Planet YAT

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Setting: AIF Universe II

Referee: Dave

Player: RooK


Character Generation

You'll control three characters, one combatant, one support non-combatant, and one other.

All three are nodes of a Protector named Titus. He's not a particularly powerful Protector - a few centuries ago, a number of his high skilled nodes were killed by another Protector.

Non combatant is first stage scientist (all 3) and needs to have hypernormal intelligence.

Combatant is 1st stage (maxed). 32 points from the character generator. Might be an idea to make him not-tiny as there will likely be some kidnapping for the other.

The other is an experiment Titus is running. It's a nanoscopic robot entity that has the ability to take over another body. Only has three attributes: intelligence, awareness, and willpower which are 6-6-6.

N.I.P.

The other is code named N.I.P. - Nanoscopic Invasive Parasite. It is injected into a biological being and attempts to take over it's brain. There is a will power contest to gain control; 2D + Will Power. The NIP needs to win 5 times in a row to assume control, and with each successful roll, he gets +1 on the next roll. Each losing roll will result in -1 on the next roll.

Once established, the body and mind belong to the NIP, though the target retains somewhat aware. The NIP can't access the target's memories, but it can use skills the target has.

The NIP can only earn skill in tandem with it's host. When the host earns 10 skill to go up a stage, the NIP also goes up a stage - assuming that the NIP and host are the same stage. If the host is lower stage than the NIP, the NIP won't earn any skill. The NIP can't earn an occupation - he must rely on hosts for actual occupation skill. However, when the NIP goes up a stage, he will gain 1-2 bonus WP in additional to the 1 from going up a stage.

When in a host, the NIP can utilize any combat skills the host has. The host's base awareness and stage awareness are replaced by the NIP's. In terms of will power, the NIP's will power is added to the hosts when making consciousness rolls. Persuasion rolls use the NIP's will power.

During Titan's testing, it was found that the host gained stress points during the implantation process.

If the host dies, the NIP can survive in the body if it hasn't been completely obliterated.

Setting

You've been sent to a planet called YAT. It's a Dynomer producing factory planet controlled by two Protectors named Cora and Clarice. Titus already has a technician service shop on the planet, and you're going there under the guise of setting up a biological services branch. You are not to tell anyone that you are nodes of Titus and especially not to tell anyone about the other.

Prelude Plot Infliction

Max and Min-e arrive via cheap transport to planet YAT. Mikey is stored in a small cavity within Max's left femur. Min-e knows how to safely extract him and put him into a new body. You have no gear except for a med-kit each and 10 patches. (aaaahh, patches, it's been so long) Max has 100 credits, and Min-e has 1000 - the larger amount to buy gear for the new lab. You have the address on the planet for the Titus's tech shop, and they're expecting you sometime this week.


First things first: Weapons R Us or equivalent.

Step 2 will probably be a bar. Where, as we unsurprisingly fight for our lives as we slake our thirst, we hope to glean more understanding about the unique demographic and social patterns of planet YAT.

Then, perhaps, we can contemplate the whole "showing up at work" thing.


There are no weapons stores. You simply 'buy' a weapon/equipment virtually and then go to one of many mini-factories (high tech AIF equivalent of a 3d printer) and the gear is generated for you. All weapons are coded to your biometrics, so no one else can use them. They also can't be resold as loot. There are the main weapons in the list, plus some really cheap blasters and lasers that can be purchased for 1 credit (1D) but only have 100 shots in them.

As you are travelling, you notice a small swarm of tiny robots fly by. They are all green. A few of them break off from the pack and approach you. On of them says - in a somewhat cheery voice. "Hi! I'm Cora! You're new here, aren't you?"



Niiiiice. As it should be.

Minnie ponders what would be the most efficacious equipment. She searches online data networks for for common equipment for people not wanting to stand out, but be well-armed. The general shagginess of Max should help with discretion, if necessary.

Max: "-grunt- New. Yes. "


Cora reponses: "Cool, I love meeting newcomers. Where are you from--- oops, wait, gotta go." And with that the flock of little green robots is intercepted by a flock of little red robots and they have a pitched battle with little tiny weapons. It's kind of amusing to watch. It's obvious they are all zero staged. As they are flying, they quickly swarm out of site beyond the next building. A few of their shots accidently hit you guys, but it's micro-scale damage, so it mostly just stung a little."

