We picked up our game where we left off last time, searching the underground installation in Provence for some clue as to the whereabouts of Dr. Methuselah, and the source of the ancient robots. We quickly found another room with robots in it: some more pawns, another knight, and a huge rook.
The robots activated and attacked when we tried to open the door on the far side of the room, and proceeded to try and take us apart. Widowmaker used her forcefield to keep the rook off us as we took apart the other robots, but then the door opened and the King came floating out.
Now, I’d been doing a little bit of gloating, I must confess, about how S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. was immune to the mind control ((Being a robot, and all.)) of the illithids during the invasion storyline, so I really should have seen what was coming. This King robot, which commanded the other robots, attacked me in my weak spot – my Mind – and took poor S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. over. I threw off the robot mind control for a panel, using my hero die, but completely flubbed my intended attack on the King, and resigned myself to going back under his command next panel.
Fortunately, the others noticed that the King had a glowing crystal attached to the back of his head, and… forcefully removed it. All of a sudden, he stopped fighting us, told the remaining robots ((Including the rook. The rook was nasty.)) to stand down, and released me from his control. Then he took off his mask, revealing a cadaverous human face behind it.
Turns out that this was the creator of the robots, himself essentially a cyborg with dead flesh. He had built his army of chessmen to aid the war effort against Germany, but something had gone wrong during his construction of the bishops, and he didn’t remember anything after that. What he did remember was how his wife had died, and he had tried to convert her to a cyborg like himself, but wound up with a Queen that had no more will and mind than his other creations.
With his help, we figured out that Dr. Methuselah had been retrieved from this installation by a group of agents that included at least one super-powered individual who could teleport and wasn’t Nightshade. They seemed to be able to control the King through that glowing crystal and, through him, the rest of the robots. As they left, the teleporter said something about the Mountain being grateful for his help ((This, of course, got my conspiracy theory lobes spinning into speculation about the Assassins, and the Old Man of the Mountain, and Templars, and so on. Don’t know if any of that will turn out to be applicable, but that’s where my brain went.)), and took off with the still-immobile Dr. Methuselah.
Checking the dates of things, we found that the shut down of the King’s facility occurred at about the same time as the Centurions had vanished, and super-heroes had generally disappeared all those decades ago. And that the reactivation of him and his army coincided with our discovery of the Century Club HQ in Manhattan. This was our first confirmation that whatever had happened in 1936 ((Is that year right, Clint?)) was world-wide, and not isolated to the United States ((This was corroborated by the fact that the King had sold a few hundred hover-sleds to Russia, and they didn’t see service during WWII, any more than the King’s robots or any of the German advanced inventions that the robots were built to counter.)).
We decided then to go check out the Century Clubhouse in Paris ((Which Clint hadn’t prepared for. But the man’s good; he was able to give us something to investigate, interesting things to find, and some challenges to overcome, all right off the cuff. If I hadn’t known what the subtle signs of GM surprise look like – from having experienced them so often from the inside – I wouldn’t have known he hadn’t set this up in advance. So kudos to Clint!)), to see if there were any clues there as to what had happened. When we located it and found the secret entrance, we discovered that, like we had done in Manhattan, some new heroes had discovered the headquarters and moved in.
Unlike in Manhattan, these heroes all seemed to have been slaughtered in an attack on the clubhouse. The place was torn up, and bodies were strewn about, dressed in super-hero costumes. Any records had been either removed or destroyed. We found a hidden lab that seemed to be untouched, with an isolated computer, showing that someone had been investigating genetic origins of super powers, which we decided would be best removed and examined at our leisure.
That’s about where we left the game. We’ve got the ID from one of the bodies, and we’re looking at following up on that next game, then we’re looking at investigating some of the other Century Clubs in various cities, to see if we can uncover more of the mystery of what happened to all the heroes just before WWII.