Earthrise Campaign: Year 3
This page just covers the story for year 3 of the Earthrise campaign. For other segments of the story, see:
Session 36 (Played Feb. 9, 2010)
New York Times, Wednesday, February 19, 2059:
Liandri Executive Missing, Blamed for "Abuses"
Liandri Corporation's Vice-President for Special Projects Ryan Gleason was reported missing yesterday, along with a large amount of technical data collected by his division. A Liandri spokesman said a routine audit of Gleason's division had uncovered a variety of abuses, including unauthorized experimentation on Warchildren, and that the company believed Gleason had fled the country to avoid possible criminal charges.
Lady Dusk takes charge of looking through the Liandri data, and that occupies most of her spare time. She is primarily interested in evidence that Liandri was behind the thefts from her lab, but the heros are also looking for definitive proof that Liandri has broken the law. There is a great deal of footage of experiments on Warchildren, but it is not immediately obvious if any of it is illegal, given certain provisions of the Warchild Crime Act and Liandri's claim that the Warchildren agreed.
Fred collects the camera/communicators from the heros, explaining that he has finished filming the documentary and now only needs to perform final editing. Jack reports to his superior, who suggests that without really clear-cut evidence, any new case against Liandri will again be squashed for political reasons. Lou is transferred away by SWEAT in order to avoid conflicting loyalties with the heros. The heros' underground base is largely finished, and Catalyst moves in. Kit starts work on a computer system powerful enough to run Jeni.
Some weeks later, Jack is assigned a case to investigate four bodies which were washed ashore. They bear incisions and puncture wounds which are oozing some alien-looking blue slime. They are all people who have been reported missing in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey over the past few months, and forensics work suggests they were all located in Northern Pennsylvania before their deaths. However, an analysis of ocean currents suggests they came from somewhere in the ocean. Jack talks to a reporter named Sara Galvaston from the magazine Sky Eye who was filming the bodies and suggests she let him know if she gets any further tips.
Feedback is given a mission by ERP along with Talon and four other agents. Talon leaves the van to try to track the target and Feedback takes the opportunity to escape. He shakes the pursuit from the agents, then begins looking for a way to synthesize his mineral substitute, and finds a store selling appropriate equipment. However, he doesn't have enough money to buy what he needs, so offers to repair a broken electronic neural stimulator in exchange. He needs a new part for it, and the store owner directs him to the Junkmart.
Kit is also at the Junkmart, looking at flying mini-cameras, perhaps to fire from a new launcher she has designed. Feedback notices the four ERP agents trying to sneak up on him and runs for it. As he nears the edge of the Junkmart, one fires at him, hitting a spectator. This prompts Kit to intervene. Kit and Feedback defeat all four agents. Meanwhile, Human Force has also been sent to collect Feedback and is present at the Junkmart. He joins in, trying to take Feedback, but Kit remains angry from their last encounter and attacks Human Force. A three-way battle ensues, with Feedback trying to get free, Human Force trying to capture him and restrain Kit without hurting her, and Kit trying to take down both of them until she can figure out what is going on. She calls Jack and Catalyst to come to her aid, but before they arrive, Feedback manages to break a hole in the wall of the adjacent building and escape through it.
Session 37 (Played Mar. 12, 2010)
ERP Asset Summary:
Feedback is an augmented Warchild. His natural powers include the ability to produce four different kinds of "bursts" which are effective attacks, but only against nearby opponents. His primary augmentation is an implanted computer modulator which converts his burst attacks into noise fields which provide effective defensive countermeasures against a variety of attacks. His envisaged primary use is therefore to provide cover for a team facing varied opponents or an opponent of unknown capabilities.
As a warning, this asset has sometimes refused to perform as ordered. He has therefore been fitted with a restraining device, and any team to which he is assigned should keep the control for the device on-hand.
Feedback tries to escape through a clothing store, but Human Force and Kit are faster, so Feedback surrenders. Feedback explains he is escaping ERP. Kit and Human Force negotiate that Kit will take Feedback for the moment and talk to him to figure out what is going on, then call Human Force. Kit tells Feedback he is emitting a tracking signal, so they stop and Feedback deactivates the transmitter with an EMP burst.
Jack and Catalyst join Kit and Feedback at Jack's apartment. They talk and Feedback explains that he was captured and experimented on by ERP. He escaped when he, Talon, and a group of ERP agents were given a mission to track down an alien masquerading as human. Feedback also explains that he needs to take a mineral supplement periodically, and Kit goes off to get the equipment needed to synthesize it.
While Kit is away, Jack gets a call from Sara Galvaston, who wants to meet him at a coffee shop to discuss a lead in the case. She explains that she tracked the trail of the bodies out into the ocean and wants Jack's help getting a submarine to explore underwater where the trail ends. On her way out, Jack notices she is followed by Talon. She attempts to lose Talon in an alley, but he attacks her. Meanwhile, Human Force is also tracking Talon. Jack and Human Force drive Talon away, and Jack brings Sara back to his apartment for safety.
