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Unread 03-19-2009, 10:11 AM   #1
Arhra
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Default Superheroes NEXT: First Issue

It was just another day, with the NEXT Foundation's finest being given a briefing on why it was so imperative that they invade a tanker.

The lead researchers giving the little presentation were Shamus Briar and Brenda Simmons. Generally, Brenda held up the science side of the spectrum while Shamus delved into the occult.

They tended to collaborate on psychic matters.

"We've received a tip off about shipments being delivered to Genitor Biological Research." Brenda said. "It seems its also being used to smuggle a supply of Origin into the city." Amongst other things, the drug had a small chance of temporarily or permanently granting abnormal abilities. There was also a small chance of making you throw up your own lungs.

"We tried probing into this and it seems this little smuggling ring has support from higher ups in the company. They've done everything they can to deflect our enquiries. So we've decided we should take a look at this shipment."

A picture of a tanker was the next slide.

"The ship's a modified small tanker, mainly carrying protoculture." Otherwise know as 'that fluid things in giant test tubes float in'. "We're planning to engage it while its still several hours out of port, to minimise the possibility of outside interference. Unfortunately while we have the basic floorplans for that class of ship, we're unsure how much it has been modified from them. That will delay a potential search."

"In addition to the regular guards, they've got two special mercenaries on staff and possibly more they're keeping off the books." This wasn't necessarily unusual - piracy happened. "They're on loan from Greystone Services." Greystone Services was little more than a mercenary clearing house and semi-infamous for their 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy.

"We've managed to find out a little about them." Brenda flicked it on to the next slide.

Two shots, one of a red skinned, muscular man glowering at the picture taker, the second of the same man, sans shirt, looking much more demonic, hulking and seeming to glow from within. Thankfully the pants had remained.

"First subject is Devil Man, or D-Man for short." she winced slightly at having to say it. "His main abilities seem to be increased strength and flame projection. The strength is an activated power: he visibly transforms into a more muscular state. It may be scalable. On the plus side, as his taste in names probably clued you in, he's not very imaginative."

Shamus spoke up, chiding Brenda slightly. "You're forgetting the source of these powers. He appears to be demonically possessed but the demon seems to have very little influence on his behaviour. Its possible he might be some kind of psychic blank. He should have the same vulnerabilities as a normal demonhost... but we're not really equipped to capitalise on that. The strength seems to also be connected to fire somehow... I haven't been able to get a clear fix on what class of demon might be possessing him though. He doesn't display as many signs as a normal demonhost."

"We haven't been able to get as much information on the second guard. Seems she's quite new, since there's nothing we've tracked down connecting her to Greystone that goes back more than six months. Uh, let's see..." he fumbled at the controls for a second to make the next slide come up. "She's an alchemist."

This was not immediately obvious. Perhaps if she was wearing a robe, it would be an easy conclusion to jump to but she was not wearing very much at all. Looking quite youthful, her flesh was fused and intermingled with metal.

"As you can guess, she's somehow absorbed various substances, mainly metals, into her body. Most likely via an unusual alchemical ritual."

"Or a mutation that allows incorporation of foreign material and she took up alchemy to capitalise on it." Brenda announced.

They eyed each other off for a few seconds before Shamus continued.

"Uh, anyway, most obviously it makes her much tougher and stronger. This is coupled with a healing factor, although there's some evidence it can be exhausted reasonably quickly. My conclusion is she has an elixir with healing properties in her bloodstream. No evidence it'll restore lost body parts so don't get too rough, okay?

"She's also made limited displays of some unusual attacks, the only one I can confirm is something that disintegrates or dissolves objects. It's not clear if this is an innate ability or if she just has carries a few prepared alchemical items with her. False alkahest would be able to do something like that. Be on the lookout."

