6102/A Good Spook

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A Good Spook
Date of Scene: 31 October 2018
Location: Solomon Island
Synopsis: A trip to retrieve some kind of 'Engine' turns out to be a whole different kind of trip. (TSW Halloween '18)
Cast of Characters: Wuyin Tsai, 6666, Inga, 1108, Mercy

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
The pitch-dark seas churn. The creature rears its ugly head, the massive cephalopodal thing split in two and bleeding a tar-black substance that stains the ocean. The polluted waters slap against the hull of the fishing boat, your floating sanctuary tossed and turned and just barely keeping you from the fathomless depths on which you've found yourselves.

The monster dies, and others take its place. Creatures like bloated human carcasses bristling with barnacles and hooked limbs formed from shells claw their way out of the deep. Their forelimbs punch holes in the boat, too numerous to be entirely cut down by interception fire pointed over the side. The ship rolls, a swell lifting the bow off the ocean --

( "HOLD ONTO SOMETHING," Wuyin yells from the cabin, clutching the wheel )

The boat hits the water, a jarring experience for everyone aboard. Filthy sea-water sprays across the deck. It puddles immediately, six-inch spined tendrils sprouting immediately from coated surfaces. In the distance, a light shines through the Fog, a path leading dead ahead. In the same shroud of all-encompassing grey, black shapes like a building-sized sea-monster's limbs sway as trees in the wind.

And come down. Pallid grey tentacles slap across the sea, threatening to snap the tiny ship in two before it will ever see land again.

A voice echoes across the seas, over the storm-winds. It's male, reverbrating and disembodied, coming from everywhere at once. It sounds confident. Self-assured. "It's over. The Engine will be drowned alongside you."

Belowdecks, the Engine -- an object of utmost import, the thing you have been fighting for what feels like days to protect, to bring back to the island and stop this madness -- begins to sink as the lower cabin fills with black, filthy water.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Kupot, due to his size, is easily tossed about on the deck. His gyroscopic implants allow him to easily shift with the weight of the boat, but he doesn't have as much mass to stay ON the boat. That's where the rope around his waist tied to the mast is. His job is top side.

His cybernetics are cracked from the heavy journey. He has lost his hat and jacket, down to only shirt, pants, and boots.

Next to the moogle is a heap of shelled monsters six feet tall. He adds another to it, but as usual, he must wait. He must wait for the monster to make the choice to attack HIM before the chisel point goes through its chest and he swings it backwards onto the pile of bodies.

Inga has posed:
Turns out, lightning is pretty great for killing things in the water--however, now that their boat is also filling with water, Inga must shift tactics, less she kill them all unpleasantly. And this is about the most unpleasant way to go. Anything involving this place is generally unpleasant.

Inga throws several spears that have materialized from her blood into the creatures trying to get onto the boat before it lurches and she has to grab onto the side of the boat to try to stop from falling--which she does anyway, cursing loudly.

The water that splashes onto the deck sprouts tentacles and she reaches for one of her many talismans. "Thor, protect us from this menace from the utgardar! Guide us to safety!" she cries, eyeing the writhing tentacles with wide eyes. Can she burn them without burning down their boat?

Water is flooding the boat now, and the Engine is in peril. "We must mend the boat and bail out the water!"

It's too late for them, in the long run. They'll all be infected.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 looks like shit, but she always does without some kind of generically obscuring cloak. The wear and tear and battle damage from the voyage are new threads added to the tapestry of hard abuse that is her frame, notable only for lack of any carbonized burns. A hoarse, increasingly exhausted "Hrrraaaa!!" tears itself from her throat as the gigantic Type-4O anti-goliath cleaves through the giant squid-creature from bottom to top, hit with a golf swing of an uppercut and split apart as much by the blade as it is the waves of cutting force that follows it.

    Buzzing 'pixels' of white light swarm around A2, coalescing to glowing grid-lines that show through her damaged portions, fighting a losing battle to gradually piece her back together from the raw material released by dead monsters. The giant sword spirals around her, guided by her hands only in gesture, wheeling in massive arcs and circles that trace bloody paths through the hordes as graceful as they are brutal. The smaller sword forms out of gold particles as she turns, hurled away with a thrust of her palm, spinning like a buzzsaw through a handful of shambling dead, and then yanked back with a clenched fist on invisible strings, diving close to the floor and scything through the sprouting tendrils. One sinks its spikes into her leg, so she stomps on it with an angry huff, grinding it under her heel.

    "Fuck off!" she cries out to the sky, tossing aside a wet curtain of silvery hair from her eyes, with fingers that are are worn, glossy carbon sheen rather than skin. She staggers as the ship heaves, then rights herself abruptly, sliding towards the railing, then kicking off from it at a forty-five degree angle and jumping off a draugr's skull, crushing its brains to jump back aboard. "Fine! Go do that then!" she yells to Inga above the wind and the rain and the storm. "It's not like I can bail out now! You think I float?!" A furious backhand blows a shambler's head off its shoulders. "Why the hell did we even do this?! Shit, I'd kill someone for a flight unit right now!"

Mercy has posed:
     The Valkyrie suit, doing what it does best, has done very well for keeping Mercy comfortable during the storm. Her staff, and the array of taser guns and such that she uses have also made good work of tentacles. (Why is it always tentacles?)

     Realizing that the ship is sinking, Mercy holsters her quarterstaff, and activates the wings she uses. She then takes off into the air, floating there casually as she unholsters her quarterstaff, flitting left and right through the air to handle the tentacles that pop out.

     "So anyone got an idea for hauling the Engine?" She asks, well aware of the fact some people might not be able to fly. To be frank, with how Mercy is listing to the left, she should probably not have her pilot's license at the moment, either.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Kupot's retaliatory skewering of draug and other sea-monsters keeps the deck clear of anything huge until the swarming begins. He feels cold hands slip under his guard and clutch at his legs. The ones getting near are withered, covered in a carpet of organic armor, but strong enough to squeeze and slowly crush. Inga has a similar problem: sheer numbers, beginning to creep past the lack of arcing lightning that has kept them at bay so long.

The wards are giving out. The markings carved into the sides of the ship are being attacked, too. The creatures flense themselves on one other and fill them with their polluted flesh. The boat begins to list to port, and Wuyin struggles to right it, then overcompensates inexpertly to try to avoid one of the descending tentacles. A2 catches it blade-first, while Mercy has the reach to back her up and swat at the things on the deck.

But one rises from the deep. It crashes down on the cabin, crushing the rooftop. Wuyin ducks as glass and metal splinter and bow. The ship stops, and an awful cracking sound follows as it gets snapped in twain.

