God Machine Chronicle – Final Session – What has risen may fall…

Hesitantly raising their phones to their ears and through a hissing and crackling of static Brian can just about make out a panicked voice that sounds a little like to (now deceased) Bartek Prusee crying out “The room numbers, they don’t make any sense… I… I can’t see… is there anyone there?”
Brian attempts to talk back but it’s as though the voice on the other end can’t hear him and soon, it is lost amidst the screeching static. Catia has recovered after her short nap and, pulling out her laptop from her rucksack, begins attempting to access the internet, unfortunately she is unable to establish a connection as the snowstorm continues outside unabated; however after a few moments they notice a hissing static from the speakers and a quite voice reciting a list of numbers, the static resists all attempts to power down the laptop and remove its battery. Finally, worried that whatever lurks in Specto Vale may be listening in, Catia opens the window of Maggie’s flat and, fighting against the wind that rushes in, hurls it into the blizzard outside.
A banging on the door of the flat distracts them, and they open the door to see the young junky that she encountered earlier; they let him in and the panicked young man, who is clearly wired and running on adrenalin, tells them that people have gone crazy in the flats. The violence that was momentarily stopped at the Red Lion has spilled out into the rest of Specto Vale; the youth tells them how he saw a group of polish men kicking someone half to death on the stair, he was worried they were going to turn on him and so fled, he didn’t know where else to go and so knocked on Maggie’s door.
Deciding that they need to get back into the mirror-world to get some answers Brian and Joe force their way into the corridors, now packed with people gripped in throes of some unholy bloodlust; they fight their way up to the 13th floor and Bartek’s flat where Brian begins to work on picking the lock. They are surprised when they hear footsteps on the other side of the door and a far more healthy looking version of Bartek Prusee wearing an immaculate suit opens the door and invites them in. Attempting to seem natural Brian attempts to persuade Bartek that he sold him the mirror recently when he was ill, Bartek claims to have no memory of it but says they’re welcome to the large mirror, he then offers to make them a cup of tea. Brian tries to pass through the large mirror, but finds the surface normal and unyielding glass, he is prevented from going further when Bartek enters and Joe begins to engage him in conversation about purchasing some arms from him.
As they talk a small cat emerges from the back room and sits watching them, Joe shakes hands with Bartek, finding his flesh as firm and unyielding as the surface of the mirror and then, hearing a slight ticking, they bid farewell to Bartek.
Downstairs Catia has just finished giving the junky a couple of paracetamols, hoping that the placebo effect will keep him calm for a while, when Joe and Brian return, having fought their way back down the floors of Specto Vale. Brian explains what just occurred in Bartek’s flat and speculates that perhaps what they heard on the phones was Bartek’s personality being some uploaded in this new copy of him; as he talks Catia checks the patch of numbness on Brian’s arm and finds that it is very slowly spreading across his body. The sound of a cat scratching at the door attracts Maggie’s attention and she finds, to her shock, that her dog is cowering in fear under the bed. Brian flings open the door and Joe boots it across the corridor, although the little beast draws three shallows scratches across his leg.
Realising that Bartek’s mirror either no longer workd or has been replaced, Joe and Brian fight their way down to the first floor and the abandoned flat, where they find the tall mirror waiting for them; Brian enters into the strange reflected world, where a strange iron-like smell fills the air, walking out into the corridor of the mirror-world he sees odd red/black splotches splattered along the walls, ceiled and floor of the corridor. He is about to leave when some movement outside the window catches his attention; looking outside through the flimsy reflection of a window he sees a field of white with the strange black circle floating in it. Tearing the paper thin reflected window Brian pokes his head out and beholds a huge figur towering above the tenement, with pale white skin, colourless eyes, and a perfectly white suit; the hair of the figure is whipped about in an unfelt wind and it stares pitilessly down at the tower block.
In the mirror-world Brian begins moving to the top floor of the building whilst, in the real world Joe begins fighting his way through the rioting crowds to the top floor also.
Reaching the reflection of the top floor, Brian sees that here the entire place is coated with the strange red/black substance, indeed he can barely see any normal wall; he sees that there is a sky light in the ceiling but that he will need something to stand on, but realises that none of the flimsy fake furniture in this mirror world will support his weight. Suddenly he remembers that the furniture in the reflected version of his own flat had been becoming progressively more solid since he had been ‘infected.’
