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2034-03-04 1100EST

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Event: 2034-03-04 1100EST

Scenario: The Corporate War Has Begun

Characters Locations
Sutton, Willow, Icky, Jake, Droo, Storm, Dan, Genie CAFEL
Aspects
Caused By Cause Of
Simultaneous Events
On This Day

World events continue to escalate while the heroes try to get a base of operations set up.

World Events

This day saw relatively little military action between nations, who are still trying to figure out what happened to their missiles. Much of the Middle East conflict came to a sudden stop when almost all offensive airborne military equipment vanished at local noon. Pilots appeared moments to minutes later, unharmed and on the ground. They were displaced Westward to appear on the local noon line again. This appears to be the same technology that the Tetras used to Spawn in the first place.

As word of this unilateral disarmament spread conflicts around the world paused while leaders try to figure out what to do about it. Low-tech and guerrilla actions saw a surge in effectiveness as the high tech ranged weapons disappeared.

Team Events

Hiring!

  • Suranna: Momma Is A Ground Pounder.
  • Bennie: Soulful Musician Hotshot Pilot .
  • Eddie: Cocky Sniper Who Put Family First.
  • Rodney: Extraordinary Driver With A Death Wish.
  • Selina: Grimly Unflappable Delivery Service.
  • Simon: Born a peasant, I will reshape the world.
  • Tardigrade: Awkward trader by day, menacing mastermind by night.
  • NeuraLace: Premiere neural lace implementation and research team.
  • Petrov: Adolescent Übermensch Physics Savant.

Willow's Breakdown 2034-03-04 1100EST

Willow talks about ‘a well placed gene edit that will kill anyone without regular medical attention from her directly’ as a way to keep a team especially motivated. She goes on to say, “People become afraid to leave because they are afraid the second they leave their work is implemented and owned by the team they just left. And perhaps that nasty cough might take a sudden turn for the worst.”

When the people around her stare at her with some horrified discomfort, she looks around nervously she says, "Lighten up people! It's a joke for Christ’s sake."

Icky says, “Note to self: Gene Witch thinks she is a comedian now.” It is not clear if he is trying to cut the tension or spark something. Some people just want to watch the world burn. “Alert Level Beta is locked,” but he stops short when Miranda claps sharply several times, while scanning the room intently.

A fleeting expression of frustration crosses her face. In a loving and caring tone, she shouts, ”Vernon who's a good boy you've been such a good boy you've been great at helping your master I am so proud of you!"

Icky looks torn between moving toward Willow and fleeing the room.

Willow gets the distant look of someone diving in to AR for a moment, then sighs. “Droo, this is exactly why we need you. Even with my hypersensitive nature I can't find you. I can make you even better. You can be safe, you can be effective, and you can be needed. Is that not what you want?"

Droo fades in, seated, facing Miranda. "Lady, you are smart in some scary ways, but I ain't convinced you've been paying attention. As far as what I want? HAH. No one's cared about that ever, in the experience that the current bunch of me can remember. And its an impossible question. There's more than one of me in here, Vernon makes it complicated again, and we can't agree on want, nevermind tell you. Did you miss the fact that I was the one who brought up that we needed to be a team? That I was also the one who pointed out that we were going to have to extend trust - including trust that sometimes the other members of the team are the ones who either need to know, or need to be able to do, and we're all going to have to get used to just trusting that?

"I'm here - for now - because I've been hired. Do I have any other reasons to stay? Maybe. Maybe not. Or maybe not yet - but I also don't really have anyplace else to be and... This isn't a game world?" For a moment he seemed uncertain. "I don't have corps knocking down my door to hire me - and it looks like we're starting our own.

"Maybe there's a place for me to fit. Maybe. But I'm not ready to make that decision today." He paused for a long moment, but started up just before anyone else jumped in. "Tank hired me," he said slowly. "He did it honestly, knowing what I am, knowing where I'm broken, and did it anyhow." He looked a little surprised at where his words were leading him. "That might be the most honest gesture I've seen from someone in a decade".

Willow was completely still while Droo ranted, and now looked ready to burst. He held up a hand and said, "Just hang on a sec and let me finish. I'll tell you something else that's going to matter if you want to be a team.

