Mage 20th Anniversary- Paracosm

Mage 20- Paracosm Act 1

Traditions Ch 1-3

Chapter 1- Communion  
“New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop.”  
―Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology  

Your chantry (The Golden Cycle) was contacted by Julia Reznik, proprietor of Anybody’s Spring, to investigate the app “KingdomCome” which, according to her, is captioning Celestial Choristers “inappropriately.”  She contacted the most diverse and apolitical cabals in town because the Virtual Adepts/Mercurial Elite are almost certainly behind it (almost certainly not the entire tradition since that would require a degree of unity unheard of from a bunch of proto-anarchists) and their relations with the Chorus in the Springs is already strained.  While there, you noticed a few things- lines of prime in the exterior of the building plainly visible to anyone with Prime 1, a number of other Mages present (neutral ground between groups), and a lady who fell to the ground convulsing.  She was said to be suffering from “toxic shock syndrome” which- while the symptoms of the moment certainly fit- is not a condition notable for its sudden onset.  Neither is it associated with diabetes/insulin (although JM/James Riekson, on his way to the hospital, will be able to comment more thoroughly upon this point).  Fortunately a “doctor” James Dodge was present (actually a funeral cosmetologist for Swan Law), “correctly” diagnosed her, the EMTs were uninterested in following protocol, and she was whisked away to Memorial.

Chapter 2- The Maltese Chimera 
“And so art is everywhere, since artifice is at the very heart of reality. And so art is dead, not only because its critical transcendence is gone, but because reality itself, entirely impregnated by an aesthetic which is inseparable from its own structure, has been confused with its own image. Reality no longer has the time to take on the appearance of reality. It no longer even surpasses fiction: it captures every dream even before it takes on the appearance of a dream.”   
― Jean Baudrillard

James has followed up with Anne Brewer at the hospital.  The rest of you watched James Dodge overnight and noticed two things- he enjoys his PC and his neighbors will likely shoot on sight if you ever idle your car in front of a drug den for 2+ hours again.  You returned and successfully saw him take part in his morning routine of computer use and haphazard dressing, but the interior of his apartment (and workspace at Swan Law) is an unknown save for two windows.  
Coco followed up with Swan Law and Dodge, noting only that he was exhausted, distracted by his cellphone, and had no memory of the night before.  The staff was very helpful and gave her a phone book’s worth of reading material.  
Ethan helped a colleague in the Society of Ether with an IT setup at UCCS after his VA/ME contact, “Samson,” failed to show up.  He also revealed that, strictly speaking, while KingdomCome is widely available, he’s only noted its capacity to caption Choristers in the Springs- and you have only seen it caption Julia, not James or any other.  
He thanked Ethan for his help who, in return, decided to snoop around his colleague’s gallery, tripped over a cord he had just laid, and destroyed the project that had prompted the call in the first place.  The Etherite (somewhat unwisely) used very non-PC language on a college campus and asked Ethan to excuse himself for the indefinite future.
Rue, after being stuck with first shift during a stake-out of a drug dealer’s neighbor on a Monday night was understandably cranky and slept for most of the morning, dreaming of the prime lines in Anybody’s Spring turning to gold flake, blowing away, and revealing a nesting doll-series of restaurants under it which revealed, at the end, an egg which birthed a stillborn black swan.  She investigated at the downtown library and met a nice man who advised her to seek out the librarians’ help in the future when he was unable- as with the cabal- to find anything through traditional means about the app’s manufacturer.
Eugene went to work and is waiting to investigate Pulpit Rock on Wednesday- the first noted location of the first KingdomCome review (not necessarily first use) by user XxLoveLightLifexX

It is now 6pm on Tuesday and you have yet to hear from James.

Chapter 2.2- James
James entered Memorial without incident and was taken to see Anne Brewer. Her toxic shock was a legitimate ailment and resulted from an infection at the pump site for her insulin injector.

