Search for Dimlai
Week 5, Killing Riotri
Instead of immediately picking up Her Ladyship Salindera, Chris and Alag spend some time gathering intelligence. The two of them open hundreds of windows into Count Riotri's keep for a fraction of a second--at the stroke of noon [?] of the last day we were in Marlin--and are able to construct a glamour model of the area. They find Dimlai: she is resting on a bed in a well-furnished room, apparently sleeping and well-guarded. We also find her cousin: he is under guard in a locked tower room.
We decide to rescue the two of them. We travel to our headquarters in Co-Dominion/Helene--a day or so after our last visit there--and set up a room in which to greet him: Alag becomes invisible; Chris creates a displaced image of himself; Glorian and Kate pull their stunners; Glorian, Ashleigh, and Lorelei all turn on their empathic, hypersthetic, truth-sensing, and other patharchic skills; Dafnord looks mean; and, full psilencers are set to be established after we retrieve the cousin. We use the "Hoover maneuver": we open an omniport door above the cousin--just after the various windows have opened there--and using telekinesis to pull him straight up. This works perfectly, and the door was only open for about a half a second. Ashleigh speaks first:
"Hi, we're friends of Dimlai and Salindera and we're here to help you." (He mutters something about falling "out of the cauldron".)
We concede that point and convince him to tell us more of his story. He (introducing himself as Lord Terrini) confirms that he was being held to force the Alatar family to marry off Dimlai. Dimlai's brother would have been the next kidnap victim. (We were right about that.) He also confirms that the motives were fairly simple: "land, property, wealth, old family feuds, lust...." (Sigh. Are there so few motives in the continua?) He becomes agitated for Dimlai's safety so while Dafnord brings him a chair to make him more comfortable, we tell him we have a plan and to wait for a moment.
We then go off to make a plan. Using many of the same preparations, we try a "falling door" maneuver on Dimlai: we open an omniport door over the bed, then lower it, intending to capture her. This door we open just after the door which rescued Terrini. It almost fails this time: Dimlai is quicker and smarter and tried to roll out of the way--she also seemed to have been casting something but it apparently didn't work. Safely on Helene, Dimlai crouches on the floor waiting to strike. Again, Ashleigh speaks first:
"Hi, we're your friends and we're here to help you."
Dafnord brings food and another chair and we tell start to reassure Dimlai, telling her that this place is proof against Riotri's detection skills. ("Gee, I'd like to know how you did that!" "Don't worry," Ashleigh replies, "someday you will.") She and Terrini are reunited and Lorelei examines them, confirming that they only suffer from stress and lack of eating. After a bit more discussion, we're convinced that the only thing which will happen is that Riotri will take revenge on the remaining members of the Alatar family and perhaps Kelmerian as well.
As she asks questions, we explain various details of our journey and our actions, explaining why and how we heard of her troubles, dropping Kumner's and Salindera's names. After a few moments of idle chatter we turn to more serious questions. Dimlai confirms Terrini's assertions that her family is now in more trouble, especially from the Black Guard. Uncertain of what to do, we decide to bring Salindera into the picture.
We open a door and find Her Ladyship prepared, packed, and dressed as a proper Mistress of Pink Magic (and an outlander!). ("There's no point in traveling if you aren't ready to outrage and offend the natives.") Instead of delivering her to Kelmerian, we drop her into the hanger at Helene. Her eyes widen as she looks over our spaceship and the structure itself. Meanwhile, Dafnord brings a chair for Her Ladyship and we come back to more serious matters.
Her Ladyship is also very concerned about Riotri. Quickly heightening tensions force us to reveal that we have been working in time--the Black Magics--and we explain that this is what we meant when we told Salindera of prophecies. This seems to calm them down and we decide to bring down the psilence, having convinced ourselves that we are safe from detection.
Dimlai disappears. (She did cast a spell!) We pulse the psilencer to determine that she is not invisible and come to realize that she has teleported away. Using a Map of Here, we find that she is back on Hreme, somewhere. (We don't pursue exactly where yet.) Instead, we tell Salindera and Terrini that we're going to complete our plan for Riotri.
We then go off and make a plan for Riotri. Considerable discussion ensues. The fine ethical points of assassinating a major ruler are brought up and discarded. The benefits of leaving evidence--killing him in situ--versus making him disappear--to another place--are weighed. Everyone tries to remember where they hid their disflorgers. Everyone remembers that Cantrel is still training with the Outer Guard in Marlin and sighs, knowing how much he loves these details, then curses realizing that he has hidden four of the disflorgers.
A plan described as "subtle" is rejected: dropping an omniport door opened to the dark side of Hreme's moon over him, moving him into psilence, then disflorging him. Another plan to use the omniport and Pantope doors in a crossfire is rejected because of the detectability of the Pantope doors. Dropping psilence over the entire keep and going in with high-tech weapons is also considered but "lacked high esthetic value".
Finally, a plan is hashed out that is described as "simple". We prepare a site on (another quick debate) pre-historic Main Line Helene. Alag, Dafnord, Glorian, Kate, and Lorelei head to that site and Ashleigh, Chris, Chekov, and Salindera remain on Fast Times with directions to pick us up in a year if we don't get pack. Alag and Lorelei pull out their disflorgers. Glorian and Kate prepare sonic stunners and blasters. Everyone seems to make critical patharchic skill rolls.
Alag opens a window momentarily to get sighting information. It is opened landscape, to his back [no style points here]. We see that Riotri is hanging in mid-cast--it is a fraction of a second after the last two doors. Everyone except Dafnord aims. He stays off to one side, ready to push everyone out of the way if something goes wrong. We take a deep breath. Alag opens a door.
VZOW! Alag's disflorger destroys Riotri, his chair, and much of his desk.
VZOW! Lorelei's disflorger eats up the rest of the desk and more furnishings.
BZZOT! Kate's blaster misses but sets the wall on fire.
HMMMMMMM!!! HMMMMMMM!!! The stunners go off, but there's nothing to stun.
Lorelei, realizing that we need to make it look like more of an accident, tosses in a few hi-tech explosive grenades just before the door closes. Alag opens a window and we watch as an Inner Guardsman just outside opens the door. He notices the grenade but it explodes in his face. Miraculously, he manages to live and stumble out the door....
[the end...for this fraction of a second...]
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.