Crosstime

The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Rise of Rasputin

As the trio continues along the road towards Tunguska and the eerie green glow of a Dahakan Cult summoning ritual, they find they have several hours to use to talk, prepare technology or magic, or question Kulik.

hydingjekyll
I meant with the rifles! Give me that!” Dermot hastily snatches his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device away from his fellow scientist. “All right, Kulik, it looks like we have some time for you to tell us why you were at that camp and whether our escape just now matched what you remember.

GM
Upon hearing Dermot’s question, Kulik affects the look of benign confusion that Dermot and Willoughby already know well. “Didn’t I say why I was in the camp? It’s because I spoke about what I saw, about the dragon and the mad monk. A lot of people thought I was insane, and they supposedly placed m in the camp for my own protection—but there were whispers that a highly-placed member of the KGB knew I was talking sense, and wanted to shut me up.” He gestured behind them at the flaming wreck. “I imagine that was him.

Dermot tries desperately to maintain his patience with the flighty mineralogist. “What about the escape? I want to know if the future you remember can be altered.

Kulik screws up his face in concentration. “I think it all went the way I remember. Except maybe the goat. I thought we hit the goat.” Off Dermot’s expression, he adds “But I might have been mistaken. It was fuzzy.

Dermot glances over at Willoughby, wondering if the mystic will put his own two cents in—partly hoping he will, partly hoping he won’t.

smilesriles
Time bends and shapes around people who have been exposed to powerful magical forces. You know, Dermot, time is not a simple linear line, but rather stream full of ripples, eddies and strange confluences. Willoughby delivers this solemn sermon with just the barest hint of smile to let Dermot know he is deliberately teasing him.

Tell us about the Dragon and the mad monk. Spell out what you saw and I might be able to reconnect the dots, and in doing so, help ease the confusion you feel. Soothe the constant rattling of thoughts and return your mind to a safe space.

GM
Willoughby’s soft, soothing voice and a gentle light from the Orb of Daevas twirling in the Englishman’s hand guide Kulik into a deep state of hypnosis. His eyes flutter and he leans back, ready to pass back into his muddled memories [Mysteries Fantastic ( +6) vs. hidden].

I know that Rasputin died, more than a decade ago. But I saw him. Rising. From the grave? Into godhood? I don’t know. And I saw the men with dragon tattoos, working with his disciples. The fox woman made a machine, and the dragon men added their demonic energies to it, so it was more powerful than either a machine or a spell on its own. And a crack opened in the ground—” Kulik grows pale, staring, and screams in horror. Willoughby quickly snaps his fingers, bringing the scientist back from his trance, but he is unable to convince Kulik to return to his terrible memories.

He turns to Dermot. “What do you think? Do we have some idea of what we’re up against?

hydingjekyll
The ‘fox lady’ is clearly the obnoxious Ms. Vivanda Renard. The men with the dragon tattoos—this would be your Cult of Doohickey, I imagine? It appears that the two of them are working together, combining Vivanda’s scientific knowledge (such as it is) with a new sort of technology with which Kulik here is unfamiliar, to achieve unprecedented results. Kulik says he saw Rasputin rise, most likely a moving picture recording of the sort that Edison developed, but I wouldn’t rule out a simple hoax—or I could even consider some manipulation of the space/time continuum, if I could see the machinery used. Whether the crack in the ground refers to the Tunguska incident itself, or happened later through some mishap of their machinery or intentional destruction (which would be a fascinating advancement in geological manipulation), remains to be seen. But this new technology he’s speaking of sounds quite interesting; I do hope we’re able to study it once this whole nonsensical business is over with. Anything that could provide any enhancement to the rudimentary technological knowledge of Renard is definitively worth—Ah, Christ, Willoughby, can you make him snap out of it? He’s drooling on himself, and he’s not even had a drink!

GM
Willoughby snaps his fingers, and Kulik returns to reality (or at least, as close as he comes). He asks “What happened? Did I remember something?” and it takes Willoughby the better part of ten minutes to explain his own memories to the man.

During the next several hours, tensions rise in Dermot and Willoughby, as they watch the green glow coming from Tunguska steadily rise in intensity. However, they take this time to rest as much as possible, trying to relax themselves however they can (in Dermot’s case, without becoming too drunk to function) [Fate Points restored, Dermot has another use of “Universal Gadget”].

As they approach the site, the blasted, necrotic trees surrounding them feel like Rasputin’s fingers, reaching into their souls. The air crackles with static electricity (Dermot wondering how this will affect the working of his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device), but their hair is already standing on end. Before too long, a small collection of tents comes into view, and they realize they’ve arrived.

Excellent, we have an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, before the ritual is finished,” says Willoughby, breathing a sigh of relief.

But that timing is for an ordinary ritual, isn’t it, Willoughby?” asks Dermot. “The necessary time could shift significantly with the addition of science to your superstition, couldn’t it?

This realization sobers Willoughby, and the two men adopt a grim expression as they stop the truck and slowly approach the tents. “Now, we don’t want to cause a paradox and tear the time/space continuum, so you have to come with us, Kulik,” says Dermot. “But stay back, and stay quiet.

The trio stands near the camp, eyes narrowed and tensions high, as they consider their next move.

smilesriles
Dermot, I could take a sweep by the camp from the air, see what I can see. It will be dangerous, I don’t know what sort of magical lookout . . . erm . . . um” He glances at Dermot awkwardly, “Radar they have that might warn them but I bet I could get some idea. Alternately, we could just move stealthily by the ground and see if we can get close enough to get inside those tents. See what they have and how many people are there.” He pauses for a moment, thinking. “Alright, that’s all the plan I’ve got. Do you have any ideas?

hydingjekyll
Aside from disguising Mr. Kulik as the Bear?” Dermot smirks. “Hmmm. Perhaps you could throw something into their ritual, if you see where they’re holding it, and distract them. Hmm, I knew I should have packed more grenades. Bollocks. Anyway, perhaps you could disrupt their little party from overhead and then fly away in the opposite direction that we’ll be coming from to try to lead them away from us as we approach. How fast does that fascinating belt of yours allow you to fly? If that doesn’t work, I could rig this truck to drive into their little gathering and draw their attention. Perhaps through the opposite side of their site, while we sneak in a different way? I could make sure the gas tank exploded when the truck crashed. Or could we simply …” Dermot trails off in a cloud of musings.

smilesriles
Alright. I will fly overhead. If they are heavily guarded, I will draw them off to the North. You then go in and use whatever explosives stuff you can manage to disrupt the ceremony. If they aren’t heavily guarded, I will send you a signal, then try to disrupt it myself. You come in all guns blazing when you get the signal.” Willoughby checks his sleeves for the ground sulpher and powdered iron that is necessary for his “Blossoms of Spring” grand finale for his stage show. Then, with a swirl of his cloak, he silently glides up and towards the camp.

GM
THE WRAITH floats into the air, dark smoke sweeping up and around him, cloaking him from view against the dim twilight. He rushes up into the air and over the camp, stopping above the central ritual. In the dim light, it is difficult to see everything, but THE WRAITH spots at least a half-dozen cultists chanting, surrounding Vivanda Renard, who works at a strange machine. Next to the machine is a great, sickly green glowing light, provoking both dizzying blindness and violent nausea. Above the ceremony, THE WRAITH holds in his cloud of darkness, confident in his hidden nature [Stealth Fantastic ( +6) vs. Alertness Great ( +4)].

THE WRAITH looks down at the chanting cultists and considers the best way to disrupt the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Dermot focuses his goggles to attempt a telescopic view of the goings-on, catching only a few glimpses here and there next to the dizzying green light. He thinks for a moment before deciding which of his technological advantages to bring to the fore in the upcoming battle.

Kulik stands nervously and mutters "%{color:purple}It is Dr. Kulik, actually. I may not be a two-fisted hero, but I spent too many years in school to be known as “Mr.”%"

smilesriles
THE WRAITH lets loose a keening wail [Intimidation] and swoops down, circling the platform swiftly low to the ground. He turns, and mashes his arms together as blue fireworks explode up into the sky above the ceremony. With another wail, he flies to the north, trying to draw off the cultists.

hydingjekyll
Ah, fair enough,” McDanneher nods as a pulls a small spool of wire from his belt and starts looping the wire around the gas pedal and steering wheel of the truck. “As one scientist to another, I can appreciate a man’s insistence on proper address.” He slings one of the rifles from the back of the truck over his shoulder, making sure it’s loaded, then calibrates the steering wheel to drive in a slight curve through the pillars and directly into Vivanda Renard’s device. [Science (physics and geometry) or Drive] He waits to see how THE WRAITH’s distraction works, then pulls the wire to drag the gas pedal down and send the truck crashing into the ritual site.

GM
THE WRAITH shrieks above the cultists, and his unearthly wail combined with the already terrifying circumstances overwhelm the cultists [Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Average ( +1) (3 Cultists), Mediocre ( +0) (2 Cultists]. However, Renard is made of tougher stuff, as her faith in Rasputin is unwavering [Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Fair ( +2), Renard invokes Belief in the Apocalypse for +2, Great ( +4) vs. Great ( +4), fails with 0 shifts], and she shouts “You! Stand your ground! You! After him!” Following her commands, though still shaken [-1 to actions for one round], a trio of cultists follow THE WRAITH to the north, while another two stay and continue chanting.

Seeing this partial success on the part of his friend, Dermot readies the truck and sets it going. The truck barges up the slight incline, roaring. Unfortunately, Dermot failed to take into account the bumpy ground of the Tunguska site, and the truck swerves to the right, avoiding Renard’s machine and vanishing into the green light with a flash [Drive, modified +1 by Science = Fair ( +2) vs. Good ( +4), failure].

The initiative is now as follows:
THE WRAITH
Vivanda Renard
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot
3 Good Cultists
[Round 2]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
THE WRAITH fills the air with a dark smoke and in the confusion doubles back towards the ritual. He swoops in, low and fast, towards Renard.
I’ve seen the apocalypse, and it’s not happening tonight. I will fight the Cult of Dahaka till my dying breath, and beyond.” The Orb of Daevas, recognizing its demonic foe, glows brightly, powering THE WRAITH like a dark leathery bullet, crashing towards Renard.

[Invoke “Orb of Daevas” aspect to smash into Renard]

GM
THE WRAITH flies from the air like the fist of God, striking Renard in the chest. They tumble to the ground together, trading blows back and forth. However, THE WRAITH had the advantage from the start, as the more skilled combatant and utilizing his initial height advantage well, and he lands a solid punch to Renard’s right eye. She staggers back, blinded and in pain, cursing in French [Fists +1 (-1 for moving 1 zone, +1 for Mysteries assist) = Average ( +1), invokes Orb of Daevas for +2 = Good ( +3) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0), succeeds for 3-shift damage. Renard takes the Mild Consequence: Black Eye to take it down to 1-shift damage]. THE WRAITH finally sets down on the blasted ground and shifts into an Eastern martial arts stance, lit by the pulsing green glow.

[OOC: Since this is the first time we’ve had to use Consequences, I’ll remind you how they work. When your last stress box is filled, you are Taken Out. To avoid this, you can take Mild, Moderate, or Severe Consequences to downgrade the damage. A Mild consequence shifts it -2, Moderate -4, Severe -6. A Consequence is a new Aspect, able to be compelled, tagged, or (theoretically) invoked. Example: Renard now has a Black Eye. Next round, THE WRAITH could spend one Fate Point to tag the Black Eye, giving himself a +2 or her a -2 (comes out the same) to an attack coming from the side she can’t see well on, unless she pays a Fate Point to avoid the tag. On the other hand, tagging means that if she does take the tag, she gets THE WRAITH’s Fate Point, just like a Compel.]

The cultist standing guard follows the path of the rampaging truck and spies Dermot. With a roar, he runs at the Irishman, a long curved dagger raised above his head. However, his long path gives Dermot more than enough time to prepare, and he easily ducks and spins out of the way of the charging cultist [Weapons Average ( +1), -2 for traveling 2 zones = Poor (-1) vs Average ( +1), Dermot defends with 2 shifts].

Dermot looks back and forth between the cultist and his archenemy Renard, indecision wracking his brain [Compelling Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard. If Dermot takes the Fate Point, he must attack Renard and ignore the attacking cultist, the machine, etc. If he spends a Fate Point, he can act as he wishes].

Dermot [Full Stress, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 2]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Full Stress, 6 Fate Points (if you fill up your Aspects, I’ll give you those last 3 Fate Points)]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye]
1 Fair Cultist

[Maps to come once Photobucket returns to normal service]

hydingjekyll
Dermot spins away from the cultist and directly toward Renard, treating the cultist’s knife as just another obstacle. “Damn it, Willoughby, you know better than to strike a lady! And since there aren’t any present, I’ll remind you not to steal my fight with someone who made a laughingstock of my work!” He unslings his Non-Fatal Electric-Discharge Device and unleashes a blast at Renard. He dearly hopes he doesn’t damage the machine—it would be a shame to damage a new device he hasn’t seen before—but his vendetta against Renard and a fleeting feeling of self-preservation mostly just make him aim for her. [Guns, invoke Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard to augment roll]

GM
Dermot attempts to spin out of the way of the cultist’s fearsome knife, but turns the wrong way, and suffers a terrible raking gash along his left side as he pulls away [Cultist: Weapons Fair ( +2) vs. Dermot: Fists Mediocre ( +0), -2 from three actions (defend/move/guns) = -2 (Terrible), cultist succeeds with 4-shifts. Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage].

However, he quickly pulls up his weapon and fires, sending lightning crashing into Vivanda Renard. She shrieks, touching the charred circle on her torso, where smoking cloth has fused with burnt flesh [Guns Legendary ( +6), -2 for actions, +2 for invoking Scientific Rival), vs. Athletics Good ( +3), succeeds with 3-shift hit.]

The trio of cultists rush back into the fray, attacking THE WRAITH with their terrifying knives [Cultists: Fists Superb ( +5) vs. THE WRAITH: Fists Fair ( +2), succeeds for 3-shift hit.]

The two chanting cultists continue their ritual, and THE WRAITH realizes that at this rate, it will be mere minutes [5 rounds] until the ritual is complete.

THE WRAITH glances around at the injured Renard, the trio of screaming cultists, and the chanters, not to mention the glow that is beginning to look like a hole in the world. He thinks quickly as to which action to take.

THE WRAITH [THE WRAITH may either take a 3-shift hit (1 2 X 4 5) or take a Mild Consequence and 1-shift (X 2 3 4 5), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 9 Fate points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot [Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 3]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
Clutching the gash at his left side [Mild Consequence], THE WRAITH is filled with desperation. He must stop this horrible ritual. Muttering an incantation to the “Golden Oasis of the Daevas”, he attempts to summon jets of water from his hands towards the strange device on the platform. [Mysteries].

GM
Chanting strange words in a variety of ancient tongues, THE WRAITH invokes the Daevas of old. A fountain of water springs from nowhere, bursting forth cool, clear freshwater. The jet of water strikes the strange machine, and THE WRAITH hears the popping sound of exploding vacuum tubes. The machine goes dark. However, the mystic sigils inscribed on the machine light up, rerouting power or something else technological, and the device returns to full power. Or is it? Listening, THE WRAITH figures that the machine is still functioning, but not at full efficiency [Mysteries Beyond Legendary ( +9) vs. Science Epic ( +6), 3-shift hit].

Renard pulls a small pistol from her belt and fires at the distracted WRAITH, aiming for his weaker side where he was recently injured [tags Nasty Gash, spends a Fate Point, THE WRAITH gains a Fate Point]. Unfortunately, THE WRAITH is still aware of her, and easily ducks out of the way of the clumsy gunfighter [Guns Fair ( +2), tag to reroll, Guns Good ( +3) vs. Fists Great ( +4), fails by 1 shift].

The cultist who had so recently attacked Dermot follows after him, continuing to wail imposingly. He swings his knife wildly, but Dermot’s bar-brawling experience and the cultist’s winded state combine to let Dermot knock the knife away with relative ease [Weapons Fair ( +2), -1 for move = Average ( +1) vs. Fists Fair ( +2)].

Dermot [Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 3]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist

hydingjekyll
Don’t damage the machine! Just turn it off! It looks interes— Ow! Damn it!” [Dermot takes the damage] While Renard seems to be embarrassing herself more than threatening anything, the knife-wielding cultist is making himself something of a nuisance. Dermot brings his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device to bear and gives the cultist the shock of his life. [Guns]

[By the way, what about the damage that Dermot took during the escape from the prison camp? Is it assumed that he got the bullet out of his hip and bandaged everything up after the Bear exited?]

GM
Dermot turns on the cultist and pulls the trigger on his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. Electricity arcs through the air at the startled man, and he takes a large bolt right in the chest. He falls to the ground, twitching and sizzling, as Dermot turns back towards Renard and the rest of the scene [Guns Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), 4-shift hit, Cultist is Taken Out].

[OOC: Yes, all stress is assumed to get patched up between scenes, as do Mild Consequences. Moderate and Severe consequences last longer, and require bed rest or medical care to get rid of.]

Up near the machine, the trio of cultists surround THE WRAITH, striking again. However, the trained martial artist spins, ducks, and avoids their knives—but one near-miss slices through his coat sleeve [Weapons Good ( +3) vs. Fists Good ( +3, THE WRAITH defends by 0 shifts].

As the two chanting cultists take up their wail again, THE WRAITH realizes that things are rapidly coming to a head [4 rounds till summoning].

THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 4]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
Enough of this, you poor deluded fools. Its time to end this. I have an apocalypse to avert.” Grabbing one of the cultists, THE WRAITH does a judo throw, pivoting him into one of his fellow worshippers. While those two are entangled, he gives an flying Kung-Fu kick at the third cultist. [travelled to the East and Back]

GM
THE WRAITH mows through the cultists, leaving two lying on the ground in seconds, and with the third in a judo hold [Fists Fair (+2), invokes Traveled to the East and Back for reroll, Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), 4-shift hit. Cultists are Taken Out]. Hearing a “click” from behind him, THE WRAITH spins and uses the last cultist as a human shield as Renard fires two rounds at him [Guns Great [ +4] vs. Fists Superb [ +6], THE WRAITH defends with 2 shifts].

Dermot prepares to fire again, but unfortunately spots a trio of cultist scouts, attracted by the sounds of fighting, approaching from the west. “Oi! Willoughby! More blighters approaching!

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)
[Round 4]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
The two chanting cultists may be augmenting the machine’s functioning with the resonance of their voices, or it could be that they’re simply bolstering Renard’s misplaced faith in her “magic,” or it could be that they’re simply close enough to threaten Willoughby; whatever the case, Dermot sprints forward several yards, stops, and gives them a blast from the Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. [Guns, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles] “Enough o’ that! Ye sound like Englishmen drunk on American beer!

GM
Dermot’s shouted insult distracts the cultists for a moment, and then his electric gun finishes the job. A slight mis-aim results in one cultist’s robe catching on fire instead of the intended electrocution, and he falls into his compatriot while attempting to beat out the flames. Unfortunately for them, the flames spread to the other cultist’s robes, and soon the two men are engulfed in fire. Screaming, they run rampant—and one runs directly into the pulsing green light, his scream abruptly cutting off as he vanishes. The other falls to the ground, smoking [Guns Good ( +3), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for re-roll, Great ( +4) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0), 4-shift hit, Cultists are Taken Out].

The trio of scout cultists approach—and, recognizing the modern-day Icarus that is THE WRAITH, snatch up one of the smaller tents as they approach, intent on trapping the Englishman. They approach, just out of his reach [1 zone away, within shooting range but THE WRAITH would have to move there], and toss the tent into the air like a giant gladiator’s net. However, the tent is not designed for this, and THE WRAITH is an agile man—these two characteristics combine to leave the tent settling harmlessly on the blasted ground near THE WRAITH [Athletics Fair ( +2) vs. Fists Great ( +4), THE WRAITH defends with 2 shifts].

THE WRAITH eyes the pulsing green light and realizes that the ritual has slowed somewhat because of the cultists’ non-interference, but that the summoning is nonetheless still coming soon [4 rounds until summoning].

[Round 4]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 9 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 9 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)

smilesriles
THE WRAITH scrambles over to the Magic machine and quickly surveys the machine. “Horatio’s cufflinks! How the hell do you pull the plug?!” [Not sure what skill is apt here, your call]

GM
THE WRAITH observes the machine, and the mechanisms addle his old-fashioned mind [Science Poor (-1) vs. Great ( +4) — but, focusing in on the mystical portions of the device … he still stands in utter bewilderment, as the mechanics interface and interfere with the magical energies [Mysteries Good ( +3) vs. Great ( +4)].
Dermot! Get Your Drunkenness up here! I need assistance!” he shouts, as a bullet whizzes by his head. “No! Not my beautiful machine, you lout!” shouts Renard, firing wildly. Several shots miss, but while dodging, THE WRAITH accidentally pulls his wound open further, and a bullet grazes his arm, making him wince in pain. [Guns Mediocre ( +0), invokes Science Before Morality for reroll, Fair ( +2), tags Nasty Gash for +2, spends 2 Fate Points. Guns Great ( +4) vs. Fists Good ( +3), 1-shift hit, rolls up to 2-shift].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 9 Fate Points]
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)
[Round 5]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]

[no map because places haven’t changed, except for the 2 Fair Cultists being Taken Out]

hydingjekyll
Dermot runs forward eagerly to examine the machine, but realizes that he’s hardly going to get any peace to study it with Renard flailing about firing pistols. As he reaches the nearest pillar and ducks behind it, he unholsters his projectile grapnel gun and sets it against the pillar as he did at the prison camp. “Remember this, Renard?” he bellows, and fires for her, attempting to drag her back against the pillar itself. [Guns, Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard]

GM
Dermot aims carefully and fires for Renard’s ankles. The grapple shoots out and hooks around her legs, pulling the scientist to the ground and dragging her across the dais. She smashes into the nearest pillar, striking it hard—and the old pillar, weakened by time and disrepair, collapses. The stones fall onto Renard—and while she manages to avoid an instant death, the loud CRACK of bones snapping echoes across the plains as her legs are ground to powder [Guns Superb ( +5), invokes Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard for +2: Epic ( +7) vs. Athletics Poor (-1), invokes Scientific Rival: Dermot McDanneher for reroll: Mediocre ( +0), 7-shift hit. Renard takes a Major Consequence (Shattered Legs) to avoid being Taken Out, takes 1-shift damage, rolls up to 2-shift].

The trio of cultists, seeing their leader hurt, rush forward and surround THE WRAITH, determined to take out the threat. Unfortunately for them, THE WRAITH is more than ready, and uses judo throws and jiu-jitsu blocks to effortlessly disarm the thugs [Weapons Fair ( +2) vs Epic ( +7), THE WRAITH gains spin and gives the cultists the temporary Aspect Disarmed. He may tag this Aspect for free a single time, but only if he does so on his next turn].

The ground begins to shake as the green light increases in brilliance and the mystical mechanism hums loudly [3 rounds until summoning].

[Round 5]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 8 Fate Points]
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)

smilesriles
THE WRAITH, now able to fly at them from the front without being shot at [tag: Disarmed], flares out his cloak and gives another keening unearthly screech, swooping towards them like a demon [Intimidation]

GM
THE WRAITH’s impressive performance frightens the cultists more than their feeble minds can take, and all three run screaming into the night, tripping over each other as they go [Intimidation Fair ( +2), invokes Disarmed for +2 = Great ( +4) vs. Poor (-1), 5-shift Social Stress hit, cultists are Taken Out].

Meanwhile, Vivanda crawls out from under the pile of masonry that crushed her legs and pulls herself towards the mystical machine. She removes a small screwdriver from—somewhere unprintable—and makes a few adjustments to the machine. She almost falls over from the pain, but a fierce light in her eyes keeps her going until her adjustments are finished—and the machine begins to whir more fiercely. Immediately, the green light pulses rapidly, and the ground starts to crack open [2 rounds until summoning] [Science Great ( +4), invokes Belief in the Apocalypse for +2, Fantastic ( +6) vs. hidden].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 8 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Thanam O’doul! Willoughby, will you do something about Miss Houdini here so I can get a look at this—” He stumbles over the cracking ground. “Damn! This bloody machine!” He’s even more delighted than ever to study the workings of this clearly remarkable device—atmospheric translucence, seismic disturbances, changes in air pressure, all from one machine! so fascinating!—but he knows full well that he needs to shut it off first; even if the cracking ground didn’t make it difficult to study anything in peace, as far as he’s concerned he still owes Renard a debt of revenge. He quite literally pounces on the device, ravenously studying its every angle and part, in search of a way to shut it off—or just break it, if absolutely necessary. [Science, invoke Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard]

GM
Dermot examines the device carefully—or at least as carefully as he can, given the shaking, cracking earth, glowing light, and interfering Frenchwoman. He lets his passionate hate for Vivanda Renard fuel his attempt—but it backfires on him, as the emotion overwhelms his intellect, and he is completely unable to focus on the intensely complex machine [Science Great [ +4], invokes Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard for reroll, new roll: Fair ( +2) vs. hidden, fails].

The crack in the ground widens radically, and the glow becomes nearly blinding, and both Dermot and Willoughby realize it will be mere moments before the glow, whatever it is, reaches its grand finale [1 round until summoning].

Haha!” cackles Renard madly. “My master will be here oh-so-shortly! You’ll both die, and the world will change forever!

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 7 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH swoops in and grapples with Vivanda, attempting to hurl her into the glowing portal.

If Mohammad will not go to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Mohammad!!

GM
THE WRAITH’s sweeps Renard up and slings her into the fluxing portal, screaming. She barely manages to hang on to the barren ground as the glow seems to suck her in [Fists Great ( +4), +1 modified by Mysteries Superb ( +5) vs. Fists Fair ( +2), maneuver succeeds. Renard cannot move, and has the temporary aspect Swallowed By Oblivion. Dermot may get a free tag on Swallowed by Oblivion next turn].

Renard realizes she has but one chance to stop Dermot, and fires wildly at him. Her shot goes just barely wild, and Dermot feels the hot breeze of a bullet inches from his skin [Guns Good ( +3) vs. Fists Good ( +3), failed].

As the glow pulses and the machine hums, Dermot realizes that he has but one chance to destroy the machine before the portal opens and something terrible emerges. However, he also realizes that his greatest rival is moments from either falling to her well-deserved fate or crawling out of the portal and continuing to torment him. He wracks his brain on what to do, knowing he has only a moment to decide [Compelling Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard to take an action against her. +1 FP if Dermot takes it, -1 if he doesn’t].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 7 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Shut up, will you? I’m trying to think!” Although it grieves him to not pour himself a whiskey and watch Renard scream in fear after the way she’s been shooting at him and his friend (to say nothing of prior offenses), Dermot tells himself that the best revenge against her would be to crush her ambitions the way she ruined his presentation. On the bright side, this means studying the machine—which is growing more fascinating by the second—some more. [Science, invoke Curious to Distraction]

GM
Dermot begins to dismantle the bizarre machine, discovering what makes it tick—and how to safely make it stop ticking. Though the mystical components make the device difficult to understand, it is still, at heart, a machine, and Dermot makes significant progress very quickly [Science Fantastic ( +6), invokes Curious to Distraction for +2, Epic ( +8) vs. (hidden), machine takes a 1-shift hit, increases time +2 rounds].

As the machine dies down, the glow stops pulsing so hard and the ground stills. On the other hand, as the glow recedes, Renard finds herself free, and drags herself behind a pillar before THE WRAITH can react. “It won’t matter, what you’re doing! You’re only delaying the inevitable!” [2 rounds until summoning].

THE WRAITH stares at the green glow, and then back at Dermot. He thinks to himself, and realizes that his friend’s method may not be the best. Is this the apocalypse he has foreseen? Is the dragon Dahaka really allying itself with the Mad Monk? Will shutting down the machine stop Dahaka and Rasputin, or only postpone the inevitable—and should they not end this conclusively right here right now? THE WRAITH looks over at Dermot and considers whether it might be best to let the summoning happen and deal with what comes [Compelling Glimpses of the Apocalypse AND Cult of Dahaka. +2 FP if THE WRAITH tries to convince Dermot to let the summoning finish, -2 FP if THE WRAITH tries to stop the summoning].

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 6 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH considers, stop the apocalypse now when he is tired but ready. Is he ready? The end is coming but is this the right time. If I stop it now, won’t it pop up later in some further incarnation? Something more dreadful than he can even imagine. Is he ready to face this terrible horror? No. He needs more time to study and prepare. (Loses the -2 FP)

GM
Waving his hands and murmuring unintelligibly, THE WRAITH prepares a spell to contain the possible energies of an aborted summoning, and feels rather unprepared for the task—but not absurdly so [Mysteries Good ( +3) will be the difficulty for an energy attack].

Meanwhile, Renard has caught her breath, and so begins her assault again. This time, she changes tactics, and crawls over to the mysterious machine. She slaps Dermot’s hand away and begins to repair his disassembly. Unfortunately, with her injuries and the frankly superior skill of the Irishman, and she fails to make any headway [Science Good ( +3) vs. Superb ( +5)].

Dermot prepares to continue his fight against the machine as the glowing portal slowly begins to pulse again.

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 6 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 8 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Hmm, the implications of this miniaturized kinetic amplifier suggest that one w- Damn it! To hell with ye, Renard! Willoughby, kindly kick her in the throat for me, would you?” Dermot does his best to shut out Renard’s attempts to foil him, and refocuses his attention on shutting down the device without damaging it, focusing his Multi-Vision Goggles on the machinery in hopes of locating power sources or routers. [Science, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles]

[Sorry, I was out of town until this evening, and I forgot to post and tell everyone so. I apologize for holding things up.]

GM
Dermot adjusts the focus on his goggles and stares intently into the mechanical bowels of the machine. With ease and style, he disables the kinetic amplifier, slowing the mechanism’s workings and taking it one step closer to safe disassembly [Science Fantastic ( +6), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for +2, Legendary ( +8) vs. [hidden], machine takes a 2-shift hit, increases time +2 rounds].

The mystic portal shudders as its power fluctuates, and the world settles again—at least temporarily [3 rounds until summoning].

THE WRAITH, though momentarily irritated at Dermot for addressing him as Willoughby when he has left that mundane identity behind, smiles as he looks forward to ridding themselves of the foxy threat once and for all.

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 8 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 4 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH descends upon Renard with a flurry of blows, raining fists and feet down upon her, without concern for pulling any punches. Anyone who attempts to bring this world closer to its end deserves no mercy from THE WRAITH!

GM
Fists fly, and THE WRAITH lets loose a fury seldom seen. Unfortunately, Renard’s vigor is also up, and she drags THE WRAITH to the ground, where her shattered legs will not be a hindrance. They roll across the ground trading blows, as Dermot does his best to shut out their distractions. THE WRAITH finally lands one glancing blow upon Renard—but since it is upon her split pelvis, she shrieks in pain and almost falls unconscious. However, fighting to stay awake, she throws THE WRAITH off her with a grunt [Fists Great ( +4) vs. Fists Good ( +3), 1-shift hit, rolls up to 4-shift].

Without the martial-artist and his occult flair to distract her, Renard manages to make it to the machine again. She punches Dermot in the face, knocking him back and flustering him long enough for her to begin repairing his dismantling attempt. With several deft flicks of her wrist, she connects wires and plugs vacuum tubes back in—and the ground again begins to rumble [Science Superb ( +5) vs. Science Fair ( +2), decreases time -2 rounds, heals 1 shift of damage].

The green glow stretches in size to the largest it has yet been, and a reptilian roar emerges from it [1 round until summoning]. THE WRAITH looks at it in horror, and realizes two things: first, that the summoning has progressed sufficiently, even with the slowing caused by Dermot’s mechanical machinations, that it cannot be postponed any longer: the mystic machine must be shut down once and for all in the next few seconds, or the apocalypse will be upon them—and that the Dahakan sigils upon the machine means that it cannot be shut down without his help [Mysteries Great ( +4), GM invokes Glimpses of the Apocalypse on THE WRAITH’s behalf].

THE WRAITH rushes to Dermot’s side and examines the device, the telltale imagery of the Cult of Dahaka sharp in his mind like a nasty smell.

[THE WRAITH will assist on Dermot’s next roll, and forfeits his next turn. However, he may spend Fate Points, and please detail how he is helping]

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 4 Fate Points]
[Round 7]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 7 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Dermot splutters a stream of mixed profanities and Irish idioms of frustration that would likely be amusing to a bystander if not for the exciting new developments in mankind’s understanding of physics that are manifesting in a decidedly unsettling manner, and desperately throws himself back onto the machine to foil Renard’s plotting. He can do this, he knows he can. His technical knowledge is unmatched, his innovation is unrivaled, and more than anything else in this world … [Science, invokes “I’m a Scientist!”]

[OOC: Okay, I’m back now.]

GM
[OOC: Sorry it’s been so long since the last entry—this could be the climactic roll that ends the game, or the one that sparks a new, deadlier climax—so I wanted to ensure both of you got your two cents in before resolving it].

THE WRAITH examines the sigils and begins a mystic chant. Though Dermot is tempted to find it irritating, he finds that the drone helps him focus—and did some of the symbols on the machine disappear? Ridiculous… Redoubling his effort, Dermot’s hands move as a blur, his mind whirring so fast the gears can almost be heard turning. “X squared plus the cosin of negative m-alpha equals…” he murmurs, quickly determining the science behind the machine. “Kinetic amplifier—check. Thaumometer—check. PKE meter—check,” he lists off as he removes each piece and smashes it against the ground, unwilling to chance another repair job by Renard.

As Dermot systematically demolishes the machine, THE WRAITH stares into the face of evil. Through the sickly green glow, a giant face becomes visible, straining against an invisible wall, intent on returning to the world. The face is dominated by a wild, mad beard surrounding darkly intense eyes—and as it flickers in the pulsing light, Willoughby (his terror transforming his psyche, at least for the moment) could swear he sees the image of a dragon behind it/inside it, like a double-exposure photograph. The dragon opens its fierce jaws and Rasputin roars in anger—

—and THE WRAITH raises the Orb of the Daevas high, shouting words as old as time and as powerful as the history of man. His words of power mix in the air with the crackle of the mystic machine rapidly coming apart, and as the last piece smashes against the cold ground, THE WRAITH finishes his oath. The green light dims as the machine comes apart, and a bright white light shining out of the Orb sweeps it away.

A moment passes in the silence and safety, as the two heroes consider the great task they have completed—then, Renard begins to wail. An inarticulate cry, of rage and pain, pervades the blasted plain. Willoughby looks over at his friend, finally finished with the demolished machine, and cocks his eyebrow, as if to say “What should we do with her now?”

[Science Fantastic ( +6), reroll for assist from THE WRAITH is Good ( +3), Dermot takes Fantastic ( +6), Dermot invokes “I’m a Scientist” for +2, THE WRAITH invokes “Traveled to the East and Back” for +2, Super-Ultra-Mega-Awesome ( +10) vs. Great ( +4), machine takes a 6-shift hit and is Taken Out]

hydingjekyll
Dermot doesn’t even notice THE WRAITH’s expression, instead retrieving the largest notebook available from his toolbelt and writing in it with a fury and fervor that threatens to ignite the pages. “The ramifications of the negative m-alpha in the inverse vector of the PKE field—of course, of course! Apply Tesla’s principle of alternating current and his theories on the wireless transmission of electricity—it all makes perfect sense! Bloody ass of the queen, how did I not think of this before? The covalency of the isotopic tungsten in question would be key in—No, don’t touch the pieces! Leave them exactly where they are!—key in the transmission of said alternating current … Damned shame I had to destroy so much of it! Let me adjust the magnifying lenses on these goggles …” [Curious to Distraction]

GM
[+1 Fate Point to Dermot for Compelling “Curious to Distraction” on his own damn self. WRAITH, you better take charge]

smilesriles
I think it is time we had a nice long discussion about what you intended to do here, and the consequences of said actions.
[Intimidation]

GM
Renard cringes in fear and exhaustion, then quickly begins to babble. [Intimidation Superb ( +5) vs. Resolve Average ( +1)] “I am… I mean, we were… the Lord Rasputin was to rise and join…” She looks over at the oblivious Dermot and spits at him (missing by a good three feet) “It is all his fault! After that ridiculous scene with his stupid grapple gun, I had no choice but to remove myself from the professional science scene. I came here, to Siberia, to work developing a new flange for the Leningrad water system—and here, I found my master.” A beatific smile spreads over Renard’s ruined face, overshadowing the omnipresent pain. “He has been dead for over ten years, but I did not care. He spoke to me in my dreams—he said that the dragon Dahaka would join with him in the underworld, and together their power would tear a hole in the world and bring a new era to mankind. But Dahaka’s cult had already tried to bring them forth, one year ago—and failed. Magic alone was not enough, they needed the invigorating power of pure science. So I was called into service. We were to rule the world.

