outskirts, farther out than the suburbs, so though it seems drawn to populated areas, it only ever gets near the outskirts. I toss them a thumb-drive and they start copying some of their relevant data for us.

Thinking about the show Numb3rs, I wondered if there were some pattern we weren’t seeing, so I crunched some numbers of my own and figured that the next appearance was likely to be at the next town south of here, so I let Jade know and he got the girls moving towards it so we could meet them there.

Veritas, the ZZ-Top clone, sidles up to me while Red and Loremaster are talking and whispers, "Is it true that him, " (indicates Red Star) “and the bug are actually extra terrestrials, and this is whre Promethean powers come from? I’ve got a running bet…”

Hey Red, they wanna know if you and Jade are extra-terrestrials! “Cool!” Want me to confirm or deny? “Don’t care, just make it funny!”

So I gave him my best “this is the official line” voice and the absolute truth: “There has been no link between extra terrestrials and people with Promethean powers.” And somehow manage not to giggle.

Jade tells me that Phoenix has seen a truck driving out where there’s no road.

Hey, Phoenix, what are you seeing and where? Describe this truck. “Flatbed truck, a couple people in the cab, tarps in the back, about halfway between Jade and the town you’re in. Not sure where they’re heading, some broken terrain but noother obvious destination. Pretty sure they’ve spotee me but aside from using their radio, no change in heading, pretty much parallel to Jade and Pulse’s little race.” Wait, what? Racing? “Yeah, it’s hilarious, wait till you see the video I got, she’s ticked off that he can catch up with his leaps!” Oh my god, you have to make sure you save that!

Then I checked in with Jade, who reported seeing flashes off in the distance.

Phoenix had by that time gone flying up level with the truck and knocked on the driver’s window. They stop, and the driver rolls down the window.

“Hi! Do you speak English?”
“Naw, I speak Amurricain.”
“Great! So where are you going?”
“That way.”
“But what’s out there? There’s nothing?”
“Huntin’.”
“For UFO’s or something else?”
“Mah cousin wants to bag hisself a coy-owt.”
“Then where are your guns?” Phoenix raises the camera and snaps a photo of them, the driver’s hand comes up in what looks like a well-practised move. “Let me try again. What’s out there that you’re looking for?”
“None o’ yer business.”
“Well how will I know that if you won’t tell me? I’ll take off if you tell me for true that it’s nothing to do with UFO’s…”

Jade and Pulse approach where the flashes originated, they spot something flitting over the trees, two yellow flashes, the something falls, and then The Pulse figures out how to teleport. Just as Jade’s about to catch up, the air shimmers, her perception shrinks to a pinpoint and then through my mindlink, so do ours, and we all pop into existence beside her, far closer to the source of the flashes than she and Jade could have run in that short time.

We can see the thin trail of smoke just over a nearby rise, so we head over to it. Looks like a subcompact car-sized flying sauceer, grounded and smoking, has gouged a thin trail in the ground. Standing nearby are three figures, we can see Half Life’s glowing yellow forcefield, Apex talking through a communication device and the Sinister Robot, standing near the thing. “Target is down, bring in the extraction team,” Apex says, then sees us. “Hold on that.”

Red says, “I call Sinister Robot!” and Half Life calls Phoenix, who keeps the camera recording video. I’m sure Miss Midnight will want to show that in class if it’s any good, I guess we’ll find out soon whether it’s a positive learning experience or an example of what not to repeat…

Apex’s shot bounces off Red’s shoulder. Phoenix tries to make a presence attack on Half Life, Pules tries to hit Half-life but misses, Red dances with the robot, I bonk Apex’s brain and she stutters in the air, Jade hugs Half Life and she thumps him with radiation. Apex gets me with three shots, knocking me silly and opening up my shoulder in two places. Half Life’s laser eyes try to burn Jade’s carapace and the radiation it generates kills the surrounding vegetation. Pulse hits Apex with an illusion but she breaks it and goes after Phoenix with the missiles, but Phoenix dodges. Robot grabs Jade’s arm (or leg??) but can’t stop him from squeezing Half-life again till she squeaked. Pulse and I stunned Apex, who crashes to the ground. Half-life punches Jade somewhere highly unpleasant, the Robot tries to pry him off but Jade hugs her again. Pulse dents the robot after Phoenix’s flames don’t do much. I KO-punch Half-life and she went limp in Jade’s grasp. Then it’s punch-up time with the Robot, so I start making my way towards the downed flying saucer on my way to make sure Apex is OK. We hear a roar, and I turn just in time to see the Robot let go of Jade, grab Half-life up off the ground and grab onto his jet-bike, the source of the roar. I guess he called it in. Apex regains consciousness before I get to her and shoots off into the air. We get to the saucer and determine that it is in face a Promethean device, but perhaps not one of the Doctor‘s, as when we look inside it, we see the Eagle Corp logo. We take a photo and send it ahead to Midnight in case it’s something we should return, although our feeling is that if it is some kind of device made by a Promethean, it is in fact our mandate to collect it. Which only leaves me with one question, why didn’t I remember my spraypaint and try it out on the Sinister Robot’s face to see if it interfered with his sensors…

I guess we can tell the conspiracy theorists that it was a Promethean device after all.

We reviewed the video of the fight on the flight home after we got the device back to the Lancer, it’s kind of shaky-cam view but even still there are a couple great photos going to come out of it, especially the one of Apex’s missile swirling towards Phoenix, so close you can read the Eagle Corp logo on it…

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A vacation in Cairo
In which we head out to steal Eagle's thunder (and retrieve a potential artifact while we're at it)

Our intelligence network has been keeping an ear on Eagle Corporation’s communications, and someone in the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior has “hired” a team from Eagle Corp’s Promethean Division to help detain a notorious white-collar criminal. This is to be done “on the sly”, so they’re officially showing up as part of an Eagle Corp trade show in Cairo. There’s a suspicion that the criminal is using either a Promethean, or is using an artifact. The perpetrator has managed to evade seven arrest attempts, usually simply disappearing into thin air when the police storm in. Our job is to take a vacation to see the pyramids, and quietly try to retrieve the artifact (if it exists). Lady Lightning is handed the reins, since she’s familiar with covert operations.

The team she assembles is herself, Shockwave, Casanova, Autumn Breeze and Xeadas. We teleport into Cairo, discovering to our embarrassment that we’ve popped up next to a throng of tourists waiting for their tour of the Great Pyramids. We vacate the area as quickly as we can, while pretending that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Lightning’s making comments about wanting to find a dark corner to curl up and die in.

Once we’re out of sight, we start trying to gather information about the Egyptian police investigation. Lightning borrow’s Casanova’s wrist computer, and worms her way into the police computer network. The police have a solid lead to go on: the criminal has taken an entire company’s financial system hostage, and is ransoming it back to them in exchange for information. They have arranged a meeting tonight with a representative of the company in order to arrange the transfer. The Eagle team is there to assist in capturing her, their only payout is that they can keep everything that she has in her possession. The investigation team has a full psychological profile of the perpetrator, but no physical description. Casanova notes that the profile would fit a woman better than a man.

Lightning suggests getting some Eagle Corporation uniforms locally, and then using the same ploy that the Eagle team tried in Bonn (Revenge is sweet!). Xeadas notes that the Egyptians may call back to Eagle if we show up in place of the expected personnel, which would blow the operation on the spot. He recommends that we try altering the police records to show that the meeting has been relocated. Hopefully this will send the police, and Eagle Corp, off on a wild goose chase that will leave us clear to do our job.

We also dig into the case files to see what the perpetrator has actually been perpetrating. They are targeting affluent businesses and will take a decent chunk out of their finances, but not enough to fatally damage them. Over a 3 year period, they’ve managed to get away with about $10 billion. From their inspection of the victims’ computer networks, the hacking was done by someone who was physically present at the location. The suspect’s name is unknown, she’s identified in the records as “Blade”. As well, the police were given the current lead by a 3rd party, the “hostage” corporation did not contact them directly. The current police operation is designed to keep as many people as possible in the dark, which should help our job. When Casanova gets the name of the hostage, he sends a quick email to somebody (his investment broker perhaps?).

Since this is a large and complicated investigation, the alterations to the records will have to be extensive. We will also need to build a system that will keep them from finding out that the records have been falsified, which will involve real-time redirection of communications and records as well as alteration of existing records. Lightning will need a fair bit of time to set this up, so we get a hotel room close by where she can work in peace.

The actual meeting is going to be held in an highly exclusive private club, so we’ll need some better-looking clothes than our UN-sponsored paychecks are going to cover. I mention that someone should stake out the airport to see who’s showing up from Eagle Corp. Since I mentioned, I get volunteered for the job. I pick up a set of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens so I can get a closer look. Casanova and Autumn head off to go clothes shopping for the rest of us.

The Eagle Corp Lancer is towed into a hangar after it lands, but the ground crew don’t bother to close the hangar doors afterwards. The binoculars and zoom lens come in handy, I can identify Voltage, Bright Feather, and Lifeline, there were a few more people on the aircraft that I couldn’t identify. They get into an armoured limo, and leave the airport with a full police escort.

Casanova is out spending prodigious amounts of his personal wealth outfitting us. He’s setting himself up as a wealthy investor with connections to the Italian government. Xeadas and I will be his bodyguards, and Autumn and Lightning his “companions”. He comes back with clothes worth twice what any two of us are paid in a year, along with $100,000 worth of jewellery that he’s rented for the occasion. The girls’ clothing is spectacular despite its (relative) modesty, I get a couple of photographs for posterity. (SW: those are SO not getting onto the internet, except if the subject requests it) Lightning wishes that Cassie was there, she’d be all over the “dressing up for a night out” thing in a heartbeat.

We also pick up some standard radio systems, so we can keep in contact. The girls earpieces are easily hidden by the headscarves, while the “bodyguards” earpieces are conspicuously displayed. During our final system checks, Lightning notices that someone has breached her custom software setup, but hasn’t actually changed its operation. Since everything is still intact, she suspects that Blade has been keeping an eye on the police as well, and has figured out that someone is diverting the police from her trail. (SW: This was a reasonable assumption at the time. Given that someone did a superb job of clearing up our tracks for us within minutes of us teleporting out, its more probable that our mysterious blonde Promethean is the culprit)

Since the club is members only, we’ll need to get ourselves onto the membership list. Lightning doesn’t have any problem getting in, and adds a membership for “Antonio Giovanni”, affiliated with Italian Ministry of the Environment’s Department of Energy. Casanova has a look over Lightning’s shoulder at the member list, his secret identity doesn’t have a membership but his father does… There’s also one name that Lightning finds a little bit familiar. Her eidetic memory pulls up a character from a Japanese video game that was based on the legend of a master swordsman. The catch at the end of the legend is that the swordsman is actually a woman. Casanova mentions that the police psychological profile did fit a woman more than a man.

As we’re on route to the club, Lightning listens in on the police’s tactical briefing. They’re not completely convinced that the location is changed, so they’re hedging their bets. They’ve got four tactical units ready: one is at each meeting location, one is at the corporate representative’s home, and one is in reserve. The Eagle Corp team is splitting up as well, and the police are stationing plain-clothes officers at both locations to do covert surveillance.

We take a limo to the club, and get in without incident. The club’s main function hall is on the upper level, in the lobby are a pair of staircases, twisted into a double helix, with a 30ft tall glass statue/chandelier in the centre of them. At the top landing is a greeting area surrounded by pillars, there are club waiters with drinks and hors d’ouevres waiting. A live band is playing. Casanova is only picking up positive emotions on his passive senses, but he does notice that one of his brother’s business associates is in attendance. We’ll have to keep out of his way, there’s a possibility that he could blow Casanova’s secret identity.

