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Shofet

Not all Fun and Games (IC)

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Posted (edited)

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

2:04 PM, August 10, 2019

 

Meta-Naut

 

They were only ten minutes out of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, but after a whole third of a day spent in the sky on her private jet, even ten minutes seemed like a lot to Raya Wells. It helped that she had been waiting on this purchase for months now, and there had already been a few delays. The chance to buy a cabinet of the infamous Polybius, perhaps the only cabinet in the world, was something she never expected to have. That was, until, someone had contacted her with an offer. They had found her through some forum posts a few months back, and there had been a back and forth ever since. But now, it seemed like she was going to have it.

 

It was a bit strange, honestly. She had checked through multiple dimensions, and never found any indication that any such models still existed. It had taken some time travelling to even confirm that the thing even ever existed, and even that, multiple trips since they were hidden back in some pretty low-key arcades in 1980s Portland.

 

There were all sorts of myths around the cabinet. That it gave kids seizures or changed their behaviours, that it was strangely addictive, or that somehow it was connected to MKULTRA and government research into mind-control. Well, if the last was true, the USG was saying absolutely nothing to her. Which, given, wasn’t all that unusual. If it wasn’t them, they wouldn’t want to reveal they were testing mind control on kids, and if they weren’t, then they were just as in the dark as she was.

 

A voice crackled over the intercom. “Alright, buckle up, we’re landing.”

 

Raya did as she was told, and watched as the ground grew ever closer through the window. When they touched down, it took a bit of willpower to not immediately stand up even though the plane was still rolling into place. Once it stopped, she could not get her seatbelt off fast enough. She rose to her feet, moving to the door, pulled on a baseball cap and sunglasses, and headed out.

 

Only to find a bunch of reporters standing at the bottom. She frowned, pulling her cap down, and moved quickly, not even looking at the reporters as she descended the steps.

 

“Excuse me!” one called “We heard you were buying a Polybius cabinet for $6 million, can we borrow a moment of your time?”

 

She ignored that comment, and simply kept moving into the airport. She hated talking to reporters. Raya had earned a reputation as being rather mysterious, avoiding contact with the media where she could and doing what she could to keep a low profile. The main factor was mostly anxiety - those cameras freaked her out. But also, the fact that any records before a few years ago were fabricated helped make her nervous. She didn’t want to draw too much attention and get people investigating her too much.

 

As she made her way inside, her first thought was getting something to eat. She was thinking burgers. Yet she was interrupted again, this time by a grubby looking man with a long, dirty blonde beard and wild eyes, wrapped in a long green coat that was definitely too warm for the weather. He looked like he had really been through the ringer. She would have felt bad for him, if not for the giant sword he held in his hand.

 

“How did you even get that in here?” she asked, confused.

 

“YOU!” he rasped. “You threaten to truck with dark forces. Turn back, and return from whence you came!”

 

She stared at him. “Uh… Right.” She looked around. “Security?”

“They cannot see me,” he said. “I have been disconnected from this realm, and it takes all my strength merely to reveal myself to you. Turn back, Raya Wells! Seek not Polybius! ‘Tis an evil game! I was once like you, and it ruined me! RUINED ME!”

 

With that, he seemed to fade from existence before her eyes. She looked around, confused, and frowned.

 

“Oh, this is going to be stupid, isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically.

 

Edited by Shofet

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Valkyrja

Bobbi didn’t like it but she had to come to the “Big City” for essential supplies. At least she didn’t have to drive or fly, what with having a magical teleporting horse. It wasn’t just something you turn up in the middle of Halifax however so they’d turned up, so the easiest way was to act like she’d flow in from the airport. Frárvængr hadn’t liked it but for now she insisted that the Pegasus stay hidden until it was time to go home. 

 

After all that she was delayed by some bloody reporter, someone or other she wasn’t sure or cared t was just frustrating to be delayed like this. So she couldn’t help but pass up the chance to give the person who held her up a piece of her mind.

 

“I don’t suppose you want to explain what is going on here?”

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Meta-Naut

 

Raya turned around, surprised to see another woman behind her. She jolted, managing to not jump off the ground but only barely. She frowned.

 

Normally, Raya dressed quite garishly, but today she was understated, wearing an open flannel shirt, a white t-shirt underneath and some cargo pants, along with a pair of mirrored sunglasses and a baseball cap. Still, it was hard to hide the buzzed left side of her head, bedecked with laser lines.

