There's No Such Thing as Monsters

Alright, it's been awhile. Time to get back into it. And as soon as I get back from work this evening I'm going to replace this with a real description as well as an intro for each character.

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Trapturtle's picture

One Missed Call

After digging his cell phone out from under the mountain of take out cartons and research notes, Jerry Smalls sees he has a missed call from a payphone a few blocks away. Checking the voice-mail, there's a four second message left there.

"See you at three twenty"

The message is from Artie Hollows, junkie, paranoid nut-job, and probably the best informant Jerry's even had on the Shadowside. Somehow he's gotten info on everything from shady corporate experiments to government conspiracies. Of course none of it was verifiable and any evidence had a tendency to vanish into thin air.

The drill's always been the same. Meet him at the bench on third street two and half hours before the time he leaves on the phone. Come alone and bring a paper bag filled with money. Looking at the clock on his phone, Jerry doesn't have much time before the meeting, and it's best not to be late, Artie's a twitchy little bastard. If anything goes wrong, he dissapears for weeks, though he always comes back. He always needs the money.

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Trapturtle's picture

Good morning Sunshine.

[Cue wakes up to the familiar, yet still disturbing sound of Shoemaker's voice. He was always there now, waiting right outside her peripheral vision. Always standing right behind her, whispering in her ear.]

We've got work to do my busy little bee, and we don't have time to waste.

[A few minutes ago she was having a dream. The details were gone now, leaving her with nothing but a faint feeling of melancholy.]

Get ready and gather your things, further instructions will follow.

[His voice goes silent, though Cue knows he's still listening, always present.]

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Trapturtle's picture

Lady Luck

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Wake up! Yury, get to your feet. What the hell happened?

[The cold pavement quickly brings Yury to his senses. What happened? And how did he get here? He tries to think, to concentrate, but his head feels like it's been beaten by a jackhammer.]

Wait a minute, you're phone is gone. I need to get into a network. Give me a sec..........

We're in New York, and it's 2014. Whatever happened, we were gone for over a year. I've heard of people getting lost in the Shadowside, but most people don't last that long. Nobody comes back after a week or so. Though first thing's first. We need to get some clothes.

[Looking around, Yury can confirm he was indeed laying on the sidewalk in Central Park, naked.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Oops forgot we use cards
Rolled 8d12. Result: 6, 9, 8, 2, 12, 7, 12, 8 = 64.

Jerry Smalls

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Jerry's tongue clicks incessantly against the roof of his mouth, alternating to teeth chattering the same rhythm. He eyes the red yarn lines stretching across the map, the whole thing pinned to a cardboard diorama propped up on the dresser. It looks like a science fair project at first glance. But the newspaper clippings and photographs around the map edges speak about it's real meaning. His hands are busy tying shoe laces.

"Artie. Artie Artie. Artie."

Jerry's left eye has been twitching. He can't tell if it's a nervous tic, or he's having minor strokes. He dabs a hand towel against the sweat of his head. His hands check each pocket. Keys in back of his pants, electronics to the left jacket pocket, wallet to the right.

The cheap tiny tape recorder clicks in his hand, the motion is nearly subconscious. "Chocodiles. Remember to look for Chocodiles." he mutters quietly into it.

He's at the door already. Seconds, that's all he's got. Seconds. The clock is mocking him from the wall. It's one of those old classic schoolroom clocks, big numbers and round. He liberated it from an old abandoned Kindergarten, after he'd hid in a janitor's closet to watch two men exorcism the devil from some woman. Took it as a souvenir. Those men were so angry when the photographs and story of their work went online.

Anytime Jerry Smalls wasn't receiving death threats in his inbox it was a slow week.

Third street. The mostly inflated tires of the Studebaker rolled along, only one hubcap remained but it was loose and rattled softly. A teetering wobble back and forth. Third street isn't far. Cash, he's got barely enough stuffed into the bag. He'll have to hit an ATM soon.

As the car nears the location, he circles the block. Eyes scout out every vehicle. How many of them are black suit? How many Illuminati agents have eyes on this place? He shakes his head, fluttering his eyes. No. That's crazy. Paranoia is the act of exaggerating possibility.