As Casanova and the ladies mingle, Xeadas and I do the job of bodyguards by keeping a watch on the room. None of the guests seem out of place, and the house security detail is evident but quite unobtrusive. Xeadas is tasked with room security, while I’m keeping an eye for any Prometheans than come in the entrance. The young platinum blonde lady in the red dress that sweeps in is impossible to miss, she’s beautiful enough to send Helen of Troy to her room in tears. She walks right up to a local oil baron, dismisses the person he was talking to, and strikes up a conversation. As Rosa checks her out, she wistfully notes that she’s everything that Rosa’s adoptive mother wanted her to be. (SW: Remind me to give you a copy of the photo I took of you in the hotel room. As I’ve stated before, you really do clean up well)

Lightning takes a washroom break to get into the club’s computer system and check the guest list. One new entry coincides with the new arrival, both the name and organization were entered as “Eagle Corporation”. Casanova’s empathic senses pickup that everyone in the room is focusing on the new arrival. Even with our Promethean wills, it takes effort for us to NOT spend all our time looking at her. What does worry him is that she’s essentially a hole in his empathic environment, either she’s got a power that hides her or she’s so well disciplined that she has no identifiable surface emotions.

She’s making the rounds of the room, giving everyone at least a little bit of time with her. Casanova’s trying to avoid meeting her face-to-face, while simultaneously trying to avoid looking like we’re try to do that. He pulls the company representative into a side corridor for a brief private discussion of their mutual oil interests. The representative is clearly nervous, but calms down a little as Casanova speaks with him. When Xeadas looks out the window he notices that there’s a ninja on the rooftop across the street, looking back into the club. I notice a plain-clothes policeman on the street, pretending to be a drunk.

As we return to the main room, Casanova picks up a wave of fear from the representative. He’s currently talking to a very small woman in a Japanese business suit. She’s not Asian, but the suit was definitely made for her and she knows how to wear it. They talk for a short while, then she turns and begins to leave the room. Casanova’s scan detects that she’s thrilled, presumably she’s gotten what she came for. As she heads toward the exit, the blond Promethean makes her grand exit, leaving both Blade and us to follow in her wake.

We catch up to Blade in the lobby of the club. Casanova engages her, and tells her we’re here to help, and that the authorities are waiting outside the building to arrest her. He offers to help her get away, if she’ll agree to come with us. She agrees, and Lightning decides to teleport us out on the spot. As the teleport builds up, she feels the connection beginning to break up. She pushes through, and everyone arrives safely at Lajes Field in the Azores.

As soon as we’re there, Blade turns to leave. Casanova introduces himself, and says that we need to look at any Promethean artifacts she might be carrying. He also tells her that Eagle Corporation was also waiting for her, along with the Egyptian police. When she doesn’t answer, he asks her how she manages to get into the well-secured buildings to hack their computers. She still doesn’t answer, and we see her typing one-handed on something. Lightning tells the device to turn off, and she throws it at her and tries to make a run for it.

While she may have a Promethean artifact, she’s definitely no Promethean. Autumn has her tied up in bonds of wind before she can take her first step. Lightning inspects the PDA, the contents are encrypted but all she needs to do is tell the PDA to decrypt itself for her. The start of the text message was “In danger, c”, which is all she had time to type before the PDA shut down. Her speed dial list only has two entries, one is the PDA itself and the other is an un-named contact.

Meanwhile, Blade tries the give Casanova a $1 million bribe to let her walk away, given that she’s gotten away with $10 billion over the last 3 years the size of the bribe is more insulting than tempting. He keeps on about whether she’s using Promethean technology, while also actively using his telepathy to see if she’s lying. She say’s she’s not, but the artifact us currently on her back. Her tailor is of EPIC skill levels, she’s managed to strap a full-size katana to her back without disturbing the cut of her jacket. When we take it away from her, Casanova feels gets sense of crushing sadness from her.

While most Promethean artifacts have a distinctly “alien” appearance, this isn’t always true. Xeadas phones Ivanka to get more information. After giving a brief description of the artifact, all we get is “Oh boy”, and a request for a picture of the other side of the grip. Apparently there is a file on this artifact, and it was logged into the Vault some time ago. She gets Miss Midnight on the phone, she hopes that the swords were made as a set, and that the one that should be in the Vault is still there. The blade cuts through distance, allowing its user to move from point to point without actually passing through the intervening space. She says she’s going to check the Vault right away. She also tells us to leave one person with the artifact, and get back to Cairo and clean up the mess we left behind by our sudden teleport.

Lightning tries to get Blade to tell her where she got the sword, in exchange for a free drop-off anywhere she wants. Blade says that she got it from her employer, and that she’ll be in danger because she’s lost it. She can’t finish what she was supposed to do without the sword, she doesn’t think we’ll be able to protect her from her employer, and she CERTAINLY doesn’t want to be anywhere near Japan. She does promise to consider her offer, and Lightning enters her personal phone number to the PDA’s list. Xeadas breaks her free of Autumn’s wind bonds, and she walks off in the direction of the airport terminal.

Xeadas takes off to fly the artifact back to the base, and Lightning teleports the rest of us back to Cairo. This time, our landing point is fairly close to the club, so we sneak around back and get the limo to pick us up at the back door and return to the hotel. At the hotel, Lightning uses Casanova’s watch to get back into the club’s computers to erase our traces. What she finds is that someone has already re-written the security camera footage, and added in footage of us walking out the front doors in a perfectly normal manner. In a reflection from a car window outside, we can see the Lady in Red looking back in through the window. Lightning sends a copy of the video to her email address for further analysis.

Once Xeadas arrives at base, Midnight informs him that the first sword is still in the Vault, so there were at least two blades in the set. Xeadas says that Blade didn’t want to back to Japan, so her employer is probably located there. When Midnight checks the second blade into the Vault, she simply tells the Centurion to log it in and lets it fill in the volumes of paperwork that are needed. Xeadas simply says “Son of a bitch”, he’d been filling in all the paperwork long-hand before. As they’re taking the elevator up, he says he’s got a bottle of whisky in his room, that deserves a drink on him. She starts to decline the offer when the alarms go off, then suggests that she’ll consider it later.

Back in Cairo, we’re still packing up at the hotel when we get an emergency call from Miss Midnight. She’s in the briefing room, and we can hear the Centurions coordinating some sort of combat action in the background. She tells Lightning that she needs to get us back to the base immediately. Casanova gives her some encouragement to try and push her skill and hit a target as small as the Titan’s base. She reaches out into the electric fields, searching for a target to lock onto. Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she finds a point that glows with enough energy to light New York City. With Casanova’s encouragement, her confidence is strong enough that her aim is dead on.

We emerge in a part of the base that we’ve never been in before. There are two huge combat robots guarding a large vertical column that pulses with blue light. Evidently Lightning locked onto the base’s fusion reactor, and we’ve dropped in uninvited to the main reactor room. The robots promptly evict us, and we find that the base’s elevator has a hidden back door that can’t be seen from inside the elevator cab once it’s closed.

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The Driller in Algeria, meeting Black Dragon, oh, and our ACTUAL mission...
In which the Titans are sent to pick up an artifact, are rerouted to a Driller attack, attempt to help Eagle Corp, and get stomped for their efforts.

We land from the whole Black Skull and airship fiasco and get our prisoner unloaded into a cell, and Midnight calls us up for debriefing.

The gadgeteer-types are going to try to trace things backwards and we’ll investigate what we know. The landship’s been spotted but contact with the airship was lost under cloud cover and it looks like it’s going to be cloudy for a while. Seems the landship’s been spotted heading through Slovenia then on towards the Adriatic, likely heading for the Mediterranean Sea. Forces skirmished with the Slovenian armed forces in Ljubljana, and there’s an artifact reported in that area. We want to send a team but also want to hold some of the heavy fighters back in case Black Skull presents again elsewhere. She appoints Shockwave as the leader. All we have is the town name.

Shockwave, maybe you should find out if there are any ramifications from the Titans’ last visit? I mean, we did sort of look like we broke someone out of a mental facility… “Good point.”

When he asked Midnight, she said that aside from a bit of heels-dragging on the burocracy, there seem to be no other problems of note.

Shockwave took Pulse, Autumn and Lightning. Wants the ladies to himself, I guess :)

(record only, Knockout doesn’t know this firsthand) Phoenix talks to Cassanova about secret identities and ethics. Mostly, he hides to protect his family , tells her she must make her own decision and it must come from the heart. He asks her what she’s looking for – forgiveness, redemption, salvation? Discussion carries on to choice verus destiny, and she asks if he likes this job. It’s not bad but it’s not what he’d been groomed for all his life. He has powers that can help people and feels the duty to use them for that purpose, where else would he go? Eagle Corp has nothing to offer him, he’s GOT money. He stays because of what the Titans do, the opportunity to help shape the world. The door to the opportunity of shaping his country closed when he developed his powers, but perhaps the door that opened is a bigger opportunity than that.

The discussion continues and X entes just as Cass is telling Phoneix, “You sound as if you think you SHOULD be punished, that you are to blame.”

“But if I hadn’t been so panicky maybe I could have controlled it.”

At which point, Cass brings up survivor’s guilt… and X pipes up, “He talks a lot but he has a point.”

She’s still guilty about not calling her mom, she’s too scared to call her. X tells her, “She’s your mother.She deserves to know you’re alive. Nothing is more important than family. I only just found out this week that I have a brother my father never told me about. And next time I see my father I am going to punch him in the face. Not hard, but hard enough to enforce that I’m ticked he never told me. How do you think your mother will feel if she finds out ten years down the road that you’ve been alive and well all this time?”

Phoneix says bitterly, “It all sounds so simple, until I’m holding the damn phone!”

Cassanova advises her, “Then don’t phone. Go see her. She will want to touch you.”

X advises, “You can think about this for the rest of your life and still not find the perfect decision. You’re thinking too much.” He fabricates and flips her a coin made of ice.

She studiously melts it as Casanova asks her if she is afraid her mother will blame her for the disaster… And it’s a damn good thing I wasn’t privy to this conversation about families, my birth parents gave me up and my adoptive parents repudiated me…

I’d gotten a letter from Officer Raminos from Sudbury, transcript to follow when I get my scanner to cooperate.

I do want to find out if my adoptive parents were contacted by Kite/Novetnov. Although I don’t think I’m the one to make contact with them. I don’t know if it’s me, if it’s their own protection or if they really are just repulsed by Prometheans.

I did some checking into the Kite identity and though the information seems there on the surface (Birth certificate for Tulsa AZ, 1965 but no birth records from the listed parents, diploma but no course records, a very well-detailed surface with nothing behind it. Novetnov’s identity has plenty of legitimate-looking details which are likely true but there’s only a history for the last 6 years. I’m running some cross-checks with his photo and hte facial-recognition software Lightning “found” for me, I want to know if he ever came up in any police or military records elsewhere.

While I was swimming, the PA requested my presence at the briefing room, not urgent. I called to find out if it was “put on clothes” non-urgent, “catch a shower” non-urgent, or “finish my swim but don’t dither” urgent and ended up with the impression that my 4 hour swim might be pushing it so instead of my optimal calorie-burning zone I can do this forever kind of pace, I swam at my absolute top speed until I started to hurt (still a surprising number of laps), then hit the showers and went up.

Apparently the local police at ______, Spain have an artifact they’d like us to relieve them of. The style doesn’t seem to be Dr. Prometheus‘s, it looks more Dwarven than Elvish, I’m guessing it might be a Havoc creation.

