The Love Boat In the Bermuda Triangle

Timeline for "The Love Boat In the Bermuda Triangle" (public version):

Day 1:

Shariko, Chryse, Harold, and Genni arrive in Florida and board the cruise ship _Concordance_. The first people they see are Chryse's mundane cousin Kim and her new husband, a scary drawling Texan named Dale. Dale has a lot of ideas involving Men in Black, and defending Texas with guns. Chryse is boggled.

As the PCs pass the smokestacks on the upper deck, one of them makes a face at Harold, but no one else sees this. They find their cabins, settle rooming arrangements (Harold-Chryse, Shariko-Genni), and explore before dinner. Chryse finds an unhappy ghost in the ladies' room, and resolves to talk to her later. People stare at Genni, as usual.

Dinner is somewhat strained, because a) Kim and Dale are there, b) Kim looks more than a little brainwashed, and c) there's a party of werewolves at the next table. Four of them, two women and two men, all Mediterranean-looking, talking in a language Harold identifies as Greek. One of the women comes over and compliments Shariko on the strength of her aura, unnerving both Shariko and Dale considerably.

After dessert, Kim and Dale take off, and the PCs investigate the bathroom. The three women go in, leaving Harold to guard the door, and debate the best way to summon it. Before they do, Chryse and Genni make Shariko step outside ("Tastes good in milk?" being the descriptive term for Shariko's unfortunately unguarded mind), leaving her Tarot deck behind.

Meanwhile, Harold has met an older gentleman who takes him to meet a teenage girl vampire. The vampire claims that she's being chased by a _different_ group of werewolves, and that Harold &co should protect her from them. If he doesn't, she has a deadman-switch device that will cause the werewolves to frenzy and kill all the passengers. Harold responds as politely and neutrally as possible, and heads back to find the others.

In the bathroom, the ghost manifests angrily and incoherently, in the form of a woman who died by violence. She's upset at the mages' presence because "you'll spoil everything!", but can't really explain what. After she fades, Chryse chooses a card from the Tarot deck and they bring Shariko back in to turn it over. It's the Five of Cups.

Everyone goes back to the cabins and discusses all of this at length. It's decided that Shariko should be lectured on how to attain a point of Mind and be less crunchy (by Chryse), and then everyone goes dancing. Surprisingly, it's fun. Lots and lots of fun. Everyone has a ridiculously good time, even Genni, who is dragged onto the floor by a group of Hare Krishnas. (Hare Krishnas have a disturbing group mind.)

During the course of the evening, the *other* group of werewolves introduce themselves. They're an older man and two young blonde women named Felicity and Charity. The man (who seems to be in charge) makes sympathetic discussion-overtures. Somebody (Chryse or Genni, I think) wrongly identifies them all as Coggies. Harold dances with one of the women, and Chryse dances with the guy. Shariko sits on the sidelines mostly and plays Mind games.

[ Felicity and Charity were the only blonde werewolf-girl Coggies. The Greek women were Furies, the men with them were Shadowlords, and the older guy with the Coggies was a Doddering Fang. -CB and AP] [*Doddering Fangs*? - M] [Silver Fang, actually. Inbred aristocrats. - cjk]

When the dance floor closes, everyone trails back to their cabins and reflects on the peculiarly intense nature of the fun. They decide it's probably a spell of some sort, and that indeed the whole ship is probably spelled to be enjoyable. [ It was a disturbing feeling, too -CB] [ Harold didn't think it was particularly disturbing... possibly that it was even appropriate. --hzatz] [ People were intellectually disturbed if it was in their nature to be. They were emotionally comfortable. - AP] [Chryse was more disturbed by the boat's choice of appropriate partners than anything else.]

The PCs then split up into two groups (CG - HS) and go searching for more data. Harold and Shariko go back up to the smokestack where the face appeared. They don't find anything, but someone finds them - one Scott Abrams, apparently agent-in-charge {Technocracy Commissar] of making sure nothing "deviant" happens on the ship. Adams explains that if push comes to shove, it's more important that the passengers remain Asleep than that they survive; if everyone starts seeing werewolves and vampires, then the ship will have a convenient accident. So it's in the PCs' best interest to help him, right?

Chryse and Genni go up around the funnel, past the passenger-approved area, and peer into the Umbra. They can see that the ship is surrounded by a giant golden chain around the bows, its purpose unclear. It might be restraining the ship, or holding it together. They spend a while watching the umbral ocean, which glows prettily, and at one point see a large shape swimming near the boat.

At some point between the dancing and bedtime (after the exploration) Shariko does another reading on the ship itself. She finds that the ship is associated with the Ace of Pentacles, and that it's doing something important out of duty that should be done for joy.

Everyone meets back at the cabins and goes to sleep. Harold has a most peculiar dream, about walking through the ship with its captain [Harold should describe this in more detail since I don't remember-M], and saw a vision of the chain's clasp, glowing at the very heart of the ship. No-one else mentions dreaming anything interesting.

