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Fate: No Exit - [FATE Core] No Exit Episode 1: A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing...

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"Well surprise, surprise Paul," James answered sarcastically, clapping Dr Volkov on the shoulder a little too hard.

,,

"You ARE talking to a doctor. That works out pretty good, right? See, in most asylums, you know damn well who's a doctor and who isn't. You have to wonder if, just maybe, the whole thing wouldn't work better if you didn't know. At least, you would if you were a soulless maniac, who didn't care anything about trust or human suffering."

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He gives Charles a grin. "Right?"

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"Anyway, sure. The shore. Oh, but be careful because apparently people drown there." He laughs. "Go figure! I mean, you'd think we'd have heard of it...but then, I never heard of the plague that's apparently ripping through the building either, so what do I know?!"

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"Oh, it's not that serious." Uriel brushed the Manager off with a casual smile and a certain degree of non-chalant expression. "I'll be returning to my room. Good luck catching whoever is causing the disturbance." No way the Managers communicated with each other that quickly and coordinately, after all.

,,
OOC
Deceive check: Jeremy *rolls* 4d6: 4+5+2+1: 12
Total result: +3 Deceive ,,

FP: 0

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Agrippina glared at the Manager, her hard eyes narrowed viciously. “It ain’t none of your business where we go anyway,” she snapped, her hands balling into fists. “We ain’t in prison.” There was something particularly galling about the way she stared at the Manager, as if mocking him into action.

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Using Provoke (+3) and invoking Face of a Killer to really rile the Manager. She kinda does want him to start something.

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Roll: Carver *rolls* 4d6: 1+4+4+3: 12

Fate Point spent to grant a +2

,,

Provoke total: +4

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Lien, Agri and Uriel

,,
The Manager's Rolls
,,

The Manager's Empathy roll to resist Deceit (+1) (4d6=17)

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Total of +1, so 2. Not enough to resist Uriel's Deceit.

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The Manager's Will roll to resist Provoke (+4.) (4d6=17)

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Total of +2, so a final result of 6. Agri's Provoke does not get the Manager to attack her.

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A part of Agri was impressed - she'd never seen someone keep their cool the way the Manager did. She saw one, and only one, bear of sweat down his brow as she glowered at him.

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"The Management recommends you return to your apartments as soon as you are able." With some hesitation, the Manager turned around and started to walk away, seemingly not noticing Lien.

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Emanuel, Charles and James

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"A doctor?" At this, Paul paused, and the three of them could swear for just a moment that Paul became an entirely different person, a swear dancing on trembling lips. He gripped the carnation tightly. His eyes bulged in frustration and anger.

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"I..."

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Then he was back to normal, vaguely pleasant and soft-spoken. "I don't think I like doctors very much. I'm sorry. I know it's not your fault. I just had a - I'm sorry."

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She waited for the Manager to make his way out of the stairwell, contemplating her options and the likelihood that the two others were just hallucinations. They were acting like the people she remembered, which was a mark on each side of the yes/no columns, and the odds of running into both of them here were heavily weighted towards "hallucinations", but.... But she was going to have to trust something or she was going to be frozen in indecision forever. And Daniel needed her. That cinched it for her. Even if she was still working whatever they'd put in her system out, her son needed her and allies were the best chance of making it out of this place and finding him.

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She slipped down the stairs on silent feet and ducked under the window in the door where the Manager had disappeared back into the building proper. Once she was passed the door she murmured in a way that carried only as far as Agrippina and Uriel. "I wouldn't be so sure about that. About it not being a prison. I'm pretty sure they're drugging us," she glanced between the two of them, "and what are the odds of me meeting two people I know here?"

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To Uriel, this was a far more confident woman that the one he'd slept with, moving with purpose and sharp eyes and facing the two of them without the cringing shame that had painted her features that morning after. For Agrippina, the largest change was that Lien wasn't heavily pregnant anymore, and seemed to be one of those women that bounced back from giving birth quickly; her body was lithe and well-muscled, all "baby fat" purged in the daily exercise routines that she'd fit in around taking care of Daniel - which were apparently far more real than the phantom infant that had apparently never made it into the Westmarch Complex. "The operator told me some bullshit about a storm and a quarantine, and my phone has no signal here, but hey, they'll let me order IKEA, so you know something's fucked up. Any idea how long you two have been here?"

