The Chariot and finale…
Backup systems hum and a surge of power kicks in. Emergency lights dimly illuminate the hall, now a darker shade of grey. Wendy’s wrist buzzes with a notification; her display shows a timer gracefully counting down the seconds. The power behind the Incursion slowly dwindling to nothing.
Wendy races back to the elevator, choosing what she hopes is the fastest route out. There hadn’t been any stairs on this level that she noticed, and the exit marked “Deliveries” may take her even further away from the portal.
With the lack of sufficient power, the elevators are already returning to the lowest level, the basement. The doors stand open, but there isn’t enough power for either unit to take her one level up.
She uses the hand rails in the elevator to kick up into the air and strike open the access hatch. When the opening is large enough, Wendy kicks one last time and pulls herself through. It’s only a few feet to climb to the first floor and pry it open.
I chose not to make any roll for the above action because a Setback would not have served any real narrative purpose. Failure would have been: no, she can’t somehow climb up the elevator shaft and forcing her to backtrack. A Complication would have been believable, but with the chance of just having a “no” result, I’d rather play it in favor of the player.
The orange light from the Incursion point continues to glow against the darkness. The scene remains as it had been when she left. Wendy exits back to her own world with more than enough time to spare.
As the timer counts down the last few seconds, the portal flickers. Each flicker, the orange lightning animates. The pace quickens until the bolt moves from a slideshow pace to real time. Then, it vanishes with a crack of thunder. Wendy’s wrist comm glows with several green notifications: missed call, voicemail, link to her drone.
Wendy walks back to her bike, a Nihon Tech Valkyrie Export. The bike is designed for speed and getting around the city to Incursions as quickly as possible. She starts the Valkyrie and checks her voicemail.
Vincent Landry’s voice plays, “Hey, kid. Figured you were working since you didn’t pick up. Give me a call when you get back.”
Vince was her mentor. Ex-military. Old school in tech and philosophy. She opened a voice request.
He picks up before the second tone. “Hey.”
“What’s up?” she asks.
“Just left a Break a bit ago. Thought I’d check in. This one was different.”
“Seemed like there was a motive this time, like they had a plan. Support from a bunch of fanatics that research call Cogitators. Red robes. Implants. Wear cogs around their neck,” he explains.
The latter got her attention. “Mine didn’t have cogs, not that I noticed, but I just ran across a few of those. They said weird things like, ‘X is not One,’ and other nonsense.”
“Guessing you didn’t look over their bodies,” he chided, though the smile behind his tone came through via comms. “Kids run and gun but don’t look at the details. Don’t ask why.”
They’d covered this topic several times already. She rolled her eyes and smiled to herself, “Listen, Old Man, job got done. You’re right. I didn’t check. I run; you walk and take in the sights. So, what do you think?”
“Thinkin’ it might be nice to run together for a bit and figure this out. If these things are working together, these might not be random anymore. Still in Omaha?”
She sighed. He knew exactly where she was with the comms locator unless either of them masked it, but he asked out of courtesy. “Yeah, and I can get to Seattle in a couple days, maybe three. I’ll let Whiskey know and check with Ghost.”
“Running with a Ghost?” she could see Vince shaking his head, “Kids…”
“Hey, two heads and all.”
“Already got that, me and Napana.”
Fetu cut into her ear, “Napana? Sounds local. He from Hawaii or what?”
“Get off the line,” Wendy chides before returning to voice comms, “Running with spirits. Showing your age. I’ll see you in a few days.”
“See ya, kid.”
Wendy cuts the comms and heads up the road toward the Interstate. She could drive straight there, be there in just shy of 24 hours, but she’d rather not press the issue. It’s been a long, strange day. She sends a message to Whiskey Actual, notifying him about the journey to the Northwest.
She opens comms back to Fetu, “Looks like gaming is gonna have to wait a few days…”