Nunna daul Isunyi pt2

Up into the mountains

The road up in to the mountains is highly unmaintained. Maybe like, 50 years ago it had blacktop. Now it has gravel. At best. Some places it has decidedly less. The road is bumpy, at places washed out, but traveling slowly but methodically. The truck isn't exactly subtle, but it is dark and it is cold, so most people are inside. Also, no one lives on the damn mountain anyway. It takes about 2 hours to get up the road to where you need to be, the ridgeline overlooking the ravine that separates you from the ridgeline on which the Coordinates are located. In the Dark and snow, its almost impossible to make out any details.

Slinger considers the time. It's going to just about work out. He pulls the car off of County Road 102 and onto one of the side-roads, looking for somewhere nice and out of the way he can park the vehicle. Once that's done, he summons a Watcher spirit to keep an eye on the vehicle for him — the usual instructions, to come notify him if anyone attempts to move it, break into it, or tamper with it.
That done, he glances to Annie, lights up a smoke to enjoy the warmth for a final few moments. "Can you fly?" he asks her. "Or do I need to fly you?"

"I can fly if necessary", Annie responds with a soft chuckle as she pulls on her gloves and begins to mentally steel herself for the freezing mountain air, "We've got what…about forty minutes before the meet time."

Slinger sighs, mutters. "I really wish I had my armor finished. Still waiting on parts," he mutters. He exhales, then puts on gloves and his trenchcoat and form-fitting armor, and a jacket. He bundles himself up as best he can. He's going to have to come up with a spell for this.
"Actually, we can get there in… at my speed, a few minutes. I'm tempted to sit here in the warmth for a while. You?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 5 for "Mystery":
1 2 2 3 4

Annie nods to Slinger, "Yeah. We can scout the area astrally before we stumble our tender bodies into it."

The elf considers that. "We could. Might be walking right into something. But it's worth at least attempting," he agrees. Glancing in the rearview mirror, he grins. "At least astral scouting is /warm/."

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Stealth + Astral Pool: 5 for "Stealth…":
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 4 8
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Stealth + Astral Pool: 2 for "Astral stealthing.":
1 2 9 15
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Stealth + Astral Pool: 5 for "Stealth… KP 11/35.":
1 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 9

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Centering vs TN 2 for "Centering against any penalties on perception.":
1 1 3 3 3 4 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls 3 (centering focus) vs TN 2 for "Adding in focus.":
2 2 4 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence vs TN 4 for "Astral perception.":
1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 = 4 Successes
«OOC» Vulcan says, "I suppose Astral stuff counts as a magical test."
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Aura Reading vs TN 4 for "Complementary.":
1 2 5 10 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 6 + 6 (Mystery) for "Mystery!":
1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 5 11 17
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 7
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence vs TN 24:
1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 5 5 7 10 = 0 Successes

Slinger crushes out his cigarette and makes sure it's out — nothing like setting fire to your physical body while you're elsewhere. He slips out of his body, makes sure Annie is with him, then heads toward the meeting location. He checks his surroundings carefully, then, as he gets close, begins using the trees to hide his aura from any onlookers, taking advantage of the cover present as he creeps closer.

Annie departs from the SUV and flickers across the astral landscape, picking the most vibrant sources of astral energy to cover herself, her own magical essence and personal astral signatures severely dampened via masking. She takes her time, not really rushing things. There is plenty of time before the meet.

After some searching about the area, presumably a general over view and not yet going -to- the site, no one seems to be directly observing. A few bits of fauna are dashing about, trying to find something to eat, a desert owl is watching the truck, but its -just- an owl. Slinger notices a recent deer spoor, but thats about it. It's winter. No one else seems to be up here…


Slinger waits until he's sure Annie has had time to look around, giving her ample time to find anyone that he might have missed. "It looks clean," the young mage admits. His astral vision flicks around the nearby terrain. "But could always be a concealed spirit or the like. Shall we go back, return closer to the appointed time? Or should one of us stay out here, while the other goes back to guard the truck, for now?"

Annie nods to Slinger, "Yeah, let's head back to the truck. We've trusted our contact this far…may as well go the extra meter and show up on time and give them the benefit of the doubt.", she shrugs, "We've always got Janie as backup if we need her."

"So noted," Slinger agrees. "And agreed. Warm sounds good right now. Even though the astral isn't exactly chilly, it still /looks/ and /feels/ cold." He grins, then heads back toward his body — hoping it is, in fact, where he left it.

Meanwhile, back at the bodies (Ominously so named) a great crested Utah Dragon debates eating them.

But first, the small lizard will have to figure out how to open the truck and then how to swallow something nearly 100 times its own body mass. On the upside though… he just needs ONE.

Slinger might — might — notice the lizard in question on his way back to his body. The biggest question he would have is how a cold-blooded creature is even /moving/ given the cold, but that is another question. Slinger feels like a cold-blooded creature as he cranks the heater on the SUV another few notches — glad he has sufficient fuel. Or at least, he hopes he does.

Annie heads back to her own body as well, her astral form apparently going to lightspeed as she blurs off back to her body at full astral speeds. She jerks back to consciousness and takes a moment to acquire her bearings before checking her watch once more for the time.
Magic, bucco. It makes the world go round.

"…. I am bored with love
and it's passionless limbs
that drape over my bed
in a lethargic state of impotence
while wearing the same red heart
my soul picked up hitchhiking
off highway serendipity

Now here we are
alone in togetherness
trying to build dreams
with two by fours and glue,
but even a home
won't tie us together
when our hearts live alone

Poetic vows cliched
into nothingness
like all words do, eventually
and we allowed
our bodies to become
another pair of hollow shadows
that make love to a wall
instead of each other
and we wonder why
the roses are dying…"

A pause as OhOh registers movement in the vehicle. "You're back. I was so lonely."

Slinger smirks, lights up a cigarette as soon as he's back and confirms that his body is not, in fact, on fire. "Are you saying you missed us?" Slinger asks, just to see if he can get the pilot to admit to having any sort of positive emotion.
He glances at the chrono on the dashboard. "Looks like, what, thirty minutes to kill? Think we should head out at T minus ten minutes?"

"Abandoned." Says the truck. "Abandoned is more aprapos."

"Yup. Abandoned in the middle of nowhere, to run of out of gas, then slowly have your battery power leak away, until finally the eternal darkness of the scrap heap." Slinger cannot help but chuckle. "That's what happens if anything bad happens to me. Your fate is tied to mine, so maybe you should start bein' nicer."
Verbal banter with a machine. Slinger does /not/ have enough to do.

Annie pats the dashboard comfortingly, "Once we get back to the civilized world I will toss some nuyen in the kitty for your bra and some fuzzy pink dice.", she leans back in her seat and waits til meet time minus fifteen.

Meet time minus 15 comes all to quickly, as the engine idles noisily in the cold of the upper mountains. The new moon is out, meaning very little ambient light is available. On the plus side, the stars are bright and theres no light pollution competing for sky bright.

