New York 1984
Week 12, Fighting Through
We left our heroes in the caverns, recovering from a short but sharp fire fight with the Giant and a (late) colleague.
Tom takes the opportunity to perform a second pair of memory audits on the unconscious prisoners. On the first one, with the clearer memory, he finds no data on jinxes such as have been cast on Cantrel and Alag, but he learns that the Giant is named "Eric," is very fast by himself (not necessarily as a gift from Whizzer), and is very, very old. There are a few others like him. He also learns that the glimmery lady is named "Lara" and does spooky mind-stuff -- telepathy, illusions, etc.
The second prisoner, with the tattered shields, confirms this information and adds that Lara and Whizzer probably do the hexes.
We move onward. A few hundred yards down the corridor, we hear roaring in the distance and start to encounter mist. The underground river again. Alag, in the lead, hears footsteps. He clairviews ahead and finds a cave with four exits, plus our own entrance. No one is in sight. The rocks are opaque to Second Sight.
Just as he starts to poke his viewpoint down one exit, he feels a brief sensation of falling. Cantrel feels it too, and falls over. After a bit of confusion, they discover they have sunk up to their knees in the floor. Simultaneously, Pfusand spots a vague form in the entrance ahead.
Alag, who landed well, flicks an arrow at this figure, but it probably dodges it. Ditto the second, but the third arrow may have connected. Is the Vlad the not-really-vampire? Or Lara the Illusionist?
Daewen vanishes. Alag, who is connected to her telepathically, knows she's in distress. Sophie tries to telepath to Daewen and gets pain back. Daewen is getting rid of something. A feeling of relief, at the ragged edge of consciousness. Then she passes out.
Alag, meanwhile, is alarmed to see Eric the Giant loom out of the mist (which is getting thicker), in full armor, fist first. Alag tries to parry with sword, misses, and gets his lights punched out.
Eric's victory is short-lived. Cantrel fires and knocks him clean out. He then fires bolts into Eric's unconscious form, not to kill him but to keep him seriously out of the action. Pfusand comes over and starts stripping the armor off the giant, to deprive him of that resource (but gingerly; it's still hot).
Sophie, our last elf on her feet, goes looking for Daewen and soon finds her, unconscious. She comes to about then, and vanishes from sight (but not from Sophie's telepathic perceptions). Daewen has no idea what hit her, and tells Sophie so.
Cantrel tries a Knock spell on his embedded legs. The loosen for a moment, then are trapped again. Alag comes to, looks for a tracer on Eric, finds it, and breaks it. Tom comes over, examines the trapped legs, and worries that this is a case of triggered permeability. He offers to try his psilencer on it, but Cantrel is justifiably worried about catastrophic side effects. So instead Tom breaks out the energy drill and starts cutting Cantrel out of the stone.
Alag spots a glow ahead through the entrance. An image of Daewen appears there, faking a guard, and turns toward the glow.
Pfusand finishes stripping Eric and finds, in addition to the armor, a nifty knife, a chain belt, a blaster, and metal gauntlets.
While Tom and Cantrel work at rock with the drill, Alag fiddles with Binding. Suddenly, we ALL fall. (Tom nicks Cantrel with the drill.) We find ourselves in a deep pool of fine rock dust. Those with space helmets on are fortunate. Sophie Dices the dust away from herself and we all stand up.
The dust starts to re-congeal into "rock" (fake rock from the start, as we now perceive). Tom and Cantrel levitate off the floor and escape it, while Alag Dices himself a "tomb" within the rock. He then tries to drill his way out with binding but fails. On a suggestion from Tom, he turns on his psilencer, which suppresses the Binding on the dust.
Sophie, meanwhile, spots Shadow peeking around a corner. Cantrel shoots at him and elicits a scream of pain. (Daewen's image fakes a swing of a sword.) Cantrel flies after Shadow, bumps into a stalagmite, and spots Lara. He opens fire on her but the bolts pass through her.
Tom hands his psilencer to Pfusand, so the ex-Naza can work out of the "stone." Pfusand stumbles over Eric, not quite dead yet despite massive blaster bolts and being buried in dust, and props him up. Sophie writes on his arm a "last warning."
Cantrel gives up on the Lara image and heads off after Shadow again. Something PUSHES his trigger finger, causing him to shoot a stalactite down on himself, but he manages to parry the thing with TK. (That seems a little heavy-handed for the hex.)
Alag, burrowing through the dust in his space suit, retrieves all our lost possessions and gets trod on by Pfusand when he undermines the floor the ex-Naza stands on.
Tom checks out the Lara image with Second Sight (looks a lot like the kind of Glamour he's used to) and is a startled to find another Second Sight viewpoint staring out of it at him. Just then, Daewen fires on three people who approached from behind. They all go down and the Lara image vanishes.
The diadem detector indicates either of two nearly parallel tunnels. We pick the one the Lara image stood in front of and go.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.