Interlude Prior to Episode 20

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(from the DM) Below is a little interlude segment that Scott sent me, and below that is an interlude segment by Mark. I'd like to encourage these kind of posts, so I will begin awarding AP's for them. I'd like to see players reveal and develop their characters through stories like this if they want to. Also in the past we've done some online gaming as well. When Mark gets a chance to get them up on the website, see the two preludes to episode #2 for examples of this. Just want to let you guys know that this options are available and will be rewarded with AP's. Good stories guys!............MJC

(from Scott) Billy sat cross-legged on the floor of his cabin, the rhythmic drum beat and ancient chanting from his gauntlet was helping him focus on his experience on Gaurhoth. His leap of faith was not so much a last desperate act, as a test of what his studies had led him to believe he might be capable of. He let his mind free itself of what he was told was science, and embraced what his spirit and mind could achieve when they were attuned to the forces that flowed through out the universe. The bitter taste of the Peyote in his cheek was forgotten as his thoughts tried to center on how he tapped into the power that negated the lock gravity had on his body. He worried, how his Spirit Guide could aid him so far from his home planet. These questions were flowing in his mind, battling with his teachings from Medical school that said what he tried could not be.

Cookies large form moved quickly down the hall. He should get back to the Galley just in time to take the soufflé from the oven. As he passed Billy's room he came to a sliding halt , "WHAT THE SHIT WAS THAT !" leaping back into the doorway taking a defensive stance he quickly scanned the room for the large Ebony creature he was certain he had seen, but the only creature he found was Billy .........sitting.......about three feet of the ground.

Billy became aware of a presence close by, and upon opening his eyes he found what could only be described as a Werren's perplexed look, not 2 feet away staring at him eye to eye. Only Cookie was standing and Billy was sitting, a realization that quickly brought him crashing to the ground. After the initial sharp pain subsided Billy looked up at Cookie who bluntly asked. " Where's the big black bird?" Billy's mind raced, Crow? Here? How? and the realization swept over him like a warm shower. And his answer was strait and sure "He has returned to the Spirit World ." Cookie just stared back for a few seconds the shook his head in affirmation. Suddenly Cookies Eyes widened in fear, and he uttered one word in terror" Soufflé" and dashed from the room.

Rusty was starring at a hand that was going nowhere fast and trying to figure out if Stone, Elsworth, or Stephanie would see through his bluff. Then there was a blur of motion as a huge brown hairy form in a red plaid kilt and purple tight fitting XFL KC Raider jersey plunged into the adjoining Galley. Seconds later smoke flowed from the passage followed almost simultaneously by the sound of compressed gas being released and a cloud of white dust. Cookie appeared in the door looking more like a Yeti. Rusty asked "So how's the soufflé coming?" . Cookie gave him an angry glare and said " We will be having sandwiches. Got a problem with that? " Everyone became very interested in their cards and Rusty muttered "NO, no, cold cuts are my favorite ... I fold."

One bluff was all he could muster at the moment.

(from Scott) Billy addresses the group at the dinner table. Everyone was present but the ships engineer who had spent about 99% of the time in the engineering compartment tuning up the newly overhauled engines, Billy couldn't even remember his name." I think we need to start addressing each other by our code names so we dont slip up and use each others real names in a compromising situation. Secondly we should name our ship , Any suggestions for a good name with a 'C' for a beginning?" not missing a beat Cookie states "Chile Pepper" there was a Long moment of silence and blank stairs Crow (Billy) responds " Ookayy... thats a start . Sooo we have one name on the table , any other ideas?"Gerald Trent's code name Christian, stood " This is a vessel filled with a people on a Holy Mission , I feel Chalice would be an appropriate name."Stephanie Fox's code Crazy Cat blurts out " With our luck with vehicles getting blown away around us Cadaver is more appropriate " Crow shakes his head " I was thinking Cougar was a good name but I agree with Christian we may be on a Mission , Holy or otherwise I think the Crusader may be a name to go with what we are on , a sort of Crusade" Cookie gave a nod of approval, and Christian seemed happy with this moniker , Crazy Cat just said " Still like Cadaver" Crow looked around the room and asked " Well what do you think?"

(from Mark) Rusty Knuckols snickers out loud. "Steph...I mean, Crazy Cat...I'm surprised you didn't want to name the starship COCK, CUNT, or CLITORIS. There's all sorts of 'C' words right up your alley..."

Elsworth interupts as Stephanie is about to stand up and kick Rusty's ass, "Shut up, Rusty...I mean 'Crusty.' I think CRUSADE... or CRUSADER would both be excellent names for the starship. That's what we've been on these past couple of years...a crudade of sorts."

Stone fiddles with the blaster he is cleaning. He looks up at the others with a look of discust in his eyes..."I think we should name the fucking thing CLUSTERFUCK, in honor the utter shit this mission has become. You're all a bunch of fuckin...."