Hollows is small fry. The New World Order doesn't care about small fries. CLICK "There is no new world order. It's a hoax." he mutters into the recorder "Sleepers real, but numbers are highly overestimated."

Once he's sure the area looks safe, Jerry pulls into a parking lot. Early. Always early. Even if he has to rush to be early. Being late is when people make mistakes. Early allows him to meditate and calm himself.

"Alright Artie. We play the waiting game." Jerry is turning a tiny rubber Halloween eyeball over and over in his fingers. The repetition of the movement soothes him.

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Forge's picture

Destiny!
Rolled 8d20. Result: 5, 9, 17, 15, 11, 14, 15, 10 = 96.
My bad for rolling d20's; force of habit. These are proper d12's.
Rolled 8d12. Result: 7, 9, 7, 6, 12, 12, 8, 8 = 69.

Yury Konstantin

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Hahahhahaaa!

Yury finds this so funny for some reason. He rolls over onto the grass.

"I am not feel the strange [he says to no one who can hear him, other than the beautiful and mysterious, and possibly dangerous succubus who lives inside his head]. Leettle headache only. Bad drink, maybe? Hahahaa"

He just remains there, laying on the grass for a minute. It's not as cold as Russia, that's for sure. He smiles at the trees, smiles at the sky, scratches his belly, lazily.

"Gotta find Boris! [He says, as memories, like a forgotten dream, begin to seep back into his mind] perhaps get clothes too. Ah, network, yes. Ooh tall buildings... This is New York! [He finally gets back up on his feet, and begins to hum Sinatra] dan-dan-dandadan, dan-dan-dandadan... Start spreading... The news..."

He starts walking towards the nearest couple walking about, opening his arms and singing "I'm leaving todayyyy... [He spins a full turn and sings louder] I want to be is part of it, New York, New Yooork.."

They run away from the crazy naked singing man. He holds a pebble in his hand and watches as the man reaches into his pocket, while running away with his girlfriend, surely looking for his cellphone. But Presto! The man instead finds a pebble; Yury just needed to know which pocket.

"I am a wake up! In the city, is never sleep! [Sings Yury as he twirls the cellphone in his hand like an old west gunslinger] and find is A number 1 [he turns it on, unlocks it] top of the list [browses to freecandy.hackz0rs-R-us.rus/lovemachine] king of the hill [downloading...] A number onnnne.... [Hits OK... The phone screen flickers as Lady Luck starts to possess it like a bad infection...] theeeese vagabond shoes..."

Lady Luck knows the play book. She finds an anarcho-punk community in Google Plus -there's everything in New York!- and posts a "NUDIST FLASHMOB AT CENTRAL PARK, HURRY! DON'T LET THE MAN TELL YOU WHAT TO WEAR!!" then supplements it with a selfie of Yury coyly posing like the Coppertone girl.

"I'm make is brand new start of it! New York, New Yooork!"

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-=[Live Forever]=-

MrSmug's picture

'Cue' Nichols

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"Shit, a work day." Cue claws her way out of bed.

It's been a few weeks since Shoemaker came calling. She was worried that he'd gone wise to her trick. Two months and he hasn't mentioned the posts. If she doesn't look at the screen when she types, maybe he can't read the words. So far, it's just been innocent stuff, trying to tease him into admitting... well, trying to get Shoemaker to admit anything would take some kind of astral alignment or tectonic plate shifting underfoot.

If she can get off a few emails without him knowing, she can start her big bad move.

In the meantime, she's got to play nice. Not too nice, but nice enough.

Tugging on a dirty pair of jeans, she rifles through her passports and loops the cursed camera over her neck. "So where do you need me tonight?"

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Trapturtle's picture

The streetlight above the bench flicker, it feels like Jerry's been waiting there for days, though the clock says it's only been half an hour. This wasn't too unusual, Artie wasn't exactly the most punctual source, though the info was usually worth putting up with his eccentricities.

About ten minutes later, the familiar figure rounded the block and took a seat on the bench next to him. Artie Hollows is a small man with ratty hair and pale skin that makes it look like he's never seen the light of day. The dark hood he's wearing obscures most of his face.

