The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Sixth and Seventh

Some hours later, it was just after midnight, they’d finally gotten back to their proper time (and so were free to act again without risk of temporal paradox) – and the most urgent situation on their plate was the giant hostage situation at the stadium. The police had already tried to get involved – but only by negotiations. That left it up to the Guardians.

OK… We’re invisible, we’re here, and what are we going to do? We’ve only got about six hours till dawn now.

No, we are NOT simply attacking! Not with 80,000 people there as hostages! Why do you think the police haven’t tried it?

Well, there’s only so many places to hide a bomb in a stadium. Maybe we can find it if we circle around in the place with a detection spell running…

No luck. SHIT.

Maybe there isn’t one?

At least we got a good look at their thugs… Sets of three with pistols, communications gear – and assault rifles.

Well, I can screw up the weaponry pretty easy.

So lets go talk to the supervillains…

The ensuing hour was mostly devoted to conversation between “The Voices” (Warlock, TimeWalker, and Ratman) – and various villains and thugs… It didn’t get very far – although it did reveal that the martial artist could still “see” them to some extent. Unfortunately, no one was willing to tell them who was in charge, or to talk it out…

It did let Warlock screw up their radio-detonators, as well as confusing a lot of thugs.

Great. Just great. None of these people will tell me who the real boss is!

Maybe I can look into someone’s mind?

Shielded.

Damn.

Waitaminute… They’re all shielded just alike? It responds to my probe, but they don’t seem to notice…

So who’s doing it? (“I’LL FIND OUT!”)

Whaaa? Oh. It’s THE VOICE again… No, we’re not trying to infringe on your gig! Can you trace back to whatever’s powering these shields?

Come to think of it, I’ll break the spells on them. Maybe they’re all being compelled somehow?

Just protective/escape stuff… Oh well, good riddance anyway. Neat spells though. I doubt that I could do them – even if it they were my type of magic…

THE VOICE traced the mental beams back to a cloaked spaceship hovering overhead – and blocked them. Warlock and the others decided to go for it, while at least part of the enemy defenses were down…

Warlock decided to try some voice-amplification and “command” magics as he became visible in the center of the arena… “THIS IS THE WARLOCK! I HAVE DISABLED THE THUG’S CONVENTIONAL WEAPONRY, AND WE WILL RESTRAIN THE PARANORMALS! PLEASE REMAIN CALM AND EXIT THE ARENA IN AN ORDERLY FASHION!”

DAMMIT! How come nobody ever does what they’re told?

Meanwhile, Ratman was blasting away at the martial-artist type, TimeWalker was busy evading some sort of “smart”, target-seeking, energy blast (of vast power), and the Warlock was finding that that superstrong fellow was increasing his mass somehow, and was rapidly overloading the levitation spell he’d used on him…

At least all the normal people are getting out, but it’s turning into a riot! Oh well, most of the serious injuries are to the thugs…

DAMMIT! Nothing seems to work on that energy blast!

Well, that’s a cute way to handle it. Drag it right into the hyperstrong fellow. Maybe if I incapacitate the energy-manipulating fellow directly?

Timewalker popped out… I guess he’ll be OK. He’s certainly out of my reach anyway…

So it’s fucking rude to apply a weight-spell there! It worked didn’t it?

Ratman?! You didn’t exactly have to vaporize him!!!

We’re gonna have a real serious talk about this!

I’d better make sure that the two surviving “supervillains” stay unconscious.

After that, Warlock settled down to healing all the people who’d gotten hurt in the stadium exodus – while Michael and Robert showed up to collect the villains.

Given their abilities, they certainly knew that the police wouldn’t be able to handle them.

When the police got there, they were most insistent about everybody filling out a report before vanishing.

OK… That’s the last of them… Now what?

Bloody police. They’re enough cameras in the place, I’d’ve thought that they could have watched on TV – if 80,000 bedamned eye witnesses weren’t enough for them.

Oh boy… TV. Dozens of reporters here to broadcast the game.

I think we just put on another show here.

Just great… It’s what, 11:00? Time to get back to the sanctum anyway.

I missed morning classes too. What am I gonna do about these Department-X people? They’re gonna wreck my life! (If some super-powered maniac doesn’t do it first!).

