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PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
You get a brief glimpse of green text scrolling across the device when the vortex explodes around you. As the winds fade, your father faces you. He tries to say something, but when he opens his mouth thick black ichor spills out. Looking down, you see a huge tooth plunged into his gut, your hands wrapped around the base. Another pair of hands enclose yours, also dark with ichor. A second pair of hands slide up your hips and hold you tight. A third pair of hands graze your shoulder blades before seizing your neck. Breath in your ear, hot, sweet, carrion-tainted.

“Murderer. A life for a life, justice will be done.” A woman’s voice, freezing your heart and inflaming your nethers at the same time. Teeth, small and sharp, close on your ear. The pain wakes you, and you look around Corgi’s empty shop from your spot on the floor. The air is full of a sickly-sweet smell, and from the doorway one of Corgi’s hardboiz grins evilly at you. Her blackened and broken teeth set hooks into your brain, but not as much as the match she thumbs alight. Winking, she throws it down, and the floor bursts into flames.


Vaya
Your boiz take up position around the perimeter of Waterway, crouched behind the wooden fence or in the handful of redoubts around the gate. They’re tense, the earth-rattle is unnerving them. But they know the score and maintain their positions. With one last rending crash of a tree being shouldered aside, the doom stomper comes into view.

On cue, Ray revs Cross’ engine, and the stomper pauses. It rotates back-and-forth slightly, as if the driver needs help taking in the full spacing of your forces. It raises its flamer-arm and sends a gout of fire towards Waterway. At this distance it doesn’t do more than wash warm air over your face, and the swamp-wood is too waterlogged to catch.

“This is your last chance Vaya, tribute is better than being dead!” The loudener makes the pilot’s voice easy to hear, especially the hint of nervousness. The stomper side-steps a bit, taking it off the raised road.


Yx
The shape makes its way through the complex down towards the lower levels, the amount of traffic in the crowded halls making it easy to blend into the background. After several minutes it comes to a large open room, painted green and full of people at long tables. One wall of the room is taken up with trays of foodstuffs, mostly breads and other staples.

The man-shape ignores the food-wall and sits down at a table in the corner. An actual person is there already, dressed in finery and idly spearing at a plate of food. The shape begins to talk to the eater, but the general noise of the Green Room makes it difficult to hear anything at this distance.


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar hits you with a pure guileless smile of joy for a moment before she remembers her ‘tough’ affectation. “Then I’m your boi, my Saint. I think I know the Ess-Ohpee you speak of. After the Bright Man defeated the Mother of Destruction, a prophet came to my ancestors. He brought with him the Book of Ways, so that we could keep it safe. Those that accepted his charge and added the Book of Ways to the Old Book and the New Book became the Dox. Its said that the original Book was lost during Titan’s End, but copies were made. Each enclave will have one of the blessed copies. The Works, the Innerprise wreck, and First Light Mountain.”

Your march has brought you out of the wooded hills around Woodhold, the central grasslands of the Valley strech before you. To the south, the air above ‘The Bonefield’ ripples and pulses in patterns that hurt your eyes, the skeletal platforms and gantries... things twisting against the sky. To the west, The Works is still a smoggy blot on the otherwise clear sky. It now sports a large metal framework that towers above it, colored lights flashing at the top against the midday sun.


SKADI
The de Machina woman gives you some sort of one-fingered salute over her shoulder. Looking around the courtyard, you see a handful of Revenants eying you speculatively. Most of them are in a group at one of the food stalls, watching you over the rims of their soup-bowls. They’re dressed in ragged armor and have a motley collection of weapons leaning against the stall. Local warriors of some sort.

There’s another one though, separate from the warriors. Dressed in layers of ragged cloth, its hard to make out much detail. But their eyes follow your progress across the courtyard, to the extent of ignoring the person they seem to be haggling with.

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megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP +----> | 6-Barter

I slide into the Green Room and observe from behind a line of people waiting to collect their food. Fascinating. Doesn't she realize that she's talking to an empty chair? Hm. I guess not. I suppose it's understandable; people make the same mistake when talking to me.

Someone coughs gently, and I realize I am in his way. Bowing slightly in apology, I take a bowl of what looks like mushroom soup from one of the trays and move across the room to sit at an open table where I can still watch the well-dressed woman and the ugly discoloration she's speaking with.

I close my useless eyes. Now I can see, truly. I push aside the rushing noise of the crowd, return to the darkness and silence, as they taught me down below. Deny the shadow, eat the light. Open the first door. The second, the third. Listen. Listen.

Do you hear it?

@Yx (megane): 2d6+2 o p e n y o u r m i n d = (1+6)+2 = 9

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 3+1/5 | Barter: 3

With a shout, I flip up to my feet and pull out my pistol. I have to get out, and back to my father. The hardboi tosses the match, but I see the color fade from her. It will be no problem to get through.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 Visions Of Death = (5+3)+1 = 9
The hardboi dies
Marking XP for rolling Weird


I run towards the door, firing at her on the way. I don't want her being a threat by the time I get to the exit.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6-1 Fight Your Way Free = (2+4)-1 = 5
Includes +1 from Read A Situation
I win free and get away, inflicting 2 Harm on the hardboi

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

When you lead a group of people in a tense situation, it's important to keep your head clear. Adrenaline is good in a scrap but it can lead to rash decisions. Same goes for fear. I'm feeling the effects of both of them as I see the stomper approaching us. I can't help but tense up a bit when the flamethrower shoots. The heat is unnerving, even at this safe distance.

