Agni Pays A Visit
An elevator door opens in an office building. A young man gets out, walks in through the main doors of an insurance company, and, exchanging nods with the receptionist proceeds into the office. Through the window beyond we see the North Saskatchewan river valley, the High Level Bridge, and a bit of the dome of the Ledge.
As he walks to his cubicle, there is the bzzzt-bzzzt of a cell phone set to vibrate coming from his pocket. He glances furtively around, and seeing that nobody is watching, he ducks into a janitor’s closet, and takes out the phone.
“Agni.” he answers.
“It’s Anika.” she says. Her side of the split panel shows an office of the ANWPP. She is not in uniform, so is likely a civilian employee. “We just got notified that the Posse has captured a more senior operative of the feds. He seems to know a fair bit about some of their operations. I thought it might be relevant to your investigation.”
“Thanks. I’ll head down there right away. Let them know I’m coming, okay?”
“Sure. I hope you find her.”
“Me too. Bye.”
He slips, unseen, out of the closet, and goes to a co-worker’s cubicle, stopping at his own desk for a file on the way. “I need a favour, Tom. Can you cover for me at the presentation?”
“That’s in an hour!” Tom blurts.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, but its urgent. Here’s the file. Thanks.”
Its too late, he has already left. With an exasperated sigh, Tom starts studying the file. Out the window, behind him, we see a streak of fire climb into the sky, and turn south.
It is 8:30 AM by the time Psyclist, Hammer and Polly return to the safe house. They are all exhausted after being up all night, and head off to bed.
At 9:03 AM Hammer’s phone rights. It is Della’s ring. He answers it groggily.
“Mike!” she exclaims, “Where ARE you! Are you … you ARE coming in to work today?”
“‘m in bed” Mike mumbles.
“You need to get bright eyed and bushy tailed tout suite!” she says, “You have a meeting with a new client at 10:30! And, I shouldn’t have to say, after spending all that time captured your cash flow is non-existent. You NEED this job!”
“OK,” Mike says, starting to wake up. “What are the details.”
“You know Marco Esposito, the kajillionaire construction mogul? Some kids broke in and stole his Ferrari last week, totalling it. He wants a new security system installed, like yesterday. He left a voice mail. You are SO LUCKY I looked at them this morning. You NEED this job! Anyways, he’s out of town, but I have arranged for you to meet his major-domo at the estate at 10:30.”
“What’s the address?”
Della tells him. Its a rural estate in Springbank. “And for God’s sake CLEAN UP before you go. You sound like you were out partying all night. He has a reputation for being picky about his employee’s appearance.”
Mike grabs coffee from the kitchen, and heads out. He passes Stick on the way, and tells him where he’s going. Then he heads home, changes clothes, and leaves for the Esposito Estate.
At about 9:15 AM, Stick’s cell phone rings. It’s the mayor’s office, telling him that Agni is on his way down to interview their prisoner. Stick makes it to City Hall by 10:00. Agni and a Calgary Police Service detective are waiting for him. Agni seems impatient. “Stick!” he says, bit more curtly than is appropriate, but then continues more amiably “Thank you for meeting me. I need to interview your prisoner.”
Stick looks a bit confused. “He’s not really my prisoner,” he says, looking at the detective, “he’s in police custody”.
Agni says “Yes, but the police tell me he is uncooperative and un-communicative. The only way they learned of the explosives was through your telepath’s interrogation.”
“Explosives? Our who’s WHAT?!?!?” Stick says, caught totally by surprise.
The detective refers to his notes. “Our video and audio recording of the interrogation shows Hammer asking the questions, but no response from the prisoners. We have Psyclists notes, he got plenty out of him, including the presence of those explosives. Without that it is quite likely that a homeless person would have wandered in and blown that whole block sky high, if not today, then tomorrow or the next day. It is also a popular location for junkies to shoot up. Having that go off would have been a major catastrophe, the bomb squad is estimating that there were TWO TONS of ANFO in that basement. That would have levelled not just that block, but the facing buildings as well.”
“And this is OK?” Stick asks the detective.
“Legal has reviewed the circumstances and the interrogation tapes, and determined that no crime has been committed, and no CPS policies have been breached.”
“Which really means that there are no laws or policies against it yet!” Stick retorts.
“Um, well, yes …” the detective responds.
Agni continues, “I’m looking into Cassandra’s disappearance.”
