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Monday, 24th March, 2008, 12:19 PM #101
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 8a – A Little Extra Help
They arrived at the West Hollywood Police Station. Hammer and Jim-Bean arrived later than the rest.
“What took you guys so long?” asked Blade, irritated.
“We made a side-trip,” said Hammer.
“Picked up a little toy,” said Jim-Bean.
The tip of an odd-looking sphere was visible in the rucksack Jim-Bean carried with him everywhere.
“What’s that?” asked Guppy.
“A toy. Like I said.” Jim-Bean jostled the bag and the toy went off, singing Old McDonald Had a Farm entirely out of animal noises: Meow, bark-bark, meow-meow-meow, moo, bark-bark-bark-bark-bark!
“You bought a toy at four in the morning?” asked Archive.
“I didn’t say I bought it,” said Jim-Bean.
Guppy eyed the sphere. “That thing looks a lot like the sphere we found.”
Jim-Bean winked back at him.
“We’re going to have to keep the paperwork straight,” said Blade. “With all the attention and murders, this is going to get sticky fast. Who wants to handle processing?”
Everyone looked away and cleared their throats. Except Caprice, who was too new to know any better.
“You’re it,” said Blade. “Report back to Drake. Let him know we’re going to need a clean-up operation.”
Caprice nodded. “On it.” He turned and then stopped. “Uh, what exactly should I drive?”
Jim-Bean threw him the keys. “Use the bug. Just don’t drive it around during the day.”
Caprice caught the keys. “Why not?”
“Don’t ask,” said Hammer.
They left Caprice behind as they entered the police station.
The officer at the front desk eyed Jim-Bean’s bag. “You’re going to have to check all that in. That goes for all of you. I know you’re Federal agents and all, but we have protocol here. Check it in.”
Jim-Bean bit his lip. After a moment he sighed and handed the bag over. “Fine. Here.”
“What was that all about?” Blade was smart enough to leave his hatchets and bow in the van.
Jim-Bean shrugged. “We just lost our decoy.”
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Tuesday, 25th March, 2008, 12:19 PM #102
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 8b – A Little Extra Help
It took the agents awhile before they were able to view the thing in the archive room.
It was a semitransparent sphere, slightly larger than a basketball. It weighed only a couple of pounds and its outer hull was made of a dark material that felt like both metal and plastic. Lights and circuitry were visible through the nearly opaque hull.
Guppy looked it over with intense interest. “According to the report, it’s invulnerable.”
“We can’t leave this here.” Hammer’s gaze flicked to the security camera that monitored the room.
“No problem,” said Guppy. “Everybody just act natural for a minute while I record a dummy feed.”
Guppy turned so his back was to the camera and his Cistron wasn’t visible. On his Cistron, a copy of the security feed popped up.
A few more key taps later and Guppy relaxed. “Okay, we’re clear.”
“Great, so we’re stuck in a police station with a basketball-sized alien ship,” said Jim-Bean. “What should we do, kick it out of here?”
“That’s soccer,” said Hammer. “You dribble a basketball, you kick a soccer ball.”
“You mean football,” said Jim-Bean.
“No football is a—“
“I know what a football is you bloody yank,” muttered Jim-Bean.
“This isn’t helping,” said Blade. “Let’s get it out of here. Jim-Bean, you hold it, we’ll try to stand around you and block their field of view.
“What should I do, shove it under my shirt and look pregnant?” asked Jim-Bean sarcastically.
“Just hold it under one arm,” snapped Blade.
They entered the hallway and started to slowly make their way to the exit.
Archive, who was watching the hallway entrance to the archive room, paused. “I think I just saw Masterson go in there.”
“Damn it,” said Blade. “He’ll be raising the alarm any second…”
Archive held out one hand. “Wait…” They were at the far end of the hall. Masterson closed the door and didn’t spare them a glance. “He just left.”
“Why isn’t he telling anyone?” asked Hammer.
“Did you hear that?” asked Guppy.
They craned to listen.
Meow, bark-bark, meow-meow-meow, moo, bark-bark-bark-bark-bark!
“Looks like your toy decoy worked after all,” Hammer said to Jim-Bean.
“That means—“ was all Jim-Bean got out before the sound of automatic gunfire exploded from the entrance to the police station.
Police officers sprinted down the hallway, shotguns and pistols out. “The lieutenant’s gone nuts!” they shouted.
“It jumped into Masterson,” finished Blade.
