Friday, March 1, 2013

A Gift of Lilith : The Aegis Project

A Gift of Lilith
The Aegis Project

I was done with work and prepping to make the drive home one night when I saw Jigs, the son of my boss, who had played in a bunch of our Indigo-Entertainment sessions.  Realizing it had been a long while since his last game, I offered to run him a one-shot game of any genre he wants.  His response was, "Sci Fi."  When I tried to narrow it down between psychic powers, giant robots, or missile swarms (basically looking at Trinity, The Aegis Project, or Robotech) he called for giant robots.     And that's when I realized it was the chance to finally run John Wick's The Aegis Project!

Jigs played Sgt. Juan de Cova, Homeworld: Earth
The Apollo Soldier was ready for action but wary of the Enemy.  He had heard much about their swarm tactics and horrible poisons and wasn't too keen on dealing with one face-to-face.
His A.I. was Ventuss, which helped manage his Scout Armor.

U played Lt. Hector Palma, Homeworld: Mars
The Apollo Pilot was cocky and determined to do his part in the fight against the Enemy invasion.  He was itching for battle and anxious to get into combat.
His A.I.  was Sasha, who assisted him in piloting his Assault Armor.

Karlo was Commander Carter Haynes, who was once just an Aegis Engineer, until he learned a week ago that he actually has always been a Hades Operative, Homeworld: Citadel
The guy was not aware of his ties to Hades before the day of the mission.  He had with him an experimental device that allowed him to shut down an Armor within a certain range.
His A.I.  was Elvis, who guided him when he used his Command Armor.

The three were at the ruined city of Archos, a city clearly ravaged by the war against the Enemy.  Cova headed to the fringes of the city, keeping an eye out for any Enemy units in the area.  Palma and Hayes wait at the drop point, supposedly for a delivery that was being sent to them for the mission.  Cova spots an incoming missile, but detects no warhead upon it.  Instead, his Intel check reveals it is a "gift" and not a weapon.  The missile is a "mobile container" with an "Armor" inside of it.

Palma and Haynes open the missile to find inside a new Aegis Armor of a type they have never seen before.  Communications spark up and the Aegis reaches out to them.  On their screens, an A.I. comes into view.  She appears as a beautiful luminous woman who address them with cold calculating focus.  "Who is the able humanoid entity in charge of this squadron."

Haynes admits he is and the A.I. addresses him directly.  She is Lilith, and experimental Artificial Intelligence and her Aegis Armor is also a new model.  Haynes' original orders are cancelled and new ones are given.  They are to escort Lilith to a specific destination point, and ensure her survival.  When Haynes requests for confirmation, Lilith shows she has the confirmation codes from Admiral Coso.

Remembering the Admiral's participation during the Battle of Waybridge, the group trusts the new orders and Haynes has Cova scout a mile or two ahead of them, while Palma keeps focused, ready to strike.  The first few Enemy encounters are easily avoided as they maintain a stealthy approach.  Eventually, the swarm patrols get too frequent and the group opts to try a different route.

The new route leads them to a massive tower that is swarming with Factory Crawlers.  Cova does not seem too happy about the Enemy presence in the area, and a quick scan deduces the safest route might be to head down beneath the ground and use the ruins of the four level subway system instead.  Interestingly, Haynes realizes a re-calibration of the coordinates show that their destination has ALSO changed.  Going underground seems to support their route.

"Then we go under."

As they proceed, they discover a massive gaping hole beneath the Tower's foundations.  Lilith tells them to stop and informs them their target is directly below.  Cova and Palma opt to head down, to prepare before hand, while Haynes queries Lilith on what is really going on.  Lilith calmly asks Haynes if he is aware of the Bomb.  She shows him a quick graphic display of the explosive implanted in his skull.  She threatens to detonate it if he does NOT do as she tells him.  Haynes steps down from his armor, as per her orders, and when Elvis tries to help, Haynes is commanded to shut the Armor Elvis is in down.  Haynes angrily complies.  He does, however activate communications with Cova and Palma, allowing them to hear what is going on.

