The Synthoid calls P&R about an alien incursion; they arrive and meet John, an anthropologist from Zarious9, in a local bar. They take him to the comic shop.
Paul's powers disappear. Ringo throws comics at him, hoping to trigger his powers spontaneously, but no such luck. Paul goes into the alley/shack, but is unable to commune with his supervisiors. Paul tries to contact ford, the watchman inspector, but no sign of him. Ringo tries to figure out what's happening by eviscerating a pigeon to read. “Something Bad is Coming”, say the entrails. Ringo flies up and conjures a storm, trying to divine the clouds. The clouds hand him the entire module. It looks bad.
Using John's transport, they head to Dodge city, where Paul gets hank to provide him with a battlesuit. John helps with enhancements (such as making it actually operable for someone without TK).
John offers his assistance in intergalactic communication, and patches Paul through to Alef, the Watchman of the ophiuchi system. Through him they contact someone from the Watchman monitoring group, and learn about an ancient war where an outside force took over the power of the Watchmen and tried to replace them. Little is known of this event. John helps them talk to a researcher on his own planet, Constantine, who has a cute student who has done some work on the topic, and tells them of a legend or story about a Watchman who was able to fight back against the takeover and regain his power through sheer willpower.
Realizing that if someone has assumed Paul's Watchman powers he should be instantly recognized by every alien on the planet, they use John to search for the usurper. They find the terran replacement Watchman in a dorm house (frat house?) in Boston, near MIT. Before setting off, they hook up with Partyman/Bacchus, who gets them there. The new Watchman is a 16-year old wunderkind called Craig Sotheby, who immediately when confronted comprehends his powers, levitates the entire room, swats away all ineffectual attacks and flies off. Ringo has his hands full preventing the building from breaking up.
They also talk to the Synthoid about trying to track down psychic energy and find Ford(o), and he tells them that the Embassy scanners revealed that Ford was a being of pure psychic energy. He also gives them the lowdown on Sotheby's background.
Using psychic scanners, they discover a spike of power in the Bronx. They enter a hairdresser salon there, and share an intense moment with Shwanda Brown, a 40-something hairdresser assistant and fortune teller. Ringo tries to get her to focus her psychic abilites on the source of the spike. She makes contact and begins to panic, causing all the lights in the salon to burst. Bacchus manages to calms her and to try and show them what she just saw. The mind she contacted was clearly Ford, inhabiting another body, and he was aware of her. Bacchus gets her to focus on the view from the window she just saw and lets the others study it. It is a view of Central Park, and P&R recognize it as a place they've been before: its the uptown penthouse where they met Perry Neimand, aka Perseus Nemo, the high-level NY member of the thor_network.
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