Feedback identifies her as the target of his mission from ERP. Sara reveals that she is a Galactic Police officer conducting an undercover investigation of unlicensed human experimentation by a Galactic crime syndicate. The heros agree that they need to take care of Talon to prevent him from killing Sara before they continue with the investigation. They contact Human Force and agree to join forces to hunt Talon, while Human Force agrees to not attack Feedback. Human Force's allies are tracking Talon and the heros head off to Talon's current location.
Session 38 (Played Mar. 25, 2010)
Cutaway, Monday, Mar. 3, 2059:
Kyle Smythe looks up as Keith Monroe enters his office. "Well?"
"Feedback's tracer has gone dead and SWEAT is pulling off his case," Keith reports, looking like he would rather be almost anywhere else.
Kyle's face darkens. "And Talon?"
"Still at large."
"You ERP clowns need to get your operatives under control ASAP so we can concentrate on this alien. Stop messing around and get the job done."
Keith retreats from Kyle's anger and closes his door. He stops in the hallway outside and broods for a minute, then pulls out his phone and makes a call.
"I need your organization's help controlling a situation ...."
The heros follow Talon's beacon to an apartment building. Outside it is a crashed car with two wheels disintegrated by some sort of energy weapon. Talon seems to be stationary on the third floor. Most of the heros and Sara Galvaston approach through the apartment building's front entrance while Catalyst moves to come up through the floor below Talon.
However, once inside, they find Blue Lightning and group of 5 agents with armor and assault rifles approaching the door of the room where Talon is hiding. Some of the agents attack Feedback, identifying him as their other target, while the others go after Talon. Talon bursts out of the room, and initially tries to capture Sara. Blue Lightning and the agents split their attention between Talon and Feedback while the other heros concentrate on Talon. Catalyst comes up through the floor and finds the room where Talon was occupied by Whiplash and Smokescreen.
Talon turns his attention to fighting off Human Force and Kit, Blue Lightning attacks Feedback, Jack faces Smokescreen and the remaining agents, and Catalyst fights Whiplash. The heros eventually manage to drive off Blue Lightning, Whiplash, and Smokescreen, who takes one agent with him while escaping. The remaining 4 agents are left behind unconscious. Talon is taken down by Kit's tranquilizer darts and Jack's knockout grenades before he can escape with Sara. The ERP agents show up to claim Talon and Sara (unaware that Feedback is also present), but Jack claims jurisdiction, and the ERP agents back off without a fight.
Session 39 (Played April 7, 2010)
A promotion for the Eggrookgg release of the movie Earthrise:
A primitive planet, torn with violence. [Shot of anti-robot riots.] Diabolical criminals walk its cities. [Ryan Gleason's face appears with his lips in a derisive scowl.] Now, one brave Galactic citizen has taken his life into his hands to help bring order to this young civilization, recruiting the planet's most powerful heros to help him. [Quick shots of Lou, Lady Dusk, Jack, Techia, Nemus Vir, Kit, Robo-Shocker, Human Force, and Catalyst.]
Earthrise, available soon.
The following day, the heros rent a submarine and travel to the start of the slime backtrail from the bodies washed ashore. At the ocean bottom, they find a torn net with three more bodies caught in it. Further investigation of the missing people reveals that two of their cell phones were tracked to a location in the forest in northern Pennsylvania, and one of the newly discovered bodies is missing from near there as well. Sara receives a lab report on the slime in the bodies which says that it is a transforming agent apparently intended to transform a human into a Paraplothian, an alien species with two arms and four legs, although clearly the substance did not perform its function. She has come to Earth to investigate reports of illegal experimentation on humans by Galactic citizens, and this is apparently the form the experimentation has taken. Fred informs the heros that his movie is completed and that he is planning a promotional tour to leave Earth in about a week. Human Force, Kit, Jack, and Catalyst agree to come. Robo-shocker, Lady Dusk, Lou, and Nemus Vir do not. Fred agrees to also bring Sara and Feedback, who welcomes the opportunity to at least temporarily escape from his pursuers.
The heros visit the location last identified for the cell phones and find a large perfectly round clearing in the forest filled with a fine ash. Asking around the nearby town reveals that the circle appeared about a week ago, and there was nothing there before. After consulting with the scientist who examined the circle, they conclude that the aliens had parked their spacecraft in that site and the drive incinerated the trees there previously. Since the aliens have apparently left that location, the heros return to New York.
Jack interrogates the four agent prisoners from the fight where Talon was captured and learns they are members of a secretive group called the Defenders of Humanity, and are complete xenophobes, hating Warchildren, aliens, and robots. Jack also has a conversation with Kyle Smythe, who tries to get him to arrest Sara as an alien spy. Jack refuses, arranges for Fred to take Sara off-planet, and then informs Kyle that she escaped.
