Sunday, June 23, 2013

The God Machine Chronicle ep01 : World of Darkness

A God Machine Chronicle
Episode One

"The One in the White Suit"

World of Darkness

Finally got a chance to dive into an actual God Machine inspired chronicle (which also means I can now write my God Machine Chronicle review post and release it soon!) and I have to admit that the mix of characters and players is pretty awesome.  You have Rocky, my partner, who is the long time gamer in the group.  You have Marvin, who played some time ago but hasn't had a chance in a very long time.  And finally, you have Jeffrey who has never played a game... ever.  And all three were about to discover the strange existence of the God Machine in this World of Darkness mini-chronicle.

Jeffrey plays Wyatt Matthews, a 25-year old fantasy writer whose original book series, The Dark Summoning, caught the world by a storm.  The pressures to release more books resulted with The God Machine, Dark Materials and the Dark Angel Trilogy titles which raised a tide of negative reviews that many wondered if Matthews was simply a one hit wonder.   Wyatt is Idealistic, thought at times acts Cowardly and aspires to Find Inspiration and Start Writing his next Best Seller.
Skills: Academics 5, Streetwise 3, Expression 3, Investigation 3 Specialties: Fantasy Lore, Writing, Research
Merits: Encyclopedic Knowledge, Trained Observer, Hobbyist Clique, Fame 1, Resources:1, Multilingual (Spanish, Chinese), Striking Looks:1, Safe Place 1
Wyatt has no familial ties, having intentionally moved to New York to get as far as possible from his parents. Mara Suarez, his editor and publicist, is the closest thing he has to a friend.

Marvin plays Ronald Tanneberger, a 29-year old who is known as Lux Club's DJ Champ. Though Patient, the young man has Prideful moments, and aspires to Settle his Existing Debts.
Skills: Expression 3, Persuasion 3 Specialties: Music, Cars, Vices
Merits: Direction Sense, Eidetic Memory, Contacts (2: Dealers, Professional Sex Workers), Fame: 2, Resources:1, Ambidextrous, Parkour 3, Ally 1(Policeman “Officer Graham Conners”), Safe Place 2
Ronald's mother, Lisa lives in the city with his younger sister, Zoey.  Also in town is Uncle Ronald.  Ronald has recently broke up with his girlfriend, Toni.

Rocky plays Seth Macintyre, a
35-year old Psychic whose clients contact him for services ranging from fortune telling to speaking with their dead loved ones. Seth's Ambitious streak is often brought low by his Laziness. He aspires to score an eventual TV deal and become one of those more popular psychics on television.
Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Empathy, Persuasion 3 Specialties: Fortune-telling, Math, Body Language
Merits: Eidetic Memory, Trained Observer 3, Fast Talking 1, Resources: 2, Striking Looks 2, Defensive Combat: Brawl, Unarmed Defense: 4, Encyclopedic Knowledge, Fast Reflexes 3
Seth's parents are out of state, living at the midwest. His younger sister, Stacey, is currently in California for college.

The scene opens with Wyatt struggling on his novel, staring at a blank page and trying to come up with something new to write about.  He dreads the idea of returning to any of his old work and hopes to finally find something that will inspire him.  Mara calls him, asking for an update, and Wyatt admits that he hasn't really "finished" working on the outline yet.  When Mara demands for an idea what it is about, Wyatt blurts out it will be a story set in New York City, with a fantasy touch to the narrative.  The story will explore a new set of characters.   Mara senses he's making things up on the spot and asks him if he needs her help to jog his creativity into action.  "I can hire someone to help you.  The last time you wrote, you were recovering from that break-up with Rennard."  Wyatt tries to skirt around the issue, but Mara clearly seems to be very well informed in his activities.  Almost as if she literally has cameras watching him 24/7.  But given Wyatt has spent most of the downpayment for the next novel, Mara insists that she will come by to help him out.
Elsewhere, DJ Champ is staring at KaQoH's goons as the gang banger demands he pay the money he owes him.  DJ Champ had once borrowed around $800 from KaQoH and now he's come to collect the money, but having just woken up from a drunken night of partying, DJ Champ definitely has no means to pay up.  Taking his backpack of LP records as collateral, DJ Champ convinces KaQoH to give him a few hours to cough out the money somewhere.  He rushes off and considers his options, eventually settling at a nearby diner to grab a coffee while he thinks of what he will do.    That's when a man in a denim jacket, wearing a black and yellow striped shirt joins him at his table and asks if he is "Matt."  Choosing to take advantage of the situation, DJ Champ says yes and to his surprise, he is given a very thick envelope filled with cash.  At first, DJ Champ thinks the man assumed he was some kind of escort or prostitute, but then the man mumbles, "Thank God, she's not going to die.." and hurriedly leaves the diner.  DJ Champ hurries out to follow the man but loses him at an alleyway where two large condominium buildings stand.

