Earthrise Campaign: Year 2
This page just covers the story in year 2 of the Earthrise campaign. For the rest of the story, see:
Tourist Trap (Played December 11, 2008)
Session 17, continued
The following day, July 4, 2058, the heros have Fred fly them and Tommy to Los Angeles in order to rescue Nemus Vir from Liandri. Catalyst leads Human Force and Robo-Shocker to the location where Liandri had held him captive. The complex is now covered by a large privacy screen, which was not there when Catalyst escaped. They decide against just barging in and instead watch the site from a distance.
Two trucks leave the screen, and the heros decide to follow, hoping to capture and interrogate someone in the truck. The trucks head into Los Angeles, and stop at a construction site surrounded by a police cordon. Perched atop the building under construction are three aliens. The Liandri trucks unload, revealing 10 Liandri agents, 2 combat robots, and a tall black man who shapeshifts into a griffin. The heros watch and ponder their next move as the Liandri task force approaches the aliens.
Session 18 (Played January 8, 2009)
Cutaway, Friday, July 4, 2058:
A woman in a lab coat sits at a desk, poring over a flexscreen covered with a long DNA sequence, with various sections highlighted. Occasionally she taps a spot, which expands with annotation of the sequence.
A man approaches and speaks. "I didn't expect to see you in today."
She looks up. "I'm going home soon, but I had to see the sequence data on the new subject. Have you looked at it?"
"Yes. Incredible, isn't it? Definitely an exotic. There is no way those are natural mutations."
Lou is sent to deal with some aliens, of the species Parkeena, who have gotten into a fight with police in Los Angeles. He finds them camped atop a building under construction surrounded by a police cordon. He observes the Liandri trucks arrive and decides to wait to see how the situation develops. Robo-Shocker notices Lou and they make contact. Lady Dusk is in Los Angeles as well for a presentation followed by vacation, and has been drawn to the construction site by news reports of the aliens. She has incredibly keen hearing, and overhears Lou and Robo-Shocker discussing Liandri. She has had some past problems with Liandri Corporation, so introduces herself and the heros join forces to sneak into the Liandri compound.
The heros decide to see how the Liandri task force's fight with the aliens goes. The aliens do poorly. One Liandri agent falls from the building and is badly hurt, but the Liandri task force manages to capture two of the Parkeena. The third escapes, flying off with his antigrav harness. The heros ambush the task force on its way back to the complex. After a difficult battle, they prevail, destroying the combat robots and knocking out Hybrid (in griffin form) and all the agents.
Session 19 (Played January 28, 2009)
Excerpt from SWEAT briefing material on Parkeena biology and society:
Parkeena only reproduce once in their lifetimes, but produce a few hundred children. Parkeena form breeding groups of size 4 to 10, and all Parkeena in the breeding group will contribute genetic material to the offspring, in various combinations. Parkeena do not have sexes; instead the gametes from the contributing Parkeena fuse into an embryo, which begins to rapidly divide. A single Parkeena spawn typically contains genetic material from 3-5 parents.
Parkeena offspring are let to roam in a protected, nutrient-filled pond for the first two years of life, at which time their final four tentacles bud. Even in modern society, half or more of Parkeena spawn do not survive to bud their final tentacles, due to genetic abnormalities, disease, or fighting between the siblings.
The heros talk to the rescued Parkeena (named Gakkathon and Boddekeena) and learn that they are looking for a companion of theirs named Korbeenom who disappeared recently. The heros conjecture that Korbeenom was taken by Liandri too and the Parkeena agree to join forces with them to infiltrate the base. They call Pakalakthew, the Parkeena that escaped. Robo-Shocker interrogates a Liandri agent, who cracks and tells them about the base's security and, under continued duress, agrees to escort them inside.
The heros get into the intact Liandri truck and drive to the Liandri complex, pretending to be under attack by Pakalakthew and Gakkathon, Boddekeena accompanying them inside, pretending to be a prisoner. The Liandri agents drive off the other two Parkeena, and the heros pass through the security into the base. They find the Biological Experiments building and get inside by having Robo-Shocker and Boddekeena pretend to be prisoners. Once at the cells, the heros knock out the guards nearby, but the cell block's security camera sees them and an alarm goes off, alerting the complex. The PCs free Korbeenom, Nemus Vir, and a large group of captive Warchildren who have been the subject of Liandri experiments. Nemus Vir is unconscious, and many of the Warchildren are too damaged or sick to move under their own power. The heros have arranged for Pakalakthew, who works as a force-field technician, to open a hole in the base's Perimeter Defense screen, but until he gets there, they have to hold off a small army consisting of numerous Liandri agents, some combat robots, and Lost Boy. Two of the Warchildren, Sara Olsen and Chao Su, have useful powers and are healthy enough to fight, and with their help the group manages to escape.
The Next Big Thing
Session 20 (To be played February 3, 2009)
FEAD Progress Report #26, Paragon Enterprises:
Force field continues to show excellent absorption for most forms of energy, including heat, cold, electricity, sound, and radiation. Absorption of kinetic energy is now improved to adequate. The force field can stop low-caliber bullets, but high-caliber bullets and other projectiles are frequently able to penetrate.
The Parkeena fly off, and Lady Dusk and Lou remain in Los Angeles to take their own rides home. Everyone else crowds into Fred's flying saucer, and the remaining heros bring the Warchildren to a Warchild care facility in Boston. Chao Su and one other healthy Warchild decide to go it alone to avoid being tracked down by Liandri. Some of the others agree to talk to the media, telling the story of how they were experimented on. Liandri puts out a counter-story, claiming the Warchildren voluntarily admitted themselves to help get their abilities under control, and their stories today are a result of hallucinations or misinformation. As a witness in their favor, they present Hybrid, who tells the story of how Liandri found him in Uganda and helped develop his shapeshifting ability from a painful uncontrollable afflication to a useful ability.
