Regime Quest 44

Day 9:

Morning: Inviting Joker

“What do you mean you don’t know where she is?” I growled.

I was proud of myself. I didn’t fly off the handle, didn’t start swearing and cursing, just lowered my voice a bit and stared daggers at the person I was talking to.

She looked away, wincing, as though I’d raised a hand up to strike her. Everything about her body language screamed that she wanted to put her hands over her face, but she didn’t dare to.

“Joker does this sometimes,” she said. “I’ll let you her know you came by, the next time I see her.”

I reached out and took her by the scruff of the neck, jacked her up against the doorframe of Joker’s house.

“How about,” I asked, my voice level and calm once more, “you let me know, instead. And how about instead of the next time she comes by you let me know right now. Where. The. Fuck. Is. She?”

“I don’t know!” she sobbed. “This is just a thing she does. She’ll be back eventually, but she never knows how long it’ll take!”

“How long WHAT will take?”

I saw it then. The fear in her eyes was suddenly tainted by guilt.

She fell over herself to deny it, a word salad of helplessness and innocence, but it all rang false to me. She knew something.

I believed that she didn’t know where Joker was. She wasn’t the type to inspire loyalty, and I was here while she wasn’t, so I was pretty sure her minion would have already flipped on her if they knew what I wanted.

My old world instincts were screaming at me to back off, don’t be an asshole, let the woman get back to me. But the thing was that this was my life. I could easily literally die if I waited a week or more before finishing my posse.

I had no idea where the target was, or when I had to take it down. I couldn’t afford to be reasonable.

“You know why I’m called Blender?” I asked her, voice pitched menacingly. “Have you ever seen one? It is a machine that turns stuff into a slurry of liquid and waste?”

She whimpered, grimaced, and finally spilled it.

Joker, it turned out, had a hobby. Whenever a human annoyed her she would go undercover and catfish them, then string them along and break their hearts. During this process she was completely incognito from her supporters, who could do nothing but wait for their patron to return.

That was certainly one use you could put a flawless disguising gift to. The Regime always found a new way to disappoint me.

I left her helpers with instructions for her to get in touch with me the instant they heard from her, then headed back across town.

I counted them off in my head. I was currently waiting to hear from the Union about the Merlin thing, from Maker about the Posse, from Joker about the Posse and from Subtracter about my mission. I was utterly sick of waiting.

It put me in mind of a memory from my childhood, back when my grandmother had been dying in the hospital. A pair of orderlies had walked bye, and one of them had made a dumb joke to the other.

I never forgot how angry I was at their laughter. Didn’t they know that my Gram was dying? How could they not drop everything and do whatever they could to help, when it was life or death?

I felt that same helpless rage rising within me now. The battle in Ar Harbour had brought home to me just how dangerous this job was. My lifespan was measured in weeks, maybe in months, and people were asking me to wait for days?

I felt my lips curl back from my teeth in a snarl, and I stopped for a moment in the shade of a piece of rubble, trying to focus myself.

I kept going when I reached the Packer house, heading down the street towards Subtracter’s digs digs.

The time for waiting was over.

 

Afternoon: Questioning Subtracter

 

I stepped into the Oval Office.

The famous furniture had been haphazardly tossed about, piled up along the walls. Subtracter had placed a king sized mattress in the center of the room, and then another atop it. She looked up lazily as I stepped in.

The most famous room in the world, perhaps. The room from which, debatably, the Old World had been governed.

It reeked of weed.

“Hey Blender,” she said. “What are you doing here?”

Subtracter was mostly innumerate, but she was still in charge of the timeline for my attacks.

“I just wanted to know what my next target was.” I told her.

She blinked owlishly at me, seemingly confused.

I was about eighty percent sure Subtracter couldn’t get high. Her Ultra Toughness would screen out mind altering chemicals. But maybe that didn’t apply if you wanted it not to? I wasn’t sure.

“When am I attacking?” I tried.

“30 days!” she said, almost automatically.

“From the previous battle,” I supplied, “so 21 from now.”

“Sure,” she said.

I could have kicked myself. Why the hell had I said that? Had I just cost myself nine days of preparation with one sentence of idiocy?

“And you are gonna fight…”

She let the sentence trail off, looking over to the side where a map lay half unrolled in the ruins of a very famous desk.

I tried to force calm. It hadn’t been an actual opportunity. Prevailer could certainly count, and She would be looking for Her scheduled program. I was right to correct Subtracter.

“Hey,” she asked me, chuckling, “You think you can take down Phis?”

“Course not,” I said, chuckling right back.

She was on her feet without transition, skipping over the intervening steps like God had decided to cut back on rendering.

I’d killed myself.  Holy shit I was about to die.

“…is what I would say if I was a pussy!” I continued, calling on every gram of acting skill I’d ever possessed to make that transition look natural.

