Rebecca’s attention has been caught by Alan Walker’s recent public appearances and announcements, all of which have been the subject of conspiracy theorists since he first announces his candidacy. After announcing his choice of VP, they’ve been sighted together at events more often than would be expected – candidates usually campaign separately to cover more ground. One thing of interest for conspiracy theorists everywhere has been the lapel pin worn by each candidate – Walker wears the symbol of Aquarius while Santoro that of Taurus. After a few late nights and several incidents of Rule 34 gone terribly, terribly wrong, Rebecca is reminded of Walker’s connection to Libra Consulting – the company that took over when SuperMax couldn’t contain the super-powered prisoners in its facility. Libra was affiliated with a company called Scorpion Technologies as well as Aries Construction and all of them had ties to Alan Walker before he stepped away to run for President. The conspiracy theories seemed a little less far-fetched all of a sudden. No has been able to confirm whether Santoro is a Quantum or whether Laura Petersen, CEO of Libra, is a one either, but Rebecca wants to know more and whether there are other members of what’s starting to look like a Zodiac group involved in politics. She does find photos of Petersen with Walker, but the photos are OLD – likely from the 80s based on how they’re dressed – but she’s not wearing a lapel pin and recent photos are nearly impossible to find. She seems to do a good job of staying out of the public eye.
Vanguard is alerted to a possible truck being hijacked near Torrance. It wasn’t reported by the company, but showed up via social media reports that Cole monitors. People have video of masked men standing in the street and the truck slowing to a stop. There’s partial video of a third man approaching the back of the truck but the video is cut short after catching only a few seconds of a man in clothing that’s much more “costumed” in appearance. The truck drivers are forced out of the cab at gunpoint, but are left unharmed on the sidewalk. Eyewitnesses saw the truck heading south toward the freeway onramp. Subsequent photos and videos are posted to the same social media sites originally tagged by Cole saying they identified the truck, but none of them managed to include the same partial plate though they were heading south via the 405. Patrick contacts each of the PCs and they arrive at HQ a few minutes later. Skyrocket decides to fly above the southbound freeway hoping to catch a glimpse of the truck in question. Rebecca and Apollo decide to head over the location where the hijacking took place. When they arrive, everyone has departed and the drivers are nowhere to be found. A quick survey of the immediate area reveals a few industrial buildings on one side of the street. One of them is a plain, white building with no markings other than a street number. There’s a closed, metal gate blocking the view from the street level, but Apollo uses his flight to get a better view from several feet off the ground. He can see two large, roll-up doors shut tight, but several workers in hard hats entering and exiting a small door between the large metal doors. The hard hats have a logo printed on them, but he can’t quite make them out even after he moves closer to the gate. As he flies closer, he’s spotted by the workers who almost casually head toward the door and disappear inside the building.
Meanwhile, Skyrocket is following the freeway from the sky, high enough not to fly into signs, but low enough to occasionally wave to his fans as they take videos of him zipping past them while they’re stuck in traffic. Taking a break from yet another photo opportunity, he spots a panel truck exiting the slow-moving freeway at the last second. He comes up behind it and sees that the partial plate from the video is a match. He flies alongside the truck to ask the driver to pull over. As he comes up alongside the truck he sees that the driver and passenger aren’t wearing masks, but their clothing does match that of the hijackers from the videos taken earlier that morning. His ability to sense EM allows him to sense signals coming from the back of the truck. Skyrocket informs the driver that he has reason to believe the truck may be the one he’s looking for and that they need to pull over. The driver recognizes him and says their destination is just ahead and he’d be happy to comply. The truck drives a bit further toward a small industrial area in what looks like Westminister, pulls into the driveway of a building, and stops the truck as Skyrocket lands right in front of the truck to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. The driver exits the cab, talking a bit excitedly to Skyrocket. The man’s clothing appears to be made of a lightweight Kevlar and he has a sidearm. The man casually drums his fingers on the side of the truck as they walk toward the back. He opens the back of the truck, which had not been latched from the outside; the passenger is not yet visible though Skyrocket saw him exit the other side of the cab. As the doors swing open, Skyrocket’s low-light vision allows him to see the three, centaur-shaped robots in the back as well as the costumed man attempting to hide in the darkness inside. Skyrocket flies backward a few yards, to put some space between himself and what’s inside the truck. He fires a blast at the man at the back, but the man dives for cover under the robot in the back of the truck. The robot closest to the back of the truck jumps out of the truck and takes a few steps towards Skyrocket’s position before firing several rounds from the mini-gun attached where its right arm should be. One of the rounds strikes Skyrocket’s leg, but bounces off his forcefield. The second robot leaps out of the truck and starts firing at him as well, but his forcefield appears to be more than a match for their weapons. The third robot hops out of the truck and closes the trailer doors, keeping the man inside out of Skyrocket’s line of sight. At this point, Skyrocket contacts Rebecca and Apollo and lets them know he’s engaged the hijackers. They get Cole on the job so he can triangulate the signal and work on getting them over there to the nearest cell tower.
