An IT worker at DARPA is transferred to a secret government agency for the defense against the supernatural. When the entire population of the town of Grenada, Nicaragua vanishes, a team is sent to investigate.
Cast Roles Edit
- Damian Cross (Mike Ginn) - Ex-police officer, ex-FBI agent, now an agent at Department C.
- Roya Paley (Markeia McCarty) - Tech prodigy, inventor of the only device that Department C has ever successfully deployed in the field, the mini teleporter, which she invented at the age of 15. Believes that there is a scientific explanation for everything.
- Andy Aleck (Kate Elliott) - A little bit weird, but nice enough. Has studied myth and legend her whole, lonely adult life. Researcher at Department C, had a small website dedicated to the supernatural, then one day there was a knock on her door and she was drafted into Department C.
- Devon Blackberry (Ify Nwadiwe) - Ran I.T. for DARPA, worked there for 10 years total, transferred to Department C for snooping where he didn't have clearance. Attended DeVry for I.T. certifications. Likes conspiracy theories and enjoys proving them wrong, he's open to the supernatural but tries to find the real explanation.
Chapter Summaries Edit
After being called into his boss' office at DARPA for snooping where he didn't have clearance, Devon's boss receives a mysterious phone call informing him that Devon is to be transferred to a new department. When he returns to his apartment Devon finds a note under his door instructing him to go to the University of Iowa, an apartment has been set up for him there. Upon arrival he is to report to Teaspoons, a small coffee shop, and await instructions there. His new apartment is small and humble, but a step up from his place in Arlington. From there, he heads directly to Teaspoons and orders a coffee, giving the barista his name. When he takes the cup, he sees Pentacrest, Schaffer Hall janitor's closet is written in pen on it. When he looks up to ask for directions, the coffee shop is empty.
The janitor's closet seems run of the mill at first, until Devon notice two clean spots on the floor where feet have stood before. As he steps in to inspect further, the door shuts and locks behind him. In the dark, a computerized voice asks him to identify himself, then tells him that “any and all right the apply to him as a US citizen are null and void if he continues.” He responds, “What??” and the voice thanks him as the closet begins to descend into the earth. He makes a note to revisit his 'janitors = mole men' theory.
The room stops descending and the door opens, a logo on the silver wall opposite the door greets him, it looks like a six-eyed octopus crawling through the outline of a red shield with the letter C on it. To the left of the logo is an old, wooden door. No one answers when he calls out. The computerized voice tells him he has twenty seconds to exit before the room rises again. He does and the door closes behind him, there is a ding as the room lifts back up, revealing an empty shaft.
Devon walks over and knocks on the door. Inside, Damian, Roya and Andy wonder who could be knocking before Damian shouts “Come in!”
Devon enters, on the left of the room he enters there are shelves of books and glass cases with memorabilia. On the right side of the room are maps, posters and printouts tacked on cork boards connected with red string. In the center of the room, lowered down two steps, is a bullpen area with five occupied desks, their occupants staring at him, and an office on the back wall with a man inside pacing while talking on a phone.
“Obviously this is Esme's replacement,” says a gray bearded man.
The woman nearest the door introduces herself as Marla, combat expert. Devon tells them that he is an IT expert and they scoff at an IT guy replacing Esme. The man in the office calls out to Devon and tells the others that Devon will be Esme's replacement, and that leaving her desk open won't bring her back. He orders Damian to clean out Esme's desk and Andy says she'll hang on to the pictures on Esme's desk.
The man, Director Bunny, calls Devon into his office. The office looks like a room fifty years in the past, no computers, notes on papers are strewn everywhere, pedestals around the room hold things Devon doesn't immediately recognize. Devon learns that Esme died in the field, she was run over by an FBI agent while undercover. Bunny reveals that he asked for Devon to be transferred to Department C for his tech skills. He tells Devon that he can't share anything he learns here outside of the Department, not even with the president, if anything leaks out and can be traced back to Devon, Bunny will be forced to end Devon's life.
Once Devon agrees, Bunny reveals that Department C is a defense organization for the occult, Devon asks about his janitors/mole men theory and Bunny ignores that and tells Devon the history of Department C. They were established in 1960 by Dwight Eisenhower to develop supernatural weaponry to combat the German developments in the occult during WWII. Eisenhower knew we needed to start investing in the occult, he found documentation of Hitler's device that channeled his demonic manna to be the mouthpiece of the Gods of old.
Basically, he found a way to control the minds of others by tapping in to their darkest desires using a Charley Chimp toy that Bunny has in his office, or something within the toy anyway. Hitler gave the device to his ally, Japan, when he knew that all hope for world domination was lost. Japan put the device inside the monkey toy and tried to use it to do mind control on a mass scale in the U.S., but Eisenhower stopped it. He sets the monkey on the desk and Devon tells him to put it away, Bunny says it's more sensitive to people who have committed atrocities but puts it away anyway.
The idea for Department C came from this incident, they've spent years working on weapons that, in theory, could be used as weapons by the U.S., but most of the time they see themselves as a deterrent to others gaining access to the knowledge and devices they find. When Devon asks if there's a thumbdrive or something with files on it that he could read through, Bunny gestures at the books and asks if Devon is offering to digitize them. “That's a team player right there, coming in the first day and volunteering at least two years of your life like that,” Bunny says, putting it on Devon's action list.
Bunny tells Devon that Department C has yet to develop any weaponry and that Roya is the only person to ever invent anything that Department C has ever used successfully in the field that they use on a daily basis, but he thinks they are close to some other developments. He makes it clear that they are not trying to develop world killers, but trying to keep others from doing so. Devon asks if the best way to handle these things is to destroy them, and Bunny tells him they do when it is safe to do so.
The last president to know about Department C was Reagan, only a few generals now know anything about the organization and keep the checks flowing. At this point Bunny's phone rings and he dismisses Devon back into the bullpen.
