Monday, August 29, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day31

Embrace failure.  Celebrate weakness.  Perfect is boring.  Houses of the blooded gave me an introduction to shared narrative control and opened my eyes to why a game that last one of the main stats at ZERO was a great design approach.  Weakness reminds the players that they're best working with others.  That at its most basic, a role-playing game is more fun when everyone is social at the table.  While maybe there are some games where paranoia and mistrust are paramount to the game's themes, this does not mean the players at the table should stop engaging with one another for whatever reason. It simply means one must at least make an effort to interact with others, as table top games are not single player experiences.


#RPGaDay - Day30

First and foremost, it would be comfortable and spacious, allowing each player to have personal space that won't be trampled on by other players who aren't as space-conscious or sensitive.

It would have a beautiful octagon table (we currently use an old Poker Table) which really nicely allows each player to be seated with their own area, and still be facing all the players and GM.  The table would have a nice central area which has just enough a depression for dice to be rolled at the center to keep them from bouncing off.    There would also be side panels that can be opened and moved into position to hold drinks, side boards, and laptops, so players who prefer to use computers (to actually play the game the group has gathered together to play, and not - as some selfishly do  - play other computer games or surf the net while the game is running) in tracking the plot and updating their character sheet.

It would have variable adjustable lighting, whose controls are just within the GM's reach.  This allows the GM to make shifts to the room's illumination in order for her to have even light as a tool in running the game.  There would also be a sound system which nicely surrounds the whole area with mood music, without being overwhelming or distracting.

There would be a nearby side table for refreshments and snacks, so players who aren't having a scene can easily slip away from the table to get something to munch on or drink.

The room would be nicely conditioned so players aren't feeling too warm or cold.  It would be well maintained so there aren't any allergens like dust.  And there would be wonderfully comfortable seats that allow everyone to stay focused and yet relaxed, but not too relaxed that people shut down and fall asleep.

And finally, for those who want to have it, there can be hidden projectors that project to the walls, or the table, which allow the GM to have added scenic imagery, maps, and the like when desired.  I've turned away from looking for Virtual Reality and the like because I realize I feel those pull away from table top role-playing games and move them more towards LARP, which I am not against but is not as much my cup of tea as table top rpgs are.  So I designed my room to still celebrate table top games instead of Live Action role-playing.  Likewise, I've avoided Augmented Reality, which could be fun (like a 3D model of the character's likeness wrapping over the players) I feel they pull away the focus of the game on working one's imagination and instead lean closer too easily towards more passive entertainment like watching television.  

Let's throw in a teleportation chamber as well for players to easily show up and leave from the game without having to journey the torturous trip of traffic in Manila.

So there, that's my gaming den if finances were virtually unlimited.


#RPGaDay - Day29

I used to tell myself that someday, I shall run games at Gen Con and meet all the designers I admire and all my foreign friends abroad.   But given this question assumes there are no concerns in paying for the trip, or finding places to live in and more, then maybe I should consider other locations to answer this question.
For example, I would LOOOOOOOVE to run a game at each major continent of the planet.  Call it the Pandemic Achievement or whatever, but I would LOVE to be able to say I've run games in all the existing continents.  So far, I've run a game in Manila, in Tornoto and at Los Angeles.  I wonder if I will be able to try other locations too someday.

Maybe I could run a game at some deserted island.  I'd love to be with a group of players at some location with no interference whatsoever, with a game that matches the setting itself.   I'd love to run a LOST game there.

For purely selfish reasons, I would love to run a game at the Tabletop set.  I'd love to give Will Wheaton and his guests a glimpse of how we Pinoys run our games.

Finally, as unnecessary as it may be, I would love to run a game at Machu Picchu.  No real relevance. It just seems like a cool place to be able to say I've done it. 


Sunday, August 28, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day28

For those who are close friends of mine, I'd say I'd be most surprised if they haven't read about me landing a freelance writing gig for John Wick's 2nd edition of 7th Sea's Pirate Nations book.  I haven't really stopped raving about it and it still has be at times wondering if that really happened.  But then again, I guess I wouldn't be that surprised given the tremendous lack of support from local geek outlets or blogs on celebrating that story.

Oh well.

On a less personal note, I'd probably cite John Wick's masterfully thought-provoking book, Play Dirty, which offers very strong opinions on gaming which I feel everyone should at least take a look at.  I don't expect everyone to agree with its contents, but I do feel people should at least give it a look before making decisions on it.  Live in an echo chamber too long, after all, and you might have a rude awakening to realize how... unrefined you've gotten in your years of gaming without broadening your horizons.

Play Dirty:
Play Dirty 2:


#RPGaDay - Day27

Oh man.
Which one will fit this bill, I wonder.

Would it be that time back in High School when I ran a role-playing game while with my players at the swimming pool?  We didn't use dice for those scenes, but we definitely kept playing despite wading in the water.

Or was it that time we ran a game for three straight days while playing over a long weekend.  We barely had any sleep as it was mostly just tiny power naps between some turns.

There is the game session which I ran while in a school bus.  Although that game didn't go so well.

There's a game session that ran for almost a month, played only via notebooks passed between me and the players since we were playing DURING class back in high school.  I feel bad I didn't be smart enough to keep the notebook then.

Finally, there was the game I ran for four players called Sacrament, which had a number of other non-players involved as non-playing characters who would reach out to the players via text messages and other ways to give them metaplot tips and hints about what the story had in store for them.  It makes me grin when I see stuff about Invisible Sun  and find touches that match the stuff I did for that game way back.

When you love something, you find ways to play it - no matter what circumstances you may be in.


#RPGaDay - Day26

Lots of hobbies go well with RPGs.   Everything from the love of board games, the passion for comic books, love for movies and television shows, and even the desire for exploring theater can go well with role-playing games.  I've seen friends who played chess with the intensity of the Dragonlance saga.  I know friends who used role-playing games to help them map out the stories and characters of their ongoing comic books.   There have been articles showing some of our loved shows were created by people who were inspired by their own games or by game-related experiences.

There are also people whose love of miniatures can be seen in how they work on their figures, some even using them to personalize game sessions with their groups.  I really feel practically MOST of the hobbies out there can be wonderfully matched with RPGs.

The best thing that goes well with RPGs?
Creative people who can channel their imagination to anything they get into.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Alas, Such Fates ep01 : 7th Sea

Alas, Such Fates

"Bonds and Promises"
Episode One - 7th Sea

A carriage serves as the runaway vehicle of some bandits whom have targeted a bank!  Unfortunately for the bandits, four individuals happened to be in the area (though their reasons vary from one another).

Maurice leBlanc, Montaigne former friend of the King (though he claims to STILL be)
Virtue: Sun (Glorious)  Hubris: Prophet (Overzealous)
Known for his Panache and his tendency to leverage the King's favor in his direction.
Played by Rocky

Lady Cassandra, wandering Avalon Knight of Elaine.
Virtue: Hanged man (Altruistic) Hubris: Devil (Trusting)
Known for her Wits, Resolve and Panache, and her tendency to uphold a knightly ideal that gets her into trouble.
Played by Aina.

Hans Leopold Glick, monster hunter from Eisen.
Virtue: Reunion (Exemplary) Hubris: Reunion (Bitterness)
Known for his Finess, Wits and Resolve, and his tendency to get into harm's way in his pursuit for knowledge.
Played by Brian.

Astrid Ivardatter, young growing guild mistress of the Scarlet Stockings from Vestenmenavejar.
Virtue: Road (Friendly) Hubris: War (Loyal)
Known for her Wits and her tendency to call upon the Guild for help.

Astrid is down the road when the carriage breaks from the bank's shadow.  With well thrown knives, she disables a number of the armed brutes on horseback flanking the carriage.  Hans, who emerges from the nearby tavern, also brings down a horse rider.  Lady Cassandra, on horseback, spurs her horse to close in and intercept.  None expect Maurice already in the carriage, having secreted himself inside prior to the attempted escape.  The group claims to serve a Vodacce Witch.  When one of the riders attempts to escape by swinging away from some hanging cloth archways, Another well aimed knife thrown by Astrid severs that escape route.  The bandit nearly bewitches Astrid, had it not been for Lady Cassandra who knocks the bandit unconscious with a blow to the head.  Maurice and Hans meet Lozenzo Cavello, the bald muscular captain of the hamlet of Penitence who thanks them for their assistance in capturing the bandits.

Their actions cause them to be hailed for their actions and are invited by the Don to attend his sister's wedding.  Senyora Angelika, the sister of the host meets them and turns out to be blind.   The host, Crisostomo Felix, invites the four to stay for the coming midnight wedding.  Given guest rooms to rest in, the group separates as they explore the grounds and interact with the variety of personalities in the land.    Hans hears of stories of beasts abducting children in the lands (Part 1/3 of his Story to learn Hiding).  Astrid learns that others still question the existence of her Guild (Part 1/3 of her Story to learn to be more Convincing).

The marriage, it turns out, is more than just a union between lovers.  The group uncover the house to be covered in Glamour, and the marriage it turns out is a wager against the Fae in their desire to understand what love is.  With the Sidhe using their magic to whip up the winds into a localized hurricane, Hans focuses on dealing with the fair one's servants while Maurice feigns stumbling into the circle of flowers that empowers their magic.  Lady Cassandra and Astrid on the other than convince the Don to call off the wedding (which had been shifted to be between him and Astrid) by speaking freely of her being a jenny and successfully convince the fae to depart.  Astrid gains a new member of her guild from the Don's staff, a maid who longs to live a new life.  And the woman named Angela which Hans and Lady Cassandra met at the library turns out to merely be a construct created for the test.  Maurice "accidentally" breaks the faerie ring surrounding the grounds for the marriage and forces the Fae to head back to whence they came from.

The tale ends with Hans deciding to head for the woods to search for the missing children, a task which Lady Cassandra opts to help him do.  And Astrid finds herself with a new protege to train in the ways of her Guild - unaware that her path will lead to meeting more of the kind of people Maurice tends to hang around.

And at the distance, a man watches through a spyglass, satisfied that his scheme at the bank distracted the heroes from his bigger goals.  Alas, such fates are but the beginning of worse things to come.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Wardens ep08-13 : DC Heroes

The Wardens
Last Post

Mayfair Games' DC Heroes

I've decided to make this the last post in relation to this game, despite having a few more episodes worth that I could have summarized.  Simply put, the heroes faced off against a massive villain whose telepathic powers seemed to have taken control over the world, as well as other planets in different systems.

