With the back story all set, I sent out emails to both sides to set the stage for our first epic game.
The Heroes set up:
Alpha Force's Star City HQ wasn't exactly what you were expecting. You were thinking something along the lines of it's New York counter part, a glass and metal spiraling affair that defiantly challenges the city's skyline. (Well... technically it's not really glass. It's a high density alien polymer that's a 10 times more resistant than construction steel. Another gift from the Altaari.) Star City's branch is a rather mundane affair. A corporate office building centrally located in the heart of Downtown, simple enough to miss if you were walking by. But this is a rather new installation, and new lot construction on the island is hard to come by.
You've been a formal member of the team for a few weeks now and you still haven't quite gotten used to walking into the lobby in the mornings. You still feel a tad ridiculous striding in in costume and checking in at the lobby. But Gen-F4 (or Jennifer) always makes you feel comfortable. She greets you as bubbly and warm as she does every morning "Good morning gentleman. I trust you're feeling well today." She smiles broadly and you marvel at how she could ever be a construct. "Everyone is getting together for a group meeting in the staging room. I think there are new assignments today." You're pretty sure she- it knows exactly what's going on, but you find her conversational tone comforting. "I have a cup of your preferred morning beverage waiting for you. Have a great day." With a hiss a dispenser door in Jennifer's desk slides open and a small tray with whatever you take in the morning is presented to you. This job definitely has it's perks!
The elevator doors glide open and you stride through a short hallway to find yourself in the Staging Area, Alpha Force's command center. A large circular table dominates the center of the room and you see most of the other Alpha Force members clustered engaging in morning conversation. Red Cross and Blue Shield converse amiably while the Huntsman listens quietly. Valkyrie works on the computer, probably preparing for the days briefing. Titan sits on the floor at his full 12 feet. He can be smaller, but he seems to feel more comfortable at that size. Him and the Comet seem captivated by the enchantress Illuma. You can't help but be captivated yourself. She's supposed to be the reincarnated Sorceress Supreme of Atlantis. something like a magical Dali lama. You've seen her powers in action so you know there's probably something to that claim, but seeing the 18 year old blue skinned girl in a loose fitting blue and foam green tunic makes it a little hard to swallow.
"Barrier and Apogee have arrived." Jennifer's voice announces your presence as you walk into the room. Valkyrie looks up for a moment and returns to the virtual screen hovering all about her. "Hey guys. Come on in. Take a seat." You do as everyone follows suit. Even Titan recedes to a more manageable size to sit at the table. The group welcomes you and quickly transitions into business. Titan and the Comet are assigned to look into a rash of high tech crimes across the city reportedly committed by zombies. Red Cross, Blue Shield and Illuma mention something about volunteering for some reconstruction at the site of a recent super clash in the Northpoint district. Huntsman claims to have leads on a designer drug ring run by the Family. He doesn't want backup. That guy loves working alone. Valkyrie leaves the last bit of business to you.
"Alright rookies. We haven't forgotten about you. You guys have done well on patrol and SoCorp says you were instrumental in helping stop that new super-perp Cacaphony. So I thought I'd throw you a bone and give you something exciting." Valkyrie runs her gantleted hands across the table projection screen and brings up a couple of images. One of Dr. Elena Mitchum, creator of Valkyrie's powered armor. The other of the Ikarus, a shuttle scheduled to launch within the week.
"No doubt you've all heard about the launch this Thursday. No need to tell you how important a launch like this is for the future of our planet (the media's doing a fair job of that.) Well, as a high profile event, Dr. Mitchum is understandably concerned about security during the test. Now, the Global Space Exploration Initiative has been kind enough to spare some security for the launch, but Dr. Mitchum has asked me and a few Alphans to add a little extra muscle." She turns to face you, the table reflecting off of her visor. "You guys ever been to Mars?" You wouldn't know it by looking, but you're pretty sure she's smiling under that helmet.
"It'll be a short trip. We'll be back by Saturday. It'll be me, Apogee, Barrier and one more." She actives another virtual monitor and the iconic face of Champion fills the screen. You're taken aback a bit. Champion is a legend and this is the first time you've interacted with him since you've been a part of the team. He's also stationed at the New York HQ, so his presence is a bit of a surprise.
