False in Some Sense

Children of the Atom; Chapter 3

Sunday, May 10, 2009, and throughout the following week

Before Sunday, Chuck and Katrina acquire flareguns and flares for whatever may come.

On Sunday, Agatha and Elena decide not to go to the Church of Ezekiel’s Divine Revelation. Despite William’s claims that the others should stay away, Chuck and Katrina decide to go. As such, they get in their cars to attend a meeting.

When the arrive, they find the place abandoned with the blinds drawn. After looking around to see if anybody is nearby, Chuck picks the lock on the front door and the three enter. The church is largely one room with several chairs and a podium on a stage. Behind the podium is a Bible, but otherwise there are not many books within the place — no hymnals or anything of the sort. The walls are covered in murals, mostly made to look like the night sky, though one wall does bear designs featuring fiery wheels and four-headed angels, while the wall behind the podium bears an almost angelic figure wearing an elaborate uniform. Chuck, Katrina, and William recognize the figure as the Doctor.

Afterward, William continues to look around, informing the group that he senses no doors to the Hedge, and Chuck and Katrina go to the office in the rear. They find only financial data and a church directory, though Chuck copies this information in the event that it might be useful. When they hear the front door, Chuck and Katrina sneak out the back, only to find that it is William leaving. Knowing that he is going to the nearby Brown Baptist Church, they follow.

When William enters Brown Baptist Church, he first walks up to the pulpit, addressing the pastor with eldritch glamours so that he is unmolested. Then, he calls upon the power of his Wyrd to intensify his own persona, convincing them that they should boycott prom to prevent something terrible from happening there. This is around the time Chuck and Katrina arrive. Finally, William subtly reveals his changeling self, convincing the crowd that he is a servant of the Lord. By the end of his speech, he has convinced them to boycott prom, and as he leaves, he begins blessing people. The congregation goes ballistic at this, prompting Chuck and Katrina to leave while they still can.

Before going home, Chuck checks the Church of Ezekiel’s directory, and notes his coworker Steve on the list. He goes to visit him, asking why the church did not gather this morning, and Steve says that he does not know, only that he received an email. Chuck determines that Steve is hiding something, and further determines that Steve doesn’t appreciate his questioning, but does not determine anything else about the Church of Ezekiel. Then, he drops Katrina off at her apartment before returning to his own house.

The next day, shortly after Katrina gets home, there is a knock at her door. When she looks out, she sees a nondescript man with short, brown hair. She recognizes him as one of the identical triplets who accosted the group when they broke into the tractor-trailer truck to recover This Way Comes. Seeing that, she goes to the back window to access the fire escape. She notes a black van parked outside, but seeing no one in the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat, she decides to climb out. She grabs some things and calls Chuck as she leaves, letting him know that something is happening. He jumps into his car to come over.

When she hits the ground, two identical men jump out of the van and tell her to come with them. When she refuses, they say they will fire on three. After counting to three, Katrina dives over her car and crouches down. She hears a little commotion, and as she gets into the car, she sees one of the men getting up while the other grabs an unconscious body. She recognizes the unconscious man being loaded into the van as her father, Anatoly. While figuring out what to do, the men load her father into the van and drive away. She notifies Chuck of the update and follows them out of town before finally losing them on the highway. She receives a call from Michael asking where she is, and she explains she will be home soon and will explain everything. She returns to Terra Lake and Chuck waits at her apartment to make sure she gets home safely.

Once inside, Katrina explains the mysterious appearance of her father, or someone claiming to be him, and further explains how he was abducted by clones. She indicates that she does not exactly know what this is all about, though she is somewhat relieved, and is fairly certain that her father can take care of himself.

The rest of the week goes quietly. Elena is preparing for prom, and with Chuck, Katrina, and William helping plug her prom queen recommendation, it appears that she should win. The others go to work and go about their business, making sure they have everything ready for the emergency on Saturday. Agatha and Chuck purchase flak vests.