The truth however is later revealed that they were all merely locally mentally usurped and made to think the reach was far more widespread.  Starborn was imprisoned in a prison which was outside the planet, and one character's journey ended up giving the villain a chance to leap back and reach down with his psychic influence.

The stories later progress further, with the world's main bad guy attempting to lay claim to the alien presence that announces its arrival on Earth (in a bid to reconnect with a lost member of their clan) and the hints of the repercussions of what can only be described as the usual trope of Nazi experimentation on superhuman people.  There were revelations about the big heroes and big villains of the world as well, and the price of the growing popularity of the young hero group.

The game was to eventually explore the rise of Magic on the world as one of the characters take the burden of representing Magic in the world and the discovery that the absence of super heroes in the future was because the heroes in the present had to leave the planet and deal with a desperate villain whose roots are traced back to one of their own number.

The game was also going to explore the hijinks of non-human characters attempting to fit in with human kids, the price of a super villain heritage on a young hero, the idea that despite being born in different worlds we can all still be considered the same, and the tragic death of a non-playing character which the group's healer could only heal by willingly giving up his immortality.

It was a wonderful story arc composed of multiple story arcs which the players had created, and I was really hoping to see it come to light.   But that's that.  Real life steps in and things take a turn in different ways.  So yeah, this is the final post for this game session transcription.  The book is closed and despite all the recordings I have of the sessions, I've come to a point in accepting it is pointless to hold on to the past.

It is time to move on.  Time to delete this chapter from my computer and stop hoping things will still be repaired.  It is time to close the book and accept it as all done and over with.

It is for the best.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day25

A wonderful combination of things that make the person cool, and things that make the person not.  A good character has reasons to be awesome and reasons others will hate him.  Too often, people think the best kind of character is one who always has drama, or one who has the best stats, or one who always is absolutely "true to their personal choices" but I've learned through my over two decades of gaming that those three examples tend to be only perfect for the player playing it.  A really good character goes beyond just being a character.  A really good character breaks into the meta level, because the character is somehow connected to the other player characters, giving them a reason to interact.  Time is not wasted playing the tug-of-war game of getting to know you or deciding whether or not to trust one another.  The other players are not forced to wait out that sort of scene to pass before they can finally interact with each other.

Good characters take actions that others can see the logic behind them.  They don't exist just to mess up everyone one else's stories, and even characters created exactly to do that are able to toe the line between being forces of chaos, and being asshole player characters.

A really good character remains true to his or her personality, but is shifted slightly when the character concept might be detrimental to other players in the vicinity.  For example, one might choose to play an overly-sexual androgynous bounty hunter - and that, personally, is an awesome concept in my opinion - but if in a scene the character starts harassing another (whether player character or npc) and another player raises an alarm about it no longer being fun or possibly treading on unwelcome ground in the game, then that character should be able to be reined in without sacrificing its concept.  Maybe the scene is just "we fade to black" as it no longer needs to be given a spotlight.  Or maybe that character is just assumed to do things "off camera" so to speak, and the game focuses more on its other traits.

Those make a good character, in my opinion.

What makes a great character?
One that does all that, and is not afraid to suffer, go through hell and high water, because despite all the unexpected and unplanned things that may happen, the character doesn't just give up.  He or she fights to get back on top and save the day... or at least... tell the story.

Great characters give everyone a fun time watching how they interact in the unfolding narrative.


#RPGaDay - Day24

At the risk of sounding like I'm setting myself up on a pedestal, I've admittedly been very willing to share copies of my game, A Single Moment, to those here in the country who find the dollar price a tad too steep.   Having a credit card to purchase stuff online isn't as common here in Manila as it is for most gamers abroad, so I've been very willing to help those who can't afford it grab a copy to try playing it. 

Here's hoping they all liked it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day23

This story would have to be rewarded to Rommel, my gaming buddy from waaaaay back.  We used to joke about how in all role-playing games with jets, he would always find himself failing the piloting checks to stay airborne.  It went as far as us going through this insane story.

We were playing Robotech one time, using the Palladium rules.  Rommel was a Vertich pilot, which fans of the show would understand to be pilots of the transformable jet planes that can transform into a hybrid plane-robot mode called Guardian (Gerwalk) and a robot form (Battloid).

So in a single game session, Rommel's character crashed his test flight jet, then failed to successfully launch another fighter as the Zentraedi began to attack, and finally, crashed again in the end of the session after he defeated the villain and tried to land at the base.

I don't think anyone can share having crashed three times in a single game, and yet survive to beat the bad guy.  Rommel, I miss gaming with you.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day22

There were a number of such in the past with a certain group, but then we realized a lot of it was grounded on a very unhealthy source, so we've thankfully moved on from having that keep happening.   Focusing then on the more positive stories, and more hilarious threads.

At work, when I run my games there, there usually is a narrative thread that moves towards a romantic angle. Despite the group being more focused on the action and comedy.  And frankly, I don't mind.

With my close gaming group of Che, Rocky, and Urim, our games usually have a great comedy/drama angle.  But we eventually always end up having NPCs we love so much that they become main cast characters.

Finally, with one shot games that I run, there almost always is a player who will eventually want to try a role that they've never played before.  And I am usually happy to let them go for it as I make my one shot games opportunities to explore different games.

Thankfully, that has lead to at least five players within the last year so far who have moved forward to the point of RUNNING their own games with the said system with their own friends.  And that makes me smile.


#RPGaDay - Day21

It would be tempting to talk about a certain space, but naw, let's focus on something instead.  I could probably cite our misinterpretation of the rules from waaaay back when I was young.  We thought that Armor Class was a number you had to roll when you rolled below your Dexterity with a d20.  And that to score double damage or a critical, you roll below the listed AC number.  Yep, we used to think rolling a natural twenty was a BAD thing.

#RPGaDay - Day20

Shared Narrative Control.
This for me was the beginning of seeing the role of both the Game Master and the Player is one single role. Both as just as responsible for the fun of the game, the sense of safety and happiness each person feels in the session, the sensibility of the story and the joy of the overall experience. It isn't about a GM having to cater to every need, demand or desire a player may have without any say in the matter, nor is it about players not having any say on whether or not they want the game to explore a certain narrative angle and the like.
Ever since I first encountered the idea of GMless games and the like, I realized a large part of the idea of GMless games was giving everyone a chance to contribute to the narrative, and a shared responsibility in keeping the game fun.  Many who have an incomplete understanding of it tend to focus too much on a GM-Player relationship where one owes the other something, or insists that one must respond to the wishes of the other regardless of their personal comforts.

I'm thankful how I've learned to better grasp the true joys of Shared Narrative Control, and how it's practice leads to groups learning to be far more trusting and honest with each other. I don't think I'll ever want to play the way I used to ever again.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Masters ep02 : Legends of the Wulin


Episode Two
"The Ninth"

Legends of the Wulin

Trevor Wang, the head of the company that fired Matt Biao, asks to meet with him again.  As it turns out, the man is now being blackmailed by the prostitute he had hired, and he has hired Matt to track her down and convince her to stop.  Before he can leave to fulfill the job, however, he finds himself accosted by Trevor Wang's daughter, Samantha Wang, who handles his legal affairs.   She insists on accompanying him when he refuses to tell her what's going on.

David Yezi wakes up confused if the events of the previous night were just a dream.  After spending time trying to shake off the feeling and return to more normal affairs, he eventually revisits the temple and gets a visit from Peter Chan, the guy at the goodwill center who seems to be suffering from moments of memory loss.  He lost his money bag, and David soon realizes so has he.   They offer prayers in hopes that the thief would return it. Auntie Lo visits and reminds David he needs to pay her rent soon.  David finally checks the security tapes and realizes they have been tampered with.  The events of the previous night must have been real.

Rose Lin is working at the hospital handling a bunch of patients, including an old man who confesses having "breathing" problems and shows he's taken viagra to deal with it.  She realizes he means "breeding problems" and uses Elemental Progression Technique to channel all the blood pressure to to the right spots to help ease the problem.  But then she discovers a visitor: the Baneful Starving Tiger Dragon pays her a visit, flings a needle at her which pins her to the wall by the collar, as an invitation to a battle to later come.  Rose grabs the needle, and overcome by a Trivial Fear, runs away.

Matt's investigations with Samantha lead them to an online site called which identifies their target as JuJu.  As they leave on the private elevator, Matt and Samantha have a brief struggle as Samantha tries to strong arm Matt into giving information.  Both are impressed at each other's Kung Fu.

Rose visits David, asking for a prayer of protection.  The brush with the old man worries her greatly.   Going Bei walks in, but as his direct approach unnerves the two, David ends up using a hint of his ability to knock away Gong Bei's comb as he draws it to fix his hair.  This causes him to run away in embarrassment.

Samantha Wang (Charlie Yeung)
The two discuss Gong Bei possibly having interest in Rose, and the attempt to give her a blessing - despite the generous donation - fails due to the intense... fidelity he senses emanating towards her from Gong Bei.  Rose shows David the needle tossed at her and the two realize they have met the same man.

Samantha and Matt continue to discuss the case, with Matt trying not to give too much details. But Samantha, being a very keen lawyer, is good at reading people.  They track Juju and convince her to agree to meet with him at the ferry.  Things go awry, however, when Matt finds instead the Baneful Starving Tiger Dragon waiting for him.  He whispers something to Juju, which has Juju leap off the boat to kill herself.  Matt leaps into the water to save her, but a needle is tossed from above and punctures Juju's head!  Seeing the needle embedded in a way that Matt cannot pull out without killing her, he uses his chi to lightfoot back to the shore, and with Samantha's help drives her to the only doctor he believes can help: Rose.

David finds another visit from Gong Bei.  The gangster finally confesses he is smitten with someone and seeks out advice. Despite having good intentions, the man clearly has trouble moving past his violent gangster tenancies.  David advises him to attempt to live a life of peace and divests him of all his weapons.  There are enough to fill a number of baskets.

As Rose attempts to treat Juju, Matt and Samantha talk about how she has memories of her father doing strange things.  Juju dies at the table and Gong Bei shows up asking to help Rose.  Neither are aware of the battle David finds himself engaged in when a man calling himself one of the former Liquid Metal Delegates shows at his door and challenges him to a fight.  The fight is short-lived as David's Kung Fu is far more effective than the other.  He, however, calls himself the 8th and deeply seeks to become his pupil now.
Gong Bei (Danny Chan Kwok-kwan)

The death strikes a painful chord in Rose that when Gong Bei arrives, he offers to help her deal with the body.  Rose lets him.  Matt and Rose finally speak with Samantha about what may be going on and to prove that there is truth in this talk of martial arts and deadly needles, Matt reveals to her his ability of lightfoot techniques.  Matt decides to reveal to her his Kung Fu and she finally admits that her family used to show such wondrous things as well. But as she grew up, she always believed it was just her imagining things.