Devon gets to know his new coworkers a little better, Roya introduces herself as a tech genius/inventor of the teleporter that Department C uses, but she hasn't invented much new since then. Damian asks Devon if he has any field/combat skills that would come in handy. When he denies it Andy suggests that perhaps he has unrealized powers and Marla says he was probably just brought in because Bunny has zero technological skills and Devon just happened to come to his attention. Andy reveals that this is similar to her own story, one day she had a small website on the supernatural, then there was a knock on her door and now she is here.
The people who work at Department C are loners, working there prohibits getting close to people. The bearded man, Jesse, who heads up R&D, came in with Director Bunny in the seventies. Marla offers to train Devon as much as she can before their upcoming mission and she trusts that Director Bunny saw something within their new hire that lead him to bring Devon onboard. Marla, the previous new hire, asks Devon if Bunny did the whole thing where the coffee shop people disappear once the message was delivered to him too and tells Devon that she's glad he is here.
Bunny comes out and starts the briefing with some fun by asking Andy to tell everyone what she knows about Cthulhu. There's some debate about whether people have just been lead astray by a good author or if the Elder God is real, including Roya saying there is always a logical, scientific answer behind everything, and Andy talking about unexplained events like 'the bloop'. .
Department C has record of eight actual supernatural events or artifacts that they have documentation of, Bunny tells them. As of late, supernatural/unexplained occurrences are on the rise. He brings up a slide of a picture of the Amundsen-Scott research station in Antartica, Department C has gotten a hold of photos from a camera found at the destroyed base. He clicks the slide again to show a large, metallic creature in the snow. Bodies of Synchroneity tech employees were also found on site and they are denying any involvement, Bunny asks if Devon will be able to hack their servers.
When Devon responds in the affirmative, Bunny clicks to a slide of a mutilated dead body that looks like it has merged with technology and into the wall next to it. Devon's visceral response to the photo leads Damian to remark upon him replacing Esme and Bunny cracks down on him a bit, asking if Damian could hack Synchroneity's servers. He clicks to another slide of a map of the South Pole with a red dot, it's radiation appearing out of nowhere and pulsing, he clicks through time-lapse photos of the dot, there and gone and back.
At the same time this is happening in Antarctica, the same pulse of radiation appears in northern Arkansas as well, 100 consecutive pulses, each pulse exactly 10 milliseconds after each Antarctic pulse. Then, the same pulsing bursts of radiation appeared in Iowa, centered on the Charley Chimp toy that Department C had in lock up. They have since tested the toy and there is no residual radiation, the radiation appears and disappears, never lingering.
The northern Arkansas pulses coincide with reports of three hikers going missing in that same location, estimated disappearance time around that time that the pulses began. One of the women reported as missing was the daughter of Gemma Baker, who, unbeknownst to her, is on Department C's watch list as DNA records of unsolved mysteries place her as a missing infant in the 1950s, then, she reappears as a five year old in southern Georgia in the mid-1970s before relocating to London with a woman that there are no records of existing in the US.
Ms. Baker, as an adult, has no knowledge of her heritage or that her family and her DNA was found at her birthplace in the '50s nor does she have any knowledge of her daughter going missing in that area during these pulses.
Bunny has reason to believe that more locations should have pinged with the signal but it was demolished, another slide shows a destroyed satellite dish. “Some good soul out there, knew that whatever was happening needed to be stopped,” Bunny says. He also believes that Kolob would have been pinged, but Esme, God rest her soul, could no longer confirm or deny that possibility, so they'll tackle that town another time.
“Now, on to why we're here,” Bunny says, “the mission today can no longer go as planned. I know you were all excited to head out to Lawrence, Kansas to re-open the case of the monkey with an actual field test, but something bigger has come up within the last ten minutes. The monkey mission is handed over to Agent Stagg now.” He believes that the signal has brought the monkey back online and this round of tests will yield the same outcomes and they'll get better data this time to understand what is happening. “Everyone in this test group is a certified killer, who has somehow not faced justice. Sometimes we have to operate outside the law.”
Bunny just got off the phone with 'that old bat Larienza', she told him that Grenada, Nicaragua is empty, its inhabitants have disappeared without a trace. Local government is claiming volcanic gas and is quarantining the city. Marla will be in charge of the mission as the combat expert, she says she'll come up with extraction plans on the flight over, time is of the essence.
Damian takes his kit which includes a sidearm and two mags, a tactical knife, a tactical flashlight, and a bulletproof vest. He additionally takes an AR-15 and extra mag.
Roya takes her messenger bag with Metroid embroidered on it containing: electronics, a toolkit, a tricked out smartphone (that she built), a hand-crank flashlight, a lock-pick kit, a tool kit, a welding kit, random SD cards, a tricked out taser, and a tricked out laptop. She puts on her shades that say 'fly' on one eye and 'AF' on the other. In addition she brings a spectrometer, an Astral Being Entrapper (made by her and not field tested), and one of her personal teleporters.
Andy takes along her briefcase of work papers, key cards, supernatural related items, EMF meter, garlic pellets, silver wire, small cross, disposable camera with flash, sketch/notepad, little book of monsters, conspiracy theory reading materials, small candles, chalk and salt.
Devon has his backpack of laptop, tablets and computer peripherals. While he looks over everything in the bag, he opens a drawer at his new desk and sees a Beretta with Esme's name inscribed on it and two clips, which he also packs.
In the janitor's closet elevator they all don janitor's gear before exiting one at a time and then heading for the airport. When they leave, a package arrives addressed to Sue Bunny, DNA tests and samples from Amundsen-Scott have arrived.
Damian asks Devon if he can have Esme's gun, and he gives him his sidearm in return. As they travel, Marla starts to go over basic gun safety with Devon. Andy goes over her notes on mass disappearances while Roya stuffs her face on the free food in the private jet while running some tests on the Astral Being Entrapper on her laptop. Damian cleans and polishes Esme's gun and Roya brings him a plate of food.
