[AW] Death by Water

edited August 2010 in In-Game
Charmer, Kite, the two of you are in a spot. This is the bottom of the station, what was once a small, unfinished, limited-service station a good twenty feet deeper in the ground than the other platforms. Nobody lives down here, and not too many people even want to visit, since it floods out with black water somewhat regularly and the damp left behind breeds weird life ... insects and fungi, generally, but not of types anyone has seen anywhere else.

The actual tracks are never dry, always running with a foot or so of dark, fragrant water, like an underground river. Nobody knows where the water flows from, nor what pool or waterway it ultimately discharges into.

The station, for being such a small platform, is actually quite expansive and complicated. It was never finished, and it seems like it might have been intended to end up much larger, so it goes back quite a ways in cave formations built of rusted supports, cracked and half-poured concrete, and the raw, jack-hammered stone of the the city's bedrock. Here and there, rotten scaffolding is built across wide pits that disappear into bottomless darkness, and partially-built cinderblock walls scatter haphazardly, jutting up spears of rebar.

You two are trapped back in the shadows of this place, hunkered down behind a 10' by 10' sheet of corrugated steel, while Hugo and Winkle search around the place for you. At the rate they're going, you've got some time, but they'll turn you up eventually unless you get a move on. Hugo's girl, Mimi, is over at the broken-down escalator bank with a pump shotgun, so that way's sketchy. You've heard there're other ways up out of here, like maintenance hatches and shit, but you don't know of any specific ones, yourselves.

Winkle's got a light, and so does Mimi - big battery torches, we're talking about, sending shadows crawling around the tangle of this place. If you have a light, it's probably kinda crappy, since I figure a good light is worth barter down here. And it's off, obviously - you're not looking to draw attention, as is.

So, uh. What's got them after you two? Why are you together down here in the first place?


  • Posted By: yellowparisWhy are you together down here in the first place?
    I'm thinking mushrooms -- Kite came down here one day and found them growing all over, some red and as big as fists, others tiny and shiny and dark, like little black teeth. She doesn't know much about mushrooms so she picked a few and brought them to someone who might -- Charmer, maybe? Or someone else who knows. And I figure either they turned out to be edible or they turned out to be the sort of mushrooms Charmer uses to make some of his more useful drugs.

    As for Hugo, Mimi and Winkle -- maybe they already had designs on this particular crop, or maybe they saw Charmer & Kite sneaking off and figured this was an opportunity to settle some other score (I figure lots of people don't like Charmer.)
  • I'm good with mushrooms. Work has been scarce in the past few weeks for Charmer, and most of the food supply in Charmer's shack is gone. Charmer recently botched a major job for Hugo and Winkle, after taking half the payment in advance (bit in character section about this[just added]) Charmer feels less uncomfortable than usual around Kite, so Charmer didn't mind going down to pick them with her. Might even enjoy the company a little.
  • So that's why you've got all that jingle right now. That's a lot of meals there - it totally makes sense that they're after you, then. Well, you're rich enough to just be buying your own food, but if business isn't good it maybe makes sense to cut some corners. And the earlier point was good as well: you use those receptivity drugs pretty heavily in your work, so it wouldn't hurt to secure a supply of substances.

    The mushrooms and ... stuff ... down here are what you might call unnatural. Might be edible, but still, could be some useful side effects. They gleam and whisper when you open your brain.

    So, Hugo and Winkle are sticking together, since they only have the one torch and they know you're around here somewhere, anyway. They're combing the place looking for you. Or, it seems, looking for Charmer ... what do you do, Kite? Well, you too I suppose, Charmer?
  • Well, I don't have any beef with these people -- I'm just picking mushrooms, simple as anything. If Charmer wants to hide, though, no need to blow his cover. Keeping a firm grip on my worn canvas scavenging-sack full of mushrooms, I'll work my way through the shadows, quiet as anything, until I'm a ways away from Charmer's position. Then I'll step out into that light they're waving around, hardly a few steps away, face blank and casual, sack dangling absently in one hand. Like I just happened to be here, you know, because -- why wouldn't I be here?

    "Whatcha lookin' for?"
  • As Kite creeps away, Charmer crawls further into the darkness away from them, carrying his mushroom sacks, one large one for edibles, and a small one to use for drugs, hissing back to her, barely a whisper, "My fault, you should go." Charmer is attempting to hide in the shadows, looking for a way he could sneak closer to the entrance without attracting too much attention.
  • Ok, Charmer, you're acting under fire. The fire is: the attention of your enemies.

