Supers 1200, Session #1: “Small Beginnings”
In a cheap conference room in Manhattan, three people met for the first time, sitting in the front row of a sea of empty folding chairs: Araignee Rose, Goliath, and the Spirit. According to the speaker, Hank Pym1, a fourth audience member, a mutant speedster, had been expected, but was apparently running late. The meeting was for orientation for the newly-opened Avengers Academy2, and these were the first class.
The students were introduced to the Academy staff, and assigned mentors. Goliath was acting as Pym’s assistant, and had already met the staff. Araignee was assigned to Tigra3, the Spirit was assigned to Justice4, and Cash, the speedster mutant, was already been sought by Quicksilver5. When questioned as to why such famous super-heroes had to meet in such mundane surroundings, Pym led the group through the service area door, in the Infinite Avengers Mansion.
The Mansion is an extra-dimensional space, created by Pym. (He can do that kind of stuff. He’s the Scientist Supreme. It says so on his business cards.) It takes the form of an endless mansion, in a ring 10,000 miles around, manned by Jocasta, a robot mind who time-shares among the bodies that are stationed as mile markers. Jocasta controls the dimensional interface technology, which can connect any door in the Mansion with any door on Earth. The students were issued earpiece communicators which could be used to contact Jocasta.
Spirit realized, as soon as the doors closed behind them, that she was now cut off from the city, the source of much of her powers.
At this point, the students were instructed to choose rooms and get settled before dinner, which was scheduled to be a group gathering, in Dining Room 23. Goliath already had his room, of course. Araignee decided to test the story about the place being endless, and took off down the hall at top speed. Spirit closed her eyes and chose the first room that came along, discovering a “new student” packet and fruit basket inside. She then decided to test the stories herself, asking Jocasta to open a doorway to a part of the hallway that was in front of Araignee, miles away. She then proceeded to race ahead, one doorway at a time, as they discussed the situation.
Finally, the ladies found Goliath, and everyone agreed to go out for lunch. They chose sushi in Tokyo.
The doorway opened into a back alley, in the middle of the night, in a city of tall buildings and bright lights. Goliath, being a geek, quickly identified their location: Akihabara, in Tokyo. With a squeal, he dove into the geek bazaar. The Spirit, guided by the spirit of the city, led the trio to the finest sushi stand in the area, where they had a fabulous lunch.
Afterward, they split up. Goliath went shopping, scoring (among other things) a gorgeous bag, and some “Hello Kitty” merchandise. Araignee enjoying swinging around a place with even more tall buildings than New York, as she went on patrol. She didn’t encounter any crime, but did have a good time. The Spirit wandered around Akihabara, foiling shoplifters before they could steal anything and picking the pockets of pickpockets to restore stolen property to its rightful owner before it was missed.
Eventually, the three gathered and returned to the Mansion to get ready for dinner. Disappointingly, most of the staff who were supposed to be there had been called away on other business. Only Quicksilver could make it, and even so, was only able to pop in and out.
The students questioned Quicksilver about the program and their place in it. The Spirit, accessing what little “spirit of the city” was available6, asked Quicksilver if it was true that he was the son of Magneto, the world’s most feared mutant terrorist.
On the one hand, the question wasn’t framed in the politest terms. On the other hand, Quicksilver himself is a bit of a hothead. The discussion became heated. He admitted that, yes, he was the son of Magneto, and that he had himself been a criminal and a terrorist as a part of Magneto’s organization. He told how his father had hired assassins to attack him and his sister in their beds when they were growing up, how his entire upbringing and education had been turned towards the goal of mutant power… and how he had overcome this background to prove himself a hero, time and time again. Pointing out that the students could do worse than to follow his example, Quicksilver vanished in a burst of super-speed.
Bemused, the students talked among themselves. Until, that is, they were interrupted by a gigantic robot bursting through the cafeteria wall!
