Black Ops picked up again last night. It was a night of fits and starts, but I had fun. Introduced a new character for James, Legionairre. So that took a bit of fitting in. And I wasn't quite sure how to do it, so I fumbled a bit, but eventually the story got going.
The Black Ops team of Lori (Cyberblade), Fury and Anthony were told that a Desdamona Sangetti was reputed to be in some jungle moutain valley on the Rwanda, Congo border. Desdemona was important, because her signature was one of three that released vast sums of money into Raven's hands under "Scallion's" auspices.
Rumors of Raven having lost track of Desdemona continue to surface, even as the Team was getting their booster shots and last minute Intel. Raven supposedly hired some 2nd string mercenaries who had African experience... A Capt. Cori, Sgt Torquelli who was reputed to be a steroid triggered strongman and a speedster named Scamper. Scamper had been clocked at 90 mph by an UNTIL agent in the past and she was know to run up vertical surfaces....perhaps with her strangely constructed boots.
Lei Wu Long's replacement shows at the briefing. He is Basile Castillon and has joined UNITE (UNTIL's paranormal, overt team and only 1 rep from each UN country is allowed... right now, aobut 21 countries have reps). Codename: Legionnaire and is France's replacement for Fleur De Lis (who is off planet). Basile is French Foreign Legion and has had extensive Angolan and Algerian tours.
Lori and Basile seem to hit some sort of relaxed professional demeanor between them instantly. Fury? Well, Fury looks down on anything french and was surprised to hear Lori speaking french (Lori grew up in Viet Nam, french is almost a native language for her).
The skinny on Desdemona is that her last name is Pride. She married a Canadian named Jon Pride and like herself, is an anthropologist. They are on some expedition through the Canadian Ministry of Education. And the usually forthright Canadians are not talking about the expedition, the Prides' whereabouts, even under strenous UNTIL political pressure. However, the Prides do communicate by satellite with Ministry of Education intermittently.
The plan is to put the Team on the ground. Where Anthony can use his sophisticated detection gear to hopefully snag some radio communication of the Prides and track them down before Raven does. This is a mission that is expected to perhaps take weeks.
An UNTIL VTOL takes the team to the LZ and the Team rappels into the jungle. Using a tributary off of the Zaire river, the Team moves into the jungle night. Quickly coming upon a former campsite of a local militia...AK-47 shells, cooking etc are found. A tree was used as target practice, no firefight. The briefing did state that several factions in at least 2 civil wars operated in the region. Despite all the traffic, the area was extremely sparse in human population.
Early the next morning, Anthony picks up a very strange reflective signature on his detection equipment. Something large, like the size of "two buildings" is off the tributarty and up the mountain ridge incline. Quickly deciding on investigation and having nothing else to go on, the Team moves in that direction.
A small, high moutain valley is the final resting place of a giant airship. A bizarre construction that is 1/2 the size of an aircraft carrier. The main fusilage is broken in the middle, but wings and engines and other levels are twisted and akimbo. Several enormous trees had been flattened by the ships impact. The jungle had been making its attempt to reclaim the area for about 4 years or so. Vines and young trees sprouted where the sun now hit the giant structure.
No life, although rings of stones to denote old campfires were easily found, ripped out chairs were arranged in semi-circles. Some 300 graves were barely seen with the vibrant undergrowth. The ship itself had Porteguese writing, but no identification numbers. Anthony, the tech head, pointed out large anti-grav pods (a very RARE abiltiy in RDU) based somewhat on Dr. Destroyer's old ship and perhaps the Viper Carrier. But it could also submerge, turbines and rudders were also present. A very, very sophisticated craft.
Inside, the ship was gutted. Someone had spent 1000s of man hours tearing out wires, every computer was gone, very few chairs were left, plating was gone in some cases. The lower levels revealed jail cells, a bed and a toilet. The upper levels were sophisticated labs, medical facilites....and for the most part, they too had been ransacked thoroughly.
Fury, being an ex-cop, started to look for papers. He found a captain's log, in Portuguese and Anthony took it over from there, scanning it and sending it to UNTIL in Paris for translation. While waiting for that process to work, unwanted visitors arrived.
