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MENAGERIE #36 - "THE MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION!"

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Edited 1525554971
#Recap Aftermath ... AEGIS has custody of two Rossums, one Alycia. A zone of broken robots around the Two Rivers plant. Other robots sent, via R2's wristband, to an AEGIS impound lot, like terra cotta warriors. Not all Rook robots were summoned. Rook mandatory recall of all security bots ... and (18 hrs later) refund. (Rook's biggest customer was itself, or to augment its own offered services.)  Public is more outraged about the damage the robots did, not feeling sorry for the rich people / companies who bought them. Sort of Dieselgate if you aren't a VW owner. At the corporate / financial / governmental level, blowback is much more significant. More because Rook allowed it to happen, not that anything terrible happened.  Not good press for Rook, but varying degrees of bad press. Biggest impact at airport. A bit of blowback at Quill for sending out their robots. ["Gobsmacked at utter naivete"] Rossums are shuffled off to separate facilities. Conversations with AEGIS Heading into the weekend ... Alycia Talking with Parker ... [but wait, as Doyce quickly reads  35.2 ...] Pulled out of weekend confinement to work with fab teams, gear squads, feedback on the bike, firing range work, practice dummies (and a bit of letting Alycia work on it all, too).   Alycia is on good behavior (not looking a gift horse in the mouth), until she's instructed by Parker to complain as needed (e.g., when faced with "you can have your body suit with function, protection, or mobility, pick two"). Leo Waters keeps him away from AEGIS. Swings by the carriage house at the Gale estate Sunday afternoon. "Well, neither of us are out of a job yet. How are you feeling?" "Dunno. Got into this to stop my dad, and just stopped two of them. Where do I go from there?" "Lots of bad out there that isn't your dad. Don't find yourself at loose ends." "Oh, I have a whole future history to fix. ... AEGIS is grumpy at us beatig up their people. Some hard feelings." "Handful of AEGIS I like. You're one of them. So fine with that." "They're more than a bit concerned about Concord." "I'm overdue for a call to him." "Sooner rather than later. People get nervous at someone within city limits doing something that's visible from the Lagrange points. Also, news about folk who resemble him who have been seen in population centers around the world. We probably want to hear about any information about that." "Will let him know." "... left worried about myself and Parker are getting their jobs done, and wanting a better idea of what' going on with your friend Concord. Stay out of folks way for a few days, that'll make some folk smile. ... No robot blowback affecting you and yours?" "They have their usual doubts. Most people don't know." "What about Otto?" [Doesn't seem to be bothered. Though he seems to have things on his mind. Also, Phoenix wrangling.] "Where is that?" "I likes to fly. It's just out there somewhere." "So it's just roaming around?" "It's building a nest in the Appalachians. ... So you want me to give you something mundane for a change?" "Yes? ... Phoenix's presence in this has been covered under the umbrella of your friends and partners, but eventually someone's going to have that thought. What is it going to do when done with its nest." "Lay its egg." ... [Something mundane] "There's a girl I want to impress, I want to get a tux, some cologne, get done up right, do you know of any shops in town?" "... I'll send you something. ... Wait, what? You're not switching tracks are you? I mean, your girl is pretty well impressed." "That's not something you achieve, it's a process." "You're 100% right." Concord The house is weirdly quiet when Adam wakes up on Sunday. Dad is in the front room watching soccer. But not really watching; distracted. Sister is off at birthday party at Chucky Cheese with Mom. "Got a call today from the same folks that brought you in for that Test. They -- Mom and I are real proud of what you did, I was a bit surprised by the pictures in the news -- seem to be a bit upset. Question asked in a funny way. They didn't say 'Don't have that kind of collateral damage around an area' -- what they asked whether you *could* control the collateral damage. I never thought about that before. Is this something we need to worry about?" "Well, the lasers are new. But now I feel like I'm getting good at it. But there were a lot of robots." "What did the building do to you? That's more what they brought up a