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Triarii Incorporated: A Superhero Roleplay. IC

The studio was a hive of activity as the time to the broadcast ticked down, stagehands and makeup artists fighting their way past each other while the wired-in host paced up and down, breathing heavily and occasionally demanding water. In just a few minutes, the superheroes of Triarii would officially be revealed to TV screens all across America, the audience even now waiting with baited breath. Cameras tracked across the stage, their operators checking and rechecking them. Nothing could be allowed to go wrong today.

Just out of shot, the main attraction were being roused from their soporific boredom by a cloud of stylists and costumiers, who fussed over them like mothers on their child's first day at school, fixing a crease in an outfit here, a bit of smudged eyeliner there. Finally, after an aggressively whispered argument, they were driven away by a woman with flame-dyed hair beneath her headset and a clipboard, who ushered the heroes into a queue, ready to reveal themselves.

'Alright guys, how you feeling?' She had the forced, brittle cheeriness of one trying to hide nervousness, which did not seem to be dampened by the non-committal grunts she got in reply.

'Now remember, when you go on is the first time the public are gonna see you, so make sure you impress them! Just do something flashy with your powers, we don't care what so long as you don't break the studio. Or kill anyone!' She laughed, a high, false giggle that stopped at once when the director glared at her. 'Just something flashy.' she repeated, a little quieter this time.

'T minus one minute, places, people!' shouted a young man with a cartilage piercing and a vaguely effeminate manner. The chaos suddenly intensified as everyone scrambled to get away from the stage, while the woman with the clipboard prodded the heroes forward to the taped-off border of the shot.

'Thirty seconds!' The stage was suddenly barren, the host in the very centre with his eyes downcast, his face tranquil.

'Live in ten!' The host's head snapped up, a winning smile forming on his face, scanning the autocue to avoid being caught out.

'Live in three, two,' the man mouthed the 'one' before bringing his hand sharply down. The cameras were rolling.

'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight is what you've all been waiting for. The moment that Triarii reveals the heroes it recruited to fight superpowered crime here in New Alburg. They are powerful. They are just. They are the last, best hope, not just for New Alburg, but for the whole of America, the only way to truly ensure we can walk the streets in safety again...'

'You're up. You ready?' The flame-haired woman put a reassuring hand on the hero's arm.

'So, without further ado, let us welcome...' The man squinted for a moment at the name of the first superhero. It wouldn't do to mispronounce it.

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
"Crimson Eye!" The announcer said. At least that wasn't a difficult name to pronounce.

"I am." The aforementioned hero brushed the woman's hand off, slowly walked confidently into the studio and faced the t.v. camera. His sniper rifle was slung over the back of his crimson clothes. Though his gold mask hid it, he was grimacing. He was generally confrontational in his day job, but did not like facing cameras, mainly because policemen facing cameras were often policemen with something to hide, or something to prove.
"Hello, America. This is such a pleasant day, especially for watching t.v. And you why? Because myself and the others you will meet today will put on a little performance for you."
Crimson Eye turned to face the announcer. "If you would face me, and look into my eyes." His eyes glowed red when he next spoke. "Pick the papers up off your desk." The announcer did so. "Lay them down neatly, side by side. Now, read the first word at the top of each page, then do so again. Pick one page up, and hold it as high as you can, in view of the audience." When the announcer had done this, Crimson eye reached for his ammo, pulled out a bullet and held it ready. His eyes stopped glowing, leaving the announcer wondering why he was holding a piece of paper against a wall. "Don't worry. I'm going to hit the bottom left word on that page with this bullet. I know it looks impossible, with the announcer's fingers all in the way, but watch. You'll see that I never miss." His eyes glowed once more as he threw the bullet. As planned, it hit the word, so nearly obscured by the announcer's fingers, rear end first, and fell to the ground. "And what I did before was hypnosis. So there you have me. Hypnosis and never missing. A good day to you all, America, and stay safe. You can put your desk back in order now," he told the announcer as he retrieved his bullet and returned it to his ammo case.
His performance done, Crimson Eye walked off camera and stood to the side, wondering how the other heroes would perform.
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The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
The announcer took a moment to visibly recover as he reorganised his desk.

