Haunter 8:2

To say the least, there was no immediate outburst of support when I announced my plan.

“We can’t go up there,” said Dale, staring blankly at me as the dust settled around us.  “We just wiped out most of our own crew.  Fisher and Condemner might well be back in the Link.  We have no idea if we are at odds with the rest of Fifth Fist, or with Zilla and her buddies, to say nothing of any Union survivors.”

“Beyond that,” said Preventer, “We don’t know much about the larger situation.  If the Pantheon are on the march, and the Union is maneuvering to counter them, then we would run the risk of being caught in the middle.  Even for me, that might be hard to survive.”

I considered how to make them understand.  At least they were still remembering to talk as though the Link was intact.  Dale might be trigger happy, but at least he wasn’t entirely out of his mind.

I put my hands up as though to concede a point.

“Dale,” I said.  “What does your gift give you as far as people nearby?  There’s no reason for us to discuss a final decision before we know all of the facts.”

He nodded and put his hand back on the cracked wall of our makeshift cavern.

“Zilla,” said Preventer, “If you can hear us, I’d urge you not to do anything rash.  You know your trick won’t work on me, and if you make me wait until the Link brings my colleagues back I’ll be quite put out.  It would put a sizable damper on our planned partnership.”

I was probably eighty percent sure that she couldn’t hear us.  I was willing to take the Pantheon members word for it that what had happened to the other Fist was her doing, somehow, but I still didn’t buy the idea that she had some kind of clairvoyance gift.  Maybe her minions had triggered it, or maybe she had set some kind of time delayed effect on them, but I just kind of automatically resisted the idea that her gift let her watch everyone around her and kill them at will.  Even She hadn’t gotten that power, needing to rope in Snitcher to achieve the same basic effect.

“I don’t think she can hear you,” I told Preventer.  “The planning session on attacking the jail would have looked very different if she could hear what was going on up there from down here.”

“Her gift is changing shape, right?” said Dale.  “I don’t get how that let her take out Pitcher and the others.”

“Well, they bled from the mouths,” I said.  “It looked like their insides were being torn apart.  I’ve seen Mover kill like that, when she was trying to be subtle.”

“Zilla doesn’t have TK,” said Preventer.  “Or if she does she is a lot more disciplined than she lets on.  If she could move stuff with her mind she’d be goosing people nonstop.”

I grinned involuntarily at that, then paused a second.

Zilla was handsy as all get out, but what if that wasn’t just a personality thing, what if it was part of this mystery?

“Hold on a second,” I said, pushing the Jury onto this line of thought.  “Let me just spend a moment pondering our circumstances.”

“Ok,” said Dale.  “While you do that I can tell you a little about who is around.”

That wasn’t really in the spirit of giving me a second, but I wasn’t about to stop him from giving us information.

“Basically no one,” he said.  “The Union guys in the camp have all got up off of the ground somehow, probably with those flying things, like the one we used to take us out of the embassy.  The jail is up off the ground, so I can’t tell about that, and the other Pantheon guys are still buried down in the rocks.”

“They aren’t dead?” asked Preventer.

Dale shook his head.

“I was worried about Noon losing her cool, her power in this kind of situation wouldn’t have been pretty, but the rest of that crew I can just keep down below for a while.  No need to burn even more bridges, right?”

In my experience, with one or two exceptions, gifts tended to sort of match a theme.  Even if they had a variety of separate manifestations, they were all in the service of a kind of overarching goal.  Like a monstrous Ultra who was strong and tough, using Condemner’s framework I’d say that the Entity in question wanted to be a big fighting monster.  Or one who could blast and fly, well, once again, the gifts were clearly meant to work together.

Zilla, on that axis, was really odd.  She had a kind of a disguise gift, like an infiltrator would get, but also Ultra strength and toughness.  That pushed my mind towards an assassin, she could mimic friends of her target to get close enough, then suddenly take them out.

But how to square that with this extra part, the bit where she could instantly slaughter anyone?  That seemed, power level aside, to kind of render the disguise angle entirely moot. An Ultra with the power to kill other Ultras at long range, without line of sight, well, they wouldn’t really need any kind of disguise power, right?

Moreover, working again off the theory that the Grabbies were farming for memories, it would be kind of counterproductive.  Her creator was expecting to wake up with memories of fooling people with disguises, surely it could appreciate that she wouldn’t bother with that with this kind of cursing gift on tap.

“I appreciate that, Dale,” I told him, “But I wish you would have cleared things with the rest of us before you made your move.  Zilla had plainly had some kind of falling out with Predictor’s Fist, but no one was attacking us.”

“I think she might’ve,” said Preventer, “if he didn’t preempt it.”

If I went with the theory that Zilla was supposed to be an infiltrator, and I considered that she was always grabbing and touching people, then perhaps she had to touch her victims, and her gift was something like killing anyone that she’d touched before whenever she decided to.

“Look,” said Dale.  “I just don’t want to get chumped out again, all right?  I’m sick and tired of getting taken out.  It, uh, you lose hours of your day, you know?”

That still didn’t seem quite right.  If she was exercising a death touch at a distance I’d expect people just falling down dead, not internal trauma.  I felt like the fact that they were coughing up blood was significant somehow.

“I get it,” I said.  “Fisher has told me how boring the Link is.  I’m thankful that I haven’t had to experience it.”

I shelved the consideration of Zilla’s gift, delegating it to a subset of my reserve who lived for that kind of thing, and set my mind to what we ought to do next.

“Make sure the rest of Zilla’s goons are comfortable down there,” I advised Dale.  “She will understand that you had to defend yourself from Noon, but there’s no call for further violence, not if we can avoid it.”

Dale just grunted, acknowledging the point without overtly addressing it.  It wasn’t like he’d have killed them, left to his own devices.  Or at least I was pretty sure he wouldn’t have.  It said something that I’d felt the need to speak on the matter at all.

“I think Jane is right,” said Preventer.  “We should go up there.”

I looked quizzically at her.

“I’ve been thinking about it while we talked,” she said, “and it makes sense.  Our mission is up there.  We are only down here because we convinced ourselves that the advance team could secure Andy.  Between the Pantheon forces advancing and whatever happened between our allies, I think it is pretty clear that the plan is ruined.”

“That’s basically what I was thinking,” I agreed.  “But also, I kind of feel like the advance team, Zilla in particular, are the only way open for us to fix whatever is going wrong between our groups.  If we can explain ourselves to her satisfaction, then Dale can bring the others up, and she will keep them in line.”

Dale just grunted, but all of a sudden I could tell that we were going up.

“Be ready for…” I said, trailing off as our cave suddenly broke out onto the surface.

My gaze went immediately to where we’d last seen the prison, and it was still there, a series of linked cubes defying all reason by remaining airborne with no visible means of support.  It wasn’t flying away, wasn’t spouting flame and plummeting downwards.  It looked like a few worst case scenarios had been avoided.

Even as I was looking up a few members of my reserve had stepped out of me, and were peering all around.  None of them saw fit to disturb me, so there wasn’t anything of any immediate concern on the ground around me.  I spent a moment squinting up at the ship.

There were some signs of trouble, now that I was taking a second look.  It was palpably listing, for one thing.  For another, the part of it that was slightly more elevated seemed to be giving off what I would normally conclude was an engine plume, but what I presently surmised was probably just evidence of Condemner, hard at work.

“Boss,” murmured Joe, and I turned to look.

In the distance, hard to make out, the skiffs were still rising from what had to be the Union Intervention Force’s campsite.  I couldn’t see too much of it, they were nearly at the horizon from our present position, but there was definitely a disturbance of some kind, definitely rectangles rising up and scooting away to the northwest.

“What now?” asked Dale.

“We just…” I trailed off.

What we needed to do was, somehow, get up there and intercept Andy.  Or chase after him if he was gone.  Or,  I guessed, find his next iteration somewhere in the entire world if Zilla or Slasher had already killed him.

“Jenny,” I said into the walkie talkie.  “Where is Andy?  Are you on their cameras?  Can you talk?”

There was a long, terrifying moment of silence.

I let myself go, just a bit.  My eyes got a bit wider, I clenched my teeth.  I let myself imagine Jenny having no idea where Andy was.  Imagined that Zilla’s loss of control meant that the healers from her army were about to be thrown into battle with the Union.  Imagined my mission failing, my reserve denied the second chance they so richly deserved.

I imagined, in that instant, Death’s words as truths.  That I’d been an agent of pointless torment all this time, dragging the unquiet dead about with my false promises, forcing them to see their descendants degraded and their world despoiled.

By the time Jenny answered I was over it.  I’d have time enough to fall apart later on.

“Andy and his guards are boarding a skiff.  Jane, there’s, Zilla and Condemner killed our own people!  Everybody was just, it was like…”

“Is Fisher alright?” I asked.

Fisher was, if I looked at the matter in a completely callous, not to say evil, way, basically a canary in the coal mine of Condemner bothering to play along with me.  If he ever killed her the deception that we were still a Fist was finished, meaning that he wouldn’t be able to trust me not to destroy him by surprise, meaning I wouldn’t be able to…etc.

“I don’t know, she…”

Jenny trailed off, I could only imagine some scrolling, or whatever the Union equivalent was.  I’d been utterly unable to fathom their interface when I had access to the embassy’s systems, apparently the main verb was ‘tilt’.  Some of my more computer literate shades assured me it was a revolution in UI design.

“Did that thing just say Andy is getting away?” asked Preventer.

She’d been standing a little close to me, close enough to overhear at least part of our conversation.

“Yes,” I said.  “We’ll have to bring down the skiff, she’ll let us know which one to target.”

“Bring down the skiff?” asked Dale, dubiously.  “I can barely see up there, and wouldn’t Andy, like,  splat?”

“No, we’ll target the, uh, extruders.” I breezed, as a shade provided the appropriate terminology.  “Don’t judge my shade’s marksmanship by the standards of this era.  They can make the shot.”

I was aware that a bit of a manic tone was entering my voice.

“Jane,” said Joe, inwardly.  “There’s armor.  The distance is too great, and there’s no reason to assume it would come down slow.”

“They are getting ready to go now, boss,” said Jenny.  “I can’t find Fisher, or her body for that matter.  I guess she’s still ok.”

“Which cube?” I asked, or demanded really.  “Get ready!”

Soldiers rushed dutifully out of my body, pointing their firearms up at a nearly vertical angle.

“Maybe I could build, like, a really tall wall,” said Dale, hands spread wide in a placating gesture.

Shit.  I knew I’d fallen far when Dale was humoring me.

I couldn’t get away with closing my eyes, but I sort of squinted, delegating visual difficulties.

I counted, not quite aloud, not quite in my mind.  Subvocalizing.

“1, 2, 3…”

Had I forgotten the lesson of the collapse?  Righteous umbrage didn’t make you stronger.  You didn’t get to win just because you deserved to, just because you tried hard.  There was no law of the universe that I had to catch Andy.

“4, 5, 6…”

Fear wouldn’t help me save my reserve.  Anger wouldn’t.  Billions had fallen, and I was no angrier, no more scared than any of them.  Only reason could deliver victory.

“7, 8, 9…”

“They are heading out.”

Rifle shots rang out, but I had little doubt the range was too great, the angle too steep, the armor too thick, come to that.

“10,11,12…”

“They are too far up for my barriers,” said Preventer.

I breathed out, heavily, and opened my eyes fully again.

“Alright, that’s that,” I said, keeping my words as calm as possible.  “Our new objective is to figure out what’s going on with Fifth Fist and Zilla. Does anyone-“

“It’s turning!” said Dale, pointing a thick finger up at the escaping skiff.

I just stared.

He wasn’t wrong.  The skiff, which had previously been taking the same high straight trajectory as all of the other evacuees, was heading straight towards us.

“Did Andy take control somehow?” I asked the walkie talkie.  “I know the scanners on those things are exceptional, maybe they saw us waiting below, maybe…”

I trailed off.  Fruitless speculation.

The skiff moved swiftly, dropping down with the trademark abruptness of the lithnetic craft, then pulling to an absolute stop a few hundred feet above and in front of us.

I waved a hand, hesitantly.

