Saturday, March 11, 2017

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - She's Got Legs - Session Sixteen

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, Ainur of the Interface and Virtual Apex Predator who lives on The Bleeding Edge
  • Sarah Gow, a Napoleonic Werepanther from an Urbanized Tribe who's a Practiced Shapeshifter
Government Vagueries
Wasps Among Butterflies Campaign Index

After some discussion, Sarah, Sophia and Aria convince Agent Yamauchi to take them to a rarely used Psyche safehouse in the area with a basic circle set-up. Aria intends to use the facilities there to help her treat Sophia's lost arm. Sarah opts to remain behind to watch the site. 

The young succubus hasn't done much to accelerate metabolism before, at least not with an eye towards healing. Once there, Sophia observes the simple circle with her minimal psychic training and starts trying to upgrade it.

Sophia's arm is still not quite bleeding, the blood seems almost to realize that there's no arm there and turns back around to go back into the body. This is a part of her nature as a luminous being, specifically an Ainur and former Visionary. While a life-force injury might cause her to slowly die, a physical injury will not worsen and will eventually heal completely.

"Is it all aright for her to be cutting into the floor like that?" Yamauchi asks.

"Oh, she's an expert," Aria says. "I'd trust her to upgrade my PC."

"But she has only one arm and this isn't a PC," the agent protests.

"Hey, our whole purpose here is to handle the magic mumbo-jumbo stuff so leave that to us, okay?" 

Sophia does manage to upgrade the circle a little bit and Aria combines her growing facility with illusions, which she can now make tangible, to create a sort of illusory prosthetic while she accelerates the healing of Sophia's injuries. In doing so, Sophia's life-force latches on to the framework of the illusory arm and starts to fill in before healing and rebuilding the arm. As she does so, her body thins out, muscle seeming to atrophy as it appears that she has gone weeks without food in order to replace the lost tissue.

The young succubus biokinetic and illusionist becomes ecstatic over this. The little bit she knew told her that that should have been impossible. While she was aware of people who could regenerate limbs and people who could induce such regeneration in others, she was not trained in such things and the little bit she knows doesn't explain any of the procedure of how to actually do it. But now it seems that she has stumbled on exactly how to heal limbs and walks away gloriously happy and walking away from the situation convinced she can replace lost limbs and unaware that she just sped up what Sophia's body would have done naturally.

Nobody bothers to correct her and Sophia's "upgraded" circle bursts into yellow and green flames for a moment leaving the room a charred mess.

"Oh, well, they'll replace it," Aria says.

Back at the site, Sarah is watching as a SIA hazard containment team is quietly addressing the abandoned lab in guise of a clean up company going into an abandoned building to prep it for deconstruction. She notes somebody in the crowd trying to take pictures and gets taken by an urge to be the official person pushing someone around for once.

Using her shapeshifting abilities, she conceals her Brazilian heritage and steps up to start interrogating the person. The man reacts a little bit in surprise but Sarah doesn't seem to be all that frightening. She also manages to blow the small cover the hazard team has by suggesting that she is a Japanese official and that the man would be in a lot of trouble if he doesn't hand over the camera. 

As it becomes apparent that the man is a reporter, she starts to realize her mistakes in assuming he was an Agent of Mother (not to be confused with Agents of SHIELD). Fumbling about quickly, she tries to find a way to fix the fact that she just blew there was a government group doing hazmat clean up in the middle of Sendai. Eventually she hits upon the idea of convincing the man that she's another reporter trying to send him on a wild goose chase. This finally works and the reporter starts to leave, disgusted that he was almost set on a course to get his paper sued for libel.

Sarah starts to return to her perch and at the last minute catches sight of a man with a rocket launcher atop a building. She manages to shout a warning down to the government agents. Her warning comes quickly enough that one of the men outside gets into the "cleaning company" trick and manages to drive it in front of the building. The rocket destroys the truck and its equipment and the heroic driver is cast out bodily during the crash. The building, however, goes without damage.

Casting the injured man a salute, Sarah sets out to chase down the assassin. She uses her shapeshifting to create a body with longer legs for better running and takes off in pursuit of the assassin who was parkouring across the roof-tops and fire-escapes above her. She combats his parkour proficiency with her tactical planning and great speed. She almost loses track of him a couple of times, but her own understanding of paths on the ground and sprinter's form help close the distance with the man.

In a moment of desperation, the man tosses a grenade out at a crowd but Sarah manages to catch the grenade and toss it back up, causing it to explode within a building under construction and empty of people thus cutting off the man's planned direction. Though the man's skill does let him get the edge on her again. 

For a moment it looks to both of them as if the assassin has got away when Sarah takes a wrong turn that luckily sends her right into the place where the assassin had planned to get out of sight. The assassin sees her as he hits the ground and tries to make an attempt to get back to the high ground to keep his parkour advantage. This is countered when Sarah takes one of her batons and whacks it into the fire-escape which the man was trying to use to catch up. The reverbating vibrations sends him dropping to the ground.

