MASKS #24 - INTO THE SEPIAVERSE! [Recap]

A catch-up episode for What’s Going On with Jason and Charlotte.

Part 1

Now …

“There’s something weird going on. I’m going over to the Sepiaverse to check it out.” A message from Charlotte through the Ponies.
And it’s been too long since anyone heard further from her …

Previously …

Charlotte … the graveyard is her home, and her group helped keep the city protected, so she’s feeling kind of proprietary about the area, keeping out folk (aside from AEGIS, and repair crews), to keep an eye on the weirdness.

Jason … it’s taking awhile to get that building bought up.

Charlotte … it’s been over the holidays, folk have touched base, media talking about Iceland and its refugees, public opinion is “Vyortovia did it.”

Quill spokefolk dealing with connections between Vyortovians and the DC Event related to Byron Quill. Also the board of trustees isn’t terribly pleased with Jason’s “defense” of his father.

Charlotte keeping an eye on the cemetery. Ponies hanging out there, too, but AEGIS giving them the hairy eyeball. GG is staying close to the cemetery.

(An Ponies-sponsored AMA is coming up soon!)

Charlotte spends time … reading. Anything. Research on current projects. Catching up on technology. Texting in long sentences with proper grammar and salutations and signing off.

She notices something … in the sky. Somebody hovering up there.

She approaches and … it’s Magus Everard. Scoping out the Everard Mausoleum. She recognizes him without having met him. And he sees her.

“Ah. You’re still alive. That’s promising.”

Apparently he is involved in her vivification. Not intentional / personal. Was fighting for his life. Taking stock now of the situation and how poorly he did. And, apparently, answering questions.

E: Why are you here?
C: This is my home.
E: Really? I wouldn’t have expected that. (Stretches, arches back) I’m just here for the show, there’s a few minutes before things get rolling. What would you ask me, Miss Palmer? I never knew your family.
C: (Mentions connections to family down in that mausoleum.)
E: (Counters that it’s not his family. There’s a connection there, though.)
C: More with the Hidden Family of the Vyortovian Throne?
E: No, I just take it as a hobby to vex them, and, by extension, their associated cousins.

E: Your family was part of that whole thing. Except you. Interesting.

E: (Goes into a meandering genealogy. Very few generations – having kids in 30s to 60s.) … I didn’t create you, I just brought you to this ZIP code, chronologically speaking. … I was looking for a healer, and had to work fast. Fingers crossed.
C: What expectations do you have of me?
E: What do you have of a child when they are born? Hope. (Additional metaphors, answered with Hope.) … Just hoping to vex everything those people ever touched.
C: Why?
E: Those individuals, in a world that was dying and fading and cursed, came here, a place practically infinite potential, and settled in and prepared to make slaves of other people in this world because that’s what everyone else was doing and they wanted to fit in. For that, I will flay their very souls to the end of the universe. Esp. since they did it to my granpappy, and everybody has to have hobbies. Oh, wait, look! Don’t ruin the show!

She finally spots who he’s referring to. Using shadows. Creeping hesitantly around the mausoleum – range finding around the dead spot. Long hair, must be a woman. Charlotte guesses it’s Alycia Chin.

E: Watch, this is going to be very interesting. Can you perceive the wound?
(She uses some tricks she learned from Jason.)
E: Here we go!
Very fine thing, almost a wireframe arch, forms in front of the person. Glows.
E: And there she goes! That is interesting, very interesting. … The dead spot hasn’t changed. Scars are bearable, but though this was very close to the wound, it didn’t aggravate it. You’ll probably want to do something about that, I have other places to be. What year is it?
C: January 2018.
E: Huh. You’ve been doing well if you’re still here. … Healer, it was a pleasure, and I wish you from the bottom of my tiny shrunken heart, good luck. (And he’s missing his right side, interfacing to an energy signature, parts of him boiled away by … something.) This is nothing, love, I’ve been dead for ages. Just have a few things left to do, hope I’m in a timeline where I’m still alive. If you happen to see me in 2014, look me up.
And then he’s not there.

Charlotte adds him to her research list. Previous research: mostly uncomplimentary, bemoaned as Magus because very selfish. Celeb magazines, pictures of him in a chalet with JLo, etc. Oh, that’s just another universe’s JLo, who was a heroin addict, but I always wanted to date her.

On the ground, sparking bits still of iron filings. Looks like the same tech as Jason’s magic armor. Jason’s armor / shirt is more like something alive, normally like a torpid lizard, but when he’s really thinking and stuff, it is almost like a doubling of his mental signal.

The obvious guess is Alycia Chin.

