The Silence Of Evil

Visions in Fire

Grinning, Kass backs up a step and gives a very fluid bow, hands clapsed before her in almost prayer like fashion, "Your wish is my command, oh mistress." Spinning off, she demands, "Now that you've chastised me, you can help me see if we can light the forge Miss Ally, so that I can make sure we didn't get gypped."

Ally laughs a little bit at Kass being all formal and silly, rolling her eyes goodnaturedly. "Sure, sure. Whatcha going to be doing in this forge anyhow, hmm?" she inquires of the elf. "Makin swords and stuff like Page?"

Johny starts for the doors. "I'll let you ladies get to your projects. I'll see about getting a horse up here in the paddock soon."

"Maybe later, once I figure out all the intricacies of metallurgy and the like. No, I'm afraid I'll be doing smaller piece of brightwork and jewelry." She ignites the little forge, the fires flaring up. "Johny? She's a good girl, by the by. She thinks the world of you."

When Johny has his backed turned, he won't see what happens at first, at least not directly. But he'll feel a rush of heat and a flash of orange just moments after the forge is ignited. He'll also hear the startled gasp of Aladriel as the fire from the forge seems to leap right out of it and form in front of her, so bright and vivid that her body is cast into complete darkness, and just shadow in front of it.

"This isn't me!" she yelps a moment later!

Johny glances over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow. He doesn't react just yet; his ultrasonics indicate there is no physical form yet..

"Rocky!" Kass yanks on the tether holding the Elemental to her as the forge flames seem intent on going after Aladriel. She gathers her nascent powers and wraps them around Ally, providing her every ounce of spell protection she can while reaching for the fireproof blanket near the forge.

Astral space warps near Kassandra as the Earth Elemental partially manterializes, it's form a bit large for this room. It looks at Kass in a way that could be considered questioningly, waiting for a command.

Ally backpedals rapidly from the heat of the fire, from which she has very little protection. The fire seems to well up even more, reaching a height almost several feet taller than Ally herself. Almost Minos height. Then it starts to move. The fire flickers, ripples, dances almost, forming almost like a wave then crashing down upon itself.

It moves more and to the onlookers, it seems like something should be discernible from it. Like something is being told, though what? It's completely unknown.

When the fire starts to move, Ally stands almost entranced, watching it, the heat and the surprise fading.

Eject clip. The command is a mental one, the magazine to the colt dropping to the ground with a clatter as Johny's other hand fishes the gold clip from his inner jacket pocket to slam it home… "Ladies. Care to clue me in?" He says, as the gun's slide ratchets back, as if to punctuate.

Kass circles the other way, giving Johny clean lines of fire. "Aladriel!" She moves steadily forward with the blanket, telling Rocky. "If that thing goes after her, destroy it."

At first there's no movement from Ally. She's just standing there, still, watching, her eyes wide. Then, slowly, she raises her hand towards the other two as though to ward them off.

"Wander.. way…Wander….Way…"

"Wander Why…" Says Johny then, stepping forward, the gun at the ready and his posture agressive. He doesn't answer Ally's warding off, instead, about to interpose himself between the bewitched magi and the fire… thing…

Kass sneaks on the other side, considering the fire, considering Ally. "She … this may be connected to her Seeing. She and fire are connected." The elf whispers urgently to Ally, "Aladriel! Speak to me!"

Ally's barely moving, her hand still raised, and her eyes are flicking by faster and faster trying to follow the flames. "Park, Winter Wandering Way! Wandering..Wanders Way Winter…" she gets that out right before the room seems to just white out, the flames almost seeming to go nova.

It lasts all of two seconds. Then the fire is gone. Completely. The forge is no longer even lit. It's all gone and Ally is still standing there, intact, blinking quickly.

Johny's vision dims as his flair comp kicks online, not quite enough to bring decent vision back, but giving him superior recovery time… HE moves now, operating on ultrasound to maneuver, his gun covering the sight lines. "Ally, talk to us. What the hell did that just mean?"

Blarg. Blind. Kass sinks down, making herself a smaller target than normal and waits, cocking her head to listen. As her eyes clear, she looks questioningly to Aladriel. "Honey?"

Ally startles a little at the sound of Johny and Kassandra's voices, like she forgot they were there. She whips around to see them, eyes still wide. She's a bit pale, which says something for her, but otherwise seems to be unharmed and unaffected.

"You both saw it too? Did you see?" she asks intently, voice a bit high and agitated. "What did I saw? Wanders…Wanders Way? We have to go there!"

"We say it. Nearly blinded me." he says, the flair comp dying down as his own vision returns. The gun is safetied with an audible click. "Winter Wander Way. Park, Winter Wander Way."

"Where is there and why do we have to go there, other than they infected my brand new forge and tried to eat my wife?" Kass's eyes aren't clearly nearly that fast.

Urgent Summons

Ally shakes her head so fast that her hair flies every which way and she pulls away a bit from the two of them, towards the outside. "Come on, come ON! We need to go there! I don't…it's wherever I said! I was following as best I could. Something really bad is going to happen there, a…I don't know what. I'll know, I can see it, I will see it. We need to go, its not close."

Johny holsters his weapon, one hand reaching down to pick up the dropped clip. "We'll take my car." He says. "Out front. Kass, bench bitch or back seat, your call, but Ally's in the passenger."

"We need like .. clothes and guns." Kassandra moves to follow Ally, trying to calm the girl down and get a hand on her, "Ally! We need gear, we can't just run off half-cocked!"

"We have to hurry though!" Ally tells Kassandra, almost pleading with her but she's amped up, about as agitated as one will have ever seen her. "Have to hurry! I don't know where….but what I said is where, like I said!" She lets Kass grab a hand, which is mainly so that Ally can tug the elf right after her. She almost out before she stops dead and remembers something. "It wasn't just the three of us."

Drug along with Ally, Kass stops abruptly and says, "What? Who else was there, Ally?" She tries to move the girl towards where the stuff is kept so they aren't running around in shorts with no gear.

Johny walks along with them, his nerves alive and his senses sharp (Or continuing to sharpen), listening to the girls. He's just the driver right now, the bodyguard. And these are bodies worth guarding.

Ally has to be pulled but good by Kass to get her moving again while she tries to remember who else was there. "I'm….errr," she frowns and her face strains as though she was trying to conjure up the vision again. "Can't remember. We were…she..and him……" she motions to Sam vaguely. Then she startles quickly, still a moment, then animated again. "Call. Whoever answers is supposed to be with us. C'mon!"

Tugging, Kass mutters a quick profanity and just turns, throwing Aladriel over her shoulder in a fireman's carry. "We need gear, you goose!" She starts towards the house and where the toys are kept, "You need a way to file these visions so you can reaccess them!"

Eying Kassandra for a moment, Johny raises an eyebrow. "What is it with this place and it being a mojo-Nynex?"

Much of her information shared, Aladriel seems to be able to release some of the burden OF that information. To think more clearly, to breathe a little bit. "Okay, okay Kassie. It's a town..can't bring everything," she murmurs quickly. "House.

Going to a house." She raises her wrist to glance at her watch. "I don't know why but I know we have to hurry."

Bouncing the mage on her shoulder, Kass swats her idly on the butt. "A town! That is a good start. So we shouldn't show up with bazookas and stuff."

Johny nods to Kassandra as they move along. "Subtly. Okay…"

Gathering the Troops

TRAVELING - En Route to Winter Park, CO

The landscape of Colorado flies by as the Watchers begin their strange, hurried journey from Denver to Winter Park, a several-hour jaunt.

Later afternoon on a nice week day, about 4pm. An 'Any Available' call comes in to the Watchers from Johny Wulfson. A: If you can be ready to travel right now be waiting to be picked up call. Destination: a more rural community of Colorado (a.k.a. don't show up in your battle suit). It is urgent, it is immediate, and they're already on their way to pick you up.

Johny drove up in a rental car. You know, a car he stole and then put a transponder chip in. He does that a lot, and it cuts down on having to submit receipts.

Lilith just rents a car through a fake SIN. She's had to cut a meeting short, grab a duffle, and go, but still curious about what's going on.

Wisp has learned to be ready at a moment's notice. Her kit bag is put together, and while she is wearing something casual - one of her favored and colorful sundresses - she is ready for more if and when necessary. She eyes the rental car, scratches the back of her leg with the sandal-clad toes of the other foot, and just regards the man with a tilt of her head. And, of course, her usual smirk.

Hitomi is available! Well, she actually had to leave her Longboat mid-journey, since she was on the way to Sack a quaint little Irish village with her battle group, but Watchers stuff is more important than burning some village to the ground. Even if she did want to try out her new Spine Shatterer +4 Battle Hammer. She's got her pistol with her, the shotgun being quite a bit too big to really haul around for jobs like this. Plus, every time she shoots it she gets a bruise as big as her head all over her upper torso, and it sucks. She's also dressed in her street legal armor, which makes her look a bit like a biker chick.

Kass is already in the car with Ally and Johny, having packed a quick bag with gear that they'll need. She is keeping an eye on Aladriel, a close eye, a worried eye. The elven girl is dressed in casual Colorado clothing, a lock of hair twirled around one finger.

