Rage Across Baltimore

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2

The winter of our discontent

Another season is passing in-game for the pack. Time for your characters to explore any longer-term projects or training as they endure the hardship of being the caern-guards while everyone else gets to venture out in search of battle and glory.

So, what does Willow do to pass the winter? Likely a quieter time for her urban farm — although they do have some greenhouse space. Or Razvan, has he taken the chance to hook up with his would-be Kinfolk paramour, Jessica Volk? How goes the work at the clinic, or their efforts to outfit a little Bat-cave of the pack’s own? What about Zero — does any of his treasure trove of purloined data from DNA find its way onto his blog, or would that just make him an easier target?

We’ll take some time for the characters to recuperate at the Sept of Exiles’ Rest, but soon enough the next story will begin. And as the pack is finding out, being the sept’s Guardians isn’t always as boring as the job is made out to be.

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Things Zero wants to do:

1. Find out more about what killed him, and how his nanobots managed to undo it. He wonders if he could make himself immune to poisons in that way? Silver, even? Unlikely but he wants to check.

Zero is unable to add to Melchior’s analysis of his brush with death through any research of his own; the sudden onset fumarase deficiency both explains what occurred, and is logically impossible. There’s just no way he could have lived his passes-for-“normal” life and suddenly drop dead one day. The coincidence is too much to resist, however, for his Goth pals; after hearing a few details of his story, they’re firmly convinced that the pack has run afoul of the “Technocracy,” which is apparently very bad.

Likewise, the nanospiders’ swarming through his body busily reactivating his mitochondria suggests that they are no longer discretely housed in his head, which may be good — can he grow new cybernetics? — and bad — does he have any control over their spread?

1a. Freak out a bit about being dead, and ponder his own mortality for a reasonable amount of time. Then freak out a bit about being undead, because he is, even if it’s not of the sort that one usually expects.

Zero hasn’t developed a thirst for blood, although it is rich in iron, and if the nanospiders ever get…hungry…

2. Find out who the uninvited mad bomber guests were at the DNA Raid. If they were ratkin, DNA, or some other party he wants to know.

Zero was tasked with finding out if DNA was in fact responsible for the explosion as a cover-up tactic. His analysis of their facility data, unfortunately, does not suggest this to be so. Although the facility was clearly more than it appeared to be from the outside, Zero discovers no preset explosive contingency plans, or any sign of such security measures being employed in blueprints, security systems, or any secret company memos.

The Ratkin have been scarce since Brickbat’s death, but they have been known to visit Willow when she invited Brickbat’s friends over for pizza or to watch TV.

3. Dig into anything he can expose about DNA or their parent company, Foundation for a Better Life. He wants to blog them, get JJ Bendix and Truthsayers on them, make their operation miserable. Exploiting their financial data or exposing their executives from the materials he gathered would be good places to start. If he can drain some funds, all the better, or get the government on their case, anything.

Zero’s contacts urge caution, even if he keeps some secrets to himself (ahem, werewolves). Even filtered news of animal experiments and secret government contracts, however, still does damage. DNA’s reputation (and funding) suffers in the wake of the raid on their Baltimore facility. Still, the company is well armed with lawyers, spokesmen, and the odd human interest stories about children stricken with deleterious or fatal genetic diseases defend the company’s work vociferously.

Then there’s what Zero probably can’t blithely blog about — experimentation on GLS “victims” and “carriers,” and the disturbingly named Project Reaper, a contingency plan developed just in case a critical mass of GLS victims “contaminates the gene pool.” The prospect of a seemingly normal, accepted, if high-tech research firm developing some kind of formula that could wipe out the Garou and their Kinfolk would be terrifying, if Zero could get anyone to take it seriously.

3a. Get relevant info to the Cyberdogs contact about DNA, the black helicopter, the snakefishmen or whatever they were, and what happened to him.

Zero’s contact Wintermute congratulates him for a successful mission, and Zero’s conversation with the anonymous…entity…suggests that their raid — and his hack — was being watched. Aware of Zero’s hacked Vulcan AEI, the Cyber Dogs offer him kudos for a step that they expected, but weren’t certain he would dare to try. The Vulcan, and his new cyberfetish, promise to be very useful to the pack and the Cyber Dogs.