So we (me, Jade, Cassanova, X and Phoenix) prep and get on the Lancer. I wear my Heroic Knapsack containing my Heroic Spraypaint, just in case. You never know when you might need to spraypaint someone’s windshield or a robot’s optical sensors. Gotta get me some of those paint grenades we sometimes use in training… wonder if they make them in purple…

20 minutes from destination, Cassanova’s watch goes on, and we check the Channel 6 news. We see an Eagle Lancer with a squad of Eagle jetpack troops, screaming people running the ohter way, Apex visible, buildings are shaking, and there’s a rumbling, ominous noise with… a hauntingly familiar musical beat. The Driller is attacking Algeria. Flight plan change, full speed ahead, 30 min ETA. I expect everything will be all done with by the time we get there, but maybe we can help… Cassanova tells Midnight, “Please advise the Algerian government of our impending arrival so they don’t SHOOT us!” “Working on it!”

Cassanova tries to contact Apex but gets no response, meanwhile we’re trying to link in to satellite camera coverage. Found a weather satellite instead, Huge selection of city with pockets of smoke, dust, fire, fleeing people, flashes, a moving battle. Looks like the Eagle Prometheans are trying to kite it elsewhere but it keeps realigning back to its original target which seems to be their HQ.

Phoenix and X fly out the loading door before we land. The Eagle Lancers have nose lasers, and they’re using them… Cas and I stay on with Jade till we’ve landed ours and then hitch a bug-ride on Jade while I stay linked to X. A bus whips around a corner in front of us to fast to avoid a borehole that we’re approaching, so we bail so Jade can deal with it. Meanwhile, X is sending me images of a burning building with people trapped, he directs Phoenix to get to work and they start rescuing people, X pops a fire hydrant and aims it at the building. Jade uses his sticky spit to slow the bus down so he can catch it just in front of the borehole.

The music and rumble subside and we get to the Eagle HQ, it’s sporting a mostly-shattered glass wall and a hole bored in through one of its corners. A Lancer is deploying security guys and Apex is reloading her wing missile contraption. Half-life is unconscious on the ground and Lifeline is kneeling over here and there’s a purple glow reminiscent of Great Wall‘s, from her hand on Half-life’s chest. Sinister Robot is missing an arm, carrying some device that looks sort of like the Silverodeon from Girl Genius in the remaining arm. It notices us and turns our way.

We meet Apex, X flies in next to her, Cas and I stop at the parking lot, he asks, “How can we help?”

Jade, finished with the bus, heads on over to its borehole because he senses something, Apex tells him he’s trespassing and the Robot gets spat upon when it hands the device off to two security goobers who stagger under the weight, and heads his way. It claws at the air in front of it, like it can’t see.

X says, “We don’t care about your keyboard thing. The Driller must be stopped.” And he kisses Apex on the cheek and heads to the hole, which only goes 20 feet before collapsing.

Apex advises us that we should leave. Soon. She looks worried.

Phoenix is hovering overall of this, hears a whistling and just as she’s looking up to see what’s making the noise, she disappears under something black that hits the ground hard enough to raise a dust cloud. When it settles, a large black man is crouching, holding Phoenix face-down into the concrete.

X salutes him. How exactly is that worthy of respect? “Because he can seriously screw us up if we mess with him.”

Black Dragon stands, looks at Apex and growls, “This better not be what you called me here for.”

Apex stammers, “No, they’re here to help…”

Xaedas explains, “The Driller. That’s why were’e here.” He helps Phoenix up, dusts the concrete chunks off her face and shoulders.

Black Dragon asks, “You’re finished here?” in a tone that is a command, not a question.

Jade picks us up, puts us on his back and we all head back to our Lancer. Cassanova says, “Let’s go to Spain.”

I can’t keep the bitterness out of my voice, “Yes, let’s make some use of the trip. Although I guess rescuing people from the building on fire and saving the bus full of people were useful. I sure wasn’t.”

On our way to Spain, we discuss Black Dragon. Phoenix is still wearing this kicked puppydog look, although she doesn’t seem to have taken any permanent damage from being cannonballed by that jerk… The concensus is that Black Dragon is an ass who would rip you in half given half an excuse to do so. This is why I will never work for Eagle Corp. I need to respect my boss for more than his ability to hurt me… Xaedas counters that with, “But when you’re making millions, who needs self-respect?”

We continue with our complaining about Black Dragon, Jade says he’d want me and Phoenix to back him up if we ever had to take him down, her to get back up and me to knock him out while he takes the hits.

I’m going to ask Miss Midnight if we should be trying to pool information with Eagle on The Driller, Chimera and Black Skull.

So we get there, they hand over the device, X shakes it… when it is examined later, it’s determined that it’s a Havoc homing device and that the shaking turned it off. We need to get Shockwave to take a look at it, maybe it can be converted into a tracker, if we can ever get it stuck to the Driller. Maybe Jade can spit some super-glue at it or something.

Phoenix asks if we’re likely to see him again. I reply, if it keeps hitting Eagle locations, and we keep investigating or trying to help, then probably. Now I need to look into things, who owns the mine that was the first contact, does Eagle Corp have any relation to the Neutrino Lab?

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The little shop that wasn't there yesterday
In which 8 Prometheans spend most of the mission hopelessly lost inside a small junk shop

The Black Skull landship took a rather indirect route from the Jura mountains base, which took it through Austria and Slovenia. Outside of the Slovenian town of Tolmin, it got in a short firefight with a Slovenian army unit. It eventually withdrew, escaping out into the Adriatic Sea near Trieste. Our Promethean artifact detection system picked up readings in a small town outside Tolmin, but the disruptions caused by the destruction of the Black Skull weather control system prevented a more precise location of the artifact.

The Slovenian government seems to be willing to let us in to retrieve it, but they’re dragging their feet on actually giving us the official paperwork. Since time is usually of the essence, just teleporting in and running the mission covertly is probably the best option (SW: Once again we violate the borders of a sovereign nation in the name of Making The World A Safer Place. This is starting to get habit-forming…). Miss Midnight hands mission leadership off to me, since I’m the most familiar with the region. Since this is a covert operation, we’re limited to people that can walk around without causing a fuss (sorry Jade!). The mission team is Shockwave, The Pulse, Lady Lightning, and Autumn Breeze.

The battle site was south of Triglav National Park, near the town of Poljubinj. The electrical grid is a little sparse in western Slovenia, so we actually turn up in the town of Tolmin, a little way up the road. It’s not far, and the weather’s nice, so we walk the last distance instead of trying to arrange transportation in a small town. The walk to Poljubinj is along a narrow rural road, we only see one vehicle on the trip. We come across a goatherd moving his flock along the road, and farm workers picking hops. I mention that I did that job a couple of times, its hard work. It’s kind of early in the season though, maybe the weather controller’s effect? We pass the battle field on the way, there’s obvious signs of flamethrower damage from the Firebats, as well as generic blast craters.

As we get into town, Autumn does a quick check with the local wildlife about what’s being going on. The noise of the battle got a lot of attention, and the arrival of a “big bird” in town caused a disturbance as well. Just like a bad penny, the Eagle Corp. crew keeps turning up over and over again…

I quickly make up a cover story. I’m a journalist who was diverted up here to cover the battle with the landship, and Pulse and Lightning are my assistants (Ed.: Shockwave looks nothing like Spider Jerusalem, and neither Pulse nor Lightning would appreciate being referred to as “filthy assistants”). All we know is that there’s a Promethean artifact somewhere in the town, so we’ll have to canvas the locals to find out more. Autumn is heading out to talk with the local animals, while the rest of us play reporter.

Poljubinj is a fly-speck of a town, so small there’s nothing I can clearly identify as the local social gathering point for the townsfolk. There’s an old man sitting on the front steps of a tailor’s shop, so we approach him first. The battle was certainly impressive, and he saw the people that got off the aircraft go into the town’s general store a couple doors down. Autumn reports back that the local animals feel that there’s something “wrong” with the general store, and none of them will go near it.

Since I don’t actually speak Slovenian, Pulse and I switch roles so she can talk to the store owner. He says that the passengers went into the tailor’s shop, and never came into the store. He did get a photograph on his cell phone, so we can see who we’re up against. The photo’s pretty good, it shows Bright Feather, Voltage, Jack Frost and Wraith walking down the Lancer‘s cargo ramp. I immediately buy a copy of the photograph from him, this might be the first time we’ve ever seen Cassie on camera!

Once we leave the store, I take cover for a minute to convert my long-suffering smart phone into a tracking device for Promethean artifacts. The curio shop between the general store and the tailor’s shop is giving me incredibly high readings. We do a quick scout of the area first, there’s so much stuff in the store windows that we can’t actually see the interior. When we first approach the building the animals tell Autumn that the building is dangerous, and that we shouldn’t go near it. A loop around the building finds that the only way in is the front door.

The door of the curio shop doesn’t have a doorbell, but it does have a heavy brass door knocker. I try the knocker, but nobody answers. Fortunately, the door isn’t locked so we just walk in and close the door after us. As soon as we’re out of view of the town I trip the release mechanisms on the armour cases and slip into something more appropriate for a hard day’s work.

Inside, “junk shop” would be a better description. It’s crammed full of all sorts of old stuff, with all sorts of narrow passages between piles of stuff. Since the building’s only about 30×40 feet, we decide to split up to cover more ground quicker.

What The Pulse found

Pulse notices a doll lying on the floor, which she thought was in a slightly different position than it was the last time her eyes passed over it. It doesn’t move when she looks directly at it, so she moves on to the vintage books section. There’s a collection of old comic books from the 1970s, including one with the title “The Pulse versus Mesmero, Who Will Be Victorious?”. This is definitely weird, the comic is dated about 20 years before either of them were born.

From around a corner, Mesmero himself emerges, boldly declaiming “So you think you can stand before the awesome might of Mesmero?”. Pulse’s response is a “Aw, shut it!”, and a psychic knife to the face. He squeeks out “So there, hero!”, and topples sideways out of view. When she tries to follow him, he’s nowhere to be found.

What Pulse does find is a big Van der Graaf generator, which is running and spitting out small electrical bolts. When she backs up and lobs a small object from a shelf at it, it vaporizes it and kicks the electrical bolts into high gear. Pulse backs up until her back hits a shelf, trapping her in a dead-end corridor! A psychic knife topples the generator, causing it to blow up in a loud explosion.

With the way clear, she moves on and finds a large umbrella stand with a veritable forest of umbrellas. A moment later Autumn joins her, and tells her that she and Shockwave walked around opposite sides of a hat rack, but Shockwave never met her on the far side. They’re still deciding what to do next when Voltage comes around a corner, carrying Lightning in a fireman’s carry. Lightning’s got a huge kitchen knife buried beneath her collar bone, and both her and her brother are covered in blood. He orders Autumn to help Lightning, and once he lowers Lightning to the ground Autumn begins tending to her. A moment later, some of the umbrellas topple off the rack and Shockwave crawls out.

What Shockwave Found

The shelves full of junk look perfectly normal, until I find a display filled with old snow globes. As I get closer, the snow in the globes rises up and begins swirling on it’s own. There’s a shovel nearby, so I use it to poke at one of them to see what it does when it’s touched. Nothing happens, so I go up to the display and poke one of them with my finger. The snow is swirling madly, but nothing more impressive happens. When I look up, Autumn comes running around the corner, and asks where Voltage went. I haven’t seen anything living aside from ourselves, which seems to confuse her.

