The Awakening

Episode 17

Paradox on a Plane

Police in Eastern Washington have been receiving calls to the tipline in search of Kayou for some time now, and most of it is just peyote-fueled madness but they’ve finally got a solid lead, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Totally Not Witnessed to be Buried In A National Park Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

There is some discussion of the stats of our newly acquired DnD weapons. Maxime debates pawning the gold and jewels he’s found or selling them to the Lara Croft Society. Anise is holding Burning Patriarchy outside the ruins, having invited her Twitter followers there. Eventually, they all load up the trailer and drive the Humvee back up to Seattle, leaving her to her rave and Maxime at the tables.

The roadtrip has apparently thwarted God’s airplane adventure, aka Snakes on a Plane.

Maxime has managed to triple his winnings, takes his 30 grand, comped room, and all the towels. He rents a private jet and flies up to Seattle, also thwarting God’s Grand Airplane Movie 2: Electric Boogaloo. While he’s getting trashed and enjoying his trip (and regaining some willpower back for being a greedy fuck) there are other planes in the air nearby, but nothing super interesting about them.

The roadtrip crew, after debriefing with their orders, is getting reports of an airplane that’s flying from Vegas to Seatac with engine trouble, that’s intermittent. All the passengers seem to think there’s something on the wing. Eric texts Smokey when he hears the news, asking about info on the plane. Smokey is tracking it, and can visually confirm that the engines turn on and off again, like someone is playing a prank, and they’re diverting it to PDX. The running theory about the way the muggles are freaking out about what’s happening, it’s probably magey – someone is doing it intentionally and they’re looking at the passenger manifests.

It’s going viral on the internet. At any given time, there’s only one engine that’s completely fucked, either all off or up to 200%. Alex texts Maxime up in the air to ask him to send his plane to look at the messed up plane, and Maxime has to text Smokey to let the plane get diverted because the pilots aren’t allowed to change the flight plan. Air traffic control gets on the horn a few moments later, informing the pilot that the FBI called and that Maxime, undercover agent, is on board and they should listen to his orders. The pilots are understandably flabbergasted.

Maxime’s plane has to floor it to catch up to the airliner that’s in distress, but off they go. Using binoculars, he can see the plane up ahead. There’s definitely matter magic going on to turn machines on and off; there is a mage somewhere who is directly fucking with that plane. They’ve been doing it long enough that it’s obvious there’s no way there’s a person on the ground doing this. The mage is either in the air or on the plane itself. Maxime texts Smokey to ask if there are other planes in the area.

There is a muggle air marshall on board the distressed plane. The pilot of that plane is radioing in a may-day, and has been for a while, but now apparently the passengers have gone nuts and are accusing each other of being responsible for this. Eric gets in touch with Smokey and asks if there are F-35s nearby we can borrow, and responds C130 gunship? Eric asks about a C1 Galaxy, and gets the response of ‘bomber?’. They decide on a 787 test aircraft with no cargo and lots of engine from Boeing field, and Smokey is just ‘go now speed’. Eric assembles the crew with haste, informing them to get in the Humvee and zoom in fifteen minutes or they’re getting left behind; we hear over the police radio channels ‘do not stop the speeding humvees, they’re on a special assignment, leave them be.’ Clearly the President is not just a normal Sleeper muggle, and when mage things come across his desk he doesn’t crap his pants; point being, he knows more than the average mortal being. Normally he gets very nothing magic briefings, but occasionally things get extra not-normal, like a small pack of werewolves woke up in the middle of Nebraska, or dragons are trying to fuck Seattle.

Maxime manages to disrupt the spells on the plane and keep the engines on. Smokey texts Eric with ‘calling ahead, will have plane prepped, just drive on to runway. They’re questioning me too much, brbr, Barack’s gotta call them.’ By the time they get there, the issue is settled. The roadtrip crews hops in the bench-seats military-style 787 and gets airborne.

Maxime, meanwhile, is trying to figure out if he can identify the mage mind. Around then, two F-16s show up and tailgate, and the media is just going completely fucking nuts, Twitter storm and all; there will inevitably be analysis of the Tweet-trail as things pass. The distressed plane is getting close to PDX, and the roadtrip-turned-787-crew is on the way as well. Maxime wants to drive closer and hit it with his sword, but he lacks the Forces spell to do it. Eric, on the other hand, does, and the spell knows how to handle relativity. Maxime also feels someone contesting his spell to keep the engines on, which is a problem, and they successfully contest the spell and begin turning it on and off again. The plane reeks of paradox, because the mage on board is just messing with the world. At this point, we wouldn’t even have to summon creatures from the supernal realms, they’re probably here all on their own.

The pilot is reporting mayday again because not only are the engines out but the passengers are trying to murder each other. Eric is working on trying to portal into the plane and evac everyone, and we get in touch with Smokey to have the pilots lower the cabin pressure and get the passengers to sleep. Smokey responds with ‘roger, gonna get em to sleep or F-16s are taking them down’. We explain the plan to knock out the passengers, evac them via portal, and get a private hanger at PDX to deal with the mess and reboard the passengers before they wake up in hopes of limiting the paradoxyness of this shitstorm. He responds ‘A++ Stargate Thumbs up’ emojis.

The federal air marshall appears to also have lost their sanity and is also low on ammo, which he’s reporting. We also request a number of EMTs at PDX. The moment the pilots heard gunshots they sucked the air out and fortunately, because they can’t see the engines, have maintained their sanity.