Someone on board seemed to yell something, but I couldn’t make it out.

“Remember me?” supplied the Jury.

I stopped waving, just about the same time the skiff opened fire.

Regime Quest 11

Results from Previous round votes:

One Vote

Plan Neville, on SV forum

One Vote

Plan TalonOfAntares, on SV forum

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

Randomized to Plan Neville

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

Winning Plan:

[x] Give the Bullet Blend to: (Timeslot cost: 0, AP cost 0, refunds 0 on success, auto succeed)

-[x] Glower (Grower)

 

Not sure what to do with the rest of our time. I am inclined to pursue revenge with this:

[x] Investigate attack on me (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

-[x] By asking Blisser

 

 [x] Relax and Recuperate

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

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

Day 7  Log:

2 AP at start of day

+1 for 6 hour sleep (3 AP)

-2 for [Morning] Investigate Attack on me, by asking Blisser (1 AP)

Investigate roll 4, Success

+1 for Success (2 AP)

-1 for Relax and Recuperate by Patronizing Entertainment areas (1 AP)

Rest roll, 1, critical Failure, relax and recuperate subtype changed to [Blisser]

+3 for Blisser Recuperation (4 AP), will continue until AP maxed out

End of day, (4 AP).

Day 8 Log:

4 AP at start of day

+0 for uneven sleep

+3 for [Morning] Blisser Recuperattion (7 AP), will continue until AP maxed out

+3 for [Afternoon] Blisser Recuperation (10 AP), recuperation complete

End of day (10 AP)

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

Give Bullet Blend to Grower

“What do you get out of this?” she asked me, voice cold with suspicion.

I let the question sit for a moment, looking instead out of the irregular hole in the wall which served as a window.

“I remember this,” I told her.

Her frown told me that she was irked that I didn’t answer her question directly, but she had the self control to let me speak.

“I remember living in a place much like this, struggling in a manner very like yours, desperate to reach the interior.  It was a hard, brutal existence.”

Her face softened a little, losing some of its confrontational edge, her glower relaxing a fraction.

“It might have been the best time of my life.”

Her eyes widened involuntarily.  She’d clearly been expecting another direction for this speech to go.

“All your enemies are obvious.  Everyone around you has the same goal, aside from the people who’ve given up.  You are all rivals, all foes.  You go out there and it is all so simple.  You kick ass.  You take names.  You look at the Lair and you hope.”

She was nodding along as I spoke, now.  It hadn’t been hard to guess that she’d be the kind of person who would thrive in this situation, but it was still gratifying to see that I’d been right.

“This is the easy part, you get that?”

“Yeah,” she said.

Grower even kind of looked like me.  Skin the same shade, same basic fashion sense.  Her gear was a little more threadbare, more scavenged, but that could be readily explained by the fact that she didn’t have access to the Lair’s resources yet.  The biggest difference was that I was a few inches taller, and that she didn’t have a healing gift to get rid of the scars.

“Once you are in the Lair, the purity is going to vanish,” I told her.  “Your enemies will hide behind patrons that you can’t confront.  Your superiors will make demands of you that you will struggle to fulfill.  You will want to fight, but half the time you won’t even know who the opponent is.”

“And…?” she asked, presumably trying to push me back to her original question.

“And I can’t wait to see how you’ll do,” I said.  “I don’t know if you’ll be the kind of Ultra that I want in my Posse.  I don’t know if that’s even something that you want, but I can recognize talent when I see it, and you are too good for the Yard.  With this blend you can short circuit a few months, insure yourself against bad luck, and start playing the game for real within a week.  I’m eager to see what that looks like.”

“I guess it doesn’t make sense that you’d be trying to take me down,” she said.  “If you wanted to get that done, you could snap your fingers and set a mob on me, offer them this kind of Ultra juice, or just places in your force.”

“Sure,” I allowed.

“So I guess I believe you,” she finished.  “For whatever reason, you really do want to power me up.”

I grinned at her, relieved that she’d bought it.  No one knew about my need to give Blends away, and I’d like to keep it that way.

“Let’s do this,” she said, and held out her hand.

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

Investigate attack on me (Blisser)

Blisser’s Den was just like I remembered it.

The Lair was, by and large, not a place for ruins.  The buildings around here were generally at least mostly intact, if only due to energetic repair.  There was power in those places that needed it.  It was something of an island, amid the overall squalor of the Regime.

Blisser’s Den defied this trend, remaining a sorry pile of rubble.  It had been a government building, back before the old world fell, and Blisser’s clients only real contribution to its livability had been knocking down a bunch of walls, and spreading tarps over the holes that they developed.

I stepped inside, her clientele scattering away as I entered, repelled by the bright light filtering in from where I’d pushed the blanket aside.

Blisser herself was obvious enough, laying in a heap of bodies on the other side of the area, sprawled out on a pile of mattresses.

I spent a moment looking at her, carefully noting her posture and attitude.

Blisser’s gift manifested itself in a ‘wake’ of oily smoke that followed along behind her, filling the volume that she passed through.  The darkness of the Den made it hard to tell exactly where it was, but it looked safe enough.  Some woman was draped across her lower legs, which made me think that she hadn’t moved in a few hours.  I shouldn’t need to worry about accidentally touching any of her gift.

I made my way across the room, heading for the humans who managed her business dealings.

One of them met me halfway across he floor, Marcy, the same woman I’d dealt with the last times I’d come here.

She opened her mouth to say something, but I put a finger over it, took ahold of her and walked her along.

She didn’t protest, let me hustle her out of a door and into a ruined hallway, where the sound of our words wouldn’t carry.

“Mia,” she said.

“Blender,” I corrected her.  “Blisser gets away with that crap because her gift messes up her mind when she shares it with people.  Daggers like you don’t get extended the same courtesy.”

I couldn’t see too well in the dim hallway, but I thought I saw the fear on her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said.  “She doesn’t, you know what she’s like.  It’s easy to forget, I, we, there’s so much to-“

I cut her off.

“SO much to forget, eh?  I hope not.  Because I’m looking for some information about the past.  If you ‘forgot’ it, I might need to ‘remind’ you, yeah?  You could see how I got my name.”

“I’m sure I’ll remember it,” she gushed.  “Absolutely.  What do you want to know?”

Ordinarily I wouldn’t have come on so heavy, but I was always conscious of Snitcher.  I didn’t think he’d be watching me, but I couldn’t take the chance.  Being anything but commanding was dangerous for me now.

“A pair of Knights came here,” I said.  “Their scythes were lifted by two others.  I’m very curious about those others.  Do you remember anything about them?”

She paused for a long moment, long enough that I decided to speak again.

“In case you are curious,” I told her.  “The answer had better be ‘yes’.  Those two were traitors to the Regime.  One reason that you might not have tracked their movements would have been if you, yourself, shared their rebel sympathies.”

She shook her head, furiously.

“They, of course I know,” she said, speaking quickly, with short, staccato bursts.  “The ones who took their brother’s scythes?  They said that they were other Knights, just here to make sure that everything was fine.”

“Do people normally do that?” I asked her, a mocking note entering my voice, “Do people come in here and take other people’s stuff, ‘just to make sure everything was fine’?”

She shook her head, mutely.

“So you knew this was a robbery, yeah?” I asked.

Almost against her own will, it seemed, her head nodded, feebly.

“You just didn’t know that they were going to do anything bad with them, right?”

She grabbed for this feeble lifeline.

“Yes, of course, yes Blender!  That’s it.  I, they, we knew they were robbing the Knights, but we had no idea that they might be after someone as important as you!  You’ve got to believe me!”

“No I don’t,” I told her.  “But I don’t disbelieve you, either.  I nothing you.  You aren’t important enough to have feelings about.  I am focused on the two men who attacked me, the men I slaughtered.”

I emphasized the word ‘slaughtered’, watched her shudder.

“Had you ever seen them before?  I know you and your sisters run Blisser’s arrangements.  I know you don’t let humans in here without compensation.  The Knights, sure, they’d be on Second Fist’s dime, but why did these other two get in?”

If she was shaking before, then she was positively trembling now.

She shook her head, whispered something too low for me to hear.

“Marcy,” I told her, taking careful hold of her upper arm.

She flinched away from my touch, looking down at her feet and gritting her teeth.

“…cker,” she said.

“Louder,” I commanded her.

“Picker!” she said.

I let go, startled momentarily out of my role.  Picker?  The airhead, the child?  She’d been perhaps my least dangerous rival.”

Marcy sobbed, covering her mouth with a hand.

“They were with her,” she coughed out, in between jags of crying.  “We let them in because we’d seen them before, back when Picker helped Blisser out, back when…”

She collapsed down onto her knees, her weeping uncontrollable now.

I took a step back, never looking away, mind awhirl with this development.

Picker was a kid, a baby.  It was impossible to square this with my image of her, impossible to picture the girl who’d begged Subtracter on her knees not to make her show her gift with scythes flashing in broad daylight in the streets of the Lair.

I turned back, stepped through the door into the main room.

Behind Picker though, there might be, I needed to-

Arms and feet wrapped around me and a weight careened into me from the side.

I reacted instinctively, shifting my balance and dropping my center of gravity, trying to shift my assailant into a fireman’s carry, in preparation for a slam, reaching to my blends in case I needed to-

A tickling sensation at my neck stopped me for a beat, were they…nuzzling?

I lowered Blisser to the ground, tried to step away, even as she clung like a limpet, giggling loudly.

“Mee-ya!” she stage whispered.  “I’ve been so loooone-ley!’

A stupid grin forced its way onto my face.

“Blissy,” I said, “I-“

A part of my mind screamed at the rest of me.  I was touching her, had just taken a full wake of her gift.  I had to get back, had to take my agency back from-

The rest of my mind shut the spoilsport part up.

“-I missed you,” I finished.

And it was true, on some level.  I don’t think anyone who has spent time with Blisser is ever wholly the same again. 

I had spent one day here, back when I’d first earned entry to the Lair.  I’d pushed her memory aside, trampled it down beneath ambition and cold rage, but it had never really gone away.

“Of course you did!” she giggled, putting her hands up on my face, kneading at my temples.  “I missed you too!  I love you!”

I found myself reaching out, taking ahold of her arms and pushing her towards me, stopping her short so that the wake crashed over me.

“You love everyone,” I murmured, play pushing her back.

She just smiled, teeth white in the dimness and the smoke.

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

Day 9:

Days remaining: 22

AP available: (10 end of last day + 0 for half night’s sleep (already max) = 10/10

Prestige: 3 (word of attack may reduce this if I don’t take public vengeance soon)

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon)

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Healthy

 

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

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

Ultra Enemies:

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

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Builder —  0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

Knights 3

 

Actions:  

 [ ] Confront Picker (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, returns variable on result)

-[ ] Write in (Should I ambush her, accuse her publicly, reach out privately? This is a complicated situation, so if you have any questions about what is appropriate, what Mia would expect to follow from a given course of action feel free to ask)

 

 

 [ ] Investigate attack on me (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

-[ ] By asking bystanders

Motives: The fake Knights came from somewhere, perhaps I can find someone who saw them don their disguises

Concerns: None

 

[ ] Contact Knights (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success)

Motive: My recent actions have opened up the possibility of collaboration with the Knights of Purity.  Their assistance could be valuable, insofar as they don’t count towards the Regime’s ridiculous rule against outnumbering our enemies, and I might be able to acquire some of their blessed equipment if I play my cards right.

Concerns: I don’t know if I really want to be associating with such a group.  KEM wouldn’t mind, but the Resistance would pull away from me, and I might end up coming into contact with Second Fist or their sponsored Ultras.  It is likely that anything they might want from me would be rather evil.

 

[ ] 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 ccompetence. 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 ares (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

 

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]

 

Regime Quest 10

Results from Previous round votes:

Two Votes:

Plan Neville, on SV forum

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

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

Winning Plan:

[x] Respond to Knight Offer [0 AP, 0 time slots, gain 1 AP if I get rid of the bullet blend for Day 5 night’s sleep]

-[x] Let them live. Not punishing someone will allow me to continue investigating, and potentially find the actual responsible party. My relations with the Knights, and potentially Second Fist will also improve, and KEM will hear that I had the chance to kill people and declined it, which may keep them from getting antsy about our continuing lack of communication. On the other hand, the longer I don’t take revenge for this attack the greater the odds that I lose prestige over it, and I’ll still have to figure out a way to get rid of my bullet blend.