Although the Dogs concur with the analysis of Zero’s OS, and its life-saving response was delightfully unexpected, they don’t know who exactly was behind the attack on Exiles’ Rest. But it is perhaps reasonable to think DNA has an as-yet unknown benefactor.

4. Watch his back.

5. Help Willow’s pals set up some kind of perimeter alarm, at least, or any security measures he can be helpful with.

The CoG farm is not the highest of tech (or the lowest). Its main failing is the open border of its bawn, but it benefits from being so relatively small and remote — beneath the notice of most things. Zero can suggest, and maybe even help fund some partial perimeter security that won’t be too much trouble for the CoGs to maintain — perhaps some solar-powered, passive infrared motion sensors placed in strategic points around the bawn.

The farm is easier to outfit with higher security, having access to niceties like power and internet, but at the same time it is just the face of the sept, not the heart of the caern.

6. Watch his back.

7. Play some League of Legends.

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
 

Things Razvan wants to do:

<@razvan> anyway, other than my various xp expenditures, i’d be getting the bat cave completed, spending some time at the clinic, working on my kinfolk network…

Yeah, that’s it. Details…thrilling…

Over the course of the winter, Razvan’s wealth leaves him with at least $20,000 to spare for outfitting the Raven’s Nest or RazCave or whatever he’s calling it. That and the clinic, of course; depending on how much service and charity work Razvan is doing for the community, the clinic may or may not pay for itself.

Razvan’s Kinfolk level 3 represents about ten Kinfolk who are perhaps not at your disposal, but willing to do what favors they can for you. This would include Jessica Volk (who will likely be pregnant by spring if Razvan’s so inclined); the private military contractor (PMC) Mark Adamich; the more distant, independently wealthy Jonathan Horvat, owner of a well known and profitable domestic/international security firm; not to mention the shady grifters Jake and Courtney Tamm, and perhaps a couple from your own family.

If Razvan wants to increase his network of Kinfolk (increase the rating), he can spend some time attempting to network, use his existing pool of Kin to try to find more, or get in deeper with the family. If he has some intended tasks for his Kinfolk, let me know.

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
 

Scully’s winter misadventures:

Happily ensconced in a misfit pack of Wisdom, Scully doesn’t really have the investigatory skills of, say, Razvan, or Zero, or the spirit-ties and raw smarts of Willow. And it seems pointless to play catch-up with them. So, instead, Scully builds on his knowledge and social skills.

He works to befriend the Fianna Kinfolk in the city, particularly Neville ‘Pop’ Golding, the beat cop (now ex-beat cop and supervisor/desk jockey) whom the pack saved some time before Scully’s arrival. The Fianna sept has Kinfolk working in Animal Control (of course), the city justice system, the police, and a wealthy financier with old ties to the IRA, any of which might become useful in the near future.

The Galliard also travels to the Fianna Homeland in the Near Umbra, questing for lore of the tribe and their fae allies. While his bitter heritage often gets in the way, he charms his ancestors as best he can with drinks from the Brewery and new songs from the modern world. Adding to his knowledge of the stories and songs of his people and the Garou in general, Scully is building an impressive level of expertise in Occult lore.

He often leaves bringing gifts from the Baltimore Brewery, and brings back mead and honey — trading for more Mist o’ the Glen at first. Later, he quests to the Arcadia Gateway in search of more exotic brews, and brings back a small flask of Battlemead, which takes ‘fire in the belly’ to a whole new level. Scully swears to learn the secrets of brewing up this fine mead, and thus begins a noble crafting pastime.

So, not only is the pack’s talesinger learning to brew up some quality booze, but he also expands on the pack’s talents for healing. With a peculiar tribal Gift called Ceridwen’s Blood, Scully has the ability to heal others — by suffering the wounds that he heals.

