Regime Quest 29

Results from Previous round votes:

1 Vote plan CCC (More than one voter is a luxury!  The best quests are…uh…really small and unpopular?  I’m not very good at this…)

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Winning Plan:

Plan:

[Morning] Mess around with the smoke machine settings. Try to find something that makes a light mist – easy enough to fight in, nothing that’ll block anyone’s view – especially nothing that’ll block my view, and by extension Prevailer’s view through my eyes – but enough to outline invisible, tangible people.

 

(If I run out of smoke canisters, Builder should have no trouble refilling them from the drops left at the end).

 

[Afternoon] Ask around, finding survivors of previous Ar Harbour expeditions. I want to know where they met their Union ambush on the way; so that I’m ready if the Union is lazy enough to repeat their ambush at the same approximate location.

 

Posse:

 

[Owner]: Get hold of some fire extinguishers. We might not need them but, you know, better safe than sorry. And we will have at least one pyromaniac Ultra to deal with, so…

 

[Builder]: Memorise pattern: Fire extinguisher. It’s basically a cylinder of pressurised gas; we might well appreciate having some *big* fire extinguishers handy on the day.

 

[Smasher, afternoon]: Train the warband in anti firearm maneuvers, while using the smoke machine. This keeps her sober, reinforces the bond she is forming with the warband, and ensures that they are used to working in smoke.

Day 26 Log :

6 AP at start of day (5 at end of last day +1 for half night’s sleep)

-2 Experiment with smoke machine (4 AP)

Roll 10, +1 for success, +1 for Crit (6 AP)

-2 Seek Target Information (survivors) (4 AP)

Roll 10, +1 for success, +1 for Crit (6 AP)

Builder Memorize pattern, Fire Extinguisher

Roll 6, success

Owner: Get Fire Extinguishers

Roll 6, success

Smasher: Train the Warband

Roll 5, success

End of day, 6 AP

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Work with Smoke Machine:

There were a few settings on the smoke machine, helpfully labeled ‘smoke’, ‘mist’ and ‘haze’.  I messed around with all of them.

The smoke setting was the first thing I tried.  It was thick, heavy stuff, caused some minor coughing in the less durable Ultras and reduced the visible range.  It billowed out pretty fast, at least, and people moving around in its produced visible eddies and whirls in it.

Obviously I didn’t have any invisible people to test on, so I was making due by testing with the Parkers and trying to pretend that I couldn’t see their actual forms.  I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t fooling myself, but I was on guard for the possibility at least.

The ‘mist’ setting produced smoke that clung low to the ground, down around feet/ankle level.  It was much less thick and then the first level I tested, pooling mostly around corners and obstacles.

It didn’t hinder vision at all, and I could still see the effects of people walking around in it well enough.  On the other hand it was much less obvious, much easier to miss people’s ‘wakes’, in it, and it came out quite slowly.  If I used this I’d need to figure out a way to deploy it well before my troops moved in.

The last setting, ‘haze’, was also interesting.  It was much more subtle than the other two, just kind of adding a bit of a twinge to the air.  It didn’t cling to the ground, and we could see through it just fine.  It deployed rapidly and spread wildly.

The problem was that I couldn’t really see any wakes in it.  I tried to tell myself that they were there, but the truth was that if I couldn’t see a person the haze wasn’t really distinct enough to make out where they were, particularly if they weren’t moving all that fast.

I also messed around with the lasers in conjunction with the mist, remembering concert experiences from a world long gone by.

The haze was definitely the winner there.  That was, in fact, its principle purpose.  The lasers were visible in their entirety within the haze, flickering lines cast from their generators to their targets.  The mist worked well with the lasers too, except of course for the fact that it was a much lower bank to begin with.  The smoke didn’t really play well with them at all, blocking and diffusing them like it did the rest of the visible spectrum.

I think there are two viable alternatives.

The first is to do a smoke assault, accept the limited sightlines in exchange for seeing invisible antagonists and just rush them under the gas’s cover.  This will outline their invisible troops, hinder their ranged attackers and can easily be achieved by just giving people smoke grenades to hurl as we go.  I thought it was likely that She would tolerate my limited vision as long as I was up front and in the thick of things, but this might well annoy her.

The second is the haze/laser assault, where we’d go in with the light mist and a grid of lasers effects.  This wouldn’t hinder their ranged attackers, unless we blinded them with the lasers, but it would outline their invisible warriors and we wouldn’t have any coordination problems.  It would confine our battle to the zone around the trucks, however, as the lasers/haze machines weren’t portable.

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Seek Target Information (Ambush Location):

“You were with Burier?” I asked.

Massacrer nodded.

“Yeah, that whole fucking trip.  I stayed the whole time.  Not like that Defamer bitch, I know she talks some shit about how she was with the Warlord, but take it from me, its just talk.”

“I know,” I told her.  “That’s why I’m talking to you.”

I didn’t bother to tell her that I’d already spoken to Defamer, and that I was checking both their stories against one another.

So far as I could tell, the actual situation had been that Burier was with both of them, but neither knew about the other.  They’d both gone on the attack, and both bailed out at some point.  Defamer first, when she found out about her rival, and Massacrer second, after the ambush.

“We got ambushed,” she said, warming to an old gripe.

I nodded sympathetically, sliding another one of Owner’s beers across the table.

“We’d just bedded down, shit, day like any other, you know?  No one was watching out or anything.  We had our minds on getting some sack time, get an early start the next day.  Burier was starting to worry that we might not make it by when She said we should be there.”

“Where had you actually got to?” I asked, casually, not letting on that this was the whole point of our interview.

“We were, shit, we’d just crossed over a river, we were by the coast…”

I drummed my fingers, impatiently.

I’d brought her into the Lair for the interrogation, figuring it would help her understand that disappointing me was a bad idea.  We’d met up my usual Company Facility, taken a booth.

“We’d just stopped following 295, started going along the coast.  We’d had to go back a day, make sure that we didn’t miss it.”

So they’d been lost.  That made a lot of sense.  The old maps were probably pretty inaccurate nowadays.

“Maybe Swick?” she guessed.

I shook my head.

“That’s Union territory.  You wouldn’t have entered there without a fight.”

“Oh, right,” she said.  “Now I remember, we had to go around Swick, we were up past it, a way inland.”

“Can you remember any markings?” I asked.  “Any signs or anything like that?  Did any of the locals that you hit up for supplies say anything about it?”

“On the last day?” she asked.

I nodded, impatiently.

“I remember a lot about the battle,” she said.  “We were-“

I waved a hand, cut her off.

“They came out of nowhere, you never saw it coming, you wouldn’t have fled except you knew we needed to be warned…that about it?”

She subsided a bit.

I pushed subtlety to the side for a second.

“I’ve heard about the ambush.  I know how it happened.  I know you ran.  I don’t care about that, not at all.  The only thing I want to hear from you is where it happened.  Exactly where.”

She was quiet for a very long moment.

I reached out towards her, a friendly gesture, like I was going to put a reassuring hand on her shoulders.

She shrank away from my hand, gazing at it like her life hung from it.

Which, of course, it did.

“Gusta!” she finally blurted out.

“What?” I asked, thinking of the famous city down south.

“We’d just crossed the river at Gusta, we were going almost straight towards dawn, we’d stopped for the night in, like, a big building.  I think it was an old store or something.”

I pulled my hand back.

Close to Ar Harbor, near Gusta, almost due west, a ruined building.  That should be enough for my purposes.  I wasn’t planning on camping anywhere near Ar Harbor, but if I had to, for whatever reason, I’d make sure that I wasn’t in the last place the Union had struck.

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Debrief Posse:

“You guys get the fire extinguishers?” I asked.

Owner and Builder nodded, wordlessly.

“And you can make more?” I asked again.

They nodded again.

It was nice that sometimes things weren’t huge, dramatic productions.  Their gifts should let them do this, and, hey look, they did.

“How’d things go for Smasher?” I asked.  “With the training?”

Owner chuckled.

“She tried to teach them how to smash bullets,” Builder explained.  “And it kind of came about that, you know, being Ultra tough she hadn’t really got any idea how to avoid getting shot.”

“She just, I guess, gets shot?” I asked.  “Like, doesn’t really try to dodge?”

It kind of made sense.  Smasher didn’t really value her own life.  I couldn’t see her really putting any thought into it.

“Worse yet,” said Builder.  “No one has ever tried shooting at her.  Apparently her gift got well known pretty quick, and from then on all her fighting was with Ultras.”

I rolled my eyes.

“It wasn’t a total loss, though,” Builder continued.  “Some of the other Ultras had good advice on the topic, they shared it around the Warband.  I don’t really know much about how to stay out of rifle sights myself, but it seemed like Smasher was confident that they’d gotten better at it.”

Hierarchy continued to be the worst, news at eleven.  It was a good thing I’d encouraged my followers to share their experiences with each other, apparently that was still paying off.

“They should be ready, I think,” said Owner, “For the attack at the end of the week.”

I looked down for a moment.

There’d been no going back ever since I confirmed it with Her, of course, but it was still somehow sobering to say it out loud.

“About that,” I cautioned.

They both looked over, concern and surprise on their faces.

“We go the 28th,” I said.  “We’ll set out in the morning, before the dawn, and hit them just as the sun is going down.”

“What the-“ said Owner, before Builder interrupted her.

“That’s the day after tomorrow!”

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The Plan:

– We attack on the 28th. The only person who finds out about this early is Prevailer, who gets to discover this on the 25th. On the 26th, those members of our Posse that we can trust not to blab find out.

-On the 28th, Smasher and the warband find out. Preferably while being herded into the trucks.

– Merlin’s invisible troops are, of course, invisible. They are also carrying Knight equipment. Picker’s assassins carried Knight equipment. Hmmm. But what the Knights are asking for in exchange for the use of their equipment is morally completely reprehensible. I can’t countenance that, and would lose my Resistance contact if I did. (I would deserve to lose my Resistance contact if I did that. I would be truly a monster.)

– I need to bear in mind that Merlin and Arthur might have empowered the same people. That is to say, some of Merlin’s invisible assassins might have Ultra Strength, or Speed, or Toughness. They’re already hitting above their weight – on top of that, they may actually have some weight to hit on top of.

– Another option for dealing with Merlin is to take advantage of KEM. I know where she lives, what she can do and who she cares for; leaving that report on Merlin in the right place should be enough to get her killed outright. However, I shouldn’t use KEM on more than one person. Merlin is a greater threat than Guinevere.

– Third option – use Owner to demolish Merlin’s house in the middle of the night (buying and demolishing the property).

– Fourth option – take advantage of Builder’s stuff-stretching ability to ensure that our confrontation happens in an ankle-deep flood. Even invisible people can be seen walking through ankle-deep water – if nothing else, by the foot-shaped hollows in the water.

– We hope the KEM managed to take out Merlin, and we further hope that doing so reversed her Power’s effects. However, if not, we have a multipronged strategy against those invisible troops. Firstly, Merlin herself is killed quickly – sniper bullet, if necessary (no showboating here). Second, a smoke machine may make invisible people visible, and a laser can blind their spotters, effectively making them ineffective on the field.

– Guinevere is easily handled. I need merely imbue my Posse with fireproof; after that, Smasher can take her out easily. (Ankle-deep water should mess with her, too, by extinguishing a lot of fires).

– Lancelot and Arthur are unlikely to be trouble in the final confrontation.

– That giant Union tank, on the other hand, is a problem (and not a small one). But Builder should be able to deal with it; her power works at any range. She can close off any gun barrels by extending the barrel material _inwards_, she can mess up the engine by making the internals just grow crazy spikes everywhere, and so on. Once she can see it, she can ruin it utterly – and probably without even leaving any external sign of her sabotage, so it can all be blamed on the Union being idiots.

– Builder is our go-to person for ranged anti-Union-tech operations. No machine can long survive her vengeful gaze, once she’s decided to smash it. And if the Union gets wise to the point of limiting our visibility (say, with smoke), the Smasher can just smash the smoke…

– If the Ar Harbour team don’t want to come out and fight, we can draw them out by taking hostages. from the people they care for. This strategy is unpleasant and distasteful, but it will work, and will draw them away from buildings. Moreover, I don’t actually need to permanently harm the hostages, not if I’m threatening enough.

-Talking of Smasher, if she can smash *fire*, then Guinevere doesn’t stand a hope.

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Day 27:

Days remaining: 2!!