Look, I got some good stuff this time. This shit's right up your alley.

[His voice is barely above a whisper.]

So that hospital a few blocks from here, Saint Augustine's. They just got a very generous donation from an anonymous donor to update their coma wing. The word is, they're keeping people locked up there. Doin experiments and shit, keepin 'em sedated. I think they're testing some kind of drug on the people there. I've got one more thing for you, but first I need the money.

[He pauses for a moments and extends his hand, waiting for his cash. Once Jerry hands him the bag, he gives him back a sealed envelope.]

Pleasure doing business with you.

[With that he shuffles off. Opening the envelope, Jerry finds a small key with a sticky note attached that says "St. Augustine Service entrance along with an nurse's I.D. badge.]

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Trapturtle's picture

Lady Luck

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It should just be one sec.

There, we should have company any minute now.

[Yury continues to get similar reactions from passers by, keeping up his casual stroll through the park, he is eventually joined by others. The numbers grow as the crown of naked people slowly forms into a mob made up entirely of naked twenty something year olds, proudly marching though central park.]

Now lets take a look at what happened while we were gone. Russia annexed Crimea, celebrity photos were leaked, something about a missing airplane. Nothing too interesting. More importantly, what are we going to do next? New York's a great city, I'd love to take in the sights.

[Yury can feel Lady Luck's eyes on a cute brunette who just joined their little parade.]

Of course we should figure out what happened to Boris at some point, though he's a smart guy, I'm sure he's doing well for himself. Oh, one more thing. I checked on a few of your accounts, and there seems to be a persistent rumor that you died in Las Vegas last year. What do you want to do?

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Trapturtle's picture

This mission should be will within your abilities, Miss Nichols. Your goal will be to gain entry into the sub basement below the east wing of the Saint Augustine Medical Center. According to my information, there should be a research station in the sub basement. You have to find and make copies of any research data you find. Afterwards you will deliver the information to a dead drop at a location I will give to you after the mission.

[Shoemaker's flat, matter of fact voice is coming from the camera now. Somehow he's connected to it, in the same way it's connected to her. His presence is stronger, more prevalent while she's carrying it. Perhaps most strangely it allows Cue to make manifest supernatural powers. (Go ahead and pick any three paranormal skills and add them to your character sheet.)]

[The outside of Saint Augustine's is fairly ordinary looking, albeit with much tighter security in the form of extra cameras and guards.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Jerry Smalls

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Jerry's not one for small talk.

He's in his car staring at the material. Visualizing himself driving away, digging up research on this address. Finding out what Saint Augustine is like so he can infiltrate it without getting caught.

That's what they never do in movies. Figure out staff names and make sure they can bullshit if they get caught.

He's visualizing the dozen trajectories that take him to that place. In one of those alternate paths he's run off the road by black vans full of shadowy agents. In another he ends up at the wrong address where demons skin his flesh slowly off. In most of them he arrives as planned.

His mouth opens and contracts like he's exercising his cheeks. It's a noiseless behavior he acquired, the small motor movements of lesser used muscles soothes his brain down.

Suddenly he stops moving, sits up straight, and drives. His course of action is to find out what Augustine is, find out when it's least likely to noticed, and what he can say if he's caught. Escape plan. People never plan escape plans. He needs blueprints and an idea of how to get the hell out of that place if things get weird.

Why does he have a badge anyway? Why can't he hire someone else to go in there. Jerry doesn't like sticking his neck out unless he has to. But anyone else would screw this up.

Jerry has to. He considers if he can find nurse scrubs at this time of day. Worse scenario, his brain thumps into his skull in painful pulses, he'll have to find one when he enters. Winging it is most of what he'll end up doing.

Can't be too prepared.

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Forge's picture

Yury Konstantin

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Between laughs and high-fives, Yury was already making his way to the brunette -was it Lady Luck who gave him the idea? Or was he the one who gave the idea to her? It doesn't matter. Things like this stopped mattering long ago, in a distant land where they warned Yury that Lady Luck was "evil". That her name itself was just one of many, that she was a succubus, that she preyed on others and fed on them, that she was a demon, a temptress, a skinstealer -and with every warning Yury's desire for her only grew. The more they told him he couldn't have her, the more he wanted her. And now it's done, and he's been living the last few years in pure bliss. So he's been dead for a year? Fun. He feels like he simply stepped into a time-machine and hit fast forward. It feels like it was just yesterday... when he laid down to sleep in those cozy furs at the wolf den.

