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[5e IC] Tabula Rasa, Chapter IV - GAME COMPLETE

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Tecumseh

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« on: <05-27-15/0123:28> »
Sam's eyes snap open and a cry escapes from deep within.

SamKatsina
"Принесите мне орк!" the former troll screams, shaking the night forest.          I... have no idea what that means, the Masked Woman thinks to herself. I speak... Romanian? Da, vorbesc română.
Sam reaches out to seize the woman but the action is sluggish. Moving his arms feels like pushing them through water, or syrup. He extends a hand - or, rather, a claw - but moving it is like trying to scratch his way out of a cast-iron glove.               "Shh, shh, it will be alright," Katsina shushes, half-sincere. She's glad she put the spell in place to hold him. She grabs his hands and uses her magically augmented strength to push them gently back down to Sam's chest. Her gloves smoulder slightly on contact with Sam's skin. Well, I have more, she thinks.
Sam, overstimulated, continues to struggle. It's too much for his brain; it's like he woke up twice. There's a new world layered on top of the old world and it's making his head split. He slams his eyes shut but only one of the worlds goes away. The other stays, bright as an explosion at night.               "You're assensing," Katsina tries to explain, knowing that he's probably not listening, and even if he were he probably wouldn't understand. "I wish I could tell you what it was like for me, but I can't remember. I just remember black."
He rolls his head around, searching for a view that doesn't blind him. The trees ... shine like spotlights. The earth ... glows with life. There are ... flying people in the sky?               Katsina looks around, trying to see what he would see. "Those are spirits, Sam," she says, pointing up to the sky, wheezing at the effort of sustaining the spell that holds him. "Snow spirits, storm spirits. Spirits of this place."
Sam looks at himself and sees his arms and legs bound by magical energy. It doesn't make any sense. He looks toward a voice that seems to be speaking to him. It's a ... woman, who is shrouded in a spell herself. She kneels next to him, but there's something covering her face. It's dazzling, powerful. He can't see through it.               "It's me," she says calmly. "Katsina. Illeana. Mask." She wonders how to calm his fevered mind. "You always wanted to see me without the mask, right?" She whispers to herself in Sperethiel and removes it. Looking down at him, she gives a small smile.
The fomóraig turns to look. His natural eyes see the spell she has woven, the young Hopi maiden dressed as a rancher. His new eyes see what lies beneath. She blazes with the power of a maximum force spell.               The vampire keeps her eyes locked with his. She holds onto his hands, hoping to comfort him. The acid eats away through the gloves, turning them to tatters. She holds his hands still, stomaching the burn while her skin knits itself back together.
Sam stops resisting and slumps down, delirious.          "I will guide the best I can," Katsina says, sitting back. She washes her hands on the snow and lets her skin heal.
The man slips into dreamtime. A time out of time. Everywhen. The stars stop, then reverse, but time marches forward still. Music drifts into his frame of vision, but not the notes. The feelings. The emotions. It's if they had their own taste, or scent. He feels them as certainly as he feels the bonfire.               The woman wraps her arms around her knees, stuffing her hands up the sleeves of her lined jacket so they don't go numb. She rocks back and forth, humming a lullabye that may or may not have words. She's too tired to think of them; the spell took too much out of her.
[spoiler]Sam looks over to Katsina, but she's not there anymore. Instead, there is Bear. He is large as a grizzly and sits as a bear would sit, but he is improbably purple. He speaks to Sam in Russian.

"I am Bear," he introduces himself.

"A bear?" Sam asks unsteadily, uncertain if he's actually speaking aloud or not.

"Bear," he corrects.

Sam nods.

"I will be with you from now on. Even when you cannot see me, I will be deep within."

Sam breathes steadily, listening.

"I chose you, Rozhki. I demand much from my followers, but more is given."

"What must I do?"

"We - you and I - are strength and protection. We are ferocious defenders, safeguarding our friends and families. No harm can come to them.

"We are powerful, but gentle and wise. We move slowly until we move fast. We are slow to anger, but terrifying in battle. We are guardians of the natural world."


"I understand," Sam says.

"Not yet, but you will," Bear replies, and then he is gone.[/spoiler]
               [spoiler]Katsina turns to stare into her fire, which has burned continuously since her Imbolc festival.