AP available: (6 at end of day + 1 for 6 hours sleep) = 7/10

Non AP Action: Swap in a new plan.  You write in a new plan, I’ll give you Mia’s assessment of it.  If you don’t do this then the existing one will be executed.  The plan that is in force when its execution date arrives will be used for the actual battle, though there may be mid battle votes that could alter it in process.

Non AP Action: Make clear whether Smoke Grenade Attack or Haze/Laser Trucks is your plan.  If you don’t specify either we’ll proceed with Haze/Laser Trucks

Prestige: 3

Timeslots available: 2, morning and afternoon

Builder Timeslot Available: 2, morning and afternoon

Owner Timeslot Available: 2, morning and afternoon

Smasher : Timeslot Available: morning or afternoon, but not both

Posse: 3 or 3 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 45

Condition: Healthy

[spoiler=Ultras]

 

(Ultra format: Role, Ultra Strength/Speed/Toughness, other gift description)

Posse:

Builder — 0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things, blessed with a ‘Bulletproof’ blend

Owner – housemate, 0/0/1 operates an imaginary firm, with real effects on the world,

Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time

Ultra Allies:

Maker- Friend, and protégé of Snitcher, 0/0/1, can summon the spirit of things

Clawer – Ultra fighter 2/0/1, melee combatant, deadly hooks for hands

Stopper – partner of Clawer, 0/0/0, steals form’s velocity by looking at them

Sticker – Did dentistry for her brother, 0/0/2, Creates slime, can choose its stickiness

Grower – 0/*0/1, an outside Ultra I sponsored into the Lair, has a bullet blend from me, can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects

Joker — 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like

Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes

Ultra Enemies:

Masher- Enemy, and fellow protégé of Subtracter, 3*/0/3*, trades off strength and durability as she moves or stays still

Picker – First Fist protégé, 0/1/0, ‘selects the outcome of things’

Ultra Acquaintances:

Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them

Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses

Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees

Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them

Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate

Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One

Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken

Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant

Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces

Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see

Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts

Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements

[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler=Actions]

Actions:

[ ] Seek Transportation

-[ ] Scavenge (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: My current transportation sufficed for me in my troubleshooter role, but I will likely require a larger vehicle, or several vehicles, in order to bring everyone to Ar Harbor. I can seek to find something in the suburbs and surrounding towns.

Concerns: Leaving Shington could be dangerous, and I am far from guaranteed to find a bus or truck suitable to my needs, as the area has already been heavily scavenged.

-[ ] Trade with existing owners (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of fixing up ruined vehicles I’ll negotiate to get them from their current owners.

Concerns: Snitcher may disapprove of a warlord being civil

-[ ] Seize by force (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of asking my contacts for vehicles I’ll just take what I want. My role as warlord and my Tally should minimize resistance

Concerns: People like their vehicles, and won’t like the one who takes them. I will make enemies.

-[ ] Seek Transportation [Adder + Company] (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but Adder can use his gift to make something for my purposes, and the Company can duplicate it and make it permanent.

Concerns: Adder and I are not close, he may decline to aid me, owing to his rivalry with my sponsor, Subtracter.

 

[ ] Seek Target Information

-[ ] Company (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Company logs every Ultra they create. Their Ar Harbor records would be useful information

Concerns: Ultras migrate and conceal their gifts, this information would be incomplete

-[ ] Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Subtracter is the military leader of the Regime, she will have information on this target

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and violent, I don’t like to be around her

-[ ] Survivors (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There have been 2 other attempts at Ar Harbor. I can seek out and question survivors in the outer city.

Concerns: I may be unable to find any survivors, and I may be misled by liars.

 

[ ] Seek Posse Members

-[ ] wander & gossip, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 1-6 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping, opening up in depth investigation options on them and adding them to my list of acquaintances.

Concerns: None

-[ ] At Ultra Fights, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Constraint: Only available in the afternoon or night on days divisible by 4 (day 4, 8, etc)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 3-12 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping at this kind of event.

Concerns: Ultras associated with the Fights are more likely than most to be melee combatants.

 

[ ] Seek Warband Members

-[ ] At the Yard, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Lair is surrounded by hundreds of Regime Ultras. The strongest come to the Yard to show their power and appeal to those like me, who would give them purpose. I should be able to gather between 5 and 20 Ultras of such caliber.

Concerns: I will need to provide housing and direction to these Ultras, or risk them wandering off. I can expect to spend at least an action a day on them, and training them might well eat up more. Ideally a Posse member will be tasked with this.

-[ ] [Gang name] From a Gang, (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 5, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: The Ultras that surround Shington are organized into Gangs dozens strong. If I can recruit such a force I might have my whole Warband right there.

Concerns: These Ultras likely already have patrons in the Lair, who I would need to negotiate with. Their leader would also likely want a place in my Posse, and she would be the primary locus of their loyalty until I’d had time to win them over.

 

[ ] Investigate Acquaintance:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success, 2 if we become allies)

Motive: I can spend some serious one on one time with an Ultra I’ve chosen, evaluating the capability of their gift, the alignment of their values with mine, and their basic  competence. If all checks out, I might move them into my Ultra Allies column.

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Invite Ally into Posse:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: If I want to bring an ally into my posse, get them to take actions on my behalf and rise or fall with me, this is the way to do it. I will only take this action on those I’ve already made allies, and once this has been taken it is difficult to undo.

Concerns: Posse members are most of the way into my circle of trust, and will operate on my behalf, representing me to stranger. A mistake here would be dangerous and damaging. I should be careful before taking this step, potentially investigating a prospect several times.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Snitcher’s patterns

-[ ] Passive listening (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Snitcher can ride my senses at any moment, and bring Her along. If I am ever to contact my KEM allies, my resistance allies, or show any kindness or weakness whatsoever, I need to understand when this is likely to take place. Gossip can hint at this, particularly if I carefully steer conversations. This action would be mostly undetectable, even if he was riding me when I took it.

Concerns: None

-[ ] Active interrogation of Snitches (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 2 on success)

Motive: As above, but rather than listen for random gossip I will seek out other linked individuals and directly ask them how often he rides their senses, and what actions he has reacted to in the past.

Concerns: More likely Snitcher notices this, unknown consequences of that.

-[ ] Confront Snitcher Directly (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but take the simplest possible route. Go to Snitcher and ask him for the deal.

Concerns: I am sponsored by Subtracter, not Snitcher, he may not wish to aid me. He may demand favors or other services in exchange for the information.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Regime military operations

-[ ] Ask Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: My life depends on doing this right. I need to get a basic understanding of what She is expecting from my attack on Ar Harbor. Do I need to seize the Company Facility? Kill all the enemies? Are there any constraints on how I go about it? Subtracter is the leader of the Regime’s military, and my sponsor, she will know these answers.

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and brutal, and she killed my neighbors, I hate spending time with her.

-[ ] Ask Around (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but ask survivors of previous missions instead of my evil boss.

Concerns: My predecessors may not have told them everything, their views of their missions may omit certain command level details that I need to worry about.

 

[ ] Relax and Recuperate

-[ ] By visiting Blisser (Timeslot cost: X (slots spent until AP reaches max), AP cost 0, returns 3 per time period. DANGER, this action may cause addiction)

-[ ]By lounging around, (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment areas (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest, and I might learn some things by socializing

Concerns: None

-[ ]By using my gift to repair the city (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: It needs to be done.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

-[ ]By using my gift to heal people (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: This is why I have my gift.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

 

[ ] Organize Armory [Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 2 on success)

Motive: I carry, in my backpack and on my person, various items to blend with if the need arises. I am overdue to look through my setup and take an inventory, once that is done I could seek out new objects if I am missing anything useful.

 

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Action: Direct the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful)

Motive: If I need to set my warband in motion, give them a project or whatever, it is as simple as telling them to jump.  My will is their command.

-[ ] Let [Posse Member] Supervise, takes up the Posse Member’s action, modifies success chance based on which Posse member it is, and which action

 

[ ] Action: Train the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful) [Requires a timeslot from the teacher, who should probably be an Ultra combatant]

Motive: Yard Ultras are fierce, but undisciplined.  They are warriors, not soldiers.  I can get better outcomes if I teach them some basics.

-[ ] In Ultra Combat (Gives bonuses on their battle rolls)

-[ ] In anti firearm maneuvers (Makes them suffer less casualties under fire)

-[ ] In obedience (makes them more likely to obey my orders)

 

[ ] Action: Other (Timeslot cost: x, returns x if successful)

 

KEM Actions:

[ ] Assign Assassination mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 3, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

 

Description: KEM are the only humans who fight back on a consistent, day to day basis.  We’ve come up together, they and I, and pointing them at my foes is only common sense.  If I give them a target, then I trust them to make a good faith effort to put that Ultra down.  Their odds of success, of course, vary wildly depending on how much info I can provide, and the gifts of the Ultra in question.

 

Resistance Actions:

[ ] Assign Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The humans are the ocean in which the Ultras swim, the saying goes.  The Resistance’s capacity to gather information about Ultras is unsurpassed.  If I give them a target, then they will give me every bit of public information on the target, and often times a little bit more.  Ultras are people, after all.  I believe this with all my heart.  And people trust other people, even those that they ultimately shouldn’t.  I can assign as many targets as I wish, but the more I assign the less details I will probably get, and the longer it might take.

 

[ ] Debrief Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 0, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The information that the Resistance gathers is worthless if I never regain it.  Using protocols I’ve worked out ahead of time, and my recent discovery of Snitcher’s habits, it should be possible for me to take the Resistance’s reports with minimal risk.  I expect I should give them a day or two for local targets, and possibly as much as four for targets in Ar Harbor or further afield.

Smasher Actions:

[ ] Recuperate [Timeslot cost All]

Description: Smasher hangs on the edge of death.  Her body and gift will try to knit her back together each day.

 

Owner Actions:

[ ] Acquire Funds [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner takes action to get more and more valuable assets within our world, increasing her overall funding, hopefully permitting her gift’s actions to be swifter and larger in impact. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Change Company [ Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner presently runs a package store, located in downtown Washington.  She has, as near as I can estimate, a low six figures saved up.  With this action I can direct her to acquire licenses, expand locations, purchase other businesses, or perform similar deeds, all based around changing the operation and activities of her imaginary franchise. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Company Action [ Timeslot cost 2]

Description: This is a catchall action for anything I might think of that could let Owner impact the main battle in Ar Harbor.  Buying up local real estate and demolishing it on a certain date seems like the obvious course of action, but there are a lot of other fringe ideas that I’ve been entertaining. [Requires Write In clarification on how to do this.  The first Action spent on this is about Owner doing tests to make sure this effort will work, the second actually kicks off whatever changes I want in the imaginary world.]

Builder Actions:

[ ] Repair Structure [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Builder can repair most any structure any structure in just a few hours, spreading broken portions back into place and generating new matter as needed.

 

[ ] Construct Known Structure [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder can construct any easily described structure with the same ease that she repairs them.  Her present education limits this to extremely primitive structures, but that might well be changeable.

 

[ ] Construct Known Items [Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gits aren’t limited to buildings.  If she can get a perfect understanding of an objects, and samples for every component, then she can form any items that I might desire.  The easiest way to accomplish this, of course, would be to provide her with a sample.

 

[ ] Memorize Patterns [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gifts are heavily limited by her imperfect education.  The more patterns I can get her to learn, the more she can construct from any given material.  If I provide her with patterns or specimens I’m pretty sure she can memorize them and add them to her arsenal.

[/spoiler]

 

 

Indulger 9:2

“You got this, man,” said Ragnarok.

I nodded at him, then at Lotus, and stepped out from between them, walking out onto the platform like it was nothing at all.

The Brides had been watching us approach, of course, but they would never admit that, so it was only now that they ‘noticed me’.  Ouroboros and Vampire were chief among them, but I’d learned enough about their pecking order over the past three days to know that the others around here were pretty high up there.

This was the Grand Host’s leadership, or almost all of it.

“Regimer,” said Vampire.  “What do you want?  We are pretty fucking busy.”

I rolled my head around on my neck, apparently just cracking it.  Really it was a move that was about bringing to their attention how swole I was, how deep my head was set between my shoulders.  This was a real dangerous talk, so I needed to take every little bit of good stuff I could get out of my look and vibe.

“I know,” I said.  “That’s why I didn’t come before.  But I figured maybe you could make time for me now, and maybe I could help you out a bit.”

