Morning: Heal people
There was no way to know, of course, whether the people that I’d helped with my healing gift bore any relation to those who’d saved my life the day before yesterday.
I couldn’t ask about it without risking Snitcher getting wise, and no one was going to thank me for much the same reason.
It kind of felt like it had been cause/effect, however. It reeked of ‘just universe’ kind of thinking, but I had a strong urge to believe that I’d been saved by the goodwill that I’d accumulated in my time of service, that the people who’d risked punishment by leading my pursuers away had been paying me back for risking punishment to heal them.
That line of thinking made me feel immediately guilty, as though I was now only doing to this to ‘buy’ more considerations from the populace, like an unspoken version of the Union’s fucking favors list or some shit.
I knew that this wasn’t true. I had no inkling, no idea whatsoever that the people in the gang territories were preparing to do that, and I would have had no complaints if they’d just kept their heads down.
It was true grace, a favor unlooked for in the darkest moments. But guilt is a funny thing.
It was a relief, then, to turn immediately back around and repay the favor. The decrepit and destitute of the Regime seemed like a personal affront today, and the work of my healing gift somehow holy, a returning of the world to its proper estate.
I’d long since resigned myself to the possibility of Snitcher discovering my morning activities, but for some reason the possibility hung particularly heavily over me this morning. It was a relief to reach the end of my queue without incident.
If I died on the Phis mission, or if She snuffed me out for some random breach of the Regime’s fetish for Strong Man Makes Strong Choices, then at least I’d done this much good.
Afternoon: Find Replayer with Erupter’s assistance
“Why would they lie to you?” Erupter asked, seemingly sincerely, “You’re the Warlord!”
I kept my grin pasted on my face, before patiently reassuring my eager young assistant that it had been known to happen.
Each of my Posse members would have posed their own challenges as a bodyguard/henchman. Owner was a hothouse flower, unable to survive outside the Lair. She’d have added no extra intimidation factor, and in fact I’d have had to curtail my efforts in order to see to her protection. Replayer was a vicious hound, prone to resorting to violence at the slightest obstruction, and excessively skilled at surviving the problems she created thereby. I’d pictured Erupter as a happy medium of the two, and by and large she was.
But one thing I hadn’t considered, going in, was to what degree she was a cloud cuckoo lander. Like, it was a strange thing to say about a ruthless totalitarian, but she was actively in denial about the world we inhabited.
“Ah,” she said, tapping her nose on the side, “Spies from our enemies! You are so wise, Warlord, to anticipate their vile antics.”
“Yes,” I said, “That’s it exactly.”
We’d visited Replayer’s home first off, and found, by questioning her consorts and body servants, that she’d left home that day the same as any other, taking clothes that made it clear she was heading out into the outskirts of the city.
From that point on we’d played a frustrating game of ‘have you seen this woman’ with an endless succession of bystanders, who largely lied to us for what I knew to be basic self interest and what Erupter would imagine to be nefarious foreign subversion.
Ultimately, thanks most likely to the goodwill the unpowered humans of Shington had towards one of their vanishingly few Ultra healers, I’d been pointed towards a sort of salvage yard at the edge of town. With Erupter in tow I’d headed out.
“Remember,” I cautioned her, “Let me do all the talking. You just keep a watch out for the Union’s agents in the gangs. If you see anyone in Dolls or Timekillerz colors, you let me know.”
She nodded, and I headed in.
The scrapyard hadn’t always been one. It looked like, at its core, we were looking at the remnants of a highway onramp, long collapsed. It had found a brief second life as a Knight outpost for a while, but been abandoned again at some point, their trappings left to decay slowly into ruins.
Nowadays it served as a kind of collection point, where salvagers would bring together the pickings of the old city and scrabble through them for the valuables.
Every eye was on our Sigils as we strutted inside, hands reaching to guns, people falling into the Posture. Everyone watched to see if more of my people would follow us through, to see if my war on the Gangs had somehow come to this little patch of nowhere.
