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C2IP: The Agenda War I

Previously in v.Western...


It was a dark time for Omega Canyon.

A year had passed since The Incident at Judgement Grotto. The rumours about what had happened far outnumbered the facts and the townsfolk were content to let the tales be, as if telling them was like to summon trouble. 

While the certainties about what had transpired in the graveyard that night - and about how it had led to the ranch of a mysterious horsebreeder being burned down - were few, there were some details about what followed that were plainly agreed upon.

Logollos and his corrupt ways were gone. Driven out or shot down, folks wouldn't offer a guess either way. He wasn't missed.

The lawman Dexter Washington had given up his badge and taken up residence in the Canyon, opening a small schoolhouse.

The marshal Wednesday Wraith had also unpinned her star and become a part-owner of the local printing press. She had began publishing a newspaper.

Callan Lokk had won The Hanged Man Saloon in a card game, kept the original owner in his employ, and given up gambling.

A new graveyard had been fenced-off and consecrated - the final act of the priest Darius Angelus before he disappeared.

The last of the strangers who had ridden into town the day before The Incident had also disappeared, the bounty hunter Mags Magenta. 

Those were the handful of facts but out of the many, many rumours one was generally considered to be true: that when the grave of the strange drifter Sugarcube had been opened that mysterious night it was not his body they found inside.

However odd, The Incident and what came of it had actually changed the fortune of the Canyon for the better. The reversal of that fortune, and the cause of the current troubles, began shortly after when the Office of Frontier Affairs arrived and announced the discovery of oil in the land surrounding Omega...

to be continued


Chronoplex: Domino

She handed her phone to Yuri.

"If I'm not back in an hour call the number saved on the screen."

"Okay gramma."

They'll be fine, she lied to herself.


Less than five minutes up the path she saw the first marking, a sigil carved into the trunk of a tree.

She remembered.


The next sigil was scraped onto a rocky outcropping where the path took a sharp curve. She glanced back but couldn't see where the car was parked through the veil of trees.

She looked back at the sigil.


Twenty minutes in and the sun was going down. The third sigil still caught her eye though, scratched into the dirt. She wondered if other hikers had noticed the markings, what they might mean to them.

It reminded her of a clock.


She almost didn't notice the last one. Blamed that on the twilight and her aged eyes. She had stopped to have a smoke and realized that the branches of the tree she was leaning against had been woven into a pattern.

Patterns, art, clues.


She knew the next one would be the last one.


In The Writer's Room

"What do you mean they are giving us another season?" Brad said. He entered the room and tossed a briefcase on the table. "We wrapped everything up in that two hour finale in May! Now they want us to continue on?"

Allison sat at the table and glanced at the white board up on the wall; they were brainstorming ideas for another season to see what they could come up with. She was afraid to put forth the idea she'd been wanting to run ever since they shot it down in Season Three.

"I wished the network would of given us a heads-up," Brad stated. "Freakin' Morley moved on over to the Ultra-Men series after. They snapped him up like that."

"Ultra-Men also hired Angst as a recurring character as well this season," Benjamin added.

Benjamin was tapping the pen in his hands on a pad of paper. He had written: 

Season 12 ideas:
  • Max travels across the land with a dog.
  • The Ark of the Covenant is found in an attic.
  • Maggie discovers who her mysterious benefactor truly is.
  • Introducing a new character: Oliver Cousins!  No... not that.
  • A musical episode where everyone sings?
  • Frank is killed. Again. And brought back as a demon. --- nope, nope, nope.
  • Introducing the Soda Wars.


Synchroplex: Real Problems Gather for the Regular Playing Group

Tim said, "I'm really sorry to hear that."

Dexter said, "Please don't take it personally, my friend. I've loved every minute I've sat at this table."

"You've been a great addition to the group, Dex. Congratulations though! Getting accepted to university is a big deal."

"I'm excited. And nervous. I've always wanted to get out of this town, but I'll miss it at the same time."

"I get it. It's complicated."

Dex smiled. "Very. Very 'metaplex' as Max would say. Not being able to game is another downer."

"There will always be a seat for you here and the coffee will always be on."


"So, what are you going to do with Frank then?" Wednesday asked.

Tim winked. "Now that would be telling. Actually, since Frank is Dexter's character I'm going to let him decide, and I will adjust the campaign around that."

"This is maybe a bad time to bring it up, but... Well, it looks like my promotion might be going through."

"That's great news!"

"Except it means I will be travelling every other weekend..."


"So we may have to figure out a reason for Angst to be missing every other session... If you think that would even work?"

"We'll make it work somehow."


Callan sighed. "I suppose I wonder if it all still works. The overall story, I mean. If Frank gets written out, and Angst only appears occasionally... Maybe it's time we start a new campaign?"

"But what happens to Goner and Suki then? Are you tired of playing Goner?" Tim asked.

"Not at all. The new cyborg angle has been really interesting. But how many changes can you make to a story before it doesn't make sense anymore?"

"Games aren't stories, though."

Callan smiled. "And we're back to the central question, aren't we? When we get together every Saturday night what exactly are we doing? Playing a game or telling a story?"

"Or is it a magical ritual, as Max would say?"


