Eternal Lies: The Masks of the Liar

Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 9)

The rain came down in sluices of icy water the night of January 13, 1926. From their vantage point on a low hill off the road, Jimmy, Ruby, Millicent, Geronimo, and Dr. Orange watched a line of cars snake down the Valley toward a small farmhouse that was brightly lit from the inside.

Somewhere out there Ramón Echevarría was going to try and end the world.

They came down off the hill and made their way cross-country to the farmhouse. As they approached it, the swirling rain and fog giving them cover, they could see a ring of people circling the farmhouse and chanting.

“Why are they so happy?” said Millicent.

“They’re all on Nectar,” said Jimmy. “We need to figure out how to mix in with them.”

“Don’t worry,” said Ruby. “I know how to act like a Nectar addict.”

They waited until another group of revelers arrived and then walked into the circle. Some men in black robes—Jimmy recognized the original Samson Trammel as one of them—were trying to coordinate affairs.

The door to the farmhouse opened and Ramón Echevarría stepped out. “Good, good,” he said with a sardonic smile. “Keep it up.”

The crowd turned toward him and shouted ecstatic encouragement. In the confusion, Jimmy and company crept up to the side of the farmhouse and crouched down in the shadows.

[Reassurance spend by RP to keep them incognito, Stealth by MP to get them close.]

The rain slackened for a moment and Millicent pointed over the hills, toward where the glow of lights from Los Angeles lit up the clouds. The light began to fade.

“The blackout must have started,” she said.

“They’re powering up,” said Dr. Orange.

Millicent peaked into the farmhouse through a crack in the clapboard siding. Inside she saw something that took her breath away. With her head held at just the right angle, the back wall of the room went away, and she could see a large concrete amphitheater behind it, packed with people wearing yellow robes.

“My god,” she said. “It’s the same as on the plans we saw before we left 1937!”

The ground began to shake behind them.

“All right, we’re done here. You guys are doing great, but we gotta get back to Mr. Trammel,” Dr. Orange told the guards at the door of the generator room.

“All right,” one of them grunted. He slid back the door and they sauntered out, turned a corner, and began to run.

Behind them they heard one of the dynamos begin to make a horrible, rending screech. There was a sound of something heavy giving way, mixed with screaming.

The lights began to flicker. Arc lights began to explode. In the amphitheater, Jimmy took advantage of the confusion to draw his gun just before everything was plunged into darkness.

Slowly a light began to glow at the edge of the amphitheater. It was unearthly, and Jimmy had the experience to make that call, filling the arena with an actinic blue glow. He tried to stare at the source of the light.

It was the Singularity.

He couldn’t really see it of course. His mind had a vague impression of some kind of vortex bound in spherical form, but in truth his conscious mind revolted at even trying to parse what he was seeing.

[Indeed. 4 points of Stability lost here.]

Beyond the Singularity in the shadows, he thought he saw someone spin around with a gun. He began to take aim but suddenly realized that he couldn’t see Edgar Job anywhere.

He jumped down to the ground just as he heard a shot ring out. Someone behind him shouted in pain.

As the ground shook in 1926, Jimmy caught sight for a second of the amphitheater. He saw someone in the crowd draw a gun, so he fired off a shot at him. Unfortunately the man had jumped out of the way and he just hit someone in the crowd.

Something burst from the ground behind them. Something that stank of Nectar. Something with long arms, a headless, flabby, humanoid. Ruby felt her mind begin to go. She turned and began to run at the monster, all thoughts of self-preservation evaporating in the siren call of this monstrous being.

Dimly she heard Echevarría shouting from inside the farmhouse. She threw a brief glance backward and saw Jimmy charge into the farmhouse. In a flash, she Vince Stark holding a shotgun on Echevarría, Jimmy raising his Xoxul war club to strike down Edgar Job…

And a woman in a frowsy black dress.

“’Ello, love,” she said. “So you remembered my gift.”

“Take them back,” panted Ruby as the Liar opened Its arms to receive her. “Take the last five minutes back!”

“You can expect some paradox, you know. But I’m in a hurry, gotta meet Geronimo a few minutes from now in 1937. Cheerio.”

…the door to the farmhouse opened and Ramón Echevarría stepped out. “Good, good,” he said with a sardonic smile. “Keep it up.”

“Go, go now,” said Ruby to her friends. “All of us into the house!”

“You seem awful sure,” said Dr. Orange.

“She’s seen the future,” said Jimmy. “I know what that sounds like! Let’s go.”

While everyone stared at Echevarría, they made a loping run for the farmhouse and circled around the back, next to a dilapidated side door. Inside they could hear Echevarría talking with someone.

“We need to go in and look at the Singularity,” said Millicent.

“Wait,” said Jimmy. “All the people out there have to die to preserve the timeline.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with seeing the Singularity.”

“Let’s wait until we feel the ground shake, then go inside in a rush,” said Ruby.

The rain came down harder. They felt a distant tremor in the earth. Jimmy nodded, and they kicked in the door. As he came in Jimmy bumped into the back of Vince Stack, who stumbled forward and put a round into the ceiling from his sawed-off shotgun.

Echevarría tore his eyes off of Walter Winston. “Who the hell are—YOU!” He pointed a finger at Jimmy.

Geronimo fired both barrels of his shotgun in Echevarría’s face.

As the cult leader fell, Millicent saw Edgar Job hiding behind a bale of hay. He seemed to have some rainbow edge around him, at least to her eyes.

Behind them, they could hear something tearing itself out of the ground.

“What have you done?” shouted Winston. “Well, I mean…good, saved us the trouble…wait…what the hell is that outside!”

Geronimo wiped his shotgun down with his handkerchief and handed it to Vince Stack,

Millicent ran forward. “It’s Job, it’s Job!” she shouted. “He’s the Singularity!” She tackled him, stabbing at him with her knife. Job stabbed back with his ceremonial knife, but she knocked it from his hands and it rolled over to Jimmy. Millicent and Job rolled on the floor closer and closer to the threshold of the Singularity, until they rolled over it…and vanished.



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