This will have to cover two weeks because I didn’t do one after the session on 10/20. It will also be somewhat abbreviated compared to previous writeups, which I’m sure will be a relief to those of you scrolling past big blocks of text.
At the end of the last writeup, the team (which was down a member because a player was out sick) managed to lure one of the alien bad guys out to a remote location and overpower him, taking him prisoner. For those who don’t remember from previous updates, the alien is called a Shailun and, as we only recently discovered, they are the innocent aliens who have been taken over by a conquest-minded parasite called the Shinkara. In fact, the entire alien invasion was an attempt to destroy humanity to deny the Shinkara their next hosts, as the Shailun are just about all used up.
But! The first step in defeating the parasites is to learn more about them, so trickery and kidnapping.
Our missing character from that previous session was Evan, our degree-less mad scientist and anti-alien
terrorist resistance-fighter, so we wrapped the alien (named Gerlik) in an impromptu Farraday cage (during his abduction he showed a distressing ability to do Ego attacks and it was thought the cage might block them) and rushed to Evan’s secret lab. Unfortunately, upon arrival we discovered that someone had broken in and, judging by the security footage, used gen-en superpowers to overpower and kidnap him.
(This is what the GM does to you if you miss a session around here.)
Travis gets a call from his brother. Chandler has become a bigwig in the Roman Industries hierarchy, and he smugly reveals that he has a Shinkara parasite inside him and feels pretty sweet. He reveals (unnecessarily) that he has Evan and wants to trade him for Travis. Travis reveals that he would rather trade Gerlik for Evan, and Chandler agrees so readily that he confirms Travis’s suspicion that Chandler is a big fibber.
It’s unclear how much of the host’s memories the parasites have access to, but if the Shinkara knows what Chandler knows, Travis is the kind of guy who says “Let’s order Thai food” when he actually wants pizza, so nobody is trusting anyone here.
The party and the narrative split. Evan was held prisoner inside an extremely well-guarded Ex-Agg facility, getting alternately questioned and punched. Finally, he was put into a cell, where he used a metal spork to dismantle the light fixtures and turn them into a magnetic something or other to break the secure keypad. After overpowering the guard outside the door, he stole the dude’s uniform and began to sneak out.
Cut to the kidnapper portion of the party (as opposed to the kidnappee), where Finlay is using her underworld contacts to find a mob doctor (not that there’s a mob) with illicit imaging equipment so we can get a look at this parasite. Before we “trade” Gerlik, we might as well get everything we can from him. While searching, we discover that Walt, our gen-en soldier, has been framed as a terrorist. The Ex-Agg assault on his home (that nearly killed his daughter) is being sold to the public as a terrorist attack that killed way more people than were actually affected by the firefight. Travis and Finlay immediately get to work on a disguise for him, since there is a big fat reward for him, dead or alive.
Of course Finlay knows a guy (it’s one of her stunts) named Lynch and the only thing he wants in return is a date with her: he doesn’t even ask for movie and a dinner, just coffee. Of course, that was his offer before he saw who we’d brought to his door.
Turns out the mob doc has a deathly fear of aliens, but we pressure him into running the scan.
And we see the alien we’ve been fighting against. It turns out to be made of energy, in that Star Trek:TOS alien sort of way.
Lynch is thoroughly freaked out. We assure him he has good reason to be, and Travis shares the link to the Video That Explains It All with him, asking him to spread the word as much as possible.
At that moment, Walt, in a spirit of full and friendly disclosure, takes off his disguise and reveals himself as the guy who’s been all over the news because nothing says “Join Our Resistance” quite like “I am the man everyone blames for the deaths of several hundred people oh, and also, Mr. Criminal and his several bodyguards, my cooling corpse is worth six figures.”
You know, sometimes I tease my buddy Jim about the in-game choices he makes, but I think everyone reading this will realize that I’m completely justified in doing so.
Luckily, Lynch is too freaked by the alien to realize what a profit center his new visitor would be and we carry the still-unconscious Gerlik out of there before the light bulb switches on.
