Actual Play – Blue Gene – Season 2 – Hell YEAH! (5/24/2012)

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

This game only happens when we manage to schedule it, and with our crazy schedules, that isn’t very often. But when it does…damn this thing is digital gold.

Talking about the game.

Part of why I love this game so much is that we all talk about it a lot outside of game. And it isn’t the kind of after game gloating “oh shit…remember the time…” (although we are sometimes prone to do that too). What we talk about is what the “show” needs to make it great. This season we need to focus on Franks backstory, where does he get his influence. This season we want the romantic relationships to be positive, as they were such a struggle last season. We’re upping the SFX budget and we needs some big shots of the city. We need reminders of the damage done last season when Wendel wrecked the station. Lets have construction crews. We need to legitimize the intensity of our antagonists, and give them some screen time. We need to show why things are so hard for Siddig in this new life of his. The list goes on. We jam over email, and skype, and gchat.

When we’re doing this I don’t feel like we’re players or GMs, but more like screenwriters that know they have a group of Harrison Fords that are going to improvise not matter what script we give them. We know that we won’t be able to control where the story goes, but we need to throw all the elements on the table and make sure actors and the director have internalized their importance before the shoot starts. We create a space where our collective imaginations can come alive!

Setup for Season 2

Here is the new mind map for Season 2

From the top, here are the changes we’ve got, and there are plenty,

Sloane – His old issue was self-worth, will he recover from his divorce? Survey says…Yes! And not only that, he got back together with Danielle (his ex). The DA he was hate-fucking turned out to work for the dark side and then we ruined her life.

This season, the issue is his respect for the law. We capital-k Know that the LAPD is corrupt, that it has people working against the interest of the common good inside it and that there is a large conspiracy we’ve only begun to unravel. On the other side we have an offer from a benefactor who would see Justice regardless of the law. Though a federal agent Yamamoto appears to Sloane as a vigilante. So, if the system is corrupt, does that mean you tear it down and build a new one? Or do you fight to make it right from the inside? This all culminates in a single question. Will the cast work for Yamamoto (the offer was made at the end of Season 1) or continue to try and do their job as part of the the LAPD? It’s on Sloane’s shoulders to decide.

Moving people around in our lives. Danielle went from his nemesis to his supporting wife. Mallory went from a connection to a nemesis. Shaun West (the computer super spy) now works for Yamamoto, but he’s still loyal to Sloane and remains his connection.

Frank – Last season Frank issue was about his father. Would he save his father’s life by forcing re-sequencing technology on him. Damn right he will, especially when it was re-sequencing technology that was going to kill him! Frank has friends in powerful places (he as an IA spook) in season one, but now we’re seeing his connections go even further.

Season two, after arguing for the legalization of re-sequencing technology for military and law enforcement, he has been put in charge of the team, effectively displacing Lt. Garret, who he threw under the bus at the end of Season 1. Frank’s new issue is dealing with the burdens of command. Now that he’s officially in charge, there are a lot of people making demands of him, and it’s his neck on the line of the Subject 0 (aka Siddig) goes off the rails.

Frank took Siddigs old connection (Garret) and turned him into a nemesis, as the former commanding officer is all manner of bent at how he put faith and trust in Frank and then was betrayed. He’s taken a new connect as well (the cast is growing),  officer Indraa “Dee” Khandaar, the rookie. She’s a forensic investigator with knowledge of re-sequencing technology. She a hottie that adores the Hunters. I hope this complicates things horrifically!

Siddig had a major fear season 1… being discovered. Well the cat’s out of the bag. He is now LA’s public figure number one. He’s got his own TV show, and adoring fan base and an entire team of scientists and observers dedicated to making his life hellp

Siddig’s new issue, not surprisingly, is can he hack all the scrutiny? To make that extra difficult, his nemisis Sophia has been replaced by Major Alisha Cross, PhD. – Behavioral psychologist and monitor from the Department of Defense.  She is a stone cold bitch that can (and will) pull the choke chain on Siddig any time she feels the need. I wanted to show that Siddig is pretty down with joining the NSA and getting out of LAPD, not because he doesn’t want to be a cop, but because he doesn’t have Sloane’s faith in the system. To that end I took Mr. Yamamoto as a connection (dropping Garret) as well as Curtis Hunter (Frank’s dad) because of our adopted father/son relationship. This means Siddigs zealotry (while still present) is no longer a boon for him, which I think fits well.