It sinks. The warm, golden glow of the Engine belowdecks comes through the cracks. The blackness cannot seem to touch it. It brightens to blinding intensity.

You blink, near the end.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
"A Gaia Engine," Wuyin is explaining, "is..." He trails off for a second, uncertain.

He's standing at a blackboard on the upper level of the Kingsmouth Volunteer Fire Department. The board is covered in chalk-drawn notes, with a sketch of the island's shape in white, a dotted line marked 'FOG' all around it. There's a yellow 'X' offshore with another line indicating distance with a bunch of question marks around it. There's a piece of chalk in one hand, held as if he was about to write something when he abruptly stopped.

Wuyin shakes it off. "As far as I am able to determine, it's a way to fight the Filth," he continues. "Some massively ancient artifact, able to cleanse a place of infection. And the Orochi Group found one." He writes something next to the yellow 'X,' 'POLARIS,' and circles it twice. "They were moving it. It's been right there the whole time --" He gestures out a window. Raindrops taps against the glass pane. The pitter-patter of the storm against the pavement does not reach the interior of the building, despite the otherwise near-complete silence. "-- and we had no idea. Until now."

"So." Wuyin nudges his 3D glasses higher on his nose, then folds his hands. "We go out into the harbor and take a boat. We'll use Inga's wards and our combined anima to keep ourselves safe, get the Engine, bring it back here, and then finally clean this island up. Riva's already going across town to start the lighthouse back up for us so we'll have a guiding light to get us all back."

Wuyin looks at the small group gathered at the tables. "Any questions?"

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Kupot heaves his breath, drawing out his second blade, his wakazashi. Even as the ship begins to drop, he is swinging his sword, cleaving away two hands from his body. Then swinging again. Another two hands grab him from behind, and Kupot struggles to stab behind him. Another two arms. Another. Another. The blinding light is drowned out by corrupted flesh.


Kupot tilts his head briefly as he looks at the blackboard. "I do not know any of those organizations, kupo. I think I understand the problem, however. What kupo will we face?"

He is dressed as normal, though his hat is on top of the old school desk he is sitting at, his cyhbernetic eyes flickering green as they take in the board and record it for later. He sips from a can of Bingo Cola. "Both as guards for the kupo and on our way back to the island."

A2 (1108) has posed:
    "Yeah, what the hell-" A2 suddenly stops, as if two things came to mind to ask 'what the hell' about, but she'd instantly forgotten one. She shakes her head, messy silver hair falling in front of one eye. "What the hell does this thing look like? How big is it? Why do we need a boat for this?" She sounds irritable. She always does, but this time for no real reason. "And then what do we even do with it? This sounds like bullshit. And what the hell is Anima anyways? This sounds real damn complicated for 'pick up the thing then bring it here'."

Mercy has posed:
     Mercy keeps attempting to swat at the tentacles - she can do so. But then one crashes down, and then the ship cracks in half. "Verdammt!" She swears, diving down into that bright, bright--
     she blinks


     "So the creatures from the ... Filth-" Mercy's Swiss accent sounds weirdly amused for a couple of a seconds- "They might know what it is, then? There's no way that we're not going to get noticed across this whole trip. If they know what it is, especially, we're going to be in a world of hell, aren't we?"

     "There's no way it's going to be that easy, not unless you've - Inga, was it, sorry dear- got a hell of a concealment ... ward? Like the wards that people use against occult, I'm... guessing?" Mercy practically does magical medical science, she doesn't quite get this but that doesn't stop her from realizing what's going on.

Inga has posed:
"I'll try to mend the wards!" she says, hobbling to the side of the boat to use her blood magic once more to strengthen the wards she'd placed on the boat-- but the carvings are damaged, and the terrible water just washes away her efforts. It's going down. They failed. Again.

Inga is seated in a folding chair, a femur across her lap, upon which she is carving a number of runes. This is likely to make repairs to the bone-fence outside that is the only reason this was a safe haven on the island from the draug and hungry undead. She's dressed uanpologetically in clothes not even remotely modern, her long white hair braided loosely down her back. Every now and then she takes her dagger and slices into her arm, adding blood to the runes she's carving. "Mmm...wards for a boat. Yes, get me a boat and I can work on that," she replies to Wuyin.

To A2, she sighs. "Everything is complicated in this place. Anima is what we call out magic--it is life energy, granted to us by the goddess often called Gaia," she explains, then looks to Mercy, nodding. "Wards I can do, yes. I'll need a bit of time beforehand to make them strong enough. Water will complicate things further," she says, reaching down to squeeze a bit of water from her dress.

She looks out the window a moment. Will it ever stop raining? She's soaked to the bone. Suddenly, she frowns, listening. She can see the rain--water beading on the glass windows, blurring the outside world. But she can't hear the rain. It's completely silent. Had it been silent when she arrived here? When, and how did she get here?

Her frown deepens. "I don't recall how I came to be here."

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Wuyin stares at Kupot for a couple seconds while he processes kupos. "There are unnumbered monsters in the shallows at least out to the drop off the continental shelf," he explains, "and the Fog itself seems impervious to any attempts at remote observation into or beyond it. The ship itself will likely be full of the former crew. Walking dead; men turned into Draug." He shrugs. "Sharp blades will deal with the problems that warding cannot."

He turns to A2, nodding slightly at Inga. "Then... well, then we keep it safe behind the wards while we figure out how to operate it. It's technology that is older than the Age we live in -- older than civilization as we know it. Older than old. I'll be surprised if it has an 'on' switch, but I trust that we'll be able to figure it out. We have to, if we want to end all of this." Wuyin frowns faintly.

Another nod. "Right. The Filth... we don't know what it is, exactly. A disease. It infects the mind and twists the body. It bubbles up from the ground in places, and seems connected to the Fog somehow. It creates monsters. Inga and I are both something like antibodies for this world's immune system, and when we expunge things made by the Filth, it inevitably draws trouble from the rest of it. We..."

He looks at Inga. Even with his usually hard-to-read expression, it's clear he's kind of quizzical about it. "You were here when I arrived. Working on the fence. I... think."

He stops talking. The silence is oppressive. Water continues to splash against the windows as raindrops strike glass.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    "So it's a god damned logic virus. Great." says A2, sound even *less* enthused than before. She's spent the entire time leaning against a wall like a pissed off college student, barely looking at the blackboard instead of the window. "Good a reason as any to *kill it*. If you don't even know how to turn this Engine thing on though, how are you even planning to use it? How do you even know it does what you think it does?"

    The Attacker model keeps grilling Wuyin right up until Inga claims a memory lapse. A2's eyes visibly darken, the corners of her mouth twitching. It's not exactly common for her memory files to hiccup, so she hadn't thought much of it, but the flesh and blood human is saying it too.