A bit over a week later, a giant robot, 40 meters tall, rises from the sea and begins attacking New York City. It largely ignores people, but just walking around town causes a great deal of damage, and some people are killed or injured accidentally. It occasionally pauses to destroy a building and then moves on, with no apparent pattern. Human Force and Catalyst move to fight it. Lou has not yet returned to New York, and Lady Dusk has no communicator, so is slow to learn about the attack. Nemus Vir remains in a coma and has been placed in a long-term care facility for the moment. Robo-Shocker responds that he is currently following some other robots up to no good, but will join them as soon as he can.
The heros have trouble damaging the robot with their attacks. Catalyst has Human Force shoot him a few times so that Catalyst can absorb the energy from the force blasts and boost the strength of his own entropic blast. Catalyst then manages to damage the robot somewhat. A swarm of smaller robots exits the giant robot and starts repairing the damage while the giant robot turns on the heros. The fight continues, the two heros taking a beating, but not managing to do much further damage to the robot.
Session 21 (Played February 19, 2009)
Cutaway, Sunday, July 14, 2058:
John Doe, in avatar form in a virtual conference room, sits at a round table, facing 5 more figures, 3 men and 2 women, their features slightly blurred to prevent recognition.
"Recruitment has gone well," John Doe begins. "We now have over 50 fully trained and fully indoctrinated agents. We have successfully acquired the bodysuit, bringing the primary action team up to 4 members. Blue Lightning was troublesome at first, but the new course of drugs has made him more ... tractable. I hope to recruit Robo-Shocker soon as well. This current robot attack serves as a perfect pretext."
"Is it your doing?" asks one of the women. "We were not consulted."
"No, we are not certain of the source of this robot, but Kite and Robo-Shocker are currently following up a lead. Whoever is actually behind it, I think it likely we can find a reason to bring Robo-Shocker on board."
"And Techia?" asks one of the men. "Project Malignancy is nearly ready, and we need to know Techia will be in place."
"Techia is no longer an issue," responds John Doe. "Apparently Robo-Shocker has already dealt with her."
"We should proceed with Malignancy in any case," interjects another man. "It could give me 20 votes or more. The bill won't pass without it."
"Malignancy will take place," says the other woman, a note of finality in her voice. "Thank you, John Doe. Now, Charlemagne, please give us a report on the alliance with Liandri ...."
After returning from Los Angeles, Lady Dusk returns to her usual activities. She is disturbed a week later to find a prototype version of her own armor missing from her lab. This armor had been stolen previously and recovered by her from a Liandri agent; it had been refitted with magnetic weaponry and other devices. She searches for clues and finds some indication that there were two skilled thieves, but no further leads. A few days later, when she hears a giant robot is attacking New York, she jumps on her motorcycle and rushes to help. She has to fight her way through fleeing crowds to get there, and arrives to find Catalyst and Human Force already fighting the robot.
After leaving Los Angeles, Lou returns to Washington to be debriefed. He is told "good job" and given no further assignments for the moment, but when the news breaks about a giant robot attacking New York, he gets a ride on a military transport to help out.
Robo-Shocker gets a call from John Doe indicating that one of A17F5's abandoned factories has reactivated. He is sent to meet another of John Doe's agents, a woman code-named Kite, who wears a bodysuit with magnetic control powers useful against robots. They follow a group of robots from the factory to another warehouse. On the way, Robo-Shocker hears about the giant robot attacking New York, but reluctantly agrees he needs to find out what these robots are up to before going to help. Inside the warehouse are 4 of the same security robots used by A17F5, a large pile of money, and the mouth of a tunnel. Kite and Robo-Shocker are not confident they can take on 4 of the security robots, so Kite stays to watch the warehouse while Robo-Shocker goes to help fight the giant robot.
Lady Dusk manages to make her way through the crowds and arrives in time to distract the robot from pursuing the battered Catalyst and Human Force. Lou arrives shortly thereafter, dropping from the transport plane using his telekinetic powers to slow his fall. By aiming for the hole created by one of Catalyst's earlier blasts, Human Force is able to further damage the robot. Lou's attempt to trip it by tying its legs with Lady Dusk's grappling hook is a failure, however. Two fighter jets arrive to help out and fire missiles at the robot, severely damaging it. The robot responds by throwing a giant handful of rubble at the planes, breaking off the wing of one and damaging the other as well. Lou telekinetically grabs the first plane before it smashes into a building, and the pilot of the other plane manages to bring it under control and avoid crashing. Robo-Shocker arrives and weakens the robot's defenses with his electrical shocks. The heros are then finally able to defeat it.
Robo-Shocker explains about the robots in the warehouse, and the heros go there to meet Kite. Lady Dusk is disturbed to find Kite wearing her missing bodysuit, but reluctantly agrees to team up for the moment to fight the robots. The heros and Kite enter the warehouse and defeat the security robots and a team of worker robots as well. They explore the tunnels, finding only empty bank vaults and further tunnels. They conclude the giant robot was just a distraction to cover up for the bank robberies, and decide to wait outside the warehouse for the mastermind of the plot to appear and pick up his money. When A17F5 comes out of the tunnel with 6 security robots, they confront him, and by concentrating their attacks on him, manage to come out victorious. He explodes and the other robots shut down. Kite flies off in the aftermath. The following day, Robo-Shocker receives a call from John Doe, who indicates that they think A17F5 was able to survive the first time the heros defeated him by keeping a backup copy. Robo-Shocker agrees to join John Doe to help hunt down A17F5's further backup copies.
