Masks-616 #18 - "What Lurks Below"

Things were afoot!

  • Sync parkouring down the stairwell, headed toward (as lore has it) toward the HHL detention cells.
  • Joe hulking at the table, fists crushing sparking table, opposite Blackbird and Sigrun
  • Mette dropped back, cowed by Sigrun.
  • Kiln glowing defiantly.
  • Alex hanging back and out of notice.

And so it begins

Sigrun, scowling, laying down the law, with the voice of a thousand trumpets.

Alex is prepared to open doors for Roddy, also for team (if it can be subtle).

Door is sealed.

Alex - Did we get invited here at a bad time?
Powertronic - (Trying to manifest shrinking powers by force of will alone.
Blackbird - Invited here? Here? In this room? Today? (Turns to Alex, but also backing up to the wall.)

Horseshow table, BB at left-most horn. Eye to eye with Joe.

PT - You sent me to the school! Face time! Karmic! Sent an email! Invited weeks ago! Doesn’t have anything to do with this!
S - (Rolls eyes
J - Wanna tell us what This is?
PT - No!
S - (Chops the air, and he staggers to the wall
S - We frequently welcome visitors from many installations. Today is difficult. We’ve had a high-level challenge, risk, come, and don’t want to put innocent visitors at risk. Awkward to have you here when visitors remain safe.
K - Innocent visitor in cell right now?
S - (Pauses, doesn’t pivot toward K) (Beat, stillness, slow pivot to BB)

M - [Pierce the Mask, shape the future: --> 7!

  • What do you intend to do? BB is a flying brick, but the tactician. Look = Mutual Leaders, that’s the sound of everything getting way more complicated, well, son of a bitch. This will not blow up in our face. We will fix this. So … get this train wreck back on the tracks and going again.

S - (turns to Kiln) Gothwitch is in that cell for her protection. The most secure locaiton we had that wouldn’t be compromised by having a non-HHL member. She witnessed … is a witness … to a heinous act by a dangerous and powerful individual. Protecting her from that person.
M - Why is she terrified?
S - I did just mention the heinously dangerous individual.
M - Leaving her in a cell with no comfort or support.,
S - I AM NOT A THERAPIST! (Every pane of glass shatters) We are well funded. We are prepared to pay if she needs therapy for shell shock, but in the meantime, always found better when the subject is alive. Will keep the girl breathing.
A - (How much is true?) (Footage in records of them hustling her in. Some hi tech criminal transport van, Gothwitch comes up in an AEGIS vehicle, hustled inside, and once inside the building, as van is backing up to warehouse door, airlocks to it, and then the footage stops. HHL focus was on truck. GW … she has blood spattered on her, freaking out, behavior in cell is much more jumpy than oppressed.)

J - So, easy-peasy, let Sync talk with her, we’re all convinced, your protection.
S - You know who we are. Right?
K - Just came for the buffet.
J - School pride. Fighting Phoenixes. I’m sure seeing a friend wouild help.,
S - It would be very complicated. No problem, just not yet.
A - (Security camera feed. Mysterious.)
BB - Understand, doing best for her, could use a friend. Situation extremely complicated. She needs to understand the sitch first.
J - Convince her vs protect her.
BB - Just … stand … down. Until we get things sorted out. We’re not doing anything to her. She’s under protective custody. The girl just … went through a lot.
A & M - (Conversation feels a little cyclical – a cynic would say they’re just going to keep saying that if you knew better you would understand, maybe for eternity.
A - Could we just go to a side room and be out of your way.

J - Whuh?
A - (very very subtle heads up
S - Powertronic
PT - Yes! Yes?
S - Take them to our … lounge.
PT - Our lounge. Oh, the public lounge. Great. View of the city. Mayor hangs out there. Let’s go.
J - (cues off others)
M - (holding an action)

PT - (Down the hallway, babbling)
A - (Tells Roddy) GW has been through a trauma. Go in careful and gentle.

Meanwhile, down the stairs

R - (Cells for non-powered or low-powered guests) Don’t worry, A, this is me, I got this.
Final stair, slide down banister, roll, up to the door.

Intake floor is near the evidence indexing room. Slip in and grab something, some manual weapon like escrima sticks, electro-batons. Nat guards. Security in the area. Senses ramped up. Two different a/c systems, white noise overlap. Thrumming noise from this low level, everyu 5 sec for 3-4 sec. Variations.

Starts checking each cell. Unleash Powers [with Alex support] ==> 7!
[Take condition – Guilty! – off doing on own, maybe should have checked with rest of team, big fall out possible]

Intercom. Low level security. Presumably a power dampener … or is here voluntarily.

R - Hey, Tiffani, want me to break you out like we;re 12 and your parents found out you dyed your hair?

GW - Yes, get the door open! (Door opened, via Alex, and GW is out, angry sobbing, hugging him. R feels a bit like a punching bag.)
R - (C&S ==> 5! Spend Team selfishly, +Mundane, plus Alex boosting Team, texting advice (“just shut. up.”)

and playing her favorite song on Spotify (“That Bitch” by B Miller).

GW - Why are you here?
R - Visiting HHL, learned you were here, running on instincts.
GW - We’re all going to get in a lot of trouble.
R - I have decided to put that off.
GW - I don’t think you can be here. Things are really bad. People are dead. Like a whole bunch of people.
R - You didn’t have anything to do with that.
GW - No, but … but I saw it. Roddy, it’s …
BB - Sync. Gothwitch. We’re going to, you’re not imprisoned in any way, but for your safety, we’re going to close the door and institute additional security measures. Stay where you are.