Renard slumps again, pain and misery overwhelming her. After a moment, though, she looks up at Willoughby with one final look of defiance. “You haven’t won, you know. Your actions today have only delayed the inevitable. Rasputin and Dahaka are still together, still with the power to destroy your world and remake it in their image—and one day they will return.” So saying, she passes out from exhaustion, her head slumping to the cold, hard ground.

Willoughby turns away from Renard and puts one hand to the Orb as he hears a rustling noise nearby. He relaxes as he sees the bespectacled face of Leonid Kulik emerge from the blasted foliage. “Excuse me, friends? Is it over?

hydingjekyll
… the vector lug and connecting trans-dermal cable made of non-ferrous metals which would affect the conductivity at a ratio of 11:3 when the aether (for lack of a better term) transmitter attained critical tension …

smilesriles
It is safe to come out, Kulik.THE WRAITH feels the pulse of his Orb and looks to where the portal nearly opened but minutes ago.

Safe . . . for now.

ba bum BAAAAAAAA

GM
Kulik carefully approaches the altar and his friends. “You won? You mean, it’s over? But none of my visions came to pass. No crack in the earth. No dragon. No end of the world.

Dermot tears himself away from the machine at the prospect of another scientific paradox. “Undoubtedly, the unstable temporal nature of your out-of-place memories allowed Willoughby and myself to shift the flow of the timestream, shifting us into an alternate… tributary, if you will.

Or the visions were false, merely lies concocted by Rasputin to confuse and intimidate us. A true vision cannot be altered, so the visions could not have been representative of the future at all.

A true vision cannot be altered? What kind of superstitious claptrap is that? What evidence do you have to support such a ridiculous conclusion?

Only millennia of stories told in cultures across the world.

Do you hear what you’re saying? Fanham o doul, that’s ridiculous! Stories are fantasies, not evidence!

The trio begins to walk away, Dermot and Willoughby continuing their argument back and forth—until Kulik puts forward a thought that had not occurred to either man: “What if… it just hasn’t happened yet?
THE END?

AN RKO RADIO PICTURES PRESENTATION

THE MYSTERY OF THE TUNGUSKA DEMON

STARRING

THE WRAITH

DERMOT MCDANNEHER

VIVANDA RENARD

and

LEONID KULIK AS HIMSELF

View
The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Road to Hell

The Road to Hell

… is paved with DANGER.

Quick note before we begin: These are the basic rules for car chases—more can be found in the SRD

[At each exchange in a chase, the driver of the lead (“chased”) vehicle calls out an action. Even if other things are happening at the same time as the chase, this action declaration is made first, regardless of initiative. The driver declares a difficulty of his choice, and describes what complicated and dangerous maneuver he’s performing that this difficulty matches. He then makes a Drive roll against that difficulty. If he succeeds, he pulls it off, but if he fails, it goes less well than planned—the car gets banged up some or slips out of control, and the car takes stress equal to the number of shifts the character missed the difficulty by (as if an opponent had rolled the difficulty as an attack).
Example: Sally is driving a car at top speed, and is pursued by several grey men in a grey car. She tries a tight turn at the last minute, setting the difficulty as Great, hoping to shake the grey men. She has Good Drive, but rolls poorly and only gets a Fair result. The difficulty beats her roll by two, so the car takes a two-stress hit, marking off its second box—she scrapes up the side badly by sideswiping a street vendor’s cart. That’s not enough to take the car out (it has three boxes), but a few more goofs like that, and she’ll crash.
Next, the driver of the pursuing vehicle (see below if there’s more than one vehicle) rolls against the same difficulty. If successful, the car takes no stress and inflicts stress to the lead car according to the shifts on its roll as it manages to get close, slam bumpers, fire some shots, or otherwise make trouble. Alternately, if the pursuer is not looking to damage the lead vehicle, he may roll for a maneuver. If he fails, his car takes stress as if the difficulty were an attack—poor driving or overzealousness has had him sideswipe a vegetable stand, or rip up his tires on a tight turn. Eventually one party or the other will be taken out, and that should pretty well handle that—if the chased vehicle’s still in motion, an escape; if a pursuing
vehicle’s in play, capture!]

Dermot aims the jeep at the rocky path and guns the motor. Zooming across small rocks and around boulders, the jeep rocks sharply and just barely passes through the rocky area intact [Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Fair ( +2). Success with 0 shifts].

Just behind, one of the jeeps whips through the rocky area like a speed demon, getting close enough for its passengers to let loose a volley of gunfire. The shots rip through the cloth body of the jeep’s passenger section, and crack the windshield in several places as Dermot and THE WRAITH duck [Drive Superb ( +5) vs. Fair ( +2) = 3-shift success, +1 for Armed = 4-shift hit on PCs].

Behind that, the truck must be driven by a very skillful soldier, because it manages to get through the rocks with no more than superficial damage, and the driver even gets a shot off, putting a hole in the Jeep’s fender
Drive Great ( +3) vs. Fair ( +2) = 1-shift hit on PCs].

However, the last jeep punctures a tire on a sharp rock, spins out of control, and smashes into a boulder, exploding in a burst of flame [Drive Poor (-1) vs. Fair ( +2)] = 3-shift hit on self].

Dermot looks around at the jeep, assessing its damage. The broken windshield will be a serious problem, but the fender is hardly hurt at all [Jeep Health X 2 3 X]

[It is now THE WRAITH’s turn to either perform a unique action, or assist Dermot in some fashion. He can also spend Fate Points and invoke Aspects to assist in Dermot’s roll]

[Then it will be Dermot’s turn to choose a maneuver as per chase rules. As you’ll see on the map, there are two paths and two hazards coming up: a creek and a muddy road. Todd, you may take inspiration for Dermot’s maneuver from these hazards, or you can concoct your own—including coming up with hazards/paths of your own. Just keep in mind that you’re on a rocky Russian steppe, not the middle of London.]

smilesriles
Daevas aid me in my struggle. Come bring your howling winds of the waste! Bring the forsaken stinging sands of the desert!THE WRAITH turns, flares his black cloak and attempts to summon a sandstorm behind the jeep, using the arcane power of his Orb of Daevas. [Invoke aspect?]

hydingjekyll
Jesus, Mary and Joseph and a camel! These bloody backroads are almost as bad as a London street!” Fortunately, Dermot can make out a rather flat, relatively bare patch coming up [fate point]. As he comes to the clearing, Dermot whips the car into a 180-degree turn, suddenly bringing the Jeep to face back at the oncoming cars. [Drive check? Fair difficulty?] Bringing out his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device, he switches his Multi-Vision Goggles to infrared sight and crosshairs, allowing him to see and aim directly for the engine of the car in front and blast it, in hopes of killing its engine and making the rear car rear-end it. [Aspect: Multi-Vision Goggles]

GM
THE WRAITH invokes the power of the desert, and a tiny sandstorm whips up behind his jeep, drastically reducing visibility for the jeep behind [Invokes Orb of the Daevas, spends a Fate Point. Jeep minion gets -2 to Drive checks for next round].

Dermot successfully spins the car 180 degrees, causing Kulik to yelp in terror, and fires his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device out the window. The bolt of electricity sparks directly into the leading jeep’s engine, and it sputters out of control, unable to keep control with a dying motor and a blinding sandstorm [Dermot: Guns Great ( +4), invokes Aspect: Multi-Vision Goggles for +2: Fantastic ( +6) vs. Drive Great ( +4), -2 from sandstorm. Final tally: Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fair ( +2), jeep takes 4-shift Health damage].

As the jeep spins out, the truck’s superb driver just barely manages to avoid the wreck, and clips the door of the rolling jeep. The door flies forward and pops one of the front tires of Dermot’s jeep [Drive Superb ( +5), -2 from wreck = Good ( +3) vs. Fair difficulty, wins with 1 shift, causes 1-shift Health damage. 1 box is filled, rolls up to 2].

Dermot stares at the approaching truck, now ahead instead of behind, and simultaneously congratulates himself and THE WRAITH at taking out two of their pursuers, and realizes that one more good hit will leave the jeep unusable [Jeep Health X X 3 X].

[It is now THE WRAITH’s turn to either perform a unique action, or assist Dermot in some fashion. He can also spend Fate Points and invoke Aspects to assist in Dermot’s roll]

[Then it will be Dermot’s turn to choose a maneuver as per chase rules.]

hydingjekyll
Damn! I’d wanted to take them both out. Well, this may be a blessing in disguise. Get ready for a fight, Willoughby; I’m about to arrange more suitable transport!” Dermot steps the jeep’s brake pedal and stands, focusing his infrared and crosshairs on the truck’s engine, and gives another blast of his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. [Fate Point for Guns—Multi-Vision Goggles]

GM
Dermot aims carefully, and lets loose a blaze of electric glory. It strikes the truck’s cab, and the electricity arcs around all the exposed metal, shocking the driver and occupants into unconsciousness. The truck, apparently unharmed, continues rattling directly at the jeep [Dermot Guns Epic ( +7), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for +2, costs 1 Fate Point. Guns Legendary ( +9) vs. Drive Fair ( +2), Dermot succeeds with 7 shifts].

Having waited for this moment, THE WRAITH grabs Dermot and Kulik and rockets upwards, tearing through the jeep’s cloth roof easily. He moves like a dark bat, and easily deposits the trio on the roof of the moving truck. Dermot and THE WRAITH reach over and pull the doors open, letting the Russians’ limp bodies fall into the dust. Dermot handily slides into the driver’s seat and turns just in time to avoid striking his former jeep, as THE WRAITH eases Kulik into the middle seat before coming to a rest inside as well.

The trio breathes a sigh of relief, only to have their breath catch in their throats as a troop truck appears from behind a rocky outcropping, belching black smoke. The truck is bristling with weapons, as at least a half-dozen Russians cling to the side aiming pistols at Dermot and THE WRAITH, and another leans out the passenger window with a rifle. Behind the wheel is the Bear, and the fact that he is not hunched makes Dermot realize that the troop truck is monstrously huge, apparently built as outsized as its driver.

Dermot sees that he is almost out of steppe, at the dirt road heads into a steep and winding road down into a valley. He checks his new ride, and sees that it is in perfect shape.

New Truck: Health 1 2 3 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 3
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 4

[Time for a new maneuver (and just so you know, I might be slightly off on the stats, because my mapmaking/bookkeeping program is on the fritz, and I’m relying on memory).]

hydingjekyll
Thanam o’ doul, and curse the lot of ye!” Dermot shouts at the rear-view mirror. “Hold on, men. I don’t suppose either of you could distract our pursuers?” He stomps the gas, sending the truck lurching forward at suddenly-top speed. He makes a reckless-seeming hairpin turn between the muddy patch and the creek, dropping a Jameson’s Special concussion grenade out the window to hopefully blow the Bear’s truck off course and into the creek. [Drive check = Good, invoke Odds and Ends (mostly odds) to aid Driving]

GM
Dermot slides through the turn through the skin of his teeth, just barely avoiding slipping into the creek [Drive Good ( +3) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds with 0 shifts]. The concussion grenade bounces several times, then explodes violently just before the truck passes. The concussive force knocks a stone up from the road that smashes into the front grill, and water spurts from the ruptured radiator [Drive Average ( +1) vs Good ( +3), takes 2-shift damage).

The truck shudders as it heads down the winding dirt road off the steppe, the Bear still just behind.

[WRAITH, I’m waiting for your action, but if it doesn’t come in 12-15 hours, I’m letting Dermot go ahead. I wouldn’t do this normally, but chase scenes are the hard-drinking, hard-driving engineer’s forte]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH frantically rummages in the jeep for something, anything that might be of use in hurling or distracting.
Cheap parlor tricks and mystic spells aren’t going to do the trick against that juggernaut. I need something a little more solid.

GM
THE WRAITH searches all around, and eventually, climbs into the open back of the truck. There, he finds a rifle and ammunition. He realizes that his unexceptional gun skills will be sorely taxed by the bouncing truck, but it’s better than nothing.

[Dermot, your turn for a maneuver. THE WRAITH may assist with a gunshot if he likes, or may do something else.]

hydingjekyll
Damn, I’d hope that grenade would do the trick. Kulik, I donnae suppose ye’re any good with guns?” He swerves violently around a large boulder and barely around a patch of broken rocks that he picks out with the help of his goggles. “I’ll warn ye before I do anything like that.” [Drive check Great, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles for bonus/reroll to drive check]

GM
Dermot just barely swerves around the sharp rocks, narrowly avoiding a punctured tire [Drive Great ( +4) vs. Great ( +4), succeeds with 0 shifts]. The tires kick up a small stone, which flies into the windshield of the pursuing truck, creating a spiderweb of glass on the passenger side [The Bear Drive Good ( +3) vs. Great ( +4), 1-shift hit X X 3 4 5 6].

Dermot watches down the road and sees a tunnel approaching, unlit and dangerously dark.

hydingjekyll
Hold off with the guns,” Dermot calls out. “I’m switching to nightvision.” He hits the switch on his goggles and lets the tunnel light up for him. He powers straight through the tunnel in a straight line, handing another Jameson’s Special to Willoughby as the truck enters the darkness. “Be a pal and drop this out the window on your side, Alexander. The Russians might expect another from my side, but not on yours.” [Drive check = Fair; Odds and Ends]

GM
Dermot drives straight through the pitch-black tunnel, the nightvision setting on his goggles just barely providing enough visibility to avoid crashing, as he hands a grenade over to THE WRAITH [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Fair ( +2), invokes Odds & Ends for +2 = Good ( +3) vs. Fair ( +2), spends a Fate Point].

THE WRAITH, comfortable with the darkness but not with explosives, tosses the grenade a hair too late, and it explodes harmlessly before the Bear’s truck arrives [Weapons -2 Terrible].

In the darkness, Dermot and THE WRAITH can hear the Bear shouting orders in his tremendous voice, and shots ring out. Several bullets tear through the truck cab, nearly hitting the trio, and another strikes the wheel-well of a rear tire, bending the frame and forcing it to rub against the tire with a sickening whine [The Bear Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Fair ( +2), invokes The Bear’s Roar for +2 = Great ( +4) vs. Fair ( +2), truck is Armed for +1-shift damage = 3-shift damage.]

New Truck: Health 1 2 X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 4

As the tunnel ends, the daylight momentarily blinds Dermot before he can turn off his nightvision setting, and his vision clears just in time to see a sharp turn and a steep drop.

[Compelling Multi-Vision Goggles. If Dermot takes a Fate Point, putting his total at 3, he gets a -2 penalty to make the turn. If he spends a Fate Point, putting his total at 1, he can make the turn at no penalty. Alternately, THE WRAITH can spend a Fate Point instead of Dermot if he yanks the wheel.]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH yanks the wheel, swerving the car while his friend is momentarily blinded.

gremlin1384
THE WRAITH struggles to pull the truck through the sharp turn, and skids against the railing, scraping a long gash in the side of the truck [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Good ( +3), 2-shift damage, THE WRAITH spends a Fate Point to avoid the Compel].

Behind, the Bear does little better, bending a fender as he skims the rail [Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Good ( +3), 1-shift damage].

New Truck: Health 1 X X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

As Dermot readjusts his goggles, he and THE WRAITH see a mountain goat crossing the road just ahead.

hydingjekyll
Dermot McDanneher hits the gas, driving off the road and up the mountain/hill-side that the goat appears to have just descended, making a daring curve around the goat before returning to the road; despite acknowledging that a goat is just a heap of carbon that has evolved to fire its neurons in order to continue the path of least resistance, he’s still unwilling to harm a living thing (that hasn’t tried to shoot him) if he can help it. [Drive: Great, invoke Son of a Protestant Pastor]

gremlin1384
[OOC: I love Dermot’s justification and invocation for this.]

Dermot nearly strikes the goat, but a quick (and unwanted) prayer slips from his lips, and he swings out of the way [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Good ( +3), invokes Son of a Protestant Pastor for +2 = Good ( +3) vs Good ( +3), spends a Fate Point]. The goat bleats in terror, but relaxes as Dermot’s truck passes it by—just in time to smash into the Bear’s windshield. The goat’s carcass crashes through the windscreen, crushing one of the soldiers, and THE WRAITH watches in grim humor as the Bear tries desperately to get the goat and its innards out of his way [Drive Mediocre ( +0) vs. Good ( +3), 3-shift hit].

Dermot looks behind him and sees that the Bear’s truck is slowing slightly, and he realizes that one or two more good hits is all that it will take to knock the truck out of the race.

As the mountain road comes to the base of the steppe, it splits in two — the leftmost road appears straight and easy, while the right is rough and winding. However, to the right, in the distance, an eerie green glow lights the horizon [compelling Curious to Distraction to take the right path, 1 FP gain if you take it, 1 FP loss if you take the left].

THE WRAITH looks closely at the light, and seems to remember it from somewhere else [may make a Mysteries check to recognize it, but then cannot make another action next turn].

New Truck: Health 1 X X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 1
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

hydingjekyll
What could possibly be causing that luminescence?” Dermot muses, completely unaware of the demise of the goat he just risked his life to spare. “An unexplored uranium isotope? Or possibly something related to the Tunguska incident?” Dermot wonders for half a moment, almost forgetting that he’s at the wheel. Then, “Well, one way to find out!” As he pulls the wheel to the right and hits the bumpy trail, it occurs to him that the rough road might also be useful for shaking his pursuers. He swerves around a little, just to be sure. [Drive: Fair]

GM
[+1 Fate Point to Dermot for taking the Compel]

Unfortunately, as Dermot turns onto the bumpy road, he realizes that it’s quite a bit bumpier than he had anticipated. A sharp rock pierces one of the truck’s tires, and Dermot hears the hiss of a slow leak [Drive Mediocre ( +0) vs. Fair ( +2), takes 2-shift hit, rolls up to 4-shift].

The Bear’s vehicle follows just behind, its heavier treads handling the rocks with much less difficulty. As the troop transport comes up, another hail of gunfire forces Dermot and his passengers to duck. One shot pierces another tire, and Dermot struggles to keep the truck moving straight (Drive Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fair ( +2), inflicts 4-shift hit, truck is Armed for +1-shift damage = 5-shift damage].

Meanwhile, THE WRAITH, head ducked as much as possible, stares at the subtle interplay of shifting light in the green glow, and quickly recognizes it as the telltale sign of a Dahaka summoning ritual—but with something unfamiliar to it. He estimates that judging by the quality of the glow and the usual speed of the Cult’s rituals, whoever or whatever is being summoned will arrive in three to four hours [Mysteries Superb ( +5) vs. Good ( +3)].

New Truck: Health 1 X X X X 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

hydingjekyll
Damn! Kulik, could you take a shot at our pursuers, please?” Dermot stares at the road through his goggles, trying to find a nasty pile of rocks to lead The Bear into, and upon finding one, tries to do just that. [Drive = Good, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles]

gremlin1384
Kulik nervously hefts Dermot’s electric gun and points it out the back window. As he fires, it slips from his fingers, and a bolt of electricity blasts through the roof. “Whoops.

Dermot aims himself at a large, sharp stone, then swerves at the last second, easily avoiding any further damage to his wreck of a truck [Drive Great ( +4) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds with 1 shift, invocation unnecessary].

The Bear, following too closely, drives right over the rock pile, puncturing both front tires. The troop transport swerves, out of control, and rolls end-over-end as it flies off the road. Dermot and THE WRAITH cheer as they see the troop transport explode in a red blaze.

Dermot and Willoughby relax, and begin driving more calmly. Following the green glow, they shiver as they realize that they’re only a few hours drive from the Tunguska site, a dangerous magical conflagration—and the final showdown.

[This topic is now locked. Begin posting in The Rise of Rasputin]

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The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Gates of Peril

After landing on the Eastern coast of Siberia, Willoughby and Dermot get on a train heading towards the Kruschev Work Camp. When the train track veers off away from the camp, the two friends hop aboard a passing truck. And then a coach. And then a goat cart.

Eventually, Dermot and Willoughby, exhausted but no worse for the wear, arrive at the Kruschev Work Camp.

A large, thick wire fence topped with barbed wire surrounds a small group of cramped-looking buildings. Outside the camp proper, prisoners chop down trees with fearsome-looking Soviet guards watching them carefully. At the gate to the camp, two large Russians stand, rifles in hand and suspicious looks on their faces as the two Europeans approach.

Willoughby and Dermot hope that their Russian hasn’t atrophied since the time they last had to use it.

[And Todd, does Dermot carry a gun? I assume Willoughby doesn’t]

smilesriles
How do you imagine we get in there? We could try and sneak in under the cover of darkness, but I have a feeling that contains a high probability of getting shot, and I am allergic to bullets. Perhaps we could enter through some sort of ruse? We could claim to be doctors that were sent here by the government. Nobody questions things like that here, right? In Russia, the doctors hurt you. Nobody would mess with us too much.” Willoughby glances up at the foreboding fences. “Deathly allergic.” He mutters under his breath.

hydingjekyll
Dermot thinks for a moment, considering Alexander’s idea—it isn’t half bad—then grins. “No one messes with doctors, perhaps, but why set our sights so low?” He sets his goggles to telescopic sight for dramatic effect, looking directly into Willoughby’s corneas (despite knowing that Willoughby can’t tell). “I feel rather sure that these humble folk wold be even less likely to mess with this ‘Bear’ chap we learned of back on that ship. I propose that one of us enquire at the gate whether he has arrived here yet. If he has, we must make our way to Kulik with a red shift; if not, the other of us shall assume his identity and demand to be shown to our hapless friend Kulik, with a eye to freeing him. How does that sound?

smilesriles
Not a bad idea. So who gets to be ‘the bear’? I would suggest you, as I would be more likely to be able to move unhindered if we need to separate.” What sort of man was this “Bear”, Willoughby thought. A Soviet hitman? An official government agent? Would it matter that both Dermot and I have foreign accents?

hydingjekyll
Yes, agreed. You are better at hiding your talents than I am,” Dermot grins; he hopes Willoughby knows it’s just a friendly jest. “Please be on hand, though, in case they twig me. A distraction could be in order, while I create a bigger distraction.

GM
Willoughby straightens his tie as he approaches the guard shack. A large Russian, rifle slung across his shoulder, steps out and stares at the approaching Englishman.

<halt>*

Willoughby clears his throat and asks, in his best Russian, “<excusing><no>

Willoughby swallows hard as he realizes that he had not actually come up with a reason for a strange Englishman to inquire as to the Bear’s status.

His mind races…

*translated from the Russian

smilesriles
<“When we stopped at the last town, we encountered not one but two imposters. They had to be dealt with, most severely, for holding up the business of Rasputin. I am here to present the one true ‘Bear’.” Willoughby gestures with a stage florish to his companion.
You are to see us both inside to the commander as swiftly as possible.” Willoughby says.

GM
The guard, looking skeptical, eyes Dermot “The Bear” McDanneher up and down.

<Do you have any proof you are who you say your are?>” he asks Dermot.

smilesriles
I have had enough of this!” Willoughby’s voice cuts sharp and clear across the cold, “One more outrage like this and I will have you reported. Do have any idea what ‘The Bear’ does for People’s government? Hmmm?” Willoughby lets the threat hang there for a moment before softening his tone, “Look, I understand your suspicion. But remember the People’s Government uses all the weapons at their disposals. Even former capitalists from the British Empire.” [Empathy and Intimidation are both Fair so whichever one is appropriate]

GM
For a moment, the guard merely glares at Willoughby [Intimidation Poor (-1)], but Willoughby slips further into his character of an angry bureaucrat, and steps close to the guard, staring the larger man straight in the eye [invokes All the World’s a Stage for a reroll, spends 1 Fate Point]. The guard steps back and comes to attention, avoiding eye contact with either Willoughby or “The Bear” [Intimidation Fair ( +2) vs. Resolve Poor (-1); succeeds with 3 shifts, gains spin.]

As they enter the compound, the guard stares after the terrifying Bear, afraid of the “roar” he might hear from the silent, imposing man—and immediately radios his compatriots across the camp [Dermot gains the temporary Aspect “The Bear’s Roar,” +1 to Intimidation checks on all guards until Dermot speaks—unless he can live up to the reputation].

Looking around the work camp, Willoughby and Dermot ponder where to go to find Leonid Kulik—and before the real Bear arrives!

smilesriles
Willoughby continues past the cantina. At the first passing guard, he pulls them aside and in a low whisper, You there. ‘The Bear’ needs to find the prisoner ‘Leonard Kulik’. Where is he quartered?

hydingjekyll
Dermot crosses his arms at the guard and looks at him sternly as if waiting with little patience for an answer, letting his eloquent companion do the talking for now; he isn’t sure how good his Russian is, let alone his accent. He adjusts the lenses on his goggles, making sure the guard is fully aware that “The Bear” is looking him over; although he tries to pass it off as sizing up the guard’s competence and how delicious the guard’s flesh would taste with a strong shot of vodka, Dermot actually studies the guard’s equipment and how it is carried. [attempt at Intimidation, Investigation]

GM
Dermot’s eyes are watchful rather than imposing, and his intimidation fails utterly, even with the title of “the Bear” in the guard’s head [Intimidation Poor (-1), +1 (The Bear’s Roar) = Mediocre ( +0) vs. Resolve Mediocre ( +0), fails). However, his watchful eyes catch upon the guard’s equipment [Investigation Great ( +4) vs. Deceit Average ( +1), succeeds by 3 shifts, gains spin]. He sees the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle (5 rounds, 7.62mm), the Nagant M1895 revolver (7 rounds, 7.62mm), the combat knife on the hip, and the small ammunition pouch. He even sees the telltale green of American currency sticking out of the guard’s hip pocket.

As Dermot’s eyes are busy, the guard responds to Willoughby’s question with a sneer. "%{color:orange}<Perhaps you mean “LeoNID” Kulik? He is working in the machine shop, making forks and knives.>%"

Willoughby nods to the guard and leads “the Bear” towards the machine shop. Inside the tattered shack, a dozen Russians in thin prison uniforms work, either at one of the two rusted machines or at tables, hammering out silverware from scrap metal.

<Leonard Kulik?>” Willoughby calls across the shop. This man looks up:

Peering through his coke-bottle lenses, the starved mineralogist approaches Willoughby and Dermot. “What are the two of you doing here?” he asks in barely-accented English.

hydingjekyll
Dermot stays silent for the moment, trying to think if he’s had any contact with Kulik, or if Kulik might have any way to recognize him or Willoughby.

[What is spin?]

smilesriles
<Step outside and don’t ask any questions if you know what is good for you. ‘The Bear’ wishes to see you.>” Willoughby announces in loud russian before adding in softly spoken English, “You have nothing to fear. Please.

GM
[Short OOC: Sorry it took me 24/36 hours to respond to your posts, but my internet went out yesterday afternoon and just came back up now. And Todd, “spin” is a facet of the SotC levels of success system of dice-rolling. For each “shift” (Mediocre—>Average=1 shift, Mediocre—>Fair=2 shifts, etc) earned on a successful roll, it succeeds "better"—more damage, study faster, notice more, etc. One or two shifts is minor, but 3 shifts means “spin,” and means a significant success that allows something small but notable in regards to the roll. When possible, I’ll ask you what your spin result is—Riley chose to give Dermot “Bear’s Roar” by getting spin on his Intimidation roll, because he was on gchat when I was posting that. When you’re not around, I’ll make up something myself—in this case, noting the American currency that the guard is carrying because of the Investigation spin. Hope that’s enough info, and not too much.]

Dermot wracks his brain, but soon realizes that he has only encountered Kulik in a textbook, identifying him as a mineralogist convicted of sedition [as seen in the Introduction, reply #5]. He thinks it might be possible for Kulik to have heard of Dermot in academic circles, but as invention and mineralogy seldom intersect, he doubts it highly—and it is even less likely that he has encountered the occultist Willoughby.

Kulik puts on a puzzled look in response to Willoughby’s remark. "%{color:purple}Of course I have nothing to fear from you, Alexander. Why would you say so? And who or what is “the Bear,” and why is Dermot pretending to be it?%"

Apparently oblivious of the confusion Kulik has inflicted upon Willoughby and Dermot, the wizened man begins heading for the door. “But if you’d rather speak outside, I’m perfectly fine with that.

hydingjekyll
‘The Bear’ is an assassin who’s coming to snuff you, and I’m pretending to be him so we can get you out of here before he actually arrives,” Dermot grumps. “Now kindly act scared of us so that the guards don’t start shooting, and explain how in God’s name you know who we are.

GM
Kulik, apparently understanding the danger of the guards if not the rest of the situation at hand, puts on an only slightly over-the-top look of fright and follows Dermot and Willoughby outside and around the corner.

Once they are out of sight, Kulik relaxes and throws his arms around Willoughby. “It is so good to see you, my dear Alexander. I had thought, after the terrible events at Tunguska, that you would never recover. But you look wonderful.

Willoughby shoves Kulik back, both irritated and frightened. “We do not know you, Doctor Kulik. And we have never been to Tunguska.

In fact, we’re headed there now,” Dermot adds.

Of course you have been to Tunguska. It is where we met, last year. June 30th, 1928. You rescued me from the Kruschev work camp, then—” Kulik’s face creases in confusion, and he looks around at the camp’s drab buildings. “But wait, I am here at the work camp now. You did not rescue me. And yet, I know… it has all been so confusing since Tunguska. The first time, I mean.

Dermot and Willoughby are intensely puzzled by Kulik’s talk of June 30th, nearly a week in the future, as a past event. Visions! thinks Willoughby. A temporal paradox! goes through Dermot’s head. As they continue to conduct their interrogation, a strange story takes shape…

hydingjekyll
First things first, and that means practicality (until Dermot finds some interesting device). “What do you remember of this rescue? It could come in handy for when we actually do it.

GM
June 30, 1927. Sunset.

Doctor Leonid Kulik and his assistant Masha approached the Tunguska site, squinting at dead, twisted trees in the encroaching darkness. Kulik fingered one of the tree branches, eying its bent frame. “<it>

<yes>” Masha said, uninterested.

<pass>” Kulik reached out a hand, looking closely at the tree’s roots, hidden under the near-frozen ground.

A moment passed. A sickly green light flared. Kulik looked up—and went mad.

The light penetrated his mind, throwing images of different times and places up on his internal projector-screen. Two men pull him screaming from an infernal abyss, one in shadows, the other’s eyes blocked by goggles out of a Republic serial. A thickly-bearded man with steely eyes, the “mad monk” Rasputin, bathes in green light as the trees around him fall like dominoes. A sinuous dragon wraps itself around Rasputin’s torso, holding him, crushing him. The ground splits, and then the sky. Fire. Ice.

Two weeks later, Kulik stumbled into a small Siberian village, babbling about the return of the mad monk—or possibly the Devil himself. He spoke of a dragon, encircling the globe. He spoke of a machine, the only thing that can stop Rasputin—or it did, or will, or might have… No one could fully understand the man, with his confused tales of past, present, and future. It was not long before the GULAG placed in him the Kruschev Work Camp, where his madness would no longer bother anyone. Especially since his assistant Masha never reappeared…

After telling as much of his tale as he can communicate coherently, Kulik sighs in relaxation. Then Dermot repeats his question: “What do you remember of this rescue?” Kulik wracks his brain for a moment, then squints up at the sun. “I am not certain. Perhaps I could remember more if I had time, but I do not. Because the one thing that I do recall is this: this is just about the time that the real Bear arrives.

Willoughby goes pale, then glances around the corner. Sure enough, a man built like a mountain stands at the guard post, screaming Russian profanities at the gate guard. Willoughby ducks back around, and looks at Dermot and Kulik in concern. “I think our act has been found out.

smilesriles
With a fresh urgency, Willoughby grabs Kulik.
Where do they keep the vehicles here?” While Kulik comes up with an answer, Willoughby turns to Dermot. “Get Kulik to a jeep or something. I’m going to do my best to start a riot and hopefully we can make a break for it in the ensuing chaos. If I don’t reconnect with you immediately after the you clear the gates, I will follow you from the skies and rejoin when I have the chance. Head for Tunguska.

hydingjekyll
Willoughby’s admonition, combined with the painful adrenaline rush of oncoming calamity, gets Dermot’s Irish up like Tim Finnegan. “You’re the stealth expert, Willoughby—you get him out of here. I’ll see you in Tunguska one way or another, sure enough, but not on your orders or anyone else’s, dear friend. We’ll just see what I can do about this bloody Bear wanker.” Dermot turns his back on Willoughby, then takes his Mid-Range Non-Fatal Electro-Discharge Device from his belt and sets it to maximum power. The crosshairs on his goggles come through as he takes cover and prepares to shoot. [Dislikes Authority, Odds and Ends (mostly odds)]

GM
Willoughby ignores Dermot’s suggestion of retreat, and goes with his original plan. His face and stance shift slightly, and THE WRAITH floats up off the ground, the jade at his belt glowing brightly.

With black cloak fully unfurled and flapping, THE WRAITH bursts into the workshed, flying low, just over the workers’ heads. He reaches the top of the ceiling, and bats pour out from his cloak, flittering around the room, in and out of the smoke that billows from him. Drawing on the power of the Daevas, THE WRAITH lets loose an inhuman scream.

[Intimidation Average ( +1), invokes “Glimpses of the Apocalypse” for reroll. Reroll is still Average ( +1). Worker 1: Resolve Mediocre ( +0), WRAITH succeeds. Worker 2: Resolve Mediocre ( +0), WRAITH succeeds. Worker 3: Resolve Good ( +3), WRAITH fails. ]

As two of the workers cower in fear, the third grabs a wrench and hurls it at the terrifying figure of THE WRAITH. THE WRAITH handily knocks the wrench out of the air with a swat of his hand.

[Worker 3: Weapons Average ( +1) vs. Fists Fair ( +2)]

At this terrifying event, both of the other workers shrieks in terror and run from the workshop, running right into a guard outside.

Dermot, distracted by the sounds of the frantic workers, fails to notice a guard approaching from behind. Before he can react, the guard has fired. The well-aimed shot lodges in Dermot’s hip, and he groans in pain [Guns Good ( +3) vs. Athletics Poor (-1), Dermot takes a 4-point Health damage].

In response, Dermot whips up his Mid-Range Non-Fatal Electro-Discharge Device and fires back. A bolt of arcing electricity whips across the square, striking the guard square in the chest. There is a sizzling noise and the smell of frying meat, and the guard falls to the ground, comatose [Guns Epic ( +7) vs. Athletics Good ( +3), guard takes 4-point Health damage, is taken out].

Kulik looks at the danger in alarm, and runs away from the fight, hiding behind the nearest barracks.

[End of Round 1. Beginning of Round 2.]

