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Old 07-14-2016, 07:39 PM   #101
tshiggins
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the most recent session of Facets, a couple of weeks back. We started out with some needed bookkeeping and got all the characters updated before we started. That made for a short session which, nonetheless, proved quite eventful.

Characters Present:

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine currently working as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. -- Played by Mike H. (In NPC mode, since Mike couldn’t attend.)

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H. (In NPC mode, since Sam couldn’t attend.)

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- played by Bernetta W.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P.

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. – Played by Kyle H. (In NPC mode, since Kyle couldn’t attend.)

NPCs Present

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit.

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly.

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and outdoors enthusiast.

##

Once Arthur completed his report about his “stolen SUV,” he made his way back home, got JoCat caught up on current events, and then turned in for a few hours’ rest. The day passed uneventfully, and the Yellow Cab pulled into his driveway at about 9 p.m.

By then, JoCat had a couple of healing potions ready (she’d driven back to Grand Junction). That proved wise, as the difficulties of a protracted trip in the back of a cab, while badly injured, hadn’t done Aurelia any good, at all.

The group carried Aurelia inside A.J.’s house and put her in a spare bedroom. Doc Bascher brought her around enough so she could drink the potions, and within a few minutes, color flooded back into Aurelia’s cheeks. A few minutes after that, she woke up very thirsty and ravenously hungry, with wounds itching enough to drive her to distraction (back above half HP, but not fully healed).

A.J. fixed Aurelia a meal and then Doc Bascher and Beatrice took her home, where she promptly collapsed into her own bed. Doc Bascher said she’d swing by and check up on Aurelia, the next day, and then she and Beatrice went to their homes and did the same. Randy stayed at Arthur’s for long enough to re-wrap his ankle and give JoCat an update, and then he and Sunmi left. Jimmy and JoCat remained as A.J.’s guests, for a bit.

The next few days passed quietly enough, and the exhausted group mostly kept things low-key. Aurelia remained at home, recovering, while Doc Bascher, Frank, Beatrice and Sunmi went back to work and/or engaged in extracurricular activities and studies. Sunmi’s college classes had started, but Randy’s ankle hadn’t yet healed enough to allow him to work at the bar, so he spent his time working with his agent on potential sponsorships.

During their off-hours, most of the group went to A.J.’s, where they continued to study spells designed to protect and warn. However, Doc Bascher reported that the two nunnupi, Hops About and Circles Thrice, had disappeared from her shed, without a goodbye, and she had no idea where they’d gone.

They also kept a close watch on the news, and soon noted that the disappearance case in Denver had some disturbing developments. Apparently, Darla St. Clair had a boyfriend, David Sheridan, who was photogenic enough to make for good TV. The various news stations broadcast repeated appeals by him for any information about her disappearance, or those who might have been involved.

Also, a few days after they arrived, two additional pieces of information appeared in the news from Denver. Initially, unnamed sources in the Denver Police Department leaked that the investigation had begun to look into some of Darla’s financial exchanges at the bank. A couple of days later, the group learned that her burned body had been found in the mineshaft where they’d thrown it, and the “horrific crime” had once again intensified interest in the case.

Based on the second development, the group guessed that the St. Cloud’s ultors had used magic to find her body. That prompted a renewed discussion about the possibility of shifting over to the 1918 side of the portal, more or less permanently. Randy wondered if they could take the library with them, so as to keep it safe and handy, but Beatrice and A.J. pointed out that those technically belonged to JoCat, who had considerable financial interests in remaining on the 2014 side of the gateway.

The group also gave some attention to the need to keep the bargain Jimmy had made with the dryad (the last thing they needed was an angry fairy). Based on the criteria given to them by the dryad, they realized the only way they knew of to fulfill the agreement required that they plant it within a mile of Denver’s Civic Center Park, on private property they owned, where they could nurture it.

With that understanding, Sunmi took it upon herself to investigate the possibility of acquiring real estate in the area, and began to search listings. She narrowed the possibilities down to only two or three, and then made appointments with a realtor to view them.

The next day. Sunmi drove to Denver, and the morning after a realtor took her around. Two of the properties were wholly inadequate (one was a condo, and the other a small townhome with a tiny yard). The third, however, fit the bill nicely.

It was an old church structure at 22nd Avenue and Ogden, in the North Capitol Hill neighborhood (aka, Uptown). Located at 999 E 22nd Ave., the parish that used to own the old church had relocated and, in light of Denver’s growing real estate market, had decided to sell it off. Sunmi found the building in need of extensive remodeling, but structurally sound and, most importantly, large enough to accommodate the entire group, with room to spare. In addition, while church took up most of the space in the corner lot, there was enough room on the grounds to plant an oak tree.

(There really is an old church at this location, in Denver. However, it was converted to high-end condos, a few years back. I found it when I looked for potential sites for the party HQ, more than a year ago, and decided it would be perfect in lots of ways. So, in this setting, the condo conversion hasn’t happened, yet. To see how the building looks, now, go to, https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7494...8i6656!6m1!1e1 or to, http://ww2.condo.com/Condo-Sanctuary-Lofts-92425307. It’s actually located 1.9 miles, from Civic Center Park, but I’m gonna rule that it’s one of the places that’s “close enough” to still benefit, because of its peculiar nature. There are several others like that, in the area, too, which the party will very likely discover.)

