Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«7 »
  • Post
  • Reply
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 have a sidearm," I tell 142, keeping the trepidation from my voice. Our briefings repeatedly warned of the dangers of leaving our jacks and exposing ourselves to the tainted energy infusing the world. But I am a Valkyrie. My mission requires I take this risk, and so I shall.

But not without precautions. I key in the commands that will tell the AI to protect itself if the jack is interfered with, then pull open the survival locker. I strap on a carry harness over my flight suit, and attach the holster for my sidearm as well as the pouches for extra magazines. I insert a mag into the pistol, make sure the red dot is showing, and holster it. Then I pull the helmet on. It's not rated for ballistics and the air-filtration is limited, but it's better than nothing.

And then it's time. I take a deep breath, and hit the hatch release.


@SKADI (Gorbash): 2d6+1 Ψ-harm from exiting walking suit = (5+1)+1 = 7

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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

gently caress. More time has passed than I had expected. Gotta play it cool.

"Ah, you got it already? Good. I'm going to just borrow it for a sec, I'll give it back to him later, okay? You go have yourself a drink." I give him an appreciative nod as I pick up the radio. Then I turn to address the people surrounding me.

"Alright, bois! Good job keeping it frosty back there. Feel free to go back to whatever you were doing now." They nod, and break ranks to go back to their duties. See, this is why I don't take every drooling, bloodthirsty maniac in my gang. Much easier to keep under control. And a well-directed soldier with trigger control is worth three of those.

--------------------------

Back in my tent, I fiddle with the radio for a while. I tune it to the station that used to be Swamp Ash Radio. This thing probably doesn't have the same radius as that radio tower, but with some luck enough people will hear it that word of mouth will spread my word throughout the wastes.

"Attention, people. This is Vaya, leader of Waterway, speaking. I have a message for Crompton and anyone dumb enough to work for him. Give it up. You are not going to get your grubby little hands on Waterway. Anyone who shows up in my territory spouting some bullshit about Greater Cromptonia" I add a little chuckle here, just in case he starts thinking he's a threat in some way. "is going to end up face down in the swamp. Anyone who defects from that fucker and proves that they have the wits to make it to Waterway, you're gonna be under my protection. We can always use more people who know what they're doing."

"I also have a message for the Stonechildren. Yeah, I know it was you who got Crompton that walker, you little fuckheads. I'm keeping that one, by the way, just to teach you a lesson about messing with me. And if you don't stop supplying them to him, I'm going to purge your little creed from the wastelands.

Same offer applies to you, even though you clearly don't deserve it. Side with me, and you're gonna be fine. Side with Crompton, and you might as well go jump in the sea and get eaten by seawolves, 'cause they're gonna be more merciful than me."

I close the mic and pick up the radio. With a smile on my lips, I go search for Old Scratch, to give him his radio back.

quote:

I got a 6 on my Manipulate someone roll to get the Stonechildren off Crompton's payroll. Oof.

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jul 9, 2018 around 15:18

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Absinthe give you an appraising look when you tell him Corgi is still alive, like he’s pleasantly surprised.

The bath is nice, the Murkmuck has a decidedly petrochemically smell to it. Maybe its your relaxed muscles that help, as you rise up easily into the winds. You see them all across the Valley, eddies and fronts and twisters. But all moving towards the south, focusing and meeting at a nexus on the western edge of the Bonefields. Spilling around the unnatural mountain there.

The Speaker posted:

I see you Red Greenova. Go’s life is in your hands, if you do not act she and Canal will die.


SKADI
You were not sent blind into this, Command had the fragmented dataset detailing what was known of Extrasensory Overload Syndrome. They had tried to prepare you, but even two hours in the Scream Tank wasn’t enough for what happened when the Ѱ-rig powered down.

Luckily you only blacked out for a moment, 142 lending a steadying hand on your arm. The overwhelming pressure was still there, but the breathing techniques made it bearable. Just. 142 nods, and hands you a battered Автома́т Кала́шникова-style rifle. With a few hand-motions that mostly make sense to you, she leads you through a side door and into a warren of halls and rooms seemingly built into the walls of the city/refinery. After a few minutes, she pauses in front of a rusted staircase heading down. Looking to you, she places a hand over her ear, then makes a vigorous thrusting motion with it.
Quiet or Loud
(You don't notice something important)

Vaya
Unfortunately, the radio is quiet after your speech, no messages of immediate surrender. That would have been too easy, right? Old Scratch's shack/shop/trashheap is on the edge of the market, and you get all sorts of friendly greetings as you walk. Most aren’t exactly sure what happened, but you kept the assholes out, so they’re happy. Looks like Corgi’s place managed to burn down, hopefully someone will let you know the deal with that at some point.

As you enter Old Scratch’s place, you hear the sound of poo poo getting tossed around in back. It stops as his door bangs back, and there’s a muffled sob. Old Scratch, all scrawny 50 kilos of him, comes shuffling out of the back. He has tears streaming down the dark leather of his cheeks, and a huge loving revolver in his hand.

“Why? Oh why did you have to do that chiquita? Why did you have to say those things? I don’t want to have to do this, you have to understand. But you did what you did and said what you said and now I have to do this.”


Yx
Lantern-girl dims slightly at her Saint’s touch, but not much. This Lombardi continues to word at you, empty things without the subtle textures and gradations of intent and motive. But something niggles at the back of your mind, a subtle change in the tenor of the Song.


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar winds herself down, but not by much. In a slightly lower tone she speaks urgently. “Beware Saint, they were the robes of the Folly-folk. Folly slaved and torm’d all they could, its folk can’t be trusted.”

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


The Scream Tank was no preparation at all for this. That was sharp, immediate. This... I feel the skin crawling on my back, like I'm constantly being watched. That would be bad enough, but I also want to look up. When I first landed it was disorienting to have nothing above me. Now I fully understand the ancient texts that spoke of the sky as if it was more than simply open space, as a tangible thing - and it feels like it's about to fall on my head. It's a distraction I do not need. I need to focus on my mission. I am a valkyrie.

I accept the rifle from 142. It's a model I recognize from the manuals - or at least, close enough to one. The controls are simple enough, though it feels a bit clumsy in my hands. I sling it for now. At her signed question, I pat my hand down. Quiet. For now.

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Jul 12, 2018 around 03:01

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



Cool-1| Hard+2| Hot+1| Sharp+1| Weird=0
Harm: 0:00| 1-armor | XP: 4/5 | 3 barter
machete (3-harm hand messy)| shotgun (3-harm close messy)| 1-armor

You know, for a minute there I thought it was time to relax. I mean, poo poo was probably going to go down in the next few days, but for now the crisis of the day was solved and I could stop feeling tense for a minute. Even the fact that Corgi had somehow managed to burn down his place didn't shake my good vibes, I just made a mental note to go check it out once I'm done with this. I should have known better.
"Hey, Scratch! I got your radio, thanks for-"

It's about then that he pulls the gun on me.

