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A new menace encroaches on Kepler, West Virginia. Have our heroes kept up with their training in the months since their last monstrous encounter? Or has this latest abomination caught them unawares? Aubrey takes a dip. Duck shows off some new moves. Ned gets airtime.
It's October in Kepler, West Virginia. Calvin Owens, the captain of the Kepler High School swim team, is training for an upcoming swim meet when he is violently pulled beneath the surface of the pool. He escapes, but not before turning to watch the water; he sees it expand ten feet into the air and move towards him, and in a panic he runs away into the trees surrounding Kepler High School.
Since the events of Arc 1, the members of the Pine Guard have been keeping themselves busy. Mama has been out of town on some sort of mission, but nobody knows what it is. Aubrey has been working on her magic skills; she and Dani go hiking in the woods surrounding the Lodge, looking for ramps, and Dani explains some of the logistics of being a Sylph. She removes her ring, revealing that she's some type of vampire, with orange eyes and sharp teeth. Dani also explains that, technically, all Sylphs are vampires of sorts, because of the way they absorb energy to survive.
Dani: I think the most important thing you need to know— and I know you’re curious about how Sylvans work— we can’t really live without some sort of sustaining life force. And over in— Aubrey: Like food? Dani: It could be food. There’s traces of that stuff in there, but in Sylvane, we all sort of subsist on, well, Sylvane itself. On the planet.... You know the springs behind Amnesty Lodge? The— the hot springs? Yeah, those— those have enough juice I think for a lot of us to keep going. So, quick soak in there and I’m good to go.
Sylvans have to use the hot springs for sustenance, Dani says, because exiles - like her - are forbidden from returning to Sylvane to feed on its energy.
In the meantime, Duck has been busy training with Minerva. Between 6:14 and 6:17 p.m., she comes to his apartment - one of four small units - and they spar in the common area of the apartment complex, so Duck's skills can improve. (The other inhabitants of the apartment complex include Leo Tarkesian, the owner of the local grocery/general store, and Mrs. Pearson, a kindly former police officer.) Minerva notes that Duck's skills have substantially improved. After she goes away and Duck goes to bed, he has a vision (brought on by Justin rolling a 7, -1 Weird, for Destiny's Plaything). In it, he sees himself, possibly unconscious, floating in what appears to be dark water.
After the spike in revenue brought on by his Bigfoot video, Ned pays off his rent and makes plans to continue faking sightings, despite the friction that his museum is causing with the residents of Amnesty Lodge. He and Kirby have started a side project known as Saturday Night Dead, a local TV broadcast that shows nothing but scary monster movies at roughly the same time of night as Saturday Night Live. They are setting up for their first broadcast - with Aubrey's help - when Calvin Owens walks into the Cryptonomica, looking shaken and a bit scared. He reveals that he might have some information for them.
Calvin: Um… this is the only place I could think to come to, ‘cause… y’all know about monsters and stuff, and so, well, uh… I got a new one for ya.
The three members of the Pine Guard reconvene at Amnesty Lodge, bringing Calvin with them; every Sylph in the place still has their human disguises in place, all a bit wary of the outsider in the Lodge with them. After some prompting, Calvin explains what happened: he went swimming, he was attacked by either something in the water or the water itself, and he believes that it was trying to kill him. Aubrey draws Barclay aside to ask him if this might be something he recognizes, but he has nothing on it. He's also worried because this abomination is a couple of days early than they usually are, but he's certain that this is the one they have to hunt this cycle.
In the meantime, Duck has been distracting Calvin Owens; he convinces him to keep all of this on the down-low, using the excuse that ill-intentioned people might use the strange goings-on in Kepler to cover up crimes and such, and they don't want people to talk about this too much. They're trying to investigate this, to poke holes in whatever might be going on, in order to let the cops do their job in the most efficient way possible. Calvin agrees to keep things quiet.
Ned then decides to examine Calvin's ankle, which he twisted during the attack. The skin on his ankle looks red and irritated, but not as if he'd been grabbed by a hand - perhaps by something else. After some prompting from Ned, Calvin explains more about what he saw.
Ned: My second question… You said you opened your eyes and you looked when you were under the water. Now I realize… you probably didn't see much but did you see anything at all. I know, chlorine, I know, kills me too, but did you see anything in the water at all? Calvin:: ...When I was under there, I feel like I saw, like… a different light. Not moonlight, it was kinda… [sighs] I saw it for like, a half— a millisecond, but, so this ain't gospel, but it was like, yellow light, under there? [crosstalk] Um… I thought maybe they had changed— Aubrey: Like… like bioluminescence? Phosphorescence? Calvin: No… No, just like a, not like a… you know, I wasn't grabbed by an electric eel or anything like that. It was just— I thought somebody had changed the pool lights out, put in some different bulbs or something. But the bulbs— the lights were out. There was some sort of yellow light under there. I don't know. That's— thats what I saw.
The three assure him that they'll go and check it out. Calvin asks if he can meet up them before his swim meet, so they can tell him what they found out; they agree to let him know when that happens.
After Calvin leaves, Barclay joins them and says that they should definitely get working on their investigation. The four of them talk things over; Barclay, as the de facto leader of the Pine Guard in Mama's absence, tells them to investigate the scene of the attack and find out what they can. He emphasizes that they have to keep things quiet, and thanks them for doing the
Before anyone can do anything, though, the front door to Amnesty Lodge opens up, and a somewhat handsome man in a neat suit walks in.
Man: I’m looking for Ned Chicane. Proprietor of the Cryptonomica? I was told by his associate Kirby I could find him here. Ned: Hm! What, uh, what do you need jolly old Ned for? Man: Mr. Chicane, my name is Agent Stern, FBI. At your earliest convenience, sir, I would just love to see your Bigfoot video.
|TAZ Amnesty Episodes|
Italicized episodes are Lunar/Lodger Interludes.