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Rating: Not Rated

Daniel Evanson

Male Cult of Ecstasy Mage
Mage: The Awakening (Clair's Canceled Mage Campaign, Take n)

Author's Note

Another old RPG character file I found on my hard drive, I decided to post this without actually re-reading it, so hopefully it's not quite as cheesy as it appeared to be as I was formatting it for posting.

Though this Mage campaign never got off the ground, and in fact Dan never even got statted out, this marked the first time I had ever bothered trying to actually make a character for the Mage setting (as opposed to making a character and shoving them in whether they fit or not). So, make of this what you will.

Dan's Awakening

It was a typical Friday afternoon for Dan. He hadn’t even bothered asking for direct deposit this time. He rarely held one of these office temp jobs long enough for it to kick in anyway. It’s a good thing the bank is open late on Fridays, he thought. After all, they closed a few hours before he typically woke up on Saturdays, and he had to drop off his paycheck at some point.

He spent a few minutes looking for a parking spot near the bank. Even in this part of the city parking was difficult, if not impossible, to find, and today seemed even worse than usual. He finally settled on a spot two and a half blocks away, figuring the exercise would be good for him anyway. As he neared the bank, though, he could see the crowd of people inside. Sighing, he got in line.

The bank was always crowded on Fridays - Dan was hardly the only one who got a paycheck at the end of the week - but this was especially bad. Dan looked at his watch. He cringed as he realized that it was fifteen minutes until closing time. Apparently that traffic had delayed him more than he’d realized. He still had some cash left over, but he wouldn’t get another opportunity to deposit this paycheck for a long while. He looked around for another option.

He had noticed months ago that the ATM machines also served as a check deposit system, but he always worried that his check would never be seen again if he used it. Certainly no one else was depositing their check this way. In fact, no one was using either of the ATM machines in the bank. Dan fought off his apprehension and decided to go ahead and drop off his check. What did he have to lose, other than food for the week?

Looking back, Dan noticed that no one had entered the bank after him. Typical, he thought, as soon as I get on a long line it stops getting longer. It was one of those strange phenomena he never quite understood. At any rate, his bending of the natural laws of consumers didn’t help him get his money. He set about trying to figure out how this deposit thing worked. It was more difficult than he’d thought, and he was too lost in his work to notice the three men enter the bank.

One moment Dan was at the ATM trying to figure out how to deposit his paycheck, and the next he was on the floor taking cover. He’d always been a bit jumpy, but he’d never heard a gunshot that close to him outside of the firing range before. He froze; he had no idea where the shot had come from or where it went, nor was he able to think about it in his panic. Just then, the bank alarm went off. Dan noticed the doors to the outside make a clicking noise. He’d heard that a bank locks down during a robbery, so the culprits can’t make a quick escape. Of course, than meant he couldn’t either.

With his heart rate racing and no clear way out, Dan forced himself to look around. The ATMs were in an alcove at the entrance to the bank with two doors between them and the bank proper. Whatever was going on inside the bank, he couldn’t see it - but no one could see him, either. Just as he was beginning to handle the situation, two more shots rang out. One cracked the glass window not ten feet from Dan, but he had no idea where the other was aimed. He saw the security guard crumple against that same door with a thud. He hadn’t even realized he was hoping someone would save the day until those very hopes had shattered before his eyes.

Everything had happened so fast, Dan hadn’t even noticed the dozens of bank patrons screaming. He alone seemed to have escaped the terror for now, but trapped in this alcove with no escape, the bank robber - or perhaps robbers? - would be sure to notice him. Maybe if I just get down and don’t look up, they’ll leave me alone. A fourth shot rang out. Or maybe I’ll die right here and now. Dan had always had an acute fear of death, and he was on the verge of a panic attack now. He was still on the ground, unwilling to look up at the security guard’s body again.

Only seconds had passed, and four shots had been fired. At least one, likely two, were fired at people other than the security guard Dan saw fall. He thought quickly, are there two security guards, or just the one? He didn’t want to admit it to himself, but he was almost certain there was only one. Whoever was doing the shooting, was most likely shooting customers.

Dan felt like a little child who wanted to pull up the covers and hide from the monsters in the dark. Except he wasn’t a child, and this wasn’t his imagination, it was real. He had always thought about what would he would do if something like this happened, even bragged to his friends about how he’d remain calm and collected. Obviously he had misjudged his own courage. It was that thought that somehow nagged at him. Is this all I can do? Cower and hide and hope they don’t decide to kill me?

But what can I possibly do? he answered himself. He forced himself to look up at the security guard again. Apparently the guard had almost managed to get a shot off - his gun had fallen near his unmoving hand. Seeing the gun made Dan break out into a cold sweat. The one thing that might allow him to do something was right there, not ten feet away. He didn’t want to die, and picking up that gun seemed the fastest way to get killed, but he couldn’t let go of the thought. He had always believed strongly in fate and destiny. Was it his fate to stay here and do nothing, perhaps to be killed by whoever was in there? Or is it your fate to take that weapon and save yourself, and those innocents in there? The thought was powerful, almost alien to him, and yet he couldn’t let go of it.