Hecate, what should I do? Katsina prays, studying the dancing shape of the flames.

"What you've always done," the Goddess replies. "Help him. Help them all."

What if it's too much for him? she pleads. What if he attacks one of the others?

"It is a risk," the Goddess acknowledges. "You must equip them for the danger they now face."

Katsina nods.

"You must appreciate how important the obelisk is. You must support every ally you can find, no matter their shape or form."

But how many am I condemning to die to allow him to live? How many must I kill to live? How can I call our lives greater than all of those that we will take to sustain us?

"If you succeed, you will save many more than you could ever take. Many more. The scales have been weighed, and yours is not the heavier.

"I chose you, Illeana. You are precisely where you must be to do what you must do."


I understand, Katsina thinks.

"Not yet, but you will," the Goddess replies, and then she is gone.

[/spoiler]
Sam's eyes snap open. There's a rush of air as he inhales the cold mountain wind, filling his lungs with the first breath of his new life.               Katsina turns and smiles to Sam. She slips her mask back into place, whispers to it, and then feels safe again.
« Last Edit: <12-19-15/0301:41> by Tecumseh »

Zweiblumen

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« Reply #1 on: <05-29-15/1216:33> »
When Katsina moves everyone away, Doc moves towards the van.  Then makes himself a little place he can observe from while being mostly hidden.  Sam is layed out in front of him, while Katsina stands next to the giant whit her back to Doc.  Using his dampened cybereyes he records Sam's Awakening.  All of the equipment he can use to capture the process he is, recording all of the data to his 'deck.  His old self seemed obsessed with porn and violence, and while still having an obessive streak he's channeling it towards research and discovery now.

While the transformation is finishing Doc and his agent are still running every search they can on fomóraig.  He knows that he's going to need some metahuman meat soon, and doesn't know how/where he'll be able to get that immediately.  Looks like they are going back to one of the hospitals sooner than later.  And probably without Sam.  He starts coming up with a way to pull off his previous plan to get food for Kat and adds Sam's new needs to the list.

He's brought out of his mental ramblings when Sam suddenly shouts "Принесите мне орк!".  He focuses on the interaction between Sam and Katsina.  The vampire trying to soothe the newly Awakened beast of a man.  Sam struggling against the mystical bonds Doc can't see, but can see the effect of.  He's suddenly very greatful those are there as he doubts his cyber-shotgun would even register on Sam before he devoured him.  Still recording he watches as the two of them seem to loose focus on each other and muttering softly, but not at eachother.  He assumes there is some mystic component he's unable to comprehend happening.

As Sam relaxes and Katsina puts her mask back on, Doc's still not seen her face, he smiles and stops recording and starts trying to make dinner.
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Poindexter

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« Reply #2 on: <05-30-15/1738:38> »
For a long, tense few moments, the giant struggles with every ounce of might inside his twisted form against the shackles he doesn't quite understand how he perceives. He hasn't a clue how he knows they're magical or that they're extremely strong, but he does. What's going on?! Every time he sets his eyes in a new direction, they're greeted by some new, astounding thing. Glowing trees and flying people! WHY am I so HUNGRY?! Even closing his eyes provides no solace from the slew of new and intense images bombarding him from every angle. Where's CHINO?!

Slowly, he becomes aware of a pair of small, dainty, yet strong hands, cradling his face. Is that Katsina? It sure doesn't look like her. She must be able to sense the confusion on his twisted face, because she speaks to him.

"You're assensing. I wish I could tell you what it was like for me, but I can't remember. I just remember black."

I'm still dreaming. Assensing is what wizards do to see spirits and auras and all that mess. Black. Sam would sell his soul for black right now. Instead there are sensations, colors, and feelings he doesn't have the words to describe. Suddenly, a pair of blue icey sprite like forms flash past him and Katsina, dancing and racing along the countryside and having fun. Sam turns his head quickly to follow them, curious, hungry, and terrified all at once. Katsina must read him like a book, sensing his confusion.

"Those are spirits, Sam; Snow spirits, storm spirits. Spirits of this place."

For a moment, he stops struggling and focuses on his nearby surroundings. He's in the camp. The bonfire is still going. The only one near him is the form that now holds his head in her hands. He squints his meat eyes as hard as he can, straining his brain to discover who the form belongs to.

