Issue 04 - A Lull in the Storm

Session Date: 02/03/2018

Campaign Date: Nov 01, 1938
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

After the 3rd tripod has been felled and the Martians within subdued, Prof. Polar, Ka-Pow! and Shard start working on stripping down the tripods.  Meanwhile, Faceless and Amon-Ra work on figuring out how to transport the gigantic black smoke launcher.

Amon-Ra takes off his helmet, which magically causes his clothing to morph back into his civilian identity as he walks up to one of the half-tracks.  He abandons the idea of stealing a half-track when he realizes that the cannon won't really fit in the back with the .30 cal that's mounted on the vehicle, plus he doesn't really know how to drive a half-track and simply driving off with one might be a little conspicuous.

Faceless volunteers to help move the bodies of the fallen soldiers, with the plan of stealing one of their uniforms so that he can disguise himself as a soldier to drive off with one of the vehicles.  Unfortunately, the medics warn him off as they don't know if the bodies are still toxic from the black smoke.  Eventually, he decides to simply apply his FBI credentials and talks to Lt. Davis about borrowing a truck to get some of the Martian gear back to the FBI for analysis.  Lt. Davis, still coughing as his lungs haven't fully cleared, agrees but makes Faceless promise to get the truck back ASAP so that he won't have to report it lost or stolen.

The team finds a military truck down the street and, as they are loading it, Aoife (Terraingteacht) arrives on the scene.  She had spent the day reporting about the Martian invasion to both the B.S.O.E. (British Special Operations Executive) and Sir Ronald Lindsay (the British Ambassador to the U.S.).  She was able to keep up on the events of the invasion through the reports being sent to the ambassador.  Eventually, British intelligence ordered her to go out and learn more about these Martians.  She followed the reports of fighting in New Brunswick and arrived just in time for the after-battle cleanup.

After the truck is loaded, the group agrees to meet back at the Antonova estate on the next evening to give the scientists time to examine the Martian equipment.  After that, they can decide what their next move is.  Faceless, Ka-Pow! and Prof. Polar pile into the truck to head over to Ka-Pow!'s father's garage as that's the only place they have access to that will have heavy enough equipment to work on the massive cannon.  Aoife follows along behind them.  Before they get there, however, they stop over at Prof. Polar's lab so that he can give them the miniaturized radios that he's been working on.

The Antonova Sisters get into their car with the emissary's canister and the black-smoke filled mason jars that they had collected so that Shard can examine them in her lab.  As they're getting ready to leave, the mechanical emissary climbs into the back seat, testing the car's suspension to its limits.

Amon-Ra and Zoltan each head back to their respective homes to rest up after the battle.  Dr. Franklin Kinsey (Amon-Ra) proceeds to spend a quite evening at home in preparation for teaching classes the next day.  Morty Rabinowitz (Zoltan), in contrast, spends his evening playing cards with his neighbors, who apparently have never learned not to play cards with a sleight-of-hand expert.

Meanwhile, Double-Time! heads off to his employer's laboratory as Dr. Reeds is a medical researcher and may be of some help in examining the black smoke.

Faceless and Ka-Pow! drop off Prof. Polar and the cannon.  After the truck is unloaded, they head back down to Sandy Hill to retrieve the heat cannon Ka-Pow! had buried there.  Terraingteacht stays behind to assist Prof. Polar with the cannon.  When Faceless and Ka-Pow! reach Sandy Hill, they find that the area has been cleaned of all alien debris and that the cannon's hiding spot has been found.  Faceless drop's Ka-Pow! off back at her father's garage.  Afterwards, he takes the truck and returns it to the first group of military personnel that he comes across.  Finally, he returns to the FBI office in lower Manhattan.  After Michael Smith (Faceless) reports to his supervisors, he spends the rest of the night doing lots and lots of paperwork.

Prof. Polar and Aoife begin examining the black smoke launcher.  However, they quickly realize that Martian machinery apparently doesn't follow metric or imperial measurements, which requires Prof. Polar to start manufacturing new tools in order to be able to begin taking the device apart.  While he does this, Terraingteacht retires for the evening to get some rest.

Eventually, Prof. Polar finishes a handful of tools and begins trying to disassemble the black smoke launcher.   He starts with the box at the butt end of the weapon and, as expected, it turns out to be a magazine containing seven metallic cylinders similar to the one given him by the emissary.  Each cylinder is between 3 and 4 feet long and a bit less than a foot in diameter with a rounded nose and flat base.  The only seam the professor finds runs the circumference of the cylinder near its base.  He cannot tell if the cylinder is meant to unscrew or come apart by some other means but, as he doesn't have any protection against the black smoke anyway, he decides it's probably for the best that he doesn't open it anyway.  He also determines that the box contains a large amount of wiring and electrical equipment unlike anything he's seen before.