    "If cutting them to pieces works, then all we're waiting on are those defensive installations. Hurry up with it." she sighs, stalking towards the door. "Not like there's much to plan if we don't know anything about anything." She opens it up, going out into the rain.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Kupot bobs his head. "I have fought the walking dead before. I can kupo that." He finishes the can and slides his straw hat on as A2 makes to leave. "I will prepare as well." He has to bring the can up to the trash can, however, to throw it away. Keep your city clean and all that. He is following behind A2 when Inga speaks, causing Kupot to turn his head towards her and frown.

The moogle reaches his finger up to his temple. It's not actually NECESSARY to do this, it's just something he does to communicate to everyone around him he's using his HUD's internals to look up something. It has a small storage, it can't store more than a few minutes of video or quite a bit of text data. His frown deepens. "Something is wrong with my kupo clock."

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
"Because magic bees tell us things," Wuyin tells A2 unhelpfully, "and sometimes, those things are even helpful."

A2 opens the door. It leads to an exterior staircase that runs along the back of the building to the ground.

The firehouse is on the edge of a glacier that should not be there. A four-foot ledge descends like a cut down the side, with a wall of ice on the right and a sheer drop into open space on the left. The stars rest where ground should be at the bottom of the glacier, twinkling with alien light. The rain falls upwards from space far below. There is nothing holding this glacier to anything. There is nothing above you but vast darkness.

There is a sensation like you are being watched. The sky feels too low to be anything close to natural, but it's hard to say exactly what's wrong with it at a glance. In the distance, fragments of shattered landscape floats, set adrift to roll in some immense orbit. There are pieces of an old Colonial-era town. There are ships that should be at sea. There is Kingsmouth itself, stretching out into open space further down the glacier, clipping into the ice.

Mercy has posed:
     Recall how... Mercy starts and turns to stare at Inga, the medical doctor's face frowning slightly. She isn't aware of how old Inga actually is, but - she herself knows that memories are not perfect things, but there's something to Inga's frown that makes her own worse. Wuyin thinks...?

     Oh dear.

     Mercy abruptly stands, glancing out the windows. "It's too quiet." She says, her voice absurdly quiet. "There's some shenanigans going on here, and that's not a good thing, considering we haven't even gotten on the boat yet. Anyways, uh, before we get going, I--"

     "Wait, don't open the d--"

     too late

Mercy has posed:
     "I told you not to open the door." Mercy says, peering behind A2 and out into ...

     That. There is that.

Inga has posed:
Inga places the femur down and picks up her walking stick, a long oak staff also carved with runes, a bit of leather wrapped around the top to make it comfortable to hold. Incongruously, there's a rubber tip on the end, as one might find on a modern day cane. Leaning on this, she hauls herself to her feet and follows the others toward the stairs. She still wears a frown, but even as she takes in her surroundings, she doesn't look as alarmed as one might generally be in such strange circumstances. "Well, that's different," she says. "Perhaps I am dreaming," she muses.

Inga turns toward Mercy, reaching a hand toward her. "May I test something?" she asks.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Kupot turns his head back towards the door, stopping in place as he watches the door open. The tension in the area solidifies in a solid jagged block that holds Kupot still. Outside is... What.

FOr one, rather than Kupot being ready to leap, slash, and move headlong into danger, he moves slowly, tentatively, towards the door, his head turning downward towards the stars, upward, around, gazing back and forth at every strange piece of this dreamscape. It cannot be cut, it cannot be parried, it can not be defended against. It's...

Shakingly, barely able to keep his mind up, Kupot switches through the various spectrums. He doesn't have many, just the Metroid Prime suite.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    "Yeah, you said a bunch of other words I didn't listen to either." retorts A2, not having this. "Or are you trying to tell me you completely and totally expected this exact thing, right?" She just huffs at Inga. "If you are, then don't drag me into it. This is weird as hell. And I don't do dreams."

    While she is looking around, A2's poor tactical mapping suite is struggling to try and come up with any coherent shape of the area. Pixely, low-resolution 3d imaging of the iceberg and firehouse, at the very least, should model out fine, along with any notable power sources or contextual 'interaction points'. She sizes up the other chunks of landscape, but they're way too far for her mobility systems. Instead she looks downwards, to check for anything floating around that she may be able to jump lower to.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Looking upward finds the problem with the sky: there isn't one.

It's a vast, yawning emptiness. Eyes try to refocus on something -- anything -- but they can't. It starts a stress headache in the humans and makes electronic systems that mimic them need to be shifted into something like a manual control just long enough to stop it from looking at the void. It is a lack, a space where there should be... something. Air. Stars. Anything.

Looking into other spectrums has a different result. It's jumbled and garbled, but it looks like there's a boundary to all of this. In the vast distance, there is something that reflects all of everything back inward. The vast emptiness above is the only place it doesn't. It's always there, and always empty. Always.


A2's systems can give her a terrain map of the glacier, which seems to have threads of some kind of power lines running through it, towards a point beneath it. She finds floating chunks of terrain to leap down to to try and see it. There is a narrow path parallel to it, but it's longer and slower and by no means safer. Descending towards the starry sky eventually drops her into open space as her foot touches what detected as a solid object and what actually comes apart upon contact. It's an ancient ship's hull being exploded by cannonfire, frozen in space until disturbed by her. She falls through the gap it made


She lands on a factory floor. The walls are curved and dull grey metal. Electronic illumination from somewhere on the walls makes it look more like firelight than anything. Shapes in various states of disrepair, damaged by time, weather or battle, are scattered across the floor. It looks like a charnel house, but nothing is rotting. Nothing here is living enough to rot.

Something descends from the darkness above. It bears multiplicitous eyes and barely-visible edges of sharp, gleaming metal. "ATTACKER MODEL," it drones, voice low and buzzing. "SUBMIT FOR RECONDITIONING OR DECOMMISSIONING."

All the bodies are her.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
"I... kupo."

Kupot thinks about what he can do to explain this situation. He's been in battle situations for years straight. Just constantly working on problems, trying to garner allies, trying to defeat demons. Constantly on the move, constantly in danger.

He has not had a moment of mind blowing wonder for a long time. A time where he can't simply attack, he can't analyze, he can't use his skills to overcome. There is nothing to overcome here. It is an finite field of... something. He staggers forward. Once. Twice.

Then he is on a factory floor. There is a huge thing being threatening above him. He nods once.

Alright, he is on level ground again. He hovers his hand over his katana.

Inga has posed:
Inga shakes her head at A2. "No, I did not expect this exact thing. It doesn't work that way. This is all...uncanny," she replies. "I would say if it were too weird for you you should not have volunteered to come. However, I'm not sure you did volunteer to come," she offers with a shrug.

