Things heat up as Caduceus finds the prize. Can he make it out alive or will he join the statues?
Rest in Peace
// Scene Setup
That was a packed altered scene, but it was pretty much under control. Lowering the chaos to 6!
Expected scene is that Duece will finally continue on to the target.
Chaos roll of 10, so it's as expected.
Now that we've got that out of the way, what else can go wrong during this heist?
Fuck. You're not supposed to say that, are you?
Kane navigated Caduceus through hallways and stairwells, and he eventually found himself on the second floor dripping in sweat. His heart wasn't racing particularly fast. He took a moment to catch his breath once he realized the coast was clear. The sweat didn't seem to come from overexertion.
The Ofen Gallery felt warmer.
It wasn't entirely unpleasant—yet—but he could feel the heat fucking with his mind and his body. It had started to feel like an oven pre-heating.
I'm just spooked, that's all, he thought, boiling the feeling down to simply nerves. The threat of being turned into a statue and the amount of money on the line were getting to him. It meant so much to all four of them.
He pushed the thought aside as the stress and worries of being caught and failing at the mission took hold of him. He couldn't let those persist, not now.
Fifth roll of the Location. 6, 10, 10 (2+3, 6+4, 6+4)—Special, The Curator, The Prize.
Special Location, 98: Random. Purpose of this location is... Mythic Action. 42, 21: Haggle Messages. Sounds like an office.
Oh, maybe the curator's office!
Double fuck me. The prize is here but we haven't flipped over the last card yet. So, what is it?
Queen of Diamonds. I got a feeling this is gonna be bad... "Reaching the mark requires endless computational or mental capacity (an ever-changing maze, a living firewall, etc.)"
Readers, it was at this point that I realized what the prize was. I actually had no idea originally. I thought it was a "box with no opening."
No. It's a friggin hard drive with a firewall. lol
Is the curator a Rift? Sure Thing, +4. C6, +1. Total +5. 4+1+5 = 10, no. So close!
Rolled up a female curator, and named her using Xanathar's.
A dark hallway loomed before him. He was still dripping with sweat, but he didn't have time to care any further. He began immediately checking rooms, keeping himself as quiet as possible.
One room was labeled, a gold placard on the door with the curator's name inscribed: Qalhata Herit. It had to be her office. He presumed she was elsewhere within the gallery, so he threw the door open without caution.
Instead of an empty room, however, he found a startled Qalhata on the phone. From what Caduceus could gather in the moments before she froze, she'd been doing her best to acquire a few new pieces. The sudden intrusion of Caduceus put the both of them on pause, however, eyes wide and locked on each other.
"Sir, what are you doing in here?" she snapped. "I will call you back."
"I—" he began, doing his best to quickly come up with a believable scenario—
His breath caught in his chest. On her desk, a hard drive with a specific insignia. He didn't need to refer to the mission notes. He knew that this was the prize that he and his crew were sent here to acquire. It wasn't plugged in, just lying there, right on her desk, out in the open.
Almost too easy.
He hoped Ellie was ready to be brought in once more. He regained his composure as best he could, and said, "I was told that you were needed out front. My apologies, mam. I should have knocked. It was something about a Youtuber you promised to appear in a video with...?"
HAH. Let's see if he gets out of this...
a way with words + talk my way out of anything -
suspicious-1= +1.... And, let's make it harder on myself. Let's say he could be caught in a lie (-1), for a total of +0.
5+5+0 = 11! LET'S GOOOOOOOO.
Here, I introduced my strong hit + match ruling, so I'm giving myself another +1 momentum and a random 1 Juice. Total momentum is 3 out of 6.
"When did I—Ugh, nevermind." Frustrated, she stood and brushed past Caduceus with a heavy sigh.
All alone, finally. With the prize.
He rushed to her computer and plugged the hard drive in to take a look. Caduceus cursed silently. Everything inside was encrypted. Of course. What was on here? He unplugged it and shoved the hard drive into his pocket and fled the room. Kane would have a much easier time dealing with it.
"Everyone, meet back at the van."
Let's GTFO! We want to escape without raising any further
espionage + quick on my feet = +2 -
suspicious-1 = +1.
Fuck me sideways.
2+2+1 = 5. A miss... and a match. According to my solo moves, this needs to suck. WELP.
What's the nature of this setback then? Let's grab some words from Mythic Action first: 94 87: Dispute Magic.
This sounds like body guards, specifically ones to handle Rifts? Or maybe it's the Enclave's defense system? Is it the latter? Unlikely, -1. C6, +1. Soo... +0. Nice. 7+6 = 13. CRAP IT'S A YES.
Mythic Descriptor for some more flavor. 68 76: Majestically Poor. So... it's just not visually appealing, then? Just blah.
How did it get triggered? Actually. We can come back to that later. No need to flesh it out now.
Let's say the Enclave is going to throw him a
sedated-5 status. IT'S GONNA SUCK.
Now... because I used
quick on my feet in the Stunt, I can't use them for this Resist. If I wanna give myself a break, I'll say I can use
an eye for details to notice something is up so I can prepare myself.
This means I'm rolling with +1.
5 + 6 + 1 = 12. A SUCCESS... however, according to current playtest rules for Resist, this means almost nothing. I just remove one box from the tier-5 status. The details are a bit murky on what this means, but essentially it's taken down to a tier-4, meaning we're not out of the fight just yet!
