After Thursdays utter exhaustion, David didn’t wake up for hours, by which time he was quite ready for his Friday-morning breakfast.
Lestat, however, had left a message; While he had no ill-will about it, he was looking into finding some way to get rid of the light-spell. It was making his unlife very difficult…
The Warlocks Personal Timeline:
13 (Wednesday): Between Orcs and “Ogres” robbing a convenience store, whining dogs, and a visit from Lestat, David only got about four hours sleep, and was up at dawn with things to do; “Stealing” an alien scoutship from a secret government organization, a trip around the moon, grocery shopping, getting and repairing a car, visiting a hospital to heal people (and appearing for a television interview), obtaining a drivers license, being taken to Washington, leading a mass escape from Department-X and briefing the upper government on the situation, binding and fixing Robert – and working on magical gadgetry… Too jittery to sleep, Wednesday segued straight on into
14 (Thursday): “Hunting” with Robert led to getting the Sanctum set up with facilities for everyone, trying to inventory it’s rooms, a dark dream (and phone calls) from the far future, and various global cataclysms. Using power “borrowed” from the Rift-Realm, David unleashed a variety of unthinkably potent spells (With incalculable ramifications) in a desperate attempt to hold the world together. Pestered by reporters, he then retreated into studying his new-and-improved sanctum, setting some elementals free, administering mental therapy to Robert and Solamon, dealing with his family, copying Solamon’s powers – and lending out them to the Rift-Realm – before discovering that there were two alien battle fleets on the way, and that the huge asteroid was apparently a “planet-eater”. Their inability to contact the aliens led to a salvage / rescue expedition to the orbiting alien ships, the loss of Azrael, a bit of investigation of his mysterious bond with Robert, and negotiations with the “blue guy” aliens, just before the power overload of casting global spells caught up to David like a steamroller…
What the hell am I going to do about that asteroid / ship? I couldn’t touch it WITH all that extra power!
Maybe somebody at breakfast will have an idea.
So what’s on the preview channel? AN ATOMIC BLAST!? IN SEVEN HOURS?
Who’d… There are a bunch of cold-war fellows who’d like to start a war to stir up national loyalties and to help keep things together politically, but they’d prefer a conventional one?
I take it you’ve been busy while I’ve been asleep?
There are too damn many launch buttons!.. If it isn’t going to be a human being, who else has access?
There are three self-aware computer systems and they all have nuclear access?
Great. Just Great. Jus – WHAT WAS THAT?!? Something hit you?
The rocky mountains elemental felt something hit it? Must’ve been one hell of an impact for a mountain range to feel it!
I suppose we’d better look into it.
Investigating the shock led to a crash-landed spaceship. It was spider-shaped, as big as several aircraft carriers put together, and severely damaged. It proved to be full of long-deactivated robotic aliens…
No wonder the mountains felt it… Through one peak and practically buried in another. There really shouldn’t be anything left of it at all!
I wonder what it’s made of?
Yet another (crashlanded) alien spaceship – possibly with yet another alien race onboard.
“Yet Another”. Has the world gone that mad, or is it just me?
There isn’t time for patient exploration!!! I’m just going to have to get some of the systems up and running and try to get something out of their computers. There doesn’t seem to be anything left in the way of a crew – and we’ve still got an atomic war on the way!
Has ANYBODY here got ANYTHING on that?
You’ve narrowed it down to one of the three sentient computer systems? You can’t get locations on them? Why not? They’re better at hacking then you are?
I suppose that makes sense.
Well, these are sentient computer aliens… Maybe if I wake them up, they can help out.
So that’s insane?
Have you been paying attention recently?
OK, the system’s up…
I think you’ve been down a long time fellows. As far as I can tell, you drifted into the solar system out of deep space.
What happened to the enemy? The Traitors-To-Life who wished to plunder living worlds?
Would this (showing them the planetoid) be them?
Yes? But it looks like it’s been millennia? What an amazing coincidence… You think so too? It seems that there’s a lot that kind of thing going around.
Let’s see what I can do in the way of repairing, and repowering, your systems and crew.
You don’t think that that’s possible? What’s magic?
Well, you don’t understand how I got you fixed up do you?
I didn’t think so.