Wednesday, 26th March, 2008, 12:16 PM #103
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 8c – A Little Extra Help
Guppy brought up the floor plans of the police station. They sprinted for the weapons room.
More gunfire erupted down the hall. Police officers fell, screaming in pain.
After another moment, Guppy unlocked the security door to the weapons room with a few taps of his keyboard.
“Remind me to buy a deadbolt lock on my apartment door,” said Hammer, awed by Guppy’s ease at hacking highly sophisticated security protocols.
They grabbed whatever they could find; shotguns, assault rifles, pistols.
“Is it just me, or does it seem like this room is a bit empty?” asked Jim-Bean.
“I know you have it!” shouted Masterson’s voice. “Give it to me!”
“Oh crap, it’s after us,” said Guppy.
“We could take over this place if we wanted,” shouted Masterson.
They peeked out around the hallway. It was a straight shot towards the exit.
“Run for the exit on three” said Blade. “One. Two. THREE!”
They took off at a sprint, only to come skidding to a halt as two police officers, unleashing their pistols at Masterson, were raked by gunfire. They collapsed in a bloody heap in the hallway.
Marching around the corner came Masterson, his body riddled with bullet holes. He balanced a long tube on one shoulder, as if he were carrying a bat to a baseball game.
“Is that what I think it is?” asked Jim-Bean.
“Back!” shouted Blade. “Back the way we came!”
Masterson lifted the tube to his shoulder. There was a FWOOSH as a rocket screamed towards them.
They dove back into the weapons locker just as the rocket hit.
Thursday, 27th March, 2008, 12:17 PM #104
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 8d – A Little Extra Help
The room was a smoking mess of wreckage.
“Everyone okay?” asked Hammer.
“Here,” said Archive.
“Ouch,” said Jim-Bean.
There was no response from Guppy or Blade.
Their comrades tore rubble off their unconscious bodies.
“We need to get them to a hospital, fast,” said Hammer.
Another cop faced them in the doorway. “Are you guys all right?”
The cop’s body jerked like a marionette on a string as machinegun fire cut him down. Jim-Bean dragged him out of the hallway and searched his pockets.
“What the hell are you doing?” asked Hammer.
“Looking for keys. You two go ahead,” said Jim-Bean. “I know what it’s after.”
“Wait, what are you…” but that’s all Archive got out.
Jim-Bean hopped out into the hallway. “Hey ugly! Looking for this?” He lifted the sphere over his head.
He ducked as machinegun fire peppered the hallway again. Then Jim-Bean sprinted across the hall to the parking garage.
Archive grabbed Guppy and Hammer grabbed Blade, dragging their bodies out a door on the opposite side of the room.
More gunfire echoed in the parking garage. There was a squeal of tires, and one of the police cruisers rocketed through the garage doors, shredding it apart.
Archive and Hammer kept dragging.
“He’s down!” shouted another cop. “Repeat, Masterson is down!”
“I didn’t hear any gunfire just now, did you?” asked Hammer.
Archive shook his head.
A white-haired police lieutenant stopped them. “What the hell is going on?”
Hammer flashed a badge. “Federal agents. Who are you?”
“I’m Lieutenant Flynn. What went down here?”
“You wouldn’t believe us if we told you,” said Archive.
“We need to know if any of your police officers are missing,” said Hammer. “ASAP. A man’s life depends on it.”
Flynn wasn’t in the mood to argue. “We’ll get right on it.”
“Hold it.” Hammer stared at a corkboard. “When is that event?”
“That?” Flynn spared it a glance, then check his watch. “The Senator’s breakfast is in about an hour.”
The sign read: Possible presidential candidate Senator Holt to hold press conference and breakfast at 8 a.m.
Friday, 28th March, 2008, 12:32 PM #105
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 9a – Political Aspirations
By the time the team’s van arrived at the Bel Age Hotel, there were police, press, politicians, and confused bystanders everywhere. Jim-Bean’s stolen police cruiser was there too.
Hammer flashed his badge at the nearest police officer. “What happened?”
“Crazy stuff, man. Willis went nuts. Tried to kill the Senator.”
The team exchanged worried looks. “Damn…”
“That’s not the weirdest part. Good old Holt took him out single-handedly.” The cop snorted. “You couldn’t ask for a better nomination than that.”
Two coroners pushed a body bag by on a gurney. Archive stopped it long enough to peer inside.
“Missing teeth.” Archive waved the coroners on.
A reporter set up camp in front of them, beaming spotlights and cameras in their direction. A pretty young brunette in a business suit held a microphone before her and addressed the cop. “You were a witness to the events that took place today. Can you comment?”
