Independence, Ohio

26. Having a Ball
Friday 8th December: Yule Ball Day

Evening:

The time for the ball is nigh, and Jonah is wandering around outside, dressed in black with a muddied face. Meanwhile Hugo takes Josh shopping for some smart clothes for him.

Soon enough cars with students and adults start turning up, many of the infected parents are turning up as chaperones, including Josh’s parents. People start heading in.

Lots of stuff happens in the Sports Hall, with guns and fighting and killing. Outside Jonah finds Hank trying to break into the school, sneaks up on him and holds him hostage. He meets Dr Lily Grieg and a tense stand-off ensues, but eventually they agree to work together, and head on inside in time for the final showdown, and together everyone takes Karl Schmidt down together.

Hooray. Martin and Josh are quite badly hurt by the fighting, but altogether the Breakfast Club has survived!

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25. You shall go to the ball
Thursday 7th December Morning:

Zhu goes to the hospital early, but is eventually sent to school by her mother. Meanwhile Hugo arrives late, having got too little sleep. Jonah arrives late, having finished his bomb during the morning.

The day is quiet, the students are subdued, and sounds seem to echo in the silence. They meet up at lunch to chat about Dr Lefarge and decide what to do. They agree to meet with Dr Lefarge and discuss terms later.

There is discussion of who is going to the ball in what clothing. Helena says she is going in a trouser suit, whilst Zhu is going to go pick out some clothes later in the day.

After Lunch

The group decide to help Hugo do the decoration of the sports hall in order to investigate the sound system. It is quite complex, with multiple built-in redundant systems, but ultimately it all comes down to being plugged into a laptop.

Hospital

After school, the group head over to the hospital to talk to Dr Lefarge. He greets them and they discuss what is to be done. He offers to do the ritual to restrict the infectiousness of Der Musik. He also says that he will apply moral pressure on Agent Coulson.

Hugo then asks Helena to go to the ball with him and all the concerns with his clone-killing, and she says no. She is clearly very angry with him.

Evening

Zhu & Hugo work together to finish reversing the infected music and put it on Hugo’s phone, and they are debating how to test it. They decide to find a dog and test it on her. They dognap a pug and drive out to some isolated countryside and do the test. The cure seems to work very effectively.

Friday 8th December: Yule-Ball Day

If anything the school is even quieter, even more subdued. The preparations are advancing apace. Zhu & Helena daub the blood for the LeFarge ritual to slow the spread of infection.

And all is nearly ready.

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24. Plans & Revelations
Wednesday 5th December

Hugo goes and picks up his car from the mechanics. His aunt gives him a spliff.

When they get into school, they notice that Josh still isn’t around. Jonah gives him a call, gets through to Josh’s mother who says he is ill, but soon Jonah hears ‘I Will Kill Again’ playing in the background. Jonah surmises that his parents have been infected.

They bunk off school and go to his house. There Zhu sneaks in to the house and breaks Josh out. It looks like his parents have had him locked up and are playing him the infectious music at him. When the three of them check him out for infection, it seems that he is completely unaffected, despite having been exposed for hours, and hours on end.

They drop Josh off at Hugo’s home (hiding him in a shed).

Hospital

After school Zhu goes to the hospital and Dr Lefarge asks to talk with her. He introduces himself as someone working for a certain ‘Catholic Organisation’. He offers to help her if she will tell him what is happening at the school.

He indicates that he is around to investigate Lookout Point, and knows a bunch of things about it, most of which Zhu is already aware of, though he does mention its connection with the Birth-View Museum.

He also indicates that he knows Agent Coulson and that the ‘Hunters’ tend to wrack up the body-count when dealing with problems. He seems at one point to imply that he can ‘feel’ Coulson’s presence.

He offers to help by getting information on a ritual which can help reduce the spread of the infection, though he will have to get permission from his superiors.

Yule-Tide Ball Meeting

Hugo goes into the meeting to talk to the rest of the committee. The organising teacher Mr Callson greets Hugo, but is soon sent to sleep by Karl Schmidt. The committee members, all infected are creepy at Hugo. Hugo learns that they are hiring their own security firm “Securicorp” to patrol the school. He is given a security badge, but when he tries to leave, they try to infect him once again, but with Jonah’s help, Hugo escapes, and decontaminates himself by playing the reverse-music a lot.

Music-Hacking

Hugo & Zhu do some more music re-writing and are at 8/10 successes at 4am Thursday.

Bomb-Making

Jonah gets the materials to make a home-made incendiary device, completes it mid-morning Thursday.

