GM: Sora stands in the office building’s incomplete husk, the barren floors and unfinished patches of wood giving the place a stark, skeletal look. It was a minor office building, once upon a time. However, when reviewing the floor plans, the city declared it a fire hazard after noting some details that were missed on initial approval. The company, rather than correcting it, decided to cut bait.
GM: Through a window long de-glassed she can see the moon standing bright in the crisp night air. Aros stares at her from the corner, where she’s causally leaning against the wall, arms folded over.
GM: “So, what do you think? Not too bad.”
GM: “Kind of sparse, but y’know, pretty out of the way. This safe enough for you?”
Sora Dorn: Sora, picking her way across the floor carefully stands up and looks around, holding the sleeve of her shirt up to her mouth.
Sora Dorn: After a few moments she nods.
Sora Dorn: “Just wish it didn’t smell so much like cats.”
GM: “Well, look at the silver lining. Plenty of living test subjects! We can probably get some spray or something.”
GM: “For the smell.”
GM: As you poke around, you see that while none of the rooms are exactly furnished, some are more complete than others. You feel like you should be intuiting…something about the space, but it
GM: ’s just beyond your grasp.
GM: Aros is actually pacing for the first time you’ve seen, murmuring something in a language you can only understand when you’re paying attention.
GM: “…good place for a lathe…interior expansion…portal-inlaid electric grid…test it on the cats…”
GM: You think that you’ve at least poked your head into every room until you note a closet you missed on your first pass.
Sora Dorn: Recall: Number of floors in this building.
GM: Only the one she’s been in, but there’s also very plausibly a basement.
Sora Dorn: Observe: Closet
GM: It’s not exactly a closet so much as a closet-like door. This door apparently had gotten wet at some point because it has icky blackish stains on the unpainted wood.
GM: It could lead to any number of things, but you guessed closet due to its location.
Sora Dorn: “Hmm”, says Sora. She closes her laptop, which she’s been using to build a quick google sketch-up of the interior.
Sora Dorn: She reaches into her bag and pulls out her ‘lock-pick’.
Sora Dorn: But before turning it on, she just tries the door.
GM: It…opens. And it stinks.
GM: The stairs leading to the lower level are pitch black and creepy as all hell. The overpowering scent of rotting wood and mud fill your nostrils, mixed in with something slightly unrecognizable.
GM: Aros looks over your shoulder, and sees you hesitantly stalling at the top of the stairs, and says “Well, you gonna go check it out or not?”
Sora Dorn: “Haha,” says Sora, her voice high and tight, “The creepy hell-stairs? You think I should?”
GM: "What, you’re gonna not see what’s down there? We’ll be fine, I’m sure of it. If something happens, we just book, okay?
Sora Dorn: Recall: Are there other stairs going down or is this the only stairs leading to the basement?
GM: As far as you’ve seen, this is it.
Sora Dorn: “OK,” says Sora, “OK… no. No! I’m a cape now. I don’t have to do the scared little girl thing. I can do this MY way. Screw you hell stairs!”
Sora Dorn: She closes the hell-stairs with what she hopes is a defiant thud, and goes and gets one of the broken chairs, wedging it under the door-handle.
Sora Dorn: Then she takes a few long steps away from the door and looks down, muttering, “All right, so if this is a basement then…”
Sora Dorn: She crouches down, putting the lock-pick, a rigid loop of metal wire with some boxy unfinished-looking electronics on one side, on the floor. She loops her cell-phone over her wrist and turns it on.
Sora Dorn: The diodes on the cellphone turn on from the flash-light app, and she keys into the camera. Then she turns on the lock-pick.
Sora Dorn: A corona of very subtle blue light flicker for an instant, and then there is a hole in the floor. It appears to have no depth to it, as though the floor, and the ceiling of the basement below, were thinner than paper.
Sora Dorn: Sora drops her hand holding her cellphone through the hole and clicks the camera several times.
Sora Dorn: Then she pulls her hand out and deactivates the lock-pick.
Sora Dorn: The hole in the floor vanishes.
Sora Dorn: She looks at her phone.
GM: Roll Dex please and thanks.
Sora Dorn: !roll 1d6
Dice Roller: Sora_Dorn rolled 1d6: 1 <Total: 1>
Sora Dorn: (Hurray!)
GM: The pictures were blurry and unclear as hell. There’s flash on your phone, sure but all you’re seeing is that there’s a lot of dark, muddy, grayness.
GM: And stink.
Sora Dorn: She does it again, and takes video this time.
GM: Roll that dex, I guess.
Sora Dorn: Err… ok.
Sora Dorn: !roll 1d6
Dice Roller: Sora_Dorn rolled 1d6: 1 <Total: 1>
GM: Well, it’s still dark, muddy, and grey.
