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About Sophistemon

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  1. Viva Val Verde (IC)

    @Heritage Gallo's eyes widened slightly at Lynn's touch, then the lids drooped slightly and his smile softened. He looked, with appreciation, at Samuel. "She is something special, my friend." He shifted, reluctantly pulling away from Lynn, to clap his hands together in a practiced, casual way. It wasn't but a moment before a young woman, dressed in a smart little outfit, appeared from around the corner. Gretchen got the feeling she'd been waiting there, standing statue-still in case she was summoned forth. "/You called, mister President?//" she asked. Her voice was like honey, smooth and sweet. Gallo nodded, then motioned towards his female guests. "/These two want to relax a bit before we eat; show them to their rooms and then fetch the bourbon for Presto and I.//" He turned to Samuel and hooked his arm around the magician's shoulders. "Come, my friend!" he boomed. "Let your guests recover from their trip. You and I have years of catching up to do!" Samuel swallowed, laryngeal prominence bobbing, and nodded. "Sure thing," he said, and cast his eyes at Lynn. "We'll meet up later," he promised. "Work up an appetite; nobody throws a party like Gallo." The islander beamed. "Ah, this is true! The fun we used to have was legendary!" @Blarghy "/Papa says they left the island,//" answered the boy, fishing a cigarette from one pocket and holding it lightly between his teeth. He didn't light it, and appeared to have it only to look more grown up. "/He says they went to... ah..." He struggled to find the words, hidden within an old memory. "/The old Communist countries. In Europe. Old USSR places. It's where they'd be comfortable.//" His eyes hardened. "/Papa says we should have hanged them, but Gallo wanted a clean start -- no blood. So he put them all on a boat with the clothes on their backs and he sent them away.//" He smiled. "/Gallo's smarter than my papa. He was hard with them, but fair. They got better than they'd earned. They should have hanged, but Gallo found a better way. Now they're someone else's problem.//"
  2. Lights, Camera, Action! (IC)

    Shondra Brown's eyes well up with tears while her daughter's head shakes from side to side. "We haven't seen her," Gabby states, addressing agent Warne. "We didn't... I mean, we didn't even know this was possible. I knew Jason was working on something for a while, something big and secretive, but when he told me what he was planning I thought it was a joke." While her mother sobbed, Gabriela turned toward Miracle Girl. "I don't know where he is! This is all so crazy -- none of it makes any sense!" She points a long painted fingernail at Dirk Saber, who blinks and looks to one side. "You! You're crazy! You aren't real!" Saber scowled, sniffed with an air of aristocratic derision, then crossed his arms over his chest. "All evidence to the contrary," he rebuts. Shondra wipes her eyes and stifles a whimper. "I haven't seen my son since the beginning," she answers Miracle Girl. "Not since that lunatic in the armor threw us in here... and dragged Jason off somewhere else."
  3. Viva Val Verde (OOC)

    Both Lynn and Gretchen have seen Sam act like this before; it's how he gets when he's too busy planning a conversation inside his head to pay attention to what's going on around him. It gets worse, and more noticeable, when it's a conversation he feels he needs to have but doesn't want to.
  4. [IC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    Upgrade's food stomped down, shaking the earth with its impact, and the sensory array that capped the AMP swiveled to take in Warne. The other agent could almost feel the emotions pouring off the pilot within: worry, anger, indecision. There was a moment's pause, but only one, before duty won out. "Fine," he said. "I'll take care of it. You... check on the civilians. Let them know Stone is all right and on his way back from the base. Let them know I have everything under control." Upgrade turned, then strode with heavy steps toward the prostrate body of the Pangolin. As daintily as possible, the enormous machine reached down and lifted the defeated assailant. Upgrade looked up into the sky, at the horizon and the sea. "Agent Warne," he said. "Do what you can to comfort the girl; she's lost her home on Christmas Eve." And then he activated his thrusters and was gone, like a silver bullet, into the starry, snow-flecked blackness of the night. Once airborne and focused on the flight, it took Ethan a moment to register Pangolin shifting in the AMP's unbreakable grip. When he did, he felt his blood boil. "Stay still!" he barked. "You're under arrest; I'm taking you somewhere you can't hurt anyone." The cyborg hacked a coughing laugh. "You have made improvements to the design," he noted. "I can't imagine... he approves of that..." He drew a ragged breath, pulling air into damaged mechanical lungs. "But you are wrong, Stone; I can still hurt you."
  5. Psichology [IC]

