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Old 01-23-2012, 10:38 PM   #21
D10
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In Rio de Janeiro, where it was cyberpunk before it was cool.
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Eagerly awaiting for the next =)
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:07 PM   #22
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

LATER.

Let us look a few weeks ahead in time, to the early part of July of 1925. There
we find three Aces, Nathaniel Conners, Brady Joneson, and a recruit added to the
team since it was founded, a young man by the name of Andrew McNee. McNee
had been a relatively new recruit, an Ace only for a year, but he had been added
to this team by Conners because he was a Chicago native.

The three were in the Main Hall, in their guises as security personnel, when what
happened finally happened. It was late evening after a Saturday which had seen
a heavy attendance, now the Breymont was quiet, and at the clock struck eleven
p.m., most of the current shift were ready to leave. The Aces were no exception
to that, but as it happened it would be some time before any of them managed it.

The first warning was a power failure, as all the lights in the building
went out at once. This, of course, immediately made the security
personnel of the different stripes suspicious, even as the backup power
came on, filling the room with dim light, guns left their holsters and
various police, inspectors, private security men, and sundry moved to
protect the exhibits from whatever threat might be at hand.

At first, there appeared to be nothing untoward going on, and after the
passage of a few minutes, the security teams began to relax, suspecting
that whatever had happened was simply some sort of technical problem
with the electricity. Indeed, the lights were out in nearby buildings as
well, and to all appearances there had simply been a local blackout.
About an hour later, the main line power returned, and nothing whatever
seemed to be out of order as the security men inspected the precious
items that were their charge.

Just as Conners was relaxing, however, Joneson came to him and said,
in a low intense whisper, “Chief, we’ve got trouble!”

Glancing rapidly and unobviously around to make sure nobody was
standing near, Conners said, “I was afraid you were going to say that.
What’s happened?”

“I don’t know, chief, but one of Howie’s gizmos is flashing trouble.
You’d better get him over here so he can figure out what his machine
picked up.”

‘Howie’, of course, was a nickname most of the senior Aces used for
Howard Lake, their chief technical officer, technician, and general
science man. A ‘jack of all trades’, he was well-versed enough that he
could usually either answer the questions the Aces had to raise in the
course of their work, or to know quickly who they had to see and where
they had to go to find the answers when he himself could not.

He was also a wizard at adapting various machines to unusual uses, and
ever since the Aces had arrived in Chicago on their maddeningly vague
mission, Conners had asked Lake to apply his unusual gifts to their problem.
Lake had considered the situation and then installed several peculiar
devices of his own construction in the Breymont Museum and in the area
immediately around that Museum building.

At that time, Lake as asleep in his hotel room, but he was quickly rousted
and when he arrived at the Breymont, he went to the small fourth-story
room where they had set up his equipment. Most of his peculiar devices
had remained silent and dark during the power failure, but one device
had begun to flash a bright light almost at the moment the power failed. [1]

The device in question was a strange-looking machine, even by the
standards of the odd devices Howard Lake had assembled in the past.
Large masses of coiled wire were interspersed with glass rods, tubes of
liquids, and strangely shaped polyhedral bits of metal. A modified
phonographic mechanism spun slowly, spinning what Conners knew to
be sheets of thin copper made out of salvaged equipment from a
junkyard. Tubes of cast iron, an inch or so across and the height of a
tall man, were interspersed here and there throughout the machinery.

The entire apparatus filled several cubic yards of volume, with clusters
of cables that led to a row of small light bulbs resting on the tiny desk at
one side of the room.

Conners, after looking at the machine for a moment, decided it looked
like the offspring of some unholy union between a radio transmitter and
a steam calliope.

The row of bulbs was mounted in a single rigged base, and of those seven bulbs,
three were burning. As soon as he saw that, when he came into the room,
Lake gasped and his eyes widened in shock. His former sleep-fogged
state vanished as he ran to the machine and began to examine the workings
frantically, muttering to himself as he did this.

“I don’t believe it! It’s got to be a mistake!”

What has to be a mistake, Howie?” Conners demanded. “What
does that contraption actually do?!”

Lake ran a hand through his prematurely thinning hair, and said, “It’s
really just mostly an experiment, Nate. Me and some of the guys from
SG-7 were talking about those damned mental powers we’ve seen
sometimes, like their top kick can do, or that guy we encountered in
Russia a while back. We just kept going back and forth over it, and we
started coming up with some ideas. There were some magnetic effects,
and we noticed that some metals seemed to act funny in some experiments
we did. So we started thinking about how to do something with that.”