I laugh at his posturing. "Wow, Crompton basically sent you here to die, didn't he? Do you really think that thing you're into is going to survive a crash with Crosses here?" I pat the car, and Ray, who can read a cue, revvs the engine some more. "This is your last chance, future corpse. If you don't jump out of that thing and surrender, we're going to fish you out of the wreck of it, and if you're not dead, we're going to make you wish you were. Isn't that right, boiz?"

I wish I felt as confident as I'm posturing. I'm sure Crosses can do some serious damage, but I'm not sure it's going to be enough to crush this thing as completely as I'm saying it will. And if it doesn't, we have pretty much no way to crack open that thing. But a dubious leader is bad for morale, and we have the upper hand. No harm in a little bluffing.

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2018 around 09:38

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | x x x x >>

Another revelation, though this one might have been more expected, I suppose. He made it out with our materials. Or escaped. Why? So that's me, Tamara, and...Giles

gently caress

why

how

Hold it together. I'm thankful for the balaclava, hides the confusion on my face from the girl. "Well, we're already going to the Works. Maybe we'll find Tamara, maybe we won't." I hold little faith that we'll find her. Ironic choice of words, though. "But we need the SOP." I pause. "Glad you're with me." It's not a lie. A dead factory lies in front of us. Maybe a dead soldier's ghost does too.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.



Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-2 | 0:00 Harm | 6:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●●●●○» | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


I had expected the mission to be clear, to be clean. To know who my enemies were, and how to strike at them. Part of me wishes to pretend its so, and break down the gate the de Machina woman is guarding. But what I need here are answers, and bringing fire and sword to this place is not going to give me them. Even if it would be satisfying.

The warriors draw my eye first, but is the ragged figure that draws me attention. I am not entirely sure why. But their interest seems something more than simple curiosity. There is no point in pretending subtlety, so I turn and make for them.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
You stare across the battlefield at the stomper, and it stares back at you. A moment stretches into a minute, then two. Suddenly the doom stomper lurches forward, falling to its knees. The engine sputters and dies.

Nothing moves for another minute or two, then you see Nitro making his way through the trees behind the stomper. He cautiously approaches, then he gives the ‘all-clear’. He trots over to Crosses, an amazed smile on his face. “Hey Bosslady, the fucker’s gone!”


Scarlet
(Exchange harm: Scarlet inflicts 2-harm vs. the hardboi’s 0-armor. The hardboi doesn’t have the range to inflict harm on Scarlet)

Two of your shot hit the hardboi high in the chest before she can connect with a punch, and she drops like a sack of rocks. You dive over her through the door moments before it too bursts into flames. A few bystanders have grabbed buckets, but they recoil from your gun.

Corgi and his other hardboi are no-where to be seen, but there seems to be some sort of hub-bub at the gate.


Yx
The vortex spreads its arms wide, lifting you up into its embrace. The EndSong is strong here, but out of sync. So many hearts filled with music, altering the rhythm of the beat. But there is no music in the woman’s heart, it is filled with gears and springs. Plans-within-plans.

But unlike her companion, she still exists so she echoes in the Song. Tick-Kill Dakota. Tock-Protect Dragon. Tick-Suborn the Knight. Tock-Find the Girl-Child.


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar snaps off a surprisingly correct salute, palm outward. You make good time over the open grassland, there’s less broken ground and ruins here. You actually hit a road of sorts, a partially paved track running east-west. A handful of travelers acknowledge your approach, but they seem to be keeping a closer eye on the Bonefields to the south. This close, the twisting air currents seem to unsettle the travelers, though you’re not too sure what the deal is.

Ahead of you, The Works grows large. The huge radio tower is the new addition, rising above the twist of metal pipes and towers. You can smell something, a thin petrochemical tang to the air that’s getting stronger.

There seems to be some sort of commotion on the road in front of you. A handful of rough types in outlandishly spiked armor and hair are ransacking a wagon made from a cut-down water tank. One steps back and shouts through cupped hands. “The Rokoff is upon us! All wishing to enter The Works must offer up their hitek to appease the Metal!”


SKADI
Unfortunately, Heracles is not outfitted for stealth operations. The figure (woman?) quickly figures your intent and makes to run, tossing a handful of cards at the junk-dealer they had been ignoring.

On the plus side, the press of bodies and machines impedes their progress almost as much as yours. A few moments of shuck-and-jive later, you’ve managed to get ahead of her. She whips out a small plastic device, a… EMP emitter?. Your suits systems are hardened so it wouldn’t cause any permanent damage, but its definitely a step above anything you’ve had brandished at you so far.