In Minnie's search, she finds out that there seem to be two classes of people - those with money, and those without. Being unable to sell loot easily makes acquiring stuff through combat somewhat problematic. There are a lot of people who simply have no money and no easy way of getting any. However, among the ones equipped, weaponry looks fairly typical - pistols, rifles, etc. Assault weapons seem to be frowned upon. Shields are around, though not too common.

Minnie also realizes that any interaction with a Protector node of this planet will be available to high stage mathematicians nodes of the prime Protector. It's unlikely they will be scrutinized if you don't attract their attention, but, well, it's there. You probably already figured that out. :)


Game Night: 2013-263

Max and Minnie continue to a factory and purchase some gear – upgraded medical equipment for Minnie, and a large 2D blaster for Max. Then they head… TO A BAR!

It’s not a particularly violent bar and Max starts hitting on another Groten as cover while Minnie looks for targets. They eventually spot a lone Zygroten leaving the bar and decide to follow. While suspicious of the brute behind him, the Zygroten doesn’t do anything hostile and walks back towards the spaceport.

Minnie does a quick check of local customs and laws to make sure that it’s not illegal to starting shooting someone, and finding no such laws, Max pulls out his blaster and opens fire. Both he and the Zygroten trade misses and then Max lands a hit.

It’s a telling hit. The Zygroten has 20 stamina total, and the heavy blaster does near maximum damage. Add to that the placement is his head, so the Zygroten went from full stamina to -2 without being assassinated.

The blast catches the Zygroten as he’s trying to turn away from the blast. It impacts in his temple and blasts away that portion of his skull and bits of his brain. The force of the blast lifted him up in the air briefly and he lands limp on the ground.

The Zygroten is used as a host for Mikey. The trio head to work. At one point they are observed by a Clarice robot.

The technician’s shop that they were to share got blowed up real good, most everyone was killed in the explosion. The structure was still sound though (ship scale and all that), so they had the place to themselves except for one employee named Crum. They bought a bunch of equipment and set up shop. They even had a customer.

Mikey went out to explore and was set upon by an insane Mavvice who stabbed him to death. It was quite unpleasant for the host. Max and Minnie intercepted and dropped the Mavvice who became Mikey’s new host.

  • Abram Crum Shortridge is the human who was at the technician shop.
  • Damac is the name of the rival technician facility that is suspected of planting the bomb.
  • 2 others survived the attack - one guard (defender/aggressor) and one huge labourer robot.
  • Another 2 are unaccounted for.

Plot Infliction 001

First things first: EXPERIENCE?

Minnie: "It seems to me that while setting up a bio-mod business, with healings on the side, might be interesting long-term, we are in grave need of some experience-earning activities. Sadly, our n00b status has us at considerable risk."

Max: "MAX SMASH."

Minnie: "Yes, that's all well and good, except that we need you to be capable of range combat. So hold off on the smashing until it is tactically appropriate. Please focus on gaining proficiency with range weapons - preferably paired."

Max: "SMASH FUN."

Minnie: "Yes, yes, we both know that the most fun existence is as a hand-to-hand badass. The problem is that they make lousy team players, and we're a team here, are we not? Besides, if we have need of a hand-to-hander, we can inject Mike into one."

Max: "NO FAIR."

Minnie: "Don't worry. Mike will just be driving disposeable people, as backup to us earning maximum experience. For now."

Mike: "Heeeey!"

Minnie: "Suck it, viral-boy."

Max: "...Me still boss?" Worried face.

Minnie: "Absolutely. Do you approve my proposed scheme?"

Max: "Plan... APPROVED." Smug face.

Mike: "You guys suck."


Max get's 3 experience. Mostly for the epic kill on the Zygroten. Mike gets one experience from the fight with the Mavvice that the Zygroten earned before he went nuts.

Crum was watching you guys obviously having a private conversation via communicators. "Um, hey, I got an idea. You guys seems to be quite good at what you do - one brilliant scientist and his bodyguard goon. And well, you seem to have a knack for temporary allies..." he glances at Mike in the Mavvice body. "Maybe you could let me handle the business end of things while you do what you do best?"

What are your plans for Minnie earning experience? - going to keep with the scientific studies, or send her out to earn other abilities?

Minnie also has had a chance to analyze the performance of Mike and his hosts. She's noticed something about when the host goes insane. Instead of the host's will power being added to Mike's when a consciousness check is done, it's subtracted. It also seems like the host is going to get a stress point every time they are dropped.


The plan is for Minnie to work on alternating stages of Medic and Scout. The idea is mostly for her to be inseparable with Max.

Minnie [tightbeam]: "Max, I think you should tell Crum that we would be happy to let him be the business manager, for a 5% cut. He should filter appointments through our comm, with our approval. In turn, we shall be available for backup security, as we watch the office sensors remotely."