With the two women picked up, the journey towards Winter Park can begin. After the rush to get Hitomi and Jamileh ready, the mood in the car is…well, a bit docile. Ally's got her head leaned against the glass and is looking pretty thoughtful.

Right. Jamileh sits in the back with her ear buds on, watching. The sound doesn't bleed out of the good ones, but knowing her? The volume's WAY up.

Lilith follows behind in a beater pickup. Her new mask isn't on yet but everything else is set. She plays the local oldies station, sticks a cig in the corner of her mouth, idly taps the steering wheel in time to the tunes and chills out on the long ride out.

ROAD TRIP! If it wasn't because Ally was talking to some fire thingy then this would be almost exciting! And it still is, really. Kass toys with her hair or Ally's hair on occasion, occupying herself (and the others) with a quick play by play of what happened, "Ally saw something bad and we have to go see." That done, she'll watch the road and point out interesting things.

Johny puts on some music as he drives, one hand reaching out to tap at the dashboard. Music>Classic>2030s>Dragon-Borne(Band)>WINGS OVER TEHRAN… No… no not that one. Music>Classic>2040s>Wall of Sound(Band)>Pop And Lock Forever. Yeah….

Hitomi's own car is… bright pink. The little sound system in it is struggling to drown out the noise of wheels on tarmac, but it is pumping out Cheery J-Pop as she drives along at the rear end of the… rather motley convoy.

The drive to Winter Park Colorado is nothing if not…long. It is uneventful, though. There are no ill omens on the road, no one gets pulled over. It is a strange journey, though, for what Kassandra has shared on the radio is precious little: A vision, received by Aladriel, is what takes them to this remote destination. There are pretty much no details beyond that.

The sun is on its way to setting as the hills grow and Winter Park approaches.
The woman occupying the back seat of Sam's car? Totally asleep by the time they arrive. Hope nothing important to be seen on the way.

And this is why Hitomi drives her own damn car. Johny settles back in his seat, not rigging but driving by hand. He brings the comms on line. "Okay Ally. You got 4 hours before we arrive. Fill us in on why we are driving to the ass hole of the arm pit of the naval of the -asshole- of the Sioux Nation?"

Lilith idly takes a drag of her cig as she drives along behind, keeping an eye out over the whee fun landscape and kicking the comm on.

Kassie is wide awake. She'll look over to the cinnamon-haired mage to see if she has more to share on the trip, trying to get comfortable wedged in up front. She eyes Jamileh with some envy.

Hitomi stops halfway there. She's a Tiny-Tank in a world of Camels!

Well, Kassie COULD have sat in the back with Ally. But no, she's in the front, so Jamileh has the WHOLE BACK SEAT to herself. And behind her sunglasses, her eyes are closed.

Aladriel looks curiously over at Johny and then gives a small shrug of her shoulders. "Divination isn't a Science, in any sense of the word. I….I don't know why we were here. I saw something, in the fire, and I know where it is. It's a house. In Winter Park because thats what I said. I don't know why we're here….except that…" she nibbles her lip and looks down.

"You have a hunch." Says Johny then, reaching for a pack of cigarettes. He pauses though, withdrawing his hand. Captive audience. "Well, let it not be said that I don't trust you."

"Mmmm. A magically enhanced hunch." Kass considers a moment and says, "I use my cards and I get a bit of a hunch, but Ally .. she can see things as they happen. I can't get her to run the ticker on the stock market yet, but .. I have an idea that something is afoot. Plus, we didn't have anything else to do."

Lilith murmurs quietly over the comm. "You get a good vibe or a bad vibe off this vision?" Her voice sounds very American.

A quick nod of her head. "It wasn't clear. But it was *not* good, I know that much, I got that sense," she explains. "And I know it didn't happen yet. It's soon, I *know* it….but I don't know when."

Ally shares that with the group, trying to remember more details, as she has since the vision happened, but there's nothing else there.'

Commlink-BlueFairy> Hitomi says, "Magic stuff is weird. I'll trust you know what you're on about, though."

Lilith nods to herself, listening as carefully as she can and flicking away her cigarette. "Yeah. If there's anyone who's got a handle on this it'd be you, fire bird."

Johny glances in the rear view mirror as suddenly Lilith sports a West Virginian Mountain-man Accent. "Well. Good to know her balls dropped."

Winter Park, Colorado

ARRIVING - Winter Park, CO

The town of Winter Park is not large, nor is it very small. But it is spread out, nestled in along the rolling hills and small mountains that arrived long before civilization, and will probably last much longer to. It is quaint in its way, a place that happily resides far outside of suburbia and the big city and is very happy to remain different and apart. The buildings are smaller, the amenities more with classic values than bleeding edge and contemporary.

The drive up a long, winding road to Winter Park is a perfect transition. Where there was virtually nothing but nature, now there is a town, the trees giving way at least partially to development. Old development that has not fallen too far behind, and yet at the same time has not really managed to keep up.

The town feels wrong. Not dangerous, not even directly scary, but…wrong, somehow. The air. The buildings (many empty storefronts long-since closed). Almost as though there is a tangible…sense of sadness or even defeat in the air. It is not deserted. People go about their day as the sun starts setting. The citygoers stand out immediately, none more so than Hitomi in her pink car that stands out like a sore thumb.

Johny pulls to a stop outside of town, making sure his mapsofts are up to date and match the most recent commercial topography reports, getting an idea of its structure from Census data and looking for the most likely COBRA bases.

«Plot» Aladriel says, "At this point I'm not really requiring Perception checks or anything. IF there's something you'd like to know, feel free to page and ask of course =D"

Lilith makes damn well sure that mask is in place when she pulls to a stop near Johny's car. She grunts, feeling the hairs raise on the back of her neck. Creepy.

Long distance to Aladriel: Kassandra would like to astrally look around

Kass pulls on a pair of glasses, the dark lenses obscuring her eyes. She looks around carefully, scanning the little town and the area around with narrowed albeit out of focus eyes. One hand reaches back to nudge Jamileh awake as Johny pulls over to look at his maps.

Hitomi stops her car, too. She climbs into the back, pulling her satellite kit out of the boot, and then hooks the thing up to her cigarette lighter. She gets out of her car, when that is done, having no need to use it yet. She stretches her legs a bit, giving a big yawn, and then heading over to the group. She gives a shiver, "This place is…" she looks around, and sighs. "Depressing."

Aladriel pages: The Astral is…perfectly normal. No BG count where they are at the moment. Clean, not unlike out at Thistlewood. Maybe a bit more palpable sense of sadness tho.

"Gorammitnawanup," mutters the Aussie in the back seat. Then she sits up, removes the ear buds - how DID she sleep with that noise blasting in her ears? - and then turns off the system. Yawn. "Oi, we're here then?" Captain Obvious is awake.

Lilith steps out for a moment, making sure the others get a good look at her new face at least, and lights a cig with a steel zippo. She leans back on her pickup and takes a deep drag, grunting. "S'not the half of it, I wager." Oh, yes, West Virginian all right. She looks over to Hitomi and nods hello.

Ally looks about as well, a curious look on her face. Where they are at this moment, there aren't any houses visible. It's more of an approach to a city center, as it were.

"This isn't it…I don't see any houses, and none of this looks familiar. It's a house. Um…"

Murmuring, Kass directs her comments mostly to Johny but they are clearly audible to anyone nearby. "I see .. nothing out of the ordinary. People here are a little blue, it appears, but it is clean. Clear. Hardly a sign of trouble."

Johny nods as he remains in the drivers seat. "Alright Ally. Now its show time." He murmurs to her. "We're here. You need to find why." He says, then gestures for Hitomi to stash her car. "Get in back. Your car, too much attention. Ally, can you make Hitomi look more small-town friendly?"

Lilith stubs out her ciggy and slides back into the pickup. She waits, keeping an eye out, resting her arms on the wheel and half leaning forward to look out the windshield.

Hitomi frowns a bit, and her hair changes from bright pink to boring brown just like that. She glances back at her car, and frowns. "I hope no-one steals it…" She comments, heading back to stow her gear back into the bag, and put it wherever there is space in one of the two cars. She goes to park it outside of a petrol station.

Ally looks at Hitomi and clicks her tongue for a moment. "Yeah, probably. She needs to…prolly just better off putting her in a long jacket as it were." She looks around again and then at the map that Johny was looking at it. "We need a house. And…god thats all I know. Did I say anything else? Just Winter Park? There's going to be more than a few here and I just know what it looks like."

"So we can drive about and see the town, get some nice mountain air." Kass grins, reaching into the back seat to scrounge the ball cap she tossed back there. She makes a quick ponytail and pulls on the cap. "Tada! Instant disguise."

Jamileh gets out to wait for Hitomi to resettle and maybe be disguised a bit, taking the time to stretch. Anything work-related is in the kit bag. Yep.

Lilith sticks her head out the side window and waves Hitomi over. "If ya need a drive, kiddo, hop in. Can't get much more familiar then a pickup.