(continued...)
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:50 PM   #102
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

Sunmi expressed considerable interest in this, which elicited a skeptical response from the realtor, who expected a 19-year-old girl to want something a bit more… affordable. However, Sunmi assured the realtor she had the money available, and that her father would likely want to see it, too. A light went on in the head of the real estate agent, who presumed (correctly) that her father was rich, and (incorrectly) assumed he’d sent Sunmi to check on possibilities for investments in the Denver area.

The Korean-American girl returned to Moab and spoke with her father, William (never Bill) Jones. Her dad asked her a bunch of questions long the lines of, “You want what?” and “Why would you want that?” and “What were you thinking?”, but in the end Sunmi was able to convince him to look into the matter a bit more.

The next day. Lawrence Jones called Sunmi into his office, and told her he’d done some checking into the Denver real estate market, and that it seemed poised for a boom. Under those circumstances, he said real estate in the area might, in fact, prove a profitable investment and agreed with Sunmi to drive out to Denver for a look at “your church.”

After the meeting, Sunmi called A.J. with the news, and the engineer got an idea. He told Sunmi she and her dad should follow through on the showing, while he quickly set up a shell corporation. Then, if the property did look good to the eye of her more experienced father, the two should make a bid. Once they’d done so, he’d use the proceeds from the sale of goods across the portal to make a cash offer for the structure, via the shell corporation.

That meant the group would own the property, jointly, but could conceal that ownership more easily by forcing researches to examine the property records and discover the officers of the shell corporation. In addition, it would make it less likely for any such investigation to connect Sunmi or her father to the property, since they’d made an initial offer and then gotten outbid in a cash deal.

Sunmi thought that sounded like a great plan, and agreed to go along with it. However, she said that, now that her dad had started to check into the Denver real estate market, he might wind up investing, there, anyway. A.J. thought that sounded fine, and would give her an excuse visit the city fairly frequently, or even live there.

With that plan hatched, the duo started the paperwork to initiate real estate tycoonery.

All of that fell by the wayside, a few days later, when A.J. invited everyone over for a barbecue, at his place. Frank, Jimmy and Doc Bascher couldn’t make it (and JoCat spent most days in Grand Junction, only returning to Moab in the evenings – a very long commute), but the rest showed up for burgers and brats. However, upon arrival, A.J. introduced them to two old friends of his, Dr. Claudia Tavulari and Dr. Steve Mack, who had worked with him at NASA. They worked for the Quantum Physics Research Team, under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Sanderson, head of the program.

A.J. said the two guests were part of a team of researchers he’d worked with, during his days with the space agency, and he’d consulted with them about the readings from the portal. They’d helped him figure out the interaction between the portal power spikes and existing electrical energy fields, and had helped him design the crystal-based instrumentation he’d used, the last couple of openings. They’d crunched the numbers on the NASA mainframe to which they had access, and now wanted to see the portal opening, in a 10 days, first hand.

The presence of two “government agents” caused the still-wounded Aurelia to promptly take a powder, and she hid the rest of the evening in one of A.J.’s bathrooms. For her part, Beatrice politely (through gritted teeth…) asked A.J. to help her with some stuff in his kitchen, and promptly pinned his ears back for bringing in “outsiders” from the government to investigate a dangerous phenomenon that was supposed to be secret.

Randy expressed similar dismay, Henrietta was unsure of the wisdom of it, but Sunmi thought the extra help was “awesome,” especially since it meant she might land a job at NASA.

For his part, A.J. expressed shock at the response of most of the group, noting that he’d been consulting with his longtime friends at NASA since the beginning, he’d sent them detailed readings and all data (including GPS coordinates), and they’d proven nothing but helpful. In fact, they’d suggested some of the experiments he’d conducted, thus far, and so their desire to see the portal, for themselves, constituted a logical “next step” in the process of discovery.

Beatrice replied that their experiences with the portal, thus far, had proven dangerous (lethally so, in a couple of cases) and, not only did A.J. create the possibility that the government would seize control of the portal and drop them all into a hole, somewhere, but also put the lives of his friends in jeopardy, even assuming the worst case of total security lock-down never occurred.

To that, A.J. replied that he trusted his friends, completely, and based on his direct experience, scientists at NASA resented government interference as much as anyone, and specifically disliked working with the military, in most cased. Given his long-term friendship with them, combined with that distaste for external interference, he found it highly unlikely they would spill the beans to any agency with an acronym that included a letter for “investigation” or “intelligence.”

With that, the rest of the group grudgingly accepted his word for it, and the session ended with the tense barbecue.

##

Funny Quotes

<Doc Bascher reports the disappearance of the nunnupi.>
Randy: Did they at least turn off the t.v., or did they leave it on?
<The nunnupi did, in fact turn off the television.>
Henrietta: They’re not rude. They’re just dangerous.

<Sunmi's father, William Jones, asks some tough questions about her interest in Denver real estate.>
Sunmi: Daaad! It's for reasons!
<Pantomimes cutting motions on her inner arm.>
<Bennie Rae, who teaches high school, looks a little shocked.>
<Bernetta W., Rebecca's mother, looks momentarily appalled.>

Aurelia<learns the identity of A.J.’s other guests>: It looks like I’m having a seizure, now….
Beatrice: Right there with you, girl. We’ve always known we couldn’t really trust Arthur.

