February 27, 2019 at 10:07 am #16085
“I like that scenario! Of course I’d like it more with food and water. Oh and some Simpagne and a good sound system. ‘Boom-chaka-waka-boom’ chummers!” Preston accompanied that last with an attempted eyebrow waggle that mostly made it look like he was stifling a sneeze.
He shoved the chainsaw case into his duffle bag, then pulled out his survival kit, and out of it pulled his emergency blanket. Laying it out on the ground, he suggested to Al “Let’s not let the sizzling hot Sam freeze to death before we get her off this obsidian nightmare. We snug her up in this to keep her safe until she wakes up all safe and grateful. Well, hopefully grateful.”
Once they had Sam secured in the safety blanket, Preston bowed to Ichante and said “She’s all yours, lovely lady, to whisk away on a magic chariot or however it is you do it. Now let’s all get down from the mountain, at least the sand is warmer! Once we are down, we should record what we learned and I’ll leave it on a link on the bottom tier, just in case anyone has to deal with this again in the next decade or so. Becky, can we hand down gear and people to you, one level at a time?”February 27, 2019 at 10:58 am #16086
Becky replies ”I’ll take her” and with a hint of a grin ”You could have created a naked nymph supermodel, but you created that immortal dude with good advice… I mean – out of all of us – at least I enjoyed a kiss from the man I love. You are probably less of a creeper than you think, I see right through your assholeness.
She replies to Preston ”Sure, I’ll make as many trips as needed” With that Becky made the first trip with Noir, and then made a second trip with the equipment. Her climbing skills, and perhaps a dash of magic meant that she felt at ease as she climbed.February 27, 2019 at 12:44 pm #16091
“Shee-it, Precious,” Al had replied, “I don’t reckon I’m creepy at all. An altogether undeserved reputation foisted unjustly upon me by certain hippies an’ other neo-woke types.” And once Becky had started down with Noir, he’d shouted after her, “Besides, if I were after a naked nymph supermodel, I’d jist start with you.”
His cockiness soon waned, however, as the climb down involved enough exertion and bruises to leave him half-panting by the time he reached the base of the pyramid.
“Alrighty, then. Lights, camera, action time, Presto baby? Reckon Ichante here’s our leadin’ lady, seein’ as she’s got the ten-nuyen words fer all this nonsense.”
Everyone was getting on with things as if reopening the portal and escaping this place were some sort of likelihood. Optimism or stoicism, Al didn’t know any of them well enough to be sure which was which. For his part, he figured their odds of getting back ot the real world were fifty-fifty at best. But if he was concerned – and he most certainly was – he wasn’t going to show it.February 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm #16092
As the team reached the base of the pyramid they felt indeed somewhat warmer – at least the sand wasn’t freezing cold. Jazz and Al noted with interest that although the portal seemed to be gone there was still a very faint matrix reception to be had – especially the closer they got to the place where the portal had been and motes of light still played through the air.February 27, 2019 at 12:59 pm #16096
Seeing remnant traces of the portal upped Al’s estimation of their odds a great deal, which was a good thing, because the world needed him. “Or maybe we make our little home video while we walk – they’s still somethin’ o’ that portal left, an’ it’d be one too many temptations fer Fate ta dawdle an’ risk our openin’. We can leave the ‘link just inside the portal as well as at the pyramid.”
He had already pulled out one of his burner commlinks and was walking backwards across the red sands towards the motes of light and matrix signal that constituted what was left of the way home. “Rollin’ tape, kids. Someone start breakin’ it down fer demon-hunter posterity.”February 28, 2019 at 3:46 pm #16139
Becky carries Sam, finding it ironic that Sam is being carried by her arch enemy or whatever. Out of them all, Becky is the fittest, and the ageless supermodel barely weights. She says to Al ”See if we can open the portal with the ball – or we start playing freeing daemons… I don’t want to be stuck in a place with bad matrix reception. I need my games.”February 28, 2019 at 5:22 pm #16145
Ichante stands on top of the pyramid, her hands on her hips, looking over her work and somewhat belatedly wondering what the hell she got herself into.
I just wanted to be a fashion designer, she thinks to herself. Coats, jackets, blazers, skirts, sweaters… maybe branch out into shoes, activewear, lingerie… but NOOO, I had to go into the shadows to stomp through sewers full of ghouls and warehouses full of vampires and obsidian pyramids with evil spirits and teammates who cut off heads with a scythe…
She sighs, taking out her commlink and activating the camera. She takes a moment to take a panoramic photo, unsure of whether it will even come out correctly, but wanting to at least try. She wants a reminder of the drek she goes through to afford things she doesn’t really need. Maybe she’d get started on that financial plan her investment adviser keeps bugging her about.
