It's Mutants and Masterminds! Jess is keen to let us know that her week sucked and that this will be fun, because it must.

It's Wednesday. Mr. Hogarth has called us into the dining room as Lux has a mission for us.

Lux deals with other aliens aside from Shroud. In particular, there's aliens that provide some sort of shipment for Lux, but they've run into trouble and have request Lux's assistance.

Their ship is called the Che'Nevare, and they've lost two crewmembers in the last few weeks. They had picked up some artifacts near Kepler 62e, and had offloaded two thirds of them to a buyer, and picked up supplies. While on route to their next destination, they had lost two crew members, both times moving at warp speed. The ship runs comfortably with the normal crew of seven, and having only five remaining is a problem.

Our mission is to assist, and collect supplemental information about the crew if possible. We're provided with some information that Lux already knows:

Captain Exrren is Jhax, but goes by X. Pierre is a female Geovaron, and she does does a lot of lifting. Engineer is Kaz Yslo. Gunner and backup lifter is Cesslin, he's a male Ardeidi. Mirry is a female Ardeidi and is the gunner and backup pilot. Oscar Clarkson is the main pilot, and the only human aboard. Bhel is a male Isarr who is the navigator and backup engineer.

Shroud, being not from Earth himself, knows a few things about their races. The Jhax, for example, have strong mental abilities and can take bodies. The Geovaron tend to be pretty heavy brawlers.

The ship won't be arriving until Friday, so we have some time to attend to our own affairs.

Harry Gruerkoven goes out to hang around some bars near Rose Island.

Jack goes to the library, and reads some archived newspapers and some books. He finds a book called The Vernier Effect by a Joseph Campbell that seems interesting. He also finds that Joseph Campbell had ties to a vigalante group, which we already knew. There's some notes in the margin, with blocky handwriting, probably someone with drafting experience.

Michael Schroeder researches FTL drives, especially what the Che'Nevare might be using. The ship can probably go around warp 7, but Michael is able to develop an attachment that can make his suit temporarily go at warp as well (although not as fast).

Shroud interrogates his prisoners, especially Pentacle, which he rips the memories of from her mind. He's particularly interested in who her employer might be, and her memories reveals that he goes by "The Praetor". Unfortunately, she isn't sure how she's met him, but she is sure she has, suggesting her memories may have been altered.

She was recruited around nine and a half years ago, and Praeter instructed her to take the kids. The goal was to recruit Never, using the kids as leverage. There was one child in particular that was important, her name was Teresa and she's around twelve years old. Pentacle is aware of Lux, but doesn't know much. She also knew about the Coterie, with not much detail there either.

He also probes her minds to see how she plans on escaping. She isn't sure, but thinks she might be able to summon something, or perhaps Praetor will come for her. She thinks she is on the moon. Shroud then alters her mind to make her desire to stay in the prison.

Shroud also checks on Beefcake. He also think he's on the moon.

I go to the courthouse to see Tom Carson, the ousted councilman. Of course, he won't be seeing me.

He's talking to his Lawyer, and his lawyer doesn't think he can get his client out of it, but perhaps he can shift blame. Tom Carson is still confident he can walk though, but his political career is will be? hurt.

I spend a moment probing his mind, to find out who told him to contact Pentacle. He was told to hire her by Praeter. Praeter recruited him around four years ago, mostly using blackmail to control him. It wasn't without advantages though, as Praeter got him his seat on the council. He doesn't remember how they met, perhaps they met in person, but he's not really sure.

I also get the location of Neilatech Headquarters from him. I leave, and go to investigate it a bit. It's a super nice building, constructed out of some sort of titanium alloy. There's no windows on the upper levels, except the penthouse, which seems to be set up with some sort of display.

It's Thursday. We ask Mr. Hogarth if Lux knows anything about Praeter. He does not, but is very interested to find out who this unknown player is.

Jack notes that there have been increase in UFO sightings in the last twelve years. Some newspapers postulate that the shattershot was caused by aliens.

It's Friday. The Che'Nevare's drop ship arrives and occupies about half the hanger. I can detect two minds inside.

It drops its cloak, revealing a chrome gray ship with dark blue stripes. One one side a bright blue light reveals a door, and with a flicker, an unseen ramp extends, allowing a roughly human sized woman steps out.

She's wearing a skin tight color changing flight suit, lined in lights, her hair tied back with a dozen ribbons. Her eyes are large and her sharp toothed grin wide. She skids down the ramp and comes over to Mr. Hogarth, greeting him warmly.

