Thursday, April 16, 2020

All's Well That Ends, Wells

Amy Wilson was at home when the group dropped by. After they explained that they were there on the request of Peregrine Cycle, Amy invited them in. She offered some cookies, and gave them the condensed version of events.

In 1983, shortly after the events of the Tempus Frigate, Amy Wilson was dropped off in her own time. In 1986, Peregrine Cycle returned. "Amy Wilson. I bring sad news. A group of Agents known as the Texas 13 stumbled onto… an Event. They mobilized two days ago. While they were able to stop the Event, all but one of the Texas 13 perished. The result of the Event has left a scar that I believe will never fully heal. Little remains but ash. Your new assignment, effective immediately, is to replace the fallen Agents. You are to move to the city of Longview, Texas immediately."

She moved, and after helping the lone surviving agent to clean up what they could, she began work full time for the Agency, keeping the area safe. The surviving agent was unable to explain what caused the Event, or what was done to locate or stop it; he knew only that the Event created a portal, of some sort.

Through the 80s and 90s, she helped the Agency maintain tabs on Longview, LeTourneau, and the surrounding area, keeping the higher-than-usual-number-of-threats under control. At this point, she is only on administration duties, being in her 60s.

Importantly, she admitted her part in "magic" as it is today. Back in the mid 1940s, she was on the crashed ship that caused the Roswell alien craze. Part of the crash resulted in the release of a swarm of self-replicating nanites, which apparently took the existing nanites in the atmosphere and multiplied them, resulting in a steep climb in magical abilities. Older "magical" items were powered up drastically as the tiny robots grew in power. Rituals, as it turns out, are less about magic, and more about stumbling onto the precise motions and components that sends a command to a bunch of nanites...

James mentioned the poem that Alistair had received; after looking it over, Amy filled in some gaps. "Obviously, I am the clockwork policeman's elderly friend / Who swam against time's dark sea - while Peregrine has never stated it outright, I am fairly certain he's an android of some sort. And I've time traveled, though I resent being called elderly. Eye of Phi surely refers to EyePhi - I know you've already have several run-ins with them."

Finally, she filled them in on the strange men (and woman) they encountered. They are the Men in Black - an organization that exists to keep knowledge of strange events under wraps, but why, no one knows. Amy works for The Agency, a group that is similarly shrouded in mystery, but not nearly as brutal in their cleanup methods. The MiB and the Agency are enemies, and clashes between them are bloody and devastating for both sides. Make no mistake - the MiB are evil, and incredibly dangerous. Members of The Agency are warned to never go up against the MiB alone.

After a few other tips and hints, she urged them to hurry - if Peregrine was willing to bend the rules enough to tell the group about Dr. Wells, he was surely important.

After a quick trip to their hideout in the bookstore for Alistair to make some sharpness potions, the group was ready to go. Taking James' "spooky" car, they met up with their new redneck buddies, and crept up on the old abandoned building. They spotted some tracks around back, and after disarming a rather shocking electric trap, opened the door... and immediately began combat! A quick crushing blow and a couple stab wounds later, and the MiB in the kitchen area was down. Another MiB, hearing the noise, poked his head in, then sounded the alarm. Will, sneaking a look, counted four MiB and two WiB (Women in Black) in the dining area.

After a moment to regroup, they charged together; the MiB took a few shots, but only succeeded in angering James. Will and the rednecks opened fire, injuring two of MiB; trading shots and blows, the MiB were worn down, and finally, James was able to break through and get to the WiB in the back as they cast their ritual. Too late, as the ritual succeeded, drenching the building in darkness. Even so, the group managed to take down the two WiB, as well as the last of the MiB, though Bobby Lee took a round to the gut. Priya, burning a black chip, resuscitated and stabilized him.

The fight wasn't over, though, as one of the MiB in the kitchen seemed to have healed up enough to crawl out - James ended him, again. Searching the building, they found Dr. Wells, surrounded by whiteboards and working feverishly. He ignored them entirely until he was knocked unconscious by Priya, and dragged outside. When he came to, he was more himself; he mentioned that while he was mostly out of it, he'd had the presence of mind to create some explosives, and rig them to a short-range dead-man's-switch. With Will yelling, "There's a bomb! Get to da choppa!" in his best (?) Schwarzenegger voice, they dashed for some construction waste bins nearby. Bobby Lee and Dr. Wells weren't quite hidden when the blast went off... As it turns out, Dr. Wells thought he had only been imprisoned for a few days, maybe a couple weeks, and had been preparing a small amount of explosives every few hours. As it turns out, his nearly-a-year experience resulted in a lot more explosives, and one very, very flattened building.

Kicking it into high gear, James and the others bolted for the vehicles, executing such an energetic escape that the police, only three blocks away, didn't even catch sight of their car.

Returning to campus, they found Peregrine Cycle was waiting for them. He offered to take Wells off their hands, keeping him safe with an Agent Peregrine knew to be trustworthy.

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