Ashingham Talents

The Reduction of Quatermain

Recap and News Dump

Recovering from KSR encounter.

Diana Foundation is undergoing an organizational realignment, after their failed business(es) in Russia. Gwen Folsom, when not on an NTA mission, has spent most of her time telling reporters ‘No Comment’, and ‘the Diana Foundation will recover’.

One of the things that has really hit the Diana Foundation is the fact that they had — deep — links to Cannibals Anonymous.

Transnational Organization of Invention has announced a big scholarship/grant/fund in the humanities: archeology, history, mythology, anthropology, and other similar fields.

Transhumanic Studies and Research has announced new medical trials for a treatment designed to improve one’s overall health, and a potential but very risky cure for many terminal diseases: Cancer, ALS, etc. To the point that the program is being denounced by most medical practitioners on the basis that no one treatment could possibly cure so many disparate conditions. They quote a success rate of 10%, with 1% perfect. Please note, this is approximately the same rate as for ATE.

A new company, with both a regular branch and a PAC, called the Polythemus Foundation. It has been shown that they are supporting multiple politicians with large sums of money. When confronted with this, they said “Yes. Because they advocate better technology for the betterment of humanity.”

Applied Sciences has shown record earnings this quarter, even over the predicted rise based on past performance. They attribute this to their acquisition of Big Gun Securities, and expect this trend in robotic security to continue.

The Blue Water Military Academy has had a major scandal, when it was revealed that they also run a security company — Blue Water — staffing it with the academy’s seniors. They said nothing until pulled into court for child endangerment. At which point the lawyers pointed out:

  1. They are all of age. (They are.)
  2. They are all volunteers. (They are.)
  3. They’re earning good money. (They are.)
  4. It counts towards their education as real world experience. (It does.)
  5. And their parents were fully aware and had signed off on it. (They did.)
    The court case was tossed out. Unfortunately for BWS and BWMA, the court of public opinion has them not doing so well financially.

Church of Yeon is having difficulties. A number of senior members were caught embezzling, and engaged in morally reprehensible behavior. Some of which involved a young boy.

Electrodyne is basically moving along, some successes, some failures, nothing spectacular.

Investigation of the Church of Yeon by Mallory Burns

Mallory decides to investigate what’s going in in the CoY, and makes contact with the former bosses’ former secretary. People still talk to her, and she knows how to get things done. He mentions to her that it looks like it might be a good idea for him to become more involved in the church again. She thinks this is a wonderful idea, and offers to assist. Plans are made to gather more information.

The secretary comes back with a list of supporters, and known problem people. Many are not known, but of the problems, most of them are already known to be a pain. There is one name that stands out as a problem person: Alister Quatermain, the archaeologist, and person of interest in prior investigations on disappearing children. He is listed as a significant donor, on the order of millions of dollars. Mallory is being careful not to alert Quatermain. He was an archeology professor, a well funded one, but professors don’t normally have millions of dollars to throw around.

The primary reason he is considered a problem is not that he’s directly opposed to Mallory, but he’s been supporting those who’s policies are opposed to Mallory’s. Mallory looks into potential connections with government and/or political factions, but does not notice any pattern.

There is contact information for Quatermain, and he asks his new secretary to arrange a meeting with Quatermain. The word comes back from the housekeeper that Quatermain is outside the country now, and will certainly call back when he returns. There’s a strong feeling of “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, but that Quatermain would be returning relatively soon.

Investigation of the Dianna Foundation by Gwen Folsom

Gwen decides to look deeper, and Lance has gone along as physical support, getting her through the news vultures and paparazzi. Tevin decides to come along as well. This is a serious reorganization, people are definitely being moved around massively. (The foundation does not have a glass ceiling… for women.)

Looks like a thorough, but not surprising reorganization. The CA relationship is not something that really needs to be looked into. The DF supplies donations to many organizations. The biggest issue with CA is just the unfortunate name. CA primarily deals with self-destructive and predatory behaviors. The Russia adventure is much bigger because

  • they weren’t charted for operations in Russia,
  • they had a rocket (the fact it was an Orion nuclear rocket is being concealed),
  • the rank and file are going WTF!?!.

A bit more gentle digging (Charm + Research + Willpower) shows that the rocket was also going to be an orbital base, the central structure and build onto it. There are rumbles that this is all related to something they call Genesis Eve.

Assembling the reorganization charts and getting her office into order. She receives a call on her private line, and it is the school principle (for Harry and Harmony). The principle is asking (about 10am) why Harry is not in school today, and would she have any idea where Harmony was. No one is answering at Harmony’s house. Gwen did see them both get on the school bus. The bus driver remembers them getting off the bus. Talking with classmates, they tell Gwen that Harmony was picked up by a man and woman. Harry went with her, apparently willingly, in a large SUV that was packed with ‘stuff’.

(Back Story: Harmony is basically an orphan. Her parents support her financially, but have basically kicked her out. She is cared for by her nanny, Beauty Black.)

