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Mutants & Masterminds: StarGate Freedom - Prologue: Curtis Shane and Ryan Hawke


Curtis Shane

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1425 hours, in front of Cheyenne Mountain

Frankly, things were rather odd right now. Assembled outside the towering mountain which held the Cheyenne base with the airmen under his supervision, Staff Sgt. Curtis Shane seriously felt that he had to know what exactly was going on here, to satisfy his urgent curiosity. That had spread to the men as well, what with the reports of imminent alien contact, and the rumors regarding the new classified project that had been formed recently, and the air crackled with anxiousness. And now they'd been ordered to evacuate Cheyenne.

Of course, he managed to keep it from showing, maintaining the stoic focus of a NCO. A model of the Air Force he had to be, as the courses he'd taken as a Senior Airman had made utterly clear. A Staff Sergeant had the point lectured into him, even one as impossibly young as himself, not even in college yet.

"Everything in order here?" the Lieutenant asked as he walked over. Curtis saluted and nodded. "Yes sir, we are." The Lieutenant nodded, and stopped beside him. "Good to hear that Curtis." The voice now informal, as it was his friend Luke Rin. "All I know is, the brass are freaking worried, as if they expect something bad may have happened."

Murmurs broke out, and Curtis had to turn and snap, "Silence in the ranks!" But he did feel the same way. He opened his mouth to respond to Luke.

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The evacuation wasn't perfect, and Ryan stood in line with the rest of the marine Contingent. He had all his gear, including his mod tools and weaponry, and stood ready and at parade rest like the others.

Something big was going down to evac the entire facility. He kept himself from figeting by going over the specifications of all weapons currently fielded by the standard US Marine, and then proceeded to The Air Force, Army, and Navy.

He watched the Officers carefully, and sighed,without being seen hopefully. This, whatever it was for, was a severe annoyance.

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The command tent snapped open with a flurry of activity. One man sprinted for a jeep, throwing himself into it and roaring off. A cluster of people surrounded the generals who were leaving; Curtis stared at the number of stars in the group that hurried to another convey and boarded it.

As the grunts and techs stared, Capt. Whitehorse ran toward them. "Pack it up!" the technical officer shouted. "Break down the equipment, move it, ON THE DOUBLE! We're falling back to the next security point!"

He spun and pointed at Lt. Howser. "You pick three techs and have them follow me." Without waiting for him to acknowledge the order, he hustled back into the command tent.

"You heard him!" the Lieutenant bellowed to the waiting troops. "Get moving!" He glanced at Curtis. "Shane, you and two more techs go help the Captain."

The Marines had orders, too. "Stay alert!" the CO ordered, then gave an insane order. "Gentlemen, we've been alerted to a potential hostile force who has somehow gained access to Cheyenne Mountain. These hostiles may come out and attack; if so, we're to hold them here and allow the others to pull back to a safer location. Let's show them what Marines are made of!"

At the end of the road, at the tunnel leading into Cheyenne, the two tanks that had been parked to the side roared to life and began to move, blocking the entrance into the mountain.

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Obviously, the situation had some SNAFU or danger written all over it. At the moment though, Curtis definitely could not ask what, not yet. Eyes, flickering over the men, he called out "Edler, Jackson, you two come with me." In a manner similar to the Captain, he led the way to the command tent. As he entered hastily, he saluted Captain Whitehorse. "Sir. Your orders?"

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Whitehorse was already tearing equipment down. "Break this all down and load it up, save that system," he said, pointing to a laptop that was running in the corner, linked into a router. "Anything you can't break down, use this on it." He set a heavy-duty magnet on the wooden table-top. With that, he turned and started on another of the machines, unplugging it as fast as he could.

Edler and Jackson shrugged and got to work, while Shane hesitated only to be sure they were working on it. The men moved quickly, and it wasn't long before Shane found himself in a position to see the monitor. He glanced at it, a natural human reaction-

The circular arch was filled with glowing water, and Shane felt his work slow as he watched men walk out of it. They wore strange armor and carried long staffs, moving with military precision. Some had already lined themselves up around the room, taking sentry positions, their faces blank as more men emerged. It was an invading force, and it was all too clear to Shane that this was the cause of the panic.

