[AW] Flashback - Gritch and Balls and Spookies

edited October 2010 in In-Game
So things are going pretty well. Uncle's been leading a band of men in reconnaissance around the chateau: not really raiding, but making a show of force. He's starting to build up something of a reputation in the area, and more than a few people have decided it's better to sign on with him, maybe even move to the chateau proper, than to live off on their own, beset on all sides.

The most recent discovery: you came across a really sweet, solid stone building in the middle of a rich flood plain -- no trees for a couple hundred yards around it except for one huge oak near the front door, close to a slow-moving river. Completely abandoned, not even anyone to kick out. When Uncle surveyed it, you could see wheels turning in his head, but in the end he decided it was too far away from the chateau to take on, too difficult to maintain the supply lines. Balls, one of Uncle's lieutenants and a friend of yours, solid reliable guy, got the idea that he and a few men could take it over and hold it, run it as a farm, and offer fresh vegetables to Uncle as tribute and trade. You were there when Balls proposed it. Uncle wasn't happy about the idea, since he valued five or six good men in his crew higher than theoretical future vegetables, but he could see that Balls had caught fire with the idea. In the end, Uncle told Balls that he could take five men, if those men wanted to go along with the hare-brained idea, and Uncle would consider that they'd parted on good terms and all of them would be welcome back if circumstances changed. Balls, Max, Wire, Buzz, Fox, and you.

Now, the building's solid. Sometimes, back in the Golden Age, they built things to last. But the inside's kind of fucked up - it's a mess, broken glass, ruined furniture, a couple dead bodies. Fox declared that the place gives him the fucking creeps, and he's not spending a night in there until it's been cleaned out. Balls cheerfully announced that the weather was going to be good for the next couple days, and you'd spend the nights sleeping under the stars and the days cleaning out the building.

And it really was a beautiful night. Buzz decided to go fishing, and you cooked trout over the fire, more than enough for everyone to be full. Wire found a couple apple trees gone wild, and the apples are sour and sweet and crunchy and just right. Balls made plans - with the river nearby, and those apples, he's going to plant some hops and barley. Life is pretty fucking good right now.

But you wake up to a sound, and the stars are brilliant above you. The fire's burning low, but it's still a warm red glow to your right. You look over to your left, and that's where the sound came from: Fox seems to be having some kind of a fit, or maybe a bad dream, he's shaking, his head turning left and right.

What do you do?
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Comments

  • Kick him. Standard policy in our bunch. Nightmares are nothin' all that new or surprisin', an' if anyone starts to stir too much in his sleep, makin' too much noise so th' others are kept awake, well, it's just fine to wake that feller up so the rest can get to sleep. Needs of the many, right?

    Fox is nearby enough for me to swing out my leg an' catch him in the shin, so I do.
  • He sits up, and there's fury in his eyes. He growls at you: "I almost had him. You're on my list now." Then he goes completely, totally rigid as every muscle in his body clenches, and he falls back into his bedroll.

    Balls, half asleep, from the other side of the fire: "Whaa? You guys OK?"

    Someone's probably out there somewhere, standing guard, but if so, he's quiet.
  • Well, that was odd. Ain't normally such a deal, gettin' kicked awake. Hell, in Uncle's crew, you'da thought Fox woulda gotten so used to it, he couldn' wake up in any other way. Also, it don' look like the fella's goin' back to sleep exactly.

    "Fox? What the hell, man, you okay?" I prop myself up one elbow t'get a better look at 'im.
  • He looks like he's deep asleep, breathing regularly. If it weren't for that little outburst you'd think he was sleeping well.

    Balls, again, more awake: "Fox? Gritch? Something up?" Then, "Who's on guard? Buzz? Hey, Buzz!"
  • "Uh, no, Balls. Fox jus' had a nightmare. I think." I'm still keepin' my eyes on Fox, but I'm not worried about him much anymore. But I'm awake now, dammit. Probably not gettin' to sleep any time soon.

