Adventure 4 Opportunities

By Tom Huskey

MRU 10/5/3

 

Gameworld Date: May 15 2003

 

+1 for delivering Esper to PSI – albeit unwillingly

+0.5 for discovering (but not halting) Argent’s intentions in the area.

+1 for discovering the truth about William Cranston

+1 for discovering the truth about Shanna and her father

+0.5 for getting into (but not resolving) the issues with Carl

FINAL: +4 experience

 

 

·        El Junte

o       The dictator of Cuba has contacted us with an unusual offer.  It seems he wants us to help him out with a paternity problem.  No, really.

o       See, about two years ago a young boy was the sole survivor of a wrecked refuge ship.  You may recall the resulting flap there for a couple of weeks, especially because the boy’s mother had effectively kidnapped him.  The UN Courts decided he belonged with his father (who technically had custody). 

§        However the boy’s family in Florida “suddenly lost track of him”, and PRIMUS has never pursued the matter to the UN’s satisfaction – nor has Project Utopia or Team Tomorrow pursued the matter to El Junte’s satisfaction.

o       This is where we come in.  El Junte’ would like for us to find the boy and return him to his proper parents (father and step-mother).

§        His words, not mine.  “I will not waste either of our times trying to convince you the boy would be better off here, or that despite what your nation’s press insists I am both legally and morally in the right here.  I will instead offer you a lot of money, an area of Cuba for a base, and the suggestion that this is a wonderful opportunity to make PRIMUS look bad and the UN look incompetent.”

·        Mastodon

o       This mastermind villain isn’t too well known in the States, but he’s contacted us – with perhaps the most dangerous offer we’ve received externally.  He wants us… to kill Eurostar.

o       You know, the second most dangerous nova terrorist team according to UNTIL?  Second only to the never-seen Murdoch and the perhaps-too-visible followers, the Teragen?  Responsible for the deaths of a couple dozen novas?

o       Yeah, that Eurostar.  Mastodon wants to pay us a lot of money to take on a group of dangerous killers almost twice our number.  Why didn’t I right this offer off immediately?  Because he’s offering us a LOT of money; I’m talking nine digit kind of money.  There’s also the whole “You know, these aren’t exactly people likely to invite us to ice cream socials” thing.

o       There is a flip side to this; based on some research I did it seems the animosity between Eurostar and Mastodon is mutual – each thinks the other is the main obstacle to their goal.

·        Teragen

o       Speaking of the devil (perhaps literally)?  One Count Orsaiz, the public face of the Teragen, has decided to get serious about contacting us.

§        Perhaps I should explain.  The Teragen first contacted us shortly after our first encounter with VIPER and the Justice Battalion.  Problem is, they wanted us to come listen to their sales pitch “cold”, without telling us any information up front.  As a matter of practice I ignore any offers like that.  Offers like that tend to be suicide missions, if you read me.

o       Anyway, he was charmingly forward this time.  He came out and said he wants our group to distract Team Tomorrow Europe (T2M-E) and perhaps (if the Teragen is lucky and we aren’t) Team Tomorrow HQ (T2M-HQ) by attacking the Palestinian Demilitarized Zone (Pal-DMZ).

§        I’ll get to his reasons in a moment, but perhaps a history lesson is in order.  The story begins back in 1981, during the time in which the UN’s “Project Utopia” was still believed to be little more than the committee responsible for T2M.  Project Utopia “arranged” for a Palestinian state to be created in the Suez Peninsula (east of Egypt, southwest of Israel), complete with a demilitarized zone run by the UN’s then-unknown military cadre – UNTIL.  Although neither side is completely happy with the arrangement, over time both sides have come to live with it.

§        Personally, I have no doubt that if the UN’s position were to falter they’d happily go back to killing each other.

o       So, why does he need a distraction?  Count Orsaiz says he’s received some VERY interesting intelligence about a Project Utopia facility well to the east of that area – Baharain, to be exact.  Frankly it looks like a trap to me, but the Count says they’ve gotten so much propwash about this allegedly “Beyond Secret” facility that they just can’t ignore it anymore, trap or otherwise.

o       So that’s the bottom line.  They need us to draw the attention of one (and “hopefully” two) of the three groups likely to respond.  Sounds crazy right?  Well, the Count must have his ear to the ground because he was aware of our need for a new headquarters.  He says he knows of a sympathetic Terat (what members of the Teragen call each other) that can loan us a workable facility in Dayton.