Making his way to the reflected version of his own flat, Brian sees a shadowed figure sat watching the TV, an all too human and familiar arm gripping the TV remote. Grabbing his mini-step ladder Brian attempts to leave without rousing the creature but the freakish scarecrow-like figure, with its button eyes, crumbling straw and all too human arm rises from the chair and advances stumblingly towards him, striking him solidly across the forehead with the remote. Reeling back Brian pins the thing to the wall using the ladder, sprays it with lighter fluid and flicks his lighter; the straw catches and begins to burn, flaming bits of grass and hessian falling to the ground, however the human arm burns like flesh and Brian feels the pain as though his own flesh were catching fire and burning down to the bone. Gritting his teeth against the pain and telling himself that it is not real, Brian holds the scarecrow in place until it hass burned completely, leaving just skeletal arm bones which crumble to dust when touched; Brian is relieved to find that the numbness in his own arm has disappeared.
Climbing up to the roof Brian attempts to attract the attention of the huge, pallid figure, but to no avail.
Joe has reached the top floor where he eventually persuades the owner of Specto Vale Mr Carlson to let him in, the pudgy man looks extremely scared and leans heavily on his walking cane, limping as he lets Joe in. After some persuasion Carlson reveals that he is only a middle-manager, he was once an out of work businessman with a sick mother; a business consortium lead by a Mr White approached him and offered to make him rich, take care of his mother and give him a place to live if he ran Specto Vale for them. As Brian waves at the figure in the mirror world, a red phone on Carlson’s desk begins ringing; Joe picks it up and a moderated voice says “Our security is compromised, I would advise you spend some time with your mother Mr Carlson, your services will soon no longer be required.”
CLimbing back down the ladder, Brian pushes open the door of the single top floor flat and sees a conglomeration of pipes and tubes emerging from the ceiling and pumping the red ichor into an eeriley androgynous figure with a silver shine to it’s skin, resembling a metallic angel, knife-like wings spread out behind it and it’s head hangs as though sleeping. Brian attempts to pull free one of the pipes but with strartingly quickness the metallic angels hand, graps his own; drawing his pistol Brian shoots one of the pipes and, as the pipe flies free and the angel releases him, he dives to one side avoiding the spraying fluids. A few moments later the pipe slithers back into the angels chest seemingly of its own volition and the figure resumes its slumber; removing his can of lighter fluid, Brian sprays the creature liberally and begins to dribble a trail back out to the corridor, he flicks his lighter and tosses it onto the trail of fluid, watching as flame lanced out towards the angel.
Seemingly unharmed by the flames, the metal angel drops from the wall as the pipes burnt away and began to slowly walk across the floor, Brian drew his gun and fired it into the creatures chest; as it moved the creature seemed to be absorbing the stains on the walls and ceiling, feeding on the violence, death and pain and seemingly unharmed by the bullet. In the real world Carlson doubled over in pain, a hole forming in his chest and blood bubbling forth from the wound; Joe grabbed his collar and began to drag him through the crowded corridor.
In the mirror world the angel continues to absorb the stains of death and rage that now permeate the building, with each stain it absorbs it becomes progressively more human looking, until eventually Brian notices that the creature no longer walks but hovers slightly above the ground. The angel seems to have no interest in Brian and continues to move down through the floors (with Brian following behind) until it reaches the 13th floor; a wave of its hand opens the flat that Brian recognises as belonging to the strange cat lady and they go inside. In the reflection version of the room, a strange metallic cockroach-like creature with a hugely distended abdomen lies squirming beneath a pile of fetid blankets, it convulses and one of the sack-headed cat things plops out of it with a sickening squelch; the angel waves its hand and the metallic cockroach begins to fall to pieces, its work now complete. The angel moves to the old woman’s mirror and passes through it, Brian follows and finds himself in the real world version of the flat; there is no sign of the angel but the crazy cat lady lies dead in the next room, one of her cats perched on her lifeless chest.
Brian bursts out of the real world flat to find Joe dragging the bloody form of Mr Carlson past the door; after a brief explanation (dodging the perpetrators of the violence, which seems to be reaching epic proportions) Joe roots around in Carlson’s pocket, finding a mobile phone he scrolls through the phonebook until he finds a number labelled “Mr White: number 111-111-11” and presses the dial button. The calm voice of Mr White answers him and, in response to his questions, tells him that the experiment is reaching its conclusion and that the violence in the hearts of all men has been awakened. Mr White tells Joe that the council block will soon be “shut down” as the experiment ends and that he is empowered to ensure the residents of Specto Vale remain there, but that his storm will soon not be needed.
Joe and Brian fight their way back to Maggie’s flat and, pausing only to grab some recreational drugs, Maggie’s dog, a small tent and some medical supplies they force their way outside to the bus stop where there is still a strange lack of the storm. Holding hands they force their way to the bus stop, set up their tent and settle down, hoping that by medicating themselves to feel no anger or violence they will not feed the thing that rampages through the tenement like a fever; eventually they all drift off to sleep as the adrenalin that has fuelled them over the past few hours fades.
