The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    A few moments later, and everyone was once again in the real world, Bernard sitting at his desk. The monitors all over the walls were showing various locations throughout the building. It was basically cleanup, with most of the Steel Fist forces surrendering into SIDE custody.

    Bernard's eyes narrowed some at the nickname, but he answered Wraith's questions nonetheless. "Yes, he was my creation. It's...this isn't what was supposed to happen."

    "I emigrated to Ilessia...twenty-five years ago. I lived in Limbra before that. I worked on the Matrix, back in the day.
    Like I said before, I was part of the original programming team. I was involved in the alpha version, but..."


    He gave a long sigh as he recalled the path that had led to this. "When we began working on the beta, we discovered how the technology could be used to attack technological security in unprecedented ways. Most of the programmers thought this was an incredible development. I was...I suppose a leading voice in the minority of us that said we should remove that functionality, that it was too dangerous. We were removed from the project. Well, more than that, really. Our reputations were attacked, the corporations and agencies funding the project dragged us through the mud, basically. It's why I left."

    "I knew that the Matrix would be dangerous. I tried to warn people but...nobody understands. Not really. And my information was somewhat outdated. I couldn't really provide confirmable evidence. So I tried to develop a counter.
    An avatar that would be powerful enough to defend any Ilessian system in the event of a Matrix attack. Prime. I programmed him to be a defensive weapon, but...the foundation of his artificial intelligence, the...lens through which his entire neural network was designed to view reality through was the danger of the Matrix."

    "I had developed a way to sort of...house him in my brain. It was a way to help expand his neural network, and it also helped me with...programming, and processing information, and such. Everything was working fine...until two years ago, when I had my Dream."

    "Prime was in my mind, was part of my mind, when it happened. I don't...know exactly how, but he gained the Dreamer power, or some version of it. He could analyze the powers of other Dreamers and write them into himself as programs. And it...changed him. He was always artificially intelligent, but after the Dream...he became self-aware.
    His need to defend against Limbra grew, became all-encompassing. He started planning to destroy them."

    "I did the only thing I could, trapped him in my mind, willed him off from the Matrix. I installed more cybernetics so I no longer needed to sleep. But...he was so strong. It was all I could do just to keep him from getting out. He took control, got access to my motor functions through the cyberware I had installed."


    He lifted his chin, facing Wraith's piercing gaze firmly. "I never intended for any of this to happen.
    But...he was my creation. I accept full responsibility for the harm he has done. I surrender myself to the custody of SIDE."
    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!

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan listened to the story, giving a nod of comprenhension at the end.

    "I see. Full responsibility, eh...Mr. Owens, you said you worked on the Matrix, right?" Hmm...

    Prime wanted to seize control of the entire Ilessian nuclear arsenal, and Aidan didn't doubt he would have managed to. They knew too little about this Matrix, and it was an enormous hole in their defences...the man surely deserved to serve his sentence, but he seemed repentant, and unfortunately it was at the moment their biggest asset towards plugging that hole.

    He shot a meaningful glance at Wraith.
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Might suffer occasional hiccups in posting rate. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Wraith nods in approval at the programmer's resolve. It truly is commendable, although Wraith gives no more open approval than that. He notices Foxglove's glance but his only response is a nod so infinitesimal that one could mistake it for a trick of the light.

    "Very well, then, Bernard Owens," he says with a tone of formal cadence. "Rest assured that your cooperation and voluntary surrender will factor into your ultimate fate." With that, he takes out his pair of standard SIDE-issued power suppressors and goes through the protocols for taking Bernard into custody.
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Avery

    To say Hero Corps had protocol would be overstating. But the general strategy in Verdania was to have four Heroes on watch at the Tower at more-or-less all times. It wasn't really a team thing - problems that required more than one Hero were rare, but multiple problems springing up in relatively short time were less so, so if something happened one Hero could address it while the others kept watch, and if something really serious went down then two or all four of them could go (or they could call for backup from Heroes who weren't in the building but had personal rapid mobility powers, whatever).

    Anyway. Today you were there, in the main control room with Corona, Newsflash, and a matter-manipulator who went by the codename Sculpt. You had been assigned responsibility for the East quadrant of the city today. Specific Heroes being assigned to specific quadrants wasn't how they always determined who handled what. Actually most of the time when something came up whoever felt like it just said they had it and went for the portals. But since Corona was there it was usually a good idea to have some pre-set system. Otherwise he'd just take all the fun and leave nothing but the Threat Level 3s and less for everybody else.

    Being on watch didn't really require much in the way of vigilance. The app would send alerts when they happened, it wasn't like you were scanning the city's camera network or anything. Newsflash was on one of the computers, going through various news feeds and blogs. Corona was playing some sort of video game. Sculpt was poking around on her phone. The Heroes weren't ignoring each other or anything. There was a fairly steady stream of chatting and banter, they were just doing their own things as well.

    Aidan

    I think we know the drill by now, right. The round room with the lightweight furniture. The guard robots standing impassively on the perimeter. The power-armored DES-SIDE agents on each door. And of course, when you arrived, Chlorine was sitting at the table, her wrists and ankles sporting their silver security bands.

    ...Oddly enough instead of the fifth band around her neck she was wearing what appeared to be a pair of glasses? Must have been some new security device.

    She sat straight and impassive, staring ahead. She didn't even look at you when you entered, seeming to just be ignoring you entirely.

    Wraith

    Well of course you recognized him.

    You had met him a couple of times through Bethany, and while you hadn't really talked much, it was worth noting that he had remembered you on successive occasions, so that was pleasant. Even if you hadn't met him yourself, well, you were an IN-SIDE agent and he was definitely a notable enough Dreamer that you'd have been aware of his reputation. Brilliant tactician, highly-respected war leader, a Dreamer with powers over mind and fate who lived by a strict code of ethics, taking the utmost care to never abuse his powers even in the often morally-gray arena of the military. Elder brother of a celebrity of the Assembly Cleanup Crew, OUT-SIDE soldier, and of course, former Hero of Millaine, though he had left that group before they had really staked their own claim to fame. Of course, you recognized Magnus Mindrider.

    The question was, what was he doing leaving Serena's apartment...?
    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!