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Agri did a literal double-take when Lien ghosted down the stairs toward them. “What the fuck?” she finally managed to get out. “What are you doing here?”

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“I live here. Or whatever here.” Lien eyed her closely. “Are you being drugged? Do you have any idea what’s going on?”

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Agrippina managed to choke back her first response, which was confusion regarding the status of the building. Instead, she admitted, “I think I had an… uh… hallucination.” The pause was equal parts embarrassment and making sure she said the big word right. Sometimes, if she didn’t pause a beat, she mispronounced words. Today, she’d probably be labeled as having some kind of learning disability, but to be honest, she’d never needed to know the right way to say something when beating the shit out of some loser.

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“You think?” Uriel prompted.

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The fact that she had to admit this in front of a hot guy pulled a bit of blood into her cheeks. “I opened a bottle o’ beer and it was blood. Insteada beer.”

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Dr. Volcov nodded at James with curt appreciation. He had uncovered one of Paul's issues, no doubt among many more, quite handily.

,,

"No need to apologize. Some in the medical profession have been known to take missteps that tarnish the title. Malpractice. Misdirection. Failure. Over-reliance on pharmaceutical treatment..."

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He spoke casually and shrugged at the end as if to say 'that's just how it goes', but he kept a very careful eye on the now intriguingly twitchy subject. He didn't expect to linger in the courtyard long, but intended to pick up what he could before continuing his exploration. How could he have missed all of the tenants with these fascinating symptoms in his time here?

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Lien nodded but didn't elaborate on her experience. Bloody beer for Agrippina, so definitely something hallucinatory. Someone must have screwed up the dosages, however they were getting it to people, and now the inmates were waking up. She wondered if there was anything safe to eat or drink in the whole place, but hopefully she'd be long gone by the time it became a survival issue to take the chance.

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"Yeah, that sounds like a bad trip," she nodded to the other woman, ghosting around them to glance down the stairwell, checking for any more company - just in case. "So....I'm getting the hell out of here, personally, before they have a chance to dope us up again. The idiot on the phone said the rest of the peninsula was blocked off because of a quarantine in the other neighborhoods. Probably total bullshit, but if they're trying to keep us locked down, that's most likely where they'll be watching. Either of you good swimmers?"

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Her tone was almost conversational, her attention half on them and half on her surveillance of the stairwell. She turned back to both of them at her question, hoping she wasn't dealing with two large lumps of baggage. She didn't want to ditch them, but she also wasn't going to let the chance to escape slip by because neither of them knew the breaststroke.

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James nodded along with Charles.

,,

"He gets that reaction a lot, don't worry about it."

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He clapped his hands and looked around.

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"You know, maybe drowning would be okay. Lets check out the river."

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There was a stormcloud rumbling in his brain now. Did his editors know about this? He vaguely thought he remembered them helping set him up here. Because of his book? Damn though, everything was still so hard to see, like a mist was over it. Drugs in the water? The food? What was an asylum without crazy pills?

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Worse yet, what if...despite the deception of it all...what if he belonged here? That part of him that wrote, that authorial voice, could step back and coldly assess how PISSED OFF he was...so much that it didn't even feel like he was angry anymore. It was just energy now, white-hot, making him jittery. Was he a danger to himself and others?

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God, he wanted to be.

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When James turned and headed off towards where he thought the river would be, the direction the guard had nodded in, he wasn't sure he wanted anyone following him or not. Maybe some water in his face would do him some good.

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Lien, Uriel and Agri

,, ,,

Nothing requires outside GM intervention at the moment, so continue as you are.

