Part 103: Fake Update: Anarch Edition!Fake Update: Anarch Edition!
Right guys, it's time to put on our Che Guevara t-shirts and wreck some shit, because we're gonna join the Anarchists. Power to the People! Viva la Revolucion!
Possibly the least creative of the Factions in Planescape, the Anarchists nonetheless have the most potential for swanky plot points. Their whole schtick is that truth is only achievable when people are free, and due to the oppression of the other Factions, this is impossible. Sure, some factions claim to know the truth and that once this is achieved they can all ascend to a higher plane of existence, like the Dustmen or the Godsmen. And yet the heads of these Factions, supposedly the most enlightened, still stand around and meddle in Sigillian affairs. So much for "transcendence."
Obviously their main rivals are the Harmonium, the Guvners, and the Mercykillers, the three big forces of Sigil's government: police force, legislative body, and executioners. They'll look for any opportunity to piss in their ale.
In terms of historical canon, the Revolutionary League was able to assassinate the Mercykiller Factor 300 years ago and shift the blame to the Fated. This sparked off a war that ended up dragging in a dozen factions and the destruction of three of 'em. 50 years ago the Anarchist Omar was able to infiltrate the Harmonium, and climbed all the way up the hierarchy to become Factor. When he tried to disband the Harmonium and shut down its headquarters, the Factors nabbed him, accused him of working against their laws, and put him on trial. It was there that he spat in their faces and told them he had been an Anarchist all along. You can imagine what they did to him then.
Theoretically the Anarchs appreciate the Doomguard for their delight in entropy and destruction, the Xaositects for their disorder, and the Athar for wanting to free all from the clutches of false gods. In practice however, the Anarchs seek the destruction of every last Faction.
So let's get this shitfest started. First we go off to talk to Bedai-Lihn again.
"You're a Godsman now. Are you still happy with it?"
"No, not really."
"Because I'm coming to realize that it's an empty title."
"Would you say you're devoted to the Godsmen, then?"
"Would you say your lack of devotion is strong enough that you would strike at the Godsmen if given the chance?"
"Yes, I would."
"Then you've come to the right person." She smiles, and a new light comes into her eyes. "How would you like to strike against both the baatezu war machine and the Godsmen alike?"
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is that there is a weapon of incredible power being developed here in the Foundry, and that it is being funded by the baatezu - devils, if you prefer. Destroying it will not only give you a shot at the faction you say you reject, but will also bloody the nose of the entire race of fiends. What do you say?"
"I'll do it."
She smiles with satisfaction. "Good. Hit the machine on one of its weak spots, and come back to let me know."
"Why do you want to do this?"
"Why? Because that weapon is a tool of the devils... literally. The fiends are going to use it to wreak untold havoc and destruction across the face of creation, and no matter how many 'peacetime' uses that infernal device might have, not one will make up for the suffering it will cause."
"What are its weak spots?"
"Concentrate your energies on the firing device, I'd say. I'd recommend inserting something metal there. The hard steel of the item will spark and flurry, destroying the resonance of the weapon's magical field, leading it to self-destruction. When you've inserted the item into the device, leave. You'll have about half an hour before it detonates."
"What about the workers?"
"What about them? They are slaves to their faction, and the faction will not weep when they are gone. Why, then, should you care?"
"I care because they're innocent."
"Innocent? Ha. Only in an organization this corrupt could you call those who work on death machines 'innocent.' What a joke." She pauses, as if to clear her throat of bile. "Will you destroy the machine or not?"
"I will. I'll return with a message of my success."
A diabolical weapon of evil, eh? Sounds dangerous.
Let's go make it explode. To get in we'll need an access token to view the secret project.
Huh. This is the second biggest superweapon of planar destruction I've ever seen. I think Freud would have something to say about this.
You see a tiefling clad in Godsmen clothing, carefully examining the thing in the center of the room. "I can't really talk right now. We're at a critical phase."
"A critical phase? Of what?"
"Yes. This project we're working on is a weapon that could have massive peacetime applications as well. We're not close to the end, but we are at a delicate phase -- delicate enough that it could put us all in the dead book if some berk fails us now."
"What is it you're doing?"
"We're adjusting the variables in the device's lower magical resonances. One mistake could sink the whole project, and if the project goes under, it'll take us all out in the resulting magical wave."
"What is this project?"
"It's a weapon, I think. We're not sure if it's for war or for hunting -- and powers above, if it's for hunting I don't want to see the creature it's designed to kill -- but when we're done, it's going to be on a par with that Chaos Ship the Doomguard built a few years back with the tanar'ri. At least, that's the theory."
"What's this thing do?"
"You know, I'm not entirely sure. You'd have to speak to one of the engineers for that information. I know that it has a massive, focused beam of heat -- we've perfected that part of it, at least. We've even mounted it permanently into the device. There are other aspects to the thing that we've not even begun work on yet. We're not allowed to see them until we're done with each portion."
"Why the secrecy?"
"If you knew an enemy was creating a weapon to use against you, wouldn't you do everything in your power to destroy it? We've got no idea who it's for, even. We're just trusting the word of the high-ups that it won't be used in a way we'll disagree with. None of us know who's asking us to make it, so there's no chance we'll spill the dark of it to someone who wants to see it destroyed... especially because we've all sealed our lives on it."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Because of the nature of this project -- with the secrecy and all that, not to mention the magicks that allow us to even work on the machine -- we've had to seal a part of our lives into the machine. We get our lives back when the project's done -- but if it malfunctions, or powers forbid, gets sabotaged, it takes our lives when it blows."
"How long 'til it's done?"
"It probably won't be done for another decade -- but the trickiest part of it will be done this year. There are some magical rituals that have to be done, and those take time. We'll all breathe easier knowing we're not sealed to a project that's going to detonate because it's unstable."