Chapter 1 Edit
They arrive at the airport in Managua, Nicaragua to meet their contact, Larienza, he's worked for Department C for ten years collecting information on the occult in Central America. He tells them they need to exit the area quickly as there is civil unrest in the area, he leads them to a van that, when they climb in, they see the outside of the panel van change to show the logo for a plumbing company. Larienza informs the crew that they will be arriving pretty late in the day, and gets them up to speed on what he knows. Everyone in the town vanished in the midst of what they were doing, televisions left on, cars crashing, and boats left afloat in the lake. The city is an old Spanish colony that sits on the largest lake in the country and a volcano sits nearby.
They notice as they drive toward Grenada, they pass by several large riots. Larienza, mentions that he can't rule out government involvement, as they have recently been shooting at some kids in a church, but he doesn't think that they have the means to make this many people disappear. They talk a bit about Roanoke, and how back then there were no records or technology to use to trace the people that vanished from that colony like there are now.
Larienza asks Devon to find some satellite images of the affected area and tosses him a bag of SD cards. He discovers nothing odd outside the fact that all of the heat blips representing the people and animals within the city all disappear at the exact same moment. A radiation scan layered on the heat scan reveals three separate radioactive signatures move quickly among the citizens of Grenada, in the space of a minute, at least one of the signatures has been near to, if not touching, every citizen.
A large mob of people surrounds the van, shouting about the government's treatment of the people. Damian draws upon his experience as a cop and reads the crowd, telling the others to remain calm, they don't appear to be in any physical danger. Roya opens the access hatch on top of the van and starts tossing flash-bangs into the crowd for some reason. The crowd starts to scream and they hear gunshots in the distance. Devon hacks into the van's system and transmits a message in Spanish that they are not with the government and are here to help.
Larienza crashes the van through a barricade that the military has set up and brings the van to a stop as soldiers aim their weapons at them. Using google translate, Devon explains that they are with the US government and are here to help. An individual presses his way through the crowd and asks what they were doing with the flash-bangs, which they explain as a malfunction.
The man tells them that none of his men want to go into the city, they are superstitious. As they talk to the man a gunshot sounds close by and he tells them to go and do what they can in the city while he tries to keep things from escalating here.
They drive down a long stretch of highway into the valley around Grenada, there are lights on in the city but no movement and an eerie silence surrounds the town. Larienza parks the van outside the city limits and Marla orders everyone to stay on comms and start a sweep of the area. At the first split in the road they see a sign for a hospital, they decide to check it out together and Marla orders Larienza to stay with the can and keep an eye on the quarantine around the city, if anyone gets through, they need to leave. Marla will take the rear, the three noncombatants will be in the middle, any sign of anything, call it out.
Roya fires up her Spectrometer and in a brief flash as it boots up, hundreds of dots appear and then fade out. Marla orders Larienza to find a bug or animal to establish a perimeter for the disappearances. Vegetation seems to be unaffected, only people and wildlife.
As they arrive at the hospital, Marla points her flashlight at a pile of clothing with a nightstick on the belt lying just outside the entrance. Playing her flashlight into the entrance reveals more clothing scattered about the hall. Andy wonders if everyone is naked together wherever they are.
As they move into the hospital, the lights are flickering, Roya suggests checking the morgue to see if any dead bodies have been left behind and Damian suggest checking any security stations for CCTV recordings of what happened. Damian and Devon go to check the CCTV angle and the others go to the morgue.
Devon and Damian find the security room and the only movement they see is the other team on the monitors. At first Devon is unable to get his laptop and tablet to synch with the Central American tech but then he tries password in the prompt and he gets into the video files. There is one frame of difference between people being within the hospital and then empty clothes falling to the floor. They copy the files onto Devon's laptop.
Roya is keeping an eye on her spectrometer and Andy is watching her EMF meter as they move down the hall. They hear a mechanical whir as the generator kicks in and the lights steady. They push the morgue doors open and see two black sheets over bodies, when Roya pulls the sheet back a body indeed lays underneath it, tools and clothing are scattered on the floor around it.
While they discuss what they have found, Roya begins to hear a voice whispering 'ayudame', no one else heard it. Andy takes out her camera and as soon as the flash goes off, the power in the entire hospital goes out. Andy tries repeating the flash, in the brief light of the camera the she sees that the bodies appear to be gone. When Marla puts her flashlight on them, they are still there.
Roya goes to check the morgue's freezer for survivors, and the smell of rotting flesh assaults them when the door opens. They all smell the faint tang of blood and Marla's nose starts to bleed.
Back in the security room, Devon's nose also starts to bleed. The file transfer had not completed before the power went. As they pack up to rejoin the others Devon hears a voice whisper 'help me'. They all hear a loud pop outside and Larienza tells them it looks like a transformer blew in town and all the lights in Grenada are out. Marla tells Damian they are heading back to them, they tell each other about the nosebleeds and Marla tells Andy to document everything that happens in the order it happens.
Roya checks her spectrometer and sees a single dot directly behind them, Andy's EMF gets no readings and they see nothing. Sound starts to warp for Roya, and her vision starts to close in to a tunnel. Roya seems to be standing in a darkness, her friends are nowhere to be seen. A bright, shimmering figure comes into view, it is not recognizably human and its movements remind her of a feather as it comes up to her and peers at her curiously. “Who are you?” it asks, “Help. Are you here to help?” When she responds it asks “Where am I? Who am I? Help, help, help.”
Roya snaps back to her friends and tells them what she saw. The lights start to flicker back on as the ground begins to shake and rumble, they see a corner of the building start to crumble. The agents run for the exits, the walls start to crumble around them and the sound of the earthquake starts to reverberate in the air as if reality itself is shaking apart. A piece of the building collapses on Devon and Damian but the rest of the group makes it outside.
- Feeling: Andy is really, really missing Esme and no one can replace her. She doesn't hate Devon because she doesn't like to hate but she is not too keen on him for replacing her.
