• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

Dark*Matter, Discovery: A Quiet Little Assignment


Hoffmann Institute, Department Seven Chicago Office
February fifth, 9:32 AM
Team Libra

About three weeks have gone by since the confrontation with Cliff Kenzington. There had been no word of him, despite the Institute’s best efforts. It was as if he had vanished off the face of the earth, which could very well be accurate, given his means of escape.

Harland was of the opinion that the portal he’d opened had been an inter-dimensional one, specifically, to an infernal realm. He also noted that this meant Cliff had a powerful associate amongst the ranks of demon lords, if he was confident enough to actually go to the infernal realms without fear of being brutally tortured for an eternity.

Unfortunately, this also implied that he possessed a great deal of power, and, essentially, a hideout and transportation method that was impregnable to the Hoffmann Institute for the time being. It was a worrisome prospect, and much time and effort was being funneled into finding a method to apprehend Cliff.

Stanfield also reported that the collective vision the team had experienced was being taken very seriously by his superiors, and that it’s been brought to the highest levels. Reportedly, Dr Nakami III himself has taken an interest. Prophecy, as you’ve been told before, is an area of serious interest for the Hoffmann Institute. Particularly ones foretelling doom and gloom like yours.

In the meantime, you’ve been called into the office for a Class I-4a assignment. Institute terminology for a non-urgent investigation that may take a few days. You’ve put your affairs in order for the next week (thanks to Institute influence, those of you still working day jobs find leaves of absence approved without question).

You’re in the briefing room, making small talk with the administrative team while waiting for Stanfield to get off the phone in his office and start the briefing. Z’s flirting with Cade while showing him a new OSIRS application, Harland’s talking magic with Nick and Leo’s trying to chat up Meredith.

log in or register to remove this ad


That Night:

oO I still don' know what to make of this Oo thinks the young man to himself. While it looks like a pair of friends out on the town, appearances are never that simple. It's a celebration of survival, it's a clumsy dating ritual, it's a pair of co-workers figuring things out, it's a faerie princess and a mortal common sharing pints after a warlock was driven from the city after killing several women in a quest for unknown power. oO How is it that my work for Hoffmann is so much easier to get than where this is going with Z and I? Oo

However, it dawns on Cade and a smile flash on his face, one that is returned by his companion. oO It doesn't matter. Enjoying our time together and keeping Z safe, that matters. Enjoy today, for tomorrow we may die. Oo

"You know what, Z?" Cade says as he looks sincerely at her. "I'm really glad that you suggest this, good company, good drinks."

The three weeks in-between:

More and more Cade's contracting business becomes a cover, although he still does a lot of design work, he also contracts trusted survey teams to inspect the locations and install teams to put in the security systems.

More and more Cade focuses on his life at the Hoffmann Institute, between honing his skills, checking up on Team Libra, and spending time with Z. It is quite obvious that the young man is entrenched in what he does at Hoffmann and that his old life is more of a thing of the past, of a previous stage on his life, like how academic life was a different stage that he graduated from.

While he keeps in touch with his family, Cade only plans trips back home as needed, yet his family understands.

When Cade is at Hoffmann, he spends a lot of time at the range, specifically the walk-through range, sometimes known as Hogan's Alley or, more Hoffmann specific, Shadow Alley. His abilities start to become more smooth and natural, the tumbling and leaping of his free running mixing with his usage of firearms and his technical expertise.

Not one to push anything, Cade mostly contacts Team Libra casually, making sure that they're okay and, if needed, helping them out as needed. Not only are they part of the same Team, but they're some of the only folk who can understand what they've been through, thus some of the only folk that they can turn to and talk about these things.

And then there is Z, someone Cade just enjoys being with and he takes it as it is, not forcing anything or oversetting his expectations. Sure, he gets her things, things he finds out she likes, and it's obvious that he likes her...it's gossip for some of the office folk...however, Cade just appreciates their time together and takes things as they come.

During this time, Cade also deals with the armory, a lot, as he sets up various field kits for Team Libra. Kits that the team can request, so as to not be scrambling as much and coming out under prepared. He's not pushy, though, and accepts advise from the armory on what would work and what wouldn't, but he's firm, too. Team Libra won't suffer for lack of preparation, ever.


Reaching over Z's shoulder, to point at something on the screen, Cade grins as he says, "Oh, I see, so this right here..." The minutia of the details of the conversation is lost, be it in techno babble or the lowering of tones. Cade's sidearm is visible, as he is carrying it in a concealed holster on his strong side, at the belt, and it leans slightly forward or a quick, tactical draw.

Sure, the mission is classified as non-urgent and low-priority, however that doesn't mean being unprepared.


Diego spent much of the past three weeks getting serious about training, both in combat and in tapping his psionic abilities. With the help of Hoffman's facilities and trainers, he did make significant progress in both areas.

