Monday, September 10, 2018

Sex and Candy

Hanging around the base, Landshark wanted to go check on Disco, so he and Torpedo took the Minivan of Justice to his bar, Glitter Balls, while Eye Candy stayed behind to keep an eye on the monitors. The bar was subdued because it was still daytime, but Jay was there. Upon seeing Landshark, he immediately jumped the bar, kissed the bartender, and ran out the back. Landshark followed him.

Meanwhile, Eye Candy saw a police report about a robbery at Abercrombie & Fitch. Most of the perpetrators had escaped, but the police had one guy cornered and were hesitant to move in because he had super-powers. He called Torpedo, who told him to go ahead and check it out while he collected Landshark.

Eye Candy flew to the scene and talked to the cops, who told him the guy was in an abandoned building down that alley. They had him surrounded, but were hesitant to move in because he shot antlers at them and seemed to be bulletproof. Hoping to make a good impression on his new teammates, Eye Candy went in without waiting for Torpedo and Landshark.

After negotiation failed, Eye Candy blew the door in with his telekinesis. Inside, he found a guy with a stag head who did, in fact, shoot antlers at him. The villain identified himself as Achy Breaky Hart. (Get it?) Eye Candy threw Hart back against the wall, which caused him to explode, damaging the building and throwing Eye Candy back. Hart reformed behind Eye Candy just as Torpedo and Landshark arrived.

Torpedo lava-stretched over and punched Hart while Landshark threw some rubble at him with his earth power. The heat didn't seem to affect Hart at all, and the combined attack caused him to explode again and reappear, uninjured, out in the alley, where he ran towards the cops.

Realizing that hitting Hart wasn't going to help, Landshark grabbed his leg with an earth shark. This held him in place until the police saw him and started shooting, making him explode again and reappear atop a neighboring building. There, Eye Candy picked him up with his TK and spun him around until he passed out. The superhuman task force took custody and the Scrap Pile went back to their headquarters.

Back at HQ, Landshark found a note from Jay that he was leaving to "figure some things out" and was sorry for hurting him. Landshark remained convinced that Jay was being mind controlled. Eye Candy began a series of "consolations" which sounded more like jabs. Torpedo, loving that Eye Candy acknowledged him as team leader, let it go.

Getting back to work, the team reviewed the footage of the robbery. There was no sound, but they could see Achy Breaky Hart, a woman in a skimpy pastel outfit who seemed to be able to make people dizzy, a man with a light-absorbing black aura and a bit of Kirby crackle, and a guy in a silver and black costume who seemed to be calling the shots. Eye Candy thought the woman looked familiar from his modeling career.

Checking out the police interviews, Torpedo found out that the leader was called Rayve, while the others were Careless Whisper and Black Hole Sun. Eye Candy looked through his old catalogs and found someone he was pretty sure was Careless Whisper, an heiress/model named Cassandra Halo. He also remembered her bragging often about owning an island on Lake Mohawk. Eye Candy said to Torpedo, "An island, sir! We'll be in your element!"

Eye Candy flew himself and Landshark in folding chairs while Torpedo took to the water. Landshark wore floaties and a swim vest, but assured Eye Candy he wasn't afraid of water or anything like that. The island was mostly a big rock sticking out of the water with the mansion high above. Torpedo went to the pier while Eye Candy and Landshark landed on the beach on the other side.

Torpedo crept up and pulled the fuel lines on the two boats, then confronted the security guards. He tried to get them to let him pass as Prince of Atlantis, but the guards said the Prime Minister of Atlantis was here last week and even he made an appointment. Torpedo punched them and, though he did get shot once, took them out fairly quickly.

Land Shark decided to just tunnel his way in, and opened up a passage in the rock for himself and Eye Candy. Before tunneling up toward the house, they found a large cavern filled with machinery and several levels of catwalks around a central pool full of cyber-sharks. A group of guards clad in glittery skin-tight suits saw them and started firing lasers.

Torpedo walked to the front door, where he met a butler dressed in short-shorts, a bowtie, faux cuffs, and not much else. He tried to bluff his way in and the butler asked him to wait while he checked with Ms. Halo. Impatient with all these delays, he punched out the butler and started yelling up the stairs for Cassandra, who soon arrives with two glitterguards.

Eye Candy hurled Landshark across the pool at one of the guards so he could get into the fight without bringing down the cavern. While they fought, another guy came in, saw what was going on, and suddenly turned solid black, revealing himself as Black Hole Sun. He gestured and cranked the gravity up to eleven, flattening even his own henchmen.