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23. Eureka

Bollocks, I accidentally closed the window too early.

TL;DR

They found out that it is the physical copies of the infected music which they need to reverse-engineer their cure to the infection. They have the Toccata, they have the the “I will kill again” (courtesy of hacking).

Hugo has got on to the Yule Ball Committee, and they plan to use the Yule Ball as the moment to enact their plan.

Additional: Hugo managed to get the janitor fired by leading him on a chase, ending up with him in the girl’s changing rooms covered in bras.

Hugo & Jonah broke into Mr Althorp’s office and found out he was likely infected by Karl Schmidt. Also his saxophone was skein-y. They went to have a look at the music room, but found it full of freaky music.

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22. Death & Pillow Talk
Sunday 2nd December Late Night:

Hugo & Jonah head off to to Lookout Point. In preparation for the confrontation Hugo marks his cheek to distinguish him from any potential doppel-Hugos.

They get to the right place in the forest and wait outside the hole with scant seconds to spare. When doppel-Hugo tries to climb out of the hole, they shoot him in the head, Hugo with his bow and Jonah with a shotgun. Jonah then climbs down the hole, retrieves Hugo’s arrow and takes doppel-Hugo’s body.

1am

They then head over on to Hugo’s house, and Hugo heads in to grab a couple of things from the house then head off back to Mrs Hannity’s motel.

By this time, Zhu begins to worry and calls Jonah, and she works out that something is up as Jonah completely fails to hide things.

When they get back to the motel, Hugo, Jonah & Zhu have a short chat, and Hugo lies to Zhu about what happened. Zhu then sends Hugo away (Helena follows him and… fade to black.

Meanwhile Jonah & Zhu talk and, using her clever Chinese ‘wiles’ (she asked him straight up), and Jonah tells her what they did in the woods. Zhu creates a group forum for the Breakfast Club and writes about the Hugo doppel killing.

Monday 3rd December Early Morning

The group meet up for breakfast and talk about things. Hugo’s doppel-killing is discussed, as is his having done the nasty with Helena. There is discussion of whether to go into school, and they agree to do so, and they agree to go to Jonah’s gun-store afterwards.

Zhu phones home to say she is fine, but gets her grandmother, who says that her mother is not up yet. About ten minutes later her grandmother phones back to say that her mother is unconscious and that they are heading to the hospital. Zhu gets Jonah to drive them all to the hospital and she and Martin get out and go to see her mother. It seems that she suffered from hypothermia in the night. Later a doctor comes by and tells her that she will have to lose parts of two of her fingers.

Whilst the doctor is giving his advice, Zhu receives an IM message from ‘thefifthwarrior’ saying “I’m sorry”. He says that he had to do it because it was so important to keep Zhu safe from ‘the truck’ and ‘him’. He says it would have been much worse if ‘the other’ had been doing it, if it had happened at new moon. When she asks him why Micheal Lord affected her & Martin so badly, he repeatedly denies that he can say anything about this, but then sends her an email saying “It is because you have both been touched by death and because you will both reach beyond the vale [sic.] in the future”. Immediately after reading that, her computer dies.

Meanwhile at School

Arriving at school, Jonah, Hugo & Helena notice the infected hanging around in a group. Then Content Not Found: dr-Wintringer announces across the tannoy system that, in the light of the attack on the hospital that night, Deputy Greer will be staying around in school if anyone wants to come forward with information.

Whilst the announcements are going on, Nina, Lewis Huntsberger & Wendy Jameson move through the crowd to talk to Hugo. Nina says that Hugo should come back to them, that he needs to be the Yule King with her. She tries to seduce him. When this doesn’t work, Lewis mentions how unpopular he will become. When that doesn’t work, Wendy threatens him.

Then they leave.

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21. Please don't Stop the Music
Sunday 2nd December Evening

FIGHT! Zhu throws several table weights at Karl and nearly kills him. Eventually he is overcome and dragged into the bathroom by the others and they play both the Toccata and the I Will Kill Again backwards which seems to immobilise him. He also has a certain hollow
sound to him.

Having done that, Francine arrives home with a bunch of groceries and a endoscopic camera + vaseline, which was on sale at the shop. Hugo finds this odd, but goes upstairs. They stick the camera down Karl’s throat and it is deeply weird. The throat goes down about 3 ft and then ends in blackness. They see musical notes flashing through the air.

They play more backwards music at him and more notes flash across the camera screen, enough to start identifying it.