Act 1 – Scene 0

What’s it called? The trailer? The lead in? The thing that happens before the theme music plays. That thing.

Lenny started the show off by showing a very wealthy area of LA. An above ground outdoor shopping mall, filled with imagery that reminded me of Sharn from Ebberon, our Coruscant. I added in some bits of people on their own personal hover devices (the 2060 equivalent of segways).

Amongst the posh gardens and waterfalls was a major bank… and in that bank were bank robbers… and when the bank robbers saw the cops coming they fled… except one bank robber, who exchanged furtive glances with another and then stopped running and began sobbing. He told the police “I am the bomb” and blew the tower off that damn building, sending ashes of human debris down to the street below.

And roll credits…

Act 1 – Scene 1

Frank and Sloan are reviewing the footage of the crime in the old briefing room. It is still having some construction being done, repairing the damage Wendell did last season, as well as some new “additions”. Techy bits added by Frank.

Lt. Garret walks in with an e-file doc that he drops on Frank’s desk. The file lists all the officers that would like to apply for the re-sequencing plan…which is pretty much all of them. At least all that have dangerous jobs (meter maids need not apply). “So, what are you going to do about it Mr. Hunter?”

Frank pretty much told Garret to piss off, they were still studying Siddig and everyone else could wait until they were ready to pick a candidate, based on Franks criteria. Sloane also earned a little Garret hate by dismissing his old lieutenant. There was much penis waving and in the end Franks was bigger… for now.

Act 1 – Scene 2

The camera took a tight focus on Siddig who slammed his back to a wall, and choked back an obscenity. He announced himself as LAPD before ducking around a corner, dodging two bullets and leaping on a perp, disarming and arresting him in record time.

Then the camera panned out and we saw the army of researchers and observers that immediately descended upon this very real crime scene.  The detainee is interviewed, Siddig is probed, and what was a bust quickly turns into a forensic procedure.

In walks his new handler Major Alisha Cross. Naturally they argue about Siddig’s own license to do is job and have some level of autonomy. When he finds out both that the perp was actually hired by on the agents to pose as a criminal and that there is a major crime (the tower explosion) that just happened which he wasn’t aware of because he being their “test subject” he flew of the handle… only to be stung by Cross’s poison. A suppression injections that temporarily removed his genetic enhancements. Instantly Siddig fell to the ground (nerve damage in his back makes him a paraplegic without the re-sequencing) and stared in horror and Alisha calmly told him him that his enhancements were a privilege, not a right, and as easily as they could be given, the could be taken away.

This was the first time the audience had seem Siddig de-sequenced. Pretty damn bad ass. Oh, and as a side note, when she gave him the second shot to restore his sequencing, the process was both slow and excruciating.

Act 1 – Scene 3

A short scene, also one of penis waving. Which, now that I think of it, I can’t believe we ACTUALLY did in Season 1.

Sloane sat alone reviewing the case files in the Greasy Spoon when a shadow was cast over him. Mr. Yamamoto appeared, offering help if Sloane would only join his team. The two butted heads, made threats and generally reminded each other that they didn’t like the other very much. Mr. Yamamoto left and we saw a moment of Sloane alone in the Greasy Spoon.

The very poignant question had been asked. What is more important the pursuit of justice or adherence to the law?

He looked up at all the faded photographs (on actual photo paper, not holos) of his father and his uncle, and their father. And all the other officers that served with him. And we found out, for the first time, why the Greasy Spoon is Sloane’s personal set and space to recover. It was a place that reminded him of his past and of his convictions.

I wonder how well Sloane will do next time they talk, under less favorable circumstances.

Act 2 – Interstitial

Lenny opened with a scene in the lab to do some exposition. Dee was introduced, in a lab coat, with results from the forensic evidence. And it was then that the cast learned what the audience had already expected. The man who caused all this destruction had been genetically re-sequenced to be a bomb.

Further horror ensued when Dee confirmed Siddig’s suspicion that this could happen to someone unbeknownst to them an anyone could be a walking time bomb, undetectable by modern means.  Grim.

Act 2 – Scene 1

Frank called Alisha Cross in from the field, and tethered to her came Siddig. This was a fun scene for me because Scott was really hemming and hawing about whether or not to have a personal scene or a crime solving scene (I have some of the same dilemma, see below under Thoughts on this Game). We all encouraged him to go for the personal scene he wanted. So, without much ado, he opened it up in his bat cave. A 30th story penthouse view with every amazing gadget imaginable in development.

