January 8, 2019 at 1:41 pm #13676
Maria answered her commlink: “Al… *static* …going on? The weather… *screech* …terrible and the earth… *hizzz*…stop shaking…” and the connection got lost.
The vampire had gotten up, dusted himself off and nodded at Becky: “I appreciate that. Say, about what people are you talking? We only had that one woman here and we were very careful to take only a few sipps now and then to make her last.”
But apparently, he wasn’t particularly interested in the answer because he found his helmet and moved quite quickly out from the underground room to get lost in the storm.January 8, 2019 at 3:54 pm #13686
<<MARIA>> Al shouted as clearly as he could, hoping she could hear him, and routed the voice message to text in case that could get through to her. <<GIT AS FAR OFF YER LAND AS POSSIBLE. WE’S COMIN’. MEET US ON THE ROAD TA THE CITY.>>
Dammit. Al’s heart was tearing in two. This was just how he’d felt during that long nightmare down in the Mole Kingdom, when his co-workers were going missing one after the other, but they couldn’t go after them because they had to protect that innocent family. Now it was worse, because it could be two scared little girls…he prayed that had all been a lie or a mistake….because on the other side of the scales was another portal opening and millions of children’s screams for the next thousand years….
He answered Jazz’s query on the team channel, making sure Noir was off of it – things were too dicey with that one – <<The plan, Jazz girl, is we hightail it back ta the farm. I ain’t quite sure what we do when we git there, but it’s sure as hell where we need ta be. This here storm was unforecast an’ is centered right on the border – in other words, the damned Pyramid. Comm signals there is screwed. An’ she’s got an unstoppin’ earthquake happenin’…which we can’t feel here. If that ain’t proof enough, there’s no talkin’ to ya.>>
He was already gunning the engine, racing for the scrapyard gate.
<<Ya got sixty seconds ta find any kids or stray dracs. I’m comin’ ta y’all fer pick up. Then who’s comin’ aboard best be goin’ aboard, cuz ol’ Al’s headed fer the farm, put this nonsense ta rest.>>January 8, 2019 at 5:06 pm #13691
Becky nodded at the vampire and just hinted to get out quickly before her party members have him killed. ”Quickly, before they return”
Some time later, Al’s call and the vampire’s word causes her wheels to turn, and Becky finally realizes why Sam’s lack of spirits disturbs her so much. She quickly explains, texting with the speed of a thought.
>> Guys the vampire casually confirmed that there are no children here. Which means that Sam’s intel is wrong. The gangers lacked the sophistication and motivation to lie about it. Which leads me to believe that Sam did not get this information from the dead gangers, but from a spirit. A spirit that gains memories from the corpse of its host. Now there are nine powerful flesh spirits at Maria’s back-yard, impelled on magical golden spears and being forced to watch a portal for 10 thousand years. Clearly, they want their FREEDOM and would trade anything to gain it.
Now Ichante asks why Sam losing her spirits is important? Sam gained new superpowers overnight. She gave up her most powerful magical ability and uses these superpowers instead. This clearly indicates that she received something that can only be granted by a powerful spirit. So connect the dots, there are nine powerful spirits that want to escape and Sam made a spirit pact – likely with one of these spirits.
Sam got us and the Ball away from Maria. She was the arcane expert and was extremely alarmed with the fate of the world. She just forgot about it and went to do what ‘save the children’?! in a faster car she got here 15 minutes before us. Conveniently there is a mighty storm that may slow us down to return. Sam is reported to be so fast that she can just return to the pyramid faster than us, perhaps even by running.
Point is, I may be a cynic that sees the worst in people, but I would not be surprised to find Sam at the pyramid along with seven more decapitated heads, while we brave the weather or getting pinned down by the military for her actions.January 8, 2019 at 5:49 pm #13700
<<Nobody’s pinnin’ us down if’n we’s gone afore they can react.>>
Al gave the gas pedal an extra nudge as the nose of his Gaz tore through the scrapyard gate. <<Jazz girl, you should git started. We’ll catch ya up.>>
He didn’t know if Becky’s theory was correct – here again there were holes, and he suspected there were still things they didn’t know. But none of that mattered. He knew there was nothing more important than getting back to the farm.
Deftly maneuvering the truck among the piles of scrap, he closed in on point where they’d exited the garage. <<Be ready ta go when I git there, cuz this bus ain’t waitin’.>>January 8, 2019 at 6:01 pm #13702
>> We will be there Al… Something is very wrong. Under the helmet she was grim and bitter. Beaten, played – but not defeated, she observed her surrounding carefully thinking where an attack would likely come from. She hoped to be wrong about Sam, she hoped to find her bleeding, rather than AWOL, or at Maria protecting her employer. Though, a lifetime of bullshit told her to expect very little from people. Happy people do not check for explosive devices under their cars. Roger used to say, happy people were blissfully stupid. Becky was never satisfied, or happy but she yarned for that. For a life more simple than this drek, must she show the world how powerful she is? Does the respect of the Finnigans is really what she desired?
