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caliginovsCvre
 RE: Second Sun
#51

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I don't even know what to suggest here, but this is fascinating. I feel like I'm reading the opening chapters of a really good sci-fi novel
03-19-2018, 04:02 AM
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Douglas
 RE: Second Sun
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(03-18-2018, 05:21 PM)LoverIan Wrote: >I think we should be looking at this case as a result of the Hermes in addition to him being a deserter
>The other option is that the killing was an operation by foreign intelligence that discovered Keating before we did, and assumed the former outcome. The killings were done in an execution style, and the nails were removed in a torturous fashion. The outcome there is that Keating escaped with his daughter and friend alive
>I also have a theory regarding similar from him having been onboard the Hermes, that the nail plucking is related to HUPs, but given the probabilities I agree with you that we're missing too much information
>Another theory was that Keating thought he was close to being discovered, and he executed his family to prevent them from having to live through interrogation while also making it look like they'd been tortured.
>I'd like to see the toxicology report at some point to see if there's any credence to this, but that's the closest I can get to a motive on Keating. Paranoia induced killing in fear, HUP related episode that had lied dormant, or foreign intelligence trying to get us to flush Keating out

(03-16-2018, 09:02 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Hrm.
The motive might be a misguided sense of mercy. Seeing something horrific or outright apocalyptic with little chance of prevention, if any, could be enough.
But, that leaves two questions. Why now of all times, and what does it have to do with the nails?
Feels like I'm missing something here...

(03-18-2018, 05:59 AM)Schazer Wrote: This is a bit of a wild concept, but who all else was marked as MIA on the Hermes? What if everyone on the ship just ended up, scattered through time in various places, and Keating's the only one who landed in the present day?

His motives almost certainly tie to what happened on that ship, so figuring out what happened to it is as good a course of action as any to understand Keating (though finding the missing girl and making sure she's safe obviously has a more practical priority)

(03-18-2018, 02:22 AM)Smurfton Wrote: Mind being more specific about which Distant Shores Hermes went to? Ulterior Time does go backwards, after all. It'd be insane, but the notion of coming back from not that far into the past isn't unthinkable.
Though it would be strange to not send the Hermes the furthest, given that it's the only one named after a god of travelers.

"There's too many unknowns at this point," you say. "It's difficult to say anything with certainty. However, I think we should be treating this as related to the Hermes loss, at the very least."

"You don't think this could be something like a monetary dispute, or an affair?"

"Mm, possible, but I don't think so. The execution style, the nails, too many uncharacteristic pieces to this. It's possible Keating didn't even do it - maybe he escaped with his daughter."

"True, that's possible. Either way we need to find Keating."

"Yes. This is a longshot, and I'm not privy to the underlying mechanics of Ulterior Time, but is it possible that something's come back from the past? Maybe even a past version of Keating?"

"That would be outside of our current understanding of how Ulterior Time works. Quantum foam only opens up paths to possible futures, branching out of our present. The past and the present are set in stone, for better or worse. We can't move backwards."

"Okay. Can we get a crew list for the Hermes? I have a theory that something went wrong with the voyage and we may be able to find evidence of other crew members cropping up. If Keating's here, there may be more."

"Already working on pulling everything we can on that. I'll get the information to you as soon as I can."

"Including details on their destination, nature of the voyage, et cetera?"

"You got it."

"Thanks, Thurman. By the way, you should know that the missing girl's a looker."

"Yeah, I saw the Amber Alert."

"So I'm only expecting media interest to grow once Nicole's picture makes the rounds," you say, knowing media scrutiny is the last thing that NSC wants. "Won't be too long before someone starts asking about Keating, who he is."

"We're already on it," says Thurman. "The RCMP has been cooperative. Our directors have been talking, and we have a memorandum of agreement on this investigation. They have the manpower to handle the media inquiries, lead the search for Nicole."

"They're having a press conference right now," you say, thinking that your mother might very well be watching. Damn, you think - your mother's a gossipy hawk for local misery, news stories of maimed animals, fires, familicides. I should call her. Your mom will remember Colyer Road - all those afternoons dropping her daughter off at her best friend's house.

