They get back to Jerimia’s base and it is more or less as they left it with the exception of the security robot that they had to destroy. Wilson suspects that Jerimia likes to misprogram those things on purpose to test out new models and the like but he isn’t able to figure out he can test out his theory without being shot to death by lasers. They aren’t back for long before Jermia comes bounding up to them, “Where the hell have you two been. Never mind don’t answer that you went to the jungle, and I can tell from the renewed fire in Wilson’s eyes and the fact that he is pumping out enough alpha male pherimones to impregnate a panda that he found what he was looking for. Good good good, we need everyone in fine fighting form because while you two were off gallivanting into the heart of darkness stuff has happened. SERIOUS stuff. I usually shout and such but Jared has been taken and we don’t know by whom and I’ve already blanketed the world for the REDIF tags I inserted in all of you without you knowing and his didn’t show up. For a bit neither did your’s Wilson you scared the god damned hell out of me. Someday you need to take me beyond the damn veil so I can program my equipment properly. No no no. Shower later. I don’t care when. Yes I am aware you both smell like feet. Wilson I’ll have the teleporter dress you and but we need to be off pronto back on the pads there you go”
Rebecca really wanted that shower too. Perhaps should could find one on or around the scene of the incident to use. As her thoughts wandered to warm steamy tile rooms, soap, and three sets of hands whoes only desire is to clean her entire body, the scene changes and she goes from the warm sterile undergound lab to a war zone. Horribly mangled bodies lie in heaps some wearing tattered red robes, others have strange bits of machinery sticking out of them. Then there is the dead thing. She doesn’t understand or wants to understand what it is Stephen is in to. She also doesn’t judge him for it. She understands more than anything that a complicated family life can cause you to do extraordinary things. She just wishes she didn’t have to deal with his stuff all of the damn time. It wierds her out. The sky’s yellowish tint shows her that they are under a dome, which she supposes is for the best. They need to get the mess cleaned up and to find Jared and the noisier they can do that the better. Jerimia is running around using what he would claim to be “SCIENCE!” to dispose of the bodies. The mantic pace at which he is working is almost endearing. Jermia may be pretty insane, he doesn’t have many lucid moments, and she knows that a good portion of what Jared can do creeps him out. It creeps everyone out except her, Wilson, and Stephen. However, he cares for Jared. She suspects he cares for all of them but one step at a time. Going over to Stephen she starts the investigation.
Stephen looks sad for a moment, “Well it started off simple. We were trying to fix your house, and then we needed to know if the virgin has a similar disturbance localized around her as your house. Which, you know she might. We can’t find the virgin and Jared picks up some massive disturbance. He manages to log it, we go out to eat to plan our next move, all of our d-listers show up, they fight each other, Alexander and I leave to gather materials for a summoning circle and when we come back to this”
He points to where she suspects Jared was. On the ground there is a shattered plate that still has apple pie and whipped cream on it, a broken bottle of choroform, what looks to be a brief struggle, Jared’s dropped phone, which not only still works but seems to be processing something, and generous quantities of blood. She looks around for another moment and see’s his car still there and his trench coat. He never goes far without that. He doesn’t wear it very often but it always seems to be around him. It is his security blanket, which is unfortunate because it is also, from what she understands, a powerful focus for his abilities, “Hey Jerimia come here for a moment, I need to you to find out if any of this blood over here is Jared’s.”
“I got that. Jeri keep up with the disposal we need to be able to move if we are going to find him and you and Alexander and the best at it” Jerimia looks at Wilson for a moment unsure, and then he decides to put his faith in the big man and goes back to disposing of bodies. Wilson begins systematically sampling the various blood stains indicated which is more than a little gross, not because it is blood but because it is on the ground in the dirt. After a minute he goes over to a red robed man and then to a cyber punk and tries out their blood. He looks apprehensively at a chunk of the horrible tentacle creature, takes one hesitant step twords it and then comes back to Rebecca, “Alright I’ve samples the blood of all the humans in the area” Rebecca smiles as she noted his truth by omission, “Jared’s punk people’s blood has a slighty oily taste to it, and mage blood is always slightly buttery. The blood in this area isn’t Jared’s. I don’t know how to describe his blood’s flavor other other than it is unique. Also I am usually able to smell it from over a mile off, even in a situation like this. This blood is from another party and judging from the looks of it Jared got them with one of his strange powers that most of us don’t like talking about before he became overcome and was dragged away.
