Edge City

Nobody Likes a Roachsplosion

February 9, 2011

Kinslton figured out his demonic half-raven stalker form, and went to the Leaky Gasket to celebrate with the Templar. He found Alpha Wolf in a foul mood, grudgingly telling a version of the story of what happened in the confrontation with Steve Thunder. Kinslton also healed up Lucille, who was battered by GAT bots; she wants to go on a date with him now.

The Tower

Meanwhile, across town, Genevieve was working with Eudora and the investigative team to watch the government auction of Torpedo Bay properties for the cost of back taxes. Then Adrian visited, inviting her to go with him to the Midway. They went not just for the wintery carnival atmosphere, but to go into a dingy basement where there was an enduring chalk gate to Marcher’s Tower.

Together they entered the tower, noting the big throne festooned with antlers, all the chests and boxes and knick knacks. They found a vampire, withered and stuffed in a grandfather clock built into the back of the throne. They found a snake-head cane with ruby eyes and a snakeskin wrap. They found a box of gems that glittered, tempting to Arcanist magic, probably granting power to objects once they were set in place and activated.

Genevieve found four shamanistic power stabilizing columns, and traced them to realize if you dragged the bearskin rug out of the way and sat in the throne you could use Essence to waken the portal in the floor, which showed a central location and four supporting cairns. It was a nexus, where five cairn spaces connected via moonbridge!

The central symbol was for the Glade, where Mother Wolf presides, that used to connect to the pool by the cabin behind Old Man Marcher’s place. Another symbol matched an ancient carving spotted in the basement of Kennedov’s mansion on the island. Another could connect to the Favians—could it be related to the manor? (Later, Morris identified one as matching the cairn space the Pennywise mansion was built to protect.) Only one remained a mystery.

They returned to Prime, and headed to Tolliver Road, where they went to the book store and chatted with Lydia. Adrian put in an order for books that could tell him more about moon bridges, a shamanistic phenomenon that deals with connecting cairns and otherdimensional spaces, and connecting those spaces with each other in turn.

Roachsplosion

Genevieve and Anna were called away on Recon Team business, going to Dr. Ellisario’s home. She died in her house clothes, watching television, ruptured from the inside by an impossibly dense press of roaches that now slithered all through the house. Disgusted, Victor let Genevieve look over the scene and find out what she could.

She determined that the intruder was either known to the victim or very sneaky, not alarming the victim. The roaches were from a certain area under Torpedo Bay, altered somewhat by chemicals to be recognizably distinct. Genevieve looked back in time to see Dewpetal regrow her face to talk with her out of synch, as though they had met before. Dewpetal promised to kill her. Then she escaped by falling apart into a pile of roaches that swarmed elsewhere.

Genevieve watched the one-sided conversation of the apparently time-sensitive bane shamen on the security camera footage. She figured she had what she needed, so she left the Recon Team to clean up their former head scientist of meta studies, and she went to rejoin her friends.

A Nice Supper

Meanwhile Kinslton had joined Adrian and Lydia at the bookstore, and he got their version of events with Steve Thunder. They all went out to eat at the high-end revolving restaurant overlooking Fortress Square, having a lovely time with witty conversation. Genevieve and Anna joined them there, and after eating, everyone headed to the Parlor of Relative Safety, where they called in Morris and Kryptma.

The Parlor of Relative Safety

Kryptma had apparently been sleeping, but even in her grouchy state she helped pinpoint where Dewpetal might be resting; a water treatment station under Torpedo Bay, where she was likely going into the bane-friendly waters to help keep her body together.

Lydia felt an odd pull to emotionally hurt Morris, and resisted it. She told him that Kryptma was interested in him, and he didn’t believe her, since he sees Kryptma as being confrontational and unpleasant.

With two shamen willing to go along and help out, they got their affairs in order so they could assault the water treatment plant under Torpedo Bay the next day, and put a stop to Dewpetal once and for all.

View
This Town Ain't Big Enough

Downtime, from January 1, 2011, to Monday, February 7, 2011.

Genevieve

She dug into Shrimpshell hard, and found out that it was someone who was thought to be dead. Through various Interpol and other means, she started looking where no one else had, after running across some vague references murmured by a telepath. She discovered that Lanette Rider was likely the force behind Shrimpshell. She was supposed to have died by sniper bullet in South America in 2005. Digging into her history further, Genevieve discovered Rider’s powers developed as young as 8, when she was able to do a psychic blast affecting multiple targets. Scientists demanded she kill a frog with her brain, and she killed the scientists instead. That began a long history of liking animals better than humans. Her powers developed to psychic intrusion and possession, at least, before she faked her death in 2005. Is she a new player in the League of Progress?

Genevieve also tried and failed to use her money and contacts, and her husband’s money and contacts, to start “Walk It Off,” a gym compound for Chauncies. Too much bureaucracy. Even the Chaise Corporation couldn’t help.

Lydia

Wraith continued working with the police, bolstering her relationships there as a vigilante. She also continued drinking Indigo’s blood, and now feels that they are impossibly close friends. This supernatural bolstering toughened her body, also.

Lydia tried fencing with Emma, Adrian’s wife, and defeated her handily. That led to some social awkwardness, as Emma remains very proud of her achievements as a fencer on the amateur circuit.

Adrian

He worked with Five Stones as a local guide, able to protect (and defend himself from) various “interesting” visitors. He also spent more time with his friends, playing catch with Mugsy (it was Mugsy’s idea, and it is not in any way like playing fetch.) He also used his new appearance altering abilities to assume a different face, so he could take Olivia out in public and be seen with her without risking Adrian’s reputation.

Burr

Loup de Loup was very excited to get tickets to the Grindbox concert. In exchange for tickets and going to the show with him, he recommended Burr to one of the best drivers on the East Coast, “Grasshopper.” Grasshopper drives trucks and big vehicles, and she taught Burr the finer points of how to open and close city access points with heavy steel.

She also met with Ironface, who helped her build endurance using his gyrobike by a wall of tvs.

