'Cause there was a bachelor party.
We open with the characters chilling out and talking about the events of last time. They shared what they'd learned about Leslie and the cave-in and so forth, and decided more information was necessary. They figured that someone should talk to Mike, since he apparently knew what had happened, and maybe someone should talk to Madison. Matt also wanted to get back on the mountain and find the wolves before anything bad happened.
Enoch thought about the issue a bit (using Occult from his Residual Memory) and noted that a werewolf about to Change exhibits some of the same symptoms. It was usually accompanied by increased spirit activity, and so were the wolves in the forest spirits? Skip would have known, but he wasn't around anymore. The characters examined this theory and figured there actually wasn't much evidence for it, but maybe it bore some searching. Avalon used Tainted Azoth to try and make herself more like Leslie, figuring if he was something other than human they could figure that out. But her Azoth looked mostly the same...except that something was ever so slightly off. Her rhythms had changed, but not in a way that the characters could identify or even really pinpoint (only Grimm and Feather noticed the difference at all). Feather, Enoch and Matt consulted Elpis.
Feather, thinking about whether or not Leslie was a werewolf, saw him standing on a precipice or a balcony or something. He threw back his head to howl, but just made the "modem connecting" noise. Wolves down below saw him and howled properly, and then crawled up over each other to get at him. He reached out for an unseen figure, but not for help - he was trying to throw the figure over the ledge. The wolves were trying to stop him.
Matt wandered in the woods, thinking about the wolves and where they were. He saw the wolves in the trees, but they were shadows, puppeted by something bigger. He knew if he reached the top of the mountain, he could find it, but he would be drained from the effort.
Enoch saw Leslie as a puppet, hollow and controlled by wires (like a Muppet). He reached out with a tool and clipped the wires, and Leslie collapsed, able to move under his own power again. Enoch looked at the tool and realized that Avalon would know what it was.
Meanwhile, Avalon watched some Youtube videos on bartending and hairstyling. Grimm went downstairs to talk to Mike, and heard he and Babhi talking. Babhi mentioned that he and Stephanie (Serena's sister) had a fling while Serena and Babhi were on a "break," and Mike advised Babhi not to tell Serena - it would just hurt her, and there was no reason to do that for something that wasn't going to happen again or have any other bearing on their lives. Grimm entered and waited until Babhi left, and then asked Mike casually about Leslie. A couple of good Social rolls later, Mike revealed that he and Leslie had been skiing in Wyoming and been caught in a cave-in. They'd been stuck in a cave, and Mike had panicked, but Leslie had held it together pretty well. He'd walked back into the cave, looking for a way out. But since then, he'd become withdrawn, strange, and restless.
Grimm brought this news back to the others. Enoch drew a sketch of the tool to Avalon, and she confirmed it was a tool for building clocks - for doing fine manipulation of inner workings of delicate machinery. She did not have anything comparable with her, though she could make one using Transformation if necessary.
Avalon talked to Olly again, and he told her what to expect at the bachelor party (that is, porn on the big screen, Mike and Babhi shooting pool, and Damien trying to get her into bed). Avalon asked Olly why he wouldn't be trying to get her into bed, and he got all flustered (and slipped deeper into Disquiet).
Matt talked to the women about to go their bachelorette party, trying to ingratiate himself and get information from Madison, but the Social dice weren't as kind and he came off as creepy (and Disquieting).
The hour of the bachelor party drew near. Avalon went downstairs to tend bar. The others got together in their room to continue discussions. Feather and Grimm went upstairs, got into Madison and Leslie's room and took a bit of his hair from his comb. They gave it to Fluffy to analyze, who stressed (repeatedly) that he couldn't do an in-depth analysis, but some of the matter looked inorganic. Feather, interested, gave him some of her hair, and he said that was organic - the "alive yet not living" organic of a Promethean, but organic. Realizing that Avalon could perform this kind of analysis, Grimm went downstairs to cover for her for a minute.
Downstairs, Olly talked to Grimm while he tended bar, and asked if he was "man made" too. Grimm covered nicely, reminding Olly that Avalon was a burner, but Olly said that he was well familiar with the effects of weed and it doesn't make you hallucinate what he had seen. Grimm steered the conversation away, and Damien (drunk) kind of jumped in and derailed things.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Avalon used Identification on the hair, and realized that there were traces of aluminum in the root. It was as though the hair was partially metal and partially flesh, and the characters had not seen anything like it. Enoch and Avalon talked briefly about Isolde, her creator, and Enoch realized he knew her by contact, but she'd always been more interested in clockworks. He asked Fluffy about attempts to create inorganic Prometheans, and Fluffy mentioned Ganon BioMimetics in Cincinnati, but there was some unpleasantness and that creation vanished some time back. (What? Doesn't everyone do callbacks to games they ran seven years ago?)
The characters figured that something was pulled Leslie's strings, but they didn't know what or why. Avalon went back to the party. Olly sat at her bar and talked with her, and then Damien came over, drunk, and started flirting (badly) with Avalon and pushing Olly (verbally). She told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to go away, and earned a milestone (confront a human being over an inappropriate action). She gained the In Vino Veritas Transmutation, and decided to wait out the party and use it on Leslie.
Serena came downstairs and got Babhi, reminding him that she needed him to be fresh-faced for the wedding tomorrow. The other folks headed upstairs, and Leslie was one of the last (Olly was hanging out and waiting for Avalon). He expressed an interest in her coming upstairs with him, but she told him she needed to tend to Leslie, and he seemed to understand. She helped Leslie up, and used the Transmutation on him. He told her that he'd seen something in the cave, and something was telling him to do things. Sometimes he went away, and he did things he didn't mean to. Things echoed around in his head, like in a cave, and he couldn't get them out. And then he slumped, and his voice changed, becoming deeper and more even. The voice told Avalon that the program would be completed.
And upstairs, in the characters' room, Avalon's clock started ticking louder.
Next time, the characters are going out into the snow, looking for the wolves.