"It's me, Katsina. Illeana. Mask. You always wanted to see me without the mask, right?"

As the blinding bright form begins to take her mask off, suddenly she's gone. Replaced by a mighty bear spirit. The bear speaks to him of strength, protection, loyalty, and speed, then is gone as fast as it came. Once again, he can see Katsina kneeling near him. His mouth is dry, and his throat hoarse when finally manages to rasp out, "What happened to the bear?"

"I will guide the best I can,"

Slowly, the realizations begin to hit Sam one at a time. First, that he's not dreaming anymore. Second, that he's not dead yet. But after those first two, the epiphanies start to get worse and worse. The last few memories he has are of the battle against those "creatures", then blurry flashes of the walk back to camp, then puking and crazy dreams. And now, the vampire has awoken me, bound me, and is offering to guide me. He looks down at the bare skin of his upper body, if "skin" is even the proper term anymore. Thick, spiny, calcified, and coated in a slick film that seemed to be dissolving the gloves off Katsina's hands at this very moment. Is this what trolls look like when they turn into vampires? Those things we fought must have been Sasquatch vampires. Am I a vampire now? He cranes his neck to turn and look up at Katsina with a mix of rage and misery in his eyes.

"Am I... like you, now?"
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #3 on: <05-31-15/0211:34> »
"What happened to the bear?"

The bear, the bear... is he talking about the horned bear? Katsina wonders, thinking back to the feverish first moments after they all awoke in the van. No, he must have been confused about what he was fighting last night.

"They weren't bears. They were bandersnatchii. Infected sasquatches. They need sasquatch meat to live and it sounds like you stumbled into the middle of their hunt. One of them clawed you and infected you. You are a fomóraig now."

"Am I... like you, now?"

Katsina follows his rapidly shifting aura. It's not hard to pick out the confusion, or the horror of realization, or the reaction to his skin. She knows this is a delicate encounter, one that could easily end with her claymore jutting out of his chest. But that's a last resort, in case he tries to make a meal of one of the others.

"Not like me, not exactly. You can still eat other things. Plants, pizza. You will need to consume meathuman meat, yes, but not every meal. You should be able to go a week on normal food, maybe even a month if you really stretch it. The only thing you can't eat is cooked meat. It will make you sick."

Her enhanced sense of smell has no trouble picking up Doc's cooking. "Doc," she calls out. "Leave some meat uncooked. Sam can only eat raw meat. Everything else can be cooked."

She turns back to Sam. "I can see that you are hungry. Here, look at your own aura. It is the green tinge emanating from your stomach. You will be able to see it in others as well, once you know what to look for. I can help you with this. So can Ohanzee and Chino."

She stops and wonders if maybe she shouldn't have mentioned the others in the context of hunger.

"You're hungry because you haven't eaten in over 24 hours. You've been unconscious during your transformation. Your body has been through a lot. We'll get you some dinner."

There's a lot to tell him. Where to even begin? First, assuage his concerns about his skin.

She reaches out and touches his arm; Sam sees her aura blaze as she cast a spell. The glow dies down and the spell sinks into him, hovering just over the surface of his body. His new sight can see the spell clearly. His old eyes see... his old skin. His old body, untransformed. He rubs his hands together and feels that the nodules are gone. But yet... he can tell that it's not real.

Katsina coughs and wheezes. "I'm sorry. It's not a very good casting," she apologizes. "I am very tired. I will do a better one tomorrow. One we can make permanent."

She pauses to catch her breath. Her eyes start to cross with the concentration of sustaining two spells. Eventually she just lets the mask spell slip away. She stands, a little wobbly.

"Let me get you something to eat." She walks over to Doc to collect a plate of food. "No, not the hot dogs; they are precooked. Give me some of the cornbread and vegetarian chili."

She brings the food back to Sam along with a bottle of water and a bottle of beer.

"Do you want to sit up? If you're too dizzy I can feed you." The momma vampire sits next to the baby fomóraig, scooping up a spoonful of chili to see if he wants to eat.

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« Reply #4 on: <05-31-15/1757:45> »
"You are a fomóraig now. Not like me, not exactly. You can still eat other things. Plants, pizza. You will need to consume meathuman meat, yes, but not every meal. You should be able to go a week on normal food, maybe even a month if you really stretch it. The only thing you can't eat is cooked meat. It will make you sick."