Joe is woken in the morning by something rapping on the outside of the tent, he emerges blearily into the warmth of a sunny, snowless day and find himself face to face with a policeman. The policeman tells them that they can’t squat in the bus stop, people are waiting to use the bus (as a small crowd gathered around seems to verify); the officer tells them that he’ll walk around the block and that, if they’re not gone by the time he returns, then he’ll have to arrest them. Emerging from the tent and looking over in the direction of Specto Vale, Maggie sees only an old burnt out ruin of a building; as Brian and Catia begin to wake, Maggie asks an old woman standing nearby what happened to the building.
The woman looks confused for a second and says “What? Oh, old Specto Vale, some people went crazy in there and burnt it down when I was a girl, everyone died. Must have been about 50 years ago…”
THE END

God Machine Chronicle – Man in the Mirror

Catia is sat in the Red Lion, a rough looking pub built in the lobby of the apartment block, although it’s not been trading much recently given that fresh deliveries have been entirely cut off by the snowstorm, the manager Redge has a long standing arrangement that he allows the Resident’s Association to use his backroom for meetings; normally the meetings consist of a few busy-bodies who meet up, rattle on for a few minutes and drink the odd shandy or lager, not today though, today the meeting is full of riles up residents who have been trapped in the apartment block together since the beginning of the storm, food is starting to run low and tempers are running high. Despite repeated calls for calm from the few cooler heads in the room (including Catia herself) and chance collision between a youth and a polish gentleman turns first into a shoving match and then into a full scale brawl with parties on both sides wading in, the English blaming the new wave of immigrants for stealing their friends houses, and the immigrants complaining at how they are being treated like dirt and spat upon; during the chaos Catia attempts to duck through the crowd and get clear, she pauses to snatch up a bewildered child on her way out, getting bumped and jostled in the progress, and delivers the young boy safely to his worried mother before advising the woman to take her son back to her own appartment and stay there. Thinking that some sort of distraction might stop the fighting Catia presses the emergency fire alarm, remembering too late that it will also set off the sprinklers in the corridors, they spray a brief gout of water onto the floors of the corridors throughout the building before the frozen pipes seize up and the water flow stops.
In her own room Maggie wakes up from an uneasy sleep to sound of a fire alarm ringing, she looks out the spyhole on her door and notices the slick wet floor of the corridor that has already started to freeze in the cold temperatures, before she can do anything more her mobile phone rings, it’s Catia who tells her what’s going on with riot and asks whether she’d be able to get Joe to help calm it down; Maggie says that she’ll see what she can do, rings Joe and tells him what’s going on in the Red Lion. Wasting no time Joe storms down to the pub where he finds the riot in full swing, spilling out of the pub into the foyer of the building, pushing his way through the crowd, staring down anyone who dares challenge him, Joe finds Redge crouched behind the bar; grabbed a pool cue he smashes it across the chest of the first person who gets too close to him and sends the man crashing to the floor, as a youth spins around with a flick knife Joe picks up a second pool cue and breaks it around the youths head, causing him to crumple in an unconscious heap. As a moments hush falls over the room and the riot pauses momentarily Joe says simply “Enough. Go home.”
Seeing the known to be ruthless criminal standing there holding half a bloody pool cue with two broken bodies lying at his feet the riots think discretion is the better part of valor and begin to disperse, although it is clear from the angry looks being exchanged that the matter is not over, it has just been paused momentarily, the main storm of protest is still to break. Joe checks his phone and is surprised to see that for the first time since the storm started he has a single bar of signal on his phone; ringing one of his boys he receives a garbled response before hanging up:
“Jo…ere ou…een…oads are…in…kay?”
Joe phones Maggie and asks her to bring Catia and meet him in the Red Lion and to bring a shovel, Maggie is only able to locate a small shovel that she uses for potting on her plants but she meets up with Catia and heads down to the pub, by the time they arrive Joe is drinking at the bar with Redge; initially the barman/owner looks a little worried that the rioters might have returned but he relaxes when he sees the two women and goes back to sweeping up the splintered furniture and smashed glass that the rioters have left in their wake. As Joe explains what has happened and that he thinks they should get out of the building (although he has not been able to get in touch with Brian yet), Catia recalls seeing a JCB on a building site to the west of the Specto Vale block just before the storm really kicked in, she suggests that they head to the site, take the digger and use it to make a break through the snowstorm. The three of them dig their way out of the front door of the tower block (which is now massively snowed in) and begin walking to the west, however, after a few minutes they find themselves approaching the Specto Vale entrance again; Catia thinks they must have got turned around since visibility is practically zero, Joe is not so sure though. Deciding to head to the bus stop they arrive and find that there is a still an area around it not touched by the snow, as Maggie described to them previously, Joe tells the girls to stay in the shelter and keep safe whilst he heads of to the building site; however, sure enough, a few minutes after he has left Joe finds himself heading back towards the bus stop, certain that something unusual is going he suggest that they return to the block.