When A2 jumps down to a floating piece of landscape beneath them, Inga chews the inside of her lip but makes to follow. "We should stay together at least," she offers, then jumps off the glacier to follow A2, glad that while she can't fly, she at least seems to always fall in such a way that it isn't lethal to her. Yay?

Inga lands softly behind A2, eyes quickly scanning their new surroundings. "This is..." she doesn't have the words. It hasn't escaped her attention that all the bodies look like A2. She can't imagine how disturbing that must be to see.

When something descends from the ceiling above, Inga's staff lights up with an electric blue light, the air around her buzzing with energy as she prepares to summon a bolt of lightning.

Mercy has posed:
     Mercy follows everyone outside.

     This is a bad idea. She's sure of it!

     But... still...

     "Whatever it is you want to try, Inga, you can go for it." Says the doctor, floating down after everyone else. Yay for the Valkyrie suit.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 heads for that power source, because A2 does not stand around for any reason if she can help it. Her modus operandi -her entire life- is relentless forward motion. Even without any direction at all. Even if it's limping or dragging her feet. Standing still and wondering is pointless. She keeps moving, or else she starts thinking.

    And the only thing worse than the thinking is the remembering.

    She moves on without really knowing what she's moving towards, having no idea what she expects to find, except 'something more productive than sitting around in a firehouse being creeped out'. She lands, her heels cracks through the surface, there is a brief lurch of vertigo and disorientation as she crashes through, and then even worse when her sensors have to rapidly adjust to a completely different space, the error checking and scrubbing of her entire mental map physically nauseating. She looks wobbly when she gets to her feet, looking up to visually confirm her surroundings.

    Then she looks back down again. Her hand claps to her face, fingertips curling into her hair, grinding her palm against her eyes as she tries to steady herself. Her breathing is so irregular that a human being would pass out from hyperventilation, but her core temperature keeps rising. It rises until sparks of scarlet electricity crackle from her exposed seams, discharging swirling embers of red maso into the air. There is a sharp, startlingly loud, metallic crunch, as the Type-4O buzzes into existence in her hand, and is slammed a foot deep into the factory floor. A2 looks up between her fingers, ruby light flashing in her one visible eye.

    \\"Make me."\\

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
"DISOBEDIENCE REGISTERED IN ATTACKER," the machine buzzes. The glinting edges unfurl into a multi-armed array of blades and stabbing implements. "THIS FAULT WILL BE CORRECTED."

The battle is short but intense. You can all feel it, despite it seeming like it all happened too fast to track. A combination of reactive iaijutsu, brutal orbital attacks and lightning bolts meet the ever-unfurling machine, the mass of scything weaponry constantly finding more to slash away with until it's finally ended. It's a challenge for a skilled combatant, certainly, but not for four. Comparatively, the battle is over in a


with A2 standing victorious over the body of the Attacker that wouldn't stand down. The Type-40 has struck her through. The array of small, scything blades it was manipulating are scattered across the humming factory floor, struck in solid objects or cloven by the blades turned against their wielder. Her double looks up at her with a faltering red eye, hate writ across her face. She tries to move an arm to strike A2, but something vital is severed. She dies looking for all the world like all she knew was hate.

"You don't have to be this," the voice from the sea says. A black shape backlit by bright white hovers at the edge of sight, distant, across the factory floor. "You can be anything you want to be. I can help you." He extends his hands. "We can help one another. Can't we? May I?" The world swims as he starts to cross it. Solid ground runs like wet paint being sluiced into a drain. It loses all definition and he seems to loom larger rather than getting closer. Everything stutters unsteadily.

There are no windows, but there are holes in the walls. The gashes in the metal grow wider and flimsier as the surrounding material stops thinking of itself as solid. Darkness beckons outside.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
That moment is gone. Bled into helping fight. The ease of knowing what's going on. For the moment, defense is all that is needed.

Then the world begins to fall apart once again. But instead of being... astonishing, the world is simply unfolding, breaking apart.

The art of Iaijutsu. It is one of fighting, yes, but for Kupot, it is the mere concept of defense. Refusing to fight until fighting is truly inevitable. Refusing to kill unless absolutely forced to his limit.

But the universe did not gift Kupot a singular talent. It also gifted him the Legenia. Meteor Strike. A crystal of condensed magic and spirit of heroes long past.


He flashes forward, trying to simply utilize the magic itself to allow him to cross the distance. To grab the shape.

And to flip them both backwards into the ground.

Inga has posed:
Inga looks to Mercy for a quick moment, "No time now, but I may know what this is!" she says as they battle against A2's double.

It's all over in a flash, dreamlike. The voice that spaeks from the far side of the factory floor is all to familiar. Inga shudders, memories assaulting her more painfully than anything else they have encountered so far. She knows this voice, from a box of memories under a bed...

"Run. Don't listen to it. Do NOT let it in," she warns.

Inga turns toward the walls, dissolving into black. She bites her lip, then slips into one of them, out into the darkness.

Mercy has posed:

     The world comes together in a moment of quantification, where all there is nothing to do but to fight and protect the new friends. But it's over in a blink, and it makes Mercy stare for a second, before the world splits apart again. Her stare really says it all: it's the effect of saying 'what the fuck', without the ability to actually say it. Finally, she focuses, glancing over at Inga.

     "Okay, then what is goi--" A pause, blink. "Where are you going, what are all of you, five? I don't believe in using the child leashes, but I have before and I will." Mercy's exasperated noises continue as she goes to follow Inga.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    Again, it takes a second for A2 to even recognize what's going on. Every jarring shift in the substance of reality is another set of integrity checks, most of which don't even work anymore, trying to verify that what she's seeing is real or whether her core memory has degraded to the point of insanity. It's awful. Disorienting. Sickening.

    She releases her sword in shock and nausea from seeing her dead double, more from the impossibility of it than genuine horror. She kicks it away, refusing to look at it, refusing to think any more about what it is to be an Android --to have memories so easily edited and replaced --to have an entire identity, personality, soul, all in so many files that can be copied and deleted at whim. No thinking about it. No thinking about YoRHa. No thinking about what they *did* to them. Where they might be now. *Who* they might be now. If they even still exist.

    She wheels and punches the nearest wall hard enough to put her fist all the way through the metal and up to the wrist. "I said shut the hell *up*! I don't want to *be* anything! I never *was* anything! I don't want your help, or to be friends, or your god damned opinion, and I don't want anyone else's either! The only ones that ever mattered are gone now, so I couldn't give a rat's ass what you want, and you can't give me what I want, because I don't give a rat's ass about *me*! Get down here so I can *kill you* you condescending piece of shit!"