Metahuman meat The giant drops his head back down on the sleepingbag with a thunk. He closes his eyes, but quickly remembers that doing so doesn't help anymore and pops them back open, staring straight up.

She reaches out and touches his arm; Sam sees her aura blaze as she cast a spell. The glow dies down and the spell sinks into him, hovering just over the surface of his body. His new sight can see the spell clearly. His old eyes see... his old skin. His old body, untransformed. He rubs his hands together and feels that the nodules are gone. But yet... he can tell that it's not real. Katsina coughs and wheezes.

"I'm sorry. It's not a very good casting, I am very tired. I will do a better one tomorrow. One we can make permanent."

Looking down at the illusion of his former skin, Sam feels a slight twinge of disgust. It feels too much like the shackles she's got around his arms and legs. He instinctively starts clawing at the spell clinging to him like a dog in a sweater. He's frantically growling at his new mentor now. "No, no no no! No, I don't like it. No. No, no no. Take it off, take it off. No no no no." She quickly obliges and drops the illusion and he slowly relaxes again. Once he's breathing regularly once more, he lets out a long breath and speaks. "No hiding. I just want to be what I am." She seems to understand and changes the subject back to a simpler one; food. On seeing the water and the chili, Sam simply forgets himself for a moment and his mouth starts watering. Well, secreting, anyway.

"Do you want to sit up? If you're too dizzy I can feed you."

Dragging himself into a sitting position against the weight of her magical chains, he groans. "Uaaaaaarghhh! No, I'm fine. Give me the bowl." Taking the still piping hot bowl from her, he begins ravenously slurping it into his gaping maw. After a few seconds, it's gone and he snatches the water and downs that in record time as well. Breath still heaving a bit, he turns his attention back to the vampire. "Is there more?"
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Malevolence

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« Reply #5 on: <05-31-15/2130:58> »
Once Katsina had kicked them out of the tent, Ohanzee found a free seat in the van and settled in. He projected himself back to the tent, staying hidden as much as he could. He didn't want the new Sam to see him just in case Katsina's worst fears were realized, but he wanted to be there for his friend - both of them. If the worst case scenario happened, he could subdue Sam on the Astral, putting him back to sleep before he caused too much damage - hopefully.


When the big ex-Troll awakened, Katsina was surprisingly prepared. They talked earnestly and she was patient and gentle at every step, calming the large beast. Sam, for his part, took it surprisingly well. Once the big troll was eating, Ohanzee was satisfied that the danger was past, and withdrew to his body, exited the vehicle, and filled his own plate. He made his way to the tent and poked his head in, looking for permission to enter.


"Is there more?" Sam asks, and Ohanzee volunteers to refill his plate. Katsina, likely aware of his presence during Sam's first moments, does not remind him of Sam's dietary requirements or the precooked hot dogs, but merely smiles at him as he retreats back through the door. He returns shortly with a plate heaping with Fomóraig-safe food, hands it to Sam, then sits down and eats quietly while his friend - his aura is still unmistakably Sam's - wolfs down the new plate of food. From the Russian's aura Ohanzee can see that the hunger for fuel is mostly abated, but the real Hunger is still there, weak but insistent.


Only after Sam has put down the empty plate does Ohanzee speak again. "At this rate, we're going to have the strangest dinner parties." After Sam and Katsina groaned their disapproval of his levity, he continued on. "I'm sorry we couldn't stop this." He indicates the changes in Sam's body with a wave, his eyes - and aura - indicating the genuine regret. "But we'll all do whatever we can going forward to help you adjust. And you are still a part of this team for as long as you want to be."


He pauses to gauge Sam's disposition, then continues.


"There is much to discuss after you find someplace safer to stay. The tent won't protect you from the sun, so you can't stay here. Your secretions will destroy the van, so you can't stay there. We can maybe dig an ice cave with a dogleg or two in it - that should do."