THE WRAITH, still hanging by the ceiling attempting to frighten the last worker, is surprised as a large mountain—check that, technically a man—leaps through the window of the workshop and attempts to swat THE WRAITH from the air. Realizing this must be the Bear, THE WRAITH flies this way and that, just barely avoiding the Bear’s fearsome claws—er, hands. [The Bear: Might Superb ( +5) vs. Mysteries Fantastic ( +6) = THE WRAITH wins by 1 shift.]

The initiative is now as follows:

THE WRAITH (Health 1 2 3 4 5 6)
3 Russian Guards
Brave Worker
Dermot (Health 1 2 3 X 5 6)
2 Russian Guards
2 Prisoners
Kulik
[Round 3]
The Bear

smilesriles
THE WRAITH quickly scans the workhouse for anything big-ish, heavy and metal. Swooping down, he grabs a toolbox the size of his torso, and then shoots up out of the Bear’s grasp. With a triumphant shout, THE WRAITH divebomb-hurls it at the Bear.

GM
THE WRAITH’s inexperience with toolbox-hurling shows, as the Bear easily swats the toolbox out of the air, and it smashes open on the floor, sending wrenches and screwdrivers clattering across the floor [Weapons Mediocre ( +0) vs. Might Fair ( +2)].

The last worker finally loses his nerve, and leaps out the window that the Bear had broken.

Outside, the guards take up positions and let loose a volley of gunfire. Dermot dodges quickly out of the way, but not soon enough to avoid all three gunshots, and one bullet grazes his arm [Guns Average ( +1) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0), 1-point Health damage.]

The initiative is now as follows:

Dermot (Health X 2 3 X 5 6)
2 Russian Guards
2 Prisoners
Kulik
[Round 3]
The Bear
THE WRAITH (Health 1 2 3 4 5)
3 Russian Guards
Brave Worker

hydingjekyll
Argh! Bloody wankers!” Outnumbered, Dermot can see that shooting the guards down one at a time isn’t going to cut it. He brings out the projectile grapnel gun that Vivanda made so famous, sinks its belt hooks into a projection in the wall next to him; aiming through the crosshairs on his goggles, he fires the grapnel at the stack of building materials directly behind the guards. [Guns; Fate Point to make the area Cluttered]

GM
Dermot’s aim is true, and he brings the loose stack of boards, concrete blocks, and girders down on the three guards. With a yelp, they are buried, out of this fight if not shuffled off the mortal coil. Dermot realizes that the pile of junk makes the perfect cover, and quickly darts behind it as he sees another trio of guards round the corner [Dermot Guns Fantastic ( +6), spends a Fate Point to tag Cluttered = Legendary ( +8) vs. Athletics Fair ( +2) = +6 shifts. Guards take 6-point Health damage, are taken out, Dermot gains massive spin. The area is now Cluttered, and Dermot can tag it for free one time, if he does it next turn.]

Dermot glances around and sees two more guards rounding the workshop, and handily ducks down behind the makeshift barricade just as they open fire [Guns Average ( +1) vs. Athletics Average ( +1), Dermot uses his free tag on Cluttered to get Good ( +3).

Kulik and the two prisoners from the workshop start running, quickly retreating from the fight and out of Dermot’s range of vision.

[Round 3]

The Bear, his massive size allowing him to reach nearly to the ceiling, reaches for THE WRAITH, grabbing him in his massive arms. Struggling, THE WRAITH mutters a Persian phrase, and the Orb of Daevas glows brightly, shooting THE WRAITH towards the ceiling in a burst of speed and slipping reluctantly from the Bear’s grasp [The Bear Might Good ( +3), The Bear invokes Size of the Bear to add +2 = Superb ( +5) vs. Mysteries Fair ( +2), THE WRAITH invokes Orb of the Daevas to reroll = Fantastic ( +6), THE WRAITH wins by 1 shift. Both spend 1 Fate Point]

The initiative is now as follows:

THE WRAITH (Health 1 2 3 4 5), Fate Points 5
3 Russian Guards 3
Brave Worker
Dermot (Health X 2 3 X 5 6), Fate Points 6
2 Russian Guards
3 Russian Guards 2
2 Prisoners
Kulik
[Round 4]
The Bear

[Note: since the guards are Minions, they act and can be attacked in small groups, as per Dermot taking out the trio this turn.]

smilesriles
Enough of this.THE WRAITH wraps his cloak around him and smashes through the window towards Kulik. He grabs him firmly in his arms and muttering a Persian incantation, launches himself and the startled prisoner into the sky.

GM
As he flies out of the workshop, THE WRAITH nimbly avoids the Bear’s massive grip, and several volleys of gunfire from the soldiers outside while scooping up Kulik [Might Fair ( +2) vs. Mysteries Great ( +4). Guns Average ( +1) vs. Mysteries Fair ( +2). Guns Great ( +4) vs. Mysteries Epic ( +7)].

From his vantage point a few dozen feet off the ground, THE WRAITH can see Dermot, in good cover but flanked by two groups of guards, as well as the Bear charging from the workshop, roaring Russian curses.

Another volley of gunfire comes from the guards, and THE WRAITH darts out of its way [Guns Average ( +1) vs. Mysteries Fantastic ( +6)].

The initiative is now as follows:

Dermot (Health X 2 3 X 5 6), Fate Points 6
2 Russian Guards
3 Russian Guards 2
2 Prisoners
Kulik
[Round 4]
The Bear
THE WRAITH (Health 1 2 3 4 5), Fate Points 5
3 Russian Guards 3
Brave Worker

hydingjekyll
Bloody hell, I’m surrounded,” mutters Dermot. “What am I doing? I’m not a soldier, I’m a scientist!” There’s an interesting thought. “Better start acting like one.” He holsters his Mid-Range Non-Fatal Electro-Discharge Device and brings out his Handheld Personnel Propeller, switching it on and letting it fly him over the prison camp walls after THE WRAITH, keeping in mind the angles of the soldiers’ firing positions and the physics of his own flight. [Invokes Odds and Ends (mostly odds).] As he’s lifted away, he looks over his bleeding shoulder and shouts, “And your vodka is a piss-poor substitute for good Irish whiskey!” As soon as he’s over the wall, he brings himself back to the ground to avoid further gunfire.

GM
As Dermot lands on the other side of the fence, he sees a small jeep parked and ready to go. He glances up at THE WRAITH and Kulik, and motions him down. Behind him, they can hear the Bear and the other Russians running for the exits.

Up in air, THE WRAITH realizes that he can’t keep up a flight speed as fast as a truck, nor hold up Kulik as far as Tunguska.

smilesriles
Descending with all speed and grace of a tumbling leaf, THE WRAITH drops Kulik and himself in the jeep. “Hey Kulik, do you remember if our escape had a chase scene?” He turns to Dermot, “Alright, lets go!THE WRAITH guns the engine and they are off.

hydingjekyll
[Does the machine need to be hotwired or anything? Is the key in the ignition?]

smilesriles
[I had the same question too but I wanted to keep the action going ]

GM
[In pulp, they just get in the car. It’s definitely better to keep the action going].

The trio heads out across the rocky wasteland surrounding the Kruschev work camp. Before long, they see two jeeps and a large truck following.

Just ahead, THE WRAITH sees a rocky field, filled with a maze of boulders. He realizes that the larger truck pursuing them might not be able to maneuver through it.

hydingjekyll
Willoughby, what makes an automobile mobile?” Dermot asks dryly. “Here, I’ll answer it for you: moving parts. I drive. Move over!

This topic is now closed. Please begin posting in The Road to Hell.

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The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Mysterious Vixen

Willoughby stumbles out of the ballroom, practically shoved by his friend Dermot. Breathing heavily with rage, he steps over to the railing and inhales the sharp tang of the sea air. Looking out on the waxing moon above the still waters, Willoughby fingers the stone on his belt.

As the sounds of “O Danny Boy” rise from inside the ballroom, Willoughby sees Vivanda Renard slip through the doors and begin to make her way down the deck towards the passenger cabins. As Willoughby watches her, it appears to him that she has not yet seen him.

smilesriles
Willoughby takes a deep breath, going through the ancient words in his head. Silent as a snake on the sand, THE WRAITH glides after the retreating Vivanda. Years of practice and mystic forces silence his footfalls as he pursues the dangerous woman.

GM
As THE WRAITH slips silently forward, the darkness around him deepens as the Orb of Daevas pulls shadows towards him. [Stealth vs. Awareness. Stealth check Superb ( +5), +1 for Orb of Daevas= Legendary ( +8) vs. Alertness Good ( +3), succeeds with 5 shifts]

Vivanda, apparently preoccupied, is completely unaware of THE WRAITH as he sneaks up behind her, following her only a few steps behind. Once or twice, she glances behind her, but sees nothing but shadows.

Vivanda and THE WRAITH enter the ship proper, walking through the corridors of the guest cabins. The increased light of the electric lamps worries THE WRAITH for a moment, but the shadows continue to cloak him [-2 for better lighting, Stealth now Fantastic ( +6)]. Vivanda approaches her door and, looking around first, traces a strange pattern on the door, which, once she is done, momentarily glows. THE WRAITH tries to get a look at it, but Vivanda’s body blocks his view [Alertness modified by Mysteries ( +1): Mediocre ( +0) vs Deceit Fantastic ( +6)]. THE WRAITH curses to himself, then sees that Vivanda isn’t done. She removes a strange, humming device from her purse and presses it against the door. THE WRAITH tries to wrap his mind around the device, but doesn’t really know what he’s seeing [Alertness modified by Science (-1): Fair ( +2) vs Deceit Good ( +3)].

Finally, Vivanda takes out an ordinary room key and inserts it in the lock, then opens her room door.

THE WRAITH has but a moment to slip inside before the door closes again, but to do so, he will have to get dangerously close to both Vivanda and the bright lights of her cabin. What will he do?!

smilesriles
Fortune favors the bold, he thinks to himself, trying to be both silent and swift as he tries to slip inside. I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to open this door otherwise.

GM
Following closely behind Vivanda, THE WRAITH slips inside and immediately floats into the air, sticking to the ceiling and concealing himself in a dark corner like some kind of bat …. man [Stealth limited by Athletics, Fantastic ( +6), spends a Fate Point for a generic bonus, ends with Epic ( +7) vs. Alertness Fair ( +2), +2 for lighting, Great ( +4). THE WRAITH wins with 3 shifts, gains Spin to float to a hiding place in the ceiling].

THE WRAITH watches in fascination as Vivanda unpacks a strange device, etched in mystical runes—Persian, THE WRAITH notices. The device, which looks much like an old-style camera, but with a large parabolic reflector, stands on a tripod. She stands it up, then bolts it down to the shifting floor. She grabs a batch of papers from the desk and shoves them in her trunk, though several fall out and waft to the floor, unnoticed. Trunk in hand, Vivanda stands in front of the device, the reflector facing her, and a wired remote control in her hand.

Merde,” she says quietly to herself, and presses the button on the remote control. Before THE WRAITH can react, Vivanda vanishes in a flash of sickly green light [Alertness: -1 Poor].

Thunderstruck, THE WRAITH slowly lowers himself to the ground. “Now that’s a hell of a thing,” he mutters to himself.

smilesriles
Willoughby gathers the fallen papers, stuffing them into one of his many hidden pockets. He then proceeds to examine the device of Persian origins. [Secrets of the Arcane-stunt].

GM
Willoughby begins to examine the Persian lettering, and begins to translate [Mysteries: Good ( +3), +2 for Secrets of the Arcane (Dahaka subspecialty), result is Superb ( +5) vs. difficulty Great ( +4), succeeds with 1 shift]. As he studies, Willoughby realizes that the writing is a prayer to Dahaka, asking for his “great jaws to draw me up and fly my to my destination.” It is surrounded by sigils from a number of other spiritual and mystical traditions, which Willoughby does not recognize off-hand [Mysteries Good ( +3) vs. difficulty Great ( +4)], and he realizes he will need significant research time to decipher their meaning.

Abruptly, a knock comes at the door.

smilesriles
Willoughby whisks silently to the cabin door and peers through the peephole, ready to take to the ceiling at a moments notice.

GM
Willoughby sees his friend Dermot, holding a large book like a weapon.

hydingjekyll
Dermot sees the light through the peephole dim abruptly, as though someone has stepped in front of it. He sets his goggles to telescope and looks back through the hole, trying to see who or what is on the other side, and prepares himself to dodge if necessary.

smilesriles
Willoughby opens the door and in his best Vincent Price, “Do come in.” Ushering him in, he points Dermot towards the strange device. “Turn your keen mechanical eye to this contraption. I will search the rest of her room.” Willoughby begins to search the chamber. [Investigation Fair Level].

hydingjekyll
Ah, delighted.” Dermot doesn’t bother asking what Willoughby is doing here, and immediately turns his rapt attention to the aforementioned device—taking great care to set his goggles to screen out as much ultraviolet light as possible. [Investigation, Good; Engineering, Great; Science, Superb]

GM
[Since Vincent Price would not start his his film career for another ten years, apparently he got his inspiration from THE WRAITH]

Willoughby and Dermot search the room, overturning every stick of furniture and scrap of paper. Eventually, putting it all together, the two create a coherent picture of Vivanda Renard’s goal: she was to bring something, referred to in her notes only as “the item,” to the Tunguska region of Siberia—and that she must arrive “before the anniversary,”—which, Willoughby surmises, must refer to the 20-year anniversary of the original Tunguska Event, on June 30th.

There is also one other fascinating piece of data: One Leonid Kulik, who Dermot recognizes as the Russian mineralogist who lead an investigation into Tunguska a few years prior, is apparently in the Kruschev Work Camp in Eastern Siberia. A letter to Vivanda, unsigned, admonishes her for “failing to silence” Kulik, and says that “The Bear” is being sent to the work camp to “do her job.”

Performing some simple mental math, Dermot realizes that if he and Willoughby go to Kruschev Work Camp, they could arrive just before the Bear is scheduled to get there—but by doing so, they would postpone their arrival in Tunguska significantly—and might not make it before June 30th.

While pondering their options, Dermot and Willoughby enlighten each other as to their respective adventures that evening [go ahead, read each others’ archives, then tell me where you’re going—to the Work Camp, or straight to Tunguska. You guys also have the teleporter to examine, but we’ll get to that later].

smilesriles
I know Kulik is involved with this impending crises. He was part of my vision. He could forewarn us on how to prevent whatever it is we need to stop. It seems to me it would be better if we proceeded to the work camp first, rather than show up at Tunguska empty handed.” Willoughby paced back and forth, his hands flexing and unflexing inside his thin black gloves. The Cult of Dahaka, here. Was the vision a gift from the Daevas? Their gifts never come without strings. I know that all to well. Deeper and deeper I sink into this madness. I pray I will have the mental fortitude to survive.

hydingjekyll
Visions now? You really must stop wearing that belt buckle, Alexander, my friend, but I agree that we ought to try to save the man’s life. For now, though, we have no idea when my overdeveloped rival may return. We must beat a hasty retreat from this … room …” He glances at the device. “Right after we examine this positively fascinating piece of work …” [Curious to Distraction]

GM
Willoughby snorts in exasperation at his friend, and grabs the strange device, placing it under his coat. “Come on. We’ve got to get out of here before the steward find us,” he says, pulling Dermot from the room.

Back in their own suite, Dermot and Willoughby discuss the baffling case. Persian demons, Russian mystics, mystico-technical machines, and the seeming crossing of their respective pasts. Willoughby is certain the mystical convergence means something important, but Dermot insists that it is merely coincidence.

During the rest of their trip, Dermot and Willougby examine the device that seemed to teleport Vivanda Renard, and come to several conclusions:
1. The machine itself seems to be based on some of Renard’s old work on harmonic resonance.
2. Most of the mystic sigils are straight out of the Cult of Dahaka, but others Willoughby can’t identify without a good arcane library.
3. Neither the machine nor the mystic sigils could teleport a woman several thousand miles by themselves, so they must be somehow working together.
4. It is no longer working. There is one section with a large battery inside it, which seems to be completely drained, and another filled with dust that looks like it was once a sapphire.

They collect all the notes they can, and believe that they may be able to recreate (or at least fix) the device with a few more pieces of information on both the mystic and scientific fronts— and new power sources.

As the ship continues on, Willoughby and Dermot continue to get odd, disapproving looks from the rest of the staff and passengers, but by keeping a relatively low profile, they keep themselves out of trouble, and get some rest.

[Composure Stress is restored, Fate Points are restored: Dermot to 10, Willougby to 7 (because he only has 7 Aspects filled in)]

This topic is now Locked. Please post in “The Gates of Peril.”

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The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- Introduction
RKO Radio Pictures
Presents
In Technicolor
Dr. Dermot McDanneher
and
THE WRAITH
in
THE MYSTERY OF THE TUNGUSKA DEMON

The time: The height of the Roaring 20s, the spring of 1928.
The place: The Artic steppes of northern Siberia.

Herr Doktor Hartmundt Klein tromped through the snow, his feet sinking into the drifts even with the help of his snowshoes. The night sky sparkled overhead, shining down with a cold light, as harsh and unforgiving as the landscape. Doktor Klein peered ahead at the ruined forest that surrounds the Tunguska river, the dead trees bent at unnatural angles, stripped of bark like bones flayed of their flesh.

Heinrich! Hier!” Doktor Klein shouted back at his porter, a husky Siberian steppe-dweller whose name was certainly not Heinrich. The porter ran to catch up, apologizing in haphazard German. Klein ignored "Heinrich"’s excuses and removed a complicated scientific apparatus from the younger man’s hands.

Opening the tripod, Doktor Klein began to set up his instrument, fiddling with dials and switches, occasionally looking through one of the many lenses set into the massive machine. Finally satisfied, he leaned over carefully and bared his face, heedless of the fierce cold, then pressed his face up against the cold metal and stared through the red-tinted lens.

A short whooshing sound came from behind the Doktor, but the obsessive scientist paid it no heed. A moment later, he reached out a hand behind him and gestured impatiently. When nothing resulted of his action, the Doktor turned in irritation.

Heinrich! Was ist los?!

Heinrich was not there. Doktor Klein glanced around, puzzled, but saw no place in the barren landscape for his pudgy porter to have hidden.

Heinrich?

The only response was a fierce wind whipping across Klein’s face, forcing him to bundle back up. He heard a quiet “whoosh” from somewhere behind him.

Two days later, Herr Doktor Hartmundt Klein performed his last service to the world, his frozen blood and rotting entrails providing hearty sustenance for ermine, owls, and mice. A hawk pulled a long string of intestine from Klein’s decaying torso.

Nearly six miles eastward, an ermine pulled a toe off Klein’s rotting legs.

The Century Club in New York City is a remarkable place. Reserved for only the best and the brightest in terms of both staff and customers, the Club boasted being the first venue to showcase Louis Armstrong, and more recently, break-out hit Duke Ellington. Teddy Roosevelt had been a member, as had Thomas Edison. In every election, a poll is cast of the Club’s members as to who will be the next President of the Greatest Nation on Earth. The Club’s answer always wins the seat.

The Club itself is a study in decadence. Dominated by a pearl-white finish and classical Greek architecture, no surface is without a piece of priceless artwork, and no patron must walk more than a dozen feet to gorge him or herself on the finest delicacies in the world. Steam rooms, indoor tennis courts, Oriental massage—there is no desire that cannot be fulfilled at the Century Club.

In one small corner of the Club’s library, there sit two men. One is dapper, dark, and theatrical in his movements—and among his ostentatious dress, the most obvious and elaborate piece is his belt buckle, a large sphere of jade so reflective it seems almost to glow. The other man seems far too disheveled to be allowed entry into the Club, with a pair of multi-function goggles covering his eyes, the headband (and a lack of hygienic care) pushing his hair into wild directions.

These men are two of the Century Club’s newest members, sponsored for reasons they have yet to discover—and they are also old friends and rivals. Currently, they are having the same fight they have had dozens of times before: Alexander Willoughby, the man with the magician’s hands, is attempting to win Dr. Dermot McDanneher, the scientist some might call mad, over to the side of supernature—but McDanneher will have none of it. Each believes that their explanation of the universe hold all the answers, and neither will admit the validity of the other’s beliefs.

At this moment, as is normal when the two friends devolve into bickering, the other Club patrons have scampered to the far corners of the premises, and so there is no-one but Dr. McDanneher to see Willoughby as he clutches his head, cries out in pain, and falls from his chair onto the floor, writhing in agony.

smilesriles
Willoughby picks himself up, struggling to find his equilibrium, rubbing his temple. “Sacred Simorgh” he mumbles, “give me the strength.” He moves to the bar and pours himself a strong drink and calls to Dr. McDanneher. “My friend, I apologize for that. There is something horrible happening. The spirits are calling to me. Tell me, have you heard of a ‘Tungaska’ or ‘Kulik’? Come with me, we will find out what strange and mysterious forces call to me from the beyond.” With a more ceremonious flare of his cloak, begins to head to his library of Secrets of the Arcane.

hydingjekyll
Dr. Dermot McDanneher moves a small dial on the side of his goggles, telescoping his vision so that he might examine the minute details of Willoughby’s face for clues as to his sudden attack of headache and hysteria—possibly an unexpected side effect of the over-bright lighting in the room refracted from the all-but-glowing belt buckle Willoughby was wearing, and caught in the eye with such intensity at the perfect angle as to be momentarily debilitating. He resolves to study the possibility of harnessing and perfecting such an effect himself, and to add the appropriate protections to his goggles of such a thing is possible; he hopes he can talk his friend into allowing him to study the jade stone in an appropriately clinical setting.

He realizes that Willoughby is almost out of the room already, and rushes to follow. A shame to leave so soon; it was a fine bit of proper Irish whiskey he’d been sampling, and there had been no reason to refrain from another. Well, no help for it.

I believe you mean ‘tungsten,’ Willoughby,” Dermot corrects his misled companion, “also called ‘wolfram,’ and I have most certainly heard of it. It’s a hard, brittle, but corrosion-resistant, metallic element, number 74 on the periodic table, and has an amazing melting point 3,410°C! Its alloys are perfect for high-temperature structural materials, but more notably for electrical elements and in instruments requiring thermally compatible glass-to-metal seals. It’s brilliant stuff, I tell you, just the thing for the chassis of non-lethal electrical discharge ordnance, although MI5 deemed them too outlandish for conventional battlefield use. Backward-thinking wankers, think how many lives could have been saved during the Great War! Can I take a look at that belt of yours when we get wherever it is you’re dragging me off to?

GM
Willoughby heads quickly to the Century Club’s immense library, plucking books off the shelves as he goes—Secrets of the Persian Underworld, The Twelve Messiahs, Tobin’s Spirit Guide…

Once he has amassed a large pile in the arms of his colleague Dermot, the two seat themselves at a small table in the empty library and begin to research. Dermot is completely mystified by the bizarre and arcane texts [Mysteries check: -1 Poor, fails], and quickly abandons the task, instead looking through texts on the physical sciences for things like “tungsten” or “kulikinium” [Academics—?]

Willoughby, on the other hand, has rather more remarkable success. After looking through a few books on his Mid-Eastern specialties [Secrets of the Arcane], he realizes that the word “Tunguska” does not come from any of the languages known in the Mid-East—in contrast, it is a Russian word, from the snowy north. Having discerned that, it is child’s play to find the events of a June day nearly twenty years previous [Mysteries check: +6 Fantastic, succeeds with 3 shifts]. Within twenty minutes, Willoughby has all the extant information on the Mysteries of the Tunguska Event.

On June 30th, 1908, a tremendous explosion blew across central Siberia, near the Tunguska River. The blast was heard for hundreds of miles around, as it knocked over trees and caused earthquakes far beyond the range of the explosion itself. This account from
the Sibir newspaper tells much:

“On the 17th of June, around 9 in the AM, we observed an unusual natural occurrence. In the N Karelinski village (200 verst N of Kirensk) the peasants saw to the North-West, rather high above the horizon, some strangely bright (impossible to look at) bluish-white heavenly body, which for 10 minutes moved downwards. The body appeared as a “pipe”, i.e. a cylinder. The sky was cloudless, only a small dark cloud was observed in the general direction of the bright body. It was hot and dry. As the body neared the ground (forest), the bright body seemed to smudge, and then turned into a giant billow of black smoke, and a loud knocking (not thunder) was heard, as if large stones were falling, or artillery was fired. All buildings shook. At the same time the cloud began emitting flames of uncertain shapes. All villagers were stricken with panic and took to the streets, women cried, thinking it was the end of the world. The author of these lines was meantime in the forest about 6 verst N of Kirensk, and heard to the NE some kind of artillery barrage, that repeated in intervals of 15 minutes at least 10 times. In Kirensk in a few buildings in the walls facing north-east window glass shook."

Having seemingly exhausted the more mundane facts about the Tunguska Event, Willoughby examines the extra-normal commentaries on it. Harold Norris claims that the Event was the physical manifestation of the birth of the Anti-Christ. Piotr Rasilnovitz makes the case for the Event as a proof of the old Russian deities showing their anger at the prevalence of both Christianity and Atheism in modern Russia. The local Siberians have a number of beliefs, but agree on two details: that the landscape near Tunguska resembles the blasted plains of Hell, and that sometimes strange noises, unlike any animal native to Siberia, can be heard among the dead trees.

However, among none of Willoughby’s mystical researching does he find any mention of “Kulik.”

As Dermot looks through the various tomes concerning tungsten and various other metallurgical elements and compounds, looking for “kulikium,” he happens across a biography of one Leonid Kulik, a Russian mineralogist. He can find no connection between Tunguska and Kulik, but finds one salient fact: less than a year ago, Leonid Kulik was accused of sedition against the Soviet government. There is no record of him after this accusation [Academics Average ( +1), succeeded 0 shifts].

smilesriles
There is no such thing as coincidence, certainly none when mystical visions are concerned” Willoughby says, slyly needling Dermot on one of their favorite arguments. How do you feel about a little transatlantic voyage, my friend? Perhaps some sort of, erm, strange new device caused this explosion so many years ago. I wonder what sort of wreckage and mechanisms remain to this day? Willoughby glances over towards his companion, raising an eyebrow, but already Willoughby’s thoughts are concerned with old evils, disturbed gods, and impending doom. He idly rubs his shoulder, old pains, never really go away.
Dermot, what’s the fastest way to get to Russia?

hydingjekyll
TransPacific, not Atlantic,” Dermot says dryly (tragically dry; it really is a shame about that whiskey), “with a bit overland before then. I can’t say that I should trust hallucinations brought on by tricks of the light and whiskey stronger than the man drinking it, I’ve little doubt, but this record does sound as though there’s something worth looking into among the Cossacks. Our quickest route would likely be to take the railway across this big bloody continent, as inefficient as that’s bound to be—sometimes I wish the venerable Nikola Tesla could have turned his fancy to improving transportation—and then take a ship across your new favorite ocean to your beloved Orient, and then up north to the steppes. Hmm. Maybe we could stop in Colorado Springs along our way …” he muses.

GM
So saying, Dermot calls over one of the Club’s stewards and requests his assistance in booking passage in the next ship traveling in the direction of Russia.

In the blink of an eye, Dermot and Willoughby are aboard the USS Athens, a jewel of the White Star Line. Though Dermot’s pockets are light [Resources check: Poor (-1), Willoughby’s stage shows have been doing well recently, and he magnanimously foots the bill for the two finest suites aboard the Athens [Resources check: Great, succeeds with 2 shifts].

The evening of the first day of travel, Dermot and Willoughby attend the Bon Voyage, a party for all the first-class passengers. The ballroom is remarkably large for the interior of an oceangoing vessel, and decorated in the new “Art Deco” style. A band of Negro jazz musicians provide a pleasant background, and since the Athens has entered international waters, away from Prohibition, the booze is flowing freely.

While seated at the bar, as is his usual wont, Dermot looks across the dance floor and spots Vivanda Renard. A sultry, black-haired bombshell, a bob cut on top and a slim, active “flapper” figure lower down, every inch of Vivanda screams "SEX"—except for the massive tome underneath her arm, “Metallurgical Psychopharmacology: Iridescence and Schizophrenia.”

The sight of his old rival hits Dermot like one of Vivanda’s long silk gloves across the face. Unfortunately, before he can catch Willoughby’s attention, Vivanda meets his gaze and begins to approach.

[Todd: I am now Compelling your Aspect “Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard.” If you take a Fate Point, you must react negatively to Vivanda, because of the embarrassing incident that occurred the last time you met (which you must detail), and all your social skills gain a -1 penalty through the first Exchange (should things degenerate that far). If you pay a Fate Point, you may do whatever you wish.

Okay, guys. This is going to be the first real scene of the game. Remember that you can spend a Fate Point to Invoke an Aspect to give yourself an advantage, so long as you can justify it. You can also spend a point to make a Declaration, stating some minor detail or fact about the scene. You can also spend a Fate Point to “Tag” an Aspect about the location, Vivanda, or one another, to help out your action.

Should this conversation escalate into Social Conflict, it will work just like a physical combat, just with words, theories, what have you, instead of blows.

Since we’re just beginning and you’re learning about your characters, and since Riley has deliberately not finished filling out his character sheet, you each have 3 Skill slots and 3 Aspect slots that you may fill (in Riley’s case) or swap out (in Todd’s case), if you feel you need a new skill. However, once you use a skill at a particular level, it’s locked in—so realize you need Rapport instead of Contacting before you use Contacting, please (or whatever).

Okay, I think that’s it for now.]

hydingjekyll
[I will take that Fate Point. This should be fun.]

Ah, shite, Willoughby,” McDanneher grumbles. “We’re in the enemy’s sights. I ought to have equipped these goggles of mine with earplugs; she’s a flapper, all right, but mostly of the gums.” As it is, he taps a switch on the goggles, causing dark lenses to cover his eyes, hoping to express his disinterest in meeting with her again.

[Details on the Embarrassing Incident to follow when the opportunity presents itself.]

smilesriles
Willoughby puts on what he hopes is a charming smile and extends a hand.
Hello. My name is Alexander. Have we met before?

GM
The raven-haired Renard pointedly ignores Willoughby and sidles up to Dermot, so close that her breath fogs up his goggles.

Bonjour, Dermot,” she says in a thick French accent. “What a lovely surprise to see you here. Whatever are you doing on the Athens? A new project, perhaps? I do hope it goes better than the last one. Why don’t you tell me about it?

[Beginning of Social Conflict. Surprise round goes to Vivanda, then Initiative is as follows:

  • Willoughby
  • Vivanda
  • Dermot

Vivanda is attempting seduction, Rapport vs. Resolve. She rolls a Superb, Dermot rolls Epic: succeeds with 2 shifts. Dermot, detail your excellent rebuff.]

smilesriles
When its my turn, I’m going to use my “Curiousity of a Cat” to find out what happened between her and Dermot. Turning the conversation back to their past as opposed to our present.

hydingjekyll
Dermot raises his goggles’ darkened lenses, stifling a resigned groan. “Yes, it really was a tragedy that your demonstration of my projectile grapnel in front of MI5’s Research and Development department turned a viable tool into a novelty act,” he agrees. “To this day, half of them still believe that I intended your dress, rather than your body, to go flying to the ceiling. I hope your little incident taught you to listen to instructions next time, or at least to wear underpants.” He sips his whiskey, then smiles as if musing on something interesting. “On the other hand, you did produce hard science for once; it was quite the salute you received, from every man in the room.

GM
Vivanda steps back, flustered. “Well, I… I…

[Vivanda’s surprise round finished. Round 1 begins, Willoughby’s turn.]

However, before she can regain her composure, Willoughby interrupts. “Madame, I don’t know your name, but it is evident that you have a very interesting past with my friend Dermot. Might you enlighten us as to the nature of your relationship—and perhaps why you’re speaking to us now?” As he speaks, Willoughby watches Vivanda’s face carefully, looking for any sort of information she might accidentally reveal. [Empathy vs. Rapport: Poor (-1). Willoughby Invokes “Curiosity of a Cat” to reroll, -1 Fate Point. New Roll: secret.]

Vivanda, flushed, glares at Dermot, then looks over at Willoughby. “Well, we once worked together together for your MI5. After the… grapnel incident, I did my best to best dear Dermot, and he did the same for me.

[Willoughby discovers Vivanda’s Aspect Scientific Rival: Dermot McDanneher, ripe for Tagging.]

GM
[Willoughby’s turn over, Vivanda’s turn begins.]

Vivanda takes a moment and catches her breath, then changes tactics. “Dermot, your friend is cute.” She steps closer to Willoughby, and runs a finger down his cheek. “Alexander, you say your name is? As in… the Great? Now, a man of your obvious wealth and—” she pauses for a moment, glancing down at Willoughby’s crotch. “—stature must have a terribly pressing reason to associate with a ridiculous little scientist like Dermot. What. Is. Your. Business?” she finishes, punctuating each word with a light touch on Willougby’s chest, slowly moving downwards.

[Rapport vs. Resolve: Fair ( +2). Vivanda invokes [secret] to add +2, -1 Fate Point. New Roll: Great ( +4) vs Fair ( +2), succeeds with 2 shifts.

Willoughby may now either mark off the “2” box on his Composure [or rather, tell me to], or take a Minor Consequence (temporary Aspect reflecting her seduction: Rattled, Turned On, etc). If he loses all 7 of his Composure boxes, he will be Taken Out and tell Vivanda whatever she wants to know.]

[Vivanda’s turn is over. Dermot’s turn begins.]

hydingjekyll
Dermot snorts. “At least I am a scientist; I get my information through research and experimentation, rather than by offering men the false hope of filling my test tube. Don’t pay her any attention, Alexander. As I understand, your interest is in ladies.” (“I’m a scientist!” aspect)

Dermot searches Vivanda’s figure for signs of why she’s asking—insignia pins, letters, etc. [Investigation: Good]

GM
Vivanda spins and glares at Dermot. “I’ll not be insulted in this manner by an unambitious tool of his outdated government!

As she spins, her short skirt flips up, and Dermot’s keen eyes spot a tattoo on her upper thigh—a black serpent wreathed in stylized flames. With a jolt, Dermot flashes back to the past, to the adventure of the Sultan’s Demon:

Dermot McDanneher, MI5 agent extraordinaire, adjusted the sights on his new Multi-Vision Goggles to maximum magnification. Below him in the dank, torch-lit chamber, lay the man MI5 identified as Alexander, black sheep of the politically important Willoughby family. Lying face-down on a roughly-hewn wooden bench, Willoughby gritted his teeth as a black-robed man dug a tattoo needle into his shoulder. Dermot watched in horror as the tattoo took form as the Burning Dragon, the mark of the feared Cult of Dahaka. When the black-robed man finished the last line, the tattoo flashed with a paradoxical black light, and Willoughby screamed in pain. Dermot, shocked by the inexplicable flash, lost his grip on the pipe he clung to, and fell from his hiding place onto the straw-covered floor. The black-robed man turned, dropped his tattooing needle and drew a long, curved knife. He rushed for Dermot, knife raised…

Dermot shakes off his memory, and gapes as he realizes that his old rival is a member of the Cult of Dahaka. Vivanda looks from Dermot’s eyes to her short skirt, and her eyes widen.

[Investigation vs. Deceit: Superb ( +5) vs. Fair ( +2), succeeds with 3 shifts. Vivanda takes a 3-point Composure hit, and Dermot learns her Aspect: Cult of Dahaka.

Dermot’s turn is over, and it is now Willoughby’s turn. However, Dermot can say a couple words free (like "She’s a member of the Cult of Dahaka!), but he can’t do it discreetly until his turn.]

smilesriles
Dermot, I never underestimate your luck with the ladies. Well since she is not going to buy us a drink, and I’m not going to buy her a drink, there is only one solution. I’m going to have to buy Dermot a drink. What’ll it be?” With years of practice from British political snobbery, Alexander half-turns away from the woman and towards the bar, giving off his best cold shoulder. [Intimidation-Fair Level]

GM
Incensed by the blatant snobbery [Intimidation: Good ( 3) vs. Resolve Mediocre (0), succeeds with 3 shifts. Vivanda takes a 3-point Composure hit—and since she already lost slot 3, it rolls up to slot 4], Vivanda slams her book down on the bar and yanks Willoughby’s arm. "%{color:red}You think you can dismiss me like that? Do you have any idea of my connections?!%

[Intimidation Fair ( +2). Vivanda invokes Aspect: Master Rasputin for a re-roll.]