Grindbox Concert

Burr went to the Leaky Gasket before the concert to hang out with the Templar. There she found that Alpha Wolf and the Templar were going to attack Steve Thunder, the lead singer of Grindbox, by stealing his tour bus then assaulting him while attention was elsewhere. Turns out Steve Thunder is a powerful werewolf who was forbidden from coming to the city when the Chauncies were powerful enough to enforce their will.

Victor invited Genevieve (and therefore Anna) to the Grindbox concert, because he was curious about it.

The opening act was Audial Assault, with a Fallout post-apocalyptic vibe. As they all enjoyed the Grindbox show, with Darla Smiles on drums and Casey Lorbok on guitar, they discovered that the highlight of the show were the times when Steve Thunder would scream, and a supernatural intimidation and fear would suffuse the audience.

After the concert, there was some modest rioting, and in the confusion Lucille (the most belligerent Templar) stole the tour bus and was immediately apprehended by GAT bots. Burr warned Genevieve about what was going to go down, so Genevieve contacted Lydia, who picked up Adrian and Mugsy to come help out.

Meanwhile, Alpha Wolf drove a VW Bug into Thunder, who tossed it out of the way. Mugsy turned into a giant mastiff and kept Alpha Wolf busy as the rest of the group confronted Thunder, who shrunk back down to human size and tried to charm them with his plan to stay in the city and found a recording studio, Stormkloud, and start his new project, Ragetemple.

The group presented a united front with no room for ambiguity and told him to get out of town and never come back. He reluctantly withdrew (and did not press charges against Lucille.)

Kingsport

Early the next morning Adrian got two things; an exotic fruit and cheese basket from Graves, who apparently approved of the poor treatment of another werewolf, and a telegram from W. Exmoor inviting him to a meeting in the Kingsport historical society at 2 p.m. Adrian contacted Lydia to see if she would be willing to transport him.

That afternoon as they teleported to Kingsport, they closed in on the meeting location. Lydia had a strange moment of dislocation and starvation as something in her wanted to absorb the essence of a peculiar woman in the crowd who appeared momentarily uncomfortable. Lydia saw her drop something, and caught up to return it to her, learning that the woman’s name was Cassie Wilts, and she was an artist. (Of COURSE she was an artist.)

They met with Marcher, who released Adrian from his apprenticeship, declaring him an official Weapon of Destiny and giving him the Brindalyn plate armor as a gift. And he has his tattoo from the Left Hand of God, which was apparently part of this, and he got a point of Fate.

Marcher also told him that Olivia would die in his defense, someday, whether Adrian frees her or not.

Marcher also claimed to have met Lydia before, but she has no memory of that.

View
Days Gone By

The days between December 27 and December 31, 2010

Lydia, the WRAITH

Lydia continued her vigilante activities in South Midtown, encountering a gang called the “Jacknives” led by “Jack the Knife.” They were driven out of Torpedo Bay and looking to set up shop in Midtown with petty extortion, muggings, and general thuggery.

Lydia consulted with Burninator to see if he knew of trustworthy cops in Midtown so she could begin to build a relationship with the authorities. Burninator recommended Patrick Donnelly. (He also reported that Tarasuko is still with the Dusk Clan and instrumental in the “Rise of the Dragon” nonsense going on in Torpedo Bay. A shadow demon is being used to evict rivals, and Tarasuko is passing messages on magically suborned hummingbirds.)

Lydia got Donnelly’s badge number from Genevieve, and later contacted him, putting the suspect he was pursuing up on a lamppost while they had a chat. Donnelly was very willing to partner with her to take on crime, and after he dropped off his suspect at the station he took her downstairs and showed her the old interrogation rooms they didn’t use anymore. They agreed that if she dropped someone in an interrogation room, she could call in to the front desk with a coded message for him, and he would know to go book the suspect.

James, the TALON

Meanwhile, Kinslton continued roaring around with Alpha Wolf and the Templar. Their territory was turbulent as displaced gangs fought for a narrower strip of territory. Alpha Wolf was strangely insistent on pointing out that his victims lived; Kinslton wasn’t sure why until he was visited at home by the Ghost, who had a heart to heart with him warning him about getting too complacent about the choice to kill. Kinslton defended his decision, pointing out the wanton destruction coming out of SANTA. The Ghost didn’t really answer those points, and instead left Kinslton to his thoughts. She did note that Alpha Wolf stubbornly declared to her that if Kinslton was kicked out, he would go too.

Genevieve

Genevieve dug into the records to try and track where those meta bounty hunters came from. She used the Veil and her INTERPOL contacts to discover that they must have come in on a container ship from Benton. Cross referencing and sifting impossibly huge masses of illegally obtained data, she traced how the various metas probably traveled to Benton, and she connected those arrangements with a tiny offshore tech company called Shripshell.

Shrimpshell seemed a heavily defended company that offered security tech services to multinational corporations. Many investigations headed by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies failed to penetrate it; the tiny company could swagger as it forced agents to retire, arranged accidents for the persistent, and otherwise manipulated laws to crush efforts to get a look into it.

Genevieve followed up with the Ghost, who confirmed that the company came down to one person, a person with unknown identity, who was a broker for metas. Sufficiently connected metas could use Shrimpshell as a matchmaker, connecting their talent with high-end mercenary work.

The Ghost also informed Genevieve that her prior concerns that Anna had tracking hardware or contingency programming were laid to rest now that the chassis was so violently different, and the positronic network had been transformed through use to a different configuration altogether. Anna was now considered a person, and was allowed to visit the Mausoleum without the precautions they used to take.

Meanwhile Anna looked into the known IAGO units and the scientists that had the capability to work on them, compiling dossiers.

Adrian, MISTER MYSTERY

Adrian’s energies were pretty fully absorbed in channeling the Brotherhood of the Road’s enthusiasm in relatively harmless directions during the holiday season.

Burr, VALKYRIE JONES

She was called back by her Order to help out with a smash-and-grab monster kidnapping case in Iowa over the holidays. A vampire, Jerome of Ames, a major player in human trafficking for feeding populations.