“Cassandra has disappeared?” Stick asks.
“Yes.” Agni recounts the circumstances, and his suspicions that Harbour has her. ”I need to know what this guy knows about it.”
“I don’t think its appropriate to just go rummaging around in someone’s mind” Stick says.
Agni looks at the detective. “Can we have the room, please.”
The detective looks surprised, but agrees. He picks up his things and heads out into the hall.
“It is not widely known,” Agni says, “but Cassandra and I are together.”
“And you’ll do anything to get her back?” Stick asks.
“Yes, of course. Sometimes, though, hot-heads like me need to have a voice of reason, someone like you, to keep us level.”
Stick sits down, and thinks for a moment. Then pulls out his phone and calls Psyclist. He briefly explains the situation, and requests him to come down to City Hall. Agni calls the detective back in.
When Psyclist arrives, Agni tells him the purpose of his trip, about the disappearance of Cassandra, how anything Griswold knows about it might be crucial in finding her, and how he needs their help to pull any such details from his mind.
Stick cuts in. “This isn’t right. How would you like somebody picking through your mind without your consent?”
“They went after KIDS! They planted enough explosives in the core of the city to kill hundreds, maybe thousands of people.”
“The ends do not justify the means!”
Agni thinks it is starting to get personal, so he catches the detectives eye, nods his head towards the door, and says to Stick “We’ll give you the room.” They go out to the hall.
Stick continues to outline his objections. “Do you remember King Cobra?” Psyclist nods, and Stick continues, “That is what happens when we go down the slippery slope. We become what we’ve been fighting against.”
Psyclist takes some time to absorb it all.
“I’m not going to stand in the way of this. It makes me very uncomfortable, but I won’t stop you. You need to be guided by your own conscience.” He goes to the door, and opens it. He says to the detective “Let’s go.”
The detective says “He’s been moved to the Remand Centre, do you need a ride?”.
“No,” say Stick and Psyclist, almost in unison. They go to their respective vehicles. Agni rides with Psyclist, and they work out their interrogation plan.
On arrival at the Remand Centre, the detective takes Agni and Psyclist to the interrogation room. Stick chooses to wait in the foyer area.
When they bring in Griswold, he gives Psyclist an evil look. Agni begins by showing Griswold a photo of Cassandra. “Do you recognize her?” he asks.
Psyclist scans the response. Griswold is fighting him, or maybe baiting him, by imagining he is flaying Psyclist alive. His imagination is quite vivid, and the level of detail suggests some personal experience, but it does not prevent Psyclist from getting the result.
Griswold does not recognize Cassandra. Agni continues his set of prepared questions, about “the Gulag”, the kidnapping & holding of supers, and what other teams might be kidnapping people, and what the other projects he knows about (using the list of code words from the Myiati document).
- that Griswold is REALLY unhappy with what Psyclist is doing
- that his imaginings are what WILL happen to Psyclist some day
- Griswold has a thing about vivisection and disembowelment
- he has a disturbing level of knowledge of human internal anatomy
- Harper’s gulag is some kind of detention facility for supers
- it is generating revenue, and expected to turn a profit at some point
- SOLITAIRE is the codeword for this project
- he knows no details about its location, only that it is very remote
- Peterborough Pharmaceuticals has its own projects in addition to Government funded ones
- other companies likely have Government funded projects of their own
- these outside projects likely have their own ways of acquiring subjects, including capture
- Peterborough Pharma had INCUBUS and TWOFER, and a small involvement in SOLITAIRE
- goal of INCUBUS is to create supers to order, directly w/o using a virus to change their DNA
- the goal of TWOFER was to modify or add to the powers of supers
- INCUBUS had his Covert Operations Group
- TWOFER had operational resources provided by the customer (Federal Government)
- he was tasked with capturing experimental subjects for INCUBUS
- INCUBUS wanted only normals as subjects
- TWOFER wanted only supers as subjects
- Griswold did not capture any subjects for TWOFER, just INCUBUS
- Griswold was most recently sent to capture subjects for INCUBUS Stage III
- this was after his transfer to Toronto
- he did his hunting in Winnipeg, and took native street people
- all INCUBUS Stage III subjects were to be female
- one he grabbed turned out to be a super, probably killed or sent to the gulag
- Griswold knows nothing about MJOLNIR, NARWAL or KINGFISHER
- like everyone else, he figures SENTINEL is the giant robots
- TWOFER had one of the robots
- BUBBLES is the Rt. Hon. Nancy Renfrew
- BUBBLES is at the top of Harper’s “wanted” list (wanted DEAD or DEADER)
- Right behind BUBBLES is Bob Myiati (AKA The Mighty Gnat)
- Both of these spike the Cabinet’s blood pressure
Psyclist managed to pull out the faces of the Stage III subjects abducted from Winnipeg, and sketches them. He notes which one turned out to be a super. He has no names, only faces.
