Crosstime

The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Rise of Rasputin

As the trio continues along the road towards Tunguska and the eerie green glow of a Dahakan Cult summoning ritual, they find they have several hours to use to talk, prepare technology or magic, or question Kulik.

hydingjekyll
I meant with the rifles! Give me that!” Dermot hastily snatches his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device away from his fellow scientist. “All right, Kulik, it looks like we have some time for you to tell us why you were at that camp and whether our escape just now matched what you remember.

GM
Upon hearing Dermot’s question, Kulik affects the look of benign confusion that Dermot and Willoughby already know well. “Didn’t I say why I was in the camp? It’s because I spoke about what I saw, about the dragon and the mad monk. A lot of people thought I was insane, and they supposedly placed m in the camp for my own protection—but there were whispers that a highly-placed member of the KGB knew I was talking sense, and wanted to shut me up.” He gestured behind them at the flaming wreck. “I imagine that was him.

Dermot tries desperately to maintain his patience with the flighty mineralogist. “What about the escape? I want to know if the future you remember can be altered.

Kulik screws up his face in concentration. “I think it all went the way I remember. Except maybe the goat. I thought we hit the goat.” Off Dermot’s expression, he adds “But I might have been mistaken. It was fuzzy.

Dermot glances over at Willoughby, wondering if the mystic will put his own two cents in—partly hoping he will, partly hoping he won’t.

smilesriles
Time bends and shapes around people who have been exposed to powerful magical forces. You know, Dermot, time is not a simple linear line, but rather stream full of ripples, eddies and strange confluences. Willoughby delivers this solemn sermon with just the barest hint of smile to let Dermot know he is deliberately teasing him.

Tell us about the Dragon and the mad monk. Spell out what you saw and I might be able to reconnect the dots, and in doing so, help ease the confusion you feel. Soothe the constant rattling of thoughts and return your mind to a safe space.

GM
Willoughby’s soft, soothing voice and a gentle light from the Orb of Daevas twirling in the Englishman’s hand guide Kulik into a deep state of hypnosis. His eyes flutter and he leans back, ready to pass back into his muddled memories [Mysteries Fantastic ( +6) vs. hidden].

I know that Rasputin died, more than a decade ago. But I saw him. Rising. From the grave? Into godhood? I don’t know. And I saw the men with dragon tattoos, working with his disciples. The fox woman made a machine, and the dragon men added their demonic energies to it, so it was more powerful than either a machine or a spell on its own. And a crack opened in the ground—” Kulik grows pale, staring, and screams in horror. Willoughby quickly snaps his fingers, bringing the scientist back from his trance, but he is unable to convince Kulik to return to his terrible memories.

He turns to Dermot. “What do you think? Do we have some idea of what we’re up against?

hydingjekyll
The ‘fox lady’ is clearly the obnoxious Ms. Vivanda Renard. The men with the dragon tattoos—this would be your Cult of Doohickey, I imagine? It appears that the two of them are working together, combining Vivanda’s scientific knowledge (such as it is) with a new sort of technology with which Kulik here is unfamiliar, to achieve unprecedented results. Kulik says he saw Rasputin rise, most likely a moving picture recording of the sort that Edison developed, but I wouldn’t rule out a simple hoax—or I could even consider some manipulation of the space/time continuum, if I could see the machinery used. Whether the crack in the ground refers to the Tunguska incident itself, or happened later through some mishap of their machinery or intentional destruction (which would be a fascinating advancement in geological manipulation), remains to be seen. But this new technology he’s speaking of sounds quite interesting; I do hope we’re able to study it once this whole nonsensical business is over with. Anything that could provide any enhancement to the rudimentary technological knowledge of Renard is definitively worth—Ah, Christ, Willoughby, can you make him snap out of it? He’s drooling on himself, and he’s not even had a drink!

GM
Willoughby snaps his fingers, and Kulik returns to reality (or at least, as close as he comes). He asks “What happened? Did I remember something?” and it takes Willoughby the better part of ten minutes to explain his own memories to the man.

During the next several hours, tensions rise in Dermot and Willoughby, as they watch the green glow coming from Tunguska steadily rise in intensity. However, they take this time to rest as much as possible, trying to relax themselves however they can (in Dermot’s case, without becoming too drunk to function) [Fate Points restored, Dermot has another use of “Universal Gadget”].

As they approach the site, the blasted, necrotic trees surrounding them feel like Rasputin’s fingers, reaching into their souls. The air crackles with static electricity (Dermot wondering how this will affect the working of his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device), but their hair is already standing on end. Before too long, a small collection of tents comes into view, and they realize they’ve arrived.

Excellent, we have an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, before the ritual is finished,” says Willoughby, breathing a sigh of relief.

But that timing is for an ordinary ritual, isn’t it, Willoughby?” asks Dermot. “The necessary time could shift significantly with the addition of science to your superstition, couldn’t it?

This realization sobers Willoughby, and the two men adopt a grim expression as they stop the truck and slowly approach the tents. “Now, we don’t want to cause a paradox and tear the time/space continuum, so you have to come with us, Kulik,” says Dermot. “But stay back, and stay quiet.

