Drifters

Professor’s Log: Another Day, Another Tourney

“Less than an hour before he’d congratulated himself on escaping all the traps of Earth, all the snares of Man. Not knowing that the greatest trap of all, the final and the fatal trap, lay on this present planet.”
Clifford D. Simak

Well, we made it up to the Orkneys, and as expected Lancelot kicked by ass, but at least I’m still breathing, so I can’t complain too much. We entered the tournament. Pete actually won the jousting and we did an awesome job in the Grand Melee again. We ran into our old buddy Khan and I took his head off with one sword swipe. Around here, that might not have mattered much, but in the chaos his head got crushed, so I’m pretty sure he won’t be coming back from that. That’s the good news.

On the less than good side, King Mark congratulated us on our victory and gave us a chest for of fringe crystals. That sounds OK, but John’s spidey senses started tingling. It turns out that, as we suspected, Mark is a mellor. If he’s giving us fringe crystals, he’s likely using them to set us up, so we’ll have to be careful.

The other complication is that during the Grand Melee, John captured Bubbles Galore. Again, that sounds good, but it turns out that she wasn’t Oprah’s guest back at the high rise. She was the head of security, and she’s less than happy about us killing most of her guards. Since I’m the best known of the group, she holds me accountable, and since she’s a crack shot, I’m more than a little worried. The local sheriff who was responsible for all the prisoners we freed also has us on his shit list. What’s new?

At least we have some direction now. We know we have to head north to find one of the treasures and the other is likely to be somewhere east of Paris with Khan’s army, or should I say, ex-army. With any luck, this will get us closer to solving the Spreading Waste problem so we can reopen the fringe portal and get home.

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Steve's Log 46

Even if we are trained to die, we have got to believe that we’re going to live.
~Space Above and Beyond; Capt. Shane Vansen

We arrived at the Orkneys and were welcomed as guests of King Lot and Queen Margause. I politely declined the invitation to stay in the castle and instead set up my pavilion along with the many other knights in attendance. I am not sure how we got invited to a party in Thor’s tent but it was pretty awesome. They had a huge drinking contest, which I entered but I got bored early on and left to take a piss. This of course, got me disqualified from the contest. Later I heard that Pete came in second only to Brunhilda.

Later we attended the duals where I trounced Mordred and then Aggravaine and even Gareth. Finally my time had come to face Gawaine and the sun was high in the sky. My Fringe Metal shield held up to his blows but my arm did not. I eventually had to concede the battle. My injuries were such that I dreaded the jousting event but still I participated. I made it to the semi-finals where I had to face Aggravaine and lost. Pete then went to the finals and destroyed Aggravaine with a lance through his jaw.

When we made the grand melee, I got to take command. I did well for my men and Pete stepped up to offer much assistance. Things went well for us until about the forth hour when I cam upon King Lot’s bannermen and attempted to fight my way through. I fell a dozen men as bullets and sword blows glanced off of my shield and armor. The fighting was intense and a frenzy was upon me. I shouted orders and pushed deeper into the fray. The standard bearer went down and as I leaned in to grab the standard from the ground I was knocked face first into the blood and muck. I looked up and saw Thor laughing as he used the standard as a spear and killed a man. That fraking dickhead just stole my glory. I got to my feet and charged him shouting a battlecry. I never even saw the hammer blow that fell me. I awoke some time latter being picked up off the field by Pete who was screaming at me to “fight! fight! fight!” The remainder of the battle was glorious and we won a decisive victory, much in part to Pete taking up command when I fell.

Following the battle there was the awards ceremony but the cheap bastard Lot only gave out circlets and other jewelry as prizes. Morgause pulled me aside and spoke with me about our quest to the North and she said she would talk to her husband about sending us some aid. Later I would learn that Lot offered us 10 men to help us on our quest. Now we prepare to head North. I wonder what new dangers lie ahead.

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John's Log 44
Arthurian 7

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.
Albert Einstein

After rescuing the girls and other prisoners from Oprah’s we had a few weeks to hang out and relax before the tournament at the Orkneys. The time went faster than I would have liked; I know that Jasmine doesn’t enjoy this world as much as I do, and I wish I could figure out something that could change all that. When it was time to leave I felt I had to swing past Glastonbury to speak to the Ladies – I wanted to make sure that they still considered me worthy of the sword I’d been awarded at the first Tournament. Satisfied that I was still considered thus, we made our way to the Orkneys.

