Capes! Issue #17

18 October 2010: 1300 hours: Nacht Islands

Meet Agent Sam: Samantha Gerrard, SOG, US Marshalls. Addressing the Massive from behind opaque shades, she thinks her team “Redemption Squad” will do well through the parole system:

  • Crab
  • Dark Sorceress
  • Duplicator
  • Gunship
  • Marauder

Bad Tripp, looming behind Performer with one hand protectively – or is it? – on his shoulder, studies the “allies.” Gunship is positive about the twist of fate. Crab and Duplicator are fairly relaxed: Crab’s even gotten a beer from a chilla-pak! Marauder is still hurting from Holmes’ mental blast and has little else on his mind. Dark Sorceress clearly feels above her company: she’s a long step and swing of one of his arms away from him – though her chest is quite a bit closer than that.

Skylark scans the tree-line above the beach. Performer’s getting edgy this long on the beach and Tripp is way past edgy moving to postal. She picks up a glint, as of a lens: warns Wraith.

“It’s an electronic device,” he confirms. “Time to get ourselves off this beach.”

“What’s your plan, Avenger?” Agent Sam asks respectfully.

“This team fights well together: I’m simply offering support.”

“We could approach the naval base, see what signs of life there may be?” Performer offers.

“I t’ought we wuz gonna fuck over de Sat-Dish, see what comes up at us?” Bad Tripp rumbles.

“Well, it should certainly draw a reaction of some kind: and the enemy would be attacking us and not the other way round…”

“C’n you fly?” Bad Tripp asks the Redemptions.

Dark Sorceress sneers prettily:

“But naturally.”

In response, Tripp grins menacingly at her.

“You’re a take-charge kind of guy, aren’t you?” she comments Mae West-style, not overly fazed at being loomed over by a massive graffiti-smeared hulk.

Sat-Dish Attack

1315 hours: One second, the sky over the sat-dish building is clear and blue. The two big mechas patrolling the building’s premises have no alerts. Next second, a dark blob arcs down, smashes through the dish as though it were cheap cardboard, and lands next to them!


Unluckily, being mechas, they don’t waste even nanoseconds ejaculating or dealing with abstracts such as where Bad Tripp came from: instead, they pump heavy concussive blasts into the still-crouching Tripp. The blasts rock him: the hurtling drop he and Performer used to impact the dish hard enough has hurt him: he leaps away.

Dark Sorceress floats effortlessly over the razor-wire perimeter: fires a searing energy bolt: the mecha shrugs it off. In response, ‘pressor bolts strike Dark Sorceress and narrowly miss Nightfall, whose graceful gliding leap carries him onto the holed dish. Skylark leaps down from the building, connects solidly with one of the mecha’s “heads” and bounds back up: nothing happens: these mechas are tough!

Gunship’s auto-cannon chops a hole in the perimeter and the Redemptions swarm inside: the ground around the dish’s plinth seems be full of Duplicators.

 Agent Sam, Avenger, Performer and Holmes are positioned well back at the tree-line away from the compound. Performer concentrates his awesome telekinetic powers: a fair-size tree begins wrenching out of the ground! Tripp once again takes position near him, checking to see that Holmes is guarded.

Back near the compound, the invisible Wraith is tussling with someone whose mad hack skills are on a par with his own: Wraith’s accessed a mecha but is being locked out of each system he tries to hack! A line of clear text scrolls up:

<Is that you? {;)>

He doesn’t rise to the bait: keeps attempting to gain control of the mecha’s weapons and motive systems. It’s at least enough to allow Dark Sorceress to strike with another energy bolt: the mecha is damaged. Then the cry comes from Skylark from her vantage up on the building:

Heads up! There’s a wall of little saucer thingies swarming in!”


Performer’s tree falls accurately across both mechas: there’s a satisfying CRUNCH as timber meets hi-grade steel and ceramics! Bad Tripp leaps from Performer’s side to the plinth of the dish: clamps hold of the steel struts and PULLS

Nightfall, still perched on the dish, has an unusual feeling, as though he were a fly on a fly-swat that was being swung….