The trio stands near the camp, eyes narrowed and tensions high, as they consider their next move.

smilesriles
Dermot, I could take a sweep by the camp from the air, see what I can see. It will be dangerous, I don’t know what sort of magical lookout . . . erm . . . um” He glances at Dermot awkwardly, “Radar they have that might warn them but I bet I could get some idea. Alternately, we could just move stealthily by the ground and see if we can get close enough to get inside those tents. See what they have and how many people are there.” He pauses for a moment, thinking. “Alright, that’s all the plan I’ve got. Do you have any ideas?

hydingjekyll
Aside from disguising Mr. Kulik as the Bear?” Dermot smirks. “Hmmm. Perhaps you could throw something into their ritual, if you see where they’re holding it, and distract them. Hmm, I knew I should have packed more grenades. Bollocks. Anyway, perhaps you could disrupt their little party from overhead and then fly away in the opposite direction that we’ll be coming from to try to lead them away from us as we approach. How fast does that fascinating belt of yours allow you to fly? If that doesn’t work, I could rig this truck to drive into their little gathering and draw their attention. Perhaps through the opposite side of their site, while we sneak in a different way? I could make sure the gas tank exploded when the truck crashed. Or could we simply …” Dermot trails off in a cloud of musings.

smilesriles
Alright. I will fly overhead. If they are heavily guarded, I will draw them off to the North. You then go in and use whatever explosives stuff you can manage to disrupt the ceremony. If they aren’t heavily guarded, I will send you a signal, then try to disrupt it myself. You come in all guns blazing when you get the signal.” Willoughby checks his sleeves for the ground sulpher and powdered iron that is necessary for his “Blossoms of Spring” grand finale for his stage show. Then, with a swirl of his cloak, he silently glides up and towards the camp.

GM
THE WRAITH floats into the air, dark smoke sweeping up and around him, cloaking him from view against the dim twilight. He rushes up into the air and over the camp, stopping above the central ritual. In the dim light, it is difficult to see everything, but THE WRAITH spots at least a half-dozen cultists chanting, surrounding Vivanda Renard, who works at a strange machine. Next to the machine is a great, sickly green glowing light, provoking both dizzying blindness and violent nausea. Above the ceremony, THE WRAITH holds in his cloud of darkness, confident in his hidden nature [Stealth Fantastic ( +6) vs. Alertness Great ( +4)].

THE WRAITH looks down at the chanting cultists and considers the best way to disrupt the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Dermot focuses his goggles to attempt a telescopic view of the goings-on, catching only a few glimpses here and there next to the dizzying green light. He thinks for a moment before deciding which of his technological advantages to bring to the fore in the upcoming battle.

Kulik stands nervously and mutters "%{color:purple}It is Dr. Kulik, actually. I may not be a two-fisted hero, but I spent too many years in school to be known as “Mr.”%"

smilesriles
THE WRAITH lets loose a keening wail [Intimidation] and swoops down, circling the platform swiftly low to the ground. He turns, and mashes his arms together as blue fireworks explode up into the sky above the ceremony. With another wail, he flies to the north, trying to draw off the cultists.

hydingjekyll
Ah, fair enough,” McDanneher nods as a pulls a small spool of wire from his belt and starts looping the wire around the gas pedal and steering wheel of the truck. “As one scientist to another, I can appreciate a man’s insistence on proper address.” He slings one of the rifles from the back of the truck over his shoulder, making sure it’s loaded, then calibrates the steering wheel to drive in a slight curve through the pillars and directly into Vivanda Renard’s device. [Science (physics and geometry) or Drive] He waits to see how THE WRAITH’s distraction works, then pulls the wire to drag the gas pedal down and send the truck crashing into the ritual site.

GM
THE WRAITH shrieks above the cultists, and his unearthly wail combined with the already terrifying circumstances overwhelm the cultists [Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Average ( +1) (3 Cultists), Mediocre ( +0) (2 Cultists]. However, Renard is made of tougher stuff, as her faith in Rasputin is unwavering [Intimidation Great ( +4) vs. Fair ( +2), Renard invokes Belief in the Apocalypse for +2, Great ( +4) vs. Great ( +4), fails with 0 shifts], and she shouts “You! Stand your ground! You! After him!” Following her commands, though still shaken [-1 to actions for one round], a trio of cultists follow THE WRAITH to the north, while another two stay and continue chanting.

Seeing this partial success on the part of his friend, Dermot readies the truck and sets it going. The truck barges up the slight incline, roaring. Unfortunately, Dermot failed to take into account the bumpy ground of the Tunguska site, and the truck swerves to the right, avoiding Renard’s machine and vanishing into the green light with a flash [Drive, modified +1 by Science = Fair ( +2) vs. Good ( +4), failure].

The initiative is now as follows:
THE WRAITH
Vivanda Renard
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot
3 Good Cultists
[Round 2]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
THE WRAITH fills the air with a dark smoke and in the confusion doubles back towards the ritual. He swoops in, low and fast, towards Renard.
I’ve seen the apocalypse, and it’s not happening tonight. I will fight the Cult of Dahaka till my dying breath, and beyond.” The Orb of Daevas, recognizing its demonic foe, glows brightly, powering THE WRAITH like a dark leathery bullet, crashing towards Renard.

