Heroes of a New World

Episode 6
The Ties that Bind

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(April Lane notes in her latest Public Sentiment from the end of this episode there is a wide disparity in some of the answers. Responders gave extremely negative responses to “Do you think talents should be registered, and Do you feel comfortable with talents.” However, they were rather positive on the question “Do you appreciate the contributions talents make to society,” specifically noting the actions of people like “The Masked Muscle” Norman and Bai)

Norman and Cazimir proceed to San Antonio to investigate the missing talents, while Adam stays in Chicago to get his turf in order. He begins to help out various twitter followers to build up a ring of contacts, and has a few install some basic equipment in a storage facility he is renting to become his “secret base.” With the super computer he requested as his favor from Damien Xerxes things begin to come together. He also stops by a gym, where the proprietor asks him to shill in exchange for a free membership. The owner also introduces him to Pablo “Prince of Punch” Perez, an ex-MMA fighter with a sarcastic attitude and a mocking attitude towards Adam.

In San Antonio Caz and Norman go to the hospital and speak to Luis Mercado, the talent that escaped the facility where the missing talents are taken. Luis is suspicious of the characters’ intentions, but Caz gets him to open up and he tells them the few things he remembers from his drug induced incarceration. There were a number of other talents at the facility, and a cat that walked through walls and objects. He couldn’t be sure, it seems like a dream. There was one name he heard over and over though – Doctor Medows. They ask Luis where he was picked up, and he tells them the area. That night they head out to see what they can find.

In Chicago, Adam spends some time with Ai, talking about her encounter with Jean Mougey. Ai is struggling to reconcile her desire to get back to work and live a normal life, with the thrill she experienced in her running combat with the ice talent. She finally asks Adam if he ever finds Mougey to let her know – she wants to be involved in taking her down. The next day, Adam hears a report over his police scanner. An ice talent in robbing Fifth Third Bank on Cermak. He dons his costume and speed off down the street (wrecking quite a bit of public property on the way). When he arrives the police have cordoned off the area. The chief officer on the scene, Lieutenant Samuels, makes it clear that The Masked Muscle “had better not sneak in and try to deal with this talent that might get his men killed if they go in instead.” Adam takes the hint and leaps to action.

Inside, he first encounters a new sidekick Jean has found – Mike Finch. He wears noise cancelling head phones and anytime he thinks of and sings lyrics he gains the ability described! He powers up with Indestructible, then tells Adam “I’m burning for You!” when they grapple. Finally, Adam rips off Mike’s headphones and has an idea. He sings his own lyrics “Take my Breath Away” and Mike begins to choke and pass out. That problem solved, he runs back to the vault to find Jean with a number of hostages, loading up money. She revels in her power and tells Adam “Why wouldn’t I take all this money when I can.” Adam prioritizes the hostages, and after a brief fight Jean blasts out the back wall and runs away.

Back in San Antonio, Caz and Norman narrow down the search to a gas station or a shipping company on the south side. When they see a cat walk through the metal of a chain link fence coming from the shipping company, they know they have the right place. Caz as Anubis drops Norman off on top of the roof and the speedster sneaks in through the cooling vents. Some no-neck military types are guarding the top floor, but Norman knocks them out without a sweat, and the two find a high-tech elevator to the basement. Anubis can barely fit in the elevator, and as they descend the base goes into alert mode! The door opens on the bottom floor and twenty soldiers are waiting with guns trained. They open fire without question, but not before Norman is already zooming around the room, trying to take guns.

The bullets ricochet off Anubis harmlessly, and he throws soldiers around like rag dolls. In only a few moments they have taken care of the enemies, and the base goes into deeper lockdown! Blast doors begin to segment the basement, but Norman runs under them and finds the security room in an instant. He stops the lockdown and he and Cazimir find the main operating room, where Doctor Medows has a number of unconscious talents. She insists they leave, and tell her she has every right to be working here – it is authorized by the US government. The commanding officer at the base, Captain Lance, also makes an appearance and under interrogation reveals his boss to be Major Tarkanen.

They free the talents and find a last talent restrained in a liquid filled tube. Doctor Medows says that they have experimented on this talent and he is essentially a human bomb. They can’t let him out of stasis or thousands could die. They wake him (Mario Ramirez Yarto) up anyway, and Norman runs him out to the desert, where he gives off an explosion like a nuclear bomb.

They notify the authorities, and Norman asks Damien to pick up Mario and take him somewhere safe. The business magnate is all to happy to comply. While the experiments are halted for now, and friendly media like CBS and April Lane paint the true horror of the facility with the help of video from Anubis, the government line is that this facility was used to help talents with powers too dangerous for society. They point out that the “nuclear explosion” in the desert was an example of such a menace, and it is being “mischaracterized.” A few are smart enough to see through this, but many are scared and believe the rhetoric.

Adam gets a call from Ai who says she saw a news report that Jean is attacking a bank. Adam apologizes and says the fun is already over. She says that is ok, she was on her way to help but her line suddenly goes dead. Adam runs to try to find her, but it turns out she just incinerated her cell phone in a spat of anger at missing her “rival.” Adam promises not to leave her out again. Ai says it can be their first date if he manages to track Jean down.