<A.J. strenuously objects to the objections of the rest of the group.>
Beatrice: I used to work for the Feds! I don’t trust any of those bastards!
Aurelia: Should we kill something?

##
__________________
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MXLP:8 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa)]
"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.

Last edited by tshiggins; 07-14-2016 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 07-29-2016, 11:30 AM   #103
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the latest session of Facets, the weekend before last. A couple of guest players stepped in as A.J.’s old friends, Claudia and Stephen, and they said they had enough fun that they might want to continue to play. Their presence meant I had to move things in a bit of a different direction than I had originally anticipated, but it worked out well enough, and a couple of critical failures rolled during RPM spell-casting, threw an unexpectedly hilarious wench in the works.

Characters Present:

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine currently working as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. -- Played by Mike H.

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- played by Bernetta W. (Absent, due to a scheduling conflict.)

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P. (Not present, this time).

Guests Present

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. -- Played by Tisa T.

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and outdoors enthusiast. -- Played by Jeff T.

Spirit-girl: A surprise addition to the session, as the result of a critical spell failure. – Also played by Tisa T.

Torie L., the daughter of Anten and Debbie, not playing a character but observing with vast amusement, from the sidelines.

NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. (I’ve shifted this character to NPC mode, until Kyle can find time to attend, regularly.)

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit.

##

As the barbecue drew to a close, A.J.’s old NASA buddies, Stephen and Claudia, expressed some concerns about his descriptions of some of the incidents he had described to them, as well as some of the things he’d said about the potential neurological damage sustained by living things that passed through the portal. Stephen stated, forthrightly, that A.J. was behaving in ways they found somewhat disquieting, and they wanted to stick around until the portal opening, so as to spend more time with him.

Sensing that the two strangers had begun to suspect A.J. as perhaps afflicted with an early form of mental illness, Frank and Doc Bascher asked A.J. if, perhaps, a somewhat dramatic demonstration might be in order? Frank noted that seemed to have worked in Terminator 2, but agreed that ripping the skin off an entire lower arm might be a bit much.

A.J. agreed that might be a good idea, so Frank left the party for an hour, went home, successfully cast a ritual to stop a bleeding wound, gave it a spoken command as a conditional trigger, and then returned. Once he got back to the party, he found that Stephen and Claudia had grown increasingly distressed about A.J.’s emotional state, and had begun to suspect that the rest of the SAR team might be taking advantage of the older scientist.

Frank invited everyone into A.J.’s large, modern kitchen, and asked a somewhat hesitant Stephen to hand him one of A.J.’s knives. The NASA pilot did so, and then he and Claudia watched, aghast, as Frank put a deep cut across the inside of lower left arm.

That distress turned to amazement as Frank then triggered the spell and washed the blood from his arm, to reveal an open wound filled with sparkling gold lights that appeared to have stopped the bleeding, completely (it had been cast with a couple of points of incorrect decanic energies, and the random results table indicated a minor odd effect).

Doc Bascher then proceeded to stitch up the wound, and Frank said he might cast a spell to heal it up, completely, should that prove necessary, in the next day or two.

Stunned by this display, Stephen and Claudia began to ask to what extent the portal passage allowed “macro-scale physical effects,” such as the one they’d just witnessed. The group then provided them with several examples they’d either witnessed or done themselves, and that the ability to perform such feats had brought them to the attention of at least two organizations (or, maybe, two branches of the same organization…) which had expressed various levels of dismay at the acquisition of those abilities by A.J. and the rest of the SAR team.

The existence of those groups explained why A.J. had a little old pagan lady who dressed like Stevie Nicks living in his basement, along with a 16-year-old red-headed boy who spoke English so strangely, and said such odd things.

With that, Stephen and Claudia declared their absolute intention to remain and learn as much as possible. A.J. welcomed them to stay with him, and said they were welcome to use it as a base to explore some of Moab’s outdoors recreational attractions, but that he needed to spend the next few days buying a new SUV to replace one that had been stolen.

Claudia and Stephen said they’d accompany him on that task, and Sunmi (still angling for the NASA internship…) also asked to come along. A.J. soon found a sweet deal for a used vehicle on the Craig’s list for Las Vegas (only a 7-8 hour drive, away), and the quartet set out.

Meanwhile, Frank decided to do a bit of follow-up on the recent developments in the McShane/St.Cloud “kidnapping” case. He discovered that, according to the news stories, Darla’s lover, David Sheridan, was the son of the owner of Sheridan Contracting Services, based in Weld County, Colorado. The two had likely met at the bank.

From that, Frank deduced that Darla had likely meant to use Sheridan to secure her cover (although, it was possible she might have legitimately felt something, for him…), but that the man seemed something of a drama-queen who was milking the 15 minutes of fame for everything he could get – and consequently, raising the profile of the case and bringing pressure on the Denver Police investigators.

The Utah State trooper also learned that the two men injured by the group during the incident at the restaurant had been released from the custody, at the behest of a high-priced Denver 17th Street attorney. The attorney had noted the police had no evidence with which to hold the two men, Harvey Donaldsen and Oswald Hooper (the party had taken their highly-illegal automatic weapons, at the time, and tossed the guns in the back of Frank’s truck…), and as such, couldn’t hold them. However, within 48 hours of their release, the two men had dropped out of sight.

