Meet our Authority Figures:
- Tartarus, the facility where their keep the Unsuitables.
- Erzulie, the goddess of love and a mob boss in the City.
- Marduk, the god of the city and its ruler.
- Charybdis, the perpetual storm circling the planet.
- Argus, the many-guardian guardian of the prison facility.
And our Friendship Questions:
- Alaska asked Kshanti: "Where did you put my weaving loom?" Kshanti answered: "I exchanged it for a funhouse mirror and you broke it."
- Jacqui asked Yasha: "Why did I see you watching Kshanti?" Yasha answered: "I'm worried she's a liability."
- Yasha asked Alaska: "Why did you want me in the first place?" Alaska answered: "I've never really thought about it."
- Eli asked Jacqui: "How often have you really used your sangromancy (though she said 'boner-mancy'?)" Jacqui answered: "Rarely, because I don't know if there are side-effects."
- Kshanti asked Eli: "Now that we're free, what part of our friendship are you glad to be free of?" Eli answered: "I can be by myself now."
Scene One: What's Up
Eli's player starts us off and chooses Erzulie.
The YOs are apartment hunting in the City. They've got some money from Eli's dad (Eli's Rich, remember), but they're trying to find someplace that's tactical as well as affordable. Yasha, in particular, is looking to stage the resistance.
They meet Dantor, a goblin who dresses in purple and smells sweet, and he shows them a new building. The decor is tasteful and the apartment on the top floor has a room for everyone, walls that can become transparent at a touch or change color as the owner wishes, and automatic delivery from many of the vendors in the City. The YOs are suspicious, particularly when Dantor shows them the lease and they realize how cheap it is. Dantor tells him he's not the owner, he's just the super. Erzulie owns the building and a few like it.
The YOs' Struggle here is to avoid signing the lease, but Alaska stands up and loses, and she's the one who really wants to live here. The YOs sign the lease and move in, and we have our kickoff.
Kickoff: This episode is about security.
Scene Two: Fighting Back
I set this up and chose Jacqui's question to Yasha about watching Kshanti.
We fast forward a month. Everyone's been living their own way in the apartment. Eli's been spending a lot of time alone (the joke is that they think about Theo. A lot). Kshanti meditates, Yasha buys military grade gear, and Alaska uses the pool after dark when the people who live downstairs ("ugh, poor people") aren't allowed up anymore. Jacqui is the only one who makes a point of going outside, and refuses to use the delivery service, not wanting her purchases tracked.
Yasha notes Kshanti in her room, walls still bare, meditating, and talks with her about life and what she's doing. Kshanti responds with a koan on the nature of space, that outer space vs. the space here really isn't different. Alaska and Jacqui join this conversation, and Alaska reveals that she's been lonely as her friends have been separated, even as they've been close together. Eli joins them as well, and Jacqui convinces Eli to go out to get coffee.
As they do, though, they see guards from the prison facility at the coffee shop, and the others in the apartment realize that those guards are going door to door. Eli and Jacqui duck into a fabric-seller's stand at the bazaar to hide, but the YOs in the apartment have a problem. Alaska tries to get angry and change her form, but she can't do it. Eli tries to send the others a message, but it comes through garbled and faint. Alaska and Yasha try to disguise themselves via mundane means, but Kshanti just opens the door when the guards knock. Eli stands up and loses.
Erzulie herself appears and bewitches the guards; they leave in a stupor. Erzulie tells her tenants that she's not interested in losing them (that's lost rent, after all), and she's happy to help protect them from the facility. At what cost? Nothing specific. Just enjoy the apartment. She gives them necklaces with a single seed in a pouch, and tells them to bite down on the seed if they need her.
Beat: Discovery - Erzulie is on the YOs side Question: What does Erzulie want?
Scene Three: Heating Up
Jacqui's players sets this up and chooses Kshanti's question to Eli about friendship. Back at the fabric seller's, Eli and Jacqui talk about isolation and why Eli is cutting themself off. Eli states that it's just nice to have the option to be alone. They head back to the apartment and talk about what happened, and realize that their powers don't seem to be working right. They decide to get out of the city for a while, and head to visit Bruce, Eli's father, out in the country. They take an Orbu out of the City, but realize they're being followed.
They convince their Orbu driver to take some evasive maneuvers, and Kshanti stands up and wins on Jacqui's Sneaky Conviction. The Orbu driver, on Kshanti's instruction, dives into a tunnel beneath the roads, and from below they see the cars following them are marked with Erzulie's sigil.