,, ,,

James, Charles and Emanuel

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"Yeah. I guess they can do that." Oddly enough, Paul seemed calm. Whatever had peeked through the face he put on for the world, it had only been for a moment. He stole a furtive glance over his shoulder towards James as James walked.

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James made his way down towards the river. It was shrouded in fog, and James couldn't see if there was another shoreline or not. Equally odd was how quiet it was. He became more aware of the sounds his own body made, the little clicks of bones that weren't getting younger, the sound of his breath, which was almost but not quite visible in the cool air.

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The river itself was strange - it looked clear, but more than a few feet out and James couldn't make out the bottom.

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The Riverbank
James is now at the riverbank. It has the following Aspects: ,,
  • Just How Deep Is This?
  • The Waters Call To You


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There was a sign posted.

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gallery_673_56_759.png

James was sure the brownish-red letters were written with paint. 100% sure.

,,

Well, 95%.

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Uriel seemed less surprised than Agrippina. Honestly, with Doctor Volcov, and the architect Francis, and everyone else... Lien Bint Silva was hardly a shock now. Certainly his morning after aid did her good, she cleared had stepped up to seize the day. Except given Uriel's new-found understanding of his arrival, what would motivate bringing in Lien and her friend became more troubling to consider.

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"Perfectly adequate as a swimmer. Unfortunately, things are not as simple as swimming away. Or hallucinations." His measured, warning tones and words set the two women aback. "I'll explain in a less... public environment. For the meantime, I do concur on heading down to the waters. There are some other people I think who should join us in these discussions."

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James frowned as he took in the sights of the riverbank. It was good. He couldn't have done better himself, if he'd written it into being. The fog, on an otherwise sunny day, was a good touch.

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How the hell do you do that though? Make fog? Don't have to maybe. Could just be like hot springs? Of course, the water in those doesn't flow. No such thing as hot rivers. Still, that'd explain the water temperature warning.

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He looked back to see if anyone had come with him. That unnatural stillness in the air was creepy. You never really thought about how sound filled every waking moment. The distant drone of cars and airplanes, the birds chirping outside, the hum of an air conditioner, distant tinkling music from an ice cream truck, or the noise from the neighbor's TV. To be somewhere absolutely quiet was just unnerving.

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And the water. Now that he was here, James was much more credulous about people drowning. The black water held the eye, teased the brain. What was down there? How far would you have to go to get it? How far would you go to get it?

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All the way?

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"All right," he said...he could hear his JAW move while he talked..."seems like someone ought to test the water temperature somehow. Without falling in. Two of us hold the third and he holds his hand right over the surface."

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James tried to sound casual, but he was definitely speaking in the third person. He really didn't want to be the one to do it.

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“Wait, the fuck?” Agrippina stopped in mid-step, catching herself before she fell. “What’s with the goddamned spy shit? And yeah, I can swim, but fuck… why the fuck should I? If there’s an issue with management, we’ll handle it.”

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“If I see that fucker again, I’ll handle it.”

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The ghost of the memory brushed by her, drawing a shudder from her and leaving the phantom smell of blood in her nose. Agri pushed it all away. Now was not the time to fall into hallucinations. “If those shits are drugging me, I’ll show them why you don’t fuck with a Solas.” Her hands clenched into tight fists. “Just point me at them.”

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Uriel, Agri and Lien

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As the group talks, Uriel found he was struggling to hold onto the memory he'd just recently regained. Not just the part that he'd recently remembered, but the part he'd recalled before. Everything to do with that night at Howard's gallery showing was... muted.

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With a start, and a quick pat of his pockets, Uriel found the program from that night, and the memory surged back into focus. It had wound up in the wrong pocket, but he still had it. He didn't know why, but suddenly it felt like hanging onto the program - and the memory it embodied - was the most important thing in the world.

,, ,,
Uriel has just learnt that memories tied to Touchstones are far less easily recalled when the Touchstone itself is missing. This applies to everyone's Touchstones, though only Uriel is aware of this in-character.
,,

James and Charles

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Paul tentatively walked towards the shore, coming to a stop a few feet behind James. He looked to the sign, then to the waters.