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Jun 10, 2018 around 02:07

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 4+1/5 | Barter: 3

I put my gun away and look at the ground, ignoring the people with the buckets. Corgi has that swamp vehicles of his, I bet he took it to flee. But the imprints on the ground will let me know where he went and I'll take it - over his dead body, if he desires. I head to the back of the shop in a run, following the tracks. Whatever is going on at the gate isn't my problem.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+3 Hunt Prey = (6+4)+3 = 13
I've driven him slightly outside Waterway, where Vaya's rules no longer apply
Marking XP for rolling Cool, and my advance is taking Absinthe as an Ally: Confidante

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.



Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-2 | 0:00 Harm | 6:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●●●●○» | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


"I believe you know that will not avail you against me," I tell the woman. "I am SKADI, a Valkyrie of Olympos, and I have questions you may well be able to answer. Let us speak instead of continuing this pointless pursuit."

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | x x x x >>

I ignore their request for tribute, striding forwards so we're not shouting at the top of our lungs. "I am here to see Mother Rust, and we will be talking about the Speaker from the Storm," I inform them.

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP +----> | 6-Barter

I shiver as I refocus on the waking world. This woman definitely bears watching; I haven't heard of a girl-child or anyone named Dakota, but I certainly know of the man-they-call-dragon that rules the Stockards -- Parrack sells some of her little treasures there, so I have seen him from a distance several times. Perhaps this woman is his servant? But that brings me no closer to learning what the man-shaped thing is. How can I understand something that does not sing? My hand twitches inside its special glove. If there weren't so many people here...

Well. There are. I can't make a move in public like this. I turn my attention to the tasteless soup. I don't know what it is, but it's not mushrooms, I can tell that much.

My interest is caught, however, when I overhear a newcomer telling his friend about the "Knight" who has just arrived. This can't be a coincidence; I hear the subtle harmony beneath. Glancing once more at the man-shape, I head downstairs towards the entrance courtyard. Perhaps the Knight can tell me what I need to know.

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor


I furrow my brow. I didn't see anyone come out. Where did the pilot go? Could it be remote controlled?

I allow myself a moment to consider the situation, then it's time to rally the troops. "Alright bois, good on you for keeping it frosty. Now, who's guarding the soutnern perimeter today?" An handful of people step up, amongst them Nitro and Broadside. "I want you keen now, you hear? Don't want Crompton's next move to trip us up. You see anything like that stomper there, you call me, you call reinforcements, right away. We didn't have to shoot this one down but we might have to in the future."

I then look through the windshield at Ray, who has killed the engine to save gas. Smart.

"Get Crosses back inside and then figure out how to operate that thing. We could use something with that much punch."

Once everyone's moving out to do what I tell them to, which is the only way you get anything done, really, I put the shotgun back in its holster and make my way to market. I'm deep in thought. As janky as it looked, there is no mistaking that that there's a war machine; one we can't defend ourselves easily from. What if Crompton could build more? He's a complete moron,but it doesn't take a lot of brains to point a gun at someone with the know-how and tell them to start building. Or to buy them from a third party?

Only one way to find out. I let my eyes unfocus, let my vision grow hazy. Gotta empty my mind enough that the Mother can enter, but leave enough of me that I can direct her power towards what I want to know. Come on, you old bitch. Where did Crompton get that stomper?

quote:

@Vaya (PXG): 2d6 Asking the storm about Crompton and his stompers = (1+4) = 5. Whelp

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jul 17, 2018 around 00:54

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
You start to rise up, borne aloft by the Vortex’s winds. Your mind spreads out, looking for the threads that would connect Crompton and the stomp. Almost there….

Suddenly the winds intensify, tossing you higher and higher. Mocking feminine laughter surrounds you, showing you everything.
-a sobbing girl, tied to a stake. Above her an enormous shape rises up, blotting out the sun.
-Death falling from the sky, wiping out Waterway in waves of flame.
-An armored woman enveloped in holy light, battling a fierce red wyrm.
-Yourself, standing over a pale woman with brightly colored hair. You empty your shotgun into her face.


You stumble towards the muddy ground, but strong arms catch you. Looking up you see Damson’s face, the beginnings of a frown forming. “You OK Baess? Did the stomper get you after all?” She turns towards a familiar figure a few feet away, the stupid-rear end googles still on his head. “Hey Pinto, go wake up Tarpaulin, tell him to bring his bag.”


Scarlet
Corgi had his swamp wheels, yes, but it looks like it made him greedy. The overloaded trike isn’t much faster than you, and you’ve got… dedication. You find him about a half-mile out of Waterway, gunning the engine trying to get some purchase with the tires. His remaining hardboi is jerking on a rope tied to the stuck vehicle, but looks up when you make the clearing. Corgi is oblivious, and you can see the hardboi’s eyes as he weighs his options.


Yx
The guards open the sally gate for you with almost undue haste, not even glancing at the grimey plastic card-and-string Mother Rust gave you as her token. You’re once more in the chaos of the outer courtyard, same as its ever been.

Except. Out by a gaggle of seller-stalls is the largest knight you’ve ever seen. Easily three-people tall, but wearing the same armor you saw on the walls of you cell in Folly. The knight is speaking to someone who you can’t see from this angle, and as you move to get a better view it hits you. It was harder to tell among the untuned chorus of the crowd, but the knight’s armor is empty.


Spec. Lombardi
You can see the walls of The Works maybe a hundred yards away, the folks manning the emplacements on top obviously ignoring the situation. The woman with the spikiest armor saunters over to you, eyeing you from head to toe.

