Saturday, June 25, 2016

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - Sixth Session - Wired Traffic

This session involves three characters:

  • Sophia Ecks, Voyeuristic Visionary, Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant and Virtual Apex Predator.
  • Sarah Gow, a Napoleonic Werepanther from an Urbanized Tribe who's a Practiced Shapeshifter
  • Katherine "Katie" Lally, a Psyche Vampyr with a Sensitive Side who is a Former Police Officer exhibiting Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity and has troubles with Things with Buttons.

Caught in the Crossfire

As the session opens, Sophia is at the door to help Sarah bring Aria in where the succubus is passed off to the healers and taken, amongst many protests, to a local medical facility. On site with the Psyche facility is one Katherine Lally late of Scotland Yard. She was there to learn what her assignment was going to be since she's new to the whole supernatural thing and it is only recently that anybody explained that her life-long struggle with "medical conditions" weren't simply a coincidental collection of traits but the evidence that she herself was not human,

After Katie introduces herself to Sophia and Sarah, Sophia celebrates that the organization is giving them a newbie and Sarah cautions her not to break this one too fast. One of the staff members turns around looking confused and notes that she had thought Sophia was the newbie Intern to which Sophia gives a joyful "not anymore."

Blue-eyed vampyr in pink leather jacket.  Not sure she has a hood though.
Mr. Ryujin steps out of his office then and orders Sarah and Sophia to come talk to him about what the hell just happened. Moving with trepidation, neither they nor Mr Ryujin notices when Katie moves to follow them. Once in the privacy of his office he demands to know how a simple investigatory mission had turned into a full out assault. To the credit of Sarah and Sophia, neither of them call attention the way that Aria had exposed them by writing a sign and showing it to a security camera while she was invisible. After a quick discussion, they reveal that the fashion industry was a front for the Faerie Court which immediately causes Mr. Ryujin to become concerned.

At this point, Katie speaks and offers her own expertise causing all the attention to turn to her and prompting Mr. Ryujin to ask who she is. Sophia and Sarah introduce her as the new recruit that they had been assigned and Katie confirms that. Ryujin notes that he hadn't heard anything about a new intern but that he'll look into it later. Though when Katie reveals her 9mm gun, he gets more than a little concern and tells her to make sure to keep that thing undercover most of the time given Japan's intense gun laws. Then he sets the team to do their work.

Sophia heads to the Community sites on the internet and the local offices' archives in order to look for information on the Faerie Court. She gets something more than the usual common knowledge that places the Faerie Court as a supernatural bogeyman, especially to the free sidhe. There have been Psyche reports of Faerie Court terrorist attacks for the entire history of the organization and some of the Families have revealed similar reports back thousands of years though the record there is spottier due to issues of sharing information with the Families. Unfortunately, before she can get any more specific information she is dragged into a debate with another member of the Community when she is accused of cheating at League of Legends and the whole thing quickly blows up into a flame war.

Meanwhile Sarah takes Katie out into the Community and through connections with her clan gets pointed to a therianthrope from another family who might know something about what's up since they doubt that the Faerie Court didn't just appear one day. They stop by for some Boston Creme donuts to get for this therianthrope, narrowly avoiding getting chocolate upon remembering that he is a therianthrope and thus canine in many ways. Sarah sort of expects this to be a bit of a headache since this particular werewolf is known to be a bit gruff and disliking visitors, but he takes to Katie almost immediately. 

He lets on that there had been some sidhe from, supposedly, the Kansai region, looking to recruit other sidhe for an independent fashion and acting agency. They didn't seem to be Faerie Court, very polite and friendly, for sidhe at least, but they weren't interested in anybody but sidhe and some humans. With that in place, Katie suggests that one of them tries to pass themselves off as sidhe and get a flyer from these people, at which point she is made aware that the only person on their team who has anywhere close to sidhe beauty is currently in the hospital. With that done, they decide to go look for some refreshment and Sarah takes Katie by the Mister Donut, noting that it is open again though the building hit by the claymore is still in a demolished state.