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"Shit!" Curtis gasped, as he realized the implications of these extraterrestrials and their presence. Realizing he stopped, and that everyone else was noticing him, he scrambled to one of the last other systems, and used the magnet to wipe clean the external hard drive. "Well, I'd heard rumors, but I didn't expect an extraterrestrial invasion!"

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"Keep you minds on your task!" Whitehorse snapped, angry. "We're-"

He stopped listening, and the others heard it too. A roar was building in volume outside. Edler stepped to the opening and looked out. His body language went from tense to afraid and he backpedaled into the tent. "It's... itsa... We have to get out of here!" A moment later, it got really noisy outside.

The marines had a front-row seat to the spectacle over their heads. They gaped upward at the pyramid lowering itself through the air. Its approach was both sedate and menacing. As it came into range, the SAMs launched, shooting into the sky with tails of fire.

They exploded against some kind of energy shield, leaving the pyramid unharmed. In response, fighters launched from the ship, cut through the atmosphere like deadly birds of prey.

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"Yeah, get your ass out of here!" Whitehorse shouted, waving them out. "Get on the truck-"

The tent went up in flames as the canvas material was struck by one of the laser beams from the fliers. Whitehorse disappeared under burning canvas almost instantly. With the fabric no longer shielding them, the sounds of war flooded them: the burning of the cloth, the firing of the lasers, the scream of the strange craft in the air.

Edler and Jackson bolted, dashing for the truck of equipment. To be fair, they needed to get it away from the burning tent, but Whitehorse was still trapped.

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In a flash of a moment, Curtis managed to consider multiple things. One was the self-preservation instinct, backed up by the fact Whitehorse ordered him to leave. But even more pressing was that darn responsibility hoisted by his rank. And though no one was watching, he felt everyone was, and thus found himself moving back to the tent.

Grabbing one of the tent poles, he winced at the heat, but used it to push the canvas of the captain. Without a second thought, he pulled the burned officer up, and led him to the truck. Once they were both safely inside, he called for Jackson to get them out to the next point.

He glanced to Whitehorse. "You all right sir?"

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Whitehorse was shaking; his hair was gone, and his skin was a raw, red color in patches. "Fine... later," the captain gasped, forcing words through the pain. "Gedto... security... point."

Edler wasn't hesitating. He put the truck in gear and it lurched into motion. Whitehorse was tossed into a server; he cried out and slumped to the floor, his face twisted with pain. Shane kneeled next to him, but his eyes were drawn to the flying pyramid, which was settling on the top of Cheyenne

The Marines heard the call, "Fall back!" They began a coordinated retreat. Hawke settled the MANPAD on his shoulder and took careful aim. The missile shot into the air; Ryan hooted with pride as one of the fighters blew up.

Then he focused on falling back with the others.

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"Both the CO and the Comm are in that convoy!" another Marine shouted. "We're abandoning Cheyenne Mountain!" It seemed impossible that the base was being left, but the crews were falling back and the officers were ordering them back.

At the fall-back point, the others were already packing up. The Marines set up another choke point. The techs fell out and began to help those trying to get the main buildings of the base emptied of any usual information.

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Curtis pulled up the badly injured Captain and led him out of the truck. "Time for the medic." he murmured to no one in particular before getting directions over to the medics that had gotten out to the checkpoint. And I used to be so less like this before the darn class.

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"Allright! Mount up and fall back by the numbers. if you can't take it smash it! We've gotta roll now!"

Leading his team to a trio of the last Hunvees he helped them load up the gear the could, and watched several demo and tech guys wire the rest. He slappd the hood of the Lead Humvee signalling it to move out as he climbed up into the passenger seat. closing the door behind him.

"Everyone stay sharp."