[Invoke “Orb of Daevas” aspect to smash into Renard]

GM
THE WRAITH flies from the air like the fist of God, striking Renard in the chest. They tumble to the ground together, trading blows back and forth. However, THE WRAITH had the advantage from the start, as the more skilled combatant and utilizing his initial height advantage well, and he lands a solid punch to Renard’s right eye. She staggers back, blinded and in pain, cursing in French [Fists +1 (-1 for moving 1 zone, +1 for Mysteries assist) = Average ( +1), invokes Orb of Daevas for +2 = Good ( +3) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0), succeeds for 3-shift damage. Renard takes the Mild Consequence: Black Eye to take it down to 1-shift damage]. THE WRAITH finally sets down on the blasted ground and shifts into an Eastern martial arts stance, lit by the pulsing green glow.

[OOC: Since this is the first time we’ve had to use Consequences, I’ll remind you how they work. When your last stress box is filled, you are Taken Out. To avoid this, you can take Mild, Moderate, or Severe Consequences to downgrade the damage. A Mild consequence shifts it -2, Moderate -4, Severe -6. A Consequence is a new Aspect, able to be compelled, tagged, or (theoretically) invoked. Example: Renard now has a Black Eye. Next round, THE WRAITH could spend one Fate Point to tag the Black Eye, giving himself a +2 or her a -2 (comes out the same) to an attack coming from the side she can’t see well on, unless she pays a Fate Point to avoid the tag. On the other hand, tagging means that if she does take the tag, she gets THE WRAITH’s Fate Point, just like a Compel.]

The cultist standing guard follows the path of the rampaging truck and spies Dermot. With a roar, he runs at the Irishman, a long curved dagger raised above his head. However, his long path gives Dermot more than enough time to prepare, and he easily ducks and spins out of the way of the charging cultist [Weapons Average ( +1), -2 for traveling 2 zones = Poor (-1) vs Average ( +1), Dermot defends with 2 shifts].

Dermot looks back and forth between the cultist and his archenemy Renard, indecision wracking his brain [Compelling Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard. If Dermot takes the Fate Point, he must attack Renard and ignore the attacking cultist, the machine, etc. If he spends a Fate Point, he can act as he wishes].

Dermot [Full Stress, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 2]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Full Stress, 6 Fate Points (if you fill up your Aspects, I’ll give you those last 3 Fate Points)]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye]
1 Fair Cultist

[Maps to come once Photobucket returns to normal service]

hydingjekyll
Dermot spins away from the cultist and directly toward Renard, treating the cultist’s knife as just another obstacle. “Damn it, Willoughby, you know better than to strike a lady! And since there aren’t any present, I’ll remind you not to steal my fight with someone who made a laughingstock of my work!” He unslings his Non-Fatal Electric-Discharge Device and unleashes a blast at Renard. He dearly hopes he doesn’t damage the machine—it would be a shame to damage a new device he hasn’t seen before—but his vendetta against Renard and a fleeting feeling of self-preservation mostly just make him aim for her. [Guns, invoke Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard to augment roll]

GM
Dermot attempts to spin out of the way of the cultist’s fearsome knife, but turns the wrong way, and suffers a terrible raking gash along his left side as he pulls away [Cultist: Weapons Fair ( +2) vs. Dermot: Fists Mediocre ( +0), -2 from three actions (defend/move/guns) = -2 (Terrible), cultist succeeds with 4-shifts. Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage].

However, he quickly pulls up his weapon and fires, sending lightning crashing into Vivanda Renard. She shrieks, touching the charred circle on her torso, where smoking cloth has fused with burnt flesh [Guns Legendary ( +6), -2 for actions, +2 for invoking Scientific Rival), vs. Athletics Good ( +3), succeeds with 3-shift hit.]

The trio of cultists rush back into the fray, attacking THE WRAITH with their terrifying knives [Cultists: Fists Superb ( +5) vs. THE WRAITH: Fists Fair ( +2), succeeds for 3-shift hit.]

The two chanting cultists continue their ritual, and THE WRAITH realizes that at this rate, it will be mere minutes [5 rounds] until the ritual is complete.

THE WRAITH glances around at the injured Renard, the trio of screaming cultists, and the chanters, not to mention the glow that is beginning to look like a hole in the world. He thinks quickly as to which action to take.

THE WRAITH [THE WRAITH may either take a 3-shift hit (1 2 X 4 5) or take a Mild Consequence and 1-shift (X 2 3 4 5), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 9 Fate points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot [Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 3]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
Clutching the gash at his left side [Mild Consequence], THE WRAITH is filled with desperation. He must stop this horrible ritual. Muttering an incantation to the “Golden Oasis of the Daevas”, he attempts to summon jets of water from his hands towards the strange device on the platform. [Mysteries].

GM
Chanting strange words in a variety of ancient tongues, THE WRAITH invokes the Daevas of old. A fountain of water springs from nowhere, bursting forth cool, clear freshwater. The jet of water strikes the strange machine, and THE WRAITH hears the popping sound of exploding vacuum tubes. The machine goes dark. However, the mystic sigils inscribed on the machine light up, rerouting power or something else technological, and the device returns to full power. Or is it? Listening, THE WRAITH figures that the machine is still functioning, but not at full efficiency [Mysteries Beyond Legendary ( +9) vs. Science Epic ( +6), 3-shift hit].