    I was kind of thinking that you might be acting under fire as well, Kite. Now, though, I wonder if you're attempting to help Charmer? Since the danger here is not that you will be noticed, but rather that you will draw attention to your sometimes-associate.
  • edited September 2010
    Sure, if you like -- here's my roll to assist.

    #DiceRoller( 2d6-1 )
  • And here's my acting under fire roll to sneak away undetected
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • Charmer, you're scuttling away close to the ground, trying to make your way by the non-too-reliable light of Winkle's light. It's not too easy. The light isn't really pointed your way (this is good), so you're going by nothing but dim reflections of light that really don't do much more than lend a little definition to the edges of the shadows (this is bad).

    This is a place you'd be delicate about moving around even with a decent light at hand, so these circumstances are pretty worrying. You have a cheap plastic hand-powered light with you, but it would draw too much attention to actually use it. But sudden drop-offs, corroded scraps of metal, crumbling concrete, and more await an incautious step, and the man-made caves down here are thick with weird life.

    Patches of something like a glistening slime mold visibly contract away from you, sprouting defensive pseudopodia. Inch-long insects that look like crossbreeds of ants and fireflies scatter, faintly glowing in their panic. Other things are down here you know, some known to be dangerous, but most altogether uncatalogued.

    You've been down here before, though, so you know a bit of its geography. If you're trying to slip over towards the skeleton of the escalator, there's a shallow trench you can take that'll get you most of the way there. It's some kind of never-finished utility channel, leading from the tracks to what would've been a generator room.

    Ah, but you're starting to lower yourself down into the trench (four, five feet deep), and you feel your leg dip into cold water. Shit - looks like the water level in the underground river flowing along the tracks has risen enough to flood this channel with about a foot of water. And it's the black water, too ... you don't have to look to know, since you can smell its unnameable, fragrant scent, and you can feel it tingling on the back of your brain. This stuff's poison, you know - poison to the body, but also poison to the mind.

    Ok, so you need to get out, like now. But then you here Kite say something off in the direction of Hugo and Winkle ("Whatcha lookin' for?"), and their light suddenly flashes in your direction. You have just enough time to drop low enough to be completely beneath the lip of the trench, toxic water sloshing around gently up to your groin.

    Yup, fuck. In bright light, you realize what you hadn't realized in shitty light: there's pretty much nothing between you and your stalkers but a dozen meters of open ground. You could'a sworn there was a wall or something there, but no - just a shadow, now banished. Nothing sheltering you from view but this trench. You could make your way up or down it, but you'd have to move really slowly to avoid loud splashing around, and every inch of the way would be half-soaked in tainted waters.
  • Kite, you pop out pretty much just as planned, and Hugo and Winkle both just about piss themselves, Winkle spinning around with the light and spotlighting you while Hugo makes a choking sound and turns, half-raising the tire iron in his right hand.

    You notice, sort of automatically, that neither of them is seriously armed ... they left their pump-action with Mimi (over there, by the escalator), but it looks like they didn't have much else in the way of backup. Winkle has that big flashlight, a good eighteen inches of steel and batteries, and Hugo has his tire iron, but so far you don't notice anything in the gun and knife genres.

    Winkle is all wide-eyed at you over the light - it's pointed right at you, so you can't see much of him behind it, but with reflected light you can make out the disks of his eyes and the dirty white of his shirt. You know what he looks like, though ... he and Hugo are brothers, not twins but they look almost close enough: black men, with skin a dark enough ebony that it has a tinge of blue in better light, serious eyes, callused hands.

    You're basically gorgeous, right? Hot bod, sweet face, generally dressed to show off ... if you weren't so spacey and occasionally scary, you'd be drawing attention nearly like a skinner. So Winkle, right, he's had a thing for you in the past. Like most such guys, though, you eventually scared him off - not on purpose, I assume, but he never really made a serious move, and you haven't seen him hanging around since Chanel got his brains renovated, when? Last month-ish?

    Hugo is: "Ho-holy shit ... Hey, uh [glancing at his brother], what're you doing down here? We're, uh, we're looking for that guy Charmer ..."

    Speaking of which, Charmer? Isn't the water level, like, rising? Come to think of it, it's supposed to be raining pretty seriously up topside. And the reason, the main reason most people stay off this platform is its tendency to get swept up in sudden, subterranean flash floods.
  • Charmer, hiding in the water, the poison tingling his brain, decides that leaving the water will probably get charmer killed, but staying in the water will definitely get charmer killed, so the decision is made to creep out of the water, attempting to stay in the shadows, using the dark cloak to escape from notice. (what do I roll here?)
  • Yes, Kite is pretty hot, physically, and she mostly wanders around in semi-luxe underclothes -- she has a big ratty fake-fur overcoat for when it's cold, but the rest of the time she's basically wearing a slip -- so that helps.

