Issue 1 - The Beacon and the Bull

Guardian Ghost

I understand that my dad is a member of Silver Seven. S7 is the best-known superhero team in Silverline City. They work with CiCon, the military, the cops, fire and rescue, everybody. If there’s a lifesaving effort that calls for superpowers, S7 is the guys they call.

What I keep forgetting is that my dad takes his home work with him.

Miguel rolls the Legacy move for “whenever time passes” and gets a 6. We make the GM Legacy move “Make them answer their family’s concerns”.

“You unmasked in front of a bunch of strangers.” My dad is sitting with me at the kitchen table, leaning forward, hands clasped. “That’s a detail you omitted in your briefing. Why did you do that?”

Mom is working late in the Science Sector, but she’ll pester dad for details about me. Katia is supposedly up in her room. Too bad she always has ways of finding out. My grandfather Jesse isn’t here, but dad will talk to him anyway. So I’m expecting to have my ear chewed off at least one more time. May as well get it out now.

“At the time the infrastructure came down, something… happened.”


We’re in Sector Zero. We’re chasing Science Pirates. And I’m with a bunch of unknowns.

When everything comes down, though, we’re also in darkness. And we’re separated. I hear the shouts and screams from the Science Pirates, and from my compatriots. I hear cursing.

I can’t actually see in the dark, despite having shadow powers, but my mask includes night-vision gear. So I can see green outlines. There’s Sabine. I know her secret identity, Mia Duson. I know she has speedster powers. I know she “sings” when she moves. What I don’t know is the person with her, beyond their name, “Midge”.

Right now, Midge is close to crying. As seconds turn into minutes, I hear a suppressed sniffle.

“What’s the matter, sweetie?” It’s not me - it’s Sabine. She crawls over toward Midge, wraps an arm around her. Sabine always has her goggles on. I assume it’s to protect her eyes at high speeds, but maybe she has some kind of night-vision gear too.

“It’s… pipes,” Midge explains, sounding very small. “They can collapse. Get plugged. Flood. I’m worried. Feels like we’re in a pipe.”

I’m not sure what kind of pipes Midge has been crawling around in, but I know fear when I hear it.

“It’s okay, sweetie, I’m here. We’re both here. Remember me? I’m Sabine, that’s Ghost.”

“Can’t… see…”

I’m not sure what I can do. Sabine is, though. She fishes something from her pocket. “Ghost, NODs off,” she warns me, and I look away. Thoughtful, and attentive. There’s a flicker of fire. Sabine has a lighter in her hand, lit, and she carefully passes it to Midge. “Don’t leave it burning for too long, okay?” she cautions. “We don’t have a lot of oxygen in here.”

Midge looks at Sabine, and nods. She’s a comfort, I can see that much. But when Midge looks back at me, I realize that my costume - designed to generate fear and uncertainty in criminals - is working against me here. I doff my hat and take my mask off. This would normally be unthinkable, but I’m not thinking clearly. Right now, all I know is someone needs my help.

“My name is Miguel,” I say, as gently as I can. “This is…” I glance at Sabine, and she catches on. “Mia. My name is Mia. You are really Midge?”

“Yup. Midge Leafstone.” The quivering is going away, and they are breathing more normally. “How… how are we gonna get out of this place?”

I glance at my Silver Seven emergency transponder. I swore never to use it, but right now, people need to get out of here safely. The roof collapsing is the least of the dangers in Sector Zero. Who knows what might be leaking into the atmosphere right now, or coming toward us, or whatever.

I took something off the Science Pirates too, during the fighting. I pull it out. It’s an inertial navigator, a tool they use to get around inside the Sector safely. Is it still working? It is.

The transponder has no signal. I sort of expected that. I look up, and see Sabine stroking Midge’s hair. I realize I can solve two problems at once - if I trust a stranger.

“Midge, do you want to rescue us all?” I ask.

They brighten up immediately. “I can do that?” Their voice sounds doubtful.

“I’m going to teleport you out of this place,” I explain. “You’re going to take these two things. You’re going to press this button on this thing right here, okay…? There’s gonna be a voice. No matter what it says, or asks, just say, loud as you can, ‘Sector Zero intrusion, priority pickup, SM75’. Now, say that back to me.”

“Seek… Sector Zero intrusion… priority pickup… SM…75.” Midge still sounds uncertain, but their hands aren’t shaking as they hand back the lighter and take hold of the transponder and navigator.

