Tuesday, June 3, 2014

[Actual Play] Tears of a Machine: Tales of the Arx Jericho - Episode 02: Tragic Memories

Previously on Tales of the Arx Jericho...
Our young heroes, piloting their SAInts and currently deployed in Brooklyn, NY, have fought back a recent Mayzor raid; however, the terrifying Principal Magnas, Belial, has just landed.
Will our heroes be able to stop Belial and successfully thwart the Mayzor invasion? Will the citizens of Brooklyn evacuate the borough safely? Will the Brooklyn Bridge be spared? Will our pilots return to the Arx Jericho?
GM: Misha Polonsky

The Characters
Rick Hunter (Robert Ruthven): Son of Rafe Hunter, a medical researcher, Rick thought things couldn't get worse after his dad went on the run after his illegal experiments on humans came to light. Then the Mayzor raided the town he lived in, on the outskirts of Metro Scotia, and Rick was powerless to stop the swarm from taking his mother.
Now it's just him and his sister, and when Rick swore vengeance upon the Mayzor and decided to join the SAInt program to fight them, Serena signed up along with him to keep an eye on her brother.

Jason Reyes (David Andrews): Jason is a 13 year old kid whose stepfather is career military. First in the Royal Australian Air Force, then in the Preservation Force. Not being the most physical or athletic kids, Jason never really got on with his step father despite wanting to. He see's becoming a SAiNT pilot to be his best chance of making his stepfather proud of him.

Sarah Werner (Wolfie Fang): Sarah had as normal as a normal life could be before in the States. Her worries were on how she could get a sleepover with her friends and how to keep her older brother from bothering her. After the invasion, she had to grow up fast. Her family escaped with their lives, and they've moved to a new urban city on the east coast, New Alamo. She hoped that she could go back to normal, but life was always spent in fear with each evacuation, and it was hard to have a sleepover when you never slept.
It wasn't mandatory. She only got tested for the SAInt programs because everyone else was, and her brother kept bothering her about it, and honestly didn't realize what she had gotten into. Now she's worried she's lost what little freedom she's had left, but she's got a plan to go turn it around back to fun. She'll make new friends, work together, and she won't let her new chores stop them from having fun.

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2031

The episode begins at nighttime. Billy, Rick, Sarah, Jason, and Alex, of Charlie Company, are up against a retreating army of Mayzor and a Principal Magnas, named Belial, in north Brooklyn, NY.

The SAInt pilots immediately get into formation. Jason starts them off from HB range with a perfectly aimed sniper shot at Belial's many, screaming masks plastered across his entire body. Rick and Sarah move in to get to FA range and deliver several more shots to the Magnas, weakening it completely.

A group of Brawlers suddenly start moving away from the Wormwood and toward a warehouse. Rick receives a ping from an unknown line on the MetaTron. Rafe Hunter, Rick's father, answers the phone, leaving Rick in near shock for a moment. Rafe tells Rick he needs to listen carefully and hurry. Rafe says the research must be protected at all costs, that he's in the warehouse and coming clean so that the research can be safely protected. Captain Kasherov and Commander Yamasuka overhear everything, and the military is called in to extract Rafe Hunter from the warehouse as well as the research.

Charlie Company has several new objectives: protect Rafe Hunter, so that the military can safely extract him, and protect the warehouse, and the research found within, from the Mayzor. Rick tells Billy and Alex to go help Jason finish the Magnas off, while Rick and Sarah protect the military from the Brawlers. They're successful, and Jason fires off another sniper shot which destroys the Magnas. Billy and Alex suddenly find themselves too close as it prepares to self detonate, but Sarah's able to rally them back in time with some remarkably enthusiastic shouts.

Belial self detonates, a lightning bolt strikes down upon the Wormwood, and it retreats back into space along with any surviving Locusts.

After Charlie Company returns to Arx Jericho, they're hit with news that most of Alpha and Bravo Company didn't survive the Chicago raid. Rick gasps, hoping Serena is OK. AK-47 lets Rick know that his sister is alive but sustained critical wounds, and she's hospitalized in intensive care. AK-47 also lets Charlie Company know that they're to be evaluated the following morning with an official mission debriefing to follow.

Almost everyone seems to be in low spirits the next day. Rick skips breakfast to go see his sister at the hospital. The nurses are resistant to let him see Serena, given her critical state, but Rick convinces them, since he is her brother after all. He enters her room and sees Serena all bandaged up and wounded. He sits by her side and holds her hand, sadly.