The heros (minus Kit, who had a last-minute change of plans) leave Earth about a week later, landing on Eggrookgg for the premiere of Fred's movie. Sara is there waiting for them with news. The Galactic Police have tracked the slime to a lab on the planet Lasaplee. Based on its size and drive, the alien spaceship is likely of a type used by the species Al-hooo-voof. Lasaplee and the Al-hooo-voof home planet Hooofoonia are added to the schedule of planets on the movie tour. Sara remains in her human disguise, since her true form is too far from that of a Paraplothian or Al-hoo-voof for a convincing imitation.
The movie is well-received, and as the tour moves on to further planets, they even encounter growing groups of fans. The Earth-Galactic Union monetary exchange rate is poor, so everything is very expensive, but Jack and the others are able to pick up some souvenirs, including some Earthrise movie t-shirts.
Session 40 (Played April 20, 2010)
Lab report, Galactic Police, Mar. 10, 2059 [Earth calendar]:
Based on analysis of the elemental and chemical composition and size and lay pattern of the ash, the ship's drive appears to use a gravitic plasma drive with semitransparent force throttling. There are three known models of ship of about the correct size and shape that use this variety of drive. The F'f'g'r FG-56-T spacetank can be quickly discarded, as the F'f'g'r have been extinct for 12 million years, and none of their spacetanks are known to be still extent. The Azth augmented model 3 hyperyacht is still in use, but only 5 are currently registered. We consider this a less likely candidate, as the Azth territory is too far from Earth for them to be likely suspects. This leaves the Al-vooo-hoof Hemi-115F carrier. There are 4,136 of these carriers currently registered on a variety of planets, including many conveniently near Earth.
The heros arrive at Lasaplee and pose as potential investors at the lab which produced the slime. They get a brief tour of the facility. They then return that night to break in in order to access the lab's computers. They discover that Erfenel Eefal is the scientist responsible for testing the blue slime and download her messages. From them, they learn that she has been in contact with Shooo-zoot, who lives on Hooofoonia and is a suspected member of the Vvenootin. They decide to leave her for now, letting the Galactic Police arrest her later once the investigation is over.
They continue on the movie tour. On one planet, they are reunited with the Parkeena they rescued from Liandri. They arrive at Hooofoonia, which is largely inhabited by Al-vooo-hoof, a spherical species filled with hydrogen. They fly, and most of the buildings in their city float in mid-air, kept up by anti-gravity devices. The heros' first action there is to break into the house of Shooo-zoot. They bug it and download his messages. By studying them, they learn of his contacts, including Big Al, who they suspect to be the local Vvenootin head. They scout out Big Al's mansion, and learn that it is protected by some sort of alarm field. Sara indicates that they can build some shielding that will help them bypass the field and enter the mansion undetected.
Jack and Catalyst monitor Shooo-zoot's bugs while Sara, Human Force, and Feedback shop for the materials needed to build the shielding. At one store, they are mobbed by a swarm of Al-hooo-voof children wanting autographs. When the children clear out, Sara is gone. Feedback and Human Force manage to follow a car escaping from the scene, and Sara gets out at a hotel, accompanied by a human man. The pair evades Human Force and Feedback, who call Jack and Catalyst for help.
The heros enter the man's room, and a search of his belongings reveals that he is Kyle Smythe. Jack takes all his ID, cuts holes in his pants, and racks up as large a bill as he can charge to the room. He convinces the hotel reception to tell him where Kyle has called. Following up those calls leads them to a contact of Kyle's who reveals that he gave Kyle the name of a store which would be closed and therefore useful for questioning Sara privately. The heros go there, defeat Kyle, and rescue Sara. Jack takes Kyle's equipment, money, and remaining ID and drops them to the ground down below the store.
Session 41 (Played May 3, 2010)
Cutaway, Apr. 9, 2059 [Earth calendar]:
As Hooofoonia's red sun creeps over the horizon, Kyle Smythe limps into his hotel. He is dripping wet, covered with mud, and favoring his right leg. Once in his hotel room, he takes a thorough shower, then goes to change into some clean clothes. He pulls out some pants and notices a large hole in the back. Flipping quickly through his other pants, he sees they have all been cut. In rage and frustration, he bursts out, "God damn you, Jack!"