The Warlock spent the next hour or two fixing up – and powering up – the crew. They came in many sizes, with a large variety of tools and weapons, and with a somewhat simple-minded (if helpful, brave, polite, and overly boy- scoutish) selection of personalities. Just the bunch of people you’d trust with being cosmic guardians… Nice, reliable, computer-minds which could easily be checked, reproduced, and repaired coupled with enormous physical power – and eternal readiness.
It made him wonder who’d originally designed them.
Sadly, they didn’t have any better luck with earth’s computers then the others had been having. Tired, David was just taking a breather when the mayor called…
Weird. They’re not very good at using it, but their power supply seems to be magical somehow… Dammit! I wish the professor hadn’t tried that earring on. Where does the energy come FROM!? How can I have – generate? – nearly as much power as this kind of ship? How can my body handle that kind of power? What if it can’t? How can everyone have OVERLOOKED this kind of thing!? I’ve left traces across the entire world! Even if the power was weak, Lestat, Solamon, and the Seer, have been around for quite a while! Twenty minutes ago I was exhausted. Now I feel fine. What am I becoming?
I don’t know enough physics.
I wonder if there’s anyone who does?
The mayor again? What about? There’s some maniac on one of the water towers with a bunch of hostages and he’s demanding me? An old oriental man with weird powers?
And I was just wishing for the Professor… NO. That COULDN’T be possible. Besides… I wanted him SANE.
Hey, is there anyone else you’d like to mention that you gave out my number to? The Mayor, the Governor (Now a dog), the President, and the Ruler Of Kenya (?!?). Oh never mind…
The professor seemed to have gone entirely through insanity – and was somewhere out on it’s other side. He acted like an advanced Alzheimers patient. There was no connection between his ravings and reality at all.
Unfortunately, he still possessed both his powers, and the occult artifacts he’d collected under the power of the earring. David and the others dodged or parried random blasts, and pulled hostages out, until the Professor decided to fly the water tower to the moon.
Good god… He really is hopelessly out of his mind. I’d hoped he might be reachable.
No, you can’t bill me for the water tower! I wasn’t the one who took it away! You called ME remember? Why don’t you send the bill to Dr. Genos? He’s responsible for the damages from the Lizard and the sewers too…
I shouldn’t have mentioned the Lizard. Here he comes again… Trying to jump on top of us.
Yes, Michael, I’m very tired of the Lizard! You have a way to get rid of him?! FINE!
Well, I suppose he can’t claw himself out of a deep space parking orbit, but he might suffocate (Even if he does seem fairly unkillable). After all, he didn’t get a choice about being this way…
I guess you’re right; he’s an uncontrollable monster who keeps destroying buildings and killing people – but I still wish we could’ve cured him.
OhShit! We’ve still got a nuclear war coming up…
We still haven’t got anything on which system, or on where!
Waitaminute… Sentient computer systems. Whatever- it-was that was in MY computer certainly seemed like it was sentient! Of course, it wasn’t hooked up to a modem or anything – but it might have gotten around that.
It’s time to drop in on my apartment again… I hope that there aren’t any left-over Dept-X guys there.
There weren’t. There was, however, a glowing ball of blue light where his computer used to be, his creepy roommate had cleaned out (And hocked) most of his stuff – and something REALLY seemed to be “wrong” about him.
God he’s being evasive – and he’s hocked all my stuff! There’s no time for this kind of dancing around… I’ll run a quick probe.
He’s been getting off by strangling his lovers while he’s inside them? He’s killed three so far? That’s even sicker then I thought!. I’ll just show the other fellow what he was in for…
That ran him off quick enough.
How did I do that? I’ve got no time for explanations now, just gimme the pawn-shop slips. Right. As for you, you’ve murdered three people and I’ve no time. You’re a dog…
I’ll drop him off at the pound on the way.
Oh hell. Here. I’ll pay for his veterinary work. That should give him a fair chance at getting adopted. I’ll even throw in a spell to make him a good dog…
We’ve got less then four hours now guys… Whatever- it-is that downloaded itself into / through my computer seems to be a bit defensive – and to have spread out thru the university systems – but it’s reasonable enough and doesn’t want to wreck it’s own technological basis. It also says that there’s one in Kenya, but it seems to be limited to the “local” systems the Russians put in, and it’s busy sorting out what, why, and where it is, as well as in learning to communicate, and “growing up”. There’s one in China too – but it’s located in a single command computer and is obsessed with “Destroying those hideous organic life forms”.