“Wellanow, aren’t you just a delicious thing. Yur welcome to go in and gab with Mother Rust about whatever your fine self wants too. But His Grossness, the Lord of Pus, the Solo Flagellatronix himself has declared Ta-Riff. So off with those pretty toys of yours, and you and your batboi are free to enter The Works.”


SKADI
The rag-wrapped woman cautiously lowers the emitter. With her other hand, she brandishes a much-folded bit of paper, stained with age. Heracles’ cameras have some difficulty picking up what’s on it, but at last a mag-window opens up on your HUD:


“If you are truly a knight of the ancient order, speak to me the Runes of Acknowledgement. Only then shall you be proven.”

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 0+1/5 | Barter: 3

As I reach Corgi, I have my rifle out. I draw the scope to my eye, and aim it right at him. "I don't know what happened back there, but put everything valuable you have on the bike and give it to me." My finger is on the trigger, ready to pull if he tries to do anything else.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+3 Go Aggro on Corgi = (3+4)+3 = 10
If he sucks it up he takes 3 Harm (ap)
Marking XP for rolling Cold

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.



Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-2 | 0:00 Harm | 6:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●●●●○» | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


A warded seal? Here? Who is this woman? I key in the runes as I speak them. "63452628001."

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | x x x x >>

I take an exasperated breath in. "Walking Saints don't pay petty tolls," I explain to her - old hockey pads with elaborate spikes attached look intimidating, but not actually that helpful if you're only wearing a bra under it - she evaluates, I evaluate - where were we -

"And if His Grossness would like a word with me, he can talk to me himself, inside the Works." That's disgusting. Maybe she'll take the wrong hint. I hope Little Maria doesn't.

Captain Foo fucked around with this message at Jun 15, 2018 around 12:37

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

I look up to see Damson. My throat is dry; my stomach feels like I swallowed a brick. Why her? Why, in all the goddamn people in this goddamn wasteland, did you have to show me her? loving Mother. If the whackjobs that worship you ever build a church, I'm going to take a poo poo in it.

For now, I gotta deal with this.. hallucination? It has to be an hallucination. It makes no sense that it'd be anything else. I wave my hand. "No, no, I'm fine, Damson. Just feeling a little light-headed. A drink of water and I'll be fine."

I look beyond her (not just because seeing her make the weight in my stomach that much heavier) and at Pinto. "So, uh, Pinto. Everything alright? Any... news?"

What the gently caress are you supposed to ask a shadow of a dead man?

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP ++---> | 6-Barter

Empty... I freeze at the entrance to the courtyard, staring at the towering knight. Empty, just like the shape I just left behind me. No coincidences. This is not a coincidence. Something is wrong here; something electric is in the air.

Rolled a 10 to read a sitch.

What should I be on the lookout for?
Which enemy is most vulnerable to me?
Who's in control here?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
Pinto grins wide, like a small dog getting attention from its master. “Oh, right! Old Scratch said that he had a bigun radio, said he’d let it go to you for cheap. Want I should go negotiate with him Bosslady?”

Damson sets you up against Crosses and hands you her canteen. She’s giving you the eye, just like she used to when she would realise you were hiding something. “Well, at least we know that Crompton wasn’t bluffing when he said he had an in with the Stonechildren. Don’t think that Stockards or The Works would have a piece of kit like that.”

She slumps down on Crosses next to you, shoulder to shoulder, and leans her head on your shoulder. “I know you well enough to know this ain’t gonna make you give up the ghost, but do you want me to start spreading the word? Letting the rest of the boiz how bad its going to get?”


Scarlet
Corgi sighs, but looks almost relieved. He slowly reaches down his shirt and produces a silver locket, and places it on the trike. “The rest is already on the trike, it doesn’t matter. The fact that we’re still alive means that bad hoodoo burnt up. Take it all, just let me walk way with my skin.”


Yx
You shift slightly to get a better view when the knight shifts its bulk, revealing who they’re talking to. A Finder! The hunting dogs of Folly, they ranged far and wide to gather what the slave-lords wanted. One even found you, once.

But that’s not all. In the crowd a squad of ruffboiz wearing Stockards’ colors watch the Finder and knight, eyes far more intent than their bodies. You can also hear the grinding of metal above you, as the wall emplacements track the knight’s smallest movements.
-What should I be on the lookout for?: the Finder will know all your tricks
-Which enemy is most vulnerable to me?: the wall guns should head the authority of your badge
-Who's in control here?: No one. The situation is a powderkeg



Spec. Lombardi
The ersatz tool-woman looks wrong-footed, like you’re responding to different questions then what she’s asking. She goes for the next part of the Jackass Intimidation playbook, personal space invasion. But unfortunately for her, when she draws up close to you she realizes you have a few inches on her. She takes a step back and scoffs.

“Ain’t no more Saints, the Mother ate them in the Wayback. If there were, I wouldn’t be repping for an Iron Choir Solo. ‘Cause if there were still Saints, my family wouldna been killed by raiders and I wouldna been sold to the Red Sand of Stockards. So-” She whistles, and her boiz drop the tolls and raise their weapons.