couple of times -- what if there had been people there?" "Well, when I did one that big, everything got really hot around me. There won't be a lot of robots all the time." "... can you control this?" "Yeah. I can control this. Sure" Dad is not super-comforted by the tone. "All right. I just am a little worried about right now, these lasers, I really hope you're being careful and thinking very carefully about the consequences of what you're doing. Just be extra-careful, esp. right now if you have some new things happening." [SHIFT LABELS! +SUPERIOR, -FREAK --> NOT FIGHTING IT] "Also, we were talking before, if you were heading outside the city you'd let us know beforehand if possible." New Yorker on table -- NY cityscape, Concord flying above, "Page 19 - Concord visits the Big Apple" "I haven't been to New York" Looks at pictures. Grainy pictures of the others (the ones he saw in Streak's head) in cities around the world. Everyone is assuming it's Concord extending is range. [TAKE A POWERFUL BLOW - 10!] Immediately runs out of room to call Harry. As Sunday progresses ... Harry The phone is ringing on a fine Sunday afternoon. Harry's at the hospital chatting with Grandma Swift in the cafe. She's going through giving him keys to bases and telling anecdotes about them. Harry picks up phone. "Harry, this is really important, we have to see your dad now." "I'm here, what's up?" "Good, we have to try that thing again. It's important." "Can you give me any more than that?" "We need to go back in there -- I thought the four people we saw in there were my brain playing tricks on me, but they're real and we need to figure out whats going on before bad things happen." "I guess yeah let's figure this out." "I'll be there in five minutes." Extracts self from grandmother (who heads back up to ICU). [Adam is texting Leo when the phone rings, and it's Leo. "We need to go to the hospital." "Are there going to be lasers?" "I hope not?" "I'm in."] Charlotte Since the experiment with the wound and Lucius, on her own. Very quiet in the cemetery on Saturday. Like the morning after the night before. Has she damaged the spirits? Track down some folk she knows to find out what it felt like on her end. Did she drain them, or their batteries? [ASSESS: 6] Spirits aren't being actively hostile or resenting, but very not very friendly. Also, she feels like they'll leap to obey anything she asks. The people very close to her, it takes personal effort to get them to manifest. They are weak, and thin. Less of a conversation, more of a poltergeist loop. [GUILTY!] And everything she runs across during the day make it seem worse and worse. So she can heal the wounds -- or protect the spirit world. Ugh. Sunday. Was there a way that Alycia tweaked the portal to avoid causing more damage? Let's find out. Harry With his mother, Tempest, in the hospital room. "You want to WHAT now again?" "We were in Dad's head last night ..." "You're saying there were Concordance agents in your father's head? And you want to ... what? Talk to them? Inside your father's head?" "They're other Concordance agents." "Wouldn't that make them friendly?" "I think they're angry because of Sol. ... um, let's let Concord explain this" "Oh, yes, I'd love to talk to Concord about this." Concord arrives. Harry is tense and relieved. Tempest is just tense. Tense words. Tempest: "Help me understand this." (the clock ticks) "You're scared. I'm scared. If I had the answers, I'd give them to you. We're trying to get those answers." [EMPATHIZE: 7] Leo walks in. T: "You kids are so young. And I know, Harry, your father and I weren't any older when we started it. But it's different ... we're not immortal and your dad's not immortal and I let you talk me into something I shouldn't have, and if it made things worse it would have landed back on you, and I shouldn't have put that on you. But I'm so scared we're not going to get him back, and if he doesn't (choke) come back, it has to be because he didn't, not because you tried and failed, because you'll blame ourselves." H: "It's our decision. We know the risks involved." T: "Do you, Harry? You're 17." Leo: "Hey, guys -- I brought chips. Mrs Gale?" T: "Appreciate how much Harry's friends are willing to step in and comes to his aid." L: "I just put two copies of my dad in prison, so if you want to talk about doing serious things, some of us have that covered. We're here for you, Silver Streak, and each other, too." T: "How can I be a wife and mother if ..." L: "You're a hero, too. And you don't get a choice when you have to be a hero. And you helped Aria and we're here to help you." C: "Harry's gone above and