...See How They Run
BACKGROUND: At the end of the last session the PC's had just turned over the stolen vials of Serotin 5 to Fargo's Jingoes. When they suddenly pull tasers from beneath their coats, violence ensues...
(August 14th continued)
[10:00am to 2:00pm continued]
Though it’s clear from the tasers that the three men in darks suits want them alive, the PC's decide they're not going to be taken without a fight.
Rusty Denton (the leader) 14
John Deerman 13
William Parks 11
Olivia steps up to William Parks, swinging her briefcase since it’s already in hand. William fires his taser as his AOO, misses and now is unarmed. Olivia swings and hits: (4)
Rusty fires his taser at Georgia: miss
John fires his taser at Jack: hits (3). Jack fails his FortSave and will be Paralyzed for the next 5 rounds.
William drops his taser and takes a swing at Olivia (his Combat Martial Arts preventing her from making an AOO): hits (3 non-lethal)
Jack is paralyzed, doing the Macarena on the end of the taser prongs.
Georgia steps up to Rusty, dodges his AOO attack and John's (she stepped into his threat zone) and strikes: hits (3 lethal)
Olivia swings at William, dodging both his and Rusty's AOO attacks: she misses
Rusty drops his taser and attempts to grapple Georgia, her AOO hits (4 lethal). Having stepped into Olivia's threat zone, she takes an AOO but misses. He makes his grab but fails the grapple check (4 vs 22).
John drops his taser and attempts a Knockout Blow on Jack, who's still paralyzed: he hits (10 non-lethal) and Jack is down and out.
William attempts to grapple Olivia but fails to land a grab.
Jack is out.
Georgia attempts to grapple Rusty: she lands the grab and wins the grapple check (15 vs 13). She lands a critical for her grapple damage also (8 lethal). Rusty collapses, unconscious.
Olivia attempts to grapple William. His AOO hits (6) and she's knocked out.
Rusty is out.
John turns to Georgia and attempts a grapple. Her AOO misses. He lands his grab and wins the grapple check (8 vs 6). His grapple damage is (6 non-lethal).
William joins the grapple on Georgia but fails to get a grip (21 vs 20).
Jack is out.
Georgia attempts a grapple check against John: she breaks free (13 vs 8).
Olivia is out.
Rusty is out.
John attempts to reestablish grapple on Georgia, her AOO misses. He lands the grab and wins the grapple check (18 vs 8). His grapple damage is (4 non-lethal). Georgia is KO'd.
[2:00pm to 6:00pm]
Georgia comes to some time later to find herself tied to a chair next to Jack and Olivia, who are roped to chairs of their own. Taking a look around, she finds that they're back in the warehouse laboratory that they raided earlier. All the laboratory equipment seems to be gone, though, and several large cardboard boxes are stacked around the place. On the floor on the other side of the warehouse she can see the bodies of three security guards, shot to death. She recognizes two of them from the earlier raid. She also sees a Desert Eagle with mounted laser sight and suppressor, which she assumes must be Jack's, lying next to one of the corpses.
She's unsure how long she's been out (four hours as it happens). As no one appears to be around, she Takes 20 on an Escape Artist check and succeeds. After twenty minutes of struggling she frees one hand from the ropes binding her, followed quickly by the other. As she's leaning over to free her legs, the door to the front section of the warehouse opens and Rusty Denton walks in with his two associates (Georgia forgot about the security monitors). They quickly overpower her and fasten the ropes again.
Rusty then pops an ammonia capsule under Olivia and Jack's noses, rousing them. Without a word he drops a thick bundle of black cloth on the counter and unrolls it. Within the PC's can see several tools and medical implements. It's obviously a torture kit of some kind.
After carefully considering the PC's for a moment, he turns to Olivia. After a short speech meant to scare them, Rusty dons surgical gloves and grabs a vice from the counter. He approaches Olivia and starts clamping her index finger down onto the chair armrest. While Olivia is working herself into a tizzy, Georgia and Jack threaten him while they both attempt Escape Artist checks (both fail). When Olivia starts suffering damage from the vice, she snaps and promises to tell Rusty anything he wants to know (fails her WillSave). When he asks who sent them to break into the warehouse, however, she suddenly gasps loudly, her eyes roll back in her head and she convulses for a moment. When she slumps over Rusty and the other two jingoes are visibly surprised. When Rusty checks Olivia's pulse he turns to the other two, chuckles and says, "Jeez, I don't believe it. I think she had a heart attack." He picks up her hand lets it fall, illustrating his point. "Look at that", he says "Stone dead."