I work for the man who destroyed the Romanovs! The man who could not—and cannot—be killed! The greatest magician of the modern age! Grigori! Yefimovich! Rasputin!” she finishes, punctuating her speech again with much more violent finger pokes into Willoughby’s chest.

[Intimidation Mediocre ( +0) vs Resolve Fair ( +2), Willougby wins with 2 shifts]

Willoughby picks up two scotch-and-sodas and nods to the bartender. “Rasputin’s been dead for twelve years, my dear. It’s possible you’re suffering from delusions.

[Vivanda’s turn over, and Dermot’s up.]

hydingjekyll
Yes, delusions no doubt brought on by her association with the only-too-familiar Dahaka cult. You’ve heard of those jolly folks, haven’t you, Alexander? Tell me, luv, has your Rasputin’s theoretical immortality anything to do with the Dahaka’s laughable chemistry attempts that they tell themselves is Alchemy?” [Intimidation skill/Defender of Science showing through—would that require using a Fate point?]

GM
[Intimidation Fair ( +2), Invokes “Defender of Science” to add +2, loses 1 Fate Point. Result Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Deceit Superb ( +5), Vivanda wins with 1 shift.]

Vivanda shrugs off Dermot’s caustic remark, saying “There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Dermot.

Willoughby’s eyes widen as he hears the name “Dahaka.” His tattoo burns on his skin, and his temper begins to flare.

[Riley, I’m Compelling “Cult of Dahaka.” If you want the Fate Point, do something rash and aggressive, perhaps even violent, to Vivanda. Or you can spend a Fate Point and do whatever you want.

Round Three, Willoughby’s turn.]

smilesriles
Moving suddenly, Willoughby stands and grabs the woman painfully by the shoulder. “What madness is this? Have you walked in the valley of ash and shadow? Who sent you to follow me? SPEAK WOMAN BEFORE I PULL THE LIFE FROM YOUR SOUL!!!” The Orb of Daevas begins to make a low buzzing noise, the kind of tickling on the back of your neck you would associate with a dog whistle.

GM
Vivanda shrieks and pulls away. “Help! Madman!” she screams, and the steward immediately rushes over. Looking at the maddened look in Willoughby’s eyes, he immediately makes a decision.

I think you should return to your cabin right now, sir.

Vivanda, sobbing, hides behind the steward, before shooting Willoughby a deadly look. Around her, everyone at the party stares at Willoughby, and several men start rolling up their sleeves in case things get ugly.

[That’s a fate point to Riley. With this new situation, the Social Conflict is resolved, and whoever posts next gets to act first.]

hydingjekyll
Dermot hurriedly puts an arm around Willoughby’s shoulders. “Alexander, what have I told ye about rehearsing your bloody stage act in public? Not everyone realizes it’s theatrics, and it seems you’re drunk enough that you forgot to tell this poor girl that she was to be your lead actress! Bartender, a glass of water, please. Here, my boy, take this to bed with ye and sleep it off. You’ll be nursing your sore head soon enough.” He walks Willoughby to the barroom’s exit and sends him off to his suite, then returns to the bar. “My apologies for my friend, everyone. So immersed in his showmanship is he—Oh, he left his Scotch. Can’t let that go to waste.” He downs Willoughby’s drink in one swig, then smiles. “I know how to make amends: a round for the whole room! (Put it on my friend’s tab, bartender.)” As soon as everyone has a drink, he leads the room in a rousing rendition of “Oh Danny Boy.” [Invoke Excellent Drinking Buddy Aspect to help smooth things over with the steward and fellow patrons.]

GM
[Rapport: Mediocre, Invoke Excellent Drinking Buddy, add +2, result Rapport: Fair ( +0). Lose a Fate Point. Success with 0 shifts.]

Now that the offending Willoughby is out of the room, the rest of the crowd seems much more willing to relax, and joins Dermot in “O Danny Boy.”

While they are singing, Vivanda throws Dermot a glare and slips out of the ballroom.

[Todd, please continue posting here for now. Riley, please move over to the new Topic “The Mysterious Vixen.”]

GM
As “O Danny Boy” settles down, Dermot notices that Vivanda has left her book, “Metallurgical Psychopharmacology: Iridescence and Schizophrenia,” on the bar. His curiosity raised, Dermot considers poking through the book before anyone else notices that it isn’t his.

[This would be the perfect place for a Declaration. You can tell ME what you learn from this book, and then make the Science check. If you succeed, then the fact you just made up is, in fact, true. If not, then, so sad, it’s not true and you’ve failed to find anything useful. Or you can just roll it and if you succeed, I’ll tell you what you find, and if not, you know the drill. Up to you.]

hydingjekyll
Dermot idly (“idly”) opens the book to Ms. Renard’s bookmark and pretends to only skim what he finds there. In a book about the psychological effects that reflection of light can have on a human being (not unlike Willoughby’s receiving “visions” from the light refracted off his belt buckle, Dermot is quick to note), the section focuses on the use of silicate, magnetite, and iron-nickel alloys—all of which Dermot knows to have been found in the area of the Tunguska event. The book’s title notwithstanding, this section pertains to the ability of light refracted from these compounds to produce altered states in animals and humans. [Declaration, with Science check]

My God!” Dermot thinks, figuratively. He drafts a few graphs in his head. “Based on this information, if light were reflected from a spherical object made of a precise combination of these materials under moderate indoor lighting, the resulting ultraviolet component of its luminescence—beyond the range of ordinary human vision though it would be—could conceivably produce a state similar to hypnosis in human beings. The things those wankers could do with that … This is dire! This is potentially catastrophic! This is … utterly and brilliantly fascinating. I bet I could fashion a reflecting chamber with miniaturized ultraviolet lamp to create a focused beam of such light and create a valuable tool for interrogation and negotiation.” He adjusts his Multi-Vision Goggles to allow him to read with maximum clarity and sits at the bar, reading ravenously while the rest of the world fades from his consciousness. [Curious to Distraction]

GM
Dermot, studying the reflective properties of the metals referred to in the book, is near complete understanding of the potential uses and abuses of this “Tunguskite Hypnoticizing Transducer” when he hears a man’s voice, momentarily distracting him [Science: Good ( +3) vs difficulty Superb ( +5)]. However, he quickly shuts out all distractions [Invokes Curious to Distraction to add +2, Science: Superb ( +5) vs. difficulty Superb ( +5), succeeds with 0 shifts. Loses 1 Fate Point], and the man’s voice diminishes to nothing—"%{color:orange}Sir, does that book not belongto the lady?%"

Dermot has just barely finished his analysis (believing he could certainly counteract the effects of a Transducer, and possibly build one himself), when the steward pulls hard on his shoulder.

Sir! I said, that book belongs to the lady your friend insulted! I will take that!” he says, yanking the book from Dermot’s hands. “And I think you, sir, should return to your cabin!

[I’ll give you a Fate Point for “Dislikes Authority” if ya fight back, ya berk.]

hydingjekyll
Hey! Hey! Hands off, you sod!” Dermot roars, rising from his stool and turning to face the steward. “No need to get rough here like some rookie bobby. Thanam o’n Dhoul! I’m a scientist, and I’ll be treated accordingly, ye snooty wanker!” He snatches the tome back from the steward, none too gently. “I was looking after the crone’s book for her ‘til she got back, if it’s any o’ your bloody business, but if it’s so damned important to ye, I’ll return it to her now. Which room is she stayin’ in?

GM
The steward, though unaware of the meaning of the Irish phrase “Thanam o’n Dhoul,” certainly understands that he is being insulted. Desperate to get the irate Irishman out of his ballroom, the steward quickly pages through the registry book and finds Vivanda’s room number.

Thus satisfied, Dermot (after one more whiskey) saunters out of the ballroom and heads towards Vivanda’s cabin, idly wondering where Willoughby has vanished to.

Holding the large book in his right hand, ready to use it as a weapon if the need arises, Dermot knocks on the door.

[This topic is now locked. Begin posting in “The Mysterious Vixen”—but not until Willoughby gets a chance to respond to Dermot’s knock.]

View
The Versailles Op -- Court Politics

After an overly long carriage ride, taken up with Jimmy’s incessant yammering about his life on the streets and how much he misses the “clickies” he’d see on Friday nights back in his own timeline, Team Eagle arrives at the Palace at Versailles.

The tremendous palace looms before the team, impressive in the gaudiest manner possible. No surface is unadorned, whether with gold and/or cherubs, and precisely (and artistically) groomed topiary is everywhere. Ludger shakes his head at the waste of important resources, while Nick nods his head, knowing the importance of impressing the populace. Jimmy just thinks it’s neat.

As their carriage reaches the outskirts of the grounds, the newly-appointed Finnish ambassador meets his first hurdle—hopefully one easy to clear: a gatehouse, complete with intense-but-dim guard.

Who are you, then, and what business have you at the palace?

hydingjekyll

I believe you would be the one to handle this situation, Ambassador Halonen?

[OOC: Are Fate Points restored? What about physical stress?]

[Damn. I meant to put that in. Stress gone, as well as Nick’s Minor Consequence. FP Restored]

jonsayer
[Jimmy=pedobear!
http://www.pedobearpics.com/pedobear/118355.jpg]

smilesriles
Nick gives the guard a wan smile, one cannot be to familiar with the servants, it is unbecoming. “If you could let the King know that Ambassador Halonen, from the royal monarchy of Finland has arrived to speak to his majesty at his earliest convenience. Mind you we have spent some time traveling but a swift meeting to express our support for the King would be most appreciated. Thank you.

Nick looks beyond the Guard, preparing to urge the coachmen to more the carriage forward into the courtyard.

GM
[Okay. Totally going to get back into a regular schedule with this—but the complications of moving don’t stop when you unpack your shit.]

The guard must be having a particularly paranoid day, for he raises one eyebrow suspiciously and looks through a ledger. “I don’t see anything about a Finnish ambassador coming through. I’m going to have to check this out.” [Nick Deceit Good ( +3) vs. Resolve Good ( +3), fails by 0 shifts].

As the team waits nervously, the guard shouts to a nearby gardener and sends him up to the palace. Nick tries to engage the guard in small talk, but the man will have none of it, and the trio stands in silence.

A few minutes later, the gardener returns, followed by a whip-thin, balding man with a pencil mustache. He is dressed in a severe, dusty-black outfit, simple but expensive. Approaching Nick, he bows slightly. “Good morning. I am Perrier, head of palace staff. Would you please be so kind as to grace me with your credentials?

hydingjekyll
Ludger keeps a sharp eye out for any hint of hostile intent or OTL agents. [Alertness]

jonsayer
[his name makes me thirsty]

smilesriles
Nick gives one of his well practiced exasperated sighs and hands over the documents recently foraged for them. “I understand the necessity of good security, one cannot be too careful in times like these. That is why we have come, to advise the King in these tumulteous times.” Nick gives a momentary frown at the aftereffects of the poison causing him to misspell words when he speaks them. Then realizing that it is spoken, he returns to his aloof indifference.

GM
Perrier looks over the documents, occasionally glancing up at Nick and his compatriots as he does so. After finishing, he places them under his arm and, without a word, turns and gestures for Nick to go ahead. Team Eagle quickly find themselves in the gigantic lobby of the palace, and Perrier summons two porters.

Ambassador Halonen, we would be most honored to provide you with temporary accommodations during your stay—and your servants may stay in the servants’ quarters. I will see when His Majesty might see you, but I would be surprised if it would be until late in the day, if not tomorrow. Pierre, please escort Ambassador Halonen to his apartment. Marc, take his servants to your room.

Nick winks surreptitiously to his comrades as they part, and follows Pierre (carrying the team’s luggage) to his new room. The apartment, though small, is still sumptuous, and Nick feels right at home. He shoos the porter away, then sits down on the large four-posted bed with a sigh.

Good morning, Ambassador.” comes a whisper from the rear of the room.

Nick nearly jumps out of his skin, but quickly composes himself—and then, rethinking things, uncomposes himself slightly, thinking that being too cool might give away his true purpose. He looks over at the man in the corner–Prodigiously obese, with overly rouged cheeks, the obvious nobleman stands leaned against a dresser.

I am the King’s brother, Louis Stanislas Xavier de France. You may call me the Comte de Provence. I thought we might discuss exactly what you hope to gain from my brother.

Marc slams open the door to his tiny room with an irritated grunt, and hurriedly shoves Ludger and Jimmy inside. “While you sleep here, you sleep on the floor. I’m not your maid, I’m not your rooster, I’m not your doxy. Stay out of my way and I’ll leave you to your master’s politicking.

Jimmy and Ludger glance at each other, considering whether to rise to the man’s apparent baiting or to find something else to do before the interview with Louis.

hydingjekyll
Ludger shrugs—he’s had far worse than sleeping on the floor and being snapped at. “We have no interest in your way, and even less interest in you being our doxy. You do your duty and we’ll do ours.” With that, he turns his back on Marc and attends to his luggage, making sure that everything that is secret will remain so.

Once he has hidden everything that might raise suspicion about his intentions or his time origin on his person [Stealth], Ludger stands up again. “Marc, I must return to my master’s side. I’ll give you five francs if you bring us to him.

jonsayer
Yeah. An I’ll give ya one fanc if ya tell me wut a doxy is.

[On a side not, Abby and I will be taking a long rail trip around the US for three weeks between 6/20 and 7/10. I will attempt to check this game whenever I’m around some wifi, but those times might be few and far between. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you guys sooner.]

[as consolation, I hope you guys will accept this funny article about the stupidest monsters in DnD http://www.cracked.com/article_17455_15-retarded-dungeons-dragons-monsters.html]

GM
Marc grudgingly takes the total of six francs. “Doxy. A prostitute. Whore. Servicer of carnal desires. Not me. And fine, I’ll take you to yer Ambassador.

Shortly, Ludger and Jimmy find themselves outside their compatriot’s new room. As Marc leaves, they hear an unfamiliar voice from inside say “I thought we might discuss exactly what you hope to gain from my brother.

hydingjekyll
Ludger narrows his eyes. Any political discussion by Nick should be done in a more open area than his bedroom; whoever else is speaking with him likely doesn’t have the best of intentions for him. However, he knows that Nick can handle himself unless it comes to physical violence, and that they may learn more if the speaker thinks Nick is defenseless. He stands guard outside the door, doing his best to look like any decent servant who has been told to stay outside during negotiation. [Stealth?]

jonsayer
Jimmy too listens at the door, ready for funny business. Although he was still thinking about doxies, and trying to calculate how much a 1780’s franc is in 1880’s shillings.

GM
Just as Jimmy and Ludger settle into a position of lounging guard duty, beginning to listen in to Nick’s conversation, the shriek of a woman in trouble rings from down the hall. They glance at each other, considering which is more important—Nick’s meeting or a woman’s life?

hydingjekyll
Ludger feels a twinge of anxiety. The mission is more important than any single life [Consummate Professional, Sacrifices Must Be Made], yet too many women have been victimized by the regime that he used to support and not one of those cases ever should have happened [Sense of Justice, Horrors of War]. It could be an OTL ploy, or it could be someone who honestly needs help. Grappling with his own soul, Ludger holds back and listens for signs of sincerity or deceit. (Empathy)

[Not actually tagging any aspects]

jonsayer
You stay here,” Jimmy whispers like a five year old playing spy. “I’ll go see wut dat is.

He bolts down the hall towards the sound.

GM
Jimmy, much less inhibited if not actually more empathic, shoots off down the corridor as Ludger internally examines the womanly shriek. Just as Ludger has decided that it is likely a scream of outrage rather than pain [Empathy Great ( +4) vs. Average ( +1)], Jimmy bursts into the room down the hall, breathless.

Inside, a glamorous 30-something woman with the distinctive Hapsburg jaw [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prognathism#Mandibular_prognathism_.28progenism.29] is in the midst of a dress fitting, half-naked as a seamstress bows and scrapes in front of her. A single drop of blood appears on the glamorous woman’s waist.

When Jimmy bursts in, both women start and look at the door. The glamorous woman gathers up some dress material and holds it to her bosom, covering up her immodesty. “Sir! You violate the modesty of the Queen!

hydingjekyll
That scream doesn’t sound any better. “Oh, scheisse,” mutters Ludger—although it comes out as “oh, merde”—and he hurries after Jimmy; if the Englishman gets into trouble, he could jeopardize everything. He sprints down the hall and puts a hand on Jimmy’s shoulder. “Is the lady safe?” he asks in his best hurried, concerned voice.

jonsayer
Jimmy puts his hand in front of his eyes and backs out of the room.

I’m so sorry me lady, I heard a scream and I thought someone was in trouble,” he says faster than a steam carriage going downhill. “I was only tryin to help.

[I’d say honest lie but i can’t think of anything false about this statement]

He’s left the room by the time Ludger shows up.

Is the lady safe?

I saw a knocker, I did,” Jimmy whispers as they walk back to listen to Nick. “It was da queen’s knocker, too. Or maybe it was just her chin. I don’t remember, but that was the queen.

GM
[It has not been six weeks since the game last updated. You are mistaken.

In related news, we’ll be focusing on Jimmy and Ludger for the time being, and I’ll keep Nick off-stage/played by me for the time being.

In further news, check this out: http://www.dungeonmastering.com/tools-resources/how-to-improve-your-dming-in-12-5-seconds. For the purposes of Crosstime, especially since we’re PbP and asking a simple question can add two days onto the action, please take this completely to heart]

Jimmy and Ludger stand together, unsure as to whether they are about to be executed, for a moment until the door re-opens. A pretty young lady-in-waiting bows slightly to the duo. “Her Majesty will see you now.” Jimmy and Ludger realize it isn’t a request.

As the Revisionists carefully enter the room, they look around at the sumptuous frivolity the Queen has decorated her chambers with. Marie herself has recovered her composure (and clothing), her glamor and imperious nature restored. “You have seen the Queen in a state of discomposure. Normally, this could be punished by prison or exile, but perhaps you might have something to offer me. Tell me about yourselves and your master, and we will see.” She smiles pleasantly, but the spies see a hint of steel beneath the velvet.

jonsayer
Before Ludger can stop him, Jimmy speaks, desperate to avoid the slammer. In his haste, he forgot the letter “T” and any sort of punctuation.

“%{color:brown}Well me lady I am righ’ strong I am and a good figh’er and if someone’s bin botherin’ ya I can give ‘em a good wallup but I know you prolly got plen’y a strong types soooooo… I know how to find things I do things ye might not be able te find fer yeself cuz yer a decent well-bred lady but things all folks need in these troubled times errrrr…… I be workin’ for Ambassador Hallonen I am he’s a very impor’an’ man he get things done like with da politics and such and bein’ so smar’ an’ he is from Finland and can errr…. %” he paused to breathe and to think what on earth a Finn could do. “get cha a POLAR BEAR! if ye need one me lady.

hydingjekyll
Ludger tries not to sigh out loud. “Your Majesty,” he begins, taxing his soldier’s meager vocabulary two sentences in advance of what he’s saying, “please let me begin with an apology for both my comrade and me. We heard you scream, and for your own safety and in that of both our nations, we came to give what help we could; we never wanted to see anyone a compromised situation, let alone bring Your Majesty’s honor into question—which we do not. I also apologize for my comrade; as he says, he is an able combatant and a loyal bodyguard to our master, Ambassador Halonnen, but he isn’t used to such delicate situations as this. He, like me, means only the best for Your Majesty and her grand kingdom.

He draws a deep breath, unsure of how he’s doing. “As for our business, we are humble bodyguards and manservants to Ambassador Halonnen of Finland while he seeks to speak with His Majesty to build a beneficial partnership and alliance between our two fair nations.” He struggles to shoehorn in a gratuitous remark about the queen’s theoretical beauty, but flattery is not one of his talents and he doesn’t risk it; he wishes there were someone he could just shoot, so he could stick what what he’s good at. As he speaks, he tries to keep his eyes on the queen and the lady-in-waiting while checking the room for threats at the same time. [Alertness]

GM
The queen sighs and stares at the duo for a moment. “Finns. Fairly unprejudiced. Intriguing,” she says to herself, before reorienting her gaze on Ludger. “The King’s advisor, the Cardinal Loménie de Brienne, has been pushing His Majesty in some directions most unbecoming. Were you to arrange the Cardinal’s disappearance from court, I’m sure His Majesty would see your master all the sooner—and be friendlier when he does so.

[Awareness = it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing to see]

hydingjekyll
Ludger thinks back to the briefing on the mission, and remembers that de Brienne had pushed the king to leave France; if he were dissuaded from doing so, it could benefit the Revisionists’ mission. The German attempts a polite smile expressive of his sincere agreement. “Your Majesty, we feel that an end to de Brienne’s actions against the welfare of France would benefit our nations together, and we would be honored to perform this task for you. Of course, too abrupt a disappearance could cause unrest—” Unfortunately. “—but we will do all in our power to provide your wish as quietly and prudently as possible.” He bows, hoping to the Base that it’s an appropriate gesture just now.

He hesitates to push his diplomatic skills any more, but the soldier in him is forced to make sure the troops are defended. “I hope we may trust in your good word on our behalf if our efforts on the behalf of all involved result in any … ah …” Think, damn it! “… undesired incidents. Of course, this would be for the sake of the beautiful France and its newest ally, Finland.

GM
The Queen nods, ever so slightly. “Indeed. I believe the Cardinal is currently in the chapel, taking confession, as is his idiosyncrasy. You could… catch him there. Or, of course, he has a room in the East Wing.

She claps her hands twice, and a lady-in-waiting rushes to close the door. Just before it shuts, Ludger and Jimmy hear “He and I will both be at lunch in four hours. I’ll expect to hear of some progress if your master wishes to come to dinner.

jonsayer
Are we gunna go back to listen to Nick, Ludger, or go deal wit dis cardinal?” Jimmy whispers.

hydingjekyll
Not now, Jimmy,” Ludger whispers, then bows low. “Your Majesty, we shall endeavor to fulfill your wishes in the most expedient manner possible, for the glory of France and Finland.” Hoping he isn’t forgetting any courtly salutations, he turns and leads Jimmy from the room.

Once the door is closed behind them, he immediately starts back to the room that he and Jimmy were originally guarding. “I don’t want to leave Nick alone,” he quietly tells Jimmy as they walk. “I think we both remember what happened the last time we let him talk to an aristocrat by himself. However, if we can … ah … serve the Queen’s honorable request, that would be valuable to our original mission as well as help with Nick’s future negotiations in France.” He heaves a sigh of disgust, shedding his ill-worn coat of diplomacy in favor of his true feelings. “Typical of the French. If she wants the Cardinal gone, she should do it her own damn self, instead of cowering behind her velvets. No wonder we crushed them.

As he and Jimmy resume their positions astride Nick’s door, Ludger thinks to himself about how to complete this impromptu mission. Killing the Cardinal, if it wouldn’t be clear cause for the king to panic, would be the easiest way to get him away from the king’s ear—but Ludger wonders if that would be subject to the Great Man Fallacy. But if de Brienne were snuffed now, it would take time for another to resume his place at the king’s ear, and the Tipping Point might be close enough that such a replacement would be too late—if the new adviser even shared the Cardinal’s opposition to the king remaining in France. But Ludger has never liked the word “might.”

Ludger nods to Jimmy to keep an eye and ear on the door, and begins looking through his medical kit, trying to identify drugs that could be combined to cause a quick death—or maybe hallucinations. [Medicine, Fate Point to push the contents of the bag to something useful]

GM
Ludger quickly and carefully paws through the medical bag. Though his medical skills are limited at best, the fact that just yesterday he had to find an anti-venom makes things easier, and he removes a vial from the bag [Great ( +4), +1 from Fate Point —> Superb ( +5)].

The vial is labeled “Clantinophan,” a powerful antibiotic with the “unfortunate” side effect of causing vivid hallucinations. Though it has a sour taste, only a small dose is necessary to invoke its side effects.

Ludger Fate Points -1 = 6

jonsayer
Jimmy listens at the door, hoping to pick up on Nick’s activities.

hydingjekyll
A smile almost cracks its way out of Ludger’s professional soldier’s grimace. “Jimmy,” he says softly, “make sure no one sees me. If anyone comes close, make a distraction.” With that, he quickly loads a syringe with a small dose and conceals it on his person. He glances back at the door, hesitant to leave Nick to his own devices, but he knows that Nick would be willing to lay his life down for the Revisionist cause—especially when the double victory of shutting up the cardinal and winning the queen over would be the tradeoff.

Packing up the medical kit once again, he stands and nods to Jimmy. “Let’s find the chapel, Jimmy. We, and God, are going to pay the cardinal a visit.

GM
The chapel is a marvelous affair, filled with icons, stained glass windows, and a twenty-foot, disturbingly lifelike crucifix. A few parishioners sit in the pews in silent contemplation, and a confessional sits off to one side, apparently free for use. Jimmy and Ludger look around, both impressed and disgusted by the Church’s extravagance—and Jimmy tries to avoid looking Jesus in the eye.

hydingjekyll
Ludger looks around, as inconspicuously as possible, trying to single out the cardinal. [Alertness]

GM
Ludger looks around and fails to see even the hint of a cardinal’s raiment—however, he hears rustling from the priest’s chamber in the confessional [Alertness = hidden].

hydingjekyll
Ludger nods, mostly to himself. “Jimmy, I need you to go ask those people if that’s the cardinal in the confessional. If they say it isn’t, ask where you can find him; tell them it’s a matter of great spiritual importance.” He hopes Jimmy can keep that much straight, and not cause trouble.

Ludger listens to the whispers of the people in the chapel and quickly decides that the cardinal must be in the confessional. While Jimmy mingles with the crowd, hopefully drawing most of their attention, Ludger climbs into the confessional booth directly behind the cardinal’s as inconspicuously as possible. [Stealth] Quietly raising the screen’s facade, he peers through at the cardinal’s back and begins quietly cutting the strings of the screen with his knife, watching for any sign that the cardinal might be stirring from the confession. [Stealth—tag Cardinal is Busy and Rather Hard of Hearing; Alerness if necessary] When he can reach a hand through the screen, Ludger neglects to smile to himself and drives the needle of Clantinophan into the cardinal’s neck, pulling it back when all of the drug has been deposited.

GM
[Stealth Superb ( +5), tags Cardinal is Rather Hard of Hearing for +2 —> Epic ( +7) vs. Alertness Horribly horrible (-3), Ludger gains lots and lots of spin —> Cardinal fails to notice him].

The needle drives into the Cardinal’s flesh, and he swats at his back, cursing at the errant fly. Ludger ducks low, and the Cardinal excuses himself from the parishioner on the other side, sitting back woozily. Ludger hears the Cardinal’s speech slur as he says an Our Father, and knows the time to strike is now.

hydingjekyll
Cardinal Loménie de Brienne,” Ludger murmurs, keeping his voice low as he speaks into the reclining Cardinal’s ear through the screen, “I come before you with my angels, for you are on the path to grave sin.” Ludger wishes that his imagination were able to keep the same pace as his tactician’s brain, and pushes himself, drawing on the religious indoctrination that was part of his training as a Nazi. [tag Horrors of War] “You know that the king’s sovereignty is My own divine mandate, a decree from My own hand, yet you would have him leave this land that I have given him. I warn you, de Brienne, in my own name Jesus Christ, that if the rightful ruler of this land that I myself have appointed leaves France, this great, unpardonable sin shall be on your head with all the fires of everlasting Hell. But if you return to obedience and do My will, and keep him in this land, then the blessings of Heaven shall pour forth upon you when you come to My right hand in My kingdom.” Ludger takes a few breaths, wondering how he’s doing. “You are favored among men, de Brienne, and I would keep you in my fold. Do not let Satan move the king’s heart from France, but do my will and give him the strength to stay in this anointed land, which shall ever flourish if he remains here with the courage I have given him. Now go, and do my will.

Ludger considers saying more, but decides he has already dictated enough. He holds his tongue and keeps still in the confessional, as silent as a church mouse at Mass.

GM
The Cardinal, confused but still a devoutly religious man, suffers considerable cognitive dissonance as he hears a strange voice speaking against what he knows to be true. (burgundy) “His Majesty has lost the will of the people, and by no means could his horrible treatment of France and its citizens be known as God’s work! The Lord has abandoned Louis, and if we do not work quickly, He will abandon France as well!” [Deceit Poor (-1), free tag on Hallucinating for reroll —> Mediocre ( 0), tags Horrors of War for +2 —> Fair (2) vs. Resolve Fantastic ( +6), fails by 4 shifts, Cardinal gains spin —> decides it’s the Devil]. “You, sir, are not my God, but a demon whispering in my ear, an agent of the Adversary! You have done nothing but reaffirm—nay, strengthen—my faith that my support of the Republic and Nivenne is correct!”

So saying, the Cardinal, still high as a kite and seeing more than a few figments, rushes out of the confessional. Jimmy and Ludger have but moments to catch the holy man before he leaves—where he will go, only God can say.

Ludger FP -2 since last count = 4

Ludger sees the Cardinal leaving, and thinks the mess a dosed, seemingly insane priest could cause, and how his sudden death might ultimately be less messy [compel Consummate Professional to kill him right now—+1/-1 FP].

Jimmy, meanwhile, sees a mad priest, knowing he’s the baddie, and thinks that while killing a high-ranking priest in the midst of a church filled with witnesses is prolly a bad idea… he might get away with it [compel Reckless Gambler to kill him now—+1/-1 FP].

hydingjekyll
Suppressing a useless string of the worst profanities the military could teach him, Ludger slips out of the confessional, hopelessly wishing that Nick had been there. He considers for an instant of slipping a dagger into the cleric’s hand, but abandons the idea. “My God, the cardinal’s gone mad!” calls Ludger. “In this state, he might do harm to himself!” So saying, he follows de Brienne out of the chapel—and watches for the nearest castle window. [Alertness, if necessary]

GM
Ludger follows de Brienne down the corridor, the tile gleaming brightly in the morning sun through the large picture windows that appear every few yards along the hall. The Cardinal is mumbling and crossing himself as he stumbles along.

[FP’s still up in the air]

hydingjekyll
Ludger sprints after the cardinal and barrels into him from behind, pushing him toward the nearest window with all his strength. Gritting his teeth with disgust for the hypocrisy and manipulation inherent to religion, the excuse for the Holocaust and nearly every major conflict in Earth’s history, Ludger feels absolutely no mercy or remorse; whether glass, sill or empty air, Ludger attempts to bull rush the old man through and over any obstacle on his way to a long fall. [Fists, tag Horrors of War]

jonsayer
(sorry for my absense. the long hiatus made me fall out of the habit of checking. I really am sorry)

Jimmy feels compelled to do something reckless and stupid, so he chases after the cardinal. A plan forms in his head… maybe he can tackle the priest to the ground and then, in the chaos, snap his neck when no one notices. If anyone asks why he seems dead, Jimmy can just pull a Weekend at Bernie’s and pretend he is alive. (doing as fate commands me pretty much, Fists, helping Ludger)

GM
Ludger and Jimmy look at each other and decide to work together to kill the man of the cloth in front of them. Jimmy dashes ahead and yanks on the cardinal’s arm, spinning him round and off-balance just in time for Ludger to crash into the holy man like a linebacker. The cardinal screams horrifically as he flies through the window, sending showers of shattered glass everywhere. Ludger and Jimmy stand at the empty frame, looking down at the bent and broken body of the Cardinal de Brienne.

[Ludger Fists Good ( +3), -1 from Stealth, invokes Horrors of War for +2 —> Fists Superb ( +4) vs. Fists Good ( +3), succeeds by 1 shift. Jimmy Fists Great ( +4), adds +1 to Ludger’s —> Fists Superb ( +5) vs. Fists Good ( +3). Stealth Good ( +3), -1 from Fists —> Fair ( +2) vs. Alertness Fair ( +2), fails by 0 shifts.]

Jimmy turns to Ludger and says innocently “So, did we have a reason to kill him, or was it just for fun?”

Ludger turns and looks behind them, seeing that his attack on the cardinal was fairly well obvious to the several courtiers watching, stunned, from the chapel entrance.

[Ludger FP +1, FP -1 = 4
Jimmy FP +1 = 8]

hydingjekyll
Kill him? That was never the plan!” Ludger shouts, sticking his head out the window. “Oh dear God!” He [Stealth]ily drops his dagger after the cardinal—if the blade sticks into the corpse, even better—before pulling his head back inside. “You heard the man, he was clearly mad. He was shouting about the influence of devil and how the king must be removed from this great country even though we all know His Majesty must remain in the nation God has given him, and everyone saw the dagger in the cardinal’s hand. I was trying to stop him from reaching His Majesty, wrestle him to the ground, but I didn’t expect you to stop him the way you did. Oh God, what have we done?” [Deceit—Ludger and I both wish he had an aspect he could tag for this, but he really doesn’t] “I fear our only hope is to go before the queen and beg her forgiveness for this terrible accident. Quickly!” With that, he sprints off toward the queen’s rooms.

jonsayer
You are right! He was raving mad he was!” Jimmy turns to the courtiers. “You saw it!? He was mad! I’m going to tell the queen, too!

[Using Deceit with special guest star Honest Lie]

GM
Ludger easily tosses his dagger out the window, impaling the Cardinal’s corpse at just the right angle to look like a horrible, forced accident, using his strongest skills to visually misdirect [Stealth Epic ( +7) vs. Alertness Mediocre ( +0), succeeds with 7 shifts]. Unfortunately, Ludger’s verbal misdirections, while intelligently phrased, are singularly unconvincing, and even the relatively simple random civilians can see through his nervousness [Ludger Deceit Average ( +1) vs. Empathy Poor (-1), civilians tag Incredibly Awkward Situation for +2 —> Empathy Average ( +1), Ludger’s failure gives a -1 penalty to Jimmy].

Jimmy steps in with his simple words, honestly simple face, and long, long experience at lying to large crowds, and manages to cover up Ludger’s ineptitude… at least, for long enough for the duo to get away [Jimmy Deceit Fair ( 2) +2 from Honest Lie, -1 from Ludger —> Good ( +3) vs. Empathy Average (1), Jimmy succeeds by 2 shifts].

