Morning: Get to know Erupter
It was hard to track Erupter down. I spent most of my time in the Lair, and she was a creature of the outskirts.
I pulled it off, ultimately, but I might not have been able to do so if I hadn’t come from the outskirts myself. I asked old rivals, gang contacts and similar people. At least two people warned me about Replayer’s search for the same person just a bit ago.
“Which of you is Erupter?” I asked, when I finally caught up with their group.
They weren’t much to look at. A quartet of dusty, dirty people stalking grimly along in the rubble halo that surrounded Shington. None of them seemed obviously in charge, which had reduced me to asking.
Three of them looked to the fourth, which was answer enough.
“I am,” she said, “who’s asking?”
Erupter was a short, fat woman, with an old hunting hat for a Sigil, dressed in tattered camouflage. She had curly hair and a habitually angry expression.
“Blender,” I told her. “The Warlord.”
Her face sort of ‘unclenched’, the scowl fading into a much more open look.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “I didn’t know you’d heard of my work.”
I made a noncommittal noise, which was all the encouragement she needed to launch into a fervent description of her passion project.
It was…entirely deranged. Erupter believed that Pantheon and Union ‘agents’ might be slipping into the city, which, sure, that was obviously the case. She further believed that they would do so by creeping around under cover, and that she and a few dedicated followers could roust them out.
I refrained from pointing out the obvious, that Union and Pantheon agents would look just like ordinary Regime citizens, because that is exactly what they were. A moment’s contemplation was enough to see that her patrol was worthless.
The fact that she’d never spent that moment of contemplation, or spoken to anyone who felt comfortable sharing it with her, told me an awful lot about her. Our conversation was enough for me to complete the portrait.
Erupter was a Regime zealot, and entirely without what we used to call ‘soft’ skills. She saw the war between the nations as an existential conflict, a battle between good and evil people. The Union and Pantheon were subhuman, in her eyes, which was why she’d never even conceived of the possibility of infiltration.
She was a martinet and a petty tyrant, whose followers obeyed because they were given no other choice. In the Posse she would fight bravely but without imagination, and woe befall any enemies who fell into her hands.
I…was it hypocritical to find her repulsive? Erupter was utterly typical, a simple partisan of the most basic type. Her stupidity was due to the fact that she’d never been educated, her morality was due to her upbringing. In a few more decades all of the Blenders would be Erupters, as the last of the Old World’s survivors died off.
We parted amicably. If I wanted to recruit her, it would be simple, but I wasn’t sure yet whether I wanted to.
Afternoon: Kill Nailer
“This is where I go to get stuff combined?” I demanded.
My stammering informant nodded his confirmation, then darted off into the rubble as I dismissed him.
I eyed the ruined church dubiously. It certainly didn’t look like the lair of a powerful Ultra. The ceiling had fallen in long ago, and two of the walls had followed it down. The front and side that were still standing were basically leaning against the toppled substructure.
“Hello?” I called, pulling one of the enormous doors back, and squatting down to look into the squalid cave thereby revealed.
It wasn’t literally a cave, of course, just an empty section of the collapsed structure, but it was a hard comparison to push away, when I considered the mismatch of the door to the opening it concealed.
“Come inside!” demanded a querulous voice from within.
I looked at the cramped crevice that I’d have to crawl into. No fucking thanks.
“I’m not doing that!” I shouted back. “Get your ass out here!”
“Says who?” demanded the voice. “Just go away if you won’t come in!”
Wasn’t that a nice set up.
“Says the Warlord!” I snarled. “Now get your ass out here before I throw your stupid little building out of the city!”
I heard a pair of voices arguing inside, too faint to make out, before the sounds of movement started to trickle out. I could hear clothes scuffing against stone, and grunts of exertion.
Finally a dirty figure crawled her way out of the entrance. She was mid height, mid weight, hair done up in short dreads. Her outfit was a patchwork affair, the most prominent component being some kind of old youth scouting uniform top. There were a few more blocky and weighty components somehow blended or woven into the sides, but I didn’t have time to examine it in more detail.
“You Blender?” she asked, as she heaved herself to her feet.
I nodded, scowling down at her.
“And you must be Nailer,” I guessed, as she pulled a kerchief up around her neck. I’d been told that her Sigil was a bandanna, that was probably what they meant.
“So what do you want Nail-“ she began, and I shot her in the face.
She’d looked down at her knees, and I took the opportunity. I wasn’t here to have a long discussion with someone I was killing, or God forbid end up in a fight. This was a simple assassination, so the first time she looked away I ended things.
She didn’t turn out to have Ultra Toughness, and so she just toppled over dead when I shot her.
I stood for a long moment, looking down at the body sprawled out before me. Then I took careful aim and shot her twice more in the back of the head.
“Only one Blender allowed in this fucking town,” I said out loud. I was officially talking to the corpse, but really this was for whoever else was down in that fucking warren. I wasn’t about to crawl in there and look for her henchman, or bring down a building with no idea how many people might be penned up in there.
There was no response. Whoever was in there had at least enough sense not to provoke the Warlord.
I gave it another beat, then turned on my heel and stalked back into town.
Evening: Debrief Owner/Replayer
“Whatever you did to them,” said Owner, “It worked.”
I wasn’t exactly surprised by that.
“Whatever she did to them,” mimicked Replayer, “What she did was lead them, which is what you should have done, you fucking pussy.”
“Ease up,” I cautioned her. “Owner has her uses.”
I couldn’t, of course, tell her to ease up because abusing another human being was a generally shitty thing to do, or point out the differences between leading and frightening someone.
“Anyway, we went through the drills,” said Owner. “We have to have the best trained troops in the city, or at least the most trained.”
I gave a satisfied nod.
“But Blender?” she asked.
