Issue #1, Vol. 2 (January 14th, 2007)



From Audra Blue's Personal Journal:

How is it possible that the clown leaves and they find someone equally as... unusual to replace him.  Sounds like he's fitting in at least when it comes crunch time.  With his knowledge of TV trivia and my knowledge of... other useless info... I think we should challenge the villains to trivial pursuit.

Vector seems okay.  Seems to be filling that fists & fast-feet niche that Billy-Ray filled.  I'm surprised to find I kind of miss a few of the ones that wandered off.

Rift, on Trekkian phaser and time-stop (Jim)
Thok, on ego whip and gesticulating chin (Mark)
Couch Potato, on Who Wants to be A Millionaire and Yo Quiero Taco Bell (Joe)
Vector, on martial mayhem and move-throughs (Terry)


(Named after the man who drove the snakes out of Ireland)

The buzz lately has been that VIPER is looking to make multiple terroristic strikes!  However, someone at PRIMUS has taken it upon themselves to go all pre-emptive.  It's a different world out there and no one is willing to wait for terrorism to strike anymore.  As a result, PRIMUS has nailed down nearly a dozen targets and in a joint effort to stamp out VIPER (or at least trim its fangs), enlisted local law enforcement who have special super-powered divisions, their own field agents, and a few groups of heroes to perform simultaneous strikes on all of these targets.  They're located in Millenium City, Hudson City, Vibora Bay, and Lazarus (our own beloved campaign city).

There is a dearth of PRIMUS agents in Lazarus as most are detailed to THE KEEP.  They scrounge up a few Silver Avenger and Gold Avenger level heroes to go after one location.  The second will be taken down by the city's own "Super-powered Threat Response Team" (STaRT).  The third will be the heroes, as they will be taking on the most likely target to have a VIPER super-base.  "Inside information" says that there is a base there and that it is likely beneath a tenement or the nearby plot that has a community center and tiny little park with a playground.  The playground thing would definitely be very VIPER; Using innocents to shield themselves from a frontal assault.

The team develops a clever ploy to divert citizens.  They arrange for a tanker to spill water on the street.  They then will claim it is a dangerous chemical and empty the surrounding area.  A successful roll to convince the authorities succeeds well, and they set things up.  Within ten minutes of the time this is being done, Shaniqua Takasaki from the local station is at the scene doing a report on the "accident".  The team teleports in on time and they spot a normal guy on the street in a GREEN t-shirt, with a backpack, in an area that's already been cleared, while they keep an eye on him, they assume he's not up to anything and tell him to clear the area, which he does.  After they go downstairs, they radio Bridge to tell her there's a guy upstairs; She discovers when she comes across him that he is indeed armed with a radio and blaster pistol and resisted but was subdued.

The entrance, they know form a very good streetwise roll, is probably below the dumpster.  Moving the dumpster and kicking the brick aside a section of concrete raises, revealing stairs.  At the bottom is a steel door.  They decide to take on the cinderblock wall instead, punching a hole through.  They disable a camera and perform a room-by-room (It's Rift, CP, and Vector at this point).  Second room has a shooter, who Vector hoists across the desk and throws into the hall for CP to shoot like skeet, ending him down the hall.  Another door is to a hallway.  Next room is a secretary hiding under a desk, but they missed her.  Finally they find the computer center where they are immediately met by gunfire, to little effect. Vector runs in and uses his move-through martial arts to toss one at another.  Tater uses a cone attack to knock a bunch back and damage some computers.  Thok shows up about now and helps out as one of the agents uses a secret panel in the wall to run back out into the hallway and try to escape.  The agents are subdued through phaser blasts, the very odd, odd TV attacks of the 'tater (I think it's best anyone is present to experience these), a great many move-by attacks, and a dash of ego-whip.  However, as they're taking out the last couple and one is surrendering, a figure approaches.  He's tall, muscular, and has the hood of a cobra.  He moves in quickly; Quickest way to do so if a move-through of his own, attempted on Thok, who was silly enough to mentally attack him AND be in front.  Hood (the cobra-man's VIPER designation; He doesn't have enough intelligence to form his own name) engages the players who proceed to do very little damage.  The hardest hit was definitely Thok's, but here comes Rift's "Time Stop" power, as he freezes the foe in place with an exceptional entangle roll.