Max: "OK, Crum. Get 5%. Call us."


Ok, Max and Minnie can do group skill for now.

Crum: "Awesome. I'll start finding you some customers."


Game Night: 2013-269

Random violence was had by all. Ok, maybe not all random. A new host was acquired for Mikey (another Mavvice) and there was some mayhem in a bar. There was interested parties luking by the lab and following the trio. A couple of Felinids were scared off, and a battle was had with a hand to hand human combatant. The Human also was driven off. The experience gained gave Max a new stage of Aggressor.


Plot Infliction 002

OK, I admit that I just edited this page so that I could try the year-day notation.


Crum mentions that the Darmac company has posted something online about you guys.

"Due to an unprovoked attack against one of our security personnel, Darmac offers a 75 credit bounty for the deaths of the following individuals:" Images of the three of you, plus some edited footage of the battle with the Human are shown. "Also, until such time as the bounty is complete, Darmac will pay 1 credit per shot landed on any person leaving their facility:" Address and image of the spot you're renting. "Darmac personnel are exempt from this bounty."


First things first: upload more complete video of the interactions with the human, showing that it attacked first. And the scan of it armed inside the facility.

Next: mathematician-scouring for more specific information about Darmac.

Finally: contemplate a new host for Mikey, so that he can earn arbitrary amounts of money from Darmac by shooting Max with a really really small weapon.


Your videos vanish shortly after they are uploaded. If Minnie were merely 1st stage mathimatician and hypernormal intelligence, she probably wouldn't have pulled it off, but having the memories of Titus gives a certain gut instinct. She's able to trace the deletion to Barakat Corporation. They're a mathematician for hire outfit. Based on what they offer, there's a high probability Darmac has a standing contract with them to eliminate any 'bad press' on the public networks.

Darmac is a technician house, owned by a Zygroten of the same name. He's a 4th stage technician and has a number of green technicians working under him. His head of security is a Vega-Lizard... a found video of him in combat indicates he was probably 4th stage two months ago. Seems to be a shock-shooter. Unknown number of other security personnel, but Minnie puts the range between 5 and 8. It's likely the Human was one of them, but probably not the Felinids. The Felinids were probably temporary goon hires with a task of following you.

Minnie estimates there's only a 15% chance Darmac has actual scientists on staff. If they are responsible for the bombing, they would have had to contract out a physicist. As they are already contracting out mathematicians, this seems likely.

Minnie has a feeling there's something else... Darmac seems to have an unusual interest in both your predecessor technicians (the ones that went boom) and you guys.

Anything specific you want to look for? You could probably find more information about the Darmac personnel by scouring random video feeds of outside the facility and seeing who comes and goes. Would take a bit of time though.

Oh, and you have a customer. There's a large Crocaloid outside. Crum says he wants his strength bumped up - a scan of him indicates it's possible - he would go from 5 to 6. He's armed - bunch of blaster pistols.


That reminds me. Minnie has Max contact Crum to make sure he's cognizant of the bounty. While we're at it, might as well adjust the web presence to indicate that we are Out Of Business. In the face of superior resources, it is better to adopt asymmetric tactics.

Max likewise hails the Crocaloid via the building: "So sorry. We out of business now. Bounty cancelled." Minnie tries to use the building sensors to get a whiff of any increased comm activity from him.


Crum: "Got it... does that explain those Vimren out there?" Looking at the scanners you see a number of Vimren hiding poorly nearby.

The Crocaloid looks confused/annoyed for a moment, then wanders off. You didn't detect any increased comm activity.


Game Night: 2013-276

Fought some Vimren (claimed 1), and then fought some Crocaloids. Made nice with the Crocaloids as they fled and turned them into paying customers. Managed to eventually leave the lab in a battle taxi, while more would-be bounty hunters were scared off by a goody-goody monster. They ended up at a bar and fought a trio of Humans and an opportunistic Groten. Two of the Human's were claimed.

Plot Infliction 003

Still in the bar?


No, we leave pretty much immediately. Minnie queries from cached data for quiet spots to perform the Mikectomy.

Max: "Mikey goes in rifle-guy?"

Minnie: "No, I think we should try to implant Mikey into the pistol-guy. That way we can try to collect the bounty too, as an extra 'fuck you' to Darmac."

Max furrows his brow from the effort of thinking. "No need 'nother pistol-guy - I'm pistol guy."

