Saturday, September 3, 2016

M-Com Mission Report - Operation Secret Game - Part One - Monster of the Week Campaign

M-Com Campaign

Over the last few weeks, Thomas has been pestering Katkemat for training and she has taken him up on the offer mostly so that she can return to something that she finds familiar and comforting and put all this modern technology out of her head. Meanwhile, Kasper has been having a lot of interviews and behavioral examinations given recent attitude...issues.

During the course of a meditation practice, Thomas has a vision of a sparking electric fence that has been torn open with words in Russian and English stating that it is private property. He can't quite see the surroundings to know what is going on but then he comes out and says "I had a vision." to which Katkemat states "That is obvious."  He starts to try and describe what he saw but the discussion of electricity and the fence just has Katkemat grimace and tell him to go talk to Agent Sierzant.

As she is saying this, Violet O'Neil steps in to tell them that Commander Adrense would like to see them. Katkemat notes that the chiang shih infection or curse that they believe has been cured in O'Neil is actually only in remission and it is sitting within her body. Struggling to deal with some of the terminology she has recently learned in an attempt to be understood, she tells O'Neil that "You have the Cancer." This causes O'Neil to have a sudden, worried break down and head off to go bug the medical people.

Thomas goes to meet Adrense and finds Kasper there already asking "where've you been?" Adrense relates that a small town in the Belarus region has recently experienced a series of strange murders or deaths. Thomas immediately asks if they speak Russian there to which Adrense confirms that they do. He states that over the last two weeks there have been four confirmed deaths but they have only been able to get records on the reports of three of these murders. Each of the three deaths has been result of three different methods of attack.

One victim was ambushed while walking home from work and torn in pieces as if by an animal. The second has injected with poison by something that broke into their home through a window. The third was found dead with no known cause of death but had died in the middle of an emergency services call. They had no information on the fourth murder despite making some official requests via Interpol contacts.

Thomas attempts to make a remote viewing, practicing some new skills, but his magic goes out of control as he has an image of a large summoning circle and starts to feel himself pulled forward in space. Fortunately, Kasper manages to snap him out of the projecting trance before he can pulled through space and time. Katkemat shows up commenting that she could feel his magic bleeding everywhere half-way across the base. After some discussion it is decided that Katkemat will remain at base as she is still being vetted for going out in the world.

Thomas and Kasper decide to take the subtle approach and leave most of their team at a hotel within two or three hours travel to the town while they go in themselves quietly. That night they look over the police department and ascertain that there is a lot of unusual activity for a small town police department in the middle of the night.

Instead of sneaking into the police department, they decide to sneak into the nearby hospital and morgue with the intention of looking at the bodies. They manage to get into the hospital with almost no difficulty and come to the door of the morgue to find a police officer sitting with his back leaning against it as he reads a book and has a thermos of coffee on a small fold-out camping table nearby.

Kasper and Thomas make the decision to lure him away using an illusion of a child's disembodied voice. Strangely, their cooperative attempt at the creation of the illusion ends with a little girl's disembodied voice stating "Oh, you want him to go away? I can do that!" After pleading with the unknown spirit not to hurt the man and receiving assurances that "I won't hurt him, I'll just play with him!" the spirit goes off and starts leading the guard on a wild Alma chase.

Getting into the morgue they immediately see why information on the fourth death has been concealed. One of the morgue lockers has been burst open from inside as apparently one of the dead men has come back to life. Looking around, they ascertain that the risen dead body has become a chiang-shih precisely like what Violet O'Neil had become. The other three bodies were killed by various other creatures. Adding to their original knowledge they confirm that the first body was killed by something predatorial, animalistic and humanoid with big claws and fangs. The second was killed by something like the stirge things they had encountered a few times already but larger, about the size of a badger, and rather than draining blood it seems to inject acid to liquefy the insides. The third was killed by a specter or other incorporeal entity somehow.

Using a spell, they track the residue of the new chiang shih out of the hospital heading East and they decide to call in to the base to both call for a capture team, hopefully the same one that captured O'Neil when she was similarly infected and to confer with Katkemat. Katkemat relates that the chiang shih is not actually a true undead but a case where the life-force and spirit is disrupted to the point of seeming dead. If enough physical damage was done as the spirit was disrupted, the victim just dies but otherwise their spirit starts to recover and tries to essentially jump start the body. When the body finds that its connection between body and soul is tattered it seeks to repair that by feeding on other people, eventually becoming addicted and much more powerful. She also notes that chiang shih are actually blind and will only see you by the life-force they taste on your breath. Katkemat further comes to the conclusion that someone is actively summoning various monsters for different reasons.