"Past that, we need to discuss how we're going to get you into the van without making it unusable, how we're going to feed you - maybe thaw one of those bandersnatchii - and then how we're going to move forward with trading the artifact. Your preference will probably tend toward the nocturnal, but for the next few days or even weeks you'll have to stick to a diurnal schedule. Being in much the same boat, Katsina will be more help with that than I, but I'll be happy to answer any other questions I can about your new abilities as they relate to magic and the Astral. At any rate, the upshot of forcing yourself into a diurnal cycle is that it's up to you if you want to start tackling these issues tonight, or get some more shut eye and pick up in the morning."


Ohanzee looks like he's about to say more, but then clams up. I'm rambling again. He looks down at his empty plate, realizes that he forgot to grab a beer, then looks at the others expectantly, waiting for them to respond.
« Last Edit: <05-31-15/2134:45> by Malevolence »
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rednblack

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« Reply #6 on: <06-01-15/1229:03> »
Her enhanced sense of smell has no trouble picking up Doc's cooking. "Doc," she calls out. "Leave some meat uncooked. Sam can only eat raw meat. Everything else can be cooked."

Meat.  Raw.  Check.  Not content to let any more time pass without doing something useful, Ace slings the Lancer across his shoulder and double-checks his machine pistol.  He knows that he can't promise metahuman flesh, but maybe something raw and unprocessed will fill Sam's hunger better than the food they've been eating.  If nothing else, it will be a nice gift to a friend, considering how helpless he's been with the new developments, anything he can do, he'd like to try.

Ace steps out of the back of the van, and puts on his snow shoes before circling around the camp and heading east.  He's still within earshot when he hears Chino huffing up behind him, asking where he's heading.  "Going to try my luck at hunting," Ace says.  Chino replies that Ace doesn't really know what he's doing, and he'll need some help if he wants to be successful. 

"Look, chummer," Chino says, "if you actually want to do this, you'll need some help.  Let's find you a rise where you can see something coming, and I'll flush it toward you, wiz?"

Ace really isn't familiar with the lexicon Chino's using, but he feigns understanding, and it isn't a long walk before Chino points up to a copse of trees on a slight bluff.  "See how things are thinned out around here?  See that feint line, that's a game trail.  You set up there, and I'll double back and come up from your right about 300 meters out.  If it's smaller than me, it'll go running to you.  If it's bigger than me, nice knowing you, chummer."

And with that, Chino stomps off the way he came before taking a hard right into the tree line.  Ace sneaks as much as his snow shoes will let him, and climbs up the small bluff.  Once he's in the trees, he takes the tennis rackets off his feet, and puts his back to a tree, machine pistol at the ready.  After sitting still for a moment or two, Ace thinks that he should maybe camouflage himself a little better, so he adjusts his positioning further into a bushier tree and clears a line of sight by breaking some branches. 

Then the waiting comes.  The weather was almost pleasant during the hike, all things considered.  Sure, it was still cold as a witch's tit -- Ace would know, he thinks -- but the sun felt good on his face.  Now that he's in the shade, the chill begins to set in, and he has to fight the urge to move and keep himself warm.  He regulates his breathing and changes which hand is holding the machine pistol so that can hug the other to his core, an attempt at keeping his limbs functional.  He reasons that his legs will just have to be cold.  Whenever he tries to move them, the crunching in the snow is too audible, and so he brings them up close, and holds his position, feeling the cold radiating in around his feet and butt.  Ghost, I hope Chino hurries up here.

After a bit, Chino's plan comes to fruition.  A Bobcat scurries along the game trail, stopping to sniff the air every ten meters or so.  As it nears Ace, it leaves the trail, though, and starts moving further off as it crosses Ace's path.  Drek.  The target reticle on Ace's smartlink practically swallows the feline at this range, which Ace calculates at just shy of fifty meters.  Still, he lines up as best he can, and runs through diagnostics on what a small mammal's anatomy must be.  He figures that optimal shot placement would be just behind the shoulder blade.  He could catch the cat through both lungs, and possibly strike the heart as well.  He waits for the bobcat to stop and sniff the air again, and when it does, he issues the mental command to fire -- no use in letting his finger throw off the site picture if time wasn't an issue.

The shot rings out, and the the bobcat tenses, and begins to run, making it only two steps before collapsing in the snow.  Ace smiles.  He can't help it, and for a brief moment he's not thinking about Sam, or the obelisk, or how they're going to get out of this mess.  The only thing on his mind right now is that maybe those backwoods folks have something figured out that the rest of metahumanity is just clueless about.