Elsworth pushes a red button on a remote control on his belt, and Stone's trama pack injects enough sedative into him to bring down an elephant. His insulting words trail off, his eyes flicker, and his head rolls back against his headrest. The gun drops from his hand. The entire group appears a bit confused, but Elsworth begins to expain. "I have been working with Stone...providing him with therapy. But as of late his psychotic episodes have been escalating. He is developing a resistance to the psychotropic drugs he takes to control his problems. I've 'hot-wired' his trama pack...essentially, I can take him down with a push of a button."

Looking a bit uncomfortable, Stephanie (Crazy Cat) speaks up, "Elsworth...I mean 'Cutter,' does he know you messed with his trama pack?"

"No. I lied to him. Told him he was suffering from blackouts...psychotic breaks inducing a comotose state. He bought it...for now."

Rusty (Crusty) shakes his head, stands up, and heads for the door. "You fuck with my trama pack, Doc...I'll cut your throat."

After Rusty (Crusty) leaves, Elsworth (Cutter) turns to the rest of the group. "If any of you feel I have handled this matter involving Stone incorrectly...I'm willing to left you read my most recent analyis of his condition. At this point I'm willing to ditch the Doctor/Patient privilage shit...lives are on the line. I better go talk with Rusty...he's closer to Stone than any of us." As Elsworth leaves he throws a tri-D crystal on the table. "It my latest report on it."

(from Mark)

Preliminary Psychological Evaluation

SUBJECT: Stone Mason (actually Louzelle, among other names.)

I have attached the an exhaustive library of notes and crystal recordings of my sessions with this disturbed "elvish" mutant. From a layman's point of view it is clear that Stone is suffering from a variety of symptoms that clearly denote a mental illness. He has a lack of impulse control, uncontrollable emotional ups-and-downs, and suffers from frequent and destructive psychotic breaks. I had hoped that talking with him…offering him therapy, I could begin to break down the exact causes of his problems. A proper diagnosis, would lead to more appropriate psychotropic medications, and perhaps a "cure" for Stone's problems. To help me in my endeavor, I recruited Billy Eagleclaw to review my session crystals and evaluation notes. Billy intends to use this case to further his studies in the field of psychology. His input has been invaluable, and his observations and insight are intertwined throughout this report.

At first, Stone would not talk to me. I began attempting to counsel him shortly after the casino shooting incident. I prescribed a mild drug to "take the edge off" so to speak, and hopefully help Stone with his impulse control. I had to constantly remind Stone to take his drugs, and I became quite adept at recognizing his behavior when he was not medicated.

About 7 sessions into our therapy, he finally began to confide in me. He was born to a very young unmarried girl in Paris, and was promptly turned over to an OSS orphanage outside of London. He appears to have a deep hatred of his mother…and a sense of self-hate stemming from the circumstances of his birth. He was born an elvish mutant…and at times shows a real sense of shame over this fact. He suggested that his mother was perfectly justified getting rid of "her freak son."

He grew up and was educated in the OSS orphanage, and fell in love with a girl at the school. As they went off to separate Universities, they promised each other they would be faithful…and that eventually they would come together and be married. Stone later received word from her that she was engaged and that she never wanted to see Stone again. Understandably, for a young man who had been placed in an orphanage as a baby…this sort of repeated abandonment had serious impact upon his self-image and his view of the world.

I have not told Stone the following facts, but they are important to this evaluation all the same. I did some research on his "lost love," one Beth Lazon. She is currently unmarried and living in a suburb of London. I could find no indication of her ever being engaged. She has not had a serious relationship since she returned from the University. There is every indication that Stone was rejected not by Beth Lazon…but by someone purporting to be Beth Lazon. I was able to contact a therapist that had spoken with Ms. Lazon on two occasions. He would not reveal details of his conversations with her, but would confirm that she was extremely depressed over some betrayal in her past. I can only assume that she believes that Stone rejected her…and does not realize that Stone was led to believe that she rejected him.

The orphanage staff stepped in during Stone's grief and asked him to "do important work for the government." Seeking meaning to his life, Stone signed on. He was trained for six years in the art of assassination in a quasi-military base in northern Scotland. He became a member of an assassins cell tied directly to elements within the Orion intelligence community…specifically the OSS. After a series of successful assassinations, Stone's handlers betrayed him and set him up. Police rushed into a room where Stone had just killed three men. Stone barely escaped with his life, and a tri-D crystal he had taken off one of his victims.

Stone later viewed the images on the crystal, and realized that the man he killed was hardly an "enemy of the state." He was a family man…with a wife and children…a human being that Stone had killed for the OSS. And now once again, Stone had been left out in the cold. First his mother…then Beth…now the OSS.