    "Balls, you wan' me to go check aroun' for Buzz? Maybe he was doin' a perimeter check, or somethin'."
  • "Yeah, do that." Balls is up and moving around now.

    Glancing around, you see that Wire seems to be still asleep, on his stomach, arms wrapped a bunched-up part of his bedroll. As you watch, he murmurs something into it and smiles. Max is actually asleep, leaning with his back to a tree, arms folded over his knees. It looks like he fell asleep there while smoking, and he's probably going to be stiff in the morning. Buzz's bedroll is right where he set it up; most of his gear is there too, but not his rifle. And Fox has this blissed-out look on his face, like he's having an amazing dream.

    The air is clear, with a slight chill, and the stars are like diamonds. There's a waning crescent moon high in the sky - it must be well after midnight.

    What do you do?
  • "Buzz? The fuck are you, man?" I'm stepping around the building, with my pistol out at my side. I don' like this. Buzz ain't the type to leave his post, not unless there's a reason, an' the shit inside's got me tensed up.

    An'...I'm not comfortable when the night's as clear as this. It's odd, after the fog bein' around so long. I just...I don' like it when it's clear. Doesn't bode well.
  • You step out around the building. Most of it's stone, but there's a wooden side porch. In the dim starlight, you can see pretty clearly, Buzz is standing on the porch, half wrapped around one of the pillars that hold up the roof, a solid wooden beam. There's blood -- his blood? -- on the post and on the railing, and all over his forearms.

    He sees you, and goes rigid. You can now tell that he's tied there - he's not hugging the pillar for support, he's hugging it because his arms are around it and his wrists are tied. He pulls as hard as he can on his bonds - you can see the muscles in his arms working -- and then suddenly relaxes. "Gritch," he gasps, "get out of here. Leave me. Get the men out of here. This place --"

    Suddenly his face changes, and his eyes are all wrong, but he's relaxed. "Untie me?"
  • There's a little voice in me. It's a noisy fucker, annoyin' too. When it screams, it's hard to get it to stop. But I've found that, annoyin' as it is, it's better to listen to it than not, most o' the time. Kept me alive in more than one scrape.

    Right now, it's screamin' at me, bellowin', not to untie Buzz.

    "Uh...how'd you get tied up in the first place...buddy? An' what the fuck is up with all this blood? An' what was that you were just sayin'? 'Bout leavin' you here, gettin' you outta here? Basically, Buzz...what the fuck is goin' on?"

    My fingers're grippin' my gun's handle tightly.
  • "Four, five raiders, knocked me out. Tied me here with my own fucking fishing line. Don't know where they are now."

    That would explain the blood. His fishing line is some of that monofilament stuff that they made back before everything went to hell -- it would definitely cut into skin if you struggled against it.

    But wouldn't you have heard a commotion like that? I mean, Fox was making a lot less noise, and it woke you up.
  • Can I read the sitch and/or read Fox himself? If I have to pick between them, I think I'd read Fox. The situation doesn't feel right, but that's primarily because of Fox himself at the moment, so I'd probably focus my attention on him. Either way, here's a +Sharp roll (I'm assuming Gritch may have had lesser Weird at this point, but he's always been a sharp fella. That's how he stays alive).

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • Reading Fox, or reading Buzz? Ask your questions, and I'll answer them as we interact.
  • Oops, sorry. 'Nother major brainfart. Buzz. The one who's tied up in front of me. That's Buzz, right? Buzz.
  • Well, I'll give you this one for free: he really wants you to untie him.
  • Suddenly Buzz seems to have a fit, a spasm. He hangs on to his wrists like something is going to pull his wrists apart, and you can see that he's having a hard time keeping a grip on his blood-slick skin. He grits his teeth like he's in pain, and you can hear what was starting to be a wail or a scream, but he managed to stifle it.

    What is your Weird at for this scene, anyway?
  • Not sure it should be negative, but I guess maybe 0?