Johny chuckles quietly, gesturing for those who are coming to get in the car. "Ally up front, anyone else whereever you can fit. We ain't inconspicuous, but we arn't exactly standing out anymore."

Lilith looks over at the others. "You want me in there, boss, or ridin' six again?"

Kass doesn't move. She also can't move much, because Johny and Ally have her pretty much bookended.

Giggity!

After a stretch, Jamileh goes back to where she was before, sitting in the back seat of the car behind Sam. She pokes her tongue out at Miss Center of the Oreo, but her eyes and expression look fairly serious; most of her attention is on Ally, as the reason they've hiked up here.

Ally is pretty content where she is and doesn't pay much attention to everyone else moving around and cramming in. Instead she's looking skyward at the setting sun.

"Call me crazy but I think it would be best if we find this place before the sun goes down," she murmurs softly, but with a bit of an urgency born out of real nervousness.

Lilith hands just flex out of habit, following the mage's gaze.

Hitomi gets into Lilith's truck when offered, and she wrinkles her nose, but doesn't comment on her choice of wheels. She gets her Polymimetic mask out of her kit, and what looks like a makeup kit. She puts the thing on, and works on her features, obscuring them, and applying make-up in the sun-guard's mirror.

«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Disguise for "+5 for hair, mask and kit":
10 11

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Disguise for "+4 for kit and mask and stuff":
1 7

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Disguise + Task Pool: 3 + 4 (Disguise Background comp dice) for "+4 for his own poly shitz.":
1 1 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 11

At that, the smirking Persian woman in the back stops smirking and shivers, voluntarily or no. "If you've got the willies, Ally," she murmurs, "then I bloody do too." She keeps her sunglasses on, but they're pretty nifty sunglasses, good for seeing in low light.

Johny puts the car in gear, selecting a search pattern based on the mapsoft and traffic patterns.

"Then we should get a wiggle on, and see what this little town has to offer. And keep an eye on a place to sleep and a good place to eat too. It's been a while since lunch." Kass looks curiously at Aladriel and then around the town.

A rumble comes from the back seat at Kass' statement.

Hitomi decides to go the full-shabang in the end, masking her ethnicity through molding of the mask and application of makeup. It'd take a pretty damn perceptive person to recognize her when she's through.

"Don't think we're going to have time for lunch," Ally murmurs softly as Johny starts the car and begins the drive into the city.

The reaction that the car gets is pretty similar throughout. People look curiously for a few moments, seeming to just KNOW that these are outsiders, and at the same time they seem pretty nonplussed by their arrival. As if they've seen it all before. The center of town is quaint. A movie theater. Restaurants. Some businesses. Food. Lots of empty storefronts. LOTS. And while people are not rushing to get off of the street as night looms, there just doesn't seem to be much activity. A few minutes of driving will finally get them to more residential areas. The houses are spread far out. The main road branches off into little ones that seem to just disappear into the trees and winding.

Everything is completely unremarkable and time is wasting. Streets pass. Charles, Montgomery, Hillcliff Road, Wanders Way, Summit Drive.

Johny turns on to Wanders Way.

"Bloody tragic," sighs Jamileh quietly as she looks around. "Bloody, bloody tragic."

Johny turns on to Wanders Way, his eyes peeled, every sense he possesses scanning and awake.

Kass is not fuddling with a disguise. She is dressed in her University of Ute colours and a UU cap, and that's about the extent of it. The elf looks around at all the empty store fronts and hmmms softly.

Lilith makes sure her own is all set, keeping her eyes on the road, her ears open. She murmurs to

Hitomi, hands curling tensely around the steering wheel. "Eyes out, eh?"

Aladriel gasps at seeing the name of the road that they just turned on. "Wanders Way! Thats what I said, wasn't it?" she asks excitedly, looking over her shoulder at Kassandra. Then she looks to Johny, "Faster. We're running out of time!" The sun is going to set when it damn well pleases, and that 'when' is desperately soon.

Wanders Way is a winding road, two-laned, almost completely devoid of traffic. The end of the road is in sight, maybe three-quarters of a mile down, as the road seems to end in another house. More houses dot both sides of Wander's Way, spread out, spacious, neighbors not right on top of each other.

Jamileh queries as they drive along, her gaze fixed on the sides of the road as Sam is looking ahead and the others are behind them, "Anyone else feel like something bloody queer's going on? Like…I dunno, Night of the Living Dead will happen after sunset?"

Lilith gives a short, snort of a laugh over the comm. She doesn't sound that happy. "Yeah. Should've brought a chainsaw."

Kassandra nods eagerly to Ally and looks to the sun. She smirks at Jam's comment and nods, "Yeah. Let's not have that sort of thing happen, shall we? I'd rather this is something a little less … horrific." She reaches out to snag Ally's hand, looking around quietly.

Johny glances over at Kass, then ally, then back to the road. She wants faster? The engine roars (He does steal good cars) and heads on down the road, clipping down the 30 mile an hour country road at about 60. "Eyes bright, keep an eye out for the local grizzlies."

Hitomi frowns, "I hope there aren't any zombies." She murmurs. Zombies don't sound like a fun evening activity.

Seeing as how she's the only one who knows what the house looks like, Aladriel is looking left and right quickly, squeezing Kassandra's hand as she looks both way, rejecting each house in turn as
Johny hurtles down the road. "This isn't it…none of these are it!"

Lilith grunts and jerks the stick into gear, roaring after Johny in turn. "Oh, yeah. You got a flamethrower, Hi?" She grins mirthlessly.

"We have to work on refining this thing. Like to send us house numbers or something, because this is going to get dicey trying to find something at the last minute." Kass frowns, memorizing the road they are on and looking for something out of the ordinary.

She doesn't know what the house looks like, but Jamileh's certainly looking for anything weird. Most of her focus is on the left side, as she assumes Hitomi can concentrate on the right, from the passenger side of the truck. Her teeth have her lower lip between them, lightly.

"This would be easier…" Says Johny. "If you had some way of relating what it is you're looking for." Says Johny as he slides around an old farmer on a tractor.

Lilith jerks the wheel in turn. She looks out…look for odd spots, a unmowed lawn beside the neighbors neat ones, or vice versa…

Going fast down a road that dead-ends isn't advisable under most circumstances. And the speed that Johny's driving at covers the road pretty quickly, as its not that long. They're almost at the end of it. And thats when Ally forward, towards the end of the road, and the house that's at the end of it.

"There! That's it!!" she points excitedly.

The House

THE HOUSE - Wanders Way, Winter Park, CO

The house sits at the end of Wander's Way. A small but nice dwelling that has aged well and has clearly had care. It is far up a winding road and has its back leading into a small forest, with a stream no more than half a mile into those depths. It is not the only house around, but it definitely stands alone in its way.

Two-storied with a long, wrap-around porch, a small balcony looks down over the porch from the second floor and a single, large door leads inside.

Kassie leans forward as well, eyes straining to take in the whole house. "Huh. Well, no fires or anything, that is a good sign. Do we keep going and circle back or lay a line of rubber stopping?"

Johny slides the car to a stop, headlights pointing at the house in question now. "Okay. Great." Says Johny, pulling the car off the road properly. "Now what?"

Lilith swears as jerks the pickup to a sudden stop. She bites her lip, grunts again, and hops out.

Ally's out of the car the moment it stops and she slams the door behind her. She moves a few steps down the road towards the house, approaching it cautiously.

Hitomi is a little jarred by the sudden stop, herself, and she takes a moment to make sure she's not missing any vital components, before she climbs out, moving in the same direction as Aladriel.

"Damnit!" Kass scoots and opens the door, following Ally quickly. She snags the 'purse' that she has set up for this, muttering a string of profanity in Elvish.

Ayep. Thats his Ally. Johny's out of the car in a flash, stopping at the trunk only to pick up a small satchel that he hangs over his shoulders. A book bag, if you will, of needful toys.

Jamileh has a smaller bag over one shoulder, and she exits, standing back from the others curiously. She has no interest in approaching the house before being told to do so.

Lilith immediately begins following the others, eying that great damn house.

«OOC» Aladriel says, "Anyone who's looking at the house can make a Perception test."
«Auto-Judge[]» Jamileh (#2025) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 5 5 7 8
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
4 4 4 5 9
«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer 3):
1 1 2 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence for "All major modifications. And I have been eating carrots.":
1 3 3 3 5 5 5 9 10
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Astral Percep":
1 1 1 1 2 4 22

«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Aura Reading:
3
«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer 3) for "KP 1/18":
1 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 9 15 15

The house has an attached garage that is currently closed. There are tracks on the road that would show that at least one vehicle has come up or down this road at some point recently.

Johny, Jamileh, Hitomi and Lilith will notice that there is very little to notice, especially as far as security goes on the house. There are not cameras, motion detectors, fences, reinforced windows or anything of the sort. The biggest security seems to be a good old-fashioned maglock on the front door.

Lilith wrinkles her nose, staring at that house. "Why…" she says slowly. "…does it look too easy?"

