The Eclipse

September 14
Into the Fog

Returning to Center City from Seacaucus the members of the Vanguard make their plans to journey into the fog to prevent the Magic World from displacing the real world.

Xue Zen arranges for the loan of a small boat from the Navy. While the rest of the team gathered supplies, Grey Mist arranged for Zed and Wisp to stay with Maglev and the rest of her team in Richmond.

The team, including Arthur Morris, sets off in their boat and quickly enters the fog. The trip through the fog takes much longer than expected and as they travel through the mist various changes take place. The first thing that they notice is the boat itself changes from a technological vessle into a viking longboat. The heroes themselves also go through various changes. All of their magical powers and devices are doubled in power – and all of their standard powers and devices are halved in power. The other noticable change is that Arthur changes form to be a bit more ‘demonic’.

Rowing the boat, they eventually come to the end of the fogbank to find a small island group underneath what appears to be a midnight sky – the full moon providing a luminous light to see by. Atop a hill on the largest island they see a Castle that looks straight out of a ‘B’ horror movie – as they first spy the castle, a bolt of lightning crashes across the night sky.

Grey Mist lodges his mace in the prow of the boat and flies ahead, dragging the boat through the water using his magnetic powers toward the castle. Passing one of the smaller islands, the group is distracted by a flare. At first, the Vanguard is afraid that the flare is an alarm warning the denizens of their approach, but they decide to investigate. The Unknown Soldier is able to discover a hidden cove where they are able to beach the boat. All is quiet for 10 seconds when from out of the bushes appear 7 Navy Seamen.

The Seamen tell the story of how their frigate was engulfed by the fog. One second they were standing on the deck of their ship and the next they were standing on the deck of a huge masted wooden warship. They struggled to steer the beast as none of the crew had any experience with that class of vessle when they were attacked by three beautiful flying women with sharp teeth. Following the women were a crew of humanoid ‘sailors’ led by 2 super-powered foes. One was small and lean and their attacks seemed to bounce off of him. The other was a behemoth of a man who dealt tremendous damage with his sabre. These seven survived the combat by leaping overboard and they were able to swim to shore where they have been hiding ever since. They also warn the heroes that the ship’s guns translated into wicked cannon-like weapons. They still see the ship periodically while it patrols the waters. They also periodically see a skeletal dragon soaring through the skies.

While at the Navy alcove, Arthur goes into a trance – similar to the one that Astrid does when using her Cosmic Awareness. When he awakes, he tells the Vanguard that his sensitivity to the magic world is much stronger here in what he calls the ‘in-between’ world. He further reveals that he has divined three things about this world:

  1. If the land bridge is successfully completed, then the magic world will be able to anchor itself to Center City.
  2. He senses the presence of a Portal of immense strength that is anchoring this mid-world to this spot. If the portal is destroyed, then perhaps the mid-world will also be destroyed.
  3. A single mind dominates this realm – controlling the natural and magical laws of the place. We will not be able to leave this land without the permission of this entity.

The heroes decide to investigate the Castle. Astrid, Grey Mist, White Star, Xue Zen, and Arthur leave in the boat while the rest stay behind with the Navy men. Upon their arrival on the large island, the heroes a set upon by 7 wolves with evil looking red eyes. The group easily dispatched the wolves, but not before one give a keening howl – one that is answered from somewhere else on the island. During the battle, Astrid successfully uses her death touch on several of teh wolves – and is staggered by the immense cost in vitality that it causes her. She is forced to rest to gather up her energy.

Astrid astrally circles the castle and notices a path on the opposite side of the island. Grey Mist summons up a fog bank to hide their movements and carries the heroes to the path. Grey Mist dispels the fog, but notices that the clouds above are rolling in at a rapid pace, obscuring the ligt from the moon. He attempts to clear the clouds away, but as soon as he does, the clouds roll back in. He quickly determines after a brief battle of wills that the weather is being controlled by another force and hurls a challenge into the night that ‘Gandalf the Grey… Mist’ is here!

No sooner do the words leave his mouth than the skys open up and a thunderstorm drenches the area. Out of the darkness, two buxom, gothic clad young women – with fangs – attack without warning. Battle is quickly joined. In her weakened condition, Astrid is quick to fall under the attack of the foes. The combined might of the heroes quickly fells one of the opponants but as they turn their attention to the second, a small group of wolves join the fray and bolt of lightning from the stormclouds begin to rain down on the group. Xue Zen is struck by one of the bolts and is severely weakened by the blast.

‘Gandalf the Grey… Mist’ uses his magic phone to snap a picture of the woman and learns that she is named Delphine and her package of weaknesses shows that she is indeed a Vampire! He is surprised to discover that contrary to popular legend, the only way to kill a vampire is to drive a wooded stake through her heart, decapitate her, AND burn the remains.

Arthur, still encased in his sphere of light, begins shooting beams of light at the heroes. These rays of light revitalize the heroes and help them continue the battle.