A capture team is successfully deployed to bring in the chiang shih victim as Thomas and Kasper head to the victim's house and try to track the master chiang shih. They arrive and in investigation they come to the conclusion that the second chiang-shih was infected as a decoy of some sort and that the chiang shih itself was hiding or running from something or someone else. They manage to track it to an abandoned Cold War era house on the edge of town and head inside. They begin to feel that magic is a bit erratic in the area and suspect that the hunter has found the chiang shih.

Sneaking into the house, Kasper and Thomas fail to remember to hold their breath and find themselves ambushed by the chiang shih. Kasper manages to turn Thomas out of the way of the attack but gets thrown against the wall himself for his trouble. Thomas lectures him about being reckless because "I can take hits better than you!" followed by a somewhat meek "Thank you."

Thomas follows this up trying to use his sword to wrap around the chiang-shih and slip the tip into an outlet to electrocute the beast. It works as the house for some reason still has power, but the shock up the blade causes him to drop the sword. Then Kasper comes in trying to reach in with a charm he had used under Katkemat's instructions...only he used Japanese kanji instead of Sanscrit as was proper. The charm causes an explosion which sends Thomas's chain sword spiralling away and embedding into the wall as Kasper is again thrown into a wall just barely avoiding a temporary blindness by closing his eyes.

The Chosen reaches out to summon his sword to his hand as he pursues the fleeing monster which is continuing to jabber away at them in a language their translation charms can't identify. He's able to keep on its heels but the effort to magically retrieve the sword from where it embedded through the wall slows him down. Kasper meanwhile clears his eye, calmly walks through the house by a different route, comes around the corner and jabs a high powered taser into the chiang shih's chest incapacitating it completely. He asks Thomas what he thinks he's doing, playing around? And Thomas responds "At least I'm not making things go boom with scribbles."

Meanwhile, Katkemat manages to convince the medical team that their "cure" for the chiang shih curse only suppresses the situation. Apparently, they replace the victims nervous system via nanobot created artificial nerves and this suppresses the sense of hunger and need the victim feels. However, it is entirely possible that the curse might eventually learn to adapt to the new rules of the entity that they made out of O'Neil. She comments that she can't help O'Neil, yet, but that she can cure the new victim easily enough. This produces a sudden audience of many individuals from the mystic division to watch the process. Fortunately, she manages to pull it off well enough.

Back at the town of Myadzel, Thomas purifies some of the magical detritus and erratic energy around the building. In doing so looking around notices a rather creepy wooden idol and immediately remembers some of Katkemat's instructions and starts looking through the abandoned building looking for salt and water as both are good at cancelling magic. He also suggests that Kasper keep the chiang shih away from the windows. While he fails to find any salt in the house, Kasper gets out his medkit and hands him some saline solution which Thomas then uses with a bowl to throw over the idol, causing it to dissolve and produce a faint sound of beating drums before it vanishes completely.

Staying down, they call for an evac team and keep watch over the nearby woods where Kasper sees at least two individuals, one of whom appears to be wearing a pith helmet of all things. The evac team gets in through another adjoining area of thick trees and cuts a new hole in the wall of the building to evacuate the agents and the chiang shih, using a coffin like containment unit to both imprison it and keep it out of the sun. Kasper quite nicely asks if they happened to bring....nah, this is Sierzant, he just demands to know if his team brought his coffee and harangues them in deadpan when newly promoted Squaddie Price says that "no, coffee wasn't on our list of priorities."

The chiang shih is transported back to the M-Com Romania base as Kasper and Thomas get to their Myadzel motel for some rest as the sun rises up. Once there, Katkemat is asked to interrogate it and the creature identifies her as "one of those savages from the Western islands." But in the course of its rambles and insults and chattering, she gleans that it was summoned from it's time and into the modern world where it found itself immediately hunted by someone. Katkemat also gleans from the chiang shih's rambling that this hunter is a frequent user of magic but is incredibly sloppy, possibly resulting the heavy amount of regional magical pollution in the area that they've already noticed. This possibly might cause spells to do...odd things.

Kasper and Thomas refuse to mention the maybe spirit child they maybe accidentally summoned and maybe set upon a local police officer. Nope, never happened.

M-Com Campaign

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