The world streaks past you in dizzying ribbons of neon. Your hair whips back from your face, the force of your descent plastering it back against your skull in wild tendrils and streamers. Flashes of brilliance race across your form as sparks erupt from the contact between your skates and the heavy iron girder underfoot. The magnetic plate laced between the wheels of your skates is all that keeps you from hurtling into mid-air, into oblivion—its deathgrip on the girder is inexorable.As you crest a bend in the iron riser, the construction site in front of you unfolds. The north of the old city is polka-dotted with these half finished construction projects, skeletal remains of an entrepreneur’s dead vision or gravestones to mark the dignity of investors in a con-man's laundering scheme. Unlike the glowing neon landscape behind you, New Audas is dimly lit. Still, your quarry can't escape you.The misty, ethereal form of the revenant below you dips in and out of the half-finished projects with a casual disregard for solid matter. The steady drip-drip-drip of old blood leaking from its claws is all but drowned out by the shriek of metal on metal roaring from your skates. Still, you can't help but catch the flashes of ectoplasm white-green as it leads you on a merry chase.You can't afford to take too long. Your crew is trying to catch up behind you, but delaying the cops takes priority over backing you up. ACPD doesn't bother with the rubber bullets this far north of midtown. You've got ten, maybe fifteen minutes before a helicopter is en-route. The window of the hunt, ever shrinking. You can only hope it will be enough.With a tap of your toe you disengage your maglock, dropping off of the girder into the rib cage of I-beams below you. A bounce here, a handspring there, and you find yourself in a half-complete parking structure. The cold concrete seems to sublimate an eerie mist in the chill night air, a clear sign that your quarry is still close at hand.Municipal Cark Park Seven. One of a thousand projects eternally suspended in funding limbo. You're not familiar with the building itself, but you know the template. A half-finished concrete ramp to your right. An elevator shaft, absent its cabin to your left. A long, concrete plain before you. And there, rising from the ground in jerky horror movie stop-motion:Your prey. The revenant. The burning embers of red light in its hollowed eyes sockets flare with malevolent light, and it lunges to close the gap with unreal speed. A chill races down your spine as the looming shape of your Passenger manifests behind you, a hazy shadow in absence of any light to cast it. A heartbeat from violence. The world slows to a crawl.> Can't let those claws get into your flesh. Kick on the turbo.> Summon your Momento and run in to meet it. It's about time it stopped running.> Tap your Passenger for a little mystical protection.
>>3357848>Summon your Momento and run in to meet it. It's about time it stopped running.Welcome back to this plane of existence Diarca.
>>3357848>Tap your Passenger for a little mystical protection.
>>3357848> Tap your Passenger for a little mystical protection.Oh hey look, this already seems fun
>>3357848HE LIVES! Good to see you Diarca, where you been hiding? Bit sad this isn't more Totemist, but I'm willing to give XTREME ghost hunting a chance.> Summon your Momento and run in to meet it. It's about time it stopped running.
>>3357848>Tap your Passenger for a little mystical protection.Not even the real Diarca.
>>3357848>Summon your Momento and run in to meet it. It's about time it stopped running.>>3357863We a Concrete Shaman, and our rhymes are bombin'. We a modern day Wizard and our tunes be chill as a blizzard.
>>3357848>> Can't let those claws get into your flesh. Kick on the turbo.It's been a long time. Welcome back.
>>3357848> Summon your Momento and run in to meet it. It's about time it stopped running.
>>3357878That reminds me we need some tunes! C'MON! C'MON!https://youtu.be/kqopDsvUUJg
A tortured moan tears free from the air above your right hand as your Momento passes from beyond the caul into your grasp. A rough-hewn chain still dripping with oil and the effluvia of the other side drops neatly into your grasp. As you kick off, skates churning over the flat concrete plane, you bring the spectrally charged length of metal above your head and begin to whirl. The whistle of the metal doesn't whistle so much as it screams, rending the air with the memory of the moment you died.The revenant is just a moment faster than you. Claws like branding irons snicker-snack out of the spirit's hands. Alight with terrible witchfire they rake through the air toward you, keen on seperating your head from your shoulders in one decisive blows. You kick one skate out, spinning on your forward momentum and turning a lethal blow into a glancing one. The half material claws gouge deep furrow through the fabric of your jacket and into the tender flesh below. The wound instantly festers and burns as the spirit's rank essence worms its way within.> [HEALTH TRACK: 6/7]But it's not enough to kill you. Classically, even that has failed to sufficiently slow you down. Your chain snaps out, the broken link at the edge of it slamming into the side of the monstrosity's head hard enough to spin it vertically in the air. Ordinary matter would pass through the corpus of this monstrosity, but your plasm-infused chain strikes as true as it would against a creature of flesh and blood. The revenant reels back, steadying itself for another charge.A baying howl, the sound of an engine backfiring into an impossibly deep abyss, announces the presence of your Passenger behind you. The Hound lopes out of your shadow, pistons firing furiously along its spine. A ropy string of motor oil drools from its jaws. It flashes past you, circling around to flank the spirit.The revenant, heedless of the danger in the madness of eternal grief, screams. A rippling wave of red plasm splashes outward from it. The area is instantly blood-slicked and bitterly cold. You feel the life-sapping energies of the banshee howl sear against your soul. You shrug it off, mystical wards around your neck popping like overtaxed light bulbs, but only -just-.Another heartbeat of stillness passes between the three of you. The hound spins on its heels. You've only got so much plasm to spend before your tank runs dry and the Hound is dragged back across the caul.> Invest your plasm in the Hound while you run interference.> Spend plasm on reinforcing your supernatural defenses. You won't withstand another one of those screams.> The direct approach is best. Sink plasm into your Momento and show this corpse who's in charge here.
>>3357951Rusty, sic em!>Invest your plasm in the Hound while you run interference.
>>3357951>Invest your plasm in the Hound while you run interference.
>>3357951>> Invest your plasm in the Hound while you run interference.
Sci-Fi Jet Set Radio Future? THAT I'll have to keep my eye on. Hoping this quest ends up being worth it!
>>3357951>> The direct approach is best. Sink plasm into your Momento and show this corpse who's in charge here.
>>3357951> The direct approach is best. Sink plasm into your Momento and show this corpse who's in charge hereWe ain't afraid a no ghoasts!
The blood around your feet crystallizes with a hoary snap as you force a globule of plasm from your inner reserve into the manifestation of the Hound. The canid form swells and distorts grotesquely, fangs rotating and revving as the teeth of a chainsaw might, a pair of twisted bone exhausts growing from its flanks. The caul on the third floor of Municipal Car Park Seven grows ever thinner. The balance between life and death teeters dangerously closer to the latter as the air grows frigid and the weak moonlight filtering in from the gaps in the walls grows wan and thready.The moment of stillness shatters as all three of you explode simultaneously into motion.This time your chain reaches the revenant before its claws can close the gap. The ghost-steel links wrap tight around one desiccated arm as you stomp your skate down, activating the linked VULCAN boost system so lovingly installed in the chassis. The shadow of your form in the dim halflight is suddenly an absence as you blur across the car park’s cavernous interior. Clamps around your shins click into place, reinforcing struts weaving up the boot of your skate to shield your femurs from snapping as the acceleration ratchets from zero to seventy in the time it takes to draw a breath. Tiny stars ignite at the back of your skates as the VULCAN system ignites, launching you in a dizzying arc through the air and dragging the revenant behind you like a discount child's pinata.Never one to disregard a new chew-toy, the Hound matches your speed with a resounding bang. Sickly, greasy ectoplasm smoke trails from the bone tubes snaking from your Passenger's chassis. Cruel, barbed teeth hook into the revenant's corpus as the Hound meets the arc of your flight, latching on to the wisps of immaterial corpus trailing from the ghost like an abandoned bride's train. The beast immediately sets to worrying at the solidified plasm, thrashing to and fro even as they tumbled to the ground in a tangled heap of limbs and steel.
>>3358072Your meteoric arc carries you momentarily across the roof of the parking structure, the reinforced wheels of your skates scoring deep grooves in the cheap plastcrete before you pass the parabola of your flight and tumble back to the ground. Your hands fly out to either side of you, steadying as you slam into the concrete retaining wall at the edge of the structure. For a moment it seems that your momentum will flip you over that waist-high wall and into the night air below, but you muscles bulge and strain. Eventually the specter of your momentum flees past you, leaving you standing, smoking and reeking of scorched accelerant, at the edge of the carpark. The Hound and your quarry have rolled to the edge of the half-finished down ramp, teetering dangerously close to the lip of a three story fall through a web of iron girders.You're not strictly worried about the Hound, but it would take you too long to pick your way down to the ground floor. You can already hear the electromagnetic whir of a police chopper devouring the distance between midtown and your location. Your crew has likely dispersed by now, ducking into the myriad lightless allies that New Audas affords the city's questionable night life.> Recall the Hound and finish this ghost off. You're short on time.> You came here for answers. Truss the revenant up and make good on escaping, pronto.> The cops won't look for you on the ground floor—or below. Tackle the pair grappling on the ground and take things to the earth.
>>3358075>> You came here for answers. Truss the revenant up and make good on escaping, pronto.
>>3358075>Recall the Hound and finish this ghost off. You're short on time.
>>3358075> Recall the Hound and finish this ghost off. You're short on time.
No time to waste. You spur your aching legs into motion once more, skating across the concrete floor of the carpark to where your Passenger is attempting to throttle the life (unlife?) out of the specter on the floor. Only the Hound's metaphysical bulk, the deadlock of its scything jaws, has kept the revenant from simply phasing through the floor. Like death, some things cannot be avoided.You snap your fingers and whistle sharply. The Hound's head perks up, ears like sawn off tailpipes pivoting in your direction. The motion drags the specter sharply up from the ground, bleeding tendrils of plasm from its corpus that sublimate into misty vapor on contact with the air.“Drop it,” you command. “We're out of time for you to play with your food.”The Hound emits a furtive whine, the sound of windshield wipers scraping against a dry pane, before complying. It retreats from the revenant as you kneel over it, slinking back into your shadow and returning to the far side of the caul. You can feel your invested plasm bleeding away as it goes.Wrapped in the links of your Momento, your fist can grip the ghostly figure round the throat. With a knee planted in the apparition's chest you squeeze. Methodical. Inexorable. Cracks of strain, stress fractures in the corpus of the revenant's earthly form begin to spiderweb out across its wavering form. It tries to inhale for another spirit rending scream, maw gaping open like a hooked fish, but your Momento is tied tight around its windpipe now. Your brow furrows, face contorting in a mask of unburied frustration as you garrotte the restless dead back into the afterlife.With a final, resounding snap the revenant goes limp beneath you. Wisps of plasm begin to bleed away in misty streamers. Soon, the only evidence of its passing will be the prodigious amounts of utterly inexplicable blood splattered across the third floor of the car park. You don't envy the junior detective assigned to this case. He's going to -ruin- his spats.In the fleeting moments before you escape, you have a choice to make. The revenant will return to the Underworld without your intervention, trapped in the lightless abyss of black stone and howling winds that drove it to madness in the first place. It's not likely to escape again—passing through a Kerebos Gate is rare. This one likely wormed its way through on the back of some more potent entity.If you want to be sure, you could always devour the corpus of the ghost, consigning it to Oblivion within your belly. It's distasteful, literally and spiritually, and the Hound gets a little more feral every time you do it. But it's the only way to be certain.> Devour the dying ghost. Better safe than sorry.> Allow the ghost to fade away. Back to the pit.