Day 2:

The next morning, Kim, Dale, Felicity, Charity, and the older male werewolf, Stephen Smith, show up at breakfast. Dale expresses deep suspicion of conspiracies and black helicopters, and confidently expects to see some. The PCs arrange to talk to the werewolves later.

After breakfast, the PCs go back to the cabin and attempt to make sense of things, but don't get very far because a frantic-looking young Jamaican guy with dreadlocks bursts in and begs for sanctuary. They stick him under the bed just before the larger group of werewolves (the Furies) shows up demanding to know where he is.

After the shouting has died down, the PCs make the Jamaican guy (whose name, it seems, is Malcolm) return the Quint-storing (fetish) object he stole from the werewolves ("But they weren't using it! And with what is coming up I'm going to need it!") and actually get an explanation for a change. Supernatural types are swarming all over this ship because it's about to pass through the Bermuda Triangle, where they plan to conduct a ritual and open a gateway to Atlantis. Then the world will be filled with sweetness and light and joy, and everyone will gain knowledge, and Malcolm will sneak through and steal whatever he can find, and then the werewolves will stomp him flat because Atlantis is sacred. So it's really in the PCs' best interest to help them open the gate and keep Atlantis from being despoiled. Right?

As for the regular passengers, no one seems to know whether they will drown or get to go to Atlantis or what, and they don't really care. (Chryse looks kind of tempted by this viewpoint, which disturbs Shariko no end.)

(Chryse's take on it was, hey, out of X-hundred passengers a few might be Awakened by going to Atlantis, and the rest would just die. Not bad odds, all things considered. Not _ideal_, but not bad. Better than letting the Technocrats manipulate us into helping them.)

Unfortunately, somewhere in the initial confrontation Shariko slapped the room's emergency call button, and so in the middle of the conversation Scott Abrams arrives on the run with two goons. After sizing up the situation, and being assured that everything is under control and any disputes have been settled, he gives everyone significant looks and withdraws. This seemed to mollify the werewolves, too.

The PCs shoo the werewolves out with promises to think it over and to prevent fu rther theft, and then interrogate Malcolm, who turns out to be a Euthanatos. Ch ryse threatens to find him later so she can talk to him.

-----

After *that* Genni and Shariko go up to the top of the ship, where Chryse and Ge nni saw the chain. Genni introduces Shariko to the umbra and shows her the chai n. Only instead of the chain, Shariko sees a vision of Judgement. The passenger s are walking out of their staterooms holding their hands up in supplication. A bove them, the clouds are parting to reveal divine radiance and trumpets are sou nding all over the place.

Shariko then gets an Idea. They filch a map of the ship and some different colors of construction paper, shake small pieces of paper up in a hat, and Shariko draws them out one by one and Genni puts them on the map in order. When they're done, they have a diagram of where magic has been performed on the ship recently.

Most bits of the ship have black paper on them. But the dance floor has a darkish color, the ship's bridge is colored and so are some of the passenger cabins, and the engine rooms are bright red. Shariko decides that one of the cabins is probably where the gateway-opening ritual will be held, and the engine room is obviously the "heart of the ship" in Harold's dream.

Meanwhile [?] Harold? had an interview with the Coggies/Fang group. Stephen Smith explains that he has ancestral memories of Atlantis, and that it's not a paradise, but was overrun by a nexus crawler just before it sank/vanished. Charity and Felicity roll their eyes during this explanation, and privately tell Harold later that they certainly believe that Smith can tap into his ancestral memories, he's not all there, and they question his interpretation of those memories. (Although I don't think Garou use such long words. :-) They also ask Harold to take a message to one of the Black Furies, that they want to talk to them. After Shariko's divination with construction paper, she and Genni decide to take a look at the one magical source not on the ship; it's swimming alongside. Previously, while peering into the Umbra from topside, Genni had noticed something large and indistinct/far away swimming in the ocean. This looks like the same thing. They get a glimpse of a sinous back, like a sea serpent or plesiosaurus, which then vanishes, and a rather strange individual climbs on board. He looks jamaican, wearing a homespun shirt and shorts, and generally acts like a were-snake. Genni offers him a towel and tries to engage in small talk, but he answers in only a few syllables: English, but he might just be mirroring what Genni said. He stares around ophidian-like, then races off down a corridor. He moves extremely fast, but stops at intersections to peer around and taste the air allowing Genni and Shariko to follow him.

They reach a small lounge where Harold has just finished giving the message to one of the Black Furies. The Garou takes one look at the Mokolei, and takes off at top speed, and the Mokolei zooms off after her. There is no chance of the PCs catching up with them.

[While Harold was talking to the werewolves and Genni/Shariko were doing their thing with the map, Chryse spent a frustrating time wandering around the ship trying to find someone with Too Damn Much Arcane. Finally Malcolm lets her succeed, and they have an amusing but not very informative conversation. She makes a note to tell Slade that there are Euthanatoi in New Orleans. She finishes the conversation and heads in the right direction to see a werewolf running at high speeds with the Mokolei close behind. At this point everyone is together again, and after filling each other in we go to the engine room.]