On Friday night, the group assembles for a meeting, inviting Paul, Michael (or “James”), and Agent Sklar. They go over their plans one last time. Chuck, Elena, and Paul are inside and will smuggle weapons inside to make certain they are armed. Katrina and Michael are to be waiting in the woods in a vehicle to warn the others if the Doctor comes through the forest gate. If he comes by eldritch automobile, they are to put down a spike strip to slow his advance. William is going to be with the Baptists boycotting prom, and will be coordinating from the outside. Agent Sklar will make sure that police are informed of some vague threat so that they will be ready. As Agatha is not feeling well, she will likely stay home. Once everyone is more or less comfortable with their positions, the meeting is adjourned and everyone goes home.

The next day, they prepare. As night falls, everyone assembles in their positions to wait.

William sees her first, as a woman staggers toward the group. He notes that she is bandaged, wearing a hospital gown, and covered in blood. A scalpel is concealed in her hand. He approaches, attempting to make contact, but is instead given a nasty wound across the chest with the scalpel. He falls, trying to make certain that the Baptists see it so they know that an emergency has arisen, and they begin to move back. The woman charges the crowd, and as police enter the melee, William projects a fearsome aspect. The group stops and the woman flees, with the police giving chase. William then stands and goes to tend to his flock.

Meanwhile, the commotion outside cuts off the prom king and queen announcement. Dirk Allen is crowned Prom King, and after the delay, Elena is crowned Prom Queen. As she is crowned, the gym doors swing open revealing a forested path. The Doctor and eleven men in black suits and black fedoras with white faces, dark eye circles and dark lips walk out. All of them are strange. Elena readies her kukri strapped to her leg. Chuck, having grabbed his garment bag during the delay, takes out his shotgun. Paul grabs his baseball bat from underneath the table. Chuck tells Dirk Allen to do something as he scrambles onto the stage.

Meanwhile, Katrina observes the forest gate open while two of the black-suited men exit. They do not attack, only watching. Katrina notifies Chuck and says she will wait to see what they do.

In the confusion, the Doctor surveys the gym while the dark-suited men start to rush. Groups of them start to attack the assembled party while one gets sidetracked when Mr. Webb grabs him and begins wrestling with him. Elena attacks with her kukri, cutting into the suited things. Chuck blasts away with his shotgun, shells filled with iron chunks for shot. Paul goes after them with his baseball bat, but is quickly overwhelmed.

As the superior numbers of the suited things start to overwhelm the group, William and his Baptist army enters the fray. Many members fall back when they see the chaos, but some jump in and start detaining the suited things. William surveys the chaos along with the Doctor. Finally, the Doctor fires at Elena with the strange autoinjector he holds, breaking the enchantment he has to remove him from the battle. When the shot misses, Elena takes the opportunity to drop the kukri and take out her fist-loads with iron nails. Her blow bites deeply into the Doctor, but does not fell him. Chuck, likewise, turns his attentions to the Doctor, firing a shot at him that injures him, but still does not cause him to fall. When the Doctor swipes at her with his scalpel, she finally falls, unconscious. Chuck, likewise, falls unconscious under the heavy blows of the Doctor’s minions. Finally, William jumps into the fray to pick up one of Elena’s fist-loads and swipe at the Doctor. At that, he falls, his wounds leaking some black fluid. Finally, William gets hit and loses consciousness.

After noting that the men at the gate are not doing anything, Katrina starts to drive for the school. By the time she reaches it, a police perimeter has been set up. Agent Sklar and his partner are also on the scene. She asks a police officer to speak to Agent Sklar, and after a police officer talks to him, he comes over and explains what little he knows of the chaos. She sees Chuck, Elena, and William brought out on stretchers, while Paul is dragged out, still holding the Doctor’s body and fighting as hard as he can to hold onto it, saying that he is a very bad man and should not be treated. Katrina tells Sklar that he must ensure that the Doctor is not allowed to be let go, and Sklar says he will do his best. He says he will also keep her informed of whatever happens.

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