«Auto-Judge[]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 5 for "Mystery":
1 2 5 7 8

That, and two elves with natural low-light, should make it relatively visible — if not exactly /easy/ to see. At T minus fifteen, Slinger exhales, crushes out his last cigarette, and grabs the pack before bundling up. "All right. Janie knows where we're goin, and to come along if anything goes wrong, right?" He glances to Annie. "There are times, like these, that I wonder if I have any fraggin' clue what I'm doing. And the answer has to be… uh… no."
He exits the vehicle, closes it, then heads off toward the meeting site, staying low and stealthy, just to make sure.

Annie prepares for the meet by donning her full suit of camo and several layers of form fitting under armor, and as a final touch uses a fashion spell to modify the camo print to mimic the high desert winter wonderland outside the SUV. She finally looks over at Slinger as she draws on her gloves and pulls up her baclava, "Ready when you are.", then exits the vehicle along with Slinger and shadows the elf.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence for "Perception, all dark 'n stuff.":
1 1 3 3 4 5 5 8 14 16

«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "Elf Low Light, Thermal goggles.":
2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 8 14

The night may be calm, but thats… very… deceptive. Looking down in to the valley, the lights of Blanding are visible, as are the smaller settlement of Indian Village. It's not the lights that catch the attention of Slinger. It's the thermal plume. It rises straight up from behind a small ridge that blocks your LOS, but its massive. Whatever causes it, it must be at least a thousand degrees at the source. Fairly small, contained, but very very hot.

Annie will smell something on the wind. Something… acrid. Something.. slightly oilly. Something she recognizes.

"Got something really hot, that way," the youth murmurs, gesturing in that direction. "Could be a hot campfire. But it'd have to be a /really/ hot one." He checks the direction — is it coming from the meeting location?

No. It's coming from several miles down in the canyon, near Indian Villiage.
Annie raises her head and slowly sniffs the air, "Smells like pork fat. It's been decades since I smelled that.", she turns her eyes in the direction indicated by Slinger and tries to see what he sees.

«OOC» Vulcan says, "If annie has thermo, she can see the plume as well."
«OOC» Annie says, "Ok"
T-Minus 12 minutes.

«OOC» Slinger says, "Indian Village isn't anyplace we were, right?"
«OOC» Vulcan says, "it's marked on the map fourteen miles south south west of the meet-point. It's marked by a flame emblem."

Slinger exhales a breath. "Huh," the youth comments. "Think they're burning it for warmth? It'd work for that. Or could be a rendering plant is on fire." The youth exhales once again. "Just hope that really is pork, and not like metahuman flesh or something. That'd be grisly." He shudders — and not from the cold.

«OOC» Vulcan says, "Moving to the meet point… moviiiiiing ;)"
Annie nods to Slinger, "Yeah…be my luck to find something like that.", she turns her eyes away from the plume of thermal energy and looks back in the direction of the meet, her attention flicking over to the astral as she searches for any sign of intelligent life.

Slinger continues on course, staying low. "We don't have time to check it out, until maybe after the meet. Unless our contact doesn't show. Then it's the first place we check." The elf's breath is frosting in the air as he moves, and he's already missing the comfort of the SUV as he proceeds toward the meeting location, intending to get there about five minutes early.

And so the pair come to the ravine about half way to the meet point. A mile up the road, and then a mile across the ravine… And there's the ridge where you are supposed to meet the contact. Unless you fly, you're not going to be there even remotely on on time.
Annie looks up toward the ridge, the optics in her goggles whirring as the rangefinder takes in the distance and the optical magnification takes in the ridgeline. "Hmm, prolly need to do the flying thang.", she mutters as her breath fogs even through the thick baclava.

«OOC» Vulcan says, "Perception check, Annie."
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 9
«OOC» Vulcan says, "What visual mods?"
«OOC» Slinger says, "Slinger has been flying :)"
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "kp 4/24":
1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 7 7 7
«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "kp 6/24":
1 1 1 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 8 8

"I /have/ been flying," Slinger says over the comm. "Otherwise, too easy to leave tracks. And too slow." The youth has a focus for that. But as the meeting approaches, he also starts activating other spells, including invisibility, and improved reflexes. He's leaving Stealth off for right now. Oh, and Dark Armor, from his bracelet.

The ridge line across the way is a capper. Just below it, on the lee side, there appears to be a recessed alcove, a layer of hard rock undercut by wind and rain to create a small cave like area.
Annie takes a cue from Slinger and starts throwing on a few of her own protective spells, namely Dark Armor, Enhance Aim and finally Levitate. She peers up toward the ridgeline, "Looks like a cave up there under the ridge."

«OOC» Annie says, "Any heat sigs near the cave?"
«OOC» Vulcan will take a perception check.

«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 9 9 16

"Is that our location?" Slinger wonders. He really wishes he had his heavier armor, but it's just too damned cold out here. He drifts slowly closer, eyeing the opening once it's pointed out to him.

Annie continues peering upward toward the pseudo cave, "Dunno…thought I saw something for a second, but then it was gone.", she lifts off the ground and slowly spins until she is a few meters off the ground, "Let's go.", she waits until Slinger is on his way then speeds off toward the cave at flight speeds.

"Yeah. Probably concealed by a spirit," Slinger mutters. "Nature spirits. They can do some freaky stuff. Much more useful than simply beating on stuff." Even so, the elf slowly proceeds, hand near his gun, just in case, as he floats closer to the cave, careful not to touch the ground. He checks the time, just briefly. How close to the proper time is it?

Annie moves toward the cave at a decent speed, skimming a meter at most above the highest terrain. As she approaches the cave opening she slows down dramatically and checks the cave over again, first with the full suite of visual toys and then switching to the astral to scan the place for any spiritual presences.

Slinger comes up alongside Annie, assuming she's slowing down enough to permit him to stay with her. He's just far enough outside of range to prevent them from being easily targetted with an area spell. And, of course, he has Shielding at full at the moment, on both himself and Annie.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Stealth + Karma Pool: 1 for "KP 12/35.":
3 3 4 4 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Stealth + Karma Pool: 1 for "KP 13/35.":
1 3 3 4 5 15
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence for "Perception.":
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 9
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence for "Perception. KP 14/35.":
2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 7

«Auto-Judge[]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "Looking over the meet site.":
1 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 8 15

The scene is thusly set. A wind swept mountain top, snow drifts piled around. It's quickly apparent to Annie that someone has been here for some time. The snow is carefully piled to create breaks on LOS, allowing someone to move securely behind them. A high powered Camera lense is connected to a camera near the edge, down below the lip to not be seen…. and in the cave, perhaps more.

As Annie comes in for a landing a voice from within the cave hisses "Stop right there."

Annie finishes her actual landing and drops the sustained levitate spell, waiting to see who the meetings 'host' is, while somewhat secure in the feeling that Slinger is lurking about somewhere and most likely in an already cranky mood from losing a potential love interest.

It's always the Cute Ones.