>>3358255>Allow the ghost to fade away. Back to the pit.
>>3358255>> Allow the ghost to fade away. Back to the pit.No need to take permanent damage on something so minor.
>>3358255> Allow the ghost to fade away. Back to the pit.Ash to ash. Dust to dust.
The hunger aches in the pit of your belly for a moment, but you restrain yourself. You're not keen on picking rotten corpus out of your teeth, and the minor boost now isn't worth the headache of dealing with the Hound down the road. Better to keep the peace between you and your Passenger for now. You watch as the last of the ghost's ephemeral essence bleeds away into the night sky, at peace again for as long as it takes the soul to journey back down to the Underworld.> Mark slain. The Bodhissatva will be pleased.You kick your skates back into motion, coasting through the already tacky field of thin blood the phantasm conjured. When you reach the edge of the elevator shaft you reach out, clamping a hand around the cable that dangles loosely in the yawning shaft. Nothing rigged to it yet—but it still suits your purpose for now. You step off of the third story, sliding down the steel cable in a rapelling descent until you reach the ground floor.As if on cue, the electrostatic whine of a helicopter engine roars in the middle distance. The bead in your right ear pulses, and you swipe at it irritably. A message flickers in the lower left of your vision—a notification from your Crew that they've gone to ground. A reasonable action that you'd likely do well to follow. ACPD is less a police force and more a paramilitary organization at this point, and you don't think they're going to be impressed by your dog and a chain.Still, New Audas is a rat's nest of back alleys and murder holes to curl up in while heat from the PD passes. The police will perform a prefunctory search and be on their way. No one important was involved, and nobody racked up enough property damage to warrant a serious manhunt this time. As you sail across the broken tarmac, the reedy buzz of failing streetlights droning overhead, you consider your next move. You're hurt and hungry, but the job isn't done until you've got cash in hand. You're reasonably certain the Bodhissatva is good for it. You've been wrong before.HQ is on the south side of Midtown. Close, but potentially risky given the ACPD activity right now.The Bodhissatva hangout, a broken down day-spa known as Shangri-LA is a little further afield. You could make it there in a little under an hour.If you're feeling particularly accomplished with yourself, you could always celebrate at one of the clubs. Might be a good way to gather intel for your next mark, too.You zip up your jacket, flip the hood over your head, and disappear into the churning dark of the city's underbelly.> Head back to HQ. You need to patch up and check in with the rest of the Crew.> Hitch a ride to Shangri-LA. You'd like to get paid before the night is over.> Skate back to the lower island. You've got a standing reservation at a Lotus-owned restaurant and you could use some R&R.
>>3358513>> Hitch a ride to Shangri-LA. You'd like to get paid before the night is over.
>>3358513> Hitch a ride to Shangri-LA. You'd like to get paid before the night is over.Too hot to head back home and best not spend money we don't have.
>>3358513> Hitch a ride to Shangri-LA. You'd like to get paid before the night is over.
No sense blowing cash you don't have—your pocketbook isn't empty, per se, but it's not bottomless either—and you're not keen to lead ACPD back to the hideout. You don't -think- they'd waste time on a group of your size, but once the troopers smell blood in the water... well. Better safe than sorry.You did good work tonight. Good work deserves good pay.You take a long, wide route around Midtown. The beating heart of Audas, the towering skyscrapers of midtown reach like the glass fingers of a petrified god into the night sky, each fingertip rooftop ablaze with an advertisement. This time of night is when the penthouse parties really kick into gear, or so you've heard. You've never personally attended. Nestled between those towers are the well-to-do of Audas, the up and comers, the bankers and businessmen that keep money flowing like vitae into the eternally ravening mouth of the beast. They cling to the glass towers like wasps in their hive. You try not to get too close, if you can help it. Too easy to get stung.South of Midtown is a residential, the bottom half of the northmost island of the city. The sprawl of tenement housing is a kind of Ur-Suburbia, white pickets and identical minivans for literal miles. To the right, the Harper bridge to the West Island and the old Black Rose stomping grounds. To the right, the Park bridge to the East island, the University, and Little Tokyo.You take neither path. Vaulting a guard rail and coasting down a long dilapidated pedestrian path, you skate straight down the abandoned pier.Shangri-LA was an ambitious idea. A day spa on a man-made island in the bay, perched equidistant between all three major islands. A paradise away from paradise, An escape from the hustle and bustle of endless miles of gridlock, glass, and grime. Like everything else in the city it quickly met an untimely and ignoble death by way of tax fraud. The corpse of the facility was deemed too expensive for the city to remove. Cue the local punks. Music to your ears.Now, as you roll up to the chipping and peeling exterior of the spa, the only notable thing about it is the extensive modifications that have been made to the exterior in the form of a rat's nest of smooth iron pipes and rails. During the day those skywalks are ablaze with skaters practicing for the nirvana of the perfect grind. Right now the structure looms over you like a gorgon, snake-hair swaying in the midnight breeze.
>>3358741dreadlocks to greet you, too entranced with whatever game he's glued to. Up a flight of short stairs and down a corridor reeking of industrial paint solvent you find the main den of the building, a hollowed out bowl of a room intentionally collapsed to serve as an indoor skate park. In the back of the facility a trio of skaters seeking spiritual enlightenment meditate atop their skateboards. Tacky, oversized wooden prayer beads adorn their necks.Your client sits overhead, feet dangling from a platform riveted to the ceiling in a dozen places. An emptied canister dangles loosely from his fingers. To his credit, he's not too high to recognize you—he slides off of the catwalk and jogs up to meet you as you approach.“What's good?” he says, raising a hand in greeting. “It's been a while.”You nod, clipped. The air in here is rank with patchouli. “Sorry for the wait. Wanted to be sure I had the right information.” You glance at your shoulder, raw and bleeding, then back to the client. “The thing that tore your sister apart is gone. Dusted.”His pupils, already impressively dialated, blow out even further as he takes in your state for the first time. Whistling under his breath, he claps you on the (non-injured) arm. “Holy shit, man. You ain't kidding?”You shake your head. “Tracked it down to the ass end of New Audas. It's dust now.”A smile splits his lips, although it doesn't quite reach his eyes. Still in mourning, you imagine. Not everyone gets as lucky as you did. “Good. Good.” His eyes are unfocused, distant. You clear your throat quietly, then gently displace his arm from your shoulder with your thumb and forefinger.. That seems to draw him back, and he fumbles with his phone.
>>3358742“Fuck. Uh, I guess I owe you the other half, right?”You nod, the picture of patience. You can feel the Hound pacing in your shadow, lingering just out of sight. Watching. Hungry. “Same as last time. You see anything else like that crawling around in a back alley, look me up. I'm usually available.”He nods, thumbs flickering over the whisper-thin display. “Yeah, for sure. Will do. Thanks again, ace.”You offer him a prefunctory fist bump—which he accepts with gusto—and then beat feet before the weed stink gets too rooted in your hair.> $4,500 transferred by remote wire to your account.The notification is accompanied by a message from a Crewmate. The icon blinks neon green before unspooling into a video call as you acknowledge the icon.“Hey chief.” Erika smiles broadly. You can't see where she is, but the rustle of the breeze tells you she's near one of the boardwalks. “Everything good?”> “Not bad. Money in the pocket. Where are you?”> “It will be when we get a headcount. You heard from the others yet?”> “Why are you calling me on an unsecure channel right now? We're still on the job.”> Write-in.
>>3358747>“Not bad. Money in the pocket. Where are you?”
>>3358747>> “Not bad. Money in the pocket. Where are you?”I thought the job was done, and we were largely considered beneath notice?
>>3358747> “It will be when we get a headcount. You heard from the others yet?”
>>3358747> “It will be when we get a headcount. You heard from the others yet?”It can’t all be about money. We’ve got to have our crew
>>3358747>“It will be when we get a headcount. You heard from the others yet?”A cyberpunk Geist quest? You certainly know how to come back with a bang
You study Erika's face. The wide smile and perpetual bags under her eyes aside, nothing seems to be -wrong-. No bruises or contusions, none of the twitchy eyebrow she gets when she's trying to put on a good face for her 'boss'. With an exhale of relief, you nod.“It will be when we get a headcount.” Three people came with you on the hunt, and you had two more back at HQ running interference for you on the ACPD net. “You heard from the others yet?”She nods. “Michi and Aoba are meeting up with me soon. Everybody accounted for.” A little thumbs-up emoji flits across your field of view. “We got a little bit of heat from one of the scanners, but Pathfinder took care of it.”Well, thank god for that. The little nerd was worth his weight in cash after all.“Good. Cash is in the bank, so we can call this a good one.” You kick off of a nearby bench, hopping up to rooftop level by snagging an archaic, hanging advertisement scrawl. The cops won't come this far south, but they're not the only thing you have to worry about sweeping the street. Your skates don't function quite as well on the tile-plated cookie cutter roofs of lower suburbia, but you can afford to bleed off a little speed for privacy now.“We were thinking about meeting up for some fro-yo and talking shop,” Erika continues. “Wanna come?”“Thanks, but pass,” you say, smiling despite yourself. “I've gotta get my shoulder patched up and walk the dog. Rain check?”She blows her bangs out of her eyes, throwing her best puppy-dog stare through the video channel to you. “For like, the third time, yeah. Alright. See you tomorrow?”“Definitely,” you confirm. “I'll send you your cut before I hit the hay.”“Alright.” The pout breaks, and she winks at you. “Don't stay up too late! You're taking me shopping in the morning.”“I'm wh—”The video feed goes dead. You point yourself toward Park bridge and lock your mag-plates in place. The bridge is slow going, but it's about an hour faster than calling a taxi and sitting in traffic.–RACE 1– Your apartment is a hole in the wall on the north end of Little Tokyo, halfway between the university and Central. You take the stairs to the fourth floor, not trusting the elevator not to break down. You use a metal key on the mundane lock and the bone key that hangs around your neck to dispel the blood ward at the top of the door frame. The Hound throws his weight against the door, throwing it open and leaping atop the couch inside. You're too tired to shoo him off of the furniture—at least the motor oil he drools doesn't stick around when he slinks back across the caul.You lock the door behind you, stripping your jacket and your shirt as you make your way to the bathroom. The claw marks in your shoulder are savage, but shallow—you don't think they need stitches, but it definitely pays to disinfect anything a corpse's claws have been in.
>>3359398As you pull a mostly empty bottle of peroxide from the cabinet, you take a moment to inspect yourself. You look like shit—you could use a shower and a week of sleep. You can afford the former, at least.“Ah, you're back!” A translucent blue face pokes its head through the mirror in front of you, superimposing a sallow man's face over your own. “Thought you'd never come. Did you give any more thought to my offer?”“Fuck, Weedham. What did I tell you about popping in through walls on me?”“So sorry, my friend, so very sorry. Only, I am in a hurry?” He's got something between a southern Californian drawl and an Indian accent, and it makes his sincerity impossible to gauge. “Big meeting tonight.”“Weedham, you're not going to save your immortal soul. You're already dead.” You wince as you pour the peroxide into the cuts on your shoulder.“The lord forgives always!”> “The lord won't forgive me if I get you another hit of spectral heroin, Weedham. Get out of my apartment.”> “If it will get you out of my bathroom, I'll call Serena. You can meet her in the -lobby-.”> Whistle for the Hound. Jesuits are bad enough when they knock.