The female of the couple is definitely Beauty Black. The male is … Alister Quatermain.

We have a mission.

Recovering Harry and Harmony

Gwen issues a team alert, including available data and names, and also informs
Colonel Steven Trevor.

The Colonel is distressed. Despite their youth, they’re both some of the more powerful and versatile talents that they are aware of. Harry and Harmony can basically wish things to happen. There are limits, mainly they don’t seem to be able to put much energy behind it.

Mallory adds that Quatermain has been funding the church. The Colonel comes out with a “what’s this guy up to!?!”, there’s about 15 things that he’s been into, providing LARGE sums of money. Prior to Quatermain’s trip to Guatemala, he was much what you expect a professor to be. Afterward, he’s got money coming out his ears, and he’s involved in a large number of disparate situations.

The SUV is registered to [[Mr. Daniel Puckle]] of New York. He’s Harmony’s father, and a reconstructive oral surgeon, but what really brings the money in is stars coming in to get their smiles “just so”. The vehicle was probably Beauty’s, provided by Mr. Puckle.

Examining the other organizations, we find that Quatermain is an alumni of the Blue Water Military Academy (’77). The Quatermain family has been major stock holders in Electrodyne for a while. Alaster was recently elected to the board of TOI, as a member at large. That seems to be the extent of it, along with his previously noted connections.

Ms. Black’s financial records indicate that she has been paid by the Puckle’s, as Harmony’s caretaker since the ATE. The house is owned free/clear by the Puckle’s. Cellphone records show she pays for her own service, there was a call late last night, and another about 9am (when H&H were picked up). The phone call was to/from a company called Mobile on the Go. A pre-paid cellphone, paid for in cash.

The place that sold the phone has a security camera, we get a look at it to see who purchased the phone. A “super quicky mart” (non brand name) located in South-East D.C. In fact, this store doesn’t even allow customers inside. It’s basically a human-driven vending machine. The security camera shows the person who bought the phone was <drum role> Quatermain. Ben Stone examines the video, and after some time, determines it is both legitimate, and the person in the video is actually Quatermain.

Ben decides to call the phone. A fellow named “Marvin” answers. After a few questions, it is apparent that Marvin is a wino. Fortunately, a cooperative wino.

  • The phone was found near the quicky mart, the same one it was bought at.
  • It was found around 10:30pm, the night before the kidnapping.

Further discussion with the police show that they recognize Quatermain as the likely head behind the “Green” drug, which gives its users a sense of ultimate power.

Tracking their EZPass, and through traffic cameras, we trace them out the Dulles Toll road to the airport, then out the airport north on 28, west on Waxpool, then seen again at the intersection of Ashburn Farm Parkway and VA-659. We eventually track them down to the Leesburg Executive Airport, and one of five flights with sufficient passengers to be candidates.

All the cargo from the car is packed onto a cargo plane, independent of where they went. The cargo is going to Redding, CA. Passenger flights go to Redding, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; Spokane, WA; and Calgary, Canada.

We track the Redding flight, it arrives late, and neither Harry nor Harmony are on board. The pilot does not recognize either Black or Quatermain. Tevin and Mallory (mimicking Tevin’s speed) check Calgary, Spokane, and Salt Lake City. Ben checks San Antonio.

The flight that landed at Salt Lake City was a Mormon Youth Group, which DID include Harry, Harmony, Black and Quatermain. Tracking down the Youth Group, they are no longer part of the group, having separated at the airport. Quatermain paid for the flight.

Backtracking to the airport, we use the cameras to track them to the parking garage, and traffic cameras in the area show they are in an H1, the civilian Hummer before it became a luxury vehicle. It is registered to an E. Burke, who lives in Tooele, UT, at 54 N 4th Street. He is not home, and the Humvee is not present. His neighbors know he has a Humvee, that he is not Quatermain, but that Quatermain has been seen in the area. They have been given a phone number to contact me, and instructed NOT to approach Quatermain or Burke, as Burke may have been duped, or otherwise abused.

Further aerial survey eventually leads us to a place (40.491467,-112.197789), where there are at least 12 people, and a teleport getting ready to take everyone elsewhere. Gwen identifies that Harry, Harmony, Black, and Quatermain are all present, and identifies the teleport.

Ben lands on the teleport — from upon high — turning his head into gray/red ooze. At this point, Harry, Harmony, Black, Quatermain, and four heavily armored goons are still in the room.

Ben tries to punch Quatermain, but his fist goes right through. Quatermain is probably using Insubstantial. Tevin snatches Harmony out of the room and takes her outside. Gwen’s intended attack on the teleport is redirected to Quatermain, but the telekinetic attack fails as Ben’s strike did.

Tevin takes another action and punches Black. She attempts to raise a shield, but Tevin’s attack takes it back down. Ben hammers one of the goons through multiple walls (36 yards knock back through at least two walls). Although Ben doesn’t realize it immediately, this has killed the guard.

