It's The Great Eye, Gar Logan

June 18, 2016:

An eye in the sky appears above Metropolis. What's a pair of superheroes to do?

New Troy

"1930's architecture stretched like a rubber band."

New Troy is the largest borough in Metropolis and is where all of the main
city life seems to be established as well as take place. Here is where you
will find skyscrapers that reach the heavens and commerce that spreads as
far as the next business that picks up.

The heartbeat, lifeblood, and veins of The Big Apricot.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

New Troy, the largest urb in the giant that is Metropolis, and it's sparkly and clean and beautiful and utterly NOT like Gotham in any way. It even makes Manhattan seem fusty and ill-kept, but that's because it's been renovated extremely hard in the past six months. It is midnight. The streets are clean, the cars are parked evenly (when they're parked on the street) and the sidewalks don't even have toys left randomly out. It's almost TOO clean.

With a faintly gleaming moon in the sky, a unicorn steps out from behind a rose bush and says to his companion, "Are we sure this is where it was supposed to happen?"

Before said companion can answer, there's a subtle rolling sensation, as if an earthquake, but no alarms go off, no lights go out, no cars complain of being touched by a stranger and needing an adult. The sky changes color from a yellow-washed hue to a pallid green, and a single tentacle descends above, an eyeball on the end of it opening to blink down on the town. It seems to be appallingly close, or enormously huge.

The unicorn's companion, a Cheshire cat in a black bodysuit, puts a hand on the long green neck.. "When have I ever been wro-ly sh…"

The cat's fur seems to stand on end, briefly, and his eyes go wide as the tentacle appears in the sky. It is a testament to his nature, though, that the first thought that ran through his head as he beheld the tentacle was one of gratitude for Lunair not being here, otherwise she would never let him live that down.

"Is it to late to get Constantine to handle this?"

"OK, OK, everything can NOT be what it seems," the unicorn says, shaking a bright green mane. "It doesn't smell like ancient evil. It smells like mothballs."

The tentacle begins a slow, casual circuit of the sky, stopping to gaze enormously at the towers clustering in the middle. It blinks, and there is a faint "chomp" sound, but it isn't anywhere near the actual city. An airplane, in a holding pattern to land at Metropolis International Airport (MIA, how apt) vanishes behind the tentacle, appearing in the distance as if it were a normal feature of the skies.

"It may smell like mothballs, but that plane… we need to get closer!" With one leap, the cat moves to try and mount the unicorn with a quick 'giddyup', trying to grab a hold of its neck, "C'mon, Unico, we need to get there ASAP! I'd try a Rabbit Hole but I'm afraid it could interfere with it… somehow." Like the tentacle monsters HYDRA had summoned did.

The unicorn begins running, and as the two reach the crest of a small hill, it keeps running upward, wings appearing from its back and growing huge enough that one could believe that they could carry a creature its size. The tentacle ignores the airplane, but moves in its direction anyway… until the glint of light off the green spiral horn on the unicorn's brow catches its enormous EYE. Then, it moves in close, with sudden appalling speed, and with a CHOMP! it blinks and the world around the two heroic (but insufficently heraldic) beasts changes. Inside the eye, a cave, and the Unicorn is forced to pull his wings back in and reverts to human form.
"Ow! We're not in Kansas. We're probably not on Earth as we know it," Changeling says, as the rocks begin glowing in lurid shades of red and blue and yellow. The smell of mothballs is intense.

As they gallop, Vorpal says something that is very much a return to type: "Hey, hon, aren't virgins the only ones who could supposedly ride a unicorn?"

The answer to that question, however, will have to wait. Kneeling on the ground after their landing, the Cheshire cat is examining the quality of the cave's floor, giving the glowing rocks rather distrustful glances.

"Getting Jonah'ed is one way of finding out what's going on, I admit. I'm relieved to find that we're not in some sort of stomach. I think…"

He stands up slowly, reaching out to touch Gar's hand to ensure that he is alright. "Analysis, Mister Tork?"

"I'm trying to figure out what I can shift into and none of it works," Changeling answers, grasping the hand. "And no, they're the only ones who can trap a Unicorn. You already caught me."

That's sickening and yet charmingly sweet, and there's a slight turbulence around them as the ground fizzes for a moment.

"What was that about?" Gar wonders. "Look, the cave doesn't just end. Want to see if we can find a retina or something?"

"Alright. How about I take point?" Vorpal says, trying not to sound too concerned about the fact that Gar's powers are, effectively, not working right now. This is troublesome because Gar's incredible resilience and high survivability come from his powers and the variegated nature of the natural kingdom. This means that, right now, his husband is likely very vulnerable.

With a certain amount of discretion, the Cheshire tries to see if he can summon a construct- a shield- as he moves forward. If it works, then he can give the shield to Gar. If it doesn't…

Well, then, that means that both of them are in a very bad position.

Despite initial appearances, the whole area seems to be remarkably low on chaotic energies. Forming the construct is difficult, almost like forcing out something that can't be spared. Gar shakes his head as he sees it trying to form.