Just yesterday... at Babushka's place under Las Vegas, and he had said to Lady Luck... that not even death would do them part. He remembers. Funny how things happened. She was scared of being "turned off", of blinking out of existence and then maybe not coming back? {Is only pause. [he had reassured her] Is not really death. Not even feel. Just blink, and suddenly you see Yury very happy to see you, ah, only with few more scars in handsome face, maybe few gray hairs. One blink he's there, next blink... he's still there only suddenly older and he misses you and makes very passionate love like he hasn't seen you in .. .. . }. Funny. It was him who got blinked right after saying those words. It was him who went to bed, closed his eyes, pulled his blankie up to his shoulder and then suddenly skipped an entire whole year. Thank heavens Lady Luck skipped with him, too. She didn't miss him.

{Saphri is done this... [he surmises] leetle coalition of handsome peeple getting very close to beeg Saphri secrets no? He has to make turn off for Yury and Lady Luck before we're get closer. No choice. We are Babushka, and that guy Lucien, and that Baron Samedi Somosa guy, and not one but two feisty Company ladies, and I was about to finish building Communist Prime, and we had Boris and Campbell, da, and creepy kid Prreston too and bug queen? He is outnumbers, Saphri, so he is shut us down, no choice. Can't send assassin to Babushka den -robots already are fail, and Yury is only who can reverse-engineer robots. So he has ritual instead. More homeless are kill. He has ritual and thinks Yury is kill. Hah.}

For a moment, in the middle of the nude parade, Yury's face seems dark and deep in concentration. He's thinking. {We are lone-wolf this time, baby. No coalition yet. Don't alert anyone Yury is not kill -rumors greatly exaggerated and all that. Not even brother Boris yet. We're lone-wolf it first. See if we can surprise Saphri fucker one night in his kitchen, and make shut-off rituals all dismantled, then shut off his balls too. Yes. Please find out what happened to war, is it die down? Who runs GTS now?}

As good a plan as any Yury's ever made. And that matter settled, Yury approaches the brunette and begins striking a conversation.

"Hi. I'm love for your outfit; I am wearing too, haha! Name is Yury, I am being from Russia, hear tales of beeautiful women in Amerika, all false, da? Because reality much better than tales! What is favorite club in New York?"

If all goes well, Yury hopes to charm his way to this girl's home... and maybe pick up a few discarded clothes from the parade along the way -it's one thing to walk naked in Central Park, but sitting naked on the dirty subway is quite another.

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-=[Live Forever]=-

MrSmug's picture

'Cue' Nichols

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Cue circled the block a couple of times before she settled on the parking garage. Hospitals are always so well lit. That makes things tougher. This parking garage is dim and greasy. It'll do.

She's walking around, looking for the basement entrance. She's wearing pajamas with a baseball cap and hoodie. She rubbed some mentholatum on her cheeks an hour ago. Her face is all puffy and shitty, like she's been crying all day. The cover is believable at a glance, teen with a sick friend, lost and confused in a hospital.

She's gone down to a sub basement level. If there's a facility down here, they're going to be hiding it. She picked her way into a janitor's closet, but there was just mops and hoses. There's got to be some kind of hidden drive or secure elevator. She's been following the cables with her eyes. None of the support columns are big enough to also include a secret elevator. The regular service elevator didn't look like it had the rigging to go further down. She can't find any false walls or shit like that.

This facility's got to have freight access. The shit Shoemaker always sniffs after is big, dangerous, and boarded up in crates. If she can't find a way in through here, she'll be in trouble.

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Trapturtle's picture

The exterior of the hospital is covered in security cameras, like dozens of tiny eyes always watching. Staying out of sight is hard, but Jerry has plenty of practice. He knows this time of night there's likely only one underpaid rent-a-cop watching the feeds. Though for all he knows anyone could be watching.