    Samuel Steiner, Presto the Preposterous, took in the desperate attempt to create a barrier between a single enhanced young man and a horde of deranged, plant-infested... things that wanted to kill him. "If this was real," said the magician, "I'd stay to help. But you've already survived this, haven't you? I figure you'll survive it again." He looked at Warne, younger here, with a comparatively unlined face, and frowned. "It isn't fair what happened to you," he mused. "And maybe you're right to hate me in the future." With that, he pivoted on one heel and strode toward the hole, and the ladder that descended into the darkness. Were he anywhere else he would have activated the magic in his suit and simply flown down -- but that was a risky proposition in Warne's mind, hunted as he was by the amorphous black blob of evil that wanted to tear him limb from screaming limb. Instead, he gripped the ladder in both hands and swung himself down. Step by step, he fell into the dark.
  6. Viva Val Verde (IC)

    @Blarghy The boy shook his head, fine hair shifting on his scalp. "/No,//" he said. "/No, Val Verde starts with the monks and the Battle of Red Harbor. But Gallo starts with Perez. Come with me.//" With that, he led the foreign agent to a fountain and stood up on one of the benches to pout at the statuary that adorned it. "/This is Perez,//" he said. The man, carved out of a solid block of granite, had hard features and a fearsome mustache -- but he was smiling. "/Perez took control, and told the people we'd be equal; no rich, no poor, just Val Verdeans working together. Good jobs, good pay -- and weapons from the Soviet Union to keep us save from the capitalists in America.//" His face soured, though whether in support or dissent of that message, Warne couldn't tell. "/But the jobs never came, and the pay never came. My father worked on a plantation, farming sugar. But it wasn't sugar -- it was drugs. My mother...//" He looked at the American and shook his head. "/She did what she had to, to keep us fed. She would come home at night and cry.//" He hopped down off the bench and pointed off, into the distance. Warne did some quick geography and realized he was indicating the Presidential Palace. "/Perez made foreign friends, criminals from America who used our banks to hide their money. Perez and his people got a cut, and we got nothing.//" The boy lowered his arm. "/A few years ago, General Gallo had enough. He'd joined Perez because he believed in the brotherhood Perez was selling. He rallied the people, members of his army... he knew where all the weapons were, he knew who would stand with him and he rounded up everyone who wouldn't and he made them leave. Perez, too. He made them all go away.//" The boy smiled, imagining the look on Perez's mustachioed face as he was forced from the country. "/My father's still a farmer, but he grows tobacco. My mother's a cleaning-lady at one of the hotels. I go to school, sometimes, to use the computers President Gallo bought us with the money he took from Perez's criminal friends.//" Warne's young guide sat on the bench and closed his eyes. "/Things are better now. We have jobs, and money, and food. People come to visit, and they like it here, and they tell their friends and they come.//" He opened his eyes and looked at Warne. "/I want to join the army,//" he said. "/I want to fight for Gallo.//" @Heritage President Gallo stopped, abruptly, and Presto almost barreled into him before catching himself and standing aside. The Val Verdean President turned, slowly, and reached up to run fingers through his beard. "I have embarrassed myself," he said. "I may be an important man, but I am not so removed from normal living that I cannot taste my foot when I shove it in my mouth." He motioned to Gretchen and then to Lynn. "Ladies, forgive me. Val Verde is still... developing, and me with it. Some things you take for granted in America are still strange to us here. But, please; any friend of Presto's can drink as much as she likes of whatever she likes." He spread his arms wide, as though to hug the group. "You are my guests; treat my home as your own. Ask and receive." He looked at Sam, who had turned his head away. "Presto, what's wrong? Have I offended you too?" The magician looked over and shook his head. "No! No, Gallo, everything's fine. Must just be a little jet-lagged... you know how it is; I'm used to flying a different way."
  7. Lights, Camera, Action! (IC)

    Miracle Girl's miraculous eyes reveal the presence of life within the metal containment cell -- and not just one, but two life-signs, huddled in opposite corners. And then, without warning, Sea Devil's trident glows with strange and potentially forbidden energies before the amphibian uses its terrible tines to carve through the shrieking metal and remove a portion of the wall. Rhekgar watched with rapt attention, eyes wide in his face, and Adept can see him run his tongue between his lips and teeth. Clearly, the barbarian wants to get his hands on that trident and the awesome power it contains. Dirk Saber, though, has a more vocal reaction. Swearing in shock, he leaps backwards away from the cell and lands in a combat pose, hands raised and curled into loose fists. "Cor!" he shouts. "Watch it; you could take a man's head off with that thing!" Punchline elbows Adept in the ribs and quirks an eyebrow. "Not a big loss with this crew, though." Inside the cell a woman screams, and when the air in her lungs runs out she screams again, even more loudly, until someone shushes her. Eventually, after a moment or two of hesitation, a bedraggled Gabby Brown peers through the hole and blinks at the crowd of heroes assembled outside her prison. "Hi," she says. "Are you guys the calvar..." she then spots and comprehends the appearance of Rhekgar and Saber, and her mouth drops open. "God, he actually did it. Mom, he actually did it!"
  8. Active Threads for July 2017