Kit finishes her business on Earth, and Fred arranges for her to join the movie tour at Hooofoonia. The heros head to Big Al's mansion, and pass the guardposts and alarm screen without being noticed. They are able to enter through a back door in the servants' sector of the mansion. They encounter and quickly defeat several small groups of servants. Questioning one of them, they ascertain that Big Al's office is in the business sector, which they can reach through the central chamber. They quickly find Big Al's office, but he is inside it, so they decide to hide in an empty neighboring office to wait for him to leave. He does leave, but only to meet a large group of guards right outside the office containing the heros. The guards hear the heros inside and attack. However, bottled up in the corridor, they are easy targets for Jack's grenades and Catalyst's sphere of implosion. Big Al escapes, but the heros are able to enter his office to plant bugs and retrieve a good deal of information on his operations. They have Kit erase the signs of their computer intrusion and otherwise attempt to make it look like a straightforward robbery, then leave.
The bugs are detected by Big Al's minions, but the heros still have enough information to make a strong case against Big Al, included detailed testing data from the experiments on Earth, and additional information about Big Al's Vvenootin colleagues. They head to the Hooofoonia premiere of Earthrise, but during the movie, Big Al and his minions attack them. After a more difficult battle, the heros once again prevail, this time capturing Big Al himself.
Session 42 (Played May 27, 2010)
Hooofoonia's top stories, April 9, 2059 [Earth calendar]:
Big Al is put in a Hooofoonia jail, and Sara Galvaston discards her human identity to head to the nearest Galactic Police outpost to deliver her evidence. She hopes that this will be enough to eliminate at least the Hooofoonia chapter of the Vvenootin and end their experiments on humans. The heros continue on their movie tour for four more planets.
At the end of the movie tour, Fred arranges to pay off his debt to Catalyst: arranging for a Galactic medical treatment for his amnesia. They visit a Gkkkthool doctor (a member of the same species as Fred), who examines Catalyst, then puts him in a memory trance. Catalyst finds himself in a Liandri lab, though one he doesn't recall, with the doctor there, who explains that they will pass through a series of scenes derived from Catalyst's memories and imagination. There are six gateways that they must pass through before they reach the culminating memory, the event that caused Catalyst's amnesia, back in this lab. Then passing through the seventh gateway will end the trance and restore Catalyst's memories.
However, as they prepare to pass through the first gateway, Lost Boy steps out of Catalyst's body and kills the doctor. In the real world, the doctor wakes up, alarmed, indicating that if Catalyst cannot find his way out of the trance by himself, he will be trapped there. Back in the trance, Catalyst attacks Lost Boy and knocks him through the gateway, then follows.
On the other side of the gateway, there is no sign of Lost Boy. Instead, Catalyst finds himself in a bar with his past and current companion heros. Landon Daniels is there as well, but he addresses Catalyst as "Bill," and urges him to go home, indicating that they have an early meeting the next day. Catalyst eventually agrees to go, and Human Force, Feedback, Kit, Jack, and Robo-Shocker join him. Techia is killed by Robo-Shocker, and Lou, Lady Dusk, and Nemus Vir all stay behind for various reasons. However, before they can leave, Human Force screams and splits into two copies of himself, which begin to fight. One wins, and the other copy dissolves into mist.
The group then leaves the bar and passes through the second gateway in the street outside. They find themselves in the desert outside Los Angeles, where Catalyst lived in the first period that he remembers clearly. They encounter an old friend of Catalyst's, Willard Jenkins, who is trying to protect a group of refugees from a swarm of mutant bandits. They easily defeat the bandits and rescue Willard and the refugees. Willard takes everyone to the underground bunker where he lives to spend the night before they proceed on through the desert. They are attacked by another group of bandits led by the Scorpion, a Warchild bandit chief. The heros make short work of the lesser mutants, but only trade some indecisive blows with the Scorpion before she retreats.
The heros then pass through the third gateway and find themselves in a child's room. A man and a woman, who address Catalyst as "Sam" and claim to be his parents, bring them outside the house, where another man and woman are waiting to take Sam away. His parents indicate that these people will now take care of him, and help deal with his powers so that he doesn't hurt anyone. Some questioning reveals the new couple work for Liandri. As the heros argue about whether to go with them, a SWEAT gravcopter appears, and a group of SWEAT agents jump out, led by the second Human Force. Most of the heros enter the Liandri van and drive off, but Feedback refuses. He is captured by the SWEAT agents and brought inside their gravcopter as the van drives through the fourth gateway.
Session 43 (Played June 7, 2010)
Liandri internal memo, Project Split Infinity, Mar. 17, 2055:
Everything checks out for tomorrow's experiment. Sam Tate's full medical has turned up no current medical conditions of concern. The test power-up for the dimensional absorber showed one power glitch, but it was well within tolerances. All project personnel are to report to Building 6C at 9 AM for set-up.