After you hang up with Thurman, you dial your mom's number. It rings twice before clicking to the answering machine.

"Mom, this is Jean," you say. "Mom, if you're there, pick up. I'll swing by the house tonight. Don't worry about the news. We'll talk soon."

Whicker opens the office door with a soft tap. "Let's go," he says.

"Where are we going?" you ask.

"We have the truck," he says. "OPP patrol car just called it in. Come with me."

---

The red truck belongs to Leon Resnick, expired license, expired plates, an address somewhere off Highway 11 in the Muskokas. Local cops seem to know him, a belligerent drunk they've had to chase away from bars, but no arrests - a veteran, an unlicensed electrician who works odd jobs for cash.

Whicker drives you in an RCMP Suburban, skimming past slower traffic on the highway. It's over an hour's drive, and discussion of Rodney Keating shifts to personal chatter. Whicker is from southwestern Ontario, grew up poor; a freelance photographer for a few years before he fell into fingerprint and crime-scene work with the Calgary police department, he came back to Ontario when his father was dying. You're circumspect in everything you offer of yourself. You feel drawn to share with Whicker, an attentive listener, but you know how easily the covers for your life and career can fray. "I guess I'm not much of a talker," you say.

"You're guarded," says Whicker. "I respect that."

You come up to the turnoff from Highway 11 and seem to leave the world behind, swallowed by woodland. The road tapers as you drive, the tree line butting against the road, thin trunks, a canopy of branches that chokes out the light. You peer through the veil of woods to houses built far from the road - distant, isolated places. You pass a series of houses propped up on cinder blocks - siding faded and streaked with water damage from rusty gutters. Yards that look like garbage dumps. You wonder what all those trees sound like as they sway.

By the time you cross a wood-plank bridge over a dry creek bed, the road is little more than a mud path. Whicker turns down a track that splits away from the current path - just two strips of dirt through the undergrowth.

"I can't really see where I'm going," he says. You feel the SUV's tires bouncing off large stones and knots of growth, feel it correct back to the furrows of the path. Branches reach across and slap at the windows. "Wait wait wait. Here we are."

A flash of red as Whicker brings you into a clearing - the rear hatch of the truck. An older model Dodge Ram, something from the eighties, but it fits the description, bright cherry except for where rust has chewed at the doors. It's covered in dozens of worn and half-peeled stickers. THE SOUTH WILL RISE. A sticker of Calvin pissing on a Ford logo. THIS VEHICLE IS PROTECTED BY: SMITH & WESSON. There's a gun rack in the truck bed, a thing handmade from lumber nailed together. No guns in it, but well worn.

The house beyond the truck is ramshackle, the roof sagging in like the place is melting.

"Look at that," says Whicker. "What is that?"

You follow where Whicker's pointing. "What the fuck," you say, climbing out of the SUV, spotting the skeletons in the woods.

Sculptures. Stag skeletons, taken apart and rebuilt with wire so they look like men with antlers, veined with copper. Four of them hang from the trees by their ankles, arms spread wide... upside-down crucifixions.

The bright stench of rot hits both you and Whicker like a wave - death.

How do you proceed?
03-19-2018, 05:04 PM
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Arcanuse
 RE: Second Sun
#53
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Oh, that's not good.
Don't suppose by some miracle we have a tool available to check for HUPs?
It's probably just something done by the suspect, but if HUPs are here we need to let HQ know.
If not, well.
Begin careful approach to house, safeties off.

Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
03-19-2018, 05:33 PM
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Smurfton
 RE: Second Sun
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If Ulterior Time doesn't go backwards, then how do we have the Spades from 600 years on the future? I suppose UT must have been visited without?
Even if this is something done by the suspect, they would appear to know about the Demarcation. See if NFIS has anything on Resnick next time you talk to Thurman.
03-19-2018, 06:51 PM
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Douglas
 RE: Second Sun
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Spoiler :
(03-19-2018, 06:51 PM)Smurfton Wrote: If Ulterior Time doesn't go backwards, then how do we have the Spades from 600 years on the future? I suppose UT must have been visited without?

