Sunday, April 16, 2017

M-Com Mission Report - Operation: Captive Illness - Monster of the Week Campaign

M-Com Campaign

The scene opens up with Inspector Marisa Carracci coming into Stornoway, Scotland to investigate the matter of two thousand people suddenly going unconscious. Looking around the site of the seance/self-help seminar, she doesn't find much but starts to hear strange sounds from the tomb at the center of the standing stones. Going inside and looking about she found a mirror beyond which she found a mirror of herself talking to another person. Catching their attention, she proceeded to have a conversation with them about what happened at the place. Marisa's analog's partner was a bit amused to realize that Marisa was the "freelance asshole screwing things up for the company" in her reality while they were trying to track said asshole in theirs. Analog-Marisa was not amused. The conversation ended with Analog-Marisa wondering if the Tashirojima Event had happened yet, because apparently in their reality it was a huge event that they were unable to keep under wraps. At that the borders between realities started to re-adjust and the contact was lost.

Meanwhile, Katkemat and Mills have been trying to get some research done on the golems that Thomas incapacitated while protecting the Arachne Bioware delegation and M-Com's own delegate in Colorado. There is a bit of a problem given that M-Com's magical division is still a bit annoyed that they were generally left out of the whole ritual to heal Rookie Valerio and didn't quite accept Katkemat's story of having difficulties with the online intranet requisition forms. After Thomas calmed them down and talked sense into them, they still demanded that they would only help if they were given access to the archives Kasper had uncovered. Kasper thought about it, or appeared to, and responded that he was good with that (and did not state that he was happy about acquiring a good number of staff for his new facility preferring to let the M-Com mystics think they got the best of them.)

Once they had the help and started scanning through the archives and examining the crystals, it became clear that the crystal hearts of each of the golems was a fragment of the same crystalized person and were being controlled more like puppets by the consciousness within. They worked out a way that it would be possible to back track the link and decided that by isolating the shards in containers to deprive them of any sensory information that the shard could pick up and send back to the entity as a whole. The conclusion is reached that since whoever this person is, is acting as a hostile party that they're likely to be Celino Adessi.

About this time, a request comes from the primary facility in Romania sent a request for them to investigate into a series of minor events at Tashirojima in Northern Japan, a place sometimes known as Cat Island. As the request to look into monster sightings and attacks comes in, Thomas has a vision of a large piece of emerald carved into a sort of Egyptian idol, vaguely crocodile shaped and buried in the ground somewhere. Shallowly buried. Though he did note that there were no cats anywhere near the area the idol was buried. Looking over the records Kasper feels like the entire situation feels a bit manufactured and like there is an ulterior motive somewhere.

Meanwhile, Marisa has gone about researching Tashirojima and has found that there had recently, within the past week or so, been a few monster sightings on the island as well as attacks. There were no fatal attacks yet and only one person had needed to stay long in the hospital. There were no real good descriptions on the attacks, but it sounded familiar to a couple of other incidents that she had investigated, or tried to, in Europe. Twice before she had heard stories that followed the same pattern, only by the time she had arrived the situation had already had been solved somehow. Each time the situation had been solved by an exorcist, a supposed worker of ancient magics from lost African secrets, and his two assistants. Marisa was already of the opinion that these individuals were con artists creating the hauntings somehow but they had gone quiet for a while and now realized that they had gone to Asia.

The inspector gets a flight toward Japan and in the process starts trying to hire some mercenaries to help protect her as well as trying to track down M-Com. She does stumble upon a bit of a story in Japan about a mystery gunfight. The story appeared briefly, but it was quickly buried. She starts trying to look into the matter deeper while on the plane, but her poking about gets her noticed. Her researches in the con-artists go much better. She finds some travelers of the appropriate description getting reservations in a nearby city in the Miyagi Prefecture, and she gets names. The exorcist is now claiming to be from the Congo (he'd previously claimed to be an exorcist from the Ethiopian Church of Christ and a tribal shaman out of the hidden land around Solomon's mines near South Africa).

Kasper receives word that someone is investigating M-Com's activities in Japan. It doesn't take him long to confirm that it is Carracci.  Sending Daley ahead to talk to some tourists that were attacked, Kasper also sends Price to the airport to pick up Carracci. Katkemat meanwhile uses the information and facilities in the scrying room to determine that the monster in this situation is behaving like some sort of guardian spirit and seems to be a crocodile spirit of some sort.

Thomas goes with Daley to interview with the tourists that had been attacked on Cat Island. Unfortunately, this ends up giving very little information as the young newlywed couple are distracted by the idea of a young secret agent and keep talking about Detective Conan and Case Closed. Even Daley's telepathic abilities are just cluttered with random inane thoughts about anime. She tells Thomas "on the report, I'm blaming this on you because you won't get in trouble." The most they get is that the two had been trying to go somewhere in one of the less populated parts of the island in order to find some privacy for a bit of "passing time" but either couldn't remember where or else just kept getting distracted with anime talk.