- Feeling: Andy feels she can trust Devon even though she only just meet him a while ago.
- Feeling: Damian doesn't trust Devon he believes he shouldn't even be here.
- History: Roya at a very young age was a very skilled gymnast, she almost made the Olympic team.
- Feeling: Damian is not happy about this nobody IT guy replacing Esme. Damian secretly had a thing for Esme and is filled with rage every time he thinks of Devon being a replacement.
- History: Damian specialized in religious phenomena. He has been distant at work ever since he worked the case of a vampire. The images still haunt him. Esme has been his partner since then and is the only one who knows of the nightmares they both saw. (Zac changes this one to ditch the vampire angle.)
- Discovery: All the players find a voodoo doll of another character. Damian finds Devon. Devon finds Andy. Roya finds Damian. Andy finds Roya. They each affect the players in different ways. Let's find them. (Zac changes this one as well)
- Discovery: Devon seems to have dropped his notebook. Fortunately Roya finds it but how curious is she?
Chapter 2 Edit
Devon and Damian lie trapped under rubble, tasting iron and hearing a ringing in their ears. They can't see each other in the darkness but they can hear each other's labored breathing. Devon finds hope by holding on to the fact that he needs to find answers for the things he has seen. Damian calls out for Devon and it takes him a second, but he answers. Damian pushes some rubble off of his leg and sees that they are completely trapped in by the remains of the hospital hall around them. Outside, Roya, Andy, and Marla are standing outside of the destroyed hospital. During its collapse, they saw parts of the building were disappearing, almost folding in on themselves geometrically before they vanished. Roya spies a notebook lying amidst the rubble and pockets it. Roya reprograms the spectrometer to scan for heat signatures, and turns it to finding the buried men. Roya is a little panicked, as she jerks the spectrometer back and forth she almost misses two dim signatures under the debris, they look to be buried pretty deep under the rubble.
They manage to make contact with the buried men over their comms, Roya brings up the idea of using the mini-teleporter to move the rubble. Marla votes against using the teleporter but the other two overrule her. She couldn't reprogram the teleporter to teleport the two men out because the equipment to receive what travels through the teleporter takes up a whole room back at the base and they can't recreate it here.
Marla tries to reach Larienza but there is no answer, Andy calls Director Bunny as Marla goes to check on Larienza. Bunny tells Andy that the inhabitants of Grenada are not the only people to have disappeared, at least fifty more individuals have vanished, people who had traveled to the city of Grenada two months ago when the radiation spikes started.
Roya places the teleporter on top of the rubble, activates it and scampers back over to Andy. Blue energy starts to flash and pulse around the rubble, bits and pieces of it start to float into the air and small holes in reality open up, through which they can see parts of the Department C base. Devon and Damian hold on for dear life so as not to be lifted into the portal along with the rubble.
Marla returns and pulls the other two women even further from the growing portal and the rubble finally vanishes and they can see they two men lying on top of each other. Marla tells them that Larienza is gone. They hear rumbling come from the other side of town as a plume of dust starts to rise.
Devon has lost this computer bag somewhere, it's either under the rubble or back at the Department C base.
Larienza comms in to tell them that he had to run, that they are not alone out here. He saw Roya, Andy and Devon, which was strange because he knew Devon was trapped, they were standing right in front of him though and he ran off. The riots have stopped, all the people are standing stock still, looking towards the town. Marla arrived at the van about sixty seconds after she talked to him and there was no one there. She thinks it possible that Larienza was seeing things.
As they talk about their next move Marla asks if they hear something, eventually they focus in and start to hear the sound of footsteps, they sound close and wet. Damian sees a footprint in the dirt on the side of the road, then another appears next to it, and another, moving towards the center of town. Damian approaches as the footsteps fade, there is nothing there as he passes through the space where whatever made the prints should be. Devon stands back as the others inspect the foot prints.
Roya hands Devon her tricked out laptop and puts a hand into her pocket to finger his notebook that she found. While Devon tries to find more satellite photos, Roya is standing off to the side perusing through his notebook. Devon finds a small spot that appears a millisecond before the pulses started in Grenada, it is located in the lake outside town.
Roya discovers a list of theories that Devon has debunked, at the bottom is the DARPA theory that is marked unfinished. On the next page is a list of the people he has interacted with:
Roya: tech genius, kinda cocky, seems like she has done a lot of great work though.
Andy: real nerdy, kinda cute. Weird obsessions, should pick brain on all the supernatural stuff.
Damian: Watch out! handsome. can't be trusted.
Marla: strong, possible leader, keep a close eye, don't trust her all the way but seems like she might in my corner.
Devon is looking at the local Twitter feed from two months back for anything pertinent.
Roya takes the journal over to Marla to show her, she immediately gives it back to Devon. He tells them about the spot in the lake. Roya's spectrometer starts to ping, she looks down at the screen and sees text, which the spectrometer isn't programmed to display. It says: The orphanage. The screams. We'll never forget those young souls. The Gate. Damian reveals that this is tied to a mission that he and Esme went on in the past, a priest burned down an orphanage and he shouted that the Gate made him do it and that 'it likes young souls'.
Marla says she is going to go get Larienza and the van, the rest of them should make their way down to the lake and call Stagg and Bunny while they walk. There is no answer when they call Bunny, but Stagg picks up. Damian tells him that they think a lot of these events are possibly connected and he asks Stagg if he has made any advances in his case. He doesn't know anything about the Gate but his team has had some complications, it appears that the monkey device is operating at a much lower threshold than the last time. Its mere presence in the room has incited four people to violence, the device appears to have become more powerful.
Stagg also reveals that he hasn't been able to get a hold of Director Bunny in two days. They worry a bit about the rubble they teleported, but that should have gone to the teleporter room. They hang up with Stagg and start to make their way towards the lake again. Roya drops back and talks to Devon about what she saw on her spectrometer, he asks her to draw out what she saw and he sees that the digital display wouldn't be able to make those shapes.