Reflections complete, she goes to the edge of the pyramid and tries to levitate herself down. Becky hops down with little effort, Noir slung over her shoulder in a fireman’s carry. Then there’s the trek across the red sands underneath the black sky toward the motes of light. Ichante is visibly surprised to hear Becky express a dedication to Matrix games. I never would have guessed that someone so somatic would want an escape from they physical world.
When they get to the motes of light, Ichante takes the orb and starts to manipulate it. Things don’t go right at first, which she attributes to the burning sensation in her chest that turns into a ragged cough. Her vision is blurry, either from the tears welling up in her eyes or the burst blood vessel pushing on her cornea and throwing her vision out-of-focus. She switches to astral sight for a second attempt, which is just as clumsy but somehow manages to get the job done.
”There,” she says before descending into another fit of coughing. She wipes her mouth and comes away with another streak of red across her hand. ”That should do it.”February 28, 2019 at 6:10 pm #16146
They had pieced together a basically coherent, albeit haphazard, explanation of the Thicket, and what they knew about fixing it, all recorded on one of Al’s burners. He planned to throw it through the portal as it closed once they were on the other side. Assuming they made it to the other side.
Ichante had relieved him of the Orb, and ‘relief’ was the right word – the thing wasn’t light – he was pretty sure his lower back wouldn’t feel the same for the next month. He was ready to help her coax it, but she seemed to gotten the hang of it just fine.
He watched the spot where the fading motes of light indicated the position of the portal, and held his breath. Were they getting brighter….?March 1, 2019 at 8:06 am #16154
[Morning, Thursday February 3rd, 2078??; Pyramid Metaplane…?]
Jazz had followed that tantalising whiff of a matrix signal as surely as a bloodhound tracked a scent, better in fact given the scarcity of other signals to mask it.
“Come on, come on…” she muttered to herself while they waited for Ichante to get the portal open… she’d avoided Al’s impromptu film making like the plague, she really didn’t feel like she’d got anything to contribute to that particular saga. She hated to admit her fear of this place, mostly it was the fear of ignorance…with the matrix to grasp at anybody could access vast swathes of intel…but here?!
#56March 1, 2019 at 5:18 pm #16158
Preston had stayed fairly focused while supplementing Ichante’s explanation of the situation in here, adding a few details about body positioning of the corpses and how technology behaved. But once they were done his face broke into a broad grin and he did a pirouette in the sand, announcing “I’ve decided that opening the portal is going to go OK, and things at Maria’s will get worked out, and we’ll find a bar in in town that won’t mind outsiders having a good time. I don’t care right now if we get drunk out of socks, play AR games until we collapse, or exactly what, just so long as we cut loose and have a good time. No running off to be all responsible now!”
After a moment he adds, only a bit contritely “Once we make sure Sam is OK, of course.“March 1, 2019 at 6:10 pm #16160
Ichante narrows her eyes and scowls.
”I want to shower, brush my teeth, and then 10 to 12 hours of sleep. When I wake up, I want coffee and breakfast tacos, even if it’s midnight. At that point I may consider watching you drink yourselves blind, and I might even roll you on your side when you lose your socks and pass out, but I’ll be sober. The world is full of dangers, like Al and vampires, and I don’t see any reason to let my guard down.”
She casts a disinterest glance at Sam who, admittedly, has had a rough day, but certainly didn’t do much to endear herself to the team. Anyone who deals with shedim deserves what they get, even if it’s heartbreak and a stroke.
Ichante scoops up a handful of red sand, wondering if it has any value, either as a curiosity or a reagent. She’ll need to get more, as she depleted her supply on the pyramid. At least the payday will cover it, and more.March 1, 2019 at 6:47 pm #16161
Al barked in delighted derision at Ichante’s quip. “Well I appreciate y’all’s positive attitude, but what say ya git this portal open, an’ then we can start plannin’ our respective rewards.”
But even as he said it, something told him Ichante had indeed found the sweet spot with the Orb. The motes of light continued to swell in luminosity.March 2, 2019 at 2:50 am #16162
The rush of mana was felt even by the mundanes. It came suddenly and felt quite a bit like physical blow to the guts. The orb grew warm again and the motes of light suddenly expanded like droplets of fire burning away a gasoline soaked table cloth. The stone chamber loomed beyond – just as the team had left it an hour ago.
Beyond, leaning against the wall with his guitar case, Johnny waited, grinning from ear to ear. Next to him stood a tall white man in an immaculate, tailored three piece suit in charcoal grey. Although man wasn’t exactly the right description: A young greek god with shining violet eyes.
“Took you long enough, “Johnny quipped
“If I may introduce my business partner: Damon.”March 2, 2019 at 8:33 am #16169
At least some eye candy for the women folk now, right?” Preston trailed off at the end of that quip, as the impact of those eyes sank in.