And in some wealthy man's house, Seth is in a seance with the man, his wife, and their elderly mother.  The family has their hands holding each other's and their heads held low with their eyes closed as Seth leads them through the seance to try and reach their loved one.  Seth's eyes scan the room to find something useful, having not been given much information by George about who had passed on.  "I.. can sense something orange," Seth mutters, making things up and Mary, the wife, starts mumbling something about the food bowl being orange! Seth realizes the dead loved one is a dog and sees in a large portrait that the family has two: a German Shepherd and a Great Dane.   One is named Bruno and the other, Jakey.  Seth hears the scratching sound of the other dog by the closed door and realizes only one of the dogs had died.  He decides to take a stab in the dark and mutters, "I can hear... bells.. why do I hear bells..." and quickly scans the family for any body language or hints he can use in the con.  To his surprise, the husband looks.. anxious as a cold sweat dots his brow.  He carefully observes him more and notes he is recently showered, a hint of a red stain is visible on his collar, and most importantly there is a strand of blonde hair on his clothes.  The wife is a brunette.  The husband cracks as Seth prods, with words carefully chosen to suggest an affair was happening.  As it turns out, the other woman had bought a tiny collar with a bell for the dog as a gift, and while the two were cheating on the bed, the dog had swallowed the collar and bell.  Unwilling to have the dog brought to the vet, and questioned on why the thing was in his stomach (and more importantly, where it came from), George had run over the dog, dug out the collar and bell from the remains, and thrown it outside with the trash.  He then feigned the dog's death to have been done by some random stranger and told his wife of its demise.

Angered by her husband's infidelity, Mary signed away to Seth all of the money intended for the dog upon their death, and Seth quickly walked away before the husband could complain.  Seth found it unnerving however that the Great Dane, "Bruno" stared at him as he walked away - almost as if it knew what he had done.  The traffic lights act odd, however, at an intersection, with the lights seemingly showing a nonsensical series of directions:  Blank.. Up, Right, Left, a blinking moment, then down, down, right, down...  Seth opts to squeeze through the growing traffic knot to get past it before things get worse.

Minutes later, Seth found the paramedics gathered by the entrance of one of the condo buildings close to where he lived.  Smelling opportunity, he walked towards the scene and saw a distraught man talking to the paramedics.  Repeatedly, the man muttered confusion on why she would kill herself.  "She.. wasn't supposed to kill herself..."  Seth notes the wedding ring around the man's finger and approaches him to offer "support."  Easily gaining his trust, the man guides Seth up to the condo unit while Seth tries to gather what had happened.  Seth knows he doesn't have much time before the cops show up to look at the scene, but this man is too ripe an opportunity to run another con.

Wyatt decides to step out and try to find some inspiration while outside his home.  He watches people of all sorts all around him enjoying life, with their loved ones, or their children, and in some ways ponders on how his life had taken unexpected turns in the last few months.  The sudden fame was but one of the things which came so suddenly and faded just as quickly.  

