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Gotham Nights: The Story

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Gotham Nights

 

A Low Level Superhero Game set in the DC Universe's Gotham City. This adventure will work to mimic the universe created in Batman: The Animated Series, produced in the mid eighties. Most of its characters will be drawn (both in concept and visuals) from that series.

 

The Background though, will include major current story arcs, including the Earthquake and recovery listed in the DC Comics "No-Mans-Land" series.

 

 

The material used in this adventure is for the sole purpose of entertainment, all Trademarks and material belong to their respective companys.

 

Source Books:

Mutants and Masterminds 2nd Edition (Green Ronin Inc.)

Ulitmate Powers (Green Ronin Inc.)

Daily Planet guide to Gotham City (West End Games, OOP)

Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Batman (DC Comics)

 

 

 

 

GM:

Dharman07

 

The Cast:

Player	  Forum Name								  Character Name		
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
J.B.		Malice									 Malice		  
M.P.		Silent H								   Purr			
K.S.		KW- the Titan							  Stormsurge	 
C.M.		The Most Virile							Roachman		
W.F		 Masquerade								 Masquerade

 

 

NPC:

Too numerous to mention.

 

Game Info:

Game Weekly Post Schedule: Tuesday's & Thursdays (possibly more)

 

opening post to follow...

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MAP POST

 

Gothammap.jpg

 

THis is the current map of Gotham we will be using. I will post up additional detailed maps as needed in this area. I will work to keep it on page one for easy reference.

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Places of Interest in Gotham:

 

Ace Chemical Processing Inc. — The factory where a costumed criminal named the Red Hood fell into a vat of chemicals and became the Joker, in Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke.

 

Amusement Mile — An amusement park in Gotham, lined with ferriswheels, rollercoasters, and other attractions typical of a theme park.

 

Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary — The city’s main prison, located on Blackgate Isle. Batman: The Long Halloween suggests that it was preceded by Gotham Penitentiary.

 

The Bowery — Described in the comics as Gotham City's worst neighborhood. Bordered by Crime Alley to the north, The Bowery is home to Crown Point, a smaller inner-district ridden with crime, homelessness, and prostitution.

 

Brentwood Academy — A privately run high school once attended by Tim Drake during Chuck Dixon's tenure as writer of Robin vol. 2.

 

The Cauldron — An area known for organized crime. The Irish Mob runs most of The Cauldron and it is home to some of the most prestigious hitmen in the city, per Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea.

 

The Clocktower — A tower in central Gotham which at one time contained the secret headquarters of Barbara Gordon, for her activities as Oracle.

 

Chinatown — Gotham's primary Asian district.

 

Crime Alley — A small side street, located in the East End, formally "Park Row." It is a dangerous, crime-infested area. This is where Joe Chill killed Thomas and Martha Wayne in front of their young son, Bruce, after the family had visited a cinema. In addition, this is the location where Batman first met Jason Todd, when the youth attempted to steal the tires from the Batmobile. This is also where Doctor Leslie Thompkins maintains her clinic, and where Batman battles Superman in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

 

Diamond District — An area run by the Penguin during the No Man's Land series.

 

The East End — An underdeveloped part of Gotham laden with poverty, crime, prostitution, and the circulation of illegal drugs. Some writers occasionally blend the East End together with Crime Alley as a single area in the city. In the Catwoman series, especially volume 3, Catwoman takes an active interest in protecting this area.

 

Falcone Penthouse — This was the home of Carmine Falcone before Two-Face killed him. This was also the place where Batman first encountered Catwoman, and first faced Two-Face, all of this in Batman: The Long Halloween.

 

Fashion District — An area run by the Penguin during the No Man's Land series.

 

Financial District

 

Finnigan's — A bar popular with uniformed police officers in Gotham.

 

Gotham Bay - Gotham Bay borders the Eastern coastline of Gotham City and allows access to the Blackgate Prison facility.

 

Gotham City General Hospital - This is one of the largest and busiest medical care units in all of Gotham City. Members of both the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America were once admitted as patients here. Both Thomas Wayne and Thomas Elliot served as resident surgeons at this hospital.

 

Gotham County High School — A public high school once attended by Tim Drake.

 

Gotham Docks — This is the city's harbor. Among other stories, the harbor figures in Batman: The Long Halloween as the place the coroner's body is found.

 

Gotham Heights — An affluent area also known as "Bristol" and/or "Crest Hill", due to mutual proximity of the three neighborhoods. This is where Wayne Manor is located.

 

Gotham Public Library - Barbara Gordon once worked as a librarian at the Gotham Public Library in Gotham City.

 

Gotham Square — A central area of the city resembling New York City's Times Square.

 

Gotham Tower Apartments - One of the more lavish apartment complexes in Gotham City, Poison Ivy once used the penthouse suite as a base of operations

 

Gotham Village — In 1970s comics this was a bohemian area, based on New York City's Greenwich Village.

 

Grand Avenue — The city's main theatre district based on New York City's Broadway.

 

The Hill -

 

The Iceberg Lounge — A nightclub in the city center operated by the Penguin.

 

Killinger's Department Store — A large department store similar to Macy's in New York.

 

Monarch Playing Card Co. — The playing card factory adjacent to Ace Chemical Processing that the Red Hood was attempting to rob before encountering the Batman and fleeing.

 

My Alibi — An underworld bar in the city center.

 

New Town- An area in which during the No Man's Land series, was the district operated by the Ventriloquist and his puppet Scarface.

 

Old Gotham — The Gotham district more well-known for the location of Oracle's Clock Tower and the GCPD headquarters.

 

Otisburg -

 

Peregrinator's Club - This is an exclusive gentleman's club located in Gotham City. The criminal known as Facade targeted several of the club's members as robbery victims and faced off against the Batman here.

