Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 06
Chapter #6: Mimetic Mutation
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, we find them driving to...the mall! ...what do you mean, 'punch it up a little'? They're driving to the mall. It's hardly the most exciting thing for them to be doing, how am I supposed to make *that* more exciting? ...no, *you* shut up. Screw this, I'm going to my trailer" *SLAM*
<Jug> "So, did we just lose our narrator or what?"
- Nenni looks out the windows, seeing if anything looks unusual or everything looks completely normal like it always has.
<mainstreet> "Let's just get there."
- Cade continues driving to the mall.
<Capn_Ascii> Coincidentally, at that very moment, you just get there.
<Jug> "We're here."
<Nenni> "That was quicker than I remember it taking on foot."
<Capn_Ascii> You pull into the parking lot of the mall. As usual, the place is fairly busy even at this hour. Most of the parking spaces are full. In fact, *all* of them look full.
<mainstreet> "What is this, Christmas?"
<Nenni> "Well, it's almost closing time. Some people are probably just coming here in the half hour between *their* work finishing and the mall closing."
<Cade> "This isn't exactly a blending-in van to double-park in."
- mainstreet sighs. "Park as close as you can. If that means street parking, oh well, we'll hoof it."
<Nenni> "Let's park in the Disabled spot."
<Jug> "I'll sit in the van. Go ahead on in."
<mainstreet> "I'd prefer to not get ticketed."
<Cade> "Who cares about tickets? I'm only worried about a tow."
<Nenni> "It's alright - you only have to pay ticket fines within 28 days. Are you still going to be in this world with this van in 28 days?"
- Cade parks as close to the mall as he legally can.
<mainstreet> "I am, yes, even if I'm me again, and not an elf."
<Capn_Ascii> Argh, there's just nowhere to park! If only you
<Capn_Ascii> WAIT THERE'S ONE!!! *SCREEEEECH*
<Capn_Ascii> You viciously cut off an old lady in a Studebaker to make it to the newly-opened parking space. She leans out of the window and shakes her fist at you angrily, then drives off.
<mainstreet> "Alright, let's get this thing, and get going."
- Cade hops out of the van and heads into the mall, looking for anything suspicious or strange, like maybe a large flying parchment in the air.
- Nenni follows him.
- Jug follows
<Capn_Ascii> You head into the front door of the mall, and into the main corridor. The place is packed - throngs of people crowd around, going to and fro, hither and thither and yon. The smell of fountain drinks and big-ass preztels assaults your nostrils.
<Capn_Ascii> You notice right away that there are a fair number of people wearing cosplay here. You also notice that no one is paying *your* unusual appearance much attention. Apparantly this is the overflow of tourists from the con looking to do some local shopping.
- Nenni is positioning himself behind legs, ankles and bags to minimise the chance bouncers will detect he's not a cosplay accessory and evict him from the premises.
- mainstreet looks around for the piece of paper we are apparently looking for
- Cade looks for flying parchment, interesting non-flying parchment, strange posters, or stationery shops.
-10-11- You are now known as Miranor
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You're looking for a single sheet of paper in a crowded shopping mall. You're going to need a better idea than 'walk around and look' if you hope to get anywhere.
<Nenni> "We could always split up! That always works, right?"
<Miranor> "Never split the Party."
- Cade pulls out the map and looks to see if it has a Zoom function.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You fiddle with the map, but it doesn't seem to have what you're looking for. You *do* notice that the Cap-shaped icon has disappeared from the map completely. That's probably a good thing - it must mean the special cell is working. If the map can't see him, the Archmage probably can't, either.
- Cade tries to decipher where in the mall, or which side of it, the paper looks closest to.
- Nenni tries to read if there is any tiny writing on the scroll located in this mall-part of the map.
<Capn_Ascii> It's not that kind of map. The quest marker has pointed you here, but presumably it expects you to do a little detective work now that you're here. What, you expect waypoints all over the place? This isn't some lame-ass handholding MMO.
- Cade sighs and looks at the mall directory for a stationery store or DnD store.