Anybody wanna make one guess at which one it is?
So. There’s no time to be diplomatic, and we can’t get too close or it’ll launch everything it’s got – instead of spending a few hours trying for more.
You guys are detection-shielded and can easily blow it up from orbit before it has time to launch?
Blowing it up turned out to be pretty simple… One of the computer-aliens mounted an orbital cannon. There were some complications as Michael used his armor (Hey! I could fly through the core of the sun in this stuff – at FTL speeds!) to pull out the people, but there was a lot of property damage.
The Chinese Government would be mad as hell. David called the president and warned him, and told him to send in the diplomats… The TV said that that put the major chances of war off for nearly forty-eight hours.
Forty-eight hours? Well, it’s better then three…
Desrae? Where are you getting all these kids? Out of fatal accidents?
Oh… You mean out of accidents where they would’ve died if you hadn’t intervened. So why not take them to their parents? Most of them are orphans? You’ve found that if you’re in the “immediate vicinity” when someone dies you can gather all the energy you need without any need to suck it out of them? (Errrrr…) So-you-go-thru really-fast-and-pull-out-who-you-can-and-absorb-what-you- need-from-the-rest. Well – they can stay for a while IF we’ve got room and IF the sanctum is safe enough for some wandering children…
There are all kinds of weird accidents and things these days? The average death rate is up nearly 15%?
How are you getting there anyway? One of the smaller aliens is acting as a shuttle for you?
Cosmic robotic boy scouts. Riiiigggghhhhht…
You (Haven) can take care of them easily? You’ve got several entire planets and a microverse “in the basement” anyway? You have lots of food, and have laid in the “Nice Wizard” set of parameters for the servants and such? Most of the seven previous ultra-powerful wizard-masters who are not a part of you were fairly nice people? Only one of them was REALLY nasty? Number four? He’s the one who merged fifty billion or so people into a “living world” of tormented spirits?
WHAT KIND OF PLANET?!?
IN THE BASEMENT!?!?!
“I shouldn’t go there. It’s too strong to do much of anything about?”
“Even the really powerful magi couldn’t do anything?”
So what are the others like? One planet of sentient plants which were too nice and passive for their own good out in the wider universe, one which was simply a great spot to live/vacation, and a micro-universe which has a contract to do your small-scale cleaning/dusting, and any required nano-operations?
Yes kids, it’s OK, there’s lots of space for you. Am I the Warlock? Like in the comic book?
Lemme see that!
Geez… This thing is almost entirely accurate! Only the stuff which went on behind shields – or was “edited out” for being overly x-rated – isn’t in here. Just the way to keep a secret.
What’s all this stuff about companion rings?
Hey, waitaminute, this came out last month and still covers everything up thru that mess with the professor?
“Robert seems somewhat subdued”. Yeah, fight… You mind if I hang onto this for a but kid? No problem, you can just buy another copy?
I think I ought to talk to the author – very soon.
Huh. It may be a waste of time – but I’d still like to have SOME way to conceal my identity. Maybe there’s something in the mystic artifact collection?
A little carving of a dog in Onyx that “chases away” light magic for up to 12 hours a day? That’ll do… At least the light-spell doesn’t seem to affect the inside of the sanctum.
We might want to keep an eye on what the professor’s up to on the moon? Why? It’s a dead world isn’t it?
It’s a large egg with a lot of space debris built up on it?
David spent the next few moments attempting to find some way of expressing himself…
He eventually settled on stomping in a circle while waving his arms and yelling at the universe…
Eric was rather pleased. Evidently his sixteen year old son was still “in there someplace” – despite those (rather incredible) powers…
WHERE’S THAT BEDAMMED “COMIC BOOK”?!?!? WHAT COMIC BOOK?
Nobody else remembers it? OK; it’s either my way of expressing Timewalker’s pre- and post-cognitive powers, or something’s going on – or I’m under even more stress then I thought…
Hey… Robert was manipulated. I wonder how many of the others were manipulated into joining up? Lets see;
Solamon wasn’t… Somehow I feel like I’ve known him “forever” (I wonder why?), but he hasn’t been hauled in magically.
