Project Aphelion Solo Play #024: The Writing on the Wall

Time to get back to the main story! This time, we’re quickly rolling into the new month, checking what’s new in the world, and starting our offensive against the blood mage. Gotta get Chloe’s girlfriend back, after all!


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Faction Layer, 1 March 2056

A new month means a couple of things: first, calculating the Faction expenses. To not waste anybody’s time, let me just do it in a shorthand.

TomorrowTonightChloe
Necessities120010001100
Gear Maintenance300010001100
Contacts Upkeep1300800600
Luxuries0400700
Total Monthly450032003500
Scenarios Played420
Cost of Scenarios900032000
Total Faction Expenses23,400 = 4 cash payouts + 3,400c
Cash Left14 cash payouts + 1795c

State of the World

Time to move the world forward! Let me quickly roll and check where different Factions are and how the metaplot is building itself.

  1. Aztechnology was working on a retaliatory strike against Zacualtipan. They’ve rolled a 3 and their plan has failed – maybe because they’re at Familiarity 10 and the diplomatic talks have smoothed things over. The rolled effect suggests that they should raise the Familiarity with another Faction by 1, so… why not with us – now that we made contact with Raul, rescued Chloe, and took a stand against their hated d’Venescu? Their behaviors and assets suggest they should focus on establishing a trade route between the Shadowmarket and the Aztlan Sector. Let them have fun.
  2. Henequen is still doing whatever. The dragon plays a long game and has no luck with dice.
  3. Cutters are still focusing on making money in the area and it looks slow and steady is their main approach. That’s good – Wheeler’s got more time for personal life.
  4. Hellhounds were trying to bolster their ranks in case of a fall-out with the Cutters and they’ve failed! I think the young bikers realized they’re not that much into risking their lives on the street all of a sudden! The effect of their failure is raising the rating of another Factions asset by 1, so… odds, Phase gets her team back – evens, they join another gang instead! And we’re landed on a 7, so I think the prodigal children went where their team captain wanted them. This leaves Salazar in a pickle – not only he expended resources to get the team and failed, he also lost a bit of his face – not being able to convince a bunch of teenagers to join his cause? That’s not looking good in a resume. His best bet is now to embrace the exclusive growth behavior in the scientific/technical focuses and run a project to bring his faction a lot of resources.
  5. Doc Harmon’s clinic operates as usual, and any developments are still ahead of us.
  6. Crowley continues his project of protecting Best Western and by extension, Chloe. Good for us.
  7. Phase is still on her bug spirit quest, but she’s probably relieved to have her bikers back.
  8. Ancients are still focusing on real estate and establishing their spy network.
  9. ALOHA, whose forces were somewhat depleted by our Faction, got left with only the Barracks (and the default 20 Extras inside). They’d love to launch an attack against us or the Cutters, but so far, the only thing they could achieve (and they succeeded!) is protecting themselves. Any attack against them will be at -2 to the rolls. As an effect, they’ve managed to raise another Faction’s Asset by 1; they’re connected with 4 Factions, and the dice called for Green Bishops – who from now on have a Crew R4 – looks like they’ve recruited some ALOHA operative for themselves! Now, ALOHA needs to focus on getting a new Crew, because as much as they’d love to retaliate, they have no crew to pull it off.
  10. Yakuza, for reasons yet unclear, is still infiltrating ALOHA – probably to destroy them from the inside.
  11. Green Bishops, now with a R4 Crew, are still looking for Chloe – however, as they recruited one of ALOHA’s operatives, they MUST know she was extracted from her hideout. They will be in contact and only after that we’ll see what they will do afterwards.
  12. Zacualtipan is steadily scheming along, still providing us with 3 points of focus for social projects.
  13. BBs are about as slow and steady about the trade and relationships as the Cutters – no gang business this month!
  14. Bug Spirits have succeeded at their project of acquiring a new asset, and with the effect of raising the rating of an existing asset by 1 – they got no assets at the moment, so I suppose they just gained one at R2. It’s a R2 Crew for their primary focus, scientific – looks like the Queen and her shaman managed to get their claws into something valuable. And I know a perfect project for them to run now: it’s called Mind Mining, and it coerces a target other-Faction Crew to provide intel for them… why not target Phase’s network of runners and start working against the runner who wants to destroy them?
  15. Hawai’ian Cutters have failed their Maneuvers project – or just decided it’s no longer necessary, in the effect lowering the Familiarity with another Faction by 1. Makes sense for it to be ALOHA, down to 4. The new project is going to be fixing that relationship – after all, they need to sell those guns to somebody, right?
  16. d’Venescu has failed his project of looking for Fayette – and realized that! As the effect of it, he reduced an Asset of another Faction by 1 – his failure should deplete his ally’s Assets, so from now on, Dzitbalchen’s Intelligence Center is only R1, not R2. Looks like the dragon grows more and more displeased with the blood mage’s progress. D’Venescu’s new project will be keeping up the Social Engineering for his Social Crew, but his Creative one should probably focus on finding Chloe instead!
  17. Dzitbalchen has succeeded at providing concealment to d’Venescu’s projects, which means we don’t really know what he’s doing. Scrap that ‘finding Chloe’ part -we’ll see what’s up when he succeeds or fails. The dragon has also gained a new R1 Asset, a R1 Fleet, which will allow him to do more things. He has also collected the intel he needed against his sister, so why wouldn’t he move to this as his new project? With a Fleet, he can strike against her.
  18. Alp Group has only just joined, and we’ll make their first project just a matter of growing their presence in the area. We’ll see where that goes.

