Friday, October 7, 2016

Aeon C-Team S2E4: Veracity also 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
PK and Kevin were absent this session, and Alex was late.


Not THAT kind of Painkiller
Marsh wakes up in complete agony. It feels like his nerve endings have been scorched, he's drenched in sweat, and he's very pale.

Niklos and Lucas have been dragged off to talk with Gabriela about something. The remaining medics have loaded Marsh up with painkillers, but it only dulls the edge.

Gunther is watching over Marsh like a faithful puppy, including a large sandwich for when Marsh is better.

A tech starts destroying Marsh's computers to purge them of being infected with whatever Marsh had pwned our systems with. 

The Director of AEGIS doesn't leave us out to dry though- he sends down nearly TL9 computers as well as a T1 internet connection trunk. Marsh aids in the destruction of Lucas' old windows 95 machine. The tech, Randy Axel, is a snarky asshole. The new computer gear is completely holographic and uses motion/kinetic controls for a UI.

AEGIS goes on over the next couple of hours upgrading security, adding guards, and otherwise making the Subway harder to assault. They start replacing all antiquated gear with newer stuff.  A hapless contractor steps on the Ghost Train and comes back from his ill-advised trip with white hair, mumbling about giant hamburgers.


Gunther starts cleaning the train, while also preventing people from getting on the train. Gunther's a bit of a neat freak. We've put up signs indicating that Relish is not allowed in the Subway, and have trained Gunther to not enter a blind range when he sees them. We've determined that Gunther is completely immune to pain and is impossible to render unconscious.

Bored watching techs move stuff around, Veracity digs into what The Director of AEGIS is doing while he and Marsh cool their heels.

Legend is currently getting a huge sitrep about a massive operation AEGIS ran on the West Coast- 32 separate ops all ran concurrently. Legend was coordinating all of those operations live- likely with Lucas' help.

Veracity calls his girlfriend, Betty, to find out if she knows anything.

The Coordination was attacked out west. The Coordination was enhancing metahumans, and their entire organization got attacked in the huge operation out west. Evidently Marshall Sr. was involved with them.

AEGIS isn't sure of Marshall Sr's real position within Blue Skies, the Coordination, or any of the numerous pies Blue Skies has their fingers in. Blue Skies has very close government ties, which troubles AEGIS greatly. Marshall Sr. is a real prick.

Marsh checks the new computers, and discovers that we have new access to the AEGIS database. The C-Team has more or less unfettered access to files deemed 'strange', 'supernatural', 'weird', or otherwise 'someone else's problem'. 

Sadly Marlowe's file is lacking information because AEGIS barely has any information, not because someone's tampered with the file. He's been around at least 300 years, and is responsible for numerous powerful offspring. The info they have comes from the 40's, where Marlowe was working with a mercenary group known as the Marauders, for the Nazis.

Green Sun Holdings is also only worthy of a stub-level article in the AEGIS database as well.

It turns out that the crews bringing in new stuff had to open up an old elevator shaft, giving Veracity a chance to try out a 'grapple gun' that he acquired... somewhere. Veracity doesn't splat himself against the walls or suffer a nasty fall.
Training Montage!

Veracity takes some time to use Digital Oracle on the AEGIS database to try and see if he can connect various things together- and stumbles on AEGIS' archive of the Postman's activity. Numerous postcards went unanswered, causing mission issues, which Veracity was able to connect together.

The Postman sends out precognitive missives to people, usually on postcards. He's been active well before the public occurrence of Meta powers- since 1840. The letters switched to typewritten around 1910.

Veracity decides to memorize every postcard AEGIS has in their possession. It's going to be a long undertaking however, as there's enough that Christopher's count goes "One, two, many." on just how many there are.

Legend explains that the Blue Skies lab we hit had a frightening amount of information on metahuman abilities, some of it dating back to the 80s. Veracity implies that the missing 70% we didn't secure must really be a reason to wear the brown pants.
Legend says that someone is working on it.

Evidently the Coordination's middle management all decided to commit suicide rather than subject themselves to capture.

Legend confirms that Green Sun Holdings is connected to Marlowe and Blue Skies, revealing that he actually reads all of Veracity's information. Veracity offers to buy him a drink some time.

