[Martial drumbeats over this announcement.]
DEAN (amplified): Attention students. Due to recent events, we are temporarily implementing a state of lockdown. Please stay in your dorms at all times when you are not in class. Students will go to class in groups, escorted by a faculty member. All extracurriculars are suspended for the time being. Rest assured, these precautions are only temporary and will persist only until the security threat has been found and eliminated.
[radio turning off noise]
DEAN: Come in, Mr. McCray.
BRUCE: I can’t believe you went over my head and brought her in!
DEAN: Mr. McCray, calm down. No one has gone over anyone’s head, although it is my school and I have full authority to do so if I so choose. However, in this case it was out of my hands. I no sooner told Magecorp HQ about the.. item that was liberated and the methods employed to do so than they insisted on sending one of their own to take care of it. And then, before she even arrives, a student is found dead outside the service tunnels! We have to be seen to be taking decisive action.
BRUCE: I had the matter well in hand. Well, I would have anyway. I had less than a day to even-
DEAN: I don’t doubt you could have apprehended the thief, Mr. McCray. But now this a murder investigation as well. You need the back-up.
BRUCE: *laughs* No. Oh, she’s not back-up boss. She’s not gonna let me anywhere near this investigation once she gets started.
DEAN: I’ll make sure that she does, Bruce. You are in charge of security. This is your jurisdiction. And you are familiar with the students, and the faculty. She’d be a fool not to utilize that expertise.
BRUCE: With all due respect, sir, she is a fool. Also... she wigs me out.
DEAN: Well, I’m sorry if you’re uncomfortable, Mr. McCray. A student has died. An extremely dangerous magical tome has been stolen, probably by the person responsible, and we still don’t know how our wards were breached. We need to restore order, and we need to do it in whatever the quickest way is that we can. Can I count on you to do that, Mr. McCray?
BRUCE: Of course, sir.
DEAN: Very good. The investigator will be coming by your office later this morning to compare notes. Do try and be cordial.
BRUCE: *deep sigh* Alright.
[Electromancy theme plays]
NARRATOR: Electromancy, Episode 8. Practical Applications of Extraplanar Zoology, Part I. Be advised: This episode contains discussions of death.
[We hear a magical sound - associated with umbramancy- and footsteps.]
LEONARD: Good morning, Ms. Tessek.
[Another umbramancy sound]
BRYNN: How did you...?
LEONARD: Did anyone really think you would see a school-wide lockdown as anything other than an opportunity for unhampered mischief-making?
BRYNN: Honestly, I wasn’t going to make that much mischief.
LEONARD: I’m sure you weren’t. But whatever it is you were going to do will have to wait. I need your help.
BRYNN: Hmmm. Do you need my help as Professor Sumner, or as Leonard?
LEONARD: A little of each. Go invisible again, and follow me. I’ll explain when we’re somewhere that’s safe to talk.
BRYNN: And why should I come with you?
LEONARD: Because if you don’t, I’ll inform the Dean that you escaped your dorm during the lockdown. He’ll discover whatever trick you’re using to fool wards specifically designed to keep a tower full of illusionists from escaping, and you’ll never be able to sneak out and visit your friends again.
BRYNN: Ugh. That would suck. Alright, I’ll come along. But don’t think this means I’m helping you.
[lightning and more clanking of one of those automata]
PEM: This isn’t working.
JENNA: I don’t understand. Ms. Harper said my problem was voltage control. I’ve gotten a lot better at that, but I still can’t make this damn automaton go where I want it to!
PEM: When you were learning the Salpinette, did you ever practice a song slightly wrong? Like with one note a half-step low, or one rhythm a little off?
JENNA: What are you getting at?.
PEM: I mean, it’s a lot harder to unlearn something after you’ve practiced it wrong a few times than it is to learn it right in the first place.
ELLIE: See, you say you don’t get metaphors then you go and pull something like this out of your butt.
PEM:... I pulled it out of my brain.
ELLIE: And we’re back to normal.
JENNA: Pem, what are you saying?
PEM: Um, I’m saying until you figure out what’s wrong, doing it wrong over and over again is not only not helping, it’s making it harder for yourself in the future.
[the door opens. Lightning sounds continue.]
LUCAS: Jenna, what’s up? Practicing, I see. Not a bad way to pass the time.
JENNA: Well, we are stuck here until this lockdown is lifted.
LUCAS: Indeed, indeed. Pem, Ellie- could we have the room? For a moment?
PEM: It’s a common room. The very word, common, implies-
ELLIE: Sure, Lucas. We’ll go somewhere else.
[more footsteps as they depart.]
JENNA: *annoyed* Hi.
