Following up on information from Valor concerning the local media a villainous conspiracy starts to unfold.
- Elizabeth – Onyx
- Kellie – Qing Long
- Matt – Mobius
- Richard – Mr. Stone
- Rick – The Elephant – Absent – Was busy elsewhere following up on something else.
NPCs of Note:
The team allowed Max and Michelle to come and look at the recovered metallic fragment. Michelle was very impressed by the metal, saying it appeared to be some kind of nano-constructed material. Likely not from earth.
While she was looking it over the team was debating rather they wanted to appear on Esteban… Garcia! A local "Gotcha" style television show that had invited both the team and Mobius in his civilian identify to talk about Enhanced people. The team was torn, and asked Mars his thoughts. He advised the team to avoid it, as they had already been in the media a lot lately and should be focusing on solving the Silver Storm issues and Stormer crime.
After that was decided the team asked him about why the press didn't cover a lot of the heroes and villains in town prior to the storm. Mars, acting a little cagey, gave them his business card and wrote "Packard" on the back before suggesting they talk to Caleb Gardner of Channel 12. It didn't take much time for Onyx to find a social media posting where someone had spotted Gardner at a Starbucks. Mobius raced there, somewhat surprising the people inside when he walked in. Gardner seemed excited to see him and the two started to have a quiet conversation at Gardner's booth. Meanwhile, the team were flying over in the Van, minus Elephant who was busy with something else.
Mobius showed Gardner the card and asked him to go outside.
- Qing Long Perspective -
Max Mars and Michelle Okham visit the tower and study the metal retrieved from The Silver Tree. The Oz Guardians allow Mars to take a sample to his own labs.
Esteban Garcia contacted the Team and Mobius in his civilian identity as Darren Marshall with invitations to be guests on his talk show on the topic of Enhancement. After a long debate, the group seems to be leaning to not doing the show based on Gatcha! Journalism.
It was Mobius asking Mars his opinion that seemed to sway the group as a whole. He pointed out the team had much camera time already and there was still more to do. Qing Long agreed and told the team she would send out a message to Garcia and the press that would say in short the story should not be them and they refuse any such thing until the press address all of the heroes that have been in the city in the past that are no longer here and the lack of press coverage on the others that are. Something in the last part of her statement struck a nerve with Mars who had one of the looks he often gets after certain topics arise. After he left Qing Long sent the item below to all local new stations, newspapers, blogs that The Elephant has mentioned, The Oz Guardians forms of social media and many other outlets. At this time Mars suggested the team go to Caleb Gardner for information.
"The Oz Guardians thank the Press for the interest they have shown in us but at this time we feel it is inappropriate to accept exclusive interviews and talk show requests such as have been presented to us. We are not the story of that day. We have never been. Many people risked their lives that day to save and aid others, people, without natural abilities or enhancements given by The Silver Storm. This is their story. There were emergency service and medical personnel of the city who were overwhelmed and never gave up in the wake of terror. This is their story. All of those people and more are the true heroes who came forth that day and Emerald City owes them all and many others gratitude. There are people with missing or injured family. Business and the city are still rebuilding. People are suffering physically, mentally and emotionally from the effects of the Silver Storm. This is their story. The story was never about any one person or group of people but the city and all of the people in it. Those are the people who continue to inspire us every day and we thank them. There are other heroes who we would like to address. Those who have been here in the city before us and gone, those who have not been reported on by the press. Those who still are here and were before the storm whom you do not report on. You know their names. Until the real heroes of that day and the Heroes that you have refused to cover who have called Emerald City home we will not feel it is appropriate for us to make time for such interviews or TV shows. Thank you again. – Written by Qing Long on behalf of the Oz Guardians."
Qing Long told Mars they all knew he was on The List. He asked what list. She told him the Exonerated list. (The list of former vigilantes and villains who fought in the Terminus Invasion for the defense of Earth and were pardoned of all former crimes.) He stated we should not have that information. Before things could go in a direction unintended, as the others explained why we have it and how Onyx acquired it, Qing Long asked him pointedly if that was a reason he was sponsoring the Oz Guardians. He stated that was one reason why and that he was not ready to talk about to them yet. Again his face had tells and this time there were very outward reactions.
After the team talked to Mars about more about Sampson and the tale of The Silver Tree. This lightened the mood. Qing Long looked pointedly at Mars when she explained the Delta Wae connection. To her, he seemed panicked internally and made again on of those faces. He abruptly left at that point to go research.
