"The Darkness Waves"
Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity
Urim asked for a game and while Mahar and Rocky were both busy, I realized it was a chance to give him an Origin game. So, after taking some time to map out a tale, I was able to build something that would expose him more to the cast of the game, give him some spotlight on his character's history, and throw in a hint of what is going on that would have this game flow from Adventure all the way to Aeon Trinity.
The Sleepwalker, played by Urim, began his crime-fighting career after having strange nightmares and was lead to a place near his home where strange mists would bring visions of things that needed his attention. The night of the Hammersmith Incident, Samuel Warren would find himself drawn to what would eventually become his sanctum and there, after seeing strange sights, would come to call himself The Sleepwalker.
The Sleepwalker was tracking a guy named David Khor whom he witnessed was engaged in a botched robbery attempt. He decides to follow him, and he discovers how much more in dire straights David is. David has a daughter, barely 5-years old, and she seems to be ill. He listens to their discussion as David, speaking almost as child like as her, mentions how painful she feels. David then tucks her into bed, and heads out.
The Sleepwalker follows David and watches as he meets with another guy named Henry at a bar. They are discussing about some kind of underground boxing thing called The Ring and how easy it would be to earn money by fighting in the ring. It quickly becomes apparent to The Sleepwalker, based on how David speaks, that the man is slightly mentally-challenged. His speech patterns and almost simplistic mindset of things suggests David may be mentally handicapped. Even worse, Henry leaves David the directions for the fight, and David seems unable to read it. He feels for the guy, realizing he may be forced to do things to make ends meet. He decides to help him. He tries first to confront David directly in an alleyway, but the huge man panicks, and one punch sends The Sleepwalker reeling backwards. Before he could chase after him, however, the Sleepwalker finds himself confronted by an apparition. Standing on the nearby rooftop, the apparition confronts him with quotations about the darkness and the importance of myth. Lightning flashes and the dark ghost is gone. Not even the Sleepwalker's incredible investigative skills find any trace of the apparition's presence. The Sleepwalker returns to David's home and true enough finds David preparing for bed. He discards his costume and opts to confront David as someone supposedly working for Henry, and even offers to pay for the medical fees so long as David agrees to back out of the fight and let Samuel fight in his stead.
But before David could answer, the apparition returns. Breaking through the window, the apparition throws more quotations about darkness, citing various authors and poets that the Sleepwalker himself has read before. Mist envelopes the room, and David grabs his daughter and makes to escape. The Sleepwalker tries to stop the apparition, but sees how the apparitions seems to have the ability to become incorporeal. The thing fades away, gone and leaving no trace of its presence. The Sleepwalker, bothered by all this, heads home and decides to try and investigate things using his connections.
The next day, Samuel Warren contacts his Contact network for information on the boxing ring. He visits the location which he was able to read when he pretended to be a friend of Henry's. He discovers it is owned by multi-billionaire Desmond duClaire, an orphaned New Yorker whose parents were gunned down when he was 8. duClaire's records are spotless however, and even the Sleepwalker's contacts in the Union groups find no trace of criminal activity. duClaire's companies include two factories that are facing the pier, and dealings with deliveries worldwide. He learns duClaire is a close friend of Congressman Wittick, however, and that connection worries him. Rich men in power with political allies are always dangerous adversaries. Before the Sleepwalker can think of his next plans, the phone rings. Benjamin Franklin Dixon is on the line and is asking for Warren to come over the Aeon Society for Gentlemen Mansion, because he needs "a lesser mind to throw ideas against." Warren opts to go, ignoring the clear insult.
Dixon is obsessing over the Hammersmith incident and starts talking about his belief that a form of energy was unleashed and affected them all. He even charts the locations of various members of Aeon Society and notes how they have all within the same time span or so, developed unique abilities and extra ordinary skills. Drawing two large shapes of the wave, Warren suggests, "Why not just call them Z-waves. That what your drawing looks like." Dixon finds the suggestion preposterous, then loves the idea. The two then shares discussions on The Sandman, which Warren learns is the identity of the apparition he had faced. The Sandman's activities have long been charted by Aeon Society, and Dixon admits they understood the Sleepwalker IS the Sandman. But what doesn't match is how the Sandman supposedly had activities one to two years prior to Warren's crime-fighting career. Warren considers the possibility that there is a predecessor to his heroism. Someone who somehow had inspired him without him realizing it. Knowing he had barely slept, Warren rests for the day and opts to attend the fight the next evening.
He arrives too late. Shots could be heard and Warren quickly changes into The Sleepwalker to find the factory under assault. The Sandman is present and has been gunning down many of those present in the illegal match. When David is seen running for cover, the Sleepwalker opts to focus on him, giving the Sandman a chance to disable the remaining flunkies. The Sleepwalker confronts the Sandman, demanding he explain who he is, but the Sandman offers nothing but repeated quotations, and fades away once more. Deeply bothered by this, the Sleepwalker contacts Donighal and inquires about the possibility of a ghost or occult entity. Donighal shares his belief that all occult and magic is merely science beyond understanding, and that legendary heroes like Icarus and Hercules are possibly Inspired individuals that existed prior to the Hammersmith Incident. "What if these heroes of the past ensured what ever process made us was halted? What if we have relit the fires of Prometheus against their desires?"
