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Aberrant: Dead Rising - Chapter 9d: Harbringer


Dawn OOC

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Dust blew sharply, pelting the two men in the face as they stepped through the portal, entering Norman, Oklahoma. Normally, there would have been a few zombies waiting, something to fight. Instead, a group of people was going through the Lowes, pulling out building supplies.

One man was watching with a gun, but he didn't seem alarmed by James or Morgan. "Hi, there," he said casually, slumped in a lawn chair. "I guess you've heard about this place. Come to join us?"

James and Morgan exchanged a quick glance. "Perhaps," Morgan hedged. He glanced behind him at the store. "Is there enough to share?"

"Sure is! And if not here, then go on into Oklahoma City," the man said. "But watch out, there's still zoms there."

"Still... there? But not here?" Morgan asked.

"Nope!" the man grinned. "They all left two days ago. Just all turned and walked out of the city. We've got a woman who said she did a ritual or something and it drove them out. Like those things you plug into the wall and it keeps rats out of your house. Speaking of, we're all fixing up houses here and are going to rebuild. Wanna join us?"

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James asked, "Um... wow. I'm impressed. Now that's a useful ability".

James thought about it and looked a little concerned, "Say, how long are those zoms going to stay away, and where did they go? Do you think we could talk to her?"

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"We've been hiding out in the country, but when saw the zombies leaving, we came into town," the man in the chair said. He paused to take a swig off the beer bottle resting next to his chair, and Fox and James noted that everyone here had let their guard down. The man was the only one 'guarding', and from his demeanor, he wasn't being particularly observant. These people seemed to think that the zombies were really gone.

"Welcome, visitors." The woman joining them could only be described as an old pagan; graying hair hung in unruly curls around a tie-dyed shirt and brushed the edge of a tan broom skirt. She had a bit of extra weight on her, but also had the look of someone who has lost even more weight in a very rapid, unhealthy way. With that and her glasses, she couldn't have looked less like a super if she'd tried. "I am Patricia."

"This is our savior," the man said, standing - with a slight sway - and offering her the chair. Patricia declined politely as he burbled on, "She was the one who did the ritual and drove the undead away! Yeehaw!"

Patricia just smiled with false modesty and waited for their praise.

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A super with a "one city" power had more range and more raw than everyone else James had ever met combined. That it was a useful power was even better.

James gave a deep bow and said, "Lady. I'm humbled and deeply impressed."

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Fox took as good a look at the woman as he could without being rude. She doesn't happen to have dark eyes does she? Breathing regularly? No signs of Zombieism?

She wouldn't be the first strange super they had run into, but looking emaciated could also mean she might be one of the mutant zombs, they had run into two different types in Norman now. Why not a third?

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Patrica glowed with pleasure. "Oh, don't go on like that," she said. "I'll give you the details of the spell so that you can use it on your place. I'm working on extending its range to beyond a single city. I want to drive those little buggers into the wilderness and starve them out."

She shook her head as if dismissing the topic and said, "What can we help you guys with?"

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Fox shrugged, "We just came to raid supplies but if you are rebuilding here then we can hit some other place for that. Lets get right down to business and learn that spell. That would be incredibly helpful, not just to us but to all of humanity. We could reclaim one of the major cities that way."

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Patrica smiled mysteriously - and a bit smugly. "Oh, the magic was always here. You just have to know how to use it." She patted James on the arm. "The false idols of science and technology have failed us, and Mother Earth gives us what we need."

She waved to a young woman, who trotted over. She was pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way, with dark brown eyes and pale brown hair done up with flower barrettes. What wasn't so pretty was the light of fervor in her eyes when she looked at Patricia. "Yes, Mother?" she asked. She didn't look like she was related to the other woman, but that didn't mean she wasn't.

"Nashwa, you'll be going with these men to their place, and you'll show them how to do my spell," Patricia said.

Nashwa didn't miss a beat as she turned to them with a smile. "Sure! Where are we going?"