The Orkney Tournament was a little smaller than the one at Glastonbury: four days as compared to seven. But that didn’t affect the importance of this tournament to us. John had a challenge with Lancelot regarding Percivale’s eligibility for knighthood. Steve had a challenge with Mordred specifically, and the entire Orkney family more generally; unfortunately, that includes Sir Gawain, but at least that’s one honorable knight on the opposing side. Finally, Pete was there to find Manathem Khan, our old enemy from Hyboria and the hand behind a recent assassination attempt against Pete. Surprisingly, I was the only one of our group (save the girls) that didn’t have any outstanding violence to ensue.

At least until Reeve Driven showed up. Driven is the sheriff for the district where the girls had been caged (not to mention where Oprah’s Tower is located). He showed up at the Tournament looking for compensation for his lost men as well as the return of his ‘prisoners’. I think I showed significant growth in not striking him down where he stood. As he was leaving, words were exchanged and I found myself looking forward to our next encounter (where I felt I would demonstrate a complete lack of growth, as I intended to kill him rather intentionally). So you can imagine my delight when I discovered later he was on the opposing army for the Grand Melee.

The Joust went as well as I could expect – fucking dragons; I wish someone would use proper horses, or even motorcycles, to joust – anything but dragons. Not that that’s the only reason I don’t fare as well as I’d like. I’ve never really used a shield or a spear before, either – both important implements in something like a joust. Still, I cleared two opponents before being brought down by the Black Knight. To my complete and utter joy and relief, Jasmine didn’t follow through on her threat to lay with another knight for not winning. I honestly don’t know how I’d respond if she had (or does) – I hope I don’t have to find out. Because of my wounds I had to bow out of the Hunt, which was just as well. I knew I’d lose that even if I’d been in full health. The Orkney Hunt involved hunting down released criminals; the winner was the one who returned with the most heads. As a criminal myself, I would have helped whoever I could to escape.

The Grand Melee was as glorious as the last. Steve took command this time, with Pete as his lieutenant. Jack offered to carry the standard, and nearly lost his life because of it. We had chosen to fight on the side of the North, against our host King Lot. (That seems to be a running theme of ours.) As the two armies clashed together I was shocked to see Iron John leap right into the thick of things; this was completely different from what he had done in the last tournament. Steve did well, leading our portion of the army into the thick of thing at every turn. Clash after clash had our men standing victorious, and as before the Brotherhood’s pennant took no backward step. The worst of the battle for us was when Steve was overwhelmed and captured, but Pete soon took notice and fought his way to Steve’s side and rescued him. An hour later the battle was over, and we stood victorious upon the field yet again. Unfortunately, I had failed to meet Driven on the field of battle. Khan was killed on the battlefield by Iron John, and he won’t be coming back – after having his head struck from his shoulders, his head was stomped upon by an elephant on the battlefield. Even the wondrous (I’d say magical) medicine they have here can’t heal that amount of damage.

That night, the award ceremony was not quite as lavish as the one at the last tournament. King Lot handed out the prizes rather grudgingly, particularly it seemed to us. Pete stood as the overall winner of the Tournament, due in large part to his winning the Joust (against all odds and expectations I have to say). At the ceremony I did find out from the girls that Driven wasn’t the villain I made him out to be at our first meeting; in fact, they had never even met him before two days before. I don’t want to, but I think I’ll have to apologize to the man – after all, it turns out he was only doing the duty he had sworn to do, and I can’t hold that against him. I only wish he had had better manners when he showed up, but to be honest I was lacking in that area as well.

Next stop is the hall of Raven. We’re getting there in style, accompanying none other than Thor, his son. I hope I can get the spear without having to fight once we arrive, but I’ll do what I have to do in order to succeed at our quests. The whetstone we seek is also in the North, in the hands of a witch. The stone we seek should be in the lands of Balor. And our last bit of info told us the halter is with Khan’s army, somewhere to the east of Paris. Hard times are to come, but with those hardships will come glory and riches!