God drat it. He looks like he's about to break down. Men who're breaking down are dangerous, even with rusty guns.

"Scratch. C'mon now. I haven't been such a crappy leader that I deserve to get shot. What's the problem here? You aren't seriously worried about those cocksnots of Crompton's, are you?"

That's it. Just gotta buy some time before making my move...

quote:

Got a 10 on my Read A Sitch roll, and I ask: "What should I be on the lookout for?" "What's my enemy's true position?" and "Who's in control here?"
Also I get 1 XP for rolling Sharp

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jul 11, 2018 around 15:41

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: 3/5 | Barter: 6

I can barely feel the water anymore as I watch the winds. The winds point to the nexus...E'Kidnaw? Then The voice in my ear speaks of "Go" and "Canal." But it addresed me as Red Greenova, so perhaps it means something else? Does E'Kidnaw have anything to do with them? I focus on myself, pulling my mind away from the Maelstrom. I sense everything fading and the sensation of being back in the world come to me. For a second it feels like I'm falling and I flail in the tub, feeling foolish right away.

When I'm done, I head to the coals and take some of the soup to eat. Dad is already there, eating in silence. I sit down, eating some of it while I gather my thoughts. Then I speak. "I may have something to do after this. The Maelstrom showed me winds gather towards E'Kidnaw, I think. And then it told me that Go's life is in my hands, and that she and Canal will die without me. But it also called me Red Geenova, so...I don't know if that's the actual names. Do you know of anyone by those names? Or what it could mean?"

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 thank Little Maria and wait for this bizarre Folly-robed lady to reply. I think my crowd is getting restless, though, especially as Little Maria's words start to filter back...

megane
Jun 20, 2008




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

I stare at the howling emptiness, trying in vain to hear what lies within. Nothing. I won't learn anything this way, and not knowing sets my teeth on edge. I'll just have to keep my ears open and be ready for treachery.

"No threat. Your torch has misheard, I think; I was indeed a guest of the cave-hold, but they... didn't trust me with the keys." Wait... what was that? I turn away and close my eyes to hear better. What is that? Something... something is changing... like distant bells...

No, I have to pay attention to the shape and her entourage for now. "...yes. Yes, we do have a little time to spare. The Rokoff will begin soon, and I have much to do before, but the audience are just now arriving. It'll be a while before the main event begins." I tilt my head towards her, and towards the torch-girl. Should I... offer my hand? I sort of halfway do it. I'm used to hearing what people want; dealing with the vortex reminds me of those first weeks after they changed my eyes. "Yx. I- You- Well, I will gladly answer your questions if you will answer mine."

Ignoring the restless murmuring of the saint-chasers, I murmur quietly to Lombardi. "I haven't met the Solo yet. I've been told he intends to cause dissonance and disharmony, and I've seen him consort with..." How do I explain this? "...with people who... carry silence with them." I twist my mouth uncertainly. "Like you... but, uh, not like you." I shrug. "Anyway, I intend to see for myself. Up close. To be sure."

"As for the Rokoff..." I listen again. That sound... "I don't know."

"Something is changing."

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 >>


"You shouldn't dress like slavers if you don't want to be associated with them," I scold. But the rest of her answers are helpful, somewhat. "Thank you, Yx. I can't say a heavy metal concert is exactly... non-dissonant, if you will." I smile. Not quite sure if she'll get the joke, or, as I consider, if I really am making a joke. "Yx, I've also heard that SKADI's colleague has been suborned by Glorifikus." I try not to imagine Rather wincing, but continue talking to Yx. "SKADI and her colleague are being called the Knights, and you're right, they are like me, but not." I weigh my options, and decide not to elaborate too much, not yet. But I will give her this food for thought. "Something is changing, though, and the fact that both Knights and Saints walk again, now, is a very strong sign of that. Yet what has happened or what is to come? That is not clear." I turn and step, slightly, so I'm addressing the crowd as well as Little Maria and Yx.

"Anyone who tells you they know the whole story of what's next? They're lying."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Absinthe looks up quickly, spilling a bit of his soup. “You don’t want to be having anything to do with Mother’s Mountain daughter-mine. Nothing but crazies and eaters that way. And the ghosts. Grave that big got ghosts aplenty.” He mops up the spilled soup and nods to himself, a sign that he considers that discussion closed. “And as for your mystery names, Im not rightly sure. But when I was a kid, I had a picture-book from Before. Most of it was burnt up, but one of the pages had a nice pic of the Suzie Canal on it. It was a big old waterway to the southwest of us. So it looks like you might be able to squeeze Vaya for protection if you’d like. She’s still paying good, right?”


SKADI
142 nods at your sign and moves slowly down the stairwell. It emerges into a intersection of poorly-lit concrete tunnels. She points down one of the halls, at a large metal door that looks like something you’d find on OLYMPUS. Putting a hand on your shoulder, she then points out a few of what the locals seem to call ‘roughboiz’ wandering about. Another series of motions. Wait. Go. Hide. Go.

(You’ll need an Act Under Fire to move down the hallway stealthily)


Vaya
Old Scratch blinks at you, his eyes watery. “No, no, chiquita. You’re a good Boss, the best I’ve seen maybe. And Crompton’s a fuckhole. But you had to sass the General, he can’t be having that. He needs the Stonechildren to be boogies, the Yaga you warn your kids about. So now you need to die messy-like.” You hear a faint tinny sound, like a quiet radio, coming from Old Scratch. He raises the gun incrementally, not quite pointed at you but a little closer.

“I’m sorry.”

(-What should I be on the lookout for? That old gun is a hand-cannon, it’ll seriously hurt anything it hits
-What's my enemy's true position? Someone is pulling Old Scratch’s strings from a distance
-Who's in control here? You are. He really doesn’t want to kill you. But he will.)



Yx and Spec. Lombardi
Your little palaver is drawing a fair amount of attention at this point. Most of the crowd is busy doing whatever, but there’s a fair gathering of gawkers. At Lombardi’s declaration, a bit of a hub-hub starts. Some point of doctrinal difference is seems, between the Dox and the Choir-folk. Rather steps forward, worry broadcasting hard enough that even Lombardi is picking it up. “Uh, perhaps such dignitaries would like to take refreshments in the shrine? Rest weary feet and such? Please?

A young man runs up breathless. A gleaming icon of a dark-skinned man holding a crew gun bounces against his chest. “S-saint! Its really you, by the Bright Man! They said you were looking for the Knight? I saw them dismount and go into the living quarters.”

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



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

There's a lot to take in.

There's the fact that Old Scratch seems pretty choked up about this.
There's the fact that we're just far enough that I'm not going to be able to get to him without him shooting me at least once.
..and then there's the little metal sound I'm hearing coming from Old Scratch's jacket. Now isn't that interesting.