The voice adds in a whisper from the frozen darkness, "Your friend best show himself… two people get outta the truck, one shows up… that math don' match…"

Annie shrugs, "He's not quite as fast as I am.", she peers toward the darkness from whence the voice comes, "I'm sure he will be along presently."

The voice replies, saying "Then you stay right where you are 'till there's two of you. Otherwise you get one step and it's your last."

Slinger is nearby, yes. Just close enough to provide spell defense. But he's not going to show himself without an order from Annie. Instead, the young mage looks astrally for the source of the sound, warily, to acquire what information he can, first.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Centering + 3 (centering focus) vs TN 2 for "Centering against any penalties.":
1 2 3 3 5 5 5 5 7 = 8 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence vs TN 4 for "Astral Perception, assuming no more than +4 in penalties.":
2 2 2 3 4 5 5 8 9 9 = 6 Successes
«OOC» Vulcan says, "He's inside the mouth of the small cave, in the darkness. The refaction is making that hard."
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Aura Reading vs TN 2 for "Complementary.":
1 2 5 9 = 3 Successes
«OOC» Slinger says, "What can I find out about him."
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 6 for "Trying to be in a spot where LOS is less than likely, using rock and whatnot to be sneeeeeeeeaky.":
4 4 5 11 11 15

"We were asked to come here…it's been a long trip and these old bones don't handle the cold so well.", Annie replies as she leans wearily on her staff, "Perhaps while we wait you can give me some idea what was so important to drag me all this way."

The voice replies with "Those 'old bones' spent the past hour sitting in a heated SUV in the snow then flying up a hillside… your friend shows, then we talk."

AS if on cue, the spirit form once seen by the voice in the cave, seen by Annie in her ritual and the very same that stared at Johnny's penis much to his chagrin, wisps in to view. A woman, perhaps in her late teens, clearly Native American features. "Be at ease, wanderers and witnesses. Now is the time of seeing. The time of understanding. Wanderers, see. Observer, show. The beat is so different, so warped.. but the dance is always the same."

The voice from the cave responds with a soft muttering including something faintly foul in sperethiel about ghosts and finger wigglers.

Annie watches the spirit as it speaks and offers her a respectful nod, then turns her attention toward the unseen speaker. Over the comm she subvocalizes, «Hmm, doesn't look like he is going to budge until you show yourself. So may as well.», she switches her focus, «Mustang, you active

With that, the woman stops manifesting, astrally away at the speed of thought.

If there's anything more irritating to wake up to than a car singing to itself how nobody understands its pain and how it wants to gouge out its fuel line, Janie really doesn't want to know. "Which way'd they go?" she asks, not in the mood for a long discussion.

"They went in a straight line azmuth away from my central processing unit, my heart, my soul. They leave me here to run my batteries down, to feel my thermal sensors dropping twords zero, frozen… frozen…" A pause. "Uh. North by North West."

Janie smiles thinly and stops pointing a gun at the dashboard. "Thank ye," she replies, then gets her bearings and heads out, wrapping her scarf tight against the cold.

Commlink-Mustang> "Active an' enroute," Janie replies, sprinting along on top of the snow layer at a speed only an Adept can match.

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Roger"

Slinger smiles, fading into existence, with his trenchcoat wrapped around himself. "I'm here. Just being cautious," the elf comments, though his voice is relatively quiet. No need to spook anybody. After all, this is a friendly meeting, right? "I've revealed myself, so perhaps a return of that favor would be appropriate?"

There's a soft snort from within the cave entrance, then the muted musical tone of something muttered in sperethiel followed by common english with a southern twang. "I shoulda figured it was you. No one else I know can be that hard to spot and still draw every thermal imager in a twenty mile radius down on me. Come inside kid, bring your friend."

Annie cocks her head slightly and looks over at Slinger, then follows the other elf down into the cavern once he starts to move.

"Thermal imager?" Slinger wonders, tilting his head. "My spell usually blocks thermo." But whoever it is, seems to know who Slinger is. That's reassuring, at the very least. Potentially. The invitation seems to be extended to him, even if he doesn't always like being called kid.
Right now, it's comforting. The elfin youth drifts toward the cave mouth entrance, glancing back to see if Annie is following him. And reaches for his pack of smokes. Apparently, whoever it is knows him. And there's no reason to be stealthy.

The voice snaps, still in a whisper, "Light discipline says you don't get to smoke in here kid. Don't even think it. I haven't in a week."

The elf scowls at that mention. Somebody's calling him kid, mentions light discipline. It could be Johnny. But… no. "Pops?" Slinger asks, suddenly, his eyes widening. "Fraggin' A. It's good to see you, man. Hear you. Hadn't heard from you for a while." He's actually relaxing a bit — even if he shouldn't. Because Popper, despite being a friend, is the type who'll do whatever it takes for the job. For cash.
"I can do without one for now. Especially if it means I get some fraggin' answers."

Annie continues following Slinger, her dark goggles rotating to the left and right as she searches for whomever is at this meet. Her staff clunkclunks on the hard floor of the cavern as she walks along waiting for some answers.

There's the soft sound of shuffling and the voice speaks again, affirming the guess with an audible grin. "Yeah, it's me kid. I got answers too… but you ain' gonna like 'em."

No answer on the comms. That's probably a 'no' on the bridge thing, then. Janie slows down somewhat as she approaches the ravine's location on the map, then calls on her Power to lift herself into the air.

Popper grunts, "First things first. No comms. No fire. No loud noises. No gunfire. Complete sound, light, and EM discipline here. I don't want to fight my way through a couple hundred Nip military."

Nip military. Crap. « Going offline. Comms off. » The youth says that less quietly than before — enough that he should be audible to Popper. Slinger trusts Popper, whether or not it's a good idea. And he reaches up to turn his comm offline. "Comm is off," he states, keeping his voice low.
Then, he tilts his head. "Wait. Did you say… Nip? I'm assuming you aren't referring to a certain runner from Denver." He hesitates. "Are you?"

Janie is already in the air when Slinger's response reaches her. She smiles thinly as she touches down soundlessly on the other side and continues her sprint.

Popper shakes his head, "Nope. Dunno any runner's that c'n field a couple hundred troops on the fly anyway. That ain't pork chops kid. That's long pork. Specifically the population of Blanding, Utah…"

Slinger takes a moment to parse the slang. Long pork. "Frag," is all he can say. Slow. Drawn out. Just for emphasis. "The Nip military — meaning, the Japanese. I heard they were working with the Ute. We did some work not too long ago. Dealt with some Ute Irregulars who we think had some Japanese advisors. So the Ute are allied with the Japanese troops?" He breathes out slowly, shifts position. He's really not dressed for this kind of weather.

Popper nods. "You ready for the whole thing kid? It gets worse."

Annie leans on her staff and waits to hear the tale that brought her all this way in some pretty abysmal weather. She narrows her eyes at the mention of Long Pork and offers a slow deep sigh. This business is getting nasty. She doesn't interrupt Slinger and Pops however, apparently preferring to just listen and gather intel at this point.

