Saturday, April 30, 2016
Recruitment #14 : Lacuna
Lacuna, Part I. The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City
Agents currently gathered are the following:
Agent Fisher (trained by Agent Duke), 29 years old. Played by Jonas.
Trained in Endurance, Driver, Documents, Safe-House, Caller, and Meditation.
Also has a Contact [redacted]
Agent Dexter (trained by Senior Agent Snyder), 28 years old. Played by Alfred.
Trained in Meditation, Cover, Spy, Writer, Judge and Caller.
Agent Page (trained by Senior Agent Chambers), [redacted] years old. Played by DJ.
Trained in Training, Caller, Armed, Meditation, and Credit (Snyder)
Agent Draper is also present. Played by Paolo.
Trained in Meditation, Doctor, Judge, and Writer.
The agents are welcomed by reception. Three of them are senior agents and the two others are guests who have merits in their history. Of course, memory loss is common in the Blue City. Agent Fisher is given the task as Team Leader for the mission. An additional technique is unlocked for them as approved by Control. Their rapid promotions are noted for future reference. All are then requested to sit back, close their eyes, and relax.
[Insertion process begins: DARA protocols active]
The group awakens all together in a dark room. Most of the light comes from outside the window, casting a bluish hue on them all. Agent Fisher and Agent Draper are both surprised, not recalling insertion ever being this smooth. Or ever allowing them all together. Agent Draper asks Agent Page to contact Control. Agent Fisher recommends someone try Calling Control for the nearest Hard Line. He asks the Team Leader if they should split and search for one. There are many balls and clumps of spiderwebs however all around. Agent Page notes quickly the doors in the area. In the square room they are in, there is a door on each wall. The windows allowing light in are from horizontal slits above the northern side door. Or at least they think its the northern side. They can hear thunder occasionally rumbling in the distance. Fisher once again petitions that someone Call Control for a Hard Line, but Draper counters asking why not to just Call Control for the Mission Parameters. Fisher reminds him Control doesn't prefer to talk via Caller. The two new guys are starting to grasp the Blue City is actually some other location. With the four doors around them, one on each compass point, they listen against the southern door and hear only the distant sounds of traffic or an occasional train. On the northern door, they hear the same. There seems to be occasional thunder sounds. Agent Page attempts to reach out to contact Control and finds himself accessing the ability instinctively. He hopes to request for the location of a secure hard line and a request for weapons. The DARA protocols are in effect and three test questions are posed to Agent Page. He clears the protocols and is told the door to the west leads to the nearest hard line. Agent Fisher digs out a number of blank pages in his pockets. He wonders if these are the Documents he supposedly will use in the Blue City. Page successfully requisitions four handguns and he is informed they are in the eastern room under the bed. He ends the Call and shares the info with the others. Agent Fisher checks the east door and smells something moldy. The only source of light seems to be small window. He reminds everyone to check what else they might have. Dexter nudges the door open and discovers the room is slightly illuminated by moonlight streaming in through a window. All can see the room better now. It is a bed room with an open window beside it. The bed reminds them all of a medical bed. Page keeps watch of the northern door. Draper asks Page to check if he has a weapon on his person since his files show he should be armed. Without waiting for a response, Dexter and the two others move in to check the bed. Fisher slides under the bed to look for the weapons. Draper sees markings on the walls and Reads them: Run. The word is repeated over and over.