§        I’ll go on record – I neither like nor trust the Teragen.  Maybe it’s just my age showing, their philosophy is little more than a thin veneer of Anarky (Absolute Personal Responsibility) covering facism.

§        That said, I don’t like the popular euphemism for this organization – “Terror Geeks”, coined by Slider of T2M-HQ before her popularly-mourned murder.  They aren’t geeks, and they aren’t exactly terrorists either.  It’s complicated; I once heard them described as a cross between a Jehovah Witness and a Nazi, with super powers.

·        IHA (Institute for Human Advancement)

o       Well, the IHA finally made a public announcement about their upcoming public rally – being held June 3 in Dayton Ohio.   They are still being very hush-hush about the actual purpose or agenda of the meeting, interestingly.

o       Remember me mentioning some IHA shipments to/from Oxford?  It’s stepped up, and is becoming increasingly public.  If we don’t look into it soon, someone else will (if they haven’t already).

o       There’s a new opportunity related to the IHA covered under “Elites”, below.

·        Lady Blue/ GRAB

o       Lady Blue, the popular female Robin Hood of the American nova scene, has finally forwarded some details about why she has been trying to contact us.

§        As mentioned before, I generally ignore “cold calls” like her previous attempts to get me to send the rest of you to Sanctuary for a meeting.

o       She would still like to meet you folks there, but has explained why.

§        Just a quick reminder – as of right now, I’m on the short list of novas not welcome on Sanctuary; its founder Hyperion has gone so far as to say I’m one of the few figures in history he could justify killing, and one of only three alive today he could justify.

§        That’s not to say you three shouldn’t go, just that you’d be going without me.  Hexadecimal was a member before her little falling out with Primus, and chances are she’d still be accepted.  As for you and Sting, well if Hyperion would allow Doctor Muerte to come there his only excuse for refusing you two would be your association with me.

o       Anyway, here’s the scoop.  Lady Blue occasionally works with a collection of thief-minded novas calling themselves GRAB.  Black Diamond took over leadership after Black Claw was killed, and the group has actually prospered since – which until recently surprised me, because despite her name Black Diamond isn’t all that sharp.

§        GRAB operates by a strange “code of the thief” not unlike CLOWN’s policy of not killing – except where CLOWN did pranks and the occasional robbery GRAB does robberies/industrial espionage and the rare prank.  As near as I know, however, they do not abide by CLOWN’s rule of respecting “sentimental property”.

§        Naturally this fits well with the popular Lady Blue’s philosophy of sticking up for the little guy but not killing people (translation, she’s dedicated to a lifetime of pointless goodwill gestures and not doing anything real about the issues).

§        Well, Lady Blue has worked with GRAB but has never joined.  Her hesitancy in joining is why she contacted us.

§        See, she’s discovered that since Black Claw’s death GRAB has been getting support – and thinly-disguised marching orders – from a mysterious old man.  As proof that she has something bouncing around behind & above her pretty face, that idea bugs her.

o       That’s where we come in.  Obviously as stone-cold killers we have zippo chance of joining GRAB – but she thinks that’ll be in our favor.  She claims that a contact recommended our ability to find people who don’t want to be found.  She insists however that we not harm GRAB except to defend ourselves – she’s doing this for her friends, after all, and killing them puts a slight damper on that motive.

o       After all that, the job itself is disappointingly simple.  She wants us to find out who this mysterious old man is, what he’s up to, and – this is important – deliver the information to her before acting on that information.

o       She admitted that she might need us to do the acting for her afterwards – despite her impressive… reputation she’s sharp enough to realize she’s only one person.  It might be a numbers game if it comes to brass tacks.

·        PSI/Protectors

o       Got another email from GorgonOne – who turns out to be Psimon not Medusa.  Having done impressive work for them in the past, he forwarded a fair amount of information on an offer they made earlier.

o       Specifically, they believe one of the members of the Protectors – the SAT-authorized group for California/West Coast – is a former PSI member.

§        To put names on it, they believe Brainchild of the Protectors is in fact the former Brainstorm of PSI.

o       Now to repeat some stuff I told you before, in case you forgot.