The cop grinned. “Senator Holt’s a tough old bastard. I know he served in World War II. After all that’s happened, he’s still going ahead with his presidential nomination anyway. Hell, after what I seen today, I’ll vote for him!”
Hammer swore. “It’s in the Senator.” He turned around to face his two remaining comrades. “All right, we need a distraction. Archive, you’re with me. Jim-Bean…get these people out of here.”
Jim-Bean grinned. “I think I know how to do that.”
The other two agents took off into the conference area.
Jim-Bean ushered the police officer away from the camera, but still clearly within earshot. “Can I speak with you for a moment?”
The cop nodded. “What’s up?”
“We have reason to believe,” Jim-Bean whispered loudly, “that Willis was part of a terrorist cell. His assault was just a distraction.”
The cop watched, intently. Suddenly, the newswoman, who was pretending not to listen, stopped speaking and turned to face both of them.
“I think there’s a bomb in the building,” said Jim-Bean, careful to not look at the camera.
“You heard it here first!” said the news reporter. “We have reports of an alleged bomb in the building.”
“We have to clear everyone out of here.”
The cop went white. Before the cop could start calling for an evacuation, there was a shout across the street.
People streamed out of the pubs and bars. The viewers on the outside of the building had gotten the news before the attendees on the inside did.
His task complete, Jim-Bean strolled into the building, whistling to himself as screaming attendees ran for their lives towards the exits.
Saturday, 29th March, 2008, 01:55 PM #106
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Part 9b – Political Aspirations
Six police officers were ushering Senator Holt, a white-haired man in a dapper suit, off the stage of the conference room. The rest of the crowd was dispersing as they spoke.
“Federal agents!” shouted Hammer, flashing his badge. “We’ll take it from here.”
“Don’t believe them,” snarled the Senator, his hollow gaze boring into the agents. “They’re terrorists!”
“But sir, they have badges,” began one cop.
“So did Willis! Do I need to remind you one of your own tried to kill me this morning?”
The cop blanched. “No, sir.”
Hammer drew two Glocks. “Release the Senator into our custody, NOW.” Behind him, Archive drew his own pistol.
Two cops drew their pistols. “Put your weapon down!”
“I am not going to ask you again!” shouted Hammer. “The man you’re protecting is an impostor. This is a terrorist plot to blow up the building.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” He pointed one crooked finger at Hammer. “I’ll have your ass in a sling for this.”
One of the cops lowered their pistols. “Sir, I’m not so sure…”
Holt snatched the pistol out of one of the other cop’s holsters and fired on Hammer. The agent fell to his knees, still holding his Glocks.
“Sir, what the hell are you doing?” shouted one of the cops. “You just shot a federal agent!”
“He’s not a federal agent you moron! They’re trying to assassinate me!” He took aim at Hammer’s forehead.
With lightning speed, Hammer lifted both pistols and fired at the Senator’s head.
The Senator’s face was a bloody ruin, with two smoking holes out of the back of his head. He collapsed face first to the floor of the stage.
“Put the weapon down!” shouted the officers. “NOW!”
Hammer put his weapons down. The cops cuffed him and Archive.
Jim-Bean, still whistling, spun on his heel as soon as he saw what was happening, but the cops grabbed him and cuffed him too.
“I’m not sure what the hell is going on, but I do know this,” said one of the cops. “You just killed a Senator.”
He was still talking, but Hammer was transfixed as the corpse of Senator Holt slowly rose to its feet, its eyeless face a dripping mess of gore.
“I’m not…ready…to come out…yet…” it wheezed.
“What?” was all one of the cops got out. He turned just as the thing snapped his neck in two.
Two of the other cops, the ones who had their pistols out, fired into the Senator’s corpse at point blank range. The body barely reacted. It snapped one man’s arm and tore his throat out. Then it crushed the other cop’s windpipe.
The three remaining cops struggled to draw their pistols. Calmly, the Senator’s corpse fired a shot into each even as they drew their pistols and fired again and again.
Hammer swore as the thing advanced on him. Then it fell to its knees.
The corpse’s head hit the floor with a wet thud.
Guppy and Blade ran in. “What is going on?” said Guppy, wincing. His arm was in a sling and his leg was bandaged up. Blade had a bandage around his head.
“The thing is still in Senator’s corpse.” Hammer offered his wrists, which were tightly bound by plastic ties. “Get me out of this.”
