ETU Actual Play with the Roll20 Gang: Graduation Day
After their shared nightmare on Walpurgis Night, the students want nothing more than to bunker down and prepare for the Convergence (and ensuing demonic apocalypse). Unfortunately, instead of cleaning swords, firearms, and Zippo Lighters from Hell, they must smile and nod at their excited families, who are bubbling over with enthusiasm about graduation. After lunch, each student receives a text inviting them to a meeting with Jackson Green, and they tactfully extricate themselves to make the rendezvous.
Jackson and Paul (the Chupacabra still recovering from his injuries) pull up in Jackson’s battered Jeep. Jackson doesn’t know how to stop the Convergence, but his mentor GlenMac (Professor MacLanahan) has been involved with the Sweet Heart Foundation and might be able to help. As they’re not sure how involved GlenMac is with the hybrid super-Chupacabra breeding program, going to him for help feels risky, but at this point they must consider any source of information on the Convergence.
When they finally track GlenMac down to his off-campus apartment, the professor seems agitated. CP lays the team’s cards on the table. They know about the Sweet Heart Foundation, they were the ones who sabotaged the Chupacabra breeding program, and they know GlenMac is involved. Pressure from Jackson, Mariana, and CP eventually convinces GlenMac to reveal that Helen Lane, his girlfriend, was present at the last Convergence; having absorbed so much magical energy slowed Helen’s aging, and she is much older, apparently, than she appears. Helen and some other students closed the portal to Hell that time, but Helen was the only survivor, and she has been working for 60 years to find a way to stop the Convergence for good.
According to GlenMac, the conclusion of the last Convergence (back in 1947) left a huge ashen area outside Pinebox, called the Burn, which is where the ash demons have been occasionally originating. Through extensive research and magical experimentation, Helen has developed a complex and powerful ritual that can prevent the Convergence from ever happening again. The ritual involves the artifacts that the heroes have recovered during their time at ETU (de la Garza’s cross, the Lantern of the Deep, and the Dimensional Visualizer). GlenMac, apparently, has been helping Helen manipulate the students into obtaining these artifacts for her. Unfortunately, similar to a nuclear bomb, the ritual requires a powerful energy source—in this case, the life energy of tens of thousands of human souls. With an expression of guilt, but a glint of something darker, GlenMac says Helen plans to blow up the football stadium during graduation, killing everyone present, to stop the Convergence for good.
When the students express dismay, GlenMac asks, defensively, “Haven’t you see Star Trek 2?”
“Sure,” says CP. “You’re talking about The Wrath of Khan.”
“Indeed. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
The Wrath of Khan aside, the students are NOT on board with blowing up a stadium full of people, even if (somehow) their own families might be spared. CP persuades GlenMac to take them to Helen; maybe, just maybe, there is some alternate plan that don’t include mass murder. At that very moment, Helen calls GlenMac to warn him that ash demons have risen from the Burn and are headed for Pinebox. As the crowd has assembled at the stadium in anticipation of the graduation ceremony, Helen wants to do the ritual immediately, before the ash demons kill the people she herself plans to sacrifice.
GlenMac and the heroes head for the stadium. Panting, pushing through the joyful graduation crowd, the students and GlenMac jog up the aluminum stairs to the alumni boxes, toward the elevator to the Sweet Heart underground bunker where Helen is presumably just about to complete the ritual that will kill everybody. Before they reach the elevator, they spot an ash demon also approaching the elevator, but Helen’s personal Chupacabra bodyguard drops down on the demon from above to savage it in a sudden spray of blood and ash. Shoving against the panicked crowd, the heroes dodge the fight, hurl themselves into the elevator, and descend to the supercollider tunnels under the stadium.
The students exit the elevator into a bristling array of shotgun and rifle barrels wielded by six heavily armored mercenaries. The heroes hesitate — is this their final battle? — but the mercenaries recognize GlenMac, lower their M16s, and usher the group to a control room, where video monitors display feeds from all over the stadium. One monitor shows the battle between Helen’s bodyguard Chupacabra and the ash demon; they seem fairly evenly matched, and there’s blood and bits of ash flying everywhere. Other monitors show the waves of alarm moving through the stadium as the crowd realizes something is terribly wrong. The three staff members in the control room turn to GlenMac and greet him warmly. One notifies Helen, and Helen appears through a door marked Supercollider Tunnel G47.
Angry, confused, Helen asks GlenMac what the students are doing there. GlenMac explains that the students aren’t on board with the mass murder plan. Furious, Helen shouts at them that she’s been laboring all her life to stop the Convergence, working with scientists to breed the Chupacabra to fight the demons, and risking her own safety devising complicated and dangerous rituals. The students argue with Helen, demanding an alternative plan, but suddenly an alert klaxon blares. Helen dismisses them all with a gesture as one of the monitoring staff issues a report. “The Convergence has accelerated! Repeat, the Convergence has accelerated! Convergence now in one hour, repeat, one hour!”
For a moment, everyone in the control room freezes. Their lives are in Helen’s hands. Death is, all of a sudden, imminent and very real. Overcome with guilt and remorse, Helen blurts, “Wait! There may be another way. Some force in another reality, another world parallel to ours, is causing the Convergence. Through our research, we have found that the walls between worlds are thin. We might be able to open a small portal and send a team through to find the source of the Convergence and destroy it. The Sweet Heart Foundation can provide you with weapons and equipment. But this might be a one-way trip.”
CP nods slowly. THIS variation of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is acceptable. He says, “It’s Spock time.”
Ryo, Troy, and Matt nod. Marco says, “Let’s suit up.”
Mariana sighs. “I hate you guys.”
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