Caduceus sprinted out of the room, eyes on the lookout for any threats to his escape. He didn't want to be here any longer than he needed to be.
He gripped the railing in the stairwell and stopped. The air was thick and... did they turn the heat up even more? He could have dealt with it, but it seemed as if it was making him tired...
He looked around him. Had the Enclave's defense system been triggered? Fuck. He took a few steps before tumbling down the rest of the stairs, landing face-first on the floor. He managed to bring a finger to his ear to activate his comm and said, "Guys... Enclave... help..."
I don't think this is a Stunt. This feels more like an Oracle roll to me. Can they get to him? 50/50 chance, +0. C6, +1.
The sedation was strong, and he did his best to fight it for as long as possible. He was in and out of consciousness when he heard the footsteps, and he was too weak to resist when he felt arms grab him and haul him away.
That's it... What a fucking way to go...
Hours later, Caduceus's eyes snapped open. Wherever he was, it was dark. Naturally, his fears took over and he switched into fight and flight mode. He feared the worst. Was this the waiting room to be processed before being turned into—
"You're woke!" The lights in his bedroom flicked on, and the smiling face of Nana greeted him at the door.
// Oracle Result
6+4+1 = ... 11! OMG JUST BARELY MADE IT!
Kane rushed into the room and held a hand on his forehead. "Thank goodness."
Caduceus released his held breath and gsve the biggest sigh of relief. He hugged Kane and Nana. His heart was racing. He wasn't going to be a permanent exhibit in the gallery, and all that hard work—
He immediately felt the hard drive. He couldn't feel it. His tension rose again until Kane put a calming hand on his chest and smiled. "Already got it. Working on beating the encryptions now. It'll take a while."
Another sigh of relief and Caduceus let himself fall back into the bed. He trusted them. He could rest in peace here.
Roi stood in the backroom of his bar facing a map of the city. The fingers from his right hand held his face as he thought over plans. The faces of those who ran the other districts were pinned to it, showing the areas they controlled. The upcoming election wouldn't grant him much power, but it would be a start. Control over one of the districts would have to be enough for now. He needed the mercenary to come through. The ends justify the means, he thought, hoping that he'd made the right choice.
A knock on the open door caused him to turn around. The beautiful face of Marianne greeted him, wearing her dark blue business suit.
She was smiling.
"So, they got it?" He had to assume. She wouldn't look pleased otherwise. She was a woman about results. He kept his emotions in check as she approached and placed the small hard drive on his desk. He almost reached for it, emotions flooding him.
They'd actually done it.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I hear there's no turning back," she said. She didn't look too concerned. A rehearsed line, he thought. A formality. It didn't matter. She was helping him achieve his goal and that was all he cared about. She was good at what she did: helping others achieve their dreams.
"Yes." He made a gesture to the map behind him. "With one district, true, I can begin making change. And if they had failed, then I would continue to bide my time. Find another way. Work my way up the ranks. But we all know who holds the true power here in Acinvar. There's only so much I can do in this state."
He let his gaze drift back to the hard drive before him.
"Oh, I understand completely. I fight with her all the time," she said. "Luckily our goals are similar so she lets me be without demanding full control. Some things are too important to let go of. Can you not accomplish what you—both him and yourself—want together?"
Never once did he take his eyes off the hard drive. "We tried that. I can't save everyone if... if I'm holding us back. This has to be done."
Marianne nodded, knowing. "Do you want your privacy?"
What he was about to do would require much of him. And he didn't know what the process looked like. Would it be messy? He couldn't afford to harm her in any way. He would need her when he was through.
"Yes, please," he said.
She nodded once more and made her leave, closing the door behind her. Roi picked up the hard drive and turned it over in his hands.
The answer to all his problems. Finally. Right there! His heart raced. He'd dreamt of this moment for years now. It felt... bittersweet.
Was he ready?
He sat down at his desk and turned the hard drive over and over in his hands, taking it all in. The laptop in front of him had an open USB port, waiting to connect. It practically called to him.
Look at it. LOOK AT IT.
He shook his head.
If he wanted his dreams to come true, it required sacrifice.
The ends justify the means...
He placed the hard drive on the desk and in one swift motion, brought a hammer from a drawer down upon it without hesitation.
The hard drive shattered.
He repeated. Swing after swing after swing, he brought the hammer down, destroying each and every last piece of his last shred of humanity. Whatever was on there was no longer of his concern. It no longer called to him. It no longer tethered him. It no longer had any power over him. With it destroyed, he could be free.
He tossed the hammer aside. It hit a wall and dented it, but he did not care.
He felt calm. Relief. Finally, it was over. At last he could finally rest in peace—
His heart lurched. He gripped his chest.
Ah, he thought.
A surge of power overtook him and he collapsed to the floor. He was flooded with emotions and memories of a life that was foreign yet familiar. No longer could his humanity hold back the power he had kept at bay all this time. The urge to become a savior consumed him. His heart beat faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster until—
His breathing slowed and calmed, and he sighed.
Roi Salvatore stood from the floor and cracked his neck, then walked to the map on the wall. The district he was soon to be in control of was outlined in red thread. Various stickers of red lips dotted the map as well, though most seemed to be centralized within the red lines. He grabbed a few more and looked the map over inquisitively, then placed more lips outside of the lines. He smiled, clearly pleased with himself.
"Now," he sighed happily. "Let's save Acinvar."