The night before, as we sheltered down in our cave, I’d felt the camp erupt in turmoil.  Gifts had scoured and shattered the ground, bodies had fallen upon it, and there had basically been a big uproar.  Everyone had run every which way without anything like a plan.

It had been a lot like the shield was a big bowl and the Gods were ants trapped under it. They’d been fighting and struggling for what seemed like the whole of the world, while their enemy watched from outside and above.

I made a mental note to maybe tone down the Green a little in my daily.  That last thought had been kind of like someone else thinking.

“Help us,” said Oro, frowning at me like she didn’t believe me.  “I feel like we heard about that before, from another finger of your little Fist.  She was going to help us with scouting, so that we didn’t get ambushed.  How’s that going?”

I gave a big shrug, trying to get across that I could make them wait for my answers without actually making them wait for my answers.

“I think fine?” I said, making it a question.  “I haven’t been hanging with Haunter too much lately, but I know she’s been working with Goddesses, so I imagine y’all are in charge of whatever is going on there.”

That was actually true.  She’d been distant with the rest of us ever since we got to the Grand Host, staying closeted up with the healers.  I could get it, to be honest, she’d been trying to do the whole ‘give her shades bodies’ thing for a long time, and conveniently Lotus could do the same ‘wise advice giver’ thing  that Jane did.

“He thinks fine,” said Vampire.

“Fine,” echoed Ouroboros.

I let that sit there a bit.  The pressure was on me to answer them, and ordinarily I would’ve, but something about how stuff was going made not saying anything seem like a power move, but one that I couldn’t get blamed for.  Like I was just believing them, so if anything was going to happen it was going to have to start with them saying that they’d been wrong.

“If things are so fine,” said Vampire, breaking the silence after a half minute or so, “why didn’t we get any warning about last night’s attacks?  She’s supposed to be all over this scouting thing, right?  So what’s the point if it doesn’t actually warn anyone!”

I pulled a mug look at her for a bit, eyes bulging and mouth agape.  Ultra Fight hadn’t taught me to do acting at all, like, drama was mostly not a thing in the old wrestling gradition.  But it had taught me overacting just fine, so I’d serve up some melodrama.

“Your girl Manus tried to kill us!” I protested.  “We’ve been super busy killing chumps.  How are we going to have time to help with your other stuff if we are busy helping with the discipline part?”

It would have been lame to openly boast about killing a Bride, but working it in while I talked about something else should be fine.

“It isn’t my job to protect your life,” said Vampire.

“Your value to us is dependent on what you bring along for the ride,” continued Oro, “And so far it is the ability to kill our own.  You can see why we might not put too high a value on that, after last night!”

We’d surmised that the Union hitters hadn’t done the majority of the bloody work last night.  It had been the confusion, the chaos, Pantheon Goddesses killing one another in the dark, paranoid at the shapes around them.

“Scouting wasn’t going to solve that one,” I pointed out.  “You get that they are all around us, right?”

“What do you mean?” asked one of the audience members, an older Bride with a shrewd cast to her face.

“Go more than a few miles in any direction, you run into a Union patrol or two, stealthy and fast, keeping an eye on what goes out.  They move way faster than a walking pace, with their skiffs and such, so they just keep a loose cordon around us.  How you going to scout in that situation?”

“I don’t know,” grated Oro, “maybe fight them?”

“That would kind of break the point of the whole ‘send out powerless scouts’ thing, right?” I said, “Like if they could beat Union troops we’d make them part of our army instead.  They are in stealth forms for blending in, but anyone we send out of the shield gets marked.”

“What’s Haunter’s plan to deal with this?” demanded Vampire.

I made a note in the ‘Vampire is smarter than she usually acts’ column in my mind.  It might be an obvious play, to turn the dilemma around on the one posing it, but it still would have been easy to miss, to sit there like an asshole just guessing how it might be done, letting me tell them they were wrong over and over.

“Me,” I told them, pointing a thumb at my own chest.

“What can you do?” asked Oro.  “The thing where you move the ground and speed us up is helpful, sure, but how are you gonna get the scouts out among the Union squads surrounding us without them seeing them go through the shield?”

I turned the thumb down, pointing to the soil beneath us.

“We go under it,” I told her.  “I’ve been pulsing the ground all around us ever since we joined this column, pushing waves out at the same times every day, different directions, different distances.  Playing havoc with their equipment.”

“Just false alarms,” said Oro, getting it, “But you are going to turn them real in a bit?”

I nodded curtly.

“Haunter is almost done with enough scouts for the first run.  Her ghosts stuck in animal bodies or Union looking bodies.  I’ll push them out through the ground tonight, pop them up out around where the Union probably is.  They can try and get rescued or whatever, and we’ll know where the surrounders are exactly by how fast each one gets picked up.”

If they asked how I’d track where each one got picked up I was prepared to lie about Haunter always knowing where her shades were, but it would be better not to.  The real play was that they had codes from the general, and would hopefully be able to establish communication with the Union, who could feed us some ‘scouting successes’.

“And maybe scouts isn’t all you can send out,” said Vampire.  “Maybe some Brides go along on one of these rides, jump these surrounding units, get a little payback!”

She was a vicious one.

“I don’t see why not,” I allowed.  “I love being helpful.”

“Do you?” asked Oro, dubiously.

“Sure,” I said.  “I’m a helper!  Ask anyone.”

They looked to one another, then to the others who’d come along with me.

This was actually a part of the reason I hadn’t brought any of the Fist along.  I was trying, very hard, to kind of nail into everyone’s mind that we had gone native, that we were basically Gods and Brides like the rest of them.  Rags and Lotus were the two Pantheon people I felt closest two, for opposite reasons, so they were the ones who’d come with.

“He helpful?” asked Oro, pointedly looking to Lotus.

“Sure,” she said, echoing my phrasing.  “Sometimes you wanted a man around, you know?”

She made an obscene gesture as she did so, drawing a small wave of chuckles from the crowd.

“Alright,” said Vampire, once that had died down, “Well if you are so helpful, do you think you could maybe lend us a bit of that help with the problem we are currently facing?”

I gave an amiable shrug, like they’d asked me to paint a fence.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“How did they get through the fence!” she responded, her tone making it more of an answer than an actual question that she was asking me.

“The shield Goddess says they didn’t come through?” I asked, figuring that there wasn’t much harm in restating the obvious.

“She does,” said Vampire, “And we’ve assured herself that she is telling the truth.”

There was a dark undertone to that sentence, which made me think that I didn’t exactly want to know how the Brides satisfied themselves that someone was being honest with them.  No normal army would torture one of their most crucial guys, of course, but I wouldn’t put much past this gang.

“So it was just the ones that hid in front of us then?” I asked, artlessly, without guile, keeping it all on the surface.

“What?!” asked nearly everyone at once.

I kept up the dumb show, only letting my face wrinkle just a bit, like I didn’t understand what they were so surprised at.

“What do you mean ‘hid in front of us’?” demanded Oro.  “Nobody came through the shield from the front either!  She can tell no matter what side they move through.”

“Sure,” I said, nodding along like I didn’t see what she was getting at, “If they move through.  But she probably isn’t all the time getting told by her gift that, like, another step of air has come through right?  Or that she walked another tree into it?”

I saw the moment, the spark as they got it, first one than the next, faces going from open and angry to closed and full of murder.

“So they just sat in front of us,” I rambled on, “Let the shield get carried past them, then got up and walked on in with none the wiser.  Simple, right?”

“Bullshit!” said Oro, instantly.  “We’d have seen them come in!”

Vampire had actually gotten it faster than her supposed minder, I’d noticed.  It seemed to me more and more like Oro was here for some weird trick of her gift, and that Vampire might be both the smart one and the strong one.

“I felt them,” I told her plainly.  “They just sat there like I said, then when we were close they just mixed on in.  You didn’t see them.”

The faces went back to angry on the drop of a dime.

Tough crowd.

“You felt them!” snarled Vampire.  “Your fucking dirt mover gift warned you?  And you didn’t think to tell anyone else about it?  Or do anything yourself?  Just sat on your fat-“

“It isn’t my job to protect your life.” I told her.

No expression on my face, not a hint of smugness.  I just let her own words ring out, stood tall and calm in the silence that followed.

This was the drinks, of course.  No way original flavor Dale could have baited out those words then set them back in her face.  But with Lotus’ upgrades it hadn’t even been hard.

There was a an instant of silence.  I could see the emotions playing out over the crowd, the instant desire to retaliate and shut me up, strangled by the knowledge that to do so would be to criticize Vampire’s stance.

“That’s…” said the one Bride from the crowd who’d spoken up before, but she fell silent as no one else joined in, wilting from the attention in a way that she hadn’t when she’d last drawn it.

At last, after what seemed like entire minutes but must have been really much shorter, Vampire gave a forced chuckle.

It wasn’t convincing at all, sounded nothing like genuine humor, but it didn’t really have to.  Everyone seized upon it, joined in with their own strained mirth, and the tension just kind of leaked away.

“Maybe it should be,” she said, when the fake chuckling had run its course.  “Maybe it fucking should be.”

I gave a shit eating grin, just totally honored to take her orders like the dumb male that I was.

“I’m so busy though,” I mock protested, “I don’t know when someone is going to need fighting, I might not do a good job…”

I trailed off at the end, making it clear that my refusal was sarcastic, the kind of cloying whining that only someone who wasn’t as cool as those of us who were here would bother to do.

“That’s done,” she said, now sounding like Her, the voice of someone who accustomed to stating orders as facts, “No one else will fuck with you.”

She looked over to the rest of them, brow just the slightest bit furrowed.

“Right?” she asked.

A general noise of approval and agreement came from the crowd, Brides all but falling over each other to agree with Vampire.

I let my tension lapse a bit.  I’d been prepared to go on a bit further, to point out that the way that the Union troops had infiltrated into the column after they got through the shield had probably been the same disguise stuff that Rags told me they’d used in the last fight, to offer Condemner’s aid alongside mine and other stuff like that.

It was nice that it hadn’t been necessary.  I could leave those points for future fights, trot them out if I needed anything else from Vampire.

We weren’t supposed to be with them long, after all.  We were three days into a 2 week trip, and any day could see the Union make a big play.  As soon as Haunter got her stuff taken care of we’d be out of here.

“Indulger,” said Vampire, pushing me out of my reverie.

I’d have to watch that.  The yellow and green seemed to encourage racing thoughts, where as soon as you relaxed you kind of fell into your own mind.

“Yeah?” I asked.

“From now on, you are with me.  We’ll burn the Union down together.”

To my surprise the smile that came to my lips was genuine.  It was nice to be wanted, after all.

“Sounds fun.”

Regime Quest 28

Results from Previous round votes:

1 Vote plan CCC

*************************************************************************************

Winning Plan:

Plan:

[Morning] Train the Warband, in Ultra Combat

[Afternoon] Inform Prevailer about the proposed change in the date of the attack, on the grounds that “they already know we’re gonna hit them, so I kinda wanna mess with them before they’re ready for us”.

[Owner] Get hold of, if possible, a smoke machine and a high-power laser. She can claim that they’re for ‘a rave’, but really they’re mostly in case Merlin’s gift didn’t end with her death. (Smoke machine can outline invisible troops, and a laser can blind the otherwise untouchable spotters – though it’s possible that Smasher can smash them anyhow).

(On the side, she can have the rave in the imaginary world, as well; hire a DJ, start selling tickets, and raise some funds – perhaps in aid of an anti-kidnapping charity)

[Builder] Create a few trucks, and experiment with making them in different ways. Also have a few words with her on the subject of large, vehicle-mounted guns… and then just see what comes out of it.

[Smasher] [Afternoon] Train the warband, in Ultra Combat. They’re looking after her, let’s give her the chance to look after them.Day 24 Log :

7 AP at start of day (6 at end of last day +1 for half night’s sleep)

-2 Train the Warband (5 AP)

Roll 10, +1 for Crit Success success (6 AP)

-3 Inform Prevailer (entertainment) (3 AP)

Roll 8, +2 for success (5 AP)

Builder Experiment with truck guns

Roll 7, success(ish)

Owner: Buy rave stuff

Roll 10, Crit Success

Smasher: Train the Warband

Roll 8, success

End of day, 5 AP

*************************************************************************************

Train the Warband:

The real breakthrough came when I had them do the teaching.

It was probably the thing with Smasher that gave me the idea.  How they’d ended up helping her out, at least in the short term, rather than the other way around.  It got my mind into a different place, got me thinking of them as people, rather than an amorphous mob.