Six months later, Stone awoke in a gutter. One of the staff from the orphanage, a Helen Merchant, was pulling him from the gutter. She nursed him back to health and paid for his ticket to Kansas City. She gave him Jean Qualls name, and told him to contact her once he arrived in K.C. And that is how we came to know Stone.

Besides his self-hate…and tortured view of the world, Stone expects all of his relationships to end in rejection. He broods over all the ways he could be betrayed, until he develops a real feeling of hate towards all around him. In addition, Stone's regenerative mutant powers have given him delusions of immortality. His ability to come back from near death, and heal completely…often with a slightly altered DNA identity has affected his judgment. In our sessions he would often refer to himself as a god…and speak of the hundreds of lifetimes he has lived…and died. He truly believes his physical life will never end. This leads to the recklessness that is regularly evident.

But, everything I have said so far still does not fully explain the seriousness of Stone's condition. He is disturbed well beyond a level that is reasonable considering his background and an extensive brain chemical analysis I performed two months ago. There is something much more sinister at work here.

I believe that Stone's whole life has been orchestrated to create the perfect mole. Perhaps some would call what I am about to suggest paranoid nonsense…but after the things I have seen…everything I say is completely reasonable. Every event in his life was designed to bring him to where he is today…designed by the OSS. Designed by mj12. Angelica Louzelle becomes pregnant at 16…and gives birth to a mutant with natural body armor and regenerative powers. OSS science caused this to happen. Angelica gives the baby to an OSS orphanage, where he spends his entire childhood. OSS programming and personality-shaping was most likely performed on Stone there. Stone is led to believe the love of his life dumped him. OSS trickery. The orphanage staff suggests he enter the OSS intelligence community. OSS manipulation. For six years Stone is trained to be the perfect assassin. More OSS programming. After a series of assassinations, Stone is betrayed, severely injured, and can't remember 6 months of his life. God knows what the OSS did to Stone during the 6 months he can't remember. Conveniently, a member of the orphanage staff finds Stone, nurses him back to health, and sends him to K.C. to meet Jean Qualls. More OSS manipulation and trickery.

I believe that Stone is struggling against deeply ingrained OSS programming. This programming was probably put in place using years of drug/hypno/psychic therapy. A lethal combination to anyone's ability to have free will. I believe that Stone is the perfect plant…the perfect mole. He is here to spy for the OSS, and despite the programming they have put in place…he is fighting it. It is this struggle against the deeply ingrained programming that is causing his psychotic breaks…his lack of emotional control…his complete lack of impulse control.

I fear what the OSS…or more specifically mj12 has found out about us through Stone. I fear what damage Stone might still do to our group…our cell. I intend to "hot-wire" his trauma pack. I have already suggested to him that as his mental problems progress, he may experience black-outs. By remotely triggering sedative injections from Stone's trauma pack, I can induce a black-out for Stone anytime I need to. I will wait for his next psychotic moment, and trigger the sedatives. Hopefully the rest of C-Cell will understand why I have done this…and can forgive me. Even if I cannot forgive myself….

(from Scott) Stone slowly emerged from the Drug induced sleep. His eyes could see the blur of someone close by , probably Elsworth....or what was that stupid code name everyone was taking on .... Cutter , yeah that was it . As his eyes focused he saw it was Billy ... Crow sitting next to his bed studying him , fucking shrinks , that's what they see me as , a test case.

"Stone , how are you doing" Crow asked,Stone Ignored his query."Stone , I know you hate us . I know you hate the drugs and the analyzing. Elsworth has doubts that there is a medical cure for your condition and I tend to agree with him, but I think there is a cure.I think the drugs are only making things worse , they are weakening your will to fight something from consuming your soul. Your unique Genetic makeup is also lessening the effects of the drugs as it builds up your resistance to them at a highly accelerated rate. Your state of mind is man made, created by a program developed to withstand man made cures. The answer then is Spiritual . Finding that essence in you that can cast out the conditioning you have been put through, I would like to see if I can enlist the aid of your spirit guide to reinforce what is left of that fighting spirit. You have to rely want this and trust me to show you how this can be done. I want to help you find yourself , I know you haven't chosen a code name and I believe it is because you are just barely holding onto your own Identity. I want to free you from the drugs and hatred that are starting to rule your life. Well , its your call , what do you say.

Stone was as close giving in to the voices in his head as he had ever been, It would end the pain he was living with just to let them take over and not fight them anymore , he seemed to know somehow giving up this battle and letting the other one take over would be so easy while taking Crow's path could mean even greater pain.

"Yes. Let's start now " Stone whispered.

(from Chris) Stone's new name is Chimera. Crimson's name is Cerberus.

"...and the gates of hell were unleashed."

GM: Michael Cross (e-mail)

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