Actual Play – Beyond the Law (4/8/2014)

PTADirector: Leonard Balsera
Cast: Rich Rogers, Scott White, and Sean Nittner
System: Prime Time Adventures
Show: Blue Gene

After almost a year since our last game, we didn’t miss a beat! Before jumping into the game though, it super exciting to note that Stephen Hood from Storium has asked Lenny to write up Blue Gene as a setting for Storium. It’s a stretch goal for the kickstarter that is, at the time of writing this AP report, $1600 away from funding. So, if you love Blue Gene and want to play in this world too, go kick it!

Before the game (since it has been so long) Lenny sent us a recap of where things are now:

  • Yamamoto has offered Sloane his aid in rooting out internal corruption, if Sloane were to start working with YamaTech, for undisclosed reasons. Devil’s deal.
  • Yamamoto also made the same deal to Frank, but Frank actually took it. Yamamoto now has extensive details about Frank’s black ops past, and Frank has a marker to call in, which he’s used once before.
  • Unknown para-military folks have been responsible for violent incidents across the season. We still do not know who is in charge of them.
  •  Whoever the mysterious hacker is that’s been watching you since Season 1 is still unidentified. We know their access point to a lot of the BCU’s stuff was through Shawn West’s neural implant.
  • Shawn West lives as a ghost in the machine. He made a deal with Frank to bury a bunch of his dark secrets from the IA investigative committee, in exchange for freedom to move outside of the LAPD’s firewalls. Frank agreed, and as a result, got made commissioner at the end of last episode.
  •  The BCU is in direct competition with Lt. Neil Garrett’s own personal trained team of SWAT. At the beginning of the season, he wanted to blue his whole team, but Frank resisted. After the last episode, when you found out that the police commissioners themselves were behind a lot of the racketeering ring for Blue, public outcry led to Garrett getting what he wanted.
  • Danielle went vigilante to try and go after the people fucking with Sloane’s career, in a context where she’d have full freedom to retaliate. She caught Mallory making deals with corrupt authorities and reacted with violence, sending Mallory to the hospital. Those corrupt officials sent a sniper to finish the job, and killed her. Siddig knows that Danielle was the one who hospitalized her, but has not blabbed the secret for Sloane’s sake. 
  • Danielle was offered a deal by the lovely and corrupt Alfonso Alarcon, son of the corrupt Councilman who died when y’all exposed the commissioners.
  • Alisha Cross used her influence to get Sloane and Siddig reinstated after those corrupt authorities tried to have them suspended. There’s a tacit truce brewing between Siddig and Cross, where she’s backing off her surveillance in exchange for Siddig’s more willing participation in her trials. 
  • Sophia was involved in sabotaging Cross’ surveillance on Siddig’s behalf, but has now stopped, and has made a promise to someone that she wouldn’t poke her head into BCU business anymore, but hasn’t said who or why. 
  • It was revealed that Hunter Labs was involved in black market arms manufacturing and sales in order to fund part of their research initiatives.
  •  Frank is now the police commissioner. His first act was to push through the corrupt offer that gets Danielle off the hook. Sloane knows she’s subverting justice, and realizes that Frank’s already playing shitty political games.

coruscantOpening Scene

Flash forward six months since the last game as shown by a montage of news article headings that depict both the BCU and Lt Neil Garrett’s enhanced SWAT team going back and forth trying to out do each other with busts.

When the montage finishes the scene opens with Sloane closing in on a case. Using Indra as his communications (Frank still watching from a far, but in a meeting with the major when it happens) Sloane moves into a complex that hangs above LA, a pod among hundreds of other pods that is 50 stories above the ground, liked 360 decrees with windows, all of them opaque. Hiding in plain sight.

As Sloane move in, Indra guides him and then checks the comm with Siddig who comes back with a wise ass remark about “falling fast”. He is, in fact dropping from an air lift 8000 feet above, slowled only slightly but a hang glider contraption rigged onto his back.

insane-muscles-013-500x800Sloane methodically makes his way in, but when he gets inside, where he expects to find a training facility for illegally blue’d paramilitary troops, instead he finds one insanely muscled man, suited up on power armor, and ready for him with a chain gun.

Sloane yelled “LAPD BCU stand down” and fired a few shots before he dove behind a couch that was shredded by rain gun fire.

The ceiling above exploded and Siddig dropped down, a bit embarrassed that they performed this whole stick for just one guy but ready to get scrappy. Using Siddig as a distraction, Sloane jumped the guy, pounded the desequencer in his neck (literally hand to pound it in because his muscles were so hard) and then injected him with the serum.

The man stood up and picked up Sloane with one hand. We expected at an moment for for the serum to take effect and him to drop. After the moment passed and he was still standing, strong has ever, he looked at Sloane and told him “You can’t make nature a crime.” Then he through him out the window!