Fisher reemerges with a box with four handguns. He hands them out. Dexter takes two of the hand guns and returns to the original room. Page is at the western door, keeping poised near it just in case. As the group proceeds, Fisher hesitates, choosing to check what is out the window first. Page covers the northern door, allowing the others to spread out. Dexter has second thoughts and walks back to join Fisher. Outside the window, Fisher can see a red car coming up the driveway. He wonders if its the same red car he witnessed before driven by Kira. Wanting to hurry, Draper reminds all to at faster. Page wants to kick it open. Heavy knocks begin to hammer on the northern door. The door creaks and smashes open as Dexter smashes it open. The voices at the north hear the commotion, Their foreign accents are muffled but clearly suggest they are aware of the group's presence. Page opens fire as the northern door swings open, and hits the humanoid squarely in the chest. The thing tumbled backwards into the doorway. The others rush into the western room and they find the landline on the single table at the center of the room. Old metal filing cabinets are against the side walls. Draper tells the others to shove the cabinets against the door once everyone is in. Fisher checks the windows and finds them boarded up. At the edge of the door, someone is about to step through once more. Page fires again and the figure tumbles to the ground as its shoulder explodes from the shot. It is dressed in what looks like cold-war soviet uniform garb, but where a head should be, a dark spider like head adorns it, with its beady multiple eyes. The thing groans in pain in a strange foreign language. Dexter joins Page to help him shoot at the others. They are realizing the rooms look identical to each other. Draper rushes for the hard line to call Control. Another movement by the door. Page fires again! The figure had its arm extended with a pistol ready, but Page's shot is true and its head explodes. It crumples into the ground. Fisher rushes again across the rooms to check if the east room window is boarded up as well. Dexter tries to grab Fisher to stop him, but his hand grabs Fisher's collar and drags him back to the other room. As the two argue, Page reminds them the others are coming! Draper calls Control, and once more is challenged with the DARA protocols. Identification is confirmed and mission parameters are requested.
As the others argue, another figure rushes through the doorway and fires at the group! The shots deafeningly fill the air. All three move instinctively, moving at the last second to feel the bullets fly across the room. The bullet nearly strikes Draper, missing his face by inches. Fisher rushes back to Draper while Dexter shoots at the enemy. Another head explodes and the enemy drops a split-second after the gun clatters to the ground. Fisher starts yanking the shelves of the filing cabinet free to smash the window open. Page launches a few covering fire shots, calling for someone to find a way out.
"Mission Parameters are as follows: Step one - Move to the western door to locate the hard line. Step two - Requisition weapons as required. They shall be sent under the bed. Step three - Move to the southern door for the extraction point. Take the stairwell leading outside the window. Step four - Take the helicopter and fly to the Race Track to the position of the Hostile Personality target. Step five - You are two engage with the Hostile Personality in a non-violent manner. You are to abduct the Hostile Personality. Step six - Deliver the Hostile Personality to the location known as the Factory. Step seven - Interrogate the Hostile Personality for the whereabouts of Agent Miner and Rogue Agent Kira. Final step - Eliminate the Hostile Personality."
Draper pulls the phone down but realizes there's strands of webbing between his cheek and the receiver. He looks down and finds the phone completely covered with webbing. Fisher smashes the shelf against the boarded up window and fails to shatter it open. While Page covers the door, he asks the others where to go. Draper tells them to the southern door an exit for the rooftop. They notice the handguns of the enemy, however, do not seem to be made for human hands. The spikey protrusions on them would embed into a human hand. And worse, they seem to be made of bone. Page suggests using the file case as cover while entering the next room. Dexter stomps on the bone pistol, shattering it. Five wriggling tadpoles of a sick fleshy green color squirm away from the weapon. "I think they're here to infect us," Dexter mumbles aloud. As they map out their plans, music begins to play from the northern door, however. And a female voice addresses them in English. "Perhaps we can talk, Mystery Agents?"
There, they kick the door open and find themselves in a small interior garden with rotting plants. Outside the window, a fire escape hangs. Dexter asks Draper for the information Control gave, and he quickly gives them a recap as they clamber up to the ceiling. Page wonders if they are only looking for Agent Miner. Dexter suggests he can trick the Hostile Personality with one of his Skills to capture the guy. As they continue up, Page provides more cover fire at the window, keeping the coated figures from following them up the ladder. One slips out of the window, and begins to climb up with his bare hands upon the bricks. But the group continues to the rooftop, and sees the Blue City for the first time from a high vantage point. They see the crowded strange buildings that seem stacked against each other. The Writers among them however realize the buildings are literally shaped as words, and they actually spell out what they are. Hotel. Bridge. Race Track... At the top, there is a man dressed in a suit with a white necktie standing in front of the helicopter. He confirms delivery of the vehicle, then uses his own Lacuna device to leave immediately. Dexter confirms the location of the Race Track and they quickly enter the vehicle. Seeing there's only one contact left, Page opts to delay his ascent and fires one more time. The shot kills the last contact chasing them. Fisher uses his Driver training to pilot the vehicle.
