The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 4 of 9 FirstFirst 123456789 LastLast
Results 91 to 120 of 260
  1. - Top - End - #91
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Grim ranger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Finland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Aquila & Future Aquila

    Looking somewhat stunned at the severity of the news even thought he always knew the answer would hardly be pleasant, Aquila looked around with newfound sense of respect. "...I suppose it does answer that, yeah. I don't suppose you can reveal to me how we fit into all this and how you got to be the head cheese around here? I admit my life is in desperate need of direction, although I still have my doubts about the whole hero thing. But I guess you had them too?"

    Leaning bit closer, he continued with a whisper he tried to keep out of the ears of the people around, his cheeks burning just a little. "And I just HAVE to know... you and her?" he wondered, nodding towards Future Sheema.

    Aquila & Family

    Once he had managed his talk with his future self, younger Aquila walked bit forward, looking supremely awkward in front of them all. "So, I know this might not be ENTIRELY accurate, but... did I ever willingly reveal my extracurricular activities to you? Moreover, where do you all fit into this? I am glad everyone is okay, but there is just so much I don't know about the situation" he admitted before smiling weakly to his sister. "...are you keeping out of trouble, sis?"
    Last edited by Grim ranger; 2018-10-05 at 06:20 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "What?"

    The gasping word quietly comes out of Sheema's mouth as she's left in a state of utter shock over the truth. She always believed she would never see her mother again; to have disappeared and never come back for years... In Peral, doing that is equivalent to suicide. Sheema just never knew how or why it happened.

    And now she knows.

    "The Rite of Sacrifice..."

    She's heard about a totemic ritual similar to this. Usually, the Hunter prepares themselves before committing to the death of a Beast, taking in its Spiritual Energy for him or herself. Usually an aspect of the Beast, whether their sharp senses or their sharp claws, is also added to the Hunter in some way. She's seen this ritual done before during a vagrant Hunter's arrival in Rivinas when she was young.

    But the Rite of Sacrifice works somewhat in reverse and usually unintentionally. A Hunter, if killed while defending a Beast, can let their Spiritual Energy, or even a part of their consciousness, into the Beast. Sheema's never heard of this happening before, much less seen it firsthand. It's not an ideal end to a Hunter but it is a fate which many may accept to have their energy and a part of themselves passed onto a Beast... and that's what happened with Chelle.

    Sheema grips her father's hand tightly, feeling the bond of family more tensely than before. Refusing to look back again at the dire rhino in the distance, she walks over to the future Makhana, looking up at the rhino's steely eyes. "You... You knew what happened? And you never told dad? You never told me...?" Sheema already knows the answer; she wouldn't have taken it well. She always treated Makhana like family. Now Makhana is actually family.

    ---

    Sheema got a lot more information from Tara than she wanted.

    The black-skinned princess is left with her mouth slightly open. How do you respond to a woman who has admitted to being a broken, manipulative Dreamer with powers and suffering beyond expectations? She didn't need to ask to know that Tara and Daryll absolutely must not be good people, nevermind the vitriol Daryll since entering the Glade.

    Sheema curls up her legs on the bench, quiet briefly before speaking. "I'm sorry." She lacks a direction to continue. This sort of sympathy from Sheema might not exist if she met Tara under any different circumstances. "I can't imagine how awful that must've been. I'm not a Dreamer myself, I don't think I'll ever be getting the Dream. Spirits, I'm not even a Hunter; there are Perallan city-states that won't accept hiers who don't have that aptitude." She pauses again, thinking on what she said, becoming flustered at her poor attempt at sympathy. "And it... can't be like what you must've gone through. Losing your whole family because you told you weren't going to be a Dreamer? That's how it works in Paradisia?" Peral hasn't told of any fond stories about the land that only accepts Dreamers; but it's different hearing it from someone who's been in Paradisia.

    Unless rejected, Sheema squats over to the other side of the bench, reaching out and holding Tara's hand. "Tara, I don't know if we may meet when I return from here, or if it's too late to help you when I get back to my time. But thank you, thank you for telling me. I imagine you don't often talk to others about it."

    She looks up at Daryll, a little uncomfortable at his glare, then back to the augmenting supervillain. "And i know it might be difficult, and you can ignore this if it pleases you; not like I'm in a position to give advice. But even if you can't love someone the way they love you, if you still love him, do all you can to show it." In Sheema's mind, the advice must sound childish, or perhaps obvious; but the relationship between Tara and Daryll... doesn't seem healthy. The two love each other yet one cannot show it to the other. "I don't think anyone wants to be alone when it all ends, however it ends... Do you?"

    The words perhaps speak more to Sheema than to Tara; the revelations about Makhana and Chelle still deep in the princess' mind.
    Last edited by Starsign; 2018-10-07 at 12:02 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Simon & Josh

    "However you try to minimize it, he's still an extremely powerful mage. He'll require time and attention to keep contained. Those are resources this group has little of, and if there's ever a tiny slip he'll go right back to Legion. But even that's missing the point. He doesn't deserve it. Look at what he's done to the country. He wasn't an unwilling conscript in Legion's conquest, he was an active participant. They've killed millions, overthrown Illessia, enslaved dreamers so they can use them as batteries, and drove the rest of the planet to start forming alliances with Haptarus. And he chose to be a part of that. He doesn't deserve a shot at redemption."

    "In our timeline, criminals get arrested because Illessia has a justice system that can imprison, rehabilitate, and release them after they've served their time. This timeline has none of that. Legion destroyed it. There's no society for him to rejoin after he's served his time, and no amount of time he could possibly serve that would make up for what he's done. He'll be imprisoned for whatever remains of his life. If that's the case, you didn't save him from execution back there. You just moved the role of executioner from Tara to Time."
    Last edited by Dorni; 2018-10-07 at 10:54 AM.
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Oh... so that was you." Eric awkwardly answered. He had remembered the others telling him the future agent had shot him in the back while going after Gestalt, but he hadn't even considered that he might actually meet the guy here. "In that case, I'm glad that you aren't still trying to kill our time's Gestalt."

    Mandragora headed over to be near Gestalt. He hoped that he would be able to deflect some of the vitriol people had toward the summoner here. It was understandable that they acted as they did after all Legion had done to them, but Gestalt didn't deserve any of this. With how much people seemed to hold this timeline's Glade in reverence, maybe seeing Mandragora walking with Gestalt would help put them at ease?

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Simon to Simon

    Simon caught up with his Future self. "Hey, we need to talk."

    Once they were alone, he wasted no time. "So. Lorelei finishes the time machine and we get back to our time. What's the plan for everyone else in the fortress? I doubt they all signed on to wait for their deaths when the timeline collapses."

    Even has he put the question out there, Simon kept glancing around the room, then back at his future counterpart. The message was simple. Is it safe to converse here?
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Aquila and Aquila

    Your future self...actually looked slightly pained when you asked him about having doubts about the whole hero thing.
    "I'm no Hero, Aquila."

    "I don't know what your experience was. Hopefully it was better than mine. But here's how it went down for me. Fifteen years ago, there was an explosion at a hospital. When the ACC arrived to help, a bit of a crowd gathered. Javan and I were in it. So were a bunch of Defiant. They attacked the ACC and the other people helping. The ACC fought some of them. I fought the rest. And I killed them all."
    He said it very matter-of-factually, but you could see the regret in his eyes.

    "I was new to my powers. I still didn't really know how to control them. I certainly didn't know my own strength. I didn't intend to kill them but, well, they were killing people themselves, so I can't say I particularly regretted it. Not at the time, anyway. There was a whole SIDE investigation. It could have been pretty bad. My powers weren't registered. I got off, mainly because Dad pulled some strings. Also because I was a minor and it was defense of others. But it was pretty close and SIDE...they weren't exactly friendly about it. Soured me on them, I guess. Dad's lectures if the aftermath didn't exactly help matters."