He radioed the to other vehicles. "Badger-2, Badger-3, eyes up for more fliers. You've got a Few missiles left in the racks up top, let the bastards have it only if they come close. Right now we gotta focus on getting out alive."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Curtis watched as Whitehorse was taken from him and treated. For a moment, he was unsure what to do; then he saw more techs tearing down more equipment. For lack of anything better, he trotted over to help.

Ryan was keeping an eye on the horizon, knowing that they didn't have much time. He could tell that the injured were going to be the biggest issue; they would slow them down. Leaving them never crossed anyone's mind as plans to move them began to crystallize.

Before too long, the call came: enemies were approaching the choke point. The techs moved faster, the marines got ready, and Hell was unleashed across the Earth.

The marines fired when they saw the foot soldiers; they fell with satisfying ease. But the return fire was just as determental to the marines; those energy blasts couldn't be stopped.

As Curtis helped with the last of the equipment, he heard the fight start. Nervously, he glanced toward the choke point, only to have another soldier grab him and thrust keys into his hands. "You! Drive to Aurora Colorado! It's just north. Go!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ryan Packed up the quad he was with into a Humvee, and marshalled three others that remained of his unit and together the 4 vehicles began making a fighting withdrawl from the battlefield. It was slow going as the Humvees provided mobile firesupport, but ere also huge targets for the enemy forces.

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He soon had more to worry about than the base being destroyed. He'd considered the possibility of being in combat, since he was part of the military, but he'd always thought it was remote. The closest he thought he'd come to combat would be flying a remotely controlled drone from the safety of a bunker.

His problems announced themselves in the form of the truck ahead of him exploding. Curtis had the wrong angle to see the energy blast hit the truck, but he saw the flier buzz on overhead, and then loop around for another attack. He dodged the burning wreck, but was pretty sure that he was that other attack.

Click to reveal..
Curtis, give me a Drive check, DC 10 to avoid being shot but will probably wreck the truck; DC 15 to avoid the shot and the wreck.
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Curtis yanked on the wheel, in order to drive out of the blast, but the traction and squealing wheels told him instinctively that there was no escape from what was to come.

Click to reveal..

1d20 + Dex Mod 1

(19:27:54) ChatBot: (Curtis) rolls 1d20 and gets 6.

6+1 = 7.

(19:28:00) (Curtis): crap

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There was fire and light and pain, and Curtis was pretty sure he was dead. After all, the truck exploded.

But then the sound of stone grating on stone, and Curtis woke up again. He was lying in a long stone box, rather like a coffin, and the top was sliding open to reveal the ornate interior of a pyramid.

He started to sit up, but was grabbing and dragged out by two burly men in golden armor. They forced him to his knees in front of a bored looking man in fine robes. "You are part of this planet's defense force, yes?" he asked, staring down at Curtis.

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Oh snap, shit, hell, mother****... And the mental curses went on and on for what really was a few moments, though it seemed like a full all out rant. Then the ability to think clearly arrived to Curtis.

Obviously fighting was out of the question. Not if he wanted to be anything other than a martyr. But if he said yes, either they might kill him or interrogate him. Then, he decided on a traditional middle ground. He closed his eyes and adopted an stone-faced appearance.

"Curtis Shane, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force. Curtis Shane, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force..."

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hades1.jpgCurtis was getting to see more of the room now that his head was clearing. The room was dark and foreboding; it didn't look like it was anywhere on earth. The guards' armor was Grecian, now that he took another look at it, but there was a black set of scales emblazoned on the front. The walls and ceilings bleed into the darkness, giving the room a dimensionless feel. The floor was a polished black that seemed endless, and made Curtis dizzy if he stared at it too long.

The alien had pieces of armor amongst the robes as well as a golden helmet; he was imposing enough to make the technician nervous, mostly from the perspective that you never wanted a guy that well-built angry at you.

The man quirked an eyebrow at him, frowning. "You will answer my questions, or be sorry for it," he said, his voice booming impossibly. His eyes flared with a golden light as he glared down at Curtis.

Click to reveal..
Hades Intimidation check: 29

(15:55:03) ChatBot: (Hades) rolls 1d20 and gets 19.

Curtis will have a +2 bonus for his loyalty to the Air Force; he'll be less willing to break in the face of intimidation.