The characters regroup and head back to their homes to tie up loose ends. Caz reconciles with Kristin, but she explains that he has changed – when she sees him in the mirror it is like a stranger coming up behind her. She will have to try and start over, and Caz agrees. Norman speaks to his family and James, and tells them it isn’t safe for him to come home. He comes to the hard decision to work with Damien Xerxes. He meets with Damien and lays down his ground rules, and they retire to discuss the future.

After that Adam and Caz both get a text asking to meet at the St. Louis airport, the Starbucks beyond gate 3. used to this sort of thing they decide to do it and find Alicia Evans waiting for them. She says she doesn’t have much time, as she is on layover to DC. It has come to her attention that Norman has decided to work with Damien and she thinks this would be an incredibly bad idea. While she believes in the work of XSpace, she doesn’t believe Damien is responsible when it comes to talents and their new powers. She also tells them that he has kept a number of very important things from them. First, that they were entered into the contest for Lachesis before they entered. Second, that the Baikal story is one of many that he gives – the real news is that Damien actually has a full ship on site, a ship that had the Atropos engine inside of it! He has a number of plans he keeps obfuscated that she has begun to worry about.

However her warnings fall on deaf ears, and pointing out that she is asking for nothing in return for this information she departs.

Norman, back in Orlando, has a surprise visitor sitting in his chair at home when he arrives. Agent Skiles is there and gives another long speech about protecting the nation, and the ideals that go beyond any constitutional authority. He tells Norman that there is a faction in the government, militant and fanatic, that wishes to overthrow the current administration and take power. Another deep state entity like the one Skiles works for. He doesn’t know the exact extent of their plans, but he has narrowed it down to a General Krieger who works out of Fort McNair. Norman asks why Skiles is telling him, and why he needs the talents to do his dirty work, extremely pertinent questions. However, Skiles plays coy. Despite his misgivings, Norman feels he has to share it with the rest of the party. They ask Damien to use the computer in the Life Boat and they hack into Krieger’s and the McNair databases. After a quick search, it becomes clear that there is indeed a shadowy group in the government working on something called “Project Charlemagne.” The proof of its ‘extra-governmentality’ is in it’s extreme level of restriction. The only people allowed to go to the location of the project on the base are Mike Pence, Senator Burr, General Krieger, and NSA Chief Rogers. They search all of these people’s computers as well, finding various hints at nefarious activities perhaps, but nothing conclusive. There is also evidence that Medows, Lance, and Tarkanen are subordinates who are seeking a talent that can be weaponized by the group. Finally, one last person has super-user access to the Project – a civilian contractor that is not mentioned by name in the records. Burr and Krieger have a meeting together in the capitol square, and Anubis and Adam plan to eavesdrop.

What is Project Charlemagne? Why does Skiles want them to investigate? What is going on with Evans and Xerxes? Find out in the next episode!

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Episode 5
Forget Me Not

The episode opened with the Life Boat finally arriving at the Xerxes complex. The staff and Damien himself were shaken by the death of the flight crew and excuse themselves to deal with the fallout. With April Lane and soon the rest of the press scrambling for an interview just outside the gates, Alicia Evans goes to handle PR. The characters are left to pick over more of the Life Boat to see what they can find. Anthony Carter, the head of Life Boat Research and Special Projects accompanies them, very excited to be able to participate in such earth shaking proceedings.

A few items prove to be incredibly interesting. A blow torch that is capable of cutting through almost any material with ease. A space suit that when donned causes the wearer to fall through the ground as if insubstatial (good thing Maggie tried this one on!) Norman decides to try some morphine from a medical kit that detects as having a large amount of Atropos energy. He passes out, and wakes up in someone else’s body in what appears to be the middle ages in the breach of some wall, smoke and provincial home scattered about. Little does he know that his mind has wound up at the Battle of Orleans under the flag of Joan of Arc!

The rest of the characters try to wake him through a variety of emergency measures, but the effect doesn’t last long and he regains consciousness. The rest of the heroes listen to his tale with a bit of annoyance at his recklessness, but are fascinated nonetheless.

Norman decides he will check into the ‘anonymous woman’ Consuelo Menses, and runs to her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is at home with her grandson doing chores, and Norman inquires about how her powers work. How does she make people forget who she is and not bother her? She tells him it isn’t all good – her checks have stopped coming in mail for her pension, and so her grandson has had to borrow money. But she agrees to try projecting her power onto Norman to experiment with “secret identities.”

The first attempt makes her grandson completely forget him, so he asks her to try one more time, but make it so only certain people forget him. She gives it a whirl, but this time anyone who sees Norman is put off by how ‘unknown’ he is, seeming sneaky and inhuman. In the end he has her turn the power off for now, and asks her to keep practicing. He also offers his assistance with monetary issues or any problem she might have.

Norman goes back to the Xerxes compound when a double whammy hits the characters. First, Johnny Lennox, Adam Cleese’s agent calls him to tell him that Adam just got a Subpoena in the mail signed by the Senate Intelligence Committee and Tom Cotton. Adam remembers that he slept with Tom Cotton’s mistress, and so the Senator might be looking for payback. The hearing is ostensibly about finding answers to the talent situation, and the growing levels of talent vigilante-ism, but Cotton wants to catch him in a lie so he can ruin him.

