Monday, May 13, 2013

How an Angel Dies, Part 3: Into the Past!


So! Last time, the characters met Comrade West, learned that they had an angel en route that they could theoretically jack, and learned that they could travel back in time.

Yeah, that last one was kind of weird for everyone.

Well, the next evening (I'm a big fan of treating games like TV series, so fading out and then fading back in when it would be most interesting, rather than tracking every minute of the characters' lives), they all got together at the bar again. Jamie called up Comrade West and asked him about the portal to the 60s. He came to the bar, rather than talk about it on the phone.

West strolled in, wearing a new Cover (he later mentioned that he goes through Covers like some people go through condoms), and talked with the characters about the portal. He told them that Seattle has a few of these "fractures," places that allowed for travel into the past - but it wasn't really time travel. These places seemed to go in cycles, and folks in these pasts can't change things in the present, because the fractures reset themselves (for example, in 1962 it's always the World's Fair). West did say, though, that some manipulation of the past is possible - a clever demon can established a generational aspect to a Cover, making the Cover harder to blow. The demons discussed the implications of all this, but it sounds very God-Machine-y to them.

But if this "Simon" character is going into the past and shoring up an apocalyptic cult (the Fellowship of the Final Awakening), that probably bears investigation, because nothing good ever comes of doomsday cults. The characters therefore spend some time hunting down vintage clothing, and then head down to the Troll.

There, they find a couple of tourists climbing on the Troll and taking pictures. Jamie and Saskia grab cameras and start taking pictures. Jamie winds up taking a dramatic failure on a roll for a Beat, and when Saskia takes her picture on her smartphone, a man in a black suit walks around the corner, wearing shades. He doesn't speak, and the characters realize that he's probably an angel (remember that Jamie has the Flagged Condition from the little incident on the bridge, last session).

Everyone else Spoofs, appearing human to the angel, but Jamie doesn't risk it (she also has to convince it that she's human without Spoofing to resolve the Condition). She takes its picture, and sees, instead of skin, a blue circuitry pattern - definitely an angel. Will, noting this, puts a hand on his gun, but Jamie is chatty and vivacious and eventually the angel leaves, apparently believing that they're all human.
During all this, Edgar notices a ticket stub on the ground. Picking it up, he sees it's from the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, dated September 2, 1962. It's got some grime on it, looks like it's been here a while (but not 50 years). This might give the characters a starting place.

The couple leaves, and they crawl through the window of the Beetle into yesterday. Now they're in Fremont, which in 1962 is pretty unpleasant. They walk up the hill into a more civilized area and find a newspaper - it's Saturday, September 1st, 1962. The ballet is tomorrow night. Edgar uses In My Pocket to pull out some money from the era, and they hop a cab to the World's Far. Jamie uses Lucky Break as they enter a hotel lobby - someone just cancelled their reservation, allowing Edgar to book a room. With accommodations handled, they head to a bar and start drinking.

Saskia finds a rich-looking business man and chats him up. As they talk, she uses Addictive Presence on him, fascinating him (but not completely addicting him yet, because it's an extended roll). The businessman, named Roland Wright, is here from Chicago scouting new technology for his company. This, to the characters, seems like a good person to follow, since they're worried that members of the Fellowship in the 60s might wind up being influential people in the modern day.

Will talks with the bartender, and learns that a guy was in here earlier looking for a bodyguard (Will asked the bartender if he knew of anyone looking for such). The bartender produces the guy's card. It just says a name and a number.

Saskia goes upstairs with Roland, the others share their suit. The next day, they decide, they'll head to the Fair and scout around. They do that, and Saskia finds Roland talking with some other businessmen. She goes over to talk with him, and Roland is pretty mortified and doesn't speak with her (giving Saskia an unfortunate lesson in the social mores and gender roles of the day).

The demons go up to the observation deck of the Space Needle, and several of them sense something weird. Not Aether, just...odd. Trying to pinpoint it, they realize it's coming from a window on the lower deck. Amy feigns a fainting spell, and Luke (a doctor, remember) and the others draw the crowd around her. Edgar, meanwhile, opens the lock, opens the window, and sticks his head out.

He's looking out over modern-day Seattle...but only with his head through the window. The window is another portal, but not an easy on to access, apparently. Edgar can't fly, and doesn't wish to crawl out and climb down, so he closes the window, Amy "recovers," and life goes on.

Saskia had asked Roland to get them all tickets to the ballet, but when she goes back to the room (he gave her a key in the morning), he's moved his stuff out. Feeling perhaps a little salty, she rejoins the others, and they go to procure their own tickets. That's easy enough, though they wind up split, three on one side of the auditorium and three on the other, but now they need evening wear.

They head to the Bon Marche, get fitted for tuxes and gowns, and Jamie goes up to pay, and uses Lucky Break. She's only charged for her dress, which is good, as the characters don't have enough old-timey money for everything, but they also don't have a huge ethical problem with this, so they take their clothes and go.

That night, at the show, Amy, Jamie and Will sit on house left, while Edgar, Luke and Saskia sit house right. They watch the show, and Luke spends a point of Aether and sends out a "ping," looking for other demons (this is risky, because if there are angels around they might notice, but they figure it's a calculated risk). A man in the center of the house, near the front, perks up and starts looking around. Edgar activates Sense the Angelic, but doesn't sense anything, so they figure the man is either stigmatic or some other kind of sensitive. Jamie uses Across a Crowded Room to whisper to Luke "Everything OK?" Luke signs back (since demons all know sign language, as we realized yesterday) that the man in question seemed to notice the Aetheric "ping."

Intermission comes. The man gets up, and the characters notice that he's apparently talking with a half-dozen other folks sitting with him. He walks out, followed by a younger, tougher-looking guy - Will figures this is the guy that was looking for a bodyguard yesterday. They follow him out, and into the men's room, but the bodyguard is just standing watch.

Jamie talks with a couple of the other guys at the bar, and winds up Spoofing instinctively (meaning one of them has a way to check her for being non-human). They don't say anything useful, though, and then head back to their seats. Amy uses Eavesdrop on the group, and realizes that one of them is concerned that this ballet will take too long. But no, the older one reassures him, they'll have plenty of time to get to the site in time for the ritual.

Oh. This, then, would be the Fellowship of the Final Awakening. But what "ritual" are they performing? And does it have anything to do with the Lesser Key of Solomon? Will theorizes that the 35th demon, Marchosias, is the one to watch because JFK (currently in office) is the 35th president.

We shall see.