Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Agenda e10 : Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

Episode Ten

Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

The game session opens with Portman's victory as the first Nova President of the United States. This turns out to be just one of the many historical events that would usher the start of the cascading events leading up to the Aeon Trinity era.

The year is 2008.  Caetus Pax meets with Rayner, asking if Team 2Morrow can have Slider back for an espionage mission.  Given the tenacious alliance between the two groups, Rayner agrees so long as he too has access to whatever information she uncovers in the mission.  Slider eventually uncovers a paper-trail suggesting that Project Utopia may be involved with what seems to be a conspiracy at the Bahrain Rashoud facility with supposed evidence that novas were being sterilized without their knowledge or consent.  She stumbled upon the name Proteus and wonders how it relates to the Aeon Society.

During this meeting, Switchboard is at Africa with Antaeus and other members of Project Utopia.  Through her help, the OpNet is extended to the tiny village which Antaeus had created a whole new forest for, and her meeting with Alex Doan and Mungu Kwasha is, to the very least, a memorable one.

The Quarterback, on the other hand, starts to feel his relationship with Slider grow distant.  Given her secret mission, all he was aware of was that Rayner sent her to handle a mission overseas.  But the growing lack of communications had started to eat into his calm.  And the last call he received from her seemed to suggest that she was in some kind of danger.

Rayner holds auditions for new members and finds a few good novas worth training.  Iris Richards has the ability to cast out invisible force fields.  Kaori Uwisha has the ability to project an indestructible body armor about herself, even up to a thirty foot tall sized being.  Wayne Trucker has the power to control other's minds, and has demonstrated being able to for up to twenty people simultaneously.

More Nova related headlines spread out at the OpNet between 2008 and 2009.  Donald Zeleckis dies  as he prevents an Israeli nuclear missle from obliterating a Syrian City. In Burma, an altruistic if highly Tainted nova devours "the Generals", the nation's oppressive ruling cabal. Instead of the nova taking over the agricultural nation, he/she/it allows Burma the freedom to decide its own future.    Divis Mal makes a major public appearance after Gabriel "the Miracle" Melchoir threatens to unleash a massive biological plague upon the United States from Boulder City, Nevada.  The U.S. military and Team 2Morrow were at a standoff with the bio-terrorist, unwilling to act, and thus Divis Mal took matters into his own hands.  With a single motion, Mal crushes the man to death, then inhales the biotoxins and holds it in as a standing threat.   Divis Mal mutters to the press about how infantile the novas of the world seem and how Project Utopia clearly seems most useless of all.  "They were not even able to stop Slider's death."  Caestus Pax flies to the area to confront him.   The Quarterback, hearing the same remark, tries to fly to follow.

Anticipating trouble, Rayner sends Switchboard to intercept.  But deep down, he is starting to realize Slider's fate might have ended in a very bad way.  Switchboard transmits through the OpNet and appears in the scene in time to see Divis Mal and Caestus Pax trading words.  But when Mal mutters to Pax the name, "Shelby" Pax seems to fall limp and weak.  Mal leaves without a care, and Switchboard learns the source of Pax' fear:  Somehow Divis Mal knows his name.

Switchboard finds the German watching from the nearby shade of trees and realizes this is not the same man who attacked her when she went to visit Candy.  The German offers to help find Candy if Switchboard helps him locate a "mask" owned by an old friend.    Rayner, back at the building, sees an older and more battleworn Mary Rose enter the room.  She tells him the timelines are converging and the paths are narrowing.  "I may be the only Mary Rose left," she admits, "So I might as well warn you.  I am supposed to return here to this very room in 30 years to kill you."  Rayner watches as she fades away again, and ponders on whether time is really that flexible or set in stone.

The Quarterback arrives and Switchboard tries to calm him down.  But unappeased, he flies off to head to the Project Utopia headquarters to get the answers he needs.    Amusingly, Rayner gives Project Utopia a call and thanks to his powerful influence gets the very Director, Justin Laragione on the line.  The Director tells him that they wish to speak with him, to clarify truths from the lies that have been spread about the group.   Rayner tells them he anticipated this, and a car he sent is already waiting for them outside.

Rayner's guests turn out to be Justin Laragione, Margaret Mercer, Phillipa Lavielle and a man named Maxwell Mercer.  The four explain that Jennifer "Slider" Landers is dead, with her body having been found in the rubble of a condo where she was staying in Calcutta.  The building and two square blocks around it had been decimated.  Retrieved footage show Andre Corbin visiting her in the condo, the two having an argument, and in the end, him shooting her out of what seemed to be an act of misplaced passion. Switchboard, present in the meeting, finds her own calculations matching the said narrative, with the only addition of seeing Divis Mal arriving shortly after Corbin's exit, to hear from Slider one last dying statement.  It was Mal's anger and pain that lead to the blocks being decimated.  The sterilization, as it turned out, was a side effect of the medical studies that were being conducted by Project Utopia.  Corbin is currently imprisoned in Project Utopia, to stand trial for his actions.