They take to the sky. The group easily flies in the direction of the Race Track. Draper confirms the directions, being a Writer himself. As they fly high enough from the building, they realize they are now flying above the rain. The flight is pretty much quiet. Agent Dexter directs them over the Bridge towards the Race Track.
Twenty minutes in the air, the group discusses the plan to meet the informant, but secretly attempt to verify if the contact is truly working for Agent Kira and not a double agent. Agent Fisher admits that Agent Draper's information regarding the person is unverified. The possibility that the hostile personality is in league with their contacts from the previous mission. Agent Dexter isn't certain however if they should question Control's plans. He offers to pretend he is the other contact, but the group isn't certain if he can handle the disguise. Agent Page reminds them he's just good at shooting stuff. Agent Draper reminds them that if anyone asks them for information, it would be best to claim they have forgotten. "Memory loss. Very common in the Blue City." Page asks them how to eject, and Draper tells him how to do so - adding that abilities can only be used while in the Blue City. They map out a cover story in case the contact does not know Kira, and they consider having the rest pose as guards if need be. A friendly approach. "What is important is that they see Kira." When Page raises the need for an exit strategy, they decide they will just have to shoot their way out. Draper shares with them how Kira was formerly part of Control, but has been helping rogue agents free themselves from the Company. She knows Agent Miner intimately, and has a predilection for the color red. She likes to smoke.
They find a radio in the helicopter, and as they attempt to call Control, the DARA protocols don't seem to be in effect again. The group unanimously opts to ditch it. They direct the helicopter to land on a different area from the Race Track. Page sights a good place to land the copter, a foot ball field surrounded by trees, and directs them to bring it down there. While more distant for extractions, it does ensure no one will mess with their ride. Dexter begins to transform into Agent Kira, using his Disguise to change. They notice his Lacuna device does not change. She detaches it from her clothes and hands it to Draper to hold on to it. They notice a dog staring at them as they leave the helicopter. They begin marching across the street to the Race Track. When park security tries interrupting them, Draper and Dexter intercepts the guy and shows them they have the proper Documents. Page Calls Control for a hard line he easily clears all DARA protocols. He is given the directions to find the closest secure hard lines, with three of them being within 100 meters. Page wonders about seeing three phones in one location. Page asks for extraction vehicles but there is delay due to static on the line. Control informs them of 30 possible options nearby. Page tries requisitioning for Injection Tranquilizers and they are instructed to get it at the rest room stall, West, after entry. The group heads up into the Race Track entrance.
The group walks towards the Race Track, quickly moving through the corridors as they map out exit spots, and the restrooms for the requisitioned equipment. Page even notes how the crowds might be their best bet for cover. The group moves towards the phone booths, and stepping inside, Draper tries using the hard line to contact Control. Dexter squeezes in to join Draper, brushing off the small strand of cobwebs that catch on her hair. To Draper's surprise, the operator asks him to deposit, "Two vowels." A strange fax tone sound strikes after he offers, "A" and "E". The operator claims Draper has successfully passed DARA protocols twice. He slams the phone back down, realizing the hard lines are already compromised. Fisher suggests that the head of the Race Track might be the Hostile Personality they should look out for. The group laments there's no time to search for a new hard line. The group hurries inside. Thunder rumbles and rain begins to fall.
The woman inside the ticket counter area smiles as they arrive. Unlike the others in line, this woman seems to have a painted mask for a human face. Under the eye holes, it is hard to tell what lies in the darkness. She greets them and corrects herself for greeting them good morning. "Kira" agrees to have her usual seat and asks to meet with the head of the Racetrack. They even stress they are old friends with him. The woman apologizes for being "out of sync" and tells them their reservations for the VIP section are ready. "Kira" asks if the "friend" is already in, as per Page's suggestion, and they learn he has "delayed the presentation" until they arrive. An attempt to ask if others are there is met with a reminder that discretion is of utmost importance.