Devon tells Roya that he is done looking for the rational explanation and is down to deciding whether it's spirits or aliens doing this. Marla calls in, the people at the barricades have started moving, they are all walking slowly towards the center of town, she and Larienza are in the van and moving in their direction.
Suddenly, as they are walking down the street, the ground starts to rumble underneath them, they see a crack start to form in the ground and water starts to rise through it. A giant plume of burning hot water obliterates Andy, the others smell brimstone and notice that no water is falling back to earth. Two more geysers erupt in other areas of the town.
- Character: Andy was once a studious believer of science, until a mysterious encounter with a supernatural being convinced her: Science is NOTHING in the face of the Occult.
- GM: The next time the spectrometer is used, Roya sees something impossible (possibly a message... perhaps from Esme). Something seems to be reacting to the device.
- Discovery: While walking along a hallway, Andy notices graffiti of a Flying Fish. If the others look at it, they see a cracked smile holding a string leading to a balloon. (Zac shuts this down hard, and then softens a bit on it in the end)
Chapter 3 Edit
Roya snags a few pages of Andy's journal from the ground nearby and laments the death of her friend. They see the headlights of the van coming down the street and they tell Marla and Larienza what has been happening when they pull up to them. They tell Marla about what Stagg said about not being able to reach the Director for two days, and she reminds them that they were with Stagg and the Director two days ago. They start to theorize that they might be losing chunks of time like the subjects of the Charley Chimp experiments. They call Stagg again and he tells them that it has been two weeks since they all left Department C. He tells them about the test subjects at his facility blacking out and having no knowledge of time passing, is it possible that something similar is happening with their team? Roya and Marla are certain that neither of them have lapsed into unconsciousness at any time. Devon gives Stagg the access information for his dropbox account that contains his hacking programs and tells him to hack the satellite information to track their movements.
He finds no heat signatures enter the town until three days after the disappearances, the signatures stop at the hospital for two days. Their heat signatures have been steady where they are currently standing for a day and a half. Stagg tells them that he sent people to check on Bunny at Department C but there has been no contact from them either, the last contact he had with Bunny was the blood sample from the Amundsen-Scott station arriving at Department C. Damian informs Stagg about Andy's death and they hangup.
The geyser nearby continues to rise into the air and not come back down, the team starts to hear footsteps approaching. Marla says it is time to go and they look back to see the mass of people coming down the street. They pile into the van and drive through town toward the lake. Coming around the side of the geyser, Damian sees Andy in street ahead, looking around confused. He stops the van and walks over to Andy calling out to her, she calls out for him in an echoing voice, seeming not to see him. Damian's hand passes through her as he goes to put a hand on her shoulder.
Damian turns to go back to the van and comes face to face with himself, they are in a dark space and his doppelganger speaks to him by echoing some of his words back at him. His doppelganger seems to be learning as it speaks to him, it tells him that it is grasping, searching. “I need more...” the doppelganger says. “More what?” Damian asks. “More...you,” his doppelganger answers.
Damian snaps back to reality to Marla shouting at him to get back in the van, he looks over his shoulder to see the crowd of people approaching them again, a few of them walk mindlessly into the geyser and are annihilated. He jumps back into the van and peels out. At the next turn he sees a large group of people coming down the street towards them, he turns down the next side street to the lake and tells the others what he saw in his vision.
As they tell Damian he sounds crazy, this time Devon finds himself face to face with a doppelganger. Devon asks what his doppelganger is and it responds “Unable to define.” It raises a hand, looks at it, then says, “Finger. Best I can explain, I am one finger, an appendage, with the other two I grab, pull, squeeze.”
Devon asks about the Gate, do they need to open it so the entity can come out? Is the door in the lake? It speaks more about being a part of the whole, they are stuck, they have to close the loop, they don't belong. Devon asks what happens if they don't close the loop, the entity repeats the word 'again' over and over again.
Devon comes back to the real world and tells the others that he has seen it too. Damian, driving down the street, sees himself, Roya and Devon standing in the road. He pulls up next to them and rolls down his window. Larienza leaps out of the van and runs off, then Damian gets out of the van and Marla keeps her gun aimed at the doppelgangers who look at all of them and point out to the pier and the lake beyond. The people behind them start to disappear as they walk forward.
The surface of the lake starts to boil and shimmer as something massive rises from the waters. An enormous wave hits the van and they are tossed about and they all lose consciousness. As the wave pushes them about, hundreds of fish start leaping out of the water, some of them perhaps flying fish.
Chapter 4 Edit
Roya, tumbling through the water in the van, manages to get her head above water for a breath before the three of them are tossed out the back of the van and break the surface. As they leave the water, they dry off in a moment, they are on land, and it is day time. A small Hispanic boy helps Devon to his feet and he sees that there is no sun in the sky and standing around them are hundreds of other people. The city itself stands, no geysers, no crumbled buildings, life seems to be going on in a somewhat normal way here. Devon asks the boy what day it is and he says “No English.” Pulling his phone from his pocket, Damian discovers that it is still wet and shorting out. They speculate that they are now with the people who have disappeared in another dimension. Roya's spectrometer no longer works, none of their electronics do. They are standing in a town square asking people what's going on, a church bell in the town starts ringing, Damian grabs one of them and rifles through his pockets, all the other people stop and stare at them. He releases the man and he scrambles off cursing in Spanish.
A man comes out of the crowd, holding his hands up to the people and saying “They're new.”
The man introduces himself as Aaran, he was vacationing here from Montana. He doesn't remember much from before being here, and he doesn't remember anyone else here asking him about the time before they arrived here. They hear the sound of barking dogs and Aaran starts getting nervous, asking them what they've done and telling them they all need to leave. They duck into an alley and hide behind some refuse.