    Her eyes barely register the name 'Charmer', and in fact when she talks she talks to Winkle, not Hugo. "I'm picking mushrooms," she says, with an odd cheerfulness, waving the dirty burlap sack around. In fact, having spotted Charmer out of the corner of one eye, she steps closer to the pair and reaches into the bag, pulling out a bright, red-capped mushroom which appears almost transluscent in Hugo's light. This distracts her for a moment -- it looks so much more interesting in the brighter light -- then she smiles, and drops it back into the sack.

    "We'll be able to find even more now that you've brought a light." This sounds matter-of-fact -- obviously now that they're here, they are going to help her find more mushrooms. It's much more important than looking for Charmer.

    (I think I'm manipulating them, mostly Winkle I'd guess. The leverage consists of getting to spend quality time with Kite and/or getting some food out of the deal. What I want them to do is stop looking for Charmer, naturally.)
  • edited September 2010
    Yup - it's a manipulate. Go for it with the roll+hot. Mimi over there might not be too happy if you start catching Hugo's eye, but we'll see how things go.

    At the moment, Charmer, you don't have shadows ... unluckily, you're right in a line behind Kite, spotlit by the light Winkle's pointing at her, with no cover but the edge of that channel. If you want, you can try moving along the trench until you're where you can pop up into shadows again.

    It'd be acting under fire again, rolling+cool, but this stuff is really vile - you might be more vulnerable to the mental side of its toxicity than most. Even that exposure would deal 1-harm (ap) to you ... the (ap) means armor piercing.

    You could also cool your heels and hope that Kite distracts them right quick. If she nails a 10+, you'll be able to slip out of here soon enough that you don't take the harm! Cross your fingers?
  • #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • edited September 2010
    Ah, ok. A quick glance, Charmer, shows that Kite has Hugo and Winkle pretty distracted for the moment. You start to pull yourself up out of the water. If all you want to do is hole up in that shadowy corner over there, you just do it, whatever. Your hiding spot might be threatened soon enough, but right now nobody's looking your way and the dark river is rushing along fast enough to drown out any scuffing sounds you might make as you move.

    Do you have greater ambitions? Want to make for the escalator? Look for another way out? Try and ambush one of the brothers?

    Kite, you're not really focusing the charm on Hugo, so he's less interested than Winkle. Well, no, that's not quite true. It's more that his girlfriend is right over there, and she's holding a pump-action shotgun. Still, he's looking at you for a moment, weighing whether it's worth it ... and then common sense kicks in and he just shakes his head.

    He looks over at his brother, who shrugs: "Couldn't hurt to keep her with us, right? We combing the area anyway ... if he's not down here, I wouldn't hate getting a bite to eat out of this thing. Hey, uh, Kite. [talking sort of gently, here] Charmer? Dat mindfucker? You seen him around? We talked to East, and East say he go down here."

    Hugo, he casts his eyes skyward (to the dripping, muck-covered ceiling), then sighs gustily. You get the impression that they were both pretty tense, but that your sudden, somewhat odd appearance surprised them into relaxing a good bit.

    "Ok, bro, whatever. Go mushroom hunting. We're gonna split up - I'll give you a shout if I see a nice bunch of bellcaps or somethin'. Do me a favor, though: if you see a freak in a gas mask, let me know, ok? Hey 'Imi! Let me have that flash, ok?"

    Hugo breaks off from your little cluster, stumbling some in the dark as he makes his way over to the escalator. He has a few words with Mimi, over there. Looks like he's going to leave her there (there's still some dim light coming down the slant of the ruined escalator) while he goes around on his own with her light.

    From the looks of it, she's iffy on the idea, but she ends up working her way a little ways up the skeleton of the escalator to where she's in slightly better light, perching there with the shotgun.
  • edited September 2010
    Charmer starts to make for the elevator, scurrying as quietly as possible, heart beating practically out of Charmer's chest, as the tingle of the black water starts to fade from Charmer's mind. Charmer tries to move as silently as possible, hunkering down and hoping to avoid being seen by Mimi for as long as possible.