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Fox frowned, "I'd like to see the spell work first. Once we see it we can fetch others up here to learn it." He hoped James would pick up on his caution without being so open about it that the strangers would notice. He didn't want to offend, but he also didn't want to bring these strangers back to the Refuge until he'd checked them out. This sounded to good to be true and he always got extra cautious when things sounded too good to be true.

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James said, "Oklahoma City would be fine, but dealer's choice. My goal here is simple. I want to bring in twice as much raw tonnage as everyone on the previous mission combined. I'm tried being thought of as a burden on the community. There's a reason why I feel entitled to more than my fair share of... resources."

"It's time for Santa James to make an appearance again."

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"We can go do it in Oklahoma City," Nashwa said eagerly. She didn't seem to have another way of speaking that they'd seen yet. "Let me gather what I'll need, and then we can go." She paused and frowned. "How did you guys get here?"

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James felt a silly grin on his face but didn't care. He was happier than he'd been since z-day. Not only could he see, but he could see the end of the tunnel, true safety for his not-existing-yet grandchildren. True, the permanent removal of the zombie threat would mean a loss of status for James personally. Being able to safely get around in zom-infested territory wasn't a big thing if there was no zom-infested territory, but that was a trivial issue in the larger picture and a trade he'd eagerly make.

Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
"We can go do it in Oklahoma City," Nashwa said eagerly. She didn't seem to have another way of speaking that they'd seen yet. "Let me gather what I'll need, and then we can go." She paused and frowned. "How did you guys get here?"
James focused on the here and now and said, "Both of us are supers with transportation powers. Either he'll carry both of us or I will. If you have something heavy I'd be glad to carry it."
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Nashwa smiled at him warmly; James wasn't unattractive, and he was being helpful and charming. "Well," she said softly and with a slight hint of coyness, "if you'll follow me, I'll get the gear and you can help me."

The man in the chair watched them, then looked at Fox. "I see you find it hard to believe. I would too. Anything else you folks are looking for besides building supplies?"

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Fox chuckled at the man's words as he followed the girl, "We can always use more food. We appreciate how friendly you are being. Once we see this spell for ourselves, we'll have to have a meet and greet between your folks and ours."

Fox will follow the girl, but although he is making a pretense at being at ease, he is ready to take drastic action if things suddenly become hostile.

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The girl led them to a house - just a house, no fences and no bars on the window. Instead, curtains billowed in and out of the open windows. "This is my home," she said, smiling proudly as she led them into the vestible. "Wipe your feet! You know, I've never owned my own house before. But that's not going to be a problem in a world without zombies, right? I'll be able to have a house... all my own." She smiled dreamily as she led them into the kitchen, pausing only to grab a backpack on the way.

In the kitchen, she loaded up the bag with big tupperware containers, cramming them into the bag with aplomb. "I'll write all these down for you when you see that it works, and decide that you like it," she said, giving James a sideways smile full of meaning.

After she was done, she said, "Alright, I'm ready."

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Fox nodded, "James, if you don't mind I'd like to do this test someplace a little farther from home, but I'd also like to have Myf with us to observe. She would be able to understand things in a way we can't."

To the girl, "It is a very nice home. Congratulations. If you don't mind we want to pick up a friend of ours at home then go to someplace to do the spell."

Stepping out into the girl's back yard Fox concentrated his energy on forcing space to bend so that point A and point B became one. The hole opened and he walked through back to the field where Myf was still inducing the veggies to grow.

He stepped up to Myf and spoke quietly, "I know you are a woman of science so try to be skeptical but polite, this girl claims to be able to cast a spell that drives out zombies. We just were in Norman and there wasn't a single zom in sight. She's offered to teach us how. She's got a bunch of ingredients, so maybe it's a combination of natural things combined with our super energy or something. I'd like you to come with us to test it. Would you mind?"

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Myfwany shaded her eyes with a hand and squinted at Fox for a second to see if he was pulling her leg. He seemed quite in earnest though, so she decided to repeat the offending words.