Unknown to the Vanguard, another foe invisibly wandered the battle. Only his eyes were periodically visible… eyes which attempted to lock on to the eyes of one or another of the heroes. White Star meets his gaze and falls under his mental control. She begins firing her vibratory bolts indiscriminately among her companions.

A mighty blow from Grey Mist’s mace forces Delphine to turn to mist. Arthur’s globe exlplodes bathing everyone in light. All of the heroes regain vitality and health and White Star attempts unsuccessfully, to throw off the mental compulsion, and the invisibility of the enemy is dispelled! A tall, gaunt man in archaic dress stands among the Vanguard, he snarls ferally and he and White Star immediately attack the group in a frenzy. He directs lightning to fall from the sky on the heroes. The Vanguard attempts to counter attack, but the foe is too well trained and too difficult to lay a hand on for the heroes to prevail. Grey Mist snaps a picture of this man as well revealling him to be Baron Zelmut – another vampire.

Combat rages on with Zelmut raining lightning on the heroes and White Star peppering the heroes with her Vibratory abilities. Xue Zen falls to the onslaught—but Arthur continues to provide health to the heroes, bringing Xue Zen and Astrid back into the fight.

During the fracas, Baron Zelmut successfully manages to bite Xue Zen. Xue Zen escapes the Baron by entering the Astral Plane. From their, his ghostly form continues to taunt the Baron—laughing at him that he would have to go to sleep sometime and then they would find him. The Baron responds to Xue Zen saying, “That assumes that in this land of eternal night I ever have to sleep…” and he fired a bolt of lightning directly throug the Astral figure of Xue Zen (with no effect).

Astrid was not as fortunate… a bolt of lightning struck her with immense power… and her lifeless body falls to the wet earth. Arthur lets out a scream as her body splats into the mud and suddenly the entire world goes black.

When the black recedes, the heroes are standing on the site of the battle but all of the foes (both conscious and not) have disappeared. The Vanguard stands by Astrid’s still form and wonder what to do next.

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September 12 and 13th

Following the arrest of the majority of the Recon members, the Vanguard made plans to return to Center City. Before leaving, the Unknown Soldier stopped at the prison to formally apologize to the Black Diamond for the cavalier treatment the villain received at his hands. He also pledged (along with Captain Keer) to work towards the release of Black Diamond if the villain’s evidence shows that he was jailed for a crime which he did not commit.

The team returned to the Naval Academy and set up some patrols of the city. The patrols were not able to interrupt the 5AM bank robbery that occurred. The Seventh National Bank was robbed by what appeared to be a group of old ‘friends’… Magnetscher Norden by the radioactive evidence.

Xue Zen immediately began researching for tools to help identify and track radioactive energy.

Agent Shannon contacted the team to let them know that a small group of heroes requested through MEDUSA to transfer into the Vanguard’s jurisdiction. He has set them up in Richmond Virginia. The new hero group consists of familiar faces MagLev, Amaya Kibatsu, and the Bat. He also delivered the good news that MEDUSA HAZMAT teams have arrived at the Vanguards Headquarters to begin cleanup.

The group argued about whether or not to investigate the mysterious fogbank. Xue Zen with the help of the Navy utilized deep penetrating radar to attempt to ‘see’ inside the fog with no results. The Grey Mist used his weather control in an attempt to affect the fog, but it just swirled and eddied and refilled under each elemental burst thrown at it. He also used radio controlled aircraft to see if they could fly into (and back out of) the fog. No plane entering the fog re-emerged.

While those two experimented with the fog Astrid, the Unknown Soldier, and White Star patrolled the local banks looking for signs of trouble.

A news story broke regarding the secret ‘SWORD’ base discovered in New York City. An unknown assailant entered the facility killing 2 NYPD officers and 4 Crime Scene Investigators. Colonel Myles (AFOSI) contacted the group and requested their assistance. The next day, the Air Force is planning on shipping the SAM armor back to the high security lab in Denver via train. As it is apparent that the bank robbers have made several attempts to reclaim the armor, the Air Force would appreciate the Vanguard’s assistance in protecting the train. White Star immediately volunteered to teleport it directly to Denver eliminating the need for a risky train shipment. After a brief pause, Col. Myles sheepishly admitted that he never thought of that and accepted her offer. He also admits that the shipment was a decoy… they were planning to ship a fake armor suit by train while transporting the real armor by helicopter.

The Unknown Soldier immediately latched on to the idea and suggested that the Air Force ship the fake armor by train anyway. The Vanguard would guard the fake armor and ambush the villains with no risk of losing the technology. Col. Myles agreed to the plan.

