Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Aeon C-Team S2E3: Marsh has a Pleasant and Wonderful Time

The Team:

Lucas Nielson (PK Levine): A former vicar who lost his faith and made an enemy of the Vatican. Now leads the AEGIS Subway team in their attempts to answer questions nobody else in AEGIS has time to investigate.

Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): Multidisciplinary genius, medic/doctor, and general curmudgeon. Believes Morphazine is the answer for everything and enjoys asking Marsh to hold organs during autopsies.

Marsh Langston (Maverick): A blond, smiling hacker that will rip the most secure files out of your mainframe while convincing you that he's just downloading more RAM. Marsh is a technical wunderkind and social engineer with a shadowy background in intelligence.

Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): Measuring 6'4" and weighing about 230lbs, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Kovalenko was a former special agent in Eastern Europe and is extremely competent at drinking vodka, making friends with random people, piloting, field action, reminding others that he's from Ukraine (not Russia), field operations, and handling firearms.

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut.   IT'S ALL A VAST CONSPIRACY, DON'T TRUST WHAT YOU READ  FNORD


We begin at the warehouse. Marsh and Mikhail are both out from their cells. Back at the lab, Niklos is undergoing a nice long 11 hour coma followed by gaining true superpowers.

Upon seeing a patient: MINE MINE MINE MINE
There's paperwork to go through, evidence to log, and busywork. We head back to the Subway. There's numerous Niklii (plural Niklos) present, and upon seeing six distinct copies of Niklos running around, Veracity heads for the lab's trash to try and get to the bottom of it. He finds Niklos' usual red herrings left behind to keep Veracity guessing.

Having secured about a third of what was present on MORNING TIDE'S supercomputer, Veracity gets to work going through the files. There's numerous references to PURPLE DRANK- DNA Repositioning Nucleotide Karyotyper: PR-DRNK.

It appears that they've cracked metahuman creation, where PURPLE DRANK + Kyberian Energy + Refractor = New Person with Superpowers.

Marsh tackles trying to figure out some of the more mechanical aspects of how they made the DRANK, utilizing Inventor!

Niklos is busy checking himself for further abnormalities and trying to get used to having six of him around. Evidently there's a lot of debate and discussion because each individual copy believes itself to be the smartest one in the room.

Lucas is back and very little seems out of the ordinary about it.

Mikhail goes out to buy additional shot glasses for the Niklii.

These aren't the explosives you are looking for
Lucas goes about checking in with Niklos followed by some drinking to deal with the fact that Subway has suddenly doubled in size. We begin working Administrative Bullshit to secure the unused Plastex-B from last session so that we don't have to give it back to our AEGIS overlords. Niklos intentionally tries to sabotage the effort by claiming a bullshit excuse on some kind of chemical interaction, which gets an AEGIS auditor into the Subway.

Niklos finally lets drop that he utilized PURPLE DRANK to get powers, leading Mikhail to produce the vial he grabbed from the lab. Mikhail doesn't necessarily mean to take it.

Lucas starts filling requisition requests for gear- five crash kits for Niklos, Thermo-Optic Camouflage for Veracity, and an ETC-Enabled Gun for Veracity. PK spends Karma to smooth the requests along after some bad AR rolls.

(B-Team: This is the first time we've ran into a situation where Karma use on AR rolls to secure equipment that Christopher doesn't necessarily want people to have- in particular the shiny new Thermo-Optic Camouflage Veracity gets to use.)

AEGIS Administration is kicking up a storm, sending auditors, scientists, physicians, and a psychologist. Niklos demonstrates being able to reabsorb his duplicates. This leads into tests on Niklos' clones to see if they share pain, with Lucas distracting one of the Niklii while Mikhail grabs onto his nipple and twists. They don't share pain across clones.
Totally not an inspiration for Niklos

Niklos pulls a Dr. House on the team of scientists, doctors and spooks:

"With the 'I don't need a psychologist, I am a psychologist' and the 'Listen, I know where you got your MD and it's not worth the cheap paper they printed it on, get your hands off me' and the 'don't touch that, it might be a contagious bioagent, are you STUPID wait no of course you're stupid'. "

Niklos manages to convince a psych that the psych is the crazy one, and begins trying to brainwash his shrink into gaining a phobia of Niklos.
Veracity is the Good, Marsh is the bad, Gunther's the Ugly

Veracity notices Marsh acting... strange, and then he sees strange network traffic coming from Marsh's terminal. He calls Marsh over to check it out, and Marsh claims that it all looks normal- and it looks like he's lying. Veracity decides to sneak up (easy with a success of 16) and shoot Marsh with his electrolaser. Marsh doesn't see it coming, and Marsh goes down.

"What the hell was that about?" Lucas asks.
"Counter-intelligence." Veracity answers.

Lucas just about shoots Veracity, until Veracity is able to prove that Marsh has been illicitly sending out info airing ALL of the Subway's dirty laundry. Mikhail cuffs Marsh's arms and legs, rolling an 18 to restrain Marsh, dislocating both of his shoulders for 3 damage each.
Niklos 4 pokes his head out. "Was that the sound of someone's shoulders dislocating?"

Lucas and Veracity track down where Marsh was sending the data. Veracity's Intuition leads him to believe that Marsh isn't directly sending info to BLUE SKIES or MORNING TIDE.

While popping shoulders back into place, Niklos 4 notices Marsh has a back tattoo that is strange. Lucas manages to hear about the tattoo finding a briefly interrupts his work on the servers to take a look at it.

Marsh's Back Tattoo
The Tattoo isn't occult, but is more of a weird science circuit board embedded directly in the skin, which taps directly into his nervous system. Lucas takes Veracity's advice and sees about getting Gabriella to return to doublecheck her work dejunking his brain.

