Morning: Healing people
There was an old joke, or maybe saying.
“What if they called a war and no one came?”
It was ridiculous, of course, but thinking about ‘why’ it was ridiculous helped you to understand some things about the world you lived in. I liked sayings like that. You had to kind of, like, digest them.
So it was less amusing that I was living the dumbest future timeline version. “What if you offered free magic healing, and no one came?”
I had never had this happen before. Literally never. Each and every single time I’d gotten the word out to my contacts I had been virtually BURIED under an avalanche of people in desperate need. I’d once had two healing days consecutively, and the rush hadn’t slowed down in the slightest.
But today there was nothing.
I slumped down, leaning against a pillar in the ruined church I used for this sort of thing, trying very hard not to fixate on the fact that I had, in all likelihood, about three weeks left alive, and I was JUST SITTING HERE.
I gave it another hour, and then went to try and figure out what had happened. It wasn’t terribly hard.
I described it, earlier, as ‘getting the word out to my contacts’, but what I technically did was leave a message in a certain place, where a Resistance member knew to look.
First Fist had been, by terribly coincidence, near that place, doing a human dogfighting thing. I didn’t get close enough to get the details, but if my contact had been there then there was an excellent chance I’d need a new contact.
Best case scenario, they’d cleared out in time, and I’d just wasted my morning waiting on healing that no one knew was available. Worst case didn’t bear thinking about.
This damn city. This damn world.
Afternoon: Abort to self care
I had planned to train the warband in the afternoon.
I got as far as the door, but couldn’t make myself actually open it.
I’d stumbled back home from the outskirts of First Fist’s hideous game in something like a fugue state, my consciousness locked in a sort of desperate attempt to think of something else.
My warband, the things we did, they weren’t that something else. We were more of the same, in the privacy of my own soul I could admit it. We were afraid to die, afraid of Her, and so we killed. Those we battled were just the same as us, separated only by accidents of fate and fortune.
What good would it do, for me to train them? I could make them better killers, but I was completely powerless to make them better people. If we stuck it out, if we prevailed in our next battle…there would only be another one behind that, and another after that, forever.
I slumped down in one of the more intact chairs in the Packer House, mind awhirl with dark thoughts.
Had I become what I fought against? I had always imagined myself, within the Regime, as sand in the gears. Was that just a delusion? Was I always a component?
The higher I’d risen, the stranger it had seemed that I never seemed to encounter genuine partisans of the Regime. Everyone, all the way up, was just currying favor and doing their best to stay alive.
The Knights were just sucking up to Refiner for his protection, their racism as rote and pro forma as the warband’s protestations of loyalty to the revolving door warlocks. The Troubleshooters hid behind Adder’s broad shadow, their service bent around keeping out of Her notice.
Even Snitcher, if Maker could be believed, was living for his diversions. Even a bastion of the Regime, one of Her inner circle, couldn’t draw any energy from this horrific mess. It was just Blenders, all the way up to Her. We were all engaged in oppressing one another so that She wouldn’t kill us.
But there was a difference, ultimately, between the rest of them and I.
I had actually acted, I reminded myself. I’d seen this atrocity and made up my mind to set myself against it. I’d fought for the Warlord job, killing Ultras who would otherwise have gone on to propagate this tragedy into the wider world. Once in the job I’d rounded up yet more of them, found a target and slammed them against it. Casualties in excess of 50% in the battle with Ar Harbour.
A twinge went through me at the thought of Builder, at the thought of the innocents of Ar Harbour who’d been caught up in things, but the fact was that scores of Regime Ultras were gone. If the harm that I did was indisputable, then so was the good. I was genuinely, actually, verifiably fighting back against Her in the only way that I could.
I rose refreshed, as the evening came upon me. I wasn’t a hundred percent my self again, but I’d seen my way through the worst of it. The Warband would keep. The future would keep. I could only do my best.
Evening: Debrief Owner
“How was Shower?” I asked her.
Owner had returned shortly after I’d returned to a more active state.
I was glad that she hadn’t been a bit earlier. I’d struggled with aphasia for a long time, and Owner knew that, but I still didn’t like for her to see me when one of my bleak moods was upon me.
“He was his usual self,” she answered. “Still jealous that you got the job, of course, but he wanted to congratulate you on dealing with Arthur. He’d been doing some info gathering of his own, figuring you were gonna lose, and he wasn’t looking forward to dealing with them.”
I didn’t bother to ask why he hadn’t shared any of this info. The Regime was all about survival of the fittest. He wasn’t in the Posse, so we were rivals. Forget collaboration, I was lucky he hadn’t actively tried to work against me.
“Did you sound him out about the future?” I asked her. “He could be exceptionally valuable in Phis. There are very likely to be some absolutely massive battles going down there, and that’s where he would thrive.”
Owner frowned a bit.
“I asked him some leading questions,” she said, “But I wasn’t sure whether or not we were letting people know about the target. I know last time it was a huge hassle that Arthur knew we were coming…should I be open about where the Warband is going to be headed? I could see arguments either way, you know?”
So could I, to be honest, I’d have to think about it.
“What was his take on working together, in general?” I asked. “With all the usual proxy speaking and dance steps taken out. What do you think he actually meant for us to hear?”
She frowned a little deeper.
“I got the sense that he’d come on board,” she said, “But only as your right hand man, undisputed second in command and taking charge if you get killed. He wouldn’t be content to be just one of the Posse.”
It was my turn to frown.
Warlords didn’t often choose a second in command. It was kind of painting a target on your back, given that they would then have an excellent motive to kill you, and full access to the Warband who would be your only protection.
I’d have to think on it. If every other asshole (Maker, Joker…the damn Union) was making me wait, then there was no reason I couldn’t return the favor.
19 days until next battle
Ultra rolodex: (#/#/# is Ultra strength/speed/toughness)
Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them
Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses
Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees
Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them
Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate
Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One
Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken
Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant
Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces
Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see
Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts
Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements
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: 3/10 (1-1 +0 -0 +2 +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.
Going forward, should Blender/Owner tell Posse candidates what your next target is? Hard to say exactly what impact that might have.
(Inviting Shower to Posse will be interpreted to entail offering him Second In Command, so make sure to clarify if you want to Invite him without doing that.)