Warlocks Personal Timeline:

11 (Monday):    An early-morning “convenience store” robbery reveals the presence of a mind-controlling guy and an FBI investigator of the paranormal. Immersion in Desrae’s psi-field leads everyone to oversleep, whereupon a Department-X helicopter tries to kidnap Warlock (Leading to an encounter with an explosive bus, a mass rescue, the appearance of THE VOICE, an encounter with The Commander, and blowing up a building). Meanwhile, Robert was attacked by the Order Of The Firehawk, Desrae smashed her car while being kidnaped by an ogre – and the junior thug was snatched by the mutagenic slimes and attacked by poison-blowgun wielding rats. Warlock wound up having to explain to his mother, tricking the ogres to go after Desrae through the dimensional gates they’d been guarding, and gating them all back…

12 (Tuesday): Warned of an investigation, and with his items demanding constitutional rights, David spent the next few hours arranging conveniences and setting up a phony death for Robert, finding out that some of his enemies knew who he was, and were out to grab him, going to Ratman’s rescue against the slime and sewer-things, dealing with Dr Carlson and Dr Genos (again), creating a simulacrum to walk into the kidnapping attempt, rescuing people from a massive automobile accident, dealing with the kidnappers and Lestat (Desrae’s elder-vampire Sire), transforming and interrogating surviving agents, hiding his family, being threatened by Master Dao, and fighting an ancient lich-ninja. Afterwards, the Mayor called about an odd situation (Revealing that Cell Foe had been giving out his telephone number), David got a date for Saturday night, they timejumped back to fight a gang and rescue a kidnaped girl, encountered a hyper- fast alien, debated with David’s home computer, talked to his roommate, and fought a selection of supervillains who’d taken a football stadium and crowd hostage…

Is there anything else I’ve got to do this afternoon? Maybe call that shapeshifting fellow… It’s pretty unfair of Dr Genos to keep him locked up that way!

Well, that was a waste of time. He won’t trust me, he’ll only trust the “Daddy” who locked him in a cell. He doesn’t even want a book!

Oh fine, I’ll pipe in cable TV and put it under his control… At least that’ll give him something to look at.

I give up. Enough is enough. I’m going to take a nap.

Oh come on… I’ve barely gotten my eyes closed!

So what is it now, oh TV???? Orcs robbing a liquor store?????? On the “Video game preview channel”??????

ORCS?

ALRIGHT ALREADY! I’LL GO!

Jeez… Anybody?… Everybody’s asleep but Solamon. No – Desrae’s not here at all. Probably gone clubbing. Not available anyway…

Right. Lets pop over to the place.

So why isn’t anybody here? Oh. Right. The “Preview Channel. We’ll give `em a few minutes…

God. It really is Orcs. With a two-headed ogre.

You’re here, and you’ve conquered the place because you haven’t met any opposition yet?

The ensuing brawl was fairly short – and rather one sided… It did lead to David discovering that he was evidently better protected then he’d thought. It also led to turning a bunch of sleeping orcs and a two-headed ogre over to the police.

That would liven things up down at the station. The report basically read “I’ve got no idea!”.

Great. ANOTHER set of alien invaders. From another dimension this time. An AD&D Dimension. Just what we needed…

Blast Gary Gygax anyway.

Uhrrr… Oh, please. It’s two in the morning. It was midnight when I finally got to bed! Who is it this time?

LESTAT?! Ohshit… Better go out and see him. He’s not exactly a friend (I mean, for Christ’s sake, He/It eats people – even if he does seem to stick to the bad guys), but he’s sort of an ally… Solamon? You want to be moral support? Lestat makes me nervous.

Lestat was mostly interested in where Desrae was, and how she was doing – although he also seemed interested when he saw that David was actually a mage and fey – not simply someone using gadgets… He didn’t want to come in. Too many manitou. David would have offered him a snack – but apparently he was far past the point where he could just drain off a little psychic energy.

Maybe I need less sleep then I did before – but I’m still going back to bed for a few hours…

What’s that whining? Oh, FINE. I’ll fill up the dog food dishes, so shut up!

Jeez… It’s nearly dawn, and nothing urgent is going on. I actually got to wake up by myself.

The world is probably setting me up for something.

OK, so what have we been keeping on hold?

<<<LET-US-GO-AND-GET-A-SPACESHIP>>>

Alright, already, Mr Commander! TURN IT DOWN. Yeah, that’s right, I can yell in your head too… We’ll try to get one, OK?

They’re operated telepathically – but you’ve got to get inside and touch the panel to attune it? Hm. Maybe I can use mirror-magic to work up enough of a link for that.

Damn. It’s psi-shielded – so we can’t just grab it remotely… We’ll have to go and get it in person.

Yes, Robert – you can come. Just wait a minute, and I’ll put a disguise spell on you. You’re wanted by the police, remember? We’re trying to pretend you’re dead if you haven’t forgotten…

Yes Michael… I realize that you have no intention of missing out on a genuine spaceship!