We decide that splitting up doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore, so we head off together. There’s not enough space around a hat stand, so we’re forced to go around either side of it. I step onto a featureless grey plain, which turns into a broken desert “badlands” landscape a moment later. A quick look around finds no hat rack, no curio store, and no Autumn. From overhead, the cry of an eagle rings out.

As the eagle comes closer, it’s obviously of immense proportions. It lands close by, looks me over with a disturbingly intelligent gaze, and then pounces! Its not particularly fast, so I evade its initial pounce and pound it backwards with a Shock Pulse. The blast doesn’t seem to have done any real damage, but does knock it a few meters farther from me. It charges up, with lightning bolts coursing across its body towards its open beak. What emerges isn’t a bolt of lightning, but an unimaginably loud scream. Fortunately my helmet’s got decent ear protection, so it’s more annoying than anything else.

We settle down to warily circling each other, sizing each other up. It’s big enough to carry me off and drop me onto the desert floor from a couple kilometres up, so I don’t really want to get too close to it. Eventually, it rears up and disintegrates into golden-brown light, which then reforms into the body of Bright Feather.

He walks over, and offers his hand. We shake hands, and he says “They said you were fast. So how do you get out of here?”. I tell him I have no idea, I just walked past a hat rack and found myself here. This is apparently how he got here as well. My cell phone is displaying “No connection”, so using GPS to locate ourselves is useless. Bright Feather says that he knows some of his peoples secrets, picks up a small piece of flint from the ground, and starts drawing a complicated fractal diagram on a cliff face.

When he finishes, it begins glowing and he steps through the glow like the cliff face was not there. Seeing no other way back, I follow him and end up in a dark, confined space. I push myself free, and crawl out of a forest of umbrellas to find Pulse and Voltage standing over Lightning, with Autumn kneeling next to her. There’s a large, bloodstained knife on the floor and its pretty obvious that the blood is Lightning’s.

What Lady Lightning Found

Lightning heads off through the kitchenware section, and doesn’t see anything unusual. What she misses completely is the foot long knife that levitates off a shelf and follows her down the aisle. At the end of the aisle, she turns around and sees a brief glint of light on steel before the knife buries itself in her chest.

For a moment, there’s just a cold sensation as the world turns red and contracts. Then the pain hits. Lightning topples sideways against a shelf, staring in confusion at the huge knife which is still deeply embedded below her collarbone. “That looks really bad. I know it’s vitally important to either pull it out, or not pull it out, but I can’t remember which”. Her weak cries for help are apparently heard by nobody. She stumbles off down the aisle, leaving a bloody trail behind herself.

Someone’s hand lands on her shoulder. It’s her brother, and halfway through asking what’s wrong he sees the giant knife embedded in her chest. He lifts her into a fireman’s carry and heads off in search of help. Coming around a corner, he finds Pulse and Autumn next to a huge rack of umbrellas. He immediately orders Autumn to help Lightning. Some of the umbrellas topple off the rack, and Shockwave crawls out.

What Autumn Breeze found

As Autumn heads down one aisle, a figure steps out in front of her and yells “YOU!”. It’s Voltage, and he rips a lightning bolt down the aisle. No major damage is done, however, and Autumns’s return fire sends him scurrying for cover. She chases after him, but instead finds Shockwave inspecting a display full of old snow globes.

Despite the fact that there’s no alternative routes he could have taken, Shockwave never saw Voltage. Since the snow globes are unusual but otherwise harmless, we decide that sticking together is the way to go, and head off to try and find the others. There’s not enough space around a hat stand, so we’re forced to go around either side of it. When she reaches the other side of the hat stand, Shockwave is nowhere to be found.

Autumn circles the hat rack no less than three times, but can’t find anything out of the ordinary. There’s a 3rd aisle, so she takes it and finds Pulse near a large umbrella stand filled with umbrellas. Autumn tells her that she and Shockwave walked around opposite sides of a hat rack, but Shockwave never met her on the far side. They’re still deciding what to do next when Voltage comes around a corner, carrying Lightning in a fireman’s carry. Lightning’s got a huge kitchen knife buried beneath her collar bone, and both her and her brother are covered in blood. He orders Autumn to help Lightning, and once he lowers Lightning to the ground Autumn begins tending to her. Some of the umbrellas topple off the rack, and Shockwave crawls out.

The gang’s all together again

While Autumn tends to Lightning, Pulse asks Voltage what’s going on. “I don’t even know anymore. I’m getting out of here as soon as I can. Whatever’s doing this, you’re welcome to it.”. He give’s his sister’s hand a squeeze, then heads off in what might be a futile search for the door.

With Autumn’s assistance, Lightning’s quickly up and running again. Shockwave’s guess is that this could either be the effect of a Promethean artifact, or could actually be caused by another Promethean. The common element of all the store’s contents is that they’re old, and all have a faded price sticker on them. If the effects are being caused by an artifact, it may be something that looks new, or doesn’t have a price sticker on it.

After a little bit of blundering around, we eventually locate the front door again. When we open it, we’re looking out onto a busy city street, not a quiet town road. The license plates on the cars are from Massachusetts, and when Autumn sticks her smart phone out the door the GPS app says that it’s in Boston. The curio shop is now located between a pharmacy and an apartment building in a major U.S. city, instead of between a general store and a tailor’s shop in a small town in Slovenia.

Since we seem to be able to get reception, Autumn calls back to base for advice. Ivanka is entirely unfazed by Autumn’s description of the store, and she already seems to have an active file! Apparently the store has a habit of moving around in time and space, and is “Filled with crazy shit”. She’s got Miss Midnight on a second line, and she seems to be quite insistent that we not touch anything. I guess we just won’t tell her about the all the stuff we’ve trashed so far…

Apparently, the trick is to close the front door, go once around the store, and then re-open the door. At this point the door should open onto the same place where you originally entered. When we get back to the door again, Autumn notices the doll that Pulse saw when we first entered the store. When she picks it up for a closer look, it doesn’t have a price sticker on it. When we look back at the store, all of the damage is gone, and everything we moved is back in it’s place.

We leave the store in time to see the Eagle Lancer flying off into the distance. Just as we teleport out, the doll seems to squirm in Autumn’s hand, then goes inert. When we arrive in the Azores, Lightning is worried that putting something like this in the Vault might be a bad idea. If it re-activates, we could find that the door to the Vault now opens somewhere very unfortunate. I suggest that we could always break into Eagle’s Promethean research facility, and leave it for them. Of course, if they find it as disturbing as we do, they may send someone to break into the Vault and give it back to us.

Once we’re back in contact with base again, it turns out that we’ve been gone for about 3 1/2 hours, which is much more time than we thought.

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A Zeppelin? Really? In Switzerland? Really!
In which some group of terrorists with the ability to control the weather demand the release of Lord Havoc, and the Titans track them to Switzerland. Hilarity (and dieselpunk) ensues.

So we had a few days of downtime, Cassanova went off to visit his family, Autumn disappeared somewhere…

I start looking into my birth parents, X tries to figure out who Union Jack‘s companion had been, Phoenix chats with Captain Awesome, and according to the news, a tropical storm is developing out of season and is heading for the US’s eastern coast, getting stronger as it approaches.

X enlists Lightning’s help in looking for Jack’s disappearing date, she eventually comes up with the name, “Candace Toff”, the only thing that stands out in her background is that her mediocre high school career was a little discordant with her Political Science degree, which she completed on an accelerated schedule with straight A’s. Checking the traffic cams and everything (which are apparently quite plentiful in Great Britain), they can’t find any trace of where she’s gone. X compiles a dossier since she hasn’t been spotted since, and sends it to Jack with a note indicating that we think she might be Promethean and that when she disappeared from the hospital we weren’t sure if it was by choice.

Captain Awesome tells Phoenix that she must decide for herself what to do, not to worry about what makes life easier or more difficult for the Titans, do what she needs to do for her own mental well-being, and the Titans will be behind her no matter what her decision. (documentation only, even Knockout doesn’t know).

Lightning had her own stuff to do so I tracked down the agency which my adoptive parents used. It went out of business about ten years ago, and if the name of the agency, “Next Generation Placement Agency” wasn’t ominous enough, when I called up a photo of the owner/operator Trevor Kite, the picture that came up when I tried to track him down was a younger Alexei Novetnov! I haven’t told anyone yet, need to think about it and do some more research, this definitely seems to be related to Chimera and it scares the heck out of me that they’ve known about me for that long… I told Lightning but she didn’t know what to say, I think I’m going to take this to Miss Midnight.

We were all called to the briefing room, Captain Awesome and Miss Midnight were looking at a map of the US with the weather patterns overlaid, Warden has projected rates of growth and it looks like it will be devastating. And all UN email addresses received the same message. “You have 48 hours to release Lord Havoc, or else this storm will hit the United States,” yadda yadda weather control, big threats, just the beginning, etc.

They tell us that the UN is quickly going to put pressure on us to resolve this. So we’re going to do our other job, saving the world, before we’re asked.

We all worked on it, and traced the email back to somewhere in Switzerland, so we started looking for anything odd… We found on satellite pictures an area in the Alps where someone has constructed pillboxes, looks like it could hold 200-400 troops as well as armoured vehicles, large killing field, could hold against an army. It was a moderate avalanche area until 4 years ago, but there’s been absolutely no avalanche activity since then.

There’s a chalet at the top of one of the mountains which would ahve a pretty good view of all the activity that must have been necessary for the place’s construction, but we were unable to determine who owned it… Captain Awesome suggested that half of us hit it from the front and the other half sneaks in the back, there’s got to be some kind of hidden passageway in the chalet, try to figure out why they’re there and why they want Lord Havoc… Havoc never had followers, he only ever had his machines, they’re all that he trusted. We figure this could be some kind of rabid cultist following who would never listen to reason even if we told him Havoc would be of no use to them. X askes if he’s powered down, the answer is probably.

Lightning, Valkyrie, and Seven are going to hit the back while X, Phoenix, Shockwave, Red and I do the frontal assault… Pull the baddies, keep aggro, and kite them to keep them off the other party, just like old times on LOTRO and WOW raids… Fighting armoured vehicles is a real pain given the amount of armour they’ve got, but Shockwave suggests bringing some spray paint along. With the vision slots, sensors and gun sights painted over, they’re essentially useless even if they’re completely intact.

I pack a knapsack and some cans of spraypaint, and I’ll be keeping an open channel with Lightning any time I’m not sending messages to my teammates.

We chart the Lancer‘s flight plan over Swiss airspace and then we’re going to manufacture an excuse to make an emergency landing in the mountains, Shockwave has plans to make it a legitimate excuse. Winter camo for everyone… Lightning’s group is teleporting in, and when we get to about 20 minutes to ETA, she tells us they’re in place.

Nobody’s there when we land but as we’re closing the distance to the location Lightning tells me that they’re about to take out the sentries and to let her know when we’re about to hit. Red Star stealths ahead, so do X and Shockwave… I try, but step loudly on a branch when Lightning yells into my head, “Oh. My. God.” What?? “The side of the mountain just opened up and something is coming out of it.”

I relay this to the rest of my team and Lightning’s in combat by the time I get back to her. We get to a gatepost in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by defenses… Way in the back, we can see two 4-legged walkers that look for all the world like something right out of Girl Genius, the skull van is there in the back too, white with a black skull, and guys pop up from trenches. Dudes with AK-47’s, a guy who looks like an officer, oversized pistol in one hand, laser sword in the other, hollering in what Shockwave later tells us is Serbo-Croatian with the accent sounding Croatian, Firebats in powered armour suits with dual flamethrowers, and Marauders, in the same powered armour suits with funny contraptions attached that we later find launch globes of acid.