Curtis will oppose with the highest of the following three: Intimidation, Sense Motive or Will Save. If you fail, Curtis will treat Hades as if he were Friendly (he will cooperate but his attitudes and perceptions won't change), but only in Hades presence and only limited help.

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Curtis swallowed and made his decision. Best do as the ancient Greek-obsessed alien asked, as long as it didn't involve stuff actually threatening his fellow soldiers. Plus, it seemed he wouldn't be killed, not yet anyway. "Yes I am."

Click to reveal..

DC is too high for any chance of success, so auto fail frown

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"Excellent," the man said, "you're proving useful. For that, I will spare your life." He shifted slightly on his feet, then eased back to the dimly lit throne and sat. Curtis noticed that the light seemed to follow him, so that he appeared to be in the center of the illumination, and all else was dark. He glanced up, quickly, but didn't see a spot light; there just seemed to be a lingering glow about him.

"Tell me, what is it called? What are the ranks?" the man asked. He appeared ready to rattle off another question, but a woman walked out of the gloom.

"Husband," she asked, looked at Curtis, "what do you have here?" When he heard her voice, Curtis immediately took another look and downgraded her age to mid to late-teens.

"I have a Taur'i, and I was just interrogating him, my dearest," the man said.

Nodding, the girl looked at him and said, "What is your name, Taur'i warrior?"

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"Staff Sergeant Curtis Shane, ma'm." Curtis replied, in the recognizable mechanical tones of a soldier answering to his superiors. As for the ranks and name, if Earth got butt kicked, the name and ranks didn't matter much.

"This isn't a united planet, sir." he continued on for the guy upon the throne. "I belong to the Air Force of the United States. Ranks of which are..." he paused to summon from memory.

"In order of lowest to highest, enlisted ranks: Airman Basic, Airman, Airman First Class, Senior Airman. Non-commissioned officer ranks: Staff Sergeant, Technical Sergeant, Master Sergeant, Senior Master Sergeant, Chief Master Sergeant, Command Chief Master Sergeant, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force."

"Officer ranks, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General, General of the Air Force. That's all sir."

Curtis finished with a 'pleasure to serve smile' that was more about the boredom he could inflict.

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The man frowned at him, but the woman smiled, looking way too young and way too pretty - and way too human to be an alien overlord. "Thank you, Staff Sergeant Curtis Shane," she said, nodding. "Tell me about your culture."

"Persephone," the man said, "can't that wait?"

"You can questions of dozens of other soldiers," Persephone said, turning to him. "This is important, my lord husband, even if others don't see the value." She quirked and eyebrow. "Have I not guided you well in these many years of our marriage?"

Hades paused - that was traditionally Persephone's husband - and tilted his head. "Why wouldn't I ask it about the military prowess of this world?"

"Because, I already have that information from the slave I found on Abydos," she replied, smirking a little. "And you thought I shouldn't ask Ra to spare him."

"You have military information and didn't tell me?" Hades asked.

"I just did tell you," she said, snapping the folded fan in her hand shut, "since I just finished breaking him and getting the information." Her eyes flicked to Curtis, watching his reaction as she added, "Poor Charlie, he did so well for so long, and then he just..." Her hands tightened around the fan, and it snapped loudly. Persephone laughed in cruel delight.

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Okay, sick girl. Curtis' smile disappeared immediately, and his face returned to the stony expression of earlier. His voice was equally rough. "What would you like to know?" he asked of Persephone. His eyes started looking around, trying to scope out the guards, and his chances, if any, in a fight.

Click to reveal..

Notice (+12) looking around.

(20:53:06) ChatBot: (Curtis) rolls 1d20 and gets 9.

Base Check: 21

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Curtis didn't see much in the gloom and darkness. His best hope was to jump one of the guards and wrest that weapon away from them. He judged that to be difficult at best, and that was assuming that the big guy who seemed to be leading things - except when his wife was around - didn't have some offensive capabilities.