"No one's best at everything. I don't do medical. I don't build things. I'm not a creative problem solver for equipment and structures. I can't shoot a gun worth peanuts. I don't understand how genetic modifications work. I can't run a corporation. I've never won VRXGames, or any stuff like that. My cape can fly - god knows what else he can do - but I only do it because some other genius - I'm looking at her - modified my cape. I'm *good* at not being found. And I'll tell you what I think would have happened if you found me. You'd have been thinking 'I found him. I have some avenue into talking him into something else I want to do.' I'd have been thinking 'Well, fuck this. if she can find me that easy, others will be able to. I'm so over my head here, the one thing I'm best at .. even that isn't going to translate into real world. I need out of this group or I'm going to die,' and I'd have walked out, conversation be damned - and none of you would have ever seen me again. You want to be on a team, respect and and encouragement is part of the team. You don't ever go out of your way to show someone else that you're better at something than they are when you don't NEED to be. that's called 'selfish'. Can you make me better? I bet you could. Do you need me? Probably not - but can you use me, and maybe make stuff easier? Maybe. Tank seems to think so.Do I want you to? Yes - but not yet. Not today.Not until I understand what every fucking word on this shitlist of what was done to me means. I might have enough interests to keep me here. That's - for now - for me to know. But i'm already on the team. I just can't figure out how you missed it. And by the way - I don't care how you made him. Vernon and me.. now we are a team. Might be smart to remember that too."

Miranda finally burst. "Do you honestly think you are the only broken one here? Do you think you are the only one that has lost something? The last week has taken more from me then possibly anyone else here, but instead of burning everyone around me, I've put trust in this team. You like that puppy cloak your wearing? Well, I didn't even get a damn thank you for that. I jumped the second you were torn up to help you. I'm not sure you'd do that for me, so how is that being on a team?

"Every one here has made a request from me to improve themselves or change themselves in some way, like it's as easy as turning on a faucet. I don't think I've even heard a "please". You want to be done? OK. Then I'll be done. I can walk right now and you can build your own world, your own hidey hole, or get blown up. If you think I'm being selfish, then I hope you enjoy hiding out with your personal flying closet. Close the world off. You don't need my help for that." She paused, looking around. "Anyone else want something from me? I'll be in the plane thinking of reasons why I should help a single ungrateful person here. I'm not doing a thing for anyone here until I feel like I'm appreciated, respected..." Her voice cracked slightly. "...Or cared about".

Droo was angry. "You don't give anyone a chance to show that. You're too busy continually one-upping us all to notice when we're amazed, or stunned - or fucking terrified. As far as loss - fuck, the last three are just weird shit to me because I had *nothing to lose*. You bunch here are more than I've ever had. So put that into your context. YOU BUNCH. Lemme see, anyone else ever fought to save my life - even if their's was included? Nope. And I did say thank you for the cloak. actually, what I think I said was 'HOLY SHIT, THATS FUCKING AMAZING, how the FUCK did you do that?" but you were off on your next task to be better again an ddidn't notice. Nor the whole episode in the fucking bar, where you were OBVIOUSLY bent out of shape and how fucking hard I worked to shut people up so we could TAKE CARE of those flechettes without having you do something silly and risk your fucking life?"

In a voice reminiscent of her name, Storm started, "You arro..." but cut herself off. She stood, and leaned over the table at Miranda. In a quiet voice so intense it felt like shouting, Shorm said, "I also suffered a few losses, thanks." She turned and left without another word, but living up to her name.

Storm was barely three steps away when Willow broke down. She falls down into a heap sobbing. She stares at her hands as the tears are falling and is shuddering and saying "please just tell me what to do. I wasn't meant for this. I thought I could make the world better, I thought I could make them see...but I'm too unlovable. There isn't anything I can do to change that..."

"Oh, fuck that," Droo said, standing and pulling Willow to her feet. "There's nothing wrong with you that a few drinks can't fix for now."

Willow cringed at every word, wilting until she was slumped over in her chair again.