We get a location on the server, and Gunther, Mikhail, Niklos 4, Niklos 6 and Veracity head out to kick down some doors at the snazzy internet cafe where the files were being sent.

It's fairly crowded. Veracity uses Mikhail to intimidate the hippy behind the counter and then feeds the hippy some bullshit about being watched by the government.

Gunther proceeds to scream "WHICH ONE OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS GAVE HIM THE RELISH?", followed by throwing a chair when the very New York crowd doesn't respond.

Veracity finds the computer used- with a convenient out of order sign, as well as the surveillance system which has been tampered with. Veracity grabs the harddrive from the surveillance system and the entire PC the stuff was sent to.

Marsh wakes up and Lucas is there ready to talk with him. There's a few Niklii in the room, as well as an immaculately Gunther-made sandwich for Marsh.

Lucas explains to Marsh that he's been a bad boy again, and Marsh is confused. Marsh starts freaking out about there being multiple Niklii in the room. Marsh claims to know nothing about his transmission, and is unhappy that Niklos isn't under scrutiny for suddenly splitting into 6 copies.

Niklos and Lucas debate removing the tattoo from Marsh before Gabriella shows up, followed by her immediately appearing suddenly. She and Lucas trade pleasantries and then they get to work on Marsh.

They start with the tattoo. Gabriella confirms it's very advanced, and Niklos believes he can remove it without unacceptable damage to Marsh's nervous system.
This is what we turn into after budget cuts

They start talking about bringing in Katori (Gabriella's Sister In-Law) to help with the process. Katori's help is going to be immensely painful. Gear starts teleporting in, including a TL9 surgical suite (WHICH WE GET TO KEEP! MAGPIE VICTORY!)

A brainscan on Marsh reveals tendrils entering his brain. Niklos' final roll vs medicine to help Marsh is vs Medicine! 31, after five complimentary skill checks from his clones and equipment. Niklos manages to avoid Marsh coming down with a neurological disorder.

The tendrils from the tattoo extend through the majority of Marsh's body. The level of nanotech here required to mesh with the nervous system is unheard of. Niklos manages to get it all pulled out in a single piece, and it retracts in on itself, eventually forming a round disk.

Katori then shows up, and Mikhail promptly makes himself scarce to avoid another broken nose. Niklos does post-op on Marsh, clearing up 8 out of the 15 damage that Marsh incurred during the surgery.

Katori puts a hand on Marsh's shoulder and Marsh spends the next hour or so in writhing agony as Katori's healing repairs his body.

Gabriella confirms that Marsh's mind is now completely clear, and leaves a backdoor so that she can check in from time to time. The disk parasite thing has been serving as external storage for Marsh's memories. Gabriella and Marsh have a conversation about how he shouldn't blame himself and how he's not the only victim of various brainwashing AEGIS has seen.

Gabriella again brainscans all of us, and all of us are given a medical exam by someone who is not Niklos. No more mind subverting tattoos are found. We're told that we get to keep the portable surgery theater.

The Auditor
I suggest that Lucas use foresight to prepare blackmail material to thwart the auditor so that he'll leave us alone. Niklos crits vs Psychology to freak the auditor out, Veracity crits vs. Tradecraft! + Detective! to get blackmail material on the Auditor, and Marsh gets a success by 8 on Computers! to go through his stuff.

"You're all mean." -Christopher
We've all proven that we're all more than willing to fuck with established protocols and rules to be able to do our jobs effectively.

The auditor develops a very bad cause of claustrophobia after dealing with Niklos, undergoing a complete breakdown and fleeing the premises.

Marsh and Veracity get to investigating the stuff pulled from the Internet Cafe. The computer is a dead end- the hard drive was pulled out. The Security footage was looped for about four hours.

Veracity makes a Infiltrator! + Detective! + Tradecraft! + Encyclopedist! Check to see if he knows any nearby cameras that would have coverage of the internet cafe, succeeding by 10. (I think that's the record for most concurrent Wildcards used at the same time.)

Mikhail knows a guy, a photographer who was active near the internet cafe during the right time frame. Mikhail brings a nice bottle of vodka, and leaves with a folder FULL of photos of people who were in the internet cafe.

Veracity and Marsh start collecting security footage and confiscating recording devices- cameras, surveillance systems, webcams just happened to be pointing outside at the right time... it's time consuming work. Lucas crits on Intelligence Analysis to piece together the info gathered from the photos and from the footage obtained by Marsh and Veracity.

(Christopher comments that a villain supposed to breadcrumb through three sessions might last one.)

Marshall Langston Sr, Marsh and Mikhail's father, has been busy and evil, and is supposedly dead.

Lucas spots the resemblance between Mikhail, Marsh and Marshall Langston Sr. Niklos starts DNA analysis. It's pretty much conclusively proven that Mikhail and Marsh are related, and that there's DNA on the computer we took from the internet cafe that matches.

Mikhail tries to give Marsh a very big bear hug and noogie. Marsh would have made his defense roll except from some DOOM from Christopher. Mikhail is very excited to have a little brother.

Did you say Train?

Marshall Sr. is working for someone who clearly found our information very desirable.

We wrap there.


This really felt like a bottle episode, given how we largely stayed at home and largely dealt with administrative matters and housekeeping.

I think the Subway's anti-social and anti-authority streak is really starting to show with this session. It's now painfully clear why department heads were more than eager to throw our characters into a department for misfits and misanthropes who don't play well with others.

Niklos having six copies is a huge boost in power, albeit one that doesn't encroach on anyone else's role on the team. I predict an influx of new drugs and research, as well as the Subway now having a fully qualified surgical team.