- Miranor follows Cade
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Finally, someone has the right idea. You approach the mall directory and scan through the map and accompanying list of stores to see if anything catches your interest. Lessee...
<Capn_Ascii> Aside from various random stores that don't hold your interest for long, you've got a toy store, a sporting goods store, an hunting/fishing/outdoorsman outlet, a video game store, the food court, and...huh. That's weird. At the far end where you'd normally expect to find Sears or the like, the floor plan suddenly shrinks to a single, tiny storefront. The map entry marks it as "Ye Olde General Store".
- Cade taps the store representation. "I think this is where we're heading."
- Cade orients himself and heads for Ye Olde.
<Capn_Ascii> You also notice...
<Capn_Ascii> ...that one of the shops in the food court is labeled "Mutton Atoll". That sounds suspicious.
<Cade> "I wonder what mutton tastes like," Cade wonders idly as he walks.
- Miranor follows Cade
- Jug plays the following song.
<Capn_Ascii> As you pass by the first crossroad area inside the mall, you find a raised platform with what appears to be a wagon on it, with a couple of horses hitched to it. On closer inspection, you realize the horses are fake - stuffed replicas. It seems to be some medieval counterpart to those new car showcases you see in malls everywhere.
<Cade> "Did the con talk them into this?" Cade asks, confused. "Or did this come with us, so to speak?"
<Cade> "If it came at the same time as our changes...who's stuffing the horses?"
<Capn_Ascii> You proceed farther into the mall, and soon come across a small crowd gathered around a trio of figures. They're mimes - wearing the traditional black pants, striped shirts, and make-up.
<Capn_Ascii> The three of them are arranged roughly in a line, and appear to be doing the classic 'invisible box' routine - they press their hands against unseen walls and feel their way around in a theatrical fashion.
- Cade pokes one of the supposed walls, just to see if there's something really there.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As you approach the nearest mime, he sees you coming and playfully dances out of the way, turning to waggle his finger at you. Then he saunters off towards the other side of the crowd.
<Capn_Ascii> As he goes, you get a better look at the mime who was formerly in the middle. She too is doing the box routine, and quite well. Disturbingly well, actually. She looks genuinely scared...she's been crying, if her runny mime makeup is any indication, and she's pounding on the 'box' with genuinely terrified body language.
<Capn_Ascii> She seems to be trying to get the crowd's attention - but of course everyone is simply pointing and chatting about how skilled her perfomance is. Some of them seem unnerved and are walking away.
- Cade pokes at this box, too.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As you attempt to walk out into the mimes' performance area, you bump into something unseen, but certainly quite solid. Ow, your nose!
<Capn_Ascii> The mime from earlier points at you and pretends to bellylaugh.
- Cade contemplates the invisible barrier, wondering if it's made out of glass, and wondering if all the silicon in glass makes it count as "stone" for a stone-shaping spell.
- Cade feels the barrier with his hands, feeling for a handle and using dwarfsense to see if the whole thing's made of stone or metal.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You reach up and place your hands on the...whatever it is. It feels...weird, certainly. Less like solid material, and more like something is just stopping your hands from moving forward. As you ponder this, you happen to glance behind you and notice that the second non-trapped mime has slipped around behind you. She's mimicing your exploratory wall-pushings exactly, and the crowd is starting to snicker.
<Nenni> Into Cade's head the words arrive, "That mime that's moving about seems to have a lot more freedom and knowledge about the containment than the others do."
<Cade> "They might just be making fun of me because that's their job."
<Cade> "Maybe one of you can question them while I see if I can get in."
<Nenni> "Do you think this is a distraction from pursuing the manuscript? Or might it be key in locating the manuscript? Remember, this place is closing soon. Maybe the mimes will be freed at closing time? But we might be out of time to keep hunting this parchment down."
<Cade> "We're not leaving a desperate girl who needs help," Cade says stubbornly.
- Cade tries pushing on the barrier, hard.
