Kintsugi Plays Fallen Hero: Retribution (50 First Therapy Appointments)

Discussion in 'It's Galley's Turn' started by keltena, Jun 28, 2023.

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  1. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    Lucky for you, Doctor, the perfect person for the job is ≤2 degrees of separation from you!

    > "Have someone else do it for you." And I know just the one.

    "Have someone else do it for you," you suggest, popping a peanut into your mouth. It's not like you hadn't already planned to go there.

    "You mean hire help?" Dr. Mortum rubs her chin thoughtfully.

    "Exactly," you say with a relaxed shrug, leaning back in your chair. "Then you don't have to stick your neck out."

    "So, my dear liaison." Leaning her elbows on the table, she fixes her eyes on you, smiling thinly. "Who would you suggest for a risky job like this?"

    "I know my boss has bigger fish to fry," you make sure to add a certain amount of hesitation, "but I'm sure they won't mind helping out their favorite scientist."

    "If you say so." She does not look convinced.

    "And I know," you stress the word, "that they love a challenge."

    "Which this will be. With all the risks."

    "I know. The big question is whether you're comfortable with working together."

    "You mean after what happened at the gala?" The smile is lost, her frown deepening with memories as she looks away.

    "Yes." It's a small, quiet word.

    "You told me what they were planning, even if it didn't exactly go the way I envisioned it." A pause and a sigh. "Do you think we can trust them to get the job done?"

     ‣ "I think their greed will be a good motivator."
     ‣ "I guarantee it, personally."
     ‣ "Hopefully, but they are a little crazy."
     ‣ "I won't make the same mistake again, I'll make sure."

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 31% / Anonymity: 69%
    ██████▒█████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  2. KarrinBlue

    KarrinBlue Magical Girl Intern

    We have the Barbie Gurantee!
     
  3. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    Barbie personally guarantees that the completely separate person she works for is trustworthy!

    > "I guarantee it, personally."

    "I guarantee it, personally." You place your hand over your heart, meeting Dr. Mortum's gaze head-on.

    "I trust you, mon amie," she keeps looking into your eyes as if she could find the truth there. "Please don't disappoint me."

    "I won't." You make sure to project as much confidence as you can, but all it does is make her frown.

    "You sound more certain than makes me comfortable," she admits.

    "Would you rather I be nervous?" Your laugh is bright but does little to dispel her sudden gloom.

    "Yes." The word is sharp and final. "I don't trust your boss. I don't trust you to be safe around them."

    "And here I thought you were worried about the gun." You do your best to tease her, and the frown slowly melts into concern.

    "The gun is nostalgia and important scientific research, but—"

    "Don't," you interrupt, before she says something you're not ready to hear.

    "Then promise me not to take any undue risks."

    "I can handle myself."

    "I certainly hope so." She raises her glass in a toast, smiling broadly. You answer the smile this time, clinking your glasses together. This is going to get interesting.

    > Time To Start Planning

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 31% / Anonymity: 69%
    ██████▒█████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters

    And with that settled, we'll put a lid on Chapter 18.

    Next time: The big day. Everyone ready for a heist? :D
     
    • Winner x 1
  4. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    Los Diablos. Nine months since Anathema's debut.

    The day of the auction….


    You've done your best to prepare for what is to come, but you can't help wondering if you've done enough. You're spitting in the face of Hollow Ground by taking down one of their biggest earners, the Boulevard Casino. As targets go, this is your biggest yet.

    No. This isn't the time to doubt yourself. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to step up to the biggest bully in town and punch them in the face. It's not just about the money; if you needed cash, there are easier ways to get that.

    No, this is about your reputation, about establishing yourself as a force to be reckoned with. As it is, you could bribe people to pay lip service to your name, but you couldn't buy their loyalty. The people in your crew are the ones you've deemed trustworthy enough to let close, and if you want to grow your organization, you need to get the kind of reputation that would ensure their loyalty.

    Right now, you're a small fish in a big pond, and there's not much room to grow with a whale eating everything in sight.

    Hollow Ground needs to be dealt with one way or the other.

    You're not sure how to play it yet; it's hard to make plans when you haven't even seen the elusive kingpin. Could you be temporary allies, or will there be war? You need to get enough respect before you can think about reaching out; you have no intention of working for anybody. Equal footing.