“So, are you going to be a dead Saint or live penitent?”


SKADI
The rag-woman lowers the paper and takes a less combative stance. “So the stories are true, Olympus survived. Most thought it lost when Valhalla exploded on lift-off. I offer my welcome Knight, such as it is.” She points towards the motor pool back the way you came. “My vehicle isn’t far, we’d have more privacy there than in the middle of the crowd.” She begins to move off, looking back over her shoulder to make sure you are following.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

Tommiboy was dumb. Deliberately, repeatedly dumb. This toll-taker was also dumb, but at least she was following a playbook she'd assume would work. Rifle's already up and bullets are already through her by the time she finishes asking her drat question. And the next thing anyone hears is me.

"Section Two; Personnel.
Subsection Three; Maria Maddelena Lombardi, Security Specialist. Identification number 3068219.

Section Four; General Orders.
Order Seventeen; Lethal force is authorized to ensure the safety of mission personnel."

I look at the rest of the boiz. "The Saints survived."

I look back at Little Maria, and smirk slightly. I still don't know what I'm doing, but here's the flip side: nobody knows what to do with me.

"Mother ain't got poo poo on me."

@Lombardi (cap foo): 2d6+3 get trolled bithc = (5+5)+3 = 13
(3-harm close/far loud autofire)


Advance! — get followers (you detail) and fortunes!
My followers are: (fortune+1 surplus: 1-barter want: desertion)
- congregated in their own communities
- a cult
- hard-working, no-nonsense. Surplus: +1barter.
- eager, enthusiastic, and successful recruiters. Surplus: +growth
- not really yours, more like you’re theirs. Want: judgment instead of want: desertion.
- disdainful of fashion, luxury and convention. Surplus: +violence

Captain Foo fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2018 around 01:39

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.



Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-2 | 0:00 Harm | 6:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●●●●○» | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


I follow the woman to her vehicle, a utility walker, of a design I recognize as belonging to our blessed forebearers. This one has obviously been cared for by dedicated and knowledgeable hands, but it is worn, heavily modified, festooned with utilitarian additions for travel in this waste. I crouch my jack beside it; the appearance is quite a contrast.

"I have told you my name and my fealty. Who is it speak to? How is that you know of OLYMPOS, and how did you come to possess a sealed ward? And do you have news of my brother-knight, NJORD?"

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 1/5 | Barter: 3

I don't say anything to Corgi. We're done talking. When he and his hardboi leave I take the rope and work on pulling the trike out myself. Soon enough it's out of the muck and I hop on, riding as fast as I can to get back to my father. Who was that woman? What did that vision mean? But those questions will have to wait. I twist the throttle and go as fast as possible.

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP ++---> | 6-Barter

I realize my hand has closed on the hilt of one of my knives, under the veil. A Finder? Here? Still alive?

She hasn't seen me. What should I do? Retreat? Stockards' bois can be very unfriendly -- it reminds me of Folly, in some ways. It would not surprise me at all if the Finder was continuing her little trade, just under the Dragon's orders now.

For now I watch, wait, not draw attention. The hulking form of the knight is not exactly hard to follow, even if I have to use my eyes to do it.

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

The Mother's mindfuckery comes in all shapes and sizes, but man, was I not expecting of having to hold a conversation with my estranged lover and a dude I just killed.

I take a sip of the canteen and shake my head at Pinto. "No, no. I'll deal with him myself. I don't need it, I just want to rent it."

The Stonechildren... those are those fucks who want to destry all tech, right? Nothing but banging two rocks together for these jokers. But wait... something isn't right. I mean, there's always something that's not right, what else is loving new, but this is more of a "this does not make sense" sort of right.

"Wait. Why would the Stonechildren know how to build death stompers? Isn't it kind of contrary to what they're all about?"

I pause for a moment at her question. "The boiz... need to keep their guard up. We're not at war just yet, but it might be coming sooner than I'd like. But don't spread any panic. That's only going to make things worse."

I'm tempted to pull this Damson in my arms, to feel her weight against it, to... no. I don't want to even think about it. This isn't the real Damson. This is some strand of psychic bullshit spinned out of my memories. But... I do allow myself to place an hand on her shoulder. That's enough, right?

"Damson... how bad is it going to get?"

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
Damson shrugs. “The Stonechildren have never been much for consistency. They’ll probably smash up any toys after they’re done stomping us into the dirt. Assholes gonna be assholes.”

Damson doesn’t move when you put your hand on her shoulder, and your question is deafening in the suddenly still and quiet world. The burnt match Pinto used to light a dogend stops in mid-air, and then is swept away on the screaming winds. A black blot rises out of the soil, taking shape. You know that what you’re seeing isn’t the truth, but you also know that this… filter is the only thing keeping your brain from exploding.

BADNESS IS. NOT ENDENDENDENDENDENDENDEND. SERVE TRUTH. SERVE USUSUSUSUSUSUSUSUSUSUSUSUS. THEN YOU. BE SPAREDSPAREDSPAREDSPAREDSPARED.


Scarlet
The trike handles much better when its just you and not the bulk of Corgi and his hardboi, and within a few minutes you’re back on a raised stone-chip road leading out of the Murk. Ahead of you, the plains rise up abruptly, the road switchbacking a few times.