It had been the fucking chuckle. Subtracter had laughed in the exact same way at my brother’s sky burial, and every time I heard it I lost my damn cool.

She scowled suspiciously at me, fists opening and closing.

“Phis is the target,” she said. “Those Pantheon shits have been pissing me off. Kill em all.”

“Can do!” I said.

The rest of the meeting was a blur, me doing my level best to avoid annoying the idiotic maniac I worked for, even as I panicked inwardly.

Phis was a serious Pantheon stronghold, basically the center of their Eastern US operations. There were a couple scary names for it. So far as I could recall it had never been attacked by a Warlord, but I was pretty sure Second Fist had taken a swing at it, and been forced back.

I couldn’t, off the top of my head, remember the Ultra in charge. I think it had changed recently.

But I was looking at hundreds of Ultras, multiple leaders as powerful as me or Smasher. Phis was one of their attempts at a Shington equivalents, a gathering place for Ultras from which they went out to attack cities.

Subtracter, in all likelihood, had just fucking killed me. I might as well have died that day back in my village.

 

Evening: Debrief Owner

 

“Then we all got to telling stories about the battle with the Round Table” she gushed. “I think the new guys really respect me now.”

“It sounds like they just really like the fact that you brought beer,” I responded, deadpan.

Owner had spent the morning drilling the Warband, then thrown them a party in the afternoon. She’d gone flying with Soarer, thrown candy and alcohol around like they were going out of style, and basically had a blast.

I was utterly not here for it, my thoughts trapped in a town that had been knocked down years ago, listening to Subtracter kill at random.

“Where’s our next target?” she asked. “Were you able to get Joker on board?”

I told her how things had gone, watched the excitement leave her face.

I hoped it didn’t make me a bad person that that made me feel a bit better.

 

Day 10 20 until next battle

Ultra rolodex: (#/#/# is Ultra strength/speed/toughness)

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

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

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

 

 

Assets: (physical)

1 truck

1 sedan

Owner’s Shington Store

Packer House

Fog Machines

Lasers (diverse)

 

Posse: (4 slots, 1 filled)

Owner (trusted friend, housemate, gift hard to describe) 0/0/1

 

Warband:

16 Veteran Ultras, 13 Rookie (that is, haven’t worked with me before) Ultras

Hexxer, Peeler, Guager, Soarer are notably less evil than the rest.

 

Blender AP: 1/10 (6 -3 +0 -3 +0 +1)

Actions cost 3, return 2 on success 0 on failure unless otherwise specified, Blender gains 1 AP every morning

 

Available Actions:

 

Posse Recruitment tree

Meet more Ultras (describe method, adds d6 to contacts)

Get to know specific Ultra better (describe method transitions Ultra to potential Posse member)

Invite Ultra to Posse (must have got to know target first, if accepted, Ultra joins Posse)

 

Warband tree

Get more Ultras (describe method, adds Ultras to warband of quality/quantity dependent on method)

Train warband (describe method, makes QM kinder to Blender in combat sections re: her troops actions and numbers)

Task warband (describe, needs Posse member or Blender to lead them, sets warband to a task)

 

VIP tree (Used for Regime Luminaries)

Visit VIP (explain, explain Blender’s motives and methods) (only returns 1 AP on success)

 

Contacts tree: (Blender currently believes morning is safer from Snitcher)

Get info from contacts (specify KEM or Resistance, method if different from usual dead drop)

Request mission from contacts (ask KEM or Resistance for action) (This can go in either direction, asking them to do something from you, or asking if they need you to do anything for them.)

 

Relax tree: (Actions which, on balance, regain AP)

Lay still: Cost 0, auto succeed, returns 2

Relaxation activities, Cost 0, returns 3 on success, 1 on failure

Healing work, Cost 1, returns 6 on success, Snitcher hazard

Blisser session, auto succeed, returns 4 per timeslot, cannot be ended until Blender is back at 10

 

Miscellaneous action: (Anything not covered above, scavenging, info gathering in person, etc, describe what Blender is going for)

 

Player Input:

Blender Morning Action

Blender Afternoon Action

Owner will take either a morning or afternoon action at Blender’s direction.

 

7 thoughts on “Regime Quest 44

  1. Okay. This… isn’t great.

    – Joker is MIA for a while. So no expansion to the Posse.
    – We have a target. But it’s a BIG target.

    This is bad news, but on the bright side, at least now we know WHAT the target is. It would have been worse if we didn’t know that.

    And we have to do a frontal assault, because Prevailer. But… there is one bright point here. We can’t bring *more* Ultras than Phis has.

    But we can bring *parity*. Equal Ultras.

    And it sounds like, for Phis, we can bring in a Posse the size of the Warband.

    ————–

    Time to do some serious gearing-up.