Just what I needed. Enemies in my house, before I'm even finished dealing with the enemies trying to bite down my front gate.

I can't give him the time to steel himself, and adjust his aim enough to paint the door behind me with my brains. So I dash forward and wrestles his gun out of his grasp. An old man he might be, but an old man can still pull a trigger and the sound of the gun echoes in my skull. I hiss in pain as I wrench it out of his hands, the wet, warm, familiar sensation of blood dripping out of me letting me know that nothing important got holed. He looks at me as if I'm about to kill me. Hah. Nothing so easy.

I point the gun in the air. I try to sound genuinely scared when I say "Wait, don't...!" and shoot in the air. Let whoever is listening think that he finished the job. Then I point at the pocket where the metallic sounds is coming from with the still smoking gun. I raise my eyebrows and make a "Go on" sort of gesture. The message should be clear. Report to your bosses. Let them think that Vaya is dead, and that they can just swoop in and pick up the shards of her hard work. The looks on their faces is going to be so worth it.

quote:

Seize by force roll gave me a 7, and I choose to take little harm and take definitive hold of the gun. Also I got an advancement! I erase "lovely garage" from Waterway. Turns out that on top of the (almost) new stomper, Vaya and her bois have been working hard on trading for and cobbling together new vehicles, plus occasionally "acquiring" them from raiders and other assorted assholes.

paradoxGentleman fucked around with this message at Jul 17, 2018 around 00:32

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 nod to 142, taking a moment to watch the movements of the roughboiz. When a likely moment comes, I move forward quickly in a crouch, pistol in hand. There's an alcove part way down I should be able to use for cover before moving to the door itself.

@SKADI (Gorbash): 2d6+1 Act Under Fire = (5+1)+1 = 7

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: 3/5 | Barter: 6

"Yeah, she is." I look down at my soup. I'll have to head back to Waterway but at least it wasn't E'Kidnaw. Whatever's going on can wait for another day, if I even want to head there. I wonder if the trouble has anything to do with that thing Corgi hired me for - before he backed out and tried to cheat me out of my pay. If so, I'll just tell Vaya the truth. Not my problem if Corgi gets into trouble with her because of it.

After eating, I check with Dad to make sure there's nothing else to do before heading out, get my things, place all the the goods I got from Corgi in the home, and start the trike up. "Might be a while before I'm back," I shout as I begin heading off. "See you then."

I head to Waterway.

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 >>

The chatter is obvious - religion still matters deeply, even in whatever version of the world this is now. But Rather makes a good point, and I say we should head to the shrine. If Yx is willing to join, she is invited. And this eager boi? "It's me, yes. I am looking for the Knight SKADI. If she can be convinced to come join us in the shrine, that would be excellent. But convince her, don't coerce her. You understand the difference, and she will too. Thank you."

megane
Jun 20, 2008




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

I glance back towards where I last saw the Knight, but it's out of sight. "...yes, good. Lead the way, little gear." I pat Rather on the head.

It's immediately cooler when we pass into the shade of the shrine. Spacious, clean... the saint-chasers must care deeply for this place. Even the metal gleams. Perhaps the acoustics are good, and they can hear the song more clearly here? I tap on a metal drum as we go past and listen to the reverberations, but the little gear looks at me in horror so I suppose I'd better swallow my curiosity for now.

The walls are covered in icons, paintings in blue and brown, dripping in gold. Men and women, dressed like the void-called-Lombardi, odd names in the old script... I've seen such things before; saint-chasers sometimes carry these tiny versions around, don't they? This one here could be her sister! I gesture at it. "...friends of yours?"

The little gear ushers us into a side-room and the Dox bustle around making tea. I get the distinct feeling they'd be far happier if Lombardi had come on her own. "Er, so... what's your..." I'm stammering, uncertain of my words. Infuriating! I can't understand her at all. What is she thinking? "What are you here to... do?" I squint. "...ma'am? These little gears would love to have you sit on that altar while they sing your praises, but... er... is... that what you want?"

Rolled a 4 on Read a Person!

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 >>

She's uncomfortable, and so am I. Having to pretend that I know what the hell's going on. No, I declared, nobody can see the future, but I can't even see the present. And yet I can't present weakness. "It's a bit odd, I must say, seeing your co-workers elevated to figures of worship." I recognize them, but I don't. I don't know who they are. Maybe I should. Maybe...well, that one's me, kind of weird. Again, I'm answering the question not just for her, but for these Dox. "I am not here to rule, Yx. I am not here to rule. I am searching. I am searching for the other Saints. I am searching for the Mission Documents that gave the Saints their original purpose." I am searching for my own purpose.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Absinthe wraps up a bit of tack and tosses it to you as you leave. “Just remember that you’re just one person. If things get nasty, you’re more important than the pay. But the pay is fairly important.”

You’re quickly back on the road, but at least this time you’re clean and full. You hit the elevated road through the swamp fairly quickly, but something is odd. The road surface, never the best, has been torn to poo poo. Large ruts have been gouged into the gravel/stone, deep enough that water is starting to seep into them. There’s also the thick tang of diesol fuel hanging in the air.


SKADI
Muck. Hard to tell in the poor lighting, but everything is filthy and slippery down here. 142 doesn’t seem to be having any issues, but you can hear the patrol moving back towards you as you slip and slide down the hall. The Folly-folk hisses at you to hurry, already popping the last of the physical locks. But an errant footstep sends you sliding into her, into the door. You land in a tangle of limbs on the other side of the doorway as it shuts itself, thankfully shielding you from any more patrols.

Less thankful are the gunbarrels pointed at you. Looking up from the floor, you see a pair of men dressed in the same cobbled armor as the group of interest back in the Courtyard. Behind them is a… VALKYRIE plugsuit?

“Hello Lieutenant Commander. I’d say this is a surprise, but you are exactly the un-imaginative, by-the-book operative ASGARD would send after me.” You can’t quite see his face, but you recognize NJORD’s voice. His UpLev clipped accent dripping with self-assurance. “So the question is, are we going to talk about the merits of my actions like civilized beings, or shoot at each other like the Revenants?”


Vaya
Old Scratch nods slowly and touches his ear, clearing his throat. “Uh, its done. You bastard. More tinny static comes from his pocket, but is quickly replaced by a faint woman’s voice. “My heart bleeds. You of all of us should know there’s no leaving the past behind. Go to ground, await further instructions. Fucker.”

He spits on the ground and wipes his face. “You’ve bought yourself some time Boss, but they ain’t gonna let this lay. Some breakers and smashers are probably on their way. Bloodthirsty bastards aching for a repeat of Swamp Ash.” He pauses for a shaky breath.

“So, you gonna plug me now?”


Yx and Spec. Lombardi
Tea is served with a hastily polished metal service, by a handful of women in hand-sewn fatigues and ornate headwear. The rest (aside from MarMar) give the two of you your space, but are obviously listening in. A little bit of tension leaves the room after Lombardi’s declaration, as if the Dox were concerned.