The following morning the heroes accompanied the train out of Maryland. MagLev, The Unknown Soldier, and Astrid traveled inside the darkened box car with the dummy armor while the rest of the team flew above the train or rode elsewhere in the train. The villains did not disappoint. Grey Mist was the first to see the villains flying at the train in the distance. One armored villain was carrying Curveball. Mist’s warning gave the team the necessary time to prepare as the unfamiliar villain set Curveball down ahead of the train where he grew to 18 feet tall. Grey Mist entered aerial combat with the unknown villain while Xue Zen and White Star battled with the now giant Curveball.

Meanwhile, back in the boxcar, the three heroes heard the familiar ‘Bamf’ of displaced air indicating that someone had teleported directly into the boxcar. A chaotic fight ensued in the darkness until Maglev was able to blow a hole in the ceiling letting the light in revealing their opponent as the bank robber Steele. Once they could see, the fight definitely turned against the villain who quickly teleported away without the armor.

Outside, the three heroes had no difficulty capturing the two robbers and the mysterious armored villain was revealed to be Lt. Col. Heywood… the bank robber that earlier fought in the SAM armor.

White Star teleported the two captured villains to prison, but when she arrived she discovered that the fuzzies had once again gone berserk and were attacking prison personnel. She immediately returned to the team and brought them back via teleportation into the midst of a full flown melee with what appeared to be the entire fuzzy population. During the fight, several well placed disintegration blasts incapacitated Grey Mist and MagLev while White Star was forced to flee due to pushing herself beyond her normal limits. When the dust died down, the Vanguard had recaptured 7 fuzzies while 10 others successfully escaped.

Exhausted and beaten down after the two consecutive battles, the Vanguard returned to the Naval Academy where they found Wisp and Zed talking with an unknown man. He appeared to be in his mid 40’s with a paunchy build and he introduced himself as Arthur Morris. Morris apologizes for intruding in their temporary home, but that MEDUSA instructed him to contact the Vanguard with his concerns.

He asked if the heroes are familiar with the ‘Magic World’ and explained that the ‘Magic World’ is another dimension/plane of existence from where all magic is accessed. The Magic World periodically through history has interacted to some degree with the material world. Its power to affect this world ebbs and flows depending on its proximity and is the root of a large number of fairy tales, myths, and fantasy stories. The Magic World is getting stronger… more so than it has in generations.

He is concerned that the denizens of Magic World may be attempting to anchor their world to this one. They seek to supplant the natural laws of this world with their own. Twice before in history, the denizens of Magic World have attempted to anchor their world to this one. Both times, heroic efforts of the defenders of the material world repulsed the invaders and restored the natural order… he refers to these incidents as Atlantis and Camelot.

White Star challenges Morris with his knowledge… questioning how he knows all of this. Morris reveals that his mother was a native of the Magic World and that she ‘crossed over’ to conceive, bear, and raise her child in the material world. On rare occasions, the inhabitants of the Magic World can cross over if they know the proper spells. She taught him that the Magic World is led by evil beings looking to supplant and conquer other planes of existence. She died when he was younger, but he is not without abilities. First of all, he is 72 years old. His lifespan is apparently greater than the average human’s. He also inherited some magical skills, but they are defensive mostly and totally untrained and difficult to control. He also is extremely sensitive to the proximity of the Magic World.

The group also asked him where the anchor point is located… all of them fearing that the answer was going to be the fog. Morris claims not to know for certain, but that he knows that the Magic World is much stronger in this area. He tells them that if anyone could pinpoint it further it is a former student of his (he is a Professor of Psychology at George Mason University). Unfortunately, this student (Harry Coyle) was accidentally caught up in an uncontrollable burst of his magical powers and has been driven mad by the experience. He claims to ‘see’ the magic world at all times. Coyle is now an inmate at Hopewell Sanitarium.

The Vanguard visited Harry Coyle who, through his ravings, confirmed that the anchor point is indeed inside the fog and that the ‘Dusking’ grows stronger every day. He babbles incoherently and the only other fragment that the heroes can understand is ‘Baron Zelmut’.

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The Events of September 11th
A Subplot is Resolved!

Standing before the ruin that was their headquarters, the Vanguard and friends had a number of decisions to make.

First of all, MagLev was successful in locating the Bat while the team was in New York, and the two of them along with Amaya Kibatsu return to Atlanta.

Secondly, the team needed to find some place to store the dead body of Amanda Kellar. After a brief discussion and a quick call to GEMINI, Dr. Phillip Benton made arrangements for his people to pick up and examine… er… store the clone while the team is between residences.

Finally, they needed to find someplace to spend the night (along with Zed and the Wisp. After a spirited discussion, the team opted to call their MEDUSA contact Artis Shannon to see if he could arrange some lodging at either the Naval Academy or Andrews Air Force base (preferably Andrews). Predictably, given those instructions, Shannon arranged for a brief stay at the Naval Academy.