Saucer Spillover

1316 hours: Gunship blasts the remaining mecha as it attempts to push the tree off, then looks up: a wave of saucer-like discs seems to blot out the sky: smoke capsules are being dropped and visibility fogs over. She directs her auto-cannon up, frightened of hitting her team-mates. Around her, she can hear grunts of pain as the Duplicators bear the brunt of the discs’ ‘pressor-beam attacks: then even that becomes hard to hear as a siren-like buzzing sounds all round the compound! Then her comms begin fritzing: there’s some kind of comms blocker being generated by the little suckers but how things a couple feet in diameter could do that, she’s too busy reconfiguring to work out. There’s a deep THUMP and the ground shakes: something really big has impacted nearby! Seconds tick by like an eternity while she brings her optics back up. Then she gets a good view at last and her auto-cannon blasts a half-dozen out of the sky! Scanning around as best her IR allows she realizes that the dish has swatted down atop the building, smashing its roof in; that Nightfall has been knocking down several disks as well; and that some of the discs have been lying on the ground in a pattern, combining to create the comms and sound chaff field that has given her so much trouble.

Up atop the ruined building, Skylark shouts down her comms again:

Six new mechas! Six! Flying this way!”

Holmes is down!” Avenger calls. Bad Tripp curses: Avenger was supposed to be protecting the Brain dude. Tripp launches himself up over the smoke and down to the tree-line, taking out a disc as he lands, turns, POPS his palms together in a wasted attempt to knock more down or clear some smoke, then runs – clothes-lining another disc – to where he last saw Avenger. He can see Agent Sam hunkered down under a tree, but the pair have gone. He lumbers over to Sam, bellows:

Where’s Avenger?”

“Went up – up that way – took off…”

Sam’s gesture is toward the way the mechas are coming in. Bad Tripp gets a nasty feeling, like seeing a car wreck a-coming but nothing you can do about it.

“The mechas are pulling out….” Skylark’s voice is faint over the patchy comms. “They’ve got a couple of prisoners…”

Taking Stock

1320 hours: Agent Sam is neither disappointed nor elated. She reassures Gunship, who is feeling blue:

“Sure, Marauder, Crab and Duplicator are out. But you gave a good account of yourself. And Dark Sorceress stayed the course. Nothing to be ashamed of. Now: Leave No Man Behind! We gotta do something for our captured people!”

Wraith’s voice comes over the comms: “I can’t raise either Avenger or Holmes. Since it’s next to impossible they are out of range, I’m guessing the electrical interference accounts for it.”

Performer notices Bad Tripp motioning him away from the group that’s rallied in the bare ground before the compound. He walks over toward the tree-line. Bad Tripp has been quite solicitous this mission: the least he can do is hear what Tripp has to say.

“De mechas zapped off dat way” – here Tripp nods toward the Nacht Islands’ highest point, the dormant volcano – “whyn’cha ghost over, see if’n ya c’n find de hideout?”

Guard my body!”

Bad Tripp drags Performer even further into screening undergrowth as the young man’s body slumps inert. He operates best from the shadows and the night: all this blazing sun and clear sky is making him paranoid. It’s like he can feel the Massive waiting to do a tell-all about its MO, powers, intel on the enemy….

1321 hours: Performer’s astral form alights on the volcano. Magic – evil magic – swathes the area. He pushes aside his repugnance and reminds himself that very few things can harm him in this state. Swiftly his form glides over the decayed caldera, through the near-tropical greenery on the slopes. There! A ruined entrance of some type: perhaps once man-made, now it seems more of a natural opening. He drifts in: the sense of evil becomes even more pervasive. Decayed light sketches in sickly illustrations of the local fauna: slithering flat-headed snakes, yellowish centipedes and scorpions… gaahhh! He pulls back into his body!

1326 hours: As Performer stands up and shakes out his limbs again, movement in the clearing beyond catches his attention before he can report. From roughly the same direction his own team arrived, Amy Feng hastens towards the gathered allies, microphone outstretched! Behind her, and dragging his heels somewhat, Bill the cameraman follows, steadycam on shoulder.

