July 3rd 2000, Monday
Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake
After a good night’s rest the PC’s reassemble in the mess hall. Jonathan, unable to deal with the ‘fifth-rate food’ disappears into the back of the mess and begins to systematically take over the kitchen. The smell of the newly prepared cuisine draws in a huge chunk of the base personal as they vie for lumpia and chicken adobe. Angelique, meanwhile, reinforces her bond with the potently telekinetic little orphan boy. She even leaves him with Jestinius for a while and to the surprise of everyone the child bonds to him as he had to Angelique. Victor Halusko (after eating in the mess) calls the PC’s, the Old Man, Commander Covington, Gunnery Sergeant David Simon (in charge of base security), Dr. Jestinius Ashur, and Quincy Edgar (senior technician) to a briefing in the main conference room. There they discuss the best way to fix the machine and to retrieve the remaining pieces of the fracture crystal skull. After much debate and a few hurled insults Angelique and Jestinius come up with a solution by using a much smaller amount of power to the machine and using the piece of the crystal skull they actually have. After a disaster on the ground floor of the machine room that nearly destroys the main power relays (which was saved thanks to the untimely proximity of Gelar who took most of the current) they manage to open a gate into the Dreamlands.
With their carefully selected gear Alex, Angelique, Gelar, Hachiko, Jonathan, Marie, Sergei, and the remaining members of SEAL Team 13 set off through the gate and into the Dreamlands to recover a piece of the skull.
July 3rd 2000, Monday
10:20 am (subjective time)
Valley of the Lost
Once through the gate the travelers find themselves in what appears to be a deciduous forest. Having no way of outwardly locating the piece of the skull (which the boffins back at the base thought would be “close by”) Angelique performs a spell that will lead them to where it rests. Part divination, part scrying spell the magic creates an image in the air of the location of the skull fragment and the surrounding area (which appears to be a giant trove of treasure…). Underneath a tree is a small mushroom1 that begins to threaten Angelique when she gets close enough. Gelar (who is having an adverse reaction to the ‘stay-awakes’ they were given earlier) begins to hallucinate and due to some mental oddities forms a temporary telepathic bond with Angelique. This enables him to see the strange things she does (including Asher the Bunny, her imaginary friend). When she crushes the mushroom it screams and only the two of them can hear it, as it dies it threatens that its ‘big brothers are going to take care of them’. Later as they move through the woods a much larger mushroom appears and before it can threaten anyone Gelar stabs it with an area and flicks it off into the distance (Jonathan actually retrieves it later on, placing it in his pack). Alex summons Minninnewah from her statue and scouts ahead.
As the travelers make their way to the fragment, the woods around them grow denser, thicker, and twisting. In a clearing, at the foot of a mountain lay an abandoned (Greek-style) temple complete with fallen columns and a half caved in ceiling. Sensing familiar surroundings Gelar walks toward the temple and inside it, Angelique following the monk in becomes aware of another presence within the ruined temple just as it shows itself. A huge monstrous creature with a centipede like body, several lobster-like claws, writhing tentacles, and a human face with no eyes drops in front of them. Angelique recognizes it as Aopis the Eyeless2, a blasphemous creature capable of seeing the future with perfect accuracy though it only reveals things that would cause pain to the one asking questions. It also has the power to find things that are lost, from valuable coinage to unique items, its horde is unimaginably huge. Since Aopis (more commonly shortened to ‘the Eyeless’) is as powerful as some minor gods fighting it would be impossible. Instead, Gelar decides to bargain with it (despite Angelique’s warning!), since it was keen on his dai-kyu he offers it along with the matching quiver and the remainder of his arrows if the Eyeless will allow him and his companions to remove one item apiece from its vast horde. Despite trying to bargain for more the Eyeless finally agrees and everyone but Hachiko and the SEALS end up inside the horde. The Eyeless begins to taunt Hachiko until finally the stoic man speaks to it.
Eventually the Eyeless’s taunts get too personal as it tells him how his family is going to die. Angelique calls the SEALs and Hachiko inside the horde area before Hachiko loses his temper. After finding the crystal skull fragment she sends it out with Sergei and then helps the others find an item that ‘suits’ them. Gelar takes a flute, Hachiko finds what appears to be his ancestral great armor (O-yoroi), Alex finds a glacial worn stone that is cool to the touch, Marie leaves with a box that holds what appears to be a ninja gi, Minninnewah leaves with a saddle, while Angelique leaves with a very special prize: the diary of Kamala Ashur, Jestinius’s mother (a powerful psychic, sometimes called the Crystal Seeress). Jonathan unable to decide on exactly what he wants stumbles across a rucksack that appears larger on the inside than out. While the Eyeless is distracted with the others Jonathan begins to fill the bag with as much of the horde as he possibly can before exiting with everyone else. Outside the large mushroom-like creatures have continued gathering and despite their menacing (and vaguely phallic) looks, they are quickly dispersed by the quick thinking of Gelar who pulled out his tomahawk calling it a “mushroom-slayer” and daring them to attack. The thallud deciding not to attack such a powerful adversary recede back into the tangled forest. The trip back to where they came through the gate takes longer than getting there despite how quickly they hurry. Once back at the small hillock area Angelique contacts Jestinius through the dimensional barrier and the gate again opens. Heading back through the travelers are welcomed back with surprise as they had left only a few minutes before. Handing the skull fragment over to the boffins the team disperses for a meal and rest. Jestinius, by suggestion from Angelique, gathers everyone in a barrack room and using his innate psychic powers brings everyone into a shared dream. Once there he compresses the time so only an hour passes in the real world but 30 hours pass in the dream(speeding subjective time to about thirty times normal). He then begins to teach the dreamers how to work as a team by training non-military members of the group in military and police tactics and training those unfamiliar with the Dreamlands how to survive there and the rudiments of lucid dreaming techniques. When the dreamers awake Victor informs them that Dr. Edgar is having trouble assembling the fragments of the skull.
July 3rd 2000, Monday
Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake
1The creature is a thallud, a fungal life-form native to the forests and woodlands of the Dreamlands. While not dangerous if small some of the staggeringly huge specimens can be mistaken for trees. These larger varieties of thallud while not carnivorous do like to attack other creatures so that they can drag them back to their lairs where the bodies can decompose and nourish the next generation. All thalluds of the same variety in the same area share a hive-mind and can silently communicate with each other. Strangely enough despite the fact that they cannot verbally communicate, some sensitive (or mad) individuals can tap into this telepathic communication and speak with them.
2Not much is known of Aopis the Eyeless other than the Brotherhood forbid anyone from communicating with it. Despite this those seeking knowledge of the future or something that has been lost often trade with it (usually their own deep personal secrets). While trading for items from its vast horde is still dangerous, trading for knowledge of the future always leads to terrible consequences for the one doing the asking. For instance, the Eyeless might tell a solider that he will be victorious over his foes; later on after his victory and subsequent promotion he’ll be assigned to another post where ultimately he will be responsible for the deaths of the men under his command. No prophecy from the Eyeless comes with some form of inherent poison.