LUCAS: Hi. You got a minute?
LUCAS: Look, did you know the kid they found dead?
JENNA: Haven’t had a chance to meet a lot of folks.
LUCAS: Ari was pretty well liked. He was a photomancer, but he had a lot of friends all over the school. Including me.
JENNA: I’m sorry to hear that.
LUCAS: Yeah, well, a lot of us are more than just sorry. Me and some of the other higher-powered students have been talking- well, sending- we’ve got a pretty strong telepath playing go-between. We’re making a plan to take this… to take down whatever killed Ari.
JENNA: I’m sure the Dean and the faculty will handle it.
LUCAS: You mean the ones who let this thing loose in the school in the first place? Face it. They lost the wards. They lost control. Now we’ve got a posse of nines, tens, and elevens ready to take matters into our own hands, and make sure this thing doesn’t kill any more students. We could really use your help if you want to come.
JENNA: … I’m sorry. I really think that we should let the adults-
LUCAS: Not one of those adults has as much raw power as you do, Jenna.
JENNA: Not sure that’s true.
LUCAS: Suit yourself. We’re leaving tonight. Let me know if you change your mind.
[another door opening]
MYSTERIOUS WOMAN (from now on called Investigator): Bruce? It’s good to see you.
BRUCE: Investigator. How may I be of service to the Magecorps?
INVESTIGATOR: Let’s talk about what we know, shall we? Your wards were breached. Are they active again?
BRUCE: Whatever took down the wards, took them down. The Dean has organized some temporary replacements until we can bring in more powerful mages to put up new ones.
INVESTIGATOR: Those wards were designed to be impossible for a single mage to breach. It should have taken at least three, and it should have taken them hours.
BRUCE: I’m aware of the extent of our security, Investigator. I am the school security officer.
INVESTIGATOR: Something you obviously haven’t been very good at. Why wasn’t lockdown procedure activated immediately following the theft?
BRUCE: I didn’t want to panic the students. There’s a big difference between the sort of person who would want to steal a book of prophecy and the sort of person who would murder a student. I didn’t think-
INVESTIGATOR: You didn’t. It will be a miracle if you keep your job after this debacle. Now, the student was found just outside one of the service tunnels. I assume you already sniffed out his path?
BRUCE: I did.
BRUCE: And there was another student with him. A girl, I think- I smelled perfume.
INVESTIGATOR: You don’t recognize her scent?
BRUCE: Do you have any idea how many students are at this school? I don’t know every single person’s scent! My next move was going to be to interview Mr. Vance’s close associates and see if I could identify the witness.
INVESTIGATOR: Proceed with that plan. I’m going to check out the tunnels to see if I find anything you might have missed.
BRUCE: You may want to bring back-up. In case you do find the creature.
INVESTIGATOR: You’re sure it's a creature? Not a mage?
BRUCE: You saw the autopsy report.
INVESTIGATOR: I did. A sufficiently powerful necromancer could have produced something that was so-
BRUCE: I’d have smelled necromancy. I’ve smelled it before. It’s… It's not something you forget..
INVESTIGATOR: Best not to eliminate any possibilities. Find the witness. Report back to me when you do. I would like to speak to her.
[we hear the machine from the pilot]
BRYNN: Ok, what are we doing here? You already know what kind of mage I am.
LEONARD: The institute has sent an investigator. A sonomancer.
BRYNN: Like you?
LEONARD: A thousand times scarier than me. This room offers some protection from sonomancy and telepathy.
BRYNN: I thought this machine just detected magic.
LEONARD: That’s what it was designed for. But with a little tinkering, it can also twist and redirect it. On the off chance someone was listening to us - our words or our thoughts- it would obscure them somewhat. And if an umbramancer were to cast a bubble of silence, it would be difficult for even an experienced metamage to distinguish that bubble from the machine’s natural effects. And then we could truly talk privately.
BRYNN: Ok, sure. On it.
[a magic noise and the sound stops. We hear the warbling of the bubble of silence (presumably this is not audible from outside the bubble)]
LEONARD: Excellent. Brynn, I need your help.
BRYNN: You’ve said as much, now I need details.
LEONARD: I need to find this creature and stop it before that woman from the institute can. And I need an umbramancer to hide me while I’m doing it.
BRYNN: You want me to help you break the rules?
LEONARD: I want you to help me make sure no one else gets killed. I know what it is and how to stop it. She doesn’t and she will die.
BRYNN: So why not just tell her what you know?
LEONARD: Because then I would have to tell her how I know what I know, and there’s no good explanation for that that doesn’t get me fired, or worse. I wouldn’t be asking you if I had any other options.
