Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility (RWH)

GM: Laz
Players: Laz, Two Left Eyes.
Synopsis: A synopsis of what happened here.
Date: January 2079

When there's nothing nasty in the plant, Laz rolls out a random face he pics from some obscure regional dating site, never to be used again. He spares Two Left Eyes the somewhat unpleasant process of watching him become a half Chinese elven kid (though still with shoulders as broad as a doorway!), and shows up with a 6 out of 10 face, dressed in the most common garb of the streets today, driving a drab Americar, As agreed, he stops on the corner of the small public park. Or rather instructs the car AI to stop—driverless cars, woo!

He's in the back seat, but all the windows are tinted.

It's chilly. Two Left Eyes adjusts his glasses and folds his arms against the wind, surveying the area as he leans against his car. His hair and suit jacket blow in the breeze. "This is not going to be pretty," He thinks to himself as he waits. When the Americar pulls up he watches the window, waiting for an unfamiliar face to give him a sign to get in.

Instead of a face showing, he gets a ping, "See you. Walk to the blue." The blue americar waits.
That's all Two needs. He stumbles a little as he starts walking, as if one foot were having pins and needles, but gets to the vehicle and tries the back passenger door.

"Hey, what's your sign," says Chinese kid-faced Laz, as agreed for the confirmation of identity, managing not to chuckle too much while Two climbs in. "Car, next destination," orders the elf, then turns to offer a fist to Two. "All good?" he asks, digging out the WNG from its bag. "Or do we link?"

"Scorpio, baby. I can party." Two grins widely as he plants his ass in the car. He fistbumps and glances at the car's controls, trying to guess the destination. "All good. What's this place supposed to be like? Scouting like this makes it sound like a fuckin' wasteland."

Leaning back to somewhat stretch out, Laz replies, "Car, show the destination." This results in the windshield turning into an opaque HUD showing the path on one half and the ultimate destination up by the South Platte River, about 27 minutes away with current traffic, according to a little blinking display in the bottom.

"I think it's going to feel rather disgusting in astral space, but you're the one who is going to swim in it—I'm just going to be doing overwatch in case something goes pear-shaped." A fake smirk and a wink follow.

"And I didn't even think to bring a snorkel. Great." Two laughs as he sits back and waits for the car to get to its destination.

As predicted, the ride takes about 27 minutes; it's at that time that the car veers off the 270 to exit on York Street, south, two minutes later passing the Metro Wastewater Reclamation centre (destroyed) and heading past E 63th to drive along the river bend. The two passengers can now clearly see the Cherokee Generating Station (abandoned and burned to a crisp) on the west side, and if they look left, there in all its toxic glory is the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility, with the big DO NOT ENTER, and skull and crossbone signs everywhere. But it looks to be holding up ok—since it's basically tanks and a parking lot around some basic buildings that haven't suffered as much from the 21st century upheavals.

Two Left Eyes climbs out of the americar and looks around. It’s just as bad as he expected - poorly maintained road, chain link fence, tall weeds growing through cracked concrete obscuring the land beyond. “Yeah. It’s a wasteland.” He says. “You know if anything lives here? I mean besides a shitton of rats.”

The facially-sculpted elf rummages through his pack, digging out a pair of rather powerful binoculars, which have thermographic imaging on top of their 100x magnification. “In this leisurely drive, I see nothing, not even squatters, but I don’t have anything on me to detect the presence of toxic fumes or the like…city records show it was abandoned 17 years ago, but they occasionally send out crews to inspect and take readings. What I was able to find says the soil is contaminated with all sorts of nasties, including lead and mercury, but that it is no longer leaching into the water table, which is nice.” He holds out the binocs to TLE.

Taking the binoculars, Two Left Eyes tries to peer through the tangle of plants and fencing. "Charming. You know, I was hoping that this place would be hyper-sterile. All chlorinated and shit." He lifts a hand and point out onto the property. "Guess we've got a lot of ground to cover. Big tanks, big ponds, offices. Think we'll find gators in the ponds?"

Easing his senses into the astral world, Lazarus continues to survey the property as the car coasts at just about twice the walking speed of a person. “I’m hoping we find nothing and nobody,” he comments, rolling down the window. “We need to come back with a geiger and other goods, which I hope you or Rooks can procure. For now, I was merely thinking I’d do overwatch as you jaunted in the astral. Want to do a drive by out here where I can see you, then I’ll head in?” He holds out his hands for the binoculars again as he brings his senses back.