Blade hacked the bonds that held Hammer captive with one swing of his hatchet. He set about releasing the others when suddenly they heard a strange sound coming from the corpse. It sounded like cicadas crossed with crickets.
The corpse’s mouth yawned unnaturally wide, and four black hairy legs scrabbled for purchase around the edges of its lips.
“Shoot it!” shouted Hammer.
Tentacles whipped out of the mouth, lashing Hammer, Archive, and Jim-Bean. They slumped, paralyzed.
“We can’t kill it!” shouted Guppy. He fired his laser pistol, but the corpse just smoldered.
“Then burn it,” said Blade. He was fending it off with his hatchets. Blade’s hatchets were the only weapons the tentacles seemed to fear.
“Burn it? I can’t even HIT it!”
Blade had an idea. He took a step back from the flailing tentacles and, taking careful aimed, hurled his two hatchets at the red curtains behind the stage.
His aim was true. The two thick ropes holding the curtains in place were sheared in half by the hatchets. The heavy curtains collapsed onto the corpse and the worm-like thing nestled inside it.
Guppy took aim with his laser. The curtains burst into flame.
The thing squealed and flailed within the burning conflagration. It sounded almost human.
Sunday, 30th March, 2008, 01:59 PM #107
Scout (Lvl 6)
Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays: Conclusion
The firefighters, part of the STREETSWEEPER team, arrived just in time.
“You stupid morons screwed up again, didn’t you?” muttered Drake. He was dressed in a firefighter’s coat and hat. But the hat was a little too big for his elderly frame. “And now I have to wear this.”
“We stopped the thing,” said Hammer.
“But not before it got to the Senator.” He shrugged. “At least it was a Democrat. Clean it up boys!”
“The fire’s out,” said Guppy. “So we don’t need…oh.”
Firefighters opened up cases of firefighting equipment. But instead, they lifted flamethrowers out of their toolkits. They busily set to igniting the stage, the chairs, and the corpses.
“Fortunately for you, we’ve sufficiently contained the situation so it can be sanitized. The official word is that this was a terrorist attack on Senator Holt. He and several police officers died heroically in an attempt to save him. But alas, they were too late, and the explosion nearly collapsed the building. Willis was the cult leader.”
“What kind of cult?” asked Archive skeptically.
“The kind that blows up Senators,” replied Drake. He glowered at Blade. “Have I mentioned how much I hate being in the field? I really hate it. And I look ridiculous in this…”
Click! Hammer took a picture of Drake with his Cistron. He grinned back at Drake.
“Very funny.” Before Drake could launch into another tirade, Jim-Bean got his attention.
“Hey, Drake. Thought you might want this.” Jim-Bean tossed Drake the thing’s sphere from his rucksack.
Drake examined it. “Not another Puppeteer Ship,” he grumbled. “I hate these things.”
Monday, 31st March, 2008, 12:34 PM #108
Scout (Lvl 6)
Chapter 4: Faint Transmissions - Introduction
This scenario, “Faint Transmissions,” is from the free D20 Modern supplement at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...n/oa/20050222a by Rich Redman. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!
Our cast of characters includes:
- Game Master: Michael Tresca
- Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca
- Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer
I really enjoyed the idea of Jake’s connection not to just to the popular club scene, but to Hollywood in general through the custody battle over his son, Alex, with his famous movie star ex-wife, Christine Dee.
When I was looking for inspiration what Christine’s background might be like, I stumbled upon the Lori Lovecraft series of comics (http://www.lorilovecraft.com). It’s essentially film noir mixed with Lovecraft with a sprinkling of softcore porn. What’s not to like?
All that, and I managed to tie Stephen Alzis into the mix too. After seeing Reaper, I role-played Alzis just like the Devil. For good reasons, if you know anything about Alzis.
Most of all, this puts Blade front and center and “off the ranch” – he’s about to do two missions that will alter the course of history without accidentally “invoking the hounds” as Alzis likes to say. But to get that accomplished, he’s going to need a little help from his friends. The first time around, the only one who wakes up fast enough is Guppy.
These free adventures are a series of short one-shot scenarios from wizards.com that provide interesting situations, situations that don’t necessarily require combat. Unfortunately, the series abruptly stopped after the fourth installment.
Defining Moment: Guppy uses his hand laser to sever the connection between two cars just in time!