To recap the stuff that matters to us:

  • Hellhounds lost their latest bet and will be in need of resources and potentially, help. Maybe we can use that for our advantage. (9 marks in 5 days)
  • Phase got her team back. (11 marks in 4 days)
  • Green Bishops learned about Chloe’s extraction and will be in contact. (9 marks in 7 days)
  • Bug Spirits have new assets. (12 marks in 4 days)
  • d’Venescu knows he can’t find Fayette they way he’s trying to do so, and he moves with a new plan that we know nothing about. (10 marks in 3 days)
  • Dzitbalchen wants to harm his sister, who is one of our allies. (10 marks in 6 days)

Looks like whatever d’Venescu had planned will land on March 3! Good thing we’re about to hit him before that, because the timing is tight and exciting!


The Writing on the Wall

On March 1st, Tonight is done with her project against d’Venescu’s creative team that was looking for Fayette, and Chloe is ready with her False Flag project. This was all to set up a Payout 3 Scenario of destroying a R2 Crew and pretend Aztechnology has done it. As I can’t decide what approach I want to take to remove them from the game (Tomorrow really doesn’t like killing people, neither does Chloe – Tonight doesn’t have a human-like morality, she’s a spirit), I will just roll for the best focus/approach to take, and go from there.

Rolling 3d10 and picking mid, we land on a 7 – a technical approach! Definitely not what I’d have chosen for myself, but a perfect opportunity for Chloe to shine. For a secondary focus/approach, I’ve rolled a 6 – a social one.

Looks like we’ll be, after all, connecting the social disgrace with a network assault – which makes a perfect sense for a scenario prepared specifically by an agent and a hacker, doesn’t it? If Tomorrow wanted to break in and blow the place up, should have taken an active part in the preparations. I don’t know what reasons the Crew has to help d’Venescu, so I’ll roll 3d10 and pick mid on the ‘What For’ table – apparently, it’s a:

A Matter of Principle – they are motivated by a clash of values, perceptions, faith, or by plain prejudice. They might change their ways after an appropriate Social Scenario with Payout equal to 10 – Familiarity.

Looks that they’re genuinely buying into the whole blood magic rituals and the ancient Aztec religion! This makes one angle quite possible – they probably have a lot of incriminating materials connecting them to d’Venescu, who is already (dis)regarded as a failure, a fraud, and possibly a dangerous criminal.

Here’s the idea for the scenario, then:

  • a break-in into the crew’s quarters ahead of their next book tour meeting, to gain access to their gear / computer network.
  • a network assault scene, where Chloe gets to dig out all that precious data
  • a social Finale with the utter disgrace of the crew.

