Heroic Portland

Carnies and Rats

The heroes attend an organizational meeting for the Nob Hill Neighborhood Watch. Captain Durbin introduces them to Edward Carson, the head of the neighborhood association. He agrees to bring the neighbors that have been robbed so far to a room in which the heroes can interview them about the robberies. While mingling with the crowd Ion overhears many of the crowd talking about a rat infestation in the neighborhood. During the interviews it becomes apparent that the only items getting stolen are small jewelry and other valuables. Seraphim has the idea that it might be the rats that are stealing everything and begins to ask questions about when they first noticed the rat problem as well as the dates of the robberies. The circumstantial evidence seems to point in the direction of someone controlling the rats. One robbery seems to have coincided with a wet bathroom floor, as if the toilet had overflowed or something had come out of it. Investigating the exterior of the house Bronze Fist finds what appears to be a females footprints near the clean out. Bronze Fist takes to the sewers in an attempt to locate the villain responsible. He spends several days wandering the tunnels from Nob Hill all the way down to Portland’s waterfront area with no success.

Meanwhile The Midnight Wiz, Seraphim, and Ion work with Capt. Derbin to try and find more clues. A computer search pulls up additional unsolved robberies with a similar MO, though no where near as frequent as the happenings in Nob Hill. The robberies go back as far as three years in various neighborhoods around Portland, though never more than one in a given month. Capt. Durbin decides to widen the search and discovers a trail of robberies with the same MO that leads away from Portland in reverse chronological order and down through California and then back east from there. Armed with the dates of the robberies he widens the search again and a couple of days later comes up with a traveling side show act that’s tour dates seem to fit the pattern. Coincidentally the “Ringmaster” of the act was arrested three years ago in Portland while attempting to break in to the Intel/Mattel Smart Toy Lab in downtown Portland. He is currently residing in the Castle Rock facility as he exhibited super human abilities during capture, he was sentenced to 25 years. One of the side shows acts was a young woman who trained rats to perform many amazing tricks. Looking deeper into her history, a sealed file is found with juvenile records, it will take a court order to open. A picture of the young woman is found though, as well as her stage name and real name. Sharon Wells aka Vermina.

The heroes take to the streets and begin asking homeless people if they have seen anything suspicious. A couple of Portland’s street people talk of the rat queen who lives in the Shanghai tunnels under Portland. A few have seen her, no one has ever tried to follow her though. Seraphim locates some maps of the tunnels from tour companies. They are far from complete but provide a starting point in the search. After several hours searching they stumble across a group of rats that squeal and run away, the heroes give chase and find a large, dimly lit, room. A dingily dressed young woman screams “Attack!” and large swarms of the rats rush at the intruding heroes. Vermina herself leaps into the fray, trading a quick couple of blows with Bronze Fist. Ion whips up a mini hurricane in the room and Vermina decides it is time to flee. She rushes to a trap door leading to a warren of tunnels and makes good her escape. Midnight Wiz investigates the room that Vermina has been living in while Ion, Seraphim, and Bronze Fist attempt to find Vermina. Several exits are found from the maze of tunnels, it seems she has disappeared into the Portland streets. She did leave behind a pile of stolen goods though. The pile of loot is gathered up and returned to it’s rightful owners. The various insurance companies cough up finders fees for our heroes to the tune of $10,000. While not the $50,000 prize for capturing the villain, it is a nice payday for two heroes in particular with no day jobs to sustain them.



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