I put up my shield and try to KO the commander, while letting Lightning know that we’re engaging. Somewhere off in the distance, I could see a giant zeppelin. Phoenix whips off her collar, everyone else gets ready or takes their opening shots. I got hit by a wall of fire. Dear gods it burns. And I have to get better with my Knockout Physique, I didn’t even have to go unconscious for it to drop! One good hit and I’m fat in public! This is not to be! I think between the parka I was wearing and all the activity going on, nobody really noticed, but good grief. I don’t want this happening again, my personal insecurities should not be drawing my attention away from combat!

Team Titan does some damage, I stun the officer, and then one of the guys with the AK’s shot me. In the heiney. OW. The officer has a go at Shockwave, doing a flying overhead chop with his laser sword. With his long trench coat flying behind him, it looks impressive up to the point when the sword fizzles on impact. A second later his unconscious body rolls to a stop. Everyone else seems to be taking care of the walkers and the remaining dudes (except the group shooting at me) so I throw my purple Tremclad can as far as I can heave it towards the Skull Truck, catch it with TK and get ready to start painting the windows and windshield so the drivers can’t do anything. At some point we realize our electronics aren’t working.

I can see the Zeppelin disgorging its biplane fighters.

The steampunk crab walkers kept missing Phoenix with their icicle barrages. Red knocked over the truck, two guys got out and started running as the truck exploded, but Shockwave caught them after one of the crabwalkers almost shot him with its icicles. X picked up and threw one of the guys in 800 kg of powered armour into the nest of guys who’d shot at me, after having headbutted the guy so hard he cracked the face shield on the suit…

And Lightning is babbling in my head about a floating navy destroyer. Phoneix is trying to beat up the one walker that hasn’t retreated but it eventually runs away too. Red picks up the unconscious officer.

From Lightning, we hear that reinforcements are coming, the ship eventually gets through the jammed doors, incredible range on its lightning cannons and it has anti-aircraft lasers. We make a run for the Lancer but we go well past it, telling it to get out of here. X grabs me and flys me faster than I cold have run, keeping it low to prevent the screaming… Two biplanes from the zeppelin take off after the lancer, and the zeppelin shoots lightning at it.

Then my mindlink with Lightning goes dead. I guess she went unconscious but Valkyrie was too busy fighting to talk, I can even hear the church music playing in her head as she fights… once we get it all sorted out, Lightning told me she just thought I’d “hung up”. She said they made it into the chalet and past the guards, past a hangar bay where they fouled the doors, they found officers, made their way to the room with some weather control devices powered by a Promethean device. Seven told Valkyrie exactly where to hit it, and she did and it broke apart. Firebats and Marauders came to visit and after the fight the artifact was gone, Lightning swears she saw a long black-clad arm grabbing it…

So the main body of The Black Skull got away, I bet we haven’t seen the last of them. The landship was picked up on satellite. From all accounts, it looks like the WWII British Admiralty V class naval destroyer, made up to look like The Vampire, which was sunk in the Bay of Bengal by the Japanese.

After we finally met up with our Lancer and started heading home, I was complaining about having been shot and Red lifted his shirt and showed me a nasty scar on his chest, he muttered something about a sucking chest wound. Somehow he also ended up telling me about having his nose broken on purpose (though unbeknownst to him) at his first combat lesson, so it would never hurt that badly ever again.

This time we make sure to call ahead to Midnight and let her know about our “guest” before we arrive, she tells us the storm appears to be breaking up, and we give her a preliminary briefing on the situation so she can presumably relay it to the Swiss, who should be properly embarrassed that something that big was allowed to fester in their country rather than irriated that we didn’t go through all the proper procedures… and we should probably also mention it to Inspecteur Clousseau of INTERPOL.

Picking the officer’s brain

Once we’ve gotten our other obligations cleared up, we finally getting around to pulling the Black Skull officer out of the holding cells for a chat. Casanova takes the role of lead investigator, with Shockwave acting as translator for the Croatian officer.

Casanova’s ability to get people talking is outright superhuman, and once he shows an interest in the motives of Black Skull the officer gets downright talkative. Black Skull is a group of socialist revolutionaries, looking to overthrow the world’s corrupt capitalist governments and replace them with a socialist utopia. (SW: both he and I come from the same former “socialist utopia”, but I certainly don’t remember it being much of an utopia. Maybe it was different in whatever delusional world he thinks he was living in…) They intended to get Lord Havoc himself to command his legions of Havoc machines to assist them in rapidly crushing the armies of the world, while minimizing the number of civilian casualties that a prolonged conflict would cause.

The leader of the Black Skull organization is a Promethean who calls himself Black Skull, the lieutenant knows that he was in the Swiss base but has no idea where his leader personally retreated to.

When asked about how he and his men were recruited, he responds that they were members of the Croatian Defence Forces during the Yugoslav wars. After the wars were over they were demobilized and ended up working as “security consultants” and general soldiers-for-hire. Black Skull personally recruited him to help create a new, socialist world order.

The video from the interview was running live in our classroom. Miss Midnight gives a Q&A and critique session as a class exercise after the interview, and then excuses herself.

After our interview ends, Miss Midnight drops in for a brief chat. She gives him two options: tell her how Black Skull intends to control Lord Havoc and walk away a free man, or remain silent and die. He just laughs and says “What would Lord Havoc do for his son?”. This is apparently a good enough answer to save his life.

Since the video feed was still running, everyone in the classroom sees this exchange. Red Star asks her whether she really would have killed him, but she declines to even acknowledge his question.

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The show must go on
Chimera strikes again!

It’s been really quiet for the last little while. Which has been sorta nice, except it gives me too much time to think about my not so little problem. The what am I gonna DO… Which seems so far to be a whole lot of deciding that I’m not gonna decide. Which I know is Not Good.

But I’m scared. Scared to tell Mom and find out she doesn’t love me enough or hates Promethians; or more likely, is just really mad at me because I let her think I was dead. I’m also scared to lose my new friends and my life here. Sure, it gets scary sometimes but it’s also got some really cool things as well. And people. So I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I know I should confess and take the consequences for what I did. But…It’s not fair…this having to choose like this. Mom and punishment or being part of the Titans. I wish I could just see Mom and tell her, then swear her to secrecy.

A bunch of us were hanging out when Miss Midnight came in and asked for someone to volunteer as a team leader. Jade Carapace got the job for speaking up first, even though it was just to ask why. Midnight left and he followed. When he came back he started to select his team. I wanted to go and asked if I could be he said no. And wouldn’t tell me why! Xaedas made me fun of me when I complained about it. The mission was to deliver something for Atlas, as repayment of the favour he did by coming over here to shut off that big floating ball. In the end Jade, Knockout and Shockwave go off in the Lancer to do that. And the rest of us sit around until the alarm goes off.

The new mission is in England. From a Scotland yard inspector that Midnight knows. She doesn’t have much info for us. Just that it’s about stopping a terrorist threat and that it’s in Leeds, not London. The inspector will tell us more. When we get there. Lady Lightning teleports us, us being Lightning, Pulse, me and Xeadas, and we arrive in the local stadium. Thank god, or whatever, that there’s no game, just maintenance people, as we show up in the middle of the field. X says if there was a game he’d have to stay. Lightning calls the inspector and gets directions for where to go to meet up with him and people. It’s only five minutes away. A quick walk.

There are cameras all over the place. X salutes each one and at first I thought that was dumb, but then I changed my mind and waved at one as we went by it. It IS sorta fun to do that. Pulse put one of her knives through one which I thought was a bit much. Lightning complained about causing unnecessary property damage. We get there and it doesn’t look like a police station on the outside, just a big house or short apartment building, which from the inside I guess it might have been before the police moved in.

I don’t know what I expected to see, it looks kinda like an open office with police everywhere. We got lots of looks but no one bothered us. They made sure we found the inspector’s office and left us to talk to him. Turns out what he wants us to do is be extra bodyguards for their Promethian, Union Jack. Who’s important enough that one of things he’s doing that day is meeting with the Prime Minister.

The inspector says that the threat involves the use of a promethian device to be used against Jack, and when I as why he wants us he says something about hoping that having more of us around will help and I guess with how it turned he was right. At the time I just thought maybe he wanted to give the terrorists more targets so they might miss the one they were after. Or something, but that part’s not important. Then he tells us that he figures they’ll strike at particular time and place. It seems That Union Jack, who refused to change his schedule, is going ot the opera tonight. So that’s where we’ll be too. The inspector says he’ll give us whatever we need to do this and Lightning asks if we can have a look at the opera house before it opens. So we go have a tour. It’s big and fancy. The backstage area is bigger than the public bits. We decide that Pulse will stick around Union Jack and X will put on a tux and hang out in the public seats while Lightning sits on the gantry and I wander round the rest of backstage. That should give us enough coverage if anybody tries something.

The inspector arranges for us to talk to Union Jack before we have to actually be his bodyguards. So we go do that. He’s a lord. A Count. So he’s got an honest to god mansion complete with a butler. Union Jack is happy to meet us and introduces himself with his real name. I forget his first name but his last is the same as Lightning’s. Rosa’s. Delahue. But they’re not related, at least Rosa doesn’t think so. She tells him her name but none of the rest of us do. Maybe that was cause I didn’t. And I was second to be introduced and though I felt bad for not telling him my real name, just introducing myself as Phoenix, I couldn’t. Cause of the whole secret thing.

He’s a nice guy and very loyal to his country and big on this superhero thing. Which makes me feel all guilty again about Hamilton and keeping it a secret and maybe a bit glad he doesn’t know. In case it means he would hate me or something. We fill him in on our plans for tonight and then leave him to get ready for his meeting while we have time to kill and then take our places.

At first it was interesting being backstage of an opera but it got boring long before the curtain went up. It was noisy and there was no where out of the way for long for me to stand or sit. So I kept moving around from room to room from just behind the stage, to the door out back where people sneak out to take smoke breaks. Everybody’s busy except for us and the front bit is filling up. Our protectee shows up with the most gorgeous woman anywhere. And they go up to the second level. I got back to wandering backstage and the opera gets started. From back there it’s boring. You can’t see hardly anything and I’ve already heard most of the songs from the bits that the singers were practicing before. And none of it is in either English or French so I’ve no idea what they’re saying anyway.

I’m kinda glad it didn’t make it much past the start of the second act. We’ve all got security headsets and Lightning is playing leader with both us and the actual security guys so when she sees some guys over the security cameras trying to get in the front doors she can have security lock them out. But right after that X sees some guys in the audience all stand up at reach into the coats at the same time. And I spot three guys with big guns come in the backdoor which someone has gone out of pretty recently. I don’t remember if the guy came back. They’re pointing the guns at people and yelling at them to get down or get shot. Time seems to slow down like in an action movie. People are scared and dropping stuff. Doing as the gunmen say. I run right at them. Which is kinda stupid in one sense as it means I could get shot, but I’m really fast and I’m betting I can get there first before the shot. That, and I sorta remember something about a moving target is harder to hit. So yeah, I pull my collar off but don’t go all burny, I run full speed at them standing together in their little triangle and I hit the lead guy so hard he goes flying out the backdoor into the alley. His friends are real surprised and one tries to grab me but I shrug him off and the other doesn’t manage to hit me. Bullet time or something. They are SO slow. So I have lots of time to punch the first guy and turn around to smack the second one as well.