New Year’s Eve Party, 2010

They gathered at Favian Manor, though there was some temptation to work that night. Thousands gathered in Fortress Square, under the protective eye of the Reconstruction Agent, piles of security, Burninator, and Tidelia. (Tidelia telepathically contacted Genevieve to share the moment as she stood with Burninator in the wreckage of the Wilters museum overlooking the festivities with beverages; she felt things would soon change forever.) There were televised speeches from the Mayor, Commissioner Felton, and others.

Genevieve invited Alpha Wolf and the Templar. They had a grand time, drinking and playing around on the ninja training course in the ballroom with limited success. A bright new member, Lucille, helped Alpha Wolf express disdain without taking responsibility. (Flipping the bird? Okay. Mooning? Too far, Lucille.) Kinslton and Alpha Wolf even tried brosmashing champagne flutes on their faces.

Lydia brought Indigo, which discomfited Morris, as he was hoping to get to know Lydia better and realized Indigo was a pretty tough romantic rival. This annoyed Kryptma, who was sort of crushing on Morris, but she pretended nothing was wrong.

Indigo took Lydia up to the corner net in the ballroom and for the first time let her drink his blood; it was a strange experience for her. He said he was ready to share his life with her, and he would want to share his blood again.

Meanwhile, Genevieve showed up the Templar by running the obstacle course better than they could. Also, Graves and Echran dropped by, and Graves coolly regarded the werewolves, irritating and unsettling them as he established his dominance and was ever so slightly possessive of Genevieve, before sauntering out and leaving them to their party.

A policeman stopped by, a beat cop from Foscoe Gardens who was a member of the far-flung Chauncy clan, named Guy Berman. He told Genevieve there was a darkshell loose in Foscoe Gardens, probably released or antagonized by underground construction, and there were disappearances. He gave her a map and hoped she could help, then excused himself and left.

The Ball Drop

The ball dropped in Fortress Square, but dropped too soon and blew up halfway down. This didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Some time later, the Recon Agent (Victor) showed up in poor shape. He pulled the Inspectors aside (except for Anna, who babysat the Templar.) In the sky above Fortress Square, there was a hooded figure, who hit him with a mountain and avalanche, then lightning. He wasn’t quite sure how to describe how he fought these forces, or what they were like. The figure bragged the ball would kill everyone, so he raced down and detonated it prematurely.

The shamen in the group immediately recognized the bane stink all over him; thousands of bane spirits attacked him and wilted in his quantum furnace, but they would have made a mess of the crowds below. (They had been bound to the individual firecrackers in long strings wound around the inside of the massive ball for the drop.)

Morris won a bet with Kryptma by pulling all the bane taint off of Victor in a masterful action, and condensing it so it could be thrown out the window to dissolve elsewhere. They knew who the culprit had to be; Dewpetal, a shaman involved in the banewar to the south who fell and was assumed killed.

Instead, it was more likely that the bane spirits that were trapped by the barrier stuffed themselves into her, and tore loose of the containment to come here, bringing the Horn of Spots and preparing mass disruption. She escaped, and could be trouble again, if she survived channeling that much energy. It was difficult to guess what her mental condition might be, or how viable her ongoing survival would be with that level of bane invasion.

Victor was pleased to explain that Dr. Chen Ellisario got some strange energy readings that she could cross reference with those from the Horn of Spots incident, so maybe they could start detecting and disrupting this new kind of energy. Victor took his leave.

The shamen in the group didn’t like the idea of the Recon Teams getting science involved in shamen issues. Something might have to be done about that.

View
The Tusk of Spots

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Adrian returned from Paris, where he had been negotiating a peace between the Arcanum wizards represented by Krydon and a vampiric consortium led by Velour. With the arcanists seriously depleted by their slaughter at Onaga’s hands, the vampires took over the Parisian core, and the wizards were negotiating access from the river to a row of townhouses in the city core. Adrian could serve as a mediator because both factions had hostile relations with the Brotherhood of the Road, and they counted on Adrian to be neutral.

After some relaxing on the yacht welcoming Adrian home, everyone went their separate ways.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Recon Teams faced a threat in a four block area in Torpedo Bay where there were 8 incidents that involved suspected meta assault on citizens. There was GAT bot footage of a couple of them, indicating extra limbs and maybe glowing eyes and the ability to scramble up buildings or make prodigious leaps.

Genevieve collected Anna, Adrian, Kinslton, Burr, and Lydia to investigate that evening. She got a tac net with the four local GAT vans, and also made psychic connection between the investigative team.

Testing the Waters

Kinslton flew recon, his demon sight allowing him to see a filmy green energy breathing up from the sewers. He perched to watch a person who had a chip of green glowing in him, a well dressed man chain smoking and watching a GAT bot who was ignoring him. The rest of the team closed in on the man. Genevieve questioned him and got some nonsense about how “they” would gather victims or something, and she determined he didn’t like the GAT bots, and there was a lair of some sort below. She called in a request to have that GAT bot removed, and it left. The man dropped to his belly and slid down a storm drain.

They heard of another incident in the area, a shootout. They arrived to see the GAT bots firing on a man in a suit who was shooting back with pistols. He was blasted to pieces then a Mr. Trashy was used by two of the GAT bots to hammer him down. Genevieve checked him out, finding he was licensed as a bodyguard and had permits for his pistols, but he was also infected just like the other man, and he had a weird mouth-like mutation in his chest.

Expanding the Posse

Seeing it was a shaman issue, she psychically contacted Morris Pennywise, and had Lydia pick him up. She also contacted Blake, of the Shell Clan, to help them navigate the sewers. It was time go after the infection. After twenty minutes or so, Blake showed up. In the meantime, Morris bound snowflake purity spirits into objects for the investigators, so they could not be infected by the energy they sought.

He also recognized the energy as coming from a powerful bane artifact, the Tusk of Spots. Somehow it had been freed from the radioactive wasteland to the south, and come into the city. Those who touched it could be infected, so if it was traveling around there could be a number of gestating fomori bane hybrids.

Underground

Blake led them through the sewers, and they closed in on where the lair was suspected to be, using the abandoned subway tunnels. They came to a roundabout where they saw 7 of the proto-fomori building a display center for the Tusk of Spots.