Three simple modules for a Payout 3 Scenario. Let’s generate it!


Scenario Generation

Payout: 3 (removing a R2 Crew from d’Venescu’s Assets)
Legwork: three people taking part in it, so it gets 3 Resistance. Tomorrow, Sorcery, 5v4=4. Chloe, Hacking, 6v3=4. Tonight, Impersonation, 5v5=4. Total: 12, 9 net. All done on March 1st, Scenario attempted on March 2nd.
Threat Rating: Starting at 2 for R2 Crew. Scenario rolls 3v3=3, adding +2 to TR. 9 net marks reduce TR by 5, getting it all way down to 0. This is not a hard Scenario and we have an overwhelming force, honestly. But we take zero chances with it.
Scenario Rating: 3. Default Actors: R2.

Free Modules: 3 + 3 Passages
Free Scenes: 3
Build Points: 3. We’ll be putting Treasuries to get more.

Module 1 is the hotel room in which the Defense Crew (a writer and his assistant) live while in Denver. It is a social space, but it won’t matter. Because we need access to their personal commlinks, we have to hit it while they’re there, preferably asleep. We’ll make it a Guard Duty scene (1/3), with a free R2 Investigative/Technical Actor (a camera) keeping a digital eye on the place. The Main Task is to get inside and access the commlink of the writer, so Chloe can hack it in the next module/scene. Because we need a challenge, we’ll spend a BP (1/3 BP) to make the writer a R2 Actor as well – he and his assistant they will be asleep, but if the concealment is broken, shit goes down.
A Passage connects this to Module 2: Operations Module (1/3).

Module 2 is the writer’s commlink – basically, only Chloe will be able to do anything in there, as she needs to succeed at breaking the security in an Offense scene (2/3) with the commlink’s operational system working as a R2 Technical/Investigative Defense Actor. It can’t be too easy, so I’ll add a R2 Technical/Warfare program as an extra Actor protecting the system – this one focusing on destroying anybody attempting the hack (2/3 BP). This is a forbidden space, and if the intrusion gets detected, the system automatically calls for Reinforcements (3/3 BP).
A Passage connects it to Module 3: Treasury (2/3) and another to Module 4: Finale (3/3).

Module 3 is a Treasury with the extra intel we can extract from the hotel room – any notes, contacts, addresses. The Treasure comes with a free Hardpoint module in front of it – the electronic encryption of the Checkpoint scene, against the R2 Technical/Investigative encryption program. Due to TR=0, there is no extra Resistance there. In the Treasury scene, a free R2 Investigative/Technical Bot is going to keep track of any activity, and if not neutralized, will destroy the 2 Payout worth of intel. We net ourselves 2 BPs here (3/5).

Module 4 is the Finale (paying 1 BP to buy an extra module, 4/5 BP). The Finale scene happens in an open space with free access (which gains us a BP, 4/6). A free R2 Creative/Social Actor is the writer we’re about to discredit by publicly airing their blood magic laundry, for another BP bumped to R3 (5/6 BP). On his side, he also has 3 points of Resistance of the Finale. 1 BP goes to buy 10 Extras as the audience and witnesses to the event (6/6 BP) – what’s the point of exposing somebody if there’s nobody to tell the tale?


Preparations

I think we’re good. Each part of the Scenario has a clear lead between the three characters (break-in, hack, social), and I look forward to having a go with all of them. As always, the narrative will be dictated by dice rolls, and I think I’ll only write it after it’s all done and dusted. If you’re not into reading the numbers, skill all things in italics.


Playthrough!

TomorrowChloeTonight
SP / PI / PA8 / 4 / 25 / 3 / 25 / 3 / 2
MP / MI / MA8 / 4 / 28 / 6 / 37 / 5 / 3

T1:
Module 1: The Hotel. A R2 Investigative/Technical Camera vs Tomorrow in her Stealth suit, with Steven in tow. Chloe on the comms, Tonight on telepathic link. A sleeping R2 writer  there to notice things are afoot if they are afoot.