They leave the Remand Centre. The detective heads back to his office. Agni, Stick and Psyclist talk a little more in the parking lot. Agni lets Psyclist know that he and Cassandra are a couple.
“I’ve not told anyone else this,” he says, “not even the Elementals. I have some concerns about its veracity, but after all this I’m starting to believe it is true.”
He takes a breath, and continues. “Cassandra and I have a kind of psychic bond. We both need to be in the same room, and she initiates it. Then we can share our thoughts.” He looks wistful. “About a week ago, I dreamed she was back, and we were connected again. Then I woke up, and the connection remained. She wasn’t herself, though. Confused, incoherent — like she was delirious, hallucinating, or drugged. There was a spike of rage, and then it was gone. I wasn’t sure if it was real, or part of the dream.”
Psyclist asks “Did you get any sense of location from her? Does she know where she is, or where she thinks she is?”
Agni responds “She was too incoherent. It was all very primal — loneliness, sadness, anger. Nothing concrete.”
There is an awkward silence.
“I need to get back to Edmonton. Thank you for your help.” He flies off. Agni and Psyclist return to the safe house.
Mike Hammer arrives at the Esposito estate in his car. It is on a hill in Springbank, overlooking Highway 8 and the Elbow River valley. The Rockies dominate the view. He meets Esposito’s major-domo, Higgins, who has two Doberman Pinschers with him. They walk around the grounds. There is a main house, a guest house, a large garage, and an employee dorm for Higgins. Esposito was out of town, and because there were no guests at the estate (there are often guests, even when Esposito is away) Higgins also had the night off, and was off-premises. The dogs were in the main house. There is no perimeter security, just door and window switches on the main house and guest house, and a consumer-grade monitoring company.
Mike asks questions about Esposito’s needs, wants and preferences. He suggests “Red Team Testing” once he’s done. Mike makes copious notes.
Stick makes arrangements with his lawyers to sell the compromised safe houses, and buy new ones. He instructs them to better anonymize them, and harden them from all being compromised as happened in this case. The Posse is staying at the safe house until Stick acquires a new one and they move everyone. Fortunately, the kids have not started school yet, but it will still be disruptive.
A few days pass. The Labour Day Weekend arrives. They’ve just finished moving Agatha and the kids to a new place. The “Free Elections Now” group is planning a protest for Monday afternoon, and publicizing it. The Provincial Government’s symposium is scheduled for the Tuesday and Wednesday. The Posse decides that they should attend the protest, because, if counter-protesters show up, it could turn ugly.
On Monday afternoon, they head down to the protest, at the Harry Hayes building. Enroute, Ben gets a call from Brenda Gordon, his CPS contact. “There are some disreputable types showing up at the protest. We think it might go south quickly. How soon can you get there?” she asks. Ben responds that they are “already on the way”.
On arriving, they find the “Free Elections” protesters on the west side of the building, on the southern side of the block, waving placards and chanting slogans. On the north end of the block are the counter-protesters, jeering and mocking the protesters. In between are Redcoat, Electron, The Librarian, and a large, 10m tall robot. There are two camera drones flying over the crowd, tracking back and forth.
Stick and Psyclist scan the crowd, using their enhanced senses. They spot Rhinestone Cowboy, Quickdraw (AKA Annie Oakley), Bullman, The Diva, Tom-Tom, and Umbra. EVERYONE spots Rhinestone Cowboy, since he is 10 foot tall. Stick also notices several other “enhanced Chi” individuals, on both sides. He notes that there are more “normals” on the “Free Elections” side than the other. Slammer flies off to check the rooftops. Stick and Gallowglas walk over to Redcoat, who walks out to meet them.
Redcoat says “This is turning ugly. It may turn into a riot, and there are probably supers in the crowd.”
Stick introduces Redcoat to Polly, “Meet Harper’s Brownshirt brigade,” gesturing to include Electron and The Librarian.