“Okay. We’re gonna go into darkness for awhile, and when you come out, I’ll be gone,” I say. “This is fine. I’ll be teleporting right back here. I need to be here, to take care of other people. Okay?”

Midge nods. That’s the last thing I see as the lighter is extinguished.

“Alright, here we go…”

Guardian Ghost

My dad is still listening. “So to calm a worried kid down, you compromised your identity?”

I mean, when he puts it that way… “Yes, sir, I did.”

“When you wear that hat and coat, son, you are not Miguel Murphy. You are the Guardian Ghost. One of several. The Ghost is many things, but they are not a fallible, mundane person. The Ghost strikes from the darkness, wields fear, but always in the service of a greater ideal. If you want to be another hero, son, go be that hero. But as long as you’re my successor, and not just my son, I expect you to do better.”

The GM makes the move “Tell them who they are or who they
should be”. David Murphy wants to shift Miguel’s Freak up and Mundane down. Miguel accepts the shift.

“Yes sir. I understand.”

David stands up and walks to the fridge, then grabs a beer. “I’m going on patrol later tonight,” he announces. “I want you to stay home tonight, and think about what I said. And let your mom fuss over you, she’s earned it.”

“Yes sir.”

My dad leaves for the den. That’s when I see Katia poking her face around the wall. She snuck downstairs and was listening to us all this time?


“Hey kiddo.”

She sticks her tongue out at me. She’s thirteen, why is she such a brat? She should be more mature. I wave her away with a hand, but she stalks into the dining room anyway.

“I wouldn’t unmask to a bunch of strangers.”

“Nobody wants to see your dumb face.”

She sticks her tongue out again, but sits down at the kitchen table, next to the seat dad left.

“What do you want?”

She looks away, and shrugs. “Nothin’. Just thinkin’ about what to tell mom when she gets home.”

Of course. “Just tell her to talk to dad.”

“Where’s the fun in that? I like talking to mom.”

If it gets me in more trouble, anyway. “I’m grounded tonight. I’ll be busy talking to mom. Why don’t you go up and watch Netflix or something.”

“On… your computer?” she asks carefully. The computer with the non-kids Netflix account. It’s one of the few bargaining chips I have to deal with her.

“Yes, go ahead.”


More on the way soon!


It’s early October. I’m still in school, of course. My parents are rich enough to send me to Marie Curie Academy. I don’t always feel smart enough to be there, but I know my life has been blessed in many ways, and I want to be worthy of it. I don’t waste time taking the yacht out for pleasure cruises for that reason. It’s either to recover something sunk, or for special occasions, like this one.

Being part of a superhero team - who knew? I made it!

The yacht gets docked and I say goodbye to my new friends - my new team. I take an autocar back into the city, then hop a gondola to uptown. The ride up the slope is gorgeous, as always. The big funiculars are good for moving large crowds up and down the hills, and the gondola costs money, but the sight is worth it.

I know the slidewalk routes back to the house by heart. It’s all familiar, and all amazing. What is very unfamiliar is the police cordon around my house. It’s not a small house, by any means. That means there’s a lot of cops.

To get things rolling, the GM makes the moves “Put innocents in danger”

I rush forward, only to be body-checked by a couple of cops in uniform. There’s a detective behind them, wearing a coat and hat, like a gray version of Guardian Ghost’s ensemble. She snaps a picture of me on her phone, stares at the screen for a moment, and looks up. “You’re Ricky Cleveland, right?”

“Yes ma’am!” I’m not even sure what to say. Are they here for me after all?

“I’m detective Anna Volkov. Your parents are being held hostage inside. An unidentified metahuman broke through the house defenses, around back. Is there anyone else in the house?”

I shake my head. “We have a Gladwell Majordomo model 2 for household stuff, but no other people.” That’s as far as I know anyway - my older brother is in college, and isn’t expected home for months.

“Right. We’re waiting for authorization codes for the Model 2 from the manufacturer, and we’ll access its cameras to see the interior–”

“What are you doing about my parents’ safety?” I demand.

“We were contacted by an anonymous party shortly after the break-in,” Detective Volkov says. “They’re demanding ransom. We’re waiting for a call from your parents’ attorney to negotiate.”

“There’s someone in there with my family!” I know I’m shouting at a cop, right after getting out of CiCon for what’s technically a capital crime. But I’m suddenly afraid for their safety, and suddenly afraid that my involvement with a new super-team is responsible for this incident.

The GM makes the Beacon’s move “Draw attention to their inadequacies”

“We understand that,” the detective says in acid tones. “This is standard procedure in cases like this. We’re not going to escalate the situation.”

