2019-08-09 - Out Of Phase


A strange device just appears in New York. What Koa and Keiko surmise is horrifying.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Aug 9 06:25:26 2019
Location: Brooklyn

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That Koa had actually called Keiko is probably not a good sign. The WAND agent typically only does when there is some manner of trouble or at least potential trouble. The most recent was looking after some pillars that are maintaining a defensive spell over New York. A spell that has been there for over two hundred years that apparently no one had realized was there.

The site is an alley behind a chinese food restaurant. It's closed. The restaurant that is. It's late. In the alley is a device that stands about twenty feet tall and is around five or six wide at the base. And 'device' is definitely the word for it. Whatever it is, it's arranged around a central pole or spike a foot and a half around on which are mounted… well, it's not quite clear. The whole thing tingles with magic though.

Koa is standing in front of it, arms crossed looking a bit annoyed with it. His stance and demeanor are ever so slightly more… aggressive than has normally been the case for him.

It's late enough that when Keiko gets the message from Koa, she'd slipped out into the backyard and called Onyxia, her Harpy Eagle spirit. Well, it had once been a true Harpy Eagle spirit that stood nearly as tall as Keiko - now it's a 'Harpy Eagle' with the head of a woman and the body of an eagle.

That's what lands in the alley just behind Koa with a soft 'screech'. "Quiet now, Onyxia…" Keiko murmurs as she dismounts. Yes, she'd flown here. With a touch to her tattooes and murmur of words, the Eagle disappears. Leaving the dark eyed, tattooed woman to stare. At the device and at Koa.

"You rang?"

That thing is, frankly, kind of creepy. Koa doesn't say that, though, he just half turns to look at Keiko and nods. "I did. Come, take a look."

He gestures to the device. It's almost 'techy'. There's glowing lights on it here and there and a lattice of black and gold something that looks like circuitry and skin at the same time. At the top a bulbous projection occasionally sputters with power but never lights up completely.

"There was an attack on New York today from outside our universe. WAND only became aware of it after it had already been broken up by the geomantic spell around the city. Someone, I think, was testing our defenses. Seven hours later I get a call about this…"

He gestures to the odd device. "No idea where it came from, no idea who put it here. We tried to move it, no luck. We tried to take it apart, no luck. We tried to blow it up… no luck."

So… what is it? Good question.

Of course Onyxia is creepy. Koa's said that before. The corruption of Keiko's spirits seem to be apace with her own. Well, perhaps Bella and Onyxia are a little further along. Maybe.

"I'm looking. That thing makes my tattooes itch." She answers as she moves to Koa side.

"You're looking just a little better than the last time I saw you." He does - but only just. "Outside our universe? Like another dimension or outerspace?" Keiko takes her time to examine the device, walking around the bit she can.

"When did it get here? Like, is it new today or has it always been here, do you know?" Koa might not. "Blow it up? That seems a little extreme for something you know nothing about."

As she moves around it, Keiko looks for markings that she might recognise. Whilst she doesn't read very well, she's become familiar with several obscure … scripts. At least enough to recognise their origins.

"Outside our reality. Extradimensional. As best we can tell it was placed here sometime between seven and eight hours ago. There's no evidence that anyone put it here. It just… appeared." Koa keeps his arms folded. He's already tried several things and he's willing to let her look around and see what she can see.

"It's a bit extreme yes but we'd already tried to move and dismantle it to no effect. Anything that someone wants to put that much effort into keeping here is probably something we don't want here."

There is writing in that black and gold mesh of circuit-skin or what appears to be it. While Keiko cannot read it, she does at least recognize the style. It looks very similar to glyphs she saw in The Halls of the Lifeless. Siffror's citadel.

"As for who put it here… no idea. Possibly no one human."

"Anything that someone has gone to putting that much effort into keeping here is probably something you don't want to blow up." Keiko murmurs, crouching down to look at the Glyphs more closely. "I take it your saw these?" She glances over to Koa and then gestures. "Sifrors doing, perhaps? Or someone who wants us to believe its him."

She's noticed the folded arms and she's noticed he didn't respond to her comment about looking a bit better.

"So it appeared about the same time as the attempt on New York?" Keiko frowns and pulls out the rod she carries, extending it to her Quarterstaff. "Did you try anything infused with Gossamer on it?"

"Siffror?" Koa leans down to examine. Hrm. That does look a bit like his writing. Or the writing of his servants rather. "Yes possibly. We do know that the last time the Silence was attempted it came from that quarter so it makes sense. Still, you're right. It's too early to assume anything…"

At her other question he shakes his head. "Yes at around the same time. And no, I haven't tried hitting it with gossamer yet. That is indeed part of the reason I asked you over here. I've tried nearly everything else I can think of. Well, everything else I can think of that I dare try in New York."