    Blender, morning: Attempt to inform both KEM and the Resistance of my next target. (Preferably *without* spreading rumours around – we’d rather not inform Phis if we can avoid it). If the Resistance knows about it, the Union will swiftly find out; and we can *certainly* use their help. We can use any help we can get. (If we can fit it in without risking Snitcher trouble – just in case she has an early morning for some reason – we’ll try to explicitly include the suggestion that we’ll be happy to fall in line with any reasonable plans that don’t carry unnecessary risk to Blender or Owner).

    Blender, afternoon: Train the Warband, in obedience. They do need to see my face as being *in charge*, so we need to do this occasionally.

    Owner, morning: Investigate Shower. One thing about this Phis battle – there will be a *lot* of witnesses available. If she can get enough eyes on her, she can deal with a lot.

    Long term… ‘defecting’ is a difficult thing, in a world where Snitcher, Answerer and Prevailer exist. Snitcher can see what I see. Even if I somehow hide my location from her, Answerer can tell Prevailer where I am. And Prevailer can teleport there and then just smash anything and everything present, including myself. As long as those three remain alive, I can’t exit the Regime, not if I want to live. And I do. I want to live.

    1. Excellent post! Much of what I am about to say will sound like ‘no’, so I wanted to start off by saying I appreciate this kind of thing, and the great regret of my quest is that my goal of seeing y’all speak to one another about about it has not panned out.

      Unfortunately your Posse’s size remains fixed (blame a combination of Regime intransigence and game balance re: actions), but if you are able to get them to agree, then mighty Ultras can join your warband and fight just as hard as they would in your posse.

      Blender has no way of knowing this, of course, but Snitcher, Answerer and Prevailer are protected by fate, as they serve prominent rolls in TFD’s main story, which happens later. In order to achieve the freedom that she seeks, Blender must look to other means than assassination.

      Once again, great post though! I will nudge the dice for you next time around.

      1. Yeah… Prevailer is just too powerful for Blender to affect, Answerer is perfectly capable of predicting any attempts on her life and ensuring that Prevailer is around at the time, and if those two remain alive then there’s nothing to be gained from killing Snitcher in any case. So actually *affecting* them is a clear no-go, even based only on what Blender knows. (There are more constructive ways for Blender to commit suicide, should death be unavoidable).

        Pity about the fixed-size Posse, though I can see the point about game balance re: actions. Building that Posse up should be our major aim, just in order to beef up the number of available actions…

      2. I also realized I forgot to point out, above, but we are down to just 1 AP as a result of some bad dice rolling, so make sure your actions are plotted out to get it back up before you try and spend it again.

        I really appreciate y’all carrying on even with so few voters. I have a scheme to get more, time will tell if it bears fruit…

      3. [I also realized I forgot to point out, above, but we are down to just 1 AP as a result of some bad dice rolling, so make sure your actions are plotted out to get it back up before you try and spend it again.]

        Whooo. Excellent point. We do not have the AP to complete my proposed course of action as mentioned above. In fact, we do not have the AP to do *anything* much in the morning.

        Revised plan:

        Blender:

        Morning: Healing work. I’ve just received some *very* bad news, and I’m worried about my own mortality. I may never get the chance to do some good again. Let me do some good while I can.

        …in the morning, because Snitcher.

        Afternoon: Train the Warband, mostly in Obedience. I need to – I need to be seen as in charge. As powerful. As a *warlord*. Especially by my own Warband.

        Owner, morning: Investigate Shower. One thing about this Phis battle – there will be a *lot* of witnesses available. If she can get enough eyes on her, she can deal with a lot.

        Long term: Defecting is still impossible. But KEM and the Resistance must know about my proposed target as soon as possible. Tomorrow, for preference.

        There’s no way to do healing work *and* alert them, today.

  2. [This is bad news, but on the bright side, at least now we know WHAT the target is. It would have been worse if we didn’t know that.]

    You realize it might not have been that target if we hadn’t visited Subtracter and rolled a 1. Even in-universe it was a mistake… Subtracter might have put that job on some other Warlord if Blender hadn’t rolled in and demanded her next mission right at that moment. This was Blender’s screw-up, thinking she could push a major Regime luminary and not get pushed back.

    I know this may seem petty, but I think Blender needs to actually realize a mistake was a mistake, not rationalize to herself that she didn’t screw up and this was inevitable.

  3. – We had to find out about the mission sometime. The timeline wouldn’t wait for us.
    – No matter when we found out about the mission, the odds of rolling a one were just as good.
    – Finding out about the mission later would have been worse, because we would have had less time to prepare for it.

    While I agree that finding out that our target is a particularly hard target is bad, I still think that the decision to find out what the target was was the right choice to make at the time. This wasn’t inevitable… but I don’t see what other plan would have worked out better.

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