However, he remains unsatisfied with his progress. Sure, his mindblade is cool, and he is able to wield it better than ever, but in a world awash in guns, it rarely would be his weapon of choice when a job turns violent. It might be more useful if he could use the energy to form a shield, as he now knew some people could. But the trick still eluded him.

As for his social life, he still went out on the weekends, but his mind was on other things right now. He would let it take a back seat for a while.

When he shows up at the briefing, he notes with some satisfaction that he is not late this time.


First Post
Larry had spent the three weeks working on his abilities. He'd tried been casual before, and it had almost gotten him killed. He'd discovered that his ability to ingratiate himself with others had always been a latent skill of his, and he now could control it a lot better. His teachers were pleased that he had finally started focusing on his studies. He didn't know why he had had a change of heart, all he knew was that he would do the best for his friends. He hadn't ahd that many of them over the years, but these had already proved how far they would go to cover him.

He avoided smirking at Cade. Joker could be so self confident at most things, but he still was very nervous around Z. Larry shrugged. He always had it easy when it came to the ladies, but he never had felt about someone the way those two apparently did about each other. Hopefully he would realize he didn't need to keep dancing around her, and do something about it.


After several moments, Stanfield walked into the room, setting a folder down on the table as he sat.

"Good to see all of you,"
he said, nodding at Team Libra. "I've got something nice and easy for you today, a simple fact finding mission, nothing grand. Nice change of pace, eh? A quiet, little investigation."

He tapped a few keys, and brought up the hologram, displaying the front page of the national inquirer. Secretary Abducted by Aliens! was the headline.

"Megan Brandowich, aged twenty-seven, secretary for the manager of the Crystolleum Chemical plant in the town of Greenway Crossing. About a four hour drive south-west from here,"
he said, switching to a driver's license photo of a pretty, caucasian blonde with brown eyes. "She claims to have been abducted by aliens while biking home four nights ago. The details in the story are vague, but she claimed that a UFO appeared above her, and sucked her in through a beam of light, whereupon she was held captive for several hours before waking up at home."

"There are certain factors that are making us consider this story to be truthful, rather than the work an attention seeker,"
he continued, switching the holographic display to show the location of Greenway Crossing on the state map. "For starters, she did not approach the media on her own. Rather, she accidentally let it slip online, where a reporter from the Inquirer picked up on it and interviewed her. As well, there are no contradictions in her claim. She provides a fairly detailed timeline of events leading up to and after the abduction, with witnesses capable of verifying her presence. Most fakes, we find, tend to fall apart very quickly under simple scrutiny. When we come across a case like this, that we can't disprove so easily, that's when we start to get interested."

"What we want you to do is standard investigation and cover up. You'll be posing as Hoffmann Institute agents in our official, public role. Investigate the claim, and try to find a perfectly natural explanation for it, for the people involved and the press, while finding out the truth for the Institute."

"Like I said, nice and simple. There shouldn't be any fighting or threats. Just find out the truth, and then get a reasonable explanation so that the victim here can sleep more easily at night."

Stanfield tapped the podium, and switched off the holograms. "Any questions?"
Last edited:


First Post
"You sure you want all of us on this one? Seems like a milk run, and probably me and Meredith could handle it ourselves." This is what Larry did best, after all, and Meredith was a reporter. She should know what to ask.


"Better to have more bodies than you need, then to need more bodies and not have them," says Cade. "It'd be easy under the Hoffmann Institute guise, we've got a pair of interviewers supported by research and technical crew."

"Plus, when has something simple ever actually gone simple?" Cade says the last bit with a grin as he recalls how Team Libra first met. "I mean, seriously, what's more simple than a visit to the library?"


Nick sits in a chair barely listening, his calloused fingers roughly massaging his temples. It seems that the farther he digs into his arcane research, the more distant he becomes. And his research is all he's had since Cliff Kenzington's escape; he's had no contact with his partners from team Libra... hadn't even called his daughter during the downtime or in the weeks prior.

And now Stanfield's talking about a quiet little mission with aliens.


[sblock=OOC]Nick is leveled up, btw. I think he's good, but I wouldn't mind if someone double checked. It has been a while.[/sblock]


First Post
"well there is that. But I have a feeling that this one will be easy. Trust me." Larry smiled easily, and got ready to leave. "Anything else, boss? Anything special that might have slipped your mind?"


Stanfield shook his head. "Nothing that we know of yet. We'll keep you updated as to how our investigation goes back here."

"I'll be doing some digging while you're enroute, see if I can come up with anything in her background that's not in the public record," Z added.

Stanfield glanced toward Nick, a sympathetic look on his face. "Nick," he said softly. "I know what you're going through. The betrayal of a friend... it's not an easy thing."

Remove ads