While drinking at the Cold Mountain Brewery after a successful soup kitchen night at The Center, Richard, Oded, Robin, and Richard’s sister Claire became the center of some form of magickal malfunction (or so some parties have claimed). This ultimately culminated in the forced and violent awakening of Claire. The event nearly killed Claire, and if not for a collective counter-magickal effort by the cabal members she surely would have died. It also led to a bizarre magickal “explosion” like effect during which states of matter in the vicinity of Claire spontaneously inverted and half the bar was destroyed. Claire came out of the event in a comma but medically stable, but further investigation indicated her avatar had been co-opted and mutated into some form of magickal dampening field, leaving her awakened soul shattered but likely bestowing potent latent magickal resistance upon her. The cabal fled the scene with Claire and returned to Richard’s shop shaken and confused.
Further investigation led to new insights. Claire’s experience was artificial, induced by food she had eaten during the soup kitchen night, food that had come as a donation from an organization associated with an Agra company called “Innovagerm”. It was also discovered that similar food stuffs had been provided to schools and charities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Within the carbohydrates of this food is some kind of advanced genetic magickal-bio-eningeered property that subtly re-writes the genetic code of imbibers. Further insight provided by spiritual residents of Richards workshop (whom Oded communed with) indicated in Claire’s case imperceptibly small “nano-gremlins” had interfered in the process, introducing chaos and causing a malfunction and ultimately the disaster at the bar.
Meanwhile, the Sleeper world was responding to the event at the bar as if it was a terrorist attack, and images of the cabal as being involved were appearing on national news sources. Richard’s friend and contact with the police, detective Conor O’Hare, came to the shop to discuss with the cabal what had happened, and to try and facilitate a peaceful resolution. Ultimately he convinced the group to come to the station and speak to some federal specialist who had picked up the investigation. They went to the main police station and awaited the meeting in an interrogation room. The federal agent, a man named Mathias Vogt, turned out to be an agent of the Technocracy, a fact he made no real attempt to hide. He indicated he did not see enemies or threats in the cabal members in this post-War era, and instead thought there may be opportunity for cooperation. He offered a “friendship” built on mutual favors. The first set of favors he proposed was accepted, and so the cabal agreed to not investigate Innovagerm or the food source that induced Claire’s awakening and in return Vogt would make all the police and media attention from the “bombing” go away. Vogt made a compelling argument that the food project from Innovagerm was providing thousands with sustenance and health benefits, and that the reaction Claire had was a rare and unfortunate side effect that the Union was actively working on correcting. His second proposed set of favors was not accepted straight away, however. Vogt offered to cure Claire, to put the very doctors who designed the foodstuff on the task, but in return he (strangely and with limited explanation) requested the cabal bring him a vial of blood from the owner of some biker bar/strip club (Cody “The Ice Cream Man” Sykes, owner of The Bitch’s Nipple). This was a little too much, so the cabal ask for some time to decided. Vogt agreed, and the cabal left the station to ruminate on their options.