>>3359401>“The lord won't forgive me if I get you another hit of spectral heroin, Weedham. Get out of my apartment.”
>>3359401>> “The lord won't forgive me if I get you another hit of spectral heroin, Weedham. Get out of my apartment.”No feeding the spirit?'s drug habit.
>>3359401> Whistle for the Hound. Jesuits are bad enough when they knock.Not dealing with your shit tonight sir.
> “The lord won't forgive me if I get you another hit of spectral heroin, Weedham. Get out of my apartment.”
The peroxide hisses and bubbles in your shoulder. As always, the plasm in your bloodstream dyes the froth an acidic teal hue. You resist the urge to scrub at your shoulder as the disinfectant does its work.“The lord may forgive you for your sins, Weedham, but he’s not going to forgive me for getting you another fix of ghost heroin or whatever the hell Serena cooks up for you. Kindly get the hell out of my apartment?” You make a shooing motion with one hand, the other cradling the peroxide bottle in the crook of your elbow as you screw the cap back on. Weedham’s face drops—literally and figuratively, sinking through the wall and disappearing into the linoleum of your bathroom floor. At least he knows better than to argue now.Your local pest dismissed, your thoughts turn to sleep. The thought fills you with equal parts relief and dread. Your body aches, [i]screams [/i] for respite. It’s been days since you settled down and allowed your reborn form to rest. On the other hand…The dreams. Always, always the dreams. The howling dark. The maelstrom.You put it off as best you can—brush your teeth. Tune your skates. Order groceries. Eventually, when you can’t justify procrastinating any further, you retrieve a pack of red gel caplets from your bedside table. Two of them will make sure you don’t thrash your way out of bed again. You take three to be sure.The Hound paces into the room, watching intently as you settle down to sleep. Every night he’s present he does this: wafting exhaust smoke, looming over you. You’re never sure if he’s playing at being a watchdog or waiting for you to show weakness. He hasn’t made a move yet, though, and the gentle rev of his internal engine is the best white noise machine you could ask for. Sleep claims you with rough conquest, overtaking you in an instant.
>>3360160A distant scream. A single, resounding note that factures any multiplies into a cacophony. A city coming apart at the seams, glass towers shattering, raining glittering death on the streets below. A city, a prison, an abattoir. Bridge cables snap, whipping cars into the open air in pieces. Ash drifts in clouds like laughing skulls, lit red from below by infernos raging across the power plant. And beneath it all, at the center of all things:The Maelstrom. The hungering dark. A thousand broken support struts yawn open like jagged teeth as the city succumbs to the massive, growing whirlpool in the center of all things. You can see something squirming in the abyss, something nascent and putrid. It grows in strength with every passing moment. Milky, translucent skin flexes and splits. A pale proboscis quests toward the moon hanging fat and heavy in the sky, dyed red with the blood of the city.Soon.You gasp, sitting bolt upright. A spray of fine black sand heralds your first awakening of the night. As it patters onto the beach around you and your eyes slowly drift into focus, you take note of the familiar shapes around you. The endless ebon ocean. The ziggurat crouched low on the skyline, fat and squat, utterly inert. And there, pacing toward you, bare feet gliding soundlessly across the obsidian shoreline—“You return.” Shimmering silk pools around The Attendant as she kneels, offering her hand to you. You clasp it in yours, and she hauls you out of the shallow mound of black sand onto your feet. “Welcome home.”She says it every time you return here—every time you sleep. The air here is thick, heavy with stagnation. It’s a struggle to draw breath at times. Do you even need to in this place?The pawprints in the sand show that the Hound has already returned to the temple. You’ll need to visit the ziggurat before you can awaken.> Question the attendant. Has anything changed in your absence?> Proceed straight to the temple. The sooner you make your choice to sooner you can wake up.> Check for anything on the horizon. Just to be sure.
>>3360167>Question the attendant. Has anything changed in your absence?
>>3360167>Question the attendant. Has anything changed in your absence?Just so you know, Diarca, only the original IP you posted from can do special text stuff like italics, bold and shit, as only the OP is allowed to do that in their thread on /qst/.
>>3360167>> Question the attendant. Has anything changed in your absence?
You glance over The Attendant. She stares at you with a mixture of quiet respect and cold distance, an admirer from afar in all things. You’ve never managed to get a name out of her, or an explanation on exactly -where- this place is. Either she’s some sort of automaton, or she’s very good at keeping her poker face. The wings of her eyeliner are, as always, immaculate. Maybe they’re tattooed.“Anything new?” you ask as you begin the long trek to the ziggurat. “Any changes in the horoscope?”She falls into step alongside you, gliding over the surface of the sand without leaving an impression. The skin of her forehead splits, and a gleaming golden eye peers from her brow before twisting closed again. “The wave remains distant for now,” she reports in an even tone. “A new visitor is waiting for you in the antechamber.”That’s a relief, at least. The last time ‘the wave’ drew near was the night every Kerebos Gate in the city had blown open. The Carmine Festival. You’re not eager for a repeat performance.“Anything you can tell me about the visitor?” Distance is meaningless here—you could walk for hours without ever reaching the ziggurat without The Attendant’s guidance. Your boots crunch in the obsidian sand underfoot, a rhythm that seems to define the slow beat of your heart in your chest.“Another supplicant,” she says. Her eyes are focused straight ahead, but there’s a ghost of a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “Come to make a bargain.”
>>3360394—Race 1—The stone steps of the ziggurat dwarf human proportions. Maybe it was built by and for another people before the dawn of mankind. The alien sigils scrawled across every inch of the gray-green stone are no alphabet you’re familiar with, lines of hieroglyphs spiraling into one another without rhyme or reason. You press your hand to a flat stone plat at the pyramid’s base. The doorway dissolves into a swarm of black beetles, tiny carapaces scattering into the sands beneath your feet.It’s amazing what the human mind can adjust to, given enough repetition.The pale stone of the interior hallways are lit by corpse candles, the thick wax alight with a pallid green flame. Up a flight of stairs and you’re in the antechamber. The roughly hemispherical room has a number of plinths—prayer altars to some forgotten religion, maybe—arranged in even intervals. Atop each altar awaits a fresh horror.You recognize the Hound by smell before you see it. A greasy cloud of smog billows in thick blankets around the base of its altar, the symbols illuminated at the altar nearly obscured by the roiling waves of toxic smoke. Across the chamber another plinth is occupied by a prim, proper looking man—a narrow-faced surgeon in an old-fashioned doctor’s frock. He checks a watch at his wrist at perfectly repetitive intervals. You know the sockets behind the frames of his narrow, gold-rimmed sunglasses are empty.Your ‘supplicant’ awaits on an ornate rug in the center of the chamber. A feminine shape, you note: kaleidoscopic colors in every vibrant shade of neon coat and drip in syrupy strings from her form, dissolving into ripples of colorless gas before they reach the ground. Her hair is a curtain of paint drawn down over one eye and then back over her shoulder. Her outline wavers and blurs, a pond disturbed by a child throwing rocks.A new supplicant. A potential Passenger.> The Hound has been a faithful companion. You’ll keep him a while longer. [Industrial, Vitae, Primeval]> The Director is getting impatient. Best to let him out for some air. [Vitae, Abyssal, Stillness]> Let’s see what the new supplicant wants. Maybe she’ll be less of a bother than the other two.
>>3360396> Let’s see what the new supplicant wants. Maybe she’ll be less of a bother than the other two.
>>3360396>Let’s see what the new supplicant wants. Maybe she’ll be less of a bother than the other two.Good to know all our options
>>3360396>> Let’s see what the new supplicant wants. Maybe she’ll be less of a bother than the other two.The hound seems pretty useful, but let's hear her out.
>>3359119>GeistHuh? What's that?
>>3360770A New World of Darkness splat book. The recently deceased come back to life by merging with a spirit who itself had fused with various detritus from the collective unconscious into something almost unrecognizable as having once been a ghost (if in fact it was in the first place).The book is notable for having much less structure than most other World of Darkness lines, with there not being much of a secret society or mission, but many find themselves dealing with wayward spirits simply due to not being able to ignore them.
>>3360396>Let's see what the new supplicant wants. A man may contain multitudes, but he must also choose carefully what darkness in himself he feeds with his choices.
Ignoring the familiar entities to either side of you, you pace down the candle-limned avenue of dim illumination in the center of the room. The kneeling supplicant stirs as you approach—literally and figuratively, swirls of magenta and cyan paint splaying across her form in dizzying whorls. She glances up, one manicured nail rising to tuck the saturated curtain of hair away from the obscured eye. Her gaze is literally luminous. She’s certainly a far cry from your previous Passengers.“Hey,” you say, kneeling on the ground in front of her. “Welcome to the party house. What’s good?”A wry smile curls across her lips. Placing her hands atop her knees, she bows low in a surprisingly humble gesture. “Thanks for the invite,” she replies. Her tone is gentle, but there’s a hint of smoker’s gravel underneath it. “Nice digs.”“Well, you know how it is when you rent,” you say with a flippant gesture, your voice deadpan. “So what’s your deal? The dog wanted to hunt, the surgeon’s got a hit list. What’s your catch?”“Not much for small talk, huh?” She’s still smiling, but she seems a little disoriented by how brusque yor tone has become. “Well, you can unvice your junk. I’m not out to ice anyone. I’m looking for someone—or something they had, if they’re already dead. I’m not really sure how long it’s been since I was topside.”You grunt. “A scavenger hunt? Not the usual fare for your type.”“I don’t have a -type-,” she says with a hint of irritation. “I’m me. That’s all.”She’s certainly more lucid than the surgeon. You lean back, considering her. “Okay, point taken. So what can you do for me? I’m not running a charity.”She shrugs, the motion sending a cascade of paint splattering off of her delicate shoulder and collarbone. You can see sigils illuminate on the floor before the rug she’s crouched on. Some of them are familiar.> The Painted Lady [Industrial, Cold Wind, Phantasm]Two new ones. That could be worth entertaining a scavenger hunt.> Accept The Painted Lady into your panoply.> She seems like she’s hiding something. Tell her to take a hike.
>>3362487>Accept The Painted Lady into your panoply.
>>3362487>> Accept The Painted Lady into your panoply.If I'm understanding, this setup is kinda like pokemon? You've got one "equipped" at a time, but you can store any amount here.
>>3362487>Accept The Painted Lady into your panoply.Hiding things is part of the fun
>>3362487>> She seems like she’s hiding something. Tell her to take a hike.I’m so happy I caught this!
>>3362487> Accept The Painted Lady into your panoplyI should probably actually get caught up with totemist before you get back to there. but this is looking really cool. hope it continues.
Seems like the QM has been reading Vurt.