Alexander who is busy directing golems so that they put out more fire than they start asks, “Would cholorform work on Jared”
Jerimia nods, “Oh yeah he is more biological than not. He still has a respitory system and all that. So it would work. Which is sad. If he needed some sort of crazy biological compound to shut him down then it would make it much easier to track who did this to him”
They are quiet for a bit as they realize for the first time in a long time. As a group. They are utterly helpless. They can build rockets, tear through the veil of reality, make people kill themselves out of pure lust, cast spells, commune with creatures that live between the lines of reality, and in all their cases they nearly shook the world. Now. Now here they stand. They once controlled armies, they all as individuals wield vast power but some men with a bottle of sleepy juice and a rag managed to down one of them. It is unthinkable. They are the mighty and they have fallen. Now they don’t know how to pick themselves back up again.
Jerimia pulls Stephen aside, “I assume you’ve checked the entire inside of the dome”
Stephen nods, “It is the first thing Alexander did. He did it both by possessing the insects, with his golems, and he did it himself. You should try though. The dome isn’t very big and there weren’t many higherish animals with whom we could barrow memories from. Also Alexander is starting to talk about rewinding time. Now you know what happened the last time we did that so Deven could get a do over in Monpoly”
Jerimia nods, “Yes yes and I am not entirely convinced that the rise of Mormonism is an entirely bad thing. But that is not the point. We shouldn’t need an actual do over. We are who we are and we need to make them pay.”
Rachel and Wilson join them. Wilson is frowining, “Our clean up is making the gathering of evidence difficult. I am not sure if we should continue to do so.”
Jerimia thinks, “Domes are nice but they aren’t perfect and they take a tremendous amount of power to maintain. I have several robots combing the area taking all sorts of information so we should be able to have everything we need shortly. I know that Alexander is expending a lot of power at the moment and I don’t know for how much longer he will be able to keep the dome up. He’s run literally 100s of scrying spells looking for every shred of evidence he can find god bless him. Don’t talk to him about it, he gets sensitive when his magic isn’t good enough.”
Rachel smiles. “Well at least we will have pleanty of information”
Wilson nods sadly, “But it isn’t the same as walking the ground. That is where instinct kicks in the hardest. I can’t get anything unless I am here.” He walks off sadly, shoulders slumped, shaking his head.
Jerimia hops off after him, “Hey Wilson, before it is to late ee if you can verify something for me please,”
The others watch as the two of them go over to the scene of the event. Jerimia is gesticulating wildly and pointing at the ground then pointing at everywhere else as he rapidly starts talking to Wilson. Stephen and Rebecca hope that he is talking about something useful instead of just ranting on about nothing like he sometimes does. Stephen turns back to Rebecca, “I wish John were here.”
“Where is he?”
“No one really knows exactly. John comes and goes. I mean most of us don’t really understand what the others of us do. We got some idea of each other’s capabilities but non of us know anything about John , how he works, where he goes, or what he does. He always seems to just appear out of nowhere and then disapear the same way.”
Rebecca sighs, “It figures. Well everything points to the light bringers. I mean who else but the light bringers could get into a dome and out again?”
Stephen looks troubled, “It might be something totally new. I mean its been ten years after all. We are kinda last year’s models. Now the apocalypse is in someone else’s hands and maybe thouse someones decided that they needed Jared for whatever. Lets face it, none of us are really people of the world and all sorts of things could of happened since any of us paid atension to anything other than ourselves and our own selfish problems.”
They watch as Alexander confers with Wilson and Jerimia they look around real quick before Alexander calls out, “Look alive cause the dome is comin down”
Then just like that the yellowish sky winks out and the sounds of the world rejoin everyone. They stand around a bit still uncomfortable. After a moment that passes in silence Jerimia steps up, “Alright I am on board for rewinding time”
“Oh I wouldn’t be so hasty as to do that. The Salem Witch trials, while amusing, are one of those things we are suppose to avoid doing” They all turn to see Deven stepping out of the shadows. His ultra expensive, finely tailored suit practically gleams in the moon light, as his right hand glows a faint red. He smiles wickedly, “Now for what possible reason could all of you have for not calling upon me sooner?” They shuffle their feet unsure of how to answer. Deven softens before adding, “Moroco is nice but not so nice that I won’t help out in an emergency. Now next time don’t you forget it. And Jerimia before you ask, for the final time running out of butter, sugar, milk, cheese, or any other item you can get at a grocery store isn’t an emergency”.
