Another session of Mutants and Masterminds.
I'm floating around the Estate grounds. Servants here seem to do a pretty good job of staying out of the way, with all our normal interactions being entirely with Mr. Hogarth. But today, I see a gardener working on some shrubbery. What's more, something seems odd about him. He seems like he's a ghost too?
I approach him, and notice his eyes don't match and one of them is lazy. He's shaking a bit as if afflicted by some condition, and nods to me. I ask for his name, and he responds Spencer of Wagner. I ask how the gardening is going, and he says he's making progress.
I back off.
Jack McCoy is in the library reading while in his silk pajamas. Mr. Hogarth enters the library, and tells Jack that he needs the mansion cleared from 3 to 7pm, and that also there is a message waiting in your room.
Mr. Hogarth then goes to Harry Gruerkoven, and intercoms Michael Schroeder as well, with the same message that the estate needs to be cleared. He also relays the message to Shroud as well, who has been in and out all day on some secret project.
Finally, Mr. Hogarth approaches me outdoors, with the same message. I ask Mr. Hogarth about the gardener, and he says the gardener was at the Lady of Graces Asylum. I consider this, and agree to comply with Lux's wishes.
Jack McCoy visits a bar next door to one of the precinct police stations. He's seeking information about the city prison's warden, and after mingling with some cops at the bar, finds out some information. It turns out the warden isn't a bad man, but rumor has it he's had to resort to nasty stuff to get information out of an inmate. No one can prove anything though, and no one wants to, just that the inmate ended up in the hospital. Jack asks about the wardens interests and finds that he likes golf, and those stupid judge shows.
Jack doesn't know a thing about golf, but a city library tells him all he needs to know to fake it. He practices a few swings.
He also visits the newspaper archives, looking for details about someone. He finds some interesting articles, including several about the Dutchman and Joseph Campbell from the previous mission. Finally, in the Boston Weekly, he finds an article about the man he's looking for. Doctor Constantine. Once a member of the Coterie, known to have some sort of healing abilities, ended up in prison somehow.
Jack McCoy practices his nascent golfing skills some more. With a drunk bum.
Inspired by the ghostly gardener, I visit the asylum. It's still a mess since our last visit, but it seems the destruction we caused has focused attention on it where more effort into maintenance is occurring again.
There's a lot of police around, and I notice a reporter following the asylum administrator with a photographer in tow. She's asking the administrator a lot of pointed questions, about the events when our group was last here. The administrator isn't willing to give up any details, much to the reporter's annoyance, but the administrator does let on that there is an investigation ongoing, suspecting some sort of outside force. In particular, the reporter really wants to go to the bottom floor, but is denied access.
After around six the reporter and photographer leave, but I stay around a little longer. Around 7 I leave, but notice suddenly there a lot of people coming and going suddenly. Must be a shift change.
Michael Schroeder is cruising the streets looking for trouble. He borrows the most secure car, which happens to be a tad inconspicuous since it's a fancy looking Lincoln.
He drives over to a scrapyard, since he is looking for supplies for a device. It's fence in, and inside is an old man with a rottweiler at his side. Michael introduces himself "Sir, I'm a local mechanic". The old man laughs and tells Michael no one has called him Sir in years, but you can call him Gerald. The rottweiler's name is Pat.
Michael finds what he wants, pays Gerald for the scrap, and leaves. Pat the dog keeps a stern eye on Michael.
As Michael drives back up to estate, he sees a police van leaving, with two people in the car.
Harry Gruerkoven is cruising the streets looking for trouble. He's actually looking for trouble though, and is on his motorcycle. He finds a particularly seedy part of town, and bolts his bike to a pole in an out of the way place.
Harry returns to the street, where vendors are shouting to sell their wares, a pair of cops can be seen riding their horses, and bars and shops line the streets. Harry meanders a bit, and enters a bar or two, playing some pool as he goes. In one bar, he loses a bit, wins a bit, and mingles with the local regulars over a whiskey. Jess likes Wild Turkey Some discussion ends up touching on the explosion in the Ivory Division a week or two ago, but nothing else that seems particularly relevant.
