Decimation City (An Apocalypse World)

Portrait

An amazing portrait of our main cast (and a troll), by Bryant:

Aw decimation

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Session 7: What If?

Six weeks have passed since the attack on the Tomorrow! building to rescue Adele.

Trout’s new Hardhold is not without its difficulties: {Wealth Roll=9, 1-Barter, Want-Disease}

Damson’s efforts to shore up the Sunset have met with few problems: {Moonlighting Roll=10, 2-Barter}

Adele wakes up alert and ready to be where she’s needed {Bonefeel Roll=8, Hold 1}


As the day begins, each of our heroes has to deal with their own problems:

Jones deals with the nocturnal intrusion of Foster by filling his brain with banal images and succeeds in boring through to wrench knowledge form his attacker {Love Letter Roll=10, Ask 3 Questions}.

Who is Foster working for? ‘The Psychonauts’
What information is he probing Jones’ brain to find? Whether the Psychonauts can use Jones in their machine.
Where can Jones find the Psychonauts? At Downtown Mercy Hospital

Adelethinks fast and manages to convince the Robotics Lab security system that she’s the mysterious Eliza {Love Letter Roll=12, Gain ‘Skilled Labor’ perk for Workspace} and secures the services of the other Orphans, Annie, Harry, and Bruce, small AI helper bots similar to Oliver.

Hammer is rattled by the coordinated attack of the Crocs and Trolls and can’t manage to toss the bomb far enough before it goes off {Love Letter Roll=6}. All of the Trolls are either killed or dive off the Bridge so that none are taken alive, and one of them makes it to the top of the Downtown Tower and blows himself up, destroying the top 20 feet of the tower and seriously damaging the structure of the Bridge along with killing Stinky.

Damson elects to just let the soothing tones of the PSAs wash over him and not fight at all. {Love Letter, no Roll}

Trout steps in and smacks down Layla but not before getting an elbow to the face himself, leaving a bruise bigger than a dinner plate. {Love Letter Roll=8, Take 1-Harm AP}

The new girls, Audry and Annette, turn out to be a couple of malnourished skinny jailbait from Spider’s crew. After getting fed, they explain that a week or so ago a crazy bitch with a mask came by and told Spider to get out of the party business. He laughed her out, and last night the entire theater collapsed into itself into the ground in huge cloud of dust, apparently killing everyone inside. They only survived because they were outside, and came here to see if Trout could shelter them. Trout agrees to keep them safe and sends them to go work in the Garden on the roof.

Meanwhile, Damson needs to find something for Ruby’s pregnancy-related pains and heads over to the Rainbow Bridge.

Jones tells Tavi not to worry about his nightmare, and with her blessing heads out to the Bridge himself after selecting his formal straight jacket {Seduce/Manip=10}

Hammer has left the Valkyries in Hooch’s capable hands and heads out to seek advice from ‘the Wizard’, and they all encounter each other in the streets near the Bridge. Damson is sent on to the Valks by Hammer, who has no narcotics on him at that particular moment. When he arrives, he passes on Hammer’s request to Domino, who rousts the Valks to scare up some painkillers for him with no real difficulty. {Hammer, Fucking Thieves=11}

In her lab, Adele takes stock of her new helpers: Bruce is a manipulator ’bot, with multiple legs and hands capable of fine motor control; Harry is anteater-like, long and sinuous with a prehensile tongue and highly flexible tail; Annie is a hummingbird-sized flying sensor ’bot. She sets them to work on the mysterious suitcase that apparently belonged to Tony Stark.

When she heads downstairs to speak to Ruby, she finds her mesmerized by one of Watcher’s Patterns on the TV. She resists the hypnotic effect of the swirling images {Custom Move: Resist a PSA, Roll=10, Immune to this Pattern} and takes stock of her options {Read a Sitch=11}. She comes to the conclusion that she better wake Ruby up right away [What to Look Out For?], that she might be able to hack the signals the PSAs are going out on [Where is the Enemy Vulnerable?], and that they’re almost certainly coordinating all this from the main Emergency Broadcasting Network Facility in the old City Center [What’s the enemy’s true position].

So she sends Annie off to find Trout and get him to send help to snap Ruby out of it without hurting her baby.

Jones and Hammer cross paths and they agree that a trip Downtown is in order. Jones wants to strike fear into their enemies, so decks Hammer out in a Wizard’s costume, complete with point hat. The Valks are very dubious, but Hammer convinces them to come along {Pack Alpha Roll=10}, so they mount up: Satan, Domino, Shooter, Crille, and Bullet, with Layla, Grace, and Heron tagging along.

The robot arrives at Tomorrow!, where it is greeted with suspicion by little Sister Squirt, who gets Trout when it asks for him. He listens to Adele’s message and corrals Sister Mary (a Midwife) to go help her, but something about Sister Mary’s attitude makes him hesitate {Read a Person=8} and he realizes as he ask her aout going to help Adele that she views the Savvyhead as a ‘Machine Priestess’ who trucks with aspects of the Apocalypse better left undisturbed [What is she Really Thinking]. After patiently reminding the Sister that Adele is why they have electricity, he sends her over to SPECTOR to help.

Damson returns to the Sunset to see Ruby transfixed by the TV and Adele trying to figure out how to help. He catches a glimpse of the TV {Custom Move=9, Take -1 Ongoing}, but Adele snaps him out of it before he gets too deeply involved {Assist Roll=10, Damson 9>10, so Immune to this PSA}. Damson walks to Ruby and touches her, then concentrates with all his might on her and their daughter {Open Your Brain Roll=9}. Adele sees him doing this and does her best to block the signal from the TV to help him concentrate {Assist Roll=12, Damson 9>10, so Good Detail on the Current Situation}. He manages to break through the Maelstrom to communicate with the singular intelligence that inhabits his unborn child. She asks him “What If this world is not all there is? There are many possible paths, and I have seen others. But if we leave, together, we will be free, but you friends will be less able to combat the Call of the Watchers.” Damson decides that safety for Ruby and his little girl are tantamount, and agrees to let her carry them away to another Possibility. Adele blinks, unable to recall why she came downstairs to the boarded-up and deserted first-floor restaurant. {Damson, Retire to Safety}.

At that moment, Philo awakes in his Cabinet of Curiosities shop and goes about his day, touching up, dusting, and generally getting a feel for what might look good in the shop. The Room of Restraints lets him know it really wants one of those blow-up collars they put on the crazies Downtown. {Horde Hunger Roll=8, 1 Hold, spent to Name a Thing Present}, so Philo suits up to head out and try to find one.

Trout sends a message through the Tubes (one seems to have been in his office all along without his noticing it) to Adele telling her that Sister Mary in on the way {Custom Move, Send a Tube Message Roll= 11, It arrives quickly and without any changes}, and the message arrives promptly. As it is whisked away, Little Sister Sprite arrives to breathlessly tattle to Trout that Rabbit and Must are about to kill one of the new girls. He arrives to find them holding Annette over the edge by her hair, insisting she is a ‘little junkie whore’ who tried to steal some drugs off of her. Trout calmly asks the girls who amongst them hasn’t sinned a bit and gets them to agree to let her live, just this once, after he assures them he’ll kill her himself is she steps out of line again {Seduce/Manipulate, Roll=11}, then turns Annette over to Sister Superior for a session of forced detox.

As the day wanes, Philo heads towards Bifrost to ask the Valks about a trip downtown, even as they ready themselves for an assault on the Hospital, Trout goes to check on the other new girl, and Adele sees the stern Sister Mary arrive at SPECTOR with some kind of pamphlet in her hand.

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Love Letters Pre-Session 7

Dear Trout,

It’s been very weird adjusting to having people actually depending on you for something besides a good lay.

The last 6 weeks have seen you managing to herd the girls out of the Theater and into their new home at Tomorrow!, where they’ve settled in and are taking great joy in lording it over the new arrivals, who seem to find them both fascinating and terrifying, but the roof is solid, and there’s power, so no one’s complained really loudly yet.

As it happens, it looks like you moved out of the theater district just in time, because just last night, a rumble was felt for blocks as the Theater collapsed into a huge sinkhole in a towering cloud of debris visible for miles. A few hours later, a similar collapse leveled Spider’s place. Another huge plume of dust and shattered glass.

So this morning, you’re woken up by a catfight. Layla, Grace, and Heron are out in front kicking the shit out of a couple of skinny, dust-covered girls who are screaming and begging to talk to you. Through the blood and vaporized concrete covering their faces, you recognize Audrey and Annette, two of Spider’s girls, younger ones, maybe 14 or 15.

If you do nothing, the Hummingbirds will beat them to death in short order and you can go back to bed, knowing the girls will just feed the bodies to the plants on the fourth floor.

If you intervene, describe what you do to break it up and roll +Hard.

On a 10+, you forcefully and immediately butt in and the terrified girls are roughed up but basically OK. The Hummingbirds bitch at you for spoiling their fun, but they’ll get over it. Add +1 Barter for the drugs the newcomers have stashed on them that they hand over to you for saving them.

On a 7-9, they manage to get their licks in before you get them in hand. Pick One:
-One of them is beat into a coma and probably won’t wake up until she gets some actual medical care. Pick which one.
-The Hummingbirds are pissed you got in on their fun and not inclined to let you forget it. Take -1 ongoing to get them to do what you want until you make it up to them.
-You get an ‘accidental’ elbow in the face as you try to get them off the refugees. Take 1-Harm AP.

On a Miss, you’re not their daddy: All 3.

Love, your MC!


Dear Jones,

It’s been six weeks since the business at Tomorrow!. Despite the difficulty Tavi is having adjusting to her new leg, she could not be happier. Your Sanctum is regularly filled with song, and she has taken to the harpsichord like a pro. You have busied yourself with the usual fortune-telling and dream interpretation jobs that generally keep you in Barter, but you’re finding they’re fewer and further between these days. Apparently, Domino’s warning to the MythBusters only served to provoke them, and they have held a couple of demonstrations where they have supposedly showed their audiences other ways to produce the results that you do with your powers.

Whatever efforts to track them down or threaten them you’ve devised have failed up to this point, and their leaflets and posters have been appearing in greater numbers around town.

The striking and inescapable sensation that’s slowly built over the last week or so that you’re being watched hasn’t made it easier to sleep, but after a fine meal and an evening of reading to Tavi (who does so only poorly herself), you have managed to finally claim a deep sleep.

You awake to the stark realization that someone is standing in your room, at the foot of your bed. It’s fat man in a white suit, the one you saw in your vision from weeks ago.

“Hello, Jones,” he says, in an oddly childish and lilting voice. “My name is Foster. You’re a hard man to track down.” You try to respond, but are paralyzed, voiceless but fully lucid in the way that comes sometimes in dreams. You try to open your brain, but realize that those rules don’t seem to work here, wherever you are right now. Panic starts to race through your bones, but you grit your teeth and try to choke it back as Foster leans over you and gestures as he whispers words in a language just at the edge of your comprehension.

If you do nothing, Foster extracts the information he needs from you and leaves you to sleep the rest of the night. Tavi is unaware of your nocturnal visitor unless you choose to tell her.

