Agent 1337 - damn that name, old people trying to play cool - enters Director Craig Costigan's office and finds the boss sitting at his desk, chewing on a cigar with such intensity that his ears should be smoking. Agent Ted Waters, the senior agent who is mentoring 37, is also there. Waters favors his protégé with a brief smile, but it fades as quickly. Costigan is in a foul mood, and both agents report to him, so this meeting will be awkward. "I'm doing this under protest," Costigan announces. He points a meaty finger at 37. "Agent Waters vouches for you. You hacked a supervillain's secret files. None of that will save you if you slip up and start breaking the law again. You get me?" 37 shrugs and nods wordlessly. This is the lecture part, let's just get this over with. Costigan chomps down on his cigar, sending a flurry of ash outward. "Right. Agent 1337, I'm assigning you to monitor the Menagerie. You got your briefing documents already?" 37 had, and nods. It was all paper. Dry facts with no organization or narrative, like the stream of consciousness from an IBM mainframe. Corrections, manual line breaks, redaction - that's why they give me paper, so I can't hack through their security - it was so Federal it hurt. "Good. Now let me teach you something about intelligence analysis. Synergies is where it's at. Puzzle pieces that fit together too well." Waters peels open a manila folder and rifles through its contents. He presents file photos of each named individual, as Costigan supplies the narration. "Jason Quill. Father, Byron Quill. Enemy, Achilles Chin. Now Chin is a terrorist, an arms dealer, inventor, you name it, if it's high-tech and dirty, he's got his fingers in it up to the knuckle. Both men disappeared recently, but until you find the body, that doesn't mean a thing. Quill's worked with us in the past, but never for us. Anything Chin got his hands on, Quill got as well, and put away in his warehouse. Chin's daughter, Alycia. She and Jason had a - shall we say - special relationship. He could be compromised. May already be." Waters chimes in. "We confirmed it was her, sir, that 'Alice Chan'." Costigan positively gnaws on his cigar. "Right. That means she spent a month, prowling around a warehouse full of her father's captured goodies, and his father's crazy trophies. Either he's bad at operational security, or he's in on it. If the least we can lay on that Quill boy is neglect, it's still enough to pin him to the wall." "Next, Leonard Snow. Father, Rossum, also called the Minion Maker. Super-villain inventor. Wanted as an accessory on a full 3% of the super-crime in this country, if you go strictly by the losses and count his mechanical henchmen as working for him. We got him a few times. We moved his boy from family to family, then we'd leak something to draw the old man out. It never took, until we gave Waters full control over the investigation and incarceration protocol." Agent 1337 glances at Ted Waters. His face is unreadable stone. That kid was just a worm on a big hook. The boss doesn't look happy about it. Director Costigan is still talking. "Kid's got some kind of implanted chip or device. Maybe a mind-control gizmo. His father could do it. Plus, Rossum is excellent at building robot weapons. The kid's got the talent too, and he's getting better - fast. A psych evaluation gives him a dozen anger issues. It's only a matter of time." The next photo is a recent one, taken with a long-range telephoto lens. "Charlotte Palmer," Costigan explains. "Our intelligence says she came about due to a fracas between the Magus and Doctor Infinity. The eggheads say she could be carrying around vast reserves of untapped energy thanks to being at ground zero. Plus, if that nutcase we brought in, Ghostheart, is right about one thing in twenty, she's a magnet for something that could threaten the whole Earth." "Technically, the Menagerie brought him in," Waters observes dryly. Costigan twists the cigar around in his mouth but lets it go. "She frequents coffee shops, and talks to a lot of strange people, face to face and online. She's got quite a social network set up already. She's got no living immediate family, no history, no records. If we needed some leverage or intel, all we'd have is these presumed civilians she pals around with." The next photo looks like it's from a school yearbook. It is. "Adam Amari," Costigan explains. "Apparently human. Has some kind of weapon or empowerment from some alien group called the 'Concordance'. We had him in here awhile back. Spooked the examination team but good. I don't mind aliens, but I mind alien organizations that don't formalize ties with Earth authorities. What are they really up to? What's their real motive? We just don't know." Waters holds up a series of photos, with names. Mother, father, baby sister, grandparents. Costigan explains. "We think the kid's family, or some of them, know about his powers. He's still keeping it close to the vest, though. He's in high school, but he's pretty young. And young means impressionable. Goes to Halcyon High, same as the Snow kid. If they're gonna conspire, that's a logical spot. We can't get anyone in there without them standing out like a sore thumb - well, you could, I guess, if it comes to it." "Finally, we got Harry Gale. No need to tell you about him, I'm sure, but just in case. Speedster, son of speedsters. Doesn't always see eye to eye with his parents. Attends school with Jason Quill. Same situation - a ripe opportunity to talk offline, out of earshot." "All these kids have some unknowns, Agents, but it's the knowns that worry me. Quill's at risk of being compromised by Alycia Chin. Snow's just a matter of time. These people have Harry Gale's ear. If they radicalize him, his powers could do considerable damage. Speedsters in particular are a problem for us. You can build tech that neutralizes powers, blocks energy blasts, shields the mind from telepathic intrusion. But it's hard to react to someone who can just flat-out act faster than you. That's the basics of the OODA loop. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. It doesn't matter what gear you have, if the operator can't think quickly enough to bring it to bear in the right way. And Harry Gale can get inside the OODA loop of just about anyone. If he decided to attack someone or something, that'd be just too bad." "So what you've got is a team of kids, not even adults yet, with a bunch of unknown social connections, personal ties with two major super-villains and an off-world alien organization, a warehouse full of high-tech gadgets, considerable personal or technical power, acting as a magnet for an incoming menace... " Costigan pounds heavy hands on his lacquered wooden desk, so hard it makes the ashtray jump. "Problems like this would keep men four times my size awake at night!" At least their team name is weird cool . 37 isn't quite brave enough to offer this bit of levity aloud to the Director, though clearly he needs something to take the edge off. "Agent 1337, the Menagerie as a whole is your responsibility now. You're about their age. You can get in their heads. You'll work with Waters, report to him like you're doing now, and you'll get a budget and surveillance assets. Do you understand?" 37 considers. "Yes, sir. If I'm to learn what's going on with them, I think I know how to do it." Costigan glances at Waters, and both men nod. "Alright, good. I expect reports early and often. For now, both of you, scram!"
