Heaven and Earth session 5

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Heaven and Earth Session Five: Saturday, 3rd July, 1999 (7:00 PM) - Sunday, 4th July, 1999 (1:00 AM)

Trawling through his memories of reading about such 'secret societies' from his occult research, Sheldon comes across references to the Zetetic Society. An old group, thought to have died out around the 1930s, born of Ancient Greece philosophy that man was not capable of knowing everything about the world he inhabits. This coupled centuries later with a mixture of Christian belief and a firm anti-science stance that said physics and all the other scientific practices were just a pack of badly constructed lies. They had their height in the Victorian era in England as being a wave of extreme skeptics to occult and supernatural phenomena. They were thought to have only lasted until the 1930s at the very latest.

Sheldon puts this to Geraldine who explains that the Society is still active and considers itself the guardian angels of Potter's Lake. They know the place is a supernatural hotbed and since the society has evolved to a state where they acknowledge the existence of the supernatural - but try to hide it from the populous who, according to Gods plan 'were never meant to know it was out there' anyway - they have taken this up as a base of operations.

She furthermore explains that she knows of a couple of other secret societies in town. The Wing of St. Michael that learnt of the evil in the woods and were sent by the Pope nearly a hundred years ago to investigate - the university being the front for their activities. She says she knows what is in the woods: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. However, the manner in which she states this implies that maybe the Wing of St. Michael do no know this, so where did she get the information from?

Geraldine furthermore goes on to mention Lemar and his involvement with Project Grayscale, based out of the Powell Air Force base. A covert government conspiracy that they have managed to uncover part of, thanks to the Zetetic Society having members in high positions throughout the town (including the Mayor, to whom the phone number he has is rumoured to go). Grayscale was set up about twenty years ago to study and catalogue psychic activity in an attempt to harness it as a possible military weapon. Peter Philips would have been ideal for them, since she claims he had pyrokinetic powers.

Sheldon is puzzled though why they would want to keep him drugged, especially when the effect would be to seemingly shut him down completely. Geraldine explains that its quite possible that he just didn't want to dream for some reason, and the lack of REM sleep as a result could be an explanation of his irrational behaviour during waking hours.

She further goes on to present Sheldon with a sales pitch, explaining why they need new members into the Society. 'With those of us left getting old, and the end of the game so near, we need more people, and you, being on the inside of the investigation into the murder of the pyrokinetic can help by keeping things hidden from the inside.' When he pushes on two further matters (why they didn't do anything to the boy and what the 'end of the game' is) she responds by saying that the drugs were rendering him seemingly harmless for quite some time and that the end of the game is the end of the world… in five month's time.

This makes Sheldon back off somewhat, believing positively that there is no way the end will be coming in just five months. He says 'why don't we do just whatever we want then and let them all know it's coming?'. Geraldine responds that if they were to do that, God and the Devil would send their minions to Earth and reap the souls anyway they could to end the contest. Open warfare as the rules of the game change.

Geraldine then begins to continue her 'sales pitch' as she undresses Sheldon and leads him to Peter Philips' bed…

Meanwhile, back at the police station, Miles is complaining that despite his jaw seemingly being fine after being rammed back into place, it is beginning to swell up. Charlie thinks that it requires more practical medical treatment and takes him back to the hospital where they pass two twins (one with a deep scar across his throat and the other having one side of a conversation with his silent partner). He helps check Miles into the A&E ward and then returns to the police station.

Joseph (AKA Bubba) returns, shortly before Charlie gets back to the station, to his rig where he curls up in the back after a long day and goes to sleep. Charlie and Katya, feeling hungry, decide to pay a visit to Kaufman's General Store, a lonely building on the far side of a deserted car park, not too far away from the Police Station. Inside, they find a couple of people shopping, nothing out of the ordinary, and a very laid back adolescent on the cash register reading a magazine on American Football - or more likely just looking at the pictures.