They wonder if Samantha Wong is also, like them, a descendant of one of the prestigious Clans that held the Tiger Dragon at bay in the past.  Or worse, if Samantha's father might be a target!

David gets home to sadly find a dead body abandoned in his bathtub, sizzling in what seems to be acid.  Gong Bei hurries out, realizing he probably chose the wrong place to dump it!

JAMS ep02 : Inspectres

Javier's Armed Men Squad

Episode Two


The game opens with a darkened street.  Three people emerge from a movie screening of The Mask of Zorro.  The two elderly people tell the third old bald man stuck on a wheelchair that it is alright being afraid of the bats.  As they walk, a man at the street corner quietly begins to approach them, digging for something in his clothes.  But then, Jalfredo intercepts the man in his car, giving the man a stare.  The man walks away.  He tells the family the car is ready.  One can only guess what could have happened if Jalfredo was not there.

Getting the Call
In the vast dark library, Lucius emerges from the darkness with the book, "Sea Life of the Underworld," drawn out by the sound of a ringing phone.  He snaps the book closed and answers the phone.  Back at the manor, a horny student calls in, informing them of some kind of supernatural appearance happening at a remote area where a festival is going on.   She starts describing a towering thing, over four stories all, with the ground shaking with each step.   Elsewhere, at the olympic sized pool, Aiden is enjoying a good swim.  He hears strange sounds by the window and approaching it, he gets blinded by a flash of light.  As his eyes recover, he thinks he sees a car speeding away.  He hears Lucius' voice and makes his way to the corridor adjoining the area.  And finally, Gary emerges at the alleyway as well, a plate of donuts in his hand.

The three immediately try to investigate what they can.  They uncover that the current event at the beach side is the Drowned Man Festival, which is a festival to commemorate the death of a man who died in a kiddie pool.  He died while saving a bunch of children.   Aiden decides to check Instagram and true enough, hashtag #DMF shows a large number of people in beach attire.  The images mostly show drunken teens, people doing kegstands, hanging by nearby trees, and people enjoying the live band.   One picture shows however something that looks like a giant leg in the background.   The whole thing seems to be sponsored by a soda company.  Gary decides to call his pervy friend, a policeman named Rodrigo and the cop gives a sleazy report of being at the beach side and being aware of the strange sounds coming form the area.  He does however admit he's been drinking that night so he might just be hearing things.  The loud booming sounds in the background suggest something massive walking, however.  Lucius decides to whip out the Ouija Board and tries to contact the Drowned Man himself.  The spirit of Antonio Banderaz is summoned through the sympathetic connection that exists with the black bandana souvenier Aiden has when he once attended a DMF event some years back.  The spirit confirms he is not at the event but gets dispelled before he can explain something odd being present there.

With that, the group decides to take the case.  Javier arrives, and the group meets his parents, who identify them as Javier's study group (despite Javier being and old bald man) and they quickly retire to what Javier calls his Cave.

Suiting UpThe Cave has a number of suits, equipment and vehicles currently being worked on.  Javier admits those are all intended for a dream he had of protecting the city in some manner.  Some wonder if he just does cosplay and he tells them not to talk about it to anyone.  As they peruse the equipment, the three look for things can use for the mission - remembering their previous mission's terrible turnout.  Aiden finds an experimental Sonic Grenade which affects only supernatural things.  Lucius finds a massive Bola Launcher which he things would be perfect against giants.  Gary finds an experimental portable bazooka which gives out an odd cow sound when it is fully charged and ready to fire.

Javier stops them at first, confused why they seem to be taking over his business.  They explain there's a job and he finally relents, admitting they cannot take the car.  Jalfredo opts to have them take the boat.   They find a black speedboat with triangular markings which Javier calls his "Goldfish" ("It's not painted yet.")  Javier tells them "Just do it" is the motto of their enemy.  So they have to keep a low profile to get popular with the people.  Gary is John. Aiden is Joseph. And Lucius is Josh.  He again warns them never to use their real names to stay safe. Their new slogan is "Join us!"  And they're are off.

The group decides to head to the location via sea and takes the speedboat route.  To their surprise, the whole area is seemingly empty despite supposedly the Drowned Man Festival being celebrated here. It is not silent, however, as they can hear the terrible sound of a thousand cellular phones chiming in or ringing as family members try to reach their loved ones to no avail.  They aren't certain if the thing is killing people or something kind.  The argument hits them with some stress.

As they move to get closer, flares are utilized to see the area better.   The flare flies, but hits something and starts falling sooner than expected.  Aiden steers the boat closer to that area.  Gary readies the bazooka, finding a laser targeting option on the device. Flicking it on, it casts a flashlight wide laser ray which he uses to illuminate the area ahead.  

The thing is massive.  A giant by any definition.  But more disturbingly, it is composed of composite bodies of all the other attendees of the event!  Aiden tries to turn the boat before it slams into the thing, but fails to warn the others in time.  Gary thanks the fact he's used the Gym before but fails to hold on... but with a splash he discovers the bazooka itself was built to float in water!   Lucius however is flung off the boat and ends up landing against the monster itself.  He feels the hands, arms, legs all clamped on each other as they hold on to him as well.   Panic sets in!

The moon.  Gary realizes he cannot see the moon.  And as he turns to call for Aiden, he realizes he cannot see Aiden either!  The dark thing must be reaching for him!  Gary fires the bazooka at that direction.

Aiden hears the cow sound!  He realizes its the bazooka and he leaps into the water with a flashlight in his hand.  The explosion above him illuminates the area for a moment, revealing there was something that was just about to grab him!

The illumination reveals to Lucius the terrible sight of the composite giant, with now people burning and falling off from the "arm" that was struck with the bazooka.  The bodies plunge into the water, burning as they break away from the composite arm.  Lucius tries to climb higher.  He finds a secure spot and tries to talk to the closest face he finds.   Sadly, the face barely registers his presence.  

Confessional #01
Lucius talks about how Aiden's love for the whole 70s vibe helps in the mission as his brightly reflective sequin top has the lights reflect around to draw the thing's attention.
End Confessional #01

Lucius tries to call out, "Joseph! Use the SONIC BOMB!"  Aiden rises from the water, like a glittering mermaid, and with the flashlight shining against his sequined clothing, he raises a hand with the Sonic Grenade.  Despite while treading in the water, his former life-guard training has him throw the Sonic Grenade at Lucius' direction.  

The bomb explodes, giving out another cow-like sound, shedding more of the people from the composite form.  Gary follows the bomb with the flash light to see what will happen.  This time, however, the people broken free seem to be okay.  As people falls into the water, the three now wonder if its a chance to save more people.

Confessional #02
Aiden remembers talking about Lucius possibly going to die that moment.  But the thing was, Aiden actually taught Lucius how to do high diving during their free time.
End Confessional #02

Lucius safely dives into the water perfectly, remembering the lessons Aiden had shared with him before.  The giant begins to fight more aggressively, which tells them the Sonic stuff seems to work.  But with their limited number of grenades, however, they need to find a way to beat the thing.  The giant reaches to clamp both hands around Aiden, so he pulls another Sonic Grenade out and erupts it as the hands cup him.  People fly away as the hands shatter from their composite form.   People who have been freed are panicking, not fully cognizant of where they are or how they got to the water.

Gary sees a woman nearby who starts grabbing the bazooka from him.  He notices her platinum blonde wig that covers most of her face except for her mouth.  He starts helping the celebrity singer, Sia, to reach the shoreline and learns from her that she was giving a concert when the power went out.  The group starts to move to the shoreline to find a way to end this.

The group gets separated at the shoreline.  Lucius fires the Bola Launcher towards the water side, unable to truly clearly see where it might be standing.  He thinks he caught both of its legs, but cannot see for certain.  Lightning flashes, and for the brief moment, all can see the stretched out humanoid form still composed of the other captive people.  Without its forearms from Aiden's grenade, the thing struggles to remain balanced due to the bola that has entangled its knees.  It moves, disturbingly, in perfect silence.

Aiden holds up the last Sonic Grenade.  He wonders how to use it more effectively, if it seems to be working against the thing.  

Gary and Sia reaches the shore.  Sia complains how all these expensive sound systems were at the beach for her concert, but maybe she should have paid attention to the mention of some kind of fairy stones or stonehenge that was earlier where the stage was set up.  Gary wonders if the stones are the missing connection to the manifestation.

Lucius reaches the shoreline and finds the tree where the student who called earlier has been hiding.  She readily admits she finds Lucius attractive, but tries to give more information on the terrible monster.  She flirts with him a lot, asking him to let her hug him close while they talk.  She identifies herself as "Stacey," and Lucius identifies himself as "Josh."  She tells him about wanting to have his babies, and even mentions she has a twin sister who would love to share him.  Lucius hands her a calling card and tells her to call him tomorrow.  She gasps because it has his name and asks if he would accept her body instead of the money.  She tells him how her mother is very rich, but doesn't like humans, and that it might be her last night on earth.  She asks for permission to hug him and when he says yes, she drops to her knees to hug him.

Lightning flashes.

Aiden dives under and swims towards the giant, hoping to find anything that suggests is acting as the monster's "center" or "core."  He uses the Paranormal Reader (from the first mission) to scan the thing and finds the strange enemies it emits can be traced back to the stage area at the beach! Aiden dives back down after a quick gulp of air to swim for the shoreline.

Gary tells Lucius what he's learned and the two make their way for the stage, leaving Sia behind at the beach.  The horny student runs to accompany them to the stage.  Aiden tries to join them but the giant notices his movement.  The giant attempts to stomp on Aiden!

Confessional #03
Gary remembers how he only realized that night how Aiden was cooler than he thought. He was after all, a 70s ninja, having learned ninjitsu from some dojo.  It so works with his sequins.
End Confessional #03

Aiden breaks into a run, and as he remembers his ninja training, he easily evades the giant's foot as he dashes on the sand.  (dodging to the theme of the Baywatch theme song).  Lucius grabs the sand and allows it to spill out, attempting to see if he can detect any occult readings from it.  Gary, on the other hand, starts working on the stage soundsystem.  Lucius gets gagged when the sand files into his face and mouth.  The horny student tries to help him by using her tongue to wipe away the sand that is blinding him.

Speakers, microphones, lights all come on as Gary finds the unplugged extension cord and clamps them back together.  The giant turns into their direction, noticing the stage.  Aiden arrives and, ignoring Lucius who is getting tongued, comes up to Gary and flings the grenade to him.  Gary holds up the microphone after yelling out, "Good evening Cleveland," before raising the microphone to the grenade to catch its explosion!

