Instead of Mutants and Masterminds, let's talk about our jobs.
Jack McCoy gets a call on his cell phone.
It's Carlon, from the Ace of Spades. He's got a "bleeding mutant" in his bar, and seems to think it's the sort of thing we handle. Something about a sword, and a tolyewwood or something.
Just as Jack has hung up, his phone rings again.
It's O'Connor. She has a hunch and wants Jack to check something out. What? No, it's not at a bar. She gives him an address, and says he should probably check sometime before evening.
The bar is practically empty. But in the middle of the room, sprawled on a table, is a man.
He's wearing the remains of a feather coat, and his chest is a bloody mess, with odd bits of claw embedded in his chest. Carlon is telekineticly plucking them out, and putting them in a glass.
I spot a woman, standing behind Carlon, but after half a second she disappears. Odd.
Shroud performs a ritual and heals the battered knight, who stirs and then tries to stand up. Carlon stops him.
The knight demands his weapon for he has a foe most manxome. He's hunting the Jabberwock, and he babbles on about his fabulous cloak made from a jubjub bird, and being from not here but a frumfrum tree. He also mentions that the Bandersnatch has his weapon, which is the Vorpal Blade. Snicker-Snack! The bandersnatch is large and black and white with a squished snout!
I go up to the bouncer at the top of the stairs, ask him where the guy came from. He points down the street, where a slight blood trail is barely evident. Michael Schroeder's drone tries to follow it, but it quickly seems to evaporate.
We check out the address O'Connor was located. Jack McCoy finds a street seller with some Alice in Wonderland merchandise, so he buys it all.
Just then, a portal shimmers in existence in the middle of the busy street.
A monster comes out of it. It's the size of a bus but it's not a catbus and looks like a spiny wolf crossed with a mammoth with crazy wings. It also has black and white fur and a squished looking snout. It snaps at a fleeing man and grabs him in its jaws, who Michael's drone teleports out of its grasp.
Jack spots a sword embedded in its flank, and grabs onto it.
I possess the creature, and it stops its thrashing and lays still.
Shroud lifts the Bandersnatch Baldersnatch? away from Earth, and then decides he wants a pet.
Shroud locates his prison, and with his thoughts made manifest, fashions a habitat on his space prison base's surface, replete with trees and a small atmosphere.
This is the first time I've seen Shroud's prison not through a portal opening, but I have more important things to worry about.
I mentally probe the creature's mind. I get images of a peaceful summer land, a forest, with a purple stream flowing and grass and butterflies.
It doesn't know how or why it came here. It just did. It does know the knight who attacked it. It's one of the angry prey. Sometimes it wins, and sometimes it loses.
Shroud portals some deer in for it. It seems satisfied with the deer, and after chomping several down in big mouthfuls, it starts playing with its food, sending one of them flying into the habitat's barrier. The deer hits it, and falls back down to the habitat surface, where the creature goes to find it.
We return to Carlon's bar. Michael Schroeder is away, apparently preparing with some samples.
The knight wants his sword back, and Jack tells him he can have it back, but he needs to keep it under wraps until the Jabberwock is found. Literally, since Jack put the word in a sack.
The knight agrees and says we should go North.
So we do. To Holland Memorial Park.
We've scarcely arrived at the park when we hear screaming and the snapping and crackling of trees.
A massive garguatian creature is rampaging through the park. It's almost fifty feet tall and sixty feet long, with red and orange furlike feathers. It has six legs, and its long sawtoothed tail oozes with liquid. It has a large beak with a smaller mouth below it, as well as a horn and three eyes of flame. Each limb has claws that catch.
It's the Jabberwock.
Jack strikes it with a light of bolting. It notices, and gives a terrible cry, wiffling upon Jack.
The knight draws his sword from the burlap sack and charges the Jabberwock, giving it a huge thwack with his sword. The Jabberwock lets out a terrible cry, burbling a huge wave of acid, wiping us all out.
The knight seems unaffected, and slices the creature's head off. He takes the head and puts it in the sack.
He tells us he wants to go the castle. He doesn't know where it is. He had a horse, but he doesn't have it anymore. Shroud wants to help portal him, but without knowing where it is, can't actually create the portal.
We look for the knight's castle, without any luck.
We do spot a gentleman walking by, but his attire is late Victorian. Jack recognizes him. He's one of Oscar Wilde's creations, Dorian Gray, a socialite.
Jack introduces himself to him, and Dorian Grays says he's going to a party. What a coincidence, so is Jack, or so he says.
The rest of us follow in the distance. Some ruffians attack, but Jack and Dorian deftly take them out, with Michael having his drone sneakily comically tripping some of them.
They reach their destination. It's a masquerade party. Jack sees Richard Barnsdale (a bookie who was in Never's organization), and Jack can't help acting rather rude to him. Never is a bitch.
Eventually the part winds down, and we take Dorian Gray and the knight back to the bar.
I check in on O'Connor, since she keeps getting strange hunches. She's investigating a rather bloody murder scene.
I probe her mind her mind, and she doesn't seem to know where the hunches are coming from. She seems to think the method of death is very unusual, like their blood exploded in their veins.
One of the forensic peoples has an interesting observation though. It's like it is out of one of those popular books. "Bloodvayne".
Michael's drone spots a woman in a red shirt and a leather jacket standing and watching the scene. She turns and wanders off, and Michael's drone follows.
I catch up to the drone and the woman, and I scan her surface thoughts. She's looking for a place to hole up, and she breaks into a warehouse, and takes out a handwritten notebook. It mentions "Bloodvayne" and has notes on how to kill the creature. She considers calling her boyfriend.