    (Edit - removed gendered pronouns)
  • Let's see. Roll +cool for acting under fire, Charmer. Also, what are you intentions if you succeed? Knowing that will help me frame the results.
  • "Charmer?" Kite starts off in the other direction, expecting Winkle to follow. "He was here," she agrees, sounding bored, "but then he left." She turns to look back at Winkle, half-illuminated by his light. "Said it was too dangerous here," looking up at the dripping ceiling, then continuing on deeper into the shadows. "What with the floods and all."
  • If Mimi notices Charmer, things will become difficult. If there is a way past her and out, Charmer will take that; If there is not, then she must be dealt with, hopefully with the element of surprise.

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • edited September 2010
    Ok, Charmer, it's dark as hell down here, and Mimi doesn't have her own light anymore. The lamps that Winkle and Hugo are carrying do cast some light around the platform, but the area is such a mess that the splashes of light mostly just spatter irregular shadows. A ray of light might flick across you every so often, but you're careful to keep obstructions between you and your hunters as you skirt around to Mimi's perch.

    The escalator has been gutted, the treads torn out and much of the internal workings scavenged. The result is a skeletal ramp of steel and rubber, greasy and covered in patchwork, acrid-smelling fungal growths. You're right up by it, hunched a bit in the narrow space between its frame and the concrete wall.

    Getting up past Mimi doesn't look good ... she's right there on the remains of the escalator with enough weak light coming down from above that she couldn't fail to notice someone climbing up towards her, and she's high enough up that it'd be bad odds on trying to rush her. She is packing a shotgun, after all, and she knows to expect trouble.

    You can try and read the situation, to maybe find a better way past or figure out how to deal with Hugo and Winkle. Otherwise, what now?
  • edited September 2010
    Winkle nods.

    "Dat so? Hugo! She say the mindfucka head forward ... he gone, man."

    Hugo flashes his light your way, Kite, and he fires back an annoyed burst of dread talk so dense with patois that it's hard for you to pull any real meaning out of it. The brothers are part of a rasta contingent on the platform above - they've got basically their own linga. In this case, the incomprehensibility is probably intentional, since the words you pick out make you suspect that Hugo's reminding his brother that you aren't right in the head, so your words aren't to be taken as gospel.

    Winkle's shaking his head, disappointed in Hugo's apparent vulgarity (and apparently forgetting the thing about the floods), and returns to playing his light around the half-formed structures of the station. Here's a good patch, where a whole tangle of silvery, pitted mushrooms looking something like morels is growing out of a cluster of dramatic cracks that ooze some kind of black sludge. That would be kind of worrying, the sludge, but you know from experience that these things are safe to eat and reasonably easy on the palate.

    These are pretty high up on the wall, only just within reach. Probably they can only grow up high, where they'll be less often drowned in floodwaters. Below that, the trickle of sludge is absorbed by a thick mat of dense, woolly fungal encrustation, charcoal gray and surprisingly tough to the touch. Strongly reminiscent of steel wool.

    You're just stepping forward and up onto your toes, with Winkle (slightly taller than you) holding the light steady and reaching up to snag the first of the shrooms, when the mat of fungus erupts into motion. Thousands of little black bugs like half-centimeter flightless beetles come pouring out of tiny nests hidden in the fungus, skittering up the uneven surface of the cracked, fungus-covered wall.

    But they're not swarming over you, or anything like that. Maybe they're fleeing your intrusion? They're heading up, swarming around your mushroom patch and disappearing by the hundred into a uncovered air vent gaping open right up by the ceiling. Winkle's overcomes his reflexive disgust to pluck a mushroom from the wall and shake off its passengers. He's talking, too, patois thickening as he takes a brotherly tone:

    "You of'ten collectin' shrooms down 'ere, Kite? Dats no good, seeit? Dis kind a life, right, it'll get a girl kilt ... you got a have a people, right? Why you no fine a crew, settle in wit' 'em?"

    He might've been planning on continuing, possibly segueing into some kind of a proposal, but he's interrupted by a low call from his brother, who's near the edge of the platform flashing his light around uncertainly. He said something incomprehensible to you except in the tension of his tone: "Wink, 'er dat? Kin saiten up?"

    There's something ... a sound. A low groan, drawn out and wavering, like a mournful ghost or some primeval monster stirring into wakefulness. Winkle, at your side, has gone still, regaining the state of nervous tension he was locked into up until you popped out of the dark and scared the shit out of him and Hugo. You think, after a moment, that it's coming from downstream, down the subway tunnel proper, echoing up out of the deeps.

