MENAGERIE #27 - A STAR FALLS FROM THE FIRMAMENT! [Recap]

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Video Jason's perspective Harry's perspective Down Below Concord blips away to the a crystalline cavern where the Keynome resides. The crystals flare in brilliance. Not hot, not cold, more like being in space. An intense shock. The loudest white noise ever. [Powerful Blow! Conditions.] Seems to react -- very old -- like a rival power. The crystals are the accreted residue of the Keynome. Attempts to reach out to the Keynome. [Superior roll to "Energy Siphon"] Adam tries to absorb its energy. It's ... not compatible. And the Keynome is not happy. Sol: "I know what we can do." Up Above More and more Vyortovians. The Corvus guards have retreated to the school, and they're badly outnumbered. The V troops are more heavily armored, carry shields, guard the Dread Queen. They are clearly going to very Leo+Pneuma+Otto A10, Telekinesian, Alloy, Armiger Mercury JLH is en route. Link to Mercury: You and your family have done something crazy with invading troops before -- what should we do? Mercury: Brawl with troops, try to distract/engage with the Queen, knock her down a bit while tackling down the other people. Link goes after the Queen. Harry going after the troops. Plowing through the vanguard ... Harry successfully hits, but just barely with Link's help. But the focus has to be on minimizing collateral damage around this residential area. Harry quickly realizes that the stuff missing him is going to be tearing up the neighborhood. And the supporting Irregulator team taking a lot of damage. [Harry takes conditions: Hopeless, Guilty, Angry] Sepiaverse Jason gets a message from ... Sol? [REDACTED] They need help. Immediately. Jason gets up, Summer's on comms, and Charlotte. They've gotten similar (and personalized) messages. Jason calls them to the Keynome room. Up Above Leo has figured out what ... they're doing? Triangle between the tip of the island, the DC Keynome and the Halcyon Keynome. That tip must be where their Keynome is. The three together -- shenanigans. The HHL are fighting there in Vyortovia. Leo sends word to the HHL (via Stingray) that they need to go down under the mountain. How to end this quickly? Defeat the DQ. And that will take everyone. On her. (Trusts Mercury to handle that battle.) Sepiaverse Jason wants to use Charlotte's ties between worlds. To Alycia: "Come with me if ... you want a ride home." "Almost the right line. Why?" "Trouble." "I am very ... down with ... helping. (creased forehead) Draw on the Keynome for power. Charlotte could help, but ... [Jason rolls 3] Alycia -- working machinery, swearing about janky pieces of shit Charlotte -- picture that passage withiout teraring a hole Summer -- [being supportive] Major pyrotechnics. Byron rushes in -- doesn't talk, just ... runs over, yells, "What are we doing?" -- starts flipping switches, shutting down shit. Which reduces the hardware demands, and we can figure out what has to happen. Charlotte - taking possession of the gate. Aiming for ... "Jason, we need to focus on where we want to go." Summer: "Leo" Jason: "Do it!" Summer make a projection Jason to Dad: Thanks. Walking through a graveyard in autumn ... a dank cave ... an old library. ... and step into ... Up above ... "step into the light" Two lights ... it's a car. Otto does a stumbling double-take, rolls, and back into a car, "Welcome to the party, guys!" Battlefield mayhem. Alycia: I assume I'm shooting the bad guys. Jason: Protect our people, protect the innocents, shoot the bad guys. Leo: Concord needs help. Sol to Adam: I can handle this, if we do a 100% merge. You will have the capacity to do this, handle the energy flow, but you;ll have to handle how to move the energy. Adam: But what's going to happen to -- Sol: The only other way is to vent the excess energy straight up,annihilating the school and whoever's up there. Adam: (goes for it) Sol: You can do all of this. You've always been able to do all of this. This isn't a thing that anybody can admit can happen. They're going to recognize what they were wrong about. They will be coming. Floating in mid-air, light coming out of eyes, a metaphysical shedding of skin, the sploding of head. [Nova. And burn. 14 - Kapow!] 1. Snatch - Encase the Keynome with his power. A tech device, a geode, a heart, a brain ... 2. Send it elsewhere. Open a portal, shove it through to ... the space where Sol once was. [But clears Insecure] Heads to the battlefield. Leo ... Jason, Charlotte, Summer, and Alycia have arrived. Concord appears right next to link. He has no scarf. His colors have ... changed. "Good news: I've moved the Keynome. Bad news:  I am the Keynome ." 