New York 1984
Week 14, Whizzer takes the Segement
We left our heroes using a Sending, created by Daewen, to negotiate with Vincent. Vincent had just asked, "Who would YOU trust, and why?"
Since he is really referring to what we intend to do with the diadem segment, we answer, "We hope to make it throw itself away. Also, we might send the pieces back to their points of entry and time-loop them."
Vincent: "So you wouldn't give it to the one who sent you?"
Sending: "We haven't had much contact, so we don't entirely trust him."
Vincent: "It still seems safer not to have them all in one place."
Sending: "Yes, but the worldbender -- the time-twisters -- are after it too."
We now flash back to Chris. (Remember Chris?) As you may recall, he was teleported away a few episodes back. His player has returned, so we can resume his adventures. Chris was unexpectedly caught by a gas-grenade. He was feeling woozy and leaned forward onto the levitating grill with the prisoners tied to it. A teleporting retrieval claw appeared in the air, descended, and accidentally grabbed Chris instead of a prisoner. Chris is instantly elsewhere.
He finds himself in a room cut from the local stone, with eight or nine people, many of them armed, one of them Whizzer (still known to Chris as "Sleeves"). He also finds his telepathic links gone. Quickly, Chris turns invisible and side-steps, claw still attached. Nonetheless, Whizzer gestures at him with the words, "Later for you," and zip Chris is once more instantly elsewhere.
He lands clumsily. Once more, he is in a cavern chamber with eight or nine people. Most of these are armed. One of them is Vincent. Chris is relieved to discover he is still invisible. But he mad noise when landing, and these folk are looking toward him. Perhaps they are expecting him? He levitates and takes his body to the horizontal. But Vincent and Lara, who is also there, keep tracking him.
The Sending's negotiations are interrupted by a strange thudding and scuffling sound which distracts and unnerves everybody. Vincent readies his staff and four or five blasters cover the sending. As the reader has probably guessed, Chris has shown up at the negotiations, apparently having been skipped across a short space AND a short time by Whizzer.
Chris puts up a clairvoyance Cloak to put off Lara and Vincent, then flits in a new direction. The blaster-men start relaxing their aim on Daewen's Sending, but Vincent makes a wondrous leap and in roughly the same direction as Chris. Chris Anticipates this, however, and ducks. The Sending stands and takes a couple of steps back.
Chris now notices "Daewen." He pries the dratted claw off with hands and TK, thinking it may give his position away, still under Vincent's watchful eye, or some other sense organ. He Glamour's a whisper into the Sending's ear, "Hi, Daewen. Are we negotiating?"
This is picked up by Alag's Second Sight viewpoint and thus relayed through our telepathy net. Sophie drops off and contacts Chris telepathically. (She dropped off so she could verify that it was really Chris and that he wasn't under any form of control without breaching the whole party's mental security.) Chris is fine, so Tom links up and he is back on the net. Tom starts giving him a fast-forward through the last few hours of his memory.
Meanwhile, Vincent is still tracking Chris, who drops the claw. A guard starts to shoot it and is inaudibly called off. (Telepathy from Lara?)
The Sending explains, "That was someone coming through. He--"
Just then, the Sending gets "re-written" as Daewen in her dark garb as the Foreshadower, heightened as we have seen it from time to time by High Presence. Her sword is drawn. The figure intones to Vincent, "The time is at hand. Open the door."
(Daewen, is that you? Alag gropes around psychically for his grandmother and finds she has displaced the Sending. That's the real her out there. On the net, she comments to us, "This seemed like a moment of portent.") None of the underworlders makes a move. Well, it's either cover for her or let Daewen down badly. Tom steps out into the room and starts for the door. Pfusand follows. Vincent steps aside for him, but Lara bars the way to the door.
Daewen gestures at Lara and a silky, sinuous streamer of smoke or mist heads for the underworld illusionist. Lara vanishes. Tom approaches the door. The two nearest guards raise their guns, then check as if ordered to stop. Tom uses his senses and extrasenses to check the door for traps and electrification, but finds none. Alag joins him invisibly and double-checks. He Dices at the lock but fails to open it. Tom opens it with TK, still not wanting to touch it. It's locked.
>From far back in the crowd, Cantrel launches a Knock spell. That does the trick. But remember the jinxes on Cantrel and Alag? Alag gets caught in the fallout and all his buckles and ties come undone. Since he is invisible, the curious spectators see a shower of camping equipment come from mid-air, followed by samples of very low elvish.