Charlotte follows the script and plans to the other side. Because Jason’s judgment about Alycia is a little … “fragile,” so she’s going to do some prelim looking on her own. Calls Rebecca to let her to know about it. Who picks up the phone on the first ring, which she NEVER does. Shadow-walks to her. GG writes up a note, to be given to … Jason, though if he’s not available (or is his typical self when a girl calls him), B can give it to one of the other young gentlemen.

GG heads over the dimensional barrier. [Unleash Powers! 8!] Comes across at her own grave, to stay out of sight. The world still has its own dim light to it. Can’t tell where it’s coming from.

She lifts off from the ground … and finds it convenient that she’s not solid this time. Reaches out with her senses. Should be easy if she’s still using Jason’s powers. [Unleash Powers! 7!] [Takes condition to keep it from being shaky/unstable.]

Have never before done this on this side. Shock to the system massive, bucket of freezing water – the sheer amount of suffering and pain and death here. The world itself is unspeakably weary and miserable. Like a blow to GG’s psyche – she fights through in terrible pain (“you mean, like a contraction?”), an oppressive assault. [Condition: Hopeless!]

Finally can get the sensory input wanting. Jasoness that is not-Jasoness. They’re at the radio beacon, doing something with it.

Charlotte goes to Possess the beacon (without being seen, like, from below). [Freak Roll, 7] Can tell that Alycia is … wiring additional stuff into it … a headset? Letting her hear what’s said, or maybe broadcast something. It’s impossible she wouldn’t detect GG, but she doesn’t.

She’s wearing a top that shows activity like Jason’s shirt, if less so. Listening, but also tracing or triangulating some sort of signal.

And then the spotlights flare up, pinning both of them in bright light …

Part 2 Tomorrow!

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041183

Alycia’s trying to be distaff Jason Quill with the power shirt?

On a side note, I first thought on reading the title was “Wait, wasn’t that Issue Three?” Nope, that was “Into the Sepia Dimension!” Close but not quite. It’s worrying that I’m beginning to grow fanboy-ish over my own tabletop game.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041202

Jason should be happy, it’s usually cute when a girl wears your shirt.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041204

Mike said:

Alycia’s trying to be distaff Jason Quill with the power shirt

My impression (without having seen her outfit in action) is more hacking the nanobots into her own tech ideas to give her certain abilities (dimensional portal? SGHG semi-cure? Information adjunct on how to get to the Sepiaverse). Sort of Earth using Shadow technology in S.3 Babylon 5 – nowhere near the real thing, but still deeply disturbing.

On a side note, I first thought on reading the title was “Wait, wasn’t that Issue Three?” Nope, that was “Into the Sepia Dimension!” Close but not quite. It’s worrying that I’m beginning to grow fanboy-ish over my own tabletop game.

FWIW, I had the same panicky concern right after I posted it.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041280

Bill G. said:

Jason should be happy, it’s usually cute when a girl wears your shirt.

Especially when you’ve given it to her …

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041291

I’m looking forward to part 2, given the roster of people in the Sepiaverse.

“Jason Quill, you will be tortured and killed. We will spare you if you submit to our truth-beams and answer our questions. First, what is your actual relationship with these three women with you–”
“Wait, wait. Can we go back to the part where you kill me?”

I get the feeling that the Magus is looking for a “healer” for the dimensional breach (“the wound”) and had to choose from the heirs of the Hidden Family. I doubt anyone else in that group would willingly help him close it off. He also sounded like he was kind of messed up, and that may be unrelated, or might indicate he has some mystic connection to the breach. He also sounds like has a Bruce Wayne or Booster Gold deal going on, to look useless so that nobody else thinks to travel back and kill him before he does this.

If presented with the entire problem, Leo would be curious. What dooms the Vyortovians? Why is blowing up a city/world their preferred solution? Have others been tried, or are others even possible? If the clock is ticking, the Dread Queen might be forced into making a peaceful deal, and he’d be all for that. So hopefully we will see movement towards answers to some of these questions in part 2.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6042754

Bill G. said:

I’m looking forward to part 2, given the roster of people in the Sepiaverse.

“Jason Quill, you will be tortured and killed. We will spare you if you submit to our truth-beams and answer our questions. First, what is your actual relationship with these three women with you–”
“Wait, wait. Can we go back to the part where you kill me?”

Ah, but is it that he would have no idea what the answer would be, or what the Truth-Beam would reveal, or because of the looks the three of them are giving to him (hands-on-hips-well?!, wide-eyed-vulnerable-smile-i-trust-you, somewhat-surprised-but-too-polite-to-do-more-than-raise-an-eyebrow).

