Sunday, September 02, 2012

Prometheus Institute: Conversion (the finale)

When we left our intrepid heroes (!?) Joshua and Ares were on Olympus with a host of depowered Prometheans and a bunch of Project Ares clones. They had just opened a wormhole into the future to see the alien invaders and the reactivated prometheans battling. We also left Thomas and Seth at Area 51, face to face with an alien entity who looked very much like Seth. There were also white manga-style alien beings over many major cities.

Seth and Thomas interrogated the alien who introduced himself as The Host, a hive mind of entities who travel the galaxy absorbing ‘organic material’ to restore themselves. They fire probes (like the alien craft at Area 51) onto planets and then see whether the inhabitants can use the material held within. If they cannot, the Host pass by. If they use it for constructive means, they are deemed suitable to join the host. Those that have bonded with the material (i.e. in this case, the Prometheans) would join with the host, live forever and discover the secrets of the universe. Those that have not bonded would be assimilated into the host as material… And if the inhabitants have used the material for destructive matters … the Host will pass by because they know that the planet will destroy itself anyway.

The heroes confront the Host and he reveals that Thomas has used his powers in such a way that he would become part of the Host. However, he reveals that Seth (who was created spontaneously during the Pennville Incident) is different. He is a new Host, something that has never happened before. Something has spawned him. He is special. He must be probed. The heroes ask what will happen if they resists and sadly Paris ‘collapses under the weight of genre expectation’ and is struck down by the ‘star knights’ (the white armoured manga aliens)

Meanwhile, back at Olympus, Ares tries to persuade Joshua to reactivate the Prometheans, and he realised that they did not have enough serum to do more than four … unless he used Jessie. However, using Jessie was very dangerous and would almost certainly make her sterile (as decided by the dice), and she knows it. Jessie refuses to be used as a weapon by her lover and strikes out at Joshua, but he dodges. She storms away and Agent Orange warns Joshua off … threatening to kill him.

Back in Area 51, the heroes continue to argue with the Host, who withdraws to start his Tribunal, but first activates one of the Star Knights, over New York. Carnage ensues and then the heroes all zoom to the rescue and NAIL the star knight, retrieving the Host’s core crystal from it. Around the planet, the governments of the world can no longer stand idly by and have New York’s devastation happen to them, so they launch attacks on the Star Knights.

Meanwhile Thomas uses the material back at Area 51 and his technopathy to work out how to use the ‘pillar of light’ to rise up to the Host’s mothership. He does so and infiltrates the ship, finally finding the Host in his massive control crystal chamber being fed information from the Star Knights. He uses his shadow power to close down one of the crystal spheres who power the star knights and shuts it down!

Back on Olympus, Seth and Joshua are arguing over what they should do. Seth is now adamant that Joshua should persuade Jessie that she has no choice but to unleash the rest of the Prometheans. Ares is called away to be shown some of the other #58s who were used to open up the wormhole – they are unstable and flickering in and out of time. Something is very wrong with them. Professor Thorne reveals that the Ares Projects must have unwittingly created an artificial Host, which is why they all shared their thoughts etc. but they were flawed and unstable.

Seth persuades Joshua to make Jessie activate the Prometheans. Joshua has a tumultuous scene with Jessie where their relationship dissolves – she is emotional and playing the fiancĂ© card, he is cold and calculating, playing the ‘needs of the many, needs of the few’ card. It all breaks down and in the end Jessie is forced into the conversion machine and screaming, the process begins. (We safely decided that any relationship between Dr Franken… Joshua and Jessie was now defunct .)
At the same time, Seth and Ares had dealt with Agent Orange, ‘removing him from the scene’ with prejudice.

The prometheans were reactivated and Joshua teleported them to the places they were needed the most. Seth went with them and was joined by a returning Tempest and the formerly cowed Promethean Rebels join the defence of Earth.

An argument broke out between Joshua and Ares – Joshua wanted to harness the dying #58s time energy to create a dimensional shunt which could take the Host ship into another dimension. He needed the help of Ares but Ares refused. The two came to blows and the scene shifted from Olympus to Berlin. Ares won, leaving Joshua ‘stressed out in Berlin’ – however, as a complication, as Joshua was no longer next to the machine, Jessie was sucked dry and died!

Back on the ship, Thomas (as has happened a few times now) sucked it up and attacked the host using his shadow powers. He was helped by Seth arriving from Earth (using his new ‘breath anywhere’ SFX). In the end Thomas won and shut down all of the Star Knights, removing that immediate threat from Earth.

The Host announces that as the Host’s collective mind has been destroyed, it is a dead entity. Millennia of knowledge have been lost! He activates his ‘Attack Mode Armour’, sets off his ship’s world killer weapon (handy dramatic countdown) and the Host turns against Thomas and Seth with authority and seeks to kill them both. Thomas flees into the ship whilst Seth seeks to delay the Host, but the alien proves too strong and Seth is broken and dead!

On Earth, Ares now sees the right in using the time energies and asks Joshua to teleport him and his ‘brothers’ to the ship so that he can do the dimension shunt. However, Joshua has other ideas to seek revenge on the man who helped him kill his lover! He teleports Ares and the #58s … to the bowels of the Earth! However, Ares is ready and uses his time powers to turn back time, erasing that passage of betrayal!

Meanwhile, Joshua teleports to the ship at the same time as Thomas takes control of the vessel and starts to plough it towards the Moon in a suicide crash. Before the Host can destroy Joshua, Seth began to twitch, being repaired by the Host’s ship! The Ship had noticed another Host on the ship and was trying to repair it! SETH LIVES! Seth struggles with the Host for control of the ship and in the end he succeeds! He shatters the Host once and for all, but as a complication, is himself absorbed into the ship and loses all of his human emotion, becoming truly a Host.