While at the Academy, arrangements were made through Agent Shannon to have MEDUSA techs clean up the radiation in their headquarters. The Vanguard also gets an update on the fogbank – it is growing slowly but steadily (about 1-2 inches per day). Occasionally, there is a spike in activity where it grows more than the average – the one rare example of that was early in the Navy’s involvement when a frigate sailed too close and a spike in growth engulfed it. The frigate has not been heard from since.

They also contacted Lt. Roche to let him know that they had returned to Center City. Roche informed the team that it has been chaos at the prison because the last 8 fuzzies have manifested their powers.

  • Makenzie Bedford – Telepathy and Force Field
  • Kevin Scudder – Vacuum generation
  • Vanessa Garrett – Emotion control (terror)
  • Dante Allen – Absorbtion (powers)
  • Kirt Campbell – Darkness Control and Sonics
  • Calvin Washington – Light Control and Noncorporealness
  • Chad Hall – Shrinking
  • Amos Goodwin – Ice Powers and Density Increase
    All of the fuzzies with the exception of Chad Hall have been separated from the general population and are in protective custody. Roche thinks that Hall has shrunk out of sight and is too small to locate. He is also frankly amazed that Washington (non-corp) is still hanging around as they have no reliable way to keep him confined.

The next morning, the team hears the news from the newspaper articles (previous three entries in the log) along with a phone call from Lt. Giuseppe Valentini from the NYPD. Valentini lets the heroes know that an attorney named Dallas Martin successfully bailed out Longarm, the Beholder, Desert Nomad, and Silent Rage. Martin works for the infamous Lucas Wolf as one of his ‘Wolfpack’.

The news of the disappearance of Captain Keer spurs the team into action – they believe that their suspicions regarding the ‘hero’ group Recon can finally be proven. They immediately travel to South Carolina (leaving Zed and Wisp in the custody of the US Navy) to interview the criminal Black Diamond. Black Diamond was arrested earlier in the month and had called the Vanguard alleging that he had been framed by Recon. Diamond is spectacularly uncooperative – feeling that the response to his call (paraphrased: “tough luck criminal – enjoy your time in jail”) voiced by the Unknown Soldier was… uncalled for. It is obvious that he doesn’t trust the heroes. However, after a spirited discussion, he reveals that he did have proof that his allegations are true – video images on a flash drive – but that he turned over the location of the flash drive to “that missing Captain”.

The team contacts Lt. Roche for the name of an ‘honest cop’ in the Charleston Police Department and is put in touch with Lt. David Morse. With Morse’s help along with that of Manta Man of the Crusaders, Grey Mist sets up an ingenious ambush designed to reveal the presence of any ‘dirty cops’ in the office. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) the ambush does not lead to a confrontation. It appears that the cops are clean.

They plan a second sting, and are surprised to find Sequoia in police headquarters dropping off necessary evidence for some cases that are going to trial. Sequoia asks what brings the Vanguard to town and the answer that they are looking for Captain Keer. Sequoia says that he wasn’t active in that case, but that Master Zero has all of the notes from his investigation back at their hidden base. He offers to take the heroes there if they want to go over the case with Zero.

He leads them to a more industrialized part of town where he parks in the lot of a nearby office building. They enter the lobby and access the elevator. Once inside, Sequoia takes out a key and inserts it into a hidden keyhole. The elevator descends and opens up into a rough-hewn hallway resembling an old mine tunnel. The left-hand side of the tunnel has been collapsed “due to the discovery of our old headquarters”. They are led down the more recently excavated right hand fork. Traffic overhead causes bits of dirt and debris to fall from the ceiling. After a quarter mile or so, the tunnel ramps upward and terminates at a door leading into the basement of what appears to be a warehouse. Using his wrist communicator, Sequoia calls Master Zero to let him know that he has brought the Vanguard over to look at the Keer evidence. Master Zero responds that he has everything together and that they should join him on the third floor.
They are led through the complex (seeing a small fleet of digging/boring machines in their main-level garage) and to the third floor which opens up into an open room with skylights and hanging vines. In the far left-hand corner of the room is a strange tent… in the far right-hand corner is Master Zero standing next to the form of Captain Keer encased in a crystalline-gemlike construct. “I think I have all of the evidence together…”

Combat erupts… surprising everyone, Grey Mist suddenly gyrates spasmodically and collapses to the floor unconscious. Meanwhile, Enerjon is encased in a gem-construct like the Captain. In the chaos that ensues, vines from the ceiling reach down to grab at the heroes. Unknown Soldier locates Devilspawn attacking invisibly from behind – he is able to knock her unconscious with one well aimed power blast (freeing Enerjon). Xue Zen enters hand to hand battle with Master Zero braving the absolute zero temperature that threatens to freeze him solid.

Xue Zen conjures up a squad of SEALs – but after an initial round where they appear effective, they are soundly ignored by the villains. Xue Zen then suddenly slams violently into the ground. Enerjon spies the shrunken Parasite by Xue Zen’s ankle.