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044104

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044105

If Summer has enough control over the holographic projection to visualize something and make it visible, she may be able to offer a gift to Dr. Quill. It may not be his son specifically, but maybe the memory and feeling will be enough. If Jason thinks it’s inappropriate (and she’d ask first, given an opportunity), she would skip it.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044739

… she’s offering to give him a projection of … Amir?

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044744

Of two brothers looking happy together. This world seems like it’s got a critical shortage of reasons to smile.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044747

Part 2!

Fourteen Hours Later (Now) …

Jason is at the Quill Compound, getting things set up. Brigand is on his patch of the couch. Numina is helping getting things put together.

Opted not to include Harry in the shenanigans. And GG is simply not available. So … yeah, Doom check.

[Freak roll! 8]

Momentarily, Jason is spread, unable to move or process the perceptions, across his lab, the shadow realm, and the destination (200m south of Charlotte). Overlaid and impotent.

He can see Li’lycia running around the room, flipping switches, adjusting controls – Li’lycia looks at him with a “I can’t handle this” look, flickers, and de-rezzes, and Jason feels some horrible nausea – something going away –

The portal is open. Numina is there, looking reassuring. Jason swallows one last chance for her to duck out, and instead gives a slight smile and a nod. They jump …

The room behind goes away in a couple of seconds, swirls of paper, gate collapses, line of metallic goo left in the lab.

Coughing in the ashy air. Numina flickers for a moment, and Jason feels a hiccup as different physical rules assert themselves.

N: You did it. Congratulations are probably in order as long as we’re looking at this without context.
J: Yeah, not a great vacation spot.

Air is not so bad as to be able to breathe. There are a few patches of uncloudy sky. (Unlike the picture) the streets are cleared, a mix of tech, primitive and advanced stuff, people camping in the streets …

Soldiers holding modern firearms. Folk have noticed Jason. Excitement and pointing, people headed their way.

N: Do we run?
J: Make an entrance.
Jason is channeling all those awful times when Rusty intimidated low-tech tribal folk on various adventures. Big, flashy, bold.

Walks toward the building.
J: Stay close by. I’ll protect you as needed.

She takes on a hard light armor similar to his.

Others walk up, no weapons drawn. Something of a uniform … city camo … beat up and worn. Not like the Vyortovian troops. More like GI Joe guys – basic combat fatigues, shirtsleeves rolled up. Mix of weapons – some version of proper firearms / long guns. Led by Capt. Thomas.

T: Master Quill!
J: Yes?
T:We were told to keep an eye out for you – would you like to come in for a talk?
J: That sounds like a fine idea.

Escorted, not guarded. [Pierce the Mask, 11]

[What are their intentions?]
These are people … this is not their normal job (greeting folk and honor guard) – they intend to follow their instructions. Grim group, taking stoic to a new level.
Farming out on the Mall. (The comic book reader can see it.)

J: Who said to keep an eye out for me?
T: Your friend and your father. I hope I’m not being forward.
J: Recently?
T: Yes. This morning.
J: Well, my father has his own purposes.
T: Yes, he does. (Very emphatic and heartfelt, deeply dedicated and committed to him. A bit of fanaticism. Murmurs from those nearby.)

[What would they like me to do?] Side glances, taking in his appearance, and Numina’s. The lighting is weird and washed out, and masking Numina’s light shell flaws.

They are waiting for Jason to … do something amazing.

Looking to the son of the beloved leader.

(Jason wishes he had set up some means of backchannel comm with Numina. Hmm, maybe transfer a nanobot bracelet to her? That would have some real … _be a terrible idea.)
_
They want something flashy.

[How can I gain influence?]
Rusty would be here, would have trained them, would be assessing threat levels.

J: (Coming to the the top of the stairs) We have no weapons to declare.
T: (Surprise, suspicion, then) Of course, of course!
J: (thinking) Oh, shit, I have no weapons. I am so out of practice at this.

Some of the guards think they should still be searched, but are quickly hushed.

The interior has been rebuilt. Off to one wing. In good shape. Out the back, can see through to the Mall. Sense of possibility, even hope, Jason is immediately making strategic thoughts about how to better improve, what are other places like, etc. The most hopeful thing he’s seen. Even if the light is still wrong – and will never be right. But things might be okay, eventually …

Off to a large suite of offices, french doors to the outside. And …
… there’s Dad. And Rusty.

Rusty murmurs, “Dear God, what is he wearing?”

They stop, about ten feet away. Captain Thomas … salutes. Byron gives a perfunctory return, Rusty a proper one. Dismissed.
Stare for a few seconds.