This time of night there isn't much traffic going through the hospital, just some security guards and a few nurses who were unlucky enough to pull the night shift. Gaining entry into the building shouldn't be too difficult given the tools he's been provided. Though in Jerry's experience, getting in is the easy part...

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Trapturtle's picture

Lady Luck

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[The next morning comes soon for Yury. He wakes up in an unfamiliar apartment somewhere in New York, before being kicked out he slips on the clothes he managed to "liberate" from the flash mob yesterday. A t-shirt for a band Yury's never heard of and a pair of blue jeans that are a size or two too large.]

Well that was pretty good for a welcome back party. Personally I'm always glad to be back on this side. Though I've been thinking, we've been gone for a long time. The fact that I'm still here with you means Saphri's ritual must have failed. Maybe the agents managed to stop them, perhaps it was Boris. Either way we should figure out what happened, I have to imagine it's connected to what happened to us.

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Trapturtle's picture

The disguise seems to work well enough. Cue manages to slip in the visitor entrance, no one seems to have noticed her for now. She slips into the stairwell and makes her way to the bottom floor. It's currently occupied with boxes of excess medical supplies collecting dust though the lingering smell of formaldehyde and stainless steel tables in the middle of the room give the distinct impression this room used to be a morgue.

As she continues to look for a way downward, her search is interrupted by the sound of footsteps. The doors open and the florescent lights flicker to life above her. Cue manages to get out of sight just as an elderly man with horned rimmed glasses calmly crosses the room, stopping at the large set of metal shelves used to store bodies where he pauses. He turns, his eyes scanning the room.

Hello? Is there anyone there?

His voice echos off the cold tile walls.

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Jerry Smalls

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Jerry takes several deep breaths. His head is swimming like always. His pocket recorder and usb drive for stealing data. A notepad. He clenches the nurse badge and focuses.

"I am comprised of three dimensions. I am on only one plane of existence currently. I am not constantly surrounded by another realm of creatures that are waiting to sneak into our world. No matter what the hallucinations showed me."

it works. The swimming effect tones down. He can focus.

He opens his eyes, dabbing a napkin to the sweat on his balding forehead.

"Give me guidance Thoth." he whispers, moving towards the service entrance.

Time to see if that money was a good investment or not.

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Forge's picture

Yury Konstantin

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Start the day with a shower -it's one of the things that got ingrained in him from his orphanage days, when water was scarce and rarely above warm. Yury's mind leisurely considers the cards fate arrayed before him this time. Saphri was playing with fire, setting himself against every other org with the Shadowside equivalent of the atom bomb, and the coalition took care of him. Must have. Should have -wouldn't Lady Luck have alerted him already otherwise?

Out of the shower -let's cook some breakfast for our gracious host. Some eggs sunny-side up, and potatoes. Wait, no potatoes? What kind of kitchen doesn't have potatoes?! Americans are truly crazy. He makes do with bread.

{Now see, baby, if there is tool, and is very sure shut-off, then Company's want it, da? Everyone is want. But Company turns ritual into machine first, industrializes, makes mass production; is what they do. If Company is not done this, then there is hope eh? Not yet game over. Saphri is hand-overplayed in sending Yury and Lady Luck to sleep for a year. Game is tipped against him.}

He leaves the sleeping girl's breakfast by her bedside table, and walks back to the bathroom. Using soap with the tip of his finger, he draws a crude pentagram on the large mirror -not that is necessary for the sigil, but it just looks cool and will spook the shit out of whoever takes a hot shower next. Yury grins, and draws SHOWME in the middle.

{Prepare for another first, baby. Yury is pioneer of self-empathies, added by sigil...}

He then hovers his hand over the mirror, staring at his own reflection, preparing to apply for the first time his gift of Empathy on essentially himself, aided by the sigil in the mirror, to find out what he can't remember or wasn't conscious to witness, to find out where he was for a year, what was he doing... who was he with...

{... Or die trying!}

Touch.