I forced back the shame I felt when I saw fear on human faces. They didn’t know, and they weren’t acting any differently from how I’d act in their shoes.
We made a beeline for the Ultra in charge, a short woman with a fair complexion and an old paper crown for a sigil.
“Warlord!” she said, jumping up off a chair made out of stacked tires, “What you want?”
She had a bit of an accident I couldn’t place, it was more like ‘Wheh-schu-went’.
“I’m looking for someone,” I told her.
“Yeah!” said Erupter.
“We find things here, not people,” she said, eyes down and carefully not threatening.
“I know you do scavenging, I’m asking if someone came by here, should have been yesterday?”
“Yeah! Tell her!” said Erupter.
“Lots of people been here yesterday,” she said, words coming fast and difficult to parse, “I dunno which was your someone.”
“Replayer,”I told her.
“The bitch who killed Brody and Mari?”
“There was a fight?” I asked.
“Yeah!” hyped Erupter, “Fucking fight!”
The Ultra said something so fast I couldn’t make it out. That accent was killing me.
“What?” I asked.
“Yes. She. Was. Here. She. Killed. People. She. Took. Things.”
My first inclination was to go down the ‘why did the fight start’ rabbit hole, but I suspected the answer was just Replayer’s basic temperament.
“What did she take?”
“You better tell us what she took!” chimed in Erupter.
I shot her an angry glare, gestured to our surroundings. She gave a cheerful nod and turned her attention away, watching for Avowed or subversives within the cringing pack of humans that surrounded us.
“Maps,” said the Ultra, “And a few daggers. She…”
Her speech got fast again and I lost the thread.
“What?” I asked her.
“Maps. And. A. Few. Daggers. She. Wanted. People. Who. Had. Been. Outside. The. City. A. Lot.”
Shit, I suddenly had an idea about where Replayer might be.
“Did she walk by?” I asked, “Or was she driving in a vehicle?”
We were out on the edge of the city. If she’d taken a vehicle from another cache she could have swung by here to handle her navigation issues.
“Car,” said the Ultra.
That clinched it.
“Alright, thanks for your help.” I told her.
“So did you find her?” asked Owner.
I gestured around, as though to point out that Replayer still wasn’t here, and remained sullenly silent. I was still fuming about this stupidity.
“We did!” said Erupter, “We found out where she got directions and we know where she left from.”
“Left?” asked Owner.
“Replayer is on a scouting mission,” I told her. “She’s gathering info on Phis.”
“I thought you meant-“
“I know,” I said, gritting my teeth.
“Do you know when she’s-“
“Nope!” I said, with a false brightness.
“Or that she isn’t already…”
“Nope!” I repeated, a bit of a manic edge in my voice.
“Well,” she said, “If she isn’t familiar with the area, she might have only got there some time today. If she just hangs around on the outskirts and starts back later on…maybe she gets back tomorrow?”
“Or the day after,” said Erupter, “If she infiltrates and does awesome spy stuff.”
“Or never,” I pointed out, “If they catch her and kill her.”
I massaged my temples, trying to force myself back into composure. If being angry about something changed it then She would never have taken over.
“How’d the training go?” I asked.
“Alright,” said Owner, looking away and then back again, “But we really need to address these gang war rumors.”
“Is it that big of a deal?” I asked. “I haven’t decided what we’ll say yet.”
“Yeah,” she said, “The gossip in class was that the two gangs we fought last time are merging, and maybe joining up with another in a sort of protective alliance. People seem to think we are gunning for all the gangs.”
“They are the ones who attacked us, though,” I protested, thought not too forcefully. I was well aware of how easily a story could drift and lose meaning when it had to pass from person to person across Shington.
“Nobody knows that,” she said, “nobody seems to know ANYTHING. If we don’t put a narrative in place soon, there’s no telling what they’ll come to believe.
I gave up on the temple massage, this headache was here to stay. At least it couldn’t last longer than ten more days.
9 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: 9/10 (4 – 1 +6 -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.