Launch Code 5
whaaaaaat the what
Earlier this evening, the Trenchcoat Brigade disrupted a cobbled-together ritual in a New York University park. They have wrecked a three-way drug deal in the alley behind Tony's House of Ribs. They investigated several university professors, including one whose connections to these problematic young men was too noteworthy.
They infiltrated the PPZ frathouse through an ingenious plan and surreptitiously collected a lot of information, some of which will have to be examined once the Trenchcoat Brigade has safely withdrawn.
Their investigation continues, undetected.
At the PPZ frathouse ….
The hour is VERY late.
The pizza has been eaten. It has to be cleaned up, all detritus properly disposed, and the kitchen made very tidy again, all by a certain fraternity pledge.
Sahara has searched the 4th floor room of Larry Duberman, an undergraduate in charge of the "squad lists" and particularly in charge of the checklists for what tasks have been completed and what still needs doing on The Project. Larry keeps his list in a metal clipboard box thing just like ( example on Wikipedia of a storage clipboard ), and keeps that with him at all times, but he did put it down behind him while he ate his share of pizza.
Chameleon continues to impersonate PPZ pledge Milton Glavis, whom The Shadow has interrogated at length. He's gotten some quick photos of Larry's checklists, and he managed to palm one of the not-yet-sorted ritual objects from the study.
Psypher scouted out the not-so-typical defenses arranged on the exterior of the rowhouse, reporting his findings of mixed traditions and Macgyvered solutions to his teammates.
In the basement, they found a room labeled as the “central heating and air” room, with strict signs ordering unauthorized personnel to keep out. Inside, the Shadow and Psypher and a still-gaseous Sahara see what might be an alchemy lab, or a drug lab, or some kind of chemical lab; but it is ringed by supernatural ritual of some kind.
Also, there is a blue woman-looking creature, with wings, looking back at the people who just opened the door.
"Hello there!" she said at them in a cheerful, chirpy tone. She seems to be waiting expectantly.
The TB and their guest stars have A Plan!
It has gone VERY VERY well. They’ve gotten a couple of things from the Bag O Props and Chameleon even managed to swipe one of the fetishes. Chameleon also, in fantastic Professional Spy form, took several high-quality digital photos of the land map of their intended lair down near Blüdhaven, and Larry’s to-do and to-done lists.
The people in the kitchen had a long day of food prep. The real Milton has talked a little about spending all day using a food dryer and a cryofreeze thing to set up lots of stored food. He does not know a whole lot that was done by “a different squad” and seems to be sure that “not my squad!” is a valid defense against everything.
- They have made lots of sandwich bags full of filling snack food, each labeled with a particular ingredient NOT included (allergy prep). We’re talking lots of oatmeal, blueberries, salmon jerky, raspberries, dried yellow tomatoes, and beet chips. And coffee beans.
- They have made several Gladware containers of an orange concentrate+quinoa+spinach sort of dense pudding.
- They have been using a food dryer machine for hours; the kitchen smells very weird.
- Already stored away, maybe even transported away, are the dried salads and deconstituted seasoning or drink mixes and freeze-dried cheese.
Complication: Card Shark and Blockbuster are planning to swipe the notes and the mutagen.
Complication: underwater lair!
Things that Nathan can find on his own, depending on his inventiveness:
- : detritus of NASA-style food prepackaging, (1 raps on 7/7) but on a scale for 50 young men for at least 30 days
- : What is an odd recipe they have made? They did a full chem lab analysis of ??? (half raps on 7/7) Orange Fanta and figured out how to make a just-add-carbonated-water mix.
- : Some of the things in this kitchen do not belong in a kitchen. Any success roll at all, hand Ben 1 item from my "ritual ingredient stash".
Things that the party might find in the discarded trash:
- : Lots of exterior packaging (cardboard, paper labels, cellophane). Anything with words on it got shredded. Some is still recognizable by the clever or the cooperative as what you get gladware in, or bags for produce, or styrofoam meat trays from S-Mart Market.