The throw is perfect.  The sound transmits outwards in a wave of anti-supernatural energy.
 Lucius, on the ground, sees the glowing stone beneath the stage, the last remnant of the "stonehenge structure" that was here.  The cow sound blares all over them. The giant explodes, falling apart as people tumble to the ground.   The force of the sound even causes the clouds to part and moonlight to finally shine down.  The horny student holds Lucius closer, asking him to take her home as she's scared of the sound.  She pulls him close and asks for his real name.

Lucius gives it.  She smiles, tells him she thinks she loves him... and as Aiden and Gary pose dramatically as the bodies scatter to the floor, with Aiden flinging off the sequins and Gary shines the laser on him.  They give a jumping high five. But when they turn to congratulate Lucius, there is no sign of him.  All that remains is a ring of mushrooms having sprouted where he was standing. The bola launcher is left on the sand.  Gary unearths the mushrooms, digging, wondering if there's any clue of where he has gone.

Clean Up
They relate to Javier and Jalfredo what happened and thought they consider at first the chance Lucius had quit to join with the underage student, Javier returns and holds up a book.  Mushroom rings, stonehenge, and the like are all connected to the fairy folk.  The rings suggest one of them passed through or just left, Javier shows a text that says, "So long as the ring is not broken..." Gary facepalms.

Javier decides to call a friend who can help.   He warns them, though, that he is not normal.


At the other side of everything, Lucius meets the "mother".  She seems to have two pairs of eyes, a single mouth, and offered something for him to drink.  Lucius could not say no to the things being offered.  They talk about giving him a new name.  He falls asleep.


An old phone rings.  Javier makes a call to his old friend.   "You said once that if I need you, you owe me since I helped you before. I am calling in that favor."  The ghost of Sherlock Holmes nods..

There won't be any time for a vacation trip today, it seems.

(Watch the episode here:

#RPGaDay - Day19


In as much as reading, watching actual plays, checking out reviews and the like can help you get a glimpse of what a game system is like, you don't really learn the game until you dive in and play it.

Cause that's when you start to see beyond the rules as written, and experience the mood and tone the people playing the game add to the rules on the page.  That's when you get a feel whether or not it works well with your group or not.  That's when you can say, "This is fantastic!" or "This doesn't work for me."


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day18

I used to this Virtual Reality was the answer I would always place here.  The idea that you could literally play in an entirely virtual recreation of the game was  one I really wanted to achieve.   But nowadays, I feel VR would remove a key component to what I love about role-playing games and that is the imagination is engaged.  Rather than visualize and imagine things, the player simply acts - which while it sounds cool, also kinda makes it less a role-playing game and more an infinite-budget interactive theater. 

So given that, I think I would rather keep that a separate form of entertainment and not something that drives table top rpgs to extinction.

The innovation I feel we can most benefit from that currently exists right now would be the use of video conferencing with 3D printing. Imagine if we reach a point where you can run a game with players from various parts of the world simultaneously, and "hand things over" to them as they receive it as an instantly reproduced 3D printed object.  Specific props can be handed over.  Dice can be "printed and dropped" in the other side of the world just for fun.  And mind you, this can go beyond what 3D printing is doing now.  Maybe in the future, we can share meals as we play, and even create games that have a lot of tactile components (like Dread, Invisible Sun, or even cards like in A Single Moment or Psychosis) that you can just purchase and print out to play with your group.

3D printing gets my vote for now. I mean, they're  the base evolution leading to Star Trek Replicators!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

#RPGaDay - Day17

Oh there you go!  Fictional is now in play. Man, so many choices to choose from:
I'd love to try a game with RIVER SONG and the game would probably be Fiasco just to see how hilarious things will get with her cheating to make it work in her favor.

Then, I'd probably ask for a game session with the kids from STRANGER THINGS. I'd love to run them a session of either Monster of the Week, or Changeling the Lost, and freak them even more out by basing the game on what they just went through.

Finally, I'd love to have Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems in a game of Sea Dracula.  For those who don't know what Sea Dracula is, please do check it out!


Weekly Affirmations plays A Single Moment!

I was so sad to have missed the twitch broadcast of this episode.  Strix contacted me to let me knw they were planning to play my game and I so wanted to catch it and give my support.  Sadly, the session would happen to be around 6a.m. in my timezone, which also meant it was to happen while I was running a one-shot game with Che, Dave, Nap, and Rocky (the game was called Stranger Things Too, inspired by the tv show).  So all I could post back then was this post.

Thankfully, they also post the video on youtube!  So here's a chance to see it in play.
I am deeply grateful that they chose to try my humble little game.
Thank you so much, Weekly Affirmations!



This week Strix and Ajit play an emotional game about dueling samurai called A Single Moment.

Host: Strix


Party of One plays A Single Moment!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by GM Jeff Stormer of Party of One (@PartyOfOnePod) to try playing A Single Moment on his podcast which focuses on two player games.  I will admit, I have never played live on a podcast before so this was a nerve-wracking moment for me!  (And yes, you can actually catch it in my voice.)

The session ran for a single hour, although there were some interruptions which were kindly edited out (as I had to order dinner for me and my partner).  I think I will always have some trouble with games where I can't actually see the player's face (I'm so used to adjusting and reacting to visual cues and giving them while playing) but I would like to think the game sounds pretty fun nonetheless.

Thank you so much, Party of 1 for having me over!

You can listen to the game here:

wideawake ep4 : Bliss Stage


Episode Four
"White Diamond, dogs. A Classic."

Bliss Stage

Kouki choking as silver flows into his mouth.  Even the runoff of silver that splashes outside his mouth seemingly courses back to rejoin the flow in an almost sentient manner.  As he chokes, his eyes open wide and turn silver.  On the ground, the silver reflection depicts the same scene upside down with Pickles visibly still pouring it into Kouki's mouth.  In the reflection, Kouki sits up, confused, as people begin to walk towards him proclaiming he's "Finally with them." Kouki sees the base, the structures, the city in the Bliss and sees the diamond-shaped spaceship hovering over Tokyo.  He sees the scoutships attacking an outpost being attacked, and he realizes the diamond ship begins to open and reveal a pair of eyes staring straight at him.  The scout ships begins to turn to face in his direction too.

"They know.  They know where our base is!"  Kouki breaks from the Bliss with this realization, vomiting out the silver as he coughs and struggles to get back to his feet.  Pickles steps back and runs off in fear.  Remembering the diamond ship and its contents staring at him and he remembers they are already on their way!

Kouki runs  for Takeshi, hoping to find his older brother to tell him what he's seen.  Takeshi and Kyle are having a moment.  The two are sitting atop a rooftop, enjoying some time to drink and talk about their feelings on the missions.  Takeshi drinks from the stale beer they've found, already having had two, while Kyle enjoys drinking juice.  They discuss all about living on the life's edge, surviving mission to mission.  "Do you ever think about falling off," Takeshi sighs, "The next day, you could end up dead. The Rakshaka could get you."  Kyle admits he is scared, and voices out a truth: they are kids fighting aliens.  Takeshi thinks Kyle might be the best one to take over his position when the time comes, some point in the next six months after all, Takeshi might either fall in battle or fall asleep (as he is nearing 18 years old).  They hear Kouki in the distance yelling for his brother.  Takeshi calls out to him.   The boy sees where he is and heads to join them.  Takeshi thanks Kyle for taking things seriously, and Kyle thanks him for trusting him.

Christine feels the urge to drink and wonders where Chris stocks the good stuff.  She visits the commissary and finds MaryAnne there.  She learns Takeshi had taken the alcohol and notices a note from Chris on the wall, thanking her," Thanks for the help, I'm sure we will enjoy it."  Christine's eyes narrow, bothered by the implications of the note, and asks MaryAnne to explain.  MaryAnne explains Chris asked her for some porkchops this morning, to share with  someone.  Christine is bothered, more, and decides to find where Kyle went.  MaryAnne points to where she can find them.  Christine asks her to make more moonshine and runs off to find the guys.

Kouki rushes past Christine, clambering up the stairs.  Christine notices he's running up and rushes up, worried the boy might drink the remaining booze up there.  She tells him she wants booze and him, but Kouki gasps shocked at the invitation Christine are throwing at him about having sex.  Christine enjoys the moment of making Kouki feel "weird" as it makes her feel less weird.  She asks for his age and he mutters he is only fourteen.  When Kouki grabs Christine's hand to stop her from moving closer and more intimately, and starts explaining about the silver and about Pickles shoving silver into his mouth, and that something saying it knows where they are.  Christine pulls Kouki up the steps to talk to his brother.  "We can fool around later," she grins.  Kouki has a massive sweat drop.

Takeshi sees the two arrive and when Christine tells him his brother is freaking her out, Kouki confesses, "She wants to have sex."  Takeshi tells Christine to lay off his brother. Kouki tries to explain that the enemies are coming but is unable to form the correct words.  Christine explains that Kouki is accusing her brother, Pickles, of having thrown silver down his throat.  "If it wasn't so creepy, I'd be turned on by the thought.  He seems to have seen things."  Takeshi asks if it was silver water, like from the rain. Kouki nods and says Pickles has a bottle filled with it. And that he talks to someone in the mirror.  Christine hugs Kouki to comfort him.  Takeshi reminds her to back off and shoves her off.  "Come on, we need to talk to Chris."

Christine insists she will talk to Chris too and follows.

Katie visits the clinic and sees Jude worrying over the antibiotics which are running out.  He offers her a "flinstones" if she needs some vitamins but she admits she's just here to talk to someone.  Jude talks about shrinks, people you used to pay to listen to you, and she found it amusing.  "When all of this is over, I'd want to be a shrink then."  Katie notices Jude seems to be worrying about something and when she asks he admits he just wonders if it will ever all get over.  Katie mumbles that if she if it didn't have any hope of being won, why would they bother fighting.  Jude reminds her that as pilots they play a huge role in keeping everyone safe.  Katie grumbles though that if pilots were important, why does Christ treat them like dirt.  Jude reminds her Chris is just an asshole and if he didn't come up with the ANIMa, he would have probably shoved him into water much sooner.   Katie laments Chris being the only adult they have left.  Jude admits he spoke with Kyle about the possibility of another old survivor out there.  He asks if Katie can ask Kyle to try to bring the survivor back if possible.  Katie thanks Jude for being the first person to not treat her like a child.  The two feel their trust grow.

