Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

1976, South California
The Sandoval couple is worried sick: their daughter, Elizabeth, ran off and joined a cult, the Temple of Concordance. They had no contact with her until recently, when she called them, clearly in a state of distress. The call ended abruptly, without any answer from Elizabeth about her status. The police checked up on the Temple, but found everything to be in order: Elizabeth is 21, practicing her right to worship as she wishes. The Sandovals decide to take matters into their own hands...

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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:21 pm

Spoiler:
Nat rolls 31% in case it's needed for lifting/carrying Julie to safety.
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby evil_scientist » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:31 pm

Julie almost collapses, but Nat catches and ushers her towards their escape route. Nat feels that Julie is trembling and weakened - but her body also feels heavy. It pulls downwards, like dead weight.

Spoiler:
With Nat's support, Julie puts some more distance between herself and 'N... But the uncanny force of gravity is still latched onto her, draining her...

-----------------

Make another opposed POW roll against the draining force! On a failure, lose 2d10 points of CON.
Draining force 75
evil_scientist rolled 1d100:
51

CON loss on failure:
evil_scientist rolled 2d10:
9, 2


The thing that is 'N doesn't give chase - but lets out a growl -- no, not a growl, but an unnatural, disjointed sound, somewhere between choking and coughing.

Why isn't it following them?

What is happening?

Do they dare to look back one last time, before they duck behind the corner of the house?

The hole in the fence is already so close...
"I feel as if my soul would be torn out of my body," she gasped. "I am being drawn into a whirlpool. What is happening? What does it mean?" - The Secrets of Dr. Taverner
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:43 pm

Spoiler:
Nat feels the hairs rising on the back of his neck as he hears the eldritch sounds behind him. But Julie is heavy, strangely, and he has a job to get her down to the hole in the fence without catching her on the wire. "Come on Jules, you gotta help me here, can you get through the hole?"
He fumbles for the big torch and switches it on in the direction of the car, waving it around, hoping Tobias is already on his way. He listens for the sound of the engine.
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:48 pm

Image

Julie barely manages to resist the drain. "She's still latched onto me!" she cries. "Can we ever get far enough away, or will she just keep weakening me until I die? We may have to confront her. Where are Ray and Lizzie?"

Spoiler:
Opposed POW roll (50% stat):
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
47
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:55 pm

Nat gives up looking for the car and hunkers down next to Julie, "I think I saw Ray carrying Lizzie away to the other hole in a the fence. Look, I'll go through the fence first and then it should be easier to pull you through; we can't fight that thing- she's crazy strong. Can't you think of flowers or kittens or something to break the hold?"
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:24 am

Image

"I'll try that," says Julie weakly. "Yeah, a kitten. A kitten hanging from a tree branch. Hang in there, baby."

Spoiler:
Image
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:15 pm

Image

Nat climbs through the hole in the fence and then attempts to drag Julie through too. "Here we go, Jules, yes a sweet little kitten, hanging on the branch, trying to swat the butterflies."
Spoiler:
If needed: rolled 20 (Str:60) (nice kitten!)
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:59 am

Image

Julie struggles to claw through the fence. "Not trying to swat the butterflies," she says. "It needs both its front paws just to hang onto the branch."

Spoiler:
Thanks! That poster (and others based on it) is just so seventies.
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby evil_scientist » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:04 pm

With Nat's help Julie crawls through the hole in the fence, and the duo flees into the desert. They leave the wretched compound behind, reluctant to look back - perhaps afraid that they would turn to a pillar of salt.

Julie's lungs are burning, and all movement is physically excruciating. She feels that her very essence, a part of her, is gone, siphoned into the well of darkness. But she cannot sense its power over herself any more.

Nat and Julie run blindly into the black night. Nat's torchlight quivers as he sprints, picking out random objects from the darkness - dried bushes, rocks - mundane things that barely mean anything to them anymore.

Suddenly, there is a screeching of tires. The car stops in the last moment - its lights were off. Nat's torch illuminates the puffy face of Tobias behind the driver's wheel. Ray is on the back seat, holding the motionless body of Elizabeth against his chest.

Nat and Julie jump into the vehicle, Tobias makes a hairpin turn, and drives off, as quickly as possible, no longer caring whether anybody hears or sees them.