Once through the fourth gateway, the heros find themselves in front of another house, nicer than the last. A pregnant woman greets Catalyst, treating him as her husband, and indicates that one of his friends has already arrived to play poker. The friend turns out to be Lost Boy. The heros start the poker game, but Lost Boy cheats outrageously and wins. He demands payment, but Catalyst attacks him instead. Just then, SWEAT's gravcopter breaks through the wall of the house, and the SWEAT team attacks. They are still led by a copy of Human Force and now Feedback is helping them too. Lost Boy escapes, but the heros are able to defeat SWEAT. When the SWEAT Human Force is downed, Robo-Shocker sticks a grenade in his mouth, killing him. Feedback is knocked out, and when he awakes, his loyalties have been restored, and he rejoins the other heros.
The heros pass through the next gateway, finding themselves back in the desert outside Willard Jenkins' underground house. Catalyst, with his entropic vision, sees the Scorpion and a group of mutants kill Willard. The Scorpion flees, burrowing into the wall, after exclaiming she'll meet Catalyst in a specific cave in the desert. The heros travel to the cave and attack the Scorpion. She summons Willard Jenkins in zombie form to fight the heros, and Lost Boy is present as well. She also now displays the ability to grow in size, and the heros have a difficult fight on their hands. Catalyst, badly injured by a gunshot from Willard, flees through the sixth gateway, finding himself in the Liandri lab of the first memory, now fully human and lacking his powers. Lost Boy is pulled through the gateway as well, and he is now strapped down to a table in the lab. The lab is full of scientists preparing an experiment. Willard incinerates Feedback and Kit with his flamethrower, while Scorpion pursues Catalyst through the gateway. The remaining heros fight to keep Scorpion off of Catalyst, giving him time to activate the experimental equipment. The equipment explodes, reliving the accident that gave Catalyst his powers. He and Lost Boy experience a sequence of alternate lives and the final gateway appears. Catalyst passes through it and awakes.
He recounts to the other heros his experiences in the trance and the basics of his now-recovered memories. He remembers both the life of Sam Tate, a Warchild with dimensional manipulation powers who was sold by his parents to Liandri and became the subject of Liandri experiments, and of Bill Michaelson, a Liandri scientist who performed some of those experiments.
Session 44 (Played July 15, 2010)
Flashback, Mar. 24, 2059:
Kit, still covered in grease from the ventilation shaft, stands in a sparsely-lit parking lot, watching a figure approach. It is a man, tall and blonde. Kit hands him a bundle wrapped in a sheet. "There's the gravdisc."
He unwraps it slightly to peek inside and smiles. "Good. And here's your payment." He fishes an envelope out of his pocket.
Kit opens it and removes a cash card, which she tucks away without a second glance, and a smaller sealed package, which she examines eagerly. "The processor! I can't wait to get it home."
The man bows his head slightly. "It's been a pleasure working with you."
Upon returning to Earth, Jack serves as a reference for Feedback, allowing him to get an apartment without any additional background checking. However, Feedback needs to borrow some money from him to cover the first month or so. Feedback manages to find some off-the-books work repairing robots and electronic equipment. Kit answers a message from John Forthright, who hired her previously to steal a prototype personal gravdisc, and is now offering her a more regular job as a troubleshooter. However, she will have to move to San Francisco. She agrees, but checks up on John Forthright, who comes up clean for the past two years. She hopes he works for Liandri, but cannot verify that.
While preparing to move, Kit finishes putting together Jeni. Once operational, Jeni eagerly explores the world network, using every bit of bandwidth Kit can spare. However, one day, Kit returns home from some errands to find the door of her apartment has been forced and Jeni missing, or at least the parts corresponding to Jeni's higher functions. She calls Jack, who brings along Feedback in case of trouble.
They discover that the remaining parts of Jeni are still functioning and communicating by radio with something. Tracking the signal, they find Jeni, now in an unusual robotic body, dancing on the roofs of cars. She indicates that the body was made for her by another independent AI: A17F5. With some difficulty, they convince Jeni that she is making a spectacle of herself that might draw the attention of Liandri. They convince Jeni to go home with the promise of making her a less obvious robot body. However, on the trip home, she is locked out of control of the body, which breaks out of the car and runs away. The heros chase it, and four of A17F5's spidery security robots interfere. After a long fight, they manage to defeat the security robots, disable Jeni's body, and bring it back to Kit's apartment for disassembly.
Session 45 (Played October 7, 2010)
SWEAT Threat Assessment:
Recommended Strategy When Facing A17F5: A17F5 is a dangerous opponent in close combat. Ideal strategy is not to engage, but track and call in EA or air strike. If engagement is required, substantial numerical advantage is needed. A17F5's robotic minions are known to shut down after he self-destructs. Strike teams facing him should keep the other robots occupied with a light force, while sending at least a squad, preferably more, to attack A17F5 himself with concentrated fire. He moves rapidly, so a coordinated attack is essential to fence him in.
Tommy Scalia sets up a meeting with Catalyst, expressing concern about the low membership of the group, with Kit gone and Lady Dusk very busy at work. Catalyst suggests adding Feedback, checking into Human Force and Jack's availability, and searching for additional new members.
