Session 22B/ Armegeddon 7: The Spires Run
"Enough with the goddamn pot holders!" - the GM
Star walks out of the Council Spires after talking to Novalis, and she decides to make her way over to the Groves where Laurence is trying to hold off David from destroying anything more then has already been destroyed. Unlike the Marches, this is more like Vietnam - guerrilla warfare at its finest, or its worst, and it's not lending itself well to the method of combat favored by the servitors of the Sword. Star offers herself up to the nearest MASH unit as a doctor and a practices a little medicine and healing. She tries to give some words that would buoy up the moral of the Sword units, but she realizes that she might be able to do more elsewhere. She says her goodbyes and wanders off.
Maxwell and Blitzen are busy trying to figure out how their suits work. Over their intercoms, they have a discussion about the nature of Heaven and Hell, and what the fighting may or may not be doing to the universe. They are still arguing tactics when they realize that they have no idea how to get into the Spires. Maxwell is all for going through a wall, while Blitzen wants to take the front door. Maxwell wins the argument, and accesses the computer uplink to the computer they are getting information from in the Halls of Technology, and the computer analysis is that he should be able to punch right through the walls with the shoulder missle mount. So they sneak around to the back - a feat made easier by the fact that most people have been dragged off to fight - and fire into the wall. Instead of making a nice hole, the walls go gloop, absorb the missles, and ripple a little bit as if they were made of some sort of liquid substance. So they decide to take the front door instead, because they're going to get into the Spires regardless of whose head they have to bash. They ask the computer for the shortest route from the front door to the detention cells the Creationers are being held in, and they get a nice plotted path. Then Blitzen asks for the map to be refined so that they encounter the least number of servitors, and the computer coughs up a more complicated map. Satisfied, they decide to take the front door.
Star, finishing healing people, goes on a Raphael hunt. She goes to the spot in the Glade he usually appears, but he's not there. So Star decides to creep up on the Spires. From far away, she doesn't see anything. As she gets closer, she can see a pair of tiny black dots hustling their way along the base of the massive Spires. She tries to get closer, and she loses sight of them when they round a corner. She can hear some sort of mayhem going on by the time she passes the wall to the Eternal City.
Maxwell and Blitzen get to the front wall, and in their battle suits they make quick mulch of the guards at the door, merrily violating the Pax Dei and using the heads of the Cherubim guards as door knockers. Leaving the Dominicans behind, Max and Blitzen step foot into the cold, dark, large empty foyer of the Spires. Without hesitation, they start following the calculated map the computer had come up with, until they walk up a flight of stairs and they are faced with two flights going up in different directions from each other - two stairways that, according to their map, should not exist. They turn around, and the passage they had come through is now gone. Maxwell suddenly remembers that there is a passageway from Laurence's Cathedral into the Spires, and wanting to call this entire mission off, he starts nudging in that direction. The computer keeps insisting that there are passageways, corridors and flights of stairs that simply aren't there, or something else is in its place. It doesn't take them long to be swallowed up by the Spires.
Star sees the two battle suited figures bash some heads and disappear into the dark passageway. She sends a Celestial Tongues to Raphael telling him this has happened, and tacks onto the end "Good time for a plan?" as those who had been left behind to guard the Eternal City start congregating at the entrance. Okay, they violated the Pax Dei, okay, they just walked into the Spires using the front door. But does anyone really want to go after them? This becomes a topic of heated discussion with the servitors of the Sword gathered at the front door, and Star wanders off and considers divebombing people with potholders. She runs into Raphael, who is just suddenly there, around a corner and out of sight, and he's standing there, squinting up at the Spires. (Clothing change, though.) So Star asks him about going in, and he points out in an Enlightening sort of way, what other two wackos would acquire battle suits and walk in through the front doors of the Spires without telling anyone where they were going or without even a plan? Star starts bugging him about going in, because he's seriously reluctant about it. But, really, this is the only chance to get whoever is in there out before Gabriel shows up and starts torching the place, or worse, Dominic shows up, period. So he relents, and he gives Star three marbles and a plastic butter knife. When she asks what she can do with these, he points out that she can play marbles, and spread some butter on a bagel. She ends up making a helmet of potholders, as they push through the crowd, and walk in the door.