Chapter 2.3- The Maltese Chimera cont.
We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.”
― Grant Morrison

Knowing that Ethan’s Etherite contact (Chris) at UCCS had mentioned “Samson’s” failure to show to help wire together a multimedia presentation he had prepped for a gallery exhibit, both Ethan and Eugene decided to swing by his house as a courtesy and see what was happening. When they arrived to his picturesque Westside home, the windows were drawn, lights were on, and music was blasting. After he failed to answer the door, the pair let themselves in and found him dead at his computer, stale smell of beer mixing with a potpourri of weed and cheap incense, pepperoni and cheese congealed in grease, and sweatpants soiled with now only slightly warm excrement. Noting that the keyboard and mouse had been moved and then “Samson” placed back on top of them, the two called the police to report the death. Upon their arrival, the cops took statements, the cash from “Samson’s” wallet, and watched the paramedics cart him off. Ethan and Eugene had wisely photographed the computer screen before this all transpired, and, after, they contacted Chris about his friend. Chris relayed that “Samson” may have been morbidly obese but utilized nanites to keep his circulatory system and other organs in tip-top shape. His death was certainly not natural, and the Etherite suspected that his friend’s militant atheism may have finally attracted fatal attention from the Chorus. As Julia suggested, tensions certainly seem high in the city.
The group, having rejoined, decided that a late-night visit to the Adept’s home was in order. From the photograph taken it was easy to see that a file was missing from the immaculately arranged desktop, and Eugene recalled that he had not seen a phone on the body or in the house. At this point, bowing to the wisdom of Joseph Kony, the group realized that utilizing their pre-teen colleague in a B&E was a prudent decision, and, having been blessed with divine protection and subtle mind-altering effects, she was eager to help. Coco was somewhat distant from this endeavor, but arranged to be present at Uintah Gardens in the event help was needed- and to acquire more palatable foodstuffs for the chantry. She also noted the presence of a 2016 black Lexus GS F ( just down the street from the house to be burgled. Ethan and Eugene were similarly poised and stationed themselves at Cy’s- where they, too, acquired more palatable foodstuffs (La Casita is insufficient stake-out food).
James and Rue B approached the house and were alerted by the angelic guardian James had summoned to warding all around it. James headed to the front to pick the lock while Rue traveled to the back and snuck in through a high, small bathroom window.
Rue B was greeted by a man and woman in the bathroom- the former a skinnier and younger Rick Moranis in a tweed jacket and jeans, the latter an athletic Tilda Swinton in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with black hair tied back in a ponytail. Both were startled to see her, and when she refused to answer their questions the woman drew a gun. The man had her lower it- and Rue’s rambling narrative drew attention away from James who entered, stole the PC, and left. The man calmly and with seemingly impossible strength lifted Rue B and (delicately) defenestrated her.
Whether it was the sound of James running to the car, Rue’s whispered comment, or the tread of a wolf across gravel, the pair of evidently cybernetically augmented humans called out through the window and were met with a withering hail of gunfire. The group, now split in 3, quickly communicated an intention to meet at the Chapel Hills (?) Mall.

Chapter 3- Elvis Has Entered the Building
Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
― C. S. Lewis

The cabal, split into 3, drove to the Citadel  Mall.  Along the way, the computer James stole from Samson’s residence exploded (a small explosion- and contained by the bulk of Rue’s familiar, Granny).  Both Coco and Eugene were contacted by their mentors (Coco’s being a mentor to the extent that if one were required on “Wizard School Application” he would be listed and a small prayer offered that he wasn’t actually contacted) and told that the Traditions were gathering to discuss Samson’s murder- the cabal’s presence was requested. 
After recouping briefly at the mall and then at IHOP (where Jill, the City’s Friendliest All-Hours Breakfast Server holds a second job), the group was able to share Rue’s lived experience of her B&E and “compare notes” about the goings-on.  Worth mentioning is James’ debt to one of the Grigori, Ethan’s spoofed ip via literal mirror, Coco’s successful meeting with the crème de la crème of Springs’ elite ladies the following morning (and decision to purchase burner phones in bulk The Wire-style), Granny’s growing wariness about his charge’s companions, and Eugene’s nosing about at the CSPD revealing no “special agents” in town. 
The El Paso Club’s hidden sub-basement (accessed via the Acacia Park Hotel) hosts the city’s Tradition leadership.  You were greeted by: 