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Professor’s Log: Going Buggy

Tom Beck: I want to ask you if I’m crazy, or does this seem just a little bizarre?
Lloyd Gallagher: Yeah, it’s a little bizarre.
Tom Beck: I knew that. I just wanted to know if you knew that. – The Hidden

I’m not quite sure whether to be relieved or scared shitless. When John killed Steve, I thought that was the end of the Brotherhood. It turns out the whole thing was because John had a bug in his head. That’s not a euphemism or metaphor. He literally had an alien bug in his head, taking him over, like the way Toxoplasmosis affects mice or Leucochloridium paradoxum controls a snail. That’s the scared shitless part. Now I don’t know who has one of those bugs and who doesn’t. Many parasites are good at hiding their presence, so I don’t even know whether or not I’m affected.

I’m starting to wonder how widespread these damn things are. The dragon Calypso had been living here peacefully for hundreds of years. Then she went berserk and started killing people. That’s not too far off from what happened to John. Maybe Calypso has one of those bugs too. There’s no reason to think that they can’t infect a dragon. Good luck digging the bastard out.

On the plus side, I did manage to get my skinweave replaces. It’s a lot lighter and more flexible than the old stuff. The surgery was a Hell of a lot easier too. They just gave me a shot of nanos, kept me in the hospital for a couple of days, and it was done.

It worked out that John, Steve and I all got out of the hospital around the same time. While we were out of commission, Sam, Jasmin and Betty went on a rescue mission to get Christine back from Oprah. Apparently it didn’t go to well, because they didn’t come back. With the Brotherhood reunited, we went on a rescue mission of our own to get them back.

Oprah’s place was a cross between a fortress and a luxury hotel. Getting in was fairly easy. John and I used our new gravity levelers to scale the walls of the high rise. Man, that was fun. Once on the roof, we took out a couple of guards and headed inside.

Instead of going in blasting, we tried to use the subtle approach. We bluffed our way in by convincing a couple of the guards that we were Oprah’s guests. It actually worked for a while, but when our cover was eventually blown, we resumed our usual plan and commenced blasting.

We took out most of the guards and headed to the part of the building where we thought we’d find the prisoners. They were in what I can only describe as a harem designed by the Marquis de Sade. There must have been over thousand slaves in there, all kept naked and caged and forced to where some sort of chastity belt. It took us a while, but we found all the girls, including Christine. Incidentally, we also found a couple of other notable individuals. None other than Indiana Jones was being held as one of the sex slaves. I’ll bet that had a Hell of a story behind it. Smiley was also there.

We freed everybody and headed to the roof to make our escape. That’s where the guards were waiting for us. I thought we were in for more blasting, but Corey managed to bullshit them into believing we were with the police. Oprah really needs to invest in smarter security. We got away and even managed to nab a couple of flying limos for our trouble. Now we’re Northward bound. We’ll figure out what to do when we get there.

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John's Log 43
Arthurian 6

Never fight an inanimate object.
P. J. O’Rourke

When my eyes next opened and consciousness returned I was in a hospital bed, where I would remain for close to a week longer. I had apparently been shot by a ‘disruptor’, and to everyone’s surprise – including my own – I had survived. Over the course of my stay and the few days after, I learned that I had been possessed by a Shan, or an Insect of Shaggai. I don’t really know what they are, but the horrible memories left behind still cause me nightmares – I can only hope that eventually my mind will forget.

After being released from the hospital I informed the others that I needed to get to Diogon Alley, where I suspected Gringot’s Bank would be found, which would likely be the home of the parachronic banking society we had first met through the Gnome at Callahan’s. I was told ‘we’d’ already done all that at my request. We went again and I got to see it for the first time. We also hit a couple of bars and discovered a Maori bar that had some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted! We hung out there for a while before John got a call from Merlin of all people, so we went to meet with him (finally) and hopefully get some info as to what we were expected to do.

Merlin is as vague and obfuscating as you might expect, but I suspect that a lot of what he does is through precognition. According to the only other precog we know – Stephanie – they can see a lot of different outcomes at times, but trying to reach one particular outcomes can disrupt the whole thing, particularly if you know too much. So, I think Merlin told us what he could, but had to be vague enough so that we’d arrive at the correct future he foresaw – namely, the one where we all get to live (hopefully). He did tell us that we needed to find three of the Treasures of Britain: the Ring and Stone, the Whetstone, and the Girdle. As it happens, John already had the ring of the set, and the Stone is somewhere in the Northlands. We’ve been told that the Whetstone is with the Raven Witch, who might be related to the Raven in the North we need to seek anyway. Later we learned where the Girdle might be as well, so after the Tournament of the Orkneys we can just continue up north and get on with the job. And no, I haven’t forgotten about Calypso, but seeing as we have to get Raven’s spear anyway, we can try to pick up everything while we’re up in the Northlands.