BRYNN: You’re going to have to tell me more than that if you want my help.
LEONARD: You know as well as I do, Brynn, in a place with as many telepaths as this one has, a secret being in two heads is exponentially more dangerous than it being in just one. I am well trained in protecting my own secrets, and school policy prevents me from being scanned without just cause. Neither of those protections apply to you. So I need to keep my secrets, for now.
BRYNN: Hmph. Fine. But you are going to owe me one huge favor.
BRYNN: Now how do we kill this thing?
LEONARD: We don’t. Your job is to hide me from the investigator and anyone else the Dean might send. I am going to banish the creature back to the realm from whence it came, with this.
[parchment unrolling noise]
BRYNN: A... scroll.
LEONARD: Easiest way for a mage to cast a spell outside their discipline. [He rolls the scroll back up.]
BRYNN: Takes a while to cast from a scroll. And you’re vulnerable while you’re doing it. What stops this thing from killing us before you’re done?
LEONARD: You can hide us from it, as well.
BRYNN: Mmmm No. I can only hide people from ears and eyes. And noses sometimes I guess. When it comes to Bruce. But you know what I mean. I make illusions for human senses. If this creature is from another realm, it probably sees using magic. So it would see the magic I’m using to hide us. You should know that, Mr. Thaumaturgy professor.
LEONARD: Well what are you suggesting?
BRYNN: I’m suggesting we bring in a third collaborator. Someone who can keep this thing at bay for long enough for you to perform your ritual.
LEONARD: Who else can we trust?
LEONARD: A level four ice mage?
BRYNN: I don’t know much about this creature, but ice magic is the best magic for slowing things down.
LEONARD: Only a four though…
BRYNN: You know a more powerful ice mage who we can absolutely trust?
LEONARD: I suppose not.
BRYNN: Then let’s go get him.
[back in the electromancer's dorm.]
PEM: I’m just saying there’s a difference between carefully using a metaphor to explain a concept to someone and saying that you pulled an idea out of your butt when ideas clearly come from your brain!
ELLIE: Pem, this is fascinating but I’m trying to eavesdrop here.
LUCAS: *muffled, behind door* Suit yourself. Let me know if you change your mind- we’re leaving tonight. *door opens* Hey Ellie.
ELLIE: Hi Lucas. Can I, can I talk to you?
LUCAS: Sure. What’s up?
[we hear voices as she follows him down the hall]
ELLIE: I want in.
ELLIE: The plan you were telling Jenna about? I‘m in.
LUCAS: Ok, first, if you ask someone to leave a room before a conversation, it’s because you don’t want them to be involved in that conversation. Second, we need powerful mages. Sorry Ellie, but you’d just be a liability.
ELLIE: I’m still a mage, and I can still fight.
LUCAS: Getting people out of their dorms without the teachers catching us is going to be hard enough as it is. More people, more chances to get caught. I can’t justify that for a two.
ELLIE: I'm basically a three, and- ugh, look, stop. I’m tired of being passed over without a second look. I’m- look I’m small, I’m fast - I could be your lookout! You know, watch your back, tell you if someone is coming. And you know I’m good at talking quickly and improvising. I can be, like your alibi-excuse person. I just want to be part of the team Lucas, seriously I’ll do whatever you need me to.
LUCAS: Hmmm. Ok. You can come along. First sign of anyone trailing us, you run off in the opposite direction making as much noise as possible to distract them. Then come straight back here. If we manage to make it all the way to the tunnels without you needing to distract anyone, you can fight, but you stay in the back, close to me, and do whatever I tell you. And don’t tell a soul about this. Alright?
ELLIE: Yes! You won’t regret this Lucas! I’m gonna be the best distraction you could possibly ask for. I- I’ll be so distracting no one will think twice about anything else.
LUCAS: Ok, ok. Just meet me outside this door at midnight, alright?
[footsteps - another door opens and shuts.]
[back in the common room.]
JENNA: Sorry about that.
PEM: It’s fine. I’m kind of used to being asked to leave places.
JENNA: That isn’t right. You have as much right to be places as anyone.
PEM: I don’t usually mind. [beat] Are you going to keep practicing?
JENNA: I don’t think so. *sigh*
PEM: What’s up?
JENNA: It’s nothing.
PEM: Are you worried about Lucas?
JENNA: A little. Were you eavesdropping?
PEM: Ellie was. I got the jist of it.
JENNA: I can’t believe how dumb he’s being about this.
PEM: Should we alert a teacher?
JENNA: We probably should. But… look, this is a really bad group of people to make enemies with. I’ve already got enough of those. I can’t be the one who tattled on them.
PEM: What if I'm the one who tattles on them?