"Cast a spell," she said flatly.

Easy there...these powers are close enough to magic that it's perfectly plausible people would be superstitious about them.

After a moment's hesitation, the doctor nodded.

"All right. Lead on."

She followed Fox through the portal.

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Quote:
The girl led them to a house - just a house, no fences and no bars on the window. Instead, curtains billowed in and out of the open windows. "This is my home," she said, smiling proudly as she led them into the vestible. "Wipe your feet! You know, I've never owned my own house before. But that's not going to be a problem in a world without zombies, right? I'll be able to have a house... all my own." She smiled dreamily as she led them into the kitchen, pausing only to grab a backpack on the way.
James took off his shoes at her door step. He said, "No bars, no walls, no pull up ladders leading to the second floor. I haven't even been able to dream about this. I have this monster black SUV I'd never have been able to afford before, I'm hoping real hard your dream will trump my own."

James thought, *You realize you're on the way to picking up several tons to build a wall that you're not actually going to build? It's going to be a waste of time.*

*No, it's... I forget the term. Showing off for the community. One last harrah. Something. You'll do this before anyone else realizes that it's meaningless because it's something they still value today if not next week.*


Quote:
In the kitchen, she loaded up the bag with big tupperware containers, cramming them into the bag with aplomb. "I'll write all these down for you when you see that it works, and decide that you like it," she said, giving James a sideways smile full of meaning.
James gave her a smile back and thought, *I wonder how she'd feel about joining a harem?*

James watched Fox leave and then come back with Myf without comment. James asked Nashwa, "How many times have you done this?"
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"Oh, I've done it six times. It's range isn't that long - about a football field in diameter - but I got the idea of layering it around to create a mystical barrier," she said, smiling. "Then we went back and filled it in - so much easier."

"Hi," Nashwa said brightly when Fox returned with Myf. She seemed full of good cheer and joy constantly, though perhaps finding out that she could help save the world had something to do with it. "I'm Nashwa."

To Fox and James - much more to James than Fox - "I'm ready when you are."

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"Hi," Myfwany replied to Nashwa with a tired smile. She accepted and shook the hand. "I'm Myfwany."

She looked around and couldn't help but add, "Nice mystical barrier."

Then she quickly summoned some of her flagging powers and let the world dissolve into streams of light.

(Activating Lifesense and Quantum Attunement while I observe the ritual)

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James was getting more hopeful and interested the more he heard. The girl wasn't bad either. James said seriously, "A football field is huge. It's the difference between... life and death, for a city, maybe for a state. Six times that and teachable means it's salvation for the world. How long did it take you to learn from Patrica?"

Quote:
To Fox and James - much more to James than Fox - "I'm ready when you are."
James said to Fox, "You're up, I'll take point."

James let his burning black blade appear. It'd changed from the last time, or maybe he'd just been blind and hadn't noticed. It was darker and lines from it extended down his hand like a tattoo.

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Fox thought for a moment, one football field wouldn't be that noticeable of an area. They could do it in any city and not attract outside attention. So, best to hit someplace that would have lots of resources in a compact area. This wouldn't be for living there, but for a safe staging area, then he had it. Walmart had a big distribution center just north of dallas on I35. It was a little ways off the highway, but it would have had enough employees that it would have zombies in plenty, and more importantly, the goods would not have been easy to get to since they were all crated up for transit to it's stores all around the Dallas and north Texas area.

Looking to Nashwa, "So does the spell effect things inside buildings? So if say we were on the roof it would drive out any zombies trapped in the building under us?"

He did his best from memory to open the portal as close to the building as possible. Preferably on the roof and if Nashwa's spell wouldn't effect inside the building then they could go down inside.

Click to reveal..

(18:47:40) ChatBot: (Morgan) rolls 5d10 and gets 7,2,2,7,2.

2 successes

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"We've never tried that," Nashwa said, frowning at Fox. "We've always done it on the ground." She grinned and tossed a wink at James. "Which, actually, is where Pagans do it."

