SESSION: August 28th, 2013
CHARACTERS: Alistair, Douglas, Felicity
SETTING: Sky City, above Mars. The Jolly Roger. Phobos. And, partially, the King of Nothing’s domain (formerly known as Never Never Land.)
Black shadows spill out from *Felicity*’s eyes and mouth as she screams.
Doug and Captain Hook dash out the captain’s quarters and down the hall. Douglas makes the room first and enters the shattered doorway, seeing *Cascadia*’s guardian, Caliban, sprawled out on the floor.
On the deck, Felicity screamed and screamed as shadow poured out of her. The crew and workers backed away, frightened, sensing evil. Inside herself, Felicity was engulfed by the black shadow of the King of Nothing’s power. She struggled against it, denying to be swept away by it. She reached deeper within herself…
Within Cascadia’s cabin, Douglas found the two remaining Folk had ahold of the captain’s daughter. One on either side, each holding one of her arms. The young woman struggled, futilely. There was a dark, hazy nimbus about the three of them and Doug could see, with his enhanced sight, that they were fading away. He leapt forward…
Inside herself, Felicity called out to the others within her. Whether they were personalities, pieces of a broken self, or if they were actual separate entities, she did not know, but she needed their strength. The Peregrine/Wolf/Tiger woman was there, as she always seemed to be ready and waiting. Another, the elfin and familiar-seeming one, was there, but a little more distant. But she responded to Felicity’s call. And a third, the dark, brooding one. She was there, too. She wasn’t happy at being contacted, but she never seemed to be. Further off than the other two, but still there. Felicity hoped that the Storm Queen was still there, too, but having been freed months ago, he presence was completely gone.
Douglas grabbed ahold of Cascadia and attempted to wrench her away from the Folk, but their strength was too much for him. He struggled as the nimbus about them faded, taking the four of them away…
Felicity urges the surly one to join in, pleading to her, “I know you don’t like me, don’t like being here, but surely you like him being here, using me, using us, even less?” Surly agreed and joined her will with P/W/T and the elfin, the three of them bolstering Felicity’s willpower and they struggled against the King’s presence within her. They caught him off-guard and force him out.
Alistair, holding Felicity, had been shaking her, begging her to stop, to snap out of it. Suddenly, she roared, “FUCK YOU, NO ONE USES ME” in his face, her eyes no longer black, shadow no longer spewing from her eyes and mouth. Surprised by this sudden change, Alistair stepped back from her as she regained her composure. Realising that if she kept the connection open to the King, he could easily try (or accomplish) that again, she severs the connection all together.
As she recovered, Alistair helped her to her feet. They rushed down below, to investigate the source of the scream that Alistair had also heard from below. They made their way down and quickly learned of Douglas’s fate, fading away with the Folk and Cascadia.
Caliban was taken to the sawbones, who did his best for brutally beaten man – though he was large and strong on his own, he had been no match for the two Folk.
Captain Hook seethed and roared, saying he would have his daughter back safely or the King’s head hanging from the crow’s nest. It took Felicity and Bill Jukes and Alistair together to get the captain to calm down and to realise that he had to stay on the Jolly Roger. Felicity insisted, saying that first off, his duty was to the ship and the crew, and secondly, if he went with them, his emotions could prove to be a liability.
Hook’s temper subsided and he saw the logic of their words. He agreed to let Alisair and Felicity go, but only if they took Jacquotte with them. Felicity suggested adding another, someone whose mind was intuitive, someone easier to mind-link to. The Captain assigns the largest (non-Folk) member of the crew, one of the originals, Little Richard, to accompany them.
Bill is sent off to hire a skiff to take the four to Phobos, a trip that will take as many as eight hours. In the meantime, the repairs of the ship will be accelerated; Hook summons the Green Martians in charge of things and begins haggling with them to get this accomplished. By the time Bill has a ship waiting for the four, the Captain has a timetable of approximately twelve hours before the Jolly Roger would be en route to Phobos as back up.
Gear is collected, and the four head to the ship. En route, Felicity mind links the four of them, so the two pirates can get used to the experience.
In darkness, Douglas awakens. He believes his is alone. He is surrounded in darkness that not even his heightened senses can penetrate. He hears sounds, though nothing near him, but further off. And he feels something moving on him. He tries to squash it, but it seems impervious to his attempts to do so.
Sitting up, he takes stock of his situation. He seems to be unharmed. Using his heightened senses, he feels the thing moving on him and determines that it must be one of Felicity’s spider tattoos – and he recalls that there was one that got sucked into the King’s domain.
After unsuccessfully trying to climb out (turns out he was in a tunnel), Douglas starts making his way to the far end, from whence he can hear some rhythmic liquid noises. He manages to tap into the spider’s awareness and encourages the spider to make mental contact with Felicity.
