The Equilibrium Files
In the mid twenty first century the world went through a period of turmoil and chaos. The global markets crashed, the internet crashed and once great nations fell into anarchy. Out of the ashes the mega corps emerged triumphant and a new cyber net was built. Governments had to relinquish control of the world’s economies and ceased to have any significance. The former United Sates was balkanised and newer, stronger economies came to the fore notably in South America and the Pacific Rim.
The world also witnessed the re-emergence of an old, neglected phenomenon; magic. A small minority of the earth’s population were ‘awakened’ and found that they could manipulate a medium called ‘manna’. The mega corps were quick to engage the services of these newly awakened people although the majority of the population either did not believe or were hostile to what they saw as a threat. The threat, however, came from a different source.
In certain parts of the world magic was stronger than normal. Ancient sites like Stonehenge, standing stones or areas held sacred by previous cultures, concentrated manna. These concentrations, known as manna nodes, made it easier to contact other planes of existence. It also meant that beings which live on alternative planes could reach our own, material, plane more easily. Additionally, at certain times of the year when conditions were right, such as solstices, the concentration was even greater.
In 2072, some years after the original awakening, things both benign and malevolent began to appear in our reality. Accident was sometimes the cause but more often it was tinkering by human mages that called the beings from other planes. It is for this reason that 2072 has become known as:
‘The Year of Incursions’
The Equilibrium Foundation was created by an international network of mages to maintain the balance between our world and the other realities. The files of the organisation have recently been made public and from these a history of the incursions can be built. What follows has been taken from the files of the local office in Gibsonville.
Gibsonville, situated in the south west of the former United States, was built on land once held sacred by local Native American tribes and was a manna node.
Their first case was opened in response to an explosion in a disused warehouse. There was no evidence of arson and the warehouse did not contain explosives or any combustible material. Curiously, no casualties were found at the scene. Enquiries by Equilibrium agents revealed that the warehouse had been rented by a Christopher Stryker who had been using it to dabble in magic. Obviously one of his experiments had back fired and destroyed the warehouse.
Stryker owned a shop in Shantytown selling fake magic items, books and New Age baubles. He was not awakened himself but did believe in the existence of magic. He would often go camping in the desert surrounding Gibsonville and on one such trip he picked up a seemingly innocent coyote skull. During the investigation the Equilibrium agents found Stryker’s note book which revealed that the skull held magical properties. He had been hearing a voice which had encouraged him to carry out his magical dabbling. The skull was obviously some sort of conduit to another plane. Stryker was dancing to someone else’s tune. The skull had shown him the way to summon Mica, or Coyote, a minor Native American spirit. The agents visited Stryker’s home but found it empty. It had been broken into and the skull stolen. In an attempt to locate Stryker they made sure that he had not made any efforts to leave Gibsonville. He had not bought any air or railroad tickets, his wardrobes were full and his luggage appeared to be still at his house but his car was missing.
A city wide database search by Equilibrium soon found that it was in a car park on the Industrial Estate. CCTV footage from security cameras in the area showed a baffling picture of Stryker driving a dead double of himself to the car park and dumping the body in the trunk of the vehicle. Sure enough Stryker’s dead body was in the trunk. He had been killed by having his throat ripped apart by a vicious bite from a dog like creature. The Equilibrium agents came to the conclusion that Mica had killed Stryker and assumed his form. Later a police connection alerted Equilibrium to more CCTV footage of a minor criminal breaking the display window of an antique shop.
The thief made off with valuable Native American artefacts, including a shirt once worn by Cochise, the famous Apache leader. Also taken were a few pots and stones from the same period. It turned out that the thief was actually after a broken stone sacred to the Apache and bearing a symbol. The thief was the one who had broken into Stryker’s home. He was subsequently found with his throat ripped out. Mica had struck again. At a loss what to do next, the agents consulted Stryker’s note book. They found references to a cave which was sacred to the Apache. This was where the skull had been found. Stryker’s notes also mentioned four stones needed to call Mica’s ally into our world. Mica already had half of one stone and the agents thought it reasonable that he may have headed off to the cave to try and recover the other half.
Sure enough at the cave they discovered zombies digging in an old burial ground. It was plain that Mica had not found what he was looking for. They broke the spell holding the zombies, reducing them to the dust from which they had been created, and went deeper into the cave system. They encountered Mica who attempted to manipulate their minds and make them abandon the chase. The agents, however, were not to be deterred and even managed to wound Mica who reverted to his coyote form and fled into the darkness. They followed but lost the trail in the black of the tunnels. They knew Mica only possessed one half of the stone and would keep searching for the other half. Deciding further pursuit was pointless the agents withdrew to consider their options.
To be continued…………