Minnie: "Whatever, he'll be dead shortly anyway. And in order to collect the bounty, I suspect that Darmac will want first-person sensor data of the kill - which Mikey won't have. But if we Mikenize the pistol guy, he might be able to convince the rifle guy to get and share the bounty."

Max has a flat expression. "Not sounding very 'honourable neutral'."

Minnie's fur bristles. "Yeah, well, you're not sounding very 'low intelligence' either. Besides, all we would be doing is putting our comrade in a new, fairly-won body. We'd leave the parasitic infiltration stuff up to Mikey, who is evil."

Max rumbles with displeasure.

Minnie stares at Max for a moment. "FINE. No dishonourable misrepresentations as part of our group plan. We'll try the rifle-guy first."

Max gives a satisfied snort.


Wouldn't you all have the same alignment, as you're all different versions of the same person? Hmmmm...

Easy to find a quiet spot... There's a room-by-the-hour hotel nearby. It's a dive, but they value their customer's privacy.

  • Rifle Human: 100 kg, XP: 22, Stam 25, Str 3, Spe 6, Agi 3, HH 1, Int 6, WP 5, Aw 8, Duck 2, Hit 5, Damage 5. 2nd stage aggressor.
  • Pistol Human: 100 kg, XP: 25, Stam 30, Str 4, Spe 4, Agi 3, HH 1, Int 6, WP 6, Aw 11, Duck 4, Hit 3, Damage 3. 1-aggressor and 1-defender.

Hmmm... they both rolled smart. Go figure.


I figure that alignment nature is somewhat fluid. And while I envision this crew as essentially honourable-neutral, I cannot realistically imagine a parasitic being being anything but essentially evil. Or, if not evil, then non-sentient - much less of genius intelligence.

Max settles into a guard configuration while Minnie proceeds with the Mikectomy on the Rifle Human.


I'm going to assume success on the possession, unless there's some plot important aspect to the victim, or there's a significant will power difference. Much simpler that way. Mikey is now in control of a Human. It feels kind of icky.  :)

The lawful aspect is kind of, well, inconvenient... considering that the potential for Mikey infiltrating anywhere is quite high. Might involve a lot of lying.


The three of us will slink forth.

Max: "Hungry. Eat other human?"

Mikey: "Go for it, big guy."

Minnie: "You don't want to save the host for a spare? We could hire a battle-taxi to drop us off so we could store him now that he's all safely tampered into coma."

Max: "Collecting bodies... kinda creepy."

Minnie: "Oh - as opposed to eating people?"

Mikey: "She's got you there big fella."

Max glowers, bites off the comatose human's head, and crunches it loudly.

Minnie: "Well, I guess we don't have to worry about hiding the bodies."

While nature might be fluid, it seems like certain transitions are more possible than others. To go from lawful honourable to dishonourable just takes a few lies. To go the other way takes a lot more. And while we're not talking Dal Fona levels of commitment to pure honour, it's fun to keep the characters struggling with meta-moral concepts.


Mmmmmmm.... crunchy brains. What are you going to do with the Mavvice body?


OM NOM NOM NOM
Leave no evidence of Mikey's ex-hosts.


Game Night: 2013-283

See Max. See Max use paired heavy blasters.

BOOM BOOM BOOM go the paired heavy blasters.

See Mikey. See Mikey use a blaster rifle.

ZAP ZAP ZAP goes the blaster rifle.

See Minnie. See Minnie quiver.

Quiver quiver quiver goes Minnie.

Oh! See Minnie gain a stage of Scout! Scout, Minnie, Scout!


Reconnaissance was done to determine the strength of the Darmac Security. Here's the info found so far:

  • Head of security: Vega-Lizard - Shock Shooter.
  • 2nd in command: Trolian Trop.
  • Groten receptionist/bouncer in Darmac
  • Croc Minor - sneaky dude encountered outside of Darmac

Goons:

  • Human - Sword
  • Insectizoid - Blast Rifle 2D+4
  • Equidon - 2 swords
  • Sandarak - 2 429's
  • Orbodun - Blast Rifle 2D+4
  • Orbodun - Blast Rifle 2D+4

Best guess is that the goons are all 2nd to 3rd stage. The others are unknown.

Other than reconnaissance, a serious fight with a 4th stage guy in a random bar earned the trio some experience.

Plot Infliction 004

With her shiny new base locate of 15 (plus a couple dice), Minnie does some careful looking around.


Game Night: 2013-297

  • First wave: a pair of human bounty hunters, with a Takolee medic.

