Kitten Caboodle aka Kit
Assessing the situation, the team finds that their arrival seems to have attracted the attention of one of the Emerald Cities bizarre reflections of a go-gang. Quickly naming them “wheelers” the team decides to try to evade before committing to another fight since the van/wagon is almost trashed, and 2 team members are unconscious from stun. Kit once again does some amazing driving, even in this unknown environment, and manages to ditch the bio-mechanical go-gang. However, Carol spots a low-slung scrap built racer following them from a block over, and then loses track of it. They are all surprised when it appears directly in front of them, compliments Kit on his driving, and challenges them to a race. The windows are all tinted, and the car seems like an odd classic muscle car in form, but built out of period-appropriate equipment to the metaphor that this hyperplane exists in.
Kit accepts, and they do a quick loop around a chunk of terrifying roller-coaster highway. Kit manages to squeeze out a victory, and the car introduces itself as Butter, and says that those who race together are “family”, since they all live a quarter mile at a time. Kit, recognizing the name, tries to connect with Butter about having had some distant connections, but Butter seems to have only vague understanding of the past life or alternate existence or whatever it is that Kit is referring to. He does seem interested in carboxing though, and says he will add capacity to his form before the next time Kit comes through so they can give it a go. He also offers an introduction to the Parliament of Cars, though he says they’re a little stuffy for his taste.
Butter escorts them safely to the edge of Oz as a favor for winning the race and wishes them luck out beyond, where the roads don’t run. Luckily Kit has the offroad upgrade kit installed, so the van/wagon doesn’t have any trouble. The team’s gear all seems to be some sort of odd WWi/WWii mid-era mish-mash, but they do what they can with the analog equivalents of drones and TacNet. They make a point to try to avoid engaging with any of the different events/historical periods/etc that they see represented throughout the densely packed metaplane, trying to safely cross the borderlands, and keeping the Tower in sight in the far distance. They are disturbed to see a portal crack open in front of them, and 3 individuals in what look to be armored diving suits step through. Using what look to be auto-loading harpoon guns, they manage to nearly wreck the van and almost pin Carol before the team manages to injure two of them badly enough that they retreat.
Upsettingly, they retreat by opening another portal, with the survivor pulling his downed team-mates through. Shaken by this encounter, the team redoubles their efforts to avoid any others. As they reach the edge of the borderlands, they gaze out over a massive expanse of different hyperplanes within the Kindred plane: ideologies, cities, ideas, etc all have their particular metaplanar reflections and representations here. Worried about evanescence, especially if they accidentally transit to a deeper metaplane, they plan to make haste for the Tower and ignore the rest. Before they can start moving again, a hooded figure approaches, and throwing back his cowl introduces himself as Carter Hayes, Tabasco’s dad.
Kit says “too bad” and drives off, but Hayes seems easily able to keep pace without any particular difficulty. Tabasco questions him and notices that he seems to have his dad’s memories and gestures, but something just seems slightly off. Carol spots that they don’t seem to be getting any closer to the Tower, even though they are moving at top speed, and starts really focusing on it. This seems to annoy Hayes, so Aradia and others threaten him and he backs off, though not without some parting words saying that he tried his best. Tabasco is left sad and confused. But the team feels that the van is now actually making forward progress again so something was up for sure….
A short time later, a summoning circle flares on the ground and a massive hydra erupts from the soil. Kit barely avoids slamming the van into it, but the hydra makes quick work of the remaining structure, and the van is wrecked and partially melted. The team fans out, using the van as cover, and Carol is badly wounded and some others injured in fight before they manage to figure out how to fight it effectively, by countering it’s elemental heads with different elements. Aradia summons a fire spirit, and actually sees it launch, comet-like, from the distant metaplane of Fire hovering in the sky, to come to his aid.Creature decides to chance it, and throws on the Babr-y-Bayn, gaining it’s famed elemental resistance, as well as shifting into drake form to gain xyr own elemental attack.
They eventually manage to defeat the creature, which dissolves into black sludge as the summoning circle fades. Aradia assenses it, and based on her and Carol’s knowledge, assume that this was the work of the Black Lodge. They definitely would have been monitoring VDH’s hoard, and have wanted any/all of the things therein, and have the magical capacity to pull off this kind of attack. Kit frantically pieces the van back together, with some assistance, jury-rigging it well enough for one last push. The while team focuses on arriving at the Tower, and with some miraculous driving, Kit manages to scrape into their yard just as the wheels fall off and engine block drops out. Interestingly, they seem to be fully back to their own era appropriate appearances.
Gazing at the Tower, they see that the lower levels look to be new/modern construction, but as it rises higher, it’s a total grab bag of eras, styles, and qualities. A confused seeming librarian exits the Tower and standing on the front steps inquires as to their business. ThinkTank takes the lead, introducing himself as a LoreKeeper from the Vault of Lore in Seattle, which interests the librarian, who introduces himself as Mr. Bookbinder. Kit starts to explain what they need, but Bookbinder fussily silences them, and tells the team to collect their “things” (gesturing dismissively at the pile of car parts) and meet them inside, before heading inside with TT.
Kit takes a moment to patch the team up, and then salvage what they can from the van, in terms of expensive mods and the like. The armor and camo coating is obviously wrecked, but they manage to recover a lot of the expensive add-on’s, though Carol refuses to help and dashes into the library to research ARES, futures, prophecies, etc. What he finds mostly seems to line up with what Vogel has been telling him, so that’s nice. TT and Bookbinder meanwhile discuss a reciprocal arrangement between their two libraries, as Bookbinder wants more material plane book depositories for recovering loans, and TT wants to expand the VoL.