They hear a crash down one isle and find a familiar brown cat - that Charlie almost tripped up over outside the Bar and Grille on their first night - licking up milk from the floor. Thinking is it the mad cat lady's missing cat, Moggie, Katya goes off to get a cardboard cat carrier and Charlie grabs some cat food from a nearby aisle. They return to find the aisle empty, but some expert calling by Katya brings Moggie crawling out from under the shelves. He tries to climb up Charlie's arm a minute later and he allows the cat to do so. It proceeds to wrap around his neck and stick in its claws. At which point, something seems to happen to Charlie. He feels something try to push into his mind, but whatever it is fails to do so. Moggie, almost sulking it seems, climbs back into the carrier and curls up to go to sleep.

The two deputies go to pay for their goods whereupon they have a few minutes of trying to get the attention of the young man. They finally scare him out of his wits by pulling off his headphones. He seems saddened by the prospect of work and turns to open the till when a joint falls out of his pocket. Charlie happily proceeds to inform him that he is an officer of the law and he has been caught in possession of illegal substances. They decide to let him off with a caution though because they want to get the cat back to its owner - who the kid explains is one Martha Moniyham who lives out past the Hollyvale Cemetery (where they remember Deputy Marinovich is currently in duty).

The kid, believing he can get away with all the drugs on him under the teams of the caution, unloads needles, a bag of powder and bottles of pills from his pocket as he goes searching for a lighter to light up the joint. Katya spots a couple of the pills they retrieved from Philips' safe amongst the collection of pills. They demand to know where he got them from and he easily cracks. A guy (who when they describe Peter to him they get a positive ID) came in a while back and was always asking for sleeping tablets. He was after some experimental stuff he'd read about, so he passed him on to Deke at the Bar and Grille who could probably get it for him, since he has contacts. The deputies take away his stash of drugs and leave him looking very upset at his loss, but still only giving him a caution. They then follow his previously relinquished directions to Martha's house.

On the way, they pass the Hollyvale Cemetery where they meet up with Marinovich who explains a little about the place. There was a church here once, but it got hit by lightning and was never rebuilt. Probably due to lack of funds and the popularity of the other churches in town overshadowing it. The cemetery was not in use until there was a kidnapping incident took place around here a few years back - a young girl was held here. Ever since then, when kids have gone into the place, they have reported seeing lights, which Marinovich has even seen too, resembling St. Elmo's Fire.

The two of them enquire about places where they can possibly spend the night rather than the cells. The only places that Marinovich comments upon are the Cain House, which Annabella Visconti has turned into a boarding house, despite it being apparently haunted by the souls of victims of the serial killings there, and a cozy little bed and breakfast out by the lake. Katya comments about this 'cozy' place being next to a lake full of the bodies of dead children and they decide to look for other options about where to sleep. They leave her to her curious and somewhat dull vigil and drive on.

A little way down the road, they stop to avoid running over a cat sat in the middle of the road. Like the kind-hearted pair they are, they climb out and move the poor thing to the side of the road where it is met by another one that meow's gently. Then another one emerges from the shadows… and another, and another, and another… Within ten seconds, there are twenty or more cats stood at their feet, so they turn to go back to the car, which they find is covered in them, all sat watching them in silence.

Charlie attempts to distract them by throwing cat food into the mass, but this only seems to attract even more of them. One stands out from the rest however - a black cat who meows at length to the others who go silent when it does so. It ends its 'speech' with a hiss and they all scatter. The black one then proceeds to walk away calmly. The two deputies follow it to a run-down house a little down the road the stinks of dead fish. Inside, the lights work and they find that Martha is not at home. The black cat wanders through the house and out into the darkness of the unkempt back garden.

In the mess that is the kitchen Katya leaves her a note by the kettle that explains that they have her cat and will be holding her at the police station, ready for collection when desired. As they turn to leave, something is thrown through the cat-flap in the back door. Something that rolls across the ground. Charlie goes over to investigate and finds it to be an apple, with a large bite taken out of it. Hearing mumbled ranting outside and movement through the bushes, they suspect it to be Meltdown, and Katya calls out after him, which only gets more loud, incoherent yelling. Charlie throws the apple out of the window and hears an audible 'ouch!' from the direction of whom they think is Meltdown. They depart.

By this point it is 10:00 PM and Joseph is quietly asleep. He wakes to what he thinks is the smell of burning. Throwing open the curtains to the sleeping compartment of the rig he finds it is incense coming from outside. The rig is not where it has been left. Instead of being outside the motel, it looks like he is below ground, parked in front of a platform in a cavern with four pillars surrounded by figures chanting in red robes with their backs to him. He leaps from the rig and holds up his gun, yelling wildly 'what the hell is going on?'.