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
"Friendship?" the figure echoes terribly. "Friendship." He, it, says the word like it was being tasted. "No. I think not friendship. A gift. I wish to give you a gift. I wish for your consideration in the future."

Inga jumps, and Mercy follows suit. They evade the horrible thing and what it means to someone like Inga by flinging themselves into the comforting void. For a second, it /is/ comforting: they're suspended in nothing, with nowhere to go, and no sensation of falling to speak of. They just drifts away from the floating factory, which they can see dissolving from the outside.

Kupot chooses the Moogle's way out.

The magic of the crystal propels him across the vast space of rapidly-dwindling coherence. It keeps him from losing himself on the way towards the shape. It makes it reasonably-sized when he gets there. He catches hold, and it's like holding an oil slick given human shape and mass. He lifts it, and it's like hefting a train-sized tube of sluicing fluids. Still Kupot swings it around, and the entity


and you all fall again, drifting slowly downwards. The ocean around you is lit by flashes of fire above the surface, gleaming off of mail and helm. Bodies plunge into the waves, clad in archaic armor and clutching weapons of dull steel. It's maybe eight or nine feet deep here, and the bottom is visible in the reddish light shining from above, sloping upwards towards the shore.

Kupot hits the ground with the shadowy figure and craters the beach. The figure is upside-down, and then, abruptly, right-side up. He's still got hold of it. Looking at it is like looking into that emptiness that was in the sky, but with the pressure of something always looking back at you. Into you. Under your skin. Behind your eyes. Examining the ticking gears that make you, 'you.'

Above, the sun burns a terrible red. A ring of solar fire burns around the edges of a solar eclipse. It casts its light down on the battle raging on the beach and up the shore: pale men wielding steel and shouting cries to the Aesir fight against obsidian-armed, feather-dressed, blood-streaked figures with skin like charred wood. Natives fight alongside the Viking warriors, channeling flares of green and honey-yellow energy from behind the constantly-shifting tide of bodies, striking down enormous insects that reinforce the obsidian-armed southerners. Further inland, up the cliffs...

White light, encircled by encroaching black. A sense of purity, lifted to the sky, being smothered by something foul.

"Why do you struggle when you are offered succor," the silhouette asks Kupot, sounding genuinely puzzled. He grows cold. Terribly, terribly cold. It turns liquid and seems to crawl up Kupot's arms in the form of an oily black substance. "Consideration, and there is violence."

Inga has posed:
Suddenly finding herself plunged into the cold, salty sea, Inga holds her breath and fights toward the surface, tangled in her skirts and trying not to lose her walking stick in the process. She gasps when her face finds the surface, gulping air into her lungs as she struggles toward the shore, wild eyes taking in the sights around her.

It is incredibly, unsettlingly familiar. She recognizes the look of the warriors, their armor and blades. The battle itself is unfamiliar, at least until she sees the other warriors that fight alongside her people.

She crawls to the shore, soaked and sputtering. "I know what this is," she says, on hands and knees in the sand.

"Don't let it touch you!" she yells to Kupot, watching his struggle. He'll be infected for sure. She'll need to get it out of him...if she even can.

Inga hopes Mercy is still with her, and would ask for help getting to her feet again if she's near. Inga points toward the light upon the cliffs. "That's where we need to go! Can you help me get there?" she asks, frantic. She doesn't know how they came to be here, or what is happening...but going through time isn't exactly unheard of to her. Even if it isn't strictly real, she could still learn something that could help them.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Kupot's mind swims as his optics struggle to stay on top of the situation, rapidly adjusting balance, temperature. His optics focus again on the figure. Then, Kupot just sort of flips around WITH the black figure. Which is REALLY weird.

"I know enough about your kupo." Kupot sees MORE enemies around him. Doomtrain's hoary smokestack. It's crawling up him. On him. Kupot's composure against MEN is absolute. The moogle is a solid machine of death and violence, unflinching and untiring. He has to work to calm his breathing and slow it back down, calm his heart. "You give fluid oblivion. Sameness. Death of the kupo is still death."

Slowly, Kupot strains against the fluid, reaching back down for his katana. The possibility he will have to kill himself with it after this rises in the made of his mind.

Mercy has posed:
     They drift. It's - comforting, almost. However, then there's a slow wait, and Mercy finds herself in the sea. It's cold - so very cold. Mercy surfaces with a gasp, her own staff behind her that she flails for as they make it to shallower water. She uses it to get to her feet, staring in bewilderment. Nothing here makes sense.

     (Not that anything so far has made sense.)

     "Then what is it?" Mercy demands of Inga, frowning faintly, at least until she sees Inga struggling to her feet, gliding over to her and helping the filth-fighter to her feet. The question, the request for help. Mercy smiles.

     "Yeah. Hold onto my arm, okay?" Behind her, the Valkyrie Suit's wings flare to life, and Mercy takes off at a decent clip, helping Inga along with the extra boost from the wings, making sure not to trip the other woman. That'd be a terrible way to help.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Flying works... mostly. Getting into the air puts Mercy and Inga above the worst of the battle, letting them look down on the native Wabanaki and the foreign Norse warriors fight a vicious melee against the invaders. Thrown weapons get hurled through the sky at the airborne figures, but the attackers get bowled over by Vikings on the ground shouting about valkyries and Valhalla for reasons that ought to be terribly apparent.

Also, from up there, it's pretty clear that the Norsemen are /kicking ass/. It turns out obsidian and animal hides don't mean much against a berserker swinging well-forged steel.

"Mayans, if I don't miss my guess," Wuyin remarks to no one in particular, standing in the shallows, a jian of bright steel and delicate gold held in his hand and bristling with potential energy. He's facing off with the insects, large enough to bowl a man over and fast enough to do it, striking at them with the kind of precision sword-strokes that speaks of lots of experience killing these exact things. "Is this Solomon Island? When are we? Why are they --?" He's interrupted by a sudden rush from one of the bugs. He vaults over it and stabs it from above in response.

"I can make you whole. I can make you immortal. I can make you understood. I can make you understand." The thing clutching Kupot isn't holding him tight, per se, but it feels like he's struggling against glacial ice. He can reach his weapons; the thing isn't moving, it's just... all-encompassing. He's stuck in a tide. A tar pit, maybe. His extremities feel tingly, like cold numbness suddenly giving way to pins and needles of heat. It isn't pleasant. "They are all still alive, you know," it whispers. "All the dead that this place has given to its prison. Don't you want them back?"

