The Christine Plague

Part V

Alan Wiese was having a bad day. The summoning had gone wrong, somewhere, and he had died, or a close approximation thereof. Currently he was in a hospital, and had just been called back, probably by one of the people standing in the room. Every situation has a winner and a loser, so he decided to try to seize charge.

"Good day. I presume things didn't go as I planned. What has happened?"

Bonecrusher told him. Including the charges against him. All the charges for the destruction in the city. And finally asked what he had been trying to do, a familiar subject.

"Are you aware of the concept of the collective unconscious of mankind, popularized by Jung?" There were nods from the audience at this. "This collective mental force can be tapped, by the proper forms, and channeled into power, power to alter reality. We were organized to try to summon a small fragment of this force -- you could call it a fragment of Dream -- and control it. I presume the summoning worked, from the problems you have been having."

"But what can we do about it?"

"First, I want anything I say for... about 10 minutes, to be guaranteed never to be used as evidence against me. You already have enough charges filed."

The SAT officer said, "Arranged. Tell us how to stop it."

"In order to bind the fragment of dream force to the world, we needed a host. Due to the nature of the ritual, I was completely unsuitable for hosting the power. I found a girl, Rebecca Jones, and arranged for her to serve as host to the power. Her soul was freed, and the dream fragment bound to her mind. The ritual went astray, and the process of summoning the force drained all participants of their life."

"So she's wandering around with infinite power, but why is she doing all this?"

"I was summoning power, I was going to need some method of controlling it. When her soul was freed, her memories and personality were supposed to have been wiped, leaving her a tabula rasa, a blank slate, easily controlled. She was supposed to 'imprint' on the first authority figure she would encounter. Whatever she is doing now, is probably based on her new perceptions of the world, and upon the authority figure she encountered."

Bonecrusher winced inside. (Rebecca is going to kill me for this...)

"You're saying that she'll follow the orders of the first authority figure she saw. Whatever he tells her to do?"

"Yes, that's the way it was supposed to work. It is possible she is currently looking for this figure, and causing the effects incidentally."

Bonecrusher winced more. (I mesmerised her... no wonder she was so docile when I told her to lie back down...)

Carl said, "She probably imprinted on the ambulance driver, Michael Shermerhorn. We have to locate him."

Bonecrusher said, "I'll go get him..."

Some time later, Mike arrived at the hospital, on his motorcycle, looking a little singed.

"Bonecrusher had to hold them off, we were attacked. What's all this about some woman being imprinted on me?"

Carl said, "The woman you took back to the hospital last night was a dream elemental of some sort. She had been summoned as a power source for manipulating reality, and prepared so that she would take the orders of whatever authority figure she first encountered. You were it. She's now out looking for you, we believe, and will follow your orders. So we want to find her, and have you tell her to stop all the effects."

"She's going to kill me."

"Who?"

"My girlfriend, Rebecca... she's already jealous, and if she finds out that this woman will do whatever I ask..."

"Oh."

"What are we going to do to find her?"

"Well, we can put you on all media, and see if she responds. She's not supposed to have any memories of who she was, but you can broadcast on all channels telling Rebecca to come to you..."

"She's going to knock my head off... she's a black belt in tae kwon do! Let me call her before we do this."

Michael dialed the phone, waited. "Um... Hi, dear.""

He held the phone away from his ear. Sounds of loud ranting came out of the speaker.

"No, it wasn't like that. Yes, I lent her my jacket, she was indecent... No, I didn't plan anything, she was just a patient... Anyway, why I called."

"It seems she, um, imprinted on me, you know, like a duck."

Michael winced and again pulled the headphone away from his ears. "So we are broadcasting for Rebecca... no, her name is Rebecca... No, I am not making this up!"

The phone slammed down on the other end of the line, loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

Michael set down the phone gently and sat gloomily in the chair. "Maybe she'll throw her tantrum now, and just break some furniture and will be calmed down by the time I make it home."

He didn't sound very convinced.

Carl said, "Well, we better get started trying to locate her before more damage gets done. Mike, record an announcement and we'll figure out what to do from there."

"She first saw me in an ambulance... maybe I had better go out and drive around... she might recognize me easier."

"Good idea. Make sure you keep in touch with the hospital in case she shows up here."

And so the plan was implemented...

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Last modified: September 26, 1996

The Other Gretchen <gretchen@remarque.berkeley.edu>