Aladriel approaches the house a bit more and then looks over her shoulder at her friends and teammates, a confused look on her face. "I don't know what we're supposed to do…just be here," she murmurs as she approaches the driveway, but doesn't go on it.

Johny has not drawn a firearm. He has not approached in a 'skulking fashion. He continues to approach, moving to the front door and knocking. "Hey! You gotta phone? My car's got a flat!"

Kass moves closer, eyes out of focus as she scans beyond the Veil for anything out of the ordinary. She looks to Aladriel and takes a step closer since this one tends to rabbit on her, still looking curiously around.

Off in the horizon, the sun is just now passing out of view. The sky doesn't go dark, faint rays are still visible, but the sun itself is setting as night starts settling in. Crickets, birds…..all chirping ot welcome in this late hour.

"You're the one whose Spidey-sense brought us here," iterates Jamileh quietly, adjusting her sunglasses - those low-light cool things - and then she blinks as Sam takes charge. "Bloody hell…"

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 4 4 5 5 5 11 11

«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Astral Percep":
1 1 1 3 3 3 4

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls 6 for "?":
1 2 3 4 5 5

Aladriel pages: Again at this point, astral space is completely, well, mundane

A Moment of Silence

Johny never made it to the front door to try the direct route. He crosses… something. Sound drops away and the little decibel meter in his image link flat lines, pulsing only when he breathes and the small bump of his heartbeat. He narrows his eyes, holding up one hand clenched in to a fist… His knees flex as he moves his center of gravity lower.

Hitomi wanders towards the house, and then twitches… at something. She glances back to the others, and then back to the house. As if testing the water, she says, "You hear that?" To Lilith. She has a sneaking suspicion that… Well, we'll see.

Kass stops, still not seeing anything out of the ordinary. She frowns as Johny holds up a fist, one hand straying to the little bag, the other reaching to pull Ally back.

Hitomi stops when she notices Johny's hand coming up, but by that time she's already feeling the same effects.

Lilith breath draws in a hiss as she steps forward and everything seems to move into syrup slowness. Her face looks…like she's scared, for a moment, then angry. Her eyes narrow and then she looks to Hitomi. Taps her ears and shakes her head. Looks around at the others, does the same. Her heart rate bumps up and she makes a conscious effort not to get too angry with the interruption.

Johny comments quietly. "I hate old houses in the middle of no where. They lead to nothing good."

Aladriel pales a little bit as she looks around quickly, eyes searching for something, not seeming to find anything, before refocusing on the house. Her hands clench.

Jamileh and Kassandra will notice it last, Hitomi's words seeming to inform them as to whats happening, or what has just happened. Sound seems to have stopped. All of the ambient noise of a rural town at dusk, the birds, the crickets, all of that noise has stopped completely. Only the sounds of the people, and your own breathing.

No snark from the often smirky Persian Aussie, no nothing, really. She has her eyes on Johny and his back, his raised fist, and the house beyond, and her breathing goes shallow lest it hammer, as one of the sole sounds around, in her ears. Nervously her tongue snakes forward, the tip moistening her lips just a bit, before she edges closer to the boss. Yes, it's bloody, bloody creepy.

Kass turns in a circle, panning around. "What the heck?" She takes a step towards Ally and gathers her power in a smooth shield around her, visible only to those with the Sight. She looks to Ally and frowns, then at the house, then around again. "Test?"

«OOC» Aladriel says, "All Willpower vs TN 5 (while I Scene-Pose)"
«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Willpower vs TN 5:
1 1 1 2 3 5 5 7 10 11 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 5:
2 3 4 8 11 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Willpower vs TN 5 for "STELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLAH!":
1 2 2 2 3 4 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Lilith winces
«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Willpower vs TN 5 for "STELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLAH! KP1/50… (Stellah!)":
2 2 3 5 8 16 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Jamileh (#2025) rolls Willpower vs TN 5:
1 2 3 3 4 17 = 1 Success

«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls 6 vs TN 5 for "Spell Defense":
1 2 2 2 4 10 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls 6 - 1 vs TN 5 for "Spell Defense, karma reroll kp 1/21":
3 3 4 4 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Willpower vs TN 5 for "Blah":
1 2 2 3 4 5 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Willpower - 1 vs TN 5 for "Blah, karma reroll 2/21":
2 3 4 4 4 = 0 Successes

Kassandra's voice cuts through the silence just like it normally would, though it sounds louder in the absence of every other bit of noise. The world has not stopped, but it has gone very, very quiet and still.

That's when the dread hits, almost directly in the face. It comes from the house. A sense of fear, of dread. The hairs on the back of your neck has their own hair stand on end in the face of this. It is scary, primal, and powerful. The feeling that the house is NOT the place to be.

«Plot» Aladriel says, "Everyone is able to proceed. The fewer successes you scored, the scarier the prospect it is of going into that house."

Aladriel pages: From your astral-perceiving you know its coming from inside the house with certainty.

Lilith does stop. No. Johny said no.

A Fearful Recon

Johny glances to the others… the wave of dread comes up, like the need to vomit, the sort of rising bile that can't be denied. HE swallows once, his eyes closing only a half moment as he beats it down, like a man beats an unruly dog. Emotions. Turn them off. Be the machine. Be the operative. He opens the eyes again, love; compassion gone from his gaze. Game face; murder face. The sort of face people dont' ever want to see. "Wisp, Maelus, recon the back. Silk, Phoenix; Areal and sides."

Hitomi shivers as she feels the wave of dread wash over her, but then she frowns, and clenches down her jaw, swallowing hard as she steels herself against the terror. Maybe it's because everyone treats her like a kid and she wants to prove them wrong, or maybe it's because she plays such horrific computer games, either way, she frowns a bit then. She glances towards Johny, seeing as she wasn't assigned to anyone else, she moves to pair up with the man himself.

Lilith drops to one knee, hand flat on the ground under the pressure of that overwhelming fear. Typical, though, she lets it rush over her, breathing fast, letting the sheer terror turn into bloody minded anger. Keep focused. Keep angry but don't lose it. She gets up and moves forward, still, walking carefully, eyes narrowed. Gods, she really hates this nonsense. "Yeah, sir."

Gasping as the wave of pure fear hits her, Aladriel swallows and wraps herself in the strength of her character, the strength of her magic, a bright shield against a crushing darkness that weighs down on her. She takes a deep breath and nods, waiting to see which way Lilith will go so that she can go the other way, to observe the sides of her house. She starts to move a hand towards the pistol on her hip, but then her hand drops away. She's guessing that any firepower she may need will be better off if it doesn't use a gun.

For her part, Jamileh uses the time she needs to don her stealth suit to try to calm the bloody hell down. The place downright scares the bejeebus out of her. Normally getting into the stealth suit is a really quick sort of thing, but her hands are shaking fairly badly. In the end, she gives up, shoves things back into her bag and heads off toward the house, taking the opposite tack as Lilith to the back.

Kass frowns as the wave of magic rolls out. She backpeddles a step, her shields failing against the tidal wave of fear and distress. She closes her eyes and concentrates, stepping back another pace and opens her eyes, staring at the house. She looks at Ally and then hears Johny talk. She nods once, twice, then mutters quietly and lifts off the ground, frowning hard at the house. "Phoenix, it's coming from inside the house." Her voice holds a level of tremble but is controllable; she closes down on it and takes a breath, focusing.

The house as it exists now seems to be the focal point of this dread. It is where the bad feelings radiate from, and it is where the team knows they are not supposed to go. The good news is that the level of fear is a constant. It does not get worse. It does not get stronger.

Johny holds his position, about 30 feet from the house, with Hitomi.. He waits for the others to sweep the house's sides and back, waiting for a report on exits and other needful details like 'theres a pile of bodies'.

«Plot» Aladriel ah, NM then. Lilith is going left around the house, en route to the back, Jamileh is going around the house on the right en route to the back, and Ally is also going to the right hand side.

Hitomi swallows again, and she glances at Johny. "I think we should go in." She comments. After all, if this wave of dread is telling every fiber of her being that she shouldn't go in… it must be doing it for a reason. "This… this isn't natural. It's like there's something crawling under my skin…" she shudders again.

"Welcome to field work." Mutters Johny, waiting for the others.

Lilith hand drops to her waist. Monowhip, check. Pistol, check. Following orders. She moves forward, towards the left side of the house, to begin making her way to the back. She nods briefly to Johny and Hitomi before casting her eyes forward, scanning the terrain.

Ally nods her head to Kassandra, trusting the elf in her judgment that the source of this fear is coming from the house. She drops her perception into the astral briefly to make sure that it is not the house itself that seems to be giving off this aura.

This is a recon as much as anything, but knowing that Phoenix is nearby, Wisp moves forward a little more quickly than she might have otherwise. Her breathing is quicker, her heart hammering more than the activity warrants, and her teeth are clenched together so tightly they might fuse like that. But she's trying, by Allah.

Kassandra climbs several more meters into the air, her gaze scanning the house and environs. She wraps herself in her power, trying to shield off the overwhelming feeling of fear. Her eyes go to Ally again, drawing courage from the other.