Once they get back inside Joe directs them to the unoccupied flat 113 that they visited previously, the door still hangs in tatters where Joe kicked it off its hinges and the oval mirror is still inside; once the dust sheet is removed from the mirror Catia can see that the room is reflected in it but that they aren’t. Exploring the apartment Maggie finds a small hand mirror abandoned on a dresser in the bedroom, she takes it with her and hands it over to Joe who, acting on a hunch, puts his hand through the liquid-like surface of the large mirror whilst Maggie and Catia look at his reflection in the little mirror, they are surprised to see that his reflection in the little mirror disappears the moment his hand breaches the surface of the large mirror, and re-appears when he withdraws it. Taking the small mirror Joe plunges his head and arm through the surface of the large mirror, on the other side he sees the strange reflection realm, but the surface of the small mirror has turned black and non-reflective, although it returns to normal when he emerges from the large mirror back into our world.
Meanwhile Brian has woken up in his apartment, the sound of the fire bells having roused him from a nightmare about cogs, whirring gears and a strange ticking noise, looking outside his door he sees a frozen skin of water coating the floor of the corridor, confusing he picks up his phone and punches in Joe’s number; Joe explains to him about the riot and, on impulse, puts his phone holding hand and head through the large mirror whilst talking to Brian. Immediately Brian’s voice is replace by a crackling of static and just below it, a business-like voice repeats the phrase “What has risen may fall, what has fallen may rise again.”
As he heads down to meet the rest of them Brian notices that the wounds on his hand appear to have disappeared but there is a small patch of skin near his thumb where he appears to have lost all feeling and sensation.
Having trouble dealing with the concept of these strange mirrors and feeling beaten up after her experiences of the riot Catia flops down in a chair, a shocked look on her face, trying to be comforting Maggie pats her on the back and passes a large joint across to her, whilst this is going Joe has emerged from the large mirror just as Brian meets them in the flat. Joe suggest to Brian that he enter the mirror-verse and go to Mile’s room, nodding Brian enters the large mirror and makes his way through the twisted reflection version of Specto Vale to Miles room where he finds not the tidied up sanitary version of the room from their last visit but the messy, cluttered survivalists hidey hole of their first visit, however everything in there feels real and solid, not like the flimsy fake furniture and items in the rest of the mirror world, he pockets the blueprints he finds on the walls there and, thinking about what Joe has told him about phones in the mirror-verse attempts to make a call on his mobile. He is rewarded with the sound of static and a faint voice saying:
“1…13…2…48…3…18…4…26…5…35…6…19…7…20…8…32…9…29…10…25…11…15…12…23…13…0…14…25…15…1”
Unable to make sense of the number sequence Brian hangs up and heads to his own apartment; it seems (like almost every other reflection version of a place) as an imperfect reflection of his apartment and he is about to leave when he hears a low snoring sound emanating from his room. Warily venturing in the sound appears to be coming from a pile of covers on the mirror-version of his bed, gingerly pulling them back he exposes a hessian sack made into a horrific likeness of a head with two large round button eyes and thick black stitching making a straight line for a mouth, the snoring appears to be coming from inside the sack and it would appear the scarecrow like figure is wearing Brian’s pajamas. Drawing back in horror, Brian knocks the covers exposing the arm of the scarecrow, he notices with terror that there is a small patch of perfect human skin on the right hand of the creature, corresponding with the number patch on his own hand.
In our world Maggie has returned to her own flat, she is determined to throw all of her mirrors away but is distracted by the appearance of a jittery youth who is obviously some sort of addict experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, he claims to be from one of the second floor flats and says that there aren’t any drugs coming in and that things are going to start getting ugly if people don’t get their fix, he’s heard that perhaps Maggie could hook him up. Maggie only carries weed and so she rings Joe who has a few small samples of harder stuff and agrees to sell the guy some if Maggie gets his apartment number; satisfied the grateful addict leaves and Maggie begins to systematically hurl all of her mirrors out of her apartment window where they shatter on the snowy floor below, however as she throws the last one Maggie swears that she sees eyes not her own staring back at her and then the mirror tumbles into the whiteness and crashes to the ground below.
