Morning: Message to Union
Negotiation was a funny thing. There was an old saying that if a bank loaned you a lot of money (by your standards), they owned you. But if they loaned you a lot of money (by their standards), you owned them. It got at the core of the matter, which was how much each party had at stake.
The Union had invested in me, at this point. They’d communicated with me, and I’d delivered. If I survived, they had every reason to believe that I’d keep on crossing names off their list. They had no guarantee that my replacement would be similarly cooperative.
Which was all the long way round to say that I was pretty confident that they’d work with me a bit.
The time for my assault on Phis was growing ever closer. Factoring in the time delay in our communication, and it basically had to be now. I just didn’t have the time to mess around with it anymore.
I had demands, and I wasn’t sure it precisely followed their system, but whatever. They’d accommodate me, or they’d have to deal with my replacement.
What I wanted was, one, them not to target me or my posse for a month. Beyond that, I was looking for a briefing on Phis, and I’d also slipped in a request for a bunch of old credit cards with lots of money on them.
The handoff was old hat at this point. I went into the usual dirty dive, left the ‘briefing’ in the trash once I was done making my coded notes on it. At least this time I saw my contact in the crowd, so it wasn’t another missed opportunity.
Afternoon: Visit Battler
Finding Battler was as simple as letting people know I was looking to get in touch with her. The word came back within a few hours, and we’d set up a meet in Owner’s shop.
She had an arrogant, strutting energy. Short hair, freckles, and a leather jacket without any holes in it. She wore a golf visor for a Sigil, tilted at an angle. She was like a prototypical version of a Regime Ultra, like a mold they’d used to make the rest of us.
“Warlord,” she said, taking up a position against a soda machine.
“Battler,” I answered.
“I hear you want something from me?” she said.
“You gave my predecessor your advice,” I said. “You didn’t think she had Ar Harbour handled?”
She looked to one side and spat, then frowned for a second.
“Obviously not,” she said, “And I’d been kind of worried that the problem might be bigger than just one Warlord.”
More frowning, she cracked her knuckles for a moment.
“I thought that maybe the stuff you have to do to get to be the Warlord, like, it isn’t the sort of stuff you do once you have the gig, you know? So we were only ever gonna get shitty Warlords, or if we got a good one it’d just be good luck.”
I set my estimation of her intelligence up a notch for her independently coming up with the idea of a structural problem.
“Yeah,” I said, “I get you.”
“But you took care of Ar Harbour,” she said. “You got it done. And you didn’t just get lucky.”
“What do you think I did differently?” I asked.
“You got trucks,” she said, “You got smoke machines. You got guns and trained your Ultras. You didn’t just show up and expect everything to go your way. Some of the people I talked to said you knew the Ultras you’d be going up against, like what their gifts were and such.”
“Scouting,” I said. “It’s a necessity, in my opinion.”
“That’s what I’m talking about,” she said. “Most Warlords don’t do much more than gather up their friends, live it up for a month, and then just hope that they have better gifts than whoever is out there.”
“And you disapprove?”
“I want to see Her enemies crushed,” she said. “I want us to win. Month after month. Year after year, come to that. I want to see a Warlord last in the job, genuinely put some fear into those cretins.”
I let her wind up, just sat back and said nothing.
“You know we used to own everything?” she asked. “People act like it’s normal that we fight and fight against these assholes, but it’s fucking not. We used to have it all, and we are gonna have it all again.”
And a notch down for my estimation of her knowledge of history.
“I like how you think,” I told her, “And I think they were fools to ignore you.”
“Were is the important word there,” she said. “If I’d been working with them, I like to think they’d still be uh…”
She was looking for the concept for ‘present tense’, I thought.
“They’d still be around,” she finished, a bit lamely.
“Well,” I said, “If it isn’t too selfish, I suppose I’m glad they fucked up.”
“Planning on repeating their mistake?” she asked.
“We’ll see,” I told her.
We ended the interview on that note, and I stuck around for a bit, thinking about Battler.
Fairly smart, highly motivated, decent combatant. No real insight into exactly how evil she was, but Regime partisanship wasn’t a great sign. Of course, I could hardly ignore my own situation for evidence that not everyone who loyal actually was.
A definite possibility.
Evening: Debrief Posse
“Erupter,” I groaned, massaging my temples, “I thought we went over this.”
“I know, I know,” she said, hands out in front of her in a placating gesture. “I think I’d have been able to get people to sign up this time if it wasn’t for all that shit that went down yesterday.”
“We only have ten days!” I said, voice firm, “We don’t have TIME for these excuses!”
“It’s uncertainty boss! It’s the uncertainty! They need to know if we are going after the Dolls or the Timekillerz, or maybe all the gangs?. People have friends and enemies in the gangs. Signing up to fight strangers is one thing, but the people who want to come on the warband after almost always the Ultras who DON’T want to do gang fights.”
“Erupter,” I told her, “I need Ultras in my warband. It’s not a hard job. Go out there. Tell them to join up. Lead them to the base. Get it done.”
“I’m sure the uncertainty will clear up soon enough,” she said, “But I’ll switch jobs with Owner if you want?”
“No switching jobs!” I yelled. I rarely raised my voice, but this was serious. “You just need to do what I tell you. Stop Fucking Up!”
She subsided into her chair, hurt and sulking.
I looked over to Owner, eyes maybe a little wider and more frenzied than they needed to be.
“Training went great boss!” she said. “After yesterday everyone was extremely attentive, borderline obsessed. That bit of business yesterday put the fear of Her into them.”
“Anyone ask you about that?” I asked.
“Some people tried to kind of get at it indirectly,” she said, “But nobody was brave enough to just come out and ask. You made a bit of an impression, I think, showing up all bloodied and stuff and saving us from a sneak attack.”
I’d probably eventually have to come up with some kind of story for what that had all been about. Anything I heard from two posse members without a common mission was probably pretty important.
Finally, I looked at the last, empty chair at our usual table.
“Anyone know where Replayer is?” I asked.
Headshakes all around.
My first thought was that some Avowed had seized her, my second that maybe she was Avowed. But there were lots of other possibilities.
I grimaced, motioning for them to close in, then gave my orders for tomorrow’s business.
10 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
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
Battler – 2/0/1, Straightforward Combatant
Sniper – 0/0/0, X ray vision and eye beams
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, unlimited range, limited by being ‘used up’ by target’s attempts to take the banned action
Murderer – 0/0/1, Death Touch
Owner’s Shington Store
Posse: (4 slots, 3 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
Erupter – 0/0/2, a woman who retaliates against attacks on herself
11 Veteran Ultras, 23 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 is missing, no need to specify an action for her.
Erupter will take an afternoon action at Blender’s direction.