Between mirror-scrying and telepathy, it was fairly easy to get a layout on the base and it’s security. It was tight – but fairly conventional…

Nothing Timewalker and Warlock couldn’t bypass or set off all at once.

Of course, that left getting everyone in there with the ship to leave – but setting off the fire alarm was reasonably effective… Everybody who was actually in the ship left – save for a pesky master sergeant, some sort of psychic guardian – and apparently on loan from Department-X.

He issued a lot of threats… It seemed that aliens (of one kind and another) had made attempts to steal the ship several times before. After some useless debate, the group managed to dump him through the floor, and got into the control room…

What do you mean It’s not responding?! You start to train your pilots in infancy – and you’ve been opening up new channels, and using your telepathy in new ways, and it no longer recognizes your mind-patterns? WELL, WE’VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE!

Stupid ship! I command you; LISTEN TO HIM… AUGH!

Forcibly attuned by David’s technomantic spell, the ship took off – at about six gravities – and without the compensation fields in place…

OOOFFF! OW! Waitaminute… Why aren’t I hurt? Are any of the rest of you… Never mind. Two guys who can take a fall from orbit, two in battle armor, and a werewolf. If I’m not hurt, they’re fine.

So where are we… We’re past the Moon? The drive engaged as soon as we left the atmosphere?

ARE YOU NUTS!?!

We are NOT going to meet your mothership out beyond Pluto! I don’t have a few weeks, my spell on the ship will wear off one hell of a lot sooner then that – and if you’re going to insist, I’m getting out!

I’ll FUCKING WELL WALK!

I DON’T HAVE TO BE REASONABLE, I’M SIXTEEN!

What would your mother ship do about the Zarkonians anyway? Blow-up-the-infected-cities? NO. We’ll handle the problem ourselves…

Turn this thing around. We’ll park it in the cave. I’ll get the elementals to enlarge the garage a bit…

We don’t want to get tracked… You’ve got a screen engaged? I’ll make a few diversion-spells and shields of my own…

Hi Dad! Where’ve I been? Err… I’veBeenOutStealing AnAlienSpacecraftFromASecretGovernmentProjectBecauseIt BelongsToThesePeople… What was that you were saying about the gear those agents had? It’s very advanced?

Perhaps wisely, Eric decided not to think very hard about spaceships and such… It was like Timewalker’s tricks. It made his head hurt.

I’m sorry Dad… I’m trying to get everything back to normal for you as fast as I can – but it might be a week or so.

I don’t think mothers life was ever quite as normal as you think it was anyway… Here. I’ll have the TV show you…

Food? There ought to be food. I stocked the place with quite a lot of groceries. So where’s… ROBERT! Go get yourself a deer or something! I’ll just make a shopping run. At least those agents had plenty of cash on them. About eight thousand total…

Well, I think it’s honest enough. They’ve probably blocked off my bank account by now.

See? Hmmm… I think I’ll shop someplace well away from this ATM.

Hey! I know where I can get a car! I’ll just buy a total wreck and fix it up like I did Desrae’s!

Sure, a hundred’s OK! (What the hell, it’s not like it was my money).

Cool. I’ve got a Corvette. Looks a little odd somehow… Timewalker? I used your specs… You’re afraid you got it a little off? They won’t actually be making this model until 2012? Oh, never mind. I’ll just say it’s a concept car or a rebuild or something.

10:00 and still nothing’s happened. Maybe Wednesday is superheroes day off…

There’s a special on me on channel nine? Now that’s sort of cool – but they don’t seem to be sure if I’m a good guy. We need some good publicity.

I think I know how to get some… I was planning to do it anyway as soon as things calmed down – but maybe it’d be a good idea to make a hospital stop right now. I ought to be able to heal quite a few people…

David decided to visit the big, “general”, hospital first. It had the highest percentage of charity cases. He hit the burn wards, the spinal cases – and children in general… He stayed a little over an hour – which was more then long enough to attract a media circus.

He answered a few questions while he was working…

It was magic – or something like it. He was masked because there were too many people after him already. He was stopping because he only had so much power – and he’d heal more people tomorrow if he could.

Then somebody started offering to pay an awful lot – up to 100,000 $ – for an interview.

TimeWalker said he could arrange enough time for it – if they had some independently powered equipment.

They did.

While the interviewer rapidly figured out that “The Warlock” wasn’t very old, and asked a lot of questions about who he was, they did get out a certain amount of information on Department-X, various supervillains and menaces, about what his abilities were – and how short of experience he was in using them.