    "He insisted I register my powers so this wouldn't happen again. I refused. I felt like registering them would have meant I had to use them. And I'd be in the system and such. I was being a stupid, stubborn teenager, in other words. Anyway, we had this huge argument about it, and end of the day what it came down to was if I didn't register them I wasn't allowed to use them, period. That suited me fine."

    "Or at least, it did until the Defiant came after me to avenge the ones I had killed. Then I had no choice. 'Course, they weren't packing anything that could actually hurt me, so I tried to scare them off. Defiant being Defiant, that didn't work. Since they couldn't hurt me physically, they tried another way. They went after Mariana."


    His voice was utterly toneless when he said, "So I killed them too."

    "I called Javan, told him to call the police and to look after Mariana and I ran. It was the only thing I could think to do. I still hadn't registered, so I figured SIDE would throw the book at me this time. And that Dad would probably disown me anyway even if they didn't. Besides, if the Defiant were after me, they were in danger."

    "I probably wouldn't have lasted long without doing something that got me arrested or killed, if the Knights hadn't found me. I don't know if you've met them. They're a religious group, a Deionist splinter-sect that believes in the Chaos of Nature or some such. Civilization must fall for Nature to flourish, yada yada whatever. Frankly I never paid all that much attention to the details of the doctrine. What I did know is that they took me in, looked after me, kept me out of SIDE's reach. Or at least they said they did, maybe SIDE just didn't think I was worth the trouble. They kept telling me I was this...chosen one, or something. Prince of Earth. They wanted me to perform a ritual, sacrifice three members of the order with powers from the three other elements. I was...skeptical, to say the least. But after a while...I don't know if I'd quite say I started to believe, but I guess I started to see the appeal. Eventually I went through with it."

    "And I mean...I don't know if it really did what they said it did, awakened the power of Terras within me or whatever. Simon suggested once that it was an augmentative ritual fueled by the Spiritual Energy of the three sacrifices and sustained by the Spiritual Energy of the rest of the Knights. Something about faith magic or whatever. Who even knows, right? But it definitely made me stronger. Substantially stronger."

    "So, I was officially the Prince of Earth, now. I met the other Prince and Princesses, as they called us. There was a whole lot of pomp and ceremony, but the thing is, when we all got together and talked? Turns out none of us were really true believers. We all just kinda got pulled into through various means. None of us really cared about the whole toppling of civilization thing. I guess we all had some beef with our respective local authorities, but there's a difference between that and wanting to go back to being hunter-gatherers, you know?"

    "So we kinda hatched a plan to just...take advantage of it. Make use of the Knights for our own ends. We gave big speeches and made big promises and just did our own things. I went back to Adaros and basically took the lead of the Knights in the area as a vigilante movement, focusing largely on the Defiant, but it wasn't exclusive. And we cleared out more than our share of criminals, but...well, we didn't exactly take prisoners."

    "We got on SIDE and Hero Corps' radar. There was a skirmish. That's when I met Legion - or Gestalt, at the time. This was after whatever had happened but before he had gone crazy. But I don't know. Meeting me, it kinda triggered him somehow. Not, like, all the way, but he got obsessive about me. Made it personal. Tried to hunt me down. I'm still not entirely sure why he fixated on me. I think he might have been with the ACC back during the whole explosion thing, so maybe he recognized me from there, but it never quite made sense. We were effectively on the same side, so I dunno. Back then, though, he didn't have all his power boosts and I was still riding high from the ritual, so without his full team he wasn't a huge threat to me personally. Less so when I had Knights around. Thing is, trying and failing time after time to bring me down...it was probably a big part of what drove him to go seeking more power in the first place."

    "I didn't know any of that at the time. He was just a slightly-more-annoying-than-most Hero as far as I was concerned. Until he hit the motherlode. This was maybe half a year before he summoned his whole army, but his personal power was already massive. I hadn't even known it was growing - he had kinda left me alone while he was going after more power. I had figured he had just given up."

    "He attacked at the annual gathering of the Broken Cross. It was our biggest yet, and we were holding it in Arbera. I think the excuse we made was something about the symbolism of the destroyers of civilization being hosted unknowingly in one of the most iconic cities on the planet or something. Really us 'chosen ones' were just tired of middle-of-nowhere camps when wwe could be lounging by a pool in a swanky hotel. Gestalt and his summons attacked and...it was a bloodbath. He killed half the Knights, all the Champions, and both Desta and Almira. Uh, that's the Princess of Wind and Princess of Water. Flynn, the Prince of Fire, he captured. One of Flynn's powers was augmentative in nature, and you've seen what Legion does with augmenters. Most of the rest of the Knights fled. I barely escaped with my life."

    "That attack is where he officially crossed the line between Hero and villain, I guess. That attack, between his summons and all the Knights, not to mention the four of us...there was a lot of collateral damage. Honestly, I don't know that Legion was actually responsible for the lion's share of it, but it didn't really matter. The others could tell you better how that whole thing went down, but it ended with Legion summoning an army of millions from the past, all but destroying Adaros, and basically conquering Ilessia."

    "And he was still after me. I got my family to...as close to safety as existed, anyway, and joined forces with what was left of the Adaros Hero Corps. It was the only chance we really had to stop him. We went after him while his army was mostly occupied waging war with the entire country of Ilessia."

    "We failed. Most of the Heroes died. Legion would have killed us all, but Mandragora...honestly, I still don't know what exactly he did or how exactly he did it. He asked me and the Knights for help, but I'm still not super-clear on what exactly we did. And he...became Glade. Kept us safe. I'd never...the sacrifice that he made, that so many of the Heroes made...it showed me how wrong I had been. And...I think seeing what the fall of civilization actually looked like might have shown the Knights how wrong they had been. Or maybe they just needed a better Deionist for a role model, who knows."

    "So here we are. Officially, I'm the leader here because I have the most experience with this sort of thing. Remember, I led an extended mass vigilante campaign under the noses of SIDE and Hero Corps for years. Even Simon's OUT-SIDE experience wasn't quite the same for this kind of war. More realistically, it's because about two-thirds of our standing forces are Knights and nobody's quite sure how they'd respond to someone else being in command. In practice, Simon, Matt, and Annabelle are the tactical brains of the operation. I'm really more the face. But, you know, don't let anyone know that."


    "And Sheema? I mean...she's the one who convinced the other Heroes to give me a chance. Honestly couldn't believe it when she did, after all the times I'd fought them. Honestly there were a fair few of them who blamed me for the rise of Legion, and I'm not sure I'd disagree. But Sheema got them to let me help, and probably saved my life in the doing." He didn't seem to actually pick up on the real intent of your question, although that was something of an answer in itself. The way his experience had gone, it seemed there had never been an opportunity to even consider the possibility, one way or another. That was a question you'd have to answer of your own, without any help from future knowledge.

    "So. Kinda a long story, but it covers fifteen years so I have an excuse. You want direction, I've got three pointers for you: If you meet the Knights of the Broken Cross, turn and run in the other direction. If you ever have an opportunity to join Hero Corps, do it. They're good people. And finally, and most importantly, don't be a stupid, stubborn teenager and register your ****ing powers."

    Aquila and Family

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    So, the above story probably answers much of your questions, and I imagine might change what you initially ask, so I'm going to hold off on this one in case you want to retcon the approach.


    Sheema and Sheema

    Future Sheema followed you over, setting a hand on your shoulder and gazing almost searchingly into your Makhana's eyes. "She might not know," she said. "She's never really...talked to me on the subject. And she certainly didn't start acting any differently when I found out. The Rite of the Sacrifice...I read up on it after I found out. A lot. Do you know Dad actually went through it too? Long before we were born, but that's how you become a Beastshifter. It's not really an intentional ritual though, not like the Rite of the Feast or the Rite of the Offering, and even those aren't...super-predictable. The Sacrifice...sometimes the Hunter takes over completely, super-rarely, they become a Beastshifter. But sometimes...sometimes they just make the Beast a bit more intelligent, more empathetic, give them an emotional connection to people or places they had a connection to in life. I don't know how many of Mom's memories or personality traits she has, or how much of her knowledge. All I can really say is that a part of her is in there. Somewhere."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    For the record, Makhana's your Sidekick, so I'm leaving it to you to control her reactions or lack thereof. I consider the questions above to be yours to answer.


