Pax Artificium - Second Half - Saturday 05

Thanks to Oz for this detailed transcript.

Session start: Sunday, January 1, 2034 – afternoon PST/MST

Jack's Escape

Jack's heart pounds as the jeep tears through the barbed wire fence, catching his shirt and slashing it open, but luckily not catching his flesh. Taking the only road from the base leads him through farmland. Behind him, the whirling sounds of a helicopter indicate pursuit. Ting, ting, ting—a volley of bullets strike the jeep.

K-thunk, rumble, rumble. "Oh shit," Jack thinks to himself as he initially thinks that a tire has been shot out. Instead, he is no longer driving on a road, but on bumpy rough ground. The sound of the helicopter and its machine guns are gone. The mountains, sky and hills are replaced with tall trees with grey ooze where the leaves should be. All around in the distance are gigantic spider webs. Jack stares for a second in shock.

Looking back, he sees a semi-translucent opening beyond which he can see mountains, hills, and the road he drove off of. Jack slams on his brakes, nearly avoiding crashing into a tree. "MILO!" Jack yells out in the eerily silent forest.

Milo, sitting on the passenger side, looks at Jack. Scratch, itch, rub. "Itchy." Milo is tearing at a rash on his left arm, "Get out! Get out! Bad place. BAD PLACE!"

"Where is this?"

"Bad place. Milo will tell you—first get out," Milo points to the edge of the grove. With a quick U-turn, they make a break for it. A woman with many tentacles shoots a stream of grey slime toward the jeep. Swerving quickly, the jeeps leaps lightly into the air from the uneven ground, evading the slime, which strikes a tree and covers it in a cocoon.

After crossing the threshold, the jeep is back on the road. Neither the grove nor the woman are anywhere to be seen. The night sky is much darker and there is a glow and heavy smoke in the distance. Looking more closely, it is coming from the military base. There is no sign of the helicopter that was pursuing him.

"AHHHH! Evil fire. Milo does not want to go there," Milo says, pointing to the glow and smoke on the horizon. Jack stops the jeep and asks Milo where they just were. "It is one of Gaia's groves. That druid took it over. It used to be one of Gaia's friends, but is now corrupted."

Milo tells Jack the grove moves around, never staying in one place. The druid must have wanted to capture him and moved the grove to be right in front of the jeep. Jack begins driving away from the burning base.

Milo asks Jack, "Where is Milo?"

"Somewhere in Colorado."

"Ca lo ra do. Should Milo tell your friend that you are in Ca lo ra do?" After some more talking Jack determines the friend is Matt. Milo agrees to tell Matt that Jack is in Colorado. "Stay in populated areas. The grove is harder to open in those places," says Milo as he disappears.

Jack stops at a gas station, finds out from the attendant that he is near Durango, and gets directions to the nearest town. Jack stops at Walmart for a change of clothes. He then rents a sports car and alters it using his mechanical expertise, disabling the speed regulator. Driving as fast as he can, Jack drives to Pax.

The others

Sara, Moses, Lefty and Gerald step through the druid's portal. Matt collapses from the intense power used to open it as Father Douglas maintains the portal. Liam checks on Matt, who is alive, breathing and stable. Father Douglas and Liam exchange words and wish each other well, then Liam drags Matt back to the other van. Liam sets the van in gear heading back to the Pelican.

Gordon soothingly assures the bird that he will ensure its safety. [Okay, I'm sick of calling it "the bird," so now its name is CID (Communications Interference Device) until someone gives me a name that I can write and pronounce.] CID relaxes and is grateful for Gordon's friendship. Gordon and CID stretch their legs, wandering outside near the plane. Gordon picks up hunks of scrap metal and rocks that he saves to throw as ammunition later. CID flaps around some, happy to be in an open space.

Swirling lights and a fizzing noise catch Gordon's attention as a portal opens near CID. A woman with many tentacles rushes towards CID. Gordon runs at the woman, who extends her hand. Streaming goo covers Gordon, trapping him in an instantly hardening cocoon.

Liam, driving back to the plane, sees Gordon being gooed and steers directly toward the druid. The van's impact sends the druid flying and skidding on the ground. CID hops over to Gordon and pecks at the hardened goo. The druid gets up and runs back through the portal.

Everyone gets back in the plane and takes off for Pax. On the way back, Matt awakes, but is in a weakened state from the rush of magic that coarsed through him. His left hand feels as though it has aged many years. His hair shows many years of aging with streaks of grey. We each fill each other in on what has happened.

Gordon talks about his carving hobby, making animals from rock. We learn that Gordon works at a Big & Tall shop.

Liam and Gordon work with Libra to translate CID's language. They ask CID about Milo.

"When I was summoned there were some trolls beating a little man named Milo. I think it was warning him not to interfere. I like Milo; he consoled me, telling me he thought that it was wrong in how I was being used and treated. He promised he would find a way for me to get home."