beyond for us. Let us do that to pay back to the family." [COMFORT AND SUPPORT : 7] --> Harry jerks up, the words impacting him. [clears a condition] L: Concord best fit for solving problem. "When Streak was found, he'd taken off separately. The Vs were after two objects, both Keynomes. Think that Streak got hold of one, and that's the power that affected him. C has the most experience with those devices. Trust Concord." [PERSUADE WITH BEST INTERESTS: 12!!] T: "Peers -- we've worked since H was born to become a hero, but never thought we'd see others help him become that." L: "Harry's been a real inspiration." [COMFORT AND SUPPORT: 10!] H: "I couldn't ask for a better leader, or friend." T: Should I stay or should I go? L: Useful here. Use Tempest as the anchor. Three go in. [BURN - 8. (Insecure)] The room is the HHL meeting room now. Where all of the heroes are sitting in silhouette except Streak and ball of yarn in his hands and tears on his face. Ghost Girl & Alycia Working in the fab shop with some AEGIS techs -- who are alternating between nerdy enthusiasm and then remembering who they're working with. Parker keeps wandering in and out, guards are watching. Finalizing power gloves. GG steps out of the shadows. When see others around, goes to transparent. A: (having spotted her) To a tech: "Great security here, nobody could slip out, let alone in." "Uh, right." Parker walks in frowning. Looks around. "All right, everyone out. Let's give the young lady the room for a few minutes to commune with her ... "... spirit guide?" "Spirit guide. We're going to have to talk soon." Exits. Not sure what GG is there for, but ... "It's nice to have the illusion of privacy, even though I'm certainly under electronic surveillance." "Apologies. I didn't realize my visiting would cause difficulties." "Not at all. I'm a guest of the establishment for the nonce. I'm afraid they look askance at people leaving, let alone entering." Parker in the observation room, notes: Nonce. Askance. REALLY ????? "What brings you to my humble workshop?" "It's a very nice workshop. Is now a good time?" "No worries, wasn't planning on leaving any time soon." Charlotte wants to talk with her about "your device to enter the Sepiaverse. Different from Jason's. Want to understand how it worked, how it didn't damage the hole." News to Alycia, but ... "Well, boys are more like bulls in the china shop than girls. But now may not be the best time to talk about interdimensional barriers." "Oh, no problem, just some work I'm doing right now. Will talk with Link about maybe having a meeting." "That would be peachy. We could have chips, sip soda pop, and talk about interdimensional travel until I hit curfew." "I do believe you are mocking me." "Don't take it personally, I mock everyone." [PROVOKE - 5! EEP.] Parker on intercom "Oh, don't worry, we'll be talking about external housing arrangements of that sort. Very. Soon." Parker has clearly been pushed a notch to far (just by me?) about Alycia leaving this Rapunzel-like tower. "Miss Palmer, thank you very much for checking in, and acknowledging how valued a teammate Charade is. We will be making arrangements as soon as we understand what you two were talking about." "Certainly Miss Parker, would you like to show me out, or shall I go the way I came?" "Oh, by all means, come and go as you are accustomed." "I thought it would be polite to ask." (begins to fade) "I appreciate the ask, Miss Palmer. In your own time." Alycia turns and starts working. Industriously. And quietly. Wrap-Up Alycia: Closer to the Team (Charlotte) -> shift +Mundane -Danger ==> 1 potential, level, ____________ Charlotte: Image of Self -> +Mundane -Superior ===> 1 potential, level, __________ Concord: Closer (Harry) -> +Savior -Mundane [but Savior maxxed] Harry: Closer (Link) -> +Savior -Freak Link: Closer (Concord) -> +Superior -Danger [but Superior locked] ===> 1 potential, level, another Moment of Truth ================== Title Notes Titled in keeping with so many Marvel 60s-80s comics titles that were lines from songs. In this case, inspired by Margie's "Mother and Children" comment, riffing off  Paul Simon's song : No I would not give no false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and child reunion Is only a motion away Oh, little darling of mine, I care for the life of me Remember a sadder day, that now they say let be Just don't recount on me in the course of a lifetime run Over and over again Which in turn ties into some of the regrets and sorrows and fear that Tempest was expressing to Harry, but perhaps might touch on nascent aspects of the Parker / Alycia relationship, too.
