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#1 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:24 PM


From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, violence,)


His assassin’s mind was at work analyzing the situation.

“They must have triggered the maludian to explode,” Aran said thoughtfully as we entered his private chamber where I could again don my street clothes. “It wouldn’t have been difficult to gain access to the lab after you left, where they opened the containers in the storage room, then simply set a small charge to blow out the wall exposing the whole lot to sunlight. How much of it did you have left in the chests?”

“Almost all of it. Connor packed maybe two, three kilos in a small lead box and brought it home with him this afternoon, leaving the remainder at the lab. He also brought home about 15 kilos of the illithium, as well as some other chemicals and an assortment of lab instruments…” I was trying to remember all we had packed into the boxes. “Yes, the small generator, and, of course the brainmate and our bio-agent. Plus just odds and ends."

“And his research notes? Did he or you leave any of your research notes at the lab?”

“No, he had all of his research notes with him. But some of mine were at the lab. Not terribly important ones, since there's been no time to do transcription with Maurice. But all my notes are resident in him --a habit from my practice,” I quickly explained. I was suddenly thankful I had not totally relied upon my handwritten scribbling for charting and cataloging my findings. It had been so much easier to dictate to Maurice during the course of any of the experimentation we had done.

“And the illithid wouldn’t necessarily know that about Maurice,” he said, seeming to be talking more to himself than to me. “That makes Maurice a very valuable bird, indeed. I’ll keep him here tonight and return him to your house in the morning.”

He turned to me again. “And your notes on the dominated ones? The list? The pyramid graph that Connor and you devised?”

“At home. We brought those home today. They’re resident in Connor’s notes,” I replied.

“Then, if they searched the lab before destroying it, they wouldn’t be any closer to knowing what we know about them than before, is that correct?” he asked, his brow deeply furrowed in thought and worry. “And as far as we know, there is no way they could know about the salts or the bio-agent…”

“Correct. Everyone who knows about the brainmate, the salts, and the bio-agent has been inoculated with the preventative, so any information the illithid have regarding what we actually know, had to come from.. from Sashar.” I was reminded of the sweet little man and his ungodly demise. “The only things he really knew about were the collars that Riona had picked up on her previous trip to the Underdark.”

“So as far as they know, the maludian and the illithium was there so you could reproduce the collars…,” he nodded, still thinking, piecing it all together. “That had to be their primary intent, Glory. To destroy any results you two were working on or had already produced. Killing you and, or, Connor would have been an extra bonus. That is why it was made to look like an accident, as to not arouse suspicion with any of the other authorities not under their influence. No investigation this way. Just an unfortunate laboratory experiment gone awry while working with such a highly combustible material such as maludian. They just thought they could put you out of commission, hopefully long enough to complete their plans.” He tapped his fingers against the top of the bar.

“You know what that tells me? It tells me they’re close. They’re very close to concluding their initial plan, or least a first major phase. It also tells me that for whatever reason, they’re no longer interested in killing you in particular. But I don’t know why.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked, totally perplexed at his assumption. His near casual tone in talking about my ‘intended’ demise was unnerving at best.

“Otherwise, they would have found a way to accomplish the explosion with you inside, my Lady. Maybe it goes back to the idea of a limited investigation, or maybe they have other ‘plans’ for you, or maybe they just feel with your facility gone, you are no longer a threat to them. No reason to kill you and run the risk of exposure if you pose no immediate threat to them.” He sighed and cocked an eyebrow.

“Now, let’s get you home where you and Connor can get to the task of finding our illithid city and making more preventative. I have yet to hear from my sources regarding the cities we may know of,” he said as he draped my cloak over my shoulders. “Whatever I come up with, I will bring with me in the morning. And tell Connor we will rebuild the laboratory. Just as soon as this is over.”

“Aran,” I started hesitantly, “...should I be worried about Alexa? Will she be looking for.. for.. retribution?” Now that I thought about it, her menacing behavior concerned me more than the illithid at the moment. “She was none too pleased with what I said to her. Do I need to be... concerned?”

Seeing the frown on my face, he laughed then shook his head. “No. She heard me loud and clear. She’s been told, and she knows it would be certain death if she defies me by going after you. Plus, unknown to her, I’ve known for some time she’s been regularly bedding the High Priest at the Church of Talos for the past year, as well as the wife of Sir Michael Fenton of the Order, no less. Put plainly, I don’t think I exactly broke her heart when I halted my short-lived affair with her, and I’m quite sure her bruised ego will mend quickly -- as soon as she finds another formidable object of amusement to add to her current collection of mortal toys. That is, if she hasn’t already. Maybe she will find one of our leading merchants of interest.” He spoke as though he knew more, but wasn’t going to share it with me. I nodded, content not to know more.

