GM wrote:Those that make Insight rolls come up with the same view - your fellow room-mates are as stunned as you. It's hard to determine whether anyone is trustworthy yet"
Your stunned fumbling is interrupted when you hear a loud ‘clunk’ from one wall. As you turn to see what caused the noise a set of shelves move aside and a sharply dressed man steps into the room.
“Good Afternoon. My name is Raymond Harcourt and…”
he straightens his tie, looking a little lost “… and I don’t know how to start this. I have something to ask of you, something that I have no right to”
. Harcourt stops and walks to the drink cabinet, pouring himself a large whisky. “I have no idea who any of you are, really, and I’m about to put my life in your hands”
. He lets out a long sigh, and a sad smile spreads across his face. “You’re currently in a sub-basement of one of my homes. This particular house happens to be in Alamosa Colorado. You are not prisoners, and I have no means of keeping you here even if I wanted to. All I’m asking is some of your time to listen to a story. If at the end of that story you want to leave, if you feel the need to call the police, I won’t hold it against you”
At your silent assent, he moves to sit on one of the chairs in the middle of the room. “That disc you watched was put together by my son, Nathaniel. This whole thing was his idea”
. He sighs again, pulling his gaze away from yours, clearly reluctant to look anyone in the eye. While he stares at his feet he continues talking. “He was never really a bright kid. Dumb as a post in fact. I tried to give him a good education, throwing god knows how many dollars at tutors in the hope that he’d improve his grades but… let’s just say I let go of the idea that he’d take over the family business. He finished High School with the worst SAT scores you can possibly imagine. All he was really good for was smoking pot and playing computer games all damn day.”
“That was until about 4 years ago. He’d just turned 21 and he came to me one night, said he wanted to get his GED and make something of his life. I gave all the support I could and he sat the test. Scored 4000; 800 in all 5 sections of the test. Top 1% of the country, can you believe that? The education board accused him of cheating, and I can’t say I blamed them, but he took a new test under controlled conditions and got the exact same score”
. A smile, warmer than previously, dances across Harcourt’s lips. “We had a talk that night. Nathaniel told me he’d have been able to pass the test at school but he’d always felt over-pressured by me, so he rebelled the only way he could. He decided not to be me”
“I was proud of him that day, for his success and his honesty. I was angry too of course, that he’d wasted so many years, but a man that can look you in the eye and take hold of his mistakes? He’s a man you’re proud to call son”
. He takes another swig of his whisky. “So I told him that I wanted to give him a gift, anything he wanted as a symbol of the new start to his life. He chose this house and a position in my company, and I gave him both. This place became his workshop. In the space of 3 years he patented technology that made my company more money than it would have in 15 years without him”
. Harcourt finally looks up and meets the some of your gaze’s. “I guess some of you might know part of what’s coming next. It only seemed obvious to me in hindsight”
“3 months ago two federal agents appeared at my front door in New York. They informed me that my son had been arrested and charged with three federal crimes. The first was the illegal access of government computer systems. The others, and the most serious thanks to 2001’s Patriot Act, were the charge of being an unregistered Superhuman, and the use of Superhuman abilities against the US government. My son had been accused of Treason. I wasn’t officially entitled to see him at all but, due to my position, the agents took me to him. He wouldn’t speak to me. He just told me to go home. Something about his tone made me think of here, so it’s here I came looking for answers”
“When I got here I heard the most damned thing; I could hear ‘Follow The Yellow Brick Road’ playing throughout the house. You see, the room we’re in is part of a sub-structure to the house above. A safe-house if you will. I had it built when Nathaniel was very young. He was scared of it though, said he’d never use it. I told him it was a safe place, said to think it was like the Yellow Brick Road…”
His voice cracks a little here and he pulls his eyes away from all of you again, choosing to stare at the monitor on the wall. “I followed that sound down here, and saw a video of my son’s arrest”
. He quickly stands up and walks toward the monitor, pressing on one corner
Video Footage wrote:
You see what appears to be a large sitting room, as if viewed from one roof corner. A young man, not dissimilar to Harcourt, sits at a table pouring over some paperwork near a laptop. After a few seconds a window on the far side of the room shatters and something lands near the table. The room quickly fills with smoke
COMPENSATING VISUAL INTERFERENCE appears on the screen and the room re-appears.
Several men dressed in balaclavas and urban combat fatigues come through the window and move toward the young man. He scrambles blindly as they take hold of him, managing to fend a couple of them off. As he struggles another figure comes through the window, wearing a black skin-tight outfit. The figure strides across to the struggling Harcourt, grabs his arm and snaps the bones in his forearm clean in half, leaving the arm hanging as a ragged wreck.
In too much pain to struggle the young man is carried from the room. The remaining military looking types scour the room, taking paperwork and the laptop. When the room is finally empty another figure in a skin-tight outfit, this time a woman, climbs through the window. She looks around, puts down some papers and a laptop, and then smooths down her hair. As she does so all the broken objects in the room move back into place and repair themselves. She then walks calmly out the room.
The image pauses there