Lombardi, a pair of older men approach within a few feet and kneel, holding their burdens aloft. One bears a leather-bound book, ‘UN TASK FORCE 29: OPERATIONs MANUAL’ embossed in gold leaf on the front. The second bears a small metallic chest, engraved and inlaid with gems. On a cushion inside rests a small plastic chip, the battered runes ‘SD’ painted on the top.

Yx, as the gears bring Lombardi the odd instruments, you notice something odd. A woman, dressed in the same gear that the saint and little flame are wearing, passing through the crowd. No-one acknowledges her directly, but you can see the folk shuffle out of the way slightly as she passes. She turns to face you, her glare boring directly into your song. She slowly draws her finger across her throat, and you realize that you recognize her: her likeness hangs on the wall, between Lombardi and a pale man in traveler’s clothes and bare head.

megane
Jun 20, 2008




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

The tea is mediocre, I have to say; they clearly made it in a hurry. But who am I to complain? I lean back out of the light and sip contemplatively while the gears proffer whatever those oddments are supposed to be. I don't really read Old Script to begin with, and those runes look even weirder than the usual. I mean, I'm pretty sure that one's just written backwards, isn't it?

But my attention is caught by the woman in the shrine, sliding through the crowd like a knife through water. Her eyes seem to pierce right through my veils, and the pleasant metallic hum that pervaded the shrine's interior pitches down to a discordant whine that reverberates off the steel walls and sets my teeth on edge.

Some voice in the back of my brain screams to shut her out, close my ears and eyes. But I'm long past listening to that poor dead fool.

Rolled a 6 for opening my brain!!

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 pick myself up carefully, keeping my eyes on NJORD. "That depends on what those actions are. The transmitter broadcasts on the sacred frequencies, mirrors the the recognition signals of the chosen. Why?"

@SKADI (Gorbash): 2d6+1 read a person = (5+4)+1 = 10

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: 3/5 | Barter: 6

I'm thinking about what I'm going to say to Vaya, when I suddenly notice the ruined road. I slow down, and the smell of diesel comes into my nose. I pause, and then take a quick look around in case something's going on. I might not want to be here much longer.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 Read A Sitch = (1+3)+1 = 5
What's my best escape route?

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



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

Good question. He probably deserves it; he endangered the whole hardhold with his actions. He betrayed Waterway. He betrayed me. That stings more than the attempted plugging, honestly. I was good to this guy.

Which is why this just doesn't add up. What the hell do the Stonechasers have that could convince someone, especially someone with jingle and a roof and a loving working radio like Old Scratch to sell out?

"Depends" I say, before shooting him my best 'do not gently caress with me' glare. "What did they promise you for my head, Scratch? What made you think that this was going to be worth it?"

quote:

I got a 9 on my Read a Person roll. Whatever his answer is, I ask: Is your character telling the truth?
Also 1 XP for rolling Sharp.

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 >>

"Rise," I say. This is wild. Task Force 29. It's reverberating in my head. Task Force 29. That rings official, off the inside of my skull. Task Force 29. The book looks intact, though. I remembered binders, not books. Maybe I was wrong? Maybe something has changed? I pick it up, gingerly. "How much time before the RokOff," I ask anyone who will answer. Where to turn in the manual first? From the beginning? The mission statement? Personnel section? Find myself? This is de facto a holy book, I have to remember. Funny how that changes. I'm not sure any of us ever read the drat thing barely at all. And now it's the most important book in the world, more or less.

And let's not forget the SD card! What even could be on it? A copy of the manual? Does it even work? I look at the tac on my left forearm. Back at the SD card. Yep. That's a slot all right. I hand the manual back to the man who brought it, and move to the card. It truly is a relic to these people. I remove the glove on my right hand and pop the weatherproofing layer off the tac, and then take the card and insert it. Moment of truth...

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Its not going to be pretty, but the trike is light enough that you’d be able to off-road through the swamp itself. the thick mud and vegetation would give you decent cover from pursuers. which is good, as the roadbed starts to vibrate, rattling you and the trike. With a deep rumble, a large vehicle rounds the bed, slowing down as its driver sees you.


The driver bangs on the metal of his door, and a couple heads poke out of the canvas back. He points to you, and the cargo-boiz begin to hoot and holler.


Vaya
Old Scratch shakes his head sadly. “Its wasn’t an offer Boss, they own me.” He pulls down the collar of his vest, revealing a nasty scar on his chest. “I was born in Ava’, raised one of the General’s Bright Boys. Had to get a mechanical pumper after a bad mission, and if I don’t get it check now and again I drop dead. They said that if I didn’t plug ya, my ticker’d go boom.” He sits down on heavily on a stool, wearily looking up at you. “And you don’t get as old as me without being willing to do bad things in order to keep getting older.”
(He’s telling the truth)


Spec. Lombardi
No one can answer your question with precision, but the consensus is that it won’t be until later tonight at the earliest. The card slots into your tac easily, and it scrolls some sort of handshake protocol for a few moments. Then the display winks out, before coming back as a video. Its a bit glitchy, digital static eating away at the edges. A pale man is looking into the camera, his eyes dark with fatigue.

CMDR Giles Bradshaw, Task Force 29 posted:

“Hey MarMar! Sorry, I know you hate that nickname, but I couldn’t resist. I wish I could be there when you came out of MedStat, but as you’ve probably figured out the Rearguard Protocol was activated. So I have no idea when you’ll get this, but its pretty guaranteed that I’ll be dead.

Sorry, you need a debrief not a pity party. So first the Good News: Olympus got away! We lost Valhalla and Avalon, but even just Olympus is carrying enough people to establish a stable breeding population. I’m recording this at T-plus 5 days, which means the passenger module should be docking with the drive module in 4 hours. Hopefully we’ll see the Alcubierre Drive fire up as the ark heads out to 38 Cygni.

Now the Bad News. While you did manage to kill ECHIDNA, Seismology indicated that VISHVARUPA and SHAHMARAN were incoming. Since you and most of TF29 were in MedStat for at least a week, I headed out to try and rally the remaining techs and ark passengers. I was hoping to hold out long enough for you guys to heal, but someone has sealed off Long Term Storage. I hope we’ll be able to hold out, and I’ll try and leave some breadcrumbs for you for when the Protocol ends. The mission remains kiddo, we hold Gagarin Spaceport for as long as we can and protect the civilians within.

… and keep an eye on Tam. She got weird after ECHIDNA fell, it seems the really big ones can cause EOS even when dead.

Sorry it worked out this way Maria. We never were going to get a happy ending, but it could have been better than this. Bradshaw out.”


Yx
The sounds of the shrine distort, and the woman flickers. Suddenly, she’s straddling your lap, staring directly into your soul. Her hand strokes your neck before the fingers anchor themselves into your jaw. A steady pressure turns your head a bit, until you’re looking at Lombardi messing with something on her arm. The woman’s breath tickles you ear, hot and carrion-sweet.