    "Buzz, what th' hell?! What's wrong?!" Shit! I've heard stories about stuff, odd things happenin', an' I'm not so green as I've never seen anythin' weird m'self, but this is well beyond my level o' experience!

    "Balls! Balls! Get out here! Buzz is freakin' out!"

    First question: What does your character intend to do? It's unclear to me right now if he's trying to keep himself held to the post, or if he's trying to free himself.
  • edited October 2010
    Well, now, that's an interesting question. A minute ago he was straining against the bonds; then he told you to leave him. Then he asked you to untie him, and now he seems to be holding himself in place. He seems to be going back and forth between two extremes. He intends to persuade you to leave; he intends to get himself untied, either by slipping the bonds or breaking the line, or by getting you to untie him.

    He loses his grip on his forearms, and his arms jerk apart suddenly. You can see the line go taut, and that line has to be cutting into his skin. All at once he relaxes, and falls to a really awkward half-sitting, half-kneeling posture, mainly supported by his arms tied around the porch pillar. "Pain," he says, gasping, "pain helps. Don't trust me, don't trust a fucking word I say, until--" and then he goes rigid again.

    You hear Balls around the corner, waking up the guys. "In a sec, Gritch," he says.
  • I keep my gun trained on Buzz while I wait for Balls to get out here. I seen men crack before, an' it ain't ever looked like this, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a first time.

    "It's gonna be okay, Buzz...just...what did the raiders look like? Where did they come from? Why'd they leave you alive?"
  • He doesn't answer - he's having some kind of fit. Every muscle in his body is tense, like he's doing some kind of bizarre isometric stress-reduction exercise. Even from where you are, you can see the fishing line cutting into his wrists, which are still oozing blood.

    "Gritch!" shouts Balls. "I can't get Fox to wake up."

    Wire comes trotting around the corner of the building, sees Buzz. "What the fuck?"
  • "Wire, keep the fuck away from Buzz, don' know what's goin' on with him! Could be a sickness!" I don' know what's goin' on' an' my mind is jumpin' from thought to thought without warnin'. "Balls! 'Dja try kickin' him?! He woke up before!" Then I turn back to Wire. "Gotcher gun, Wire? Somethin's goin' down, an' better safe than dead."
  • Wire draws a handgun and waves it, while he approaches, very cautiously.

    Buzz relaxes again, and struggles to his feet, pulling himself up against the pillar. "I didn't get a good look at them. They came from some kind of a boat on the river, that way" -- pointing with his chin. "I think they thought we were someone else - they knocked me out and tied me up. I don't know where they are now. Wire, untie me?" He lifts his arms up, extending them towards him.

    You realize that Buzz's rifle is on the ground, about 10 yards away from the porch.

    And right now? There's no ambiguity in what he wants, if you're reading his body language right. He wants you to untie him, he wants to get some bandages on his wrists, he wants to go off duty.
  • How much hold do I have left? 1 or 2? I think I should have at least one. Can I spend it to ask if Buzz is telling the truth?
  • You have two, by my count. (I answered one question for free, because it was obvious.)

    You're fairly sure Buzz is lying through his teeth, but it's not really his body language that gives him away, except that it's all wrong for him. Wouldn't raiders who planned on non-lethal attacks have brought their own rope, instead of hoping their victims had something handy? Wouldn't raiders who incapacitated a guard -- the only one of you awake -- have taken your stuff, or at least taken Buzz's rather nice rifle?
  • "Wire, stay the fuck away from 'im," I snap, loudly. "Keep yer gun on him, an' if he tries to do anythin' like get free, shoot 'im in the leg. You can blame it on me." Then I dash over to the door into the cabin.

    "Balls, I could really use you outside right now!"