"Next up, Vulcan!"

The girl in question roller-skated into the studio, her visor down and a large grin on her face. Her skates then folded inside her shoes as she took off her backpack.

"Hello! Vulcan here! And I'd like to present a few friends of mine."

She reached into her pack and withdrew several tins. With a glow, the tins neatly divided themselves into circles and plates, before she rapidly assembled a couple of tin spring frogs. She slung her pack back on her back as the frogs began hopping over each other, the springs inside slowly unwinding.

"I'd do more, but I was told I wasn't to damage the studio, no matter how much I could do with what's lying around. Still, here's one I made earlier!"

Out of her pack came a small drone, its propeller whirring frantically as it struggled to lift itself into the air. The reason why became clear as it rose over her head: it was made of what looked like parts from an industrial hoover, a coffee mug and a phone. It span around her head before picking up the frogs with two spindly arms.

"I'm Vulcan, crime-fighting creator. See you around!"

With that, she turned, deployed her skates and skated off, drone frantically following. She parked herself next to Crimson Eye, taking oh-so-subtle peeks at the parts making up the gun on his back.

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
"A big round of applause people!" the Announcer encouraged as Vulcan left the stage "Next up we have Blademaster!"

However behind stage things were going less smoothly.

"No." the Merc growled.

The flame-haired woman practically stomped her foot as she gritted her teeth in frustration. "This isn't a discussion! Triarii Incorporated have already said if you don't go out then you don't get paid."

Blademaster turned to face the woman, staring down at her with his one good eye causing her to step back as annoyance turned to fear.

"Fine." the "superhero" said as he strode out onto the stage.

The tall armoured form of the One-Eyed Merc was an intimidating sight a pair of Katanas strapped to his back and a matching set of pistols at his hip however in his hands where a pair of Kali sticks. He stared through the single-eye hole in his mask at the crowd, standing utterly unmoving on stage as five huge and muscular men ran out to surround him all of which also carried Kali sticks.

"We've got an energetic display up next folks!" The Host informed jovially "And begin!"

The first of the men leapt forward swinging hard at Blademaster who had already moved out of the way displaying supernatural speed and reflexes whilst also driving an elbow into the man's temple and flooring him. The superhero ducked, side stepped and parried the relatively skilled attacks from the other four men with obvious ease before lashing out with a round-house kick that caught a particularly large man in the chest and sent him hurtling off-stage much to the crowd's delight. This was quickly followed by the Merc disarmed a third man seemingly rendering him unconscious with a swift strike to the face.

The final two men spread out in an attempt to attack Blademaster from both directions but the the metahuman calmly dropped one of his sticks and hurled the other one which crashed straight into one of the men's faces knocking him from his feet. The last one was within a few feet when the Merc drew his pistol with blinding speed and fired it straight at his attacker.

The man cursed as he looked down at the blob of paint on his chest where Blademaster's shot had caught him.

The crowd broke into applause at the end of the demonstration and the host walked over to the "victor" with a huge smile "Well done to our Hero!" he roared as he clapped the armoured warrior on the back.

The host began to say something else with Blademaster shook his head "Ridiculous." he muttered and walked off-stage, casting aside the paintball gun as he went.

Once the mercenary reached the others a stagehand ran over to give him his proper pistol which he checked and holstered. Blademaster crossed his arms and leant against the wall watching as a cleanup crew swiftly helped of injured men off-stage and cleaned up after the display.

"Ridiculous." Blademaster repeated.
'TITS.' hissed the flame-haired woman, leaving The Faceless to usher himself on. 'Come back!' she called plaintively after Blademaster, jogging to keep up with his long strides. 'Come back, we need you to pose with the others for the last shot!' There were tears of frustration appearing in her eyes. 'Please?'

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
With a belaboured sigh Blademaster considered the fact that this was probably part of that damned contact the company had given him.

He looked down at the woman and stared in disbelief at how emotional she was getting, did an event like this really mean that much to someone?

"Pathetic." he thought to himself with disgust but a job was a job and so he give the flame-haired woman a stiff nod.