Kyle overhears the talk about scoutships and decides to try following them down.  He comes across Pickles as he walks, smiling as he asks if his mother is named "Heather."  He asks if Kyle's father's name is Douglas.  He glances at a room down the side corridor and asks, "Is your dog's name Rufus?"  Kyle is wondering why Pickles knows all about them.  Kyle remembers they were all Blissed out and is bothered at Pickles' claims that the he has been playing with his dog.  Pickles offers to show Kyle where they are.  "He's waiting with your mom."   Kyle is asked to check the room but before he could turn away, he begins to hear Rufus' bark!  Opening the door, he sees Rufus, all silvery and glowing.  Kyle sees his mother too, on her hands and knees, waving at him.  Both are standing from a large piece of glass on the wall.  Pickles suddenly shoves him into the room!

Katie sees Christine and the others are hurrying somewhere, and follows them.  Takeshi tells Kouki to stay away from Christine, telling him she will just play with their emotions and mess them up.  Christine wonders if Chris is with someone right now and hurries ahead to check.  Kouki asks Takeshi if he likes her.  Takeshi warns him if he shows her any attention, she will just make you cry, "Like a poison needle stuck in your heart!"  Katie hurries to follow Christine.  Kouki promises Takeshi that he won't do it with her, but he has to teach her about love since he won't teach him anything about it.

They arrive at the room and Christine finds Chris not alone.  Lewis, the other pilot, is the one there, rising from somewhere under the table between Chris' legs!  Christine is aghast.  Lewis mutters he thought they were over.  Chris mutters they never were an item.  Takeshi is shocked to see people with their pants down. Lewis and Chris mumble about having an argument and being very... angry.  Katie doesn't grasp what's happening and neither does Kouki.  Christine mumbles to herself that she needs to make Chris jealous somehow.  Takeshi warns Chris that there might be scoutships closing in, claiming Kouki ingested rainwater which Pickles forced into his mouth.  Christine and Chris argue about things with Christine swaying the topic on her perceived betrayal while Chris focusing on how Pickles could have gotten water.

Kyle rolls back from the glass, panicked to be locked in the room.  He hears Pickles laughing outside.  Kyle hears his cellphone ringing, Gerard is asking if he is on his way as Chris is calling for a meeting.  Kyle yells at him to get help and that he's in the bad room!  Kyle tries to ignore his mother's words even as she asks him to come and join them.  Kyle pulls back from the door when he hears splashing sounds.  Standing at the floor between the door and the mirror, Kyle worries as he sees the silver water Pickles has poured onto the floor of the door area, allowing it to seep in towards Kyle.

Gerard grabs a gun and runs for the area, knowing that sole room with a mirror which no one wanted to ever touch.  With the water spreading closer and closer, Kyle realizes the puddle has left the door and continues to close in towards him.  Rufus, in the mirror, slides away and reappears at the puddle excited to see Kyle. Kyle realizes he will have to risk a jump over it!    Gerard hurries to a corridor and sees Pickles at the far end!  He runs for it as quick as possible.  The water dries up, and the mirror fading back into a normal glass.  Kyle hears Gerard's voice outside yelling at Pickles to step away from the door and back away from the door.  Pickles swings the thermos at Gerard, who dodges to avoid the silver spray!  Kyle shoves the door open, now that Pickles is out of the way, and tackles the boy to the ground.  Pickles starts crying, yelling for his sister.  Kyle's elbow splashes against the silver puddle nearby and suddenly, he feels a brief moment where he's connected to the Bliss.  Kyle feels Rufus licking his face.  He sees his mother running towards him.  He sees people in the distance applauding as his mother runs to him - but then its over.  He's back at the floor with Pickles crawling away.  Kyle bops the boy on the head, knocking him down. Gerard helps Kyle up, worried if he's okay.   "No... its gone.." Kyle sighs.  Gerard checks if he's hurt, but thankfully there are no evident wounds.  Gerard picks up the thermos and it turns out to be Chris' thermos. They pick up Pickles and hurry to the meeting.

Jake slips into the meeting, seeing a chance to be closer to Katie again. Krishelle is already there, knowing there would be a meeting soon enough.   Kyle and Gerard finally arrives, and the meeting leads to a mission briefing.  Each time Chris makes eye contact with Christine, she breaks eye contact with him and looks at Kouki instead.  Lewis seems to smile each time that happens though.  Kyle drops Pickles to the ground and tells them about what happened.  Jude rushes close to check if the boy is hurt. Maryanne stays by the door, worried of what she heard.  Kyle tells them the silver water was in Chris' thermos, which bothers him a lot.  Takeshi proposes the Rakshaka might be able to see through the Silver. "They might know where we are."  Jude is asked to find out from Pickles where he got the water.  Gerard asks what happens when they find out the source.  Chris admits they can't move as the colony is too settled here.   Gerard feels Chris has been naughty, and shows them the thermos has his name.  Christine blames them that the guy they all think they can trust was the source of the water!  Chris tells them the water was from the previous mission.  He claims it accompanied the pilots when they came back, clinging to the Creches when the pilots came back.  Christine accuses him of not being responsible, leaving the water on a thermos the kids can grab.  Chris stresses they should focus on what's more important: the incoming scout ships.

Each pilot is to fly 3 kilometers out in one compass point to check if the enemy ships are closing in. Christine rolls her eyes and just chooses to do it since she has no choice anyway.  Gerard reminds Chris this isn't over.  Takeshi suggests the other new pilots - but Chris interrupts that there are only four Creches.  He sends them all out.  "Oh am I going?" Christine hisses, "You have six pilots, how am I supposed to know if you chose me to be part of it?"  The broken relationship between them is clear.

Takeshi, on Darkwing, takes the West, moving towards the Tokyo Tower and the bay.  Christine, on Animus One, heads for East, but then switches with Katie who also switches with Kyle. In the end, she's headed North.   Katie, as Unicorn, flies South, but trades with Animus One to head East instead.  Kyle, as Archer, opts to fly South, after a quick switch with the others to finally fly South.  Kyle hopes to revisit the old woman he saw by the bridge.

Animus One sees the rolling fields, abandoned parks and smaller buildings as he moves in that direction. Miranda guides her through the area, noting the landscape and warning her of the lack of appropriate hiding places to duck behind.  At halfway out, three scout ships are detected at the radar range.  Miranda suggests they pull back, but Christine feels tempted to shoot them down.  Miranda suggests an alternate route around them, but Christine isn't sure about taking a longer trip.  Miranda quickly reports to the others about the bogeys on the North.  Chris marks them on the wall depicting the base's location.  The two soon come upon a downed drone ship and Miranda compliments Christine for being amazing.  The thing is mostly intact, but lacking communication towers.  Christine confirms she's at three kilometers out, given the distance she walked, not the distance from the base, and Miranda opts not to argue.  Steam rises from the drone as a hatch opens.  Christine tells Miranda it is opening and Miranda asks Gerard what to do.  Gerard suggests she scan the pod, look for weapons, anything.  Christine wants to shoot but Miranda tells her a life form is detected.  Silver water sprays out as a figure crawls out of the ships.  A human, naked, with blonde hair.  Silver water coughed out as he heaves and rolls onto the floor.  Christine opts to try to rescue him by picking him up.  Chris tells Miranda to just continue the scouting mission, and ignore the man, but Christine clearly ignores him and considers heading back to the base to carry him home, but Miranda reminds her she's in the Bliss.  Miranda asks Gerard what to do, and Gerard reminds her of the last time it happened with the rain. He suggests she leaves the guy at one of the portals and they will rescue him with a rescue team.

At the east, Katie is moving towards the mountains. Jake asks Katie if she likes Jude and she admits he is nice.  He presses, asking how nice is nice, and she shares he doesn't see her as a kid, which she appreciates.  When Jake stresses he doesn't treat her like a kid, Katie confirms in the worst way possible: You're like a brother to me.   Jake reminds Katie that Jude's girlfriend is MaryAnne, implying she should consider having one.  They detect three scout ships in the area as well.  Jake guides her to stay out of trouble and stay low.  They try to sneak past the others, but then detect three more closing in.  "That's six," Jake worries aloud, "We want to stay out of trouble." Jake activates the leg modules to allow her to move lower.  Three more become visible.  Jake reports them to Chris who admits they look like they're spreading out, looking for a central spot.  He tells Jake to see if Katie can fly.  Jake warns that would make Katie visible.  Chris tells him to check who has a flight module, and that whoever can fly must go up to give them a great view from the sky.  Kouki supposedly developed a jet pack but no one has it yet... except Krishelle, who confirms Takeshi's ANIMa already has a flight module.

At the west direction, Darkwing continues towards the Tokyo Bay.  Krishelle informs Takeshi that Chris needs the bigger picture.  He begins climbing up the ruins of Tokyo Tower for a better viewpoint.  They detect two bogeys closing in, but then on update, the scoutships now number 17 in total.  Chris refuses to give word to pull back.   Halfway up, with Takeshi being micromanaged by Krishelle, they see the diamond shaped in the sky closing in.   Chris realizes they cannot evacuate the base, not with the rains.  He asks Takeshi to identify any visible vulnerable spot on the diamond.  The radars pick up now 24 bogeys adding to the numbers.    Takeshi worries, having never encountered anything like this before.  Krishelle asks if he can see anything that looks broken and when he says no, she suggests he acts more careful and finds a way to get closer.  Takeshi admits it might be best to keep them from getting to the base.  Krishelle argues with him, stating all he's saying is obvious things.  Takeshi can't see any weak spots and Krishelle gives Chris a full feed.  She cites what she feels is a weak spot, but all the anchors are not sure if she's right.  Jake is starting to get scared for Katie.  The thing is far bigger than the two city blocks estimate.  Chris tells them that Takeshi should continue his scouting. "If you can't handle it, then we are all doomed. You're the veteran pilot we have."

"They're doing a scanning pattern," Takeshi realizes.  "And that white Diamond is their mother base." He realizes Kouki was right.  The enemy has tracked them to this general location, but not quite certain where precisely.