The young elf nods slowly. "Yeah. Lay it on me. Crap. If I'd have known this was military-related, I woulda stayed home. I'm not good with military." Slinger has never served in any form of military. His education has come from the streets, where it's a whole different kind of discipline.

Slinger leans against the wall, and chuckles. "All right. Now, go over that again, assuming that I'm /not/ in the military. Which I'm not, okay? I got about one word in two there, and most of the words I got were things like 'and' and 'with'." He ticks things off on his fingers. "LZ is landing zone, but what's cold about it? What's an AkiKaze, what do you mean body burns, and when the hell did we start talking about chemical weapons?" Suddenly, Slinger /very/ much wishes his armor were finished being upgraded.

Annie considers the report, "It sounds pretty comprehensive.", she comments after a moment, "And the weaponized VX is worrisome.", she pauses a moment and adds, "So where do we come in on this and what prompted you to get involved? Are there some big players involved that are willing to put out some cash to see the Japs directly opposed in this region?"

"A cold LZ, as opposed t'a hot one, would be a landin' zone where resistance is effectively suppressed to th'point where there's no danger o'gettin' shot at, I'm guessin'." Janie replies from the mouth of the cave as she makes her way inside.

Popper sighs and shakes his head sadly. "Ok, Hot LZ is one that's under fire. Cold LZ means there's no hostile shooting at you. AkiKaze is a nip military transport chopper. These come with a pair of 'fifties on each side." he pauses to process and take in Annie's question, then continues. "In the quarry they have two pits. In one they gas the citizens of the village, in the other they burn the bodies with what looks like Thermite from teh thermal sig."

Popper continues, "Where y'all come in I dunno. Spook says t' expect comp'ny and they're friendly. Th' kid shows, he's it. I'm here 'cause someone from the CIA got jumpy 'bout a rumored nip op going down."

Slinger nods slowly. All right. All of that makes sense. Except for one thing. "Okay. To what end? I'm assuming they have some objective beyond simply being evil human beings?" the elf drawls. "And… maybe you could get me up to speed. I'll admit, I haven't been following the whole Japan invasion thing, to be honest. Yadda yadda Japan was invading Freecal, then something about Saito, something about disobeying orders, and now there's Nip Soldiers, okay? Sorry to be an idiot, but like I said, never served in the military."

Annie offers a nod of greeting to Janie as she arrives, then returns her attention to the ongoing meeting.

«OOC» Vulcan will take perception checks from .. everyone.
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Intelligence for "Hmm?":
1 2 2 3 4 7 8
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Popper (#4048) rolls Intelligence:
2 2 2 3 3 4 5 7
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 9
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 10 11
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "Kp 5/24":
1 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 4 5 10 23

Popper shrugs. "Word I got is that the CIA spook, not your kinda spook, wanted someone t' come see what's goin on. I spend a week under complete discipline and then you show up."

The cave rumbles slightly, like a settling of the earth around you. Slowly, next to Popper, the stone starts to run like liquid. Cold, slow liquid, but liquid none the less.
Janie breathes very carefully, forcing herself to mentally step back from the horror. Okay. So Ute and JPC forces have been quietly and systematically committing genocide. Focus on the situation at hand. Don't let—

"… What th'hell?" Janie can't manage to not say as she draws a gun and turns to face the liquidifying stone.

Annie seems about to ask another question, but pauses with her mouth slightly open. Seeming to realize that this isn't the most attractive of looks for her she closes her mouth and takes a slow look around the cave, her eyes going slightly glassy as she peers around. "This seems to be a spirit of the mountain.", she pauses and then expands on it, "This entire mountain is awakened and conscious of our presence."

Popper abruptly moves away from the oozing sludge, dropping the mags in his pistols and slapping in a pair of golden mags as an 'in case' solution before training the pistols on the oozing rock.

Slinger whirps around, staring at the stone for a moment. Then back at Popper. "Does that happen often?" he wants to know. He checks the astral realm as well, preparing his defenses…

Popper snaps, "Would I be aiming at a sludgecicle if this was usual?"

"Whoa. Awakened mountain. That's kinda cool." The elf relaxes a little bit. But only a little bit. "I hope we haven't been giving it an itch."

"That all depends on who's woken it up," Janie replies, not aiming at the spirit but not putting her gun down just yet either.

Popper mutters, then says "Kid, someone best explain what's goin on here. If the ground I'm standing on is about to get pissy I'm gonna see how fast I can steal one o' them choppers from the nips."

"You…" The sound seems to come from all around, no real single source… "Are here…" The running stone forms in to features, craggy and weathered, the features that are neither native american nor anglo, but human all the same… "To see…" The voice is gravel, it's time, its wind against the stone, slowly abrading the surface and making sand. "For while you see…" The wind outside kicks up a bit. "They do not die… alone."

"Dude, if it wanted us dead, we'd all be toasted, right here, right now. Oops, cave-in, so sorry, we have some nice consolation prizes for you." The boy falls silent, though, while the rock speaks. "I think it's on the side of the locals. Which makes sense," he says to Popper.
"We came to see. And perhaps to try to stop it. If we can. If it is within our power. Can you… can you help?" Slinger asks the stone.

Popper drops the golden mags from his pistols and tucks them away in a pouch, then scoops up the discarded mags and drops them into the pistols' magazine wells all the while muttering foul things in sperethiel and trying desperately to split his focus between the kid, the woman, the sensors, and… the talking rock… needless to say the choices are either fail or gain a permanent split personality.

"Somehow I doubt ye called specifically on us if all ye wanted was a few witnesses to an atrocity," Janie comments.

Annie nods to Slinger, "Yeah, that kind of death and chemical or biological contamination can't be having a positive effect on the local environment.", she turns her attention to the stone face, "Do you want us only to observe and report, or do you want more of us? We are only a few and they seem to have a significant advantage in the realm of firepower."

Popper mutters "Gimme a couple hours and we might change that."
"I… called…." The voice is slow, paced and ponderous. It's not in any hurrry to be heard. "Whitebone…." A further pause. "I… did not… call… the unsighted…" The wind howls outside, spreading the scent of death with it. "But… I did… shield him…"

"I still got an assload of questions, just FYI," Slinger mutters to the others. "Starting with who exactly is being killed, and why. But taht can wait."
Whitebone. Whitebone. Who's Whitebone again?

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Intelligence for "Whitebone… I've heard that name before.":
1 1 3 3 4 5 9
«OOC» Annie waves to Janie, "Have fun. :P"
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence + 1 (ME 3) for "What is Whitebone?":
2 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 11

Slinger: Your memory recalls hearing abotu a Whitebone. Some kind of elder of the Ute. She's alternately either ungifted, or a powerful shaman, but no one seems sure. She doesn't flaunt her power whatsoever. She's vaugely associated with eco-protests and anti-corp efforts in the Ute Nation for a while. She went missing not long ago.
Annie: Whitebone. Whitebone. Whitebone. You know, there was a Clara Whitebone who was one of the dancers at the GGD. Her mother, sister and uncle died, but she barely lived. She was a Pawnee if you remember right, settled in the Ute Nation.
Near Salt Lake City, Tooele if you recall.