It might also have been about dispelling elitism, a bit.  I mean, I basically was one of them, only I’d made it to the top of the ladder.  That had left me with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I now saw, thinking that because I’d been more successful than them it meant that I was better.

That was rubbish thinking, Regime thinking.  Even if I was better, it didn’t mean that I would be better at everything.  It didn’t mean that there was nothing I could learn from them.  I’d been walking past a gold mine, proud of how clean my hands were.

Looking at it with a cold, clear eye, being maximally dispassionate about it and all, who really gained from a lesson?  The teacher or the students?  Sure, teaching something let you really learn it, there was a lot to be said for that.  You knew you genuinely understood something when you could teach it to someone else, but put that aside for a sec.

At the start, the teacher knew a thing, the student didn’t.  At the end, they both knew the thing.  Obviously the students were the ones benefiting.  So why was I so proud about this relationship?  I was helping Regime warriors get more deadly, puffing myself up about how strong my warband was.  I ought to have been using them to make ME more powerful all along.

The only complication was that I couldn’t make it obvious that they were the ones providing value.  Regime posturing and all that.  I solved that by making it a contest.

I took the squad leaders Smasher had chosen, Jumper and the others, got them up in front of the crew and had them each give their best lesson, earning the right to be ‘first squad’ for the one who gave the tips I considered to have helped the rest out the most.

They might not have been, one on one, better combatants than I was, but everyone had figured out a little trick or two that I hadn’t necessarily set down.  Stuff about how important sight lines were, the times to use Ultra strength to swing or throw an object versus when you needed to get in there and hit directly, how a deathtouch opponent could be handled, the rough categories that projectile gifts fell into and how to tell them apart.

It was considerably more productive, I judged, than my own lecture would have been, and to top matters off I learned some things myself.  An excellent morning indeed.

*************************************************************************************

Inform Prevailer:

“She’ll see you now,” said Answerer, sliding out of the way so that I could get to the door.

I didn’t pay Her mascot much mind, letting her creep on past without moving forward.

We were in the old Treasury building, down on some sublevel.  I’d tried to keep the inner Lair geography straight in my head, but it was hard to think about anything else when you got this close to Her.

I gritted my teeth and walked up, pushed the door open.

The room beyond was a meeting room of some kind, nondescript and functional, black office chairs around a faded brown table.  There were probably a thousand like it within a few blocks.  The strangest thing about it, honestly, was that it wasn’t even a little crumbling.  It wouldn’t have been out of place, aside from some dust and mold, back when the building was still in use.

She was standing at the head of the table, looking over at me.

I forced myself to keep walking, not to break stride.  Everyone knew that She hated when people wasted Her time, that She hated suck ups almost as much as those who didn’t suck up enough.

She hated lots of things.

“Blender, right?” She asked.

“Yes,” I said.

I was right in front of Her now.  Right in front of the woman who’d ended the world.  I could reach out, if so inclined, just brush my fingers against Her and She’d be done.  Take away ‘living’, or ‘smart’, or some other crucial metadata.

Instead I dropped into the Posture, going down on my knees and crossing my wrists behind my head.  A lot of people had tried stuff just like that, and She was still here.  I wasn’t about to end Her story.

“You are going to take out those Ar Harbor punks, right?” She said.

I gave a wordless nod.

I was struggling to keep my mind away from how every second could be my last.  This was, undeniably, a more dangerous moment than anything King Arthur could throw at me.  The lunatic across from me had the blood of billions on Her hands.

“So?” she asked.

“So I wanted to tell you that I’m moving up the time table-“

I’d meant to end the sentence there, but I saw one of Her hands tense slightly where it rested against Her pants legs.

“-if that’s ok with You,” I finished.  “I’d like to go on the 28th, instead of the 31st.”

She dropped down to one knee, eyefucked me.

“When’s that?” She asked.  “What do you mean?”

Shit, why would She not know dates…uh, ok, maybe She just meant She didn’t bother with them.

“Get with Snitcher,” I suggested, “3 days from now.  I mean not today, not tomorrow, or the day after.  The 28th is the one after the day after tomorrow.”

“The day after the day after tomorrow,” she echoed, slowly.  “Morning or evening?”

“Whichever You want!” I said, eagerly, while simultaneously hoping that She would pick the evening.  I was planning to drive out early on the 28th, if She wanted a morning fight we’d need to leave the day before, do a night drive or spend the night out in the wilderness.

“Night works,” She said, standing back up.

I carefully died not breathe out a sigh of relief, remaining stationary for a few moments longer as She turned away.

I was nearly to the door when She spoke again.

“Keep the place looking nice,” She directed.  “I’m going to walk around for a bit after you finish up.  See all the shops and such.”

I gave a wordless nod.

I desperately wanted to ask Her if damage and repair would be ok, but all of my instincts were warning me that quibbling would only be bad for me.  I needed to be a glove, an instrument.  I would be spared if I was transparent, absent, nothing to think about or remark on.

She looked away again and I took the opportunity to leave.

*************************************************************************************

Debrief Posse:

“You didn’t want Smasher at the debrief?” asked Owner.

It was a fair question.  Only days ago I would have given quite a bit to get her to show up.

“No, this is just for the three of us.” I  told them.  “She told you how things worked out, right?”

“She said stuff was going great,” said Builder.  “They were all learning and working together, but she was ready to attend if you wanted her to.”

I smiled, gave a small nod.

“I didn’t want to take the risk,” I told them.

“Risk?” asked Owner.

“People don’t change,” I told her, a bit bluntly.  “Hardly ever.  They backslide, they relapse.  Call it what you want.  We all go back to what’s old and familiar.  Tonight is a very dangerous time for Smasher.”

Builder got it immediately, face lighting up.

“You think if she’s with the warband she’s less likely to get tore up!” she guessed.  “Cuz they were the ones who got her to fly straight in the first place.”

I gave a small nod.

Of course, what I’d just said applied to me as well.  An outside observer might have said that I was doing the same thing, putting the briefing back on its most familiar ground as I faced great risk.  I wouldn’t have denied it.

“How’d things go for you?” I asked Owner.

She grinned lazily.

“Nothing to it.  Buying stuff like that is probably pretty easy over there, I guess imaginary me just took a bunch of these cards down to the smoke store shop and carried it on back.”

More likely it had been an online order with expedited shipping, but I’d long ago stopped fighting with Owner’s interpretation of the world gone by.  I suspected that more than half of her mistakes were just ways to get under my skin, anyway.

“You got the smoke machine?” I asked.

“Yep,” she said, “And a bunch of these laser things too.  We might have got cheated though, I tried a few out and they didn’t even cut through a wall.”

That drew a chuckle from me.

“These aren’t Ultra lasers,” I told her.  “Not gifts or anything, they have to follow the real rules.  A laser that could cut through a wall wasn’t something you could actually make, not without a whole lot more power than the battery packs we ordered.”

She looked disgruntled.

“Laaaame!”, said Builder.

I looked over at her, rolling my eyes a bit.

“Where’d you put the trucks?” I asked her.

“Down the street a ways,” she said, vaguely.

That was probably good thinking.  If we left trucks lying around outside the Lair they’d have been stolen or scavenged immediately, but nobody in here was likely to bother.

It wasn’t that I trusted the people in here, mind, it was that they were already where they wanted to be, close to the seat of power.  Transportation wasn’t a priority for anyone except chumps who took the Warlord job.

“You get the guns on em?” I asked.

She pulled a face, grimacing a bit.

“I guess?” she said.  “I just made bigger regular guns, like, each part bigger.  I hope they won’t explode or whatever when we shoot them.  I’m not sure if that’s exactly what you meant.”

It hadn’t been, of course, but in retrospect she didn’t really know anything about tank turrets or vehicle mounted machine guns or anything.  ‘Giant Rifles’ was probably as good as this could have gone.

Honestly I didn’t know a huge deal about guns either.  Maybe a rifle that was twice as big actually shot twice as hard?  It probably couldn’t be that simple, but if nothing else they’d make the trucks look fiercer, more obviously Warlord gear.

Image was everything, after all.  A few post apoc looking war trucks in the background of the fight scene couldn’t hurt.

“Alright,” I said.  “Get some sleep, tomorrow is-“

“What’d you do?” asked Owner, poking a finger at me.

“Huh?”

“This afternoon.  What did you do?  I know you never waste time, and you’ve taken a good bit off lately.”

Despite myself I felt a bit of warmth in my chest, to know that she was checking up on me.

“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” I told them.

 

*************************************************************************************

The Plan:

– We should attack on the 28th. We shouldn’t tell anyone about this until about the 25th. This will throw a spanner in the works of any trap they’re planning that requires that they have an idea of when we’re coming.

– If we head over on the 30th, we can expect to ‘coincidentally’ meet a Union patrol partway there who will inflict some damage on us. We should prepare for this possibility, even at our earlier date.

– We attack on the 28th. The only person who finds out about this early is Prevailer, who gets to discover this on the 25th. On the 26th, those members of our Posse that we can trust not to blab find out.

-On the 28th, Smasher and the warband find out. Preferably while being herded into the trucks.

“This will minimize the opportunity for betrayal, and we might very well catch them with their pants down, planning some kind of preemptive strike on the 29th.”

– Merlin’s invisible troops are, of course, invisible. They are also carrying Knight equipment. Picker’s assassins carried Knight equipment. Hmmm. But what the Knights are asking for in exchange for the use of their equipment is morally completely reprehensible. I can’t countenance that, and would lose my Resistance contact if I did. (I would deserve to lose my Resistance contact if I did that. I would be truly a monster.)

– I need to bear in mind that Merlin and Arthur might have empowered the same people. That is to say, some of Merlin’s invisible assassins might have Ultra Strength, or Speed, or Toughness. They’re already hitting above their weight – on top of that, they may actually have some weight to hit on top of.

– Another option for dealing with Merlin is to take advantage of KEM. I know where she lives, what she can do and who she cares for; leaving that report on Merlin in the right place should be enough to get her killed outright. However, I shouldn’t use KEM on more than one person. Merlin is a greater threat than Guinevere.

– Third option – use Owner to demolish Merlin’s house in the middle of the night (buying and demolishing the property).

– Fourth option – take advantage of Builder’s stuff-stretching ability to ensure that our confrontation happens in an ankle-deep flood. Even invisible people can be seen walking through ankle-deep water – if nothing else, by the foot-shaped hollows in the water.

– We hope the KEM managed to take out Merlin, and we further hope that doing so reversed her Power’s effects. However, if not, we have a multipronged strategy against those invisible troops. Firstly, Merlin herself is killed quickly – sniper bullet, if necessary (no showboating here). Second, a smoke machine may make invisible people visible, and a laser can blind their spotters, effectively making them ineffective on the field.

“Re: Sniping, Merlin will probably be hidden in a basement somewhere, if she’s alive when we strike.  I could try sending in a sniper ahead of time, hope to catch her just out and about living her life, but in a pitched battle she isn’t going to be standing around where we can shoot her.  I also, um, don’t have a sniper?  The Ultras will have rifles, and they’ve trained in anti firearm techniques (ducking behind stuff), but I haven’t really sought out and trained marksman to the point that I’d call any of my warband ‘snipers’, per se.”

“Re: Smoke machine, potential here, but I’d need to do a lot of testing to fine tune this.  Like, a thick smoke will blind and choke everyone.  I need sort of a mist deal.  Hopefully what Owner bought is what I need.  Might be worth spending some time messing around with.”

“Re: Lasers.  I don’t think trying to hit people in the eyes with lasers in a big fight is going to work.  The lasers might turn out to ‘hit’ the invisible people though, so they might be some use, but everyone carrying a laser is someone who isn’t fighting…I dunno, I don’t really like this idea.”

– Guinevere is easily handled. I need merely imbue my Posse with fireproof; after that, Smasher can take her out easily. (Ankle-deep water should mess with her, too, by extinguishing a lot of fires).

– Lancelot and Arthur are unlikely to be trouble in the final confrontation.

– That giant Union tank, on the other hand, is a problem (and not a small one). But Builder should be able to deal with it; her power works at any range. She can close off any gun barrels by extending the barrel material _inwards_, she can mess up the engine by making the internals just grow crazy spikes everywhere, and so on. Once she can see it, she can ruin it utterly – and probably without even leaving any external sign of her sabotage, so it can all be blamed on the Union being idiots.

