In this Mutants and Masterminds session we'll finally get to return Earth. Jess has promised that it's an important story mission, and we're about one third of the way through the overall campaign.

We're on the final approach to Earth, all of our party gathered in the dining area with the captain. Jack McCoy is talking with him, when suddenly the captain's mental link with several of his crew members is interrupted. He tells us they seem to be being controlled by an outside force, and then collapses.

The lights go out, leaving the room briefly in complete darkness for a moment before the emergency lights on the sides of the wall flicker on, broken.

The area I can see minds in seems to be shrinking, but I can tell that Bhel, one of the crewmembers that the captain's link with was broken, is heading towards us, apparently hostile.

Little blue larvae creatures appear out of nowhere, and attack us. Michael Schroeder isn't in his suit, so he goes down. I fly around and distract a few while Jack electrifies the room taking most of them out, while Shroud finishes them off.

Bhel arrives, and I immediately possess him. Shortly after Oscar arrives, but Oscar doesn't appear to be hostile. Shroud opens a portal to the cockpit, and Sesslin immediately assaults us. Mirri is busy dismantling the ship. We manage to knock both of them out.

The captain stirs, complaining of a wicked headache, and Pierre arrives. Captain X is puzzled why Bhel is just standing there, and I inform him that I am currently restraining him. We check on the ship engineer, who heard voices trying to get him to sabotage the ship as well, but he ignored them. He comes with us to make repairs in the cockpit.

We clear out other parts of the ship of hostile creatures, including the infirmary and cargo hold, when Harry hears a beeping from a console.

It's a distress signal, from Lux's estate. The mainscreen only shows smoke. Shroud opens a portal to the estate private dining room, revealing destruction on the other side...

The private dining hall is a mess. There's a huge chasm leading into the basement floors, and parts of the building look burned. It's very hot in here.

Mr. Hogarth is trying to shift some debris unsuccessfully, as his hands keep going through it. He's out of breath, and relieved that we have returned, as he's expended too much power. He tells us to get down into the basement and help Lux.

Michael Schroeder and Shroud through some rubble around while Harry Gruerkoven and I go directly into the basement. Eventually Shroud opens a portal directly to us.

It looks like there was once a lab here, but it's since been destroyed. In one corner, it looks like there might be someone under a pile of rubble, so Michael moves some of it aside, revealing an arm.

Shroud touches the arm, and teleports the owner out. It's Lady Lustracio. She's skinny with black hair, and is wearing jeans and a ghostbuster T-shirt. Her arm has needlemarks, and I am unable to directly see her mind, as if it's concealed from me.

Shroud goes and checks on some other matters, while we bring her up to Mr. Hogarth. Mr. Hogarth tells us to contact Mr. Gray and to take Lux to a safehouse.

Our contact for Mr. Gray is Jenna, who works at a diner. Jack McCoy teleports to the diner in broad daylight, scaring some pedestrians and the diner inhabitants. The owner pulls a gun on Jack, but Jack ignores it so he runs off.

Jack looks around back and finds her address, and he teleports to her house. Jack knocks on the door, and she responds.

He tells her that we need to talk to Mr. Gray. She asks how he should contact Jack, and he tells him to go to the estate, Mr. Hogarth will meet him.

Mr. Hogarth gives us directions to the safehouse. He can't accompany us, and Harry Gruerkoven sticks around, in case anything else happens here. Actually, Ben has to leave early to look at a house or something.

We try to heal her, but don't manage to do much. Shroud notices she has a disfiguring scar on her spine. Michael Schroeder tries to use his suit, and its equipment, but then Mr. Gray arrives.

Mr. Gray pulls out a briefcase and puts it on the table. He flips it open, and uses some things to heal her (some of it looks alien). Lux wakes up, and while she's blind and her eyes are faded, she seem to tell where we are. Mr. Gray leaves.

She tells us that she believes the Praetor attacked. I ask if it's another attack on the Coterie, and she doesn't confirm it, but just says that it's a coordinated attack on her and the Dutchman. It's likely that the Dutchman was retrieved, and is under the Praetor's control now.