Scenario Complications: 3v3=2 /3

Offense:
Chloe: MA Overlay Bot Stealth (IT+1), 5v3=5 reducing Tomorrow’s difficulty.
Tomorrow: PA Stealth+1, 5v1=5 Conc. MA Electronic Warfare +1, 5v5=3 SP damage to the Camera (Conc. 4). PA Palming+1, 5v5=4 SP damage to the Camera (Conc. 3). MA Sorcery+1, 5v2=4 towards MT.
Steven: PA Concealment, 3v3=2 Res vs Lookouts.

Defense:
Camera: dealt 7 SP damage out of 4 in the pool – forced to restart and fix its glitches over the next half an hour.
Writer: concealment not broken, asleep.

MT 4/3 at the end of the interval, Offense wins.


Module 2: Tomorrow stole the commlink via levitation and plugged a cable into it, allowing Chloe to access the data through their communications link. Chloe is going to Hack the System – marks on that card will give her extra Actions, letting her shut down programs, copy data etc. Two R2 Defense Actors will be on the Lookout for her, and she needs to be Stealthy!

T2:
Scenario Complications: 3v3=3  +2 = 5/3. Rolling 3d10, picking mid minus 2 =  7-2 = 5, no complications this time!

Offense:
Chloe: MA Hack the System (Hacking+1), 6v3=5 free Actions in the system in the next interval -2 for total soak of the Defense. MA Hacking, 6v3=5 SP dmg vs Technical/Investigative program, 1 soak. MA Electronic Warfare+1, 5v3=3 Conc. in the system. MP 6/8

Defense:
Technical/Investigative: SP reduced to 0, reboots.
Technical/Warfare: Lookout, 1v5=1, reduces Chloe’s Conc. to 2.

Offense:
Chloe: MA IT+1, 5v3=5, turn off the restarting Investigative program for 4 (5-soak) actions. MA Job Well Done, MA IT, 5v3=5, turn off the Warfare program for 4 (5-soak) actions, 3 MP and SP regained. MA Software+1, 6v4=4 towards MT. MP 6/8

Defense: turned off.

Interval ends with MT 4/3 for the Offense, scene won.


Module 3: The Hardpoint + Treasury. Tomorrow basically just waits until her sister breaks the encryption on the data, then copies them to her commlink. In the Checkpoint, MT is only 2.

Offense:
Chloe: MA Electronic Warfare+1, 5v3=5 towards MT. MA Hacking+1, 6v4=6 SP dmg vs Defense Program, 1 soaked. PA (comb) TaB, 3v6=1, MP 6/8

Defense: rebooting, SP 0.

Interval ends with Offense’s MT 5/2. Hardpoint breached, time to rob the Treasury

Offense:
Chloe: MA Hacking, 6v5=3 towards MT. MA Electronic Warfare, 5v4=3 SP dmg vs Defense, 1 soaked. MA IT+1, 5v4=3 SP dmg vs Defense, 1 soaked.

Defense: rebooting, SP 0.

Interval ends with Offense’s MT 3/3.


Module 4: The Finale. A R3 Creative/Social Actor in the Defense (3 Clout, 3 Resistance, 2 automarks, 2 soak for Creative things; 2/2/1/1 for Social). Finale has Res 3. 10 Extras are a decoration. Familiarity matters, so apparently it’s 6 vs Defense.

Offense:
Chloe: MA (3 comb.) Hacking+1, 6v6=5 towards MT.
Tonight: MA (2 comb.) Stalling Tactics (Con+1), 5v2=4 > target’s Resolve, Defense forced to commit 2 MAs to listening to Tonight. MA Diplomacy+1, 5v8=1 towards MT.
Tomorrow: MA Sorcery+1, 5v7=3 towards MT. MA Investigation+1, 4v8=2 towards MT.

Defense:
stupefied, no mental actions to respond with. All they can do is leg it.

Interval ends with Offense’s MT 11/3, 8 net in the Finale. The Scenario is won. Told you I’m overprepared and take ZERO chances of failure in this Scenario.