Jamileh and Lilith as they circle to the back of the house will find something a bit shocking: there is no back yard. Where there would be a back yard there is simply a tiny patio and a few lawn chairs set out. The back of the house faces the woods, with trees only about ten meters removed from the house.

There is a back door to the house and it is currently closed. From the back of the house there are curtain-covered windows, one partially askew, showing light coming from the inside. It would seem to lead into the dining room, but no one is visible inside of the house.

Up in the sky Kassandra will be able to enjoy a nice top-down view of the house and track the progress of Aladriel, Jamileh and Lilith. No one else and nothing else jumps out as remarkable at all.

Hitomi and Johny continue waiting at the front of the house, unharassed and unmolested. An old fashioned mailbox is nearby, which helpfully reveals that they are waiting on the lawn of the Francis household.

Johny checks his cronometer… "They should report in in the next few moments." He says simply.

Hitomi glares at the door, "The sun's almost set. Firebird said we needed to do something before sundown." She comments. She seems, if anything, anxious to head into the house. Recon is good and well, but if… whatever is going to happen happens, and they miss it, what good will the Recon be. "We should head in." she urges.

Lilith keeps…sniffing the air, eyes flitting back and forth, cursing herself for not taking time to grab her suits before she left. Well. At least she's got the vest on underneath her shirt…she tilts her head, waiting to see if Jami shows when she gets to the back but other than that…nothing. She frowns, keeping to the shadows, giving the area as thorough a go over as she can. She murmurs softly over the comm. "Nothing. Small patio, trees 10 yards off. I can't see anything, looks normal this side o'the Veil."

From her angle at the side of the house, Aladriel is careful and thorough in her search before she comms in.

Commlink-«Phoenix»> Aladriel says, "South side clear. Nothing."

Jamileh doesn't at least seem to be easily spotted on the other side…but that's rather the point, isn't it?

Kass observes from on high, murmuring into her bone conduction mic, «"Skyside is clear, all points accounted for.""»

"We should wait." Says Johny, his tone not a soft thing… "For recon. For our backup to do their job. Take one step forward without my say so, and I will shoot you. It really is that simple, Jailbait."

Commlink-Wisp> Jamileh whispers, "B-back looks…Um…close to the trees. N-no one vi-visible so f-f-f-fFUCK far."

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Aye"

Constant eyes have been kept on the front of the house. The house was encircled by carefully stalking Watchers. Each member reported in not seeing a single thing. It is just them and the unnatural silence and sense of foreboding surrounding the Francis house on Wanders Way.

Then it happens.

There is a rush, and a startle, as sound returns. Glorious nighttime sounds. Birds chirping. Crickets calling. The unnatural weight of dread and fear lifted, as the sun sets and the evening arrives.

Johny had last threatened Hitomi, so now the Rolodex of whom to shoot/threaten lands on… Aladriel. He moves forward now… but not far. "Wisp, Maleus, Phoenix, return to front. Silk, remain airborne but cover us as we breach the front door."

Hitomi frowns at Johny, but she nods her head. Clearly, everyone else was feeling this fear thing worse than her. And it shows, she barely even changes posture as the fear begins to loose her, eyes still on that front door. "Lets hope we haven't missed whatever Ally foresaw." She comments, since the sounds are back, and the house just seems normal again.

Lilith lets out a slow sigh of relief and slips back into the deep shadows, skimming quickly back to the front of the house and the bossman. She shakes her head. "Bad, bad juju. Looks clean, but…"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Heading back"

Aladriel jogs back towards the front having ascertained that there is nothing at all to see on her side of the house, nothing of any significance that she could find. If they're breaching, though….she draws out a pistol as she comes around front, adopting a two-handed stance, but the gun isn't up at the moment.

Kass maintains her position, drawing a pistol out of her bag but keeping it near her thigh for the moment. The elf waits, watching, eyes drifting to Ally out of curiosity and protectiveness. She drifts in midair, astral sight scanning the area looking for trouble as she steels herself against the waves of terror radiating outwards from the house.

As the young Aussie is already edgy, the return of nighttime sounds is, well, downright unnerving. Wisp gasps, covers her mouth, and then with great alacrity and relief practically sprints back to where Johny and the others are waiting. Jesse Owens would be proud.

Johny points to Lilith, then Wisp. "You two, behind me." A point to Hitomi and Phoenix… "You two, behind then. I'll break forward, Lilith, Wisp, cover my flanks. Clear?"

Lilith nods briskly, getting her gun out. "Aye, sir." She moves to the back and left, eyes up and hands at the ready.

Hitomi draws her own pistol, and gets into place where she's instructed. now the unnatural fear has gone, Hitomi seems to have made a full recovery, nothing shows on her face at any rate.

Aladriel's set to do complete rearguard. Which means that she won't go in IMMEDIATELY after the first team. She'll follow a few seconds after.

Wisp likewise unholsters her pistol, safety on, keeping it low and pointed away from anyone other than the grass. She gives Johny a single nod of acknowledgment, more herself now than before.

Kassandra wait, her shields up and perceiving, her gun at her side. She waits to see what happens when Johny goes through the door. Houses. Bad Houses.

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Strength + 6 for "Cyber arm SMASH!":
3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 8 8 15

Into The House

Fucking Houses. Johny holds up 5 fingers (Okay, 4 and a thumb), then counts backwards. When he hits 1, he shoulders the door open. It's more like a freight train that gets to full speed in about a half foot of space. The door shatters in to fragments, splintering outward, bulging in the middle where he hits, then winging off in to the room. Eye lights on, Gun drawn, Johny enters…

"LOOOOOOCY AMMMM HOOOOOOOOOOOME!"

The door is breached and into the quaint little house the team goes. They enter into a little foyer. To Jamileh's (left) side, an open archway into the living room. Directly in front of Johny, a staircase that goes straight up to the second floor, curving a bit to the right to reach the landing. To the right of the staircase is a short little hall that one would guess leads back to the kitchen. To Lilith's (right) side, a small archway that leads into a small study. Faint music is coming from somewhere in the house. There's the scent of what may have been a recently enjoyed dinner. A small light is on in the kitchen and the study, but it seems more to be there just for illumination, as neither the living room nor the study nor the kitchen feel occupied at the moment.

Hitomi frowns as Johny busts in all gung ho after spending so much time wandering around. She keeps her pistol aimed low, and since there are only a couple of lights on in the house, she flicks on her UV flashlight and activates her low-light vision mode with the faintest of whirrs- the very edges of her pupils highlighted in green.

Clue: After clearly scouting out the house, anyone who is inside, knows we are here. If they have not come outside to greet us, they are not going to answer the door.

Lilith smiles, a thin press of lips with very little humor and quite a lot of quiet anger. She keeps an eye on Johny, on what's in front of him, then turning her head, scanning that archway, peering to where the study might be.

Wisp half-turns, forcing her to sidestepping now instead of walking forward, so that her body and the low-held pistol face the open archway and the living room. She's looking for anything amiss and half-expecting pentagrams on the floor or black candles on the wall. Something spooky.

Kass waits patiently in midair, waiting for sounds of conflict or strife. Other than that, her job is to play highguard, and so she does.

There is no movement inside of the house as the first on rushers move in. Not a single thing. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. From everyone's vantage point, there's nothing out of the ordinary, no sign of any sort of struggle or anything of the sort. Just soft music from upstairs.

Moving inside, Johny's gun is out and covering the angles, looking for movement. He looks this way, and that, his gun at the ready, cross-braced with a pen-style flashlight, the beam pointed 'downrange' from his guns muzzle at all times. "Foyer clear! Phoenix, give me eyes! Silk, stay sharp!" He says, expecting the other three women to clear the rooms they were assigned.

Hitomi glances up the stairs then, and her frown deepens. "There's something… here." She mutters darkly. She hasn't seen anything- but the music. It's eerie, and it's making her skin feel cold. The gun is still held in both hands, keeping the barrel pointed low to avoid friendly fire in a panic. Seeing as she hasn't been given any orders, she simply follows Johny, making sure to look the other way to him to cover the biggest area.

Lilith swivels her arm to the right, following the line of her pistol, moving into the hall leading to the study. Eyes sharp. Do your job *right*. She scans everything she can, quickly but not hastily, running her eyes over any woodwork, any nooks. Moving on, her ears open for creaks of feet on floor, any stray drafts or breezes as she moves into the study. She does the same as the hall, following her gaze with the gun, free hand loose at her side. Her ears twitch at that damn music. But…nothing. Not that she can see, or sense. Her tail loosens from it's belt and begins to twitch back and forth.

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Clear"

Johny moves then to the stairs, taking them fast and hard. "Moving up stairs! Silk, front door, Maelus, Wisp, with me, Phoenix, Jailbait, midguard!

Overt surveillance is so much easier than the covert stuff, especially with a gun held before her and some time on the practice range giving her the impression she might shoot something other than herself. A quick glance, a few steps into the room, another glance, and then Wisp - who is clearly feeling a little more confident now - says softly into her comm, "Living room clear, going to kitchen."