"Whitebone… I've heard the name. She's a shaman of some power. Associated with environmental groups, anti-corporate, here in the Ute Nation. And the unsighted… sorry to say, Pops, but I think that's you."

"Yeah, I've heard the name as well. From a long time ago.", Annie murmurs after a moment, "But last I heard she was settled down near the Salt Lake."

Popper nods. "Yep. When it comes t' this spirit stuff I'm blind as a bat…. then again it don't take much t' spot a thermal flare on th' side o' a mountain either."

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Popper (#4048) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 2 4 5 5

Popper: VX. Salt Lake. Huh. Wait. Deseret Chemical Weapons Depot. That was where the Old US stored 45 percent of its chemical weapons. Those weapons, being used below, had to come from there, because the Salish publically torched their site and the Pueblo have far too good of security for these assholes to have gotten it.
About 20 miles outside of Salt Lake.
Popper comments, "Y'know… I seem t' recall there's a chemical weapons depot 'bout 20 miles outside Salt Lake… includin VX like they're usin down there."

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Geography (Mana-Lines):
1 3 3 3 5
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Geography (Mana-Lines) for "KP 13/35.":
1 2 2 3 3
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Geography (Mana-Lines) for "KP 15/35.":
1 4 5 7 10

"Okay. So wait a sec. Is that down there? And if not… what the hell are they doing gassing and then burning people? Can't they just, you know, shoot them, if they want them all dead and stuff? That's the part I don't get. Why are they attacking, who are they attacking, and why use gas? Isn't that stuff kind of, well, messy to work with?"

Popper nods. "Messy… yeah, if y' consider having yer nervous system shut down, yer skin melt off, 'n yer lungs blister inside ye t' be 'messy' then yeah, it's messy."
Slinger's eyes are drawn down to the valley before him. The map he's seen. The view in front of him. And then he sees it. The valley's fold and ripple, the way it feeds in to the Abajo Mountains… The way it feeds in.. like a river. A natural ley current. Directly underneath a site of mass murder.

You should probably be leaving.


"Right. So why are there Nips here, and /why/ are they doing this?" he asks. Then, his expression goes distant for a moment. Looking at something in the astral. Looking at the way the lines of force connect to one another. The map is still in his mind, from the GPS.
"Guys? We need to get the frag out of here. Soon. Because while military idiots might not realize it, magic has power, too. And this area… this place has a lot of stored up power.
"And they're comin' /real/ close to creating a mana warp. If the background count goes high enough, it's gonna flood the ley lines. And it won't be pretty.
Of the spirit of the mountain, Slinger asks, "Is that right? You didn't need us, except to bear witness. Bear witness to what they did, to their atrocities — and to what the Land will do to them in retribution."

Popper blinks. "Kid, remember that bit with th' cold LZ? Now you're doin it. What th' frag did ye jes say?"
When addressed, the Mountain grumbles for a moment. "Retribution… is… not my… path. You have come… to remember. What I will not.. be able to. To see… what needs to be seen. To know… what needs to be known. Soon.. the bad medicine will touch me. And I will be gone. As they are gone… with no one… to remember."

Slinger scowls at that. Perhaps he misunderstood. "Still workin' it out, Pops," the elfin mage says as an aside to his fellow elf. "What can we do to stop this? To preserve you?" Slinger asks of the spirit. "Tell me, and if it is within my power, within my abilities, it shall be done." There is an earnest, pleading note in his voice. The spirit of the mountain is a precious thing — a piece of history. A piece of tradition. Its destruction would be a great loss.

Annie chews on her lip as she considers the possibilities, "How much time do we have?", she inquires after a moment.

"The Bad Medicine…" Says the cave then, seeming to take longer and longer between word strings… "Cannot be stopped. Not in time. Time. So much time… Meat People… quickpeople so fast.. should leave this place. Do… not return. YOu have… seen… what must… be seen. Time. So little time… memories beyond number. STorms and snow… what was once a hill in time becomes a mountain and in time becomes a valley. Time. So fast. The quicktime is now, Dancer. The quick time is now."

"When the mountain," Slinger says slowly, "comes to Mohammed, and tells him to beat feet, Mohammed is well advised to get the /frag/ outta Dodge." There. About five metaphors mixed into one. But it makes the point. To Popper, Slinger says, firmly, "That means we evac, right the frag now. You got any gear? This whole place is about to go up like a roman candle, thanks to what they did down there. I'll explain more later."
To Annie, Slinger adds, "Respectfully, ma'am, I see what it's talking about. Not pretty. Can you scout ahead, since you're the fastest?"

Popper simply drops the pistols into their holsters, closes the flaps and snatches up his assault rifle. "There's some drek here, yeah, but it's replacable and sterile. Let's roll." suiting actions to words, the elf ducks out of the cave and starts towards the nearest ground transport. I.E. The blazing hot SUV.

Annie nods to Slinger, "Yeah, I think i've gotten the gist of it as well.", she turns and heads toward the mouth of the cave before casting her spell, lifting off, and then skimming a dozen meters over the terrain as she heads toward Oh-Oh at her top speed. Her goggles turn left and right as she checks for any potential threats along the route.

Nobody told Slinger that he was supposed to come in cold. So the heater is probably still on. Assuming that hasn't led the Japanese right to the damned thing. On the other hand, he did leave that Watcher spirit. Which might have gotten nuked. Drek.
Slinger activates his Improved Invisibility spell. It should help conceal him — but he also activates Levitate on Popper. "Hang on, Pops," he says, as soon as the elf is clear of the cave mouth. He glances back to make sure Janie is coming.
To the spirit, he says, "We have seen. And we will remember. And we will remember you," he vows to it.
And then the elf is /moving/.

Annie crosses the ravine well ahead of the others, her slender form flitting almost invisibly across the snow covered landscape.

Slinger keeps Popper close enough to him to cover the other man with spell defense and shielding. In fact, if possible, he will keep it on the whole group. His comm he keeps turned off, while he moves swiftly — and as silently as he can — across the ravine, staying low enough to hopefully keep the military's attention elsewhere.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 17

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence for "KP 16/35.":
1 2 3 3 3 3 4 5 5 9

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Popper (#4048) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 4 5 5 5 15 16
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls 5 for "SSF before KP":
1 3 3 4 10
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls 5 for "SSF after KP":
2 2 4 5 11

Slinger: Helicopter!

Annie and Popper: AkiKazi class dual main-prop heavy combat transport, sounds like its gaining altitude and heading your way at full turbines.

Slinger eyes the chopper. The trouble? He won't be able to even come near the damned thing unless it's right on top of him. Even so, he switches over to AV ammo in his gun, just on the off chance it might get close enough to give him a shot.