Whoops, I might not have been clear enough when I was talking about that - the designs for the ships were brought back from six hundred years in the future, meaning teams in the 70s went there using more primitive technology and enhanced the tech using designs they found in the future.
03-19-2018, 07:48 PM
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tronn
 RE: Second Sun
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You know, if past cannot be changed then how it is possible to return from a trip forward in time? From the point of view of someone living in 2700 those travelers from 70s taking back ship designs changed history, and that should not be possible.

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03-20-2018, 08:35 AM
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LoverIan
 RE: Second Sun
#57
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(03-19-2018, 05:33 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Oh, that's not good.
Don't suppose by some miracle we have a tool available to check for HUPs?
It's probably just something done by the suspect, but if HUPs are here we need to let HQ know.
If not, well.
Begin careful approach to house, safeties off.

>Those look like HUPs induced crucifixions, Hanged Men.
>Keaton somehow knows of the Hanged Men and has been spreading word of the Demarcation

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03-20-2018, 07:26 PM
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Douglas
 RE: Second Sun
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Spoiler :
(03-20-2018, 08:35 AM)tronn Wrote: You know, if past cannot be changed then how it is possible to return from a trip forward in time? From the point of view of someone living in 2700 those travelers from 70s taking back ship designs changed history, and that should not be possible.

You are correct, and this will be explained soon-ish.

(03-20-2018, 07:26 PM)LoverIan Wrote:
(03-19-2018, 05:33 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Oh, that's not good.
Don't suppose by some miracle we have a tool available to check for HUPs?
It's probably just something done by the suspect, but if HUPs are here we need to let HQ know.
If not, well.
Begin careful approach to house, safeties off.

>Those look like HUPs induced crucifixions, Hanged Men.
>Keaton somehow knows of the Hanged Men and has been spreading word of the Demarcation

The Demarcation, you think. Whoever did this knows the Demarcation.

You follow Whicker up the front walk to the house, a series of stone slabs half sunk in mud. You turn your safety off. A slew of rodents' bones sit near the front door - mostly groundhogs and squirrels. Deer skeletons are laid out in the grass to dry in the sun.

"You think he's here?" you say.

"I don't know. The truck's here," says Whicker. "He could be taking a walk."

"What's with all the bones?"

Whicker laughs nervously. "Hell, I don't know-"

The death stench gets even more powerful at the door. Nicole, you think. The front door is a flimsy screen over a sheet of plywood, the wood warped and crawling with flies that leap buzzing as you push through. The smell is heavy, seems to weigh down on you - coats your tongue, your sinuses, seems to expand in your mouth like a sponge. Wet fur, shit, death. Your eyes water.

"Nicole?" you call out.

The air is alive, humming - flies bump against you, Whicker with you. A dim front room. A carpet of animal pelts covers the walls, striped raccoon hides, grey squirrels, brown groundhogs - the realization hits you that you're looking at a mural made of fur, hollows and valleys, the skin of white rabbits as snow-capped peaks. Mountains - a mural of mountains, made of fur.

"Nicole?" you call again, the rot-infused air pouring into your lungs as you breathe. A fly crawls across your lips and you flinch, blowing it aside. You fear them, fear what the flies might mean - fear finding Nicole's body. Not here, not here-

"RCMP," Whicker says. "Federal agents."

You move through into an adjoining room, gun leveled - a larger room with a corner kitchen and a television with foil-wrapped rabbit ears. Family Feud. Nazi flags adorn the walls and are stapled to the ceiling. Black flags, SS streaking them in white bolts. Emerald flags with white stag heads, antlers cradling swastikas. Psycho, you think - but you're scared, like you've found the gateway to Hell. Mountain Dew and Pabst empties litter the floor, writhing with black ants.

"Here," says Whicker. "Over here."

