Never vs. Pyre

Another session of Mutants and Masterminds.

It's Saturday, in the middle of the afternoon. Michael decides to go for a drive, but after about twenty feet, the car abruptly stops working.

The walls of the manor shake. An EMP has just occurred.

Off in town, a building explodes causing a plume of smoke.

The manor intercom bursts into life, alerting everyone to gather in the dining room.

Mr. Hogarth has a missive from Lux for us. An explosion has happened at the Ivory Division on 52nd and Main, and we are to investigate the explosion and ensure that bystanders have not been harmed. We should use some care though, as the rabble often take the streets after a pulse.

We suit up, with Harry Gruerkoven, Shroud and Jack McCoy disguised as police offers. Shroud creates a portal to the site, and we pass through to an alley nearby.

Out in front of the building, a crowd has gathered. There are some obvious gang members, but most of them scatter when they see Jack McCoy in his uniform.

A fight breaks out, and mind reading reveals that it is unrelated. Harry goes to break it up anyway.

The office park sign has two names on it: Ivory Division (which appears new), and another sign that says JR Barlett and Sons that looks much older. The sign has slots for other names as well, but they are empty. In another time, this building probably had many more tenants, but now it looks almost abandoned, as if it is barely struggling to not be abandoned, with only minds detectable on the first and fifth floors.

At the base of the building is a big gaping hole where someone apparently set off an explosion. A fire is raging, and Shroud absorbs the energy from it.

Harry Gruerkoven deals with the two men fighting, and gets them to stop. One did see some of what happened. After the explosion, some people in a black kerchief ran into the building. There's always been weird stuff happening in that building though.

We go into the building, which once had beautiful marble floors that have now fallen into disrepair.

The corner of the building has collapsed, and someone lays injured under some rubble. Michael Schroeder frees her and finds identification for a Rosa Johnson who has an appointment with the Barletts at Monday at 9am and oh have a nice day. It's been in her wallet for a long time, so it's completely unclear when this Monday would be. Jack McCoy takes the business card.

Down a hallway are two men. One is around 5'9" and heavyset with sunken eyes and hard spiked hair made of ice. He's wearing three knives and a grenade with combat boots and shades.

The other man is wearing a suit jacket and a wife beater, as well as several knives. He's 6'2" and his jacket has a hole and is badly embroidered with wings on the back. He has a buzz cut and a tattoo of a bandanna on one shoulder.

I read their minds and determine that their orders are to guard the entry until others come back.

Shroud opens a portal, and we knock the two guards out. Shroud then creates a holding cell on the moon to hold them.

Jack McCoy fireman carries Rosa out of the building, where he notices the crowd still milling about. Harry Gruerkoven finally comes to join us.

I attempt to read the minds of the people on the fifth floor. Something is interfering though, and I can't precisely determine the location of some of the people up there, as something is blocking me. I probe the mind of one of the hostages, and get a picture of the place. Some of the people there are not known to the scientist, but he does know he is here because Doctor Chambers, who directs Ivory Division, called everyone in to make an important announcement.

We go up, most of us using Shroud's portal. There are 18 hostages, and several people who are definitely not scientists here. One bald man with military tatoos is rifling through papers. Another in a reddish black cloak is moving around.

There are two standing amid the scientists, who obviously do not belong. One is an nicely dressed Asian woman with a teal and a pink streak through her hair who is looking directly at Harry Gruerkoven. Standing next to her is a tall albino gentleman with gray vest slacks talking to a prisoner. The asian woman speaks into her comm that five people have arrived on this floor, and to be prepared.

The albino man yells for noone to move, or one of the hostages get it (Doctor Chambers apparently). If we make any moves, they hostages will die.

We don't do anything, and he takes a briefcase, which Michael Schroeder's drone detects has several vials in it along with electronics and various papers.

Oh, and he wants his two men we sent to the moon back too.

Shroud opens a portal, and I quickly probe the minds of our two prisoners before we release them.

The old man who was rifling through the papers is known as Quake, and has powers of teleport and vibration control.

The reddish haired guy is Breaker, and can shield and has hard hitting stuns. He never shows his face.

The asian woman is Rave, and has mind powers.

The albino is Never, who has disintegration powers. He has a nasty reputation.

One of men we imprisoned, the man with the spiky ice hair, is known as Shard.

The suit jacket guy, the other prisoner who I am quickly mentally probing, is known as Kentucky, and has a house at 72nd and Haysworth. He reports to the Black Box a lot.

The vials contain an antidote to Ash, which is some sort of synthetic poison which appeared about a year ago. It corrodes you from the inside.

We return to the manor and report our finding's to Lux's butler. He says he will forward our findings to his master, but first he has an envelope with a bulge for Jack McCoy. Jack opens it and starts mumbling about "not gonna bother hitting the streets".

Jack sets his note on fire, and continues mumbling some more about a gang leader of the void, and looking for info where a lot of people died, and the rippers. He then heads off the Rabbit Hole.

Mr. Hogarth returns to us with background information on various gangs, provided by Lux.

There could be a few different reasons Never attacked the scientists, such as retribution for a certain recent drug heist. It might also possibly related to attacking a rival gang, as the Shattershots are known to use Ash as a weapon. Or, less likely, they could be using Ash to assassinate someone in the 74 district, using antitode on their hitters to protect them.

Our new goal is the find and rescue the scientist, provide any incriminating info about the council if it is related, prevent Never from destroying a rival gang or successfully assassinating someone if that is his goal. Lux has also provided us ten handcuffs which temporarily neutralize powers on the person they are used on.

