Arlington-esque cemetery, in the lashing rain. Black garbed figures, including Joshua, Thomas and Seth bury the remains of Project Ares. A full military gun salute sends a flock of birds flying into the storm. A limousine pulls up and an unknown man rolls down the window and, speaking to a mobile phone, states that ‘It is time he knows the truth.’
Seth appears in the Thorne Industries security control room, to speak to Thomas. He demands that Thomas finds him something to do as he is bored! This is a pretense for the real reason for the visit, Seth would like Thomas to investigate ‘The Man from the Government’ who recruited him last week to serve as a Promethean ‘ambassador’ to Israel in light of the disappearance of the Israeli hero Masada. [The presence of the rogue Promethean ‘Saladin’, with telekinetic powers involving a sword and a carpet was mentioned]. The two argue, as Thomas does not want to investigate his own government contact. Seth stresses Thomas out and he rages at his computer, unwilling to discuss the matter anymore.
Joshua faces a meeting of the Thorne Industries board, who want an explanation for his takeover of his father’s position and the public announcement that he was suspending the Government contract to find the genetic trigger for secondary Prometheans and seeking to make ‘a better place for all’. Some heated debate ensues, with Mr Brown – the finance director – being particularly offensive in his summation of Joshua’s suitability to lead the company. The Board try to usurp Joshua but he reveals that he has bought a majority shareholding. They resign en masse, with Mr Brown venting his spleen on the steps of Thorne Industries (complication…)
One of the directors remains, Mr Antoine Olivier who reveals that he runs one of Professor Thorne’s private divisions, Biodynamics. Joshua is taken into BioDynamics and shown Lab X. He has the purpose of Lab X revealed (To develop a non-Promethean method of creating superhumans as an army to protect America from Prometheans) He is then shown their super-soldier … Project Ares! (Who was recloned at the end of last session). He explains a little of the Project Ares background and notes that two of them cannot be active at the same time or they would share the same memories and psychic powers and the feedback would send them mad. Remember the scene at the end of last session where the other Ares was revealed as still alive? Oh dear…
This version is sparring with some security guards, and beating them. He is being monitored by Jessie (Joshua’s sometimes girlfriend, see last AP). Ares tries to become Jessie’s ‘friend’ but she completely belittles him, with one eye on Joshua, telling him that he is nothing more than a virus grown in a petri dish etc. Ares is suddenly very insecure… and cries (complication). Mr Olivier asks Joshua to take Ares back to the Institute and explain his resurrection.
Later, Thomas tries to take advantage of the fragile Jessie and recruit her as a mole in BioDynamics. She is, however, the daughter of Agent Orange and knows how to keep secrets when it counts. She ends up leaving, insecure after the meeting, but resilient due to her Secret Agent Brat training.
In the now continuous ‘Mess Jessie Up Fest’, Seth decides to go to her apartment and speak to her as he knows he is about to go to Israel and might not be coming back. Really, he’s trying to seduce her. (Complication: he is seen entering the apartment by the paparazzi who are constantly covering Jessie since her Oprah appearance.) Jessie eventually gives in and Seth disappears into the bedroom with her!
Meanwhile Thomas confronts the resurrected Ares and questions him on his reappearance, challenging him on his connections to BioDynamics (using his abilities to have some BioDynamics debris from the explosion last session). In a tense conflict, the relationship between the two changes as Ares asserts his power and Thomas ends up ‘afraid’ of this powerful ‘ally’. Agent Orange looks on… (complication)
[And now, the most devastating, key scene of the game so far…]
Joshua teleports into Jessie’s flat to try to patch up their relationship and encounters Seth in his boxer shorts and Jessie coming out of her bedroom in a pyjama top, open to the waist. There’s no doubt what has occurred here. Joshua is furious and states that Seth has gone over a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Seth counters with the fact that Joshua has done a lot worse! Joshua punches Seth, but just bruises his hand on his invulnerable face. Seth tries to calm Joshua down and understand that everything is fine between them. Jessie wants Joshua to feel some of the pain that she has felt when he has betrayed her. Many relationships and values are challenged. Joshua realises seeing Jessie in the arms of another man hurts more than he could imagine. Emotional carnage ensues. Joshua teleports away, furious.