Liam tells CID that Milo turned into a monster and attacked him.

"Milo is unique. Even though he seems a little crazy, he is more clear-headed than the rest of Gaia's Order. Milo is the only one not filled with rage. The rest are all very angry with humans. The pixie that played the flute that brought me here gave a speech, saying the humans would pay for what they have done to Gaia."

Libra tells Liam that the language will take a while to analyze but should be able to come up with an initial translation program in a few hours.

After some time passes, Milo appears and falls down, barely getting out a hello. Milo scurries over and hugs CID. Milo tells us that Jack is in "Ca lo ra do" and is headed to Pax. Milo is injured, so Matt moves slowly to him and treats Milo's wounds.

Liam asks about what Milo turned into back at the lab. Milo doesn't want to answer, but Liam is insistent. Milo weeps that his people turn into monsters because Gaia is angry. Gaia is sick, and needs to be healed. Milo does not know why Gaia is sick but believes that whatever makes her sick is what makes human magic bad. Milo is angry with Liam since he was ignored back at the lab.

We ask where the flute is. Milo tells us that Nyx used it to summon CID, but then disappeared.

We ask about Milo's people. Milo tells us, when the pyramid was built, Gaia went to sleep and Milo's people disappeared. He then tells us that he has to go or he'll be found. If we need him again, he says, just call and he'll try to come.

We get back to Pax and arrange for the bird to sleep in a tree near Angels (at the Garden). Gordon goes home, grabs some things and sleeps near the bird. Liam programs something that will automatically wake up Gordon if anything unusual happens. Liam heads off to Magitech headquarters.

At home, Gordon gets his bowling ball and carving kit, and buys some new clothes. Gordon leaves a message for his boss that he's got some personal business to attend to and will not be available for a couple of weeks. He also stocks up on general camping supplies.

Matt checks himself into the medical facility at Magitech.

Jack makes it back into town, gets changed and heads to the nightclub just as it closes. There are no messages for Jack. He stays out for the evening.

The next morning

Gordon checks on the bird in the morning. The bird flies off and gets its own breakfast.

Jack goes to Magitech to find out what's going on and then checks himself into the medical facility.

Gordon looks for Liam at HQ and is redirected to the skylift, but it is locked and no one is there. Looking in a phone book, he tries to call various folks. Eventually, he goes to HQ and waits, and Liam finally joins him there. They go inside and meet up with Matt. Matt tells them that Zuul was taken, then gets some rest.

Liam gets Gordon a Magitech ID badge, then goes to the main computer to do some research.

Half-Pint, Toothy, and Bubbles enter the medical facility and meet up with Gordon and Jack. They tell them that Winston was lost. The group fills them in on what's going on with the communications.

Liam learns that Shannon is still fine, though traumatized. The druid had already eaten Winston's brain, and was about to eat Zuul's brain, when they were rescued.

Liam researches the computer logs and manages to undelete the missing logs (although he cannot determine who deleted them since it was done from a null account login). Liam is impressed at the completeness of the modifications. Liam goes through the motions that Matt did on researching Robert Patrick (drill sergeant) and following William Moss. Patrick was a recent hire, part of the force that descended upon Pax six months ago. He moved to Pax shortly after it was rebuilt.

Liam spends more time studying the hacking job. It was done by something very quickly and efficiently, as though a Zodiac computer did it. Libra chimes in, saying it is the same way she would have done it. The job would have had to be done faster than a human could, with multiple simultaneous tasks. The only thing that doesn't fit the situation is why the deleted log wasn't zeroed out.

Liam finds Gordon, Jack, Bubbles, Toothy and Half-Pint and fills them in. They postulate it may have been the government. Bubbles wonders what the point is. Maybe they wanted to get more information about the weaknesses of Magitech. They ponder on where Moss could have gone.

Liam asks Libra about the unstable Zodiac computers. Libra says that some individuals had varying morality and power corrupted a number of them. The first tests were done on "hardcore" criminals. At first there wasn't an expectation that these computers would be as powerful as they were. Some of the first ones created are more rash, and thus not as thorough. Liam reluctantly allows Libra to try taking him over, and his patch successfully prevents Libra from doing so.

Bubbles, Toothy and Half-Pint leave to question folks, to see if "Cid" told anyone where he went.

Liam gets Jack a security pass.

Half-Pint comes back and tells us that no one knows where Moss went or what happened to him. Someone said he was waiting for an appointment that night at 2200. It was supposed to be Josef and John Bishop, wanting to talk about something. They never showed up, so he left.

Liam tries using Divination to locate William Moss. The magic fails, with Liam feeling as though he's blind, trapped in a tiny room with no way out. Liam, Jack and Gordon hear a woman's voice as a familiar-looking red-haired woman walks into the room: "It's not going to work, Liam—the magic is blocked. Don't you recognize me? It's me, Xela!"

Session end: Monday, January 2, 2034 – 1100 PST

XP: 3000