Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Parks and Wrecks - Chapter 3: Three Titans

[This session happened Saturday, November 14, and is a different gaming group than the Shadowrun group.  This group runs using the HERO System (Champions) and only plays once a month.]

Chapter 0 – Dramatis Personae

May 26, 1934, 21:01, Chicago, The Ambassador East Hotel
I’ve eaten dinner and had several stiff drinks.  By the clock on the wall I’ve been awake 15 hours, but I know it’s been longer.  We were in the Schattenkreis base for more than half a day, meaning I’m approaching 24 hours of consciousness, most of it requiring strenuous activity.  As long as the day had been before we returned in the stolen submarine, the 30 minutes that followed felt longer.

The submarine had been barely within the control of the engineer “driving” it.  Shortly after we arrived in Lake Michigan, an enormous explosion happened behind the submarine.  It was fortunate that we were pointed at the shore when we exited the portal – the explosion pushed the submarine to shore instead of rolling it.  Our immediate suspicion was that the explosion was an attack of some sort, but in hindsight it was clearly the gate to the Schattenkreis base collapsing or exploding, possibly both.

With the submarine more or less grounded on the rocky shore adjacent to the World’s Fair, evacuation of the boat was our priority.  We worked as a team to get all the innocent bystanders and rescued scientists safely to shore and then we dispersed to deal with the treat of the Copper Robot as each of us felt we could.  Helen and Simone headed to the Sky Bridge to deal with the Arcturus Star atop the central tower, Bak Mu started treating the injured by the passing of the enormous Copper Robot on the Midway, Kurt headed off to the nearby animal exhibit, possibly to find a mount, and I lost track of Jack.

Riley had not yet marshaled the US Army Robot to fight the Copper Robot.  The Copper Robot was about to step out of the Southern Lagoon on the far side.  I arrived at the near shore of the Lagoon, thinking furiously.  I came up with several options to go after the Copper Robot and quickly discarded most of them as too dangerous, too uncertain, or both.  I settled on attempting to use the Key of Solomon to freeze the Lagoon and hopefully trap the Copper Robot in the Lagoon long enough for Riley to arrive.

I stretched my hands out to the Lagoon and called upon the waters to freeze, trapping the “metal man”.  Not certain what to expect, I was pleased when the water nearest me immediately froze and the effect quickly spread.  I continued chanting my command to the water, focusing my concentration to will the waters to obey me.  To be honest, I’m not entirely certain it was necessary to continue chanting, but I did so.

As rime ice covered the surface of the Lagoon and started to thicken, the temperature of the air started dropping noticeably.  Unfortunately, this took longer than I had and the Copper Robot stepped out of the Lagoon before the entire thing froze solid.  A pillar of ice started rising from the center of the freezing Lagoon.  Intrigued by this, I continued to chant, hoping I was maintaining some semblance of control.  The pillar manifested arms and legs, cold radiating from it in waves.

At some point around here, Riley arrived, piloting the US Army Robot (which he later named “The ‘Merican” – who can fathom engineers and their naming schema).  He started trading blows with the Copper Robot, the Army Robot using a giant spinning blade, the Copper Robot shooting bolts of lightning from the enormous lightning rod attached to its back.  Then the ice being animated and stepped ashore to join the fray.  (I later learned Bak Mu was also involved, but, due to the distance, I could not see him.)

I was slightly distracted at this point as Kurt rode by on the back of an adult grizzly bear.  (I challenge anyone to say they would not have been distracted by such a thing.  I will call them a liar if they are able to do so with a straight face.)  The bear was apparently Jack in a new form and Kurt wanted to know where to go.  I pointed him at the Hall of Religion while attempting to maintain my chant.

I think this is where things started to go awry in relation to my control of the ice being as it started attacking the US Army Robot instead of the Copper Robot.  Its punches did little, but then it started summoning a blizzard around it.  I later learned that this bypassed what defenses the US Army Robot provided Riley.  An alternate theory is that Mr. Parks was in the area and usurped some measure of control from what may have been a djin from me.  We later found some evidence he had been in the area, but his control over djin is very speculative at this point.

Seeing the ice being was not doing what I wanted, I used the Key of Solomon to dispel it and then made my way to the Hall of Religion.  The ice being started slowly dispersing.

I later learned that Simone and Helen had made their way up to the giant, star-shaped light on top of the center tower of the Sky Bridge.  There they found two members of the Schattenkreis protecting the light.  Coincidentally, both Simone and Helen were still wearing the Schattenkreis uniforms stolen from the submarine base (the uniforms were much warmer than the summer dresses they arrived wearing at the Antarctic base).  This allowed Simone and Helen to bluff their way into control of the situation.  When Simone used the controls to shut off the Arcturus Star, the goons attacked anyways (the Star refused to deactivate).  Helen shot out the kneecap of one and shot the other in the shoulder, breaking his collar bone.  She ordered them to sit and they did.  Simone and Helen then took turns shooting at the heavy glass of the Arcturus Star itself until they shattered it.