You’d better broadcast this before someone tries to confiscate the tape. Yeah, I meant it about the people after me… Where to send the money? Err… <Azrael? Ask Ratman which is the the best of the charity-groups that take care of the street kids… He says that the Donavan Foundation is the best? Thanks> Send it to the Donavan Foundation for Homeless Children…

Yes, I’m serious!

I don’t really need it… No, I’m not independently wealthy! But a motorcycle suit doesn’t really cost all that much!

I think I’ll hit the DMV, and get my license, after lunch. I’ve got a car to use now…

Well, that was easy. I’ve got my license. I’ve got a sports car – and I’ve got a date Saturday…

All is COOL with the world.

I did promise… There’s a plane out at 2:00. I’ll just send the simulacrum… I’ll bet a buck that those Department-X idiots are stupid enough to jump on somebody that’s coming in voluntarily.

No takers?

They did… On the plane no less. (“Jeez, guys! Do you have the slightest idea how dangerous – and stupid – this is?”). David blocked their power-damper handcuffs (If only because they were interfering with the link), but let them chain “him” up…

He spent the trip making a terrible, childish, pest of himself… Sadly, none of the ones he could “read” knew very much.

In Washington, they drove around (In their new pink sedan) until they decided he’d gone to sleep, and then into (another) secret base hidden under the decorative pools of the Washington Monument…

David nearly laughed himself to death…

They promptly got him out (Despite his transferring all the chains to the agents “escorting” him), and tried to stuff him into a cell; a nasty, uncomfortable, cell in a long line of other locked cells.

He let them shove in an illusion and went wandering about…

Stupid asses. I was being cooperative, but can they go along with that? Nooooo. I think I’ll just shield myself against the alarm systems and go looking around a bit… They’ll have a hell of a time gassing, detecting, or stopping, a wooden golem in any case.

Huh. Lots of people. Bastards.

And they’re running all their security systems thru a computer too. Let’s just clear out that gas, set off all the alarms, open up the cell doors – and announce an exodus…

It went fairly well… Apparently all of the agents who were capable of dealing with Warlock were still on the way back from the west coast. With a little bit of magical backup, the other prisoners were quite capable of pulling off a mass escape. Unfortunately, this was just a holding center. Outside of a few items (Payroll list, the locations of two bases (The Northern Rockies in Canada and Key West), they usually transferred people too – and the locations a few random agents had in their heads), there wasn’t much information to be had.

Still, that left him in Washington.

He went to see that guy who’d given him his ID back in the helicopter. He wasn’t in – but his wife was not inclined to believe what her husband did for a living. Warlock told her all about it – and gave her the power to detect lies to boot…

Huh. Serves him right… That’s an idea though. Who else should I tell?

They’re supposed to be in charge of restraining the government… I think I’ll start off with the Supreme Court Justices.

He did. He gave telepathic data-dumps, and some basic psi-shields, to Justices, Senators, Representatives, and so on… He stayed away from the ones with shields, as they might either have already been influenced by Dep- X, or be alien infiltrators – but he still got quite a few of them…

Bugger. About 40% of them have shields of one kind or another. Well, at least the databurst and shields are pretty quick spells… I’ve gotten a couple of hundred in the last four hours. 11:00 (or 2 AM in Washington). The President’s got a shield… Still, he’s in charge. It might be worth a shot anyway.

Maybe I should try hitting a few reporters or something first. Just to make sure they talk about it…

David spent the next two hours visiting hospitals – that would attract some reporters, and do some good as well. It did… He fed them quite a bit about Department X.

Well, that should get the story out tomorrow. A few destiny spells will ensure it. The doctors and reporters had certainly gotten excited enough – and asked enough questions.

I think I’m about out of things to do here… Might be a good idea to stash the simulacrum someplace. Who knows when it might be useful again? It’s a root. I’ll just sink it in the ground someplace and put concealment spells on it. Maybe a preservation charm too. There are plenty of parks around here.

“Back Home” David found out about the guys from the Order of the Firehawk.

Robert? Let me get this straight… You’ve – killed – another – eight – people.

The game master called for a brief discussion with Robert’s player at this point. The player felt that removing the excessive violence from the character would spoil the fun – and therefore wasn’t willing to take the “control spells” (with their lack of an in-game effect) as an excuse to have the character change – or to role-play a character who wanted to be violent but was being restrained.

The rest of the players – and the game master – felt that a massacre specialist simply didn’t fit into a superhero game and the group had stretched toleration as far as they possibly could; if the character wasn’t going to change, he was going to have to be either brought under control or jailed.

Since the player still wasn’t willing to change Robert’s behavior, and didn’t want to play a jailed character, he made another character – and Robert was demoted from “character” to “pet” with every control mechanism and aggression-reducing effect stacked on him that the group could come up with.