“She is mine, braincase. If you so much as ponder working your way on her, I will pull your soul out of your rear end in a top hat and shred it too fine for the winds to repair.” The pressure in your head intensifies, and you realize you’re bleeding from your ears. “Do we have an understanding, little one?”

(Take 1-harm ap)

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 ●○○○○» 1-advance | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


NJORD sneered at me. "Sacred channels? Ah, they've trained you well. They broadcast that way because those frequencies are the clearest from interference. And my support satellite is required if these fools are to do our work for us."

I flick my eyes to the bandits standing to either side of him, trying to judge how willing they are to follow him. But what he's saying... "What is it you intend?"

"This collection of hovels has several SVARTALFAR of Class-3 or higher. When they pit their might against each other in this... Rokoff, the modifications I've made to the tower and my satellite will amplify their power to the overload point. It will be functionally an anti-EOS strike powerful enough to cleanse the entire wretched valley." I notice that NJORD is wearing some sort of odd technological device on his head instead of a helmet. It looks like a prototype of some sort, all wires and blinking lights.

"Unsurprisingly ambitious." That someone from UpLev would treat the population here as a hindrance, and act so ruthlessly in the name of expedience, really is no surprise. But however flawed I find NJORD's reasoning, I cannot dismiss his conclusion out of hand. The holy task, the great work of Reclamation is more important than my own life, let alone that of Revenents that have likely been tainted by the profaned earth and cursed sky. The purity of vacuum protected OLYMPOS; our hope was that this would allow us to save those below as well. But we always knew the line between salvation and destruction was a thin one.

But that such hard measures can be justified does not mean I am entirely sure of NJORD's judgement. It is easy to mistake the Revenants for ignorant fools. A mistake as deadly as it is easy. "And all it requires is putting yourself and the Relics you wield into the hands of these Revenants," I reply, not able to keep the acid entirely out of my tone.

"Please. I showed them a few paltry parlor tricks and they follow me about like lost simpets. I tell them I can 'make everything louder', and they leave me to do as I please. As compared to ASGARD's plot, where we throw the men and materiel we can ill-afford to lose into the meat grinder for hectares of land at a time."

His condescension matches my own derision. NJORD sees no danger, cannot see the possibility of danger here, nor that I might offer valuable counsel. He simply wants me out of the way, and the men behind him will back him at least in this moment.

I holster my weapon. "Let me see what you have prepared then." Perhaps his course is worth following. More likely, there is a trap here. Either way, I intend to be on hand to pick up the pieces.

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 >>

It cuts off. My eyes are closed, I can hear the blood pumping in my ears. Might as well be silent out there. Thump-thump. Open again. Blurry. Tears? Tears. "Everyone out," I growl. I know, they want to know. I want to know. "Questions later." Not...not like this.

I wasn't ready for this.

I detach the tac from its forearm mount and hold it in front of my face, staring a hole in it. A drop splashes off the weatherproof screen.

"I need to pray."

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: 6

As the truck slows down I twist the throttle and immediately begin to drive away as fast I can, off the road towards the swamp and away from whoever those people are. I'm not staying close enough to figure out the answer.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+4 Escape A Hunter = (1+2)+4 = 7
Includes +1 from Read A Sitch
I lead them to Waterway
Marking XP for rolling Cool

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 3:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP +++--> | 6-Barter

Dimly I realize that someone is touching me, pushing, ushering me out of the room. My skull is full of grey noise, I can't seem to focus on what's happening, how strange. There is movement, a hand on my arm. The someone says words I can't hear and then I am placed on a bench, my face against something wet and cool.

Some time passes. Slowly, slowly the noise fades away. The world carves itself out of the darkness and things are cold and sharp again.

Ugh.

Whichever little cog provided the wet towel for me to bleed into is the real saint here.

I roll over and put my hand on my face. Oh... my veil is off. They must have removed it when they saw the blood. What did they think had happened to me, I wonder? Only a few drops got on the cloth, luckily. Scrubbing them off and tugging the veil back into place gives me time to consider my... experience. And what I think is:

If she thinks that will stop me, she clearly doesn't know who I loving am. Nobody tells me what to do, not anymore. Not even fuckers like you, whatever the gently caress you are. You want me to stay away from Little Miss Savior? You think you can scare me off with threats and pain? gently caress you. Now I'm definitely getting involved.

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



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

I hate this. I hate this situation, I hate that this desperate man in desperate need of help listened to his desperation enough to cross me. He's dangerous. He just tried to kill me, he's been spying on us fo who knows how long. But I don't want to kill him. Isn't that enough? I'm the boss here after all. Isn't the fact that I want something enough for...



...No, it's not.

The sound of my shotgun echoes in Scratch's place. I get out. I'll send someone to clean him up later. I have defenses to prepare and a small army to get in position.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
You open up a decent lead over the backtrack, but your flight isn’t exactly stealthy and you can’t quite seem to lose them entirely. Its not helping that the other driver doesn’t look to care about damage to their vehicle, they gleefully roll over poo poo that has to be ripping the absolute gently caress out of their undercarriage.

But its good enough that the sporadic fire never comes close, and at last you skid into the cleared-out area outside Waterway. Half of Vaya’s boiz have to be out here already, and no small number of weapons rise to track you. Then the backtrack slews into the clearing, cargoboiz’s hooting dying at the sight of the other boiz and… a doom-stomper?!

You’ve got about three seconds before all hell breaks loose, and you’re right in the middle of it.


Vaya
There’s a small crowd of seller-men and buyer-folk outside Old Scratch’s shack, drawn and unnerved by the gunfire. Biggest Jane the gator-breeder starts to say something, but decides to keep her mouth shut. Its not been a quiet day, between Corgi’s burning down and whatever you’ve done to Old Scratch. Were they liked enough by the rest of the marketers that there’s going to be a reckoning to watch for?

But as much as you’re keeping an eye on the market crowd, you’re hearing a commotion building outside the gates. Are you going to turn your back on these good folks?


Spec. Lombardi
The confused silence is broken by the rack of a rifle bolt, followed by the sounds of hurried leaving. Silence again, the hush of expectation. Then a voice singing, high and clear. The melody is familiar to you, even though the words have been twisted and malformed. But you can hear the grief and hope mixed together in MarMar’s voice, and in the voices of the other Dox as they join her.

They might not know your specific pain, but they understand.


Yx
You can feel the pressure building again, digging into your brainmeats. But then the Dox begin their song, and the hate is just… gone. It spreads over the area, mixing with the true Song, altering it subtly. The fear and anger and other such effluent excreted by the various sacks of meat walking about the End World is slid aside, leaving the shrine tranquil and at peace. Something you haven’t felt in a very long time. None of the cogs have the gift, you would have felt it as soon as you entered The Works. But together, they become something greater than themselves.


