God Machine Chronicle – So what is it with these cats?

“Smokey” Thomson stood on the threshold of the Specto Vale apartment block, the winter storm lashing down outside and coating the world beyond the block with white, contemplating the events of the day before he lit a cigar; at least that fruitloop Shepherd had promised them some answers today. Meanwhile Brian Best had just woken up in his room where he’d fallen asleep re-watching his extensive collection of Star Trek DVDs, there was a faint meowing outside the door of the apartment  he opened it to see a single feline watching him. At first Brian attempted to feed the cat some milk but it didn’t seem very interested in it, remaining watching him, so eventually he gave and went back inside.
There was a banging on the door of Maggy Pike’s apartment, she opened it to find Sue-Linn the 16 year old daughter of Mr Lung standing there, frantically trying to explain something in chinese (much to the bewilderment of Maggy who didn’t speak chinese), the young girl thrust a pile of money at Maggy and eventually communicated that she wanted Maggy to follow her. Following Sue-Linn down the hallway, her loud talking lead to Brian sticking his head out of his appartment and investigating; through his mangled knowledge of the chinese language Brian was able to establish that the man who had left a bag in their freezer had paid them £500 to look after another parcel because he thought “people were after [him].”
Making their way across the ‘lobby’ of the apartment block the small party spotted Joe smoking his cigar and beckoned him over; travelling to Lungs Chinese takeaway Sue-Linn fetched her older sister who spoke english, she confirmed that, whilst she had been in the back room caring for her father, Mr Shepherd had turned up and paid her sister £500 to hide some papers. Looking in the freezer Brian discovered the blueprints that had decorated Shepherd’s flat walls, with the red dots showing where cats congregated in the block, red lines joining these points to a 13th floor flat and a line joining that flat to one on the top floor; since the last time they had seen the blueprints, three large asterisks had been drawn on it, two in 13th floor flats (one being the flat with the red lines travelling to it), one in a 1st floor flat and the other in a bus stop just outside the apartment block.
Deciding that it was about time they got some answers from Shepherd, the group visited his apartment, finding it oddly clean and with a much saner, apologetic Shepherd in attendance; Shepherd apologised and claimed that he suffered from psychotic episodes and had been off his meds, he claimed to have little memory of his paranoid ramblings. Brian noticed that the apartment seemed to have been freshly painted but that there was no smell of paint, his continual attempt to quiz Shepherd about this resulted in nothing other than a confused silence from the man, although Maggy noticed that every time he paused to consider his answer, there was a strange metallic whirring sound (like an old pocket watch her father had once possessed) from somewhere in the room. Joe had begun to suspect there was something not right about Shepherd and shook his hand, applying as much pressure as possible, but it was like trying to squeeze a breeze-block, Shepherd didn’t even seem to notice.
“That isn’t Shepherd” – Joe “Smokey” Thomson
After leaving Shepherd’s apartment, Brian speculates that perhaps the people who were after him actually managed to get hold of Shepherd and that they had somehow brainwashed him, whereas Joe doubts that the person in the apartment is infact Shepherd. Brian wants to visit the places marked with asterisks on the map, so him and Joe had to the first floor whilst Maggy plans to visit the bus stop just outside the apartment.
Arriving at Flat 113 on the first floor they find it seemingly empty, Brian begins to attempt picking the lock when Joe, tired of waiting, kicks the door with such force that it is smashed off its hinges, the noise of the destruction echoing down the corridor. Moving inside they find a dusty, abandoned apartment with sparse furniture covered by dust sheets, at one end of the room is a large oval mirror also covered by a sheet; unveiling it the two men notice that, although the room is reflected, they do not seem to have reflections in the mirror.
Outside Maggy has waded through the waste high snow and is shocked to find that at the Route 13 bus stop and for about a metre around it there is no snow (despite flurries still falling from the sky) and the temperature is far more mild than elsewhere. Snapping some photographs on her smartphone, Maggy retraces her steps to the apartment block and goes in search of Joe and Brian, following the sound of a door smashing she eventually locates them in flat 113.
Brian hesitantly put his arm out towards the mirror; the surface of the mirror ripples like liquid and his hand passes through, Thomson grabs hold of him, worried that his driver might be pulled through. Brian puts his phone through and blindly snaps some photos, when he removes his arm and looks at the phones gallery he sees simply photographs of a reflected apartment room. Convinced there is no immediate danger Brian pokes his head through the mirror and sees a reflection of the apartment, however, something seems not right, but he can’t put his finger on what; using a fire hose as a life line and tying it around his waist Brian dives through the mirror whilst Maggy checks the refrigerator.
“Nope, no Zuul” – Maggy Pike
The sound of metallic wheels alerts Maggy to the approach of one of the apartment janitors, a surly eastern european man pushes a wheeled metal water container along with a mop. Meanwhile Brian explores the mirror world, finally realising what is wrong with everything, it all looks fake like a movie-set or cardboard cutouts of real things; he verifies this by picking up an almost weightless sofa, he tries to take it back through the mirror with him but it does not make the transition with him, falling on its side when he exits the mirror world. Maggy and Joe turn to talk to Brian and there is a loud crash from behind them, whirling round they see that the real world sofa is lying on its side.
Re-entering the mirror Brian moves over towards the window, he can see no snow outside but just a flat field of white with a round black giant object that resembles a colossal button floating in mid-air; exploring the reflection of the corridor outside the room, Brian sees the janitor shuffling away from him, although he can’t see the man’s face at all, the janitor is the first person he has seen since entering the mirror. Returning to the real world, Brian discusses what he has seen with the others, but they are interrupted by the janitor who keeps repeating that they should not be in the flat; spooked by what he has seen and unsure what is going on with the janitor Brian advises that the group leaves, they take his suggestion and follow him out of the flat.
Heading up to one of the 13th floor flats marked with an asterisk they meet the occupant, a polish man named Bartek Prusee, he has tattoos that Joe recognises as old school criminal gang markers; using the excuse of a potential drugs deal (brokered by Joe and supplied by Maggy) they are able to have a look around the flat. During his search Brian discovers that the underside of Bartek’s dining table is mirrored and he establishes that it seems to work like the other mirror he entered, however he is unable to test it further as Bartek concludes his deal with Joe (a very good deal for Joe, although as a sweetener he promises to supply some muscle if Bartek needs it in the near future).
Continuing to the other thirteenth floor flat (the one marked with red lines connected to it on the blueprint) they find the corridor outside full of numerous cats, all appearing to watch their approach; knocking on the door and pretending to be Resident’s Association members gains them access, the smell of cat urine and feces hitting them like a wall. The occupant appears to be an old woman with cataract clouded eyes who claims to care for the cats that the management bought in to deal with the vermin problem; searching the flat, Brian locates a round mirror on a dresser in the bedroom and finds himself able to pass through it into the reflected flat beyond. Poking around he finds that the cats are reflected here, although they look like small burlap sacks with fake cat masks tied around them (they remind Brian of some canopic jars he saw on a program about ancient Egypt , something wriggles inside the sacks, creating an unsettling undulating movement; Brian picks one up and is shocked when two metal, insect-like antenna tipped with sharp fangs emerge through the eyes of the cat mask and stab into his hand drawing blood. Dropping the thing onto the floor, he dives through the mirror back into the normal world as metallic legs begin emerging from the sacking.
In the normal world Brian sees that every single cat in the room is staring at him; he staggers back into the living room, showing the others his bloody hand, he gestures for them to leave. As they head out the voice of the crazy old cat lady follows them, “It was nice to have company, I do hope your friend is alright.”   

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