    All the little bugs are gone now, disappeared into the ceiling. Winkle kind of steps up and a little in front of you, like he means to put himself between you and the tunnel's ancient, undisturbed darkness. A slow wind is kicking up, coming from the tunnel ... it's slightly warm, and it smells dark and fragrant.
  • Kite smiles when Winkle delivers his warning about her getting 'kilt' -- a completely private smile, at some completely private joke -- and continues to drop mushrooms into her sack. Maybe if he had gone on, it might eventually have merited a response, but not at the moment, when she is busy concentrating.

    The bugs barely seemed to register, and the same can be said for Hugo's call, and the same can be said for the strange sound. Except of course that is only seeming -- Kite has not lived this long by not paying attention. In fact, most times, she finds it impossible to turn off the battlefield gears in her head; the ones constantly whirring, constantly on the look out -- the listening and watching and expectation of danger. Those gears are working now, even as -- still tippy-toe -- she continues to harvest the mushrooms.

    (I am reading the situation, naturally.)

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • My question is: where's my best escape route?
  • Charmer's trying to read the situation as well, figure out how the hell to avoid detection, maybe get away.

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • Charmer, you need to specify which of the read a sitch questions you're asking - consult the basic moves on p86.

    Kite, your escape route is easy: excuse yourself, and just go climb the escalator. One of these three might slow you down a little, but you really still have all your options open ... Winkle and Hugo are both somewhat under your thumb (Winkle more so), and you don't figure Mimi would try to hold you here. At worst, you'd have to waste some time making sure that Mimi didn't shoot you in the bad light, or shaking off Winkle's advances.
  • Alright, my questions:

    Which is the best way past (Mimi)?
    Which enemy is most vulnerable to me?
    What's my enemy's true position?
  • edited September 2010
    If you really want to get past Mimi, stick with what you know: show yourself to her and seduce her.

    There are other options (like, there should be an elevator shaft around here somewhere, so you could try to find that, get in, and scale it up to friendlier depths), but you know your strengths. The demands of time and stealth would require that you keep your advances brief and gestural, but yeah ... that's your best bet, you creepy man-thing-whatever, you.

    Your enemies are pretty easy to keep track of: Mimi is there above you, on the skeleton of the escalator. Winkle and Hugo are over closer to the platform's edge (Winkle with Kite, Hugo on his own). You can easily track them by their lights. And you're pretty sure there isn't anyone else skulking around down here ... with all the obstacles, it's difficult to sneak around here in the dark. Well, you're doing it, so you suppose that there could be someone else, theoretically, but that's approaching paranoia.

    There is that weird moaning from the tunnels, though. You're not sure what it is, but it's unlikely to be good.

    Mimi's most vulnerable to you, if we assume you're using psychic shit, which I assume is fair. Winkle and Hugo are kind of keeping an eye on one another, though not as closely as they were before Kite broke them up, and their attentions have been seized by the creepy groaning ... Hugo's saying something in dread talk about mutants in the tunnels. Neither of them are paying much attention to the exit right now.

    I wouldn't try to do her violence, though. If that shotgun goes off, you'll be hurting.
  • Still hiding behind the metal of the escalator, glancing up at the dirty light filtering from above, Charmer whispers out to seduce Mimi (with the full knowledge that this will probably not help my sutation with Winkle and Hugo in the long run if they find out, but assuming it's the easiest way out.

    "I know you're not a violent woman. Don't you want to be nice to Charmer?"

    Charmer coughs and Charmer's throat clicks, fingertips drumming lightly against where the rubber handrailing was, now covered in a thick layer of filth

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+3)
  • I think you're right, Charmer - this isn't good for your long term relationship with the brothers. Still, if you don't want to worsen the situation, this is probably still better than trying to ambush them in the dark.

    At least you nailed a 12 (I refer you back to the read a sitch rules ... acting on the answers to your questions nets you a +1 to any appropriate roll), so you don't have to provide 'concrete assurances' here and now. That is, you turn her on to you, but you can get away on a promise of later attention. Also, mark experience on your character sheet - you used one of your highlighted stats.

    You're just loud enough to be heard over the rush of the black river, and you're pretty sure your voice didn't carry over to Hugo, Winkle, and Kite. You're hidden from Mimi, but you can see her from your place in the shadows by the foot of the escalator, and you can see her kind of shiver with conflicting dread and excitement.

    Her lips part as her breathing changes, and she drops the nose of the shotgun, no longer at ready. You want to pass? Go for it. But as you do, and she scrunches aside to let you pick your way up through the escalator's naked wheels, she suddenly reaches out and stops you. She finds your arm in the folds of your cloaks, holds on with a white-knuckled grip, and whispers urgently:

    "I don't ... w-where can I find you, later?"
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