SKADI
NJORD motions to a large table in the back of the room, you can see its covered with printouts and paper schematics. There’s motion from his hired guns as 142 tries to join the two of you. She has her hands raised, and an expression of naked curiosity.

“Hey now, my people kept the mission for generations. And anyways, you’re probably working with equipment that was looted from Folly. Don’t you want someone who can tell you if the Iron Choir faxed it up? I was born into that tech.”

NJORD looks at you questioningly, a perfect eyebrow raised. He’s put the onus of trusting this Revenant on you, and will silently and smugly judge you for your choice. His powerplay is interrupted as you receive a text warning from Heracles: WARNING, SVARTALFAR activity detected.

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+2/5 | Barter: 6

I look at Vaya's boiz. I look over at the cargo boiz following me. The driver is faded, and perhaps the car will crash soon. I see the person in charge here, bright and practically glowing.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 = (4+5)+1 = 10
The driver of the car following me dies, the person leading Vaya's boiz out here will live
Marking XP for rolling Weird and taking Healing Touch from the Angel


Then I just drive in to Waterway, swerving to avoid any gunfire from either side - once I make it in, I can explain what's going on and maybe help.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+3 Act Under Fire = (6+3)+3 = 12
Marking XP for rolling Cool

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 ●○○○○» 1-advance | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


I recognize some of the relics arrayed before us, but not all, and the configuration is bizarre. The Revenants have clearly turned these to their own purposes, used them to access the Anomaly that the science division and MOIRAI/NORN have puzzled over for years. The alert catches my attention. "The SVARTALFAR may not wait for your timeline, NJORD. A chancy plan with jury rigged equipment." I gesture for 142 to approach. "An ambitious plan. I hope better thought through than some of the others you've tried. There's no uplevel patrons to put things back together and pat you on the head for your out of the box thinking. This is the entire Operation potentially on the line."

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty

The Ungiven Future? posted:

If you watch this footage, you'll see that the soldier sets the device upon a small shelf immediately after engaging the recorder. She promptly draws her pistol, expertly and fast, and holds it at the device, obviously considering shooting it. Her hand shakes, slightly at first, intensely thereafter; tears begin to stream from her eyes. She drops the gun to the ground. She screams, it sounds primal and anguished. She looks around, frantically. Looking for something, perhaps, but not finding it? The soldier removes the glove from her left hand, with her right already having been bare. She kneels and draws a simple figure on the ground, two lines, crossed and perpendicular. Bilateral symmetry, but offset; not quadrilateral. She clasps her hands together and closes her eyes. This continues for approximately ten minutes; she is mouthing various words intermittently. It is difficult to make them out, but you will be able to identify the term "Saint Jude" a number of times. While we have identified this footage as being a record of an important moment in the history of the Saints, we have not found any confirming indicators of this Saint; this is a mystery still. After approximately ten minutes, there is silence, noticeable because there was some background noise that fades out. It is unclear what this noise is but it does not appear to be an artifact in the recording. The soldier's eyes snap open, and she rises, and pulls her gloves on. Her face is still streaked, but she appears to no longer be crying. She looks at her symbol and smiles, nods somewhat grimly, and begins to scrape the ground with her foot, but then seems to decide otherwise. Having decided not to clear the symbol, she looks into the device recorder and says firmly, "The mission will continue," and then reaches for the device, and the recording ends.


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

The world I knew is gone.

Not dead, but gone.

I - we - were supposed to make sure we could escape it.

And it seems like we did. The Task Force was to protect the people. The Task Force is gone. They're - we're - dead, or missing. Except me.

What was. That is only a guiding principle at best now. I'm done playing a Saint.

I am a Saint. And the Saints protect.

I will not blaspheme but I cannot keep all of the old beliefs: religion is a structure, and the structure is gone, and the beliefs are different, now. I will carry on as best I can. I will carry these Dox to the best of my ability. Give me the strength to lead a community of faithful. I must learn from them as much as they from me.

The Saints protect.

-

My gloves are back on, the tac is reattached and weatherproofed, all weapons in the their proper places. A quick readiness check confirms that, I've done it thousands of times, preparing to walk into the field. But it's never been quite like this before, has it. The hymn has died down. I press the door open.

"The world is full of mysteries, Dox. You have been enlightened to some of them, and I have been to some of them. Finding satisfactory answers to the mysteries - that is life. You may not like the answers you find, but if you accept them, you will be able to deepen your understanding and search for more. This search for knowledge is what we can rely on. You know this. You know this." Now, the upshot. "We are lucky to be in a time where we may be in the presence of two powerful answers. The first comes soon; with the RokOff, Saint Jackson should be able to speak. Maybe to all of us. Maybe to everyone. Maybe to me. Maybe to one of you. I don't claim to know. The second, you can make happen. Find the Knight SKADI. I need to talk to her. I need her unharmed, and I need her not in that enormous walker." I let that hang in the air for a moment. "Now let us sing."

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



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

They're nervous. Antsy. Can you blame them? Life's hard on a good day, and between a fire and a shooutout, this hasn't been a good day. Corgi was too much of a slime to be popular, but Old Scratch... he's been around a long while. It's a big shake-up. I can tell that they're thinking if one of them is going to be next.

I thumb the gizmo that Scratch was using to keep his masters informed, the one I pocketed. Is showing it to them going to make them panic? What's worse: knowing that you have had a traitor for a neighbor, or thinking that your leader is killing people randomly? When I put it like that, there is no contest. Plus, I have other things to worry about.

I pull out the machine and hold it high. "This is some sort of long-distance mini-radio. Old Scratch was using it to communicate with the Stonechildren, selling information to those fuckers. For that, I killed him. Now said fuckers are on their way here, since they think Scratch killed me instead."

I throw the gizmo to one of them. They can check it if they want. I cock my shotgun.

"They're in for a nasty surprise! Someone call up my bois and have them bring out the war-cars. Then get safe, people. We'll fix this."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
The moment of peaceful uncertainty dies in a hail of gunfire as the cargoboiz and Waterway-boiz open up on each other. But you’ve already gunned it past them, and made it to the dubious safety of the hold’s wooden palisade. In the rearview you see a few of Vaya’s boiz take bullets from the more steady aim of the cargoboiz, but that’s wiped from you sight when a horrible grinding noise is followed by a massive gout of flame.

Vaya
The holdfolk are going to want better answers at some point, you can see it in their faces. But they seem willing to let you ride herd for now, as Cyber snatches the radio our of the air with his metal arm and starts to swear to himself. Your run to the walls is interrupted by the eruption of gunfire, some sort of large vehicle depositing troops outside your gate. Its looking a bit iffy for your boiz already on the scene, then you see the doom-stomper slowly jerk around and hit the cab of the truck with its flamethrower. A familiar figure on a hard-worked trike skids to a halt in front of you.

