Monday, June 27, 2016

Day of the Dastards

While going over their options (and talking to their publicist, Winnie Amanda), the team heard the news that the Angry Beet was being considered for I.T.'s controversial early release program and would be transported to the North Coast Guardians' HQ for an interview the next day. The Scrap Pilers needed proof before going to the authorities, and Magi suggested that they might save a step by stopping the plot and then offering that proof as their justification. There was also some discussion over the wisdom of letting Gamma go after she very nearly killed Torpedo.

They decided that best way to proceed would be to inoculate the Angry Beet against the brainwashing procedure and use him to get more information, then send someone stealthy in to deal with the Smoking Mirror. They contacted their friend Morgana for the first part (Magi had technology that would work, but only if Beet were allowed to wear obvious electronic headgear during the procedure) and Ghost Lad for the second part. Morgana, however needed to be in close proximity to work the spell, and Beet wasn't being allowed visitors.

They needed to abduct the Angry Beet mid-transport, but didn't want to be seen being all criminal, so they created villainous alter-egos and ambushed the transport as The Dastards. As the team screeched onto the scene in their Chevy Malibu of Evil, the trunk opened to disgorge Asteroids (Magi), who crashed into the pavement in front of the van in a fireball, bringing it to a screeching halt. Blacklight (Disco) gave everyone the finger and dazzled the driver of the lead police car. The police car veered off the road. Protesters and random bystanders scattered, except for one guy who didn't seem care that he was about to be run over.

Despite his villainous cover, Bad Fish (Land Shark) tackled the bystander to get him out of the way. The civilian, however, turned out to be a psybot, a plastic-faced robot with mind blast powers reminiscent of the roboto guards from the Styxverse. Its eyes flashed as it zapped Bad Fish. Land Pirate (Torpedo) and several more psybots from the crowd joined the fray. Land Pirate occupied three of the cops by pretending to wrestle with one of them while his compatriots tried to get a clear shot.

While the rest of the team slugged it out, Asteroids was using a dimension travel stunt to get into the transport, drop a teleport beacon for himself, and bring the Angry Beet to the Styxverse, where Morgana was waiting to perform the ritual that would mystically shield his mind from the Smoking Mirror. Once that was completed, Asteroids returned Beet to the transport and signaled the others that it was time to go. They took their parting shots and the Chevy Malibu of Evil screeched away, while Blacklight again offered his sneering middle-finger salute to the assorted onlookers.

Next session, we'll be going in with Ghost Lad and whatever group of infiltrators he comes up with, so everybody gets to try out an alternate character for real, instead of just a different costume.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

One Microscopic Cog

(We started with a cut scene from the opening of "The Man Comes Around" just to give me an excuse to wave Stars, Specters, and Super-Powers in front of people again.)

Looking into their new rivals in the North Coast Guardians, the team found out from Carl Caravel that Interlocking Technologies was owned by Concord Holdings, which also owned a number other companies (Aspera Charter Schools, Covenant Transport, Advanced Idea Mechanics, and a think tank called the Friedman Foundation).

They also found out that the North Coast Guardians were formed under the auspices of a radical new rehabilitation program called The Smoking Mirror Project. Supervillains were offered early release contingent on their participation in some sort of new therapy program. Sideshow, Scarab, and Blue Shift were known participants in this program. Another villain, Gamma (who the Scrap Pile fought in space once) had run away after apparently having an adverse reaction to the treatment.

The team split up. Disco wanted to check out a Covenant Transport warehouse just outside Beta City. Torpedo, Magi, and Land Shark went to the wilderness on the south side of Lightfoot Island, where Caravel believed Gamma was heading.

After some flirting in the office in his civilian identity, Disco went back outside to see a smallish object flying away in the distance. He suited up (spinning like Wonder Woman to change into his costume) and flew after it.

Magi and Land Shark cooked up a search method which involved a lot of tunneling and leaping and fire. Torpedo swam out to search the lake. While Magi and Land Shark dealt with an avalanche, Torpedo spotted an air-filled underwater cave with lots of cheap camping gear and fast food wrappers scattered about. After letting Land Shark and Magi know what he was doing, he hid nearby and watched the entrance.

Eventually, a pair of somewhat shoddy-looking cyborgs flew into the area, checked some sort of scanning instrument they were carrying, and plunged into the water. They were followed shortly by Disco, who first took a moment to change into his aquatic costume (a silver speed-o with suspenders). The cyborgs looked around the cave, took some readings, and were preparing to leave when Torpedo and Disco attacked. The cybogs went down fairly quickly, although one of them did manage to temporarily nullify Disco's powers first.

They were able to determine that the cyborgs were cobbled together from a combination of Dimension Q technology and tech scavenged from Karza's soldiers. They had successfully identified Gamma's energy signature and had been about to follow her trail when the Scrap Pile stopped them. They did, however, have a legitimate Hero Corps operating license. Despite this, Magi sabotaged their jets so the Scrap Pile could get to Gamma first.

Swimming, flying, and Scrap-Boating off to the west, the group found an island with some dilapidated houses, shops, and a faux-castle Mexican restaurant. Gamma was in an old motel near the castle. Both Magi and Torpedo went down in the fight. Torpedo was so badly wounded that he had to be hospitalized. Magi had been driving the boat, so his unconsciousness led to a crash. Disco tried the diplomatic approach. Gamma agreed to talk over lunch at the castle as long as Disco gave his word that they wouldn't try to take her in.

Gamma revealed that Smoking Mirror was actually a cyber-brain scavenged from the Karza War. IT had adapted it to ESPer technology so they could use it to brainwash people. Something about Gamma's powers had protected her from its effects, giving her the chance to flee. She believed that Sideshow, who was formerly known as The Clown, was also immune and was trying to get ahold of the brain for his own nefarious purposes.

Gamma revealed that Sideshow had once mentioned a contact called "Warmaster" and that neither Scorpio nor Jellyfish were known criminals. Jellyfish's powers had come from exposure to alien technology during the Karza War.

Magi took the opportunity to point out that they never should have made a deal with Qth-raq, and a few other old arguments resurfaced, but everyone had a nice dinner in the intensive care unit with the carry-out Disco brought from the Castillo Grande.