So last time, on a hunt for an antique map of ley lines created during George Vancouver’s first expedition to British Columbia, you guys tracked down a lead on Eschaton Properties, the map’s buyer, to a warehouse complex in Burnaby.
After breaking in, you didn’t find the map, but you did find an air-conditioned unit housing several container crate loads of Hollow Ones, people who have had their souls removed by an excruciating process to make them perfect vessels for mind control or possession by the Ministry of Paternoster.
With two Paternoster agents on their way, you freed the Hollow Ones and Aurelia seized control of their faculties with a group Mind spell. Then the warehouse loading dock opened.
Sinon draws a second gun and fires at the younger Seer.
“Agh – " The younger one, although mostly concealed around the edge of the loading dock, falls to his knees. He produces a wand shaped like a caduceus and aims it at Sinon.
Sinon’s features contort with agony as his pattern is scourged.
Blackjack shoots at the younger, wounded mage.
BJ’s shots curve away from the younger one at the last second, although he nonetheless ducks back in surprise.
“Goddamned babysitting…” the older Seer grunts. He casts Space Armor on himself.
Elithora grips her gun and whispers a few familiar words to herself. (Casting Perfect Timing.)
Aurelia pulls out her bronze mirror and shines it on the older seer, causing painful visions!
“Agh…fuck!” The older one backs up a bit, waving his gun around at phantoms. He’s now out of cover.
Sinon appears saturated in color briefly, like someone waved a Photoshop filter over him, and suddenly looks much less pale and more healthy. (Healing spell.)
The “zombies” are charging! Heedless of their own safety, they flood out of the warehouse and begin biting, hitting, and clawing the two Seers. The younger Seer yells in dismay, surrounded by husks, he attempts an improvised area casting to stop the horde.
He’s using Life to try and weaken them, rather than doing anything to their minds. He’s only able to affect a small group around him but their muscles kind of dwindle in strength. It’s now much more one of those “how many fifth-graders could you beat” situations. It was a vulgar casting, however, and there is a witness!
The security guard has come around from the side. The Seer lets the paradox go and takes a branding!
His screams get louder as his skin turns green and thickens.
The two Seers are now enveloped in husks.
Blackjack casts dispell magic on the older mage to remove the armor. (To no effect.)
“You…Pentacle…fucks!” he screams. He’s whirling around, trying not to let the zombies lay hands on him. He stares one in the eyes and attempts to reverse Aurelia’s spell!
“OBEY ME!” The Hollow Ones sway on their feet, but then kind of just…fall over. With not much mind left, they have BSOD’ed, basically.
Elithora leans up to shoot at the younger mage who was injured. Her aim is poor but her timing is lucky. (Perfect timing is now used up.)
“Ahhh FUCK!” The younger one is not doing so hot!
Sinon moves from behind the air-conditioning unit up to the door frame and peers out at the younger Seer. “Nap time,” he says. The younger Seer goes limp.
Blackjack: “Right. Fuck this heavy armor nonsense.” (Willpower + Dispell magic, to no effect.)
The older man looks dismayed. “Oh, fuck this.” Firing a wild shot at nobody, he seizes his limp partner and shouts “EVACUATE!” (Willpower + improvised teleport, causes Paradox.)
He sprouts a nosebleed as he and his partner suddenly seem to stretch out toward an infinite vanishing point, then vanish in a flash. Leaving behind them two dozen unconscious, mostly naked people on the ground.
“What the – !” You hear scrabbling footsteps and the security guard rounds the corner, gun drawn and held in hands that are visibly shaking. His pupils are dots. “WHAT’S GOING—-ON?!”
Aurelia waves calmly at the man. (contested composure+gnosis)
Blackjack takes out his wallet. “Barney Jones. RCMP, Counter Terror division.” Flashing it briefly. “You may have just been exposed to psychotropic drug. Can you tell us what you saw?”
The man suddenly feels much calmer. (Emotional urging)
He calms down and holsters his gun fumblingly. He looks over at Blackjack. “I, uh…I saw a bunch of people biting and clawing those guys from the head office, and then one of the guys from the office turned green or something…”
Blackjack: “We suspect those men to have been agents of a foreign government.”
“Oh no.” He says it flatly, like that’s not really that big a deal right now.
Blackjack looks at Aurelia. “It sounds like he’s been exposed to a large dose.” Turning back to the security guard. “Do you have any gatorade? It’s important.”
Elithora discretely sets the safety and stashes the gun she was using.
Security guard: “I have…I have some PowerAde. Is that the right Ade?”
Aurelia flashes her CBSA badge. “You need to drink sufficient fluids. I suggest finding a nice place to sit down as well. The effects should wear off within 24 hours. Please contact the CIHR if your symptoms persist.”
“I…oh man.” He frowns, wandering away, obliviously stepping over one of the prone bodies. “I’m still seeing all sorts of weird shit. I’d better….” he trails off, heading for the guard shack.
Blackjack takes out his cellphone and calls Traceur. Rank hath its privileges. And low rank hath the privilege of kicking things up the chain of command.
Traceur: “BJ. What’s going on?”
Blackjack gives him the summary. “Wait for backup or bug out?”
Traceur: “Get out of there as soon as possible. They’ll be back in force within five minutes.”
Sinon pulls out his phone and texts Jones. (Coded: “Seer husk factory found.”)
Sinon gets a coded acknowledgment. “Act according to own judgment.”
Aurelia: “Any chance I can take any of them home?”
Elithora raises her eyebrows at Aurelia. “What do you even feed one …”
Sinon places his phone back in his pocket and pulls out his pistol…
Aurelia: “I don’t know, but think of the research possibilities! Help me out Eli. I’m sure we can stuff one in the trunk.”