Session 22 (Played March 11, 2009)
Excerpt from the report of the Special Commision on Warchild Crime, released May 21, 2058:
Even once Warchildren are fully processed and enter a correctional facility, enormous challenges remain. Few possess infirmaries capable of dealing with the unusual medical requirements of many Warchildren. More troubling is the fact that standard detention facilities are not designed to contain those with abilities significantly exceeding the human norm. The need for additional manpower and supplementary security systems to keep Warchild criminals from escaping is proving a significant financial drain on the American prison system. Completion of the Tarterus facility will reduce but not eliminate these pressures as many Warchildren convicted of minor crimes will remain in state correctional institutions.
In the aftermath of the robot attack, Tommy suggests he should start recruiting additional members of the team to replace some of their losses. Lady Dusk is officially added to the roster. Tommy also mentions that he has been seeking corporate sponsorship, meaning more money might soon be available to afford better headquarters. However, before any base is built or additional new members join the team, Fred receives a call from the police, who want the heros' help. There has been a breakout of a number of prisoners from the Downstate Correctional Facility, mostly Warchildren, including some that the heros captured earlier. Behind the breakout seems to be Melanoma, who has horribly mutated and is now much stronger and more dangerous than before. The police want the heros' help to recapture her: she has gone on a rampage and is headed straight towards New York City.
Catalyst is in Boston, checking up on the Warchildren rescued from Liandri, but the other three heros head out to confront Melanoma. They find her in the process of breaking into a house in a suburb of New York City. Along Melanoma's trail, they find a number of fleshy blobs that used to be people. The heros rescue a mother and daughter from fleshy cocoons, which had begun transforming them into undifferentiated masses. A long fight begins, Melanoma's healing powers giving her a great deal of staying power, but eventually the heros, on their last legs, manage to triumph, knocking Melanoma out and turning her back over to the police.
Afterwards, they go to the prison to look into the breakout. Many of the escaped prisoners were recaptured, but a few got away, including the Lurker. Two Warchildren, Rhino and Paperclip, were found dead, nearly cut in half. The heros investigate the locations where Rhino and Paperclip died, finding footprints from two people beyond the victims. The following day, a group of senators propose new legislation aimed at controlling Warchild crime. It has a number of privisions, some quite controversial: It will provide money for a special FBI task force and to rapidly finish up Tarterus, a federal prison for superhumans; it would federalize all crimes by Warchildren, require faster trials, and increase the punishments for criminal use of Warchild powers; it would legalize vigilante action, including deadly force, against "dangerous Warchildren;" and it would legalize genetic transforms and similar usually-illegal methods for the purpose of "treating" Warchildren.
Session 23 (Played March 25, 2009)
Excerpt from the introduction to New Sparta: A Posthuman Society, by Lysander Leonidas:
Many of those who begin to modify themselves do so with the explicit intent of circumventing the limitations of humanity, but they fail to take full advantage of this path. Their improvements are directed solely at bettering themselves. In contrast, in New Sparta, every modification we make will be aimed at improving society. New Sparta will be a new kind of society, one which could not be created or maintained by normal humans. We will erase the limitations of human nature, and together far outshine any individual posthuman.
Catalyst has been afraid to go back to his apartment since it was attacked by Liandri agents. Eventually, he decides to retrieve his belongings and discovers an eviction notice on his door. He spends a few more days living under a bridge before Lady Dusk takes pity on him and invites him to stay with her. A few months later, Human Force is asked to testify in Washington before a congressional subcommittee preparing the Warchild Crime Act. He is worried about being attacked by SWEAT, so the other heros come with him. Ryan Gleason is there, having testified in the previous closed session, and he and Human Force exchange some barbs. During the trip, Lou is called away with another mission. After his testimony, Human Force is asked to return in a few days for a second session of testimony.
When Lady Dusk gets back to New York, she learns that a Detective Jeremy White visited asking about recent thefts, as in the last week, there have been three at similar corporate research labs in the area. She decides to spend the evening making up for her lost workday by designing a better security system for her lab. She is there when Charm, Insight, Rage, and Resolve break in to steal a miniaturized ultrasound imager. She confronts them but is quickly knocked out. When she wakes up, she investigates the crime scene herself and then calls the police. In her investigation she learns only that they forced the locks, and that the security camera for some reason did not record their presence. She, in her Dai Paragon identity, tells Detective White about the previous break-ins when her bodysuit was stolen, and helps a sketch artist make pictures of the thieves.
The following evening, Lady Dusk (in that identity) visits Detective White at home in order to trade information. She wants to know what has been stolen from the other companies, and he requests her help asking questions in the posthuman community, who tend not to talk to normals. She agrees, and Lady Dusk, along with Catalyst and Human Force, visit a bar called Chrome frequented by posthumans. Asking around some, they eventually find a sex-changing person called "Twosie" who has had past liasons with Charm. Twosie takes pity on Lady Dusk, who is posing as a jilted lover of Charm's, and gives her Charm's number. Lady Dusk passes this on to Detective White, and returns the following evening to learn Charm's address from him. White cautions her not to go in before he gets a search warrant, but gives her the address regardless.
Lady Dusk, as Dai Paragon, sets up to watch Charm's apartment with Catalyst and Human Force as backup. She begins to follow Charm as he leaves, but he quickly spots her and sits her down in a bar to interrogate her using his mind control powers. He decides to bring her to Insight's penthouse apartment, where Rage and Resolve are already present, but she retains enough free will to babble into her communicator clues to where they are going. Catalyst and Human Force are not certain of the exact location of the apartment Lady Dusk has been taken to, so they take to searching the area, Catalyst by randomly flying through apartments while desolid. He happens upon the right one while Dai is being questioned, catches the villains by surprise, and blasts Resolve. Dai runs for the door and quickly changes to Lady Dusk when out of sight. However, after a short battle, Lady Dusk and Human Force are knocked out, and Catalyst, desolid, escapes out the wall.