* Monkey: This isn’t fun at all
* Oleg: I don’t know what he is, byt AAAAAAAAAA indeedMarch 2, 2019 at 11:09 am #16170
Al didn’t like the name Damon.
It reeked of spoiled rich kid, and sounded too close to ‘demon’. And if there was one thing he’d learned from the trid, it was that stereotypes were always true.
He also didn’t like guys that wore expensive suits, and even less if they wore them to dirty places.
And then those eyes. Probably a talking lizard.
He was glad Ichante was carrying the Orb now. It freed him up to step through the portal first.
“So this is the feller you were fetchin’ the dingus for?” he asked Johnny. Then, to the other guy, “Mind if ol’ Al asks what yer fixin’ ta do with it?”
There was only one right answer.March 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm #16171
Ichante still has her “I’m tired and having none of this drek” look on her face.
”Damon, uh huh. Right. Yeah, when I was a teenage girl I went through a phase of wearing violet contacts because it was wiz at the time and all the popular kids were doing it. But I grew out of it, unlike some people.”
She casts a disparaging, doubtful look at the… rather handsome Greek god.
”Here’s why I’m skeptical, Johnny. One, this isn’t a bar, nightclub, or casino. Two, he isn’t busy trying to seduce Becky. Three, Damon is supposed to be quarantined in Boston right now. Four, if he’s your partner then you wouldn’t be playing poker with roughnecks to pay us. Five, a dragon would have understood the danger of what we just went through and would have been dealing with this drek himself rather than leaving the fate of the world in the hands of six gonks like us.”
She gives “Damon” another withering gaze. He actually is quite dashing… if you got past the absurdity of the claim.
”If you don’t want to tell us who you are, then don’t. Just pay us so we can go home.”
She holds out the orb slightly, offering it in exchange for payment, but keeping it close enough that she could snatch it away if she doesn’t seem the proper credsticks.March 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm #16174
Becky looked amused at the happening and was uncertain why Ichante thought that Johnny’s friend was a dragon. She opened her helmet and waved happily at Johnny… ”It is good to see you again Mr. Cash you are unexpected… “ She places Sam in Jazz’s car, and then return to the group ”Pleasure to meet you Mr. Damon.”
On her way she casually assense the two to verify that Jhonney is really Jhonney and to see if his friend really is a dragon. Of course, Dragons can be sneakier than her senses but it is worth a shot.Spoiler:
March 2, 2019 at 5:38 pm #16179
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Gilga.
Damon replied to Al with a laconic smirk: “I’m afraid I’ll do the most boring thing imaginable: I’ll keep it exactly here – after I fine tune it a bit more. And I think I’ll sponsor a truckload of permacrete to fill up this chamber for good measure. Afterwards, I think I’ll set up an arrangement that keeps this little farm on the prairie from being seized by anyone else.
I’m afraid Johnny underestimated the significance of this artifact for this location. But at least he had the sense to invest in… competent personal.”
He nodded at Johnny who shrugged and opened his guitar case, picking five certified ebony credsticks from the inside pocket and handed them to the team.
“That should cover the remaining sum. Plus a little bonus for not ending the world as we know it.”
Johnny winked. “Now if you excuse me, I still have to repay my gambling debts or I won’t be invited to Damon’s parties anymore.”
Damon smiled at Ichante but didn’t reply to the grumpy mage. Instead he flicked her a finely printed business card. The only thing printed on it was the word Damon, as well as a commlink number.
Becky’s look into the astral showed her not much more than she had seen before of Johnny: That he was healthy and didn’t show any cyberware in his aura. Damon looked… for some reason like the aura of three squirrels sitting atop of each other.March 2, 2019 at 5:52 pm #16181
The answer was the right one. And he liked the other part, too. It would save them the hundred thousand they’d promised Maria.
“Fair ’nuff,” he said, taking the credstick and making his way out after Becky.
He walked straight to the house and joined Mowgli in the basement. He assumed whatever the anthroform had been hunting was relatively harmless now that it was not possessed by a shadow spirit on a coffee break from an eternity of bored agony, but someone still needed to get Maria out of her saferoom.March 2, 2019 at 10:25 pm #16183
After Ichabte’s reaction, Preston did a matrix search on the name Damon.
*Oleg: now is a good time to stay quiet.
* Eliza: at least I’m far from the most memorable of this crew
* Coleman: I wouldn’t want to bet on one like that forgetting anyone who might be useful.
Preston gave an awkward bow to Johnny and claimed his cred stick, then joined the general exodus in the direction of the farm house
* Oleg: I’m going to have ti scrap the IDs I used here.
* Gamma: I’ll be able to afford it
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