CRONOS: A Savage Worlds Campain

EP3: Truth and Consequences

As the morning sun creeps across the floor of her hotel room, Elsa keeps her movements quiet to avoid waking her mother and sister. The day of the competition has arrived, and bad guys with guns are an insufficient motive for missing the race. Elsa grabs her gear and finds a taxi to get her out to the arena. Isabella, meanwhile, closes on Ferma and prepares to carry out her mission.

After the narrow escape from Hope Springs, Sunny wends his way north and west through the sparse woodlands of East Texas until he makes his way back to the highway, where he soon locates a stalled pickup truck with a deceased driver at the wheel. Recognizing the symptoms conversant with the woman’s demise, Sunny pushes her into the road and starts the truck, intent on clearing the region as quickly as possible and continuing his journey toward Corpus Christi and home.

From the garage at the Motocross Championship, Elsa finally receives a call from her wayward manager’s cell, only to discover that the Russian has kidnapped him and is holding him hostage. Identifying himself as Arri Kuschev, an old friend of her mother’s, he insists on a face-to-face meeting to explain his demands for Trevor’s safe release. Elsa agrees, and soon leaves the arena for an outdoor cafe on the near side of town. An ExCorp field agent follows her to the meet and reports her position to Isabella as soon as the extraction team touches down.

Kuschev arrives and takes a seat while the commandos make their way quickly toward the tiny cafe. Following a few pointless pleasantries, including an exhortation on how much Else has changed since he last saw her – when she was apparently about 4 or 5 years old – the Russian explains that his employers wish to take Elsa and her mother into their protection, as American agents have been dispatched to abduct them. In the midst of the uncomfortable exchange, Isabella and her infiltration specialist, Chad Keating, take a seat at a nearby table, pretending to be tourists. When an opening presents itself, Isabella masquerades as a Motocross fan and approaches Elsa for an autograph, giving the girl an opportunity to plead for help via pen and paper.

When the meeting adjourns and Elsa is on her way back to the arena, where Kuschev insists he will later join her, Isabella’s team takes the Russian and his driver to find out where he has secreted the girl’s manager. Upon discovering that he has killed the man, Isabella puts a bullet in his head. Knowing that one of his men escaped their ambush, she is quick to mobilize her team and head toward the arena.

On his approach to Mount Pleasant, Sunny receives a phone call – on the dead girl’s cell – from a mysterious older lady calling herself Miss Rhiana. The woman is quick to warn Sunny that the authorities in Mount Pleasant are already looking for him and urges him to accept her assistance in escaping the clutches of the Center for Disease Control and the National Guard. At Miss Rhiana’s behest, Sunny leaves the highway and diverts his course northward toward a GPS location sent to the phone, some sort of abandoned research facility near Wheeler, Texas, in the northern panhandle.

At the arena just outside of Ferma, Elsa arrives to find her mother and sister waiting for her. Before she can fully explain what has happened, Isabella arrives to insist that they vacate the venue, as her command team has already identified Syndicate toughs in the crowd outside. The group quickly emerges into the midday sun amidst the vast crowd of spectators and attempts to make their way to the end of the stands. One agent manages to slip ahead of her compatriots and intercepts them, but Isabella quickly lodges a bullet in his shoulder and strikes the wound with a decisive punch to momentarily incapacitate the man. She and her charges quickly regroup with the rest of the team at their improvised motorcade and make their way back to town, at which point Greta asks that Isabella pull over to have a quick discussion.

In a small, out-of-the-way parking garage, Greta queries the captain about her mission and her intentions. She asks her to reconsider, insisting that ExCorp represents nearly as grave a threat to her and her daughters as the Syndicate. She hints at her history with the company and indicates that Isabella’s father, Dr. Noah Reid, may also be involved. Isabella attempts to quiet the woman’s fears and insists that they will be safer with her than with the agents who pursue them, and the party continues toward their safe house to arrange their evac strategy.

In Chicago, Ethan and Athena pay a brief visit to the girl’s apartment to collect her computer and some clothing. On the way, Athena appeals to him to allow her to peruse the contents of the briefcase. Keeping his own file securely out of sight, Ethan hands it over. Athena quickly begins a detailed investigation of the dossiers, searching for similarities and patterns which might provide some connection to each other or to current events. To more effectively pursue her investigation, Ethan heads toward Blackstone Public Library in Kenwood Park, the other side of 47th Street, where they soon run into Cal Simmons, the man who left the briefcase at the diner.

Simmons admits that he had a friend who works for the Department of Defense track Athena using her cell. Recognizing Ethan from his file, Simmons immediately asks for help, insisting that someone is trying to kill him. Intending to get the full story from the nervous youth, Ethan steers them toward a nearby diner. Over a soda and no small amount of stuttering, Simmons recounts his discovery of the files and the disc in the archives of a research facility belonging to the Pegasus Group, a consulting firm out of Houston for whom he works as a data analyst. Since the discovery, and his pursuant inquiries into a dead research project from the early 90s called [[Project: Cronos]], Simmons has been a target for unseen – and fortunately, thus far, unsuccessful – assassins.

After the conversation, the unlikely trio resolve to learn more about Simmons’ unusual discoveries. Athena managed to identify some of the sigils on the disc via obscure references in an old scientific journal, apparently related to quantum physics. Ethan resolves that their next stop will be the nearby University of Chicago.

That night, Sunny finally reaches his destination, to find that the abandoned facility is far from abandoned. Soldiers patrol the exterior, and ExCorp trucks are docked at the main garage. He speaks briefly with Miss Rhiana, who seems agitated at the development but not necessarily surprised, but their communication is mysteriously disrupted. As he surveys the scene from a hidden overlook, however, he soon notices that he isn’t the only observer; another man with a pair of binoculars is standing just over the crest of the hill. Hoping to get some answers, Sunny pulls his gun and quietly makes his way that direction.

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