[Everyone decided to troop down to the engine room, since that had been identified as the heart of the ship, and they had hopes that if they got to the actual heart of the ship they could talk to the spirit of the ship. (Slade would be so proud :-) On the way in they ran across the ghost again, who did annoying things on a catwalk.

Unfortunately, one of the crew on duty in the engine room heard something, and called some other Technocracy officer; "You said I was to call you if I heard anything unusual..."

The sailor then leaves the compartment, and the PCs start poking around the boiler room. Before they find anything relevant, the officer on the phone and some goons arrive, and everyone tries to hide. Since she's not any good at hiding, and the others are only a little bit better, Genni decides to get captured. She is accused of sabotage, having apparently ripped a catwalk off with her bare hands. Genni looks at them funny, and explains that she lost her way, but saw this weird guy standing over by the destroyed catwalk. She describes the Mokolei. They pay no heed and drag her to the brig. ]

Harold and Chryse come out of hiding and continue investigating the boiler room. Shariko sees movement (?) in the shadows and goes to investigate it, because she hasn't seen enough horror movies to know it's a bad idea. The crazy old woman who's lurking there mind-controls Shariko, and tells her to go convince her friends to leave and then come back later by herself - and not to remember anything, naturally.

Shariko zombies back to the others and says what she's been told to, but at that point the compulsion breaks and she remembers the woman. In the meantime Chryse and Harold have found the boiler which contains the box/padlock/"heart" seen in their visions and dreams. They decide on a way to shatter it [what was it?], but before they can do so the crazy woman wanders back out and freezes everyone in place.

She subjects the PCs to the standard villainous rant about what to do with them, her informal truce with the Technocracy, and why she can't let them break the spell on the ship. Among other things, she threatens to Embrace them all, which throws Chryse into a fine panic. About three-quarters of the way through Shariko finally clues in that she's a vampire; Chryse has long since identified her as a Malkavian. Harold concentrates on his Jewish star, hoping to use it as a religious symbol to break free of the vampire's spell. He thinks he succeeds, but no opportune moment appears to test the theory.

Finally, the Malkavian makes up her mind. She goes over to the same phone the engineer used before, and phones in another trouble report using his voice. She keeps the PCs frozen until the guards arrive, and then slips away. It looks like another trip to the brig is imminent.

Meanwhile, Genni is locked in the brig, and told that the guards outside have been 'processed' to make them resistant to magic, and is generally subjected to villainous dialogue. The minute he leaves, Genni starts poking around, and spots one tiny spirit that's about to zoom away. She asks it to tell the werewolves that 'it's happening in the engine room', and it zips off. A few minutes later there's a small commotion outsied and the door opens to reveal Felicity, Charity, and two incapacitated (and presumably 'processed') goons. The Coggies gleefully ask Genni what the intermediate form of the Mokolei was, and make appreciative noises when told that it's probably a plesiosaur. Then they take off for the engine room, and Genni sneaks back to her stateroom to get her pistol. -CB]

----

The guards are still savoring their "don't make any sudden moves" lines when large furry Crinos monsters leap upon them, howling ferociously. Normal guards would have fled in terror, but these are studly "processed" guards, with guns full of silver bullets. At least, until Genni arrives and transmutes them back into lead...

While the guards and werewolves are tearing each other limb from limb and the PCs are taking cover, Genni takes aim and fires at the linchpin-stick. Thanks to Harold, the bullet knocks it right out of the boiler, shattering the spell.

[What special effects accompanied this?][None; Genni just had a real lucky shot, which bounced it right into Harold's hands. --Harold]

Harold grabs it and the PCs sneak out of the boiler room. As they pass the fight, they notice that a) *all* the werewolves on board are there, and b) they're fighting each other as well as the guards. In general, the males seem to be fighting the females. [Was this ever explained?? -M]

As the PCs reach the deck, the Mokolei stomps out behind them, carrying a bundle. He throws it over the side, where it bursts in to flame as it strikes the ocean. It seems likely that the Malkavian is now toast. [What did he do then? Did he interact with the PCs in any way?]

After recovering from the shock, [who?][Harold --Harold] asks the spirit of the ship what it would like done with the linchpin. It requests an ocean burial, but the PCs decide to wait until the ship is in the Bermuda Triangle proper.

[By this point the ship's spirit is very happy with us. It points out that it can hide us as long as we're having fun being hidden. We retreat to our cabin, which it causes to disappear from the maps. We play bridge and talk and attempt to have a good time.

Sometime after sunset Chryse (with Harold? serving as escort) goes to talk to the young vampire. She turns out to be a Tremere named Tabitha, who claims she's on the ship in case the opening of the gate to Atlanatis awakens an old vampire. Chryse, remembering the events of Mexico City, thinks keeping old vampires asleep is a _really_ good idea. Chryse warns Tabitha to get off the ship ASAP, and then they have a nice conversation about Tremere-magic vs. Mage-magic. On the way back to the cabin they run into Dale, and are stalled by him long enough that all see the black helicopters swoop down to take Tabitha away. -- cjk]