 

[x] Get rid of my bullet blend (Timeslot cost: varies; AP cost 0, refunds 0 on success, unavailable if I already got rid of the bullet blend as part of resolving the Knight affair above)

-[x] Give it to a weak Ultra from the outside, hopefully thereby generating a stronger Ultra who is likely to be loyal, two timeslots ************************************************************************************

Day 6 Log:

2 AP at start of day

+0 for 6 hour sleep (no benefit due to blend maintenance) (2 AP)

+0 for daylong activity, find and give Blend to Ultra recipient

Safety roll 6

Investigate roll 9

End of day, (2 AP).

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

Dealing with Knights (yesterday evening):

“I will not waste my vengeance on daggers,” I told the Knight Commander.  “Nor dilute the suffering that the thieves of their scythes will experience.”

“Mercy?” she asked, faint surprise in her voice.

“Precision,” I responded, firmly.  “My attackers stole from these men.  They are their enemies.  I would be doing their work for them if I killed their victims, and I have no interest in serving those who seek me dead.”

“An admirable clarity of thought,” she answered, and I could hear the smile in her voice.  “I can see why She trusts you so.  I had worried that you might feel enmity towards our humble order, as so many who remember the old world do.  It seems my fears were misplaced.”

“Fear is never misplaced,” I told her.  “So long as it is ultimately of Her.  I am Her Warlord, the blade in Her hands.  Those who struck against your servants, who struck against me, will discover just what that means when I get my hands on them.”

“I would not envy their lot,” said the Knight Commander.  “I look forward to hearing of their fate.”

“You shouldn’t,” I tell her.

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

Venture outside the city:

The Yard is a little more active than it was the last time I was here, but I still judged it safe enough to cross.

The spectators and those contesting alike fell back as I passed, whispers and murmurs passing through their number.

I broke off my stride for a moment, taking an abrupt step towards someone who sounded like she’d mentioned my recent wound.

She shrunk away from my gaze, eyes dropping towards the ground and hands raising up with palms out.  If I’d kept after her she might have dropped into the full Posture.

I resumed my path, satisfied that the fear was still there.  That woman wouldn’t easily overcome this moment.  She’d bitched out in front of everyone, it would sabotage every ounce of respect she might possibly attain.

And she’d known that would happen.  And she’d still backed down from me.  My time in the Yard had not been forgotten.

I moved on, the crowds parting and drifting back away, their gaze returning to the gates of the Lair.  No doubt some would follow me, but none dared to do so openly, and that’s all that really mattered.

Before long I was wandering the ruined byways of the halo of shantytowns which made up most of Shington.  I walked the streets that I’d terrorized months ago, marveling at what a change the simple passage of time had wrought in me.

I’d been an animal back then, desperate.  I’d known that only by gaining the center of the city could I pull this off, and I’d comported myself accordingly.  My name had rung out on the streets, as much a reference to the ancient appliance, a device which ruined solids and left them a sodden mess, as it was a simple verb.

Now I was the Warlord.  Now none but the bravest might step to me, backed as I was by the Lair’s authority, shrouded in Her shadow.  Now I could tread freely where before I had to have KEM do careful scouting.  It was a heady feeling.

It wasn’t hard to find the old rats, those contacts I’d made back when I lived here.  Not everyone in the Shington periphery had designs on the Lair.  The humans who served, the weaker Ultras who everyone knew would never be strong enough for the Lair, they had little to do but gossip.

It wasn’t hard to get their takes.  I stopped at a Company Facility, spoke to an old beggar whose migraines I’d healed back in the day.  I dropped by a dice game that I’d robbed back when I was on my way in, the stories mounted up.

By mid afternoon I was confident that I knew enough to make my choice.  There weren’t that many to whom my gift could make a real difference, and I was further restricting my interest to those with Ultra toughness, those who could survive my gift.  I narrowed the list down to 5.

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

Prospects for Bullet Blend:

Grower, an independent Ultra trying to make a name for herself

Gift: She has Ultra toughness one, and she can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects

Pluses: By all accounts she is not an idiot.  She’s also been able to maintain decent relations with four of the six main gangs (The Dolls, the Tuesday Crew, Marjane and The Mob), so she’s at least somewhat of a people person.

Minuses: She sounds like the sort of person who has her own ambitions.  She might want to put conditions on signing up for my band or Posse, even after I give her the Blend.

 

Breaker, a ruffian Ultra who scraps daily in the yard

Gift: Her form is fractal, splitting easily apart into more and more versions of herself

Pluses: She is enthusiastically violent, and quite good at it.  Also she might be immortal?  I dunno if there is a limit on how many/small she can be.

Minuses: Her pluses are also minuses, and she’s also an alcoholic

 

Moaner, a leader in the Fail Snails

Gift: She is Ultra tough one, and can generate a noise speeds up friendlies and slows enemies

Pluses: The fact that she’s been able to keep a place of power in an Ultra gang rules out a lot of the more common failure modes, and obviously recruiting her would make it a lot easier to sweep the gang into my warband.

Minuses: The other gangs would likely see me as an enemy after this, and she has a rather bad reputation for mistreating humans.

 

Chomper, a brutal Ultra who preys upon her own kind, and who doesn’t seem to be trying to gain entry into the Lair.

Gift: She is Ultra strong one, Ultra tough one, and can reduce her enemies Ultra toughness

Pluses: She has a Tally that approaches mine, and seems to share my feeling that our kind need to be wiped out.

Minuses: She also kills ordinary people.  Really, she seems to pretty much kill whoever pisses her off on any given day.

 

Chaser: One of the rare Knight Ultras

Gift: She is Ultra tough one, and she can match the speed of the fastest thing in her vicinity

Pluses: She is a Knight, working with her would help build my rapport with them

Minuses: Same as the pluses

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

Day 7:

Days remaining: 24

AP available: (2 end of last day + 1 for half night’s sleep) = 3/10

Prestige: 3 (word of injury may reduce this if I don’t take public vengeance soon)

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon) + special action for choosing Bullet Blend recipient

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Healthy

 

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

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

Ultra Enemies:

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

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Builder —  0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

Knights 3

 

Actions:  

[ ] Give the Bullet Blend to: (Timeslot cost: 0, AP cost 0, refunds 0 on success, auto succeed)

-[ ] [Name, must be one of those discussed above]

 [ ] Investigate attack on me (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

-[ ] By asking bystanders

Motives: The fake Knights came from somewhere, perhaps I can find someone who saw them don their disguises

Concerns: None

-[ ] By asking Blisser

Motives: She might well have seen who took the Knight’s scythes

Concerns: None

-[ ] Other (indicate specifics)

 

[ ] Contact Knights (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success)

Motive: My recent actions have opened up the possibility of collaboration with the Knights of Purity.  Their assistance could be valuable, insofar as they don’t count towards the Regime’s ridiculous rule against outnumbering our enemies, and I might be able to acquire some of their blessed equipment if I play my cards right.

Concerns: I don’t know if I really want to be associating with such a group.  KEM wouldn’t mind, but the Resistance would pull away from me, and I might end up coming into contact with Second Fist or their sponsored Ultras.  It is likely that anything they might want from me would be rather evil.

 

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

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment ares (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

 

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]

 

Haunter 8:1

“Talk to me,” I whispered into the ghostly walkie talkie.

There was a long moment of static, so I used the time to look around.

We were, as we nearly always were, in one of Dale’s caves, the light provided by thin fissures in the roof and walls.  We’d gone back down under the surface as soon as Genie had taken the attack team up to go after the ship.  No point in leaving ourselves vulnerable if we didn’t have to, and all that.

Noon and Bull were both really tense, standing stock still, looking up at the place where the hole to the surface had disappeared.  Despite the fact that Zilla had seemed to be the proximate cause of their anxiety, her departure hadn’t helped them to relax at all.  They still acted like her hand was at their throats.

The pair of Furies who were still here didn’t seem quite so nervous.  The Jury’s read on that crew had them as the sort of young people who believed themselves invincible.  They would be mostly chafing at their having been left behind.  The fact that the mission above was exceptionally hazardous wouldn’t have even registered.

Tamer, Pitcher and Gardener, by contrast, acted like they didn’t have a care in the world.  Their leaders were out and about in the face of grave peril, and the overall vibe they were giving off was ‘bored’.  I suppose the Link and Predicter’s ability to foresee the future would have sapped most of their tension away, but I was still convinced that it was mostly a front.  They were too smart not to be at least a little worried.

We were just a few miles away from an Intervention Force’s camp, after all.

Dale and Preventer, at least, were both showing their nervousness in a slightly more obvious manner.  They were having a dumb argument about whether or not Dale should go ahead and drink down Lotus’ concoction, or whether he should save it for a more pressing need.

“We’re in,” said Jenny, her voice breaking through the static.

Predicter had told us that it would be safe to use the old walkie talkies once they’d gone inside.  I wasn’t sure whether that was because he was disabling whatever scanner would be listening for it, or just that it would be too late to do anything about it, but I wasn’t about to argue.  I was betting everything on this mission, and I’d take any insight into it that I could get.

I nodded, although of course she couldn’t see that.  It was for the benefit of everyone else around, who were covertly watching me.

“Keep me informed,” I told her.

“Are they in?” asked Dale, the sarcasm bubbling just beneath the surface of his voice.

“Of course they are,” said Noon.  “Our Master cannot fail.  Zilla will work her will upon the world without fail, just as she always has!”

I nodded noncommittally.  I actually put most of my faith in Predicter.  He might be planning something shady later, but it seemed extremely unlikely he’d go to all this effort if they were just going to be cut to ribbons up there.

“Zilla says Indulger should start his attack now,” said Jenny.

I frowned.  I’d been hoping that that would fall by the wayside, but there was no help for it.

I motioned to Dale, who put his hand carefully up against the wall.

There was a slight shuddering, but no more than that.  It was terrifying to think that only a few miles away people would be screaming in fear as the very ground turned against them.

Screaming, but not dying.  I knew Dale well enough to know that everyone would be being attacked by rumbling hills of rock and sand, slow and cumbersome, rather than simply skewered or dropped into the world’s core.  Dale wouldn’t, for the most part, kill if he wasn’t in danger.

The next few minutes passed in a tense and uncomfortable quiet.  It was hard to escape the impression that we were cowering down here, trembling beneath the earth while our fate was decided by those above.

The Jury waged a debate within my mind, trying to game out what the likely outcome of Dale’s attack on the camp was, and whether that would aid or hinder the current assault that Zilla was waging upon the flying jail.  Their consensus seemed to be heading towards it being a good idea, but I felt that they were probably just trying to make me feel a bit more secure in our present circumstances.

“There’s a problem,” said Jenny, her voice once again an abrupt break in the ghostly hissing.

“Problem?” I asked.

“Holy…it is happening!” she said, her voice rising.

“Report!” I insisted.  “What’s happening?”

“Jane, there’s…the Pantheon, the Grand Push is starting, the Union is responding.  It’s all going down!’

I just stood there for a moment, mind reeling.

The Pantheon attacking?  That didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Their leader was here, with us, currently embarked on an enemy transport.  Had Zeus finally gotten tired of waiting, or maybe Legion had launched a coup as soon as we departed?

“The Pantheon is attacking?” asked Preventer.  “Why would they do that?  Why throw away a peace that only…”

She trailed off, perhaps realizing that no one here was going to be able to give her an authoritative answer, that all we could do would be to pile our own speculations atop hers.

“That must be why the Intervention force is bailing,” said Dale.

I whipped my gaze over to him.

“They aren’t staying?”

He shook his head.

“Nope, just abandoning the camp.  If I’m reading the vibrations right they are hopping up onto flying things, and I can’t tell where they go from there.  I thought they were probably hovering a little ways above the ground, but maybe if big things are happening they are just going off to wherever that is.

I gave a solemn nod.