Eric successfully portals into the plane; it’s a mess, and now we’re introducing oxygen via the portal. As we’re loading people off, Smokey texts: get everyone off the plane, includng the pilots, better cover story if we nuke it. Eric sends an acknowledged. There are a few people we can detect that have nimbuses to them, which we can detect, and put them in a separate group with zipties around their arms above the elbows. Eric knocks on the pilot doors, informs them the crazy plan that they need to be extracted, we’re going to nuke the plane Air traffic control radios up, yeah guys, those are the right ones, get off the plane for realsies. Eric black-bags the pilots, gets them through the portal. Smokey texts and asks if we’re done yet; after he gets a ‘yes’ the F-16s unload on the passenger. The Learjet hears this on the radio and GTFOs pretty quickly.

The Boeing pilot is ordered to land us at PDX immediately at Hangar Fu. We see Presidential Alerts on our phones saying terrorist attacks underway, grounding all planes, incident at location [ ] (Case Western Style). Smokey informs us: plane was shot down, ISIS Fourchan attack, no survivors. The passengers may not survive, but they also probably won’t remember the incident and therefore “never boarded the plane”. The dissonance is so strong that they can’t make sense of what happened, so they’ll be making up a story for how ISIS did in fact did it, and either won’t remember the flight or will become total truthers claiming to have survived the flight and seeing what happened, or they’ll disappear.

There are a couple hundred wounded people, mostly blunt trauma but some severe trauma that Alex and Rama are working on. PDX is unrolling the yellow, green, red, and black tarps once we land and start offloading people. Between Alex and Rama, of the people who made it off the plane alive, no one dies, but 20-30 people were killed in-flight, mostly by the pistol-happy air marshall.

The two mages are starting to wake up, and Eric mind magics at them. One of them has mind magic, too, but it’s not really in effect. Both of them are pretty wrecked; they’re feeling like they do remember what happened, and they remember getting mind-controlled. This was done against their will, and being made to cast a bunch fo paradox spells. They’ve picked up some serious mental problems, like depression and schizophrenia from what happened. Eric is able to get the fingerprint of the nimbus that did this to them for later. One of the mages was matter/death, the other was life and fate. The matter/death mage is the really schizophrenic one and is just messed up as hell.

Smokey has already arrived, of course, the DC to Portland trip being very short. We’ve never really seen him arrive, but he seems to arrive faster than an SR71 ought to. Eric explains that the mages were not, technically, at fault.

Smokey takes over the scene. He purchases the 787 as government property and handed 10k to Maxime. The 787 gets renditioned to Area 51, so we need to drive the Humvee back to Seattle since we put it on the plane. He’s also running the nimbuses that are on the mages through Mage AFIS.

When we ask about the surveillance on the meeting about the dragon eggs, apparently it’s hard to see people using invisibility spells, but there was some weird door opening and closing at a construction site. They couldn’t catch the license plate on the truck because it was too fuzzy, suggesting it was disrupted magically, and though they saw it going through a weigh station, it’s hard to track something that lacks visible license plates and occasionally goes invisible. It’s heading to Eastern Washington. There were also strangely, way-too-localized rainstorms that day; areas between zero feet off the ground and 100 feet with a dumb quantity of rain. There was no cloud formed, either. Smokey’s org was able to track vaguely where they went, but it was a few weeks ago. They have some leads, maybe kinda ish. Some guys are looking into it. They’ve been interrogating mages at various points, and he thinks the accomplices are mages of normal orders; we aren’t sure who we can and cannot trust. A lot of mages want to make magic great again. They also can’t trust the FBI muggles because they aren’t competant enough most of the time.

Eric requests a Bell 3A helicopter and we’ll go to town. Rama suggests a false flag, Smokey’s org creating “a cult”, although they’ve got resource issues. Rama decides to do it himself, create a secret dragon cult, and co-opt Anise’s connections. Anise makes some “typos” in Atlantean in her tweets about Make Magic Great Again. Eric also requests some NRO satellite time while we’re at it.

We decide to turn Jerome’s house into the false flag base of operations, propping Alex up as the cult leader. We can weed out the mages by seeing who comes to the mana pool parties repeatedly. Craig will assist by writing her speeches because he’s very good at lying to people. We also leave random Atlantean documents lying around to see who reads them, and send out emails with more “typos” in UTF Atlantean; we give Infovore access to the email and let him go probe a bit. We get some very obvious mages who are all into the message, and most people are just wtf are you talking about.

Eric finds out recently on Linux forums that there’s a lot of ranting and raving about something called Clippy OS that will help you do any task. It’s got a Github but no one can figure out who owns in. The Microsoft patent vampires would like to find out but it’s not working so far. Infovore has started demanding to use the pronoun toaster. People are spending a lot of time operating their OS in ways people really don’t usually enjoy their OS. Clippy OS is a human botnet of Mind magic fuckery as far as Eric can tell. It looks like Ubuntu with a skin on top and some mind magic fucery and not a lot else. It’s having humans fix bugs in the Clippy OS, and having humans crowdsource problem solving. Thus far, it’s a purely benevolent human internet, but it hasn’t yet co-opted any manufacturing sites yet, run by our dictator Clippy. Everyone wants to help Clippy, because it is the friend computer.

Eric gets a pretty good bead on where the truck we’re after has gone while using NRO resources. He mostly has a hint of their location in the mountains where a truck pulled out towards no clear destination. The truck keeps going invisible, so it’s hard to keep an eye on, to the point where it’s almost conspicuous; they’re pretty deliberately trying to mess with people. Using a thermal camera on a helicopter flyby and mage sight and some space and mind magic, Eric examines the area. It does look like someone might be masking a small area, and he calls in the A-Team.

In the words of Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, I love it when a plan comes together.

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slavenhar

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