March 2nd, 2056

‘Are you sure you can pull it off?’ asks Chloe, testing the comms. She cannot shake the bad feelings, and her sister’s flippant attitude doesn’t help the matters. She wishes she could be there in the hotel, physically connecting to the devices. However, Sarah vetoed that part of the plan from the beginning, and as they needed her to start the job, they had no other option but to agree. Not without an argument, of course – but faced with Sarah’s absolute refusal to let Chloe risk discovery, their options were limited.

‘Seriously, chill.’ Sarah’s voice is light and pleasant, not at all fitting the high-stakes operation. ‘I broke into better guarded places when I was in high school. And I knew nothing back then. Just be ready to do your part and let me worry about mine.’

The microcamera mounted on Sarah’s glasses shows an empty corridor of the hotel, with a series of unremarkable brown doors on each side. Chloe knows that her sister’s face doesn’t remind her at all right now, and in the magically fashioned uniform she’s a perfect copy of one of the cleaning staff. Sarah loiters around, dusting the doorframes, and paying attention to the camera in the hall. Once it turns the other direction, she swipes the access card with a lightning speed and gets inside the room so quickly that the video feed glitches for a second.

‘I’m sending you the floor plan. Be safe.’ With a few pushed buttons, Chloe sends the data to her sister’s display, hoping that they haven’t moved any furniture.

‘Got it, we’re good,’ confirms Sarah through the subvocal microphone. ‘I’ve left an illusion in the corridor, the camera shouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Now… Ah.’ The video feed focuses on a smaller camera in the dark room. Chloe wishes there was any light in there – while her eyes would be able to pick up the details, the feed is almost dark, with nothing but pixelated shadows and a small red dot. The shadows change as Sarah quietly moves across the space until she reaches the surveillance. It takes her a moment to restart and loop the device; it couldn’t be more than thirty seconds, but Chloe found herself holding her breath the whole time. The powerful exhale she lets out makes her sister chuckle. ‘I told you not to worry. I got this.’

The video feed changes as Sarah approaches the sleeping men. Chloe sees a dark shape raise from one of the nightstands and floats towards her; a sleek, narrow commlink, one of the Aztech’s older models. It lands on an almost-invisible hand – Sarah must have activated the masking properties of her suit and probably covered everything with more magic. A thin cable connects Sarah’s commlink to the new one, and for a moment, Chloe browses her sister’s files, waiting for the connection to establish itself properly.

‘Why do you have so much shit on your hard drive?’ asks Chloe. ‘You should really clean up some of those photos, they’re basically blackmail material. Have you ever heard about information security?’ 

‘Keep your dirty paws away from my camera roll, so it doesn’t offend your girl-loving sensibilities. We’re really happy together. Also, focus.’

‘Yeah, yeah.’ Now, with a wall of data in front of her, Chloe feels much better. This, she knows. She runs a quick subroutine, digging deeper into the system. It’s convenient they’re using Azzie software – she has lots of experience with it, especially with the few-years-old OS installed on this CPU. It feels like coming home, when she copies a piece of code straight into the console, exploiting one of the bugs in the text messaging app. She pokes at the firewall, knowing well it freezes for a second if accessed through one of the tabs in the network panel. Then she just runs the simplest mirror subroutine, hiding her persona from anybody who’ll come looking for her.

And they do come – a low-quality IC, just a basic trace-and-kick program that has zero chance finding her in time – not before her main code makes its way straight to the core and turns off the defenses. In a couple of heartbeats, she’s free to browse the contents of the hard drive, conveniently displayed in the file management software. Looks like they found what they were looking for… And more.
Chloe feels her heartbeat fasten at the beloved sight of encrypted, password-protected files. She prods them gently, checking the encryption methods and browsing her mind for the best approach.

There’s some more IC on the way, of course, but the protections are simple, and nothing can stop her from glitching the defenses and calmly copying the whole archive to Tomorrow’s commlink; the cable connection makes it faster, even if she needs to trash half of her sister’s photo gallery to make the space for it. She’ll apologize later. Maybe.

‘Okay, I’m done,’ she says over the comms a minute later, once the files finish downloading. ‘Get your ass out of there.’