At the south, Kyle brings Archer closer to the bridge.  He and Gerard work on finding the woman.  Kyle hotshots, plunging into the silver lake and vanishes to emerge at the other side.  Gerard watches in shock as Kyle has stepped now into the real world.  Occasionally, the silver threads reveal the Bliss counterparts of the world.  Archer quickly moves towards the bridge and sees the place where they first detected the old woman.    He sees the barred doorway and runs a scan.  Gerard sees the woman inside the home, alone.  He taps on the wall to call for her attention.  She peers and seeing the ANIMa, and she emerges with a cannon in her hand, one crackling purple with energy.  Kyle tries to tell her she's safer with them, but she tells them its pointless as they have taken over.  "As long as one of us still breathes, we can fight!" Kyle tells her.  "You resisted the Bliss!"  She asks him to come down, and he explains he's not "really here."  Gerard reminds her NOT to open the cockpit.  The woman shuts her cannon down and goes back inside her shelter.  Kyle wonders what would Takeshi do.  He feels his heart beating stronger.  He opens the hatch and Gerard gasps.  Kyle steps down from the cockpit, amazed despite knowing his real body is sleeping in the creche.    Gerard looks at the ground and sees Kyle's sleeping body.   He notes his body seems to be fine. Kyle heads down the ladder to join her at the shelter.

Krishelle calls out for Chris, noticing Gerard covering the screen.  As she tries to get what's going on, Gerard counters by asking how Takeshi is doing.  Chris, distracted, turns to see what is going on with Takeshi.  Chris stares at shock at Gerard's screen, which has Kyle stepping down from the ANIMa.  Chris gasps, seeing people can exist in both at the same time.  Krishelle gasps too, "Philosophy later, actual strategies now!"  Chris wonders if its a way to escape the aliens.

Takeshi notices a small group of kids emerging from the sewers, hoisting up some kind of device.  One notices Darkwing and they all stop, realizing they can see a gigantic thing that has noticed them.  Takeshi gives them a thumbs up and continues to move closer to the Diamond.  Krishelle notices the kids and wonders how they are there, given the Bliss.  They realizes the Bliss seems to have pockets that intersect with the real world.   Or those kids are in the Bliss!

Christine wonders what to do with the body, and Miranda suggests they can do what Kyle did before.  She can reach through a Bliss portal with the body and drop him off at the other side.   The man goes frantic as Christine plunges him through the portal and drops the man onto the ground.  The naked man seems to have a sudden seizure kicking in.  The rescue team emerges to grab the body and they hurry to carry him to the base.

Proximity alarms!  Three scout ships have detected Christine and move in to attack her.   Animus One slams against one building to hide against it.  The scout ships open fire, but hit only the cover.  As they fly past, Animus One emerges, shooting at them to make them blow up.  Miranda reminds her she has to make sure she kills them each with a single shot.  The arrows fly from Animus One with perfect aim, destroying them with ease.  A third scout ship swoops by, firing at the walls nearby, but its explosions grabs the attention of the other scout ships.

As the scout ships begin to fly towards the explosions, Takeshi asks Krishelle to inform him who is under attack.  She ignores him a few times, at first, which adds to the stress on their relationship.  Takeshi opts to take a quick scan of what the thing is, then plans to rush to help Christine any way he can.    Katie sees an ANIMa crashed on the floor, with parts severed from the main body.  The pilot's cockpit is shattered open, and there is a dead body inside.  A young boy around ten, perhaps years old.  Jake wonders who it could be if they only had four creches.

Takeshi's scans reveal the White Diamond contains a massive number of scoutships as well as one massive structure within that registers immense power levels that rival their own ANIMa!  He realizes the threat to the base is imminent.  Krishelle sees warning blares on the leg portion of Darkwing. She reminds Takeshi the ANIMa can't take the stress.  Takeshi asks for directions on where to find Christine's ANIMa to help, but Krishelle reminds him he has to scan the thing further to identify the larger thing within it.  Takeshi chooses to prioritize his comrades, and demands Krishelle give him the information she needs!

Kyle hears the explosions in the distance.  He runs to the door where the old woman is and tells her he doesn't have time to talk.  "We should go!" But as he arrives at the doorway, he finds the walls filled with old photographs pasted to them.  Many have been scratched out.  "I tried to find my family, I tried to find each and every one," the old woman sighs.  Kyle wonders how she is still awake. "Is it because everyone has fallen into that sleep.  That Bliss."  Kyle tells her he's here to save her but she tells him her child died.  Gerard suggests Kyle empathize some more.  "We couldn't save a lot of people, but we want to save you."  He notices a small puddle of blood on the floor. He realizes the old woman is holding a pistol and she is weeping as she says they won't take her with them. "They realize I can take others from going to them..." Kyle tries to reason with her, telling her that there are other people who can help her realize life is still worth living.  "How many more do I have to save from the Bliss?" she gasps, training the pistol at him.  Kyle realize she has been killing people to keep them from going into the Bliss.  Kyle feints, pretending there is something behind her.  She turns, but fires impulsively not realizing he's now diving to tackle her. As Kyle slams into the woman, they hit the floor as trashing sounds erupt in all directions as Archer moves on its own accord and its massive hand clamps down around Kyle to protect him!  Gerard gasps, the ANIMa shows there is no pilot in it!  Kyle punches the old woman, who continues to scream about needing to save him from the Bliss, knocking her to the ground.  He picks her up and begins to hurry back into Archer, not knowing how it moved on its own.

Chris starts barking commands at the pilots to reconvene at the base.  Seeing Christine has gained the enemy's attention, Chris makes a hard decision and tells Krishelle to tell Takeshi to go back to the base.  He tells the other Anchors to tell their pilots to go home too, save for Miranda, whom he tells to inform Christelle that she needs to distract the enemy and lead them away from the base.  The pilots are relayed their information.  They realize Chris is telling Christine to fight all she can but be sure to lure the enemy away from the base.

Kyle whispers to Gerard he plans to still save her.  Takeshi feels the same.  Katie wants to help but Jude, wanting to protect her, directs Katie to go back as per Chris' orders.  Katie, not wanting to disobey Chris, realizes she can't leave a fellow Pilot out.  Krishelle tells Takeshi to pull back but he ignores her.

At the street, another area begins to open.  Another ANIMa begins to rise from the ground, revealing a different ANIMa!  Takeshi tells Krishelle to activate his speakers and he calls out as Darkwing to the other ANIMa to call out to them to ask for help.  Chris comes up to Krishelle's console and shuts down the speaker system, threatening to throw her out of the base if she does not force Takeshi back.  Takeshi and Krishelle argue about the need to sacrifice someone, and Krishelle insists he return or else she's the one who is getting sacrificed!

"If your pilots don't head back, I'm throwing you out of the base," Chris snarls at all the anchors.  Gerard hisses back at him, "Try it!"

Animus One destroys three more scout ships.  She ducks behind another low wall, weeping as the scout ships close in on her location.  She starts telling Miranda, "I love you..." which shocks Miranda.   The moment of passion ignites her Relationship with Animus One, and the bow and arrow upgrades. "We can do this!  I will see you through," Miranda tells Christine as she plots a course she can take to attack while dodging.  

"Forget this," Takeshi snarls and pilots Darkwing to head straight for Animus One.  Moving at full tilt, Krishelle sees her pilot diving into the fray!  Takeshi is ignoring her words.  She stares at the Forced Eject button and decides silently if the time limit Chris set earlier is passed, she will force eject him from the battle.


Elsewhere, Pickles wakes up from the blow to the head.  He looks up and sees Jude.  Jude tries to get him to talk about where he got the water. Pickles' answers quietly, so softly that Jude leans closer to hear him better.   Jude leans close enough...


Katie wants to join the fight and tells Jake to show her where Animus One's coordinates are. Jake however does not give them. "I won't let you endanger yourself! It is too dangerous! Do you want to die?"  Katie draws her wand and opens fires at the other scout ships in the vicinity, deciding to force Jake's hand by having the scout ships notice her too!  Unicorn fires at the closing in ships, destroying them with each blast.  Jake reaches for the Forced Eject button.  "Don't do it!" Katie screams, but Jake hits the button.  Unicorn unfolds into nothingness as Katie is ejected from the creche.

Hiding among the ruins, Animus One sees the scout ships trying to find her.  Miranda feels empowered, that she's the only one Christine needs.  "On my signal, you have to make a break for it, all guns blazing. You need to punch through."  Christine gives a thumbs up.  Animus One leaps out, her bow firing repeatedly at all scout ships in the way.  A scout ship crashes into the side, and the explosion hurls Animus One a few blocks forward.  The exit point is not much further. "I'm alive... I'm alive," Christine tells Miranda.

Krishelle flips the eject button to force Takeshi out, but to her horror the eject button is now an eyeball staring straight at her.  She looks up at Chris and he has his head held low as he mutters how he told them all to eject but none of them listened.  The walls behind him begin to crack.  Darkwing continues to run towards where the battle is, leaving behind the rising new ANIMa, but on his next step, his ANIMa sinks into the world.  It is as if the ground has become gelatin!  Darkwing sinks in knee deep and eyeballs begin emerging from the taffy ground, staring at Darkwing!  Takeshi feels the Terror build.  The nightmare leeches through his connection to Krishelle, which is now affecting her own perceptions!

Krishelle stares at the triangular pupil staring at her.  Chris raises his head, but as he opens his mouth, a massive eyeball peers out from his throat.  Krishelle turns to ask the others for help but they too have been usurped, and where their heads were, eyeballs turn to face her! Krishelle remembers the box of weapons near Chris' table.  She tries to get to it, but her legs submerge into the taffy floor.  She begins stomping on the eyeballs that emerge, ignoring their animalistic squeals as she stomps on them.

Loud speakers blare from the new ANIMa.  Two voices scream in unison: DRAGON FIRE PUNCH! The ANIMa leaps into the air, poses mid-air as energy swirls around it, then flies straight for the Diamond!  The ANIMa makes impact, then explodes.. and two pilots begin to fall from the impact point.

Krishelle is closer to the weapon box when she suddenly sees Pickles smiling at her from the taffy.  She yanks the box open, and intestines, bones, and living fish clatter out.  She drops the box and rushes to tackle Pickles to shove him to the ground, she breaks into a run to get away from him.  Pickles just keeps laughing.

Animus One continues to fires at the other scouts.  Takeshi hears a scream and as he turns, he sees Krishelle, somehow out of the base and at the street, screaming as she tackles Pickles to the taffy ground.   Takeshi screams out for Krishelle to stop!  Not hearing him, he pulls open his cockpit shield and calls out to her.  Krishelle hears his voice, looks up and the room is gone.  She sees she's at the ground with Darkwing above her, cockpit open. "What are you doing!? Why did you open your cockpit?!"
"Aren't you supposed to be at the base?!?! Tell Miranda to pull out! I'll distract the enemies from the base!" Takeshi screams.
"I can't!  They're all eyes!" she responds.  Krishelle feels her body against the cold floor.  She looks around realizes she's back at the base, looking out the window to see Darkwing in the distance.  Pickles is not on the ground.  It was all some odd nightmare!