She notices me, and is quite interested in "poking" me, but is interrupted by another figure coming out the ship, telling her to stop "messing with the natives". Shroud seems mildly annoyed by this comment, but as he is disguised, the two visitors don't notice he isn't actually a native.

This second figure seems to have a perfect body, and I notice something off about his mind too. He introduces him self as X, and the woman is Pierre. He already knows we are the ones who are to help him. Shroud indicates that we plan on solving it. X also mentions that Oscar has the contact for Lux's shipment, and is one of the missing crew members.

We go up in the drop ship to the main ship, which is apparently about eight times larger and roughly egg shaped.

X shows us around the ship. First the basic crew quarters, then the storage decks (which are about half full). There are twelve remaining alien artifacts.

We ran across Kaz, who is the ship's engineer. He's short and looks something like an over sized gecko with blue skin, wearing dark goggles and suspenders. He waves at us.

Captain X also shows us the captain quarters and the bridge. Mirry and Cesslin are here. Both are similar looking, about six feet tall, thin and feather, but while Miry is yellow colored, Cesslin is red.

Next he shows us to the storage room where he's partitioned the five artifacts he things are most likely responsible for his missing crewmen.

The first is a red and silver colored arch shaped like a crescent moon. It's about twelve feet tall and six feet wide, and looks like it's made of plastic. Jack touches it, and it is cool to the touch. He jolts it with a small amount of electricity, but it doesn't seem conductive.

Second is a box with two orbs in it. They look like they're made of solid steel, and Captain X says that mental powers can activate them, but they don't seem to do anything useful. I touch them with my mind, and they flare into light and start to hum, seemingly losing their physical form. Captain X says that's all he's gotten them to do too. I disengage from the, and they deactivate.

The third is a black key the size of a human hand. There are wires and circuits embedded in it. Jack lets some electricity flow into it, and it hums into life.

Fourth is a long bar, that is kind of flat on one side, and round on the other. It has a slit through the top, and each end is capped with a mirrored edge. Jack electrifies it, and while it conducts, it doesn't do anything. Michael Schroeder notices it looks different from the others.

The last one is an open topped cage, six inches in diameter. The top is open, and it's made from suspended silver wire with a refined ruby in the center. I notice something very odd and interesting about it, but I'm not sure what. Shroud thinks it might be a trap of some kind.

Captain X says he has a mind link with the others, and the link is still connected, but the other end seems suppressed, so he's pretty sure they're still alive somewhere.

Harry Gruerkoven goes up to Oscar's room, and looks around. He finds all sorts of posters, a weird fountain, and several notebooks. He looks through them, and the third talks about the artifacts. It mentions that the artifacts were constructed by a race he calls the "Oro" who were portalers, but he doesn't know much about them. They went extinct about five thousand years ago, and it seems they were about half tech and half magic.

Shroud performs several rituals. First precognition but it fails Finally, he gains the ability to comprehend, and is able to read the various inscriptions on the artifacts.

The crescent moon has designs that are some sort of magical incantation to activate it. It appears that it is basically a sort of television set, and the picture would appear in the center.

The box the two orbs are in has some inscriptions describing them, basically saying that they're some sort of communication device.

The key is a lock for "Safes R Us".

The bar doesn't have any writing at all.

On the ruby in the trap, there is a poem that explains that minds can be trapped inside.

Shroud does another ritual, allowing him to commune with the artifacts directly.

It is still least clear what the metal bar is for, so he communicates with it first. The device responds to him, conveying that it creates portals. When it hits a certain frequency, it activates, and the portals go to where Zeal tells it.

Harry Gruerkoven talks to the pilot, who is super calm and willing to answer Harry's questions. At the moment, we're exiting the solar system, and she's just maintaining speed for now.

Harry asks about learning navigation, and she says Cesslin is attempting to learn, but is having troubles. She admits she isn't really good at landing.

Just then, Jack intercoms him, saying we know which device it is.

Kaz makes a device blender that can vibrate the bar at the appropriate frequency. We use it on the device, and a portal opens, revealing a grassy field on the other side. Harry Gruerkoven really wants to check it out. We all go in.

On the other side, there's a lamppost, with a few footprints around it. There are strange butterfly-like insects flying around. Everything seems just a little bit too blue. Even the grass is a blue green and the sky is just blue. There are two suns here, and gravity feels just a bit stronger than Earth.