He snapped his fingers. "Oh, name. She's called herself the -"

"A few newspapers dubbed her Alloy Girl." Brenda cut him off. Hearing that title once had been enough for her. "It seems going in with a small group quietly first with the rest as back-up would work best. Any issues come to mind?"
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Unread 03-19-2009, 02:58 PM   #2
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Torpedo Frost leaned back in her chair, bringing her hand up to her face where she placed her index finger across her cheek while resting her thumb under her chin in a thinking pose. "Is there anything stopping us from just sinking it? Generally if you do it right tankers don't tend to spill when you just punch a few holes and drop them into the briny deep, but I don't know how this particular one is configured. I mean, personally, I'd prefer to just stand on the hull and play with the toolkit and the saw built into my suit instead of getting into some huge fight, but I'd hate to see what would happen if we spilled this stuff on the local sea life."
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Unread 03-19-2009, 05:50 PM   #3
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"If any of you yahoos spill even a drop of that cargo into the ocean I will personally ram my size 12s so far up where the sun don't shine it will take a team of surgeons 2 days to get it back," The Penalizer stated a little too loudly. He shot Torpedo a rather angry look and then stared down everyone else in the room. "I recommend we go in and neutralize the mercs and the crew and then pilot the boat somewhere secure while we look for the cargo. In fact, if we could draw the mercs off first somehow that would be ideal." Having said his peace the Penalizer leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the back of the chair in front of him. Taking out his trusty backup Taser he waved it menacingly at no one in particular.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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"Right, so sink the ship it is," Shad responded from his seat to the 'Penalizer's little outburst. Immunity to anything that might actually cause pain made the threats more laughable than frightening, and Shad wasn't quite sure why any of the other super heroes would put up with it either--each being capable of relatively equal feats of combat prowess.

Either way, he loved pissing off Mr. Lizer. The fact that it was so easy probably played a part in that.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 07:39 PM   #5
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Jungle Cat turned around, glaring at Shadrach. "That's not going to happen. This isn't negotiable." He leapt up onto the table, walking across it to the projected slide and stroking his chin. "Penny's got the right idea, but attempting removal seems like it work use up too much time and effort. Plus it would alert the higher-ups, and who knows what superweapon they've got stored up there. A quick, effective strike is our best bet."

He turned back around, looking at the others. "With no casualties."
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Unread 03-19-2009, 08:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, cuz seriously: Sink the ship? Think of how the media would spin that story. I can picture it now, Next Foundation: Super-Powered Protectors or Mutant Terrorist Cell? in bold letters above a picture of officials salvaging a tanker wreck. And make no mistake, they would pin it on us whether they knew it was our fault or not, said Klepto who was leaning up against the wall behind every one else, Super-humans committing acts of destruction always make for a good story.

A few of the N.F.ers turned around to see who had just spoken.

Oh. Hi, Im Klepto. I just joined this organization this morning. He nervously chuckled and then made his way to a vacant chair.

Well thats one way to break the ice, he thought as he took a seat, it's not like I was expecting to shake everybodys hand, laugh merrily, and then eat some cookies. That would have been nice though. Still, it was pretty cool of them to let me join without giving them a civilian identity or the name of the last super-team I was on.

Hey, Ive got a question. This tip-off of yours came from a reliable source right? There is a precedent set for missions on tanker ships turning out to be traps. Im just saying.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 09:50 PM   #7
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PsyQueen was leaning forward in her chair, her elbow on the table and her head resting on her hand, deep in thought. "Well, considering we're fighting in such a limited space, a stray fireball or two might cause big problems for everyone aboard. A direct assault is a good idea, but I don't think it will bring us to our ultimate goal of securing the drugs. Perhaps we break up into two groups? One group engages the mercs as a distraction so that the other group can do what needs to be done to the Origin."
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Unread 03-19-2009, 10:35 PM   #8
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"The most benefit would come from capturing the tanker intact." AIS intoned, safely tucked away in the body of Sentry. "Wihile sinking the ship would prevent this shipment from reaching the city, Genitor obviously has the resources to just acquire more where they got this supply. The best course of action is to take the ship intact. This gives us not only the benefit of stopping this shipment, but also evidence that they are smuggling Origin, and if we are extreme fortuitous, we may even learn the place where this substance is being produced."