She should have walked away when she met Johnny in the card game. He smelled funny, now they’ll need to walk back to find out how blind they have been the entire time. How they failed to realize what was happening right before them, how they ignored telltale signs like a woman decapitating corpses right infront of them, and carrying around a bloodied back with heads. Mages are odd birds, but still in all her time in the shadows nobody just decapitated people and carried their heads in her purse. No mage has ever radically changed overnight, she was smart enough to realize in retrospect that she was played by a superior force. The feeling was strangely familiar, Becky felt as if she was programmed to be loyal to Roger, no amount of rebellion changed that and she may be unleashed on the world, but would drop anything in a heartbeat if Roger just called and ask for a service, any service.
Why was she thinking about it right now, perhaps she finally discovered a reason to hesitate. If she was so easily fooled by the gorgeous witch with the nice car, what else was she blind about? Could there be a deep reason for her unconditional love, and dedication toward Roger, toward her master? She bought her freedom with blood and sweat, the man did not own her anymore, the Finnigan’s agreed that she was a free person. Yet, he did not need to formally own her as she was his in a fundamental and deep manner. What kind of manipulation would bind a person like that? Happily married people were less loyal than her, and Becky was neither happy nor married – as much as she liked to forget the latter. Something was not entirely in place with her emotions, she felt it but could not place her finger. There was no time to think about it, but perhaps the outside stress is what triggered that realization, perhaps the feeling she had now has reminded her a similar feeling she had before but forgot.Spoiler:January 8, 2019 at 6:06 pm #13706
“What!?! You let a psychotic predator/parasite who has been attacking us run free? What were you”
Preston’s tirade was cut short by Al’s message.
* Coleman: Strategic Priorities. a) Don’t have this part of the world blow up. b) Deal with other things that might kill me.
<<Team [Preston] I agree that getting to the farm is the priority now. I’ll be getting in the Gaz as soon as it is here. I’ll go through the Vamp’s link once we are on route.>>
* Gamma: Some of my kit is in my car, some of my kit is in the Armadillo.
* Oleg: Possessions are replaceable. Reality isn’t.
Preston kept up his scanning of the area, not counting on Al’s imminent arrival to mean that they were safe. In this process he noticed that Ichante seemed distracted, focused on something other than the crashing noises from the gate.
* Gamma: She may have noticed something on the magical side of things that I can’t see.
* Oleg: Fragging witchery.
* Coleman: Important to get shots off before thoughts get controlled.January 8, 2019 at 6:45 pm #13714
Becky replies to Preston ”His story makes sense and he tried to stop us because he believed that it was best if we did not find the artifact. Guess what, he was right. You know, the attack on Garry and the bikes chasing us after we found the doc’s car make sense now. The lack of resources also matches an Atzlan agent running AWOL, I am sure their government could do much better than gangers and bikes. You know, every story has a hero and a villain, it is likely that he is the hero and we are the villains. “January 9, 2019 at 2:48 am #13723
Ichante would give Becky a withering look of disbelief to be hooked by such an improbable story, but right now her attention is focused on something above her and 10 meters to the east. She actively jams the mana in between her and the space and asks Šóta to do the same.
She squeezes her Evanator tightly, not because she actually expects to fire it but because it’s comforting to do so. As much as she trusts her magic, it isn’t as solid and comforting as 3.5kg of stamped sheet metal in her hands. Plus recoil generally hurts a lot less than drain.
<<Be right with you…> she comms as Al bashes dramatically through the gate.January 9, 2019 at 2:58 am #13724
The spirit closes in on the place where I change senses the source of the magic. There it finds a smoldering corpse and Noir, pinned across her lower legs by a fallen scrap cube.
Her legs must be brocken to splinters, but despite that she still tries to dig somewhat awkwardly with a knife at the hard packed ground.January 9, 2019 at 11:47 am #13734
<<Found the top half of Noir>> Ichante comms.
”Hoi,” she says, not exactly lowering her gun. ”What happened?”
The world seems upside down at the moment. Becky is letting vampires go while Super Shrew is pinned under scrap. How could she waste all the opposition inside and below but be felled by a scrap cube? Something doesn’t smell right; Ichante will give Noir a chance to spin a bulldrek story first. Super Shrew isn’t trustworthy, and isn’t someone that Ichante would want behind her, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she deserves to die. Or maybe she does; time will tell.
”The short version. We’re on the clock.”January 9, 2019 at 2:20 pm #13738
* Gamma: Half of Noir could mean bait?
* Coleman: Intended or not, it will probably distract Ichante.
* Oleg: It could be a witch trick.
* Monkey: What a waste of beauty.
<<Ichante [Preston] Coming to cover your six again. You stay in one piece until then please.>>
Preston quickly moves to where he has a good view of Ichante — but can’t see Noir.January 9, 2019 at 3:39 pm #13740
Noir stopped her frantic scratching, looking up with pain but mostly scorn on her bloodied face:
“What the frag does it look like? I fought the fragging vampire, but it got off a shot before I could toast it, managing to topple that stack behind me.”