Turning and running swiftly back to the Queen’s chambers, Ludger and Jimmy knock rapidly on the door, and they are reluctantly let in by a lady-in-waiting. Marie is seated by the window, writing a letter, and looks at the two Revisionists in surprise and alarm. “What the Devil are you doing back so soon? I wasn’t to see you until lunchtime!

jonsayer
Well, me lady, as our luck would have it, de cardinal went mad and had an awful accident,” Jimmy says, winking in a not subtle way.

hydingjekyll
Your Majesty,” Ludger says forcefully, getting down on his knees, “we have come to report a terrible accident. The Cardinal de Brienne went mad in the chapel and ran for His Majesty holding a dagger, screaming that he must remove the king from France himself and calling him a devil. I meant only to wrestle him down and take the dagger from him, but he was moving so quickly that … oh God … he was knocked out the window by his own momentum. Your Majesty, please forgive me! I only meant to ensure the safety and sovereignty of France!” In the back of his mind, something gripes that he had better get good at bullshitting soon, or apply for a transfer to a division where he can just shoot people.
GM
Dear God. You assassinated him? In such a public location? What the hell were you thinking? Who saw you?

hydingjekyll
Ludger’s stomach turns, and he hurries to say something before Jimmy does. “No, Your Majesty, no!” he insists, wishing to the God he no longer believes in that Nick were here to take care of this. He lowers his voice. "%{color:red}I drugged him, to make him impressionable and to change his mind, so that he would understand that your husband’s rightful place is here in his own sovereign nation. However, he took my suggestions in a horrible flight of fancy, saying that I must have been a devil to say that His Majesty should retain what God has given him. He ran from the chapel, hell-bent on driving your honorable husband from this place. It seemed that the best way to halt this emergency would be to stage his accidental death, even though it was not my first choice. There were witnesses, I regret to report, and I told them that I accidentally collided with the cardinal while trying to wrestle him to the ground, and that I did so because he was running to the king’s chambers with a knife.%

Please listen, Your Majesty,” he says determinedly. “The cardinal was heard and seen raving about the devil and how he must get the king to leave France, in the middle of the chapel; he was old, and you will even find a drawn knife on his person when the body is inspected. If this is handled correctly, we could play this off as the cardinal going mad under the influence of the devil, and that such diabolical influence was why he wanted His Majesty to abandon his rightful rule in France. We could use this to bolster the case that His Majesty must retain the throne. The common people are easily led by their rulers, and will easily remember what you tell them happened, if you do so with your rightful authority. You could use this to convince the king of his duty to his land, his people, and his god to remain with you in France; it could even turn public opinion in his favor. We must use this to our advantage while we can, Mother of France. Or if you fear such an interpretation would not be taken well, then simply vouch for us that there was an accident while we tried to protect your husband’s life from the raving mad cardinal. I regret the loss of His Grace, but either way, if you make it known that the cardinal was a mad menace when he died, our common goal is achieved. Your people will believe and follow you, Lady.” He wracks his brain for any possible angles or contingencies that he has neglected, but feels confident that he has read this situation like a seek-and-destroy mission. [Diplomacy (fair), tag Consummate Professional]

jonsayer
Jimmy may be stupid, but he knows when to shut up.

GM
[Apologies. Been getting used to my new job and new schedule. Let’s get back in, shall we?]

Marie stares at Ludger, unable to believe the horrific news he carries, and unwilling to forgive despite his attempt at fancy talk [Diplomacy Poor (-1), invokes Consummate Professional for reroll —> Poor (-1) vs. Resolve Good ( +3), fails by four shifts]. “Merciful heavens, you’ve destroyed everything! With such an obvious death, there will be an investigation. It won’t be long until you’re discovered, and the evidence will point back to me. In such a precarious position, what do you imagine they’ll do to Louis?” The color drains from her face. “We’ve got to leave the country at once!

Looking back at Ludger and Jimmy, her eyes narrow. “But not before I ensure you won’t cause any more trouble than you have already.” She reaches for a large hand-bell, no doubt designed to summon her servants… and perhaps guards.

Ludger FP 4 -1 = 3
Jimmy FP = 8

hydingjekyll
I regret that is how you feel about this situation that you incited, Your Majesty,” Ludger says simply—but there is menace growing in the back of his voice, like the black clouds of a gathering storm. As angry and scared as he is, his soldier’s calm will not crack; he still has a mission to complete. “I can only say in our own defense that it was indeed your idea that de Brienne be removed as a threat to your husband’s reign in any way necessary, which you know to be true. And say it, I will. To my own sovereign, to the Catholic church, and to everyone along the way. If you will not cooperate and lead your people in the direction that will benefit you and your husband, we will not be your scapegoats. I fear no good consequence for ourselves, but for you, who arranged this—nowhere outside of your own country could possibly keep you safe from the retribution of the Catholic church. Jimmy, let us be off.” [Diplomacy, tag Consummate Professional] He turns for the door, resisting the urge to spit on the queen’s floor in open disgust; such pathetic cowardice and weakness could only be expected from the French.

[OOC: God damn it!]

jonsayer
Eh, maybe we should, you know, stop her before she goes telling the king all about this.” Jimmy says to Ludger.

hydingjekyll
That’s exactly what we’re doing,” Ludger whispers as they walk toward the door. “And even if she calls the bluff, you think we can’t fight our way out of here?” [Stealth, if necessary]

GM
Marie stares at the duo as they head towards the door, then coughs loudly. As they turn, she puts down her bell and places her hands on her lap. "%{color:green}I think you have a point. No one here really wants the truth of today to come out. I believe I can throw the blame onto a pair of “unknown miscreants”—but only if you aren’t in the way. I can give you… four hours, maybe six, and then you had better be out of the palace, or I can’t—and won’t—protect you.%" [Diplomacy Great ( +4), invokes Consummate Professional for +2, -1 from more of an Intimidation check —> Superb ( +5) vs. Resolve Superb ( +5), partial success with 0 shifts].

As Ludger and Jimmy exit the room, breathless, a page comes by and wordlessly hands a small note to Ludger. He looks at it, takes a moment for the French to rearrange itself in his eyes to more familiar German (thanks to the Lingua Franca Impant), and scans it. He sees Nick’s familiar, flowing script: “We aren’t the only Travelers here. The Comte de Provence has been compromised. Meet me at the gardening shed in three-quarters of an hour.

Ludger and Jimmy look at each other in relief and surprise—finally, something that they can hit! Unfortunately, something that can hit back!

Ludger FP 3 -1 = 2
Jimmy FP = 8

hydingjekyll
Ludger nods to the queen and disappears out the door, resisting the urge to say, “By the way, nice tits” just to spite her. Upon receiving the note, he shows it to Jimmy. “Let’s get there immediately,” he says quickly. “If we’re ahead of time, we can scout out the surrounding area and prepare.” With that, he sets off as invisibly as possible. [Stealth]

GM
The gardening shed is a small brick building surrounded by beautiful foliage, and Ludger and Jimmy approach it quietly. They come up behind, checking for enemies or Nick, but see nothing. Slowly, they part and circle around, weapons ready. At the front of the shed, they find nothing and no-one. Wondering if perhaps they are ahead of time, the duo spreads out and scouts the area, but find no sign of either their colleague or OTL.

As time passes, Ludger begins to worry, while Jimmy starts to get bored. Where in space-time is Nick?

hydingjekyll
Ludger is certain they are well ahead of time, since they came forthright. “Jimmy, we’re early. Let’s get a little ways away and study the surrounding area. That way, people won’t see us hanging around and get suspicious, and we can observe the area from afar and get a feel for cover and other things that might be useful to us.” [Leadership, if necessary] He quickly leads Jimmy from the scene and to the nearest inconspicuous spot. [Hush]

GM
As the duo heads to a secluded spot, Ludger’s keen eyes spot an envelope wedged into the door of the gardening shed. Is it a message from Nick? A trap?

hydingjekyll
Ludger makes a thorough scan of the area, as surreptitiously as possible. [Alertness, Stealth] If he feels no hostile eyes, he nudges his compatriot. “Jimmy, pick that up. I’ll cover you if there’s some sort of trap.

GM
Ludger drops low and edges himself to the point where he can see under the shed door. His keen eyes gaze on the narrow gap between floor and door, and spot a moving shadow blocking the light beyond—surely the sign of someone lying in wait [Ludger Alertness +5 (Superb), -1 from two actions —> +4 (Great) vs. Stealth (hidden) —> Ludger succeeds. Ludger Stealth Fair ( +2) vs. Alertness (hidden) —> (hidden)].

hydingjekyll
Ludger motions for Jimmy to remain quiet and stay away from the door, [Hush] and watches the shadows of movement under the door to try to ascertain whether they’re hostile. [Alertness]

GM
As Ludger watches, an unfamiliar man in servants’ clothes steps briefly out of the shed and looks around, failing to spot Ludger.

hydingjekyll
Ludger wishes he could have seen the look on the man’s face, and what kind of anxiety he showed. No help for it; now is the time to act. “Jimmy, you get along well with servants. Go ask that man about the letter, but don’t mention our mission. I’ll back you up in case there’s trouble.” [Leadership] [This is an example of Sacrifices Must Be Made, but I’m not using a Fate Point.]

jonsayer
Jimmy good-naturedly walks right up to the shed door with no attempt at stealth and knocks on the door.

Ay, mate, could you grab me a shovel?

He slyly stands just to the side, so that anyone attempting to swing a shovel at him will miss comically, but he will also be able to stick his foot in the door if the guy just pokes his head out. He draws his gun and hides it behind his back.

[The unceremonious end of the adventures of Nick, Jimmy, and Ludger]

View
The Versailles Op -- Party Down

A plan firmly in hand, the trio strides past the doormen, an imperious look from Nick assuring them that these new visitors were invited (Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Resolve Fair ( +2)]. Inside, they are greeted by a sumptuous mansion, filled with the height of 18th-century decadence. A great chandelier hangs from the ceiling, above a large dance floor filled with nobility and wealth, dancing the latest dances or simply gossiping in the corners.

There is a small bar, complete with bartender, off to one side, and a string quartet playing for the dancers, but these are the only individuals Team Eagle can distinguish in the crowd. Jimmy stands back, ready for Nick to do his stuff… but Ludger seems more willing to take a risk on his own.

[Fate Points refilled]

hydingjekyll
At your leisure, Minister Olshanski,” Ludger says to Nick. “I am sure your honor will find his esteemed associate if only he asks for direction.” Ludger looks around the room and its patrons for concealed weapons and out-of-place mannerisms, ready to quietly pursue any promising leads or threatening individuals the instant be becomes expedient. [Alertness]

GM
Ludger eyes the room, soaking up every possible detail. Though his knowledge of French courtly manner is limited, he knows what to look for in terms of military bearing or OTL training—and sees them all—albeit hidden—in one man [Alertness Great ( +4) vs. Deceit [hidden] = [hidden]]. This man is at the center of a large group of people, entertaining them all with risque stories about his adventures on the Continent. However, Ludger sees that his eyes regularly scan the room, looking for much the same things as Ludger himself. Luckily, Ludger believes that the man hasn’t spotted him as a Revisionist agent [Alertness [hidden] vs. Stealth Great ( +4)].

hydingjekyll
Ludger takes great care to conceal his anachronistic bearing. [Stealth] “Minister Olshanski,” he says again, “that man in the center of the group over there may be of some help to us in finding the honorable Deppe. He is a friend of yours, I believe. Well, not a friend, but an associate. We must approach him, but remember our courtly manners.” [Stealth, Hush] He leans in toward Machiavelli and, smiling as though he’s telling a private joke, says, “As soon as you think it’s safe to kill him—which might not be while we’re here, I’m afraid—shake his hand with a dagger in yours. As soon as the hilt is in his grip, shout ‘oh, god,’ and I’ll shoot him.

jonsayer
Jimmy is flatly amazed by the surroundings, having never been in such an opulent place. But he has his own plans, seperate from his comrades. After grabbing a drink from the bar, he attempts to sneak away to the back halls of the palace to seek a kind of person he’s more familiar with, not the noblemen but their servants. [stealth]

His goal: to build a map of the place in his head, in case he needs to walk around it again for nefarious reasons. Perhaps a servant could help him out.

[We can assume that Jimmy is dressed to be not a diplomat himself but more of a manservant or bodyguard or something along those lines.]

smilesriles
Nick nods to Ludgar, once again counting his blessing that he has a solid military man on his team. He glances over at Jimmy to make sure he isn’t drolling on the carpet, then glides forward into the crowd moving calmly and serenely. Pulling aside one of the minor partiers, Nick speaks in slow measured tones

“%{color:purple}Greetings my friend. My name is Demetri Olshanski, I am the official envoy from the Monarchy of Poland. I am here to speak to Monseur Deppe but I am afraid I only know him by reputation. Is that Monseur Deppe there?%” Nick indicates the man at the center of the crowd.

“%{color:purple}I most wish to speak to Monseur Deppe privately at some point. We hear he is a man of influence and we have a financial matter that could benefit him. But such things are hush hush, you understand of course?%”

[Deceit, with the intent that not only will this person tell Monseur Deppe but also everyone else, basically, I want to put this on everyone’s Portraitbook Newsfeed (from Tick 13)]

jonsayer
[Nick Commented on Deppe’s wall:

Yo holmes! I thought I saw you at this party! Were where u on sunday

Comment Like

Ludger said:

I’m a kill gunna u lol jk

]

GM
Jimmy and Ludger attempt to conceal their more violent and/or less aristocratic bearing [Stealth = [hidden]] as Nick traverses the crowd, spreading the rumor about Deppe’s financial dealings through the time-honored tradition of insisting it stay secret [Deceit Great ( +4) vs. Empathy Average ( +1), gains spin = it spreads faster]. Mere minutes later, Monsieur Deppe strides up to Nick, his face a barely-contained mask of rage. He is a large man, with what seems to be layers of fat spread over a deceptively strong frame, and his hard eyes are nearly a match for Nick’s own.

Monsieur Olshanski, I presume? You are most magnificently terrible at concealing your intentions, and now the entire party knows of your thinly-veiled plan to bribe me into betraying my nation. I, for one, will have none of it. Now what do you have to say for yourself—or should I throw you out right now?

hydingjekyll
Ludger keeps his face in the duly impassive expression befitting a bodyguard, or a soldier. If Deppe knew of Machiavelli’s true intentions, he probably would not be confronting them publicly—although it could be a well-planned setup; Deppe’s extended accusation suggests that. Ludger watches him carefully, looking for physical cues that he knows he is in danger, and not just for his reputation. [Empathy] He also notes that the OTL agent he spotted drawing a crowd earlier is still on the loose.

smilesriles
“%{color:purple}Sir, you mis-understand my intentions. We come here merely as emissaries from the Polish Crown to show our solidarity with the King, but that is not my purpose here. I have a business opportunity of a purely mercantile nature that would interest a man of your wisdom and wealth. I would prefer to discuss it in private. But if you would rather pass this by, I’m sure there are several other wise men who would jump at the opportunity. Very well . . .%”
Nick turns to go, very slowly, giving the man a chance to consider. A well placed ruse, Nick thought. Now our identities are secured with the crowd as diplomats with money and influence. News will spread swiftly enough to the King’s ears. Especially with such a show being put on by Miseur Deppe. Excellent. Now to get him alone . . .

jonsayer
Jimmy missed the exchange, as he was still snooping around the palace looking for the locations of Deppe’s sleeping quarters, or perhaps a way he could sneak in late at night. He does keep an ear out for any kind of commotion. He can assume that if the music stops, or if the percussion is replaced with gunshots, then he knows he needs to run back to the ballroom.

[Stealth. I don’t think I gave him any skill in looking for stuff, so we can assume he is looking for things that aren’t hard to spot, like doors or perhaps a servant boy who might want to show him around.

Does he find anything?]

GM
Jimmy wanders the halls, keeping one ear out for the sound of a commotion back in the ballroom. Unfortunately, that one ear takes up enough of his attention that he loses track of his location, and meanders aimlessly, finding nothing of interest [Investigation -2 Very Poor vs. [hidden]]. As a scullery boy runs from the kitchen to the ballroom, Jimmy manages to duck into a shady corner with only a moment to spare [Scullery boy = Investigation Mediocre ( +0) vs. Jimmy Stealth Mediocre ( +0), fails with 0 shifts].

Meanwhile, Ludger examines every inch of the portly Frenchman (or, at least, French-masquerader), analyzing his every move, attempting to discover if he realizes the presence of dangerous Revisionists. Though unfamiliar with body language, Ludger utilizes his old sniper training to shut out all distractions—and reminds himself to look for a man who truly believes, whether in nation or metatemporal organization. Unfortunately, Deppe is a mask, betraying no trace of his inner thoughts, and Ludger is forced to give up in puzzlement [Empathy Average ( +1), invokes Consummate Professional for +2, Patriot for +2 —> Superb [ +5] vs. Deceit [hidden]].

Nick feels confident that he’s kept his true identity and goals a secret from Deppe—though the man still seems irritated by Nick’s false persona [Deceit +4 vs. Empathy [hidden]]. Deppe watches as “Olshanski” turns away, then coughs loudly. Nick turns back, fighting the grin that threatens to creep onto his face.

A business venture, you say? With the Polish crown? That does sound as though it is something to consider. Perhaps we can retire to my study and discuss it over a glass of wine?” Deppe seems hesitant but intrigued, and Nick feels the trap closing shut.

Jimmy: 6 Fate Points
Ludger: 4 Fate Points
Nick: 6 Fate Points

hydingjekyll
Ever cautious, Ludger falls in line with Nick to accompany Deppe to a private room, but keeps all his sense on high alert. This seems like too perfect a turn of events; Deppe is agreeing with everything too completely, too soon. Maybe things really are going Team Eagle’s way, but Ludger knows far better than to count on it.

jonsayer
[I would like to point out that my purpose would have been to accost that boy and ask him to show me around. I would have offered him candy and tried to get him to show me around (if it had been two hundred years later, I would have offered him a ride in my white F-350 van too, but that is besides the point.) I was looking for servants, not avoiding them. If he said no, I would try to figure out what to do from there.]

Jimmy gives up his futile search and begins to return to the ballroom.

Lets hope he rendezvouses with the gang before they disappear. He wouldn’t want to miss the torture.

GM
[I am nothing if not adaptive. Retcon underway!]

As soon as the serving boy passes Jimmy by, he immediately falls in step behind him “‘ello, my boy. How’re ya doin’?” He then descends into a web of deceit with two! (count ‘em) strands, that only a retarded mule could see through. The child, being ever so slightly brighter than a mule, sees through Jimmy’s deceptions, and refuses to divulge any information [Deceit Average ( +1) vs. Empathy Average ( +1), Jimmy fails by 0 steps].

Frustrated, Jimmy moves on to plan B: he grabs the boy by the throat and presses him against the wall. “Don’t be afeared—less’n ya squirm too much, you’ll get outta this with your eyes intact. Where’s the master’s bedroom, and how can I get there unseen?” [Intimidation Superb ( +5) vs. Resolve Pathetic (-3), succeeds by 8 steps, Jimmy gains spin]. The boy wets himself, and over the sharp smell of urine, tells Jimmy of a guest bedroom whose window ledge leads easily into a Deppe’s bedroom—and of a secret passage hidden behind a bookcase in Deppe’s study that could be accessed by the maid’s room (one suspects used for rather inappropriate trysts), and the fact that one of the wine rakcs hides a passage outside. Jimmy, satisfied, only knocks the boy out a little, and hides him in the maid’s room before concealing himself in Deppe’s study.

Deppe leads Nick and Ludger into his study with a measured joviality, and insists they seat themselves. He removes a bottle of wine from a shelf and pours several glasses of wine. Handing a glass to each of his guests, Deppe leans against his desk (an elaborate affair, emblazoned with carvings of cherubs and angels) and raises his glass. “To business!” he toasts, before draining his wine in one swallow. From behind the bookcase, Jimmy watches as his compatriots prepare to join the toast.

hydingjekyll
Ludger’s suspicion deepens at Deppe’s offering the same courtesy to Olshanski’s bodyguard as to Olshanski himself. Rather than speaking, Ludger only nods his feigned appreciation as a proper servant should; as Deppe tilts his head back to drink, Ludger pours the wine down his own sleeve (a trick the English used in their wars against the French, not too long from now). [Stealth]

smilesriles
Before we begin, I wish the business dealings, I must dispense with these diplomatic duties first. You understand of course. We will get to the affair of the recent Diamond mine in Africa soon enough.” Nick swishes the wine in the glass, considering if it is poisoned.

We understand you are quite close to the King. We were sent by the monarchy of Poland to offer our counsel, as one crown to another, but I fear we are quite out of sorts here. I am not quite sure where the King stands in regards to this slowly boiling revolution. What is your opinion of the affair?

Nick makes a “ssshing” gesture with his hands.

Do not worry, the stars will talk before I do.

[Deceit, also looking for any anachronisms]

GM
[there were no rolls accidentally posted here. These are not the droids you’re looking for. Move along.]

Deppe seems somewhat out of sorts at Nick’s diversion of the topic at hand—and that he hasn’t yet toasted—but gamely continues the topic [Deceit Superb ( +5) vs. [hidden]]. “The King is a man of yesteryear. His time is come and gone, and the revolution that has already begun must now continue. Of course, as a man, he is a wonderful person, and as a figurehead he has value as well. But Poland would do well to make an alliance with a representative of the new government, not the old.

Nick ponders these words as he looks around for anachronisms—he sees nothing, but isn’t certain he has enough time to spend while trying to appear focused on Deppe [Alertness +2, -1 for two actions —> Average ( +1) vs. [hidden]].

Ludger feels the sticky wine slide down his arm, and watches Deppe to see if he’s noticed—and he feels quite confident that the fat man did not [Stealth Superb ( +5) vs. [hidden]].

Jimmy watches from the bookcase, eagerly waiting for something to go wrong so he can see how easily Deppe’s belly fat can be punctured with a sharp knife.

jonsayer
[That was epic story telling Emlyn. Very epic. I love the detail.]

Jimmy is pleased to hear the voices of his compatriots on the other side of the bookcase. He imagines it might be a little awkward if he popped out from behind all of a sudden, so he stays hidden [stealth aka not eating extra-crunchy chips, as I imagine that is the only way I could reveal myself at this point]

smilesriles
I do so very much agree. Times change, and sometimes those steeped in the old traditions have troubles becoming unstuck. We just don’t want to see a sudden onset of violence to facilitate this. We hope to keep the King attached to his head, but not to his power if you catch my meaning. A peaceful transition. I am worried the King might get nervous and attempt to flee. I feel that would only inflame the situation, correct? I know you have the King’s ear on these matters.

hydingjekyll
Ludger barely moves a muscle, says nothing, and does everything he can to be completely overlooked as a dutiful servant (and any assassin worth the bullets he’s equipped with) should be. [Stealth]

GM
Deppe seems to relax, and fetches the wine bottle again. “I assure you, the King isn’t going anywhere. I will keep you informed of his position and the status of the real government, but I think there is little we can do now. Why not have another drink, and we’ll get to this business of diamonds.” He grins greedily and tops off Nick’s glass, then refills Ludger’s and his own before draining his glass again. This time he stares at Nick, and the spy realizes that Deppe would take it as a terrible insult if he does not drink.

hydingjekyll
While Deppe stares at Nick, Ludger once again feigns drinking and pours the contents of the glass down his sleeve. [Stealth]

smilesriles
Nick takes a careful sip. What the hell, he thought. I have two men in the building. They will get me out if something nefarious happens.

Nick then spins a tale about a diamond mine in Africa, needing potential investors of French origin for cover, local politics, you know the business. Appearences and all. Nick prays that any inaccuracies can be played off as merely being a foreigner [Deceit]

GM
Nick sips at his wine, but before he can even begin his tale of economic boom, he doubles over in pain. Ludger, seeing the slight wince on Nick’s face even before the Italian realizes he’s been poisoned, knocks the glass from his hand. Nick falls to his knees, clutching his stomach in pain as the poison begins to close his throat [Nick Endurance Average ( +0) vs. Great ( +4), Nick takes a four-shift hit—1 2 3 X 5 or takes a Minor (1 X 3 4 5) Consequence (Ill) or Moderate (1 2 3 4 5) Consequence (Poisoned). Nick Alertness Poor (-1) vs. [hidden], Ludger Alertness Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fair, wins by four shifts, gain Spin—reduces Nick to a 3-shift hit].

Deppe looks satisfied at Nick’s pain, only to shout in surprise that his compatriot hasn’t taken ill.

From behind the bookcase, Jimmy perks up, ready to act, as he’s been waiting eagerly during this entire dull conversation.

Initiative:
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Ludger 1 2 3 4 5 6, 4 Fate Points
Deppe ?, ? Fate Points
Nick 1 2 X 4 5 or X 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points

hydingjekyll
Ludger suppresses his profanity before he even realizes he’s thinking it; he’s too busy lunging over the desk and drawing a pistol. He’s not trying to shoot Deppe—too much noise and too little information would result; he’s aiming the gun’s butt precisely against Deppe’s temple, hoping to knock him unconscious long enough to try to save Nick from the poison without letting Deppe escape from the very harsh interrogation he is about to experience. [Weapons, Athletics?, invoke Consummate Professional to do all this accurately and effectively]

jonsayer
Jimmy draws his knife and bursts open the bookcase. He grabs Deppe from behind, wrapping his arms around the bastard’s shoulders so that Jimmy’s elbows are pointed to Ludger and Deppe’s arms are immobile. He not-so-subtly holds his knife against Deppe’s neck and holds one hand over his mouth to stifle any screams.

You trying to poison me mates, guv’na? I’ll show you what we do to fuckers like you were I come from.

[Also, lets get some pluses in there due to my massive STEALTH from before. Also, I’m using MIGHT to hold him immobile]

smilesriles
That little fuck. Kill him.” Nick wheezes, trying to throw up, preferably on something expensive.

GM
Jimmy throws open the bookcase and leaps upon Deppe. Deppe, surprised, struggles to draw a dagger from his belt, only to find himself completely immobilized by Jimmy’s mighty, albeit filthy, arms [Might Fantastic ( +6), modified by Stealth +1 —> Legendary ( +7) vs. Weapons Good ( +3), Jimmy succeeds by 4 shifts, places Held aspect on Deppe, gains spin —> gives a free tag on Held to Ludger].

At the same moment, Ludger vaults over the desk like an Olympic athlete, drawing his pistol at the same time. He trips slightly as he reaches Deppe, and his devastating strike against Deppe just barely knocks the side of his head [Athletics Great ( +4), -1 for two actions —> Good ( +3), reaches the table. Weapons Average ( +1), -1 for two actions —> Mediocre ( +0) tags Held for +2 —> Fair ( +2), invokes Consummate Professional for +2 —> Great ( +4) vs. Good ( +3), Ludger succeeds by 1 shift, causes a 1-shift hit].

Deppe shakes off the pain from Ludger’s glancing blow and shifts his weight, attempting to reach his weapon by using his massive bulk to overbalance Jimmy. Unfortunately, the thug’s arms hold him too tightly, and he is unable to do more than utter muffled shouts behind Jimmy’s hand [Weapons Good ( +3) vs. Might Superb ( +5), Deppe fails by 2 shifts].

Nick rises to his feet, still feeling ill but ready to throw his hat into the ring.

Initiative:
Nick 1 2 X 4 5 or X 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Ludger 1 2 3 4 5 6, 4 Fate Points
Deppe X 2 3 ?, ? Fate Points

hydingjekyll
Ludger hops down from the table and drives his fist into Deppe’s stomach, trying to knock the wind out of him and keep him from shouting again. [Fists] As soon as his fist pounds into Deppe’s fleshy midsection, Ludger looks to Jimmy. “Knock him out, but let him live. We’ll want to ask him a few questions.” Once he confirms that Jimmy is at least keeping Deppe at bay, Ludger brings out his medical kit and begins looking for poison neutralizers.

jonsayer
Jimmy attempts to knock out Deppe by banging the fat frog’s face against the bookshelf Jimmy just flew out of. [Might]

When Deppe goes limp, Jimmy drops him to the ground, takes his dagger, rifles through his pockets (old habit) and looks for something to tie him up with.

GM
Jimmy tries to yank Deppe up against the bookcase, but the fat frog is simply too fat. His magnificent bulk holds still as Jimmy yanks, and Deppe manages to get one arm free, which he immediately uses to snatch a knife from his belt [Might Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Great ( +4), Deppe invokes Size of a Whale for +2 —> Fantastic ( +6), Jimmy fails by 1 shift].

His eyes on Deppe’s weapon, Ludger takes his impromptu club and swings the gun-butt at Deppe’s liver. Deppe shows uncharacteristic dexterity, and shoves the butt aside with his blade [Weapons Good ( +3) vs. Weapons Great ( +4), Ludger fails by 1 shift].

Deppe flips the dagger to a vertical grip—but as Ludger braces for the stabbing blow, he instead flips open a hidden catch on the dagger’s hilt and presses a red button inside. That finished, he then flips it back and tries to stab Jimmy in the arm that still holds him. Jimmy, however, is agile enough to avoid the diplomat while strong enough to draw him back into a full hold [Deppe invokes Minions for 1 Fate Point. Weapons Fair ( +2), -1 for two actions —> Average ( +1) vs. Might Fantastic ( +6), Deppe fails by 5 shifts, Jimmy gains spin —> Jimmy, Nick, or Ludger may take one free tag on Held].

Nick 1 2 X 4 5 or X 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Ludger 1 2 3 4 5 6, 3 Fate Points
Deppe X 2 3 ? ? ?, Fate Points ? -2

jonsayer
[Claiming that free shit]

Jimmy is pissed that his plan failed. He can feel his blood boil. I mean, shit, all he wanted to due was bludgen a large stationary object with Deppe’s head. I mean, Ludger even said “don’t kill him”. Now, maybe Jimmy won’t be as nice. [invoking bloodlust]

With Deppe still in his arms, Jimmy bites the back of the OTLer’s neck, getting a nice bit of blubber between his teeth. Simultaneously, he forces Deppe to lean forward slightly [might] while he kicks his feet out from under him, hoping that gravity will pull Deppe’s incredible mass forward with nothing but his own face to break his fall. [also might]

[hoping that the crazy guy biting him counts as intimidation aka “psych out” that will ruin Deppe’s concentration in future roles]

hydingjekyll
Oh shit.” This time, Ludger cannot suppress the profanity as he realizes that the OTL agent must have done something drastic. The fact that it’s not immediately apparent what only makes his apprehension worse. There’s no time to question him the way Ludger had hoped; the best they can do now is to neutralize him and escape. “Kill him and get out of here!” he hisses to Jimmy, and takes his pistol by the butt, firing directly into Deppe’s head. [Guns, invokes Sacrifices Must Be Made]

[OOC: I will point out here that “frog” is an ethnic slur, like “mic,” “kike,” or “gyp.” It makes sense if the characters do it, but in narration, I humbly request that it not be used.]

smilesriles
Nick follows Ludger’s lead in getting out of their as best as he can stumble.

jonsayer
[I only used “frog” because it was alliterative.

But going onto a more philosophical question, is an ethnic slur wrong when that race is an oppressor, not an oppressee? Like “honky”. France was and is a powerful nation that has a history of oppressing other ethnicities like any other powerful group.

Still, I’ll respect your request and refrain from using it.

Jimmy is still waiting for the outcome of his last move, although it would seem Deppe will be dead before he hits the ground]

GM
[I used frog because I tend to write action description in the style of the character involved, and Jimmy would totally use tons of racist/sexist/-ist slurs. I’m fully aware of its connotations, and chose it because of it (and because Jon as Jimmy had already used it)].

Nick painfully rises to his feet and, still feeling ill, barely makes it to the door, slamming into it painfully [Athletics -1 Poor —> 1 zone traveled].

Feeling quite like Varney the Vampire from the penny dreadfuls, Jimmy rips into Deppe’s neck, then shoves him mightily to the ground, tearing a giant hunk of blubber and part of a secondary vein. As the diplomat hits the floor, he starts gouting blood—and screaming mightily [Might Fantastic ( +6), invokes Bloodlust for +2 —> Epic ( +8) vs. Fair ( +2), Deppe takes a 6-shift hit —> takes a Moderate Consequence (Bleeding Profusely) to move it to a 2-shift hit, X X 3 ? ? ?. Jimmy gains spin —> -1 to Deppe’s further Resolve checks].

Ludger looks down at the helpless Frenchman and considers the possibility of subduing him. He realizes that, unfortunately, there is no time to do anything but neutralize his foe—and so fires his pistol point-blank into Deppe’s face [Guns Fair ( +2), invokes Sacrifices Must Be Made for +2 —> Great ( +4) vs. Athletics Poor (-1), killing blow]. Deppe falls, brains and blood spattering the carpet. Ludger looks up at Jimmy and grimaces.

As Nick, Jimmy, and Ludger look around the bloody room, an unfortunate thought enters their heads (all right, Nick and Ludger’s heads)—according to protocol, they cannot leave anachronistic technology, such as the bullet currently lodged inside Deppe’s skull, behind on their missions. But should they take the time?

[Compel Consummate Professional to make Ludger stay behind and get that bullet —> +1 FP if he does, -1 FP if he doesn’t. Jimmy and Nick may make up their own minds].

Nick 1 2 X 4 5 or X 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points
Ludger 1 2 3 4 5 6, 2 Fate Points

hydingjekyll
[Damn! I thought the ammunition looked like a standard lump of lead, not just the gun that fired it. Research showed me how very wrong I was.]

Ludger curses himself as a fool; he should have used the dagger. Although the past can’t be helped (at the moment), the present can. He quickly grabs a chair and smashes it into what remains of Deppe’s skull, trying to split it wide open and make finding the bullet easier. “Jimmy, find the bullet in there and put it in your pocket,” he says quickly, dropping the bloody chair and opening the medical kit for emetics or likely antidotes. [Medicine] “If there haven’t been any explosions yet, he must have been signaling for soldiers or bodyg- Shit!” He turns away from the kit and grabs Deppe’s knife with the hidden button, quickly stowing it on his person before returning to the business at hand. “Now, if they get here before the bullet is found, we’ll shout that they did it until everyone in the building knows it. Once we’ve got the bullet, we’ll escape through that bookcase that Jimmy came through, then circle around and come back to this room to find them at the murder scene. Quickly, Jimmy!” [Leadership?]

jonsayer
Jimmy looks at Ludger. Then he looks at the broken head of Deppe lying on the floor. Then he looks at Ludger. Then he looks at the broken head of Deppe lying on the floor.

You really want ME to do that?

Ludger is busy healing Nick and doesn’t respond.

God damn it all…

Jimmy digs in and starts looking for the bullet, being sure to check the back of Deppe’s head to see if the bullet went into the floor.

[Not that this helps me at the moment, but does it cost me anything to use a stunt or an aspect?]

GM
[re: costs. Stunts are free, with a few exceptions (yours are all free). For aspects, Invoking an Aspect —> Spend 1 Fate Point, get a +2 or reroll (see: you invoked Bloodlust, got +2 to your Might roll, and I took your FP from 6 to 5). If I Compel an Aspect to make things harder on you (or you do it yourself, contingent on my approval), you get 1 Fate Point for doing things the in-character way, and lose 1 Fate Point for doing things the smart way. See: for staying and cleaning up, Ludger will get 1 FP for my Compelling Consummate Professional].

Ludger paws through the medical kit and finds a syringe marked “anti-venom.” Hoping it will do the job despite not knowing what kind of poison Nick’s ingested, he injects Nick. A moment later, Nick blearily rises to his feet, apparently feeling at least a placebo effect [Medicine Good ( +3) vs. Mediocre ( +0), succeeds by 3 shifts —> can remove a check mark from slot 1 or 2. If Nick has taken a Mild Consequence [Riley, choose!], he’s removed all damage. If not, he’s done nothing.]

Jimmy hesitantly touches the dead man’s skull, disgusted by the squishy, bloody brains—made all the more disgusting by the fact that brains of any kind are completely foreign to Jimmy, having none of his own [Investigation Mediocre ( +0) vs. Fair ( +2), fails by 2 shifts]. Before he can bring himself to properly search through the gray matter, the door bursts open.

From the door rush four well-dressed guards, all with muskets that they immediately raise. One, particularly quick on the trigger, fires at Jimmy, identifying the man poking his fingers into their patron’s skull as the biggest threat. Jimmy, however, moves even faster than the guards, and leaps behind the desk, avoiding the gunshots entirely [Guns Average ( +1) vs. Fists Great ( +4), Guard 1 fails by 3 shifts, Jimmy gains spin —> +1 Fists vs. next gunshot].