Harry wanders the streets looking for trouble. He finds some more bars, and gets some chili fries at one. There are actual torches outside this bar. After about an hour, not that long after six o'clock, a reporter and a photographer walk in. They're talking about the asylum, and the reporter is clearly not happy about her visit. The photographer is paying, and doesn't say much.
On his way out, the reporter gives Harry her number on his receipt.
Shroud has been working all day on creating a structure in space. It'll be done soon. He just needs another day or two, at most.
Like most space bases, it has a water spout.
It's the next day. It's also Saturday. Jack McCoy doesn't even eat breakfast in his silk pajamas like he normally does, as he has important business to deal with.
He teleports near the prison, dressed in a nice suit.
Two guards are at the front gate. He introduces himself to them as Cyrus Keller of the New Haven Post, claiming to have an appointment for an interview with the warden. One of the guards inspects his credentials while the other uses the gatehouse phone. After a little bit, the other guard returns and tells Jack that a car will be about shortly to pick him up.
About ten minutes, a car shows up with a woman inside. She introduces her self as Ms. Preston. The warden is busy, but she'll take Jack McCoy to the waiting area. On the way, Jack chit chats with her a bit, and mentions golf. Both Jack and Ms. Preston seem knowledge of golf, at least enough to carry a conversation.
On the way in, some paperwork gets filled out, and Jack McCoy's picture is taken to produce a visitor badge, and then Jack finds himself in the antechamber to the warden's office. Ms. Preston takes her seat behind her desk and tells Jack that the warden should be able to see him around 9am. Jack takes a seat on the couch and notices it's a nice couch.
Around 9:10, a buzzer sounds a light lights up on Ms. Preston's desk. The warden will see you now.
Jack McCoy enters the room. The warden introduces himself as Ethan McCollen. He's a fit man for his age, broad shoulders, and dressed in a nice suit. He tells Jack that he's a bit puzzled, because he doesn't have any appointment for a Mr. Keller, but can make a little bit of time at least. Jack lies and tells him that they must have messed it up at the newspaper, and segues into talk about golf. The warden's face brightens and is willing to chat a bit about golf.
Eventually, they get down to business, and Jack explains he is here to write a piece about Jack Constantine. The warden is puzzled by this, and says the timing is a bit funny, as Jack was killed just last night. It was gruesome, and no, he doesn't have any particular details to offer. Jack suggests perhaps he can help spin this and keep it out of the papers for now, if the warden can provide anything. The warden relents, and offers to let Jack take a look at Constantine's records. Little does he know, Jack is quite good at memorizing these sort of things.
Constantine was in for assault and terrorism charges before the Warden was in South Haven. He tried to plead insanity, but was unsuccessful, and was implicate as being part of some sort of vigilante group (apparently the Coterie). Once in prison, Doc Constantine got a reputation as having mysterious healing abilities, but also not afraid to knock in a few heads if anyone started any mess with him. He was in a little over nine years, until last night when he was killed.
Jack McCoy arrives back at the estate, and records his findings. He talks with Mr. Hogarth, and requests that Mr. Hogarth pass along that Constantine is dead. Mr. Hogarth promises to tell Lux immediately.
Michael works on his device. Shroud is in and out of the estate. I wander around. Some of the servants seem a little weird, like they don't have minds sometimes.
Jack McCoy gets another missive. He's not happy about it.
That evening, Mr. Hogarth requests we meet in the dining room. We gather up.
First, Michael Schroeder presents an invention that he's working on. He has created a device that will allow us to escape from bad situations quickly. He doesn't think it would last too long, but it should work long enough to be useful if we need it. Something to do with quantum tunneling and probability. Shroud isn't impressed, but he agrees the technology should work. He does notice there's a nose print from a dog, probably a rottweiler inside the device.
Mr. Hogarth clears his throat, and tells us that Lux has a mission for us. He needs two sealed messages delivered.
The first is to a Mr Reichart Olsen. We're to recon his house, and if he is a alone, only then are we to deliver to the literally sealed letter. He might be a bit ornery if he catches us lurking around, but should be non-hostile once we deliver the letter.
