New York 1984
Wek 11, Jinxes
We left our heroes victorious for the moment, having bested Sleeves and three gunmen armed with blasters. We are now at the bottom of the spiral stair, with an underground stream, assorted tunnels, the static form of Lorelei, and the unconscious forms of the erstwhile gunmen, tied to a chunk of iron railing and made portable with Bound Levitation.
Using the diadem tracer, Sophie announces that we are nearly on the same level with the segment now. There is a convenient tunnel running in roughly the right direction.
We toss Lorelei on the railing and tie her down with a readily slipped knot. Alag, who had been "jinxed" or something in the firefight, tried juggling in psilence and succeeds. He fails in open psi. This is repeatable, so we conclude that the jinx or hex or whatever is paralyzed by psilence. He keeps his psilencer on.
Tom starts to examine the party for tracers, but is interrupted by a gas grenade dropping down in our midst, on top of the floating railing. Daewen flits hastily backward on flying belt. Pfusand grabs Alag and runs.
Alag finds he is in open psi again, since Pfusand's hand "accidentally" flipped the switch on his psilencer. He makes use of the occasion by trying to Dice the gas back into a smaller volume. He succeeds, and Tom, who had held his breath at the first hiss of gas, feels a familiar pain in his chest, ears, and sinuses. Vacuum! He exhales. Alag's jinx is getting creative.
Sophie falls over and Chris staggers. Daewen flits back through the cloud to grab Sophie. Meanwhile, one of those floating grabs ports in, grabs Chris by the hand (perhaps by accident while aiming for the unconscious gunmen) and vanishes with him.
Tom sends his Second Sight out on the tracer he has on Chris and gets nothing. It's even more final than a destroyed tracer or a psilence cloak. This means Chris is:
While Daewen tied a hunk of rope to the railing so we can haul the prisoners along at a safer distance, Tom examines them for tracers. Sure enough, two of them bear tracers, which probably explains the appearance of the grabs, and maybe the grenade. Tom erases one tracer but finds the other indelible. We leave that prisoner behind and take the other two.
Now that we are all in the tunnel, Tom examine the party for any new tracers. Alag and Cantrel have tracers, or something like them. Tom suspects they are tracer equivalents from a society with hexalogue physics. He erases them and Alag tries to juggle in open psi. But the jinx appears to be working still; he goofs and shatters one of his rocks.
Tom then tries to revive Sophie and partly succeeds. She wakes enough to stagger on her own feet when led by the hand.
Tom now turns his attention to the prisoners. He wants to "interrogate" them by performing a telepathic memory audit. The first prisoner seems to have the rags of a Shield around his mind. These, together with the exciting and distracting memories of the recent fight, interfere with the audit. Tom finds memories of a childhood down here in the tunnels, so this is a local. The name "Allied Epochs" (a time-patrol we've heard of, operating around Chris's era) is associated with a mild aversion.
The second prisoner is more lucid on the level of conscious memories, but solidly Shielded in some fashion on the unconscious level. He, too, grew up in the tunnels. He worries about discovery, about invaders, about "time- twisters." He is uncomfortable with the unfamiliar hi-tech gun he was given to use.
He remembers his birth date as "3800 after the Founding." (This is not a Gregorian date, clearly. 3800 what? years? From the founding of this underworld?) He has barely hear of Allied Epochs and doesn't want to be discovered by them. (Or by anyone else.)
Tom searches for memories of the Wild Talents we have met and traces the associative paths to some interesting data. Sleeves is known to the prisoner as "Whizzer." He is a VIP and may be a "time-twister" or at least a time traveler.
There is a psychic healer named "Doc," whom we have seen only in passing.
There is "Vlad," known to us as the Phantom. Hunting around for data on Vlad gets little more than the firm opinion that "it really isn't fair to call him a vampire." Goodie.
The Lion is "Vincent" and is a great guy. The lady who was clanging around in the upper levels behind us a few minutes ago (only a few minutes ago?!) was Vincent's friend.
Wild talents of various kinds are not uncommon down here, as we were beginning to suspect. Tom sighs and gives the prisoners a light dose of Amnesia, so that the memory audit will be to them like an unremembered dream.
We head on down the tunnel. Cantrel hears two people whispering BEHIND him! After a moment of nervous confusion, he realizes that he has had the great good fortune to run across a natural whispering gallery and is overhearing someone further down the hall. Some two, actually, planning to ambush us. "They're not terribly far down," says one whisper. Another answers, "Yeah I hear 'em. Get behind the rock."
Cantrel sneaks on ahead and finds a large rock at an intersection. He lobs a grenade over the rock. Someone shoots it out of the air. A second grenade just gets thrown back. Then the Giant jumps out from behind the rock, with a blaster. The Giant, we remember with no joy, can cancel TK and has Anticipation.
A lot of laser bolts, grenades, and blaster fire later, the Giant's companion is dead and charred, Cantrel is badly charred but not dead and seems to have contracted a jinx like Alag's, and the Giant is retreating down the corridor at 50 mph. Oh yeah, that was his other trick, if it wasn't a gift from Sleeves/Whizzer. Tom puts a tracer on him, but it cuts out, probably as the Giant crosses a psi barrier.
We pause to patch our wounded (i.e. Cantrel), recharge our psychic energies, and think. The jinxes appear to be working despite psilence, now. Alag creates some intelligent Dicing Patterns as an attempt to counteract his jinx.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.