 

"Man, I don't even know. I am just here to buy a rare arcade cabinet called Polybius and I got accosted by this weird Conan looking dude who told me it had ruined him or something," she said, neglecting to mention he had disappeared

 

"Someone must've tipped off the reporters and it sent all the freakazoids after me. Game has this weird mythology around it so it attracts weirdoes like flies."

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Valkyrja

Bobbi sighed, it seemed these kind of things just tended to find here now. She remembered an old roommate talking about how everything was interconnected, but she held a lot of weird opinions.

 

“Okay the Poly Bill or whatever I know nothing about, I’m sure you can babble on about, if you willing to chat to random Canadian!” get the first bit out of the way first before dealing with the important stuff

 

“It may not look like it but I have some experience with those Conan cosplay wannabe’s, if you could tell me more about it I know this local hero who might help!”

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Meta-Naut

 

Raya squinted at the woman suspiciously, though it could not be made out behind her sunglasses. She considered things for a moment, wondering what the woman's angle was. Then, her stomach grumbled. She was still due for cheeseburgers.

 

"Uh, sure," she said. "Walk with me."

 

She began moving towards the exit. "I got a car waiting for me. Uhhh, so! Polybius. The rumour goes it was a game that appeared in Portland for a few months in 1981 in a few small backwater arcades. What made it interesting is it was supposed to do a bunch of weird stuff to kids' minds. Made them angrier, do violent stuff, have seizures, become addicted... And these guys in suits would show up to collect data. The theory is that it was made by the US government for mind control stuff."

 

She rubbed the back of her neck. "It's been a huge urban legend in the gaming community for a while now. I just sorta like weird stuff, so I looked around, found one that seemed legit, and now I am going to go meet with the guy who sells it."

 

As they made it out the door, a fancy looking car pulled up, and Raya nodded at the driver. "After lunch, anyway. Hopefully I don't run into any more Conan weirdoes."

 

She paused. "If your hero friend wants to meet me, guess they could do it at uh..." She quickly punched in some details into Google maps, and then nodded. "The A&W at this address. You can come too I guess, if you want."

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Valkyrja

Bobbi was frustrated that the bloody American was talking about the arcade box, she didn’t see the point really, instead of the more important potentially Norse activity. Unless Halifax had its own ghost cosplayer haunting the airport.

 

“I’ll let my friend know, but personally I’m not interested in your fancy Pac Woman. You have a good day now!”

 

Waving goodbye she walked gingerly off down the street and once she was out of sight she ducked around the corner. She quickly checked her own phone, she didn’t know the “Big City” as well back home, before shutting the thing down. Then with a quick glance around to see if she was followed she grasped the handle of Hrímvörður she concentrated on the sword. As it became more solid so did her form change until she stood tall as the hero Valkyrja. With a whistle she summoned Frárvængr, best to arrive in style after all!

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The Meta-Naut

 

Some time later, Raya emerged from the A&W chosen as their meeting poiny, slurping on a root beer and carrying a bag of burgers. She realistically should have just bought one, but she wanted something on the trip home. She didn't know what the Canadians did with their burgers, but it was magical.

 

She rested against one of the outside tables, and set down her drink, looking up at the sky. She figured it was a safe bet that the hero would come from the sky. They usually did. To pass the time, she pulled out her vape pen, and began to puff on it.

 

She wondered what kind of heroes Canada had. Super-Mounties? Power Puffins? Lumberjacks with Magic Axes? Honestly, from what she'd seen of Halifax and Toronto on her trips, she figured being able to drive like anything other than a psychopath would probably count as a superpower up here.

 

Eh, she was probably being unfair. Canada definitely had all sorts of superheroes, just like America. Probably.

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VALKYRJA

It might have been a little dramatic as Valkrja swooped down to the place on the back of, Frárvængr but drama was baked into Asgardian nature. The winged horse trotted down the sidewalk the locals giving her the space to move the short distance to Raya.

 

IS THIS THE BJÁNI WE ARE LOOKING FOR?the horse spoke in heavily accented English

 

AYE TIS THE PERSON OUR ALLY TOLD US ABOUT. the statuesque Asgardian casually dismounted the beast and walked to Raya offering her hand.

 

I AM VALKYRJA!. I HEAR YOU HAD A STRANGE ENCOUNTER EARLIER?

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya stared up at the woman on the horse, and internally, she was screaming. No, anything but a Norse hero, she thought to herself. AAAA, and the horse talks too! She had encountered Norsemen before, especially in the world where the Vinland colony had been much more successful. And they always spoke the same way. Why? She didn’t know.

 

“Uh, hey,” she said, taking another puff on her vape pen and blowing a large cloud through her nose. “Cool horse.”