§        The Protectors are the SAT-approved nova team based out of Los Angeles.  The 11 core members are some of the most powerful and effective novas in the country.  They operate as a corporation (Protectors Inc.), and have the second most impressive super-base (the Citadel) in the world (outside of T2M’s HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).

§        Translation, these are generally people you don’t want to mess with.  Of course, being Black Hats these are exactly the kind of people we have to mess with.

§        There are some tensions on this team – no surprise, given the fact that it’s an older team.  That said, unlike the Moderators they can usually put those tensions aside on the field.

o       Now for the new information.

§        GorgonOne sent us several recordings of what may be the key to our efforts.  Brainstorm always developed a “halo effect” when using his powers – and they have no reason to believe this little matter has been corrected.  Problem is the effect is of such a nature it doesn’t take a convincing photograph – we’d have to catch it live and unedited.

§        GorgonOne openly stated that Brainstorm was a womanizer – and that may well be a source of tension we can exploit if Brainchild is in fact Brainstorm “gone legitimate”.

§        Open disclosure time.  As you’ve discovered, I have a bit of history with some of the people that are now on SAT-approved teams.  You might as well know right away that this is true for the Protectors.

·        How much of a history?  At the risk of being bluntly vague – more than a little.  I was never a member or anything like that though, but enough that any of them would recognize my undisguised voice or face.

·        That said, I don’t think they know they have a history with me because to my knowledge they’ve made no effort to contact me after that little incident in Paris.  I’ve made some effort to disguise my identity and for the most part it’s been successful – there’s a reason the world knows me as The Disrupter, as opposed to “Chuck Morris, known as the Disrupter…”

·        There is of course more to this story than I’m going to tell you right now.  If you need to know, I’ll tell you – it’s not important enough to risk the team over.  It is also too personal to just come out and volunteer either.

·        Shrinker

o       Don’t act surprised, you should have seen this one coming once you learned I have a history with some older White Hat groups in general – and the Capital Gang in particular.

§        Shrinker, as you probably know, was once a member of the Capitals before “an incident” in which she was nearly killed by Kommodore Kong – who of course insists it was an accident.  She went Black Hat and has been a fairly successful villainess – primarily because she keeps to nuisance tactics and is generally satisfied with her reach and grasp (so to speak).

·        She’s not much of a team player, which either is or isn’t surprising.  What she IS comes under the name “vindictive little snipe” – she’s a compulsive prankster that likes to dish it out but can’t take it.

§        Well, Shrinker and I used to be something of acquaintances (and not, before you ask, coworkers as such).  She figured out that I was me (if you will) a while back, and has been hounding me for a particular piece of information.

·        See, Shrinker has an overly high opinion of herself.  Not exactly on the level of vanity, but enough to notice.  This has led to problems with other females novas, both of the white hat and black hat persuasions.

·        In particular, she wants to know how I beat Howler so soundly that Howler has actually tried hiring people to help her kill me.

o       I of course am of the persuasion that the more people that know that particular kernel of information the less it helps me.

o       Anyway, Shrinker has contacted us (not just me) with an odd kind of counteroffer.  I would just ignore it given her character, but I have to admit it intrigues me.

§        Shrinker has been working with a few other villains lately on trying to organize a “Gang” of team-minded black hats in the tradition of old New York gangs like the Dead Rabbits. 

§        The particulars, however, are that they want to form a more violent version of GRAB – a not-so-secret society of supervillains, I guess.  Unlike GRAB’s interest in money, this group concentrates on embarrassing and/or taking down superheroes directly and indirectly.

·        Naturally, they’ve contacted us about helping if not joining.  We do have Victory and the Electric Angel on our resume, so to speak.

§        Here’s where things get specific.  Remember mine mentioning rumors of an unusually cozy relationship between the Champions and Project Utopia/Team Tomorrow?  Shrinker has evidence, and I have to admit it would be good evidence if it weren’t so darn circumstantial.

§        Where do we come in?  Partially as a diversion, partially as a rematch, Shrinker is asking us to attack the Champions directly – in their HQ, on a certain day (May 29th, between 8PM and midnight to be exact).  Apparently someone who shouldn’t be there secretly will be, and our job is to expose it.

o       Now, you might be thinking this is some kind of prank.  You’d be right to suspect that.  I’ve tried checking around, and at the least her efforts to try and form a “gang” are legitimate.

