Let Me Tell You About God
GM: Dream
Players: Dream, Darius, Johny (as Armando), AliceID
Synopsis: The players are hired to investigate a missing person.
Date: Wednesday, Aug 11th, 2069

Word has hit the street, particularly through those involved in the magical community, that Serious Business is afoot. Dream has already rendezvoused with Darius, and word says that if you want to come and investigate what is going on, you should get down to Brown's Kitchen, a small, and rather run-down cafe in one of the rougher areas of the Warrens.

Inside, the young mexican girl is clearly nervous. She looks twitchy, and she's nursing a small cup of coffee. The cafe itself, is entirely empty, though where everyone is is a mystery for the ages. Outside, the air is still, but there is a heavy, oppressive heat. The sun lowering in the sky, and sending lengthening shadows. Inside the cafe… the air is tense, and still just as heavy.

Miranda passes said word along to miss Alice, catching her in the middle of a break dance routine out in some back alley with some other freaks. Alice agrees to check it out, so Miranda drives her to Brown's Kitchen and then drops her hoop off and tells her to not fook this up. Alice salutes! Then, she turns toward the building and scans warily before approaching.

Armando: An exercise in wrong place, wrong time. The kind of thing that puts him at the convergence of Axi X, Y and Z, but also, sometimes that unnamable fourth Axi of fate. He is in the cafe, no one called him, no one told him there was work.

He watches Dream for a long moment, from the lunch counter, before he stands up and sweeps his way slowly to her. "Excuse me, miss… are you quite well? You seem perhaps… distressed." A pause as he slides in to her booth. "How can Armando Juan Villianova de la garza de Castro assist?"

Darius is sitting next to Dream, a coffee in his own hands, as he waits for the others to arrive. "I'm sure it's just some idiot kid." He says to Dream, to abate her nerves as he sips his coffee. If he's sos ure, why did he just drive all the way down from ute and put his cactus flower gathering on hold toc ome investigate. Who knows.

Word on the street is something that Slinger is often privy to, given his close association with the Saints. He arrives at the appointed time, of course, noticably different in appearance than he has been in the past. Specifically, he appears as a young ganger, perhaps even one of the Saints from the colors he is wearing, dressed with a slightly scruffy appearance to his longish hair, the slight mohawk in the center of it cut short but not dyed. Brownish-blond hair, but no facial hair. And attractive.
He steps into the place, surveys the interior. Looking for some clue what is currently happening.

Alice notices Slinger's look, and she grins a little bit, which makes her actually look like she is grinning a LOT, due to the facial paint bits. Alice rolls up behind Slinger and follows him to the door before it closes, then proceeds to let her own self inside after him.

For a moment, Dream looks at Armando as though he is crazy. But she flashes a smile a moment later. Not letting it linger too long, she looks to Darius, and sighs, shaking her head a little bit. "It probably is." She agrees, "But, after last night? I'm not … well, you saw that man, there's something nasty brewing in Denver, and I don't like it."

She clears her throat, and sets her coffee down with a definite… determination to the motion. "It's very kind of you to ask." She says to Armando, "In short, there is something I need to check out, and, I think it could be very dangerous. If it is, I need to deal with it, and I don't want to do it alone." Her eyes flicker up to note Slinger, and a momentary expression of annoyance crosses her features. He looked different… but didn't she know him?

Nodding, Armando looks very understanding. His smile is real, his eyes concerned. Then he spots Alice. He quickly stands up when she arrives. Oh. My. God. His mouth opens, then closes. "I… uh… " A glance to Darius, then to Dream. "I would… like to help…" A glance to Alice. "But I fear my talents would be utterly wasted and at odds with… the obvious."

Slinger glances behind him toward the creepy woman who enters behind him. That grin, though, however creepy, that seems to put him in a slightly better mood. He seems to be in a good mood, though that slowly fades as he sees Dream. Who seemed somewhat tense the last time we spoke. Slinger has never been one to beat around the bush, and he approaches her, waiting for a moment to speak.

Darius nods his head as everyone arrives, and then says, "Yeesh. Well, I guess it was short notice." to Dream, then back to the group. "Have any of you read the news todfay?" He asks.

Alice was not really paying attention to Armando yet, so she missed the whole freak out about her looks. She grins a little more to Slinger, though, when he looks all good moody. Too bad she did not know it was Slingy; she looks around with the metallic blue cyber eyes, and then approaches the table where Armando is standing and Dream and Darius are. She flashes a toothy grin, "Sup?" she says in a fairly decent tone, today. Apparently, today is not a loud day?

Dream raises an eyebrow momentarily, but shakes her head to Armando, "Well, that depends on what your talents are." She says, quite bluntly herself. "Either way, I'm willing to throw twenty thousand down for your help to investigate what, well, it might be a dumb kid, in which case we'll just scare him a bit. Or it might be something far more … dangerous." The girl then looks to Slinger, and flashes a bright smile. "Yes?"

Armando watches Alice for a moment, the paint on her features and the garishness of her demeanor. "Personal relations, interaction and information services." he admits, turning his attention back to Dream. "With a side line in stealth and reconnisance."

