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Mage:J Price Introduction

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I'm riding the bus to work. It's a Thursday morning. I'm sitting upstairs two thirds of the way back on the pavement-side. There are only a few others upstairs: a couple of white teenage girls looking like they've bunked off school chatting conspiratorially and texting at the front, a single black guy wearing headphones with his back to me, and a middle aged Asian women half asleep.

The bus appears to come to a halt. At the same time so does my iPod, not just cut out like when the battery goes, but actually slows just like one of those old-fashioned tape walkmans from when you were a kid. Anyway I'm just reaching in to my pocket it for the iPod, when there is a tap on my shoulder. It's odd as I didn't think there was anyone behind me, but I'm more concerned with the iPod and guess I must have missed someone getting on the bus at the last stop. The bus has finally stops and so does my iPod. Then I see so has everything outside the bus, even pedestrians mid-stride on the pavement. The trap comes again. I look around and there's this woman, a little older then me, looking at me with a sort of small funny smile, like there's some in-joke. She has a finger to her lips as if to say "sssh".

She takes the finger away, and I see that it is me. Only the hair is dyed black and cut short and spiky, and I've a stud in my nose - she's a stud in her nose.

Hello “Jackie" she says, "It's all right. You’re not hallucinating. This is really happening. I need you to pay attention to what I have to say. Do you understand?"

I must have nodded, because she says "Good girl", and she leans forward to continue, the smile gone. I can see under her coast she’s wearing a shirt with the name “Jake Price” stitched across the breast pocket.

"Right, in a moment there's going to be an explosion. You're going to be OK. But everyone on this bus is going to die. It's going to be messy, there's nothing you can do for them but you’ll be all right."

"But why", I blurt out, "What going to happen?"

"It's a V2. You know Nazis, the Blitz, Dunkirk spirit. One's gonna land right outside, here."

"But that was 65 years ago!"

"Yeah, but the fact the you're sitting on a number 47 bus talking to a future version of yourself should tell you that the nature of time isn't what you'd previously imagined. The important thing to understand is that you're going to be OK. Because I, well we, have the ability to hold ourselves in a bubble of outside of time, amongst other things. But it's going to happen to everyone else and there's nothing we can do to stop it. The important thing is what happens next."

"What happens next! A bomb from the past is going to go off, I should think that was important enough."

"Well, it won't be a bomb from the past. They'll explain it away as a terrorist attack. After it all happens some men will arrive and take away any evidence that there's anything out of time, and replace it with fake forensics, making it look like your standard 2010 terrorist attack."

"And how will they explain me? How will they explain away that I survived?"

She appears to think about this for a second then comes to a decision. "They won't. You'll just be a miracle survivor. Some people will think that you're responsible, or at least know something and could have warned the others. The next few weeks are going to be unpleasant. I fact your old life is fucked. Sorry"

The hair, and nose stud, and now the cursing. It seems I'd changed quite a bit.

"Anyway, as I said the important thing is what happens next. I want you to take this", and she passes a brief case round the seat, "and when the men arrive to clean up all the temporal debris, hopefully, my arrival will be obscured in your riding it out and they won't notice us having this little chat. Which, of course, I’d rather you didn’t tell them about", she smiles.

"Don't look inside, and don't try and open it unless I haven't come back to claim it in a year from today."

"What's in it?"

"There's a good girl. Now face the front, and cover your ears. There's going to be a big bang".

Session 1

Journey to Portsmouth where we play toy soldiers.

Session 2

Journey to Wales where we play toy soldiers.

Session 3

During breakfast John Seaton, mentions feeling empowered after visiting a small waterfall some 50 yards upstream from where we camped. John, claims to have assisted in helping Barney in gaining something from this location, and he offers to do the same for me. I accept his offer and it does appear to work, and I do feel charged.

Barney is intent on navigating and the three of them plod on. Half in a a daydream I'm thinking about our destination and the probably vain hope of a hot bath, when all of a sudden I'm walking in on 2nd Lt Rupert Berrington having breakfast.

Berrington claims to be expecting us to come up with some sort of trick or cheat, and he asks me where my lift was. I say I wasn't so silly as to be dropped of just at the destination, but half a mile away. When he asked where the others are, I make up some tale about a "hairy arsed trucker" not wanting the others along. Berrington appears convinced and says that there is a village four miles away that I'm welcome to go and visit, he hands over my belongings and I set off to the village.

I attempt to recreate the journey back but after half an hour of trying I feel drained and give up. I spend the night in the inn.

I take beer and chocolate and meet up the others as they approach the camp and tell them of the story I told Berrington.

Session 4

We return to Portsmouth about 8:00 in the evening. I notice I've have a text message:

It was not your fault, if you wish to know more meet me at the Primrose Cafe, at your convenience. Dionysus.

I check the Yellow pages, Primrose Cafe is still open and on impulse decide to go there and then. Dionysus hails me as I enter, he is about 50 with salt and pepper pony-tail, bearded, well kept. The tie-dyed t-shirt, fatigues, para-boots and in keeping we the clientèle but he is significantly older.