They approached as M³ left the bar, and quickly established their intent. Fighting was pitched, but the effectiveness of Max's paired heavy blasters coupled with some lucky vitals placements made for a one-sided end. M³ hid to heal up.

  • Second wave: a septet of identical Trop goons.

The dual-pistoled stalk-eyed horde discovered M³ while they were still using their medical gear. Minnie slapped patches to finish readying the combatants, and the fracas ensued. Despite suffering heavy casualties, the Trops were relentless. They soon gunned down Mikey, and Max had to retreat with Minnie slapping the Groten frantically. Eventually Max managed to blast away the rest of the Trops, and afterwards stomped on their heads. After leaving the battleground with Mikey's corpse, they hid and extracted Mikey's essence and Max disposed of the evidence.

  • Backwash from second wave: Max and Minnie convince a human to be Mikey's Next Host.

A violent discussion and a discreet visit to a back alley later, and Mikey is back in the saddle again.

Tired of dives, M³ ventured into a Spunky Bucket™ for some libations and intrigue. Which was promptly fulfilled by chugging an Anurian Ale™ and being clubbed senseless by an accommodating fellow patron.

Plot Infliction 005

More drinking ensues. Minnie is designated as the lookout.


Drink drink drink... ping. I'm going to assume that Minnie's keeping an eye on your bounty. The 1 credit for shooting random people coming out of your place has been taken down. Bounty is still there though. Also, there's a notice on the Darmac web site that they are currently closed to tend to some 'personal matters'. Looks like they cancelled a bunch of appointments.

There's some message board activity linked to your bounty. Someone shared a video about your fight with Max's last pre-host - the Human you captured in the last bar. People are trying to speculate why you took him prisoner instead of just killing him. Currently they think the most likely theories are biological experimentation and slave trade. Though the 'late night snack' theory is a close third.


Game Night: 2013-318

Fleeing the Spunky Bucket™, the three were intercepted by Darmac security forces. They managed to escape the batch of professional goons, but lost Mikey's host in the battle. Minnie and Max fled, but were followed relentlessly, and decided to go to a tough bar to make the last stand memorable. This time, the professional goons held back, and the Darmac second in command of security came in and started mopping the proverbial floor with Max.

Max eventually surrendered to his fate and attempted more drinking before he died. The Darmac dude - a Trollian who was really trying to enjoy the fight, started asking questions. Seems he wasn't informed why any of this was going on and wanted to figure it out. Eventually deciding that putting down a green dude wasn't his style, he told Max and Minnie to play dead and get as far away from Darmac as possible.

Plot Infliction 006

Ok, so Max, Minnie, and Mikey (without a host) get on some public transit and leave town. The place you end up looks quite a bit similar to where you were at, except there seems to be quite a few more Protector robots, both the micro-scale ones you saw previously, and personnel scale ones. Soon after arriving, a little green Cora micro-scale robot approaches.

"Hi! Got chased away by that Darmac guy, huh? Are you going to set up shop again, or just lay low for a while?"


Max [tightbeam to micro-Cora]: "Ssshhhh. We died."

Minnie [battlewiki]: "The apparent ease that the Protector nodes know of our status suggests that any respite from Darmac we might have been hoping for is probably going to be extremely brief."

Max: "You think Coras will tell on us?"

Minnie: "I don't know. But I think it is fair to assume that whatever Protector-class entity is directing Darmac has near-Cora-class intelligence gathering capabilities."

Max: "Darmac is going to get us?"

Minnie: "Maybe. Darmac seemed to be kept intentionally in the dark by their puppet masters, and they are close to guessing motivations for hunting us down. Also, it is possible that Darmac might have gotten themselves in trouble by letting us go. So there is a chance that we'll be having some unknown set of combatants being sent at us next."

Max: "Not making me feel better."

Minnie: "Nope."


Game Night: 2013-324

  • Max fought a Clarice robot as a combat effectiveness test.
  • Max and Minnie got a portable medical cabinet and convinced a couple of Crocaloids to be customers. Max was inserted into one of them and afterward pretended nothing was amiss and was still the other Crocaloids buddy.
  • An immense Groten named Bertha attempted to flail Max for not paying her protection money. The guys ended up healing her and bumping up a stat.
  • A Cora robot was hovering around all the time.

Plot Infliction 007

Cora tight-beams you. "Hey. That Trollian you fought wants to send you a message. All it says is: 'I've been fired. Watch your back.' I guess Darmac didn't believe the whole 'you're dead' ruse. Personally I hope you stay alive. I'm not sure who the Protector is that's pulling Darmac's strings, but I think it's a douchebag."