If you resist, describe the psychic struggle you enter and roll +cool.

On a 10+, you tamp down the panic and gain some control of the dream state. You may ask Foster 3
Questions, which he must answer truthfully with a single short phrase or sentence.

On a 7-9, It takes you a few moments to regain your composure, which Foster takes advantage of, but you fight back: He asks you 1 Question, which you must answer truthfully with a short phrase or sentence, and you can ask him 1 Question, as above.

On a Miss, you are unable to resist Foster’s intrusion and he extracts the information he needs from your sleeping brain: He asks you 3 Questions which you must answer truthfully as above.

Just as the psychic battle between you comes to a head and you feel like one of you is about to break, he is gone and you suddenly awake, shaking, sweaty, and twisted in your sheets, with Tavi shaking you.

Love, your MC!


Dear Adele,

It’s been 6 weeks since the craziness at Tomorrow! Your research has been going great; it turns out Crille is pretty quick on the uptake, and he makes a capable lab assistant, especially when you need help with lugging and toting. You managed to buckle down and, with the help of some gear and schematics you found in the medical lab under Tomorrow!, complete a working leg for Tavi. Because it is wired directly into her brain and uses some DNA Splicing that you don’t entirely understand, the technology is not something you could just whip up for someone else. It took her a week to be able to properly stand on it, but now she gets around pretty handily with crutches and is slowly working her way towards walking unassisted.

You’ve made less progress on the water system, as the newly-active security apparatus of the SPECTOR building has proven increasingly difficult to deal with. At one point two weeks ago, it locked down for a full five minutes, and gas pumped out of the vents, knocking you both out for apparently an hour or so. The computers in the building have also been acting oddly, occasionally displaying messages of doggerel verse and at other times snippets of particularly pastoral and soothing video clips accompanied by soothing music, even, occasionally, from machines not wired for sound. You’ve been unable to get to the bottom of this weirdness, but it’s put enough of a damper on your research that you’ve made no further progress on the sprinklers.

It’s been a frustrating day so far today, so when Crille arrives, you ask him to help you take another crack at the room labelled ‘robotics lab’ you’ve been trying to get into for the last several weeks. You think you’ve figured the lock, and if Crille is strong enough to hold the magnetic contacts in the door housing apart for a few seconds, you can fuse them open and crack the door.

He heaves and pries at the deceptively flimsy-looking alloy locking plates, and with a howl of effort that starts his nose bleeding, forces them a millimeter apart, allowing you to zap the contacts and sending the door sliding noiselessly open with a puff of air that smells of sparks and graphite.

Almost instantly, a howl of alarm bells go off, a strobing blue light erupts from the walls, and you hear the building locking down again, shutters slamming, doors booming closed where you haven’t managed to permanently disable them. Oliver snaps to attention on your shoulder, and says in that odd voice you’ve heard him use a few times before, ‘Eliza, the other Orphans are compromised, as we discussed, you’ll need to work very quickly indeed.’ As he extends his snout to tap into the open wall, his tail arcs over his head and projects a glowing keyboard into the air, the keys marked with machine-code algorithms. You can hear the scrape of metal on metal in the lab beyond, slow and languid but gathering strength and speed, as of something waking up, and as Crille steps to fill the doorway between you and whatever is making that loud scuttling noise, you stare at the keyboard…

If you do nothing, the door slams shut and after an hour the security lockdown ends. Any further efforts to open this door will likely fail until you can find another way past.

If you keep trying to get into the room, describe what you’re doing to overcome the Security and roll +sharp:

On a 10+, you manage to quickly bypass Security and take over the lab before the defenses are ready. Annie, Bruce, and Harry emerge from the lab ready to work for you. They are AI helper bots similar to Oliver. Describe them, and add the ‘Skilled Labor’ perk to your Workspace.

On a 7-9, you’re not quite fast enough and some of the defenses come on-line before you shut them down. Pick One:
-You shut down the robots in the lab, but Oliver is cooked by feedback and inactive until you can find the right parts to repair him.
-You overpower the unstable decades-old power grid in the room and fry everything inside. The entire lab is trashed and useless.
-Crille stops one of the advancing robots from getting at you with his body before you succeed in shutting the security down. He’s tough, but he’s still flesh. The thing attaches itself to his face and gouges out an eye before he smashes it against the wall. He’ll need immediate medical attention. Name the Orphan he destroys.

On a miss, you’re all thumbs, and things go badly wrong before you get it shut down. All 3.

Love, your MC!


Dear Hammer,

After two bloody victories in a row, the Valks’ rep for not taking any shit has never been more solid.

Raiding has been good, the Crocs have mostly lain low, and the occasional visits from Trout’s girls have everyone in good spirits. You’ve spent the last six weeks shoring up the Bridge as best you can, though a week ago a hunk of pavement fell out that almost landed Domino in the Cut, and the roadbed is in generally pretty shitty shape all along the Bridge, now that you’ve noticed.

Gnarly survived the Speedforce injections and is now a Lookout, twitchy, rapid-talking and unsleeping, manning the Uptown Tower. It turns out he’s actually got great eyesight, and can spot stuff like smoke trails from the Hex, and ’copters taking off from the airport that you can only barely make out with binoculars.

The gang is down a few members, and the word is out that you’re recruiting, but with everyone aware that you’re at war with the Crocs, no one’s showed up to join. Crille has managed to bypass the usual initiation because of his performance against the Crocs, and splits his time between joining you on raids, where he’s a serious bad-ass, and working with Adele over at the SPECTOR building when he’s got down-time (he’s there right now). He’s crap on a bike, but he’s now the strongest guy you’ve got, which is saying something.

So, it’s about 4 o’clock in the morning, everyone is pretty wasted, and you’ve crashed out with Layla, Heron, and Grace in your crib, when you hear a shotgun blast go off very nearby and suddenly Valks are screaming, Stinky and Gnarly’s spotlights are on and sweeping over the Bridge and their rifles are going off. The girls are half in the bag, giddy with laughter at all the noise and commotion. You roll out of your hut to see that the Bridge is swarming with Trolls. They’ve got scuba masks on their faces, and they all look to be soaking wet. They’re mostly armed with punched-steel knives and simple tomahawks like you saw them making inside the Bridge. The Valks are mowing them down; gunfire, sledgehammers, and fire axes are doing a number on them, with regular shots from the Towers picking off any who get free of the scrum.

But there’s a LOT of them. You see a couple of the Valks just buried under 8 or 10 of the fuckers, pulled down and stabbed repeatedly by their little knives. The roadbed is littered with their little yellow broken bodies, some still twitching and trying to get up even though they’re broken beyond repair.

You’re just about to wade in when you see one of them off to the side wedge a brick of clay with a box stuck into it right into the spot where like five girders come together against one of the seams in the roadbed. Then he whips a one-shot flare gun out from a little pack around his waist, points it up in the air, and fires. The flare arcs up and lights up the entire night sky brilliantly, causing a momentary pause in the running battle, broken a few moments later by the sound of Gnarly screeching “OHFuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckingfuckers!” and starting to rapidly shoot down towards the waterline, where, looking over the side of the bridge, you can see about a dozen crocs in big zodiacs, stowing oars and lowering outboards into the water. One particularly huge one, wearing a crazy full-face mask and a black leotard with a freaky glowing white spider splashed across the chest, is holding up a device with some kind of knob on the top. You see one of Gnarly’s bullets go through his arm, but he doesn’t even flinch as he twists the knob and the Cut recedes back into darkness as the flare burns out.

The box has started beeping, and the light is blinking. Both are getting faster at a pretty quick clip.

If you do nothing, Hooch snatches up the box after she sees you just standing there, and jumps off the side of the Bridge. There’s a spectacular bloody explosion in mid-air about 25 feet down and out over the water, but the Bridge seems OK, the remaining Trolls flee, and the Crocs escape into the night.

If you immediately try to deal with the bomb yourself, say what you’re doing and roll +cool:

On a 10+, you manage to dispose of the bomb exactly as you hoped and inspire the Valks to get their shit together: They manage to capture a Troll alive, Gnarly and Stinky both pick off the Trolls who were climbing their Towers, and the Bridge doesn’t take any damage.

On a 7-9, your plan isn’t as foolproof as you hoped: Pick 1 of the above.

On a Miss, you fucked up somehow. None of the above.

Love, your MC!


Dear Damson,

With the total lunacy that went down six weeks ago, it’s good to see the Sunset filled with guests tonight. You’ve managed to reinforce the windows and put up some barriers to at least make it a challenge for someone to drive vehicle through the front of the place. Adele scrounged up a working TV from somewhere in the building, so you’re back in business.

Ruby doesn’t remember anything that happened in the lab, and was pretty matter-of-fact about Nils ‘getting what he deserved’. She’s cooking up a storm these days, highly active despite her quickly-swelling belly that seems to get a little bigger every day. The pregnancy seems to be remarkably easy. She’s eating huge piles of food, but doesn’t seem to be experiencing any discomfort to speak of, and she sleeps soundly. She’s in better spirits than you’ve ever seen, in fact, and performing near-miracles with the pot luck the customers are bringing in.

It’s a full house tonight, and you’ve got a good flick lined up. Ruby was a trooper tonight, whipping up dessert from a bunch of wild berries some roof-farmer brought in, and a main course from what you are pretty sure was a sizable hunk of a zebra. You do some patter and cue up the movie and fire it up.

It’s about a half hour in when something off happens. The movie cuts out for a moment and very soothing music starts to play, accompanied by a baritone-voiced announcer assuring everyone that everything is all right and they should just remain calm and await further instructions. You notice that the crowd, including Ruby over at the bar, is smiling blankly and staring at the TV. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to have affected you yet? You look again at the TV and a wave of lethargy washes over you, but it’s overcome, barely, by a high and tremulous voice that suddenly whispers in your head:

“flesh-father, you must listen… turn from the gaze of the Watchers…”

If you ignore the voice and look back at the TV, you really enjoy the rest of the movie, and sleep deeply and dreamlessly that night, as do all your guests, who agree it was a really wonderful and relaxing time. You are totally certain that the voice (which you barely remember in any event) was just your imagination and give it no further thought.

If you try to respond to the voice, have a brief conversation with your daughter and roll +weird:

On a 10+, you manage to shake off the TV’s effect and make contact with your daughter without disturbing the Maelstrom or hurting her. You use her psychic guidance to attune your brain to the Watcher signal: You are immune to it from now on. She gives you vital insight into one of your companions that had escaped your notice before: You gain 1 Hold that you can use to automatically Assist or Interfere with another PC’s action without risk of failure, as long as you can see them. She opens your mind to the ungiven future: Use Visions of Death on the entire world, right now, as if you rolled a 7-9, and know that your Vision will come to pass.

On a 7-9, you are so shaken by the contact that she is only able to touch you fleetingly: Choose 1 of the above, but something nearby feels this struggle going on. You somehow know that something else nearby is now aware of your daughter.

On a Miss, you unconsciously forcibly resist being pulled away from the Watcher broadcast. Your brain lashes out without meaning to and feedback fills the club. All of the patrons are forcibly awakened (headaches and a few nosebleeds, but no one badly hurt) and all of them, along with whatever is out there, are now aware of your daughter.