Ludger 1 2 3 4 5 6, 3 Fate Points
Guard 2
Guard 3
Nick 1 2 X 4 5 or X 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points

Guard 4
[Round 2]
Guard 1

smilesriles
[My consequence is Bouts of Nausea] Nick staggers up

Men, there are people coming. Let us away?

hydingjekyll
Find the bullet!” Ludger hisses at Nick, “and act like you’re trying to help him!” That said, he draws his dagger and springs for the nearest guard; he can’t afford to fire any more bullets of his own, but the guards’ will suffice at this range if he can get them. [Weapons, invoke Consummate Professional] “My god, they’ve killed Deppe!” he shouts as loudly as possible, almost as an afterthought.

jonsayer
[I guess I have to wait, but I totally want to grab a big handfull of brains and wing it at them.]

GM
Ludger, shouting loudly, leaps at the nearest guard, dagger raised. Unfortunately, the guard swings his musket up and blocks the strike, pushing Ludger back [Ludger Weapons Fair ( +2), invokes Consummate Professional for +2 —> Great ( +4) vs. Guard 2 Weapons Fantastic ( +6), fails by 2 shifts]. He then turns the musket and fires point-blank at Ludger—but the awkwardly small space forces the rifle slightly off-target, and the musket ball only grazes Ludger’s arm, tearing his sleeve [Guard 2 Guns Average ( +1) vs. Athletics Average ( +1), fails by 0 shifts].

Almost simultaneously, the two guards whose weapons are still loaded fire at Jimmy—but the gray matter flying through the air disorients them, and the musket balls lodge themselves in Deppe’s desk [Guard 3 Guns Fair ( +2) vs. Fists Great ( +4), fails by 2 shifts, Jimmy Weapons Mediocre ( +0) vs. Mediocre ( +0), fails by 0 shifts, Guard 4 Guns Great ( +4) vs. Fists Great ( +4), fails by 0 shifts].

Now that his musket is nothing more than a club, the first guard uses it for exactly that, and steps forward to swing the heavy length of wood at Ludger’s head. Ludger, still focused on the other guard, moves just a little too slowly, and gets a healthy bash on the head [Guard 1 Weapons Mediocre ( +0) vs. Weapons Poor (-1), succeeds by 1 shift, inflicts a 1-shift hit on Ludger].

Ludger X 2 3 4 5 6, 2 Fate Points
Guard 2
Guard 3
Nick 1 2 3 4 5, Bouts of Nausea, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points
Guard 4
[Round 3]
Guard 1

hydingjekyll
Ludger shakes off the soldier’s rebuttal (hee!) and thrusts his knife into the throat of the guard he was attacking before. [Weapons]

GM
Ludger shakes his head, clearing it, and steps forward to attack—only to discover that he’s actually exacerbated the wound by shaking his head, and he stumbles forward, vision blurring. The guard takes advantage to trip Ludger with his musket, and the German only barely avoids falling to the floor [Ludger Weapons Very Poor (-2) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), fails by 3 shifts —> Guard 2 gains spin —> places temporary aspect Staggered on Ludger, next guard gets a free tag].

As Ludger staggers forward, the guard swings his rifle up, smashing Ludger in the face and knocking him backwards. Ludger smashes into a bookcase, his face gouting blood, and the guard steps forward, bashing his face over and over with the butt of his gun. By the time the German manages to weakly shove him away, he’s covered the sniper’s face with bruises, as well as possibly significant structural damage [Guard 2 Weapons Great ( +4), tags Staggered for +2 —> Fantastic ( +6) vs. Ludger Weapons Average ( +1), succeeds by 5 shifts —> Ludger takes a 5-shift hit].

The next guard steps forward and drops his rifle, drawing a long knife at the same time. He leaps at Jimmy, only to be easily caught. Jimmy knocks the guard’s arms away, then pokes two fingers into the guard’s eyes. The Frenchman curses profusely, clawing at his eyes [Guard 3 moves one zone, Weapons Average ( +1), -1 for two actions —> Mediocre ( +0) vs. Fists Good ( +3), fails by 3 shifts —> Jimmy gains spin —> places temporary aspect Poked Eyes on Guard 3, gains one free tag].

Nick stands and look around, finally feeling better and ready to assist—just in time to see Ludger’s face become a mess of reddish cottage cheese. Well, that is going to be inconvenient, he thinks.

Nick 1 2 3 4 5, Bouts of Nausea, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points
Guard 4
[Round 3]
Guard 1
Ludger X 2 3 4 X 6, 2 Fate Points
Guard 2
Guard 3

smilesriles
God, how I do despise fisticuffs!” Nick grabs one of the chairs and whirls to smash it upon the head of the guard pummeling Ludger. “You can abuse my madman, but I have need of a competent soldier.” [Weapons?]

GM
Nick raises the chair above his head, but the highly competent guard quickly spins and blocks the chair with his rifle. Then, spinning his rifle, he throws the chair to the ground, where it shatters into useless splinters [Nick Weapons Mediocre ( +0) vs. Guard 2 Weapons Great ( +4), Guard 2 gains spin —> destroys Nick’s weapon].

Jimmy 1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points
Guard 4
[Round 3]
Guard 1
Ludger X 2 3 4 X 6, 2 Fate Points
Guard 2
Guard 3
Nick 1 2 3 4 5, Bouts of Nausea, 6 Fate Points

hydingjekyll
Help! Help!” Ludger shouts into the hall. “They’ve murdered Deppe!

jonsayer
Finally a real brawl! It’s been months since Jimmy could play around in a mad scrap where he was outnumbered!

Jimmy takes out his knife and stabs Curly the guard who just attacked him with the poked eyes directly in the jugular.

He rejoices in the spray of blood like the black kid in this animated gif:

[I love ytmnd http://skeetskeetfull.ytmnd.com/ ]

With one foe down, he turns to face down anyone stupid brave enough to try him.

[I’m invoking my brawler stunt. I can’t seem to find the rules on the stunts anywhere. I’ve looked across several boards and I can’t find it. What happens with brawler and One Shot to the Body again? I believe One Shot helps me take damage better, yes? I assume brawler will help me kill this guy more soundly.]

[Does that count as fists, even though i am using a knife?]

[Also, what does it mean I have a free tag?]

GM
[Jon, your questions:

  • This section here has information on stunts: http://www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html#id12 Specifically, Brawler gives you a bonus to defense when outnumbered and to attacking multiple minions “stacked” in a single group (which is not currently the case, these guys are all acting independently). One Hit To The Body allows you… well, it’s easiest with an example: Ludger currently has his 5-shift box marked off —> X 2 3 4 X 6. If he takes another 5-shift hit, it will “roll up” to his 6-shift box, and he’ll be Taken Out (killed, captured, whatever). However, if Jimmy were in the same situation, and took a 5-shift hit, he could instead mark off boxes that add up to 5 = 2 & 3 or 1 & 4 (well, not 1 & 4 in this example, as Ludger has 1 X’d off, but whatever), so he’d be able to keep fighting without losing that 6-shift box and being Taken Out.
  • “tagging” an aspect is simply invoking an aspect on someone else. A free tag is given when you succeed in placing a temporary aspect on someone else, either as a result of a non-damaging “Maneuver” (say, knocking a bookcase over on someone or grabbing someone’s ankle) or as a result of gaining “spin” by succeeding in a roll by 3 or more shifts. In this case, Jimmy can tag “Poked Eyes” for a +2/reroll (and I’ll assume he is doing so
  • No, using a knife would be Weapons, which is not Jimmy’s specialty. I’ll assume that Jimmy isn’t quite stupid enough to use a knife that he’s terrible with (except for the intimidation factor), and will stick with his fists]

Jimmy looks up at the guard and aims for his near-blind eyes again. After a quick duck and weave to confuse the man’s blurry vision, Jimmy thrusts his thumbs into the guard’s eyes, pressing in and turning his eyeballs into jelly. The guard lets loose a piercing shriek and falls to the floor, screaming and clawing at his ruined eyes [Fists Great ( +4), tags Poked Eyes for +2 —> Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fists Good ( +3), Jimmy gives a 3-shift hit —> guard is Taken Out].

Ludger smirks as he realizes that the guard’s screams of pain will do his job for him in attracting attention, only to realize that he’s still being attacked. He quickly shifts his attention and barely manages to block the guard’s swinging musket [Guard 1 Weapons Mediocre ( +0) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), fails by 1 shift].

Meanwhile, the slowest of the guards drops his musket and reaches into his pantaloons—where he removes a weapon that Jimmy and Nick can only gasp at, but which Ludger easily recognizes as a Omphalos Series Model 27 Phased Plasma Gun, from the 35th century of Tick 1310. Before he can shout a warning to Jimmy about the anachronistic weapon, the guard (OTL agent?) pulls the trigger, and a ball of superheated plasma strikes Jimmy in the abdomen. The plasma burns through his shirt and skin, and the stink of burning flesh fills the room as Jimmy falls back, hard, against the desk [Guns Great ( +4) vs. Fists Average ( +1), Guard 4 inflicts a 3-shift hit on Jimmy].

Ludger glances back and forth between the man with out-time weaponry and the two who have been steadily kicking his ass with ordinary 17th-century implements, as he tries to decide who deserves his focus.

Ludger X 2 3 4 X 6, 2 Fate Points
Guard 1 & 2 joined up [ +1 to actions, act at the same time, can be Taken Out together, Jimmy’s Brawler stunt works against them]
Guard 3
Nick 1 2 3 4 5, Bouts of Nausea, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 X 4 5 6, 5 Fate Points
Guard 4
[Round 4]

[Oh, and Jon—please no more animated GIFs—just because they increase the loading time so much]

jonsayer
[I didn’t even get to bathe in his squirts of blood.

I get you. Your explanation is excellent, and your request for no more gifs will be met.

AHHH SKEET SKEET!

In any case, I’ll wait my turn.

]

hydingjekyll
Although the danger to himself is greater from the more competent enemy combatants, the slow guard’s use of out-of-time weaponry puts the entire Revisionist mission in jeopardy, and the mission is more important than the operative. As the man’s attention is turned to Jimmy, Ludger lunges with his dagger. [Weapons, invoke Consummate Professional]

GM
Ludger bounds across the room and slashes fiercely at the guard’s right hand. The tendons part with a snap and a gout of blood, and the PPG falls to the ground, bouncing merrily. Ludger, however, isn’t done, and pulls the guard close with his free hand before burying his dagger in the man’s chest. The guard groans weakly and falls, as Ludger rises again, covered in the OTLer(?)‘s blood [Weapons Superb ( +5), -1 for moving 1 zone —> Great ( +4) invokes Consummate Professional because he didn’t know just how much overkill it would be —> Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fists Poor (-1), Ludger inflicts an 7-shift hit, Guard 4 is Taken Out].

Unfortunately, while Ludger is handily disposing of the well-armed guard, he ignores the two that have been beating him senseless—and they continue to do so. Two rifle butts slam into the back of his head, and he can feel his skull crack as he falls to the floor [Weapons Great ( +4), +1 from two fighters —> Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), the guards inflict a 4-shift hit.]

Nick looks around the room and realizes that, thankfully, there are only two enemies left—but that if he postpones acting, his monstrously useful professional soldier may not live through the day.

Nick 1 2 3 4 5, Bouts of Nausea, 6 Fate Points
Jimmy 1 2 X 4 5 6, 5 Fate Points
Guard 4
[Round 4]
Ludger X 2 3 X X 6, 1 Fate Point
Guard 1 & 2 joined up [ +1 to actions, act at the same time, can be Taken Out together, Jimmy’s Brawler stunt works against them]
Guard 3

jonsayer
The last thing Jimmy wants is to spend the next few weeks with no one but Nick. Someone needs to save Ludger.

Jimmy lunges for the pair of guards that just knocked out his good friend. Lets hope the image of a mad Englishman covered in blood rushing to defend an incapacited German makes these Frenchmen’s anachronistic brains explode.

Or maybe he’ll just punch them instead. Hard. In the wedding tackle.

[Using Brawler on the two of them, invoking Bloodlust for added effect]

smilesriles
Nick sees an opportunity and scoops up the OTL’s advanced firearm.

Hold! Or I will burn you with a fire that the Devil can only dream of!
Nick aims it at the two guards attempting to intimidate them. [Invoking “Fear is the sharpest blade”]

hydingjekyll
[Hey! Ludger’s not unconscious yet! He’s just beaten to bloody hell.]

GM
Nick’s almost-supernatural charisma, combined with the apparently-supernatural high-tech gun, leaves the guards in no small amount of terror, and they freeze in the midst of further injuring Ludger [Intimidation Fair ( +2), invokes Fear is the Sharpest Blade for reroll —> Fantastic ( +6) vs. Resolve Mediocre ( +0), Nick gains spin —> the guards lose one action].

Jimmy looks at the momentarily stunned guards, considers all of his options — and punches them hard in the wedding tackle. Both guards fall to the floor, incapacitated [Jimmy Fists Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Mediocre ( +0), inflicts a 5-shift hit, Brawler adds 1 shift —> 6-shift hit. Guards 1 & 2 are Taken Out].

Team Eagle looks around the remains of the library and the various dead, dying, or mutilated Frenchmen lying on the floor. They consider their exits (the door and the bookcase), their mission parameters (there is still a bullet in Deppe’s skull), and if they’ve completed their objected (hard to say). And then they recall Ludger’s shouting and the screaming of the blinded man, and conclude that whatever they’re going to do, they’d best do it quick before everyone else in the house arrives on-scene.

[Combat is over, post as you see fit]

hydingjekyll
Ludger stumbles to his feet and lurches for Deppe’s remains. “The bullet! We can’t leave it,” he groans around the wicked ache in his head. Despite the nausea and the feeling that giant boulders are rolling around inside his skull, he does his utmost to fumble through the post-Jimmy bits of brain for the cursed bit of lead. “Ugh, oh god … If people come, tell them—” He coughs and swallows hard. “Tell them the guards did it, we tried to d—*cough*—defend him. Say I’m trying to help him now.” [Alertness?/Investigation to look for the bullet]

GM
Ludger carefully fingers through the dead man’s brain. His inexperience with this kind of work slows his progress [Investigation Mediocre ( +0) vs. Fair ( +2) —> fails immediately, takes two rounds]. He manages to find the bullet eventually, and holds it up triumphantly—just as two party guests rush into the room.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” the woman screams. “They’ve killed Monsieur Deppe!

hydingjekyll
Ludger hurriedly stuffs the bullet into his pocket and points at the dead guards. “Yes, they did! We tried to defend him, but I fear he’s beyond our help now.” He throws a hasty glance at Nick to help out.

jonsayer
Jimmy tries to subtly clean the profuse amount of blood off of his hands using one of the guards shirts.

[Lets assume he did this before the people walked in.]

smilesriles
Nick quickly stows the weapon in his pockets while reassuring the woman. “Yes, they attacked Monseur Deppe. We desperately tried to fend them off. Oh poor monseur Deppe!” [Deceit like a mo-fo] Nick attempts to make his eyes brim with a tear having “just realized what has occured”.

hydingjekyll
The Polish government will mourn this good man who could have been a great friend and ally, if these traitors to their country had not prevented it,” Ludger adds, darting a withering look at the guards (as best he can with his eyes largely swollen shut).

jonsayer
They came in here and shot poor messer Deppe, they did. Then another one busted ‘is ’ead in. Then they tried to kill us, on account of us bein witnesses and all. If it weren’t for us,” Jimmy indicates himself and Ludger “Minister Olshanski mite a bin killed!

[Deceit, and using Honest Lie stunt. The honesty here is that Deepe has indeed been shot and his head busted in, and that Nick would have been killed by these OTL’ers if he hadn’t had a soldier and a thug on his side.

Is it possible to use my Deceit to reinforce Nick’s? I’d like to do that if I can]

GM
Nick’s deceptive gears are a mite rusty from poisoning, and when added to the fact that sadness is such an alien emotion to him, he puts on one of the worst performances of his career. However, the backup from Jimmy, apparently far too stupid to tell a lie, keeps the guests from deciding that things have definitely gone sour, and they seem decidedly unconvinced either way as to the truth of Nick’s statement [Deceit Average ( +1), modified by Great ( +4) [Fair ( +2), +2 from Honest Lie] from Jimmy —> Good ( +3) vs. Resolve Good ( +3), fails by 0 shifts. Give it another shot].

Is that really what happened?” the lady asks incredulously, as several more guests start crowding in behind her. “Aren’t those the house guards? What would they be doing attacking Monsieur Deppe?

And what’s with the bullet he’s holding?” asks another.

jonsayer
Like a 1855 model analytical engine running Photoshop CS4, Jimmy’s brain was too slow to tell a lie. This questioning matron reminded him so much of his mother that the lying algorithms popped up a warning, saying that Windows had performed an illegal operation and must be shut down.

So he said what he really knew, albiet sugar-coated with cyanide.

They must ’a not been real guards. Must ’a been planted ’ere, like they were part of a secret society that wanted to bring down da guvment a France. What do you think, Minister?

[Deceit, featuring honest lie, the honesty being that they WERE planted by a secret society that wanted to bring down the French government]

hydingjekyll
[Just pointing out that Ludger had put the bullet in his pocket a few posts ago, and actually isn’t holding it.]

GM
Jimmy puts forth his theory with the pathos and sincerity of a ten-year-old delinquent, and sees the nobles’ faces shift as they ponder his words.
That does make sense.
I knew those counter-revolutionaries weren’t all gone.
What should we do now?
[Deceit Fair ( +2), +2 for Honest Lie stunt —> Great ( +4) vs. Resolve Fair ( +2), Jimmy succeeds by 2 shifts].

Jimmy shrugs and looks over to Nick and Ludger, this kind of planning being their arena.

hydingjekyll
“%{color:red}I think, Minister Olshanski, that we should leave this place with haste—and do so quietly. Our business with Deppe, the loyalty we showed to him, and the fact that we are witnesses would only endanger you with these villains’ allies.”

smilesriles
Agreed. Lets slip quietly and discreetly out of here.” Nick makes the appropriate apologies, of course they aren’t being rude, and leads the trio towards the door out.

hydingjekyll
As they leave, Ludger casts about for a coat or anything he could drape himself or the others with to hide the blood on their clothes. Failing that, he leads the group out in as inconspicuous a fashion as possible. [Stealth, Hush]

jonsayer
Jimmy sneaks out with the rest of them.

[stealth]

GM
Team Eagle casually strides through the halls of Deppe’s mansion, striding a little more quickly as they pass through the ballroom, before they find themselves on the edge of Deppe’s estate [Stealth Great ( +4) vs. hidden].

Well, that could have gone better,” Ludger remarks sarcastically, gently examining his tender face.

At least we got out safe,” adds Jimmy. “But what do we do now? Go after another OTL agent?

Perhaps we should go to Versailles and ingratiate ourselves with the King, with Deppe’s influence out of the way.

Ludger strongly considers adding the possibility of finding a hospital to their list of choices, but decides against it.

The trio glance back and forth at each other as they consider their next move.

hydingjekyll
We need to reach a safe place to rest for the night and do what we can about our injuries,” Ludger states matter-of-factly. He’s looking forward to doing his best with the medical kit to keep his brain from spilling out. “My head is still fuzzy, I’m afraid, and that wouldn’t make for a successful mission. I’m sorry I did so poorly. And Nick, as soon as we’re out of sight, give me that gun; better for someone who knows how to use it to be holding it.

smilesriles
“%{color:purple}I will give you the gun as soon as you can say “Gun” without dripping blood on my clothes. But a good idea on both accounts. Lets head back to our residence, then tomorrow we can try ingratiate ourselves with the king. This time, I will try not to get myself poisoned.%"

jonsayer
Maybe I could get da gun. I aint bleedin’,” Jimmy mutters. His mind then switched gears.

I say we just go back to the hotel.

[Also, riley has a creepy smile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santi_di_Tito_-Niccolo_Machiavelli%27s_portraitheadcrop.jpg]

smilesriles
[So does Jon’s character. A very creepy smile indeed. http://picasaweb.google.com/riley.sweeney/Livejournal?feat=directlink ]

GM
[First, apologies for not being around of late—I just moved over here to Anchorage, and, well, I was busy moving. ’Nuff said.]

Team Eagle heads home, Nick and Jimmy examining each other’s smiles intently while Ludger focuses on his injured face. Back at the Bearded Hen, they pass through the tavern hall with only a few odd stares, and collapse into their beds upstairs.

The next morning, the team has (relatively) recovered: Nick is no longer vomiting, Ludger’s face has healed fairly well with the help of a few supplies from the first aid kit, and Jimmy is—well, Jimmy. After rather mixed success at Deppe’s house, the trio is committed to performing better when they reach Versailles, so they psych themselves up and set out.

After a short trip down near the Seinne (during which Ludger spends all his time eying every civilian, searching for another OTL agent), Team Eagle has brand-new identification, as the Finnish ambassador and his two manservants. Papers in hand, the team packs their stuff, hires a carriage, and heads for Versailles.

[This thread is now locked. Please begin posting in Court Politics]

View
The Versailles Op -- Paris in the Springtime

The first thing that hits Team Eagle is the smell. So unlike the metal-tinged nothingness of the Base, 18th-century Paris is filled with scents. Dirt. Meat. Shit, both human and animal. Fruit. Body odor. Perfumes. Each member of the team responds differently: Nick feels at home again; Ludger is used to a much better-smelling time—with the exception of the battlefield—and his stomach almost turns; Jimmy recognizes the scents, but misses the smell of coal smoke and steam.

After taking a couple deep breaths and working to avoid timesickness, the trio looks out at the cityscape. Their TIs have deposited them in a blind alley, just off the main street and hidden from the prying eyes of time natives. As they step to the edge of the alley and look out, they see Paris. It has been two years since the large-scale revolution, and life has returned to normal: citizens crowd the streets, shoving past each other as they head to work, or the market—or possibly their revolutionary or counter-revolutionary secret society meetings. The average citizen dresses in dirty breeches, a rough shirt, and long jacket, but the occasional nobleman strides through in wig, ruffled shirt, and stockings—and his wife in the gigantic stiff skirts.

Looking down the street, the team spots a poorly-painted sign, upon which is a picture of a female chicken. “Oi! That must be the Bearded Hen Inn!” exclaims Jimmy, only to quickly be shushed by his compatriots. “Well, should we go there now?

jonsayer
Jimmy rushes to the in door before his compatriots respond and looks inside.
[also cocks]

hydingjekyll
Ludger checks his weapons to make sure they’re all in place and readily accessible, then checks the sign for a beard on the chicken and goes in after Jimmy.

GM
Jimmy strides into the Bearded Hen and looks around. The main room is relatively large but quite dirty, mud caked on the warped boards that make up the floor. A few long tables dot the room, with a couple devoted drunks sitting around them. Behind the bar stands a fat woman, who grins and says “%{color:green}Hello! In what way are you performing this day?%”

Jimmy raises his eyebrows in confusion, then Ludger steps up next to him and whispers in his ear. “%{color:red}The Lingua Franca implant isn’t quite configured yet, remember?%”

Nick reviews the briefing documents for a moment, and sees that Team Raven had employed the cover IDs of Etienne and Lucie Jacquemetton and Margaux Laframboise, and had befriended Sebastien Montpelier sixty years uptime.

hydingjekyll
Ludger smiles as broadly as his unaccustomed face permits and takes a handful of coins out of his pocket—enough to look generous but not too much for the clothes and inn he is in. “Excellently, thank you. Three meals, please, and we wish to speak to Sebastien Montpelier, please.

GM
The fat woman’s face momentarily breaks into a look of despair, before recovering. “I am unfortunate. Sebastien has been dead for nearly ten years. I am his female child, Josette. Were you acquainted with him a long time ago?

hydingjekyll
I am sorry to learn of Sebastien’s passing, Madame Josette, and I offer my sincere condolences. We did not know him personally, but he was acquainted with associates of ours. Their coat of arms was a raven with a timepiece. Did Monsieur Montpelier tell you of them?

GM
A broad grin breaks across Josette’s fleshy face. “Of course! The family Jacquesmetton! They spoke of friends who would come one day to retrieve their belongings—or so my father told the tale. They gave him sizable recompense for keeping a chest when they returned to the home country. Would you like to see it?

Ludger nods in affirmation, and gives silent thanks that the LF is finally acclimatizing to the language. Josette shouts “Emile!” and a lanky teenager enters from the kitchen, a sour look on his face. “What?

These are the friends of the Jacquesmettons your grandfather always spoke of. Please, show them the chest they left behind.

Upon hearing this, the teen brightens, and he quickly leads Team Eagle into a back room, where he drags a large and old wooden chest from underneath a pile of rags. He looks at the trio, his eyes bright. “Are you pirates?

smilesriles
Worse, my little friend. Diplomats.” Nick rubs his hands together with glee and attempts to open the chest.

GM
Emile steps in front of the chest. "%{color:orange}No! I’ve been waiting my entire life to find out what’s in that chest and who was coming for it. What kind of person would leave something untouched for sixty years? It can’t just be “diplomats,” can it? Surely you’re dangerous criminals, or kings on the run from a revolution!%"

hydingjekyll
They’re the personal effects of our great-grandfather,” Ludger lies, “who died while his only son and his family sought their fortune elsewhere in Europe. My cousins and I will finally be able to let his soul rest, now that his favorite books are in family hands.” He nudges Nick to take up the lie and go farther with it than Ludger himself could hope to.

GM
Ludger allows himself a small amount of pleasure as he sees the youngster’s eyes widen. “What happened to your great-grandfather? Where did your family go? Why are you back now? Why did he say you are diplomats? What are his books about? Pirates? Criminals? Dragons?” [Deceit Average (+1) vs. Resolve Terrible (-2), succeeds with 3 shifts, gains spin: +1 to Nick’s roll].

Ludger glances over at Nick, waiting for the master liar to continue the story.

smilesriles
Nick smiled at the boy’s wide open face. “Oh he traveled to far east, and there met the sorcerers of the orient. He met a man who had no face, just smooth skin over his head, who lived his life backwards through time. Growing younger as the days passed. He traveled to the depths of the jungles of Africa and shared blood with the Shanshu tribe in an attempt to regain the soul of his dearest friend, William. He traveled the seas and the earth. Now he is no longer among us, but we intended to read through his journals (which were written in the ancient text of the Mayans so as to make them indecipherable to those not of the family), and together written a book of his travels. When we are done, we will give you a copy, I promise.” [Deceit] Nick edged closer to the box.

There should be just some books and personal effects. If you give us a moment of privacy to pay our respects to the old man, I will tell you more of his travels later.

jonsayer
Maybe we’s should do it in a more private place and not their pantry. You got any open rooms, kid?

GM
[OOC: Sorry it’s been two days to find out what’s in the box, but I’ve been busy/sick.]

The young boy’s eyes shine, and he lunges for the chest—unfortunately, he is unable to lift it by himself, and Jimmy steps in and picks it up instead, hefting it easily. Emile darts out of the room, motioning for Team Eagle to follow, as he heads up the stairs.

Inside the spare room, Ludger and Jimmy block Emile’s view as Nick opens the chest. A soft yellow light shines out of the box before the lid blocks the streaming sunlight reflecting off several gold bars. Nick whistles, impressed, the begins to take stock of the inventory, determining what Emile can be shown and what must be kept hidden.

He finds:

  • An additional camouflaged rifle, pistol, and quite a bit more ammunition.
  • A full, non-camouflaged modern medical kit.
  • Several gold bars and enough currency (though 60 years old) for Team Eagle to operate comfortably.
  • The name of a man who, sixty years uptime, forged papers of identity and Letters of Marque.
  • A few historical reference documents.
  • A few random odds and ends,
  • and a transcript of the interrogation of Naomi ben Azhari, with one particular section circled—a section which reveals that an OTL team is operating in 1791, somewhere near the river Seine.

Nick shows this last part to his teammates while distracting Emile with the money and books. “Enemies here. What shall we do?

hydingjekyll
Ludger immediately claims the rifle without bothering to ask if anyone else might want it—of course they don’t, he’s the sniper—and the pistol, though with a quick glance to make sure there are no objections. He interprets Nick’s question as rhetorical, and begins reading the interrogation report and historical documents.

smilesriles
Did you hear that? Emile, I think we have unwanted snoops. Could you check around to make sure we weren’t overheard. If the wrong people got wind of our grandfather’s belongs . . .” Nick let the idea float in the air [Deceit].

jonsayer
And could you bring back those meals my friend here ordered?

hydingjekyll
Once Emile is out of the room, Ludger quickly arms himself with the rifle and pistol from the chest an finishes whichever page he was on for the time being. “I have some experience with field medicine,” he says. “Should I take this medical kit?

smilesriles
Please. I will take the Letters of Marque. They could become very useful very soon.

jonsayer
Jimmy takes the odds and ends, seeing as that is all that was left (except the money, some of which had ended up in Jimmy’s pockets without anyone noticing). He picked up the transcript of the interrogation.

Jimmy could never read Shakespeare or Dickens (who in his timeline wrote books with titles like “Analytical Engines for Dummies” and “An Advanced Guide to Clanks”) but he could read well enough to glean what he needed to know from the interrogation. How many of ’em are there? They got guns? Have I killed any of them before in a defunct timeline? What are they here to do?

hydingjekyll
We have the name of a forger here. Perhaps we should contact him and get whatever documentation we would need for our job as diplomats.” Ludger pockets some of the money, then arranges the equipment on his body: medical kit strapped comfortably to the small of his back, rifle slung over his shoulder, pistol hidden within his jacket, and dagger on his belt. With that taken care of, he continues reading the documents until the others weigh in on his suggested course of action.

smilesriles
Sounds like a fine plan. We shall assume the identities of Polish diplomats sent to advise the monarchy. Hmmm. We best summon the boys mother and see where we can find this forger. In the meantime, we also should keep a look out for any of our OTL and perhaps avoid the river Seine.

hydingjekyll
Polish? No. The Polish are weak. Let us be something else. And we would be better finding this forger alone than asking Madame Montpelier; it would only arouse suspicion if three proclaimed diplomats spread word that they were looking for a forger.

Jonsayer
It’s betta fer us to be Polish than being British. I can’t remember how many times we beat the frogs’ arses.

hydingjekyll
Finns, perhaps. They resisted the Russians’ insurgence with courage and resourcefulness, and I don’t believe they’ve ever been in conflict with the French.

smilesriles
Good points. The Finns will do. We best move along though. I feel we have wasted too much time here in wretched place.

GM
[Apologies for the lack of input the last week—dying of the flu will do that. However, I’ve been reincarnated, and while my two-day-old fingers have difficulty typing, we shall continue.]

So agreed, Team Eagle exits their room and heads downtown. Though their intel is 60 years out of date, it turns out that forging is a family profession, and after a half-day of canvassing, chatting, and occasionally intimidating, they discover the Beauregard house [Nick: Contacting Average ( +1), +1 from intel = Fair ( +2)].

“Finnish diplomats? Odd request, but no problem whatsoever. Come back in two days.”

As the team nervously exits Beauregard’s house on the bank of the River Seine, they spot exactly what they had worried about: OTL. Passing by on the street, they spot Naomi ben Azhari.

Ludger quickly grabs his friends and shoves them up against a wall before the woman can see them [Stealth Good (3) vs. Awareness Fair (2)]. “What is she doing here?

d’ya think it’s a time-clone?

Or she escaped from the Base after we left.

Or OTL destroyed the Base and the war is over.

The trio considers the various unpleasant possibilities as Naomi heads down the block—already

hydingjekyll
Ludger holds up a hand for the other two to keep their voices down (Hush stunt). “I call for a repeat of what we did last time we saw her, only we’ll interrogate her ourselves this time. Nick, I’m sure you can come up with a convincing reason for us to shoot her, even if I can’t plant a knife on her, and Jimmy can surely deal with anyone who tries to interfere while we get her out of sight.

jonsayer
[What part of town are we in? The part where three men assaulting a woman in broad daylight would be noticed, or the part where that sort of thing is as common as the rats in the gutters? Is her back to us?]

GM
Jimmy stares down the street, its mash of poor, grimy people so like his native London. Naomi shoves her way through a directionless mass of the poor and the criminal. [Location aspects might include, but are not limited to, Crowded, Poor, and Crime-Ridden. Naomi has the temporary aspects Back To Us and In the Crowd. All are taggable. However, as Ludger is wearing two rifles across his back, he (and by extension, currently all of Team Eagle) have the aspect Conspicuous].

hydingjekyll
Jimmy, take this.” Ludger hands off one of the rifles to Jimmy, then motions for everyone to follow him. “We can follow her for a few blocks, long enough that we’ll blend in with these ill-bred gutter thugs.” (Stealth, Hush) As Ludger moves through the crowd, closely guarding his possessions, he thinks about possible ways of dealing with Naomi when the time comes: a shot would draw attention, and a miss could injure an innocent; the knife could be more appropriate, but they might also want to ask her questions; if she disappears, the other OTL operatives might get suspicious about the Revisionists’ presence. Perhaps Nick can figure out a way to frame some drunk genetic mistake for Naomi’s demise.

GM
Ludger guides the team through the crowd, just far enough behind the OTL agent to avoid her notice, but close enough to keep a good eye on her. She appears to be unarmed, carrying only a small leather satchel, and is hurriedly walking along the river, heading steadily North [Stealth Good (3) vs. Mediocre (0), Ludger gains spin—removes Conspicuous aspect].

jonsayer
Jimmy whispers to Ludger: “I say we stay on her til she’s near an alley or somethin’, then rough ’er up and drag ’er in there.

hydingjekyll
Ludger nods. “But not until we know if she’s really OTL. In this timeline, she might be an innocent civilian Native. Nick, can you tell if she doesn’t belong here?” (Sense of Justice at play here)

smilesriles
I say the best ploys use both honey and vinegar. Here, I will approach her with the coins that she dropped and then mention something say a little more modern than this time allows and see if she recognizes the words. If she does, Jimmy, you can grab her from behind and hoist her into the nearby alleyway. Ludger, you are on crowd control or plan B. Sound like a plan? Nick murmers the plan softly to his companions. Its crowded in here, so if we are fast and quiet it shouldn’t create too much of a disturbance.

hydingjekyll
Ludger smiles. “Agreed.

smilesriles
After giving Jimmy a moment to slip ahead of her into position and for Ludgar to move to a good vantage point, Nick glides forward, clears his throat and says, “Excuse me, Madomoiselle, I believe you dropped this?” Offering one of the small leather pouches in his pocket that he had filled with a few coins. [Deceit]

jonsayer
Agreed,” Jimmy said a few posts ago.

hydingjekyll
Ludger finds a smattering of discarded boxes and assorted rubbish to loiter around, and nonchalantly aims his pistol at Naomi, in case it’s needed. [Stealth, Stay On Target]

GM
Ludger easily keeps out of sight, while keeping Naomi in his own sights [Stealth Superb ( +5) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds by 2 steps, places aspect In My Sights on Naomi, can tag In My Sights once for free].

Meanwhile, Nick hands a bag of coins to Naomi. Surprised, she begins to take them—and then looks up and sees Nick’s face [Deceit Fantastic ( +6) vs. Resolve Great ( +4) +3 from recognizing his face, Epic ( +7), Nick fails by one shift]. With a cry, she turns from him and starts to run.

However, Ludger is ready for her.

The initiative is as follows:
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]

Random pedestrians’ initiatives are scattered throughout.

Large-view map:

Close map:

hydingjekyll
Ludger braces his arms against the cart he stands behind and aims squarely at Naomi’s lower back again. He’s relying on all his skill to fire accurately and not strike an innocent, but he has to risk it—the fate of the world may be at stake. [Guns, In My Sights, tags Sacrifices Must Be Made]

GM
Ludger takes a deep breath and squeezes the trigger. Unfortunately, Naomi spots Ludger just as he sends the deadly bullet at her, and ducks into the crowd. The bullet grazes Naomi and lodges itself in the wall of the nearest building. As the BANG echoes, the crowd erupts into chaos, everyone running away from the mad gunman [Guns Great (4), invokes Sacrifices Must Be Made for reroll —> Superb (5), invokes free tag on In My Sights for 2 —> Legendary (7) vs. Athletics Good (3), tags location aspect Crowded for +2, Superb (5), Naomi takes 2-shift hit].