Sinon begins shooting them!
Aurelia quickly searches, looking for one she likes the look of. “Hang on one god damn second!”
Elithora looks around uncertainly. “Are you, uh, sure about this …”
Blackjack checks if the machines appear to have any easily broken yet critical parts.
Elithora: “What does one even look for in a specimen like this …”
Aurelia: “Look, it’s a mindless shell! It’s better than killing the poor things…”
Elithora leans down and begins gently lifting their eyelids to peer at their eyes.
Aurelia: “Here, this one. Come on, the poor thing weighs a ton.”
Eli helps lift the husk with a grunt. “Let’s just get it out of here before anyone arrives.”
Sinon ‘finishes up’ with the other 23. He whips his keys out of his pocket and presses a button to open the trunk. “We’re going to need someone to destroy any sympathy that thing has if you’re planning on studying it.”
Aurelia: “I know. I can handle the basics.”
As soon as the rest of the group is out, Blackjack has the machines arc lighting at each other.
The machines spark in a dazzling display before grinding to a halt. A small fire has started, too.
Sinon nods, opens the door to the car and hops in.
Elithora is helping load the husk into the trunk, getting into the car, wondering what on earth they’re getting themselves into. Aurelia lugs the hollow one with Eli’s help out to the trunk. As soon as it’s settled in she casts Conceal Sympathy. (Successfully.) Reducing the apparent sympathetic connections the husk has to the seers by 3 removes
which might even make it appear nonexistent.
Blackjack, deciding his course of action: (Now a small fire is not really acceptable. If there is anything that looks like it will burn well, gonna redirect the fire to that.)
The fire blazes to real life! Alarms start pinging all over the place.
“Time to go!” Sinon shouts out the window.
Blackjack gets in the car now. “We have got to start keeping some explosives handy.”
Sinon nods. “Agreed.”
Aurelia hops in the car. Blackjack is changing magazines and reloading the partially used one. Elithora watches the growing fire receding in the rear window.
The now-smoking warehouse complex recedes into the distance. You hear sirens behind you.
(Looking for a hideout.) There is actually a converted garage just a mile away.
Five minutes later, you pull into HOLM’S AUTO SERV CE, a dilapidated grey building with peeling paint but – carefully concealed near the ground – a sophisticated key pad system. Sinon enters the key and the garage door rumbles upward.
Inside, as you pull in, is a small common area with a refrigerator, pantry stocked with tinned soup and vegetables, and a telephone and ethernet connection.
All of this stuff is perfectly maintained and in tip top shape.
Aurelia: “Well, that was kind of a cock up? At least we got out ok.”
Elithora: "Wasn’t expecting to get dropped on by interlopers so quickly. We do have, uh, one piece of evidence in the trunk.
Sinon: “How did the three of you find out about this place again?”
BJ: “A law office. It was on a list of holdings bought by the company that bought the map. I can give you a complete list.”
Aurelia: “It’s owned by a group that also owns a map of Vancouver’s ancient leylines. Which means the Seers have that map, since they own Eschaton.”
Sinon (to Blackjack): “Excellent. The Guardians will be positively envious of that list.”
(To Aurelia): “It makes sense as to why the estate was purchased, then.”
Aurelia: “God, that’s kind of a lot to write off, but I’ll be fucked if I’m going to try and steal it back from the Seers. Can you imagine what must be in that tower?”
Blackjack gets a paper and pen and starts writing. “I disagree. Imagine what they can do with that map.”
“How well did you cover your tracks at the firm? If you altered the security footage the source of our intel may yet be unknown to them.” While waiting for the answer, Sinon pulls out his phone and texts a summary of the events to Jones.
BJ: “I did not alter the footage, I just made us invisible to the cameras.”
Sinon gives Blackjack a nod and a look indicating professional respect.
Blackjack shrugs. He has a healthy paranoia. Handing over the sheet to Sinon “I believe that makes us even.”
BJ: “I am just throwing this idea out there but the Seers are going to rather busy with that fire…”
Sinon gets a text from Jones, coded. “Quite a mess, but you made it in the enemy’s backyard. They can handle cleanup on this one. Keep us current on situation.”
Aurelia: “Oh no. No way. They’re already going to be looking for us! You want us to walk straight into the lion’s den?”
BJ: “Can you think of a better time than when the lion is busy?”
Elithora: “He has a point …”
Sinon: “We don’t want to compromise the list. As long as their distraction prevents our detection I am fine with the idea.”
Elithora: “Better to hit the lower-profile properties or the tower, though?” She tries to read any clues in the Fate of things but seems uncertain.
Sinon does the same, successfully.
*The tower feels AMAZINGLY unlucky. Like all the country songs in the world rolled up into one. Going to the other properties, the TruLife locations, feels neutral to moderate. *
Elithora is clearly too distracted by the unfamiliar smell of gunpowder on her hands.
Blackjack, speaking absently: “Take a shower, use dish soap. Gets most of the smell and masks the rest.”
Aurelia: “Which one?”
Sinon: “Tru Life feels like the more promising of the two.”
Elithora is absently plucking at invisible strings in front of her and shrugs helpelssly to Sinon. “You think so?”
Sinon: “I’m just about tapped out and Fate-reading is your bailiwick, but that’s the best read I can get.”
Elithora: “I’m getting tangled in the knots. It’s our best bet, then.”
Aurelia: “Hey, Sinon, Keys please.”
There are six locations scattered throughout the Metro but most of them are the size of like, bodegas. Little places where you probably go in for your free personality screening.
Aurelia goes back to the car and opens the trunk. “Need to make you a mind… poor thing.”