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Entering the room, Aidan gave a cursory - if one were to judge from the time it took him anyway, bust most people who knew him knew better than that - glance to every person inside; a puzzled expression surfaced for an instant upon seeing the glasses, but it was quickly replaced by a cheery (and possibly smug) grin.

    "Ah, Cecilia." he said, his tone as if he was meeting an old-time friend for the first time in a while, as he grabbed the chair and sitting down. "As always, you look dashing in that outfit. So, how's the recovery been going? It wasn't easy to find that Null, hope it was worth it."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    And you know, let's throw in a Persuasion so she doesn't give poor Aidan the silent treatment: (1d20+12)[18]
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Might suffer occasional hiccups in posting rate. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Avery hung several feet off the air in a hammock that wasn't actually there and looked up from his newspaper (whether Aranth still had such a thing as print journalism or not) before smiling, it wasn't that he didn't love being part of the Task Force, even if they did keep getting guys in who didn't last a mission, but it was nice to be around people who thought like he did and not having to worry about SIDE sneakiness.

    "Hey Corona!" He called out, crumpling up the paper and stuffing it down his gullet "15 credits says I can stomp you at whatever it is you're playing!"

    Oh yes, not all that time with Matt had been spent on hero training...

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Louis pauses for a fraction of a moment as he reaches the top of the stairs. For that moment, the only movement is his hand as its coin dances across his fingers, and the turning of the gears within his mind. Magnus Mindrider, famous mentalist and OUT-SIDE Commander. The man's appearance is a surprise at first, and yet, as the fraction of a moment passes he realizes just how much sense it could make. Serena has been making progress in leaps and bounds in perfecting her Dreamer power; people in the know were bound to take note sooner or later.

    Having never been really good at hiding his true thoughts, and not trying to hide them in this instance, Louis lets a smile of pride quirk his lips. "Mr Mindrider," he says genially, flipping the coin to his off-hand so he can offer a hand to shake. "A pleasure to see you. What brings you to this neck of the woods?" Although he poses it as a question, a mind like Mindrider's would be able to easily parse the prompting lilt in his voice, and the expectant look at the door from which he had just left.
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan

    At first, it looked like Chlorine intended to stonewall you. But apparently she decided that all that would do is encourage you to talk more, or something. Her features flickered briefly through a few different emotions when she turned to look at you - suspicion, hatred, anger...finally settling on a sort of smug contempt. "Aidan," she said, although she didn't reply to your question, instead responding in a too-casual tone with a slender smirk, "I suppose belated congratulations are in order. I hear you're an uncle. How's your sister been?"

    Avery

    "Hah! Avery, buddy, I will have you know that I am a master of-"

    Corona's boast was cut short by alerts popping up on the main screen. Threat level seven, no Dreamer powers detected...looks like it's a giant robot rampaging through a commercial district. Just a street full of like shops and restaurants and such really. Doesn't appear to be targeting any building in particular. Why in the world would anyone send a giant robot to-

    Oh. There's a satellite IDEA lab two blocks away. Looks like someone forgot their safety protocols. Again. (Seriously when you work as a Hero in a major city this sort of thing is way more common then most people would expect. If Hero Corps was the type of organization to have police-style emergency codes there would totally be one for "Some IDEot forgot their safety protocols again.")

    "-When I get back!" Corona amended, a huge grin splitting his face because giant robot.

    "That one's Avery's," Newsflash said, without even looking away from his screen.

    "Dude I will trade you!" What he planned to trade with I couldn't tell you. The video game, maybe?

    "Oh leave off Corona you fought the last giant robot," Sculpt told him.

    "Last two, I'm pretty sure." Newsflash kept track of this sort of thing. (Like I said way more common occurrence than you'd think.)

    Spoiler
    Show
    You can get there in basically a round using the Hero Corps teleporter.


    Wraith

    "I'm sorry who are you?" Magnus asked, pausing for a beat or two before flashing a grin to show he was joking and shaking your hand. "Good to see you again as well, Mr. Huntington. You live in this building? I was just meeting with a potential-"

    "Commander Mindrider," Serena had opened the door to her apartment back up. "If you don't mind, I'd like to tell him myself."

    "Ah, I see. ...I see. Well, I shall leave you to it then! Mr. Huntington, do give my regards to your sister," he said with a nod, heading off.

    Serena opened the door all the way, beckoning you to come in.

    Then, "Commander Mindrider is heading up a new team. A bit of an experiment. Using coordinated predictive powers not to anticipate enemy actions, but to run high-volume simulations of battle plans and, if it works on smaller scales, eventually large-scale strategies. Trying to prophetically predict optimal courses of action in complex, short, medium, and long-term decision spaces." You could tell that she was doing that thing she sometimes does where she explains a concept in more detail then she needs to because she's kinda trying to put off getting to her main point.

    "They want me to be a part of it. But...well the theory is that active close-range coordination of the Dreamers involved may be a necessary prerequisite to overcoming the cognitive resistance of making complex future predictions. Like, we can't just all make our predictions and send them off individually, we'd be kinda trying to use each other's predictions to guide our own. In real time but not just descriptively. I guess he had an experience recently that suggested that multiple seers working closely might be able to...sort of triangulate more probable futures, or something. It's...kind of a cool idea."

    The words she was procrastinating on saying were nonetheless clear from her descriptions.

    If she took the job, she would be going to Indelar.

    The most dangerous region on the planet. Making up a condensed team of military precogs.
    An incredibly high-value target, if you ask me. I wonder what the odds are that she'll survive to return. Think she could predict that?
    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!

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "She's very much fine, thank you." Aidan replied, smiling. "Especially now that Harrens is out of the picture...as soon will be Ellens."

    "Thought you'd want to know, since she turned you into a monster...look forward to the news, I guess."


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Insight (1d20+20)[31] to read her actual feelings on this.
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Might suffer occasional hiccups in posting rate. Apologies for the inconvenience.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Avery was up on his feet in no time, offering Corona a commissary pat on the shoulder.

    "Better luck next time buddy. Tell you what, if I can't recycle this tin can in 10 minutes you can tag in and I'll go pick up lunch for everyone."

