In which Arion finds another clue, and I think of a way to avoid setting up the table today… I’m picking up the pace because I want to try Fringe Space, so here’s another five-day blitz.
My notes for the session…
Roll Day Part: Early.
Find an object. Last seen with Exotic Reporter in a Flop House. 1 PEF since Early; in section 3 so easily avoided. (I find it simpler to do this step now, then the travel scene, then resolve the Advancing the Story Scene.)
Travel scene: Stay in Metropolis. Go to area 2 – Low, 1 area away. No encounter en route.
Defining Moment in target building: Contact, 1 Civilian Professional, let’s call him the manager. The Big Bad is there again, WTF? With a Rep 5 Body Guard and a Rep 4 Gangster, all with BAPs.
Talk the Talk. Chapman:1 success. Arion: 2 successes. NPC will exchange goods or services? Hmm… sounds like the obligatory job offer.
Walk the Walk:
1: Activation Arion 1, Chapman 6. Rather than set up the table I decide that manoeuvring into position for a shot without being seen is a Physical challenge, with failure triggering an In Sight test. AR both pass that challenge and fire on C and BG respectively. C ducks back, BG is OOF. Really should hire Roger. Man Down test for C (carry on) and G (duck back).
2: A1, C5. C closes, no In Sight, fires on A, misses. A takes RF test, ducks back. G closes up, no In Sight, misses R; R takes RF test, shoots back with Rush Shot and G goes OOF.
3: A2, C6. A passes 1d6 on challenge and decides to wait. R passes 2d6, no In Sight, shoots and C goes OOF. Damn, this guy’s good.
4: A2, C2. Doubles, so neither side activates. A lull in the fighting.
5: A2, C5. Chapman gets into position and fires at Arion, but misses as the latter is in cover. As Arion is ducked back he can’t respond immediately, but then activates and returns the favour, firing at Chapman and forcing him to duck back.
6: A5, C6. Arion fails the sneaking challenge and triggers an In Sight test; Chapman loses. Arion fires but misses, Roger sneaks into position and shoots Chapman who goes OOF.
Object Difficulty 1; Arion and object pass 1d6. Arion solves 1 clue, now has 4. Arion and Roger pick up an increasing Rep die each, while Chapman gets another decreasing one.
However, we’ve got three OOF opponents here, let’s question one… That works like questioning a person of interest, and as a bit of metagaming, you want to interrogate the lowest Rep person you can. Arion passes 3d6, the mook passes 2d6, so Arion solves another clue and now has 5.
“We should’ve got a season ticket for the Transit,” grumbles Roger. “How many times have we been up and down the main line?”
“At least it’s a different area this time,” Arion points out. “Bit further west. Bracing sea breeze and all that, back towards the docks. Sun’ll be up soon, too.”
“So,” Arion muses out loud. “Now we need a second physical key to decrypt the data store. Never heard of that before; two keys for the same device, and you need both to unlock it? What does that tell you?”
“There are two people involved, and they don’t trust each other. Or maybe their boss doesn’t want to trust them completely; you know, like the launch keys for planetbuster missiles. Which makes me even more uncomfortable about going to a ghetto flophouse at four in the morning.”
“Well, given that one of them turns out to be Chapman and the other one turns out to be an investigative reporter, I get that. Not natural bedfellows, those. How does Anderson know this anyway?”
“Hey, he’s your boss, I’m just along for the ride.”
The pair walk up to the flophouse, noticing that the door is open and the desk unoccupied. Arion helps himself to the computer and looks through the register.
“Huff, Huff, Huff – ah, here we go, room 203. At least this isn’t secured. Up we go, stairs I think.” And up they go.
As they approach room 203, they go slow and stealthy because they can hear voices arguing.
“Look, mister, you wanted to see the room and this is the room, not my fault they’re not here.”
“Huff had a key – looks like this. Where is it?” It’s Chapman’s voice, edged with pain from being shot yesterday.
“How should I know? You think I go through everyone’s stuff?” asks the first voice, indignantly.
“Yes, given the quality of your establishment, yes I do. So where is it?” The sound of someone being pistol-whipped comes from the room. Arion draws the gun he liberated from Chapman, and barges in with his usual impulsive lack of caution.
“Mr Chapman, I must protest, this is a clear demarcation issue. I’m supposed to be stealing, err I mean recovering, that key.”
“Yes. How’s the arm? Oh, by the way, this is yours,” Arion plucks Chapman’s smartphone from a pocket and holds it up to demonstrate it’s harmless before tossing it onto the bed near Chapman. The mooks tense up as he draws it, but relax once they see what it is.
Chapman picks up the phone and taps it thoughtfully in his other hand. “Hmm. You two do seem to be persistent, and frankly better at this than most of my employees. I don’t suppose I could interest you in a job? I can pay more than your current employer, and there need be no hard feelings about the arm.” Arion shrugs.
“It’s not about the money,” he explains. “Not that I’m not flattered, you understand, but my employer – well. let’s just say I owe him, and he’s good at collecting debts.”
“I see,” says Chapman, conversationally. “Can’t be helped, I suppose… Get ’em, boys.”
Arion and Roger have been expecting this and pre-empt the coming attack by rushing their opponents. Unfortunately the wordplay has given everyone time to ready weapons, and seeing large-calibre pistols aiming at them, the pilots change their minds and duck out of the room. For the next couple of minutes the pair trade shots with Chapman and his thugs, ducking in and out of rooms along the corridor. Roger takes out both guards during the gunfight, and there is a brief pause.
“Give it up, Chapman,” Arion calls. Chapman’s response is to fire at Arion, who ducks back momentarily then fires blindly round a door jamb, forcing Chapman to duck back in turn. Gambling on this, Arion emerges from cover and tries to sneak up on Chapman; Chapman spots him and opens fire, but while he is distracted, Roger gets behind him and drops him with a well-placed shot.
“Damn,” says Arion, “I really ought to hire you, you’re a lot better at this than I am.”
“Yeah, well, you may have to, eventually these guys will get bored of me shooting them and do something about me.”
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t.”
“I can see that.”
“Here, help me look for that key… I imagine even in this part of town enough gunshots will draw the police. Then help me pick up the smaller of those goons, we can damage his pride or his fingernails until he tells us something useful.”