The wasn't her first brush with Bloodvayne. Her name is Sara Rivers, and it killed her sister.
I return to the bar.
A woman emerges from empty space and touches me.
I see the image of a tree. In the vision the woman goes over to it, and puts something in the knot of the tree. She turns around, and returns to the bar, where Carlon greets her warmly. This bar.
The vision disappears.
I ask Carlon about her, but he says he hasn't seen her.
I don't believe him, so I read his thoughts. He's seen her long ago, before the Shattershot. Camille Darton.
Neon lights in the bar turn red abruptly.
Carlon asks if something is wrong. I tell him I don't think he's being truthful, and he raises an eyebrow and says simply, she's dead. I say I saw her, and he doesn't believe me.
I point out I'm also technically...not alive. It doesn't stop me.
I leave him and go into the alley behind the bar. Sure enough, there's a tree, and in the knot, is a silver colored key inside, with the number "112" on it. The tree has grown around it though, and I can't get it out myself, so I get Carlon.
While he retrieves the key, I ask him how she died. It was an accident. She was hit by a truck while waiting for him, because he was away running errands.
He gives me the key, and thinks I should find out why she thought it was important. Could be in a deposit box at the train station.
I call Jack to have him come along to find where the key goes, and he says after he checks something else out.
Jack doesn't return to the bar, so I take the key and go to the train station.
I find the deposit box marked 112. The key fits.
Inside is a large stack of papers. A picture of Camille and Carlon is on top. They're smiling. Happy.
The papers are old and dusty and seem to be notes. It's hard for me to decipher about what exactly, but there's references to a government project of some sort, something about homeland security.
I take the papers back to Hogarth, who says he'll have Lux look at them. He asks what I want to do with the photo, so I take it back to Carlon.
Carlon takes the photo and looks at it. He nods to me.
A moment passes and then all hell breaks loose as a screaming man and a long black and red tinted monster fall from a portal.
Jack and Shroud are on the trail of another murder. This one is of a woman, who Shroud resurrects.
She's sobbing. Something about a man with a top hat and a cane who went after her with a scythe.
It sounds reminiscent of a book Jack read called "Murder at Whitechapel". It was about Jack the Ripper.
Michael takes a look at some bookstores. Nothing interesting here.
He takes a look at the library, and sees a familiar looking man.
He also sees some diorama of various scenes including one of the Bandersnatch and another of Victorian London. There's also one of the invisible man and another of an empty hall picture of Dorian Gray. Where is the invisible man? He's invisible...
He calls Jack, who is quite sick of being called by this point.
Jack pokes around some warehouses, following the trail.
He doesn't find anything.
Jack the Ripper tends not to be the sort to be found.
Jack and Shroud join Michael at the library.
Shroud recognizes the man. He was a prisoner at Neilatech, and soon, he is a prisoner in Shroud's prison.
Michael looks closer at one of the Dioramas. "Made by Carl Lander".
Shroud interrogates Carl Lander, who seems to have no idea what is going on. He admits to making the Dioramas, but denies the idea of any powers. He's convinced Shroud is Neilatech, and Shroud doesn't dissuade him of the notion.
He becomes more agitated by the questions and suddenly a creature appears next to him. It's long a dark and red tinted.
The nullifying fields of Shroud's prison seem unable to contain the situation, so Shroud flushes the cell. Into the Ace of Spades.
The screaming man falls onto the floor. The creature stands over him.
Dorian's eyes go wide. The knight leaps up and unsheathes his vorpal blade.
I try grappling with the creature mentally, but it's will is too strong. Oh yeah, and I set off Carlon's alarm system again. Whoops, it's a good thing I'm still on good terms with him.
Carlon sends metal shards flying at the creature, but the creature doesn't seem to notice.
A moment later, Shroud appears from the portal along with Jack and Michael, and asks if anyone knows how to kill it. I tell Chad to open a portal to an address, which is the one with Sara Rivers, and then I try mentally grappling with the creature again. I barely manage to forestall it from taking any more action.
Carlon sends more metal flying at it. It's what he's good at. The knight slashes it with his vorpal blade, Snicker-Snack! but the creature seems almost completely unaffected. Michael snares it, slowing it further.
Shroud makes a portal to Sara Rivers, who seems startled. Shroud tells her he requires her assistance, and she sees the creature and understands.
Sara makes a small cut in her arm, and the creature freezes. She then steps through portal, draws a small blade, and stabs it. The creature, Bloodvayne, shatters.
Carl Landers seems a bit dazed and confused, and Jack tells him to concentrate, and some of the stuff fades away.
We discuss other things we could have him create, and in the process the knight hears the Bandersnatch lives, and wants to deal with it. Shroud manages to convince Carl to make some frumfrum trees, which Shroud portals away to the Bandersnatch's habitat, soon making a told you so wood.
We try to figure out what to do with everyone, but apparently Sara will hang out at the bar. Jack gives Carl Lux's address. He also gives O'Connor a call.
We return to the Lustracio estate, and Lux has some information for us.
The research papers (all 200 of them) are dated 15 years ago, and seem to reference a secret security project. It talked about environment factors and enemy tech deprivation to root out terrorism and crime itself.
The exact mechanism was localized EMPs, and involved invoking enemy fear response, as well as controlling flora and fauna directly. The EMPs specifically would be "naturally occurring" and specialized troops would be introduced with enhanced senses and strength to be deployed in special areas.
Joseph Campbell's name shows up a few times, as well as Elias Quinn, who was a source of the notes and had something to do with developing the EMPs.
Finally, we know something about the Shattershot.