Brian has traveled through the mirror-block of flats to the reflection of Bartek Prusee’s flat on the 13th floor, he jimmies the door open and walks inside, a barely visible figure sits with its back to him in Bartek’s high backed chair, as Brian circles round the chair warily he sees another scarecrow like figure, this one clad in the same charcoal grey suit that he last saw Bartek wearing; Brian attempts to talk to the figure but gets no response until he tries speaking backwards at which point the head begins to move, following him around the room, soulless black button eyes staring blankly at him. Unnerved Brian writes ‘who are you and what do you want?’ backwards on a piece of paper and throws it onto the lap of the scarecrow; it reaches up slowly with its other arm to retrieve the note and Brian is horrified to see that its right arm is almost entirely human. Again Brian attempts to speak to it backwards saying “Who are you and what is this place?”
Suddenly his phone rings and, when he answer it, over the crackling he hears a voice that sounds like Bartek speaking backwards saying “What are you doing in my home? I thought that you would have bought you friends again.” Realising that he is speaking to the scarecrow and that it seems to have Bartek’s memories, Brian drags the downward facing mirror that was being used a table in the apartment upright and points it at the scarecrow, when he looks into it he sees the real world apartment and the real Bartek sat on his chair, he looks pale and very unwell, he is rubbing his right arm with a pain expression on his face. Brian steps into the large mirror, and emerges under the table in Barteks apartment, when he crawls out and attempts to speak to Bartek the old man fires an antique pistol from beneath his blanket, hitting Brian square in the shoulder, the old gangster shouts “Which one are you?”
“I’m the real one” replies Brian showing the blood from his fresh injury, this seems to mollify Bartek somewhat who directs Brian to some appropriate tools to remove the bullet and cauterise the wound, that he has in his bathroom cabinet. When Brian returns, having cleaned himself up, Bartek (after some small prompting) explains that he originally used to live on the tenth floor of the building, but after he noticed some strange goings on and that they seemed to focus around the thirteenth floor he bribed his way into possession of his current apartment; it was when he moved in he found the mirror and realised that it was potentially a gate to somewhere else, unwilling to go through but not wanting to dispose of it unless someone else was tempted by it Bartek pointed it at the floor and disguised it as a simple table. Bartek asks Brian whether he has seen the original blueprints of the Specto Vale block and, when Brian looks at him blankly, explains that there was no thirteenth floor listed on the original blueprints but there is one on the revised blueprints made available to the public; he also mentions that no-one in the flat seems to remember exactly when the storm began or how long they’ve been trapped here, most people don’t seem to want to know. To Brian’s surprise he finds that he can’t remember the exact dates or times either; Brian attempts to show Bartek some photos on his phone but Bartek tells him not to use a phone saying that people in the block only get a single when ‘they’ want to listen in on you.
Brian attempts to explain about the scarecrows and that he believes both himself and Bartek are having their life drained away into their duplicates, as represented by the slowly spreading numbness in his hand and Bartek’s useless right arm, at the end of the conversation he notes that Bartek has not moved or said anything for several minutes, checking his pulse he finds that the old man has died quietly. 
Walking back down the first floor, the others are surprised when Brian walks in through the door rather than emerging out of the mirror but they don’t have much time to talk as Brian and Maggie (who has been explaining about the face in her mirror) hear the sound of a janitors wheeled cart approaching; still unsure of what is going on with the odd monosyllabic janitors they duck out of the apartment and head to the Red Lion where Redge has swept all the debris from the riot in a single pile and is now getting drunk. Brian shows the photos and video clips he has been taking in the mirror world on his smart phone and also the bullet that he removed from his shoulder, a brief argument breaks out when Maggie brings up the subject of the face in her mirror about whether she or Brian has had the worst day, this ends when Brian asks Redge about how his stock levels are doing and if he can remember what date the storm started; Redge seems to ponder it for a second before getting very irate and changing the subject, Brian holds this up as proof of what he has been saying to the others, they are not where they think that they are.
As Redge heads into the back room to get some more drinks Maggie notices a low hissing from two speakers fastened to the walls beside the bar, although Redge dismisses it as feedback from cheap speakers when asked, the group decide to ajourn their conversation to Maggie’s flat where Brian outlines his plan to re-enter the mirror world; Catia, obviously tired from her exertions during the riot falls asleep on one of the comfy chairs in the flat. At this point everyone’s mobile phone begins ringing simultaneously, Joe switches off both his and Catia’s phones whilst Maggie and Brian reach for theirs and press the answer button.