    Game Master: Heavy Metal Christmas. (Please allocate points to Upgrade) Lights, Camera, Action! (Please allocate points to Punchline) Viva Val Verde! (Please allocate points to Presto the Preposterous) Presto the Preposterous: Psichology. I'm sorry this is a few days late; I've been busy with grad-school assignments and haven't had much time for the Internet.
  9. [IC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    Adept's telekinetic strike battered the already weary cyborg, straining his crippled defenses to their limit -- but still they held. The mechanized abomination drew a hissing breath, his glowing blades dripped molten condensation into the snow beneath him. "Not enough!" he shrieked, his voice buzzed with static. "Not nearly enough, Americans! I'll have your heads!" He activated his thrusters and, arms outstretched to present the blades, raced towards the hovering AEGIS agent. From the corner of his eye, Warne could see Stone reorient the AMP. Silently, the enormous war-machine raised one arm. The armored plating, spurred on by the internal pilot, because to rearrange itself, sliding back and locking into place as smoothly as you'd please. Once done, they revealed a particularly nasty-looking directed-energy cannon. The beam lanced out, turning the snow in the air to steam, and struck Pangolin in the side just in time to knock him out of the sky. The cyborg hit the ground, hard, and thrashed in the snow before falling quietly, eerily still. Upgrade looked at the prostrated form of the cyborg, then turned his sensory array towards Warne. "Hit him again," he said. And then, after a pause. "Where are my girls?"
  10. [OOC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    Okay, Upgrade's hit took Pangolin down to meager +6 Toughness score, but a round has passed so that improves to an equally pathetic +7. Pangolin DC25 Toughness Save: 1d20+7 13. Okay, normally Pangolin would be Staggered and Stunned, but I'm going to use a GM fiat to re-roll. Blarghy, you gain a Hero Point. DC25 Toughness Save (re-roll): 1d20+7 16. Okay, he rolled a 9 so we add 10, that's a 19+7 for a total of 26. Once again, Pangolin soldiers through taking any damage. Upgrade DC17 Attack Roll (penetrating blast): 1d20+10 27. That's a definite hit, blasting way past Pangolin's meager defenses. He depends on tanking damage, not avoiding it -- and when that armor's gone... Pangolin DC25 Toughness Save: 1d20+7 9. Well, when that armor's gone, something like this happens. That's a failure of 16; Pangolin is down for the count.
  11. Psichology [IC]

    Sam watched with increasing unease as the events unfolded. He wished he could turn it off, like a movie, and focus on something else. But this was real, or it had been, and there was no blocking it out. This younger Warne showed compassion and horror as his friend was consumed by whatever bizarre curse had afflicted him. Would the Warne of Presto's time feel the same way about anyone, or anything? Even the man Becker had mentioned, the one piloting the enormous chrome robot -- would Warne react in a similar way to see that man's mind erased, replaced by hate and hunger? Or would it be another day on the job for someone whose soul had been ground down to a bitter lump like a tooth worn to the gum? Regardless, it was time to go, to move on. Inward and downward, away from the seething black mass of Id that roiled like a living madness. Presto spared one more glance at the scene of carnage, shook his head, and made his way back down the hallway in pursuit of Warne.
  12. Viva Val Verde (IC)