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Bill's read on the Streak situation: he's identifying himself as a hero first and foremost (his mental "home" is the HHL conference room). He's trying to atone for his failure with the Iceland/Vyortovia situation. So here's what we have to work with: "This is what I deserve" Mercury riding on a wave of praise from his friends - he's the new generation Gale hero, the success story, the kid who made good I think we've had some talk of Mercury joining JHHL and/or HHL kicking around, even before the Ponies AMA Rather than attacking "I deserve this" head on, work around it, bypass it, make it not relevant any more. Right now, Streak is running away . Pushing at that will make him retreat further. Instead, let's take him out of the arena where guilt has power, and put him in one where pride dominates. Where is that? Put Mercury in the big chair in that conference room. The grown-up Mercury, the one we can all imagine (and perhaps make "real" to Streak's mind), the natural leader, the hero his mom & dad raised, the guy who is going to carry on the family business. The Mercury who's now leading the HHL by universal acclaim. The kid Streak ought to be proud of for raising, and the kid Streak would like to be around to see. Pour into that the truth Leo has discovered: Dads can fuck up and you can still love them. If Streak wants to compare himself to fuckin' Rossum, be my guest. Concord can do whatever he thinks is appropriate, but the two things that come to mind are (a) if this is really energy from a Keynome and Streak messed with it or got caught in it, try untangling it, or (b) Empathize the shit outta Streak, help him actually confront what he did, face his son and admit it, and facilitate them coming to terms with it openly. What do you think, sirs?
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Plan B - if something goes really wrong - is for Leo to test his fate against this skein that's holding onto Streak, and grapple with it. Leo's got a shit ton of passion behind him, he's got something to fight and live for, he's got respect for Mercury out to here, and he'll lay it all on the line if that's what is necessary. That might be a "rewire the keynome" move (yaay Superior), or something else.
I think your first plan has a lot going for it (though I'm sure a guilty mind could twist it -- "Look, I've doomed my kid to the same fate I'm under").  Another thought: going back to the  Issue 34 log (or the YouTube starting  here , about  here ) ... Harry steps through the front doors into the conference room. Everyone is there, kind of, as manikins; yellow aura around Hecate (anxiety), and blue (heart!) around Tempest. Streak is there. Menagerie friends are there, too, just like they were during the revelation. Anxiety yellow aura around the Mercury figure. Harry goes over to Streak. who's sitting there. Cupped hands holding a ... yarn skein of ... energy? He's aware of everything in the room, but only peripherally. Focus on the yarn; same yellowish anxiety lines as around Hecate, Mercury, and lightly around the Menagerie. My original thought (Powered by Hecate Paranoia!) was that this indicated that something about this state, the skein, was related to Hecate -- that these were an intrusion into his psyche. On re-reading and thought, I now think it more likely they are projections -- the skein is his anxiety, he is anxious about Hecate, also about his son, a bit about the Menagerie, but in love with Tempest -- from Streak himself, but I still have to wonder (PbHP!) if this isn't all something more sinister on Hecate's part: her pushing him over the edge as punishment against the HHL (and us), some further guilt or stress related to her, etc. In which case, checking out the other figures in the room -- especially Hecate -- rather than focusing just on Streak, might be called for.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
This scene has such rich potential.
Wonderful session as always. Doyce, I am particularly happy that when bad stuff happened (the Take a Powerful Blow roll) your solution involved getting as many of the characters together as possible.  I need to remember that more often when making decisions. Bill G. said: Concord can do whatever he thinks is appropriate, but the two things that come to mind are (a) if this is really energy from a Keynome and Streak messed with it or got caught in it, try untangling it, or (b) Empathize the shit outta Streak, help him actually confront what he did, face his son and admit it, and facilitate them coming to terms with it openly. While not to be too selfish, Concord's primary reason for being here is to see if the other Concords show up again.  He's certainly going to help Harry out as much as he can (if there is keynome craziness going on, it's really the best bet unless Jason Quill's got another Moment of Truth laying around :P ), but as soon as one (or all) of them show up, that's Concord's primary objective.  (And I am also growing painfully aware of why Green Lanterns are referred to by their real name whenever there's more than one of them.) Also, Adam is going to have a different tack than expected whenever he finally runs into them again: " You guys need to leave Earth.  Something here weakened Sol until he broke and I don't want that happening to anyone else. "  It probably won't be taken at face value, but we'll see where it takes up.
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All of that is under "do what he thinks is appropriate" and sounds fine to me. If those guys do show up and bully Adam again, though, expect Leo to get shouty.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Mike said: Wonderful session as always. Doyce, I am particularly happy that when bad stuff happened (the Take a Powerful Blow roll) your solution involved getting as many of the characters together as possible.  I need to remember that more often when making decisions. One of the Masks GM-moves is "bring them together" - offered up as the alternative to the more-common "split them up" which the game (correctly) asserts Masks PCs will do JUST FINE on their own.