Desrae’s entire family was manipulated into being in the area, but she was just “steered” a bit… I suppose that whoever-it-was felt that her looks alone could get us to accept her.
God she’s lovely.
Errr… I wonder how many people that’s been the last thought for? I mean… She’s sucking peoples life out. Maybe they don’t really need it any more at that point, but what if they do? Is she just doing a little psychic scavenging, or is she actually eating people’s spirits? How many might’ve gotten to a hospital and lived if she hadn’t sucked them dry?
Why am I thinking of colorful poisonous things?
She’s awfully instinctive, and her instincts lead to something like Lestat. She’s bonded with a demon. She didn’t want a cure.
A nice normal night out is beginning to sound better and better… I may feel differently when I’m actually looking at her, but I’m not entirely sure that I really want to get her into my bed.
OK; I’ve got a planet of horror in the basement that none of the prior magi could do anything about, there’s a planet-eater in orbit, and a nuclear war is coming up day after tomorrow…
Well, it looks like Haven lets me tap into the power of the prior “occupants”. Perhaps I ought to try and find out something about who they were, and what they could do.
Even if that’s not what’s going on it’d be very nice to know what they tried to do about that nasty “world”.
The library seems like a good bet.
It’s always the second door on the left?! No matter where I am at the moment?
Well, I wanted a wizard’s sanctum.
The library was huge, and strange, and filled with a lot of seriously odd volumes – even if you didn’t count the ones that were carefully locked away because if you let them out they got up to things… David found out a lot, but his basic research project rapidly turned into an all-nighter…
He hardly even noticed.
So… Haven’s current form is nothing like it really is. It originated in a universe so alien that actually knowing much of anything about it would drive me crazy. Most of the prior owners were fairly minor mages, but a couple were pretty powerful. The first two weren’t very “human”, the second was the son of the first, the third was female, the fourth was the nasty one and, as a mage of the twelfth circle he was sightly more powerful then I am (I’d class as a mage of the fifth circle, but I’ve got major “innate talents”?), the fifth was primarily a ritualist, the sixth was of the fifteenth circle (and was a LOT more powerful then I am since he had some talents too), but used a less flexible branch of magic, and had no luck dealing with the “planet of torment”. His books of magic are filed under FE.6 thru…
At least it looks like the chances of coming up with something new to try are fairly good.
OK, so what’s everybody got on the “Planet-Eater”?!? If you’ve seen them before you ought to know something!
They (Or possibly IT) are essentially vampires? It/they usually hang around the heavily populated areas of the galaxy (So why is it here?) sucking the life out of planets… Massive fleets and firepower can chase it away sometimes, but most of the time it leaves a dead world, with seriously unstable hyperspace/subspace interfaces, behind…
THAT’S ABSURD! For something that size? It’s almost a hundred kilometers across! The bioenergy of a planet is NOTHING in comparison to the kind of energy needs a “vampire” like that would have!
You think it taps into hyperspace through the “local life forms”, and hibernates while traveling between star systems?
Well, it’d explain why it was immune to my spells… Whatever-it-is that powers “magic”, it seems to have an opposing force which powers “vampires”.
The mayor of Cincinnati is calling?
Because she’s heard that I’m a superhero and the local national guard forces can’t stop the football team?
Because they’ve turned into giant tiger-creatures?!? Just like their mascot? There’s nearly 120 of them?
I’ll try to do something as soon as I can, OK? There are quite a few other emergencies going on…
I think I’ve got an idea… I’ve got a planet-eater on one hand – and a planet of evil and pain which tries to suck in anything which comes near it on the other.
Maybe I can arrange an introduction.
Nobody has any idea what might happen?.. We’d need a computer capable of analyzing magical energy to get any kind of an idea?
Well, that ball-of-blue-light which got into my computer seemed to understand magic. I’ll call and ask it!
It’s beyond calculation? Or at least beyond what you understand? Drat. Well, I haven’t been sending myself any warnings about the idea…
Maybe I can think of a way to do it.