Alsiha entered and before she could sit down he started tearing into her about how she treated Siddig. I listened to them banter for a bit and decided that Siddig really wouldn’t take this well at all. He felt like a child two angry parents were arguing over as though he wasn’t there. So after they had sparred some I jumped in with my own position, and stakes!

When it came to the flip the questions became

  • Frank – Can he manage to pull this off without Siddig feeling betrayed?
  • Siddig – Can he gain a bit of Cross’ respect by showing that he didn’t ask for this?

And the answer… across the board.. was no, we couldn’t.

Siddig stormed out of the scene, literally kicking down a locked door out of anger at Frank, and in doing so clearly getting no respect from Cross.

Act 2 – Scene 2

Fuming, Siddig got on his bike, started buzzing through traffic and called Sophia. We saw her on holo as they talked, every so often zooming out to show Siddig performing insane stunt driving and he blazed through the city, clearly with no particular destination.

First they started with what we decided was a regular banter. “You know, I could make this easy for you. I could just kill her.” It was a game we decided, played until someone broke character. Siddig played along for a while, describing how difficult it would be to hide the evidence, given all the surveillance that surround her, etc. When the game ended, though, and Sophia got serious she offered to give Siddig a break. To hack her monitoring, turn if off and let him have some peace and quiet.

Funny, really, that Frank had essentially offered the same thing, but when it came from Sophia it didn’t sting his pride. She got empathetic with him, told her how it it hurt her to see him suffering.

When the consented we saw the tracking beacon on his shoulder power down and the camera zoomed out a gain. He was on top of a building (somehow) overlooking the city. “I’m across town from you right now. I’ll be there in 5.” The joke there being that it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere in LA, but hey, he was Siddig, he had super powers. And… if given a chance to do anything at all on his own time, he chose to spend that time in Sophia’s arms. Aw.

Act 2 – Scene 3

Sloane’s scene opened with him on an elliptical machine watching a holo-show while Daniel worked away in the background. He was watching the Siddig reality TV show, with live twitter feed streaming and telling Danielle he thought this attention was going to make Kevin crack. “What’s going to make him crack, is that ice queen that has him by the short hairs. She’s the one you need to watch out for.”

The talked for a bit and ironically, Danielle, the newscaster told Sloane, that he was the one who wasn’t able to unplug from the show. It wasn’t mean, she wasn’t derriding him, she just wanted to admit that he was worried about Kevin because he cared about him. So the flip can down to whether or not Danielle could get Sloane to admit Kevin was his friend… and she won.. with tickling. HOW. FUCKING. ADORABLE.


Thoughts on this game

God I love this game. I love the players. I love the setting. I love Lenny’s directing. I love our collaboration. I love how we have crazy action and heartfelt moments all mashed up together.

The mind map (our google drawing above) is amazing for recognizing elements in play to bring up. Everyone playing online should make one these!

I loved a lot of the symmetry we had in this show. Frank tries to help Siddig and he gets pissed off. Sophia offers and he feels loved.  One scene Siddig says that Sloane is the only one he likes in the station (well, he said “He may be an asshole, but he’s my asshole!”) and a scene later Danielle tickles it out of Sloane that Kevin (Siddig) is his friend. Alisha first trumps Siddig and then she trumps Frank. Yamamoto is seen as a threat to Sloane who seems him as a vigilante, but then Siddig tries to use Yamamoto to keep So

Already I have two scenes I  want… and there are only two acts left in the show.

  • A building scene – I want Siddig and Curtis together talking about what’s happened and what the capabilities of re-sequencing are. I’d like to suggest that Siddig hasn’t realized all of the capabilities that Curtis granted him. I imagine this like Lloyd Slate realizing he could be Harry Dresden.
  • A balls deep action scene – Sloane and Siddig going undercover where Siddig plays a Siddig look alike to ferret out the bio-bombers.

I want them both! Badly!


One thought on “Actual Play – Blue Gene – Season 2 – Hell YEAH! (5/24/2012)”

  1. > What’s it called? The trailer? The lead in? The thing
    > that happens before the theme music plays. That
    > thing.

    I’ve always known it as ‘the hook’.

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