And thus the game ended.

Professor Thorne realised that his machinations had nearly caused the end of civilisation and became a recluse in the Swiss Alps.

Many of the Prometheans had died, but many remained and returned to work for their governments.

Tempest however, remained public enemy #1, never being brought to answer for her actions against Jerusalem.

The Lone Gunman retired with a beer, having seen his aliens.

The Man in the Government has no aliens to look for and fades away…

Agent Orange pledged the rest of his life to slowly killing Joshua, constantly letting him know what he could kill him whenever he wanted…

Joshua, now without his father or Jessie, succumbed to his base desires and never managed to reach his full potential, becoming a debauched philandering tart … constantly under the threat of death. His character having reached almost the pinnacle of success fell back to whence it came.

Ares, now with nobody to call friend or brother, repeated the actions of #56 and joined up with Tempest and the remaining Promethean rebels.

Thomas finally decided who he worked for – himself. He now runs the newly constituted Prometheus Institute from within the US Government. He is now the new Man in the Government

Seth becomes one with the Host ship, becomes a Host himself, rebuilds himself with new powers and watches over the Earth … a new bright star in the sky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Update, of sorts.

So, after my little outpouring of frustration and angst, what have I done about things?

1. Curfew! - I now have a bedtime. Midnight,no later. Preferably 11 o'clock but thats flexible. The upshot will hopefully be a more energised Neil. Results so far ... decent.

2. Small victories - taking a bit of MMO psychology into life, breaking some stuff down into small bits. So doing a read-through edit of Epoch. Done. Making the adjustments to the text. Done. Sorting out my website. Done (and then some). Little things, quickly done (relatively) delivering a feeling of doing something. Excellent.

3. Dedicated reading time - reading is a pastime that I can do without judgement or approval and I love it. So giving myself a half hour each day to read is another rule. Results  - Clash of Kings is being worked through slowly but steadily and I'm loving it all over again.

More to come, but this is a good start indeed!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Poor Unloved Blog Thing

Oh my poor unloved blog thing - how I have missed you!

Its been ages since I have updated this thing, which might be taken as a sign in and of itself of some sort of massive activity elsewhere - but nothing could be further from the truth! In fact it's because I have been caught in the horrific decision and productivity paralysis that has dogged me periodically for years now.

The problem, as always, is time - with a side salad of extreme mental creativity and extreme knackeredness. Combine all of these with an apparent inability to focus and you get a horrid frustrating maelstrom of nothingness.

Take, for example, gaming? I have 101 ideas for games to run but no group to run them with, as my regular group is booked for the foreseeable future. I have got the last session of Smallville to run but that has lost a bit of steam with the three month hiatus. I have managed to negotiate a solution to said hiatus as well - thats very cool but its not a guaranteed outlet for that sort of creativity. I have considered getting another group but frankly thats a crap shoot I'm not sure I can be bothered with. There has been a payoff though, in that I have for once done something approaching prep for my convention games and that might well see me produce more resources for said games and have more one-shots available when needed. Hurrah.

And then there is the game design thing. Oh good grief. I have about six different mental balls juggling in the air and everytime I seem to get some sort of traction on one, another sparkles and draws my attention. The current list of sparkles are:

1. A revision of Duty & Honour/Beat to Quarters: The games are four years old now and showing their age. There are so many things that I look at and see how I could change and refine them, and add value to the book with extra stuff too. If I did this, it would probably be a joint 'Empire!' book as well, which makes things even more complicated.

2. Empire! In Space: This is probably the project that has the most legs, with some of the ground work having been done with my Gaunt's Ghosts game at Furnace last year and the ship-to-ship rules getting a gentle thumbs up at Continuum. The main issue here for me, is that the game doesn't have an implied setting, you know like History!, so I want to create one to build the game around ... and I really have to not just mirror Honor Harrington. That's a job.

3. Epoch - I have three quarters of a game done. Its a little portable booklet game which started as a 2-on-1 game, morphed into a 1-on-1 game and might well have to become a mixture of both. This has had a little alpha-alpha and I'm going to try a little more internal this week and get something sorted.

4. The OSR adventure - what? Well, I've been asked to write an OSR adventure. I already have some of it done but it really needs to be hammered into shape. I like the idea of this a lot, as I rarely get to write adventures and I think its quite a cool thing. Still, its another thing to do.

5. Modular Fantasy - it just will not go away! I'll bark on about this more, but there is something about this that keeps coming back, time and time again. I'm not sure what to do with it.

So from this scrum, something has to emerge as a front runner. It would seem logical that it should be one of the ones that I have in a more advanced stage of finishing. Ah logic, you wonderfully elusive beast.

Remember what I said about knackeredness? Well that has an impact as well - when its easier to do nothing than something, it can be very seductive. VERY seductive. Distractions don't help - especially that massive 800lb gorilla of 'work' which is a constant presence. Who would have thought that being a teacher could be such an all-encompassing profession ... oh yeah, teachers! Something is going to have to be done there - using my time at work more effectively to cut down the amount of slippage into my homelife is my #1 priority.

Its just all a bit of a mess really and something that I need to get sorted in my head sooner rather than later. Any suggestions from time/energy management gurus always welcome!

Prometheus Institute - 1.5 'They Came From The Stars'

A strange session today. We haven’t played for over three months and it shows in a game which really needs everyone to be on the same page. We spent a fair while just re-acquainting  ourselves with the game and the continuity and then kicked off.