"It does look like Siffors, yes but I'm leery enough to not just accept it on face value. Are you going to copy these down and see if you can translate them later?" Keiko asks, still crouched. It's what the Pillar had said, that the attack had come from the Lifeless realms. Something about trying to meld Limbo with the this dimension.

She thinks.

"Everything?" That gets a look from the spirit caller as she considers "Did you consider that you have Limbo's power running through you? I don't know, Koa. If this is Siffror's and that spell is supposed to do something with Limbo - you and I playing with this, might be bad."

Straightening up, she waits for Koa to copy the glyphs or not, idly spinning her Quarterstaff while she does. "Shall I hit then?"

That's sort of Keiko's go to at the moment. Hit with a bigger hammer

"That's not entirely clear to me…" Koa murmurs. That they have Limbo's power running through them. They've both certainly been touched by it. Her seemingly more than him. But conduits for that power? He's not sure. It's possible but the person who would isn't present.

"Anyone playing with this might be bad, though, which is why I'm here. No one just dumps this kind of thing in a back alley because they don't want it anymore. It's here for a reason. I'm trying to figure out what that is. Or failing that, how to make it go away."

Koa nods when Keiko asks if she should hit it. When she does she manages to snap off a protruding piece which clatters into the alleyway. Seconds later though, it's back, as if it had never been broken.

Still, Koa lifts a brow. "Well that's further than we've gotten with anything else."

"Isn't it?" Keiko snorts softly. Koa has a demon heart, she has a demon and they both have collars that Illyana actually channeled Limbo's power through. Collars that are now as much a part of them as any body part. The taint is there, at any rate.

"I get why you're here, I'm just observing the potential dangers, Koa. It's something you and I need to be aware of now." When did she become … well, not wise.

Swinging her Quarterstaff, the impact rings up her arms. It actually hurts a bit - not that Koa will know that unless the collars do something. "Well now, isn't that interesting. It's susceptible to the gossamer but it… repairs itself. It must be something to do with this mesh."

Wise is not a terrible word for what she's being right now. Cautious as well which is a bit unlike her. Maybe she's mellowing out. Or maybe she's just worried that Koa will do something stupid which is… not entirely unreasonable.

"That's a new one yes. It seems to be both technological and organic and I cannot for the life of me figure out how. It's not inherently magical but it's radiating enough magic hooked up to this thing here. I have never heard of this in our books before. I'm guessing it's something someone found."

Though 'where' is an excellent question.

"There's something else you might want to know about this place. We're about two hundred feet from a junction of ley lines. Small ones mind you but ley lines all the same."

Koa sighs and motions for Keiko to come away from the object and walk with him. "I will come back and sketch it before we leave yes, but that thing is giving me a headache. I need to know if there are more of them and if they have anything to do with Anan- er, Witchfire. I don't suppose Bella still has her scent?"

Perhaps it's a combination. With Elena to think on, Keiko has to be careful. With Koa … she's worried. Her own corruption? She's likely realised how bad that is.

"It's like a battery, I bet." Keiko murmurs, bending to look at further. "Can I touch it?" She'd just finished saying they need to be careful - but is she wrong? What would happen if she did? "If it is a battery, maybe we could drain it. Create a circuit to 'ground', so to speak and short it out." She's thinking aloud. It's the Ley lines that have her looking at Koa and scowling "Oh well. It's probably drawing power from that to keep itself active. Maybe we could pump more magic into it."

"I'll wait with you when you sketch. If you don't have your car, I'll give you a lift." His admission gets a sharp look "Do you mean figuratively or literally? The headache,I mean."

"If Bella does not. Cullen does. Why?"

"Literally. Well figuratively and thus also literally." Koa sighs as he takes his sketch book out of his back pocket. It is a glorious thing to have both arms in use again. Having two arms is so very underrated.

"You can touch it yes. Just be careful. I have no idea how it will react to anything. It might just sit there. It might grow limbs and try to arm wrestle you. Who knows?"

The WAND agent touches pencil to paper and starts to draw. He's good but then he's had reason to get good.

"I'm hoping that if Ananym IS behind these that they'll have her scent on them. Maybe even some kind of scent trail to follow. It's a long shot but anything we get would be helpful."

"What about trying to short it out? Like you would a battery to flatten it?" Keiko asks as Koa starts drawing, looking at the device again and chewing her lip. "Oh well. Why didn't you just say that to start with. As to the headache - is it *just* that the device is here that's doing it or is it the device itself?"

A few seconds after touching the tattoo of Bella, the huge demonic wolf appears. Keiko ruffles the creatures ears and gestures to the device "I need you to track." Whether Bella can get anything or recognises the scent - they might have trouble working that out. But it's worth try.