>>3362487>accept The Painted Lady into your panoply.A man already has a hound. A hunt should be simple enough.>>3362503There is an implication that the 'stored' spirits are aware of the passage of time, and have goals and objectives that necessitate action. >The Director is getting impatient>"The surgeon's got a hit-list"So presumably we have to appease the entities. Quid Pro Quo: power for action.
>>3362826Huh. I’ll check that out.>>3362835Seems like it. The Hound might go feral if we feed it too much, or starve if we never hunt with it.
You hold the Painted Lady’s gaze for a long minute before extending a hand to her. The chroma of her face illuminates, vibrant yellow and magenta flooding the paint that coats her form.“Sure, why not. You don’t seem like you’ll annoy me to death, and you can hold a conversation. Welcome to the carnival.”“Pleasure to be aboard. Does that make you the Ringmaster?” She takes your hand in hers. You expected the paint to be cold, but it’s horrifically body-temperature as it coats your knuckles.“Or the star of the freakshow,” you say with a roll of your shoulder. “Jury’s out.”As you haul her to her feet, a conflagration ignites above you. Flickering corpsefire tendrils lance from the brazier overhead, burning an inscription in that twisting, alien tongue into an altar beside the Director’s. Her outline blurs, form dissolving into a river of phantasmagoric paint that swirls back into feminine form perched atop her new station. She checks her nails, glances up to you, and winks.As the altar writhes and contorts beneath your new Passenger, you feel a cold sensation trickle down your spine. You grit your teeth, screwing your eyes shut and trying to steady yourself for—Chemical fumes. The heavy, acrid scent of aerosol paint and burlap fills your nostrils. Your lungs are ablaze, quailing spasmodically in your chest as you struggle for a breath. The bindings around your wrists bite –deep-, wounds torn ragged by chains drawn too tight weeping openly behind your back. Between the rhythmic, almost ritual hiss of canister being sprayed, shaken, sprayed again, you can hear the laughter of your captors. Their jeers. Tears pour down your face, tacky against the paint that clings to your skin. The sack over your head is heavy with the weight of the spray paint now, the light only penetrating in tiny slivers, tinted red and blue and silver by the coating applied again and again and again. Cold paint drips from the edges of the canvas sack onto your bare chest. The world swims.You collapse to one knee, hacking wads of discolored phlegm onto the dispassionate stone of the floor below. The ziggurat sits silent around you. The Painted Lady watches you with a studious eye, curious as the color floods back into your face. You wonder if she knows what you’ve seen. How she lost her most recent host.You wonder if there wasn’t enough of him to put back together mentally or physically.> The Hound is the best bet for tomorrow. Take him with you. [Industrial, Vitae, Primeval]> The Director’s burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list. [Vitae, Abyssal, Stillness]> Take your newest Passenger out for a test run. [Industrial, Cold Wind, Phantasm]> Explore the ziggurat further. Anything new in the chorus room?
>>3362879>Explore the ziggurat further. Anything new in the chorus room?> The Director’s burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list. [Vitae, Abyssal, Stillness]So when we take a Passenger we see how their previous owner bought it?
>>3362879>> Explore the ziggurat further. Anything new in the chorus room?>>3362890Partially, I think. It looks like he didn't necessarily permanently die. He might have been like us, a undead(?) that can be revived(?)
>>3362879> The Director’s burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list. [Vitae, Abyssal, Stillness]I want to get a look at this guys list. see what is on it. more to see who the director wants dead than anything else.
>>3362879>The Director’s burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list.
>>3362879>The Director's burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list>Explore the ziggurat further. Anything new in the chorus room?I'd verbally note to the director that we'll be back to work with him after an inspection of the rest of the ziggurat. I suspect thorough analysis is at least somewhat appealing to the entity.
>>3362879>> The Director’s burning a hole in your skull with his empty gaze. You should attend to the list. [Vitae, Abyssal, Stillness]I assume we can’t do both or else I’d pick exploring as well.I’m interested to see what Stillness and Vitae are like. Maybe that’ll help us interrogate spirits without getting bopped by the police.
>>3364065>I assume we can't do both or else I'd pick exploring as well. I don't know that we can't do both, since we don't know the timing or rules of the Maestrom and Ziggurat-space yet. I just figured "picking a Passenger" would lead to us waking relatively quickly, as their desires are all waking-world focused, so I'd like to inspect our dominion first before returning to the land of the quasi-living.
>>3362879>Explore the ziggurat further. Anything new in the chorus room?
You lock eyes—more or less—with the Director. The man’s severe cheekbones and ramrod stiff posture belie an air of professional impatience. This is not a figure used to languishing in a spiritual waiting room, and that shows in the methodical reference of a sensible silver wristwatch at even thirty second intervals. The Director was one of your first Passengers, one of the first creeping figures that manifested in this dream between dreams.Not your original, of course; that creature is long gone. But one of the first.The Director’s vision was one of the worst, asphyxiating on your own fluids, slowly hemorrhaging internally from cascading organ failure. The radiating pain still creeps into the back of your mind in the silent, dark moments of the night. Was the human mind meant to bear this burden? Are these last gasps seared permanently into your brain?You wonder, sometimes.The Director came to you without words, handing you a list—seven names. Each one, a request. A shopping list of executions, the desired methods of death spelled out in neat, exacting handwriting. One name on the list has already been crossed off, and you have to commend the Director’s taste: it was as close to a victimless crime as a vigilante execution has ever been.There won’t be a change in the Chorus room, you decide. There never has been. Checking is habitual at this point, a way to search for meaning in this supremely unnatural role you’ve been assigned seemingly at random. Better to mollify the Director’s ire by taking him with you today. It’s not worth the wait.He watches you with all of the inherent body language you’d expect out of a mannequin as you approach, the only motion to his form the incessant tapping of a forefinger against a thumb. Metronome precise. You extend a hand to him, and in doing so feel the metaphysical tie between the two of you snap taut. A bond reforged. A contract renewed.The Director gives you a nod, though his pinched expression doesn’t so much as flicker. Time to go.
>>3364393—Race 1—The advent of communication beads has all but revolutionized the field of interpersonal communication, but one of the immediate downsides is the proximity of your alarm to your eardrum. No matter how pleasant the chime you set to pull you from your slumber, having it play directly into your skull is a jarring experience. You really do need to invest in a physical alarm clock one of these days. Something you can throw across the room.You sit up, rubbing sleep from your eyes and noting that you have once again thrown every blanket from your bed in the night. It’s summer in the city. A thin sheen of sweat coats you head to toe, the humidity inherent in living on the ocean already setting your apartment to a nearly intolerable temperature. HVAC must be on the fritz again. You wonder if it’s a problem with your landlord or if Weedham is haunting the swamp cooler again. Could be both.You already have a text waiting for you from Erika. There’s just an address inside—following the link superimposes a cheery image of one of the Midtown outlet malls against the far wall, advertisements already swarming in like locusts to clutter your peripheral vision with questionably dressed models and targeted advertisments for Venus brand skate accessories. You snap the window closed and get to work getting dressed.The Director sits in a chair in the corner watching you. You don’t immediately register his presence, while only makes the process of hastily picking an outfit more uncomfortable.The list is on your coffee table when you emerge from your bedroom. The name at the top is crossed out in a long streak of crimson. The next one smolders faintly.“Zachariah Oston – Opioid Overdose”It’s little more specific than the last request.> Do some research on Mr. Oston before you head out.> Review your skate accessories.> Get moving before Erika starts texting you nonstop.> Write-in
>>3364397> Review your skate accessories.Then> Do some research on Mr. Oston before you head out.We need to make sure our gear is in proper working order before we head out. I'm sure the Director understands. Maybe call Erika while we maintain our gear, just so we don't have a barrage of notifications when we want it least.
>>3364397>> Do some research on Mr. Oston before you head out.>> Review your skate accessories.
>>3364397>> Do some research on Mr. Oston before you head out.
You put a pod of coffee into the only machine in your kitchen that actually matters with one hand. The other is occupied with manipulating the AR display in front of you, sifting through reams of compiled search info about “Zachariah Oston”. You’ve got at least twelve candidates that live in Audas just based on a casual search, though you’re sure some of those are false profiles and advertisements created for the purpose of building targeted ad profiles. Virtual market research and corporate counter-espionage are both things you can get degrees in these days, after all.> [[Computers: standard success]]You call up the toolset that lives in a drive on your network, setting it to work filtering through the most obviously artificial constructs. By the time your pot dings to alert you to your coffee’s arrival, you’ve cut your likely candidates down to a fourth of the original parameters. One dentist, one ‘market influencer’, and a graduate school registrar listing for a fifth year grant application.“Any of these look familiar?” you ask your Passenger. You don’t bother projecting the display for him to see--the Director shares your senses as long as he’s riding along with you. A pair of knobbly fingers rise at the Director’s side. Market Influencer it is. You’ll have to ask Pathfinder to get you an address later. Your Passenger looks hilariously out of place in the broken-in recliner in the corner of your living-slash-dining-slash-kitchen room, but at least he’s not checking his watch every thirty seconds. For now.With that accomplished, you sit down at the table where you left your skates last night. You’re running a little low of maintenance essentials--oil, bearing grease, thermal paste--but you’ve got enough to hot-swap out your rig if you need to. You’ll need to refill your stock while you’re out with Erika.> [[Every skate rig consists of three parts: The chassis, the wheels, and miscellaneous enhancements. The quality of your skates determines the number of modifications possible to each of those categories.]]> [[New parts can be purchased in the city or won by challenging other punks to races, battles, or turf wars.]]
>>3365002> Chassis:- Sahara Mk. I “Gobi”: The Sahara standard was founded on their Gobi design, a ruggedly efficient frame meant to takes hits and keep rolling. Their famous debut introduced the chassis through videos of a man skating down a rocky mountain pass at top speed. While the warranty may not cover mountaineering, these skates will get you where you need to go in one piece.- DURABILITY: 2- STRUCTURE: 2/3- MISC SLOTS: 1> Benefits: Minor bonus to handling challenges.> Wheels:- VULCAN “Obsidian”: Popular amongst skaters worldwide, the Vulcan Obsidian line of wheels is known for its sleek profile and ease of installation. Many boards and skates and bikes come with these wheels installed standard. While they do require periodic maintenance, these are the wheels of choice for a skater who wants to get serious on a budget.> Benefits: Moderate bonus to speed challenges.> Misc:- Photon “Gamma” Maglock: The most popular magrail system in the world. While more expensive brands of magnetic locks boast superior sticking power, speed, or acceleration, none of them do the job the Gamma does at the price point it offers. > Benefits: Enables magnetic grinding.You’ve got the parts on hand to swap out the Gamma locks for a braking assist system, and you’re pretty sure you have a set of Sahara wheels under your bed if you’re thinking of doing any off-roading today.You punch out a text to Erika while you tinker with a torsion wrench to let her know you’ll be on your way shortly. The seven-ish emojis bouncing around the corners of your vision notify you that she has received your message.> Keep your current setup.> Swap out your MISC accessory.> Swap out your WHEELS> Perform a general tune-up.> Leave right away.> Write-in.
>>3365008>> Perform a general tune-up.A market influencer sounds more like urban environments
>>3365008>> Perform a general tune-up.