1) I think we already had the Trolian's comm - did god forget, or is it a creepy, creepy allusion to the degree of intrusion into our existence of Cora?

2) Cora is the name of our cat. I can't stop imagining the super-intelligent distributed entity licking its butt.

3) I assume you watched "True Facts About The Sea Pig".

Max texts a thank-you to the Trolian, and offers our gratitude.

Minnie [battlewiki]: "Any ideas about what we can do to better prepare for the inevitable Darmac or Darmac-like hit squad?"

Mikey: "Luckily, I already have a new friend already picked out for when you two die the inevitable, horrible deaths you are clearly destined to suffer soon."

Max: "Not helpful."


1) Bit of both.

2) Meow

3) Yup.

Cora: "Actually, Darmac has been acting strangely. He really has closed up shop, and I don't think it's just for you guys. At the moment my mathematician nodes don't have enough information to go on. I was hoping that the conflict between you and him would reveal something, but it hasn't. Pity."


Max [to Cora]: "Can we help?"

Mikey [battlewiki]: "Wait. What? Exposure to these Cora nodes is all badness, as it gives her mathematician nodes fodder to figure out about moi."

Max: "Just trying to be helpful."

Minnie: "Actually, the big guy is probably onto a good idea. The exposure risk is essentially meaningless, since we have one of Cora's observation nodes glued to our butts full-time anyway. But actually participating with Cora's interests might mean we can leverage some kind of barter - perhaps in the form of better warning of what might be coming at us."

Max: "Also, Mikey is a big chicken."

Minnie: "Yes, well, I had noticed his marked contrast between his concern for our immediate future and the one convoluted risk to his existence."

Mikey: "Hey. I was teasing about the immediacy of your inevitable horrible deaths. I would truly be quite upset if you were to die any time soon."

Minnie: "...because without us you're essentially stuck in one host."

Mikey: "Yeah, OK - there's that. But also, I feel a strong connection to both of you."

Minnie: "You mean besides the part where we're forks of the same being?"

Max: "We three are part of Something Else."

Minnie: "Did you just capitalize an abstract concept? Is your low intelligence stat making you cling to religious concepts to explain the universe so that it seems consistent with your own arbitrary internal preferences?"

Max shrugs. "I sense that you, me, Mikey are all part of one entity."

Minnie ponders, more disturbed at Max seeming to agree with Mikey against her than anything else.

Mikey: "Hmmm. If we're all part of one gestalt entity, it's got to be pretty freaky to have us as facets."

Max nods in profound agreement. Minnie just winces harder.



Mikey [tightbeam to Dionysus]: "Do you have any urge to kill these two and take their stuff?"

Minnie [battlewiki]: "Funny. Like I don't have your comms bugged."

Mikey: "Just checking."

How does Bertha seem once she regains consciousness?


Do you have Bertha immobilized when she regains consciousness?

Dionysios: "Nah, probably couldn't use it anyway. The scientist probably has everything linked to her biometrics."

Cora: "Hmmmm... Well, you could capture Darmac and interrogate him. Or, you seem to be good at attracting goons, you could convince someone to try and get a job there."

Clarice node that just flew in: "Hey, are you guys talking about that Darmac guy? He's gone to ground. Found a high security apartment in a lower level and is holed up there with his Vega-Lizard lapdog. Looks like everyone else was fired. Have you figured out who his boss is?"

Cora: "Not yet, not enough data to go on. He seemed to have an unusual interest in these guys and the techies before them. Hold on... querying mathematician nodes..."

-- A moment or three later --

Cora: "Ok, the lease to their workshop was originated by a Protector named Titus, though he tried to make it non-obvious."

Clarice: "Never heard of him."

Cora: "Yeah, not one of the big ones. Got his ass kicked a few centuries ago by another Protector. Been keeping a low profile since then."

Clarice: "Any enemies?"

Cora: "Well, obviously the one that kicked his ass - but he ran off about 80 years ago. A Protector named Steerpike. Confederation and quite a few Protectors want him dead. Low probability it's him - he wouldn't bother with a technician shop."

Clarice: "Anyone else?"

Cora to you: "Ok, so Titus hired you to come here and work at his shop. Did he give you any reasons aside from the obvious 'make money for me' one? Did he ever mention anyone he was hiding from?"

Clarice: "Maybe we should care less about who Darmac is working for, and more about why he's gone all 'hide in a hole'? Can't be just because of these two."

-- Insert dramatic pause --


Yes, Bertha is completely immobilized. Because 1-tonne Groten.