<Cade> "Besides, if they've bothered to imprison her, she might be able to help."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You put your shoulder into it and try your best to push past the barrier, but it's not budging. The male mime crosses his arms and raises an eyebrow at you, as if to say "Really? That's the best you've got?" while the female mime continues to mimic your every motion behind your back. The crowd is laughing out loud now, thinking you're part of the act.
-10-11- Iethloc is now known as Sheona
<Cade> "Maybe if y'all help me push?" Cade suggests, completely out of ideas.
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: As you watch Cade struggle and the mimes mock him, it occurs to you that there's some powerful magic at work here - and possibly a way to use it to your advantage. You've got a good idea how to deal with these characters without outing yourselves in front of the crowd.
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: Deciding to test your theory, you step up to the female mime behind Cade, raise your hand as if holding something unseen between your fingers, and swing it towards the mime's face. She reacts by sharply jerking her face to the side as if struck, then turns back to stare at you incredulously.
<Capn_Ascii> The male mime also stares at you, the both of them apparantly quite shocked.
<Capn_Ascii> Perhaps you've violated some sort of mime ettiquete?
- Nenni stares at the apparently trapped mime, suspiciously, wondering just how sincere her apparent distress is. Is she part of the act? Is helping her A Trap?
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: The lady mime hauls herself upright with the demeanor of someone who's been greatly insulted, good sirrah! She pretends to roll up her sleeves, then draws an imaginary rapier and strikes a fencing pose at you.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You've never seen someone so terrified before. She's genuinely afraid for her life. From the looks of it, she's been trying to get someone's attention for hours...
- Sheona uneasily strikes her best imitation of a fencing pose, drawing an imaginary rapier
<Nenni> Into the frightened mime's mind, Nenni sends the words, "Stop. Calm yourself. Try a new act. Stand and walk to your peers." Then Nenni blends back into the crowd of ankles and feet and accessories.
- Cade , after watching Sheona, thinks for a moment. Then he mimes taking an unseen key out of his pocket, sticks it in a pretend lock in the barrier, and mimes unlocking a door and opening it.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The male mime claps his hands to his cheeks, a horrified expression on his face. Having opened the 'door', you step forward...and nothing happens. Holy crap, that actually worked! The mime glances around, apparantly seeking something to defend himself with now that you've barged into his 'house'.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The prisoner, hearing voices in her mind, begins pounding on the box even harder, screaming inaudibly out of frustration. Oops.
- Cade walks over to the girl's box and does the same mime-key-opening move, quickly.
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: The lady mime suddenly lunges at you with a feinting thrust!
<Capn_Ascii> She misses, stumbling comically past you. It seems they can't stop themselves from clowning around (heh) even now that things have gotten serious.
- Miranor just stands back and watches the scene
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You open the box, and the girl inside immediately sprawls out onto the floor. She scrambles away from you as fast as she can go, the crowd parting to let her past. The shoppers murmur anxiously.
- Cade mouths, but does not say aloud, "Hey, wait, we rescued you!"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The male mime looks furious. He pulls out something big, heavy, and worryingly bazooka-shaped and takes aim at you with it.
- Sheona stands tall and heroically, turning to face the mime before taunting her with a poke from the imaginary rapier
- Cade quickly takes a step back and mime-closes-and-locks the door again, then ducks for safe measure.
- Miranor grits his teeth. "Can we get back to the actual... plan, here, please?"
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: The lady mime looks down at her chest, then back up at you. Then, she clutches at her heart, and proceeds to put on a death scene worthy of Shakespeare, staggering around and reaching outward before finally collapsing to her knees and falling to the floor. After a moment, she rolls over and folds her hands over her stomach as if holding a flower.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The door shuts just in time - the mime pulls the trigger, then suddenly *flies* backwards as if hit by an incredible force! He bounces bodily against a second unseen wall, then crumples to the floor, unmoving.
<Capn_Ascii> A beat passes...then, the crowd erupts into cheers.
<Cade> "Do we move the bodies so they don't realize something's up?" Cade whispers to the others.
<Miranor> "No. We get the hell out of here. Now."
- Cade stands up, bows to the crowd, then proceeds on to Ye Olde.