    And with that he was gone, leaving a cloud of dust behind him as he rushed off towards the teleporter in a wheel of feet.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "Of course," Louis says with a nod to Magnus as the other man leaves. Louis eagerly enters Serena's apartment, coin still bouncing merrily over his knuckles. The coin slows as Serena talks, and thumps to the ground when the end meaning hits Louis.

    He didn't drop the coin purposely. It was just that the image of a dead Serena, amongst the wreckage of a military outpost, had briefly interposed itself into his sight. Damned rude of it.

    He forces the image away with an effort of will and tries for a sheepish smile as he stoops to pick up the coin. "You are incredible," he says, and even though the pronoun he had meant to use was 'that', he doesn't mind his own slip of the tongue. She is incredible! The fact that she had been able to control her powers to such an extent that an OUT-SIDE Commander extended an offer like this, compared to where she was even a half a year ago...mind-boggling. He lets the feeling of pride from before swell once more, willing her to see just how proud of her he is.

    "The possibilities are staggering," he continues, gesturing vaguely with his hands. "It's groundbreaking, history-making! It's..." His smile drops to an expression almost like feeling lost, and he meets her eyes for a moment. "Terrifying."

    He is, absolutely; terrified, that is. The Darryl in his head is a grade-A prick, but it's right--if word got out of this project, they'd jump up the priority target list faster than Avery on good beer (or any beer). Just the thought of Serena going to Indelar, going anywhere close, makes his stomach drop to the general vicinity of the planet's core. Another reason she's incredible: she seems more than willing to go, and she is probably aware of the dangers just as much as he is.

    "Do you want to join?" he asks. "Even if it means going to Indelar?"

    Spoiler
    Show
    For kicks, I'll roll an Insight for Serena's response instead of Routining: (1d20+16)[31]
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan

    Chlorine regarded you blankly for a moment, before giving a slight, though more annoyed than amused, chuckle. "I'm sorry, are you under the impression that I'm grateful, or something?"

    "Oh, Aidan. Aidan, Aidan, Aidan... You can't begin to understand it. The strength, the power of APEX. It makes Tara's ritual augmentations seem like a cup of strong coffee by comparison. A monster? She made me a force of nature! Powerful. Merciless. Perfect. And you took it away from me."


    As idly as if she were discussing getting her nails done, she said, "I do hope that one day I will have the opportunity to murder your entire family, for that."

    Spoiler: Insight
    Show
    She was a little annoyed that her veiled threat didn't seem to find any purchase, but she shrugged it off.

    But when she's talking about what it was like to be affected by APEX, she's 100% fanatically sincere.
    And you know Chlorine well enough (for good or ill) to know that that's not normal for her.
    The Chlorine of the past has always been subtle, cunning, and above all pragmatic. She's never cared about power for its own sake, and never placed any special importance on being a Dreamer. She's always looked at her powers as a tool - a valuable one, sure, but their importance to her has always been about the concrete benefits they provide her, the resources they allow her to acquire.

    The APEX may have been removed from Chlorine, but obviously, it did a number on her mind.


    Avery

    The teleporter deposited you on the street. People were screaming and fleeing in all directions. There were a couple crashed cars and several heavily damaged buildings. The robot stood a good sixty feet tall, with a blocky humanoid form covered all over in odd black circles or something that kinda made it look like it had some sort of pox. Lenses, maybe? It was reaching towards a building, the fingers of one hand kinda narrowing and elongating into a series of what looked like wickedly-sharp blades.

    Down the street a bit, a woman with light brown hair and coppery skin in a lab coat was tapping wildly on an Active Crystal device shouting "No no no stop don't dissect the building NO DISSECTING BUILDINGS!!!" The robot seemed no more interested in the verbal orders than whatever commands were being tapped into the interface.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Initiative:
    Avery: (1d20+8)[13].

    Giant Robot: (1d20+4)[21].


    ((Muscle memory took over and I hit post as soon as I typed an initiative roll. Going to do another post for Wraith and the robot's action.))
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2019-05-11 at 03:29 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
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Still Avery

    The robot's finger-blades started...actually the best term would probably be flaying the building, rapidly slicing off thin slabs of material and examining them with an oddly-studious mein.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Giant Robot:
    Move: Nah.
    Standard: Attack a building with Dissect, Routine attack and Power Attack for 5. Building Toughness ((1d20+6)[13]) DC 36 vs. Object Damage. The building is immune to the Weaken. DESTROYED!

    Avery is on turn.


    Wraith

    Serena gave a kinda wan smile when you said she was incredible, and at your question...she kinda hand-shrugged. "I...it's complicated. I'd have to be away from the kids for who knows how long." Obviously, bringing them was out of the question. Not after Dyburen. "I mean, my parents could take care of them while I'm gone but...they're growing up so fast. And it would be dangerous. It's Indelar, of course it would. We'd probably become a target ourselves, moreso if we actually do accomplish anything. I'm TOP-SIDE. Not OUT-SIDE, not even FIRE-SIDE. I didn't take this job to risk my life."

    "But at the same time...Haptarus is a legitimate threat to the entire planet, if he conquers Indelar. And even discounting that, his war is costing thousands upon thousands of lives. If my assistance can end the war even a day sooner than it otherwise would...I'd have to be a pretty terrible person to refuse, wouldn't I?"


    Spoiler: Insight results
    Show
    She's being honest about her dilemma, but you can tell there's even somewhat more to it than that. You can tell that she's actually deep down already made the decision. She feels obligated to do it, but that isn't even the right term. More like doomed, but in the classical sense. Like it's a matter of destiny that she can't escape. She spent so much time and effort trying to get control of her powers, and now that she has she finds them putting her in an even worse position, forcing her to leave her children and risk her life. It's basically reinforcing her deep-seated beliefs that her powers are a curse, like this is some sort of punishment for daring to take control, and if she refuses it it will only make things worse.

    So basically, she honestly doesn't want to go to Indelar, but she feels like she has to. That said, it's entirely possible you could talk her out of it.

    Except...