"Yeah, alright. From here I'm not seeing anything that looks like there's anyone home. Can't be too safe though. Last thing I want to stick my head into is a holding pond swarming with mutant mosquito larva." Two hands the binoculars back to Laz and leans his back against the car. He stomps his left foot on the ground a few times as he thinks things over. Then he gets back into the car and starts reclining the seat. "I'll jump back as soon as anything doesn't feel right." He says, closing his eyes and beginning to focus. His soul gradually begins to lift from his body as he shifts into the astral realm.

But there’s this niggling feeling Two has as he is about to unspool the silver chord…in that last pass, though he saw nothing, he realises he SMELLED something in the breeze, a rather surprising smell for here—roses. Maybe it’s something to do with the car cleaning supplies, but it’s niggling at him.

Two's running instincts aren't that honed. Roses linger in his nose and he has all sorts of reasons to justify why that is. Why wouldn't there be flowers? This is a shithole that's overgrown. There's chemical processing plants, there's probably something noxious and carcinogenic nearby that reeks of flowers - like how lead tastes good. His soul lifts free and he floats in the astral above the car, giving the area another slow look.

Near where the car is now--the southwest edge of the property, where the river is a bit wider—there is a mudflat between the shore and the first enormous but cracked storage tank of the property. As the breeze is coming from the east, whatever the smell is almost certainly comes from the mudflat, which is covered in a centimetre deep (or so it seems) layer of oily water that reflects the light of the late afternoon sun.

Two reaches for his commlink, only to realise that there's no commlink to grasp. Of course. He floats up a few feet, then down to stick his head through the roof of the car. "Hey. Something definitely feels not quite right. There's what looks like an oil slick over on that mud, I'll start over there."

Lazarus directs his attention to the mudflats as well, “I certainly picked up an odd sense in the astral, but it’s difficult to describe—a sort of smell sound, and it comes from the mudflat, so that’s what we should focus on. Want me to get over the other side of the river first or you go take a quick look first?”

"I'll go take a quick look first." Free from physical constraints, Two smiles peacefully as he glides through the astral wind currents, heading for the mudflat.

Normally, it’s easy as hell to pick things out in the astral, but the Background count here is significant at Tier Two, so it’s like having one’s eyes open in a snowstorm. The are Laz pointed out looks much like the rest, so maybe it was nothing more than some sort of memory which gave the elf the impression of roses on the breeze.

There’s a patch bubbling more than the rest, like maybe there’s a leak of some sort under it? Occam’s Razor probably says a pipe under the mud? But that fucker lived in the 5th world…

Two Left Eyes moves cautiously over the fence, straining to see through the dense astral haze. He follows along disfigured concrete and asphalt and floats over darkened grass until he draws close to the curiously shiny mud. He hangs in the air, staring and theorising. There's definitely something here.. toxic elemental of some kind? The pollution here is intense. Got to be some kind of chemical leak. Where's this moisture coming from? He turns and tries to spot what piping that terminates here would originate.

It is around this time that the pipe that was indeed under the mud decides to explode. It’s not the kind of explosion that’s going to make the headlines, but TLE’s form is momentarily obscured as the geyser of toxic mud blows sky high.

Laz practically jumps out of the window, and runs to the bank of the river on the other side. “TWO!?!” he calls out, too late realising that he’s put himself of the shower of mud that’s coming down back to earth, getting splattered in it, while TLE is completely unharmed in his astral form, though likely still tachycardic from the sound and fury.

Some of the remaining mud in that part of the property slowly drains down into the ping-pong table-sized hole left by the explosion, but not enough to completely close it off. It’s evident that there’s a huge pipe down there, but why would it explode if it’s empty? Nothing else flows out of it, and a small crater remains, though mud goops down the sides slowly and steadily.

Nervous reflexes work the same in the astral as they do when you're completely attached to your body. Two freezes as the world erupts about him. Wholly unused to the ethereal nature of the astral, he lifts his arms to protect him from the flying mess, only to have it whizz through him. He sags, panting for imaginary breaths, and backs away from the crater. This isn't good at all. He peers out into the haze and raises his arms over his head, signalling that he's okay to Laz, and begins doing a little mental guesswork.

Flight Over Hill never sat him down and talked about the exact definitions of pollution. Two Left Eyes hangs where he is in thought, recollecting all the times she talked about human suffering being the greatest driver of astral problems. He shrugs to himself and takes a quick peek down the crater to gauge where the pipe is coming from.