Lydia managed to pluck a fomori off the wall and bring it over with telekinesis, but it started rapidly shapeshifting and she dropped it, into a moat. The others charged, and while Kinslton intercepted them and let them attack him, Lydia grabbed another.

Morris managed to force the infection to personify, and he used its energy to trace to the source of the infection. Then he tore out the infection with Genevieve’s help, and bound it to a stone instead of a person. The victim was killed by the forcible removal of the bane spirit, but Genevieve managed to save him from death.

Genevieve connected Lydia and Morris’s minds so Lydia could take Morris to the source of the contagion with a teleport. They arrived, confronting a recently infected homeless man. Morris got the Tusk of Spots and disabled it, breaking the connection so the other proto fomori were disrupted and lost their source of energy. They were handily subdued by the investigators, and Blake retrieved the one that fell into the moat.

After

Lydia opened a gate, and the investigators took the victims out to the streets to receive medical care and be processed by the Recon teams. Morris bound the Tusk of Spots so it would not infect anyone else, and he seemed to take a shine to Lydia (who was not particularly interested in the teenager’s advances.)

The investigators returned to their homes, jobs well done.

View
Christmas Party

During a 5 week down time ending on December 22, various things happened.

Kinslton spent time hanging out with Alpha Wolf and Shadow Creeper. He also leveraged his Brotherhood of the Road contacts to train in city knowledge with Sideways Neil, a night-time taxi driver who was into dosing him with psychedelic drugs. He also trained in stealth with Ladder Mike, another Brotherhood contact, who specialized in theft from high rises usually using a window washing rig as the entry point. They played stalking games in abandoned buildings to increase Kinslton’s understanding of how to be stealthy.

Adrian spent time with the Tutor, studying transmogrification. He also spent significant time with Five Stones, and undertook a mission for them to Paris to oversee some diplomacy using his reputation and power to keep things civil. And he tended his other commitments.

Genevieve spent time with the police, and the Recon teams, and Morris. The rest of the time, she studied Dyrnwyn, the bauble, in the light of the Spellbook of Llyr. She discovered she could use the light to raise or lower the Gauntlet by a step. She also discovered the Tower of Llyr, a pocket dimension in the Deep Umbra she could only access through the light of Dyrnwyn. She could return to where she left, or to a designated location. She entered the tower through a hallway, and chose a door with a crane on it, so her tower takes the form of an ancient crumbling dojo and the Tower’s Heart looks like a stone table, and the servants there appear to be monks. Genevieve also trained in subterfuge with the Gray Ghost.

Lydia spent most of her free time away from the bookstore training hard in Dormancy, becoming an expert in five short weeks.

Burr spent time with the Templar and working for the Order. The Templar let her train with Loup de Loup, a famous getaway driver for the Chauncies. He was old and stiff, but still a vicious driver, and he taught her a lot about precision driving. She also trained with Master Dosk, a retired monster hunter with the Order. He taught her further melee combat techniques.

They also learned that Luddite is a new smuggler with the Underground, selling Lights-out-ers bullets that fry any circuitry they hit. Shadow Creeper captured GAT bots and sells them to Luddite, who takes the credit and sells LO rounds to Skiff at $100 a round. The Bounders have been sniping GAT bots in South Settler, frustrating Seertech, who have petitioned to use drones to hunt for the snipers. So far the city has not issued a permit.

Frustrated by the mounting expense of the war on GAT bots and the city’s financial obligations involved in the lost equipment, a police captain issued a $500,000 bounty on Luddite—a rare measure, but one that may become more common. The Gray Ghost will neither help or hinder efforts to stop Luddite. The Ghost does know bounty hunters will make the effort, and that could cause trouble.

The Bertinelli Crime Family has a bounty out for GAT bots, and the best mech hunters are called “cyberhunters” and given special gear. The Bertinellis also repurposed an industrial park in Foscoe Bay and call it the “Crush School” and there they have hands-on training for how to use cars, water, electricity, and construction equipment to stop GAT bots.

Davis Markham has started a movement called PACON, People Against Cybernetic Organism Normalization. Detractors call them the “vibrators.” Markham’s parents were influential proponents of conserving Edge City culture, but they died in the Regatta Massacre. The group is working on legislation to revoke robotics legalization, working within the system. Their points include noting the threat automation of jobs poses to automobile and garment industries, threatening the economic core of the city.

The Dusk Clan is apparently behind the new criminal outfit, the Rising Dragon. The Recon Teams have prioritized infiltrating their leadership and taking out the leaders. The outfit operates in eastern Torpedo Bay and has some friction with the Bertinellis.

*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010. Kinslton and Burr hosted a Christmas party at the brownstone. Indigo came, playing the music for the event. Most of the Inspectors came—all but Swashbuckler (who sent Treasure Chest) and the Ghost. Even Victor dropped by to gift the party with a bottle of wine before returning to his duties.

Alpha Wolf invented the “bro-smashing” of crushing empties against Kinslton’s face while Kinslton did the same to him—their bonding activity. Also, Kinslton’s meta containment dungeon of fun was named the “fungeon.” By the end of the night, they strapped the 7 foot decorated tree to Alpha Wolf’s motorcycle, and he drove it to a halfway house where released convicts can live with their kids, and set it up in their lobby.

Lydia left the party with Indigo, they had a cozy platform over an opera stage to have some quiet time away from it all.

Genevieve and Anna took Mugsy home to enjoy his giant beef stick and wheel of cheese from his boss Adrian. Then they headed to Favian Manor to call it a night.

Kinslton, Burr, and Shadow Creeper decided to check in with Luddite the next evening to see if any bounty hunters showed up.

The next day, Kinslton prepared for the outing by buying Shadow Creeper a horrifically tacky Christmas sweater. When he gave it to her, she tried to say something nice, then absorbed it into her shadows.

Baron’s Pier

Genevieve and Lydia were not interested in this errand, so it was just Burr, Kinslton, and Shadow Creeper closing in on Baron’s Pier the following night. As Kinslton watched over the proceedings, Shadow Creeper took Burr and went into the basement of an abandoned hotel, where she met with an Englishman who bought the GAT bots and laid in credit for Skiff to buy more LO rounds later. Shadow Creeper melted away, and Burr walked out, perching on her bike in a side lot.

