New York 1984
Week 7, Retreat to the Pantope
We left our heroes under New York City, in the midst of a fight with a gang of Wild Talents. The scene is a staircase spiraling up a large circular pit with tunnels leading off the stairs and water at the bottom. The Wild Talents include a leonine fellow (whom we shall dub "Lion"), a very large man ("Giant"), a guy in flowing robes who plays tricks with time and space ("Sleeves"), and a black-clad, pain-casting, sometimes-tangible shapechanger, last seen vaporized ("Phantom").
Pfusand closes with Lion while Sophie "fires" an illusory blaster-bolt at him to throw off the Anticipation he seems to have. He ignores both of them long enough to take a swipe at Cantrel, whom he's currently brawling with. Then he tries to PARRY with Cantrel, using him as a shield. He fails, and its nice to know his strength has limits. So he just lifts him and jumps off the stairs into the water.
They land with only a modest splash and we learn the water isn't that deep. Indeed, the Giant, who jumped off last episode, is in the act of standing up in it when Chris shoots him. He passes out, landing face up.
We left Tom firing a laser into a semi-transparent Sleeves. Chris fires at Sleeves, too, but the bolt goes through him and hits Tom, who is armored, fortunately. Tom decides that Sleeves might be at a disadvantage if he can't see and materializes a green silk blindfold around his head. It flutters through him.
Daewen materializes a web of silk that she throws over Lion. He slashes through it easily, but when he comes out, Cantrel is now invisible. He uses this advantages to pound on Lion, who looks confused.
Sleeves gestures at Lion, to no visible effect, then finishes not being there and vanishes entirely. Lion charges with great speed toward Tom, past him, and into the tunnel behind. Alag, Pfusand, and Chris send arrows, laser beams, and blaster bolts past the startled Tom, and Chris's shot knocks Lion flat.
While Daewen covers the tunnel and rouses the knocked-out Lorelei, Cantrel TKs Lion out of the tunnel and starts beating on him remotely, still using TK. He is surprised when Phantom condenses out of the air on top of him and starts shooting agony into his neck and shoulders. Chris shoots Phantom again but some of it leaks through onto Cantrel. Phantom starts to turn misty.
"Turn on your psilencer!" Tom and Sophie telepath in chorus to Cantrel. He obeys, the telepathy links vanish, and Phantom, caught in the psilencer, changes from gas to liquid and splashes into the water, forming a dark stain.
A thing like a metal spider descends from the ceiling, grabs Giant, and vanishes with him. Lorelei probes the water for her laser gun but doesn't find it; it probably went with Lion. (This gadget is the first thing we've seen that looks like hi-tech as contrasted to mere psychic talent. Of course, it may be psi-tech, a mixture of relatively simple technology and psychic talent.)
Lion, meanwhile, fell in the water when Cantrel was surprised, and is quietly drowning. Tom props him up. While everyone else moves up the stairs, Sophie stuns the reviving Lion while Tom X-rays him with Second Sight. He's armored, as we suspected, but carrying nothing that looks like anachronistic technology. His anatomy is interesting, being half leonine through and through, as well as Tom can judge.
As Sophie and Tom start up the stairs, Lion comes too with unnatural speed, does a fast backward roll, and starts down the tunnel at the same high velocity. Daewen flits out after him on flying belt and quickly returns with his unconscious form. We contemplate taking him captive, but judging by Giant, they would certainly attack us again to get him back. We settle for leaving him there with a telepathically subscripted note (in case they can't read), reading "Next time we pull no punches."
As we leave, the water starts to burble when Cantrel's psilence leaves the dark stain marking Phantom's probable location.
We wend our way back out to the more mundane levels of Grand Central Station. Cantrel throws a wizard-lock spell on the door just beyond the first secret entrance, since he was getting tired of being tailed by Shadow (at least we strongly feel such a tail behind us).
Once back to the train tunnels, Alag thinks he spots someone flitting about ahead of us, probably not Shadow. Tom throws a clairvoyant viewpoint that way and discovers a young woman, rather pretty, well-dressed for the winter weather, carrying the largest bullet-throwing pistol Tom has seen. She may be laying in wait for us. Daewen sends a phantom out across the tracks but it draws no reaction.
We decide to ignore her and start to leave. We notice her scurry toward the secret door we left. Cantrel sneaks after her. She opens the secret door and starts struggling with the wizard lock. Chris and Sophie come up, pass Cantrel, and approach her. "Pssssst!" quoth Chris.
She displays a fine set of reflexes by diving and drawing her gun. Chris compliments her. Who is she? "Police officer!" She flashes a badge. What is she doing down here? "Pursuing an escaped felon!" What does he look like? "LEAVE!!!" Okay, okay...
Once we are collected again, Alag asks Chris, "What's a felon?" "Orc," is the brief answer. We clean ourselves up, disguise some of the wear and tear with glamour, and start back to the library on foot. On the way, we occasionally feel very strongly that we are being watched. Eventually, we slip into invisibility and conclude the trip that way.
We find the library still open, so we have no trouble getting in to the science fiction section, where we left the pantope door. We then enter and freeze exterior time.
Several of us dive for the autodoc. Lorelei in particular needs patching. Cantrel, Chris, and Daewen all suffer from Phantom's paincasts. The autodoc finds no real damage in Daewen or Chris, though they have some throbbing nerve ends that it soothes. But Cantrel suffered some burning, inside and out, which would have been very hard to heal with merely 20th-century medicine.
We propose to heal up, re-equip, and start again from a different direction.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.