All Kass can do is wait. She is as sharp as she can be from here, but is unable to do more than watch, wait, and worry. The elf stands there in mid-air like an over sized pixie, floating on the winds. She taps the barrel of the gun against her tight, muttering, "Come on, come on, come on." At Johny's command, she starts down to guard the front door, moving hard to follow on Phoenix's six.

Aladriel is one of the last into the house, and she has less to do than the rest. There's no room for her to check. Nothing to sweep. She assenses, and from the lack of response from her, there is nothing at all that she sees.

Lilith swiftly darts back into the hall, breaking after Johny. She grunts in assent, eyes up and close again.

Hitomi's position in the chain is shifted yet again, and she lets those that need to be by Johny past before she follows, wedged between point and rearguard.

The upstairs of the Francis household is very small. It's a small hallway that leads on one end to the bath and one end to the bedroom. There is no one hiding in the washroom. The bedroom is large, spacious and the source of the music. The music is coming from a music box that is on the woman's dresser. There are no lights on in the room, only the faint illumination coming from the windows that frame the bed.

On the woman's dresser next to the music box is an opened package with something inside of it, but it is not what draws the attention. It's the form on the bed, sprawled back against the headboard. Monica Francis, staring vacantly at the ceiling, a story in her eyes that has yet to be deciphered.

MonicaFrancis.jpg

Monica Francis

OOC: We backtrack a little here to set the mood.

Johny moves then to the stairs, taking them fast and hard. "Moving up stairs! Silk, front door, Maelus, Wisp, with me, Phoenix, Jailbait, midguard!

Hitomi takes her position immediately behind Johny, her pistol held out and down towards the ground as she moves up behind him- flashlights active. "Gotcha boss." She comments as she follows along.

Her own pistol still out and held low, Wisp takes the stairs in tandem with Johny, her breath held, her expression hard. Is she trying to be alongside him for protection? What the hey.

Lilith has her gun out and ready, face cool, following Johny and keeping her eyes rapidly scanning to the side and front and back again. Breathing steady, watching carefully. "Aye aye, sir." Just murmuring loudly enough for him to hear.

Kass hears the command and stops worrying. Instead, she flutters without a sound to the ground, eyes peering around. Her pistol is kept to her thigh for the moment as she secures the door, leaning against the frame to get her bearings.

Johny is on point, because well, he's that kind of guy. His pistol and flashlight at the ready, his eyelights on, his senses actively sweeping the area. His Ultrasound routes in to the encephalon which draws a three dimensional image of the house in his mind using the orientation system, giving him perfect spatial awareness. Huh. Ally's gaining a little weight.

Aladriel takes up midguard because thats what Johny tells her to do. Without there being a threat right in front of her, she quickly assenses the area again, knowing that it wouldn't serve to get ambushed by some lurking baddie! She tucks her elbows in a little bit tighter to better guard her mid.

The upstairs of the Francis household is very small. It's a small hallway that leads on one end to the bath and one end to the bedroom. There's no obvious sounds of life, anywhere. But there is the faint music coming from the bedroom, the door currently closed.

Johny gestures to Lilith and Wisp, to the Bathroom, then to Hitomi and himself in to the bedroom. Ally, he gestures to stay here in the center, keep the eyes on Kassandra and the rest of the group. She's the center.

Hitomi nods her head, moving up to take the place next to Johny when Jamileh moves to take her own job, and she moves with him. She stays a step back to cover the door as he opens it.

A quick glance goes to Johny, but that glance serves as one of acknowledgment as Wisp, pistol still low, moves to the entrance of the bathroom to wait for Maelus to join her. Never open a door without your wingman.

Lilith nods once, briskly, moving quickly and quietly to Wisp's side, pistol low but moving up. She stands slightly forward, ready to take point as needed. Another deep breath, focusing, tilting her head to the door to try and catch any sounds that might be inside before just kicking open the door.
Lilith actually is going to open the door normally. Really!

Silk waits at the doorway as Nacht requested. She sinks down so she can watch either direction, the pistol kept down. The elf doesn't speak but keeps an eye on Aladriel, the only team member she can see (and the most important one anyway).

Midguard is what Ally does, eyes in the astral, her firearm pointed down at inert ground so that if a boogeyman darts out she won't shoot herself or anyone else in the foot. She's busily looking about the astral and with a shake of her head refocuses center.

Lilith will listen and just hear the music that they heard. It was *faint* from downstairs. Now it's louder, because they are at the source. The high-pitched tone of an old-fashioned music box and nothing else. The handle to the bedroom door will turn easily, and open just as much so.

The bedroom is large, spacious and the source of the music. The music is coming from a music box that is on the woman's dresser, alongside a large, opened box. There are no lights on in the room, only the faint illumination coming from the windows that frame the bed. And there is a prone, upright (on pillows) figure reclined on said bed.

Johny comes to a stop, gun snapping up, light illuminating the girl for a moment before snapping off. He steps closer, examining the body without directly touching it. "Phoenix, Silk, top floor bedroom. Maelus, Wisp, Jailbait, secure the rest of the building. Done with that, Jailbait, outside to be eyes and ears. Move."

The Scene

<OOC» Aladriel says, "Everyone in the bedroom can make a quick percept test!"

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence for "My wazzoo.":
1 2 2 2 2 4 4 5 5

«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer 3) for "Low-Light with Low-Light Flashlight":
1 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 7 9 14

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence for "My wazzoo. KP 1/51":
1 2 3 5 5 8 9 9 10

To (Johny, Kassandra), Aladriel pages: (To Johny) You've got a high enough Medicine skill that I won't make you roll. SO.

The woman is quite dead. If you've have any heat-sense or the like……she's cooling. She is *freshly* dead. The extent of her injuries are: her jaw seems to be fractured. Like dislocated, hence why it's wide-open, unnaturally so. And, from the amount of blood….well. Based on that INT (10) roll you'll notice that her tongue is gone.

Hitomi chokes back the urge to yelp when she spots the corpse, and clenches her jaw. She nods her head at Johny's commands. However, just as she's turning, her eye catches on something. She highlights it with her flashlight, "Nacht. There's something in that box. Looks like a shoe…" she murmurs, hovering near the door (But out of the way so Ally and Kass can get in.) until Johny spots it.

Johny turns his light then on the box, moving carefully. "New Orders. Group up. No one alone. Buddy up. Malus and Silk, Wisp and Phoenix, Me and Jailbait. No one's alone."

Hitomi nods her head, moving slowly just behind Johny as he advances.

After a soft affirmation to the order, Wisp readies her weapon and nods to Malus to indicate her readiness for the door to be open…and then the new order comes, and she turns to look for Ally, heading back toward the others.

Lilith nods back to Wisp, and then looks over to where Silk is. She takes a step or two back from the door, waiting for the other mage lady to show before proceeding further.

Silk rises to her feet with a little less grace than normal and heads for the stairs. She gives the entryway a last look before following Phoenix up, looking around for Apple and the room they are supposed to enter.

Aladriel is moving up the stairs the moment she is summoned to the room. She holsters her pistol on her hip because there's yet to be any sort of attack. Her eyes immediately seek Johny and then the body that he's near. "What happened to her?" she asks as she approaches.

Johny approaches the box, moving slowly, carefully. He gestures for Hitomi to back away as he opens the box with one foot, gun pointed at the interior. A small body inside, only briefly illuminated, before Johny closes it again. In that time, Johny's eye lights flick from the hands, to the mouth, then to the others in the room. "Phoenix, eyes on the bed. Silk, eyes inside this box. Rest of you, examine as you may. Malus, I want to know about chemicals recently used in this room."

«OOC» Aladriel grins! Okay! Hitomi, one sec. Everyone else: Perception.

Aladriel pages: Inside the fairly large, well-packed box is another box, this one opened. Inside is a velvet-lined, plush and secure carrier for….

Doll.jpg

Said object fits perfectly when placed rightly inside, but it has not been placed correctly inside. More like it was just kinda haphazardly placed back inside instead of carefully, hence why the shoed foot is sticking out.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 4 5 9
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Astral Perception":
1 1 2 4 4 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Astral Perception, karma 1/22":
1 2 3 3 4 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Astral Perception, karma 3/22":
2 2 2 3 5 7 11
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Aura Reading:
5
«Auto-Judge[]» Jamileh (#2025) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 5 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 3 5 5 5 7 7 7
«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls 6 for "????":
2 4 4 5 5 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence for "My Wazoo brings all the perception to the yard.":
1 1 2 4 4 5 7 8 10

Aladriel pages: Astrally the doll is….a doll. There's nothing upon it whatsoever. There's the lingering sense of some sort of sadness in the room….but the doll itself is completely inert. Which flies in the face of everything that this scene is throwing at you. Cause it sure would SEEM like it should be magical.

«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer):
1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 7 9 9

«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer) for "KP 1/18":
1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 5 7
«Auto-Judge[]» Hitomi (#8620) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Reception Enhancer) for "KP 3/18":
1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 8 11 16

Hitomi seems to physically puff up at the sight of what was in the box, her hair standing on end, and her whole body looking… tensed, as the flight reflex rears it's head. Suppressing that, Hitomi begins searching, looking under the bed, behind the wad-robe. She carefully opens some drawers, finding nothing but clothes.