So. What am I going to do about the one-hundred-and- twenty giant tiger-creatures?
The faint, psychic, whisper came from somewhere… A thought out of the future? A suggestion from impatient fate? An idea which would have occurred much earlier if he hadn’t been under such stress?
“Why don’t you send a few people from the group that you’ve been collecting?”
Who cared where it came from? It was a GOOD idea.
Oh for gods sake. Haven? Can you find someplace to put them? Good.
Michael? You carried the Lizard into orbit and collected 300 people in sixteen microseconds, could you put them there?
You’d like some help because they’re too big for you to use both kinds of acceleration at once? Maybe Robert?
I dunno… I don’t think I want to send Robert into the middle of a bunch of giant cats. Not just yet. He hasn’t even fully adjusted to being… Anyway.
Who else have we got?
Ratman and THE VOICE only show up when they want to, Azrael, The Professor, Ebonflame, and Timewalker, are all out of it at the moment and it’s not really Desrae’s kind of job…
Who does that leave? The Changeling and the Commander? (God. The Changeling’s talents are a hell of a lot like Robert’s. Is he going to need a leash too? At least HIS wolf-spirit is safely external. Come to think of it, is that thing a real animal at all? That’s another thing I’m going to have to look into).
Well… We need the Commander to talk to that fleet. I know you might need more help, but will Changeling do to start with?
Who is it now, Oh Cell Foe? Julia?
Hell yeah, put her on!
So, she’d like to make it Fisherman’s Wharf? That’s fine with me… My chemistry partner from last semester turned into a small dog and ran away? (Oh hell. That would be a Zarkonian. If one of them took his place, Jason’s almost certainly dead. Poor bastard). Yeah, that’s very very strange all right (True enough. Why the hell would they impersonate a minor college student?)… I’ll come by and pick you up tomorrow evening unless something goes very wrong…
Second Call? From a very old supercomputer? (Huh? I thought those were new?!?) It’s under the ocean, upside down, it just woke up and it’s disoriented – and it wants to know if it should begin the cyrogenic revivals? The continental layout has shifted enough to alter the base parameters for the revival sequences?!? (What cyrogenic revivals? The CONTINENTS have shifted? WHY IS IT ASKING ME?)
Errr… Why not wait a day or so? Will it actually matter any?
Not really, anybody who wasn’t going to make it died a long time ago and you’re already eons overdue anyway? You’re bringing the other computers online for now?
The TV is prelisting a special report “Return Of The Atlanteans; The Revival Of A Pre-Ice-Ages Civilization” for two days from now? Now that’s an OLD computer…
I wonder if this would be before or after the atomic war it’s predicting for the same time period?
If we’re still around I’ll deal with it then.
I wish I could talk to Solamon.
Maybe I can! He’s not very firmly anchored in time, so maybe I can get in contact with a sane aspect of him with a mirror-spell, even if his present aspect is sort of out-to-lunch…
Solamon apparently used the transtemporal link David established to minimize the timeripple resulting from a temporal overlap – and popped out of the mirror to hand David a cerebral augmenter, and to ask David to install it in his (present) brain… The timelords would still notice the ripple of course, but they would have yelled a lot more about a full-scale shift. Besides; they were approaching a critical historical nexus. It was no time to be having a mental overload.
Along the way David “discovered” that “Cell Foe” was an extraordinarily powerful linking focus (You just had to dial some appropriate coordinates) – and that the TV did something similar for divination… Both had actual spirits (With a definite “familiar” feel) although most of the other devices which he’d inadvertently enchanted were simply constructs.
Hey… If somebody can cast destiny spells to try to make all possible disasters happen at once, why can’t I try to make sure I succeed at something? Or at least to limit the things which can go wrong?
If I use mirror-magic to amplify my power…
I’ll need to take a lot of precautions…
God. Maybe I can actually do this.
David spent much of the morning taking precautions – shielding spells, destiny spells, personal enhancements and amplifications, gathering “components” – and trying to tap into any latent powers he could… If anything went wrong, he wanted it to affect him – and not the rest of the world. This was, after all, his idea.