“If the Pantheon is actually moving out, then tomorrow morning the Union will begin operations in earnest.  They’d be deeply disinterested in skirmishing with a Regime Fist in the meantime, not with their homeland at risk.”

“How would they know you are Regime?” asked Noon.  “Perhaps they believe that the rising stones are a sign of Divine Advent, the very stones singing of the Earth’s welcome for the Cloud Gatherer.”

At least when we did the thing where we pronounced capital letters we only did the one person’s pronouns.  These poor children’s minds had been thoroughly contaminated with signifiers of arbitrary significance.

“They have files,” I explained.  “As soon as we came on the scene their scouts were gathering up information about us.  They know our gifts, and that knowledge will have been disseminated to any and all officers of above a certain level.  Combine that with our recent…”

I trailed off.  There was no reason to tell them about the embassy catastrophe.

“They have files.” I said again.

“It matters not,” said Bull.

Despite her hulking battle form her voice had remained that of a small woman.

“We are strong, and they are weak.  Zilla is unstoppable, and she has set her mind to the capture of the one called Andy.  Whatever their knowledge, it cannot change this essential truth.  The mighty take, and those who lack power complain about it.”

I rolled my eyes.

“How does that belief square with the fact that you guys lose every time you face them?” I asked.  “Do they get mighty in time to beat you, then lose their power as soon as the fight is over, so you get brave enough to try again?”

They glared at me, the Furies audibly spluttering.

I wasn’t worried.  These were minions, through and through.  They’d try and kill me if and only if their boss told them to.  Whether I antagonized them or not wouldn’t make any difference at all.

“Maybe them winning proves that they are weak, somehow,” said Pitcher.  “If they were really strong, then they could handle defeat, or something like that?”

I scowled at her.  Openly taunting the Pantheon was, if nothing else, kind of tacky.  Their beliefs might seem ridiculous to us, but they could still kill just fine.

“What does this mean for the current operation?” asked Preventer.  “Is the jail pulling out too?  Or might they evacuate it instead of reinforcing it?”

I didn’t answer her directly, instead pointing a hand at Predictor’s Fist.

“Is this what your boss was counting on?” I asked.  “He was dropping hints about Zilla not wanting to be in her camp when something happened, I take it the Pantheon’s big attack is that something?”

They looked to one another for a moment.

“Yes,” said Gardener.  “This is the reason that this mission can succeed.  The Union will be too busy to concern themselves with a jailbreak when their enemy is on the rampage.”

“Zilla is the reason that this mission will succeed,” insisted Bull.  “We are the reason.  Our Divine Purpose will not be obstructed by the heathen’s pitiful efforts.”

The Fist members stood up at that, and suddenly the tension in the room seemed menacing in a way that it hadn’t a second ago.

“Zilla is a chump,” said Pitcher.  “She dies screaming, not too long from-“

Her eyes bulged from her face, and a great gout of blood shot out of her mouth.

I dropped instantly into a defensive crouch, a pair of shades moving smoothly out of me, as Pitcher toppled.

What was…

Before I could get my bearings another body joined the pile, as Gardener slumped down atop her, his bulky form seeming to swallow up hers as they writhed on the ground.

“What is happening?” asked Tamer, eyes frantic.

I looked to Dale, but he just shook his head.  Whatever was attacking, it wasn’t anything that his gift was telling him about, which meant it wasn’t putting any pressure on the walls or the ceiling.

“Judgement is happening,” said Noon.

“Praise Zilla, and fear her Wrath!” added Bull.

“This isn’t-“ said Tamer, before she hunched over, putting a hand to her chest, eyes wide with terror.

“Tamer?” I asked.

“Not like-“ she managed, before a spray of blood emerged from her mouth.  Her eyes flared wide for a moment, and then she slumped limply to the ground.

“Who’s a chump now?” asked Noon, striding forward and giving Gardener’s limp form a kick.  “Why didn’t your leader see this coming? Eh?”

So complete was my faith in Predicter that for a moment I thought there would be a response, but the forms of his fist just kind of lay there, still and unmoving.

Bull turned to us, leaning menacingly forward, as though she was about to spring.

“And then there were three,” she said.  “Will you also prove false before her judgement?”

A long beat, as we stood, waiting to fall prey to whatever it was that Zilla was doing.

“Looks like we pass,” said Preventer.  “Not that I was worried anyway.”

“Well, you have found favor in her eyes,” said one of the Furies.  “You will endure this, your future is assured.  You will stand beside her in the Council, and so long as you abide by her admonitions she will not smite you.”

“So we are all going to be fine,” said Dale.  “Since we can’t die if Preventer doesn’t, because of the Link.”

Bull kind of leaned back, following that line of reasoning.

Noon wasn’t so easily mollified.

“I would hear you say it, heathens!” she snarled.  “Give praise to Zilla, and to the Cloud Gatherer.  Make known your allegiance, or chance her displeasure.”

Dale spoke before any of the rest of us could answer.

“Force rules the world, has ruled it, shall rule it,” he said, giving the catechism of the Regime without hitch or pause.  “Maybe nowadays that force is Zilla, and maybe it is still Her…”

Noon’s eyes widened.

“You dare…”

But even as she spoke, even as she moved a hand, perhaps to invoke her allegedly omnidestructive gift, Dale’s gift was already in motion, spears of rock shooting out of the earth beneath her.

“But it sure isn’t you,” he finished.

She was pierced through in an instant, the stone blades from below impaling her legs and torso, and another from the roof dropping down and obliterating her head.

The Jury erupted in a tumult, even as I braced for more violence.  What the hell had gotten into Dale?”

Bull didn’t waste any words, simply charging straight at him, intent on vengeance.

Bullets thudded into her, my shades spraying them in a frantic hail, but they made no impact, and we didn’t have any time to do anything more before she would strike…

Preventer, who stepped smoothly into her path.

Bull had lowered her head like the animal that was her namesake, her battle form a veritable engine of fury and destruction, entirely focused on obliterating all in her path.  Everything that her gift could give, every ounce of her battle form’s enormous frame, all concentrated and channeled into Preventer’s face.

An unholy noise rang out as nearly unstoppable force met immovable object, and Bull bounced back as though she’d run right into the end of the world.

The Furies surged around her, lifting her back to her feat, one of their number facing off with us.

“Are you crazy?” she asked.  “Zilla will punish this defiance.”

Dale didn’t give them time to say anything more.  At a gesture the cavern collapsed, stone and rock raining down from the roof in an all-obliterating cascade.

I sprang to the side as a great boulder crushed the area where I’d been standing, but there was no way to avoid every stone.  I felt a shade leave me as a sharp rock slipped through my arm.

The noise was too great, there was no way to see, I shrunk down, frantic to minimize my profile, even as the dust and rocks buried us.

What followed felt like an eternity, but couldn’t possibly have been longer than a few seconds.  I could do nothing, battered here and there by the encroaching stones as I was swiftly crushed into immobility.

A dozen, two dozen shades slipped away, treasured companions lost to this madness, I clenched my teeth, relaxed everything else, desperately trying to prolong each moment of intangibility, hoping to stem the tide of losses, give Dale time to fix this somehow.

My wish was granted a moment later, the stones slid away, another cave forming around us.

I gasped and coughed, taking my first breath in what seemed like forever.  A man’s arm, unmistakably Dale’s, lifted me to my feet.

“What,” I gasped, coughing.  “What the fuck?”

“Easy,” he said.  “Easy.”

I shook off his supporting hand.

“What the FUCK?” I asked again.  “Dale, that…”

I shook my head, utterly at a loss for how to even end that sentence.

“Yeah,” he said.  “I’m sorry, I just…”

Light fell across us, Dale’s gift opening one of his mirror fissures to the surface.  I could finally see again.

Dale’s eyes were wide, his hands were trembling.

He dropped to his knees as I watched.

“Dale…” I said.

“I…I can’t…” he stammered.  “Without…”

And he looked at me, my mind finishing the sentence.

The Link.  If Noon had called upon her gift in here Dale would have perished.  If Zilla continued to kill from afar he would perish.  There would be no return for him.

But even still, that didn’t explain…

“I can’t,” he said again.  “I can’t put another above Her.  Not really.  Not in any big way.  She made sure of that, back when we were in Shington.”

Torturer’s work?  Or a symptom of Lotus’ gift that hadn’t been obvious before?  Or perhaps just the trauma of our insane life, catching up to him all at once?

“I understand,” I said.  “I get it.  You don’t have to say anymore.”

He breathed heavily, even as his gift extracted Preventer from one of the walls.

“What the FUCK was that about?” she asked, and then proceeded to have substantially the same conversation with Dale that I just had.

I left them to it, grateful for a moment to process the situation.  Fifth Fist’s reserves were dead.  Zilla’s reserves were dead. Dale was unreliable.  We might be struck down at any moment.  The Union was pulling out.

“Andy,” I said.

I had to focus on what mattered.

They both looked to me.

“We have to get up there.  Whatever Preventer’s plan was, it is all messed up now.  We can’t rely on them to get Andy for us.  We are going to have to do it ourselves.”

Regime Quest 9

Results from Previous round votes:

Three Votes:

Plan TalonofAnathrax, on SV forum

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

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

Winning Plan:

[X] Heal my wound

[X] Investigate Attack on me:

-[X] By asking Knights

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

Day 5 Log:

5 AP at start of day

+0 for 6 hour sleep (no benefit due to blend maintenance) (5 AP)

-1 for [Morning] Heal my wound (4 AP)

No roll required

-2 for [Afternoon] Investigate attack on me [ Knights ] (2 AP)

Investigate roll: 2 (failure)

End of day, (2 AP).

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

Heal myself with my gift:

“Damn it, Owner, I’ve explained this before!”

I’d elected to stay at home this morning, putting in the time to heal my wound before the world could get used to me in a wounded state.

I’d expected it to be a restful change of pace, but I hadn’t reckoned with my roomate’s insistent curiosity.

“I get that the plastic cards are worth more than the green paper,” she said.  “But why isn’t it the same every time?  Some of the ones I give my gift, I feel like it might actually be taking away from my total.”

“It isn’t that complicated,” I said.  “The card represents a big box of money somewhere else.  Each one is worth however much money is in the box.  That’s going to be more than any single piece of paper, but how much more is going to depend on the number of papers in the box, and what numbers are on each of them.”

The next worker stepped up, and she reached out and banished him into whatever alternate world her gift worked its magic in.

“So you are saying it doesn’t have anything to do with the numbers on the cards?  I know how cash is worth whatever the number is on it.  Why do the cards even have numbers on it if they don’t mean anything?”

“It’s like,” I struggled for a moment, trying to figure out the easiest way to say this without getting into the complexities of credit agreements, “the numbers are different on every card, right?  That’s how they know what box that card controls.”

“So the numbers are like the card’s name?” she asked, as the person who had worked the last shift winked back into existence beside her.

“Yes, exactly,” I said.

“So why do they also have names written on there?” she asked triumphantly.

I gritted my teeth and tried to make the time go faster.

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

Investigate Attack on me [ask Knights]:

“A deplorable incident,” allowed the Knight Commander.

It was hard not to be intimidated by this woman.  The skull mask of the Knights was augmented, on their leadership, by a pair of antlers.  The robe had striping along the arms.  But the thing that made her frightening hung at her waste.

A shotgun, cut down for a quick draw, and no doubt blessed by Refiner’s power.

Only in Shington, only in their center of power within the Lair, would you find Knights so trusted.  Before such a firearm an Ultra was only a woman like any other, and could be cut down in the blink of an eye.

“An attack,” I stressed.  “not just an incident.”

But I couldn’t back down, couldn’t show any weakness or fear.  The Regime is no place for such things.  I had to put her in her place if I was to get anything out of this trip.

“Of course, Warlord,” she murmured.  “A deplorable attack.  We’ve taken the liberty of preparing the parties responsible.”

She stood and headed for the door, indicating that I should come along with her.

“Two of our newer members, I’m afraid, didn’t leave their regalia at home as they visited Blisser’s quarters.”