A few minutes later, while Ace is surveying the dead bobcat Chino jogs up behind him.  "Ya know, if it's your first one, you've got to drink it," Chino says, motioning to the fresh blood on the snow.  Ace declines, much to Chino's annoyance, but the last thing they need is two sick teammates.  Ace grabs the bobcat by his back two feet and they pair makes their way back to camp.  Once in comm range, Ace fires off a message.

<<@Team [Ace] I've got some raw meat.  Sam ready for visitors?>>
« Last Edit: <06-01-15/1551:45> by rednblack »
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #7 on: <06-01-15/1514:57> »
Katsina freezes up when Ohanzee comes near. She's used to being behind her mask and not having to conceal her facial expressions. She hopes that she didn't just give a sour look.

Is Sam ready? she wonders, eyes gliding to the side to gauge his reaction.

Ohanzee at least leads off with a decent joke. Katsina smiles and hopes that it adds some levity to the situation. She listens closely when he starts to discuss business.

"I think I can help with the sun issue," Katsina offers. "Just now, sitting by the fire, I remembered a spell as I was watching the interplay of the firelight. It reminded me of the sun and that I have a spell to alleviate my own allergy to it. It should work the same for Sam.

"There's also nothing that says that we have to take the van anywhere, or that Sam has to go in it. We were already talking about arranging for a meet in the wilderness, in terrain that suits us. I'm not a tactician so I don't know whether we want to be somewhere flat or somewhere like this. The valley makes for a good chokepoint, although it does make escape hard for us."


I wonder if this will get Sam's mind off things, if only for a minute.

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« Reply #8 on: <06-01-15/1701:33> »
Hearing the talk of the van reminds Doc about the emergency gear they have in there.  He darts back to the van and pulls open several of the kits to pull out the shiny emergency blankets.   "These are almost completely chemically inert.  They're fragile, but I think if we sew the BoPET sheets into his clothes, it should keep his acid from eating through everything until we can get him actual chem gear to wear."  He looks at Kat and asks, "Think we can line his clothes with this?"

He checks out the tent and says, "We can either line the top with any left over BoPET sheets or some of the extra camping gear we have..... or we can finish up the walls and make an actual igloo.  That'll definitely keep the sun out."

Then there's also the fact that we need to get this picture delivered.  I came up with a few names for candidates to send it to, have we made a decision?"
  He says refering to the astral image of the obelisk.
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #9 on: <06-02-15/0227:20> »
Katsina examines the emergency blankets. "I wouldn't call it the nicest material I've worked with but I can certainly cut and sew it into an underlayer for Sam."

She rustles the thin plastic blankets, which crinkle with movement. "I'm not sure it's going to be very stealthy though."

She starts measuring Sam, using a length of rope (wrapped in space blanket to prevent the rope's erosion) to take his dimensions.

"I think we should deliver the quicksilver photo to the Jäger woman in Denver. Let's get it to someone local, someone who can respond quickly. Any ideas about how to get it to her? One would think that if we got it into the hands of anyone Awakened at DIMR then they could assense it and escalate it accordingly. Is that true?" She looks to Ace and Doc as experts in security procedures. "What kind of response time can we expect? We also need to give them some procedures to follow, either a place to meet or a way to contact us."

After having logged Sam's dimensions, Katsina lays out one of the space blankets. She puts rocks on the corners, then traces a tailor's outline. She uses her throwing knives to cut the best she is able. Crude shapes begin to emerge from the patterns as she works to assemble a layer that will keep Sam's secretions contained.

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« Reply #10 on: <06-03-15/1902:34> »
Sam has never been a stupid nor impatient troll. Despite how much he hates the feeling of the magical shackles binding him, he's quick to understand why they need to be there. He's not certain what a Fomoraig or whatever is, exactly, but he knows that it's something like a vampire. As far as Katsina knew, he might have woken up in a mad rage, unable to be stopped. So he's not terribly upset about being chained, but it is slowly starting to wear on his nerves. The vampire woman is doing a fine job of keeping him thinking, rather than feeling, and as a result, he's stayed rather calm. He feels something in him change as soon as Ohanze enters the tent though. He's a bit more on edge now, and he doesn't like the way it feels. The little dwarf hands him a plate of food before any words cross between them, and Sam obliterates it in moments. As he's licking the plate, 'Hanzee pipes up all light-hearted like.