JENNA: Do you want Lucas pissed at you? Don’t you get teased enough by people outside this dorm?
PEM: So you’d rather let them all get hurt? Or maybe even killed?
JENNA: Lucas is a highly trained duelist. And I’m sure the rest of this little vigilante gang is too.
PEM: Well, Ellie’s not.
JENNA: Ellie’s going with them?!?
PEM: I think so.
JENNA: Nope. Nope. Nuh-uh.
PEM: Where are you going?
JENNA: To talk some sense into her.
[a knock on a different door]
BRUCE: I’m looking for Lauren Calloway.
STUDENT: She’s in her room. She hasn’t come out since-
BRUCE: I really need to speak with her.
STUDENT: You can try but-
BRUCE: [knocks again] Lauren?
LAUREN: Go away!
BRUCE: Lauren, I really need to talk to you. Just for a few minutes.
LAUREN: Please go away.
BRUCE: I’m sorry.
LAUREN: What do you want?
BRUCE: I’m sorry about this. I know you and Ari were close. I just need to ask you a few questions.
LAUREN: Fine. Ask away.
BRUCE: When did you last see Ari?
LAUREN: *still crying* At dinner. We had dinner together, I left for my dorm, he went somewhere else.
BRUCE: Why are you lying to me, Lauren?
LAUREN: I’m not lying.
BRUCE: I smelled you in those tunnels, Lauren. Bloodhound form- it doesn’t get these things wrong.
LAUREN: Ok, fine. We went down to the tunnels together.
BRUCE: What were you doing there?
LAUREN: Exploring! I’d never been down there. He’d been a few times. He wanted to show me.
BRUCE: And you both knew students weren’t supposed to be there?
LAUREN: Oh my god, Mr. McCray, my friend just died! Are you seriously giving me a safety lecture right now?
BRUCE: I’m sorry. When did you leave Ari?
LAUREN: *breaking down* I didn’t mean to, okay! I would never have abandoned him like that! But sometimes, when I get scared, my magic just takes over. It took over and it teleported me all the way to the yard. Then I passed out, I think from teleporting that far- I mean, I’m only a three. When I came to, I went and got professor Doran, but by then, they’d already… they’d already… he was…
BRUCE: It’s okay. No one’s blaming you Lauren. Our magic kicks in to protect us, sometimes even when we don’t even want it to. That’s how magic works. I just need to know if you got a good look at the creature?
LAUREN: I didn’t get a look at it at all. I just heard it.
BRUCE: What did it sound like?
LAUREN: Like… rocks. Scraping against other rocks. And also like… wind somehow? Like a strong wind. But it was also… growling?
BRUCE: Thank you for your help Lauren.
[yet another dorm. And we hear the silence bubble sound again.]
DEVON: Absolutely not.
BRYNN: Why not?
DEVON: Because it’s a lockdown Brynn. We’re supposed to stay locked down.
BRYNN: We’ll be with a teacher!
DEVON: A teacher who’s clearly working at cross-purposes with the rest of the faculty!
BRYNN: That still protects us if we get caught! Which we won’t, cause we’ll have me!
DEVON: I’m less worried about getting caught and more worried about the dying part.
BRYNN: Yeah, me too, that’s why we need you! All you have to do is keep it occupied long enough for Leonard to banish it back to the realm it came from!
DEVON: And what realm is that, Brynn? Has he even told you? Has he told you anything about why he’s found himself on the wrong side of Dean Ventrassi about this?
BRYNN: No, he hasn’t. And that’s the other reason I need you. Casting from a scroll takes a lot of concentration. Enough to make a man loosen any telepathic blocks he might have. I need you to slip in and get us some answers.
DEVON: *sigh* For the record, I still think we’re probably all going to die.
DEVON: But you definitely die if I don’t go, and for some reason I can’t let that happen, even if it would make my life vastly easier.
BRYNN: And that’s why you're my favorite. C’mon, let’s sneak you outta here.
[scene 11 - the tunnels]
INVESTIGATOR: I appreciate you accompanying me on this reconnaissance, Ms. Harper.
KATYA: Please, Katya is fine. You’re not one of my pupils.
INVESTIGATOR: You’ve got an impressive combat record for a school teacher.
KATYA: I was good at driving mechs and frying things. But teaching is my real calling.
INVESTIGATOR: Hold up. Did you hear that?
KATYA: I didn’t hear anything, but you’re the sonomancer.
INVESTIGATOR: It was… back this way and we’ll take the left path this time.
INVESTIGATOR: How’s Jenna Donovan doing?
KATYA: What do you know about Ms. Donovan?