Waterway
Ray’s aim is far from perfect, but the backtrack is a big target. The cab’s glass bursts from the heat, and a flailing figure covered in flames is seen within. The vehicle’s bulk protects most of the cargoboiz from the flames, but the defenders take advantage of the distraction to mop them up fairly easily. There’s a handful of wounded that will need tending to, but Nitro can’t keep the poo poo-eating grin off of his face.
(Scarlet makes it inside clean, Nitro survives, and the first battle of the Siege of Waterway ends in favor of the defenders)


Spec. Lombardi
Several of the younger Dox nip out of the shrine at your words, and you’re fairly sure the entirety of The Works will be turned upside down within the hour. The rest join you in song. They trail for a little, slowly strengthening as they adjust to your cadence and words.

You’re not sure if its the song, or the acceptance of your new mission, but its like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders. You feel better than you have in days, perhaps since you woke up in the Facility.
(Lombardi and Yx heal one tick on their harm clocks)


SKADI
You see the little vein in NJORD’s temple throb underneath the electronica on his brow. “Strong words for someone who only made the program because the last qualifier was a centim too tall for the frame” is growled not quite under his breath. 142 scurries to the table, eying the two OLYMPOSites worriedly. She scans the diagrams quickly and grunts in surprise.
“This… this is the Phenomena Attenuation Array! Lord-Protector Cutter had most of the Finder’s working on this for nearly the past year. I myself pulled several of the key parts out of the Bonefield.” NJORD favors the Revenant with a faint nod.

“Yes, SURTR originally made arrangements with the settlement of Folly to construct the device. But it had the poor timing to be destroyed mere months before completion. Luckily certain local assets were able to keep the parts from being lost before we were able to move up the Reclamation timetable.”

SURTR! A barely whispered fable, a shadowy force behind the OLYMPOSite elites. Its very mention was enough to brand one as dangerously unstable, and now NJORD bandies it about so casually! 142 is oblivious to your surprise, and quickly pronounces the alterations made to account for lost parts/changed construction timetable ‘sound but twitchy’.


All
Change is coming, to Waterway, to The Works, to the whole of Rinpurt Valley. But for now, we pause and reflect. End of Session

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


The Book of Lombardi, C5 V23 posted:

And She turned to us, the broken body of The Martyr at her feet.
Thus She spoke: Behold! For I have become Death, Destroyer of Worlds!


Time passes. Even if we grip it tight, the sands fall between our fingers. The grey-beards had spoke of the Long Peace, the Pax Folly. And when Folly fell, they feared the time of (relative) quiet-tude would end.

They were right.

Vaya, your boiz have taken to calling it the Siege of Waterway. There’s only hints of vehicles and boiz in the trees outside your perimeter, but anyone that steps outside your palisade gets shot. They’re expecting the fear and waiting to do their work for them, slowly drawing the noose tighter. This dawn finds you on your stoop, having an impromptu war council. Nitro and Ray speaking for your boiz, Beanz speaking for your supplies, and Barnum speaking for the merchants and civilians. Oh, and Scarlet of to the side, speaking for the jingle. Beans is scooping his namesake out of the stewpot, giving everyone a hot breakfast.

“Supplies are looking good Boss, luckily this happened after a good market day. We can keep up normal ‘lotments for a week or two, nearly a month if we tighten our belts a little.” There’s a little grumbling from the rest at that part, but Beans makes sure to count generous portions in his estimates. You won’t be starving anytime soon. “The only big worry is meds. Tarpaulin didn’t make it in to trade, and… well… when Tootz tried to sneak out to him...

You’re walls are high enough, and the gazes of those on the stoop raise up over them, to the remains of Tootz crucified on a tree outside the perimeter.

=====

You’ve spent entirely too much time with NJORD the last few days SKADI, as he gives you full access to his plan and people. 142 is a great help, both in translating the debased ‘engineering’ of the Revenants into something you can understand, and as a buffer between you and the rest. And while you watch and question, you listen too.

This town, this ‘The Works’, is a ticking bomb. Even if NJORD’s Phenomena Attenuation Array works or fails in a safe way, something is going to happen. Long-simmering feuds between the Iron Choir faction, who currently rule, and the Dox, who perform most of the labor and maintenance, have come to a head. The Choir are obsessed with their Rokoff, and the Dox preach about ‘The Saint, Returned’. All this was only of strategic use to you, as you prepared a data-packet for transmission to ASGARD. But now its a bit more pressing, as you’ve emerged from the inner sanctum for the first time in a while.
And find Heracles surrounded by Revenant urchins. They’ve encircled the mech, looking outward. You’re spotted and they scramble to readiness, one of the older approaching you. He clears his throat, obviously trying to remember his words. “Knight SKADI, the Saint Lombardi, blessed be Her name, asks for your presence in the shrine. We would be honored to escort you there.”

====

Glorifikus is an enormous man, in both height and girth. His Song is even larger, taking up most of the space and setting your entire body a-vibrating Yx. You’ve been given a soft stool off to the side of his dressing room, as his attendants strap him into his lites-armor. A young girl finishes his makeup and he catches your… veil in the mirror.

“Is wunderbar, ja? Now you see why Mother Rust, she of da Old and Busted, fears me. I vill defeat her tonight and claim the Iron Scepter for myself!” He gives you a crooked grin. “And friends are vell cared for in Glorifikus’ reign. You’ve come to join the vinners, ja?”

====

It was a damned fine speech, even if you weren’t entirely sure if you believed it Lombardi. And its not as if you had the emotional energy to back up the words. But the last day (or has it been two?) has given you time to rest and recuperate. You’re occasionally asked to bless children or adjudicate disputes, but MarMar is good at giving you time to yourself.

You also have some time to look through the Book of Proper Actions, although that too causes what you’ve come to call futureshock. It is indeed a copy of your old SOP, but in the intervening decades the laser-printed pages have been converted into a breathtakingly beautiful illuminated manuscript. Icons of Saints, Destroyers, and a strange crowned man on a tree are mixed in with ornate borders and hand-copied paragraphs on troop organization. A fair bit of it has been lost (to war-damage as MarMar and Rather have said), but the missing parts have been filled in with tales of the First Stand of the Saints, and the Prophet’s travels.

Its a little easier to see the story of your comrades written down and mythologized, gives you a little distance. You soon come to the end of the Book, what you were sure was a blank page when you did your initial skim. Except now, its not blank. Now, in a blotty and shaky hand it reads-

The Last Page posted:

C A N U H E A R M E

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Aug 29, 2018 around 00:29

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 | 9:00 Food | Hunger ○○○ | 2-Armor | XP ●○○○○» 1-advance | 0-Barter
Power+3 Agility+2 Massive=2 | 0:00 Damage | 3:00 Charge | 9:00 Ammo


I stalk across the vehicle yard, my temper frayed at the edges. VALKYRIE are not mere foot-soldiers. We were chosen for our initiative and ability to improvise, to exploit unexpected opportunities and use every tool at our disposal, as much as combat prowess. And for the last few days I have been relegated to observing and critiquing NJORD's designs.