Reluctantly the mercenary took his place at the other side of Vulcan and folded his arms with one finger tapping impatiently against his armour.

The Dread King

Staff member
True Blood
To his credit, the announcer reasoned that the show must go on and paid no heed to Blademaster's...dificulty, saying, "And next up, we have The Faceless, and a rather mystifying performance."

A man with no mouth sighed; it appeared that his companion's non-compliance had caused all hell to break loose, and the assistant had scampered off to attend to damage control. What a weak PR stunt this is. Still, it serves the purpose, The Faceless reasoned. He strode onto the stage - seemingly a perfectly normal, if large, human wrapped up in a greatcoat with a fairly unremarkable face - a caucasian's, with brown hair, brown eyes and a blank expression. Without explanation, The Faceless raised its cane in both hands, and then brought it down. As it struck down and made contact with the stage floor, sparks could be seen leaping from it, and the sound of tiny (but not inaudible by any means) explosion could be distinguished.

He then proceeded to close his eyes and reopened them, in a demonstration of mental effort. The greatcoat around his neck began to bulge slightly, and then his face started to do what could only be described as rippling. Its surface became a palette of colours, all blending into each other like an elementary artist's nightmare. Its edges seemed to blur into the background of the stage, wobbling like some strange jelly, and yet - the thing remained, somehow, intact, yet almost fluid in nature. Even in change, the human matter was horrifying, seeming to peer into the very souls of the audience.

All this had happened within the course of a few seconds. The result: a blank mask; no face. Only skin, where eyes, mouth, nose and lips, should have been.

The creature proceeded to speak in a jovial tone that had hints of both amusement and contempt: "Good day, citizens of America." Without explanation, The Faceless made his way over to the assorted heroes and halted, standing next to Blademaster. He wondered what else would be shoehorned into this ordeal by Triarii...their contract was definitely full of artificially crafted loopholes. A dodgy deal if ever there was one, The Faceless thought.
A camera zoomed in on the superheroes, and on televisions across America the group faded out as the Triarii logo appeared on the screen. The newly-written theme song blared out as images of the heroes with their stats appeared. Meanwhile, back in the studio, a ragged cheer went up from the whole production team and the house lights came up.

'It's a wrap, nice job people!' The director leaned back in his chair and produced a squashed bacon sandwich from one of his pockets. He munched on it contemplatively while the stage was rearranged for an interview with the top-level executives.

'Well done, everyone,' said the flame-haired woman, who still looked a little flustered. 'If you just follow me, I can show you to your briefing.'

She led the group to a glass elevator, which gave them an excellent view of New Alburg at twilight as they ascended. The River Spoling snaked through the center, marking the divide between their section and the Russians', its murky waters dotted with little boats, creeping furtively about their business. Buildings of all shapes and sizes surrounded it, from skyscrapers bigger than the one which housed Triarii Inc. to tiny houses packed into a complex of narrow, intersecting streets. Towards the west, a huge expanse of green was the city park, studded with trees just coming into leaf, while in the east the city's steelworks and chemical plants belched out smog to pollute the surrounding countryside. The setting sun cast crimson rays across the whole city as the doors opened to let them out.

'I saw your little show, pretty impressive.' said the suited man waiting to meet them at the top. 'Thanks Mandy, I can take it from here.' The flame-haired woman nodded and strode off. 'Hi, I'm Alan, I'll be briefing you on what you're facing in this city. If you'd like to just follow me?' The heroes were led into a large conference room, the far end dominated by a map of the city in colour-coded sections. The long table had neatly-piled folders on it, the title of their subject matter in large, bold letters on the front. 'If you'd like to sit down, we can get started.' Alan drew a sheaf of notes from his pocket and cleared his throat.

'Before you, you see a city at war. The Russians are doing their bit,' he indicated, with a small laser pointer, the grey section at the top of the map, 'but you still have some very serious work on your hands. You currently face three main factions. The Burning Angels control the east of the city, including much of the industrial district. They get a fair bit of cash from protection money and drug-dealing, but their main revenue is from human trafficking.' A look of vague disgust crossed his face at this. 'Real nasty types. They're currently on the defensive due to attempted territory grabs from the other two, but don't let that make you think they're weak. They still control the most territory and supers of all of them, and they can and will fight back with full force if you attack them. You can find info on them here.' He indicated one of the files on the desk. 'Our sources indicate they'll be bringing a new shipment of girls in from Eastern Europe some time in the next few days. That might be a good opportunity to strike.'

