The day of Trammel’s ceremony—in 1937—a long line of cars snaked up into the Valley as people drove out to see the Reverend Doctor Goodman White’s final sermon. Jimmy and company were already camped out there in one of the houses in the abandoned development Trammel had used as a cover for his own construction.
The New Temple of Joy was a surprisingly large structure. Most of it was taken up by a large open amphitheater, shaped like half an ellipse; behind it was a squat concrete building with two stubby wings breaking away from the ellipse. Heavy power cables were connected to the north wing.
“Herr Doktor, you’re in charge of taking out the power,” said Jimmy. “Without being seen.”
Dr. Orange opened up a suitcase and took out a bunch of yellow silk robes that he had collected on their travels around the world. “These should match what they have,” he said.
“Suit up,” said Jimmy.
They crept through the parking lot and then got on line with everyone else. As they came up to the entrance on the south wing, they could see Trammel’s rather large door guards—and the concrete machine gun pillbox that had been installed in the lobby of the entrance.
Ruby had been put in charge of their disguises this time. So they looked good. And also not like themselves—which was good, as Trammel almost certainly had them on a ‘terminate on sight’ list.
“Oh my god,” chattered Jimmy in a most un-Jimmylike manner as they approached the entrance. “I am so glad we were able to come to this. Hey guys! Great day for it! Looking forward!” His patter distracted the guards, who waved them inside with a sigh.
[Disguise check by Ruby, then Flattery spend by Jimmy to get them past the guards.]
“Where is the crowd heading?” asked Ruby.
“West, to the arena,” said Jimmy.
“Then Geronimo and I are heading east. I don’t want to be around any Nectar that Trammel has.”
“We’re going north,” said Millicent.
“I guess I’m going to the show,” said Jimmy. “I guess I don’t get a buddy.”
“What about Kakakatak?” asked Ruby. They had stashed the Yithian inside a panel truck parked nearby.
“He’ll come when I call, but he’ll come hot and hard,” said Jimmy. “Let’s put that off for a while.”
Jimmy vanished into the crowd without looking back.
The amphitheater was surprisingly classic for something made of poured concrete. Jimmy could see a strange oval shaped house that pushed out past the edge of the arena…almost as if it was projecting into where some kind of elliptical energy field that was going to be generated around it.
On a raised dais between the two arms of the amphitheater Jimmy saw Trammel talking to Edgar Job. They were surrounded by bodyguards. Something was odd about the way Trammel’s robes bulged out in the front.
“He couldn’t…not…Ruby’s arm,” muttered Jimmy to himself. He pushed himself lower down the banks of seats. Someone tried to stop him but Jimmy socked him in the gut and kept going.
The interior of the building proved to be surprisingly mazelike, but Millicent and Dr. Orange were able to navigate it after a few false starts. Eventually they came to what had to be the power generating equipment, based on the smell of ozone and sounds of dynamos spinning up.
The doors looked very solid and were guarded by a couple of gorillas in boiler suits.
“Robes off,” said the doctor. They slipped the silk gowns to the floor and strode forward wearing boiler suits remarkably like the ones the gorillas were wearing.
“We’re here to check the regulators,” said Dr. Orange to the head gorilla. “We don’t want anything to blow up. You don’t want stuff exploding, right?”
“No…” said the goon. “But I thought everyone was already inside.”
“There’s a missing part,” said Millicent.
“Trammel said it would be best to have someone bring it,” said Dr. Orange.
The guards shrugged and slid back the door.
[This should have been an interpersonal spend but there isn’t one on the recording."
Ruby and Geronimo were wandering through a series of cube-like rooms. Each was very similar, with metal fire doors at the junctions. The distribution of entrances seemed random—some rooms had four exits, others only two.
They came to a room that was painted blue. As Ruby walked through it, she felt a plate in the floor move slightly under her weight.
“Ger—” she said, right before the explosion.
It threw her bodily across the room. She slumped against one of the heavy doors. Geronimo picked himself up from the floor and stumbled over to her. His head was ringing and dust choked his eyes and mouth.
There was a lot of blood around Ruby.
A PA system activated. A man came on, speaking English with a pronounced Siamese accent. “Hello, Miss Ruby,” said the voice. “How do you like my first delivery?”
“Pramoj,” muttered Ruby. “He promised me a long correspondence.”
The power room was full of equipment even Dr. Orange was at a loss to understand, but there were several large turbines spinning up. The room was crowded with oilers and electricians. A few men patrolled catwalks, holding rifles.
They walked up to a man in a labcoat who was yelling at some technicians. “Check dynamo six! It’s burning oil! What do you two want? Did Trammel send you? That idiot!”
“I know, I know,” said Millicent. “What we can do?”
“Go degauss number three.”
“Sure.” They pushed their way over to one of the turbines.
“We need to sabotage this in such a way that we aren’t here when it happens,” muttered Dr. Orange.
“I can break spacetime…” said Millicent.
“Ja, let’s try to avoid it. Let me see if I can set this thing to overload.”
Millicent helped cover for him as he slipped behind the machine and took some wrenches to the machinery.
“How’s it going?” asked Millicent.
“Let’s just say that I’m sure I’ve done something.”
They began to make their way toward the door.
[Stealth check by MP, then Mechanical Repair by the Doc.]
“There’s a button in the room I’m in,” said Pramoj over the PA. “If I press it, it will alert security that there is an intruder in the room. I haven’t decided if I’m going to press it. Mr. Cuevas, my beef is not with you. You’re free to leave any time you want.”
“You know I can’t do that!” shouted Geronimo.
“I might be inclined to let you live a little longer, if you can tell me where James Wright is. I know he’s with you.”
“James is here,” croaked Ruby. “Helping us to do something right. Why don’t you join us?”
“I prefer to continue our correspondence.”
“Look, you can have your petty revenge, or you can help us do something worthwhile.”
“I already helped you do something worthwhile, so I’m pretty much in the petty revenge section of this.”
“Fine. James is out there, but if you could, don’t kill us until we’ve completed what we want to do.”
“I’ll let you find your way.” The door they had come in through slammed shut. Too late Geronimo realized Pramoj had simply been plugged into the PA in the next room.
Jimmy saw Edgar Job step to the front of the dais. “It begins,” he intoned, in a voice that filled the amphitheater even without a microphone. “I am Daoloth, the Render of Veils! AND THERE’S THE APOSTATE!”
He pointed a finger directly at Jimmy Wright. Everyone turned to face him.