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Livewires: SHIELD, AIM and more

 

THERMOGENTECH RESEARCH

pyronanosThis government funded research lab was the Livewires target in issue 1. They’d obtained a cell sample of the original Human Torch. Their aim was to weaponize it into a semi-sentient virus.They succeed, creating the Pyronanos.

Pyronanos are colonies of nanobots that take the form of large humanoids with four arms and gaping maw. The nanobots are capable of spawning, either increasing their physical size or creating entirely new Pyronanos.

Like the Human Torch their cells react with air, becoming incredibly hot. Their systems can then channel this heat to power themselves, direct it super heated beams or allow them to fly. Thus, while they appear to be covered in flames, they are not actually burning.

Presumably, like the Human Torch, if a nanobot was cut off from an air supply its cells would become inert and cease producing heat. The lack of energy could force the hive colony to hibernate, making it easier to store Pyronanos.

The Pyronanos were shown to be intelligent enough to construct a volcano cannon, using the research labs elevator shaft as a barrel extension. They planned to use the cannon to blast swarms across the world, spreading their infection.

It would appear that their primary purpose was to multiply and spread. If not stopped they would have turned the Earth into a fiery wasteland. Luckily the Livewires were able to use a gamma-ray laser to trigger runaway overheating in the Pyronanos, causing them to all explode in a mile-high fireball.

The Livewire team hope that this breakout will dissuade Thermogentech Research from continue creating Pyronanos. It remains to be seen if that is the case and they could return in your adventures.

The Pyronanos are a enemy that can’t be reasoned with, a living virus of fire that spreads and infect areas with a frightening speed. They make the perfect terrorist weapon, a small Pyronano colony capable of replicating itself quickly.

Releasing them in a confined area on a plane, train or ship would be devastating. Worse still, the Pyronanos would continue to spread from the vehicles crash-site. This could be part of a terrorist attack or simply an accident, caused when samples of Pyronanos are being transported.

This could be the start of an adventure, with the PC heroes responding to plane crash which has created a forest fire that refuses to be put out. In the midst of searching for survivors they come under assault from the Pyronanos. They must contain the machine colonies and find a way to disable them before tracking down their source.

Since they are just colonies of nanobots the physical form and abilities of the Pyronanos are completely re-configurable. Small colonies might take the form of fire hounds, becoming man-sized as they replicate and could even become fire giants. Ultimately it is a choice of having a few large Pyronanos or hordes of smaller versions.

Their size could dictate just how powerful their energy blasts are. More intelligent models might have elemental control of fire, able to create living fire constructs. The Afflict and Counterattack SFX are perfect for representing that hand to hand attacks are likely to result in the attacker getting burnt.

A particularly nasty way to use the Pyronanos is to give them the Transmutation power (D10 or D12). These Pyronanos can ‘infect’ a target, the colony of nanobots spreading across the target setting them alight while the machines burrow inwards to covert them into a walking frame.

This would lead to the creation of flaming Pyronanos zombies, their victims turned into burning husks that wish only to spread the infection to others. It is very unlikely that a victim could be saved, not without terrible burns.

You might also consider how the Pyronanos react to heroes with fire powers. If they infected such a character would the colony be able to boost its power output by taking advantage of their abilities?

This could lead to a situation in which the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four is infected by the Pyronanos. His abilities give hope that he can be saved but while under the Pyronanos control he is even more powerful and dangerous.

The existence of Thermogentech Research does raise the question of what other research labs are trying to wepaonize the abilities of other super beings?  PC heroes might find themselves dealing with a similar outbreak based on their own powers.

AIM

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Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) are typically dressed in yellow bee-keeper costumes. It can become stuffy inside these but ventilation units are supposed to make it bearable. Under no circumstances should they remove their mask, as this would ruin the AIM mystique.

They are capable of producing tankers full of nanofluid. Travelling in convoys the tankers are carefully monitored. Not only do sensors ensure that the seals are intact and the contents stable the exterior are patrolled by microsurveillance assets, miniature insectiod robots with tiny cameras. Wireless communication feeds ensure that AIM agents stay in contact.

