|Dates run:||May 25 - June 30, 2007|
|Read the logs:||Immram|
We will make our future of ourselves, of our strength, of our will, of our desire. The Askani can be now. And those who cannot or will not walk the path, we will leave behind.
First Nathan, then Wanda meet a strange woman with knowledge of the Askani and their philosophy - which she's twisted beyond recognition.
Alone at a charity ball in New York when Moira is called back to Muir, Nathan met a woman who introduced herself as Tara Trask, professor of gender history at Bryn Mawr College. She seemed very interested in him, which made him uncomfortable. After dinner, some awkward conversation, and a dance, he departed the ball early, only to discover a note in Askani in his jacket, reading 'I know who you are and I know what you've seen'.
Nathan tried to contact her, even calling Bryn Mawr, but her departmental office was unhelpful, telling him that she was traveling prior to taking up a visiting professorship elsewhere. His own efforts to track her down were unfruitful. Over the course of the next few weeks, he continued to search for her. Around the same time, he began to have very vivid dreams of the Askani again, and started slipping into the Askani language every so often. He also began to look increasingly tired and strained, although he wrote it off to the stress of other events at the mansion. He also told no one about his encounter with Trask, feeling compelled to keep it to himself.
At the end of June, Wanda - completely in the dark about the earlier events with Nathan - met Trask at Columbia, where she had just taken up her visiting professorship. Trask invited Wanda to lunch with some of her former students the next day; Wanda accepted, but showed up at the restaurant to find them speaking Askani to each other. Shocked and unsettled, she slipped out and headed to the mansion to see Nathan. Equally shocked, he confessed to his prior encounter with Trask, which sparks an argument between himself and Wanda - Nathan urging her to stay away from Trask, Wanda pointing out that avoidance couldn't be the answer. In the end, she had to leave him to think about it.
The next morning, Nathan awoke disoriented and feeling ill. Faced with a fretful Rachel, he opened his shields to try and figure out what in the ambient psi-atmosphere was bothering her - and collapsed on the kitchen floor, unconscious. Rachel screamed loudly enough for every psi on the grounds to hear her, and by the time Kurt and Cain made their way to the boathouse, she had erected a TK bubble around herself and her father. It took an intervention from Charles to get her to drop it, and Jean arrived at the boathouse to check Nathan over.
In the infirmary, she established that there was nothing physically wrong with him. Charles pointed out the problem - a total inversion of Nathan's shields, an extreme defensive reaction. He helped Jean enter Nathan's mind, where she faced a chaotic mindscape and a very upset manifestation of Nathan's subconscious. Eventually she managed to calm him for long enough to identify the cause of the defensive reaction - another presence, not precisely telepathic, had invaded his mind and the inversion of his shields had been done subconsciously to trap her. Jean helped Nathan restore his shields to normal and withdrew from his mind only to discover that five hours had passed.
Charles managed to briefly trap the astral presence as it tried to retreat. He was able to identify her as Trask and established how she had managed to invade Nathan's mind undetected - she was not a standard sort of psi, and had only entered his subconscious, to explore his memories of the Askani.
Later that day, Wanda and Jean went to Trask's home to confront her. They discovered that she was an astral projector who had, in essence, been spying on Askani, who had been unaware of her presence. The two had never communicated, but Trask had been inspired by what she'd seen, and had devoted years to trying to create an Askani Sisterhood of her own in the present day. Her take on Askani philosophy was seriously warped, almost Social Darwinist in nature. Very angry, Wanda and Jean warned her to stay away from Nathan and the two of them. Trask agreed - but only for the time being.
Returning to the mansion, Wanda spoke to a drowsy and exhausted Nathan, who was nonetheless determined that they needed to figure out a way to prevent Trask from misusing Askani's legacy. Wanda promised to keep an eye out while Nathan was recovering.
Trivia and Meta
After his collapse, Nathan found himself being hustled off to Santorini for a vacation by his concerned (and rather angry) wife. It was the first real vacation the couple had taken together since their honeymoon.
Tara Trask is based on the comics canon character Tanya Trask, also known as Madame Sanctity.
An immram is an Old Irish tale concerning a hero's journey to the Otherworld.