Examining the rest of the cannon, he determines that it is electrically powered and may use a strong magnetic field to propel the cylinders down the barrel.  He also surmises that this action somehow arms the shell as it's fired.  Astonished that the amount of power that must be required, he spends the rest of the night tracing the wiring of the device.  This eventually allows him to surmise that the bulk of the magazine is actually an incredibly powerful capacitor that apparently still contains a significant charge.  He also notes that there is an external line that presumably allows the launcher to draw power from the tripod itself to charge the capacitor.

At the Antonova estate, Lilah (Shard) proceeds to her laboratory in the outbuilding that used to house the servants' quarters.  Alessandra (Diamondback) heads into the main house to begin preparing for the next day's gathering.  It would be unseemly to fail to have light refreshments available before their diner guests arrive.

Lilah begins her work by examining the black smoke trapped in one of the mason jars.  She tries to break down its chemical makeup, but learns that several compounds within do not match any elements she is familiar with.  She suspects they're either native to Mars but not Earth or that the Martians were somehow able to manufacture them.  Testing on lab rats reveals that the gas necrotizes living tissue, literally rotting away the victim's lungs.  It takes longer to affect skin and bone, so a few seconds exposure without inhaling should be relatively harmless, though the eyes may prove vulnerable.  The gas is heavier than air, though not so dense that a strong wind cannot disrupt it.  It is about this time that her sister brings her some dinner as she's forgotten to eat, again.

While eating, she discusses her findings with Alessandra and admits that, since she cannot identify several components of the toxin, she has no way to synthesize a counter-agent.  They ask the emissary, but the mechanical man cannot identify the makeup of the black smoke either.  She laments that she doesn't have a gas mask on hand to test if it would work against the black smoke.  As the family business is mining and refining minerals, they decide to ask their father if he can get one for them.

They find their father in his den reading and smoking his pipe.  It takes a bit to convince him that Lilah won't be blowing anything up or burning anything down with her experiments.  He also expresses concern that she's apparently working with chemicals that would require the use of a gas mask.  She assures him that she's working with the government on this and that it has to do with the Martian invasion currently going on.  Eventually he agrees to see what he can do in the morning.

When Aoife (Terraingteacht) wakes up the next morning Prof. Polar catches her just before she's about to leave.  Even though he's worked through the night, he appears no more fatigued than a normal person would at the end of a long day in the office.  He asks for her assistance in testing the gun, now that he's reassembled it.  He improvises a dummy round to load into the now empty magazine and the pair head down to the beach so that they can fire it with minimal risk to bystanders.  Aoife uses her magnetic powers to try to emulate the tentacles of one of the tripods and manages to fire off a shot.  However, she fails to compensate for the cannon's recoil and the professor is forced to dive out of the way as the butt of the cannon slams into the sand where he had been standing.  They loose track of the improvised round as it flies out over the harbor.  Aoife's magnetic senses confirm that the cannon used a strong magnetic field to hurl the round.  Satisfied, the professor escorts Aoife back to her car before getting himself ready to head to the university so he can teach his morning classes.

Aoife drives back down to New Brunswick and the site of the battle with the 3 tripods.  She finds that the black smoke has condensed down to a fine, crystalline powder that she decides not to touch or disturb.  She surveys the scene and compiles a report for British intelligence.

Franklin Kinsey (Amon-Ra) and Sean Gorman (Prof. Polar) both have surprisingly similar experiences as they both head in to their respective universities to teach classes and find that classes have been cancelled due to the invasion.  Dr. Gorman also learns that a sunset curfew has been put into effect in the city.  He contacts Shard and Faceless via radio and informs them of the curfew.  They agree that the meeting should be moved to mid-afternoon in order to avoid any complications with travel.

With nothing better to do while waiting for the gas mask to be delivered, Lilah decides to return to her lab and examine the emissary's cylinder.  After several minutes examination, she determines that she has no way to open it without destroying it.  After some time, the gas mask arrives, followed not long after by Prof. Polar.

The professor arrives several hours before the meeting in order to compare notes with Shard.  After comparing notes, the pair set up some tests for the gas mask and determine that it should prove effective against the black smoke.  He reports this back to Faceless via radio and Faceless passes this information on to his superiors.  They agree to inform the military of the "lab's" findings.

Finally, everyone else begins making their way to the Antonova estate on Staten Island for "tea".

Quotes

Diamondback [to Faceless] -- I just want to say that I am more comfortable with you lying than with you stripping corpses.

***

Shard -- I'm not going to make anything explode. . . again.

[not much later]

Shard -- If I keep the explosion well-contained, we should be fine.

***

Prof. Polar -- Shard's a good test animal; she regenerates.

Participants

Amon-Ra
Diamondback
Faceless
Professor Polar
Shard
Terraingteacht
Zoltan the Magnificent
Comments