"Fuck this," Droo muttered. With a swift and confident motion he pulled her to her feet, ducked down, and stood with her on his shoulder in a fireman's carry. He stomped out of the room, muttering loudly to himself. "Someone find Sutton. Is he up yet? I'm not tucking this much crazy into bed once she's sloshed. He's gonna haveta come find us. 'What to I do?' Do I look like some kind genius? I hide and kill things." He was really building up steam. "I'll tell her what you do." Slightly louder, he said, "You put yourself together. And from personal experience, that can take... oh, a decade. Maybe more. but you get there. You help out people who are on a team with you. Even those you may not like so much - because that's what teams do. You trust, even when you think you might be better off not to, when it helps the team. and you don't TRICK the people around you into conversations, you just fucking ask. can you do that ? cuz its the best starting point I can think of - its where I started, 10 years ago. Busted. I'm no genius, and I'm certainly not mentally healthy, but I"m coherent, and functional, and I sitll wanna live."

Droo found his way to the makeshift canteen the Clanks set up overnight, and dropped Willow into a chair. "How the FUCK does someone as fucked up as me end up coaching ANYONE." Rummaging around the boxes behind the bar, he said, "Lady, you are a mess." She sat silently, dejected and unresponsive.

Sutton comes in from the other room, catches the last part of the exchange between Willow and Droo, and heads to the bar with them. "Let's take the edge off. Hopefully we can get through a few bottles before someone nukes us again. Do you like bourbon?"

Droo: Okay then.. here.. you're a lot stronger than me... you carry her.. besides, she seems to like you - i'm.. tolerated? maybe.. maybe not, after this. Have to see. Don't take this wrong, but.. I'm not even remotely the right person to be coaching someone out of a funk. Storm and I were going to get her sloshed and send to her to bed, but if you're in the bar, maybe we'll leave you two at a table and see if you can talk her 'round - we'll be around the corner if you need us.

"Sounds good to me, Droo." Sutton said. "Thank you." Turning to Willow, he said, "Maker's Mark, Ms Rosenberg?"

Willow seems rather oblivious for the majority of the walk (or carry). She mutters the occasional word about how she's 'failed'... "even life I create prefers someone else". After a long silence comes 'I should have helped her'. Lastly, you hear what sounds like 'I'm sorry Samantha'. After that, her attention snaps sharply back to the present, with a piercing glance around to see if anyone heard. She flushes, possibly the first time you've seen a change in colour to her pale pallor. She's appears slightly uncomfortable - although it's hard to tell if it's embarrassment, agitation or irritation. Very softly she says - "you're still here". A departure again, her voice doesn't sound dismissive... It sounds small. Like she's both very old, and very young at the same time. A touch of her previous anguish remains in her tone, as if she expected to be left alone. Or still expects to be cast away. She refuses to drink and is silent for a long time.

If she said that enroute, droo says " I dunno how to say this like real people with working emotions do, and I don't cope with life the same as anyone thinks I should.. But I am gonna say it anyhow. And you will have to come through that enormous brain in there and find a translation , okay? Of COURSE we are still here, you.. You... aaarrrggh. Team. TEAM. Before we ever got on the plane, I said it. Team. You are PART of this team. Sure, we got thrown together.. Accidentally? Or was it? SOMEONE knows who we were. But you know what - we are EFFECTIVE, and hell, while I am only trusting any of you because I must, mostly - I think I like everyone so far. Except maybe Jake and that's because 10 seconds of interaction doesn't give you much to work on. You got all twisted up over what those flechettes could do. That's not a failure. It's not the mark of a bad person - and you did something with it, so not ineffectual. And at this point, you matter to us - for whatever reasons. Could be worse, could be me. Tell me who I matter to. Now, we are gonna leave you with Sutton because he has a better idea than me of how to wrap that up in proper person to person terms." Droo curses all the time. It's the first time you hear him at a loss trying to express frustration.

