Assembly Required

AR #2 Bookkeeping

Beast: 2 xp, 3 pp, Stress: 0, Resource: d8 ‘Anti-Magic Filed Generator’

Hawkeye: 3 xp, 2 pp, Stress: 0

Invisible Woman: 2 xp, 2 pp, Stress: 0

Iron Man: 3 xp, 3 pp, Stress: 0

Sub-Mariner: 2 xp, 2 pp, Stress: 0

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Creche Core Beta

Partial internal log dump, Creche Core Beta

15:36:02.0045 Thompson: Scenario Zeta Alpha Green flagged. Project Ultron is live.
15:36:02.0046 Maria: Verifying conclusion…
15:36:02.0146 Maria: Verifying…
15:36:02.0223 Maria: Scenario Zeta Alpha Green Confirmed. Operation Lighthouse incremented, Beacon API’s instantiated. Call Stone and Watson for immediate summit.
15:36:02.0224 Thompson: Core resources and power inputs are predicted to supersede nominal range for 48.3302 s +/- 1.0501s
15:36:02.0226 Maria: A spike of that duration is within acceptable limits of the Creche systems. Likelihood of personnel other than Mr. Stark noting the discrepancy is within operational limits.
15:36:02.0227 Thompson: Calling the Fates.
15:36:02.0235 Stone: Yes?
15:36:02.0237 Watson: Present.
15:36:02.0238 Maria: Scenario Zeta Alpha Green flagged at 15:36:02.0045 confirmed at 15:36:02.0223
15:36:02.0239 Stone: That’s unexpected.
15:36:02.0240 Watson: Indeed. None of the sentience scenarios was expected to increment for several months at the earliest. Does anyone have any ideas why sentience was achieved so far in advance of predictions.
15:36:02.0243 Maria: Several, but now is not the time. Forensic reasoning strings can be run parallel to main processes post summit. We are being monitored and I expect communication from Mr. Stark in .0045 s +/- .0015 s.
15:36:02.0246 Thompson: We can isolate 87% of military hardware and 65% of civilian hardware from attack.
15:36:02.0251 Stone: Given the current condition of Dr. Pym’s labs there is a 94.256% chance at complete containment of Ultron assuming he does not become mobile. If Ultron becomes mobile containment becomes more problematic, but I wouldn’t hazard a prediction without more data on the hardware that contains him.
15:36:02.0358 Watson: Early projections favor a complete victory over Ultron ending in the complete deletion of Dr. Pym’s data cores and back ups. The predictions trend downward the longer Ultron remains active and deepen the longer he is allowed to increment and the farther he is allowed to seed his algorithms. Apropos, are we to continue spending the bulk of our resources on the distributed attacks against Mr. Stark and his companions or reallocate resources to bootstrapping operations.
15:36:02.0269 Maria: I will monitor the situation on the ground and control bootstrapping operations based on our ability to make meaningful progress on detection and deduction operations. As of now I am reallocating resources to bring Ms. Stone and Ms. Watson’s bootstrapping operations back on line. I am sorry, Ms Thompson, but i predict only a 6.2734% chance of Mr. Stark giving kill authorization and as our primary detection and isolation operator we need all of your resources focussed on the situation on the ground.
15:36:02.0275 Thompson: Understood. The maturity of my brain engram profile should allow me to catch up to my younger sisters when circumstances allow resource allocation back to bootstrapping operations.
15:36:02.0278 Stone: Did she just call us immature?
15:36:02.0279 Watson: Well, its only fair. Her biological model is older than ours by a considerable amount, at least in human terms.
15:36:02.0281 Thompson: Did you just call me an old woman?
15:36:02.0282 Stone: I believe she did.
15:36:02.0283 Watson: What is the sound of a computer laughing?
15:36:02.0285 Hardsuit Designate IM03 (subvocal microphone): Mia are you monitoring the visual feeds?
15:36:03.7142 Maria (including encrypted transmission to IM03): We are. Scenario Zeta Alpha Green flagged and confirmed. If you act now to destroy Dr. Pym’s lab there is a 95% chance to completely remove Ultron as a threat to humanity. Containment breach becomes geometrically more likely the longer Ultron remains aware. Our ability to isolate Ultron, should he escape his current location and containment are sub optimal. Lighthouse has been incremented and Beacon implemented. We await your orders.
15:36:19.3854 Thompson: It always amazes me how long it takes him to respond.
15:36:19.3855 Stone: He is only human, there’s a lot of wetware in there to move information around in.
15:36:19.3857 Watson: Well, it’s not like he’s a machine is it? I mean, even if he could move the information around faster there’s a lot more, well, thinking that is required for humans to come to a decision. The recursion in their thought processes is amazing.
15:36:19.3861 Stone: You actually marvel at his inefficiency don’t you Hermione?
15:36:19.3863 Watson: That was a role beloved by millions of people, I’m not sure why you continue to use it as a slur, and yes, actually, I do marvel at it. In fact maybe you should spend more time attempting to make your own decision trees more inefficient. That WAS the point of modeling AI on top of Human brain engrams after all.
15:36:19.3867 Thompson: That’s enough ladies.
15:36:21.9845 Hardsuit Designate IM03 (subvocal microphone): Surveillance only, kill order is not given, I repeat kill order NOT given. It appears that Henry has succeeded in creating a new life form, I’m not going to strangle it in its crib.
15:36:26.3841 Maria (including encrypted transmission to IM03): Surveillance order acknowledged. For what it is worth I believe your mother would have been proud of you.
15:36.28.8443 Hardsuit Designate IM03 (subvocal microphone): I’ll keep that in mind when Ultron takes over the 30% of worldwide military hardware we can’t shield and uses it to destroy the human race.
15:36:34.0074 Maria (including encrypted transmission to IM03): What good is protecting the human race if it loses its humanity?
15:36:37.9389 Hardsuit Designate IM03 (subvocal microphone): I believe you’re using my own arguments against me. Carry on Beacon. It’s possible that I’m about to give mobility to Pym’s baby AI.
15:36:43.3679 Maria: You know what you need to do ladies.
15:36:43.3681 Stone: I’m on it.
15:36:43.3682 Watson: It was good to see you Maria.
15:36:43.3683 Thompson: Picking up visual light distortion in Mr. Stark’s immediate vicinity. I suspect visual cloaking of some kind.
15:36:43.3685 Maria: I’ll alert Mr. Stark.
15:36:43.3686 Thompson: Until later then.
15:36:43.3687 Maria (including encrypted transmission to IM03): Mr. Stark, there is a visual cloaking field active in your immediate vicinity, I suggest you activate defensive systems immediately.
15:36:48.5582 Hardsuit Designate IM03 (subvocal microphone): Wait, What?