Sequoia and Astrid engage in a battle of wills with Astrid paralyzing him and Sequoia breaking out of it – until Astrid is knocked through the floor by Firefall’s gravity control power. Enerjon spies Firefall attacking through the open skylight – a single blast knocks out Firefall – but in doing so, Enerjon lost sight of Parasite.

Master Zero and Sequoia are beaten to unconsciousness by a variety of attacks from Unknown Soldier, Enerjon, and Tank . Astrid returns to the battle in her non-corporeal form. She flies to the roof and pushes Firefall’s unconscious body through the skylight. “I had to make sure he was really unconscious!” Parasite shrinks out of sight and vanishes.

The Vanguard quickly check on Captain Keer only to find him transformed completely into wood – a transformation that probably saved his life as he likely would have been frozen solid by Master Zero’s cold generation. Fortunately, 4 hours later, the transformation wears off and Captain Keer recovers.

The members of Recon are hauled off to the South Carolina Metahuman Incarceration Facility where they now await trial. As a parting statement, Enerjon asks Captain Keer if the Vanguard can borrow the digging/boring equipment when the authorities are done combing the warehouse for evidence.

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New York Times - September 11
Villain Base Raided in Manhattan

New York, NY: A Vanguard raid at Marble Hill in Manhattan on Thursday uncovered a hidden villain enclave in the sublevels of a heavily populated apartment complex, police said.

The Vanguard targeted the premises as part of an ongoing investigation into the illegal activities of the defunct SysGen corporation, the kidnapping of Astrid, and the murders of Doctors Ivan Kohlneziewski and Lars Kopernik.

Twenty-four men were arrested following the raid, including the supervillains Longarm, Silent Rage, Desert Nomad, and the Beholder. All are being charged with the kidnap of Astrid who was successfully rescued during the raid.

“A clandestine villain hideout anywhere in our city is extremely dangerous,” Superintendant Dennis Moore said.

A secret high speed rail escape tunnel was discovered. The tunnel led to an abandoned airstrip 36 miles away from the hideout. The supervillains Headhunter and Wild Boar are known to have escaped.

Investigations will continue following Tuesday’s raid.

Sources close to the Vanguard allege that the hidden base was inhabited by the secret society referred to as “SWORD” (The Secret World Order for Revenge and Destruction). These allegations have not been confirmed, and this reporter has to express doubts regarding whether the villains in our midst really do work for SWORD. They stand as much of a chance of belonging to the Illuminati or the Easter Bunny gang.

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Charleston News - Sept 11

Police Captain Missing

Charleston, SC. – Police are searching for a decorated Police Captain who has disappeared mysteriously.

Detectives said 51-year-old Albert Keer has never gone missing before, and there was no indication of why he has vanished. Captain Keer was last seen leaving his home in Clover Hollow at around 6.30am Tuesday morning. He never arrived at the Downtown Precinct.

Officers investigating the disappearance had no comment as to reasons for the Captain’s disappearance – However, an anonymous source has indicated that the Captain was exploring connections between the hero group Recon and the growing issues with Organized Crime in Charleston. He is rumored to have called on the Vanguard for assistance.

A spokesman for Charleston Police said today: ‘We are concerned for Captain Keer as this behaviour is completely out of character, and it would appear he has not made any attempt to contact friends, relatives, or colleagues.

The members of Recon could not be reached for comment.

Hijacked Armored Truck Disappears

Charleston, SC. – Police are searching for a gang of robbers who held up an armored vehicle Wednesday afternoon killing the driver and two guards.

According to police, unknown assailants somehow got into the truck and forced the driver to take them to an area at S.E. 17th and Clinton.

Once there, the guards’ and the driver’s bodies were left on the side of the road.

The armored car was carrying cash and drugs seized during this past weekend’s Narcotics raid which were being delivered to the Police Central Evidence Locker. The truck has not been recovered.

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Center City News September 11
Gas Main Leak Leads to Evacuation

CENTER CITY—A gas main leak in Parkingdale Road in Center City forced several businesses and an Apartment Complex to evacuate Thursday. A portion of the Center City Prison Hospital Ward was also evacuated.

A construction crew was working in the area and hit a gas main.

Parkingdale Road has been shut down in the immediate area as well.

The Center City Tribune is following this developing story and will have more information as it becomes available.

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September 10

Zed tells the Vanguard that he can give them directions to a rear entrance that will be lightly guarded, but that they will need to neutralize the guards quickly before the alarm is sprung. Then, by following simple directions, they should arrive at the lab where #5 is being held.

Amaya Kibatsu offers to accompany the Vanguard on their mission while MagLev decides to stay behind and search for the Bat.

Before leaving, the team instructs Flame, Tank, and White Star to take Wisp, Zed, and the dead body of #8 to Jackson Mississippi (in a ‘Mr. Freezie’ truck) for asylum with the Crusaders while they are away. The team takes the train to NYC and quickly locates the alley entrance to the SWORD labs.