– Builder is our go-to person for ranged anti-Union-tech operations. No machine can long survive her vengeful gaze, once she’s decided to smash it. And if the Union gets wise to the point of limiting our visibility (say, with smoke), the Smasher can just smash the smoke…

“I like this idea a lot.  Builder can rapidly ruin any tank she can see, although she can’t add stuff to the internals.  Nothing is going to keep running well once an enemy starts creatively adding stuff to it.”

– If the Ar Harbour team don’t want to come out and fight, we can draw them out by taking hostages. from the people they care for. This strategy is unpleasant and distasteful, but it will work, and will draw them away from buildings. Moreover, I don’t actually need to permanently harm the hostages, not if I’m threatening enough.

-Talking of Smasher, if she can smash *fire*, then Guinevere doesn’t stand a hope.

“I asked her about this, she can smash both fire and smoke, but apparently each fairly small part is separate, so she’d smash a 5 footish area of it each time, rather than the whole cloud/fire.”

 

*************************************************************************************

 

Day 26:

Days remaining: 3!

AP available: (5 at end of day + 1 for 6 hours sleep) = 6/10

Non AP Action: Swap in a new plan.  You write in a new plan, I’ll give you Mia’s assessment of it.  If you don’t do this then the existing one will be executed.  The plan that is in force when its execution date arrives will be used for the actual battle, though there may be mid battle votes that could alter it in process.

Prestige: 3

Timeslots available: 2, morning and afternoon

Builder Timeslot Available: afternoon

Owner Timeslot Available: afternoon

Smasher : Timeslot Available: morning or afternoon, but not both

Posse: 3 or 3 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 45

Condition: Healthy

[spoiler=Ultras]

 

(Ultra format: Role, Ultra Strength/Speed/Toughness, other gift description)

Posse:

Builder — 0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things, blessed with a ‘Bulletproof’ blend

Owner – housemate, 0/0/1 operates an imaginary firm, with real effects on the world,

Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time

Ultra Allies:

Maker- Friend, and protégé of Snitcher, 0/0/1, can summon the spirit of things

Clawer – Ultra fighter 2/0/1, melee combatant, deadly hooks for hands

Stopper – partner of Clawer, 0/0/0, steals form’s velocity by looking at them

Sticker – Did dentistry for her brother, 0/0/2, Creates slime, can choose its stickiness

Grower – 0/*0/1, an outside Ultra I sponsored into the Lair, has a bullet blend from me, can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects

Joker — 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like

Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes

Ultra Enemies:

Masher- Enemy, and fellow protégé of Subtracter, 3*/0/3*, trades off strength and durability as she moves or stays still

Picker – First Fist protégé, 0/1/0, ‘selects the outcome of things’

Ultra Acquaintances:

Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them

Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses

Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees

Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them

Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate

Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One

Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken

Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant

Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces

Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see

Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts

Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements

[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler=Actions]

Actions:

[ ] Accept Refiner’s Bargain (Timeslot cost: 0, AP cost 4, auto succeed)

Motive: His blessed weapons and armor would be a massive force multiplier for our group.  He might also send along Knight backup.  He would be a powerful additional patron.

Concerns: I would be responsible for a massacre in the immediate aftermath, or be killed by Second Fist if I backed out.  Subtracter would also likely perceive this alliance as an attempt at weaseling out from under her command, so I’d have to tread very carefully to avoid offending her.

 

[ ] Seek Transportation

-[ ] Scavenge (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: My current transportation sufficed for me in my troubleshooter role, but I will likely require a larger vehicle, or several vehicles, in order to bring everyone to Ar Harbor. I can seek to find something in the suburbs and surrounding towns.

Concerns: Leaving Shington could be dangerous, and I am far from guaranteed to find a bus or truck suitable to my needs, as the area has already been heavily scavenged.

-[ ] Trade with existing owners (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of fixing up ruined vehicles I’ll negotiate to get them from their current owners.

Concerns: Snitcher may disapprove of a warlord being civil

-[ ] Seize by force (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of asking my contacts for vehicles I’ll just take what I want. My role as warlord and my Tally should minimize resistance

Concerns: People like their vehicles, and won’t like the one who takes them. I will make enemies.

-[ ] Seek Transportation [Adder + Company] (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but Adder can use his gift to make something for my purposes, and the Company can duplicate it and make it permanent.

Concerns: Adder and I are not close, he may decline to aid me, owing to his rivalry with my sponsor, Subtracter.

 

[ ] Seek Target Information

-[ ] Company (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Company logs every Ultra they create. Their Ar Harbor records would be useful information

Concerns: Ultras migrate and conceal their gifts, this information would be incomplete

-[ ] Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Subtracter is the military leader of the Regime, she will have information on this target

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and violent, I don’t like to be around her

-[ ] Survivors (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There have been 2 other attempts at Ar Harbor. I can seek out and question survivors in the outer city.

Concerns: I may be unable to find any survivors, and I may be misled by liars.

 

[ ] Seek Posse Members

-[ ] wander & gossip, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 1-6 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping, opening up in depth investigation options on them and adding them to my list of acquaintances.

Concerns: None

-[ ] At Ultra Fights, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Constraint: Only available in the afternoon or night on days divisible by 4 (day 4, 8, etc)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 3-12 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping at this kind of event.

Concerns: Ultras associated with the Fights are more likely than most to be melee combatants.

 

[ ] Seek Warband Members

-[ ] At the Yard, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Lair is surrounded by hundreds of Regime Ultras. The strongest come to the Yard to show their power and appeal to those like me, who would give them purpose. I should be able to gather between 5 and 20 Ultras of such caliber.

Concerns: I will need to provide housing and direction to these Ultras, or risk them wandering off. I can expect to spend at least an action a day on them, and training them might well eat up more. Ideally a Posse member will be tasked with this.

-[ ] [Gang name] From a Gang, (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 5, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: The Ultras that surround Shington are organized into Gangs dozens strong. If I can recruit such a force I might have my whole Warband right there.

Concerns: These Ultras likely already have patrons in the Lair, who I would need to negotiate with. Their leader would also likely want a place in my Posse, and she would be the primary locus of their loyalty until I’d had time to win them over.

 

[ ] Investigate Acquaintance:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success, 2 if we become allies)

Motive: I can spend some serious one on one time with an Ultra I’ve chosen, evaluating the capability of their gift, the alignment of their values with mine, and their basic  competence. If all checks out, I might move them into my Ultra Allies column.

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Invite Ally into Posse:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: If I want to bring an ally into my posse, get them to take actions on my behalf and rise or fall with me, this is the way to do it. I will only take this action on those I’ve already made allies, and once this has been taken it is difficult to undo.

Concerns: Posse members are most of the way into my circle of trust, and will operate on my behalf, representing me to stranger. A mistake here would be dangerous and damaging. I should be careful before taking this step, potentially investigating a prospect several times.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Snitcher’s patterns

-[ ] Passive listening (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Snitcher can ride my senses at any moment, and bring Her along. If I am ever to contact my KEM allies, my resistance allies, or show any kindness or weakness whatsoever, I need to understand when this is likely to take place. Gossip can hint at this, particularly if I carefully steer conversations. This action would be mostly undetectable, even if he was riding me when I took it.

Concerns: None

-[ ] Active interrogation of Snitches (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 2 on success)

Motive: As above, but rather than listen for random gossip I will seek out other linked individuals and directly ask them how often he rides their senses, and what actions he has reacted to in the past.

Concerns: More likely Snitcher notices this, unknown consequences of that.

-[ ] Confront Snitcher Directly (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but take the simplest possible route. Go to Snitcher and ask him for the deal.

Concerns: I am sponsored by Subtracter, not Snitcher, he may not wish to aid me. He may demand favors or other services in exchange for the information.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Regime military operations

-[ ] Ask Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: My life depends on doing this right. I need to get a basic understanding of what She is expecting from my attack on Ar Harbor. Do I need to seize the Company Facility? Kill all the enemies? Are there any constraints on how I go about it? Subtracter is the leader of the Regime’s military, and my sponsor, she will know these answers.

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and brutal, and she killed my neighbors, I hate spending time with her.

-[ ] Ask Around (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but ask survivors of previous missions instead of my evil boss.

Concerns: My predecessors may not have told them everything, their views of their missions may omit certain command level details that I need to worry about.

 

[ ] Relax and Recuperate

-[ ] By visiting Blisser (Timeslot cost: X (slots spent until AP reaches max), AP cost 0, returns 3 per time period. DANGER, this action may cause addiction)

-[ ]By lounging around, (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment areas (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest, and I might learn some things by socializing

Concerns: None

-[ ]By using my gift to repair the city (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: It needs to be done.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

-[ ]By using my gift to heal people (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: This is why I have my gift.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

 

[ ] Organize Armory [Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 2 on success)

Motive: I carry, in my backpack and on my person, various items to blend with if the need arises. I am overdue to look through my setup and take an inventory, once that is done I could seek out new objects if I am missing anything useful.

 

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Action: Direct the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful)

Motive: If I need to set my warband in motion, give them a project or whatever, it is as simple as telling them to jump.  My will is their command.

-[ ] Let [Posse Member] Supervise, takes up the Posse Member’s action, modifies success chance based on which Posse member it is, and which action

 

[ ] Action: Train the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful) [Requires a timeslot from the teacher, who should probably be an Ultra combatant]

Motive: Yard Ultras are fierce, but undisciplined.  They are warriors, not soldiers.  I can get better outcomes if I teach them some basics.

-[ ] In Ultra Combat (Gives bonuses on their battle rolls)

-[ ] In anti firearm maneuvers (Makes them suffer less casualties under fire)

-[ ] In obedience (makes them more likely to obey my orders)

 

[ ] Action: Other (Timeslot cost: x, returns x if successful)

 

KEM Actions:

[ ] Assign Assassination mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 3, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

 

Description: KEM are the only humans who fight back on a consistent, day to day basis.  We’ve come up together, they and I, and pointing them at my foes is only common sense.  If I give them a target, then I trust them to make a good faith effort to put that Ultra down.  Their odds of success, of course, vary wildly depending on how much info I can provide, and the gifts of the Ultra in question.

 

Resistance Actions:

[ ] Assign Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The humans are the ocean in which the Ultras swim, the saying goes.  The Resistance’s capacity to gather information about Ultras is unsurpassed.  If I give them a target, then they will give me every bit of public information on the target, and often times a little bit more.  Ultras are people, after all.  I believe this with all my heart.  And people trust other people, even those that they ultimately shouldn’t.  I can assign as many targets as I wish, but the more I assign the less details I will probably get, and the longer it might take.

 

[ ] Debrief Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 0, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The information that the Resistance gathers is worthless if I never regain it.  Using protocols I’ve worked out ahead of time, and my recent discovery of Snitcher’s habits, it should be possible for me to take the Resistance’s reports with minimal risk.  I expect I should give them a day or two for local targets, and possibly as much as four for targets in Ar Harbor or further afield.

Smasher Actions:

[ ] Recuperate [Timeslot cost All]

Description: Smasher hangs on the edge of death.  Her body and gift will try to knit her back together each day.

 

Owner Actions:

[ ] Acquire Funds [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner takes action to get more and more valuable assets within our world, increasing her overall funding, hopefully permitting her gift’s actions to be swifter and larger in impact. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Change Company [ Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner presently runs a package store, located in downtown Washington.  She has, as near as I can estimate, a low six figures saved up.  With this action I can direct her to acquire licenses, expand locations, purchase other businesses, or perform similar deeds, all based around changing the operation and activities of her imaginary franchise. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Company Action [ Timeslot cost 2]

Description: This is a catchall action for anything I might think of that could let Owner impact the main battle in Ar Harbor.  Buying up local real estate and demolishing it on a certain date seems like the obvious course of action, but there are a lot of other fringe ideas that I’ve been entertaining. [Requires Write In clarification on how to do this.  The first Action spent on this is about Owner doing tests to make sure this effort will work, the second actually kicks off whatever changes I want in the imaginary world.]

Builder Actions:

[ ] Repair Structure [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Builder can repair most any structure any structure in just a few hours, spreading broken portions back into place and generating new matter as needed.

 

[ ] Construct Known Structure [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder can construct any easily described structure with the same ease that she repairs them.  Her present education limits this to extremely primitive structures, but that might well be changeable.

 

[ ] Construct Known Items [Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gits aren’t limited to buildings.  If she can get a perfect understanding of an objects, and samples for every component, then she can form any items that I might desire.  The easiest way to accomplish this, of course, would be to provide her with a sample.