Legend cuts both Marsh and Veracity on the hand and has them bleed on a hard copy of information on Green Sun Holdings, explaining that the information within was acquired from a member of the Marauders, and can't be spread around too much. Sharing the info might lead to our deaths, and the whole blood thing is a binding magical contract.

Marsh is happy to learn that Marlowe is not a demon. He is unhappy to learn that Marlowe summons them. Marlowe doesn't age, chalked up to a metahuman capability. 

Prime Metahumans: Ain't Nothing to Fuck With
The file seems to be pure nightmare fuel. Evidently beings known as Prime Metahumans exist, and they inspired myths about the gods. There's strange info on demiurges, information on crystal skulls, and tons of dirt on Marlowe. It seems to blur the line between magic and metahuman capabilities, and lists out basic metahuman research as well as info on ley lines. 

Marlowe's father was trying to conduct a ritual to become a Prime Metahuman. It's rare, since doing so involves killing three primes- something roughly as difficult trying to take out Gunther with some morphazine, or making him eat Relish, or helping him recognize that green light means go.

The Mauraders foe in WW2?
Marlowe inherited the power instead of his dad. Marlowe has some level of omniscient capability (basically intellectus from the Dresden Files on a global scale), can suck out souls, and is generally a BAMF. There's some implications that he might have started WWI. 

He wants nothing short of world domination, and is driven towards his specific goal. It's not that he's strictly malevolent.

Marsh thinks setting another Prime on Marlowe's ass would be a very effective talent. Marlowe suffers greatly from hubris, and it's screwed him over numerous times. The last person to cause Marlowe a defeat was ROOK from an AEGIS STARRS team.
Totally wrong ROOK, but Rainbow Six Siege is my jam.

ROOK's AEGIS file is heavily redacted and above our security clearance. ROOK managed to surprise Marlowe, throwing his plans into disarray with complete and utter chaos. ROOK held Marlowe down for five years before Marlowe went dark and stopped attempting to do stuff.

Before he goes, Legend makes it clear that we've landed on Marlowe's shitlist and the demon summoning asshole is out to take us down. Not the first shitlist Veracity's landed on, let me tell you.

Veracity asks Legend if he's received anything from the Postman (he has, and has shared most with AEGIS), as well as Legend's favorite alcoholic beverage (Old Crow).

Someone who hasn't bled on the Marlowe File is incapable of opening it, and it takes numerous gunshots without taking any damage.

Veracity is able to link things back to about the 1960s between the Marlowe file and other information he has access to, but crit-fails on an attempt to link the file's contents to stuff Veracity read during his sojourn into the Vatican Archives with Lucas.

Marsh tries to hack AEGIS' files to get to the goods on ROOK. Marsh takes a day for +5, succeeding by 13. He elects to spend Karma to make it a crit. Our access of ROOK's file goes unnoticed. 

Mikhail's a very cheery asshole sometimes
Mikhail goes after Randy to get an explanation about why Randy trashed his old soviet-era PC, and mistakes Randy as being hostile and about to shoot Mikhail. Mikhail fast-draws and shoots Randy in the hand, leaving it a bloody stump.

Mikhail starts screaming incoherently in Ukrainian while Marsh and a medic try to administer first aid to Randy. Marsh yells at Mikhail in Russian, Mikhail yells back, they go back and forth a bit.

Veracity decides that this is really Lucas' problem since a cover-up will be impossible. Betty, Veracity's girlfriend, stops by to drop off lunch and mail. Among the mail is a super old letter 

Katori storms into the subway and removes Mikhail's firearm privileges, leaving him with an old .38 revolver.  Katori is adamant that she saw the video and that Mikhail is most certainly in the wrong. She leaves with a crateful of weapons confiscated from Mikhail.

Mikhail chats up some STARRS members, being a former member of STARRS himself. (We determine that Mikhail got kicked out of STARRS for shooting down a Colonel's helicopter during a training exercise.) ROOK lead a team whose entire job was to find and disrupt Marlowe's operations. They did an excellent job of it, with the best track record since the 40s.