GM: You think you might see a flash of movement, but near as you can tell it’s…bigger than it possibly should be.
GM: The basement.
GM: The walls seem to be, by your estimate, about as far around as the upper floor is? Maybe a little less? On closer inspection, you do see a single conspicuous flash of white along the grey, dirty concrete of the floor.
GM: You can’t tell what it is, but it’s un-moving.
GM: Aros stands over you and says “Listen, we can always just check out HellBasement when it’s light out. You know the horror movies, nothing happens when it’s daytime. If we get workshop set up here, we can just worry about all that down there later. It’s probably just some dead cats or something.”
Sora Dorn: “Hmm,” says Sora, pretending she isn’t scared. “If it’s ok though, it’d be better to setup down there then up here. Less likely to get people walking in.”
Sora Dorn: “Lemme just check that white thing.”
Sora Dorn: She relocates her little camera operation to above the section of flooring where the white thing is and repeats the procedure.
Sora Dorn: “Also, I need a better camera… and glow sticks! They always have glow sticks in movies.”
Sora Dorn: “And like… a bazooka.”
Sora Dorn: “And backup.”
Sora Dorn: !roll 1d6+2
Dice Roller: Sora_Dorn rolled 1d6: 2 <Total: 2(+2) = 4>
GM: The picture actually doesn’t come out bad this time. The white thing is the bones of a dead cat, curled up on the concrete.
GM: “Told ya so.”
Sora Dorn: “Aww… poor thing.”
Sora Dorn: “OK,” says Sora, sitting back. “Well, I guess I’ll have to move her, but lets er… wait ‘till it’s aired out a bit. Tonight we stay up here.”
Sora Dorn: That sounds reasonable.
Sora Dorn: She finds something reasonable and furniture-ey to sit on, and finishes her little sketch-up doodle.
Sora Dorn: “OK, well… I have some ideas, but I want to hear yours too. You can go first. Um… if you want.”
GM: “I was looking over in that room over there,” Aros says, pointing to a windowless office where some poor wage-slave was going to eke out miserable days, “and I think it would be an alright place to set up some machining equipment. Y’know, micro-forges, lathes and the like. We could make our own metal and stuff.”
GM: “And over here, and here, and here” she murmurs, pointing to 4 or 5 different places, “I was thinking we could maybe hook up portal networks to different places in the city. Like our room.”
GM: “And as far as the cats go, well, we’ve gotta test out on living subjects, right?” She says with a manic gleam in her eye.
Sora Dorn: “Hah,” says Sora, “Misreading it. Maybe we could teleport them to the pound!”
GM: “Hrm. Or we could shrink em’ into even smaller cats. Can you imagine how much the internet would eat that shit up?”
GM: “In any case, let’s see what you’ve got.”
Sora Dorn: “Well, I mean, I think the portals are a good idea! And the equipment and stuff. I’m… going to need a costume.”
Sora Dorn: She feels embarrassed, even saying that to what is ultimately herself.
Sora Dorn: She crosses her legs with her knees up to her chest and picks at her fingernails.
Sora Dorn: “But mostly, I’m thinking, like, how tinkers die. We are a tinker right? Sort of? I wonder if the other tinkers have people like you and they just don’t tell anyone.”
GM: “Come on. You think that every tinker sees this and nobody would EVER talk about it? Maybe I was a twin you ate in the womb!” She cackles, smirking.
GM: “Nah, I’m probably some sort of weird backwards master construct if anything. Or you’re just bugfuck crazy.”
GM: “As for the costume, well, you’re gonna need that and a name.”
GM: “Oh, man, what if we built some bad-ass teleporting power armor!”
Sora Dorn: “Oh! I definitely want a teleporting costume. Like, that would be really cool”
Sora Dorn: Sora does not mention that this desire has been obviously influenced by her many many hours watching Magical Girl anime.
Sora Dorn: “But, I was thinking, like… most tinkers. They build like… a lotta stuff, and I want to build stuff too, I’m like… physically itching to do it, but if I’m going to do the whole, you know… costume thing, I gotta be smart. It doesn’t matter if we’re crazy powerful, if we’re dumb, we’re goinna die.”
Sora Dorn: She looks down and away, “Or Mom is going to end up running everything.”
Sora Dorn: “So I’m thinking, space. That’s our thing, right? I mean, it usually takes tinkers a while to figure out what they’re good at but -”
Sora Dorn: She shakes the lock-pick in one hand.
Sora Dorn: “I guess that’s pretty clear already.”
GM: “You did hit the jackpot on that one. Remember that dweeb down in San Antonio? Slick was his name? Imagine having the tinker specialty of /lubricant/.”