- : Lots of shredded but smelly paper enclosures from Chinatown.
- : a truly disturbing number of empty Orange Fanta bottles.
- : water filtration kits were assembled. None are present on-site except for personal straw-style ones that each member has.
- : Empty bottles from GNC for various vitamins, (full raps on 7/7) with a strong weight toward people who will not be getting any sunlight for a long period.
Things either might talk me into:
- : PPZ spent some time this afternoon destroying evidence of their planning.
- : Roll me some nice numbers, get a prop from the bag.
- : Roll me some AMAZING numbers AND have a good explanation: All data trails are being slipped through Zeta Beta Tau, including cleverly forged credit card accounts.
Left off: Nathan aka Milton is waiting to clean up the pizza order. Everyone else is in the half basement, just outside the "central heating and air" room, looking at Summon and a fully functional warded chemlab that is 1) analyzing Cherry Fanta and 2) brewing another batch of Star Gate.
Clues picked up by The Shadow:
- in case of punching
Summon’s body is definitely a real, physical body.
- ... my mind to your mind ...
There is definitely a mind in there! It's foreign but not exactly "alien". You're dealing with the difference between someone who grew up thinking in English versus someone who grew up thinking in Hadza, not the difference between mammal brains and lizard brains.
The Trenchcoat Brigade should be starting to guess the true stakes of this adventure: the PPZ plan to "level the genetic playing field" by setting off, in essence, a Mutagen Bomb on the water supply for the greater New York City area. They want to turn every single human into a metahuman. They think that they will be forcing casual acceptance through all levels of society for the existence of mutant and mutate citizens; they think they will be creating equal chances of anyone and everyone getting supersmarts or superstrength or super-whatever.
The PPZ also believe that they are too intelligent to have any major flaws in their plan.
They have even accepted the likelihood that society will turn on the authors of this forced change. That is why they plan to hide themselves for a month, to make sure no one can accidentally give away any hints until the trails have all gone cold.
To enact this plan, of course, they had to turn to some dangerous suppliers: sources of a secret lair, sources for an untracked surface-to-air missile which they could modify, sources for enough mutagenic material to create their "bomb" and more resources still for running scale model tests of the estuary and the strength needed to get the mutagen into most of the populace fast enough to prevent detection but at low enough levels to not be toxic to infants and the infirm.
Sources for mystical forms of mutagens -- the more ancient, the better.
Their work inevitably drew the attention of some very dangerous people who know that they can take the refined drug and its antidote once everything is ready to go.
Lia won’t give out her real name; she goes by Summon. She is from the Europa of Earth 12. She has had half her payment for this Evocation and is waiting for the other half. This is taking a LOT LONGER than anticipated, which is frustrating her a bit; by this time she is starting to be energy-hungry, which cuts into her profits. Summon does NOT require pay/food in sexual energy despite encouraging the PPZ to believe they have summoned a succubus instead of actually opening an unstable portal between alternate Earths. She merely requires her pay (and part of her fuel) in high-energy life energy. “A woman cannot survive on Solian bento lunches alone!” Technically she cannot default on the bargain, but she CAN make a new bargain!
Or she can have a nice fight with the party. "Absorb Energy" requires touch range and getting someone worked up, and then she sort of does Vampire against their Aura/Spirit. If they give her time first, she will summon Hank to buy time while she locks down the ongoing chemical processes on the workbenches.
- PPZ a.k.a. Psi Phi Zeta
- and particularly Bob Megalos from PPZ
Robert Y. "Bob" Megalos is the Applied Physics student who started all this nonsense. He is the "Alumnus Counselor" which seems to mean Frat Dad.
Star Gate is this frat’s new iteration of SteelBreath/Silent Dreams. It is a mutagenic, highly addictive drug with more psychoactive properties, originally meant to improve PPZ learning abilities. Unassisted detox is deadly, but PPZ have figured out a safe, reliable way to detox themselves from their own drug once it is no longer needed for a given course. On the other hand, if anybody ends up really mutated (9% chance), they don’t have a reversal plan for that!