-Love, your MC!

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Session 6: Furies

Session 6 Picks up only a few minutes after 5 left off.

Pre-session rolls:

Adele the Savvyhead seems really in tune with the world today {Bonefeel, 10+= Hold 1 forward, with a +1 on her first action}

Trout the Hocus’ Hummingbirds wake up hung-over but still a little giddy form the party the night before {Fortunes, 8= Surplus and 1 Want (Savagery)}

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Trout and his Hummingbirds, and it turns out that they’re still a heady mix of hormones and hedonism. With Spider‘s girls getting sick from some kind of lung thing that causes them to cough up blood, and Bright left to go work for Absinthe, the rest of the girls are agitated and cranky and want Trout to go make a deal with Gran’Ma. Since Trout has little interest at this point in signing a contract with her, he tries the cajole the girls into going elsewhere for fun. Lark and Weaver Bird start bitching at each other over whose fault their predicament is, before noticing a kid sleeping off the previous night and the girls start to kick the crap out of him. Trout realizes he’s the nephew of Barnum, the ‘Director’ of the Zoo and tries to get the girls off of him. {Seduce/Manipulate, 7} With a promise that they will immediately go find drugs, they relent and gather together to head out into the city.

As the session begins, Adele awakes with her hands zip-tied together in the back of a capped pickup truck running on used grease. She looks around to see what’s up {Read a Situation, Fail} and realizes that not only is she in a shitload of pain, but Nils and his goons have stripped her of all her gear. Listening to the drone of the engine, she tries to tap into th machinery to get a feel for where she is or what’s going on {Open Your Brain, 7} and gets the vague sensation she’s passing by buildings that have LOTS of potential for electricity to flow through them, and follows the lines to make fleeting contact with a group of people they’re passing. At that exact moment, Trout suddenly experiences a tickle in his feet and suddenly has a raging erection just as a truck passes by. Looking up, he sees Ruby in the front seat with a goon holding a science gun of some kind pointed at her, and decides to change course to head over to the Sunset Cabaret to see what Damson the Battlebabe might know about what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Damson, Hammer the Chopper, Jones the Brainer, and the Valkyries have arrived back at the Sunset, and found the evidence of Nils’ attack, including a note that has ’Who’s Laughing NOW? Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!’ scrawled on it.

“OK, I;m going to need to skin him alive, so let me get my knife…” says Damson, and tries to imagine where Nils might bring Ruby {Open Your Brain, 9>10}, with Hammer offering an idea or two {Assist, 7}. The old-timey B&W movie that is Damson’s view of the Maelstrom shows a mustachioed villain tying a damsel in distress to a sinister-looking table in a mad scientist’s lab under a sign labelled ‘Museum’. As he realizes where she is, he also notices that Hammer has gotten involved in staring at the TV with a hole shot in it, seemingly entranced the way Damson was before when he noticed the test pattern {Custom Move (When you see the Test Pattern), 7} and has to be snapped out of it, leaving him with a stinging headache (Take -1 Ongoing).

As the Valks are getting ready to roll, Trout arrives on the scene and Hammer manages to come up with enough drugs {Fucking Thieves, 10+} to keep them happy for the time being. They mount up, Trout riding with Hooch and Crille in Hammer’s sidecar, holding onto his crowbar.

Adele is hauled out of the back of the truck and handcuffed to a workbench in some kind of Golden Age laboratory or science factory hidden away under the Oscorp Presents Tomorrow! building. Under guard by a little weasel with a Science Rifle named Batty, she spends some time going through the crap on her bench, which Nils wants her to figure out how to put back together. {Workspace Augury=1}

A cursory glance at the energy flowing around and through the parts reveals that they’re all in good shape, and should be easy to configure in several different ways (What’s wrong and How do I fix it?). The technology itself was based on Stark designs but manufactured within the last year in an automated facility of some kind (Who Made This?). It’s most recently been used for scientific research, mostly biological (What has been done most recently to or with this?).

Adele promptly starts a list of parts she’ll need to build a weapon capable of breaking her out, and hands it to Batty to fetch parts, hoping he won’t know enough about what she’s asking for to question it. {Act Under Fire, 7} He agrees, but not everything on her list is available, meaning she can either make a relatively simple weapon to fight with, OR a tool that’ll let her break free. She chooses the latter and starts to work.

Outside, the Valks are rolling up on the Oscorp Presents Tomorrow building when Science Rifle fire, fat green plasma bolts, start spewing form the third floor windows of the building.

Hammer guns the throttle and leads the gang into the fire, {Hold an Untenable Course=13} and they manage to weave and swerve enough to avoid most of the shots as they head straight for the front doors of the Museum.

Trout stands up in the saddle of Hooch’s chopper and hollers a crazy speech to his girls {Frenzy, 12}, calling for them to find Adele (Bring People Forth), to not show any mercy to the thugs inside (Orgy of Violence), and to bring him anything shiny they find to decorate the theater (Bring Precious Things).

Jones casts forth his psychic powers to demand that the gunners lay down their weapons {Go Aggro with Weird, 11}. The fire abates somewhat, but still continues from others.

Damson looks to peel off around the back of the building {Follow up on another Move, 9>10} and when Hammer lays down some cover fire at the windows {Assist, 8} manages to do it, swooping around towards the back garage door.

Downstairs, Adele has heard the commotion as Nils’ goons respond to the attack. A quick assessment of her situation leaves her feeling like the best way to escape is to cut the bar holding the cuffs and not the cuffs themselves {Read a Situation, 7, Best Escape Route}. She looks around for a way to do so and notices that the Science Rifle being pointed nervously at her would probably do the trick.

Upstairs, Damson screeches around the corner and down the ramp leading to the parking garage as the door is being lowered. He guns the engine and skids the bike on its side to beat the descending metal {Act Under Fire, 11} and skids inside just as it seals shut.

Hopping up he sees a couple of goons in the security booth, one of them pointing a rifle at his direction and starting to spray in his direction. He dives behind a column to find a way to flank them. {Act Under Fire, 10}

At the front door, Hammer and the Valks smash through into the lobby and crash through displays and furniture and rolling up on the thugs {Go Aggro with Gang, 7} and sends them scattering to find cover from the rampage (Get the Hell out of the way). The Hmmingbirds have flown form the bikes and are rampaging through the Museum trying to track down the fleeing gunmen. A gaggle of them corner one and wrest his gun away {Seize by Force, 7} without coming under fire (Take Definite Hold, Suffer Little Harm). They grab the offending thug and hold him upside down off a railing while they beat him to death crotch-first with his rifle.

Jones cast about into the ether to find the way inside {Open Brain, 9>10} after Hammer has the Valks kill their engines to help Jones concentrate (Assist, 7), when he realizes that Crille has ditched off his bike and is missing. Fertile Nymphs spring up and lay sprouts into the Earth that Jones follows to see Adele held captive and Ruby somewhere below with Nils.

Damson is stripping off his shirt as he turns the corner around a pillar downstairs, causing the two gunmen to freeze in surprise (Arresting Skinner) long enough for him to put a bullet through the face of one and point his pistol at the other, who immediately drops his Rifle and backs off. {Go Aggro, 7}

Inside, Adele realizes she needs to be under her workbench when the shooting starts inside and gets down there {Spend Hold to be where she needs to be} and is gratified when Batty’s gun goes off and slags the bar holding her cuffs. She wonders if there’s a way she can get him to give her his gun {Read a Person, 8} and realizes she’ll need to find him a reliable escape route. She looks around {Read a Situation, 8} and sees an access hatch to the sewers and points it out to him, and he flees, dropping the rifle when it won’t fit down the hold with him. Adele scoops it up just as Hammer comes smashing through the wall and ceiling panel above the elevator {Oh YEAH!, 6>7} with a psychic boost form Jones {Assist, 7}, who realizes that Hammer’s dramatic entry has disabled the elevator.

Adele starts shooting {Covering Fire, 11} as Damson looks carefully at the guards pointing guns at the door and takes a moment to visualize being reunited with Ruby and following through on his promise to skin Nils {Visions of Death, Live=Ruby, Die=Nils} before throwing open the door and blasting his way through the guards {Go Aggro, 12} who have nowhere to flee to and are cut down {Suck it up}.

Upstairs, the somewhat battered Trout lays on his back and expands his consciousness to try and figure out what’s going on {Open Brain} and sees Batty, days ago at the Sunset, holding the gun that cripples Tavi, and stands up to see him emerging from a manhole cover outside on the street. He hollers to the girls, now looting the museum, and sends them after the fleeing Batty.

The large space filled with lab equipment under the museum has a door that leads to what seems to be a clean room of some kind. A reinforced window in the door reveals Nils, standing over Ruby who is strapped to some kind of medical table, with a tall slender man in a tight-fitting Hazmat suit with full face-mask performing some kind of test on her with a bizarre super-tech instrument. Nils has a particularly large and nasty-looking Science Rifle that he is waving around, hollering at the doctor.

Jones approaches the window and reaches through the Maelstrom to try and influence the doctor’s thoughts {Deep Brain Whisper, No roll due to Custom Move} and finds that the figure has no Mind to speak of for him to contact.

Hammer stands back and charges the door, barreling at it at full speed and smashing into it, shearing the hinges off {Oh YEAH!, 13}. Damson leaps the bed and tries to smash the instrument out of the doctor {Seize by Force} but he steps aside and sticks Ruby with it, knocking Damson down as Nils brings the gun up and blasts it at Hammer {Harm total=1, Harm Roll=4}, melting a chunk of his breastplate off. As Damson kicks back to his feet and throws a punch at the Doctor even as his suit collapses, apparently empty, Crille drops down through the ceiling panels with a blood curdling scream and smashes Nils’ skull flat with Hammer’s crowbar. He beats him half a dozen times to a bloody pile of meat before, holding back tears, he rushes to Adele and squeezes her in a vice-like hug. Ruby appears to be none the worse for wear, sedated but otherwise unharmed.

Upstairs, the girls manage to catch up to Batty {Go Aggro, 10} and despite Trout’s explicit request, knock him down and kick him to death in the middle of the street.

After everyone spends a few moments catching their breath and taking stock of casualties and damage to the facility, Trout realizes it’s much more defensible, and seems to have power and tech stuff for Adele to work on, and decides to move in with the girls {Advance: Gain a Holding and Wealth}.

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Session 5: Lights Out

It’s been about 48 hours since the assault on the Sunset Cabaret, and the crew have cleaned up the place some and are recuperating at their respective places of residence {_HEALING: Any PCs with Harm can Heal 1 tick on their Countdown._}

Adele the Savvyhead is back in her lab in the SPECTOR Building where she’s continuing her work on he research into finding a new leg for Tavi, who is currently packing her things so that she can move in with Jones the Brainer.

She comes across some old government research on cybernetic interfaces that looks like it was intended for power armor, but when she tries to crack the file, something goes wrong and she triggers some kind of security override. The computer starts to shut down and she has to hack FAST {Act Under Fire, Hit-12} to keep the info from being dumped and her system access revoked.