“In the meanwhile, she runs a very tight and profitable ship at the Promenade, so I am very pleased with her professional, er, performance. As long as her personal behavior doesn't interfere with the bottom line, it is of no interest to me.” That was strangely consoling to me.

Returned to my former self, Aran escorted me to the waiting carriage stationed at the side portico. “Tomorrow morning, my Lady? Same time?” he asked, again for the benefit of the lingering curious about the area.

“Yes, yes, of course. I’ll be waiting for you,” I replied, and boarded the carriage for the ride home. Even with his reassurances, I was still uneasy during the trip home. Alexa should have been the least of my concerns, but she was now the current occupant of the number-one spot on my list.

# # #

Connor met me at the door. “You heard, my Lady?” He was grief-stricken.

“Yes, I heard. And, Aran told me to tell you he will rebuild it for you when all of this business is over. It will be bigger and better than before.” I put my arm around my disconsolate friend to comfort him. “We have to be thankful to the Gods that we are both safe and that our hard work is safe.” He nodded as we walked to the dining room where everyone was gathered.

Hendak greeted me with a hug and a warm kiss. “A long day, my love?” he asked.

“A very long day,” I sighed and laid my head upon his shoulder. “It’s nice to be home. Even if home isn’t quite as peaceful as it used to be.” We both laughed softly.

Nigel looked up from a large piece of parchment with a wide smile on his face. “I think I’ve found it.” His index finger was pointing to a small marked spot in the northern part of the country. Everyone instantly huddled around to view Nigel’s finding.

“Where??!!” Connor squeezed next to him to examine the map.

Nigel tapped the spot with his index finger. “Here. The edge of the old volcanic range on the southwestern edge of the Cloud Mountains,” he said. “I’m sure of it.”

“Hmmm….” Connor mumbled as he compared Nigel's finding with yet another illithid map and a conventional topographical map of our own. “Yes…..yes….., I think you have pinpointed the location." He raised his head and slapped the young man on the back. "Excellent, Nigel.. Truly excellent work!” Excited chatter began between the adventurers gathered around the table.

“And, Glory. Were you successful?” Connor asked looking up from the maps.

“Yes. The Kirani can detect the turned,” I said, putting it simply and straightforward. The statement elicited ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the group. Connor, most naturally, was the most excited.

“That is splendid! How do they identify the victims?” he asked excitedly, the continued good news seeming to dissipate the loss of his laboratory.

“The pupil dilation rate change is cut down to a 10% par,” I explained. “That is to say, dilation process time factor is cut by 90%. Something we wouldn’t be able to notice unless we were specifically testing for it, but something the Kirani note as a matter of their training.”

“Excellent! Excellent!” Connor was now near ecstatic and almost back to his manic self.

“Let us all sit down and discuss these new revelations,” said Father, assuming the head of the table. “I think we have enough facts that we can formalize our plan now.” Everyone quickly took a seat. “I think we should first hear from Riona.”

“Thank you, Tabor.” She rose to speak. “From where Nigel has determined the city to be, I would estimate approximately three days hard travel time under normal circumstances, and four days tops if we run into problems –weather, bandits, orcs, the usual. Some of it is really rough terrain. That means if we leave in the morning, we could deliver the agent within four to five days time. Allowing for the time to take effect after delivery, it totals to seven to eight days.” She sat down.

“Have you thought about the method of delivery?” I asked.

“Ano, Connor and I discussed it. It seems that if we can contaminate their central water supply, it will be uniformly and simultaneous delivered – the illithid proper, the Elder Brain, and the spawning pools. According to the brainmate, this city has only one wellspring it uses and a single, large storage tank, and courtesy of the brainmate, we have a rough map on how to get to it. It should be a fairly easy task once we have traversed through the lava caverns and are inside the main gates. We'll pick up Immy on our way up there and she can cast invisibility on us and with a little luck, they won’t even know we were there.”

“I have the ingestible salt compound isolated, and I think we could produce enough preventative for approximately 500 people within that time,” Connor nodded. “Of course, we will have to have additional chemicals, but I don’t believe that to be a problem. But we will need some additional illithium, and some other small lab equipment will speed the process.”

“Riona, can you be ready to leave in the morning?” I asked.

“Yes. We have ample supplies already stored, plus there is a good-sized settlement about halfway there that has an inn and a small outfitter. Jaheira and Viga live on the fringes of the town and we can stop for the night and re-supply if necessary. Their baby may have arrived as well.” She paused and smiled at the prospect of seeing her dear friends' new offering to the world. “And, we'll have Immy with us -- we have an experienced mage with us, just in case.”

