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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

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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.

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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."

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