....how strange

A Sphere And A Key

When Antonio and Dinah decide to hunt down Salvatore to ask him if he knows anything about the drugs, Frankie volunteers, as someone that Salvatore doesn’t know. However, his real intentions are to explore more of the back rooms.

Either way, he is immediately accosted by the sight of a huge bluish-clear sphere with Tommy suspended inside, in the middle of reaching out. Frankie inspects the sphere and discovers it impenetrable. When Dinah, Tony, and Crono follow him outside, they are also immediately drawn to the sphere. Tony, in a lowkey panic, shoots the sphere—the bullet ricochets and hits Crono in the arm.

Frankie, remembering that Alyssa was the last person alone with Tony, runs off down the hall, opening doorways and searching for her. In this way he alarms one working desk jockey, but he’s off down the stairs before the man can do more than reach the hallway and unholster his gun. Dinah and Tony catch up to him then, Dinah pushing the floating Tommy sphere (Crono is trailing behind them, focusing on trying to puzzle out what this sphere is), and he immediately says, “What the hell is that?”

Dinah says not to worry about it and the worker thinks that’s a pretty good idea.

He tells them that the crazy man who he didn’t recognize ran off down the stairs, so the three of them (plus Tommy) start heading down the stairs.

Two stories downstairs, Frankie heads into the parking structure. He can see people talking at the end of the room, so he hid behind a car in order to change into something more… comfortable.

Tony and his new friend start checking the first floor of the parking structure, while Dinah, Crono, and Tommy head one level down. Dinah hides the sphere behind a car in the back while Frankie approaches the group of people in the back of the room in a perfect womanly disguise.

However, his attempts to flirt with the Customer Service Representative are cut short when a gun is shoved in his face. He pretends to be frightened (probably not untrue) and runs away behind a car. The Customer Service Rep and his ÜberMook friend forget about his existence, and instead focus on finishing their Evil Dramatic Monologue to Carter.

Dinah and Crono approach Alyssa, whose existence behind a car went absolutely unnoticed by Frankie for like a solid half hour, and they talk a little—and part of their conversation makes Alyssa realize Crono is Quickened and entrust him with her business card—but then the Customer Service Rep, wielding an old-fashioned key, opens a portal to a different recursion and pushes Carter. through.

“It’s time to put you somewhere where you’ll never be a problem for us again.”

Alyssa immediately stands up and starts shooting, starting something of a battle, getting shot a couple times in return. The Customer Service Rep shuts the door behind Carter. For a moment, Dinah gets everybody to stop shooting, and smart-talks her way right up to the CSR’s side and slips the old-fashioned key right into her pocket. Then she pretends to get scared and runs off.

Frankie slips into the door unnoticed during the fight between the CSR, the ÜberMook and Alyssa, only to discover that it is nothing more than a maintenance room. Dinah, on her way out to retrieve Tony and his friend, pushes Tommy’s sphere far enough into the fight so as to stop the ÜberMook from shooting Alyssa—effectively stopping the fight for a few moments, as the CSR and the ÜberMook have to adjust to seeing Capo Snub-Nose floating in the middle of a giant sphere.

Frankie uses the opportunity to take the CSR down with his chloroform. As Alyssa shoots and Dinah runs away, Crono builds a bomb using his Science Equipment and chucks it at the ÜberMook. It doesn’t kill him, but it does allow Frankie another opportunity to use his chloroform. Dinah returns with Tony and his friend shortly before the ÜberMook goes down.

Frankie finds a cypher on the Mook and Crono finds one on the CSR—but neither of them have the key. Alyssa determines to bring in all three of them to the small Estate outpost in Las Vegas and use them as a small team in order to recover the key and rescue Carter.

Alyssa, Tony, Dinah, Frankie, and Crono comprise the group of people playing I Spy and flirting on the way to the office building. Alyssa lets them (but not Tony) through the harsh security. When Tom sees them, he stops her and asks where she found all these Quickened people. Alyssa bluffs and says she of course knew they were Quickened, which was not at all what Tom had asked, and brings them into the conference room for briefing.

She tells all three of them about the Strange and the Estate, what that key is (a very rare recursion key which will work in any lock), and what it means to be Quickened. She also touches on Spiral Dust, the Vegas outpost, and Carter, as well as what cyphers are. She also mentions that quantum physics is a very dangerous field as far as the Strange is concerned, and it’s for that reason that they’ve been keeping an eye on Crono and his research.

She asks them in what she believes to be an inspiring way for help in this crusade. All three of them agree, with various levels of intensity. Alyssa gives them each a cypher and drives them (and Tony, who’d been waiting outside) back to the casino—where Frankie, Dinah, and Crono immediately convince her to stay in the car. For security purposes. Of course.

With a promise that she’ll come looking for them if they don’t update her in an hour or two, she lets them leave. Tony returns to his work, and Dinah pulls Crono and Frankie into her backstage dressing room in order to let them know that she has the key.

With unanimous enthusiasm, the three of them immediately open a portal and enter The Noir.

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