The figures turn, nothing but black under the hoods, and reveal a man holding a sword in the center with a bearded lower part of his face showing from under his robes. He steps to one side to show Joseph a head upon a marble pedestal that turns to look at him with glowing red eyes. Its long hair blows back in a wind that isn't there and as its dead mouth opens with a groan he wakes screaming in the back of the rig.

The dream provokes him into going to Kaufman's where he buys as much beer as he can carry and returns to the rig to get himself hammered into sleep as fast as he possibly can - and incidentally does a pretty good job too.

Making their way back to the police station at about 10:30 PM, Charlie and Katya find the only person left there is the Sheriff who is drinking coffee that smells like the tobacco he spits into a bowl in the corner and eating donuts. He asks for a report on how far they have got and then leaves them to lock up the place as he decides to call it a night and go home to his wife. It is July Forth tomorrow after all…

This presents a prime opportunity for Charlie to flex his curiosity as he notices a door to the basement marked 'off limits'. With Bowman having just left, they raid the Sheriff's office to find the keys to the door when they find the ones they have been given don't open that particular door. In his draws they find hundreds of pictures of a boy that is apparently his son, along with some containing him and/or his wife.

Along with the photos they find swimming certificates from trips to the lake - 'so one did come out' Katya comments - and a diary. Charlie flicks through it and finds it to be the fairly normal life of an ordinary seven-year-old boy. The last entry explains how he is looking forward to spend the night in the woods as part of the (badly spelt) 'initiation ceremony', after which he says he will be a man. The diary is dated five years previously.

They find amongst the remains of half eaten, stale donuts and many more empty boxes in the following drawer, a ring of keys with one marked 'D' that finally opens the basement door. The light bulb sparks out when they turn on the switch, but it gives them a brief view of a cobwebbed doorway leading down a wooden flight of stairs to a stone fall, along a brick wall. They use their torches to go down but Charlie's weight breaks a step that evidently hasn't been used in years. He manages to jump to the floor without harm, but Katya is not so lucky, going head over heals on the way down.

Eventually, both of them stood at the bottom of the partially wrecked flight of stairs, they come to realize they are stood in the remains of what appears to be a speakeasy. Charlie moans a little about being disappointed they didn't have any zombies down there, which would be in fitting with the rest of the town, and Katya says that the whole thing should be opened up as a museum. However, its understandable why they would want to keep the fact that a police station had a speakeasy (and what looks to be distilling equipment) right underneath it during the prohibition days.

Having a good look around, the two of them find nothing until they head back up the stairs and see a small red LED flashing above the door-frame. Charlie takes a closer look and sees a microphone next to it, connected by a wire that goes down the frame and under the stairs into one of the barrels there. Thinking he's been recorded he says that it was careless of 'Miles' to go and break the stairs like that and he should be more careful. He then goes down to look at the barrel and finds a radio transmitter inside, connected up to a heavy duty battery.

The two of them leave the room and close the door behind them. Thinking they need some help with this sort of technology - since neither of them knows anything about radios - they call in the trucker and the wheelchair-bound techno-wiz-kid. Neither of them respond. Giving Marinovich their last known locations, they ask for her to go and pick them up with a couple of the cops when her shift at Hollyvale ends at 11:00 PM.

At 11:15 PM the people carrier pulls up beside the rig outside the burnt out end of the Aurora Motel and drag a very drunk Joseph out and into the back of their vehicle. By 11:30 PM they have arrived at the University where they awake Sheldon from his sleep - with Geraldine beside him - and ask him to get dressed and accompany them back to the station at their friend's request. They don't notice Geraldine in the room with him, thanks to Sheldon not opening the door too much in any one instance and the Chancellor hiding under the dead student's duvet.

11:35 PM and they are back at the station. In the time that they have been waiting for the other two to arrive, Charlie has found himself trying to get comfortable in the sheriffs infeasible large back-side indent in his chair with Bowman's tobacco smelling Stetson hat rested upon his forehead, trying to get some sleep, without much luck. Katya decides to go to the computer and run background checks on everyone that they have met so far that they haven't done background checks on.