The cabin that Absinthe bartered for as part of his ‘retirement’ should be visible, its roof sticking up through a gully in the ridge. But its not there. No smoke smudge that would mark it has been burnt down, its just missing from the ‘skyline’.


Yx
The knight and the Finder settle in in a corner of the motorpool, the Finder climbing up onto a squat utility walker favored by the elite of their order. They seem deep in conversation, the finder’s mind beginning to etch sharp lines in the air.

The boiz seem content to watch the pair from a safe distance, letting the press of the crowd do the heavy lifting of concealment. One of them, with slightly larger shoulderpads, speaks occasionally into a small handset. Keeping someone apprised.


Spec. Lombardi
The boiz lower their weapons, and after a few glances amongst themselves they nod to you and you hear a chorus of “Saint”. They close around you as you move forwards, sloppy but at least a pale echo of squad movement. Behind you MarMar whispers an apology to the corpse before she catches up.

A small side-gate in the wall of The Works is opened as you approach, and an old man comes out. His greybeard is streaked with grease, and he nervously twists his hat as he tries and fails to make eye contact.

“Good Day Saint Maria, glad tidings of your return. I mean no disrespect, but I would ask that you might temper your justice while here. The Choir-folk don’t always appreciate the ways of the Saints, and they’re mighty wound up about their Rokoff. Just a humble request, my Saint.”

He steps aside, and you get a glimpse of the madhouse that is the Outer Courtyard. A fuel depot, modified and run by idiots and/or madmen. Oh look, isn’t that SKADI’s mech over there?


SKADI
The woman nods. “I am 142, a Finder of Folly. Well, ex-Finder, now that Folly has fallen. We were the heirs of Avalon, the sky-home that never launched. The Folly-lords kept the faith, and we Finders were sent into the world to locate the resources needed to keep the mission going. The Identifier Sigil was given to me before an unsuccessful attempt to breach the Stasis Facility’s wards, but it has come in useful occasionally since then.

She shakes her head when you ask of NJORD. “I know just that two objects fell from the void, I saw their flame-tracks myself. One should have landed near here, but since the fall of Folly, the tributary lords have become antagonistic towards the Folly-Folk. I’ve watched as The Works carts back hitek salvage from the ruins of my home, enough to build that transmitter monstrosity and an entire bank of psi-amps. But they refuse to speak to me about the fallen star or any other mission-sign.

142 looks at you speculatively, then hops up onto one of your hold points, bringing her mouth closer to your microphones. “I’ve scouted this place many times, I’d be happy to show another Mission-keeper the secret ways.”

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Jun 22, 2018 around 01:13

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 1+1/5 | Barter: 3

I bring the trike to a stop, looking around the area. Where's the cabin? What's going on? I shut the trike off, and wait a moment for the silence to fill the air. Then I let the Maelstrom in, watching the world become dark and gray - except for something that will show me where my father is.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 Open Your Brain = (6+6)+1 = 13
Marking XP for rolling Weird

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

"Good day," I reply to my...follower? "What's your name?" I can be friendly, it's just...tough. "We're here for the Rokoff - I've been told that Saint Jackson can be reached through this...ritual? You seem like you're more familiar with the Rokoff and these Choir-types than anyone else I've talked to; tell me what you know." Then I see it; I point to the mech. "Anyone seen the pilot of that thing?" What's she doing here?

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

Okay. We've officially hit peak mindfuck.
The voice of this... thing, hallucination, whatever, feels like a slab of metal heated and poked straight into my brain. I shut my eyes tight, and cover my ears, because like hell I'm getting any more from this, but whatever, it'll have to do. It will put us on the right track, at least.

God why won't this thing loving shut up already?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
You feel a clawed hand touch your head, its heat passing through your knit cap.
REMEMBER. SERVE. SAFE.

And then you’re looking up at a circle of concerned faces, you’ve slide down Cross’ side and ended up in the mud. Nitro pushes through, smacking heads and shoulders. “Give the Boss some air you noodles! She when toe-to-toe with the doom-stomper, ain’t one of you that wouldn’t need a breather after that.”

The crowd loosens a bit, and he offers you a hand up. He’s got a back pack radio slung over one shoulder, [PROP OF SKRATCH] and [HANS OF!] painted on it. No sign of Damson or Pinto.

Or… anything else.


Scarlet
You plow through the winds, into the Gray. But its odd now, cracked like an old mirror. You see no cabin, but shift your head slightly and the cabin appears. Shift again and the cabin is burnt down, Absinthe crucified before the ruins. There are more cracks spread across the sky, radiating out from Waterway behind you.

And then you blink, and you’re back in the colors. Absinthe raises his hand to you from the front porch, his rifle across his lap. Normal. Except

Except the clouds above you, jagged edges running across them like a cracked mirror.


Spec. Lombardi
The old man nervously bobs his head, and continues to mangle his hat. “I be Rather, Saint. Rather Prophet-Touched, gate-warden at your service. As for the Rokoff, the Choir-folk say that a proper Solo can rend the sky and could the minds of men. And a competition between them would shake the very Vortex.” He looks closely at you, like he’s trying to figure something out. “We Dox-folk just keep our heads down, but it might be possible for Saint Tamara to reach across the Waking Veil to you. Being yourself and all.”