Renard pulls a small pistol from her belt and fires at the distracted WRAITH, aiming for his weaker side where he was recently injured [tags Nasty Gash, spends a Fate Point, THE WRAITH gains a Fate Point]. Unfortunately, THE WRAITH is still aware of her, and easily ducks out of the way of the clumsy gunfighter [Guns Fair ( +2), tag to reroll, Guns Good ( +3) vs. Fists Great ( +4), fails by 1 shift].

The cultist who had so recently attacked Dermot follows after him, continuing to wail imposingly. He swings his knife wildly, but Dermot’s bar-brawling experience and the cultist’s winded state combine to let Dermot knock the knife away with relative ease [Weapons Fair ( +2), -1 for move = Average ( +1) vs. Fists Fair ( +2)].

Dermot [Dermot may either take a 4-shift hit (1 2 3 X 5 6) or take a Mild Consequence and 2-shift (1 X 3 4 5 6), or Moderate Consequence and no damage. 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 3]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist

hydingjekyll
Don’t damage the machine! Just turn it off! It looks interes— Ow! Damn it!” [Dermot takes the damage] While Renard seems to be embarrassing herself more than threatening anything, the knife-wielding cultist is making himself something of a nuisance. Dermot brings his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device to bear and gives the cultist the shock of his life. [Guns]

[By the way, what about the damage that Dermot took during the escape from the prison camp? Is it assumed that he got the bullet out of his hip and bandaged everything up after the Bear exited?]

GM
Dermot turns on the cultist and pulls the trigger on his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. Electricity arcs through the air at the startled man, and he takes a large bolt right in the chest. He falls to the ground, twitching and sizzling, as Dermot turns back towards Renard and the rest of the scene [Guns Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), 4-shift hit, Cultist is Taken Out].

[OOC: Yes, all stress is assumed to get patched up between scenes, as do Mild Consequences. Moderate and Severe consequences last longer, and require bed rest or medical care to get rid of.]

Up near the machine, the trio of cultists surround THE WRAITH, striking again. However, the trained martial artist spins, ducks, and avoids their knives—but one near-miss slices through his coat sleeve [Weapons Good ( +3) vs. Fists Good ( +3, THE WRAITH defends by 0 shifts].

As the two chanting cultists take up their wail again, THE WRAITH realizes that things are rapidly coming to a head [4 rounds till summoning].

THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
1 Fair Cultist
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
[Round 4]
2 Fair Cultists

smilesriles
Enough of this, you poor deluded fools. Its time to end this. I have an apocalypse to avert.” Grabbing one of the cultists, THE WRAITH does a judo throw, pivoting him into one of his fellow worshippers. While those two are entangled, he gives an flying Kung-Fu kick at the third cultist. [travelled to the East and Back]

GM
THE WRAITH mows through the cultists, leaving two lying on the ground in seconds, and with the third in a judo hold [Fists Fair (+2), invokes Traveled to the East and Back for reroll, Superb ( +5) vs. Weapons Average ( +1), 4-shift hit. Cultists are Taken Out]. Hearing a “click” from behind him, THE WRAITH spins and uses the last cultist as a human shield as Renard fires two rounds at him [Guns Great [ +4] vs. Fists Superb [ +6], THE WRAITH defends with 2 shifts].

Dermot prepares to fire again, but unfortunately spots a trio of cultist scouts, attracted by the sounds of fighting, approaching from the west. “Oi! Willoughby! More blighters approaching!

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 10 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)
[Round 4]
2 Fair Cultists
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
The two chanting cultists may be augmenting the machine’s functioning with the resonance of their voices, or it could be that they’re simply bolstering Renard’s misplaced faith in her “magic,” or it could be that they’re simply close enough to threaten Willoughby; whatever the case, Dermot sprints forward several yards, stops, and gives them a blast from the Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. [Guns, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles] “Enough o’ that! Ye sound like Englishmen drunk on American beer!

GM
Dermot’s shouted insult distracts the cultists for a moment, and then his electric gun finishes the job. A slight mis-aim results in one cultist’s robe catching on fire instead of the intended electrocution, and he falls into his compatriot while attempting to beat out the flames. Unfortunately for them, the flames spread to the other cultist’s robes, and soon the two men are engulfed in fire. Screaming, they run rampant—and one runs directly into the pulsing green light, his scream abruptly cutting off as he vanishes. The other falls to the ground, smoking [Guns Good ( +3), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for re-roll, Great ( +4) vs. Athletics Mediocre ( +0), 4-shift hit, Cultists are Taken Out].

The trio of scout cultists approach—and, recognizing the modern-day Icarus that is THE WRAITH, snatch up one of the smaller tents as they approach, intent on trapping the Englishman. They approach, just out of his reach [1 zone away, within shooting range but THE WRAITH would have to move there], and toss the tent into the air like a giant gladiator’s net. However, the tent is not designed for this, and THE WRAITH is an agile man—these two characteristics combine to leave the tent settling harmlessly on the blasted ground near THE WRAITH [Athletics Fair ( +2) vs. Fists Great ( +4), THE WRAITH defends with 2 shifts].