Nanofluid is a reconfigurable liquid. Simply issue an order to the billions of nanobots and they will take any form you wish, even building fully working mecha suits. The nanobots communicate via tiny lasers, causing the nanofluid to sparkle when a transformation is triggered.

Nanofluid can be customised to follow specific orders. The most useful of these is the ability to reset the nanobots to a liquid state. This can prevent enemies from attempting to take control of the fluid to use for themselves.

AIM will work for clients, producing whatever pieces of illegal technology they might require, bringing the goods to pre-arranged collection points. They go to great lengths to ensure that their client is happy, typically because they aren’t the type of people you want to anger.

Defectors can end up working for Project Lamplight. There they can use stolen research from AIM in the service of the government. Members of the project are provided with mansions fitted with state of the art security. There they and their families can live apparently legitimate lives. Given their background it is likely that the government would still keep them under surveillance, in case they went back to their old ways.

Project Lamplight would be an interesting way to have PC heroes interacting with former AIM agents. Could the heroes trust them, even when they are giving them new technology or information about AIM?

Such defectors are targets for The Real AIM, a splinter group of the main organisation. They believe that only they remain true to the original ethos of the group, taking extreme measures to further their goals but also to eliminate those who they feel have betrayed them.

The Real AIM offer the opportunity for adventures centring around infighting within AIM. Would heroes try to save AIM members threatened by the Real AIM? Would they try to intensify the situation so that the organisation falls into chaos?

SHIELD

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The Life Model Decoys (LMD) continue to be used by the organisation, becoming ever more advanced. Designed to perfectly impersonate SHIELD personnel (especially Nick Fury) they are able to pass fingerprint checks, retina scans, voiceprints and even DNA checks as the real thing.

One such LMD was targeted by a HYDRA created smartfluid. Its programming was corrupted and spread to other LMDs, forming a hive-mind that thought and spoke like Nick Fury.

These rogue Nick Fury LMDs obtained a wrecked SHIELD helicarrier through a private contractor. It was one of 5 known wrecks (2 are off the coast of New York) which was then turned into a floating research lab.

Encircled by nanofogs that created the appearance of clouds around the craft the unnamed carrier, nicknamed the White Whale by the Livewires, was a high-priority target.

Heavily armed the White Whale was staffed by LMDs in modified mecha suits of all shapes and sizes. One such LMD was large enough to be sent down as a grappling hook to hoist the AIM tanker full of nanofluid onboard.

It is unknown what projects were carried out onboard. The Livewires took it as a good sign that they had to go to AIM to obtain the nanofluid, suggesting they weren’t technologically advanced in that area.

During the on-going battle between the Livewire team and the LMDs various large containers were seen. Suspended in fluid were a variety of giant body parts from a number of different species. It is possible they were attempting to build an enormous patch work monster for some reason.

At the conclusion of Issue 6 the White Whale is destroyed but that doesn’t prevent it from being used prior to the events of this comic. Just what was the hive-mind LMD doing all those years?

The sheer power of both the modified LMDS and the firepower possessed by the heli-carrier make it a fearsome opponent. It is entirely possible that the LMDs carried out raids on other organisations, stealing the scientific equipment they needed.

They could be behind any number of dangerous experiments or employee other villains to carry out their evil plans. There is a lot of freedom to determine just what their agenda is.

There is also the possibility that there is another converted heli-carrier. With 2 more wrecked carriers unaccounted for it is possible that not all of the LMDs were onboard the White Whale. It would be just like Nick Fury (or a robot that thinks like him) to make sure he had a back-up plan.

The Livewires could encounter the hive-mind in the future, or another group of hero PCs might find themselves challenged by the rogue SHIELD technology. SHIELD could find itself vulnerable to an enemy that absorb the rest of the LMDs into their ranks and access their secrets.

Games based around the Dark Avengers during ‘Dark Reign’ could have an adventure based around HAMMER coming under attack by one of these rogue SHIELD carriers. Alternatively PC heroes might temporary ally with the rogue carrier in the hopes of striking a blow against HAMMER.

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