Saturday, October 13, 2012

Agenda e05: Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

10/14/2012

Agenda

Episode Five

"Time"


Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

The game opens, 1997, during the Aberrant era.  (I moved the existence of Novas forward a few years.) Team Tomorrow is the pioneer heroic team of the time.   Third in popularity is the group founded by Richard Rayner which remains nameless.  With only three members so far in its roster, namely the former major football player who can transform into living steel called the Quarterback, the cantankerous blonde minor schoolgirl called Switchboard, and their no-nonsense business-minded leader Richard Rayner, the group has gained some popularity even if their tactics and skills have yet to be properly honed.


A villain calling himself the Phantomas targets the Chrysler Building.  Police calls for back up in dealing with the nova and his three accomplices.  Switchboard picks up on transmissions and quickly sends word to the others of it.  She makes her way to the building.   Along the way, she meets a woman with brown curly hair in a trenchcoat, who seems to be carrying a glowing stick in one hand.  The woman, clearly identified by others as a Nova, is allowed through and quickly rushes into the building.  Switchboard, unfortunately, opts not to nova up and finds herself told by the police to stay behind the police fences for her own safety.

When the Quarterback arrives to help out, Switchboard powers up and joins the other to discuss how to approach the building.  The explosion seems to have damaged the 23rd floor and a quick scan using the security cameras of the building reveal people frozen in place from the third all the way to the twentieth floor. Quarterback decides to head in from the outside, leaping six floors at a time and burying his hands and feet into the walls with each landing to gain more leverage.  Switchboard catches sight of the other novas.  A woman in all green who seems to have super speed.  A man in all red who seems to have some telekinetic power to fling things around.  Switchboard cannot find the two others, it seems.   

Enroute to the building, Richard Rayner finds a brown-haired woman in a trenchcoat sitting in the helicopter beside him.  Demanding for her identity, the woman admits, "I'm sorry, we haven't met yet.  I'm not supposed to be here. I don't quite control my jumps."  She fades away just as quickly as she appeared.

Switchboard realizes the three are making a bid to escape, and tries to shut down the fire doors of the building to slow their escape.  But as the woman in green drags her two companions out of the building with her, Switch realizes there was no stopping the speedster on her own.  She instead reaches out with her computer brain and theorizes where most likely the three were to end up at.  She catches the green woman's body language suggests a higher metabolism when powers are used.  The need for a concealed location near a venue where sustenance can easily be gathered was quickly calculated and Switchboard felt confident she had predicted where to find the novas once they escaped.

The Quarterback arrives at the twenty-third floor to find a woman with brown curly hair in a trenchcoat checking on some people.  Asking who she is, the woman admits time is too valuable right now and tells the Quarterback to rush the people to the nearest hospital.  She had frozen time around each one, allowing their degeneration to occur at a much slower pace.  

Richard Rayner arrives at the location to see Team Tomorrow already arriving and taking control of the area.  Not wanting to be forced away, Richard uses the Voice to convince Caestus Pax to stand aside.   The man leaves.  Richard and his assistant, a young woman whom he teasingly named "Mud" join Switchboard and the Quarterback and learn of what had transpired.  The group allow Team Tomorrow to head in now and handle the remaining damage control needed while they make their way to the location Switchboard predicted.  The diner is in slight shambles.  Debris outside the building suggest a large box was pried from a concrete area.  It soon becomes apparent to them the box was taken from the Chrysler building, and it was the time capsule that was set beside the keystone when the building was completed.

The game shifts to 1930, just as the city celebrates the finished construction of the Chrysler Building.  The heroes are with the press and congratulations are in order for a job well done.  “To the future!” they toast.  Sarah Getel talks to Max about his hair, musing she will miss the ivory comb she gave him to fix it.  Max reminds him they are now just friends.  Present are The German, The Sleepwalker, Scarlet, Phantom Face (Alexander Pope's secret identity), Maxwell Mercer, Michael Donighal and of course, Sarah Gettel.  Max has a moment of chest pain, which worries those present, but it passes.  Sarah Gettel asks about the new “member” and Phantom Face and the German throw some insults playfully at each other.   Ultimately the celebrations go well and Max reminds the others to be nice to Miss Gettel.  