 

Plant Factory — The place where Batman first fought Poison Ivy during his first year of operation. It apparently burned to the ground by the end of the battle.

 

Robinson Park — The city’s main park. During "No Man's Land," Poison Ivy claimed this area as her own. Named for 1940s Batman artist and Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson.

 

The Stacked Deck — A seedy nightclub where the most notorious criminals in Gotham go to hide out sometimes.

 

The Statue of Justice — Also known as "Lady Gotham," this is a monument situated off shore of the city and modeled loosely on the Statue of Liberty in New York. It varies in that the figure has a blindfold over her eyes, and a sword and scales in her outstretched hands.

 

Slaughter Swamp — Just outside Gotham, this swamp 'birthed' Solomon Grundy, a frequent villain to Alan Scott.

 

Tobacconists Club - The Tobacconists Club was an exclusive Gentlemen's club located in Gotham City. City councilman Rupert Thorne often used the club to conduct underworld activities.

 

Tricorner — An island at the southwest corner of Gotham City. It is home to the Tricorner Yards.

 

Toxic Acres — An abandoned neighborhood of newly built houses, unsuitable for habitation due to its proximity to a toxic waste dump. To prevent illness, those entering or staying in the area need to use gas masks or take antivenin. At one-time Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn used the area as a hideout.

 

Wayne Manor — Also referred to as "Wayne Mansion" or "Stately Wayne Manor," this is the mansion estate of Bruce Wayne, and the location of the Batcave.

 

Wayne Tower — This is the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, located at the corner of Finger and Broome Streets. Named for comic creators Bill Finger and John Broome.

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Malice’s Start:

 

Its late in the evening on a Friday night. Sitting in the corner office of the 15th floor of the Claymore Engineering and Technology building, you look over your desk. Lamplight pools onto the paperwork. Across your desk you have the latest prospectus for Dragon Semiconductors, a Hong Kong based electronics producer. Your company, CET has been eyeing them for a possible purchase, now your teams are waiting to see if their 30nm chipset breakthrough can make it past research and into production.

 

More concerning, though, on your desk is a copy of “The Gotham Globe”. The paper is folded to the “local section”. There circled in highlighter, with a note from your Executive Assistant, Frieda Bastione is a letter about a break-in at Minco Technology Labs. The article says that investigators are still looking into what was stolen, but were hampered by the fact that the security tapes had also been stolen. Gotham Police are considering an inside job, as one of the scientists who had been working late, had disappeared. The yellow sticky note next to the article says “Wasn’t Bran Cahill, the missing scientist a friend of yours?”

 

Yes, in fact he was. Bran had been working on some side work for you in electric neural networks, high powers computing pathways that could possibly be the stepping stone to artificial intelligence, sometime in the far future. Minco was a Lexcorp subsidiary, but was sorely under funded. You had reached out to Bran years ago for help in some of your “one off” technology projects. He had always kept his side employment very discreet. Not only was he an honest person, but you paid him handsomely enough that you are sure he wouldn’t have to steal from his own company. The whole thing felt bad.

 

You stood up from your desk and looked out the window at the lights of the city below. In your half-reflection from the darkened window, you straighten the bow tie of your tuxedo. The lights twinkled back surprisingly for a city that was almost destroyed by Earthquake seven years ago.

 

Tonight your due to attend another charity event. The Gotham Zoo was celebrating its one year anniversary of its re-opening by receiving a pair of rare Giant Pandas from China. You pull the invitation out of your pocket and look at it. The event goes from eight to eleven. Mentally you map out the city in your mind. Gotham Zoo was not far from here, placed in the south side of Robinson Park. Actually from your office you could look down Broom Street, past the sea of high rises and the Wayne Tower, and see the edge of the park. The Minco building was to the West of here, near Gotham Center. More than close enough to run by after the event was over.

 

What do you want to do?

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Stormsurge's Begin:

 

The setting sun filters uneasily through the water of Gotham Bay. The faltering light makes the heavy hulls of the tankers floating above look like dark shadowy mountains. With every exhale of water across your gills, an imperceptible vibration comes across your vocal chords. The resulting sonar resonance pulses out through the water, and bounces back from the ships, fish, and the rising ocean floor below you. When the sonar waves return, your internal receptors under the skin behind your ears turns the vibrations into a finely detailed grey scale picture; supplementing your eyesight.

 

You dolphin kick effortlessly through the water of Gotham Bay, circling around the land mass that rises up to hold Blackgate Prison. You turn to the north, swimming past the city of Gotham to your left. Here you pick up a pack of late hunting dolphins who try and match your speed. You slow down, to let them catch up. They are full of tales of herring schools, and a particularly tough Orca they chased away yesterday.

 

Caught up in the packs good news, you even break the surface with them. Kicking up into the air in high arcs. To your left the tall spires of Gotham silhouette against the twilight of the now set sun. Past the city, you break away from the pack, wishing them good hunting, and you make your way to shore. You come up the rocky cost and swim up a deep rocky channel you had carved out, to avoid the waves and surf.

 

You break the surface of your private beach on the East shore of Crest Hill, a secluded section of multi-million dollar mansions. You hall yourself up on the stone peir and walk twards land. Their waiting for you, at the start of the pier, is Edward, your driver and personal assistant. You have no idea how long he had been standing their like a statue, with your robe in one hand, and the Bentley idling softly behind him.

 

“Thank you Edward”, you say as you take the robe and wrap it around you. Your wetsuit is specially designed to shed water almost instantly, so the robe is more a luxury than a need.

 

Edward hands you the paper, and your palmtop tablet as you step into your sandals.

 

“I hope everything went well on your trip, sir”. Says Edward. “There have been no significant crises at the company while you were out. I have the research notes on the top six projects loaded to your datapad. The wave-generators for the Nova Scotia project look like they will be delayed. Lexcorp is saying the setbacks are out of their control due to a break in and personnel disappearance.