They try an experiment, playing the Toccata & Fugue forwards to Karl, and this seems to awaken Der Musik in him somewhat and the camera has a foot of length ‘bitten’ off. They calm Karl back down with the backwards music.

Then Jonah has a vision of his death, with upwards of thirty people approaching the house, weapons out. He sees Francine die, then has his throat blown out by someone looking like Nina Svensson.

When his vision ends, he warns the other that people are coming and goes to have a look out a window. He sees a figue at the bottom of the garden. Music begins to play, it is Wagner. The group gather together and leave Hugo’s house, gathering up his aunt in the meanwhile (she seems particularly unfazed by everything). They drive away with a few shots fired at them, then Zhu gets a call from her mother, when she picks up it is clear that it is her father speaking to her. He tells her to beware the truck. When she communicates this to Jonah he realises that it is Michael Lord she is talking about, and apparently Francine has met him. As they are driving, fairly sure that Michael cannot come into town they find him bearing down on them. As he gets closer, both Zhu & Martin begin to feel ill, but Zhu’s laptop tells her to hold it close to her and she feels warmer.

Jonah leads them along a careful route, via an old bridge which cannot possibly take the weight of the truck and they escape. When they get to the Johnson Memorial Trailerpark, Francine seems to imply that she knows something about Michael Lord, Jonah & Jonah’s mother. She tells Jonah’s mother to get her cow-hide sash and put it around the trailer (which his mother duly does).

Hugo, meanwhile, begins to have a strange feeling, like the is a clock counting down to a particular time.

Eventually, though, they leave, taking Karl with them and dropping him off at a hospital. THere is some discussion over where it might be safe to stay and they eventually decide to go to Mrs Hannity’s motel. When they arrive, Hugo asks Jonah to come with him to ‘check out his house’, but actually takes him up to Lookout Point to deal with ‘something’ there.

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19. Hospital Truths
Saturday 1st December Morning

Zhu is woken up by her mother and she and her family go to a market in Alliance. At the market she finds a stall run by a Chinese man, and finds a book entitled “The 4th Warrior”, seems to be a story about a peasant woman who becomes a warrior.

Agent Coulson comes in to see Hugo, and asks him questions about school, about the In-Crowd and then plays him the opening of Toccata & Fugue and looks at him carefully. Seemingly satisfied, he leaves.

Saturday Afternoon

Zhu gets her mother to drive her to the hospital to visit Hugo, where she learns that Hugo got shot whilst with Jonah. She freaks out and Hugo is slightly rude to her. She leaves the two together and they talk about Zhu’s strange experience in the morning.

Hugo & Zhu talk, then Martin comes to visit Hugo. There is a lot of awkwardness as Zhu starts trying to tell him about the demons and Evil Hugo. There are lots of text messages between Martin, Jonah, Hugo and Zhu trying to clear this up. Shortly afterwards, Helena arrives and Zhu tells her about the Evil Hugo etc.

Eventually, however, Hugo & Zhu manage to convince the other two that there is something definitely weird going on, despite their initial incredulity. Things get more complicated when they start asking about the Evil Hugo death.

Lots of discussion goes on about what to do.

Saturday Night

Hugo dreams of dark places, and water… then he wakes up in the middle of the night and can feel that there is someone in the room with him. Then Nina Svensson starts talking to him. Telling him they are sorry he got caught in the crossfire and that he’ll get better soon, ready for the Yule Ball, where the Band will be playing and the Glee club singing.

Sunday 2nd December Morning

Jonah goes to Church and tries to hit up his contacts to make contact with a sheriff in an adjacent county, but doesn’t get a great amount of information. He does learn from the motel owner that Bill Hanks has left the motel, declaring loudly that he was heading home.

Instead he drives out of town, finds a payphone and tips off the Independnence Police about Bill Hanks and the stolen guns.

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18. Sacrifices

Sinking Feeling

Friday Night 1st December:

The footballers begin their ritual, but are not more than a few seconds in before Jonah steps out and starts haranguing them. The footballers are utterly cowed and try to weasel out of things.

Jonah questions them at length about their demonic sacrifices etc. and finds out:

  • They have been doing this for years (or the football team in general).
  • Hank learnt about this from his father.
  • They thought that Billy was sick and wanted to heal him.
  • They claimed that they were just doing a good luck ritual thing.
  • They never saw anything strange whilst doing the rituals (both Hugo & Zhu realise that this wasn’t entirely true, and even Jonah has his suspicions).
  • When told to renounce the demon they mention the name “Beelzebub” despite the fact that supposedly there is no demon.

