Call the Thunder is a story by Joe Gunnarson which primarily features Eldritch, but includes a lot of other activity at Whateley Academy between December 10, 2006 and December 14, 2006. This perhaps most notably includes several of the Fall 2006 Combat Finals. In the Eldritch and Outcast Corner series of stories, it is preceded by Upheaval, and succeeded by Ashes and Steel. It runs largely in parallel with the Fey story Ill Winds.
This is incomplete! I've put in a few events, but there's more that needs to be added.
Chapter 1 - Let's Play a GameEdit
Story Released on 2007-11-25.
Reverend Englund finds himself visiting Gunny Bardue after the events of the 2006 Halloween invasion, and forced to eat crow regarding his involvement therein. The two observe Eldritch running through some of the most difficult simulation runs, including the Dragonslayers, which Erik Mahren had helped code into the system years ago. Englund recognizes that Caitlin is in fact Erik Mahren, and is informed that he is on extremely thin ice. During this, Bardue and Englund discuss several of Mahren's psychological issues, such as his habitual alcoholism and severe PTSD.
Following this, the staff meet up for their yearly meeting on whom to include in the Crash, a variation on the Combat Finals which puts select students into unconventional situations—either as a select challenge, or to make a point. While the previous years had regularly tapped the Capes and the Grunts, this year the staff decide to make use of Team Kimba and Outcast Corner, as two of the most unconventional parts of the student body. During the discussion, Bardue states flat-out that Eldritch will not be taking part against any potential magical anomalies. He does not, however, raise any objections to Jericho being paired up against Carmilla... which may be a slice of revenge against both headaches.
Eldritch finally succumbs to cabin fever at O-dark-stupid and goes on an early morning walkabout, her path leading her from her makeshift cell, through the ranges (where she wards several weapons against her problematic aura), and then towards Poe Cottage. While there, she happens across a set of recruiting agents who quickly fall victim to the twin weapons of duct tape and baling wire, as well as her irascible aura. This happens to wake up several members of Team Kimba, who initially mistake her malice as caused by some of Fey's hobgoblins. Upon learning that the target was a recruiter, and that the perpetrator was a fellow student, the freshmen return to their cottage after a quick call to security.
Security responds as is their wont, and after verifying not just one incapacitated recruiter, but three, eventually track down the perpetrator in the Range Four Armory. Samantha Everhart is dispatched to the "Cage", and after finding it impenetrable to even her technopathic powers, verifies her standing on the staff with Caitlin. After a brief conversation, the two return to Kane Hall, where Chief Delarose discusses the situation with Sam... a discussion which is punctuated by Caitlin's entirely too happy retrieval of Backdraft's ivory-handled pistol from the felonious hands of Lieutenant Trout. During this, Sam twigs to Caitlin's prior identity.
The chapter concludes with Chief Delarose informing Sam that she should play it cool—and ensure that Trout's range counts be entirely in line with norm.
Chapter 2 - Wake-up CallEdit
Jericho opens the day in a frightfully perky mood, no doubt assisted by coffee, as he regales the Fury Twins, and by extension the rest of the Outcasts, with a tale of the madness which so frequently turns the Workshops into a combat zone. His story, within whom the losers are Jobe, Belphegor and Nephandus, is met with general acclaim, concluding just as Eldritch approaches. While initially met with distrust due to the pair having been burned too many times, Phobos and Deimos gradually warm up to the Artificer when it becomes clear that, despite being full of rage, none of the hailstorm of emotions coming from Eldritch is directed at them. During the conversation, Eldritch also notes a prank gone horribly wrong against her in the Tunnels, where Jericho inadvertently doused her in liquid nitrogen, followed by half the tunnel in question being ruined by an aura explosion. Stan and Morrie, it is mentioned, have already begun their own revenge.
The scene goes to the opening stage of the Fall 2006 Combat Finals, where Outcast Corner takes their seats alongside the Underdogs, allies and compadres that they are. A brief explanation of the rules this year—the Spindle and its associated handling—are provided, as well as a view at a few MIDs: specifically, those belonging to Heyoka and Cerebrex.