    Serena knows about Rickert Rheum, of course. All evidence indicates he's in Indelar, working for Haptarus in some capacity. A precognitive task force like this, with Serena on it...it would be the best chance you've had since Ichiryuu's death of actually tracking him down. Of getting the chance to avenge your brother-in-law's murder. Of giving closure to your sister and her children. If you talk Serena out of going, you're passing up the opportunity. That's not something Bethany would take well if she found out - and come to think of it, it's not all that implausible that she's the one who had brought Serena to Magnus's attention in the first place, and if so her odds of finding out would not be low.

    Take a Hero Point for the conflict between your A Select Few and Best Served Cold Complications.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2019-05-11 at 04:00 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
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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    For an instant a shadow passed over Aidan's face, a cold gleam in his eyes - but it was mostly a reflexive action. He didn't seem like he had taken the threat to heart, and indeed his expression immediately after was one of pity.

    "I see...so that's how it is." He had an inkling from the last time they'd spoken, during the questioning, but back then the APEX had been freshly removed - it could have been temporary.

    "A force of nature, you say...yes, that's an apt comparison. They have, after all, no will of their own." he said, his voice tinged with disappointment. "Back in Adaros, you didn't so much as try to defend yourself...and look at you now, tanking your chances of actually getting out. I suppose I should be happy for that, but the real you certainly wouldn't have made such a moronic mistake...it's a bit sad to see my nemesis reduced to this. Shameful, even. I wasn't sure allowing myself be persuaded to let you live was the right thing, but...it looks like Cecilia Burke died that day anyway."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Guess I'll keep throwing in Persuasion rolls, since this is shaping like a Redeem Villain scene. Getting over the lingering APEX influence is the first step! (1d20+12)[25]
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
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    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Might suffer occasional hiccups in posting rate. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "Lady, I have a lot of questions right now..." Avery said to the woman in the lab coat as he appeared on the scene and watched the robot slice up that poor innocent building, first of all being what the heck she wanted to dissect that needed a 60-foot robot to do it?

    Still that could wait for later, he had more important things to worry about right now, he didn't want to be on the hook for four lunches after all, reaching in to his hat he drew out an enormous can opener and rushed towards the machine's chest, in his experience there was usually some important gizmos stashed in there.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Free Action: Set Variable to 'Giant Can Opener' Damage 11 Linked to Affliction 11 (Impaired&Vulnerable/Disabled&Defenceless, Toughness)(Extra Condition)(Limited Degree) Linked to Weaken Toughness 11 (Resisted by Toughness) [33]
    Move: Move in to Close with the Giant Robot
    Standard: All-Out/Power Attack +5 at the Robot (1d20+11)[23] DC31/26 Toughness Save if that hits.

    Status -5 Active Defence
    Last edited by Dodgeson; 2019-05-14 at 01:53 PM.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "I'd disagree with that," Louis says automatically, in response to Serena's final question. His mind has already spun the wheels needed to run through the chain of events that might have led to this job offer, and the driving thoughts behind it. Although his face is conflicted and torn, his voice is firm and sure. "If your presence were proven, without a doubt, to end the war even a day sooner, maybe that could be true. If your assistance were certain, one-hundred percent, to result in the sooner capture of, say, a murdering, shapeshifting traitor," and here, Louis' face contorts in an old anger before settling down again, "perhaps one could argue you were a terrible person."

    Louis sighs and flinches as another vision of Serena's death passes through his sight. "But those aren't certain. Far from it. And granted, it's not certain that going to Indelar would end with your d...dying." Teeth grit. "But I know I'd be terrified out of my mind every day you were there. And maybe it's hypocritical, since the Task Force still has to take Tara down once and for all, but I don't want to live with that kind of fear."

    He closes his eyes for a moment before looking back at Serena. He replays his own words and thinks to himself, so little is certain in life. There's one thing he's been certain of, though. But damned if he can just come out and say it cold. So, he says, "In the end, though, this offer is just more proof of how far you've come. What say we get something out to eat tonight? Or catch that new movie that just came out? My treat."
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  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan

    "The 'real me'?" Cecilia scoffed. "Theold me, maybe. The one who didn't understand."

    "You still don't. You think my odds of getting out of here have anything to do with my ability to convince some therapist I've been redeemed. I'd say you were blind, but I didn't get it either at first. It wasn't until I tasted APEX that I understood."

    "The game is over. The score has been tallied. Power won. All of SIDE's fancy technology and preparation and protocols, and they didn't matter. They didn't matter against Tara, and they wouldn't have mattered against me. The prison at Adaros still stands not because it could withstand any force, not because SIDE was prepared for anything. It stands because sufficient power was whelmed in its defense. A small army of SIDE personnel, an entire major city's Hero deployment, and the biggest, beefiest Task Force SIDE has ever assembled. You won, yes. Congratulations, Agent! But it doesn't change the fact that there was one defense against power, and that was still greater power."

    "There's plenty more power in this world. And more every day. What do you want to bet that the forces that want to crack open SIDE's prisons like eggshells will eventually have more of it than SIDE can whelm in their defense?"


    Avery

    "IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO GO LIKE THIS!!!" the woman, uh, "answered?" as she kept wildly tapping on her device.

    The sheer steel of the robot's chest didn't...really offer much of a "lip" to hook your can opener on, without which its effectiveness was rather curtailed. But on the plus side, the robot's sensors had identified you as a threat, so now it was focused on you! So...yay!...?

    "It's designed as a laboratory robot! It's mainly intended to assist with analysis and examination!
    It is capable of tactical combat analysis to-"
    the scientist shouted, presumably in an effort to offer some useful tactical advice.

    Meanwhile, the giant robot leaped back to clear the blast radius and unloaded one of its missile batteries.

    "I AM REALIZING NOW THAT IT MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY OVER-ENGINEERED!!!"

    Spoiler
    Show
    Giant Robot:
    Move: 50' back.
    Standard: Attack Avery with Missile Systems at (1d20+8)[28]. On a hit, Toughness DC 31+Multiattack vs. Damage. On a miss, Dodge DC 22 for half, Toughness DC 27/22 vs. Damage. There's also an impressive amount of collateral damage but fortunately it mostly hits the street and some already-pretty-much-trashed buildings. ...Crit. Fortunately that's still just one below max Multiattack, so only +2 there. DC becomes 38. I am realizing now that this enemy might be slightly over-engineered...

    Avery is on turn.