The game shifts back to 1997, and the same guy now has broken into the Empire State Building.  But this time, before the heroes can get to the building, his three goons attempt to delay them.   Calling themselves Ready, Set and Go, the three goons turn out to be people who had auditioned to be part of Rayner's team in the past but were turned down.  Ready was a man named John McGraw who could launch objects at others with telekinetic force.  Set was Shelby Faust who could mentally immobilize another with a glance.  Go was Alexandra Lee who was gifted with Hypermovement.  Switchboard uses her Cyberkinesis to have a crane, then later, cars smash into Set to knock him down.  The Quarterback arrives and smashes a car down on Set to make sure he's brought down. But Go outmaneuvers her and closes in to bring her down.  Richard Rayner lands his helicopter at this moment and uses his power to shut her speed down.  As she trips and slams into the parked cards nearby, Switchboard has another car slam into Go's downed form.

But Ready finds the opening he needs and strikes at Quarterback and Rayner, enveloping them in a swirl of deadly debris.  While their armor and defenses hold, Switchboard sneaks into the building in hopes of intercepting the Phantomas.    Switchboard finds assistance in the presence of a trenchcoat-wearing woman named Mary Rose.  The woman seems to be a time-traveler, but admits to be having trouble controlling her jumps.  Mary Rose explains that the Phantomas had escaped but they might succeed in finding out what he is really trying to do.  Switchboard is unable to predict the situations events, lacking enough data to course through her computer brain.  However, she realizes if Mary Rose leaps back in time when the time capsule was first sealed, she could better computer an understanding of the events that have transpired.  Mary Rose attempts the jump.

Outside the Quarterback tears the very street out from in front of Richard Raynor, then uses it to form a wall to protect his boss from the debris.  Raynor then uses his nova power to shut down Ready's powers, giving the Quarterback the opening to slam the same wall of earth onto the man.

The game cuts back to 1931. Karl Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories discovers emissions from the center of the Milky Way, inaugurating the science of radio astronomy.  The news of this exists Benjamin Dixon and he cannot help but wonder if the Z-waves ever reached that far.  The  Empire State Building is completed and the Aeon Society is present for publicity again. Maxwell once more has chest pains.  Dixon admits, “Good thing you quit the pipe then.”  Max draws out a new one.   When asked about the pains, all he could utter is “Spice.”   Pope is seen returning from the bathroom, too late to join the group photograph.  Michael does comment how excited he is for the completion of another landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge.   The Phantom Face bumps into a reporter as he exits the bathroom.   Scarlet uses the event as the opportunity to announce her real name as she chooses to make herself known to the world.  As the reporters gather to take photos, the Phantom Face joins the rest to pose for pictures.

The year is 1932.  The Neutron is discovered.  Franklin Roosevelt becomes President.  Dixon gets even more excited about the atom.  Maxwell thinks it is a good step forward for man.  Michael Donighal however does not share that excitement.

The game then makes a leap forward to 2120.  It is the era of Aeon Trinity.  Classical music plays as Dr. Matthieu Zweilder uses is incredible mastery of Vitakinesis to slowly reweave the decimated body of Ministry Agent and Vogue Creative Director Autumn Lacierda-Wu.  Wu's body was immolated when the ship she was in exploded above the Beaulac Clinic in Luna.  But thanks to her intense Ministry training and will-to-survive, Wu retained a rudimentary consciousness even if her body was reduced to barely a tenth of its original mass.  That gave Zweilder enough to work with to bring her back.  When asked why, he explains he is determined to uncover the depths of the Huang-Marr Conspiracy and expects Wu, who owes him her life, to dedicate her focus on doing so. He insists the investigation remain a private matter and tells her she will have the assistance of one of his own Æsculapians, the survivor of the Beaulac Clinic's destruction himself, Dr. Sven Casperzak.  She agrees.