The screen is dripping with mercury.  The quicksilver is affecting all the controls.  Takeshi slams the cockpit closed and he realizes the only way to get Christine out might be to destroy her ANIMa.  Takeshi flails around at the eyes popping into view in the console.  He screams and starts to get some level of grounding.  Krishelle sees the Eject Button and grabs the microphone, asking if Takeshi is okay.  She pleads with him to get back again.  She realizes he's not listening, but the moment the time limit passes, she plans to slam the button to Eject him.  She will not be thrown out into that nightmare again.

The Diamond seems to respond to the attack.  It begins to open.  Christine trains the bow at it and fires one more arrow at it.  Miranda tells her to go do it then run!   The arrow launches, empowered with Christine's new Trust in Miranda.  The arrow flies and hits something that peers out from the shell.  The resulting explosion rocks the nearby buildings.   The thing that peers out is a terrible monstrosity with a humanoid form.

"Score!" Christine cheers as she runs, knowing she hit the thing.  As she runs, Darkwing lands beside her.  Takeshi tells Krishelle to tell Miranda to have Christine eject.  Krishelle ignores him.  The two ANIMa continue running, hoping to get away in time.

Katie runs to Jake and demands he put her back out there.  Jake insists it is too dangerous  Chris congratulates Jake for ejecting Katie.  Krishelle sees that, and hating Chris for giving Jake a compliment and slams her fist down on the button.  Takeshi is forcibly ejected too.  Katie slaps Jake on the face, "I hate you!" Takeshi looks around, panicked to be ejected.

Kyle sees Unicorn vanish from the sky.  He powers up Archer and, with the old woman in its hand, he sees the terrifying humanoid figure that emerges from the White Diamond.  It is roughly humanoid in shape with energy projections like wings.  The thing leaves the Diamond and now begins to hover above the area.   Archer learns from Gerard that this might be a battle he might not win, especially without a main weapon.  "I'm with you all the way," Gerard tells him.  Kyle remembers Takeshi and wonders what he would do... and that emotional moment causes his ANIMa to shift!  Shoulder cannons emerge, powered by his Trust in Takeshi.  The screen suddenly goes blank!  Kyle coughs as he slides out of the creche.  Gerard looks up and sees Chris, hand on the Forced Eject button.  "I'm doing what is necessary."

Christine mumbles to Miranda, "Tell Chris I love him.."  Chris tells Miranda, "Tell her to do what she can to force Christine away."  In response, however, Miranda hits the Forced Eject button as well.  Christine Ejects.   "NO!" Chris screams but it is too late.  "That thing has detected our energy cells. Without anyone to distract it, we are now sitting ducks!"  Miranda hisses at Chris, "She loves me, not you!"  Christine throws some of her goop from the creche at Chris.  He admits he needed three of the ANIMa to carry everyone else out of the base.  He shows them the metal containers that are to carry the survivors and bring them away.  "I make the hard choices.  Everyone else is inside hoping to be moved to a safer place.  The three of you were to carry them to safety."

"How do you expect us to trust you when you won't even tell us things, like why the silver water was hidden in your thermos!" Gerard growls.

"Pilots are ALWAYS expendable," Chris finally admits. "The three that carry the containers out? They save the whole population of the base. But their BODIES stay here."

"You would sacrifice the creches too?"  Gerard gasps, "You have another base?"

"To save the rest of humanity, yes," Chris admits, "I just need to take the survivors anywhere but here.  We didn't plan to move, but I can create more creches if need be.  With any downed drones we can find."

"Wait, what do you need the drones for?" Christine yells.  Chris yells back he has no time to explain to children how to build the creches to children who don't know how to listen.  "Well, we are listening now."

He admits they take time and he's the only one who knows.  Gerard feels they could have been honest with him from the beginning.  They could have had time to help him.  He admits he has been working on them with others because the pilots handle everything else.  "If you need us to carry them, why did you Eject us?" Kyle asks.  Chris feels it would have been faster to start over from here.  Takeshi slides back into the Creche, telling them he will carry the carriers out.  Krishelle and Katie have walked out.  Takeshi asks who will back him up.  Chris says it is too late, however, as the thing is charging up to attack.  Christine dives back into the Creche as well.  Gerard sits on the console, wondering if he can handle as anchor for two.  Kyle remembers the talk with Takeshi and the two argue if he will go or not.  Gerard tells Kyle he's taking care of Takeshi, and tells him to go.  "Do you want the Rockstar to live or not?"  Kyle insists he will go too.  He slides into the Creche too.

Jake sees the others and decides to dive into a Creche himself!  Chris sits at the console to be an Anchor for Jake.  The group knows they barely have a minute.  They don't know if it will work, but try it anyway.  They will, if need be, go down fighting!

The Pilots slip into the Creches, not knowing how the day will end.  With no time to worry about what can happen next, the anchors attempt to guide the pilots back into their ANIMa.  The four emerge:  Darkwing, Archer and Animus One stand ready.  A digital counter counting down from one minute begins to appear.  A fourth ANIMa emerges, as Jake's attempt to use the creche awakens his own manifestation.

Darkwing and Archer quickly rush to find the carriers to bring the people away.  Animus One and Jake's ANIMa stare at the monsterous thing.  Takeshi reminds Gerard to tell the other Anchor that they need one more ANIMa to help.  Jake agrees to help out, leaving Animus One alone to face the monster.  Miranda is forced off the chair as Chris takes the console to talk to Christine. "I need you to focus and get airborne... like the angel I know you to be."  He starts telling her the only reason he kept fighting her was because he thought she didn't really wanted him to be with her.  Chris manipulates her to fight for him and distract the monster and sadly Christine falls for it too easily. Animus One takes to the air as Chris creates wings as new parts for her ANIMa.

Miranda gives Jake new telemetry to assist Christine in the battle while the rest rescue the kids.  She gives this as new orders.  Jake insists he will save Katie by carrying the crates.  "Do you think she can handle everything with a bow?" Miranda suddenly insinuates Animus One can't do it alone.  Jake, however, admits he does not care.

Hazard lights swirl as the people rush to load the carriers.  Time continues to count down.  Gerard tells them Jake is on his way.  Archer and Darkwing wait nervously, watching as the people rush into the carriers.  Jake's ANIMa turns out to be more a distorted version of Katie's Unicorn, perhaps due to his familiarity with her ANIMa.  He scans the field and detects a blonde guy running down the field.  He remembers the man Christine had rescued and wonders if that was him.  Animus One charges for the monstrosity's face!  She charges her arrow as she flies, ready to blast it at close range!

The arrow strikes the monstrosity's face so perfectly that it jerks its head backwards just enough for the massive energy blast to be unleashed skyward instead!  The clouds are ripped away as the beam continues out of the atmosphere and into space.  "Oh my god, Christine bought us all time!" Gerard screams out jubilantly!  Gerard resets the 60 second timer for everyone on their screens.

At the carrier area, Takeshi and Kyle notice Pickles running towards one of the carriers.  Takeshi and Kyle let him through, thinking the mission is far more important.  As he runs into the carrier, however, someone calls out that they haven't seen the medic.    Another also calls out that no one has seen Katie.  Jake hears this, and suddenly worries where she could have gone.

Pickles smiles.


Back inside, a few seconds ago...  Katie was composing herself.  Krishelle has gone off to Chris' office to search for those plans he has to build a creche.  She turns to the sound of something falling and peeks at a nearby door.  Katie hears the sirens as people run for the carriers.  She hurries back to the cradles to check.   Krishelle peeks at the open doorway and sees Jude on the floor with his mouth bubbling with silver.  His eyes have gone silver.  And then, he slips into the Bliss, now sleeping on the ground.  Krishelle turns and sees Pickles standing by the wall.  He tells her he is sorry, admitting Jude tries to help him, but things happened.  Krishelle rushes at Pickles, tackling him to the floor.  He cries as she forces him down.

Katie hears the yelling and sees they're all at the creches, dealing with the problem.  To her surprise, she sees Jake is in her creche.  She tries to talk to Chris, but he's preoccupied.  She shoves Chris and tells him she will be his anchor.  "Stop trying to tell me what to do!"  She grabs the headset.

Pickles begins to vomit more silver on the floor!  Krishelle pulls back, avoiding the splashing mercury.  She can hear voices, "Don't go away.." people calling for her to come to them.  She hurries to the other room and searches for a weapon in any of the cabinets.  Pickles walks towards her, dripping quicksilver from his mouth, nose, ears and eyes, as he tells her, "Even this body is empty.  He is already in the other side."  Krishelle trains the gun she found at him, "Then it will make it easier for me to kill you."

"If I could be killed."

She fires.  Pickles crumples to the ground.  Krishelle hears the sirens and continues digging through the cabinets for anything important.


Jake hears Katie's voice and panics as he realizes she is not among those in the carrier. She guides him as the anchor and warns him that the scout ships are closing in.    Animus One turns while airborne and makes to fly towards the others.  Darkwing warns them there's no time to wait.  They begin to move one of the carriers.  Chris tells Takeshi its his call when evacuation must happen.  He heads off, having heard a gunshot somewhere in the distance.


Krishelle finds sketches, papers, seemingly looking more like a cooking manual than a technical manual. It shows instructions to slice open the drone, to find its nervous system, to sew together certain parts, etc..  "The whole thing is organic?"  A door slams and she looks up to see Chris standing there, shocked to find her there.  She confronts him with the papers and asks how long she knew about this.  Krishelle can't believe they were using alien technology all this time!  When asked why she has a gun, she claims her life was threatened.   Chris asks why she killed Jude, seeing his body, and she claims she killed Pickles, not him.  Pickles was the one who killed-  she can't find Pickles' body.

Chris remembers Pickles being seen heading to the carrier.  He runs off to warn them!  Krishelle calls out after him, wanting to know more but he says Pickles might be with the others.  There's no time!

They run for the carriers hoping to get there in time.


With the carriers now lifted, Miranda warns them the scout ships are closing in!  The large monster starts closing in at them, energy building once more.  As they unleash their weapons, hoping to force it back, their attacks at most simply force it back.  As they worry on what to do first, a new ANIMa arises, green in color with damaged parts.  It rises from the monster's flank and it brings up what looks like a cargo trailer in one hand as a support to help it stand.

Darkwing nearly burns all functional systems as he tries to fight off the incoming scout ships.  He fires over and over at all possible targets, ignoring the damage he receives from explosions that happen to close.  Jake, on Unicorn, tries to help out as well.  The two launch off with the containers. Kyle watches as they leave as he keeps firing at the other scout ships to buy them time.