Inside, the racetrack has golden walls, strange portraits of patrons who look like melted gelatin with crab like legs. Bright lights illuminate the whole area. The Readers in the group inform the others that the information on the walls suggest there are winners and losers in the race. Draper asks for a wheelchair given lady Kira is feeling "faint." The security hurries off to the side to grab one. Fisher does not see any sign of the real Kira's red car. Page suggests to the split up now and slip to the restrooms. "Kira" enters the ladies room, while Page enters the men's room. Page finds a guy still inside, urinating. He waits for the guy to finish. "Kira" however finds a purse left on the sink. Checking it, "Kira" finds sea shells inside. A door slides open and a woman with a non-blurry face steps into view. The woman is blonde, dressed in smart white office clothing. Her eyes are green. In her hand, a massive summer hat. She tells "Kira" that the purse is hers, and the two share a conversation. Fisher heads to the parking lot, looking around for any cards that might still have a key in the ignition. When the security man returns with the requested wheelchair, Draper talks the security guard out of having to escort them. Page starts to wonder what's taking the man so long to pee. He bangs on the door to announce his presence and tells the man he needs to secure the place. The man's blurry face gives out a sigh, and he leaves understanding the place is VIP only. With him out, Page checks each of the stalls for any sign of the requisitioned package. He finds a suitcase behind the third stall. The case is sealed with a combination lock. Page inspects the rest of the restroom and finds a stash on one side. Scattering out of it are cigarettes and a lighter.
"Kira" learns the woman is known as Fraulein and in an attempt to misdirect her focus, she claims to be feeling unwell. Fraulein offers her some "Bliss," an offer which the Mystery Agent does not quite grasp. Fraulein tells "Kira" she suspects it has been far too long since she visited the games. The woman digs out a small cube, the offered Bliss, but "Kira" turns it down. The woman places it on her tongue and smiles as she walks out. "Kira" suggests Fraulein walk with her to the games, but when she asks Kira who the current host is, she once more acts as if she is feeling ill. "Kira" warns Draper that the woman might be the one they are looking for. Fisher finds two cars with keys still possibly in reach. Fisher gives his companions a meaningful glance to signal to them he has the vehicles. Using his gun, he shoots the window open to grab attention. He starts the engine and brings the car to the others.
When Fraulein reacts nervously to the incoming car, Draper claims they have heard of the presence of possible Mystery Agents and is now recommending they all head to a safer place. Page steps close to block Fraulein from running off. Draper reassures her that the incoming car is one of their agents, and the group makes their way to the side of the road as quickly as possible. Racetrack security seems confused. As the car is close enough, Page nudges Fraulein to get into the car. Page hurries back to help "Kira" into the car as well. Draper slides in beside Fraulein, staying between her and the door. Page, seeing one of the security guards arrive at the area, yells out a warning. With the suitcase in his hands, he rushes back to the car. Fraulein starts asking worriedly if the Mystery Agents are around, and what will happen to Jigsaw who is still inside the Racetrack. With her exclamations, the Bliss falls out of her mouth and tumbles to the floor of the car. Draper lies about needing to "save" Jigsaw as well and asks if Fraulein would like to help convince him to go with them. To their surprise, they see her hold a hand up to her head, as if she were Calling the man named Jigsaw! She tells him they are under attack, and tells him to come out, as they have a "way out". Security is coming in droves. Fisher flashes the Documents and tells the Security to spread out near the entrance of the Racetrack, instead of where they were, due to the threat of Mystery Agents. "Kira" yells at the Security to escort Jigsaw out now and the guards easily fall for it. Draper asks Fraulein to hurry, but this makes her look at him slightly suspiciously. Fisher claims that there are ten Agents in the vicinity. Fraulein however blurts about her frustration with the Company, stating they are probably acting more desperate now that more of them have gone rogue.