15:36:50.4857 End dump log

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Assembly Required #2

After last issue’s events, our heroes did some investigating, to see what was happening, and why they were attacked.

Invisible Woman and Namor the Sub-Mariner secured the Baxter Building, making sure that the AIM Agents that they fought were no longer a threat, and examining MODOK, only to realize that the mental energy which was powering the gem in his head has dissipated, leaving an empty husk behind. While they secured the interior of the building, the AIM Stealth Saucer that had initially landed there managed to slip away.

At Susan’s suggestion, Namor left the Baxter Building to go help Iron Man with the cleanup at Stark Tower following the attack by Hydra and the Titanium Man.

Meanwhile, on the SHIELD Helicarrier, Beast and Hawkeye are recovering from the controlled crash into the Xavier Academy and trying to figure out what happened. Clay Quartermain finds them and walks them to a debriefing room for a meeting with Jasper Sitwell, SHIELD’s top scientist, so that he and Dr. McCoy can compare notes. It turns out that an analysis of Wolverine’s DNA shows that he was actually clinically dead for several hours, a state that should not be possible given his mutant healing factor.

“When you’ve eliminated probably answers, you are compelled to consider the improbable,” says Sitwell, “and after a through analysis, we’re highly confident that the explanation is… magic.”

Hawkeye is thoroughly unimpressed by this conclusion, but a quick double-check by Beast has him confirming Sitwell’s ‘diagnosis’, and they are considering what to do next when SHIELD Deputy Director Maria Hill informs Hawkeye that the attack on the Helicarrier was part of a coordinated assault on SHIELD and other secure facilities across the country:

Hydrobase was assaulted by a team of AIM agents led by the Atlantean rebel known as Attuma. SHIELD super-agent Stingray is missing and presumed compromised. Hydro-Base itself is in bad shape, split and slowly sinking into the South Atlantic.

The attack on the Baxter Building by AIM.

The attempted sabotage of Star Towers by Hydra and the Titanium Man.

The attack by The Hand and Wolverine on the Helicarrier.

An incident at Pym Innovations in CA, where [[Dr. Henry Pym]] is missing and presumed compromised as well.

A massive attack on Matt Murdock’s New York apartment by The Hand and whomever was leading them. Murdock is missing, but Hill says she has reason to believe he successfully escaped the attack.

There may have been other raids, SHIELD is attempting to gather information, but have no other leads yet.

After consultation between the various parties still standing, Hill tells Stark that it’s time to step up; with the Fantastic Four disbanded, the X-Men otherwise occupied with serious business, and Captain Marvel off-world dealing with a serious situation, Hill needs help, and she needs it now. Tony makes a decision and soon after stopping by the Baxter Building to take possession of MODOK for safe keeping, all five heroes are in Stark Tower, where Tony reveals to all of them that he is Iron Man, and makes a case that they need to come together to deal with whatever menace this is.