>>3365002>New parts can be purchased in the city or won by challenging other punks to races, battles, or turf warsHell. Yeah.
>>3365008TUNING>>3365044I might be paranoid but “Market Influencer” sounds like a “Security Specialist” or “Fixer” type position.
>>3365235Sounds like a blogger, social media "celebrity", or not!youtube personality to me. A wetwork or thug type would hopefully not be so obvious.
>>3366434Agreed. A social engineer with a good platform can influence more people with less cost/effort than any thug most of the time, and if the trade off was worth it then the one offering service would not be so easily found, on public channels no less.
>>3365008> Perform a general tune-up.My computer ate my vote.
You did most of the work necessary last night, but you're a perfectionist when it comes to your rig. You smooth and oil the Vulcan wheels on your skates, tighten the trucks and give the chassis a good polish before you break out the real meat of your diagnostics kit. Interfacing wirelessly with the momentum calculators and delicate sensors threaded through the mag-locks and tiny Vulcan retrojets, you clear out errors and resolve priority conflicts until you're reasonably satisfied with the factory-fresh quality of the software.The whole thing takes a little longer than you had intended. You strap on your skates, clean your hands on a rag, and hit the town.> Your general tune-up will provide a slight edge on your rolls today.Audas is a different animal under the rays of the morning sun. Stepping outside is an all-expense paid pass to the biggest sauna on earth, summer sunshine and humid ocean air combining into a salty melange that clings to the folds of your skin in crusts and less appetizing forms. The Director keeps pace with you as you skate, always just at the periphery of your vision. There on a bench, there in the backseat of a car stuck in the city's eternal gridlock, over there looking down at you from the roof of the patisserie. It still catches you off guard at times, makes you jump when you round an alley corner and he's already there waiting for you. You'd accuse him of enjoying it if you thought he could still feel the emotion.Erika insisted on meeting you in Midtown without a stop for breakfast, which means you're about to be on the hook to spend a nigh-unconscionable amount of money at a trendy cafe when the mood strikes her. At least you got paid last night—rent should be covered for the next month, and you've got some walking around money after restocking the fridge. The Bodhisattva turned out to be good for the full payment, somehow. A hedge fund, maybe.> [[Perception challenge: critical success]]As you skate across the Park bridge, you take note of the graffiti tagging the support risers. The bridges are largely considered to be neutral territory to the gangs in the city, so the tags here are expressions of artistic spirit rather than a method of counting coup. One catches your eye. A flowery calavera adorned with eyes of spiraling marigolds overlooks a sickle. You know the style—Serena's newest crop of necrochemical concoctions must be ready for sale. You'll have to touch base with her through the usual channels soon. Her wares sell out fast.
>>3366598The chrome and mirror glass of Midtown rises like a grim tsunami to engulf you. You find Erika window shopping outside of boutique clothing store. One of the eight on this street. She turns on her heel as you approach.“There you are. You sleep like the dead, you know that?” There's no bite to the chastisement—it's essentially a ritual at this point. She's traded out her skates for a pair of baby blue wedges, the familiar Venus shell of her rig peeking out of the oversized bag slung over one shoulder. “I was doing some research on the way over, and apparently Supersonic's supposed to be doing a limited retail release on some kind of inline 3D printer to modify your wheel tread on the move. We've gotta check it out.”That sounds like the usual Supersonic bullshit. Most of their tech is based on declassified military gear, and it's only ever available with a rash of waivers disclaiming liability for your personal safety.> Check out this Supersonic release party.> Head to the mall and look for something a little more in the price range.> Make an excuse to bail early and find a race or something nearby. It's the weekend.> Write-in
>>3366608> Head to the mall and look for something a little more in the price range.
>>3366608>> Check out this Supersonic release party.
>>3366608>> Head to the mall and look for something a little more in the price range.The Supersonic tech sounds cool, but it doesn't matter if we can't afford it.>Military skate techI'm scared to ask.
>>3366608>check out this Supersonic release party"I'll believe it after I've watched someone else wear it. Supersonic's more likely to make something accidentally prints out semtex, and then you're shopping for prosthetics. But if you think it's useful, we'll check it out." A release party for a somewhat sketchy company sounds like somewhere we'd find a (presumably) sketchy 'market influencer'.
>>3366608> Check out this Supersonic release party.It couldn't hurt to keep tabs on whatever new stuff is coming out.
>>3366619>military skate techIt makes sense if a couple things are true:1. There is a higher degree of combat in urban centers, especially ones that are not evacuated or in lock-down. 2. There is a higher fractionality in military forces. (Ie, more paramilitary groups and private security forces)In these situations, skates, especially motorized ones, would allow units to move through crowded urban environments more swiftly, with much less interference to and from civilian persons and vehicles. If the tech can be used to scale buildings, or maneuver on the sides of them, it could be a useful system.
On the one hand, you know you won't be able to afford most anything at this new release party. You got paid, but Supersonic gear starts top-of-the-line and progresses all the way up to “just bought my fifth Lamborghini” levels of status symbol. It's not that they necessarily overprice themselves or intentionally produce luxury material—the amount of technology they cram into an absurdly small space just demands a price point that's usually off your radar.On the other hand, the last Supersonic tech you saw in the wild was a 'smart grapple' that threaded into freerunning gloves and boots. The punk you saw rocking it was essentially Spiderman. You owe it to yourself to at least go check it out, even if you just dip after the tech demo.“Yyyyyeah fuck it,” you decide with a nod. “Let's head over to the Expo Hall. Why not?”Erika's grin stretches so wide you expect it to fall off of her face, her squeal just within audible range. A few pedestrians turn to find the source of the dog whistle. “Yes!” she exclaims, seizing you by the wrist. “Let's go, I know a shortcut.”She pulls you through two alleyways, up a fire escape, and—still in wedges—jumps from the third story onto a nearby roof. She tucks and rolls, then glances over her shoulder to make sure you're still following. You are of course. You're not going to fall behind.> [[Athletics challenge: limited success]]You stumble awkwardly on landing, twisting your ankle and teetering perilously close to the edge, but Erika's arm snaps out to steady you.“Whoa, nelly. You okay?”“Is this really a 'shortcut'?” you grumble, coasting across the plastcrete roof after her. “We're not even going in the right -direction-.”“Trust me!” she chirps, cleaning an invisible speck of dirt from her nails. “We're going the right way.”
>>3366984—Race 1—As she climbs a maintenance ladder on the side of a high-rise, you consider your Crewmate. Erika formerly claimed membership in Lotus, an all-girl gang that primarily runs in the West Island. The group absorbed the fractured fragments of two gangs—Black Rose and De Milo—that were formerly bitter rivals after the sudden disappearance of both gang leaders. They're widely renowned as being the best artists in the punk scene, but you know for a fact that they have their claws deep in the city's drug trade, too.You met her just under three years ago, not long after you moved to the city. She's pulled your ass out of the fire more than once, and is without a doubt your fondest friend.“Just grind it, you coward!”She's also gesticulating toward what might be your untimely demise.The two of you stand on a service balcony on the seventh story of a Midtown office building. The wind here shears through your light jacket, cutting bone-deep. The Director stands beside you at the edge of the abyss as you glance down the dizzying drop before you. “It” in this case refers to a long, narrow length of steel cable strung between an industrial hook on this balcony and the roof of the Expo Hall, a bulbous glass construct nearly three hundred feet away. The cable bears fluttering advertisments for upcoming shows and conventions at the Expo Hall, the material flickering to display a new garish logo every thirty seconds.“Are you fucking kidding me? We could have walked in the front door in the time it took to get here.” You take a step back from the ledge.“What, and pay like, two hundred dollars to see the show? Fuck that.” She's on the ground in front of you, strapping on her skates and stowing her wedges in the depths of her purse. “This is gonna get us front-row.”> You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.> This is insane. Find a way back to the ground and go see the expo like a normal human being.> Write-in
>>3366986>You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.
>>3366986> You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.Is this even a question
>>3366986>> You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.>—Race 1—This keeps popping up in the middle of posts. What is it?
>>3366986>> You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.I need some music for this. https://youtube.com/watch?v=A0Ws3rB5eg0
>>3366986>>3367009> Write-inWould grinding on the rail cause the advertisements to fall? Since we can’t ask the director to infect the ads it’s probably the best we can do.
>>3366986> You're no coward. Get on that cable and grind that rail baby.We got this.
Objectively this is probably going to go terribly. The winds at this altitude are going to rip you off of the steel cable and fling your soon-to-be corpse flailing into oncoming traffic. The news will cover the tragic suicide by another disillusioned urban youth, your story used as a wedge point by politicians looking to score points against skate culture in Audas at large.So why can't you stop grinning?You take a few steps back and engage the momentum calculators in the Sahara chassis with a tap of your toe against the ground. Gyroscopic servos in the ankles of your boots whir as a preternatural sense of balance is technologically injected into your posture.“This is stupid,” you mutter. Then, with a whoop, you hurl yourself forward into the air.> [[Athletics challenge: major success]]The maglocks in the arch of your skates click into place with an electric whine. The grindplates on your skates slam into the rail with the screech of steel on steel, sparks immediately ejecting in your wake as you hurtle down the precariously fluttering slope of the cable. The world dissolves in a blur of neon and glittering glass around you, your vision tunneling down to a single fixed point of light—your destination at the bottom of the rail. The din of the city around is torn away by the roar of the wind in your ears, the wind in your hair.Somewhere deep in your soul something sings as you spread wings of rubber and steel and begin to fly.The wind batters into you, but you lock your core and push against it. The momentum calculators in your skates whine audibly as you struggle to stay upright. Behind you the cable bends and flexes violently as an additional weight slams into it—Erika following close in your wake, the holoprojectors on either side of her Venus chassis painting vibrant pink and neon blue smoke in the air behind her.The ride is over almost before it begins. Your flex your legs and kick off of the cable as you near the terminus point, your mag-locks disengaging with an audible -clunk-. Your skates meet the domed roof of the Expo Hall, and you skate a wide arc across the bowed reinforced glass until you can screech to a halt. Erika flips off of the rail behind you, pirouetting impossibly in a whirl of hologenerated sparkles.Hell yeah. > [[Stunt Pool: 1]]> Stunts can be spent to re-roll poor rolls and attempt feats of impossible athleticism. Stunts can be generated by greatly exceeding difficulty thresholds rolls on tricks and challenges as long as the trick is NOT aided by supernatural means.Erika runs a hand through her long hair, smoothing a little of the flyaway back into shape. “Sick! There's a balcony entrance over here, c'mon.” She's grinning like a loon too, adrenaline pumping through her in nigh-visible ripples.