'The second faction, Gung Ho are pretty recent. Their leader's ex special forces, just emerged from Vietnam with superpowers. They were just acting like a normal street gang, but they absorbed most of the anti-Angel gangs out in the west and their leader's making no secret of his intentions. He wants to impose some sort of fascist dictatorship on America, as he thinks that's the only way it can stay great.' Alan gave a little chuckle at this. 'He's a nut, but he's pretty cunning and he might have enough firepower to take over the city at least. If possible, you should stop him sooner rather than later. The file's here. We know of a warehouse where they're keeping a large stash of weapons of all types, next to the river in the west. In combination with their recent aggressive recruiting, we believe they're planning a very large-scale attack on the Angels, or possibly an attempt to grab territory across the river. Whatever they're planning, stopping it would be a major feather in our cap.'

'The final group, the Human Potential Initiative, claim they're not a gang and unofficially hold a very small slice of territory near the centre of the city, just next to the river, including some very lucrative high-end clubs. They say they're a 'spiritual, non-religious organisation dedicated to helping ordinary people achieve superpowers'. We thought they were just a cult, but there have been recent attacks on Angel and Gung Ho territory which we're pretty sure they're responsible for. Unfortunately, we can't prove it. They disavow all knowledge of criminal activity by their members, from drug trafficking to gang warfare. We believe they're using some sort of mental powers to control their followers and recruit new ones, while their leader grants them temporary powers. This means that, while they only have two known supers, they have the potential for enormous amounts of firepower. The full file's here. What we'd need you to do is raid their central HQ, which our sources indicate contain a large stash of weapons. This should allow us to out them officially and stop them openly recruiting. Just remember, their followers are either brainwashed or mind-controlled. You'll have to keep serious injuries and deaths to a bare minimum with them.'

'So, that's the situation. What do you want to do?'

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Vulcan bounced up and down as she looked carefully at the map. She flicked through each file quickly before handing them on to the others, her visor letting off a series of small flashes before she began fiddling. The sacrifice of a pen pot and a desk lamp later, she slotted a projector onto the side of her bike helmet and began displaying the files on the wall behind the map.

"Ok, so Burning Angels. Industrial, entrenched, gangs. Seen one, seen a dozen. Should probably set up some preperations before we go into that. Who controls the scrapyards anyway? Besides that, they don't have evil plan of evilness."
"Gung Ho seem like nutjobs, nasty but predictable. Be nice to stop them now, but if we don't they'll still be doing a bit of our job for us, even with the likelihood of collateral..."
"That last one, the HPI, is what gives me the creeps. Mind-control is seriously bad mojo. No offence, Redeye."

She gave a hum.

"I think we should knock on the cult's door first. If we do damage to the others' reps then there's a chance their supers will be swept up in the backstabby, sort of scary way. If we go in, get some surveillance, let me strip some weapon parts, pop a few knockout darts and make some nice arrests it'll be cleaner in the long run."

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
Crimson Eye smiled at Vulcan. It was not a serious mispronunciation of his name, in fact it was a synonym of the actual word.
"There is offence to take. As for which group to hit first...I would agree: the cult. Though for different reasons. I hate cults in general, especially mind control cults which may be using powers to force loyalty. The ability to give superpowers sounds extremely dangerous. The others we know, this lot we don't. I'm not happy with a super handing out powers as gifts whenever he likes. We should get them first. And does the leader have any abilities of their own, as far as can be determined? Even someone who doesn't miss can use practice. Of course, that's just me. I pull the trigger, but if Ii'm outvoted, I'd be happy for someone to aim the gun."

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Vulcan brought up the three files on the super powered HPI members.

"So there's Miss Manga here, their boss lady person. She's the suspicious one we'd need to avoid until we could get a proper scope on what she does and how she does it. Weird gold boxes sound important, might borrow the gold for wiring and see if she gets pissed."