"Great", Annie mutters to herself as the cold wind whistles past her. She redoubles her efforts at getting to the SUV since this situation may soon call for something a little heavier than what she is currently packing.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Intelligence for "Rotor Craft as a comp? :p":
1 2 2 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 9 11

Annie finally opts to break radio silence, «We've got about three minutes before that bird is on top of us.», she twirls her staff around in front of her and collapses it to it's more portable form, placing it in it's case at her belt, «This could get hairy if we aren't gone.»

"Pops, you good at driving? I need somebody better'n I am," the elf says, speaking as fast as he can. Choppers. Slinger is /not/ fond of choppers. "We're gonna get fraggin' blamed for this when the whole damned mountain goes up, I just know it!"

Popper replies, "I'm not bad.. better question is can I drive through a firefight. Answer's yes."

Annie has landed well before Slinger and Popper arrive, frantically trying to break a few records as she equips her good armor out of the storage compartments. "This could be a long night", she adds as the others begin arriving at the SUV.

"Good. Oh, the car is emo. Just ignore it." The elf is moving as fast as he can — which unfortunately is probably not fast enough. Once again, for the upteenth time, he wishes he had a cigarette, his heavy milspec, and some form of environmental seal on it. Not necessarily in that order.

Slinger switches out his spells, mid-flight, grimacing. This is not going to be easy. His Filtering has worn off, and he cannot activate it again without dropping Popper. Might as well go for broke. He re-casts his spell, at a higher Force.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Centering + 3 (centering focus) vs TN 2 for "Centering against background count + sustaining…":
1 1 2 3 3 4 5 9 11 = 7 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Slinger (#69) rolls Sorcery + Sorcery Pool: 4 + 7 (power focus) vs TN 5 for "Levitate, F5, need 5 successes for full effect.":
1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 8 9 11 = 7 Successes

«Plot» Slinger says, "Slinger takes the L drain. DC's absorb it."

Annie ponders trying to get her armor on, but gives up as she realizes that it is unlikely. Instead she switches out the clip on her thunderbolt for a red-striped AV clip and tucks the weapon back in it's home under her left arm. She continually mutters, most likely something about never taking her armor off again and living in the fragging stuff. Her MGL-6 goes to it's spot on her belt after she checks to verify the HEAP loadout. She looks over as the others arrive, "We going to try to outrun the chopper or stick and fight?"

The Armor on the chopper, some 20mms thick, makes sticking and fighting a rather unwelcome prospect. It's got bigger guns and thicker armor. And probably a combat mage somewhere aboard it.
"Should've packed some o'th'AV ammo f'r th'trip," Janie mutters to herself as she flies down the path back to the SUV. Not /nearly/ as quickly as both full mages, but still faster than even she can run.

The group gets to the truck roughly together, save for Annie who gets there first, and Janie who gets there last, but other than that? At the same time.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 2 for "Oh… Oh!":
1 4

"You left me alone. So alone. So cold. And there is a large helicopter approaching this position. I don't think I like it."

"I got AV. Just has to be right on top of me before it'll do anything," the kid mutters. "If a pistol will even touch that thing, even with AV." He is moving as fast as he possibly can, trying to get back to his vehicle in time. It's hard not to glance over his shoulder, though, at the approaching onslaught.
"Think they were following us or the vehicle, or both?" Slinger asks, as he yanks open the rear door, hitting his remote-unlock. And lets Popper get into the driver's seat.
"Yeah, we don't like it much, either. This is Pops, and he'll be driving you today. Give him your full cooperation if you want to live."
Slinger belts himself in, opens up his secret compartment, and hands out AV rounds.

«OOC» Annie says, "Using Vehicle Mask on the SUV to lower it's sig"
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Sorcery + Sorcery Pool: 10 + 6 (power focus) vs TN 4 for "Vehicle Mask on EmoTruck.":
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 8 8 10 10 13 = 13 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Sorcery + Sorcery Pool: 10 + 6 (power focus) - 13 (successes) vs TN 4 for "Vehicle Mask on EmoTruck. kp 6/24":
1 1 1 2 4 4 4 4 5 5 10 17 20 = 9 Successes
«OOC» Annie says, "Okay, will stand there. +8 to emotrucks signature thanks to the manawarp boost :p"

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Willpower + Sorcery Pool: 1 vs TN 5 for "Resist 5S Drain for F8 Vehicle mask. Need 4 succs with Trauma Damper":
1 1 1 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 11 11 = 4 Successes

Annie suddenly staggers as if channeling more mana than she expected. A black mist creeps off the ground giving everyone nearby a sense of impending dread before surrounding and soaking into the SUV. "Holy crap", Annie mutters as she catches herself, "That was a doozy." She shakes her head as if clearing a slight buzz and then climbs into the vehicle.
Popper slides into the driver's seat as soon as he's on the ground and straps in for a really interesting drive.

Slinger has the GPS up on the screen. "Let's motor," Slinger urges, making sure he is belted in. And he holds on, not even reaching for his cigarettes. At least not yet — even if he desperately needs one right now. This… is stressful.
But right now, Slinger is a passenger, and there isn't really much he can actually /do/.

Annie sits quietly in the seat, maintaining the Vehicle Mask spell, and watching out the window for any looming and immediate threats.

Popper drops the hammer on the emo truck, likely eliciting some whiney nasal comment about rough roads and chrome trim from the personality sim program, which the old elf ignores in favor of a combination of narrow focus on not sliding off the road into a snow drift or, worse yet, canyon, and a partial overlay of flashbacks of his experiences since arriving in Denver and before… strangely, attack helicopters figure in more often than the old vet would like.

Through the snow, ice, and night the elf pushes the truck to its limits losing traction just enough to snap the heavy vehicle around the sharper turns and running it right to the redline as the tires seem to float over everything from ice to open air at times.

Slinger, for his part, holds on for dear life — clinging to the frame of the vehicle as best he can, and just /waiting/ for the car to either take a hit from something much bigger than it is, or to go skidding off into a ravine.
He says /nothing/, though, just staring behind him — and watching the mountain, keeping his vision in the astral. In case something nasty decides to pop in and say 'hi'. That, and bearing witness, like he promised.

Wheels slip and grip in time as the truck roars along the old roads. The twin bladed combat helicopter slides in behind the truck, it's bulk flying oddly sideways to bring its guns to bear. The two guns, one at either end of the passenger compartment, open up and start to Zero in on the truck. The truck turns the corner, forcing the chopper to straighten and fly 'normally' to make the corner.

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Popper (#4048) rolls Car + 2 vs TN 5 for "Same source":
1 3 4 5 8 10 = 3 Successes

"The mountain," Slinger says very slowly, "Just stood up. And it looks /very/, /very/ pissed. Mana is gonna be doin' very weird drek around here for a little while, just as a note." He winces — the roar is deafening to his astral senses.

Popper, somehow, catches sight of the chopper closing in. Whether it's a glimpse in the rearview the elf doesn't seem to be watching, something on a data readout, or just sheer instinct for staying alive, he knows it's closing in and not ready to make nice. The turns get sharper, the acceleration harder, the driving wilder and rougher, but somehow either the old magic hater elf has figured out how to make the truck fly on his own or he's channeling the spirit of mario andretti's ridge running cousin as the rig stays mostly upright through the swaying swerving evasive maneuvers Pops puts the poor emo truck through.