    Sheema and Tara

    Tara didn't forestall Sheema from sitting beside her, and when Sheema took her hand she gave her's a grateful squeeze. When Sheema spoke of potentially helping her past self she said, "I...don't know for sure what I may be doing in your timeline. I can admit I have a tendency to take things...personally. And enough power that that tendency can be potentially dangerous." Her voice was quiet with gentle regret.

    But she spoke more firmly as she said, "But I do pride myself on being a good judge of character, and I can tell you have a good heart, Sheema. I expect that whatever version of me exists in your timeline would be better for your help, even if she might not show the appreciation for it that she should. And if my experience with Earl Winters and his power of prophecy had taught me anything, it is this: it is never too late."

    The Main Hall

    Mandragora standing with Gestalt...it definitely earned some looks. Some were shocked. A few almost seemed angry. But several were contemplative. As much as may have happened in the intervening time, whatever their future incarnations had become as Glade and Legion, this was still Adaros, and there were still people who remembered taking inspiration from the sight of the two Heroes, Gestalt and Mandragora, standing side by side.

    None of the civilians and defenders seemed to have quite the gumption to actually approach Gestalt, but with Mandragora standing beside him the glares did markedly diminish, and nobody accosted him either.

    Simon and Daimon

    "Don't tell me you're buying what Legion and Darryll are selling," Future Simon replied. "Truth to tell, you guys being here is the biggest piece of evidence we have that everybody's going to be fine. After all, if changing the timeline killed everyone who was involved in it, you'd be dead too, right?"

    Your glances around the room, in addition to conveying your message, might have answered your own question. There was no way this room was secure. Sure, it was improbable that any of Simon's friends and allies were spying on him, but...the walls, floor, and ceiling were made of the same solid stone as the rest of the keep, making the entire room a potential window for Summit. Several technological devices and Active Crystal screens were visible, and while far from guaranteed, it was clearly not impossible that Annabelle could hack even your future self's security. And Future Simon even kept a couple plants in the room, which meant that Mandragora - Glade - was present, either when he wished to be, or possibly whether he wished to be or not.

    Come to think of it, there wasn't really any way to make a secure room in a place like this, where every piece of stone, wood, or technology could be a window. Even if he could construct an entire room of, say, metal (did Summit's powers extend to metal? Some Earth-based Dreamers could control it, some couldn't) or inert plaster or something, doing so would be suspicious, to say the least.

    Or, at least, that would have been the assessment for most spies. As soon as Future Simon noticed your glances, though, the constant static of the collapsing timeline...stopped.

    It didn't clear up, mind. The little motes of empty black nothingness were still there. But they stopped appearing and disappearing at random, just staying fixed in their prior locations and configurations. Everything in the room but for you and Future Simon was an inanimate object anyway, but nonetheless, it was clear that for the moment time was now on pause.

    And being a skilled observer of your surroundings, you noticed that Future Simon had not touched his belt.

    "Yes," Future Daimon agreed with your first statement. "We do. Do you want to ask your questions immediately, or would you rather I brief you first?"
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-10-15 at 01:09 AM.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DukeGod's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Brazil
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Gestalt and Mandragora

    Leviath just sits there with Mandragora at his side. It definately felt better. There is no need for words. Actually it was hard for them to talk at times. He still wasn't into religion the way his fellow Dreamer was. After enough of a while, he looks at Mandragora and just nods.

    Hopefully, their time together had done as much for the plant man as it had done for Gestalt.

    "I need to talk to Future Simon. And Lorelei"
    --
    He decides to approach Future Simon first. It'd probably help in other conversation

    "Hey. I got a question for you"

    He breathes

    "You went to the pas to kill me. Who supported your decision?"
    Last edited by DukeGod; 2018-10-17 at 09:14 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Daimon raised an eyebrow. In their previous confrontation his future self had relied on his belt's teleportation feature, implying a dependence on the technology. His lack-thereof to invoke his temporal manipulation suggested either an alternate source or seamless integration with his neural uplink. That he'd rely on them here to secure the conversation and actively avoided using them when they'd have been advantageous in capturing Leviath suggested that even in this dark timeline was further evidence he was withholding them from his allies. Which wasn't at all unexpected. "Whether I buy it is irrelevant. Those two obviously do. The logical move from their point is to make some sort of play for Lorelai's time machine once its ready rather than risk face what they believe to be annihilation. Daryll's loyalty to Tara extended to first teaming up with, then betraying Legion. I doubt he'll be any more loyal to us."

    "But you're right, we have more important matters. Brief me first." Daimon was fully aware that his future self retained his own memory. While their timelines had diverged, the divergence was recent enough that his future version likely knew approximately where his own plans stood at the point in time he'd left his own timeline. More importantly, his future self had a wider pool of information to draw from.
    Last edited by Dorni; 2018-10-16 at 09:22 PM.
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    There's a lack of words from the younger Sheema as her older self confirms about the Rite."I heard a bit about my dad's ritual," she responds, her voice quieter than usual as she holds Wulther's hand more tightly. "It was before we were even born. It was like a legend back in Rivinas." Her voice carries a small tinge of nostalgia. Her days in Peral are long gone but she can't help but remember them fondly. "But I never knew mom was..." She hesitates, looking back at the "younger" Makhana off on the other side of the hall. She's a dire rhino, always has and will been... But just how much of Chelle is in her?

    A dark thought comes to Sheema's mind. She... shouldn't need to ask her older self, for the absence should be enough of an indication. Yet the princess has to know. "Hey, older me? I don't want to hear the long story on this, but..." Wulther can feel her daughter's hand held tighter. "Did you ever find dad?"

    ---

    Sheema looks slowly to the ground hearing Tara's words. It's heartwarming, in a way, to hear that. Tara... didn't talk like a villain, act like a villain, often doesn't even talk like one. Yet what she was saying is like she's admitting she had done some bad things before being captured. Sheema's scared to wonder what Tara was like ten years ago.

    "Thanks," she says to Tara. Sheema doesn't let go of Tara's hand but loosens the grip slightly in case Tara wishes to let go. "Back ten years ago I don't think your name ever came up in Ilessia. I don't know if that means you haven't met Daryll or if you've been planning... anything. But if there's a chance I'll be able to meet the other you back then, I'll see what I can do." As much as Sheema wants to... she can't make promises. "But until we have to go, or if this Master comes after us, I'll be here if you ever need anything."

    Sometimes Sheema wonders if she'll ever regret anything she says to others...

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Grim ranger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Finland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Aquila & Future Aquila

    "...god damnit" is all Aquila could really say to such revelations, sounding like he might need a moment to sit down. It all made sense, but...it was just so much WORSE. It seemed that the arrival of their time-traveling friends had altered a lot of things, and some unquestionably for the better. Hearing that he might have caused the current, catastrophic state of the world (however unwittingly) was still a tough pill to swallow, however.

    He had wondered for a while now on how bad things could have gotten for him if he hadn't had help...and it seemed those musings had just been answered in rather comprehensive manner. The worst part was, he could see how he would have wound up choosing the same way, under the same circumstances. It was easy to try and blame it on the world, but at some point he was bound to be forced to accept the responsibility for his own choices, as much as they had been pushed on him.

    "We are a stupid bastard, aren't we?" he chuckled mirthlessly, idly punching his elder self on the shoulder. "I have met the Knights in my own timeline...I wasn't certain of them, so I asked our time-traveling friends to come along. Lot of them are arrested now, so I hope I can eventually make them see some reason. As for the Hero Corps, Sheema has been encouraging me on that front. Guess she has been right about lot of things" he said with a weak smile. "...I'll make sure it won't come to this next time. I have no idea what future holds for me now that everything has been changed this much, but it can only be better than before. I'm sorry for you, though: you suffered due to circumstances beyond your control while I had help. Universe just isn't fair."