SKADI’s presence seems to be safer ground, you think comparative theology isn’t Rather’s strong suit. “The Knight arrived maybe an hour gone, on the look for someone. I saw another go into the Inner Sanctum a few days gone, maybe they look to catch up to their mate? I just know the new Knight angered the Madam de Machina something fierce, barred them from the Inner Court.”

Rather looks around, and leans in conspiratorially. “You didn’t hear it from me Saint, but the first Knight has pledged to Glorifikus, to be his standard-bearer. Strange times.”

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 2/5 | Barter: 3

I blink. What's going on? I turn my gaze from the clouds to my father.

"Hello Dad. The job with Corgi didn't go as planned. Hold on, let me bring back what I got."

I head back to the trike and drive it to the front of the cabin.

"Has anything happened since I left?" I pause, but then decide to tell him everything. Maybe he'll know what this means. "I delivered some kind of device to Corgi, but he tried to refuse paying me. Said I negotiated it back, but as we were leaving it did something and I had this vision of you stabbed by a giant tooth, with me holding it. A woman of some kind called me a murderer and said 'a life for a life. I woke up and one of Corgi's hardbois tried to burn down the building but I got out and tracked him down." I point to the trike. "He was trying to flee with it. I came back here and the cabin was gone for a moment. Then it was burned down and you were crucified on them. And now it's back and you're here."

I pause, realizing I just put a lot out there. "Oh...sorry. A lot went on. How was your day?"

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.



Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-2 | 0:00 Harm | 6:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●●●●○» | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


"Well met, 142," I tell the woman. "I would know more of Folly, but I have been tasked with a mission to discover the fate of my brother-knight. And what I have heard of his fate I mislike. And this transmitter is a blasphemous mockery of our protocols, one I intend to see silenced. Show me these secret ways. The sooner begun, the sooner finished, and then I can see what might be done to aid the Folly-folk and further Reclamation."

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

"Thank you, Rather." So we walk closer to the happenings. I don't know the protocols here, but eventually, someone who knows the mechanics of this RokOff will approach us I'm sure. And SKADI's looking for another? There's another mechrider here? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. At this point it's clear there's two groups of...I don't know, survivors is the wrong word. Anteapocalypse? That's a mouthful. gently caress it. The Saints and the Knights, from Before. That's all we really are now, aren't we?

"I don't think we actually need to do anything here," I think out loud, "But wait for this RokOff to begin. If what the Choir-folk do what they say they can do, then Saint Jackson will be heard, and if they cannot, then we are on our own again to recover the SOP." Am I thinking, preaching, or commanding? Is there a difference?

"And if you catch SKADI, that Knight, out of her mech? I'd like to speak to her."

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 3/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

The heat of that hallucination's hand dissipates slowly.

(It's important to remind yourself that it's all in your head. People forgetting which side of Mother's door they are on is how you get brainers.)

I blink as I slowly return to the real world. I grasp at Nitro's hand and stand up, nodding in thanks. "I'm fine, everybody." The look I give them is significant. Things aren't so bad that showing a bit of weakness in public is going to send the jackals nipping at my heels, but you never know. Someone might start getting ideas.

I take a look at that radio he's slinging. "Where'd you get that, Nitro?"

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jul 5, 2018 around 14:33

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP ++---> | 6-Barter

While I hover in the shadow of one of the great machines, flipping my knife around and around in my hand, I notice a new group entering the Courtyard, from the opposite direction. They look to be saint-chasers. Strange people with strange thoughts. That woman, the one Parrack introduced me to when we first met, the one who screamed so loudly, she was one of them. After our conversation was done they painted her face and sent her out into the desert. I wonder where she is?

But, oh gently caress, this is too far. I grit my teeth. They have another person-shape with them! Is... is it leading them? Do they really think it's real? Can they really not tell?

Once was interesting. Twice was unsettling. But three times is a conspiracy.

I swoop out in front of them, patience forgotten, and stare the woman-shape in the eyes. Lombardi, it says on her jacket. Tch. Names are for people.

"What is this," I say, almost snarling. "Who are you? What the gently caress is going on?"

megane fucked around with this message at Jul 7, 2018 around 23:25

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

I can read a face and a tone of voice, simple as she's making it. Remembering Rather's suggestion, I catch myself before reaching to my rifle.

"Same to you, bitch."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
Nitro gives you a bit of a worried look, but covers it well. “Yeah Boss. Like you said, Old Scratch was willing to loan out his portatrans if we asked nice.” A little too loud, like he’s making sure he heard you right before. In the distance, a big diesel rumbles to life. It seems like your hallucination/vision/whatdafuq has taken a bit of real time, long enough for Ray to get the stomper’s engine going and for Nitro to borrow a radio.

As if sensing your thoughts, the radio crackles to life. Garbled nonsense, someone talking on a channel you’re not quite tuned to.