Looking out into the now empty town square, they hear the dogs and see a figure across the way, making its way down the steps of a church. It stands at thirteen feet tall, draped in black and a protrusion of white sticks out from it's hood, there's no sign of any dogs. Roya thinks she has seen this figure before, when she was a kid, she got lost in a park and a thing was there, scary and tall, emitting white from its face. She thinks this thing might be it, but that was a nightmare, it shouldn't really exist.
“You've seen Seren?” Aaran asks, “You grew up? You aged?”
He tells them that if anyone here messes up or gets out of line, Seren comes and they disappear. Roya reveals that this thing appeared to her around the time that she was almost finished with her teleporter designs, it almost made her abandon them. As the figure approaches their hiding spot, they hear the tympanic thumps of his footsteps over the barking of the dogs they never see, but he appears to be hovering above the ground. Roya freaks out and goes to run, Damian tries to stop her, swinging a fist at her, she ducks under it but he catches her with a reverse elbow, knocking her to the ground.
“Stop!” Aaran hisses, “he's gone, the dogs are gone.”
Silence drops over them, they hear no wind, no animals, nothing. Roya feels a chill like an ice cube slowly rolling down her back. She puts her hand behind her and feels a finger upon her back. It grabs her and she turns to face Seren, its face a blank shape of white with no end nor beginning, she can only see the edges that form the shape of a face with high cheekbones. She propels herself at the figure and comes back to reality as she raises back to her feet form where Damian knocked her down. Damian and Devon calm her down.
Damian threatens Aaran with his gun to keep him with them. Aaran begins to tell them more about the mysterious figure, “Seren is the nameless one, the faceless one, he has no temples, he doesn't need your worship.” Roya tells the man to stop talking about Seren. “You've never heard of him but he's always been there,” he continues until Roya punches him. Her fist collapses his lower jaw and blood pours from the wound and he collapses to the ground.
Devon freaks out about them killing people and then stalks to the end of the alleyway where a green parrot like bird lands and looks up at him. He starts to talk to the bird and it hops up onto his shoulder. He hears a voice whisper, “You let me die, you were supposed to protect me, I was the weakest and you let me die. I didn't make it, but you did. Maybe I can save you,” it finishes and flies off of his shoulder, landing down the street and looking back at him. Devon follows the bird. The others look up to see Devon leave the alley and they chase after him. When they get to the mouth of the alley Devon is gone.
Following the bird through the streets of the town, Devon sees people looking at him from their windows and then some other on the streets.
Damian and Roya start to hear the booming of footsteps again, they cannot tell the direction which they are coming from, the two of them look around for a form of transportation. As they look, people start coming out of their homes and looking at them, they seem to have garnered the full attention of the town.
Chapter 5 Edit
Damian and Roya find themselves back at the bay, having wandered through the town looking for transportation. Behind them a mass of townsfolk have gathered, watching them and whispering about them. They talk about what to do next before a couple people move out from the mob to throw rotten fruit at them. Damian pulls his gun and fires into the air, the fruit throwers drop back into the mob and all of them point off into the lake. The mob begins to move toward them step-by-step, in unison. Roya searches the shore for a boat, she sees one, and hops into it, but it's motor will not turn on. Damian stands on the shore, gun at the ready, as Seren rises from the water, gliding towards Roya. Damian's shots have ho effect on the creature as he empties his clip into it. The hand of Seren reaches for Roya and as it touches her, she disappears from Damian's sight.
Chapter 6 Edit
Roya awakes in a park, sitting next to herself as a small girl, she is sitting cross-legged in front of three other people. One of them says they've been waiting for her, that they've spoken before Roya just doesn't remember. “I am cepoin, and these are my friends, we are THIS, and you are you. But not as you remember yourself. You have a choice to make,” one of them tells her. “What's the choice?” Roya asks.
“To continue...or to not. For the loop to spin, or to close it.”
“Are you giving me a choice between living or dying? Because I know what I'm gonna choose.” Roya tells them.
“That is not the choice, that is out of your control.”
“So my choice is to continue, or to stop, which will close your loop or somethin'?” Roya asks.
“You are the door. Upon opening, there is a choice. To enter, or to remain on the other side.”
“It's always best to move forward than to be stagnant somewhere. Never lived my life in a limbo or purgatory so I've always moved forward.” Roya states.
“The choice will be yours.”
She asks the people about them talking to her before. It was when she was this age, Roya looks at her younger self, playing with her hair. After some inspiring words to her younger self that she hopes she remembers. Cepoin tells young Roya that it is time to go, the three people lead young Roya off into a white light and she begins to remember this as she returns to Damian's sight seconds after she vanished.
She tells him about the choice offered her.
Devon follows the green bird to the police station, there are no cars out front, the inside is dark as the bird flies in. Devon walks up the steps and sees a dusty waiting area with a set of footprints in the dust. HE makes his way to the back of the station towards the cells, there's a collection of weapons on the wall, covered in dust. Devon starts to hear heavy breathing and the flapping of wings. Before he turns the corner, he calls out.
“Who's there?” a voice answers. Devon tells the man that they are there investigating the disappearances of a whole town. The voice asks, “We disappeared?” Devon tells him his alternate dimension theory, and that they've been gone for two weeks but time is weird around here. The voice tells him it thinks they're all dead, but Devon isn't so sure, they are breathing and talking. The voice talks to him about being trapped in a closet that never opens, you slowly dehydrate and starve, would that be someone's hell? Devon talks to the voice about hope, it tells him he needs to leave.
Devon tells the voice that he is trying to leave, and will not stop trying to get back to the real world. He hears the man stand up and the bird flies back around the corner, followed by a man with a gun drawn, “I'll help you leave,” the man says, “but can you leave?” he asks, pointing the gun at Devon.
The man begins to shoot at him, hitting the wall behind him, as Devon grabs a pistol form the wall and ducks out the door. He sees hundreds of people standing in the street staring at him, the green bird circling above them. He tells the crowd he intends to get them home, he will find a way for them all to get back. The ground starts to shake and the building above him begins to crumble.