Robo-Shocker has been attacking A17F5's automated factories throughout the country, teamed with Kite and other agents. They have been trying to pinpoint the location of the radio signals controlling the factories, and hope that one more factory will suffice to give them a good fix. However, while preparing the team, the base comes under attack by a large force of robots. John Doe, fearing that A17F5 is using the attack as a distraction while he puts some plan into action, sends Robo-Shocker off to take out the factory. However, Robo-Shocker, faced with robots to fight, initially insists in participating in the defense of the base. He is knocked out by a hail of heavy machine gun fire from a large assault robot. When he awakes, the fighting is still going on, but he is able to pull himself together and follow John Doe's instructions to seek out the other heros to help him attack A17F5's factory.
After some introductions, Robo-Shocker, Catalyst, and Feedback set out to the automated factory, located near New York City. Their initial assault goes badly, but the heros are able to regroup and overcome the robots defending it. However, all the heros have been injured, Feedback severely so. They extract the required information from the automated factory's computer and return to their base to heal in the medical room. While they are recovering, John Doe calls Robo-Shocker with an update and further instructions. The source of the commands to the factories is in Yellowstone National Park, and Robo-Shocker is to proceed there to meet Kite and hunt down A17F5.
Session 46 (Played October 19, 2010)
Flashback, Sep. 9, 2059 (yesterday):
Two men sit in the control room of a missile silo. One is talking: "I still can't believe they blew it. Of course, if it hadn't been for that bogus pass interference call, they still would've -" He is cut off in mid-sentence by an alarm from the control board.
The other man pulls his chair up to the computer. "It's a breach in the silo. Why didn't the seismic alarm go off?" He taps at the computer screen. "What's wrong with this thing?"
The sports fan is meanwhile staring at the wall of the control room, which is shaking. "Bill ..." he says hesitantly.
Bill is still absorbed by the computer. "Now it's completely frozen."
"Bill!" Now he is more insistant as the shaking gets worse. He grabs for his rifle as a drill bit pierces the wall, then withdraws, revealing a dark tunnel behind a cloud of dust. The two men stare uncertainly at the hole in the wall, gripping their guns, then suddenly, two eight-legged robots burst from the tunnel. The men try to bring their rifles to bear, but they are too slow, as bursts of focused sound from the robots throw them back against the control panel.
The computer screen clears and restarts, now showing the silo itself, where more robots exit a similar hole and begin clambering onto the missile ...
Human Force and SWEAT Lieutenant Jenny Lin are called in for a briefing. Robots have stolen a nuclear warhead, and SWEAT believes it has been brought to Yellowstone National Park. They are sent there with three squads of agents to retrieve the warhead and stop whatever A17F5 plans to do with it. One theory is that the robot is hoping to use the warhead to set off a major volcanic event, resulting in a potentially global catastrophe. Arriving in Yellowstone, the SWEAT team encounters Catalyst, Robo-Shocker, and Feedback talking with Kite. The two groups compare notes and agree to team up to stop A17F5.
SWEAT has brought seismic scanners, and using them, the groups locate an artificial underground tunnel with a concealed entrance. They proceed inside, avoiding a pit trap near the end of the tunnel, where it opens up into a more extensive tunnel network. They are attacked by a group of A17F5's security robots, but the combined firepower of the heros and SWEAT quickly destroys the attackers.
Session 47 (Played Nov. 2, 2010)
Defenders of Humanity technical report:
The new assault robots are dangerous opponents. They are heavily armored and can take an enormous amount of punishment without any apparent loss of function. They have highly accurate targeting systems and numerous weapon systems. Their main drawback is that they are somewhat slow, presenting easy targets. Despite a relatively slow reaction time, when there are no obstacles in the way, they can still run down an unaided human. The three participating in the attack on our base were only taken down after concentrated heavy fire, and only after inflicting severe damage.
The main gun is an extremely dangerous weapon, capable of taking out a heavily armored defensive emplacement in one shot. Luckily, it takes a long time to warm up and fire, and it appears that the robot cannot engage in other attacks during that time, so the gun is only used against fixed emplacements. The main anti-personnel weapons are two heavy machine guns, which inflicted heavy casualties on our troops. Attackers should not cluster, because the robots are also armed with missile launchers which can take out large groups. To counter enemy missiles, the robot has 8 point defense lasers, which it sometimes also uses in close combat.
In one of the destroyed robots, the central processor was still sufficiently intact to be worth study. Some of its source code has been extracted and is being studied now.
While the injured recuperate from the last battle, the heros scout the complex some more and find an elevator down. The radiation trail from the stolen warhead leads into it. They decide to split the group into two trips in the elevator in case it is trapped, but the first group is engaged by a large force of robots, including one large assault robot and an emplaced missile launcher. The first group, consisting of Robo-Shocker, Catalyst, Human Force, and half the SWEAT agents, manages to hold on until the second group can arrive in the second elevator load and help them finish off the robotic opposition. Almost all the SWEAT agents are knocked out in the battle, and Feedback, already wounded from the battle at the factory near New York, takes a further injury, leaving him in very bad shape.