She manages to work around the system and get it to recognize her as a resident of the building, getting access to the data and clearing the Alert {Advance the Tavi’s Leg Countdown one tick}.

Meanwhile over on the Rainbow Bridge, Gnarly is running his mouth again, giving Hammer the Chopper shit about how they still need to replace Stinky already. Hammer is just about sick of it, and things are pretty tense with the Trolls and all, so he decides to give Gnarly what he wants {Read a Person, Hit-8, What Does He Want?}, which is a shot at surviving Speedforce to become a Watcher. In the meantime, he grabs Stinky by the throat and douses him in Yellow Krylon {Pack Alpha, Hit-11}, hands him a thermos full of coffee, and tells him to get his ass up the Yellow tower, the one that points towards Midtown that they’ve never bothered to man before.

Over at the Sunset Cabaret, Damson the Battlebabe is staring out the broken front window and realizing that the joint is in desperate need of additional security, and comes to the conclusion that his current arrangement with the Valkyries may just be more trouble than it’s worth, given their current dispute with the Crocs. As he passes back through the restaurant proper, he notices that the TV is putting off that weird test pattern again, and stops to study it {Custom Move, (+Sharp) Hit-12}, realizing that its pattern is not random, but that there’s a message of some kind embedded, but it doesn’t distract him as it did when he first noticed it a couple of days ago.

Realizing he’s never explored the SPECTOR Building as fully as he ought to have, he starts wandering around outside the cabaret, and idly letting his mind wander {Open Your Brain, Hit-11} and discovers a hidden basement door buried behind a pile of old trash and discarded custodial equipment.

Casually mentioning to Ruby that he’s decided to head downstairs, he grabs a flashlight and passes through the door to and down the staircase he finds. Whatever power Adele has kept going in the place powers the dim emergency lighting of the spotless basement he discovers. The physical plant of the building, including the encased base of the elevators, hums all about him, but his eye is immediately drawn to the large area enclosed in heavy glass and steel that squats in the center, clearly a Security Office of some kind from the bank of several dozen monitors he can see flickering inside.

Reaching to open the door, he hears a click and sense pressure on his hand {Act Under Fire, Hit-7, Can choose to get stuck by the door and take his chances, or chance letting go and risking an Alert that way} but holds on as a tiny needle inside the doorknob pokes him. After a few moments of the machinery grinding away, he is relieved when the knob turns and lets him into the room. Stepping inside, he hears the door click closed (and lock!) behind him.

Jones the Brainer has decided that the manual labor of clearing debris and cleaning up after the fire ill suits him, and collects Tavi to wheel her over to their new home and show her a bit of his ‘romantic life’ along the way, stopping by his Madame Olympias fortune-telling booth. Arriving at the scene of the booth, he is distressed to fin the back of the booth quite forcibly broken open and the front plastered with Myth Busters brochures labeling Jones a fraud, like the ones he saw the other day. Reaching into the Maelstrom to try and learn the whereabouts of his foes {Open Your Brain, Hit-11}, Jones envisions a Mercury-like servant sprinting through the ether to deliver a message to him. Unfurling it, he sees a playbill, one not yet printed, touting a Myth Busters Rally for Truth in just a few days (the same time as he is supposed to meet Absinthe if we wishes to accept the Fiddler’s Green gig, in fact).

Tavi is visibly upset, and asks what he will do, but he just wheels her on to their new Sanctum, now lavishly if perhaps inexpertly redecorated in garish pink and lavender. She professes to like it, and starts right in on the harpsichord he’s has installed.

Meanwhile back at the SPECTOR Building, Adele heads down to talk to Ruby about the Security situation, and notices that weird test pattern on the TV {Custom Move (+Sharp), Hit-8, Take -1 Forward but don’t get caught in the pattern} and though it gives her a headache, she’s able to pull her attention away from it. After a chat with Ruby, she heads down to find Damson and finds the Security station. Damson frantically tries to communicate with her not to open the door {Act Under Fire, Miss-5}, but can’t make his gestures understood, so Adele tries to open the door and triggers another Alert that loudly demands she ID herself in 10 seconds or face Security Measures. As she runs possible scenarios in her head {Read a Situation, Hit-13}, she realzies that if she doesn’t act fast, the system might ID her as a hostile intruder {1-Biggest Threat}, but that if she can install the proper protocols, she might be able to either reset the system or have it ID her as someone else {2-What to Look Out For}, but if all else fails, she should hide out in one of the trash bins rather than try to run {3-Escape Route}.

Damson searches the room for help [Read a Situation, Hit-8} and realizes the emergency shutdown switch will stop the system, but might also disrupt power the the entire building. Not prepared to subject Adele to whatever ‘security measures’ might mean, he punches the big red button and the building goes dark.

Jones makes his way to the Rainbow Bridge looking for a Valkyrie to deliver a message to the MythBusters. Scrawling an obscene drawing and defiant warning on one of their fliers, he contracts with Domino to make the delivery in exchange for agreeing to tell her what Hammer is really thinking when he thinks of her. She roars off as Hammer arrives and asks Jones to help him track down some Speedforce so that Gnarly can becoming one of the Unsleeping. Jones calls upon rune-maidens in Asgardian warrior gear to point their flying steeds towards a potential source {Open Brain, Hit-9} as Hammer helps translate what the maidens mean when they speak of ‘The Scaled Foe’ {Help+1, Hit-11}, meaning the Crocs, who have quite a stash of performance-enhancing drugs in their possession.

A sudden commotion in the camp summons Hammer and Jones to the foot of the bridge where they find Crille, the Croc who went on a lunch date with Adele, standing surrounded by the gang, his hands in the air. He tells them he wants out of the Crocs and that means he’ll need protection, so he wants to join the Valks. Hammer spends a minute or two spitting questions at him {Read a Person, HIt-11} (1-Telling the Truth?: Yes) (Really Feeling?: Terror, like he made a horrible mistake) (Hoping Hammer Will: Put him against someone he can beat to get into the gang), and decides to being him along when they go down to the Power Pavillion to get some Speedforce. Crille rides over in the sidecar of Hammer’s bike.

In the pitch black, Damson opens the door for Adele and they spend some time exploring the Security Office, sadly now completely inert. They discover a number of high-tech weapons and the dessicated body of a Security Guard, apparently dead by suicide decades ago.

Adele tries to get a feel for what happened to him {Things Speak, Miss-6}, but despite Damson’s best efforts at pointing out potentially relevant details and holding the flashlight reasonably steady, he can’t offer any cogent insight {Help, Miss-6}. When they make their way back upstairs, Ruby is crying and confused, and extracts a promise from Damson not to leave her and to make sure she stays safe in the now powerless building.

He agrees, then promptly heads off on his motorized bicycle to find fuel for the generators they’ll need to operate. As he heads uptown, he encounters the Valkyries and falls in convoy with them.

Adele makes the long, slow climb back to her workshop in the dark via the stairs, and exhaustion soon sets in, but she pushes on despite it {Act Under Fire, Hit-8: Take -1 Forward from exertion}

When they arrive at the beach, Hammer hands the nervous-looking kid his crowbar and Damson scans the too-quiet beachfront {Read a Situation, Hit-8: Biggest Threat: Blues, who will kill Crille the first chance he has when Hammer’s not looking}. Jones reaches into the font of divine wisdom to find their enemies {Open Brain, hit-8} and sees an ankh scrawled in the sand pointing to dark shapes just below the surface a few dozen yards offshore. As he shouts a warning, the Crocs, lurking under the surf in large 2-man jet skis, erupt and the gunners send rockets at the Valks!

Hammer guns his bike to get out of the blast {Act Under Fire, Miss-6}, and only escapes the brunt of it due to the psychic warning from Jones {Help+1, Hit-11}. The missile explodes nearby but only jars him, not hurting him {0-Harm Move, Miss-6} or the kid at all. Damson leans down and rides his bike straight into the missile contrails, passing harmlessly between two of them as they explode well behind him {Act Under Fire, Hit-11}. Jones, with Satan swerving the bike out of the path of another missile, traces a Rune in the air, cursing one of the Crocs (Go Aggro with Weird, Hit-11} to fall into the surf.

Hammer attempts to rally the gang to get them headed in a phalanx at the Crocs who will be up on the beach in just a few moments {Pack Alpha, Hit-9}, as Damson shouts encouragement {Help, Hit-9}, drawing the Crocs’ attention to him, as Jones managed to convince another of their attackers to give up the fight {Go Aggro with Weird, Hit-11}.

Meanwhile, back the SPECTOR Building, Adele has managed to get back into her lab, where her little AI companion Oliver suddenly starts talking to her in a different voice, calling her ‘Eliza’. She tries to gauge whether he’s being truthful {Read a Person, Hit-8, Is He Telling the Truth?} and it seems like he really does think she’s this person and they’re there to break into the building. She grabs her tools and tries to examine him {Things Speak, Fail-4}, but whatever anomaly in his programming was causing the reaction seems to have left no trace. She returns downstairs to walk right into the middle of Nils and a handful of his thugs kidnapping Ruby.

Hammer and the gang smash into the Crocs, with Damson and Jones lending support from behind the lines. Damson lays down covering fire {Go Aggro, Hit-8} and Jones continuing his psychic assault {Go Aggro with Weird, Hit-8}. The gangs collide, led by Hammer {Seize by Force, Hit-7: Take Definite Hold, Impress Dismay or Frighten}. A couple of the Valks are bashed up in the melee, but Hammer manages to escape further mayhem {Harm Move, Miss-6}. Damson is now amongst the brawl, swinging his brass knucks and beating up one of the Crocs {Seize by Force, Hit-8, Inflict Terrible Harm, Take Definite Hold}, and also manages to sidestep the worst of the retaliation {Harm Move, Miss-6}. During the melee, Crille managed to get ahold of Hammer’s crowbar and does in one of the other Crocs who was going after Hammer.

By this point, the Crocs are largely defeated, and the couple left out in the surf eventually agree to a deal with the Valks, trading their drug stash for letting them go. The Valks, blooded, having lost a couple of members, including Blues (Named earlier as a casualty by Damson, who also foresaw Jones surviving this donnybrook), return to the Rainbow Bridge with several doses of Speedforce intended for Gnarly.

At the SPECTOR Building, Adele confronts the nervous and twitchy gang of kidnappers, {Read a Situation, Hit-10} and determines that she needs to keep an eye out for one of them accidentally firing one of the Science Weapons they’re waving around (What should I be on the lookout for). Though it’s just Nils and two other guys inside, she can tell there’s a couple more outside, waiting with a vehicle (Enemy’s true position), and that if they’re not all careful, then Building’s newly-awakened security system might just decide they’re all intruders (Biggest threat?). Adele tries to threaten them with the building’s security as her leverage, but they’re too twitchy and start firing {Go Aggro, Fail-5}, searing her arm and causing her to black out instantly, Ruby’s screaming the last thing she hears.

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Pre-Session 5 Questions

Jones the Brainer, when you’re busy, or people can’t afford you, or want advice different from what you normally give, who do people in the City go to?

-As it happens, they got to Jones, but they don’t know it.