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"I - I don't like it here. It's quiet. It feels so - it's so quiet." But despite this, Paul could not take his eyes off the river's flowing waters. "Do you think - you said that someone drowned? You sounded like you were joking but... but..."

Edited by Mike From Nowhere
Correcting a misreading of the text.

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"Guard said someone drowned," James admitted grudgingly. Despite his idea, he really didn't want to get too close to the water. Looking at it was like the time he'd gone to the Grand Canyon, and found a spot he could stand at the precipice and stare over. The sight of that drop had been primally terrifying...but part of that terror had come from an inexplicable urge to jump. Not a suicidal urge either...it had nothing to do with depression or anything like that. It just called, that gap. He'd wanted to step off to see if it was real. To see what it would be like. Because it was there.

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This water was like that. Somehow, despite looking perfectly innocent, it managed to convey that going in would be a very bad idea...but an oddly compelling one as well.

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Jump. Don't you want to see? Don't you want to know?

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"They can't make up their minds about what happens here, can they?" he said. "Danger, temperature's too hot. Oh, but you'll drown."

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He reached up to his left shoulder, dug his fingers into the stitch holding that sleeve on, and grunted as he ripped it. Once...then another big yank finished the job. Thus armed, James squatted down to lower his center of gravity and waddled up to the side of the river to dunk the cloth into the water. Then he could just yank it out and see if it seemed dangerously hot without risking a burn. Or see if it dissolved in acid or something.

,,

At this point, he felt like he could believe just about anything.

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James & Charles

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James pulled the cloth up, and stared, long and hard, at the water that it was soaked in. 'Water' was the technical term, of course.

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His sleeve had frozen.

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From the water line down to the bottom, his sleeve had frozen solid. James could see ice crystals formed in the weave of his shirt. It dripped slightly and otherwise, flapped stiffly in the breeze. Even holding the shirt was mildly uncomfortable.

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James had seen what had happened to a human limb dipped in dry ice and hit with a hammer. He remembered a choked off laugh at the time, like watching Bugs Bunny - something horrible that was happening to someone far, far away.

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This shirt, and the ice all over it that had impossibly frozen and just as impossibly was already starting to melt... it was not far, far away. It was close indeed. James could feel the heat being sucked out of the air by it.

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Next to James, Paul laughed nervously. "That's a neat trick."

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Lien, Uriel and Agri

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The three of them descended the stairs without incident. On the way into the lobby, Uriel thought he saw, out of the corner of his eye, the man that he'd seen the Managers chasing disappear into the Head Manager's office, flanked by two Managers - but when he looked straight at the door, they were gone.

,,

They spotted Charles outside in the Square, and further on, could make out the vague shape of James and Paul down by the river.

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Dr. Volcov had followed James with a spring in his step. He wasn't exactly cheerful nor was he definitively enjoying himself. But he seemed like a man in his element. That lightness of demeanor crumbled as he watched James hold up the frozen strip of cloth. He passed his hand through the air in front of him, trying to convince himself that the ambient temperature was what he thought it was.

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"That, James, is that frozen or is something precipitating out of..." he trailed off. He knew ice when he saw it.

,,

"Are we all in agreement on what we're seeing here?"

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James stared at the freezing cloth, then backed...carefully...away from the river.

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"That," he said, "isn't water." Random facts collided in his brain, leftovers from his penchant for watching science shows on TV, and from teaching rambunctious kids who loved cool-but-weird stories about the way things were. "It...it could be liquid nitrogen or something like it...but no, you couldn't have that much exposed to the air. It'd just evaporate. There are reactions though, chemical reactions that draw heat from the environment. Exothermic."

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It was bullshit though, utter bullshit. Chemical reactions required reactants, and there was only one. The "water." If it was reacting to oxygen, the surface would be constantly reacting. If it wasn't...what was it reacting with?

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"If anyone died here, it wasn't because they drowned," James said thickly. "Jesus, there's not even a fence around it. Where are we, Russia? What the hell is going on here?"