The other address is to be delivered to 13001 Wayland Avenue. Mr. Hogarth was informed who we should deliver that envelope to, just whoever is the owner there.
We split up. Shroud and Jack McCoy portal to Olsen's neighborhood. Shroud is using his blond haired disguise. It's a quiet neighborhood, as if the suburbia of old. There's even a guy working on a bike in his garage.
Mr. Olsen's house is fortified, and he has sensors and cameras covering every angle of his property. Shroud and Jack can even detect an embedded system under the lawn. The house is certainly well wired. Collectively, they can feel that there is not more than one person inside.
Jack rings the door bell. ♪ Ding dong ♪ ... No answer. Jack shows the message up to the camera. Still no response.
Shroud tries to create a tiny portal into the house to see inside, but the portal fails. Jack pulses energy into the camera, but nothing.
So Shroud delicately breaks the door down.
The inside of the house is completely trashed. To the left is a room filled with monitors set up for surveillance. To the right is a bedroom, the only part of the house that appears untouched. On the end table is a picture of a woman and a man matching Mr. Olsen's description. On a wall in the wallway, is a display counting down to zero at each second. It's currently at 7.
Shroud draws the energy of the house into himself. The countdown slows dramatically, giving them about five minutes before the countdown hits zero.
The basement is accessible through a trap door under the rug. Shroud and Jack McCoy go through, and find even more security. At the end of this room is a door with a keypad, that is flashing an error. At the center of the room, Mr. Olsen's body is crumpled unceremoniously, with blood streaming from his face and ears and millions of tiny cuts. Around the room, are some grands of sand.
Filing cabinets line the side of the room. These aren't any regular filing cabinets, but protected by keypad and sturdily constructed. A few of the cabinets are open: A-C, L, O-Q, each with files missing.
Shroud attempts to resurrect Mr. Olsen, but fails.
Jack McCoy inspects the filing cabinets. There are a few gaps that help him deduce what should are missing. No files for Constantine, Lucifer, or Carson. The file for Hobson, the police chief, would be useful, but that cabinet is still locked. Jack does find the file for Natalia O'Connor as well as the file on Mayor Leeds, so he takes both. Jack also finds another name of personal interest, so he takes that one too.
They return to the manor, and report their failure to Mr. Hogarth, and return the sealed message.
Michael Schroeder, Harry Gruerkoven, and I go to Wayland Avenue. Harry takes a little bit longer, but he has the message, so I wait around with Michaeloutside a diner. The area is pretty slummy, like a trashy poor hipster area.
Eventually Harry arrives on his motorcycle. We investigate the apartment at 13001 Wayland Avenue a bit more closely. It's above a closed theater, and is composed of two apartments merged together. At this moment, Harry hears someone falling and someone trying to scream but failing. I sense two minds in the apartment, but one goes away, and then the other.
I fly up and into to the apartment. There's no security, and there is the torn up body of a woman slumped against the door frame to the bathroom. Her veins are cut open, and blood is streaming from her eyes and mouth. Her hair is wet and her body is barely covered by a towel.
In the kitchenette another woman in loose artsy clothing also lays slumped. Her purse is at her side, and she is missing a chunk of flesh from her stomach. The ground in front of her is scorched as if struck by lightning.
Harry Gruerkoven has followed me up through the unlocked door, and Michael Schroeder teleports in using his suit. Suddenly, a tall stick creature appears out of nowhere and then disappears. It seems to be made of sparks and shadow and is very hard to see. It has a crystal around its neck.
The creature appears in front of Michael and strikes at him, slashing at his battle suit. Its claws bounce harmlessly off it, and it disappears. Michael's shoulder mounted cannon fires and his drone attempts to bind it. The creature disappears.
Harry tries to resurrect both woman, but fails.
The window is suddenly shattered with an explosion of glass. A bright light is emanating from outside from someone. A man with gray hair, a gray trenchcoat, and gray slacks. I look into his mind. His name is Mr. Gray.
Michael Schroeder exits the apartment, and he tries to nullify Michael, unsuccessfully.