The game opened with the new Promethean base being revealed, a floating (late flying) city base in international waters off the US coast. Belonging to the Thornes and dubbed ‘Olympus’ by the media, this is the new base of the Prometheus Institute after it has detached from the US government. Seth is on Olympus, doing PR work with the world press. Ares is in New York, around the financial district. Thomas is at his trailer with the Lone Gunmen, talking about aliens and Joshua is on the BBC being interviewed by Dimbleby whilst the UN discuss his request to become a UN protectorate. Many short snappy things occurred and by the end of it…

The UN were unable to offer the Prometheans protected status. The US launched a military strike on Olympus which was foiled by Seth and Ares had instituted a plan to bring down the US economy using his army of mind-controlling, time-manipulating Genius clones.

A massive emotional clash between Joshua and Professor Thorne, where the Professor confronts Joshua with all of the things that have gone wrong since he took over. The Professor doesn’t manage to win back control of the whole shebang, but as a complication he activates a safety program which makes like difficult.
Joshua tries to get Jessie to tell him who made her the carrier of the genetic trigger antidote but she will not tell him – even after he tries very hard!

The Lone Gunman explains to Thomas exactly what his theory of the aliens is – that the government has alien material, that has been found around the world (crater in Russia, Black Forest in Germany, the Yucatan basin and Area 51) and has used this to splice alien DNA into humans to create Prometheans. Thomas scoffs at this, but the Gunman is very serious and challenges him to go to Area 51, break in and see for himself.

Thomas tries this but he is scanned, detected and captured …. By Mr Olivier, the erstwhile boss of BioMechanics. Thomas is shackled in power dampeners which stop his shadow powers and has to suffer a monologue of epic proportions as Olivier shows him the alien probe that has been the source of the material which created the US Prometheans. He explains the new plan for a super solider army based not on superhumans, or clones, but on lab-grown and educated superpowered zealots bent to the American cause. Thomas has heard enough and pops the dampeners with his Techopathy (silly Olivier had only stopped his Shadow powers) and kills Olivier with this own shadow. Sadly, in the fracas, a bullet goes off and the massive  alien crystal probe is released, burning a hole in the bunker roof and floating up into the atmosphere, casting a column of light into the skies.

Ares is struck down again by psychic premonition of alien spaceships moving through the solar system.  Concerned by this, he uses his time control powers to circumvent the security at the Pentagon and meet with The Man from the Government (aka Weapon II) to share the information. TMFTG reveals that he too has had the premonition, as have all of the other Ares around the planet. The aliens are coming and all TMFTG’s defences – the Prometheans and Project Ares – are either disbanded or out of action due to being altered and released into the wild! The Earth is defenceless. Ares suggested that they did not know whether the aliens were friend or foe? He suggests that a genius intellect could use the time powers of the various Ares to set up some sort of Einstein Rosen Bridge(or a wormhole, to the uninitiated) to have a glimpse of the future and see? This was agreed, although there were some worries about causality etc. TMFTG pledged to help
Ares returns to Olympus, requesting that all of his Ares clones return as well. When they arrive, they all see another glimpse of the alien ships, accelerating to Earth. Jessie is there too, helping load up more arriving depowered prometheans who have responded to the request of Joshua and Seth to use Olympus as a safe haven. Even the dying Masada has arrived.  Ares explains his plan to Joshua and he agrees to help, only to be interrupted by the ever annoying Professor Thorne … who agrees with the plan, turns the station back over to Joshua’s control and helps with the project – father and son working together at last. The bridge is opened and they see open warfare between the aliens and an army of re-empowered prometheans.

Meanwhile, Seth arrives to examine the source of the light and realising that he cannot stop it, he enters the light and feels instant peace and euphoria. He floats up into the skies, bathed in the light – like a God! He meets the alien fleet in the upper atmosphere, just as the probes are landing on Earth, disembarking hundreds of 20’ tall manga-armoured glowing white alien warriors with energy lances and massive gun gloves. In the light he meets their leader, a humanoid who looks his absolute double. A hand is extended to him and he realises this might be his … father? The pair descend in the column of light as the world looks on – invasion or conversion, imminent.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Prometheus Institute Ep 1.5 – Pennville

Prometheus Institute Ep 1.5 – Pennville

This session was very different from the others in the game. It took the form of a flashback into the late 1980s (1989 to be precise) and formed the revelation of what, exactly, the Pennville Incident was and why Tempest went rogue (amongst other things). It was, essentially, a good bit of campaign exposition turned into a game session. The conceit was that the players knew that certain truths had to occur – something happened at Pennville, Tempest did go rogue, certain characters had to survive etc. – but beyond that, the gloves were off. This included ‘the secret’ that has been eluding everyone since the start of the game. I didn’t even know what it was. That was left in the hands of the players.

So, our cast of characters was:
Professor Thorne (played by the player of Joshua Thorne) – genius, visionary and creator of gods
Tempest (played by the player of Seth Adams) – the most powerful woman in the world
Weapon Two (played by the player of Project Ares) – newly spawned clone super soldier
The Lone Gunman (played by the player of Thomas) – conspiracy theorist extraordinaire

The first scene was a recap of the end of the previous game, with The Lone Gunmen telling Thomas, as he kneels in a square in Jo’burg surrounded by a guard of power-armoured Project Ares clones, that this all started in Pennville…

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey

Pennville is a small town in New Mexico, next to Thorne’s experimental area – jovially dubbed ‘Area 50’ by the locals. Think the town that gets trashed in ‘Thor’? We start the game with Tempest having a drink in a dirty bar, the Gunman driving into the town in his battered old dodge dragging his silver trailer, Weapon Two moving towards the town in a green bubbling tube in the back of a secured lorry with a military guard and Professor Thorne in his underground base doing experiments