"Then Bombshell the sycophantic lightshow. Whilst she's a pretty face, her powers don't seem to be mind mojo, so we can confront her if she pops up."

"Finally we've got a Gyp techie for me to... deal... wait a second..."

She flicked back to the gangs' technology powered supers.

"They're all Gyps? Wonder what makes Gyp techies unstable enough to shack up with gangs... maybe they can't handle the awesomeness like I can? I mean, they're vat grown or something like that, so they won't have had the real e-x-p of growing up as a techie. Ooh! Maybe there's some sort of conspiracy! Yeah, knew the Gyps were still hiding something! The techies are all secretly a different alien race whose mental capacity is real bad at morals and stuff, and the Gyps didin't know so there's this whole awkwardness with dealing with techies! Or its a coincidence! Either is fun!"

She began bobbing her head as she rambled on about Gypiums, their infiltrators, and a steadily growing number of sci-fi theories as to why all techies except her were part of a vast plan to do various acts of good or evil.

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Blademaster had removed his helmet and sat it down on an empty space on the table, the armoured man didn't try taking a seat as a large man in a heavy suit usually ended up with a rather embarrassing result when he attempted to sit in normal chairs.

Ryley glanced through the paperwork and was silent for several minutes before speaking.

"I agree." the mercenary said.

"If the law enforcement agencies or the military bothered to care enough they could likely take care of the gangs despite their 'supers'." he growled. "However..." he frowned slightly "A cult filled with men and women who appear, in most aspects, to be functioning members of the middle class? Or the wealthy? The Government wouldn't even dare to officially or directly send state assets to take them down."

Blademaster clasped his hands behind his back and looked at the files that Vulcan had pulled up onto the wall via her hologram technology.

"All that aside however the Mind Controller who can create metas? That is the most dangerous one of all...especially with the unpredictability of the temporary powers that will be granted but on the positive side that means the Meta in question shouldn't be as skilled with using their powers as a person with permanent abilities. We can also assume she is intelligent to create and control such a group."

He tilted his head slightly "This 'Angel' could be difficult to handle, her power seems quite versatile but we should be capable of handling her if we can get her alone."

"And a Gypium...we can handle that freak but we should try and come up with a counter to plasma tech before hand."

The Mercenary glanced at the others. "The cult seems to be the best target for a small skilled strike team."

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
"Yes, the fact that the government wouldn't dare bust a cult is another good reason to go for them first. As for countering the plasma tech, I'm sure Vulcan can do something. I'm impressed with her so far," Crimson Eye said with a grin that the others couldn't see. "Random gifted powers sound unpredictable, so we should try to deal with this as quickly as possible before they start pulling tricks on us. A sniper could be quite useful here," he added with an obvious reference to himself.

The Dread King

Staff member
True Blood
"It seems we have a partial consensus," The Faceless remarked to the others. He would have raised an eyebrow if he had one, but surprise could only be discerned from the faint hint of it that was present in his voice. "Personally, I think Gung Ho is the greatest threat, due to its ambitions and meteoric rise to power within this town.

"That said, it might be good to make an example of one of the others first, to put a dent in their ideological pride. Putting a dent in their main opponents will certainly crunch membership of that organisation - for newcomers will know that the law is not about to be overturned by supers." He chuckled with this statement at the naivety of the young fascists in Gung Ho.

"The cult seems mysterious...I believe we should investigate it, but a subtle approach would be required. If they're devious enough to avert being proven of even one crime - then we should strike quickly at them, before they realise that we have." He paused for a moment, for effect. It was the best he could do without a face.

"That little stunt that Triarii just had as pull won't help us to keep a low profile, which would be ideal when dealing with this Human Potential Initiative."

He began to pace around the room, and continued, "Nonetheless, they may have links to public officials if the authorities have not investigated them properly yet. We will need to give due scrutiny to associated public institutions - which is why it is so helpful that this is a private company.