Session 24 (Played April 22, 2009)
Police report summary, Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2058:
The most recent burglary brings the number in the past eight days to four. All four are believed to be linked, perpetrated by the same group:
- Bio-Corps, Monday, Sep. 2: Forced entry, security systems bypassed. Stolen: Testing data and chemicals for muscle growth stimulation.
- General Dynamics, Tuesday, Sep. 3: Forced entry, security systems bypassed. Stolen: neural implant designed for weaponry interface.
- Pfizer, Friday, Sep. 6: Forced entry, security systems bypassed. Stolen: Testing data and psychopharmaceutical chemicals.
- Paragon Enterprises, Monday, Sep. 9: Forced entry, security systems bypassed. One witness (Dai Paragon), sketch made of 4 suspects. Stolen: advanced miniturized ultrasound imager.
Lou was pulled away from the congressional hearing to participate in a separate mission: An assault on a camouflaged alien base in Kansas, where kidnapped humans were being experimented on. He returns to New York on Wednesday evening to find Lady Dusk and Human Force captives. He moves to join Catalyst, but before he arrives, Catalyst gets a call from Lady Dusk indicating she is on the roof and needs to be picked up. Suspicious, he notes that Insight and Charm are hiding on the roof as well and concludes that Lady Dusk is being controlled by Charm. Resolve and Insight attack him, but he manages to grab Lady Dusk and fly off, dissuading Resolve from pursuing him by herself with a powerful entropic blast. They meet Lou and decide to break into Insight's apartment again. The heros find the Elementals and Human Force gone, but there is a note indicating that they should follow the Elementals to the company Syn-Thete if they want to rescue Human Force. They also manage to find a flexscreen with notes on the Elementals' plans. They want to steal some advanced composite fibers from Syn-Thete and then visit an underground surgeon. Lady Dusk contacts Detective White and informs him they are going to Syn-Thete to rescue Human Force.
At Syn-Thete, the heros are met by White and another police officer who remain outside on watch while the PCs go in to fight the Elementals. The Elementals are waiting for them on the floor of an automated factory. Human Force is unconscious and strapped to a conveyer belt which will deposit him in some sort of vat, and two additional security guards are hung up in the factory, ready to be dropped into similarly precarious positions. In the initial stages of the fight, the heros manage to rescue Human Force and one security guard from the machinery in the factory. The other security guard plunges into a vat of water and eventually drowns. After a prolonged battle, the heros are defeated. They wake to find Detective White has pulled them from a conveyer belt just before they entered the incinerator. The Elementals never show up at the underground surgeon's office, and there are no further robberies, so it is presumed they have skipped town.
Session 25 (Played May 5, 2009)
Galactic Union export regulations for non-Galactic Union, technologically advanced civilizations, outline, translated from Galactic 5:
These regulations apply for civilian (personal and commercial) intercourse with Class 4 civilizations. They do not apply to diplomatic missions (see the inferior civilization contact regulations) or for military or Union-sanctioned covert action.
- No weaponry. Light weapons can be brought to such civilizations only with special permit, but must be returned to Galactic Union territory. Other weapons forbidden.
- No power source with greater than 10% mass/energy ratio.
- No hyperwave technology of any kind. Gravitic technology permitted only by special permit.
- Non-sapient self-replicating devices, including fertile biological specimens, forbidden.
- Dimensional manipulation devices with failure rates greater than 0.001% forbidden.
- All other technology permitted, except as otherwise forbidden by Galactic Union regulations or host civilization laws.
Detective Jeremy White calls up Dai Paragon and asks her for a date, which goes reasonably well. Nemus Vir finally wakes from his coma and learns that his apartment has been rented out to someone else, and most of his plants are dead. He ultimately moves in with Lady Dusk, as suggested by Catalyst, who is still living there. Indeed, Catalyst is even more dependent on her, as the money from his bank account, and all record that the account existed, has disappeared. He is not too concerned about it, not being very dependent on money, but the other heros suggest it might be worth investigating.
At the beginning of October, the Warchild Crime Act passes congress. There are some small demonstrations nationwide by Warchildren. A few days later, a Warchild care facility in Boston burns down, and all the residents are killed. This is the facility where the heros placed the Warchildren rescued from Liandri, so they are interested enough to visit and examine the site. However, they learn little beyond the likelihood that it was arson. Meanwhile, a hacker named Kit, stung by the unfairness of the Warchild Crime Act and its differential treatment of Warchildren, decides to investigate old reports of wrongdoing by Liandri Corporation. She breaks into their computer system, but only finds a few peripheral references to a Special Projects Division which would be responsible for any human experimentation. She also investigates the Newman Institute for Warchildren, located near New York City.
Lou receives a call from Fred, who reports that he is being held hostage by bounty hunters who will let him go if Lou turns himself in to them. They want to meet Lou in Central Park at noon. He calls the other heros, and they proceed to Central Park to fight off the bounty hunters. However, Lady Dusk must first contend with an audit of her lab instigated by her sister Vox, whose division has been tarred by a financial scandal recently. She convinces the auditor to check the equipment first, then grabs her armor and speeds to Central Park. Human Force does not appear and does not answer his communicator. Kit is present in Central Park as well, having made plans to meet her mother for a picnic. She is curious about the aliens and joins in the fight once she convinces her mother to leave for safety's sake.
The battle goes poorly for the heros at first, with Lady Dusk knocked out by Bazza Saka's flechettes, and Lou immobilized by a stasis grenade thrown by Ssssthelen. Nemus Vir's entangles are very effective at first at containing Farat'anupp and Karrk Brrg, but they break free and Nemus Vir is burned badly by Karrk Brrg's incineration beam. The stasis grenade wears off, releasing Lou, and the aliens' spacecraft appears, pulls the bounty hunters up with tractor beams, and vanishes.
Session 26 (Played May 14, 2009)
Flashback, Three Days Ago, Sunday, October 13:
The drug dealer Enrique Salvador sits in a chair in his plush apartment. A door opens and a second man enters. He is wearing a disguise, but to those who know him, he is still easily recognizeable as John Stronghold, Human Force's secret identity.