That afternoon, the orbit of the world-eater brought it nearly overhead – and David opened a gateway between it and the pocket-realm “basement” which held the hellworld. He’d faced it away from the earth, and shielded it all he could…
Deep in space there were terrible psychic screams…
The worldeater tried desperately to pull away as the overwhelming power of the hellworld locked on to it’s essence and began dragging it through in pieces like an object being consumed by a black hole. While some small fragments did break away, most of the “asteroids” mass, and power, was dragged through the gateway.
Moments later, as the stone, metal, and annihilating energies of the word-eater rained down, it was the turn of the hellworld to scream. It’s convulsions – and the clash of opposing energies – began to tear it’s fragile pocket-realm apart… Reality convulsed, and shuddered towards catastrophe.
Lord Warlock? We have a class-1 emergency situation. Unless the “hellworld” pocket dimension is disconnected from the basic sanctum nexus within 2.3 minutes a total containment failure can be expected to occur. The most likely result is the destruction of this solar system.
Sohowdowecutitloose? Fromthemaincontrolroom? Where’s that?
YOU CAN’T TELL ME THAT BECAUSE OF YOUR OLD SECURITY RESTRICTIONS?!?
OH NEVER MIND! I’LL FIND IT MYSELF!
David drew on the talent he’d copied from Timewalker and stepped out of time. That ought to give him plenty of subjective “time” to look…
It took thirteen hours to find the control room. By that time David had had to have Solamon show him how to “rest” out of time – and how to maintain the effect for so long.
It turned out to be a big cross-shaped room, full of levers.
Haven seemed to “tilt” for a moment or two as it compensated for the mass differences…
It couldn’t say exactly what had happened in the hellrealm – but it hadn’t been doing well.
Hey. My divinations about a possible battle between the world-eater and the cosmic boy scouts gave them about 50-50 chance.
If they haven’t noticed it already, I think I’ll let them know that they’ll probably never get a better time to attack.
Sadly, that “trouble-detection” system had picked up some information which David could have done without… It seemed that the psychic storm his tactic had created had killed nearly a thousand telepathically-sensitive people. Fortunately, Solamon knew what to say…
Oh GOD. I’ve killed 987 people. Come to think of it, I’ve committed genocide by transformation and mutilated a roommate and a friend…
Some of his friends stepped in to help with the angst.
David… It ate planets. Out of nearly six billion people, plus however many were on the other worlds that it would’ve eaten, there were less then a thousand that you couldn’t save. The Zarkonians made a habit of genocide. As for Robert and your roommate… they’re getting off pretty easy for multiple murderers. You’re doing pretty well – and, if you’re worried, it will be easy enough to make sure that your idiot roommate gets adopted before he gets put to sleep.
Warlocks Personal Timeline:
15 (Friday): Atomic clouds in the forecast lead to tracking sentient computers, and to earning a first-aid merit badge for helping out the crash-landed Paracosmic Boy Scouts. With lunch came The Amazing Dao and his Water Tower, Interplanetary Ballistic Lizards, transforming a murderous roommate into a dog – David even paid for his veterinary work – and blasting a launching site in China. Meanwhile, Desrae’s child rescue operation led to a bit of exploration in the sanctum, a world of horror, and a night ransacking the library in search of explanations, all of which led into Saturday…
Sadly, with the first phase of the Chaos Storm complete, scheduling changes, and the loss of too many players, meant that the campaign had to close down after a mere thirty or forty sessions. Still, the Catastrophic Destiny spell had served it’s purpose: within two weeks of gaining their superhuman abilities a number of formidable heroes had been forged into a team, had learned to use their powers effectively, had learned to make tough decisions – and had gathered and used the resources that let them defeat the planet-eater before it could devour the newly-vulnerable Earth. Stopping a nuclear war had merely been a bonus…
Most likely the next few weeks of game time – and thirty or so sessions – would have been devoted to dealing with alien fleets and cultures, Zarkonian attempts to make the Warlock stop his transformation-plague (not that he could), the recipients of those mysterious “companion rings”, legal issues, soothing Robert’s school, assorted supervillains, new races appearing, other dimensions, and all the other complications of the rise of magic.
It really is too bad that it never proved possible to continue.
- The Storm Diaries: Part I. The Players and the Stage (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fits the Fourth and Fifth (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Third (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Second (ruscumag.wordpress.com)