Kinslton spotted a strange mini-blimp with sensors, and he took it out with his demon raven claws. Shortly after, a cherry-red armored stretch limo showed up, as did a massive 8 billion dollar war machine power armor suit tricked out to look like a 8 meter tall Santa.

The mech used a mini gun and flamer to lay waste to the hotel’s protections, and three people from the limo strode in to collect Luddite. Meanwhile, Kinslton tangled with Santa, able to resist the minigun and flamer, but desperate once grabbed by the implacable grip. Kinslton fought Santa to a standstill while also trying to protect Burr and stop the limo using a variety of spells. As a last resort, he used the Dread Curse and slew the pilot of the armor.

Meanwhile, as the limo tried to escape and Kinslton tried to stop it, Burr got involved and drove her motorcycle to intercept. Santa gunned her down, injuring her and trashing her bike, but she survived. A mutant got out of the limo and swelled up to 4 meters or so tall, with white fur, basically the Bumble. Kinslton’s shrivelling spell dried it off pretty good but didn’t do any lasting damage.

Burr forced the driver to go by ramming the witchblade through the back of the driver’s seat, and the Bumble chased as Kinslton fought Santa. Eventually the driver fired a gun through the back of the seat, missing Burr, and she stabbed him again, provoking him to stagger off while he still could. The Bumble tore a door off the limo and grabbed her out; badly hurt, she managed to escape and run away, healing up with impossible speed.

They put out a distress call, answered by Lydia (who needed a few minutes to suit up and teleport out there) and Burninator (who would drive as fast as he could, but was some minutes out.) Fortunately, with Santa burst and Kinslton squaring off against the Bumble, Kinslton and the Bumble had a heartfelt conversation about the ennui of it all, and Kinslton let the Bumble slope off into the city.

Lydia arrived, teleporting up to see where the villains might have gone. They apparently left out the back. Burr investigated the limo quickly, finding a short wave radio. They all went into the hotel, finding lots of corpses; they looted some bandoliers of explosives, and saw that the LO rounds had been taken. Kinslton also found Shadow Creeper, who retreated after Mz. Claws impaled her with one hit. Kinslton healed her up. Kinslton herded most of the weapons together and blew them up. Burr and Kinslton each took a Piranha assault rifle.

Burninator arrived, and went with them to pursue the bounty hunters.

They went to the mall, where the retreating bounty hunters took Luddite (his body was not among the fallen.) Kinslton had an exchange with one of the bounty hunters. They followed the trail and found that the bounty hunters escaped, but their prey, the Luddite, had gotten away from them. He was injured, but hiding behind a Mr. Trashy. Kinslton did not heal him up; they took no action regarding him at all, and instead retreated from the battleground.

Shadow Creeper put a big shadow over the power armor to hide it until the Ghost could pick it up, so Burr made her a care package from the less damaged snacks in the limo. Then they called it a night.

View
The Strike Ends

We pick up again on Friday, the fifth day of the police strike. Adrian was out managing the Brotherhood of the Road to keep their malfeasance in the midst of the chaos manageable.

Ending the Strike

Captain Blankenship ran the fire department. He pointed at the legal trouble over pension funding irregularities five years ago, that the first responders collectively let slide as long as it was corrected. He offered to have them sign waivers that they could never take action on that irregularity in a class action suit (which was a veiled threat that if the city didn’t play ball, they would be sued for a LOT of money.)

Commissioner Felton did a fantastic job of getting everyone back around the table and keeping them there. The city offered the police a significant increase in pay and funding, and in exchange the police agreed to work with GAT populations Downtown, Gantry, and Torpedo Bay with a streamlined permission process to deploy them elsewhere in the city should the need arise.

Genevieve and Anna were there for the signing of the documents that ended the strike.

Templar

Burr and Kinslton rode with Alpha Wolf on patrols, encountering the Mourner neighborhood watch. They hung out in downtime at the Blown Gasket, it used to be a chop shop but was minimally transformed into a bar.

Both Kinslton and Burr swore the oath and became members of the Templar.

Various Errands

Kinslton tracked Indigo down and spent some time hanging out with him, in the crow’s nest of a casino ship and elsewhere.

He also got authorization to talk to the meta containment team at Precinct 13. He got access to Dr. Chen Ellisario, who showed him the various collars, Kanza burn powder, brain implants, and physical restraints (as well as drug coctails) they used. And, of course, credited the durillium shell that hampered quantum energy so severely. She tried not to be creeped out by his interest in holding a meta as a private citizen.

Lydia (as Wraith) spent some time doing vigilante policing with Tidelia, getting some insight into the peculiar nova’s inner balance and capriciousness.

Burr got to try out her outfit and motorcycle (courtesy of Arsenal Fashions) as Valkyrie Jones.

Meta Brawl

Another Meta Brawl was in the offing at Olde Town, the tickets were $400 each as the strike was now ending. They again met Crossfade, who was making sure they were going to behave themselves. They saw another great match of GAT chess. Brotherhood of the Road provided various sideshow booths, involving more dangerous and advanced variations on traditional carnival games.

The main battle was between Hydra, a big guy with a lot of snake heads and necks, more every time some were lost; and Clobbermatic, an elastic shape-shifting anime geek. Hydra won when Clobbermatic basically swallowed him, and Hydra cut loose with gouts of quantum flame while enclosed.

After a great evening on the town, everyone went home, with hopes of a more orderly city in the morning.

View
Crash in Slow Motion

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 IG

Kinslton was out patrolling with Alpha Wolf while Burr worked with Arsenal Fashions to outfit her new persona.

Patrolling with Burninator

Lydia, in her persona as Wraith, went out with Burninator to stop looting in Leverty. After she stopped some criminals on patrol, they noticed a remarkably engaged neighborhood watch with black armbands, and questioned them some.