    This will be a nice calling card. Nice as in "don't mess with me." You asked Pelayo a week or so ago what the most expensive item in the auction was that you could liberate. After a bit of research, he came back with an interesting item that would be the cherry on top if you got it. Not only to spite Hollow Ground but also because it might have a real use to you. There is a particular piece of medical equipment up for sale. Black technology. The ability to regenerate flesh, though it is an unfinished prototype. You've taken to calling it "the regenerator," and if it works as advertised, maybe that would be a way to get rid of your tattoos. Maybe. You have time to think about the possibilities once you steal it.

    Procuring Dr. Mortum's gun for a few favors is a nice bonus.

    Theoretically, nothing should go wrong, but you have always made a habit of planning for the worst.

    That's why you are still alive.

    > It Won't Be Easy
    The Boulevard Casino is as close to fortified as you get for a semipublic space. Any ability to read the minds or emotions of others would make most games of skill and chance a moot point. And, unlike Joes, where they opted for the high-tech solution of making the game itself unable to be influenced, this is a higher class of people. They want the history. They want the flair and the satisfaction that a game of cards can provide.

    Here it's not about money; they are already rich. It is about proving themselves and their ability to read people, to be smarter, and more skilled than the rest. All of this would be compromised with telepaths present, so you know the dampeners will be state of the art, as will the jammers. No hidden transmissions. Once you pass the threshold, you enter a technologically dead zone, at least when it comes to communications.

    A level playing field for everyone, back to the time before radio implants and subsonic transmitters existed.

    At least that's the illusion they are trying to sell.

    So, you need to be prepared, as your ability to react to any unforeseen developments will be limited.

    There were a few paths you considered.

    You won't have the money to be a buyer at the auction, but it is held adjacent to the downstairs casino, where the people reluctant to remove their masks go to have fun. You would certainly fit among that clientele; the sums required to gamble and drink the night away were a lot easier to acquire. All you need to do is to get through the door.

    The discreet way is to break into the casino during the auction when everyone is distracted. Nobody will be expecting that, and you have the plans, so you know where the objects up for bidding are stored. A surgical insertion, grab what you want, and then get out of there. That would ensure that you get your hands on the regenerator, which is your most important goal. It will make less of a statement to Hollow Ground, but you suppose being robbed brings its own kind of shame.

    The most straightforward one is an open attack on the auction from the outside, causing as much mayhem as you can in the process. That's the way to make a statement. You've got some nice weaponry stockpiled for occasions like this, you haven't played around with military hardware before, but maybe it's time you do.

     ‣ I will infiltrate the auction as Anathema.
     ‣ I will break in before the auction begins.
     ‣ I will quietly break in during the auction.
     ‣ I will attack the casino; mayhem is the name of the game.

    The stage is finally set for Anathema's big heist. We know what we're stealing, where, when, why, and from whom. Which leaves one key question: How will we pull it off?

    Will Anathema gain access to the casino by walking right through the front door, as a guest? Break in during the auction and steal the items right out from under their nose? (Getting in and out before it even
    starts isn't an option for us; that's more cat burglar than mob boss, I guess.) Crash the auction by launching a full-on attack on the casino?

    Don't worry yet about the finer details of
    how we'll do each of these things; we'll work the rest out as it comes up. Right now we're just deciding our overall approach.

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 31% / Anonymity: 69%
    ██████▒█████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2024
  5. Loq

    Loq rotating like a rotisserie chicknen

    given HG is sort of the underground definition of "big guns" and the place is explicitly compared to a fortress, I am very wary of a direct attack, especially since we'll be kneecapped by the dampeners. Either of the first two will probably be less likely to get us killed.
     
    • Agree x 1
  6. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    I feel more like breaking in during it. Because like, going as a guest, as Anathema, and then attacking? That feels like a "lol I don't take the implied truce of guest matters, and I won't respect future partnerships either" move. Not quite what the narration seems to be going for
     
    • Agree x 2
  7. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    Once again: We're a villain, not an asshole. Or suicidal enough to attack Hollow Ground head-on.

    > I will quietly break in during the auction.