Cut to theme music!

Act 1 – Scene 1 (Sloane)

The camera cut to him falling out of a 50 story building, then to Frank in the Mayors office watching this whole thing and bolting up out of his chair, then back to Sloane landing safely on a surveillance drone a few feet below, then to Indra controlling it from a distance and smugly saying “gotcha!”

Siddig raced to the window after Sloane and when he paused after seeing that Sloane was safe the gene freak (or maybe not) jumped him. Siddig was faster, and could hit like a wrecking ball, but the guy didn’t even feel it. The two of them started were in a giant brawl, but it was clear Mr. Power Armor was going to win.  Sloane leapt through the window and fired his taser into the power armor John Blue’s (as we’re calling him for now) power armor, causing it to shut down and lock up, effectively forming a cage around him.

Scene question: Does being thrown out of a 50 story building stop Sloane from bringing the perp in? No, no it doesn’t.

Act 1 -Scene 2 (Frank)

Inside Hunter Labs is the only facility strong enough to keep a man like this held. The scene opens with him already locked up. Siddig is standing right in front of him, staring into his eyes but when he puts his hand through him the camera reveals he’s just staring out a holographic image of the man, who is locked up in a nigh impenetrable cell.

Indra does the exposition and tells us all, though we already know it, that we’ve tried a dozen different methods to desequence him and none of them have worked. As Sloane steps out to smoke he sees Lt. Niel Garrett approach. Garrett has none of his usual bluster and with all sincerity apologizes as he hands Sloane the prisoner transfer orders “If he can’t be deseqeunced, he’s not blue’d.  If he’s not blue’d, his not in your jurisdiction.”

Sloane tells him to wait out side and comes to deliver the news to Siddig and Frank. “Cujo, Frank. We’re about to get fucked.” After all the normal protesting we agree, but Frank has the idea to bug him. Too many people have been watching us. If someone wants him, then Frank wanted to know who that someone was. We agreed to hide a bug on him, which Siddig deliver by means of injection as he told the guy “I’m going to find out how you were made” and he responded “I hope you do”. SO. MUCH. TESTOSTERONE.

John Blue was delivered into Garrett’s custody decked out in manacles and controlled by a shock collar on the end of a long (very long) pole. They took the power are as well. Fuck.

Scene question: Can Frank plan surveillance on John Blue without it being detected. Yep!

Act 1 – Scene 3 (Siddig)

Back in Dr. Cross’s lab Siddig was performing regular tests but his attention was on the viewstream. Headlines all over showed video of him getting his ass kicked. It got to him, he was pissed off that he was beaten, and more pissed that they couldn’t figure out what made this guy tick.

Alisha told him that there were other metrics she tracked beyond just the creepy ones. For instance, she saw there was plenty of people looking for a come back fight… and if the LAPD couldn’t contain this man, wouldn’t that give him another opportunity. But that wasn’t really the whole of it. Siddig didn’t so much want to beat that guy as he wanted to be that guy. Indestructible, and with no Achilles Heel (he sad staring daggers and the de-sequencing controller Alisha carried). “I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be a victim ever again.”

Perhaps in a an act of kindness, or simply because she believed it when she said “In war, there is always escalation, and this [the desequencer] is now just a liability.” She handed it over to Siddig.

Scene question: Can Siddig deflect Alisha’s questions and keep his cool. Nope!

Interstitial Scene

A court scene where John Blue is let off. It’s revealed that biologically he is only 17 years old and they deferred from charging him with the array of his offences given that he was not re-sequenced and officer Sloane’s protocol while arresting a minor.

Thoughts on this game

So. Damn. Good. I really love this game.

I was a we bit unfocused on in my own scene. I wanted to show that Siddig was really upset about losing the fight, bu also wanted to bring Sloane into the scene (as it’s his spotlight episode) but couldn’t figure out how to do it.

There is a weird co-dependency that I realize Siddig has for Sloane. There was this great scene (in the middle of scene two) where Sloane was outside and Frank asked Siddig if the thought he could take the guy in a fair fight. Siddig was waffling, unsure about it, but then when Sloane walked in, totally changed his tune. “Oh yeah. without the power armor, if I wasn’t distracted by my partner being throw out the window, if he hadn’t sucker punched me. Oh yeah, I could totally take him. Yeah. For sure.” Siddig can’t let Sloane ever thing he is week. He needs to be strong for his partner. On the flip side, if and when Sloane does finally break, does finally surrender that the system is too broken to repair, Siddig is going to lose his mind. He depends, he needs Sloan to ground him. I love it.

Seeing Frank as commissioner and having all this power, but with it coming all this responsibility and scrutiny is great. Like, he finally has the power to make things better, but it’s still a game within a game, there are still so many secret agendas and ways to get tripped up, that he’s almost more tangled up in red tape than he ever was before. Awesome.

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