 

“Hmmm..” you think as you sip your coffee. The Bently slowly begins its climb up the long drive from the cost towards the house. You read the story on the disappearance with interest. “I think this bears investigating, you say out loud.

 

“Shall I cancel your dinner engagement sir?”, asks Edward..

 

“What is it?” you ask.

 

“Grand re-opening of the Gotham Zoo, sir.” He answered. “They are getting new pandas. Many of the large sponsors will be there; Lexcorp, Wayne Industries, Star Labs, CET, Robotix. As I remember we donated seven million last year to build a new salt water exibit.”

 

What do you do?

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Purr begin

 

The sunlight reaches in the late afternoon window and hits the warm tangle of sheets where you have been napping. Slowly you reach out one hand, like a cat, and stretch your fingers. Then out goes a leg with outstretched toes. And you continue through your limbs, ending with a highly arched back, and then a contented sigh of reielf. You shake the vast mane of curly hair careened down over your shoulders and across your back and yawn. Glancing up at the sun as it slants through the window of your small apartment, you gage the relative time of day and run through a mental list of your tasks at the zoo. Elephants would already be fed, that was Charles job this week. You had already helped Nahka, the female Bengal tiger nurse her two young. The primates had all been fed, cleaned, groomed, and appropriately wrestled. Your only outstanding task would be to give the lions their de-worming medicine, but that could wait for an hour.

 

Your nap had refreshed you. It was needed since all night you had flown westward over the city and out towards Gotham County. The whisper quiet beats of Owl wings carried you deep into the local forests. There you had reveled in the sounds of the forest. You had feasted on moths and chipmunks. That had satisfied an Owl’s stomach, but now you were back in human flesh. Now you were hungry.

 

Your heightened senses heard a scurrying outside your apartment door. You walked from your bedroom into the only other room that served as your kitchen, living room, dining room, and office. It was very small, but the first thing you had ever really had that was your own. Like any good nest, you kept it neat and tidy. As you walked across the room to the door, you could already smell a spicy deliciousness from the other side.

 

You opened the door to reveal Anthony, one of the new hires at the Zoo. He was young, still eighteen and doing an internship before he went off to school somewhere. The sudden opening of the door caught him by surprise and he stood there gaping at you, one hand raised to knock, and the other holding a plastic bag.

 

“I er, er.. Umm… brought you food.. to say thanks for.. er.. yesterday…”, he muttered staring at you. It wasn’t just that you had appeared in the doorway wearing nothing but a short t-shirt, thought that did little to stop his teen aged heart from racing. Most men stared at you like that. For that matter, most women did also. It was the combination of hair, your cheekbones, and the oddly anamalistic features that caught people off guard. Most of all were your tawny golden eyes. Supermodels would have killed for those eyes. They were so light brown, they were almost yellow, like a cat’s. But inside the brown were small flecks of gold, like an owls.

 

“Thank you Anthony” you said happily. “Yesterday was really nothing, just one of those crazy zoo misshaps.”. Poor Anthony had gotten himself between a mother alligator and her nest. The Aligator had backed him into a corner, jaws open and ready, while Anthony had cried for help. You found him like that, some time later and laughing climbed over the fence. You patted the mother Aligator on her scally back and whispered to her that Anthony had meant no harm. Satisfied the mother alligator swam away leaving the young intern safe.

 

You smiled and reached out for the bag. “Its.. er.. food..” he said. His eyes kept darting from your face down to where the hem of your t-shirt rested mid thigh. “Yes, Thank you”, you smiled. “You already said that”. At your smile, poor Anthony broke out into a sweat.

 

“Um.. um.. um.. Ive got to go.”. He tripped over himself and almost tumbled down the back stairs from your apartment into the aviary.

 

Smiling you closed the door and sniffed the plastic container of gumbo. It wasn’t that you were not completely aware of your beauty. You had been told that a lot (usually by bad people). But to you, how you looked physically didnt really matter. You were totally indifferent. Animals only needed beauty when it was time to attract a mate, something very far from your mind. Other than that. You really didn’t care. It was no different to you than spots on a leopard.

 

After a full belly of gumbo, you lay in the square of sunlight and warmed yourself for a while. Then, realizing the Lions were not going to de-worm themselves, you got dressed in your uniform and went down stairs and out into the zoo.

 

Your apartment was above the Aviary, half-way across the zoo from the Large Cat exhibit. You enjoyed your walk across the way, waving and chatting at the school kids that seemed to flock to you. Two sets of directions, three free coupons for Snow-cones, a balloon, and a lecture on Giraffes later, you arrived at the Great Cat exhibit.

 

You pressed the keycodes and slipped through the “Employees Only” door to the pens back behind the Lion exhibit. There was Charles, your co-worker, along with Dr. MacDonald, the Zoo General Manager chatting intensely. “Hello”, you said to them smiling, and walked over to the medicine cabinet. The box of worm pills was heavy, and the pills were huge, bright pink and foul smelling. “Im going to give the Lions their pills”, you nodded over to Charles and Dr. MacDonald, checking the time off on the medicine schedule.

 

“Oh”, said Charles. “You cant go in. You were late arriving, so I went ahead and fed them. They are mid-dinner right now.” You looked through the back entrance to the lion pit and sure enough, the two females were chewing on large slabs of raw steak, while the two males patiently waited their turn.

 

“Oh, don’t worry. Theyre fine”. You said and unlatched the door.