Sutton leans back in the booth, trying to project the illusion of being more relaxed that he is, "It's gonna be okay. I mean, apart from nuclear annihilation and stuff. Look, you picked a specialist who rubs people the wrong way. But you say he's the top guy, and you can keep a lid on him. That's good enough for me. or it is until he crosses me, specifically. I get why people are twitched. We can't spend five minutes in a place without getting rocketed or backstabbed. The term 'on edge' doesn't describe it. Trust me, this can take the edge off." Sutton cooly reaches for his drink, but he accidentally knocks it, spilling a third of the bourbon on the table. "Oh fuck my life" he mutters and dabs up the spill with a napkin.

Willow stifles a giggle. "I'm not sure if you did that on purpose or not but either way... Thanks."

From the future, Genie says, "GodDAMN dad, since when did you get game?!" (GR note: Each person in the room independently thinks, "If Genie were here she would say..." but though the thought is a little odd it does not draw attention.

Note: continuity is not correct in terms of locations and environment, and everyone's monologues can be turned into dialogs (PLEASE).

Walking On Air

On the way to the bar, Droo beams a note to storm... "Everyone has lost. there's no monopoly on pain. It's all I've had for a decade and i"m a bit tired of it. it might be an odd first date, but, care to come help me get Willow passed-out drunk and hand her off to Sutton?"

"Listen you little psycho fu--" She bit off the angry response. "You know what? that sounds like a good idea. Although you might need to pour me into bed too." Her tone is still angry, but the anger is definitely not directed at you.

"Of course i'm pscyho. Normal is boring." A slight smile crossed his lips. "i tell myself that every day. maybe one day i'll buy it."

"On my way," Storm said. "Oh, and if Vernon wants to give me another ride, I wouldn't object. better if I could see though."

Droo found himself struggling with a confused flood of excited emotions at her words. He couldn't tell if they were from him, from Vernon, or if there was really a difference. "Uh," he paused, searching for words. "Maybe not while we're drinking," Droo said "No one's puked on Vernon yet. Let's not have you christen him?" Storm rounded the corner, so he continued out loud. "As pissed off as i am, i don't wanna leave disastergirl here at the moment. Enough bad things have happened lately."

Storm nodded, acknowledging his words, and handed hem a short white stick made of some porous substance. "Suck on this," she said.

He stared at it dumby for a moment, then took it and popped it in his mouth. °Trust,° he thought. °I just gave a lecture about trust.° He thought back to his 'hiring interview' with Tank just a few days ago. "We're all changing," he said.

droo71 "So. Little Psycho Fuckstick, hm? That's not as cute a nickname as 'Sailor' "........

droo71 (To self, not out loud " although I think I just heard her ask to take a ride on the meat missile. I wish o knew if she's think that was funny". )

Storm: She takes the stick from you when the end outside your mouth turns blue, slipping it into a tube she holds beside your mouth. "This will tell us if your DNA and mine are likely to be compatible or not, but it takes an hour."

droo71 Compatible..... For what, exactly?

Storm "Let's go drink."

droo71 Oh dear

Storm "I don't know if I like you, Droo," she says as you make your way to Willow and Sutton. "But you nave demonstrated an enviable resilience from your genes to your mind. I would like to get to know you."

droo71 It's crossed his mind but been discarded as "Na, not before we even know each other." I'm not sure if anyone "knows" me. Including me. You realize there's two of me and a puppy in here

Storm: She hands you the testing device. "This is yours. I won't take your DNA without consent. In any case, our samples are destroyed in the process." You notice there are two sticks in the tube.

droo71 Although the puppy likes you. Was his idea to fetch you last. Night Take it. My DNA is so messed with. I don't even know what half the changes do

Storm: "Yes, you have mentioned your startling capacity for parallel consciousness. You know this is not possible for Homo sapiens while maintaining sanity?"

droo71 Might be nice to have another pair of eyes on it. We are both me. Jsut different me. It's like I made all different choices for ten years but can run both viewpoints and rationales at once

Storm "Certainly there are cognitive biases to consider - v1 humans have a host of them, as do all upgrades. My point is, you have achieved something we didn't think could be done. You have two minds in there."

droo71 I think there's room for more to be honest

Storm: "Split brain patients stitch together a hybrid consciousness through external senses. You are someting new." (edited)

droo71 We have debated trying to... splinter off another me. To populate with more skills. And Vernon is.. Integrated. We are groot.