After finishing our discussion with Merlin, I was ready for bed but Jasmine wasn’t around. She, Betty and Sam had gone off to find and rescue Christine while the rest of us were laid up in the hospital. (I was there for the reasons I gave above; Steve was there because I’d killed him and they were making him better, while John was there getting some cyber-work done to replace some of his systems lost to a nanoplague he’d contracted at some point.) After a quick check with Steve and John, we discovered none of the girls had been back, nor had anyone heard from Christine. Figuring on the worst, we suited up and headed into town to find Oprah’s lair, where we figured they’d be found. We were right.

Gravity levelers are awesome! John and I just kinda walked up the towering building like we were on a Sunday stroll. Steve, who didn’t have one, met us at the top of the building after he went and got his broom (which I seem to have bought for him). We took care of the guards there and then infiltrated in. The infiltration ended and the assault began a short while later when, after getting past various guards and residents and questioning a maid, we wound up on the wrong floor. This floor was not the catacombs we had thought it to be (and where we thought our women were being held); it was instead the center for security for the tower and the location for a large number of guardsmen. Luckily the hallway was narrow and they decided to face us in melee combat. Also, luckily for us, Steve is a conniving bastard at times and had brought an explosive device with him. That made short work of most of the defenders, as well as a large number of walls, the ceiling, and the floor. That’s how we found Corey – he’d been in the tower with some woman he’d hooked up with, and happened to be on the floor above our fight.

After a brief catch-up period, the four of us dropped to the floor below and found ourselves in a room that would have been opulent if it weren’t for the surprising amount of debris and dust littering the place (granted that was more our fault than the owner’s). The only door out of the room other than the elevator proved to be particularly difficult to open, but we managed. We had, however, given the guardsman behind plenty of opportunity to prepare and so he was able to attack us immediately. That dude was good – good enough to have been a knight, though I never got his name nor saw his heraldry. He nearly took all four of us out – his shield was some kind of heat weapon that took me by surprise, and his weapon – a wand/whip hybrid – neatly caught John in a blast of webbing. I eventually shattered his shield, and that’s when our world exploded – literally. The moral of the story is to be careful when you’re attacking a cloud device, because it seems that the nano-reservoir has a tendency to explode if punctured.

When I managed to regain my feet, we realized we’d found the harem. A thousand cages – stacked on three stories – was within the room the guard had been protecting. Within we found our women, a few other friends, and Christine (yes, I do consider her a friend but she does have a surprising ability to bring trouble with her whenever she makes an appearance – that’s one of her most redeeming qualities though). We gave the girls a hard time about being captured, and I fully expect to pay for the fun I had at Jasmine’s expense. Then we were hit with the task of freeing everyone else. Each cage was a separate cloud device, and there was no central control panel that could open all of them at once. Not only did we not have the time to open every cage individually – the alarm had been raised and we had no idea how many guards still remained in the building (not to mention the cops in the district) – we didn’t have the equipment necessary to open more than a half-dozen or so more. That’s when Corey went to work and started in with his computer mojo. I couldn’t tell you what he did – he explained it but I haven’t learned computer geek as a language yet – and he nearly fried himself getting it done. (Actually he did fry himself, but John managed to get him back on his feet.)

So, in the end we got our women back, freed some friends, and freed a lot more people who are probably friendlier to us now than they were yesterday. We also got to take two limos as our getaway vehicles, but I’m not keeping either. Next stop is the Orkneys, where we’ll earn more glory and honor, and then off to the North to get started on the two jobs we have to accomplish.

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Corey's Log 16

I m telling you i was feeling real good about things. Karr taught me alot. He even showed me how to do something knew with my gifts that not require me to use my cross. That is great. He taught me some of the Klingon language.

Well the fair went well and we were able to keep the banner up in the air …mainly thanks to big john’s leadership. The brotherhood performed gloriously.

