Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

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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Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:43 pm

The car comes to a screeching halt. It's 3 AM, and Salton City General Hospital's neon-lit entrance is like a ray of hope in the dark, sleeping city. The emergency rooms are ready to accept those who seek aid - but are they prepared to deal with Elizabeth's condition?

Ray jumps out immediately, and with a final feat of strength, runs towards the building, carrying Elizabeth's limp body. An orderly, who's been smoking next to the entrance, drops his cigarette and follows Ray, with a "hey, man, slow down!"

When Julie and Nat enter the building, they see that Elizabeth is lying on a gurney.

Ray, exhausted from this final run, is nearby, on a bench. The orderly is taking his pulse.

A bald, middle-aged doctor leans above Elizabeth, examines her with a stethoscope. When Julie and Nat enter, he looks up. His name tag says "Dr. Dale Jacobson". His face says he is tired, and has many questions, but no answers so far. "Are you friends of hers, too? What happened?"
"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 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:45 pm

"Hi Doc, thanks for seeing Liz so quickly. I'm Nat and this is Julie who is Liz's friend; Ray over there and I are Julie's friends, we helped bring Liz in." Nat then looks at Julie.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:55 pm

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"Yes, thank you," says Julie. "Liz got taken into a cult, and they brainwashed her. I think they drugged her too. Check out the black stuff around her mouth and nose. We were lucky we were able to get her out of there."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:43 am

"Damn hippies," Dr. Jacobson murmurs and shakes his head. "They are all around here, communes in the desert. They experiment with everything they can get their hands on."

Dr. Jacobson puts on latex gloves, and carefully touches the area around Elizabeth's mouth and nose. He looks concerned. "If her state is drug induced, then it is an uncommon substance. She doesn't have needle marks, at least not on her arms. LSD shock is different too."

He puts the stethoscope against her chest a couple more times. Elizabeth's breathing is ragged and heavy.

"She swallowed... something. And there's liquid in her lungs. Was she in the sea? Did she drown?"

He gives some instructions to the orderly, who then wheels off Elizabeth down one of the corridors.

"How long has she been in such a bad condition? Physically, I mean. Her muscles atrophied, she is clearly malnourished and very weak. And these rashes and burns also look bad.

"She needs intensive care, and constant supervision now. We are putting her on IV and artificial respiration. And running tests. Hopefully she will wake up herself after some time."
"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 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:56 pm

"Thanks, Doc. We don't know how she took the drugs. I thought maybe she drank it. Hey, Ray, did you see anything in that hanger?" Nat looks at his boss and then worridly after the gurney as it is pushed away, "Er, would it be okay if one of us stayed with her? She might panic when she wakes up. She's been through a lot."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:36 am

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"Yes, thank you, Doctor," says Julie. "She was nowhere near the sea. It was out in the middle of the desert. Yesterday was the first time I'd seen her in months, and she sure didn't look like this before. The others there were in similar shape. Those rashes and burns are caused by radiation. I'd like to stay with her, if I may. I'm her best friend."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:37 pm

"Radiation? Yes, such burns might be the result of that, sure... And there were others?" Dr. Jacobson stares at Julie with a mix of surprise, unease, and a hint of disbelief. "Have you contacted anybody? If there are others, and they are in a similar condition, we must immediately evacuate them."

The doctor takes a deep breath.

"All right, kids. I'll go now and finish the examination, and help set your friend up for the night. After that, we must contact the emergency services at El Centro. You will have to give a location and all the information you have to them.

"You can stay, indeed it will be better for her to see a familiar face when she wakes up."


He hurries out of the hall, towards the intensive care unit. The investigators are alone. The neon lights hum and flicker.

---

Ray, who's been awfully quiet through this conversation, finally looks up at his two younger helpers. His face is pale, and there is a twitch to his left eyelid.
Then he starts speaking, without any introduction. Not a report - a confession. His voice is bleak, monotonous, a barely audible murmur.

"I parted the curtain. There was a pool, a black, dark pool. Around the rock, in the middle of the hangar. A perfect circle, pitch black. A tar pit. People were all around, helpless, lying. Unable to escape. Chanting. Submerged in the darkness. Pulled towards the bottom. Drowning."


---


Everybody, roll Sanity (1/1d3)!
"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 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:48 pm

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"Poor Liz!" gasps Julie. "So that's how she almost drowned. Thank you so much for getting her out of there."