As you head down to the pipe and drop closer to the crater, Laz calls out to you to remind you, "Hey asshole, I can't see you if you go down there!"

But just before you turn to respond to him you catch, amongst the disgusting olfactory overload of the freshly churned mud and decades-old chemicals, a very, very strong but almost blink quick scent of roses.

Two straightens up after catching a strong whiff of what rises from the crater. He heads back to his body. Eyes flutter open and he grabs his chest for a brief second, unused to the stress of having a body again. He climbs out of the americar and looks about for Laz. “It’s fine! I’m fine. Shit’s fucked over there though. Whatever blew that up has a really weird smell to it. I think I want to check out the structures and find where it’s all coming from.”

The big elf nods, a smile of relief on his lips as TLE returns to his body. That, however, is closely and quickly followed by a look of shock. “What the…You’re glowing!”

Two looks down at himself, spreading his fingers apart and staring at them. He stamps his foot on the ground quickly and taps his fingers together, going through a rapid checklist in his mind. “Well shit. This isn’t good.”

You see nothing…?

Laz instinctively backs away from you, meaning he gets about six inches farther away in the back seat of the Americar. “FAB! Stay out of astral!”

Everyone knows what FAB is…Fluorescent Astral Bacteria, left over from the Bug City containment days—it was supposed to kill the Bug Spirits, then die. Except it did neither. NOW the big question is, which of the horrible types of FAB every Awakened being has heard horror stories about is the one you’re covered in….?

After thoughtfully considering his hands for a little longer, Two looks up at Laz. "Don't freak out, man. Isn't this shit supposed to glow in real life too? I'm not seeing it."

“No man! These bacteria are going to eat your soul or something! Hold still!” says Laz as he prepares to engage with the FAB in astral combat.

"What? Chill out, it's bacteria. I thought you were supposed to be some kind of hardass?" Two shoots a judgemental look at Laz as he talks. "Sterilize can probably handle it." His eyes open wide as he stares at his hands once again. His pupils shrink to pinpoints as he focuses intensely on spellcasting.

"Uh….I didn't know—drek man, last time I ran into it I had to hit it like some street-side mutie kung-fu fighting in the dark, or something." The big elf frowns, "Should probably pick up that…it's on my epic to-do list, but keeps getting shifted down." His eyes go wide, "Hey, do me too! Is it on me?"!

"I don't know, this place is so messed up astrally I can't see shit." Two Left Eyes squints into the astral, focusing so hard a vein on his forehead begins to bulge. "I can't tell if it's on you. I'll just cast anyway." His head trembles with the effort of concentrating in such a polluted area, but he eventually sags and takes a breath. "I can't do that all day though. We need to come up with a plan to sterilize this whole area."

Clearly somewhat skeptical about the efficacy of this mage’s spell, Laz is scratching himself everywhere without realising it. “Americar, get us back to FSB!” he orders the Pilot SW, which dutifully acknowledges the command and begins heading via the most optimal route.

“I need to bone up on that stuff too,” he adds, “I cannot afford any misfires that make it harder for me to be a mana conduit…” He seems to relax a little once they get back into the city about twenty minutes later, and in an area with no BG count goes over the two of them and the vehicle.

Two doesn't seem so concerned. "You're getting freaked out over nothing. Relax." He says as they climb back into the americar. "All we need is a decent plan. We've got to dig around in there and see where it's all coming from. Anything that makes a pipe explode is building pressure, so there's probably a huge cloud of the shit somewhere. Know if hazmat suits would help?"

“No idea, though I have a pair, somewhere, I’ll have to check…” replies Laz but it’s obvious he’s distracted. And he’s given himself a raw patch of skin on his neck from all the scratching.

Two stares contemplatively at Laz as scenery whizzes past outside the vehicle. He checks things off in his head and nods to himself. "Here, this should help you out a bit." The young man reaches into his suit's inside pocket and pulls out a cigarette case. Flipping it open, it's full of small pills. He selects two blue ones and passes one to his companion, then takes the other.

The big baby of an elf takes the pill, but raises an eyebrow. “And this is not going to make me see the Rabbit, is it?”

"No. It'll chill your ass out. You're freaking right now. Come on man, we need clear heads to deal with something like this. Let's get back and report to the others." Two leans back in the Americar's seat and waits for the pill to kick in.

Laz pretends to take the pill, but he doesn’t do chill pills. If he’s taking drugs, they’re combat drugs otherwise his body is a temple—a temple to what, no one knows.

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