An invitation to a party appears on various university billboards inviting people to the Kappa Alpha Frat house located in the mostly finished Castle Commonwealth mall on the edge of town. The notice instructs people to follow the access road at 67 Lost Nation drive and enter through the back door and promises that signs will be posted to guide people to the party itself.
Zahn looks away. "It was emotions and maybe surface thoughts, things you almost but don't quite say?"
"I think that sounds right."
"And...the connection drops there," Joss notes. "So, it's not a permanent connection." There's something like relief in her voice. "I really want to know who has enough power to bring us here, and give you guys at the very least this ability, without us noticing. That seems like it would take some pretty substantial..." She waves a hand.
"Yeah, have you heard of magic doing teleportation before?"
"Never on this scale," Tamaris shakes her head. "The only people I really know who have it are Reapers, and they can only teleport themselves. And dead people, like ghosts, not bodies. Joss, wha-"
Joss has taken a step forward and has her fingers resting against Tamaris' neck, just over her pulse point. "Okay, you're still alive, Rex-"
Rex moves closer, and rests his own fingers on Joss' neck. Both of them nod.
"Well, we're all alive, so that theory is out..."
"So, either magic is more flexible than you were aware of or we're looking at a combination of magic and technology."
"Or both," Joss suggests, massaging her temples with thumb, index and middle finger of one hand. "There's nothing saying that magic can't be more flexible and this involving advanced technology. So, was there anything else interesting here? Or is it really just the world's creepiest shopping mall?"
"We found these maps," Tamaris holds one out.
Joss takes it.
"They have fewer labels and scales than I would prefer. They seem likely to be useful for giving a rough sense of how big the area is though."
"Maybe the hexagon is meant to be a key somehow, though if it is it's an unlabelled one."
"Feels like a test somehow," Joss comments. "I'm gonna see if I can get in contact with the others. I'll feel better if I know they're okay."
She steps towards the back, looking at her phone again, tapping the screen.
"Yeah, everything here is starting to seem like some sort of weird test."
"It would be really nice if we could figure out what they're testing us for," Rex grumbles quietly. "Intelligence?"
"...I'm getting a little stuck on the infant intensive care unit," Tamaris admits, chewing on her lip slightly. "I mean, unless they know something we don't about our current states of being, or are intending for us to..." She waves a hand.
"Number not recognised," Joss announces as she moves back to them. "So. Either I screwed up building this, or they're wherever we are and equally lacking in signal. Okay. We've reconned somewhat, decided this is the world's creepiest mall, you said there were bikes? Do we want to see if we can get anywhere with them or... Did we see a TV anywhere? I dunno, just, remembering horror films, TVs tend to end up giving you information?"
"Well, we kinda skipped two rooms on that level upstairs in our rush to finish checking out the area. Alternatively, they do tend to sell TVs in some stores that appear in malls."
"Or, we can acquire a TV, I can carry it back up the ramps, and we can then investigate the other two rooms?" Rex suggests. "Means we're not tracking back and forward? And I'm pretty good at heavy lifting if we can't get any information off the TVs in the store?"
"TVs aren't very useful if there isn't anywhere to plug them in. I don't remember seeing a cable hookup anywhere."
"I don't remember seeing any either."
Joss swears, because she doesn't remember that anywhere either. "This place just keeps getting weirder. Screw it, let's go see if those two rooms have answers, and then see if the computers have internet." She starts to stalk off, makes it to the door of the shop, and then stops, taking a deep breath, and looking back to see if the others are following.
Alice at least is following.
Zahn takes one last look around the store but he also follows.
Rex has been following basically on Joss' heels and tilts his head quizzically when she stops.
Tamaris is following a bit slower, and doesn't bother stopping when Joss does, stepping around her to exit the shop.
Joss starts moving again, and heads back for the upper levels and the rooms they'd forgotten to look at.