Erik Langley on the other hand busies himself reading up once more on the fragment of the Babel Dossier he has been given by the Benefactor.  The events of the Dossier fragment speak of the parallel events that occurred during 1997 as well as the events of 1930 to 1939.    Langley wonders how the team of heroes will realize the Golden Gate bridge is their next destination.

The year is once again 1997.   Switchboard gets a glimpse of how heavily fragmented and confusing Mary Rose's experiences are.  But she also learns that her jumps, while chaotic through time, are not without some level of control.  In one, she visits Rayner in his helicopter, before meeting any of them.  In another, she visits Towers in the base.  In one, she seems to leap to a glass chamber where two military-clad nazis confront a german guy in a suit about a son of his they had "created" while he was unconscious.   Eventually, she does arrive at 1931 and hides in the bathroom when she realizes she is surrounded by so many heroes.  While there, she witnesses Phantom Face enter the rest room, strip his mirrored helm, then talk to himself in the mirror about, "Staying focused on the plan.  Not allowing himself to be swayed by the fun of being in America.  And of keeping his loyalties clear.  Even if he is working so closely with 'him.'"  The white-haired man known as Alexander Pope seemingly shifts in appearance and becomes a fifteen-year old young man, before shifting back to the old man and stepping out, bumping into a reporter in the process.  Mary Rose peeks into the box and learns its contents:  A pipe.

Best of all, Switchboard learns of Michael Donighal's excitement to see the opening of the Golden Gate bridge.  For Quarterback and Switchboard, this is the best lead to follow.   Mary Rose once again fades away, jumping through time beyond her own control.   Mud, instead, who they realize is also named Mary Rose, meets them outside to tell them Rayner had taken off with the copter to chase after Caestus Pax, whom he was determined to exchange unpleasant words with.  Swallowing their pride, the team of three approach Team Tomorrow to ask for their help to get to San Francisco.  They get Slider's vote of confidence and the woman opts to take them using the Team Tomorrow ship to the other side of the United States.

Enroute, Mary Rose and Switchboard trades stories about their childhood.  Switchboard admits being a prodigy and talks of how her Eruption simply made her even better with things.  Mary Rose, on the other hand, admits she never knew her parents.  Her father, Ben Mercer, took her from the dead arms of her mother Su-Bin Song, who had shielded Mary Rose from the falling ceiling when their home collapsed from an earthquake.  Ben Mercer, however, claimed to have many things that needed his attention, and she had been left in the care of Rayner since then.  Slider asks Quarterback to consider the youth of the girls and that perhaps joining Team Tomorrow might be the better thing to do.

They arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge and make their way to the museum at the foot of the bridge.  Slider stays on the ship, ready to call for back up, while Mary Rose stays across the street to call for help if need be.   As Switchboard and Quarterback enter the museum, noticing the broken lock of the door, Switchboard uses her nova powers to locate Phantomas and finds him talking to some shady figure in the cornerstone room.  The stone was already broken, and all three black lacquer boxes were laid down beside them.  The Quarterback rushes forward, while Switchboard is delayed after she stupidly stubbed her knee on a bench.  As Phantomas steps out to go somewhere, Quarterback leaps to tackle him, but the masked villain leaps backwards fast enough in time to avoid him!  Switchboard has the lights go wild, hoping to distract the villains, not realizing Quarterback had no protection to the shifting light display either.  She mentally commands the door to shut closed, trapping Phantomas and the Quarterback inside.  Before Switchboard could get closer to help however, an older Mary Rose appears and warns Switchboard that this is a moment in time the Quarterback best go through alone.  When asked for a reason, Rose simply explains, "This is the time Quarterback needs to learn at times there is a need to take a life."  When Switchboard attempts to reason with Mary Rose, Mary Rose instead reminds Switchboard that she is doing what she has to given her knowledge of what is to come and what has happened.  And at one point remarks, "Ah yes. It hasn't happened yet.  You haven't hurt me."  Switchboard accuses Mary Rose that she is merely acting out of petty grudges.  Mary Rose corrects her, "No.  This is me keeping myself from taking vengeance.  I will never forgive you for what you have taken from me.  But that won't happen til a few years from now."