People are in danger. Isn’t this what heroes are for?

Am I a hero?

I duck under the guys in uniform, and start running.

The police cordon is behind me. They’re prepared to stop a rampaging meta from getting out. They’re also equipped to stop one from getting in. “Get that kid!” comes Volkov’s voice. I sprint faster, hoping to hop the fence and get behind some cover before they can unload any of their scary high-tech restraining gear on me.

Pelagos will Take a Powerful Blow if he violates the police cordon, which he does. Unfortunately he rolls a 12! He chooses two options: lash out verbally, and struggle past the pain. He marks Afraid and Guilty, feeling that his parents’ crisis is his fault.

“Pelagos to team!” I’m shouting into the air, finger against the communicator in my ear. “My parents are trapped in my house with a villain! I’m going in there! I need backup!” I don’t know who will answer - but if we’re a team, someone will, and if we’re not, well, now’s the time I need to learn that.

Pelagos wants to provoke his team to show up immediately - not just “soon”. He rolls, at a penalty for being Guilty. Unfortunately he rolls a 3, and marks potential. The GM makes a move: “Bring an NPC to rash decisions and hard conclusions”

Nothing. Fine. If I’m really a hero, I can do this on my own. Fuck them.

Behind me, I hear a distant voice. “Dammit! All units prepare to move in.”

Well, at least things are happening.

Pelagos marks off the Beacon drive, “reject someone who says you shouldn’t be here”, given his rejection by the police and the team. He chooses to clear Guilty, since he is at least taking action to deal with the situation.

Pelagos wants to know the best way into the house. He rolls Straight Up Creepin’, but gets a 5. “On a miss, you find yourself in over your head. The GM will tell you why this is a bad spot.”

I propel myself up the side of the building, controlling the water in my body with hydrokinesis. I can run on walls if I’m careful. The second floor window is open - my parents like a breeze in the afternoon and evening - and I can just jump through it and come down on the upstairs landing.

There’s no landing. It’s been destroyed. I fall one floor and collapse in a heap, staring at a gigantic robot.

It looks like a humanoid junkyard. A bull’s head with a bizarrely human-like face, twin fins that look like horns. Multi-jointed legs. It’s all robotic, all pistons and hydraulics and clanking and grinding, a patchwork. And there’s a big bold stenciled word on the chest plate. It says “NKIDU”.

Oh. I’ve read about this guy. A researcher in the Science Sector, doing illegal experiments on mind-transfer, for immortality. He trapped himself in a robot shell, losing his rational mind in the process. This is a bad guy. This is a really bad guy. The whole living room, much of the stairs to the second floor, and a few of the walls are trashed. He did this. He might do it - might have done it - to my parents.

The GM is making the move “Activate the downsides of their abilities and relationships”. Pelagos will have to be accountable to his parents, and the authorities, soon.

I was right to think they were in immediate danger. I sure hope I was right thinking I could come in here and do something about it. Now - where are they, before he smashes me too?

Pelagos wants to Assess the Situation. He rolls an 8, a hit, and asks “how can we best end this quickly?” The cops outside are equipped to deal with this situation - the only thing they’re worried about is the safety of the family inside. Get them out of the way, and the cops will do the rest.

I see them. Now I get why the room was smashed up. NKIDU the ro-bull has stacked the wreckage in a ring, and I hear faint moaning and crying behind it. Maybe I can buy time for the cops to show up.

“Hey ugly!” I yell. I launch myself into a flying kick at the monster’s head. It twists its whole head, and the horns hit me. I’m sent flying across the room to land - thankfully - sideways on the sofa, which tips backward. I hear my mother’s porcelain breaking as this knocks over more stuff in a domino fashion.

The GM makes a villain move for NKIDU: “Force attackers to escalate violence”.

Jesus, that hurt. Weaksauce stuff like that isn’t going to be enough, is it?

NKIDU is stomping after me, ready to finish the job. He’s snorting - is that steam coming out of his nostrils? I scramble to my feet and run for it.

Where’s good? The kitchen! Lots of water in there. Get him to throw a punch, break the plumbing, and that should give me as much hydro as I’ll need for this. Assuming he doesn’t break my spine.

Pelagos is going to Directly Engage a Threat, taking +1 from his earlier Assess - he wants to use his water powers to stand toe-to-toe with NKIDU. Unfortunately he rolls a 2.
The GM asks him to Take a Powerful Blow. He rolls, getting an 8, and chooses to give ground, granting the opposition an opportunity.