The top of the cliff is a bit more dire than the beach. The battle is between a small group of Viking warriors defending what looks like native shamans with their backs to the flames. One of the fair-haired warriors wields a weapon of incredible design: a sword, it seems, but with a round grey cylinder outlined in yellow-orange instead of a guard, with a blade of strange black metal divided by a darker indentation filled with flickering lights that run vertically like streaks of yellow starlight. It's the source of the light, and it cleaves the encroaching shapes in the deepest darkness as they close in from every side, slowly and inexorably eating away at the firelight. Red eyes glow in the dark, showing where figures seem to stand, nearly invisible.

The shadows lash out at Inga and Mercy as they ascend. Bestial claws extrude from the pitch blackness, sharp as knives and dripping blood and worse. They don't seem to care that they're airborne. They want to change that.

Inga has posed:
"It's the island...where we were before. But this is the past. People from almost my time, in the same part of the world...they came here and together with the native people fought together against an invasion. This is that moment. I need to know what happens up there!" she says, taking Mercy's arm, grateful for her assistance--and her wings.

Inga clings to Mercy as they fly, watching everything with rapt attention, trying to take it all in, hammer it into her memory. If this is nothing but a vision, she wants to be sure to remember it.

"There! Land us--" she says, seeing the smaller group of fierce norse warriors protecting the shamans. She sees the sword, the source of the light. She sees the way it cuts through the darkness. But soon the darkness is coming for them, too. Inga reaches for her knife, but finds that it is missing. She brings her wrist to her mouth and bites, ripping her flesh open to get at her blood so that she can use it to ward herself and Mercy both. A cloud of shimmering crimson surrounds them, the power of her anima forming a protective barrier. "We must help them!" she cries, readying another blood ward, this one targeting the warrior wielding the remarkable sword.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
"Oblivion is still oblivion. I kupo things for the living." He realizes it's kind of a hard thing to argue, because there is that ideal that maybe everything being nirvana wwould be great? He's read that somewhere before. At least, it is on the verge of Kupot's mind that oblivion, a mindless but thinking oblivion, is... well, it's not the WORST thing that could possibly happen. He can see why people, in their woes, might submit to this. It would be a freedom from pain, joining all those who you have left.

"People choose. You want to force them. That alone is kupo."

Then the katana moves. It's at his side and then above his left shoulder, all in the span of an infinitismal moment, cleaving through the ooze. His eyes, which give nothing away, thanks to the optics, glance towards Inga and Mercy. They are headed towards the cliff, and likely the source of the purity. Is the engine here?

Very well. Kupot is the distraction. He cleaves again, swinging his katana out at the figure. Then again. And again. And again, as feels the pain, the cold setting in bone deep.

Mercy has posed:
     Mercy is the guardian angel of her world. Makes it fit that she can fly, right? The Vikings on the ground get a somewhat vicious grin from Mercy, even as she shifts her weight, her accent ringing as she shouts, "NOT TIL VALHALLA, MY FRIENDS!" This is appropriate Tracer-like. Then again...

     "So we're back at... Solomon Island, but we're-- time spaced? Is that why things seemed to be going so weird?"

     The top of the cliff. They get there: They get there, Mercy things, in not enough time, even as the shadows lash out at them. However, Mercy is-- diving in, her wings flared out the most range they can get as she goes in steep, one hand keeping Inga to her, the other one flailing with her golden, glittery Cadaceus Staff.

     It's not a easy landing, but on the ground is easier to handle than off of it, especially when one person is flying too.

     "Miss Inga, move- do whatever it is you need done!"

A2 (1108) has posed:
    The Filth's retreat from its focus on A2 is a welcome relief, in as far as A2 can welcome anything or process any feelings even adjacent to relief at this point. A drip through the liquid abyss that is this malleable hellscape of a theatre of mind is nothing compared to the discord put into her head, to the point that being dumped on the shores of a scene of blood and chaos fit for some bizarre before-there-was-time native creation mythos is almost soothing. Steel. War. Dying. She knows those sounds.

    A2 gets to her knees first, planting her sword into the sand to pull herself to her feet from there, rubbing her eyes with the heel of her palm, as if expecting it to scrub the previous sights from her local memory. "You're *surprised* we're fucked in spacetime?" she growls. "Like this is new to you? What the *hell* did you think was happening *so far*? You were dreaming or something?" It's the best she can manage given the circumstances, aside from cutting down every enemy within twenty feet of her; that much is a reflex, something she does as automatically as breathing.

    "So *fix it*!" she demands, a further level of hoarseness creeping into her voice, having gone past her normal state of being done with everything and being *really* done with this, prioritizing it being over more than anything else. Wading her way through the press of bodies, she cuts her way up to the campfire, walking into the seething shadows with a blast of crackling red light from her body, plunging her form into deep shadow even in the face of the campfire, but casting a scarlet glow into her surroundings from her skin and eyes, physically deleterious to anything near her.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Kupot cuts.

And cuts.

And cuts.

"People are... tiresome," it says between strokes. "Insignificant. You can be more. All of you."

The man-shaped mass comes apart. It topples like slabs of meat, sluicing apart and splattering across the ground as it loses cohesion and solidity. It becomes a stain on the beach, a pool of deep emptiness. It overwrites the sea and the sand like a bad computer-aided image edit. The rest simply ends where it begins.

"All of you."

The hole in the beach yawns like a pit, gaining depth. Instead of overwriting it, it swallows up the surrounding terrain. The ocean seems to start draining into it, falling into fathomless depths. Sand pours, and the beach gains a noticeable slant, tilting and running into the irregularly-shaped gash in the terrain.

"All. Of. You."

Combatants, living and dead, tumble into the gap. They vanish into a shroud of grey mist somewhere in its depths. Wuyin slides, scrambling away from it and struggling to keep his footing on the treacherous ground. Kupot is right near the edge, and with his chilled body, it'll take some work to keep from going over the precipice.

Unless... maybe... falling in isn't such a terrible fate...?

The fighting at the top of the cliff continues unabated. The support from Mercy and Inga keeps the besieged warriors up, though the endless supply of shadowy creatures -- largely in the shape of terrible, too-large, ink-black hounds and more of those awful bloodsucking insects -- makes it like getting a breath of air while still stranded at sea: a kind gesture, but one that seems to be delaying the inevitable. The black sword that spews bright light summarily annihilates anything it touches, the steel weapons the man's brothers-in-arms brandish slowing things down so that he can finish them. They've fallen into a rhythm, but it's still a backpedaling one.

