Masks-616 #21 - "I Hear the Bugs Echoing Tonight ..."

When last we left …

We were being urgently urged by HellBinder to go on a field trip. Quickly.

HB - Take our newer students, too. Like, say, Tahi. And GothWitch. For academic purposes, having extra study-buddies.
K - What do you mean, of course – [stops as an elbow is applied to the ribs]

HB leaves. Arizella … suggests … lovely summer home by the Marianas Trench.
J - Kinda damp.
M - But thanks! We have a sub, so we could stop by. We do have a study trip in mind, and we’ll make sure we keep in touch.
AZ - If you are below sea level and in trouble, have … tutors, who would be helpful.
M - Thanks!
Tahi - (Goes into standby mode outside the door of the Fortress of Attitude)
AZ - Tahi! Ah. Guys, be safe.
T - (Edge of door. Looks at Kiln and Mette.
M - Welcome to the FoA, come on in. Glad to have you.
T - Fortress? Is this irony or sarcasm. And … why am I here?
J - Because we’re leaving.
R - Field trip!
T - I’m supposed to stay … here?
M - Don’t let the boys get to you. Recent events dictate we should be away from campus. Not you, us. Best if you and GW join us on our study trip, pursuing work we’ve been doing around … our research.
T - Oh, I am a holy relic. You want to meet another temple –
J - Maybe we should discuss this while on our way.
M - At the Excelsior in 30 min?
T - All set.
GW - “My blood is full of potential.” I can summon anything I need. Let’s just go.
M - I want some bug repellant. And sunscreen.

(People go and grab stuff.) (Including Tendies.)

Joe goes to his room to grab extra pants. Also, plastic hospital band from when the Quill medtechs picked him up Way Back Then.

Roddy … decides against grabbing the bottle of Powertronic Power Spray.

Into the Excelsior!

Taking off, into the water …

GW - So … where are we going.
R - Where they made Joe.
GW - Whuh?
J - Well, more consciousness transfer into a giant gorilla body.
M -
GW -
J - Well, not human, anyway. Let’s move on.
GW - Do have experience with consciousness transfer, and you’re still you. Like I’m still me.
M - Thank you.
J - You get to go back into your own body.
GW - I’ve seen weirder stuff shopping downtown. You’re okay. I’ve now maxxed out my comfort and support.
M - Hope he listens to you more than me.
GW - If he’s like Roddy, no.

M - (Briefs GW)

Africa. Joe’s people. Where M’s spaceship took off from.

M - timeline as I know it … this is a location of power, a focal point.
Gw - Going to fix your future thing, thing with Joe, or Kiln’s temple thing?
M - Yes / T - The Temple.
T - And also Joseph’s problem.
M - The entity that took over Golem is related to Kiln’s history, related to teh temples, related to my future history.
GW - The guy who did that to Golem is a bad guy, please tell me.
K - Great enemy of my people.
GW - Good.

GW - (Goes over to a bench and falls asleep

T - So … what is my role in all of this? (to K) To speak to the temple?
K - Helpful, but HB wanted to get you away from the school and all of the brouhaha.
T - Very well. Curious about this temple, its guardian, its group – the people who met Joe.
J - You know how to find the temple?
T - Well, yes. Well, no. Charts, maps, triangulate, align, calibrate … relative to my temple.
J - Alex?

Escaping Halcyon City …
Mette – Unleash your powers!

(The unknown vehicle power? Hey, stealth!)

(We rise up and go sub-orbital.)

Alex coordinates travel locations with Tahi.
Her fingers have capacitance for manipulating table screens.
Unleash Power --> 6!
M’s obsession with calendars and time to provide further refinements.
… so 7!
Alex feels marks guilty over Tahi having to find another temple, rather than her home, which they destroyed.

Continental drift, terrain shifts, river pattern shifts … T pinpoints where the temple should be.

Roddy … watching GW, but not crowding her.
She wakes up as everyone’s setting back into seats

GW - We’re in space!
T - watching the planet. Fascinating. Studies everything around her in the ship intently (but not touching).
A - used to satellite photogs. Overview Effect.

M - Overview Effect. This is her world she’s here to save.
J - Weightlessness is not fun. Also, very much in his own head right now.
R - Precise timing moments. Also, this is SO COOL.
K - Reminds of the time they wrestled the giant vulture-monkey. Also, drugs, but it was a the Solstice.

M - Snaps a pic on phone, sending it to Arizella’s email. “Wish you were here”

There! Africa!