Curious, Frank did some background checking, and discovered the two men worked for a firm called, “Briarwood Security Services,” based out of Houston. Henrietta pitched in to help research the firm, and discovered the group had taken at least a couple of contracts with Island Petroleum – the petroleum exploration firm that employed William DeWinter, an associate of Darla St. Cloud’s and someone the group suspected of being a member of the Order of the Scarlet Sage.

Based on that data, Henrietta and Frank deduced that the two men had hooked up with St. Cloud’s likely ultors, Alvin Carr and Shane Haversham, which had probably substantially increased the firepower arrayed against them.

(continued...)
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Old 07-29-2016, 11:32 AM   #104
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

Given the circumstances, and the presence of the McShane library in A.J.’s basement, Frank decided to keep an eye on the engineer’s home, as much as he could, and Doc Bascher and Henrietta thought they should do the same.

That paid off, the next day, when Doc Bascher drove down the long county road that led to the scenic canyon subdevelopment that held A.J.’s home, and saw a white SUV parked on the shoulder, about a half-mile from the house. The veterinarian called Frank with the license plate number, who ran the check and discovered records for a vehicle registered to a rental place near the airport in Salt Lake City. A quick call told Frank the renter of record was one Bill Smith, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Suspecting the name might be fake, Frank drove his cruiser out to the county road, only to discover that the car had left. Based on Doc Bascher’s description, he soon found where it had been parked, and took a look around. He found prints of two sets of hiking boots that disappeared into the brush, in the general direction of A.J.’s house.

Frank rang up A.J. and found out the NASA engineer, Sunmi and his friends had completed the purchase of the SUV and would arrive back in Moab a bit after dusk. Frank then called Doc Basher, Henrietta and Randy (Beatrice was working at the airfield) to meet with the returning group, and then proceed out to A.J.’s house, together. After that, he called JoCat and Jimmy, and told them to stay in Grand Junction (they actually went to McShane’s home in Paonia, about 70 miles from there).

As soon as the group arrived back in Moab from the trip to Las Vegas, they met up at a trail head about a mile from A.J.’s house, and worked up a plan. A.J., Frank (not in uniform) and Stephen would drive up to the garage in A.J.’s new SUV, and check the house. Meanwhile, the ladies (Doc Bascher, Henrietta, Sunmi and Claudia), plus Randy, would hike up to the house and move through the brush to find a position to act as backup.
For her part, Doc Bascher declared that if things went pear-shaped in a serious way, she planned to dial 911 and get Grand County Sheriff’s deputies out there to help, pronto.

With that, the group split up and the ladies and Randy started walking. Frank, A.J. and Stephen gave them a 10-minute head start, and then drove slowly through the twilight to A.J.’s nice house and extensive grounds. Stephen had popped the trunk of his car, earlier, and the former Marine Harrier pilot now carried the rifle he kept there.

As the SUV arrived, Doc Bascher and Sunmi spotted what they thought might be movement on the ridge to the west of A.J.’s home (really good Perception rolls, in the fading light of dusk), and called Frank. Neither he nor any of the other two in the driveway spotted anything, nor did Henrietta, Claudia or Randy.

A.J. triggered the garage door remotely, but then paused just outside to let Frank out so the trooper could go check the machine-shop on the east end of the grounds (where they’d built the two steam-buggies, parked inside). Neck prickling, Frank turned his back to the ridge-line and started up the dirt path to the machine-shop, as A.J. parked the car and he and Stephen walked to the front door.

As they reached the front door, A.J. felt his shin hit a wire, and a suddenly a flare shot up into the sky from beyond the edge of the porch. Frank whipped around, saw what was happening, dashed toward the machine-shop and told A.J. to open the overhead door, there, remotely. A.J. said he would, and then jumped through the plate-glass window just to the left of the door so he could get under cover, with Stephen hard on his heels.

Frank reached the wall of the large machine ship and went into a crouch, just as automatic weapon fire from the ridge-line peppered the area around him. He threw himself prone just as a larger-caliber bullet slammed into the wall just above him, and he asked that A.J. please hurry up and open the door.

A second later, the bullet from the larger rifle exploded, and blew a large chunk out of the stucco wall above the trooper.
A.J. triggered the remote to open the door, as he and Stephen rose to their feet and began to move toward the west end of the house. The ladies sought targets on the ridgeline as Doc Bascher hit her speed-dial button for 911, but the shooters had gone to ground.

Randy, realizing he’d once again brought fists to a gunfight, began to weave his way through the scrub oak toward the machine-shop, so he could at least render First Aid if Frank got shot. Sunmi began to follow, a second later, as Henrietta, Doc Bascher and a freaked-out Claudia took cover in the dark shadows cast by the overhead flare.

The automatic weapons’ fire continued to pepper the area around Frank, but the extreme range meant the shooter had little chance to hit him. Frank realized it was just meant to pin him down until the other shooter could get a good bead on him, and began to chant “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” as the door to the machine-shop inched its way up. Two second later (and two more chunks of blown-out stucco), he rolled beneath the door and covered his head as the fourth exploding bullet slammed into it.

That was the last of the shooting, as the gunmen had no more obvious targets (Randy and Sunmi were moving well through the scrub oak). A.J. led Stephen down into the basement, and through the door that led to the tunnel to the well on the West end of the property. However, they couldn’t spot anybody upon the ridge, from there, and sirens were approaching rapidly, anyway.