John brings out a small package. "Here's your money."
Enrique looks up. "Good, good. However, I'm afraid there's been a change of plans."
John eyes him suspiciously. "What kind of change?"
"This kind." Enrique gestures to the doors, and a dozen SWEAT agents enter the room, their faces covered by their grey matte armor. They lift their blaster rifles and impact rifles and begin firing ....
Catalyst, Nemus Vir, and Lou visit the Warchild Institute to find out if anything suspicious is going on there, and are taken aside by Kara Goodwill, who is concerned that Human Force is missing. He was last seen on Sunday, when he went to get more drugs. The heros learn the name of his dealer from Tommy Scalia, and go to visit Enrique Salvador. However, on the way there, they get a call from Human Force and leave without seeing Enrique. Human Force reports that he was captured by SWEAT, but managed to escape, and has just returned to New York. Meanwhile, Lady Dusk has returned to her audit, which ends with a minor scolding, since there are some minor flexsheets and other small pieces of equipment missing, as well as the stolen armor. Kit, once her day at work is finished, breaks into the computer system of Catalyst's bank, learning that indeed all traces of Catalyst's account are gone. Lou admits to Human Force that he has been blackmailed into occasionally working for SWEAT.
The following day, Thursday, the news is full of a story of another attack by the aliens at the airport, where a spaceplane from the moon was attacked. Luckily, the aliens were fought off by a passenger and the plane landed safely. Human Force calls Sidestep, who is in Vancouver, and tells him that SWEAT's wormhole tracking device has been destroyed. Sidestep begins to travel to join the heros in New York. The heros investigate the attack, calling in Kit to get information on the plane's passenger manifest, and Lou volunteers to the police that he knows something about the aliens.
There is another attack downtown, and when the heros arrive there, Lou is recognized by a witness as the target of the aliens' attack. He claims that he has a twin, but begins to doubt his own identity. He decides to vist his apartment to verify his childhood memories, and encounters Alexa Ramirez there. She claims that Lou sent her there to get his clothes while he is on the run from the aliens. Lou returns with her to her apartment, but finds it has been searched by the aliens. No one is there. Deducing that Lou's twin shares Lou's memory, the heros visit the office suite rented by Tommy and Fred for their use as headquarters. Lou II has been there and left. He made a phone call to Bob Thallan, Lou's handler at SWEAT, asking for backup against the aliens. The news reports that the aliens have attacked again, not too far from the office suite, so the heros rush to meet them.
Session 27 (Played May 19, 2009)
Traffic alert, 2:07 PM, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2058:
7th Avenue closed from 28th to 22nd due to alien attack. The general area is considered hazardous: avoid. Developing situation, check back for updates.
An alien spacecraft attacked a bus on 7th Avenue, just after the intersection with 28th Street. The bus is now blocking most of the road, and the aliens have continued attacking cars as they proceed down 7th. Depending on the continued behavior of the aliens, surrounding streets may come under attack as well.
Kit and Lady Dusk jump on their motorcycles to reach the battle scene, Nemus Vir riding with Lady Dusk. Human Force, Lou, and Catalyst stay with Sidestep while he creates a long-range wormhole to bring them ahead of the chase. They arrive to see Lou II speeding past in a car, the alien spaceship in pursuit. Bazza Saka, Farat'anupp, and Ssssthelen exit the spaceship to fight the heros while the spaceship itself continues ahead chasing Lou II, with Karrk Brrg still on board.
Many of the heros are again paralyzed by one of Ssssthelen's stasis grenades, and Lady Dusk is again knocked out by Bazza Saka's flechettes. A battle of attrition follows, with the heros slowly getting the advantage of the three aliens. The aliens attempt to retreat, but Ssssthelen and Farat'anupp are captured. Meanwhile, SWEAT reinforcements have shown up to help Lou II in the form of a stealth gravcopter, which duels the alien spaceship with Lou II's help. Both vehicles are damaged, and both withdraw, with Karrk Brrg emerging from the spaceship to fight Lou II directly. Karrk Brrg's incineration beam knocks out Lou II, and he is taken captive. The alien spaceship returns to the site of the other fight to try to rescue the captive aliens, but is struck down by the heros' massed attack. Karrk Brrg and the pilot Bibble try to fight, but are quickly taken captive as well.
The two Lous compare notes and determine that Lou II is a duplicate, created somehow by a gun of Karrk Brrg's during the fight in Central Park. He woke up on the moon a day after the battle in Central Park as a captive of the bounty hunters. He escaped, returned to New York, and has been under constant attack by the aliens ever since. A SWEAT team shows up to take custody of the aliens and their equipment, under the leadership of Mariella Salas. Lou holds back the duplication gun, under protest from Mariella, and passes it to Lady Dusk for examination.
Session 28 (Played June 8, 2009)
Cutaway, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2058:
Gordon Smelt, the CEO of Liandri Corporation, lies on his bed. His shriveled body is surrounded by machines, tubes inserted into his body at various points and monitoring devices quietly beeping to indicate his vital systems continue to function. At age 123, he would be long dead but for these machines, but while his body is decrepit, his piercing eyes indicate his mind is clear.
He is watching Ryan Gleason, who has just entered the room. Gleason speaks. "The new installation is essentially complete. With the Warchild Crime Act to insulate us from liability, we are ready to resume the enhancement program once we have a new set of subjects. I just need your approval to proceed with Stage I."
Smelt responds, his voice grating, a mere whisper, amplified to audibility by yet another machine. "Do it. But no screw-ups this time. After the last break-in, our stock dropped 50 points. If that happens again, I'll have your head."
"Don't worry," answers Gleason, a malevolent smile on his face. "This time, none of our subjects will be giving media interviews."
