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Founding Erewhon


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Just as a note, my kids have been playing "Bullshit Aberrant" for a little over a year, on Saturdays, with some friends.  Four color, loosey goosey rules, no death...   So, not Aberrant really.  But, I'm running it, and so they know the setting a fair bit, and they have a general idea of the rules.  So, I ended the game (one of the kids was little booger who I frankly could live just find without having him in my house.  Not why I ended it, just a side benefit), and started one with their mom and me and them.  Family Aberrant.  Huzzah! am I right?!  So, a serious game.  And, as a means of them learning the rules, and a bonus of us living here together and them wanting to play pretty much whenever, I thought it would be a good idea for them to play as baselines for a bit.  Perhaps longer than most of you would have patience for.  Heh.  And frankly, while 2008 setting is really, really cool, as many of you know, I have always been more interested In the Beginning of the Nova Age.  Sorry.  So, the game is set in October, 1997. 

Also, just to mention, about three years ago I invited some friends from the pawn shop where I used to work over to try this game they had heard me talk about, Dungeons and Dragons.  I was super pumped they wanted to play, and I got very into it.  Like, made a video into it.  Yeah.  So, I kept a detailed record of the first, like 12 sessions before I realized that they liked the game, but were nowhere near geeking about it like I was.  Well, this past Tuesday, that group (Pawndemonium!! Hardcore!!) hit level 19.  I promised them that I would end it at level 20, and we could play something else, so the end is in sight.  And, man do I wish I had continued keeping that record.  What a memento that would have made!  So, I decided that for my Famberrant (can that be a thing?  maybe?) game, I was going to keep a record.  Not over at Obsidian Portal, where no one will read it, and even fewer people will care, but here, the HOME of Aberrant gaming.

This is my record of our first session. I'm sure I won't be able to help getting into some dialogue and detail, for characterization purposes and to swagger a bit, but my intention is a straight-forward summary of events. Enjoy, don't, whatever.

Our story began with Renee Ketterer, the young inventor whose cellular technology was the leading in-car phone this quarter.  A millionaire who tonight was fulfilling a lifelong dream at Edison International Field in Los Angeles.  She grinned brilliantly as she took the field, waving her poms with the rest of the team.  The music swelled, the crowd stomped and yelled, and the stadium rocked. Renee fell into the familiar routine.  This wasn't some rich girl fantasy night, she doubted a single woman on the squad knew of her patents.  She had worked hard and tried out with everyone else, and made the team the hard way.  This was a once in a lifetime experience, and she had earned it.  Her heart rate soared with the strenuous dance routine, and the adrenaline of the moment.  She stepped sideways, on beat, and ran towards Emily, who was headed her way at the same flat-out run.  Hands up, then down and over, and over and over. With a well-timed hand to the small of her back, she sprang to the top of the tower of people that had been constructed out of sweat and muscle, landing perfectly in place. She waved her pom over her head as the music died. Suddenly, she was falling, and tucked herself into the familiar limp 'V' to be caught by expert hands before she came near the ground. She and the team improvised enthusiastic cheers, a denouement marking the end of the routine.  Renee was thrilled with life, with her success, with the rush of the crowd.  She staggered abruptly, as a bolt of intense pain swept through her head. Thought vanished as she gripped her head and screamed.


Dr. Samantha Strange was attempting to ignore Keith throwing wadded up balls of paper at her while she tried to get a cup of coffee, but the asshole made it hard with his deadly aim.  Even more ridiculous was that the paper he was shredding was her detailed diagnosis for the young boy in Room 4.  She would have told him where exactly he could put the email if he didn't like it, but Keith Espinoza was Chief of Surgery, and Samantha very much liked her job.  She smiled a tight smile as he mocked her diagnosis.

"Left Occipital?  I know you get right to it, and that's how you work, but you didn't even consider the shadow on the Medulla?"  He threw a wad, which bounced off her nose and into her coffee.  "I mean the X-Ray showed a dime-sized shadow on the Medulla, but that didn't catch your attention?"  He threw a wad, which missed her face but caught in loose strands of her raven hair. "Strange? Do I have your attention now?" She opened her mouth to speak.

"Dr. Strange!  Oh, Dr Espinoza, yes, hello," Dr. Walsh, a friend to Samantha, was his usual stammering worst in front of the Chief of Surgery, who thought little of Robert Walsh as a man, and even less so as a doctor.

"Yes, what is it, spit it out."

"Um.  The, er, MRI is uh, well it's done... and, uh..."

"Oh, for the love-"

"You should both see this," Dr. Walsh gestured down the hallway.  Samantha met Dr. Espinoza's gaze.

Espinoza grabbed an apple on his way out of the break room, and Samantha followed mutely.  In the radiology suite, a dozen x-rays were splayed out on a wall of light, but  Dr. Walsh pointed out on a squat monitor the results of the MRI.  At only 2" thick, this was state of the art equipment, and Walsh had been a strong proponent of the upgrade; he was rightfully proud of it, and knew the computer modelling better than anyone outside Radiology.

