|Team Genesis: Pogs|
|What: The concept of anthropomorphism goes much farther than many suspect. From time to time, the spirit of other 'minor' parts of the economy, alternate economies meet to discuss things amongst themselves.|
As a priest of a lobotomized god, Kilroy is given a lot of leeway. What he asks for, the Economy does, and what he wants, the Economy generally gladly gives. It trusts Kilroy to look out for its interests, serve the mission he has been given, and quite frankly, of the three who have held the mantle, Kilroy is the most trusted, the most respected. There is a reason for that...Kilroy took his grandfather's advice and has tried to listen to the being, talk to it, understand it. So when it actually ASKS something of Kilroy, he pays attention, even if it doesn't make any sense.
He's been given a series of tasks, clear enough to understand, but utterly without context. He only knows its important, and he is going to do his damnedest to make sure that it happens. So it is that he finds himself at the national Pog convention being held at a number of conference rooms in and around Madison Square Gardens. Pogs, little collectable cardboard money like things. He has also asked help from his allies along the way. He hasn't said much, only that he needs help, and that it will seem weird. So he finds himself standing around a room full of people, talking very enthusiastically about pogs around the world with Cinque and Jeremy. "Any questions? Most of which I probably can't answer."
Want an amnesiac kid to feel even /more/ out of place than usual? Put him someplace where everyone else is there for a purpose and knows a heck of a lot about what's going on. Jeremy's utterly lost, staring around at the displays and people talking and all the activity...it's more than a little confusing even if you /know/ something about those Pog things, and Jeremy...well, he knows less about them than he does about himself, which isn't much to begin with. "Um...I-I don't even know what questions to ask, Mister Kilroy. You weren't kiddin' about this bein' weird. Um..." He looks up at Kilroy. "What's so excitin' about this stuff? Do they play games with them or somethin', like those cards I've seen people collectin'?"
Since both of these particular members of the team already know his identity, Cinque has decided to go in civilian clothes. He does have a book bag just in case things become a bit dangerous. Cinque takes a moment to scan the place a few times before speaking to Pog. "I really do not know a lot about youth culture. What are Pogs?"
Kilroy says, "Pogs are basically a game that's pretty simple that was created in Hawaii thirty years ago. The game is mildly amusing but if you win you keep the little cardboard cut outs. Really its about collecting sets and they've made loads of them, like stamps. At one point the military made a whole bunch because coins weighed too much during WWII. This is basically a giant trading and gaming floor, with impromptu games as well as swap meets and dealers selling them as well. It's a fun little sub culture but they take it very seriously. It comes and goes. If you've heard of Pokemon cards, they're a little bit like that but more mainstream for some folks. As to why we are here..." he hands Jeremy a slip of paper and Cinque one as well. "I need you to do that. I know it is cryptic, but that's all I've got to work with."
"I guess it makes sense, then," Jeremy says, looking around again. "I mean...I'm sure I had stuff I got excited about like this too, so I can't make fun of this or anythin'. They really used these in the army?" He considers that for a few moments, then nods a bit. "I guess that's kind of cool." As the paper is offered to him, he blinks a bit and takes it, looking down at the message on it. "Um...yeah...cryptic is the word for it." He cocks his head at Kilroy. "Is somethin' gonna be stolen here or somethin' like that?"
Cinque raises his right eyebrow slightly as he looks down at his paper. Cinque smirks, "All right, I guess that is possible. I must confess I have been asked to perform such a task. CInque starts walking around the room and he starts to scan the ventilation system of the building.
Kilroy responds to Jeremy, "Yes, it was used by the army as change. The cost to lift US currency for air bases in war zones was so much they just issued pogs, as essentially legal tender in limited instances. And...you have as much information as I have except not to speak what I just gave you aloud, so please don't. These are affairs of magic, which means symbology is important here. I have...suspicions, but I don't want to play my hand. Just do the best you can and look about. Me? I'm hunting. I'm sure you'll do fine Jeremy." And with that he vanishes into the crowd.