·        VIPER/ARGENT

o       Still just noise right now.  I’m more convinced than ever something related to ARGENT is going down at their old facility near Cincinnati.

·        Kelvarite

o       Nothing new on this front, just the same old alien meteorites with strange properties at a civilian university in Kentucky

·        Super School

o       I haven’t found anything new about that private, invitation only Academy called “Ravenswood Academy” in upper-state New York that fits the profile.  I’m still afraid to look for more L

·        Defiants

o       It’s hard to find fresh information here, but what I’ve been dredging up suggests that the “core” Defiants (such as Velocirpator, Meteorologist, and Aurakill) are trying to reestablish a new base somewhere -- but that most of their sympathizers have started leaning toward the Isla Delta (“nova homeland”) faction.

o       Oh, and an email from Karin Herlocker (the recently-erupted nova from Arkanum that is invisible to Danger Sense) found its way to us.  She’s enjoying her stay on Sanctuary and would like to meet us again should you decide to visit.

·        Primus

o       Just a little update on the three Primus threads I’ve been following

§        Soma: as expected, Primus’s release to its offices about this rumor got “leaked” to the press.  A couple of rave-related deaths are predictably being linked to it.  Otherwise, this hasn’t been a priority for me.

§        Nothing new on the “Primus is looking for a separate HQ” front either.

§        That brings us to the rumor that Primus has found a technological method for identifying novas.  A contact of mine has drubbed up something interesting.

·        There’s a new addition to this rumor.  It suggests that the method will absolutely, 100% detect you if you’re a nova.  The problem is that it has a substantial percentage of false positives too – that is, it “detects” a lot of baselines as being nova too.  That’s either sloppy design work – or disturbing in its implication.

·        Special Rivals

o       StarBurst (Oamen’s hunted):  Nothing solid, still just a lot of rumors flying that he’ll join either the Champions or Moderators soon.  If he plans to file for retroactive registration, he’d better do it soon.

o       Vibron: The villain Janie/Hexadecimal was fighting when she “blacked out” has been on something of a crime spree in the Vibora Bay area lately.

·        NEW!  Elites

o       As you may know, there’s something of a cottage industry for novas that work as military mercenaries – often known as “elites”.  We have apparently appeared on the elite radar, so to speak.

o       The first offer we’ve received is from the “elite clearinghouse” known as the DeVry agency.

§        Simply stated, they’re offering us a “farmed-out” contract to work for the dictator of Slovenia – one of those postage-stamp countries in Eastern Europe.  Slovenia has a long-standing dispute (pre-dating WW1) with its neighbor postage-stamp country Markovia.

§        The heart of the argument is a plateau each claims as their territory.  The UN and Project Utopia have never officially recognized either country, so neither “officially” has a “legal” claim to it.  Each feels they must hold that plateau (and the resources under it) to buy their way into official recognition.

§        As of right now, it looks like Markovia is going to win.  For one thing, Markovia is richer and can pay more for elites.  For another, Markovia’s crown prince is a nova of some power himself – goes by the name Geode.  Markovian forces have held the plateau for almost a year now – and rumors say they’re going to invade Slovenia to settle this once and for all (for now).

§        So Slovenia’s dictator is basically trying to forestall this.  He contacted DeVry to try and hire better elites – and DeVry is offering to subcontract this to us.

·        Our first job is to defeat the expected invasion.  Our second would be to take the plateau in such a way Slovenia could hold it.  Ideally, he’d like us to actually turn the tables and conquer Markovia for him.

·        Wouldn’t the UN and its T2M have a problem with that?  Less than you’d think.  T2M has had some bad run-ins with elites in the past and is a little gunshy as a result (not that you’d know it from their PR – but you know what they say about the relative volume of actions and words).  Further, since neither is a UN member nation this conflict is sort of beneath them.

§        Now, obviously we aren’t going to go into this blind.  I’ve done some research and I don’t like what I’m finding.

·        For starters, it looks like Markovia has no less than a dozen elites (mostly class one but a couple of class two) on its parole.  Geode is either a high class two or a low class three – he’s no Victory or Electric Angel but he’s probably got any one of us beat.