Sentry looked in Klepto's direction. "While I doubt they would use such a valuable substance to bait a trap, we cannot deny that fact that the ship could easily become one. There is the possibility that Genitor would choose to destroy the Origin, and more than likely the ship, than to have us to capture it intact. The likelihood of this increases when yout ake into consideration the ability of Alloy Girl to dissolve or disintegrate matter, the perfect ability with which to destroy the evidence and to scuttle the ship. Devil Man's abilities would also be able to destroy the Origin and the tanker, but not as quickly as Alloy Girl is capable of, if I am reading the information correctly."

"The plan to lure out the mercenaries holds merit, and given the intelligence we have on Devil Man, it would likely work on him, but I deduce that luring out Alloy Girl would be much harder, as she is likely intelligent enough to know that we won't risk sinking the ship, and that the internal compartments of the ship would be much easier to defend. I dare say that even the Greystone mercenaries will choose to let us take the deck in favor of using the corridors inside of the ship to channel us down fire lanes. Under the given circumstances, the best way to execute this operation is to favor speed. We must hit the ship, scatter the mercenaries before they can condense an effective resistance, and neurtalize Devil Man and Alloy Girl before they have time to destroy the Origin or scuttle the tanker."

AIS paused, considering his own plan. "The inhertant flaw in this plan is that it would also require us to take the tanker by surprise. Assuming the ship has a radar system, and given that they are likely to have spotters, approaching the ship without being detected is very problematic."
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Unread 03-19-2009, 10:36 PM   #9
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"Nah, see what we need to do is remove the ocean. Do that, and the tanker is just stuck there on land and its not going anywhere and we can take our time capturing the mercs and crew. Simple really." Jonathan stated, the move so obvious he was a bit unsure why no one else noticed it.

"Hey, and its not me that causes casualties, its the burnt skin tissue and blood loss. So don't go blaming me if they ain't got enough blood in their bodies or they don't proceed with proper stop drop and roll procedures after I engulf them with flames."
He added in once he noticed Jungle Cat looking at him. It pissed him off that he would think just because he caused the fire meant that he was responsible for those that died in it.

"To be fair, it only happened once to poor poor George. Ah see back in school, I was trying out this new spell I just mastered against this bully that stole my lunch money, and instead of lighting his hair on fire it lit... well him on fire and then he went running and screaming. Oh, did I mention this was in shop class so he ran into these giant saw blades and well you get the idea. Luckily the principle gave me a medal for it though, so it all worked out in the end. Still think he is a robot though. Makes a heck of a pizza for a robot now that I think about it." Jonathan went on a rant, just going on and at this point people would start to tune him out.
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Unread 03-20-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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Alexis leaned back in her chair, her left hand absently stroking Fiernarog's head. "'No casualties' is an impossible objective. I've worked hard on teaching Fiernarog the act of suppression without slaughter, and I have made some progress, but my baby can be stubborn when the tempo rises. A few fatal maulings and burnings and perhaps even one or two hearts being eaten should be expected."

Fiernarog nestled up against Alexis' hand. "If I may suggest something, fear can be a powerful motivator. Make the first strike as decisive and brutal as possible, and you're likely to have the enemy lining up to be hauled away. Like it or not, we'll need to have good momentum to secure our objective and us compromising in order to spare some of their lives will just give them opportunities to make things more difficult than they have to be. They wouldn't have superhumans onboard if they weren't expecting trouble. They know we're coming and we haven't even left yet. I believe that success will ultimately be determined by whether they know what kind of bad times we'll be bringing to them."

The Beakdog rose up on his haunches and released a small plume of flame from its maw. Fiernarog knew enough of the language to know that impending violence was being talked about, and the native of Vulcanar loved a good battle.

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