Seattle Side Mission 06: Heart of Darkness – Part 3

Written by: Marius           Played on: 02 Nov 2012
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NEXT: Side Mission 06 – Heart of Darkness – Part 4

Marius continues “We meet up with Edgar Riggs, our contact, the conversation went like this:

“I trust you saw the grizzly scene at the station?” I nod “I was trapped here by the alchera, along with the 173rd and the Colonel. They arrived with good intentions, but as soon as the alchera fell, he declared martial law. Not all of his men agreed, you saw what happened. Since then, he has adopted ‘necessary measures’ to maintain order. Me and some of my co-workers have been working to unseat the military. We have been fighting since the beginning.”

“We heard of a cease fire,” the SPC asked.

“He was referencing a radio broadcast we heard earlier,” Marius added to the table.

“It did not last. I told them the military would never honor the cease fire and they did not.” Riggs answered.

“Where is the Colonel now?” I asked

“We have no idea. We interrogated his men and we have no clue. Unfortunately he has eluded us so far.”

“If we could give you access to communications would you be able to backtrack them?” the specialist asks.

“No, our only hope is to find his radio man, the ridiculous news man who is polluting the airwaves as the Colonels biggest fan,” he continued. “He has set up a broadcasts station here. But first we need to do one thing that will destabilize their hold. I have been working on a plan to attack them at their most valuable resource. The only operating power plant left. If we can shut it down, we can shut them down. It has given them an unreasonable advantage. It would drum up a lot more support from the civilian population.”

“We agree on the condition we are allowed to take the Colonel back to the UCAS to stand trial. Mr. Riggs is ok with this, but warns me that if the civilians see him, they will kill him and perhaps us to get to him.”

“Did you ever find out what started the fighting”? John asked.

“No,” Marius stated “But based on the starvation, and the lack of outside connection I think a lot of it had to do with the fight over limited resources. And of course people do not like to be ruled by a tyrant, not that our current mega-corp plutocracy is much different.” Marius gets a pissed off look on his face. He takes another sip of his beer.

“So we follow Edgar Riggs to the power plant, to unseat the 173rd from power. Along the way he tells me, just me, that he knows I work for EVO corp and that he knew I would be coming to town. I did not really know what to make of it and the others walked back over, so he dropped it quickly.

I intended to allude that Riggs and his men had also entered the alchera after it set on Volograd and that he had received communications regarding Marius’ imminent arrival and Riggs’ awareness of Marius’ mission.  How or why could have been pursued by Marius at that point. I did a pretty poor job of alluding to that message, however.

After many hours, we reach the power plant. It is built half into the Volga River; signs that read ‘Volzhskaya Nuclear Plant’ can be seen in the distance. We go in the back, Riggs has some of his men create a diversion and we take out two guards by the back door. We open the back door and have to contend with another guard, he unloads a shotgun into my chest at point blank range. The crazy armor they gave me stopped it cold. Speaking of, John, remind me later I might have some business for you if you can score me some of this armor.”

John nods, “Sure thing. Remember, for every 10,000¥ you spend you get a free beer!”

“Always closing, this one,” Bear says pointing a thumb at John and then downing the rest of his beer.

“We make it to the control room and Riggs sets about disabling the power plant. We hold the room against all invaders. We have about six down, when the sabotage is finished. We flee. The sounds of more troops pursue us. I drop a gas grenade to slow their chase. As we hit the platform there are four soldiers. We are all equally shocked, but they get the drop. Shots ring out. I avoid the fire, Chilling takes a few glancing rounds, nothing too bad. More gunfire is exchanged. I drop another one. Riggs fires his revolver, missing. He curses loudly. I turn and see a mana storm bearing down on us. We grab Nightingale, who is passed out from sustained injuries, and head for the fences. I shoot at the guard that is still standing. Two rounds empty the magazine, and the guard falls dead from two head wounds.” Marius eats the last chicken wing.

“A dull rumble shakes the ground. The top of the building blows outwards. A chain reaction of detonations take place. The facility explodes. We are thrown from the platform. I could not believe it, that crazy motherfucker blew up a nuclear facility. The weird thing was, it did not seem that strange at the time. About that time I get another communication from the Colonel.”