Tempest puts some music on the juke box and is immediately chatted up by two sweaty fat truckers. She uses her superspeed to just keep out of their reach but they are persistent in their advances and begin to become quite abusive. Before she has to resort to violence, a cowboy enters the bar and flashing a badge and gun at his hip sees off the truckers. He has a small girl with him. He introduces himself as Jason Meyer and his daughter Jessica (known to us as Agent Orange and Jessie Meyer, Joshua’s fiancĂ©). He chats with Tempest, joking with her that his job is as an exterminator – its unclear whether he is being serious or not…

Weapon Two is unloaded and unpacked into the Area 50 underground base. He is a perfect physical specimen, cloned by Prof Thorne from Tempest’s DNA. He stands, naked, dripping in green goo and is rubbed down and oiled, given some black lyrca shorts for modesty. Thorne comes and inspects him and then sets him loose on some tests to see how he operates. Weapon Two proceeds to beat seven colours of crap out of multiple soldiers. At the same time Tempest arrives and furiously berates Thorne for daring to bring that abomination into the base! She is the greatest weapon the USA has ever had and why did they need … this. Weapon Two asks for more soldiers to beat and Thorne suggests that Tempest should spar with his newest creation. Tempest powers up her plasma powers – setting off alarms in the base and in Pennville as a security precaution – and the two supers battle, first with fists, then with slabs of concrete and then with plasma bursts. In the end Weapon Two beats Tempest, shocking her to the core as she realises that she is not power incarnate and is instead beatable! At the end of the fight, the FBI agent who brought Weapon Two to the base demands to speak with Thorne. Thorne is livid as he set Tempest against Weapon Two to prove that his original creation was the better one, and she lost!

Back in Pennville, the Lone Gunman meets with his lover, Dr Thorne (Professor Thorne’s wife) and over dinner they discuss the matter at hand – what is the reason for the activation of Weapon Two and the inevitable order to use the genetic trigger to close down the Prometheans as the rest of the world embraces Promethean disarmament. The Gunman also accesses his man on the inside of the Area 50 base and receives a video taping of the battle between Tempest and Weapon Two.
The FBI agent, Agent Cantebury, orders Professor Thorne to use the genetic trigger to close down Tempest, as the first decommissioning of the USA’s prometheans. Thorne was less than impressed and the two argued. Cantebury laid it on the line – Tempest is closed down or Thorne goes to jail as a traitor! Joshua sits, aged 5, in the corner of the room and plays with the computer and equipment he made himself…

Thorne summons Tempest and starts off still angry about her loss to Weapon Two. Thorne confronts Tempest and tries to convince her that it is in her best interests to surrender to the government programme and be depowered. Tempest does not take this easily and shakes Thorne around a bit in a fit of fury. Thorne tries to convince her that she absolutely must stand down but with her belief in Thorne and the government shaken to the core, Tempest flees the base and heads into Pennville. In the corner of the room, Joshua has been experimenting and he shows his father that he has created an antidote to the genetic trigger. He can neutralise it. Thorne is not pleased by this, rather he is intimidated that his five year old genius son can out-think him and sends him to bed!

Agent Cantebury goes to Weapon Two and hands him a titanium tipped cestus embedded with an injector filled with the genetic trigger. He orders him to neutralise Tempest … and if he cannot neutralise her, kill her.

Tempest flees to the bar where this time she is seen by the Lone Gunman. They know of each other and they sit and drink. The Gunman reveals the nature of Weapon Two as part of a wider government cloning scheme to remove the Prometheans. Tempest is livid and is ready to head off to the Factor II base (where Weapon Two was made) and destroy it when the police and local army reserves arrive to bring her in. Surrounding the bar they demand she comes quietly … which amazingly she does! The Gunman is joined by Agent Orange who comments that he has just lit the blue touchpaper. Orange is also appraised of the situation and complains that he has been put out of a job (as he is the promethean with the power draining power!). The gunman also explains that they cannot let Thorne close down the Prometheans … but he does not reveal why. They decide to team up and head towards the base in Orange’s car, with Jessie asleep in the back seat.

Professor Thorne confronts his wife, Dr Thorne about her activities and her affair with … someone. He harasses her until she admits that she has been sleeping with ‘that reporter that follows you everywhere’ (i.e. the Lone Gunman). Thorne is generally abusive to her after she accuses him of caring more about his creations than his son, slapping her once and she flees the scene, vowing revenge. (This sounds like quite a trite scene, but it was very powerful and reminiscent of 80s dramas like Dallas! ‘What’s he ever done for you that I haven’t?’,’ He makes me feel like a woman!’ etc.)

Professor Thorne marches to Weapon Two and orders him directly to kill the Lone Gunman!

Cut scene to Dr Thorne leaning over a sleeping Joshua and injecting him with the Prometheus trigger, turning him into a promethean. Her dreams of marriage have been shattered by her husbands constant arrogance and hubris. She will show him that her ideals of giving the world the power of the gods, not just weapons, can live on in their son.

Tempest arrives with the police and army and seeks some level of conciliation with Professor Thorne. She asks him to tell her that everything will be OK after the treatment. He tells her she will be fine. She tells him that ‘after today, nothing will ever be the same again’ and then proceeds to incinerate a handful of army and police officers with her plasma powers.

Alarms sound in the base and Pennville and the Lone Gunman and Agent Orange agree to put their foot down!

Weapon Two rushes to attack the furious Tempest and engages her as she moves to destroy the labs in Area 50. They fight again, but this time Tempest is not as focused as before. The Gunman and Orange arrive and Orange intervenes, using his powers to ‘shut down’ Weapon Two but he is scuppered when Agent Cantebury orders his men to open fire on anything and everything! Weapon Two then gains the edge and plunges his spiked hand into Tempest, injecting her with it’s payload. However, instead of losing her powers, she begins to overload, spewing plasma energy around her and obviously about to go nova!

