Jumping straight to the HHL stuff! (But flashbacks allowed.)

The twin towers of the HHL … top floors belong to the group (the very top floor is most public).
The five of us in an elevator up to the top floor. Tight smiles and glances and hidden TERROR.

Love Letters!

Link: _You can help Charlotte out immensely if Numina can ride along inside your suit, and you juuuust had time to kludge that together before the HHL… thing. Hope [it holds together/the HHL doesn’t block the double-secure VPN connection back to the Quill compound]…

_Jason: _In a way, Charlotte’s powers are just like yours - will it, and it happens. The weird energy signatures are just a HUD, and everyone’s psyche is just. So. Fragile. Take +2 ongoing to Directly Engage, -1 to Defend.

_Concord: _Everyone expects Harry to be the guy who can handle being around the HHL, so you guess you’re that guy. At least for tonight. Let Panic Be Your Guide! … and take +1 ongoing to any Defend you make for your team in tonight’s social situation.
Harry: the Concordance does NOT like rooming with you and is making things SUPER difficult. but …
_You’ve heard too many stories from your family to have the voice of the Concordance freak you out. If you just shut up and listen, it’s actually helping you acclimate a lot. Take +1 forward on your next Unleash Your Powers.
* Being inside Leo’s head and suit [WITH NUMINA] is like being in the middle of the season’s largest cotillion, and the center of attention. In other words, it’s a charming bit of familiarity. Take +1 forward on Pierce the Mask while visiting the HHL, as long as you interact with Leo’s “Crew” for some insight, and you can merge, if necessary, with Pneuma - your heart gauge is weirdly aligned.
* You’ve always been clever, but there’s a difference between clever and THIS - while in Leo’s head, and talking with his people, you come to some kind of revelation about the paraphysics of one of the problems facing the team. There’s no time to talk about it now… unless you want to drop a bomb on everyone. Talk to the GM if you can’t think of something. He can.

Riding the elevator

Jason doesn’t want to let Them know what’s going on. They’ll want to DO something to us to fix it.
Harry thinks they absolutely MUST let Them know.
(The Concordance disagrees! Angrily and panicky, referencing the very invasive telepathic link, per security lockdown protocol MacGuffin.)
Adam is unsure. Adults will find out.
Charlotte is unsure about sharing the current dilemma, when there is clearly another purpose to the gathering.
Harry - Difficult to hide.
Jason - Blame! Jason, what did you touch?
Harry - Can GG undo this? The other capes have all been through this. Do not want to repeat freshman year.
Concordance - Does anyone in HHL have paraphysical abilities
Harry - Hecate.
Jason = NO

Charlotte could try to end the problem. But she’s not in her body.
Harry - We should ask the experience people who could walk us through this. [But concerned over Hecate]
Link - Ask someone who’s not Hecate in private?
Harry - Parents always know.
Adam agrees.

Still debating as …

Party time!

Door opens. Light floods in. And a wash of laughter and conversation and Christmas music.

It’s the annual HHL Christmas Party.

A broad smattering of the city’s hoi-polloi (civilians), rubbing elbows with the high and mighty of the HHL. High society fund-raiser. The mayor, her husband, several council members, and supers. HHL. A few other supers.

Nautilis, Oya, Transcendent, Guardian laughing loudly …

Can we just let the door close? And a hand stops the door from closing. Silver Streak! “We still have the actual meeting later, but after the party!”


And some teen heroes. Bob. Kid Kelvin. Stingray (in a tux). Harry!Concord looks for A10 … floating off the ground (unaware until he starts walking) … and, yeah, there’s A10, being talked at by Stingray, probably harassing her for not being on the JHHL (Adam reminds him to watch out for others as he floats). .

Harry!Concord is heading toward his friend. Concordance notes that his emotional state is disjointed.

Silver Streak slaps Adam!Harry on the back, offers to introduce him to people. Looks back funny. Shakes head no. SS directs him to the buffet table. Jason!Charlotte curtseys / does a backward rotation.

Leo!Jason - SS is pushing the soccer dad thing even harder than normal. Follows SS, maintaining telepathic contact. Flags him down.

