Previous Story: 49. The Research Console - Part 3
Danny was in bed with a cold, so Flyboy decided to take up an invitation from a new friend. That friend was Johnny Sinclair-Ariza, also known as Cyborg – an interesting guy Flyboy had met at a gaming convention. Cyborg was a well-known artist with a very rich father and the invitation was to the family mansion in Alturas, a wealthy neighborhood of San Lazaro.
Arriving there, Flyboy was pleased to see his old friend and fellow gamer: Plate was a metalsmith and leading material science expert who always attracted a lot of attention with his muscular frame and impressive broadsword. Flyboy had also brought his friend and mentor Kulaci, who he’d met at an AI programming conference. She was a well-known blogger and robotics expert. Plate had brought along a friend called Threads, who was apparently a researcher of advanced fabrics.
Once at the mansion, the group drank cocktails and sampled an interesting array of exotic snacks. After half an hour of small talk, Cyborg invited his guests through to his game room, which was decorated with posters of classic arcade and video games. Just as they sat down on chairs arranged around a substantial board game table, more of Cyborg’s friends arrived: Hiko, Bradley, Alisha, Saresh and Chantoya. In total, there were ten players.
‘Welcome, everyone,’ said Cyborg. Despite his diminutive size, he was a confident host who made everyone feel at ease. ‘As you know, we’re going to try “Two Booms in a Room” today, a great game which I got into thanks to the Thursday Knight Games podcast.’
Flyboy had heard of the game and was eager to try it.
‘And am I an official Knight?’ added Cyborg. ‘You bet! You may address me as Sir Cyborg the Illusory.’
Flyboy found himself sitting between Threads and Alisha. He gathered from Threads’ conversation that she had a major crush on Plate. Flyboy could see the appeal: Plate had the body of a linebacker and the mind of a certified geek.
Cyborg explained the game, which was based around questioning and deduction. Before they started, each of the ten players drew a card from a deck which assigned their secret role. Two were spies, two were villains, and the other six were either assets helping the spies, or henchmen for the villains. The villains were armed with EMP devices. The aim was for the spies to hand off a sensitive electronic device. They had to identify each other without revealing their identity to the villains, which would trigger the “boom”. Anyone could ask anyone anything but there was a ten-minute time limit.
This all sounded a bit complicated to Flyboy but he could see the appeal of the game once it got going. Some people asked outright questions while others used more subtle techniques.
Flyboy was an asset but didn’t make a huge amount of progress talking to Saresh and Hiko. He listened in as Cyborg questioned Plate, but Cyborg’s line of questioning soon focused on how Plate had developed such extraordinary muscles! Threads butted in and snared Plate’s attention but she couldn’t stay focused either and began advising him on how he could make his outfit even sexier!
Bradley came over to speak to Flyboy and opened with, ‘It’s you, isn’t it?’
‘Is it?’ replied Flyboy. ‘I thought it was you.’
‘You know – him. The guy.’
And so it went on. At the end of the exchange, Flyboy felt confident that neither of them was any the wiser.
In any case, as the minutes passed, everybody upped their game. There was a good deal of trickery and guile, excitement and laughter. Ultimately, Plate almost disclosed his identity to Cyborg but turned the tables and discovered that Threads was the other spy – their handover was successful and the “booms” averted. They then learned that Hiko and Cyborg were the villains.
As Cyborg grabbed some others to rustle up some more drinks, Chantoya approached Flyboy with a friendly smile. ‘So, what do you think of the game?’
‘I wasn’t sure to begin with but by the end I was having fun. Let’s see if everyone wants to play another round!’