Blisser was an Ultra whose gift could induce mind bending euphoria in anyone she touched.  Ordinarily this would be too weak of a gift to allow one to operate within the Lair, but she benefited from the same kind of allowance that Owner did.

“I don’t see how that explains their actions,” I responded.

We left the ruined office complex, heading out into a courtyard, where she signaled a waiting Knight.

“They were not the ones who attacked you.  They spent their allotted time in Blisser’s den, where Resistance elements seized their scythes and used them against you.

I was pretty sure that they hadn’t been Resistance, but obviously that’s who would take the blame.  If this got back to Her there might even be a Decimation.  Ultras didn’t like it when anyone fought back.

The Knight returned, shoving a pair of blinking and abused figures before him.  These two had been stripped of their robes and beaten heavily.  Blood crusted on their mouths and nose, and I could see missing fingernails.

“We knew you’d prefer to handle their final sentence, Warlord.  Their carelessness put your life at risk, their own lives are scant recompense, but they are all that they have.”

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

5 day progress report:

Goals:

Investigate Target:  I’ve learned the rough number of Ar Harbor’s defenders, as well as a brief description of their leadership.  I have also learned the rough contours of the kind of engagements that She will accept (open battle, we shouldn’t outnumber the enemy).  I can’t help but notice that that doesn’t sound like a recipe for victory.

I would like to learn more about the enemy’s gifts and overall situation.  The thought of putting my fate at risk in an even battle is hateful to me.  I’ve got to figure out some way to set things up so I’m sure that we will win, without that being obvious to anyone riding my senses.

Investigate Route: I was a Troubleshooter long enough to have few worries about getting to Ar Harbor.  The only thing giving me some pause is the news that the previous attack suffered Union strike before their arrival.  I’m relatively confident that I would ordinarily be able to evade Union patrols, but there is always the possibility that they are explicitly protecting Ar Harbor, which would be a huge complication.  I should probably double check that at some point.  If I’m going to be fighting the Union it would be great to know ahead of time.

Assemble Posse:  I’ve been focused on finding prospects for my Posse.  I am pretty content with the rate at which that is going.  I doubt I’ll need to search out too many more, just got to decide who I can trust.

Understand Snitcher:  I haven’t really started on this yet, but I think the time is coming.  Once I know the contours of his spying I can start contacting my KEM and Resistance contacts, and get them to take actions for me.  That should greatly increase the rate of my investigations, and they are also probably better at certain tasks than I am myself.

Assemble Warband:  I’m currently planning on leaving this until I have a Posse member to do it for me.  My time is too short to spend it herding young Ultras.

Complications:

Subtracter’s Errand:  I don’t have to take care of this till sometime after day 10.  Not looking forward to that.

My Attackers:  Someone is trying to kill me.  I’ll feel a lot better once I figure out who that is, and return the favor.

 

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

Day 6:

Days remaining: 25

AP available: (2 end of last day + 0 for half night’s sleep while maintaining blend) = 2/10

Prestige: 3 (word of injury may reduce this if I don’t take public vengeance soon)

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon) + special action for responding to Knight scapegoat offer 

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Healthy

 

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

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

Ultra Enemies:

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

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Builder —  0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

 

Actions:

[ ] Respond to Knight Offer [0 AP, 0 time slots, gain 1 AP if I get rid of the bullet blend for Day 5 night’s sleep]

-[ ] Execute them.  These two are not actually responsible, but killing them will let me punish someone, thereby removing any possibility of losing prestige.  Further, I can rid myself of my bullet blend by transferring it to someone just about to die.  On the minus side, it will be next to impossible to continue to investigate the attack after officially punishing someone for it, and my rapport with KEM may be damaged (their membership and that of the Knights are rather intertwined.)

-[ ] Let them live.  Not punishing someone will allow me to continue investigating, and potentially find the actual responsible party.  My relations with the Knights, and potentially Second Fist will also improve, and KEM will hear that I had the chance to kill people and declined it, which may keep them from getting antsy about our continuing lack of communication.  On the other hand, the longer I don’t take revenge for this attack the greater the odds that I lose prestige over it, and I’ll still have to figure out a way to get rid of my bullet blend.

-[ ] Other (write in for details)

 

[ ] Get rid of my bullet blend (Timeslot cost: varies; AP cost 0, refunds 0 on success, unavailable if I already got rid of the bullet blend as part of resolving the Knight affair above)

Motives: I can’t rest until I drop this blend, and I can only do so on a person or an Ultra, or my turtle.

Concerns:  This blend would be practically a death sentence to anyone who doesn’t have at least Ultra Toughness one, and will have unpredictable consequences on the personality and capabilities of the recipient.

-[ ] Give it to an ordinary person (no timeslot cost)

Motives: If I can’t spare the time to find a proper target, I can just take the first person off the street.

Concerns: This would be acting like every Ultra I hate.  I’d be disgusted with myself.

-[ ] Give it to an Ultra I know [indicate name], one timeslot

Motives: An Ultra can survive this.  They would be a safe place for this gift.

Concerns: Strengthening a Regime Ultra won’t go over well with KEM.

-[ ] Give it to a weak Ultra from the outside, hopefully thereby generating a stronger Ultra who is likely to be loyal, two timeslots

Motives: If I don’t want to make a strong Ultra stronger, I can instead augment one of the weaker Regime Ultras.

Concerns: Leaving the Lair is always hazardous, particularly as I don’t currently have a warband out there.

-[ ] Give it to Napoleon (no timeslot cost)

Motives: Ultimately, it is just a turtle. 

Concerns: He is MY turtle, and turning him into a bullet turtle seems weird and bad.

 

[ ] Heal my wound (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, returns 0 on success)

Motives: I need more time to heal this wound, it is slowing me down

Concerns:  None (this action will automatically succeed)

 

[ ] Investigate attack on me (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success, not available if I punished the Knight scapegoats)

-[ ] By asking bystanders

Motives: The fake Knights came from somewhere, perhaps I can find someone who saw them don their disguises

Concerns: None

-[ ] By asking Blisser

Motives: She might well have seen who took the Knight’s scythes

Concerns: None

-[ ] Other (indicate specifics)

 

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

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment ares (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

 

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]

 

Regime Quest: 8

Results from Previous round votes:

Two Votes:

Plan Nevill, on SV forum

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

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

Winning Plan:

[X] Defeat the Knights them (Timeslot cost: Special; AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)

-[X] Incapacitate them

[X] Investigate Acquaintance:

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

[x] Seek Posse Members

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

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

Day 4 Log:

4 AP at start of day

+0 for 6 hour sleep (due to blend maintenance) (4 AP)

+1 for victory over Knights (5 AP)
roll of 1 provokes injury/destroys evidence

-2 for [Morning] Investigate Sticker (3 AP)

Roll of 5 (-1 for injury = 4)

Success, returns 2 for alliance (5 AP)

-1 for [Afternoon] Seek Posse Members [ Ultra Fights] (4 AP)

Investigate Acquaintance roll: 9 (Success)

+1 for Success (5 AP)

End of day, (5 AP).

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

Defend myself from Knights [Do not kill, ok to use arsenal]:

The blade dropped down at me like an implement of execution, but a last minute roll saw it sink instead into the pavement.  I’d rolled towards my assailant, my shoulders and side impacting with his boots and robes.

I swung a hand up, capturing my attacker around their knee, toppling them over onto me.

I rolled again, desperate.  In my haste to knock my immediate opponent off their feet I’d lost track of the other Knight.  I had to assume he was coming in for another swipe, and with robes fouling my gaze I had to guess about the trajectory.

If I rolled and he was swinging his blade across the ground like a farmer I’d roll right into it.  If I sprang up and he was swinging down like someone hammering in a tent stake then I’d rise up directly into the strike.

Fortunately, I didn’t lack for resources.  In the split second where the falling Knight shielded me I reached out with my gift for the bullet that I had taped to my arm, pulling for Fastness and ‘firing’ myself the instant I felt the capacity rise within me.

‘Fastness’ was an imprecise description, of course, the actual quality was something more like ‘firingness’ or ‘bulletness’, whatever it was that let a bullet zip through the world faster than the eye could follow.

I shot out of my predicament with similar celerity, altering my trajectory at the last second so that I didn’t slam into my attacker, unwilling to chance my gift against Refiner’s famous blessing, and also hoping to leave something to interrogate.

My alteration was, perhaps, a little hasty.  I ended up digging a furrow across the street, grinding my head and shoulders through the pavement as I shot away from my assailants.  My durability protected me from serious damage, but my head was spinning and my eyes were watering as I finally got back to my feet.

They didn’t give me any time to rest, charging at me the instant I slipped back into human time.  I had to be careful now, my blend with the bullet could blast me off at any moment if I wasn’t careful.

I stretched out my arm as the first Knight closed, reaching around the Scythe and grabbing it by the handle.  He wrenched at it, but I let him drag me back along with it, my hand clenched firmly beneath the blade, controlling the arcs he had access to.

The Knight’s scythes were terror weapons, for the most part.  There was a reason that nobody had ever equipped soldiers with scythes.  They need a lot of room to swing, they weren’t terribly hard to carry, and they had a tendency to get caught up on things.

Consequently I didn’t have to worry about the second Knight as I grappled with the first.  The only swings he could make were large and predictable, and it would be simple enough to push his partner into the way.

The guy whose scythe I was holding made a quick decision, letting go of one hand and trying to pie face me with it, smooshing his fingers and wrist against my Ultra tough face, presumably in an effort to keep me blind and off balance.

I didn’t fall for it, ignoring all of his efforts and focusing on the scythe.  He couldn’t hurt me, couldn’t do any lasting harm.  He was just trying to let his partner get the clean shot that they needed in with the other blessed scythe.

I was ready for it when his partner swung, dragging him into the way, fouling the swing with the blessed cloth of Refiner’s-

The cloth wasn’t blessed.  These ‘Knights’ had real scythes, but fake robes.  The blade swung unhindered through the first guy’s robes, through his torso and sunk deep into my side.

No more time for mercy, no time for anything.  If they didn’t have real Knight’s robes, then there wasn’t anything stopping me from ending this.  I put my hand to the wound and called on my blend again, blasting forward through my last assailant and simply obliterating him in a brutal full body collision of my ultra tough form and his human body.

He just shattered, blasted into unrecognizable gibbets of flesh.

I reeled in place, hand pressed to the deep bleeding wound in my side.  I swayed where I stood.

I gave a quick look around.  Both Knights were indisputably dead.  The first had nearly been bisected, the second obliterated by my bullet speed body check.  There was nothing more to them.

“Nice job,” said Owner.

I nodded to her and stepped inside, every ounce of my energy going to keeping my stride unwavering, my face relaxed.

Only after the door had closed did I permit myself to crumple to my knees, the stain on my side spreading despite my best efforts.

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

Investigate Sticker:

I wasn’t a hundred percent the next morning, but a long night of using my healing gift had born fruit.  The gash in my side was mostly closed up, and as long as I didn’t put too much pressure on my core I could generally ignore it.

I’d been tempted to stay in my house and rest up, but the Regime had a nose for weakness.  The most important thing was to show no weakness, no disruption to my schedule.  I set out to investigate another prospect without any delay.

I’d known Sticker on and off, for quite a while.  She had a good head on her shoulders, and her gift was stronger than I thought she realized.

First off, she was Ultra tough two.  I could occasionally ape that capability, when I used my blends to steal durability or endurance.  But she had the real thing, the full time invincibility to conventional weapons that had allowed the Ultras to destroy the Old World’s militaries.

Her other gift, the one that she was named for, was also better than I thought she realized.  She didn’t secrete her slime, she just kind of conjured it, and that amount didn’t seem to be limited in any real way.

I’d made arrangements to meet her for breakfast, so we dropped by Owner’s facility, picking chips and what I’d once have called bad gas station food, sausage biscuits and the like off of the rack.

“What’re you up to nowadays?” I asked her.  “I haven’t seen you in a minute.”

She grinned, reaching up and scratching her nose.

“Still doing my building thing,” she said.  “I really think She will realize what a big deal that is one of these days.”

“Oh?” I said.

It was rare for anyone to deliberately try to come to Her attention.