    No need to complicate what should essentially be a simple heist. Go in, get what you want, then get out before the shit hits the fan.

    Sounds like a plan.

    You're satisfied with the plan you've formulated, but it pays to stack the deck when going gambling. Especially when you are sure the house will cheat if given the opportunity. Getting in will always be easier than getting out, especially with something as bulky as the regenerator. You've arranged for the dampeners to encounter a mishap when the time is right, but you need to make sure everything goes smoothly until then.

    You have uploaded the building plans to your suit, but some things are easier to spot in the flesh. You debated long and hard whether it was worth the risk to scout the location in person, and in the end, you decided to…

     ‣ Scan the minds of key employees.
     ‣ Send in one of my crew to scout around.
     ‣ Go for a visit as Barbara to get the lay of the land.
     ‣ Be cautious. I'd rather go in blind than risk tipping them off.

    How much intel are we going in with?

    We do have a crew for occasions like this—one of them could have visited the casino, undercover as a customer, to scope the place out properly. That crew member could even be Barbie, if we felt it was more important to see the place firsthand. We could also have taken time to identify some of the casino staff and pick their brains; as long as no one noticed the telepathic intrusion, they'd be none the wiser.

    Or we could have erred on the cautious side and kept our nose out of the casino's business until today. We'd be less prepared for the heist, but hopefully, so would they.

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 31% / Anonymity: 69%
    ██████▒█████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  8. KarrinBlue

    KarrinBlue Magical Girl Intern

    Let's scan some minions! They probably know all the back doors and traps, or at least some of them, and it seems pretty unlikely to me that the table dealers or grunt security or waitresses will have strong telepathic defenses.
     
    • Agree x 1
  9. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    The weakest link in any security system is the people.

    > Scan the minds of key employees.

    You spent a week quietly keeping track of the staff as they came and went. You couldn't get too close due to the dampeners, but people have to go home eventually. It was a dreary, thankless task, but you're used to those. In the end, you were left with a slew of useful information and a few minds susceptible to subconscious suggestions.

    It never hurts to have an ace in the hole.

    > So Here You Are

    The wind tears at your cape, so you hunch down at the edge of the roof to avoid attention. The buildings in this neighborhood are not as tall as the ones downtown but still tall enough that you should be obscured. Definitely tall enough to make the wind an issue.

    You have a perfect view from up here; the Boulevard Casino shines like a beacon in the murky Los Diablos evening. Bedecked in lights, the ornate facade alludes to a brighter, simpler age. An age before the Big One, before the broken coastline, before the ruined lives. Back when things like boosts or mods were figments of people's imagination rather than twisted reality.

    Perhaps you should admire the classic lines of the building, flying in the face of the current quakeproof fashion with its brick facade and vintage roof tiles, but all you see is the hubris that has gone into rebuilding it. That and the schematics overlaying your vision, revealing the hidden truth beneath the surface.

    The apparent age of the building is a lie. Beneath faux brick and old-fashioned windows lies a state-of-the-art structure. A sturdy frame, shock-insulated foundations, and an advanced security system on par with the biggest banks and corporations. This place is built by villains, catering to them, so of course, they would leave nothing to chance.

    Neither do you.

    The question is, will you go in quietly and shut down enough of the security system so you can function, especially the telepathic dampeners? That way, it might take some time before they spot something is wrong.

    Or will you make sure nothing can go wrong and take down the entire security system, power, and all? It won't be quiet, but there will be chaos, and you operate better in darkness than most.

     ‣ Quietly, I want to sneak in.
     ‣ Take down everything, just to be sure.

    When we say "break in", how much "breaking" are we talking? The subtle approach here would be to slip in, disable a few key systems like the dampeners, and slip right back out with the goods; with luck, we'd be gone before they even realized. The blunter but less delicate option is to take out the whole security system first, then make our play while they're defenseless and overwhelmed by the chaos.

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 31% / Anonymity: 69%
    ██████▒█████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  10. chaoticArbiter

    chaoticArbiter an actual shiny eevee (destroyer of worlds)

    I kinda feel like "quietly, I want to sneak in" fits better?
     
    • Agree x 2
  11. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    When have we ever not favored the subtle approach?

    > Quietly, I want to sneak in.