Getting tossed around inside a racing SUV while a combat helicopter is doing its best to turn you and your allies into goulash and Nature's Wrath about to go off very close by isn't exactly Janie's idea of a good time. "Hell with this," she mutters, then mentally calls on her Ally spirit and concentrates. She knows the theory of what she's about to do, and how to do it, but she's never actually /done/ it before…

… Then again, as she hears Slinger's warning she decides that the situation is not /quite/ desperate enough yet to try calling on a Great Form Mountain Spirit in these conditions… Yet.

THe Helicopter doesn't shake though, sluicing its way through the box canyon and following the truck. It's faster, and can gain and lower altitude as required. It's fast and fairly, comparatively speaking, manouverable. The two guns on the side open up as the chopper pulls along side the truck on a straighter section of canyon road. The hillside above the truck chews itself silly, as the gunners seem to realize that the auto-tracking (Get it? Auto tracking? Shooting at a car?) seems to not be working. They disengage and go to iron sights.

Slinger glances to Janie. "Can't you call air spirits to do something about that chopper?"

"Ten seconds ago I decided I wasn't desperate enough t'try callin' on a great spirit under these conditions," Janie replies as a burst of gunfire gets uncomfortably close to the car. "… But that was then an' this is now."

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Centering vs TN 2 for "Centering against penalties - as per the invoking rules, the centering successes apply to both tests.":
1 2 2 5 5 11 = 5 Successes

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Vulcan (#3087) rolls 1:

«OOC» Vulcan says, "Janie: What force?"
«OOC» Janie says, "6."
«OOC» Vulcan says, "You're summoning at F11. Calculate accordingly"
«OOC» Janie says, "Aieeee."
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Conjuring + 2 (Athena) vs TN 11 for "Whoa, that's a LOT more power than I'd intended…":
1 2 2 4 4 4 5 5 5 = 0 Successes

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 13/47":
1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 7 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 14/47":
2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 7 10 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 17/47":
1 1 2 2 4 4 5 5 7 8 11 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) - 1 vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 21/47":
1 1 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 10 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Vulcan says, "C'mon… one more…"
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) - 1 vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 26/47":
1 1 1 1 2 2 3 7 8 9 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) - 1 vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 32/47":
1 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 5 11 = 1 Success

«Auto-Judge[1477]» Janie (#4136) rolls Charisma + Karma Pool: 2 + 2 (Athena) - 2 vs TN 11 for "This is going to /HURT/. KP 39/47":
1 1 3 3 4 4 5 5 11 = 1 Success
Janie takes S physical mana burn.

Janie realizes about half a second into the summoning that something is badly wrong - the Power is flowing way too swiftly and WAY too strongly.

… Unfortunately, she realizes this half a second too late. She screams in agony as the magical equivalent of a bolt of lightning earths itself through her, breaking through channels of willpower and focus like a tsunami overwhelming a summer dike, then collapses into a twitching heap.

The Chopper falls back as another corner is taken. The thunder far off is suddenly close, echoing in the canyon. A boulder falls from above, slamming down on to the right side of the road in such a fashion as to carve out a chunk and take it down the side of the Ravine. The truck slides past though, with enough room. Odd thing though, the chunk came from straight up. Not bounding down the side of the mountain…

Popper cranks the wheel over hard as he can safely go in an effort to avoid the boulders that are falling… up the mountain? and floors it, aiming for safety, freedom, or at least another minute of life before the chopper finally gets a bead on the big, hot, black, truck surrounded by cold snow, and blows them to shreds.

Slinger does lean over to rummage in his backpack, pulling out his savior medkit. "Can you hold on until we stop?" the elf asks. The middle of a car chase like this would probably qualify as 'terrible conditions', after all.

Janie nods woozily. One 'good' thing about physical mana burn, at least: Once the damage is done it's at least stable. "I'll live," she replies. "Just don't ask me t'try that again any time soon…"

The rocks now are coming far more often. A boulder bounces off the side of the truck, then another off the side of the helicopter.. it wobbles a bit, before seemign to come back under control. The guns open up again, several rounds shattering windows in the back of the rig.


The thunder rumbles again, punctuating the words that come from all about, as the Blue Mountains (Called Abajo in the Spanish) react violently to the Japanese Helicopter trying to kill the designated memory keepers.

A fist of large enough to encompass, envelope and entrap the helicopter in one 'hand'. Fingers of rock with knuckles of fir trees bend, grasping the helicopter. Rotors snap and the chopper starts to fall. It is captured in the hand, which as one looks up… flows in to an arm… which flows in to a torso.

Abejo peak.. has… stood up. Rocks and debris fall away as it moves, like dander or the necrosing parts of a leper. Fury seems to radiate from it, as lines of red hot Magma seem course across its body, like a network of veins. A keen eye will notice the way some of the lines go black and slowly grow on the other lines, infecting and invading. The vast majority are now dark lines of pulsing fetid decay…

Away… away is good. Focus on away. Away from what? The chopper with the guns… the really pissed off mountain… the smell of burnt long pig so reminiscent of the last unit we served with… everything this place represents… that's good. Away from everything behind us… yeah. These are the thoughts running through the elf's head, not that anyone notices through the chaos, but if they could, they might understand why they are no longer swerving and dodging so much as driving as fast and as straight as possible under the conditions, to hell with details like roads, if there's ground the elf is using it as a road, so long as it isn't violated by a ravine somewhere.

Away… away is good. Focus on away. Away from what? The chopper with the guns… the really pissed off mountain… the smell of burnt long pig so reminiscent of the last unit we served with… everything this place represents… that's good. Away from everything behind us… yeah. These are the thoughts running through the elf's head, not that anyone notices through the chaos, but if they could, they might understand why they are no longer swerving and dodging so much as driving as fast and as straight as possible under the conditions, to hell with details like roads, if there's ground the elf is using it as a road, so long as it isn't violated by a ravine somewhere.

As the guns open up, Slinger has just enough time to be staring down the /barrel/ of the damned thing. He tries to duck, manages to get the seat between himself and the barrage of gunfire that rips through the rear window — but luckily enough, manages to avoid any critical systems /or/ any passengers.
What happens next, though, he could have hoped for — but certainly did not expect, or even think possible. The mountain… stood up, and reached out to grasp the chopper like a toy, crumpling it like a pathetic plastic piece instead of the rigid, tough structure of steel that it had been.

Annie holds on for dear life against the erratic jerking of the vehicle, watching the rapidly ending battle outside between the chopper and the mountain. She ducks her head at the spray of shattering glass and then peers around warily to make sure no-one was hit by the spray of gunfire.

The chopper's explosion is muffled by the wall of rock and dirt and mountain that engulfs it. That final moment of sentience, of… well… sane… sentience, is Abajo discorporating and sending himself back to the Astral Plane. The rock and detrius that had been his form slides in to the canyon, a massive avalanche that burries the chopper under 100 feet of stone.