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-=[Live Forever]=-

MrSmug's picture

'Cue' Nichols

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Cue slinks quietly around the stacks of boxes. The soft light scrubs out the shadows, but everybody's still got blindspots. She creeps near the door and crouches low. She pulls a card out of her pocket, a Starbucks giftcard with about 17 cents left.

Well hidden, she closes her eyes and starts to hum. It is a low, quiet, deep sound. She only has to concentrate for a moment. When she stops, the hum continues on its own. It fills this room. It spreads out inaudible. It fills the hall. It fills the floor. Something about the hum triggers dusty corners of human brains. Special sensitivities gone mostly dormant since we've left the caves start to light back up. The low growl of a huge, hunting beast. The tremor of a hungry terror lurking just out of sight. This awareness starts to creep up the old man's spine. An unconscious flutter of panic without reason or direction starts to overtake him.

Cue waits and watches. She readies to slip the card into the doorway and catch the latch if he runs through.

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Trapturtle's picture

Bloop.

[Swiping the card though the reader triggers a low tone and a red flash from the small light above the door. No, that can't be right. Jerry swipes the card again. Artie may be a weasel, but he wouldn't risk giving Jerry bad intel and risking his income source. He swipes the card a second time. It takes longer this time, like it's processing for a moment.]

Beep.

[Green light, followed by the distinct click of lock disengaging. The door is open, the inside of the building is tinted the sickly greenish color of old florescent lights. Inside leads to what must be a break room, it's empty except for a young man passed out on the small couch. Everything is still and quiet.]

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Trapturtle's picture

Lady Luck

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[Just before touching the mirror, Yury can feel Lady Luck smiling. She thrives on the new, the unexpected, the dangerous. As he touches the mirror, the edges of his vision begin to blur as he feels like he's being drawn into the mirror at the speed of sound.]

[He sees a confrontation. Himself, Boris, the agent, and a few others, everything is blurry. There's a ritual chamber, dozens of people chained to the wall. An old man sits in the center, weak, bound to his wheelchair. The ritual is almost complete, Yury pulls the trigger, old man Saphri drops to the ground. With his dying breath, he curses Yury. Pain, he can feel his soul being ripped apart. He can feel Lady Luck leaving him, being torn away. Things are losing focus, he can feel his vision begin to shift back to reality. Can Yury continue to focus on the vision?]

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Trapturtle's picture

Hello?

[This time there's a hint of fear in the man's voice. He waits for a moment as his voice echos off the cold tile walls, his eyes darting back and forth. After a few tense moments around again, moving towards the steel drawers that are traditionally used to house cadavers. He pulled on one of the door handles and a panel on the wall opens up to a stairway leading downwards. The man hastily retreats down the stairs out of Cue's view. Moving quickly she barely manages to catch the door before it locks behind him. The way forward is clear, though it'll be hard to stay hidden moving forward through the narrow stairwell.]

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Forge's picture

Yury Konstantin

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Perhaps it's the pain of feeling Lady Luck torn away from him... it is the only thing in this world or the other that is actually capable of making Yury Konstantin feel fear. Perhaps is the feeling of disgust at seeing himself not only holding a gun, but actually pulling the trigger too, on an elderly and crippled man.

{I'm not a violence guy, baby. That guy is not me. Is never happen, ah? Vision of future, maybe. Is vision of maybe, could be, is not actual happen. Vision of fear. Yeah, that's it. [Yury nods his head, attempting to convince himself] this is Saphri fear, when he is send us to the sleep. Is what he thinks we are doing, if he is not the stop to us. That's all.}

He retires his hand. He's seen enough, and the sensation of losing Lady Luck, even if temporary, is unbearable.

{OK. Is time for secondary opinion.}

He wipes off the SHOWME sigil from the mirror with the sleeve of his shirt, then draws a new word... P-R-E-S-T-O-N.

{Creepy kid. Remember? He is send leetle bee for stinging in the neck. [Yury isn't scratches the spot on his back] Then we have connection dah? Maybe he's having more clues, unless he to was sleep. Will ask.}

Touching the mirror again, Yury attempts to restore contact with the poor GTS child, born and literally bred to lead Thelema one day, but ultimately prey, perhaps, to the bug queen that hitched him in Hierogamy and the intercecine power plays of the elite wizards. Maybe he watches from the Shadowside still, watching Yury and that agent woman, Lydia, and maybe he knows more of what happened to Yury for the whole past year...