THE WRAITH eyes the pulsing green light and realizes that the ritual has slowed somewhat because of the cultists’ non-interference, but that the summoning is nonetheless still coming soon [4 rounds until summoning].

[Round 4]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X 2 3 4 5, 9 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 9 Fate Points]
3 Good Cultists
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)

smilesriles
THE WRAITH scrambles over to the Magic machine and quickly surveys the machine. “Horatio’s cufflinks! How the hell do you pull the plug?!” [Not sure what skill is apt here, your call]

GM
THE WRAITH observes the machine, and the mechanisms addle his old-fashioned mind [Science Poor (-1) vs. Great ( +4) — but, focusing in on the mystical portions of the device … he still stands in utter bewilderment, as the mechanics interface and interfere with the magical energies [Mysteries Good ( +3) vs. Great ( +4)].
Dermot! Get Your Drunkenness up here! I need assistance!” he shouts, as a bullet whizzes by his head. “No! Not my beautiful machine, you lout!” shouts Renard, firing wildly. Several shots miss, but while dodging, THE WRAITH accidentally pulls his wound open further, and a bullet grazes his arm, making him wince in pain. [Guns Mediocre ( +0), invokes Science Before Morality for reroll, Fair ( +2), tags Nasty Gash for +2, spends 2 Fate Points. Guns Great ( +4) vs. Fists Good ( +3), 1-shift hit, rolls up to 2-shift].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 9 Fate Points]
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)
[Round 5]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, X 2 X 4 5]

[no map because places haven’t changed, except for the 2 Fair Cultists being Taken Out]

hydingjekyll
Dermot runs forward eagerly to examine the machine, but realizes that he’s hardly going to get any peace to study it with Renard flailing about firing pistols. As he reaches the nearest pillar and ducks behind it, he unholsters his projectile grapnel gun and sets it against the pillar as he did at the prison camp. “Remember this, Renard?” he bellows, and fires for her, attempting to drag her back against the pillar itself. [Guns, Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard]

GM
Dermot aims carefully and fires for Renard’s ankles. The grapple shoots out and hooks around her legs, pulling the scientist to the ground and dragging her across the dais. She smashes into the nearest pillar, striking it hard—and the old pillar, weakened by time and disrepair, collapses. The stones fall onto Renard—and while she manages to avoid an instant death, the loud CRACK of bones snapping echoes across the plains as her legs are ground to powder [Guns Superb ( +5), invokes Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard for +2: Epic ( +7) vs. Athletics Poor (-1), invokes Scientific Rival: Dermot McDanneher for reroll: Mediocre ( +0), 7-shift hit. Renard takes a Major Consequence (Shattered Legs) to avoid being Taken Out, takes 1-shift damage, rolls up to 2-shift].

The trio of cultists, seeing their leader hurt, rush forward and surround THE WRAITH, determined to take out the threat. Unfortunately for them, THE WRAITH is more than ready, and uses judo throws and jiu-jitsu blocks to effortlessly disarm the thugs [Weapons Fair ( +2) vs Epic ( +7), THE WRAITH gains spin and gives the cultists the temporary Aspect Disarmed. He may tag this Aspect for free a single time, but only if he does so on his next turn].

The ground begins to shake as the green light increases in brilliance and the mystical mechanism hums loudly [3 rounds until summoning].

[Round 5]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 8 Fate Points]
3 Fair Cultists (reserve)

smilesriles
THE WRAITH, now able to fly at them from the front without being shot at [tag: Disarmed], flares out his cloak and gives another keening unearthly screech, swooping towards them like a demon [Intimidation]

GM
THE WRAITH’s impressive performance frightens the cultists more than their feeble minds can take, and all three run screaming into the night, tripping over each other as they go [Intimidation Fair ( +2), invokes Disarmed for +2 = Great ( +4) vs. Poor (-1), 5-shift Social Stress hit, cultists are Taken Out].

Meanwhile, Vivanda crawls out from under the pile of masonry that crushed her legs and pulls herself towards the mystical machine. She removes a small screwdriver from—somewhere unprintable—and makes a few adjustments to the machine. She almost falls over from the pain, but a fierce light in her eyes keeps her going until her adjustments are finished—and the machine begins to whir more fiercely. Immediately, the green light pulses rapidly, and the ground starts to crack open [2 rounds until summoning] [Science Great ( +4), invokes Belief in the Apocalypse for +2, Fantastic ( +6) vs. hidden].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 8 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Thanam O’doul! Willoughby, will you do something about Miss Houdini here so I can get a look at this—” He stumbles over the cracking ground. “Damn! This bloody machine!” He’s even more delighted than ever to study the workings of this clearly remarkable device—atmospheric translucence, seismic disturbances, changes in air pressure, all from one machine! so fascinating!—but he knows full well that he needs to shut it off first; even if the cracking ground didn’t make it difficult to study anything in peace, as far as he’s concerned he still owes Renard a debt of revenge. He quite literally pounces on the device, ravenously studying its every angle and part, in search of a way to shut it off—or just break it, if absolutely necessary. [Science, invoke Scientific Rival: Dr. Vivanda Renard]

GM
Dermot examines the device carefully—or at least as carefully as he can, given the shaking, cracking earth, glowing light, and interfering Frenchwoman. He lets his passionate hate for Vivanda Renard fuel his attempt—but it backfires on him, as the emotion overwhelms his intellect, and he is completely unable to focus on the intensely complex machine [Science Great [ +4], invokes Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard for reroll, new roll: Fair ( +2) vs. hidden, fails].