    Wraith

    Serena gave a little smile. She might not have been completely sold, yet, but what you said meant a lot.

    "Dinner sounds lovely," she agreed. There was a moment's hesitation before she added, "Will your, ah, elephant friend be joining us?"

    Ah.

    Right.

    That.

    She tried to make the question sound teasing...buuuut it still came off as more nervous. Or perhaps more precisely, worried.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2019-05-21 at 01:03 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan tapped a finger on the table, disapprovingly.

    "Power, power...sure, I suppose in the end that's what matters in a direct clash," he conceded, "but power is such a vague concept. A gatling gun is far more powerful than a laser sidearm, but give them to a couple of random citizens and I would bet on the sidearm every time."

    "Raw power is overestimated. Great strength is useless if you can't aim a punch - and if you can, good, then maybe I can't block, but why should I when I can deflect instead? ...but I digress."

    "The point is, all APEX has given you is a bad case of tunnel vision. All that power doesn't matter when you're little more than a ravenous beast, and if the fact that you accomplished far more when you were 'less' powerful isn't proof enough, I don't know what it is. You're welcome to hope that this general power increase you speak of is so lopsided that it will eventually tip the scales against the law, but if I were you I'd put my efforts into getting out the normal way...which is to say actual redemption, of course, because even if you somehow managed to fool our therapists you couldn't fool me."


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Persuasion (1d20+12)[24]. Also no reason not to keep Routining a 30 Insight.
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Louis freezes for a moment, staring at her like a deer in headlights. He forces himself to look away and gives a shaky chuckle. "I don't plan on it," he mumbles with a self-deprecating smile. "I could barely move the day after, the hangover was so bad."

    But he knows that isn't really what Serena was asking, and he sighs in resignation. "I...probably should have told you this sooner," he says, walking over to sit on the couch. "I didn't want to make you worry, but really, I tossed that out about the same time I tossed back a half dozen shots in ten minutes. Stupid, stupid...in not wanting to worry you I ruined the night that should've been solely to celebrate your achievement."

    He shakes his head; he's stalling and he knows it. Louis gestures for Serena to sit, glancing up quickly before looking back at the floor. "You know we couldn't take Darryl Harrens in alive," he began. "He suicided before we could fully subdue him. What you don't know, is he used his own life force to power a Death Curse." He hopes his tone properly conveys the capitalization of the last two words. "It latched onto me, and ever since I've been literally haunted by Harrens' spiteful spirit. On two separate occasions it has literally held me down so I couldn't dodge an explosion that nearly crippled me. It also makes my leftovers spoil faster. Such evil."

    A grimace and swallow accompany his next sentence. "That night, when you gave your predictions? Harrens' spirit showed me images of the subject dying. In vivid, excruciating detail, like a Dream. It's why I stopped you from checking Beth's future." Through that sentence, he couldn't hold back a series of twitches and flinches as the indelibly wrought images return to his mind. "Ah, sorry. Just saw Tai's and Tsuki's again. Bastard doesn't miss a chance to torture me, and all signs indicate the Curse won't stop until we take in Tara or, well."

    He holds a finger-gun to his head for a moment and lets it drop. He risks another look at Serena to gauge her response, but doesn't look long; he doesn't want her to see the pain and sorrow in his face. "So. That was what drove me to drink that night. I don't plan on using that particular coping mechanism a second time. SIDE agent's honor. Sorry...for not telling you sooner." And with that, he mentally braces himself (and only barely keeps himself from physically bracing himself) for Serena's reaction and response.
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "WHY DOES IT HAVE MISSILES!?" Avery yelled just before the projectiles collided with him in an explosion that left him coughing and spluttering in a crater where the road used to be. "Lady when I'm done taking this thing a part we are going to have a serious conversation about what appropriate equipment for a lab assistant looks like!"

    The sound of a revving engine filled the air from nowhere as the Cartoon Hero reached behind him and pulled a comically oversized chainsaw from behind his back, rushing towards the robot and swinging wildly.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Free: Set Variable to "Big Honkin' Chainsaw" Damage 11 (Alternate Resistance:Defence) Linked to Affliction 11 (Impaired/Disabled)(Alternate Resistance:Defence)(Limited Degree)
    Move: Move in to Close with the Robot
    Standard: Attack the Robot (1d20+11)[29] DC26/21 Defence vs Damage & Impaired/Disabled if that hits.
    End of Turn: Regeneration removes a bruise

    HP 5
    Status Fine

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Aidan

    Chlorine was smiling now, a wide grin, with a manic light in her eyes. "And why do you care?
    From whence comes this oh so helpful advice? You said you 'let yourself be convinced' not to kill me, right?
    So which is it, Aidan? Did you choose, or were you convinced? Am I alive by your will, or another's?"

    "I think it was you. Good old Agent Foxglove. The sheriff in a nest of assassins. Not like those other IN-SIDE agents. Like Hayseed and...that other guy. Oh, I saw how Agent Hayseed treats her enemies, while I was flying away. I saw that very clearly."

    "But not you. You let yourself be 'convinced' to spare your old foe, and then you come to visit and talk about redemption. Agent Foxglove. The nice, trustworthy IN-SIDE agent. Hah! Of course, you insist that power isn't everything. When you're so weak, what else are you going to believe?"


    Wraith

    Serena stared at you in silence for several moments, horror on her face as you described the effects of Darryll's curse. Your quip about your leftovers spoiling didn't lighten her reaction any. Magic wasn't really TOP-SIDE's purview, but to what extent it was understood as a Dreamer power, Serena had at least some idea of what it could do. That understanding, incomplete though it was, only made it worse.

    "And here I've been worried about..." she mumbled, trailing off. A couple moments later, she tried again. "What...what are you going to do? I mean...you can't keep working with the Task Force, right? You can't go after Tara with a curse like that, right? It would be suicide!"

    Avery

    "WHY WOULDN'T IT HAVE MISSILES!?" the scientist shouted back, which to be fair when you're talking about a giant killbot is a kinda valid point.

    The good news was, your chainsaw sliced right through the robot's leg like a hot knife through butter. The bad news was the thing was flipping enormous so pound for pound it was roughly as damaging as a paper cut. Had this been a living opponent you might have been able to work with that, since paper cuts could still sting like the dickens! But it was a robot so it also felt no pain.