10 and group are getting back on their feet. Leo: Get a barrier up. Rally behind it. I have a plan. Harry: Clear a rally point by ... running in circles, pushing everyone back. [11 Full Hit] "Rally on me!" And everyone does. Jason (Nano barracuda), Concord (Moat), Telekinesian creating physical barriers, and Ghost Girl creates a Wiggins Field. Otto standing in a humanoid shape. DQ and Vanguard - flurry of activity, advice from three people, and SHE'S LOOKING THIS WAY. Leo links up with Pneuma and Otto. Link-Plus, outer shell blows off, he begins venting fuel, and electrical system ignites it, and can so can use magnetic fields to direct him really, really fast, like a rocket, straight at the DQ. She is, impossibly, ready for it. Otto ejects the other two, and pulls back. Leo -- every punch is perfect, every kick is perfect, flawless. Pneuma, too -- but the DQ's moves are just as perfect. Jason and Alycia can see -- what Hypergenius can get you in the field when you are an immortal creature. L and P are clearly not going to be able to win. DQ is ... cheating? Alycia -- "The fuck?" About to be laid flat, and then just not there. (Use the Keynome?) The rest of the team is charging forward, clearing the field around the three fighters at the center of this. It's the kids. They're not obeying orders. They;re not doing this because they are commanded. They are staring doom in the face, and not giving up. Because this is their home. Junior HHL is plowing in, no plan. [ Business for each character] And at that point, Leo's plan comes fruition. She begins to empathize with us. The Dark Queen catches a punch of Leo's, knock's Pneuma back hard. Looks at Leo, straight in the eyes ... and nods. Palm strike in chest, knocks him back 20-30 feet ... And the carrier lights up, the troops start retreat. A10 - Are we letting these guys get away? Leo is down. Summer, arm dislocated, staggers over. He's okay, but ... Jason: Hold your ground. Clean up stragglers. Secure the high school Charlotte: Possesses a scientist -- make him surrender. [Freak ... 4] Alycia shoots him the kneecap to break his concentration. They're retreating. We're regrouping. Check for collateral damage. Harry getting word of nasty fight in Vyortovia -- unconfirmed reports, nothing about the carrier that appeared over Halcyon City. This dark-haired girl [Alycia] walks up. "Hey, Mercury, right? We met, a couple of weeks ago? Shot lighting at you. Sorry about that. Could you ... you're the Gale kid, right? Could you call AEGIS and tell them I need to talk?" AEGIS is inbound. "Just tell them you have Alycia Chin in custody and need to remand ... just get them here before Jason figures this out and does something stupid." Hands over her weapons . Jason is checking on wounded, standers-by. Corvus guys are barricaded, pretending they aren't there (probably communicating with AEGIS), establishing their narrative. Concord: [Yeah, we've got Facet.] GG has her scientist. Link is down, semi-conscious, but resting comfortably, being seen to by people. Adam plops down with Harry, holding a couple of pistols. "You're watching people while AEGIS shows up." "Yeah, I guess." "Can you watch after her? Facet? She's nice." (Undoes the pink Snow Globe). Adam "plops away to elsewhere." Aftermath The fight in Vyortovia was pretty bad. Members of the HHL were evacced. Silver Streak is in ICU after some very heroic stuff. Cutscene of glowing, faceless, energy signature entities ... " Concordance Agent Sol 2 is no longer operating. Activate new Concordance agent, prepare for highly dangerous environment ." Credits Jason: Closer to the Team (Leo) - "Leo already has influence. Shift +Alycia, -Summer" Harry: Image of Self Charlotte: Closer to the Team (Concord} Adam: Further from Team (Leo) Leo: Image of Self Post-Credits Vyortovia fades out, not on the map. Fuzzy radar pings for a while, then just not there. The next morning, the news stations are awash with what happened -- and there's a public communication made by the Vyortovians broadcast across the world: DQ is in frame, as an adjutant speaks at a podium: "Vyortovia is newly come to this world. We do not intend specific or egregious harm to this world, and we are willing to discuss the current situation with appropriate authorities for this world to determine an acceptable path forward for our sovereign nation. At any point in time that the governments of the world are willing and ready and capable as conversing as equals with Vyortovia, they welcome to do so. We accept this negotiation provided only that the emissary in question be the members of the Halcyon organization known as ... [squints] .... the Menagerie." THIS EPISODE DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF SOL.
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I'm glad I established Aria as having interest in politics and governance. That way she can show up with the briefcase and a nice skirt and a smile, handle things diplomatically, and when Leo is about to talk shit, glare at him and mouth "shut. the fuck. up." before smiling and getting back to business.
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Yes, that is exactly right.
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#LeoMeetsTheInternet
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Things I'm looking forward to seeing happen: Mercury and his dad's situation Concord and what he decides he needs to do next Sooner or later, Leo wants to talk to Charlotte and ask what more the team can do In the crowning irony of the age, having Alycia around helps get Jason thinking MORE clearly The part where AEGIS tells us about our new team member and Leo's like "you want us to do WHAT?", probably followed by "I want a bigger allowance" In prep for the negotiation, Agent Waters shows up with a suit and teaches Leo how to properly tie a tie In whatever order they happen, Vyortovian negotiation and Ponies AMA Note to self: do not host AMA in Vyortovia - do not invite Dread Queen to watch AMA - do not ask if Vyortovians have fandoms...