The Grand County deputies arrived pretty quickly, after that, and a few minutes later began to move cautiously up the ridge. After about 30 minutes of hunting through the darkness, they found the nest where the shooters had been, and followed them further west until they reached another county road.

Unwilling to continue a potentially dangerous search through the night, and figuring the shooters had probably climbed into a waiting vehicle anyway, everybody tramped back to A.J.’s house and the deputies took (mostly factual) statements from everybody. A bit flabbergasted by the events, the deputies asked if maybe Stephen or Claudia had any enemies that would do such a thing and, when the received the negative, began to theorize that it might be related to A.J.’s “stolen” SUV.

Things settled down over the course of the next couple of days, as the group pondered their next move. Now that the ultors likely knew the location of A.J.’s house, but also that the group had good relations with the local police, the SAR team figured they wouldn’t try anything so blatant, again. However, that also meant they couldn’t leave the library in the basement, and that meant they needed to do another shell-game with SUVs and the camper, to move them.

This they commenced, and the library wound up in the outbuilding at Doc Bascher’s place that used to hold the nunnupi. That same evening, Frank learned that officers with the Provo PD had found the white SUV abandoned just outside of that town, and he guessed the group had likely managed to relocate the books, safely.

That left them with nothing to do except prepare for the imminent opening of the portal, set for the evening of October 23-24. A.J., his guests and Sunmi prepared the equipment for some new readings. On the morning of the 23rd, just before they left for Dark Canyon, the members of the team who had studied spells retired to their respective sacred spaces, and prepared those they wished to have available – including some of the new “Protection and Warning” spells, as well as those meant for healing.

Everything seemed to go reasonably smoothly, until Sunmi completed one of her healing rituals, only to see bright pink smoke boil out of her chalice, coalesce on the floor, and swirl up to reveal what appeared to be a terribly cute little Japanese teenaged girl in a school uniform, with bright green hair.

Sunmi let out a squeak of dismay, and asked the girl who she was and where she came from. The girl replied that she was a spirit who had been drawn to Sunmi by the presence of magic, combined with Sunmi’s deep inner needs.

(continued...)
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Old 07-29-2016, 11:34 AM   #105
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(...continued)

Thoroughly shaken, Sunmi asked her to explain, and the girl said Sunmi suffered from pent up anxieties caused by the denial of her true nature. Until she helped Sunmi achieve proper physical and emotional release, the girl said, she would remain with Sunmi until such opportunities arose. Alternatively, the green-locked cutie said, she could help Sunmi achieve the needed release, immediately, and moved toward the young Korean-American.

Realization dawned about the nature of this “physical and emotional release,” Sunmi nearly panicked, and she began to back her way around the room in an attempt to increase her distance from the interloper. However, the spirit-girl kept coming and Sunmi began to yammer out questions in a desperate attempt to distract the lushly-endowed, green-haired spirit and find a way out of this mess.

Eventually, the green-haired girl acknowledge herself as a fertility spirit who had drawn the image of her form out of Sunmi’s subconscious mind, and then shaped it with the decanic energies the Korean-American girl had attempted to tap. As such, the spirit-girl said, she didn’t need to attend to Sunmi’s needs personally (although that was the most desirable and would prove quite rewarding for both of them…), but would have to be present if Sunmi achieved her release in some other way.

Now thoroughly aghast, Sunmi considered surrounding the spirit with a circle of salt, realized she couldn’t pull that off, by herself (and didn’t want an angry spirit trapped in her ritual room, anyway…), asked a couple of questions about possible alternatives that left her even more unnerved, and found herself completely at a loss.

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

Stephen: We came down here, Arthur, because you sent us a dead rabbit!
A.J. : That was nothing. You can talk to Doc Bascher about the pig.
Doc Bascher: We’re not going to talk about the pig!

Claudia: I’m glad he’s not in any more danger, at the moment.
Frank: Oh, we’re still in danger.
A.J. : Ignore that, for the moment….

A.J. <about Stephen>: He’s a marine.
Frank: Oh, thank God! Does he carry?
A.J. : He does.
Frank: Oh, thank God! That’s such a relief. We only have one nerd to worry about.

Claudia: Why did you blow up your car?
Randy: We had our reasons.

Claudia: Is it still going to glow, even after it’s sutured?
Doc Bascher: I don’t know. Let’s find out!
Sunmi: He’s on a whole other level of emo. He cuts himself and then heals it, so he can cut himself, again.

Frank: I’m a cop, not a magician. <pause> Well, actually, now I am a magician…

Stephen: You brought us out here for astrophysics, not metaphysics!
Claudia: People only use the word “magic” when they don’t know what’s actually going on.
A.J. : Exactly!

<Sunmi breaks cover, and begins to move toward the machine shop, which is under fire from someone using a rifle with exploding bullets.>
Doc Bascher: Ohmigod! Stay! I will tranquilize you!

<A fertility spirit appears in Sunmi’s ritual space, in the form of an Hentai schoolgirl. She explains her purpose.>
Sunmi: What?! No, wait! Can’t you just… teach me, or something?
Spirit-girl: Oh, yes! Certainly!
<She begins to move toward Sunmi, with a gleam in her eye.>
Sunmi<realization dawns>: Oh! No! Stop! Couldn’t I just… watch? No, wait…! Ahh!
Spirit-girl: Well, some people like that, but I’ve always found that participation is best.