Nemus Vir encounters Caitlin Sands in Central Park, taking clippings of a bush he caused to grow and entangle the alien bounty hunters. He argues with her and tries unsuccessfully to get the Central Park groundskeepers to shut down her sample taking. Human Force and Sidestep learn of Salman Al-Farouk, a Warchild who is using his ability to transform into water to rob jewelry stores. A surprise attack from Sidestep knocks out Al-Farouk, and they turn him over to the authorities. One of Catalyst's poker buddies, Gerry Kammerlitz, has joined a cult called the Machine Children, and at the request of Gerry's wife, Catalyst rescues him so he can be deprogrammed by Dr. Sarah Wen.
Kit receives a mysterious message from someone called "Jeni." Attached to the message is a picture of a Warchild being experimented on by some scientists, time-stamped about a month before the heros broke into Liandri's facility. Hacking into DMV records, Kit identifies some of the scientists as residents of the Los Angeles area, but the message seems to have originated from a Liandri administrative building in San Francisco. She consults the other heros, and they eventually identify the Warchild in the picture as one who was held captive by Liandri, but who died under experimentation. Kit and Jeni exchange some additional cagy messages, although Jeni takes weeks to respond.
Chao Su has been attacking Liandri employees under the pseuodnym Frostburn, and has come across a flexsheet containing encrypted information about a Liandri project called Heavyweight, which seems to involve Howard Chambers, a Warchild transferred from the Newman Institute, but who was missing when the heros rescued Chao Su, Nemus Vir, and the other Warchildren. The flexsheet also contains blueprints for a new Liandri base in the Adirondacks, and the heros, accompanied by Chao Su and Sidestep, decide to attack it to rescue Howard Chambers and hopefully find additional incriminating information on Liandri's plans. The base is built into a mountainside, and Sidestep teleports the heros in groups into the hidden entrance cavern and helipad. They take an elevator down into the base proper and defeat a group of guards in the entrance room. Kit heads for the server room and takes control of the computer. She scans the security cameras for the base, identifies more guards in barracks, and locks them in. Lou II remains with Kit as a guard, while the other heros head to a large circular room where Howard Chambers is chained up. They enter, but learn that it is a trap when they are greeted by Ryan Gleason on the room's video screen. Hidden panels open in the floors of the surrounding hallways, revealing Liandri forces ready to close in.
Session 29 (Played June 17, 2009)
Excerpt, testing data on Howard Chambers:
Formula F-15-S-3 has been completely successful to date. The subject was started on a course of twice-daily injections three weeks ago, and has subsequently experienced an 731% increase in muscle mass and a 156% increase in epidermal tensile strength. Metabolism remains within the subject's normal parameters. All biochemical indicators are within acceptable levels. Psychiatric evaluation indicates high levels of stress, but only within acceptable levels. There are no indications of catatonia or psychosis.
The battle is joined. The heros are shocked when Howard Chambers - Heavyweight - is released from his chains and begins to fight on the Liandri side rather than joining his would-be rescuers. Initially, Lou I faces up against Hybrid, Nemus Vir against Lost Boy, Catalyst against a group of agents, and Frostburn against Heavyweight while the other heros attack the Achilles Armor and agents blocking the south exit from the room. A semi has taken away from Kit control of the room's doors, but Kit manages to hack into a hidden partition of the computer network and regain control. The agents quickly burn through the doors and re-enter the room, but the maneuver has gained the heros a little bit of time to make a fighting retreat to the south. The heros have trouble penetrating the Achilles Armor's force field, but still manage to get ahead of the bulk of the Liandri forces. They fly up the elevator shaft to the entrance cavern, disabling the elevator behind them, and escape the complex.
Session 30 (Played July 15, 2009)
New York Times, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2058:
Historical Necklace To Go On Display Despite Questions
In the 18th century, a fabulous diamond necklace made by the King of France for his mistress helped bring about the French Revolution and the end of the French monarchy. This Saturday, the famous necklace will be available for viewing at a special one-day exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Or will it? The provenance of the necklace on display is unclear. What is certain, however, is that the diamonds are real and the necklace is indeed fabulous.
[This event takes place a week after the adventure "Two For the Price of One":] Dai Paragon's lab security system goes off, notifying her that Vox is stealing a laser from the lab. She confronts Vox at home and finds the laser. Furious, she attacks and knocks out Vox, ties her up, and copies the address book and data from Vox's phone. She also calls the police, who bring them both to the local police station, where Dai and Vox file complaints against each other: Vox is accused of theft and Dai is accused of assault. They are both released.
A cave-in interrupts construction work on the group's underground base. Catalyst is called in to investigate and bring in a replacement repeater so the digging robots can receive instructions. Kit is inducted into the group of heros, and given one of Fred's camera/communicators. She also receives another message from Jeni, indicating that Jeni is a captive of Liandri. Kit responds that she will help her.
Dai and Jeremy White, Kit and her sister Maya, John Stronghold and Kara, and Catalyst all decide to attend a special one-day exhibit of a valuable necklace. While they are there, a large flock of birds breaks through the skylight and steals the necklace. Kit manages to knock the necklace from the birds' grasp by making an athletic leap. A very fast man in a blue suit intervenes, attacking her. Lady Dusk and Human Force are limited in being able to respond by their need to protect their secret identities. The birds recover the necklace, but Catalyst is able to grab it away from them and turn desolid. He escapes into the rest of the museum, and the birds ultimately give up. Kit notices the birds are being controlled by radio signals, but the signals dissipate before she is able to trace them to their source. By searching the insurance records for the exhibit, Kit is able to identify the necklace's owner, Martin Hildebrand, but he is unwilling to talk to her.