Without waiting for a response, she skipped through the portal into the roof. After they were all through, she grinned and said, "Like that TV show... Sliders. Awesome." She fished some twine out of her pocket and had Fox step on the end. Pulling it tight, she measured out a distance and made a circle with chalk.

She pulled out a bundle of sage and lit it. Humming softly, she began to roll the smoke over their bodies. When she had done James, she gave him the burning bundle and murmured, "Do me now."

After he'd cleansed her with the sage smoke, she began to lay out the circle with salt and dried herbs. Then she arranged each of them at four corners and told them to imitate her. What followed was a picture perfect Pagan ritual, complete with summoning the Watchtowers and the Goddess and God.

When she had thanked and dismissed the final Watchtower, she stood in silence, then murmured, "Wow. Did you feel that cone of energy released? You guys are awesome."

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Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
"We've never tried that," Nashwa said, frowning at Fox. "We've always done it on the ground." She grinned and tossed a wink at James. "Which, actually, is where Pagans do it."
James said to her back, "Good to know."

Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
Without waiting for a response, she skipped through the portal into the roof. After they were all through, she grinned and said, "Like that TV show... Sliders. Awesome." She fished some twine out of her pocket and had Fox step on the end. Pulling it tight, she measured out a distance and made a circle with chalk.
This time James made a mental note on how big the portal was, he'd need to bundle things for that latter.

Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
She pulled out a bundle of sage and lit it. Humming softly, she began to roll the smoke over their bodies. When she had done James, she gave him the burning bundle and murmured, "Do me now."
James replied with thinking, "I'd love too."

Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
When she had thanked and dismissed the final Watchtower, she stood in silence, then murmured, "Wow. Did you feel that cone of energy released? You guys are awesome."
James wasn't sure what had happened. Nothing? Was he not magically attuned?

James said, "You're welcome to my energy." There was an undercurrent which said she maybe could have other things too.

He added, "Ah... I didn't notice, I mean, what was I supposed to feel? Never mind, let's see what the zoms do."

James moved to look over the edge of the roof and check on the hopefully fleeing zoms.
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"That's it... damn," Nashwa sighed, putting her fingers to her chin. "Maybe it can only be done by the Faithful."

Below the building, the zombies were slowly becoming aware that living flesh was above them. They were starting to run into the building, their eyes being pulled up by the life above them.

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James watched the zoms for a moment and considered. The zoms were disappointing. Very disappointing. The light at the end of the tunnel was a train, but at least no one got dead finding it out.

James turned to Nashwa and said, he hoped without accusation, "We'd seen it work, I believed. But if you've only done it with believers... let me guess, you headed up the ceremony, but Pat was always there? Or maybe someone else has always been there whenever Pat or you headed it up?"

James decided this was only disappointing on a world stage. One specific supper with this ability, especially one local super with this ability, would still be pretty darn useful.

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Fox was disappointed. "Lets go back to Norman and check in with Pat, and maybe see if she would mind performing the spell for us to see. Perhaps if you two work together?"

Inwardly Fox was pretty sure this was the power of a super at work, most likely the old woman.

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James said back reassuringly, "Don't worry about it. As failures go this is small. If we really needed the building we'd stick around and take it. Use mobility to pull them away, use cars to block the entrance, it wouldn't be hard."

"I've seen your thing work. If you can't use supers, or if you need five specific types of people, or five specific people, it's still huge."

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James added as an afterthought, "Maybe when we go back we should split into two groups. Morgan and Mfy can try to get Pat to do her thing. I want to see what the zoms do at the edge of the effect. Nashwa, perhaps you could show me where they walked off to?"

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Fox opened the portal back to Norman by the Lowes where the others had been. "We'll see what Pat can show us. James be careful out there near the zombs, I'm sure your wives would be upset if you got eaten."

Hopefully the girl would pick up on the comment and be wary of James. On the other hand with the ability to create warps, it wouldn't take long for James to move to Utah if he did pick up another wife.

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