Session 42 and 43: The Return of SETI and Homeland Security

   While they were dropping off the children – and attempting to bypass the paperwork – somebody had a bright idea: the Bane Mummies hell-dimension of darkness drained or suppressed human powers. Invocation magic should work (at least as long as it was calling on nonhuman sources), and alien abilities should work just fine.

   Kimai wasn’t alien enough – most of it’s ancestry was human, and the same went for the werewolves, kids, and most of the Mandate – but there were some alien heroes out there.

   Well damn. That was what a lot of those attacks on various superhero groups had probably been about. The Bane Mummies had been taking out likely opposition before it could get to them. Still, there ware a fair number of nonhuman heroes – and mercenaries and robots and saner villains – still out there. All they’d have to do would be research, locate, recruit them.

   The White Necromancer, Yuki, and the Chauffeur set out to do that while the rest of the group tried to reinforce the estates defenses (with more magic, technology, and living barriers), to keep the children out of trouble, and to persuade various groups NOT to accept the Kraggan’s war-wiring technology. It wouldn’t do them much good to save the world from the Bane Mummies and lose it to aliens. For that matter they had to brief the government.

   Wait, what about the Destruction Company and those nuclear warheads, the power armor goons in Russia, and the demon-creatures that were on the loose over there?

   Never mind, the Harvesters and the Aliens seemed a lot more urgent somehow.

   Unfortunately, with Bane Mummies and psionic reptile men striking at will all over the planet it was pretty hard to get the governments of the world to turn down military enhancement technology, no matter how suspicious-looking the offer was. Back to the Bane Mummies.

   Eventually they got their list on nonhumans down to a few who were willing to come, were at least vaguely heroic, and whom seemed likely to be useful (a provision added after a talk with the Knights of Avalon – who had several nonhuman members, but none with useful powers) – which left them with… Ionstorm, Stranglevine, anyone they could get from the Heroic Extraterrestrial Law Protectors, and however many Celestial Dragons they could talk into coming along.

   Oh yes. How dumb could they get? They had the Racaf. Two hundred well-equipped, extensively cyborged, and heavily armed alien mercenaries. They wouldn’t need to appeal to the Producer or to the Arith Vaya out near Jupiter for more help. Just as well, they’d had no idea of even how to communicate with them, much less persuade them of anything.

   OK, that wasn’t bad. Zachary would still have some enhancement powers, as well as some Invocation magic to use, Kimai needed to go to act as a compass (thanks to it’s ongoing mindlink with the stolen souls of its agents), and Yuki was going because she insisted. Oh well, the Racaf needed someone to be in charge, and they did see her as their current commander.

   With the mercenaries ready, their base about as magically fortified as they cold manage, and the home front precariously stabilized for the moment, it was time to start bringing in their allies.

Sessions 40 and 41: The Spirit Fisher and the Barque of Ra

   Off the coast of Alaska, the wild discharges of spiritual energies had awaked an ancient Guardian Spirit – a human soul that the shamans of the north had sacrificed long ago, setting it as a guard at the borders of the spirit world, and charging it with preventing such disturbances from disturbing the realms of the northern gods.

   Unfortunately, within the Rho-Field, Senca the Guardian had needed regular infusions of power to remain wakeful – and he had been forgotten for millennia. Senca, the Guardian, groped for focus – and latched onto the mind of recently-deceased drug-addict who’d been obsessed with Mexico. Senca promptly drafted the White Necromancer and his astral Chariot of Death for the trip to Mexico City – and managed to confuse and overawe the inexperienced magician enough to get him to take him there.

   Back in New York Zachary was attempting to restrain the kids – and to get a replacement camera and record-books: his had been disintegrated during the battle at the museum. It hadn’t gone well: the kids were obliging, but had far more magic available than children so young really ought to. With Kimai busy attempting to analyze her own genetic structure with the Genocide Data Node in the basement,

   Again unfortunately, the Mandate’s last visit to Mexico City had not gone well – and the local military promptly moved in while awaiting the arrival of the Avatars. With the White Necromacer and Yuki thus distracted, With the Chauffeur and the rest of the Mandate busy in New York and Alaska, the only available assistance was Zachary – and a scion of strife with his own personal hostility field was not a lot of help in calming things down. This left Senca on his own – and in his confusion he enacted a ritual to open the gates of the realm of the Northern Gods. Given that it was a realm of the deep sea, he promptly flooded much of Mexico City. Zachary, who had managed to get there after he heard about what was going on, called in a favor from Chronus to get most of the population out of the way, but couldn’t affect anyone whom had already been seen to be injured – which left several thousand casualties.