We set down.

Alex’ drone is the first thing out.

Kiln. Feels more familiar than Halcyon. Untrammelled growth. Closer to what outside should be. Also, a lot of strangler figs.

Alex … has their tranq gun for Joe, tucked back.

Tahi steps down. Walk to near Kiln.

Roddy and Gothwitch

Mette is shutting down ship.
Steps out … beat … Joe exits.

Similar environment == rain forest – of where Joe’s family was before their capture.

T - That way? (saying to K, but glancing at J)
A - (Sends drones out that way
J - (Looking around to see anythign familiar
M - (Pats Joe on the shoulder. He starts.

hate this
not sure what we’re going to find
never knew what might be found, but now i’m going to find something, actually

M - All through this together. We don’t know the answers.
J - I don’t even know the questions.
(Share Vuln)

GW - You guys known each other a long time?
R - Whuh?
GW - Because it’s M’s past-future, and it’s from K’s culture, and it’s something about J … have they known each other a really long time? Or just dumb luck.
R - M’s time stuff.
GW - What are we going to run into?
R - Last time it was a nuclear moose. I kicked it in the face.

A - (Picking up rock formations that are not rock formations - ruins. More spread than the one in Costa Rica - more of compound, village, more ruined. Also, some cobbled recognition of carvings on stone. Right area. Also, disruption, destruction, foliage torn up. Fighting in the area in the last year or so? So, yes, it could be cyborg gorillas with spears. No signs of fatalities. Lots of large rocks torn up and thrown around at high velocity.
A - Some shit went down.
Assess the sitch (with Soldier) --> [uncheck Guilty, Superior] --> 5!

K - (Stag Beetles as Zergs)


A - Let me see what’s going with – (HUD starts getting static interference … no, wait, that’s what’s being seen by all the drones, right before they are hit, all at once, glom onto them, and pull them out of the air, and then start tearing them apart, with a feedback loop to A like a slap in the brain.
Powerful blow! --> 12!

And we can hear something in the jungle, the cicada buzz …

K - (Ignites sword

A - (Lose control of powers in a terrible way

We see little bugs. Also doberman-sized. And atv-sized.

T - (Eyes wide.

Meanwhile, at the HHL

Powertronic, down in the guts of the HQ, is working a panel. Golem in stasis field. In his suit, working off bits of Golem, looks at, walks off, comes back, it’s all gone liquid / puddle … and the platform, the circuitry, its interacting with it. Amazing! OMG! Wow!

Meanwhile, back in the Congo

Electronic attack/intrusion on Alex. Can feel a body tingling on all cybernetic limbs. EMP pulse … except limbs aren’t collapsing, not stopping or losing power, still working … on their own. Core systems still intact, but limbs are not on the net. Crouched, shield comes out, pivot, leap, crack the shield into the back of Tahi’s skull.

Roddy sees this happen. A is moving really wrong (limbs on sync on the same side).

A tries to shout a warning, trying to pull back.
Defend --> 8!
Works, but costs. Exposed to danger. (Clear guilty)
Feel pressure from outside (the limbs) pressing in …
Make it miss, between T moving and A moving.
Stagger around, scarecrow-like.

Bugs swarming in from front.

M and J are a bit back.

What is everyone about to do?

R - (Talked about the whole Fluvis-conquers-machine thing last time about A, so … let’s disable them. Just like Tatanka has been seen to do in TV.)
A - “Disarm me!”
Defend [Tahi] - Savior --> 9! (spend team selfishly) [infl over Tahi]
Alex, you can’t leave me alone with these people! You’re the only one that get my pop culture references!
(Attacking clumsily)

T - (reeling

J - (Leap to the front, land in front, big roar and chest beating

K - (focused on horde. Joe will handle the big things better; K being our bug zapper.

GW - Reaches into her chest and when it comes out she has a glove. It’s black. But sparkly.

M - Protecting flanks, pushing things DOWN.

Team Activities

R - Image of Self
A - Closer to Team (Alex) - -Soldier, +Mundane
K - Image of Self
J - Closer to the Team (Mette) -Freak, +Mundane
M - Closer to the Team (Joe) - -Superior, +Freak


For those who like maps, my guess is we’re in or around Maiko NP ( in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here’s a fun little travelogue:

While Virunga NP to the east has had more news around guerilla violence of late

(and, it’s in a more populated area, along the Ugandan border, less suited for Hidden Ancient Temples. Maiko NP sounds a bit more isolated.