Georgia and Jack are stunned. After considering Olivia's corpse for a moment Rusty removes the gloves and pulls out his cell phone. Unable to get a signal he curses, then exits the room to try to get a better signal outside. He leaves the other two jingoes to watch over Jack and Georgia.
While he's away, Jack tries to engage the other two jingoes in conversation and attempts to use Diplomacy to improve their attitude toward him. He fails and both remain Indifferent, though. After about fifteen minutes Rusty returns and ushers the other two out of the room. He tells the PC's that "the boss" says to leave them there and let the cops handle them. He's apparently already made the anonymous phone call and they should be there in fifteen minutes or so. With a partially sincere, "Sorry about your friend there" he departs and the PC's are left in the dimly lit laboratory to await the police.
Jack and Georgia both Take 10 on Escape Artist checks but fail. Meanwhile, to their surprise, Olivia suddenly gasps and coughs. After catching her breath a bit she blinks around in surprise, "What happened? Did I pass out?" She's more than a little displeased to find the vice still clamped down on her finger, though.
[6:00pm to 10:00pm]
Unable to affect an escape before the police arrive they are quickly discovered and taken into custody. The PC's decide not to try anything against the local cops and just wait to see where things go. Presently the warehouse is swarming with police officers and the PC's are carted off to the local P.D. There they are processed and tossed into separate cells to await interrogation.
During interrogation the PC's are surprised to find they can clearly hear everything going on in the interrogations of the other two PC's. Apparently Controller has jacked them all into one another. Taking advantage of this, the PC's manage to present identical stories to their interrogators. They claim to have met in a local bar a couple of days ago and have been spending time "partying" together at the local hotel, from which they claim they were abducted and planted at the scene of the crime. Obviously a setup of some kind.
The interrogators naturally aren't buying it but the PC's stubbornly stick to their story. They even have licenses for the weapons found with their gear. When all three PC's give identical descriptions of the three jingoes as their abductors and claim to have overhead them mention "Hyperdine" it isn't long before all three of them are brought in for questioning as well.
[10:00pm to 2:00am]
By this time the investigation has dragged on into the following day and the PC's are getting fatigued. Fargo decides it's gotten messy enough and it's time to clean things up. She arrives that morning at the police station with her jingo lawyer, Angela Winslet, and two bodyguards. Having already contacted her superior she also has two of Freya's jingo's in tow as well (The District Attorney and the ASAC for the local FBI field office). In short order the detective in charge has been convinced that the investigation is not only far off track but stepping on the toes of a delicate ongoing investigation by the FBI. Within two hours the jingoes have been released and the PC's are prepared to be released as well.
Unaware of all this, the PC's languish in their interrogation rooms before being visited by Fargo personally. From the PC's perspective Fargo is merely an odd young girl, around fourteen or so, who wanders inexplicably into their interrogation rooms for no apparent reason. After staring at the individual PC's for a while, she departs having never spoken a word.
Fargo, meanwhile, is astonished to find that she can't detect any possible domination link to any of the three PC's. As it stands she already has as many jingoes as she can control but it is nonetheless disturbing that all three seem to be completely immune. On the other hand they seem no more or less susceptible to her standard psionics, though she decides not to attempt anything until speaking to Freya.
Presently the PC's suddenly find that they are free to go (and practically shoved out the door). The local PD even returns their weapons (minus Jack's Desert Eagle, which is in evidence). A little stunned, the PC's waste no time getting back to the hotel where they find their vehicles have been impounded. After individual Wealth checks they go back and recover their vehicles from police impound.
[2:00am to 6:00am]
By this time Freya has issued orders for Fargo to take any steps necessary to identify the PC's and who they're working for without making a public spectacle. When the PC's emerge from checking out of the hotel they find Fargo there waiting for them. She engages them in conversation, telling them that she has interests in the Hyperdine Company and suggesting that they all accompany her to the nearby restaurant to talk things over. During the course of this she attempts to plant Suggestions with each PC's to comply and speak truthfully: Georgia (6 vs 3, success), Jack (18 vs 11, success), Olivia (15 vs 14, success). The PC's freely accompany Fargo with the intention to speak openly.
