Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - Government Issues - Session Fourteen

This session includes three characters:
  • Arianrhod Monica Trengove (aka Aria), the succubus and Perfect Yandere of War who believes Psyche is Doing the Right Thing and is Lost Outside the Hierarchy
  • Sophia Ecks, a Voyeuristic Visionary and Virtual Apex Predator who lives on The Bleeding Edge
  • Sarah Gow, a Napoleonic Werepanther from an Urbanized Tribe who's a Practiced Shapeshifter
A bit of a distraction

Wasps Among Butterflies Campaign Index

Following the events of the exodus, Sarah and Aria, are among the several witnesses being called to speak in front of a hearing being held in Edo, where a number of the refugees from the event are staying. At least some of the politicians and officials running the hearings are proving immediately hostile to the idea of supernatural beings living amongst the populace and especially the fact that they have a paramilitary organization. Several questions are made regarding the actions taken on the day of the crisis with some these hostile panel members trying to phrase things in such a way as to make it appear that Psyche, and the Wasps in specific, were instigating unnecessary violence.

Aria’s somewhat unusual demeanor rubs a few people the wrong way though her military and disciplined attitude makes it hard for people to find fault with her actions. She notes following procedures completely and the Psyche procedures are largely reasonable and model those held by similar organizations with law enforcement responsibilities. Sarah is quite a bit more friendly and personable though one of the panel interviewers manages to catch scent of her psychological trauma from the battle against Tlazolteotl and attempts to take advantage of it.

The situation is ultimately disrupted when Sophia arrives sporting bright green facial marks that cause the Gods and handful of Demons in the audience to gasp and take notice. Sophia dramatically apologizes for being late and announces herself as Sophia Ecks, the Ainur of the Interface. This goes over the heads of most of the panel but at least one Immortal calls out a question asking “when did humans evolve to having Immortals?” That the press catches wind of and questions start flying. When the chaos has settled down, Sophia has managed to take advantage of the momentum to end things with Psyche and supernaturals in general coming out looking good.

As they’re leaving the scene, a man in a tailored suit virtually reeking of governmental position stops to invite them into a discussion. He is familiar with Avalon and Psyche to a degree and doesn’t seem terribly surprised to learn about Gods and Demons, making an odd quip about a middle schooler in Seattle. The situation here is that in the wake of the exodus and defeating the curses on the Gods and Demons, that elements of various groups had a meeting and came to a realization: the existence of a devourer.

Devourer is a revealed to be a Demonic term for something that can go wrong with a proto-Immortal such as Visionaries. Sophia grimly notes that she is aware of what he is talking about though she holds off on just how close she came to falling into that trap. The nature of the Visionaries, and presumably the beings that immediately came before the Demons and Gods, is to connect with other Visionaries on an unconscious and even subconscious level. Even with other proto-Immortals this can lead to a bleeding away of individuality over time. The Demons created a way to stabilize the connection so that it was maintained constantly without fear of anyone losing their own identity and the Gods eventually copied it. The same process is how Sophia has become an Ainur. Unfortunately, a devourer is unstable and has taken to invading the minds of other people and devouring them, copying their minds and souls over to control the body and take its memories.

This particular devourer, Adelaide Kuroiki, seems strangely selective in who she chooses to attack. Among other things, almost all of the people whose bodies she has subsumed into her collective resemble her original body very closely. Some information they have from a Nirvana related group that operated in Edinburgh suggests that she mostly only targets artificially gestated girls that are genetically speaking her daughters. And it seems that she has, as of yet, only Sensitive powers and generally only devours people that reach out to her mind rather than those of people whose minds’ she invades.

The Wasps of Edo are one of several groups that are being tasked with isolating the location of at least one of this woman’s bodies in preparation for a plan to strike all of them simultaneously and remove her as a threat from the world. They have some minimal leads as to where she is in Japan. At this point, the car takes them to an Edo police station where a briefing room has been momentarily taken over for conversation between the Wasps, this government liaison and two definite spooks, one of whom feels like he is a psychic of some kind.

The Sendai earthquake and tsunami of 2011, now almost two years ago, generated the lead the group is following. A woman answer the description of this devourers preferred targets was seen on security cameras in a train station in Sendai accompanied by several guards. Sophia did some hacking, something she could now do without the need of a computer, and was able to track down some property that had been left fallow during the repair efforts after the earthquake.

Heading to Sendai, they found an abandoned building that had been owned by the bioweapons research group owned by this devourer: M5:9. A note was made about what sort of horrible things must have been going on given that Kuroiki felt that being upfront about bioweapons research was a suitable front. At the building itself, they are able to uncover a secret passage leading to a relatively newly installed door of airlock level criteria.

Opening the door, they were immediately treated to a foul stench that provoked Sarah and the spook accompanying them to go back and get some hazmat gear. Aria tweaks the scorpubus-illusion’s PK field to hedge out any bioactive substances, making her illusion effectively a hazmat field itself. Sophia initially considers trusting her nature as a luminous being to deal with any poisons but then decides for hazmat gear herself (deciding that probable survival after an extended and painful illness was something to be avoided).

Once inside the hidden facility they find that virtually every place an organic material had been used has been overtaken by some sort of purple fungus or mold. Spores hang in the air carrying a hint of horrible things. The government spook opts to stay behind at the entrance and keep guard as everybody agrees that calling for a team to deal with this is necessary.

Exploring through the facility they find several security devices and booby traps that were ruined and made useless by the growth of the mold. They eventually come to the server room and note that while some of the computers were obviously damaged in the earthquake, most of the damage likely came when spores from the fungus were ignited by the operating servers and causing a fire. They withdrew the surviving servers for later analysis and decrypting.

Pushing onward, they found a sealed off room with a spore covered window. Wiping some of the purple dust away using her telekinetic illusion, Aria revealed a room full of capsules each containing what appeared to be a young girl, about eight years old, with black hair and a mix of European and Asian heritage. At this point, Sarah noticed a paw mark in the dust on the floor and realized that given how quickly their footprints are being filled in behind them with the spores in the air, that whatever made that must be nearby. She turns to warn people as a low growling sound announces the presence of a hulking and grossly mutated creature that may at one time have been a dog stalking around the corner, purplish saliva drooling from its mouth.

Session 14 Play Grid
This actually happened over two sessions one of which was a little short. I feel I left it way too long to post the play report as it proved difficult to remember a lot of the specific details that happened at the hearings. We've started them on part of a hunt for one of the main villains of the setting. And this represents some of the first out and out reveal of what she is and how she operates. The players in the campaign are already fairly familiar with her and anybody whose read the original fanfic the setting is based on would probably know what is coming.

It occurs to me now that Aria's PK field/disguise might be considered an aura, in which case, it might be feasible that it is now less effective at resisting actual physical attacks even if it is repelling disease causing particles since in Divine Blood parlance one can only operate one aura at a time and they are usually fairly specialized.

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