Tevin partially disassembles the armor on one of the goons, reducing his armor to LAR only. The second goon is suddenly naked, except for boxer shorts with ray-guns held by Duck Dodgers.

Lance bursts into the room through the wall, in a shower of debris and a glowing shield.

Tevin rescues Harry. Mallory uses his shotgun on the goons and Black, as Quatermain is still insubstantial and unaffected. The naked guard looses his right leg, and assorted other damage is distributed. Black takes shock damage, and some kill damage. So do the goons with either damaged or no armor. Black is knocked unconscious. Boxer goon is also unconscious. This leaves two goons, and Quatermain. One of the goons has the degraded armor, the other still has full armor, and Quatermain is still insubstantial.

Ben attacks the fully armored goon by punching him, hitting him for 3 shock. Through knock back, the goon is basically dead.

Unfortunately, while the team members are able to resist, the multiple shocking deaths trigger mental trauma in both Harmony and Harry. As a result, they now consider Ben to be horrifying, and Ben will be at a minus when dealing with them until it is resolved.

Okay, your narrator missed a bunch, so this is just my best-effort from memory.

At some point, Mallory mimics Quatermain’s power, and discovers the defense is any Genetic based power. That is, Genetic based powers will damage Quatermain, even when he is Insubstantial. Unfortunately, none of the team present have Genetic based powers.

Gwen attempts a telepathic attack on Quatermain, and although she does get through and do some damage, Quatermain is strong enough to stay up. Between them, Ben and Mallory hammer the remaining goons until only Quatermain is left.

Several of the party members, including Gwen, notice that Harmony is about to knock Harry out. Because of her telepathic communication, Gwen tells everyone else. Lance prepares a called-pulled shot to knock Harmony out, as she is being mind-controlled. However, Tevin snatches Harry out of the way and takes him to our base in D.C.; then returns and snatches Harmony out of the way to his house in California. This frees Lance to hold his action until Quatermain is vulnerable.

Ben suspects we may have to turn the mountain house into a crater, so he starts hauling those who are still alive but unconscious clear of the building. Quatermain attempts to escape by moving through the ground while insubstantial.

Tevin and Ben start digging so that we don’t lose track of Quatermain, first boulders start flying, then the whole area is engulfed in a cloud of dust and dirt, until their digging brings them up against a concrete wall that Quatermain is apparently aiming for.

Mallory gets Ben to hit him with a bit of damage to trigger his life force drain. Since it’s now controlled, he can limit it to Quatermain, but that doesn’t kick in until the end of the round when his regeneration kicks in.

Ben decides to grab the whole concrete construction and throw it out of the way so we can continue to pursue Quatermain. It turns out it’s a combination root-cellar/shelter. With Ben’s strength, he just rips the whole thing out of the ground, in one piece, and sends it flying. It lands in the nearby quarry, right in front of a bulldozer. The bulldozer just scoops it up with everything else without even noticing.

Mallory’s life force drain kicks in, and Quatermain is suddenly solid. While this is the end of the round (yes, all of the above took place in just two seconds) Lance has been holding his action prepared for just this situation, so his action is triggered as the very first event of the new round. Lance blasts Quatermain with a called pulled head shot, knocking him unconscious.

Harry is okay in D.C. Commenting “so that’s what a Tevin speed trip is like”. He’s still going to have trouble dealing with Ben, but at least he was familiar with Ben before the combat.

Harmony is in some distress, as she is not as familiar with Gwen’s friends as Harry is. She’s suddenly in a totally unfamiliar house, with a memory of having been about to hit Harry, and dealing with the mental shock of the combat.

Loose Ends

This is a collection of things that the narrator thinks need to be dealt with.

  • The Mormon youth group people are contacted and told that Quatermain has been captured and is being held for kidnapping, among other things.
  • The neighbors of E. Burke are told nothing at this time.
  • The NTA, or perhaps the FBI, are informed that E. Burke should be quietly investigated to determine just what his relationship with A. Quatermain was, and what the nature of his import/export business is.
  • Both Harry and Harmony are going to need counseling. They’ve had a horrifying experience.
  • Since Beauty Black is now in custody, Harmony needs someone else to take care of her. Gwen is willing to take her in, but that depends on Harmony being able to accept Gwen after the shocks she’s received.
  • We need to determine if Beauty Black was (a) a willing accomplice, (b) an unwitting dupe, or © mind-controlled. This will have an impact on how we deal with Harmony.
  • Extensive interrogation of A. Quatermain should begin A.S.A.P., as he appears to have been closely involved in a number of incidents of interest to us, especially those involving children. While we cleared one base, there are obviously others. We need their locations and the organization(s) running them.
  • The goon’s armor, being rather more advanced than that available on the open market, needs to be investigated to determine how they obtained it. This may relate back to E. Burke’s import/export.
  • If possible, Lance would like for the team members who do not already have serious built in armor to have suits like these, and wouldn’t mind one for himself.

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edwinwiles

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