The rain had gradually turned to hail, making it remarkably inhospitable to stay ouside and Noir’s words were almost lost in the howling winds.January 9, 2019 at 4:28 pm #13743
”Which vampire got the shot off?” Ichante asks. ”The one that’s a smoldering ember or the one that was unconscious with magic damage?”
She doesn’t really try to hide the skepticism in her voice. Noir, naturally, has too much pride to ask for help, and too much venom to even bother feigning friendliness while in distress.
<<Preston, you have any read on her link? Where is it, and why hasn’t she used it?>>
”And why haven’t you cooked up a spirit to help you out of the jam? The way you summon, a spirit of earth could handle this easily.”
The wind and rain lash at Ichante’s face. It reminds her of the Sioux Nation, especially around Rapid City. She shudders at the memory of some of the training she did in the Black Hills. She waves her gun in a circle, urging Noir to hurry it up.
”Clock’s ticking.”January 9, 2019 at 4:48 pm #13747
* Oleg: something feels off about this whole situation
* Coleman: intel is badly needed, but not at the cost of risking an ambush.
<<Becky [Preston] Please get over here. I’m going to check on Sam’s link, and that means I’m not going to be keeping a good watch for danger.>>
<<Ichange [Preston] As soon as Becky has eyes on us I’ll check on it.>>
* Gamma: It is hard to see much in this storm.
* Coleman: I do the best I can — watching AND listening. My earbuds can help cut through the noise from the storm.
Preston kept frantically scanning for danger while waiting for Becky to step their way.
January 9, 2019 at 5:13 pm #13751
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by Beta.
It’s hard to tell with this rain if Noir’s face is so white because of the pain or because that’s her usual skin color, but now anger brings a bit of color to her cheeks:
“Are blind and stupid? look behind you. Those aren’t the remains of an impromptu bonfire.” Ichante’s gaze follows that of Noir’s and now realizes that the black spot opposite of the PI is indeed the mostly immolated remains of some humanoid.
“And about why not summon an Earth spirit: BECAUSE I ATE A SHITLOAD OF DRAIN, YOU STUPID BITCH. Now either help me or piss off, or I might be tempted to waste my remaining strength to send you to the same place as this damn leech.”January 9, 2019 at 5:32 pm #13756
Ichante smiles. ”Did you just call me dumb?” she asks innocently.
”Seems like summoning would be easier than digging yourself out with a dinner knife, but suit yourself.”
<<Any final questions for Noir?>> Ichante asks the group.January 10, 2019 at 6:51 am #13763
Noir opened her mouth to answer, but stopped, tilting her head: “Ichante, have I ever done you harm or been anything else but forthright about my motives?
I didn’t ask you to come here and I intend you no harm, but I’m in pain and you are making it worse, so forgive me if I’m not in the mood for 20 questions.”January 10, 2019 at 7:01 am #13767
#I thought Becky is with Ichante and Preston.
Becky follows the two colleagues alert and ready for action. She is surprised to see Sam pinned out there.
Becky replies ”I am right behind you Preston, you did not think that I would let you play on the yard on your own.”
Becky’s eyes assenses the woman to verify that she really is their Sam, and while she does that she waves a small “hi” to Noir. Grinning under her helmet, though her face is not visible.
She texts Ichante >> Ichante – she had four bound spirits yesterday, now she cannot summon to save her life. Anything that can cause that to a mage?
Assensing: 11d6t5 3January 10, 2019 at 7:48 am #13780
They’d found Noir. Maybe she had some answers.
The Gaz crunched to a halt in the wet gravel. Jumping out, Al saw his three teammates surrounding the pinned figure. He pulled his good medkit out from behind the seat and locked the truck behind him. Getting closer, he saw the second charred form, confirming his earlier assertion that the corpse in the basement had been the poor mechanic guy.
“What the fuck, y’all? Woman’s hurt. Bad. Ya gon’ stand an’ look at her all day or help her out?” He was already putting leads from the medkit on her. “We gotta git this thing off’n her, but dependin’ what’s goin’ on under there, she could bleed out in seconds the moment we move it. I’ll stabilize her fluids in a jiff. Then if’n ya ain’t got the juice ta sorcerize this junk off’n her like them bikes, reckon I’ll get that crane over there an’ do it myself. Clock’s tickin’, people.”January 10, 2019 at 8:42 am #13794
Becky follows Al, and unpolarized her helmet so that her face is shown. ”Al is it safe to lift this cube to get her feet free? No… I see you have a point.” As Al deploys the medic kit, Becky makes sure that he has everything that he needs and would take any menial labor off him, and otherwise would do what she can to stabilize and treat Sam. ”So what happened to your four bound spirits?” she asks casually as she treats the woman.
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