Tuesday, 1st April, 2008, 12:31 PM #109
Scout (Lvl 6)
Faint Transmissions: Prologue
I lost my memory in Hollywood
I've had a million visions, bad and good
There's something in the air in Hollywood
I tried to leave it but I never could--Hollywood by MadonnaBlade suddenly realized that was the sound of his alarm beeping.The Rising had barely finished setting up and performing a sound check when people began filtering into the room. All were dressed to the nines, though the attire varied. Some came in suits, others in dress reminiscent of Victorian England. Still others looked like doctors, bankers, rap stars, and gang members. They all gathered around tables, each with their own posse, which made for a crowded room. Nobody was dancing.
The Rising started to play, timidly at first. The men looked on, whispering amongst themselves. Spider wisely switched gears to songs you could talk around, although they still involved a lot of screaming. It just took longer for him to reach the screaming part.
Blade sat down. He was either having a moment of déjà vu or he was dreaming.
Something wet touched his hand. He looked down to see a coyote at his feet, panting and wagging its tail. It almost looked like it had a smile on its face.
Blade scratched it behind the ear.
The coyote woofed and then padded off out of the exit. Nobody in the club seemed to notice it.
"Oh good, you're here," said a smooth voice.
Jake turned around to see a thin, fine-looking Arab at him from across the table. He was dressed impeccably in a white suit. He hadn’t been there a moment before.
“Is the dog gone?” asked Alzis.
“Think so,” said Blade. “What…is this?”
“You’re not dreaming,” said Alzis. “Unfortunately, since this was our only point of contact, I’m afraid I’m going to have to use this scene to chat with you. A bit repetitive, honestly, but what can you do?” Alzis was sipping from his bizarre green drink. “Here, have a drink, on the house.”
“I don’t drink anymore,” said Blade.
“Oh, right, right.” Alzis leaned back in his chair, eyeing Blade. “You’re really on the straight and narrow these days, hmm? Got a government job. A paycheck. And here you are in California. You never did use that plane ticket I gave you.”
“I had other things to do.”
“Oh, I know.” Alzis leaned forward. “I know how it is. You’re busy. You don’t have time for kids. Or family. Or Alex.”
Alzis put up one hand. “Now I’m not telling you how to raise your child. Oh, that’s right, you can’t even do that, can you? You still don’t have visitation rights.”
It was true. Christine refused to even take his calls.
“Hounds are funny things. Like that hound that follows you around. Am I right?”
“They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but I disagree. I think men are just pawns in the dog’s master plan. They really run the show. They know the truth. They see things as they really are.” He wrinkled his nose. “I hate dogs.”
“Coyote helped us out.”
“Oh sure. And I’m sure he appeared helpful. To you. Because you’re Apache.” Alzis sipped his drink. “But if you were on the wrong side of that dog, let me tell you, it’d be a different story. And that’s why I’m here, actually. I’m afraid that if I take any more direct action, the Hounds will come calling. And you don’t want that. I certainly don’t.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“No, of course not. But you’re not a big thinker, hmm? You’re more of a man of action. So let’s cut to the chase: The railroad tracks cross Martin Luther King Avenue at a certain point. In twenty minutes, a Hummer H2 will approach those tracks from the north. You must stop it from crossing the tracks until after the train passes.”
The Rising wailed on their guitars. It was a repetitive sound, a lot like beeping.
“I’d get going if I were you.” Alzis checked his watch. “The tracks are about fifteen minutes away from here.”
He woke up. It was 7 a.m.
Blade shrugged on a shirt over his large frame, struggled into some pants, shoved boots onto his feet, and grabbed his rucksack full of gear. He bumped into Guppy, who was dressed in pajamas and yawning his way down the hallway.
“Where are you going? Blade?” Guppy turned to watch Blade as he jogged down the hallway. “Blade?”
“I’ve got a mission.”
“A mission!” Guppy ran after him. “I’ll tell the others!”
“No time, Guppy.” He hustled down the hallway. “You don’t have to come.”
“But it’s a mission!” Guppy banged on the doors of the other agents, but nobody responded. Torn between waking them up and chasing after Blade he finally made a decision and ran after the big Native American.
Blade was gunning the engine just as Guppy hopped into the van.
Behind him, a fire alarm blared.
“What’s that all about?” asked Blade as he pulled the van out of the parking lot.
“I was trying to wake them up,” said Guppy quietly. “So I…set off a fire alarm.”
Blade shook his head. Then he gunned the van.
Tuesday, 1st April, 2008, 10:45 PM #110
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I really liked your take on Puppet Shows crossed with The Hidden. Keep it up!
Still excited about 4th edition!
'If there steady paycheck in it, Krusk rage against anything you say.' - this post