Jason!Charlotte - rictus grin … edging around the side, watching weird auras, figuring out power levels, personality, aura … but there are some weird ones … Transcendent seems fully shielded, though,. Focusing on HHL. [Pierce the Mask] Oya and Nautilus are in the same group, watching them, against the glass with the city behind, and then a cloaked figure standing next to him. “I know what you’re doing, and I know what you did.”

Charlotte!Link - Numina, comforted, other folk in powered suits, and Nautilus in his suit, not out of place, can’t eat from the buffet table … swaying to the music … it’s been a while since she actually walked.

Tasha Star shows up, grabs an elbow (Numina: NOT AN ATTACK!) “How are you! This is completely off the record?” Cameras flash.
Leo: Just say “A lot happened.”

Adam!Mercury standing by the elevator, trying not to be noticed. In full uniform (as are all).

Leo!Jason: “Leader of the team? How you doing?” Banter. Intros? You seem kind of excited. Want to thank you for all the support you’ve shown for all the members of our team. Don’t worry too much about the meeting - nobody’s coming down on you - we’ve all had missteps, we don’t even have the authority to do anything, but we need to let you know about some things you need to know about so keep an open mind.
[Pierce the Mask] <Common Purpose: protect the team, avoid an incident>
Harry assists - Dad sounds nervous. Reference a past victory. “Ask him about what the HHL had to do after they beat XYZ, mention that one because it;s a short story.”
Jason - he’s nervous, and it’s nervous for us. So let him know we trust him/ handle him.
“How would you tell Mercury how to handle this situation?” [What does he want me to do?]

Harry has always been so easy breezy with us. And sometimes your old man makes mistakes, or makes decisions that are hard to understand, but even if it’s tough, we did it for the best, even if it seems weird. (He’s looking at Mercury.)
Leo: Telepathically “The Gales sold us out.”
Out loud: “I want you to understand, in my life I’ve had a lot of conflicts with my father - I can understand father and son don’t always see eye to eye. We will see what happens.”
“Thanks. You guys are great. I am looking forward to later.”
He is not looking forward to later.

Jason!Charlotte - Hecate. Smirk.
“Do tell.”
Youve masked all your psychic activity from anyone who would be scanning. Preventing eavesdropping.
A girl wants to keep her secrets.
I recognize you’re carrying their weight. They are just men. If you ever want a word, support, etc. …
These insubstantial shoulders carrying a weight. Appreciate your confidence.
Don’t let them steamroll you. It’s far too easy. We’ll all talk more later.
And then she’s gone.

Harry!Concord – A10 is on the move.
Stingray and Kid Kelvin are snarking. They snark at Concord. Why are you here? You can’t even drink.
Harry realizes this was a bad idea.
Did you bring your whole little team with you? Is “Harry” with you?
Yeah, we’re really busy. Who was the last person YOU defeated? (Trying to embarrass him, since he was bugging A10, and he’s a tool.)
(Sol: Are we engaged in combat?)
[Provoke.] That’s why we came in costume, because of stuff we might have to handle. Which I guess is why you came in a tux, because what would you be able to do?
Kid Kelvin: “Dude.”
“What was that you little punk --” About to take a swing — and a powered armor fist grabs his arm. His dad. Nautilus. “What. Did we. Talk about?”
Harry!Adam floats down, looking a little small and scared.
Stingray departs. Quickly. Kid Kelvin was just looking out the window. Nautilus just goes back to a conversation with another group to talk about scented beard oils with people who are Absolutely Not Watching What Happened.