The team heads in, and agree to retrieve an overdue book from a denizen of Anderson Island when they return to Seattle. When pressed, Bookbinder acknowledges that it is one of the 3 Books of 9 Gates, and advises them not to look inside if they value their sanity. Bookbinder seems to want to chat more, but Kit insists on portaling back to the material plane ASAP to get these magic items safely stored. Tabasco finally convinces Creature to take off the armor, which is just so incredibly perfectly tailored and fit that xyr regular clothes feel like scratchy trash in comparison. Unfortunately, Tabasco also starts running his mouth (lol) about his ancient symbiont tongue, the Dis Trader on the Moon, etc after getting nervous about the portal.
Bookbinder seems fascinated, and shares a little about Dis in exchange- there are multiple factions, with the Traders being one. But some of the other factions may disguise themselves as Traders also. He says not much is known, but that the opening of Kadath has caused many new rumors, creatures, and distant places to seem a lot more real all of a sudden. He offers reward for more info, on both Dis and the metaplanes in general, as well as other retrieval missions for the Library, but the team says “maybe later” and he huffily opens a gate and passes them through. They find themselves in a matching room, but seemingly back on Earth.
An out of breath Australian dwarf dashes into the room with a taser, seemingly not expecting visitors, but TT flashes him a coin that Fargus Sol provided for ID purposes, and says they need to stash some items in the Vault. The dwarf introduces himself as Barnaby Rudd, and takes them downstairs, there’s a lot of visible and audible construction going on around and above them, but more “in use” spaces the lower they get. Rudd passes them off to a scarred and hairless ork, who Carol recognizes as his old team-mate Test. They chat a bit, and seems like Test has been doing well since joining the collection of technomancers protected by the Coptic Church here in Egypt, many of whom work on the Library.
They explain again about items/vault/etc, and he says he’ll need to find one other being to help, but takes them down into a sub-basement, where a Filipino man in a business suit seems to be directing some crew heads on next steps in the project. Quickly trying to get a grasp on the situation, the team determines this is likely the great dragon Masaru in his human form, partially by ID-ing his voice standing nearby in a hardhat. Masaru heads downstairs with them, and he and Test both deactivate parallel security systems- the vault seems to require both a mage and a TM to open, though Kit thinks the TM part could possibly be done with nanites. Test explains to the team about his cutting-edge research into the similarities of technomancy and magic while Masaru nods a long with a slightly long-suffering look.
TT has to use the coin to access the vault, and only one is allowed in at a time to avoid temptation, so he heads in to catalogue the ring and the armor and store them safely. Masaru offers to portal them back to astral Library if they wish, but they say they plan to vacation for a while before heading home, so he gets them visitor visas for Egypt instead, and they cross the land bridge to Alexandria, curious about why dragons won’t set foot in Egypt. Doing some matrix digging, they settle on using fake SINs and a lot of nuyen to get rooms at a local seaside SpinRad luxury resort, not wanting to reveal their ID’s and get a discount at the nearby ARES spot.
They get a variety of different quality of rooms, and Kit bounces between rooms the first night, tending to everyone’s wounds. They also notice that 3 days have passed in material time. Aradia, Tabasco, and Carol, exhausted, all collapse into a deep sleep. They wake the next day, and Aradia and Kit hang in the enclosed cove pool and swim-up bar, while Carol lounges in the infinity pool that his fancier room bought him access to. Tabasco, still feeling iffy on vacations, practices on the archery batts and the climbing wall, before doing some swimming and drinking as well. Creature heads out on a day trip for an experiment. Xe swims out to sea from an unobserved place, and transforms into a drake underwater, swimming down to touch the bottom near shore. Nothing bad happens, so xe feels content, but notices a feeling of passing through an oily membrane when they walk back onshore in xyr human form.
Worried, xe calls the team, and Carol is stressed out that it might be FAB 1 or 2, one of the detection strains.Creature decides to hide in the wild for about a day, and does have to dodge some beach patrols, before heading back to the resort and rejoining the team. Carol returns to his room on the 2nd day to find a note on his pillow requesting a meeting about a mutual enemy the next day, at a teahouse in the old city. Kit and TT stay behind, but the rest of the team attend. They meet a large, jovial, bearded man in traditional Islamic dress, who introduces himself as Ibn Hassan. He says that after his organization, the Alliance Under Allah, was infiltrated by bugs in Mars City, he took it upon himself to fight them wherever he encounters them. He has heard similar things about the team, and believes he has some info that will interest them.
He says that there is a man, new in town, who offers exclusive rejuvenative treatments on a cruise ship, the one cruise ship not operated by one of the Big 10. He says that many execs, politicians, etc use this particular ship for off-book dalliances, and that this gives access to a wide-range of individuals with a lot of access. He says that this man is working with a local Scarab Cult to infect these powerful people and infiltrate their organizations. And he says that this man’s name (though he uses a different one here) is Dr. Martin Tate. The team quickly agrees to investigate further, wanting revenge, but say they need to run it by their 2 absent team-mates first. Hassan says that he is a good person to know in the Middle East and Africa, with a lot of connections. He can provide logistical support for the job, but not much reward other than the connection- he hopes that doing the right thing and achieving closure/revenge for Chicago will be enough.
The team heads back to the resort to discuss….