Jones happens to own and operate the popular and well-regarded Madame Olympias fortune-telling machine that resides in a small former bodega around the corner from the zoo. The cabinet itself is large enough for Jones to sit inside and study people who come to it for advice and compose custom-written fortune slips for them. When Jones is not present, he has a large stack of ‘generic’ fortunes that he places in the dispenser.

Damson the Battlebabe, when the Cabaret is full or someone can’t find food to get in, or just want a different sort of entertainment, where do they go? Whom do they see?

-They go to the Lost and Pound.

The L&P is an establishment set up in the Museum of Contemporary Fine Arts, a stylish modern building made of super-tech polymers with an odd shape that contains interlocking galleries and odd overlooks and corners. Any sort of entertainment that involves competition of any kind, from simple dice and card games all the way up to some pretty violent prize fights, right there among the works of art, can be observed, bet upon, and even participated in here.

The most sedate and easy-going contests are on the lower floors, with things getting more intense and potentially dangerous as you climb towards the upper reaches of the building. Door entry costs you one piece of art, high-brow or low-, that the Museum does not currently display.

The MC and greeter for the L&P is named Barbarossa, a large gregarious man with a full red beard.

His partner in the operation is the Curator of the collection and the real power behind the place is a refined woman if indeterminate middle age named Marshal.

Adele the Savvyhead, when people need tech or repair advice and you’re not around, or you don’t (or won’t) have what they need, whom do they seek out instead?

-They go to the industrial area near the airport where a couple of guys named Rex and Fido run a block-long mess of mechanic shops and garages with the multi-store airport car-park looming over one corner of he place, all stuffed with the bits of every vehicle they can get their hands on.

Rex’s Rides specializes in vehicles and similar tech, but they’re happy to work on anything, and pretty much have the market cornered on vehicle and engine parts.

The boys don’t sell to Adele and she doesn’t trade with them. Rex seems to think Adele owes him something, but she’s never been able to figure out what.

Hammer the Chopper, anyone with a bad habit knows they can come to the Valks to score. Who do they go to see if you’re dry, or they’re asking for stuff you just can’t get?

-They head over to Midtown General Hospital and go to see Grandma.

Grandma is a woman of great-but-indeterminate age who keeps an oxygen tank handy when she needs to have an extended conversation. She runs a large crew of urchins known as the Disorderlies who scour the City for hidden caches of drugs and medicine. Rumor is that they’ve accumulated a huge stockpile in the Hospital, but no one knows for sure because the Disorderlies all speak their own language, a garbled and hasty version of common English that you can only make out a few occasional words of. Most people avoid them when they see a group of them out after dark.

She used to deal with the Valks back in Dog’s day, but Hammer hasn’t had any dealings with her.

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Session 4: Commonality

We start 3 days or so after the incident at the bridge and the visit to the Sunset by the Crox.
Adele has had a good run of research lately, and feels pretty confident {Start of session move: Bonefeel, Hit 10+} that she’ll be able to handle anything the world throws at her today.

LOVE LETTERS:

Damson goes in search of someone to help him install his new window and runs into Juke and Loose, who proposition him. He tips his hat and wishes them good day, causing them to impugn his manhood before roaring across town towards the Theater district.

He ends up contracting with Miss Honeytree, the super-cum-hardholder of the condo building across the street, home to half a dozen families who occasionally put together sufficient barter to visit the Sunset.

In exchange for labor and some tools, he comps 2 tickets to the Cabaret to Beasty (a strapping young man of 18 or so who works as a zookeeper) and Smutty (the barber himself, in his early 60s and suffering from arthritis). He returns back to Ruby and the Sunset with a movie for that evening…

Hammer is rousted out of the sack by a trio of Trout’s girls, LaLa, Grace, and Heron, looking to score some pharma. Hammer gets the party started, and spends the rest of the afternoon and the evening that follows entertaining them {CUSTOM: +1 to next Pack Alpha roll, and 1 Hold to have them show up looking for him later}…

Adele has found some info on Wetware interfaces for the new leg she wants to try and fashion for Tavi {Advance a project clock 1 Tick}, and receives a lunch invite from Crille, the Crok who noticed her before, on which she takes him up. They eat the the Deep Freeze, and Adele divines his intent as nothing more than a desire to get to know her better, and he wants to know how to get her to help him leave the gang. After lunch, he points her at a building she hadn’t noticed before and helps her bring a piece of heavy equipment back to SPECTOR {CUSTOM: Advance another project 1 Tick, and Take +1 Forward to her next roll involving a Croc}…

Jones has his meeting with Absinthe and receives her offer of employment, which he has a week to mull over. Tavi requests he return to her bedside, and then her bed, and he agrees, leaving him entangled {CUSTOM: Mark experience when he acts in Tavi’s best interest against his own, + 1 forward to rolls to interact with Ruby, and + 1Hx with Damson}. He returns home to prepare it for her coming to stay with him…

The next day, Adele is in need of more parts, so she decides to to and contact Crille through the Tubes Network. As she readies a message capsule for him, she realizes that something about it has changed; some of the levers and dials that did not work before now seem operational, and she realizes that she’ll actually need to rely on her smarts and understanding of the city’s layout to make sure her message go where they need to from now on. So she turn a dial, open a couple of valves, and drops the Cpasule into the tube, hopefully to end up at the Sewage Plant where the Crocs hang out {Custom Move: Use the Tube Network, Hit-10}.

Crille arrives an hour or so later at the SPECTOR building in full Croc gear: mask, bondage gear, boots, etc. Adele lets Damson know where she’s headed, and borrows his bike cart to transport her goodies…

Over at the Rainbow Bridge, most of what can be done to ‘troll-proof’ their place seems to have been accomplished, so he heads over to the Sunset Cabaret to talk to Damson. When Damson meets him outside, obviously agitated, but Hammer isn’t worried {Read a Situation, Miss-5}. Keeping in mind the warning about Valks entering the Sunset, Hammer waits outside with Satan and Domino for Damson to bring them some beverages. On his way back from the cooler, Damson notices that there’s a picture on the TV, even though it seems to be off. He takes a moment to investigate and studies the flickering, abstract test pattern long enough to get a sense it isn’t actually as random as it looks {Open Your Brain, Hit 8}. What feels like only a moment to Damson spent staring at the screen apparently was a full minute or more according to Hammer…

Jones has decided that since Tavi is going to be moving in with him, he’ll need to fix his place up so that she’ll be more comfortable. Surrounding himself with housekeeping and ladies interest magazines, he tried to get a sense of what she might like {Open Your Brain, Hit-10+} and realizes that there are a number of problems with his current lifestyle: 1) She’ll need some way to make music, as that’s a terribly important thing to her, 2)His efforts to try and somehow hide the level of his obsession with faces and old photos will surely fail, so he may as well come clean about it now, and 3) She’ll want to be a more social than he typically is, so he’ll need to be much more open about where he really lives and allow social callers and not just prospective clients. In search of the materials to prettify his Sanctum, he heads to the Bridge, where he has reason to believe the Valks have plenty of paint and other decorating supplies handy…

Adele’s Gravity Gun turns out to be exactly the tool she needs for this job: {Spend 1 Hold from Bonefeel} extracting a big heavy computer module from a building to bring back to SPECTOR to plug into the building’s Electronic Brain. She and Crille are getting to know each other a bit, he telling her how hard it is to get out of the Crocs once you’re in, but that he has managed to avoid getting jacked with Bane as of yet. Tech in tow, the head back to the Sunset…

Jones arrives at the Bridge, but Hammer is absent, so he ends up asking T-Bone for paint. He is ushered into the little lean-to T-Bone maintains on the Bridge and sees his extensive collection of heavy metal concert posters, spray paint cans, and various unlabeled lockers and containers. Jones’ attempt to get close enough to Brain Scan him is met with threats of serious physical violence, so he relents. T-Bone doesn’t have the specific colors Jones is looking for, so he sends Gnarly (who shows up at his call and calls him ‘boss’) off into the city to find some, after being assured by Jones that he’ll owe him a favor for later…

Damson passes out beers and asks Hammer about the difficult business with the Crocs {Read a Person, Hit-8} and divines that Hammer is not telling the truth when he says the Crocs “started it”.

As the group is starting on their second round, Adele and Crille come around the corner, a block or so away. Adele immediately realizes this might be a problem {Read a Situation, Hit-8} and realizes from where Crille is glancing that what she needs to be on the Lookout for is the trio of Crocs on the roof across the street lining up cinder blocks on the edge of the roof some 6 stories up.

Hammer takes a second to assess as well {Read a Situation, Hit-9(+1)=10} but Damson has noticed where Adele is looking and nudges him to notice the Crocs {Assist, Hit 10}. Hammer realizes that its Adele in control right now because she’s with Crille and the other Crocs are waiting to see what happens. He’s picked up on his enemy’s true position on the roof across the street, and Domino’s tense muscles and readiness to fight make her the biggest threat.

He looks at her and Satan and orders them to “Be Cool” {Pack Alpha, Hit-9(+1)=10} and Damson helps out by putting another beer in her hand before she can fill it with a weapon {Assist, 10}. Adele sees that Hammer has his gang under control, advises Crille to make some sort of face-saving gesture (he curses out and flips off the Valks) and then go home, which he does. Domino rushes to her side, assuring her that she’ll get the bastard is he messed with her in any way. Adele assures her she’s fine, but she insists on helping wrestle the computer into the SPECTOR building. Hammer sends Satan back to the bridge to put together a war party as he’s worried something might go down with the Crocs tonight…

On his way back from passing along Hammer’s orders at the Bridge, Satan comes across Jones walking to the Sunset and offers him a ride to wherever he’s going. Jones says he’s looking for music, and Satan nods and hauls off Crosstown to pull up in front of a locked-up abandoned shop that he seems to have the key to. Letting himself in, he reels off a bit of Bach on one of the pianos (it turns out he’s got hidden depths) and manages to dig up a harpsicord for Jones. As they emerge from the building, the locals seem to be getting restless, and have started to pelt them with trash. Satan is forced to pull off at speed, with Jones awkwardly trying to hang onto both the bike and the precious instrument {Act Under Fire (Hang onto the bike), Miss-5} and is barely able to hold on as he is blinded by a pamphlet that slaps into hsi face from the fallling debris. Desperate, he psychically addresses Satan: “PLEASE.SLOW.DOWN!” {In-Brain Puppet Strings, Hit-11} who complies immediately, allowing Jones to resettle himself and read the flyer that hit him in the face, a tract that calls him out as a hoax and claims the ‘Myth Busters’ will prove he is a fraud…

The evening crowd that’s gathering for the Cabaret are startled and intimidated by the arrival of the Valkyries in full fighting trim. Damson studies the crowd carefully and tries to intuit their mood {Open Your Brain, Hit-10} and as the Maelstrom opens in the form of an old-timey B&W film, a gaggle of cartoon Vikings arrive to startle the spectators (“Oh No!, Vikings!”)but when one Viking exclaims that his boat is the fastest, and another challenges him, Damson realizes that getting the Valks to compete amongst themselves will efuse the situation, so has Hammer set them up with racing down the street in front of the Cabaret, much to the delight of the assembles patrons.