I'm still invisible, so he asks Michael and Jack why we're here and did we summon the hound. Michael and Harry tell him that we're just messengers and no, we had never seen one until today. We were sent to deliver a letter. Harry shows him the message, and he asks if we're from the estates. Yes, we are. He finally tells us his name, which I had already found out. He was here to check on the Tower twins.
He suggests we talk somewhere more in private. There's a diner nearby, let's meet there shortly.
Mr. Gray is still unaware of my presence, so I tail him. Before heading to the diner, he heads up to the apartment, picks up a few items, looks at the two dead woman, and the quickly leaves.
He gets to the diner, and takes a seat and ordered a black coffee. Neither the waitress nor him give any outward indication that they know each other, but I can tell that's not true.
Harry Gruerkoven and Michael Schroeder arrive, now in street clothes, and they take a seat across from him. Still hidden, I monitor his surface thoughts. Michael introduces himself by his first name, and Harry just says he's the specialist.
Michael asks if Mr. Gray was part of the Coterie. He was, and so were the twins. He asks who we work for, over at the estates. Michael says Lux, which is a name Mr. Gray apparently doesn't know. Internally, he thinks it may have been a member of the Coterie.
Next, Michael asks if the minion, this "hound", is a minion of Lucifer. Mr. Gray laughs. He seems to think that's a good guess, but it's not. These hounds are creatures of Hades, who is also known as Luke Sparks.
Seems unusual that Luke Sparks would send them though, as he was once a friend of the Coterie. He's no longer active, and works as a stage magician now. Some of tricks are just tricks, but others are actual powers, and can even put other powers into receptacles. Whoever is doing this is collecting them all. The hounds also disappear in light, and apparently have time control powers.
It definitely seems that someone is going after the former members of the Coterie, and Mr. Gray's purpose was to warn them. He hasn't gotten to the others yet, and says we should warn Lux ourselves.
He asks Harry Gruerkoven and Michael Schroeder are working for Lux. They evade the question, which amuses Mr. Gray. It seems the current "Estate Group" didn't have quite the camaraderie the last did.
Harry asks who ran the estates last, and Mr. Gray says that the Sandman led it last, along with Lucifer and Mr. Stiletto. Not even the Devil dared cross the Sandman. Lucifer was the Sandman's lover, but was quite powerful in her own right. I get a vibe from Mr. Gray that the Sandman and Mr. Stiletto are both dead.
I telepathically suggest to Michael that he should bring up Mr. Olsen, who our companions are delivering a similar envelope to. He does, and Mr. Gray says he was also a member of the Coterie, and his alias was the Bloodhound.
Mr. Gray says that if we need to contact him, the waitress (who is called Jenna) knows him and can pass along any messages. He's not impressed, but passes his regards onto the estate. I sense that he did not leave on good terms.
We arrive back at the estate, and meet up in the library. We compare notes, and Jack McCoy mentions that the Coterie had a checkered past, and didn't always did good. Some people liked them, some didn't.
Jack asks Mr. Hogarth and Lux can provide any information about Lucifer or Hades. Mr. Hogarth goes to a panel with both braille and print, and pulls up some information.
Hades works at the Magnificent on Prospect road. Lux's directive is that the hounds of Hades need to be stopped by whatever force necessary. Michael Schroeder asks if we could ever talk to Lux directly. Mr. Hogarth tells us the panel keycode is 5786.
In regards to the filing cabinets, the taken notes were probably for Jonathon Barrows (Mr. Stiletto), Doctor Constantine, and Mathew Quinn (the Sandman). All three are dead, and there might be a possible connection to the Sandman, even though it's absolutely certain he is dead.
We portal to the Magnificent. It's late, but there's a show going on. Michael Schroeder and I are invisible, and Shroud and Jack McCoy are point. Down the back hallway there are signs on the doors, and one of them says Luke Sparks. I can feel one mind behind it.
Shroud knocks on the door, and Luke answers and says yes. Jack greets him as Misttterrrrr Hadddeess. Shroud just says they have questions. He ushers Shroud and Jack in, while Harry and I go through the wall, yet still invisible. Michael waits outside. He might be invisible, but he's still corporeal.