An inspection of the ventilation reveals that there is no...unusual objects. No mysterious packages taped to any ducts, no other people checking out the areas, nor any immediately visible threat that the great Sneezemeister will unleash sneeze gas upon the unsuspecting public.
Jeremy sighs a little, nodding. "Okay...I-I guess I'll get to it, then." He has a vague feeling that he's dealt with magic stuff at some point before, so...he's not going to protest the whole "symbols" thing. He doesn't want to screw things up for Kilroy. Taking a deep breath, he turns and starts walking through the area, looking about for anything that could be related to the note he was given. Maybe a group of people gaming? Or maybe some sort of complicated display? He's not sure, but he's doing his best to make sure he doesn't miss any clue.
Cinque looks at the words of the message as he starts to tap his left foot a few times as he tries to arrange the words and the letters in the message in different ways to see if another message appears. He even holds the message to the light to see if that reveals anything, before walking back to Kilroy. "The messages supposed to be handled separately?"
As Jeremy begins to look around, at first he doesn't see anything. What the hell? There are LOTS of tables with six people. And five people and four people. It's just frustrating to no end. And then...at the last minute, he cannot help but notice that there is one table of six with no children, which isn't that unusual, but there are two teens, so...no. But then....then he notices something again at the same table. No Pogs, NONE. But they are engaged in as heated a discussion as anyone else in the room. They're on the other end of the room though.
Kilroy is on the hunt. It is rather likely no one else could sense it. It isn't even a spirit...its more of a pre spirit, a virus of magic, waiting to form, finding the most destructive area it could, and is waiting to pounce. But Kilroy is both anti body and surgeon. He wraps himself in the power of the Economy, PULSING in the room in waves and power, normally unable to do so, he becomes unseen, ignored, someone else's problem as he bends down a moment and stops a coffee cup from spilling. He then turns again and moves one pog from one player to another....back where it belongs before it was stolen five hours earlier...
And its because of the magic that Cinque is utterly unable to spot Kilroy. It's like he left the room, which is insane, because his kryptonian senses would have seen Kilroy doing so. Logic tells him, and intuition tell Cinque he's still here. The message is frustrating...after running it though his superior mind....and while he knows there is no code...there must be SOMETHING to it. As he looks about the room, he does spot several vendors selling food on the north side of the wall. Something about it tells him that this is where he needs to be, even if he has no idea why.
This just gets weirder and weirder. "Who'd come to a pogs event with no pogs?" Jeremy mumbles to himself. "...other than me, I guess." A pause. "Wait a minute...who /would/ come to a pogs thing with no pogs? That's got to be /somethin'/." He makes his way across the room towards the table, trying to get relatively close without disturbing anyone. Wouldn't want to cause problems by doing the disturbing himself, after all. Fortunately, this is where being small and short and pretty darn unremarkable comes in pretty handy.
After eliminating the ventilation system and any code hidden within the message, Cinque goes to the next likely source behind his message. He walks over to the vendors on the north mall and quickly scans their wares, goods, and the vendor themselves, before deciding to strike up a conversation with them. "Do you have any nachos?
Greenstamps spoke to Eve Online, "You're so...violent...In my day..."
"In your day they didn't have the internet old woman. Why are we here anyway? There has to be someplace better..."
An older man, dressed in a tuxedo sniffed, "I say, I think that's incredibly rude. This is the perfect place after all the...disruption lately. No one will notice us here..."
Eve Online groans, "Why do we need to be HERE at all?"
The young woman with the World of Warcraft shirt smiled, "It's magic. Sometimes you just need to DO things..."
"Magic is stupid."
"Is that why you canceled the World of Darkness?"
"I told you to stop talking about that!" Eve Online looked annoyed and hurt, "That...that's embarrassing."
Jeremy perceives that no one has noticed him at the table...and for now, at the least, no one appears to be interested in anything they have to say.