Torpedo's conversation with Cassandra got ugly, and eventually a fight broke out. She got him first, saying, "You're never gonna dance again," and making him feel all wobbly (draining Coordination). As pretty much everyone already knew, she was really Careless Whisper. Torpedo threw off the effect and took a swing at her, but a defensive use of her power reduced it to a glancing blow. The guards also fired their lasers, though, knocking Torpedo out.

Eye Candy used his TK to drag Black Hole Sun, who was unaffected by his own gravity manipulation, into the pool and submerge him. Sun immediately released the gravity effect, then applied it in reverse to the water around him, causing it and the sharks to fly up to the ceiling. Landshark leaped across the void and punched Sun, although his blow was only partially effective and it felt like his fist was sinking into another dimension.

Eye Candy slammed them both into the wall, startling Black Hole Sun sufficiently to release the water, which all came down around him and Landshark. (Eye Candy actually used his TK to make sure it all went back into the pool.) Landshark freaked out and cut loose with an earthquake. The cavern collapsed, which caused all the openings above it to collapse, which also destroyed the house. Eye Candy and Landshark were able to protect themselves, but lots of other people were hurt.

Eye Candy called EMS and they were able to prevent any deaths, although there were lots of serious injuries. They found and arrested an unconscious Careless Whisper, got Torpedo, and helped with the cleanup. They didn't find any sign of Black Hole Sun.

Eye Candy made it clear that Landshark had not told him about his phobia and suggested that Landshark might not be fit for active duty.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Repercussions

As everybody got back to Scrapbase and Fire of Saturn was digging into the Hornetroid specs they brought back, the news aired some blogger's footage of the Scrapjet crashing into the drug factory. Not much was known, but the plane was recognized, and (Broccoli) Mangod was looking for answers. Torpedo repeated the line that it was just a bunch of drones, but, after the call, it soon became clear that there had been more serious casualties. While they were discussing it, though, the Negative Zone portal alarm went off.

There was a crazy wind coming through the portal, and a bunch of antrons crawling around eating metal stuff. Fire of Saturn iced over the portal to stop the wind and they dispatched the antrons. Then the ice shattered and a disheveled Magi appeared. He stepped through and easily closed the portal with a gadget. He wasn't happy with Disco.

Apparently, Magi had been hanging out with some drug addicts who, in order to support their habit, were involved with the same operation Disco and Landshark had bombed. Some of them had been there when Disco crashed the Scrapjet into the facility. There were arguments, stuff like, "Where was this iron fist of justice when we fought Qth-raq?" came out. Finally, Disco got mad too and took a swing at Magi.

In response, Magi hulked out just like the other MUT-8 users. They fought. Although he put up a good fight against the whole team, Magi went down and turned human again. As they were getting ready to restrain him, though, he winked and faded into another dimension. 

Disco said he'd had enough and was leaving the team. Torpedo, without condoning Disco's murder spree, wanted to try and work things out. Landshark really wanted him to stay, period. Fire of Saturn had wandered off again. Disco would hear none of it, although he did send Landshark an email later, recommending a potential replacement, a telekinetic called Eye Candy.

Torpedo and Landshark interviewed Eye Candy and found him acceptable.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Candygram

Evening at Disco's nightclub. Torpedo was back in Atlantis sorting out some political details. Fire of Saturn was at the bar sipping mai-tais. I don't think I ever gave her a real name, but she was in her civilian identity without her armor and stuff this time. I guess I should come up with something. Disco was there because one of his bartenders called in sick and he couldn't find the other one. Chromaticat was supplementing the lights with her own powers and teleporting from mirrorball to mirrorball to beam down at people. Landshark eventually showed up too, since Jay was off in Marvel City being dark and magical.

While they were catching up, they noticed some rough-looking guys in the corner snorting something. Disco left Landshark to cover the bar and went to ask them to take it outside. They were belligerent and took another hit, which made them all grow large and green. Their leader punched Disco, throwing him back against the bar. Disco shouted back "No earth powers!" at Landshark, turned on his aura, and punched back. Landshark joined in the fisticuffs and Fire of Saturn improvised a one-shot missile launcher out of some cleaning equipment and a bottle of Grey Goose. While superhumanly strong, the three hulks were no match for experienced super-heroes... and Chromaticat.

Disco took their wallets and used their credit cards to pay for the repairs to his bar. He also found an unused vial of the green powder they had been snorting and gave it to Fire of Saturn to analyze. Meanwhile, they talked to Officer Vic Broyko, who told them that there had been several incidents of violence involving this new drug, known as MUT-8 (pronounced like "mutate").  He believed it was being smuggled in from Canada.