<Miranor> "Actually complete the task we came here to do."
<Cade> "Grouch. We just saved a girl." Then he adds thoughtfully, "I wonder what they wanted her for."
- Nenni imagines lots of tiny ball-bearings surrounding the two fallen mimes and what might happen if people were to step on them. Then followed Cade.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: With that nonsense thoroughly over, you get back on track. You make a note to make up for this detour by not having any fun for the next day or so.
<Capn_Ascii> As you reach the far end of the corridir, you see the store. Sure enough, it looks completely out of place - there's enough wall space here for a large department store entrance, but instead this single store barely takes up a third of it. It can't be any bigger than your typical Starbucks inside. The wall beyond the corridor transitions seamlessly into wooden planks, as if this place were a freestanding wood building that somehow melded into the wall from the outside.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As you approach the storefront, something flings itself at you from a nearby planter!
<Capn_Ascii> "ThankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouTHANKYOU!" It's the faux-mime girl. She's hugging you desperately and crying tears of relief.
<Cade> "Oh, hey," Cade says, putting his arm around her carefully. "I thought you were scared of us, too, the way you rushed out so fast."
<Capn_Ascii> She sniffles. "I wasn't scared of you, I was scared of *them*. They've had me in that box since this morning. What the *fuck*!? How did they even do that? How did *you* even do that?"
<Cade> "Weird things are definitely afoot. I don't suppose you know WHY they kept you in the box?"
<Nenni> To Cade, Nenni says telepathically, "I said something to her before and she freaked out, so I'm not risking it again. But I'm intrigued *how* she got to be wearing mime outfit if she isn't one of them."
<Capn_Ascii> "Becuase they're fucking jerks, I guess." She sniffles again. "I saw them performing, and then they started motioning for volunteers, so I thought 'hey, why not?'. They dressed me up and had me act along with them, and it was funny right up until the box closed around me and I couldn't get out and nobody could hear me and I started to panic and...!"
<Capn_Ascii> "...and, and then you guys came along and I started hearing *voices* and..."
<Cade> "Oh, yeah, that was the cat. Think of it like a ventriloquist thing. But I don't actually know how the mimes were doing that. Just remember, if you catch any more mimes doing something like that, apparently you can just make up your own mime stuff to undo whatever they're doing."
- Cade pats the girl awkwardly on the shoulder.
<Capn_Ascii> She tries to calm herself down, and nods. "Anyway, I guess I'm out now. I'm going to go home and forget this ever happened. Here." She hands Cade a piece of paper with something scribbled on it. "My name's Sara. I'm working at the convention. If you guys ever need a favor, let me know. It's the least I can do."
- Cade takes the paper and stares at it. "Thanks."
- Cade tries to remember how guys are supposed to act when girls give their numbers.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Going from your best guess, you point both fingers at her in a gun-like fashion and make a clicking noise with your tongue. She raises an eyebrow at you, but then shrugs, hugs you again, then runs off, presumably to go home and change.
<Nenni> "Is that... *the* piece of paper? The one we're here for?" Nenni asks Cade, who's the one most able to see it clearly for now.
<Sheona> "Man, I wish the ladies would give me their numbers. Wait, no I don't, I have phone anxiety..."
<Capn_Ascii> It is! ...not. It looks like the corner of an ad flyer for the convention, torn off and with Sara's name and number on it.
<Cade> "That probably wasn't it. Was I supposed to kiss her?" Cade says absently, staring off at the departed girl. "Definitely not kiss her, right? But lose the fake gun noise?"
<Cade> "I have no idea how to be a guy when it comes to this."
<Nenni> "Well, everyone here is cosplaying; she sure didn't seem too upset by your imaginary assassination."
<Miranor> "Can we focus on important things please?"
- Cade shakes his head and looks back at the phone number, then tucks it in a pocket. "On to the store, I guess?"
- Nenni agrees with Miranor. If that wasn't the right bit of paper, then there's precious little time left to find it. Onward!
- Cade heads into the store.
- Nenni slinks in stealthily too.