>>3367084She leads you to a service hatch bolted into the upper tier of the domed structure, presumably some kind of maintenance shaft used to install advertisements on the long rail you just absolutely shredded. She produces a set of thin metal tools from somewhere in her purse and deftly pops the lock, sliding into the trapdoor in a practiced motion. You follow suit.The hatch deposits you over a few potted planters on an elevated ring around the interior of the expo dome. Erika grips a hanging creeper and slides down onto the planter, her legs kicking over the edge as she settles onto the ledge. You can see the entirety of the dome from here, as close to a bird's eye view as it's possible to get in the main Expo floor. The central stage has a Supersonic branded halfpipe erected, a weird paneled constructions that several engineers are triple-checking before the show begins. A crowd of people nearly a thousand thick mills around the stage below you, a sea of humanity representing those lucky or influential enough to get VIP tickets. Those less fortunate wait outside, watching the show on high-def monitors the size of a semi trailer.“See?” She elbows you in the ribs. “Best seats in the house.”A chill races down your spine as you open your mouth to respond. The Director, standing at the top of the halfpipe below, glances to his right. You track his gaze as your third eye cracks open, spectral sight flooding your senses.Every day in this city is a nightmare carnival for someone like you. Urban centers are disproportionately prone to high mortality rates, but Audas is in a league of its own—between the gangs, the militarized police presence, and the constantly ongoing construction people meet an untimely demise in the city streets at a rate of roughly nine times the average for a city of its population. You've learned to reflexively close yourself off to it, but every so often something jolts you and delivers a reminder handwritten in the blood of those who fell before you:Audas is full of ghosts.It's as if someone has flicked a switch. Intermingled with the crowds of living, breathing people below is a parade of specters, grim echoes of humanity's last moments in every shape and size. Here, a construction worker with a rivert where his eye should be, the back of his skull twisted open in a carmine bloom. There, a quietly convulsing parody of a human being, a junky so far gone that no amount of narcan could pull him back from the brink. Tracking the source of the disturbance in the doubly huge morass of people below is difficult—your eyes scan the shifting crowd.> [[Perception challenge: failure]]No good. Whatever sent that graveyard chill past you is either gone or laying low.> Clamber down from your perch and go on the hunt.> Stay put and keep your eyes peeled. The show is about to start.> Channel your plasm through the Director and try to set up a ward against spiritual intrusion. [1 plasm]>Write-in
>>3367088>> Stay put and keep your eyes peeled. The show is about to start.
>>3367088> Stay put and keep your eyes peeled. The show is about to start.Unless we're a tempting target for ghosts, we shouldn't need the ward yet. We should stay on the lookout for any funny business though.
>>3367088>Stay put and keep your eyes peeled. The show is about to start.
You don't bother trying to wrench your third eye closed again. The nameless specters of ignoble death floating around you may be a distraction from the Expo, but you'd be slower on the draw if something did happen. You glance to Erika—blissfully unaware. Her eyes are glued to the expo floor, painted nails digging grooves in the wooden basin of the planter you're perched on. She's got her own talents, but you'll need to be the eyes and ears here. You wonder if—The lights dim, save for a spotlight focused tight on the center of the halfpipe. A cheer rises up from the crowd, a dozen green LEDs flickering below as handheld cameras come up to spread the spectacle across the internet. A woman of middle-eastern descent takes the stage. She's older than you are, maybe the early side of thirty with long, brown hair tied up in a tight braid behind her head. She's wearing a jumpsuit emblazoned with the twin symbols of Supersonic, and a fiberglass skateboard is wedged into place under one of her arms. The board's trucks are bare—no wheels are attached.“Welcome to the Supersonic Summer Expo”, a voice from above announces. A speaker broadcasts a remote commentator. You can pick out edges of a synthesized voice in the audio—maybe pre-recorded. “Please enjoy this demonstration of Supersonic's new all-terrain solution to extreme sporting environments.”The woman drops the board, flipping it as it falls to land in front of her. A chime rings out, and by the time the fiberglass hits the ground a pair of green chrome wheels support it.“Holy shit,” Erika mutters beside you. “Did it just...?”“While other brands boast a variety of options for handling the trials of the planet around us, preparing for an excursion is often a lengthy affair. Replacement wheels, custom kit for sand or snow—a thing of the past.” The demonstrator steps onto the board, kicking off the pipe and building up speed until she can reach the top of the ramp. She clambers up, perched at the edge with the board's nose hanging over the lip. On the halfpipe below, panels retract to reveal long stretches of fine white sand in stripes across the surface.
>>3367387“The Supersonic Orbit system caters to your mobility needs. Rain or shine, ice or rough gravel roads, we believe in a superlative sporting experience.”The demonstrator tips into the pipe. As she approaches the mound of sand at the bottom of the pipe that chime rings out again, and she slides over the obstruction as if it weren't present. As she vaults off of the far side of the pipe you can see grooved treads gleam on the wheels of the board.Further panels retract in the carefully constructed half-pipe. Water is introduced to the sand, quicky turning it into a mire, while panels of shining ice are introduced on either side. With each revolution, a brief chime and a whiff of ozone sends the demonstrator sailing without a hitch over each obstruction, additions being printed or created in real time to the wheels to adapt to each new surface.The Director tugs at your sleeve. You tear your eyes away from the spectacle below in time to catch something slip into one of the upper maintenance corridors a few feet away from you, chittering and low to the ground. Insectoid?“Oooh!” Erika gasps beside you as the skateboard reconfigures itself yet again to some new obstacle.You catch the faintest whiff of charnel and rot of the air, an ashy, sickly-sweet smell. The Director climbs to his feet beside you mechanically, looking down at you expectantly.> Not your problem. Finish enjoying the demonstration—maybe they'll be giving out merch afterward.> Tail the strange apparition with Erika. You might need backup.> Leave Erika and investigate solo.> Write-in
>>3367389>> Leave Erika and investigate solo.We don't need to be blindsided later. And unless we've got a reason to expect swag dispersal, it's not worth the risk.
>>3367389>> Tail the strange apparition with Erika. You might need backup.
>>3367389> Tail the strange apparition with Erika. You might need backup.Better to have backup and not need it than the alternative!
>>3367389> Leave Erika and investigate solo.dont want to ruin her good time.
>>3367389> Leave Erika and investigate solo.She'll still be nearby if we need her.
You clamber to your feet. With the noise of the crowd roaring below and the dim lighting (not to mention the Supersonic laser shows that accompanies every tech announcement) Erika doesn't even glance aside as you creep along the elevated wooden planter. You keep one hand on the wall beside you to steady yourself as you go—no need to risk falling a couple of stories into a crowd of punks and ghosts—and quietly reach out to the Director.While the Hound's Momento is a brutal thing, a length of ghoststeel chain as long as you are tall, the Director's gift is a precision implement. A small, breathtakingly sharp scalpel pierces the Caul and slides into your grasp. The metal is ice cold, but the weight of it comforts you somewhat. You know it will cut anything, material or immaterial, given the proper leverage.The Director himself is waiting for you as you round the corner of the maintenance tunnel. You crouch down low to the ground, calling up plasm from the well within you and channeling it through the Director's link.> [[1 plasm spent. Vitae Oracle activated.]]> [[Remaining plasm: 3/12]]> [[Investigation challenge (plus Oracle): Standard Success]]A tinge creeps over your vision, the veins squirming uncomfortably in your eyes. You can see a wispy thread of dirty ectoplasm winding its way down the corridor, darting to one side and clambering into a maintenance vent. There are scores in the ground, scrape marks where something sharp has raked the polished tile. You weigh your options. Going through the vent would put you in a tight space, and you don't exactly know your way around the complex's HVAC system. You could try to smoke the beast out or attract its attention with a little bit of blood, but that could draw unintended attention. The crowd roars with approval behind you, dividing your focus. The Director shakes his head with fractional disapproval, glancing at his watch.The weight of the scalpel is cold in your grasp. Reassuring.> Health Track: [7/7]> Plasm Pool: [3/12]> Head into the vents after this weird spirit.> Draw it out with some blood or plasm. [1 health or plasm].> Explore the complex further to see if you can find where it exited the vents.> Write-in.
>>3367618>> Head into the vents after this weird spirit.What's the worst that could happen?
>>3367618>Draw it out with some blood. Stillness. Vitae. The Director does not chase. He summons.
>>3367618> Draw it out with some bloodIf we had the hound I'd be more inclined to go vent crawling, but we have the Director, and the Director directs.
>>3367618>> Explore the complex further to see if you can find where it exited the ventsAre we rolling for this and I’m just not seeing it? Or is the kit we use what determines success?
>>3367777The latter is correct. I'm rolling behind the scenes based on what you choose, but some options are better suited to the situation than others.
You lean on the sense of calm and control instilled in you by your passenger. With yesterday's skills you might have thrown yourself headlong down a cramped vent with nothing but your teeth and steel to serve you. Today, however, you have a measured solution. You crouch down by the vent, drawing the Director's scalpel across the back of your forearm. You squeeze your fist to encourage a thin trail of plasm-laced blood to trickle across the wall above the vent, dripping down into the slightly misplaced cover and pooling on the floor below.> Health Track: [6/7]You draw your sleeves up over the wound, allowing the material of your jacket to soak up the remaining blood. You'd ordinarily bulwark the wound by filling it with plasm, but the idea here is to hold on to your flagging reserves for as long as possible. You glance around for a place to conceal yourself in ambush—the hallway doesn't offer much in the means of obstruction, so you creep back around the corner you entered from and lie in wait.> [[Stealth challenge: Limited Success]]It's not the best hiding spot, but you don't plan to lay in wait for too long. The Oracular power still humming behind your eyes alerts you to a presence growing stronger in the walls moving toward you at high speed. The bait, set. Now you only need spring the trap.You turn the scalpel in your hand to act as a stabbing weapon. The Director waits at the far end of the hall, all but melded with the shadows there and still as the grave.Clink.The vent cover ripples—whatever the entity is, it has enough ectoplasmic mass to effect the physical world. A pale, questing finger unfurls like a proboscis. At its tip a blackened nail catches a thread of light from the Expo hall below. The digit is shortly followed by a creature—a pale, malformed entity that could only very charitably be described as humanoid. It lowers a sightless head to the ground, lapping at the droplets of blood you've spilled curiously. Folds of flesh hang loose from its spectral frame, and you can hear a rasping sound as a barbed tongue rakes holes in the tile beneath your bloodstain. It doesn't seem to have noticed you yet, but you're only going to get one shot before things devolve into an all-out brawl.
>>3367901You tense your legs, exhale, then spring into motion.> [[Weaponry Challenge: Limited Success]]The creature's head snaps up, its neck bending as though there are no bones within it at all. By the time it takes note of you, you're already plunging the scalpel into its throat. The quivering thing lets out a strangled noise of surprise, the sound of a gerbil being squeezed to death in an industrial vice, and darts away from you. It's quick, preternaturally so, and you've barely scored a wound before it's out of your engagement range.The thing darts towards you again, coming at you along the walls in the jerky stop-motion movement all spirits seem to share. Flexible claws unfurl and rake out at you. Instinct saves you as you jerk your head back, your throat coming inches from splitting under those talons. The creature falls short and you lash out again with the scalpel, scoring another puncture wound in the thing's knobbly spine. It sinks partially into the tile ground beneath you, jetting back like a shark through the sea and spinning across the corridor to perch on the ceiling.You can hear the Expo reaching something of a crescendo below you, loud eurobeat techno echoing distantly through the corridor you share with this abberation.> Health Track: [6/7]> Plasm Pool: [3/12]> Stay on the offensive with the scalpel. It doesn't seem so tough.>> [Optional] Enhance your blows with the Director's Vitae Rage. [1 plasm]> Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]> Call Erika in for back-up. You've never dealt with something like this before.> Write-in
>>3367905>> Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]
>>3367905>> Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]Teamwork makes the dream work.