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Uriel saw Doctor Volcov, he smiled a hint, even though the psychologist was heading away and to his friend from earlier at the river. The people he was expecting to bring in were there. "There they are." Uriel assured Agrippina and Lien, to give the anxious women some ease. Once within appropriate speaking distance... "Doctor Volcov. Could we have some of your and your friend's time?"

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Down by the shoreline, a lonely figure walked towards the group that was forming.

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He was an elderly black man, balding, with his face somewhat pockmarked. He carried a bucket of cleaning supplies. Everyone recognized him, though only James and Charles had had dealings with him today. His name was stitched on his grease-covered overalls, which looked like they'd been washed and washed and still would never be clean.

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"Tut, tut, tut," said Earnest, looking at the red lettering on the warning sign. "Well, now. I do hate it when people deface Complex property like that. Just burns me right up inside. Hello, Mister Duncan... Doctor Volcov. Mister Arcadia, Miss Solas, Miss Silva, Mister Paul Fitzgerald. Nice day if it doesn't rain." He whistled as he took out bottles from his bucket, an eye on the sign.

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Off balance from the physical impossibility of the stream the Doctor looked up at Uriel and his companions with a grimace. He regained his composure quickly though, clearing his throat and nodding at the newcomers with his usual professionally grim expression. "Ah, Mr. Arcadia. I don't believe I've had the pleasure of meeting your associates. What seems to be the... matter?" He trailed off in yet another distinctly un-Volcovian lapse of attention as Earnest approached.

,,

"Earnest, maybe you could help us with a bit of local geography. Where does this stream run from?"

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Lien resisted the urge to correct the janitor's mispronunciation of her name; it was hardly the pressing matter at the moment. She followed Earnest's gaze, frowning at the sign herself and stepping up to it before he had a chance to douse it in chlorine of whatever cleaner was in his bottle. She flaked a bit of the red-brown markings off of it, seeing if it peeled off like paint or crumbled away like dried blood.

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Mechanics
Malachite *rolls* 4d6: 6+1+1+6: 14, so 0 on that. What a weird roll.

+4 if it's just Lore, +6 if Medicine applies.

+1 if it's just Notice, I suppose.

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The fuck!? Agri was incapable of any other thought as they drew close enough to see James. Seeing Lien here had been weird enough. James was something else entirely because he’d been there! The memories of the night when she’d earned her prison stint were clear and James had been there. He’d tried to stop her; Agri remembered that.

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Her stumble at sighting him put her behind the others, giving her time to study the group as they approached. She ignored James for a moment, watching the others and trying to get a feel for the ones who were strangers to her. Her ability to read people was only useful in limited situations, and she finally turned her ugly gaze on the man whom she shared a history with.

,,

Watching the people gathered here, mostly out of paranoia:

Carver Fate *rolls* are 1,1,-1,0. The roll total is 1+1 = 2. Result is Fair.

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Lien

It's paint. Nail polish, actually. You're pretty sure it's even supposed to be that color and doesn't have any blood in it.

,,

Reasonably sure. 95%.

,,
Agri

Earnest does a good job seeming detached and calm, mostly because you believe he actually is. But he is a little bit curious about the group of you, no question there. Reading him deeper proves difficult.

,,

Paul Fitzgerald, the man standing next to Charles and James, seems pleasant, affable, and nervous about something.

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Earnest waited patiently for Lien to test the paint. Then he took out some kind of solvent from his bucket. "If you don't mind," he said, with an affable smile.

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As he set to work, washing the paint off the sign, he answer Charles' question. "There are two rivers merging into one on this peninsula, actually. That over there, well, people here call it the Archer river. Over on the other side of the Westmarch Living Complex is the Mathes river. Beautiful place to live, don't you think? A place where two things become one thing.

,,

"Also, Doctor Volcov, a pleasure to meet you again. I see you're making friends." He eyed Jame's torn clothing. "My my."

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Archer and Mathes, why does that sound familiar?

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James didn't pursue that though, because he was still too busy wigging out over the river.