<Capn_Ascii> You amble on up to the store. It's one of those open-front affairs; no doors, and barrels and crates of product are sitting near the opening in hopes of enticing window shoppers. The inside walls are lined with shelves containing all sorts of classic fantasy standbys - from potions and salves, to scrolls and wands, to bottles and jars and phials, oh my!
<Capn_Ascii> At the back is a heavy wooden counter, and behind it is a fairly small, middle-aged man with balding hair and thick eyeglasses. He adjusts the latter as you step inside. "Oh, hello there! Welcome! You look like adventuring types, I'll bet. Lookin' for anything in particular?"
<Cade> "Any ... strange parchments?"
- Nenni looks through what's visible of the scrolls and parchments on display to see if any really stand out as being what we're looking for.
- Miranor also looks around for any interesting parchments
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, that depends on what you're after. I've got plenty of old scrolls and other mage-type stuff. Or if you're just after strange *blank* parchment, I've got a stack in the back that's had something growing on it for months..."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You glance around for OH MY GOD IS THAT CATNIP!? IT IS, IT'S CATNIP, YOU CAN SMELL IT FROM HERE OOOOOOH IT SMELLS SOOOOO GOOD
- Nenni pursues it single-mindedly.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You instantly forget what you were doing and wander off to sniff at a small pouch on one of the lower shelves.
- Nenni salivates uncontrollably.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: As you pass by one shelf full of potions, powders, and the like, you suddenly stop and double-take. There a small cardboard box sitting on the shelf, a few inches square, filled with a quantity of white powder. But it's not the box that catches your attention - it's the paper lining. One corner is sticking out, and you can clearly see the name "Sheona" written on it.
- Miranor looks at the shopkeep, seeing if he can see the box from where he is.
<Nenni> "I want you!" Nenni keens to the small pouch, mewling and not caring who notices him.
- Sheona sighs. "Friggin' cat..."
- Jug looks around the shop idly, wondering what they were hoping to find.
<Miranor> "How much for... this box?" Miranor asks the shopkeep.
- Nenni is still fixated by the pouch and begins to gently swat it, to see if it's willing to come home with him.
<Capn_Ascii> He peers through his glasses as if trying to focus on it. "Ah? That? That's a box of my patented All-Natural Enhancement Powder. Only 30 gold. I'll even bag it for you so nobody sees you leaving with it. Don't want to tell the whole world about your little problem, eh?" He grins and waggles his eyebrows, and you suddenly feel both embarassed and creeped out.
- Miranor rolls his eyes. "And if I just wanted the paper it's wrapped in?" he affects a casual air about the question.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The pouch rolls off the shelf and lands on the floor. Fortunately it's still closed.
- Nenni sniffs it deliciously.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: HNNNNNNG. SO GOOOOOD
<Capn_Ascii> The rest of you notice that Nenni seems to be on the verge of having some sort of attack. You might want to intervene before he does something regrettable.
<Cade> "Err...get the powder, too, just in case," Cade says, wondering about the side effects of being a girl magically turned into a boy and then potentially having a girl interested in him.
<Miranor> Miranor blinks at Cadellin. "Okay, fine, I'll take it, then." He hands over 30 gold.
<Capn_Ascii> "The...paper?" He gets a confused look on his face. "...well, if you really *want* it...oh, you will? Alright, very good." He takes the money and bags the little box for you.
- Miranor nods and smiles. "Thanks," he comments.
<Miranor> "Alright, anything else, or shall we go home?"
- Cade slips 30 gold to Miranor and takes the bag. He dumps the powder into the bag and pockets it, taking the paper out to look at.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: It's...a character sheet! Sheona's sheet, in fact, written on some ancient parchment. The ink glimmers with the same magical aura as a scroll.
<Sheona> "Let's be careful with that."
- Cade hands it to Sheona to hang onto, then grabs Nenni by the back of the neck and carries him out of the store.
<Capn_Ascii> "Thanks for shopping with us! Bye now!"
<Cade> "We probably don't want you too intoxicated on us, buddy," Cade says to Nenni.
