After Action Report – Cthulhu: Now – Light of Darkness (Part 2)

The Virtual Geographic Society

The players move around a bit and see that the light is now moving away from them along the fence line. They take the opportunity to go back inside the building.

The hallway is now empty and they continue on down it. They find another lab and quickly search it, finding nothing. The next door is locked. Surprsingly, no one has Locksmith and they can’t open it. They discuss breaking it down but someone thinks to check the receptionist’s desk in the lobby and find a set of keys in a drawer, one of which opens the door.

Inside they find another body, another student identified by her id as Alicia Fowler. She has a box of candles and matches and a spiral notebook lies beside her. Most of the notebook contains lecture and lab notes but the last page shows the following.

note

Dawson wants to “investigate the scene” and makes a Spot Hidden. He finds a waxy, scorched spot near the body which could have come from a candle burning down. The Keeper also points out that the storage room was locked from the inside. After asking about timing the players realize that the candle shouldn’t have burned completely down in the time since their cars stopped and figure things started going wrong at the facility much earlier. They decide to go see if they can find out what happened to Gabe.

The southern part of the area is a relatively recently plowed field. Dawson and Neyland are able to find some tracks and follow them to the southern end of the field. There they find another body, lying next to a shallow hole in the ground. The hole is a couple of feet across and about a foot deep and seems to have been formed recently.

Spot Hiddens reveal a number of what look like ceramic fragments lying in and around the hole. The fragments are curved and are greyish-white and roughly pitted on the outside but smooth and black on the inside. The players examine them enough to determine that the pieces would have fit together to form a rough sphere about a foot in diameter. They figure that the thing fell to Earth and either broke open on impact or was broken by Gabe when he found it. Either way, there is now a glowing thing floating around.

At this point the players consider leaving and letting the authorities deal with it before heading back towards the main buildings. As they do, they spot the Light moving along the treeline, tendrils of light are reaching out and touching the trees. As it does, the trees burst out in a sudden flurry of growth then slump downwards. Back in the parking area, the players note that the pathway they came into the area on is now completely overgrown by vegetation.

The party goes behind the main building and finds a mostly empty dumpster. They decide to examine it and find the remains of a pair of animals within it. Both appear to have been killed by the light as well.

The two large buildings are greenhouses. The players examine the first and discover a series of sevral trays, each filled with a slurry-like mixture of dirt and some chemical. There are plants in the slurry but all of them look to be oddly overgrown. All have fallen over and and many are dragging on the floor. All of them also seem to be moving slightly. The players investigate long enough to discover that the plants are oddly brittle and dead (though the leaves and such are still green) but can find no cause for the movement. They decide that the thing is controlling the plants somehow and decide to leave before the plants attack. Tyler wants to set the plants on fire but the others talk her out of it.

The players enter the second greenhouse and find a similar arrangement, except here the plants are growing in more normal dirt. The north wall of the greenhouse is covered by sheets of highly reflective mylar. The plants here are surprisingly normal; they do not seem to have had the odd growth caused by the light.

The investigators split up and search the greenhouse. Hefford and Neyland find some lab notes and are able to determine that the greenhouse is studying using enhanced light levels to try to promote plant growth. Dawson succeeds in a Listen check and follows a scratching sound to a roll of mylar lying in the middle of the greenhouse. Investgating reveals that several mice are living in the tube the mylar is wrapped on. They realize the light has not bothered the mice.

About this time the light reappears, passing through the side of the greenhouse. The players start making for the exit (Tyler shoots out a pane of glass in the wall to make a second exit) but the light doesn’t seem to notice them. Instead it approaches the reflective mylar. One of the tendrils of light reaches towards the mylar but is reflected by it and comes back towards the light. The light is touched by its own tendril and a blast of energy moves back and forth between it and the mylar for a second before the light rapidly moves away, racing back through the glass and out of sight.

The players realize that the thing was hurt by its own reflection. After talking for a bit they decide the light is attracted to and feeds on energy sources or potential energy sources. It sees its own reflection as an energy source. Hefford then makes the connection with the fragments they found in the field. The sphere was lined with black and would have protected the light but reflective materials would hurt it.

The players all cut off sheets of mylar and attempt to wrap them around themselves. They also attempt to fashon “shields” out of mylar using trash can lids.

At this point the players finish exploring the area. The small structure against the second greenhouse turns out to be a small workshop (which they use to finish up their mylar jackets and shields). They also find several cages for trapping rodents.

After that things stalled for a bit. The players can now walk around with impunity because whenever the light comes towards them they just wave the mylar at it and it flees after touching its reflection. They try surrounding it but it always darts away whenever they get too close.

Again the players consider just leaving the area. The Keeper reminds them that they have decided that the thing feeds on energy, including light, and asks what they think will happen when the sun rises. The players immediately realize they have to find out a way to get rid of the thing before sunrise.

The players decide to try to trap the thing using something black. They search the facility and find a box of trash can bags that they can use.

After a brief, amusing scene where the players try to throw a bag over the light they decide they need to set a trap. Using the rodent trap they found earlier they trap the mice from the mylar tube to use as bait.

Their initial plan was to line the dumpster with the black trash can bags, put the cage of mice in it to serve as bait then slam the lid shut when the light went after the bait. But when they started work Neyland got a better idea. They lined the dumpster with the mylar then covered the mylar with the black trash bags. That way they figured if the light tried to get through the bag it would hit the reflective mylar and back off.

They set up their trap and waited for the light. They saw it but it was keeping its distance from them and eventually Dawson volunteered to drop his mylar cape and shield and go close to it to try to lure it to the dumpster. After a Dodge and Luck roll (to avoid tendrils) Dawson got the light to the dumpster.

The light entered and the players slammed the lid (they had tied ropes to it to pull from a distance) but Dawson had run around the dumpster. The light went in and he slammed it shut.

For a moment there was nothing, then they heard a slowly rising whine. The thing kept continually trying to pass through the trash can bags (if you look at one you will realize they are partially transparent) and encountering the mylar. It started feeding on itself, setting up a feedback loop. Suddenly, there was an explosion when all the energy the thing had absorbed was released at once. The dumpster exploded into shrapnel. Hefford, Dawson and Branford fail dodge rolls and take damage but no one is killed.

After that was simply the denoument. Shortly after sunrise the black helicopter appeared and the sherrif’s deparment showed up soon afterwards. The investigators were interrogated by federal agents with no sense of humor, grudgingly told they had done the country a great service and that if they ever mentioned anything about what really happened to anyone they would disappear. Permanantly. They were delivered to a hotel in Macon, told their vehicles would be replaced, and released.

Right before departing, one of the agents quietly tells them that the government agencies aware of the Mythos know that people who are able to stand up to such events without cracking are useful assets. It is likely that they may be contacted again in the future. Until then, they are encouraged to forget what just happened.

Checking papers and the news indicated that four students working at a university facility in southern Georgia died when a chemical reaction accidentally released poisonous gas. There was another article mentioning that a transformer substation in southern Georgia overloaded and caused a blackout for several hours.

There was no mention of a light from the sky.

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