“I’ll send some more scrolls with you,” interjected Father.

“I will prepare a couple of doses of the ingestible preventative for your sister, Riona, and your friends -- can't be too careful --that you can take with you, also,” Connor offered.

“Very good,” I said. “Then I will order the invitations from the Scribner and have them distributed within the next two days. We’ll plan on the twin's birthday gala being held seven nights hence.”

“What about the illithid at the outpost?” Anomen asked. We had overlooked the threat closest to home. “We can’t infect them before we go because of the timing, and we will return too late to dispense with them. They will have already fled or will have initiated a possible retaliation.” It had to be shut down almost simultaneously when the illithid city was. Plus, we still needed to find out exactly where the planned illithid settlement was under Athkatla. There were no assurances that one of the ‘turned’ would remember the details when their domination was reversed.

“You take care of the illithid city," I interjected. "Let those of us remaining here worry about the outpost.” I thought of the collars and how easy it would be to slip into the outpost and contaminate their water supply with the bio-agent. We might even capture of the beasts alive as an added bonus -- it was so simple that I even I could do it. “Yes, I am sure a small complement of the Shadow Thieves’ assassins could do the job nicely once they were protected by the preventative and given proper instructions.”

“Aran would most certainly provide us with a strike team of his best,” Connor nodded. “We could easily do this."

“And, knowing how well the preventative works, we might be able to take one of the illithid alive. Just saying that by using one of the collars and the controller, we might be able to abduct one of the outpost’s illithid when we contaminate their water supply. The remainder will become ill long before they go to search for him, and with the collar we can force him to temporarily blank his mind so they wouldn’t be able to find him if they could. It would be a scientific coup for you, Connor, not to mention the tremendous value we would gain from its study.”

Connor nodded solemnly. “Yes, Glory. It could be invaluable in future research. But we need to ascertain the risks associated with attempting this. We certainly don’t want to be foolhardy.” He was understandably cautious.

“Then it’s set,” said Riona as she stood and looked at her fellow adventurers. “I guess if we are leaving before dawn tomorrow, we should get ourselves packed and ready to go.” They all nodded in agreement and rose to leave the table. “We’ll be back in for evening meal in approximately an hour. Hendak, you go spend this time with Glory and your children. We’ll pack for you.”

“Thank you,” Hendak smiled and nodded. “Shall we go see our beautiful children?” He squeezed my hand. “And maybe we can have dinner sent upstairs.”

“Yes,” I smiled at him. “I would like that very, very much.” We had had so little time to ourselves and I missed him terribly. And the thought he was going to be gone yet again and for so long made my heart start to ache.

To Be Continued.....

#2 Guest_Blue-Inked_Frost_*

Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:02 PM

Wow, a new chapter of this? :) That's really exciting! I've enjoyed reading your fic in the archives--I found your psychologist in the world of Baldur's Gate a very interesting read, and I especially liked your Western alternative universes. They were so much fun and such a great setting for the BG characters.

Also, explosions and discussions about explosions are always good. That's the most intelligent comment I can come up with for this chapter at the moment, but I'm fascinated by this later chapter and intrigued to see it back.

#3 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:01 PM

Wow, a new chapter of this? :) That's really exciting! I've enjoyed reading your fic in the archives--I found your psychologist in the world of Baldur's Gate a very interesting read, and I especially liked your Western alternative universes. They were so much fun and such a great setting for the BG characters.

Also, explosions and discussions about explosions are always good. That's the most intelligent comment I can come up with for this chapter at the moment, but I'm fascinated by this later chapter and intrigued to see it back.

Thank you, BIF (I just love that 'BIF' -- hope you don't mind!)

I've had this story completed for a very long time, and I honestly thought I had posted all of it on the regular Serials Board, but after some research, I found I either hadn't done so, or parts were possibly mangled during one of the Board's unfortunate crashes. So, for posterity's sake, I thought I would post the remainder of Mind Games here -- but I didn't know one could post comments down in here! LOL On the previous boards, these were always locked threads except for access by the designated author. Mind you, I'm not complaining -- your comments are very, very welcome!

Stay tuned... more chapters will appear over the next day or two. As for the denizens of Bad Day -- more to come as I'm cookin' up a big ol' pot of trail stew on a new tale of sorts. (Larry has been after me for ages to resurrect his career.. ;) )

Thanks so much for reading.. It's always a thrill to find someone who enjoys the reading as much as I enjoy the writing. Simpatico at its best!


#4 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:05 PM

Oops! Double post.. Shame on me!

Edited by MorningGlory, 07 October 2012 - 05:54 AM.

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