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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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:21 am

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"I did?" says Julie, surprised. "I don't know if I can reach her in a dream or not, but it's the only way I can think of. I've got to try." She gets back into bed and tries to go back to sleep.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:19 am

Julie is still in a highly agitated state, and sleep doesn't come easy. Elizabeth on the next bed is lying still, with only occasional tremors running through her body...

There's a knock on the door, and Dr. Jacobson returns. He is pale and... Scared?

"I was on the phone with the head of emergency services. There have been... Developments, " he glances at Elizabeth's unconscious body, as if anxious that she might overhear something. "Why don't you step outside?

In the corridor, he closes the door of the intensive care unit, and starts speaking after a long and heavy pause.

"By the time the officials arrived, the leader and certain members of the cult have already left... The rest, I'm afraid... Are dead. I cannot tell you the details yet. I shouldn't be telling this either, but I thought you should know. I'm sorry..."


---


This is a Sanity (1/3) situation. However, alternatively to making a roll, you can opt to fail or succeed, depending on how your character takes this information, what is their emotional and rational response.
"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 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:17 pm

"So the creep just cut loose and ran?" Nat puts his face in his hands. "He'll just start over again and recruit another load of poor innocent smucks." Nat's wholesome ranch upbringing has not prepared him for this and something clicks inside him. As he looks up he seems suddenly much older,
"I'm not gonna stop until I get this son of a gun." He turns away and goes to check on Liz. He comes back, looking sad.
Spoiler:
Seems a good point for a life changing decision by Nat so I'll take a fail.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:59 am

Image

"We got Liz out of there just in time," says Julie with a shiver. "If we'd been any later, she'd have dead like the others."

Spoiler:
I'll automatically succeed, as knowing that we managed to save Elizabeth's life is very reassuring, in spite of the fact that the others died. Sanity reduced to 41.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:25 pm

Dr. Jacobson gives Nat and Julie some time to digest the news.
aine wrote:"So the creep just cut loose and ran?" Nat puts his face in his hands. "He'll just start over again and recruit another load of poor innocent smucks." Nat's wholesome ranch upbringing has not prepared him for this and something clicks inside him. As he looks up he seems suddenly much older,
"I'm not gonna stop until I get this son of a gun." He turns away and goes to check on Liz. He comes back, looking sad.

"A state-wide warrant has already been issued, and the Bureau will surely get involved too... They will catch them, kid. Tomorrow the police will come and talk to you, so you can give more information to aid the investigations..."

Mr. Handy wrote:"We got Liz out of there just in time," says Julie with a shiver. "If we'd been any later, she'd have dead like the others."

"Yes, Liz is safe here. I mean, that cult leader, Cavendish, you say? Well, he doesn't know you are here. But a police patrol will arrive soon and stay at the entrance all night.

"But now get some rest. You need it."


He goes into the room and checks Elizabeth's vitals once more. "By morning we will also have the results of the blood tests. And we will consider transferring her to El Centro, to a better equipped hospital," Dr. Jacobson says, then leaves the room.

Spoiler:
I assume Julie will try to enter Liz's dream again?
"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 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:36 pm

"Man, I don't trust that Cavendish; and what use is a police escort against this kind of thing? Maybe you should try to contact Liz now while it's still quiet. I'll keep watch on you both. If you start acting weird, do I wake you up?" Nat feels better with something to do.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:35 am

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"I'll give it a try," says Julie, tucking herself back into bed. "Last time you woke me up, but that cut me off from Liz. Yes, wake me if you see me acting like she was, or if my eyes go black again. You can lift up my eyelid to check, I guess. Otherwise, I should stay asleep if I can." She shuts her eyes and tries to fall asleep and get back into the dream.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:41 am

Spoiler:
Sleep doesn't come easy. Julie lays for some time in a strange half-asleep, half-awake borderline condition. In her mind, she is replaying and imagining conversations with Liz, like we do when our concerned about something. But then exhaustion takes over.

Nightmares come first.

Julie is out in the desert, chased by an unseen force. It's getting closer and closer. A dark voice echoes in Julie's mind. "I'm lost... where are the others? The horizon is no longer fixed in the distance. It is the edge of the world, overhanging the abyss, and it's getting nearer. The unseen force is extending its warm appendages. The void is calling.

And she is suddenly in the black void again. But her position is different. Directions don't make sense in this space, but Julie's feeling is that she is suspended, as she sees Elizabeth from above. The girl is slowly turning around her axis, whispering "I'm lost... where are the others?

Then she looks up, straight at Julie, although her eyes --- black, like the void all around --- don't focus.

"Is... is that you, Julie? You came back! I thought you were gone too, like the others."