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"Two things become one thing, maybe," he replied to Earnest's assessment of his wardrobe, "But they aren't rivers. At least, not water." He held up the cloth strip, though the ice had melted away now. "I dipped this in, and it froze solid after I took it out. I don't have PhD in physics, but I'm pretty sure you can't have water that's as cold as ice without it actually being ice. You have any idea what it is? And why in God's name isn't there some kind of a railing here?!"

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He looked over the group then, to gauge their support. Easier to take on the power when you had some backup.

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Some new people had joined the fold, and while he hadn't really noticed at first, now that he was looking.

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You HAVE to be kidding me.

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The shock made his thought weak, flabby. Somewhere back in the master control room of his brain overload relays were starting to flip, red lights flashed and klaxons were sounding. There was a hard limit to what he could accept, and he was brushing up against it.

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He still remembered her. She'd been bloody then, of course. Her face had looked like something out of a horror novel. He sometimes wondered if that had influenced him at all, in anything he'd written. The savagery that lurks under the surface. Underneath a pretty face, blood and beast.

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He still didn't know her name.

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"Jesus," he breathed. "What are you doing here?"

,,

Not Volkov. Not even the 'good doctor' would ever dream of something like this, or be able to pull it off. Who was he dealing with here?

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It was interesting to have Earnest about, all of a sudden, but Uriel had a discussion he wanted to have, and in privacy. So right now, the Mr. Paul was a liability. Same for Earnest, handyman as he was. You couldn't really be sure how far the influence of Management descended into the staff overall.

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"Yes, well. I was hoping to have a private discussion with those assembled here, save Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Earnest. Could you two not mind giving us some space?" Uriel gave them a polite but pointed look, while keeping his focus around just to make sure no one else would dare the same.

,,
OOC
Notice: Jeremy Fate *rolls* are 1,1,1,-1. The roll total is 2+2 = 4. Result is Great.

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"It's possible," Lien tried not to snap, but dammit, this totally fucked the 'swim away' plan, "but it shouldn't work with something like a river. They move too much and there's not enough pressure to keep them liquid anyways."

,,

She was keeping an eye on Earnest, trying not to glare at him just because he worked here - he might not have anything to do with what was being done to them, but he also might. Dammit, she had hated assignments that were like this. She much preferred the seek and kill missions: simple, direct, and she usually didn't have too much patching up to do at the end. Who the hell makes a frozen river? How the hell do you make two frozen rivers?

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Lien glanced around, trying to figure out who 'Fitzgerald' was and maybe suss out why Uriel didn't want them around either. Maybe they worked for the Complex too? She looked around the area, peering towards the general direction of the front of the complex and wondering how hard it was going to be to jump the fence or take down the guards - and how many civvies she might be dragging along with her that were going to slow things down.

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Agri stared at him. What was his name? She knew the face but his name… John? He’d been there. When she hadn’t been able to stop. When she’d ruined her life in a moment of unrestrained heat, he’d been there. She tall woman could feel the blush creep up her cheeks as she stared at him sulkily.

,,

“I live ‘ere,” she grunted, reaching up to scrape a fingernail along her chin. The bite of her nail on her skin soothed her emotions, grounding her against the embarrassment and fear. She’d done her time. They couldn’t put her back there just because she’d run into someone who’d been there.

,,

“What about you?” The question was a challenge. “What are you doin’ here?”

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Earnest smiled in that disarming way. "You are, of course, free to talk with your friends, but I do have a job to do." He regarded the scrap of shirt that James was waving around. "And it looks like they have a few questions for me."

,,

Earnest regarded his bucket, and walked towards the river. He set in one foot, then the other, dipping his pail in and filling it with water. He regarded it, and nodded, turning to face James.

,,

"I'm not saying you're wrong, of course. You saw what you saw. But you're seeing this too." He mixed in a few chemicals, and waded back to shore, dipping in a sponge to wipe the words away. "The question is why you saw both. For most people here, the sign's enough. Obviously, you're not most people here."