Too bad for him, because his help had arrived by then.  Another "Hood" shows up at the door.  But it's simply an "Image" of Hood projected at the door so that the mentalist named "Charmer" can slip in the second door.  What she didn't anticipate is that Vector would try a move-through on Hood and run right through him, into the hallway and see her standing there.  That causes the others to come out the second door and with a few sharp blasts take her down.  Her only offense was an attempt to drain the EGO stat of Vector so that she could Mind Control him easily.  Would have worked too, if it weren't for those meddling kids.

The rest of the base is cleared.  The following information is obtained from the search of the place and the mental probing of Thok:

  • Agents:  They have been instructed to track down the source of these unfounded rumors.  VIPER has no terrorist attacks planned any time soon.
  • Computers:  Typical Viper "curriculum" and plans to recruit from the local community of youths (Hence their placement below the area's community center), their manifesto, a list of agents employed in normal jobs in the local area (so PRIMUS can mop them up), plans to capture and dissect Thok because the Supreme Serpent needs sushi! (Well, maybe not for that reason, but they do want Alien-boy, who is hunted by them).
  • Charmer:  She came from the South Africa office; She's on tour with her "pet" from the science branch; and she's never met the Supreme Serpent, nor does she know which base he works out of.
  • Hood:  Charmer can hurt him or help him; He's not allowed to eat agents.

The other two simultaneous raids do yield some VIPER locations, but not a lot of information or personnel.



Hours after arriving back at the base following this nonsense, CP is watching TV (as is his custom), and is alerted to a terrible situation at the new Galleria.  The players scramble and teleport in a Bridge's closest memorized location.  From there they can see... no signs of trouble.  On the video footage, a reporter was inside and there was this fiery holocaust being perpetrated by a group of men in black with skull ornamentation and symbols, firing blasters.  Only one that fits this bill on a search of Rift's database is the organization DEMON, who do all kinds of supernatural crap.  But things look fine here.  Kids happily skateboard beneath the "no loitering" signs, and the darkness of evening has gathered.

They decide it's a trick, since the same footage and reporter appeared on more than one station.  The heroes move on the mall and decide to evacuate the mall with a simple fire alarm (A wise precaution, because this was going to be much more hazardous with bystanders). They make their way from the Movie Theaters in toward the center courtyard where there is a very (very) minor exhibit of "Fabulous Fake Jewelry of the stars!", which is a couple of display cases of fake jewelry from movies, the cheesiest and larges of which is the Annette Nicola Smythe Diamonelle, a steaming hunk of cubic-zirconium.

As they approach the center near the fountain, the drama unfolds!  From high above, at the stained glass dome up near the unfinished second level, a figure emerges.  And since I have the book right here, I feel compelled to include his soliloquies:

"Bwah hah hah hah, Heroes!  Would-be do-gooders!  Your plans to stop me shall come to nothing-- NOTHING!  For I am Winged Doom... I am the Foxbat!"

Whereupon the figure, dressed in the trademark brown and gold pseudo-batman attire drifts down on glider wings and launches a shot from his infamous Ping Pong Ball gun.  Players all decide wisely to go defensive.  This means most dive or run while Rift goes insubstantial (A trick I forgot he could do, when I suggested something similar for Vector).  The shot throws some people around but not Rift or Vector.  Vector moves on Foxbat and positions himself for a grab as Winged Doom lowers slowly on his path of gliding.