    Seeing you had survived its missile barrage, the massive construct kinda dipped down towards you, tilting its head side to side almost as if it were examining you curiously, like some strange insect it had never seen before or something.

    ...Disconcertingly, this seemed to worry the scientist even more than the missiles had.

    "OH SWEET LORE IT'S ANALYZING YOU RUN AWAY YOU'RE DEAD!!!"

    Spoiler
    Show
    Giant Robot:
    Move: Nah.
    Standard: Tactical Analysis on Avery. Give me Will DC 22 vs. Impaired+Vulnerable/Disabled+Defenseless and Weaken Toughness 12 vs. the robot. In addition, the robot is Deflected at 1d10+18, which lasts for two rounds against Avery.

    Avery is on turn.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

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  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "What am I going to do," Louis repeats in a murmur. It's not a new question, but he hasn't really given it more than a cursory thought. It wasn't something he had really considered, just stopping; to simply walk away and leave Tara to the others. He admits, the idea isn't without its allure.

    "I have to admit, I'm fairly scared. Terrified, really." Maybe it's just his imagination that he hears a malicious chuckle in the air. "His last words were 'Tara will destroy you all'; that probably means his spirit will be extra active during a confrontation with Tara. SIDE would probably accept if I were to request a transfer," he continues, musing in a mild voice, seemingly unfazed by the words he had said. The slight tremor in his tone, and the coin dancing frantically across his fingers, belie his supposed calm. Nothing he had said is false; he could possibly have an out. And yet...

    Louis gives a short sigh; one of resolution rather than resignation. "But I won't." His voice is soft, firm. "I won't let a dead man's ghost rule my life; whatever this construct is, I will not give Darryl's legacy the satisfaction of pushing me to run. And even more than that...I can't abandon the team. Avery and Foxglove, Hayseed and Prophet and Kate; they're my friends. If they fight Tara without me, and something goes wrong, I-I'm not sure how well I could live with myself."

    He pauses for a moment, then turns to face Serena more fully. "So I'm going to do what SIDE does best: whelm overpowering force, pick my battles, and cheat like a Flame-blasted weasel. I'll do everything in my power to come back to you, safe and sound." He gives the best confident smile he can, and takes her hand in a reassuring grip.
    Saber avatar courtesy of Prime32

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Why did he care, indeed? As Chlorine spoke, Aidan fell into contemplative silence. He didn't really feel like he was particularly nicer than Hayseed or Wraith just because he rarely resorted to lethal force - his restrain was, after all, born from the belief that capturing someone alive would be more useful in the long run, more than any kind of ethical concern. And, well, Prophet's efforts had provided him with a firsthand example of how redeeming someone could, likewise, help in the long run (the matchup with the Wind Elemental was unfortunate, but still) - or, perhaps more precisely, that people could indeed be reedemed at more than a superficial level (and a redeemed criminal obviously posed no more threat).

    Maybe that made him weak, maybe not. In the end...

    "...well, does it really matter?" he replied, with a shrug. "I can get what I want, while you're back behind bars; that's all it boils down to. They say madness is doing the same thing expecting different results, you know? Since you're alive, you might as well try to actually change this time."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Persuasion (1d20+12)[31], IN-sight 30.
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "Oh come on! A smart girl like you's gotta know that Hero Corp don't run!" Avery retorted as the machine's analysis returned a stream of gibberish. "Your overgrown microscope can analyse THIS!"

    His raised voice was punctuated with by the clattering of an oven against the machine's head with the growing shadow hanging over the robot promising yet more appliance based pain yet to come.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Free: Set Variable to "Shadows of Impending Doom" Perception Damage 11 (Indirect 2, Secondary Effect)(Limited to Reach)
    Standard: Attack the Robot, DC26 Toughness Save vs Damage with Secondary Effect
    Move Action: I need to find something to do with these...


    HP 5
    Status Fine

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Wraith

    Serena squeezed your hand back, but as she listened to your answer...you could see the changes going over her face. Concern, worry...and then a sort of distracted consideration.

    And then something calculating.

    "That doesn't...Louis that isn't rational!" she argued.

    "You can't... Look, in TOP-SIDE, one of the most important things we do is develop plans. Protocols. Contingencies. As powerful as SIDE is, our resources aren't limitless. And they aren't...they aren't all material resources, you know? Money and time and gear...you also have to think about things like...political capital. Public approval. Lives. They're all resources that we spend to purchase safety for the people of Ilessia. And you can't just say like, you can't put a cost in money on the life of an agent. Because if you can conserve an amount of money that could be used in a different fashion to save two agents' lives...you know? You have to run the numbers, on all of it, otherwise you don't make the best plans and people are less safe."

    "And you...you're, like, a super-spy! Or super-hero, or whatever! I'm a glorified bureaucrat who only just learned how to control her powers. I mean...maybe, maybe it can be argued that...that I have more people directly relying on me for their well-being,"
    her gaze flickered unconsciously in the direction of her children's rooms. "But there are far more people who indirectly rely on you even if they' never know it, and they wouldn't remember if they did and...but it doesn't matter! The point is that you are objectively a more powerful force for good in the world than I am. The people of Ilessia are safer because you exist than they are because I exist."

    "And as dangerous as Tara Ellens is and as important it is that she be stopped, she is objectively less of a threat to the world than Haptarus! Especially now with her allies scattered and SIDE aware of her and...and everything that you and the Task Force have done."

    "And the risk I'd be taking going there...I mean, it's purely speculative, and maybe not even that high. I mean, I'd be on a team of tactical precogs, staying back from the actual fighting, surrounded by military defenses. Odds are even if they learned of us and waged an attack, we'd anticipate it days in advance or something! But you'd be going up against Tara directly, with her having a reason to want to kill you, personally, and cursed with...you would be taking a huge gamble with your life!"

    "And that...it doesn't measure up. You can't take more of a risk, to a more valuable asset, for a less important goal, and say that's the right thing to do, and say that it's also right that a less important asset refuse a lesser risk for a more important goal. It's not valid reasoning. If it is right for me to stay here, then it cannot, logically mathematically Can. Not. be right for you to fight Tara Ellens in circumstances like this. And if you taking on that sort of risk against Tara Ellens is the right thing to do...then there is no way I can possibly be justified in refusing a lesser risk against the Empire."

