Steel City

Attack of the Atomic Supermen (in brief)

When the personal stuff is gone, all that's left is fighting

Just some quick notes on this week’s adventure—not a complete writeup.

It’s the midst of rush hour on a November afternoon/evening. and the Steel City downtown is (as usual) gridlocked.

Huitzil is in a counselling session between Mom1 and Mom2 precipitated by last session’s events. It turns out that Mom2 is now living with Huitzil, and Huitzil does sometimes have the experience of waking up to find Mom2 watching, to make sure that Huitzil is not being used as a breeder location for elder gods and their minions. The counsellor’s office is right by City Hall, only four or five people-mover stops away from the Sentry building. As is their wont, Huitzil is equipped with the wings, and is starting to suspect that this saving alternate version of Mom has had bad repercussions. Fortunately, this counsellor, Dr. Bashavadra (or “Dr. B”) is the only one in the city who concentrates on side effects of what supers have done (Huitzil got the name from the law company Rolodex).

Dragoneye is going to the Setries building for other reasons (to talk with the Sentries, who are not going to invite him to join in order to keep him from the nefarious plots that the Commander must be plotting for the Sentries. I can’t quite reproduce the reason that the player gave, but Dragoneye is okay with it because his job is to protect Chinatown. Before he enters the building, he is called down by a middle-aged Asian man, who on closer inspection is Japanese. He gives Dragoneye his card (Ken Shibota),. He imports art objects, and he has something with a mystical bent coming in soon, so he wants to know if Dragoneye protects just Chinatown or other areas of the city as well. (He just thinks that only another Asian would protect it propertly; the mystical thing is a bonus, the Chinese thing a minus. He doesn’t know that Ninety-Nine Percent has Japanese ancestry.)

Volt is trapped in a meeting with some PIs who are actually watching him, so he won’t be showing up. Ninety-Nine is working on getting back in good graces with her editors at IO9, and is in a hotel room across town, writing feverishly. Canadian Lass is at the newly-built Future Foundation, trying to figure out why the kids say it’s haunted, and what’s in the room with all the biopods that Ninety-Nine saw, but which is protected by a “Danger: Radiation!” sign and is, in fact, radioactive. None of them will be showing up, though they might be referenced.

Both of them feel a rumbling, perhaps the precursor to an earthquake. Because Dragoneye is outside, he sees the gigantic tunneling machine burst from the ground over in Grand Circus park. Had he seen Thornbird’s tunneling machine in Ottawa, he would recognize it. It is essentially a locomotive, pulling some number of cars. The cars (and the locomotive) have treads on them for when the digging machine is above ground. (It also has the interesting side effect of the digger being slower above ground than when tunneling. It can move at a couple of hundred miles an hour while digging, but on the surface the digger is not pulling it through earth and rock, so it moves only about thirty miles an hour.)

Like a whale breaching, the “locomotive” part of the digger heads way into the air and then falls down. At the park, the locomotive manages to get one of the trailing cars out. This is not true for the one by City Hall, which has to go through cars.

While the counselor and the moms head for the panic room (every counselor specializing in supers work has a panic room), Huitzil runs down the corridor, dives out the window (Strength 5 will do it) and trusts to the wings to open in time.They then get people out of cars in time before the “locomotive digger” breaches high enough to fall down. En route, Huitzil calls for the other members of the Sentries and discovers that Canadian Lass is busy with the exciting threat at the Future Foundation and the others are busy at the other two locations where diggers have appeared. Each digger has three cars.

Dragoneye tells Mr. Shibota to get to cover and flies over. His first action is to try to disable the digger; a blast of dragon’s flame at the treads makes one fall off, but this does not seem to incommode the villains. His bad guys are faster, so the sliding doors on the first car open up and reveal thirty nearly-similar men in red and blue tights. All are athletic, all have blandly similar faces, all have blue-black hair, and all have glowing green eyes. They leap from the car, revealing that they can, in fact, jump higher than would be expected (Leaping 3).

This is about the point where the digger falls on the gasoline tanker. Which, it turns out, was full, spraying gasoline over everything. Bystanders run like the dickens.

Huitzil has no strong attack with which to stop the digger, so they look for a way to open the door and find the button. Inside are two copies of Thornbird, one apparently steering the digger and one handling some other apparatus. Huitzil makes an impassioned, persuasive speech that convinces one of the Thornbirds not to attack. The other one uses a flamethrower. The door, might I remind you, is open to the area with all of the aerosolized gasoline.

The FOOOOMP that follows is lessened by the fact that gasoline is not very flammable until it is aerosolized, so the explosion is merely awful and not lethal to everyone is the surrounding six blocks. The little that leaks into the compartment with the open door breaks in half the pacifist Thornbird, who (it turns out) was a robot, and damages the other one’s knee.