They all attend the hearing with all but Adam in the gallery. Tom Cotton and others ask what he saw onboard the Lachesis, if Damien Xerxes has any dangerous technologies he hasn’t disclosed, and if Adam knows the identity of the Anubis robot (Cazimir). For the most part Adam answers relatively accurately, though he refuses to answer on Anubis, but Cotton promises to subpoena that information and hold Adam in contempt. After the hearing, Cotton tells him this isn’t the last of this issue!

Next the characters hold up their scheduled meeting with April Lane on her Channel 6 News show. They discuss crime and punishment in an era of talents, what responsibilities talents have to follow the law and have the law protect them as well. They also discuss talent jails and the talent tax. Most of the characters proclaim their desire to live by the laws and rules of normal people, and to abide by the same morals that they were raised with. April thanks them after the show.

Cazimir asks April if she has done any more news stories about the disappearing talents, and April tells him that a talent named Luis Mercado escaped his drug induced stupor at a facility somewhere in San Antonio. While he doesn’t remember anything, he has a teleporting power and is recovering in a hospital – they could check with him for any further leads.

As the prepare for a trip to San Antonio, they get one more surprise. It seems someone has mailed them all a package containing a revelation – the contest to go up to the Lachesis wasn’t rigged, but their names were on the list of entrants PRIOR to them entering. Someone has also included in depth research on each of them in the mailed packet.

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Episode 4
The Unstoppable Freddy Koss

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The players take a tour of Damien Xerxes’ headquarters and begin to get an idea of the man and his mission. It seems that Damien found the technology for the Lachesis buried beneath Lake Baikal. He shows them the “prototype” Atropos Engine he created that contains the Atropos material inside a energy absorbent metal cage. All technologies that shouldn’t exist. However, the real secret is the Atropos material itself, and it’s “purple energy” that defies physics, coming from some elsewhere.

Damien shows them other parts of the facility as well, such as the nano-fabricators and the mission control section. But he has one more surprise up his sleeve. He takes them to a hidden room off the beaten path, the walls perfectly smooth and covered in a honeycombed white material that gives off an ambient light. He tells the characters that this is a room totally cut off from any tracing or surveillance and he can speak frankly. He achieves this incredible feat with the help of a true AI that he pieced back together a few years ago. The crazy just doesn’t stop!

Damien lets the characters know that someone in the company seems to be subtly manipulating things from behind the scenes. Whatever they are doing, he can see the effects and “feel” rather than enumerate the many ways in which the company has shifted towards certain outcomes. At that time the AI chimes in that Alicia Evans is looking for him urgently. With a meaningful raise of his eyebrows, he dismisses himself.

They take some more time to explore the facility and find the ONE ROOM they aren’t permitted to enter. Before they get a chance to do some breaking and entering, they are invited to the mission control section to observe the recovery efforts back at the Lachesis. A pod was recently launched to investigate what parts of the Lachesis might be salvageable. As they watch the pod on screen, they are stunned to see what looks to be a human moving about in the decompressed portions of the station. Worrying about entering in light of this revelation, they ask Damien to order the pod to check out the derelict Clotho while they consider what to do. The Clotho has some surprises of its own. The duplicate man from their time on the resort is dead in the cockpit of the Clotho, apparently burned by a jolt of plasma.

The crew of the pod and Damien decide that if someone is alive on board the Lachesis they have to investigate. They board the station and find Freddy Koss! He is alive but once onboard he takes some time to get breathing air again. As the pod reenters he gets his wits about him and hears Norman’s voice on the radio. That’s the bastard that left me up there! He roars. I can feel some more of that sweet purple stuff somewhere out there, I’m gonna get it and kill you, you piece of shit!

He jumps out of the solid wall of the pod, killing the pilots as it erupts in atmospheric reentry. Freddy is none the worse for wear landing in the desert of Nevada. The players are stunned and have to decide what to do – Freddy looks to somehow be heading this way, and while he is no speedster like Norman he will arrive in only a few hours. They decide they can’t hide the Atropos forever, they must confront him.

They rush out to Nevada, and intercept Freddy just outside Reno. They banter a bit, but Freddy won’t be deterred and he is as racist and annoying as ever! Adam gets decked and flies almost half a mile, dazing him and almost taking him out of the fight. Cazimir as the robot Anubis blasts away and Norman punches and tries to trip or distract, but nothing even phases the strength and energy shield of the giant. A stray shot from Cazimir even destroys the Reno sign!

However, Cazimir has a trick up his sleeve and uses his one neutralizer grenade, temporarily lowering the beasts energy field. He is (slightly) vulnerable, and Adam busts out the punch of his life, staggering Freddy while Caz lays down a withering hail of fire and Norman attacks faster than the eye can see. Together they temporarily knock out Freddy and Cazimir flies him into low earth orbit, leaving him there for the time being.