Orange tells the Gunman to get Jessie out of here! Weapon Two seeks to stop him, as he is still under orders to kill him. He shoots out the engine block, just as the car gets outside and confronts the Gunman. The Gunman avoids being executed by revealing that if he dies his secret dies with him. And what is that secret? Well, that was left to the players to decide – and they decided that the mumblings of the late Project Ares #56 before he died – that they had all come from the stars – was true. The Prometheans were borne from alien technology, gathered at Area 51 and the Gunman knew that the aliens were coming! Weapon Two was floored by this information – the revelation giving his tabula rasa existence some meaning, and with the Gunman’s promise that he would help him find the aliens amongst the stars ringing in his ears the pair leave the base with Jessie in tow!

Meanwhile Professor Thorne tries vainly to persuade Tempest to allow him to stop her from exploding, but he tries anyway and begins to reverse the process … only for Agent Cantebury to shoot him across the forehead and knock him out. As she overpowers, Tempest confronts Cantebury and he reveals that he put the overpower serum in the gauntlet because the world had to know that the Prometheans were too dangerous to be kept active. Sacrificing himself and Pennville would mean that the USA, through the Weapon Two project at Factor II, would have the only Prometheans on the planet and their dominance would be guaranteed! He has won and then his head explodes as Agent Orange shoots him.

Tempest tells Orange to get Thorne out of here, but Orange pulls him closer and tells her to just let go. He believes in her and what she believes in and he will look out for her. Using his neutralising powers, he throws up a power dampening shield around himself and Thorne and Tempest explodes.

Dr Thorne is vapourised as she stands over her son. Joshua is not vapourised however as his new power kicks in unconsciously and he teleports away. Area 50 and Pennville are destroyed in the explosion. It’s huge and cataclysmic but when the dust settles, Agent Orange and Professor Thorne are safe in the epicentre and Tempest is on her knees, clutching her stomach. Something has changed… has the explosion triggered some latent alien DNA? Is she pregnant?

And that’s where we left it, except for a wrap up of the consequences of the session.

Professor Thorne is taken back to civilisation and proceeds to take up the government order to decommission the Prometheans, establishing the Prometheus Institute to look after those that remain. He may even notice that his wife is dead. May.

The seeds of the rivalry between Joshua and his father have been sewn and now we know where Joshua got his powers from. We assumed it was his father, but it was in fact his dead mother.

Jessie is reconciled with her father, Agent Orange, but not before she has spent time with her two new ‘Uncles’ – explaining away Jessie’s ‘Secret Agent Brat’ distinction.
Agent Orange’s efforts to save Thorne allow him to become his primary security consultant whilst also maintaining contact with Tempest

The Lone Gunman works in the shadows, looking for evidence that the aliens are coming.

Weapon Two works along official lines, eventually becoming The Man in the Government (!) – his alliance with the Lone Gunman as strong as ever. He oversees the rebranding of Factor II into BioDynamics and the eventual program of supersoldiers which will be Project Ares. Officially, they are the government’s weapon against the Prometheans, but the Man in the Government knows they will have another role – against the alien invasion when it happens. He cannot leave his hatred of Tempest behind though and this is what drives him to frame her son as a terrorist and prior to that, send him to kill her!

Tempest, of course, goes on to set up the organisation of renegade Prometheans, fighting against the governments that would crush her powers and the person who would do this – Professor Thorne.

And in the skies, far off, the aliens forseen by the Lone Gunmen begin to move to recover their children and punish those that would harm them… but that, gentle reader, is Act 2.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Smallville 1.4

Smallville 1.4

The game kicks off with Thomas running through the streets of Johannesburg’s financial district, jumping between shadows as time warps around him. He is clutching a container. He exits the streets into a square only to find it flooded with lights from arclights. He is hit by a three-pronged missile and falls to the ground, unconscious. Around him, the armoured men who were pursuing him raise their visors, to reveal multiple versions of Project Ares!

48 hours earlier…

Thomas steps off a Thorne Enterprises plane as it pulls to a stop in a South African airstrip. He opens his orders – to find and infiltrate the Renegade base, but not to engage the renegades. The source of his orders is, as always, unknown.

In the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem, Seth offers his services to the ‘Man in the Government’ as a symbol of national security. The Man arranges for Seth to appear at a press conference with the President himself, on the lawn of the White House no less! Everyone around the table reckons it’s a set-up but Seth is a headstrong young man and agrees to it.

Joshua seeks out Seth and they attempt to patch things up. They talk, with a great degree of tension, regarding their actions over the last few weeks. Joshua wishes to get Seth back into the Institute and he does so but under Seth’s terms that they work together, without any lies between them. With this new air of honesty, Seth asks about Joshua’s part in the disappearance of Professor Thorne (in 1.1) and he admits that he asked Ares to distract him with a former lover.

[Cut Scene] Many governments around the world debate the attack on Jerusalem and many insist that a military strike is made against the renegades, when they are found.

Jessie is leaving work at BioDynamics. She is approached by Project Ares (#57 – the numbers are going to be important soon!) who speaks to her – ‘Alpha C’ and she hands over a disc. Ares reads through the disc, which holds all of the information BioDynamics holds on Project Ares. It tells him that the project intends to put a mind-controlling super soldier on every street corner, how better in this day and age to control order when crimes come in thoughts and ideas rather than deeds. However, since Weapon II, the second iteration of Project Ares, there has been a flaw in the process which BioDynamics have been unable to remove. The more Ares’ are activated, the more imbalanced they are, eventually dying. The megalomania suffered by the various clones has in the past caused them to be shot like dogs by BioDynamics staff. Distressed by this, Ares uses his connection with LabX to upload this information into the Ares matrix, making all iterations after him aware of their history and the attitude that BioDynamics has over them.

