Eclipse Phase GM’s Log – 30th May 2012
I decided to employ a weapon against the muggy heat that has been plaguing my games for the last couple of weeks: A desk fan. For a simple solution it was surprisingly effective. I was able to maintain my drive throughout the session and more importantly keep the players going as well. The group’s energy level dropped a bit in the middle of the game and I feared for a few minutes that everything was going to collapse into a soporific stupor Fortunately we were able to recover and move on to a strong end of the Atlantica mission.
We began with a social situation as Harry (in the guise of Carmen Santorini) met and schmoozed with various of Atlantica’s great and good. I enjoyed the change of pace from violent confrontations and had a good time tripping Harry’s player up with some of the questions asked about xenoarchaeology. Harry was being fed information by the team’s infolife hacker but that only went so far when the topic of conversation was too obscure for a mesh search of a few seconds to reveal much about it.
Meanwhile outside the habitat the two lurking Takkos were met by a pair of smart makos and politely asked their intentions via AR security ghost. The events on Victoriana reared their head as the security operative questioned Blaine as to how the habitat was destroyed and whether he harboured any hostile intentions towards Atlantica. Blondie refused the contact but was sufficiently offended by the treatment of Blaine that he began a reputation witch hunt against the security operative.
Blaine meanwhile fended off the attention as best he could. In the end he was told that those with an interest in Atlantica’s security would be watching him, and that he would not have been allowed to bring his courier ship anywhere near the habitat.
Harry mingled his way through the crowd and at last met with Brandt. They conversed politely for a while and Brandt invited him to join a soiree attended by the habitat’s social elite a week hence to discuss the “unique genetic heritage” he was planning to bring to the habitat. Harry accepted and the group allowed Brandt to go his own way, monitoring him as he went.
The fork of Harry that was sleeved in the neo-orca began to have difficulty with his smart sharks about now. They began nudging him and nipping at him to try and force him in a particular direction. Harry sent out a distress call on the tacnet and began swimming towards Blondie and Blaine, relying on his greater strength and speed to let him get past the sharks.
The sharks were swimming with consummate skill however and managed to keep close on his tail, nipping in to deliver coercive bites as they went, doing a fairly significant amount of damage to the orca’s body. Blaine and Blondie meanwhile swam towards him, around ten seconds remaining before they were due to rendezvous.
Then Harry remembered his eelware. As each shark swam in to bite him he delivered a severe shock, stunning one of them completely and partially incapacitating the other. They were still convulsing when Blondie arrived a few seconds later and used momentum to impale the first beast with his monofilament blades. Blaine extended his claws and prepared to impale the second shark eight ways but Blondie beat him to it with another double impaling.
Harry was shaken and injured but not badly hurt. He took himself off to an aquatic morph brokerage for repairs in a healing vat and spent the next four hours recovering from his wounds.
The next morning the group discussed what to do about Brandt, who was swimming in the habitat to survey various parts of it. It was their view that Brandt would infect the higher echelons of society on Atlantica at his meeting the next week, and that the best thing to do would be for them to kill him and obtain his cortical stack for interrogation.
As a distraction Harry began swimming around near Brandt broadcasting his own Mesh ID, which he knew would be recognised by Brandt from Victoriana. The Exsurgent’s immediate response was to send an anonymous mesh call to Harry, which he answered.
Harry resisted the incoming Basilisk Hack and had the presence of mind to shut off the connection before he could succumb to it. While this was going on Jason took the opportunity to fabricate some evidence that an ‘AGI attacker’ was attempting to broadcast a dangerous hack attempt into the habitat’s infrastructures from the same location.
He then appointed an ego-hunter to investigate on a first-come first-served basis and, of course, Blondie got the job. The aim of all of this was to give an air of legitimacy to their actions. Blondie proceeded to sneak up behind Brandt and attack him with his swords.
The unsuspecting exsurgent sustained serious damage from Blondie’s initial attack and then died when Blaine impaled him simultaneously with all eight (cyberclaw-enhanced) limbs. With a swing of his sword Blondie decapitated Brandt and extracted his cortical stack from the stump of his neck before abandoning the grisly trophy. The body was eaten by a shark.
The next part was one of my favourites of the session as we played out the reaction of the autonomists to what had happened. Speculation was rife on the mesh and as evidence was found for various parts of the story there were surges of interest and new theories. Blondie admitted early on that he had killed Brandt but denied having his cortical stack.
It was fun to play the population of the habitat almost as a gestalt NPC, describing the reactions and feedback and letting the group respond in order to spin things the way they wanted to.
Of course they instantiated a copy of Brandt for interrogation and discovered that he had backup egos on Locus (in the darkcasting facility already destroyed by Az-Tec), on Victoriana (destroyed) and at Bandit’s emporium (destroyed off-camera during the session).
They made flat-file copies of Brandt’s ego and sent his cortical stack via safe courier to Locus in a diamond enclosure with a variety of nanotech safety features.
Back on Locus Blondie took the time to decrypt Brandt’s mesh files and extract not one but two Basilisk Hacks codenamed The Psalm of Dagon and The Body of Dagon.
But that’s a story for next time…
Overall I was very pleased with the session. Despite a lull in the middle the players rallied around and managed to complete the Atlantica story with a degree of efficiency that I found a little unusual!
We are continuing to develop a feel for the social networking and sousveillance which are such a cornerstone of the Eclipse Phase setting and I for one really enjoyed the back-and-forth on public mesh forums and reputation networks.
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