Then everything comes back to normal with the gunmen unconscious and everyone being all loud with relief and not panicking anymore. So I go out back to check on things there. And find a stagehand cowering behind the dumpster. I tell him it’s over and he goes back inside while I take the first gunman’s weapon, some kind of automatic rifle thingy, and drag him inside to be put with the other two in a corner somewhere for the security people to deal with. I take the other two guns as well. Then check in with Lightning. Who says that there is a a guy with a Promethian device up with Union Jack and yes she does want me up there right now. All of us need to get up there.

So I run out on to the stage and fly up to the balcony so I can try to help. There’s a guy up there with a medieval style gauntlet thingy that’s glowing with math stuff all over it. Scary looking math with all those equations and symbols and stuff. Union Jack and the woman are on the ground unconscious. Lightning takes them away to a hospital after Pulse hit the bad guy with her daggers and he goes down. It took her more than one dagger to drop him. X pulls the glove off him and the glow goes away. Pulse tells us the guy said, “Feel the sting of Chimera” just before he set the thing off.

X puts the gauntlet on his own hand and then pulls it off in hurry, He looks sick, like throw up sick. And there’s marks all over his arm. Like the glove printed its equations into his ice. He says it felt like the device was sucking out his lifeforce and that he still feels like shit. So he bundles the thing up and after a quick chat with the inspector, who will clean things up with Lightning and Pulse to help, me and X fly back to base with the glove.

We pass the security check at base and split up. X is going to take the gauntlet to the Vault and then go to Medical, while I’m going to find either Midnight orCaptain Awesome and report in. I find the Captain and give him the Cliff Notes version of what we’ve been up to. I don’t think I missed anything as I was just giving all the important stuff. He said I should write a complete report so Midnight gets all the details. Which is what I’m doing right now. I’ll just take out the personal stuff before I hand it in.

After I see the Captain I go find X in Medical, Warden’s running all sorts of test on him some of which look like they hurt. X says he still hasn’t gotten any better so I offer to go get Autumn and see if she can help. He says sure and so I go fetch her. And then all she has to do is touch him for a bit and it works. He’s all better! Lightning and Pulse come home and visit X. Then lightning takes Autumn with her to heal Union Jack and the woman, except that by the time they get there, she’s gone.

But X has made a really good copy of her head and gotten that scanned by Midnight so that we can find out who she is. Union Jack didn’t know anything except that he’d just met her and she called herself Jennifer.

Think that’s everything… oh! Right. X put the Chimera symbol in front of the eyes of one of the guys he froze in the audience area and the guy recognized it. None of the gunmen has any jewellery with the chimera symbol but Pulse told me that the police later found that they all had tattoos of it on different parts of their bodies. So they definitely were Chimera people. And that’s everything I know about this.

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A favour for a friend... then an electronic interruption
In which Atlas calls in a favour and someone tries to take out our electronics on the flight home.

Xaedas told the group about his brother, hopes that we keep it clean even if we’re in combat, and suggests maybe Voltage just needs more hugs.

Shockwave wants to know how detailed Eagle Corp‘s mission briefings are… Lightning reveals that they are often more precise than accurate, nice presentation of what could be really old information, not thoroughly checked for the teams like Miss Midnight does for us, and very little in the way of structure for how to handle missions, Black Dragon’s more for letting teams do their own thing rather than using actual leadership.

We have a few days of peace and quiet, start to settle back into our routine of morning classes and afternoon training, then one morning, Midnight says, “Today’s going to be a learning experience. I need a team leader, who’s it going to be?”

Jade asks what kind of mission…

“Thanks for volunteering! Follow me.” And off they go to the briefing room. Turns out to be a vid converence with Atlas. He has a personal delivery he needs done, without agents in his company finding out about it. Apparently this was his price for assisting us with the floaty Promethean device that spent a while floating a piece away from the base… he tells Jade to pick a team.

Jade comes back and picks me and Shockwave and Pulse, but when she complains, he rescinds the offer and it’s just three of us. When we get back to the briefing room, Midnight is staring off into space. Warden places another call to Eagle Corp and we speak to Atlas and arrange to pick up the small package at the Spire, take it on a transatlantic flight, refuel at Heathrow, final destination Ljubljana airport, in Slovenia. He clears our Lancer’s flight plan and we take off almost immediately.

Apparently there were even terms of the redemption of this favour – it doesn’t take us away from UN business, no breaking the law, no impeaching our honour, no conflict with our own team. Phoenix’s presence was a dealbreaker on this one for some reason. On the flight to Eagle City, we discuss things… Jade feels that we should take advantage of the UK layover, tells us of the terms of our favour fulfillment. Then when we run out of mission-related stuff to discuss, we dig up all of the Transporter movies (Yay, Jason Statham!) since Jade and I were both thinking about them and Shockwave hadn’t seen them.

When we land, we’re met by an Eagle Corp suit with a really fancy hat. Before we even got to the limousine, Jade had arranged for several orders of gumbo from this Cajun restaurant they must have eaten at when they were here the first time, sounds like he ordered some not too hot foShockwave and me, and some blow your head off hot for himself. The limo was ridiculous, 40 feet long with a swimming pool… good thing the streets in this place are unusually wide.

The gates at each security checkpoint are wide open, waiting for us. When we get to the Spire, there’s actually a bellhop in the elevator. A bellhop! And it’s a glass elevator on what was at one point the tallest building in the world… and holy crap, is it FAST. I eventually turn around and look at the buttons instead of the landscape… We’re ushered into an office that’s well-appointed if TV can be believed. It’s the secretary’s. Atlas’s office is just beyond belief, it’s the rest of the floor and an open concept workroom or something, drawing tables all over, and Shockwave looks like a kid at Christmas.

The package is about the size of a cigar box, shrink-wrapped, with a label indicating a name and mailing address, Petyr Polichnic and something about a sanitoruim. The package is very light. Atlas tells us we’re expected at the location. He gives us a business card with nothing but a phone number on it, in case we run into trouble. We’re not even out of his office before he’s back on the phone, running his company…

Boy was it ever hard to get back into that elevator… Just stare at the buttons, ignore how high up we are…

As we get back to the airport, we see a catering truck delivering a bunch of thermal food delivery bgs… Cajun spiced gator tastes a lot like chicken… We did end up eating a lot of it… I tried to only nibble… guess I’m not eating for the rest of the week…

We touched down at Heathrow but just for refuelling, we didn’t even leave the Lancer. When we got to Ljubljana Airport, we were met by a police officer who already didn’t like us because his boss had been paid off to let us bypass Customs. He recommended we not give him an excuse to make trouble for us. An honest cop, who would have guessed… He really seemed to dislike Shockwave too, moreso than Jade or me. Probably some local prejudice thing. He hands us a small envelope, which turns out to be for a car rental. Jade selects a Land Rover. Pretty small for a truck, narrower than a Jeep, but at least it’s bigger than most of the stuff on the roads around here, I’m surprised at how narrow all the streets are! Good thing he’s got his international driver’s license on him…

Jade asks Shockwave how well he drives.
Shockwave shrugs, “I don’t have a license.”
“I didn’t ask whether you had a license, I asked how well you drive.”
Turns out Shockwave’s got a few more years’ experience over Jade, but seeing as how we’re not expecting trouble, Jade drives. I sat in the back, it was just too weird up front in what I’m used to being the driver’s seat but without a steering wheel! That, and Jade as Kevin is really small and this thing has a bench seat so I wa eating my knees by the time he could reach the pedals. Eventually he got the GPS sorted out and we head out through this scenic country, I took a bunch of photos with the camera on my crackberry. Apparently Ljubljana has a world-class hospital with top neurosurgeons etc…

We make it to the village with the sanitorium around suppertime. This elderly nurse complete with the bun and nurse’s cap and clothing that’s obviously pressed linens, rather than the scrubs you see at Canadian hospitals, met us and glowering, tells us in her thick accent that she disapproves of the disruption we’re going to cause poor Petyr (or perhaps the sanitorium in dealing with poor Petyr) after we leave, just like all his other visitors. She says he’s having a bad day and that our uncle won’t recognize us, I think our cover story must have been that he’s our uncle so we’re all cousins. Sure. A skinny Gypsy, a diminuitive Brit and an obese half-Chinese Canadian, cousins… riiiiight. Fine, we’re cousins, and Petyr is our uncle, don’t blow our cover.

The doors in this place are heavy, heavy solid wood. Upon entry, we’re assaulted by the scent of hospital antiseptic, and the sounds of sobbing and wailing muffled by heavy doors. The door she leads us to is 3" thick oak and unlocks with an internal “clunk” and takes her a good effort to open. She says she’ll return in an hour, and locks us in. “Clunk.” The door is smooth wood on this side, the walls are stone and the small barred window is 6’ up from the floor. So glad I’m not claustrophobic! What furniture there is is heavy and solid. There’s a 50-ish man in the bed, looks to be in terrible health. She’d told us he wouldn’t recognize us. He looks bleary, like he’d just woken up, only I don’t think he did just wake up.

We try to explain to him that we’re delivering a package for him, and try to show it to him but he says he can’t see it without his glasses and the nurses took them away. His accent is not dissimilar to the nurse’s but his English is much better, his accent quite subdued. Jade offers to open the box for him and reads him the note. “Pete. Drink this – Atlas.” It also contains a small vial of some clear but sort of viscous liquid, and a sealed envelope. Petyr wants us to read him the letter, so Jade opens it. It’s a letter from Atlas to Fireball Pete, saying that the effects from what he just drank won’t be permanent but will fix his underlying health problem even after the effects fade. Shockwave starts checking things out on his crackberry and finds out he was a local guy, a first-generation Promethean who did a lot of work throughout Europe and was very vocal about some smaller problems (like Bosnia-Herzegovina) that the Titans wouldn’t get involved with, they wouldn’t take sides. Nobody would get involved, and the Titans even told him to back off, at which point he walked away.

Despite it being a direct conflict with our mandate, we helped him drink what we suspect to be Promethean Serum. He levitates, arches backward, screams, and bursts into flames…. I back into a corner. He settles back down to the bed, and just as he’s about to touch it, the flames wink out.

Now he’s a mass of nice solid muscles, looks 20 years younger, wearing an outfit that’s three different shades of red. We hand him the letter. He reads it, then it turns to ashes in his hand. Then he starts hating on Atlas and saying he’s going to kill him and talking about breaking out of this place… we’re trying to keep this quiet like Atlas asked but getting inplicated in an escape from a mental hospital is not quiet so we try to talk him down. He doesn’t believe that we’re Titans repaying a favour to Atlas and not working for Eagle Corp… As a last ditch effort to stall him I asked if he knew Marie Oletrovski (I figured, hey, fire, and the name sounds like it could be from this part of the world, maybe they’re related…) And the world stopped. And then the room got very hot… So that’s why Phoenix was verboten on this mission… He demanded to know everything. We got it a little out of order until we figured out he’d been in here since shortly after Hurricane Katrina, he hadn’t known about Eagle City. We told him about the devastation Phoenix caused in Hamilton and that her mother had been treated and released from hospital… While we were explaining things he made some comments we didn’t quite understand, turns out he thought we’d gotten our powers from Doctor Prometheus himself, didn’t believe were genetic Prometheans instead of created ones… was upset to find out that Midnight and Captain Awesome had powered down, although he did have a little chuckle that the world continued to exist without her. I think he was more upset to find out that the only First Gen prometheans still apparently functional are Atlas and Black Dragon (although we think it’s due to serum). Then, with the comment that he’d been there long enough, he punched his way through the window

It was very depressing, actually… he says there’s nothing of note that he can do before the serum wears off, he can’t just go kill Atlas as nice as vengeance would be, he can’t go see his daughter like this… We give him a lift in the Land Rover for a little piece (he was really surprised to find that none of us fly) and then we let him out and he flew off. We passed a bunch of police cars heading back where we came from… Drive casual, maybe they won’t notice.