"As you can see from the scan, the shadow on the Medulla Oblongata is benign, a surface pooling of fluid that will almost certainly clear on its own," Walsh began excitedly, "But here, in the left Occipital Lobe, fairly deep actually, is-" he glanced at Dr. Espinoza suddenly, as the Chief of Surgery leaned between Walsh and Strange to get a better look at the screen. Espinoza took a big bite of the apple. "a.. uh... an actual um..."

"Yeah.  You were right, Strange.  Good call."  Espinoza threw his apple in a can, loudly, and strode from the room.

Walsh smiled wanly at Strange.  Samantha smiled.

"Scrub in."


The boat sounded the little horn that always made Lucia laugh, two hoots.  Carrie glanced at her friend and was rewarded with her infectious giggle.  Carrie rubbed her hands together, grinning.  It was more than the laugh, it was always exciting just before the dive.  Especially now.  She looked up to the railing where the captain of this little vessel was leaning over, peering at the team.

"We are here?" Carrie asked. Captain Zameel Al-Zahra gave a brilliant smile in return.

"Yes, these are the coordinates we were given," he agreed genially, in heavily accented English, "You go now to see, yes?"

"Oh, yes.  Mikkel, you have the sonar and radio up top. Aidan, Lucia, with me."  The broad-shouldered Norseman nodded seriously, and though she couldn't see their faces, she knew that Aidan and Lucia were becoming similarly sober.  Up until now, Zameel had been in charge, but on the dive it was up to them.  They took their work seriously.

Carrie, Aidan, and Lucia went over the side, into the icy waters of the North Sea.  Carrie pulled hard, kicking strongly, and she was soon leading in truth, down into the murky depths. The suit protected them some from the bitter cold, but it was still frigid.  The exercise of diving helped, and before long, they had reached the trench.  Carrie's heart sank as she spied the U-2, broken and silent on the floor of the sea.  Very cool Nazi find, but not exactly what they were looking for. She felt a touch on her arm, and looked where Lucia pointed with her lamp.  The broken stump of the Skeid's mast poked up from the ruined Viking longship, and Carrie exulted.  She kicked hard for the ship, and her team followed.  Ignoring the ornate prow, Carrie made for a hatch near the stern of the vessel.

Awkwardly, she tried to pry the hatch open.  Aidan tried to assist, bracing against the decking of the boat, but slipped on the coated icy wood, smashing his face against a frozen oar bench. His mask askew, he pointed up and began kicking towards the surface.  Protocol was she went with him, but she glanced to Lucia, who waved her off and settled in beside her, taking a grip on the edges of the hatch.  Together, the young women pulled open the ancient trapdoor.

Carrie made her way into the crawlspace, a very narrow and shallow inner deck that was remarkably well preserved.  Carrie estimated the Skeid was likely almost a thousand years old. Finally, Carrie found a rotting chest, tumbled under a frozen wooden frame.  She maneuvered the frame off of the chest, and tried to pry it open. After a couple of sharp blows to the lock with a small pick, the chest opened. Carrie pawed through the coins spilling out of the chest, and ignored the gilded horn.  She paused at a parcel of frozen rotted rags, and as gently as possible, pried the stiff cloth away, revealing a fist-sized diamond.  The Eye of Odzus. 

She gazed at the stone in awe for a moment, until a flash of light crossed her face.  Lucia was signalling from the other end of the crawlspace.  A tinny beeping reminded Carrie that she was on a quarter of her tank, and she hurriedly stuffed the Eye into a velcroed pouch. She squirmed back to the hatch.  Lucia raised her hands to either side of her head, shrugging. Did you find anything? Carrie patted her pouch, and Lucia gave her a thumbs-up. They pushed off the boat, swimming for the surface.

Something about just leaving the Skeid, a trove of archaeologically significant artifacts, just rubbed her wrong.  She knew that she had been hired for a specific reason, and she was happy to retrieve the artifacts she was sent to recover, but she always felt a bit wistful about it.  Maybe that's why she looked back.

A motion caught her attention, near the hatch.  She paused, and Lucia kept going, oblivious that Carrie was not close behind her.  Carrie shone her light back into the murk they had just come out of, sweeping right and then left of the door.  Nothing.  As the light swept back across the hatch, however, it reflected in twin yellow eyes peering out of the hatch. Carrie started, and the eyes came forward from the darkness, revealing a man-like creature with greenish-grey scales and fins on either side of its misshapen face. Carrie turned, already stroking hard towards the boat, but even as she turned, she saw the creature move with unnatural speed in her direction. Frantic, she swam, harder than she had ever before.

The dim shape of the boat appeared before her, growing larger and more distinct.  She was shrieking into her regulator, hoping that she would make it, when she jerked to a sudden stop.  She looked frantically down to see the clawed grip of the creature on her leg.  Its yellow eyes shone with intelligence, and it was looking at the pouches on her belt. Carrie was hit with a loop of rope, attached to a long pole, suddenly thrust down from the surface. She went limp with relief as the creature let go of her leg.  It looked at her for what felt like a long time, and then turned, swimming away at an astonishing speed.

She babbled incoherently to her team as they pulled her from the water.



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