After the questioning, Jonah gets the footballers to pray for forgiveness and then tells them to piss off. As they are driving off, Zhu throws a rock and smashes the window of one of the cars.

Whilst the questioning is going on, Hugo experiences some things…

In the light of the receding headlights, Jonah has a vision, a vision of someone pointing a gun (a remmington .22 hunting rifle) at him. In the vision he recalls a fact, the fact that 80% of such injuries aren’t fatal. Then his vision ends.

Saturday 2nd December Early Morning:

Hugo then drives the others home, first Zhu to down the street and lets her out, then he drives with Jonah back to Jonah’s trailer park. Jonah approaches his caravan very carefully, beliving he might be in danger. As they move forward through the trailer park, Hugo notices that from the edge of his vision that there was a figure creeping forward with a gun.

A fire fight breaks out and two assailants attack Hugo & Jonah, and both are killed, but not before Hugo get shot twice. The whole trailer park wakes up and the two assailants are eventually killed. The two people are:

Marcus – Played the big drum.
Ron – Chess club member.

When the police turn up, it is just Deputy Greer and he is clearly very slapdash about the investigation and repeats several lines from that song.

Saturday 2nd December Mid-Morning:

Hugo spends the night in hospital, but is given good care. The police seem to have closed down any inquiries already.

Zhu hears about the gunfight through a text from Jonah, and “the5thwarrior” starts talking to her. He says that

  • “He” is back in town. He as done something big.
  • The echoes are stronger.
  • He is weakened by “his” presence. “He” is strong.

Hugo gets a call from Helena asking about how he is, but this is cut short by Hugo getting a visitor, Agent Coulson.

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17. Hollow

Friday Early Morning

With the body still cooling in the floor, Zhu receives another call on the phone. It is the 911 call centre trying to find out her address, but Zhu manages to convince them that it was a hoax call.

Hugo gets some whiskey and hands it round, and they get to packing the body into bin bags and take it downstairs and then out. There is discussion about what to do and who Hugo really is. Eventually they take the body with them to Lookout Point and head off into the woods to bury the body.

Frday Morning

They are careful in clearing up after themselves, and about 8:30am they finish with the burying it. Zhu gets a call from her mother who has clearly panicked about Zhu not having been home. She demands that Zhu comes home so they can talk.

Hugo & Jonah go back to Hugo’s house, and Jonah then heads off to school (arriving late), whilst Hugo stays home to try to clean. He thinks that he is safe to take another day off school, but about 11ish the school calls asking for a doctor’s note. Hugo manages to brush them off and promises a doctor’s note for Monday (whilst pretending to be his own father).

Meanwhile, Zhu goes home and has an uncomfortable talk with her mother and grandparents and they tell her that they are thinking about sending her to a boarding school in Pennsylvania. She upsets her mother further and eventually asks to go in to school. Zhu’s mother drives her in and when she sees Jonah in the car park, her mother shouts at Jonah to “Stay away!”.

Jonah & Zhu talk in school about what to do.

Friday Afternoon

Hugo spends the afternoon trying to clear up the blood. [Extended Task: Six hours per roll, 10 successes total. So far, so good.]

About five, a police officer arrives to talk to Hugo about the break-in (an earlier one, when she left some evidence of herslf). The policeman seems to indicate that they no longer think that it is the maid, but rather possibly a young man/young woman.

Zhu goes in to Chinatown and talks to Chan Jiu, who says that they are suspicious of him and think he might actually be in town to investigate them. He says that they will be putting someone in contact with Zhu, someone who will be able to ‘deal’ with Agent Coulson.

Friday Evening

When Zhu eventually gets home, “the5thwarrior” contacts her and says that he knows that she needs help dealing with her mother, and escaping that night. He offers to help, but asks her to write about her memory of his death. He says he can’t explain why, and is cagey about asking some of her other questions.

Around about 11pm Zhu begins to feel a presence in her room. When she looks round behind her, there is a shape lying under the covers. It has dark black hair, like her, but when she investigates more closely, she can smell smoke, and burning, begins to hear the crackle of fire in her ears and briefly blacks out. When she comes to, she decides to leave it be and leaves by the window to meet up with Jonah & Hugo.

Together, all three drive out to near Lookout Point and set up hidden around the bore-hole where the Footballers performed their previous ritual. Sure enough two cars soon begin to wind their way up the road towards the bore-hole and eventually six footballers get out, amongst them Billy Jackson], Hank Svensson and Waldo Emmett. Billy, in particular is looking unwell and the others warn him that he might need to be bled quite heavily.