<Sunmi desperately dials A.J.s number, and tells him she accidentally summoned a spirit, but doesn’t go into any detail.>
A.J. : Do you want me to come over there? Do you need help?
<Sunmi sees the spirit grin, and get that same gleam in her eye.>
Sunmi: No, no! It’s okay! I’ll figure it out!

Sunmi: What? You actually have to be there?
Spirit-girl: Well, of course. How else can I help you?
Sunmi: Oh, god.

Mike<OOC, laughing hard>: You should just take 20 bucks down to Fascinations and rent a booth, and just handle it. It would only take about 10 minutes!
Rebecca<OOC>: Ew, that’s gross! You might do that, but I’m not!

Torie L.: You guys have to hold the next session before I leave for college! I want to see how this turns out!

##
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Old 09-15-2016, 12:16 PM   #106
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We held a session of Facets a while back, and another more recently. However, the first session basically consisted of one long combat. That means this write-up will be pretty short. I'll follow it up with a second write-up, shortly.

At the end of our last session, Sunmi had made a critical failure on her RPM rolls to gather energy. That was followed by a critical spell-failure roll that deviated greatly from the average (she rolled a 17). That summoned a spirit who appeared in Sunmi's sacred space, and Rebecca found herself at a loss about how to proceed.

##

Characters Present:

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine currently working as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. -- Played by Mike H.

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- played by Bernetta W. (Arrived late, due to a scheduling conflict.)

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P. (Not present, this time).

Guests Present

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. -- Played by Tisa T (Couldn't make it, this time.)

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and outdoors enthusiast. -- Played by Jeff T. (Couldn't make it, this time.)

Torie L., the daughter of Anten and Debbie, not playing a character but observing with vast amusement, from the sidelines.

NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. (I’ve shifted this character to NPC mode, until Kyle can find time to attend, regularly.)

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit.

Spirit-girl: A surprise addition to the session, as the result of a critical spell failure.

##

Sunmi, realizing she couldn't take on the spirit by herself, and appalled by the whole thing, decided to buy some time, and asked if the green-haired spirit could reduce itself to a hidden, manageable form. That way, Sunmi said, she could take the spirit with her until she found a suitable partner for the "emotional release" sought by the spirit.

After a momen't hesitation, the spirit agreed and promptly shrunk itself down to a bi-colored green-and-whte sphere the size of a billiard ball, with a little button on the line dividing the colors. Still unnerved, Sunmi tucked the "spirit-ball" into her backpack.

The group spent the next few days preparing for the trip through the portal. At one point, Arthur quietly asked Sunmi if she needed any help, but the embarrassed 19-year-old said she didn't, and that she had "handled" the problem. Arthur's guests, Stephen and Claudia, concerned about Arthur's mental state and intrigued by the chance to see the portal, decided to stay with the group.

The day of the portal opening grew nigh and, per their standard procedure, the group set up camp in the Dark Canyon wilderness area, close to the slot canyon. Stephen, Claudia, Sunmi and Arthur set up the monitoring perimeter, the day of October 23, awaiting for the rise of the New Moon that evening.

That occurred just before 10 p.m., and the group crowded into the dune-buggies and made their way carefully down the slot-canyon and through the portal cave. As the group reached the mid-point of the passage-way, the fog rose and reduced the night-time visibility. As it did so, Stephen and Claudia experienced the temple-splitting headache, as they'd been warned, and Doc Bascher pulled out her bottle of ibuprofen tablets.

However, before she could administer them, Sunmi's backpack suddenly popped open, the spirit-ball flew out and the green-haired little Asian girl appared, in her short-skirted school-girl outfit. She declared her utter delight at the power of the place to which Sunmi had brought her, and declared the waiting was over. The spirit demanded that Sunmi select at least one of her companions as a partner, promptly as Grunt began to growl and put himself between the spirit and Beatrice.

Sunmi panicked and refused, and the the spirit snapped into a rage. It rose six feet into the air and the fog began to coalesce into to pearlescent white tendrils from the ends of its fingertips. One tendril lashed out and grabbed Sunmi, who gasped at the sensation as the spirit yanked her bodily out of the buggy and pulled her close. The spirit demanded, once again, that Sunmi choose one of her companions, but Sunmi once again refused.

With that, the angry spirit decided for her and grabbed Henrietta, who clutched at a bar of the buggy roll-cage began to fight the entangling tendril.

Thoroughly alarmed, Randy decided to try to tackle the spirit out of the air, but it dodged him. Stephen pulled out his 9 mill and put three rounds into the spirit, but the lead bullets passed harmlessly through it. Frank and Doc Bascher stood non-plussed, Claudia and Jimmy dove for cover, and Arthur scrambled out of the buggy.

Meanwhile, Henrietta began to try to bargain with spirit, and offered Jimmy in exchange if it would let her go.

Randy tried several times to knock the spirt down, as it began to invade Sunmi's mind, and Henrietta struggled to pull out her steel-bladed knife. Arthur ran to the trailer at the back of the buggy, opened up a bin and grabbed a five-pound bag of rock-salt. He tossed it toward Randy, who snagged it out of the air, and tore it open as Sunmi's resistance began to fail.

