The words of the bear trapper didn’t necessarily fill me with delight. The local despot, Lord Sticks, only came down from his mountain fortress for the Bi-Annual Virgin Sacrifice, or some shit. He pretty much had the locals well under his thumb and no one had ever ventured into Mount Tabor. It sounded like this was going to be a tough nut to crack – if we could crack it at all. And given that there were bound to be local snitches and even loyalists, informing all and sundry of our presence seemed like a bad idea. We didn’t reckon we would have much success charming him none. So a thorough reconnaissance, from a distance and without alerting the locals was recommended and agreed upon.
The Noisy Cricket showed us a pretty tight looking affair: one of them big ol’ blast door type things – not exactly something we could bust down with our puny firepower. Khiron went up to provide a better perspective. He wasn’t gone but an hour when he reported back finding something interesting out in the woods on the eastern slope of Mount Tabor. He was able to guide us overland through the vines and the briars. Thankfully, even Thorne was in good shape due to all our pounding through the weeds over the last couple of months.
The interesting thing turned out to be some sort of large concrete pad with weird bent over plastic pipes coming up at the corners. Fuck if we could figure out what it was. Damned Ancients and their cryptic crap. But some poking around the weeds did turn up a metal hatch – thanks again to Khiron and his nose for things out of place. It was just as well, Gabby, our erstwhile scout, was laid-up with some sort of gut bug and barely able to keep up with us (not that he had been much of a help of late). After some prodding, speculating, and magical scrying (by Thorne and Myself), we concluded that the hatch could only be some sort of long forgotten escape route out of the bowels of the Mount Tabor complex. Hot damn! I think these Aldemari are some kind of lucky charm.
With some effort we were able to spring the hatch – it opened into a long dark and musty shaft that seemed to drop into the very depths of the mountain. I sent down the Cricket: ladder rungs all the way down and some sort of security door at the bottom. Well fuck, down we went. The security door proved to be impervious to our usual magical means of entry (blast the fuck out of it!). Thorne however was able to provide some spiritual ghost hackery to get us through. Damned convenient. He or she is a spooky motherfucker most of the time and usually about as reliable as fuck-all (something I often ask Marcel: How long has he been putting up with this?) – but sometimes she manages to pull one out. Case in point.
The tunnel beyond the security door led to a much disused hatch into the main giggery-pokery power chamber of the site – complete with a window in the door. Who the fuck does that? The chamber beyond was pretty damned impressive. Lots of Ancient artifacts and machinery all centered on some sort of etheric flux capacitor – which according to Thorne, Lord Sticks was using to repeatedly shred ghosts. Apparently that is bad. Our suspicion was that he was doing it to prolong his life. Initially we could see him in the center of the etheric flow and when he emerged he looked brand-spanking new. There also seemed to be some sort of vampire manning the controls. Thorne was not taking the whole ghost killing/un-killing thing well and insisted we needed to stop it right fucking now. The rest of us were a bit more cautious – Lord Sticks looked pretty bad ass and who knew how powerful the vampire was or how many minions were close by. Many plans were discussed and discarded with the usual amount of despair and deconstruction.
While we were plotting we noticed that Lord Sticks and his vampy had left the chamber on some errand. The hatch into the chamber wasn’t alarmed or hatched – for whatever reason – so we rolled in. The first order of business was closing the really huge blast door that led to the rest of the complex…which turned out to be simply accomplished. With that done we had free range of the power chamber and all the high energy machinery within. Thorne and Khiron quickly moved to secure the control booth and shut down the etheric-spirit gizmo. I was left to toy with the gadgetry in the center of the chamber. Thorne summoned up one of her spirit friends to “hack” the control booth. Which enabled her to shut down the spirit shredder. While Thorne was attempting to communicate with the post-shredded spirits, weird stuff started to go down in the main chamber. With the etheric-spiritual flows stopped, the local “screens” flashed gibberish asking if the Standard Restart Sequence should be started. Seemed like a good idea – I pressed the YES button. The fucking shit storm commenced.
I’ve seen some weird shit. Not “ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion” level of shit. But definitely near-Biblical level weirdness. This fucking pegged the meter.
I’m not even sure I can accurately describe what happened. But quite suddenly we didn’t seem to be under Mount Tabor any more.
At first we were amid a hall of chanting skeletons.
A large glass walled room with a huge ass dragon, lots of glass and shiny metal in the background.
A grungy-greasy industrial chamber with a window to the stars. They were shouting about “a singularity containment failure in the electro-gravitic drive”.
Back to Mount Tabor wrecked to hell – but five years from when we had left.