- The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
- Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
- The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
- Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. Marionette (Ani) – Abilities run to boosting of others, and manipulation of animated objects. The Commander’s third cousin.
Merlin was out, and Ani was always a temporary character.
Ghostbusters, What do you want?
We pick up having a bit of downtime after last adventure – a few days full of nice, boring paperwork. Tokugawa and Marionette had taken most of my important family out of the city, into hiding, until Tokugawa says otherwise. Grandfather himself is doing . . . well, he doesn’t say. Ever. Grar.
We have Eamon manning the desk as a too-suave version of Annie Potts from Ghostbusters, and we also manage to hire a receptionist (die roll says female) whose superpower is organization. Her name is Tracy Dillingham, and she’s awesome, we need her, and it prevents Arc Light from having to speak to anyone, for which we’re all grateful.
Mostly we’ve been keeping things quiet and playing the game of “sneak the ‘Don’t Taze Me Bro!'” sticker onto the back of Arc Light’s battlesuit game. And cracking jokes about the purse-snatcher that Arc Light apprehended going into three or four separate jail cells.
We hear a voice up front, and it’s Juan Rodriguez, the last remaining member of Eamon’s old team – Aero. His wings had been severed in the Riker’s breakout. He walks with a cane, and has done some serious rehab since the defensive weaponry malfunction at Rikers blasted off his wings and other important bits.
So relatively speaking, he’s looking good. He also needs a favor. He needs Eamon to talk to “her.” Eamon detects some real depression, self-recrimination cranked up to 11, survivor’s guilt. He’s dealing fairly well (MAPS insurance and psych coverage is excellent, and the physical care not much less so – but the damage is that extensive), but there’s something going on here. He needs to talk to Ellena Pushkov, aka “The Pusher.” She’s an Alpha-level metahuman with the ability to create designer drugs out of water. She can do a sub-atomic scan and then rearrange matter as she wants. She’s technically not doing anything illegal, and the drugs are tailored to the recipients own biology. This can be amazing, or horrible – Ecstasy with no downsides. Or the ability to walk into a chemo ward, touch the IV, and cure the cancer instantly. “Why go out and deal just recreational drugs to people when I can get money from everyone. Everyone needs medicine, and I have it all.”
He has money, and he wants Eamon to talk to Ellena about regrowing his wings. But why can’t Juan talk to Ellen himself? What’s the holdup?
“She’s my ex-girlfriend. We didn’t part on the best terms.”
Saw that one coming.
“Remember the crazy ex that pulled a butcher’s knife on me?”
“It’s not like I didn’t deserve it . . . but butcher’s knife.”
“Here’s a check to cover expenses.”
It’s a million dollar cashier’s check.
We’re going to have to hit the streets. Eamon gets a hold of the standard guy who knows a guy who knows everyone named Wax. He’s a facilitator.
Eamon asks for help and cover – Arc Light excepted, because he’s not terribly subtle. But, he does happen to know a guy that knows a guy as well. It might mean he has to get out of his suit, though.
We all try and keep a more-or-less low profile. The Commander makes his stealth roll by 19. Even Batman is saying ‘where hell did Ian go?’ The Rat Queen makes hers by “only” 11. We’re a sneaky group when we choose to be. We just usually don’t choose to be.
Eamon jumps right in with Wax – he’s looking for The Pusher. Are we trying to arrest her? No, we’re all in public enough that if we wanted that, we’d just do it. Wax puts his filleting knife away (he works in a fish shop) and goes to find some folks. He gives us a name, place, and asks for $500. He gets us a piece of flounder, on the house.
Adama the AI scans the routes and plans out some directions for us. It’s an old abandoned warehouse in the meat packing district. Asbestos everywhere, etc. We get there in 10 minutes or so, and scout the place out. We all have ridiculous Observation skill.
We see an outstanding wireless surveillance setup We have humans outside watching as well.
And the Commander? There’s three guys four blocks away, two guys guarding an egress. The door looks like it’s locked but it’s not, and there are 14 cameras total. The north entrance would be the best way to assault the place if I needed to, since I could trap people in the northeast side. But since I’m not planning on assaulting the place, as Billy Crystal once said – hey, hey, hey . . . knocking works! Front door.
This place has been secured by someone with a deep appreciation for paranoia. We disperse
Eamon is greeted by two very large, very bland men who are packing both handguns as well as a sawed-off shotgun, a small machinegun (probably an SMG), and very nice, tailored body armor.