As Cinque looks about, he examines almost systematically the goods sold by vendors; pogs, post cards, videos about cards...there is a vendor with some craft items but its highly unlikely anyone will be allergic to glitter. The guy with the food cart smiles, "Yeah I got Nachos." He hands Cinque a rather large plate as he reaches down...next to a giant jar of pepper. In fact, now that he looks for it, he spots not one but at least ten vendors with pepper...about twice the size of the salt shakers. Business is booming for all of them.
Okay, those are seriously odd people...but Jeremy's been told to make sure nothing disturbs the table, and he's darn well going to make sure nothing disturbs the table. He keeps watch. Not that he has the /slightest/ clue what any of them are talking about. He can't help but listen in out of sheer confusion and fascination, but he's trying not to be obvious about it. What a strange bunch...he can't help but wonder if this would make any more sense if he'd learned much about pop culture or anything like that since he first woke up in the park.
Cinque taps his foot and looks at the peppers. Cinque takes a deep breathe and shakes his head a few times in disbelief of about what he is about to do. Cinque shouts as loud as he can, "I think one of these peppers are moving. Are the mites? "
The vendor looks indignant,"Wha?" He looks at the pepper. He is almost...oddly fanatically about it, as if probability were tilted in a certain way, though much like most forms of dark magic, sometimes in the very act of trying to stop it....
The vendor turns it over onto a paper plate, "Mite! Fuck no!" He begins to look through it, looking for an insect that isn't there.
Several of the other vendors look on and look concerned. They're eying their pepper, and a curious crowd is gathering.
At first, their weird people seem...weird but harmless, but it is at this point that Jeremy, now that he's looking for it, notices a nice old man with a shopping cart FULL of Pogs, like...gobs of them. He might otherwise miss them but they're slowly moving over towards their general direction..it's kind of an accident waiting to happen.
Moneybags takes out a watch,"10 more minutes to go."
The oldest of them smiles and looks around, "Hey I'll trade you this tomato I found on the floor for your top hat Moneybags."
"It's not for sale."
Barter grins, "I just want to-"
"Not for trade either. Go away."
Juggling chainsaws and dodging bears, metaphorically, that's what Kilroy is doing. Resetting the glass. Separating fighting toddlers. Pushing a pile of pogs to the left. Moving a chair out of the way of someone who isn't looking. He's running around the room as fast as he can, unseen as beads of sweat start pouring down his forehead. And he's losing...and he knows it.
Nothing, nothing, nothing...cart full of pogs? Jeremy blinks, and hesitates for a few moments, looking back at the table. Honestly...as strange as it is, this feels like the most likely thing to cause a problem. Will something hit the cart? Will the cart hit the table? He doesn't know, and he's not really sure how to stop it. Well...maybe a kind of direct approach? He walks over towards the old man with the cart, smiling pleasantly at him, putting on his best "nice, helpful kid" look--which isn't an act at all, really. "Um, that looks kind of awkward, mister...would you like some help? I'll push it for you if you'd like...or, um, carry some of them, or something? Where are you headed?"
Cinque points to different parts of his plate over and over again. "What are you blind. It is right there." Cinque notices the small crowd and doesn't want to cause the problem that he was designed to prevent, so he just takes his food and throws in the nearest wastebasket. Cinque says, "I am not going to argue with you, but I am not going to eat anymore of some mite filled nachos. Cinque stands over the waste basket and begins to dry heave and looks at someone, "You are still going to eat that.." Cinque goes back to his pretend dry heaving.
That probably wasn't what the fates intended....but the act of base humiliation WORKS as the crowd that was watching the desperate vendor suddenly turns and watches the noble Cinque pretending to dry heave into the trash. If anyone present at the incident in which Daryx Tyner had almost gone rogue were present...they'd notice the sudden and bizarre obsession among those present as they begin to take BETS about whether or not Cinque is going to hurl into the basket. Right now the odds favor it heavily.
The vendor, noticing that no one is watching him...quietly pours all of the pepper into the trash...
The old man, meanwhile, with thick coke bottle glasses, smiles and beams at Jeremy, "Oh! Oh yes! Thank you! I need to get this to Mr. Pogs." Jeremy can see that the old man is heading in exactly the wrong direction and Mr. Pogs is on the other side of the room.
