Morning: Inviting Joker
“What do you mean you don’t know where she is?” I growled.
I was proud of myself. I didn’t fly off the handle, didn’t start swearing and cursing, just lowered my voice a bit and stared daggers at the person I was talking to.
She looked away, wincing, as though I’d raised a hand up to strike her. Everything about her body language screamed that she wanted to put her hands over her face, but she didn’t dare to.
“Joker does this sometimes,” she said. “I’ll let you her know you came by, the next time I see her.”
I reached out and took her by the scruff of the neck, jacked her up against the doorframe of Joker’s house.
“How about,” I asked, my voice level and calm once more, “you let me know, instead. And how about instead of the next time she comes by you let me know right now. Where. The. Fuck. Is. She?”
“I don’t know!” she sobbed. “This is just a thing she does. She’ll be back eventually, but she never knows how long it’ll take!”
“How long WHAT will take?”
I saw it then. The fear in her eyes was suddenly tainted by guilt.
She fell over herself to deny it, a word salad of helplessness and innocence, but it all rang false to me. She knew something.
I believed that she didn’t know where Joker was. She wasn’t the type to inspire loyalty, and I was here while she wasn’t, so I was pretty sure her minion would have already flipped on her if they knew what I wanted.
My old world instincts were screaming at me to back off, don’t be an asshole, let the woman get back to me. But the thing was that this was my life. I could easily literally die if I waited a week or more before finishing my posse.
I had no idea where the target was, or when I had to take it down. I couldn’t afford to be reasonable.
“You know why I’m called Blender?” I asked her, voice pitched menacingly. “Have you ever seen one? It is a machine that turns stuff into a slurry of liquid and waste?”
She whimpered, grimaced, and finally spilled it.
Joker, it turned out, had a hobby. Whenever a human annoyed her she would go undercover and catfish them, then string them along and break their hearts. During this process she was completely incognito from her supporters, who could do nothing but wait for their patron to return.
That was certainly one use you could put a flawless disguising gift to. The Regime always found a new way to disappoint me.
I left her helpers with instructions for her to get in touch with me the instant they heard from her, then headed back across town.
I counted them off in my head. I was currently waiting to hear from the Union about the Merlin thing, from Maker about the Posse, from Joker about the Posse and from Subtracter about my mission. I was utterly sick of waiting.
It put me in mind of a memory from my childhood, back when my grandmother had been dying in the hospital. A pair of orderlies had walked bye, and one of them had made a dumb joke to the other.
I never forgot how angry I was at their laughter. Didn’t they know that my Gram was dying? How could they not drop everything and do whatever they could to help, when it was life or death?
I felt that same helpless rage rising within me now. The battle in Ar Harbour had brought home to me just how dangerous this job was. My lifespan was measured in weeks, maybe in months, and people were asking me to wait for days?
I felt my lips curl back from my teeth in a snarl, and I stopped for a moment in the shade of a piece of rubble, trying to focus myself.
I kept going when I reached the Packer house, heading down the street towards Subtracter’s digs digs.
The time for waiting was over.
Afternoon: Questioning Subtracter
I stepped into the Oval Office.
The famous furniture had been haphazardly tossed about, piled up along the walls. Subtracter had placed a king sized mattress in the center of the room, and then another atop it. She looked up lazily as I stepped in.
The most famous room in the world, perhaps. The room from which, debatably, the Old World had been governed.
It reeked of weed.
“Hey Blender,” she said. “What are you doing here?”
Subtracter was mostly innumerate, but she was still in charge of the timeline for my attacks.
“I just wanted to know what my next target was.” I told her.
She blinked owlishly at me, seemingly confused.
I was about eighty percent sure Subtracter couldn’t get high. Her Ultra Toughness would screen out mind altering chemicals. But maybe that didn’t apply if you wanted it not to? I wasn’t sure.
“When am I attacking?” I tried.
“30 days!” she said, almost automatically.
“From the previous battle,” I supplied, “so 21 from now.”
“Sure,” she said.
I could have kicked myself. Why the hell had I said that? Had I just cost myself nine days of preparation with one sentence of idiocy?
“And you are gonna fight…”
She let the sentence trail off, looking over to the side where a map lay half unrolled in the ruins of a very famous desk.
I tried to force calm. It hadn’t been an actual opportunity. Prevailer could certainly count, and She would be looking for Her scheduled program. I was right to correct Subtracter.
“Hey,” she asked me, chuckling, “You think you can take down Phis?”
“Course not,” I said, chuckling right back.
She was on her feet without transition, skipping over the intervening steps like God had decided to cut back on rendering.
I’d killed myself. Holy shit I was about to die.