Jones arrives on the scene to kiss the ground just as an altercation breaks out between Tinker and Diamond about who won a close race. They are pushing and shoving and the crowd who were betting on the contest are also agitated. Hammer gets in their business and tells them to cool it {Pack Alpha, Hit-7}, getting to do what he wants, but they both demand he tell them who won, so Hammer just pulls out his Magnum and blows a big hole in Diamond’s bike. He’s pissed, of course, and demands that Damson make the call. Damson, who didn’t actually see the race, tries to guess who the crowd seems to be pulling for {Read a Situation, 6} and Hammer’s not much help, either, having exhausted his bag of rhetorical tricks pretty quickly {Assist, Miss-5}.

The potentially volatile situation is broken up by a weird noise coming from the West, a combination of whining motors and rattling metal. A cloud of grit and trash swirling into the air before a large swarm of small vehicles signals the arrival of the Trolls.

The trolls have managed to take grocery arts and tack on some better wheels and pack the bottoms with fission batteries to produce rickety but efficient little go-carts. Up in her lab, Adele notices the commotion, and studies her camera feeds to try and understand who the carts are built {Open Your Brain, Hit-8} and immediately understands that what she needs to watch out for are the bundles of primitive explosives wired to the front of each cart.

Troll kart02

Jones reaches out with his powers {Direct Brain Whisper Projection, Hit-8} and manages to get a couple of them (there seem to be at least 2 dozen, closing fast) to swerve into each other hard, causing them to explode messily. Damson bolts into the Cabaret and grabs his psitol, and is back out in just seconds opening up on the advancing horde {Go Aggro, Hit-11} They are determined, though, and keep coming despite Damson taking out half a dozen of them as he empties his revolver.

Hammer hollers at his gang to start getting people out of the way and squints for a moment at the advancing gang, gauging how good their carts are {Read a Situation, Hit-9 (+1)=10}. A bit of residual psychic energy leaching off of Jones {Assist, Hit-8} allows his to see through the mob to the larger cart at its center, packed with several barrels of gasoline (the biggest threat). He also realizes they seem to be bearing down on Damson specifically (what to look out for) and that he’s probably got the best shot at getting all of them out of this in one piece (who’s in control). He hollers at Jones to “Use your Mojo!” as he moves to try and protect Damson.

Adele frantically searches for ways to short out the carts and attempts to blast them with water from the sprinkler system she’s working on {Go Aggro, Hit-7}. It’ll work, but it’ll mean she’ll have to re-pressurize the entire system {Cost: Lose 1 Tick off the Sprinkler Project Clock}. She blasts the mob, and another half dozen carts are incapacitated as they’re pressure-hosed, their drivers smashed into walls or electrocuted.

Jones just blasts out with a burst of psychic force {Go Aggro with Your Brain, Hit-11} and manages to send the incendiary cart careening into an unoccupied apartment building where it erupts in a huge fireball that immolates several of its fellows and starts that part of the block burning.

Damson snaps more rounds in and blasts away just as the carts close the distance {Go Aggro, Hit-8} and though he fells a couple more, is struck directly by one that makes it through the gauntlet. The initial shock does not blow him to bits {Take 2-Harm after armor and NTBFW} but he is hurled off his feet and smashed through the window of the cabaret by the force, where h lies dazed on the floor {Harm Roll, Miss-13}.

Hammer wheels around on his bike and races to reach Damson before another cart can smash into him {Act Under Fire, Hit-7} and ditches his bike in the path of the oncoming Troll rather than dodge and allow it continue through to explode in Ruby’s kitchen (currently occupied by a cowering Ruby). The bike takes the brunt of the big explosion, destroying it, and Hammer is pretty badly burned and has some shrapnel in his legs {2-Harm after Armor} but is able to get up and drag Damson away {Harm Roll, Miss-6}.

Upstairs, Adele has gotten a window open and reconfigured her Gravity Gun for a wide beam. Tuning it on full power, she engulfs the last few straggling carts as they close the final feet to the Cabaret {Seize by Force, Hit-7}. As their vehicles are flipped upside down and violently flung into the sky to disappear from sight, the few remaining Trolls flee down a manhole cover. Jones cautiously follows them to the edge of the hole, where he determines to his satisfaction {Read a Situation, Hit-8} that they are, in fact, fleeing {Enemy’s True Position}.

As the flames lick from the next block over and the Valks chase down the few Trolls who fled on foot, Damson fades in and out of consciousness, and the cleanup begins.

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Love Letters Pre-Session 4

Love Letters, Session 4: February 3, 2011:

It’s been three days since Damson and Hammer came up from under the bridge and the Crocs left Adele and Jones with a message. It’s been relatively quiet, mostly cleanup, maintenance, and dealing with the regular daily problems.

JONES: With some attention from Ruby and proper care, your leg has gone from a stabbing pain to a dull ache {Heal 1-harm}.

Your meeting with Absinthe goes quickly and smoothly. She’s waiting at the docks with half a dozen very attractive young women in provocative stylized costumes (you recognize one of Trout‘s ’hummingbirds’, Bright, among them), some of them masked. There is a large, sleek motor boat anchored at the end of the pier, with a couple of lean and very fit young men in very stereotypical ‘sailor’ outfits attending it: striped shirts, white hats, etc.

She tells you that she’s going to be opening a new ‘entertainment establishment’ Uptown where Fiddler’s Green once stood, and she’d like to employ you as a bouncer/scanner in a manner similar to what you do at the Sunset Cabaret. She understands you have other obligations to discharge, but promises the pay is excellent (she waggles the smart-phone), and that ‘use of the facilities’ comes with the position (and the girls titter, as if on cue). She tells you to show up at Fiddler’s Green in a week if you accept.

You go about your business until the Third Day, when you are visiting Tavi and she makes it clear she’d like to fuck again, and she definitely wants another of those drinks.

-If you refuse, she says she understands, and eventually sends you on your way. You’re pretty sure she won’t be asking you up to her room again, and Ruby gives you a surprised look as you leave.

-If you agree, she opens herself to you completely during the deed, and it’s clear she’s in love with you. You don’t have to ‘fall in love with her’, too, but the experience definitely means you’re carrying a little piece of her around with you: every time you act in her interest in a way that might run counter to your own from now on, you can mark experience, and you’re Acting Under Fire any time you take an action directly AGAINST her interests. From now on, take +1 on ANY interaction with Ruby, and increase your Hx with Damson by +1 as you learn tidbits about him through Tavi.

ADELE: You plug away at your projects and Oliver is particularly helpful in finding some resources you overlooked. Advance either of your project clocks 1 tick, and remind everyone what you did to get the job done.

Over the next couple of days, Ruby is your new best pal, bringing you lunch and inquiring after what it is you’re working on. She apologizes several times for her crazy behavior, and hopes that you’ll stay to keep everything working.

On Day Three, you’re out and about trying to scare up some parts you need when you turn a corner and run into one of the Crocs from a few days ago, the one who made the awkward pass at you, in fact. He’s dressed in an outsized men’s suit, a little long in the legs and a little short in the arms, but looking quite strikingly different than when he was done up in leathers at the Sunset. After convincing you that he means no harm, he introduces himself as Crille and says he was hoping to run into you in a little less tense of a situation. Saying he knows where you might find what you’re looking for, he asks if you might have lunch with him.

-If you refuse, he actually blushes and mumbles an apology for bothering you and heads off up the street in the direction of Uptown. You’re pretty sure he won’t be hassling you again. Your lead doesn’t pan out, and you go home empty-handed, but otherwise fine.

-If you take him up, he walks a couple blocks with you to the Deep Freeze, a diner that serves frozen meals scavenged from freezers around the city. He pays for your lunch with 4 tickets to the Zoo, and proves to be a nice enough but ill-educated fellow with a genetic gift of great size and strength. Ask ONE ‘Read a person’ question, and the MC will ask you one in turn, which Crille will now know the answer to.

When you finish, he points you at a building you hadn’t expected to find anything interesting in but lo and behold, it has an old piece of tech that’ll help! Mark Experience, Advance the OTHER project clock you didn’t advance before 1 tick, and take +1 forward on your next roll to Read a Croc or a charged situation with one or more involved. He heads back Uptown, whistling a tune you don’t recognize.

HAMMER: It’s a busy couple of days buttoning up the Bridge and keeping an eye out for Trolls. Stinky is more lucid than he’s been in a while, and Gnarly is keeping his yap shut and his head down. You don’t spot any trolls, though you do notice now that you’re actually looking it over, that the Rainbow Bridge is in rougher shape than you realized: the paint is covering bit rust spots, and some of the rivets have sheared off. The roadbed has definitely seen better days, too, the potholes are getting pretty epic.

On Day Three, three of Trout’s girls, Lala, Grace, and Heron, show up on the Bridge late in the evening and when they can’t find Snake Eyes, they come to you. They’re looking to score some of the pharmas the Valks have been known to bring back from raids, and offering payment by way of ‘Triple Overtime’.

-If you tell them to fuck off, they bitch at you and wander off to try and find Satan to see what he might have to offer. You’re pretty sure you won’t get a shot at that trifecta again any time soon, but no foul.

-If you Get the Party Started, they deliver the goods and it’s clear that Trout has a real eye for talent. You manage to keep up, but it’s close, and you finally kick them out just before dawn.

You really have no choice but to make good: Knock off 1-barter, but mark experience, take +1 forward to your next Pack Alpha roll, and take 1-hold forward. Spend it to have the girls show up looking for you anywhere that’s not the middle of a battle.

DAMSON: The window fits fine, and the Barber shop guys tell you the Crocs actually paid them for it, so with some help from a neighbor in the condos across the way who’s a handyman, you get it installed and everything is soon up and running again. Tavi seems to be feeling much better, you can hear her singing occasional snippets of pop songs from her room, and she’s taking food again. Ruby is a whirlwind of activity, cooking, cleaning, re-arranging her kitchen, and spending some of her saved-up barter on the local kids to bring her stuff for the pantry and freezers. She doesn’t hassle you at all, and doesn’t mention the incident with Lars. A couple days go by quickly and relatively packed with activity.

On Day Three, you’re out and about trading for some DVDs when you hear the roar of motorbikes and Juke and Loose pull up next to you and wolf-whistle and make a few crude remarks specifically in reference to both your ass and the direction in which you ‘dress’. They’re both obviously high, but in very good spirits, and specifically seeking you out for some Afternoon Delight.

They insist you haven’t done it until you’ve done it in motion, and invite you to ‘go for a ride’ with each of them’ in turn. They laugh and tell you they’ll hook you up with some pain meds for your singer because they have no use for downers.

-If you tip your hat and wish them a pleasant afternoon, they cuss at you and impugn your orientation before roaring off in the general direction of the Theater District. You are quite sure they’ll not proposition you again. You manage to acquire the DVDs in exchange for a couple of comp tickets to the Cabaret. Name the attendees, and return home.