Right… More binding spells. Commands, links, and restraining spells. Damp his adrenalin, reduce hostility, tone down aggressiveness… Everything-I-can-think-of-spells. Reinforced. There. That ought to do it… <Go on to bed Robert, I’ll see you in the morning>

Dammit. That’s what I thought last time! Maybe… That won’t work. Caging him would kill him. I’ll try a mirror divination and see if there’s anything else I can do that’ll restrain him… OK, I can make a quick restraining talisman for him to wear easily enough, so what else can I…

That’s SICK! I can’t do that to him, he’s a person, not a dog! He trusts me! He’s – He’s… He’s killed more then thirty people. Even if it’s not entirely his fault. The mirror says that this’ll help keep him from killing any more.

Oh God.

Maybe I can help him regenerate after he calms down… At least I can make sure that he doesn’t feel it, that he’ll never know.

Oh God. He trusts me.

David was sick several times – but he managed to do the job. He carefully added sensitive but functionless lumps of fatty tissue to simulate the original organs, blocked regeneration, made sure that Robert’s personal scent wouldn’t change, healed the incision, rebalanced Robert’s hormones – and cleaned up… With any luck, the boy would never realize that he’d been neutered.

Afterwards, David got to work preparing some of the magical gadgets he’d been meaning to make. Running on nerves, he was still up when everybody else started to wake up – including Robert, who turned out to be a lot calmer and more docile then he’d been before…

Oh God. If he realizes what I’ve done when he wakes up, he’ll kill me – and I couldn’t blame him. What else needs doing around here? There must be something! Lots of things. Anything is better then thinking about the fact that I’m a monster…

Hi, Robert! (GUILT)    HowAreYouFeelingToday? (GUILT) OK? A little bored? (GUILT!) HowAboutWeGoOutHunting? You’d like that wouldn’t you? (Oh hell… I feel like there’s a neon sign proclaiming “The Warlock Mutilated Me!” over him. At least he doesn’t seem to realize what I’ve done… What am I going to do if someone else does?).

COOL! An insulation-spell allows me to touch Desrae without blowing up! I wonder if I can throw a booster spell on myself to make myself more attractive to her? It’s worth a try! At least Robert’s not competing any longer… (GUILTGUILTGUILT!) I can’t believe I thought that… How could I be such a bastard…

Still running on nervous energy – and half giddy with fatigue – David spent the next few hours getting a lab set up for his older sister, finding equipment for his father – and getting his little brother set up with some writing equipment and a place to work. He even tried to inventory the rooms, given that there seemed to be far more then he’d ever requested… Workroom, garage, the personal apartments, kitchen, living room, library and computer room, several labs (Electronics, biochemical, and a machine shop), the kennels, service area, Robert’s meat locker, and one large cavern with a lot of greenery and a pool for swimming in… The storage closet with the guns seemed to be quietly turning into an armory.

Rather impressive considering that he’d just set up a basic magical workroom and storage area last week. All he’d really intended was a place to put a big mirror and work on enchanting a few things…

On one of his peripatetic trips through – the third time he’d asked Cathrin if there was something else he could get for her – she quietly tranquilized him and put him to bed. She recognized overstress when she saw it, especially in somebody she knew as well as David – and she’d gotten enough readings on his current metabolism and energy-balance to pull it off…

Now you’re sure there’s nothing else… Hey! That’s not fair! Just because I’m a little on edge, that’s no reason to tranq – tranq – tranquilize… (Thud)

(Terrible discomfort… Light? He was… Strapped to an ice-cold table? David tried to break free, both physically and magically, almost reflexively – but nothing happened. The straps were enchanted somehow. Something like the Earring. He suddenly became aware that he was cut off from his allies, somewhere where reality itself felt – warped – on an operating table, under a blinding light, and that he was being slowly vivisected – by his Mother, Sister, and Robert (Who was gleefully returning David’s treatment of him). They said they were sorry – but that they needed the data, they had to know how his powers worked, and there wasn’t enough time to be gentle. They, and their scientific friends, were “wondering how long he could actually survive this”.

David realized that no ordinary drugs could possibly knock him out about the time Timewalker materialized to pull him into a timebubble.

Things were getting really weird when someone poured enough water on him to wake him up.

GAAAH! <Gasp/Rattle/Thrash/Gurgle!>

Holy Christ!

Bad dream? At least it looked that way?

Yeah, you could say that.