The Eightpenny Cabal 
Drake Ingram bani Quaesitor (Order of Hermes), a misanthropic stereotype of every curmudgeonly English professor who considers tweed jackets with elbow pads the embodiment of chic authority. 
Symeon Fisher (Chakravanti), Eugene’s mentor- of Greek descent, his runner’s build and quiet confidence could land him a lead role in a supermarket romance novel. 
Rising Echo (Akashayana), on the other end of stereotypes, with fair skin, ostentatious headphones, and casual first-world dress is as far from what you would expect of the Akashayana as you could get- except the uniform millimeter of fuzz for a “haircut.” 
Chris Lamphier (Society of Ether), has too much enthusiasm for his craft to let his skinny-fat build and ill-fitting clothes ever bother him.  If Symeon possesses quiet confidence, Chris has the look of someone in a perpetual state of “Eureka!” on  LSD, but he carries it well. 
Sophia Ramirez (Celestial Chorus), is the cabal’s counterpoint to cries of “patriarchy!” She is known for providing the warmth  of the group, and looks the part- a solidly-built, motherly figure who inspires feelings of security in those around her despite standing less than 5’ tall.  Her current whereabouts are unknown. 

The New Arcadians 
Vesper Bell (Verbenae), founded the cabal at a small house on- you guessed it- Arcadia St.  Despite her name and Tradition, she presents herself in fairly status quo dress, favoring unremarkable greens and whites that still do little to conceal a body overflowing  with vitality and energy. 
Rhys Gammon (Sahajiya) always looks like he just saw a ghost- which he may have.  Gaunt, with dark-rimmed, nervous eyes, and unkempt hair, he openly advertises his magical practice with shirts proclaiming things like “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” underneath a grotesque depiction of Yog Sothoth. 
Joseph (Joe) Morales (Kha’vadi), makes his modest income providing Mexican markets with everything you need for Santeria and amazing  sauces.  The garden he maintains at the Arcadians’ chantry is the envy of other mages.  He looks and acts accustomed to hard labor, unperturbed by any environment.  He’s married to… 
Julia Reznik (Celestial Chorus), the proprietor of Anybody’s Spring is a 1920s flapper out of time.  Her joie de vivre and ecstatic approaches to her faith have helped bridge some of the rifts between the Chorus and other factions in the city.  At the same time, she has polarized some of the more hardline groups like… 

The Annunciators 
Constance Episcapo (Celestial Chorus)  has drifted in and out of the city’s politics for some time.  Her work takes her on “missions” around the globe, and since she looks and radiates sex and death, that she often works with the militant branches of the Chorus is no secret.  She founded the Annunciators after a vision of- surprise- the Annunciation- and has only brought her single-Tradition cabal into politics over the past few months.   
Audra Flores (Celestial Chorus) is a shrew.  Small of stature and looking like she does IT for Mad Max, she takes offense easily and imagines offenses where none were intended.   
David White (Celestial Chorus) is a hunk.  If John Wayne had trained as a linebacker and lived for his family he’d be half the man David is. 

The “council” brought to light a few lines of inquiry-  
What were the lines of prime at Anybody’s Spring on the night you spoke with Julia about Kingdom Come? 
What the hell happened with James Dodge, anyway? 
Who killed Samson?  If the Technocracy, why were there agents there later?  If Traditions, why erase evidence he may have developed KingdomCome? 
Is there any way this is related to Sophia’s disappearance? 

And Symeon would like to speak with you about his former apprentice, Asher Vossberg, now working with the Technocracy’s Black Swan Construct. 

End Act 1. 


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