The Elephant, who had been tasked with learning all he could of the other heroes, past and present in Emerald City could not be torn away from his tabloids and conspiracy websites, that contain scary amounts of correct information. Mars had gotten the Sleep Studies ready for the team. The results were intriguing. Both Mobius and Stone had extremely high levels of Delta Waves. Onyx , the unique gem that she is, instead exhibited high levels of Theta Waves. Qing Long, as expected as the control subject, was in normal ranges for both Delta and Theta waves. The Elephant went back to his prior tasks.
The Oz Guardians immediately went to talk to Caleb Gardner. Onyx used her stalker powers to pin down where Gardner was. Mobius sped to the Starbucks, startling Gardner. Gardner was excited to meet Mobius, practically jumping out his chair. Mobius cleverly made small talk with Gardner until the lulling sound of the Starbucks returned to his normal bustling self. That is when he whispered to Gardner the reason he was there. Gardner agreed to go outside where Mobius took him to the alley behind the establishment. He walked through an illusion that Onyx had used to cover part of the hover van. Gardner walked into the van to be greeted by Onyx, Qing Long, and Stone.
The Oz Guardians questioned Gardner about the Hero's who should have been and were not reported in the press. The mood changed, it could be felt in the air. He was obviously nervous when he told the heroes about a fellow reporter, Patrick, was murdered after not backing off of reporting on the Heroes of Emerald City and their sudden disappearances. He and others are pushed to stay quiet on certain matters and to be noisy on ones that The Chamber want visible. He had been pressured for over twenty years along with the rest of the press. The Chamber, The Malakov Family, and FOE whom he believes are the Fraternal Order of Evil were all mentioned. Gardner showing is wit in person as he does on screen added Qing Long to his cell phone under the name Gale. In addition to giving the team all the information, he felt comfortable giving and answering many questions from Stone he also gave them a business card with PACKARD written on the back of the card. He said to go to Eddie Pollard at The Emerald City Courier for more information. Knowing he had been detained for a length of time that could endanger Gardner, and that he had to be on air soon, Stone surveyed the area and once he knew it was safe Gardner left.
Onyx this time laid the path to the press. She disguised herself in hideous clothing and went into The Courier and found Eddie. Eddie saw through her guise, much to her surprise. She simply told him what she was there for and he gave her his address and asked for the Oz Guardians to meet him there that night, so long as they were not seen. He only asked for dinner to be brought to him. Qing Long grabbed some Chinese food and made her entrance with Onyx.
As soon as the heroes had converged on his decrepit Section 8 apartment he showed them his paranoia board with pictures of heroes, villains, magical creatures, notes, thumbtacks, yarn and Max Mars. He spoke of his friend Patrick who went "fishing" when he did not obey orders to be silent in the press. He shared that the villain Cannon abducted him, took Eddie to a junkyard and disintegrated a junk pile in one shot. Cannon explained that would be him if he did not stop. Eddie stopped his public attempts but never stopped pursuing the Truth. He shared much of the same information that Gardner had but the info he had on the Cryptid was new. The Heroes tried to politely tell Eddie that they were of little consequence and turned the conversation back to non-mythical beings. When talking about the gangs and elements within the city Eddie let the Oz Guardians know that Madame Joy's, a high-class gentleman's club, is neutral ground and would be a good place to start investigating.
When they were wrapping up Qing Long asked about Mars picture, there alone on the board. All he knew was that Manetti may be going through, straight through Mars shell businesses to launder money. Thereby connecting him to a criminal element. Her last question was about Dragon Eye. Dragon Eye showed up one week after Uncle Z Chaw, the head of the Golden Dragon gang died. That was two months ago, so before the storm. He also confirmed that Robin Hood-like tales and worship by his people are true, all said with no offense intended to Qing Long. This intrigues Qing Long about both Mars and her fears about him and makes her wonder if Dragon Eye may be her Yang.
Qing Long decides the next day she needs to take action regarding the large criminal element in Emerald City and goes to see Max Mars with a proposition that she knows is dangerous but that she hopes he can not refuse. She asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend, the unmasked her, in order to access places like the Madame Joy's, events and parties that she would not have such easy access to without a man such as himself in order to bring the down the heads of the local gangs and more importantly, The Chamber. He agreed to think about it but asked to see her unmasked. She refused and assured him she was young and beautiful. She ended the conversation asserting she knew she would hear from him soon. Qing Long decides to tell the Oz Guardians of her plans if Mars says yes.
When the team once again is assembled at the tower all Aegis alarms go off and the session ends.