>>3367905>Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]
>>3367905> Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]How's everyone thinking of the quest so far? I'm loving the aesthetic, personally
>>3368025Feeling rather lost in regards to story and motivation, but that seems to be intended. I assume the gaps will get filled in sooner or later.Otherwise, it's great.
>>3367905> Coordinate an attack with the Director via the Stillness Key. [1 plasm]
>>3367905>> Call Erika in for back-up. You've never dealt with something like this before.Can someone explain to me why we didn’t just tell her what we were doing?
>>3368211She was having a good time, didn't want to bother her for a hunch. And she can fill us in on what we missed after.
As the chittering thing drops out of the ceiling and begins scuttling toward you again, you glance at the Director. He meets your gaze and offers the shallowest of nods, hands going to the pockets of his long, dark surgeon's frock. It's going to take too long to bring this thing down in a straight fistfight, and you don't like your odds of dealing with the abberant spirit and corporate security for the Hall.The invading spirit stops short of lunging at you again, coiling back on itself, its long neck compacting with a sickening -crunch-. You raise up the scalpel like a ward, watching warily as it scuttles back toward the Director—slowly advancing on the beast, now, a menacing aura of darkness growing at his back—With a discordant shriek the invader's neck snaps forward, it's body rocking back as if in recoil to the globule of hissing, howling nothing it vomits forth. The projectile simply -isn't-, a void in light and sensation that defies all definition which devours the air between the creature and you, connecting two points in space in an instant. You don't even have time to feel pain as the bullet of corrupt, miasmatic plasm punches a hole in your shoulder. You're lucky the thing's aim is this bad. A few inches to the left and you'd be in critical condition.> [Health Track: 4/7]The momentum of the projectile carries you back, rocking you on your heels and nearly bowling you over. You struggle to master the fury that flares in the pit of your stomach as you steady yourself, reaching deep into the well of avernian energy that roils within you.> [[1 plasm spent. Stillnes Rage activated.]]> [[Remaining plasm: 2/13]]The Rage can take many forms—bolts of seething corpsefire, claws of the hungry dead, in one case even a bullet from a dead man's revolver charged with necrotic essence—but no one does Rage quite like the Director. The sallow man doesn't spring forward, doesn't roar or narrow his eyes. The only indication he's paying the crawling abomination any mind whatsoever is the slightest gesture of adjusting his spectacles.
>>3368312A spiritual shockwave ripples out from him. Your mind is momentarily assailed with hate, a fury and disgust for all things so pure and refined that it needs no motion or vehicle to wound. You reel backward, blinking tears from your eyes and steadying yourself against the door frame for support.The results are spectacular. One moment the creature is coiling again, condensing its foul essence for another bolt, and the next it's a science experiment flayed and filleted in real time. Neat and orderly wounds bloom open in its corpus as the Stillness Rage carves across pale flesh, vivisecting the creature with the kind of rote precision only a task practiced a thousand times can bring. Layer after layer of spectral flesh is flensed until all that remains is a flickering will o' wisp core, the innermost remains of the creature's spiritual essence. All else is unraveled into unrecognizable splatters of ectoplasm.The Director replaces his hand in his jacket pocket. You think of the list sitting on your coffee table.> You guess you'll let this thing retreat to the underworld. Wherever in the Labyrinth it crawled out of, you're eager for it to return.> You're low on plasm and bleeding from the shoulder. Devour the remaining corpus to get some juice back.> Investigate further while you've still got the Oracle and the Rage available. Was this thing alone?> Return to Erika. She'll probably freak if she realizes you slipped away.> Write-in
>>3368317>> You guess you'll let this thing retreat to the underworld. Wherever in the Labyrinth it crawled out of, you're eager for it to return.> Return to Erika. She'll probably freak if she realizes you slipped away.How is plasm recovered? If it comes back naturally over time, how much can we expect per day?
>>3368317> You're low on plasm and bleeding from the shoulder. Devour the remaining corpus to get some juice back.
>>3368360Plasm can be recovered by visiting places strongly associated with death--graveyards, haunts, and other 'low places' close to the Underworld. You do not recover plasm naturally outside of those places--you must devour a ghost or seek out some alternate means, like a Vanitas or similar death-related artifacts.
>>3368371Ah, that's important. Regardless of this choice, we should visit a death-place after this. 2/13 is very low.
>>3368317>use the combined power the Stillness Rage and Vitae Oracle to investigate the spiritual essence itself, destroying it for intelligence. If we can dismantle the thing, see its secrets, logic indicates we can dismantle its secrets too. What secrets can a being of the Labyrinth hide from the black eyes of the Abyss? Flensing a Corpus is simple. Dissecting a Soul? Now THAT'S accomplishment.
>>3368489 Unfortunately with the tools you currently have available, that isn't likely to yield any parseable information. With further upgrades into the Vitae Oracle, however...
>>3368664My training in Totemist has taught me well.In that case...>Devour the remaining corpus.>Investigate Further. Maybe briefly ping Erika not to panic, you'll be back in a minute, you didn't want to distract her from the shiny new toy. Side question, I assume our group is at least partly aware of our Passenger situation? I just want to know if that's the kind of thing we can say to them "Hey, had to step out for a Passenger Project." Or is that something we'll encounter soon enough in the story?
>>3368317> You guess you'll let this thing retreat to the underworld. Wherever in the Labyrinth it crawled out of, you're eager for it to return.> Investigate further while you've still got the Oracle and the Rage available. Was this thing alone?Information is important, afterall
>>3368317>> You guess you'll let this thing retreat to the underworld. Wherever in the Labyrinth it crawled out of, you're eager for it to return.> Investigate further while you've still got the Oracle and the Rage available. Was this thing alone?
Rolled to break the tie between devour and release.You can feel yourself bottoming out on plasm. The avernian energies swirling just below the pit of your stomach are barely there, a thready pulse of necropotent energy. If you happen across another one of these things--hell, if you happen across ANY kind of threat--you need to be closer to full strength.You swallow hard, steeling yourself. The taste is foul, but the texture is always the worst part about doing this. You seize the guttering ember of the spirit’s corpus and jam in unceremoniously into your mouth, biting down to stop yourself from retching. Your tongue is immediately coated in the too-sweet, odorous perfume of rotting flesh. The texture is akin to that of a deeply ovverripe banana, slimy and stringy as you work hard to swallow the ephemeral substance. The wound in your shoulder aches with dull pain, but the effect is immediate--the weeping wound fills with sublimating plasm, a ghostly green-white bandage applied from within to bulwark the injury against further complication. By the time it fades, you’ll be left with nothing but a nasty bruise.> [[Composure challenge: Standard Success]] > [[Synergy challenge: Critical Success]]You jump in surprise as a weight lands on your shoulder. Unscrewing your eyes, you see the Director laying a patriarchal hand on your shoulder. As you attempt to reconcile the familiar gesture with the cold, eerie figure that just unmade a specter he gives you a single approving nod before brushing past you.> You feel as though your bond with the Director has improved. > Plasm Pool: [6/12]The energy of the Underworld surges through your veins. You glance briefly back at Erika, then return your focus to the string of ghostly energy drifting through the corridor. It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve disappeared on urgent business from one of your Passengers. If anything, she’ll just be mad that you didn’t drag her along with you. Her powers put her at much greater risk of discovery than yours, though, so you think it’s best to keep her at arms length for now.
>>3369150You creep along the serviceway, crouched low to the ground. The ribbon of plasmic residue weaves in and out of the walls in an uneven gait. The corridor is poorly illuminated by flickering flourescent panels overhead, clearly a rarely used portion of the Expo Hall. It’s a far cry from the technological marvel of the public-facing facade. You’re thankful that you oiled your skates before you arrived--a single wayward squeak from your rig would probably make you jump out of your skin at this point.The plasmic trail leads to a door. It bears no placard. The door is flanked on either side by identical unmarked entryways--some kind of facilities or electrical room, maybe? The door is locked when you try the handle, doorknob rattling slightly as you take your hands off of it.Your communication bead chirps, breaking the dead silence of the corridor. Erika. “where tf did you go?”> Try to pick the lock.> Attempt to force the door. >>-Physically>>-With the Rage> Return to the Expo floor. > Write-in
>>3369155> Try to pick the lock.
>>3369155>> Write-inExplain to Erika what happened and then get her help picking the lock.She’s got experience with this.
>>3369155> Return to the Expo floor.
>>3369155>Write-inCan we just slide the Director's spell through the crack in the door to cleave through the latch bolt?
>>3369194i support this
>>3369528Seconding this, assuming he meant the scalpel, and got auto-corrected.
>>3369528That leaves evidence of the supernatural that creates a lot more questions than a simple picked lock does.
>>3369528>>3369648Yep, scalpel. I'm a filthy mobileposter.
>>3369194this seems like a good idea
>>3369194>>3369633>>3370022You fumble for your lockpicks for a moment before realizing you’re going to be at this for twenty minutes. You’ve got a world-class safecracker a hundred feet down a hallway from you. So long as you’re not actively ghost hunting there shouldn’t be any harm in involving her.“Ghost emergency,” you rapidly reply. “On the right, down the hall. Need an assist.”You spin the scalpel idly between your fingers as you wait for her to catch up. There’s something not quite right in the air, something you can’t put your finger on. The buzzing, flickering fluorescent tiles overhead don’t help your concentration. Erika’s head pokes around the corner, butterfly clips gleaming in the artificial glow.“Holy shit. I looked away from you for like, ten seconds. Are you okay?”You shrug, poking a finger at the spongy plasm bandage at your shoulder. “More or less. Had a tussle.”Her mouth twists with disapproval. “We’re supposed to be -shopping-.”“I know, I know.” You shrug, heaving a sympathetic sigh. “But I’m not just gonna -ignore- some creepy crawly. Can you pop this door for me?”She shoves you out of the way (on your bad shoulder, you note) and crouches down in front of the door. Lockpicks unfurl from the bracelets she wears at her wrists, and she combs through the spread until she finds one that satisfies her eye. A few seconds of patient fiddling later you hear a latch slide into place.“Easy.” She withdraws her tools with a self-satisfied smile, glancing over her shoulder at you. “Anything else, boss?”“We’ll see, won’t we? Stick behind me.” You push past her, twisting the door open and peeking inside.The lights are off in the office within, but you don’t need your eyes to know that someone is dead inside. A shiver slides up the nape of your neck, your breath fogging on the air momentarily. Through the light peeking through slatted blinds you can see a modest janitor’s office. A figure is slumped face-down on the desk, and the stink of coppery lifesblood wafts on the air.“Fuck,” you mutter. The spirit must have come through here first. Attacking in broad daylight is unusual--was this some sort of grudge killing? Maybe a hex?”