It does so and brings him into the group mind link. Via the mind-link with the spider, Douglas is able to see what the spider can see, and sees the tunnel he is in with the opening at the far end.
They tell him they’re about halfway there; he tells them where he is, what he’s seeing. He makes his way down, and starts paying attention to the surface of his surroundings. The walls of the tunnel are multifaceted, shiny black and rock-like. And reflective, but instead of reflecting any light (as there isn’t any within) they reflect moments from his life.
He sees scenes of his youth, hanging out with Diego in high school days. Spending time with his family, many scenes throughout his childhood. Graduating. Joining the Army and serving in Operation Desert Storm.
Then he stops, seeing a moment from Iraq. The Army was mere miles from Baghdad. His commanding office, Lieutenant Davis, had told him to join him on a jeep patrol that night. Douglas stopped in the tunnel, transfixed.
Lieutenant Davis took him out on patrol, to a high point overlooking the Army camp. They talked a bit, drinking some beers, before things got onto the topic Lt Davis had in mind. He spoke to Sgt Grant about duty, about doing what was right, even if it went against the will of the brass.
They discussed some “civilian contractors” who had been brought into the base under “advisory capacity”. The general consensus was that they were likely CIA, which Lt Davis believed as he heard the men refer to “The Company” on more than one occasion, and that was a well-known euphemism for the CIA.
(Watching this play back on the wall of the tunnel, Douglas was struck by the significance of that and realised he was being shown this for a specific reason… but why? And by whom?)
Lt Davis told Douglas about “The Company” men being there to test a secret weapon, apparently some sort of explosive or incendiary weapon. They were going to test it out on the civilian populace in a run-down section of Baghdad. Apparently, men were already within the city and had smuggled in the weapon and were getting ready to test it. Since the US and their allies were not officially, formally within the city, the thought was they’d be able to disavow any culpability or knowledge of it – but thousands of innocent people would die.
Lt Davis told Sgt Grant that, since they’d known each other for several years in the Army, that he felt he know Douglas well enough and trusted him. He told him he was more than welcome to return to base and inform their superiors about this, and the Lt would be arrested and that likely would be the end of things.
Sgt Grant said he wouldn’t do that and asked what he needed to do. Lt Davis told him that he’d picked a group of men, but would give Doug final say on each of them, to go on a secret mission, sneak into Baghdad and stop the men from activating the weapon. Douglas agreed to do it.
Lt Davis then gave him (what little) information, detailing the neighborhood, the men assigned on the weapon team and their timeframe. The Lt also gave Sgt Grant the code name of the weapon being tested, a name that struck a chord with the Douglas watching the playback – the name was the Farsi word for ‘Conflagration’ (which is the name of the ifreet that Douglas remembered from his scattered memories of that mission, which had been slowly returning over the past year.)
THIS resonated much more strongly with Douglas, as he watched the playback. Now, thanks to whatever force being these memories, he knew that The Company had been been behind the mission in Baghdad that he was sent to stop, the very mission that he was the sole survivor from and ended up being court martialed over!
Through the mental link, Doug had been silent during all this – this was NOT shared with the others. They began to worry, but he let them know he was still there, nothing was wrong. He continued onward to the far end, arriving there.
Though the opening, he saw the endless, blasted plain of the King of Nothing’s domain. That which they had learned from Captain Hook, used to be Never Never Land! Just like the very first time Diego and Doug met the King, there was a large pool of black, ichor-like liquid, thick and viscous, choppily lapping at the edge of the pool. In the center, gently bobbing in the thick liquid, was a round, flat stone surface, upon which a stone throne, all black, all one piece, sat.
Chained by a collar around her neck (in the exact position that Mojo had been in during the initial encounter, when it was he that had been kidnapped), knelt Cascadia. From her blank look, Douglas could see that she, like Mojo had been, was out of it, was not aware of her surroundings.
And sitting on the throne, the King of Nothing sat, waving to Douglas, calling out to his “shadow knight”. Douglas did his best to ignore him, looking around for some sign of exit. The cave mouth was just in the air, when he looked around the edge of the mouth, there was no physical tunnel in the King’s domain.
“Hey, Granty-poo,” The King called out, trying to get his attention and a little displeased that he was being ignored. Douglas told the others through the mind-link that he was going to confront the King.
They argued with him, saying they were more than halfway there. Doug argued that there wasn’t time to wait. They kept arguing, but the soldier wasn’t willing to listen to them.
In the rocket skiff, Felicity turned to Jacquotte, “You have the strongest bond with him, you have to make him stop.” Jacquotte tried pleading with him, telling him if he got himself killed, she would never forgive him.