“Can I get a comment?”

Just as Performer opens his mouth and begins to step forward, a mighty paw clamps over his mouth and nose and he is drawn firmly back into the darkness of the undergrowth: there’ll be no wild-fire comments from Performer today!

1330 hours: Agent Sam is visibly sweating as she attempts to ward off Amy’s questions while preventing Gunship – who is a little star-struck – from babbling too much. Amy turns to Nightfall:

“You obviously work out: tell me, do you have a female fan base yet?”


Amy’s about to open up a whole can of EW exposé on that when the arrival of two FCPD cops, carrying hampers, interrupts the give and take of the interview. Then an all-gray battlesuit, built for stealth not fighting, shimmers into view. So this is the Wraith guy Amy heard at Eclipse! She turns the full force of her personality on him!

Meanwhile Performer, purple from lack of oxygen, is violently signaling Bad Tripp, who bends down, growls in his ear:

“Ya ain’t gonna go runnin’ ya mouth off ta no media, right?”

Released, Performer explains what he’s found over on the volcano. It’s a lead, though not a solid one. They gaze out at the group, who are now downing subs and drinks from the hampers.

1335 hours: “So, you found yourself in the old naval base?” Wraith confirms with the admiring Amy, who is now taking shorthand notes, having mysteriously lost camera, recorder and backup to short-circuits. He’s enjoying the unfamiliar attention: he can’t stop babbling on and on about the Massive, the hostages, the plans for rescue… then a symbol on one of the sub’s wrappers catches his eye. It reminds him of something but he can’t put his finger on it.

“Got something?” Agent Sam asks alertly.

“Could be… what do you make of this little egg-like mark?”

Agent Sam pulls a magnifying glass out of her vest, then checks, waiting for mockery. None forthcoming, she eyeballs the mark:


It appears to be a smiley wearing a helmet, one eye large and oval, the other a lens. Solemnly she, Wraith and Nightfall look it over, nothing leaping to mind.

“I know someone who might make more of this…” Wraith comments, walking off to the last point he saw Performer and Bad Tripp. There’s a rustle and the trees move a little, as though something big had moved rapidly away. Wraith looks blankly about, then shrugs, annoyed.

“Let’s get ourselves away… we need to be somewhere the media aren’t going to listen in,” he hears over his comms. It’s Skylark: she’s also hiding in the trees.

On the far side of the compound Performer briefs the Massive and Redemptions on his find. It’s pretty slim: Performer remembers that Hannah Swartz distinctly said that Demolition did not want to use evil magic to power his robots. In return, Wraith summarizes the information from Amy and the two cops. So the naval base is out too, being the wrong direction and the holding place for the “collateral” hostages. He shows the Massive the little logo.

Calculus IISkylark explains. Well, that explains the hack-meister stopping me from controlling the mechas, Wraith realizes.

“He’s one ‘a de people I got pegged Demolition c’d be workin’ wid,” Bad Tripp comments, dragging his notebook out between thumb and forefinger. “Lessee…. Bolt or Kid Bolt, Huckster – he’s definitely used dem – den Calculus ‘r Calculus II, Creep, Noose an’ Envision, an’ maybe Buttonman an’ Cracker…”

Gunship, who has somehow attached herself to the Massive, protests:

“My dad – I mean, Buttonman – I don’t think he’d team up with Demolition!”

Seeing the quizzical looks directed at her she elaborates:

“It would be beneath him…”

Bad Tripp glares over at Gunship: as though to say:

You ain’t off my list!”

It’s formidable opposition if even half are there. The team splits up responsibilities: Tripp, Skylark and Nightfall will stand guard while Wraith checks the electronics spotted back on the beach and Performer combs the line the mechas took, between themselves and the sea.

Performer returns swiftly, reasonably sure that the terrain does not hide any secret lairs. Now to find what Wraith has made of his lead: and if that leads nowhere, then it’s off to the volcano of evil!

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