Wisp, so recently freaked out by a simple horror movie, gets a glimpse of the bed and its contents and lowers her pistol fully. Though she does not repeat her post-movie performance in the bathroom (a la Linda Blair), neither does the young Aussie manage to hide her fright.

Lilith gives Hitomi the briefest of glances, as well as Wisp. Her own face just kind of…shuts down, seeing the body, and she then just lets her gaze scan the room thoroughly, coming to rest on a bottle of pills by the bed. Her jaw tightens, just a bit, and she flexes her free hand and begins to move closer. "Nothing on the spectrometer. Pills might have something."

Silk moves into the room, nudging open the box with one hand, her pistol in the other. She then opens a SECOND box and stares for several long seconds, her eyes hidden behind the glasses. The elven girl hmms softly, looking around the room and then back to the contents of the box. She quietly closes both lids and drums her fingers on it. "Phoenix, I need a consultation."

Johny's head snaps up, almost unnaturally. Out the window, his gaze goes, zeroing in on something in the distance. "Ladies. Don't split up. Continue your investigation. Document, do not disturb. I'm going outside. We have an approacher." Says he.

Aladriel is at the body and she furrows her brows at what she is seeing. Which is understandable. She slides her hands into her pockets and when pulls out two rubber gloves that she quickly slips on. That's what she uses to touch the body and start prodding it.

An elvish curse soon follows! "We….we were *just* too late! She's hardly been dead any time at all!" The mage swears fiercely as she looks carefully into Monica Francis' mouth and winces, shaking her head a bit. Her head snaps around as Kassandra calls for her and she goes right to.

"What is it?" she asks, frustration in her voice.

Hitomi frowns at that news from Ally, as she continues to search the place. She doesn't say a word, though the look on her face says she's not pleased about something.

Wisp stays where she is, though rather slowly she turns to look in Johny's direction at his last words.

Lilith nods to Johny, then moves to the pills. She glances over at Ally, then the body, face still carefully blank when she turns to the pills for an examination. After a few moments she murmurs. "Common anti anxiety med. Pradil. But quite, quite strong. And it's a prescription for one Monica Francis." She looks to the body again, blinking slowly. "Poor girl. It might be her."

Silk opens the boxes again to show Ally, relating, "Inert. Just nothing about it stands out, and .. it is creepy on top of that." She frowns and looks to the other mage, muttering very softly, "I have a bad feeling about this."

Aladriel pages: When you closed both boxes….the box inside a box is pretty neat. It's got an artistic drawing of the doll in question and in big, theatrical, elegant print, it reads: Judith Schuler and the little wooden boy, Billy. The box the doll came in is unaddressed.

Ally looks down at what Kassandra is is indicating. She furrows her brows as she looks at the object, and then her eyes glaze over a little bit. She stares at length, and then scowls and shakes her head. "You didn't miss anything. It's…it's just a doll," she mutters.

Johny doesn't wait for more data. His team is competent and strong, they will do the jobs and they will do them well. He takes this as a given, a strong commitment of faith in his team. He makes his way out in to the hall, checking his coms. The cars out side, the doors off its hinge. Got to set things to right before that woman gets here…

When Johny comes outside, he'll see that he has a little bit of time. The woman is approaching, but even though curiosity has clearly gotten the better of her, she's not foolhardy enough to come running up to an unknown situation. And the walk up to the Francis house is on a bit more than a gentle-slope, so she's not rushing it.

The Police

Hitomi continues to search the place now, deathly silent, though she's looking more and more annoyed all the time. Whatever she's getting herself worked up about dissolves when, passing a window, she spots… "Fuck! Police!" She says and then lifts a hand to her ear, activating the comm.

Commlink-Jailbait> Hitomi says, "Everyone- I see flashing lights, looks like it's coming this way. I think it's the police."

Wisp waits, looking about, ready, it would appear, to move. Her hands shake just a bit.

Commlink-Jailbait> Hitomi says, "There's a couple of cars, I think. About a mile out… maybe more."

Lilith doesn't swear, but does hiss softly under her breath. "Inquisitive bastards." She looks over the room again, spots Wisp's hands. "Just breathe."

Silk looks over at the reveal of the police on their way, nodding to Aladriel's assessment of the situation with the .. thing. She closes the box again with a gloved hand and speaks into her comm.

Commlink-«Silk» Jailbait, Malus, Wisp, secure the rear exit and get ready to disengage. If we have to break up, we will meet three kilometers south along the road <insert where we passed>.

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Aye"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Should I leave the pills?"

Commlink-(Geist): I want confirmation of police presence. Bands are clear enough, but more importantly, you just described the entire police force for the surrounding 4 counties. "

In the room, Silk remarks, "Leave everything the way it is, no traces, no evidence. If you aren't wearing gloves, by the by, I am cutting off your fingers."

Commlink-Jailbait> Hitomi says, "Might be ambulance or fire, hard to tell at this distance."

Commlink-Jailbait> Hitomi says, "Assume the worst and hope for the best, though, right?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence for "Perception for Ally.":
2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 9

Commlink-Wisp> Jamileh is just as quiet here as in the room.

When Johny looks down the road, alerted to it by Hitomi, there are indeed three vehicles coming up Wanders Way at a decent clip, two with flashing lights, the vehicle behind it……not with lights.

Commlink-(Geist): Gather data, photographs, samples, be ready to withdraw. I want tissue from the woman… and that creepy fucking box.

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Understood"

Lilith looks to Silk. She raises a hand, clearly gloved.

Wisp might be a little less experienced with the gory stuff but she's not stupid or untrained. She has gloves. On her shaking hands.

Silk nods to Malus quickly and produces a tiny camera, taking a number of quick, precise pictures of the room, the body, the box and contents. No one gets to have their fingers cut off and given to the Finger Fairy today, and that is a good thing.

Hitomi shows her hands- wearing the gloves from her under-armor. She nods at the instructions from her Commlink, and then gets to work. She goes for the music box, since no-one mentioned that and it seems like it's important that it was on.

Aladriel furrows her brows at the mention that police are on the way. She slides out her pocket secretary and pulls up a document. Her eyes go distant for a moment and then she starts typing really, really fast on the pocket secretary.

Commlink-(Geist): I hear three vehicles. 2 Standard Police cruisers, one wide bodied, heavy vehicle. Classifies as a hearse on my senses.

Johny comes up to the front door, looking now down the road. This just got tricky. Very tricky….

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Damn"

Commlink-(Geist): Silk, I'd like you down here, persona of a crazy psychic.

Silk tosses the camera towards Wisp and starts unclipping her weapons rig and unbinding her hair, tousling it quickly. Once she unlimbers herself of obviously illegal stuff and leaves it with Ally she'll take the stairs two at a time, heading towards Johny.

Time is ticking by, Johny will surely notice. Because the vehicles are only getting closer and a mile and half is not a long distance. They will be there in about ninety-seconds or so. At most. Oh. And the woman who was approaching the house? She's nowhere that Johny can see.

Commlink-Jailbait> Hitomi says, "Should we get out of the house? It backs onto the woods, should be easy to hide there. But they give me the creeps."

Johny narrows his eyes as the woman appears gone. That will come back to bite him in the ass. "Who called the police…" He mutters to himself. "Out the back door with your data. Move it, move it… " He comms back to them. Kass and Johny are the delaying team

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Aye aye"

Wisp manages to catch the camera, but she just holds it and waits, turning toward Sam when he reenters, a brow lifted.

Lilith just begins to head towards the door, down, and hopefully to the back door. She motions the other ladies along. "C'mon, we better hurry."

Hitomi nods her head at the command, and given the urgency of Johny's tone, and the approaching cars, she gets a move on. She glances about, "Anyone get a tissue sample?" She asks, frantically rooting around. She finds some cotton wool pads like what you use for removing makeup, and then looks to the woman. She swallows and then, ever so gingerly, she takes a swab of blood from in the woman's mouth. Where, it seems to her, they're less likely to notice. She looks like she's gonna be sick, "Anyone have anything to put this in?" She asks. She neglected to bring any doggie bags.

As we may remember, Kass is still dressed like an University of Ute student/alumni/crazed fan, and perhaps that will work to their advantage as well. She bounds to the door and looks around, slowing her pace and moving towards Johny now, adopting a worried expression as she looks towards the house, the yard, the sky itself.

The elven woman tilts her head and remarks in a quiet accent tinged with Spanish, "I hear .. a warning."

Johny's dress is his usual suit, the sort of 'no bones' businessman that screams 'former fed'. It's a good look for field work. The odd couple routine is good. it has an authentic ring to it. He moves out to his car then, the trunk, pulling out a small bag. A colt Sidearm, standard to many federal services. A badge that he has in one of those 'flippy' things that make for good TV. "Paranormal investigators working on behalf of…" A pause. "Gaiatronics." Says he then. A big, respected NAN company with no local offices and a low profile, it will slow down any fact finding.