So, sure, the kelpie was sorely pissed when she found I was barren, but it was fun while it lasted! Right up until she tried to drown me. Besides, now I know where the bees that sup on the Battledew flowers make their hive. Bees the size of…of cats, as big as your head, I swear it! Grain willing, I’ll be back there this summer to claim some of their honey, and make some of this fine mead myself!

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
 

Things Willow wants to do:

Over the winter, Willow has:

1) Learned a bunch of Rites. She’s caught up with Moira’s demands on her spare time and ritual knowledge, and in the process Willow has gotten more skilled in general with the job. She may become Keeper of the Land at the caern soon — and if Moira ever wants to retire, she’s going to need a capable replacement.

2) Trained in a particular martial art known by Children of Gaia, called Iskakku, a form of staff-fighting with applications of non-violence that would obviously appeal to the CoGs. Willow is already no slouch in a fight, but rather than be stuck tackling everyone like a linebacker, now she can beat people up with a stick.

3) Learned Truth of Gaia, a Philodox Gift that is unlikely to be picked up by anyone else — the pack does lack a half-moon, after all, and so there are some tricks they don’t have covered.

4) Scattered seed bombs throughout the neighborhood and the city. Specially mixed balls of seeds and clay, the ‘bombs’ are large enough to be thrown into the odd fenced-in lot that the guerrilla gardener cannot otherwise easily access, and the clay protects the seeds from hungry birds until rains can disperse them. Willow is spreading flowers, color and life into otherwise brown and barren land in the city.

And, she has a few extra-special bombs for polluted or otherwise tainted land. After coaxing spirits into them, the bombs will have a built-in ability to Cleanse the Blight. Favors from spirits come with a cost, however. Willow will be busy spreading birdseed for any feathered critters in the neighborhood, she’s put up feeders around her urban farming operation and the Brewery.

Also, by Arbor Day (April 1st in Maryland), Willow has to organize and fund a seedling tree planting operation in the neighborhood, possibly by organizing some of the local schools. As for the funding, well…that may be where the wealthier members of the pack come in, if she can convince them to donate for a good cause.

5) And, finally…Willow goes to Zero to tap into the data he stole from DNA, wanting in particular to know everything about what they may have done to the CoG metis cub, Social Justice. Because, it seems, the cub is back in town. And, according to Willow, the cub may be pregnant…and from Zero’s somewhat stunted tutoring in the ways of the Garou, it may take some explaining from Willow for him to understand how potentially earth-shaking — and dangerous — this may be.

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
 

Just some addenda to Willow’s activities:

1) She’s looking into acquiring urban livestock. She’s starting with a half-dozen chickens, which will roam about the urban garden, acting as natural pest control. If the experiment is successful, she will consider adding more domestic fowl. (She’s always wanted a few watchgeese.) She’s also researching adding some beehives for pollination and to supply Scully’s burgeoning interest in brewing.

2) If the seed bombs prove effective, Willow will consider selling them at her gardens and online ( through something like an Etsy shop.) Seed bombs can be anything from wildflowers to herbs to vegetables like lettuce and spinach, and can be planted anywhere. City dwellers who want a bit of color or some fresh produce in their flower boxes would gain the most benefit.

3) Laurel Hendricks , aka Social Justice, isn’t just in town; the wayward Metis cub is currently living with Willow and Seth in their refurbished Baltimore rowhouse. Arranging for home schooling (perhaps through CoG Kinfolk contacts/allies in the city?) and putting the cub to useful work prepping the gardens for spring planting seem to be the best ways to keep Laurel’s mind off her current predicament, at least until Willow can get some answers to very disturbing questions.

(Note: the Exiles do know the cub is with Willow in Baltimore, and have supplied necessary legal documents so there won’t be problems with any authorities. However, they do NOT know the cub may be pregnant. Willow’s not ready to drop that bombshell to anyone outside her pack.)

4) With the upcoming Arbor Day activities, Willow is interested in the possibility of actually awakening some tree spirits. City parks seem to be the most likely candidates for this; the idea being to make parks and open spaces more attractive to the city’s residents, urging them in subtle ways to maintain these parks for the overall “health” of the city. Would Glade Children be suitable spirits to seek out?

Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
tytalus

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