Turns out there was a well organized and trained neighborhood watch, called the Mourners. They kept an eye out for crime, and had volunteers with the right protection and temperament that responded to violent crime, as well as a holding area to put offenders before they could be properly imprisoned or released with a warning. Burninator and Wraith did not find out who trained and organized them.

The Ongoing Investigation

Eudora shared her plan with Genevieve: get Felton out of the picture by pretending to be bad guys and capturing him. Then capture illegal IAGO units, and blackmail the city government into funding the cops and ending the strike or else having their illegal tech exposed to the people and sending the top city officials to jail.

Genevieve was not sympathetic to the plan. Eudora tried to work up the courage to propose it to others, like Adrian and Lydia, but didn’t get anywhere. The team as a whole kept looking for some clue or idea in all the paperwork that could persuade the city to meet the demands of the police.

Brotherhood

The next day, Adrian went to the Feduccis to check in with the Brotherhood of the Road, how had an increasingly high quality selection of catering and electronics donated to their lair. One of the locals also showed him to their “Banker Box” where they were abducting bankers who technically did not break the law, or were not prosecuted. However, their actions led to the misery of many, and now they were captured pending a decision about their disposition.

They asked Adrian if they could start one for lawyers, and he agreed that would be good. They figured they’d call it the “Law School.”

The Brotherhood also offered tickets to Meta Brawl in Olde Towne that night, and Adrian bought some tickets at $200 each.

Protest

Fortress Square was full of protesters who were also grilling food while protesting, with the police well represented. The protest was peaceful, with the Reconstruction Agent keeping a watchful eye. Genevieve and Anna walked among the protesters, in Recon Team uniforms, being seen and heard and listening to the people. She saw ninja of the Dusk Clan in the crowd, but they seemed passive and nonthreatening.

Meta Brawl

There were lots of cars in the creepy and usually abandoned area. As a warm-up, gatbots painted black or white and equipped with chainsaw arms and chess piece headgear played a sort of human chess game. Investigating by picking the lead tech’s pocket (then returning his wallet), Genevieve found Jarl Vinterstaag, a native of Benton, was the one running the gatbots.

Crossfade was running security for the event, and checked in to make sure they weren’t there to make trouble; they assured him they just wanted to watch.

The main event was between Growlback, the Growback Guy (a powerful mutant with body weaponry, extreme toughness, and rapid healing) and Steel Skull (a mutant from Detroit who survived a car accident by developing the ability to warp steel into a power armor like body.) There was massive betting, and Steel Skull was doing really well, then Growlback pulled a surprise reversal and defeated him. More fights were promised.

The crew went home.

View
We're Not Going to Take It

The next day, about mid-morning, the unrest kicked off.

Rumble Strip was a seismic meta attacking the Diamond District, backed up by her costumed baseline Pole Dancers. Reconstruction Agent was struggling to get close, but Kinselton dehydrated her and distracted her, injuring her badly. He also healed her so she did not die. Meanwhile Burr bagged a couple of the Pole Dancers with tasers.

Arrowelle and Exitixe the Red Phantom robbed some jewelry stores on an ultralight motorbike, using teleportation with everyone attuned along to evade capture. Adrian and Lydia checked in with Precinct 13, then Adrian distracted them so they drove into a gate portal Lydia opened so they crashed into the wall and were captured by Recon Teams.

Later, they found that Lurker and some digging lackeys went into the vaults of several banks and removed all the gold there, since the seismic sensors were unreliable due to Rumble Strip’s attacks above. Genevieve suspected the Director’s hand in the clean interlocking of plans.

Genevieve wanted to talk to the mayor, but couldn’t for days, so she went in with the Reconstruction Agent for his chat. She told the mayor to get the cops back on the street, and they had a brief debate about the situation, then he thanked her for her perspective and she left.

Swashbuckler served as the safe middle ground for mob boss James Bertinelli, head of the syndicate, to meet with Genevieve. He just wanted to say his people were trying to help keep order, and he wanted the strike over, and he offered to help. Also he is allied with the Dusk Clan.

Genevieve psychically contacted Ryan and told him he was needed. The conversation ended ambiguously. (That would be Ryan Chaise, the current Gray Ghost’s brother, who was the Gray Ghost for a short time and left town under unpleasant circumstances when his sister assumed the mantle once more.)

Distressed by the reporters focusing on property damage inflicted by metas, Kinslton found a cub reporter (Chris Jenkins, Channel 5) doing a human interest piece on low shopping turnout, and gave her an exclusive interview. He revealed his name was Talon, he showed how he could cut a shopping cart in half WITH HIS MIND, and he explained he wasn’t involved in lots of property damage. He also acquiesced to Burr as his sidekick, and named her Valkyrie Jones. He flew away after the interview, changing his shape as the cameraman rolled film.

Genevieve spent some time with the meta siblings on the Recon Teams as they did their homework and stood in reserve for a situation that might need them.

There were other shenanigans, but that’s what I remember.

View
Preemptive Strike

Burr and Kinslton did some more sightseeing in Milan for a day or two, and the others returned on Saturday, November 13. The game started the next day.

Headlines In Their Absence

Jan Harrelson was elected mayor in a landslide on November 4, for lack of a clear contender to stand against him. He continues to support anti-technology, pro-traditional stance for Edgarton.

On November 11, Commissioner Felton announced that the remaining Wilters assets and Precinct 13 would be assigned to Victor Hawthorne, also known as Reconstruction Agent (and also known as Hammerhand.) They would become Reconstruction Teams, or Recon Teams, tasked with countering meta threats to Edgarton. The program had the support of Mayor Harrelson and Senator Havilander, and got its funding from City Defense Force funds.

Also, the Weller Twins, Jim and Tanya, stepped forward. Jim is 16, Tanya 14, and they are mutants who want to serve the public without secret identities; they are wards of the state represented by Hawthorne.

The police quit their long-standing talks with the city negotiating for better gear, pay, and manpower, because they were angry that City Defense Force funds were paying for the Recon Teams instead of supporting the cops. They announced a walk-out, going on strike on November 15.

Blissful Returns

Genevieve was happily reunited with Graves, Adrian was happily reunited with Emma, and Lydia was happily reunited with Indigo.