Popper says "Kid, you really gotta stop getting me into this wierd ass drek one of these days." without taking his eyes off the road for a second.

"Me?" the kid demands. "You're the one who hired somebody to slip a note into my car," he states. "All we know is, some spirit came along, said, go here, so we went. I got drafted into this." The elfin youth reaches for his pack of cigarettes and shakily lights one of the things. "So what the hell was that? I still got no idea why the Japs were doin' that. Why would the Ute want some of their own people gassed? Or were the Ute involved?"

Popper retorts, "Note? What note? I've been laying in the fraggin snow for a week. I didn't send you a note." he snaps the truck through another sharp turn, barely avoiding driving everyone into yet another gap in the earth as he answers the rest of the kid's reply. "Best guess, it was a test bed situation. Get the gas, make sure it's still viable before using it on your actual targets… oh, and for yer gen'ral fund of knowledge, wasn't a single red skin got killed. Everyone of them crispy critters was a honkey."

"Oh! That… that makes some sense. But that's not good." The elf considers that for just a moment. "So the Ute and the Japs are working together, either openly or covertly. That's… pretty big stuff. The question is, how do we get it out there? You got any actual intel we could post? This needs to go on Shadowland, get blown /wide/ open. Unless there's a better way to use it.

Annie leans back in her seat after checking on Janie once more. "Let's just get out of here.", she adds wearily after a moment. She considers dropping the Vehicle Mask, but decides it's probably a better idea to keep it up for now.

Popper grunts, "I'm gonna be reporting back to a pretty high level CIA contact myself. I'd imagine 'White people got killed by Japs while Ute stood guard' will get a decently impressive reaction, don't you?"
Annie nods to Popper, "Did you get some decent video footage or other evidence?"

Popper nods, slowing down a tad… just a tad… that was a pissed off MOUNTAIN afterall, no need to get complacent, and responds "Yeah, I got some decent footage of a shit ton o' stuff that ain't got anything t' do with decency. Gotta deliver it t' m' contact first though, if I get cleared for dispersal you c'n bet it's going out on th' air."

Slinger nods. "I bet some people at Draco might be interested as well. Just a thought." Slinger glances to the others in the car, draws hard on his cigarette. Offers the things around — Janie won't partake, he knows, but right now, it's time to roll down the window a little and finally relax. "Think you can slow down a tad, man. Would really suck to get away from that then plow into a semi, you know?"

Slinger nods. "Right," the youth agrees. Then, he pauses, smirks. "We're gonna get blamed for this, you know?" He then considers. "So who was that girl who was with you when we arrived? I never did figure out who she is."
The elf takes a drag of smoke. "And can somebody explain to me how the Japanese fit into all this? I heard they were invading, then not, then they are again."

Popper slows a little more for the sake of the kid's nerves, his are fine… really… absolutely no need for a bottle of bourbon and a carton of cigarettes… none at all. "What girl? I been up there alone all week. Kid, you been playin with that magic drek too long… yer starting t' see things."

Slinger glances at the others, then lets out a slow breath. "Right. Fair enough." He exhales, shakes his head. "You know what? I seem to remember that we rented a fraggin' motel room — if we dare to go back to it — but more to the point, we didn't get a chance to sleep in it. I'm all for passing out back here. Anybody see a reason I can't?"

Popper asks "Other than being traced by japanese special forces with silenced weapons?

Annie declines the offered cigarette, "Well if you think you can burn off a copy of some of your footage, I know there are a few people in the Draco Foundation that would not mind seeing it.", she exhales slowly, "I've got a Savior Medkit with Obie…should help Janie at least a little bit."

«Plot» Vulcan says, " It does bear noting that the description of the vehicle was probably relayed back to the Japanese base camp, which would have probably a 10 minute delay on getting to the Ute, which would then have mayeb a half hour delay in filtering down."
«Plot» Vulcan says, " Quick Popper: Your mission doesn't involve giving them copies of your data. Do you?"

Popper says "Make sure the kid has your number. When, not if, when, I get clearance to take this at least into the shadows, it's yours. 'till then, I'm sorry, I can't."

«OOC» Annie says, "Any software that would let me make a 'police sketch' from memory and then run a facial recognition agent?"
«OOC» Vulcan hrms. probably.
«OOC» Vulcan says, "Spend 200 cash"
«OOC» Vulcan says, "To represent matrix site access."
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) spends 200 nuyen.

«OOC» Vulcan says, "Computers, TN of… 20-int-MEIII, so… uh…"
«OOC» Vulcan says, "Shit. TN 5."
«OOC» Vulcan says, "Smart old bitch."
«Auto-Judge[1477]» Annie (#5398) rolls Computers vs TN 5 for "Chasing Ghosts":
2 4 5 5 5 = 3 Successes


Popper has established an Observational Position on Abejo Peak at approximately 10,000 feet elevation. The OP observes the townships of Indian Village, Blanding and Montecello.

The Observational Position is under a slight ridge that protects from the sun and provides some wind protection. Weather conditions are cold and snowy, with cold weather gear keeping you alive. No fire is allowed due to thermal signature issues. No signals or matrix uplinks are allowed due to silence protocols.

The Observational Position is 3,000 feet elevated from the town of Indian Village, at a distance of 14.07 miles from Millers Feed. The Op Post is 9.6 miles from Will's Tavern in Montecello and approximately 12.34 miles from the Blanding Post Office.

All three roads (Highways 191 and 95) in to the White Mesa Anglo Reservation have been cut, with Ute Soldiers guarding the entrances. Cover story is the bridges are out.

Three days ago, four AkiKaze combat transport helicopters landed in Indian Village and established control. Approximately 100 Japanese Soldiers are present in the Reservation.

Landing forces are divided in to 4 roughly equal units of 20-30 men each.

1st Platoon: Blanding Garrison
2nd Platoon: Logistical Transport and Blanding Garrison
3rd Platoon: Landing Zone Security Detail
1st Spec Operations Team: Anders Mineral Site. Appear to be responsible for execution and cleanup.

1st through 3rd Platoons appear to be standard Japanese Imperial Marines, while the 1st Spec Ops Team appears to have slightly different uniforms and insignia. Photographs are available.

Blanding is at all times guarded by the 1st Platoon.

The 2nd Platoon spends days transporting civilians to Anders Minerals, and the nights at Blanding operating as reserve Garrison.

The 3rd Platoon does not appear to leave the LZ.

During the day, 8 groups of 50 persons are driven with local vehicles, to the abandoned Anders Mineral Copper Mine. They are subjected to chemical weapons (VX Gas based on canisters) and killed. At night, the bodies are burned in the Anders Gravel quarry to mask the smoke plumes. Fuel used in the cremations used is consistent with thermal data for Military Grade Thermite.

The distance between Millers Feed and the Japanese LZ is 3830 feet.

The distance from the Japanese LZ to Anders Mineral is 3858 feet.

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