   The White Necromancer and Yuki knew that it probably wouldn’t work, but decided to try summoning the Barque of Ra anyway: in legend a ride in it could restore the dead. They loaded up the various spirits of the newly-dead and set sail – dragging Senca along simply to keep him out of trouble.

   They didn’t make it to the hours of the night of the Egyptian underworld. The Red Dragon was pulling at them, most of their passengers were vaguely Christian (with some notions derived from the old Aztec pantheon), and they all had their own ideas.

   In the end, they wound up in the Hindu creation myths, adrift in the sea of creation which was being churned into the milk of immortality by the combined efforts of the Gods and Demons using a mountain and the world-serpent for a rope to spin it with. Then the war broke out – and neutrality was just a way to get attacked from both sides.

   Souls were recruited to be demons and warriors of the gods, ninja ice cream of creation was made, snakes were assaulted, Senca got into an argument with the Monkey King in the Gardens of the Gods, and there was much confusion before the group managed to break the ship free of the Red Dragon’s powers and escape through Cleopatra, where they managed to get Elizabeth Taylor’s autograph.

   Returning to earth with the remainder of their cargo simply got the spirits reincarnated as new infants – about what would have happened to them anyway eventually. Well, it was better than nothing they supposed… Finding orphanages or parents to take them on would have taken a lot longer, but the Chauffeur was finally available again and he’d had lots of experience in finding homes for stray children.

Session 39: The Little Ice Age

   Like the Legend of the Five Rings log, the Champions log has gotten well behind – so here’s the first section of catch-up.

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   So: They had the undead warriors/soul-harvesters of an ancient death cult to deal with – a group of them and their leader, when one had nearly been sufficient to defeat two major superhero teams, the highly-experienced New York City police department, Mr Tanner, a set of high-grade professional security spells and systems, Kimai, some random independent heroes, and a detachment of the Producers movie-making forces. They were operating out of a dark dimension that vastly amplified their abilities and suppressed those of all other humans. They had wiped out all human life across North and South America a hundred thousand years ago, drew on the power of millions of imprisoned and tormented souls for power, and even the first White Necromancer had been unable to do more than trick them into thinking they had succeeded in wiping out humanity before he spent centuries weaving spells to keep them from seeing anyone else from their dark realm and to seal them there.

   Now they knew of the rest of the world and – thanks to modern modifications to the landscape – the White Necromancers ancient spells had been damaged by humanities ongoing changes to the land to the point where any concentrated effort would pierce them.

   Just wonderful.

   Unfortunately, by the time they got that much information together, they had an urgent call from Raven, in Alaska. A sizeable chunk of Anchorage had dissolved into a crater full of monsters, the rest of the city was under attack – and most of the west coast groups were already under attack or were out of contact.

   The Chauffeur swore to himself: why did everything have to happen at once? Wait: they never had figured out who’d been paying for the rest of those dinosaur-augmented psionic mercenaries. The cult head – he’d disappeared after they’d awakened him, and he’d only put in a few appearances since. All for silly things… Had that been a diversion while he’d been investigating, scheming, and gathering mercenaries?

   Anchorage was – at best – a draw. By the time they got there – probably by the time they’d been called – the Harvester had already come and gone. Anchorage had had few protective spells. The Harvester had simply visited the center of town, stolen all the souls within it’s range, transformed the soulless bodies into ravening monsters, and left them to finish the extermination. Individually the creatures were no match for a superhero – or even for a normal enhanced by Zachary – but there were thousands, what was left of the city was without power, and a storm was moving in. Raven had set up a safe zone, but in the end Yuki allowed the Spirit of the Ancient Winters – the Spirit of the Ice Age – to channel itself through her and enshroud the entire field of battle in glacial ice.

   It was not easy to stop it afterwards, and there was no immediate way to seal off the link that Yuki had opened at all.

   Well, even a new ice age would be better than the Harvesters, Bane Mummies, or whatever unpronounceable thing they called themselves.

   The Harvester had apparently attempted to find the Dragon Enclave next – but had eventually given it up and returned to the dark realms. The Dragons had been erecting confusion and concealment wards to keep the governments off their back for quite awhile now, and those had inadvertently served them well.

   They warned them anyway. Along the way, the White Necromancer borrowed Baen for the next few decades: he might be useful, it would be a waste to leave him in Chi’an’s stables – and it would have been awfully unkind to leave him there anyway. The boy had to be bored as hell.