The party had three options for what to do for thanksgiving -- CONTROL had a boring grown up party, HAZARD had a scary, sleazy party of evil, or they could just go trick or treating for candy, which was a big thing in the city -- all the overseers from all the guilds cooperated to make it safe for kids to be out at night in costume, because no one wanted to ruin Halloween!
So of course, the heroes decided to split up and do all three. Pocket Fluff did this literally, taking a duplication power as an alternate of his teleportation and making copies of himself to accompany each of the others, with a fourth to hand out candy from the base.
So they got to see all three versions of the same plot hook, which was basically 'some real monsters seem to be running around terrifying children'. CONTROL asked them to investigate this *discreetly* -- the monsters hadn't hurt anyone yet, and they didn't want to cause a panic.
So they decided to investigate the glowing, transparent ghosts flying around by chasing one down and trying to touch it to see if it was really insubstantial. The ghost screamed, which called more ghosts and a curious werewolf, and it ended up with a fight on a rooftop, with the party flinging around Fractal laser beams and the ghosts screaming at the top of their lungs.
Pocket Fluff: "Okay, we caught one ghost and a werewolf -- can you send a cop car to pick them up?"
CONTROL: "I asked you to be discreet. That was not discreet. I can't send a cop car because then the people watching will know it was a real fight -- also, your building is surrounded by zombies."
And it was -- dozens of them. Sometimes, someone in a superhero costume would try to fight them, but they were usually driven off or dragged down quickly. Pocket Fluff decided to hover at his maximum range and snipe at the zombies with a healing beam, but unfortunately that was within the zombies' maximum range, and he drew fire. Two spectacularly bad saving throws later, he dissolved into goo -- disintegration is, apparently, a very nasty power.
CONTROL immediately recalled the party, along with all its other heroes, back to base, becuase these monsters were obviously more of a threat than it had anticipated. Luckily for Pocket Fluff, Morph was able to scavenge enough materials there to build a one-use ressurection machine to bring him back from one of the hair bracelets he'd left with the party to let him teleport them around.
However, when they heard that there was a zombie horde trapping hundreds of people in a shopping mall, 'frontal assualt' was not an option. Instead, they started teleporting in, putting up a cloud of mist to minimize return fire, and then TK-ing the massive duct tape and baling wire machine the zombies were building back into scrap, to keep them from completing whatever plan they were working on. CONTROL informed them that there were thirty more such structures going up in other shopping malls around the region, so they teleported around taking care of them.
The enemies tried to stop them -- the witches shouted curses, the vampires lurked and tried to bite them, the zombies started crowding the rooftops nearby where they liked to teleport in -- but the party was able to adapt to everything they could try, and the monsters eventually ran out of tricks.
Somewhere in there, they got a message from Psychohound, who wanted their protection -- he told them that his and the other villains' powers had come back differently from before. He could no longer mind-control people, but he could read minds better than ever, and in particular he could read HAZARD's mind, and while at the HAZARD party, when news of the monsters had come in, he'd heard HAZARD decide to take advantage of the situation to put his master plan into operation and take over the world RIGHT THEN, that night. He didn't know the details -- HAZARD had detected Psychohound's mind-reading and ordered his death.
The party convinced Psychohound to turn himself in and get put in the power-nullified prison for his own safety, but he only did it on the condition that they stop HAZARD's plot and take him down -- he didn't trust CONTROL to be able to protect him. Also, he'd read CONTROL's mind, and its ideal world of totalitarian law wasn't any more appealing than HAZARD's ideal of road-warrior style chaos.
Anyway, after they smashed all the strange devices at the malls, the zombie hordes let the captured humans go and started splitting up to build a whooole bunch more devices in miniature -- thousands and thousands of them, all across the city. It was obvious that someone was coordinating them, and probably HAZARD was controlling them somehow, since they'd started acting different shortly after the reports had come in and psychohound had heard HAZARD decide to act. Liquid Fist asked Fractal to scan the radio waves for any sort of control signal, and hey -- there was one!
The same signal that controlled the mind-control nanites that they thought they'd stopped from infecting the city. In actuality, while they'd stopped the random spread from infected employees, they'd never caught the villains who'd robbed the place and taken some samples with them, and for weeks the nanite plague had been spreading from person to person, untracked. Not *everyone* was infected, but enough of the monsters were that HAZARD had its army of zombies (and witches and werewolves and vampires and ghosts).
Combined with the nef children's tactical mind, this was a pretty dangerous army. It was probably a good thing the party hadn't tried to take them head on.
Once they knew how they were being controlled, though, they knew how to stop it -- all they had to do was jam the control signal, and the nanites would be harmless. NETWORK was the only one who could jam the whole city, though, and they refused to admit that the nanite plague existed, so kept trying to get CONTROL or the party to come up with some other excuse for jamming the city, but they just kept insisting on telling the truth, so NETWORK stubbornly refused to help, except to point out where the signal was originating.
HAZARD HQ. "Oh, that's inside *our* jamming range," CONTROL noted, and did so. Sure enough, the zombies stopped acting mind controlled and started shambing around at random. A little later, though, a convoy emerged from the jamming field to restore control over most of the city. NETWORK still refused to help with the jamming, but pointed out where it was in general terms, and the party sped to attack!
The dozens of HAZARD guards with autofire plasma rifles were totally useless, but Fang Bane (now with duplication) and Serpent Star (who now put swallowed people into a pocket dimension while he fried them with his aura) were on guard. No one could see anything because of the mist the witches had put up over the entire city (thinking, as long as Morph-as-Storm keeps blinding *us*, why should anyone else get to see?), unless they had x-ray vision or thermographics (which weren't blocked by the cool mist as thouroughly as visible light was) or blindsight using smell. So mostly it was the guards, Liquidfist and Morph-as-Starfire who were blinded.
But the details of the fighting weren't that important -- Fractal managed to hack the transmitter and lock out the HAZARD operators, at which point HAZARD told Serpent Star to cut their losses and eat the evidence -- that is, the convoy. Pocket Fluff had teleported into the transmitter van, and got eaten along with it, but couldn't find anything portable to rescue from the flames. Morph-as-Psylocke did manage to mind control the giant flaming snake and get him to vomit up the van, but by that time it was too late -- it had been melted into a puddle of goo, and everything inside was destroyed. Including the operators, fried to a crisp. Oops!
That was the end of HAZARD's scheme, and with two witnesses (Psychohound, and Serpent Star defending himself with 'I was only following orders! I didn't meant to kill them!') willing to testify that HAZARD itself had actually been behind it, well... no one was going to be voting for HAZARD getting control of more superheroes.
The team's wanton disregard for the life of the monsters they were fighting (they did things like using gusts of wind to fling hundreds of zombies off of rooftops, and ordering the monsters to fight each other once they had control of the signal) meant that people weren't really happy with CONTROL either, though -- as the sun rose, all the monsters (who hadn't been killed) turned back into people in monster costumes. Apparently, the 'people turning into monsters' had been a 'harmless prank' played by the Illians, that HAZARD had taken advantage of, with tragic results.
last session | next session, different game
And we decided to stop the game there -- I told them that I *could* run another session, where they could try to clear superheroes' good name in general by dealing with the gangs that would rise to fill the power vacuum left by HAZARD's disgrace, but there wasn't a lot of interest. So I think that's it for superheroes, for now. The next game should start up in a few weeks, probably back in Shadake.