Aaron Stone, the fire chief is from San Francisco and seems to have adapted to the town very easily - even settling into the rivalry between the Police and the Fire Department rather well. There doesn't seem to be anything suspicious about him at all.

Martha Moniyham is very well off, despite the appearance of her house. Having married a wealthy local financier some thirty years ago (and who promptly died of natural causes a few years later) she inherited all her husbands wealth and has been spending it all on food for stray cats she adopts ever since. The locals think she is a little crazy but otherwise harmless.

Daryl Bowman's record shows he was a pretty good cop once-upon-a-time, but this all went down the pan five years ago when his son went missing in the woods. He had a mental breakdown over the incident and he has never really been the same since.

Annabella Visconti hasn't got much on her, other than that she has been involved in several incidents where people have claimed she is a medium and they have thought that this was against the law. Unsurprisingly, little to no follow-up work. She lives in the Cain House, which she has made a boarding house, and is the site of the infamous Cain serial killings a few years previous.

Isaiah Cryingheart seems to be someone who's had a big change of heart lately. A womanizer and general Casanova, he was on their watch list for possible harassment charges that never came to anything. A full-blood Wichita Indian, it came as a shock to pretty much everyone that he converted overnight to Christianity after claiming to have meet Jesus while he was cleaning the guttering outside his house. He is now one of the most active members of the church community and works for Father Gorrand's church.

Florance Abrams is another fairly harmless resident of the town according to her records. The only thing that comes up is that she has been brought in for observation a few times to the local psychiatric ward at the hospital after claims that elves who live in the walls of her florist shop help her with the running of her business. After all, it is rather hard doing all that work without any hands…

Quinn Harker doesn't have much of a story to tell. He was diagnosed as being a victim of the Multiple Personality Disorder sever years ago. They didn't want to kick him out of the force because he was a very good cop, passionate about his job, so kept him up to date with his medication and tried to keep him out of stressful situations in which his MPD might rear its head. Evidently the Philips murder pushed him over the edge.

The most interesting discovery comes when she searches through Sullivan Pierce's records - the man who they saw was 'invisible' in the morgue. Apparently he has a very high IQ and could well be in the top five for the country. A member of MENSA, he owns an antique store that people come to from all over the world to acquire some masterpieces that have gone through his possession. A member of the local historical society, people don't think too much of him and general consensus is that he is a thoroughbred asshole. The interesting thing is that, considering all the other records that they have looked through, kept up to date by the Town Council, the Sheriff's Office, State Records, etc. (which have been very detailed with all fields having at least something filled in) there is no date of birth on file for Sullivan Pierce.

Katya, somewhat annoyed, writes a scathing mail to the person most responsible locally for the maintenance of their files (in this case, Sheriff Bowman) expressing her displeasure. As she finishes, her other two fellow deputies arrive and Marinovich calls it a night, heading off with the other cops who have also finished their shifts. Sheldon gets Joseph some coffee that smells like liquid tobacco whilst he is trying to sober up, rambling about a nasty dream he had - but his comments seem to fall on deaf ears as interest is turned to the microphone in the doorway leading down to the cellar.

Sheldon has a look at it carefully and from the positioning thinks it isn't being used to monitor sounds from the cellar, but from the people in the corridor outside that leads around the corner to the Sheriff's office itself. Joseph, being a bit steadier on his feet now, decides to go and investigate the speakeasy, and the transmitter in the barrel, takes one step on the flight of stairs and falls straight through them, breaking open the barrels and landing next to the aerial. He examines it and finds there are USAF markings on it. Tossing it up through the open doorway and then climbing up the crew examine it more closely and Sheldon simply says into the microphone, before cutting the wire, 'Colonel Lemar - I think you and I need a little talk…'

11:40 PM. Sheldon flicks the power on and off from the transmitter and tries to get the wavelength of the transmission using his police radio whilst the others hang around interestedly observing. He finds the pulse of the transmitter being turned off and on again and then uses the police radio to tune in to any other signals. Within ten minutes from the start of his searching he finds a woman screaming and muffled voices in the background talking about 'sedating the subject'.