Adam!Harry - A10 jokes about hitting the elevator button and leaving, but, no, her uncle invited her.
Adam nods. (“Who is this?”)
Harry - friend, school, covered for him, dance class.
Adam - what color is she?
Jason - she’s … pinkish?
Charlotte - flirting!
Harry - we’re just friends!
Charlotte - just be polite and friendly and you understand and you have to stay here too and don’t make any commitments?
Harry - how did training go?
Adam - how did training go?
A10 - Um … fine? Telekinecian was supposed to be here. We can only really work against, like, T will levitate stuff. We’ve never really worked together.
Leo - Hey, suggest we should train with theirs.
Adam - Oh yeah, teamwork, really important, training, really important. You should talk to Jason about training some time.
A10 - You guys, maybe, wanna train, y’[know, maybe, with us? But I guess i can talk to Jason.
Adam - He tried to beat up my dad.
A10 - HE THREW DOWN AGAINST SILVER STREAK?! Is he over there apologizing?!
Adam - I need to go to the bathroom. There’s punch.
A10 - If you get bored later …
Adam - (Superspeeds away) [Unleash Powers]
[“Ghost Girl” and “Concord” are converging.]

Charlotte!Link is observing who seems interested in this (who is the mentor for their team? who is paying attention? any adults being looked at?. [Numina helps her read the body language.] …

Leo!Jason sees SS’s eyes go wide – “All RIGHT!:” … as Mercury phases directly through the fucking floor. “We’ve been training hard.” “That is outstanding news, Mr Quill!”
Adam!Harry - More people in seating areas. Doesn’t cause too much of a stir. A few glances.
Adam pushes the elevator button.
A few folk are landing on the balcony from the alarms, slamming open the door. Oh, it’s Sigrun, Blackbird, and (a moment) Tatanka. Sigrun is smoundering in patches; Blackbird’s suit is carbon-scored and one arm is injured; Tatanka looks concerned at the other two. The other two stalk through; Sigrun opens up another door panel to another elevator, and stalks in.
Tatanka gives Adam a friendly nod, “Hey, Harry – Mercury – just need to freshen up.” Nods.

Silver Streak drops down. “Buddy! Set off a few alarms! All fine! Upside, congrats, man! Buddy, big news!”

A10 looks … stunned? WTF? … starts to raise her hands, stops, but she’s glancing at … Harry’s Uncle Chase, who is hanging out with a couple of other non-HHL folk across the room. And Charlotte see’s Chase glance that way. Who is Chase talking to? A couple of folk not in costume. Nobody

Jason!Charlotte tries to back Adam’s story. Elevator opens. SS with Adam!Harry. Nods to Harry!Concord.
A10 is not weirded out by Charlotte. She seems to relax talking with Harry!Adam.
SS introduces Adam!Harry to a number of people.
A10 chats with us. Jason is being very Scarlett O’Hara. Harry mocks him. A10 admires Charlotte!LInk’s ability to deal with the cars with Shatterstar the previous day.

Leo!Quill is looking to see who’s paying attention to him after SS was chatting with him.
Nautilus seems to be intentionally not paying attention to them; just saying the same things over and over again.
Hecate is glaring daggers at “Jason” and “Link”.
Oya has glanced over a few times, maybe a bit worried.
Transcendent is useless for body language. Occasionally looking at them, but not in a meaingful fashion.

A10 loosens up, but about the time when she seems at ease and un-affronted about “Harry,” and we’re still at the elevator bank.
Elevator opens. Sigurd, Blackbird, Tatonka come over. T. comes over murmurs something to A10. “Damn right you owe me.” Sigurd stomps through room, and HHL members … make their excuses … and break away to follow.
(Guardian just keeps talking.)
Tempest shows up. “We’re going to have that quick conversation with everybody. Andromeda [“Andy”] sorry to talk all your friends away.”

Leads to a curving wall, to another bank of elevators. Down a couple of floors to a big board room. They’re seated at a horseshoe, with us at the open end.

Tempest: “Glad you could come. Happy luck it could be at the Christmas party. Good to learn who’s good in these situations. Just want to talk real quick.”

Oya: Welcome to the superhero community. Have done well in a short bit of time. Not always as crazy as it has been the past few days.
Nautilus: We’ve found once you start functionaing at this level, you learn some things that seem like something you need to focus on, and you’re walking into a situation that’s ongoing for someone else. Nobody’s ever going to get upset beating up someone in their Rogue’s Gallery. But there are projects, responsibilities, you may have blundered into.

Sigurn: I have two broken ribs - we need you to leave Vyortovia alone.