[This was a NUCLEAR level piece of player narrative. Totally and utterly changing one aspect of the game. Ares has always been down as the secret police bad guys. Now, they were clearly something very different … and I had signalled their mass activation in the oh-so-clever prelude. Hoisted on my own storytelling petard. I retreated to the bathroom for a small regroup at this point!]

[Cutscene] Masada tends the injured in Jerusalem. He is clearly dying from radiation poisoning.

Thomas is in a bar on Johannesburg, meeting with a local mercenary who he gets the information out of about the location of the Renegade base. The mercenaries agree to take him close, but not to the base. Too dangerous!

Joshua goes to Jessie and tells her that he is going to sell off BioDynamics, so that he cannot be associated with their actions. She does not take it well, as she has dedicated her career to the organisation. In so doing, Joshua also challenges the mind control placed on him by Ares to consider BioDynamics central to his business. He succeeds and the mind control breaks, with appropriate nose bleeding. Joshua tries to get Jessie to see the flaws in BioDynamic’s methods, but she cannot see that. He suggests that she might be being mind controlled but she assures him she is not … and in so doing nearly reveals her ‘secret’ (more on that very soon!)

Stress relief scene for Seth in the Thorne Towers ‘Danger Room’. He is called by the ‘Man in the Government’ and told that the press conference is on. He chooses to travel to it in a Thorne Enterprises limo, rather than fly.

Ares (#57) has massive psychic feedback and has another ‘looking through the eyes of another’ vision. He is watching a monitor with Agent Orange on it. The voice talks about something called ‘The Pandora Protocol’ and orders Agent Orange to bring him the girl straight away. Orange baulks and the voice ‘insists’. The screen is turned off and in the blackness of the glass Ares #57 sees the face of Ares #56 in his ‘base of world domination’! Ares uses his time manipulation to warp across the South Africa. Game on!

Thomas ghosts through the security around the base and slips past the guards, finally gathering the database of Prometheans that the Renegades have gathered. He also picks up a container, which holds a synthesised blood for one Meyer, J. Jessie’s blood? What does that do?

[Cutscene: In Toronto, a deactivated Promethean is beaten to death by an angry mob, for the crime of being a Promethean]

Seth arrives at his press conference and is lead into a green room, to await the signal that he is to come out to the President. Unbeknownst to him, the President is engaging in a ‘fire and brimstone’ speech about Prometheans being the downfall of mankind and announcing that BioDynamics is ready to activate the true American supersoldiers, Project Ares, to protect the country from the Promethean threat. Watching the announcement at Thorne Towers, Joshua realises that Seth has been set up. Seth exits the Green Room and is predictably announced as a renegade! Secret service men have weapons trained upon Seth, but Seth seems unphased and does not want to be party to his nonsense! Time stops! Seth is removed from the situation by Ares #63, one of the new self-aware Ares that have been activated. Seth joins with Joshua.

Joshua uses the power of AVRIL, the Institute computer, to intercept the President’s announcement. He outs the entire situation around the supersoldiers, the set-up of Seth and the manipulation of the truth that has been going on around the Prometheans. He explains that the reaction the world is having to the actions of Tempest, like the Toronto killing, is exactly what she wants. She wants a war and mankind is giving her one on a plate. Because of this, he no longer feels that the Prometheus Institute can remain as part of the United States government and he petitions the United Nations to make it a special directorate, a safe place for all peaceful Prometheans. He also publically divests himself of all ownership and connection with BioDynamics, at the same time as the President is activating whole-cloth, Project Ares.

Meanwhile in South Africa, Tempest intercepts the fleeing Thomas and demands that he returns the canister of blood to her. Rather than flee, or submit, Thomas announces that he is sick of running and being talked down to … and blinds Tempest with his shadow powers. Tempest fires back blind, using her blast power, wrecking the area. Project Ares (#57) arrives in the nick of time and aids Thomas in escaping the raging Promethean. The two part company, Ares heading towards his destiny at the Renegade base, Thomas on his way to Johannesburg.

Back in the USA, Joshua and Seth use AVRIL (and more than a few spy satellites etc.) to monitor the situation and pick up the energy spike when Tempest uses her unique blast power (We have established that each superpower exists only once: one teleporter, one flier etc. That’s one of the departures that the non-Promethean Project Ares enjoys). Joshua teleports himself and Seth to the scene, ready to take down Tempest once and for all.

When they arrive, Tempest is in her usual bombastic yet furious mode. She mocks them, saying that whatever they do here, she has won because Agent Orange will have Jessie by now and her blood holds the secret for reactivating all of the deactivated Prometheans. An army of angry, neutered Prometheans at her disposal. Jessie is the ‘Pandora’ of the Pandora Protocols, Bwahahahahaa! Hearing this, Joshua teleports to his fiance’s side whilst Seth squares off against his mother! Seth and Tempest exchange titanic blows. It’s an epic battle for the ages! It swings one way and then another. Tempest has Seth on the ropes and then grandstands, only to find Seth’s right hook connecting with her jaw! Sending her flying back into the dusty veldt, Tempest is aghast that someone has actually hurt her and then she realises in horror, as Seth rises above her, floating in the air, that her son is more powerful than she is … and she runs! (Complications mean that Tempest is having a little ‘Dalek’ break for a few episodes!)

Ares #57 travels to the Renegade base and waltzes into the base, as he looks exactly like Ares #56. However, the security system eventually notice and he takes on the human guards, in a scene not dissimilar to the ‘Lobby scene’ in the Matrix. A complication means that #56 knows #57 is coming…

Thomas arrives in the financial area of Jo’burg and finds US army trucks on the streets, disembarking the masked versions of Ares we saw in the prelude. He runs!