"You can tell me who this project is being built for."
"No, I can't tell you that. For one thing, I don't know. For another, I signed a secrecy contract that binds my life to the integrity of the project. If the project fails, I could die -- and so could all my friends here. I ain't taking that risk."
"What can you tell me about your boss?"
"You can usually find her in here somewhere. She's a githzerai who got exiled from her people. She's working here because she doesn't get seen much and so her shame is lessened. She's brilliant and hard-minded."
"I wonder if she'd talk to my friend Dak'kon here."
"I would be honored to meet another outcast, another exile. Perhaps the sharing of our shame will lessen its sting for both of us."
You see a githzerai woman, bald, with scarred cheeks and a cat's grace in her walk. As she turns toward you, she spies Dak'kon. Her eyes widen. She addresses him, "You bring joy to my heart. My name is Kel'lera. May I aid you?"
"My companion would like to speak with you concerning the workings of this device. May he speak for the two of us?"
She looks at you, and looks back at him quizzically. "Of course, esteemed one, if you speak for him, and accept responsibility for keeping what passes here secret." She turns her attention reluctantly to you. "You have questions for me?"
She glances at Fall-from-Grace, and her mouth curves in a graceful moue. "I apologize, honored one, but I cannot speak of this. I am both contractually and magically bound not to speak of this in the hearing of certain... 'manifestations', shall we say... of belief." She turns to the succubus. "My apologies, Lady Grace."
"What does that mean?"
"She can't speak about it in the presence of fiends. I would speculate that since she's been bound contractually, that means it's a project of Law. And since she's been bound to it magically, it is likely baatezu in origin."
"That's quite a chain of speculation. Is she correct, Kel'lera?"
Again, the supervisor turns uncomfortably toward Fall-from-Grace, and grits her teeth. "I may not speak of it."
Looks like we'll have to leave the succubus outside in the hall.
Aside to Dak'kon: "Who is she, and why does she treat you with such respect?"
"She is of the People. Her markings tell of one who has walked the path from Limbo and has been made to not *know* our ancestral home. Her markings tell all githzerai to render her assistance, and tell the githzerai that she is still of the People. Her reverence for me is the reverence shown to all *zerth.*"
"Very well. Kel'lera, I had some questions for you..."
"Then ask, and I will tell you if I may. Your companion carries the burden of your secrecy in this matter as a part of his own honor, and where I know not if I can trust you, I know I trust him."
"Tell me what this device does."
"Our device spouts forth a certain type of magical fire that harms even those resistant to ordinary fire. We are working on applications that might even get around a creature's magical resistance. "
"What other applications might it have?"
"Aside from its weapon values? It could be used as an excellent mining device. If tuned properly, it could harvest whole swathes of forest or fields of grain. It could harden a shell of Limbo's material for a time -- we have even tried lesser applications of the technology there -- or even be used as propulsion across the spheres of Carceri. Its uses are limited by one's imagination. It is not purely a weapon of destruction."
"Who has contracted for this device?"
She glances around, sighs, and replies: "Though I did not take part in the negotiations, I believe that it was the baatezu who have procured our services. The token you wear will grant you some measure of diplomatic immunity to baatezu you may meet."
"What are the weak spots on this device?"
Just, you know. Curious and stuff.
She glances uneasily at Dak'kon, who measures you for a moment with his eyes, and then turns back to nod reassurance at her. "Very well. The weakest spot is the firing mechanism at the rear of the device. Too much harm befalling that would be fatal for all of us. It would set off a chain reaction that would obliterate all those who are tied into the device. The saboteur would likely have time to flee; those of us attached to the device would not."
"Attached? How do you mean?"
"I mean that we have been bound to this machine by necessity of the magical rituals that will empower it. Should there be an error, or worse, deliberate sabotage, I and all these you see in the room would surely be incinerated. Worse yet, our spirits themselves would be destroyed, rent asunder, granted only the peace of cold, dark oblivion. Do you understand our secrecy?"
All too well. Anyways, time for you to do your thing, TNO.
"Hmmm. Bedai-Lihn said to stick something metal in here. Hey Nordom, lemme see one of those crossbow bolts."
"Nordom is pleased to comply!"
"...That is not an approved function of this item."
"No. No it isn't. And now the finishing touch..."
"Let's see your precious bourgeoise 'science' save you now!!!"
Aaaaand now we run like hell. Let's go back and look at the aftermath.
"Damn that's an impressive weapon. Welp, looks like everyone's been disintegrated and their souls torn asunder, including Kel'lera. A githzerai who knew and understood your plight, Dak'kon. Looks like you're all alone in this world. So very, very alone."
"My sorrow falls like autumn leaves. Why do you do these things?"
"Daddy needs his quest XP."
And indeed, the 8000 XP we get from this is all the sweeter with the blood of innocents.
"I heard the explosion from here. Excellent work. Are you interested in another task?
"Why weren't you destroyed in the explosion with the other workers on the project?"
"Haven't you guessed? I swore under a false name and false identity. I am not the same person who swore the oath, and so I was immune. Now, will you take this new job, or not?"
"What is it?"
"The factol, Sandoz... I'm sure you're familiar with him? He was the one responsible for the development of that fiendish device in the first place. He was the one who sought out the contract, and the one who promised the deadly weapon would be created. He is the one who is truly responsible for the deaths of those other engineers. He must die."
"I'll do it."
"Good. His name is Sandoz. I believe you've already had some contact with him. He won't suspect a thing. Don't worry about being quiet about it, either - Sandoz has been loud enough that the guards won't notice a bit of a ruckus. Just come back to me when you're done, and I'll set you one more task - and then we're done. Now get going!"
Next Fake Update: Assassination, escape, and more assassination.