Things break in a big way. The sink, the dishwasher, the cabinets… this guy is big. His horns are scraping the ceiling of the kitchen. They tear through the fan like it was nothing. Tile and utensils fly everywhere, disrupting my concentration. I can’t use the water here as a weapon, there’s just too much distraction! It’s all I can do just to get out of the way.

I can’t fight him head-on, even to delay him for the cops. I have to get my folks to safety, now. I just need to break the wreckage somehow, get around it or inside it -

I’m not strong enough. But I know someone who is.

“Your mother was a wind-up toy!” I shout. To my great surprise, he speaks.

“This is the best hero they could send? You’ve sadly overestimated yourself.”

Oh shit. Is he intelligent? He catches me off guard. But he doesn’t hit me. He keeps talking.

“You had no plan against me. You’re desperate. You are outmatched in every way. Your wish to save lives is admirable. Go save others somewhere else, and your own.”

NKIDU wants to shift Ricky’s labels, raising Savior and lowering Superior. Ricky accepts the label shift.

I pause. He’s right. He’s absolutely right. All I thought about was keeping my family safe. Maybe that’s all I need to think about.

“I know you don’t have a plan. The cops are coming to save li’l ol’ me. If you’re busy here instead of guarding your hostages, you got nothin’! Stupid wind-up robot, if you’re so smart, why are you fighting a useless nothing like me?” I move and maneuver, hoping I’m lined up properly.

Pelagos wants to provoke NKIDU into a rage, and use the villain’s strength to free his trapped family. He still gets the +1 from his Assess the Situation earlier, and rolls a 10! They rise to the bait and do what you want.

I’m ready this time. NKIDU steam-rolls me, like before. He wants to add me to the collection of hostages he’s already got. He thinks he’s got my physics figured out. He’s wrong. I can hydrokinetically lift my body, use it as a lever, and I do. One moment he’s about to dunk me like a basketball into his improvised prison, the next he’s stumbling forward as I vault over his head and step on his back.

He goes crashing into the pile of rubble, the stuff that used to be the furniture and appliances in my parents’ house, and knocks a section of it away. He didn’t do anything so clever as to tie my folks up. I see them, now, through the gap he made. “Mom! Dad! This way!” I call.

My voice galvanizes them, and they come running. Just then, the police burst through the door.

NKIDU shakes his bull’s head as he rises, and sees the cops. With a roar, he leaps upward. Jets flare, sending a backwash through the destroyed living room. He shatters one wall with his exit, weathering fire from the cops’ automatic weapons.

Detective Volkov approaches my parents, and me. Paramedics are right behind her. “Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland? Are you alright?” My folks nod, still dazed.

The detective turns to me. I know she’s about to chew me out for my reckless behavior. That’s when I hear a voice.

“Ricky. Hey. Can I talk to you?”

Volkov looks around for the voice. I do too. Not far off, in the wreckage of the kitchen, I see the Guardian Ghost. One of them, anyway. He beckons me over. My parents, and the detective, don’t interfere. I mean, would you?

“Your communicator went offline. The cops probably set up an EM barrier around the house to block radio signals. You ran in, huh?”

I nod. “I… I called for help. Nobody answered.”

“No surprise,” Ghost says. “I doubt you could have driven a signal through that block. When I saw the lost comms signal, and got the police report about your place, I came as quick as I could.”

I don’t know what to say. I want to start crying. I’m part of the team after all.

“Listen, uh, my folks are probably upset with me,” I explain, lamely. “And I gotta give a statement, probably…”

“I understand.” Ghost seems like he wants to say something else, but doesn’t. He just salutes, then vanishes.

“Well,” I hear my mother say. “I did want to redecorate…”

One more post, and that’ll conclude issue 1. Ricky earned 3 potential for his fight, and still has Afraid marked. He hasn’t earned Ghost’s respect (enough to qualify for the Drive), but he knows he’s one of the team, and for now that’s enough.

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The “party” on the boat consisted of these humans drinking assorted flavored beverages, talking with each other, and awkwardly talking to me from time to time. The cover story my computer is maintaining for me has become quite convoluted. Currently it consists of the following elements:

  • My fictional inventor father is from an island called Japan, as am I
  • My father was forced to change his name due to either scientific persecution, or attack from some kind of science-based criminal, and now operates from an underground volcanic base
  • I have two cats, named Neko and Tuna, but they live in the underground base rather than with me
  • I miss them very much
  • I prefer to wear one-piece bathing suits instead of bikinis
  • My favorite drink is Fanta, and I drink both coffee and tea
  • My idol is astronomer Maria Mitchell

I feel like taking a walk to clear my head. This planet has several oceans, but the one I’m currently looking at is cold, choppy, and forbidding. I sit on the docks, kicking my legs idly, and think.