"All talents here could be useful...of course, I could always, ah, infiltrate the cult with my abilities - " The Faceless cut off his sentence here. His eyes closed, his neck started to bulge, and black veins crept up it, straining to be free of their bubbling, fleshy form. In the space of a few seconds, the rolling tide of chemicals subsided - and The Faceless had a new, well-kept face - one that might masquerade as a new cult initiate.

The Faceless - now not faceless at all - finished: " - and find an entrance point for the rest of you so that we can investigate their headquarters discreetly."

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
"An excellent deception," Crimson Eye said, startled but not surprised by the transformation. The Faceless was creepy, but he was beginning to get used to him. "I may be able to investigate officials. It would be a good start."

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Vulcan took a small disposable camera from her backpack and modified the projector she'd made, adding parts and giving it a more secure look.

"I'll take evidence! Video, audio, material... maybe even fingerprint, if I can get my hands on a photocopier..."

She then looked up at the light bulb, thinking for a minute.

"I could make electro-ionic fields for plasma protection, but it'd be best assembled on site. They're more of an art than a science, and I never did finish the book on the subject. I'll outfit you, Face, with a small one-use version before you head in, but I won't be able to give you tech brainwashing resistance. That sort of thing is hard to find in public journals and libraries..."

The Dread King

Staff member
True Blood
"That would be most convenient," The Faceless replied to Vulcan, "however, before we even consider resistance to plasma, we must consider resistance to discovery. Does this organisation have a change of clothes somewhere? Anything will do...it would not be wise to turn up to a criminal cult posing as a normal human after being displayed on national television as a superhero dedicated to fighting crime - especially with the same outfit.

"As for mind control - I'll do my best. I suspect that my biological nature, as it were, might make me more resistant to any attempts of mental manipulation, but there's no telling to what extent that will hold true given that we don't know what methods this Human Potential Initiative leader is using."

Almost as an afterthought, The Faceless remarked, "Oh, and having some sort of camera would be nice - although it would have to be concealable. If I can take some evidence myself, it will save us some trouble if a subsequent attempt to allow the whole team to infiltrate the cult headquarters fails, because we will still make some findings. That said - " and with these words, he chuckled, " - it's probably not a good idea to plan exclusively for failure."

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
"And that," Crimson Eye said. "Is why I can't stand cameras. How are we supposed to work as we should - undercover, incognito - if we are broadcast on T.V.? We are agents, not celebrities," he finished, the derision clear in his voice. He shook his head.

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Ryley raised an eyebrow at Crimson eye. "That one likes the sound of his voice." he throught to himself which wasn't odd as most snipers he met fell into two categories. Either utterly silent or utter braggart, the second group tended to be rather chatty.

The Merc nodded slightly "So the Faceless can infiltrate with his disguising ability and we just hope her mind controlling abilities can't detect his unique nature, we can try and find an available location for Crimson Eye to overlook the action and I'm sure I should be able to sneak in without being seen."

He paused for a moment before looking at Alan. "What are the most detailed plans we have of their Compound? Preferably including the very immediate surrounding buildings?"

"Once we have those then we just need to think of a insertion for Vulcan and then actually plan the assault."

Blademaster paused again "And we'll need more details on the parameters. Have we free-reign on how to stop the Organisation no matter the outcome? Is there a limit to the body-count?"

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Vulcan shrugged.

"Body count? Doubt that lethal methods are what the public wants to hear when a cult is revealed full of brainwashed people. I can make chloroform and handcuffs on site, and we'll need the supers to get confessions from them..."
"As for insertion, I've got cameras and stuff, I could disable their weapons... and I can use materials commonly found in air ducts or sewage treatment systems to help. I can get in from above or below, whichever's easier."

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Blademaster shrugged. "It's our employers choice of course...it's less efficient, incredibly less so, than just killing them but if that's the contract then very well. Which is why I asked him." he said with a nod at Alan.

Ryley raised an eyebrow at her plan to get in...it was expectantly...flaky but then again he didn't understand her powers...yet.