The next morning, Fire of Saturn called the others in to have a look at her discovery. By trying the drug out on several tanks of guppies from the aquarium upstairs (she would have preferred rats, but couldn't get them on short notice), she had discovered that, rather than developing a tolerance, users became susceptible to a wider range of effects with continual usage. At first, MUT-8 produces a stimulant high with some increased aggression, followed by a period of blissful docility. As usage continued, the drug led to more aggression, and finally transformation. In the case of the guppies, the result was a primitive, spiny sea monster. With humans, of course, you get hulks. She said MUT-8 was not so much a drug, but a kind of live bacterial spore that colonized the host's body. It resembled in many ways the infection of the Gauntlet equipment from Karza's troops.

Calling in a favor with the Beta City police, Disco got himself and Landshark into an interview with the prisoners. Utilizing questionable but effective interrogation techniques, they found out that the drugs came from someone called, "Rudy the Troll" who could be found on a big bridge in the Blight on Lightfoot Island. Knowing something about the area from his youth, Landshark pointed out that there couldn't be too many big bridges still intact, so they already had a good idea where to look.

They found an old suspension bridge across a gorge. Once, a river had gone through it, but now it was full of stagnant water. The bridge itself, while intact, was only attached to its original road at one end. The other had slid down the cliff wall to a ledge below. A crevice in that ledge promised cavernous realms beyond. Noticing that there were no other light sources, Disco rainbowed up and they moved on.

Not far in, they encountered a couple of hulked-up guards. These were a bit harder to beat than the party hulks in the bar, but they still went down. Farther in, they found a big round door. They knocked and Landshark shouted "pizza!" to which a gruff voice from beyond said, "I didn't order a pizza!" They tried a couple of others. I think it came down to Disco shouting "male escort" and being surprised that the answer was, "Come in!" Landshark still shouted, "Candygram!" and punched down the door, though.

Inside, they found a big ole spiny blue-green guy with horns lounging on a cushy U-shaped couch. He said, "You didn't have to knock down the door. It wasn't locked. I got some good cognac and a jug of sangria if you wanna loosen up."

Recognizing that he had an opportunity to play the seductive spy, Disco went to work trying to coax the information they wanted out of Rudy. He was happy to tell them that he didn't make the MUT-8 himself, but felt professionally constrained not to reveal his supplier. It took multiple attempts, finally throwing in Landshark, who added, "I can be a bad shark, or a very bad shark," before the Troll caved and told them what they wanted to know. Then Disco dazzle-blasted him into semi-conscious euphoria flew him off to the police.

The drugs were coming from part of the Forbidden Zone that used to be Texas, so they needed transportation. Fire of Saturn patched up the previously glitchy autopilot and they were off in the Scrapjet. Not far into the Forbidden Zone, they were confronted by a hornetroid. Disco and Landshark ejected to fight it and eventually managed to disable the bio-mechanical monster. Landshark was a little grossed out to learn that it had blood.

Once they reached their designated coordinates, they saw a settlement with several aluminum buildings and smokestacks surrounded by a wooden palisade. The guard towers were manned by gauntlet soldiers. Disco set the autopilot for the center of the settlement, grabbed Landshark, and bailed out. The Scrapjet made its heroic final voyage, despite the attempts of the gauntlet soldiers to shoot it down, and exploded in a terrifying fireball of burning jet fuel and illegal radioactive power boosters (Fire of Saturn is not the most reputable of mechanics), killing everyone there and melting all their stuff.

Disco said, "There weren't any real people down there, right?"

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Origin of Mister Chompers

Rejoining Torpedo at the site of the Chompers expansion,‭ ‬Disco and Landshark found‭ ‬pieces of a robot shark man crawling together to self-assemble.‭ ‬Once whole,‭ ‬the robot turned to Landshark,‭ ‬clanked its teeth,‭ ‬and‭ ‬said,‭ "‬How do you like these chompers,‭ ‬Daddy‭?"

While they fought the ridiculous chomper-shark,‭ ‬he shared his history with the Scrap Pile.‭ Years ago in the 80sVerse, a teenager named Joshua Stern got himself involved with that nasty rock music and D&D. Even after Christian conversion therapy for some potential gayness, he ended up in a Satanic cult, because all that stuff is real in the 80sVerse. His occult dabbling got him thrown through a portal to the end of time where he was rescued by some talking brains. They saved the badly injured Josh, but didn't remember what humans were supposed to look like, so he ended up being rebuilt as, like, just a brain or something.