I’ve learned several important facts. There is an organization called CiCon, or City Control, responsible for the administration of this city. There is an independent team of super-powered individuals called Silver Seven. Other similar teams exist. Individuals from several such teams probably participated in the attack on my father. The computer is processing powers, histories, costumes, and more, to establish responsibility.

The air is filled with some kind of flying creature. I peer up curiously.

> identify the lifeforms in my field of vision

As though aware of the inquiry, one of the gulls dive-bombs my head. I duck, but it doesn’t connect, just flies off. Fine.

I stare at the “thumb drive” in my hand. Time to get to work. I glance around.

> confirm conditions are secure for teleportation, and initiate teleportation to ship

There’s a brief flash, and the ship’s teleportation system pulls me from the surface of the planet and into my control chair.

My bodyguard, Werulf, is staring at the ship’s main view-screen in pensive thought. He is a genetic amalgam of five different species, two of which are sentient. As a person, he is grim and suspicious, the ideal protector of royalty. But this also leaves him little to do, and I feel sympathetic for his position. He turns his shaggy muzzle as the teleport finishes.


“Hello Werulf.” I stand, and sigh.

There’s a noise behind me, and I suddenly feel a presence, and an outpouring of air. I hear a voice I did not expect. “Oooh!”

I turn. It’s the individual called ‘Midge Leafstone’. The one who took the alias ‘Sprout’. They are looking about them in astonishment. And then they lock eyes with me. “This is amazing! This is your secret base! Are we on the moon? Are we in London? Where are we?” They look over my shoulder, and spot Werulf. “Oooooh! Are you a dog? Dog…person? A mutant like me? Can I pet you?”

I am a royal princess. My people conquered light and gravity. I do not panic. Right now, though, I am holding very still.

Thankfully Werulf is a good bodyguard. He takes all this in immediately, and leaps protectively toward me. “Computer! Emergency teleport the human into space!” he barks.


That’s unexpected. Werulf pauses. Midge freezes up. Now it’s my turn. Of course. Of course!

They are like me! A visitor from another planet!

This must be handled delicately.

“Werulf, this is Sprout, also known as Midge Leafstone. They are… well, I believe they can be trusted for now. Stand down.”

My bodyguard growls, but complies. I now turn to Midge.

“Your secret is safe with me,” I say, hoping that it’s enough. Midge’s eyes widen. This might take some extra work.

“I’m - I’m like you. I walk among the humans. There is something I am here to do, something important. I want to find some humans who hurt my father. Do you understand?”

I can see by the primal fear on Midge’s face that they do, very well. I start to worry, not for myself, but for them.

“If anyone finds out…”

“…bad things will happen to your Home,” Midge finishes.

I sigh with relief. “Yes. You understand.”

Midge shivers. “I won’t tell anyone. I promise. We have to stick together.”

I smile. “Well. I’m glad that is settled. I should return you to the city, though. How did you get here?”

My visitor gestures behind me. “I asked a seagull to drop me onto your back! I was curious where you go, so I wanted to tag along!”

I should have anticipated that. Their bio-signs must be masked by my own during a teleport, so the computer’s security scan doesn’t notice them. I’ll have to compensate for that.

“Well. Now that you have …”

> identify English idiom 'tag along'

“…tagged along with me, I shall tag along with you, if you wish.”

“Sure! I want to visit Embassy Sector, and go to the park, and try out drinking from the fountain, and…”

While Midge talks, I deposit the thumb drive into a waiting receptacle.

> identify and interface with device
> access mass storage and decrypt any encrypted content

Right. “What is the Embassy Sector?”

“It’s where they have all kinds of stuff! Like memorials to superheroes an’ things! Statues, biographies, all kinds of info!”



Dear Mom and Dad and everyone,

I met another Borrower! She’s from Japan though. Japan is a big island that’s on the other side of the world! I don’t know how she got over here though. But she’s a mutant like me, and she’s got all kinds of neat glowy stuff! Japanese people are supposed to be pretty high-tech and Japanese Borrowers have a lot of cool stuff too!

I think we’re going to be the best of friends. Love XOXOX Midge

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That’s the end of Issue 1. We’ll see more of the team, including some time with Sabine in the spotlight, come next Issue! Please leave comments, opinions, or any other feedback in a reply!