Over in the park, Dragoneye has thirty of these atomic supermen to deal with. Ten of them start pulling the digger; ten head over to the pylon of the People Mover, and ten look at Dragoneye in an eerie way that indicates some kind of telepathic teamwork…and the green beams lance out of their eyes and hit Dragoneye.

(Fortunately, their eyebeams, even when they’re working in concert like that, are weaker than their punches…only as strong as a tank shell or so. If they get one level of success as their best, then it’s damage 8; if they get three levels of success, it’s damage 11. The Teamwork advantage gives them +5 to hit when they are using team attacks.)

The slow process of whittling Dragoneye down begins.

Huitzil takes care of the second Thornbird robot quickly. Alas, the digger cars have opened in the meantime, and each car held about thirty of them, so ninety are marching is a lovely 9 abroad by 10 deep rectangle up the street. Screaming and running is happening all around, and a second spark will probably get the rest of the gasoline….

Dragoneye uses his area effect Dragonroar and discovers that it works most of the time (it’s saved by Will, and these guys have sucky Will saves)…when damaged, these guys turn into grayish-green dust and blow away. The others never get out of their cars because Dragoneye takes care of them, with help of….

Captain Fantasy!

Yes, the superhero whose powers totally depend on a gullible audience arrives. He can fly. He can have whatever power he wants if enough people believe him. And, after the Atomic Supermen smoke him until there is only a pair of boots on the ground, turns out to be immortal. It takes about four minutes for him to come back from the dead….Dragoneye’s healing shortens that tremendously.

(Whether it was right or not, I added Dragoneye’s 6 ranks of healing to Captain Fantasy’s high level of Immortality to get the time to revive him. It was in excess of 19, so each time Captain Fantasy got smoked, Dragoneye brought him back for the next round.)

As various Atomic Supermen were defeated in the park, others left their business of pulling the digger or destroying the People Mover pylon to deal with the upstart superheroes.

Eventually, Dragoneye convinced Captain Fantasy that he had to use his super nova blast, which the Captain replied he had never used before because it was Too Dangerous. It turned out that enough bystanders in the People Mover believed in the good Captain that he was able to generate a fine explosion centered on himself that destroyed him (again).

Dragoneye then made sure that various supermen could not get out of the other two digger cars, and with Captain Fantasy flew off to help Huitzil, only a few stops away.

In the meantime, Huitzil had realized that the Multiattack option could be used as a kind of suppressive fire, so they were destroying four or five Atomic Supermen at a time. Huitzil also rescued a small girl who was trying to help Huitzil (Huitzil at first hoped the girl had powers, and then got her away to the police barricade). Curiously, the cop who received her said, “You’re okay in my book, Huitzil, no matter what people say.”

Between the three of them, Dragoneye, Huitzil, and Captain Fantasy dealt with the remaining Atomic Supermen, though at the cost of killing Captain Fantasy (again) when he tried to stretch too far, and not enough people believed he had stretching….

Izzy’s tale at the Freedom Foundation:

What Izzy discovered:

1. The place was said to be haunted because there was in fact a ghost there, staying in the atomic radiation room with the biopods. (The room actually is radioactive: every superman in the pods is generating radiation.)

2. The ghost turned out to be Thornbird’s “daughter,” the Immaterial Girl, who has a hatred of Izzy that surpasseth immediate understanding….she said Izzy was as close as Thornbird could come to a “real” child.

3. Her brother was also there to fight Izzy because, hey, he does what his older sister says.

4. Izzy had told the Future Foundation kids to get away, so it was just Izzy/Canadian Lass and Immaterial Girl/Hellteen, but gosh, there was lots of equipment to use to pummel people. Upstairs there was probably something that would affect ghosts.

Hellteen is about as tough as Izzy is, but more likely to be distracted by Izzy’s looks. Izzy can lift more dead weight than Hellteen, but they do the same damage on punches. Hellteen is impervious to small arms fire, but can’t fly. His Initiative is way higher than Izzy’s, though nowhere near Huitzil’s.

5. One biopod was different from the others in that it had a metric fuckton of more radiation shielding. It contained someone that Izzy recognized…her mother…at about age twenty.

6. Ripping up biopods to use as weapons meant that she also had to deal with the biopod inhabitants….radioactive supermen. I don’t think it’s a decision Izzy would have made twice, if she made it even once.

7. All that Huitzil knows is from phoning Izzy to ask for some help on the whole Atomic Supermen thing, and Izzy said, “Kinda busy here. She says I’m Thornbird’s niece or something.”

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