This post is a continuation of A Shark’s Tale (Act 1). If you haven’t read that one yet, you might want to do so before continuing on with this.
In Act 1, our heroes, Keir and Dimitri, were given the task of sneaking into a nightclub in Detroit to capture a suspected terrorist, a rock musician who goes by the name of John Marx. Though there were some hindrances along the way, our heroes managed to successfully sneak into the nightclub 15 minutes before the crowd were let in by the bouncers. Let’s see what happened next.
Dimitri is in the ventilation shaft. It is dark, save for the occasional light from below, filtering up through the vent gratings.
Keir is on the first floor in the main lounge of the nightclub. Most of the lights are muted as the club still hasn’t opened its doors to the people outside. Before Keir is the dance floor, then the stage; surrounding it are the aisles for people to walk along. The aisles circle around the stage to an entrance leading to a corridor that runs perpendicular towards both sides.
Keir: I look around. Anything?
GM: Nothing of interest, though you spot cameras that are deactivated. They’ll probably be activated when the club’s up and running. What does Dimitri do?
Dimitri: I keep crawling through the vents until I reach the end. Is there anything of interest?
GM: From where you are at at one point, you can see Keir. You can also see most of the main lounge and dance floor, and crawling on, you see the stage. Finally, you come to the end of the vent shaft.
Dimitri decides to tear the grating apart. He rolls for a Strength test and succeeds. The grating buckles under his savage kicks and he carefully loosens it so that it unhinges, but doesn’t fall to the ground.
In the meantime, Keir, finding nothing of interest, wanders past the stage to the rear corridor. To the far left end, there is a door with an “EXIT” sign above – a likely backdoor. Adjacent to it, on the wall spanning the corridor’s length, is another door, this one marked with a “SECURITY” tag on its middle. On that same length stands a second door, this one unmarked but with a golden star stuck to its panel. At the far right end of the corridor is a flight of stairs that leads to a lower level, probably where the liquors are stored.
At this point, Dimitri is regrouped with Keir.
Keir: I’m going to stack up by the door.
Dimitri: So do I.
Keir: Do we hear anything?
Keir and Dimitri roll Notice; Keir succeeds.
GM: You hear movement coming from within the room.
Keir: I wait outside.
Dimitri: I’ll go in.
Dimitri slowly opens the door and creeps in. The room is fairly lit, and Dimitri hears a man muttering to himself. Further in, Dimitri is able to get a good glimpse of the man. Sitting before a dressing table, from his back view and partial reflection, the man is recognised to be John Marx, matching the description that the PCs were given during their briefing: long hair, unkempt look, oval-faced, his frame gaunt and gangly.
Dimitri: I walk over to him.
GM: As you do that, he looks up with a start, a surprised look across his face. What do you say?
Dimitri: I stare at him.
John Marx stares back at Dimitri uncertainly, and for a split second there is an air of the tension before it’s broken by John.
John: Uh, hello. Can I help you with something?
Dimitri: Hi, you must be John.
John: Why, yes I am. And you are?
Dimitri: My name is Dimitri. I work here, with the backstage crew.
John: Ah I see. My name’s John. You may know me as one of the performers tonight.
Dimitri: Yes, I’ve heard of you. Nice to meet you.
Dimitri makes to shake John’s hand, and as John extends his to return the gesture, without the slightest hint betraying his actions, Dimitri’s jaw stretches apart, revealing the full extent of gleaming white teeth. The massive jaw champs at John Marx, tearing off a sizable portion of muscle from his right arm before he even has time to react. The pain is so overwhelming that John shrieks in utter agony, instinctively pulling away from his attacker, but, in doing so, collapses to the floor.
Tears stream from John’s eyes, from both the magnitude of fiery pain engulfing his arm as well as the savagery of this sudden act. He crawls towards the knife on the far end of the room, but the futility of the act is emphasised by Dimitri slowly trailing behind him. Before he grabs the knife, he turns one final time to face his attacker. His last visage is that of great gleaming teeth thrust towards his throat, but his scream is trapped as Dimitri savagely rips out his throat with one swift motion.
Dimitri looks on at the horribly disfigured man, now choking in his own blood, making horrid gurgling noises. The shark-hybrid himself isn’t looking any better, aesthetically – hot blood flows from the crevices of his mouth, slowly trickling down his face. The lower half of his face and neck are stained crimson, but already the blood around his lips is drying and caking, giving Dimitri the appearance of a monster loosed from a hellish nightmare.
Dimitri: Does he have anything of value on him?
GM: Well you search him but don’t find anything. You can take the knife on the table though. Do you want to loot the rest of the place?
Dimitri doesn’t want to pick up the knife, but rolls Notice and finds a note hidden in his pocket. It is a hastily scrawled message that says “TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT”. Pocketing the note, Dimitri retreats from the room to join Keir.
Meanwhile, Keir is approaching the door with the “SECURITY” tag. He hears footsteps coming from within at about the same time several dull thuds and a muffled, attempted scream emanate from the room that Dimitri had entered. Keir steps back and prepares to ambush whomever comes through the door.