"At this rate, we're going to have the strangest dinner parties."

A slow, simmering hatred begins to well up deep in the back corners of the giant, taking up the space his soul used to occupy. It grows slowly in heat and intensity as he continues to speak.

"I'm sorry we couldn't stop this, but we'll all do whatever we can going forward to help you adjust. And you are still a part of this team for as long as you want to be."

Fuck your mother in half, you squat little shit! I'd eat you right now if you weren't so frakking hairy! Sam blinks himself out of a momentary loss of sanity. He shakes his head back and forth briefly, as if to get the cobwebs out. What the hell was that?! I need to get away from him right now. Sam can't explain why he feels so suddenly aggressive toward what was, until a day or so ago, his most trusted advisor, but he knows that distance is the remedy.

Sam is slowly rising to his feet to leave the tent and the dwarf just keeps on talking.

"There is much to discuss after you find someplace safer to stay. The tent won't protect you from the sun, so you can't stay here. Your secretions will destroy the van, so you can't stay there. We can maybe dig an ice cave with a dogleg or two in it - that should do. Past that, we need to discuss-"

Great ghost, why don't you fucking shut up?! Sam stands hunched over in the tent. He interrupts the dwarf while he's taking a breath and somehow manages the tact and etiquette to say, "More talk outside!" before stepping out into the night air, still feeling the shackles around him and understanding their necessity a bit more. Katsina and Ohanze follow him out toward the bonfire, where he stands, barechested, staring into it. "You were saying? We need to discuss...?"

"We need to discuss how we're going to get you into the van without making it unusable-"

Without turning to face him and risk getting angry again, he interrupts him again."Fuck that van. I think my van riding days are over. I think we all die out here in these mountains."

Katsina, perhaps sensing that the mood is rapidly changing, does her best to defuse the situation with some words of her own, before the dwarf can respond.

"There's nothing that says that we have to take the van anywhere, or that Sam has to go in it. We were already talking about arranging for a meet in the wilderness, in terrain that suits us. I'm not a tactician so I don't know whether we want to be somewhere flat or somewhere like this. The valley makes for a good chokepoint, although it does make escape hard for us."

Still staring into the fire, Sam starts thinking tactically again, never noticing that it was her intention to get him to do so. Even without magic, she really is a master manipulator. "I did find a few places in the surrounding area where I could set charges to trigger avalanches. I'll need to get to that, if it's to get done in a timely manner."

" What about how we're going to feed you - maybe thaw one of those bandersnatchii - and how we're going to move forward with trading the artifact. Your preference will probably tend toward the nocturnal, but for the next few days or even weeks you'll have to stick to a diurnal schedule. Being in much the same boat, Katsina will be more help with that than I, but I'll be happy to answer any other questions I can about your new abilities as they relate to magic and the Astral."

Men will come for us, little friend, oh trust me, they will come. Quickly, Sam is snapped out of his fatalistic stream of thought when a whole new one gets brought up. My new abilities? Well yes, I suppose assensing is a new ability, so it stands to reason there would be others! This time, he turns his head to face the dwarf he'd been treating like the team leader. "What sort of new abilities?" As soon as he looks at the tasty little guy, those weird feelings start coming back, so he quickly looks back to the fire.

------------------

Now, there's all sorts of fuss over measuring him and cutting patterns and whatnot for him, which he endures because he understands the importance of not eating though his cold weather gear with his own secretions. As embarrassing as the whole affair is, he endures it with as much grace as is possible, and doesn't complain the entire time. He continues to stare into the fire to distract him from the idea that Doc looks absolutely scrumptious, chrome and all.
« Last Edit: <06-17-15/1720:33> by Poindexter »
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rednblack

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« Reply #11 on: <06-04-15/1207:00> »
Ace and Chino approach the tent carefully, but then Sam exits, followed by Ohanzee and Katsina.  "Hoi," Ace says, holding up the bobcat.  "We figured you might still be hungry.  I thought about skinning it, but Chino said we'd lose the tasty bits, or whatever, that way.  Anyway, it's fresh as they come."

Chino takes a look at Sam and adds, "Well don't you look like emulsified bull-drek?  I'm just fucking with you, chummer.  You look fucking scary. Well, ya know, more so."