The assassin however manages to land on his feet and takes off running. Irritated, Sarah takes off as well, shifting angrily into panther form as she pounces upon him.

Elsewhere, Sophia and Aria have come to a SIA safehouse with a full clinic. The doctors are flabbergasted at her advanced state of starvation and Sophia is suffering from hallucinations and fatigue in relation to the rapid healing. Yamauchi comes into the room telling Aria to check the TV where there are reports about a terrorist attack downtown. Contact with the hazmat team confirms that it is their site but the fungus is contained and not at risk of getting out. Sarah is reported to be in pursuit.

Sophia opts to try to digitally find where Sarah is though her physical condition makes things difficult for her while Yamauchi drives Aria to find Sarah. 

"Hey, Aria, the pink birds are giving me good advice."

The instructions however aren't completely relayed clearly from Aria to Yamauchi and the two are slightly delayed until Sophia starts playing "Red Light Green Light" with traffic to channel them to the proper site.

Sarah meanwhile has pounced and pinned the man to the ground. His initial attempts to struggle are interrupted when she growls at him to just lie still. He is properly terrified of the sort-of talking big cat as Aria jumps out of the screeching car and plops over to slap some cuffs around the assassin's hands.Yamauchi asks where Aria got some handcuffs and Aria notes she doesn't have any and asks to borrow the agents. She uses the real handcuffs to then and allows the phantom hand cuffs to vanish.

"I'd like to have some clothes eventually," Sarah notes after slipping into the open car door. However, this comes out as "Mwror mow rrroar mrarrr mow" and a couple of teenaged onlookers of questionable judgment decide to start using their smartphones to film because "aww, the big kitty is trying to talk."

With the assassin transferred to SIA custody, the attention is turned to the servers they captured from the M5:9 facility. The server is both damaged and encrypted. Sophia decides to reach out to her dark net contacts for advice but nobody seems to know anything about this encryption (either that or they're put off by her currently adjusted mental state). She then decides to set up a connection to her home facility and goes about overclocking the SIA computers while Yamauchi looks on nervously. However, computers are very much more in Sophia's court and she is able to get a strong connection to her home computer and its AIs. 

Then comes the matter of tackling the server. Repairing the damage is relatively easy, but the encryption starts out as a real problem requiring her to put forth a heavy effort. Still, she manages to make it look easy to everybody else. There is something about the encryption that strikes her as a bit odd for a Visionary. This encryption is still insanely advanced but it' least in relation to being written by a Visionary. 

The information confirms that she has been studying how to create various powers using reproductive cells cloned from "the original body's genetic codes" in combination with various other genetic codes. At the start, this was a matter of curiosity, but then sometime between the first and second batches of "daughters" she gained this obsession for recreating the evolutionary jump from human to Visionary. They are aware that the first batch had a variety of environmental control powers, the second batch had a variety of sensory powers, the third had physical enhancements, the fourth had energy projection abilities and the fifth are still immature but seem to be producing gifts of a mental or intelluctual ability.

They also learn that the woman has the belief that she can only devour people who invade her mind. As such she has been tricking her daughters into contacting her mind where she can devour their minds and souls to claim their bodies as her own. It's not certain where this obsession came from but at least it keeps her from becoming as dangerous as a devourer can get. Unfortunately there is no telling how long this delusion will remain. 

Most importantly of all, the files mention a facility in Hokkaido.

The chase was initially going to be a battle between the NPC's Free Runner advantage and Sarah's Fleet of Foot advantage. This gave Sarah a moderate advantage save that it didn't solve the altitude problem she had to face. However, she did manage to get the situation into position where the assassin thought it was safe, even preferable, to come down to the ground. I thought he was going to escape for a moment, but she ended up being more clever than fast though her irritation did push her to shapeshift to take him down and pin him.

As to the healing arm, Sophia has spent points on abilities to deal with severe and extreme consequences a little better than most. I had initially thought that the stump would be healing slowly over time, but when she added the illusory hand supported by the fact that she had tangible illusions was such that it made sense that the hand would heal now. Typically, by mechanics, Aria doesn't have a high enough Manipulative to actually heal limbs, but Sophia's built in regeneration deals with that and I thought it was amusing to have her see if she made the reasoning connect because her understanding was that she shouldn't have been successful there. She failed miserably, giving her the false impression that she can heal severed limbs.

Aria's player has also realized that she has spent the most effort improving on her illusions. She hasn't yet spent the points necessary to be able to make illusions with enough strength to deal physical damage, but she can still of course use them to startle people and terrify them. The idea of creating an illusory upright (mecha) was brought up.

Note that Sophia's two upgrade challenges had different results. The first one was a subject a bit outside of her normal area of expertise, thus higher difficulties. She also rolled a failure and opted for success with cost resulting in the circle self-destructing when they were done. The second was a type of technology she was much more comfortable with: electronics. She also rolled two ties instead of a failure. As such I allowed her to improve the strength of connection to her own facility by 1.

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