Last time, of course, the characters wound up camping out at a marina, having gotten away from the collapsing bridge.
When they woke up, there was a man with wild hair and a frayed suit sitting on a boat watching them. He introduced himself as JaeJae (this would be Misha’s character; Misha couldn’t make it last time). He was a club DJ, originally from Tennessee, and had been wandering west from New York.
The characters chatted a bit, and then JaeJae and Trey walked toward the old man’s boat to see if he was up. They heard a radio squeal, and JaeJae heard him say, “Yeah, they’re still here, so you’d better hurry.” Trey and JaeJae weren’t trying to be terribly subtle, so he shut the radio off right after, and then grabbed his rifle and headed out of the boat. He sat there with the characters for a minute, and then wandered off into the woods, ostensibly to take a leak. Meredith, meanwhile, went off to smoke up.
JaeJae informed the others what he’d heard, and they got rather nervous but weren’t sure what to do. The man came back out of the woods, flanked by several other dudes with guns and blunt instruments. He told them that they were taking their stuff, and they should just step away.
And this began our first Removal Challenge! JaeJae’s player had done enough Character Challenges to get three cards in his bank, so this Challenge involved all six players. Bruce (the Opener) decided he’d reach into the water and Open a gateway under the boat, using its own shadow. Meredith took a step forward and offered them a smoke and to talk this out, but her real intent was to take the looters’ attention off Bruce. Darla jumped into the water and started swimming toward the characters’ boat. JaeJae, sitting on the characters’ boat (acting as lookout), starting talking at them, again trying to distract. And Trey said, “So, what you’re doing is stealing from us?” – trying, in a very ballsy move, to get Their attention.
All of these actions were lighting a candle. We assigned suits, mixed ’em up, and dealt them out. Trey, Darla and JaeJae drew Succeed/Stay. Meredith and Bruce drew Succeed/Leave.
Meredith lit her lighter and the thug next to her got spooked and beaned her on the head with a bat. Bruce Opened, the boat (and a lot of water) fell into Lake Erie, but a black hand grabbed his arm and yanked him in. Darla swam to the boat, but grabbed the dock when the boat disappeared. JaeJae barked at the thugs a bit, but then fell into the Between with the boat.
They boiled out of the Between, swarming around Trey and Cherie (the NPC from last time, whom the characters saved). They killed the thugs, tearing them to pieces, and then retreated into the Between. The gate closed, and the characters were alone.
(Meredith’s player took a Character Card and wrote Cherie into memory, giving her the Scope: Swim Team. Seemed appropriate, as she didn’t drown last night. Bruce’s player made up a new character, since there wasn’t another convenient NPC to write into memory.)
Cherie, Darla and Trey surveyed the wreckage. They found Meredith’s body and succumbed to nausea and shock, a bit, but then covered her up and closed her eyes (and got a few Memory Points talking about her). They had no idea if they could get to the Between and get their stuff back, so they started looking for a serviceable boat. They decided to put Meredith on a rowboat and light it, letting it drift into the lake. A kind of pothead/Viking funeral, if you will.
In the Between, a lot of water fell on a man named Ichiro Watanabe, walking in from Europe. He found JaeJae (and Bruce’s body, which was now missing an arm and had bled out), and JaeJae explained what was going on. JaeJae had never been to the Between, and Ichiro, an Opener, explained how it worked. He agreed to Open a gate to get JaeJae (and the boat) back, and JaeJae concentrated on the marina area. Ichiro Opened…
…and the boat fell out of a shadow under a pavilion. Darla (Exhausted in Stability and therefore not doing too well) was happy to see that, but couldn’t handle anything else corpse-related. JaeJae gathered up some of the body parts, and Darla, by now, had found the keys to the old man’s boat. They loaded up the boat, and Cherie (who defined a Scope as Summer Lake House to explain why she knew boats) plotted them a course to another marina. Not far off that marina, see, there was a gas station and they figured they could maybe find some fuel around there somewhere.
As they got closer, Trey, playing with the radio, heard someone. He called the guy (Jack) back, and they chatted a bit. Jack was in a truck cab, one that had overturned and fallen down a hill. He said he’d meet up with the characters at the marina, if he could.
They pulled into the marina and a dude in a sailboat stood up and hailed them. The man, named Dwight, said that he wasn’t sure if they’d be able to find gas easily, but he was happy to share some smoked perch with them (he’d built a smoker out of an old grill and sustained himself fishing the lake). He also mentioned that if they ran into a dude with a leather jacket and a bad buzzcut, named Jack, be careful – he was a looter and a thug.
The characters didn’t mention they’d talked to Jack already, but Ichiro and JaeJae went to go look for gas while Darla, Cherie and Trey stayed behind. Dwight taught Trey to fish (which he picked up as a Scope), Darla started making some canned soup (to which Dwight added some perch), and Cherie amused herself skipping stones in the lake.
Ichiro and JaeJae got the gas station and a dude in a leather jacket walked out – this was Jack. They talked a bit, and when he heard they’d docked at the nearby marina, he asked if they’d seen a dude named Dwight in a sailboat. They hemmed and hawed a bit, and Jack said he was trouble – Dwight was one of a number of thieves who worked the waters around here. They walked (or in JaeJae’s case, frolicked) down the hill to the truck cab and poked around a bit. They found, in an abandoned car, a can of gas.
That was good, and they started to head back up. Ichiro, suspicious, pulled his gun on Jack and had him step away from the truck and his pack. And then he waved his hand slightly, like a signal, and we started our second Removal Challenge.
Ichiro decided he’d shoot Jack, while JaeJae dove for Jack’s pack to see if there was a weapon. We drew, and Ichiro’s player drew Succeed/Stay while JaeJae’s got Succeed/Leave. He grabbed the pack and reached in, just as Ichiro shot Jack. And then a second shot, and JaeJae fell dead.
Back at the marina, the others heard the shots. They quickly armed themselves (Dwight handed Trey a pistol and Cherie a fire ax, and grabbed a shotgun). Darla dug into their supplies and got walkie-talkies, and handed one to Dwight. He told her if anything went wrong, head out into the water and they’d catch up in his sailboat. And then the three of them (Dwight, Trey, Cherie) headed out to find the others.
(JaeJae’s player wrote Dwight into memory.)
They got to the crest of the hill and saw Jack lying dead, but couldn’t see JaeJae from their vantage point. Ichiro was looking for the second shooter. We started another Removal Challenge, with Trey and Cherie involved (Darla wasn’t there and Ichiro and Dwight had no cards in their banks and so couldn’t participate). Cherie ran down the hill to try and help (lighting a candle), while Trey stayed on the hill to watch for the second shooter and provide cover fire (cursing the darkness). They both drew Succeed/Stay, and Cherie ducked around the truck and saw JaeJae’s body and (having something really low in Stability) screamed.
That, of course, brought Trey and Dwight down. It seemed, though, that JaeJae hadn’t been shot from behind. He’d grabbed for the gun in the pack, and it had gone off, killing him. The characters took what they could from Jack’s pack (Dwight knew Jack, and kicked his body on the way past – yes, you can get Memory for dead NPCs). They talked about JaeJae a bit, and Dwight carried his body up the hill.
They moved their stuff onto Dwight’s boat while Dwight buried JaeJae. The looter problem, Dwight told them, had gotten bad of late, and that’s probably what had attracted His notice on the bridge. They needed to get moving before Jack’s buddies came after them, so they got on the boat and headed out into the water.
And that’s where we’ll pick up next time. Of the six players, five of them have two sections of Wick filled in, so next time we should get a cascade of people making the essential choice (and thus make it possible to end the story).