"I should have just turned down this job...amateurs." he thought to himself with disgust. "As you say...I'm sure you understand your abilities more than I but so long as it's silent. If it's quiet enough then you and I can enter at the same time. Splitting up completely is not the best idea in my opinion, division of forces is rarely a good idea."
Alan looked a little uncomfortable on the discussion of body counts. "Technically, there's no limit, but we'd really appreciate if you can keep it to an absolute minimum. We want to show that superheroes are a way to eliminate criminals quickly without excessive deaths, like you'd get if we tried storming them with conventional police. If you can avoid killing anyone at all, we can probably even wrangle a nice cash bonus for you."

"If you want to infiltrate, it really shouldn't be too hard. They've got another course starting pretty soon, which anyone can enter so long as they pay the fee. People go in in civilian clothes and get given robes to change into. Some sort of 'spiritual cleansing', or something. The problem is, you change in a communal room supervised by HPI members, who'll remove any technology they find on you, as they say it disrupts the meditation, or something. They don't particularly care if you do have anything, the first guy we sent in had a wire, and he said they asked him very calmly to take it off before getting dressed. As a result, we know a lot about what happens when you first enter and practically nothing about afterwards. We could give you a camera, but that'll just get taken. If you really need one, it'd be best to get it once you're inside."

"Here's what we know about the place so far." Alan clicked a remote, and the city map changed to a shot of the HPI's headquarters. Three high, glass-faced towers surrounded a fabulously vulgar, modernist building, its huge double doors closed to show a gilded engraving of Kisosha dispensing superpowers to the adoring masses. Outside, the sun shone through a series of large cherry trees and a fountain, depicting Kisosha pulling a group of apparently ordinary people onto a pillar, out of the knee-high water they stood in. As messages went, it had all the subtlety of a rocket-propelled sledgehammer. Around it, a spike-topped iron fence acted as a barrier without obscuring the view from the street. "The main doors only open at the start and end of each course, to let new members in and out, as well as occasionally for big functions. Otherwise, they enter and leave via the car park," the screen switched to show the entrance to a large, underground car park at the base of one of the towers, "The office entrance," a set of automatic sliding doors at the base of the western tower, guarded by a cheerful-looking man in white robes, "The heli pad," a large H atop the building led to a door set into the middle of the southern tower, "Or the side entrance," a rather small door set into the eastern side of the main building, a keycard lock on it. "There's also various fire exits, although as far as we know they're alarmed and fairly sturdy. Of course, to get to any of these, you have to get past the fence. The main gate is always open, but guarded, and if it was closed it looks like it'd take something fairly hefty to get through."

"Inside, we know lots about the main lobby," the screen changed to a picture of a dazzlingly white lobby just through the main doors, its walls hung with pictures of the superpowered and Kisosha in dramatic poses, with doors on each of the walls, "But very little about everything else. The changing rooms are to either side and segregated by sex, and we know that there's doors in them leading to the rest of the building. Each has a set of communal showers, which inductees are told to use before putting on their new clothes. However, there are no toilets and when one of our operatives asked to go, he was told he'd have to wait till after he got changed. The door in the other wall seems to lead to the main building, but we don't know exactly what's through it. A non-combat super of ours says there's almost certainly a large room through there with very little in the way of furniture, probably somewhere for the whole Initiative to do things, as she says that a few times a day it's packed with people while the rest of the building is almost empty. Around it, there's a warren of fairly small rooms of unknown purpose, though we know they must be sleeping and eating in some of them, as new members don't leave the HQ till the course is finished. The towers mostly contain offices and quarters for Kisosha, so far as we can tell from looking in the windows, though we aren't entirely sure. The underground is probably the most interesting bit; she says there's some pretty big rooms where a load of superpowers get used at once, either similar ones or ones which seem to work well together. We think they're drilling their supers down there, especially as she says there's stocks of what she's fairly sure are weapons. We're not totally sure where the sewer lines come out, we know one of the city ones goes directly under it, and they applied to connect up to it, but all the connections seem to have been done by HPI members."

"Oh, and one thing, Blademaster? I understand that this is a private environment and you can say what you like, but in public could you please avoid using offensive terms for the Gypium infiltrators? We don't want to open ourselves up to a discrimination suit."