The threat averted they return to Damien, who offers them a “team up” of sorts. He will provide them with funding and a base of operations, and they will handle incidents like this. However the group refuses. They don’t want to be beholden to anyone, and secretly aren’t too sure about Damien’s motives. The Life Boat finally arrives and they begin to look it over. More and more incredible objects are discovered all the time, such as a blow torch that can cut easily through any substance.

They finally decide it is time to leave and receive an alarming package of information. A hacker has sent them information about the Xerxes competition that put them on the station. It seems that someone had them as entrants before they even entered the contest, meaning someone wanted them to go up to the station.

So the episode ended.

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Episode 3
Against the Rat God

Donald Trump’s Talent Tax has gone into effect. So far it has not greatly affected any of the characters, and they agree to help Damien Xerxes catalog some of the items on the Lachesis Life Boat that is finally going to be returned to him. There has been word that rats have become a big problem in Chicago, and Adam, taking a break from the talk show circuit decides to investigate.

Before they can head to Chicago, Cazimir gets a call from Mercedes. She has been investigating Damien further and found all kinds of strange information. The technology he is using must have been found or stolen, because it is far beyond anything that could have existed previously. Also, Damien’s assistant Alicia Evans has a background that doesn’t fit – she essentially didn’t exist prior to joining the company seven years ago. There was also the issue of the duplicate man on the Lachesis that Mercedes has become aware of. She asks that she be allowed to meet Cazimir sometime. Cazimir agrees to meet her at JFK international airport.

Feeling a bit suspicious after this call, Caz checks his phone and finds TWO separate bugs installed. A normal one, and a quantum one, far beyond any technology that the government or anyone should have. He files this away and gets on the plane. Meanwhile, Norman has been talking to Suji about getting a suit that won’t burn away when he runs at top speed. She has created an incredible industry in only a couple of weeks, building super-science robots that can accomplish a number of tasks. She agrees to design the suit and will even give Norman a free robot once the first orders are fulfilled.

Adam starts looking for someone who can control rats, thinking that might be the answer to Chicago’s issues. He tweets his many followers and they meet him at the park, mostly fawning hanger-ons that are of no use. However, one man Thomas Hilder, an unassuming sort with small spectacles and a vest, says that he has the power to talk to animals and wondered if that was good enough. He says while he doesn’t know what is going on with the rats, the cats have told him to essentially watch his back, as something bad is going down. An animal controller from Salt Lake City also tweets back at Adam, but can’t make it in time to meet.

Cazimir boards his flight, however half way through it, a strange purple ray from the sky lances out and destroys one of the airplane’s engines! He calls for his Anubis suit and manages to save the day, but obviously someone wanted him dead! After an emergency landing in Charlotte, he calls up Norman to pick him up and they gun it to JFK. They meet with Mercedes who gives them all the information she has, and asks them to stay in touch. It turns out she has a bug in her phone as well, deepening the paranoia.

They catch a flight to Chicago and begin to piece through the Life Boat. The skin of the Life Boat itself seems to have changed, the place where Adam punched through it knitting itself back together and healing on it’s own. Inside there is also a radio that plays a number of things. First is a Kennedy speech on the central bank. Next is an April Lane news report that says Adam Cleese has been missing for two days! Wait that hasn’t happened, they just talked to Adam! Then the channel changes again, and they are receiving broadcasts from the German battleship the Bismarck! Further wonders await. The computer console is running without any power, and it has the ability to connect to ANY server, even if it is offline, with superuser access. They use it to explore a number of servers and learn about government talent programs and about Damien Xerxes’ business.

The scientist helping them look over the Life Boat introduces them to the Exchange – an app that lets people ask for whatever they want, in exchange for favors down the road. It is incredibly popular and seems to be almost flawless in its acquisitional ability.

Adam gets a video from a fan who is going to go looking for the rats below the city to impress him. The fan thinks the old coal tunnels are a great place to start. A few hours later Adam gets what amounts to a hostage video, as the fan finds hundreds of rats that jump him on screen. The email with the disturbing video says to come alone. He calls up the others, who warn him of the April Lane seemingly future news report, but he isn’t too worried and heads off. Sure enough he follows the trail into the coal tunnels and even deeper, into a lair cut out by a rat that came back from the Lachesis calling itself the Rat God. It has seen how popular Adam is and wants to be a God of the surface too. It can change it’s size, control other rats, and control the earth to trap Adam! He is put in holding while he ‘considers’ the offer.

Norman and Cazimir begin to search for Adam. The Rat God has been taking twitter training during Adam’s incarceration, and they are able to follow this finally to the Rat Lair, but not before April’s future-now-present newscast! Adam manages to trick the Rat God into wearing some “special clothes” that will make him popular made of rope, and uses this to try binding the Rat and then choke it out. They save the young man who was kidnapped and he is very grateful and excited to meet Adam. The characters come together and debate what to do with the creature. Finally it is decided to take him to Joshua Jones – the most powerful talent in the world according to the data Cara Saudill had collected that Norman and Caz saw on the Life Boat computer. His mental powers are so great that only other mental talents can survive near him. April Lane shows up and asks for an interview, and also gets them to agree to a special expose on talent crime and punishment.