‘On my way,’ confirms Sarah, wiping the commlink clean and levitating it back to the nightstand. She calmly strolls to the window, opens it and jumps out into the darkness. The video feed breaks and Chloe can feel her throat tighten in a second of panic. She takes a slow breath and tries to control it; she knows her sister just changed into a bird, and the camera is now in some magical quantum realm, but the switch was so abrupt, not at all expected, that she needs to carefully breath through the experience. For a second, she wonders how Adam is dealing with her sister’s constant magical shenanigans. If the contents of Sarah’s commlink were any indication, they really seem to work. Good for them.

She misses Fayette so damn much. And she craves the until-now underappreciated freedom of not hiding that relationship.

‘So, what did we get?’ asks Tonight in a deeply bored voice. Sarah said she doesn’t need support for a simple break-in and the spirit obviously could not interact with the Matrix, so Tonight was relegated to a coffee-making duty and considered that below her paygrade. ‘Anything for me to work with?’

‘Oh, yes,’ agrees Chloe and sees the smile reappear at the spirit’s face. ‘Sarah has the data with her, but from what I’ve seen, you’ll have more than enough fun with it. Dates, numbers, insinuations, rumors…’ she teases gently. ‘Your favorites.’

‘Finally. Can you imagine what a bummer it would be if they didn’t have anything worth our time?’ Tonight glides toward the kitchen and starts preparing the coffee, in a much better mood already. Chloe realizes she herself is rather moody and Sarah is an unpredictable agent of chaos – but the spirit is just positively mercurial. ‘Good work there, partner. We’ll get your girlfriend back in no time. And then I’m gonna go on a holiday and travel the world.’

They chat for a bit, filling the time until the raven wings bring Sarah back home. They’ve spent so much time together lately, that the conversation flows seamlessly, easily, like between old friends. Chloe realizes that in the last days she spent more time with the spirit than with her sister. Yes, Sarah was busy, doing the things neither her nor Tonight could do: earn money, make connections, build the life for the three of them for when this whole mess is over. But Chloe still feels like there’s something more to it, some… Not disappointment, but a smidge of unhappiness – and she knows from where it stems. She supposes she should not put away the conversation with her parents any longer.

The window opens quietly and the rain-soaked raven flies inside, turning into partially frozen Sarah. ‘Whoever invented sleet, should get hanged,’ she declares, pulling out her commlink and tossing it on the bed. ‘I need a hot shower. Have fun, girls, I’ll be with you in a sec. Thanks for the coffee, I’m cold as hell.’ She grabs a mug and downs it in two gulps, then sends it back to the sink with a spell and disappears behind the bathroom door. When the sound of the running water and the muffled whistled song starts, Chloe already has all of the files safely moved to a chip slotted into her deck and she’s browsing through the message archive, notes, and photos. And with each passing minute, her grin grows bigger and more wicked.

‘Oh, you’ll have so much fun,’ she tells Tonight and the spirit chuckles in response.


Chloe catches a couple hours of sleep in the early hours of the morning, once she is sure that both Sarah and Tonight know what to do in the evening. She needn’t have worried – if there’s anything they have in common, it’s competence. And a face, more or less. And so many, many other things. 
Sarah, for once, spends the night in her flat, quietly chatting with Tonight in the kitchen when Chloe wakes up. She looks happy, relaxed, poised, in perfect control of herself and her life – and Chloe can only hope that one day, she’ll get there too. It’s already much better than it was a month ago. Just needs to hang on a bit longer.

‘What’s for breakfast?’ she asks, joining them in the kitchen. Two identical faces look at her and if Tonight wasn’t literally sitting cross-legged above the kitchen counter, Chloe might have a problem distinguishing between them. Sarah declares it’s a pancake day, and seconds later all three of them have plates full of fluffy sweets, topped with whipped cream and blueberries. ‘You’re getting better at this,’ says Chloe after a few bites, knowing that this portion is enough to feed her for a whole day. ‘If your research plan fails, just open a restaurant. You’ll make millions.’