GM: "Nah, I’m pretty sure all I can tell you how to make is, well, space stuff and things that’ll facilitate space stuff.
GM: “That lock-pick you’ve got there’s a good start, but I’ve got the know-how and you’ve got the thumbs. We can do so much more.”
Sora Dorn: “Hey!” says Sora, “Slick was pretty cool. He was on Deluge’s show a few times. I mean, his whole deal was sorta dumb, but he made it work.”
Sora Dorn: A pause.
Sora Dorn: “For a while.”
Sora Dorn: Endbringers you know.
Sora Dorn: They suck.
Sora Dorn: “Aaaanyway,” says Sora, shaking off a sudden case of the glooms, “I’m thinking we maybe don’t have to play the game like other tinks.”
Sora Dorn: “Maybe we shouldn’t.”
GM: “Oh? How so?”
GM: Aros has a genuinely curious expression.
GM: “You mean, like, staying all independent?”
Sora Dorn: “No!” says Sora, “I mean, yes, I mean, I don’t want to join the Wardens.”
Sora Dorn: “And the Olympians are awful except for maybe Baphomet.”
Sora Dorn: “No, I meant… tinkers get dead when their gear gets wrecked, when they run out of power, or when they’re grabbed without any.”
Sora Dorn: She raises a hand in the air as though conceding a point, “Or when they go up against an S-rank.”
Sora Dorn: “Can’t do much against those except run,” says Sora into her knees.
Sora Dorn: “But the other stuff,” she says, “That we can do something about.”
GM: “So you’re saying…we always have our gear? Something self-sustaining?”
GM: “Maybe some under-the skin implants, we could just pop the costume on you from across town!” Her grin is starting to leer back into the too-many, too-perfect teeth category.
Sora Dorn: Sora shares the grin, “Maybe, but think bigger. We don’t need a dozen ray-guns, or fifty different iterations of power armor. It’s like our laptop.”
Sora Dorn: She gestures at the laptop, a tiny brushed steel thing with a red case. On the case there’s a sticker with block letters on it that say “This machine pwns noobs.”
Sora Dorn: “It’s a piece of crap, but that’s ’cause if we need more power, I just push the computation into the cloud. Somewhere out there google server farm or Amazon blade spins up and poof, instant power.”
Sora Dorn: “We don’t need a better laptop, because we can reach out and just grab a more powerful computer.”
Sora Dorn: “We could make portal devices, or teleport bracelets, or costume implants. I’m sure we could…”
Sora Dorn: “But we don’t need too. We need one device, one device that we can reach out too when we need too.”
Sora Dorn: “I dunno,” she says, curling up again, “Maybe it’s dumb.”
GM: Aros chuckles. “It’s dumb. It’s dumb and it’s brilliant. We can be a walking armory. A storage closet full of any toy we could want. In our hands when we want it.”
GM: “We could take out each and every one of these assholes that run around, making this city such a pile of trash.”
GM: “But…we’ve gotta make those first steps. And if we are gonna do that, we need those tools.”
GM: I think we should head home. It’s…" Aros turns her head. “What time is it, about?”
Sora Dorn: “Late”, says Sora with a yawn. “We should go.”
Sora Dorn: She starts packing up her things into her bag. “Gotta get an air-horn,” she mutters.
Sora Dorn: She unlocks the hell-stairs and leaves them open so the basement can air out over the day.
Sora Dorn: She slips out, leaving the building locked and still, and heads home.
GM: The ride is as quiet as before, but even chillier. The city really does look gorgeous from this ridge, the textbook definition of a polished turd. As you ride, you think about your concept of one device managing all the rest of your tech. You can conceptualize it, you feel, but you can’t get into that tinker headspace of genuine comprehension until you’ve got your…double on board.
GM: What /IS/ Aros.
GM: Are you just mad? When did you trigger? All these thoughts and more as you feel the wind blow through your hair, riding down that one big hill you sweated up earlier.
GM: You get home at about 3:20, sneaking in very, very carefully.
GM: (Roll 1d20, please)
Sora Dorn: !roll 1d20
Dice Roller: Sora_Dorn rolled 1d20: 5 <Total: 5>
GM: As you tiptoe through the apartment, you hear your mother sniffle and snarfle from within her room as you stub your toe on a chair. She definitely drank enough to stay under. Oh, boy will she ever be pleasant tomorrow morning.
GM: As you climb out of your dirty, sweaty clothes, the events of the night run themselves through your mind.
Sora Dorn: “It’s going to happen,” she whispers to herself. “I’m actually going to do this.”
Sora Dorn: She sounds amazed at her own audacity.
Sora Dorn: “I’m actually going to do this!”