Session 31 (Played September 10, 2009)
SWEAT Lab Report Summary, December 18, 2058:
We have verified that the chips operate identically. Their internal function remains a mystery, but we have made substantial progress decoding their interface with the human brain. The chips are attached via regular wires to neuron cell bodies in the motor planning center, and communicate via electrical impulses. However, either the chips are shielded or use some unknown communication method internally, as we can detect no electrical signals inside. We have definitely identified the mechanism by which magnetic interference causes a minor seizure, and are embarking on a series of tests which we hope will pin down the cause of the other neural side-effects of the chip.
Lady Dusk and Kit investigate the man in the blue suit who intervened in the museum robbery. The same man seems to have attacked some alien tourists two years ago, and a similar blue suit, although perhaps not with the same wearer, appeared on camera during a break-in at a Warchild care facility ten years before. Jimmy Jenkins gets into debt and calls up Catalyst to protect him again. Catalyst invites him to New York and helps him get a job at the Sunken Treasure Casino. Lou and Lou II undergo extensive testing by SWEAT, which is trying to understand how their implanted chip functions and how it is malfunctioning to cause Lou's headaches and blackouts. They make little progress on understanding the chip itself but at least believe they can eliminate the defects through neurosurgery. Lou II undergoes the procedure first, and Lou I is asked to keep an eye on him for a month to see if there are any side effects of the procedure. Lou II does seem more sensitive to magnetic fields, but no longer takes damage from turning back time.
New York has been suffering a significant increase in harrassment of Warchildren. In some cases, the Warchildren have used their powers to strike back, and have been arrested for using their powers in a crime (assault). Nemus Vir is one of those arrested. Lou II gets a premonition that Alexa Ramirez is in trouble and arrives in time to drive off the people harrassing her. In the process he demonstrates not just the new premonition power, but an increased teleport range relative to Lou I.
A few days later, Lou II attacks Human Force on his way home from work, after accusing him of betraying the heros. Human Force calls for help and Sidestep arrives in time to help drive off Lou II. Lou I and Lou II talk, with Lou II explaining that he is now catching more extensive glimpses of the future and that Human Force is a threat. Human Force tells the rest of the heros that he is blameless. The heros agree to meet Lou II in a bar, leaving Human Force behind. When they arrive, Lou II explains that his implant is functioning much better now and that he can see a variety of possible futures. The group, he says, will turn on him. Then the ceiling collapses.
Session 32 (Played September 24, 2009)
New York Times top headlines, Wednesday, January 22, 2059:
Metro: U.N. evacuated due to bomb hoax
Metro: Automated factory burns, arson suspected
Business: Liandri announces new energy-absorbing force field
Nation: Warchild crime rate skyrockets in new year
World: Indonesian civil war enters 15th year with no resolution in sight
Galaxy: Howchatzupi aliens, once commonplace in Galactic Union, now nowhere to be found
The heros fight Lou II in the bar, and slowly wear him down. Human Force and then a SWEAT team show up, and Lou II flees. Lou I is asked to contact his superior, Bob Thallan, and brief him on what has happened. SWEAT scientists rush to put together a magnetic gun to take advantage of Lou II's greater susceptibility to magnetic fields, and the heros look unsuccessfully for Lou II everywhere Lou I can think of.
The following morning, Lou II contacts Lou I and challenges him to a one-on-one fight. Lou II insists that the future in which he fights the heros is better for him than the one where he ends up dissected to see how the chip works, and reminds Lou I that he will be able to detect any traps via foresight. Lou I delays fighting until SWEAT's magnetic gun is ready, but then faces him that evening when Lou II indicates that he has spirited away Lou's father. They play cat-and-mouse inside an apartment building while the other heros rush to help them. Lou II has just about triumphed, knocking out Lou I and capturing the magnetic gun, when Lady Dusk arrives, driving Lou II off.
Session 33 (Played Oct. 22, 2009)
Flashback, 3 months earlier, SWEAT classified briefing:
Mariella Salas, SWEAT xenopsychologist, stands in a conference room before a group of about 20 SWEAT personnel, both soldiers and scientists. "As you know, we are due to turn over the captured bounty hunters to Galactic Union authorities in three days, so we elected for the most efficient interrogation methods. As some of you may not yet know, we have a device which can extract information from any intelligent mind. Accuracy and efficiency are estimated at 80%. Further details are need-to-know only.
"Top priority was learning how the duplication gun functions. The Lurblurn Blibble Tan Bloob is the most technically knowledgeable of the captured aliens, but he does not know how it works. The gun is apparently legacy technology from a now-extinct species. He was, however, fully knowledgeable as to how to operate the gun. The gun itself merely records the copy. The duplication vat is used to grow the duplicate recorded by the gun."
Lou II has told Lou that their father is waiting in the train station. Lou goes there to find his father, and the others accompany him. Lou brings his father to Philadelphia instead of Boston, where Lou II was apparently headed. Lou and Lou II talk by communicator, and Lou II agrees that he will not further bother Lou for the moment.
The heros decide, at Human Force's suggestion, to investigate the duplication gun further at Lady Dusk's home lab. They plan to try to duplicate a transmitter to see if a second copy appears somewhere within range. However, the duplication gun doesn't seem to be working: no beam appears when it is fired.
Sidestep tries to take the gun and teleport away, but Lou turns back time and stops him by attacking him, knocking him out. Human Force attacks Lou, but matters are starting to get back under control when Lady Dusk hears a SWEAT team landing on the roof. Lou, Lady Dusk, and Catalyst go up to the roof to investigate. The SWEAT commander orders Lou to stand down, but he and the others fight back and capture the 6-person squad. However, Human Force, left downstairs with Kit, attacks her and takes the duplication gun. He wakes Sidestep and the two of them escape.
Cutaway, January 24, 2059:
Human Force flies up to his rendezvous point with Sidestep and lands beside him. The dark mouth of a forming wormhole is visible as Sidestep works to create a wormhole large enough to take the two of them far from any pursuit. He is engrossed in the task, so much so that he does not even notice when Lou II appears behind him.
