Control/Freaks session 3

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(A writeup of the Control/Freaks game)

The unfamiliar bacteria in the Al Amarjan water supply led to a small outbreak of dysentery, leaving Christine, Harry and Dan bedridden. The other three agents decided to soldier on without them.

Despite the late hour -- a little after three in the morning -- Anthony decided that there was not a moment to lose and went in search of a monitor and keyboard to allow him to examine his newly acquired computer. A lengthy, passionate and poorly received plea to the night clerk at the hotel only led to threats of a tasering, and a similar entreaty to the bar staff at Sad Mary's was interpreted as a clumsy attempt to rob the office, so Anthony decided to leave the search until the morning.

After a hearty breakfast and a brief detour to Sad Mary's, where Jason paid one of the bar staff to obtain a clean urine sample for him by lunchtime, the agents headed off to the Plaza of Science in search of a cyber café. After a brief bit of shopping in a hardware store, where they bought some lead pipes, bowie knives, a crowbar, a trowel and a small bag of lime, they found Ahmad's computer shack on the plaza itself and arrived just in time to find the proprietor opening the shop. Once inside the shop, Anthony suddenly decided that Ahmad was an agent of Al Qaeda and tried to hit him in the face with the computer. A brief fracas ensued in which Anthony was knocked unconscious with a computer keyboard (leaving the imprint of the escape key on his cheek) and the other two agents fled before the police arrived.

Seeking refuge in the refectory of neighbouring university building, Jason had a brainwave and sought out the geekiest looking person in the hall, settling on a young mathematician called Udo. Jason offered Udo $100 to help him retrieve information from the computer, so Udo led the agents through to the computer lab, where he set to work. Udo's analysis revealed that there was almost no local content on the stolen PC, but it did hold an SSH key that would allow access to the crysanthemumfront.com server. He used this key to log in remotely and determined that, while the server had been used to send what appeared to be spam (which Jack warned him not to read), the process of sending it appeared to be manual and it had only gone to a couple of hundred recipients. He also discovered that the emails sent to Wormold seemed to have been sent when a different client than usual had been connected to the server, and traced this client to the cyber café next door (Ahmad's Computer Shack). Unfortunately, while the agents were discussing this amongst themselves, Udo's curiosity got the better of him and he started reading the email. When Jack next tried speaking to Udo he just looked at him with glassy eyes. Jack noticed that there was something wrong with Udo's skin, like there were words moving under the surface. Udo suddenly shouted, "Make your cock like a hammer!" and launched himself at Jason, precipitating a short but brutal fight. Once Udo had been incapacitated, Jack decided that Udo posed a risk of infection and, drawing upon his agent training, chose to limit contain the infection by breaking Udo's neck. The two agents then deposited Udo's body in the cupboard of a nearby office.

Before leaving the Science barrio, Jack and Jason stopped off at Ahmad's again and, after working hard to convince him that they were not there to harm him and that Anthony was a dangerous lunatic whose actions they disavowed, bribed him into checking through his logs to confirm that the messages to Wormold had in fact been sent by one of his patrons. Once his memory had been jogged, he realised that the patron in question was one who had stuck in his mind, due to his resemblance to a dead American film star (fat guy, had a beard sometimes, appeared in a number of black and white films) who had been accompanied by a small dog. Ahmad confessed that he had been working a long shift that day, but insisted that he thought he had heard the dog talking to the man. Jason disappeared to run an errand, leaving Jack to web surf, looking for likely film stars. He eventually found a picture of Orson Welles, who Ahmad identified as the mystery patron. Jason returned after an hour or so and the two of them headed up to the Plaza of Arms to see what had happened to Anthony. En route, Jason phoned up the classified ads section of Al Amarja Today and placed a personal ad looking for an Orson Welles look-alike.

In the meantime, Anthony woke up in a Peace Force cell in the Plaza of Arms. Under interrogation, Anthony insisted that Ahmad was a dangerous terrorist and that he had only acted in self defense. After a while, he was released without charge or explanation. While leaving the Peace station he bumped into a young woman by the name of Carmina, who appeared to be a vagrant, judging by her shocking lack of personal hygiene. She demanded to know who Anthony was this time, asking if he was still Kenneth (although she did refer to him as Eamonn a few times as well). She expressed some disappointment at learning he was Anthony, telling him that she'd always thought that he was one of the real people, like her, and that everyone else was a robot. She wandered off at the same time as the other two agents arrived to meet Anthony.

Jack took the opportunity of being in the neighbourhood to pick up an application form to join the Peace Force.

Jason, meanwhile, called Wormold to give him a status report. Wormold, as before, took some time to get to the phone and seemed out of breath and irritable when he answered. He was also a bit sharp as he'd just had to pull some strings to get Anthony released from Peace Force custody. Once Jason had recounted the events at the university, though, Wormold descended into a stunned silence. He seemed shocked at the infection of Udo and was dismayed and angry about his killing, insisting on a full report in triplicate and admonishing the agents for killing a probably innocent civilian. Wormold insisted that any other suspected victims of the Crysanthemum Front be treated more gently. Jason asked for another meeting, in order to provide the urine samples Wormold had requested, and one was arranged for six PM.

The agents then headed to Sad Mary's for lunch and to pick up Jason's urine sample. The lunchtime entertainment was provided by a Belgian singer and guitarist who was performing the pop songs of Charles Manson. Jason joined him on stage to provide accompaniment on the harmonica.

Following a discussion about everyone's past, Jack nipped out to a magickal supply shop for some essential oils to see if they would make Jason think he was Julius Caesar (long story). Upon his return he had a sudden nosebleed before suffering an unprovoked attack from a man with crawling skin and glassy eyes who screamed, "Your document is silly!" Jack responded by rapping the man sharply on the head with his lead pipe, knocking him out instantly. Anthony took advantage of the man's unconsciousness to relieve him of his wallet and passport, which showed him to be an Italian national by the name of Andrea Bobo. The bar staff called for an ambulance and the man was taken away by paramedics, but not before they were warned by Anthony that he was a dangerous lunatic and needed to be treated with extreme caution.

After hearing that the entertainment that night was to be a Boutros Boutros Gali look-alike contest, Jack suggested that the bar may wish to host one for Orson Welles look-alikes, which was considered to be a good idea.

Realising that they still hadn't resolved the accommodation issue, the agents headed off to Property on the Edge, where some discussion with the proprietor indicated that their budget would only stretch to a flat in Four Points barrio. She explained, though, that she did have one available that was slightly more up-market than most of the surrounding properties, but that it was a bit eccentric. She took them for a viewing of the property, known locally as The House of Doors, which was an apartment block in comparatively good repair, but confusing to navigate, as every wall and ceiling were covered in doors of all shapes, sizes, colours and materials. After spending a few minutes looking for the front door of the flat, the agents had a look around and decided the place was to their satisfaction. They paid the deposit and first month's rent, totalling $1200, using Andrea Bobo's credit card.

After moving their poorly comrades into the new flat, the three mobile agents set off on a search for Orson Welles. After failing to track him down through local vets, they decided to research his favourite meal and decided that it was Saltimbocca. A bit more research turned up a half dozen restaurants in The Edge that served good Saltimbocca, and they found one, Luigi's Fine Eats, that had a waiter who remembered a regular customer who bore a resemblance to Orson Welles; this customer paid cash, but when he phoned in reservations he did use the name "Welles".