{Hey little guy. Is friend, Yury! Should have jump on the Camaro, ah? How is life in the ant farm? You are watch still?}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Jerry Smalls

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Jerry quietly and cautiously is looking for scrubs, or something to help pass himself off as a real nurse.

{What am I looking for?}

He moves past the unconcious man, that feeling raising the hairs on his arms. That sense that at any moment the man will turn and look right at him. Through him. Know what he's here for.

Jerry keeps his mouth shut, breathes through his nose in controlled rhythm. What is he here for? He reminds himself.

Anonymous donor. Anonymous to the outside? Are there records here of who that person is? And where is this coma wing? Did he remember to grab floorplans before coming? If he's past the couch he pauses to dab the sweat off of his head.

"Shit." he says so quietly even he can't hear himself.

Coma patients. If he can get a sample of the drug...

That's his list of priorities. Sample of drug, find identity of donar, check on patients. He's looking at every variable exit, door, and angle of approach.

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MrSmug's picture

'Cue' Nichols

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She slips through the door and down. The stairs turn in a tight curl. Shoemaker's standing halfway down. She squeezes against the wall to avoid touching him. He doesn't take up physical space, but he's a puddle of baby vomit floating in bathwater.

He picks his teeth with a business card. "Looking back on it, the Cold War was a wash. We wasted decades."

She ignores him. He loves to chat at her while she works. She can't talk back.

"All the unchecked industrial glut. All the double dealing, secret committees, back channels we could hope for."

She makes it to the bottom of the stairs and looks for a place to hide. It's too well lit down here.

"We were so caught up on cloning and psychoactive programming, the real deal snuck right by us. That apple-biting faggot started the whole thing under our noses."

She concentrates on the hum. It swells and extends further. Anyone catching her down here will be ready to shit their pants.

"Maybe that was the point. They sent us to Argentina so we couldn't sniff around their golden boy. Maybe that's why it all played like that. Shit."

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Trapturtle's picture

Lady Luck

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[Once again the corners of Yury's vision begin to blur as he's drawn forward into the mirror. This time he sees a large mansion on a hill, as his vision comes into focus he sees dozens of hive-like structures rising up from the original structure. Inside, the young heir to the Thelma empire sits in the middle of a the room, hundreds of insects crawling over his skin. They travel to him from all over the world, even through the Shadowside. They whisper secrets to him.]

[While Preston will inherit leadership of the Greater Thelma Society, he's still has years before he'll be able to claim his inheritance. Though he still has enemies, usurpers from GTS as well as outsiders who do not want to see Preston claim his birthright. So he's spent the last year protecting himself, watching from the shadows. Working by proxy, using information from his bugs. Looking at the bigger picture. And not he knows Yury's resurfaced, he'll likely be in contact soon.]

[The bathroom comes back into focus, in the next room Yury can hear the woman from last night stirring in the next room.]

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Trapturtle's picture

[Looking through the lockers it's not too hard to find a clean pair of scrubs. They're a little snug but it's not the worst disguise Jerry's ever had to wear. Walking around the hospital, he doesn't seem to draw any attention. Just another nurse walking around in uniform might as well be invisible, the few staff that are in the building at this time don't give him a second look. Figuring out who the donor is would mean looking through their financial records. The accounting or administration offices would be the best place to find that information.]

[The drugs on the other hand would probably be locked in the pharmacy, or a secret vault somewhere. The easiest way to get a hold of it would probably be when it's being administered to the patients.]

Hey, You!

[Jerry turns to see a middle aged woman in a doctor's coat addressing him.]

I need your help here. We're moving another patient to S Wing. Get Mr. Stevenson loaded and get him downstairs.

[She looks at him expectantly though the thick lenses of her glasses.]

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Trapturtle's picture

[The ghost continues to harass Cue throughout her decent into the facility. Maybe he just wants someone to talk to, maybe he's reminding her of his dominance. She'd almost feel bad for him if he wasn't such an asshole.]