I joined the melee battle in time to pull out and get points for out group another knight that was against us. It turn out to be that same guy that Lil John knuckles had arrested in the bar. He was returned for a minor fee with all of his belongs.

I was able to get a few things while i was there. I got 2 nano daggers. You know i like daggers.

John gave me a few really cool things. He handed me a real T-rapier sword. A bit heavy but cool. Then he also gave me 3 pouch nano kit…that will allow me to change computer plugs to what ever connections i need. This will allow me to be able to connect me or my laptop into the differ slots on different worlds will be going to.

At closing ceremonies, i was reward with new ally a travel mate. He is a huge white dire wolf name Chamber. Chamber is great. He makes me remember my old dog Jericho. The person who gave him to me said this relationship would work given my gifts. It turns out i can talk with Chamber.

Things are going well then it turn bad. I was so busy hanging out on my own. I had thought to take some time and look more at this nano laptop that I was given when we first got here. I got into it and lost track of time. I missed the big bowling matches… I felt bad because when i call them they told me i just missed it and to catch up with them.

Well when i get to where they are…the guys are about to do strip show for these young girls… so I join them on the bar. yup …butt naked and showing off my black pole. I was having fun then i remember I do have a dance chip… so i went to push it in and ram the chip breaking the slot and chips that I had loaded. i fell of the bar into Knuckles and was stunned for a moment. so much for good dancing.

Then John had me go off into a room with this young girl to see if i was a member of a club. well i went into the back and she hand me a wand telling me to aim at the wall. Well i did and a bunch of tribbles came shooting out. I freak out at the idea of these things being killer tribbles so i pull out my daggers and stab each one. The girl was scared by my reaction and told me to say nothing happen…..i agreed

well when we got out …i see the guys are a bit upset …one of the girls are dead after drinking the cup that Pete was suppose to drink. So he vowed to get even and big john agreed….so the brotherhood will handle this.

Later on ….i got a call from Big John telling me to meet him at 231 cock alley and to bring the guys. Well we get there but was a block off. He tell me to put my hand 3 feet from the ground against the wall. i did and something prick me then a doorway open.

It was a magically shopping area. The guys bought stuff including flying brooms. Big john bet Steve he could not fly it. Well john lose his bet. we look around for stuff. in the back of mind i was thinking and I should have went into the wand shop and got a wand just to try and have. Stupid me…i need to stop second guessing myself.

we found out from a squidhead man, who served great sushi, some information about secret password. well we ended up at a place that the guys knew this strange man…i m still not sure how we know him but the others did. Well when they gave him password. He smile and led us to a place where there were lots of women of different races and cultures from other worlds. They were being offer at sex toys. Pete found himself a girl and went to work. Well it has been a long while and went to go get some. In the middle, Big John brought over the girl who face i hit back in Conan time. I admit i was in the zone to think about it right then….but damn it was still wrong of me back then.

we afterward i look around the girl was gone. John set her free. so she took off. I joke about it had been a long time and at least these guys had company with them. Big john got angry and wanted to fight over it.

i m not talking verbal fighting but actual sword fight. He is probably the best swordsman of the group but still why is going to pull out swords when we are friends teasing. He then try to call goat me into a fight by calling me a coward twice. i told him i didnt know what was wrong with him but i would not do this especially within somebody’s home so i left out. He and the others eventually came and out and we back to castle.

The next morning, we caught up with steve and everyone was talking. John said that he was going to continue on his mission. He ask who is with him. Steve said he was going and so did pete and knuckles. I was like ok we are the brotherhood. John then said well not everyone said they are going.
John started with attiude again. i m angry at him but i m not going to betray him. so even Steve had to say to John that he was being a dick … even after i said i had his back.

Well john squared down again on one of us…this time it was steve. He dared steve to pull out his sword and just as pulled it out. John behead him. Then John slashed at me across my chest. I fell back using my TK to shove him away.

We pin him down and pete with knuckles tied Big John up….though i woluld admit that john just stood there doing nothing but saying get eight….we need to get steve to car wars to get him clone.

