Easter '96 - Session 14b

14b. The Many Faced

---          THE MANY FACED          ---
---            (18.6.96)             ---


	At the end of the last session, Professor "Prof" Hargreaves and
John Aintree were captured by unpleasant-looking monsters (described as
half man, half fish and slimy to boot). The two put up a valiant struggle,
but the monsters' dice were loaded [allegedly - GM]; the characters lost
consciousness as they were carried away underwater. The GM added at this
point that John Aintree was clinically dead, which didn't help much. 

Now read on.


	John and the Prof awoke to find themselves suspended upside-down 
from a vertical beam. The beam turned out to be part of an *enormous* 
building - vaguely church-shaped, with green-veined marble walls. Needless 
to say, the beam was nowhere near the ground.
	They had company - there were a few hundred other poor souls also 
hanging around by their ankles, emitting insane gibbering every now and 
then. The "rope" holding them was unusually supple, like elastic or 
plasticene - as if they could slip out at the least movement. Both kept
*very* still.
	Once they'd got accustomed to their surroundings, they began to 
try out various ideas. Communication went right out of the window -
neither could hear himself speak, and any sound produced by the other
came out as howling and screaming. Getting a bit worried at this, the
Prof ran a quick self-check subroutine, revealing that all the relevant
bits were still attached - but that he was wearing no clothes. Meanwhile,
John was messing about with contortionist gymnastics and failing to get
	Then, one of the other people fell down, screamed a lot, flailed
and then went *splat* on the ground. This was not reassuring. After about
a minute, another fell. This one was calm and collected, falling in a 
"diving" position. He didn't go splat; he disappeared just before hitting 
the ground. The next one to drop had a panic attack just like the first 
one. She also decorated the floor.
	Both PCs spotted the "GM Hint" at this stage. The Prof relaxed,
let the tension bleed from his body, hummed some jazz and generally tried
to hang tough and stay cool. This helped when he found himself
accelerating at 9.81 ms^-2 shortly afterwards. He survived the fall,
vanishing into "grey-space" just before hitting the ground.

Then things got weird.