Quarterback arrives at Utopia to see a bunch of new trainees coming out to stop him.  Two use their powers to cause rain and water to swirl around the man of Iron, while a third uses temperature control to freeze the water into ice.  The Quarterback nearly shatters his own leg off as he breaks the ice with his immense strength and sends a shockwave to force the kids to the ground.  Of the five kids, only four hit the ground.  A fifth seemingly vanishes.  One, still conscious, channels his anger to call a lightning bolt that slams down to strike the Quarterback.  The Quarterback shrugs off the attack and threatens the kids to surrender or things will get worse.  Rayner uses his Voice through the com to force Quarterback to relax.  The Quarterback relents.

While Utopia kindly does not go after Quarterback for his actions, they do get the wrath of the public eye as someone releases the sterilization documents to the press.  Compounding this are events that transpire and further spiral things out of Project Utopia's favor.  Rayner and Quarterback opt to find the Mask which the German asked Switchboard to find, and their trail leads them to an old woman named Samantha Khors, who claims to have been rescued by the Sleepwalker during her childhood years.  The two learn that this woman actually has the Mask, which she claims was handed to her for safe keeping.  Rayner visits the mask, which is in a room of its own shrouded in darkness save for a single spot light.  He hears voices whispering to him, as if telling him to take the mask and wear it.  He takes the past from the post.  The woman in charge of security shows up after Rayner trips the alarms, and both heroes wonder who this old woman with mechanical clothing happens to be.  Dr. Wexler, turns out to be the former Machinatrix, who has devoted herself to watching over the mask since, "It is the only tie I have left remaining of the wonderful time when I was... special."  The old woman seems broken and lost and Rayner decides to buy the whole museum from Samantha Khors, but allow them both to maintain the place.  He does, however, take the mask with him.

Switchboard decides to search for Divis Mal, and sends out a message to Raoul Oziaz, who seems to be the most public figure of the Teragen.  Oziaz replies to her message, offering to meet with her at The Amp Room.  Switchboard arrives, and Oziaz quizzes her on her Taints and on why she wanted to meet with them.  Switchboard throws out a hook, "I know what Divis Mal lost."  Mal, thankfully bites, and has her teleported to his location:  the Moon.  He tells her she can breathe only because he allows her to, and asks her to explain why she is here.  Switchboard tries to relate to Mal, and understand why he is doing what he is doing.  Mal tells her about his mistakes of the past.  Of staying on the sidelines.  Of not taking charge.  And of how that lead to the death of someone he cares about.  And how he is not doing that anymore again.  When Switchboard suggests going home, Mal shakes his head and tells her to look into her calculations on what will happen if he allows her to return home.  She sees a terrible future.  

She sees Corbin in Utopian custody, but then Divis Mal and the Teragen forcing their way to him.  She sees Caestus Pax attempting to stop them but being defeated by Mal in front of a global audience.  She sees Corbin committing suicide out of guilt.  She sees Project Utopia losing more face and control as people see more of the dirty work they've engaged in.  She sees even the Teragen cull their own numbers, when it becomes apparent most if not all Novas are the last generation the world will ever see.  She sees a man called the Impaler and his group of Novas taking over Ukraine.  She sees the Cult of Astaroth, a nova group, summoning a great monstrosity in Mexico.  She sees Earth expanding its population with the Olympus Lunar Base for the United States, and eventually other countries follow suit.   She sees Japan with hits yakuza clans murdered en masse, and eventually in hopes of protecting itself, shutting down its borders from all non-nationals and even executing any novas in their lands deemed to have mental problems.  She sees civil wars break out.  She sees hyper-fusion engines developed, making spacecraft viable.  She sees proposed acts of anti-nova legislation start becoming more frequent, if not successful in being passed and made into law. 

She sees Antaeus quitting Project Utopia.  She sees Taint being deemed fashionable.  She sees the term "aberrant" becoming more prominent as a perjorative.   She sees Baseline-nova relations seriously degrade, as many First World nations begin drawing up and passing increasingly draconian, half-baked and unjust acts of anti-nova legislation. Many independent novas residing in those nations either emigrate to more accepting countries or nova colony worlds or join the Teragen or Aberrants as their individual preferences dictate. Conflicts between novas and nova attacks against the baseline populace reach new levels of both frequency and collateral damage inflicted, due to increasing levels of power and Taint-induced madness among a significant portion of the nova population on Earth. The Aberrant movement and other such factions try to maintain the peace in the face of increasing numbers of novas coming to agree with the more radical facets of Terat philosophy. 

She sees the defeat and death of Caetus Pax in Divis Mal's hands.  She sees how in 2049 the United Nations declares war against the aberrant population - whether that resolution applies to only the Taint-deranged novas or the entire nova race depends on whom one is talking to. The first Aberrant War has begun.

"I cannot allow you, therefore to return home," Divis Mal mutters, "But I do not wish to kill you.  I instead will give you this gift."  Mal touches Switchboard's chest and Switchboard feels an immense surge of power. "You now no longer need to breathe or eat.  You will live here, in the moon.   You will be spared death.  But you must never return home."

Rayner and the Quarterback step out of the museum to see the German waiting for them.  He joins them in the car and gives them an envelope containing where they can find Candy.  She is in a moving island, it seems, a place which Manifest Destiny had commandeered after the loss of his sky fortress.   He warns them that the worst is yet to come and invites them to escape it with him.  Under the waves.  We can be safer.  Both turn the offer down, and the German admits he expected as much.  The German steps into his submarine and vanishes into the depths.  The Quarterback and Rayner expect the worst.  But they have no plans of running away from it.

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