    You are trying to do this smoothly, so you might as well attempt to avoid discovery for as long as you can. Your powers work better when people are not on guard, and this way, there will be plenty of ways for you to use your telepathic gifts without having to reveal yourself.

    Let's get this done cleanly.

    The security system…

    That was always your biggest hurdle, wasn't it? Without the dampeners and technological gadgets, it's just another building. With your powers, you have no doubts you can take down anything that gets in your way.

    But, it needs to go down before you can make your move.

     ‣ My henchmen will take out the security system.
     ‣ A brainwashed security guard will turn it off.
     ‣ A bomb will go off and cut the power to the entire block.
     ‣ I will blow up the security hub with a missile launcher.

    The first, and arguably most important, step of our plan: taking out the dampeners. What kind of sabotage have we arranged?

    (Josie is preemptively vetoing explosions—there
    are limits to how liberal their definition of "subtle" can get.)

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 28% / Anonymity: 72% (+3)
    █████▒██████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  12. Loq

    Loq rotating like a rotisserie chicknen

    >we have minions for a reason
     
    • Agree x 1
  13. KarrinBlue

    KarrinBlue Magical Girl Intern

    See, I kinda want to use a brainwashed security guard, so our minions are in reserve if something else happens.
     
  14. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    Are our minions getting antsy and bored? I am cautious of mind control here since how do we make it look like an accident / sabotage for profit on the guard responsible's part, but I do want to give the minions regular enrichment....
     
  15. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    We weren't sure whether to entrust our henchmen with this job or keep them on standby, but in the end we decided that…

    > My henchmen will take out the security system.

    There are many reasons why you assembled a team, but this is one of them. Now you don't have to do everything yourself, you can rely on others for a change. You smile as you think back to last night, in your base, the voices making the place come alive. Almost like home, almost like family, the team planning the last details.

    :smithhappy:

    Last night…

    "Are you sure about this, boss?" Nehal is sitting on the table, swinging her legs. "It looked pretty foolproof."

    "Lucky we're not fools then," ZaZa says with a laugh. Nobody else is laughing, as usual.

    "Been through worse," Rosie says with a shrug. "The plan is good, right?"

    "Not disagreeing with that." Pelayo looks down at the drawings spread out on the table, pulling on one of the maps. Nehal shifts obligingly.

    "You got that look," Ward says with a groan. "You knew we were going up against them eventually."

    "Too late for cold feet," you say, pleased to feel their minds snap back into focus as soon as you speak. You're pleased to see the effect the armor has on them still. You could have done this as Barbara, but you wanted to make the right impression.

    And have access to your telepathy…

    "Not cold feet exactly…" Pelayo frowns as he touches the map. "We can go in and take out the security system, sure. The plan is sound, but…it's the exit that's the issue."

    "I'll be ready, don't you worry," Nehal says. "The minute you're out, we're gone."

    "So this is it then, boss?" ZaZa looks both excited and slightly nauseated. "We're finally doing this?"

    "We are," you say, straightening your back. "Once the system is down, no heroics. I want you out of there in one piece."

    This is too important to mess up.


    Now the clock is ticking, time to get going before someone notices something is wrong.

    You've made sure to pick your entrance carefully.

     ‣ Where else? The front door.
     ‣ Make a hole in the casino roof with the nanovores.
     ‣ I'll use the staff entrance.

    Pick a door, any door. Or make one.

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 28% / Anonymity: 72%
    █████▒██████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  16. Loq

    Loq rotating like a rotisserie chicknen

    staff entrance seems sneakiest.
     
    • Agree x 2
  17. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    After the trouble we went to getting to know the staff, we should take advantage of the perks!

    > I'll use the staff entrance.

    With the dampeners down, the staff entrance is the way to go. With your powers at their peak, you should have no problem sneaking inside. There might be cameras there to spot you, but you have to trust your luck that they are not watched all the time.

    Dropping over the side of the building, you fire up your jump-jets once to break your fall, landing in the shady alley you had picked when you scouted the area. From here, it's a short walk to the side door. Without the weight of the dampeners, there's a new spring in your step.

    Taking a deep breath, you wrap your habitual don't look at me aura around you like a cloak and quickly make your way down the alley. You instruct the Rat King to keep an eye out for any reaction to your presence, just in case someone slips past your powers.