"Look, we're just glad you're still with us," Ace cuts in.  "It's good to see you.  I don't know how far you guys have got, but we should probably start talking about our next steps, eh?  Way I see it, we can't help but to split up and send an envoy to Denver, talk out the trade there, and make a circuitous path back to our new home base for the hand-off.  So far, that's the easy part.  Figuring out how to speak with the right person at DIMR will be a lot more challenging."
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #12 on: <06-04-15/1758:56> »
Katsina shoots Chino a glance, but admits that she doesn't know the best way to interact with Sam. I don't imagine the troll is big on cuddles; maybe Chino's rough love will suit Sam.

She pauses in her tailoring work to think about ways to deliver the quicksilver photographs.

"We could go in person, but that involves borders, and personal risk.

"We could hire a courier to drop them off. Could be a person, could be a drone from a nearby delivery company. Drone is probably cheaper. DIMR might able to trace that back with a good hacker, so we'd have to mind our interactions with the courier company.

"I suppose we could even get a spirit to deliver it,"
she says, looking at Ohanzee. "I know they don't like to get outside of a few hundred meters, so it wouldn't come back, but that would be for the best. We wouldn't want it to lead them back here. I think we're far enough away that astrally tracking the spirit's signature won't be a concern.

"They'll need a way to contact us. Doc, if we give them a commcode can they trace it back to our physical location?"




Once she's done with the BoPET linings, Katsina presents them to Sam so that he can change. She then takes the bobcat and starts to break it down, skinning it, removing the organs, and cubing the meat. She tries to work quickly so that the meat doesn't freeze, as rethawing it could start to cook it, which in turn would make Sam sick.

Malevolence

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« Reply #13 on: <06-04-15/1850:16> »
Ohanzee watches Sam's aura as they talk, noting the growing hunger as more and more people approach. We're not Infected, so we smell like dinner. He adjusts his tact, trying to avoid words and tone that triggers Sam's Hunger, but soon it becomes apparent that the sound of his voice - or, more accurately, the sight of him - triggers Sam's aggression. He sends a quick text to the rest of the team - excluding Sam - with that info.


<< @Ace, Kat, Chino, Doc [Ohanzee] Our presence is a temptation, one he is barely keeping in check. We should give him space. >>


To Sam he speaks on the Astral. "You are already aware of your ability to perceive the Astral realm. The research that Doc has done indicate that you may have some limited ability to shunt mana - disrupt spells, so to speak." He turns to walk away, hoping to put some distance between him and Sam, perhaps retreat to the van where he could then project in relative warmth and safety to continue the conversation. As soon as he takes the first step, Sam struggles against the astral chains binding him, his aura flaring with anger and Hunger.
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« Reply #14 on: <06-04-15/2311:34> »
"The way to track the location is by putting MARKS on the device.  I'd suggest that once we give them a comm code, we keep the device powered off.  We can then check it every 15-20 minutes for messages.  This will help by reducing the window of opportunity to track it.  While it's on, they'll be able to find it on the Matrix, but not physically.  So keeping the window short is a good idea."

Thinking about what he knows about DIMR and their offices in Denver and he realizes he knows quite a bit.

"They share a building with ASPS and the Draco Foundation in the UCAS sector.  They've a SotA host with a nasty firewall that honestly, I'd be lucky to get through.  Astrally they are even more secure, no surprise there with ASPS involved.  Physcially it's no easy task either.  They've an HTR team on site, with the posibility of spirits aiding them.  So, sneaking in isn't going to happen.  Chances of us just walking in and meeting with Jäger are slim to none.  Sending a message to her comm, which I have, is still likely to be routed to a secretary who may or may not think it's worth her attention.  There's the possiblity of them just trying to steal it from us, though I don't think that'll be their first course of action.
I feel our best bet is to send a well crated message directly to Jäger with standard images of the artifact along with directions to a dead drop of one of our three quicksilver plates.  Those two should be enough to get their attention, and hopefully in a positive way.
I'd like to have the dead drop in a public place that we can keep an eye on from both the Matrix and Astral where we will just blend into the background.  Sound good to you Sam?"
  He specifically addresses Sam and his expertise to try and have something close to what the team called "normal" return.
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