Enerjon and Kibatsu attempt to disable the security camera (unsuccessfully) while the rest of the team plunges down the alley and through the door. Fortunately for our heroes, only one of the bored guards was paying attention to the security monitor and he was quickly felled by Xue Zen. The remainder of the guards were disabled without an alarm being raised.

The heroes follow the directions and burst into the lab where they are confronted by a number of lab technicians and scientists alomg with several supervillains including the Headhunter, Silent Rage, and another villain that brings back suppressed memories in the Unknown Soldier – his former arch-nemesis the Desert Nomad. Upon seeing the heroes, the Headhunter immediately turns and bolts down another corridor where he escapes behind a force field. The remainder of the villains enter battle with the Vanguard while the majority of the scientists and lab techs either stand paralyzed with fear – or begin throwing switches and turning knobs hastily. One of the scietists reveals himself to be the supervillain Longarm. Also during the fight, heroes begin feeling paralyzing bursts of fear indicating that their old friend the Wild Boar is also present in the room.

The heroes easily vanquish the assorted villains capturing Longarm, Silent Rage, and the Desert Nomad. They also stop the techs from wheeling out a large ‘chest freezer’ from the room. Opeing the freezer, they discover that it contain the body of one of the ‘Astrid Clones’. Fearing that this is the body of Spinal Tap, Grey Mist uses his magnetic powers to cable the chest shut and they take it with them. Enerjon intimidates the lab techs into dropping the force field so that they can pursue the headhunter.

Running down the hall, the heroes run headlong into the Headhunter, the Beholder, a group of significantly better armed guards, and one of the lab techs blocking the hallway. A momentus battle erupts in which Kibatsu is knocked unconscious and several other heroes are badly battered. During the battle, the lab tech is revealed to be the Wild Boar—the first time that any of the heroes has ever seen his face!

The group succesfully captures all of the guards and the Beholder – but not before a low rumbling sound can be heard in the distance. After that sound is heard, both the Wild Boar and the Headhunter turn invisble and flee.

In searching the lab, the Vanguard discovers signs of a hastily performed evacuation. There is not a lot of valuable information left to glean from the lab. They also discover a ‘shrine’ to Spinal Tap. A discolored section of carpet indicates where her ‘freezer chest’ stood. The size of the anomaly is different than the size of the chest that they carry with them. The last thing that they discover is a high speed rail system that appears to have been used for the escape. The tunnel leads to a private airfield outside of the city.

Upon their return to Center City the team discovers that it had probably been a good idea to send the ladies away with Zed. Their headquarters was attacked in their absence—apparently by the members of Magnetscher Norden. A significant amount of damage can be easily attributed to Strahlung.

Grey Mist contacts Stanislaw and Devea to see if she can identify the body in the freezer chest. The pair makes arrangements to stop by around 9:30 that evening.

He also calls the girls and tells them to turn around and come back.

The news media is full of stories about the Police capture of Dr. Lee Delane. Dr. Delane continues to maintain his innocence.

When Stanislaw and Devea arrive, Devea easily identifies the body as being that of Astrid – #5. The team immediately begins the awakening process. Stanislaw also reveals that he had been asked to perform a mind scan of Dr. Delane—it appears that the Doctor is telling the truth, he has absolutely no memories of the past month, and zero memories of acting as Doctor DNA.

The night ends with Grey Mist weeping over the destruction of his brand new Plasma Screen TV and PS3 while the team wonders what to do with their headquarters and its radiation poisoning.

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September 9th

Following FlightTime’ssudden revelation regarding Astrid, he returned to the reason for his visit. A person named ‘Zed’ has applied to them for asylum since he is being hunted by someone. All they can get out of him is that ‘Ivan is dead…. Kopernik is dead…. I will be next!’ Some research on his rantings has lead The High Rollers to believe that he is related to some of the Sentinal’s activities (namely the deaths of Ivan Kolnieziewski and Lars Kopernik which occurred in the Sentinal’s jurisdiction). FlightTime offers to deliver Zed to the team.

The next day, the team is visited by a pair of heroes from Atlanta Georgia: Amaya Kibatsu and Maglev. They are a subordinate group to the Crusaders – and in fact were partially responsible for the rescue of the Crusaders from their arch-nemesis group – the Crushers. They are in town because one of their members – the Bat – has wandered off and they have tracked him to Center City (the Bat is what they call ‘mentally challenged’ and requires vigilant supervision).

The team gets an alert from the Center City Prison – the fuzziesare attempting to break out of the hospital wing – and have injured or killed several police personnel in doing so. The heroes arrive in time to find that Hal Debbins(the pterodactyl humanoid) has returned and is attempting to free the others. The group enters battle with Debbins, Sid Herbert, Antonio Green, Spencer Franks, and the newly manifested Veronica Dumars (gravity control/invulnerability). They also face the invisible Mark T. Suitwho attacks from ambush. The Vanguard easily overpowers the fledgling metahumans and return them to custody. The fuzzies seem to come out of a trance and Franks assists in reviving the slain officers.