The next day, Genevieve reviewed the civic situation with some dismay. Lydia caught Amy up with the story of their travels, and they went shoe shopping. Adrian went jogging with Emma, who mainly started jogging because it annoyed her bodyguard Ellis. Then he got a call from Mugsy.

House Call

Dr. Yancell responded to Adrian’s call and met with him in a coffee shop. Adrian told him about the Oracle of Orcus, and Yancell was relieved to hear the arch demon was divested in the Upper House, where it probably can’t find its way back to Prime. If 5 arch demons are ever on Prime at once, many seals burst, and he knew of 2 not counting the Oracle.

Yancell told Adrian he was in town for two reasons. One is that divinations and auguries indicated Edge City was at a tipping point, and the Lords of Air would use twins to push it over the edge if they could. He wasn’t sure what that meant, but felt he needed to share it.

He also told Adrian that Alecia Harker, the Left Hand of God, a monster slayer, was in town. She had a run-in with a demon worshiping cult in Houston that went catastrophically wrong, and she retreated here to recover, but her morale was at the breaking point. Yancell hoped maybe Adrian was uniquely positioned to talk to her and maybe prevent her from snapping, because if she got unhinged that could be a bigger problem. Adrian agreed.

Specters

Unsurprisingly, the Ghost called a meeting of the Specters. They met in the Justice Dome shortly after dark. Alpha Wolf, Shadow Creeper, Burninator, Tidelia, Swashbuckler, and the Reconstruction Agent himself attended, along with the Ghost. Genevieve, Anna, Adrian, and Lydia also attended.

Alpha Wolf was irritable and alpha, snapping at everyone, probing for weakness and asserting himself. He didn’t get anywhere with it, though he did challenge Victor, who did not take him seriously at all. The Ghost called the meeting to order and asked that they be vigilant as she knew they would be, and also be gentle as the hospitals were likely to be overwhelmed by business with the police on strike.

The Ghost would back up and monitor for larger patterns of organized forces taking advantage of the chaos. Swashbuckler’s crew and Alpha Wolf’s templar would try to keep the order in Torpedo Bay, Burninator and Tidelia would focus on smash-and-grab robberies Downtown and in wealthy areas, Shadow Creeper would protect Settler as best she could, and so on.

Victor pointed out there was a protest at Precinct 13 right now that could turn into a riot, so he was restless to return. First, Genevieve offered to hire on with the Recon Teams, and he enthusiastically agreed to have her on (and Anna too.)

The Left Hand of God

Adrian and Lydia teleported to Feduccis, where Adrian leaned hard on his Brotherhood contacts to find Harker fast. Fortunately Carmina the Topcard was in, an eerie good divination specialist who could allow her dead uncle’s ghost to ride her and find out all sorts of things. She located Harker, going by the alias Mina Stoker, in the Palmetto motel at the edge of Peckstel.

Adrian and Lydia got there quickly, and checked with the clerk to get the room number. Adrian approached alone, with Lydia hiding out as backup. Harker was home, and paranoid, agreeing to talk to Adrian while he held a bomb (in case the conversation didn’t go well.)

He told her what they’d been doing deflecting Hastur, and she got interested in his story, so she took the bomb and they had a beer in the stinky poorly warded motel room. She wanted to hear about shuttering the Brass Embassy, so he took the time and recounted the tale to her. By the end of it, she was again seeing how all of heaven and hell are in those who hunt the monsters, and feeling less isolated. She saw him as the Weapon of Destiny, and herself as the Left Hand of God. She asked if he would accept a tattoo marking him as chosen of God, and he agreed. She pulled out her kit and put the tattoo on his forearm, and he felt a shift in his fate.

It seemed the crisis was past, and she was more stable, so they headed to Precinct 13, Lydia’s teleportation crossing the distance in a flash.

Protest

Anna drove up to the Precinct 13 site and they saw 500-600 protesters, many of them top dog cops and their supporters. Lost of press, lots of worried citizens. The gates were guarded by human agents, but gatbots were stationed in a perimeter watching the crowd, and the twins were ready to jump into action if needed.

Victor met with Anna and Genevieve, delighted to offer them condensed paperwork to join up, and he asked for their advice. They went to the command center, and saw how all the gatbot video feeds and building security feeds could be accessed. The gatbots were recording evidence of misbehavior in the crowd, so if they did want to arrest someone, they would have admissible evidence of criminal behavior.

Genevieve insisted Victor call the twins in, suggesting they were provoking the crowd. Victor agreed. As soon as the twins came to the control room, the boy leaped at Genevieve with a deadly punch. She dodged, and the twins were restrained, but Jim released a mass of black smoke; he was possessed by a Lord of Air, and he said it jumped him earlier in the evening and was planning to get one in his sister too, and trigger a massacre in the protest turned riot.

Loyalties

The protest was broken up by fog and driving November rain and wind. The Precinct picked up quantum energies, and Genevieve got a ping from Burninator that he and Tidelia were on a nearby rooftop, and she was manipulating the weather to defuse the situation. (Burninator also revealed once again his massive crush on Tidelia, but swore everyone to secrecy.)

Adrian and Lydia joined Burninator and Tidelia. Inside, Genevieve appealed to Victor, insisting he was being manipulated and was headed for disaster. They relocated to a bug-free room, and Anna found and removed some of the bugs as Genevieve tried to persuade Hammerhand that Felton was going to use him to change the city’s culture, and that the city needs police or it will fall under the control of Seertech altogether.

Victor struggled with that, as he liked and trusted Felton (who then conveniently showed up.) Victor had many preparations to do for the strike the next day. Genevieve insisted the city needed the cops on duty, and Felton gave her ten boxes of papers with all the studies, proposals, meeting minutes, and correspondence around the issue to see if she could find a way to get the funding. He seemed pleased to have Genevieve on board with Victor.

Regroup

They headed back to Favian Manor. Genevieve had a few stiff drinks and surveyed the mass of material Felton gave her. Adrian and Genevieve also gave Lydia a few stories by the way of history to contextualize the situation.