“I’m not planning on getting killed,” he told her. He seemed awfully self-assured that wouldn’t happen, but Jacquotte had heard from the crew of the Jolly Roger of the King’s power. She feared the worst, and using the mind-link, she forced Doug to take several steps back.
This angered Doug and he tried to sever the mind-link, but was not able to do so.
All the while, the King kept calling out to Doug, trying to get his attention. At one point, he called out, “Toodle-loo!” Felicity picked this up through the mind-link and she responded, “No, not Toodles, Toots,” referring to the Toilet Boyz member whose marbles Alistair had stolen (and returned)… who apparently, it seemed was the Lost Boy known as Toodles.
The King of Nothing seemed to have heard this; perhaps, despite Felicity cutting him off from her mind, he was able to overhear their conversation since Doug was so close? Regardless, he was able to hear and he reacted.
Or rather, a facet of him reacted. As Douglas watched, the King’s face seemed… different. Younger, less gaunt for several moments. Then, it changed back to how it had been before. It was a distinctly different, physical change, albeit temporarily.
Using his (recently gained) ability to view people’s auras and learn things about them through it, Douglas scrutinized the King. He saw great power, frustration at being ignored for so long, and… he saw there were four facets to the King of Nothing’s psyche. One was the dominant persona, the King.
But there were three underlying ones – one was the two twins from the asylum (where they had first encountered the King). There were two other facets, both were familiar to Doug, though one was more of an iconic one, the other was of a personal nature. He knew he could only focus on one before the King would be able to shroud his aura, so Doug focused on the one that seemed personal.
Peering into that facet, Doug realised, with shock, perhaps horror, that it was none other than Diego!
He shared this with the others through the mindlink. Immediately, Felicity began calling out to Diego. Alistair and Doug joined in, and then so did Little Richard and Jacquotte.
As they called out, the King struggled, visibly. His face contorted in concentration. He began muttering, “No… no… no…” then began shouting it. He stamped his feet, he banged his hands down the armrests of the throne, all but throwing a hissy fit as they called out to Diego… and Diego within responded.
The King of Nothing’s face transformed again, taking on the features of Diego.
“Old friend,” Doug said, somberly.
Nodding, the Diego of Nothing replied, “You’re looking well, Douglas. I… I’m not sure how long I have.” His body bent over, wrenching in effort, “How much c-c-control I can maintain.”
“What do you want me to do,” Douglas asked.
“Ironically, nothing would be the best thing,” came DoN’s wry reply.
Doug walked to the edge of the viscous liquid, and asked for a away to cross. KoD gestured and a solid bridge formed. Doug crossed it, “I need to take Cascadia away from here. Can you free her?” Another wave of DoN’s hand and the chain and collar fell from her neck in wisps of smoke.
Douglas picked up the motionless girl and looked around, then back at his old friend. The struggle on Diego’s face was becoming more apparent – even without using his abilities, Doug could see that time was growing short. “Where do I go?”
Diego pointed in one direction, more or less the parallel to the tunnel Doug had found himself in, and murmured, “Run, for all you’re worth, run.”
Doug said one last farewell and then did just that. He ran and ran and didn’t look behind, even when he heard a howl of rage that was not remotely Diego’s voice.
Outside, the rocket skiff had reached Mars. They saw and flew around a gigantic dome of shadow that kept growing, spreading… and then, they saw (and felt through the mind-link) Douglas break out of the dome, running, carrying Cascadia.
The Green Martian pilot landed the ship and Douglas boarded. They got Cascadia strapped in and the pilot took off as Doug got settled in.
Giant tendrils of shadow reached out of the dome, trying to snare them. The pilot did his best to evade them, but he couldn’t get a straight shot to hit the throttle on his craft, as he was too busy dodging the tendrils.
Felicity and Douglas worked together, hoping to cloak/shroud the ship. Felicity used her mental ability to try to shield them from the King’s awareness, mentally, while Doug tried to expand his personal cloak of darkness to the ship…
And, together, they were enough that the pilot was able to get the straight shot he needed. The rocket skiff fired all thrusters and escaped. They headed back to Mars…
Several hours into the flight back, they came across the Jolly Roger. The skiff landed on the deck and everyone was reunited.
Not wanting to hang around, in case of any further retribution from the King of Nothing, the decision to take the ship back in time so Alistair, Douglas and Felicity could get home was made. Though they were still short on crew, they had enough to (barely) get by – and Hook hoped that he could find some willing crew in their time period.
The ship, now powered by Green Martian technology, headed out to the furthest reaches of the Solar System (making sure to avoid Pluto, which the captain and crew asserted was not a nice place to visit.) There, the ship was surrounded in mists. This went on for the equivalent of several Earth days, and when they finally exited, they returned back to Earth…
THE END OF SAILORS ON THE SEAS OF FATE – the following story picks up with their return to Earth. See you in TALES OF THE CITY.