He felt silent again, staring at the workings. “It all seems to be working
right, but I don’t know if I believe it.”

“Believe
what? Howard, tell me what this machine does, please,
in as few plain English words as you can.”

“It’s a detector, Nate. If it worked right, it was supposed to pick up
whenever some guy used those weird abilities. It’s something I put
together based on the ideas we worked out the last time I met up with
their science people in London, when you told me to try everything I
could think of, I decided it might be a long shot but I could at least put
this thing together and try it out.

“But those lights tell me that this thing actually picked up something
earlier tonight. There’s a timer in there too, it won’t tell us much but it
will show when the current first flowed to the bulbs...”

Lake leaned over one of the mechanical timers that Conners now saw
were linked to the base holding the bulbs.

“According to this,” Lake said, his voice muffled because he was leaning
over so far, “the bulbs came on at 23:35. Does that sound right?”

“About five minutes after the lights went out,” Conners said grimly.
“Howie, I want you to go over this thing and make triple-sure it’s working
right, so we can be as sure as we can we’re not on a wild goose chase.
How long will that take?

“Can do, Nate. I can probably give you as good an answer as we’re
going to get by sunup. But remember, this thing is experimental, I mean
brand-new, not even really ready to be tested yet, and on top of that I
slapped this machine together out of what parts I could cobble together
on short notice. So even if it worked the way I think it’s supposed to, I
wouldn’t bet too much on anything it detected.”

“Go to it anyway, Howie,” Conners said. “Bob McLaird had some kind
of hunch something was going to happen here, this is the first sign we’ve
had that he might be right. Even if this thing is unreliable, it’s an
interesting coincidence that it went off right when the power failed. That’s
worth a second look.”

Lake nodded. “I’ll get started, but remember that there’s a chance that
the power failure
itself might have set this thing off somehow, if
there was a surge in the line or if something shorted and spewed a lot
of radio noise or something. This thing is about as far from a precision
instrument as its possible to be!”

“I understand that, Howie,” Conners said. “But we’re going to assume
that this meant something until we can show that it didn’t. The
coincidence is enough to make my alarms go off. Meantime, we’re
going to see what supposedly caused the power outage.”

Turning to Joneson, Conners said, “Brady, get to work on that, I want to know
what the guys from the power company say happened.”

Conners continued issuing orders, as the Aces began to pursue their first clue in
their entire vague mission. Where that lead might take them, we shall soon see.

MORE LATER.


[1] Needless to say, Lake’s machines had a separate power supply, specifically
an array of batteries.

Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 01-23-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:39 AM   #23
Jasonft
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

The plot thickens...

I wonder just how many factions are currently (as of this point in this thread and on this planet) running around with advanced access to psi and flux. There has to be something almighty important going on in the shadows we haven't seen yet, or a couple of nigh-immortal Atlantean avatars would surely have squashed Unity like a bug by now.

Some would argue that last point, but does anyone really think that a guy who was one of the most powerful fluxons on the planet over 5,000 years ago *and* who had a pretty good idea at the time of what they were facing in Unity *and* carries a really big grudge against it could not obliterate it from the planet if he was unopposed by other fluxons? Feh.

He/ they must be massively distracted by something. Probably several somethings. And likely more than one of these somethings has ties off-planet as the mass Atlantean death scream got a LOT of attention from the galactic stage... and many of those groups regularly think in terms of millennia when plotting.

I look forward to finding out. :)
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:43 PM   #24
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonft View Post
The plot thickens...

I wonder just how many factions are currently (as of this point in this thread and on this planet) running around with advanced access to psi and flux. There has to be something almighty important going on in the shadows we haven't seen yet, or a couple of nigh-immortal Atlantean avatars would surely have squashed Unity like a bug by now.
Oh, believe you me, they've been trying. Zadatharion and Aradel would just love to take out the Unity. Of course, like many things, that's easier said than done.

Quote:

Some would argue that last point, but does anyone really think that a guy who was one of the most powerful fluxons on the planet over 5,000 years ago *and* who had a pretty good idea at the time of what they were facing in Unity *and* carries a really big grudge against it could not obliterate it from the planet if he was unopposed by other fluxons? Feh.
Well, that would be true enough, except for a couple of things. Zadatharion and Aradel could almost surely annihilate the Unity...if they could find it before it got too big! Remember, no matter how big your gun, you still need to know where to aim it, and the Unity is very good at hiding itself amid humanity. After all, its individual components are physically human, for the most part. To distinguish one from a true human requires either TL9+ technology or very specialized esper skills (or the assistance of some dogs).