Jessie, however, wants to make more of this and tries to get a commitment from Seth. Seth does not do commitment. Jessie is devastated. Complications mean that Jessie may be pregnant (!) and another has Agent Orange (her father and a known-to-Seth ally of Agent Tempest and the Renegades) arrives and seeing his daughter distressed, pulls a gun and demands Seth leaves. He turns off Seth’s invulnerability and then shoots him, scarring the face of the century! Seth gathers his things and flies off!
Ares updates his online fanbase of his return. He is challenged to prove that this hasn’t actually all been a publicity stunt. He wins the conflict and manages to get four (4!) complications out of the Trouble pool. They turn out that some rumours are flying around that he is a God, some rumours are flying around that there is a Cult of Ares springing up, the information has flew around the planet at the speed of the internet and he is rapidly becoming very famous and him now also being deployed in Israel.
Joshua orders Thomas to lock Seth out of Thorne Towers, as he is no longer welcome (!). The situation could act as a degree of catharsis for Thomas, but no. Joshua then directs Thomas to investigate BioDynamics and gives him the details of Mr Olivier. [Thomas has been trying all session to find an ‘in’ to BioDynamics and now he has it handed to him on an in-story plate]
Seth arrives, is locked out, and is confronted by Thorne Security. He chooses to fly up and land through Joshua’s window. He demands that he has access to the building replaced. Joshua realises the power of the individual he is angry with, gaining Afraid stress, but not letting Seth back into the building. Thomas enters the scene and demands that Seth leaves, which he does, collecting his stuff.
[And now a scene where I challenged the players of Seth, Ares and Thomas to play three political talking heads in a TV debate involving Joshua. A wonderful twenty minutes of pure roleplaying gold erupted with them taking on roles ‘influenced’ by Newt Gingrich, Hilary Clinton and Richard Dawkins. Really cool, clever stuff from everyone involved. Two things did come from it – ‘Newt’ announced that the Senate was passing an emergency bill to relinquish control of the Prometheus Institute from Thorne Industries and place it under the control of the Department for Defence, and when questioned about the battle between Seth and Tempest, Joshua mentioned that they were unsure whether Tempest was actually the aggressor in that conflict!]
In a cut scene, we see Masada being emptied of glue in a LabX style facility, regenerating and then raging about how the young American (ie. Seth) must pay!
Finally (!) Seth, Ares, Agent Orange (oh no tension here…) and a bevvy of marines and PR people are on an army plane to Israel. As they approach Tel Aviv, the pilot screams that something has missile lock on the plane. Ares dives into the pilot’s seat and begins evasive action and Seth, the only flying Promethean on the planet, launches himself to deal with the three missiles, which he does! A slew of complications against Watchtower result in the attackers being seen and found by Israeli security and the entire affair being covered on TV, hardly doing the US heroes any harm on the PR front.
Back in the US, Thomas enters BioDynamics using his shadow walk powers, but complications! Jessie is in the room where he enters. They confront each other – her about why he is here and him about what BioDynamics is doing? They are interrupted by Mr Olivier and Thomas tries to get them to confess to everything. This triggers a protective subroutine that Ares has implanted in the system, aiding Olivier and Thomas cannot move them. As a counter-proposal Mr Olivier suggests that they may have mutual friends (they do, the Man in the Government is Thomas’ contact and also a director of BioDynamics who work for … the Government.) and that, considering the circumstances, Thomas should come over to HIS side and work for BioDynamics. Considering everything, Thomas agrees (the player gave in, because it was so interesting!)
Joshua attends the Emergency Senate Hearing on the acquisition of the Prometheus Institute. After some debate he sees off the Bill and walks away with a new government contract but also the attentions of a new Senate Oversight Committee.
In Israel, Seth and Ares are taken from a number of publicity junkets and go on one of Masada’s patrols through the contested parts of Gaza. In a prime ambush location, they are indeed ambushed by a single gun-toting terrorist-type. The marines shoot him, but each time he is shot, he replicates into another being until there are thirty of him. Saladin (yeah, he was narrated in at the start of the episode so I’ll run with him here…) appears and orders the infidel’s to be slaughtered.
To Be Continued…