    Smiling a little, he lets out a fond sigh. "Still, it has been...an experience. I guess this'll be as close to I can get to having a big brother. I know it won't really be accurate, but...I'll miss you once it is time to go."

  11. - Top - End - #101
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Gestalt and Simon

    Future Simon appraised you thoughtfully for a moment, but it was hard to say what gears were turning in his head. Simon's poker face hadn't gotten any easier to read over the past (future, whatever) ten years, apparently.

    After a moment he answered, with the sort of professional brusqueness of a military man giving a debrief, "Josh abstained from the decision either way, and agreed to abide by the consensus. Lorelei and Jenny believed in their plan, so they were against it. Although I suppose Lorelei probably would have been either way. William sided with his sister, to the surprise of precisely nobody. Glade opposed the idea on its merits."

    "Cyrus, Annabelle, Aquila, Sheema, Matt, and myself all voted in favor."


    Simon and Daimon

    Spoiler: So...
    Show
    OOC-wise, everyone here knows about Daimon's extra-curricular activities, so this discussion isn't secret, strictly speaking. That being said, it may contain certain spoilers regarding plot points of the upcoming adventure. On the flip side, it does also contain a few answers to existing questions and more rambling on the nature and limits of time travel, if anyone isn't sick of that yet . So, while players other than Dorni are allowed to read it, it is kinda at your risk and I will expect the IC/OOC knowledge divide to be strictly maintained.

    Spoiler: That being said...
    Show
    "Alright. First, it's important that you understand where my information is coming from. In my timeline, I did largely what you did - got access to Lorelei's time machine and cloning technology, used it to create a spy force that I knew would put Ilessia's interests first and work to advance them competently. I also came to learn that SIDE has managed to somehow recover or redevelop the technology that was used to induce artificial powers, or at least a version of it, and secured my own access to that. I tried to use that to get around the limits of Lorelei's technology. It took some doing, but I was able to imbue myself with time-manipulation powers. The belts Lorelei built can do a lot of what I can, but not all of it."

    "I've been using those powers to examine other timelines, to a semi-limited degree. I can't just scry wherever I want whenever I want, but I can follow the experiences and access the knowledge of my past and alternate selves, including clones. While that's a lot of information, it's not without its limits. One of the biggest of those is that I can't actually tell any given version of myself its own personal future. I don't know what you will experience until you do experience it. As we saw back in Comody's lair, that can be a serious limitation. What I can tell you is what various versions of us have experienced in various timelines. I've gotten pretty good at using that to calculate probabilities, but at the end of the day my foreknowledge is no more infallible than any other skilled precog."

    "That being said, you - this specific version of us - are in a unique position. I can't reveal this to the others since it's information I'm not supposed to have, but I've seen enough of the past from a future perspective to know what's happening to this timeline. Nobody's really entirely right or entirely wrong. The timeline is basically disintegrating. Every moment of this timeline is coming unstuck from every other moment. But they're not ceasing to exist; they're essentially merging seamlessly into a similar moment in a different timeline, in terms of relative space-time coordinates. From what I've seen, the memories and experiences of the new timeline largely overwrite those of this one - they're still there to some degree, buried deep down, but they're overshadowed. But those timelines no longer have any connection to this one. They can't, because every moment in this timeline leading up to that moment in the new timeline has already fused with some other timeline. As far as they're concerned, this timeline is just one of many futures - and an impossible one at that."

    "So the only versions of us who can possibly get here are instances from this specific timeline's past, whose moment in this timeline still exists. As soon as their moment ceases to exist, they become native to their new timeline. But you didn't. You retained your full memory of this timeline, and enough of a connection to it that you were able to get here. You're also a very early version of us, and because of the unique ways you've jumped timelines, you're invested with a certain amount of temporal momentum. Your actions in the past timeline that you visited are causing more and larger ripple effects in more futures than any of us have been able to cause through time travel previously."

    "All of which is game-changing. My powers at the end of the day give me more flexibility than Lorelei's devices - I can interact with more past timelines, even those that aren't directly connected to my own. But the core difficulty of changing the past is still a hurdle. I can only do so much, and generally only to specific timelines. Most of our alternates can do less. We can sway things, we can make this or that timeline better. I can coordinate our efforts and pool our knowledge. But that isn't enough. Because Ilessia's not in peril in a single specific timeline."

    "Ilessia is in peril in every single timeline that I have seen."

    "The form that that peril takes varies. Occasionally it's Tara, or APEX, or some big Defiant attack. Those usually get resolved on their own, but occasionally things go wrong and they become the threat. There have been a few random out-of-left-field ones. One event of note, is that somewhere around five years from when you departed your timeline, Nydir falls to Haptarus. That's another thing I've seen universally, even in timelines where we've made a direct effort to stop it. Best I can tell, it will happen. But what happens after is a tossup. Rarely a new status-quo manages to take hold. The rest of the time, the domino effects going out from that point either leads to Haptarus conquering Indelar, or to the fall of Haptarus, the odds of either being roughly even. In the timelines where Haptarus does take over, odds are decent the peril comes through him."

    "But like I sent you when you first learned of it, in most cases - something like two-thirds of the timelines I've seen - the War of Broken Dreams is either a direct or indirect cause of the problem. Although I will admit, Paradisia alone being responsible came up way less often than I expected."

    "So your being here gives us a unique opportunity. I've always had more success influencing alternate pasts by taking a page out of Lorelei and Jenny's book, providing information rather than trying to interact directly. But we can take it further. This is like the first time we met; our timelines were directly connected, so my actions there could have more of an impact than they otherwise could. In this case, though, you're native to your time. Your actions will always have full impact on your present, even if you're getting some help from a visit to the future. And because of your temporal momentum, the ripples caused by those impacts on other timelines should be pronounced. If I'm right, what we have here is an opportunity not just to alter a single timeline, or even to change the past. We have a chance to change the course of history."

    "To do that, you'll need this,"
    Daimon took the high-tech buckle off of his belt and proffered it. "It's got some convenient time-manipulating tech that will prove useful to you, and that you can get reverse-engineered. But more importantly, it contains data. Data about people, about probabilities, about variant timelines and futures. About the Circle and its membership - they can vary by timeline, but there's a lot of probabilities and ways you can easily check on them. And about SIDE's power-inducing technology."

    "That has its limits too. It doesn't work at all on about ninety-nine percent of people. And about ninety-nine percent of the remainder experience severe side effects. It happens to work on our DNA. A specific gene we have, evidently. By default, it always grants the shapeshifting power. But what SIDE didn't realize was that that was just step one. With some upgrades, the specifics are in there, someone who has already gotten the shapeshifting can get another exposure to get a different power. Only one, and it actually comes at the expense of the shapeshifting. At first, we had thought the power was random. And we were kind of right. It's based on other genetic markers. Markers which, as shapeshifters, we can change. We can't program whatever power we want, and once we take one that's what we're stuck with, so think carefully before using it yourself. Simon Candler's particular DNA configuration got us the time-manipulation power though, so it's not a bad deal. The belt's data drive also contains a list of all the powers we've discovered and the genetic configurations that allow for them. There's a lot of overlap, minor tweaks on similar themes and suchlike. But it all comes to a couple dozen distinctly different powersets."

    "Now, Lorelei's setting the time machine up to send you back to a few seconds after you left. Like I said, I can't tell you your exact future, but what should happen is, Lorelei will be there, and the portal closed. I expect she'll have already passed out from blood loss. Extract her to somewhere you control, but keep her alive. Tell her whatever stories you need to, but the information on that drive will be enough for her to construct the necessary tech, and she's positively disposed towards you and not particularly suspicious. Plus some of it is based on her own work anyway, so she's as good a resource as you can get. The faster you're up and running, the better."

    "I've already done some tweaking to Lorelei's machine. Sheema, Aquila, Makhana, and Wulther will go back to their own time, since honestly what happens to their alternate past selves may or may not connect at any point to their present selves and it's safest not to meddle with anything from further back than you'll be returning to. Here's the thing: the rest of your team is a problem. They've all got the same temporal momentum you do, and that means they are uniquely qualified to mess things up. And in all probability, they're going to try to do so."