A band of 15 milita, carrying assault rifles and a dead gazelle seemed to have every intention of staying the night,, cooking their dinner and drinking fermented...something. The Team hunkered down in the wreck and were in no danger of being spotted. About a 1/2 hour passes.
Meanwhile, Paris has translated some of the Capt's log. The last entries speak of a "mounting tensions" and "rumors of Vanguard coming to save the "experiments"". And that the ship was a giant, moveable lab for the brilliant geneticist, Malachite. gm note: Malachite Islands, a small grouping of islands is near the Canaries and Porteguese is the common language... things were starting to fit together. And Malachite is dead, he never had the chance to find were his huge lab had crashed.
Lori decided to try and make contact...a word or two of French was heard sprinkled in their native language. As she was about to reveal herself, she spots red eyes in the bush, putting the milita in between her and several forms in the jungle.
Before she could really do anything, the jungle exploded with an attack. Creatures of lizard, bird, cat, boar mixed with huminoid features jumped out. Some carried spears, one carried an assault rifle, others didn't need weapons, claws and horns would suffice. They seem intent on slaughtering the militia. Lori ordered the Team to open fire on the attackers. Wanting to protect a source of info, more than any altruistic notion.
The militia was totally unprepared. The Team's coordinated fire blunted the creatures assault, but not totally. Soon, the creatures were among the militia.
Lori shot the Lion-like huminoid carrying an Ak-47...and it looked up more surprised than hurt...saw that she was white and mouthed "why?". This stunned Lori as the melee raged around the militia's campsite. She continued firing, but not at the Lion... a screaming conversation sprung up between them: "You can speak?"
"You are white?
"Did Vanguard send you?"
"No, we work for UNTIL",
"Ah! The other gods!"
Meanwhile, the militia was getting ripped apart, the Team was ripping the creatures apart and chaos ruled the night.
Eventually, Lori convinced the Lion, who seemed to have some leadership ability, to call off his attackers. The Lion said that he would bring his leader, who had "more words than I". And that they shouldn't attack his leader, for his leader Veer was a god. The creatures bound back into the jungle cover.
4 militia were too wounded to retreat, and one was captured by Lori in the last few seconds of the firefight. Interrogation reveals that these creatures are hated by the militia and are hunted. Obviously the prey had other ideas last night. The militia don't know a whole lot and the broken french they do know is not conducive to long conversations. The rumor of a white couple living somewhere near the "abominations" is revealed, but it is only heresay. It could be the Prides.
The next morning, the jungle awakes to a strange sight. A man walks toward the group, dressed in spandex, cape, large V on his chest....and he is walking on air, well, on strange energy discs that appear in the air before each step. He yells to Lori and Legionnaire (the only ones who were outside the wreck to receive this godling). "I am Veer."
However, Veer looks so much like Vector of Vanguard. No one on the Team has ever met Vector, but he is well known now. Veer reveals that Vector is his "father"...so to speak, that Veer was a clone. Malachite had cloned Vector (which was know to some of the players, but not to the PCs involved). Veer was born the day the ship crashed. The creatures, they call themselves with a self-effacing shrug, the "Moreaus", had heard rumors that Vanguard, Vector and Locke were coming to rescue them. When it didn't happen, a revolt on the ship happened. Veer, looking like Vector was saved and awoken after the crash. Veer, having some flashes of Vector's memory was able to command enough respect to lead the Moreaus into the jungle.
Veer asks about the Team's missiion, Lori tells about looking for Desdemona. Veer responds that they are 1 week's distance from the Moreau's village and often has dinner with the Prides. He offers to invite the Prides to dinner at the village, but his condition is that the Team gets blindfolded... Veer is desperate to keep word of his Moreaus from the outside world, fearing for them greatly. Not to mention, Veer's resemblence to Vector would raise all kinds of attention that the young Veer is simply not comfortable with.
Lori is reluctant to lead her Team in blind, but totally understands Veer's need for security. A compromise is made, Veer will bring the Prides in 1 week's time to a third location (north end of a nearby lake) which is less traveled by warring factions. Veer and the Moreause will protect the Prides against the Team and the possible Raven incursion. But talking is probably a good thing.
...and that is where we end the evening.