Jerimia brightens, “Oh I know. I’ve been practicing food shopping! And the last two times I managed not to burn down the store behind me!”
Deven smile’s “See I told you that stores that aren’t Walmart are nicer to shop at. So it looks like a light bringer has grabbed Jared. I’d of been here sooner but I had to make a pit stop and I couldn’t bring my prize through the dome with me.” Deven reaches back into the shadows pulls out a man. He is wearing highly ornate Red Robes with intricate scroll work all down the front and sides. The place where his face should be is covered by fabric that they all hope allows him to see out even though they can’t see it. The man stumbles and falls in front of Alexander making a series of terrified, sobbing cries as he does so.
Alexander looks surprised, “You brought the red robe’s leader here? I am pretty sure this is a breach of agreement that John made with the light bringers”
Deven shrugged, “I am Satan’s pope and I drink goat urine for fun. I really don’t give a shit about agreements. I especially don’t give a shit when one of our own gets taken.”
“How did you know they were involved?”
“I was coming back today anyway and a little deamon told me what was going on within the dome. So I decided to grab their leader so we could all have a little chat”
“So you didn’t know Jared had been captured?”
Deven hesitates, “Yeah sorry I was busy kidnapping this guy I figured we would just draw on him with sharpies or something. Now that its turned serious we can take it a few steps further,” Deven notices one of the plates with pie crust and whipped cream still on it, “But before that I am going to go to the Waffle House and get me some pie!”
Stephen smiles, “Don’t bother. Jared took the last of it when we were watching the fighting going down”
Deven’s face darkens, “Then we really need to get him back because I very much want some pie and he took the last of it.” He walks over to the red robed figure who is now sitting down. Without being able to see his face he looks almost peaceful.
The robed figure looks up at him, does his best to square his shoulders, so as to meet his fate head on, “I am not afraid of you. You and your sad little group of men who cling to their former greatness. Feh. You let one of your number get-”
Deven snaps his fingers and the man is gone in a puff of sulpher. Jermia winces, “You know I could of just put a helmet on him and gotten the truth out of him in like 5 minutes right?”
Deven frowns, “You know what? I do know that. I almost specifically know that and that is why I brought him here. It is just that these guys need to learn not to back talk to people who can do things like send them directly to hell” Deven snaps his fingers again and the man reappears, “Now then man who is the head of some bullshit cult do you want to continue being mouthy or do you want to be helpful?”
The red robed man, instead of being helpful starts screaming, and screaming. It is blood curdling and completely aweful. It doesn’t end until Rebecca hits him in the back of the head with a tire iron. He twitches a bit then lays still, “Oh shit is he dead?”
Jerimia hops over, “Done worry I will use SCIECNE to figure that out!” He pokes at the body listlessly while blood flows freely from the top of his skull. Shrugging Jerimia jabs at the point where the blood is coming from and his fingers go in quite a bit further than they would if they were being stopped by mere skull, “Nope those are his brains. Good god woman it is to bad we aren’t living in a zombie apocalypse you got quite a swing on you”
She smiles and blushes which is charming. Instead of looking bitchy and aloof Rebecca seems to be enjoying her time with the group finally. Jerimia then adds, “Don’t feel to bad I have a feeling that the leader of the cyber punks will be joining us soon at my base! To the SCIENCE cave!”
As everyone breaks off to find their own way to Jerimia’s SCIENCE cave Rebecca grabs Jerimia’s arm. He raises his eyebrows in surprise, “Yes?”
“Umm do you think there is any way you can make Wilson immortal like the rest of us?”
He nods happily, “Of course I slip longevity syrum in the coffee we serve at the meetings”
Rebecca looks shocked for a moment, “I don’t drink the coffee though.”
“Oh well you should. Care to share a teleport?”