A woman is staring at him.  Wyatt notices this woman in rags and matted hair staring at him with a whimsical smile.  He has never seen her before but her fascinated stare unnerves him because it seems like the kind one gives a long lost friend.   "Rey!"   The woman calls him that name but Wyatt repeatedly tries to explain she has the wrong man.  She then shifts her approach and replies, "I get it... You're 'not' Rey.  Can you tell 'Rey' if you 'find' him that I'm here?"   Perturbed, Wyatt decides to hurry off before she can say anything more.
DJ Champ calls KaQoH and the two map out a place to meet up.  He decides to tell KaQoH to meet him at the very subway station he currently is at.  At least there's enough people here to dissuade a violent scene.  As far as DJ Champ is concerned, he's got the cash to finally pay up and settle the problem.  He calls his friend, Officer Conners, and tells him where he is and what situation he is in.  Conners isn't too happy, admitting he's too far away to get there and help out.  "You'll have to buy some time."   While waiting and worrying on how to delay the pay out, DJ Champ bumps into a young beautiful blonde woman whose bag pops open from the impact.  As her headshots scattered all around, DJ Champ quickly grabbed what he could and handed it back to her.  That was when he realized he recognized her.  Though he could not recall her name, he realized she was someone he had hung out with during the partying the night before.  Or perhaps some other previous night.  He recalled she liked cars.  Was a bit-role actress who had appeared in a few shows as an extra.  As he tries to get her name once again, and muses about exchanging numbers, she gently tries to turn him down by explaining, "Not my thing.." It takes DJ Champ a few more exchanges before she clarifies more directly, "I'm kind of... into women.  So yeah, you're not my thing."

KaQoH arrives.  DJ Champ notices how the man stares at the blonde woman, and quickly suggests that she go.  Feeling she had embarrassed him, the blonde offers her number now, offering to at least be in touch as friends.  To DJ Champ's relief, the gangster doesn't stop her from walking  away.  He does ask DJ Champ for her name, which he admits he does not know.  He pays KaQoH, who hands him his backpack with records back, and during the confusion as people exit a recently arrived train, DJ Champ maneuvers into the train to leave KaQoH at the terminal.  The train begins to move and DJ Champ realizes there is no one else on the train save for a single person.  And this person is a bare-footed woman with messed up matted hair, rags for clothing, and to DJ Champ's disbelief, the exact same face as the blonde woman he had just spoken with!

Seth and the man in the "bee" shirt arrive at the condo unit and the man finally warms up enough to Seth to give his name, "Graham" and explain what had happened.  He tells him of how she was having some problems and had been attending some kind of self-help seminar which was being organized by a Mister Nose.  There were 18 people who have been attending the seminars.  9 couples to be more precise.  The group would chant a strange mantra, which supposedly was meant to help make their lives run smoother:  Horn, Ambulance, Check the Train, Road, Information, Question the Gift, Question the Man, Check the No Truck, Check the twin stars, two boxes sound, Horn, Ambulance, Check the Train, Ambulance, Check the Question, Truck, Check the twin stars, Gift the Circle man, Check the No X Information, Question the Gift, Check the Box, Check the Information Circle two boxes.   It did not make any sense.    Seth hears footsteps closing and realizes the police officer was seconds from arriving at the door.  Graham explains that he found his wife dead in the bathroom, having slit her wrists with vertical cuts, and stayed inside the warm tub of water to keep the blood flowing.  His voice broke as he tries to explain how he had paid someone to promise she wouldn't die...

A knock.

Seth answers the door to find a police officer standing outside.  To his surprise, the officer looks exactly like Graham.  Only better groomed and more fit.  Seth throws a few flirtatious lines and yes, the man also is into that.  

Wyatt arrives home to find someone at his condo.   With "These Boots are Made for Walking" playing in the background, he finds his editor and publicist Mara sitting with her boots on the table.  She is smoking and letting the ashes fall on his immaculately clean and organized table as she looks at him and asks him for the pages.  When Wyatt admits he hasn't written any, she offers him a suggestion:  "24 hours.  Give me your complete outline or I shall activate Promo Number Four."  Wyatt winces as he recalls that cancelled promotion:  It was to allow a fan a date with him.  He didn't like the idea of dating a fan, especially a female fan.  Mara ups the ante and tells him, "I'll give you two days.  But if you fail, you'll have DOUBLE the promotion.  Two dates.  And the second one, will be a MALE fan."  Wyatt realizes she is threatening to have him out himself if he doesn't get the pages he promised her.

