Black Box

Staring into the void

One last powerup.

While the rest of the group is busy tearing around in Scarborough, Eugene is otherwise occupied. His assistant – who had recently been avoiding him due to cognitive dissonance – appears at his apartment door. She’s crying, terrified that something is horribly wrong with her mind. She has memories of a tall, thin man, but has no idea where or when she met him. Ushering her into his apartment, Eugene gets her a drink and a pen & paper, to try to help her remember. The Professor starts to feel increasingly uneasy as she writes furiously. Peering over her shoulder, he discovers that she is in fact drawing what looks like a fetus. Her voice dropping to a monotonous drone, she informs Eugene that “it’s the start of something new, and she wants you to be a part of it.”

Before he can react he is thrown backwards, through a window, by a wave of TK. Acting on instinct he is able to put up a shield before he hits the ground to minimize the damage. He quickly takes off, the pavement behind him exploding from another TK punch as he runs.

Happily, Eugene had his cell phone in his pocket when he was forcibly ejected from his apartment. He calls Vanessa as he runs. He hurriedly informs her that his assistant has gone crazy, and he thinks it has something to do with T-0.

The Team Mindbeam phone tree is activated, and soon everyone congregates at the UofT Student Centre, where Eugene is hiding. While the others get the full story, Suzie puts up her radar. There are psychic pings going off all over the place, with the closest only 10 minutes away. It’s quickly decided to flee back to Pete’s parent’s cottage.

Gathered once more in Pete’s parent’s hummer, the group tells Eugene about their evening’s adventures. He is not in the least impressed that Suzie told her father everything, which prompts Pete to get angry. In his opinion, Eugene is one of the last people who can claim the moral high-ground.

The argument is interrupted when Suzie feels an explosion of psychic pings all over the city. Although none of them feel very powerful, the sheer volume is unprecedented. The group briefly discusses returning to the city. Before they can come to a decision, Pete’s phone rings. It’s Terry, warning the group to stay away from other psychics. There is some kind of disease running through the psychic population, driving them all crazy. Terry is unable to further explain the situation, as there is a flurry of gunfire in the background and his phone cuts out.

After a long debate on who would be the most dangerous if they were to be infected, the group decides to send Suzie & Vanessa to find an isolated psychic on the outskirts of Toronto, knock him/her/it out, and bring it back for study. Pete, Eugene and Phia will stay within close driving distance, in the hopes that they can control any wayward psychics.

Suzie & Vanessa are able to locate a group of three low-level psychics. One is dressed in pajamas, the other two in suits, and they appear to be wandering the streets looking for something. Suzie also notices that their pings are echoed by something much bigger, further inside the city. With the next closest pings 20 minutes away, the girls decide to go ahead with the snatch & grab. They arrange a pick-up spot with the others, and Vanessa readies a “plan is fucked” message on her phone to send out if necessary.

Suzie arms herself with the nearest abandoned vehicle (a black, ’67 Chevy Impala). It turns out not to be necessary, as Vanessa takes the three baby psychics apart in a matter of seconds. They bundle one into the car Suzie stole and take off to the meeting spot. While Vanessa drives, Suzie examines him. He is still emitting a faint psychic pulse, but it grows steadily weaker as he is taken further away from his companions.

Once everyone has arrived at the cottage, they tie up & blind fold their prize. Suzie sets to work examining him. His mind has obviously been manipulated, and she finds a lump of cognite in his brain, growing there like a tumor. His memory shows that he was coming home from the bar, heard a buzz, got a headache, and then nothing.

After relaying this information to the rest of the group, Suzie turns on the radio to find out if the news has picked up on any of the strange goings-on. There is indeed an emergency report going out: people are leaving their homes, and the authorities are advising against trying to stop them. Prompted by this revelation, Vanessa calls home to check on her mother. There is no answer.

Hoping for a better result, Pete calls Terry back. Terry does in fact pick up, and is able to pass on a bit more information. The Resistance building is overrun with drones, and all the non-psychic volunteers are suddenly activating. It seems like they’re all trying to get to the Triplets. Before hanging up, Terry repeats his warning to stay away from other psychics.

While the group tries to figure out what to do, Suzie checks everyone for cognite. She doesn’t find any, other than the usual amount in herself.

Vanessa suggests the group reach out to the Triplets, to see if they have a better idea of what’s going on. While giving her pitch, her phone rings with her mother calling back. Vanessa’s relief turns to horror, as her mother reports that dozens of people are wandering the street, that she has spotted a thin man who seems to know what is going on, that everything is fine and everything is fine and everything is fine.

Taking the phone away from her, Phia quietly repeats that the group can’t risk going into the city. They decide to go with Vanessa’s original plan and reach out to the Triplets. Going down to the dock, Eugene, Vanessa & Suzie link up, while Pete & Phia stand guard.

For several long minutes it feels too far to reach, but then something hooks. Pete & Phia start to hear a drone in the back of their mind. The others see the consciousness – large, but different than the one that attacked them before – turn towards them. It starts to send a command, but is intercepted by the brilliant white light of the Triplets.

With the interloper beaten back, the Triplets send a simple question: “what do you want”. Vanessa replied “how can we help everyone?” while Eugene asks “how can we make it stop?” It is unclear which question the Triplets are answering when they send a vision of the continent, crisscrossed with veins of white light leading to several larger nodes. One node is under Toronto, it pulses with light that is sent through the veins to the other nodes. Vanessa, Suzie & Eugene get the impression that the nodes have been moved from where they should be. They all try to trace the source of the network. Although it is obscured, they are able to narrow it down to somewhere in the South West US.

Separately to Vanessa, the Triplets say “save your family, break the chain, come find us”.

Just as the break contact, the Triplets send a huge burst of power through to the group. Pete & Phia see a massive impact roll through the lake, before they are hit with the upgrade as well. Everyone collapses, Eugene rolls into the lake, and the connection is gone.

Quotes without context

“Follow the sound of my tears.”

“There’s some grit in your pudding.”

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