You could say that the tax laws are a little complex too. Hmm… That was one hell of a powerful dream. What the hell is that whispering? (No, Michael. It’s nothing to do with your armor’s sound system, even if you can’t turn it off… Hmm… Technomancy didn’t work. Maybe a command-spell? HA! Gotcha! Technomancy didn’t work because the armor’s alive somehow! Alive somehow… Uh, Michael? Are you sure you want to keep on wearing it?).

Timewalker? You’re the psychologist… What do you think of this? Sounds a bit outre’, but you think that it sounds like some kind of warning? Maybe to look out for Department-X, for mother’s connections, for people/ aliens pretending to be my family, for my family, or…

NEVER MIND!

Wait-a-minute-here… That was way too detailed for a simple dream – and a warning has to come from somebody.

Right, Oh Mirror, WHO’S BEEN FUCKING WITH MY HEAD?!?

I Have? From the far future? (Geez. Centuries, and I don’t look more then a year or so older…) WHY?!?

I don’t want to answer that question?

DAMMIT! When I get to be me-then I must remember to kick myself for being such a pain in the rear for me-now and… TimeWalker? Do you ever get over the headaches?

What is it Cathrin? You’d like some information? I don’t have much… The spirits say I’m “Fey”. I think that means I’ve got a really powerful, self-generating, field on the mystic energy level.

I wish I knew what that meant too!

There isn’t much about the Fey on file? What “File”? In the “RACEMIND”?!? Geez, now THAT’s gotta be a handy talent to have. It’s only things that have been known to a LOT of people? Still…

Now who’s calling, Oh Cell Foe? ME?!? I’m trapped in an interdimensional vortex, and I’m calling myself to see if any of me remember how I got out of it? I can’t tell myself about any of this because it’s against the rules of the Timelords?

I can hang up on myself if I bloody well want too!

About then things really started coming unglued. All the major faults decided to let go simultaneously. The spirits “in” the sanctum said to get outside fast. They wouldn’t be able to hold the walls… Plus, by the way, there was someone outside waiting to see the Warlock.

Shockwaves? OH GREAT!

Master Equinox? What the hell?!? YouCan’tInterfereDirectlyButYouDon’tWantTheWorldTearingItselfToBitsSince You’dGoTooSoYou’reGoingToChannelYourPowerThruMeButIMust NeverTellAnyoneThat?

OK ALREADY!

So What’s??? There’s a giant asteroid coming towards earth and the crustal-plate elementals are hitting each other?!?! YOU IDIOTS!!! COOPERATE AND HOLD THE PLANET TOGETHER! (Geez! They seriously MEANT it when they said they’d lend me some more power… OK!)    Next we’ll need a really big kinetic damping spell. Maybe I can get the Solar Elementals (If any) to zap it – since it seems to be shielded against my touching it directly… WHY THE HELL IS ALL OF THIS HAPPENING AT ONCE!

Waitaminute…

Good God… That’s one hell of a big destiny spell. It’s trying to force every possible earthly catastrophe to happen at once?!?! NO!

Even with all the extra power – and every arcane trick that David could think of – it soon became obvious that David was losing. The best he could do without burning himself out was to moderate their effects… There’ would be widespread disaster, but it’d be manageable – especially if he could hold onto the power for a bit, and use some spells to help everybody out.

The way things had been going – and the way TimeWalker talked – he couldn’t afford to be unconscious for long.

OK; While he had all the power, it was time for some serious – planetary-scale – spellcasting… A long-term “All-Revealing Light of Truth” spell (To let people see those pesky shapeshifters), a status-check spell (There were monsters in Tokoyo, the Elementals were fixing the crust, the asteroid would probably stop {?? – A ship or something??}, and there had been a lot of damage and many casualties), a massive repair spell, an equally-massive healing/revival spell, a failed attempt to enchant himself “Against that pest’s destiny spells!”, one to pull his mother out if/when she needed it (Apparently she did not at the moment… Whatever was going on with mother was looking odder and odder), a self-enhancement spell on himself (It mostly went physical for some reason), some basic Dimensional Barriers (To stop mass troop shifts – as in those stupid orcs), an attempt to get rid of/cure the Filoviruses (Ebola, Marburg, etc. Sadly, some utter bastard apparently blocked it), Creating a Really Great Wizards Sanctum, Locating (And collecting any that just happened to be accessible and/or laying around loose) any mystic artifacts which happened to be about, an attempt to stop the Crimson Bangle (Effectiveness unknown as of yet), an attempt at getting some background information on magical beings (Resulting in a sort of survey course in Paranormal Zoology), setting up an effective trouble warning/location system in the sanctum, creating a kind of arcane, contagious, “plague” to force the Zarkonians to shift (Fairly permanently) into non-sentient shapes, Legalizing and Distributing Pot (Considering the level of tension and chaos it seemed like a good idea – even if he hadn’t been a college kid from California), “Announcing Himself” (And letting everyone know that they shouldn’t count on this sort of thing; the circumstances had been somewhat unique), and Re-Stabilizing the Global Weather Patterns – which is when the power boost got withdrawn. Still, most of the things he’d done would last for many years to come – if not for decades or centuries.