 

[ ] Memorize Patterns [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gifts are heavily limited by her imperfect education.  The more patterns I can get her to learn, the more she can construct from any given material.  If I provide her with patterns or specimens I’m pretty sure she can memorize them and add them to her arsenal.

[/spoiler]

 

 

Indulger 9:1

This wasn’t going to be an Ultra Fight, I reminded myself.

I didn’t really need to.  Lotus’ juice was pounding away inside me, sharpening my mind like a grindstone, giving me the extra little bit that I need to be fully alive, fully aware of the moment.  But it was a good thing to remind myself of anyway.

I’d pulled my punches, back with the Pantheon at their fort.  I’d left my enemies alive, tried to turn them into friends.  I’d made limited progress, but I’d been doing my damnedest.

But that wasn’t going to be the case with the Brides.

I’d been ducking this fight for a day, and that was about as far as I could stretch it.  Manus and Nimbus had been shitting on our names, straight up heeling it up against us, making their own rep bigger by telling everyone how weak they found us.

Nothing that we did, not my own movement of the ground, which doubled the distance the column moved in a day, not Haunter’s work with their healers and scouts, none of it could make up for the fact that we weren’t Brides, and so couldn’t be respected.

The old Dale, or maybe I should say the unaltered one, would have just sat here and let it happen.  I’d have wallowed along, secure in my ways, and one day we’d have just been surrounded and lynched by bored kids.  It wasn’t naturally my way to be proactive.

But I was working with Lotus now, was pumped to the gills with her yellow juice, and experimenting with just a taste of the red and green drinks.  It was definitely changing how I thought, I could tell that.

I’d imagined, back before I met Lotus, that using stuff that changed who you were would be scary, that like the old you would still be back there behind your eyes, just getting madder and madder at what you were choosing, but it wasn’t like that at all.  I was still me, or at least I felt like it, but I was just much more awake and more of a heel now.

It had given me the self confidence to step up to the Brides before their bullying could get us killed.

“Say that again?” I dared Manus, looming up over her as well as I could without getting inside of touching range.

This wasn’t as hard as it might seem, since she was all of four feet tall, or maybe a bit shorter.  It was still weird how the Brides had members that were so young, who could straight up slaughter when they wanted to.

Preventer had told me that her name meant ‘hands’, so I wasn’t about to let her put them on me.  My working assumption was a death touch of some sort.

“Boy Brides weak,” she said, Pantheon accent strong in her speech, “You… more weak.  Lick boot.”

She was giving me a chance to back down, in a way.  She was in her rights to start fighting already, just from the fact that I’d stood up to her.  I could tell, somehow, that she didn’t want this, that she was under pressure of her own, was using us to deflect attention from her own position.

The people around us chuckled along with her line, sneering in at me in a way that felt distinctly dangerous.

This was the most dangerous time.  Nobody fought during the day, or not many people.  You’d fall behind the column, maybe get hit by Union forces.  It wasn’t worth it.  Almost nobody fought at night.  No audience.  But marching ended pretty early in the afternoon, and that left this little window, a few hours where there were a lot of bored Goddesses lurking around.

Nimbus, honestly, was the one that I ought to be fighting, from the talking perspective.  She’d been the main one who started all this shit with us.  But the problem was that there was no way I could beat her.  Her gift would take me out in a second.

“You not chosen,” I told Manus, the girl I could maybe take,  “Never chosen.  Never will be chosen.  Bride in name only.  Sleep alone.”

I’d been watching, taking notes.  So had everyone else.  Every culture had their own version of smack talk, and among the Brides these were apparently sick insults.

The flaring of her nostils, the widening of her eyes, they were all the warnings I got.  She swung a fist at me but I was already hurling myself aside as her gift manifested itself.

It was a good thing I’d used my gift, had it drag the ground under me, because I wouldn’t have dodged if I didn’t.  Her gift was swift, and given that she was a Bride, I had no doubt it would take me out if it hit.

The ‘hands’ in her name turned out to refer to the shape of her gifts, not to her actual hands.  She’d crafted a pair of energy fields, each shaped like a ten foot version of one of her hands.  They mirrored her actual hands movement, whirring through the world around her with the same swiftness that a person could do basic hand movements.

For now, they were cupped around her.  She had clasped them in front of her like she was holding an egg, and the gift hands clasped around her in the same way.  It lifted her up off the ground a little, which was worrisome.

“Kill You!” she yelled, and her cry was taken up by the crowd around us as a cheer and a taunt.  I’d seen variations of it a thousand times back in the Ultra Fight rings, but they were in deadly earnest here.

“Kill what?” I asked, putting my hands together before me in a mockery of hers.  “Kill time maybe?  I am still here!”

I was dimly aware that I should have been absolutely terrified.  There was death here.  I had no Link to bring me back, and they’d had the same time to find out stuff about us that we had about them.  She might easily know to keep my body off the ground if she got a shot in.  I might be living my last seconds.

Lotus’ drug didn’t let me care, though.  If I was living my last, then the emphasis was on living.  I had never felt so focused in my life.

She snarled and swung a fist, making sure it was the one that had previously been on top of her gesture.  The energy projection shot towards me, even as she stood safely on the top of the other one, standing on its palm as she mimed the punch.

This time there was no way to skid to the side.  She was watching, would simply adjust the angle of the swing.  I dropped instead, my gift opening a gap beneath me and sending me plummeting into the earth.  I heard the whirr of the wind as her ‘punch’ raced above me, and then I was cradled in the soil, stone and sand rasping about me as my gift carried sideways at an angle.

My thoughts raced along as I shot through the ground.

Not coming up would make me weak in the eyes of the crowd.  It would be a death sentence whenever I did come back up, a punch from behind from some cocky Bride and it would all be over for me.

If I came back to the surface, however, she would just swing again, and I’d be right back down here.  If I was lucky.

The ground surged around me, my gift making me aware of a great fissure being ripped through it.  She had even less patience than I’d expected.  I was launching myself back up before I could finish the thought.

If delay would be fatal, then obviously hiding would be twice as much so.  I couldn’t let peoples takeaway from this fight be that I was afraid of her, or that I couldn’t stand up to her.  Jane had told us over and over that in a group like this the appearance of strength was strength.  I couldn’t let her set the pace at all.

I burst out of the surface off to her right, already facing her.  I’d been able to tell from the way the furrow had been being dug what angle her ‘hand’ was at, which let me know about where she would be for that to be true.  I probably couldn’t have naturally done that kind of problem, but with the Yellow in my body it just happened automatically.

I hadn’t come up empty handed.  Even as she was spinning around to face me I whipped a rock at her head, throwing it overhand like a pitching player from a ball game.

I thought it would hit her, but at the last instant the hand she was riding on dropped down a few feet, let it shoot past her head.  She brought the other hand, the one that she’d been groping around by her feet with, back up in an uppercut gesture, and once again I had to fling myself to one side.

This time she’d been mad, had moved quickly, didn’t take the time to adjust for my dodge.  I got away much cleaner, skidding across the ground on one knee as her attacking fist rose into the sky.

I had a second, before the fist came back down.  A few seconds if it was a predictable smashing attack.  I tried to work out how I could survive this.

If I kept frustrating her she’d use 2 hands.  I knew this, bone deep.  She was someone who’d gotten everything she wanted all her recent life, who’d been set off to fight with a simple sentence.  She wouldn’t be used to frustration, to long fights.  She’d move to end things.

When she did that she’d drop to the ground.  I could shoot spikes into her, grind her with stones, but she was a Bride. No way she wasn’t at least Ultra tough one.  They would just bounce off, and she’d snatch herself up again, get back on the hand.

I needed to hit her.  Needed to be touching the ground when I did it.  Only my Ultra strength could harm her.  But moving towards her would see me splattered by her fists.  I had only dodged the previous two by the narrowest margins.  The one under her would come too fast from that close.

Things moved before I could think anymore.  Her hand stopped going up and started coming down, a fly swatting gesture.  I knew that if I had my gift shoot me sideways it wouldn’t work again.

I lifted my own fist up, then, and the ground mirrored the motion, rising up in pillars around me, like I was trying to hold the field up.  Most importantly, they blocked her view of me.

The drugs had saved me again, giving me the answer in a split second.  She’d instinctively tensed up her swing, pushing into the ‘down’ of it as I apparently raised a challenge, losing the flexibility to adjust to my slides.  This time I’d slid straight away, my motion initially hidden by the collapsing pillars, and by the time she saw me I’d already created a bit of distance.

I showboated a bit, hands folded behind my head, giving a big old wide yawn, like this was just so easy and I couldn’t be bothered.

Nothing could have been further form the truth, but I had to get her mad, get her careless, because I wasn’t going to survive much longer.  Whatever I was going to do, however I was going to get my hands on her, it needed to be now.

She pushed the ‘swatting’ hand at me with an actual growl, and my gift took me straight towards it, sliding to it as though I was going to try and meet her punch with my own form.

I wasn’t, of course.  The way the fists tore through the ground they were at least Ultra strong 2, and quite possibly a three. They would go through me like I was made of cloud, leave nothing left at all.

She did it again, tensing up into the push when it seemed like it was going to meet resistance, and I swerved at the last second, my gift dropping me down into the ground under the onrushing hand, not losing any velocity in the process, still shooting me towards her.

It took her the critical second to catch what was going on, to realize that I’d ducked under again, that she hadn’t splattered me.  She didn’t have the drugs, didn’t have the experience of a hundred Ultra fights.  Hadn’t fought real battles against strong opponents like I had.

I’d been lulling her, a bit.  Giving her separate opportunities to strike me, setting her up to reset after each strike, to see what I’d try next.  Tricking her into the Ultra Fight cadence, not the raw every-second-counts of a real life and death struggle.

It all combined to steal a second, leave her processing that her push had missed without alarm or worry, getting me away from the first strike as she automatically pulled it back, shooting towards her as that alarm finally triggered in her mind, as the primordial sight of a bodybuilder who towered above her charging in upon her pushed her into an instant panic.

It came then, the thrust I hadn’t figured out how to avoid, the shielding hand rising up in an instinctive, undodgeable shove, powered by all the ‘nope nope nope’ in her tiny body, arising from every person’s automatic answer to death closing in.

My body did it for me, solved the puzzle that I couldn’t figure out myself.

I’d palmed a stone when I put my hands behind my head, had carried it through the charge.  Even as her hand started the ruinous thrust I was hurling it, every ounce of my momentum and strength behind it.

If it missed I was dead, but I’d never been more alive.  It struck home exactly where I aimed, striking her hand just as she started to push it forwards.

The flinch was automatic, a reflex just like the shove had been.  I hadn’t given her time to think since she finished the original swat.  Ultra toughness wasn’t natural, and with her shields hers wouldn’t have been tested a lot.  When her hand took an impact she froze for a moment, bracing for a pain that wouldn’t come, and her gift froze with it, slave to the actual motions of her physical flesh.

I reached her, lashed out instantly, fist moving even as the chasing hand closed from behind me and the one that had frozen lurched into motion again.

I punched her in the head.

In the Ultra fights when you hit someone in the head there was always a sagging, a sort of hammy staggering, like they were fighting for consciousness, or waging some kind of inner war.  Or they just went limp, toppled like someone had switched off a light.

None of them were kids though.  And I’d never hit any of them nearly this hard.

My fist went ‘into’ the hit, in a way that I’d never felt before, Manus’s skull giving beneath my hand and her body catapulting sideways.

It saved my life, as her fists moved in faithful obedience to the hands that bound them, flying off to the side for the instant it took her gift to realize she was dead.

The red sang in my veins, filled me with energy as I stared wildly around at the onlookers, fist stained with a fluid I was trying very hard to force myself not to identify.

Most of me knew that I’d die if they stepped up, but another part of me, much larger than I’d realized, would relish the struggle.

Their cheers had been cut off, stilled like someone’d put a rope around their throats.  They regarded me with a dangerous light, a sea of sullen, angry stares.

“Way to go Indulger!” shouted a voice, off to my left, then another echoed it, offering similar sentiments.

I looked out of the corner of my eye.  Ragnarok and some of the others from the fort, swept up somehow to this time and place, their cheers legitimizing my win, making it acceptable that a Bride could fall.

One of the Brides moved up, and I tensed myself, but then she lurched sideways in an exaggerated manner, threw her hands out and screwed up her face in an exaggerated style.