 

Charles started to snicker. Dr.MacDonald stared at you in horror. As you went through the Doctor ran to the back door and yelled at you to return. “You Iddiot!”, yelled Dr. Macdonald “You cant interrupt a lion feeding! Its too dangerous!”. You looked back and rolled your eyes at him. Silly old Dr.MacDonald was always so worried about animals hurting you. Some times you didnt understand why people raised such a fuss. His continued hollering had caused the Lions to look up from their meal. They looked at you with fear. They could smell the pills in your pocket, and knew what time it was.

 

Simba, the eldest male, backed up from you as you approached. In an attempt to scare you away, he let loose a blood curdling Roar!. One of the park guests observing from the outside let out a scream. You reached in your pocket and pulled out a golf ball sized pink pill and held it up in front of Simba. At his second roar, you waited till his jaws were good and open and quick as a flash you shoved the pill, and most of your arm, down his throat, right to the back of his tounge, where he could not spit it out.

 

Simba sputtered and coughed and looked at you like you had betrayed his only friend. Then, tail between his legs he slinked away.

 

Wiping the lion spit on your vest you eyed the other great cats. They all looked for placed to hide. Unfortunately their habitat was small, and pretty open. One by one they were either coerced, forced, or pinned into taking their medicine.

 

You waved at the applauding crowd, and steped back into the back room, where it looked like Dr. Macdonald was recovering from some kind of seizure. “Don’t Ever do that again!”, he said breathing heavily. He wiped a handkerchief across his brow. “You could have been killed!”.

 

“Oh fiddlesticks”, you said, mimicking your old Orphanage teachers. “They know whos boss. If they raised a paw at me they know they would be sorry.” You leveled your innocent beauty onto them both. “So what are you doing down here anyway, Doctor?” you asked. Normally Dr.Macdonald stayed exclusively in his offices near the entrance.

 

“Dr. Macdonald here was telling me about the Zoo fundraiser tonight.”, interrupted Charles. It’s a very fancy dress affair. Some of the more important Sponsors of the zoo wanted to have some of the animals attend. I thought you could take Nahka out on a lead into the crowd”.

 

You shook your mane of hair in disagreement. “Nahka wont do. She will get surly if we take her way from her cubs. Why not I take Simba and Jumba out?”, you say pointing your thumb over your shoulder at the two male lions. I can handle them”.

 

Dr. Macdonald wiped his forehead again. “Yes, well I guess you can….”, he glanced nervously at Charles. Are you sure this is a good idea? Our most wealthy patrons will be there. I wouldn’t have asked except the Gotham Womens League have insisted that they want to see some animals up close. They pledged almost four hundred thousand last year”.

 

Charles looked at you. “Its er, much more, well.. fancy.. than I think your used to, What do you say?”

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Surge Response:

 

Glancing out the window of the Bentley, I inform Edward of how my evening itinerary will change. “Contact the board at the zoo; inform them that I will be departing the dinner early. Request a separate table for the Mijak Enterprises entourage close to an exit so that my departure will not disrupt the festivities. I would cancel, but I want to make sure to get some face time with the WayneTech reps...as well as see what I can divulge from the LexCorp crew, as well.”

 

I get out of the car once we arrive at the house and head down to the subterranean levels of the compound. I finish my workout with some resistance training, and 30 laps in the salt water tank to refresh myself. Despite the rejuvenation, I am still pre-occupied with the disappearance of the LexCorp personnel...people going missing is never a good sign; unfortunately, it’s usually worse when a high profile corporation is linked to the problem.

 

I hit the intercom while in the shower alcove. “Edward...doublecheck the revised timelines from the Nova Scotia project, and have our project manager inform the LexCorp liason that I want an update every four days; have him impress upon them that I need to be EXTREMELY pleased when they communicate their next update.”

 

“Very Good, sir...anything else?”

 

“Indeed, there is...lay out the midnight blue tuxedo, with the cordinating black and blue vest and long tie.

And just a reminder...if you don’t remember the GREEN TEA after my next harbor swim, I’m sending you

back to DAD in exchange for your younger sister’s services.” I stiffle my laughter waiting for Edward’s response.

 

“Very good, sir. Oh...and BITE ME, sir.”

 

I smile as I get in the elevator in order to dress and prepare for the evening...and ALL it will entail.

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Masquerade Start

 

You had another dream. It was one of those dreams that you realize that you are dreaming, but you cannot awake from. Even as your conscious mind rallies against the improbability that here, now, you are standing in 14th century Venice, your subconscious gives in.

 

In the dream you are standing on the Bridge of Seven Sighs, in the north west of Venice near the Square of St. Mark. Water laps slowly under the bridge, and the smell of the sea slips down the canals in the night Venetian air. A mist comes up from the warm canal water, as it reacts with the cool autumn air. Your conscious mind wonders why you are here, but your subconscious waits patiently.

 

Far in the distance you can hear the noises of Carnival. Music drifts down from St.Mark’s plaza, and the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace. You are not here for the the Carival, you are here to meet someone. Out of the mist, and the torchlight you hear footsteps. You stand at the peak of the long stone bridge and look both ways. The Villas on the streets to the right and left are deserted. The pools of torchlight from their front gates reveal no source for the footsteps.

 

Then to your left, you see a terrifying sight. The shadows from the tops of the villas creep down the walls and one by one engulf the torchlight, leaving only darkness. The creeping shadows claw and stretch their way down the cobbled street and to the base of the bridge. Slowly, like black oil flowing uphill, it eats at the bridge, coming closer and closer. Your heart races. Somewhere in the back of your mind a voice screams to wake up, but its much to late for that now. The shadows come up to your feet, and then, they stop.

 

Like a figure rising from the dead up from the shadows rises a human form. On its face, it wears a full Carnival mask. The right half of the mask is lifeless, smooth black porcelain and featureless except for its hollow eye. It is the black of the shadow, the black of night. The right half radiates in gold, carved with exquisite markings, and tiny runes you can hardly make out. Its eye is also hollow. The mouth, split across both halves is small, pursed, and frozen as in death.

 

Beneath the mask flows a long black cloak, starting at the shoulders and flowing down the body of the wearer in a black velvet shroud until it mingled with the pooled shadows at its feet. Then the cloak parted, and a black gloved hand emerged holding a sliver cane. The moonlight flashed across the cane, and the blood red ruby set in its hit. Slowly the ghostly figure held the cane up and then pointed its carved pommel at you as if it were singling you out of a crowd.

 

Your heart was in your throat, but you could not move or make a sound. You stood transfixed at the masked, expressionless figure.

 

“We have come”. Reverberated a hollow voice from behind the mask.

 

“You will follow” said a voice behind you.

 

Wheeling around, you see an exact replica of the figure in front of you, now standing behind you. The both of them were identical, with the same mask, cloak, and cane.

 

Beneath you, you hear the sound of a Gondela. You turn around to see a small red lacquered boat pull up to the dock on the far side of the bridge. In it, at the helm, was a third masked and robed figure.

 

“You will follow”, insisted the hollow mask. You realize now that it is speaking ancient mideval itallian. Not only can you understand it, but you realize you can also speak it. With this knowledge you find your voice.

 

“Who.. who are you?” you ask?

The masked figures all bow their head in unison, like three fingers of a single hand closing and opening again.

 

“We.. “, whispered the hollow voice. “are Mascherata”.

 

The masked figure behind you placed a long black gloved hand on your shoulder. Its grip was firm, and insistent, but not threatening or hurtful.

 

“You will come,” whispered the voice again. “my Aprendista… my Apprentice”.

 

In the dream you allow yourself to be led down the cobbled bridge, and around the corner and the small flight of steps to the red and black Gondola.

 

As the two masked figure step onto the boat. They step into the space where the third is standing. Before your eyes, each of the two seems to be absorbed into the one, until there is only a single masked figure standing in the boat. It raises up a long black gloved hand to help you step inside.

 

You stare at the had for a moment, and the accept it, It again is strong, but unthreatening. When you step into the Gondola, the masked figure pushes off with his Gondola pole, a giant version of the sliver cane.

 

Slowly you slip down the canal, the black water lapping at the sides of the boat.

 

Your realize you are not in danger, so you turn and face the figure. “What do you want with me?” you ask.

 

“My time here is short”, speaks the hollow voice behind the mask. “My powers are long weak. I bring you a previsione, a prophecy of the future. Soon you will find the ones that will help you accomplish your goal. But what you think is your goal, is not. To ultimately free those you love, you must sacrifice yourself, your soul. You must choose….”

 

“I know who you are”, you say shaken. “I have read of you, You are Francesco Giorgi. But I can find little of you, only bits and pieces. Tell me what this is all about. Tell me what I am supposed to do.”. You plead in front of the expressionless mask.

 

“Tonight, seek the ones that will gain you power. You must choose, Aprendista. And the choice is not with out cost. Nothing is without cost”. With a dark swirl of his cloak, he lifts it up in a arc above your head and I comes down entangling you. You cannot breath, and desperately you claw the cloak away from your face.

 

---

 

In a pool of sweat, you succeed in clawing the sheets away from your face, and you sit up fully awake. The dream, was so real, so vivid, it was not a dream. Unlike other dreams you remembered every detail.

 

You sit up in your bed and turn on the lamp. All around you in the small but cozy room, are stacks of books. There are great mountains of tomes, piles of them, one on top of the other in endless disarray. Light fliters through the curtained window. You check your watch. Its 11:00 a.m. Another late night has caused you to sleep in again. The Codex Mundi, your bookstore and great joy, opens daily at noon. You realize that you will have just enough time to grab a quick shower and a sandwich in your tiny apartment, before you go downstairs to open up.

 

You stand up and work your way through the pile of books over to your work table. Their, laid out is a 15th century map of ancient Venice. It’s a replica created in 1710, but is still over three hundred years old. Sitting on top of it is a clear glass humidor. Inside is what you think may be one of the 3 remaining copies of the 1890’s book “The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age” . It was in that book, on page 94 that you found your first, and only, reference to the great Venetian master cabalist, Francesco Giorgi. They you also found woodblock print of his sigil, a featureless mask, split down the center, half black, half covered in intricate designs.

 

Next to the humidor, in the middle of the ancient and tattered map, sits the mask.

 

Half smooth black porcelain, half gold with intricate inlay. It is this same mask from your dream, but this is no dream. You brush it with your finger, and it is cold to the touch. You remember the night you took it. The night you almost died. This mask saved your life that night and allowed you to slip to safety. But it also held secrets; many, dark secrets.

 

You slip out of your t-shirt and step into your small, but comfortable bath. After a few moments, as you stand in the pounding hot steam of the shower, you gather your thoughts. The dreams were not new. You had them ever since that night, off and on again. Each time, the hollow voice would have a message for you. Sometimes good, sometimes a warning, but never easy to understand.

 

Tonight was going to be significant. This meant another late night on the streets and rooftops, and probably another late morning tomorrow. But now, you had to be concerned about keeping your shop open and breakfast. You step out of the shower full of confidence and resolve.

 

What do you do?

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Seeing that I'm dressed for the event and I am expected, I decide that I should go to the charity event, make a brief appearance, and then afterwards make a 'stop' by the Minco Building to do my own 'investigation.'

 

I need to make this appearance brief. I need to get to the crime scene soon afterwards. I'm concerned about Bran. I don't get enough of him in my diet. My doctor .... oh hell ... bad joke ...

 

I'm curious to know what happened to my good friend Bran.

 

**Question #1***

Does Bran have family? Is there someone I can call while on my way to the charity event? Wife? Sibling? Someone? I would like to make the most use of my time during my brief ride over to the city zoo.***

 

***Question #2**

What effect will this have on the company? If technology is stolen ... I'm assuming that sets us back. Who would know what Claymore is developing or if Bran was contracted my Claymore? I need to pull a file and review in the ride.

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Purr Response:

 

"Well the only thing I have to wear is my uniform. I'm sure Simba won't care what I'm wearing. Besides, I don't wear fur." says Purr with a smirk to herself.

 

Dr. MacDonald responds that all employees are required to attend in formal dress and it wouldn't be good to piss off the upper management. Charles and Purr share a look. Even with her lack of experience in human relations, Purr knows Dr. MacDonald is a sniveling idiot and would never be an Alpha in the wild.

 

"Either way, I doubt they want you showing up with a uniform covered in lion spit. My girlfriend is about your height, she might have something you could wear." offers Charles. "They won't let me bring her anyway, since I have to work. I'll go call her."

 

Later, Charles' girlfriend arrives at your rooms above the aviary. After an afternoon of cleaning cages in an attempt to work off the stress of having to attend a function filled with a bunch of yabbering humans, Purr is looking less than fresh. As Purr opens the door, Joanie jumps back as far as the hallway allows her.

 

"Holy Sh#t! What is that smell?" she cries.

 

"Bear Sh#t!" you respond. Shrugging and looking down at your dirty uniform.

 

"Well you're not wearing my clothes until you burn those."

 

"I was going to shower." Purr responds defensively.

 

"I'm sure it's going to take more than a shower to get rid of that smell. You shower, I'll go through your clothes and see if we can piece something together. What color are your shoes?...What the...? Is this it?"...and so it went for another hour. However, Joanie left satisfied she had performed a miracle.

 

After Joanie left, Purr sat on her small cot and tried to calm herself before having to return to the lions' cage. Simba would be able to sense her aggitation. Her long gold tube dress was tight and restrictive and her feet were already paining her, but she sat calmly breathing. She debated shifting into a more comfortable form, but was afraid she would tear the dress. Human clothing was so impractical, she thought.

 

As she began to settle, she sensed it. The animals were nervous. She could here the howler monkeys crying out warnings to all the animals. She listened, but they could not say what it was. She sensed something too. Not a smell or a sound, but something.

 

A knock at her door told her it was time to go.

 

"Hello, Anthony"

 

"I...I...Ah....Auuggggh...Got go...time."

 

"Okay, Anthony. Let's get Simba and pretend we would rather spend the evening caged up with a bunch of overfed humans than running the plains chasing antelope. Let's go."

 

"Y...y...yes." stutters Anthony thinking he had never seen anything more beautiful in his 19 years of life.

 

 

Question: Do I get to do anything more interesting than worrying about what to wear???!!!

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"What a day!" Milicent thought as she locked up the book shop and turned the sign to CLOSED. She had had to deal with several very difficult customers who acted as though she had nothing better to do than waste time with them. But you can't piss off customers, especially those that pay their bills. What I wouldn't give to have a cup of tea and curl up with a good book. Unfortunately since the disappearance of her sister, Harley, Millicent rarely had peace at all. Her educated brain tried to tell her that her sister was an adult and therefore master of her own fate. It wasn't Millicent's fault that Harley had gotten involved with that low-life Joker. She had tried like hell to make Harley see reason. She had nearly lost her life that night. "Time to quit whining and get to work" thought Millicent. "I could have this argument over and over in my head all night or do something about it."

 

She silently walked to her bedroom above the shop and removed her clothes. She slid on her costume and with a deep breath picked up the mask. Her emotions swirled as she put the mask on and picked up her staff. Time to get some answers.............

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Roachman Start:

 

Its late evening, and you are sitting in your spacious office high on the fifth floor of the History Department at Gotham University. Classes are over for the week, most of the students have gone home, or have retreated to their dorms for their weekend rituals of care free debauchery. Your heart is much heavier though. Something troubling has happened.

 

You thought back to the events of the day. This evening you finished up your last lecture, came back to the office, and began grading papers. However, your heart was just not in it. So you walked down the hall to the coffee pot. There several of your co-workers were huddled.

 

“Morning, Dean” they said, nodding their heads only slightly in deference. It was more of a joke than anything else. The staff at Gotham U was very light on titles. The all looked very sober, like something serious was going on. “Why the long faces?” you ask smiling.

 

Sandy, one of the other professors in history, looked at the others with a wary glance. Then she gingerly came over and put her hand on your elbow. “Walk with me”, she said, pulling you back down the hall to your office.

 

When you both arrive, Sandy says in a soft voice. “You obviously haven heard. We saw this in the paper today. Bran was a good friend of your wasn’t he?”. She handed you a copy of the Gotham Globe, folded over to a story. “Break in at Minco Technology Labs”, read the title. As you scanned through the paper you read that their leading scientist. Bran Cahill was missing.

 

“Yes, you nodded” He was a good friend. You retreated back into your office and shut the door.

 

Bran was more than a friend, he was family. You had known each other back before the Quake, back before you were a professor. At one time you had both worked for Minco. Your specialty was nuclear engineering, with a specialty in unstable molecules. Bran was a geneticist, specializing in mutation and DNA reconstruction. You were both avid soccer players and ended up on the same indoor soccer league.

 

That’s was fifteen years ago. Bran had introduced you to his sister; Mary-Kate Cahill. She was a fiery tempered nuclear physicist like yourself and you both hit it off immediately. A year later you married. However the marriage did not last. Five years later, Mary-Kate contracted cancer from one of her radiology experiments. She passed away shortly afterwards. You were destroyed. Bran helped you through the hard times, pulling you in to more and more complex projects at work to keep your mind from things.

