WarSpell: The Merge – Snippet 03

That was another reason to call the Pentagon, right away. They had to be warned. He needed the highest ranking officer he knew who would take him at his word. Josh barely knew the Army Chief of Staff but he did know his deputy, they had served together. Josh made another phone call. This call was harder to push through channels. Josh had to push both his rank and his friendship with General Joe Kramer.

“Sir, it’s Josh Everett.”

“Josh, if you’re calling me to tell me about a dragon or an ogre I don’t have time to listen. Run it through channels,” General Kramer cut in before Josh could say more than his name. “You aren’t the only person making that sort of report tonight. We’re trying to get a handle on what’s going on but I can’t do that if I keep getting personal calls because people don’t run this sort of crap through channels.”

“I may have a handle, or at least a piece of one.”

“Go on,” Joe Kramer ordered, suddenly sounding very interested.

“It’s kind of a long story, and it’s going to sound crazy, sir, but there is one important point I need to get in first. Because if there is even one shot in a thousand that I’m right, we need to get the President secure ASAP. Plus as many other high profile targets as we can. If I’m right, there’s a real possibility that a terrorist group may be in a position to translocate into whatever room the President is in, shoot him and translocate back out again.”

“What do you mean translocate?”

“Think of it as the transporter from Star Trek, sir. They will just appear in the Oval Office or wherever the President is. I know it sounds impossible, but I have good evidence that it can be done.”

“Hold one.” Josh held. . .

“Okay, Josh, I trusted you and now there are Secret Service men in the President’s bedroom. If you’re wrong, we’re both in seriously deep shit. So, let’s have it.”

“Sir. You may or may not know that I play role playing games. While at my desk, a few minutes ago, I suddenly gained the memories of a character I played in a game about three months ago. I don’t mean I remembered playing the game. I remembered the life of the character, parts of his life that weren’t covered in the game. My first thought was that I was having some sort of nervous breakdown.

“While I was trying to figure out what was going on, I got a call from the post duty officer. He reported that a Sergeant Walker has been turned into a centaur. I ordered the base to ready alert and ordered that all personnel who have ever played role playing games of any sort report to the base theater to determine if any of them have had similar experiences.”

General Kramer made a surprised sound. “You what?”

“I alerted the base, sir. However, I felt I needed confirmation as quickly as possible, so I called another member of my old gaming group and asked him if he had a similar experience. He did. More importantly, the character whose memories he gained was a wizard, and along with the memories had come several spells already crafted and ready to go. At my instruction, he tried one of the less dangerous spells. It worked.

“And that’s important, sir. It means that more than just knowledge has …” Here Josh paused, searching for the right word. “I don’t know how to describe it, sir. Come into the world. It also provides a confirmation of what probably happened to Sergeant Walker. Like I said, I know it sounds crazy.”

“Yes, it does,” General Kramer said. “But I don’t have a less crazy alternative on tap.”

“Sir, I’m familiar with half a dozen WarSpell spells that could either cause the illusion of a sergeant in the U.S. Army looking like a centaur or the reality of him becoming one. I am also aware of spells that would allow the instantaneous transport of a person from any point on the planet’s surface to any other point. When I realized the implications of that, I called you.

“I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s probable that a terrorist cell, or just a random nut job, play or have played the game. It’s entirely possible that one or more of them is capable of translocation spells as described in the rules.”

Dead silence answered him for a moment.

“Josh, I hope to hell you’ve gone off your trolley. I really do. But I can’t take the chance. We have literally hundreds of reports of strange incidents,” General Kramer muttered.

“Sir, we’re going to need to harness whatever this turns out to be. If for no other reason than to counter its use by others. Also it could be of tremendous benefit in fighting terrorists, not to mention the other things it can do.”

“‘Countering’ it. Can you prevent someone from transporting to the Oval Office?”

“It can be done, sir. There are spells to prevent what the WarSpell rules call planar travel and translocation is a planar effect. I’d suggest you call in the gamers at the Pentagon. There are bound to be some of them, and I imagine some will be wizards, powerful wizards. Meanwhile, I’ve got people heading toward the base theater, and I’m going to need to talk to them, fast.”

“You were stationed here not long ago, Josh. Who can I call?”

“Ah…” Josh thought rapidly. “Mike Sullivan. He’s a major, over in supply. I’m pretty sure he runs a game.”

“I’ll try him then. Now, General, once you get them gathered up what do you intend to do with them? What are you going to do and what do you recommend we do here?” General Kramer asked.

Josh had been trying to think that through in the back of his mind. Now he paused and brought it forward. “Sir, the non-magical characters like me aren’t that important, at least not right now. The important ones are the magic users. At this point we don’t know if it’s just WarSpell or any role playing game. There’s a game called Undead, a game about vampires. It’s fairly popular, and I’m not at all sure what’s going to happen if we suddenly have real vampires in the world. That’s why I put the base on alert. I don’t know what’s out there or what we face. But I want to be as ready as possible.

“Call everyone in; find out if they’ve had an experience like mine. Sort them by type of game, character class and level. Find out what we have. The amulet wizards are going to want amulets. They are pretty useless without them. The book wizards are going to want spell books, at least the WarSpell ones are. That, we can help with. Get everyone to record their spells instead of using them. Get some sort of magical protection on vital locations as quickly as possible. Find out the extent of the event and what games it covers. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, sir.”

“Okay. For now, you do that on your base. And Josh, I want to hear from your deputy commander in the next hour. I want confirmation that there really is a centaur on your post. I’m also going to give him the circumstances under which he’s to relieve you. I’m going to leave you in command for now, but with a watcher. Meanwhile, we’ll see if we can get more confirmation. If you’re not bonkers, you’ve at least given us a place to start.”

“Yes, sir,” Josh said, just before the dial tone told him that General Kramer had already hung up.