"Let's see what we have to deal with first."

The crystals in the walls, regular in shape, and the crumbling bits coming off them forming a clean fractal that conforms to the golden ratio. If this weren't somehow the middle of an eyeball … oh, wait, there's only a cavern's dead-end behind them … this would be remarkably like a work of art with the regular, glowing gems and the pleasant selection of colors and patterns. At the back of the cavern, where the retina would be, a perfectly curved surface can be seen. It seems smooth, but as one approaches it, the curve somehow inverts and turns into a tube leading deeper into the whatever-this-is.

"How quaint," Vorpal mutters, "This is giving me a serious 'art nouveau sex dungeon' vibe, and I didn't know that was a thing." He nods to the tube and then looks at Garfield, "… how exactly should we tackle this?"

"Well, it's clearly some kind of a trap. Otherwise, why would Kcid Nosyarg have warned us about it?"

Flashback to dinner time, six hours earlier, when an oddly chibiesque version of Nightwing had appeared in the Castle, warning of dire but unspecified danger to Metropolis while helping himself to spaghetti and meatballs and garlic breadsticks.
"GUYS! You have to go to Metropolis! There's something weird going on there. At Midnight! Oh, hey, you're having wine at dinner!" he had said, draining Gar's glass. "Bleh! It tastes nothing like grape juice!"

"So," Gar says, shrugging, "we should see what happens."

He starts walking back, and the passage seems to be tall enough for him to walk down. So far anyway.

Vorpal sighs and shakes his head, "I have to give them a ten for inventiveness, at least. If we encounter something, let me have a go at it. At least I still have my claws."

He follows in quite close, ready to start ducking- just in case.

The passageway would be a little slick if not for the two of them wearing footgear that lets their feet touch the ground directly. It feels slightly warm, ever so slightly resilient, so they can walk without slipping. The passage seems to go on for quite a ways. If it's actually going up the tentacle, there's no gravity issues. After what feels like a ten minute walk, the passage comes up to a juncture, where a second passage joins, and there's a curious cross-over in the flow of the now-larger passage. It looks as though one could go down a left or right hand passage to go deeper in.

"OK, I don't want to split up," Gar says. "Which one should we take?"

"Right," Keith says, grabbing Gar's wrist just in case. "I think we've established we're not in our dimension anymore, and wherever we are is running amok with our powers.I wonder if Mister You Know Who is behind something like this?"

The cat begins to walk towards the chosen passageway, eyes narrowed and ears perked forward.

"Which now? I … the fifth dimensional dude warned us. There's too many options," Gar says. "Most of which we probably don't know, right?"

The right passage is wide enough to walk side by side. After the junction, it's no longer evenly lit but seems to be flickering a bit, still quite adequate for the two cat-eyed individuals, but a normal person might be disoriented. Bits and pieces of faces, hands, noses, angles and curves, seem to brighten and flash into the depth of the walls which seem slightly translucent. The imagery becomes more coherent the deeper they go, with the lines, lights and shapes of Metropolis clearly showing as they reach what appears to be a viewing room. There are several egg-shaped chairs, and a number of hard-to-pin-down entities sitting in them. One of them gestures with three right arms to a pair of empty chairs.

"What is/isn't that thing/place/hive/pile we are look/LOOK/viewing?" says a voice from around them.

The disjointed speech causes Vorpal to blink for a second before it registers fully. Having a trisected psyche can help. "It's Metropolis. Why are you looking at it?" the cheshire asks, not sitting down just yet.

He's learned from experience that sitting down in a foreign place can have bad consequences- like that time he sat down on that freshly-painted park bench…

"Guests and expositors should be seated in the honor pods," a different voice says. "From there they can be heard without distracting discords."

Gar shrugs and sits in one of the chairs, which does not eat him nor (yet) infiltrate his body with imprisoning tendrils. But the chair lights up slightly like the others.

"It's Metropolis. A human city. What's your interest?"

"We/I/All are tourist/sightseer/spies-of-spacetime and collecting/acquiring/sharing of art."

The empty chair seems very empty. It almost seems wrong, messy, too random to NOT sit in it.

"We wish to learn which locations on your world are suitable for viewing in our gallery," the different voice says again, after a noticeable delay of a few seconds during which a distant whispered murmur might almost be audible.

Vorpal sits down- reluctantly- on the chair, and narrows his eyes as he processes what is being said. He remembers the corridor, and the faces, the images-

"This gallery of yours- you are taking things from this world to put in it?"

Things of all sorts are suddenly quiet. The shades of orange and blue light emitted by the closest chairs become a sudden, embarrassed pink during an increasingly awkward silence, and the murmuring becomes loud enough to actually hear.

"That would be theft./We do not steal./There is no fair medium of exchange," the trifold voice says. The silence returns, awkward again.

"So, you are only looking?" Gar says. "But that giant tentacle thing…"

"Your world contains great artistic value/beauty/exemplary order," the voice replies. "We feed on/consume/enrapture of the visions of order transcendent and triumphant."