When a second attempt to tackle is done, the Quarterback learns Phantomas has the ability to literally warp movement and had Quarterback find himself falling the opposite direction.  Phantomas reveals that his body is wrapped in explosives and starts ranting about his plans to save 17 million lives.  It turns out, Phantomas has plans to try to stop the Holocaust.    But his actions may change the world as they know it.  The Quarterback rips debris from the ground and hurls it with his full strength at the villain, no longer caring if it kills him.  And true enough, the debris strikes like shots from cannon fire and Phantomas falls dead.

With the police soon arriving, and Slider vouching for the team's heroism, the villain is identified as Lawrence Cardinal, a theater actor who had erupted a few months ago while on stage.  The man called himself Face of Phantomas, seemingly after the Phantom of the Opera.  His real name was Levi Propes and his parents and family of seven siblings were killed during the Holocaust.  Propes, according to records, had limited teleportation powers.  "Who knows," Mary Rose mused, "Perhaps he could more through time as well.  This is a moving planet we are on, after all.  Point A is not necessarily in the same location as Point B at times as far as the planet's position in relation to the Sun."

The game jumps back to 1937 as we learn the closing events of what happened in that time.  With the Golden Gate Bridge completed.  Scarlet witnesses Max going emotional over a telegram he had received.   Amelia Earhart and co-pilot Fred Noonan have disappear over Pacific and Max vows to try and find her.  He wipes his tears with a handkerchief then places this in the lacquer box.  Max has another tremor.  Scarlet begs him to have it checked, but he explains the pain is self-induced.  When she tries to have him explain he merely states, "I do what I must to keep from leaving."  He prepares to begin the search, but unfortunately they are delayed when news arrives of the Hindenburg burning over Lakehurst, New Jersey.    Aeon Trinity moves to assist.

In 2120, Dr. Sven Casperzak discusses with his friend about how the past might have been a far simpler and kinder world.  Having been pelted by some people with rotten fruit, the two have experienced first hand the perils of when an Order is slowly seen as evil by the public eye.  "Consider what happened to Chitra Bahnu and Upeo Wa Macho.  What if we are next?"  He returns back to the Montressor Clinic and receives his passport to visit the Philippines.

Miss Wu packs her things for the trip to the Philippines.  She is anxious to get out.  She feels happy to be alive, but understands she owes the Order greatly for her new body.  The Opnet and news feeds are filled with speculative horror of what the Order can be doing.  She realizes this is going to be a massive affair to repair.

The two pack their bags and prepare to leave.

And finally, to close the game, it is 1939.   Maxwell Mercer speaks to the gathered Aeon Society for Gentlemen about how this is now truly the time to prove their loyalty to the country and their love for their fellow man.  The World is at war and the Nazi threat must be dealt with.  The Sleepwalker notices neither The German nor his sidekick, Phantom Face are present.  As the group readies themselves for war, the television sets are suddenly taken over by a rogue transmission:   a bald-headed man with a monocle comes onto the screen and announces himself. "I am Baron Zorbo.  Today, the people of New York City shall experience first-hand the immense and undeniable power of the Nazi Regime.  Menschheit!  Zum Himmel!"

*

Yes, this currently is probably the LONGEST post for a game update.  What can I say, this was one game I really enjoyed writing, and later, running for my players.  The complexities of time connected events, the fun of a mystery that spanned an era, the Dr. Who feel of it all, and even the immense difference in atmosphere of each era made for an awesome game.  

Yes, I will admit I fudged on many of the time lines (for example Amelia Earhart did not vanish on the very day the Hindenburg burned) but I liked changing things a bit to keep my players guessing and not make them feel like history is their cheat sheet on what is to come.  I even set the Aberrant sessions around 10 years earlier than usual (1997 instead of 2007) and made things like Team Tomorrow exist that early since I wanted to both make players familiar with metaplot uncertain what parts I am using or changing, as well as have fun with the supposed panic the coming of the year 2000 brought.

But yeah, this is one epic game.  I sure hope my players are loving every moment of it.
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