We found out we could not get there…the end result is that pete and knuckles took steve to the hospital …they used magic wands to put his head back but he took some brain damage.

now we must figure out what to do about John and how to save our group from what has infected him.

end log

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John's Log 42
Arthurian 5

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allan Poe

The last thing I remember before waking to the horrible feeling of being submerged was the night after the Grand Melee. Since then, every waking moment has been witnessed – since I can’t really say experienced – as if I’ve been plunged in the brackish waters of a dank swamp. Occasionally the murk clears enough for me to see what is happening clearly, but even then I can only witness it happening, and through it all I sense more than hear the mocking laughter surround me.

The first moment of clarity that I experienced was being called before the Ladies. I could feel the OTHER pull back, as if to cloak its presence from their notice yet not so far as to be gone entirely. I felt a connection with one of the Ladies and struggled to communicate in some way, to convey my plight, but the OTHER still had control and stopped my every attempt, as all the while its contempt and mocking laughter surrounded me.

The next vision I was given – because now I understood that the OTHER was allowing me these moments of clarity, only not as a favor but because IT wanted me to be witness to whatever sorrow and evil was being done. The next time I found myself in a bar with my friends and seated with us was Khan! Our foe from Hyboria was among us and he was offering drinks to us all. It felt like a dream – or nightmare – and I railed against the unseen walls that contained me. I somehow knew the drinks were poisoned, and even as I watched my friends and myself lift our glasses I could again feel the mocking laughter surround me. As the fog and miasma closed around me again I could taste the whispering cackling joy from the OTHER, the absolute triumph as it let me know they would die a horrible death.

The next flash of awful clarity I was ‘gifted’ with, I was in a darkened room with naked bodies all around me. I had a moment of joy as I realized my friends all still lived – apparently whatever plot had been underway had failed – and then I noticed the anger. There was a terrible buzzing suffusing my being, and then my body – not I – drew my sword as Steve squared off against me. I screamed as I tried everything I could to regain control and that that corrupting mocking laughter surrounded me again. I saw Steve draw his weapon – a longsword he didn’t know how to use – and wondered if he too was under the sway of an OTHER of his own. I watched as if in a nightmare as I struck his head from his shoulders and wept as I watched his body slump slowly to the ground. Then I watched as I struck Corey and screamed in rage as I tasted the OTHER’S bloodlust fill me. IT wanted to kill and somehow I managed to stop it, although it was all I could do to keep it from striking again.

I felt IT feel fear when she arrived – the HUNTER. IT crouched back as before and I could feel her thoughts as she looked at me, trying to determine… something. The OTHER withdrew some more and I could hear its fear as she watched; I managed to regain some more control and shouted at her to “DO IT”, over and over again. She shook her head and merely said “No”, and then turned to walk away. The OTHER cackled with joy as she turned and gleefully re-exerted its control. The last thing I remember is seeing Steve’s body and head being taken away… the last thing I will experience as the terrible murkiness flows back around me.

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Professor’s Log: Death and Brotherhood

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
― William Blake

I’ve been a fool, running around so focused on pomp and playing Sir Wantsalot that I completely lost sight of why we’re actually here, to save a world. Even before the tournament, I was like a kid in a candy shop, gawking and lusting after nanotoys and beautiful women. As a result, I’ve come as close as humanly possible to death, stood by as one friend murdered another, and we’re still no closer to finding out how to stop what’s destroying this land than we were when we first came here.

I was still basking in the thrill of the tournament on the night of the awards feast. I stood on stage, accepting congratulations for our victory from King Arthur and the Ladies of the Lake. I reveled in the applause, over indulged in the wine and food, and danced with my lady. Then it all came crashing down. King Arthur, called me aside, and said he had heard of how tough the famous Iron John was. He asked for a demonstration, asked if I would let one of his men punch me to demonstrate for the crowd my renowned durability. Like an idiot, I agreed.

The King chose Galahad to let me have it. Boy, did he ever. Between the force of the blow and the damage that the nanoplague had already done, my subdermal armor shattered. My skin weave sloughed off, and my only remaining functional eye exploded. I don’t know how I survived, and damn near didn’t. They told me later, that my bones had actually started to disintegrate. If Pete hadn’t rushed me to the nearest hospital, I’d be dead.

The hospital did a good job of patching me up though. With the exception of my armor, my eyes, and my bone lace, most of my cyberware pulled through. They even used nanos to fix my normal eyesight, so I’m no longer near-sighted, even without the enhancements.