The crack in the ground widens radically, and the glow becomes nearly blinding, and both Dermot and Willoughby realize it will be mere moments before the glow, whatever it is, reaches its grand finale [1 round until summoning].

Haha!” cackles Renard madly. “My master will be here oh-so-shortly! You’ll both die, and the world will change forever!

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 7 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH swoops in and grapples with Vivanda, attempting to hurl her into the glowing portal.

If Mohammad will not go to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Mohammad!!

GM
THE WRAITH’s sweeps Renard up and slings her into the fluxing portal, screaming. She barely manages to hang on to the barren ground as the glow seems to suck her in [Fists Great ( +4), +1 modified by Mysteries Superb ( +5) vs. Fists Fair ( +2), maneuver succeeds. Renard cannot move, and has the temporary aspect Swallowed By Oblivion. Dermot may get a free tag on Swallowed by Oblivion next turn].

Renard realizes she has but one chance to stop Dermot, and fires wildly at him. Her shot goes just barely wild, and Dermot feels the hot breeze of a bullet inches from his skin [Guns Good ( +3) vs. Fists Good ( +3), failed].

As the glow pulses and the machine hums, Dermot realizes that he has but one chance to destroy the machine before the portal opens and something terrible emerges. However, he also realizes that his greatest rival is moments from either falling to her well-deserved fate or crawling out of the portal and continuing to torment him. He wracks his brain on what to do, knowing he has only a moment to decide [Compelling Scientific Rival: Vivanda Renard to take an action against her. +1 FP if Dermot takes it, -1 if he doesn’t].

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 7 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Shut up, will you? I’m trying to think!” Although it grieves him to not pour himself a whiskey and watch Renard scream in fear after the way she’s been shooting at him and his friend (to say nothing of prior offenses), Dermot tells himself that the best revenge against her would be to crush her ambitions the way she ruined his presentation. On the bright side, this means studying the machine—which is growing more fascinating by the second—some more. [Science, invoke Curious to Distraction]

GM
Dermot begins to dismantle the bizarre machine, discovering what makes it tick—and how to safely make it stop ticking. Though the mystical components make the device difficult to understand, it is still, at heart, a machine, and Dermot makes significant progress very quickly [Science Fantastic ( +6), invokes Curious to Distraction for +2, Epic ( +8) vs. (hidden), machine takes a 1-shift hit, increases time +2 rounds].

As the machine dies down, the glow stops pulsing so hard and the ground stills. On the other hand, as the glow recedes, Renard finds herself free, and drags herself behind a pillar before THE WRAITH can react. “It won’t matter, what you’re doing! You’re only delaying the inevitable!” [2 rounds until summoning].

THE WRAITH stares at the green glow, and then back at Dermot. He thinks to himself, and realizes that his friend’s method may not be the best. Is this the apocalypse he has foreseen? Is the dragon Dahaka really allying itself with the Mad Monk? Will shutting down the machine stop Dahaka and Rasputin, or only postpone the inevitable—and should they not end this conclusively right here right now? THE WRAITH looks over at Dermot and considers whether it might be best to let the summoning happen and deal with what comes [Compelling Glimpses of the Apocalypse AND Cult of Dahaka. +2 FP if THE WRAITH tries to convince Dermot to let the summoning finish, -2 FP if THE WRAITH tries to stop the summoning].

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 10 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 6 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH considers, stop the apocalypse now when he is tired but ready. Is he ready? The end is coming but is this the right time. If I stop it now, won’t it pop up later in some further incarnation? Something more dreadful than he can even imagine. Is he ready to face this terrible horror? No. He needs more time to study and prepare. (Loses the -2 FP)

GM
Waving his hands and murmuring unintelligibly, THE WRAITH prepares a spell to contain the possible energies of an aborted summoning, and feels rather unprepared for the task—but not absurdly so [Mysteries Good ( +3) will be the difficulty for an energy attack].

Meanwhile, Renard has caught her breath, and so begins her assault again. This time, she changes tactics, and crawls over to the mysterious machine. She slaps Dermot’s hand away and begins to repair his disassembly. Unfortunately, with her injuries and the frankly superior skill of the Irishman, and she fails to make any headway [Science Good ( +3) vs. Superb ( +5)].

Dermot prepares to continue his fight against the machine as the glowing portal slowly begins to pulse again.

