Sunday, February 8, 2015

Everybody Loves Land Shark

After some deliberation about not only their plan, but their whole reason for being here in the lawless wastes of Ontario, where even their somewhat iffy Hero Corps privileges didn't give them any legal standing. Settling on reconnaissance for now, they circled the facility and found out that the parking lot was somewhat isolated by the surrounding hills, poorly covered even by the control tower.

Magi came up with a plan to set off a car alarm, then steal the uniforms from whoever showed up to deal with it. Two armored "patriot" guards with weird mystical darkness guns showed up and were fairly quickly dispatched. Torpedo and Disco put on the suits, leading Land Shark and Magi at gun point as if they were captives.

Heading into one of the warehouses, they were told that they shouldn't be bringing prisoners here, that they should bring them to the Clown in the admin building. After much the same experience in the other warehouse, just to make sure that it was, in fact, a warehouse, they went to the smaller building, tried to talk the receptionist into opening the lost-and-found box, then got buzzed in and headed back to find the Clown.

In a large, windowless room at the back of the building, they found a mad scientist's dream lab. In it, they saw a man in a lab coat and clown makeup, working on the corpse of one of the armored raiders they had fought on the smugglers' island. He wore a strange device that covered one eye with a multicolored lens. The Clown experimented with a number of different voices while the heroes tried to wheedle information out of him. Eventually, he realized he was dealing with imposters and pressed an alarm button by the door.

Before the Clown could do anything else, he was beaten into unconsciousness by Torpedo and Land Shark. Torpedo also moved to destroy the lock on the door so they couldn't be sealed in.

As Torpedo was moving away from the door, he was slashed from behind by a sword. Before he could do anything else, he was slashed again. Sarana, a small woman clad mostly in black, stood before them. Before she could take another swipe, Torpedo grabbed her sword and yanked it away from her. Dodging punches on the way, Sarana knifed Torpedo into unconsciousness and dashed over in a blur to snatch the Clown. Magi managed to burn her and trap her in coiling rings of fire before she could get him. Meanwhile, they could hear clanking footsteps coming down the corridor.

Erith clanked into view in the doorway, waves of heat rippling off his glowing red armor. Sarana took the opportunity to make an astounding leap and flip through the rings of fire to freedom. Still badly wounded, she zipped out of the room and didn't come back. Torpedo pulled a pro-wrestler style "now I'm really mad" regeneration and was back in the fight.

They traded a few punches with Erith, then Land Shark, whose skin was thick enough to take the heat, grappled and held him. Torpedo revealed his power to turn into lava and Land Shark handed him over to Lava-Torpedo. They then found out that Erith was able to absorb the lava heat and use it to increase the power of his own heat aura. Losing faith in Torpedo's efforts, Disco turned on his light show and made Erith love Land Shark.

While Erith admitted to "confusing emotions," Disco's emotion control effect manifested primarily as protectiveness. Erith's goal now was to go out and stop the rest of the security guards and supervillains from descending on the lab and killing or capturing Land Shark. He was intent on talking to "Nightmare Pixie" to arrange their freedom. Disco, meanwhile, started sending files from the Clown's laptop to Scrap Pile HQ.

Patriot guards were, in fact, piling up in the corridor. Torpedo tried to intimidate them, but they didn't budge. Some discussion followed, during which Torpedo proposed that they needed a tactical leader. His nomination of himself for this position met with awkward silence. Eventually, they tied up the Clown with data cables, took off his headgear, grabbed his laptop, and escaped through a tunnel courtesy of Land Shark. Torpedo ran off to distract the guards for a while, was flown back by Disco, and they all got to the boat and headed home.

Back at HQ, they settled in to interrogate the Clown some more. Except for Torpedo. He was hurt pretty badly and needed to go home to rest in his salt water aquarium. As they started, Disco declared that this wasn't really the Clown. He could see now that they were just dragging around the corpse of the armored raider that they had found in the room.

While the team puzzled over this, the Clown tossed an improvised gadget he had pieced together from stuff in his lab coat (which nobody bothered to search). There was a blinding flash, and the Clown started hopping away. Unfortunately for him, the heroes had all shielded their eyes in time and were able to nab him, this time taking away all his stuff.

After a few really cool light shows, they got some information from the Clown. He, Sarana, and Erith were "exiles from the Court of the Rakshasa King," although attempts to pry out a clarification of this were always met with giggles and coughs. The three of them had encountered the Nightmare Pixie shortly after their arrival in this dimension and joined the group because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Clown was not acquainted with the Unbeholden's inner circle, but he knew it consisted of Mistress Terror, Beasty Boy, and the original Plague Dog. Beyond the names, he didn't know much about any of these, except that Mistress Terror was a mage who had made the darkness guns wielded by the patriots. Nightmare Pixie was in charge of the facility they were at.

The Clown didn't know where the Unbeholden's main headquarters was. He did know that the armored raiders were not part of the Unbeholden. They were part of something called the Emissaries of Azrak. The Unbeholden's relationship to this group was strictly commercial.

They also got most of the Clown's research notes. Significant excerpts can be found here.

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