,,

Earnest let his solution soak into the words, and leaned up against the sign. "Questions can get you into trouble around here. Are you sure you want to go asking them?"

,, ,,

This is a Overcome, with Earnest on one side - he's bordering on helping you more directly, but hasn't made up his mind yet. He will oppose with Rapport and you can use relevant persuasion skills to try and overcome him.

,,

Mike *rolls* 4d6: 5+4+4+6: 19

,,

Earnest's initial Rapport roll is a +3 to that, arriving at a +5 total. He will spend a FATE point to invoke a relevant Aspect, "Caretaker of The Complex," to denote where he loyalties ultimately must lie, putting him at a +7 for the first round of the Contest.

,,

To Overcome his +7, you'll only need one roll. This is a nudge down from 3 in an attempt to get this logjam broken. You can either roll directly against the +7, use your skills to Create an Advantage, or use Teamwork (assuming you have a +1 Rapport) to boost another's roll.

Edited by Mike From Nowhere
Redefining it as a simple Overcome action.

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Uriel's eyes narrowed as Earnest made his veiled commentary. Obviously the handyman knew some stuff, and knew about the group Uriel was trying to communicate. On the bright side, he doubted he'd have as much issues getting everyone on the same page (since Volcov and his friend seemed to recognize trouble at the Complex).

,,

The downside, Earnest was quite likely a foe, and making a warning threat. No talking near him. "Who knows?" Uriel told him with a dismissive air. "I'll move my discussion then. I'll leave you to your work, sir."

,,

At this point, the only place he might trust would be his own room. So be it. Uriel began to walk off, looking behind to the others with a straightforward 'You coming?' look.

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James glanced after Uriel, but only glanced. He gave Agrippina a nod. "I live here too." His voice was oddly calm. The shock of seeing her at all was either fading, or getting bulldozed under, or maybe he was just so far past his threshold that more didn't even matter anymore. What Ernest did challenged the basic assumptions he'd made about reality up to this point. But he clung stubbornly to a rock...there is an explanation for this.

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He didn't really care if it was logical anymore.

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"We're way past the point where asking questions is an option, Ernest," he said to the caretaker. His posture straightened a little, unconsciously, and he held his head a little higher. Without thinking about it he'd slipped into the 'character' of Damian Drake. Flubups and issues fell away, leaving only what I want and what I have to do to get it.

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"You have any kids?" he asked. "I did some teaching a while back, and there's this thing that happens when you first open their eyes to something new. You see it in their faces. It's like a light." He made a little 'pop' gesture in front of his face. "I used to love that moment, because I knew right then I had them. They'd listen to anything, watch anything, march around in a circle balancing glasses of colored water...they'd even sit quietly and read...if it meant they'd get to know what that was. The only thing they wouldn't do then, is stop asking questions." He grinned. Damien had an easygoing grin, even when talking about awful things.

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"Now I'm not a lawyer, but I've watched a few TV shows. And I know enough to know that if we're here, in this place, we're already in trouble. Am I right? I mean, if I was to go around making lists of the violations of rights, of laws, of ethics...take your pick, really...I'd be walking around trailing a long line of paper. People'd think I'd just taken a big dump and didn't notice some TP was still stuck to my shoe. That doesn't happen unless you're in trouble."

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"But we're in that trouble now, and anything you can tell us...anything at all...is one less thing we have to risk our necks finding out some other way. We will if we have to. See that light in my face right now? You put it there, and you can't take it back. But if you just tell us what the hell is going on here then maybe you can make sure that we don't get to be this month's lucky drowning victims or plague losses."

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James Duncan uses his 'I Read It In A Book' stunt to substitute Lore for Rapport as he talks about his experiences in teaching, and his understanding of the deep, deep illegalities that this place has to offer.

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SalmonMax Fate *rolls* are 1,0,0,0. The roll total is 1+4 = 5. Result is Superb.

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Not enough to win on its own, but if someone creates an advantage for James, or a couple of people aid his roll with their Rapport, it can still work.