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 6 Fate Points]
[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 8 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Hmm, the implications of this miniaturized kinetic amplifier suggest that one w- Damn it! To hell with ye, Renard! Willoughby, kindly kick her in the throat for me, would you?” Dermot does his best to shut out Renard’s attempts to foil him, and refocuses his attention on shutting down the device without damaging it, focusing his Multi-Vision Goggles on the machinery in hopes of locating power sources or routers. [Science, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles]

[Sorry, I was out of town until this evening, and I forgot to post and tell everyone so. I apologize for holding things up.]

GM
Dermot adjusts the focus on his goggles and stares intently into the mechanical bowels of the machine. With ease and style, he disables the kinetic amplifier, slowing the mechanism’s workings and taking it one step closer to safe disassembly [Science Fantastic ( +6), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for +2, Legendary ( +8) vs. [hidden], machine takes a 2-shift hit, increases time +2 rounds].

The mystic portal shudders as its power fluctuates, and the world settles again—at least temporarily [3 rounds until summoning].

THE WRAITH, though momentarily irritated at Dermot for addressing him as Willoughby when he has left that mundane identity behind, smiles as he looks forward to ridding themselves of the foxy threat once and for all.

[Round 6]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 8 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]
Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 4 Fate Points]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH descends upon Renard with a flurry of blows, raining fists and feet down upon her, without concern for pulling any punches. Anyone who attempts to bring this world closer to its end deserves no mercy from THE WRAITH!

GM
Fists fly, and THE WRAITH lets loose a fury seldom seen. Unfortunately, Renard’s vigor is also up, and she drags THE WRAITH to the ground, where her shattered legs will not be a hindrance. They roll across the ground trading blows, as Dermot does his best to shut out their distractions. THE WRAITH finally lands one glancing blow upon Renard—but since it is upon her split pelvis, she shrieks in pain and almost falls unconscious. However, fighting to stay awake, she throws THE WRAITH off her with a grunt [Fists Great ( +4) vs. Fists Good ( +3), 1-shift hit, rolls up to 4-shift].

Without the martial-artist and his occult flair to distract her, Renard manages to make it to the machine again. She punches Dermot in the face, knocking him back and flustering him long enough for her to begin repairing his dismantling attempt. With several deft flicks of her wrist, she connects wires and plugs vacuum tubes back in—and the ground again begins to rumble [Science Superb ( +5) vs. Science Fair ( +2), decreases time -2 rounds, heals 1 shift of damage].

The green glow stretches in size to the largest it has yet been, and a reptilian roar emerges from it [1 round until summoning]. THE WRAITH looks at it in horror, and realizes two things: first, that the summoning has progressed sufficiently, even with the slowing caused by Dermot’s mechanical machinations, that it cannot be postponed any longer: the mystic machine must be shut down once and for all in the next few seconds, or the apocalypse will be upon them—and that the Dahakan sigils upon the machine means that it cannot be shut down without his help [Mysteries Great ( +4), GM invokes Glimpses of the Apocalypse on THE WRAITH’s behalf].

THE WRAITH rushes to Dermot’s side and examines the device, the telltale imagery of the Cult of Dahaka sharp in his mind like a nasty smell.

[THE WRAITH will assist on Dermot’s next roll, and forfeits his next turn. However, he may spend Fate Points, and please detail how he is helping]

Dermot [1 2 3 X 5 6, 4 Fate Points]
[Round 7]
THE WRAITH [Nasty Gash, X X 3 4 5, 7 Fate Points]
Vivanda Renard [Black Eye, Shattered Legs, X X X 4 5]

hydingjekyll
Dermot splutters a stream of mixed profanities and Irish idioms of frustration that would likely be amusing to a bystander if not for the exciting new developments in mankind’s understanding of physics that are manifesting in a decidedly unsettling manner, and desperately throws himself back onto the machine to foil Renard’s plotting. He can do this, he knows he can. His technical knowledge is unmatched, his innovation is unrivaled, and more than anything else in this world … [Science, invokes “I’m a Scientist!”]

[OOC: Okay, I’m back now.]

GM
[OOC: Sorry it’s been so long since the last entry—this could be the climactic roll that ends the game, or the one that sparks a new, deadlier climax—so I wanted to ensure both of you got your two cents in before resolving it].

THE WRAITH examines the sigils and begins a mystic chant. Though Dermot is tempted to find it irritating, he finds that the drone helps him focus—and did some of the symbols on the machine disappear? Ridiculous… Redoubling his effort, Dermot’s hands move as a blur, his mind whirring so fast the gears can almost be heard turning. “X squared plus the cosin of negative m-alpha equals…” he murmurs, quickly determining the science behind the machine. “Kinetic amplifier—check. Thaumometer—check. PKE meter—check,” he lists off as he removes each piece and smashes it against the ground, unwilling to chance another repair job by Renard.

As Dermot systematically demolishes the machine, THE WRAITH stares into the face of evil. Through the sickly green glow, a giant face becomes visible, straining against an invisible wall, intent on returning to the world. The face is dominated by a wild, mad beard surrounding darkly intense eyes—and as it flickers in the pulsing light, Willoughby (his terror transforming his psyche, at least for the moment) could swear he sees the image of a dragon behind it/inside it, like a double-exposure photograph. The dragon opens its fierce jaws and Rasputin roars in anger—

—and THE WRAITH raises the Orb of the Daevas high, shouting words as old as time and as powerful as the history of man. His words of power mix in the air with the crackle of the mystic machine rapidly coming apart, and as the last piece smashes against the cold ground, THE WRAITH finishes his oath. The green light dims as the machine comes apart, and a bright white light shining out of the Orb sweeps it away.