Bill G. said: Things I'm looking forward to seeing happen: Mercury and his dad's situation Concord and what he decides he needs to do next Sooner or later, Leo wants to talk to Charlotte and ask what more the team can do In the crowning irony of the age, having Alycia around helps get Jason thinking MORE clearly The part where AEGIS tells us about our new team member and Leo's like "you want us to do WHAT?", probably followed by "I want a bigger allowance" In prep for the negotiation, Agent Waters shows up with a suit and teaches Leo how to properly tie a tie In whatever order they happen, Vyortovian negotiation and Ponies AMA Note to self: do not host AMA in Vyortovia - do not invite Dread Queen to watch AMA - do not ask if Vyortovians have fandoms... The whole HHL situation has been hanging fire a bit, from our perspective, and Mercury / Silver Streak are a touchpoint there, esp. now that the latter's in hospital (no doubt driven to recklessness to atone for his failings). There's some great Legacy stuff waiting to happen there.      I am also interested in a Cutscene I have been told is in the offing regarding Harry, though not touching on his dad. If we were a bunch of grups, we'd probably be very concerned over Concord , to the point of hatching contingency plans, failsafes, fall-backs, and interventions. ("Okay, Hawkeye, we really think you should put down the Cosmic Cube now. No, no, we're just ... concerned .") Since we're the Menagerie, we just want to have a bunch of individual heart-to-hearts, maybe over coffee or chips. Yeah, there's the prospect for another extinction-level event. :-) I suspect that whole Ghost Gir l situation will come up sooner rather than later, but getting in front of it is not a bad idea. Summer provides the eyewitness account of this back to Leo; Jason and Alycia were otherwise occupied (and, honestly, still are). I don't know that Jason  is thinking that much more clearly -- it's just that events are forcing him to focus a little bit. "Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." (Samuel Johnson)  However, having the uncertainty cloud around Alycia be collapsed, even just a bit, certainly hasn't hurt. I've been searching for an organic way to insert Alycia into the Menagerie, originally thinking about it as a request from Jason (perhaps a last request).  Does AEGIS have the leverage to force her in? Or to really lean on the team to get them to let her in. That has the prospect of making her introduction contentious, on top of whatever mixed feelings folk might already have. Of course, everyone is so distracted by everything that I almost expect a scene where Concord strolls past Alycia sitting at the breakfast counter in the Quill kitchen, does a double-take and power-up, and she says, "You know, I've been here the last two weeks."  My guess is that the Vyortovian thing is not going to be a rush event. What will  be a rush event is the full might of the UN and the US Federal Govt descending upon the Menagerie to find out WTF, "What did you say to get yourself invited into the negotiations?" "We can't let these kids take the lead on this." "Maybe we can insert someone onto the the team." "Wait, who's this new person being inserted to the team, what party do they represent? Because you gotta admit the timing here stinks to high heaven. We insist on knowing their identity."      That even leaves aside who's going to be involved in the negotiations themselves, who does Vyortovia / the DQ consider part of the Menagerie (the recognized team? Link and Otto and Pneuma? the ones who were there initially? the extended family of young heroes at the Battle of Halcyon High?) We must get that Ponies AMA done, ASAP. Before the situation on the ground changes any further. (I don't even know if we want to retcon it back to the holiday break or not.) To this list add, for God's sake, don't invite the Dread Queen to her own AMA: "To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner." (Anne Rice)
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Doyce T.
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I'm curious about the Harry cutscene too, since I'm not sure I know what that is. :) My plan with Monday is to clean up any flashback threads, and then jump to the AMA, under a couple fairly logical assumptions (I hope). If I get sepiaverse wishlists from Dave and Margie in time, I might clear up loose ends between/after appropriate AMA questions, as flashbacks, because I still like that idea, if it can happen organically. Major players in the world are going to be adjusting to everything that happened, and things that were announced or revealed, so no a LOT is going to happen immediately. Governments might send messages back to Vyortovia (how, exactly, when it moves all the time? hmm), saying "of course of course, we just have a few questions" and get no response because, again, Vyortovia said who they'd listen to, and no one wants to hear that. (some of) the Ponies are thrilled at the timing of this, and SOME of the AMA will be "so... Vyortovia will only talk to you. What happened?" It's just nice to sit and generally NOT talk about WORLD POLITICS STUFF with friendly peers, so this might be a welcome distraction from everything. Alycia's/AEGIS's requests regarding her membership will probably not happen SUPER quickly (though with everything else going on, AEGIS is more motivated to have additional eyes on the team), so at best we're likely to get the the victory merge near the end of the session.