“…is what I would say if I was a pussy!” I continued, calling on every gram of acting skill I’d ever possessed to make that transition look natural.
It had been the fucking chuckle. Subtracter had laughed in the exact same way at my brother’s sky burial, and every time I heard it I lost my damn cool.
She scowled suspiciously at me, fists opening and closing.
“Phis is the target,” she said. “Those Pantheon shits have been pissing me off. Kill em all.”
“Can do!” I said.
The rest of the meeting was a blur, me doing my level best to avoid annoying the idiotic maniac I worked for, even as I panicked inwardly.
Phis was a serious Pantheon stronghold, basically the center of their Eastern US operations. There were a couple scary names for it. So far as I could recall it had never been attacked by a Warlord, but I was pretty sure Second Fist had taken a swing at it, and been forced back.
I couldn’t, off the top of my head, remember the Ultra in charge. I think it had changed recently.
But I was looking at hundreds of Ultras, multiple leaders as powerful as me or Smasher. Phis was one of their attempts at a Shington equivalents, a gathering place for Ultras from which they went out to attack cities.
Subtracter, in all likelihood, had just fucking killed me. I might as well have died that day back in my village.
Evening: Debrief Owner
“Then we all got to telling stories about the battle with the Round Table” she gushed. “I think the new guys really respect me now.”
“It sounds like they just really like the fact that you brought beer,” I responded, deadpan.
Owner had spent the morning drilling the Warband, then thrown them a party in the afternoon. She’d gone flying with Soarer, thrown candy and alcohol around like they were going out of style, and basically had a blast.
I was utterly not here for it, my thoughts trapped in a town that had been knocked down years ago, listening to Subtracter kill at random.
“Where’s our next target?” she asked. “Were you able to get Joker on board?”
I told her how things had gone, watched the excitement leave her face.
I hoped it didn’t make me a bad person that that made me feel a bit better.
Day 10 20 until next battle
Ultra rolodex: (#/#/# is Ultra strength/speed/toughness)
Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them
Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses
Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees
Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them
Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate
Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One
Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken
Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant
Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces
Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see
Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts
Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements
Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes
Maker- Friend, and protégé of Snitcher, 0/0/1, can summon the spirit of things
Clawer – Ultra fighter 2/0/1, melee combatant, deadly hooks for hands
Stopper – partner of Clawer, 0/0/0, steals form’s velocity by looking at them
Sticker – Did dentistry for her brother, 0/0/2, Creates slime, can choose its stickiness
Grower – 0/*0/1, an outside Ultra I sponsored into the Lair, has a bullet blend from me, can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects
Joker — 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like
Owner’s Shington Store
Posse: (4 slots, 1 filled)
Owner (trusted friend, housemate, gift hard to describe) 0/0/1
16 Veteran Ultras, 13 Rookie (that is, haven’t worked with me before) Ultras
Hexxer, Peeler, Guager, Soarer are notably less evil than the rest.
Blender AP: 1/10 (6 -3 +0 -3 +0 +1)
Actions cost 3, return 2 on success 0 on failure unless otherwise specified, Blender gains 1 AP every morning
Posse Recruitment tree
Meet more Ultras (describe method, adds d6 to contacts)
Get to know specific Ultra better (describe method transitions Ultra to potential Posse member)
Invite Ultra to Posse (must have got to know target first, if accepted, Ultra joins Posse)
Get more Ultras (describe method, adds Ultras to warband of quality/quantity dependent on method)
Train warband (describe method, makes QM kinder to Blender in combat sections re: her troops actions and numbers)
Task warband (describe, needs Posse member or Blender to lead them, sets warband to a task)
VIP tree (Used for Regime Luminaries)
Visit VIP (explain, explain Blender’s motives and methods) (only returns 1 AP on success)
Contacts tree: (Blender currently believes morning is safer from Snitcher)
Get info from contacts (specify KEM or Resistance, method if different from usual dead drop)
Request mission from contacts (ask KEM or Resistance for action) (This can go in either direction, asking them to do something from you, or asking if they need you to do anything for them.)
Relax tree: (Actions which, on balance, regain AP)
Lay still: Cost 0, auto succeed, returns 2
Relaxation activities, Cost 0, returns 3 on success, 1 on failure
Healing work, Cost 1, returns 6 on success, Snitcher hazard
Blisser session, auto succeed, returns 4 per timeslot, cannot be ended until Blender is back at 10
Miscellaneous action: (Anything not covered above, scavenging, info gathering in person, etc, describe what Blender is going for)
Blender Morning Action
Blender Afternoon Action
Owner will take either a morning or afternoon action at Blender’s direction.