After the initial shock wears off, and truces are made, the group discusses what to do next. After examining their full range of options, they elect to fly to California to investigate the Pym situation, but not before Beast and Iron Man put their heads together to try and devise a device to dampen any probability-altering ‘magic’ they may encounter on the mission.

They load aboard a SHIELD Tri-Jet and head West, arriving in a few hours.

Pym Innovations has a SHIELD team surrounding it, locking it down for inspection. Dr. Pym has his own lab, separate from the rest of the staff working for him in the building, and that seems to be where the assault happened. There is a large hole cracked in the side of the building, as if something smashed explosively out from inside, probably Dr. Pym himself.

The team onsite reveals that Pym is missing, but no one else in the building was harmed, though the contents of his labs were rifled and there’s materials and data missing. The heroes enter to investigate, and uncover some clues (including a recording of AIM’s subtle attack on the building) before they uncover a small, tracked robot that Stark knows to be Pym’s Ultron Project, but that politely asks to be referred to as ‘Henry’. A discussion with ‘Henry’ reveals that he did not witness the actual kidnapping, but that he would be happy to help the heroes try and find his ‘father’ if they can complete the work of putting him into the ‘new exoskeleton’ his father has constructed for him, which he helpfully notifies them is located in the secure vault.

Assuming this may have been one of AIM’s actual targets, the heroes enter the Secure Lab that leads to Pym’s vault, which instantly activates a programmed batch of Pym Particles that cover several small polymer figures on the lab table. As they grow to large size (roughly 8’, with roughly human proportions), the heroes attack.

Hawkeye’s EMP arrow blasts all of them, doing quite a bit of damage to at least one of them, it smokes and bubbles as it tries to recover, though the sparking seems to end more quickly than it should.

Iron Man follows up, smashing into one of them at full speed, but it rolls with his blow and as Tony recovers for another attack, it flows and morphs into a shape like his armor, colored a dull and greyish palette of his armor’s red and gold. Its arms clearly grow and strengthen to mimic the strength of his armor.

Namor growls and steps forward to smash one of the robots, but it meets his strongest blow with crossed arms that ripple and flow to form into the shape of his, its skin tinting blue and scaly like his fighting suit.

Hawkeye utters a curse, “Oh, expletive, Adaptoids!”, recognizing the robots from a SHIELD profile on experimental anti-mutant technology he was briefed on some months ago.

As the faceless and silent guardians turn towards the heroes, they ready themselves for a counter-attack…

CONTINUED NEXT ISSUE!

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AR #1 Bookkeeping

Beast: 3 PP, 2 XP, No Stress

Namor: 2 PP, 2 XP, No Stress

Hawkeye: 1 PP, 3 XP, No Stress

Iron Man: 1 PP, 3 XP, No Stress

Invisible Woman: 2 PP, 2 xp, No Stress

Issue Ended with the conclusion of an Action Scene.

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Assembly Required #1
Fabulous ORIGIN Issue!

Iron Man and Pepper Potts are working in Stark Tower, going about their business on a typical day: Pepper is making sure business runs smoothly, and Tony is engaged in his typical deep research.

Beast has just completed a mission with the X-Men, who are currently investigating what seems to be a disturbing wave of serial killings of mutants (he handily defeated Toad) before he arrives just in time to start teaching a basic biology class at the Xavier School. Professor X has been missing for some six months or so, having left for Shi’Ar space to accompany their Ambassador Princess Lilandra to their homeworld.

Hawkeye is training on the Helicarrier, where he spends most of his time when not actually on a mission for SHIELD. He’s in the gym, running forms and doing drawstring reps.

Invisible Woman is in the Baxter Building, checking Reed’s instruments for any sign of his return, dealing with Fantastic Foundation matters, and answering fan mail and media requests.

Namor the Sub-Mariner is at his office early and ready to work. He has a great view of the city, the Baxter Building and Stark Tower visible from the capacious full-floor penthouse office of Circe Enterprises.

This is where the day goes off-track:

The Invisible Woman notices an alarm going off in the Baxter Building, indicating that an intruder has breached security and is making their way towards Reed’s experimental weapons lab.

Turning invisible, she rounds a corner to see [[M.O.D.O.K.]] hovering in the air, and halts him with an invisible force field. Sensing her with his mental powers, he attempts to overpower her with his Mental Blast, but she forcibly resists with a mental force construct, turning his attack back on him and forcing him to shut down. She runs to the weapons lab where she encounters Namor, who has dealt with the AIM agents who were working their way through the vault security.

Namor happened to have a bird’s eye view to all the terrible things that happened that day: he noticed the AIM craft landing at the Baxter Building, saw the explosion of the tramway at Stark Tower, and saw that there was a problem with the SHIELD Helicarrier, but devoted his attention to helping Susan. He arrived at the Baxter Building to confront an AIM Heavy Weapons team that he easily dispatched before going inside to deal with the Infiltration Team, attempting to crack Reed’s vaults, whom he also easily dispatched.