11:50 PM. Just as they make a move to head outside, to go to a squad car in an effort to move around the town trying to get a stronger lock on the signal to work out where it's coming from - they suspect the hospital - they hear squealing tires coming around the corner from both ends of the block. Jeeps. Both are coming their way.

Joseph immediately makes his way back inside towards the arms locker and Katya backs away from the front of the building. Charlie stands in the doorway with one hand firmly on the door and Sheldon sits outside with his hand firmly pressed against a dead-man's-hand panic alarm. The jeeps pull up and Colonel Lemar, whom they recognize now from Mile's description of the man in Deke's the night they arrived, walks forward flanked by four men dressed in black suits, white shirt and black ties. He smiles and says that he knew that Sheldon would have wanted to see him sooner or later. He and others march past Sheldon before he has time to say anything.

The last man pulls a pressure-syringe from his pocket and injects Sheldon in the back of the neck. The panic button is released and all hell breaks loose. The other three men in suits draw what look to be two dart guns and another pressure-syringe. Charlie, upon seeing Sheldon being injected, slams the door shut and locks it, before running for cover, narrowly avoiding darts flying through the opening. A second later for Sheldon, everything goes black.

Katya comes running forward at the sound and Joseph picks up his pace towards the arms locker. They stand talking for a few moments about what they should do and realize things have gone far too quiet. Almost on cue, the front doors to the station are blasted in by a shaped charge. Through the smoke from the doorway, two canisters are thrown into the room, gas escaping from one end of each. Charlie leads Katya up the stairs frantically to the next floor and try to contact Joseph on the radio, who doesn't answer. The trucker is too busy in the arms locker loading shotguns to notice the gas and when he finally does, it is too late. Darkness falls.

Running to a window they manage to prize open, Charlie and Katya shuffle along a narrow ledge to a fire-escape and descend into the parking lot where they commandeer one of the police people carrier vehicles. Finding the keys in the vehicle, they drive away at high speed - Charlie putting his skills as an ambulance driver to good use.

Thinking they might have gotten away, they find their hopes dashed by a pair of headlights in the rear-view mirror. A jeep rapidly gains on them, but in a daring maneuver, Charlie pushes them off the road into a shop front. They slow down a little way off to see the driver having smashed his head into the steering wheel and the passenger, another man in a suit, pulling and gun and firing at them. The bullet passes right between them and smashes the rear and front windshields. As the man changes over to his dart gun, they drive away at high speed and loose him.

Driving out of town they pull over in a side street for quite some time and plan what they are going to do. Contemplating going back and rescuing their comrades they feel it would be futile trying to raid a well defended Air Base with just two of them and a police people carrier. They decide to make a break for it out of the town, talking their way through the police roadblocks. If that fails, ram on through.

They drive back past the motel and the 'Gas and Gospel' and out towards the road blocks. They find two cruisers sat length-wise, blocking the road, that turn on their headlights as they head the approaching engine. Two cops walk forward and ask what happened to the windshield. As they both seem to put their hands on their hips in unison, Katya notices the arm of someone on the ground behind the wheel of the car in front of them. She nudges Charlie in that direction who smiles and turns around to the cop nearest him and laughs 'you're not a real cop, are you?'.

In response, both men pull dart guns and take aim. Moonlight reflects off polished metal in front of the man about to shoot Charlie. He freezes for a second with a look of pain and puzzlement on his face and falls down to the ground, cut in two from the neck down. The man on the other side of the car swears and raises his gun away from Katya. There is another glint of light and he joins his partner on the ground.

The back door opens to the people carrier and a middle-aged man and a woman in her thirties, dressed in black, climb in carrying what look to be gleaming broadswords. They say in a calm manner to a rather stunned Charlie to turn the car around and head back into town. They have somewhere safe they can take the pair to.

Driving back down the road quickly, Charlie notices a figure by the side of the road, thumb out, trying to hitch a ride. He recognizes Lydia almost immediately and shouts of the window 'Your dead!' which is returned by a somewhat puzzled and almost sad look from the lady who vanishes into the darkness in the rear view mirror as they speed on.

A moment later their two guests introduce themselves as Gideon Tremain (a name they have heard before, in relation to being a member of the historical society, a man who knows a lot about the town's history and who doesn't get on too well with Sullivan Pierce) and Jesse Davis - both members of the Wing of St. Michael…