"Look out -" warns Human Force, but too late. A powerful telekinetic grip seizes Sidestep, squeezing the breath out of him and separating him from the duplication gun. Human Force launches a force blast at Lou II, but it largely spends itself on his protective force field. Then Lou II is gone with the duplication gun. Sidestep falls to his knees, gasping for breath.
The heros negotiate with SWEAT through Bob Thallan. They agree to release the captured SWEAT agents in return for non-interference from SWEAT and a request for leniency for Lou's disobeying orders and fighting the SWEAT team. The heros have received no word from Human Force or Sidestep.
Kit receives another message from Jeni, indicating that Jeni is being held in the Liandri facility outside Los Angeles that the heros visited before. She requests a list of information the heros want to retrieve and biometric data on the heros to enter into the Liandri database so that they can enter the facility. Jeni's message also points towards another person she has been in contact with, FBI Special Agent Jack Wildhen. Kit investigates Jack to make sure he is not a Liandri plant of some sort and makes contact with him, and they agree to join forces. Lady Dusk prepares some fake biometric data to send Jeni, and the heros wait for three weeks until Jeni sends her next message, with a map of the facility and instructions where to go within it.
The heros manage to enter the Liandri complex without incident. Jeni has indicated that the heros are unlikely to be able to achieve all objectives without setting off an alarm, so they split up. Lou is sent to retrieve information from one building on corporate espionage, particularly relating to thefts from Lady Dusk's lab. Kit goes to another building to rescue Jeni. Lady Dusk goes back to the building where the Warchildren were being held to retrieve recordings of the experiments and whatever other data they can on the captured Warchildren. Catalyst and Jack wait outside the central bunker, prepared to assault it to destroy the central computer controlling the complex's defenses, allowing them to escape once they have retrieved the desired information.
Kit finds she is authorized for access to the building where Jeni is being held, and once inside receives direct instructions from Jeni. Jeni, as it turns out, is an AI, and Kit is supposed to remove her memory core and reconstruct sufficient processing power to run Jeni afterwards. It takes her some time to disconnect all the necessary wires without setting off any alarms, but she manages it. Meanwhile, Lady Dusk has more trouble entering the Biological Experiments lab. She manages to take apart the authentication system on the front door and enters, quickly locating the computer room. However, she sees it is occupied. She assaults a woman working in an office and uses her computer to hack into the building's fire alarm, setting it off and clearing out the computer room. She enters and begins to remove hard drives which she hopes contain the requisite data on Warchild experimentation. Lou is also initially stymied by the door of his building, but finds a window and teleports past it. However, he has similar trouble entering a lot of labs inside, and largely wanders the halls waiting for a security alarm to go off so he can start breaking into labs. Jack tries to bypass the lock for the central bunker while Catalyst slips inside to explore.
Kit, leaving the room with Jeni's hardware, encounters a suspicious Liandri employee. The woman knocked out by Lady Dusk awakes and calls security, setting off a complex-wide alarm. Kit runs for the doors, and Catalyst hits an emergency exit button, letting Jack into the bunker.
Session 35 (Played Jan. 12, 2010)
Liandri Special Projects division, Samurai project progress memo, Mar. 18, 2058:
... so while complete control of the subject has been established, motion planning was not as smooth as required for effective combat applications. We believe that the problem can be solved with a denser net of neural implants, but the current subject cannot be refit without too much damage to make him useful. Therefore, we recommend terminating Samurai 2 and engaging a new subject to test the refined implant mechanism.
Jack activates his jet pack to quickly fly around a corridor encircling the defense bunker to reach a door to the central chamber while Catalyst simply turns desolid and walks through the wall. Catalyst fights and destroys a combat robot in the central chamber. Jack dodges through a hail of bullets from the automated machine guns, but has more trouble with the second combat robot guarding the door. It knocks him out, then moves to confront Catalyst.
Meanwhile, Kit tries to leave the Advanced Intelligence lab to find a force field has been activated to contain Jeni. Jeni's dumbed-down avatar warns Kit that the cyborg Samurai 3 has been activated. Kit heads inside to find a terminal where she can somehow convince the building to lower the containment field. However, before she can do so, Samurai 3 finds her. It surprises her with its stealthy approach and knocks her out.
Lady Dusk grabs hard drives from the computer room in the Biological Experiments lab, then goes to see if she can find a terminal to deactivate the force field blocking Kit. She fails to do so, and when she hears the slithering sound of Hybrid's snake form approaching, runs for the door. Hybrid catches her before she escapes and squeezes her into unconsciousness. However, she is saved when Frostburn shows up. Together, they barely manage to drive off Hybrid.
Frostburn has escaped again from the Liandri cells, and is accompanied by a silent man and a woman with an IV, also escaped prisoners. Lady Dusk helps move them out of the building, pursued by more Liandri guards. Catalyst, pulling on his last reserves of energy, manages to defeat the second robot, then grabs Jack and pulls him to safety. The two of them begin demolishing the computers, defense equipment, and fusion plant in the central chamber. Kit awakes slung over the shoulder of the now-motionless Samurai 3 cyborg. She runs for the outside of the building to find that Catalyst and Jack's destruction of the central computer deactivated the force field containing her. She joins Lady Dusk and the escaped prisoners, but they are pinned down by the fire of a large group of guards. Jeni activates a virus she implanted in the base's vehicles, causing them to attack the guards.
The group piles into one of the vehicles, which stops to pick up Catalyst, Jack, and Lou, who finishes off his search of the technology lab. The complex's defensive screen is down too, so the heros are able to drive off into the desert, where they are picked up by Fred. Fred drops off Frostburn and the two escaped prisoners in Boston, where they can find a street doctor for the woman.
The story of Earthrise continues with year 3.