Storm: "If I understand the purpose of your original project you were supposed to be the integrative sensory hub for a hive mind of eight enhanced humans."

droo71 There are issues. I have difficulty processing real integrative interpersonal relationships. Memory wipe. Ten years subjective aggregate time for both of me. Less each. And none of it with real people. Your definition of sane might need work.

Storm: "I suspect that was because your cluster died and you felt all of it." She pours something amber. "Your brain was restructured for connectivity."

droo71 Anyhow. I'm not shy about sharing my dna. You might understand it better than I do. Teams. And maybe friends. In spite of willow might think of me, I get the concept..... Even if I lack practice

Storm: "Thank you, but keep the test. You've talked a lot about trust. I'm offering some." She takes a long pull on the scotch, and savours it for a while. "You know, I suspect your capacity to ignore encryption, your multi-mind, and your integration with Vernon are all aspects of the same changes to your brain.

"Willow... She's more badly broken than I thought."

droo71 We are trying to see if I can encode bitcoins. No luck so far

Storm: "How's your knowledge of crypto?"

droo71 Ichy thinks I can. He keeps asking me not to wreck the markets. It's.. There, but when I concentrate on it, it.. Resolves. It's like casting spells in an MMO. It's not.. Mathy

Storm: "That's your magic ability to ignore crypto."

droo71 OK, I am not really a Scotch guy.. I'm sorry. I drink what those around me drink as a habit. Slides halfglass away and goes rummaging. Please tell me we stole some port.

Storm: "Later, you want to look into two concepts: P=NP, and quantum computers. As far as I can tell you Ari proof that our universe is vastly fucked, or you have a computer in your head worth all the bitcoins."

droo71 You'd be amazed how fast people accept you socially and get loose lips when you visibly share their opinions. Alcohols are an easy, obvious example and it seems we just can't learn to tell when it's faked.. But I'd prefer not to be faking you out here and ... oo.. Jackpot. You sticking with Scotch or want a glass of liquid smoked chocolate and figs?


Storm: Her eyebrows go up. "Those words have not appeared together in my experience before this moment, so 'yes' is the only appropriate response."

droo71 Its not for everyone. and too much is a hangover that has to not be experienced, but you don't find bottles of 60-year tawny ever, in my experience. You beg for a tipple from a collector's stash to get this stuff.

Storm clearly knows more about what was done to you 10 years ago, but it sims to you like she assumes you already know what she does. "Is the making a sight to behold or a secret to be held?"

droo71 neither. it just gets drunk before it gets to be 60. My daily tipple, when i have it, is 20.

Storm: Smiles. "No, I mean the figs?"

droo71 hands her a glass 'i dunno where the fig flavour comes from. but smell, and sip'.

Storm: "Oh! I thought you were mixing a strange potion, not being poetic about port." She smiled, taking the glass. "I want to check on Miranda and Deke soon.

Storm: She smells and sips. You see her pupils dilate. "That is a lot of interesting flavour." She frowns. "My sense of taste might be too good, though. I can pick out..." she rattles off a dozen flavours.


droo71 'btw, that bit you said about what my brain was restructured? That's the most information anyone's ever given me about what was done'.

Storm: "Really?" She takes another sniff and sip.

droo71 Gareth might have told me. he got nuked. Ellen spent the time reprogramming me. I think. I still don't know what she's left in here. Tank has a list of what was done, but its code names. And Willow either won't talk or doesn't know as much as she acts.

Storm: "Our understanding is that most commands are very short term and unreliable. The technology is still deadly."

droo71 and then everyone looks at me sideways becaue I have trouble comprehending 'friend'. Makes a guy a little touchy. Itchy, for all his snark, makes me laugh and geniunely seems to want to help people out. Tank .. blunt, too upfront to bother lying (and does it badly)

Storm: "It takes many repeated sessions to leave a long term impression, and even then the 'compulsions' are unreliable at best." (edited)

droo71 well. she had we don't know how many sessions 12 years ago. some of it stuck. more 'alterations' ? don't know. its something to be aware of. weren't you gonna go check on 'W and S' ? no more slipping. I mean, I like the excuse to call you pretty lady, but its still poor tradecraft....