Josh uses AVRIL to track Jessie’s BioDynamic ID badge. He teleports into the middle of the main BioDynamics lab, not without any of the Ares clones in the green glowing tubes. Jessie is having a raging argument with Mr Olivier, screaming that he is an idiot and that the Ares clones are not stable! They aren’t even reacting as they are supposed to (who knew, remember… NUCLEAR narration!). Joshua smacks Olivier in the jaw, sending him crashing into equipment. He tries to teleport out, but his power is turned off. Agent Orange appears and demands that Jessie comes with him. An emotional tug of love occurs between Jessie, her father and her lover. Joshua stands between Orange and Jessie. Orange pulls a gun! Then another mind control happens and Jessie stands between Joshua and Orange (Ares has programmed Jessie to always protect Joshua). Orange says that he just needs her blood, dead or alive …. And HE breaks the mind control from Ares#56!! (Are you all keeping track here … because we all had headaches by this point). At this point, Joshua decided to end this and narrated the destruction of the BioDynamics lab as the three (Joshua, Orange and Jessie) teleport out of the lab. What happened to Mr Olivier? Who knows… (OK, I know, but that’s not the point!) LabX has been destroyed and no more Ares can be made!

Back in Jo’burg, we see Thomas being tasered down by the guards, but he has used his techopathy and the tazer didn’t really work! (Clever sod!). Thomas rises up and states that he is utterly sick of being messed around and running from people. He creates shadows and then (new SFX time!) the shadows rise up and begin attacking the guards, immobilising them.

Back in the Renegade Base, Ares #56 confronts Ares #57. This fight is hard to communicate. Two characters with the same memories, the same powers (Time control and mind control) and the Mastermind distinction means that it was something akin to the final confrontation between Neo and Mr Anderson crossed with the battle between Merlin and Minerva in the Sword in the Stone! In the end, as the epic battle tears Renegade base apart, the battle swings towards #57 when Ares arrives, punching a hole through the base (because he can!). Ares #56 realises he is defeated and falls to the floor, catatonic as his world view dissolves around him. Seth has no problems with this as he executes #56!

Joshua, Orange and Jessie have fled the destroyed LabX, as anti-Promethean martial law breaks out across the USA, powered in part by the conflicted Project Ares clones.

Seth and Ares retreat from the exploding Renegade base, in the knowledge that #56 is dead and Tempest is beaten, for now.

Thomas has manifested great power and now the lights around the square begin to turn off, one by one, until there is only one left. He reveals the outline of a man smoking a cigarette – ‘the Lone Gunman’ who acted as a predecessor to Thomas.

“I suppose you find this all a bit confusing boy? Well let me tell you the truth … it all started in a place called Pennville.”

(And so ends the first act. Next time, we will flashback to the 1980s and the Pennville incident – the time when Weapon II was activated and Tempest became a rogue. The players will play Tempest, Weapon II, Professor Thorne and the Lone Gunman. These characters were partially created during character generation and have links to the modern day game. Some will have death immunity and everyone will have objectives that they have to try to achieve. What happens in the past will have an impact on how things develop in this increasingly fractious modern day society)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Episode Three

The session opens with the scene that we left last time – in the Gaza Strip, Seth and Ares square off against Arabic prometheans, Saladin (a telekentic) and Kibbutz (a duplicator). Kibbutz, split many times, opens fire on the media crew and Seth tries to protect them. He uses his invulnerable body to block the bullets, tries to reflect them back at Kibbutz but is then outflanked by Kibbutz’s many bodies. He flies swiftly to protect the press. He then slams Kibbutz and puts him through a wall (stressing him out). Ares tries to tackle Saladin, slowing time to allow him to scale the wall to the TK. Saladin uses his TK to blast Ares off the building and crashes him to the ground (injured stress). Saladin then uses his TK to pull a wall down on Ares (stressing him out). Seth flies at Saladin, ready to take revenge but he too us batted away by the telekentic, throwing him through a building. Saladin gathers his brother and retreats…

(This was our first full on super-on-super multiple character battle. Worked really well…)

Back in the US, Joshua and Thomas watch the horror of the battle unfold in the media, they discuss the personalities of Seth and Ares (providing stress relief for Thomas who had a run in with them last session) and then try to work out just how they are going to spin Ares’ presence – and ruminate on why Seth had accepted the invitation of the Israeli government. Joshua is particularly conflicted by his continued support of BioDynamics and Lab X, considering their concentration on the Ares programme. He ends the scene saying he has ‘made up his mind’ but as to what he is uncertain.

In Israel, Ares and Seth are rushed to a hospital. Ares calls Joshua and asks him to teleport to Lab X and pick up some regeneration compounds (for Stress Relief) but Joshua REFUSES! Ares persuades him that rather than ‘out’ Lab X and BioDynamics as a shady government operation, he should consider them a central part of his business – and plants a subliminal trigger to that effect. Joshua decides he is right and brings the compounds to Ares. However, (complication) the Israeli secret services are listening to this conversation and now know that the USA has a secret super-soldier creation facility. As Joshua teleports through Lab X, he avoids detection and manages to snag a file on Mr Olivier, the head of BioDynamics.

Seth calls Thomas and asks for him to download all available information about his adversaries (setting up his inclusion of his resources in future scenes)
Thomas confronts Joshua and demands that he keep things straight with Jessie (continuing his mission to keep Joshua squeaky clean!) He arms him with chocolates and white roses and sends him to patch things up!