Once there Fargo spins a tale for the PC's describing herself as an only child of single father, the owner and founder of the Hyperdine Company. She believes the PC's may have gotten involved in something insidious going on at Hyperdine and fears for her father. She asks the PC's if there's anything they know that might be able to help her. The PC's naturally have no information to offer in that regard but freely admit to breaking into the warehouse to steal and analyze samples of the Serotin 5. But now that this has been done they expect they're finished with Hyperdine unless they receive other orders. Controller does not intervene.
Seizing on this, Fargo pushes for information regarding the PC's superiors and what government agency they may represent. To her surprise, the PC's suddenly clam up and simply stare at her. The PC's, meanwhile, find they've lost the capacity to speak and their bodies have been thrown into a pseudo-catatonic state (Controller has put the brakes on in a big way). Unable to get a response from the PC's at all, Fargo pulls out her power crystal and attempts to Detect Thoughts on Jack. She succeeds (17 vs 9). She spends some time bringing his thoughts into focus and finally detects only panic that he can't move or speak. Startled, she quickly Detects Psionic auras and is further surprised to find none beyond her own Suggestions. She is at a loss to explain what has befallen the PC's, if not some psionic control. With the PC's still woodenly catatonic, Fargo looks them over and takes Georgia's weapon from her holster, using her last bit of power to perform Object Reading on it. She hopes the weapon was issued by whatever agency the PC's represent and that she can thus identify this apparent new threat to the Rogue Valkyries. From it she learns that Georgia is loyal primarily to herself and that the weapon was purchased at a pawn shop in Arizona.
Out of power and stymied at how little she has managed to discover, she leaves the PC's to report to Freya. While still paralyzed Controller appears to the PC's and congratulates them on their progress so far. She also informs them that their first mission payment has been deposited to their respective accounts. She releases them and disappears.
With the mission apparently over and the strange girl having disappeared, the PC's are free to make tracks and go home. After checking their accounts over the phone and verifying that the deposits (not enough to raise their Wealth, unfortunately) they confer on what to do next. In short order they decide they'll stick around and try to figure out what's going on and what they've been involved in. Olivia, initially disturbed at being manipulated, has since become deeply intrigued at the technology the supposed "Critic" represents. She is now all the more intrigued at the strange girl's astonishing skill at manipulating them as well. Georgia wants the Critic out of her head as soon as possible and to put the whole business behind her. Jack, on the other hand, had decided that the entire situation is fine with him as long as he's getting paid so well.
[6:00am to 10:00am]
The PC's split up and Jack goes shopping, Taking 10 on a Wealth check to replace his Desert Eagle, laser sight and suppressor. Georgia accompanies Olivia back to the hotel to keep it for another day. There Olivia hits the 'net again to make another run at Hyperdine. Checking the backgrounds on the company's employees she quickly finds that the company founder is a widower with no children and well over fifty year old. She does find the jingo's names listed as "consultants" on the employee registry however and is able to dig up info on each of them (little more than their individual military and law enforcement service dates). She finds nothing else of interest but does get the company address. Once Jack returns everyone secures arms and settles in for some much needed rest.
[10:00am to 2:00pm]
The PC's spend this segment resting.
[2:00pm to 6:00pm]
In the afternoon they take the Jetta to the Hyperdine building. By the time they arrive Georgia has noticed the dark colored Crown Victoria following them, which parks further down the street once they stop. In front of the building, though, they immediately spot the strange girl that they spoke to at the restaurant is now standing in front of the Hyperdine building with two other girls roughly her age.
While they confer on what to do about the car following them, its driver (William Parks) has noticed the PC's watching the building and calls Fargo on her cell phone to inform her. The PC's see Fargo receive a cell phone call, look directly over at them and then disappear into the building with her two companions. They don't spot Parks make the call, though.
After watching the place until close of business they spy one of the girls leaving the building. She is picked up by a Mercedes whose driver has apparently been parked across the street waiting on her the whole time. Deciding to continue watching the building they notice nothing else for nearly an hour. At that time they see the other two girls exit the building along with the rest of the company employees (having completed their work day). They are picked up by a Crown Victoria similar to the one watching them, and then leave the area. The PC's decide to follow.