Scarlet
Absinthe clucks his tongue at you as he looks over the goods. The fuel vouchers burnt up, but Corgi wasn’t exactly in the poorhouse. A good kilo of Woodhold jingle, some assorted tech-bits. And of course, an all-terrain trike in decent condition. “Its a nasty day today, the ‘Strom is whipping itself up fierce. Not surprised things went sideways, too bad Corgi didn’t make it. Glad you did though, well done girlie”

He jerks his head towards the cabin door. “Don’t know if you have anything lined up right now, but there’s warm food on the coals and clean water in the tub. Looks like you could do with both.”
(A total of 3-barter, and a vehicle [massive=0, speed=0, handling=+1, 0-armor, rugged, off-road, hardworked, loud)


SKADI
142 smiles wide, revealing several shortcomings in Revenant dental practices. “Excellent! I thought I might be the sole Keeper left in this cursed land. Do you have personal arms Knight SKADI? If not I have a few old Nines and Forty-Sevens that you could use. Shoddy compared the gear you’re used to, but easier to smuggle in on your person than that multicannon.”
(142 is indicating that you’ll have to sneak in on foot)


Spec. Lombardi
You see the expression on Rather’s face, the same one you’ve seen on MarMar’s and L’nai’s. But it doesn’t last long, it looks like you might be getting the hang of how they talk. “We’d be honored if you rested your Patrol with us Saint, there’s a room off the shrine set aside for you. I’ll spread the word amongst our people, we’ll see you your needs while you view the Book of Proper Actions and The Prophet’s reli-”

Rather is interrupted by the arrival of the crazy person, covered head-to-toe in black robes and veils. As your response leaves your mouth, some of the boiz have their weapons shouldered. Slow and sloppy, but not bad timing for amateurs. Nothing slow about MarMar, she’s already in front of you drawn up to her full 147cm and eyes blazing.
“Step away! The Saint suffers not the curses of strangers, for the Bright Man protects His crew!”


Yx
As the Lombardi-shape speaks simple words at you, you realize something. The Crowned man, the Knight, their blankness was a shield. An empty canvas that blocked the Song. This Lombardi is a great sucking emptiness, a void that swallows up the Song.

But then the smallest of the saint-chasers steps forward to confront you and is suddenly aflame. This child, this girl, suddenly shines with a purity of purpose that’s almost blinding. She shouts words at you, but nothing that matches the intensity of her soul’s song.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

I gesture to the boiz to lower their weapons; I must remember to compliment them on their draw when this is over. But I never take my eyes off this woman, and I cock my head with a half-shrug emphasizing the point: speak. Now.

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP ++---> | 6-Barter

I'm trying to focus on the vortex that calls itself Lombardi, but this bright blazing one draws my attention. I glare down at her dismissively, but I sheathe my knife and show my hands, spreading my veiled arms like crows' wings. "I step where I please, lantern-girl. No need to turn your fire on me, I'm just here to sing my sad song and listen to the response." I lean closer, feeling the flickering heat of her soul on my skin. "But, mm, you should tread lightly yourself. So bright, so beautiful..." Now I hold my hand near her face, turn it, feel the shifting patterns of heat and cold. "Do you think a saint will cry when her bright little torch burns itself to cinders?"

"You there. 'Lombardi.'" It's hard to focus on the shape's face, like looking down a bottomless pit. But I bite back those thoughts. "I... thought perhaps you were one of them. But the harmonics are all different. They echo; you don't." I shake my head and shrug. "So I suppose I'll just ask. Was it Glorifikus who made you? Or the pale things, maybe? I don't understand. What are you? Why make a thing like you? Are you here to bring silence, or are you simply deaf? gently caress, why is all this happening now, is it this stupid Rokoff changing the tune?"

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

Oh, don't worry, don't worry!

It's not my blood.



Cool +3 | Hard -2 | Hot +1 | Sharp +1 | Weird +1
Harm: 0:00 | XP: 2+1/5 | Barter: 6

"Corgi is still alive," I say. "I got what I wanted from him, even after his betrayal. But I'll never do anything for him again. And thanks." I head inside and towards the bath. I put all my gear aside for now, along with my clothes, and get inside the tub.

I sit there for a while, thinking. The Maelstrom is acting up, so I guess that's why Dad isn't worrying about what I told him. Still though...that woman who appeared to me in Corgi's workshop. Was it really just nothing or is there something more going on? I close my eyes, sinking deeper into the water. It might be fierce today but the Malestrom can let me know. As I relax, I feel it enter my mind.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 Open Your Brain = (6+4)+1 = 11
Marking XP for rolling Weird

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Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


3:00 | 2-Armor | Cool+3 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird=nil | 3-barter | o o o o >>

"If that's a threat, cryptic one, I'd suggest you retract it." But I'm convinced it's not, at least not an overt one, for now. Sheathing her knife is a good sign, and so I relax, slightly. You never really go off guard, not someone like me, but the cryptic woman is weirder than dangerous. Again, at least for now.

"I appreciate your willingness to ask a drat question, cryptic," I say with a small smile. "But your questions barely make sense. Who made me? Who made you? Your parents did. As did mine. I'm no thing, cryptic." I point to a crusty, corroded pipe on the ground. "That's a thing. But you know something of Glorifikus, it seems? And of the Rokoff? Maybe you can help me with some questions I have."

I put a hand up to Little Maria and call her back. "Cryptic, do we have time to talk before this Rokoff begins?"

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