If the Unity grows too big, manages to achieve sufficient size, then killing it becomes all but impossible unless you can gather all its 'members' in spot somehow.

And remember that the Unity is also hunting Zadatharion and Aradel, it's trying to take them out too...and it has a hard time finding and cornering them long enough to do the deed, too. It's a big, big world, full of people, full of things, full of hiding places. Both sides know how to use that fact.

But you're right, there are other players in the game too, in various places around the world. There are places in the world where most people don't even know the world has places, too. Various people, and various things, have chips in the game. The United States Government has only just realized the game is going on in the 1920s, the Seven Aces are America's representatives in the hidden wars...and even they don't understand the game they're playing yet.

Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 01-24-2012 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:23 PM   #25
D10
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In Rio de Janeiro, where it was cyberpunk before it was cool.
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Brazil will never get into the game :( I do think many people who do, have vested interest in having a base here tho.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:47 PM   #26
Jasonft
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Well, I was pretty sure there had to be multiple other players in the Great Game (to steal a phrase) when you remarked over in the psychic phenomena thread how patience and knowing how to ask the right questions can get you almost any information you desire from the Matrix via Flux manipulation.

Zadatharion and Aradel could, in theory, if acting unopposed, spend a decade or so asking questions of the Matrix until they had learned enough to define their queries/ commands sufficiently that they could build a Unity detector. Or even just make a really big Flux ritual that interferes with or targets anything linked to that specific group mind. The possibilities are endless given the level of Flux mastery those two (and by extension their acolytes) would have by this point.

Or to put it another way: Unity cannot manipulate Flux. Zadatharion and Aradel can and would be willing to burn through every last Flux point they had rooting it out - unless they had other enemies just as threatening as Unity.

Which is a truly scary thought all on it's own...
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:59 PM   #27
D10
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In Rio de Janeiro, where it was cyberpunk before it was cool.
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Yes, but the unity is a telepathic entity, and the matrix has trouble emulating telepathy for fluxons, to say the least.

Also, the inability to kill her unless you kill thousands of people around the world at the exact same time makes fighting her much more cumbersome, even if you managed to reliably detect them, at which range would that be ? the unity can have contacts informing her that this sort of action is being taken, and stay away from detection zones.

The unity was created by an Eldren under freakish circumstances, even for Zadatharian and Aradel its hard to conceive a question that would result in a definitive answer.

Also remember that the Eldren that crafted her even if in a relatively powerless state could still have made asking about her very shrouded in the flux.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:15 PM   #28
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

LATER.

Over the course of the following twenty-four hours, the Seven Aces gathered what
information they could about a maddeningly sketchy situation. Twenty-four nearly
sleepless hours yielded all too little in the way of real information, but they did
learn a few things that they felt might have meant something, if they just knew
how to fit them together.

The other security people had of course investigated the power outage. As far as
the power company reported, a car had driven into a transformer and knocked out
power to the entire neighborhood. The driver, who showed every sign of being
in a state of advanced (and illegal) inebriation, had died in the crash. The damage
to the transformer, as opposed to the driver, had been modest and easily restored.

The Aces themselves quietly spoke to the power company employees, and to the
local police, confirming that this version of events did appear to be accurate. As
to where the driver might have obtained such an illegal substance as alcohol
based beverages, we might trust the word of Anthony McNee, the Chicago native
who was the (relatively) new recruit to the Seven Aces.

“You have to be kidding. I could name fifteen places within twenty blocks of the
crash spot where you could buy whiskey, rum, several kinds of wine, pilsners,
lagers, moonshine, and a couple of places where you can get absinthe, and I’ve
been away from home for a while.”

In the meantime, Howard Lake went over his invention, itself a home-brewed
creation, and found that it was indeed in proper working order...as far as that
proved anything. The inventor was far from filled with confidence in his own
invention, he was sure neither of its accuracy nor its reliability. He was not, as
a matter of fact, even confident in the concepts upon which it was based.