>>3370242“Problem?” Erika asks, trying to peer past your frame into the room.“Stiff,” you clarify grimly. “The creeper got to him before it found me.”You shoulder the door open a little wider. You’re careful not to slide the wheels of your skates through any of the blood soaking into the carpet inside. By the essence of life still clinging to the body, you can’t have missed this man’s demise by more than ten minutes. You can see the misty vapor coiling over his cooling corpse, the shattered fragments of his psyche condensing into what will almost certainly be a -very- unhappy ghost.“Eurgh.” Erika wrinkles her nose in the doorway. “Poor dude. Probably didn’t even see it coming.”You wonder.“We gonna help put him to rest? I mean, you iced the thing that diced him, right?”It’s possible that you could help his spirit pass on before his ghost’s corpus fully forms. It’s not guaranteed to work, though--if he had any anchors tying him to the world other than his killer, the ritual may well fail. You’re not sure you want to be found standing over a cooling corpse in a corporate building, either--ACPD tends to shoot first and ask questions maybe.> Canvas the office for clues. Why did this happen?> Attempt to help the man’s spirit cross to the other side with the Pass On ritual.> Get the fuck out of here. You don’t want to leave any prints or tracks for the cops.> Write-in
>>3370247>> Get the fuck out of here. You don’t want to leave any prints or tracks for the cops.Too easy to get found here.
>>3370247> Get the fuck out of here. You don’t want to leave any prints or tracks for the cops.
>>3370247>> Attempt to help the man’s spirit cross to the other side with the Pass On ritual.Lets try to do a good deed today.
>>3370247>> Attempt to help the man’s spirit cross to the other side with the Pass On ritual.Worth a shot
>>3370247>Canvas the office for clues. Why did this happen?> Attempt to help the man’s spirit cross to the other side with the Pass On ritual.Or, if Erika can't speed up the ritual maybe she can do some quick subtle snooping?
>>3370247>> Get the fuck out of here. You don’t want to leave any prints or tracks for the cops.
> Attempt to help the man’s spirit cross to the other side with the Pass On ritual.It's always good to be owed a favor.
Calling the vote here and writing--post may end up going up in the morning.
>>3370247This>>3370756We’re going to get chased by the cops eventually. It might as well be for something worth doing.
>>3371162take your time, it's not like we have to fear the thread dropping off.
>>3371134>>3370756>>3370602>>3370476You stare for a long moment at the nebulous cloud of coruscating corpus swirling above the man’s corpse. If he ends up a ghost--or worse, a revenant bent on revenge--you’re going to be breaking back in here at some point to put him to rest, anyway. You may as well try to nip this in the bud.“Watch the door,” you instruct Erika. “If you hear anyone coming we’re bailing out of here.”“Gotcha.” She nods, slipping outside and shutting the door behind her with a soft -click-.You roll up your sleeves. It’s not strictly necessary, but you try not to second-guess the compulsions that come along with your psychic link to the realm of the dead. Across the desk from you the Director folds his arms, glancing down at his watch impatiently. You’re on a time-table. You draw from the avernian well within you and focus.In ordinary circumstances you’d light some incense and draw out a ritual barrier, but given the limited window you have to improvise. Instead, you vent a spray of plasm into the air from the bulwarked wound on your shoulder, wafting it around in a manner you might the ritual smoke.”Spirit.” your voice reverberates, backed by an otherworldly echo as you attempt to form a sympathetic connection with the cloud of vapor. ”Release the ties that bind you. This world is beyond you, now. Your calling beckons.”The words, gleaned from your first Passenger, echo with weird resonance in the air. The seizing cloud of ectoplasm goes rigid, rings of defensive spikes forming in a kind of subconscious post-mortem fight or flight instinct. You reach out with your will, pushing a spike of your psyche outward to bridge the gap.> [[Psyche challenge: Standard Success]]> Plasm Pool: [5/12]With a sigh, a sound caught somewhere between a death rattle and the last goodbye to a coffin, the cloud of ectoplasm begins to disperse. You catch a brief glimpse of somewhere -beyond-, a flash of light and mountains that soar ever skyward, before the spirit vanishes in a mote of light.A warm glow of gratitude washes over you. You feel like you did something good today.The remnants of the corpus deflate into a thin ribbon of ectoplasm. It settles into a fountain pen still clutched in the corpse’s grasp. You reach forward, snatching the faintly glowing implement away from what appears to be a half-penned letter of resignation.> Momento acquired. This can be identified during downtime.You glance at your watch and start. What felt like moments was actually minutes--you’ve been in here with this body for almost ten minutes, now. No alerts from Erika yet.> Check in with Erika and search the office.> Bail. You did your charity for the week.> Take a moment to confer with the Director. Something here doesn’t add up.> Write-in
>>3372290> Take a moment to confer with the Director. Something here doesn’t add up.
>>3372290>> Take a moment to confer with the Director. Something here doesn’t add up.
>>3372290>Take a moment to confer with the Director. Something here doesn’t add up.
>>3372290>> Take a moment to confer with the Director. Something here doesn’t add up.Why here and now, in broad daylight? I get the whole "it's ghosts, I don't gotta explain shit" angle, but isn't this a bit brazen for the undead?
Oh my god from reading this I just noticed it has parts of velo city in it
>>3372464The name didn't give it away?
>>3373595...I’m an idiot.
As the pool of dark blood splattered across the maintenance desk congeals into thin crust, you take a moment to take stock of the office around you. Very little sign of a struggle--a few things knocked off the desk, but that could be attributed to death throes. You glance to the Director, shrugging one shoulder.“The fuck, man?” you mutter aloud. “A specter crawls out of the underworld at -noon- and slits a man’s throat in broad daylight? Then goes on the prowl for more blood? Rules out a grudge killing or happenstance. Thoughts?”The Director considers this for a moment. Arms folded behind his back, ramrod straight, he has an almost military bearing as he glances around the office dispassionately. After a moment he replies--the words don’t make any noise, but their impression is imprinted on your consciousness like ink blots spilled across a tablecloth.‘Summoned’.You run your tongue across your teeth. He’s got a point--this all lines up too neatly with the list of behaviors summoned spirits do NOT exhibit to be a freak occurrence. It’s reasonable to assume that someone called up that aberrant thing from the depths of the underworld and unleashed it here with orders to wreak havoc. The question of -why- doesn’t really even occur to you. This is an act of supernatural terrorism, akin to firing wildly into a crowded building. Any two-bit necromancer could have bound a spirit to his will, though you’ve never encountered anything like this particular flavor of specter before. Your attention, then, is directed to the twin concerns of -who- and -where-.As you’re considering this an alert pings in the corner of your vision. Erika’s number. “footsteps inbound”.There’s a chance they’ll just walk straight past if it’s corp security. There’s probably very little reason to investigate this side office on the upper deck when a tech demo of this magnitude is in progress. There’s the outside possibility that it’s the perpetrator of this act, too, come to see his handiwork in person. You can theorize later--you need a snap decision now.> Pull Erika into the office and hide. You’re not done with your investigation.> Time to bug out. You don’t want someone to find you in an office with a body. > Tell Erika to scatter and conceal yourself. You can handle this solo.> Write-in
>>3379481>> Time to bug out. You don’t want someone to find you in an office with a body.
>>3379481> Time to bug out. You don’t want someone to find you in an office with a body.Something tells me that the Director would have found anything else of importance in the room by now. Might be wrong, though.
>>3379481> Time to bug out. You don’t want someone to find you in an office with a body.
>>3379481>Bug outbut do a quick (like, 3-5 seconds) check for a name on the stiff before we go. Is it on the letter, on his uniform, placard on the desk, etc. Easier to follow-up with any questions if we get some details before corp security does any scrubbing.
You’ve delayed as long as you reasonably can. With your good samaritan badge for the day firmly affixed you can get the hell out of here. You glance down at the tarnished name placard on the desk: ’Henry Wong’.“Better luck in the next life, Henry.” You grimace, offer a solemn bow to the body, then cross the office in three long strides.You can hear the footsteps echoing as you slip through the door. You latch it behind you and quickly slide into the maintenance hallway where Erika is crouched down, waiting for you. No words are exchanged—with a shared nod the two of you creep back across the planters and clamber back up onto the roof through the access hatch. The tread of heavy boots dig in to blood-slicked tile behind you. Security, probably. You’ll have to check with Pathfinder to make sure you didn’t get caught on camera.The expo is wrapping up below you; the demonstrator and a man who must be one of the engineers are doing a Q&A session with the remnants of the crowd. You feel a pang of regret as you spot a merch table down below. The crowd is picking it clean at speeds usually reserved for piranha swarms.The wind in your hair pulls you back to reality, a gust of balmy summer air that seems to anchor you again in the moment. Erika drops the latch shut behind you, puffing a lock of hair out of her eyes with a cross expression.“We weren’t supposed to be working today,” she says. Her tone isn’t accusatory, but she’s not pleased either.“File your complaint with the local Underworld Department of Weird Shit,” you reply with a shrug. “If you and I had been eating fro-yo and picking out new wheels we’d have like, a dozen people dead and even more cops to worry about in Midtown.”Erika wrinkles her nose. “What tore that guy up, anyway? There was definitely a cloud of death hanging over the area, but I thought revenants didn’t do daylight hours.”“They don’t.” You’re still not sure how to classify the avernian interloper that the Director dispatched for you. The nigh-inhuman appearance and the strange vomit of avernian energy were decidedly non-standard. Even revenants retain some aspect of their former appearance when they cross the caul. “My sources tell me something sicced that thing on the building, if not Mr. Wong directly.”Erika whistles. “Pissed the wrong dude off, Wong. That’s why you don’t do the dirty with a Necromancer’s sister.”You roll your eyes. A quick check with the Director confirms that no further avernian energies are lingering in the nearby area. If the summoner was ever nearby, he’s moved on already.
>>3381706“So—can we actually go get some shopping done?” Erika hefts her handbag, waggling her eyebrows. “Before you sink into full detective mode. I mean, no one’s paying us for a job, right? You can take a few hours to help me pick out new designs for my next expo match.”You glance over the lip of the Expo Hall. The street below is alive with activity--six lanes of gridlock traffic in both directions, and a morass of pedestrian traffic besides. The mirror-finish towers of corporate skyscrapers reflect the milling crowd ad infinitum. An unending pattern, streams of humanity milling to and fro, blissfully unaware of the blood still soaking into your jacket, the carpet, the remains of Mr. Wong’s discount penny loafers.The wind gusts again, snapping you back from the abyss. The sun is shining overhead, dazzling and unblinking. Erika watches you expectantly with her hands perched on her hips.“Yeah, fuck it.” You decide. “Let’s enjoy the day.” Tonight. Tonight the hunt begins anew.> —Race 1: Finish—> Final Results:[2 EXP gained][Passenger Bond: Director Improved] [City Story: Cthonians Rising (Begin)] Thanks for bearing with me for this experimental one-shot. We may come back to Audas City stories in the future. For now, I’ll begin preparing for the return to Grisoch and the story of Totemist Quest. Keep an eye on my twitter for updates, and thank you all for playing.
>>3381709Thanks for running!
>>3381709Thanks for running. It's good to see you back, I'd written you off as 'dead in a ditch somewhere' a long time ago.Time to brush back up on Totemist.
>>3381749Are we archived?You know, I posted this in another thread a few months ago. Sometimes you have to wonder...
>>3381709Thanks for runningdaddiarca
>>3381709Thanks for running dude! I hope to see more of this quest in the future. It's really cool!
>>3381709Thanks for running, and good to have you back, Diarca.
>>3381709Thanks for running
I can't believe Diarca is fucking alive