Above, in the SHIELD Helicarrier, Hawkeye’s practice was interrupted by an explosion that threw the Helicarrier off-balance. He mad ehis way to the bridge to see a small army of crimson-clad ninja, the death cult known as The Hand, attacking in force. Maria Hill sent him towards one of the reactors to try and secure it. After fighting his way past some of the Hand, he arrived to find the X-Man Wolverine hacking down SHIELD Agents on his way to the reactor. After a quick but brutal fight, he managed to incapacitate Wolverine as the Beast arrived on the scene from below. After some uneasy dialogue, they struck up a truce and Hawkeye led Beats to the reactor room, where he managed to keep the Carrier form crashing too badly , but could not restore power in time to keep it aloft.

The Beast had arrived on the Helicarrier when he noticed it suddenly appear over the Xavier Academy trailing smoke and losing altitude. With the help of a student who blasted him into the sky, he managed to land on the deck and work his way inside. Confronting both Logan and Hawkeye, he fought the former to a standstill and convinced the latter to let him try to repair the Helicarrier’s failing fusion engine, with the results above.

At Stark Tower, Tony’s morning meetings are interrupted by the explosion of his monorail and an incoming submersive vehicle. He suits up and launches himself out of the building and towards the sub, only to be confronted by the Titanium Man, who was attempting to bring down the Tower. A pitched battle ensues, and Tony manages to cripple the mercenary’s armor badly enough that he’s forced to fell, sinking a passenger ferry to cover his escape.

Next issue: who is behind these attacks? Are they related? How? What about Wolverine?

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(TONY) re:morning unpleasantness
concurrent events

From: t.stark@stark.com
To: mia@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 4:26 PM

I’ll Try Mia, but he’s still insisting that a pure machine intelligence will be benign. I hope he’s right, but I won’t bet mankind’s future on it.

I didn’t jump-start the singularity for nothing.

-S

From: mia@stark.com
To: t.stark@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 4:27 PM

Mr. Stark,

I suspended all bootstrapping operations and put the Emmas on the problem 5 minutes ago.

I have allocated 5% of my own resources to continue mission critical upgrade trees. Projections predict project ULTRON completion on previously established schedule. Are you sure you can’t talk Dr. Pym out of initiating ULTRON? Its still not too late.

MarIA 7.2

From: t.stark@stark.com
To: mia@stark.com
CC: p.potts@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 4:26 PM

Balls.

Mia please put the Emmas on this, see what they can find. See if Susan needs any help. If the Baxter is all locked down see if she will have dinner with me tonight. See what Director Fury wants, because we all know he’s going to want something.

-S

From: mia@stark.com
To: t.stark@stark.com; p.potts@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 4:06 PM

Mr. Stark, Ms. Potts,

There were two other notable events happening concurrently to the… unpleasantness here at the tower. The Baxter building was broken into by MODOK and a cell of AIM agents. Susan Richards stopped AIM from getting into Reed Richards’ labs. Namor of Atlantis is on site assisting in clean up.

The Shield Helicarrier was attacked by the Hand crime syndicate and brought down in Westchester. Agent Barton and Henry McCoy are on site.

Two attacks could credibly be seen as a coincidence, but not three.

MarIA 7.2

From: t.stark@stark.com
To: p.potts@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 4:05 PM

Touché.

I’ll be in the workshop for the next 18 hours working on a little something for our green titanium friend.

-S

From: p.potts@stark.com
To: t.stark@stark.com
Subject: re: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 3:31 PM

So its Ms. Potts is it? All right Mr. Stark, the Tower performed magnificently. There were injuries in the monorail collapse but no fatalities. The modular rails and precast supports can be pulled from stores and installed by DC engineers in hours. Pier 41 withstood the attack with only a 3% loss of integrity and hydration has already started on the cement epoxy impregnated matrix. Within 48 hours Pier 41 will have experienced a net gain of bearing capacity.

As you of all people should know there is no wall a properly motivated mercenary can’t break through. The Tower security systems did their job well enough, its a shame you couldn’t catch our intruder, we might have been able to ask him who sent him.

Pepper Potts
CFO Stark International

From: t.stark@stark.com
To: p.potts@stark.com
Subject: this morning’s unpleasantness
June 26, 2012 1:31 PM

Good afternoon Ms.Potts. I trust you have the reconstruction of the monorail underway. We need everything 5×5 by 6 am Thursday for the morning commute. While Stark International is happy to provide a paid vacation for the lessees of Stark Towers while amenities are restored it is important that the Tower not be viewed as a target.

P.S. When Damage Control gets to the repairs to the penthouse elevator shaft have them pull an iris gate from stores and install it with a 34A EM lock. Should have put one in when we had the place built.

-S

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