Max [to Cora]: "We not really understand what going on."

-- Insert bated breath --


Bertha: Stupid. Unfocused. Rage.

Cora: "Oh, I'll figure it out eventually. I'm the brains of the operation."

Clarice: "Yeah... brains... Anyway, I'll send someone to talk to Darmac and see what's up. If you guys want to be useful, find one of their goons and beat some information out them."


Aaaaallllrightythen - no releasing Bertha just yet. Let's make sure her comms are disabled so that she doesn't annoy too many people, and then Minnie is going to copy Bertha on a query for going rate of Colloidling Chow™. To see if it shocks some reasonability into her.

Max's eyes go wide, and he takes a deep breath.

Minnie: "What's up, big guy?" She does a locate.

Max: "Bad feeling."

Minnie: "Like what? Did you get a direction?" More locating.

Max: "No, not like that. More general."

Minnie frowns. "If you say that it's a great disturbance in The Force - as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced - I'm going to stab you in the eye."

Max - hesitantly: "Well, kinda. I feel like the entity we are but facets of had an idea for a game. A terrible, terrible idea."

Minnie looks worried - probably about Max's sanity. Mikey updates Max and Minnie's user: pages to include the category: "FREAKS".


The Cora and Clarice nodes suddenly stop buzzing about and become very, very still, as if all of their attention is elsewhere. A moment later massive jamming starts (peach marmalade, you think), and they start moving again. They move to be within line of site to a communication node nearby.


Well, that's probably not a good sign.

How difficult would it be to tamper in a remote control to make Bertha blind/deaf/still/unconscious as necessary? It is looking like our "helpful" time is nearly up, and we need to get to ground.

Max to Dionysus + Mikey: "Shit be going down. Shall we form up?"


You'd have to create and install some control nodes within Bertha's brain. Probably take an hour to do... her native nanoscopic robots will attack it, so it will have to be replaced periodically.

Dionysus shrugs: "Just some moron jamming. Probably nothing. But we'll stick around just in case."


I supect that we do not have an hour. Max tells Bertha, "Will drop off your flail at Spunky Bucket."

Minnie tampers Bertha to be temporarily blind and deaf, we move out to the 10-15 meter range and Minnie hides them until she's content that it's >20. "You guys might want to hid too; she's pretty angry." Lastly, she uses the force beam to tamper Bertha non-blind, non-deaf, and non-immobilized.

Mikey is going to hide separately, with a shrug to Dionysus.


Dionysus hides nearby as well. When Bertha wakes up she gets up, lets out a giant howl of rage, looks around, and then wanders back into the bar.

A ways in the distance, you hear a large explosion. The steady trickle of people going in and out of the bar seems to have gone one-way - nobody is leaving. The bouncer has got his head looking inside as well.


Interesting.

Mikey hails the bouncer. "What's up?"


The bouncer looks annoyed at you. Then patches you into the feed that he's watching.

Cue Epic Space Battle Music!

In the Planet YAT system, a fierce firefight is raging. There are a lot of fighters and corrivals up there, but what really attracts your attention are the Protector's themselves. The main Clarice Protector is a smoking, exploding, debris field in low orbit (Minnie quickly calculates it's a decaying orbit). The main Cora Protector looks like it's attempting to flee the system, but is being chased by another smaller Protector. The smaller protector is about strike class cruiser sized - cylinder shaped. It appears to have two fold space generators active on it. The one in front is somehow projected forward and it's being used as a battering ram to slice the Cora/Clarice ships to ribbons. The rear facing fold space is spewing a steady stream of fighters and other ships in it's wake.

The new Protector ducks really well, and many of the hits that do land appear to be bouncing off it's hull. There's some very high-tech armour employed.

Planet YAT itself seems to be surrounded by similar craft to the ones coming from the new Protector. They are mopping up the remains of the Cora/Clarice fleet and shoot down anything attempting to flee the planet.

You guys obviously have all of Titus's memories. Based on what you see of the enemy Protector's combat style, Minnie estimates an 80% chance the new Protector is Steerpike, the Protector that kicked Titus's ass so many years ago.


Well, that's foreboding.

I thought that Steerpike merely let Cora and Clarice starve to death locked in a dungeon... Which makes Titus' eventual victory over Steerpike seem less assured in this case.


Mwaaa haa haaaa...

Anywho. Cora is soon ripped to shreds and Steerpike returns to YAT orbit. Jamming is still in full force, but he sends a message to the local network that is transmitted to everyone who is connected.