Carefully, Keiko traces the mesh that covers the surface.

The mesh pulsates and is warm. It feels alive despite looking like metal. Like touching someone's skin. Skin possibly grafted onto this thing? Gross. Whatever it is, it's not like the rest of this thing which looks almost cobbled together out of junk and not earthly junk. A lot of it looks shaped by crude hands. Or… maybe just hands unused to making anything. It is REMARKABLY sturdy though.
"I think it's just that there is a device. I haven't noticed anything unusual magically speaking…"

Bella sniffs at the thing and she does get hints of people. Not Witchfire but other people who smell similar. At least two of them had touched this thing recently. Possibly involved in setting it up, however that was accomplished.

There's an ever so slight buzzing on Keiko's arm after a moment and an odd feeling. As if her hand were momentarily… less real than the rest of her. Somehow.

"I'm not even sure if it CAN be shorted out right- are you okay?"

Touching skin isn't really a problem for Keiko, not after what she'd done in Limbo. "It feels like sk——" The tattooed woman shakes her head and frowns at the device.

"Come here …" she says to Koa. "Touch it, leave your hand on it. Tell me what you feel." She'll repeat that test just to be sure.

Bella trots around following the scents that she's found. She'll be able to track them from this area at least.

Koa stops drawing and comes forward to touch it. "Firstly, that's disturbing." He says upon feeling the 'skin' texture of the metal. But then he frowns and looks at his hand.

"If I didn't know better I'd say it was out of phase ever so slightly. That's how I feel when I project and am moving through things. But the only way…"

Koa's eyes light up and then narrow dangerously.

"Keiko the only way I know of that's possible is if it is existing in two dimensions at once. That explains why we can't seem to destroy it AND why no one saw who set it up."

Bella seems to confirm this. She gets a lot of scent but it's all off. Faint as if very distant or very old. As if the people who made the scent aren't entirely there. She can track it off in a line that goes toward the street seemingly through the restaurant.

"Does Bella have anything?"

"It's a bit how it feels when Illyana grabs us. Sort of. Maybe." Keiko agrees, shaking her hand out and looking at Koa. "Are you going to tell me that you a) you didn't think to touch this? and b) anyone else didn't either?" That makes her chuckle - mostly people are always being told not to touch.

"So, this is here but not here and we're pretty certain it's tied to Siffror. Why, oh why, don't I have a good feeling about this?"

The peruvian watches as Bella paces agitatedly. "She does and she doesn't. The track leads her to that wall in the restaurant. I'm not sure … but I'd say the track ended there."

"A little bit yes." Koa murmurs as he takes his hand off of it.

"What? Touch the creepy pulsating circuit-skin stuff with my bare hand on the off chance that it might produce an effect that didn't roast me?" Keiko gets a flat look. "No, that hadn't occurred to me."

It's a good thing it did to her but it was indeed quite a risk.

"If I had to guess I'd say that this thing was set up from another dimension and the people she's smelling were only ever partially here." He makes a face. "The last time this happened the Nightfall, or some version of it, was involved. I need to get anything we can on that last instance. It may tell me what we're up against here. We've gone after their records before. Do you think you can still help me locate some?"

"Hey. I asked first." Keiko looks at Koa. "But yes, it's a good thing I did think to check, isn't it?" she's being just a little cheeky as she considers all this. "I think you're correct. Not that it helps us a lot. It's not like we can use them to get there and destroy it."

Illyana possibly couldn't either. Maybe.

"Help you locate the sacred writings? There's no Nightfall in New York, remember. If we could find the compound I grew up in, we could raid the temple there…"

"It's a long shot but at this point I need information and we're running out of options and - I am starting to suspect - time. WAND archives don't really cover this period of time and while there are a couple of groups I have already reached out to, neither of them are likely to have direct primary sources. If we can get some Nightfall records from that period of time it'd be a big help."

Which means yes he is willing to go to Peru and bust some heads to get it. That possibly requires some help and he knows that. It also means poking the bear at a time when they are dealing with other threats but that's a risk he thinks that they're just going to have to take.

"Then yes, I'll help you." They should be able to backtrack her movements and there's enough hints they gathered when the Nightfall was here. Somewhere along the Amazon river, nice and remote. The soil samples and biological analysis of the poisons they took give a good area to try.

"When do you want to go? I'll have to tell Piotr and make sure Hank and Catseye can look after Elena when he's busy."

"Soon. We need to locate it first and I suspect we'll probably need help. I don't think they'll let us just walk up and use the library. Though…" Koa makes a face. He dislikes the idea of dealing with these fanatics but he also doesn't much like the idea of having to shoot his way in, not the least of which because there will be innocent abductees around, most likely.