Apparently they didn’t, so we returned the rental car, got our paperwork in order and eventually got the Lancer back in the air.

We discussed things on the flight, we’re not telling Phoenix because it would do more harm than good, Shockwave and I are not telling anyone anything, we are referring any questions back to Jade, including Miss Midnight…

Oh, I do hope they don’t link us to the sanitorium escape… and I really hope we did the right thing, it might have been kinder to have just left Pete where he was…

While Jade was on the cellphone with Midnight, it fuzzed out, along with my laptop and all the plane’s instrumentation. Shockwave grabbed a handful of spare parts he always seems to have kicking around (SW: How optimistic of you… The Centurions respond to (almost) everything with “By your command”, including “The avionics are triple-redundant, so do you mind if I borrow these parts for a bit?”) and managed to determine that there’s a cone of interference originating in Milan and tracking us. Then he rigs the same device in a different config to restore our communications so we can make an emergency landing at Milan… and the Cylon’s response of “Affirmative” when asked if they were still operational and able to land the plane, is the first time I’ve ever heard them say anything other than “By your command”. Weird.

Jade gets back in touch with Midnight to make sure we can actually go hunt down the origin of the disturbance. She saus, “If it’s what I hope it isn’t, you’re going to want to get big.” Jade then gets the Mayor‘s number from Ivanka and lets him know what’s up, he plans to meet us at the airport while Midnight untangles the paperwork so we’re not trespassing again…

Shockwave then rejigs his device back to tracking the origin of the interruption… We got landed, and right afterwards, my laptop’s internet came back and all our phones and the Lancer’s instruments started working again. Shorthly thereafter, the mayor’s people greet us and get us a walkie-talkie just in case. Shockwave tracks the origin of the cone to a shopping mall parking lot. The boys stay outside investigating and I head inside to check with security guys, since I could see the cameras when we came in. I review their records but of course the camera that would be pointing right where Jade and Shockwave determine they were parked is not operational, but they figured out the approximate time it left nd I caught a side view of a black van with a white skull on the side exiting at about the right time. Couldn’t get plates though. And they have no way of transferring data to me, it’s not USB compatible so I go hunting for images, grab pics with my camera and in doing so discover that the reflection in a window does not match the van, the reflection clearly shows a vehicle covered with rivets or boltheads, and something large sticking up out of the roof. The cops come by and offer help while Shockwave tries to detect anything that might cause distortions, figuring something changing its image like that would be emanating a lot of energy. He tracks it to the highway, when we verify with other cameras it’s now a white van with a black skull, headed North through Switzerland towards Germany.

We ended up having to call Inspecteur Clousseau from INTERPOL to see if they could put up some roadblocks in front of it, and perhaps let us into the country… But by the time we got all that done, it had disappeared. However, INTERPOL is extremely interested, as someone has just completed a succesful weapons test to disable military-shielded avionics.

Jade tries to make nice with the Mayor, who of course wants to have us for a meal, but politely defers because we’ve got paperwork and it’s now getting dark…

On the trip home, Jade comments that he really wants to blow stuff up. I think it might be amusing to see a Boston Cream cake go boom, then the three of us get to talking, Shockwave has some ideas on the explosion and Jade wants to make Dessert Fridays a regular thing on Kevin’s podcast, I could even guest star as Gillian the vengeful dieter, in real me view. Lightning keeps telling me to be me more often… this should make her happy. And I’ll get an honest review from Kevin’s audience, to be sure…

When we get back, Midnight asked us during the debrief what we did. We gave her full details about the electronic issue but Shockwave and I both defer to Jade on the delivery mission and he’s so guarded on it that she leaves, with a comment about interrupting everything she’s doing just to answer his phone calls… I think she was kind of upset. I suggested that he try three words: “Off the record”. He looks pensive.

And then we go blow stuff up. The test explosion resulted in a mess on the ceiling and some refined procedures, but eventually the podcast went along as planned and after we cleaned up the exploded cake from the lab after the podcast, I think he went off to talk to her.

This whole thing with Phoenix’s father has made me wonder for the first time who my biological parents might have been. I’d never been interested in finding out anything about the people who gave me away until now… guess I’ll start with the adoption record and get Lightning to help me deal with whatever I find…

The other group got to go to the Opera in Leeds. Operas are apparently quite boring, X says he’d rather have been on the Lancer for a flight to the US then back to Europe rather than spend one hour at the Opera. I think they were there on a bodyguarding mission or something, X, Lightning, Pulse and Phoenix. Guys with Chimera tattoos attacked them with a power-stealing gauntlet, but they dealt with them and got the gauntlet, it seems that it’s now a Shockwave problem. Luckily for him, Autumn can heal its weakening effects.

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A roleplaying session, of all things...

Phoenix wanted to know if her mother, Marie Oletrovski, was still alive. She asked Knockout since Lightning was busy. Knockout determined that her mother was alive and had been admitted to hospital, and learns in her investigation that everyone from Phoenix’s high school is dead, save those who were marked absent from class that day. Phoenix’s name is listed among the presumed dead.

Knockout tried calling the hospital where she’d been admitted but was stonewalled. Hey, Phoenix. I found out she’s alive and had been admitted to hospital but couldn’t find out if she’d been released or was still there, want me to keep trying, or is this enough info to go on for now? “I’ll get back to you.” Sure, anytime.

Cassanova was irate at the American/UN issues.

Further to the Driller issue, Cassanova wondered if Shockwave could develop some form of tracking device in case we ever see the thing again, Autumn suggested some form of biological tracking but since the thing leaves no tunnel behind it, it makes things difficiult.

Conversations started to get silly and Cas mentions that we’d been getting a rollout every 3 months before Phoenix arrived and now we’re up to two every couple days. Autumn made an offhand comment right after Knockout had told Phoenix about her mother and she burst into tears and ran out. Autumn ran after her and calmed her down. Meanwhile, Knockout told Cassanova everything she’d found out, and what she’d told and not told Phoenix. Phoenix went to the briefing room and requested that Warden post info about the Hammilton mess and he did, all of it, all at once… She became disturbed and Cassanova ran off to her rescue, long talk, lots of tears. Cas gets on the phone and gets a lot more info from the hospital than Knockout had managed. Marie had been treated for smoke inhalation and then released, she was now residing in one of the shelters set up for people displaced by the fires.

Knockout and Cassanova together go through the information and figure that the school was totalled, and there were lots of secondary fires. temporary shelters had been set up by the engineers from the Petawawa military base, kitchens and laundries were established, public spaces turned into temporary shelter, Dofasco contributed warehouse space for rebuilding and local help was starting to put things right, the city was starting to recover and rebuild. There was much discussion about what to do, we agree that it would be bad to take Phoenix there.

Cassanova and Knockout track Phoenix to the pool, so they grab their suits and while Knockout swims laps and Cassanova and Phoneix splash around in the shallow area, they break all the rest of the news to her. Now it’s up to Phoenix to figure out what she wants to do and when.

After a random discussion including Xaedas about parental reactions to manifesting Promethean powers, Knockout has some questions and sics Lightning on finding some answers. Was there any kind of link between her parents and Chimera? Her private thought is maybe they knew Chimera was watching her and kicked her out to protect her… it’s a lovely little fabrication she wishes she could hold onto.

Meanwhile Cassanova is trying to prepare for this duel he’s got scheduled with Bright Feather, finally ends up calling him to sort out details. Turns out he wants to meet in Moose Factory near Moosonee, a few hours’ drive north of Sudbury. “Let’s have some beers, settle out, watch the game…”

Midnight asks Phoenix to stay after class, where she gets her to spill the story and presents her with options, including tell her mom she’s still alive and face the charges that the Canadian government will lay on her, embrace her new identity and arise from the ashes, leaving her former identity listed as dead, or go to the Eagle Corporation and they’ll make it ALL go away. Red Star hangs back and when Midnight lets her go, he suggests they go fly together, she feels much improved afterwards.

Xaedas goes off to a tradeshow in the US to see Diamond, although it’s actually to ask about Jack. Voltage is there and being quite professional in his display, if still a little cocky and arrogant. Turns out Jack is indeed his brother Noleg, his father was supposed to have told him about it but apparently never did.

Shockwave asks Midnight about Black Dragon – he’s a large bombastic black man with a temper, capable of lots of damage. He also goes back and rechecks the footage of the glitch murdering Dr. Mueller, finds it inconsistent with the footage from the protest, no missing time.

Cadmus Labs investigation – they sell things to the Department of Defense, we were unable to confirm what was in the container that Wraith took.

Warden did find residue of something in Knockout’s system upon her return from Russia. Knockout followed this up by trying to figure out how long she can hold her breat. A surprisingly long time, it turns out. 8 minutes if she’s inactive, before she starts to hurt…

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What do you mean, in Sudbury?
In which something exciting happens in Sudbury. Yes, Sudbury! A submarine with legs, lasers and sonic guns, a Havoc engine, and the return of... The Driller! (dun dun dunnnnnn)

Apparently, nobody had called ahead to tell them we had Wraith with us… or why we had Wraith with us… in any case, Miss Midnight had to wrangle Warden a bit to get him to even let us use the elevator… Warden was not a happy sentient even after Midnight suggested that Wraith wear a tracker tag…

Lightning asks Xaedas if he has a brother, Wraith gives the name Jack Frost, says he’s been with Eagle a few months, turns out to be within 24 hours of when Xaedas joined us.

We take her down to the cafeteria, where she complains the whole way to Lightning about what a dump this place is, they get on like old friends and she keeps telling Lightning that she could get her old job back no problem… With Cassanova still in interrogation in Maryland, Shockwave takes over our little informal interrogation in the caf… It was kind of awkward but I didn’t know how to do any better myself… He shows her the video where Professor Mueller is murdered but she doesn’t show much more reaction than anyone else would to seeing someone working away at one second and then looking unnaturally back over one shoulder the next. Then he catches my eye.

What do you need, Shockwave? “Can you find out from Rosa if she has any family?”

Lightning, do you know if Wraith has family? “I really have no idea.”

I relay this back to Shockwave. Shortly thereafter, she excuses herself to use the can. We discuss our strategy for this interrogation… and by the time she gets back, we still have no strategy worth the name…

Even if the glitch is consistent withhow she appears to electronic media, the alteration to the time isn’t consistent with what she can do. She suggests another Eagle Corp person (Half-Life) who’s in Berlin, gets us her email address. X and Jade had met this person. Eventually things degenerated into getting Wraith something to eat (“By your command!”).

I was in mental contact with Cassanova anytime they didn’t need my services here, so when they finished their interrogation and told him he was free to go and to please leave American matters to Americans, I excused myself from the table and went upstairs to get Ivanka to arrange to get Cassanova home. She’d just handed me a plane ticket she’d printed out for him and I was relaying the info to him when her phone rang. She mentioned the name Polaris, then there were some exclamations of increasing levels of surprise, and then she mashed the big red button and the klaxon sounded… Midnight burst in the door then and I hastily excused myself to the briefing room while Ivanka explained the situation.

Wraith came along when everyone else assembled… There has been a disturbance in Northern Canada. We have no satellite coverage at the moment. There has been an attack on a facility in the city by something tougher than Polaris, who has informally requested our help. So she needs a few of us to volunteer to head out with Lightning, and just happen to “be in the area” so we can help without having to wait a week for the UN paperwork to come through Ottawa. When I asked where in Northern Canada, the answer, “Sudbury,” surprised the hell out of me, nothing exciting ever happens there! Sign me on for the Lightning Bus! Phoenix, Shockwave amd Xaedas volunteer, and Wraith comes along too, Lightning says she’ll drop her off on our way back, since there’s really not much else we can do with her anyway. Lightning doesn’t think she did it and even if she did, Eagle would just pay off someone at INTERPOL anyway. At least she thought the Arch of Victory was neat.

Lightning teleports us… to someone’s living room… much to the surprise of the two occupants of the room, who were eating steak dinners. “Hey, you guys’re on TV, eh?”

I turned on the Knockout charm and sweetly excused us before they could think of asking for autographs… X commented later that Americans would have had guns out, and these guys hadn’t even had their front door locked. Aaah, Sudbury. How I’ve missed you and your redneck yet un-American ways.

Once outside, I looked aorund and determined that we were in New Sudbury. X went vertical for a look around and saw a… thing of some sort, merrily destroying a large glass building at the edge of a lake. I called Polaris (who was not expecting us there so quickly, “Well, we were in the area, I grew up here!”), he was able to spot Xaedas and flew over to him. Looks like he got dragged backwards through a wood chipper. Apparently, some contraption surfaced in Ramsay Lake and started in on destroying Science North! Polaris led X (carrying Wraith) and Phoenix (carrying Lightning) to the site while Shockwave piggybacked me. Glad I didn’t have to fly!!

We arrived, lots of flashing lights, lots of Sudbury Regional squad cars making a perimeter and trying to evacuate the area. Polaris showed us the shaky-cam footage of the thing surfacing in the lake, its feet deploying, guns bristling… Polaris freeze-raying it, it hist him with lasers, pinchy-claws andspreads of bullets… he took a beating but he did get the laser gun broken. It doesn’t look big enoug to have caused the damage we saw in Russia.

In we go, Wraith just observing… “I’m not on the payroll but I’ll catch ya if you go in the drink.”

Phoenix burns one of its guns, Shockwave punches it, Lightning grabbed one of the cops’ megaphones and hollered at it to shut down its main guns, realizes this thing is dozens of separate individually intelligent mechanisms and shuts down one of the gun systems, and I get ready to TK the tip of the sonic cannon if it looks like it’s going to shoot anyone, and X tries to freeze it. Wraith comes down beside me, comments, “Ooh, he’s fast!” when Shockwave zips in… Lightning manages to lock down the thing’s legs. It tries to shoot Phoenix with the sonic boom and though my TK didn’t have an effect, it missed anyway. Lightning tries to get its generator to stop powering the peripherals but apparently it denied her request. Its lasers powered back up, and I TK a brick over it, intending ot drop it on whichever boom fires next. It starts folding iteslf up to go into water and its impellers start going, I try to jam my rock into its intake and asking Polaris mentally, Hey, can you freeze the water around this thing? “I’m a little busy here holding the shield.” Well, it hasn’t sent anything toward your shield, and it’s trying to get away… “Good!”

Shockwave feeds a piece of rebar into its impeller, lightning orders it to blow its ballast, I think I feed its intake another rock, Phoenix singes its plating and Xaedashauls it bodily out of the water and flips it right onto Paris Street. It tries to right itself but we clobber it to pieces before it gets a chance. Xaedas arranges with the locals for removal of the thing, he flips it back off the road, then they get a float and he and Phoenix pick it up and place it on the trailer so it can be moved.

We get a personal thanks from the Police Chief AND the Inspector of Emergency Services, then Polaris takes us up the street to a licensed restaurant because Xaedas wants a beer. Polaris tells us he affects magnetic fields, I’m not sure exactly what triggered it but Lightning is very quiet even for her, and loses her appetite. I nibble on my salad…

Polaris commented that he was supposed to have checked on something at the Neutrino Lab at Crichton Mine “They found a neutrino or something”, and gets a call that they’ve lost contact with the scientists at the lab. He heads out, we settle up our bills in case we’re needed and I keep the mindlink open with Polaris… eventually I get “Hello? How does this thing work?” Just like that, what’s up? “It’s real bad.” OK, we’re on our way.

The cops were still there wrapping stuff up and when we told the inspector where we were going, he offered us earthbound misfits a lift in a squad car… so Lightning, Wraith and I all squish into the back seat and off we go.

I got to chatting with the cops over the 10 minute drive, one them (the beat cop, not the inspector) tells us that there’s been some weird stuff coming out around Lasalle High School, his daughter just started there last year. He asked what I knew about the drug problem but I told him I didn’t have a lot of friends when I went there… They suspect there might be a Promethean artifact hidden there but they are still doing their own investigation, apparently they found out that a chemistry teacher (who’d taught me last school year) had been found to not be registered with the Ontario Board of Education but he’s since disappeared and apparently hidden his tracks well, and something about cult activity in Sudbury. I gave him one of my email addresses so he could let me know if they come up with anything interesting or in case he wants to give me a heads-up if they’re going to contact the UN (so I can help get the paperwork through faster from my side… Aah Canada, land of paperwork).

And Polaris is right, it IS bad, looks like a bunch of it’s caved in around the mineshaft, the crane that used to house the elevator has been knocked over and is perched precariously near the edge, so Xaedas moves it to somewhere safer. Polaris dives down the hole, X follows him, Lightning jumps after him and when Wraith sees that, she dives in after her with a squeak of alarm. Phoenix floats down after them… Shockwave and I stay up here where it’s sensible…

I stay mindlinked with Polaris through their two miles of free-fall, the place is destroyed, looks like there was an explosion at the bottom of the shaft, scoremarks, and a cave-in at the level where the lab is. Wraith stretches out and winds her way through the rubble, reports 4 survivors and they eventually dig them out.

Once we got them topside, they explained that they’d gotten weird readings, they’d thought it was an error, so they called in Polaris to help them recalibrate their equipment. Then they heard a loud noise, the lights went off, the generator didn’t kick in, and one guy says he thought he heard music. Then they got service to their Crackberries and one of them showed us a video he had been making for his girlfriend when the lights went out, and there was the distinct sound of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” audible over all the rest of the noise. Rosa panicks, Wraith goes to calm her down. By the time we get back to the thing at S’North, we get word that a C-130 Hercules heavy lifter was being sent to take the thing out to the Azores… so the police shut down the road to the airport so we could get the thing there (pretty tight fit in a couple places). While we’re waiting for the Hercules to arrive, Xaedas starts telling us about some of the stuff that Warden has… like the Nautilus, stright out of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen manned by thousands of the centurions, and figher submarine craft that look like Star Wars fighters, X enhances the descriptions with ice models… Phoenix tells us about last call’s meeting with Atlas and I tell Lightning about what we found in Russia, she gets more and more agitated… I’d mindlinked with Wraith (apparently it hurts her more than it hurts me) earlier and she’d given me some links on the Driller to check out, so I started checking those when we’d run out of things to say. Looks like its feet are about the right size to have crushed those cars in [[In Russia, with love. | Russia too]]. Wraith took off, apparently there was a PR thing by Eagle going on in the Arena so since she was there anyway, they wanted her to do some presentations…

Eventually, right around dark, the nice bunch of army boys arrived, they had a lot of paperwork for the chain of evidence for the thing (one had the PM’s name and scrawl, fresh ink and everything, they actually got paperwork out of Ottawa within hours), even though X planned to ride with it while the rest of us teleported to the Azores… They were taking their time to get the thing loaded, it was almost as wide as the plane’s opening so they were fussing about an inch at a time. We were in an elevated position and could see most of the city, or at least, its glow… so it was really eerie when half of it went dark… and then the other half… with a couple of exceptions… Phoenix flew up for a better view, and said there were a couple buildings still with power (hospital, arena, etc) and one building was glowing red. She described its shape and that it was glowing red through the concrete it was built from… From her description, I figured this was City Hall, close to the arena where Wraith would be…

As I’m contacting Polaris to let him know something’s up, Lightning calls Wraith, she tells her supervisor, “Yeah, I need to go take a smoke break… I’ll start. Back in a bit.” She met us outside the building. Phoenix started flying over, Shockwave following on the ground, X grabbed Lightning and me and took off after Phoenix with me screaming my head off the whole time.

The concrete’s glowing alright, like when you put a bright flashlight behind your hand. The windows are all dark, and we can hear a thrumming like the nacelles of the Enterprise… I provide a running commentary to Polaris. We get in the main door (X found it wasn’t locked) and where the elevator should have been was a glow so bright we couldn’t even look at it… we took the stairs downstairs and the door at the bottom is hot. Four glowing steel doors are in front of us, I remember from my school field trip that this would be the archives… we get in the door and the thing on the floor is glowing so brightly that we can’t see what it is. It’s heavier than I can TK, about the size of a table. Phoenix can’t find it at all. Shockwave closes his eyes and approaches it… sounds like it’s spooling up… he feels a pump casing, some housing, (ouch) a spinning gear…and finally, an off switch. Phoenix asks if it’s really shut down or did our eyes just burn out… But no, he really has shut it down, Xaedas starts popunding it into a more portable size. Wraith heads back to her boredom…

The power comes back on, Xaedas picks up the thing and we get him back to the airport just as they’re almost done getting the thing in place. Lightning zaps the rest of us plus the compacted Havoc engine to the Azores where we catch some sleep while we wait for the Hercules and then our pickup.

And then we get back and the work begins… Midnight has Shockwave fill out a bunch of files with information on the Havoc engine, which keeps him busy for a while.

Lightning talked to the internets (all of them, I suspect) to gather seismic information about what happened in Sudbury, both when the thing surfaced and started wrecking S’North and when the mess happened at the mine, and the seismic activity when things happened at the mine was an exact match for the seismic irregularities when Degteyarsk was savaged.

Both the Captain AND Miss Midnight attend the debriefing, just to make sure that it IS The Driller, and it does seem to be.

Xaedas gets information from Midnight about Rosa’s past (The Driller destroyed her village, which was the first manifestation of her powers, teleporting herself and her brother away.

I got an email from the cop I’d been talking to, and it was extremely interesting… that cult? Apparently they can be identified by a particular ring. And the .jpg he sent was a photo of a Chimera ring. Curiouser and curiouser.

I have a conversation with Midnight about what I can/should tell the cop regarding Chimera… what I know could get him killed… I’m still deciding what exactly to tell him, probably along the lines of “Thank you for the informtion, your cult is known to us. Be careful.”

And of course, all the questions this brings up… Did anything have to do with me? It was at my high school, my chemistry teacher and everything… there’s also been a suspiciously high turnover rate at the top, I think there’ve been 4 new principals in the last 4 years and all of the outgoing ones are no longer lisenced with the OBE either, one’s an adjunct professor at a BC university, one’s in Europe at Cern(which is weird, that VP in charge of discipline had struck me as nothing more than a big dumb bully… I sic Lightning on tracking down the chemstry teacher and she thinks she found him in the US Military, some think tank researcher related in some way to Cadmus Labs.

I start a file on each of these people, there are no links to Chimera so far.

Not public knowledge: Lightning and I also had a chat about Wraith after she’d left, she’d really like to convince her to come to our team, says she needs more actual friends. She says Wraith is so grateful to Eagle that she will do ANYTHING they ask of her and not feel anything about it, seems she’s OK with ceding control to them, and Lightning’s afraid of what happens if they do find something objectionable to make her do. Says she’s probably capable of having murdered Mueller, but strongly believes that she didn’t.

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