Session 48 (Played Nov. 25, 2010)
The Yellowstone Caldera is the largest volcanic system in North America. It has been termed a "supervolcano" because the caldera was formed by exceptionally large explosive eruptions. [...] Each of the three climax eruptions released vast amounts of ash that blanketed much of central North America, falling many hundreds of miles away. The amount of ash and gases released into the atmosphere probably caused significant impacts to world weather patterns and led to the extinction of many species, primarily in North America.
The heros move everyone into an isolated room to rest, and a few of them explore the remainder of the second level while the SWEAT agents recuperate. However, while they are resting, A17F5 has been preparing the bomb, with which he intends to set off the Yellowstone Caldera. In preparation, he sets off explosives designed to collapse much of the tunnel complex. The heros head towards the down elevator, attempting to reach the warhead before it goes off, but the group encounters A17F5 and a number of robots leaving the complex. After a short but intense battle, A17F5 falls to concentrated fire from the SWEAT agents. Before he self-destructs, Feedback manages to push him into Kite's jamming field, blocking the radio signal that should trigger his backup copy.
However, the nuclear warhead is still armed and missing, and the complex is collapsing, leaving little time to escape. A small group of heros proceeds to the third level to locate the warhead while the few conscious SWEAT agents try to wake enough of their team to get moving out of the complex. The advance party finds the warhead hanging over a pool of lava and set to go off in a few minutes. Robo-Shocker and Catalyst remain behind to disarm it, while the rest of the heros join the SWEAT team in leaving the tunnel system before it collapses. Robo-Shocker succeeds in disarming the bomb, which they cut loose and dump into the lava pool. However, they've taken too long, and the exit is now blocked by tons of rubble. Catalyst's entropic vision is able to locate a gas vent leading to the surface, but it was blocked by A17F5's robots. Catalyst fetches some explosives from the SWEAT agents, and with them Robo-Shocker is able to break through the seal and escape.
Session 49 (Played Dec. 7, 2010)
Beacon from L5 Colony Haven:
All spacecraft are forbidden to dock at Haven. Haven is under complete quarentine. Minimum distance of 5 km must be observed at all times. There are no exceptions. Violaters will be presumed hostile and will be fired upon without warning.
Judge Rico Dredd of the space station Haven is called to investigate a body found in a composter. By checking the security camera recordings near the composter, Rico discovers the dead woman, Susan O'Malley, seems to be responsible for killing herself. He goes to check up on her, and she tries unsuccessfully to attack him, revealing that she is a shapeshifter, then flees the station. He gets clearance from the station's Council to follow her to Earth. Council member Brea Han warns him about Earth and gives him a contact number for help there.
He lands near where the shapeshifter did, and asks around at a few houses, where he learns that he is near New York City. He also calls the contact number Brea gave him, which turns out to be for John Doe. John Doe suggests that the shapeshifter would have hidden in the city, so Rico follows. He has no Earth money, but makes a deal with a hotel clerk that allows him to stay two nights there in exchange for some manual labor and chasing away some homeless people who have been rummaging in the hotel's dumpster.
Feedback has been called to fix a wall video panel, but it is a trap. He is ambushed by Double Trouble and a large group of thugs, who are trying to collect a bounty on him. Rico is nearby and tries to intervene. Feedback escapes, with Rico in close pursuit. Human Force is nearby as well and captures three more thugs. Feedback, Human Force, and Rico discuss Earth laws and Rico's pursuit of the shapeshifter. They return to Rico's spaceship, now surrounded by police tape, to call Haven. Brea reveals that they have discovered the shapeshifter entered the space station from outside shortly before the murder. Brea suggests that the shapeshifter is a spy from Earth and repeats her earlier caution about mutants on Earth. The heros then separate and return to New York.
Session 50 (Played Dec. 27, 2010)
Police Beat News Capsule, November 22, 2059:
An alien visiting Earth attacked diners at the restaurant Sweet Generis in Manhattan. The creature, identified as an asthelenian, a two-legged reptilian species, burst into the restaurant past the maitre d' and began striking at customers unprovoked. Police were called and restrained the hostile alien.
Attached video clip: The asthelenian, in handcuffs and being led away by police, makes hissing sounds translated by a gem around its neck. "The birthing matrix is sacred! Nascent creatures must gestate undisturbed, no matter how delicious!"