Jack wants to make sure it's really Lux, so he asks her to tell him his last name, but she asks if that's something she should really be saying. Dan is satisfied.

She asks if Shroud could track the magical energies from the attack, and he thinks he might be able to. She also asks if Jack can speed up the investigation (although it turns out that it's easier if Shroud just modifies the police chief's mind).

Shroud investigates, and manages to find that the powers originate in an invisible castle floating above one of the city's parks...

We assault the castle, arriving via portal to the entry room. The castle is cool and seems to be made of ice. We open the giant door leading inward, which leads to a large hallway that branches perpendicularly in the back, with a door in the center.

There are statues in various states of dance, and an icy chandelier ahead. One of them is wearing a ring made of marble, and I can sense a mind within.

We hear laughter, and a voice saying "Welcome to the playground, little heroes."

Shroud takes the ring off the statues, and I probe it, disappearing into it.

I find myself in a small room, with a small little girl in a Victorian dress. She asks if I'm here to fight the magician, and I say yes, so she says she'll help if I solve a riddle.

What is greater than god
more evil than the devil
the poor have it
the rich need it
and if you eat it then you will die.

I guess wrongly, and am returned to reality. The answer is nothing, dummy.

The ring had disappeared, revealing a big angry 11 foot demon. I possess it.

At the end of this hallway is a doorway, which we cannot break through. I probe the mind of my meat suit, and find out that we need three keys, and one is in the demon's body. Shroud fishes it out.

We go to the other two hallways, and determine the other two keys are behind doors that are at their ends. Shroud uses telekinesis and portals to retrieve them.

We return to the locked door, and use the three keys to open it.

The room is huge, with a red runner leading down the center. At the end is a disfigured man, of melted flesh and cloak. In a few places, his bones are exposed.

He bows to us, and says welcome to the castle. Jack McCoy tells him we're here to arrest him. He suggests that he might have something better to offer than Lucifer I knew it!. Perhaps the afterlife (looking in my direction), or perhaps a country (looking in Jack's direction!?).

He reveals that he is the Praeter, and the magician is his puppet, who he is now possessing.

I tell him I will not accept his offer, and Shroud doesn't think he has anything of use to offer at all. The Praeter tries to bargain, and offers to clear Shroud's name (not interested), so he offers a galaxy. Jack is alarmed by this, but Shroud only continues to fish for information. It seems that he can only direct so much power at one place at a time, relying on puppets like this one here.

Jack charges in, but Shroud merely make a portal and puts the magician's body into one of his jail cells. I'm done with the demon body, so Shroud puts it in a cell as well, but it melts.

Free of the Praetor's life sustaining influence, the magician dies.

We return to the safe house. Lux wants to take possession of the two corpses, and Shroud promises to send them to the estate. He also promises to give her some substance of Pentacle's (one of his prisoners).

With the threat temporarily taken care of, we ask Lux some questions about the Praetor. Yes, the Praetor might be the originator of the Shattershot. She doesn't think he could deliver a galaxy, but a solar system wouldn't have been a problem for him given time. The Praetor tried to make a move on Never, but failed. Some of the military are working for him, but not all. She isn't sure how exactly.

We ask her about herself as well. She's primarily an inventor, but she also has some destructive defensive powers, which apparently led the Sandman's death. It was an accident, and he could be alive in this time period. She claims shes not good with people, and thinks we are.

It's her illness, she hurts people, and that's why she doesn't like talking to people. She tells us her blindness is a fitting punishment for what happened to the Sandman.

The Dutchman was delivered into her estate's possession because the Coterie originally put him in the asylum. She'll have to look into what happened to him, but fixing the Manor will be her primary concern at the moment. The butler is like me, after a fashion.

The Coterie fell apart because of what happened to the Sandman. They don't believe he deserved what happened to him. The only one of the former Coterie that would still wish her harm is Wolf, because he's a bit of a hothead. Warp might actually be willing to help out, but only the Tower twins knew how to contact him. There are few allies in this fight, and only we're aware of the Preator.

Jack asks if she does intend to procure a country, and she says yes after a certain fashion.

Nigel Barnet gets the council position (this was not Never's pick).

5 power points