    Destroying the door might raise the alarm. So instead, you wait until someone walks past on the inside, then you reach out to wrap them in your mental grasp. After that, it's easy enough to make them unlock the door to let you in.

    It's fascinating the way your powers grow with use. Or maybe it's simply that you work better and better with the Rat King. You can let them handle perceptions and shields while you focus on the task at hand. Being a part of a team makes everything easier.

    ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ …(づ。◕‿◕。)づ… The Rat King picks up on your thoughts and curls up around your mind, as the staff puppet you control locks the door behind you.

     ‣ I will make a detour to neutralize the camera crew telepathically.
     ‣ I go slow and try to neutralize the cameras.
     ‣ Downstairs, fast, I'm less out of place there.

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 28% / Anonymity: 72%
    █████▒██████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  18. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    We're not putting on a show yet, let's neutralize those cameras
     
    • Agree x 2
  19. keltena

    keltena putting the fun in executive dysfunction

    > I go slow and try to neutralize the cameras.

    Downstairs is the safest place to be. There you are nothing but another armored villain on the cameras, far less noticeable. You can hide from people, but cameras are a different matter. If you approach them from the right angle, you can urge the nanovores to take a bite, but you need to be careful and thorough. Keeping an eye on the ceiling, you try to predict the angles the cameras cover.

    Keeping an eye out, you disarm the cameras in your path, making sure the nanovores do minimum damage before you move beneath them. Camera by camera, you make your way to the staff areas of the building, where the cameras won't be as plentiful. Your nanovores make for good lock picks as well.

    Fast and smooth.

    > The Uninvited Guest Arrives

    With the dampeners down, the casino lights up with minds, milling around like fluorescent ants. You assign the Rat King to keep an eye on them, ensuring that none of them will cross your path.

    You need to act fast before you are spotted. You can turn minds, but cameras are a different thing.

    Calling up the floor plan on your HUD, you follow the corridor until it connects to the main parts of the casino. Pausing for a brief moment, you reach and run your mental fingers over the people on the other side.

    Staff. Gamblers…you brush their minds gently, like clearing dust off an old shelf, and look, there you have it. The information you need.

    How to get down into the bowels of the casino. There's an elevator going there, not far from where you stand.

    Good. Once you're down, you'll be safer.

    Pulling your don't look aura even tighter around yourself, you step out into the casino and walk over toward the elevator. Neither of the guards looks in your direction, but as you reach out to push the button to open the doors, their heads turn.

    Fuck.

    But they don't see you; they just look at the doors as if they thought someone was stepping out. A moment of confusion, then they shrug and look back to the corridor. You quickly step into the elevator before the doors close. The elevator descends fast but not far.

    > Lucky For You

    The doors open, and you step out into the lower floor of the Boulevard Casino. You straighten your shoulders, shake out your cape, and drop the don't notice aura. There's no need for it now that you are in the company of other villains. This is a place where you belong, though you do feel odd being in such a high-class establishment in your armor.

    Above your head, the arched ceiling gives even the most lumbering armors present ample room to move. The vintage chandeliers illuminate the large room with a gentle, forgiving glow. Both walls and ceiling are lavishly decorated in the casino's signature art deco style, but you note that the floor is polished obsidian concrete rather than carpet. You can understand the caution; there are more than you who are wearing power armor.

    Not to mention that any stains must be easier to clean.

    So this is it then, the best and the worst that the city can offer. Around the gambling tables, dangerous villains rub shoulders with thrill-seeking company men, and hulking monstrosities share a drink with cutthroat mercenaries. Just about everywhere, the casino staff is there to make sure that things run smoothly. How many of those handsome men and women are secretly modded as well? How many are boosts?

    You suspect that most on this level have some sort of enhancement; anything else would be an invitation to disaster.

    Games of chance fill the room, the bar a distant glittering haven. You ignore both; you can't let yourself get distracted. Instead, you quickly walk across the room to the auction hall, projecting enough confidence that people move out of your way without being prompted.

    This is your stage now.

    The auction is underway, but you only pay half a mind to what's going on. So far, none of the staff seems to have noticed that the dampeners have gone down. Good, that means this is your hunting ground now.