Tim sipped at his coffee. "So it comes down to you, Darius. Dexter's leaving, Wednesday's only going to be able to play half as often, and Cal is having some doubts about the story continuing. What do you think? Keep going with the adventures of Goner and Suki and sometimes Angst? Start a new game?"

Darius sipped at his coffee. "Actually Tim, I have some news..."


Holy Daze

Previously on the Holidays...


(And a Shout Out to the H247 Dragons who are keeping watch over crisis transmissions during the ritual time)


Paraplex: Archival

The third punch knocked the heavy metal door off its hinges. After the clanging, silence. Some oddly coloured vapours drifted from the dimly lit room. Strange smelling too but since the Upgrade toxins didn't seem to affect her anymore.

She was here to try and understand how and why the Upgrade had happened. She was here to try and learn what was happening to Max, if he was having another breakdown or if everyone else was or both.

A man named Marshal had texted her this location. She thought she recognized the name but couldn't be sure. Couldn't be sure if her memories of being a secret operative throughout history were real or just TV shows she had watched once. Had she always been like this or was this something Max had done to her?

Stepping into the chamber. 

Six suspension-tanks. Not unlike the ones she and Max had climbed out of in the Atlantis base one of the first times they had met. I think I was blonde then. She couldn't make out the figures floating inside them but each one had a digital screen.

Riveta - Status Unknown

Stone - Version Indigo

Scorpio - Version Elephant Tiger

Mayganne - Version Sting Ray

Donnelly - Signal Lost

Susanna - Signal Corrupted

That made her feel sad. She had vague, dream-like memories of a woman with that name who took care of her at a time she was lost and alone and hurting.

Beyond the tanks and the clusters of wires and tubing that fed into them were four doors. Each had a label.





Maggie suddenly felt afraid.


Max Not Max

Germany, 1977.

The stage was set for the band to hit, Max was sitting at the bar sipping a lager and tapping out a cigarette from the Morley Brand smokes he kept in his pocket. It was the end of summer, a hint of fall was in the air but that didn't matter at all when you were deep indoors a pub that was underground.

"Ein anderes?" the comely bartender asked him.

"Ich werde eine andere," he replied as he glanced at his watch. His contact was late.

He didn't know when he picked up German but he presumed it was all part of the package deal. The words sounded strange and foreign to his ears but it conveyed his answer. He didn't know who this contact was and why he was supposed to meet them here. His brain was a hazy fog of jumbled memories and strange flashbacks as well.

He felt like Jason Bourne but then he remembered that couldn't be right since 'The Bourne Identity' was written in 1980. That was three years from now. Why did he know this?

There was a sound of high heels on the hardwood floor approaching and he turned to see who was coming and then he realized...


Hyperplex: Battle Part Two

Shortly after the Dragons began infiltrating the Museum the building came under attack from a LEGACY tactical team. A furious three-way battle erupted.

The Ashen Tradition deployed their psycho-theurgic toxins, transforming infected LEGACY soldiers into ravenous human-beast hybrids that turned on each other.

LEGACY operatives fired swarms of nano-enhanced smart-rounds that used echolocation-sensors and micro-fluid architecture to course-correct in mid-flight and track their targets.

Aqua, safe in the armour of her Mech, alternated pulses of autonic energy to disrupt the AT toxin fields and quantum-chaff to destabilize the trajectories of the LEGACY munitions.

Goner fired bursts of energy from his upgraded arm and Angst evoked designer combat-spirits from Liminal Space.

And Mags jumped into the middle of it all, punching and throwing and kicking.

From the shadows, Frank scanned the minds of the Tradition Mages and the LEGACY Agents, infiltrating their psychic defences like a ninja or occasionally smashing through their conditioning like a tank.

He learned that the source of intel that had tipped off the Ultraviolet Lodge to the Tradition's portal was someone they had pegged for a System operative. Which suggested that the Tradition were in sync with Counter... Except that more hidden thoughts revealed that the Tradition had been pointed to the Hyperplex by another operative who also seemed to be serving System. And that same operative appeared to be the one who leaked the Tradition's plan to LEGACY.

Was one of the leaks actually a Counter agent? Or had the System set all of this up as a trap for the Dragons? Or did they want the Dragons to reach the Hyperplex?


An Addenda

Sheet of paper found on the floor of an abandoned business:

Addenda To Joint Report 

I met Max Cube, editor of Metaplex Magazine, in Copley.  He is a very knowledgeable fellow and has a huge reference of science fiction and fantasy novels.  I also believe, that he was the ghost writer of several episodes of  Morganfokker's Follies as well. Though, he would not admit to it and just alluded to the possibility.  Max mentioned to me that he was currently working on a science fantasy novel with an interesting concept and left it at that. 


Manaplex: Merlin

My teacher of Magic, the ancient multi-dimensional wizard from legend. An older man with brown hair and a beard, typically in robes, sometimes in a suit. Occasionally gruff and bossy and harsh and demanding. Wise and very smart. Knows much lore. Able to fashion magic objects. 