·        Here’s the kicker.  The elites in Markovia work through the DeVry agency!  Why would DeVry subcontract us to take on their own people?

o       Might not be as sinister as your first instinct suggests.  Believe it or not that isn’t an unusual position for them.  In a way DeVry is kind of like the weapon merchant that sells to both sides.

o       Still, logic would suggest they either plan to use us to punish wayward employees – or try to use our growing public reputation to boost the selling price of their “home team”.

§        The fee – $5 million American – sounds pretty good.  And this being a military operation, we’d be much freer about cutting loose than usual.

§        Then again, our opponents aren’t going to be the usual “code versus killing” types either.  Elites are military people, with a mostly military mindset, that laugh at jokes like – “This is a holy gun; it puts a big holey in your opponent.”

o       The next offer comes independently from a rather unique source – and is more time-sensitive than anything else I’ve discussed.  Coming from St. Louis, it’s a lot closer to home too.  It’s also not quite as much money ($3.5 million) – and on the surface sounds a lot more boring too.  But it’s already clear this job is going to be anything but straightforward.

§        The city is in the process of building a new 62-story office building called the CCB (City Center Building).  The actual construction has been going for about six months now, and there’s almost a year left on its schedule.  According to the people building it (imaginatively named the CCB Limited Partnership) it’s on time and within budget.

§        Here’s the kicker.  Yesterday at 4:45 PM the CCBLP got a message from a nova named Holocaust (see below) – giving them 48 hours to stop construction and actually begin tearing it down, or he’d destroy it himself.

§        Sitting down?  The good people at CCBLP have actually contacted us to guard the construction sight!

§        That’s right, a legally-operating group has contacted the vicious murderers of The Ravagers to protect their building.  Suspicious yet?

·        If not, I tender my resignation.

§        Okay, formalities aside – this is usually the sort of obvious trap I ignore.  But I got curious as to why a “player” like Holocaust would make a private threat – assuming the threat was real.  So I asked for a copy of the ultimatum – and so help me, if this is a fake it’s a REALLY good fake.  As in, if this is a forgery it’s a masterpiece on par with the works of Van Meegeren “Vermeer’s”.

§        So, let’s set aside the still-existent-but-unlikely possibility that the ultimatum itself is false.  What’s going on here?

·        I did a little digging, and it wasn’t hard to hit paydirt.  The CCB being an office building and all, it’s going to house a lot of offices for different companies.  Guess who’s scheduled to have offices on the ground floor?

·        If you guessed the Institute of Human Advancement, here’s a cookie.

o       Yeah, that IHA.  Sorta gives credence to the idea they’re about to “go public”, doesn’t it?

·        Obviously I can’t ask Holocaust about his motives, but I can make a pretty plausible educated guess.

o       Holocaust thinks of himself as a world conqueror.  At least once, before Murdoch and the Teragen, he styled himself as the Nova Messiah – destined to rule a world where novas put the baselines in subjection.

o       Now, in theory it looks like Holocaust would fit right in with the Teragen.  The problem is – he’s a pompous ass.  He’s too arrogant for the Teragen, which should tell you something right there.

o       So he’s threatening to destroy a building that would house an anti-nova group.  Might be too obvious, but Holocaust isn’t all that deep either.

o       So you know, Holocaust has quite a bit of personal power – he’s not believed to be in Level Four territory, but he’s probably on the high end of Level Three.  His powers are based on energy manipulation.

§        Where do we come in?  It seems that the local Domestic Defender (named Ares) can’t be bothered to be there – something about “If I spent my time guarding every building threatened by a supervillain, I wouldn’t have time to actually fight supervillains” – and Primus isn’t sending anyone else for support (that whole “It’s only one building, and not even a finished one yet” thing).

·        So the CCBLP, eager to stay at least close to budget, is offering us $4 million to guard the building until 12 hours after the ultimatum.  They’re asking us to keep a low profile and all…

·        …but I still smell a rat.  One of the partners, Thomas Jaye, has a history of statements that would seem to fall in line with the IHA’s worldview – and based on my efforts to learn about the partners he’s entirely too connected for a mere businessman.

o       I have a hunch he *wants* us to have a destructive battle with a dangerous nova in public view.

o       Could the IHA be staging a fight to try and serve as a staging ground for some new weapon?  Or to make novas in general look dangerous?

§        So even if the ultimatum is real, it’s probably still a trap.  Still, it’s a very interesting trap, and your teleport power would limit our vulnerability…