Back at the facility, Sophia has a momentary brainstorm to try a new program she thinks she's come up with known as Survey Says. It's a probability analysis program that weeds through massive amounts of data to look for patterns based on requested information. Unfortunately, she fails to note some of its flaws, including the fact that it will try to parse all possible data connected to it. When connected to the internet, this means that the program starts to rake in huge amounts of data including viruses that can lead to fatal collapse of a computer system. 

Fortunately, Sophia manages to notice this happening, with some help from her Eye of Ar program,  shuts down Survey Says before any permanent damage is done to her facility. Unfortunately it still leaves her best computer out of commission for at least the next day. After the fact she realizes that she drew that program from the Visionary collective as she finds in its code a bit of code-notes reading out "don't use while connected to the internet". That said, the Visionary who created the program seems to be a so-so programmer but is absolutely brilliant at predictive probabilities. 

Sophia had been trying to analyze patterns to figure out if she could idea their technopathic enemy, and before Survey Says started going Virtual Kudzu on her, she did manage to find enough data to realize that there were possible technopathic incidents connected to the assassinations performed by the hitman that they had killed previously.

Back at the Mister Donut, Katie feels a bit of an odd tingle and takes a moment to focus her senses to look at the life-force around the area. She finds herself in the predictable wash of green Chi from the vast number of humans in the city around them with her own grey-green aura and Sarah's orange one hanging about the wash of mass residual Chi. Nothing seems terribly out of place from what she's been told is normal, except that the ruined building doesn't seem to have nearly as much environmental chi as the rest of the area. She notes that the "green isn't as green over there" prompting Sarah to consider that she might be talking about Chi but that would be odd since the ability to see Life-Force is a very rare ability. Putting it aside, they go in to get a donut and a vanilla milkshake with chocolate sprinkles for Katie who can't eat solid food due to her nature.

No shot of frangelico was ordered.

After finishing the snack for the most part, though Katie still was working on her large milkshake, the walked out into the street and the vampyr noticed some of the environmental chi around one of the cars just suddenly shred away even as Sarah notices one of the tracking cameras zooming in on her position. The werepanther makes a quick call to Sophia, who at the time is still distracted by flame wars and Survey Says, she asks if the hacker is watching them on camera. Then the car roars into life and surges forward at them.

"This car's Christine!"
Sarah narrowly dodges aside but feels her heart racing as it feels to her like the car was directing hunting her. Meanwhile, Katie gets tossed back into a brick wall, suffering some bruises but no serious injuries. Feeling some panic, Sarah dodges off to take cover behind a fire-hydrant while Katie draws her gun and starts trying to fire at the rampaging car to remove it's tires. She successfully bursts one tire, but the car is still limping along in its attack. 

Sophia meanwhile finishes with Survey Says as she hears the sound of the attack starting and she begins trying to get to the cameras and figuring out what's happening without the benefit of her main computers. Upon seeing where they are through the traffic cameras she remarks "Not the old donut place again!" She then makes use of her telepathic nature as a Visionary to push forward and seek out the mind behind the remote controlled car. She is surprised to find evidence of two separate minds at work, one seeming actually within the car itself. This is the third time this technopath has interfered with them and she's tired of it.

The car pushes itself on its burst tire, trying to slam into Sarah who is pushed across the pavement receiving some minor bumps and bruises as the hydrant takes most of the punishment but manages to avoid bursting somehow. Katie darts across the scene and jumps into the empty car, wrenching the door open with a burst of adrenaline fueled strength.