 

She looked down at the woman’s hand, then at her own full hands, before setting down the bag of burgers and shaking her hand. “Yo. I’m Raya Wells. And yeah. Encountered a weird dude with a big sword and a crazy beard in a trenchcoat or whatever who told me that the game I was about to buy had ruined him or whatever.”

 

“Then he disappeared,” she said. “Like faded out of existence. Also I think only I could see him?” She looked to the burgers. “I think your friend was under the impression he was uh… Like you. Which, like, no accent or anything and wearing modern clothes. So probably supernatural, but not… You know. Northman.”

 

“So… Yeah. Probably cursed video-game, and a ghost man. Or I could just be going nuts, who knows.”

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VALKYRJA

The modern world might be new to Sanngriðr but she’d picked up everything she needed from Bobbi, but apparently this was all strange to even the more modern woman.

 

ALL THIS STUFF ABOUT THE VIDEO BOX I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. THE DISAPPEARING MAN IS SOMETHING MORE UNDERSTANDABLE HOWEVER."

 

She rubbed the snout of her horse as she considered the options, and Frárvængr chose not to complain.

 

IF YOU WISH I SHALL ACCOMPANY YOU JUST IN CASE THE RUFFIAN RETURNS.”

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya stared at Valkyrja for a moment, analyzing her. Did she want her along? Well, if there were any problems, it seemed like the woman would probably be a good help. She and her rude horse.

 

Raya picked up the bag of burgers. "Sure, why not. You're probably going to have to follow me, because I don't think my driver is going to accept a horse in his car. Or even be able to fit one."

 

She started to walk to the car. "It's not far. Just a few blocks. If you've got like... I don't know, a stealth mode, might help. Don't want the seller to freak when I bring I giant Asgardian to his door. Might think I am going to rob him or something."

 

"Oh and if you want a burger, I got like... Six in here."

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VALKYRJA
DO I LOOK LIKE THE TYPE TO RELY ON STEALTH? she gave a little smirk as she spoke I COULD FOLLOW ABOVE ON FRÁRVÆNGR IF YOU WISH HOWEVER” she rubbed the nose of her horse as she spoke

 

She watched the progress of the other woman to the car as mounted back on her horse, she was sure that nothing terrible was going to happen, but it wouldn’t hurt if she followed along. And sometimes the Norns had a wicked sense of humour about such things.

 

THANK YOU BUT I FORGO THE CONSUMPTION OF YOUR FEAST UNTIL YOUR TRANSACTION IS COMPLETED.”

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya shrugged her shoulders, and waved at the hero as she entered into the back seat of the waiting car. Before she closed the door, she stuck her head out to say one last thing to Valkyrja: "Alright, but try not to scare the guy. I really do want this cabinet," she said.

 

When the door slammed shut, her driver looked back at her. She was a younger woman, about Raya's age, with red frizzy hair and pale skin covered in freckles. She leaned back, looking at Raya, her deep green eyes intensively inquisitive. "So, uh... you normally hang out with superheroes?" She asked, sounding more curious than anything.

 

"Sometimes," she said. "This one wasn't planned, though."

 

"Huh," the driver said. "I'm Miriam McBannon, by the way. We didn't talk on the way there."

 

"Raya," Raya offered with a smile. "Raya Wells."

 

 

 

The drive took them through down-town Halifax and into the suburbs. The city was beautiful, Raya had to admit. It had a sort of old-world charm you didn’t normally see in North America. She had heard some about the place, that it was the first landing for many families up here in Canada. Pier 21, she remembered. Kinda like New York, she thought, except nowhere near as enormous.

 

As they passed through into the suburbs, Raya noticed that the houses were getting progressively smaller and dingier. She checked her phone to make sure they were headed the right way. Google Maps told her that they were. She blinked for a moment, and then pulled up an image of the house she was supposed to be visiting.

 

It looked pristine in the photo, but it didn’t seem to match up with the houses she was seeing around her. It was tall and alabaster, with a large porch and garage, along with a green shingled roof. She frowned in contemplation, but didn’t dwell too much on it. Sometimes, there was the odd house that was much nicer than its neighbours.

 

Finally, after 20 minutes of driving, they arrived. When Raya looked out the window, the house matched the photo, but there was something implacably wrong about it and its placement. It seemed to sit between its two neighbours, much more practical single storeys, in an odd way she couldn’t explain. It was as if somehow the house had intruded there.

 

Still, she got out of the car, and looked up to the sky to see if Valkyrja had managed to keep up.

 

 

Edited by Shofet

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