Saturday, March 23, 2013
Lacuna, Part I. The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City
The Ven had learned of the Veth's theatrical adaptation of the life of Kithranus Yvarai, and with the passage of Winter came new faces, old faces, and renewed challenges. And before anything else can happen, we cut to a commercial break.
This is the video I then played and had them watch from my iPAD:
And once the commercial ended, immediately played the track Rendezvous from The Devil's Advocate soundtrack again to signal, we were actually playing Lacuna.
You read that right. I ran a Houses of the Blooded game, but suddenly switched gears, and revealed to the players they were merely watching a televised show called Houses of the Blooded and were actually in the reception room of Lacuna. Given how I've always approached my Lacuna games with a meta touch, and how the same players were in both games, I knew they would love a sudden twist like this!
With agents Harper, Currier and Mason at the Reception area, the three watch as the Receptionist arrives and apologizes for arriving so late. She invites them all to grab some food, and to prepare for a few minor tests that Mythography requires them to undergo. Wisely choosing not to ask further questions (such as "What is Mythography?") given their clearance levels, Agent Harper however inquires if he is to be given a promotion given his accumulated Commendation Points. Harper is approved to become promoted to Team Leader and is given access to the Technique: Synchronicity. The tests are then assigned to each one, and all are warned they are only allowed three attempts to answer their tests.
Given the recurrence of Static, Mason suggests to the Receptionist to inform Control that the keyword is Tangerine. That way, in the future, any calls can be checked for authenticity.
Agent Mason is given the following numbers: 2 9 3 1 8 4 3 6 5 7
And he is asked to inform them what the next number in the sequence should be.
Agent Currier is given the following words: Thorn, Shout, Seat and Stew.
And she is asked to inform them in which word can the Pole Star can be found.
Finally, Agent Harper is given nine cubes and told to arrange them in ten rows of three.
At first all of them get their initial answers wrong, and are punished with a loss of Force. Eventually, Mason realizes there are two number sequences in the set, and after separating 2,3,4,5.. from 9,18,36,7.. he realizes the next number should be "2." Currier eventually realizes the words are anagrams, and correctly chooses "Thorn" as the answer. Both open their eyes to realize they already ARE in the Blue City.
Strapped to a chair with leather straps, and placed in a chamber with clear plastic/glass walls, both found themselves struggling to answer the riddles as a challenge thrown to them by a Mr. Philsbury, who walks on a catwalk suspended above them all, and chides them for trying to capture him. "Your company clearly needs to be taught a lesson. In this part of the City, I am in charge. Tell your leaders that if I ever see any new Mystery Agents again in this area, I will kill them." Harper is still strapped to his chair and lost in the "dream" as he struggles to solve the riddle. Philsbury gives the team one last chance to save Harper, and he throw them a riddle. If any of them comes up with the correct answer in time, Philsbury will allow them to leave. "General Harper is the Team Leader who is accused of treason and is sentenced to death. He is allowed to make a final statement, after which he will be shot if the statement is false or will be hung if the statement is true. Harper makes his final statement and is released. What is the statement?" Mason and Currier ponder on the possible answers, and Harper thankfully figures it out. "I am lying." The paradox of the statement forces Philsbury to let them go, and they awaken in the Slab, dizzy and weak but alive.
Vice-Director Pope visits them, and quickly tells them he does not have much time. He tells them there is a message for Miner and he quickly whispers it to them:
It's always 1 to 6,
it's always 15 to 20,
it's always 5,
but it's never 21,
unless it's flying.
And realizing someone is at the door, he exits with the use of a Lacuna device! As the Mystery Agents stare at each other in shock, they slowly realize they are STILL in the Blue City and they still have their Lacuna devices. It begins to rain and thunder rumbles in the sky. The Mystery Agents rush to the window and look outside and see there are letter-shaped buildings in the distance. Gas suddenly is pumped into the room and the group unanimously votes to escape!
Shattering the window open, the Agents realize the side of the building they are on is the slanted inner portion of a massive letter Y. They slide down the side and at a lower level, consider their moves. The lower level shows a large room with hundreds of people with headsets in front of computers. A rumbling sound rises from the side of the building and the agents see some hybrid hovercraft/helicopter emerge with spotlights trained at them. The vehicle launches massive claw-like hooks that attempt to snatch them. Shattering the lower level window, all the Agents leap into the room to avoid the claws.
The nearest people to the agents happens to be a woman with the name tag: Kira. The people after him are named Kilo and Kato. Their computers have a glass panel for a keyboard, which seems to respond to their touches. The screens show names of Mystery Agents, and their vitals. "Are you Control?" Harper asks aloud but gets no response. A door slams open as security rushes inside. Currier is quickly taken down by a launched webbing of sorts that electrocutes her. Mason grabs one of the nearby personnel and asks, "Are you Mythography? We know about the Eyes!" The personnel hands him something just before he too is knocked unconscious by an electric webbing. Harper hits the ground last as he tries to trash the computers and fight to escape.