Despite the name 'Combat' being right there in the title, Heyoka takes a comparatively unconventional approach to the final, working towards hir strengths by disorienting, taunting, and confusing the notoriously incompetent Alvin Cuthbert; hir opening move is simply to notify the police in the simulation, which is met with great approval by Gunny, Wilson and Ito. Using a small array of holdouts such as firecrackers, Heyoka manages to pull off an upset against unlikely odds.
A couple hours later, Fey is found in the Crystal Hall complaining to Chaka that something seems to be twisting and tangling the leylines in the vicinity of Whateley, playing hob with her spells. After some mutual teasing, Razorback comes up and declares that most of the 'Wild Bunch', the group fighting the Bastard and the Voodoo Wolves, will be out of the immediate picture during the holidays due to a run to Darwin, Australia. Fey asks him and Jericho to inform Ben, Eloise and the rest of the Medawihla pack, to which he agrees.
As the rest of Outcast Corner, the Kimbas, and indeed most of the student body watches Chaka's combat final, Eldritch makes a few small reparations, at least on a professional level, with Amelia Hartford, who provides her with a proper set of ID. Caitlin returns to the Arena just in time to watch Nephandus being escorted out in pain, and to be told that the combat final simply can't be given proper respect with mere words. As she grouses about this and begs for more details, Jericho and Razorback take their leave, heading to the Medawihla Reservation in order to let them know their vacation plans.
After passing through The Grove, the dynamic duo meet up with Ben and Eloise Donner, accepting an invitation to dinner and all the meat they can stuff down. Caitlin, meanwhile, finishes moving her stuff from Kane to Hawthorne, and has a chat with Fubar over a few games of chess, all of which she gracefully loses.
Breaker heads to Poe in order to give Lancer an offer to join the Grunts, and winds up overhearing a discussion between the members of Team Kimba regarding the Voodoo Wolves and their efforts to stop them. He starts by issuing an ultimatum to the team: either they cut him in on what's going on, or they can no longer rely on Mule and Bunker's support in the situation. After stepping out with Lancer, Breaker admits that he already knew the bones of that story, but that it's difficult for people to ask for help—and so he decided to press the issue. He also makes the offer to rush Lancer, who promises he'll think about the opportunity.
Back at the Reservation, Jericho and Razorback meet up with Carmilla, a rather happy occasion marred by the general jerkishness of Carl Donner. The were, who had hitherto tormented Cyberkitty to his severe detriment, doesn't get the point that Razorback is not to be messed with, and following the destruction of his truck, winds up with his femur torn out. The three students discuss how Jack has been on edge for the last while, something which usually only occurs when the Voodoo Wolves are in force, and wonder why they aren't knee-deep in Class X material already... just in time for an attack to ensue.
With no friendly casualties in the resultant fight, Joe finds himself slumped over and exhausted as Sara comforts him, and the two commiserate with one another briefly before figuring that they might as well be on a first-name basis, then retiring for the evening.
Chapter 3 - All's Fair in Fun and ChaosEdit
Story Released on 2008-01-14.
This chapter covers the events of 2006-12-12.
Having drawn the O-Dark-Stupid shift by hook, crook or unabashed cheating, Samantha Everhart manages to once again catch Caitlin Bardue hunting The Least Dangerous Game... at least, by Whateley's standards. After informing the two perpetrators about how lucky they are that she caught them, she frog-marches them—and carefully guides Caitlin—over to Security.
A few hours later, Jericho wakes up and, fueled by scrounged-up coffee, goes out to see the sunrise, joined by Carmilla. They talk for a while about how nobody really has any really sane response to the insane—but, then, the crazies have to stick together in order to approximate a pretty good sane. They continue to shoot the bull for a little longer, and have a discussion about the nature of God, then part ways and head back to Whateley.