Scene Four: We Won
Yasha's player sets this up, and chooses Marduk, the god of the City.
The YOs arrive at the farm to discover that Bruce has company already - four servants of Marduk. He tells the YOs to wait outside while he finishes his business. Eli and Alaska lay on the grass and talk; Alaska is lonelier than anyone realized. Eli, too, misses the facility; sure, it's nice to be free, but they miss the routine and the understood expectations.
Kshanti, of course, wants to know what's going on, so sneaks up to eavesdrop. After almost being made by Eli's cat, Admiral Fuzzbottom, the YOs win when Jacqui stands up and wins on Kshanti's MO (If You're Gonna Do Wrong, Buddy, Do Wrong Right). One of the Marduk-servants opens a window and Kshanti, hiding, learns that Marduk is vying for power against Erzulie, who is stockpiling Mojo.
Scene Five: We're Fucked
Alaska's player sets this up, and chooses Charybdis, the eternal storm.
The YOs talk with Bruce, and learn that every 550 years or so, the storm descends to the planet's surface, scouring everything and destroying it. Only facilities or cities with lots of Mojo to spare that can generate force fields can wait it out. Maybe gods could survive on their own, but certainly not the YOs.
Everyone has dinner and the YOs talk about their plans. Kshanti is pretty adamant to get off-planet, perhaps by gorging herself on Mojo and becoming all-powerful. The others are less certain of this, and Yasha, in particular, wonders what becomes of the other prisoners if the YOs just leave. The YOs talk about other options - could they turn one god against another? Could they exploit their connection with Billy or Theo? As they talk, Jacqui notices she's getting sleepy - they've been drugged. She tries to control her blood's response to the poison, but Bruce hits a button on his wrist-device and pulls their Mojo toward him, disrupting their powers. Kshanti stands up and loses, but sells out her MO to Sacrifice to win the scene. She takes control of the Mojo, rips it out of Bruce, and divides it up into the YOs. But the guards are already on their way. The YOs load Bruce (and the cat) into a car and take off, heading for Tartarus, which they believes holds the refinery for Mojo.
Beat: Reversal - Bruce betrays the clique
Scene Six: Who Wins
Kshanti's player starts us off and chooses Tartarus. The YOs head for Tartarus, with the Argus-troops in pursuit. They arrive at the pit, and that's all it is: A giant circle of nothing. They get out of the car and look in, but can see nothing. Kshanti, predictably, jumps in.
Eli's not interested in following this insanity through, but the others trust in Kshanti, so Eli gets back in the car to draw off the troops. Bruce wakes up and Eli growls at him a bit, but Bruce tells Eli that all he wanted was for Eli to be safe, and the clique was talking crazy. At least at the facility, Bruce had a chance of helping Eli avoid becoming a meat-puppet.
Inside the pit, though, the YOs were descending. They were touched and groped by the Hundred-Handed, pulled down into the pit, and met a young man who wasn't...perfect like they were. He was Unsuitable. He told them that they were engineered, while he was born here (though Yasha noted that Kshanti was native to Bardo, and the Unsuitable man shrugged and said some people just won the genetic lottery). They mentioned Mojo, and he laughed and asked where they thought it came from? Mojo was the result of rendering people like him down to their essence.
They continued to descend, and felt tendrils in their ears and noses, tasting them. Yasha stood up and lost, but wasn't going to let this stand, so sold out Tough to Vicious. She grabbed the tendril and bit it in the half, destroying the protective god-tech, and the YOs fell deeper into the pit, into a gigantic pool of Mojo guarded by Titans. They've won the episode.
Scene Seven: Dust Settles
Eli's player set this up and chose Argus, the many-eyed guardian of the facility.
Four of the five YOs have become super-infused with Mojo, making them more powerful than they've ever been. The troops arrive, but ignore Eli - they have much bigger fish to fry. The Titans grab for the YOs, but Alaska takes on the form of a Titan and fights them off. Yasha and Kshanti use their powers to form debris into a space-elevator, while Jacqui decimates the Argus-troops by making their blood pressure drop. Eli drives her car straight at the elevator, and Kshanti ascends all of them, the Unsuitables as well, off-planet as the storm descends.
The YOs have escaped Bardo (so it's no longer a System of Control for them), but they have not escaped the gods. Next session, we'll see which planet they landed on.