Her colleagues joined in with her mirth, laughing at Manus’ death, taking childish glee in the fall of someone they’d always looked down upon.  I heard variations of ‘sleep alone’ and such amid their mirth, and the dangerous feeling ebbed away.

I looked around, the drugs roiling through me, singing their songs of life to me.  I could feel everything, could hear every voice, somehow see every face.  This was glory.  This was what it was to be alive.  I was at one with myself, a part of the sky and the ground, wholly a part of this moment in time.

I looked down at my hand, and I wiped the stain away.

“Did it help?” asked Lotus, somehow at my side already.  She must have been watching the whole thing.

“Needs more red,” I told her.

Regime Quest 27

Results from Previous round votes:

1 Vote plan TalonOfAnathrax (wins tiebreaker roll….again)

1 Vote plan CCC

*************************************************************************************

Winning Plan:

Plan:

[X] Compromise plan

– [X] Seek Information on Snitcher’s Patterns : Active interrogation of Snitches (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 2 on success)

– [X] Relax and Recuperate by visiting entertainment areas (with Owner)

– [X] Smasher : Train the warband in obedience

– [X] Owner : R&R

– [X] Builder : Experiment with turning a (reasonably unconfined) puddle of liquid into a veritable flood. Then having parts of the flood burst up in splashes.

Day 24 Log :

7 AP at start of day (6 at end of last day +1 for half night’s sleep)

-3 Seek info on Snitcher’s patterns (4 AP)

Roll 7, +0 for failure (4 AP)

-1 Relax and Recuperate (entertainment) (3 AP)

Roll 5, +3 for success (6 AP)

Builder Experiment with water

Roll 5, failure

Smasher: Train the Warband

Roll 10, Crit success

End of day, 6 AP

*************************************************************************************

Seek info from Snitches:

I hadn’t thought this through all that well.

In my mind, this had been a simple plan.  Snitcher had a number of known snitches, gorgeous girls whose morning endeavors were what I was relying on to keep him distracted.  They should know, if anyone did, some stuff about how he generally operated.

The problem came in getting them to talk about it.  I’d originally been planning to go the eavesdrop route, just kind of idle nearby while they talked to one another and hope that the conversation would get around to their ever present voyeur.

But I had underestimated their celebrity, and what it would do to their behavior.  Girls chosen for their beauty, powerless but shielded by a mighty patron, of course they would be people of interest, fascination even.  I was far from the only Ultra who’d decided to stalk them today.

Their booth formed the center of an invisible ring, the tables immediately around conspicuously more occupied than the remainder of the Company Facility.  I’d taken my place in the ring, sent for food and settled in to eavesdrop.

The problem was simple.  They knew they were being overheard.  They were performing, self consciously selecting every word that passed their lips, every gesture that they made.

I didn’t envy them.  They would have no notion of privacy, no second that was wholly their own.  Leered at by those around them, their own senses spied upon, it must have been a miserable existence.

But one thing it did breed was discretion.

I listened for a few hours, enduring triviality after triviality.  They spoke of nothing of import, nothing whatsoever that might matter.  Their talk was entirely banal, an endless procession of nothings, seemingly calculated to encourage the appetites of their observers.

Eventually a cringing pimp made their way over to me, asking on Snitcher’s behalf if I’d come to engage the services of his girls.  I told him I’d mull it over and departed, still annoyed about the wasted time.

*************************************************************************************

Relax and Recuperate (with Owner):

“This is stupid,” I told her.

Owner just gave me a smug grin in response, gesturing back to the impromptu racetrack.

A trio of Ultras were waiting for us.  Grower, Maker and Clawer.  They’d scratched out a flat circle in front of our house, casually blocking traffic in order to mark out a disk approximately ten feet across.

“Did you encourage her?” I asked, suspiciously.

“Nope,” said Grower.  “This was all Owner’s doing.  She’s talked up your boy something big.”

I grimaced, looking down at the things they held in their hands.

Maker and Grower had both brought puppies, or really small dogs.  They hung docilely in their hands, looking without great interest at the world around them.

Clawer had a fox, which was struggling wildly in the hands of his human attendant, scratching him unmercifully.

“You think he’ll stick to the track?” I asked him.

He gave a me a shit eating grin, before tapping one of his claws against the other.

I could probably count that out.  It would be miracle if it was even visible to us a second after he let it go.

“We got this,” whispered Owner.

I looked back to her, frowning.  I had to admit, the competition didn’t exactly look stellar.  But there was one thing holding us back.

“You remember,” I told her carefully, “That Napoleon is a turtle?”

She frowned in response, putting a finger to either side of his head.

“Don’t listen to Blender,” she cautioned the tiny shell creature, “She’s not YOUR Warlord.”

I glared helplessly, though the others seemed to find that hilarious.

“Alright,” said Owner, ignoring my vast dissatisfaction, “Terms are simple.  If you win, I’ll forgive your tabs at my place.  When we win, you owe us a favor.  Everyone ok with that?”

Nods all around, though I didn’t bother, throwing up my hands instead.

They set up their racers, holding each one in place at what they’d just decided was the track’s ‘start’, and Owner started counting down.

“Hold on, hold on,”  I said.

They looked over.

“You don’t even have a finish line marked out!” I pointed out.  “How are you going to know which one wins?”

“I thought you weren’t interested?” asked Owner artlessly, “that you didn’t have any faith in our little guy here?”

“I’m, I mean…” I temporized, trying to figure out just the right way to make her understand.

“You really think it’ll be close enough to need a finish line?” asked Grower, dubiously.

I didn’t, not really, but it was the principle of the thing.  They should be prepared for the eventuality, just in case.  Not even setting one up ahead of time was just asking for a dispute after the fact.

“I’m just saying…” I said, and it was clear that I’d lost all control of this situation.

When all was said and done, Owner’d forgiven all of their tabs, Grower owed her a favor, I somehow owed her a favor, and I’d laughed more than I had since I took the Process.

*************************************************************************************

Debrief Posse:

I looked around the room carefully, one more time, reluctant to credit the evidence of my eyes.

Owner was there, conspiratorially feeding Napoleon some kind of race fixing celebratory leaf.

Builder was there, lounging alongside her on their bed, wistfully eyeing a beer can as though doing so would fill it back up.

And Smasher was indisputably there, sitting at my desk and looking out over the room with a serene expression on her face.

“Alright, so I know how Owner spent her day,” I began, “But I guess I still need to know how things went for you all.”

I carefully avoided the phrase ‘report’, and would continue to do so until I figured out Smasher’s mood.  Something was definitely going on there, and it wouldn’t do to set her off somehow.

“I couldn’t really think of anything new to try,” confessed Builder.  “I did mostly the same tests, got mostly the same results.  I add water like I add anything else, about a body’s worth of person at a time, expanding at a slow walking pace.”

“Like she leaves water behind her,” clarified Smasher, “Except it is not behind her and it doesn’t have to be water.”

Well, ‘clarified’ might have been a stretch.

“You couldn’t create great torrents?” I pressed.

She leaned her head to one side, widened her lips a bit in an ‘eh’ gesture.

“Not really,” she said.  “It makes a bit of a puddle, right enough, and I can put more of it in any given place that I can see, but that’s about it.  If there’s something transparent I can pop it, like those bottles and stuff.”

I gave a gruff nod.  I’d been worried about that, but it wasn’t entirely useless.

Nothing about her gift prevented her from making a lot of water, it was just that it would take a lot of time, maybe more than was practical during a fight.  Perhaps if I set it up ahead of time…

Smasher interrupted my musings.

“My stuff went great,” she said, unprompted.

“Oh?” I asked.  “You got the warband trained in obedience?”

She looked confused for a bit.

“Oh, yeah, that,” she said, which wasn’t super encouraging.

“Yeah, I’ve had that for a while now.  The big breakthrough today was that they all got together and talked to me, really let me know how concerned they were for me.”

What?

There were actually tears in the corner of her eyes as she proceeded.

“They’ve come to care about me, they said, and they’d hate for my habits to get the better of me.  They are going to work with me, help me stay sober!  I’m taking back my life.”

I gave a weak grin.

“That’s wonderful,” I said.

“It must have been hard for you,” she went on, “Having to watch me take all those pills, all those drinks.  But no more!”

I kept my grin in place by sheer force of will.

“I’m ready to be the best Ultra I can be.  The Regime, and our girls, deserve no less!”

Fantastic.

 

*************************************************************************************

The Plan:

– We should attack on the 28th. We shouldn’t tell anyone about this until about the 25th. This will throw a spanner in the works of any trap they’re planning that requires that they have an idea of when we’re coming.

– If we head over on the 30th, we can expect to ‘coincidentally’ meet a Union patrol partway there who will inflict some damage on us. We should prepare for this possibility, even at our earlier date.

“I like the idea of attacking at a different date from when I tell the troops that we will.  I’m concerned that they may be able to get a signal to King Arthur and his Union buds after we tell them on the 25th.  Maybe I should tell them the night before, or just the day of?”

– Merlin’s invisible troops are, of course, invisible. They are also carrying Knight equipment. Picker’s assassins carried Knight equipment. Hmmm. But what the Knights are asking for in exchange for the use of their equipment is morally completely reprehensible. I can’t countenance that, and would lose my Resistance contact if I did. (I would deserve to lose my Resistance contact if I did that. I would be truly a monster.)

“Yes, very true.  I don’t want to work with Refiner and his pets any more than I have to.”

– I need to bear in mind that Merlin and Arthur might have empowered the same people. That is to say, some of Merlin’s invisible assassins might have Ultra Strength, or Speed, or Toughness. They’re already hitting above their weight – on top of that, they may actually have some weight to hit on top of.

“Very worrying possibility.”

– Another option for dealing with Merlin is to take advantage of KEM. I know where she lives, what she can do and who she cares for; leaving that report on Merlin in the right place should be enough to get her killed outright. However, I shouldn’t use KEM on more than one person. Merlin is a greater threat than Guinevere.

“This is a good idea.  I tried to have KEM kill Merlin once already, hopefully there will be enough time to try again.  I really don’t think I can win the fight if they have invisible warriors.”

– Third option – use Owner to demolish Merlin’s house in the middle of the night (buying and demolishing the property).

“I’d rather use KEM, but this might be a ‘why not both’? situation.”

– Fourth option – take advantage of Builder’s stuff-stretching ability to ensure that our confrontation happens in an ankle-deep flood. Even invisible people can be seen walking through ankle-deep water – if nothing else, by the foot-shaped hollows in the water.

“I guess it couldn’t hurt, but when I remember my past fights and try and imagine looking at the ground constantly to see if footprints are getting closer my immediate reaction is that the person I’m fighting would take that opportunity to hit me.  We’ll try this in the worst case scenario, but I’m dubious.”

– Guinevere is easily handled. I need merely imbue my Posse with fireproof; after that, Smasher can take her out easily. (Ankle-deep water should mess with her, too, by extinguishing a lot of fires).

“My ability doesn’t really work that way, but I can see how I forgot that for a sec.  (out of character, this is a CCC plan, and the clarifications were on the board, not the blog).  My gift adjusts people’s ‘metadata’, a set of 3-4 keywords that define them.  Adding one in, like ‘fireproof’ risks the possibility that the one that falls off will be something like ‘sane’, or ‘mobile’.  I got lucky with Grower and Builder.  If I tried the same thing on 50 people I wouldn’t have fifty fireproof people when I was done, or 50 living people.”

– Lancelot and Arthur are unlikely to be trouble in the final confrontation.

– That giant Union tank, on the other hand, is a problem (and not a small one). But Builder should be able to deal with it; her power works at any range. She can close off any gun barrels by extending the barrel material _inwards_, she can mess up the engine by making the internals just grow crazy spikes everywhere, and so on. Once she can see it, she can ruin it utterly – and probably without even leaving any external sign of her sabotage, so it can all be blamed on the Union being idiots.

“Builder can wreck it very fast as soon as she can see it, though she can’t grow stuff on the internals unless she can see into it.  But adding stuff to the outside where she can see it will rapidly render the tank unusable.  I like this idea.”

– If the Ar Harbour team don’t want to come out and fight, we can draw them out by taking hostages. from the people they care for. This strategy is unpleasant and distasteful, but it will work, and will draw them away from buildings. Moreover, I don’t actually need to permanently harm the hostages, not if I’m threatening enough.