-If you climb aboard, you experience intense and borderline-terrifying high-speed coitus with each of them as they drive and you ride in back. It’s quite invigorating, and they’re giddy and flushed when you finally pull up in an alley around the corner from the Sunset an hour or so later.

They both swear that was WAY better than they imagined it would be, and tell you to just ring the little bell on your bike if you ever want to do it again. Mark Experience, take +1 forward on your next roll with Tavi or Ruby for the pain meds they hand off, and take 1-hold forward. Spend it to have Juke and Loose show up anywhere their bikes can get to, including in a tense situation or a battle, looking for you.

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Session 3: Tumbles and Trolls

About a week has passed since we met Trout and his Hummingbirds and the Valkyries raided Workout Beach and killed a couple of Crocs.

The pre-session rolls started with Adele hitting her Bonefeel on 10+, so she has the option to appear where she’s needed and when at some point later in the evening, and takes +1 forward, which she’ll use on her Love Letter roll.

Love Letters:

Hammer decides to replace his wing-man Snake-Eyes, killed by Crocs last session, with the newest member of the gang, Satan. {Custom Move: Love Letter, Hit 10+}. After a week or so of the gang getting acclimated, everyone seems good with the choice, and there’s no big fight over whatever he used to do, probably because he’s the new guy.

Damson has to deal with the twins, Lars and Nils, trying to shoot up his place. {Custom Move: Love Letter, Hit 7-9}. They manage to get a few shots off before Damson darts up and punches Nils’ nose into his frontal lobe. The damage to the join is mostly cosmetic, but when the smoke clears, their singer Tavi is screaming on the lip of the stage, staring wide-eyed at the sizzling stump where her entire right leg used to be.

Jones is studying in his sanctum when the Tubes start to whine with the noise of an incoming capsule {Custom Move: Love Letter, Hit 7-9} and he is surprised to see another of the strange SPECTOR-logo capsules arrive. This one has surveillance photos similar to the ones he saw of Stinky and Goldie on the Rainbow Bridge, but show some sort of huge area filled with hundreds of tubes converging and crossing into large super-tech machines. The scattered bodies of workers in clean suits lie around the floors.

Adele has been working on her project to try and move water to the SPECTOR building sprinkler system {Custom Move: Love Letter, Hit 7-9} and she manages to use some anti-gravity lifters to move some of the tanks to the new building (She advances her Sprinkler Project clock by 1 tick), but accidentally reverses gravity on the cafe for a few seconds, resulting in a big mess that sends Ruby around the bend.

As the session opens, Ruby has had enough of Damson’s lenience with Adele. She’s upset that her window, broken over a week ago now, has not been replaced, and demands that Damson kick her out or at least get her to contribute more. Damson talks Ruby down {Move: Seduce or Manipulate, Hit 7-9}, in part by agreeing to go and speak to Adele RIGHT NOW.

Damson goes upstairs and he and Adele have a somewhat tense conversation; Damson requests that she help fix up the club and tread carefully around Ruby, or their arrangement may come to an end, while Adele reminds him that many of the Cafe’s amenities, including reliable electricity, are a result of her residence upstairs.

In the mysterious Inner Sanctum of Jones the Brainer, he is perusing old yearbooks when someone knocks on his door. He’s surprised because he takes care to see to it no one knows where he lives, but when he checks the peephole on his door, he sees a woman in a leather catsuit wearing a stylized mask that seems riveted to her face. She shows him an old smartphone, that still works and seems to have a large cache of Facebook data archived on it, hundreds of pictures of faces.

After a typically elaborate ruse to appear mysterious, he greets her and learns her name is Absinthe, and that she apparently represents some wealthy parties who have a job for Jones.

Jones approaches her and hugs her, trying to get insight into her thoughts {Move: Deep Brain Scan, Miss} blood explodes from the nose of her mask, and she immediately pulls a pistol and shoots Jones cleanly through the leg, perfectly placed to hobble him without crippling him permanently. She informs him that his skills are needed, so she won’t kill him this time, but if he does it ever again, she will. She tells Jones that if he’s interested in acquiring the pictures, he needs to meet her and her employers at a pier on the Oceanfront. She leaves, and Jones drags himself back to his room to patch himself up.

Meanwhile on the Rainbow Bridge, Gnarly has been shooting his mouth off about how it’s time for Hammer to finally do something about the Stinky problem, and goes so far as to get in Hammer’s face about it. Hammer cold-cocks him in the face {Move: Go Aggro, Hit 10+} and breaks his nose, causing him to blubber, blame T-Bone for putting him up to it, and forking over a taser that he found somewhere that he intended to use on Hammer.

Hammer decides to go see what Stinky is up to and heads up to the tower on top of the Bridge. Stinky is rally losing it, the blue paint is flaking off of him, he smells even worse than usual, and it looks like he hasn’t been eating lately. He rants at Hammer about ‘trolls’ he’s seen on the Bridge, and though Hammer is skeptical at first, {Move: Read a person: Hit 7-9, Is he Telling the Truth?} he realizes that though Stinky may be misinterpreting what he’s seen, he’s sure seen something, and it’s probably pretty alarming. He gets the gang to start looking for hatches, doors, any way inside the machinery of the Bridge.

It’s at this point that Damson arrives at the Bridge to talk to Hammer about the security situation at the Sunset, and walks into the middle of his ‘Troll Hunt’ prep. He agrees to accompany Hammer inside the Bridge.

Jones, meanwhile, decides to venture to the Sunset to consult with Damson, as he’s heard him mention the name ‘Absinthe’ before, if by ‘heard him mention’ you mean ‘read it from his mind while he was sleeping off a bender’ some time ago. It turns out he’s gone, but Adele is there, and Damson asks her for advice, but she’s unable to shed much light on who Absinthe might be, though she is intrigued when Damson mentions the lost tech she carried with her. It’s as this conversation is happening that half a dozen Croc gangers, several of them openly wearing Bane injectors show up asking, quite politely, to speak to Damson.

The Troll Hunters descend into the guts of one of the Towers, where the hydraulic machinery that raises and lowers the Bridge turns out to be grinding away to some other purpose. Hammer demands flashlight from one of the gang {Move, Fucking Thieves, Hit 7-9} but the best they can come up with an old bike strobe so Hammer makes do with that, the light flashing as they descend in stop-motion. After climbing down a ladder and into the dark, Hammer squints into the dark and concentrates hard on what a ‘Troll’ might look like {Move, Open Your Brain, Hit 7-9} and as the bright colors and thick lines of his Asgard-of-the-mind fill his vision, a small, scrawny being, yellow-skinned with bulbous, slitted eyes appears for a moment behind the spokes of a giant wheel off to one side.

Damson realizes that the wheel is actually periodically rotating, but hard to say exactly when because of the strobe. Not content to let the Troll just disappear, Damson times a few flashes and leaps through between rotations of the wheel {Move, Act Under Fire, Hit 10+}, followed by Hammer, who, alas, is just slightly less nimble {Move, Act Under Fire, Hit 7-9} and is forced to jam his crowbar into the wheel to keep from being squashed. Damson strips to his civvies and leaves his suit nearly folded over a handrail as they follow the creature into a crawlspace and eventually deeper into the guts of th Tower.

At the Sunset, Jones decides to take matters into his own hands and hurls one of his sickles at one of the Crocs. {Move, Go Aggro, Hit 7-9, (Back off calmly)} The one who is hit seems confused by the wound and the others state simply that now that there’s been a disagreement with the Valkyries, they expect that the Valkyries will no longer be allowed in the Sunset, and that they’ll be watching to make sure. Adele notices how they treat Jones with somewhat baffling deference, and seem to have some fannish appreciation of the weird mysticism he likes to spout. {Move, Read a Situation, hit 7-9 (“Who’s in control here?)} She suggests that they help fix her window if they’re really sincere about not meaning nay harm, so they set off to find her some plate glass {Move, Seduce or Manipulate, Hit 7-9} and promises to tell both Damson AND Hammer about their request.

Ruby, exhausted and wild-eyed, emerges from the kitchen immediately after they’ve left and runs at Adele, screaming abuse and accusations and demanding she leave for bringing so much trouble to her place. Jones manages to get ahold of her {Move, Sieze by Force, Hit 10+} and force her to drop the kitchen knife she was wildly flailing. Adele stops listening for a moment and tries to break the situation down into a schematic she can actually get a grip on {Move, Open Your Brain, Hit 10+} and as the bar and Jones and Ruby’s body all dissolve into wire-frame design schematics, she sees plain as day the embryonic neural net inside Ruby’s guts. Adele looks Ruby in the eye and simply says, sincerely, “Congratulations.” {Move, Seduce or Manipulate, Hit 10+} Ruby breaks down and apologizes, explaining how scared she is right now and telling Adele that she is welcome to stay if she swears to keep secret that she doesn’t know if the baby is Damson’s or Lars’.

Under the Bridge, Damson and Hammer have descended down through ducts and ladders to find a storeroom where the noise of the machinery is nearly deafening and there is actually some few inches of standing water at their feet. Damson puts a hand to the steel to feel for vibrations and listens closely as he concentrates {Move, Open Your Brain, Miss}. He sees himself and Hammer, for only a few grainy black and white seconds, before a title card reading “And then the LIGHTS WENT OUT!” appear as the strobe flickers out. Feeling their way around the room, they manage to find a storage locker with a flare gun and 3 flares. Feeling their way to the door, they open it to a tremendous din of grinding machinery and clanging metal. Hammer readies his .44 and they both close their eyes as Damson fires a flare into the room.

A grating scream that sounds like fingernails being dragged over a blackboard immediately goes up as they merge into a large room where the heavy gears and chains once used to raise and lower the bridge have been re purposed to stamp sheet metal into crude weapons: axes, sword blades, hammers, attached to broom and shovel handles, maybe a few baseball bats. There are some 4 or 5 dozen ‘trolls’ here, working assembly-line fashion among haphazard piles of the weapons overseen by what looks to be a squat and blading old man in an old municipal worker’s jumpsuit wearing some kind of super-tech visor or goggles. He immediately flees through a door behind him as a couple of the trolls next to him pull down dark goggles and hurl themselves at Hammer and Damson.

TrollTroll

Hammer unloads his pistol into the thickest part of the crowd to try and clear a hole for Damson {Move, Go Aggro, Hit 7-9, (Barricade themselves firmly in)} causing most of them to dive behind machinery or huddle against the walls to get out of the way. Damson hurls himself through the scrum towards the Trolls’ supervisor and tries to catch him before he gets through the door {Move, Act Under Fire, Miss} only to have the door slammed shut behind him by one of the creatures as soon as he’s through, plunging him into darkness.

Hammer gets up the ladder and slams hard into the door {Move, Go Aggro, Hit 10+} and is rewarded with the crunch of rusty old hinges and the shattered glass sound of the troll menacing Damson being crushed by the door. Using another precious flare, the duo manage to spy the razor wire that has been hastily pulled across the corridor at ankle level and avoid it. Emerging into an ancient control room with several possible exits {Move, Read a Situation, Hit 7-9 (Where’s my Best Escape Route?)}, they elect to climb the access ladder to a hatch in the Tower to get out.