A moment passes in the silence and safety, as the two heroes consider the great task they have completed—then, Renard begins to wail. An inarticulate cry, of rage and pain, pervades the blasted plain. Willoughby looks over at his friend, finally finished with the demolished machine, and cocks his eyebrow, as if to say “What should we do with her now?”

[Science Fantastic ( +6), reroll for assist from THE WRAITH is Good ( +3), Dermot takes Fantastic ( +6), Dermot invokes “I’m a Scientist” for +2, THE WRAITH invokes “Traveled to the East and Back” for +2, Super-Ultra-Mega-Awesome ( +10) vs. Great ( +4), machine takes a 6-shift hit and is Taken Out]

hydingjekyll
Dermot doesn’t even notice THE WRAITH’s expression, instead retrieving the largest notebook available from his toolbelt and writing in it with a fury and fervor that threatens to ignite the pages. “The ramifications of the negative m-alpha in the inverse vector of the PKE field—of course, of course! Apply Tesla’s principle of alternating current and his theories on the wireless transmission of electricity—it all makes perfect sense! Bloody ass of the queen, how did I not think of this before? The covalency of the isotopic tungsten in question would be key in—No, don’t touch the pieces! Leave them exactly where they are!—key in the transmission of said alternating current … Damned shame I had to destroy so much of it! Let me adjust the magnifying lenses on these goggles …” [Curious to Distraction]

GM
[+1 Fate Point to Dermot for Compelling “Curious to Distraction” on his own damn self. WRAITH, you better take charge]

smilesriles
I think it is time we had a nice long discussion about what you intended to do here, and the consequences of said actions.
[Intimidation]

GM
Renard cringes in fear and exhaustion, then quickly begins to babble. [Intimidation Superb ( +5) vs. Resolve Average ( +1)] “I am… I mean, we were… the Lord Rasputin was to rise and join…” She looks over at the oblivious Dermot and spits at him (missing by a good three feet) “It is all his fault! After that ridiculous scene with his stupid grapple gun, I had no choice but to remove myself from the professional science scene. I came here, to Siberia, to work developing a new flange for the Leningrad water system—and here, I found my master.” A beatific smile spreads over Renard’s ruined face, overshadowing the omnipresent pain. “He has been dead for over ten years, but I did not care. He spoke to me in my dreams—he said that the dragon Dahaka would join with him in the underworld, and together their power would tear a hole in the world and bring a new era to mankind. But Dahaka’s cult had already tried to bring them forth, one year ago—and failed. Magic alone was not enough, they needed the invigorating power of pure science. So I was called into service. We were to rule the world.

Renard slumps again, pain and misery overwhelming her. After a moment, though, she looks up at Willoughby with one final look of defiance. “You haven’t won, you know. Your actions today have only delayed the inevitable. Rasputin and Dahaka are still together, still with the power to destroy your world and remake it in their image—and one day they will return.” So saying, she passes out from exhaustion, her head slumping to the cold, hard ground.

Willoughby turns away from Renard and puts one hand to the Orb as he hears a rustling noise nearby. He relaxes as he sees the bespectacled face of Leonid Kulik emerge from the blasted foliage. “Excuse me, friends? Is it over?

hydingjekyll
… the vector lug and connecting trans-dermal cable made of non-ferrous metals which would affect the conductivity at a ratio of 11:3 when the aether (for lack of a better term) transmitter attained critical tension …

smilesriles
It is safe to come out, Kulik.THE WRAITH feels the pulse of his Orb and looks to where the portal nearly opened but minutes ago.

Safe . . . for now.

ba bum BAAAAAAAA

GM
Kulik carefully approaches the altar and his friends. “You won? You mean, it’s over? But none of my visions came to pass. No crack in the earth. No dragon. No end of the world.

Dermot tears himself away from the machine at the prospect of another scientific paradox. “Undoubtedly, the unstable temporal nature of your out-of-place memories allowed Willoughby and myself to shift the flow of the timestream, shifting us into an alternate… tributary, if you will.

Or the visions were false, merely lies concocted by Rasputin to confuse and intimidate us. A true vision cannot be altered, so the visions could not have been representative of the future at all.

A true vision cannot be altered? What kind of superstitious claptrap is that? What evidence do you have to support such a ridiculous conclusion?

Only millennia of stories told in cultures across the world.

Do you hear what you’re saying? Fanham o doul, that’s ridiculous! Stories are fantasies, not evidence!

The trio begins to walk away, Dermot and Willoughby continuing their argument back and forth—until Kulik puts forward a thought that had not occurred to either man: “What if… it just hasn’t happened yet?
THE END?

AN RKO RADIO PICTURES PRESENTATION

THE MYSTERY OF THE TUNGUSKA DEMON

STARRING

THE WRAITH

DERMOT MCDANNEHER

VIVANDA RENARD

and

LEONID KULIK AS HIMSELF

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