The door opens, revealing a guard fully decked in armour and helmet. Keir steps out and delivers a kick to the guard’s solar plexus, and while the armour protects him from the brunt of the force, the move still sends him reeling back to tumble on to the ground. Dimitri has, at this point, rushed out of the performers’ room to assist Keir, just in time to confront the guard who’s determinedly getting up.
The sudden appearance of this disgustingly bloodied, horrific, monstrous shark thing turns the poor guard’s legs to jelly; he jolts and jerks back several paces. It is uncertain as to the guard’s expression, for his face is hidden behind the helmet, but our heroes are astute enough to observe his quivering motions bordering on spasms.
GM: The guard looks like he’s trying to crawl away. You think you hear whimpering noises beneath his helmet. What do you do next?
Dimitri: I want to rip his throat out.
GM: Okay, roll Strength + Wild die as part of your character’s natural weapon.
Dimitri rolls snake eyes (double 1s). Critical failure.
GM: <while everyone is doubling up in laughter> Uhhh okay. You think you’re so bada** that you’d managed to so effortlessly destroy the rock star, so you try to do the same to the guard. Unfortunately, you fail to notice some of the wiring on the floor. You leap forward in style, when one wire catches your leg. You trip and fall to the ground face first, and although you don’t take an injury, there goes your ego for the rest of the night. The guard is probably still trying to stop peeing in his pants, but he’ll no longer look at you the same way again.
Keir: I kick away his weapons while he’s distracted.
GM: That’s easy enough. As you do that, he looks back up at you. What do you do next?
Dimitri: I get up and dust myself.
Keir: We tie him up and strip him of his armour.
The guard fully stripped down to his underwear, the PCs then make to search the place. It’s a control room, with a fairly large control panel. Keir hacks into the system and enables the security cameras outside to see what’s going on. The partygoers are now pouring into the nightclub, none the wiser as to the proceedings that had happened.
Keir and Dimitri then proceed to check through the various emails, security logs, and cameras in the building. One point of interest comes from the view port of the camera downstairs. The camera pans left and right, displaying a storage cellar for alcohol, but right in the centre of it all is an old but fairly large generator with warning signs of its combustibility. To add to suspicion, the generator is being hooked up to what seems like plastic explosives. There are several on-screen prompts that seek the user’s input with regard to the generator’s settings.
Keir: Maybe they were planning to blow up the place by starting with the generator. Can I shut the power of the place down?
GM: You scroll through the menus until you come to a link that prompts you for your choice of action with regard to the generator. It’s not spectacularly secure, and since you’ve already gained admin access into the system, you can easily shut it down if you wish to.
Keir: I want to use the cameras to find Gunther’s daughter first. Is she in the building?
GM: You see her by the dance floor. She’s hanging out with some friends.
Keir: I’ll shut down the cameras first.
Upon hitting the button, the cameras’ view ports are instantly taken over by static.
Keir: Can I go out to rescue Gunther’s daughter?
GM: Sure. What about Dimitri?
Dimitri: I’m staying behind to watch the guard.
Keir purposefully pushes his way towards Lisa Riley.
Keir: Lisa Riley? I’d like you to come with me for a while.
Lisa: What’s going on?
Keir: Please just follow me and I’ll explain.
Keir quickly drags Lisa to the backroom, ignoring her shocked friends, and slams the door behind him. She is stunned as she stares at the shark-hybrid, at the moment busying himself with cleaning off the blood stains.
On her approach, he grins, trying his best to looking friendly. It isn’t very successful.
Keir: We are here under your father’s orders.
Lisa: Dad? What are you talking about?
Keir urgently tries to explain the situation to the girl while Dimitri continues to wipe the blood from his mouth. Finally, the girl, half-grasping the situation, speaks again.
Lisa: If what you say is true, show me the proof.
Keir turns on the cellar’s camera. Lisa turns a shade paler.
Lisa: But if what you say is true, then… I’m sorry I’m just finding it so hard to believe this.
Keir: You don’t have to. Just follow us and your father will explain everything to you.
Before leaving, Keir, still accessed to the mainframe of the security system, shuts down the power in the building. There is an instant wave of uneasiness among the partygoers as the place is thrown into absolute darkness.
Dimitri and Keir escort the girl out from the backdoor. It leads into the back alley; outside, the PCs hear bouncers running into the club, a few of them barking orders. Keir and Dimitri hasten through the alley under blanket of darkness, cautiously navigating.
Keir: I will comms in to Gunther to tell him that we’ve completed our mission.
Several minutes pass; in the dull thudding of their footsteps, they hear a familiar whirring noise. They emerge into the streets of Detroit once more, before them the hotel. The mission is completed by our heroes with the girl in tow, though the helicopter pilot does curtly remark his surprise at their swiftness. Nevertheless, the helicopter takes our heroes back to base, where their debrief and next mission await them. What lies in store for Keir and Dimitri, and what repercussions will they experience from the killing of John Marx? That’s a story for another time.
Conclusion of A Shark’s Tale
Thanks for reading this, and I hope you enjoyed it. I thought it was an interesting session because of the coherence and absurdity. This was the first time I’d successfully run a complete session of Interface Zero 2.0, and I must say it is a very fun game. If you’re keen on trying it out, you can find it here. Have a good week ahead and happy gaming!