Sunday, September 25, 2016

Headspace: Double Duty

The way Headspace works is that the Operators are working against corporate projects. One of the things I really like about it is that it asks the players to come up with concrete goals - like, here's what we're doing this session to thwart this project, which does wonders for keeping people focused.

Yesterday, we started session 2 by defining some Anchors. Their Anchors are:

  • Victoria, an older woman who mentored Willis and acts as an arms broker. She thinks Willis is sloppy, whereas Willis think she's old-fashioned. Arrow doesn't trust Victoria; she suspects the old lady is Corp. And Spider has a very special (and sometimes naked) relationship with Victoria. 
  • Johnson Taylor, a producer/report at Applied Optimism. He's Corp, yes, but his relationship with the Operators is more cordial. Willis was once hired to kill him, but didn't because he actually got mad rather than weepy. Grease dislikes him because Taylor used Grease as a scapegoat in a story once. Arrow has a good working relationship; she got dirt on a rival for him once. 
  • Michael, the younger brother of Keaton, the group's (now Ghost) Handler. Michael and Grease are friends; Grease showed him how to start a car with a cell phone. He has a rivalrous relationship with Spider; there was a drone race, which they both claim they won. 
Officially we should have done corporate Anchors, too, but eh. Wasn't feeling it. 

So the Operators had two Projects to deal with, the Applied Optimism one (which had one Objective left - AO was going to broadcast the evidence they had of 3H's involvement with the tsunami), and PSS' new Project to remove civilian authority from the police and take over. They decided to take both of these on. They decided they'd start by getting some intel on exactly what PSS planned to do. 

Arrow and Grease took on that job. Grease called on his Dodge folks and got himself a delivery truck with some janitorial supplies, and rocked up to a PSS facility. Arrow hacked in, and wound up triggering a Regret. The rest of the group saw the flashback of her having sex with one Trenton Kelly, another PSS soldier...who's now in charge of his facility. But, be that as it may, they got in and Arrow donned her camouflage cloak and went looking for data while Grease watched the security feed and kept lookout.

She found what she was looking for, but someone in the security office noted the logon and folks started looking for her. She dodged them, but needed a diversion, so Grease released the wolf-drone he'd borrowed from Spider and just had it run around the loading dock like a crazed puppy. That gave Arrow enough time to get back to the car and slip in, but there had been a lock put on their vehicle. Arrow hacked it, and they took off, in the midst of a hail of gunfire - they got what they wanted, but PSS had seen them. 

Reviewing the data, they realized that PSS' plan was to take out a community center on the edge of the quarantine zone by gassing it. That wasn't going to stand, but they had other fish to fry in the meanwhile. 

Specifically, Willis and Spider were at an Applied Optimism building, enacting that part of the plan. They were first going to take out AO's broadcast capability for a few minutes, then "neutralize" a high-level producer named Knowlton who had put together the presentation on 3H, and then steal or corrupt the evidence. No problem.

Willis sneaked into the basement and set a bunch of charges, while Spider rode the elevator up to find Knowlton. Willis, in creeping around the basement and wishing she could just take the whole building down, found a tech working on one of the generators. She incapacitated him (and in the process revealed a Regret; she'd blown up a building that had destroyed a fortunately empty playground across the street) and dragged him up to the surface, but in the process missed her cue to blow the gennies. Spider had his predator drone fire, but since the building's power wasn't down the missile didn't do much damage. Knowlton had time to dive cover, but Spider just shot him (berating Willis all the while). And now the building was in pandemonium. 

Arrow and Grease arrived at this point, and headed upstairs. Arrow and Willis headed for the vault to get the physical evidence, while Grease and Spider went for the server room to delete the data (Grease bringing Spider's wolf-drone to serve as a portable power supply, since the power was out). Both locales were guarded, but Spider sent in the wolf-drone to make short, messy work of the guards and then started downloading the data.

Arrow and Willis, meanwhile, took out their guards with a combination of Martial Arts and Guns, and Willis blew the vault open. They grabbed the evidence, but now there were guards everywhere, shooting. Willis' armor held up for a while, but in the end Willis collapsed, unconscious and bleeding. Arrow ran out, scooped up Willis, and ran for the exit, shooting all the while. She got out, but with some injury.

Spider and Grease weren't doing much better. Spider tried to run to help the others, but got pinned down by gunfire. Finally they made a break for it, Grease riding the predator drone down and Spider rappelling with his wolf-drone as an anchor. It worked for Grease, but Spider was Taken Out, and landed in a heap. Grease pulled the van around and grabbed Spider, but left the disabled wolf-drone. The Operators had failed at this final Objective, but succeeded on the first two, meaning they had won out on the Project overall.

But they had another couple of fish to fry. To wit, they needed to do a preemptive strike on the folks coming to nerve has the community center and then get all this data to Johnson Taylor. They waited a while to heal, though, so they started one pie-slice in the hole when they got things moving again.

Digging into the intel they'd gathered, they learned that the folks doing the gassing weren't PSS, but rather a team of Operators like them. Spider talked to Victoria, and she was willing to share particulars if she got the gas canister back and if all this didn't come back on her. The Operators agreed, and she told them that the team was going to pick up an aerodyne off a particular roof, then landed on the center's roof and hook the canister into the ventilation system. The Operators decided to do this quietly - switch the gas canister for something benign, take the deadly stuff back to Victoria, and avoided blowing up too many things (Willis wasn't thrilled).

They found the rooftop and staked it out. There was a protest going on down below on the street, so when the other team arrived (which included a man called Jeremy, whom Arrow recognized as her brother Craig's lover), Willis set off a bomb in a storefront as a distraction. The team looked over the edge, and Arrow crept up near the aerodyne. Willis tossed a firebomb to the roof, Jeremy dropped the canister, and Arrow swapped it and ran, tuck-and-rolling into Grease's vehicle. The team shot at her, but didn't realize the switch, and then got in their aerodyne and went on their way.

Final Objective: Give this data to Taylor Johnson. They set up a dead drop and waited, but the one who showed up was one of the members of the other team (a woman in a black catsuit). She collected the data and ran, and since the Operators didn't know who she was working for, they let it go, failing the last Objective (but completing the first two and earning one overall victory on this project).

After all was said and done, there was a permanent event: Applied Optimism has lost much of its credibility with the masses, but maintains pull with the corporations. The struggle with PSS is ongoing, of course, and we'll pick it up next time.