Carracci arrives out of the airplane and immediately sees Price there with a sign calling for Inspector Marisa Carracci. Price sees her and steps forward. As Carracci recognizes her from the invents in Italy, and having done research on M-Com's behavior she figures she can trust them not to kill her and reluctantly steps forward. She gets taken to the forward base where Kasper had got some suites in Sendai and everybody starts comparing notes. At some point, Thomas notes that he "doesn't have anything to do" which causes both Kasper and Katkemat to say "I'll give you something to do," in stereo.

Taking into account all of the information they've had so far, and now knowing all the pieces that she hadn't had before, Marisa steps forward and deduces an area of the abandoned parts of the city, which had dropped in population from 1000 to 100 in the last fifty years, where the idol is likely buried. Close enough to the populace to get triggered occasionally, but not so close as to get triggered all the time and for most of the events be short lived.

At this point, they decide to go to the island and manage to arrive just as the con-artists are doing their spiel about the dangerous spirit. In this case, they're talking about how the great sorceress Katkemat once bound a spirit in this island long ago. All the M-Com people turn to look at Katkemat who looks a bit irritated and steps forward to declare that she most certainly had never faced a demon here. The flustered con-artist, currently using the name Imani Idowu, tried to argue against her and his muscle, Guntram Keil, began to get into position to do something. The Romania tech lady, Liviu Ionescu, widens her eyes and catches Guntram's attention so that the two start trying to back out of the scene, especially as Kasper starts pulling out warrants for their arrest under every name they've ever gone by. They get caught trying to leave as Katkemat continuously breaks down and exposes Imani's falsehood. Eventually, the con-artist gets pissed off and tries to hurl a punch at one of the M-Com operatives, choosing the illusion covered crystal woman by poor luck and breaking his hand on her surface.

There is a brief attempt to interrogate the con-artists with the techie and muscle willing but not aware of where the idol is and the con-artist trying to negotiate the ability to leave and get out of being arrested. Then Marisa reminds them that she knows the area where they will find the idol and begins to lead them to it while Kasper, Daley and Price deal with the con-artists, Valerio and the scientists head off to help deal with the idol. Unfortunately, they take a little bit too long reaching the idol and before they can start digging it up and deactivate it, a rift in time and space appears as a crocodillian monster comes charging out of it at the group. Something which Mills, Katkemat, and Thomas all note is something that shouldn't happen. The guardian should only appear in spirit form.

This still leaves them facing the crocodile monster. Katkemat immediately focuses on barring closed the monster so that no more of the entities could enter their reality. The monster charges at Carracci who was at the head of the group, but Thomas steps forward and intercepts it, preventing the monster from getting at the Italian police officer. Carracci tries to shoot the monster with her gun, but doesn't manage to do much damage, barely scratching it. Valerio steps in to intercept the monster's attempt to counterattack Thomas. Campbell, Richards and Mills start working to dig up the idol. 

Thomas then steps in to interrupt the monster's attack on Valerio, continuing the trend of Thomas and Valerio protecting each other and keeping the monster from focusing on either one of them. Katkemat continues to resist the strain of holding the rift contained as the scientists finish digging up the idol. Mills grabs it and comes to the conclusion that if the monster wants the idol then maybe it will go away if she tosses it to that other world. She hurls the idol over Katkemat's head and into the rift.

The idol shatters as it hits the portal rift and it's fragments scatter into the edges of the rift causing it to disintegrate. Suddenly, the rift, which had been like trying to keep two edges of a torn piece of cloth together, was more like trying to keep hold of dry sand as it ran through your hands. Katkemat starts having hideous amounts of trouble keeping the rift from expanding to the point that she couldn't keep the army of crocodile men on the other side from getting into their world.

Thomas responds by moving in a counter-clockwise direction about the portal, creating another circle of power and protection which allows him to stabilize the situation enough that Katkemat is able to get control back and the portal starts to disintegrate. She gives him the high praise that she founds that accomplishment to be "acceptable." Katkemat moves to disenchant the emerald with Mills' help, someone noting that "fortunately Mills can't do much more damage at this point." With the emerald fragments disenchanted, the portal stops disintegrating.

Marisa tries to fire her glock again, however, a bit of debris had lodged in her barrel and the gun exploded in her hands. With Thomas distracted by helping out with the disintegrating portal, the creature decides to charge across at the woman who tossed the portal: Mills. Valerio is a little out of position to help, but Kasper, Daley and Price suddenly appear out of nowhere and manage to cover Mills. Marisa draws her back up gun and empties her pea shooter into the monster, keeping it focused on her as Thomas, Valerio, Kasper, Daley, and Price reduce it to a red smear.

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