Door closes. Lights go red in the hallway.

R - (Ears pop. Isolated air circuit.)
A - (Lost the signal after the buzzer. Work to reattach)
GW - Don’t know what happened, but I think it was one of them.
R - Be here or elsewhere
GW - Not sure. If even Sigrun can help.

The Lounge

The world’s best mini-bar. Big bowl of M&Ms. Prawn-flavored crisps that Alex likes. Chicken tendies.

PT - Yeah, these situations. Gotta let these guys do their things. Esp. Sigrun. … So, Sync, Gothwitch, that his girlfriend? He seemed pretty … like he was dating, but she’s a kid, not appropriate, but if it were my age, you’d think they were, so are they … so, how are classes.

Everyone stares at him.

PT - I’m gonna check … you stay here. Safe. Safer here. They may need me. I’m … stay out of the fridge. Later tonight. No, bad joke.

A - So I hacked their system.
M - We’re safe talking? This is the day the HHL gets canceled. It happens. This is the day.
A - Okay. What do you want to do about it.
M - Want to know what’s going.
A - Let me sum up. [Stuff above] Dude looks like this. AEGIS is involved. Bad dude on ice, freaking out what to do about it.

Images from security.

Stone creature. It seemed to be locked down in stasis earlier. But mouth is moving?
A - Lip read ==> 10!
A - Kiln, you’re up.
K - Not it. (Image comes up – Fluvis!?!) (Repeating loop. Repeating algorithm loop. Bad voice synth match. … phrases K recognizes. People like Gnega could be turned by Fluvis … captured … turned. Constructs based on but not of the Ancients’ technology. When so, became, not mindless creatures, but … they would recite a catechism, showing new allegiance, and this thing … ‘I have been turned from the burning light … subsumed … they who are dying and ever-present …’ This is not Gnega … not like Gnega was a stone thing and warped, something different, but doing Fluvian thing. “I serve the master of all, dying and ever-present, turned from burning light, bathed in cool waters … I am Golem and I am redeemed.” [And repeat]

The right size and material for Golem. But did not look like this. Maybe … resculpted? Same mass. No voice recognition.

A - HHL Computer, where is Golem?
Computer - Sublevel 3. Holding Cell QQQ.
A - Canceled? Or demolished?
Water gets into rocks and cracks them … but it takes time, can be prevented … But Golem is not a stone creature, once a human … but water gets into rocks … eventually. Quite horrifyingly plausible this is Golem.

Protecting GW from Golem? Or keeping Golem’s corruption secret? Or both?

Also seems barely under control.

M - Alex, anything, found anything to indicate this is a unique occasion, history of disappearing people? Clearly HHL trying to contain this. Clumsily.
Power - Remember Someone ==> 13!
Golem is the Traitor.
Has a quiet freakout in the couch.
J - Mette, what’s the problem?
M - It’s him. He’s the one who betrays everyone. He’s the traitor. It’s all his fault.

GW - At this thing parents sent to, meeting lots of important people, lame (freak), private, private thing, HHL members there, Golem was there, brunch on the bay, talking about the school, then something happened, and Golem just change, and he had been resisting making statements, and he just snapped this guy in half, and horns and claws and …

[Tarantino bloodbath]

I think my parents are dead, everybody’s dead, I helped a little, I changed, held him down, then Sigrun was there, Blackbird, AEGIS containment thing, I changed back, they said I had to come because he swore vengeance WHO DOES THAT? They say he’s locked up, will fix everything, they can’t bring people back, debrief, what are we going to do, fuck them, what are we going to do?

R - Whatever you want to do. Here. Far away. We can do that.
GW - Thanks (hug) You don’t suck too much today.
R - Trying my best.
GW - Don’t want to be here. They can’t keep me safe. cAnt keep themselves safe. Back to the school – want to talk to Hellbinder.
R - (Straight Up Creepin ==> 7! Best way out of here? Vibrations. Lights dim when it happens, power drain.
GW - Think that’s him trying to get out.
Best Way In and Out – Need team, time gaps, GW has powers. With help from outside.

Roddy on speakerphone with group.
R - Gaps in the power the lower in the building you go, but the closer to bignasty rock creature. And GW wants to get out of here. Priority!
A - AEGIS strike team on standby.
M - Kiln, any knowledge about how to control this sitch?
K - That’s how it generally did go. [Only knowledge of undoing this: Temples. Need to talk with Tahi.]
M - A, maintain the containment field. I’ll handle transport.

We’re not being watched. No dice.

Not putting major strain on systems getting out.

Mette calls in Excelsior.

GTFO to the Academy.

Shellshocked / seriousness / concern.

M grabs some food and juice on the way out. But … no chicken tendies!

GW still in shock.
R watching her
J watching M
K hot mess
A big data dump to AEGIS, reroute power and resources.

Team Stuff!

  • Roddy - Closer, Alex --> +Savior, -Danger
  • Joey - Closer, Mette --> +Savior, -Danger
  • Mette - Image of Self
  • Kiln - Image of Self
  • Alex - Closer, Mette --> +Savior, -Mundane

As a player, I’d like to ask that we retcon this. GW might still think someone died, and there might still be blood, but the game also has principles, and one of them is:

People matter. Their lives have value. That means your stories shouldn’t involve wanton mass murder or death. Never kill a bunch of people just to show the situation is dangerous.

I feel like that last sentence is what happened here.


In retrospect, the HHL meeting room map looks like a toilet seat. Which works on so many levels.