    "See, extrapolating from timelines similar to yours - that is, other timelines branching from the moment where Tara killed Arcanis - about a week after you guys departed, Tara wages an attack on the Adaros prison with APEX-imbued Spirit Warriors from Darryll. In most of those instances, the Task Force gets involved and they manage to save the prison, but there's usually substantial casualties, and several Heroes die. In most of those instances, the Task Force's Prophet then gets a vision of the leadup to Arcanis' death and reveals it to Hero Corps. Simon Candler's reputation usually doesn't recover from that. The way it usually goes from there is that the backlash hits OUT-SIDE hard enough that they call on IN-SIDE to try to figure out what had happened, and IN-SIDE is usually able to provide a good enough cover to clean it up, but the Director of SIDE gets the full briefing. He goes back with Interceptor, so he's not convinced the cover-up is the right call. He reads in the OUT-SIDE director, and brings her and the IN-SIDE director in to debate the matter. OUT-SIDE of course insists that IN-SIDE reveal the truth and burn us. That can go either way, but the Director agrees with OUT-SIDE in a slight majority of cases. End of the day, Simon's identity is almost certainly burned, and your real one is at risk."

    "That being said...SIDE as a whole probably doesn't have the stomach to do what we have to do just on the merit of prophecy. Hero Corps definitely doesn't. Even IN-SIDE wouldn't be an easy sell, especially since it would be an uphill battle to get them to trust my information after what happened with Arcanis. So while I'm not saying it would be impossible to head this off, my advice is to let it go and focus on the mission. As far as anyone else will know, Simon - and Daimon - vanish with the rest of his team. That will give you a lot of room to set things up and make your first moves. I've already made some tweaks to the time machine to make sure the rest of your team arrives far enough in the future that you'll have a lot of time to prepare before they even have the potential to become a problem, and considering when and where they'll return at, there's a pretty fair chance they won't survive to become a problem in the first place."
    That last, he said as matter-of-factly as the entire rest of the briefing. He didn't bother trying to make some further explanation or even say anything else to try to convince you it was necessary. They were potential threats to the mission, and the mission was to ensure the future of Ilessia. Daimon Aimes would not risk that for the sake of any three individual lives.

    "So. What additional information do you want or need? And for that matter, do you have any initial ideas or plans that you want to game out while you're here? Or is there any part of mine you aren't certain about? I've gamed it out pretty extensively, but my perspective always means that as good a view as I might have of the forest, I'll never be able to see all the trees."


    Sheema and Sheema

    Your future turned her face away from you when you asked that question. The long story she did not give you. In fact, her answer to that question was the shortest possible response, just two letters long.

    After a few moments, she looked back at you and said, with a faint hint of a wistful smile, "It's nice to see him again."

    Sheema and Tara

    Tara gave Sheema's hand one final, grateful squeeze before letting go. "That's very kind," she said.

    Aquila and Aquila

    Your future self gave a self-deprecating chuckle. "Yeah we are," he agreed, shaking his head. He kinda waved a hand dismissively at your condolence. "Plenty of people in the timeline more worth feeling sorry for than me. ...Although actually, could I ask you a favor? Desta, Flynn, and Almira. They're good- ...Well. I guess I can't really say they're good people, quite. But they were good friends, anyway. When you get back to your time, could you seek them out for me? Maybe get them away from that crazy cult? I know it's a big ask, but it'd be nice to think they get more of a chance in some other version of this story."
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-10-28 at 08:33 PM.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Josh and Josh

    Josh looked at himself, and narrowed his eyes.

    "...Okay."

    It was a simple thing, but the amount of processing that went into that response, in Josh-time, was worth several months of maturity.

    Josh and Flashpoint

    "You are not some common beast. Good food, and comfort, and entertainment? Is that really all you are? Really? ...Really? I think a housepet has more complicated desires than that, Cyrus. Years of consideration can pass through that brain in seconds, so surely you have to believe in something. And there's too much passion in there for you to be some nihilist, either."

    "So imagine it's prison. A life in solitary, no more speed. And this is the real you, the actual Flashpoint, not the you here that's not got long left anyway. And there's me, there, with the redemption clause. Why should I be there for you? What do you care about? And if it's nothing, why did you never plug yourself into some VR machine and live out your life as a vegetable?"


    Josh and Simon

    "Fifty feet of rope and a canister of anesthetic gas will keep him contained, and that's not minimising anything."

    "I won't let a man be killed, whether he doesn't deserve redemption, or whether he's beyond it. That is a principle of mine, and..."


    Josh stopped. There was no mask - he was clearly taking a moment to consider whether he truly believed this sentence before he completed it. It seemed like something that one didn't turn back on lightly.

    "...and that is no less valuable than a law. There might be not a lot of sense in it, but I saved that man's life because I don't let men die. Take away all the people who think like that, and you might save your country, but it'll be a landmass full of dead people."

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Josh and Simon

    "And a prison cell with a power nullifier is enough to contain you." Except, obviously, it hadn't been. "Confidence is good. Overconfidence is a weakness."

    The teaching moment over, Simon looked Josh up and down. He didn't miss that this wasn't some idle comeback. Josh meant it. He was staking a claim, even against someone he regarded as a mentor.

    Simon nodded slowly and his weathered face gave way to a smile. "That's a good attitude for a Hero. You'll be a great one. I just hope you never need to be a soldier."

    Simon to Simon

    Spoiler: Top Secret
    Show
    Simon accepted the belt buckle. It felt heavy, but there were no better hands for it than his. He looked back to his future self. "What happens in a timeline where the Circle gets exposed? Has there ever been a timeline where the Circle has been either co-opted, or warned of the outcome?"
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Josh and Flashpoint

    Flashpoint gave a light scoff at Josh's reply. "Sure," he said in a somewhat sarcastic voice, before switching to a faux-saccharine tone to add, "I believe in freedom! And happiness!" He gave a little dramatic sniffle, wiped a fake tear from his eye, and then said more normally, "That is, the freedom to do what I want without answering to anybody, and my own personal happiness. But it sounds so much better when you dress up base motivations as grand ideals, doesn't it?"

    "That you would ask me why I didn't hook myself up to a VR machine only shows that you don't understand what I am saying. The whole of the planet is barely interesting enough to engage my attention. I would get bored with pre-programmed fakery in minutes."

    "As to why you should try to redeem my alternate self...I don't particularly care. You say that I'm not the 'real' me, and I suppose from your perspective that's true. But from my perspective, this hypothetical other Flashpoint is the one that doesn't exist. That being said...I did spend enough time in SIDE's prison to be fully aware of how immensely boring it is. Also I think prolonged exposure to their nullifiers may have stunted my long-term power growth, so that's annoying. I can't speak for the version of myself in your timeline, but if I had been given the choice between buckling down and working with Hero Corps or staying in SIDE's prison, I would have chosen the former. Well, as long as I didn't have to answer directly to Stalwart, anyway. **** him."


    Simon and Daimon

    Spoiler: Read At Your Own Risk
    Show
    "Exposing them doesn't usually amount to much.
    Certain members have committed enough crimes that exposing those crimes can impact those members, but as a group the Circle's desire for secrecy is more a matter of convenience than necessity. It typically makes a big enough splash in the media, and there's varying degrees of outcry in the short-term, but at the end of the day, the revelation that there's a group of powerful people using their power to gain more power isn't actually that significant in the grand scheme of things."

    "Revealing the War of Broken Dreams itself...that's more of a wildcard. We've tried it in several timelines, and never gotten the same result twice, which is odd. I'd call it an option, but an unpredictable one, so probably best kept as a last resort."