Down below, Cova and Palma are closing in on the destination, but find even more drones in pods along the walls of the hole.  Palma accidentally awakens a few Drones, and is forced to use his Flamer to dispatch the ones that are too close.  Cova leaps down, hoping to reach the destination point quickly to resolve the mission.  The "destination point" reaches him.

Like a massive techno-organic catfish merged with a centipede's body, the thing rises to meet Cova.  Its pustules unleash a deadly green gas, but Cova is fast enough to leap away and duck inside one of the Drone tunnels to hide!  Unwilling to leave his squad member behind, Palma leaps down to charge the "Motherfish" head on, and strikes with his ACE talons.  Cova tries to use his L-672 Laser Cannon, but the panic gets to him and his shot goes wild.

A bomb.  The whole mission, Haynes learns, is to deliver an experimental weapon called The Eden Bomb.  The Bomb creates a tiny "black hole" which sucks everything into itself and destroys up to a one mile-radius completely.  Lilith admits to Haynes that the Intel uncovered was that the "Motherfish" was the Colony Brain of the Enemy in this region.  If the Eden Bomb kills it, then the war can shift and focus instead on these supposed "brains."  But if it fails, the team was still expendable since the mission's existence was NOT supposed to ever be known.  Haynes decides to take matters into his own hands, and uses the Aegis Override on Lilith's Armor.  She drops to the ground, deactivated.  Quickly moving to the bomb, Haynes realizes he can rig the system of the bomb to detonate on contact, instead of via manual controls.  As Palma feels the Poison Gas released by the Motherfish penetrating his Armor, he calls out to Cova and Haynes to get out of the danger zone.  "Now!"

Haynes throws the bomb down below.  But then, Lilith tries to stop him one last time as she projects herself out of the downed Armor.  Haynes ignores the hologram and tells Palma to do it!  Palma catches the bomb as the Motherfish opens its maw to swallow him whole.   Cova prays he is deep down the tunnels enough to survive.

The bomb erupts.

Haynes welcomes death with a "Fuck you" directed at Lilith.   Cova feels the world cave around him, but thankfully the debris protects him from the bomb.  But it is Palma who finds himself caught in the Event Horizon.  As gravity shifts in his very hands, the pull of gravity becomes so fast, light and time itself begin to seemingly stretch.  A moment becomes an infinite moment, and Palma finds himself coaxed out of his physical body by a gentle and loving woman.  Sasha tells him, "Your thoughts, your memories, you.. are data... and data is light."  As she draws him out and pulls him into her arms, the two find themselves experiencing a lifetime together, pulses of light, in a undying embrace.

Then silence.


Cova awakens as Ventuss informs him other Aegis units are converging in his area.  He discovers they are in a concave pit, miles across, and there is nothing left of the others, or the tower, in the area.  The other soldiers congratulate him for having survived and tell him that the Enemy has fled this sector of the world!  The media hails him as a hero, and the UNEC remind him to not mention anything about the mission or his team.  Ventuss informs him that both Haynes and Palma are simply listed as having been KIA.

A message arrives.  Cova reads it and learns that he is being invited to take a bigger part in the war against the Enemy.  The message has a single number.  "Call us if you decide to join."

He calls the number.

Hades welcomes a new recruit.

The End.

The game was definitely a quick romp, having played out from 8p.m. til 11:30p.m.  I tried to move things faster in the narrative, but admittedly some of the slow downs were from the players trying to come up with cool things to define with their earned bangs.   Given none of them had played the game before, I didn't see that much as a problem.  Just felt guilty that we crossed past the 11p.m. cut-off mark.

Also had to fudge on the rules a bit to keep the game moving fast.  It was pretty cool, though, how they all were very unified in the end against the threat.  There was nice insubordination-bordering banter at the start of the game, but once they realized they were in such a position to hit a blow against the Enemy, it all went smooth afterwards.

I'm proud of my players.

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