I read Luke's mind. His thoughts are filled with panic and fear.
He begs Shroud and Jack to just forget about this. Just let him go.
In his thoughts, I can tell he's worried about something. He's worried about his wife and his three little girls.
Jack asks about the hounds, and he admits the hounds are his. He isn't sure how to say this. Someone is blackmailing him, sending him names of people to eliminate. Names of people he once worked with.
Shroud asks who the other Coterie are, but Luke won't say. Just then, he gets a message on his PDA. Michael's drone outside intercepts it. It's another name: Joshua Wolfe.
Luke becomes visible more nervous. He thinks to himself, he can take us. He only knows about two out of the five of us though.
Jack breaks the silence, and asks where Joshua Wolfe is. I read his mind, and know that he has nearly a day to kill Mr. Wolfe. Mr. Wolfe's location is exactly known, although he does have an idea how to find him. He has regeneration, corrosion, striking and blasting powers, but is also mostly a brawler.
He willingly tells us how to find Joshua Wolfe. He's an alcoholic, and Luke was planning on taking him by surprise.
Jack asks why he'd be afraid of the Sandman. The Sandman was very powerful, and had some power over time itself. Supposedly the Sandman is dead, but his grasp could extend across death itself, and he might want the hounds. He didn't always use his powers well.
He then shows Jack and Shroud the transmission. Shroud traces the IP address to WPH security.
He shows Jack the transmission. He won't take on the assignment until tomorrow night. He doesn't like being under someone else's thumb.
Michael is still outside, but it doesn't stop him from hacking the PDA to forward all future messages.
We'll be in contact.
We call Hogarth to find out what IP address the messages led from. It turns out they're from a Mr. Brooks who lives on Rose Island. Bring Mr. Brooks in, preferably disabled.
Michael Schroeder and I fly over to Rose Island to do some reconnaissance. As we pass into the island's boundary, Michael's suit power briefly flickers, and I feel a strange slight resistance.
We're two blocks away from Mr. Brooks's penthouse. Some guards see us, so we fly up, over cloud cover.
Shroud portals into Mr. Brooks's penthouse. Inside, is a man and his duplicates. His duplicates have crystals. I fly down with Michael, and I can tell that only one of them has a mind.
He greets our party, and says it was regrettable that we had to seek him out. In a few days he would have gotten the rest of us anyway.
Shroud creates a portal below him leading to the dining room. He leaps and grabs a ledge. Jack McCoy tries to electrify him to get him to let go, but instead he grabs Jack's leg. Below, in the dining room, Hogarth comes into the room, looks up, and moves a chair out of the way.
The rest of us fight his duplicates. A duplicate blasts Michael with radiation.
Harry leaps at Mr. Brooks and knocks him into the dining room. He throws Harry off, and Mr. Hogarth steps forward and slaps something on his neck. Mr. Brooks falls over.
Shroud tries to get the duplicates to fall into portals too, but initially fails, so he makes a illusion of portals, and places the portals below it. The duplicates all fall through.
Jack explores the penthouse, and finds a PDA and some incriminating papers.
In the dining room, we take out the duplicates. I blast one with cold, and Shroud throws one of them around like a wet towel. Jack comes back and electrifies the hell out of one of them.
The PDA Jack found has information telling where Luke's family is. Lux sends Luke away, we know not where. His family is given safe passage out of the city.
We've now discovered the identities of 9 out of the 13 members of the Coterie:
The Sandman (Michael Quinn) - Time Control, Precognition - DECEASED
Lucifer - Powers Unknown - PRESUMED ALIVE
Mr. Stiletto - Powers Unknown - DECEASED
Bloodhound (Reichart Olsen) - Powers Unknown - DECEASED
Joshua Wolfe - Regeneration, Corrosion, Striking and Blasting Powers - ALIVE
Doctor Constantine - Healing - DECEASED
Alexia Towers - Powers Unknown - DECEASED
Melanie Towers - Powers Unknown - DECEASED
Mr. Gray - Light Control - ALIVE