    "There have been timelines where the Circle was warned and, rarely, co-opted. In about a sixth of the timelines where I have a good list of their roster, there's a Circle member named Avis Holtz. He usually warns them that the War of Broken Dreams will lead to disaster, but they always deem Paradisia leaving the planet to be the bigger concern. He usually makes a play to try to stop them, but it rarely goes well for him. There have been a couple timelines where he's succeeded though; in both cases, the eventual threat didn't come from the War of Broken Dreams. That's part of why neutralizing the Circle is our go-to plan. It seems to be the most efficient way to prevent them and the Better World Institute from ruining things."
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Grim ranger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Finland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Aquila & Future Aquila

    "Maybe it is not a contest" he replied, smiling a little as he looked at his older self. "Maybe...if I will be a hero, I'll want to help everyone. Even if they have done some bad. I mean, if I do that... I think world might be better off for it, huh?"

    Clasping Future Aquila's shoulder, he nodded seriously. "And we have already met them, in the timeline I come from. I was worried what it was all about with them and asked my new friends along. The end result was a lot of arrests. But maybe that could help me to eventually try and reform the friendship you have with them. I promise I will try my damnest at the very least."

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DukeGod's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Brazil
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Gestalt nodded. Some names in there he didn't really expect, some people who apparently had a vote he didn't think they'd have.

    "Aquila, Sheema and yourself probably being the one that'd know me most. Even if Aquila and Sheema were unknownws until our second foray into time traveling. I can guess you know their reasons for making that choice. Can you tell me what did The Master do that led to this? I can almost understand the pragmatism of it, and that you probably thought I'd rather be killed then become The Master, but certainly attacking so early in the timeline would put any number of events to risk. Why do it?

    And...can you give me a rundown of what happened after Arcanis died?"

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Aquila and Aquila

    "Hm," your future self responded, a bit contemplatively. "Might be that's the way to do it," he admitted with a bit of a grin.

    "If you can, I'd appreciate it," he said.

    Gestalt and Simon

    Future Simon eyed you coolly for several seconds as you asked what the Master had done that led to this decision. "Leviath...are you seriously asking me that? He destroyed Adaros, essentially conquered Ilessia, and wasn't inclined to stop there. Yes, we were concerned about the side effects of meddling with the past, and we knew that killing you would have caused a tremendous change in the timeline. It didn't matter. Fact was, if you take all the good you had done and all the lives you had saved in the intervening time and put it all together, it wouldn't amount to the barest fraction of the harm you caused as Legion. That being said, the timeline you've lived through since then and the timeline we lived through aren't the same. Sheema and Aquila only barely knew you as Gestalt in our history."

    Your question about Arcanis just seemed to confuse him. "Arcanis vanished in the Disappearance," he reminded, "I guess one of Gestalt's permasummons used to be him, but I couldn't tell you which one. ...Arcanis is dead in your timeline?"

    Everyone

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Okay, gonna move things along, but if there's any individual interactions you want to continue with, we can do them in spoilers.


    You all had some time to rest and talk while Lorelei was finishing her work, but it didn't take too long. Maybe a couple hours. Then, Eric's voice came from whatever plantlife was nearby, "Lorelei is ready. If you head back to the main hall, someone will show you to the time machine."

    When you got there, Future Simon, Summit, Josh, and Sheema were there waiting, along with Lorelei, William, and Jenny. Lorelei drew in a long, tight, shaky breath when she saw Gestalt, and looked at him with a sort of aggrieved longing. Her hands dropped unconsciously down by her stomach, and it seemed the only greeting she could manage was a little hint of a smile.

    Spoiler: Gestalt
    Show
    ...You know what? Now that you're looking at her, Future Lorelei looks more like, well, Lorelei than the actual Lorelei does. Like, before the Disappearance, back when Lorelei seemed to have some sort of crush on you and be really interested in your powers? She looked more like she does now. When you met her after the Disappearance though, and she didn't seem to know you, that Lorelei seemed just slightly younger.


    Since the cat seemed to have Lorelei's tongue, after a couple seconds Future Sheema said brightly, "So, everybody ready to go?"

    "We are," answered Tara Ellens, as she and Darryll walked into the main hall, surrounded by...well, if you took Darryll's four giant towering elementals, and compacted them down into the general size and shape of his spirit warriors, they'd probably look about like the four humanoid forms of pure elemental power that were standing around them, their stances non-hostile, but ready.

    "We're both very ready to leave this doomed timeline."
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Eric froze, and immediately a sense of dread crept over him. It wasn't just about having another Tara Ellens in their timeline. He had seen Sheema talking to her, and in person she didn't actually seem that bad. Maybe with time she could even become... a friend? It wouldn't be easy, obviously, but at least the glimmer of hope was there. But he knew that the risk was huge, and that Simon would clearly not stand for it.... He only hoped that this didn't go where he thought it was going.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Sheema had been very excited to go home. The small calm upon arriving in the Glade was a much-needed relief after the chaos of time-traveling and then escaping from a rampant, evil, future Gestalt. The Perallan princess still wasn't quite sure what exactly was going on. It was like opening a novel and beginning at Page 100. At least she still has her family, her dad and her... mom... It was hard for Sheema to still comprehend it; she's yet to approach Makhana about it. Right now, Sheema wants to get home with her family and with Aquila.

    And she had been excited for it, had two people not walk in stating their intent to leave,

    Now Sheema's not a leader or negotiator by any stretch of the imagination; and her dad was neither a brilliant diplomat nor tactician. But Wulther had once said that you only bring a heavily-armed force with you when you demand something. And four massive elementals summoned at once is what Sheema calls a heavily-armed force.

    With Galadhil resting uncomfortably on her back, Sheema takes several steps towards Tara. An unsteady expression appears on the princess' face as Makhana stomps besides her. "You're... coming with us?" Normally, Sheema would be excited at the prospect, even if her future self may agree. But Tara had said before that she was... perhaps not the nicest person. Is this really someone they should be bringing out of this timeline?

    ...Only one way to find out: with a simple, vital question amidst a cautious tone.

    "Tara, what do you want to do if you come to our time?"

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DukeGod's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Brazil
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Hmm..."

    Gestalt takes a deep breath and sighs

    "You can't look at morality in that cold rational way Simon. Shame. My doubts are still there I guess, or maybe I should've asked the question to the ones who voted against. Be seeing you"
    --

    Gestalt returns to a weird apathy for the timeline. He stays with Mandragora distracting himself until time passes and they're called. He goes along to

    Huh...that WAS Lorelei as he remembered her. Before truly meeting her he guesses

    "Hey Lore...Miss Winters." - He tests the name with a frown - "Yeah, that one fits you more then it did her. Do you know how much I thought myself crazy? Have you been time travelling all this time?"
    Last edited by DukeGod; 2018-11-22 at 06:51 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "It doesn't matter what her plan is."

    Josh zipped by Sheema and up to Tara, staring her in the eye.

    "We don't want any more of you. Should've beat Legion if you didn't want to live here. But you can't. And Legion couldn't get through the folks here, either, so you've got very little for bargaining power. Suck it up."

    He lunged out to grasp at the staff that he had only just given away.
    Last edited by manwithaplan; 2018-11-22 at 07:14 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "The kid's right, you know." Simon hadn't moved from where he stood when Tara and Daryll entered the room. His grimace was the kind of look one gave at a long-anticipated plot twist finally playing out. "You're not coming with us. We know how strong you are, and Daryll's summons are impressive. Really, they are. Against any other opposition, you might be able to force your way through. But we're not just any opposition, and we anticipated you'd try this. You can't believe we'd just let you escape to the past and take a do-over at murdering every person in Paradisia."

    "Walking away here isn't a loss for you. You know your history. We've been through a collapsing timeline before - when we defeated Legion the first time. The timeline collapsed, but we weren't destroyed with it. We were reset to our Legion-less lives. The same will happen here."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Persuasion (1d20+20)[28]
    Last edited by Dorni; 2018-11-26 at 10:35 PM.
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Um," Lorelei's eyes darted a bit nervously between Tara and her forces, and Gestalt. But...well, honestly, Josh had the situation pretty pegged. She had some sense of how powerful Tara and Darryll were, but against everybody in the room? Meh. She followed his lead and basically ignored the confrontation.
    "Yeah, that was me."

    "...How have you been?"
    she asked, awkwardly.

