It has been a hard, hard month for the Jokers, and for the city of Kingsdale. The quarantine has been stressful, making a month feel like years. Promising treatments turned out to have nasty side-effects. Conspiracy theories abounded, pointing the blame at different groups, some plausible, others less so. Riots started breaking out in earnest. The Mayor was nearly assassinated. Food is now being rationed, fomenting more resentment.
The team has suffered, as well. Herra went up against another Mind Melter after exposing a plot by a CS operative trying to turn the quarantine into an incitement to riot among the humans in the Dregs. Though she won, she was gravely injured, and was only able to save herself by some exotic technique which also seems to have caused her to leave this plane of existence.
Sara the TW automaton has simply disappeared, and proven impossible to track down.
Finally, Callie was straight-up murdered in an alleyway. However, the Psi-Ghost's death did manage to point the remaining trio--Growler, Chok'lat and Roy--in the right direction, finally. It was determined that her attackers--who also appear to be involved with, if not the masterminds behind the virus--are staying in an old hotel in the Dregs called The Brick. Unfortunately, with numbers so thin, it's uncertain if you'll be able to follow up on this lead.The city's forces are stretched too thin to provide much assistance, at least in a timely fashion.
And then the TW array you brought here comes to life, and with a message from Hope, and Castle Refuge--new recruits are coming, and will be in the city by dawn. You'll have to meet them in the basement of an abandoned storage building, however, as they are being smuggled in past the quarantine....
Castle Refuge, Briefing Room:
Each of you is a relatively new arrival at Castle Refuge. You all have your own reasons for joining the Legion, but whatever it was that brought you here, you hadn't been expecting to get woken up in the wee hours before dawn. "Welcome to the Legion, Recruit," says the violet-skinned D-bee in front of you, his shock-white hair perfectly in place, as if he were always awake at 3 AM. "I am Corporal Allistair Montcrief. Get dressed and get your pack ready, and then head down to Briefing Room 14A. You and the other new members of the 7th SET will receive your first assignment once you're all assembled. Take this" He hands you a map showing the precise route from your quarters to Briefing Room 2A, complete with landmarks.
"Ah, right. Okay, folks. Welcome to the Jokers. The main team, as some of you may have heard, have been caught up in the Kingsdale quarantine--and yes, it's an actual quarantine. Nasty virus, magic-resistant and toxic to arcane types. If you've got EBA armor, try to use it as much as possible. Good news is, the team's finally got a lead on where the responsible parties are holed up. Bad news is, the team's taken some serious losses during this mission. One casualty, several MIAs. So we pulled you all from the recent recruit batch to go in and help them with the assault on the hideout; you'll most likely be permanent members of the 7th going forward, as well. Get your gear, and get down to the motor pool, now. Getting you into the city's going to be tricky, and we need to get it done fast, before the bad guys find a way to scarper."
She goes back to looking over the paperwork in front of her, her shoulders slumping down a bit as she scans the sheets, and starts signing.
Kratchet thumbs at the vehicle. "Get in, get comfy and don't bug me with too much jabber." Once you're all packed in--and it does require a bit of 'packing', as much of the center and rear of the vehicle's passenger space is taken up with hydraulics that are only a screen mesh from losing a finger. Jarvis' PA suit is a bit of a sticking point, until Kratchet gives a disgusted snort, goes in and detaches the seat from the floor and just pushes it out into the garage of the motor pool. "You'll have to just brace yourself. Rest of you put your harnesses on, and don't touch anything!" he adds, gruffly.
Most of the trip is above ground, but a few miles outside of Kingsdale, he comes to a stop and activates the hyrdraulics, lifting the rear end of the vehicle without preamble (anyone not using the harness--or in J'onns' case, braced and ready--at that point gets dumped from their seat in an undignified manner), and activates the drill, breaching the surface of the ground and going in. From this point on, conversation inside the vehicle is almost impossible, as the noise of the drill and what is apparently a means of ejecting soil behind them to fill up the hole makes it impossible to hear anything but an absolute bellow.
The three remaining (surviving?) original Jokers are brought by one of the Mayor's aides to a warehouse just outside the Dregs, and led down into a basement, where part of the flooring has been broken open, revealing bare earth. Just as you arrive, there's a massive rumbling, and suddenly a drill-head bursts through the exposed ground! A bizarre, barrel-shaped vehicle follows, and once it has emerged enough, a side-door opens; the occupants have to cope with the fact that the 'barrel' is still at an angle in order to get out. As soon as everyone and their gear is out, the door shuts again, and it reverse-drills back out, mostly refilling the hole--while it's clear that the ground has been disturbed, it wouldn't be possible to go back down it again more than a couple feet without some tunneling equipment of your own.