Episode 21: Visitors By Night

 

Alex is seeing strangers in her mirror, her television, even pools of still water. They all seem to want something from her, but none of them make sense except Dr. Filk, a portly fellow in top hat and tails who wants her to give him the Runestaff. She refuses, of course.

 

Eventually the Doctor comes along and explains that these are the previous Doctors, some of them. They’re all ghosts now, part of the Parliament of Ancestral Memory, as is the Doctor himself. They’re choosing the new Doctor, the new wielder of the Runestaff, right now, and she’s one of the candidates. The others are Olivia Hackshaw, Excellence Caldwell and Diligence Peaslee.

 

An odd outbreak of color blindness leads our heroes to Dunwich County, where a trio of hicks called the Watley Brothers are planning to summon Yog-Sothoth to save the world. Alex uses the Runestaff to find them and everyone piles into a dimensional doorway, but it takes them to the Dunwich County of 1928, which was the last time someone summoned Yog-Sothoth (see “The Dunwich Horror.”) They meet Dr. Henry Armitage, grandfather of the present Dr. Armitage, and help him drive off Yog-Sothoth by sealing the dimensional gate, then hurry back to 2002 to do the same there. They almost make it; Yog-Sothoth hits the gate, bounces, slides around it and comes out of the Hellmouth in California! But Buffy and her pals scare him off by simulating an attack by the Outer Gods, of whom even Yog-Sothoth is scared. No harm done.

 

 

Episode 22: Tunnel Rats

 

Water main breaks are blamed on the Sewer Gang, led by Sheldon and lieutenant-led by Marty and Larry. Our heroes descend into the depths, hoping to scare the vamps into a deadly trap laid with gasoline and explosives right outside the freight train terminal.

 

Good plan, actually (Miles is back from West Point for the weekend), but vampires flying on dangerous drugs can’t be scared! First Dr. Armitage, walking last in line, disappears, then the gang turns back to find him. Juliet sees a form flit by and runs off, leaving the bookish types to face three maddened mobs of vamps moving so fast they leave speed lines behind. It’s a violent punch-up worthy of Aliens; Miles finds out you can’t kill a vamp with a shotgun, but if you use enough shells, you can eventually decapitate one. Diligence uses the Create Wood runespell to make stakes appear inside vampires’ chests, and lives through it, notching up his very first vampire kill of the series. Alexandra finds out that 9mm bullets don’t stop a drug-crazed vampire at all, but fire spells work nicely. And Billy learns that a lot of his best martial arts attacks don’t work at all in a five-foot-high tunnel floored with slippery slime.

 

Walker kicks major vampire ass, but one taste of their blood and the XTC sets him off like a rocket. He snarls at Diligence and is about to lunge when Billy tranks him. Juliet comes back, having chased Marty down a tunnel; Billy follows, finds Marty, and Marty runs into a side tunnel from which flashing lights and a continuous roar of automatic fire blast him for five full seconds, after which little Marty bits wash in on the tide.

 

Everyone exits the storm drains; they didn’t find their quarry but they did capture a cellphone belonging to one of the sewer vampires. Miles dials all the speed-dial numbers, which are identified as BUCK, DOLLS, MR H and REG. REG is probably Reginald, the new Prince of Arkham, and Buck is tentatively identified as Buck Baker, standout quarterback and suspected vampire.

 

Diligence, seeing Walker shaking in deep shock from the drug, goes to kick him for attacking him. Juliet catches his movement and knocks him out.

 

Miles calls Mr. H on the pay phone in a Shop N’ Go; he talks to Mr. H’s flunky, name of Reynolds. While they’re talking, a car drives by and riddles the shop with armor-piercing bullets, narrowly missing Miles. Miles resolves not to call from a fixed phone ever again.

 

Episode 23: The Ladder

 

The gang tries to locate the drug XTC, which is exciting for humans but super-crack for vampires. They find Buck Baker, star quarterback, fifth-year senior, and vampire, leading a bunch of kids from the Cobalt Club to the Burying Ground for some fun. Buck bought them all Virgin Marys which had no alcohol, but were infused with XTC, so they were raring to go.

 

Juliet met Buck, staked him, jumped over the wall of the cemetery and found six drug-crazed vampire crackheads screaming to get at the drug in the students’ veins! And nobody else could batter their way into the cemetery through the police lock. (Buck had lifted his friends over the wall, one by one.) But by standing on one another’s shoulders, Alex and Diligence got inside in time to rack up a couple of stake notches, and Fritz Morgenthal arrived in time to set a vampire aflame with his ultraviolet flashlight. He gave it to Dr. Armitage, hoping it would help his final grade along with his rocket flight belt he invented. Diligence hates him.

 

Alex followed some clues to Buck's supplier, a bartender at the Cobalt Club. They caught him and were going to ask him questions when a stake fell out of the sky and got him; a being with manlike proportions but batlike leathery wings soared away, and no one caught him.

 

The drug users, pusher and supplier have all been found and eliminated (or scared straight, in the case of the teen users.) But who makes XTC, and how it comes to Arkham in the first place, is still in the court of the mysterious Mr. H.

 

 

1