Maxwell and Blitzen are trapped on this seemingly endless, extremely thin winding stairway. The walls are clausterphobic, and it's difficult to get the suits through. Sometimes they pass windows, but the small, thin windows open up to corridors or darkened rooms beyond. They break through one of the windows and end up in a records room - a room with racks and racks of LPs. Maxwell pulls one off the shelves, and it's an old Muddy Waters record. Behind them, the window they broke through was gone, and a wall of records had replaced it, like it was never there. Maxwell finds a storage compartment on the leg of his suit, and slides the LP into the slot. In moments, he notices sort of a brownish ooze leaking out of the slot. Upon opening it, he sees the record had sort of dissolved, just leaving a sticky spot. They move on, leaving the room from a door which had not been there a moment before, and Maxwell notices via his attunement that Star is much closer to him then she was before (and much farther away at the same time.)
Maxwell starts navigating through his attunement, and eventually he and Blitzen meet up with Potholdered Star and a spaced out looking Archangel of Enlightenment, who is just not really happy about being in the Spires - ever, under any circumstances. They talk again about going through with this mission, and Raphael attempts to explain to the angels the deal with Cathedrals. See, a Cathedral isn't a mere place. It's a metaphor, an abstraction of the Superior's being. And what they were walking around in was like an extension of Dominic's mind. No, this isn't a fun place. But basically it came down to this - they were all there, Dominic was busy fighting Gabriel, and the chance wasn't going to come again. So they chose to forge forward anyway, and see what happened. They began to follow Blitzen's Ofanite resonance to, what he hoped, were Detention blocks.
After several twisting passages which looped back in on themselves, seemed to stretch to infinity, tried to close on them, and had weird, mysterious twisted art, they emerged through door into a long, dark hallway with murals on the walls. The hallway was large and wide, a bit different then the ones they had been in. As they passed the murals, they seemed more then real: The first was a creation of the Archangels. The next a creation of the World by Eli. The third a young Archangel walking along a road with a boy carrying a fish. Then a War where angels were being thrown out of the skies. Then the young Archangel again, back to the viewer, walking through a pair of towering gates and a red sky above. Then a huge sprawling city, much like Las Vegas or LA and a tall building in the center, standing above the skyline. Then the no longer so young Archangel, looking somehow wrong, in a dalliance with a beautiful red-haired woman. Then the creation of some large, nasty, hairy creature. There were two more, the first the dark twisted Archangel conversing with the Archangel Eli, and then the last one was black.
Raphael's comments were, "Hm", and then "Cute", then finally, "I'm not very entertained."
They pass through the hallway into a hallway beyond, and the door they just left disappeared. Blitzen heard a noise and turned to look, but all he saw was the wall looking like it was rippling. He moved on again, and heard it again. He spun, and this time he saw the eyes, six of them, moving along the walls and ceiling, watching them and moving through the walls as if they were liquid. Star got down on the floor at cast the I-Ching, and suddenly she was surrounded by an Ethereal Song of Shields at a force she wasn't sure of. The tentacles started forming in the walls and coming down to try to grab them. Raphael spun to face the rear, and hit the walls with a Superior-Level song of Thunder, which rippled through the walls and exploded the eyeballs in a spray of ichor. Star was stunned by the noise. Blitzen grabbed Star and started making for it, holding her so he could fire and carry her safely at the same time. The walls of the passageway attempted to close in, but they pelted the passage with weaponry, blowing it open long enough for everyone to pass through to get them to the other side.
They emerged at a landing with one big door before them. The way through the door was through a pad at the side of the wall. Blitzen jimmied it, and the door slid open. At about the same time, Maxwell accessed the computer to get a list of possible prisoners, which coughed up not only Creationers, but unFallen Dominicans and the Dominican Malakim.
The group was faced with a long white hallway lit by flourescent light,
and lines of doors on either side. The doors were pried open, and
Creationers were let out, most of them dazed and confused. Some had lost
forces. Some had just turned into a puddle of goo that now sat on the
bottom of cells. Some had lost their minds. Some were weeping openly.
Star set about healing to the best of her ability.
Blitzen found the Archangel in residence at the end of the cellblock, contemplating the next door, back to the group. When he approached, Raph turned on him, his eyes completely black. Raphael pulled out a pair of sunglasses and slipped them on, and Blitzen decided to back off.
The choice between using the elevator or the stairs down to the next cellblock was a simple one. The next floor down was pretty much the same, except this time it was Dominicans they were letting out of the cells, not Creationers. They were pretty much the same, and Star set about, again, trying to heal people to the point where they were a mobile mob. In the tangled mess, they met up with an Elohite, who introduced himself as Joel, a very high level word bound Judgment Dominican, sporting the Word of Fairness. Then there was a debate about what to do next - do they free the Dominican Malakim, or do they try to get everyone that they had rescued so far out of the Spires, hopefully in one piece? The decision to keep going was motivated by Blitzen's speech, and the fact that going back would probably condemn the Malakim to a certain brainwashing or worse. Star gives the Creationer Malakim potholders and her plastic knife.