The different voice interjects, "But that doesn't remove anything from the places we observe. We don't interact."

"How is that even possible?" Gar says. "That giant eyeball and tentacle were enormous."

"But we don't exist in your trispace linear-time. We observe from the fringes."

"If that is true…" Vorpal says, ears twitching and mind clinking away to capture what is being said, "How did Gar and I end up here? That Tentacleye was visible and very much tangible, I guess, so it wasn't outside of our normal space and time."

"This is troublesome/annoying/aberrancy," the other voice says. "The probe should not be perceptible/seen/interactive."

"I'm not sure that it's possible to observe a thing without interacting with it, at least in our part of the universe," Gar says. "It's possible to be very subtle, maybe. But I've never heard of something being able to just watch and not do anything else. Even the light would be changed by being absorbed."

There is an uncomfortable-sounding cough and a faint outline of a very tall man with a disproportionally large head fades slightly into view, with a blue stola and a short white tunica worn on a stocky yet giant-sized body. It fades out again, abruptly.

"Whoever or whatever that was," Gar says, "probably supports my argument. Can you guarantee that your watching won't affect us in any meaningful way?"

The different voice replies, "There was a third-party intervention, and we chose to take advantage of the dimensional overlap to invite you to our viewing cortex. We did not expect the discussion of interactivity in this cortex. The analysis cortex is on the other side of the information channel."

"This… is kind of above my paygrade," Vorpal mutters and rubs the bridge of his nose. "This third party intervention- what was it exactly? This intervention that allowed you to interact with us?"

He makes a mental note to slap ChibiWing next time he sees him. Just on principle.

"Unknown/incomprehensible/superior magic was present at the primary insertion/inspection/viewpoint site," the voice says. This time, as the chairs are rotating, it's possible to see the speakers clearly; all three are humanoid but clearly not human, and notably have no actual eyes; their heads merge into the upper portion of their egg-shaped thrones, and their mouths move in perfect synchrony.

"Betcha Kcid gave us a hand. Or maybe he just poked his finger into things the wrong way," Gar mutters.

"It was fortuitous," the different voice says. "It allowed us to find local observers who could tell us what was happening."

"OK, so you're normally not going to interact in any way with the things you watch?"

"We do not/will not/forget how to intrude directly at will," the three speakers say, rotating out of view, thankfully. Gar was getting slightly greener as he watched them.
"But we can record/analyze/critique the status of the viewing sites, and if there are changes/disruptions/edits that exceed tolerable levels we will withdraw/leave/change channels so that our presence is not felt."

"Would that be an acceptable thing?"

Gar looks over to Vorpal and shrugs, "It's not like we're going to stop them from here. What do you think?"

The cat feels his eyes crossing when the creatures start pulling something straight out of Robotech. It's one thing to be three people in one, and quite another to see one people in three.

"Right. I guess our mission was to report that some sort of… technical glitch was going on."

A pause. "… just for the record, watching or recording anyone in the shower is not art. Just saying."

Pink shadings of embarrassment again. "Our interest is not in any specific," the different voice says. "We don't really like your bodies; they are bilaterally symmetric but the symmetry breaks in too many ways and causes disharmonies. We prefer the architectural and collective. The patterns are … in better taste."

Gar raises an eyebrow at Vorpal. "I'll remind you of that later," he snickers.

"We will withdraw," the triple voice says. "You will be transported/relocated/disconnect-returned to your point of entry. If you are amenable/accept/desire-internship-credit, we would interface with your noisy/nascent/delightfully-primitive ordered-communication and exchange information … we may need further analytics/identification/tribal-knowledge about the things we make available for customers/clients/diners."

With that possible threat hanging in the air, there is an enormous unCHOMP sensation and the two are falling through the sky above Metropolis, about a thousand feet up. Chaos magic is back; the Red is back; thus their powers are returned.

"… they didn't joke about when they said point of entry, did they?" Vorpal shouts, quickly conjuring up a Rabbit Hole to catch both of them mid-descent and treating them to a concatenated series of Rabbit Holes…

Just for the fun of it. It feels like going through a rather extreme and very variable rollercoaster ride, until they slow down enough to simply 'plop' down to the ground without injury.

"I have to say that is.. the weirdest thing I have seen. Ever."

"I think we were in a brain or something," Gar says. "I recognized some of the features."

He shudders and turns into the unicorn again then back. "There. That's better. It was like a cramp."

He looks at Vorpal and looks at the symmetrical grid of the town below them, without the subtle turbulence and the giant tentacle in the sky. It's probably really gone. Maybe. How would they tell?

"Let's get some coffee or maybe something a little stronger, and go home."

"Coffee for dinner and you for dessert. I agree."

The cheshire cat turns to look at Gar and gives him a big, wide grin as he pulls him up close. "I'll say this, Mister Logan… life with you sure ain't dull." He does try to steal a kiss, because otherwise he'll have failed to live up to his reputation.

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