They box up the Rat God and take him to Montana, where Joshua’s ranch is surrounded by a number of warning signs and dead birds. Adam buys cheese and peanut butter for the Rat, and for the time being this seems to be a perfect solution.

The Life Boat is loaded onto another boat and taken to Cupertino, where it will be analyzed by Damien Xerxes’ people. However, the server with the AI in it was not in the Life Boat. Someone else, perhaps the government, has it!

They travel to California and the episode draws to a close.

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Episode 2
Novus Ordo Seculum

The players leap into action, saving whoever they can while the military fires away at Jean Mougey, the ice talent on the shore. They finally put her out of commission. In the confusion, Adam Cleese runs off down the shoreline, and Norman Baits grabs the injured Jean and rushes her off to seek help. The others are thanked by the soldiers for their help, and Major Vazquez in particular is grateful. Bogdan (formerly Chris Everyman) even pulled a helicopter out of the sky with his telekinesis to save it, placing it on the tanker deck. Vazquez covers for this, saying the press didn’t intend to get closer to the ship when the Colonel asks.

Colonel Grinder gives them the news – the camp is being dismantled and soon the characters will be allowed to go home. Their presence has been requested by the president to give a speech that will introduce these new ‘talents’ to the world. The remaining characters agree. Meanwhile, Adam has found where Bai was taken on the coast guard cutter, and Norman takes Jean to a hospital. They meet with each other through serendipity and go to see if Bai is ok. It seems the young lady’s positive attitude won over the captain of the ship, and they chose not to take her back to quarantine when they had the chance. They contact Bai’s parents who are happy beyond measure, then return to the quarantine.

With the quarantine over, the characters are hustled into a car, driven to the airport, and put on a plane, all the while coached on how to behave for this momentous speech. Donald Trump gives a rousing address, and then the press takes questions with the characters. Afterwards, Bogdan agrees to work for the government, while the others go their separate ways for now. Bogdan begins to learn some of the early plans for talents, while Cazimir gets dummy jobs for Maggie and Norman in Orlando. Adam decides to start a career in being a good looking super power, and gets an agent Johnny Lennox to help show him the ropes. Soon he is on every TV in the nation.

A couple of weeks pass and Bogdan does some more digging into the plans of Cara Saudill and Farhad Fatakia, the super-scientists who have agreed to assist the government. He notes that one of the talents on the list of people on the Lachesis is never counted correctly – Consuelo Menses. There seems to be a mental fog that prevents people from knowing her! He files this away while getting an invitation from Donald to attend a Gala he will be hosting about a Talent Tax he plans to create.

The other players also receive this message and are requested as special guests of the administration. With nothing else to do, they decide to attend. It is a nice night to start, with US congressmen and women, tons of press, and russian officials and a few celebrities attending at the Old Post Office in Washington DC. However things sour when Agent Skiles shows up posing as someone else. He tells Norman that he was interrogated as a test, because Norman is such a great patriot. And right this moment someone from the Trump administration plans to hand off some of the Life Boat tech to the Russians! The Life Boat has apparently also returned with many strange properties, and if the Russians get any it could be a disaster.

Concurrently, Maggie notices a man serving drinks grab Senator Burr’s hand. They both go strangely rigid and then the server runs off while Burr heads upstairs towards the level of the dignitaries. Maggie warns the others of this odd behavior, and they decide to investigate, but apparently someone has drugged Maggie and Bogdan’s drinks! They pass out and Adam picks them up to look for help from security

Adam takes them outside where things are very quiet. Two guards tell Adam to go back inside, help will arrive sometime. He is annoyed at their lack of help and puts the two down, then goes back out to have a talk to them, but one of the guards leads the other down the street where the second guard is dragged into an alley by unknown assailants!

Senator Burr then goes to Stephen Bannon and touches him, causing the same strange reaction. Senator Burr becomes dazed, while Bannon heads upstairs towards the president! Before he can, Cazimir interposes himself and demands answers. Then Norman spirits the strange Bannon off into a side hall where he and Caz can interrogate. The person who has transferred into Bannon admits that some people kidnapped his family and said if he didn’t possess the president and say how bad talents are they would be killed. He didn’t want to do it! But the bad men will be coming soon.

They tie the possessed Bannon up, when suddenly soldiers start pouring through the skylights and the downstairs doors! Adam Cleese tries his best to hold them off but he is cornered with April Lane near the bar, while the other hostages are rounded up and forced into the center of the room. Upstairs, the leader of the soldiers consolidates Trump, Pence, and a number of Russians and demands that the President use the FOX News cameras to announce to the world the evils of talents. Cazimir and Norman jump to the rescue, and take many of them down, but the leader who looks like an angry Rob Gronkowski has a detonator and says he will blow up the building if they aren’t allowed to leave. Downstairs, April says she will be ok and leaps behind the bar while Adam jumps to the rescue. He beats down most of the soldiers, but one throws a live grenade into the hostages! Adam leaps on the grenade and absorbs it with his incredible toughness, only hurt a bit.

The characters are once again thanked and praised by the media for their bravery, and by Donald Trump. Cazimir tries to follow where the SUV that the possession talents was held in has gone, but it leads to a dead end where it was burned on a farm in rural Virginia. The FBI continues the investigation.