    Tara calmly lifted one hand, a barrier of telekinetic energy blocking Josh's grasp. She gave him a little "Like, really?" look, but she didn't respond with violence, or any further magic.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    If you want to take the staff you actually have to try a Disarm . Or convince her to give it to you, I suppose.


    "Is that what your version of me tried to do?" she asked Simon. She didn't sound...surprised, necessarily, but she didn't sound quite unsurprised either. "Huh."

    Looking to Sheema, she answered, "I want to live. It's as simple as that. I understand that the exact fate of the people living in this timeline is uncertain, and you all believe - or want to believe - that everything will be fine. Well, maybe." She nodded to Simon, "I agree, your presence here is evidence in support of that conclusion. But I would not call it conclusive evidence - you jumped timelines at the point of divergence. It is possible that it will happen that way again, but not certain. Not certain enough for us to trust our lives to. The way we see it, our chances are better if we go with you."

    "That being said, you have quite misinterpreted our position here. Yes, we are aware that we cannot secure your assistance with force of arms. These elementals are not here as a threat. They are here as an offer."

    "An offer, huh?" Future Aquila asked skeptically.

    Tara looked to Jenny. "Would you like to tell them?"

    Jenny...just looked confused.

    "Ah. You know, this is why I have always preferred rituals of divination to powers of prophecy.
    At least with rituals, you know you will be getting information that you want, when you want it."


    "The M- that is, Legion is on the way. According to our divinations, he will be arriving shortly. The Glade is a tough nut for even him to crack, admittedly. Our plan to do so, if it ever became absolutely critical, was to swarm the Glade's protections with permasummoned forces to occupy the entire perimeter. It was our belief that it would take dedicating more than half of the permasummoned army to overwhelm the Glade's defenses through weight of numbers. To supplement this, we would concentrate his summons and all other elite forces to attack a single point, to punch through the perimeter. Once we had an opening, our army could swarm in and attack the guardians from both sides, while also streaming through the Glade to annihilate those sheltering within. Since the Glade would need to keep forces distributed all around the perimeter to hold off the army, it would not have sufficient fighting power at any one point to keep back the elite concentration. That task, then, would logically go to all of you."

    "I'm sure we can all agree that if Legion is able to acquire the time machine, it would be far worse than our using it. To say nothing of the threat to those of you from the other timeline if he breaches before you have left. Perhaps the Glade can hold off his army, and the rest of you can defeat his elite forces. Perhaps not. These elementals were summoned and augmented ritually, and will persist on their own for the next eight hours, as will the next eight augmentations I place. With them, your chances of defeating his elites and holding your perimeter will be substantially improved. Allow us to travel with them to another timeline, and we will direct the elementals to fight at your direction before we leave, and I will augment eight of your number to improve your odds further. But we are not threatening you - refuse, and we will simply teleport away and take our chances."

    Future Simon's face didn't reveal anything, and Future Josh looked just idly contemptuous of the warning and offer. Jenny and William both looked concerned though, and Future Sheema and Future Aquila were clearly at least taking the warning seriously.

    Spoiler: Expertise (Tactics) DC 25
    Show
    It's a tough call since you don't know the exact composition of forces here, but judging by what you've all seen...yeah, Darryll's description of Legion's plan seems solid enough. You doubt Legion would just roll over the Glade no problem, but you also doubt the Glade and its defenders could just effortlessly stop an attack like that cold. Four augmented elementals and eight persistent augments from Tara would absolutely be odds-shifting, in a fight like that.


    She looked to Sheema again, meeting her eyes. Her face and voice were calm, outwardly composed. But you could just see it, behind her mask, the flickering fear in her eyes that she was suppressing. "I do not know what the version of me from your timeline did. I have done enough that I am not proud of that I can only imagine your friends concerns are justified. But I am not her! I swear to you, Sheema, on my Dream, I only want to live, and for Darryll to live. I...please, I am asking for your help."

    Spoiler: Sheema
    Show
    Tara's swinging a Persuasion check result of 36, or 41 if Attractive applies. PCs are immune to direct social influence. However, if you wish, you may forego that immunity as a Complication and receive a Hero Point. If you do, roll Insight, Persuasion, or Will against a DC equal to her check result. If you fail, for the rest of the scene, you have to advocate for Tara. If you fail by three degrees or more, you have to do your utmost to try to get the others to let her come along - obviously you don't have to like use or threaten violence or anything, but maybe make ultimatums, try to sneak Tara along somehow, etc.

    If you believe Tara might be lying, you're welcome to Evaluate her. If you Evaluate her and succeed, then if she is lying, you ignore her Persuasion attempt, but if you want to try this before taking the Hero Point you won't be able to take it if you succeed. If you Evaluate her, succeed, and she isn't lying, you take -5 on your opposed roll if you accept or have already accepted the Complication.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  24. - Top - End - #114
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Sheema had no right to accept this offer.

    The Perallan princess would've been skeptical of the offer if she hadn't talked with Tara. Even if being stuck in a tube, used as a power source for 5 years, then released in suddenly poor conditions was an awful life, no one here seemed keen on letting anyone else besides the time travelers go back to their respective time. Since Sheema does know, she's skeptical because Tara must have some giant grudge on her shoulder over Paradisia. Tara said it herself: she's a broken woman. As the other time travelers had said, their Tara tried to destroy Paradisia; it wouldn't be out of belief that the one Sheema knows wants to do the same.

    ...And yet... what proof does Sheema have? Even if the worst-possible outcome may be true, Sheema has no belief that it is true; that's the sort of nonsense you read in fictional novels. From what Sheema knows, everyone who doesn't come back with them will cease to exist soon. Everyone else seemed fine with that; but for someone hooked up to a machine for years and years and only just got free? Anyone wants to live after something like that.

    And then there's Tara's offer. Sheema expected there to be threats and ultimatums, not a plea in exchange for extra reinforcements. This place needs as much as it can afford if what Daryll says is true.

    Sheema looks back at her older self momentarily, then at the older Aquila. Sheema imagines them risking their lives for her sake, potentially dying in the process. No matter how many are here, if Legion does come at them with everything...

    Sheema can't simply go back believing they may die.

    "Guys?" Sheema first speaks, gathering courage as she looks to the time travelers and their older selves. "I think we should listen to her."

    A big, devestating roar suddenly interrupts Sheema as she looks to see Makhana in extreme disapproval. The sudden intrusion rattles the princess; she's never seen her longtime companion be so aggressive in response. "Makhana, please," she insists, being among the rare few willing to talk back to an ancient dire rhino. "I want to believe Tara. And I want this place to be as protected as possible. You heard them Makhana; they all could be wiped out."

    The rhino simply gives another heavy grunt. For an experienced Perallan warrior, Sheema is being quite naive...

    She looks back at the time travelers to try and convince them. "Look, whatever your Tara has done, that's not this one! It's like with Gestalt; the one here is not the one trying to kill us. Whatever your time's Tara did, that's not what this one has done!"

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dorni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Simon chuckled at the offer. From Tara's position, it was a good offer. With force not a realistic option for her, it was about as good a trade as she could proffer. The immediate gains were negligible, but the long term prospects were intriguing. Simon had no doubt that Tara wasn't about to take a second chance and give up on leveling Paradisia. Her past self was considerably powerful, but nowhere close to a match for an entire nation of Dreamers let alone the Better World Institute. If this Tara and Daryll with their considerable power growth and additional decade of experience were to join forces with their past selves, that would shift the calculus. The Better World Institute would still have the advantage, but Tara would be in the realm of a plausible threat. Even if she failed, she'd no doubt cause them considerable damage and occupy their attention for a time. It might even provide the opening he needed to stop the Broken Dreams.

    But an unleashed Tara was hardly a precision weapon. She'd caused a prison break, lent her power to the Ten Wolves and slain Arcanis in pursuit of power. If she felt she needed an edge, she'd have no qualms about causing Illessia further harm to gain it. Even if Tara were completely successful in sinking Paradisia back into the ocean, Illessia wouldn't remain unaffected. The amount of long-term damage that massacre would cause to Illessia's growth just wasn't quantifiable. Turning her loose in the past just had too much risk of creating problems worse than the one he was already faced with.