Aladriel winces a little bit because she doesn't have all of the proper equipment for something like this. So she has to improvise. She takes off one of her gloves and turns it inside out. "Drop it here, quick, and lets get out of here." She'll make sure that everyone is really getting ready to amscray.

Kass quickly remarks under her breath to Johny, "Maria Martinez."

Johny grunts then, accepting that. "Mr. Rogers. Fredrick Rogers." He says, moving for a small roll of 'crime scene' tape, that he will then stretch across the driveway. People take those little things so seriously.

While the women upstairs are getting ready for their big exit, the police arrive in their big Winter Park PD SUVs. Two officers get out of one car. A lone man gets out of the other. It's painfully obvious that the man who got out alone is the man in charge. The Sheriff is a large, black man, his short hair covered by a dark baseball cap. He's obviously wearing an armored jacket and vest, but there's nothing very sophisticated about it. The most modern thing on him is the Ares Predator III sidearm. The deputies are similarly dressed: one younger man (late 20s) and one slightly older (30s). The Sheriff himself may be in his late 40s. Of the trio, the only one who's hand moves to his weapon is the youngest.

Behind the department cars is the hearse, and it's driver doesn't readily get out.

Seasoned eyes look over Johny. Old eyes that have seen a lot. And eyes that are just….tired. The kind of tired that just says: I've seen enough after all these years.

"You two aren't local, that much is certain. What are you doing up here at Miss Francis's house?"

Johny, from the otherside of the all-important-yellow tape. "Agent Rogers. This is Special Talent Martinez." Flip-flip says the identity badge, before its put back away. "We're with the Theological Paranormal Research Department of the SLCAZ." Thats pronounced Slack-Ass… "Talent Martinez had a class four paranormal vision which qualifies as probable cause for the execution of an un-opposed entry. What we found qualifies as a class five paranormal situation. We are investigating. How can you assist us?"

Maria watches the officers through her heavy glasses, eyes out of focus. She may not actually be looking at them, and pays little attention (it seems) to what Agent Rogers is babbling about. Instead, she starts a few feet away from them all, sinking down to look at the grass a moment.

This is the one thing at which Wisp excels: staying out of sight. She wants nothing to do with being seen by the just arrived authorities and tries to focus on what she can hear of Sam's smoke rather than on what was on that bed and in that box.

Lilith crouches down under the windows and keeps her step light, drifting downstairs and to the back as quietly as possible. Thank goodness she's got her own old home and knows about avoiding creaky floors.

Up in the house, Aladriel will try to make sure everyone keeps on the exit in a good way. She's not worried at all about Jamileh, Lilith seems fine…Hitomi's the one she'll keep a close eye on, just to be certain.

Back out front….

The Sheriff stares long and hard at Johny like he's gotten the smell of the worst BS in the world. Then he looks to Kassandra (aka Maria) and it seems the smell gets worse. Then he curses under his breath, a long, colorful string of profanity. "Jesus christ, they don't even have the good graces to call anymore. Fuck it, whats the point anyways?" The Sheriff rolls his eyes and turns his back on Johny, looking towards the hearse. "Bob…back it up and get out the bags. You two want to go in and get Ms. Francis?" he asks the two deputies.

Then back to Johny and Kassandra. "Sheriff Ronald Nix."

Johny offers a hand forward. "Bureaucrats, Ronald. You know how it is back in th urban zones." Says Johny. "Fred Rogers." he nods then, surreptitiously to Silk, giving a little 'roll' of his eyes. "I just go where she point's and screams." He holds up a hand then, when the others start to move. "Martinez, can the scene be violated yet?"

"Violate. Violation? There is already a violation here, a violation of spirit and form." Martinez looks to Rogers and then just to the side of the deputies about to head in. She stares at their auras a long moment, her lips moving without sound.

Seconds tick by and then she says, "They may pass the threshold without clouding the view."

Johny sighs, a sort of put-upon sigh at her florid response.

Commlink-(Geist): Someone update me. How long do I need to stall these guys?

Sheriff Nix doesn't smile at Fred Rogers of SLCAZ. He'll shake the hand, a good solid grip, but he doesn't seem for a moment pleased to see the man or his Seer. The hearse, meantime, backs up towards the house and then finally the driver gets out. Both of Sheriff Nix's deputies open the back and fish out a body bag and begin towards the house in a slow, purposeful manner. No excitement. No..anything really. Like they've done this too much.

"Listen, Rogers. It's very nice of you to get sent down here by the SLCAZ again, but you shouldn't have made the trip. It was a waste of your time, and I'm going to try to keep it from being a waste of mine. There's a dead woman upstairs that my boys are going to get. You're not going to find anything up there, and your investigation and report is going to join the others in the unexplained, unsolved files of Judith Schuler."

Johny exhales, looking back to the house. "This has happened before, yeah?" Asks the man then. "Your men move like this isn't new. Like what happened to that girl up stairs… isn't… well… I saw that look in homicide detectives, not rural peace-keepers."

Commlink-«Phoenix»> Aladriel says, "We're about clear."

"Again and again, a never ending circle of pain, of tragedy," Maria remarks, rising from the grass and looking mournfully back at the house. "The spirits are unquiet here, they are sad .. a sadness that spreads across this city unchecked."

Commlink-(Geist): You have 30 seconds until they are inside.

«Auto-Judge[]» Aladriel (#604) rolls 5:
1 2 4 5 11

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Moving"

Sheriff Nix looks at Johny and his eyes narrow a fraction. The kind of fraction that would clue in someone as experienced as Johny that he may have just made some sort of faux pas. "What, are you new up there? And they sent you down here without any prior knowledge?" He doesn't seem like he fully believes this, but then starts to justify it.

"You musta pissed someone off to get this, then."

Wisp doesn't acknowledge the need to move. She just moves.

The ladies exiting the house will not find any obstacles or hardships in their egress from the house.

Hitomi picks up the pace once she's out of the back. She glances at the forest, and swallows. She heads towards them, as uninviting as they look.

Lilith moves quickly and drifts forward, taking point again, then hovering back a bit, keeping a general eye on the ladies and their surroundings. "Let's just get in enough to be out of sight, I think?"

Johny looks to Nix then, offering a nod. "Bureaucracy, You know how it is. Pull over the wrong mans son, book him and put it on the record.. and your career goes.." He makes a whooooooooooo whistling sound as he lets one hand drop. "But we -are- here. So if you could brief me, I'll try not to get in your way, and I'll try not to duplicate your effort or rustle up your people."

Maria hugs herself, looking at the house and rocking back and forth. She mutters to herself in Spanish and English both, "This is a bad place, very bad. There is an energy here, a foul taste at the back of my mouth like rotting seafood. A miasma has entered this town, these good people, once so happy and now, now lost, gone, gone gone gone, all gone now." She croons off and starts towards the wall of the house, peering at it closely.

Nix sighs at length and actually looks at his watch, irritation there more so than anger. "I've got dinner with my wife tonight, Rogers. You're going to have to make this drive again and get yourself very well acquainted with a case file as tall as your Seer there."

The deputies head on into the house and likely upstairs, not even poking around the house, or the slightest bit aware that the house was just vacated by three more people.

"I'll tell you what you already know. You found a dead woman upstairs and one of Judith Schuler's dolls. You," he looks at Maria, "Looked and didn't find a trace of anything. Thats the way it is, each and every time. Like I said, avail yourself to the file. It's all there. And by 'all' I mean nothing. You got assigned this, then? Well, good luck. But don't count on it." Nix stomps back to his cruiser and pulls out a phone.

Johny nods to the man. "Where can I pick up the case file, Sheriff Nix?" Asks Johny, a quick notepad coming out to scribble on. "And if you don't mind the redundant question.. How many other cases like this have there been? We only caught this because we were over in Granby investigating…"

Commlink-(Geist): Someone better tell me everyones out of the house.

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Yes sir"

Commlink-Malus> Lilith says, "Out back. Under cover."

Maria looks back from the house to the Sheriff as he indicates her, stepping forward decisively and heading towards Rogers and the man. She keeps her eyes on him and sniffs the air, looking around like a hound that has scented her prey. She glances to Rogers, "It is on the move, muy malo."

Nix's radio crackles as one of the deputies radios from upstairs. "Standard scene, Sheriff. Bagging her up now." Those guys don't waste time. They're actually very fast about it.

"Down at the department. Center town. Closed for the night, though. You'll have to be back tomorrow. Like I said, dinner," Nix answers shortly. The last question from Johny gets a bit of a pained look from the Sheriff. It's very brief, there-and-gone like that. But it was there. "This will be twenty-seven."

Johny's jaw sets…

Commlink-(Geist): Jailbait. When we get back tot own. Judith Schuler. Her dolls. Run down everything on that. Malus, I want you to go to the local libr… no. Not you. Your enhancements make you stand out. Wisp. Library. I want a list of the other 27 victims.

Lilith eyes flicker a bit when Johny speaks. She has a brief thought about her false tail…dismisses it for now, focuses on the mission.

Legwork!

Plot

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