Spoiler:
Julie goes back to the bed. It takes quite some time for her to fall asleep properly... But eventually, she stops wriggling under the cover, and her breathing becomes more stable.

About 30 minutes pass.

Then suddenly Julie's body twitches - violently, but just once.

Nat jumps over to check on her, and carefully lifts her eyelids...

The black oily film is back, covering the whole surface.

But Julie (or Elizabeth for that matter) seem to be calm, they are not in convulsions.
"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 Apr 27, 2019 4:31 pm

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Spoiler:
"Yes, Liz, it's me, Julie," says Julie. "I didn't want to leave. I was pulled away, but I came back for you. I won't leave you if I can help it. I found out what happened to the others. Most of them died, and the rest ran away."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:35 pm

Spoiler:
"Died?! How? And ran away? What happened? Where is ---" the last name remains unsaid, just a tangible pause. A ripple runs through the void.
"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 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:34 pm

Spoiler:
Nat shudders as he sees the black pools again, "Jeez, what dreams must she be having!" He thinks. But as she is calm he leaves her be. He looks around to see if a stethoscope is lying around, failing that he takes Julie's wrist and feels for her pulse as an indication of her stress levels. He also keeps an eye on Liz.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:16 pm

Spoiler:
There are no stethoscopes lying around, but Nat's First Aid training is sufficient to monitor one's heartbeat.

Julie's pulse is... erratic and off-beat. When Nat touches her, he feels that (although it is not visible) she is slightly trembling. But nothing as violent as previously. Elizabeth seems to be in a similar state.
"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 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:53 am

Spoiler:
Image

"I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it was bad," says Julie, "Come with me, and we'll find out what happened to them together."
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:38 am

Spoiler:
When Julie submerged herself into the black void, she saw Elizabeth from above. But now Elizabeth floats and turns to face Julie completely. Her face is devoid of emotions, but her voice - or thoughts? - vibrate with sadness and dread.

"Julie... I don't know how to leave. The guiding light is gone. Can... Can you take me with you?"

She reaches out towards Julie.


---


Julie can attempt to concentrate her will - make a POW roll!
"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 28, 2019 6:36 pm

Spoiler:
Nat runs his hands through his hair, the stress is almost unbearable. How long does it take to find someone in a dream? How would of he know when it was time to wake Julie? What would happen to her if he left it too late? He takes both girls' pulses again and then sits watching. He looks at his watch to see how long it's been so far.
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:37 pm

Spoiler:
Image

"Yes, I will guide you back," says Julie, reaching out to Elizabeth and focusing her will on bringing them both back to the waking world.

Spoiler:
POW roll (50% stat) to concentrate her will:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
31
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:03 am

OOC:   Read under the spoiler with your name first, then the "Everybody" section!  


Spoiler:
An hour passes... The girls' pulses remain normal, but sometimes with irregularities... At one point Nat even risks shaking Julie a bit - but she just cannot be roused. Dr. Jacobson is summoned. He examines both of them, and declares, that they are now in a very similar coma state. He tries to comfort Nat, tells him that everything's gonna be fine, but when he sees that both girls' eyes are black, he collapses into a chair and just sits there for a moment.

The morning comes, and there is no change. Dr. Jacobson's colleague arrives, a stern, older man, Dr. Tate, and takes over.

Then the county sheriff arrives, with a small army of deputies and county legal specialists. Ray and Nat are questioned, both separately and together. The police examination is long and exhausting, but Nat cannot really keep it together - he is still tired from the night's ordeals, and very, very concerned about his friends.

The sheriff is quite hostile towards the Investigators. He openly accuses them of provoking the situation at the compound. Luckily, Ray has already called one of his lawyer friends, so any accusations are cut short. The sheriff cannot charge you with anything - but he is NOT about to let you off in the future.

Then two Federal Agents show up. Circles under their eyes from driving all night to get here. One of them, Agent Holmes is skeptical about anything you say. But his partner, Agent Russo takes notes meticulously, and she spends quite some questioning you about the details the sheriff dismissed right away - like what Ray saw in the hangar, or what the black substance is like...

In the evening, Elizabeth's parents arrive, followed shorty by Julie's parents. The Sandovals are extremely grateful for bringing their daughter out of the church, and won't stop hugging Nat and shaking Ray's hand. But then their mood is of course ruined when they learn about Elizabeth's and Julie's unstable condition.

Day two.
Everybody takes up residence in a dingy hotel near the hospital. Everybody takes turns staying at the girls' room, in case one of them wakes up. There is more questioning by the authorities. The doctors are considering moving the girls, who are still unconscious, to another, better equipped hospital.