"Greetings to all my new minions. As you may have noticed, there has been a change in government. Cora and Clarice have been found in violation of various laws and I have arrived to take over Planet YAT. The cleansing of Cora and Clarice from the system proceeds at a good pace, but I require your help in purging them from the planet itself. I estimate that there are approximately 800 million Protector nodes requiring destruction. As they are no doubt planning sabotage of the various planetary systems keeping you all alive, I suggest you all get started on their destruction."

"Also, it is estimated that there are approximately 14 billion biological entities on Planet YAT. Unfortunately, this is way too many for my purposes. We will need to purge at least 80% of you. Now, there are two ways we can go about this. One is the Darwinian elimination of the weak among you - fight amongst yourselves until the most capable are left. I will then welcome the survivors with open arms into my army. The second way is somewhat more unpleasant. I would do this to the entire planet..."

Various sensor feeds watching Steerpike see him dip down into the atmosphere, point at the surface and open a fold space to above a star somewhere for just an instant. It's not enough to cause much damage to the planet itself, but there's a couple hundred square km of the surface that is coooooooked. It was in a quite densely populated part of the planet.

"Revising previous estimate to 13.85 billion biological entities on Planet YAT. I would prefer not to destroy you all, so I suggest you get busy reducing your numbers on your own terms. I will wait at most a month before making my decision. Enjoy your violence."


Dionysus: "Now there's an interesting psychological question... I wonder what most everyone's going to do. I'm going to guess a lot of stubborn refusal, mixed with a lot of opportunistic killing. Meanwhile, we're all distracted from countering whatever that asshole is doing. Ah well, didn't think I was going to live long anyway."


Just to make sure: everybody is healed up to full, right?

Set paranoia to 11.


Game Night: 2013-238

Blood in the streets...

Plot Infliction 008

You get the feeling you're being followed... probably cause there's a scary cloaked robot following you.


Now that Minnie can function as a proper turret, complete with additional die, she makes a game of noticing signs of the cloaked robot. While she's on the lookout for threats and opportunities, of course.

Mikey [tightbeam to Dionysus]: "How are we going to get you some move boots, so that you can participate in your most effective mode?"


Dionysus: "Move boots.... probably need to find a technician." He looks thoughtful for a moment. "So, are you going to tell me what your connection is with these guys?"

Cora Stealth Node: "So, I have a proposition for you. My plan is to get as many of my high skill nodes off world as soon as possible. The enemy Protector has disabled all of my orbiting fold spaces, and it seems my ground base ones have been taken out as well. However, my main physicist node was on planet when the attack happened and I know where she is. If we can reach her and get supplies to her, she could build a small fold space generator for us. Once we get off world, I'm going to need a place to rebuild my ship scale body. I'm hoping we can get to your main nodes and you'd give us sanctuary, in exchange for my scientific expertise, and/or a sizable sum of money."

I figured out bonuses for this Cora node... the difference between a 2nd stage scout and a 5th stage scout is epic. Minnie spots nothing. It's kind of unnerving.


Minnie runs a quick review through her photographic memory to spot what Dionysus might have noticed.

There is probably not much point in arguing obfuscation with the Cora node, however.
Max [to Cora]: "We help gather stuff. Get off death trap."


Minnie notices that the three of you fight similarly. Even with different skills, you all have the same feel about your ducking, attacking, etc. It would probably be noticeable with any group of nodes of the same protector. Dionysus probably interpreted that as you all having worked together before.

Cora: "Ok, I need to go fetch my physicist self. Head to this location and try to secure it." She sends you coordinates to what looks like an office building. The coordinates specifically point to a room in sub-level 4. One problem - it's 280 km away and there isn't a lot of public transit at the moment.


Mikey [to Dionysus]: "I would rather not; it's kind of embarrassing. Does it matter? I think they might be able to get us off this doomed rock."

Which brings us to the dilemma of needing to find a hopper capable of hauling a Groten. What proportion of vehicles are sentient on this planet?


Dionysus shrugs.

97.485832%


Well, we consult whatever map database we might have and looks for parking garages exceeding 100 vehicle capacity. Then we start trolling for the 2.514168%. We try to be mindful of keeping to routes with plenty of cover, and to avoid getting cornered.


Game Night: 2013-346

It is somewhat problematic travelling hundreds of kilometers in a post-neo-apocalyptic dystopia. Slowed even further by finding it necessary to punch through structural walls.

Fin

A couple more nights of random violence, but got kind of boring plot-wise. Moving on to a new game...