By William J. Keith
Simon scratched his head. The laptop seemed to be working fine.
You didn't usually get a free laptop, but there had been that creepy guy
that transferred title for... something... Simon couldn't remember exactly
what, he'd kind of been not himself for the past couple of days. And there
had been those two intense guys in the dark glasses who had seemed
interested in the laptop, and had seemed ready to follow him home, until
they lost interest for some reason and ran off after something he didn't
see. Anyway, despite its odd provenance, it seemed to be an excellent
It still freaked him out a little that the thing could get T3
speeds over its modem, though. And insane flops. And that it had an OS
he'd never heard of, although it seemed fairly intuitive in a braintwisting
sort of way. And no brand name. And an apparently infinite battery. In
fact, it had freaked him out enough that, against his better judgment,
professional curiosity had gotten the better of him and he'd taken the
laptop to his shop and opened it to peek inside.
Green slime. Why green slime? How had green slime gotten in
there, and why was the computer still working? Simon cleaned a bit of it
out, but the underlying computer seemed to defy all decent rules of
Blast. Now the laptop had stopped working, dead.
Oh well. Let's see if we can't cannibalize the processor....
The laptop which houses a Vapulan Shedite is actually a fairly
solid device. Unless you know Helltongue, it's completely impossible to
program it directly, but it otherwise can run most commercially-available
programs, has an efficient 'Net connection, and has a celestially infinite
power life. Since so many of them are made and used so regularly, the bugs
have actually been fairly well worked out. Well, except for it being
inhabited by a demon who wants to damn every human on Earth, but a proper
soul-killing will take care of that little problem and leave you with a
perfectly usable laptop.
Unfortunately, the laptop is not user-serviceable. The good news,
though, is that various parts are in fact hellaciously compatible with
man-made systems. Of particular interest is the motherboard. When
inserted into an otherwise complete system made from parts available at or
before the time the Shedite's laptop was created, it will connect and
function (apparently) properly. It will push the performance envelope of
the system, limited only by the other parts in its system, though it will
not have the conveniently fast 'Net connection, infinite "battery" life or
other celestially-powered abilities. It will, however, now take
programming as if it were a commercial chipset (choose randomly from those
compatible with the rest of the layout; this is now fixed).
The motherboard conveys certain celestial features, as well. The
computer can now be inhabited by any possessing entity. It will also,
thanks to hardwiring from Vapula's designs, try to mask or fake any
identifying information for itself when used to connect to the Internet, or
for its user if a Mercurian (or, to a lesser extent, other Choirs, when the
resonance might grant such clues) attempts to resonate them via "live
media." Give any such attempt to resonate, or trace or identify the user
or his origin, a penalty equal to the original Shedite's Celestial Forces.
Naturally, the performance and protection has its downsides. One
is that activities using the computer can be read as infernal, regardless
of its user; TAINT_SEARCH will detect it, when possible, and it will also
register on appropriate perceptive abilities, such as those of the Grigori.
Secondly, Vaptech computers in the corporeal realm, if they contact the
processor via corporeal means, essentially have root access, and can read
and write all files. One final (some would say, serious) downside is that
Vapula can still sense the location of such a device. Any time the
computer is turned on(or every 24 hours of uptime), roll 3d6. On any 17 or
18, Vapula becomes aware of the device and its use, and may take whatever
action he desires.
The two children crouched over the black object.
"What is it, Jen?"
"Looks like a feather."
"Can't be, it's a rock."
"Maybe it's a fossil."
"Cool! I've never seen one that big."
"It's pretty. I think I'll keep it."
These relics are extremely rare, since the process of their
creation is rather tortuous. An angel must first know Numinous Corpus:
Wings and have the Malakite of Stone attunement. Most such angels are of
course Malakim of Stone, hence the name of the relics. The angel must sing
NC: Wings and then take stone form while the Song is still in effect.
Besides needing to get somewhere up high and then take stone form, there is
the tactical use of having a larger than normal area protected by the
Wings, even an enfolded human. Such a form can also be an effective block
to a larger-than-normal-sized passage.
Attempts to damage the angel in this form will, as usual, fail.
However, because the Wings are provided by a Song and are not part of the
angel's Vessel, cosmetic damage can be done to them (though no real harm,
either in Body Hits or carving any kind of passage through). In such
cases, obsidian-black feathers of perfect shape may occasionally be chipped
away from the Wings. Also, David can (as painlessly as he wishes) take
such a chip from the corporeal or celestial wings of any Malakite of Stone,
including himself. (Additional abilities may certainly be conveyed by such
The feathers can be of any size from primaries (0-point size) to
down feathers (wearable). They can be tracked by the original owner, as if
a Song of Affinity were in effect. While carried or worn, the wearer will
in a desperate situation gain a tiny echo of the Malakite of Stone ability,
corporeal, ethereal, or celestial: a corporeal Perfect Balance (if you
don't have Compendium I, think "Olympic gymnast on a beam"), an etheral
Unfazeable (think "Jeeves the Butler waiting patiently"), or a celestial 5
levels of Damage Resistance (I forget if this is an IN concept. Reduce
damage from any attack to the body by 5.)
The Syphonically Aware can instinctively recognize these abilities
and choose when and which to use. The Game Master will decide
(sympathetically, not maliciously) when the ability will take effect for a
mundane who carries one. After a number of uses equal to the originating
Malakite's Celestial Forces, the Chip loses all powers.
There is one truly celestial ability, of use primarily to
artificers. The Chip can be bound into a shield or armor with simple
rituals -- sufficiently sincere prayer will do. (Yes, even a modern
plastic riot shield could use this ability, although a stone feather in
your riot shield might raise questions from your fellows in the force....)
If the wearer ever takes damage that would have been lethal, the Chip
shatters, and no damage reaches the wearer. This is as infinite an ability
as the typical Malakite of Stone attunement is in the GM's campaign world.
If the Chip was created by damaging an angel, the owner will
probably go to some lengths to gain it back and put it to good use. If
David created the Chip, proper ownership will rather give the owner a +1
bonus to reactions from Heaven-aligned spirits who recognize it.
Eli must have been enjoying a fishing trip. This relic appears to
be a bag of ordinary snack food (pick a favorite kind; chips are a common
form). When used to bait a hook, even the worst fisherman can catch enough
for several good meals, assuming there are fish about; and any fish that
has consumed this bait will have all the nutritive properties of manna. If
caught and released, on the other hand, the fish will suffer no pain and
will be extraordinarily healthy and long-lived.
Kobal's version actually grants no extra fishing abilities; rather,
it gives the user the ability to Speak with Fish for a few minutes when one
is caught. The mental "sound" of a fish suddenly impaled with a hook and
yanked out of its atmosphere has put more than one unsuspecting fisherman
off of seafood for life.
Jordi, it should be said, isn't particularly bothered by either
relic. Eli's version can actually help a fish out, and Kobal's version can
be seen as rather useful.
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