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Subject: Sleepers - concept story rss

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Joe S
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Oklahoma City
Oklahoma
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Life is too short to be angry all the time. Smile and enjoy the ride.
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You’ve signed in at the front desk. You’ve clipped on the visitor’s badge emblazoned with the word “CANDIDATE” in bold Calibri. You’ve sat in the conference room in one of four chairs arranged around a large table. You’ve followed instructions to not speak to the others in the room. You’ve put up with the nearly over-bearing chemical smell of this room. By god, you’ve done your part. It’s been more than “a few minutes” and this is getting re-damn-diclulous. Contract or no, you’re about to leave this place.

But you can’t.

“Hello candidates.” A man with a crooked smile says as enters the room. He carries a heavy banker’s box filled with files and clipboards. He sets them down on the table with a thud. He’s bald, which is unexpected but you don’t know why. He’s relaxed and confident and his eyes gleam in the office fluorescents as he surveys the group of you. His teeth are a sparkling white. You look again. Yes, literally sparkling white. You take this all in when it strikes you a bit odd that you feel complete comfort in his presence.

“Well, you’re not really candidates anymore, are you?” He pauses now, to let it sink in. “You’ve passed your background and medical checks.” You faintly remember probes and needles. “Yes, it is my honor to name you official members of the Phoenix Project.” He smiles that smile-that-should-but-doesn’t-unnerve-you.

You, of course, feel pride and accomplishment. But you don’t remember volunteering for anything. You don’t know anything about any Phoenix Project either. The man with a crooked smile passes a clipboard to each of you. On it, you see your name and ID number. Under the title “Talents” there are seven words and each have a number assigned to them. The man continues, “Each of these categories have your scores based on the tests and background checks we administered. Typically, the points are allocated based on life choices you’ve made in the past.
Although not perfect, we are completely confident that these core traits are “You”, as accurately represented by the numbers next to them.”

You feel no reason to distrust this man. No one questions this statement.

“Obviously, it would be fairly unlikely that two of you have the exact same scores in each talent. Unlikely but not impossible.” He waves a hand, as if shooing a fly. “To be honest, it’s not really important, it’s more FYI stuff. But, compare the numbers with each other if you’d like. It’s probably better if you knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses anyway. You’re a team.” Another pause. You take this moment to look at the others in the room.

There is an older man, hunched over the table across from you. His hands shake with a palsy as he tries to read the talent sheet. On his left side, a young man, in a wheelchair, glances back at you and nods. There is an albino woman sitting next to you. She doesn’t look up.

“You all come from various backgrounds. You may’ve done the “right thing” all your life.” You notice a gold ring on the man’s left hand as he makes air quotes. “On the other hand, you may’ve hurt people or broken the law in the past. This is not a judgment. All of this was all taken into account.” He says as he taps the files in the box. He pauses again for dramatics. He is not smiling now.

“You are all very different, but I would tell you that there is one thing you all share. You must remember this: Throughout your lives, no matter what deeds or misdeeds you contributed to, not one of you, not. A. Single. One. Of. You. backstabbed a teammate or cheated on a lover. None of you sold out a member of your family. I need you to realize that.”

And in an instant, you do realize that. Loyalty, Family and Team. These are everything to you.

“In each of your careers, others could, and would, trust you with their lives. This is an important reason you were selected. I can’t make it clearer; you can trust the people sitting at that table with your life.” The man points at each of you as he makes this point. You notice but it does not bother you that he doesn’t include himself as one that you can ‘trust’.

You look at the man in the wheelchair. He’s strong and athletic, despite the chair. He dresses in a clean cotton polo shirt and has a blanket covering his bottom half. You blink. The guy looks familiar. It’s unthinkable that he would betray you, let alone you betray him. You’re not sure why you consciously think these things but you do.

“As you know, certain world events have changed the course of events for mankind. A charismatic person in power can devastate an entire continent or ethnic group. When power like that is ignored, we will eventually be led to certain disaster, up to and including, mass-extinction of our race. Our corporation’s aim is to minimize or, best case, keep those events from happening. Our corporation has always been at the bleeding edge of technology and mind-blowing science. And while we can’t go back in time, we can create algorithms and spend billions of dollars in computer processing, to predict possible paths to world-changing events. The mind-blowing part is that you will be the ones to change the course.”

You feel as if you are part of an incredible opportunity.

“Your contribution, to the Phoenix Project is this: you will be part of a team of “Sleepers”, placed into cryo-hibernation in a Den off-site. You will be called upon later to fix ‘problems’ in the world. When it’s time, you will wake from sleep and be ‘placed’ into a body, a ‘shell’ that is correct for the time period and place you must work. You may wake five years from now, you may wake twenty years from now. You may be in Japan, you may have a mission right here in Omaha. We will wake you when your particular team’s skill sets are needed. Oh, and current cryo-hibernation methods will sustain an adult male for well over 200 years - so ‘you’ will be fine.”

This explanation makes sense to you. You feel there is missing information but you are fine with that.

“The first person you will meet upon awakening is a Story Teller. This person will fill you in on the local mission and give you the time to return. They will provide the gear and clothing for your mission. You will go into this world and perform your mission efficiently and quietly. You will not bring attention to the Phoenix Project or the Story Teller. You will lay down your life to protect the Story Teller if needed. The Story Teller is the only person with the skills and codes to return you to sleep, so keep that person alive and secret at all costs. I mean it. I’d rather you die than a Story Teller be located or worse – killed or abducted.”

You feel pride in the Story Tellers. You wouldn’t let anything happen to them. You are honored to be chosen for this team.

“The shell you’ll be loaded into will have its own strengths and abilities. You may be loaded into a martial artist that runs marathons or a street magician with real psychic magic power. You may be loaded into a child or small animal. But remember this: No matter how trivial the shell may appear, it will have a purpose in the mission. No matter how trivial or irrelevant the mission may sound, rest assured its successful completion is critical to our survival as a race. This is vital to keep in mind.”

The man pauses then speaks as if he’d nearly forgotten some crucial detail.

“Oh yes, you will be able to communicate with your teammates through pre-installed com-devices in your shells. So, yes, if you are loaded into a dog, you will be able to talk with the others.” The man smiles his crooked smile and you find this reassuring. You wonder at what it is like to be a dog.

“Your talents will combine with the shell’s abilities to perform your
mission, then you will return to the Den before the time expires. You’ll be placed back into cryo-hibernation until the next emergency. “

The man with a crooked smile places his hands on the table, the lecture is finished. “Are you ready to begin?”

You don’t remember when but you notice that, at some time during the lecture, you and each of the others, had peeled off the word CANDIDATE from your name tags. You look now at the tag to see “ST-304” in a fierce red font. In a smaller font, you see the words: “We are here to save the World.”

You are ready.

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Joe S
United States
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Oklahoma
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Life is too short to be angry all the time. Smile and enjoy the ride.
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The core idea that I think could extend to a lot of RPG systems is that only a few stats and/or skills carry over from session to session. In Aftermath! there are Traits that are separate from the STR/DEF/HLH numbers that make up the character. There are also skills.

I'm envisioning the GM having ready-made characters similar to setting up a one-shot adventure. The difference is every adventure is a one shot and the traits and one skill will carry over, legacy-like into the next character.

Eventually, the character evolves into a interesting mix of all the past characters they have played.



 
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