"Tell me about your country," she said. "Charlie called it 'America'. Tell me what it is like to be from there, and who rules it." Aside from the broken fan she held in her hands, she seemed calm and normal, just a curious teen girl with ancient eyes and a booming voice.

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Of course, no matter her looks, Curtis could tell she was dangerous as hell. And since fighting seemed out... Well, the second question would be interesting to answer. Maybe the concept of democracy could confuse them so much as make it easier to talk his way into escaping.

It was far-fetched, and the computer tech knew it, but he desperately needed something to keep him calm and focused, if only for a bit.

"America has a form of government we call representative democracy. In essence, representatives are elected to govern the people, but they serve the people, not the other way around. The closest to a ruler would be the President." As a matter of nervous pride, he added, "It's been very effective."

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Persephone made a waving motion with her hand, and a man in togas emerged from the dark. "Charlie," she said softly, "do be a dear and get me a seat. Oh, and get rid of this for me." She handed him the broken fan.

"Yes, ma'am," the man said softly, taking the fan and disappearing into the gloom again.

"Now, Curtis - that is your given name, yes?" At his nod, she smiled brilliantly and said, "Charles and Curtis. Quite close! Almost matching."

A little terrified of what matching names might suggest to her, Curtis said, "There are closer names, ma'am."

"Oh, I'm sure," Persephone replied. "Do you name your twins with matching names?"

"Darling, surely there are more interesting things you could ask," Hades said, sounding bored.

"Yes, yes... but let me satisfy my curiosity, my Lord Husband," she said, smiling at him.

"Ask something pertinent," Hades insisted, waving his hand in irritable circles.

"Very well," Persephone sighed, turning back to Curtis. He saw a flicker of annoyance on her features; then it was hidden behind the casual flippant demeanor she'd displayed before. "Curtis, why is your form of government so very effective?"

Before he could answer, Charlie returned and knelt behind her, folding himself over. As she twisted around and blinked at him, he said, "I couldn't find any seats, ma'am."

Persephone's face softened for a moment and there was an almost gentle smile on her face. Then the smile shifted to smug pleasure and she nodded. "Very good, Charlie." She sat down on his back and looked to Curtis. "Continue," she ordered, crossing her legs.

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Damn, seeing Charlie sat upon like... And the willingness on display scared Curtis once more. He couldn't be like that, not at all.

It was amazing that he managed to get an answer to her question. "I believe... I believe it is because the ideals the government espouses inspires people to do great things. We had to win a war that by all rights we never should have won against the British in order to establish our nation. Freedom is something valued quite highly in this nation, and we'll fight any way we can."

Curtis' voice had regained a tinge of defiance, as he hoped the reference to the Revolutionary War impressed the aliens with a warning.

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"So, if your country is so driven to defy, and so successful at destroying her enemies, then perhaps we should focus on them, first," Persephone said, her voice going hard. Charlie shifted slightly, and she put a hand on the back of his head to brace herself. He quieted as she continued, her voice becoming proud and arrogant.

"Ra has ruled the galaxy for tens of thousands of years," she boasted. "The Goa'uld have never bent their necks to anyone. We are kings and conquers, smarter than you, stronger than you - we are gods in the flesh. What are these ideals you boast of?" she queried. "Do you think that your people will be strong enough to stand up to a god? We've probed the minds of your people." Charlie shifted again, and her fingers on his head tightened a touch before easing. "We know that most of your population is weak, soft and fat. That even your warriors die easily." She tilted her head and asked coldly, "Did they tell you that?

"Did they tell you that you died, and we gave you life again?"

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Curtis glanced back. "I'm saying don't expect an easy victory. Pride cometh before a fall, as we say. Obviously, you admit you don't understand how powerful our motivation is, because you've never felt the need." He intently ignored the mention of his 'rebirth', because he didn't care for the implications.

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"Clearly, you think highly of yourself," Persephone said, wrinkling her nose a little. "You'll learn better soon." She watched Curtis for a moment, then said, "Tell us how your leadership is selected. And what is the Senate?"

Click to reveal..
Curtis, you can RP this out, or just say they pumped you for Civics information.
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