J: Hey Dad, what’s new?
B: Even when she said you were coming, I didn’t believe it. You look well. (He looks worn around the eyes – two years ago, plus several years of wear and tear, like a President.)
J: You look like hell, Dad.
B: It’s been a bit of an uphill hike. We’re doing pretty well. We’ve got some space in here we can talk, and your friend …
J: Yes, my friend.
N: Yes, Dr Quill, it’s an honor to meet you after all I’ve studied and read. (She is being only polite, not honest)

B: (Can see him sussing out whose tech / software / AI this is.) Come in – there’s a lot to explain.
J: Where’s my friend?
B: Your charming Miss Palmer is … right there.

Previously …

Big, charming, 19th Century office. Charlotte is at the bookshelves. She hasn’t seen Alycia since the plane came back down. Hosts are circumspect about getting close to her, except to assure her Jason will be there soon. Making her at home.

In discussion with Byron and Rusty – how did you meet my son?

Charlotte considers Jason’s story Jason’s story. Will talk about the HHL and the Vyortovians and Iceland. But nothing personal about Jason, and not much about the rest of the team.

They seemed familiar with Vyortovians. “Damn the luck, was hoping the place would be unstable.” Agents, Hidden Family, Hannibal Lectric, etc.

Charlotte doesn’t mention her family history.

C: What happened here?
B: Apparently I did this. About 10 years ago. Me and Achilles Chin. They destroyed themselves in the process. One killed the other’s firstborn. And then the other did the same. Then this.

Concerned about the dimensional membrane penetration.
Magus?
Dead zone. Your perceptions must be very interesting (down the conversational rabbit hole). Discussion of what battle between Magus and Dr Infinity went. Byron has been doing research into their trans-temporal battle.
Mausoleum. Keynome. Splash damage from the battle. Was it the Magus or Dr Infinity?

C Assesses the Situation. Damage at the crypt was a wound. Magus did something to get her, and was looking for a healer. So the damage must be from Doc Infinity. She (android, presenting) does not like Halcyon City, because it is a point of temporal chaos.
Byron sees it as a metaphysical drunken barroom brawl that caused all sorts of interdimensional damage. Sure, Doc Infinity is against Halcyon, but that would make Magus Everard a defender of the city, which makes no sense.
C: But how did Alycia get through without damaging the barrier?
B: (Phone rings, answers, hangs up) He’s here.

Now …

Numina and Jason cross to Charlotte. Are you okay?
N showing off new body, “Cousins!” as she makes hand fade in and out.
J: C, you didn’t come back. We were concerned.

Then …

Light came down. Alycia smirks. Raises hands in surrender.

Dragonfly lands. But VTOL, and heavily armed. Not the one at Jason’s house pictures.
Guns trained on Alycia.
Rusty and Byron.

Charlotte comes up and walk up, “I’m a friend of Jason’s.”

Alycia is giving them nothing. Rusty turned his chair around to watch her on the flight. Alycia played stare-back.

Seems likely they were watching the rendezvous point.

Lots of guns. Brought back. Immediately separated, but before long Rusty brought her up to much nicer quarters. Maybe because C demonstrated she could walk through walls.

Now …

J: Alycia’s here?
B: She’s under watch.
J: For?
B: What she’s doing with my tech.
J: Because I gave it to her.
B: (several attempts to voice something.)
J: Yes, i know you fucked up my brain …
B: Language!
Charlotte raises eyebrows.
J: (having stopped) Yes, I know you interfered with my memories.
B looks abashed
J: And you were working with Achilles Chin.
B: Well, that didn’t last. It’s not the case now. We no longer work together. We didn’t see eye to eye.

J: Are you looking for a way back home?
B: We can’t go back. (Makes vague gesture that might be a huggish thing). We can’t actually … charged with energy of our home dimension. Static shock that might vaporize this building.

J: I’ve seen a video from AEGIS. I’ve talked with Amir.
B: What?
J: Yeah, also there were mind shenanigans from Hecate
B: (Blanches.) Son … your brother died. (Jason closes his eyes, breathes.) I’m sorry to tell you this way. He died during that whole fiasco of … he was working on this side, but there were scavengers, or the Family, but he… he died defending the Arc Circuit.
J: (All the speculation about Amir collapses into more realistic set of options. Sepiaverse. He’s a victim, working with/for Hecate, etc.)
B: The one from this world … when all of that happened, we, in our proximity to the effect, were the ground points for a tremendous amount of energy potential from this side and that side that was grounded out. When you came through, minimal damage, nearly non-existent …
(Li’liycia grounding out.)
J: Yeah, I figured that out, Dad.
B: We absorbed the energy of a landmass the size of the dinosaur-killer. If we contacted individuals from the other side, and if it returned to the other side it would likely resume the original damage potential. I’m … sorry.