The initiative is as follows:
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X ?—>, ? Fate Points]
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]

hydingjekyll
Ludger curses, lacking the time to properly bemoan what seemed like a good shot. “Nick,” he shouts, “tell them all why this criminal is wanted, and how much the reward is!

jonsayer
Jimmy remains unknown to the OTL operative [stealth]. He takes the opportunity to run through the chaos like a member of the mad crowd [Athletics] before going to tackle the unsuspecting Naomi like a rugby player on PCP. [strength]

smilesriles
That woman is a traitor to cause of Freedom!!!” Nick shouted loudly. “Anyone who aids her will be treated as such, any who are true to the ideals of France shall help stop the foreign invader!

Nick says [deceit] when it is his turn.

GM
Jimmy, already hidden, suddenly bursts from behind the vegetable cart and speeds towards the OTL agent. At the last moment, an elderly woman runs, screaming, across his path, and while trying to avoid her, Jimmy trips on a cobblestone and stumbles at his target. Naomi, suddenly aware, spins out of the way and elbows Jimmy in the back, knocking the burly man to the ground [Stealth (pre-roll) Great ( 4) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds with 1 shift. Athletics Fair (2), 1 for two actions, GM compels Crowded for -2→Poor (-1) vs. Athletics Great ( +4), 1 from Stealth→Good ( +3), Jimmy fails by 4 shifts, Naomi gains spin—> Naomi knocks Jimmy over. Jimmy is prone, is without a target for his Might attack, must spend one action getting to his feet next turn, Jimmy gains 1 Fate Point for the Crowded compel].

[Very sorry you keep rolling so poorly, Jon. Don’t worry. It can’t last forever. BTW, do you like the face I found for Jimmy’s token, or would you like to find one of your own (just e-mail it, or a link to it, to me)].

Naomi glances around frantically, looking to see who else is after her. After spotting Ludger, she quickly decides to run in the other direction, and starts to sprint. She attempts to thread her way through the panicked crowd, but quickly becomes tripped up by the mass of people, and only gets a few feet [Athletics Fair ( +2), GM compels Crowded for 2→Mediocre ( +0) vs. Mediocre ( +0), Naomi can move 0 zones. Naomi gains 1 Fate Point for the Crowded compel].

Nick raises his voice above the roar of the panicked crowd, first calming them and then riling them into a new furor [Deceit Legendary ( +7) vs. Poor (-1), Mediocre ( +0), wins with 8/7 shifts, gains spin—>grants +1 to peasants’ next check].

The peasants greedily rush towards Naomi. However, the crowd works against itself as the men and women get in each other’s way, and Naomi avoids their clutching grasps [Peasants group 1 Athletics Mediocre ( +0), +1 from Deceit—>Average ( +1) vs. Naomi Athletics Fair ( +2), 1 from two actions→Average ( +1), peasants fail with 0 shifts. Peasants group 2 Athletics Truly Terrible (-3), +1 from Deceit—>Terrible (-2) vs. Naomi Athletics Average ( +0), 1 from two actions→Poor (-1), peasants fail by 1 shift].

The initiative is as follows:
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 7 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X ?—>, ? Fate Points]

jonsayer
[a bad roll is a bad roll. Nuthin I can do about it.

Also, I think its a great icon. Can you email me that pic? I loves it. I’m making it my avatar.

I’ll wait for my turn to continue the story of Jimmy.]

smilesriles
Nick hustles after his minions errr ahem the peasants, trying not to get lost in the shuffle. He begins to smile to himself at the chaos and anger.
Ah yes, nothing like a good mob. I haven’t seen such a furor since the AIG mess in Tick 11 2009. That was a great mission. Sigh. Anyways, back to the looting and pillaging.” [Just taking pleasure in “Fear is the Sharpest Blade”]

hydingjekyll
Ludger dodges around the mob and stops with his back to the bridge, crouched and waiting to chase down Naomi as soon as she breaks free from the crowd. (Athletics, Stealth?)

[OOC: Riley, that’s funny as hell.]

GM
Ludger drops into a runner’s crouch, eyes fixed on Naomi, even as the crowd of peasants around her periodically block her from view [Athletics action held until Naomi moves].

The initiative is as follows:
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 7 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X ?—>, ? Fate Points]
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]

[you will note what looks like a breakdown of the laws of physics on the right edge of the map. It is in fact the end of the map I found and the transition to my own sub-par mapping skills]

jonsayer
Looks like Jimmy spends his turn getting up!

He gets ready to plow through the peasants like a bulldozer through a Palestinian’s house on to Naomi in his next turn (if the rules won’t let me do it this turn)

GM
Jimmy rolls over and pushes himself to his feet, then spots through the crowd. He rushes like a linebacker, knocking peasants aside. He momentarily slows in the midst of the shouting, angry citizens, but staring at Naomi, his sight turns red and he pushes that much harder. As he reaches the OTL agent, she won’t let him get close enough to strike her—but he won’t allow her to take a step, either [I took the liberty of invoking an aspect for Jimmy, as I figured Jon would have after rolling a Poor result two turns in a row. So: Athletics Poor (-1), invokes Bloodlust for reroll—> Fair ( +2), -1 for two actions (getting up and running through the crowd) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0). Places aspect Blocked on Naomi, gets one free tag of Blocked].

Naomi’s eyes flash as she glares at Jimmy, then tries to get past him—but he keeps his massive body between her and sweet freedom again and again [Again, I invoked on Jon’s behalf—let me know if this practice is cool with you, each of you. Naomi Good ( +3), Jimmy invokes Blocked for 2→Average ( +1) vs. Athletics Jimmy Athletics Mediocre ( +0) tags Crowded for reroll—>Fair ( +2), Naomi fails by 1 shift].

The initiative is as follows:
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X ?—>, ?+2 Fate Points]

[The map is the same, except that Jimmy is now inside the ring of people]

jonsayer
[I am fine with it, little did I know I could invoke my aspects like that! I thought it was something you forced upon me, like how my mother was overbearing]

smilesriles
While she is blocked, Nick slips into the crowd and attempts to grab the small leather satchel from her in the confusion. [Tag “blocked” but I don’t know what skill I would use]

GM
Nick darts into the crowd, reaching for the confused Naomi—but she still spots him and angrily pulls her satchel away [Nick Sleight of Hand Mediocre ( +0), tags Blocked for +2—> Fair ( +2) vs. Sleight of Hand Good ( +3), Nick fails with one shift].

Ludger fidgets in his runner’s crouch, trying to decide whether to break his preparatory stance [If Ludger’s next action requires him to move, he loses his held action—if he simply shoots or what have you, he can still leap at Naomi if she breaks away].

The crowd continues to push in at Naomi, but fails completely to hold her down or tear away her satchel [Fists Poor (-1) and Poor (-1) vs. Fists Good ( +3) and Average ( +1), peasants fail by 4 shifts and 2 shifts].

[And Jon, please review the section on aspects in here, so you can properly use your character’s abilities http://www.groovygamers.com/forum/index.php/topic,6740.0.html]

The initiative is as follows:
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X ?—>, ?+2 Fate Points]
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]

[The map is the same, except that Jimmy is now inside the ring of people and Nick is slightly closer]

hydingjekyll
Ludger isn’t trusting the peasants to get the job done, even though they’re keeping Naomi from escaping well enough. He dashes into the fray, fakes a snatch at her satchel, and instead swings his knife out of its sheath and into her knee. [gives up prepared movement, tags Blocked, Deceit?, Weapons]

jonsayer
Jimmy, still lusting for the blood of the OTL agent, grabs the bitch and starts squeezing her in his signature move—the bear hug.

With her in her arms, he goes to bite her ear off.
[Athletics, Strength]

GM
Ludger, initially blocked by the peasants around Naomi, manages to situate himself so that Naomi ends up against the largest, unable to back away. So placed, he ably moves through the peasants and swings at Naomi, shouting “She’s a traitor to the People!” as he feels his blood grow hot. Naomi swings her satchel, tangling Ludger’s knife just inches from her knee, and shoving the soldier back, both of them unharmed [Weapons modified by Deceit—Ludger has no Deceit skill, so there is no modification: Weapons Average ( +1), tags Blocked for reroll—> Average ( +1), invokes Patriot for +2—> Good ( +3) vs. Fists Good ( +3), fails with 0 shifts].

As Naomi is distracted, Jimmy stretches his mighty arms around her and squeezes. And squeezes. And then tears her ear off, literally drinking her salty blood, exulting in the experience [Athletics isn’t necessary here, so we’ll just call that Might. Might Superb ( +5) vs. Fists Good ( +3), Naomi takes a 2-shift hit, rolls up to 3].

Naomi attempts to free herself from Jimmy’s coarse hands, but only slightly succeeds. She wriggles free of his bear hug, but he simply shifts his weight and lifts the relatively diminutive woman, hurling her to the ground in the fashion of a professional wrestler [Athletics Great ( +4) vs. Fists Legendary ( +8), Naomi fails with 4 shifts, Jimmy gains spin—gains a free tag on Blocked (or can pass it off to another of his comrades)].

Nick grins as he sees the OTL agents groaning on the ground, the wind knocked out of her and the site of her missing ear bleeding profusely.

The initiative is as follows:
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 3 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 5 Fate Points]
Naomi ben Azhari [1 X X ?—>, ?+2 Fate Points]

[The map is the same, except that Jimmy is now inside the ring of people and Nick is slightly closer]

jonsayer
[Even though she is only a fictional character, I feel a little bad for having bit her ear off. I hope it doesn’t get infected.]

smilesriles
Nick announces loudly to the gathered mob, “Thank you friends, countrymen,” he pauses for a moment, (struggling not to follow that with “lend me your ears”). “We will take it from here. You have been of great service.

Come, let’s get her out of prying eyes so we can have a nice full chat with her.” He gestures for Jimmy to grab her, not feeling quite right, laying a hand upon her.

hydingjekyll
As Naomi struggles to regain her feet, Ludger draws his pistol again and shoots for her knee. [Guns]

GM
Nick, while not at his best, easily convinces the cowed peasants to leave the difficult work to the authorities, and they quickly disperse [Rapport Average (+1) vs. Resolve Poor (-1)].

Naomi moves to rise to her feet, but before she can, Ludger shoots from the hip and takes out her left leg. Her knee explodes in a shower of blood and bone, and she collapses. “Enough! I surrender!” [Guns Fantastic ( +6) vs. Athletics Good ( +3), Naomi takes a three-shift hit, which rolls up to a four-shift hit. Naomi takes a Moderate Consequence: Broken Leg to avoid being Taken Out. Naomi has a Grit of 1, one Moderate Consequence forces her to surrender].

Team Eagle surrounds the wounded OTL operative and ponders what they should do with her.
[Combat is now over. Post as desired. All members of Team Eagle gain one Fate Point].

smilesriles
Jimmy, lets get this female out of daylight to where we can have an unfettered conversation, that nearby alley looks good. Ludger . . .” Nick motions him a little closer and whispers, “I’m worried our OTL friend here might be a distraction to get us out in the open, I was wondering if you could check around a little bit, subtly, and see if we are being watched. I’d ask Jimmy to do it but . . .” Ludger and Nick glance over at Jimmy kicking Naomi in the ribs while laughing maniacally, “He’s just not quite the right man for the job. It shouldn’t take to long, just a quick sweep.

hydingjekyll
Ludger nods to Nick. “Keep an eye on her; hurt or not, she’s OTL, and I don’t trust her,” he says, then removes a generous handful of coins from his pocket. “Good people of France, we thank you for your assistance!” he calls, then throws the money into the air. Ludger disappears into the ensuing chaos while his partners hopefully do the same, and begins combing the area with all his skill and long training. [Stealth; Awareness, invokes Consummate Professional]

jonsayer
*Kick*Kick*

Jimmy sees the alley Nick indicated and carries the OTL agent to it. Once well concealed behind a rubbish heap, and looking around to make sure no one’s back door or window is nearby, throws her to the ground. He stands above her, waiting for Nick to show up and do his magic.

*Kick*Kick*

Hehe

smilesriles
Nick gives Jimmy a “hold on a moment” hand wave and carefully moves up to Naomi and gets down eye-level.
I’m going to ask you a series of questions. I would appreciate it if you would answer truthfully. Jimmy here is a fan of the blunt, but I believe that slowly slicing away your skin is something that he would take his time with. I don’t want him to do that, it makes a mess, and I’d rather see you remain in one piece as opposed to seventeen oddly shaped blobs, so please. Be direct.” [Intimidation invoking “Fear is the Sharpest Blade”]

Tell me, are you in this tick alone?

GM
Ludger scans the crowd, moving stealthily, and then looks a little further upwards. He looks at a roof across the Seinne, and sees a dark shape. He quickly dashes across the river, just in time to see a muscular man with light brown duck around a corner. Ludger draws his pistol and moves slowly around the corner—and then gets kicked in the face by Chuck Norris! Chuck grabs Ludger by the arm and swings him into the brick wall, knocking out several of his teeth. The sniper tries to fight back, but he is no match for the Kung Fu master that is Chuck Norris, and within moments, Chuck has snapped Ludger’s neck—and then tea-bags the corpse.

Meanwhile, Nick leans close to Naomi, a threatening look on his face—and she responds by planting a big kiss on him. She knocks him to the cobbled ground, kissing him furiously and tearing off his clothes. Nick protests for a moment, but then just goes with it. Jimmy, having briefly turned away, looks back and is about to intervene when a trio of beautiful, topless women parachute in, and after removing their skydiving gear, inflict their fierce sexuality on him.

Two days later, both men are dead from exhaustion, but their gravestones read “They Died Happy.” Ludger’s gravestone reads “He was stupid enough to go up against Chuck Norris.”
In case you couldn’t tell, that was an April Fool’s Day joke. Real post coming shortly.

GM
Ludger moves through the dispersing crowd like a ghost in shadow [Stealth Fantastic ( +6), 1 from 2 actions→Superb ( +5)], scanning rooftops. His eyes maintain their focus and his ears stay open, no matter the distraction, and he quickly spots a shape atop a building across the Seine [Awareness Great ( +4), 1 from 2 actions→Good ( +3), invokes Consummate Professional for +2—>Superb ( +5)]. Sticking to the shadows and large groups, Ludger crosses the nearest bridge and finds a ladder leaned up against the house he had spotted a man atop, and clambers up. By the time the dark-skinned man looks up from his binoculars, Ludger’s pistol is already in his face.

Across the river, Nick utilizes his strongest talent—and joy—to bring purest terror to Naomi ben Azhari. Using Jimmy as his weapon—a role the thuggish man is happy to play—Nick easily terrifies the woman into speaking [Intimidation Good ( +3), invokes Fear is the Sharpest Blade for reroll—>Fantastic ( +6) vs. Resolve Mediocre ( +0). Nick gain spin—>he will not need to make another Intimidation roll during this interrogation].

No, no, I’m not alone. We’ve got a whole team here. Jaime is supposed ta be watchin’ me back right now! We’ve been here fer years, and ye won’t be stoppin’ us now.

hydingjekyll
Ordinarily, Ludger would make sure the man was OTL, but there’s no way that a dark-skinned man would happen to be on that rooftop at that moment in 19th-century France. The sniper maintains a distance of at least ten feet from the man—guns are long-range weapons, after all—and calmly fires into his knee. [Guns, tags Stay on Target]

smilesriles
What is your mission here?” Nick briefly considers asking about how she escaped but figured that would embolden her so he saves those questions for last.

GM
As the man behind the binoculars is completely focused on watching Naomi’s interrogation, Ludger is able to easily take his time and aim carefully. When he is completely satisfied, he simply squeezes the trigger, and the man’s knee explodes. He drops his binoculars, and falls over, clutching his knee in pain, unable to do anything else [Guns Good ( +3), invokes Stay on Target for reroll—>Superb ( +5) vs. Athletics Average ( +1), GM compels Not Looking Behind for 2→Poor (-1), target is Taken Out, Ludger gains spin—>places Moderate Consequence Blown-Out Knee on target].

Meanwhile, Naomi begins spilling her secrets to Machiavelli. “We’re goin’ ta ensure that chaos reigns, early and long. We’ve been fillin’ the court an’ the revolutionaries with our agents and assets, so that when we assassinate the King as he flees the country, no-one will be able to regain control over France. At least, until we come in a few decades downtime.

hydingjekyll
Ludger holsters his pistol, scoops up the man’s binoculars, and drags him away from the edge of the roof, dropping low to avoid prying eyes. [Stealth] “You saw what’s happening to ben Azhari,” Ludger whispers into the groaning man’s ear. “Now, you can either cooperate with me and answer my questions, or everything I do to you—” He draws a knife and places its point over the first knuckle of the man’s thumb. “—will also happen to her. Understand?” He then puts the point of the knife against the man’s crotch, just to make himself clear. “Now, how many more of you are there in this area right now?” (Tags Naomi’s capture and interrogation)

jonsayer
Who!? Give us de names!” Howls Jimmy, who then began to use Naomi’s ear as a teething ring. He is a growing boy 35-year-old man after all.

[intimidation aka a cheap FREAK OUT! a la Baseketball]

GM.
Naomi stares at Jimmy and her dismembered ear and begins to blubber. She babbles a list of names, and Jimmy and Nick are dumbfounded to hear them—not the names themselves, as they recognize none, but the number: almost thirty men and women are working on this operation.

Ludger grabs the man’s head and turns him to the side of the roof, forcing him to look at his compatriot, crying and bleeding in the alley across the way. “How many?” The man spits in Ludger’s face and starts to cry out [Intimidation Poor (-1), tags Naomi’s Captured for reroll—>Fair ( +2), OTL agent Resolve Good ( +3), Ludger fails by one shift]. Ludger grabs him and forcibly silences him before he gets the chance, but he can tell the OTL agent is merely waiting for him to take his hand away to scream again [OTL agent Awareness Fair ( +2) vs. Ludger Awareness Good ( +3)]. “Damn. What do I do now?

smilesriles
Jimmy,” Nick put on his disapproving schoolmaster face, “Manners.” Nick peered at Naomi. “How did you escape the last time we caught you?

GM
When they were resettin’ the Base [Periodically, the Base travels back in time and overwrites itself to ensure it doesn’t travel too far downtime so that OTL could perform temporal sabotage] I grabbed t’opportunity in the disorder, an’ forced my guard to bring me here.” She stares at Nick, defiance returning momentarily. “He’s dead.

hydingjekyll
Ludger grimaces, wiping the spit off his face and onto the man’s shirt, then shrugs. “This was your choice, Earth-burner.” He pretends to access his communication link with Nick and Jimmy. “Team Bear, this is Gruber. Is this frequency holding secure? Good, good. I’m holding an OTL operative who wishes you to feed ben Azhari’s thumbs to her, so they can feel a little solidarity.” He cocks his head for a moment, then nods, smiling. “I’m sure Naomi will thank you later. For now, it’s your turn.” He tears a chunk of cloth from the man’s jacket and stuffs it into the captive’s mouth to stifle the screams, then puts his knife back to the man’s thumb joint. “You know what you’ll both be eating next,” he adds, nodding at the man’s groin, and starts cutting.

GM
As the knife digs in [Intimidation modified by Deceit Fair ( +2) vs. Resolve Average ( +1), Ludger succeeds by 1 shift, the OTL agent mumbles through the cloth, and Ludger thinks he hears the words “I’ll talk.” He slowly removes the cloth from his prisoner’s mouth, moving his knife to the man’s throat in not-so-subtle warning.

There’s nobody else in the area. Just me and Naomi. I swear.

hydingjekyll
The OTL is cooperating. Don’t do any further harm to ben Azhari. Yes, will let you know if and when that changes. You’re welcome.” Ludger focuses on the enemy operative again. “Where was she going with that satchel, and what’s in it?

jonsayer
Jimmy is beginning to worry. How many of those people would be close to the king?

GM
Ludger’s prisoner thinks for a moment, then says “Hold on just one second. You wouldn’t be stupid enough to call your friends on the radio when you know we could pick up the signal. You may be incompetent, but you’re not that incompetent.” He grins. “Naomi was going to her grandmother’s house, with a loaf of bread in the satchel.” Ludger winces as he realizes he’s lost his intimidatory edge over the OTL agent [Deceit Mediocre ( +0) vs. Empathy Great ( +3), the OTLer gains spin—>realizes Ludger isn’t speaking on the radio].

Jimmy thinks that perhaps Naomi might be able to answer his question, if only he voiced it.

hydingjekyll
Ludger grunts in dismay—he thought the OTLer had bought his “frequency holding secure” line for good. Apparently not. He shrugs again. “In that case, I have no reason to let you live, especially not while Naomi still has her thumbs. Well, maybe she does." He leans over to put the dagger in the OTL agent’s throat. (Unless the guy starts talking again right away, Ludger will go right ahead and execute him.)

GM
As Ludger’s knife begins to draw blood, the OTL agent breathes in sharply. “All right. All right. She’s carrying the last papers we need for our prime agent in court—some kind of IDs, I don’t know, that’s not my area. She was heading to a messenger to deliver it all to Versailles.” [Intimidation Average ( +1) vs. Resolve Mediocre ( +0)]. He swallows heavily. “You know, I wasn’t watching for you. There are other dangers around these streets, so do you think we might be able to get off this roof?

jonsayer
What’s in the bag?” Jimmy asks, hoping its made of sugar. “Give it to us.

A totally normal question to ask, of course, when interrogating someone.
[Intimidation]

smilesriles
If Naomi even pauses before answering that question, “I think perhaps we have been too gentle with our friend here . . . Naomi has too many finger, don’t you think?” [If Jimmy fails at intimidation, add my own impressive skills for this question]

hydingjekyll
And what dangers are these?” Ludger leaves the edge of his dagger in the man’s skin.

GM
Naomi pulls her finger away from Nick’s blade and tears the satchel off her shoulder, shoving it at Jimmy. “They’re papers. Identification for Michel Deppe, consultant to Louis. They won’t do ya any good!
[Intimidation Good ( +3), assisted by Nick’s Epic ( +7), Jimmy chooses the higher roll—>Epic ( +7) vs. Resolve Fair ( +2), Nick succeeds by 5 shifts, gains spin—>Naomi gives it all up].

After Jimmy resigns himself to the fact that there is no sugar to be found, he tears open the satchel and finds exactly what Naomi had described. “So… what do we do with these, Nick?” he whispers to his compatriot.

Across the street, Ludger digs his dagger deeper into the OTL agent’s skin. “Danger’s all around! Didja not notice you’re in the middle of the criminal underground? There’s more than one gang who’s taken an interest in our activities the past couple years, and it’s only a matter of time until they happen by. We’re not exactly hidden up here on the roof!

smilesriles
Nick mummers to Jimmy under his breath, “Knock her out. Quiet-like. I want to consult with Ludgar before we kill her.

Nick begins sorting through the documents, seeing if Team Eagle could assume their identity.

jonsayer
Jimmy knocks her out, perhaps not a quiet-like as Nick would have hoped, but he got the job done.

hydingjekyll
You didn’t seem to have any trouble with being up here until I found you,” Ludger says half-mindedly, stealing a quick look across the alley with the man’s binoculars. It looks like Nick and Jimmy are finished with Naomi, at least for the time being; Ludger decides he’d better get over there quickly, lest they make the dreadful mistake of leaving without killing her. He wishes there were an inconspicuous way to get this man to the others, or vice versa, but that doesn’t seem plausible. It also seems doubtful that the man would know anything Naomi wouldn’t. Ludger quickly slits the man’s throat, rifles through his clothes for useful possessions, and creeps back to the streets.

GM
[+1 Fate Point to Ludger for playing Consummate Professional in so casually dispatching Jaime]

Ludger ever-so-casually returns to the alley and greets his compatriots. “There was another OTL agent. There isn’t anymore.

Nick nods absent-mindedly as he ruffles through Naomi’s papers, finding a variety of documentation declaring Michel Deppe as beyond reproach, with letters of reference from Cardinals and Counts, speaking of the man’s long history as a person of great character. If he didn’t know that the documents were forgeries, Nick would have been fooled himself—and knowing they are false, he can’t help but admire the sections extolling Deppe’s virtuous behavior as early as age ten. Unfortunately, the documentation is too specific to Deppe—and dependent on the knowledge that he is already in Court—to be much use to Team Eagle, but at least they can keep the papers away from their intended.

Jimmy fidgets restlessly. “Ludger’s ‘ere now. C’n we kill ’er?

The German nods assent for Naomi’s death as he looks at the single piece of useful equipment he had scavenged from his prisoner’s corpse—a data chip, cleverly disguised as a coin. The wealth of information that could be on it… if only Team Eagle had a compatible data reader with them.

jonsayer
“%{color:brown}Eh, so we know this Deppe bloke is OTL, right?T” Jimmy says, triumphantly as if he had finally been able to add two with itself.

So why don’t we kill ’im?

[Also, did we write down any of those OTL names? They might be useful to know]

smilesriles
Since we now have two corpses, I suggest we delay here no further. Lets return to our living arrangements and wait for the forger to finish his work. Now to find some way to decode this . . .” Nick idly fingers the data coin.

hydingjekyll
Ludger searches Naomi for further articles of interest, or just useful equipment before they go. When that is done, he glances out of the alley to make sure the three can leave it safely, then leads his teammates out and into the crowd as inconspicuously as possible. [Stealth, Hush] Once they’re safely away from Naomi’s corpse, he says to the others, “Killing Deppe would create chaos in France; the question is how much, and how would it affect our plans? Would it make the king more eager to leave, or could we use it as evidence that he should stay and control—that is, calm—his worried people? Nick, what do you think?

jonsayer
Well,” Jimmy began, unperturbed that Ludger had clearly said “Nick, what do you think?” “I say we need more, er. smarts! No that’s not it… Intellivision… no… Intelligence! Yeah, we need more of that before we can say for sure. We haven’t even met the bloke yet, the king I mean. We don’t know what the frog ’ll do.

hydingjekyll
By the way, the other Earth-burner said that several local gangs have taken an interest in OTL activities around here. I couldn’t tell if he was lying or not, but it would be worth it to be on our guard.” (retroactive Empathy check?)

smilesriles
It would be extremely difficult to speculate on his emotional state from here. Better to quickly gain his confidence and deal from the fallout there rather than postulate in this dank alleyway. Lets get our papers and away to the king’s residence.

hydingjekyll
The papers won’t be ready for a few days, the man said. We’ll have to find some way to bide our time until then.” Ludger considers possible strategies and plans of action. “We should probably find a way to read this chip first,” he says, hiding it deep within his clothes to protect it from pickpockets. “And then perhaps we could make the most of our time by assassinating whichever of the OTL agents we most need out of the French government.

[I notice that Ludger authorized Naomi’s execution before she was asked about her destination; that wasn’t my idea, although I didn’t really think about it until now. Can I spend a Fate Point for Ludger to retroactively have asked her?]

GM
[Certainly Ludger can make that small retcon—this is, after all, Fate, not D&D. -1 Fate Point from Ludger]

Ludger recalls that Naomi had mentioned the local OTL safe-house, a small residence further down the Seinne. He leads Team Eagle to the safe-house, hoping for a chip-reader, or, at worst, more operatives to kill.

Unfortunately, the house is deserted. Not a thing of value is left inside, besides a loaf of French bread (or, simply “bread” here), which Jimmy gladly wolfs down.

Hmm,” ponders Nick. “That bread is still fresh?

A puzzled look comes over Jimmy’s face, and he swallows the mouthful of bread hesitantly. “Yeah. You don’t think it’s poisoned or nuthin’?

No, no, Jimmy,” says Nick reassuringly. “I merely note that it hasn’t gone stale, so OTL hasn’t been gone long.

Ludger’s eye twitches as he realizes what he missed. “They probably evac’d after Naomi and—the other one—didn’t check in on time.

D’ye want to search the place some more, or should we go killin’ the blokes on that list?” Jimmy asks, cracking his knuckles [Team Eagle knows the names Naomi gave, but GMlyn doesn’t feel like coming up with all those names, so it’ll just be character knowledge, not player knowledge].

What about the criminals my interrogatee mentioned? They could be staking out this safe-house as we speak,” Ludger says, certain of the gangs’ existence and hostility [retroactive Empathy [hidden] vs. Deceit [hidden]].

The trio stands in the house, Jimmy continuing to munch on fresh bread, as they consider their options.

smilesriles
‘Criminal elements, no matter who fierce, are eternal and indestructable’” Nick smiles for a moment, enjoying quoting himself. “As much as I fear indulging our more bloodthirsty instincts, I feel tracking down our opposition would be a worthy use of our time at this point in . . .” he smiles again. It feels odd on his face. A smile, rather like a cheap piece of leather stretched over a metal ball. “. . . at this point in time.

jonsayer
Right, so why don’t we start with Deppe?” says Jimmy before devouring the rest of the bread.

OMNOMNOMNOMNOM” he continues.

hydingjekyll
I want to give this place a thorough search before we leave,” Ludger says. “There might be something they left behind by accident, or -” His expression changes quickly from determined to almost hostile. “No. We’re leaving, now. If they left so quickly after Naomi failed to show up, they probably would have expected us, which means they might have left some kind of trap.” He turns for the door in all haste. “We can come back later to see if it’s still standing, and maybe even round up some of the gang members if they’ve come here.

jonsayer
Jimmy spits the bread in his mouth onto the ground in a comical manner.

Like… poison bread.

He follows Ludger out of the house.

smilesriles
Nick follows them out of the building.

gremlin1384
[Many sincere apologies for six days with no posts from the GM—this is unacceptable practice. My explanation (not excuse, explanation) is this: a) I’ve been very busy, and b) you guys took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting, so had to take some time to think about how to drive the story with your new plans, and c) I had no time to think about the new developments, because—see a).]

Fleeing the safehouse as quickly as possible (while staying discreet, of course), Team Eagle re-enters the City of Lights (which isn’t actually known as such at this space-time, but oh well). Nick and Jimmy beat the streets (and a few citizens) for several hours to learn the whereabouts of Michel Deppe. Eventually, they find the nobleman’s estate, a large mansion on the outskirts of Gay Paris (again, not time-space-appropriate, but irresistible).

Team Eagle approach the mansion as the sun is setting—and the blazing gas lanterns inside and the stirring sounds of a string quartet indicate that a very high-class party is well under way.

Should we sneak, lie, or beat our way in?” asks Jimmy. “Or all three?

[feel free to retroactively fetch or leave behind any equipment, clothing, etc., you feel you need for the approach you plan on taking here]

jonsayer
Jimmy looks around for guards and servant’s entrances as he contemplates his own question.

hydingjekyll
In the meantime, Ludger reintroduces his idea of Nick posing as a foreign noble and Jimmy and himself as Nick’s bodyguards. If this idea is agreed upon, he makes sure that all three are dressed appropriately before reaching Deppe’s mansion. If the idea is for them to lie their way in, he safely stows his rifle; either way, he reloads his pistol. He also checks back on the OTL safehouse and searches it thoroughly but carefully if it’s still there and apparently safe to do so.

Once outside the Deppe mansion, Ludger scrutinizes its defenses and walls, looking for easy places to climb and hide. “Locating Deppe would be easiest from the inside; we could ask around and find him in a friendly manner. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get him into a private room, where we could interrogate, intimidate or execute him with few interruptions. If we have to kill him, I suggest we leave him in a room by himself—tied up, supposedly with a female companion, maybe—and then make a show of leaving, then kill him from the outside of the building to avoid suspicion.

jonsayer
Jimmy scratches his head.

Alright, here’s how me an’ me mates back home woulda done this. First, we figure out where ‘is bedroom is. Then we go when ’e’s sleepin and then we mess ’is ass up.

smilesriles
Sounds like a plan. Once we are in, follow my lead.

hydingjekyll
Which one of us are you talking to, Nick? Have we even decided if he’d be more useful alive or dead?

smilesriles
Alright, we enter through the front door as Polish diplomats needing to speak to Mister Depp immediately. Once we are in his company, we shall make certain that he is OTL involved. He might be a target rather than a pawn. If he is, we leave. Nice and simple. Out the front door for everyone to see. Then double back and take him out. I think that if this goes excessively sour,” Nick pauses for dramatic effect. It is so satisfying to have so many overlapping plans. Forewarned is foresworded. “If this goes south, we quickly plant evidence that he is involved with the revolution, and take it to the King’s enforcer. Have him lose favor.

Nick spreads his hands and indicates towards the front gates.

I believe we are due for some action. And there is no tick like the present.

hydingjekyll
Ludger nods. “That sounds good. And if anyone asks to see our papers, I’m sure you can deal with it,” he adds, remembering that the forged documents won’t be ready for another day or two. “Let’s go.

This thread is now locked. Please begin posting in “Party Down.”

View
The Versailles Op -- Briefing
Crosstime
The Versailles Op

Starring:
Nick Machiavelli
Ludger Weissmuller
and
Jimmy
with Centimus
and Isaiah

Guest-starring
King Louis XVI
and
Marie Antoinette

The trio materializes in the travel bay, displaced air shooting outward with an understated “whoompf.” They look around at the dull metal walls, old an worn from centuries of heavy use. Overexerted pipes run along the ceiling, occasionally dripping with rusty water, alongside old and flickering LED panels. The cramped spaces and harsh metal walls always remind Ludger of his home country’s U-boats. Khef the travel technician waves at the team through the plasteel barrier barring their entrance into the base proper, and flips a switch.

Foul-smelling disinfectant sprays across Team Eagle, as well as their wounded prisoner, and moments later a red light blinks on. Khef presses a button, and the door to the travel bay whooshes open. "%{color:orange}Looks like you’re not carrying anything too poisonous. Welcome back to Base. You’ve got 10 hours of personal time before your next mission briefing, so you should probably hit your racks.%”

As Nick, Jimmy, and Ludger exit the transit bay and pass Naomi over to the medical team, they consider where they should spend their personal time—they could hit their bunks, or go to the gym, or the metahistorical library, the firing range, the rec room, the mess hall, the observation deck, or go see Centimus the briefing officer.

hydingjekyll
Perturbed that his first shot on Azhari didn’t have the desired effect, Ludger finds himself wishing they had a firing range where he can sharpen his skill—but that’s secondary. “Khef, where’s Centimus? We’ve captured an OTL operative who may have important information, and I think he’d want to know what it is.” He doesn’t seem to notice or care about the cramped, uncomfortable conditions on the Base; after all, he’s long used to much worse from his childhood and time in the military.

jonsayer
A grumble is felt within the gut of Jimmy. He figures he’ll go to the mess and pinch some meat pies before trying to catch some of the show of Centimus torturing the prisoner. He hurries off and returns faster than a polar bear running out of a sweat lodge.

GM
Jimmy, gobbling down some meat pies, hurries after Ludger as the German heads towards Centimus’s office. Nick, not having decided what else to do with his personal time, saunters after them. After threading their way through the maze of corridors, the trio arrives at Centimus’s office.

Ludger presses the intercom button. “Excuse me, Centimus, this is Ludger Weissmuller, with the rest of my team. May we speak with you?

There is no vocal response, but a “buzz” sounds, and Ludger turns the wheel on the hatch, opening it with a hiss of escaping air. The three operatives enter the office, and realize that they have never actually been in Centimus’s space before.

The office is small, like all areas on the Base, with little decoration. Centimus was unable to bring anything from his home Tick, so there are no images of his friends, family, or even of the world-spanning Roman Empire from which he hails. On the other hand, a few mementos from various Roman Empires throughout crosstime dot the walls and his desk—a stainless-steel affair filled with innumerable drawers.