“It sounds like I am allowed to wreck the place as long as we fix it, and I’m also really not loving the idea of taking hostages.”

*************************************************************************************

 

Day 25:

Days remaining: 6

AP available: (6 at end of day + 1 for 6 hours sleep) = 7/10

Non AP Action: Swap in a new plan.  You write in a new plan, I’ll give you Mia’s assessment of it.  If you don’t do this then the existing one will be executed.  The plan that is in force when its execution date arrives will be used for the actual battle, though there may be mid battle votes that could alter it in process.

Walter Note: I’m leaving up Mia’s assessment from last round since the plan was not changed this round

Walter extra Note: If you do not change the plan this round you will tell your Posse today (the 25th) about moving the attack to the 28th.

Prestige: 3

Timeslots available: 2, morning and afternoon

Builder Timeslot Available: afternoon

Owner Timeslot Available: afternoon

Smasher : Timeslot Available: morning or afternoon, but not both

Posse: 3 or 3 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 45

Condition: Healthy

[spoiler=Ultras]

 

(Ultra format: Role, Ultra Strength/Speed/Toughness, other gift description)

Posse:

Builder — 0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things, blessed with a ‘Bulletproof’ blend

Owner – housemate, 0/0/1 operates an imaginary firm, with real effects on the world,

Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time

Ultra Allies:

Maker- Friend, and protégé of Snitcher, 0/0/1, can summon the spirit of things

Clawer – Ultra fighter 2/0/1, melee combatant, deadly hooks for hands

Stopper – partner of Clawer, 0/0/0, steals form’s velocity by looking at them

Sticker – Did dentistry for her brother, 0/0/2, Creates slime, can choose its stickiness

Grower – 0/*0/1, an outside Ultra I sponsored into the Lair, has a bullet blend from me, can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects

Joker — 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like

Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes

Ultra Enemies:

Masher- Enemy, and fellow protégé of Subtracter, 3*/0/3*, trades off strength and durability as she moves or stays still

Picker – First Fist protégé, 0/1/0, ‘selects the outcome of things’

Ultra Acquaintances:

Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them

Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses

Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees

Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them

Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate

Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One

Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken

Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant

Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces

Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see

Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts

Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements

[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler=Actions]

Actions:

[ ] Accept Refiner’s Bargain (Timeslot cost: 0, AP cost 4, auto succeed)

Motive: His blessed weapons and armor would be a massive force multiplier for our group.  He might also send along Knight backup.  He would be a powerful additional patron.

Concerns: I would be responsible for a massacre in the immediate aftermath, or be killed by Second Fist if I backed out.  Subtracter would also likely perceive this alliance as an attempt at weaseling out from under her command, so I’d have to tread very carefully to avoid offending her.

 

[ ] Seek Transportation

-[ ] Scavenge (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: My current transportation sufficed for me in my troubleshooter role, but I will likely require a larger vehicle, or several vehicles, in order to bring everyone to Ar Harbor. I can seek to find something in the suburbs and surrounding towns.

Concerns: Leaving Shington could be dangerous, and I am far from guaranteed to find a bus or truck suitable to my needs, as the area has already been heavily scavenged.

-[ ] Trade with existing owners (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of fixing up ruined vehicles I’ll negotiate to get them from their current owners.

Concerns: Snitcher may disapprove of a warlord being civil

-[ ] Seize by force (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but instead of asking my contacts for vehicles I’ll just take what I want. My role as warlord and my Tally should minimize resistance

Concerns: People like their vehicles, and won’t like the one who takes them. I will make enemies.

-[ ] Seek Transportation [Adder + Company] (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but Adder can use his gift to make something for my purposes, and the Company can duplicate it and make it permanent.

Concerns: Adder and I are not close, he may decline to aid me, owing to his rivalry with my sponsor, Subtracter.

 

[ ] Seek Target Information

-[ ] Company (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Company logs every Ultra they create. Their Ar Harbor records would be useful information

Concerns: Ultras migrate and conceal their gifts, this information would be incomplete

-[ ] Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Subtracter is the military leader of the Regime, she will have information on this target

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and violent, I don’t like to be around her

-[ ] Survivors (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There have been 2 other attempts at Ar Harbor. I can seek out and question survivors in the outer city.

Concerns: I may be unable to find any survivors, and I may be misled by liars.

 

[ ] Seek Posse Members

-[ ] wander & gossip, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 1-6 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping, opening up in depth investigation options on them and adding them to my list of acquaintances.

Concerns: None

-[ ] At Ultra Fights, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Constraint: Only available in the afternoon or night on days divisible by 4 (day 4, 8, etc)

Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 3-12 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping at this kind of event.

Concerns: Ultras associated with the Fights are more likely than most to be melee combatants.

 

[ ] Seek Warband Members

-[ ] At the Yard, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: The Lair is surrounded by hundreds of Regime Ultras. The strongest come to the Yard to show their power and appeal to those like me, who would give them purpose. I should be able to gather between 5 and 20 Ultras of such caliber.

Concerns: I will need to provide housing and direction to these Ultras, or risk them wandering off. I can expect to spend at least an action a day on them, and training them might well eat up more. Ideally a Posse member will be tasked with this.

-[ ] [Gang name] From a Gang, (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 5, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: The Ultras that surround Shington are organized into Gangs dozens strong. If I can recruit such a force I might have my whole Warband right there.

Concerns: These Ultras likely already have patrons in the Lair, who I would need to negotiate with. Their leader would also likely want a place in my Posse, and she would be the primary locus of their loyalty until I’d had time to win them over.

 

[ ] Investigate Acquaintance:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success, 2 if we become allies)

Motive: I can spend some serious one on one time with an Ultra I’ve chosen, evaluating the capability of their gift, the alignment of their values with mine, and their basic  competence. If all checks out, I might move them into my Ultra Allies column.

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Invite Ally into Posse:

-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: If I want to bring an ally into my posse, get them to take actions on my behalf and rise or fall with me, this is the way to do it. I will only take this action on those I’ve already made allies, and once this has been taken it is difficult to undo.

Concerns: Posse members are most of the way into my circle of trust, and will operate on my behalf, representing me to stranger. A mistake here would be dangerous and damaging. I should be careful before taking this step, potentially investigating a prospect several times.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Snitcher’s patterns

-[ ] Passive listening (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: Snitcher can ride my senses at any moment, and bring Her along. If I am ever to contact my KEM allies, my resistance allies, or show any kindness or weakness whatsoever, I need to understand when this is likely to take place. Gossip can hint at this, particularly if I carefully steer conversations. This action would be mostly undetectable, even if he was riding me when I took it.

Concerns: None

-[ ] Active interrogation of Snitches (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 2 on success)

Motive: As above, but rather than listen for random gossip I will seek out other linked individuals and directly ask them how often he rides their senses, and what actions he has reacted to in the past.

Concerns: More likely Snitcher notices this, unknown consequences of that.

-[ ] Confront Snitcher Directly (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: As above, but take the simplest possible route. Go to Snitcher and ask him for the deal.

Concerns: I am sponsored by Subtracter, not Snitcher, he may not wish to aid me. He may demand favors or other services in exchange for the information.

 

[ ] Seek Information on Regime military operations

-[ ] Ask Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: My life depends on doing this right. I need to get a basic understanding of what She is expecting from my attack on Ar Harbor. Do I need to seize the Company Facility? Kill all the enemies? Are there any constraints on how I go about it? Subtracter is the leader of the Regime’s military, and my sponsor, she will know these answers.

Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and brutal, and she killed my neighbors, I hate spending time with her.

-[ ] Ask Around (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: As above, but ask survivors of previous missions instead of my evil boss.

Concerns: My predecessors may not have told them everything, their views of their missions may omit certain command level details that I need to worry about.

 

[ ] Relax and Recuperate

-[ ] By visiting Blisser (Timeslot cost: X (slots spent until AP reaches max), AP cost 0, returns 3 per time period. DANGER, this action may cause addiction)

-[ ]By lounging around, (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment areas (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 3 on success)

Motive: I could do with some rest, and I might learn some things by socializing

Concerns: None

-[ ]By using my gift to repair the city (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: It needs to be done.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

-[ ]By using my gift to heal people (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 5 on success)

Motive: This is why I have my gift.

Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk

 

[ ] Organize Armory [Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 2 on success)

Motive: I carry, in my backpack and on my person, various items to blend with if the need arises. I am overdue to look through my setup and take an inventory, once that is done I could seek out new objects if I am missing anything useful.

 

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Action: Direct the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful)

Motive: If I need to set my warband in motion, give them a project or whatever, it is as simple as telling them to jump.  My will is their command.

-[ ] Let [Posse Member] Supervise, takes up the Posse Member’s action, modifies success chance based on which Posse member it is, and which action

 

[ ] Action: Train the Warband (Timeslot cost 0, AP cost 1, returns 1 if successful) [Requires a timeslot from the teacher, who should probably be an Ultra combatant]

Motive: Yard Ultras are fierce, but undisciplined.  They are warriors, not soldiers.  I can get better outcomes if I teach them some basics.

-[ ] In Ultra Combat (Gives bonuses on their battle rolls)

-[ ] In anti firearm maneuvers (Makes them suffer less casualties under fire)

-[ ] In obedience (makes them more likely to obey my orders)

 

[ ] Action: Other (Timeslot cost: x, returns x if successful)

 

KEM Actions:

[ ] Assign Assassination mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 3, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

 

Description: KEM are the only humans who fight back on a consistent, day to day basis.  We’ve come up together, they and I, and pointing them at my foes is only common sense.  If I give them a target, then I trust them to make a good faith effort to put that Ultra down.  Their odds of success, of course, vary wildly depending on how much info I can provide, and the gifts of the Ultra in question.

 

Resistance Actions:

[ ] Assign Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The humans are the ocean in which the Ultras swim, the saying goes.  The Resistance’s capacity to gather information about Ultras is unsurpassed.  If I give them a target, then they will give me every bit of public information on the target, and often times a little bit more.  Ultras are people, after all.  I believe this with all my heart.  And people trust other people, even those that they ultimately shouldn’t.  I can assign as many targets as I wish, but the more I assign the less details I will probably get, and the longer it might take.

 

[ ] Debrief Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 0, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]

Description: The information that the Resistance gathers is worthless if I never regain it.  Using protocols I’ve worked out ahead of time, and my recent discovery of Snitcher’s habits, it should be possible for me to take the Resistance’s reports with minimal risk.  I expect I should give them a day or two for local targets, and possibly as much as four for targets in Ar Harbor or further afield.

Smasher Actions:

[ ] Recuperate [Timeslot cost All]

Description: Smasher hangs on the edge of death.  Her body and gift will try to knit her back together each day.

 

Owner Actions:

[ ] Acquire Funds [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner takes action to get more and more valuable assets within our world, increasing her overall funding, hopefully permitting her gift’s actions to be swifter and larger in impact. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Change Company [ Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Owner presently runs a package store, located in downtown Washington.  She has, as near as I can estimate, a low six figures saved up.  With this action I can direct her to acquire licenses, expand locations, purchase other businesses, or perform similar deeds, all based around changing the operation and activities of her imaginary franchise. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)

[ ] Company Action [ Timeslot cost 2]

Description: This is a catchall action for anything I might think of that could let Owner impact the main battle in Ar Harbor.  Buying up local real estate and demolishing it on a certain date seems like the obvious course of action, but there are a lot of other fringe ideas that I’ve been entertaining. [Requires Write In clarification on how to do this.  The first Action spent on this is about Owner doing tests to make sure this effort will work, the second actually kicks off whatever changes I want in the imaginary world.]

Builder Actions:

[ ] Repair Structure [Timeslot cost 1]

Description: Builder can repair most any structure any structure in just a few hours, spreading broken portions back into place and generating new matter as needed.

 

[ ] Construct Known Structure [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder can construct any easily described structure with the same ease that she repairs them.  Her present education limits this to extremely primitive structures, but that might well be changeable.

 

[ ] Construct Known Items [Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gits aren’t limited to buildings.  If she can get a perfect understanding of an objects, and samples for every component, then she can form any items that I might desire.  The easiest way to accomplish this, of course, would be to provide her with a sample.

 

[ ] Memorize Patterns [ Timeslot cost 1]

 

Description: Builder’s gifts are heavily limited by her imperfect education.  The more patterns I can get her to learn, the more she can construct from any given material.  If I provide her with patterns or specimens I’m pretty sure she can memorize them and add them to her arsenal.

[/spoiler]