 

And it had worked. Things started to right themselves until that fateful night your brother called you at 3 am. Your brother was a NSA agent. His job was top secret, very hush-hush.

He had called your house late one night, saying that he really needed to see you. The two of you drove way out into the Maryland countryside, in a big black sedan filled with men in black suits and sunglasses.

 

Sitting back in your chair, you remembered that night.

 

[begin Flashback]

You came to an abandoned farm way out in the middle of nowhere. When you drove down a long dirt road, you came to a small clearing and a Barn. The barn was surrounded by Hazmat units and army trucks.

 

“Whats going on?”, you asked you brother?

 

The blacksuits pulled you out of the car. One of the largest ones, a bald black gentleman, built like a line backer stepped in front of you. “I am agent Cooper. This is top security clearance”, he said in a booming deep voice. “This farm does not exist. These people are not here. And we really want this incident to be gone by morning. If not, when the sun comes up the Government will have a lot of explaining to do.” He pulled his sunglasses down and eyed you in the moonlight. “The Government does NOT like to explain things.”

 

“Why does this involve me?” you asked.

 

“Suit him up” , said agent cooper to a group of people standing beside you. In the dark, they pulled a nuclear hazard suit off a truck and started bringing it towards you. The agent turned back to you. “Your work with Gravity Distortion reactors was sactioned for use by president Luthor. We purchased the schematics from Lexcorp, your parent company. However the generator is having difficulties and we can no longer shut it down”.

 

You gasp in amazement. “Distortion reactors are theoretical! No one knows what that much tampering with gravity in one place can do, or how much energy will be released. Its like a modern day frictionless perpetual motion machine. Mine designs were only based on mathematical computations!’ Two agents began putting your feet into heavy hazmat suit boots. “Plus there is no known metal that can handle the magnetic core of the Ant-Gravity Generator without aligning together and seizing up”.

 

Agent cooper looked at you as the Hood sealed over your head shutting out all sound. He raised a microphone up to his lips. “Actually”, crackled agent coopers voice over the speaker in your head. “A duteridium core with an adimantium outer exoskeleton seemed to do the trick”.

 

In your head visions of complex chemical forms floated. It would work. Why had you not thought of that? “So whats going on” you ask?

 

“There is an unchained Gravity wave. The system is running out of control We need your help to fix it”. When you turn around, you see that Agent Cooper has also pulled himself into a Heavy Hazmat suit.

 

“There must be some kind of contamination in the Wave Generator Chamber. Even a speck of dust could throw things off. A bolt must have fallen in or something.”

 

Agent cooper pulled you into the barn. IT looked like a normal barn, except for the occasional hay bale floating past, caused by anit-gravity waves. The two of you stepped onto a metal platform, and you felt the click as your magnetic shoes attached themselves. The platform began to decent into the bowels of the earth.

 

“Can you find the Wave Generator Chamber?” Asks Cooper.

 

“Sure I can” you say. “If you built things from my specs”.

 

Coopers voice crackled over the intercom. “Well.. its not exactly like your plans. We made some… slight… variations”.

 

When finally the elevator stopped, the white double doors in front of you slid open to a huge underground chamber. Arcs of blue white static crackled through the air. Desks and notebooks floated around in the zero gravity fields, bouncing off of each other.

 

There in the middle of the room, thirty feet tall was the Gravity Distortion Generator. However, something was not right. Sticking off one side of the machine, looking like a giant mountaintop telescope, was a barrel.

 

“This isn’t a generator…” you gasp.” This is a weapon. You’ve made a weapon from my research. This was supposed to be for the betterment of mankind.”

 

Agent cooper pulled you towards the structure. “This is the X31. The government wanted to be able to control gravitational bubbles. We could fire the X31 across continents and crush a tank, without hurting a flower next to it. If the X31 worked as designed, it would mean an end to Nuclear Warfare.”

 

The two of you stood at the base of the machine. All around you in the steel and white room the flashing lights reflected like a horrible internal lightning storm. The arcs ran up and down the machine like a VanDegraff generator in an old monster movie.

 

You yell over the crackle “You cant generate gravity at range like that, its against the laws of physics”.

 

“We found that out” yelled back Agent Cooper. “Were scrapping the X31 project. Now can you shut it down? Where is the Wave Generator Chamber?”

 

You scan the machine and walk around the back side of it until you find the right place. “Its under this panel”, you yell “But we really shouldn’t open it with the power on”. Agent cooper pulls out a set of cutters and began slicing off the bolts. “We have no choice. The your perpetual generator seems to be working. We cant shut it off”.

 

As the panel comes off, Cooper throws it away, and it floats off into the room. You lean your head in and look inside the panel. There, next to the Wave Generator chamber was the floating remains of a bag of potato chips. All around it were the floating carcasses of roaches.

 

“Organics!” you yell into the microphone “There must be an organic infestation in the chamber”.

 

Agent cooper opened the shiny metal tube of the Generator Chamber. There floating in the back, was a roach. Surprisingly though, the roach was still alive, wiggling its little legs in an attempt to escape. Little arcs of electricity kept it stuck, floating in the perfect center of the chamber.

 

“This should do it”, you said reaching in to snatch the bug out.

 

As you grabbed the bug, all the arcs of lightning suddenly stopped cascading around the room and instantly grounded on you. The pain like a hundred thousand suns raced through your body. Everything turned white.

 

And that was all you remembered

[End Flashback]

 

Months later you had recovered in an NSA hospital bed. You were released after signing many documents saying you would never speak of the situation. The government paid you well for your silence, giving you enough money that you could stop working, and live simply. Infurated with your company for selling your research, you quit Minco Technology and walked away from the world of Superscience.