A door bell.

Mara heads to the door to answer it.  Wyatt rushes to clean the table.  But then hears Mara fall to the ground with a heavy thud after answering the door.  As he turns ask what happened, he sees a strange figure standing outside his door.

The man is in all white.  Fedora.  Suit.  Pants.  Shoes.  Belt.  Everything a single shade of white.  His skin was pale, and his eyes an almost dull gray, giving the impression of empty white orbs for eyes.  The man held a small canister in one outstretched hand, and started shaking it upon seeing Wyatt come into view.  

The strange woman started laughing upon seeing DJ Champ, and DJ Champ walks down the moving train to head for the door that will give him access to the next train.  He hears her muttering a strange mantra of directions, and tries to ignore her gibbering.  "Underscore, up, right, left, time, down, big down, right, big down, diagonal, right, big diagonal.."  As he enters the next train he sees a lone man sitting on the chair in tattered clothes and wild hair.  As the man looks up at him, DJ Champ realizes the man looks exactly like the man who had given him the envelope of money.  The man screams at DJ Champ and runs straight for him!

Seth watches curiously as the police officer questions Graham, and actually hears the officer joke about how he's "Graham Conners," and how the witness is named, "Graham Collins."  As the police officer talks to his "doppleganger" about what happened, Seth decides to exit and leave them to talk.  As he opens the door, however, he sees a figure standing at the open doorway dressed in all white.  His description matches Graham's description of Mister Nose!  The man sprays something from a small canister onto Seth's face, and Seth pushes the man back, staggering down the hallway in hopes of getting away.  He calls out to the officer for help!  Officer Conners appears, pistol drawn, and yells at Mister Nose to stop.  But when the man doesn't, Conners fires a shot into the man's chest.  Mister Nose staggers back and, as the crimson stain grows on his chest where he was shot, reaches for the wound area.  With two fingers, he "peels" away the red stain, which "pops" free from the white clothing as if it were just some rubbery sticker that flutters down like a delicate cloth.  Mister Nose deposits the red "handkerchief" atop his left arm, then closes in on the stunned Officer Conners to spray him on the face as well.  Seth, at this point, succumbs to the early spray and blacks out.

Wyatt runs, shoving past the figure in while, and as he runs down the stairs to escape, he runs past a neighbor making his way up.  As Wyatt reaches the last step, he hears a grunt and turns to see his neighbor tumbling down the stairs after him.  The man in white stands calmly at the top of the steps with a canister in one hand.  Wyatt feels panic all over him, keeping him from moving.  The man calmly walks down the steps until finally he reaches Wyatt, sprays him on the face, and watches Wyatt black out.

DJ Champ stares at the two doppelgangers, confused as to who they are and where they came from!  As the train slows to a stop, he moves towards the door in hopes of stepping out.  But he finds an incredible sight waiting for him by the door.  A man in all white stands, smiling at him as the doors open.  Walking into the train past the man in white are things that seem an impossible mix of human infant and machine.  These clockwork babies carry with them unconscious men.  DJ Champ stares as one body looks like a young man in a blue sweater and jeans, while the other looks like a well dressed man in a business suit (no tie).  The two other bodies carried are those of a police officer and a man in a demin jacket and a yellow and black shirt.  The second set of men all have the same face as the crazy man in the next train.  But the first set of men... oh.   DJ Champ stares at the impossibility before him for these two other men share his own face.  Different ages, yes, but his face nonetheless.

Another man in white arrives and addresses the first one by the door, "Mister Nose, I see you have gathered the other permutations."

"Yes, Mister Mouth.  I believe we will be able to contain things this time."
DJ Champ falls down, his mind overwhelmed by the sight, and falls unconscious.

Wyatt fells himself laid down upon the moving ground, uncertain where he is being taken, but too frightened to wake from his unconscious state.

And Seth, though stunned by the drug, is focused enough to recognize the chitterings of the mechanical babies.  The tiny click-clacking sounds they make, are morse code.  And the things repeat over and over again two simple sentences:

What Rises may fall. What has fallen may rise again.

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