Centimus himself is as always: a man old before his time, even with Revisionist rejuvenation techniques. A few wisps of graying hair don’t begin to cover his bald skull, and his face is dour and hard. His broad chest is sunken across the left breast, a memento from a mission into prehistorical Guinea that left him with badly-healed broken ribs and collapsed lung. His cross-buttoned uniform shows off a remarkable number of medals, most of which even Ludger, with his avid interest in military insignias, doesn’t recognize.

Centimus stares, face unmoving, at Team Eagle. “What do you want?

hydingjekyll
Reporting, sir,” Ludger says with a professional salute. “On our recent mission to New New Amsterdam, Tick 2415, Absolute Time 13,700, 453,032, the OTL operatives succeeded in cracking the dome over the city. Two of the three were killed, however, and the third, Naomi ben Azhari, Lieutenant third grade, was captured. When we arrived, she was unconscious from her injuries and we delivered her to the medical team. We await further direction regarding the interrogation of the prisoner and our next mission. Sir.

GM
After a long, hard stare, Centimus stands up and begins to pace—only able to fit two or three of his long strides in the cramped office. “I’m of mixed feelings about your last op. You failed to predict and prevent OTL’s sabotage mission, and the loss of New New Amsterdam hindered Team Dove’s operation downtime.” He steps close to Ludger and stays silent, and Ludger must summon all his self-possession to avoid stepping backwards. Abruptly, Centimus turns and continues pacing.

However, Team Dove did successfully redeem the situation—if they hadn’t, we would be having a very different conversation. On the plus side, you did punish OTL for their activities, and removing an entire enemy team from the war is an important win. Additionally, this Naomi ben Azhari should be quite a font of intelligence.

And her… interrogation?

We’ll take care of it. You may be skilled—but nobody beats Pia. Take your personal time, and we’ll discuss the Versailles operation tomorrow.

As the team exits Centimus’s office, they ponder the possibilities of this “Versailles operation”—and what else they might do with their free time.

hydingjekyll
Ludger is glad that he has at least partially redeemed himself and his team with the elimination of the OTL team; still, he doesn’t want such a failure on his record or his conscience again. He salutes and leaves Centimus’ room, immediately heading for the firing range to tune his shooting skills.

GM
Nick walks with his teammate for a time, then peels off at the entrance to the barracks. Exhausted from a week full of “him”-ian machinations, Nick collapses into his bunk—a posh number that has not been standard-issue for some time, thanks to the help of a few workers down in Inventory that Nick has under his thumb. Pulling a goose-down comforter over his thin shoulders, the Italian falls instantly asleep.

In the firing range, Ludger shuffles through the computer system, looking for a weapon he’s unfamiliar with. This is not a difficult task—for while the sniper prides himself on learning new weapons as often as possible, the multitude of weapons available from the entire length of human history multiplied by the sheer number of Ticks that the Revisionist have seen means that there is always something new to try. He chooses an African air-gun from near the fall of Man in Tick 1210 and places the strange stock against his shoulder, shifting it uncomfortably until he realizes that the weapon is designed to be fired from the hip. Reorienting himself, Ludger whiles away the hours improving his aim and enhancing his flexibility, until he falls into bed, exhausted from the latest in a series of long nights.

Jimmy stands in the corridor, munching on a meat pie, idly wondering what he should do now.

jonsayer
Jimmy retires to his room with a few meat pies in his pockets. He punches the wall for a while until he is tired. Then he curls up into bed with his Winnie the Pooh plush from AD 2007, Tick 418 (the one where the Disney company violently takes over the United States after the assassination of President Gore)

GM
The next morning—though such a word has little meaning on the Base, as the stars won’t exist for millions of years and no two people hold the same schedule—Team Eagle rise from their beds, eat a quick breakfast, and head to the briefing room.

The briefing room is longer than it is wide, raised at the rear to allow those at the back to see the presentation, and filled with thinly padded metal seats. The team take their seats just as briefing officer Centimus strides into the room, owning it as his native Rome owned the entire world. He stands behind the lectern and begins to speak. “Good morning, Team Eagle. I hope you enjoyed your personal time. If you do well on the next op, we may even grant you some leave.

Now for your next operation. The wars known in this Tick as Napoleonic are dangerous, with painful and long-lasting consequences on Europe as a whole. We’ve determined that the likely Tipping Point is the flight by French Monarch Louis XVI in the midst of the French Revolution.” He gestures to the screen behind him. A picture pops up , of a magnificent palace. "%{color:green}This is the Palace at Versailles, circa Tick 2415. At local time AD 1791, King Louis flees his palace and tries to leave France. Were he to stay in Paris in June 1791, the country should settle into a constitutional monarchy—a significantly stabler configuration than the chaos that Napoleon Bonaparte seized upon. Potential solutions include infiltrating Versailles and convincing Louis XVI to stay, assassinating either Marie Antoinette, who convinced Louis to leave, or Girondist revolutionary ringleader Jacques Pierre Brissot, or replacing Louis—though we are hesitant at leaving an operative on such a long-term assignment if it’s not necessary. The decision on what methodology you use, and how to go about it, is up to you and dependent on exactly what you encounter.%

“%{color:green}Your contact will be a member of the Montpelier family. Team Raven will be setting this family up to expect your arrival, but as they will be operating 60 years uptime from you, we are uncertain who your contact will be. The Montpeliers run the Bearded Hen tavern in downtown Paris, and will be expecting you in the spring of 1791.%

“%{color:green}Since this timeline is still close to all three of yours, at least at this point in time, cultural assimilation will be of relative ease—whatever you know of your own history should still be relevant—though I would avoid referring to specific monarchs or other historical personages, instead focusing on broad historical events, to avoid confusion. Nick, a timeclone of yours is a person of historical note at this space-time, so play down your identity—unless you feel that playing it up and presenting yourself as a descendant of that Niccoli Machiavelli would be advantageous.%

One final note before you go: keep in mind that since by the time you arrive this data will be one Tick old, certain specifics may change due to the activities of Team Raven and OTL.

Any questions?

[OOC: Don’t worry overmuch about getting all the right questions right now. If anyone later comes up with questions they wish they had asked (I’m looking at you here, Riley), PM me, and I’ll consider retroactively answering them (and by consider, I mean "almost certainly will, but I don’t want to promise anything just in case).]

hydingjekyll
Sir. Would it be feasible to assassinate Bonaparte himself and stop his conquest altogether? In my original timeline, he eventually failed and lost power, and the world seemed better for it; could we not prevent him from seizing much of that power to begin with?” While Ludger realizes that assassinating the noncombatant queen would be justified, he would still rather kill a conqueror than a noncombatant. That, and infiltrating Bonaparte’s military compound or camp would be more in line with what Ludger was originally trained to do.

GM
Centimus looks disappointed. “Ludger, you know why that won’t work. I realize that it is difficult to shift your thinking from native patterns, but you’re falling into one of the classic native traps: the Great Man Fallacy. Jimmy, would you like to remind Ludger of the Great Man Fallacy?

Jimmy starts like a child called on in school, and stammers “Err… there ain’t no great men, just blighters and bleeders?

Remarkably close, Jimmy. Nick, can you clarify?

“%{color:purple}History is not formed by the doings of great men. Large social movements push men into the opportunity to do great things, but removing a “great man” seldom solves the problem.%"

Centimus interrupts Nick. “Correct. Why, Ludger?

Because he will be replaced. Kill Hitler when he is an infant, and Goebbels takes his place, or Himmler, or someone who I’ve never heard of.

“%{color:green}I haven’t heard of any of those names, but I take your point. Indeed that is correct. Now, I realize you may ask why the actions of one man in Versailles might make such a ripple—but remember, our metahistorians have analyzed the timeline closely to find a Tipping Point here—one of the few places where social changes can shift with relatively few stimuli. And even here, Louis XVI is relatively unimportant—the important factor is whether or not France gains a king—and, arguably, the kind of man he is—not whether or not Louis XVI holds his throne.%

Now, do you have any more relevant questions?

jonsayer
Jimmy’s mind begins to crank like a slow steam engine running a Babbage computer, only in Jimmy’s case the computer is missing a few memory banks and a few screws are lose. Being Turing complete, however, his mind reaches a conclusion that :

Eh, I got an idear. Why don’t we go back FURTHER in time and prevent the circumstances that led to the rise of the social movement in the first place, eh? I mean, if we convince the frog to stay in ‘is house, wouldn’t the angry masses just rise up and try to kill ’im anyway? We can go back, kill Louis, plant a fake who will try and give French folks rights and money and stuff.

GM
Centimus, surprised, says “A very good point, Jimmy. I see you’ve actually been paying attention to how we do things around here. Indeed, if we went to Tick 2415 and kept Louis there, the populace would most likely lynch him anyway. This is why Team Raven is operating 60 years uptime, to help prep the populace for your change. Like most Tipping Points, this one is dependent on previous ones in order to succeed. In fact, even the Versailles operation is but a prelude to a mission by Team Jaguar a few years downtime, as they will act upon your results to ensure that no Great Man, Bonaparte or otherwise, comes to the fore.

Jimmy, his brow wrinkled, says “So, another team is already workin’ on my plan?

Yes, Jimmy, but they need your help in 1791. Clear?

Hydingjekyll
Ludger considers. “If even Bonaparte could be replaced, then so could Brissot, and Louis wouldn’t need Marie Antoinette to convince him to leave—especially if she were found dead, or worse, murdered. To me, that leaves getting to the king before the unrest really begins and convincing him to change his social policies to improve the lives of the commoners in order to prevent their uprising.” The thought appeals to him, but the lift it gives his mood is immediately overshadowed by an obvious realization. “But we would have to keep such changes small or at least subtle, just enough to take the edge off the peasants’ misery, or the king’s fellow aristocrats might depose him for weakening their own luxury and power over the majority of their own people. The powerful are always like that,” he adds bitterly.

jonsayer
Jimmy was very happy about this. It meant he was smart. Or at least, so he thought.

GM
“%{color:green}I’m glad you believe you understand, Jimmy, but I think Ludger is still a bit confused. Yes, it is technically true that Brissot or Marie Antoinette could be replaced in their influences—but it is unlikely that they would be before the Tipping Point passes and history falls into a new pattern. On the other hand, you make an excellent point that assassinating Marie Antoinette might backfire against us and encourage Louis’s flight—the results of her death would depend highly on the surrounding circumstances. And it is quite true that the safest route is to subtly guide Louis’s decisions over the long term—but if we always took the safest and longest routes to our goals, our operatives would die of old age after onlyu one or two missions. We feel that the risk inherent in taking a shorter-term solution is worth the possible results in this case—but, of course, it will depend on your analysis of the situation on the ground.%

I think that will be all—we will download further documentation to your TI for later review. Head down to Isaiah for loadout. Dismissed!

Though Ludger is still not completely convinced, he follows Jimmy—looking forward to befriending a king—and Nick—already conjuring up devious schemes to get near Louis—down to the armory.

The armory is a tremendously large space, especially compared to most of the Base. Doubling as a cargo bay, the room features a gigantic airlock making up one wall, and is filled with crates of all shapes and sizes.

Isaiah sits reclined in his usual seat, relaxation coming off him in waves. "%{color:orange}Okay, y’all, this is a simple op—at least in terms of gear, so I don’t have too much to go over. However, since this is only your—what, third op?—I’ll go over all the basics again for you.%

This is a mission of subtlety—we don’t want the natives, or, the Base help us, OTL to learn that you’re travelers. As such, most of your gear is going to be time-native or disguised.

Over the next few minutes, Isaiah goes over the following gear:

  • Travel Implant (TI): Implanted deep in your cerebellum, this is your ticket home. It responds to a simple mental mnemonic—a combination image, sound, and word—that is unique for each of you. When activating, simply focus on either the Base or a specific amount of time (down to the second for best results) up- or downtime. Do not activate the implant before your mission is complete unless you have no other option, because you will not be able to return to that Tick, and will have to restart the mission, taking into account whatever changes OTL’s made to the timeline in the meantime.
  • Lingua Franca (LF): A part of your Travel Implant, the LF is connected to your auditory nerve, ocular nerve, and larynx. The LF takes any verbal language it hears or sees and instantly translates it into your native tongue before passing it on to your brain. A connected implant translates your intended speech into the language you specify—watch out, the feeling of your lips, tongue, and vocal chords making movements and sounds that you didn’t intend can take some getting used to. The LF can learn a new language in a little over eight hours, so in an unfamiliar timeline, you’ll need to expose it to language through either listening or setting it to receive radio broadcasts if you’re in a tech-heavy space-time. For your current mission, a version of French similar to what we’re expecting has already been programmed in, so you’ll be able to speak (with an odd accent) right out the gate, and about five to ten minutes of exposure will acclimatize perfectly.
  • Radio: The TI can operate as a radio, allowing silent, subvocal communication across the team. However, these radio transmissions can be picked up by OTL, so use only period communications unless you are certain that OTL does not have a presence in the area.
  • Medical Kit: While it looks like a Revolutionary doctor’s bag, this actually contains camouflaged high-tech medical equipment: artificial skin, antibiotics, painkillers, etc. Do not let it into the wrong hands.
  • Pistols: We are equipping you with camouflaged pistols. Though they resemble 18th-century flintlock pistols, there is a clip of conventional ammunition hidden inside the gun-butt. You will be issued three magazines of seven rounds apiece—more may be available in the dead-drop, depending on Team Raven’s needs at their space-time.
  • Demolitions: We have included a small cache of explosives, disguised as a loaf of bread, for Ludger’s use should the need arise. It can be detonated via the TI, or set on a timer.
  • Dead-drop: Team Raven has left a dead-drop of equipment and intel for you. We can’t predict exactly what is inside, but you should secure it as soon as possible—but not until you can hide the contents, as we can’t guarantee that they’ll be period-appropriate.

Isaiah grins at you. “Not a bad haul, right? But I know you newbies—enough is never enough. Any requests I can throw in there fer ya?

hydingjekyll
What kind of combat knives did the French cowards have in this Tick?

jonsayer
I need a good set o’ brass knuckles.

smilesriles
Nick takes the medical bag and the pistol. Ludger has more important things to lug around and the idea of Jimmy being responsible for anything, much less their health, makes Nick shudder.
I’m thinking we should try to convince Louis to remain in Paris first. That seems the least intrusive and most likely to succeed. Failing that we can try assassination or something more dramatic.

Perhaps a popular advisor could be convinced and through that it could be whispered to the king. Hmmm. Foreign entanglements. Hmmmmm. Rivalry. Hmmmmm. Yes, this will go well.

jonsayer
[I think it might be of use to us to review our history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_to_Varennes]

jonsayer
[I just realized how brilliant the format of this game is, Emlyn.

Reading that wikipedia article, I learned that Louis was living in the Tuileries palace in downtown Paris when he tried to flee, not Versailles (which was like a 45 min drive out of town today on the freeway when I was there, probably took a whole day back then), and that he was heading to France’s frontier, not out of the country. I was going to be all “historical accuracy” on you, but then I realized this Tick could be very different from what happened anyway. It completely frees you from actually having to be historically accurate.

This is going to be a fun TV when the time comes, if only because you get to mess with history as you see fit to make a better story. ]

GM
[Drama over historical accuracy, completely justified! Yay for a phlebotinum-based excuse for lazy research! However, it is an important thing to realize that Louis’s flight took place after the initial revolution, and he was only technically in charge by 1791—as shown in Jon’s helpful Wikipedia article.]

Isaiah laughs at Ludger—but in a friendly fashion. "%{color:orange}Combat knives? This is a pre-Industrial Revolution society. They had daggers made by the local blacksmith. Don’t worry, I’ll find a titanium-alloy knife for you.%

“%{color:orange}And Jimmy, brass knuckles will be no trouble whatsoever.%

Nick, did ya need anythin’?

GM
As he considers the matter of equipment, Nick closes his eyes and virtually pages through the mission intel Centimus downloaded to his TI, looking for information on influential people near Louis. He finds several names—on the side of the monarchy was Louis’ brother, the Comte de Provence; the more revolutionary side was represented by the Cardinal Loménie de Brienne, Louis’s unofficial regent and representative to the revolutionary government; and, of course, his wife Marie Antoinette, who he relied on quite heavily at this space-time.

jonsayer
They got a little prince, don’t they?” Jimmy says. “If we kill Louis, then ’is kid will be de king, official-like.

smilesriles
Nick glances in irritation at Jimmy.
I believe that we would cause too big of a ripple there. We only need to change one thread in this weave.
Nick begins to scheme out loud.
Perhaps we could enter as minor nobles from a foreign nation sent as advisors to the crown. Let’s see here . . .” Nick puts on a more theatrical voice practicing his French, “At a time of turmoil, the monarchies of our two nations are united by more than just brotherhood, breeding and society, but by a commitment to maintaining a peaceful but firm hand on society.” Nick paces back and forth. “We just need to get close. Once our loyalty to the crown is established we can make contact with Cardinal Lomenie de Brienne and impress upon him the importance of Louis remaining in Paris. But the Queen, hmmm, she does have some sway . . .” Nick pauses in his considerations and looks back towards Ludger, who is fondling, quite possessively, his new titanium-alloy knife. “Perhaps she can be suitably distracted or detained.” A sly smile spreads across Nick’s face. “Oh yes. I feel that could definitely be a possibility.

hydingjekyll
We could pose as a foreign diplomat and his two bodyguards,” Ludger suggests. “The diplomat would be played, of course, by Jimmy.

jonsayer
Jimmy lights up. “Eh, I could be a diplomaman. Speak softly and carry a big fist, I always say.

He turns to Nick. “I feels your proposed stratego of ‘elpin Louis with his ’firm hand’ (he uses air quotes for that) would only serve ta embolden ‘im. He wanted to leave the country so he could raise an army to take it over again. We don’t want to let ‘im think it’s a good idea.

He thinks for a while, letting the gears work their magic. “It said he’s depressed cuz he lost bein in control. Maybe we could try to cheer ’im up.

smilesriles
Yes Jimmy, clearly a Prin . . . erm King who has been stripped of his political power is merely just a little sad. Yes. All he needs is nice glass of warm milk and perhaps a warm bit of lamb’s fur to roll up with. Yes. Why didn’t I see it before?

Nick dismissively turns away from Jimmy. “Ludger. I think we are in agreement. Except perhaps the diplomat could be someone other than the cretin with the knife? I thought so.

Hydingjekyll
Ludger smiles, something he’s been working on being able to do. “You can sense a man’s every weakness in conversation, but you don’t know a joke when you hear one, Nick? I’m just trying to lighten the mood.

jonsayer
Jimmy doesn’t like being made fun of. He wanted to show Nick what a cretin with a knife could do, but was unfortunately surrounded by potential witnesses.

So instead, he simply stood up and desperately tried to explain his line of thought while waving his hands around.

We’re trying to convince ‘im to be an inmate! He’s already one at this point in time. We just need to get ’im to be ’appy where he ’is and stay. Learn that life can be alright as one of these er…. (he looked up the phrase used in the mission briefing on his TI) con-stee-toot-shun-all monarchs.

GM
Isaiah leans back and sticks a piece of chaw in his mouth, chewing noisily, looking forward to the ensuing argument.

[I’m going to just let you guys discuss/argue the merits of your plans until you get bored—just one person say “X heads to the travel bay” or something when you think everything that can be said has been said].

jonsayer
[WTF is chaw?]

GM
Chaw= http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewing_tobacco

hydingjekyll
Agreed. Nick, perhaps your diplomat could be from another country that has a government like that, and could convince Louis of its advantages—including it being a condition for an alliance, which would supposedly help him in the event of the same revolt that we’re actually avoiding.

jonsayer
[If you had just said chewing tobacco, I would have been dandy.

Were there any constitutional monarchs in this time period, at least in the “real” Tick?]

GM
[Using “chaw” is a stylistic thing.

Damn you, Jon, for making me do RESEARCH for my historical campaign. Geez, who’d think that would come up? Anyway, there were at the time two countries that could be seen as Constitutional Monarchies, one less republican so than we think nowadays, and one more republican—England and the United States. Specifically, the French were looking most at the brand-new US as their model, but they wanted the title and heritage associated with a King, as per England. So one of those would be the logical places for Nick to claim to come from—and I suppose there’s no reason why the Lingua Franca implant can’t do French in an English or American (which were much more similar at the time than they are now) accent.]

jonsayer
[The US was and is a republic. No kings, aside from Elvis.

I never thought I would say this in actual conversation, but

YOU FORGOT POLAND!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2%80%93Lithuanian_Commonwealth

Summary here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_monarchy#Previous_monarchies

They had a legislature for years and years. They operated like a democracy where only the rich could vote, ie no different from the US at the time.

The country only had 4 years to live at this point, but on May 3 of 1791, about a month before Louis tried to flee, they implemented the modern world’s second written constitution (after our own). There were a lot of reforms and such in it that gave regular people more rights and established a wider democracy. I suggest reading the links above.

Unfortunately, all of Poland’s royalist neighbors (Russia, Austria) considered the new constitution dangerous to their own power and went on to invade the poor country and carve it up.

BUT, at this point in time, they might be considered cutting edge, like pets.com was in 1999.]

[I should also note that they hate the Austrians, who are like France’s enemy #1 and the countrymen of Marie Antoinette]

GM
[I’m going to argue that the founders of the US were thinking of the constitutional monarchy model (such as it was) in creating the office of the President (aka, king-except-not-so-much). But yes, I missed Poland.

I can’t tell whether it’s wonderful or terrible that the game is occasionally diverging into arguments over historical accuracy—I guess it depends on how you guys are enjoying it (PM me to let me know, and/or have your character stalk out when you’re sick of it)].

hydingjekyll
Damn it. I keep hearing voices on my TI. Are hearing that, Nick? They’re delivering historical information, but it’s faint and I can’t tell whose voices they are. I think the engineers included more information that isn’t coming through well, or … it sounds like they’re discussing something … maybe we’re accidentally linked to their radio frequency.” Ludger shrugs. "%{color:red}Still, if it’s useful information …%

By the way, Isiah, would it be possible to get this well-crafted pistol fitted with any kind of sight? I know a scope would be out of the question, but what about a crosshair or something?

GM
Isaiah chews thoughtfully on his CHAW, then spits into a cup. “Well, I can’t put too much on there or it won’t be subtle—and then what’s the point of the damned thing? Tell you what, I’ll pull out my welding tools and put a basic sight on it—that’ll help a little, anyway. Oh, and I’ll get you a faux-muzzle loader rifle, since I know you’re a sniper. Are ya guys ready to get going?

smilesriles
I believe we are ready to depart. Polish emmisaries I think would be appropriate. Culturally similar enough to be a welcome ally but not so threatening (i.e. Britain or US) as to cause a stir. Yes. Let us go now.” Nick imperiously swept towards the travel bay.

[Loving discussions over historical inaccuracies, makes it so intriguing. Also, damn you Jon, I spit coffee out my nose when I read “YOU FORGOT POLAND!”.
http://forgotslapstick.ytmnd.com/
http://vote5forgreatjustice.ytmnd.com/]

hydingjekyll
Thank you, Isaiah. Could you have the guns delivered to the travel bay before we leave? I should stay with the rest of the team while we solidify our plans.” Ludger nods appreciatively and follows Nick out.

GM
Feeling good at having made a decision, the rest of Team Eagle picks up the rest of their gear and heads down to the travel bay. They check in with Khef, who escorts them into the bay. They prepare mentally for the jump—and then they are gone.

This topic is now locked. Begin posting in “Paris in the Springtime.”

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The Versailles Op - In Media Res

Earth. City of New New Amsterdam. Tick 2415. Absolute Time 13.7 billion, 453,032. Local time AD 3025. Day 89, hour 05:47.

An explosion rocks the early-morning cityscape. Glittering glass spires rise just short of the city’s massive dome, catching both the oranges and violets of the rising sun and the reds and yellows of the giant ball of fire. The streets, nearly deserted in the dawn hour, rapidly fill with panicked citizens, frantic that the dome—the only thing standing between them and the choked, deadly vapors of dying Earth—might be cracked.

It is.

Close in on the streets. Three figures race away from the blast—and sharp eyes could see one of them, a tall man with dark hair and startlingly blue eyes, placing a spool of det-cord back into his haversack.

“D’ye think that did it?” asks a woman with multi-colored hair and a thick, untraceable accent.

The third figure, an older man who gives the impression of spectacles even though his eyesight is better than 20/20, struggles to examine the readout on a hand-held device. (green) “Yes, the toxins are coming in already. The population will be dead within a day.”

The central figure grins a grim smile. (bold black) “Good. We’ll return to the dead-drop and then back to HQ.”

The older man nods his head—which then explodes in a spray of blood, bone, and brain fragments.

The remaining two duck and cover in utter silence, hiding behind parked transport pods, and scan the surrounding buildings for the sniper.

On the third floor of the Pan-Vespuccia Bank, Ludger Weismuller raises his eye from the rifle’s scope and frowns slightly. He murmers inaudibly, a subdermal microphone picking up his words.

On ground level, about ten yards behind the duo cowering on the wrong side of the transport pods, Jimmy whispers an agreement, then cracks his knuckles and grins widely.

From a side alley slightly away from the action, Nick Machiavelli clears his throat and flips a switch on the box that allows him to broadcast on his enemies’ radio channel. His face betrays none of the joy he finds in the thought of their fear.

[(Jon, how you will know something is Out of Character is [brackets]. You guys are in a rather utopian Zeerust city. The OTL agents hiding behind the flying cars are your enemies. Go].

Initiative is as follows:
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Blue-eyed Man
Woman with Multi-Colored Hair
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]

Hydingjekyll
Ludger quickly considers his options. The team’s apparent leader is already dead, which should panic the other two for at least a few seconds. He’s well aware of Jimmy’s ability to handle things himself, but isn’t entirely convinced that both Jimmy and Nick are free from ancient and useless notions of women’s frailty; besides, Jimmy would probably prefer to fight the man. Just the same, these team members might know something worth finding out—but leaving any of them able to escape or resist would be foolish. He shifts his rifle’s crosshairs from the woman’s multi-colored head to her spine, and fires. [Guns]

Jonsayer
Seeing the two remaining opponents, Jimmy thinks “A’ight, this here bloke whit the blue eyes aint rubbin me right.

This stout anachronism plowed toward the male member of the group like a momma grizzly when you walk between her and her cub. He didn’t put to much thought into it. In fights like these, you just gotta go with what feels right, and right now what feels right is the sickening crunch of bone beneath his fist impaling itself into this poor bloke’s face.
[fists]

GM
Ludger takes careful aim, and pulls the trigger on his rifle. An electric coil inside the rifle sparks and delivers a massive charge to a sophisticated propellant, which heats into white-hot plasma in a split-second. An exquisitely shaped bullet speeds from the barrel and breaks the sound barrier before lodging in the woman’s right lung. She falls to the ground, gasping and spurting blood, but quickly manages to regain cover—and Ludger hears the tell-tale sound of a cocking pistol moments later [Guns Superb ( +5) vs. Athletics Good ( +3), 2-shift hit].

Jimmy speeds towards the blue-eyed man, who raises an arm just in time to deflect Jimmy’s running blow. He loses his balance, but pulls Jimmy down with him, and the two end up writhing on the ground, neither able to land a solid hit on the other [Fists Mediocre ( +0), -1 for moving 1 zone, Poor (-1) vs. Fists Poor (-1), fails by 0 shifts]. Catching his wind, the OTL operative pulls his legs up and kicks out, throwing Jimmy away—however, the Cockney rolls backwards and comes up on his feet, ready to fight anew [Fists Fair ( +2) vs. Great ( +4), fails by 2 shifts].

Ludger sights through the rifle’s scope, surveying the area for a hint of the wounded woman. Just as he spots a lock of her rainbow hair, she leaps up and fires up at him. Fortunately, her injury throws off her aim, and her shot goes badly wild. In reaction, Ludger ducks away from the window and takes up position in the next one over—a move that the woman apparently doesn’t see [Guns Mediocre ( +0) vs. Athletics Good ( +3), Ludger succeeds by 3 shifts, gains spin— +1 to next Athletics check vs. Guns].

Nick looks out at the mayhem he and his teammates have created, and smiles as he prepares to act.

Initiative is as follows:
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
[Round Two]
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Blue-eyed Man
Woman with Multi-Colored Hair

[OOC: I need you guys to determine a team name. I was thinking of an animal, much like a football team or something, in the format “Team Raven [or whatever]”, but really, anything goes so long as it sounds either a) professionally military or b) the kind of bizarre joke that the military or spies would come up with. Either PM [that’s Private Message, Jon—go to “My Messages” to send one] me or put your idea in an [OOC] in a post]

Smilesriles
Nick grips the radio, broadcasting onto their frequency.“We have already counteracted your measures. What futile sense of accomplishment you might be feeling is now worthless. If you wish to prevent this whole exercise from being a complete waste, you should throw down your weapons and surrender, before all five of our snipers take you out. Either way we will stop you running but in one of these scenarios, you keep your legs.” Nick grins a wide smile. Yes, he will not come home empty-handed.
[Intimidation]

GM
Nick’s silky voice slides across the airwaves and buzzes in the blue-eyed man’s ear. A look of intense fear comes over his face, and he looks up wildly, trying to spot the imaginary snipers arrayed around him. Abruptly, he stands tall and tosses his pistol and rucksack to the ground [Intimidation Superb ( +5) vs. Resolve Average ( +1)].

The woman hisses at him “What’re ye doin’?” When he motions for her to join him, she instead lifts her own pistol and shoots him in the head. “OTL does not surrender!” she shouts as her partner falls to the ground.

Initiative is as follows:
Ludger Weismuller [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Jimmy [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]
Blue-eyed Man
Woman with Multi-Colored Hair
Nick Machiavelli [1 2 3 4 5, 6 Fate Points]

Hydingjekyll
They don’t have to,” Ludger whispers, and fires from concealment, once again aiming for a crippling but non-lethal shot. He has already seen too many women ripped apart by bullets and mortar blasts, and would rather avoid the sight if possible. [Guns, with Stay on Target; invokes Horrors of War]

Jonsayer
The sight of his target being killed by his own partner mildly depressed Jimmy. He didn’t even get a chance to land a punch. I mean, seriously. All he wanted was to bludgeon that poor man in the face with his own hand saying “stop hittin yaself, stop hittin yaself.” Is that too much to ask?

Now, Jimmy may be as stupid as a twelve-year-old that finds Hooked on Phonics intellectually challenging, but he’s been in enough brawls to know not to charge a crazy person with a drawn gun. He draws his own piece, an over-sized revolver with some apparently unnecessary steam pipes on it, from under his thick, dirty trench coat and fires at his lone opponent.
[guns]

GM
Insistent on not burning another terrible sight into his brain, Ludger takes a deep breath and lines up his sight on the woman’s lower spine. Again a chunk of lead flies through the air, and the woman falls with a wail, dropping her gun as she does so. Thankfully, Ludger can see that she is still breathing [Guns Fantastic ( +6), invokes Horrors of War for +2, Legendary ( +8) vs. Athletics Fair ( +2), 6-shift hit, gains spin. Woman is Taken Out, spin allows Ludger to wound but not kill the woman. Ludger spends one Fate Point].

Seeing the woman go down, Jimmy reluctantly holsters his pistol—but then brightens up as he realizes he gets to physically intimidate her. He strides over to the woman and yanks her to her feet, spilling more of her vital fluids on the formerly pristine ground. He looks up at Ludger and gives a big “thumbs-up.”

[Combat is over, initiative no longer applies. Post at your own pace].

[Jon: You are both right and wrong in your assumptions: SotC does not give both a move action and an attack action as per D&D, instead just the one action (with additional actions assessing cumulative -1 penalties to all actions). This is what happened when you ran up to the guy—and, btw, distances in SotC are rather fuzzy, and measured in “zones,” which I will lay out on a map for engagements where it’ll matter. However, small actions like moving within a zone or drawing a gun are considered free actions that don’t assess a penalty. As for Jimmy having a gun—well, an implicit assumption in putting levels into the Guns skill is that the character carries a gun—and then the Revisionists wouldn’t let the team off-Base without armament, so he’s clear on two levels. Besides, this early sequence is meant to start establishing these kinds of things—like Jimmy’s favorite weapon, for example. Oh, and I’m a big fan of your new posting style—giving Jimmy just as much personality while meshing with the other posts. Kudos].

[Oh, and we currently have two team name ideas, one vote for each: Team Eagle and Team Bear. Riley, you got an idea or a vote?]

Hydingjekyll
Ludger hurriedly leaves his sniper’s nest and gets to the ground where Jimmy and Nick wait; he wants to make sure that the Englishman doesn’t cause any unnecessary harm or render the prisoner unable to talk.

Jonsayer
Jimmy grabs the rainbow-haired girl by the throat and shoves her up against the wall. He’s not choking her, but he definitely makes breathing a more difficult task.

We gonna have a nice time, eh lass? Me mates and I are going to have a nice long talk with ye, an’ we aint gunna have no tea or crumpets, catch me drift?

[Intimidate]

The feeling of his hand around her throat almost gave him as much relief as his ol’ winnie the pooh plush back at Base.

GM
Jimmy slowly lifts the woman by her throat, cutting off her airway and any hope she has of escape. He glares into her eyes… and she spits in his face, covering his visage with blood-flecked spittle. “Ye can’t intimidate me wi’ yer schoolyard antics. Naomi ben Azhari. Lieutenant third grade. 014-587-3120. That’s all ye’re gettin!” [Intimidate Average ( +1) vs. Resolve Good ( +3)]

As Jimmy, frustrated, begins to squeeze harder, Ludger runs up and puts a hand on the Englishman’s shoulder, and Jimmy relaxes—slightly.

Hydingjekyll
Easy there,” Ludger says to Jimmy. “%There’s no need to rush. I’m sure that our other friend will be able to talk some sense into her.

smilesriles
Nick slips up and looks Naomi in the eyes. “Surely we wouldn’t try anything so crude as to beat information out of you.” At Jimmy’s obvious confusion and somewhat alarm, Nick makes the gentles “wait wait” motion with his hands. “We don’t need anything more. We already know all we need. This whole exercise doesn’t move anyone any closer to the ‘original timeline’.” Nick waits for a moment to let this sink in. “I’m sure they filled your head with such convincing lies. What sort of things did they say you could accomplish here? Here, of all places.

[Deceit, bwah ha ha ha]

Jonsayer
Figuring that talking can be difficult when you have a big beefy hand around your windpipe, Jimmy abruptly releases his grip and lets the multicolored bitch go. Unready for the drop, she falls to the ground. Jimmy wipes the spit of his face with his left sleeve while he draws his weapon with his right. After a swift kick to her injured arm, he points his gun at her and says:

This can do a lot more than ya spittle, love. I say you answer his question
[intimidation]

GM
Attacked from two sides and with two techniques, Naomi does the only thing she can to protect herself—she shuts down. Giving into the pain of her two bullet wounds, Naomi passes out, her rainbow-colored hair flopping across her bloody face [Deceit Great ( +4) vs. Resolve ( +4), fails by 0 shifts, Intimidation Fair ( +2) vs. Resolve ( +3), fails by 1 shift].

Hmm… a set-back,” murmurs Nick. “But a temporary one. The facilities we have back at Base will certainly loosen her tongue

And there certainly isn’t anything left for us to do here,” Ludger says mournfully, staring at the putrid mist filtering in from the hole in New New Amsterdam’s dome. “Hopefully the intelligence we gain from Lieutenant Azhari will help mitigate our failure here.

Jimmy looks over at his two teammates, slightly confused. “So, are ya sayin’ we’re goin’ home?

Nick and Ludger nod, and all three focus on the activation sequence for their Travel Implants.

As the trio—and their prisoner—vanish, a half-hearted whoosh of air fills the vacuum left by their exit, and the two corpses stare with dead eyes at the chaos they’ve left behind.

[This topic is now closed. Begin posting in “The Versailles Op—Briefing”]

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