The first news item about the cult appears, then it spreads quickly nationwide. They are calling it the Salton Sea Cult Mass Suicides.

Day three.
Journalists learn about "a potential survivor of the cult", and start sniffing around the hospital. The county sheriff turns out to be useful for once, and sets up deputies to guard the entrances.

No change in the girls' condition. They are fed through tubes, and are constantly on IV. Electronic monitoring devices malfunction near them, although not as violently as before. The Federal Agents set up a couple of their own machines, with dials and little screens, but take them away after a while too, shaking their heads.

You talk to the girls, play their favorite songs while they sleep.

The night of day three.
Nat is on duty. He has a spanking new issue of Easyriders, but instead he tries to study a law book. He wants to understand his legal responsibilities better. But it's just making him sleepy.

He starts drifting into sleep...

...

...And wakes up, suddenly, startled ---

Only to see that at that very moment both Julie and Elizabeth take a deep breath, like when somebody emerges from underwater, and sit up on their beds, simultaneously!


Spoiler:
Elizabeth reaches Julie. Their touch is like static electricity. No softness or bodily sensations.

Julie concentrates.

The void resists.

Julie and Elisabeth move through the blackness, but it doesn't give way, just stretches like resin.

Then the substance changes. There are currents and whirling spirals. Julie swims through the void, but at the same time she feels that the void is flowing through her as well, tainting her from the inside...

Everything is still black - but there are different shades of it, sometimes Julie can discern silhouettes or shapes in the stygian mass. Huge, skeletal structures. Buildings? Remnants of creatures? Inhabitants of this void, or prisoners?

Julie hears voices, garbled, distorted talking, and chopped up sounds of music.

Finally, there is a warp in the blackness. A soft spot. Julie floats towards it, dragging Elizabeth along...

---

Even with concentration, traversing the black void takes its toll. Make a Sanity (0/1d3) roll!


Spoiler:
Julie suddenly sits up in her bed. Nat drops his book, and jumps up from his chair.

Julie looks to the side --- Elizabeth is there, awake, sitting on her bed, shaking!
"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 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:43 pm

Nat jumps out of his chair, "Julie! Liz! Dr Jacobson! Jules, you did it- you brought her back! I was just about to sleep to try and find you in the dream; I thought you were both lost!
Are you okay? How are you feeling? What happened in there? Dr Jacobson, they're back!" He sticks his out of the door and calls down the corridor then he comes and sits between the two girls. He takes Liz's shoulders,
"Liz, can you hear me, you're back!"
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:46 am

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"I managed to get her away from the void and back here, that's what matters," says Julie with a shudder, not wanting to recall the experience. She climbs out of bed and goes over to Elizabeth, hugging her. "We're all right, Liz! We made it back! How are you?"

Spoiler:
Sanity roll (current level 41) from the void:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
49

Sanity loss:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d3:
2
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Re: Chapter 6: Echoes of a Nightmare (everybody)

Postby evil_scientist » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:08 pm

Mr. Handy wrote:"I managed to get her away from the void and back here, that's what matters," says Julie with a shudder, not wanting to recall the experience. She climbs out of bed and goes over to Elizabeth, hugging her. "We're all right, Liz! We made it back! How are you?"

Julie wants to go over to Elizabeth and comfort her, like the "big sister" she always is.

But instead of doing and saying all this, Julie remains sitting upright in her hospital bed. She stares at the opposite wall...

Spoiler:
The terrible, inevitable, unquestionable reality of the void dawns on Julie. What she and Elizabeth experienced wasn't a hallucination or a fever dream. That black substance exists. It had always existed, before humanity, before everything came to be. An infinitely deep tar pit, containing the memory of every consciousness it ever swallowed; and much, much more, dark, cosmic secrets. And Cavendish sought access to this darkness, by bringing it the bodies and vitality of others as sacrifice.

This is not something one can simply learn. Julie filtered the black matter through her own body. This is not knowledge. This is residue.

---

Julie gains 5 points of Mythos.
Having lost more than one-fifth of her starting Sanity, she enters the state of Indefinite Insanity. For a couple of minutes she will now be catatonic, unable to move or speak while she ponders the terrible nature of the void.

Nat is not a psychologist, but his natural empathy tells him that Julie is NOT doing well. She is catatonic. Her eyes are glassy. Only her lips are moving, as if whispering something.

The doctors and orderlies come rushing in, and start examining the two girls. For a few minutes, Julie and Elizabeth barely respond... Nat peers over their shoulders when they shine their little lights into the girls' eyes --- and the eyes are normal.

Slowly their breathing normalizes.

They are back, but things will never be the same.
"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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