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 ENDTags: Brian "Bulldog" Best, Catia "Cathy" Williams, event write-up, FAE, God Machine Chronicle, Joe "Smokey" Thomson, Maggy Pike, RPG, Scarecrow, Session write-up, Specto Vale