    "If...if you have to fight Tara Ellens, I think...I think that means that I have to try to help against the Empire."


    Spoiler: Insight results
    Show
    Serena's a pretty rational person all told, so this is a valid assessment, although you can tell that it's not a purely objective one. It wouldn't quite be fair to say that she's trying to give you an ultimatum - this isn't really an intentional "if you fight Tara I'm going to fight the Empire" stand. But she is convinced now that if you are willing to take on that risk, it would be wrong for her not to do the same.

    That said, it is her hope that given that, your conclusion will be that the right thing to do is for neither of you to take the risk.

    If you wish to try to convince her that you won't fight Tara and then do it anyway, it will require a Deception check.

    Spoiler: Expertise (Tactics) DC 25. I'mma say that given your emotional investment here and the potential consequences of the situation overall, you can't Routine this without Skill Mastery
    Show
    While her analysis was made in good faith, like I mentioned it wasn't purely objective, and there are flaws in her reasoning. Specifically, your relative contribution to Tara's (hopeful) defeat would likely greatly outweigh Serena's relative contribution to the hypothetical downfall of the Empire. Now, that may not be quite enough on its own to change her view...but with a persuasive or convincing enough presentation, it might be able to.

    Spoiler: DC 30
    Show
    Also, don't even try to use any sort of "I'm not as good a person as you" or "I have red in my ledger" sort of argument here. Serena does not see you that way and it would only strengthen her resolve.


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    So, remember that Hero Point I gave you in the previous sandbox scene?

    Now you've earned it.


    Aidan

    Chlorine gave you a smug smirk as she answered, "Wouldn't that make you mad, then?
    For sticking me back in prison after how well that worked out for you last time? Besides, how do you know I didn't try to change last time?"


    Spoiler: Insight results
    Show
    She's basically trolling you at this point. She isn't strictly being disingenuous, she believes her spiel fine, but she's not making any actual effort to convince you. You managed to engage her enough to get her to at least temporarily ignore her hatred for you (your checks have managed to bring her from Hostile to Indifferent, but you'd basically have needed a crit for the three-step success needed to bring her all the way to Friendly so with this latest check not improving her reaction further there's little more raw Persuasion can do), but that kinda only goes so far. Mere rhetoric isn't going to take things any further.

    You've laid some groundwork, but if you want to have any chance at actually getting through to her, you're going to need to make a more personal connection.


    Avery

    You'd think that dropping a heavy object with a clear ominous shadow from very high up against an active opponent would result in them, you know, stepping away at least occasionally. And yet, they never seem to...

    Of course, when you're a giant robot, you also kinda don't need to.

    Processing the results of its analysis, the robot's eyes suddenly fixed more firmly on you. Not just the eyes on its head. Every one of those weird camera-lens-things speckling its body that was in any way facing your direction suddenly seemed focused on you. Oh, and they were all glowing red now.

    "You..." The robot spoke in a buzzing monotone.

    ...

    "Are..." Its works were halting, sounding almost confused...maybe even pained.

    ...

    "...Illogical!"

    BZZZOWWW! Laser eyes. Lots and lots of laser eyes.

    ...

    ...

    "...SINCE WHEN CAN YOU TALK!?!?!?!?!?"

    Spoiler
    Show
    Giant Robot:
    Move: Stare.
    Standard: Laser Eyes. Perception range attack. Avery give me Defense DC 27 vs. Damage.
    End of Turn: Secondary Effect triggers. Robot is Deflected at 1d10+18 vs. Avery only.

    Avery is on turn.
    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!

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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "You realise of course that this means war?" Avery groused as he hauled himself of the crater where he'd stood in between hacking up a generous helping of black smoke.

    "Hey lady! I could use some inside info right about now!"

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Standard: Recover away Staggered
    End of Turn: Regeneration removes a Bruise

    HP 5
    Status Fine
    Last edited by Dodgeson; 2019-06-05 at 02:15 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Louis' reaction to Serena's argument is a nod here and there and relaxing into the couch further as she lays her argument down. The familiarity of her voice had done more to settle his mind than anything in the past months, although his anxiety is still apparent in what tension remains in his body. As he considers his response with a thoughtful expression, he absentmindedly laces their fingers and begins to rub his thumb in circles on her hand.

    "I admit I spoke mostly with my heart before," he begins with a nod of the head. "However, my previous decision wasn't solely based on my emotions. I have to disagree with several of your points.

    One: our relative usefulness. I am objectively more powerful than you, true. But your predictive abilities and, more importantly I feel, your Astral Projection gives you options I can only dream of. I am willing to bet there are a half-dozen positions, at least, within the various branches of SIDE that would kill to have that kind of intel-gathering capability. Sure, projection blockers exist; but there are probably plenty of criminal organizations that don't or can't use them, ripe for taking down. You want to talk about keeping the people of Ilessia safe, there are ways you can do that without going into a war zone, with far more direct results than this prospective precog team.

    Two: Tara's relative danger. Again, I'll grant, Tara is objectively less dangerous than the whole of the war of Haptarus. As a side note, however, she has that cloning ritual of hers. It took seven of us to take down a clone of Tara; three super-Heroes, three super-spies, and an overqualified PI, and the fight could have gone the other way at times. If she slips through our fingers, she'll have time to go to ground and clone herself new allies.

    And yes, we have managed to strip her of the vast majority of her allies and resources. But that makes her something arguably even worse: a cornered rat, desperate, taking any chances she can. Prophet had a Vision, months ago, of Tara successfully stealing the APEX stone from Maestro Mentallo at some point in the future. He didn't see what she plans to do with it, but the last time she used APEX a SIDE prison almost fell. We're planning to go after her immediately afterwards, but again: we need to neutralize her there and then.

    And, most importantly, three: I am positioned to aid in the capture of a genocidal criminal, one of the most individually dangerous persons on the planet. The Task Force's actions at that time will provide immediate results. You say your danger is only speculative? The results of such a team are purely speculative. A group of tactical precogs might glean increased insight while working together. Such a group could possibly begin to predict battlefield conditions reliably enough to be able to manipulate future conflict.

