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[ETU] Session 12 - Tying up From David To Goliath; Jack's Back - played 05 Nov 2020

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  • [ETU] Session 12 - Tying up From David To Goliath; Jack's Back - played 05 Nov 2020

    Played our last session for awhile on Sunday. Write-up coming soon.
    Got to try out some little-used (by me anyway) aspects of the Savage Worlds rule set (like Pushing an adversary).
    Laid the groundwork for "Class Ring" which, along with the first (original? 12 to Midnight) "Black Guard" module will be the foundation of the freshman's spring semester.
    They killed the Needler in the basement of the Roost 'way back in episode 2 or thereabouts. Perhaps the 2nd new-and-improved Needler will make a guest appearance in the spring.

    The game was the 15th. I wish we could edit thread titles !!
    Last edited by Eric; 12-02-2020, 03:06 AM.

  • #2
    The study group heard through Jake’s fraternity brothers that “Zombie Mike” had been released from the Pinebox jail, and the young woman he had bitten had chosen not to press charges. Hospital officials had determined that Mike had inhaled the paint stripping compound when working on the wrought iron furniture in the back yard of his fraternity, and, coupled with the outdoor-quality black spray paint he had applied, had altered his sense of reality.

    Dexter, Jake, and Kristina headed over to Dexter’s dorm, so that he could hop on to his computer to complete his research on any number of items. Approaching his room, they espied Jack Brown leaning against the door frame, and Murph, Dexter’s roommate, completing a transaction for a Snickers Bar from within the room. Jack slowly unwrapped the candy bar and bit into it, chewing thoughtfully. The students had arrived amidst a conversation where Jack was suggesting ways that Murph could maximize the earning potential of his dorm-room C-store, by advertising, fliers, and a daily sale of half-off certain items. He spouted a lot of economics terms like “supply and demand”, “Laffer curve”, and the like – and his suggestions make a lot of sense.

    Jack reinforced the study group’s knowledge that the students on the third floor of the George Danford dormitory, who were suffering from a strange malady, had been given a pass on their mid-term exams. In a good-natured manner, he raised his Hawaiian shirt to reveal a scar from gall-bladder surgery, which ruined a family vacation, back in his mid-teens.

    Dexter was curious if Jack was regenerating or getting younger, but the scar, coupled with showing the spaces left from two wisdom tooth extractions further dissuaded his line of questioning. While his eyes seem to have improved, eliminating the necessity of wearing his thick tortoise-framed glasses, he still presented two lines of gray down the sides of his beard.

    “Jake, next time we play pick-up Ultimate, we need to be on opposing sides. It wasn’t even fair!”, Jack remarked.

    Jack bought a second Snickers bar “for later”. Dexter, noting him touching the bulge in the lower pocket of his cargo pants, asked him what it was. “My bag of chewing tobacco”, he responded, and refused to share it with Dexter. “My first time here at ETU, I made a lot of mistakes – partying too much, sleeping in late, missing classes. I picked up bad habits like booze and pot. I flunked out. I’d feel really bad if I started you down THAT road, Dexter!”

    With that, he meandered off with a smile and a casual wave.

    As the three students idled in Dexter’s room, chatting with Murph (“That idea about getting a Hot Dog cooker or a roller machine like at 7-11 and selling them at lunch-time was really good”), Kristina got a call from James, which she put on speaker.

    “Listen, that guy on the football team, Benito Ramirez, went ape at his girlfriend’s apartment, looking for that shake mix he is always drinking. Hurt her, trashed the place, and slammed a Coach, who was checking in on him, through a coffee table – I’m tending to him until the paramedics get here.”

    “He just got kicked off the team, and his scholarship money has been canceled! He’s heading to the Raven’s Nest – the stadium – to kill Coach Blakemore! Can you guys get over there right away?” In the background they also hear a woman – Marla Driver – moaning about the damage her apartment had suffered.

    Jake, Kristina, and Dexter rushed over to the football stadium. As they breached the entrance to the field, they found two coaches (one easily identified as Coach Blakemore) on the sidelines as one football player in practice gear practicing routes with three receivers. They only got a quick warning out the coaches when a few of those present witnessed a hulking form, in strained football gear, emerge from the locker room entrance. The students called 911 as the assistant coach called for ETU security.

    The hulking form charged the group, on a direct vector that would reach the coach. The squad of players formed up a protective line, and Jake ran up to join them.

    A few of the participants tried to call off the charging athlete, one receiver shouting “You aren’t wanted around here, Ramirez – why don’t you just leave?” while another entreated “Benito, we know you’re under a lot of stress right now. Hold up and we can resolve this!”. The coach intoned, “Ramirez, stand down. We can talk this out. Stop!”

    These measures didn’t dissuade Ramirez (whose name was stenciled across the back of his stretched-out jersey), who hit the line snarling and attempted to push past, to the coach. Kristina began to record the events as they unfolded. Jake and others piled on, grabbing around him, or an available limb.

    Dexter grabbed an orange, three-gallon thermos of Gatorade, chucking the sturdy white plastic lid aside.

    Ramirez, with an enraged scream, arose, hurling football players aside. Jake suffered several cleats from Benito’s athletic shoes, stabbing into his calf as he fell backwards. Another player landed awkwardly, his ankle buckling. “I’m coming for you, coach”, the monstrous being threatened. His football helmet had been wrenched from his enlarged head, revealing ashen, gray flesh, black, beady eyes, and a visage of twisted rage.