    "You've got a good heart, Princess, but don't be naive. She's playing you."

    "Tara, your offer is sound, but you've overlooked something. Whether Legion breeches the perimeter or not, if our future selves obliterate the time machine once we're gone then Legion won't be able to get his hands on it regardless of whether or not he breeches the perimeter. He'll have already lost before the battle even starts."
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Grim ranger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Finland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    He had never known Tara much at all, so the entire conflict regarding her past deeds did not really register with Aquila...but by the sounds of it, she had not exactly been a paragon before. There were undoubtedly fair few risks involved when it came to returning alternate-future villain to another timeline, with the possibility of them returning to their old tricks being only the most obvious one. There was no real reason to accept her offer that he knew of...

    ...And yet, that was what made him listen.


    While it was true that she might cause a problem, that had been the case with everyone in this timeline. Gestalt had gone mad by the looks of it, and he himself had fought the law along with the other rulers of the elements. Circumstances had changed, people had grown... but it was not like time travelers could truly appreciate depths of such changes. So did they truly have the right to deny someone an escape from quite possibly doomed timeline?

    Was abandoning someone to their torturous fate right even if it might end up never occurring at all?

    "Would you say the same if someone else asked to come along?" Aquila noted neutrally. "I may lack perspective towards her, but I also lack prejudice, and I agree that this Tara is not the same one as one you may have had contact with. Thanks to your arrival I am already different person than what I would have obviously become otherwise. And isn't it the job of heroes to give everyone a chance, even if they end up wasting it?"
    Last edited by Grim ranger; 2018-12-11 at 04:47 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Destroying the time machine after you have all gone through it would indeed keep it out of Legion's hands," Tara replied agreeably. "And of course, with their two speedsters, doing so wouldn't even be a meaningful distraction from the battle. But if they don't win, everybody here will die. Does that not matter to you? Are you so willing to condemn these people to death, just because...what? This timeline is ending?"

    "Because that doesn't change things from an ethical standpoint," Darryll said. "Consider, we believe that when the timeline ends, we will simply cease to exist. The consensus here seems to be that we will move on to some different and hopefully better timeline. Perhaps it will be something even more wild, like our consciousnesses will merge with some alternate timeline, but lacking any knowledge or memories of this one. We don't know what will happen, only that it will happen."

    "And that is precisely the state that every person in every timeline lives in. Facing a certain end with uncertain results, with the leading contenders being oblivion, afterlife, and reincarnation. Your friend is correct: Heroes give people a chance. They also save lives when they are in peril, even knowing that those lives will eventually end.
    Whether that end will come in weeks or decades is ethically irrelevant. If they live and wish to continue to live, you bear moral responsibility for the choices you make that impact their ability to do so."


    "I am playing no one," Tara said, meeting Sheema's gaze frankly. "I'm selfish. I admit that. Darryll is obsessed with my well-being to the exclusion of all other concerns. He admits that. We are flawed people, as is clearly evidenced by our willingness to offer our assistance only as leverage to achieve our personal goals, rather than committing it unreservedly."

    "And we are asking you to save our lives, and in doing so offering to help save theirs."


    "I contend that timeline doesn't matter. That past and present and future, or lack thereof, are irrelevant. What matters is the impact your actions have on the lives of those around you. Take us with you, and lives will be saved. Refuse, and they will be lost."

    Your future selves did not respond. It was your timeline, your decision. Future Aquila and Sheema were stoic, not without concern, but not showing fear either, trusting you to make the right call. Future Simon's face was a mask of utter neutrality, showing no indication of what he felt. Future Josh stood with confident ease, his relaxed posture dismissive of the very premise that they would need the help. There was a readiness in all of their stances, clearly prepared to intervene if Tara and Darryll tried to force the issue.

    Tara and Darryll's words did seem to have some effect on William and Jenny though. They didn't speak, but they were squeezing each other's hands tightly, and while they schooled their faces to calm, there was tension in their body language, and their eyes were just slightly pleading as they looked to the six of you.

    The temperature rose a couple degrees as Flashpoint blurred into the room. He swept his gaze briefly over the confrontation. "I don't know what's going on here, but we don't have time for it. We have hostiles approaching from all directions, and all four of Legion's summons have been sighted."

    "We have to get you out of here. Come with me," Lorelei said, starting for one of the hallways.

    Tara and Darryll neither moved immediately to follow her, nor immediately teleported away. They fixed the six of you with firm looks.

    "Choose."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Tara and Darryll will follow if a majority of the party allows them to. If anything less than a full majority actively allows it, the future PCs will stop them from following. Assuming you guys follow Lorelei yourselves, obviously.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    In spite of all the destructive things Tara had done in their own timeline, Eric was moved to pity for her. Though he didn't like the idea of granting what she admitted was a selfish request, he still believed that she deserved a chance at redemption. Everyone deserved that. That's why he had been so persistent in visiting with the Wolves and the Knights of the Broken Cross when they were imprisoned. He knew that this was a big step to take - both because of the potential timeline issue and the things Tara was capable of doing. He had to believe that somewhere beneath her cold exterior was the ability to care for people again.

    He also knew that the only way that potential for selflessness could return for Tara is if people start to treat her like a friend instead of just a danger to society. It was easy for him to see at this point that no matter which side he chose he would probably end up regretting it at some point. However, at least if he gave her a chance then he wouldn't be forever wondering if he let the good in her die with this timeline. He thought carefully about how to word his response, then answered "I support giving you a chance in our time if it will give these people a better chance to live. When we're back in our time, though, I hope I can listen to more of your story. Maybe even be another friend to you. I know you have felt a lot of pain because of your past, but that does not need to be who you are going forward. I know you're not just going to suddenly change, but I'd like to help to repair... your relationship with the world, I guess."

    Eric looked around at everyone's faces to gauge their reactions. In particular as he looked at Simon, he gave the old soldier a face that said "Sorry". The experiences of Eric's time with Simon were inwardly screaming "Don't do it!", but his faith was telling him that this is the right course of action.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Sheema... knew, somewhere deep down, that this was a bad idea. She shouldn't keep listening to Tara like this. They're all supposed to stay behind; that's how this timeline worked. None of them are supposed to come back to her own timeline. But it's so hard to ignore the reality. If she, her family, Aquila and the time travelers go back then everyone else will be left on their own. Never mind if the machine is destroyed afterward; never mind if this timeline disappears; Sheema was worried about all the other future versions of the heroes gathered here.

    This is one great reason for her smile of relief to Aquila and Eric. She wasn't crazy in being the only one who wanted to take the offer. However it may displease the others, she isn't the only one considering it.

    ...This heavily contrasts Makhana's extremely agitated roars. Unlike Sheema, the dire rhino has no temptation to agree with a deal made by a suspicious Dreamer. Makhana looks at Sheema, Aquila and Eric like they're kids. What are they thinking?!

    Aquila's words also ring heavily on Sheema's mind. There was something wrong about just bringing Tara and Daryll back. There needs to be people left behind to deal with Legion but... why can't they all come? What would that take?

    "Wait, is the Master coming too?" The thought suddenly comes to Sheema's mind as she speaks it loudly to Flashpoint. "Look, this is crazy, but why don't we all work together to take him out? Then we can all return instead!" Makhana's rhino head gives a look of skeptic shock. This young girl's plan is desperate and naive; everyone can see it plastered on her face. For someone who's lived through Peral and got over losing everything there, Sheema hasn't been hardened enough, has she?

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "There's real people here. You can't hide behind an old man's ethics."

    Josh hadn't moved from in front of Tara, although he spoke to Darryl.

    "You know what? Someone with fifty years to live, it's more important to save them from tragedy than someone with five hours. Their life has more to offer. Maybe that's not ethical. But it's real. The other thing that's real are the millions of people you could hurt again. I'm not buying it."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •