You guys met Goldman for (for most of you) the first time, and she told you about the disaster that has befallen Seattle – every mage in the city’s borders dropped dead less than a week ago, apparently all at the same time, and nobody knows why. After debating what to do, you guys set out to recover their Athenaeum – but upon reaching the border, you learned that the Seers also have designs on it – and the race is on!
Pinkerton and Doolittle are in their car, moving away from the border at high speed, and you guys have, probably five minutes until you’re through.
Goldman: “So who are these dudes? What’s the protocol? I can stop the car or turn it around, call the play, but quickly!”
Elithora looks to Sinon and reaches for her phone to call BJ. “This obviously isn’t a coincidence. We can’t go richter right here. Hell.”
Goldman: “Let it go? I’ve got like 2 seconds.”
Sinon: “Seers. If you can make it covert, then do it.”
Goldman frantically casts her spell, but nothing seems to happen. “Shit! Didn’t take.”
Sinon turns to the Mystagogue. “Eli, can you make sure that they hit all the red lights?”
Elithora: “The real question is whether they’ve already noticed us. I’m pretty sure we know where they’re going.”
“We don’t have much of a problem with Seers in Seattle.” Goldman pauses for a moment. “Didn’t, I guess.” She sighs. “Have to get used to talking like that.”
“The other question is, can we beat them there.” Sinon begins casts gain skill on Elithora (driving).
Elithora starts tracing lines in S-shapes and slashing them with her fingers. (Casting Winds of Chance.)
Goldman: “How does this work? Do we try to kill them? I don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing…”
Elithora: “This is definitely, definitely not the location to blow the lid off. We need to keep cool and start engineering the situation into our favor.”
“Agreed.” Sinon looks ahead impatiently.
Goldman: “Okay, cool, no problem, but what happens then? I mean, is this something we can solve with a convenient flat tire? No harm, no foul?”
BJ is casting control electricity. Attempting to short the electrical system of their car.
Their taillights go out and in the headlights of the person behind them you see the sedan drift onto the shoulder.
“What happens? We get to the Athenaeum first and they leave empty handed.” Sinon smiles slightly. “As far as in the future…”
So what’s the plan? You’ve got a couple minutes until you pass through the border. What happens when you get through?
The line moves forward and Eli’s Jetta, with Sinon and Goldman in, moves to the front. The guard reviews everyone’s IDs and then waves them through. “Have a safe trip, ma’am.”
“Not likely,” mutters Goldman
Elithora smiles and putts through in the least remarkable manner possible.
Now it’s BJ and Aurie’s turn at the guard post. Is Eli just moving forward down the highway or waiting for the other two?
Elithora is driving slowly and steadily but not obnoxiously slowly. She’s hoping BJ will be able to whisk through and catch up unobtrusively.
Blackjack shows his passport and smiles at the guard.
The guard raises an eyebrow at BJ’s car. “Nice wheels, sir. What’s the purpose of your trip?”
Aurelia shows hers “We’re visiting some friends in Seattle.”
Blackjack: “Just a social visit, then back to class.”
He smiles and nods. “Enjoy your visit, miss.” He hands you back your IDs and waves you through.
Blackjack takes them and drives off, trying not to draw attention.
Elithora’s car passes the Seers’ sedan. It’s deserted.
Blackjack, you catch up to the others pretty quickly. It’s late enough that traffic is pretty reasonable. None of you see hide or hair of the Seers – they seem to have promptly ditched their ride.
Once Sinon sees that the others have passed the checkpoint, he pulls his phone out of his pocket and prepares a coded text to Jones. The Guardian hits send as he looks over at Elithora, “Time to see what these wheels can do.”
Somehow Eli’s Jetta wildly outpaces BJ’s MGC. She weaves through traffic with machinelike efficiency at 20 above the speed limit.
Aurelia: “BJ, you drive like my grandmother”
Blackjack: “This car while stylish is from the late 60’s. She is not as fast as she looks.”
Eli has the (possibly) unnerving habit of driving by Fate as she obsessively checks her phone map and peers in her rearview for BJ over and over.
Sinon is eerily undisturbed by Elithora’s driving techniques.
Goldman stays very still for a moment, her eyes closed. After a moment, she seems much more relaxed. (Goldman casts Unseen Aegis)
About ninety minutes later, after passing through Bellingham and Mount Vernon the highway bends east toward the northern outskirts of Seattle. Goldman knows that the Athenaeum is a private warehouse on Harbor Island.
Goldman gives detailed directions to the others as they approach the island.
As the car approaches the island, Sinon begins chanting in high speech. His hands move about as though he is accessing a series of floating icons or menus in front of him. Finally he retrieves an ampule of blue fluid from inside his suit and he downs it. (Supreme Honing)
“Mind if I ask what you’re doing?” Goldman ventures. “If we’re preparing for something, I may be able to help.”
“Super Soldier Serum.” Sinon says back to Goldman as he holds up the empty vial.
“Do you have a gun? Or some other mundane weapon?” To Eli, “You too, if you’ve got anything.”
Elithora: “No. The odds are I would just shoot myself accidentally. I usually leave the firepower to the experts.”
Sinon pulls his PPK from his undercover holster. He hands it back to Goldman. “Be careful with that. It can’t be replaced.”
Goldman speaks rapidly in high speech, sentences and phrases tumbling from her mouth as she waves a lead coin in ritualized gestures over the gun. After a moment, she stops and hands it back to Sinon, saying, “Good luck.”
Sinon places the pistol back in its holster. “Thank you. Here’s hoping we won’t need it.”
Ok, so Sinon has honed the form, Goldman has armor, what else are you guys doing in preparation?
BJ is bringing up Prime armor and Prime sight.
Sinon should also have his daily LIfe Armor and the Mental Shield from earlier
Elithora tries and fails to use the Sibyl’s sight on the drive in. “I can’t see any threads clearly yet. We need to get in there and get what we can. I want to run as full a postcog as I can manage.”
Back in his car, Blackjack uses Prime sight.
With Prime sight, you see a blue haze of Prime magic hovering over the entire Seattle skyline. It’s begun to disperse a bit, but it’s a hazy, foggy shape not unlike a mushroom cloud.
Blackjack gives Aur Prime Sight. “That…is not good.”
“Oh wow no, that isn’t good.” Aurelia quickly casts misperception on herself.
Harbor Island is a sliver-shaped wedge that butts right up against downtown Seattle. The entire island is paved over – there is literally not a square foot of green on it. As you cross the bridge to it, huge loading cranes tower overhead in the distance.
Vast warehouses painted that certain shipping-industry shade of corrugated-metal red or cobalt blue squat below you as the offramp leads you down. Almost all the traffic here are trucks of one kind or another.
Aurelia gasps at the sea of shipping containers.
Blackjack calls Sinon on his cell phone.
Sinon answers his phone.
Blackjack: “So our new friend was not lying. Prime sight looks like someone set off a magical nuke.”
Sinon: “I see. I’d say it was good to know of her veracity, but I’m not sure that’s entirely appropriate given the circumstances.”
Goldman snorts. “Yeah, that would be a clever lie to tell.”
Blackjack: “I know you do not like the idea of calling in but this is some serious magic.”
Aurelia: “Yea, that is some freaky juju… terrible.”
Sinon: “I texted Jones once we were over the border. That was the agreement, yes?”
Eli is half-listening but mostly driving aggressively towards the warehouse, asking Goldman a few questions until the warehouse comes into view.
Blackjack: “I am thinking of calling Rattenbury before I call Traceur. Perhaps get Hierarch approval first.”
Aurelia: “I don’t like the idea of calling in the Guardians, BJ. I know they’d as soon destroy the athenaeum as recover it. And it’s /our/ athenaeum. I like you a lot, BJ, but… this is probably the most important duty to my order I’ve ever stumbled into. I know you understand what that means.”
Sinon: “I’ll leave that decision in your court. If Aurelia hasn’t told Minerva yet she should.”
(Blackjack) One hand covering the phone. “I am not planning on telling the Guardians. But I need to call Traceur. And I am hoping Rattenbury can make this less politically tricky.”
Aurelia: “You have your duty as well, yes.”
Blackjack: “Aurelia, I promise to do my best to help you recover the Athenaeum intact for the Mysterium.”
Aurelia: “Thanks BJ, I hope that I can repay you someday.”
(Blackjack) Hanging up on the phone. Calling Traceur now.
(i see that chanting in the log now. didn’t catch that a spell was actually finished. in that case the guardians knew before the group left. which makes all the conversation in that scene kind of pointless. guys what do we want to do with this?)
A few turns and Elithora’s car is at the warehouse, on the north side of the island. There’s a thick, eight-foot concrete wall around it, topped with barbed wire; the sign outside simply says “Universal Import and Export”, with a carefully generic globe logo. The entrance is a sliding metal gate, currently closed; it appears to be operated by a lockbox.
Elithora pulls up and parks the car by the gate. She throws her door open and strides to the gate to look at the lockbox.
“Fast or slow?” Goldman asks, glancing meaningfully at the wall.
Eli turns to Goldman. “I don’t suppose you have a spare key or a hankering to tinker with the Matter in this gate system? I know there are dramatic ways inside but the less we alert random sleepers, the better.”
Sinon follows behind Elithora. He looks out for signs of Life or approaching strands of fate. “I might be able to handle a mundane lock, but I wouldn’t want to press my luck on something that might be trapped.” He is somewhat wishing that he had ridden the guy who can detect wards.
“I’m better at cleaning up later than not being messy, I’m afraid.” Goldman smiles. “I’ll give it a try.”
Elithora glances up and down the street. “Don’t worry. A light touch. You’ve got it.”
Goldman stands motionless, looking at the gate. After a moment, the lock clicks.
The gate rumbles open, wide enough to admit a pair of 18-wheeler trucks. The parking lot beyond is empty; it seems you’ve arrived here before anyone else, unless they’ve already gone.
Eli jerks her head back to the car and jogs back, starting the engine back up.
Blackjack’s car is about five minutes back. They’re pulling onto the bridge to Harbor Island.
Elithora looks to Sinon and Goldman. “Just … be ready.”
“Always.” Sinon nods as he slides into his seat.
The Universal Imports & Exports warehouse is a one-story metal building painted white, with a loading dock big enough for 2 trucks on one side and a darkened front office. The lights here are bright orange sodium vapor and give fairly even illumination over the entire half-acre lot.
There’s an ozoney tinge to the air – magic nearby, although it might be the cloud BJ described.
(Sinon tries Fate & Life sight.) Nothing on Life sight, althoug all of your mage sights have a degree of “static.”
Basically, all resonance has been kind of overwhelmed by whatever happened here. This may affect paradox as well.
Fate sight, however, shows a few lines converging very quickly on the warehouse. Two of them are probably BJ and Aurie, but that leaves something like six others.
Goldman’s not wearing any Mage Sight. She’s not so experienced yet.
“Everything here is… sensitive. We’ll need to be careful with anything vulgar while we’re here.” Sinon looks over to the others. “Company is on the way, so we’d best get started ASAP.”
Elithora grabs a black shoulder bag and gets out. “Right. This place has been properly fucked. Are we just breaking and entering or should we be snooping first? Time is the only advantage we have right now, but I don’t want to step on a landmine.”
“BJ and Aurelia will be here any minute, but we shouldn’t waste any time.” Sinon gets out of the car.
He seems strangely unworried about walking into potential magic land mines.
Eli nods and moves to the front office door. “Let’s get inside then.”
Goldman follows along, looking nervous.
The front door appears to be locked by a key, with a keypad alarm inside.
Eli looks the building up and down. “We need in. If we can get everything unlocked we can at least stuff my car.” She fishes her key fob out and jobs back to her car to pop the trunk and the rear passenger side door.
Eli sees headlights headed her way.
The pitch of Eli’s voice rises in frustration. “Fuck. SINON.”
Sinon looks up at the headlights, pulls his gun out and runs back toward the car.
She starts backing away alongside the car and moving her hands into a mudra aimed at the unknown car.
Goldman follows, casting as soon as she can see the car
As Blackjack and Aurelia take the offramp onto the island, you see a pair of black vans labeled Praetorian Guard headed the same direction.
Aurelia: “Praetorian Guard?” Do they show anything on prime sight?
You don’t see anything on Prime sight from them. The security guards at TruLife had the same logo. You know that one of the Seer ministries is named Praetorian.
Blackjack: “We have friends.” Looking around to see if anyone is around to see something magical.
Aurelia looks to BJ “Friends?”
Blackjack, they’re right ahead of you on the street heading to the warehouse. You’re about six blocks away from the warehouse. You’re twenty feet behind the second van.
Blackjack: “Same logo as the TruLife guards. So more like houseguests you loathe.”
Aurelia: “Oh shit. Can you get us in front of them?” Aurelia has produced her bronze mirror.
Blackjack: “I can try.” Pressing his foot down on the pedal.
You can get alongside them pretty easily, they’re not speeding – although obviously that will tip them off.
(Blackjack) The lady asked to get in front of her, so it’s time to be obvious. Pulling up along of side them. And drawing his gun.
BJ, your roadster roars alongside the lead van. Aurie, you can see the driver – he’s a young, dark-skinned man with a shaven head and a bluetooth earpiece. He glances down at your car with alarm as you pull alongside, then looks up at the open gates of the warehouse.
First up is Goldman! Ok, you are in the warehouse parking lot. To your left is the Jetta and Elithora. To your right is Sinon. In front of you is the metal gate (which is open) and past it you can see two pairs of headlights – the one on the left is high up, probably a van, and the one on the right sounds like BJ’s roadster.
You’re at the north end of the island – the road curves to the right here, but there’s a short (like thirty feet) private road that continues north from before the curve and directly up to the front gate.
(To Goldman, re: car speed) Right now they’re both doing 45. The van is in the process of speeding up as the driver realizes the competition is here.
(Goldman uses Control Matter with Willpower while running forward toward the approaching vehicles.) Well the (van) wheel yanks hard away from BJ and Aurelia’s car.
Aurelia sees the driver’s face contort with alarm as he suddenly starts pulling hard left on the wheel but the van makes a beeline for an industrial park on your right. It bumps over a divider and then plows into an outbuilding, tipping onto its side and grinding to a halt with a shower of sparks.
Aurelia gets a visual on the driver “Stay with this one, BJ!” (She casts a successful Telepathic Control.)
The driver is a Hollow One.
(Aurelia) Well I can’t make him perform actions inimical to his nature. If his nature has been preprogrammed, say so. Otherwise hollow ones don’t have the normal compunctions against, for example, suicide. He is going to keep driving down the road, past the warehouse, and accelerating
He has a NEED for SPEED.
Van #2 races ahead, heedless of everything else!
It rounds the curve and, with much honking, nearly slams into a truck headed the other way. There’s a gunshot, and then the van stops about a hundred yards east of the entrance.
You guys have a bit of a brief reprieve here while the occupants of the two vans dig themselves out of the shit you put them in. What are you doing with the time?
(Does van 1 still work?) It does not. There are some dudes crawling out the back of it, though.
(Which Van is closest to us.) 1. It’s on its side but it’s across the street catty-corner from the warehouse. 2 got a ways away and the occupants of 2 will take a minute to get back to the warehouse on foot.
(Do the rear doors of van 1 still work?) The doors work, yeah.
(Goldman) Okay can I use control object to have the doors hit the dudes who are crawling out. (Successfully cast.)
There are yelps as the doors slam into faces!
1 crashed into one of those kind of shitty prefab trailer things construction places use for offices.
Blackjack: “Aur, make sure your seat belt is on.” Casting force armor on the car. And flooring it, aiming the car at the van. The van full of people who apparently are not wearing seat belts.
Elithora is cursing all the fates for a brief moment as she watches BJ swerving toward the crashed van.
“Nicely done.” Sinon calls out to Eli and Goldman. “Let’s get the lock while we can.” He just shakes his head as he watches the roadster.
Sinon moves over to the lock and begins working on it with his multi-tool.
A couple of uniformed guards toting PS90s are nursing bruises and trying to pry themselves out of the wreckage when they look up and see the roadster bearing down on them!
They roll out of the way just in time. The other occupants of the van aren’t so fortunate, as with a sickening crunch and the shattering of glass the roadster slams into the van and crumples it, spinning it around on its side.
BJ’s Armor spell on the roadster keeps you guys safe. The car is dented but nothing like one would expect from that kind of collision.
Aurelia: “Holy shit BJ!”
Elithora watches the crash, mouth open.
Meanwhile, Sinon pops the lock open! There’s a beep from an alarm panel on the inside. He probably has thirty seconds to input the correct code.
Sinon focuses his life vision in on the keypad. The keys most touched should have more bacteria on them.
Good idea. The most-touched keys are the one, the four, and the seven.
Blackjack: “Two guys with guns left. Shock later.” Can we see the guys with the guns?
Yes, they’re right near you, coming up from a crouch. One thing about well-programmed mind zombies is that they’re hard to rattle.
Goldman throws her hand in front of her, then snatches it back, making a twisting motion instead.
Success! One of the guns is now safetied and the dude doesn’t know it.
“Who feels lucky today?” Sinon casts winds of chance. It’s probably too much to ask of the simple spell, but anything might help.
Eli moves next to Sinon and stares at the pad.
Sinon: “Any important dates for the mysterium, Eli? 1447? 1174?”
Elithora responds by resting her hands on his shoulders and casting Accelerate on Sinon.
Sinon begins running through the permutations of the three numbers. His hands move in a blur —similar to Lt. Cmdr Data replacing isolinear chips in the ships computer.
Sinon gets it right on the first try.
Inside the warehouse, the pad beeps and turns green. You’ve avoided setting off the first round of potential deathtraps!
Aurelia swings her bronze mirror at one of the two gunmen. (The one with a working gun!) (She casts Hallucination with Willpower.) (Contested vs. Resolve, unsuccessful.)
Aurelia, the guard levels his gun at you and BJ. And meanwhile, a troupe of four other guards is hustling down the street toward the warehouse gate from van 2.
And that’s where we’ll leave it!