As they move through the Spires to the place the Malakim are being held, the Spire walls begin to become proactive. Tentacles reach out to grab angels as they go by and pull them in to be dissolved. People disappear as they are grabbed and pulled through the floor. Blitzen saw, more then once, Raphael literally walking into the wall to pull someone out of it, someone who looked like they were becoming separated.
They emerge at the top of a very long flight of stairs, which to Maxwell looks oddly familiar. He's been here before. And the group passes down the stairs. About half way down, there is a window looking out. It wasn't there before, but neither was most of the corridors they passed through to get here. And outside, the sky was red, and the landscape was littered with the empty husks of half built buildings, girders towering. Star made a flippant comment that "she'd been to Hell before". Maxwell let it slide, emphasizing on the mission at hand. Blitzen stopped at the window, and just stared for a moment. He looked at Raphael, who had been bringing up the rear, but he had little comment. Raph, after all, was starting to look dark and nasty in his own right, his halo fading to a soft grey, his light brown hair no longer being so light.
Past the darkened black metal door was a long dank corridor lined with doors, with dying flickering lights and pools of murky water in the corners. They walked in, and lasers pelted the doorway. Max and Blitzen tried this again, this time with an Ethereal Shields up, and they could get through, and destroy the turrets, but the alarm claxons started sounding.
The angels started breaking into the doors, and saw that the Malakim were strapped into chairs, pumped continuously full of drugs, eyes held open, forced to watch tapes. Unstrapping them proved to be a time consuming process. Blitzen had a run in with three Impudites in lab coats as they turned the corner, and regenerated some essence. He was then standing at the intersection of four walls, and realized he was in some sort of hellish mental hospital. Then the guards started coming in waves. The angels who could fight posted themselves in a defensive position as they got the Malakim out. Star was healing everyone she possibly could, and Maxwell was trying to get the wounded back up the stairs. When they had everyone they could get out, they started pulling back, fighting a defensive battle.
Blitzen was pulling up the rear, and realized they were missing one Archangel. He found him in one of the rooms that a Malakite was imprisoned in, sitting in one of the chairs (sans straps), and facing a broken television. Blitzen asked him if he was coming, and Raphael told him that it was better if Blitzen just went. Now. Before something happened. Blitzen decided this was for the best. As he was making it to the door, he heard a high pitched voice whine, "My precious experiment! Who ruined my experiment?" He had time to see the unmistakable stitched vistage of a very large Habbalite throwing a fit at his servitors before he disappeared up the stairs.
In the Spires, they were becoming frantic. They were following Blitzen's resonance to get out of there, but the Spires had taken to forming chainsaw blades which ran along the floors, trapping people in doorways, and the like. Taking losses, they stepped out onto the cool, flat, and sane floor of Laurence's Cathedral. Maxwell was trying to get people away.
Blitzen was once again taking up the rear, and he felt the dark, nasty, evil presence behind him. He turned to face the dark form with the six glowing eyes, who told him that he didn't want to flee. But the suit boosted him enough to shake it off. Blitzen had time to scream, "You've been JUDGED!" at Dominic before his suit started dissolving around him. Blitzen, wisely, ran.
Maxwell sends off a report to Jean, omitting all the bits with Raphael in them. Star guides the refugees to Eli's Cathedral for the explicit purposes of healing them. And Joel says that he will start organizing the Free Dominicans, to figure out what has and has not been lost.
Maxwell and Blitzen return to the Halls of Technology to give up the one remaining suit. They give up the Vapulan tech that had been grabbed in the battles, and then face a Seraph who wants to review their report. Something, the Seraph says, is missing. Maxwell keeps saying that it's all there, it's all there, except for the Archangel of Enlightenment. See ya, bye! And they split before anything more can be pulled out of their brains.
Maxwell and Blitzen return to the Halls of Creation, and via Max's attunement, they track down Star. Star demands to know what happened to Raphael, and they try to explain what they think is going on to her without coming right out and saying what they think is going on. This makes for an aggravated Star, but they don't want to upset her. Malcolm gives a Just Say No speech about drugs, just for the hell of it. And then he goes to find someone who can sing a Song of Tongues to Dana. See, they sort of need her about Now...