The Agents all tell Fisher to keep going, but he hears Draper, the team leader, insist they best stop. He stops the car. Page stays focused on Fraulein. Jigsaw arrives beside the car and asks them if they're heading out. Fisher admits they do. Jigsaw, however, warns them that they cannot take the roads. "It is not safe." Jigsaw slams his hand on the hood and asks Fisher directly, "Can you drive?" To the group's surprise, the car they in begins to shake and rattle and change. Within seconds, the car has transmogrified into a helicopter! Jigsaw commands the security guards to hurry off to search the grounds. He sees Fraulein unconscious and asks if the agents got to her first. Page lies that they were able to pull her out in time. Jigsaw's face shuffles and changes in response as he tells Fisher to fly them out of the place. "Why does trouble always happen when you come to visit me," Jigsaw sneers at "Kira." The real Kira Calls Agent Page once more, and this time she reminds him that if he makes one mistake, Jigsaw will know.
Airborne, the group leaves the vicinity of the Racetrack. Jigsaw's face shifts a few times as he glances at Draper, wondering aloud if he knows him. Fisher begins to direct the helicopter towards an abandoned location where the least people would be: the Country, the Factory, or the Observatory. While the rural area is unexplored, it may hide unexpected dangers. Fisher asks Jigsaw where to go. Jigsaw tells Fisher to follow his gut instincts instead and the group flies towards the Observatory. The trip takes them away from the rain. Jigsaw asks Kira to explain what is going on, and Dexter claims he suspects the Mystery Agents are trying to capture him. Jigsaw asks her about the report he received that one of the Mystery Agents shot her in the face. "Funny to see you back so soon," Jigsaw smirks. Dexter tries to suggest the idea the report he received was most likely wrong. The others remain tense, but stay in the role of bodyguards. Suddenly, a power outage strikes the Blue City. Everything goes dark. Jigsaw smiles, suggesting that one of the assistants of Kira was Covering for her and was the one who got shot. He asks what happened to Fraulein, and Dexter admits he asked her to wait but something seems to have happened to her. Jigsaw asks if she trusts the pilot, and Dexter admits he needs him. Jigsaw tells them they will head to Deep Blue instead. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Lacuna device. It looks like it had been jury-rigged however. He activates it and a Lacuna opens in mid-air. "Head for the hole!" Fisher throws Draper a glance, checking if the team leader would approve of the action. Draper gives an almost imperceptible nod. Jigsaw, however, catches the glance. They fly into the black, feeling the cold rush of wetness that splashes over them.
Sounds begin to surround them. Insectile organic clicking and hissing. The Mystery Agents look around and realize they are no longer in the helicopter. Lights flare and darkness swirls around them. Dexter realizes in horror his Disguise is gone. The group realizes Jigsaw is no longer seated among them. He is standing a few feet away, his back turned towards them as they sit in what seem to be standing chairs. There seem to be silhouettes of something humanoid around them, but the figure pulls into the darkness before they can focus on them. Jigsaw addresses Draper, telling him he clearly has identified the man as the leader. He holds up a wine glass and muses about the Company sending "ten" Mystery Agents to hunt him down. Draper admits Jigsaw has the honor of having been considered as infamous as Agent Miner or Kira. Jigsaw asks if they came here as "allies." Draper admits they did, as they have made contact with Agent Miner and Kira and believe the Company is no longer to be trusted. Page keeps Fraulein close, wondering why she'd remain unconscious. Dexter claims they are hoping to understand more with Jigsaw's help. Fisher even asks if Jigsaw can give them information. Jigsaw asks Page why Fraulein is with them. Draper mumbles about her being an unexpected element in this whole fiasco. Draper admits for some, it is their first time in the Blue City and so they had to orchestrate and improvise things to contact him and avoid the Company's surveillance. Jigsaw suggests there are many truths: the Company, the Personalities, even they have their own truths. Fisher asks if the Company can be trusted. Jigsaw admits he needs proof before he'd tell them more. He questions if they can all trust each other, and tells them he will ask one question from each of them. He requires them all to surrender their Lacuna devices. They had him Fraulein. From the shadows, Spider-Men emerge and take her away.