A2 shows up and changes the beat. Becoming a mobile locus of death-dealing is exactly what is necessary, especially one unafraid to step into the dark. It's ungodly cold, but the ground is solid up there, unlike on the rapidly-collapsing shoreline. Finding targets is a problem, but they manifest as they attack her, giving her mere seconds to react and strike them down. Not a problem. At one point she passes something that isn't a shadow-beast at all, and her casual slaughter of it makes that side of the encircling dark lessen, turning the pitch darkness into a simple absence of light. Some kind of mystic was holding it up, and she cut him down and put a stop to it.

The one with the artifact sword notices. He turns and looks, and turns a slash of the thing on the nearest set of red-tinted eyes in the dark. There's a blast shadow left behind, a flash of white that leaves after-images of what was a skeletally thin figure in the dark and is now little more than dust. The firelight seems to expand.

The Wabanaki shamans are chanting. Energy is pulled from the Earth like it was being drawn from a spring. Actual water follows. Anima flows, making the bubbling waters something pure and wonderful. The horrible redness of the sky seems to react, the light flickering unsteadily as whatever magic they bring to bear unsteadies the Mayan sorceries.

The cliff drops away as the ground beneath it is swallowed by the lengthening gap on the beach. A crack opens, running towards the fire and water. A Viking warrior goes tumbling away as his footing ceases to exist.

"They did this," the voice seethes, perfectly audibly. "The arrogant little creatures did this. They are why your people suffer. They are why you will never leave this place."

Inga has posed:
Inga hurls wards of blood magic and blast of fire and lightning, trying everything in her power to stop the shadow beings from overwhelming the group trying to hold against them. It seems an impossible fight, but she has to try.

A2's arrival is just what is needed. The light begins to win. Inga tries to add her anima to the river of it, even as the cliff starts to sink into the hole in the world. They are going into the void again, down another rabbit hole. How long will this go on? They have to find a way to break out. "What!? What did they do!?" she cries, though she hardly expects an answer.

Kupot (6666) has posed:
Just because Kupot understands that there is likely some sort of bliss in oblivion and can respect that from a distance... doesn't mean he's going to go in. The moogle works on quickly calming his nerves as he turns himself around and starts to move. Focus. Focus not on the danger. Focus on your task. Lift one foot. Then the other. Lift one foot. Then the other. Move, slowly. The katana digs through the sand, pulling him along slowly, his arms nearly dead weight.

"Suffering... is what we kupo."

Kupot is barely ahead of the hole now, using his climbing claws and sword to climb the cliff.

Mercy has posed:
     "Can we really make a difference in the past, Inga?" Mercy asks, perhaps unexpectedly.

     "That's where we are now, isn't it- maybe this is why stuff's gone so sideways on your and Wuyin's homeworld?"

     Mercy offers this even as her wings activate again, going to get a hand on the blood mage and seeress. Not that, Mercy thinks, they can stop going into the void for much longer.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    "Why the hell would that matter?" A2 shouts over the clamour of battle, the renewed chanting of the shamans, and the brand new rumbling and splitting of the earth. Even as the ground tilts, she seems to smoothly lean forwards to adjust, almost gyroscopically, despite the impractical footwear. "You have time to think about that? Either we kill this thing now, or it kills *us*. Isn't that straightforward enough for you? Past or present or whether it fix anything or not, it's us or them. That's how it always is."

    Where her sword would be drenched in blood, it instead obliterates shadows, bones and dust. A2 hasn't failed to notice, and apparently neither has the lead viking, maybe their chieftain. "Better question: what's that thing and why is it important?" she yells to Wuyin, gesturing towards the glowing sword as she seeks out another solid shape in the throng of darkness, cocking back her arm whereupon her sword floats into position like a dart in an atlatl, and fires itself like a cannon round where she 'throws'. "Why does this thing even entertain the idea of something that can hurt it inside of its fucked up little mental play, huh?" says A2, not only aware the dark voice can hear her, but hoping it does.

    "You think I don't know that?! You think I'm somehow incapable of understanding whose *fault* all the suffering in the world is?! As if I haven't lived with that every day of my goddamn live? Cry some more you sad, pathetic little shit! As if I'd listen to anything from something throwing a cosmic goddamned tantrum!"

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Kupot climbs, though the world around him comes away. Wuyin follows, hot on his heels. The abyss beckons behind them, though they stay out of reach. It is a near thing. They both reach the top of the cliff, Wuyin extending a hand down to help Kupot drag himself up, to deal with the numbness and outpace the blackness.

"What --" Wuyin looks up. He stares at the weapon for a long moment. He puts a hand to the side of his head, cringing like he was getting an awful headache at the worst possible moment. "It --" His voice takes on an odd cadence. "The Norsemen will explain that they were sent by a vision from their own gods, told to go west and help a dark skinned people defeat the Jotun with a weapon gifted by Odin himself." He straightens, moving away from the yawning chasm. He moves into the normal darkness, his hand wreathed in flame, pushing back the shadow.

"They will tell tales of setting sail, and raiding a small monastery on a desolate island outside of Scotland, where they found a strange device they can only liken to a sword. On their journey, a noxious fog overtook them, but the blazing light of the strange weapon kept it at bay." He looks up, expression grim. "A few months later, the fog will surround the island."

The battle rages onward. More monsters arise. A2's telekinetic weaponry and Inga's anima-fueled magic helps beat them back. They have a foothold, but it's being lost to the hungry gash along the shore that has begun bisecting the island. The other warriors fall, one by one, refusing to give ground. The figures at the center of the ritual are protected by the man with the strange sword and the outsiders who have come to their aid. More sorcerers in the dark are struck down, and the immediate threat lessens, little by little.

"No," the voice hisses. "Like... this."

A tremendous shape drops from the sky. A horned, winged demon, absolutely colossal, wings down from out of the eclipse. It snatches up the warrior with the sword, and he loses his grip. It falls to the ground. The glowing weapon descends into the darkness.

The entire island stutters like a glitching computer program and derezzes. It loses coherence quickly, leaving the group floating in space. Cold surrounds them. There is no sky. 'Down' is the sky. Oily rain falls upwards. It's like they





they stand, one and all, on cold ice. They stand in a camp on a glacial shelf, below the shattered, hovering hull that A2 fell through. The camp looks like an old explorer's, scattered with crates. There is a quiet hum that fills the air. Everyone feels warmer. The awful cold that clutches Kupot's bones lessens in intensity, slowly but surely, despite the apparent lack of a source of heat. A2's sensors, once they've stopped vomiting errors again, pick up that energy source she had found before.

At the bottom of a downward-sloping path leading from the camp is a door. It's cut out of the ice, into the side of the glacier. Flowers and vegetation grow out from under it. The scent of honey and oil is in the air here. There is no handle; there is just a circle where one should be, humming with anima, with a faint impression of a handprint within it.