It would be easier if it was some other VALKYRIE, but NJORD is as he is, uplevel to the core, and jealous of his own 'genius' and the credit. And yet he may still be right, that this may accelerate Reclamation a hundredfold. I am caught between my moral certainty that this plan is destined for catastrophe, and the niggling worry I am letting personal animosity impede the progress of the Mission.

All of which has left me testy and short, even with 142, who has proven everything she claimed to be. That Folly was destroyed, mere weeks before Reclamation began, is harrowing. And, given what I have seen here, makes me wonder if it is mere chance. Regardless, the past cannot be rewoven, and 142's presence has kept me from completely losing my temper. Her insight into what passes for Revenant technology has been invaluable, as has her guidance in dealing with the less rational survivors.

Which is why I invited her along. I needed to get out of the Sanctum, to send a report and get some perspective. And I am considering telling her about the discovery I made, the Throne of Want, which I have withheld from NJORD. It may well be a Folly-relic.

The appearance of the Dox children means such plans will have to wait. Somehow, the fact that the Specialist is both still alive and has become the spiritual leader of the Dox fails to surprise me. A being from out of the heroic past, before the Fall of Earth and the corruption of the sky, who survived the rigors of cryo-sleep and possessed relics of technology even OLYMPOS had lost - surely the thread of her fate was deeply woven into the tapestry of history. NJORD thought the same of himself, but the comparison does him no favors.

"Then show me to her," I tell the child. "The Einherjar and I have much to discuss."

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Aug 29, 2018 around 14:10

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: 6-1

Paying 1 barter for lifestyle

I chew on the beans, thinking on what to do next. Getting caught in a siege wasn't my plan, but I can turn this to my benefit. I place my food down, stand up, and look over the walls to the land outside of Waterway. I focus, and the color of most everything fades away. Show me where the important people are, I think. If we kill their leaders, they'll at least be less effective.

@Scarlet (Heliotrope): 2d6+1 Open Your Brain = (3+4)+1 = 8
Marking XP for rolling Weird

paradoxGentleman
Dec 10, 2013

*So8*



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

I would never admit it to anyone with ears to hear it, not even if it would break the siege on the spot, but I feel scared, and I feel guilty.

Scared, because this is just about the worst thing that can happen to an hardhold that relies on commerce like Waterway. Yes, as Beanz said, we have plenty to spare, but two weeks, even a month can pass on quick if you don't get your poo poo together right away. And who knows how long we have until our next outbreak of tenchfoot? Folks packed together like this, it'll be a massacre.

Guilty, because, well. This attack had probably been in the works for a while now. You don't move this many people and good with a day or two of preparation. They probably were going to attack us anyway, wheter or not I provoked them. And yet...
And yet I wonder if this forced their hand. If maybe if I hadn't done that we would have had a day or two to prepare better for this.

I think back to the scouting run I did this morning, and I grip the table, even as I nod to Beanz. I saw Tootz's corpse. Crows got to her; took her eye.

If I find out which miserable stone-humping fucker did this they had better hope they die in the gunfire, because-

"Wait." I point to Scarlett. "I know that face. She's knocking on Mother's door. Keep your distance, everybody." I get closer to her, in case she starts thrashing about. It happens, occasionally.

quote:

I got a 7 on my Read a Sitch roll, and ask "What should I be on the lookout for?"
Also I get 2 XP: one for rolling Hard on Leadership, one for rolling Sharp on Read a Sitch

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

devil on your shoulder





Clever Betty


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

I come to the end of the pages, and I chuckle a bit. Is this my office, now? A sanctum? A shrine? I'm a soldier, soldier's don't have offices. Except, as what I'm actually doing here constantly reminds me, I'm not a soldier any more. I was a soldier, now a Saint. And what does that mean? Priest and punisher, wise woman and warrior. A leader. I can live with leader.

And already, I'm disappointing some of them. Never meet your heroes. It's easy for me to say, sure. But some of the Dox, most notably Jax-Aimbot, were expecting different. I haven't emerged with a cape of fire (figurative or literal, can't quite tell) and swept the Valley clean of disbelievers - and I haven't even shown interest. "The Watcher of the Threshold is not the Rider of War, Jax-Aimbot," I explained, but she seemed unconvinced. There's a lot of anxiety - why hasn't the Rokoff started yet? I personally am starting to suspect that the Iron Choir has some serious cultural time management issues; MarMar seems to think that there's some squabbling going on backstage, as it were... and SKADI still has neither been found nor left the area.

I come to the end of the pages again, and stare. I look around. There's nobody here, except me. Hand goes to my pistol and I'm on my feet, book slamming shut. There's nobody here. I open the book again, still standing, and scramble to the last page. "Can't hear poo poo," I say to...nobody?

Fortunes: 2d6+1 6
- not really yours, more like you’re theirs. Want: judgment

Spending 1-barter on lifestyle. I don't need to be lavish, nor would I want to be.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

megane
Jun 20, 2008




Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2 | 0:00 Harm | 0-Armor | XP +++--> | 5-Barter

My gaze hasn't left Glorifikus since I entered his chambers; I've done my best to sprawl alluringly, but the stool doesn't offer much opportunity for that. Hopefully Roland Saver was convincing when he explained my supposed reason for being here; it would be unfortunate if the Solo knew the true reason for my interest. Still, it is refreshing to be near someone whose personality rings out as loudly as his. Glorifikus' heart screams out what he wants from everyone around him, and all I have to do is play along. I can simply let the rhythm flow through me, mold me into whatever shape he expects. Parrot the lyrics back at him like one of his backup singers. Much easier than guessing my way through a "conversation" with the vortex-called-saint. My mind feels clearer and sharper than it has in days. Perhaps that's partly the echo of those cogs' simple little melody, still reverberating in my head? Stark contrast to Glorifikus' howling song of rage and passion, pounding in my ears, so loud I can barely hear him talk.

"You look like a star. Like a motherfucking king. You're gonna blow their loving minds out there." I stand up as the make-up girl steps back to reveal her work. I wonder what it looks like, really? Is she actually any good at her job? Not that it matters, of course: "loving amps, it's like I'm staring into the face of the true God of Rok! Maybe that bitch was the queen of metal before, but... well, they call her Mother Rust, don't they? That throne of hers is gonna crumble beneath her like loving scrap iron." The weird voice Parrack taught me always sounds bizarre coming out of my mouth. Do people actually talk like this? I reach out and run a finger slowly down the center of Glorifikus' ceremonial armor. "Oh yes... we're gonna build you a new throne, baby. Steel and fire. Strong. Unbreakable. Like you."

Paying 1-barter for lifestyle.

megane fucked around with this message at Sep 5, 2018 around 00:40

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply