Having found themselves in dire straights alongside the enigmatic Task Force Zero within the ruins of Serenity, a fragile truce was worked out with the faction as they agreed that terminating the category-3 Phage creature was of the utmost priority. Ryker enlisted The Whisperer, Axel, and Sharpe to lure the massive super-mutant away from Axel’s old shop in which they were trapped, and tear into it was a powerful automated turret that Axel had repaired. After a dangerous chase, the winged creature was finally felled. However just as the dust had seemed to have settled, the ground cracked apart and the behemoth burrowing Phage that had terrorized the party before lunged forth from beneath the bedrock and seized the flying Phage in its jaws, disappearing from sight.
Ryker was barely able to collect himself having understood the development in the situation. He elected to return to Haven and report this disastrous event to his leader, Vortigus. The group resolved to accompany Ryker to Haven under the pretense of exchanging information about the Phage but hoping to work out a deal to enlist the help of Task Force Zero in the siege of Serenity.
Along the way to Haven it was revealed that Ahri was a human enlistee amongst the ranks of Task Force Zero. Coral Rose sensed and opportunity to deploy her wiles. After a few days of travel, the convoy encountered a raider group but surprisingly the raiders announced their presence and initiated parley with the convoy. Ryker seemed to know of them and they began to exchange goods, among which was a noticeable refrigerated container that may or may not have had organs inside. Coyote recognized one of the raiders as a survivor of his old band the Lords of the Plains, a man named Dustwolf. Coyote approached his former raider-brother and was given information on the Raider King who has united various clans of raiders into a formidable force.
Upon arriving at Haven the party swerved through a concealed mine-field just to approach and then submitted to strict security searches for entry privileges. William was able to conceal one of his handguns beneath his armor plating. The party was led to a huge freight elevator that descended into “The Commons” of Haven, during which Coral extracted an electronic key/squib from Ahri with an incredibly deft burglary skill. Once within the Commons, they were surprised to see many humans living among the smart mutants.
The party was quickly whisked away to another highly-secure elevator that descended far down into the depth of Haven, to Vortigus’s research wing, scattered with an unsettling array of in-progress experiments and surgical equipment. There they encountered Sonia Powell and a recovering Jonah, before Vortigus announced himself.
Vortigus is frighteningly intelligent and and anomaly even among smart mutants. Protruding from his back are a pair of Caduceus armatures that bespeak his immense knowledge and skill in surgery and technology. Vortigus heard out the account of the party, and was willing to lend the aid of Task Force Zero on the condition that a certain device that went missing from Magellan is recovered on his behalf. He is even willing to lend his forces at an earlier time, provided that the party agrees to have remote explosive rings surgically installed around their trachea for “insurance.” Certainly the less desirable situation.
Vortigus went on to explain that the device from Magellan is in fact a weaponized mutagen that pertains to the origin of mutant life in the wastes. He offered the reasoning that if he were to acquire this sample, he could reverse engineer it to manufacture a cure, that could be used to combat mutagenic effects, even as a countermeasure against the ever-threatening Phage. He went on to reveal that Day-Zero was a last-resort contingency that was enacted to try and mitigate the effects of this mutagen being unleashed in the past (and even then, wasn’t a complete solution).
Jonah awakened and offered thanks to Vortigus but Vortigus reveals that he had taken the opportunity to use Jonah as an interesting experiment; he had successfully implanted a mutant organ replacement for Jonah’s liver, much to the behest of Dr. Powell and Jonah who were beside themselves with shock. It was then revealed that Vortigus and “Adam” are one in the same. What exactly is Dr. Powell’s connection to this Adam?