Warren returns to his Sanctum and there meditates among the mists that bring his visions. He deeply inhales the mists and finds visions pertaining back to his Origin. Warren suffers from wracking headaches the same night of the Hammersmith Incident, and soon finds himself rising from his bed. Warren remembers these memories, how eventually he finds the cavern beneath his home, and the mists emitting from the crack in the ground. But what changes now is he sees the same apparition as a shadow, drawing him out of the bed, guiding him down the corridor, moving him all the way to the cavern. The shadow seemingly draws him to the sanctum and its appearance is what inspires him to become the Sleepwalker. Warren awakes and realizes the Sandman and the Sleepwalker are one. The phone then rings, and Warren hears one of his contacts in the police force inform him that David Khor is being arrested. The Sleepwalker rushes to the scene.
There, he learns the cops are arresting David, who had beaten down at least five other officers. David breaks free and breaks for a run, knocking the Sleepwalker down to the ground after throwing two officers at him. Sarah Gettel approaches the Sleepwalker, and insists on an interview, and before he could leave, she clamps herself onto him with what seems to be a silken steel chain! She tells him quickly of the many dangers she had faced before, and insists she will get her interview! The Sleepwalker learns that Samantha, David's daughter, had been abducted. And it seems the police made the mistake of thinking he had done something to his own daughter. The Sleepwalker determines David is headed back to the factory, and much to his surprise, Gettel insists on going with him still. She talks to him about her own exploits and he starts to realize how charming she truly in. When they arrive at the location, the Sleepwalker is told how the Congressman's car is present in the factory. Gettel promises to get out of the way so long as she gets first dibs on the story. The Sleepwalker shares his knowledge of the undeground boxing ring, of David's plight, and asks her to bring the truth out. He then plans his attack, and upon seeing David on the street closing in, makes his approach. They then realize something: Sarah Gettel happens to be the very first person the Sleepwalker had saved before. And as a thank you, Sarah Gettel lifts the Sleepwalker's mask just enough to kiss his lips.
The Sleepwalker convinces David to hang back, and Gettel offers to help him call the police. Using gas pellets and well-timed shots, the Sleepwalker knocks out most of the perimeter guards and makes his way to the factory's rooftop. There, through the skylight, he sees the Congressman with Henry, and the tied up young Samantha on the floor. Four armed guards keep watch. From the discussions, the Sleepwalker learns that Desmond duClaire has no knowledge of what transpires in his own factory. And with the use of smoke pellets, the Sleepwalker decides to attempt the rescue. Two of the thugs are quickly knocked down with gas pellets. But just as the Sleepwalker took aim to fire another gas pellet into Congressman Wittick's face, the apparition manifests again and blocks his line of sight. The apparition points at the Congressman's hand and the Sleepwalker sees with his Sensory Filter that the Congressman actually had a sharp knife pressed against the young girl's neck. Had he been hit by the pellet, the startling shot may have had him jerk and slash into her throat. The apparition fades, and the Sleepwalker feels thankful that this ghost had warned him of imminent danger. He unloads the gas pellets from his guns and instead breaks them to spread and mix with the smoke. With the smoke being inhaled along with the blinding mist, all the assailants fall down calmly into a deep slumber. He sees the apparition watching him and when he tries to thank it for helping him, the Sleepwalker realizes he was merely staring at his own shadow.
Quickly, the Sleepwalker rescues Samantha from the Congressman, ties the goons and the masterminds up, and leaves a note for Sarah Gettel, informing her of duClaire's innocence. He watches from the distance Samantha's reunion with David and knows he has one last thing to do. The next morning comes with Warren receiving a call from Maxwell Mercer. The head of Aeon Society has called to congratulate him on making the newspaper headlines, and asks if he had kissed Sarah Gettel. Warren admits he did, and Maxwell sounds forlorn. He tells him Dixon is thankful for his help and shares that Dixon had a message for him. Something perhaps only Warren would make sense of. Dixon claimed, "The answer was staring at my face the whole time. The wave travels in a symmetrical balance. An echo of itself. So just as the Z-wave traveled forwards in time to shape our futures, the reverse Z-wave traveled back to the past and may have been that which creates the heroes of our legends!" The very spirit that inspired Warren to become the Sleepwalker, was himself.
Warren watches from afar as David and Samantha are welcomed to the Montgomery Central Hospital. An anonymous donor had paid for the full medical treatment of the child. Warren silently watches as David scans the crowd for who the possible donor was, and silently turns to leave. He nearly bumps into Sarah Gettel, who asks him for a smoke. Admitting he doesn't, he walks past her, and she ends up glancing at him as he leaves. There is a palpable connection between the two, but one can only wonder if it will grow in time.
For a solo game, this touched on a lot of new ground for the games to come. The talk on Z-waves definitely helped support further the pulp feel of Adventure! It was a joy to be able to portray Dixon as well, and Sarah Gettel, and I can foresee players making sure to have moments with them just for the fun of it.
And lastly, the game set the ground work for The Sleepwalker to develop knew Knacks. With his mystic background now set, and the supposed "spirit guide" warning him of danger, Urim is considering purchasing the Threat Awareness Knack to reflect this power. That's part of the tricky part of Adventure! Buying new powers have to nicely fit the concept and match the narrative flow. We're handling it pretty well though.