Redcoat is taken aback. “We’re here representing the duly elected Government of Canada…”
Stick cuts him off. “Who have overstayed their mandate by almost a full term! They do not have the consent of the governed …”
Redcoat interrupts with “THAT is a subject for a court to decide!”
Stick responds with “While they’re at it, they should decide about kidnapping charges …”
Redcoat says “We are executing an arrest warrant duly authorized by a federal judge …”
Stick cuts him off, again, with “You didn’t have a warrant the FIRST time you came to town!”
“Exigent circumstances!” counters Redcoat.
They continue back and forth for a bit. Then someone on the “Mutant Rule” side throws a rock.
Redcoat says “But turning back to the immediate issue, we need to deal with this situation. My explicit mandate here is to protect federal assets, however, we have a long-standing policy of providing assistance to local authority in times of crisis. To my thinking this is such a crisis, and the ranking local authority on-site appears, much to my distaste, to be you.”
Stick doesn’t take the change of subject, and continues to rant against the behaviour of the Federal Government since the invocation of Martial Law, how the counter-protesters are really paid agents provocateur, quite probably placed here by the Harper Regime as part of a false-flag operation to “prove” that continued use of the War Measures Act is needed.
Gallowglas interrupts, saying “Excuse me, what was that?” to Redcoat. Then, to Stick, she says “Did he just say YOU are in charge?”. Then, to Redcoat again, “Did you say that?”
Stick says, “Well, if you really want to help, we’ve identified several individuals that are most likely here in violation of conditions. He points out Rhinestone Cowboy and Bullman. You can start by arresting them!” He turns and stomps back to the rest of the Posse, having the wind taken out of the sails of his perfectly executed rant by the unexpected reasonableness of Redcoat. Gallowglas follows. Redcoat returns to Electron and The Librarian, then goes to talk with a CPS officer on-scene.
Meanwhile, Hammer has been inspecting the neighbouring rooftops closely, looking for snipers. On one rooftop he finds a conspicuous, suspicious black bubble. The bubble disperses briefly, showing Canopener inside. He looks suspiciously at Hammer, then turns his absorption field back on, and disappears into the black bubble. Hammer moves on to the next rooftop, as a police Tac Team sniper unit enters from the stairway. They exchange nods with Hammer, who carries on.
Psyclist has been scanning the crowd, looking for the two “known associates” that have not been spotted yet — Axe Man and Ghost Rider. He has had no luck, but has spotted Steve Porter, the teleporter they encountered at CDI. Psyclist points him out to Stick, Gallowglas and the other Posse members (except for Hammer, who is still out checking nearby rooftops). He is in with people on the “Free Elections” side.
Gallowglas thinks for a moment, then says “He was also infected by Griswold, as part of Project INCUBUS. The Myiati document said that Subject BRAVO had been recaptured and sent for retraining as a field agent, because of his ‘useful abilities’. That must be Porter, and he must be working for Harper!”
Psyclist says “Harper, supporting the ‘Free Elections’ group? That can’t be right”.
At this point Redcoat, Electron, The Librarian and two CPS officers go over to Rhinestone Cowboy and Bullman. They talk briefly, then the officers pull out handcuffs and Rhinestone Cowboy decks Redcoat, who goes flying, and Bullman lashes out at Electron, knocking him down. Redcoat does something with his phone, and the robot turns to face Rhinestone Cowboy, and fires … something. It makes a “Phunt” sound, not unlike Quickdraw’s airgun, but much louder and much, much deeper in pitch. The “beanbag” it shoots is more like a sandbag.
We are at the Top of Twelve.
Stick: 3 non-combat Psyclist: 3 non-combat Hammer: 2 non-combat Gallowglas: 2 non-combat Tia: 1 non-combat Jazz: 1 non-combat Ghost: absent
Psyclist should also take a new Complication — Hunted by Clark W. Griswold, Less Powerful, Infrequent. This would normally be a 5 point complication, but since Griswold is in custody, it is currently worth zero. That could change if Griswold breaks out, or is released. If he regains status with Harper et al it could even bump up to 10 points (+5 for Extensive non-combat influence), or even 15 (another +5 for raising it to “As Powerful” due to access to their resources). Note that gaining Complication points does NOT allow the character to take on additional powers, skills, etc. to balance. Complications no longer offset powers, etc. Any cases where this is done must be explicitly allowed by the GM.