Some background information on Never himself has also been provided. He's a mutant in his mid 20s and has the ability to shred people he touches into power, possibly able to reverse the process. He has lead the Void for the last three years, which is the largest street gang.

Jack McCoy is so hardboiled, with his back to the wall in the bar. He waits in the bar until Natalia shows up at around 8:30pm.

Natalia is clearly armed, and goes up the bar to get a rum and coke (for free obviously). Jack introduces himself as a PI, and says that he wants to discuss things. She doesn't know him, and asks if she should, and if he's licensed. He answers no to both questions, but she doesn't seem to care, and tells him to sit down and tell her what he wants to talk about.

Jack says he's looking into never, and she says that's a bad idea, and that he shouldn't be stupid. Jack doesn't dispute it, and provides her with the list of drop locations that were intercepted on their way to Never. She writes them down, and Jack asks if she knows anything, and she tells him that Never is a "goddang ghost" and changes his location daily, and is heavily involved in drugs.

Natalia gives Jack her card, and tells him that if he has a working phone, give her a call if he has any other information.

Jack leaves, and on his way back to the manor is attacked by two gang members, one with a black bandanna with white dots, and one with a red band on his shoulder. He defeats them, and takes on of their ids and knives.

I ask Mr. Hogarth if Lux can provide any information about Tom Carson, one of the council members. Apparently he's old money and his dad before him was also a council member. He has a brother who was a lawyer, and he was married, but his wife died from the shattershot.

Jack asks about a red bandanna, and Mr. Hogarth provides an article about a warehouse in the 74 district about several gang members of the "Carson Valley Boys". There wasn't much heard about them for the last few years, but they've reappeared in the last month. Several bodies were found include some from the Carson Valley Boys.

Mr. Hogarth also provides information marks of different gang members. The void we already know are identified by black with white dots, but we are told they also don't like the Scythes, who are identified by a blue crescent. The Shattershots have a double red bar on their hands, and are at war with the Void, and half turf around the max security prison.

I fruitlessly investigate McCloud and Carson. McCloud's house is empty, but she is at her office at 1 McCloud. Her office has a lot of Nealatech, and she's currently dealing with a manufacturing issue. Probing her mind doesn't reveal any useful knowledge of recent events. She doesn't know any Underwood aside from a Carl Underwood, who is provides security for her headquarters.

Tom Carson is neither at his house nor at the city council building, although his teenage son is at home. I don't have any leads on where else he might be.

Jack McCoy goes to the Shattershot territory with Harry Gruerkoven, with the intent to provoke them with openly displayed symbols of the Scythes. Two Shattershots take the bait and pull a gun and shoot Harry twice. Finally they miss, and one of the thug's guns blows up.

Jack and Harry take the thugs to an abandoned meat packing plant, and tie them up in an old broken walk-in freezer. Jack slaps one of them awake, and the woken thug doesn't appreciate it, and spits in Jack's face. He brags that Charlie is gonna be back any minute and boy Jack will be sorry. The other thug wakes up and mentions Pyre. Who is Pyre? Oh, just the boss of the Shattershots. Never is stopping by the 'cade tomorrow and the Shattershots got something special planned for him.

Jack McCoy tries to find Natalia, but Ingrid at the police station does not like Jack.

Shroud had sent the prisoners that Harry and Jack to the police jail. I go to them and probe the minds of the two thugs. Pyre had told them that Never was coming by the 'cade after 4pm tomorrow, at 12th and Tutle at 1412 12th street. Pyre has a thing for fire, like he was a stage magician at some point. Some of his underlings have strange powers as well.

As I leave, I notice a teenage kid looking at me from a cell, despite the fact that he shouldn't be able to see me. He's rocking and his hands are taped. His mind is blank to me, although he isn't mindless.

I head over to the Black Box for a while, and see if anyone comes to pick up the list of drop points. Nobody does, and I give up watch early the next morning.

We prepare. Jack gets gas masks for himself and Harry. Michael Schroeder thinks they'll probably be protected by ash using them.

Shroud goes to the moon, and meditates.

Harry Gruerkoven finds a fax machine. He also finds a hidden cabinet with a wall of screens, with a tiny friendly screen that asks if he'd like to turn the other screens on. Harry presses no. It cheerfully says Thank You.

Shroud has opened a tiny portal to the 'cade to monitor the area. After 4pm, the 'cade is full of Shattershots, about 18 of them. A few show obvious super powers, such as the ability to arc electricity. Never still hasn't arrived though.

Then, around 7pm, all hell breaks lose when several people teleport in.

Shroud portals back to the manor, and we gather up. Michael is late. Shroud creates a portal to the 'cade and we step through.

Only about half of the Shattershots are left. We see all of the supers from Never's gang, Quake, Breaker Rave, Shard and Kentucky, fighting various members of the Shattershots. About six of the Shattershots appear to have powers, and Pyre is here too. There are various particles in the air, some appearing to caused by one source and others by another (some from disintegrated Shattershots, the other being Ash).

Harry Gruerkoven throws himself at Never, and Michael Schroeder arcs lightning. I try to possess Never, but fail. Michael takes out Kentucky with his drone. Jack McCoy mass electrifies the room carefully keeping it from hitting us. Shroud punches Never through the wall and then recreates the wall, putting Never out of the fight. I possess Pyre and then we (mostly Jack's electric field) take the rest of the supers down.

We shove everyone through portals to holding cells. Never is still out there, and can see through Shroud's transparent wall. He stares at us, studying our features, and then leaves.