After driving only a few blocks away the Victoria parks at a local restaurant and the two girls exit the vehicle and go inside. The PC's see that the Victoria that followed them before doesn't come after them when they leave the Hyperdine building, nor does it appear to be around now. Jack does spot several young hoodlums hanging around at the corner of the block, though. They, in turn, notice the PC's vehicle now parked up the block from the restaurant. They begin walking toward it; though it's clear to Jack they're trying to look casual.
Jack whispers a warning to the girls then readies his Eagle and waits. Georgia and Olivia likewise prepare for trouble. Once the hoodlums reach the point where the PC's are parked, one of the young men breaks off from the group as they stop to hang out on the sidewalk nearby. After knocking on the window and asking for a light (and getting it) he nods toward the restaurant, looks Jack in the eyes and says, "They want to talk to your boss. I'd make the call if I was you." He then casually strolls back to his small gang of friends.
A little startled, Jack exits the vehicle to approach the young man and question him. Georgia likewise exits to back him up. Before they can move toward the small group of boys, a convertible squeals around the corner with four other young men within wielding sub-machine guns. They open fire on the young hoods near the Jetta, catching the PC's in the cross-fire. Georgia is hit once (4) and Jack twice (4, 2) rendering him unconscious. Olivia escapes injury. The small group of young men, in turn draw pistols to return fire. Georgia jumps prone to the sidewalk and Olivia lays low in the Jetta. The PC's manage not to get shot anymore in the short gun battle. Once the convertible has sped around the corner and disappeared, the hoodlums all scatter.
Olivia quickly jumps out to tend to Jack and has him on his feet again, though still injured, with a successful Treat Injury. Though they can't imagine how it's possible, they get the distinct impression that the drive-by shooting was staged to catch them in the cross-fire. Still, three of the young gangsters are dead on the sidewalk.
Georgia decides she's had enough and pops the rear hatch of the Jetta. She takes her Beretta shotgun and wears her fatigue jacket, concealing one inside the other, then stalks off toward the restaurant. Jack and Olivia go after her. Reaching the restaurant, Georgia shoulders her way through the small crowd that have gathered outside to witness the drive-by shooting. Once inside she quickly spots all three of the girls they saw in front of the Hyperdine building seated at a table having dinner, positioned with a nice view of the street outside. She marches over with Jack and Olivia still trying to catch up.
Before she can begin ranting and demanding answers, however, the youngest of the three girls calmly states, "You point that weapon at either of my sisters and you'll lose your eyes and your kneecaps." Georgia is a little taken aback at the unexpected threat from such a young girl but promptly demands answers as to what they've been involved in. The girls respond by standing up and leaving the table, walking right by Georgia (and now Jack and Olivia as they've just arrived) without even looking at them. The girl that threatened Georgia, however, turns and stands to face them; clearly daring any of the PC's to try to follow the other two. Jack notices what appear to be the edges of elaborate tattoos peeking out from her blouse. He estimates she's probably no more than twelve years old.
Flummoxed, Jack asks the girl why she thinks he shouldn't just knock her down and go after her "sisters". In response, the tattooed girl turns and nods casually at one of the other patrons of the restaurant...who then gurgles and slides out of his booth to the floor. She turns and leaves.
Olivia quickly checks the man over while his companion begins to become hysterical. She confirms the man isn't breathing and detects no pulse. She initiates CPR while Jack runs to have one of the restaurant employees call the paramedics.
In short order police are on the scene and the detective from the previous investigation finds himself confronted with the PC's yet again. With two dead gang members and one of the diners apparently expiring from cardiac arrest, he's more than a little curious at their proximity to both events. After determining that there's no direct evidence that they are responsible for either incident at the restaurant (other than proximity) he polite requests that they get the hell out of his town...or else. The PC's ultimately agree and decide they've had enough of all this mess.
[6:00pm to 10:00pm]
Back at the hotel the three PC's load their gear into their individual vehicles. For a moment they face each other silently across the parking lot. But any chance that they'll offer goodbyes or an exchange of phone numbers soon passes. Clearly they're more or less glad it all seems to be over with...and more than a little relieve to be rid of one another.
The PC's then part ways, heading for their respective homes
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