Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Week in Stories: Strange Attractors - April 28

In Search Of...The Amber Room

By jeanyfan - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4062702

All Strange Attractors Recaps 

 After opening with a scene that was about my character's backstory, we moved on to the main mission. (I'll discuss that scene in more depth at the end, because it works nicely into my character musings.)  The Admonitories, those behind TimeWatch from the far future, gave the group the mission of rescuing the Amber Room on the night it was likely consumed by fire during aerial bombing of the Nazis in Konigsberg.

We popped into the Amber Room itself just as the bombing started, which seemed safest, rather than trying to infiltrate the castle in more conventional ways. Of course, that sounded like a good idea until we got there and the reverberations inside the room drove our resident audio expert to his knees in a rush of sadness and despair. Two others of the group were similarly affected, while Millie and Peter hung on (Millie by repeated one of her affirmations to herself over and over - more about that later.)

They were able to set up the equipment they needed to steal the room and get the hell out of there with the Amber Room to 1976, but once there, TimeWatch was in upheaval, because the removed Amber Room was leaking temporal energy all over the place, polluting the timeline. The Admonitories recommended amputating this timeline to prevent contamination, but ranking officer of the present, Heinlein, said that the team would make one attempt first to go back and figure out what had corrupted the fabric of the Amber Room and caused the weird and destructive harmonics. 

Out of several options of when to go, the team opted for just before the first time the Amber Room was connected to violence, which means we ended up passing up a nifty opportunity for Walter to share trade secrets with Theremin. We also missed meeting Rasputin, in favour of visiting the court of Catherine the Great, around the time the Comte de St.-Germain was helping her perfect the Amber Room. If the Room was still resonating bad time energy then, we could probably recalibrate it to mute it in the future.

We gained entry to the court when Peter used his conman skills to establish himself as the Comte de St.-Germain, and Walter set to work on the Room. The negative energy was there but much fainter, and he was able to trace the source of the energy, not to the war and the Nazis, but to 2024. It seems that the energy had been radiating backwards (maybe forwards too) through time, and might have contributed to some of the worst aspects of Russian history over the previous couple hundred of years.

Just then, the real Comte de St.-Germain arrived. Peter blustered off to expose him as a con, and discovered that the "real" Comte was another time traveller - and not only that, a man who had schooled him in the rudiments of being a conman in his own timeline. They fenced verbally for a while, then Peter signalled to Gerald to take the "Comte" away on his mark, making him disappear as if Peter's Comte had performed magic.

Once Gerald had the Comte on his way to TimeWatch jail, the "real" Comte warned Gerald against letting the TimeWatch have the Amber Room, telling him that he was there to defang it himself to make sure TimeWatch couldn't corrupt it. Gerald was already ready to believe the worst of TimeWatch, which is going to get interesting when that comes up against Millie's True Believerness.

Back in Catherine the Great's court, they fixed the room, discovering as they did that putting it out of tune conformed to the "real" Comte's plans - he'd been telling at least part of the truth after all, or so it seemed.

At the very end, we flashed forward to 2024, where Vladimir Putin was trying to activate the room (it hadn't been destroyed apparently, just hidden until it was unveiled as the "new" version.) The alterations having worked, the room did nothing. Putin was furious - and it seemed that our young compatriot Jack, there and many years older, was disappointed as well.

Character Thoughts

The episode opened up with a little glimpse of a pivotal moment in Millie's life, the moment where she acted to help end her timeline (using, as it turned out, a nifty bit of Nikola Tesla lore) after one of her siblings had committed a murder-suicide, a term that was so foreign to her timeline it didn't exist anymore. He'd worked for their version of TimeWatch, and the rest of their siblings were starting to worry that Millie was beginning to sound as erratic as him.

Millie, in her World of Tomorrow-type timeline, lived with her six creche/podmates - none of them were biologically related, but these were the people who were both her siblings and lovers, without any clear distinction between the two categories. We saw the bed she was leaving with her five other siblings all tangled up, with a soft computer voice waking them up by telling them each that they were loved and today was going to be a great day.

This was a fantastic moment of the GM building on something I'd written down during character creation, and then me being able to build on top of that in return. I'd mentioned something about how she started her days after having helped destroy her own timeline by saying affirmations to herself in the mirror before going out the door, fully convinced (or so she thinks) of the goodness of TimeWatch and the necessity of what she did. Rob built on that to root those affirmations back in the timeline she'd come from, and gave me specific words that she'd heard.

And then, although I don't know if this would have been apparent, when we were rolling to see if we'd crumple under the crushing sadness of the Amber Room, and I succeeded in fighting it off, I kept mouthing "today is going to be another great day" to myself to keep her fighting and relatively upbeat.

I think she does say these things to herself every morning. But I wonder if she can ever bear to add one of the other lines: "You are loved."

No comments:

Post a Comment