I found out later that while I was in the hospital, Lancelot challenged me to a duel. He wasn’t too happy about my offering to knight Percival, but Percival saved my life in the tournament, and earned his knighthood. Fuck what Lancelot thinks.

You’d think that once the tournament was over, we could get back to business, but John still had a hard on to kill himself a dragon. Nothing seems to dissuade him. We ended up blowing the entire next day on some treasure hunt so John could find Diagon Alley and get to Gringott’s bank to get some more money, presumably to outfit himself in appropriate dragon slaying gear. While we were there, I got some for myself, figuring that even if I disagreed with it, if John was going to do this, I’d at least back him up. That’s what brotherhood means.

That evening is when things really came to a head. I mean that literally. John was drinking pretty heavily, which normally isn’t a problem, but then he started getting belligerent. I don’t know why. First he tried to pick a fight with Corey, who showed enough restraint to walk away. Then he and Steve started getting into it. I figured that the two of them had known each other for a Hell of long time, and it wasn’t the first time I’d seen them trade blows, so I stayed back. The next thing I know, both of them pull their swords, and John chops Steve’s head off with a single blow.

WHAT THE FUCK! I’ve given Steve plenty of shit for doing rash stuff, for jumping into battle first and thinking later, but God Damn it, he was our friend. He was one of the Brotherhood. He’s saved our lives and we’ve saved his more times than I can count. Up until then, I always figured John was the most level headed of all of us. He’s the one always going on about the Brotherhood and standing by each other, and he just cut down his best friend over nothing. Corey, Pete and I tackled John and disarmed him, then put him in restraints while we looked at Steve’s head staring back us from the floor.

I had nothing to fall back on, but Arthur C. Clarke’s quote about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic. I’d seen some pretty advanced fucking technology since we’ve been here, and if we ever needed magic, this was it. Pete and I grabbed Steve’s body and head and got him to the hospital as fast as we could. It was a gamble, but we had nothing to lose, and it worked. The doctors put the head back on, waved their wands and brought him back to life.

I have never been so glad to see Steve in all my life. The docs said that he had been dead for about 15 minutes before they brought him back, and that he might have some brain damage as a result. We’ll have to wait and see.

I have no idea what we’re going to do now. I always thought I could trust John. He’s the one I counted on most, and now I can’t any more. That hurts. I’m afraid the Brotherhood is as dead as Steve was, only the docs can’t bring it back. Once it’s gone, that’s it. What I do know is that I’m done with this chivalry and chasing dragons and fair damsels shit. I’m going back to finding out what’s behind this spreading Nothing, and doing everything I can to stop it. If John wants to keep playing Sir George, let him. I have a job to do, and once it’s done, I’m leaving this world and not looking back.

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Steve's Log 45

“The Father wove the skein of your life a long time ago. Go and hide in a hole if you wish, but you won’t live one instant longer. Your fate is fixed. Fear profits a man nothing.”
Herger the Joyous

The grand event of the Tourney was an awards ceremony and dance. It was awesome seeing The Brotherhood represented on the stage by The Professor and the rest of my companions. When King Arthur challenged The Professor to a stamina competition, I cringed. I suspected a trick. Galahad took the stage and The Professor stood with his chest exposed and allowed Galahad to strike him with a punch. The room exploded into chaos when we saw the flesh explode off of The Professor’s torso. His sub-dermal armor was shattered and a thick dust fell from his body. I suspect it was the death of millions of The Professor’s nanites. The Professor staggered back, a look of shock on his face, and then his eyeballs exploded into gouts of sparks and flame. The Professor never screamed. He bowed calmly to the King and turned to walk away. As hit hit the steps he staggered down them but recovered with the grace of a cat. Pete and John ran to his side and King Arthur offered the use of his car to get The Professor to the hospital. We would find out the damage was caused by a nanite plague The Professor had been suffering from in secret. I guess if I was plagued I might keep it to myself but how could he endanger all of us by withholding this knowledge. I am loyal to my friends but their actions each week push me further and further from trusting them with anything important. If that plague had been contagious, we might all have died for lack of knowledge of its existence.