“Yeah,” she said.  “You know how my slime can be as tough as I want, right?”

“Sure,” I said.

“I hadn’t realized it before, but it can actually be Ultra Tough.  I got some Knights to try and test it, and my hardest slime is about as tough as their ropes.”

I chuckled, doing my best not to start at the mention of Knights.  Anyone else and I might think that they were trying to provoke me, drawing attention to my attackers to throw me off or something, but Sticker didn’t have a sneaky bone in her body.

“Holy shit,” I said.  “That’s incredible.”

I meant that.  I’d believed in her gift even before knowing it, but with this power she would be easily powerful enough to be a Posse member.

“I know, right?” she gushed.  “So I’m putting it to use.  I’ve been sliming the wall, putting my gunk all along the inside.  We are gonna have an Ultra Tough wall, nobody is gonna expect that!”

I grinned, almost in spite of myself.  The notion that anyone who would dare to attack Shington, the seat of the Regime, would be put off by some gunk along the inside of the wall was ridiculous.  But it was characteristic of Sticker, the product of her endless belief in herself.

“Genius,” I said.  “That’ll catch em off guard.  Imagine trying to bash through a wall, only to get stuck like fly paper.”

She laughed easily, munching on a chip.

“What’re you up to nowadays?” she asked.  “Did that whole fighting thing pan out?”

“A little,” I said.  “I’m actually the Warlord now.”

“Oh wow!” she said, eyes wide.  “You get to take the fight to our enemies.  That must be so exciting!”

I took a bit out of my sandwich, relishing the taste as I mentally checked ‘willingness’ off of her entry in my list.

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

Seek Posse Members at Ultra Fights:

The evening found me at the Deeps, an old toppled skyscraper that had been cored like an apple by an Ultra gift.

I was given a place of honor, the fans crowded away from me by the officious staff.  Ordinarily I might have objected, might have sat squarely in the midst of the crowd, but the Knight attack had me careful.  I had a hidden enemy, one who had no qualms about striking through anonymous pawns.  Crowds had become dangerous to me.

I didn’t relish the thought, but facts had to be faced.  I let the workers keep me sequestered and gave my full attention to the matches.

Someone had clearly told the participants that I was out here,  because throughout the night they directed their performances my way.  It seemed like every one of them got a moment in the spotlight, their gifts carefully trotted out for my perusal.

The Ultras that I thought might be Posse material were as follows:

1: Gunner, 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One
2: Chiller, 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken
3: Cutter, 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant
4: Joker, 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like
5: Smasher, 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time
6: Swimmer, 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces
7: Burner, 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see
8: Maxxer, 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts
9: Puncher, 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements
10: Replayer, 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes
11: Builder, 0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things

I took furious notes, and was utterly unsurprised when, on my way out the door, the manager let me know that they’d be happy to put me in contact with any of their prospects that I might be interested in.

I might well take them up on it.

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

Day 5:

Days remaining: 26 ***

AP available: (5 end of last day + 0 for half night’s sleep) = 5/10

Prestige: 3 (word of injury may reduce this if I don’t take public vengeance soon)

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon) 

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Moderate Injury (-2 on fight, -1 on socialize with Regime members), will last till day 8 if not healed with an action

 

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

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

Ultra Enemies:

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

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Builder —  0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

 

Actions:

[ ] Get rid of my bullet blend (Timeslot cost: varies; AP cost 0, refunds 0 on success)

Motives: I can’t rest until I drop this blend, and I can only do so on a person or an Ultra, or my turtle.

Concerns:  This blend would be practically a death sentence to anyone who doesn’t have at least Ultra Toughness one, and will have unpredictable consequences on the personality and capabilities of the recipient.

-[ ] Give it to an ordinary person (no timeslot cost)

Motives: If I can’t spare the time to find a proper target, I can just take the first person off the street.

Concerns: This would be acting like every Ultra I hate.  I’d be disgusted with myself.

-[ ] Give it to an Ultra I know [indicate name], one timeslot

Motives: An Ultra can survive this.  They would be a safe place for this gift.

Concerns: Strengthening a Regime Ultra won’t go over well with KEM.

-[ ] Give it to a weak Ultra from the outside, hopefully thereby generating a stronger Ultra who is likely to be loyal, two timeslots

Motives: If I don’t want to make a strong Ultra stronger, I can instead augment one of the weaker Regime Ultras.

Concerns: Leaving the Lair is always hazardous, particularly as I don’t currently have a warband out there.

-[ ] Give it to Napoleon (no timeslot cost)

Motives: Ultimately, it is just a turtle. 

Concerns: He is MY turtle, and turning him into a bullet turtle seems weird and bad.

 

[ ] Heal my wound (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, returns 0 on success)

Motives: I need more time to heal this wound, it is slowing me down

Concerns:  None (this action will automatically succeed)

 

[ ] Investigate attack on me (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)

-[ ] By asking bystanders

Motives: The fake Knights came from somewhere, perhaps I can find someone who saw them don their disguises

Concerns: None

-[ ] By asking Knights

Motives: They had real Knight scythes, those must have come from somewhere

Concerns: I don’t like associating with the Knights, or their master.  They may well be behind the attack, and could take the opportunity to strike again.

-[ ] Other (indicate specifics)

 

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

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment ares (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

 

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]

 

Interlude : Battle : 2

The first that General Greggs knew of the growing calamity was a soft tone from her earpiece, an automated warning from SPARTACUS’ lower functions. It indicated an unacceptable rate of attrition.
Her brow furrowed, eyes rapidly scanning the field before dropping to the screen at her side. She saw nothing to concern her, at first.
The Grand Host still roiled and churned under the onslaught of her drones. The Union forces still encircled their foes, still poured their own gifts and exotic weapons into an enemy rendered as vulnerable as they could possibly ever be.
“No,” she gasped softly, as she saw the source of the computer’s alarm.
The Brides Of Zeus had moved to the front of their mob, true enough, but they hadn’t stopped there. Hadn’t really even slowed down. Instead they surged ahead, charging madly into the encircling forces, hymns and wild laughter rising to contend with the bedlam of battle.
The members of the Union’s Intervention Forces, perhaps the single most elite and decorated Ultrahuman combatants on the planet, came face to face with their enemy’s ultimate weapon, and they could not cope.
In the camps and training grounds of the Union there was a question which was occasionally bruited about.
“Which was more important, skill in battle, or raw Ultra power?”
The military’s answer had always been that, Prevailer aside, the two went hand in hand. The Pantheon reliably squandered its mightiest Ultras, deploying them piecemeal in the midst of hosts of disposable fodder, leaving them easy prey for outnumbering throngs of Union forces to pick apart. The forces of the enemy could never become veterans, never really master their gifts, not when their first engagement was so often their last, while the Union’s forces would grow strong on the fruit of hundreds of victories.
This answer had held for a long time. Year after year the Pantheon tide had risen, and year after year they had been utterly broken. The Union’s way of war could no longer be doubted.
It didn’t hold any more.
The gifts that the Brides deployed in this battle would not have been out of place in Regime Fists, had been carefully selected by Death and her minions as the best of all possible weapons. They were utterly lethal.
Comet waved a hand, and the trajectory of every incoming attack within the area she mastered altered in an instant, lines of folded space and projectiles alike seeking their points of origin. Darwin clenched a fist, and a wave of insanity rippled forward in a great cone shape, humans and Ultras without sufficient durability dropping their weapons and leaping upon one another in a frenzy of violence. Sodom made no gesture at all, but a statue of salt bloomed where once a Union officer, a champion in the Gauntlet had stood.
These Ultras and dozens more just as mighty pushed into the Unions’ ranks, and there was simply no answer to be found.
The Union had always relied upon greater numbers to subdue the occasional Pantheon God who proved too strong for their usual tactics. Their computers would analyze the enemy’s gift, they’d search their own membership for appropriate countermeasures, and they’d ultimately execute the optimal counterstrategy.
There was no time for that here, and not nearly enough resources for so many threats at once.
SPARTACUS had been trained on the Interventions, and reacted to a powerful Ultra by making it the focus of its battlefield control, tasking nearby assets to appropriate countermeasures. Its instructions were worse than useless in this situation, as the enemy’s threat profile scaled towards the apocalyptic. Each Union combatant heard the chimes for their nearest foe over and over as each exceed the other’s threat profile, were ordered to the aid of their colleagues a dozen times in as many seconds.
General Greggs saw all this as it happened, watched the Pantheon’s champions press into her forces’ ranks, and knew that she should call the retreat. But no words came out.
They had bested this enemy. They’d done it so many times. She had bet everything that today was no different, had pressed forward with this bold strategy and had ultimately wrong footed her foe and forced them into a bombardment that should have proven lethal. Everything she’d done, in her whole career, had been leading to this moment, the moment when she defended her nation, broke the Grand Host and saved the world.
The soft chime of the com broke the spell, after wasted, fateful seconds.
“Retreat!” she shouted into the com. “Get out of there!”
There would be no need to specify the order of withdrawal, or the nature of departure. The com system was better at that than any human could be. It would interpret her words, would filter the directives to those who needed to hear them. She’d done the important part, she’d made the choice, provided the agency that the computers could never have.
“Gut face”, said her com, its voice a young girl’s, her accent harsh and irregular, like someone sounding out the words.
“Retreat!” she repeated, even as it responded “Boot face!”
General Greggs didn’t waste any more time on her com, gesturing instead for an associate to lean over, making a handing gesture at him.
“Fuck bitch!” said her com.
“Who is this?” she asked, though she had a pretty good idea.
“Vampire talks!” said the com. “Your words go through dark, so they are mine!”
Even as the enemy spouted their propaganda she could see her delegate giving the retreat order, see its effects propagate out across the force. This communication interdiction seemed to be confined to her own person.
“This is General Greggs, I’ve been authorized to offer amnesty and accommodations, contingent upon your immediate surrender…”
She hadn’t, of course, but the longer she could keep the enemy commander distracted the longer it would be before their Host took any further decisive actions.
“No Surrender! We kill you, kill you twice! Even suffer more, suffer like stars, cold in high sky!”
Across the field, the Union fell back. More accurately, they fled. There was no way to really give cover fire when your enemy was invincible, no way to shield an ally when the attack in question would pierce through you both.
The Intervention Forces appeared to rout, their fate the same as any of their victims over the years. In the face of superior power they could do nothing else.
“We will beat you!” shouted General Greggs to her adversary, trying desperately to keep her occupied. “Your losses today will seem like nothing compared to-“
A burst of girlish laughter cut her short.
“No losses, see Easter work?”
And, appallingly, impossibly, the Pantheon’s shield climbed back into the sky.
A second Ultra with such a gift? The Pantheon had held back such an asset all this time? The general grabbed for an imager, cursing under her breath as impossible and nightmarish explanations warred within her mind.
In the heart of the Pantheon’s throng a pile of corpses was being assembled. Ultra bodies were passed hand to hand through their ranks, arriving at the feat of a dusky woman in white, and then rising, beyond all reason, to their feet, alive once more.
“Losses for you!” chirped her com. “All you be losses!”
With that pronouncement the Ultra who generated the shield took action, pushing her arms up and exerting her gift once more. The shield shot outward, passing rapidly through the pursuing Host, through the retreating Union personnel, and reestablishing itself around the entire battlefield.
It might have passed through the Host, but it didn’t show the same courtesy to the drones, barging them out of the air with brute power and pushing them back beyond its boundaries. The Union’s air superiority was stolen away in an instant.
“All forces…” said Greggs, having now grabbed her subordinate’s com and brought both devices to her mouth.
And then she stalled, her words turning to sand in her throat.
What could she do? What order could she give? If they withdrew the enemy would recover all of their losses, this ‘Easter’ unmaking the effect of their assault in the span of a few hours. But if they did not withdraw they would fall.
That much had become apparent. These Brides were simply too fearsome to face in a pitched battle. She didn’t need to read the detailed casualty ratios to know that. She’d pit her troops against anyone in the world, if the power was even remotely equal, but these Goddesses broke all the rules.
“What do we do?” cried a junior officer, com discipline breaking down in the face of annihilation. The device showed a brief video broadcast from his location, where a Bride was hurling Pantheon forces into them like discuses.
“We fight!” she said, not realizing until the words had left her mouth what she was going to say.
But as soon as she said it, the truth of the matter was obvious.
Retreat was a trap. The shielding Ultra had a range that was measured in miles, and with the skiffs hedged out the Pantheon forces were no slower than their quarry. No matter how far they withdrew they couldn’t expect to escape.
Beyond that, this battle’s outcome was unacceptable. They’d done damage, had given lives to deal damage. Half of the Grand Host or more, perhaps ten percent of the Brides. If they left now it would all be undone, the attrition vanished away and unhappened by the Pantheon’s arbitrary horseshit.
“You die!” sneered her shadow, the voice no longer pretending to come out of her com. “Easter let us kill you ten times! Burn to death, maggots in cunt! Your time over!”
She put aside the threats of the enemy’s teenaged commander. She was irrelevant, save for any weaknesses that she might betray. She’d already blundered badly by revealing their resurrection trick before the withdrawal could be completed. Greggs felt no compunctions about leaving her in command for the Fourth Army to take care of.
“Move out, targets as indicated. Let’s finish the job!” she told the com, sketching out a hasty plan across its screen.
It was rushed, was flawed, but it would have to do. She could have done better with a few hours of preparation, could have benefited from the usual rehearsal session with her advisors, her commanders and SPARTACUS, but the option wasn’t there. War had returned to its roots, and her training had emphasized, should the situation come up, that a bad plan now was better than a great plan later.
And hers was a bad plan. They needed to kill Easter, needed to cut off their enemies attrition protection at its root. But they had no way to reach her, no way to cut through the Brides in order to force her to expose herself.
No way but one.
The Brides were not soldiers, they were barely warriors. They were murderous children, and they had no restraint, no discipline. Given the chance, they would charge.
Greggs orders gave them that chance.
At her command the Union’s forces reversed course, headed back into the teeth of their pursuers.
The sudden reversal gave them the advantage at first. The Pantheon’s forces, heedless and slipshod in victory, hadn’t bothered with anything so lame as a formation. Their pursuit had stretched them out by their speed, each gathered only with those who shared their particular velocity.
As the Union turned about they enjoyed a brief numerical advantage, catching their fleetest pursuers off guard with a sudden swell of numbers, disposing of those among them who weren’t invulnerable before the next wave caught up.
Greggs watched the action on her com, giving rapid fire orders as both surrounding forces collapsed onto their enemy, as the chase became a battle once again.
Their brief advantage couldn’t last. The Brides among the enemy’s number were still too resilient, too fierce to be defeated in detail. They stalled the push long enough for more Host members to arrive, for the Pantheon’s throng to recover its weight of numbers.
“Pull back,” breathed Greggs, and the veterans of the Union fell back once more, uninterested in a straight up battle.
This time there was no call to feign a route, no attempt to present this as anything other than a tactic. They rushed away from their enemy without subterfuge, hoping that the Pantheon would repeat its earlier mistake, would once again segregate by speed and give them a brief numerical edge.
They weren’t disappointed.
Even as the process was repeating Greggs was scanning frantically, swiping the com’s viewpoint between all of the sniper units she could find. None of them could draw a bead on Easter, the enemy still clustered too thick around her.
It wasn’t any deliberate attempt to shield her, of course. It was simply the natural consequence of her gift, that Ultras were constantly converging on her with the bodies of their sisters, or pushing their way out after resurrection.
A tone dragged Greggs attention back to the main forces, whose hit and run tactics were becoming ever less effective. They’d never figured out a way to counter the Brides who struck at range, and their losses were beginning to preclude even momentary numerical advantages.
She had to do something more, this wasn’t going to work.
“Piss nose!” snarled her shadow. “Rot heart!”
She turned to face it straight on.
“Coward!” she yelled at it. “Vampire is a coward!”
An incoherent yell of anger was her only reward.
She pressed on.
“You are afraid of me, afraid of General Greggs! I am too strong for you!”
“No one is-“
Now it was her turn to interrupt the murderous child.
“I am too strong for Zeus! I am the strongest general! I am better and stronger than all of you!”
“I kill you! I kill you! KILLL!” shouted the shadow, its voice filled with a baffled rage.
How old was their enemy, to throw such a tantrum? It reminded Greggs of her own daughters when a toy was taken from them.
“You kill no one!” she shouted back at it. “Hide behind all the strong Goddesses, hide away so you can’t see me! You are too scared to show yourself!
She paid no attention to the shadow’s response, simply turning instead to the sniper’s perspectives.
There, as always she could count on her enemy’s arrogance and stupidity.
The Goddesses in the middle of the Pantheon formation were dropping down to their knees, deliberately crouching low so that their leader might lock eyes with the one who taunted her.
In exposing Vampire they also exposed Easter, too busy with her own work to bother dropping down for her bosses pleasure.
Weapons cracked, their fire inaudible in the general din of battle, and Easter toppled to the ground, her self the only Goddess on the field that her gift couldn’t save.”
“Coward bitch pussy!” shouted Vampire, not realizing that she’d already thrown away her greatest asset. “Where you? I kill you to death!”
Greggs couldn’t bring herself to formulate a reply, helpless laughter rising to her lips, wild and despairing.
Had she done enough? It was tough to tell, but it looked like, with the bullshit resurrections over with they’d taken out about a little under half of the enemy’s forces, about a third of their elites. With these losses, maybe the Fourth Army could finish the job.
“I’m right here,” she told the shadow, when her voice was her own again. “We’re not going anywhere. Come and get it.”
The Pantheon’s Grand Host did exactly that.
Observers throughout the Union’s leadership structure flinched away from their screens, wiped tears from their eyes and took careful notes as the heroes who’d defended them for decades made their last stand.
They lasted until the fall of night.

