Vanguard

It's called 'Retreat' not 'Running Away'!

In the days following their climactic battle with Fracture, the heroes of the Eclipse spent a couple of days regaining some much needed strength.

Agent Michaels introduces a new member to the Eclipse, The FireBug, who will serve as a replacement for their slain comrade.

Information learned during these 2 days:

  • Photon Wave attempted to contact the Henchmen.com website only to receive a very politely worded reply that “The originating address of this Henchmen Request appears to be that of a licensed Superhero Organization. At this time, we are going to have to refuse you the service of our henchmen. We do hope that your activities will continue to drive the need for quality Henchmen.”
  • Further attempts by Photon Wave to track the location of the website were unsuccessful as the programmers of the site appear to be internet savants, redirecting the internet traffic through an impenetrable maze of servers across the world.
  • A thorough search of the California Republic base reveals an identical teleport pad to the one that the heroes discovered in the cavern beneath Doctor Apocalypse’s island. An examination of the equipment leads the heroes to believe that the machine is hard-coded with destination possibilities as opposed to being keyed to geographic coordinates.

The Eclipse decide to visit the site of Doctor Apocalypse’s Island to determine if the Island is truly missing or if it is cloaked from the satellites in some way. They fly in low carrying a speedboat. Flower Power and Firebug both provide significant shielding in the forms of a light barrier and a fire barrier respectively.

As the heroes fly within ten miles of the island location, they begin to suffer barrages of missiles in 15 second intervals. The missiles cause the heroes to continually replenish their shields. Unfortunately for the heroes, as they get closer, the missiles increase in power. The Messenger grabs all of the slower moving heroes and kicks up the speed to reach the island before the missiles grow powerful enough to break through the shields to the heroes behind.

As they approach, the heroes find the Recreation Island, but no sign of the main island. The Messenger flies through the physical space where the main island used to be to verify that it has not been made invisible in some manner. Landing on the Recreation Island, behind the three air defense stations, the heroes see the stations sink back down to their inactive status.

A thorough search of the island reveals yet another teleport pad – only apparently, the villains using this facility were not too certain of remembering the machine’s settings, the heroes find a list with coordinates pinned to the wall: (The heroes grab the list)

  • Cavern… 1 – 8
  • Mansion… 3 – 4
  • CalRep-1… 4 – 4
  • CalRep-2… 9 – 2

Fearing that further delay might lead to an Apocalypse victory with his deadline looming, the Eclipse decide to make use of the teleport pad. They first attempt to travel to the CalRep-2 location. Flower Power, the Messenger, Valkyrie, and Still Hammer step onto the pads while Photon Wave sets the dials and activates the machine.

The 4 heroes teleport away. Photon Wave looks on with a feeling of chagrin as he pulls the handle. As the handle reaches the end of its pull, it springs back to the start position (not unlike a slot machine) and the dials all spin around to random values. The hero realizes that it is a good thing that they know the coordinates that they sent the other heroes. Photon wave resets the machine he remaining heroes step onto the pads and the lever is triggered magnetically by Iron Wind and they follow the others…
into a very, very dark room. Photon Wave immediately ‘lights up’ revealing Flower Power in the fetal position on the floor, whimpering in the dark. They quickly recognize the room as being identical to the one in the other CalRep base. They move through the complex to the power generator room and quickly get the power going. A search of the base reveals that it has not been inhabited for at least several days. The only item of note that they find is a photograph of Bounceback with an older European woman.

GPS reveals their location to be north of San Francisco. They call MEDUSA to alert them to the location of the base and MEDUSA agents quickly converge on the location to take charge of it.
A teleport to CalRep-1 takes the heroes to the California Republic base that they originally found.

After a brief debate on the merits of heroism, the Eclipse decides to use the teleport pads to find the island. They use the coordinates for ‘Mansion’ and teleport into a plush room inside a large building. Immediately noticing the security cameras, the Messenger remarks that stealth does not appear to be an option and the heroes charge out of the building to discover that they are indeed on Doctor Apocalypse’s island.

They also discover that Doctor Apocalypse has been using his time since their last encounter building a gigantic spherical metal framework on the western beach. The framework is swarming with Doc’s technician androids while Apocalypse himself hovers in the center directing the work.

The heroes roar into combat, splitting their attacks between Apocalypse and the superstructure. In a matter of minutes, the superstructure suffered critical damage and collapsed into a mangled pile of metal (and androids). Enraged, the good Doctor (Photon Wave: “Wait… where’s the ‘BAD’ Doctor”) attacks the heroes in earnest. Ineffective against the non-corporal Doctor to this point, the heroes decide to run away… um, Retreat. They quickly fly out of the range of Apocalypse and his air defenses and back to the safety of Pacifico

In the morning, Amber Poniard reports to the Valkyrie that she just received a strange message over the help line: “O Geronimo No Minor Ego”. The heroes immediately recognize the phrase as being a palindrome and jump into action.

It takes a very brief brainstorming session to make the guess that ‘Geronimo’ refers to San Geronimo – and ‘No Minor Ego’ probably refers to San Geronimo’s favorite son Marc Sebastian – a candidate in the current Republican Primary for the Presidency. Turning on the news, they are quick to learn that Sebastian is giving a campaign speech this very day in San Francisco.

It takes no time at all to get in communication with the secret service – and with Agent Michael’s assistance, the heroes are inserted into the detail. The speech is being given at a huge outdoor amphitheater and over 50,000 people are expected.

The Messenger and Still Hammer stand on stage with the candidate. Photon Wave and the Valkyrie take up locations off-stage. Flower Power and Iron wind take stations on top of the amphitheater, and Firebug resumes human form and joins the crowd.

The speech is going well when a sudden thunderstorm pops up. As the first raindrops hit the stage, a member of the audience throws off his outer coat and screams a sonic blast at the candidate. Simultaneously, another supervillain flies directly into the Messenger, and a third villain detaches himself from the lighting fixtures to attack Flower Power and Iron Wind. Another audience member transforms into a 9’ tall gorilla to join the attack.

Sebastian is almost knocked into unconsciousness by the fury of Cacophony’s attack, but Flower Power is able to create a light box around the candidate to protect him from further attack. The villains press their attack – and it becomes increasingly obvious that there is another, unseen villain controlling the weather and battering Iron Wind with intense gusts of wind. Even with the help of the unseen villain, the attackers are totally outmatched by the heroes. Cacophony is knocked unconscious by Firebug. Morpheus is knocked unconscious as he attempted to escape down a drainage pipe. Silent rage attempted to fly away, but was quickly outdistanced and knocked out by the Messenger. The Silverback was able to escape into the crowd, transforming back into human form as he did so.

The heroes congregate on the stage along with the conscious members of the secret service detail. Flower Power removes the protective covering, and the surrounding people are amazed to see that the candidate is bleeding heavily… but he is bleeding a milky, tan substance instead of blood. Marc Sebastian is some kind of android!

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Neilg

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