Araignee back-flipped over the table, joining the rest of the team on the side away from the killer robot, and demanded to know what the hell that thing was. Goliath identified the robot as Arsenal, describing it as “built by Iron Man’s daddy to kill all the Nazis!” while running for the door. Spirit ran for the other door, initially intending on opening a door to some big city to re-activate her full powers, but then thinking of the consequences of dropping a killer robot into such an environment and instead calling for Jocasta to connect the door to the Pyramids, in Egypt. When that isolated locale didn’t help, she let the door shut and joined Araignee in taking the fight to the robot.
Despite what the others thought, Goliath hadn’t been running away. Rather, he had been looking for higher ceilings. When the robot cut loose with dual shoulder-mounted machine guns, he finally revealed his power, as he grew to more than double his normal size trying to provide cover for the others. Hunched over under in the small room, he also entered the melee.
Quickly, the students had Arsenal thrown into the corner of the room and trapped by webbing. The robot attempted to use sleeping gas, but the Spirit incinerated it with live wires from a broken light fixture. Just then, Jocasta entered from the hall, across the room, turned, and re-opened the door onto a garden7 in New York. This caused the Spirit’s powers to return, which caused her to realize that this whole event was a set-up. If this robot, built to take on the entire Nazi military, and known to be a near-match for the Avengers themselves, had meant to kill them, they would have been dead before they knew what hit them. She left the others pounding on the robot, and investigated the hole in the wall where it had come from.
Inside, she found an open crate, which appeared to be shaped to hold the parts of the robot. The layer of dust had been recently disturbed, showing that someone had entered and assembled the robot. Inside the crate, she found an electronic device with a blinking red light.
Meanwhile, in the cafeteria, Goliath had begun grappling with Arsenal. Just as it got him in a hold, the Spirit turned off the device and the robot went dead. She returned to the cafeteria, announcing that Quicksilver was behind the whole thing.
Quicksilver returned, and didn’t deny it. As it came out, he had been offended at the tone of the earlier questions about his background, and decided to teach the students a lesson. After leaving the students, he had gone next door and assembled the robot at super-speed, programming it to use non-lethal force. He pointed at that being attacked at dinner is much better than being attacked in one’s bed.
Alerted by the alarm, Tigra came in just in time to hear the story. She began berating Quicksilver, taking him to the side for a stern talking-to. Curious, the Spirit picked up lip-reading skills from the spirit of the city, before Jocasta let the doors close, just long enough to “overhear” some of Tigra’s remarks.
She was pointing out to Quicksilver that it wasn’t helpful to abuse the students’ trust, as it just pushed them that much closer to turning to villainy. “That Goliath kid could go after Reed Richards any day!” she said. “And you know about those crime reports that point toward the Spirit!”
The Spirit nearly went after Tigra on the spot for saying these things, but was restrained by the other students. As the staff members left, still in conversation, she explained what she had learned. After repeatedly calling Goliath “broken”, she managed to start an argument with him. Before the cat-fight could really get going, he grabbed her, called for Jocasta to open a door into the pool, and tossed her into it. One of the other staff members, Speedball, entered the pool area as well, putting an end to the fight… and leaving the underlying issues unresolved.
1 AKA Giant-Man, Ant-Man, Yellowjacket, and (for a thankfully short time) the Wasp. He’s a founding Avenger, and has had many costumed identities over the years.
2 At this point, I’m drawing a line. I’ll give footnotes for a “thumbnail sketch” of bit of Marvel Universe trivia, but I’ll avoid trying to explain all the background. If you’re that interested, hit Wikipedia. In this case: the Academy was started after it became clear that untrained super-beings could set out with the best of intentions and end up causing great tragedy. The idea is that more-experienced, more-established heroes will train and guide new heroes. This includes a certain amount of mundane education along with things like Combat Theory and Super-villain Recognition.
3 Scantily-clad cat-lady who was a cop before being transformed into her current state.
4 Earnest young telekinetic.
5 Speedster, and former mutant terrorist.
6 In the form of the skill Hidden Lore: Super-heroes, mostly picked up from Goliath, the super fanboy.
7 Identifiable as the memorial garden behind Avengers Mansion, by those in the know.
Let’s hope those footnotes aren’t too confusing…