This was rare, Owner didn’t normally ask questions in front of Replayer, so it must be important.
“Wouldn’t it be better to do the training after we recruit everyone we are taking to the next mission?” she asked. “Like cuz then we will be training everyone, while training now only gets the people we’ve already got on board.”
Replayer didn’t jump in with anything snide, which meant she agreed.
“There’s a method to it,” I told them. “I’m making our Warband resemble the Regime itself.”
They looked to each other in confusion.
“We don’t want all the soldiers to be equal,” I said, plainly, “We levels! We want layers! We are going to have veterans from our first battle, then those who we’ve trained, and after that the later recruits. Everyone will know who is in charge, just looking up the pyramid.”
Owner didn’t look convinced, likely because what I was saying didn’t actually answer her question, but Replayer was nodding along.
“The Posse is like the Inner Circle,” I continued. “And you get the rest.”
“Scouting went great,” said Replayer. “I found 2 people who would be aces for us.”
I neglected to point out that her ‘great’ was apparently less successful than Owner’s ‘fine’ had been, but I certainly fucking thought it.
“Sworder is pretty strong. She’s been my number two for a while now, so we should make her part of the Posse.”
“What’s her gift?” I asked.
“She’s like a sword,” explained Replayer, “She cuts what she touches, which also protects her.”
“Ultra strength, Ultra toughness?” I asked.
“Both about one,” she said, “But they come out as cutting stuff and not getting cut by stuff.”
“That’s not all that strong,” I said, “Does she have any Ultra speed, or can her gift do anything else?”
Replayer waved a hand dismissively.
“I’m probably explaining it wrong,” she said, “But the main thing about her is that we can work well together. A lot of people just provoke me and piss me off, but Sworder knows her fucking place.”
That was actually worth considering, in a way. Anyone I brought into the Posse would have to work with Replayer, or at least not actively fight with her, so someone with a proven ability to do that was worth considering.
Of course, giving her an ally might well embolden her. Replayer was a dangerous person, and she might well have designs on my seat.
“Maybe more suited for the Warband,” I hedged, “But I’ll keep her in mind. Who else?”
“I found Singer,” she said, “Who is apparently something special. I asked five different people, and four of them mentioned her in their first three names. That says something.”
“Sure,” I said, “And so does the fact that she can keep such a common name. She probably has to kill another ‘Singer’ every year or so.”
“Her thing is a kind of enhancing deal,” said Replayer. “She sings and it gives everyone around her Ultra strength, toughness or speed.”
“Sounds promising,” I said, “Got any more details.”
“Yeah,” she said, “I talked to her a bit, she’s…uh, weird. She’s kind of hard to talk to, very spacey.”
“Does she benefit from her own song?”
“Yeah,” said Replayer, “More than anyone else. People get the benefit more the closer they are to her, and she’s closest to herself, see?”
“Is it selective?” I asked. “Can exclude the enemy?”
“Not easily,” said Replayer, “It is whoever is hearing her. So usually everyone, but, like, I can think of ways to fix that, right?”
I could imagine a few.
“What if the person already has that Ultra power? Can she make someone who is strong stronger?”
“Whichever is better,” said Replayer, “But basically the answer is no. Her gift gives people a high one if they are close to her, a low one if they are further away, up to a two for herself. If someone’s already got a one in whatever she is singing they’d have to be real near her to get any kind of benefit.”
“Well there’s a fucking prospect and a half,” I said, mind awhirl with possibilities. “Swinger and Sworder, eh?”
“We can do this,” said Owner.
“Two weeks left,” I told them. “We can do this.”
14 days 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
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
Erupter – 0/0/2, a woman who retaliates against attacks on herself, patrols the outskirts of the city.
Stormer – 0/0/*, a woman who controls weather, does so for Regime big shots
Stomper – 2/0/1, can blast herself along with explosive stomps, problems with authority
Sworder – 1/0/1, Replayer’s flunky
Singer – 0/0/0, Buffs listeners with 1 in Ultra strength/tough/speed
Vower – 0/0/?, a woman who can enforce oathkeeping
Caller – 0/0/0, a woman who can grant and use telepathic communication
Nailer – ?/?/?, a woman who can merge objects and people into composites
Hater – X/0/X, a woman whose effectiveness depends on how much her enemy is hated, and by how many people
Resister – */0/1* Grows steadily more effective vs. each opponent
Finisher – 0/0/0 Can rapidly kill wounded foes in her line of sight
Limiter – ?/?/? Makes ‘rules’, or ‘shields’, that restrict her enemies
Murderer – 0/0/1, Death Touch
Owner’s Shington Store
Posse: (4 slots, 2 filled)
Owner (trusted friend, housemate, gift hard to describe) 0/0/1
Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes
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.
Driver, Defender and Infecter possess interesting capabilities.
Blender AP: 4/10 (5 – 3 +2 -3 +2 +1)
Actions cost 3, return 2 on success 0 on failure unless otherwise specified, Blender gains 1 AP every morning
Union Kill List tree, if you feel any indication to play along with their proposal (note that KEM/Resistance missions tie in well with these matters)
Get basic info on 4 Ultras (indicate names, this is a gossip based approach unless you specify otherwise)
Get detailed info on 1 Ultra (indicate name, this is a ‘track them down and speak with them’ based approach unless you specify otherwise)
Kill an Ultra from the list (indicate target name and your basic method, may cause rebellion or discontent in any Posse or Warband assets you use, may not, use your best judgement and be clever)
Send Union a Message (indicate text of message, this is actually a Resistance action, but I’ve placed it here for ease of use)
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)
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)
Blender Morning Action
Blender Afternoon Action
Owner will take either a morning or afternoon action at Blender’s direction.
Replayer will take either a morning or afternoon action at Blender’s direction.