Meanwhile, back in Israel Seth leaves to hunt down Saladin. When he leaves, Masada arrives, followed by a press pack, trashing the hospital and seeking our Seth to get revenge on him for breaking his force field in the United Nations building. He sees Ares and grabs him, pinning him to a wall, demanding he tells him where Seth is – but Ares uses mind control to make him back off and instead of attacking Seth, he sends him to kill Saladin.

When he uses his mind control, he whites out, having a vision through the eyes of someone beating seven colours of snot out of Professor Thorne, demanding that he reveal ‘the secret’. On coming back around he rushes after Masada, is joined by Agent Orange and they, along with the press, get into an Israeli military helicopter to hunt down the rogue prometheans.

As they leave, a Kibbutz replicant is seen in the hospital with a bomb in a bag…

Back in the USA, Thomas meets with an out of work Paige Hopkins (the reporter from Ep 1 who Joshua got sacked). Thomas offers her work – investigating Joshua. She enthusiastically waives her fee. Thomas wants the juicy, secret stuff, not just the starlets. Paige agrees. Thomas also wants to know ‘what he did with his Dad?’!
Worldwide, there is a media explosion as Masada returns in Israel.

In the helicopter, Agent Orange has a very guarded conversation with Ares, trying to feel him out over the complicated situation that is unfurling between the Prometheans, the US Government, the Renegades and other factions such as Prometheans Unbound and BioDynamics. He suggests that those who look like ‘white hats’ might not be that pure, and those cast in the role of terrorists might have other, more acceptable views. He tries to recruit Ares, but comes away with the idea that Ares is recruited … when he isn’t.

[Upcoming crucial scene]

Joshua arrives, by the door at Jessie’s flat and finds her fresh out of the shower, dressed in a towel. She asks him in, but the atmosphere is frosty. Joshua makes one of the worst attempts to say ‘sorry’ that has ever been made by a man, putting his foot in it time after time. Jessie lambasts him for leading her on this sorry dance since she was 15 years old. In order to convince her that he means it this time, Jessie demands some commitment – so Joshua proposes!

No sooner have they embraced, does Joshua suggest that she leaves her position at BioDynamics (By this time, we have worked out that Joshua may well be considering cutting his rogue division loose). However, as he does this the subliminal control of Ares kicks in and he refutes the need to cut it loose as it is ‘an integral part of Thorne Industries’. Ares is clearly protecting Lab X!

He then, in almost relationship suicide, tries to get Jessie to admit who drove her onto national TV to out him as a sex addict but she resists, distracting him with a dropped towel and come-to-bed eyes…

In Israel, Seth discovers the rogue Promethean’s lair and takes on both Saladin and Kibbutz at the same time, dive bombing into the camp. A couple of complications negate the surprise and show Kibbutz communicating with Agent Tempest. Saladin blocks the dive bomb with his TK, but the comms array is destroyed. Seth then uses his super-strength to punt Saladin out of the scene and turns his attention to Kibbutz … only to find Tempest has arrived using superspeed. Seth’s mother BLASTS him with her energy blast and totals him, knocking him away (stressed out). She gathers her men and leaves the camp.

Meanwhile, Saladin sails through the air, past the trajectory of the helicopter. Masada’s ‘kill Saladin’ suggestion kicks in and he grabs the controls of the helicopter, chasing him down as he lowers himself with TK. Masada is using the helicopter as a battering ram, driven by the mind control. Ares stops time prior to the impact and gets himself and Agent Orange off the helicopter before it impacts. A complication kills all of the non-Prometheans on the ‘copter as it slams into Saladin. Saladin is battered and stunned (stressed out) and Masada walks out of the flames, ready to fulfil the order to kill. Ares stands by and lets him smash Saladin’s head into a pulp.

As this happens, Ares whites out again and looks through the eyes of someone talking to Tempest, who tells them that the time has come and the device is in place…

Ares, Seth, Agent Orange and Masada come together again and grab a jeep to make their way back toward home base in Jerusalem. Masada doesn’t overcome the mind control which stops him from attacking Seth.

In the USA, the ‘Man from the Government’ meets with Thomas and they discuss the plans of Prometheans Unbound – a movement dedicated to removing Prometheans from Government control and one that both the Man and Thomas secretly belong to. They discuss why Seth was doing government work and why Ares was there as well. The Man explains that Seth is the media golden child – if he does well, he cannot become more popular and if he does badly he comes back in a body bag and that’s fine too. Ares is another matter – he is being feted as a god in some areas after his return from the dead – a public humiliation like this will help their cause. Something doesn’t sound right for Thomas and he realises that The Man is lying to him. Maybe his beliefs are not wholly in line with those of Prometheans Unbound?

In the background, an agent of Mr Olivier is covering the meeting with a telephoto lens (complication)

Ares, Seth and Masada stand on a hill, overlooking Jerusalem. Thomas is watching the screens in his base. Joshua returns from his night with Jessie to his base and looks at his monitor wall. All programming is interrupted by Tempest who announces that now is the time for Prometheans to ascend to their rightful place and that they are sick of being persecuted and used as weapons. They have asked, now they will show the world their power.

Jerusalem explodes in a nuclear fireball!

Yeah, I went there…

Tag Scene: Joshua looks at the dozens of requests for a comment from the Institute regarding the attack. He sighs and teleports himself and Jessie to a secluded Swiss retreat.

Tag Scene: Seth stalks the irradiated hell of Jerusalem, rescuing people and showing off his new Invulnerability SFX.

Tag Scene: Thomas is in his lair, making notes on the directors of Thorne Industries.

Tag Scene: Ares plays the announcement from Tempest over again and again, not looking at the woman, but rather looking at the shadowy figure behind her. The highly familiar shadowy figure…

Monday, February 20, 2012

Smallville Episode 2

Pre-title Scene

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!
[And breathe!]
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…