<Capn_Ascii> As you exit the store you hear the overhead intercom. "Attention shoppers, the mall will be closing in 10 minutes. Please make your final purchases and make your way to the exit."
<Miranor> "Let's just leave."
- Cade nods and heads back in the direction of the van. "Guess we're not eating mutton tonight."
<Miranor> "You want mutton, go to New Zealand..."
<Capn_Ascii> You head back down the corridor, passing the spot where the mimes were performing. No one's there now.
- Nenni begins having withdrawal and takes a nap to recover.
<Capn_Ascii> ...and you soon realize why. As you near one of the cross-corridors of the mall, the male mime steps out from around the corner. He stands right in your path, eyes narrowed, fists balled up in anger. Moments later, the female mime emerges from somewhere behind you, taking up a similar posture.
- Miranor sighs. "Great."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You note that both of them have bruises around their faces...the sort one might incur from an unexpected fall, perhaps?
<Cade> "What's with you guys, anyway?" Cade asks. "Why'd you trap that poor girl?"
<Nenni> "Catnip" Nenni croaks to his psicrystal dejectedly.
<Capn_Ascii> The male mime just glares at you. Suddenly, he begins to tremble with anger! ...no, wait, he's not trembling, he's twitching. And spasming. And...jerking around like a marionette whose puppeteer is having a heart attack.
<Nenni> "Warning: detonation in 3... 2..." Nenni shuts his eyes.
<Capn_Ascii> A few moments later, and his whole body begins to deform! He's growing taller, and thinner, and his upper body is changing into something horrible. His skin turns a blackish brown, and his mouth seems to grow until it threatens to engulf the rest of his torso. Behind you, the lady mime does the same, the both of them changing into something else...
<Capn_Ascii> Uh oh. These aren't mimes at all - they're Mimics! That...makes a weird kind of sense, actually. Also, they're super pissed off at you, so there's that to deal with.
<Capn_Ascii> They seem to have ditched their supernatural mime powers in favor of just tearing you limb from limb. The pair advance on you meneacingly...
- Miranor looks to see if they can just run past them.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The mimics have boxed you in beside one of the planters. The only way out that doesn't go through them is through the planter itself.
- Miranor checks the viability of going through/over said planter.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The planter is between you and the other half of the corridor. There's a hedge-like plant growing in it, but nothing you can't hurdle.
<Miranor> "Can we all hurdle that, or should we just attack?"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade will have to climb up a bit, but it's definitely doable.
<Nenni> "Let's try it!"
- Cade makes for hurdling the planter.
<Sheona> "Last I checked, I'm not...athletically inclined."
- Miranor follows and tries a jump
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You scurry towards the planter and climb up, realizing that you don't have to outrun the mimics - you just have to outrun the slowest member of the party!
- Nenni traverses the verticals with his Wall Climbing if it's solid enough, or squeezes through with Escape Artist otherwise.
- Jug clambers onto the planter and helps everyone else over it.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor gets a running start, and makes a flying leap, intending to hurdle the planter like an Olypian athlete!
<Capn_Ascii> He makes it! He sails gracefully over the shrub and--
<Capn_Ascii> ...lands his foot directly on top of a pile of ball bearings someone's left scattered all over the floor on the other side of the planter. He immediately loses his balance, slips, falls, and cracks his skull on the edge of the planter.
<Capn_Ascii> From behind you you hear a horrible laughing sound.
<Miranor> "At least I made it..." Miranor mutters, a bit dinged with concussion-like symptoms. Quick, someone get him off the field and into the concussion protocol!
<Capn_Ascii> The rest of you scrabble over and haul him up off the floor.
<Nenni> Nenni spots the ballbearings and thinks, "That stinking copy-*cat*!"
<Miranor> "Buh... thanks..."
<Capn_Ascii> It takes you a few moments to haul Miranor up, dust him off, and help him regain his bearings.
<Capn_Ascii> Behind you, one of the mimics is kicking its way through the shrub.
