Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Episode 31 - Thrown to the Wolves

Starring - Marduk, Jack Flash, Dragon Fly, Banshee and Mystery Man

Jim Allen gets the bad news: his Television show has been canceled. The University has asked him to take on greater teaching responsibilities and he finds himself co-teaching with his old Mentor Dr. Franz Heimholtz. Heimholtz has been missing since the Event, and reappeared suddenly asking for his old job back. The university agreed, but insisted Allen co-teach with the old man who seems somehow changed since the event.
During the fist lecture, Heimholtz literally bores his class to a stupor and stops his lecture mid stream to speak with Allen. The students, some of whom still seem awake, do not seem to notice anything. Heimholtz speaks cryptically about the Eye of Ea, and the threat of Tiamat. He foretells a great evil, beyond the pale of Tiamat herself, but expresses some confidence since Marduk has the Tablet of Fates. When Marduk reveals that the Tablet was taken from him, the professor seems nonplussed. Still optimistic, he warns Marduk that he should seek out and protect the one who sought him ought and knew of his powers.

Meanwhile back at the Pierce Estate, Mystery Man's pre-emptive strike fails to land on Ba'al as the villain vanishes from sight before he can get it off. Banshee, in the emotional thrall of Ba'al tries to convince the team not to attack him, and when he appears there is a brief exchange of banter. Ba'al then exuded his emotional control, and the team, to a member fell under his control. He gave them the fools errand of 'rescuing' a falsely imprisoned man from Blackstone Island, and sent them off, while he would detect and isolate the 'corrupt' members of Freedom City's elites.

They returned to the base to discuss plans for rescuing the Bull Demon, then they thought better to try to extricate him legally, then as they considered this more, the plan seemed to fall apart, and their enthusiasm for Ba'al faded as well. Marduk appeared and helped spur them to shake free of the dark villain's influence. The team shaken by this set back considered their options and were going to give up for a bit when they were reminded of the situation back at the mansion. Ba'al had hundreds of people in his control, vulnerable to robbery, coercion or worse. So they formed a quick plan to get him and deal with him quickly.

They teleported back to the house to discover Ba'al had set these people to commit embarrassing acts which he was filming no doubt for blackmail purposes. In a surgical strike they grabbed Ba'al and 'ported him back to the mansion where a brief fight ensued and they were about to incapacitate him. Jack Flash stayed behind and in a few moments had rounded up the evidence of the debauchery, and rounded up Ba'al minions as well.

They took Ba'al themselves to Blackstone Island and were given of brief tour of the place. They saw the liquid bath the Burning Man was kept in, the high security cells for the big bruisers, and ran into the Herald who was given considerably more liberty in the prison. The Herald recognized Mystery Man and seemed a bit miffed that he had let him rot in the prison for so long. Mystery Man was understandably perplexed, and the Herald looked into his mind to find out why. He discovered that this Mystery Man predated the one that sent him to this place, and this knowledge seemed to assuage him somewhat.

The party got a little tour, and then went to leave. They did not get far. They were in their Osprey awaiting clearance to leave when they received information that Ba'al was not in his cell. Then communications started to fail. The team portaled back into the prison and set about trying to help. The first most pressing need was that the Burning Man had somehow been freed from his containment. They also found some unconscious guards. A brief survey of the area showed many of the prisoners had been released. Dragon Fly went to scout the lower levels and discovered the same. In fact it seemed that several of the prisoners were conferencing in the lower level. He had apparently enthralled several guards as well. He overheard them talking about a plan to be patient secure the area, and how this was all possible with the help of Deus Ex, the boy technomage. Clearly Ba'al was in charge. He spoke of the next stage of the plan occurring when the Burning Man did his job. Dragon Fly returned to the team before being discovered.

The team managed to find some surviving staff in the hospital and while planning their next move they discovered the Burning Man at the door, extinguished. He spoke briefly with Jack Flash before the speedster got frustrated with the direction of the conversation and went to clobber the man.

Inside the hospital section, the team tried to watch through the soot stained window the action in the hall. They saw the two discussing something but could not hear the conversation. There were some frustrated gestures by both men, then with a blur of action Jack unleashed a volley of blows on the (un)Burning Man. As his body collapsed to the floor, a flame erupted in the air, filling the corridor. For a brief moment they saw the silhouette of Jack Flash standing against the blast, then smoke and fire obscured their vision.


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