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Episode 1, Part 2
A New Day Dawns

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The characters manage to congregate in the concourse, where hundreds of other guests have come for refuge. Cazimir has Bai heal everyone she can, while the others handle minor emergencies as the incredible powers of the other guests go mad. The station is falling apart, and the ship computer seems to be sentient and afraid. Suji is on the secondary bridge trying to hold things together, but most of the resort side of the station is exposed to space. The characters lead the other guests to the energy junction hall that might just offer them a safe path to the last remaining life boat. While Adam tries to repair what he can in the long passageway, the others go to check on Suji. On the way they search for other survivors and find Freddy Koss in the brig and release him. His bad attitude is ever present.

Suji tells them there is 2 hours max before the station comes apart – less if she isn’t overseeing the reactor from the command center. They head back to get everyone across to the resort section, and Norman uses his super speed to grab Suji as quickly as possible. The gravity goes out, and the computer implores the characters not to leave it behind. Adam, Maggie, and Norman work on that while Freddy runs off to rob the expensive stores abandoned in the higher levels.

Finally, everyone boards the hanger life boat and they decouple. The thrusters fire, pushing them into the atmosphere. One guest panics and he turns into a cloud of spiders that covers everything, horrifying all! Then a warning begins to flash aboard. The life boat is coming down on top of Chicago. With the help of Maggie’s teleportation, Adam goes outside the life boat and punches it on a new course, so it will land safely in Lake Michigan.

The life boat touches down safely and the Coast Guard arrives to save them. However, it quickly becomes apparent that something STRANGE has happened. The captain of the ship calls in a biological emergency, and a quarantine is prepared on a massive tanker docked near Navy Pier. All the guests of the Lachesis are now interred at a camp run by USAMRIID and the CDC while the “experts” try to figure out what is going on. However, Adam hides Bai on the Coast Guard ship and she avoids the quarantine.

While tests and questions fly, the president and his advisors come together to discuss this new situation. General Mattis says that Colonel Grinder has made it clear that these survivors have strange, impossible powers and has the video to prove it! While Pence and Bannon vote to deal harshly with this “threat,” Trump is fascinated by super heroes and insists they be treated well, perhaps asked to work for the United States.

In the camp, Major Tarkannen is having his soldiers mistreat some of the guests. An FBI agent investigating the disaster and Damien Xerxes, Mercedes Lackey, tries to stop some of the abuses. The characters appreciate this and give her some information about the strange visions they had on the Lachesis and what they know of Xerxes. That night Norman is kidnapped by a man calling himself Agent Skiles, working for “The Trust.” He interrogates Norman before leaving him bruised and bloodied back in the sleeping areas. No one knows who this mysterious man is, or what organization he belongs to if any.

Many of the guests talk with the characters and share their worries and hopes. Suji has gained an obvious talent with electronics, and is building working robots out of simple spare parts. Ai continues to develop her fire powers. Joshua Jones has terrible headaches that often give him information about what others are thinking. Caz especially tries to hold everyone together and develop a sense of camaraderie amongst these “Talents.”

Then as Mercedes comes to speak to them again, there is a sound of gunfire from on deck. They rush topside and find many frozen and impaled doctors and soldiers, ambushed before they could draw. On the shore is a localized vortex of snow and ice, and more soldiers trying desperately to stop whatever – or whoever – is inside. The characters watch for a moment, trying to decide what they will do…

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Episode 1, Part 1
The Pilot: Heroes of a New World

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Public Sentiment

Heroes of a New World Pilot Part 1 of 2

Adam Cleese, Maggie Sykes, Norman Baits, Cazimir Soucek, and Chris Everyman (hereafter referred to as ‘the characters’) went about their normal days. Cazimir who works for XSpace was updating tolerance data on Clotho’s engines when the personal data pad informed him he had been invited on board the Lachesis. Norman sat in the cafeteria of the Hays Medical center with his best friend James, when the Xerxes Group official and Disney Corporation cameras found him for his prize. Adam Cleese was job searching at home in Lansing with his girlfriend when they received the surprise. Everyone was given their travel documents for Orlando, where they would stay at Disney World before the trip. It seemed The Walt Disney Corporation was co-sponsoring everything, and had exclusive right to film the excursion. The characters all filled out a number of release forms (attached) and were left to consider their good luck.

The characters all spent a long time excitedly telling loved ones and significant others that they were going, then made the trip to Orlando. The Grand Floridian was booked exclusively for the Lachesis Group. They checked in and were assigned rooms as well as groups and sections, the better to let them acclimate with each other and for potential safety when on board the Lachesis. There were light refreshments as everyone filtered in from around the country, and the characters found out they were in the same group and even the same section! They hung out with many members of Group B. The Sagina family was escorting their daughter, Bai, who had to go up to the station alone. She became a ward and mascot for Group B. Adam and Suji, the down-on-her-luck mechanic became closer, and Cazimir and Norman discussed their lives, while meeting another Norm, Ai Yakamori, and Joshua Jones. Then the guests all retired.