They awake once again. The Slab. The white walls, white floor and white ceiling gives everything an antiseptic look. Even the personnel are all in white. One particularly large chamber is labelled Shawaf. And the others can clearly see more and more people on the Slab, all hooked up to tubes and wires, and seemingly unconscious And this time, they are escorted by the Receptionist towards a doorway. The receptionist calmly tells them that they've been pulled from the project. She explains they had all signed their bodies in for a duration of time in exchange for something, but explained she cannot say more without breaching the contract. But she reassures them they all willingly signed in. Mason realizes he still has the thing the Mythography guy handed him and sees it is a blister pack of three blue gel pills. He discretely swallows one and hands the two others to Harper and Currier. Suddenly, perhaps as a result of the pill, Mason realizes he can contact Control. They, it seems, are still inside the Blue City. Control informs him, "Where are you calling from? You are off the grid!" Mason tried to get more info and realizes none of them have a Lacuna device to leave. As they walk through a doorway, however, the connection with Control is cut. It still works, however to reach Currier and Harper once they too swallow their own pills. The end of the corridor is a white door that was invisible to the naked eye until it was opened. The Receptionist tells them to step inside and that everything will be made clearer. She remains outside.
The white room inside is nicely furnished to look like an office. There were no other visible doors. As the three walk inside and wait, the right white wall opens up as another white door makes itself visible. A man steps out and introduces himself as Superintendent Pastor. He calmly talks to the team and informs them that they have possibly overstepped certain bounds. He then walks to the far wall and opens another hidden door to let another man in. Stepping into the room in an all-white business suit is Agent Miner himself. Miner however does not seem to recognize them and tells Pastor that the three might best be dealt with IMMEDIATELY. When Mason, however, calls Miner using his Caller Technique, Miner tells them to get ready to act one he brings down Pastor. Mason quickly calls Currier and Harper and tells them to get ready. He warns them helping them would compromise him, but he knows it has to be done. Mason steps out of the room again, leaving the door open as he draws his pistol and shoots Pastor in the head. With Pastor dead, Miner quickly tells the three they've dove all the way to White Level and that they will have to find their own way out because this far deep, the Company cannot pull them out. Miner then vanishes in a Lacuna and leaves the three to find a way out. Harper finds the folders on the table and grabs a hold of them to bring them with him. Currier and Mason head out of the corridor to find what looks like a massive sound stage with lots of crew people dressed in all white. Spotting what looks like a hard line on the wall, Currier starts running for it while Mason distracts all the crew by clapping his hands as they stare at the three. "Good job," Mason calls aloud, "Great work guys.. we are very proud of what you have been doing." But one of the staff panics and rushes for the nearest alarm. Harper zips in and throws a fist into the guys face. As they disable the crew man, Mason tries to over it up more by pointing at the man and telling everyone else, "Oh no! He's a Mystery Agent! Stop him!"
The crew rush to the poor man, while Currier calls Control on the line. They get instructions on where to go, but Mason isn't quite trusting. He asks the person on the line for the key word, and the person states: Tangerine. But Mason realizes now that scene earlier was still in the Blue City. Whatever compromised position they were in began long before they were "taking the Mythography tests" and ironically the key word to identify control has become the key word to identify if the Control he was speaking with was still compromised. Mason calls for Kira, who then suggests they try to exit via an older route. She tells them to head back to the office, but as they cross the door's threshold, they find themselves in a familiar room with a small table on the center that holds a hard line. The walls are filled with dancing lights, and the archway in the distance is blocked by thorns and vines. The thorns and vines part to reveal Scarlet, who walks calmly into the room to talk to them. Scarlet addresses them all, talking to them calmly about how they should by know know more than they were told. About how they were all once Hostile Personalities. About how they all have their share of strange forgotten points in their past. She mentions how one of them once had many followers, like a cult. How another was very... close to her. "Stay," she offered, "And work for me instead, and I will let you know the truth. All the truths you've been denied to hear."
They choose not to hear the truth. None of them trust her.
Mason contacts Control, but Control is uncertain if she can trust them. She asks them if Mason had a message for her, something she can use as proof to trust them. "The answer is Die. What was the question?" It takes a beat before they realize they should repeat Pope's message, which were riddles that described a six-sided die. Having succeeded, Control ejects them out.
And then they are out.
Back on the Slab, they all wake up. Each one feels the crew quickly act to bring them back to unconsciousness. However, they remain conscious, perhaps as a side-effect of the blue pill. They realize the place looks precisely like that which they saw in White Level, only here the place was dark and less polished, with people moving their frozen bodies around. They see a glimpse of the same massive chamber labeled SHAWAF and worse, see the crew disconnecting a man whose label reads MINER and a doctor giving a non-verbal signal suggesting that Agent Miner was dead. The doctor covers him in a sheet, and the team finally drift back into deep quiet sleep.