Hugo notches an arrow, Jonah grips his shotgun more firmly and Zhu prepares her various throwing implements…

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16. Der Musik

Tuesday Evening 29th November:

Zhu & Jonah are in Jonah’s car just after Zhu has escaped. They drive back to Zhu’s house so that they can scan the sheet music into her computer to translate the German.

“The5thWarrior” starts talking to Zhu and tells her that she shouldn’t scan the music onto her computer, as it is connected to the internet. When Zhu asks him why, he says he isn’t sure, but it might be bad.

Meanwhile Jonah looks at the dead mouse they found at the house with the fleshy skein. He discovers that the inside of the mouse seems to have been hollowed out. Zhu scans the music into a computer not connected to the internet. She downloads a translation program and they start reading the translations.

Translation Notes

There are two sets of hand-written notes in the margin, one they identify as being by Hans Hubrecht an 18th C. composer who ended up in an asylum. His handwriting is slightly odd, slightly driven, but also somewhat ecletic.

The second set of handwriting is clearly added later, at least mid-half of the 19th C. (there is a reference to the 1848 Revolutions). Less of this part of the text is translated, but it talks about “the killings”. E.g.

“It began with the killings, at the time we thought that we had to end it with more killings.”

Hugo wakes up in his own bed about midnightish. When he comes downstairs to make himself some coffee he hears the sound of someone trying to put keys into his front-door lock. When he puts the kitchen light on, someone outside says ‘Shit’ and runs off. Looking at the security cameras, Hugo sees that it was someone wearing a hoody, of a fairly slight build, maybe an adolescant kid.

Hugo orders some night-vision goggles.

Wednesday 30th November:

Zhu prints out the scanned music documents to send off to a professor to translate for them. She also continues hacking Agent Coulson’s account and gets 3/8 successes (one roll a day).

At Church Jonah does a bunch of question-asking about the three outsiders, but all that his church knows is that Bill Hanks has stopped doing quite so much wandering about town. Bill also comes up to chat to him and tells him that there has been a robbery of a bunch of guns from a gun store a couple of counties over.

Thursday 31st

Zhu breaks into Agent Coulson’s email and finds out lots from the two email addresses. The two addresses are:

FreePup34@yahoo.com
NepalGuy@ranger.com

Emails

FreePup34@yahoo.com is a social email address, now used principally for spam. But 7-8 years ago he went to Nepal and worked in an orphanage. He says, at one point, that he has discovered a whole new world. After returning from Nepal, he seems more driven and joins the FBI. ABout 3-4 years ago he starts cutting himself off from friends and family somewhat.

NepalGuy@ranger.com is a more recent address, created about 4 years ago. His emails are odd, written with lots of code-words like “Type 2” and “Dealt with in the standard manner”. The last email he sent, three days before Jody died saying “Angus07@ranger.com has said there is a build-up of weirdness at [GPS coordinates of Independence], wanna go check it out?” to two other email addresses.

Zhu prints out a bunch of emails and sends them off to her Chinese friends, as per their agreement.

Thursday Night 30th November
Breaking & Entering

Jonah & Zhu start breaking in to Hugo’s house. She picks the lock, but Hugo has put the alarm on and Zhu has to disarm the alarm. Jonah heads upstairs whilst Zhu continues disarming the alarm. As Jonah enters the room, Hugo wakes up and both go for their guns and a tense stand-off begins. Zhu arrives, but neither Jonah nor Hugo are particularly looking to stand down. Eventually, Zhu hears the noise of footsteps coming up the stairs. When she has a look, she sees that Hugo is coming towards the room with a gun in hand. Zhu calls out to Hugo & Jonah that someone is coming to kill Hugo and tries to get them to leave, but Hugo arrives before they can make any escape.

There is then a new tense stand-off, this time between the two Hugos, each claiming to be the real one. Eventually matters are decided by Jonah, who shoots at the old-Hugo, rather than the newly-arrived-Hugo, and newly-arrived-Hugo joins in. Zhu throws herself on the badly injured body of old-Hugo and neither of the other two are willing to open fire in case they hit her. Zhu makes a 911 call and tries to call out her address to the operator before newly-arrived-Hugo stops the call.

Finally, matters are decided by the room’s music system turning itself on, and old-Hugo beginning to heal at an unnatural rate. This decides Zhu that newly-arrived-Hugo is probably real-Hugo (or at least that there was something wrong with old-Hugo) and real-Hugo coup de grace’s old-Hugo.

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