Spoiler:
Sanity roll (current level 47) for hearing Ray's description:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
5
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:38 pm

"Hey Boss, you're going crackers!" Nat exclaims. "Jules, he's in a bad way too; definitely hallucinating." He hunkers down and looks at Ray carefully. "I think you'd better see the Doc too, Boss." He looks around at Julie, "Do you think that black stuff was tar then? Maybe radioactive tar?"
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:40 am

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"I've no idea," says Julie, "but I don't think he ingested any of that stuff, whatever it is."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:29 pm

"No but Liz has. And the other cult members too. Maybe Ray's just inhaled something in the hanger. Whatever he thinks he saw it's real bad. Maybe there's a great hole on the ground leeching radiation. But why would Cavendish be worshipping that?" Nat scratches his head. "I'm going to get a cola; you want one?"
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:46 am

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"Sure. thanks, Nat," says Julie. "It's a good idea to stay hydrated."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:53 pm

Nat wanders down the corridor looking for a vending machine.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:56 am

Nat returns with a couple of cans of soda. Ray, too, accepts the drink, and downs it in one go.

"I'm sorry for not telling you about this earlier. I just couldn't. What I saw seemed impossible. But at the same time it wasn't a hallucination. Everything was completely, maddeningly real," Ray tells the others.

"If there is a radiation source there at the compound, we all need to get checked up. Even if we weren't there for long, like poor Elizabeth. Do you feel nauseous? Vomiting is usually an early symptom."

At some point, Dr. Jacobson returns. "Elizabeth is still unconscious, but we started the IV and artificial respiration. Took blood and saliva samples. Tomorrow we will learn more about her ailment. And she is not in a coma, so she is going to wake up soon," he reports.

Dr. Jacobson proceeds to place a call to the emergency services. He is sympathetic to the small group, and is clearly concerned for Elizabeth's health, and possibly for the others at the compound. Ray gives him the location of the Temple, and the approximate number of people there. "Well, they are heading out soon with an ambulance and a deputy sheriff to take a look at the matter. In the morning, I will also contact the head of the Imperial County Medical Department, to get updates on the situation."

The doctor then invites the investigators one by one into his cabinet, for a quick examination. Nat is healthy as an ox. Ray needs lots of rest, and the doctor recommends he stays the night at the hospital. Julie's condition, however, baffles and concerns him. He takes blood samples, and sends them to analysis. "A kind of muscle atrophy..." he says, after the physical examination. "Has it been going on for long? It is similar to Elizabeth's, but, as far as I understand, you weren't there with her at the compound?"
"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 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:31 am

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"Well, I was there for a day," says Julie. "I went in early to find Liz and scout out the place, and Ray and Nat came at night to get us out. I've only been feeling weak since tonight." She describes the layout of the compound to Dr. Jacobson and the people she met there.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:14 pm

Nat is glad he's alright but he's worried about Julie.
"It's that strange woman isn't it? She did something to you. Doc, there are some weird people in that cult; maybe the radiation has affected them somehow.

And the main dude, Cavendish, he's a snake, as slippery as they come. The sheriff will need a warrant and a way with words if he's going to talk his way onto the ranch. Personally, I don't think the team will have much luck."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:46 am

Mr. Handy wrote:She describes the layout of the compound to Dr. Jacobson and the people she met there.

Spoiler:
Let's say Julie gave this information to the Doctor before he called the emergency services, and relayed it to them too.


aine wrote:"It's that strange woman isn't it? She did something to you. Doc, there are some weird people in that cult; maybe the radiation has affected them somehow.

"This strange woman, you mean the one who is called 'N? Julie, what did she do to you? Did she inject you with anything?" Dr. Jacobson asks, earnestly trying to piece together all the information the group provided so far.

Next, he addresses Nat's concerns about the possible success or failure of the emergency team.

"If there is measurable radiation in the area, the emergency services can force evacuation and quarantine procedures. Of course, people often resist these procedures. Sometimes things get messy. But let's hope for the best."
"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 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:05 pm

Nat looks at his boss first before saying, "Well if they need any help, I can lend a hand. I'm also a bit concerned that Cavendish might attempt something here at the hospital.
I mean, we've got evidence here that his cult is dangerous and he ain't gonna be happy about that. We've got to protect Elizabeth. And Julie for that matter." He smiles rather worriedly at Julie and Ray.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:42 pm

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"Thanks, Nat," says Julie. "I don't think she injected me with anything. She never laid a finger on me, but it seemed like she was trying to use hypnosis or something on me. She was trying to make me sleepy."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby aine » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:30 pm

"Man, you were super heavy! Did she hypnotise lead weights into your feet?" Exclaims Nat. "Do you think she was one of Cavendish's head honchos? By the way, did you meet Cavendish? And did you go into the hanger?"
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