GURPS: Red Sky

White Trash, Chapter 3

Monday, August 8, 2014

Devon_energy_center_on_Fire.JPGHaving relocated from the back seat of Detective Gray’s cruiser, Brandon Harris finds himself explaining to the police officer how he found himself in the position he was just rescued from. When Gray asks in an exasperated tone what the hell Harris was looking for, Brandon considers for a moment before deciding to just tell the cop the entire story. Gray is suitably surprised when he realizes Brandon is telling the truth – should he call Harris ‘Father’ or not – but ultimately shakes his head and agrees that he might be able to help out a little bit. Abruptly, Gray breaks off, frowning at a suspicious-looking van which he promptly decides to follow. They trail the van downtown until it reaches Devon Tower … and then, abruptly, they have a ringside seat to the explosion at the top! Armed gunman spill out of the van and Detective Gray doesn’t hesitate – he calls the situation in before leaping out to engage the shooters!

This leaves Brandon alone, though he wisely scrambles out of the car to seek cover from the sudden explosion of gunfire stemming from Gray’s attack. As he casts around for a weapon, a stray bullet pings off the detective’s trunk, popping it and revealing an arsenal that is clearly not standard-issue. Brandon snatches a pistol and then looks around for something else to do … at which point, he observes a veritable horde of cats sitting on the other side of the street, all staring in one direction. Following their gazes, he is surprised to discover Sofía Torres advancing toward a parking garage which just happens to be where he sees Jack Carter enter, gun drawn. Tugged along by something he does not quite understand, Brandon moves to join them both.

Summoned by a park ranger, Howard Lee follows her to where the other rangers have assembled in the cabin they have turned into their command center. The very first thing that Howard notices is just how intense and frankly overpowering all smells are inside the small cabin – it is frankly difficult for him to even breathe – but the next thing that draws his attention is how eager everyone is. A camcorder has been found at the site where one of the Scouts was murdered and now the rangers are trying to find a way to play it back on the their television.

LaurelIricer.jpgSeveral long minutes pass as the rangers work, during which time Lee struggles to get accustomed to the intense smells. Once the camcorder is hooked up, the video plays out, revealing exactly what Howard fears: Robert Mankiller, visibly enraged, smashes away at something that is very likely a Boy Scout. Lee cannot help but to notice how almost feral he looks, and a moment later, he (along with everyone else) is surprised when an unfamiliar-looking woman enters the video frame. She exchanges words with Robert that the camcorder does not pick up, but then, to everyone’s surprise, she simply touches Robert who promptly collapses. Without even seeming to strain, she hefts Mankiller and exits off frame.

And suddenly, everyone’s phones begin ringing. Howard picks up his – it is his boss, Agent Curtmantle – who orders him back to Oklahoma City at top speed. Lee acknowledges the instruction and, before he departs, exercises his authority to take the camcorder evidence.

In Oklahoma City, outside the Devon Tower, Brandon and Sofía approach the parking garage and when they do, Carter hears them. He turns and once again, he sees things he normally would not. To his eyes, Brandon is a column of light, so brilliant that it is physically painful to look upon. At the same time, Sofía’s body seems comprised entirely of flame, a human torch if you will. To them, his eyes go pitch black, darker than dark and swallowing up all light. The moment passes for everyone.

Acting quickly, the three strip several of the dead men of their gear and don it themselves. They also place the bodies (and extra weapons) in the van and lock it up before rushing forward through the stairwell. On the other side, they are all disgusted to realize that there is another door, and on the other side of it, they discover a pair of armed men who promptly fire.

It is a sharp, fierce skirmish, with multiple rounds exchanged. Sofía displays astounding cunning with her use of magery, protecting herself from bullets long enough for Jack to drop one of the shooters before Sofía blasts the second with fire. After securing the fool, they interrogate him harshly, learning only a name: Malvora. And at the moment, none of them recognize the name.

Now on the road in his Dodge Charger, Howard is hauling ass down the interstate. By this point, he has learned about the explosion and is having a hands-free discussion with his boss. Even at this high rate of speed, it will take over an hour for him to reach OKC.

Into the Tower the trio enter. Straight away, Sofía realizes that magic is remarkably intense here, so much so that it might actually be dangerous for her to cast. She does not relate this to the others, of course. They enter the lobby.

Suddenly, dozens of bystanders come rushing back from the front entrance, panicking at the sight of more armed figures. A squad of heavily armed shooters appear, almost immediately going for their guns. A brief Mexican stand-off occurs, but Brandon steps up, dazzling the shooters with bullshit. He convinces these shooters that he’s in charge and they should listen to him before issuing orders for them to go secure the rear entrance. A Malvora was there, he mentions, and the shooters rush to obey Mr. Harris.

For a moment, the three look at each other with surprise – none of them, including Brandon, actually expected that to work! – but Brandon and Sofía catch sight of a woman upstairs. Unbeknownst to them, she is the same person that Lee has observed in the video recording and the one that Jack is pursuing. But before either of them can point this out, a body falls out of the sky, smashing through the lobby skylight! It strikes the unyielding floor with a hollow boom of fracturing bones and blood.

And then, it starts to stand…

GM Notes:

  • Really, really late recap. I could blame a lot of things, but it’s mostly me.
  • Was not satisfied with this installment. Various reasons – crappy GMing, too many distractions, etc. – but overall, it just suck. One big reason is that I screwed up – originally, I intended to ensure that anyone could be absent without the game grinding to a halt, but I stupidly didn’t plan for that in this arc so … here we are. I’ve also neared the point where I need to take a breather from GMing (which fortunately is right around the corner following this arc.)
  • Jack officially gained a super-power: he’s now “Illuminated” which will allow him to recognize supernatural critters on sight but it is currently Unconscious and Unreliable. Plus, he must make a PER check.
  • Going on an unscheduled two or three week break due to numerous player absences. On the bright side, that should give me an opportunity to get the next session written so (hopefully) it doesn’t suck.



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