Tomorrow, the cops go on strike…

View
The Yellow King

Kryptma arrived, and they strategized about how to reach the Upper House on the Plateau of Leng. They would have to pass through a swarm of nightgaunts, who could be safely repelled by a Distillate of Consciousness so no dream space gave them leave to approach. The easiest way to do this would be to go to The Market, where Kryptma happened to be a seller, so she had a way in. She warned them how strange the place could be.

The Market

She put a live crab in each of their mouths, and put a crab mask on her face, then they moved through the reflection of water and became the crab, emerging in The Market. She collected her crabs back, and threw away a lucky penny to summon a goblin guide to help them shop. They wended through The Market seeing many rare and wonderful things, then headed down the stairs to the Undermarket, seeing truths about them light up as symbols on the walls. At the bottom, they met the armored centipede centaur guards in heavy armor, who greeted the Oracle of Orcus as a powerful person, and acknowledged the others. A scent urchin gave them nose drops so they could smell whatever they liked instead of the hoary stench of the Undermarked. Then they went to a bridge across a pond, with a tower on an island in the center. By now Kinslton was manifesting physical signs of his formidable demon passenger, and he talked with the Oracle, shifting the manifestations to more of a bird-like appearance instead of something insectile.

They were served by a satyr there who gave them what they were after, in crystal form. The Chalice Bearer apparently had an account that had been accruing interest, so they could pay for it. They got special dispensation to leave through a gate in the pond instead of official channels, and once again used the crab ritual. Kryptma stopped them during the journey and pulled off all the parasites and other hitchhikers from The Market, then they returned, emerging on Prime from the fountain in the lobby of the hotel.

The Tower of Amepal

Back in their room, they said their goodbyes as seemed best for each. Genevieve telepathically contacted her husband, Adrian wrote letters to Mugsy and Emma, and told Snowfall they’d try to figure out her freedom if he returned. She gave him a feather he could burn once, to invoke their connection and bolster his magic. Lydia wrote letters to Amy and Indigo, Kinslton left some instructions for his butler, and Burr polished her boots.

Now ready for whatever may come, they followed Kryptma through the bathroom mirror onto the back of a majestic sky flap flap, a manta ray that could fly through the Umbra. They flew through many strange scenes, and they approached a screaming void of night. Kryptma embedded the crystal of Distillate of Consciousness in Adrian’s chest, and he shone to push back the night and the nightgaunts as they flew through that gulf. Then they reached a strange place full of monoliths, perhaps to the Sky Gods, where they leaked life essence just being in the place. They goaded the flap flap up to the highest tower, and dismounted, releasing the flap flap to go elsewhere.

From there, Genevieve unleashed the illumination in her bauble, and it lit up the fins at the top of the tower and released a brilliant light as it made her an eye far enough from the bustle of linear life that she could see forward and backward in time as never before. She resisted visions, staying focused on the moment, and a shantak flew up to investigate.

She made telepathic contact with it at great cost to her sanity, and it seemed to agree to take them to the Plateau of Leng. They climbed aboard, finding it generated its own gravity, and it lazily drifted away from the Tower of Amepal, through the dimensional barrier, and eventually on to the Plateau of Leng. It flew through the stars, which gathered all around them. Then the featureless gray expanse lay below, endless.

The Upper House

They approached the Upper House, which had pylons allowing it to connect to other dimensions, as in rituals to summon one dimension to touch another. They fell from the shantak, out of its gravity, and a combination of their powers got them to the ground safely. They saw the dust cloud of an approaching group, and quickly headed into the Upper House.

Inside it was designed with geomorph-like blocks of space that could shift and flicker around. A person could be lost inside forever, going from one kind of rooms to another; there were endless staircases, gardens, baths, banquet halls, and so on. They used their Umbra savvy to navigate a fairly direct path to the top, finding an open plaza under the burning constellation of the Hyades and Aldeberan burning red. There were two posts and a lectern, a setup to create a gate and dial in its location.

They felt the psychic pressure of the King in Yellow descending towards this place, and how it forced all the Upper House into alignment, providing a straight path to the entrance. Ralph Quarrie finally caught up with them. He was relaxed, in his white suit, smoking a cigarette, very excited about the coming entrance. He was the Stranger, the White Acolyte from the West. He would guide Hastur to earth.

That could not be allowed. Adrian burst him with a magical attack.

As the spray of Quarrie’s remains rained down, the King in Yellow appeared on the other side and asked them who would guide him to earth. Inside Kinslton, the Oracle of Orcus insisted that the King in Yellow was the angel he hunted, in one of his forms! He wanted to attack, and Kinslton refused, so the Oracle reformed Quarrie’s body, leaped out of Kinslton, and into Quarrie, rounding on the King to do battle.

Fearing that such a grudge match would destroy them all (whether it destroyed the Oracle or the King) Adrian used his fate to slay the infernal and once again burst Quarrie, this time depriving an arch-demon of a vessel in the process. The King generated a Yellow Sign, and for the first time they saw it as a hyperdimensional coordinate that was like a virus, putting a crack in every consciousness it met, where enough of them could be a sizable breach in an otherwise secure dimensional wall. The Yellow Sign gusted the arch demon to disperse without a host, at least for the moment. Again, the King asked for a guide.

Genevieve knew that could not happen. She shifted her bauble to a sword, and thrust it into the reflection of the Yellow King, relying on her fate to banish the entity. As the blade touched the King, the pylons outside that were charged and primed to allow dimensions to touch were deactivated, and the projection of the Yellow King was whisked back to the Hyades, far from earth.

Return to Prime

Kryptma used the gate in the Upper House to take the group back to Prime. They had been gone four days, but Olivia knew that Adrian was likely still alive until the he used the feather on the assault on possessed Quarrie, when the connection severed and she feared them truly dead. Before they had time to act on that change in plans, the adventurers returned.

Kinslton was now without the Arch Demon Oracle of Orcus, but some of the spawn the Oracle left behind whispered that they could be Legion, and serve him still as symbiotic allies; he found that pleasing. Lydia also found that the incredible sensory expansions she experienced through the whole weird ordeal climaxing in the presence of the Yellow King intensified her mutation, so new powers would soon be hers.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.