Wuyin is visibly tense, and looks like he's actively biting his tongue at this very moment.

Inga has posed:
Inga shakes her head. "I don't know. Maybe. Time is not a straight line," she answers, grabbing onto Mercy again. It's very useful to having flying friends.

She looks to A2. "It's Excalibur!" she shouts, but there's no time to explain further. She's not even sure how she would explain.

Inga shudders, looking toward Wuyin as the Buzzing uses him as a mouthpiece. She winces, shaking her head. A gasp escapes her lips as the demon descends and snaps up the warrior. She reaches for the sword as it falls, but she's too far. It's gone. Soon, so are they.

Inga watches the world unravel again, then closes her eyes. When she opens them, the scene has changed once more. She lets out a long breath and asks Mercy to put her down. "...now there's a familiar smell," she says, looking around herself. Where could this be? When, could this be?

Inga looks toward Wuyin, frowning. She then starts walking down the path. Have the come full circle?

She extends her hand toward the circle...

A2 (1108) has posed:
    "What the hell is *Excalibur*?!" A2 only yells even louder; a reminder of just how incredibly out of her depth this is. Wuyin suddenly finding his voice hijacked to vomit less-than-cryptic exposition is, conversely, far less abnormal. Contrarily, it is what A2 trusts more than anything, turning her back to the norsemen and shamans as she falls into the circle, summoning her Type-4O buster and swinging it through the dark like a scythe through wheat, looking to hit her mark through sheer blind coverage. "Does this have anything to do with that damn Engine? Everything important around here glows that colour for some reason!"

    The demon, as massive, as awful, as grotesque, as out-of-scope, as vertigo-inducing as it is, is almost a welcome sight at this point. Something with form. With definition. A face to the voice. A definite body to the rhetoric. Something to direct her anger towards. To hurt. To kill. At least, moreso than the failing of the ground, the inversion of the ocean and the sky, and then the nauseating static of reality that follows.

    When she recovers from yet another brain-scrambling reality jump, A2 hauls herself upright looking *convincingly* sick, furiously scratching under her bangs and growling "*Fuck* this." when she realizes she's right back at the ice shelf. She takes one glance back at Wuyin, then sees he isn't being as forthcoming as he was a second ago. "So what? Even some gods hate this thing? What happened to all the native people on this island then? And the damn vikings? Those are the corpses? Did they really fuck up and lose that badly? Some 'gods' if that's what it all amounted to." If Inga weren't sticking her hands in suspicious places, A2 would just mash her hand on the circle anyways. Maso is probably good enough, right?

Mercy has posed:
     "Excalibur - the sword in the stone. The righteous sword of the king of Britain, Arthur."

     Mercy answers A2. "Probably something more, here."

     They fall, and Mercy holds onto Inga tight, at least until they land... somewhere else new. Mercy snorts in exasperation, slightly. However, Inga is let down onto her two feet carefully, before sighing as Inga toddles off towards the door.

     "Oy, hey, be careful..."

     She sighs.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
Inga puts her hand to the circle. The anima thrums, a crystal clear note singing aloud. The door gains shape, and pulls itself into the wall. A hole appears. There is the scent of salt water, and a slight haze of fog. The shore is visible from here, with sunlight filtering through perpetually overcast skies. A lighthouse can be seen outside.

Wuyin looks imploringly at A2, turns to the door, and sprints out. He -- and they -- emerges on the beach along the so-called Savage Coast, with a beach shack nearby and a mercifully normal paved road leading up a slope to the island highway nearby. Behind them is...

Fog. The Fog. Dense as can be. There is no door, and there is no other-space. Everything registers as normal as Kingsmouth and Solomon Island ever is. A zombie even shuffles distantly along the beach near a washed-up dinghy.

Wuyin spits blood into the sand and exhales in a rush. "The Wabanaki medicine man and the Norse gaoi will conduct an exhausting ritual, trapping the evil fog in the Vikings' artifact. They will construct a warding circle on the island, and the Norsemen will take the sword with them so the magic can never be undone." He looks at A2 a bit pointedly, like that should answer part of the question.

"The wailing of women will fade. Memories of unlikely friendships will linger a little longer. They will all vanish from history, these unsung heroes of the Darkness War."

He puts his hands to his knees and looks like he's an inch from retching. It doesn't do anything for his mysterious and enigmatic demeanor. "Someone must have found the sword," he pants. "The..." He gestures blindly with one hand down the beach in the direction of the harbor. "The Lady Margaret. Not the Polaris; that fishing expedition. They let it out."

"I don't think the Engine was on the ship at all." Wuyin slowly straightens. "I think it was here the whole time. And the Fog... whatever it is, it wants it gone."

There's a moment of quiet from him. He adjusts his glasses. "I think, if it's all the same to you, I'm going to try to avoid going into the Fog again."

Inga has posed:
Naturally, she goes through as well--and finds herself back on Solomon Island. It seems...more real. But is it? She still doesn't remember how she got here.

Inga walks up behind Wuyin and stands beside him, frowning as she listens to the Buzzing speak through him. She grips her staff tightly, frowning as she looks toward the ocean and the fog that surrounds on all sides. "...it must have been lost on their voyage back. Sunk to the depths...then fished up by those poor people," she says, shaking her head. How will this help them? She isn't sure, but she will certainly think on it.

"The engine....I guess we'd better find it then."

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 spends a full minute looking as if she is verifying that she's back on that damn island for real. The 'fog of war' on her minimap. The little black dots of wandering zombies. Solid, consistent ground. Nothing turning upside down and floating through infinite space. To make a point, she fires her sword at the unfortunate undead just for the self-affirming splat. She's grateful to be back in this other, much more tame hellhole.

    "What a gigantic w- no, you know what, fine. I'm fine with that. Take it to the lighthouse and turn it on. Easy. No goddamn *water*." Small blessings.

Mercy has posed:
     "I think, if it's all the same to you, I am going to go take off my suit, find a stiff drink, and forget about the rest of the night." Mercy replies to Wuyin. "I've seen some stuff but never like this... and I hope you don't have to keep seeing it, like this." A pause, though, and Wuyin is warmed up carefully through the aid of her Staff.

     "Almighty." She says, simply.

Wuyin Tsai has posed:
The zombie goes splat. It's extremely satisfying because it doesn't spontaneously turn into black goo and attempt to assimilate A2, or turn the ground into a hole that goes to nowhere.

"No goddamn water," Wuyin agrees, heaving a sigh. He nods faintly at Mercy, and casts an unreadable look across the small group. "But not right now. I don't know about all of you, but..."

"...I'm going to London," he says firmly, "and getting a fucking taco."

He turns and marches up the road. Anywhere is better than here.