Regime Quest 7

Results from Previous round votes:

Three Votes:

Plan TalonOfAnathrax, on SV forum

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

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

Winning Plan:

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

[X] Investigate Acquaintance:

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

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

Day 3 Log:

3 AP at start of day

+1 for 6 hour sleep (4 AP)

-2 for [Morning] Organize Armory (2 AP)

No roll required, success

+ 2 for Success, (4 AP)

-2 for [Afternoon] Investigate Acquaintance [ Stopper] (2 AP)

Investigate Acquaintance roll: 10 (Critical Success)

+1 for Success, +1 for add Stopper as Ally (4 AP)

End of day, (4 AP).

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

Organize Armory:

I didn’t even head outside this morning, simply stayed in my house.  I pilfered a few cans of Owner’s soda, got the Packers to fetch me some breakfast from the Facility.

It was time to get organized.

I carefully spread the contents of my various pockets onto my work desk, pushing the papers aside for a moment.

I didn’t need these for the primary usage of my gift, of course.  My gift fell under the overall category of ‘death touch’, in Regime terms.  That is, I could kill most anyone that I touched by taking a quality that they needed to live away.  The actual qualities available varied based on the person, of course, but in most cases there was something that they couldn’t function without.

When you combined that with my Ultra toughness, you got a fairly complete combat package.  I could take most hits, and strike back with an unendurable draining effect.  I was, on the surface, a simple Ultra melee combatant. 

A simple melee combatant, of course, would never have made Warlord, or at least not one with my 2/0/1 selection of gifts.  What truly made me deadly, what I’d exploited to win my fights thus far, was that the qualities that I stole didn’t just vanish away, they clung to me, augmenting my natural abilities.

And it was this secondary effect which gave rise to my collection.  It wouldn’t due to be caught in a fight without something to drain.  I kept a decent array of objects in constant contact with my skin, ready to blend their effects at any given time.

My present reserve was as follows:

1.       Knife, strapped to upper arm, contains Sharpness, Metalness and Throwability

2.       Other Knife, strapped to thigh, contains Sharpness, Scariness and Brittleness

3.       Sponge, strapped to thigh, contains Bonelessness, Water Absorption and Lightness

4.       Engine scrap, strapped to belly, contains Drivingness, Explosiveness and Tirelessness

5.       Dog bone, strapped to belly, contains Tracking by Scent, Loyalty and Aggressiveness

6.       Bulletproof Vest scrap, contains Bulletproofness and Bulkiness

7.       Lightbulb shard, strapped to belly, contains Glowingness, Fragileness and Inconspicuousness

8.        Bullet, strapped to upper arm, contains Fastness and Explosiveness

9.       Pliers, strapped to upper arm, contains Grip, Sharpness and Metalness

10.   Microchip, taped to upper back, contains Smartness, Obedience and Soulessness

I still had a lot of space left to put more things on.  If I had to put a number on it, I’d say that I had spent about half of the total real estate that I could manage without getting conspicuous about it.

I looked over to Napoleon, who was mostly just sitting there being a turtle.

“You think I ought to start looking for more stuff?” I asked him.  “Or would I be better off spending that time getting my group together?”

This wasn’t entirely rhetorical.  For no reason I’d ever understood, Napoleon could take qualities, which was normally something that my gift only let humans do.  A long time ago I’d won a fight by stealing someone’s ‘thinkingness’, and when I got tired of maintaining the blend I’d dumped it on my pet.  He was presumably pretty smart, but had never given any sign of it.

As ever, he maintained his silence.

I rolled my eyes and gathered up my gear.  I might decide to scrounge up some more stuff.  I might not.  No reason to make that decision right now, I’d keep my options open.

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

 

Investigate Acquaintance: [ Stopper]

I’d arranged to meet Stopper immediately after lunch.

We got together in the ruins of a wrecked old church.  She had a bunch of people gathering up stained glass for some kind of art project, and that had seemed as good a way to get to know her as any.

She actually had a bit of talent, as far as I could judge these kind of things.  She’d taken an old fur coat and was carefully attaching the bits and pieces of stained glass that her human helpers brought back in order to make it look impressive.

Judging by the dimensions of the cloak it was probably for Clawer.

“Have you told him about it?” I asked.  “Or is it going to be a surprise?”

She chuckled.

“He hates surprises,” she said.  “And this is too important to screw around with.  He knows its coming.”

“Does he take an interest in that sort of thing?” I asked.  “He didn’t strike me as someone who was terribly concerned with his appearance.”

“Its just an act,” she said, carefully inserting a red fragment into a section of the cuff.  “No one in the Ultra Fight business can afford to stop thinking about their first impressions.  The spectacle of the whole thing is very important.  He needs to stand out.”

I kind of felt like the whole ‘hooks for hands’ thing was enough to let him stand out, but a cool coat probably couldn’t hurt.

I hung around making more small talk until nature called her away, then got to the real purpose of my visit.

“You,” I said to one of her workers.  “You know me?”

He dipped his head in a sort of half bow.

“Doctor,” he said.  “Everyone knows you.”

I waved the remark aside.

“This woman, Stopper, what’s really up with her?  Should I think about getting into bed with her?”

They looked to one another, then back to me.

“She told us you might ask,” said the man who had bowed.  “She told us to tell you that we are well treated, spared from a life of pain on the outside and grateful for her attention.”

I nodded, looked to his companion.

She shook her head, sharply, pulled down a collar to expose a pair of old cigarette burns.

“Ah,” I said.

“It’s not all bad,” said the first guy.  “She’s actually-“

I waved him to silence, not terribly interested in hearing any more along that line.

“Before she gets back,” I said.  “Is it him too?  Or just her?”

They looked to each other.

“Clawer doesn’t really care about us,” said the one who was doing all the talking.  “He doesn’t stop her when she gets in one of her dark moods, but he’s never started anything on his own.”

“He needs our hands,” said the woman, speaking for the first time.

“I bet,” I said.

Stopper got back a few minutes later.

“Anyway,” she said.  “I hope you are thinking about us as part of your Posse.  We bring a lot to the table, you know.”

I nodded noncommittally.

“I’m still deciding,” I said.

“Clawer’s appeal is obvious, of course, he’s one of the city’s finest warriors.  And my own gift is really helpful as well.”

“Oh,” I said.  “You stop things, right?”

She nodded appreciatively, dropping a grin sliver of glass and holding it in place, then reaching out and plucking it out of the air.