The next morning was a big breakfast. They met even more people, like Jorge Valderrama, Viktor Nigorni, and a few more. Cazimir talked with Norm about the Trump victory, and Norm was surprised to learn that Cazimir was an H1 visa holder, changing his opinions a bit on the matter. The breakfast was clouded when Freddy Koss began making racist references to the Sagina family. He got up and left after Norman and Cazimir confronted him, and then got in a fight further down the table with Mike Chavez. Group B! But then Damien Xerxes made an appearance in the breakfast hall, giving an impassioned and humorous speech about the impact they were all making to the future of space travel. Cazimir and Norman went up to talk with Damien, who introduced them to Alicia Evans, while Suji stole Robert Fauerbach’s chair next to Adam to sit next to him and chat.

The rest of the day was devoted to the characters’ entertainment, and at the end of the day they had a choice: a puzzle and storytelling at the hotel poolside, or laser tag through the Magic Kingdom. Section 1, composed of The Characters, Bai, Norm, and Suji voted and elected for laser tag. They were put in command of Frontierland, and told to recover the flag from the Castle. Bai was shot, but another team’s captain gave her his equipment so she could keep playing. The players, with help from Cazimir’s known military background and Norman’s SECRET military background helped the team succeed. Even Norm, who was hesitant at first about the kids game found Caz’s speech about tactics incredible and joined in the victory.

They got back to the hotel and Ai told them a bit about the fun that was had at the hotel. The next morning was a big day of training so they went to bed early. When they woke up they were taken by bus to the Bay Lake near the appropriately named Bay Tower. Their, food and drinks were set out while they waited for their chance to try the space suits in the lake, and it turned into just another social event. Viktor and Freddy Koss got in a fight in the parking lot, and once again Cazimir and Norman interrupted it. Handsome Adam kept going after the ladies, hanging out with Catherine Ferdi, as well as Suji and Ai. Caz played some soccer, but twisted his ankle badly. It gave him a chance to hang out with Andrez Spirelli and Malika Said a bit however.

When it was their turn they dove into the lake, equipped with the space suits that were adjusted to neutral buoyancy to keep them at the bottom of the water. Beneath the surface, they encountered a simulated airlock that had been submerged, and they were tested to see how well they could get it open as large propellers blew them around, and simulated suit leaks interfered with their concentration. However, the characters, Jin Wu, and Pibero Djawatho were an unfair team, and managed to overcome all obstacles.

When they returned to the hotel that night, excitement struck! Norman went to his room to get some things, when he sensed someone was in his room. A man with a gun, hiding his burned face and skin with a pulled down hat brim and long sleeves pointed a gun at him and demanded he be ALLOWED TO THINK GIVE ME TIME! He pulled a piece of paper from his pants, and handed it to Norman. Written upon this paper were the names of all the characters! CALL THEM NOW THEY NEED TO BE HERE THEN I CAN THINK! The stranger said. Norman managed to get Adam to recognize that something was wrong, who called the front desk and the police. Adam then alerted Cazimir who went to Norman’s door, giving Norman a chance to rush the man with the gun! The entire 3rd floor was soon trying to restrain the man, before the cops arrived and took the man away screaming YOU CAN"T LET HIM GO UP HE CAN"T GO UP! They all decided the man probably was on drugs and wanted to steal their tickets. Damien Xerxes arrived with Alicia Evans and apologized profusely. He said if there was anything he could do, just say it. Then they all went to bed to get ready for the flight the next morning.

The flight:

Viewed from the launch center, the Clotho is a razor thin white line, stretching across the entirety of the runway. The sweeping wings, integrated into the body of the vessel so that it acts as a single mechanism of lift, reach out across the scraggly grasses that gust in the salty sea breeze. As you drive closer for boarding, the true enormity of the ship becomes apparent. The boomerang fuselage is narrow, but only in comparison to the football field width, the uniformity of the height marred by a number of bulbous, metallic growths that conceal powerful engines, and a largest hump in the center where the passengers can reside. But even these architectural perturbations are fantastically sleek, a form that identifies elementally with speed.

Your bus pulls up alongside a mobile lift that carries you up to the hatch. Passing beyond and into the thick, alloyed chassis you might even be convinced you were in a rearranged 787 were it not for the complete lack of windows. Tens of semi-reclining seats, with pillowy padding capable of lessening the shock of ever increasing g-forces line the cabin. They have none of the normal arm rests and overhead compartments of an airplane, and between each is a decimeter of space, giving a sense of openness in the otherwise claustrophobic quarters. Concealed lighting bathes the interior in uniform, white light, while blue diodes flash like marching soldiers along the central walkway, indicating your seats.

The dry, sterile air of the fans kicks into overdrive as the Clotho climbs into the skies, leaving even the clouds far below as it approaches maximum cruising altitude. The space plane skates along the very edges of the stratopause. Atmospheric density no longer restricts velocity, but the massive jet turbines must dredge the sky for every last vestige of oxygen, like a great whale filtering the sea for krill. There is a loud clank, and a vibration that shudders through the cabin. The air-breathers that have served so valiantly, are now free to fall to the ocean below. At that same moment a roar unlike anything you have experienced screams out, and you are pressed into the back of your seat. You accelerate, faster and faster. Twenty seconds, thirty. The pressure on your chest mounts, and breathing becomes more of a chore than an autonomous function. Fifty, sixty. Everything rattles around you, but even your chattering teeth are silent in the face of the volcanic fury of Clotho’s raging rockets. Then, just as you think you might call out in distress, the pressure fades…and you are falling.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” a voice announces over the loud speaker, “I’d like to be the first to welcome you to orbit. We’re nice and stable and should be able to dock up with the Lachesis in just under 35 minutes.”