<Jug> "Run, people!" Jug takes up rear guard, pulling out his not-so-decorative chain.
- Cade casts Cure Minor Wounds on Main, using one charge from the Ring of Mystic Healing to boost the heals.
<Miranor> Miranor is healed! He gets back on his feet and continues the general charge away from the Mimics.
- Cade also continues running away from the mimics
- Jug continues rear-guarding, but now at a run behind the ground.
- Sheona tags along quickly
<Capn_Ascii> You all beat feet towards the mall entrance as fast as you can go. The mimic is a tall critter, but has an odd loping gait that causes it to fall behind you before long. As you go, you notice the mall is pretty much empty - they must be ready to close the doors.
<Capn_Ascii> As you get closer to the entrance, you notice a container against the wall. It's fairly large, about the size of a treasure chest, made of white plastic with a large red cross on the side. Letters on the lid spell out "EMERGENCY CRANIAL TRAUMA STATION".
<Nenni> (Jug, did you mean "behind the group"?)
<Cade> "That better not be another mimic," Cade mutters.
<Miranor> "It probably is. Let's continue."
<Sheona> "Assume everything is a mimic."
<Nenni> "It looks like a fallen over vending machine. Shouldn't we check it out? No, you're right. Give it a wide berth!"
- Cade tries to continue running toward the exit, but staying along the wall opposite the container.
<Capn_Ascii> Thankful for the chance to assist Miranor, you approach the container and HEEEEEY, WAIT A MINUTE!
<Capn_Ascii> Seeing through the obvious ploy, you ignore it and keep moving. As you charge past the box, it lets out an angry shriek! A long, spindly arm reaches out and tries to snare you, but you steer well clear of its reach.
<Capn_Ascii> The box stands up and chases you as it turns back into a mimic. It looks like the one that didn't follow through the bushes ran ahead while Miranor was busy having a wipeout.
<Miranor> "Just like before. Let's get out of here!"
<Nenni> "Pretty wily for such a slimer!"
<Capn_Ascii> You hustle, and bustle, and soon the mall entrance is in sight. A pair of security guards are standing there, looking impatient. "Finally, looks like the last of the stragglers. C'mon, folks, time to close up."
<Cade> "Run!" Cade yells at the guards.
<Capn_Ascii> "What? C'mon, we're not in *that* big of a hurry."
- Nenni runs.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, what's wrong with you folks?" The other guard tilts his hat up.
- Miranor slows up a *bit*. Don't want to seem like we're stealing, after all!
<Capn_Ascii> You all barge out the door, pause to catch your breath, then look behind you into the mall. The guards stand there looking at you confusedly, and beyond them, farther down the corridor, you see a pair of soda vending machines that weren't there before.
<Nenni> "We're certainly not the last", Nenni says to the party; "the shop keep at Ye Olde Shoppe, and probably Forgotten Mutton, are still at work. They won't get locked in."
<Cade> "Oh, hey," Cade says, panting. "They're not going to attack the guards after all."
<Capn_Ascii> "Damned loony conventioneers. C'mon, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." He shoes at you with a nightstick.
- Miranor nods and heads out to the van.
<Miranor> "If our van turns out to be another freaking mimic..."
- Cade climbs into the van, relieved to be back in its awesomeness.
- Jug boards quickly.
<Nenni> "I know who I want to take me home" Nenni croons to Semisonic on the radio.
- Cade glares at Miranor. "Don't you ruin my love affair with this van by putting such images in my head."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You crank the ignition, and are thankful to hear the engine roar to life. Looks like you made a clean break.
<Cade> "Are we making another stop today, or heading back to the base?"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As you pull out of the parking lot, you take one last glance through the glass doors into the mall. One of the fake vending machines extends a single arm, lifts it up, and makes a throat-slicing motion across its front...
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---
<Nenni> "Let's have a look at the magic map. Is the picture of the character sheet moving? Will we have to secure it in the Farraday cage too to conceal it from the Archmage? Our former-selves did commission that safe room, and the author of the note did say they'd done everything in their power to keep the sheets out of his range / possession..."