INVESTIGATOR: Lets just say Magecorps HQ has a… vested interest in the girl.
KATYA: She’s progressing, but slowly. Not the best pupil I’ve had.
INVESTIGATOR: That’s a shame. A level twelve lightning mage is… something we could really use out there. Sooner rather than later.
KATYA: I didn’t realize the war was going badly.
INVESTIGATOR: Well, I didn’t say that.
KATYA: No good will come of rushing her. She’s only-
[we hear a scraping sound. It’s not the monster from before]
INVESTIGATOR: *whispering* on my signal.
[A silent three count, then we hear a lightning blast and a terrifying scream, followed by an animal cry that turns into human cry]
BRUCE: Vantar’s knees, it’s me Katya! What in the ten realms?
INVESTIGATOR: Mr. McCray! What are you doing here?
BRUCE: I came to warn you. I found the other student who was with the boy when he died and-
INVESTIGATOR: Excellent. I should interview her.
BRUCE: Really don’t think that’s a good idea. She’s pretty shaken up as is. Anyway she told me that-
INVESTIGATOR: You interviewed her? I thought we agreed I would do that?
BRUCE: I agreed to nothing of the sort.
INVESTIGATOR: *deep sigh* Very well, Mr. McCray. What did you learn?
BRUCE: She didn’t get a good look at the thing, but from what she did tell me, I think we’re dealing with some kind of elemental. Probably something summoned from one of the outer realms. That would explain why I couldn’t isolate it’s smell, and it might also explain how it compromised our wards. You know beings from other realms interact with magic differently-
INVESTIGATOR: The magic required to summon such a creature is exceedingly rare. A construct, possibly built by an oromancer, is still a much more likely explanation.
BRUCE: There’s a lot that doesn’t explain. My explanation is a lot cleaner.
INVESTIGATOR: Only if we accept an initial premise so unlikely it’s practically a myth. I’m going to interview the girl.
BRUCE: She already told me everything she knows, no need to traumatize her further.
INVESTIGATOR: I have techniques for enhancing memory- and compelling obedience. There is much I can discover that you can not. Perhaps you should stick to sniffing around and let the professional handle the detective work. Katya, please meet me back here in a few hours. We will stop the creature, then we will find the conspirators who created it.
Bruce, since Katya will be assisting me, why don’t you take over keeping an eye on her students?
[She walks off. Spooky music starts to play]
NARRATOR: Electromancy is written, produced and directed by Nathan Comstock. This episode was sound designed by Austin Cruzen with music by Thomas Dwyer. It starred , Azul Nova as Jenna, Austin Hendricks as Ellie, Sena Bryer as Pem, Aubrey Poppleton as Lucas, Leslie Gideon as Brynn, Tuesday Orion Ibert as Devon, Karim Kronfli as Dean Ventrassi, Joe Kearney as Bruce, Zachary Robb as Dr. Leonard Sumner, Kira Apple as Ms. Harper, Ivuoma Hall as the Magecorps Investigator, Eddy Martinez as a student and Emma Laslett as Lauren. You can find out more about us at www.electromancypod.com. We’ll be back with another episode in 2 weeks, and stay tuned at the end of this episode for a trailer for another show you’ll love!
BRUCE: I really do not like that woman.
KATYA: Obviously. Still best to be careful, Bruce. Make enough enemies high up in magecorps and you can find yourself in a very unenviable position very quickly.
BRUCE: Happy hunting, Katya.
[Footsteps headed in opposite direction, a bit of silence, then we hear the creature roar]
ED’S recorder clicks on.
ED: -clears throat- This is routine update log number six for Dr. Edison Tucker concerning my research into the town of Jerusalem, Oregon and the existence of the supernatural, paranormal, mythological, and etcetera, etcetera, blah blah blah. Anyway. Since arriving, I’ve definitely encountered some stuff that could be classified under “weird-ass”. The other day I found what looked like claw marks in the vegetable patch wiring, and nobody in town will talk to me about the picnic area near Lincoln’s Farm. Although that could be because everybody thinks I’m one of those monster hunting idiots. Which I’m not, okay! I am an experienced professional who takes my work extremely seriously, and I am going to prove this if it’s the last thing I ever-
LUCY’S voice comes screeching from the kitchen.
LUCY: Eugh! Dr. Tucker! What have I told you about keeping samples in the fridge?!
ED: Although to be honest, I think the biggest mystery on my hands is how I’m gonna survive living with Lucille Kensington, stuck-up extraordinaire. So if you guys don’t hear from me again? It wasn’t something in the woods that got me. (BEAT) Probably.
VO: Where the Stars Fell. Streaming now wherever podcasts are found.