Draper asks where they can find Agent Miner or Agent Kira. Jigsaw admits he can't answer that since he is not on their side. He does not know their whereabouts. Draper insists they are on their own side. Fisher counter offers to owe him a favor in the future, especially since he cannot be assured Jigsaw is answering their questions honestly. Jigsaw counters that they give him a name they trust instead. Someone he can "Call." Fisher gives his own name, "Agent Fisher." Jigsaw accepts it and hears Fisher's question on what Jigsaw truly plans to do given he does not work with the Company, nor Miner and Kira. Jigsaw admits he wants to burn it all down, and to stop the Bliss from flowing. "Aren't you tired of sleeping?" He even raises an interesting thought: that if they are all lying on the slab, why doesn't someone from the Company just pull his own plug. Agent Page hears Kira calling him a third time, informing him she can sense he is in Deep Blue. She offers to pull them all out with an Emergency Extraction. Jigsaw, oblivious to Page talking to Kira, asks for a Lacuna device to answer Fisher's question. Knowing he can't reply to Kira without verbalizing things, Page quickly wonders how to give the answer. Dexter asks how to earn his loyalty, and Jigsaw plainly say they just need to get rid of the ones who don't have it. That would be a clear demonstration of their loyalty. Page realizes that's the best time to speak and he says, "Yes." Kira activates the Emergency Extraction.
Draper realizes the Reciprocity he has is not enough to support everyone. He decides to help everyone else by focusing it all on them. Draper gets left behind as the Lacuna holes yawn open beneath the other Mystery Agents. Fisher reminds Jigsaw he can always call them, and he vanishes as Kira yanks him out. Dexter is also yanked out. Page flicks his own device on, following Kira's instructions and he vanishes as well. Draper is now alone with Jigsaw. He pulls Draper close and begins to tell him about a world built upon the dreams of a billion sleepers He learns why the Company was formed. He learns that Jigsaw wants to destroy the Blue City and the Company, because he sincerely believes it will wake everyone up.
Back at Reception. The Receptionist smiles as she looks at the three Mystery Agents. Page, Dexter and Fisher have vague memories of what had happened. There is no sign of Agent Draper. She tells them the Company is very happy with the results of the mission and even congratulates Agent Fisher for being the Team Leader. He chooses to just nod as if that were true. Agent Dexter is commended for his bravery and that there is plans to promote him unless he works for Mythography instead. Agent Page is told the Company is astounded with his success. He is told their group of three successfully terminated the rogue agent Draper, a.k.a. Jigsaw. His body was found in the slab and terminated as per Company guidelines. She asks if they would like to share their experiences of the mission. Each are allowed to give up to three sentences to describe their mission. All three start claiming to have memory loss of the mission. Reception even hints that they are all being considered for Senior positions had they been able to remember enough to report. She tells them that Vice Director Weller will be in touch with them soon. Even Agent Collier commends Page for his actions in Deep Blue and is given the offer to handle nothing but solo mission from this point on, given his exceptional navigation of Deep Blue architecture. The promotion is to Black clearance. Page admits he doesn't really know for certain what he had accomplished.
A knock on the door. A man steps inside, wearing a full suit and tie. They recognize him as Senior Instructor Snyder. He charmingly addresses them all. He tells them that the Company is very happy with their performance, and so forth. But beneath the verbal words, they all begin to hear Snyder address them telepathically that the corruption within the group. He tells them secretly that the loss of Draper, while unfortunate, is not irreversible as they still have his body on the slab. Fisher asks if its possible Draper is still alive. Snyder tells them they are all to be on R&R, talking about the coming operations, but in truth his telepathic words tells them that Draper might still be investigating Jigsaw.
Draper stands in the shadows. In the dark room, the woman in red is in front of him. She is still shifting her face into a human disguise to become Kira's face. Kira turns to Draper and tells him the others are arriving. Draper sees the others present and they all nod. Kira lights a cigarette. Draper knocks down something to the ground and the metal thing clatters to the ground. "They should be there now," she tells him, "Let them know we are coming. Let them feel the terror build." The light is flashed at the door way once, twice.. thrice. Then the door is being kicked open.
Draper hears in his head a voice, asking if his Cover is holding. If they do not realize he is not really a spider. He confirms it is holding. The voice tells him hopefully he will learn to Call back. But for now, to know that they are nearby. "And remember, if you ever see me in public, I am Jigsaw. This is Agent Miner, signing off."