Randy smashed the bag of salt into the spirit, which screamed in pain and rage. Two more of the tendrils suddenly acquired barbed points, and darted toward the extreme athlete, as Beatrice ordered Grunt to charge. Realizing the true danger, Frank grabbed one of the blunderbusses, discharged the lead-shot and began to pack it with steel ball-bearings.

Randy managed to dodge a couple of attacks, but eventually one connected and ripped him open. A second hit Grunt and the dog yelped in pain, Randy continued to fight, Henrietta began to cut at the tentacle (with limited success), Doc Bascher moved to help Randy and Stephen went for his bowie knife. Beatrice also began to attack the creature.

The spirit continued to burrow into Sunmi's mind and, with a supreme effort, the young girl managed to resist for a moment. As she did so, she gained a glimpse into the true nature of the spirit, and saw an horrific entity devoted to pain and violation.

Arthur tossed another bag of salt, and the savaged, bleeding Randy managed to grab it. He got it open as spikes darted toward Beatrice and buried themselves in her. Randy smashed the salt into the spirit. It shrieked in agony and rage, and vanished.

(continued...)
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Old 09-15-2016, 12:18 PM   #107
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(...continued)

With that, Randy collapsed into a bloody heap and Beatrice struggled to get Grunt into the buggy. Doc Bascher feverishly worked to stop Randy's bleeding as Sunmi and Henrietta tried to help Beatrice. The group used a couple of healing spells and got Randy back on his feet.

Things didn't go nearly as well, for Beatrice. An earlier critical failure made during the power-gathering ritual caused Henrietta's healing spell to cause damage, rather than heal it, and the anthropologist temporarily lost the ability to perceive that the wound had gotten worse and not better. However, she did manage to heal the other, and Doc Bascher patched up the first one, well enough.

Right about then, the spirit manifested again. Arthur, who had pulled out his crossbow and taken up station next to the rock-salt bin, dashed back to the driver's seat of the second buggy. However, before the group could pull out, pearlescent tendrils darted out of the dark fog behind them, and grabbed for Sunmi, again.

This time, the group was better prepared. Arthur put a steel-tipped crossbow bolt into the spirit as it came screaming out of the darkness, Randy charged it with a bag of salt as a spike ripped into him, again, and then a blast from Frank's blunderbuss tore it to shreds.

The group quickly bundled the re-injured Randy into a buggy and accelerated out of the fog before the spirit could re-appear, and the blood-soaked buggies emerged into the box canyon.

Where the vampire blood-slaves waited.

##

Funny Quotes

Arthur: I thought you said you handled it!
Sunmi: "Handled" doesn't mean I actually got rid of it!

GM: I cannot believe you did that....

Henrietta: I want nothing to do with this! Take Jimmy! He's a teen-aged boy!

Sunmi: Will you guys please help?!
Doc Bascher: How?!
Frank: This is your fault!
Henrietta: It's not my fault!

##

This was a difficult session. I don't like them to consist of one long combat, and if Frank and Doc Bascher (who had forgotten she had a 12-guage loaded with rock-salt and iron bird-shot), it would have ended much more quickly. It also would have had fewer injuries to the party.

That actually mattered, in the next session, and will have other repercussions in the one scheduled for Sept. 25.
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:52 PM   #108
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Sounds like y'all are still having a lot of fun. That was a very interesting spirit there, good work on your part. I really loved the Sunmi and Henrietta quotes, thankfully I wan't drinking when I read them.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:10 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SionEwig View Post
Sounds like y'all are still having a lot of fun. That was a very interesting spirit there, good work on your part. I really loved the Sunmi and Henrietta quotes, thankfully I wan't drinking when I read them.
The spirit was a challenge, for me. Generally, I shy away from anything that looks like sexual assault, in any of my campaigns. There's no entertainment value, there, in any way.

However, one of the parts of Cabal we've chosen to use is astrological symbolism, and how that interacts with the ritual magic. So, we had everybody roll up birthdays, and we've been working through how that impacts spell preparation and casting.

Well, Rebecca rolled up Sunmi as a Scorpio, and got a little embarrassed when we walked through what that meant. Seeing that, I said Rebecca could re-roll Sunmi's birthday, if that made her uncomfortable.

However, Rebecca responded that she wanted to play that out, and then insisted on keeping it when I made a similar offer, a bit later.

So, when she rolled the critical failure on the energy-summoning for the spell ritual, and then got an evil spirit as the consequence, I wanted to have that spirit be the sort of thing that would appear if that character made such an horrific botch.

Given Sunmi's character background as a Korean-American who spends much of her time immersed in Asian popular culture, in general, and Korean popular culture, in specific, combined with the astrological symbolism Rebecca insisted she wanted to keep, there really was only one way to go.

So, a green-haired hentai rape-spirit willing to hide itself in a Pokeball is what showed up. And then Rebecca, by doing everything she could to avoid dealing with the embarrassment, had Sunmi make bad choices that took the session completely off the rails.

I found myself pretty deep in "GM improvisation" territory, and much hilarity and surreal violence ensued.

As Gold & Appel, Inc., likes to say, this is why we play games with dice.

That said, it's time to post the next session write-up.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:16 PM   #110
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The events of this session took place immediately after the combat-heavy previous one. We join our characters, several of whom are damaged and bloody, in media res, as they race up the portal canyon toward the waiting blood-slaves in the alternate-1918 world of La Colonia de Nova España.

