31a: Ariadne

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When It Happened (Chronicle Time): October 25, 2005

Who Was There: Yukio (Bob)

What It Was

As a favor to Katsoulakis, Yukio agrees to meet Daria Zannakis, returning to New York after her long stay in Greece. But first Yukio must deal with a disappearing airplane and the arrival of another new face to the City.

[Note: Ariadne Kyrios is drawn from the classic pre-Cthulhu Now scenario, "Draw the Blinds on Yesterday" by Marcus L. Rowland, in White Dwarf #63, March 85.]

The Full Horror

Katsoulakis calls Yukio, and asks if he would meet Daria Zannakis when her flight arrives at JFK. Now that he is satisfied that the City is safe, Katsoulakis has invited her to return. Yukio agrees, taking his own Honda Accord Hybrid and stopping by a florist on the way to get a welcome-back bouquet. He also picks up bottled water, mindful of her long flight. He arrives early, finds a good parking spot and waits with the other greeters, bearing a sign reading, "Welcome Back, Daria" in discreet letters.

The meeting should have gone smoothly, but the airplane carrying Daria suddenly disappears in mid-flight, just as it is coming in to land. Yukio, with his Gifted sight, sees a flash of Essence around the plane, much like a camera flash, at the moment it disappears. But his Death Sight suggests that, rather than being killed, everyone on the plane has instead been pulled away from their inexorable march toward their demise. When he returns to Gifted sight, that part of the sky now looks like just any other.

Blind panic erupts, but airport security and TSA officials quickly get the facility under control, and assign officers to meet with frightened relatives and friends. The airport is put under full lockdown, but Yukio has little trouble getting outside and placing a call to Katsoulakis. Katsoulakis asks him to look for signs of a temporal distortion. Yukio does the best he can with that, but sees no signs of the terminal itself having moved through time. Katsoulakis then asks him if he would not mind waiting to see if the plane reappears. "Moving something so massive requires great power. To do so for more than an hour or two would demand far more energy than I sensed being released at that moment."

Yukio agrees to wait, and heads for the executive lounge, where he asks for a shiatsu massage chair and has an attendant bring him water. He then asks that he not be disturbed and pretends to fall asleep. Moments later, he Death Projects.

Thanks to the feelings of fear and panic throughout the terminal, Yukio has plenty of ambient Essence to draw on, and thanks to his invisible Shielding, his projecting spirit is safe from detection. He hurtles out to the exact place where the flight disappeared and discovers there an airplane-sized space of indeterminancy. There is a distinct hint of Taint about the area. He then creates a tendril of ectoplasm and uses it to poke the zone of indeterminancy.

The moment the ectoplasm makes contact with that part of the sky, the plane suddenly reappears and is able to land safely on the now-deserted runway. Yukio moves his spirit into the plane and tells Daria that something has happened. He then returns to his body and waits for his Essence to restore itself.

Yukio tries calling Katsoulakis again, and immediately connects, despite the deluge of cellphone traffic plaguing every system. Katsoulakis says he sensed another surge when the plane reappeared, and that whatever just happened will demand careful thought, and almost certainly some kind of response. Yukio offers to help in any way he can. After all, he says, "I take many international flights."

Yukio hangs up and goes looking for places in the terminal where someone might have a clear view of the place in the sky where the plane disappeared. As he is doing this, he sees some guards running for the exit nearest the aircraft. Yukio tries to follow them, but is stopped by security. Farther down the way, the guards are now having an argument about something. Unfortunately, all parts of the terminal with a view of the tarmac where the plane now sits have been closed to the public.

There is no easy way to get around the guards, so Yukio ducks into a men's room and puts on the rat ring. Moments later he has a blurry view of the plane through the eyes of several rats clustered around a nearby dumpster.

Twilight is coming over the City now, and a phalanx of guards are heading out to the plane. Suddenly waves of Taint and an appalling smell whip across the tarmac, and moments later the guards are cut to shreds by horrific Dimensional Shamblers.

Yukio leaves the rats and lifts his feet to assume a trance position in the bathroom stall. He quickly pours a circle of salt and raises a Ward to protect his body. Drawing again on all the emotion-fueled ambient Essence in the terminal, he Death Projects out to the plane.

One of the Shamblers has crumpled the rear hatch of the plane, causing the emergency slide to deploy to the tarmac. Another Shambler has made its way inside through the other hatch and is tearing apart every passenger within its reach. Yukio engages both Shamblers, firing Necromantic Bolts at them while Daria makes her escape.

Daria runs as quickly as she can across the tarmac, but two other Shamblers are closing in on her, tearing apart any passengers or guards who get in their way. But before Yukio can react, another passenger from the flight steps forward, an attractive woman who is wearing large sunglasses despite the deepening twilight. And there seems to be something odd about her hair. He hears Daria call out, "Ariadne!", but the woman gestures for Daria to keep running.

Stepping between Daria and the Shamblers, the woman called Ariadne removes her sunglasses, and both creatures reel back, bellowing a horrific noise like nothing Yukio has ever heard before. Whatever she has done, the Shamblers have been seriously hurt by it. A moment later, she lets loose a blast of magical energy at the nearest Shambler.

Yukio tries to help by casting a circle of protection around Daria, but the spell goes wrong, and Yukio's spirit is forced back into his body and violently Grounded. He survives the ordeal, but the bathroom stall around him is destroyed. Shaken, he makes his way out of the terminal, trusting that the mysterious Ariadne will manage to get Daria back to Katsoulakis.

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