Lady Dusk has been busy preparing her force field to become a marketable product for Paragon. Work finally lulls, and she decides to go shopping downtown, but once there, she discovers an alien is causing trouble. A varmeen swarm is jumping around inside a clothing store, causing chaos. Lady Dusk stuns a number of the varmeen components, which calms it down. The varmeen explains that it thought the store was a recreation area. She calls Catalyst to consult and they decide to investigate an incident the previous night with an asthelenian attacking people in a restaurant. They talk to the alien and learn that he is convinced that humans in the restaurant were eating asthelenian young. However, investigation of the restaurant reveals no evidence of such things being served. On the way home, they encounter stopped traffic on the bridge. Catalyst investigates and discovers that another alien, a flock-pllaf, has run off the side and is nearly falling. He increases his density, giving him the strength to pull it back to safety, then moves crashed cars out of the way, allowing traffic to resume. Talking with the flock-pllaf reveals that it believed the bridge curved.
Lou is assigned to learn what is causing the alien problems in New York. On his way into the city, he notices a commotion caused by a hrummpha attacking cars. He restrains it and learns that it thought the cars were erempa, a herd animal and prey of hrummpha. He sends it to SWEAT to detain it and investigate if it has ingested any toxic substances that might cause its behavior.
Lou decides to consult with Catalyst and Lady Dusk, since they were involved in the previous incidents. After a test to verify that Lou is Lou I and not Lou II, they agree on a password ("spumoni") to identify Lou I in the future. Through SWEAT, they get access to immigration records indicating that 6 groups of aliens are currently visiting New York City. Four they have already encountered. They go looking for the other groups. One is a group of 3 korfarrians, who apparently have already left the city. Another is a large group of piddlewinks, and the heros warn them and stay to guard them in case they are attacked.
While there, they get word that two flock-pllaf are attacking people not too far away. One is the one saved by Catalyst earlier; the other is his mate. They rush to the scene. Lou and Catalyst subdue the aliens, learning that they believed they were under attack by some humans and fought back. Lady Dusk hears a retreating sonic boom sound and pursues it, hoping to find the culprit. She overhears Blue Lightning trying to recruit Mindstorm for the Defenders of Humanity before she is discovered. The two villains attack her and make their escape.
Session 51 (Played Jan. 5, 2011)
Excerpt from website alienspotter.com:
Karoo: The karoo are perhaps the most elusive of known alien species. They are a species reknowned for their shapeshifting ability. They can take the form of virtually anything they like, making a nearly perfect copy. None are known to have visited Earth, but of course, if they did, we'd have no way of knowing.
The heros call Jack for consultation on the cases facing them. Lou, Catalyst, and Jack decide to pursue Mindstorm, checking up on whether she could work for immigration services in New York, but turning up no good leads. Rico is contacted again by John Doe, who offers him money and an opportunity to team up to look for the shapeshifter. He also warns Rico that a family was found murdered near Rico's landing site, and the police suspect him.
On his way to the bank, Rico is accosted by some of Double Trouble's thugs and shoots three of them. Double Trouble and another group of thugs make another try, and after a more difficult fight, Rico defeats Double Trouble and executes both twins. John Doe makes arrangements to meet him at a hotel where the murdered family's credit card was used, but on the way he is stopped by a pair of policemen. Rico surrenders to their authority, but Whiplash and Smokescreen interrupt, killing one policeman and severely injuring the other.
Rico waits outside the hotel with Whiplash, Smokescreen, and Blue Lightning, while Mindstorm searches for the shapeshifter. By questioning witnesses to Rico's rescue from the police, Jack, Lou, and Catalyst manage to locate the Defenders of Humanity and sneak up on them, taking out Smokescreen, Whiplash, and Rico with their initial attack. However, Mindstorm and Blue Lightning fight back effectively, and the Defenders of Humanity team members all escape, accompanied by Rico.
Session 52 (Played Feb. 1, 2011)
FBI Case File Summary, Group of Interest:
Group Name: Defenders of Humanity
The heros attempt to locate the shapeshifter, hoping that they can wait there for the Defenders of Humanity. They reach a dead end investigating the hotel where the credit card of the shapeshifter's victim was last used. They conclude, however, that to have shown up there, the Defenders must have a contact on the NYPD, and find out who there has accessed the file on the case. There is not a standout culprit for leaking to the Defenders, so Jack files a false report claiming that they have tied the shapeshifter to a particular shipping container at the port.
The heros lie in wait near the shipping container, but four police show up first, looking for the shapeshifter. They have a brief standoff with Jack, but then the Defenders of Humanity arrive: Whiplash, Smokescreen, Blue Lightning, Mindstorm, and Rico. Mindstorm indicates that one of the policemen is the shapeshifter. Blue Lightning attacks the police, but then is knocked out by a concerted attack from the heros. The shapeshifter seizes the opportunity to escape, while the Defenders and the heros fight. The heros gain the upper hand, and the Defenders flee, leaving behind Blue Lightning and Rico, who are captured.
The story of Earthrise continues with year 4.