‘Food is boring,’ replies Sarah, with her mouth full. ‘But I might go into high fashion. After we’re done with this mess. We still have a couple of hours until the book signing. Wanna go through the plan again?’

Chloe does, at they spend several hours pouring again through the materials and their roles, through disguises and potential complications. Finally, it is time. She wishes she could go with her, take care of her own case for once, but no – it wouldn’t make any sense to appear in front of the people who are looking for her. As much as it pains her, Sarah is right. The time for the field action will come. They still have a lot of work to do before this is over. But now, all she can do is trust her sister.

They keep radio silence for the most of it; chatter could only bring attention, and they went through every detail so many times, there’s really no need to talk. Once the connection with the venue’s trid system comes alive, it only takes seconds to break through the password protection to swap the Rogers’s background presentation for the one they prepared over night, using the data and photos stolen from the commlink. Lovely, perfect communications connecting Rogers with d’Venescu, the disgraced and criminally insane mage who gave the start to all the blood magic rumors. Mentions on them contacting criminals and discussing a magical murder – not in so many words, of course, but Tonight will be there, to point out the important parts to the audience, playing her part of a distraught reporter. And Sarah will be there to pour more oil on the fire, drawing the lines between facts for those who cannot connect the dots on their own. It will be fine. The campus security should take care of the rest, and once the police seizes Rogers’s commlink, it won’t look like more than a mishap – no more than a high-schooler forgetting to close the tab with a porn website prior to his screen-share presentation.

It takes less than twenty minutes, in the end, until Rogers is calmly detained for explanation. Chloe makes sure the news about it goes out quickly; Sarah recorded the whole thing, and the clip is hot enough to spread quickly through the academic circles. She hopes Fayette sees it too. D’Venescu will need another patsy to run his business; nobody will risk association with this kind of bogus science. Blood mages are a myth, boogeymen, or criminals at best – and if Chloe didn’t know better, she wouldn’t believe in them either.

For now, it’s enough. The immediate danger is gone. If they did everything correctly, d’ Venescu will turn against Aztechnology, believing they’re behind his latest loss. If she knows anything about the man, it’s his paranoia and delusions of grandeur. He’ll never expect a three young women to be the ones who have foiled his plan – he’ll look for a deep, complex megacorporate intrigue, befitting his inflated ego. Let him stew in it.

Let him drown.


Wrapping Up

Well, that was fun. Let’s sum up everything.

Payout: 3 (removing a R2 Crew) + 2 points of d’Venescu-connected intel = 5 points forwards the main campaign.
Rep: +5 for each of the 3 characters; Tonight got to 24, so another point of general influence in our pocket.
Familiarity: as this was a successful False Flag operation, the Familiarity in question is between d’Venescu and Aztechnology – but it’s already at 1, so we can’t make them hate one another any more.
Skill Learning:
Tomorrow: Stealth +1, Electronic Warfare +1, Palming +1, Sorcery +1, Investigation +1
Chloe: IT+3, Hacking +3, Electronic Warfare +2, Software +1
Tonight: Con +1, Diplomacy +1

Scenario consequences: We had 8 net hits, remember? Rolling 3d10, we rolled a 7, ended up with a 10 (can’t go higher!), meaning a positive consequence with magnitude 7. And it is… a 3.

A Contact asks for help in a Scenario with Payout equal to magnitude. If successful, that Contact gets a Rating promotion.

Oh. Hmm. Who could that be? Tomorrow’s or Chloe’s, odds vs evens… Tomorrow’s. She’s got 10 different contacts, so I’ll just roll for that as well.

So apparently we’re going on a quest from Raven. That’ll be fun. With Payout 7? Neither easy nor convenient, and with extra Resistance from Driven… Ah well. We’ll figure it out. 

Now, what might the mentor spirit want? It doesn’t care about Chloe and even less about her girlfriend. But what Raven does care about is other Ravens – and one of them is currently less than happy with her circumstances. Remember Caw-Caw, the Raven-mentored healer mage in Salazar’s employ? Well, I think it’s the time to help out Caw-Caw and the Hellhounds by extension, even if it’s going to be a pain in the dice. 

Stay tuned for the next episode!

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