A hall extends to the back rooms of the house, a hall lined with mismatched mirrors hung in a random scatter. Something on the hall floor is wrapped in garbage bags, a body, the plastic so thick with slivers of white maggots and flies that it looks like the bag is crawling. Whicker wraps his hand in his sleeve, pulls at the plastic - you expect Nicole's pale face, but the face is covered in black fur, toothless red gums, eyes like black marbles.

"Jesus," says Whicker, jumping back. "Is that a fucking bear?"

You continue down the mirrored hall, your image a multitude of reflections. What is this place? On some level, though, you understand the design. Recognition blooms. The mirrors in the hall, your reflections... something about this place tugs at your memory, and you think of snowy climes, hiking through drifts in your orange space suit, so cold the wind is sharded with ice. You pass a bathroom, then a bedroom - a mattress on the floor, a duffel bag at the foot of the bed. You follow the mirrors to the back bedroom, the master, and when you look inside, you hear yourself scream.

Leon Resnick has hanged himself from a tree made of bones - a sculpture of a tree, bones and iron and copper wire, the walls and ceiling of the room paneled with mirrors so the hanged man's reflection is an endless recursion. He dangles from skeletal branches, his face bloated, his tongue a purple bulge. Obese, his great white body wriggling with flies. You step closer, your weapon leveled but your hands shaking, and see yourself reflected along with the dead man. This place is a representation. You're overwhelmed by a sensation of returning. The mirrored hall and the bone tree in this mirrored room is uncovering memories you've worked to diminish over the years, the memory of your crucifixion, the roar of the black river below you. These rooms, though, are like a prodding finger. You remember ice, remember the air shimmering around you like a congregation of mirrors. You saw the tree when you were in the Demarcation, a tree the color of bleached bones, infinitely repeated. Resnick reconstructed the scene as if he pulled the landscape from your mind.

"Let's go," says Whicker, putting his hands on your shoulders, trying to lead you away. "Nicole's not here. Let's go."

What do you do?
03-22-2018, 04:50 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Second Sun
#59
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Ōtautahi
Why don't you just

Hang out here for a while
03-22-2018, 06:38 PM
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Akumu
 RE: Second Sun
#60
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Check out the truck. Blood? Other evidence that Keating and/or Nicole were in it? Can you tell how long Resnick has been dead, or if anybody else has been here recently?

Also, take a Valium or something, you are really fraying at the edges.
03-23-2018, 01:02 AM
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Arcanuse
 RE: Second Sun
#61
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Leave the building, examine the truck.
Examining the house further would likely turn up something of value, but the odds of correctly identifying it at the time are... Poor.

Hopefully HQ's cleanup crew will find something useful.

Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
03-23-2018, 07:08 AM
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tronn
 RE: Second Sun
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Welp, Leon's been dead long before Keating's disappearance. Looks like he has been planning this for a good while, so interview locals if they ever saw him meeting with Keating - this starts to sound more and more like a suicide cult.

Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
03-23-2018, 08:16 AM
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Smurfton
 RE: Second Sun
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Pretty sure that teeth don't just fall out of your skull when you die. Is the bear missing its claws?
03-24-2018, 10:47 PM
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LoverIan
 RE: Second Sun
#64
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(03-23-2018, 07:08 AM)Arcanuse Wrote: Leave the building, examine the truck.
Hopefully HQ's cleanup crew will find something useful.
(03-23-2018, 08:16 AM)tronn Wrote: Welp, Leon's been dead long before Keating's disappearance. Looks like he has been planning this for a good while, so interview locals if they ever saw him meeting with Keating - this starts to sound more and more like a suicide cult.

Depending on how long there's been maggots in the building he's been. Approximate timescale could be death a week or more before today.

>Keating knows the Demarcation. HQ needs to know this sooner than later. We need the fastest way back to a phone line now

>Have the investigators check with the neighbors if they actually saw Leon at all, or just his truck and someone dressed like him.
This has very much been staged and they're playing a game.

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(This post was last modified: 03-25-2018, 10:02 PM by LoverIan.)
03-25-2018, 10:01 PM
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