Week 30, Preparing to Assault Gorlach
Well, here we are in this Pantope with a pregnant woman and a stopped universe. We have all the time in the world. She's due in two weeks.
Wu decides to test magic in the Pantope. He tries creating a ball of light. The ball is unstable and flickers badly. He tries a triple power spell and gets a flashbulb effect. We ask the serving system for an explanation. The serving system gets patronizing and explains that it observed a lot of light being given off and a "warping."
"What sort of 'warping?'" asks Chris.
"It would take too long to explain." says the serving system.
"Try me." hisses Chris. "I'm two paradigms beyond these people, I have a M.S. in chemistry, and it hasn't been that long since I took six hours of psionic physics."
The serving system and Chris drop into 31st century tech-speak for a moment. Then Chris reports back. "Well, basically, there's not much manna here, and what there is unstable." Great. We could have figured that out ourselves.
Wu and Cantrel go off to test our high-tech gear. They verify that stun guns and zap guns still work (the zap gun actually goes "crackle-zot bang" in the magic world, but that's close enough to "zap" for our purposes. They also verify that blue pencils work as much as they ever did.
The Pantope door, on the other hand, leaks badly. All our good high-tech gear (anything that is built on psionic physics) becomes very magical. They're also completely unshielded. Chris has the theory that anything that has a built-in psilencer would come out as being shielded. Of course, we have very little of that. No one would waste the chip space putting a psilencer on consumer goods where we come from. It's hard enough getting a real metal case anymore. Where Chris is from it's even getting hard to find a good plastic case. Everything's dropped into ceramic.
Anyway, the Pantope door detects as very, very magical, even in observe-only mode. So magical that a novice mage doing a detect magic 180 degrees away from it will know that there's something very magical to the rear. Not good.
Alag and Chris get stun guns and decide to tour the Pantope, with the long-term goal of trying to find the lost pieces of the Pantope. They bring backpacks with bedrolls and a supply of food. They also take a robot with them.
In the tech museum, Chris finds a psionic soft tool that he pockets.
In the library, Chris finds a lesson book that can teach psi talents. (He's familiar with psi-babble and is thus more facile with the card catalogue. He quickly thumbs through it, finding that has at least: Levitation, Binding, Trigger, Pattern, Coil, and Skill-Swap. [It has a 75% chance of having any given talent in it, and teaches like a 75% teacher.]
In the wardrobe, Chris and Alag start building things. They start off with three compound bows. For Chris, Alag, and Daewen. Chris plans to give his old bow to Tom, as Tom has a fondness for things owned by masters. Chris gets a couple of bottles of aluminum dust and jeweler's rouge. He also builds six polished metal arrows. He also starts muttering about mustard gas and phosgene, but decides better about making any. Cantrel does his own nefarious equipping.
Chris and Alag spend a couple days exploring the Pantope, but since the GM didn't have an accurate Pantope map, that will have to be deferred.
Victoria's child is a boy. He arrives on time (bad way to start out, if you ask me. Sets the wrong sort of expectations). She and Cantrel spend two weeks getting re-acquainted.
We all train for those two weeks (except C & V), and then for eight more. Most of us improve our skill with recoilless weapons, for the attack on the G person. Chris takes up Levitation.
We plan our attack. Chris and Daewen devise a method of approach to the castle that we'll call the "backscan." It works as follows: surface the door in observe-only mode. Take a look. Move some distance (say 20m) toward the destination, and re-surface. Except run time backwards a bit (say 50 ms). Repeat until you get where you want. Bail out in normal time. This has two advantages over a normal approach:
We decide against pulling out the really heavy artillery. Might attract worldbenders.
We argue a lot, and outfit ourselves. Everyone has recoilless weapons, a few of us have flying belts. We decide that we should ask the Black Mage a couple of questions about the G person.
We find that if the G person has put our stuff in one of those transdimensional boxes that everyone seems to have and we kill him, the stuff can be found. It isn't easy, but it's do-able. We mutter that we have all the time in the world. The Black also doesn't know of any times that the G person is conveniently out of town.
We find that the Black has been doing some thinking of his own. He's now got a self-containment box, a clear polycarbonate staff, and a computer. He wants a watch. He's thinking that since he's going to have face the G person sometime, and we were planning the same, why not join forces if he can be undercover until he's prepared to be the Lexan Archmage. Wu and Chris exchange "Do we really want this guy to have a watch?" looks, but we decide to re-negotiate the contract.
Shuttle diplomacy follows. Chris goes to talk to the Black and comes back to talk to the Pantope crew. Several times. Wu starts addressing him as "Dr. Kissenger." We play our cards very close to our chest. We ultimately decide that we'll make the attack with the Black.
Specific negotiations on what we want in return for a watch (which would make the new Lucite Archmage the Wizard of Space and Time) are still to be settled. Probably we want a permanent friendship (or at least non-aggression pact with him). Once we're off on our own again, he has nothing we want, except services and friendship.
Cantrel, of course doesn't like this one bit. Chris, on the other hand, being used to fighting battles against the odds, likes getting all the friends he can get. Maybe we can recognize the magic world(s) as being his territory, and he can do the same for us. After all, we could sure use his help in that world, and he ever needs to come to ours, he'd be better off with ours. Maybe we should agree to be nice, knock at the border, make sure to get a visa stamped, and not do anything unprovoked to each other. Hmmm. Has possibilities. After all, the man does speak with angels.
Current battle plans are as follows: We backscan into G's castle. Possibly, we smash a djinn in a bottle (nice hand grenade) which will be most annoyed, find G, burn off some of his pre-conjured spells. We fire a few laser shots into the slowed door, open it on G, bail out bringing the Black (probably in his Lucite form) in via a self-containment box, and deal G as much damage as quickly as we can. We're still debating the fine points (like should we even use the djinn tonic).
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.