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
"Boo-yeah! Sewer run!"
Vulcan pulled a water pistol out of her bag and twirled it around.
"Faceless goes in the front, Red Eye finds a high up spot and tracks him with a heat tracker or psychic blooper or something. Maybe slip a bug in a fake mole on your face, Facey. Sweet scope o' yours should let you keep an eye on the guards, and if you can shoot a capsule with a radio in so Facey can communicate we'll be good."
"Bladeboy and I go gator hunting, and break in through the sewer. We sneak around in the bottom, popping up in their catacombs. Dungeons and Dragons for us, Metal Gear for you. If one of us finds something, the other pair causes a distraction."
"So guys, what do you think, is that plan a done deal or what?!"

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
"I agree with this plan," Crimson Eye said, smiling under his mask. "i should be able to fire radio small enough to fit through my rifle near your feet, Faceless." He would do best in a stealthy position up high, from where he could observe movement, and Vulcan's plan would allow him to do that. "I will also bring a radio. My vantage point should allow for useful observations."

The Dread King

Staff member
True Blood
"Excellent," The Faceless remarked, "So, to, ah, enhance that very carefully considered plan - I shall arrive at the course in whatever 'civilian clothes' Triarrii deems suitable - presumably not anything I was wearing on TV - and not take any devices, although at some point during the course Crimson Eye may transport to me minuscule tracking devices and cameras, if possible, and keep an 'eye' on things from afar. I will appear to be brainwashed for my stay at the course - but I believe I can signal to indicate my nature should I still have control of my own mind. I'll try to investigate the main rooms overground, including the living and training quarters, as well as Kisosha's offices, while Crimson Eye does the same whilst such areas are deserted. I could even cause distractions that divert attention away from the protection of these rooms, allowing Crimson Eye to breach the property unnoticed.

"Meanwhile, Vulcan and Blademaster can break into the HPI sewers through the city's sewer system, using the former's technology if necessary to breach private HPI property. If Vulcan can replicate her performance on the stage, she could send drones into the more dangerous areas of HPI territory to spy on their supers without endangering herself. Blademaster can act as a bodyguard for her.

"Of course, if anyone gets caught - and this perhaps goes without saying - they should explain that they were just budding supers wanting to increase their powers, lost and looking for a way to apply to the course? Such tactics are not likely to work, but it can't hurt to try. Or perhaps it can, but it probably will hurt more to tell the truth.

"If my last suggestion was not obvious, this one hopefully will be. We need a method of communicating with each other. If Triarii is able to supply such devices, we could each have radio communicators, so that we can contact each other if necessary, and in case we split up and find ourselves in danger."

The Faceless paused for a moment, deep in thought, before suddenly breaking the silence of the room once more: "Naturally, this should not be our only means of communication. If we use basic hand gestures to indicate whether we are in danger or difficulty, or if we are safe, we will be better insulated from the deceptive effects of Kisosha's mind control. If she manages to bring any of us under her sway and discovers our minuscule radio communicators, she will have us say that we are safe (or dangerous, depending on what she stands to gain from a distress message) to our colleagues through them - and this could lure our entire team into any trap she might have prepared. However, she is not likely to know our code, even if she realises that we have a code, and so it is probable that she will not instruct us to use that to mislead our comrades. If we have our own coded hand signals which she does not know of, Triarii members in close proximity to each other will realise, upon a message of distress or safety being said, but not indicated via hand gesture, that we are under the cult leader's mind control, and will not be fooled by her schemes."

"Once we find enough evidence of their crimes to shut them down - or, if we agree unanimously over radio that there really is nothing illegal about what they are doing - we pull out of the area, using our code to indicate 'mission accomplished' to nearby Triarii operatives and making a beeline - albeit a stealthy one - for the exit of that horrendous building." He looked at the map, shaking his head in disdain at the cult headquarters. He mused, I suppose that we'll be able to tell whether or not the cult's followers are brainwashed depending on whether they like that excuse for a building or not.

The Faceless scanned the room, trying to determine the reaction of the others to his suggestions, mildly pleased at the fact that the other supers would have difficulty in reciprocating this action. "Are there any objections to or suggestions for this plan? Which Triarii operatives and support systems will be available to aid us once we are in or near to the cult headquarters?"