"If we could offer them something they wanted, something that we have that they can't easily get maybe they WOULD let us just walk up and use the library…"

"Or you can rely on me to know how to get us in." Keiko answers. "Honestly, what would you have that the Nightfall wanted? Except maybe a way to get back in Plokta's good graces?" She knows the question Koa's going to ask next.

"I'll think on it. Gossamer maybe. Or Alloys to make their their weapons with. Metals are hard to come by." beat "You could offer them children to train."

She's being smart.

"A way to hunt down and purge their ranks of traitors perhaps. Or an opportunity to take revenge on Siffror?" Koa is clearly thinking of offering them something that could have some kind of short term benefit. When they made the deal with Siffror, Polkta was the bigger threat. Now it seems that Siffror himself is taking a turn to try and ruin the world. That makes Plokta, or at least Plokta's servants, potential tools if never allies. They are seriously far too messed up for that.

"I wouldn't want to give them anything that would be used against the locals. I'd prefer to keep them pointed outward. What did you have in mind though?"

"Nothing I'm thinking of is in that range, Koa. It's all for use in their weapons." She's thinking though "A way to detect those that have been turned or are about to turned, is a good idea. Even the information on how they're being turned is likely of use."

She's quiet. She'd been on of those - one about to be turned with her final trial. "The location of Siffrors minions on earth, would be good. We could keep the two groups at each others throats indefinitely."

"I'm happy to give them that information. As it happens I know where to find some." Koa hasn't spoken much of his early career but it's not a stretch to imagine with his skill at fighting that he's had to do it. And who exactly was he fighting? Relic hunters, much like himself. None of them have been too active here, not yet, but he knows it's only a matter of time and if they happen to find trouble with Plokta's minions… so much the better.

"The question is how to get them to talk long enough to make the offer."

"You're taking me. I know the compound routines and I know where people are at times of the day. Take a Quinnjet in, parking over the compound and come in with me - with Glydril, Onyxia and Cullen active. Or maybe Bella, she's changed enough. There aren't many of us that can control three at once, or three as powerful of those."

"Up to you."

"I also know that you were rejected as a traitor and might be attacked on sight." Koa points out with a wry smile. "And I'd hate for you to get dead. Partly because I like you and partly because Piotr would pound me into a flapjack presuming he wasn't there himself, in which case Illyana would pound me into a flapjack."

Because protecting family is important to the Rasputins… and Keiko is family.

"I might be but with a SHIELD force at my back and my spirits, they can try. Besides, I'll leave the best for last." With a little concentration, the little tattooed woman lets the large glowing bat wings appear on her on back, her eyes starting to turn to yellow as she does. That's only part of that trick and Koa knows it.

"It has to be done, Koa and you need to do it most expedient way. If you can think of a better way, I'm all ears." The wings fade - her eyes stay yellow for a while longer.

Koa knows she has a point. He doesn't like it, but he knows she does. So he nods. Her own transformation coupled with whatever else they can muster should prevent an outright attack though he's not sure about them being able to talk their way in. Still IF it can be done it's the most expedient way.

"Alright. We'll do it that way. Talk to Piotr and Illyana. Mikhail and Sam too if you can. I'll get things arranged and contact you soon."

That gets Koa a look. Piotr's likely to not like this - not that he'll say anything, maybe. Keiko hasn't forgotten how angry he was when she suggested Limbo. "I will. You want them along?" She'll have more luck catching Mikhail than Sam and Illyana but she'll try.

"We do what we must, Koa. That's what you tell your new Agents, isn't it?"

He's going to regret having her walk in on that speech.

"I think it wouldn't be a terrible idea but we need to go soon whether we can get them or not. Time is a factor after all." Koa is keenly aware of that especially after the news that something attempted to breach the barrier. They likely would never have known of that had they not discovered the barrier recently.

"We who have taken an oath do, yes. YOU are a civilian." Koa reminds her not for the first time and likely not for the last. She's rather stubborn on this point.

There's not much more to say on the planning. Keiko gestures "You need a lift?" She'll call Onyxia again and head home in a moment. "And I told you, to sign me up if you're going to be stubborn about this, Koa. I wasn't joking. I didn't have to get involved, I chose to but that doesn't make any less committed."

Besides WAND already pays her and her in books, WAND pays well.

"Your Not-Husband and Not-Sister-In-Law would kill me." Koa mutters. Actually Illyana might not mind but he can see Piotr giving him the side eye on that. Besides, she's got Elena to look after and that might be easier said than done.

"I could use a lift, yeah. Saves me having to call them. My truck's still in the lot. Shall we?"

Keiko doesn't comment but Koa will see the tightening of her shoulders at that comment.

It's a few seconds before Onyxia appears with a screech. When Koa takes up his spot behind her, the bird launches itself in the air. It will take a bit before he's home.

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