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Dr. Volcov eyed Ernest over James's shoulder. Without looking away he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small notepad upon which he began to write. This wasn't just idle conversation any more. This was official. This was getting recorded. Perhaps at the moment it was more for Ernest's benefit than his own, but it did seem worth while to keep track of 'incidents' going forward.

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"It is unusual to have so may disturbed individuals together in a facility unlicensed for the purpose. Weather or not this place's business is our business there are matters here that bear scrutiny. Your input could be valuable." His monotonous delivery indicated no particular expectation of that input, but then he added somewhat more emphatically. "If you prefer your statements could be kept off the record."

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Using 'What you really want' to sub empathy for rapport. Giving James a +1 to his roll with rapport assist.

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Lien eyed Uriel as he started off, over-sensitive scars of old wounds rubbed raw by his demeanor. She frowned and nodded to Earnest, saying quietly, "My son, my infant son is missing, sir." Lacking a last name to properly address him by, she defaulted to a generic honorific.

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Her dark eyes were shaded with the effort of holding herself back from simply breaking her way through the entire Complex to get answers and find her boy. "His father couldn't care less about him and my family won't recognize Daniel as part of the family. Or me, anymore, for that matter. I'm all Daniel has, and someone has taken him and kept me here, drugged up or something." She shifted the bag on her shoulder; only a tiny portion of her discomfort coming from the weight of the pack. "Help me find my son, Earnest. Please. He's all I have, too."

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Mechanics
+1 to James' Rapport with Teamwork.

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“Or you can side with the assholes who lock people up and steal babies.” The gruff words came out of nowhere as Agri butted into the conversation with her usual tact and grace. The woman pulled a bottlecap out of her pocket and was running her fingers over the scalloped metal edge. “It’d be easier, right? Just smilin’ and cleaning your signs and keeping your head down. Yep, way easier than helping people find out what’s going on, or helping a mom find her kid.”

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The realization that Lien’s kid was missing had caused a shift in the woman. You didn’t take people’s kids from them, especially nice people like Lien. Agri didn’t have very clear memories of the night she spent at Lien’s apartment. But she remembered the mixed shame and relief at being helped by a stranger. Lien was good people, and when Agri was around, you didn’t fuck with good people.

Utilizing Teamwork through Provoke to grant a +1.

Using a Fate Point to get 'er dun.

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OOC
That's a total of +8, which is a success.
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Earnest nodded to each of the group in turn. He didn't pay much attention to Paul - or if he did, he didn't let it on.

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"Of course, I don't need to remind you that you're all here because you signed the rental agreement - and you did, have no question about that. All of you signed. They are more careful about that than you can possibly imagine. They will pull out the paperwork if you push them hard enough, though you might have to wait for them to sort through that system crash and the elevator that isn't working and the troubles back on the homeland. And of course, they'll ask you to return to your apartments while you wait, and I'm guessing you've had enough of those places for the next little while. Too bad. They might be the safest places you have here. But then, if you wanted safety, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

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Earnest resumed cleaning the lettering off the sign. "I will tell you one thing. A lot of the people here just want to get away from it all, and if you poke at them hard enough with a stick, they may poke back. Hard. One of those people who pokes back might even be you and you don't know it yet." He spared a look towards Uriel. "It's the duty of the Managers to make sure everyone is comfortable, so watch whose noses you put out of joint. And be very, very careful what doors you open, and who might be listening at them."

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Earnest stood back from the sign, stretching. "Damn old bones. I'll have to lie down for a spell. You all take care now. I'll be back. Maybe think about that fence James so thoughtfully suggested, if you're all going to insist on running around and making trouble. And if you need help, you go right ahead and call the Operator. They're always listening."

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Earnest made his way off. The sign was cleaned of much of its paint, but not all. Earnest had left a little behind, one blob shaped like a "7" and the other like an "E."

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An apartment address, on the very top floor of the Complex. James and Charles recalled it the most clearly, but even they never recalled it being open...

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* * *

This Was

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Episode One
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
So is a lot.
- Albert Einstein
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