Still, it had detected something. Lake was far from sure that whatever had made
his detector react was what was supposed to make it react, however. Still,
the coincidence was enough to lead Conners to have Lake check all of the other
instruments he had installed when they first arrived. For the most part, they had
all detected nothing during the blackout, but there was an exception other than
the home-brewed psychic activity detector.

When Conners had tasked his chief technical man to install everything he could
think of that might be useful, Lake had taken this to heart, and among the devices
in place were vibration detectors, and these had picked up something at the same
time that the psychic detector had reacted: during the short electrical blackout.

What made this strange what that the vibrations the device had picked up within
the frame and floor of the building had been fairly noticeable, and at wavelengths
that would be easily audible if they were waves in the air. Despite that, nobody
had heard anything untoward during the blackout!

The combination of the two positives, each with its own peculiarity, was enough
to convince Conners that something had happened, but he had no idea of
what. They double-checked all the International Treasures exhibits, but as far
as they could tell, nothing had been touched.

It was Conners himself who noticed the discrepancy, partly by luck and partly by
virtue of a growing talent for spotting things that ‘did not fit’. The moment came
a few days after the blackout.

The luck consisted of the fact that he happened to be standing up on the balcony
around the Main Hall at a time when the lighting was especially bright. This was
not anything out of the ordinary, it simply so happened that the Museum staff had
been planning to install replacement lighting for the exhibition, but the schedule
had fallen behind and the new lighting had to be installed after the exhibition had
begun. This was inconvenient for the Museum, but by no means a huge problem,
they simply arranged to close the showing early one evening and bringing in the
staff to install the new lights after hours.

Conners was on the balcony, in his guise as authorized private security, watching
the installation. All the laborers performing the work had been checked out, but
Conners still wanted to watch. As it happened, the installation went smoothly,
without the slightest hitch or sign of anything out of order. The installation crew
turned on the new lights to test them before they began removing the older and
dimmer lights, and so for a short time all the lights were on at once, illuminating
the Main Hall with an almost harsh brilliance that blazed over the displays.

Conners, standing on the balcony, happened to look down at the displays spread
across the floor of the Main Hall, and it was then that his developing sense of ‘it
just does not look right’ was triggered. The brilliant glow shimmered across the
display cases, but it also revealed that there was something peculiar about a
case near the center of the Main Hall.

“Son of a bitch!” Conners whispered to himself, as he suddenly had a suspicion, a
wild thought, about what just might have happened during that blackout.

Conners took off running for the phone, to call in his men.

MORE LATER.

Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 01-24-2012 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:44 PM   #29
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonft View Post
Well, I was pretty sure there had to be multiple other players in the Great Game (to steal a phrase) when you remarked over in the psychic phenomena thread how patience and knowing how to ask the right questions can get you almost any information you desire from the Matrix via Flux manipulation.

Zadatharion and Aradel could, in theory, if acting unopposed, spend a decade or so asking questions of the Matrix until they had learned enough to define their queries/ commands sufficiently that they could build a Unity detector. Or even just make a really big Flux ritual that interferes with or targets anything linked to that specific group mind. The possibilities are endless given the level of Flux mastery those two (and by extension their acolytes) would have by this point.

Or to put it another way: Unity cannot manipulate Flux. Zadatharion and Aradel can and would be willing to burn through every last Flux point they had rooting it out - unless they had other enemies just as threatening as Unity.

Which is a truly scary thought all on it's own...
Keep in mind, too, that the Unity can't use the Flux on its own (though it badly wants to!) but it certainly has fluxons working for it. They can confuse the issue enormously.

Yeah, you can get information by using the Flux...but the question needs to be very specific, and there are defenses against such uses. The more specific your target and the more you already know, the more you can get...but remember that using the Flux is also dangerous and 'expensive' even for the very best at it. 'Saturation questioning' is not a practical option, especially if your targeting is vague. You'd soon burn up your Flux Points and go into negative territory, and risk nasty side effects.

Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 01-24-2012 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:00 AM   #30
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)

Quote:
Originally Posted by D10 View Post
Brazil will never get into the game :( .
Don't be so sure about that. After all, where is the Amazon basin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D10 View Post
The unity was created by an Eldren under freakish circumstances, even for Zadatharian and Aradel its hard to conceive a question that would result in a definitive answer.

Also remember that the Eldren that crafted her even if in a relatively powerless state could still have made asking about her very shrouded in the flux.
Precisely. Like Zadatharion and Aradel, the Unity also has the backing of the a faction among the gods, so to speak.

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