“You have brought this destruction Captain. I thought I was here to save these people form the storm, but no, I am here to save them from you.”

“We awake in a river. Chilling and I manage to get the 1LT to shore, we see Riggs on the ground nearby. We make our way over to him. Nightingale has no rifle on her shoulder any longer. Riggs coughs as I roll him onto his back. A large chunk of debris sticks out form his chest. I can see that there is nothing I can do for him. Riggs tells us that the radiation will be trapped by the Alchara. It will kill the Colonel and everyone else. Within a few days everyone will be sick. By the weeks end, all inside the city will be dead. ‘See you in hell kid,’ he says, as he shoots himself.”

“Fuck,” John says. “What a maniac.”

“Yeah, that’s the funny thing. Both Chilling and I did not think anything of it at the time. It seemed normal. I think that alchera was fucking with our minds in some way. Magic is fucked.”

It did seem strange that the players weren’t more upset about this. I’m still not sure if I just did a poor job of informing them that Riggs had intentionally screwed them over or if they were just so tired at this point that they were misunderstanding what they were hearing. The run as a whole ended up going on very long and late. Fortunately for me, my players were all in for a long run and stuck it out well into the night. The unintended side effect was that they were getting tired just as their characters were getting sleep deprived and hungry as well.

Either way, they took the fact that Riggs had blown up a nuclear facility instead of deactivating it and his “Ha, I killed everyone, mwhahahaha!” speech to mean he was one of the good guys… for some reason.

“Amen, sir.” John says, finishing his beer.

“With radiation pouring down over the city, we head for the ‘radio man’. North through town toward the main hotel. Civvies pour out into the streets to see the commotion. The DJ comes on and blames us for the destruction of the power plant. A few civilians cast us mean glances but otherwise don’t give us trouble. We continue toward the hotel. On the twentieth floor there is a single doorway to the penthouse suite. The posh suite has been converted to a hipster bachelor pad. Bean bag chairs are around, ‘eclectic art’ is present as well. The next room has been converted to a broadcast booth. The far side has a speaker and the DJ is in front of it, dancing around. He has unkempt long hair and a scruffy beard. DJ Charles Marlow gets tackled hard by Chill. The DJ asks him to chill. His pothead ravings go on for a while, saying not a lot.

“He is at his home base. The tower where it all started. The EVO tower is the base of operations for the Colonel. The EVO guys started all of this, man. Who the fuck do you think you are, man? The Colonel is saving peoples lives, man. He saved all of us. Would it have been better for him to have left us all to die?”

We ask how to get there. He explains it to us. His directions are useless. I ask him about his equipment. He shows it off, showing me the mic. I make a broadcast calling out the Colonel and asking all citizens to flee. From downtown we see a line of about 8 troop carriers headed our way while a chopper lands on the roof. We ahead up. We kill three troops from the chopper, then we board it. Two mounted machine guns provide armament.”

“Yeah, those troops are in for some serious drek now, eh?” John asks excitedly.

Marius shakes his head, “Nothing ever goes like it ought too; several choppers provide chase. We take a few out before a mana storm downs us. Chilling did a great job keeping us alive behind the stick. I wake up in a smoke filled street, a call is already connected to the Colonel.

“When you arrived Marius, there were 8405 people alive. How many are alive now? How many will be alive by the end of the week? You’ve killed so many. How many lives have you ever saved? I know you didn’t want this. You wanted to save lives. You wanted to be the hero. Now, you have failed, just as I have failed.”

We find Nightingale a few blocks away, the civilians have strung her up from a street lamp. I shoot the rope and her lifeless body falls. Chilling runs in and grabs her. The crowd turns on us, we start firing automatic weapons into the air and I knock two out with my dart pistol. They finally disperse, but there is nothing I can do.”

Nightingale’s player had to take off around this point, so she exercised her Narrative Sacrifice ability to defend them against the attacking choppers and bring them through safely. The circumstances of the player’s demise after their actions was in my hands. In some cases, like SGT Ryder’s, their deaths were immediate and involved in the action they were taken. In others, such as 1LT Nightingale’s, they were effectively “dead men walking” to be killed when it was most appropriate to the narrative.

PREVIOUS: Side Mission 06 – Heart of Darkness – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 06 – Heart of Darkness – Part 4

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