They all hear a high-pitched scream mingle with the booming rumble as reality begins to vibrate around them. Some of the people begin to blink in and out of existence, they can see the geysers blink in and out as well as the light of this realm starts to flash in and out. Towering over them in the lake is a slimy skinned figure that glows orange, the light pulses and starts to overtake the town. Then, suddenly, it stops.
About half the people that were there with them are gone, and those remaining start to panic. Underneath the boat, the water has turned from blue to a gold-orange, Damian reaches out to it and feels water.
They head back into town to search for Devon and this time the people part to let them through. They talk about what is going on, perhaps the energy of the people who disappeared from this dimension was used to power something.
Devon no longer sees the bird, the man who was holding the gun asks him what he did. The shaking didn't start until the man started shooting, Devon tells him maybe HE was the one who did something. The man dabs at a head wound he got from some rubble falling on him, “I feel like I'm dying,” the man says, “that means I was alive,” the man smiles as he dies in Devon's arms.
Devon starts to hear the sound of dogs barking and he walks out into the street to face whatever is happening, his vision starts to tunnel and he hears the sound of drums in the distance, moving closer. Seren hovers over Devon, his long arm reaching out, Devon reaches for his hand. As they touch, Devon is transported to his home, in the room he sees a young boy playing with toys on the floor. A voice behind him, the voice of his long dead mother, brings tears to his eyes. On the other side of the room, three figures sit down in front of the boy.
“Devon,” they address his older self, “Have a seat. You have a choice to make, Devon. The choice is yours.”
“What's the choice?” he asks.
“You are a lock. You keep the door from opening.”
“What happens if the door opens?” he asks.
“Another choice needs to be made. But it's not your choice.”
“I'ma be real with you, I don't know if that door opens, it's a good or a bad thing, if it's a good thing I will happily open that door, but I can't live with myself if I let something bad happen.”
Devon's young self taps him on the shoulder and holds out an action figure. The two start playing. “Devon, it's up to you. To. Or to not,” the three tell him.
“Is it...is it good or bad?” he asks.
“That is not for us to say. THIS has no input on that matter.”
“How do I unlock and open the door?” Devon asks
“You can't. It's your choice, when the time is right, it will be up to you. Well a part of you anyway, we believe that's how it works, as far as we can tell. We hope you know when the time is right. Either it goes on, continuing to spin, or the loop closes. And we won't be stuck again.”
- GM: The group discovers 2-3 members of THIS (The Hopeful Investigation Squad) in the city. They're well-intentioned. but will their actions really be helpful? (cepoin and I (loganpars) gladly sacrifice ourselves for the story)
- Feeling: Roya begins to wonder if all her actions were just to bring her here for this place, this moment, as if she were driven to be here. The words "We are" keep ringing in her head.
Chapter 7 Edit
Devon comes to, standing in Grenada alone at night, geysers reaching the sky around him, the entire town has crumbled. There are cracks in the earth, pieces of the road around him have been pushed up five feet as the earth shifted. Towering over the town in the shape of an upside down 'u' in the bay a figure can be seen in flashes of lightning. Devon moves down to the bay to find a boat, he has to climb over rubble in a few areas as it begins to rain, with every flash of lightning Devon sees a flash of the world he left. People stare from their windows as Damian and Roya approach the police station through empty streets, they look inside and see a dead body in a pool of blood and no sign of Devon. The world goes dark around them as the boom returns, Damian draws Esme's Beretta, within a flash a white face appears in front of him and begins to stretch itself open, forming a mouth that is an abyss with in an abyss. Roya sees the mouth envelop Damian and he vanishes as she snaps back to the police station.
Roya walks over to the wall of guns and takes one.
Damian is in the dark, he sees nothing but eternal blackness. Within the darkness, he sees a light in the distance, he moves towards it, not necessarily by walking but by realizing it exists. The light materializes into stars and planets that he doesn't recognize. He sees a ship, it is long and slender, on the side is printed Synchroneity.
He is pulled from that moment into another, he hovers over a crowd of thousands, turning and shifting, flowing as if they are in a drain. He sees a flash of light, the 'u' that he saw before pulses with an orange glow, one side of the 'u' starts to lift and turn, revealing a tip that looks like a tentacle, it dips into the well of souls and they begin to circle around it and up into it.
He is pulled into his office at Department C, Esme sits across from him, smiling and asks if he is ok. “I think I just had a really bad dream,” he answers. “Was it the fire?” Esme asks. “Yeah, ever since that case...” he starts to respond.
He is transported into the middle of a burning fire, he hears the screams of young girls crying for help. He sees himself outside the church trying to get in without being able to as they burn.
Back at his desk Esme asks again if he is ok. “I'm not ok in the worst possible way, I dont even know where I am right now. I think I'm going insane. The only thing that makes me feel good right now is looking at you.”
“I like looking at you too,” she responds, as her face begins to melt away, revealing the bone underneath, “What's wrong Damian?” she asks.
“I think I'm going insane...I'm having a meltdown,” he mumbles.
Damian feels a hand on his shoulder, Director Bunny asks if he is ok. Bunny tells him he is taking Damian out of the field for a while. He clearly can't keep himself together. Damian argues that he just needs vacation, some time away. Bunny sits on his desk and begins to open a package as Damian tells him not to take him out of the field or he'll put a gun in his mouth.
“Blood samples,” Bunny says, reaching in and pulling a vial from the box, “from the Amundsen-Scott station.” The vial shatters and the DNA inside latches onto the director's face.
Damian is standing in front of Roya in the police station. She thinks maybe she can cobble something together to get them home with the technology in the police station. Teetering on the brink of madness she shows Damian her machine.
Damian sees that she has pulled apart the dead body into a schematic of bones and organs on the floor.