Storm: "Maybe we should stick {test} you with 'Willow'. She's not clear on 'friend" either."

droo71 Thanks, no. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Storm: She's grinning and looking under lowered lashes. And a raised eyebrow. On the right side. "You're right about the craft, of course. I think we'll have to convince Willow to choose a last name not directly associated with a pop culture icon - but not tonight."

droo71 i know how to hide. standout names don't help, but - they can make people look in wrong places. We can probably work with it as it is, with the right spin." He gets up, walks around the corner to peek out at whats going on with the other two.

Droo looks back at Storm. 'I was hoping you WOULD check. My view would have been better than the one you're getting'... walks back up to the bar.

Storm: "I'll check. I'm not done with this drink or you just yet."

Droo: 'I'm not sure if i'm hoping for or fearing what color these are gonna turn'.....

Storm: 'Both.' The label says:

  • Red: both sterile
  • Orange: male sterile
  • Yellow: female sterile
  • Green: fertile <50%
  • Blue: fertile <75%
  • Purple: fertile

droo71 Ah.. i'm going to expect orange. My DNA's been messed with, and i'm going to bet 'hereditary' wasn't on the list of requirements.

Each rolled straight 4f. (-1 and 0) Droo invokes the bioengineering done to both of them by Miranda as a path leading to long term synergies. This moves his roll to Green.

droo71 'Hm. Green. I was expecting either orange or purple. Nothing in between carries the same potential for disaster'. shakes the tube

Storm will pay the point to move the needle toward purple: As a master of the long game, Storm cultivates potentially powerful genetic contributors. Droo shows startling eww cognitive capacities and resilience that should be integrated into the Celestes bloodline, whether through me or another.

droo71 'shakes tube'. 'turns purple and starts GLOWING. "hmm. Is it supposed to do that??" Its actually a bit warm - here, feel this. are these things entirely safe?' Droo reaches out, tucks the glowing purple case into Storm's pocket. "Here. its a bit hot. don't get burned."

droo71 ... purple.. reaches out. pours rather fuller glass of port. 'should i be pouring two?'

Storm: "Dunno. When should we conceive?"

droo71 'pours another'. hands it over. 'maybe when we're sure we won't get blown up in the next week or so'. Does glowing purple mean its probably not going to be very random?" laughs a little wildly.. "First date. ha.. haha... HAHAHAHHAA snort."

Storm: She levels you with an intensely sultry look and stance and says, "You think you're ready to be a father?"

droo71 "Nope. I'm not sure I'm ready to be a human, but there's no manuals for either"

Storm: "Oh, wait... did you think I like men?" Droo gets a stricken look on he's face and she laughs. "Tell you what. I like the hell outta our genomes together." She turns away, heading for S&W, and with an unavoidably eye-catching slash of the hip, she says, "It so happens I like interesting just a little bit more than I like extraordinary children and is sims you just rang two bells."

Droo says to Storm. "I wish I could say that the thought that went through my head was not 'hehehe, i rang her bell twice without even touching her. This is going to be fun'. But I can't say that. I'm apparently male, and at some level, 15, all the way through". He adds "And yes, i suppose I was hoping you liked men. Its why i used to the words 'odd first date' in the first place."

"It turns out like you." She says. "Also, you're scary in ways that break physics. Among other breaks you encourage." She looks at you hard.

droo71 Don't glare. I'm not about to tell you lies.

"Who said I don't like men?"

droo71 You just implied it , very strongly, not 2 minutes ago. It was quite deflating.

She laughs. "I like GENES," she says. "and yours and mine have a lonnnnnnng journey to discover. Men have them too."

droo71 I just don't have a witty comeback, so I'm just going to admire the view from over here, ok? Although working on conception sounds awesomely fun, pregnancy and babies and fighting for our lives sounds.. whoo, there's a hill to climb.'

I am gonna head to my room for a bit. if you wanna talk, you know where to find me'... (which is probably not realistic but since i am actually heading to bed, run with it for now. Droo is terrified of the idea that Storm potentially wants to try to get pregnant RIGHT NOW. well. not the 'getting' part. the 'pregnant' part)


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