Skyrocket continues to engage the robots, while the two hijackers make a run for the wall surrounding the building and start climbing over – he’s disappointed a fan didn’t make better choices, but at least he’ll be safe from these machines! The man inside the truck stays put, but the robots – each with “T.A.U.R. I” painted on their chassis – continue to fire at him, while he drains them of their speed. As he hovers directly over one, it suddenly flies up into the air and attempts to grab his ankle. Fortunately, it misses him and Skyrocket flies away 180 degrees to keep them from firing toward other businesses and homes. Barring several shots to his head, their weapons seem unlikely to do him any serious harm. Rebecca and Apollo arrive at a cell tower several moments later and make their way toward the gunfire. Rebecca teleports over quickly and engages one of the machines, but it misses her badly and the bullets hit the cinder block wall behind her. Apollo arrives and is fired upon, but mini-gun is unlikely to penetrate his defenses. As the PCs continue to engage the robots, they hear the truck start, although no one is inside the cab. Rebecca suggests he must be a technomancer – able to control machines remotely somehow. He shifts the truck into reverse and attempts to drive away while remaining in the back. Skyrocket fires his laser at the truck’s engine, damaging it, but not enough to stop it completely. Apollo decides to flip the truck on its side using his telekinesis – eliciting a yelp from inside the truck – causing one door to fall open and reveal the man inside. The robots prove to be tough opponents – somewhat resistant to Skyrocket’s speed draining attacks and Rebecca’s armor-piercing lightning attacks damage, but don’t stun, them. Apollo’s next attack knocks the technomancer unconscious and Rebecca passes through the wall of the trailer to see if there’s a way to control the robots. There’s no obvious control mechanism and a second after the technomancer goes unconscious, the robots stop what they are doing.
Cole has learned who owns the mysterious building where the truck was hijacked and lets them know the truck and its contents have been found. They tell him they are on their way. Nearby residents and business owners, attracted by the sound of machine gun fire and appearing once it stops, are now taking pictures and video of the scene. Skyrocket is there to oblige their requests for photo opportunities until the police arrive. The police arrive and set up a perimeter, keeping fans and others at bay. Once they arrive, Rebecca teleports inside the front office and opens the glass door, allowing them all to enter the building. They walk through the door into the work area and find dozens of computers, primitive robots and drones (most without remotes). They assume this is the technomancer’s base of operations. Rebecca takes the technomancer back to Vanguard HQ for holding and returns before Sagittarius arrives at the scene.
Not long after, two Land Rovers and another white panel truck pull up outside the location. Franklin Covey & Georgia Lee introduce themselves as representatives of Sagittarius Technologies, the owners of the truck and the robots. Georgia says the robots are their T.A.U.R. (Tactical Armored Utility Robot) and were designed in response to Walker’s vision for going to Mars. Only as scientific vehicles capable of traversing the harsh Martian terrain and atmosphere, of course. When Rebecca asks her about the mini-guns mounted to their arms, she denies that they belong to Sagittarius – they must belong to the Quantum who hijacked the trucks and he must be working with someone on the inside. She assures them that the person or persons will be found and dealt with – corporate espionage is not unheard of. They’ll take the robots and weapons back to their facility and research what happened. Rebecca reminds Georgia that if the weapons weren’t created by Sagittarius, Vanguard would be better suited to investigate something created by a Quantum. Georgia’s mouth opens and closes several times without a sound, but her eyes shoot daggers at Rebecca as she quickly agrees that it would be the most logical course of action. If Vanguard is interested in a tour of their facility next week, she’s be glad to make it happen. She and Franklin walk away to oversee the transportation of their assets, but she continues to seethe, clenching and unclenching her fists the entire time.