Jason can't decide* if he wants to be more compromised or less. Which is the greatest compromise of all. ------ * If he actually considered it, or had any of this thrown in his face.
I love this, btw. All the concerns are legitimate from the AEGIS perspective, whether or not they align with reality from the Menagerie perspective. And they are just what the Menagerie might fear about AEGIS.
In case it matters, this all has GM stamp of approval. :)
The real question is who gets the anonymous doc drop.
Bill G. said: "Adam Amari," Costigan explains. "Apparently human. Has some kind of weapon or empowerment from some alien group called the 'Concordance'. We had him in here awhile back. Spooked the examination team but good." Except from Examination 98453 - Subject Amari ...During examination, Subject Amari struggled with lifting four-hundred-fifty (450) pound examination weight. Weight was visually reset back to forty-five (45) pounds and Subject Amari was able to lift the examination weight without any issue. Without the Subject's knowledge, examination weight was gradually increased in weight until it reached maximum of six-thousand (6,000) pounds/three (3) tons without any apparent acknowledgement from the Subject. Observers believe that Subject Amari has several mental blocks in place which restrict it from purposely accessing its full abilities but it is unknown if this was put in place by the Entity or if Subject Amari is unaware of his full abilities... ...Subject Amari was able to determine with one-hundred percent (100%) accuracy if Proctor was attempting to lie to him about facts but unable to detect deception if the Proctor was misinformed about facts himself and presented them as if they were the truth... ...Subject Amari unaffected by increased pressure up to five-hundred (500) Atmospheres. Oxygen toxicity at high pressures did not seem to be a concern and Subject Amari appeared to discontinue any sort of respiratory response at three (3) Atmospheres. At one-hundred-seventy-two (172) Atmospheres, Subject Amari asked if "someone [was] playing with the thermostat, because it feels funny in here." The Proctor explained that they were attempting testing and asked if Subject Amari knew what was occurring. Subject Amari correctly stated the amount of atmospheric pressure the room and how quickly it was raising was under but seemed unaware of how he came to the answer and stated that he was unaware of the answer until he was asked. The Proctor then asked if Subject Amari felt uncomfortable due to the level of pressure. Subject replied in the negative.... ...At 1545 hours, Subject Amari's mother became concerned with the level of testing AEGIS was conducting and announced to Subject Amari that they were leaving, despite him not being in the room or having any apparent contact with him. At the time, Subject Amari was fifteen stories below his mother in a sound-proof examination room undergoing the above mentioned atmospheric testing*. At the moment that the Subject's mother spoke, Subject Amari's expression became noticeably worried. The Subject then apologized and announced that he needed to leave. Subject Amari somehow reset the examination room's atmospheric pressure, unlocked the door using an energy construct, and traveled with unerring direction back to his mother, within the span of about fifteen minutes**. This ending further testing... *At these levels of pressure, the normal oxygen in the room would attenuate the loudest noises producible by baseline human vocal cord within a meter or two. **Normal depressurization from the then current atmospheric pressure normally requires twenty-three minutes due to mechanical limitations. Engineers are still examine the data to attempt to understand how Subject Amari may have depressurized the room near instantaneously. Every time I write something to the effect of "Adam is absurdly powerful," I feel like it's less power fantasy and more cosmic horror. Masks is a weird game. :P
Which SCP number are you?
Bill G. said: Which SCP number are you? SCP-001-2...
I feel like somebody's going to be taking Link's Moment of Truth to the face in the next few sessions. If so, that's probably the time for AEGIS to get really worried and hence where this becomes a lot more relevant...