God. What a RUSH.

Whaa??? Oh. Channel Nine. Look, I’m sorry, I’m busy, and I’m very tired at the moment! Maybe I’ll have time to talk to you later, OK?

OK, so if they won’t go away I’ll just go invisible. That ought to discourage them…

So where’s the sanctum? There it is. Everybody must be inside… Cell Foe says that “Haven” says hello? It seems to be alive, sentient, from some alien dimension, to have links like both Desrae and I (Good God…), and it’s surprised/angry/indignant that it could be dragged here and bound – as well as extremely confused about what these carbon-based things here are? Huh. Why do I have the feeling that it may be decades before I have a good idea of what all it is I’ve just done?

How did you guys get bound into statues anyway? The Sanctum did it? Just a minute and I’ll turn you loose.

Weird. The Sanctum seems to amplify my power vastly – as well as providing some new ones… At least it cut those elementals loose easily enough.

Oh God. All-revealing light. Robert.

Robert? Oh God. Don’t look at me like that! I had to! (God. He feels utterly betrayed… He’s going catatonic on me? It’s my spell after all, maybe I can keep his brain from really registering the information. Not good, but adequate for the moment. God. Everyone else is going to see it too. What am I going to tell them?

It’ll have to be the truth. I seem to have inadvertantly banned lying…

Michael put up the most arguement. The aliens could see both the power and the berserker tendencies. They’d have executed him, and everyone else could see the need for restraints, as well as the fact that David would’ve rather done almost anything else…

Caithrin? Why are you trying to sneak up on me with a needle? (Must be embarrasing to see yourself sneaking around that way on the TV…).

By the way, it looks like I’ve just abolished lying, at least for the next ten years or so.

Yes, I know just how big a mess that’s going to make in a lot of ways! I dunno how I’m going to maintain my “secret identity”…

(With the memories of an especially unpleasant dream going through his head, David put a little more “force” – and pain – behind his look then he’d really intended)

SO WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO SNEAK UP AND DRUG ME?!?

You’re not sure what I’m becoming and it might be very dangerous and it might need curing and… What if it was dangerous to the population at large?

Look… I don’t think any of that kind of thing will work on me anymore – and I don’t think I could be “cured” at the moment without it killing me.

As for the population at large, if I wasn’t this way right now, most of them would ALREADY be dead.

Lets go and see what’s happened to the Sanctum, OK?

The sanctum was WEIRD… It had it’s own, multiplex, consciousness, bizarre servants from alien worlds – and any amount of other weirdness. Unfortunately, there was little time to look around; one of the first things the group ran across was that “trouble-warning” system that David had tried to set up… Like most of those spells, the consequences were far beyond his understanding. It seemed to have a limited projective function. It showed the Warlock a few things that he hadn’t entirely wanted to know…

What is it they say? “No good deed goes unpunished?” That “light-of-truth” business is a bit out of control; Global riots. A lot of old lies are showing up as fakes – like most of the foundations of the major power bases worldwide. Revolutions, replacement, etcetera. At least Department-X seems to have blown apart… It looks like most of the major governments have been lying. Everyone always thought so – but now they KNOW.

At least it’s only people and politics – and not the planetary crust this time.

Master Equinox dropped by momentarily with a message – it seemed that David shouldn’t expect much help for a bit; One of the rift-realms greatest – and maddest – magi was making trouble; He’d made it two tiers further “up” then anyone else, was WAY more powerful – and didn’t care WHAT he was wrecking. He supported the no-intervention idea – even if it killed everyone… The rift-realm had too many worldgates. It was naturally unstable. While David’s goodwill was helping “hold the place together”, he didn’t think that David could really help much… Power in the realm was derived from a mix of raw magic, knowledge, intuition, creativity, and accomplishment… David was strong on the creativity and intuition bit, but he’d only been at this a few weeks. The rift-realm let mages surpass all ordinary limits (Although it did tend to make them a bit nutty).

Well… Hell. They helped ME. There really ought to be something I can do – but I just don’t have that kind of power!

I need a lever.

The rift-realm is devoted to pure magic…

Hey, Solamon!