Ray is pale as death. He is too tired to talk. Elizabeth is alive, but unconscious, her breathing is ragged and heavy.
"I feel as if my soul would be torn out of my body," she gasped. "I am being drawn into a whirlpool. What is happening? What does it mean?" - The Secrets of Dr. Taverner
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:53 pm

"Boss, you made it! Is she okay? Julie's wounded. Something weird, but at least we are all out alive. There's some crazy people in that place, man!" Nat exclaims, super relieved to be the in the car. "Better step on it, old man, it won't take them long to get that vehicle of theirs going!"
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:09 am

Image

"Not physically wounded," says Julie. "I can't explain it. It's like she drained part of my life force. I feel slower, weaker. I think we're far enough away that she can't do it any more now. I just hope I get better. I'll never be able to play roller derby like this. I hope Lizzie will be okay too." She examines her friend, trying to determine what might be wrong with her.
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby evil_scientist » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:38 am

"I found Elizabeth unconscious in the hangar... The other members of the congregation were all in a similar state," Ray explains. He tries to act cool, but his tone betrays that he is shaken but what he saw. "Perhaps they were also assaulted in a way you were, Julie. Although it seems different. You are conscious, just weakened, right? Elizabeth and the others have sunk into this feverish state, almost trance like..."

Julie leans closer and examines her friend. Elizabeth's eyelids and muscles are twitching. It's hard to see in the darkness, but in the light of Nat's torch Julie discerns some sort of a dried, black residue around Elizabeth's nostrils and lips.

"What do we do now?" Ray asks. "We extracted Elizabeth, as was our task... She needs medical attention, and I'm afraid that even when she wakes up, we will have to start the deprogramming, so that she doesn't go back to the Church."
"I feel as if my soul would be torn out of my body," she gasped. "I am being drawn into a whirlpool. What is happening? What does it mean?" - The Secrets of Dr. Taverner
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:57 pm

"Hey, that black residue looks like the same stuff that was around that girl's cup. I bet it's drugs of some sort." Says Nat as he looks at Liz's face. "Could we get it analysed somehow?" He looks out the back of the car.

"Boss, you got her out and that's the main thing, isn't it up to the shrinks to sort her out. Jeez, I'd like to go back and clear those crazy weirdos out before they lure any more suckers in but we'd need some back up. I did grab some stones for the Doc but I don't know if they are any good."
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:06 am

Image

"We need to get her to a doctor fast, or get a doctor to her," says Julie. "We've no idea what she's taken or what it's doing to her. Yes, I was conscious the whole time, though I think she was trying to put me to sleep. I think Ray's better than just a regular shrink. They're not used to deprogramming people who have been in cults, and he is."
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:45 pm

"Okay let's find a doctor then. We need one who won't ask too many questions though. It's a shame our scientist can't help. Hey old man, you okay to drive or shall I take over?" Nat asks Tobias.
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby evil_scientist » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:42 am

"That's right, Julie," Ray confirms with a nod. Some color has returned to his pale face, and he is on a firmer ground now when he starts talking about the deprogramming procedure. "Elizabeth has to stay with us. We might need to restrain her, if she tries to go back to the compound. Hopefully, with the presence of a familiar person (you, Julie!), and an assessment of what happened..." here Ray's voice fades, and he pauses, clearly uncomfortable by revisiting this memory. "...of what happened to her at the church, we will be able to break the mind control techniques. She will however try to rationalize everything, prove to us that we misunderstand the situation. From what I've heard through the wire, she believes in whatever Cavendish promises wholesale..."

You don't recall a doctor at Kane Spring - the town is rather small. The nearest hospital is in Salton City, about 15 miles north. Tobias, who's been staying in the area for some time now, knows the way. "I'm good, you take care of little miss Lizzy! I know the hospital, I had to take my daughter there when she got food poisoning last week!"

There is a final bump, and the car is back on the proper road, and on the way North, towards Salton City.

Surely, there will be question asked at the hospital. The gang has some time to come up with a story or explanation while on the road.

Spoiler:
What do you plan to say at the hospital?
"I feel as if my soul would be torn out of my body," she gasped. "I am being drawn into a whirlpool. What is happening? What does it mean?" - The Secrets of Dr. Taverner
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:11 pm

Nat watches the road speed by in the lights from the car. "Hey, is it even safe for a doctor to see Lizzy? Even if we blame it on drugs we might get into even bigger trouble. And another thing, Cavendish isn't gonna just let this go; I bet he's got cronies out here on the look out for us. Maybe we should just hole up somewhere and do the deprogramming."
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:28 am

Image

"We could say that we believe she's been exposed to hallucinogens," says Julie, "and that her perceptions are not to be relied upon. Hell, after what I've seen, I'm not sure I can trust mine, and I'm pretty sure I'm not tripping on anything. We could also just tell them she's been brainwashed, which is the truth. I mean, Patty Hearst's kidnapping wasn't that long ago. There's enough underhanded stuff going on there that we can make a good case. Of course, that defense didn't go over so well at her trial, but Liz doesn't have to be defended against criminal charges."
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Re: Chapter 5: Into the Void (Ray, Nat, Julie)

Postby aine » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:23 pm

Image
"Well okay let's take her to the hospital, just to get her checked out physically; but you won't be able to do your deprogramming until they discharge her, Boss. You two look like you could do with a check over too while we are at it. And let's all keep an eagle eye out for Cavendish and Co."
Nat yawns and falls asleep.
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