The six spirits, meanwhile, heatedly argue about seeming nonsense, until Moneybags smiles, "Almost. Does everyone have their pennies?"
One by one the spirits present a single Indian head penny.
Bottle refilled. Hair unbreaded. Keys placed back in a purse. Trash bag grabbed, tied and thrown across the room. The tide is turning...but barely.
"To...Mr. Pogs?" Jeremy repeats. Okay, he's officially wondering if this is some kind of weird dream. But then again, he's pretty sure it isn't. In his weird dreams people tend to be screaming at him for something he doesn't remember doing, or trying to kill him. Things like that. If this /is/ a dream...it's better than usual. He looks about the room, figuring out the intended destination, and blinks. "Oh...um...I think you're lookin' for over /there/, actually," he says, pointing, and takes control of the cart, carefully wheeling it around to start heading in the right direction, towards Mr. Pogs.
Cinque continues drying heaving into and spits a few times into the waste basket. He stands up and wipes his mouth. "Oh yeah, that was definitely a few mites. I wouldn't eat the food here." Cinque coughs a few times.
The crowd cheers...many pogs are switched back and forth. Several others look dejected...
The old man smiles, and Jeremy begins to pull the cart toward the vendor...it's hard at first, almost like moving a mountain...It doesn't want to go...Fate has a plan here..it is DESTINY...it is FATE, this is the way things are supposed to go...But...then a tiny tiny sliver of reality alteration hits...and suddenly it moves, like greased lightning it moves...but for once, and once only...somehow Jeremy feels this flaw, this crack in his being is RIGHT...somehow, as if what was meant to happen wasn't what SHOULD happen...and the world turns...
Kilroy runs again to stop a child throwing a paper airplane and catches it, collapsing on the floor...
The six all smile and exchange the pennies...and the ritual is completed...a golden ring surrounds the room, the curse at last broken, and a much longer much darker ritual decades in the making has one of its pillars undone...the cell phones in the room all go off and ring at the same time as church bells celebrating in exultation...and the dark is purged from spiritual realm into the most convenient portal it finds...
As cinque dry heaves, he finds he begins to spit...silver, dark silver slimy coins as if etched in a sewer that also fall into the trash...one...two...on and on it goes until there are thirty...and the spell breaks...
Everyone shrugs and goes back to playing with pogs. The table is empty. And Kilroy is visible, heaving for breath with his back on the ground looking up.
He may not have been sure what was going on, but...Jeremy /is/ determined. Or terrified of failing. Take your pick. Either way, he doesn't want to let Kilroy down, and once he's decided on a method...well, it's the best he could come up with, and he sticks with it, offering up a quiet prayer that he's made the right choice. And...it seems he has. Something twists, something changes, and the world seems to be celebrating, so...he lets out a sigh, and smiles. "I-I guess...that was the right thing to do?" He looks back at the table, now empty, and shakes his head a bit, moving over to where he sees Kilroy lying on the ground. "Um...I guess...we won, or something?" he asks, kneeling and offering his hands to help Kilroy back to his feet. "It seems like it, anyway. Are you okay, Mister Kilroy?"
It's...probably fortunate that he didn't notice Cinque hurling into the trash can, or the gamblers might have had another (very easy) bet about whether the boy would repeat that particular performance. Cinque peers down at the mystical coins and holds them in the light for a moment. "That most have been some powerful magic to effect me." Cinque grabs something to hold the coins in before looking around before preparing to deliver them to Kilroy.
Kilroy is exhausted, slowly taking in deep breaths of air. He has just moved the world with a lever large enough...and that lever was the actions of heroes. Heroes who are his friends. He eyes the can and nods to Cinque. He extends a hand and for a moment a giant black flame leaps out of the can and turns to thick black smoke. None but Kilroy, Jeremy and Cinque even see it.
"It was. Very powerful. Like...world changing. Thank you both for your help. It will not soon be forgotten...nor will the Economy forget it."
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