    @Heritage "Not to worry!" crowed Gallo. "Val Verde, she makes even the most insular soul open up. You will love this place as I do, I all but guarantee it." He grinned, white teeth behind a black beard, and motioned the group further inward. "Come, now, we eat. I will have coffee made -- hot and fresh for the two ladies -- and I will pour some bourbon for we two men, Presto." The magician nodded. "That sounds good," he said, and then looked at his friends. His mood sank a bit, when he saw they were doing that thing they did. He could only tell because he knew what to look for, and even then it was a crap-shoot. What was the matter? What were they thinking, that they couldn't say aloud? We had a cover story, his memory intoned. And you blew it. Oh. Sam bit his bottom lip and smiled wanly at his compatriots. @Blarghy The boy's eyes widened when he saw the twenty, and Warne could swear he saw the tip of a tongue dart out to lick the top-lip. This was money. This was real money! The boy snatched the bill from Warne's fingers, as though he were afraid he'd change his mind, and nodded his head so that the hair became discheveled. "/Yes!//" he said, desperate to please. "/I come here almost every day; I've seen all the exhibits. What do you want to know?//"
  13. [IC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    Pangolin braced himself, waiting for the telekinetic blast, but it didn't come. Instead he heard something beyond the howling winds of the artificial blizzard. Tearing wood and shearing metal, the displacement of wind as something large was put into motion. The cyborg growled, deep in his throat, and shifted his head to look about himself. "Warne?" he hissed. "Agent, what are you planning?" Then a shadow broke through the whirling wind barrier, and the Pangolin felt an icicle of trepidation stab into what remained of his belly. "No," he uttered, before the house came down. He activated his thrusters but barely managed to fly a few feet to the left before the prefabricated building struck him just off-center. Then, there was darkness, sound and pressure as the home crushed him beneath itself. He was pushed with incredible weight into the snow, and then into the ground beneath the snow. He felt something rupture within his abdomen, some biomechanical organ now ruined and leaking fluids. He howled, then broke through the floor and found himself half-buried in the Stone's living room, a toppled Christmas Tree rolling towards the opposite corner. Then, the roof caved in. Warne floated there, mildly impressed by the damage he'd caused. The Pangolin was only just barely visible in the ruins of what had been the Stone family home; his bronze armor was covered with dusty snow, and he thrashed in the wreckage like a man attempting to swim through ruined masonry and shattered lumber. Then, Warne hears it. Like a small plan displacing the air, Upgrade is on his way. The X-09 appears on the horizon, and Warne squints his eyes in its direction. It hits him in a moment: the patriotic paint is missing and there are subtle differences in the AMP's shape. A new model? In a moment, it's too late to tell. The AMP speeds by at a velocity that has Warne steadying himself in midair, then bursts through the maelstrom. Adept let the psionic blizzard drop just in time to see the war machine march through the snow, sensory array swiveling this way and that to take in the extent of the damage. Ethan's home is gone. His wife and child are safe; he saw the foundation and the intact basement, but his home is gone. That's a sobering thought on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, he has a means of alleviating his enormous frustration. "There you are," said Upgrade, spotting the struggling Pangolin. Metal feet stomped through the wreckage of what had once been a home. "You have a lot of explaining to do." Upgrade raised a massive metal hand, curled the fingers, and prepared to strike. "But I don't want to hear it." The fist swung in a rising arc, and its impact knocked Pangolin off of his feet, into the air, and out of the rubble. Trailed by shards of shattered armor and the crumpled remnants of the house, the cyborg soared backwards a dozen feet or more before landing, with a heavy thud, on the snowy ground. "Merry Fistmas." The attempted assassin staggered to his feet and looked down, with placid interest, at the damage that has been done to his chest. Upgrade's blow had cracked the plating of his armor and black fluid leaked from the crack with worrying volume. The cyborg twitched, then hissed. "Not enough. Not enough, Stone! Not enough, Warne! I am still alive! The Pangolin is still alive! And you will die here, in the snow, while your women weep!" The burning blades once more unleashed themselves from his forearms, and he crossed them in an X in front of himself. "Come! Face death!" His voice is cracking, buzzed with static. He's talking tough, but it's clear he's the worse for wear.
  14. [OOC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    Due to this being a surprise attack Upgrade hits Pangolin automatically when you factor in the cyborg's various penalties. Pangolin is already operating at a -1 to Toughness due to his bruise and Corrosion might also make him more vulnerable to damage. We'll see how that plays out below. Now, Corrosion is a linked Drain Toughness/Damage effect, so for Upgrade the DCs are 20 and 25, respectively. Pangolin DC20 Fortitude Save: 1d20+6 11. Ouch. That results in a -10 penalty to Pangolin's toughness, restored at +1 per round. DC25 Toughness Save: 1d20+6 26. That's just unbelievable. So he's fragile as an egg, but doesn't actually take any damage. We're now in the first of our actual combat rounds, so please roll Initiative. Pangolin's Initiative Check: 1d20+10 12. Upgrade's Initiative Check: 1d20+10 22. There's more proof that, despite his bravado, Pangolin is... doing pretty poorly inside. In two hits we've done some major damage.
  15. [OOC] A Heavy Metal Christmas

    The How the Grinch Stole Christmas reference nets you a Hero Point. I concur that this should be an Area of Effect attack, but you're right; with the storm going Pangolin wouldn't see it coming. I'm going to split the difference and give you a +5 on your DC, bumping it up to DC30; let's call it Lethal Damage, too. As we're now officially in combat, I'm going to start posting my rolls publicly. With that in mind, let's see how you did. Pangolin DC30 Toughness Save: 1d20+17 24. So, this is interesting. He's failed by 6 so he is bruised, injured, and stunned for one round. The injury we'll call internal damage; the impact of the pre-fab has ruptured something inside Pangolin's biomechanical body. It's his being stunned that had some ramifications. Because he's stunned he both loses his chance for a retaliatory attack against Warne and he's vulnerable to being the subject of a surprise attack. This means he loses his Dodge Bonus and suffers an additional -2 penalty to Defense. Nice job.