“If we bring people who aren’t Ultra tough, then guns would be a big worry, right?  Well, not with me!  They’ll just halt in mid air, as long as they are in my line of sight.”

“I thought you had to see the target,” I said.  “Don’t bullets go too fast?”

She chuckled appreciatively.

“It doesn’t work like that,” she said.  “I can stop anything that doesn’t move under its own power.”

I waited a bit, but she didn’t seem inclined to elaborate, instead turning the conversation to more conventional topics.

I made my excuses and departed a little bit later.

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

Encounter

The sun was just going down when I got back to the Packer House.  I was unpleasantly surprised to see a pair of Knights out in front, talking to Owner.

“What’s going on?” I asked as I walked up.

We didn’t really have a lot to do with the Knights of Purity.  I’d never seen them here before.

“Blender?” asked one of them, turning to face me.

“That’s right,” I said, “Who sent you to-“

I didn’t finish the rest of the sentence, as he hauled off and swung his Refined Scythe at me.

I very nearly died, my reflexes dulled just slightly by the fact that I’d been talking and looking to the other one, but I caught his slash in my peripheral vision and dropped quickly to the ground.

My gift meant that falling on my back didn’t hurt at all, but that was little comfort at the blade whistled by overhead, his comrade stepping up to swing his scythe down at me like a woodsman splitting a log.

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

Day 4:

Days remaining: 27

AP available: (4 end of last day + 1 for half night’s sleep) = 5/10

Prestige: 3

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon) + bonus combat timeslot for encounter

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Uninjured

 

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

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

Ultra Enemies:

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

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

 

Actions:

[ ] Defeat the Knights them (Timeslot cost: Special; AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)

Motives: They are trying to kill me.  I don’t want to die.

Concerns:  I don’t want to expend any of my arsenal on this random assassination attempt, and I’d like to interrogate them, but doing anything less than fighting to my utmost and using everything available will increase the odds that I lose this fight, and die.

-[ ] Kill them

-[ ] Kill them (don’t use arsenal)

-[ ] Incapacitate them

-[ ] Incapacitate them (don’t use arsenal)

 

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

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment ares (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

 

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]

Regime Quest 6

Results from Previous round votes:

Two Votes:

Plan Nevile (on SV forum)

One Vote:

Plan CCC (on my blog)

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

Winning Plan:

[x] [Morning] Seek Target Information

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

[x] [Afternoon] Investigate Acquaintance:

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

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

Day 2 Log:

3 AP at start of day

+1 for 6 hour sleep (4 AP)

-2 for [Morning] Seek Target Information from Survivors (2 AP)

Seek Target Information roll 8 (Superior Success, more detailed information gathered)

+ 1 for Success, Seek Target Information from Survivors (3 AP)

-2 for [Afternoon] Investigate Acquaintance [ Clawer] (1 AP)

Investigate Posse Members roll: 6 (Success)

+1 for Success, +11 for add Clawer as Ally Investigate Acquaintance (3 AP)

End of day, (3 AP).

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

Seek Target Information from Survivors:

I resolved to hit the Yard early on in the day, looking to get some conversations in before the action could heat up too much.

It seemed to work out, as I got there during one of the rare quiet periods.  There were a bunch of Ultras clumped in their little gangs around the edges, but no one was actively staking a claim.

The Yard, of course, is the mechanism that we use to sort out what Ultras get to stay in the Lair and who doesn’t.  If you can press a claim against everyone else there for a few days then you can come in, otherwise you stay out.

I was surprised at the intensity of my feelings, looking at this place again.  I’d held court here for a goddamn week, piled up my rivals and strutted my way in.  It had been the start of my rise to power.

It had also been a carefully calculated performance, an illusion of effortless power and carelessness masking weeks of meticulous scouting and KEM’s covert assistance.  It felt like I’d been inwardly screaming the entire time.

But it had payed off.  I’d achieved what I set out to.  Hopefully that would be the precedent for what I was currently working on.  Lots of work for a glorious success.

“Shit, Blender?” asked someone as I walked up.

I didn’t recognize her.  Short, with mangy hair and a cloud of pot smoke around her.

“Looking for someone,” I said.

A few others jogged over, eyes narrowing.  An Ultra from inside was an uncommon sight out here.  They probably thought I was already starting to build up my band.

“Who?” asked the first person, scratching away at her head.

“Anyone who was in Menacer or Burier’s attacks.”

Almost involuntarily she looked to one side, and so did a few others.  They were all glancing at a tall blonde, her face disfigured by a big old scar on one cheek.

That was a stroke of luck.  I’d been trying to figure out how to make sure that whoever I sent out to look for survivors would come back, but it looked like I wouldn’t have to bother with that.

I whistled, and when she looked over I beckoned.

Scarface jogged up, her angry bearing crumbling into a servile humility as she realized who I was.

“You went to Ar Harbor?” I asked.

She flinched at the name.

“Yes,” she said.  The scar went up through the edge of her mouth, and it gave her a sort of whistling accent, so it sounded more like ‘Yesh’.

“Last time?” I pressed.

This time she just nodded.

“So you were part of Burier’s team?” I asked.  “Posse or band?”

She sort of gestured to the Yard, which I took to mean she’d been in the band.  If she was Posse quality, why would she be out here?

“Tell me how the fight went,” I said.

I was getting the idea that she didn’t like to talk much, probably took a lot of shit for that lisp.  I sympathized, but I was mostly just impatient.

“We got hit by the Union, the night before.  They sent flying things to blast our camp, Burier didn’t see it coming, didn’t have anyone watching.  She was fucking when they hit us.”

That wasn’t terribly surprising.  It was a bit of a bit of a warzone up there.  I’d need to establish whether Burier had crossed into Union territory, or whether they were actually working to protect the Ar Harbor gang.  My tentative bet was on Burier’s band getting lost.  She’d been a city Ultra, wouldn’t have known shit about navigating.

“Did she die in the Union hit?” I pressed, “Or did you make it to the target?”

I left out the possibility that they’d survived but turned back.  Burier would have been joined to Snitcher, and, like me, she wouldn’t have had any choice about continuing on.

“We made it,” she said.  “But we’d lost most of our people.  The locals knew we were coming, mobbed us.”

Hard to say whether that was just Ultra braggadocio or whether she’d actually been outnumbered.  She had ever incentive to build up the people who’d beaten her.

“How many Ultras do they have?” I asked.  “Who are their leaders?”

“Maybe forty?” she said.  “Couple dozen anyway.  There were four main ones.  Called themselves by some pussy old world names, they talked a lot, had flags and shit.”

Flags?

“Oh,” she continued.  “There was a tank or something, some kind of big floating machine.  It didn’t do shit that I saw, but I bet it would’ve if they’d started losing.”

“Go back,” I said.  “They had flags?”

“Like stuck to their backs, or to sticks they carried,” she said.  “Boss was called King Arthur, Burier said she could loan Ultra gifts to daggers, make them fight for her.”

I blinked.

“Were the other leaders named stuff like Merlin, Lancelot, stuff like that?”

She nodded enthusiastically.

“Yeah, that’s right.  Merlin’s gift let her make stuff go through other stuff.  Gwen’s gift let’s her set stuff on fire and Lance was like a fighting Ultra.  There was something weird about her though.”

I had a lot more questions to ask, but a stirring in the Yard cut me off.  I’d never lost my familiarity with the place’s overall vibe, and this meant that a fight was getting ready to jump off.

“Gang coming?” I asked.

“Dolls,” said the mangy Ultra I’d talked to first.  “Some of their crew are pressing claims, Second Fist is supposed to be coming up to watch.”

I walked off without any more interaction.  I didn’t need to encounter Refiner’s crew today.  It was a start, at least.

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

Investigate Acquaintance: [ Clawer]

Clawer wasn’t terribly hard to find.  I caught up with him just as he left a Company Facility, carefully cradling a bowl of protein powder in his hooks.

“Trade ya?” I offered, holding up my secret weapon.

I’d stopped by Owner’s gas station on the way here, filled up a bag with candies, chips and various other junk food.

He grinned.  Nobody liked the powder.

I reached out towards him like it was no big thing, draped the plastic over his hand.

I figured a lot of people probably shrunk away at the sight of his hooks, or stared at them.  I’d resolved to act like it just wasn’t an issue at all.  Hopefully that’d get us off on the right foot.

“What’s this about?” he asked.

I tried to look innocent.

“I’m curious about the Ultra Fight thing,” I tried.  “I’ve heard its fixed, but I know there’ve been deaths. What’s your perspective, as an actual fighter?”

He grinned again.  Most people liked a chance to explain something to someone who didn’t know it.

“It’s not all real, of course.  You don’t see the same people fighting for or five times if they are trying to kill each other.  We set it up ahead of time, work stuff out like the old world pro wrestling.”

“Sure,” I said.  “But the deaths?”

“Well, there are real matches too.  Sometimes people don’t like each other, or She shows up or whatever.  Same rings, same stuff, but actual fighting.  It makes the fake stuff go down better.”

“You aren’t worried?” I asked.  “Someone sets up a fake fight, then sneak attacks you in the middle?”

He looked somber for a second.

“It’s a concern,” he said.  “But I only work with people I trust, and a reputation for doing that sort of thing is a really bad thing to get.  People don’t want that, so if they have a problem with me they’ll be better off if they work it out in other ways.  Nobody wins if that kind of thing gets started.”

Most Ultras wouldn’t know about the prisoner’s dilemma, but it was apparently a universal concept.  It spoke for his intelligence that he’d realized the dynamic, and could put it in words.

“Clawer?”

We looked up as someone called his name.

A short Ultra with a sporty beret for a sigil came trotting up.  She casually reached out and scooped the bag of junk food off his arm, dumped it into a sigil.

“This is Stopper,” he explained.  “We work together a lot.”

That was interesting.  I hadn’t heard anything about her when I’d asked around about him.

“Haha, yeah,” she said.  She had a way of speak-laughing that immediately got on my nerves.  “We’re a unit, right babe?  I’m the hands, he’s the hooks.”

“Sure,” I said.

It made sense that he’d have a partner of some sort.  Even I had Owner to watch my rest, and I had thumbs.

We talked some more, and I got a better feel for their basic situation.

Clawer was the main one to consider, of the two.  He had the fighting power to live in the Lair, she coasted along in his wake, her own gift was the ability to steal momentum from forms by looking at them.

They seemed to have a genuine affection for one another, or at least they didn’t bicker in my presence.  It wasn’t the worst afternoon I’d ever spent.

“It was nice hanging with you today,” he said, as I was getting ready to go.

“Sure,” I responded.

“Listen,” said Stopper.  “You are recruiting people for your Posse, right?”

“Not just yet,” I said.  “I’m still in the early phases of-“

“When you do,” she said, speaking over me, “We’d be very interested.  We’d be a huge asset!”

I said something noncommittal, made my goodbyes and let them there.

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

Day 2 results:

Incomplete information gathered on Ar Harbor defenders.  I need to know more, but this is a good start.  I could get more information from another questioning of the survivors, but what I’d really like is to get the Resistance’s take on the Round Table gang.

Clawer added to Ultra Allies after a day hanging out.  He seems to be on the level.  If I decide to bring him into the Posse, however, I will need to decide what to do with Stopper.  Should I bring her into the Posse as well, or just the band, or leave her behind?

The actions I started formulating yesterday should be done by tomorrow.

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

Day 3:

Days remaining: 28

AP available: (3 end of last day + 1 for half night’s sleep) = 4/10

Prestige: 3

Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon)

Posse: 0 out of 3 slots filled

Force size: 0

Condition: Uninjured

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

 

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

 

Ultra Enemies:

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

 

Ultra Acquaintances:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Faction Rankings:

Regime 7

KEM 8

Pantheon 2

Union 4

Resistance 9

Prevailer 3

 

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

 

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

Motive: I could do with some rest.

Concerns: None

-[ ]By patronizing entertainment ares (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

[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]

Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep

Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.

 

KEM Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

Resistance Actions: (Sealed until I figure out how to deal with Snitcher’s surveillance, or resolve to defy him)

 

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

Motive [Write in]

Concerns: [Write in]