The fifth shot rang out. Not thirty seconds had passed since the first shot, but oh how things had changed for Dan in those thirty seconds. Fate will not allow you to sit here idly by when you could do something! he screamed at himself. No. It won’t. Dan body began to calm even as his mind raced. It won’t! Only one conclusion was possible.

Making one last look at the gun, Dan stood. There was still the matter of the door. How to get it open and get the gun without the other shooter noticing? He looked over at the second door in the pair, at the crack in the glass. Well, it is bulletproof glass, he reasoned. Taking one last breath, Dan steadied himself. He didn’t allow himself to think about what he was going to do, how unlikely he was to succeed. Fate has spoken. You have no choice but to succeed.

Dan opened the door and swung around the corner, crouching and grabbing the gun. Looking up, he noticed that there was a man in a ski mask with a pistol. As he grabbed the gun, the man turned and saw him. Dan smiled as he pivoted past the door, gun in hand. He dropped to his knee and fired. The bank robber had never managed to pull his gun, aimed at the teller in the opposite direction, all the way around to Dan. His shot hit him square in the shoulder, and the man fell, dropping the gun. Dan began hustling over to the man to make sure he didn’t try to grab the gun again. I did it! he thought.

As he moved toward the robber, his peripheral vision caught movement, and without thinking Dan dove behind the service desk to his right. Kneeling, he popped up above the desk and opened fire just as a second robber appeared in the doorway leading to the back of the bank. He could have sworn that he had seen him before, as he moved toward the first man - but he had only just appeared in the doorway. This was no time for thought, though, as the man had only been hit in the leg, and had almost recovered and taken aim. Dan fire two more shots, hitting the man squarely in the chest. He fell, lifeless, to the ground.

With the fighting apparently over, reality filtered back into Dan’s senses. The bank patrons, scattered across the floor lying face down, were mostly sobbing to themselves. Dan walked over to the first man he had shot. He appeared to still be breathing, but he certainly wasn’t going anywhere. It was at that point that the teller, delirious with fear, managed to stammer “there were th-th-three of them!”

Dan looked around but saw no third man. He knelt down and picked up the man’s gun. Could be useful. You’ve come this far, you have to finish this. The thoughts, he realized, weren’t his, but it didn’t matter. He took the gun and shoved it in his belt behind his back. Hey, it worked in Die Hard. That was his thought.

Dan started moving, crouching, along the main tellers’ desk, toward the door the second man had come through. Before he was halfway there, he saw someone exit the doorway. He held his fire - it was a woman, a bank employee, who was crying uncontrollably. Shortly thereafter, he saw the man, behind her, his gun trained on her head.

“Drop the gun and no one gets hurt! I’m just going to leave quietly, and no one has to die!”

Dan noticed a pool of blood at the teller station he was currently standing at. No one else has to die, you mean? “You can’t get out. The doors are locked down, and that’s bulletproof glass. What do you think you can do?” Still, Dan had put his gun up. Best not to provoke this guy, he was clearly losing it.

“Shut up and drop the gun!” he shouted.

There was only one thing to do. It’s your funeral, he thought. Dan knelt down and slowly dropped his gun. The next moment felt like an eternity.

The man pushed the teller aside and made to fire at Dan. As Dan’s shots ripped through the man’s chest, he considered the man’s two mistakes. Never give up your protection. And always pay attention to both of your enemy’s hands. Dan picked up his gun and tossed the first robber’s gun aside. Not a bad shot, left-handed, Dan thought. Dan looked for the first time, really looked, and saw the man he had shot. He would never be threatening anyone again.

The police had made it abundantly clear that Dan hadn’t done anything wrong, but he knew that. Still, he had killed two men and severely injured a third. That’s not the kind of thing you just shrug off. And it had been the greatest experience of his life - he’d never felt so alive as during that firefight. He wasn’t sure whether to feel guilty about that.

They didn’t need his testimony, and Dan didn’t want any publicity for what he’d done. It’s the same thing anyone would have done in my situation. He smiled. Yeah, right. He’d ask the cops to allow him a measure of anonymity, and they did their best. Sure, his name would leak out and he’d be mentioned in the papers for a while, but in a few months no one would remember Daniel Evanson, except those people whose lives he saved. And that was the way he wanted it.

He didn’t tell the cops everything. He didn’t tell them how his eyes had been opened during that fight. He realized afterward that really, it wasn’t him fighting. Something had happened, and everything had changed. Dan didn’t see the world quite the same anymore, and frankly he had some trouble handling it. It would be the better part of a year before Dan truly understood what had gone on that day, but he would never look back. Fate had called, and Dan had answered. It was time to get on with his life.

(no subject) – January 22, 2007 2:49 PM (edited 1/22/07 9:49 AM)
Airclair (1096 posts) Doesn't Play Well with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I still love this piece.

Re: (no subject) – January 22, 2007 4:21 PM (edited 1/22/07 11:21 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
You know, I don't think I had ever read it before, but it's damn good.

I thought this character relied on an iPod as well though, or was that going to come in post-awakening?

I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo

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