What’s weird is, it’s a lot easier to understand the difference between Iceland and Vyortovia. Probably the mental link and protected from mental domination.

Link!Jason: We have family members involved. A bit more explanation, please?
Hecate snorts and rolls her eyes.

Tatanka: Your involvement in that … the investigations there … Vyotovia is an unknown, and we’re doing our very best to keep an eye on that.

Harry snorts.

But there are certain protections to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of control. And there are walls around those protections, pinions holding those protections up [gestures at Nautilus, Hecate, Oya]. Those protections are interconnected blah blah blah poking and prodding can weaken those protections. A lot of things you’re not aware of.

Charlotte!Leo: “Well what about all those people from Iceland who are trapped on the other side? Because we’re not going to leave them there.”

And lets the rest of the group know before she says that …the HHL are making everyone forget Iceland. [[Katherine called it first.]] [Vyortivia/Iceland swap happened at same time as the Byron Quill dimensional vortex thing.] [Did he do it? Or was trying to prevent *more* from happening and that was the only part he could stop?] [The HHL was trying to cover things up so that people wouldn’t lose faith in them and their ability to protect the world …]

That gets some body language off of Nautilus. Surprise.
Oya looks regal.
Hecate looks annoyed and rolls her eyes.
Sigrun was looking grim, and looks grimmer.
Tatanka looks haggard and stricken.
SS looked hangdog and visibly slumps.’
Tempest not making eye contact.

Nautilus: Iceland has 300K people – saving them could tear reality apart for 7 billion people. We don’t know what they –
Hecate: We don’t know what THAT ONE’s father did. [Glares at “Jason” some more.]
Leo!Jason: We’ll ask him when he gets back.
Hecate: That’s off the table. We can’t risk any kind of actual travel – that could blah blah blah.
GG: YOU’RE RIGHT. ::Play along, guys!::
Sigrun: Hecate’s a bitch, never mind the rest, Vyortovia is dangerous. I just dealt with them tonight. Big injuries. We have to sort that out. Jason, I don’t know how you haven’t been looking for your dad non-stop for the last two – [stops and looks at Hecate] We can’t solve this problem without them knowing. [head on desk]
Hecate: [Look of wide-eyed panic, doing hand motions] [Defensive cantrip, attached to something, vanishes.]
Sigrun drops.
Blackbird’s armor goes into auto-standby mode.
Tatanka goes out.
Nautilus goes into turtleshell protective mode.
SS and Tempest collapse.
Oya struggles to get to feet – " … something … what … " goes over.

We feel nothing.
Concordance feels nothing. Magic.
Door opens.
Little wheeled robot pushes in a media cart with a TV on it.
Balok’s face comes up from TOS. But a different voice. “All right. The expected series of events have occured. Decommission of city defenses have occured. Boys and girls, let’s get started.” It’s Vigil.

The picture changes to security cam footage of the party. And everyone is on the floor, except Kid Kelvin, A10, and Stingray, who saunters in and says something snide.


- JASON - Closer to Charlotte – Freak-, Mundane+
- LEO - Closer to Harry - Freak-, Superior+ --> Anger
- HARRY - Away from Adam
- CHARLOTTE - Closer to Adam - Mundane+, Danger- --> Anger
- ADAM - Grew into image of an awkward kid.

author: *** Dave H.

I patched up session 19, which was missing the GM audio track. I extracted the audio, then recorded commentary into the dead space to kind of explain what’s going on. It’s a mishmash of “here’s what’s going on in the game right here” and “here’s some broader commentary on trends in the game and with the characters.”

Ultimately, I still had too much dead space to fill, so I chopped out around an hour and 15 minutes, but we kept all or most player audio, unless I just couldn’t figure out what was going on, without context.

Things get pretty good around, where I hit on a different recording method AND we get into piercing the mask on Streak, talking with Hecate, shaming Stingray in front of Nautilus, and (of course) phasing through the floor to get away from talking to A-10.

author: Doyce T.

… I didn’t properly express how much I loved this, at the time. Well-played, sir.

author: Doyce T.

Every good super team needs an Archer.

author: Bill G.