“Ike” looks at Eamon and nods. “Mike” tells Eamon to stand still, hold his arms out, and starts to wand him thoroughly enough that phone numbers are exchanged. They’re concerned about the armor, zip ties, and handcuffs, but ultimately they decide it’s OK (maybe they like bondage) and escort them into a beautiful room centered on a magnificent 17th century dining table.
The lady is eating a meal. There are two very large guys (making four total), and a small, intense, quiet guy who is very obviously the dangerous one in a spectacularly non-obvious way.
How can she help Eamon today? He has a friend. Oh, that’s less interesting. She was hoping for something more interesting from the Ultimate Fighting Lawyer.
She has Eamon pass the blood sample and medical records to one of her thugs. She looks it over, and makes a diagnosis. Multiple amputations, loss of muscle tissue . . . does he want an end to the pain, or complete regrowth? Regrowth? Oh, that’s $10M. Or . . . she’s willing to reduce her price for a favor.
Our team is known for doing the right thing. And one of her associates has been doing the wrong thing. To her. Or rather, to a friend of hers. She wants him in jail. The person has been abusing his wife, who is a friend of hers. She’s in charge of several charities, two kids she never sees in boarding school, etc. She’ll waive her fee, she’ll give us her personal contact information.
But why us, we ask? This sounds like a lot of bother, and $10M, for something the cops can handle. We set up a pool – super, politician, member of law enforcement – or intersection of them all.
Ah a politician, Rep Dwain Singleton, she says. Congressman for 12th district, Helped start a massive PMC law firm. Former defensive technology entrepreneur. But a bad rep for ruthlessness and personal behavior. Overall, people either like or respect him, so long as they’ve never seen his bad side. He’s a GOP victor in a blue district . . . which is a bit odd in and of itself. Eamon’s met him before. Something’s off about him; he gives off odd vibes. Eamon’s patron, Callahan, can’t stand him. They’ve had public spats, including C calling S “a bullshit artist of the highest order.” So typical political stuff.
So, we’ve got all sorts of issues here. Legally, we are on somewhat shaky ground to just wander around investigating him. He’s in Manhattan, we’re in the Bronx. And he’s not a known metahuman.
Eamon agrees – and she pulls out a pre-written, very well crafted contract, complete with ethics clause.
He reviews it, feeds it to Adama, has others look over it. The contract itself is legit, straight-forward, and seems to not have any “sell your soul” clauses.
So what do we know about this bloke?
Ex-soldier. Planner for PMC. Retired from there with a huge bonus. Owns a $25M apartment in the center of his district.
The Commander looks into the military angle. The company was Blue Sky Defense. They offer metahuman neutralization as a package option. Lots of toys. Lots of money. They seem to be joined at the hip with the defense department in certain areas, but now everyone uses them.
Their metahuman neutralization method? Extreme firepower. Now they actually have a metahuman squad/division, that they’ve lavishly equipped and trained to deal with other metahumans. There are 5,000 field soldiers, and 500 of them are metas. Holy crud.
The PMC definitely helped put him in office, we surmise. There’s sufficient circumstantial evidence for the conclusion, but it is circumstantial. He’s worth about $50-60M, and is ostentatious about donating his congressional salary to charity; he’s not exactly anti-government, but his anti-authoritarian cred is there.
Blue Sky Defense is a scary group, with tons of resources and money.
We decide to deck ourselves out to crash a charity event for some Recon. Eamon’s got this; the Rat Queen, our only female hero, has Unattractive on her character sheet. We bring in a fashion consultant, who happens to be a metahuman with fashion powers.
He’s got her gowned up (with an armored dress), gloved up (to hide a deformed hand), coiffed, and all rat-like qualities to the point where she’s really putting the Queen into the Rat Queen.
We break there, as this is a good stopping point and allows +Christopher R. Rice to prepare the party.
This was definitely a prelude adventure, lots of roleplaying and lots of setting the stage. No one really trusts the Congressman (and why should we) and we all know that there’s a hell of a lot more below the waterline. One does not get offered a freebie for a $10M drug cure to take care of someone that the cops can just arrest.
I feel like there’s more about this PMC connection that we’re missing yet, but not through any fault of our own. The wife-beating thing targets him for termination by several team members, but we’ve only got that on hearsay thus far – we’ll have to get some concrete evidence. Ellena not being exactly 100% trustworthy and all.
More later, but with this much coin on offer, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.