Also from Maine: Steven King
Mikhail is able to get contact info for the last surviving member of the team- the rest having all died in horrible accidents. The survivor is David V. Hurte, Most of David's family has also died in mysterious accidents over the last ten years, and he survives by living in a shack in the middle of Maine. 

David agrees to meet for ten minutes, which should be enough for six questions. 

Mikhail asks Veracity for help, and Veracity is momentarily distracted by what he was reading.

ROOK wasn't affected by Marlowe's 'voodoo' according to David. ROOK frequently received info from sources that always proved actionable, but the source was unknown.

David suggests being proactive against Marlowe, and prepare for him to cause multiple contingencies.

Marlowe is extremely vain and prideful, which seems to be his huge Achilles' Heel. A fuel-air explosive failed to take him out in the past. Fighting Marlowe near life is a bad idea- he can pull energy from plants and other life in his surroundings to duck taking damage and to prolong his strengths.

David doesn't really know what Marlowe attempts to do every 100 years, but a former team member mentioned ley lines and feeding off kyberic energy.

Marsh decodes ROOK's file, and determines that he was Charles Moody, Veracity's father. To say that he was a complete badass is an understatement- over 400 missions, a massive success rate on his missions, and a capability to deal with Marlowe that was unparalleled.

Charles died in a tragic car accident along with his wife in 1997, leaving Veracity an orphan.

Veracity takes the file to go over it, locking himself in his office. Mikhail and Marsh go about planning on how to take out Marlowe.

Then the Ghost Train disappears without any explanation. Mikhail and Marsh chalk it up to Lucas.
Going off the rails of a crazy train

Marsh and Mikhail think about poisoning a leyline on Marlowe, involving the Bastille, but Marsh hits on an Aztec Temple that AEGIS has been keeping agents away from for a while since it's seriously haunted.

Marsh makes some mental jumps, culminating in the fact that Marsh was ultimately placed within AEGIS to steal something Legend keeps in his office- an obsidian dagger of some kind. Brainwashing Marsh to believe he's still working for Marlowe will allow Marsh to hoodwink Marlowe and setup a backstab.

We have three months. 

Veracity returns with the Ghost Train, looking distraught and very upset, carrying a bottle of Old Crow, and a bouquet of roses. Followed by Marsh and Mikhail, definitely not wanting to talk about why he's upset, Veracity uses his grapple to try and get loose of being followed.

Marsh beats both Mikhail and Veracity to AEGIS HQ by taking a cab, waiting for the other two to stop their game of cat and mouse. Legend has actually OK'd Veracity to get a meeting with him. Veracity hands off the Old Crow to Legend and explains that he's trying to escape the attention of Mikhail and Marsh. Legend gets him to open up about why he doesn't want to talk with Marsh and Mikhail.

Legend is very supportive, even sharing Old Crow with Veracity. They hash things out as Mikhail and Marsh rubberneck. Veracity: "The Judge is SO COOL!"

Legend gets Veracity drunk, and Veracity crashes on Legend's hugely oversized couch. Legend tells Marsh and Mikhail to head back to the Subway.

Marsh and Mikhail take the opportunity to get drunk themselves, sharing what they know about their father and parents.

The team gets back together the next morning and starts hammering together a plan to take down Marlowe.

AEGIS starts moving people at threat of being targeted by Marlowe into the Subway, including Mikhail and Marsh's mothers, and Lilly LeStrange. 

We stop there.


I think this session worked better at having Veracity be a real nutcase for a while because we were down two players. For a session that featured Veracity learning some things about his father that were very painful, having less going on allowed that to stand out more and take center stage near the end of the night.

Veracity tries not to let on just how much pressure he puts on himself, and when the facade cracks it tends to get messy.

We learned a lot about Marlowe, the kind of briefing that would normally feature in The Laundry Files by Charles Stross. "Here, learn about something that will likely ruin your sanity and lay bare the threads of reality and how terrible they actually are."

We're building to one helluva confrontation next session, which will be the season ender for Season 2 of the C-Team. Lots is currently resting on Lucas to out-plan Marlowe. Numerous times I backed off from having Veracity try and plan for the confrontation- both because Lucas is far better at it, and because Veracity wasn't in the right headspace to do so.

Learning that your dead father hid being a badass motherfucker from you feels like quite the betrayal, after all.

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