Birds can be heard, singing in perfect harmony, and the butterflies are flying in synchronized patterns too. Far off in the distance, is a tower. Harry starts walking towards it, and the rest of us follow.

The tower itself is huge, a mile high and half a mile wide. Most of the way up the tower, is a clock the size of the ship, with two equal distance arms. The arms are pointing away from each other, towards the two suns. The clock has 36 symbols all the way around the face.

Harry air walks up to the top of the tower, and starts humming. We wait, and after twenty minutes, suddenly I feel a happy urge to go into the tower. The tower resists my attempt to pass through it, however, so I am forced to wait.

After another ten minutes, the arms have reached other, and the suns eclipse, and after about 30 seconds later, the arms have passed each other, revealing a doorway. Harry and I go in, and the others follow.

Inside is deep water, and blue koi is swimming inside. Above the ceiling is artificially replaced with sky. The fish have minds.

At the center is an small island made of sand, with a blue and green parrot. It caws at us.

Suddenly, the center of the island collapses into quicksand. Harry Gruerkoven gets sucked downward, and the sand feels warm to me, and I follow. Below is a hard steel floor, surrounded with steel with wires, with red tinted lights on the walls. Hundreds of feet away is a door.

We go to it, and there's a blank keypad, with red lights. Jack McCoy jolts it, causing it to fizzle, and the door opens.

There's a hallway that turns a corner, and a doorway before then. We look into the doorway into a room with half destroyed robots. Most are just missing pieces or bludgeoned and dented.

We continue down the hallway, around the corner, and see a robot patrol several hundred feet away. Jack teleports to the robots, and electrifies them, causing their eyes to flash red. Michael Schroeder tries to remotely hack them, while Shroud and I head down the hallway. They retaliate with buzzsaws, and Jack destroys most of them.

Michael runs down the hallway, and manages to tell Jack to stop destroying them, leaving one standing. Michael has them send a signal indicating threat has been neutralized, and determines that two people have passed through recently.

Shroud creates some walls to block patrols from reaching us as we progress deeper into the facility. Michael hacks sensors as we go, to prevent whatever is controlling the robots from sending more. Eventually, we reach a doorway, and we go through to find a room full of robots with a doorway at the end. Around this time Michael is unable to keep up with all the robots and sensors he has hacked, and loses control.

Jack does what he does best, and teleports into the center of the room, destroying all of the robots. The floor starts vibrating, and Michael X-Rays the floor, and determines that there are larger robots underneath the floor. He manages to hack the floor to prevent it from opening up, but warns we should continue on.

On the other side of the door is a large room, several feet across. At the center is an octagon shaped raised platform, with steep around the platform raising. At the sides of the room, doors are opening, so we head to the platform to find a trapdoor on it. We go down it.

Inside is rusted metal with vines overgrowing the room. There are pictures on the wall that seem to tell a story about bunnies, a ship arriving, turning everything red, leaving only the tower with its inhabitant.

I slip through the floor. The floor is several thousand feet down, and I can detect minds here. Some seem to be stuck in suspended animation, but I can also feel two moving down at the very bottom.

In the center of the room is a colossal flytrap with tentacles moving in the air and dozens of rays coming out of its gaping maw, which is opening and closing. Like every other living thing, it's blue and green, although it's also splotched. Spores float around it.

I can feel its mind. It's a happy mind. It makes me happy. I'm so happy.

Above me, Shroud portals the two missing crew members out, and then portals himself and the rest of our companions in.

I'm not happy to see them. Especially when Jack impales the happy flytrap with his katana. This makes me mad. After failing once, I posses him to make him stop.

Shroud and Michael are also fighting the creature, causing it to scream. Suddenly, I don't feel so happy at the creature, and my will is once again my own. I release Jack, and he finishes the creature off.

We hear a loud blaring horn, and the floor begins to shake. The walls and ceiling start falling, and we get out of there as quickly as possible.

Outside, the missing crewmembers are confused to see us. We simply tell them that Captain X sent us, and they seem a little less confused. We go back to the lamppost, and the portal is still open.

The grass is turning brown, and the butterflies and birds are acting chaotic and confused. We go through the portal.

Kazz and Pierre are really happy to see their lost crewmates. We head on to the ship's next destination, and Kazz is happy to show Michael Schroeder around engineering.

Investigate alien tech at Neilatech? Investigate Teresa.