Following the battle, one of the guards comes down from the solitary wing with a trenchcoated figure in tow – the elusive Doctor Delane! He seems groggy and incoherent. He claims that he was in his lab when he saw a flash of light – and suddenly he found himself in that jail cell. He insists that it is July 28th.

The guard also reports that the inhabitant of that cell – Marie Baldrick– has disappeared. The only clue in the cell is a small pile of ashes…

When the group returns to their headquarters, Wisp informs them that they have a telephone message from Charleston… Captain Keerhas disappeared. Recon is not showing what the department believes is a sufficient sense of urgency.

FightTime returns in the afternoon along with Hoover Dam in a VTOL Transport. They deliver Zed and return to Vegas. Zed is nearly hysterical with fear and keeps repeating, ‘Ivan is dead.Kopernik is dead. I must be next. It must be Pastor! After a period of false starts and threats to abandon him – the group finally hear Zeds story.

After hearing the story, Astrid enters the room from having been on patrol. She sees Zed and immediately lunges for him. He has time to scream, ‘NUMBER EIGHT!’ when he is hit with the death touch and collapses. “Astrid” is killed during the ensuing brawl and the group figures out that she is the missing Amanda Kellar from Boston.

Wisp is able to revive Zed – he says that Number 5 must be in the NY lab – and that he can get them in undetected.

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September 8

The Vanguard quickly responded to the impending threat on their doorstep. Xue Zen, Enerjon, Grey Mist, Unknown Soldier, and Astrid exited their headquarters and engaged Gletscher and Strahlung in combat.

The team remembered that the Magnetscher Norden pool their energy resources – and wisely chose to concentrate their combined firepower on Strahlung. Unfortunately, the two villains were not alone.

Shortly after the battle began, Bastion using his super speed, ran past Astrid into the headquarters. Astrid abandoned the battle outside to give chase and discovered the villain ransacking their living quarters (as well as the smashed Plasma Screen TV!). She successfully paralyzed him – but was suddenly overcome with an unreasoning hatred of the Grey Mist.

Meanwhile, outside the battle is not going well for the heroes. They notice a blue nimbus periodically appearing around Strahlung – and they realize that somewhere around the battle the Wisp is regenerating her compatriot’s armor. Also, magnetic blasts begin pummeling the heroes meaning that Døkkálfar is also somewhere around the battle. The only sign of hope for the Vanguard is that the villains display absolutely abyssmal aim (nothing but 18, 19, and 20’s!) – however – their aim is still good enough for Gletscher to kock out Grey Mist.

Forgetting about Bastion, Astrid destroys GM’s PS2 and runs outside with it – where she spike it on the head of the unconscious Grey Mist. After her attack on the helpless teen hero, she comes to her senses and returns to confront Bastion while also looking for his accomplice. Bastion has shrugged off the paralyzation and has resumed his search of the headquarters. Astrid successfully paralyzes him again. She opens a window in preparation of throwing the villain out when again she is overcome with an uncontrollable hatred – this time of Enerjon. She again leaves Bastion to return to the fight and attacking Enerjon.

Outside, the battle has turned. Enerjon spies the Wisp and engages her in combat – preventing her from helping Strahlung and Gletscher. Xue Zen displays considerable skill with his Sai, and the Unknown Soldier begins connecting for significant damage with his power blast. Enerjon is able to knock Wisp unconscious and Xue Zen and Unknown Soldier are able to bring Strahlung to the point of defeat.

Bastion completes his search and runs out of the headquarters at super-speed. Seeing the tide of battle turn, Døkkálfar is able to teleport Strahlung away – returning shortly for Gletscher. The battle ends with Wisp captured.

The Vanguard decides to take Wisp to Stanislaw and Devea to have her mind-scanned to see if she is truly evil. The mind scan is successful and Stanislaw tells the team that she is not evil – but also that it might be a good idea to keep her and her twin brother apart as he does not know the extent of the power of the psychic connection that they share. (Xue Zen notices something unusual, but does not share it with the team).

The team decides to take Wisp back to their headquarters – and they offer her a chance to prove her trustworthiness by healing them. Wisp agrees and heals Grey Mist, Xue Zen, and Enerjon (Unknown Soldier refuses the healing). As they leave the Georgetown townhouse, Astrid lets out a laugh.

A phone call to Cadecus informs the team that Colonel Alexander Myles (AOFSI) wnats to talk with them about the armor that Grey Mist delivered. The Colonel instructs the team to meet at Andrews Air Force Base for additional (Classified) information.