    Jake rushed back in, his punch glancing off the ridge of padding protecting the nape of Benito’s neck. One player grabbed him again, as another failed. Yelling “INCOMING”, assistant coach Strong dove into the fray. Ramirez’s jersey’s seams gave way and burst, revealing more deathly gray flesh and strained, purple veins beneath the padding.

    Dexter unloaded the contents of the open Gatorade cooler onto Ramirez, leaving him gasping and sputtered. A clubbing blow, as he attempted to free himself from the grasp of the squad member, failed. Jake and another player leapt upon him once again.

    As they pummeled and wrestled the large, freakishly strong form, they felt him physically deflate, his eyes and skin returning to normal. He sounded confused and exhausted, so the rest let up a bit on him but remained guarded. The paramedics arrived, strapped him to a wheeled gurney, and as they treated him, the police officers took statements.

    The remaining football players thanked the study group for their helpful interference, a rare camaraderie between football and baseball (Jake) athletes. The coaches filled in the details for the benefit of the rest, including the fact that they suspected doping when Ramirez grew in height and muscle mass, but two tests had come back negative. Indeed, after a wanton attack on a downed player, he had been released from the team and his scholarship rescinded.

    The study group then headed to Marla’s apartment, one of the players knew the location. She was not, in fact, a student at ETU, last year she was a pharmacological sciences major who had flunked out. Recently she seemed to have come into a bit of money, though, as evidenced by new (and expensive-looking) boots, jackets, jeans, and pocketbooks.

    It was not difficult to identify Marla’s apartment, as the door was open and hanging a bit askew from its sturdy hinges. Inside, it was a wreck. Though a kitchen table had been righted, papers had been strewn everywhere, and the contents of closets flung about. The kitchen appeared to have borne the brunt of the rage, with broken glasses and dishes and sundered cabinetry.

    Marla sat, sobbing, upon one righted chair, while James, one of the study group, swept up the remains of a shattered glass table top. Wet towels soaked up a small pool of blood. “The paramedics just took the coach away. He’ll require some stitches”, James related.


    • #3
      When pressed, Marla described a three-month test of the protein formula, “HYPERTRONICS-5000 NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT” dropped off by the case in 30-day increments. She described the two who had talked her into taking part in the project, a black man – “A Scientist, named something Jackson”, and a woman, “The Salesperson, um, Jessie McRich”. All she had to do was administer the shakes to a test subject, and record speed and strength test results and muscle mass measurements. “And they paid me ten grand, I couldn’t pass THAT up”.

      Jake took an appraisal of the cabinets, with woodworking tools he could probably repair the damage to them, their hinges (which could be replaced), and the frames. In fact, he knew where he could borrow some tools – from Paul Vanderhorn. He texted Paul a few pictures of the damage.

      Dexter tried to look the up the company’s name on his phone, and found their website, which offered minimal information – but it did proffer a mailing address, which seemed to be in a strip mall in Austin.

      Now, Kristina hailed from Austin, and had visited that strip mall before, and, recently as well. Google Maps showed a Tattoo Parlor, Comic Book shop (Kristina registered for a gaming convention there), Carry-out Thai restaurant, and a Laundromat. It offered no business that seemed to be a Nutrition/Performance shop. The businesses each seemed to be currently in operation, judging by their last reviews. “So – a sham address”, Dexter noted. The last cardboard box sat in a corner, on its side, and Dexter took a few of the empty, shiny pouches that had contained the protein powder. Marla also provided two of Benito’s sports bottles, which looked a lot like Kristina’s, with the same ETU Raven Logo embossed upon them. One had proved difficult to locate, as it had rolled beneath an upholstered chair.

      Marla provided all the information she could, including the fact that the reps hadn’t delivered any more, beyond three month’s supply, and had collected her statistics sheets the last time they visited, perhaps three or four days ago. Upon finishing the last of the supply, Benito grew agitated, accusing her of holding back some of the supply for herself, or even a new boyfriend. He upended her furniture, flipped her bed, went through all her cabinets and drawers, but there was no more formula to be found. In a rage, he slammed and pulled her cabinets down and shattered her dishes. And body-slammed the assistant coach through her coffee table.

      Jake bent the front door hinge back into shape and re-hung the door, and the study group stopped into GlenMac’s office in the Anthropology building. Jake had been meaning to stop by and tell the professor of the recent unusual happenings, anyway, and he probably knew a chemist at the university who could identify the tiny samples of the protein powder. GlenMac moved the empty packets and bottles aside, rocked back in his leather chair, and steepled his fingers. He explained that the world was crisscrossed by lines of power, “Ley Lines”, mystical bands of energy.

      The Pinebox area held more crossing than most regions, which weakened the join points between realities, and made it harder for the dead to “cross-over”, or, alternately, made it easier for them to remain, if they had unfinished business. “That poor Nina Castle … The Frat Boy, Dave Dalton … The vengeful Jeff Tanner in the Theater … no doubt the lattice-work of the Ley Lines had contributed to their continued presence here instead of drawing them to the next world.

      Argyle, the West Highland Terrier, cast a curious eye upon the study group from his basket/bed.

      Gesturing at a shelf that contained some of GlenMac’s “ghost-hunting” equipment, Dexter asked “are there devices that can locate these lines of power?” GlenMac replied that he knew there was a ritual that could visually identify them, but he had never tried to do it with equipment. “Intriguing…” he stated. He suspected they were sixty or seventy feet up in the air, out of range for most of his gear. He also suspected these lines had something to do with “The Burn”, the dead zone to the south-east of the University.