There is applause and some cheering as you consider what you knew all along – you aren’t falling. You are in space.

They get up to the station without any issue. After docking they are pulled by a tether through the weightlessness into the hanger. Then Alicia Evans has a surprise. With a call into her wrist comm their is suddenly gravity! Everyone, especially the scientists in the guests are amazed. Once again they are given free reign and take time to explore the station. They are given a quick tour of the safety features and the layout of the station. Some go to the casino or restaurants, others hit up the gym. Norman notices a man who seems to be in too places at once, but he chalks it up to being excited. The next day a gala is planned. Before that Cazimir takes a tour of the ship. A man named Walter asks him to get some pictures on his iPhone, which Caz does. The others all go on a space walk, or hang out with their friends and make new ones. The Gala starts. Cazimir hangs out with Malika whose cousin she found out was just deported by the trump admin. Suji and Adam end up sleeping together. The Clotho makes a dangerously close fireworks run on the gala’s large open window, and Alicia Evans runs off to dress down the pilot. Some hillbilly tries to give Bai alcohol because he doesn’t think it is a big deal, and Adam lets him but under supervision. Once again Freddy gets in a fight and is dragged off to the brig. This causes the party to wind down.

Everyone goes back to their rooms and sleeps except Cazimir. Around 4:03 AM disaster strikes:

_It is long after the gala, and station time has the lights dimmed and most guests asleep, resting off the alcohol, food, and fun. All of a sudden, there is a sickening lurch, and an instant later a sound like waves crashing in your ears. Alarms begin to blare as you are torn from your reverie.

No sooner has your mind become aware of the situation, than there is a distortion wave that ripples through space, like someone is dragging a lens across reality. It crashes around you with a gravitational strength. There is immediately nothing but darkness. Sensation returns in fits and starts, accompanied by strange screams and an omnipresent noise like fire being stoked by a bellows. You feel a powerful displacement, of being in other places in the station and beyond. For a second you see the shattered halls of Lachesis, with strange creatures roaming throughout, all eyes and mouths and pseudopods. Blackness again, then Damien Xerxes office as he receives a call, face darkening. Blackness, a jungle, overgrown and dim, a raptor cocking its head inquisitively at you. Blackness, then a strange room, with a ringed planet visible outside the window. Blackness, back on Earth, as a blindingly bright light bursts into view above a city you recognize. Always, these visions are accompanied by the deafening howl as of movement through heavy wind.

You snap into focus and calm for a moment. You are standing on a brown, sun baked plain that appears to go on forever. High above, the sky is orange, with a red sun sitting fat in the midday. Thirty meters away is a wooden table, around which are seated six figures, though they are too distant to make out details. The table is set with an afternoon service, and they appear to be conversing and enjoying a meal, though now you see some are decidedly non-human. Similar in form, but displaying a number of phenotypical alterations. However, only a few meters away is an luminous, angelic creature. “You are back,” the creature says more to your mind than with a voice, though it has a decidedly feminine lilt. “Or you have arrived. Or you are on your way. You call me the Watcher Who Waits at the End. I will be nearby, but I am sorry, so very sorry, you must play out what has been done.”
_
Then you are on the cold metal floor of your berth, with alarms peeling in your head. Some small amount of time seems to have passed, but you can’t be sure exactly how long.

Cazimir, who is in the Casino, is actually horrified to see the wall in front of him explode and the room decompress before this vision.

When they wake up it seems approximately 15 minutes have gone by. Cazimir grabs a fortuitous helmet floating nearby and collides with a solar panel boom that lets him crawl into an airlock. On the other side is the medical center, where Bai, Ai, Norm, Jorge, and Viktor, as well as dozens of others have set up a quick triage center trying to figure out what to do. Bai somehow miraculously heals a man that Cazimir had found floating in space with him!

Meanwhile, Norman and Adam are in the berthing halls. A giant man that looks like a disgusting mass of muscles with rebar sticking out of him is taking up most of the end of the hall and going on a destructive rage. They are mystified, and also see a number of injured people. Pibero is in the hall, and Norman runs to help him with his medic skills. Pibero opens his eyes, and they are onyx black. When he does, a large dining tray flies across the room nearly decapitating Norman. It seems that every time Pibero opens his eyes, things go flying! Suddenly the huge creature notices Adam and Norman and starts to chase them. Almost like an instinct their own powers suddenly manifest…

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Preview, Episode 1
The Pilot

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The characters take the trip of a lifetime to the XSpace Lachesis Station. But while they enjoy vacation, disaster strikes. Hard partying turns to hard vacuum, as the guests rise to the occasion and become heroes, lives changing forever.

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