WarSpell: The Merge – Snippet 08
12:34 AM EST, Dec 31
9:34 PM PST, Dec 30
Fresno, CA, KGWN Studio Sound Stage
“Hey, everyone,” Andrew Fenton said as he strolled into the room, “what’s all the excitement about?”
Carla rolled her eyes. Sometimes she wanted to compare Andy to Ted White from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but it wasn’t true. Andrew was quite bright, but he preferred to leave work at work, and expected the staff to fill him in with the least possible effort on his part.
“Armageddon,” said Roy. “You missed the Rapture by five minutes.”
“Can’t be, Roy,” Andy said, “or I’d be gone.”
“Well, something weird is going on. We have faith healings from Canada to North Carolina, and as far west as Chicago,” John Graham said.
“And they actually work,” Roy added. “I saw an open wound healed in a moment from a New York hospital report.”
“Trick photography,” Andy started. Then, apparently seeing the faces around him, stopped. “Is this for real, boss?” he asked Graham.
“Something is sure going on, Andy.”
“What’s the military saying?”
1245 am EST, Dec 31
Post Commander’s Office, Ft Benning
“That’s the situation, Stan, Jose,” Josh Everett finished his explanation. “Now we’ve got to deal with it.” It was a scene from a dream, or maybe a fantasy TV show. Two generals and one colonel sat at the oak table in the conference room. Normal enough, until you noticed the centaur standing nervously at one end of the room.
“But, General, it’s crazy,” Colonel Jose Mendoza insisted. “How can magic work? How can you believe it in this day and age?”
“Jose, I wouldn’t believe it either,” Brigadier General Stan Watkins said, “if it wasn’t for him.” Stan indicated Sergeant Walker, who was standing at the closest approximation of attention he could manage. “We’ve both touched him, so we know he’s real. I never messed around with those games, but I’ve heard of them. Meanwhile, if it’s true, we’ve got things to do.”
Sergeant Walker was out of uniform and apparently somewhat uncomfortable about it. Josh was pretty sure that when and if the spell was reversed, the uniform would reappear. In the meantime, Sergeant Walker was a bit embarrassed by the, ah, exposed equipment.
“Yes,” Josh agreed. “Not the least of which is that you, Stan, need to call Joe Kramer. He thinks I’ve lost my mind. Jose, come with me to the theater. I ordered all personnel who’ve played role playing games to report there. We need to get this mess straightened out.”
Josh was a bit worried about Jose’s continued insistence that ‘this can’t be happening’ when it obviously was. On the one hand, Josh sort of understood. On the other hand, he didn’t have time to let Jose adjust. It was time to toss him into the deep end and let him sink or swim.
“Stan, when you’ve finished with General Kramer I need you to call all the company commanders. Make sure that anyone who’s ever played WarSpell or any other role playing game gets the word. We need them at the theater, not sitting around thinking up mischief.”
Grabbing his hat off the rack, Josh said, “Let’s go, Jose. There’s no telling what a bunch of bored magic users might do. We’ve got to get to the theater and get things under control.”
12:50 am EST, Dec 31
Base Theater, Ft Benning, Georgia
This was more Josh’s thing than Makkeer’s. Makkeer had never been in charge of much of anything more than his horse. Oh, he’d been around it. You didn’t get as good as he was without coming to the attention of kings and warlords, but he had studiously avoided being made a captain. Josh, on the other hand, had spent all of his adult life in command of soldiers. The difference in perspective was interesting. The combination of Josh and Makkeer’s memories left the general with a broader viewpoint.
The room was packed, Josh noted. Sergeant Walker was on stage with a very confused elf named Georgia Rigs, or Eveliena. Major General Joshua Everett stepped out on stage. Georgia Rigs and Sergeant Walker stood to either side of him, after he waved them forward. Josh was carrying a sheaf of sign-in sheets and was a bit surprised at the number of them. There appeared to be quite a few RPG players at Benning.
“If anyone here knows where the sergeant’s lower half is, he would like it returned as soon as possible,” General Everett began, and paused as a nervous titter swept the audience. “Yes, I know it’s weird. About the last thing I ever expected to see in real life was a centaur, believe me. Sergeant Walker, here, would like to know how he ended up this way too. He assures me that he has never played a role playing game in his life. He was checking the guard post and suddenly he was a . . . well, as you see him. I have some people out looking for the guard he was checking on.
“We’ll get to that in a little while, though. For now we need to get some information. I’ll need everyone’s name, character, abilities and level, along with anything else you can think of. We’ve got to know who we have and what we’re capable of. All of it, crafted spells, spells you can develop, everything. Yes, this is real, as I imagine you’ve all guessed. The President is aware, and the Joint Chiefs, by now. So, let’s get going. Captain Marie Sims?” Josh had called the base personnel office and been told that Captain Sims, the Chief of the Military Records Section, had left for the theater after they got the word. He hadn’t known that she was a gamer.
“Here, sir,” Marie answered, standing.
“I’d like you to take charge of the records, get them organized and find out what people can do. Start with yourself, please. When you’ve done that, turn the paperwork over to one of your people, if you have any here. I’ll want to know everything, eventually, but all officers first, just so I know how many people I have in charge.
“I think it might be best to form lines, although I know how much we all love lines, don’t we?” Another titter ran through the audience, and General Everett grinned again. “Okay, officers first in line, warriors over here, wizards and other magic users in the center, and anyone else over to the left, please.”
Marie Sims and her husband, Brad, hurried forward. While Brad went to take the third place in line at the warrior desk, Marie went to take a look at the sign-in sheets and find names she recognized from work. Brad saw her murmur a question to General Everett and saw him nod. Marie looked around the theater and she called for Sergeant Fuson and a couple of other people. Sergeant Fuson, after consulting with Marie, came over and took position behind the warrior desk and grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen.
“Sir, your name, please,” Fuson began. Brad’s attention wandered as the light colonel in front of him answered the questions about character, level and abilities. His thoughts didn’t wander very far, just back home, to earlier this evening when he had woken suddenly.
“Um, sir, Major Sims,” Sergeant Fuson said, bringing Brad’s attention back to him. “I’ve got your info, but I need the character you play and his attributes.”
“Sure thing, Sarge.” Brad went through Ulrich’s stats, then asked, “Are you Joe Fuson, from my wife’s office?” As he looked around, Brad noticed a few things. A group of soldiers were generally in a bit better shape than a like group of civilians. But, here, it was more than that. People were not wearing their glasses. Hair colors seemed a bit brighter and eyes clearer. In general, people looked a bit more buff than they really should have, especially at this time of night.
“Yes, sir. I didn’t know the captain played WarSpell, though.”
So far, the vampire games’ magic had turned out to be incompatible, as had the superhero games. At least they didn’t have any people here who had merged with a vampire or Spiderman. The space adventure games hadn’t Merged, perhaps because they didn’t have magic, or it could be that everyone in the hall who had played Star Fury or Tech Wars had also played WarSpell and had merged with a WarSpell character. Marie Sims reported a count of 797 people. Of that number, 562 were magic users of one sort or another. 85 were natural wizards, who didn’t need a crafted spell. 225 were divine casters who got their spells from deities. 103 were book wizards and they didn’t feel comfortable crafting spells without a written reference. The last 234 were amulet wizards, most of whom were pretty much useless, though over a hundred of them had a limited number of spells they could craft into tattoos. And the tattoos had come across. Including one poor guy whose face was covered in them.
“What are we going to do with the intercessors, I wonder.” General Everett said. “Most of them can stay in the service, I expect. The ones that serve a war god or a healer ought to come in handy. Some of the others, though, I’m not so sure.”