Characters Present:

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine currently working as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. -- Played by Mike H.

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign “foo” spirit) -- played by Bernetta W.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P. (present, this time, which means a substantial increase in the funny quotes quotient…).

Guests Present

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. -- Played by Tisa T (Couldn't make it, this time.)

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and outdoors enthusiast. -- Played by Jeff T. (Couldn't make it, this time.)

NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. (I’ve shifted this character to NPC mode, until Kyle can find time to attend, regularly.)

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit.

##

The buggies sped up the slope away from the portal, and then slid to a halt in the box canyon, where a merry bonfire blazed. The two Apache blood-slaves, Izzy and Heck, walked toward the group, smelled the blood spattered everywhere, and stopped short.

Doc Bascher walked up to them quickly and held out the cooler of fresh blood, and the two Apaches quickly bit into a package, each. The cauliflower-nosed Izzy, whom Jimmy said had a history of alcoholism, still had to make a visible effort to keep himself under control, and Heck told the group they needed to leave, pronto.

The veterinarian dashed back to her buggy, and the group sped away toward the base-camp they’d started to construct the previous month. Once there, Doc Bascher continued her work to stabilize the wounded. Once completed, the group realized they had to make a change in plans.

Doc Bascher said she needed to take Beatrice and Randy back through the portal, and get them to a hospital, while she attended to Grunt. Also, Sunmi said the spirit had managed to invade her mind, at least in part, and she wanted to talk to JoCat about what that might mean.

Arthur noted that, with the presence of two new members of the group, he’d needed to leave one of the trailers of components and trade-goods on the other side. So, that meant both buggies had to return through the portal, and only one would return, because the other would carry the wounded. In addition, now that Claudia and Stephen had gone through the portal, they required help from JoCat to keep from going insane.

That meant only one buggy would be available for the month-long stay on the Nova Colonia side, including the trip to Santa Fe. It also meant the party would split, and leave them understaffed on the 1918 side, and terribly vulnerable to the activities of enemies, on their home world.

Still, there was nothing else for it, and the group readied itself for the dash back across, in the early light of dawn. Unwilling to tempt the appetites of Izzy and Heck, Doc Bascher drew additional blood from the healthy members of the group, leaving them light-headed, and the two buggies (swabbed down with disinfectant cleaners) headed back toward the box canyon. Frank and Henrietta rode along, and took Jimmy with them, as well, and Aurelia agreed to ride with Arthur.

Once they reached the camp of the blood-slaves, Frank took them the blood and asked about the horses Izzy and Heck and agreed to find and break for them. Visibly calmer, the Apaches said they had three horses in the next canyon, and agreed to take Frank, Henrietta and Jimmy to see them. As they did so, Arthur and Doc Bascher took the buggies back through the portal, ready for anything that might happen.

Sure enough, as they reached the mid-point, the green-haired rape-spirit manifested again, and attacked. However, the group was ready, this time, and between the rock-salt, crossbow bolts, arrows, and shotgun blasts, managed to drive it away long enough to get through. Once on the other side, Doc Bascher drove away as carefully as she could, to spare the wounded the bumps and jolts of the rough trail, while A.J. and Aurelia hooked up the other trailer.

As the one buggy started back into the portal canyon, Arthur and Aurelia realized they would have to run the gauntlet of the rape-spirit, by themselves. They put open bags of rock-salt between the seats and filled their pockets with it, readied bow and crossbow, and made sure their blades were loose in their sheaths.

Sure enough, the green-locked nightmare attacked, again, as the fog began to rise, and the two academics found themselves in a desperate defense as the spirit attacked from above. Aurelia got wrapped up by a tentacle and barely resisted falling under the sway of the ecstatic sensations long enough to deal some damage.

For his part, Arthur successfully discharged his crossbow, and then both of them hit the spirit with salt. That forced the spirit to dissipate, and the steam-buggy roared out into the box canyon.

On the other side, Doc Bascher successfully steered her steam-buggy up to where the group had parked their cars, pulled it onto the trailer, and then set out for the emergency clinic in Monticello – which had seen rather more excitement in a couple of months than in the previous several years.

Well-known as members of the Four Corners SAR team, the staff didn’t put up much fuss as Doc Bascher said Randy and Beatrice had been wounded while out on a “training exercise.” It helped that the wounds clearly hadn’t come from gunshots, and that Doc Bascher told the clinic staff she’d already cleaned and treated the injuries.

Once Beatrice and Randy rested safely in hospital beds, Doc Bascher, Sunmi, Claudia and Stephen drove back to Moab. Worn out, the quartet spoke to JoCat (now staying at Bascher’s home) for awhile, and Claudia and Stephen learned about the meditation techniques and the need to remain in a placed enchanted to allow restful sleep.

For her part, Sunmi returned to her small apartment and took a nap – only to experience troubling dreams. In her dreams, she found herself causing pain to others, and feeling pleasure in doing so. When she awoke, Sunmi realized that the sight of the injuries suffered by Randy, Beatrice and Grunt had delighted her and, deeply dismayed, she returned to Doc Bascher’s home to speak with JoCat.

Equally disturbed, the group’s mentor said they needed to sort through the library and find as many references as possible to the effects of spirits on human minds.

(continued...)
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MXLP:8 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa)]
"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.
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