"Hey guys," his voice is easy, oozing confidence and control, "I'm going to be in Star City for a few weeks, so I promised my good friend Dr. Mitchum I'd help out." He folds his arms across the iconic white C that's stretched across his chest. "It'll be great working with you guys. I've looked into your pre-Alpha career. You both seem pretty solid."
Valkyrie picks it up, "Alright, I've prepared a short bit of material to familiarize you guys with the assignment. Go over it and get ready. We're going to be part of history." With that the briefing is concluded. Your fellow Alphans leave congratulating you on your first big assignment. Whether you're ready for it or not, you're officially part of Alpha Force.
And the Rogues' set up:
Things seem the same at the Deadend cafe. It's still mostly empty except for the few regulars that seem to haunt this spot. In fact you seem to remember the exact same people in the exact same places the last couple of times you were here. If they noticed you entered you'd never be able to tell. You sit at the table you were instructed to by your employer and it isn't long before your waitress Darla comes to your table.
You nod an affirmative, she scribbles something on her pad and leaves. You watch her post your order for Carlos the short order cook and she gives you the all clear sign. You take a trip to the bathroom making sure to use the "special" stall. The toilet drops, tilts and swings you around quickly replacing it with another. You fall into darkness descending quickly with a hydrolic hiss. As abruptly as it starts, it ends. A sliver of light marks doorway in front of you that slides open to reveal a long corridor lined with halogen lights. Dr. Omega has a flare for the dramatic.
You quickly lose your civilian disguise and walk down the hall. There no doubt Omega is watching your every move.
An Omega-man greets you by name and escorts you to a briefing room where your allies await. Almost everyone is here. Temporalist. The Mungo man. Voltz. Only Landslide is strangely absent.
The briefing room is lit by a single ring of lights that illuminate a medium sized circular table. As the last of you sit a doorway appears flooded with light across the room and the armored silhouette of Dr. Omega appears flanked by two of his henchmen.
"Ah good. Everyone's here. Greetings associates. I trust Darla was accommodating. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today." His voice is conversational yet still commanding. "Let us get straight to the business at hand. I'm sure you are all wondering what heist I have planned for you. Well, truth be told if I said it was going to be a high profile job I'd be understating things. If you're wondering where your earth moving associate is, his particular skill set is not going to be of much use on this mission."
With a casual gesture a wall monitor blinks to life. An article from the Star City Tribune fills the wall, a picutre of the shuttle Ikarus docked at the Inspiration space lab.
"No doubt you've heard that the Ikarus is scheduled to launch this week. The Ikarus, the vangaurd vessel that will usher in a new age for our tiny little planet."
" Billions of dollars have been invested by the world's most elite and forward thinking minds and institutions. The cost of the engine alone could finance the purchase of a small island in the South Pacific." he pauses for dramatic effect. "I'm counting on it because come this Thursday I plan to steal it with your help."
The audacity of the job stuns you for a moment. A moment which Omega uses to sell you on the job.
"At approximately 5:45 am Eastern time Dr. Elena Mitchum and a few of her technicians will be teleported from her lab to the shuttle. After a full diagnostic is run on the shuttle, it will be prepared for it's maiden voyage to Mars. At 12:15 it will make it's jump. And they won't be alone. I have good intel that Champion and a few Alpha Force members will be there as well. That's why your assistance is needed. I need you to come aboard with me to take the ship. I have an infiltrator on the ship who will take the teleportation room and program our coordinates in. We will be beamed from a pod in my facility to the shuttle where it will be a simple matter for us to take the ship, reprogram the flight coordinates, and ransom the ship for billions. A small price to pay for the future of human astronautics wouldn't you say? All said, if you all do your job properly, you could stand to walk away with more money than you could ever hope to spend in your lifetime."
He lets the gravity of his proposal weigh on you for a few moments before he gets into the specifics. You feel a flush of excitement and trepidation. Battle with a global icon. The theft of a cutting edge spacecraft. Win or lose, this one definitely puts you in league with the big boys.