In the meantime, Evan is searching for an exit when he passes a pair of guards speaking Shinkara-ese. It would cost a Fate point to pass them by without incident but he opts to accept a Fate point for spinning and shooting them both in the back. The gunfire draws a bunch of Ex-Agg baddies, including the two gen-en supers, but Evan remembers that he has a sturdy +2 Deceive and sends them on a wild goose chase.
Eventually, he makes his way to a hangar bay and steals a hoverjetcopterthing.
The kidnappers are in the midst of planning the quintuple-cross that will rescue Evan without losing Gerlik when Evan calls them. He is, obviously, the self-rescuing sort of kidnappee. Unfortunately, he was unable to recover his two Extras, although he probably can whip up spares.
Evan has yet another secret lab (the last one without a stunt or something, our GM assures us) and we carry Gerlik down a secret hatch, through a long dirt tunnel, into Evan’s last (absolutely last!) secret lab.
He finally wakes up in the lab. Travis tries to use Empathy, Deceive and Rapport to control him, but Gerlik is no mook. He also reveals that, rather than being the glorified shipping clerk we’d originally been told, he was actually in charge of security for everything shipped to the space station. So, he’s actually an important dude.
Then Gerlik gives Walt a hard look and Walt staggers back with a sudden nosebleed. Travis has been on the sharp end of Gerlik’s mind powers before, so he doesn’t buy Walt’s assurances that nothing was wrong. Unfortunately, his Empathy roll is a huge pile of ass, and he is forced to succeed at a serious cost, which is that Gerlik panics and triggers the mental suggestion he’d just planted into Walt’s mind.
Hey, everyone on the team is pretty competent, but Walt is built for fighting. His duplication powers return and he cuts Gerlik free.
Fight scene! Gerlik is a difficult opponent on his own, but with the hardest hitting in the party on his side (not to the point of murdering his former teammates, but punching is allowed) we’re in for some trouble. Finlay moves to the door and draws her pistol. My notes are unclear on what she’d planned to do, but her roll was so terrible that she just couldn’t bring herself to squeeze the trigger.
Walt had no such hesitation and he “sweeps the leg”, putting Finlay on the ground. Gerlik, rather than kick Travis’s ass (again) bolts for the exit, making it as far as opening the door. Travis shouts at Walt that he’s fighting the only people who are willing to help him with his daughter, which pushes one of Walt’s aspects and breaks Gerlik’s hold.
Evan decides this is a good time to throw a grenade. I have to admit I facepalmed this harder even than Walt stripping off his disguise in front of Lynch–Gerlik was standing right beside Walt, with Finlay on the ground beside them–but it turned out the grenade was for the dirt tunnel outside. Evan rolled well (luckily) and the grenade bounced down the long tunnel and blew it, collapsing Gerlik’s escape route.
So, that turned out to be a better move than it seemed at first. Walt and Finlay turn their aggressions on Gerlik and put him down again.
At this point, Travis becomes pretty much useless, especially since he failed the Empathy role that would have downgraded Walt’s Will consequence. Walt gets busy digging out the tunnel with his duplicates, which Finlay and Evan get to work separating the Shinkara parasite from its Shailun host. Travis plays Candy Crush or whatever.
Actually, I stepped away from the computer to get my kid some food at this point, but Evan and Finlay work together to give themselves serious boosts and make some stupendous rolls. Not only do they remove the Shinkara parasite, but they manage to save the Shailun host’s life.
Oh, actually, Travis did have a role to play in that last part; he had to convince Evan that saving the Shailun was worth the effort.
The session ended with the Shailun comatose and the captured Shinkara, bereft of a host body, died. At this point, we need to figure out a way to weaponize the process Finlay and Evan created to separate parasite from host, then mass produce it.
Also, will the Shailun still go by Gerlik when he wakes or was that his Shinkara name? Hey, as long as he can resume his post as head of security so he can sneak some fun gadgets into that space station stronghold, we’ll all be happy.