    Dr. Mortum's gun…where is it? Has it been sold? Up for sale soon? You drag your mental fingers across the crowd, making sure not to touch anybody too deep. All you need is someone who…

    ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ …(^_^)-->…

    The Rat King nudges you in the right direction, and you hone in on a discreetly clad corporate businesswoman smelling of competent errand girl with her master's credit card.

    Good. That makes things easier than if the buyer had been a proper villain. No shields other than the psychic discipline of the corporately trained, and it looks like she's getting ready to leave. Most likely, she's got her bodyguards waiting upstairs, no need for them here. This is a safe place.

    Until you arrived.

     ‣ I'll influence her to give me the gun, then go.
     ‣ I'll make her forget the case in a corner as she leaves.

    Gun located. Now how do we get our hands on it?

    CLASSIFIED

    Subject: Anathema


    Secret Identity: Josie Jacobs
    Gender: Non-binary.
    Description: A tall mixed person in their thirties with brown eyes and short and styled curly dark brown hair.

    Their sense of style is androgynous, secondhand streetwear, with many piercings in their ears, nose, and tongue. They have a short, scruffy beard and mustache.

    Standard of Living: Josie is well-off.
    Josie is living in a comfortable apartment.

    Josie Jacobs is a seasoned, tech-savvy tactician.

    Physical Status
    Stamina: You are rested.
    Willpower: You feel calm.
    Injuries: You are fine, with no significant wounds.

    Telepathy
    Strength of Mind: 50%
    ████████████████████
    Subtle Manipulations: 74%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Anathema
    Anathema runs a criminal syndicate. They are a known killer.
    Infamy: 51% / Obscurity: 49%
    ██████████▒█████████

    Armored Suit
    Anathema's suit is a shadow with a mirror for a face, revealing nothing. The cape conceals and obfuscates what's underneath.
    In its left hand, the suit has a neutered colony of nanovores, functionally similar to having disintegration touch. The suit is also equipped with telepathic boosters and enhanced speed as well as jump-jets.

    Armor Status
    Need Repair: 5% / Fine: 95%
    ███████████████████

    Leadership: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Psychological Profile
    Arrogance: 28% / Anonymity: 72%
    █████▒██████████████
    Ruthlessness: 40% / Empathy: 60%
    ████████████████████
    Daring: 59% / Caution: 41%
    ███████████▒████████

    Back in the day, Sidestep was known as a vigilante working with the Rangers.

    Main Puppet
    Name: Barbara
    Puppet Status: She is fine, and has no serious wounds.
    Description: A tall white woman in her twenties with blue eyes and long straight blond hair.

    Allies and Enemies

    Charge
    Josie's Relationship with Ortega: Friend and ally.
    Ortega's Connection with Josie: 78%
    ███████████████▒████

    Ortega thinks Anathema has made some good points.

    Barbara's Relationship with Ortega: Eternally flirting. Josie is using Barbara as a spy.
    Ortega's Connection with Barbara: 63%
    ████████████▒███████

    Dr. Mortum
    Barbara's Relationship with Dr. Mortum: friend.
    Mortum's Connection with Barbara: 66%
    █████████████▒██████

    Lady Argent
    Josie's Relationship with Lady Argent: Distant.
    Lady Argent's Impression of Josie: 1%
    ███████████████████

    Lady Argent respects Anathema's abilities.
    Lady Argent's Interest in Anathema: 43%
    ████████▒███████████

    Marshal Steel
    Josie's Relationship with Steel: Friendly.
    Steel's Connection with Josie: 72%
    ██████████████▒█████

    Marshal Steel thinks Anathema needs to be brought in.

    Herald
    Josie's Relationship with Herald: He seems nice.
    Herald's Connection with Josie: 64%
    ████████████▒███████

    Herald thinks Anathema is a villain.

    Other Characters
     
  20. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    Me when I see the Rat King


    Curious that both our options involve the mind control dip after all! 1 would look like she's double dealing and sold to us instead, while 2 would make her just look bad at a critical part of her job. I don't know how much surveillance this place is gonna have, given the clientele, so I guess the main question is how to ruin this random businesswoman's career...?
     
    • Agree x 1
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