At Andrews, Col. Alexander reveals that the armor is from a top secret Air Force project known as SAM. The armor had been stolen by a former marine Harwood Heydon. The Air Force is grateful for the return of their property, but would greatly appreciate Vanguard’s assistance is capturing the perpetrator. They are also told that Heydon is a metahuman with the power of Weakness Detection. They discover thatwithin 2 hours of his booking, Lt. Col. Heydon was released on bail. His attorneys were with the firm of Thompson, Everly, Carter, and Harper.

Upon their return to HQ – the team is met by Tree Brother who had been attacked while on patrol. He had been patrolling with White Star until he irritated her and she abandoned him. He continued his patrol and was attacked by Curveball and another figure. The other figure wore a kevlar vest as well as pieces of Steele’s armor/devices. Tree Brother also described this man as being ‘uncannily accurate’. The pair demanded that he tell them ‘where the armor is’. TB insists that he did not tell the villains anything about the armor (which is probably true because he didn’t KNOW about the armor).

There is also a message from Captain Keer – there has been a number of High-Tech break ins in Charleston. Recon is not making much progress and has been resistant to the idea of calling for assistance.

Wisp takes over as switchboard operator.

The team receives a call from HooverDam – one of the members of the High Rollers. They have encountered a person of interest taht they believe crosses over into one of Vanguard’s cases—the man identifies himself only as Zed. They woudl like to send one of their members over to discuss the situation. FlightTime arrives a few hours later. He is pleased to meet the group and noticably does a double take when he sees Astrid.

Astrid boldly asks him if he ever knew Annamarie Kurz—he staggers, stares, and excuses himself. He bolts out of the office and flies away. He returns after a half hour or so, apologizes, and explains.

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September 3 through 7

September 3 dawned with White Star in jail for murder and the rest of the team cleaning up after the raid on Doctor DNA’s Laboratory.

In the lab, the team discovered the following items of note:
  • A fully functional and stocked pharmaceutical lab where the Doctor was apparently creating his DNA altering drugs
  • An unusual electronic device with a satellite dish on top and what appears to be a neural input station.

Three days pass while Grey Mist and Xue Zen patrol the local banks in response to the string of bank robberies that have been occurring.

During these three days, the team gets word that three more of the ‘fuzzies’ have mainifested their abilities:
  • Sid Herbert – manifested Disintigration abilities
  • Antonio Green – transformed into a slimy/winged insectoid creature
  • Marie Baldrick – manifested both Devitilization Powers as well as a Health Drain. She inadvertantly killed two nurses and a doctor and is currently being held in solitary confinement
Updates on the previously manifested fuzzies include:
  • Hal Debbins (transformed into a humanoid/pteradactyl) has escaped from police custody by smashing out through a window and flying away
  • Kelly Palmer (whose brain expanded to approximately 2x size along with illusiory capabilities) has gained some control over her abilities and has accepted an offer to join the reavers
  • Mark Suit (invisibility and Sonic powers) has ‘disappeared’
  • Spencer Franks (revivication and death touch) is currently still in police custody
  • Thomas Prest (stretching) has left police custody and has returned to his ‘normal life’

On September 6, White Star is visited in her cell by the victim in her murder trial! He is accompanied by Spencer Franks, who used his abilities to bring Hart back to life. Now that her murder no longer has a victim – her case has entered a ‘grey area’ of the law, and given her past services to the city, she is released on her own recognizance (a fact that Bishop Charles Fairwell is quick to denounce on his weekly radio broadcast!)

Later that day, the team hears an explosion and quickly assembles at the source – the Police Impound lot. White Star, Grey Mist and Xue Zen do battle wih the bank robbers Steele and Curveball. Steele quickly knocks out White Star and hurts Xue Zen badly with some well paced disintegration blasts – but is quickly knocked out following pinpoint blows from Grey Mist and Xue Zen. Curveball, seeing the battle turn against him, runs to Steele’s unconscious body and activates Steele’s teleportation device and the two villains escape. Grey Mist determines that the robbers were probably after the SAM Armor that has been impounded here following the villain’s arrest. Grey Mist takes custody of the armor and delivers it to Cadecus. Xue Zen takes White Star to the hospital.

Returning the the Vanguard Base from Cadecus, Grey Mist is surprised to find Guf amusing himself on the Base PS2. Guf brings news from Boston before taking his leave. Grey Mist takes special note of Guf’s unimpressive score – “At least I’m better than that guy at SOMETHING!”

White Star and Xue Zen both wake up at the Hospital fully healed to the amazement of the hospital staff. Notes on their charts read, “After a short nap, the patients should both feel much better. Dr. Guf”

The team takes special notice of a news report out of Boston. An unknown person has successfully broken into GEMINI (Boston branch) and killed Dr. Lars Kopernik. Nothing appears to have been stolen from the lab.

On Sept. 7 the team is resting comfortably at their base when they hear an explosion from their front parking lot. Rushing to investigate, they see Strahlung and Gletscher in front of the base preparing to attack. Strahlung announces that they have come for Soundwave.

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