Doyce T. said: I'm curious about the Harry cutscene too, since I'm not sure I know what that is. :) All I am (not actually) authorized to say is that it stems from a question / comment / suggestion you  made. And I only mention it to put pressure on James to finish it because it sounds like a hoot. My plan with Monday is to clean up any flashback threads, and then jump to the AMA, under a couple fairly logical assumptions (I hope). If I get sepiaverse wishlists from Dave and Margie in time, I might clear up loose ends between/after appropriate AMA questions, as flashbacks, because I still like that idea, if it can happen organically. My questions are complete. Margie has been down with the creeping crud the past few days, and was not prepared to volunteer anything when I asked her last night. (I did get a little bit of an "Are you nuts, I'm sick" look, though.) So I'll send you what I've got (nothing you probably couldn't have guessed) under a separate cover. Alycia's/AEGIS's requests regarding her membership will probably not happen SUPER quickly (though with everything else going on, AEGIS is more motivated to have additional eyes on the team),  "Yes, this is Agent Coulson of the Advance Expert Group for Intervention and Security. We're trying to get some time with the Menagerie leadership to talk about some membership issues, but nobody is answering our calls. Can someone over there get back to me at their earliest convenience? It really is quite urgent. Thanks." so at best we're likely to get the the victory merge near the end of the session. That's cool. I'm obviously excited over wrap-ups and go-aheads, but the group has a lot of business on our plate, and I'm happy to get that wrapped up, too. And, after all, Alycia isn't going anywhere ...
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*** Dave H. said: I've been searching for an organic way to insert Alycia into the Menagerie, originally thinking about it as a request from Jason (perhaps a last request).  Does AEGIS have the leverage to force her in? Or to really lean on the team to get them to let her in. That has the prospect of making her introduction contentious, on top of whatever mixed feelings folk might already have. Of course, everyone is so distracted by everything that I almost expect a scene where Concord strolls past Alycia sitting at the breakfast counter in the Quill kitchen, does a double-take and power-up, and she says, "You know, I've been here the last two weeks."  AEGIS continues to have leverage over Leo, in the sense that his only income comes from an arrangement they made to liquidate his father's assets - he gets a portion of that. He's also on probation with them, contingent on him graduating high school (no GED, he could easily test out - they want to make sure he can handle the social aspects too). Breaking that probation means continued scrutiny for the rest of his natural life (he's literally got a brain-controlling chip in his head created by his father, he was out of sight for four months, his dad could have implanted anything, he's got a crew of unstoppable badass robot friends also built on that mental framework - any judge would sign the FISA-or-equivalent paperwork). So if they lean on him, he would grudgingly go along with it. Waters would probably be the face of that effort, and would try the more personal tactic: "she's the kid of another supervillain, she says she wants to do right, we can't prove it one way or another - just like you. Plus, her dad probably had some dealings with your dad, see what you can worm outta her." Leo wouldn't be leader and say "well you guys she's in", he'd ask for opinions and respect peoples' choices. He's still got Influence over everyone but Concord, but wouldn't actively try to use it anyway, so everyone else needs to come up with their own reasons to buy into this. That reason might be "I trust Leo", of course.
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That reason might be "I trust Leo", of course. "Or if you don't trust me, then trust Jason that Alycia can be believed and should be --" Crickets chirping. Everyone stares back at Leo. "Yeah, right, sorry, I knew that was crazytalk even as the words were leaving my lips."
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We came prepared for after Harry leaves the hospital and Adam flies back.
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I feel like we're hitting some kind of record for side-session and forum post activity. This isn't a bad thing, just an observation. Is that because we're going along with the "end of season" template we've been handed, because there was this much pent-up plot waiting for an excuse to come out, or because we feel more free to engage in forum cutscenes and the like?
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Doyce T.
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I think it's because unlike last session where we were literally right in between moments before the next session could start, we know we've got some down time after 27 and there's going to be some space for things to happen, so more things are being created. also you got some stuff like Jason needing to or rather Dave needing to wrap up some stuff or introduce some things, and Harry having a question that was sort of needing to be answered that sort of stuff. And Concord had a big transition, and we're dealing with three different moments of truth that dropped within the last two sessions, there's just a lot of stuff to process right now.
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Doyce T.
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I've just noticed that on weeks where we end on sort of a cliffhanger and we know we're going to go right into the action the next time we play, we end up writing a lot less interstitial fiction, since there really isn't any room to put it.
Yeah, pretty much. Idle hands are the devil's writer's workshop. And, yeah, I've had both Alycia stuff to frontload as I thought of it, and some Jason stuff to wrap up or tee up (and I actually have at least one more I'm holding in my back pocket).  For that matter, there's probably some material about the Sepiaverse resolution we'll be getting to that I'll want to circle back on.  And some is just fun bits. So hopefully folk are entertained. 
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... high school?
Bill G. said: ... high school?