Sophia pushes to find the supporting mind while she directs one of her programs into the car itself to help out the other two. She forces a mindscape finding herself in a realm rather like a hacker's war-room. The hacker herself freaks out wondering how Sophia had gotten there before raising a bunch of automated turrets to attack Sophia who responds by taking over the cables and wires of the technopath's mindscape and sending them to wrap her up and keep the technopath unable to counter attack or defend. The automated turrets take fire but she manages to avoid the fire by visualizing the bullets passing through her body harmlessly as if she were some sort of eldritch abomination.

The car pulls itself out from the hydrant and tries to charge Sarah again, however Katie manages to pull the steering wheel to the side and cause the car to veer off into the street where a passing car unaware of the situation slams into it shaking Katie heavily but not doing any serious damage. Sarah, still feeling hunted and paranoid heads for a light pole and climbs up it.

Back in the mindscape, the technopath struggles to escape the vines and almost does so until Sophia pushes her effort further. The turrets try to attack again, but fail and then find themselves conquered and subverted to Sophia's control. They almost direct their fire to the technopath before Sophia stops them. Unfortunately, the hollowness of her existing corruption and her own Visionary nature's need to join with other minds sparks a building hunger in the Visionary as she has the enemy technopath at her complete mercy.

Katie tries to pull the emergency break to prevent the car from doing anything else and manages to keep it stalled out due to the interference from the automated help Sophia sent. However, she also tries to fasten her seatbelt and doesn't quite manage it. The automated seatbelt pulls back in an effort to protect its passenger and instead manages to start choking the vampyr. Sarah meanwhile jumps from one light pole to another, nearly missing one jump before moving on to the top of the ruined building to get out of being in danger from the car. In order to escape the choking seatbelt, Katie tries to use her gun but the awkwardness of the shot makes it problematic and while she manages to destroy the seatbelt and get herself free, the bullet passes on and strikes one of the bystanders in the street.

Within the mindscape, Sophia starts to drive the wires under the skin of the hacker's visualized self and suddenly begins feeling an echo of the woman's pain, fear and rage echoing back at her. In the sudden realization that she's started to basically eat another person's mind, Sophia reflexively backs off as the second entity leaves the car and pulls the technopath away though Sophia can still feel an echo of the woman's presence and knows her name to Reina Kazuko.

The rampaging car suddenly stops with the technopath and her partner handled and at the sound of police sirens, Sarah and Katie leave the area. In her distraction, Sophia isn't able to scrub the cameras very well and a grainy, low quality image of Katie goes onto the television noting that she is someone the police are seeking for questioning.

Wired Traffic Roll20 Play Grid
 Okay, so another session with significant consequences applied. No severe consequences but Katie has acquired a Social consequence on her first outing and Sarah now has a moderate Mental Consequence that's going to take some help to get removed.
One of this session's two main events was Sophia taking the first step toward becoming a devourer and managing to back off before she did too much. However, she and Reina are now at least mildly connected for as long as they both shall live. That connection might become deeper and deeper, however, because Reina is a technopath rather than a Visionary as the merger becomes deeper it will be one-sided toward Sophia and might also drive Sophia to become more addicted to the feeling. The player wanted to start on this path but wants to avoid fully going devourer, so that is going to be a narrow line to walk.

The second major event was that a player failed an overcome roll and opted to succeed with cost and for the first time that cost was injury to a bystander. Players of one of my Fate Horror games can attest that I've used success with cost to actually kill NPCs before, but this is an action story not a horror story. Granted, I've lathered on the guilt in the newspaper snippet above because the character in question does have the Aspect of "Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity" so that will come up in addition to the fact that she is sought for questioning right now.

She managed to roll well enough on Willpower to avoid mental stress, so she hasn't suffered a consequence as such yet, but reading the newspaper will call for a new check. I do plan to make her keeping the gun something of a story point as it does play into the fact that one of her aspects is also the fact that she tends to Infuriate Superiors.

The new player is working out well so far. They're very willing to push their character to tackle things that they know are problematic for them. In this case trying to take on a car on a possessed rampage when "Things with Buttons" is their Foe Aspect. 

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