As Caitlin and Samantha finish booking the trespassers, Sam lets Caitlin know that she's twigged to her prior identity... and also releases details of her own former life, that of Admiral Sam Everhart. The two talk about their own lives as they retire to the Cage on Range 4, and briefly discuss the security mechanisms inherent... which is then followed by a fist-fight as Everhart intentionally pushes most of Caitlin's buttons. Everhart also specifically calls Caitlin out in this regard, calling her a coward, on the assumption that Caitlin will get spitting mad... which, of course, she does.
Once the rest of the student body wakes up, the story turns briefly to Lancer, who is forced to admit to the rest of his teammates that he's been tapped for the Grunts. He explains the situation to mixed reactions across the board, ranging from the rarefied to the merely suspicious.
The Astral Squad also start discussing the Outcast Corner and their new addition, in a much less pleasant way. They bring up how Diamondback is starting to break free of a variety of astral binding, and A.D. discloses that he and Artefact had tried to exorcise Eldritch. Fubar warns everyone off on general principles, even as he provides some left-handed applause to Heyoka's final flair in the combat final.
As the Outcasts finally meet for breakfast, Diamondback finally demands to be let into the Wild Bunch, citing the fact that if anyone can learn to shield against the badness, it's her. Following this hammer-blow of common sense, Jericho briefly approaches the Team Kimba table, hits up Generator for some Hello Kitty clothing in his size, then asks the team to help Diamondback learn to shield. Fey agrees.
Eldritch heads to the Crystal Hall after the major lunch rush, and manages to find a singular seat for herself as she devours her food, upset as she is with herself, Hive, the medical establishment, the school, and more. Unfortunately, she is not alone, and Nephandus and Techno-Devil both take notice of her, the former more than the latter. She-Beast, however, has heard of Eldritch by this point, and decides to keep watch in order to keep her brother from killing himself.
Chapter 4 - The Beatings will Continue Until Morale ImprovesEdit
Chapter 5 - Idiots 'R UsEdit
Chapter 6 - There is no homework, only Zuul!Edit
Chapter 7 - Screw this melancholy crap!Edit
Caitlin finishes her run with Zenith and Breaker. She mentions Worm only to ignore all the implications. She gets them to roust out Slapdash, Thrasher and Aquerna. Aquerna bows out as she has other things she has to get done. They agree to pick up the Parkour again. While they’re talking, Lifeline and Vox are called for their combat final.
Caitlin joins the Outcasts and shows Jericho a trick with food and jello. Jimmy Trauger and Razorback get called for their combat final in Holbrook Arena. They join Chou and Hank in Holbrook Arena. In the discussion, Chou mentions her and Caitlin’s run-in with Nephandus, and then passes a message to Jericho from the Tao not to interfere with him. Jimmy and Razorback finally settle the matter with three rounds of rock-paper-scissors.
Franklin Delarose finally reads file Dx-211-23-DS-Foxtrot, and is not a happy camper. He discusses it with Admiral Everhart and finds out that the reason he has it has more to do with one of the incidents. Everhart destroys the file on the molecular level.
Imperious, Stygian and Counterpoint take a run at Eldritch. The outcasts take a run at them. Eldritch teaches all three a lesson, and then Circe intervenes to finish up the mess. Afterwards, she has a long talk with the Outcasts, and Diamondback inadvertently gives her the clue she’s been seeking. The ashes of her old life.
- Three Little Witches
- Chuan Lien-Hua (A previous Handmaid of the Tao. She killed one of Eldritch's previous Artificer lives.)
- Dodson (A person that is called for the "monster squad". Appears only in this story.)
- Worm - Reference only
- Lamplighter Reference only
- Aquerna - Reference only
- Lifeline - Reference only - Combat Final
- Vox - Reference only - Combat Final
- Nephandus - Reference only
- Razorback - Combat Final
- Jimmy Trauger - Combat Final
- Hippolyta - Mention only
- Tennyo - Mention only
- Sara - Cameo appearance
- Discussion of speedster classes, rager classes
- Mach-5 - Mention
- Chief Delarose
- Admiral Everhart
- Clay Buxton - cameo mention
- Lt. Trout - cameo mention
- Colonel Pearson - mention
- Someone unknown - probably Nephandus.
- Gloriana - Mention
- Gypsy - Mention