He claims to have an apology to make: the rocket was fault. He we a raw recruit, first time on leave, when the V2 came straight for him, and he made it do away. He recognised the address from my incident.

I say he's looking remarkably well for 87. He says that he spent 20 year in a valley in India that doesn't exist.

I ask how they found me.

"We got your number by dowsing for you. It took a while."

The We is one or more groups called The Traditions, or The Enlightened, or The Awakened. He says that I not one of the people around me any more, but I too am Awakened. So I and going to be able to make thing happen, Strange, Frightening things: flipping a rocket 60 old year into the future, or cursing a stranger and watching him fall apart.

He offers to be my teacher. As some form of Public service, but he'd rather I was on his side. I'm curious about the Them. He claims that the nature of History is fluid, that where once the dominant ideas were fantastic, these were replaced by the orthodox religions, this view was in turn replaced by the ideas of a Technocracy. This Technocracy is the Them. And this Technocracy is not just a concept, by is a shadowy organisation.

He claims that the Technocracy would want to silence the Awakened, and has the ability to do so. He claims that he knows of up to 100 other Awakened, and can imagine that worldwide the number is something like 1000.

I asked what he thinks the next move should be. He says that training me, to be able to look after myself would be a start.

I ask to meet some of the others in the We. This would appear to be a problem, as the Technocracy have certain organisations with maintain their view of the world, and unfortunately I'm working for one.

Nonetheless, we arrange to meet up again on some common tomorrow morning.

Session 5

I met up again with Dionysus on Saturday morning he spoke if Nine Spheres. I seem to be able to tell exactly how far, and in what direction places are that I know. We sat, and he slowed time. People in the park seem to rush past while we sit and watch the world go by. 10 minutes passes in a few seconds. I try. It works, but only briefly. But this is enough to convince Dionysusthat I should be able to do it.

I'm pretty sure my new employers would be none too pleased if they knew I was meeting Dionysus. I think I need to know more about his associates, but at teh moment he says he wants to first make new safe for others and to have the chance to put his side of the story.

Monday morning and we are back to training: weapons in the morning, unarmed combat in the afternoon.

The bottom line would appear to be the pistols aren't much use, the range is limited and you are likely to miss. I'm beginning to wonder what it is we are expected to be doing. But I don't think that any of the others has much idea either, especially this Barney character who seems to rejoice in being a fool.

With a little practice I manage to improve my aim with the pistol, using the same technique Dionysus spoken of to judge the distance and direction of the target.

Another week of this, then we start anew next week. I must confess to being a little apprehensive, with all the combat and weapons training what exactly are they expected us to do?

Session 6

Dionysus turns up at Southsea common in a battered VW camper van, complete with CMD stickers the full hippy mystery mobile.

He drives us both out to a village, surrounded by woods. We walk out into the woods then for no noticeable reason suggests that I pay particular attention. Suddenly the surrounding have turned tropical. I ask: "where are we? "We are in my valley. It used to be a quiet corner of Kerala. No-one seemed to be using it so I borrowed." "Are we in India?" "No, it's a Horizon Realm." My internal location sense doesn't appear to be working. It appears I can only enter this space when with Dionysus. Anyway this is today's lesson that space and reality aren't the same and one can pass from one realm to another without even noticing.

Session 7

Michael Thorpe takes us for Base Level Necromancy, along with Aaron Sykes, and accountant, who appear to have applies of the course after finding a hidden file on the computer system maintained by Bob Hayworth.

Thorpe describes a pentagram of containment, and a portal to another realm. Thorpe sets up the experience and uses a drop of blood to attract an entity.

Sykes, has not been paying attention up to this point, crosses the pentagram as the drop of blood starts to levitate. He is immediately possessed, his eyes replaced with worms.

I rush to the emergency cut of to the lab portal.

James Smith begins a exorcism.

Session 8

James Smith's exorcism appear to fail. Thorpe informs us that Sykes's soul has been destroyed, but more worrying that the pentagram has a limited life-spam. Barney is send to summon help, and equipment for an exorcism.

James's and Thorpe perform a exorcism, resulting in a pentagram being burnt upon Sykes's forehead.

The four of them then attempt, inexpertly, to place manacles on Sykes, who resists, landing a blow on James. Barney trips and falls to the floor. But eventually Sykes is restrained.

There then follows a discussion on the nature of "demons", or non-planar entities. Most appear to be not so much malicious but chaotic, craving deliverance from the extra planar tedium. But in some instances there can be an interaction with near dead "souls", resulting in "ghosts".

Extremely rare cases have sentience, both malevolent and benign.

After a while Security turn up, nail Sykes into a wooden box and we accompany the body down to Portsmouth. Angleton puts it to use guarding to third floor. We spend the next two weeks constructing a plausible explanation for Sykes's untimely demise.

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