    Third question: How can I get Buzz to tell me the truth? (Is that an acceptable question?)
  • (Clarify: you camped out outside, around a fire, because the inside of the building was a mess. Fox actually voiced his refusal to sleep there, but nobody really disagreed. Balls is outside, just on the other side of the massive stone building from you. If you're dashing over to the door, you're either dashing towards the porch that Buzz is on, or you're dashing around the building to a larger door on another side. I'm inferring that you want Balls on this side of the building, so I'm interpreting dashing over to the door as dashing over to the corner of the building, not dashing over to Buzz -- if that's not what you meant, we can rewind.)

    Balls is actually turning the corner of the building when you get there. You can see that Max is kneeling over Fox, who apparently hasn't woken up yet.

    "What the fuck, Buzz?" he calls out.

    Getting Buzz to tell you the truth: that's interesting. Buzz has always been a straight-up kind of guy, and so you've never had to consider that question before. The obvious but lengthy answer is to figure out why he's lying, and address that. Maybe there's a raider hiding somewhere with a gun on him? But that wouldn't explain his weird behavior, his fits and spasms. The simple answer is to get him in a room and inflict pain when he lies to you, until he learns not to lie to you, but he's kind of a friend.

    Your back is to things when it happens, but you hear a twang, then Wire fires three shots, and then the thud as Buzz hits the porch. You see it in Balls's face before you turn around: Wire just shot Buzz.
  • (Oh, sorry about the location confusion. I was basically just running back to where Balls was, and where everyone was sleeping. The way you describe it is fine. Just set me straight if I still don't get it, though.)

    I spin aroun', t'get a look at the damage. Wire'd better have shot Buzz in the leg, like I told him. Or Wire was gonna get a faceful of fist. I like Buzz better'n I like Wire, an' I got no problems expressin' that with feelin'.
  • At a guess, Buzz is unconscious - he's hanging from his wrists, which are still tied together, hanging from the posts.

    "He was gonna break free!" says Wire, looking over at you apprehensively. "I'm pretty sure I hit him in the leg."
  • I get over to Buzz quick, lookin' for the bullet hole. I'm still keepin' my distance, just in case he decides to wake up an', I dunno, bite me or somethin'.

    "You better hope so, Wire, fer your sake," I growl.
  • edited October 2010
    Two wounds - one grazed his right leg just below the knee, and there's a bit of blood seeping from the wound. The other struck him solidly in the left thigh. It's not spurting blood, though. You know from experience that with those wounds he'll probably recover, although it's a good idea to dig the bullet out so he doesn't get blood poisoning from it. He probably won't be doing much housecleaning tomorrow, though.

    As you're looking him over, his eyes flutter open. "Gritch," he says. "Motherfucker, that hurt. It's not safe here. You gotta--"

    And at that point two things happen simultaneously: Balls lets out an anguished, keening wail, and falls to his knees. And Max shouts, "Hey boss! Fox is awa--" only it ends in a wet gurgle.

    Buzz pauses very briefly and continues. "Aw, fuck. You gotta tie Balls and Fox up, fast as you can, and hurt them. As much pain as you can. Either that, or you gotta shoot them dead, right now."

    You look over. Balls is standing up, looking down at the rifle in his hands, and the smile on his face is so broad you can see it from here.

    What do you do?
  • (I assume that, third line from the bottom, that was "Buzz pauses very briefly and continues," because Balls was busy being possessed and getting all creepy.)

    "Shit, Buzz, what the hell are you sayin'?!" I shout, but as I do, I'm pointin' my gun at Balls. "Balls, I...Just, put down the gun, man! Just fer the moment! Put the gun down!" I've aimed down the sights, at Balls's leg. I don' even really know what I'm doin', I'm just acting on Buzz's words without thinkin'. "Wires, you go inside, an' you...check on Max, an' make sure Fox don' have any weapons, an'...Balls...just put the gun down!"

    (I think I'm going aggro on Balls? I guess? I want him to put the gun down and back away from it. I'm assuming, by the way, that I either have a pistol or some kind of rifle. I'm not sure I have my antique pistol yet. Whatever you think makes the most sense. Not that it's gonna help what with my Hard -2...)

    #DiceRoller( 2d6-2 )
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