- GM: Everything goes dark and silent as ghostly faceless figures appear floating around Damian and Roya. One reaches for Damian getting inches from his face. It's mouth opens wide screaming. Every thing returns to normal but Damian is gone. GM decides fate. (Zac incorporated this one immediately)
Chapter 8 Edit
The giant 'u' glistens in the light of the storm above Devon, organic in its imperfections. He swims toward it through the lake. Below him, beneath the water, the hands and faces of the townspeople reach out to him, their bodies line the bottom of the lake. He reaches the base of the 'u' and mutters that he need to open the door. He reaches out to try to climb the 'u', when he touches it he feels a living warmth, and golden orange light spreads across it from his touch, a deep ominous sound echoes out over the water. Devon begins to climb, with each touch of his hands, it feels as if the 'u' is helping him climb. He looks down to see hundreds of thousands of bodies lining the lake bed. He sees in the water, the reflection of the arm of the u continues into a tentacle that moves among the bodies, absorbing them into itself.
Distracted, Devon loses his grip and falls into the water, the tentacle reaches for him and he fades away.
Chapter 9 Edit
Damian stands over the schematics that were once a body, trying to shake Roya back to some sense. Roya feels like she has been here before, that she just needs to figure this one last thing out. Damian tells her that they should take her 'device' to the water's edge. He checks her gun while she gathers her parts and sees that it is empty, he returns it to her. They leave the station to see the people standing and staring out at the 'u' shape that has appeared over the lake. As they walk to the lake, they see Aaran, his jaw hanging off his face, he speaks into their minds. “It's time, we're done here. It's time for us to go.”
“Back to the real world, right?” Roya asks, putting a bloodied hand on Damian's shoulder.
“Whatever helps you, whatever makes you feel better.” Aaran says.
They follow Aaran down the street, Roya apologizes for hitting him, but he tells her he came here this way, she didn't hit him.
“What if I don't want to go?” Damian asks.
“You don't have a choice,” Aaran tells him.
“What if I shot you right now?” Damian asks, pointing Esme's gun at Aaran.
“Whatever makes you feel better,” he says.
Roya tells Damian that the trio she spoke to said they had a choice and Aaran stops in front of them, the others stop as well. “Who said you you have a choice?” Aaran demands.
Damian asks her who she was talking to in her vision, what she means.
“There were three of them, and apparently all of this has happened before nad I didn't realize until now. I have to stop or go forward...”
“You have no choice!” Aaran shouts.
Damian prods her for more.“We have to stop or go forward, we have to close the loop. I'm the door.” she says.
“You have no choice!” Aaran's voice deepens.
“What did they say in terms of opening or closing the door? What was the choice you were given? How did you take that choice?” Damian presses.
“You have no choice!” Aaran's voice now booms.
“Close the door, close the loop,” she stammers. Aaran places his hand on Roya's head and slams her to the ground, “You have no f***ing choice!” Aaran shouts as he slams her face into the ground repeatedly, Roya feels her face start to cave in.
Roya's world goes white and she is back with her younger self. “It's not for you to chose. They don't understand. They don't understand how we work. We'll chose, but not yet.”
Chapter 10 Edit
Roya's body lies in the street in front of Damian, not moving. “There is no choice,” Aaran repeats. “Yeah I heard,” Damian says, “lead the way.”
“Thank you,” Aaran says, as they all start to head down to the lake again.
Damian watches one side of the 'u' lift from the water and become a tentacle. At the front of the group Damian sees Seren float and he makes his way through the crowd towards the floating figure. Just before he reaches Seren, a figure stops Damian. It is almost the reverse of Seren, it's the same size as Damian, he can see remnants of a face but it is shrouded in blackness. Unlike Seren, this figure speaks, “You are not permitted to touch him. The Nameless. The Faceless One. Concealed. The Silent God.”
“Andy would have a field day right now. Yeah, what does he want with us?” Damian asks.
“We are merely the messengers, the shepherds, the pipers.” it says, “We are the arm, you are the nails.”
“The arm of what? The Cthulu thing?” Damian asks and it looks out toward the tentacle in the water. “So what? You make all these people disappear from earth and become its fingernails.”
“We are the arm, we reach out to collect, we need to become whole. You are now a piece of this puzzle.” It tells him.
“And we have no choice,” Damian says.
“You're already dead, your soul belongs to us. The great rebuilding.”
“Rebuilding of what?” Damian asks.
“What? The Gate that you have little children killed and burned for? The Gate you have priests of a church burn little girls for their souls?” Damian demands.
“Others interpret the message as they wish. Humans are funny like that. The Arm reaches out, the message. It is up to you to interpret.”
“When this thing becomes whole, what is this thing?” Damian asks.
“It has no name, it wants to be whole.”
“And to come through this Gate? Is that what it wants?”
The being laughs, “It IS the Gate. We are the Gate.”
“Then what happens? You gonna destroy all of humanity? Destroy the whole universe?”
“Why do you assume that we even care?” it asks.
Damian shakes his head, “What do you care about then? Besides becoming whole? Is that it?”
“Self preservation is quite powerful is it not? This is something even we can relate on.” It tells him.
“So your self preservation is...” Damian begins.
“By any means necessary.” the being finishes.
“Exactly,” Damian continues, “and the 'means' are humanity. So then it is in human's self preservation to stop you becoming whole. Stop this Gate from becoming whole.”
“That is exactly what led us into this mess in the first place.” the being says.
“Good,” Damian says, clutching Esme's gun close to his chest, as the tentacle hovers over him, he feels himself lifted off the ground with the other denizens of the town.
Damian feels whatever was left of him that made him what he was begin to slip away, he looks at Esme's gun in his hands. He decides to end things on his own terms and puts the barrel of the Beretta in his mouth.
Post credit scene: At Department C headquarters, Agent Stagg re-materializes in the middle of the office amid debris. He looks around at the rubble, not sure what has happened here. He calls out for any of them, no one answers. He moves into a hallway streaked with blood, in the main room, the glass of Director Bunny's office is shattered and the entire office is destroyed. In the middle of the room is a package with a paper inside with the results of the tests on the blood that was sent out, but the blood is not there.