This, of course, caused it to explode.

Simone and Helen were injured in the blast, but not killed – the two Schattenkreis goons were not so lucky.  The explosion had another effect on the goons – the World’s Fair maintenance uniforms they had been wearing turned into leather armor.  Whatever glamour had changed its appearance had failed.  The ladies decided to leave before actual maintenance workers and/or security guards arrived.

Just as the ladies were destroying the Arcturus Star, Riley was able to sever one of the arms off the Copper Robot.  The robot exploded into a shower of components seconds later.  I’m fairly certain that it was the ladies destroying the Arcturus Star that caused the Copper Robot to fall to pieces, Riley claims it was his actions that did the trick.  I’ve chosen to not press the matter as the ice being I summoned nearly killed both he and Bak Mu from the cold during the three-way fight.

Shortly after this point (I’m uncertain of the timing as I was busy running and not looking at my watch), Kurt, Jack, and I discovered that the sarcophagus lid was missing.  The Hall of religion was empty of spectators due to swarms of bees that had suddenly arrived.  The cold air side-effect of the ice being’s blizzard had driven the bees dormant, so the three of us were able to enter the Hall safely.  There were a lot of bees.

Following traces of the sarcophagus lid being dragged, we discovered a hidden maintenance door in the display room.  We pressed on and ended at the receiving dock for the Hall of Religion, where the tracks disappeared.  We followed the pavement from the receiving dock to the main road of the Fair.  There we looked around for a truck that might carry the stone sarcophagus lid.  We spotted one just down past the Hall of Science.  Grasping at straws, we ran to that truck.  It was damaged by electrical attacks from the Copper Robot that had missed Riley in the Army Robot.

Riley arrived at the truck at the same time as we did, wanting to use it to haul away the remains of the Copper Robot before the authorities arrived to take control of the situation.  The four of us opened the back of the truck, guns drawn.  Inside were just some barrels of heavy water, not the sarcophagus we were looking for.  I was dejected – Parks had gotten away with the sarcophagus and we never got our shot at him.

Riley and I got into the front of the truck to go get the remains of the Copper Robot.  In the front we found two bitter trophies: the coat and cane of G. P. Solomon, a.k.a. Mr. George Parks.  We had been that close.

Someone suggested that the Schattenkreis base had docking facilities for TWO submarines and we had stolen and crashed only ONE of them.  Riley drove the truck to the Fair’s docks as quickly as he could.  Once there we scanned the waters and Kurt was able to spot a periscope just as it submerged below the waters.  Kurt and Riley started arguing about whether to steal a boat or a sea plane to track the submarine.  I ended the argument by stating, “They’ve escaped.  We’ll try again next time.”

Then our entire team focused on assisting with the cleanup of the attack.  Riley was able to stash the Copper Robot’s arm he had cut off at the AEC Pyramid before the actual Army arrived and confiscated everything else.  It turned out that Riley had decked the Army Specialist exhibiting the Army Robot and then woke him up after the fighting was over, congratulating the Specialist on a job well done.  Bak Mu and Kurt started providing medical assistance, setting up the lobby of the AEC Pyramid as a medical triage area.  This tied the company’s name to the relief efforts, which no doubt scored us points with our employers.

After the sun set and the relief efforts were over, the team and Miss Decker secured a private room at The Pump Room for dinner and to compare notes.  Doing so brought the following to light:

  • The armor the Schattenkreis goons had been wearing was elven armor from the court of the Dark Elf King.
  • There were “fleshy bits” in the Copper Robot wreckage – suggestive of brain in a jar control system?
  • Telling the complete story of the robots and the elves to the newer members of the team, I realized that the makers of the giant robots are the Schattenkreis, not the dark Elves.  However, Dark Elf technology/magic involved somehow.  There is now the suggestion that Mr. Parks is working with the Schattenkreis/Dark Elf alliance.
  • Bak Mu pointed out that the submarine base was likely not the only base the Schattenkreis have and many people are missing from the Fair.  Perhaps the Schattenkreis are now kidnapping people for control components for more giant robots.

Miss Decker had several observations and recommendations.

  • Djin legends do not suggest they can control minds, so Helen’s family are more likely being blackmailed/threatened.
  • She suggested we needed to research Mr. Parks before going after him again.
  • She acknowledged that the Company may have some responsibility for the situation and offered to count the team’s activities involving tracking down Mr. Parks to be business related, meaning we were on the payroll and not doing this on our own.  We took her up on it

Tomorrow most of us are heading to New York City to start researching Mr. Parks.  Kurt made noises indicating he will be heading directly to New Mexico to scout out the doings of Solomon Industries and their tower site at Chaco Canyon.

Now to sleep.  It has been a tiring day and there is more work to do tomorrow.

End of Session

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Aftermath and Research [Not Written Yet]

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