It's not long after this that another group of folks show up literally out of thin air.  It's GRAB!  The Cheshire Cat, Black Diamond, Hummingbird, and Blue Jay.  Blue Jay will go after Rift, but ultimately be harmed by CP and wind up crashing when Thok gets in the final psychic blow.  Black Diamond gets one action and that's a leap that causes the "shatterproof" case of fake jewelry to be broken upon landing, then she's promptly time-stopped by Rift.  Hummingbird uses mind control to beckon Couch Potato to her.  It's working but then Vector does a drive-by on her and busts a fist in her face, stunning her.  She's brought down solidly right after that (Having only a few STUN left).  Cheshire Cat was up the longest.  After challenging the only other martial artist, Vector, he promptly misses all but one time before being brought down by the group.

"Fools!  You have no hope of stopping my MASTER PLAN!  Your tiny flickering intellects wither in the bright glaring brilliance which is my MASTER PLAN!  And I can FLY!  FLY!"

But I get ahead of myself.  For you see, not long after Black Diamond is time-stopped, another party arrives.  This is a young, thin, girl in a brown and gold form-fitting version of Foxbat's costume, and a pudgy teenage boy dressed in a version of foxbat's costume minus the glider wings.  They are traveling in the "Foxbatmobile", a Honda Civic painted brown with gold trim and giant foxbat ears affixed to the sides.  They crash the vehicle next to the fake jewelry, and attempt to grab the Diamonelle.  They succeed, but don't make it far before the team un-pimps ze auto!

Foxbat was brought down on a knockback blast that sent him into a kiosk of banzai trees.  Foxbatboy and Foxbatgirl tried to drive to him but that's when their car was derezzed by a phaser on "kill".

"I did it all.... for.... my fans!" (Odd face, then unconsciousness)"

Things that make Thok's telepathy go "Hmmm....":

  • Black Diamond is there because their contact, who is always reliable and never misled them... somehow misled them.  There was supposed to be some profit angle in this (Because GRAB is all about Greed), but it seems they were lied to on their bulletin board through which their assignments are posted, encoded.  What's more, she has never been to the mall before and was not aware the jewelry in cases here was fake!  She was so focused on the assigned task she didn't notice any signs.
  • Foxbat is an easy mental read.  He's there because his Fanclub demanded it!  It seems that he has been alerted to the fact that he has a Fansite on the internet ( which features people with a curious interest in the enigma that is... Winged Doom, and Doom-related subjects.  They have voted that his next activity to prove to his fans that he cares about them should be:  Stealing the Diamenelle (Note that Audra's Search of the Website yields the information that this was actually NOT the winning choice on the poll; Someone hacked in and changed the result.  The winner was "Try to steal the Empire State Building... Again!"
  • EXTRA: A detail I left off in my recap of the mind probing:  Hummingbird has been carrying on a conversation online with Couch Potato for the past few days.  She was doing it anonymously, under a pseudonym... If asked, this is news to him!  He never moves away from the TV unless it's to do his job.  Apparently, someone pretended to be the spud.
  • EXTRA:  Cheshire Cat recently had a failed relationship with a lady burglar.  His manic-depressive self is feeling down and cared little about the mission but instead sought to bolster his self esteem by taking on any Martial Artist in the group.
  • Foxbatboy tries to emulate and seek approval from his idol at every turn.
  • Foxbatgirl thinks everything is Foxbatarrific!  Including the plants and inanimate objects she talks to.
  • NONE of the participants are murderous.  In fact, they all go out of their way to avoid harming people.
  • In fact, Blue Jay seems to think that she's been hung with this horrible cruel-bitch-villainess reputation when she's typically a victim of circumstance.  True or not, that's what she really thinks.

There are strange similarities between this mission and another the team had.  The first ever mission together in memorial park yielded an inert bomb which did nothing. (See Vol. 1, Issue 1), while the whole incident was filmed.  A search of the area yields a couple of cameras that are not part of the building's security, added in order to cover areas the mall did not cover.  The feed was cut the second they were found.  And the actress in the video turns out to be an actress currently doing dinner theater in California, hired to stand in front of a green screen and read the script.