Beyond the door, Tom sees a larger room, stuffed with junk. But his eye is drawn to the back wall, which is funny. A passage way is irising shut -- a pantope-style gateway, it seems. And in the foreground is Whizzer. Tom notes thin metal pipes leading down his arms, as if Whizzer were wearing some sort of framework. He closes a hand and vanishes. By now, the door is closed, too.
Immediately after, Sophie announces telepathically that the segment is gone from the detector. So Whizzer has run off with it. Or the two have run off in different directions. sigh Prompted by Sophie, Tom turns to the underworlders and says, "Well, Whizzer has taken it."
Tom and Daewen try to locate Whizzer psychically, but fail. Tom notes some hi-tech consoles on the wall, approaches them, and kicks in his Knack of Tools to feel out their functions. A lot of monitoring equipment. Some of it appears to work interdimensionally.
Chris asks Lara, who comes back, "Where did he go?"
"Away," is the unhelpful reply.
On the wall where the teleport gate shut, there is a device smoking away. Whizzer seems to have slagged down one set of controls.
Turning from technology to magic, Tom sniffs out a dozen enchanted rods lying on a work table. Recalling our static friend Lorelei, he asks Lara, "Will any of these break a stasis?" "No, the usually cause them." Chris notes that one of them is "running" and asks "How do you turn one off?" "Don't know."
Tom tries his Knack of Tools, but the thing is set to respond to no one but Whizzer. He then tries his psilencer, but that doesn't faze it. Alag takes it off into a corner and spells at it with Binding. Chris joins him with Pattern. Eventually, they disenchant it and Lorelei thaws out. (Her player is back too.)
After a certain amount of reorientation, Lorelei is ready to roll again and starts by healing Cantrel of some of his many many wounds.
Back in the lab, Tom interviews a reluctant Lara and learns that Whizzer has never popped off this way before and has been here as long as there has been a "here." And now that we've thawed our friend out, would we please go?
"Certainly. We've nothing to keep us here now. May we leave peacefully? Oh, and while we don't mean to trouble you again, if we SHOULD show up, would you mind talking first and shooting later, if at all?"
"Oh, I suppose, if you don't try to stay long."
Alag wants to know about getting rid of his jinx, but Lara doesn't know about jinxes. In fact, the thing seems to have worn out, or to have left with Whizzer, because Alag finds on close inspection that neither he nor Cantrel are jinxed anymore.
Tom starts fiddling with the dimensional monitors again and comes up with some interesting records. He finds a log of the things Whizzer and his equipment have been doing, dimensionally speaking. He can't understand it, but he and Sophie both memorize it. Daewen comes over and takes a look. She says that Whizzer used a form of "dimensional prosthesis," a device for teleporting and dimension hopping that can only be used by sentient beings, not automatically. She can't tell where he was bound. As to the door, he carefully masked the readings with static.
Daewen remarks we could tell more if we brought the pantope down here. Can we? Well, it seems that whatever interference was keeping our doors away is gone. Long gone, in fact, soon after we arrived. We now remember Whizzer's remarks to Henderson about a third party "friend" of theirs who was having trouble keeping his contacts up. Was he perchance timelocked out by us? Was it perchance the Captain, earlier, and therefore the same pantope earlier? A familiar feeling of temporal vertigo trickles through the telepathy net.
Sophie asks Vincent what he thinks of these developments. He's glad the pieces are still separate and hints that we should leave. Yes, yes. Would he like some healing? No thank you. How about Eric? Probably a good idea.
Vincent escorts us back the way we came, pausing to growl, rather, at the havoc caused by the hell gun. (Hey, WE didn't shoot it.) We find that Eric has worked his way part way out of the "stone" floor and collapsed again. Alag frees him and Vincent explains things to him a little as Lorelei pulls him back from death's door. [This takes about 40 or 50 hit points, folks.]
Vincent carts the battered giant off. Just before he goes, Sophie gives him a parting gift of jewelry for Shadow, which Vincent says he will like.
As we find our way out, we feel followed. Probably by Vincent. Finally, we leave and find ourselves in the streets of New York shortly before dawn. We make our way back to the library, half hoping for a mugger to vent our frustrations on, but no mugger wants to attack eight people in space suits bearing guns, bows, and swords. (We're too ticked to use Glamour.) Try getting a cab that way, too.
Back at the pantope, we start repairing ourselves and equipment. Chris and Daewen slip a window back down to Whizzer's lab and find that, since we left, the place has been efficiently trashed, presumably to destroy any clues or equipment we might use. Hmmph. We stop exterior time.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.