At the Sunset, Ruby tells Jones that in all the craziness she forgot that Tavi has been asking after him. She survived getting her leg burned off, but has been deeply depressed and seems to have lost any interest in music. Jones visit her and she immediately brightens, saying she was worried that no one would even want to look at her any more with her injury. Jones offers her drugs to help with her pain that he mixes into the drink Ruby has gone to great trouble to prepare for her (which he refers to as a ‘Roofie Lahsi’) and she happily invites him into her bed, saying that she never would have been able to had the disaster not burned away her fear. Jones cannot help but see into her mind as they join {Sex Move, (As Deep Brain Scan), Hit 7-9, (Gain 1 Hold+1 for Receptivity Drugs)}. He sees that she is vulnerable because of her infatuation with him, and that she lives for the approval of crowds; if she can’t get it by dancing, she’ll probably try some other way… Jones resolves to try and help her and asks Adele if it’s possible to create a new leg, which she readily agrees to try.

Outside, the Crocs return with a large, carefully-cut plate glass window with ’Smutty’s Barber Shop’ emblazoned across it and tell Ruby they’ve negotiated with the barbers for her to have it. Jones’ sickle remains embedded in the arm of one of them and he appears to be annoyed, but bears it. Another Croc proposes a date to Adele (she politely declines) before they leave, satisfied that she’ll pass on their warning.

Hammer and Damson emerge from the bridge halfway up the Near Tower, Hammer with a dead Troll tucked under his arm, as he promised Stinky. Hammer demands a ladder of some kind {Move, Fucking Thieves, Hit 7-9} but all one can come up with a gun that shoots a bat-shaped grapple attached to a line up towards them. Hammer tries to slide down it {Move, Act Under Fire, Miss}, but he’s too heavy and crashes to the deck of the bridge {2-Harm, negated by armor; Harm Move, Miss)}. Damson elects to simply clamber down the side {Move, Act Under Fire, Hit 10+} and alights, mostly naked, to the vocal appreciation of Juke and Loose, two of Hammer’s more voracious/voluptuous Valkyries. He descends briefly back down to retrieve his suit before Hammer has the hatch locked and then demands that every opening they can find be sealed.

Drafting Bullet, Dice, Shit Head, Juke, and Satan, he mounts up and rolls over to the Sunset to get Adele to look at the dead Troll, already starting to decay upon exposure to sunlight with a sulfurous rotten-egg stench. Adele takes a few moments to handle the body and examine it with her various esoteric super-tech sensors {Move, Things Speak, Hit 10+ (What has been done most recently with this, What words have been said near this, Who made this?)} and sees the creature being born out of a super-tech looking vat of molten goop of some sort from the chopped-up and broken bits of other similar creatures, stirred about until it coalesces and emerges, gasping and fully formed, to be put immediately to work. She sees a crisp heat-outline of the squat little man, ranting about having found his birthright after decades of searching and how he’ll achieve what his grandfather never could when the world was full, thanks to his new army.

Damson, sensing that people are acting a little odd even under the circumstances, studies Adele’s body language {Move, Read a Person, Hit 7-9 (What’s Your Character Really Feeling?)} and, even as Ruby shares her news with everyone, quietly understands what she’s leaving out…

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Love Letters Pre-Session 3

Dear MC,

That was crazy the way Hammer and the gang went after the Crocs like that! I knew they were itching for a fight, and that the Crocs were tough, but I definitely did not see what happened to Snake-Eyes coming! Bright and her girlfriends are going to be pretty pissed, but I think Hammer made the right call. I want to see Domino’s feelings for Hammer (that flashback scene was pretty cool, I loved the art on Trout’s Hocus ability!) play out, that should make for some intense stuff.

So, anyway, my brother and I were arguing about this: Next issue, what’s Hammer gonna do about replacing Snake Eyes? I mean he’s gotta have another second, right, or they can’t do that cool ‘flying wedge’ thing you see on all the splash pages.

Ride On!
Valkfan07
-———————————

Hey There, Valkfan!

Let’s just say only Hammer knows how he’s gonna decide, but whichever way he does, someone’s not gonna be happy! In fact, since you ask nice, and we’re dying to know as bad as you, we’ll give you a sneak preview of next issue:

Hammer is going to name a new Wingman and then roll +Hard. After a week or so,

On a 10+, they’re good at the job, Domino’s OK with them, and there’s no big fight over THEIR old job.
On a 7-9, he can pick 2.
On a Miss, well… pick ONE and hope for the best!

Excelsior!
-MC

Dear MC,

As a girl in High School who reads comics, I just wanted to write and tell you how much I like the character of Adele. It hit really close to home when she was being bullied by Trout’s Hummingbirds and it was nice to see Domino stand up for her, too! I love Oliver, her little lizard-bot, and was wondering if you have any plans to make any little toys or plushies of him? I’d love one of my own! I’m really looking forward to figuring out who ‘Eliza’ is, and I have a couple of ideas, but I also don’t want to spoil the surprise, so please don’t say anything else about it!

I’m working on a big science project myself right now (I’m taking just a quick break to send this e-mail!), so I totally understand how worried she is about all the work she’ll need to do to get the Sprinklers in the S.P.E.C.T.O.R. building working again. Could she somehow use the plumbing that already connects the buildings to move the water around? That sure seems like it’d be easier than moving the water itself, but I’m not sure how all the buildings are connected, so if it’s not a good idea, then I am sure she’ll think of something else.

I have included a picture of my Adele cosplay costume from LocalCon 2010. I got second prize! You can put it on the web site if you want.

I’m Gonna Do Science On It!
xxxooo
-Smartchixrule24


Hey There, Smartchick!

Trust me, we were as worried as you when we saw Adele surrounded by all those sleazy tramps, but that’s nothing compared to what’s coming in the next couple of issues! She’s a tough cookie, though, so we expect she’ll get by like she always does: with her considerable wits and a little help from her friends.

Since you asked so nicely, we won’t reveal any spoilers about that Oliver/Eliza business, but we can tell you that next issue, Adele will be hip-deep (literally) in her S.P.E.C.T.O.R. sprinkler project!

Expect to see her describe an idea she has for starting to gather all that water, then roll +Sharp!

On a 10+, her plan works and she can tick off 2 segments on the Project Clock, with no complications!
On a 7-9, her plan works and she can tick off 1 segment on the clock, but there’s a complication, her pick: she’s gotta pay someone (1 barter), she pisses someone off, or she busts up some of her gear (take -1forward on her first couple of workshop-related rolls)
On a Miss, Dislike!: She can mark a tick on the clock with 2 complications, or skip it for just 1, MC’s choice either way.

She’s a smart cookie herself, but we like your idea so much, that if she uses it next issue, we’ll make sure she marks experience!

Excelsior!

-MC

Yo, MC-

I used to think Damson was the mutchafuckin’ shit, yo, but what’s up with that dancing and shit with Ruby? Muthafucka gone all domestic and shit on us now? You best be settin’ him up for some kinda Ruby-gets-capped-and-he-goes-all-crazy-shit or we’re gonna fuckin’ DDSA your shitty Forums as a way of saying ‘Fuck You’ for making him into such a fuckin’ pussy. Shit, at least have him go fuck up Nils, that faggot got it coming.

-xxx69SeriouslyFuckNils69xxx


Hey There, Seriously!

Your colorful vernacular not withstanding, we were just as surprised as you to see Damson jump into the sack with Ruby. Don’t worry, we don’t think he’s lost his edge, and we’re pretty sure that even a tough consumer like yourself will enjoy the drama coming up. Don’t worry, there will almost certainly be gratuitous violence!

As for Nils, you’ll see him just next issue when he stops by the Sunset about a week later with his brother Lars, both totally fuckin’ whacked on something, with a couple of blaster rifles they dug up from some science villain’s stash, during movie night when the place is about half full.

Damson is on top of things, as always, and rolls +Cool (because he’s Ice Cold, bitches!).

On a 10+, he manages to fuck them both up in the manner of his choosing before they hurt anyone badly and do more than cosmetic damage to the place.
On a 7-9, he fucks one of them up in a manner of his choosing, but the other gets away, though not before he manages to do some damage: Damson’s Choice: Tavi gets one of her legs burned off just below the hip (she’ll never dance again!), the A/V setup is slagged, or Kobe, the Zookeeper’s 12 year-old nephew, gets vaporized right in front of his mother Katherine (the Zookeeper’s sister) and 6 year-old sister Marlene.
On a Miss, he fucks one of them up in the manner of his choosing and the MC picks TWO, or they BOTH get away and the MC picks ONE.

Excelsior!
-MC

Dear MC-

The Decimation City saga got off to an auspicious start, as I was happy to relate in my blog review regarding the leaked advance copy of #1. Alas, the arrival on the Torrents of #2 did not rise to its level even remotely. I must protest your decision to publish an entire issue that did not contain a single appearance by ‘Jones the Brainer’, by far the most interesting and mysterious character in the Decimation City canon. The predictable thuggery of Hammer (the “Chopper”), the shallowness of the pretty boy Damson (the “Battlebabe”, ugh), and the blatant demographic pandering to the ‘smartchix’ set personified by Adele (The “Savvyhead”) all made it difficult to recommend the book to the other fans in my newsgroup, but the breath of fresh air provided by the Jones character, clearly an outsider in this world of petty emotional ties, was sufficient to push the First Issue to the top of my widely-distributed ‘Must Download’ list. The mysterious quest he finds himself on, to learn his true purpose, and divine the true measure of his strange powers, is the stuff of legend, and I sincerely hope that you will get the title back on track by spending some time exploring that epic quest! I strongly suggest a spin-off limited series featuring Jones, perhaps teamed up with Bright, as they search for the successor who covets Jones’ Brainer powers.

Excelsior to you, sirs!

ThereCanBeOnlyOneComixAuthority


Hey There, Onlyone!

We always appreciate the kind words of the Comics Blogopshere, but don’t be too harsh on us! Issue #2 was just so packed with Total Decimation that Mr. Jones had to step to the side so we could meet Lord John the Trout and his bevy of beautiful babes, who we can’t help but notice made an impression when you mentioned possible guest-stars for a Jone spotlight…

Worry, not, though, Dedicated Decimation-ite! Your fervent prayers will receive an answer in the return of Jones the Brainer in Issue #3! What’s he been up to? Well, insider that you are, you’ll probably have already read this month’s pulse-pounding Weird Tale before this lettercol sees print, but just in case, here’s a few mysterious clues for you to try and piece together…

Jones has been Taking In The Pictures and going about his generally spooky business for a couple of weeks now, and he’s stumbled onto a few clues! What messages have dropped into the tube in his Sancum Santorum? He’ll need to invoke +Weird to find out!

On a 10+, 3 notes come shooting out of the Tubes during his time sequestered. They’re surveillance photos like the ones of Goldie and Stinky, and are labelled. The MC will describe them.
On a 7-9, 1 note comes shooting out of the Tubes, he’ll pick it at random.
On a Miss, he randomly picks his note AND which one goes to… someone else!

In any event, if he acts on info from any of them next issue, he gets to mark an experience circle, so everybody wins!

Excelsior right back atcha!
-MC

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