Lesson of the Key, Lesson of the Staff, Lesson of the Amulet, Lesson of the Scroll*

Role: guides during magical work for self and others. Provides knowledge and inspiration and technical expertise. Motivates and inspires and teaches.

Feelings: reasonable, urgency, frustration, authority, clarity

Conditions: working on design ideas, talking about magical work or therapeutic work

Symbols: staff

Signs: voice and language tone

Abilities: casting spells, designing rituals, analyzing patterns, teaching lessons and mysteries, teaching techniques, binding demons, naming spirits, recognizing omens and signs

Blessing: useful and creative and energizing

Curse: lack of compassion, overly technical

Tools: staff – will, secondary appraisal, detachment, direction



The floor was hard and cold; it was the colour of an overcast sky. His head ached, a dull throbbing pain which seemed to echo inside his skull. Probably due to the gun butt that had struck him there. His eyes spotted the shiny black boots before him, so polished to perfection that he could see his reflection in them.

"Who are you?" the voice asked.

He didn't answer.

"Who are you?" the voice asked.

He didn't know what to say so he kept quiet.

"Who do you work for?"

He sat up and looked at the crisp, clear figure before him. Noticing that his hands were shackled before him.

"Your mom," he replied.

That's when the stranger's boot kicked him.


Ultraplex: Assessment

"Max! Focus!" the voice shouted.

Max was flipping through the nineteen folders. He was confused; they were filled with looseleaf pages of handwritten notes and pieces of graph paper covered with hand-drawn maps.

"Okay, let's talk about another time when you did choose to intervene."

A file folder appeared on the table in front of Max with symbols on it that Max couldn't decipher.

He flipped open the folder and scanned the documents inside.

[Halogrhin Excerpt]

"The records on your actions in World: Halogrhin are, of course, spotty. Are you able to give us any insight into the process by which you and the Dragons became aware of the threat, the means by which you access the -"

Max interrupted. "Can I get a coffee? I need a coffee. How much longer is this going to take?"

A different voice (was that three now?) shouted: "Mr. Montgomery, you are in no position to -"

Max interrupted again. "It's math! It's just math alright. You identify the risks and you identify the protections. If there's more of the former than the latter we go. We help. That's all. No big secret, no complex magic formula. We're variables in an equation. We don't care where the monster came from, unless learning that helps us kill it. We don't care what the monster wants unless that helps us kill it. We show up, kill the monster, balance the equation, and then we're gone."

The Prefalta folder, the Halogrhin folder and the nineteen other folders were gone. There were five new folders on the table.

One of the voices said, "We understand that you want it to be that simple. That the 'equation model' allows you to compartmentalize the work you do in the Ultraplex and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. But is it really so straightforward as 'balancing the math'? How does that explain these records?"


Psychoplex: The Hanged Man


The Hanged Man arcana functions as a symbolic map of my experiences of being both bound to the world and apart from it. The Tree represents the world, both physically and experientially, all the branches and roots are the repeating fractal patterns of possibility. The world is diverse and complex, strong and vital, but the Hanged Man is bound to it, not climbing it but also not cutting it down. So he has access to it all but isn’t free to leave or fly away. He is also inverted, so even though he has direct contact with the world he experiences it from a distorted or reversed way, seeing first the roots rather than the branches, always forced to understand the tangled web of causes that grow all the effects. From his position the Hanged Man can look out and up at the stars, other worlds, but cannot reach them. His binding is a prison but a ritual one, because the inversion and sacrifice are what gives him this special vision – he can see more than the tangled branches and rough bark. He is trapped between worlds but has access to both. A constant liminal magical state. But he can’t easily act in either world.

How It Feels To Hang

* feeling suspended between worlds

* not understanding the nature of reality, of events surrounding me, their causes and effects

* unable to extrapolate a course of action because I want to act towards a type of truth but I’m not sure what it is

* no sense of ground, of a foundation to make decisions and judgments from

* seeing extreme possibilities, even contradictory versions of events and interactions, leaves me unsure which way to move, which way to respond

* In this sense I am bound to the world > I can’t act only from my own wishes, desires, needs – I need to have feedback, validation, harmony with the way (I think) the world works

* Feeling hanging at the edge of the Otherworld – total fantasy, delusion, magic, dream, madness, imagination > unable to float away because of my need/desire to find truth, my doubt, skepticism, my sense of responsibility

* Feeling deep philosophical uncertainty about my experiences and perceptions


Omniplex: CD Four

The Passion of the Cube
The Original Soundtrack for the Mind

(interior artwork: Max engaged in a fierce gun battle, firing Joy and Pain at unseen enemies. Caption: 'COMING SOON')

Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
Go Home Productions - Beatleg Bootles Part 1
Nicknack - Crystal's Better Tomorrow
Dropbass - Big beat mania
Jx - Fark the Farking Rohypnol (Blacksmoke vs Prodigy Mix)
djbc - Golden Peace Frog
DJ Tripp - Spin Me Harder
Jirob - Wheres Your Talking Head At
Instamatic - GodLife
Lenlow - Chocolate Cake
Laptop Orchestra - Plastic Orchestra
Jet Set Willy - Failed Weekamix
Lenlow - Vegas Baby
London Symphony Orchestra - Hey Joe