J: Yeah. Where’s Achilles Chin right now?
B: We think he’s working with Hecate.
J: Excuse me whatthefuck?
(Numina mouths the same thing.)

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044853

Bill G. said:

Of two brothers looking happy together. This world seems like it’s got a critical shortage of reasons to smile.

Well, that’s certainly true.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044854

On the presumption that this constitutes an issue, we should have an end-of-session thang.

Unless the Infodump that Doyce promised radically changes things, Jason “grows into his image of himself,” having confronted his father. (Danger +1, Savior -1)

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044864

James’ reaction: “Why would Hecate be working with a guy like Achilles Chin?”

  1. Hatred of Byron Quill trumps all politics.
  2. She’s playing him. He’s playing her. It’s villainy made in heaven someplace.
  3. They may not have been working together long. Though this does imply some cross-dimensional communication that they’ve figured out.
  4. Both are working for/with the Dread Queen. (Sub-hypothesis: Hecate is the Dread Queen. Or the DQ is the Sepia!Hecate.)

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044879

*** Dave H. said:

J: Yeah. Where’s Achilles Chin right now?
B: We think he’s working with Hecate.
: Excuse me whatthefuck?
(Numina mouths the same thing.)

Jason:

Numina:
https://media.giphy.com/media/xT9IgKK9NVmEZxYTeM/g...

Charlotte:
https://media.giphy.com/media/cZp4oS5MlrkFa/giphy....

Alycia:
https://media.giphy.com/media/3o7TKVECPphPuoxWFO/g...

Once Link hears about this:
https://media.giphy.com/media/oLN8QcHK34VBm/giphy....

The audience:
https://media.giphy.com/media/zvj9s4a2bUHBK/giphy....

Weird Al:
https://media.giphy.com/media/10esiSI9UXp9Mk/giphy...

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044892

Two scenes in all of this that may or may not ever happen:

  1. Somewhere in the discussion with Dad, Jason needs to mention, “Oh, by the way, I’ve had to give up a lot to get to you here. Like a piece of my mind, because these nanobots aren’t working properly and are slowly robbing my of my memory and cognitive-body connection, even beyond your design parameters to f-screw with my memories.” (He won’t mention Li’lycia yet, because he’s still not clear what’s going on there, and/or is in denial about it.)

  2. (Cell door slams open) “You. Your dad is alive. He’s here on this world, but can’t return to our Earth without destroying it. He’s not working to fix this planet, but is instead working remotely with Hecate, who’s the worst person on our planet ever. Get over it, stop smirking, I’m getting you out of here.”

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044894

Audio of this episode:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044896

Bill G. said:

*** Dave H. said:

J: Yeah. Where’s Achilles Chin right now?
B: We think he’s working with Hecate.
: Excuse me whatthefuck?
(Numina mouths the same thing.)

All excellent. And the image I almost used:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044902

*** Dave H. said:

Hatred of Byron Quill trumps all politics.
She’s playing him. He’s playing her. It’s villainy made in heaven someplace.
They may not have been working together long. Though this does imply some cross-dimensional communication that they’ve figured out.
Both are working for/with the Dread Queen. (Sub-hypothesis: Hecate is the Dread Queen. Or the DQ is the Sepia!Hecate.)

Putting my predictions out now, out of character:

  • Assume our description of Hecate’s powers are accurate & she’s in contact with parallel selves. She has prior knowledge of Sepia!Byron’s activities. Aria/Pneuma would be in a good position to evaluate this claim in character, once someone talks to her.
  • Assume Sepia!Byron and Sepia!Chin are gone, and Prime!Byron and Prime!Chin are now in the Sepiaverse - Hecate, any Hecate, will probably want one or both gone. She would therefore ally with Prime!Chin to get rid of Prime!Byron, the kill Prime!Chin as well if possible.
  • If so, she may see Alycia and Jason as useful pawns here and make a play for them.
  • I thought about the Hecate/DQ connection before, and I assumed at the time that we had enough information (from our various public sources) that we could prove or disprove this (e.g. they look nothing alike, both have been seen at the same time by HHL members, etc.) That doesn’t rule out magic shenanigans so I’m willing to buy it, but if so, Prime!Hecate is doing an absolute shit job of protecting the world she lives in if she isn’t using that connection somehow. So I predict probably not, but it’s a compelling theory anyway.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6044910