Solamon was getting awfully fuzzy… Something about the light-spell was breaking down the mental “barriers” that kept him from being overwhelmed by his memories… Still, David copied his powers into a psychic matrix of mirror-magic and loaned them to “his” side in the rift- realm. They were different enough from magic that they might be some help. While he was at it, he copied them for himself too – and tried to help Solamon. On the plus side, the light spell didn’t reach into the sanctum and Michael now knew how to work his armor…

About then, the Commander telepathically “announced” that “THE FLEET WILL BE ARRIVING SHORTLY”.

WAIT A MINUTE! Which fleet? YOUR fleet?!?!? The one that was going to “Blow up the infected cities?”

You’re not going to try do that because “We’ve found an effective countermeasure”? The fleet’s coming in as fast as it can because you’re fighting the infiltration too, and you need to get a hold of the countermeasure as quickly as possible in case you can’t keep the “planet-eater” from destroying the earth?

PLANET-EATER?!?!?!?! That Asteroid? You’ve seen them before? This planet’s strategically valuable enough now to make it worth a try at stopping it, but you’ve never been able to before?!

Did you try hard?

I thought you were out of touch?!? You are, but you used a top-priority emergency signal and you’re sure that they’ll listen to you when they arrive?

What happens if they don’t?

SHITSHITSHIT!

David, completely overloaded for the moment, dithered briefly, and unconsciously elected to focus on a few of the more comprehensible and immediate problems, such as Robert, the ex-agents, and trying to get the Commander in touch wth the fleet while everybody still had some time to prepare if he couldn’t talk them around…

RIGHT.

Now waitaminute. Why should Robert feel so betrayed? He’s only been with us a few days… He knew we didn’t trust him to begin with, and one of the first things we did was bind him to obedience! OK, it’s a rotten thing to do to someone – but betrayed enough to go catatonic? How did a murderous werewolf I’ve hardly met, and don’t especially trust, suddenly become a “friend” I can feel such guilt over? He’s murdered thirty people. A couple of months – hell, LIFE – without sex hormones isn’t all that high a penalty!

It’s not even an unreasonable precaution.

Ahhh… Somebody’s laid a bunch of destiny spells, and a deep bond, to shove us together… I’m “Pack Leader”. He doesn’t want to fight. So. Somebody HAS been setting us up.

Now if only I could be sure that it wasn’t me.

The ex-agents were simple. They were fine. They were even beginning to adjust to being dogs. It seemed that they’d been conditioned to accept their circumstances, and obey orders, from an early age…

They’d also done enough seriously rotten things over their years as agents that David felt very little guilt about keeping them the way they were.

That left finding some way to get in touch with that stupid fleet… The easiest way would be to enhance the Commander’s telepathic range.

So. About this fleet… The scoutship we took mounts an amplifier doesn’t it? Maybe if I step it up, you can get in touch with the fleet…

Nope. Drat. Maybe with more telepaths and a bigger amplifier to work with? We can salvage those big ships up in orbit now – and they ought to have both aboard.

The salvage expedition was a definite success. There were six “blue guy” refugees aboard (The Zarkonians had tested and taken away almost everyone… It seemed that most of them were Zarkonians and had forgotten – or never known – it) and lots of large ships available… They took a medium-size cargo/medical ship (Only about 1/2 a mile long) and stuck it under the ocean, secured most of the others – and made sure that all of them were “infected” with the metamorphosis -plague…

On the other hand, the ships instruments showed that there were at least two alien battle fleets on the way. It also helped confirm the identity of the world-eater.

Azrael began to collapse on the way back. It seemed that he’d been a Zarkonian – without knowing it – and the plague-spell was taking effect. His telepathy and basic self-image had hidden the early effects… David tried – but the spell was too powerful- and too far along – for him to do more then make him comfortable… Checking on everybody else revealed that the supervillain with the energy-manipulating powers was also “going dog”. David spent some time transferring his powers into an amulet. It might come in handy later on… A dolphin might have been better (They had similar mental patterns) – but he didn’t happen to know any…

The super-strong-and-tough guy was just a mercenary. He could stay where he was for the moment.

The commander and cohorts got through to the fleet. It was fighting another fleet and a single ship (It didn’t have much of a chance – but it had a hot pilot and a wide field of fire… Given the rest of the confusion it was doing pretty well). They’d make it – but it looked like it was going to be an extended fight.

The stepup worked? You got in touch with them – and they’re willing to listen? Well, that’s one less worry on the list…

Momentarily dizzy with relief, David turned away. The room kept on turning even after he stopped – and promptly faded away into blackness. Even the energies of faerie and supernatural imperatives eventually give way before the kind of fatigue throwing massive twenty-first level global spells generates…

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