Following the events the team decided to head back to London via a pit stop in York. I took up an offer from Queen Morgause to travel to the Orkneys as her guest. She wowed me with displays of psychic power and showed me her magical library that contained books from a hundred worlds. She told me about how magic works in most worlds but in this one it is unknown. She demonstrated how one could use their magical training to manifest psychic powers in this place. Humphrey scoffed at much of it but she also seemed quite subdued by the experience. After arranging to return at a later time to visit my new found friend, her sons cornered me in the kitchen. Mordred grabbed me from behind and placed his blade to my throat while Aggrivaine and Gareth (Didn’t I kill him?) punched me and kicked me. Gawain came in and said that I should be given a chance to defend myself and Mordred let me go as he and his brothers suited up. Humphrey was no where to be seen and I prepared myself for death. As we squared off a bell rang and all of the men immediately stood at attention. Queen Morgause came in and demanded to know why hospitality was being breached in her home. The men apologized and Gawain issued a formal challenge against me. I am to return in three weeks to face him at the Tournament of the Orkneys. Queen Morgause apologized to me offered me a place in the castle when next I returned. Later I would find out that Humphrey had fetched the queen and saved my life.

I returned to London, went shopping with the guys and John even bought me a flying broom. I impressed them all by flying it like a pro. The next morning as we prepared to head off to The North John was being cantankerous, We got into an argument and steel was drawn. I guess I lost as I am waking up in a hospital bed. My head is killing me. I look forward to discovering what transpired while I was out.

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Pete's Log
The Tourney of Glastonbury

“I remember my first joust. It looks far worse than it feels!” Sir Ector, Excalibur 1981

The Tourney of Glastonbury was a bit of awesome mixed with a whole lot of ouch!

I entered three events: The Joust, The Hunt, and the Grand Melee. I didn’t win the first two but boy did we ever kick the shit out of Author’s army. I just wish there had been an archery competition.

The Joust was really cool. I can now check “ride a dragon” and joust in competition off of my bucket list. I only lasted two passes but it was really fun. On the first round, I went up against the professor and unseated him on the first pass. The next round my opponent and I clashed. We struck each other solid but his superior riding skill won him the match as I was unseated and had to make use of my falling cloud. I really want to learn jousting; even if not here. I’m going to get a horse and practice on my own if I have to.

The next event was The Hunt. It was somewhat unexpected as we were to hunt whale. As a proud member of the Brotherhood I represented us in this event. Again, I came up short but I almost had it. I had the beast in my sights but my opponent swooped in and took my kill.

The final event was the Grand Melee. Here’s where I knew we’d do well. The Brotherhood has been blooded in warfare and we have stood against great odds. John charged me with giving an inspirational speech to the men. I kept it short but energetic and with a war cry we rushed in. At a precise moment prior to the clash we split our forces and outflanked the enemy. This early maneuver gave us great momentum for the remainder of the battle.

As the fight raged on our line began to collapse under a heavy charge. I took a squad of men, hit them head on and held the line. During the clash I met the gaze of their leader, Lamorak. I gave challenge and he hungrily accepted. The fight was intense and brutal. Both of us were bleeding profusely. It was down to the next wound and I was sure I had him, but he bested me on the clash and all went dark. When I awoke, John and his squad had pulled me from the fight and the medics had done their “magic”.

The Brotherhood was kicking so much ass and my men looked to me for orders. I got to my feet and ordered a full on charge. My head was pounding and every inch of me hurt. I decided to wipe the pain away with the blood of the enemy. I found a thin spot in their line and ordered the men to crush it and run as deep as we could. I was ready to take the fight all the way to Author. The Brotherhood was hitting his forces so hard that they were beginning to scatter and their lines were collapsing all around him.

As we literally ran over the enemy we found ourselves in a pocket. And in that pocket stood a small contingent of men guarding the banner. We closed in on them like a pack of wild dogs. As they fell under our assault, I grabbed the banner and ordered the men to cover me at all costs. We were bringing that baby home with us. I don’t know what came over me but at the very moment, I would have preferred death to losing that banner. Author’s remaining forces began to fall on us as we ran for our side. With legs pumping and heart racing, I channeled the “Savior of the Universe” himself, Flash Gordon. I put my shoulder forward, head down, eyes up, and leaned in. Being superhumanly strong I either ran through or over at least eight warriors before I hit my own line.

That was about the end of it. Author was forced to admit defeat. We were victorious! I had the medics tend to my wounds and the ladies tend to my urges. Let me tell you, the tourney groupies are as voracious as they are hot.

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