[The hum echos off the walls, growing louder as she progresses. Eventually she comes to a door. Cracking the door, she can see what looks like a security station. On the far wall is covered with dozens of monitors, all streaming feeds from security cameras. Two guards are watching. From the looks of it these aren't regular rent-a-cops. They're armed, and from the looks of it they've had military training, though from the looks of it the hum is starting to get to them.]

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MrSmug's picture

'Cue' Nichols

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Those cameras cling to the ceiling above her. She watches the monitors from her crack in the doorway. This whole place is wired up and it must be massive. One of those rooms has the files and holy shit, is that a floating coffin? It's chained to the floor, maybe to keep it flying straight up. Cue hopes she doesn't have to fuck with that room.

"That's one of the dirtier lessons you pick up in this business. You can't get too clever. Soviets thought they had this great idea. Bombs on dogs. Train the dogs, you got a dime store smart bomb."

Those guards are a problem. She's going to have to get a little theatrical. She's back out in the hall. Digging inside her jacket, she takes out a small pot of black grease, a multitool, and a nickel. She rubs the grease around her eyes and fingers.

"They wanted to blow up tanks. Best spot to pop a tank is underneath. Weak armor. So they train dogs to run under tanks. There's a bomb on their back with a lever. When they get under the tank, it pushes the lever and boom. Dead tank."

The panel on the light switch pops right off. Looking at the wires, she smirks. As hot shit as the security looks, electrical is second rate government contract shit. There's always cuts somewhere.

"So they train these dogs and rig 'em up. They take them into the field. First live combat, they sic 'em on American tanks. Dogs run out, turn around, run under Soviet tanks. That's what they trained on, it's what they recognized. Soviets fucked their own tanks. Big losses. Scrapped the whole program."

She flicks the lights off and scrapes at the box to expose some of the wiring. She jams the nickel between the wires and pops the panel back. When someone tries to turn the light on, they'll get a big fucking surprise.

"So that's the lesson. Work small. Keep everything you need in your pockets. Surrounding yourself with puppets and pawns will get you boxed in a corner. Don't bother with guns. You get in a spot where you need it, you're already dead. Stay vicious, carry cash, take a different road back every night..."

The lights are out, she scurries along the dark hall, getting into position. She paws her hair into her face, turns her back to the guard room, and tries to kick up her best 'Korean ghost girl' creepy moans.

"and don't get too clever."

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Forge's picture

Yury Konstantin

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Yury feels a little nauseous; some bad feeling climbing up his throat. Luckily the sink is right there; he washes his face until the waves go away. No more Empathy for now. Nothing against bugs; he always knew poor Preston choose the ant farm rather than the Xbox, but perhaps he wasn't ready for the sheer size of it. Neither one was. He feels sorry for the poor boy once again, and more than a little grateful for his own freedom, for the blessing of being with Lady Luck still. Although grateful to who? To blind luck itself? There's no such thing. Perhaps his reappearance here wasn't random. Perhaps he was truly lost to the Shadowside and someone brought him back. For a reason.

"Hey baby, you're enjoy breakfasts eh? Is very delicious Siberian recipe, but no potatoes. Also no mammoth steak. Is make-do with bread and bacon from the porks."

He sits down in front of her small college laptop on her desk.

"I'm check the emails a bit, OK? Also tune-up; is free. I make laptop the higher speed."

Quickly Yury re-checks all his old hangouts; not that Lady Luck hadn't looked in general before, but this time he's focused on finding out answers to a few concrete questions: what happened to Saphri, and Campbell? Did any more 'turn-offs' happen? And... did anyone else come back?

These answers can be hard to find even if you hit the right forums, the right IRC logs, the right onion undernet websites. But he looks anyway. And he fixes her computer science score test from 78 to 87 too, along the way.

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-=[Live Forever]=-

DarkMoonINC's picture

Jerry Smalls

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Jerry blinks and then grimaces. "What's this one's story?"

He moves to help her. Why not. He'll act like a long time disgruntled nurse. She's probably seen enough of those. Jerry holds it in, moving to help her with the patient.

Into the belly of the beast he goes.

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