 

But where the government’s story ended, yours just began. The NSA was not aware of the changes made to your body. Bran and you discussed the strange double strands of DNA that were wrapped around each other in your cells. When the changes started happening, it was Bran who had discovered the formulae to keep it in check. And when the Great Quake hit Gotham, it was he who had slipped you the information of the chemical storehouses where you could sneak in and retrieve the chemicals you needed.

 

Bran had just come by your office two days ago with a strange package. “I cant stay” he said, pushing the package into your hand. The less you know the better!.” He backed down the hallway as quickly as he came. “Ill call you next week and explain!”.

 

Now he was gone. The package was sitting on your desk, opened. Inside was Bran’s notes. Bran was a scholar of ancient history also, and spoke several ancient languages. His notes were in some odd hash like script you couldn’t decipher. Also sitting on top of the package is a black access card, with the words “Minco Technology” etched in green across the front.

 

What do you do?

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Turn II: Stormsurge

 

In a few hours you find yourself clean, dressed, and ready for a night on the town. Edward has the Bentley prepped and running for you as you walk down the steps of you 18th century Federal style mantion. Soon you are drivning down the long winding roads of Crest Hill, and across the northernmost bridge into Gotham. Your route takes you down the east coast of Gotham, and you can see the flashing lights of Ammusement Mile and the familiar circle of its "Millenium Wheel", the sister of the cabin fitted ferris wheel in London.

 

Here though, there are still the occasional lot or tumbled down house, years after the Great Earthquake. Quikly though you move into the city center. City architects decided to move up, not out, and so row after row of high rise sprung up. A citywide ordinance forbid any building to be raised that did not conform to the very strict Archecture Style standards of the city. Now, even though much of the buildings are new, the same 1920s Gothic Revial style bound the city together.

 

Edward talks to you from the front seat as you drive.

 

"Your inviation will be in your vest pocket sir. Not that I expect you to need it. I have called ahead and been informed that 29th street is completely blocked off due to the papparatzii. It seems that Russle Crow, Brad and Angelena, as well as Gotham native Chris Rock, and a few other celebrities are in attendence. It should be an interesting night".

 

"Yes, but who from a business point of view will be there?", you ask.

 

"Lana Lang, CEO of Lecorp will be there. As also will be the CEOs for S.T.A.R, Claymore, Robotix. It should be quite the night for buiness. Ive also heard that Waynecorp will be there."

 

"Bruce?", you ask intrigued.

 

"No sir, from what I have heard Richard Grayson-Wayne will be presenting the opening speech. Bruce Wayne still remains somewhat reclusive, only granting telephone and video-conference meetings. Ever since his embarrasment at the Senate after the Earthquake, he has become more and more excentric."

 

Edward pulls up to a police block and refuses to move when the police try and wave him around. Finnaly an officer comes up to the window.

 

"You have to move, this road has been blocked off", says the officer as he taps on the window.

 

"Sir", says Edward stiffly "We are Guests of the Zoo Exhibit. Here are our papers. Im sure you will find everything in order".

 

The officer glances over Edwards paperwork and waves him on through.

 

Soon you pull into a traffic line of Limos and dark tinted sedans. At your turn, Edward steps out and walks around and opens the door for you. Lights flash as you smile and wave to reporters. You walk through the front gates of the zoo and up to the reception stand.

 

A lovely young lady in a strapless black dress with a Zoo Staff badge smiles at you. "Your name please?" she asks.

 

"Keets", you reply "Gideon Keets". You hand her the invitation from your pocket.

 

"Yes sir, Mr. Keets" smiles the dark haired girl. Your at the Sponsors Table at the front. Its the one with the gold nametags. Coctails are available at the open bar. Dinner will be served at 8:00, and the opening speeches will begin at 9:00. You have about half an hour before dinner starts. Please enjoy."

 

As you walk into the zoo, you notice the layout. The zoo itself is set up like a figure eight set on its side. The main zoo entrance is in the center, And then two main paths loop out on the right and left, to later re connect in the center further down the main drag.

 

The side streets have been blocked off, leaving only the center main street free. The rought iron gates and archways have been hung with white christmas tree lights. Up and down the cages on each side of the main drag, Sleepy eyed animals have either retreated into their dens, or are working to ingore the great din around them. The lack of animal participation seems to upset the crowd of tuxedos and dresses, as many people croud against fences and peer into the dark cages.

 

Even though the main street is wide enough for a two lane street, its still very packed with tuxedoed men and women in fancy dresses and high heels. The turnout is quite strong. As you walk towards the stage in the back, you pass islands of tables with fountains of champaign, or tierd pyramids of horu'd'voure trays. You pass a gentleman in a grey tuxedo and a Zoo Staff shirt, and pick up a glass of champaigne from his silver tray. After two sips, you make a face and place it on the brick base of a wrought iron lamp post.

 

The crowd is very thick in front of you, as if it were watching something. As you get nearner, you notice the crowd has a definate clear center, as if whatever they were watching, they were giving a wide berth. As you watch the flow of the crowd, that circle of emptiness comes closer and closer.

 

Suddenly the circle parts, as the people in front of you step back and to the side. The cause of the bubble is a woman, in a tight gold dress, and high heels. She is stunningly beautifull, with a massive mane of tawny gold-brown hair falling down her shoulders. More amazing though, is the fact that in each hand she holds a leash. At the end of each leash calmly walks an adult male African Lion.

 

A few flashbulbs go off, aggrivating one of the lions, and it turns and lets loose a blood curdling roar. A few people in the crowd scream, and the circle suddenly grows wider, leaving you, her, and the lions in its center. An exasperated look comes over the girls face and she jerks hard on the roaring lion's leash. The lion whips its head around, but instead of attacking the girl looks at her for a second, and then sinks his head down and begins plodding along again. A fearfull smattering of applause comes up from the crowd.

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