Chris admits he has no real plan.  Krishelle badgers him for placing them in so much danger given his lack of any true plan.  He screams at them how he didn't really plan anything.  How he used to just be a banker!   He drops to the ground, feeling sharp pains in his chest.  He mutters about needing his medication.  Krishelle tries finding what he needs...

... but he just dies.

Krishelle runs to the medical center.  She hurries, hoping to find some way to save him.


The green ANIMa leaps from building to building, and the monster is too focused on chasing after him while the others work on getting the others out.  Animus One hurries back to the battlezone to help the green pilot.  Miranda tries to stress the importance of leaving, but she just won't.  Darkwing falls to the ground, near Animus One.  The ANIMa is barely functional.  Gerard checks Takeshi in the creche and finds him still inside.  But the ANIMa looks terrible. And worse, the pilot cockpit is empty.  "I have to keep fighting," Christine gasps, "It would be what Chris would have wanted me to do.." Miranda tries to convince her that she has to save herself instead of let Chris manipulate her so much.


Takeshi opens his eyes to see it is raining. He sees a basketball court nearby.   He sees, holding a ball, one of his childhood friends.  The other kids are playing.  People are enjoying a day at the park. There is no sign of the ANIMa.  But Takeshi realizes he is still wearing the pilot jumpsuit.     When the other kids tries to help him to his feet, he breaks free from them, and runs off as quick as he can to leave the area.  He thinks he's trapped. Or tricked.  This is all some kind of an illusion.

He steps on a splash of water and panics, but as he looks up its merely runoff from a nearby water fountain.  He runs for the nearest biggest body of water.  "If I'm in the other world, the way between the two should be water..."


Krishelle arrives at the cradle room to tell them Chris is dead and that the creches are all organic!  Gerard keeps the group together and tells them to focus on the fight.  Miranda tells Christine Chris is dead and that she has no reason to live.  Animus One begins to descend, with Christine no longer wishing to fight.

"What's happening to Animus One, to Christine?" Gerard asks.

"She is making a mistake," Miranda hisses.  Gerard reminds Miranda that she is the anchor.  She matters to her.  The whole ground shakes as the floating monster has landed on the ground where the base stands.  Gerard grabs Miranda's microphone and reminds her those bastards are responsible for Chris' death.  "Don't let them get away with this! Now get your ass up and do your job!"

Lewis tells them it is time to go.  He tells them he found a truck they can use to bring the creches with them. Gerard gives them a go signal to start carrying stuff out.   The pilots drag the containers away, knowing this might be their final day.  Christine unleashes her arrows upon the monster over and over as she weeps over having lost everything.  "Chris is dead... my brother is crazy... I've lost everyone!  Everything!"    Gerard reminds her Miranda is still with her and charges the main weapon.  "You got this, cupcake!"


Takeshi stops.  All his running has lead him closer to the bay, but a hand grabs his arm and stops him.  He sees his father.  "You are not real!  My father blissed out years ago!  You aren't him!"  The figure starts telling him facts that only he would know.  Things that try to faze him to stop running.

"Stay here with me. It is the only way we can all still see each other."

Takeshi tells him its been five years.  Too many years he's stayed with Kouki.  He yells at him as he runs that they're using the Bliss to keep the bodies alive.  That they need the bodies for some reason.  As he keeps running he starts to cry.  He keeps running more and more and suddenly hears a familiar voice.  Chris tells him that whatever kept him going probably finally failed.  He tells him the Bliss looks like the real world.  He tells him the Bliss is just a test to see if one's ready for adulthood.    Takeshi sees the waters and reflected on it, he sees the ongoing battle.

"No. It is not time to rest yet.  Real adults don't leave their work unfinished!"

Chris becomes quicksilver that screams at Takeshi as he leaps into the water.

The console flares.  Takeshi is back in the cockpit and Gerard calls out to him about seeing him back in his ANIMa.  Gerard quickly tells him Chris is dead and that he's holding the fort. And that everyone has to keep doing what they can.  He's here for everyone.

"Let's finish our job," Gerard tells them.

Armor wraps around Darkwing, empowered by Gerard's love and faith in him.  The armor clearly is empowered with Gerard's love.  Christine sees Darkwing rise up from the ground and rejoin the battle.  Green ANIMa leaps up once more and attacks the monster from one side, but the monster then hits it and it flies way past them all.  Christine launches more arrows and they arc, striking the monster from the sides as they are guided by her determination.  The arrows trails form the shape of a heart when viewed from above!

"Love deserves another chance!" Christine screams out.

Takeshi, Christine, Gerard, and the others feel a brief union of their minds, as they see the attack patterns each other creates.  Engaging the skates, Takeshi charges as the arrow arcs strike, and as the heart-shape completes, Darkwing hurls his spear from directly underneath at the monster, leaving a trail of smoke like an arrow striking through the heart!

"I... I never noticed Takeshi before..." Christine whispers to herself.  "Why have I been going after his brother..."

The shoulder cannons shatter as Animus One's relationship to Kouki breaks.  An explosion erupts as the monster was about to release the energy that moment.  The energy unleashes inwards, ripping the monster apart.  Darkwing gets caught in the blast and is hurled against buildings.    They hurry to check on him and notice the armor torn apart form the fight.  And yet, the ANIMa holds Takeshi in one hand and offers it to them. Takeshi vanishes from its open hand.

Back at the creche area, Gerard sees Takeshi waking up, coughing out the gel as he does so.  Oddly, his ANIMa remains standing outside.  He runs diagnostics to see what he can track of it.  Darkwing stares at its own hand, as if curious to have a hand, then it begins to vanish.   Christine insists she be allowed to eject, hating how creepy the ANIMa are now given they seem to remain without pilots!


At the crate area, with the people who were carried away to a safe zone, the people wonder if they have just survived the end of the world.  A green ANIMa struggles to move closer to the area, but drops nearly in pieces as it gets nearer.   The hatch opens and crawling out, they see the blonde guy that Christine helped.  He tumbles to the ground and seems too tired to stand.  Jake uses Unicorn to reach down and pick him up, and find he's a 17 year old pilot, a veteran like Takeshi.  Archer sees the pilot, and turns to see the explosions as the monster is defeated by Christine and Takeshi.  Jake adjusts the guy in Unicorn's digits as they see something unexecpted.

He looks like Lewis, but if he was 17-years old.

Takeshi tells them about the other base he saw in the city and wonders if he's from there.  Gerard wonders who those people are, but for now it might be best to move to a new location.  Jake is ordered to bring the guy in.  Kyle tells Gerard to tell Takeshi they're happy he's okay.

Another container opens as the other kids run out in panic.  Their screams alert the others to the trouble there.  Krishelle mutters in horror as she realizes she forgot to tell everyone that Pickles is in the container!  True enough, Pickles is sitting atop a bunch of now sleeping children.  Gerard identifies Pickles as high risk!  The younger Lewis runs up to Pickles and tackles the boy to the ground.  He begins slamming Pickles' head over an over on the ground, as if to make him stop. But he spits another glob of silver onto his face.  Kyle uses his ANIMa to move in, and with his massive fingers, crushes Pickles to the ground.  Twisting it.  Gerard tells the team to contain Pickles as he's liquified now.  Krishelle admits she shot him earlier so she can't believe he's alive.  Gerard thinks if they find a big glass jar they can contain him.  "What big glass jar? Where are you supposed to find one of those? Just cause his name is Pickles?!?!"


Hours pass. They fail to find any sign of a body there.  They do modify one of the drone carapaces and shovel all the earth into it.  They don't know though if he got away or if he ceased to exist.  The group gathers in the former conference room once more.  Now that the Diamond is gone, the group decides it might be safe to stay instead.  Or at least for now.

Pilots have become Anchors.  Anchors have become Pilots.
They turn to Gerard, who has somehow guided them through despite the loss of their Authority Figure.  Or just maybe they found a new one.

Christine was starting to say something in memory of Chris when Takeshi interrupts her and tells them he has been to the other side.  Kyle jokes it is great there, and Takeshi admits it is.  It is an almost perfect copy of the world they once knew.  He warns them it is all fake.  Christine counters asking how he would know it is all fake.  Takeshi stresses there the people seem to be willing to give up rather than fight, and that's why he knows it is all fake.  If one ever finds themselves there, to look for water as a way to get back to this side.

Gerard admits everyone is glad he has return.  He shares that the ANIMas have been documented moving without their pilots.  And that Krishelle found plans for Creches as well, although they aren't certain if they can make some more.  The others ask if they should still run, and Gerard admits finding a new location would be wise.  Gerard finds no sign of any location that Chris had in mind, so maybe it would be best to try to contact the other base.

Alarms ring.  As they hurry to check what has caused them, they discover at the outside, two ANIMa are standing.  Both are in state of disrepair.  The other is barely balanced on one leg.  They announce themselves to be from the other base, and that the group has one of their pilots.  "We are here to... parlay?"

Takeshi admits he feels Gerard can handle this.  Gerard gives the go signal and the group admits they will be back soon.  When someone asks if they are in charge now, Krishelle immediately steps forward to agree, "Yes we... we are in charge now."  Takeshi clarifies that Gerard is in charge in times of peace, and he's in charge during Missions.  Krishelle asks, "What about me?"

Takeshi hisses, "I don't know you," and he walks away.
Katie ignores Jake as well, angry at her for what he has done.
Christine celebrates by bringing Miranda a beer to hold for her.  The two happily celebrate Chris being "dead to her" and how he was an asshole.  Miranda loves the new attention she is getting.  Christine admits she is thinking now there's someone else she should give attention too.  Miranda smiles, excited to know who it will be.  Christine admits to her it is Takeshi.  Miranda drops the bottle and walks out.
Gerard congratulates Kyle for doing well.  Gerard admits he will always be his Anchor.  Kyle wonders what it would be like working with Takeshi, and Gerard admits it was an honor. "I knew you couldn't bear it if something happened to him."

Takeshi visits Gerard, asking how it feels to be the new guy in charge.  He admits it feels daunting. Gerard however admits he doesn't think Takeshi is treated well by Krishelle and that maybe they should talk.  Takeshi however admits he can't accept the fact she lied to him while in battle.  He feels she shouldn't be anyone's Anchor from this point on.  Gerard wonders if he will need to sort it out and help him find a new Anchor.  "Kyle will always be my number one," he admits.


Camera zooms out.  We see the base.  We see the city of Tokyo.  We see the country of Japan.  And we keep pulling out more and more as we see more Diamond shaped structures floating above other countries, now all moving towards Japan.

"They have finally destroyed one of our kind."


"They have learned to fight back."


"But they are children."

"Are we not children too?"

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