    How long will it take? If you say the precogs have to be together, will they also need to be close to the fights themselves? How many personnel can be spared to protect a group of such uncertain utility, if they do have to be close to the fighting? And after all that, when will the fruits of your labor be seen, if at all?"


    He grips her hand in both of his and looks her straight in the eye. "Tara Ellens, as an individual, is capable of unpredictable danger; I am in a position to stop her, to end that threat once and for all. This prospective precog team has no such assurance of purpose. I agree, we have to weigh risks and benefits. Your going to Indelar presents risks that run the gamut from small to large, for a benefit that is murky and far from certain. There are other ways you could apply the powers you have just learned to control for an equal or greater benefit, with far more surety and specifically for the people of Ilessia."

    Louis takes a moment to think, and sighs. "I will not lie and say I won't fight Tara in order to keep you from going to Indelar. I can more than appreciate the fact that you feel like you have to take an equal amount of risk as I do--but please, please consider whether it is logical to take that risk if the benefits are hardly concrete or proven worthwhile, when a greater benefit can be gained with a lesser risk."
    Last edited by Thokk_Smash; 2019-06-08 at 02:16 AM.
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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Avery

    "Right! Yes! Information! It has very advanced sensor systems! Its numerous cameras are designed for wide-spectrum analytical visual detection in all directions and at a thousand times the speed of human vision! It can scan for technological schematics, geological phenomena, chemical residue, biological processes, and Dreamer powers! It is also able to see into the ultraviolet spectrum and-"

    What we have learned today is that this particular IDEA scientist definitely went the Education route rather than the straight Intellect and JoAT route. We know that because while she's obviously a knowledgeable and skilled scientist, she does not have even one single point in Expertise (Tactics). ...Might be rolling at a penalty, actually.

    The robot, meanwhile, considered your declaration of war and decided it required more information to determine whether or not you were a credible threat. It decided the most efficient way to get that information was to take a look at your internal organs. It may occur to an astute reader that X-ray vision was not included on the scientist's list of the robot's cameras.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Giant Robot:
    Move: Meh.
    Standard: Dissect on Avery at (1d20+8)[23]. On a hit, Toughness DC 31 vs. Damage, Fortitude DC 26 vs. Weaken All Defenses. Hit. Has this thing rolled less than a fifteen even once yet?

    Avery is on turn.


    Wraith

    Serena listed to your points carefully. Initially, she had that canny look in her eyes that suggested she was already formulating counters to your points, but she started looking more thoughtful as you went one. At the end, she gave a slow nod. "I haven't had the chance to look into alternative possibilities yet," she admitted. "And you're right, regardless of the relative merit between you fighting Tara and me going to Indelar, I have to first compare the relative merit of me going to Indelar and literally any other course of action before I take a step like that. When you put it that way it is blindingly obvious in retrospect," she said, with a kinda relieved-sounding sigh. You knew Serena well enough to know that wasn't quite the end of the matter - she would diligently research possibilities and if she didn't find one that could objectively outweigh the risk:value ratio of her going to Indelar, she would do the latter. Even so, you were not wrong that odds were she would find one.

    "That being said, I do not agree that you specifically taking on Tara Ellens in this particular circumstance is wise. If anything, your point about her being a cornered rat with an APEX stone" okay her voice might have gotten just a little high there "is all the more reason that the risk is too high. I know I can't stop you but...will you please at least consider staying out of it? For me?"

    Spoiler
    Show
    Magnus's plan in a solid one and Haptarus is of course a Grade A threat. But to be fair there's a lot of good a precog of Serena's level can do. I'mma say there's a 50% chance that by the end of the game she can find an alternative of sufficient value to convince her not to go to Indelar.

    You may improve these odds by helping her search with a new Downtime Action.

    Find Serena A Mission: 0/5 Successes. Insight, Investigation, or relevant Expertise DC 20.
    For each success, the chance that Serena will find a mission outweighing the value of her going to Indelar increases by 10%. Further, if you increase the total to 100%, you may declare what her new mission is as a free Edit.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2019-06-09 at 01:22 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

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    Quote Originally Posted by Quellian-dyrae View Post
    Aidan

    Chlorine gave you a smug smirk as she answered, "Wouldn't that make you mad, then?
    For sticking me back in prison after how well that worked out for you last time? Besides, how do you know I didn't try to change last time?"
    "..."

    Aidan peered into Chlorine's eyes, silent. It was clear that he'd gone as far he could with simple words.

    "...mad, you say? Perhaps you're right." he said, leaning on the table to slowly pull himself up from the chair. "Thinking I could set you on the path to redemption was certainly madness. I'm not even sure why I bothered."

    Perhaps Prophet would have, but he wasn't Prophet, and he was only willing to go so far; trying to show the right path was one thing, but sharing the burden, no. It's not like she didn't deserve jail time; the effort had to be hers. "A shame you'll probably think you 'won', but I can live with that."

    He reached for the door. "Enjoy your stay."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    I didn't want to cut the scene short, but...I racked my brain, but I couldn't really see any reaction other than this. Sorry.
    To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Might suffer occasional hiccups in posting rate. Apologies for the inconvenience.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: The Nightmare of SIDE IC 2 - Exit the Matrix

    "I mean useful information! A weakpoint! A design flaw! An off switch! Something!" Avery howled as his arm was reduced in to a series of neat little cubes by the robot's tools, worse than that if this thing continued to hold out like this he was going to lose his bet and have to buy lunch!

    A fresh arm popped out from the sleeve, now clutching an unholy fusion of his previous two tools, an electric can-opener!

    "Do you know how much these fake arms cost?!" He admonished the robot before slashing wildly at it

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Move:Dazed
    Free: Set Variable to "Electric Can Opener" Damage 11 Linked to Affliction 11 (Impaired&Vulnerable/Disabled&Defenceless, Defence)(Alternate Resistance:Defence, Extra Condition)(Limited Degree)
    Standard: All-Out/Power Attack +5 the robot (1d20+11)[19] DC31 Toughness & DC21 Defence if that hits.
    End of Turn: Regeneration recovers a Bruise

    HP 5
    Status -5 Active Defence

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