‭Wandering the void, Josh encountered another fugitive, a powerful alien psi. For reasons that kind of got glossed over, this Overmind agreed to send Josh back to the present. He didn't make it back to the 80sVerse, though, because he got diverted by the seal on the dimensional Nexus in subspace. Instead, he found himself in our universe as a ghostly presence. There, he was able to influence Techmaster to summon the Corrosive Soul.

‭Some of Josh's instructions got garbled, though, which is why Rapture was so obsessed with stealing brains for a while. They were, however, able to help him possess Mr. Chompers because small dogs are really easy for evil spirits to influence. He did this to get close to the body he eventually planned to steal, his counterpart in our universe, Disco. That's also why only Disco and Nimble could hear him.

‭So anyway, they trashed the Chomperbot, and Disco decided his supervillain name should be "Closet Case." As he blew apart, Josh bragged that now he was free to roam the Internet or something.

‭The Scrap Pile returned to base and started putting together a plan to stop Closet Case. Yeah, I don't even remember what name I had given him. They never used it. They brought in Psyclone (remember him from the Anniversary Special?) and got some advice from Pork Chop. They then proceeded to set up an Internet porn site designed to attract and outrage Closet Case so that Psyclone could isolate his signal and trap him in whatever main site he was using. Some of their footage came from recordings Mister Chompers had made of the Scrap Pile.

‭Somehow, despite repeated phone interruptions from a disturbingly enthusiastic Pork Chop, the plan worked. They tracked Closet back to the old Weatherhead building where Ruby and the shrunken bones guy had been hanging out. That place is like a magnet for evil, seriously.

‭There, they fought some robot guards and some demons and finally found Closet himself forming into a new, giant robot body. They fought him for a while, then Disco kissed Landshark and the robot's head exploded. Because Closet was trapped there by Psyclone, that was the end of him.

‭Epilogue: Everybody was sitting around the base. Mister Chompers, now free of crazy spirits, hopped onto Landshark's lap. Disco walked by and saw the dog wink at him.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Welcome Back, Scrap Pile

After wrapping up some business in Atlantis, the team headed back to Beta City. Torpedo decided to swim and then take a train home while Landshark and Disco flew in their recently repaired submarine jet thing. Worried about the ominous threat delivered by Mr. Chompers, Disco called his sister to make sure she was okay. He also remotely reprogrammed the security system to chase Pork Chop and Grave Grizzly out.

Flying over Free Buffalo, an independent city-state ever since the Lake Mohawk catastrophe, Disco and Landshark spotted a brightly lit club that looked interesting. It turned out to have a superhero theme and drinks that would not be legal anywhere else. Torpedo also stopped by for some clothes and money. They got rooms in town on Caravel's team credit card and partied. Torpedo got a distress text from Morgana and swam off to the rescue before the follow-up "LOL" came through.

Torpedo found the debris of a porch party outside his aquarium shop just before a thunderous explosion sent Fire of Saturn flying backwards out through the roof. Blastaar then launched himself out into the street from the same hole, ranted, and then blast-flew himself off towards Beta City proper. Torpedo went to check on Fire of Saturn while Disco and Landshark arrived and they all went inside to see the damage to their headquarters.

Fire of Saturn said Blastaar had come out of a hidden door in Magi's old basement laboratory, where she had been playing with the partially-constructed gadgets he left behind. Further investigation led them to a security tape of Mister Chompers trotting into the room while Fire was occupied, poking at the controls with his little paws, then leaving. A flashing red indicator briefly said, "Negative Zone Lock Disengaged" and then Blastaar came through.

Disco flew off after Blastaar. Not wanting to tear up the neighborhood with his tunneling power, Landshark went on foot. Torpedo went to find the mystic, Doctor Philosophy, to figure out how to deal with the evil pug. Disco fought Blastaar in the streets of Beta City, by himself at first. Landshark eventually joined in, once the ferry arrived. Torpedo and Philosophy headed back to HQ.

Blastaar went down after a hard fight and lots of determination points. As he lost consciousness, there was a weird kind of Kirby crackle around him that spread out across town. Back on Lightfoot Island, Chompers' eyes flashed red. Street lights exploded. Machines all around them came to life and a booming voice from speakers everywhere announced that Doctor Kronus was free at last.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Fear and Loathing in Atlantis

Picking up from last time with Dirge's big appearance in Atlantis, we find Harvey Wallbanger knocked out and floating around aimlessly while the evil volcano spirit manifests in all his underwater fiery multitentacly glory and threatens to end the line of Atlantean sovereignty once and for all.

Immediately, the force of Dirge's aura burned into their brains and made them start going crazy. He also animated the buildings all around the team and had them reach out to grab them. Land Shark and Disco dodged the first swipe, but Torpedo was caged by a grabby tower. Land Shark attacked with a column of earth and found that Dirge was protected by a powerful force field. Torpedo crashed through the cage and dove so hard at Dirge that he was able to harm him even through the force field. 

Because of the madness aura, Torpedo immediately asserted his Atlantean kingship and started assigning positions and ordering people around. Disco, likewise affected, became extra diva-ish and took everything Torpedo said as an insulting failure to recognize his fabulousness. I think Landshark was just curled up in a ball or fighting with the animated buildings or something. Then he freaked out and let loose with an earthquake, which trashed the neighborhood, but didn't otherwise help much. Torpedo did manage to save the bystanders by swimming so fast that he created an underwater twister to whisk them to safety.

Eventually Disco decided to show them how it's done. A combination of dice magic and determination points led to the emotion control lightshow of Disco's life, dazzling even un-targeted onlookers. Dirge cried out that "the Avatar" was coming and fled, also ranting about how the black sphere will rise and "he will come from beyond the stars and crush you all" as he fled into the volcano.

Shaking off their madness (well, as much as they ever do) and rallying the Atlantean troops, the Scrap Pile pursued the demon. While Atlantean mystics performed a collective binding ritual, Torpedo channeled the lava and Landshark reshaped the stone to support the Atlantean magic (also taking time to turn the carved face into a shark head). Disco capped it off with another light show, manifesting as a ghostly disco ball image shining briefly above the mountain.

Later they got a video call from Fire of Saturn and found out about the B Team's recent exploits. Also, Mister Chompers barked into the camera when Nimble showed up. Disco saw a subtitle appear underneath reading, "The sow is mine!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Back on the B Side

Jumping back to the end of the fight with the giant lava monster over Lightfoot Island, we find most of the B Team (Comet, Pork Chop, and Grave Grizzly, but not Ghost Lad) freshly released from Rapture's lair. They watched the monster go down, then made their way back to Scrap Pile HQ to see if they could figure out how to find Techmaster.

Techmaster, if we haven't already covered this somewhere, was a special effects man turned supervillain who was horribly maimed when Ghost Lad phased his hands into a lightning machine. He lost both hands, and his face was badly burned. When last we saw him, he had high tech artificial hands and was about to unveil his giant mechanical hornet before the lava spirits got it and turned it into Dirge's volcano monster.

At the base, they met Nimble, who was there looking for her brother, Disco, who of course had just headed out to Atlantis. Grave Grizzly declared that he could find Comet just fine without any help and staggered off to play accordion in an alley somewhere. Chromaticat was teleporting around, and Mister Chompers was there, telling Nimble to kill people. So, apparently, there's something about Disco's family that lets Chompers communicate with them.

Their research led them to an abandoned warehouse disco place, which they noticed was guarded by swarms of bees. Pork Chop got 'em going and Nimble used her super-speed to disperse the converging swarms with a mini-tornado. Inside, oh yeah, this is actually where they found Mr. Chompers. He was locked up in a bathroom next to the lobby. Farther back in the club, they heard screaming and found a big supervillain lab all set up in the main dance hall with Ghost Lad and his buddy John Jameson shackled to a machine and being tortured by Techmaster.
Techmaster had actually started with Jameson, for maximum effect on the main course. As the team burst in, he was pushing a big bluish-white gemstone into Jameson's chest to the tune of breaking bones and screams.

Pork Chop was delayed by a pair of shadow creatures that ambushed him. He quickly dispatched both with a chair he had picked up. At the other side of the hall, they found that Corrosive Soul was there too. She pointed at Jameson, who howled and turned into a white-furred wolf man. This seemed to surprise Techmaster as much as anyone.

Comet crashed into people, Pork Chop threw chairs, and Nimble used her rock-hard purse as a weapon, although at one point she was overwhelmed by the howl of the Man-Wolf and ran away until she could gather her wits and come back. Corrosive Soul used her mind control powers to briefly turn the team against each other, then summoned a group of green fire demons when the fight looked like it might not go her way.

Battered by purses and Comet-fists, Techmaster used the distraction of Corrosive Soul's conjuring to slip out the back door. Pork Chop managed to trigger the emergency sprinkler system and snuff the fire demons. The Man-Wolf eventually went down, too. Surrounded and battered, Corrosive Soul literally fell apart, but her head continued to cackle as it rolled over to Nimble, then abruptly melted into a skull and turned to dust.

The unconscious Man-Wolf turned back into Jameson, but the gem appeared to be grafted to his chest so that they couldn't remove it without badly injuring him. And they got Ghost Lad out so, apart from Techmaster escaping, mission accomplished.