Meanwhile, a bummed-looking Alex and Jason make their way to the cafeteria, where they meet up with Sarah and a depressed-looking Billy. Sarah asks Billy what's wrong, but he doesn't say much in response. He carries two trays of food out of the cafeteria. When Sarah and Jason wonder where Billy's taking two trays off to, Alex says it's probably for Serena. Sarah and Jason are stunned by the news. Alex says he thinks they're going steady. Alex seems even more depressed, and Jason and Billy have to convince him to tell them that Ryoko won't talk to him and that she likes another boy instead. Sarah and Jason attempt to cheer Alex up, but he wants to be left alone and says he'll meet them for the evaluations later. Sarah decides to head to the hospital, while Jason wants to go tinker with some electronics before the evaluations.

At the hospital, Rick hears a knock on the door and opens it for Billy, who asks if he can come in. Rick sees he has a tray of food and flowers and lets him inside. Sarah arrives at the same time to join them, and her and Rick both have quizzical expressions on their faces. Sarah lets Rick in on what Alex told her and Jason, and Rick's eyes widen. Billy sits down next to Serena and places the food tray for her, with flowers, on the counter. He gently grips her hand, smiling. She struggles to smile back through the bandages. Rick and Sarah leave and take the long way to the evaluations to kill some time.

Jason, on his way to one of the public computer labs, cuts through an abandoned alleyway and overhears AK-47's voice. He hides behind a dumpster and observes her speaking to a couple of masked, CRC scientists about Rafe Hunter. He overhears them mention that Rafe is in the custody of the CRC and that AK-47 has the military breathing down her neck to release Rafe Hunter into their custody. The CRC scientists explain that they need Rafe Hunter and his classified research regarding the Apostle Project. AK-47 and the CRC scientists leave, and Jason heads straight to where he's meeting the rest of Charlie Company.

Charlie Company assembles together outside the offices of Dr. Elizabeth Harris (31) and Dr. Donald Johnson (62). AK-47 greets them and instructs everyone to report to the assembly hall for their formal, mission debriefing, following their evaluations. She says Dr. Harris will lead their evaluations in order by age. Furthermore, she says only Rick Hunter will be evaluated by Dr. Johnson. The pilots know that Dr. Harris is generally nice and sweet, whereas Dr. Johnson is harsh and cruel. Both are psychologists, but Dr. Harris evaluates and cares for SAInt pilots and their state of mind and well being, where as Dr. Harris is an analytical psychologist who only seeks in uncovering the truth by any means necessary.

Alex has his evaluation first, followed by Jason, who doesn't get a single read on Dr. Harris. He's dismissed, and Sarah's evaluation comes next. Sarah chats Dr. Harris up, attempting to pry information out of her regarding the Chicago incident, and Dr. Harris ends up revealing a much more accurate account of the details. Alpha and Bravo Companies fought a Mayzor raid triple the size of what Charlie Company fought in Brooklyn. The Magnas was Dominion class, but incredibly strong. It took out the majority of Alpha Company and Bravo Company. Serena risked her life several times to save her teammates as well as those of Bravo Company. She ended up saving both Laurie Bach (14) and Leo 'Raspberry' Hayes (12), of Bravo Company, and is now going to become their new, team leader. They're all hospitalized, and Dr. Harris hopes they all recover soon. The rest of Sarah's evaluation is fine, as is Billy's, who goes next.

Rick's evaluation with Dr. Johnson doesn't go as well as the rest of his company mates. Throughout the session, Dr. Johnson repeatedly asks Rick to divulge any information he has about his father that he's not sharing, including things that his father may have told him at a young age, prior to when Rafe abandoned his family. Rick repeatedly denies knowing anything, but Dr. Johnson doesn't believe him, and that breaks down Rick's spirit. Rick tries to empathize with Dr. Johnson, who was abandoned at a young age too, but Dr. Johnson keeps badgering him, until he breaks. Rick grows mad, sad, and then goes into a deep depression. He accidentally knocks over some papers on Dr. Johnson's desk and spots a folder labeled CRC with Rafe's name on it, as Dr. Johnson yells, "Get out!"

Charlie Company meets up again at the assembly hall, and they're given a redundant debriefing of their mission in Brooklyn, and a lackluster, sugarcoated announcement regarding the incident in Chicago, which would later become known as the Chicago Catastrophe. Billy, Rick, Sarah, Jason, and Alex congregate together, after, and try and cheer Rick up. Even Billy's showing his soft side, though he's depressed over Serena, and it's clear on his face. Alex is bummed, Jason shares what he overheard regarding AK-47 and the CRC scientists, and Rick is thrown into even further depression. Alex mentions hearing rumors about some top secret project the CRC are working on called the Apostle Project, but he doesn't know much

Grim and dreary music plays in the background.

Sorrow fills the air, and there are a great number of funerals the remainder of the month.


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