	He found himself still falling downwards - and yet being pushed
and pulled in other directions at the same time. In any event, he had 
absolutely no control over himself or over his motion. 
	He was given a brief, if odd, respite - he stopped abruptly in
the middle of nowhere in front of an amorphous, pancake-like blob. Unable
to see himself or do anything, he had to watch it lick its "lips" before 
shooting off again. There was also a brief, disembodied glimpse of a 
room in a rickety, wooden house containing a man dressed in blue robes.
	Eventually, he appeared inside a grey sphere - with a body, for
once. Unfortunately, not his body - he remembered being considerably more 
deficient in the claw department, and much more fur-challenged than this. 
Also, there was some kind of mental communication/control being exerted 
on him - like being lead around by the brain (but not his own).
	Stepping out of the sphere, he found himself inside the room that
he'd seen earlier - complete with some irritating blue human. Inserted 
forcefully into his brain was the knowledge that he couldn't return until 
he'd killed a few of them - but that this one was off limits. 
Consequently, he set off out of the (only) door to the room and then 
burst through a window to find *dozens* of the human pests milling around 
outside, holding bright-flaming sticks.
	There was a brief struggle between him and his conscience ("a
dream of a dream") during which he bellowed and flapped frighteningly.
The mental control (and the appetising scent of human) won, and he flew
down and started rending limb from limb.
	After a couple of minutes of this, he emerged from the bloodlust and 
decided that he'd rather go home and leave these mortals to their own 
devices. Unfortunately, the grey sphere from which he'd emerged had 
vanished, so he flew off, following his instincts. These lead him into a 
man-city, along a river, into the sky and away into greyness.
	[I think we may well have heard this story from another person's point 
of view...]
	When he awoke, he found himself in a hospital ward, completely 
covered in bandages, plaster casts and so forth. John Aintree was next to 
him, and was in a similar state. Worryingly, the ward had no windows, and 
few other patients.
	A few minutes with a pretty nurse (a la "An American Werewolf In
London") and then with a doctor revealed that the two had been in a nasty
road accident (a head-on collision with a lorry, followed by a pile-up).
This seemed a tad suspicious, but neither had the strength to argue.
	In the middle of the night, the Prof was awakened by the sound of 
footsteps approaching - some one he vaguely recognised was coming towards 
him. Before he had chance to exchange telephone numbers, they slid a 
syringe into his arm and he fell into blackness.
	Once again, he awoke in a strange place - this time in a slimy, wet 
cavern underground. John was lying a few feet away, "in flagrante" with a 
fish-man (fish-woman?). (S)He pushed off shortly afterwards, leaving a 
*very* slimy John to recover consciousness gradually. For once, we'd both 
woken up in a strange place with our clothes *on* (yes, John had his on 
too; don't ask how he could be "in flagrante" whilst fully dressed as you 
don't want to know).
	John found a wet, slimy, fishy taste in his mouth and throat.
Reasoning correctly that this was only partly due to eating tuna
baguettes, he stuck two fingers down his throat and vomited. And vomited.
And vomited.
	It's amazing just how much ichor and pulsating, off-white eggs
can be crammed into a human stomach. Seeing this, the Prof tried the same 
experiment, but came up with hardly anything apart from his breakfast.
	A quick look around showed that the two were on a raised platform
(with water perhaps a foot deep). To one side was a *very* deep pool (a
couple of *miles* deep). On the other was a passageway waist-deep in
water. They started to move towards the latter, but collapsed from
weakness. Fortunately, somebody had the bright idea of eating some
rations, and then waiting an hour or two (for them to digest) before
trying again. We did this (after a brief visit from another fish-man, who
appeared to take no more interest in us than a farmer would in his pigs),
and started off down the tunnel. 
	After a couple of false starts, the valiant pair found a
potential exit - a tunnel that got shallower and shallower before turning
a corner. Unfortunately, half-a-dozen fish-men were lounging around in a
bulge in the tunnel between them and this corner. These didn't seem
particularly concerned about the two humans wandering around in their
caverns, but didn't let them pass, either. Having 3 HP each, our heroes 
discussed what they were going to do for a bit before being kindly 
escorted back to their starting point by a couple of helpful 
fish-creature things.
	During this time, the Mask had been humming and buzzing. For
 safety's sake, John had decided to move it from an outer trench-coat
pocket to an inner one (in case it fell out). We both agreed that this
still wasn't safe enough. John though that he should hold it in his hand,
so that it couldn't jump away. The Prof thought that *he* should hold it,
because John's mind was obviously being affected. John agreed, if only to
keep his companion quiet for a while.
	It then occurred to the professor that John might well be fobbing
him off with a fake and keeping the real one himself - after all, it was
wrapped up, and he had been very willing to give it up. Despite
reassurances from John, the Prof unwrapped the parcel. The mask had taken
on the appearance of John Aintree's face - and, Sanity-reducingly enough,
also copied John's facial movements whenever his facial expression
	By this point, the really deep pool in the background was
starting to ripple, so the Prof changed tactics and tried to talk John
into getting as far away from it as possible:
	"But it's my face! If I don't put it on, I won't have a face!"
	"Yes you will; I can see it now! Just think of all those poor
people who haven't got faces due to injuries - it's selfish to have two
when they don't have any."
	"But it's *my* face, not theirs!"
	"That's just because you've been holding it. If you were to give
it to me and *I* held it for a while, it would become my face. Look, I'll
show you."
	"No, no, no, nooooooo......." - schlup, aaahrg, schlup, spin, spin
		["Smokin'! Somebody stop me!"]

	John then shoved the Prof to one side and ran towards the deep
pool, diving head-first into it. Our hero retained just enough awareness
to note that John was looking a little green around the gills before
flipping completely.
	At that point, a huge (i.e. about 22 feet tall) fish-man rose up
out of the water, letting out a monstrous, though not entirely inhuman
	The Prof let off a round from his handgun in its direction,
missing narrowly, turned tail [not literally of course] and *ran*. He
passed a couple of scared-looking fish-men on the way, ignoring them and
arrived at the shallow tunnel that they'd blocked him from earlier. 
	This tunnel lead into the large cavern that the gang had visited
before - the other three investigators stood waiting there with mouths
hanging open. Behind him came the enormous fish-man, smashing deep ones
against the cave walls as he ran.

	[Note: We believe that the big guy *may* be Jools' character in
(another) new body.]



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