Slinger smiles sheepishly. "I think… I owe you an apology," the youth begins. "When we last met. I think I offended you with my words, and that wasn't my intention." The figure of twenty-thousand flies by, and he takes a breath. That kind of money doesn't fly around without the sort of people being around who will not be freaked out.
His appearance changes, then, taking on the form that Dream will recognize from the other encounter. "By way of apology, I'll offer my services for your job, and expect no payment. It's important that people in our line of work keep a cordial relationship."

Darius keeps quiet now, while everyone is handling introductions.

Alice immediately seats herself without asking… just pulls out a chair and then flops down into it. She looks to Armando and then claims, "Me too! Rockin!" she then fake guitar strums before grabbing her chair seat and then scooting it closer into the table. She shuts up and looks over toward Slinger with a silght grin again, but then it sobers into a flat line expression because of the whole apology thing and then her eyes bug a little before she glances back over toward Dream to see what she will say!

Dream is visibly surprised- first by the change, then by the apology, and the sincere offer of free help. It takes her a few moments to recover her composure. "Well, that would be very welcome." She says, and smiles much more easily. "Alright, apology accepted." Straightening up a little she folds her hands on top of the table, "Well, even if you can't use magic." She says to Alice, apparently unfazed by the complete lack of social graces- or at least, not commenting on it-, and to Armando, "You two can still use guns, right?"
«Watchfor» Weeko (#1957) just disconnected from the game.

Slinger nods, seeming relieved when you accept his apology. He hates having enemies floating around out there. He pulls up a chair of his own, along with his pack of cancer sticks, and settles down to listen, perched quietly there in the appearance that he used before — though still dressed in the Saints uniform. He likes the look of it, after all.

Armando tilts his head. "I am conversant in all forms of personal combat, Madam, I assure you that I would spare no effort to ensure your personal security, your safety and that of your mission."

Alice grins and noddles once, twice, three times to what Dream asked.

Darius lets Dream continue toe xplain it- this is her show, after all, though he does volounteer. "If any of you have radios with encryption, we'll have opportunity to exchange information shortly."

Dream nods slowly, "Alright, then I'd still like you to come with us." She says, taking a deep breath, before she produces her pocsec, "Right. Well. Anyway, like Mr. Grey said, do you guys keep up with the news? You'd have to look close to spot it, but there was something a bit disturbing in there, and, given some stuff we've seen lately, we want to just… check it out."

Alice shakes her head and causes the black and blue strands of her hair to spread out all around her shoulders from the rapid movements, and then she stops once she has a good tuft going. "Nope, got no comm, got no news."

Armando says nothing about Alice's lack of socialization. "Indeed. I follow the news, and there is much to be distressing to a lady of station and grace such as yourself; perhaps you could be more clarifying to the obfuscation the world presents?"

Darius lets out a heavy sigh at that news from Alice. "Well, I suppose you can't expect professionals with such short notice. Or at all, in Denver, by my experience."

The youth chuckles, glancing over at Armando. And then, he realizes who it is — and relaxes, with a faint, knowing grin on his features. "'Fraid I didn't catch it, whatever it was," the youth admits. "I don't tend to follow it that closely. Too damned busy to watch talking heads debate the merits of the latest dress fashions," he comments with a smirk. He lights up a cigarette, takes a deep drag from the unfiltered thing. "Despite rumors to the contrary, I do /not/ wear dresses."

Alice in return says nothing about Armando's buttering up of Misses J! Though, when Darius says that, she slides her metallic blue eyes toward him, "Hey, Fucker. I can hear you and your slide disses." she informs him, then snorts softly. She does not move bodily, however, just calls him out on it.

Darius nods his head, "I'm glad of it. Buy a radio."

AliceID says "Some of us are not rich fucks, so fuck off. I will when I can afford." AliceID sits there with a lot of shame but heated pissantry toward our Mr. Grey.

Dream finds herself baffled a second time. Grace? Station? Her? The look on her face is really quite funny, stunned amazement. But she recovers soon enough, to clear her throat. "That's enough." She says, before turning her pocsec around, to show a classified ad! And add, "… Radios do help, though. I wish I had a spare to lend you, but, I didn't think to get more than one."

Classified Ads: Sacrifices needed, extra pay for virgins. Contact at ten.nona|efinkydoolb#ten.nona|efinkydoolb

"Anyway, I had a friend of mine do a little digging, and it came from a small place down in the Warrens. Not Aztlan sector, so -probably- nothing serious. But."

Armando turns his attention to Alice for a moment. "Rich fucks." Says the man then. "Are the ones who pay your salary, Miss. Perhaps you could be a little more polite to our prospective employeers? Given that this man was here before us, it is perhaps wise to not antagonize him before he offically pays us? I do not mean to suggest that you are out of line, but perhaps, not strategically thinking through the ramifications of yoru behavior."

Darius on the other hand, is the image of calm. "IF one of your fellows has a spare, maybe you could be lucky enough to ask very kindly to borrow one for the duration of this endeaver. I do not like operating without communications, and prefer none to unsecured communications. I've had… bad experiences with amatuers using walkie talkies."

"I have a spare. Rating six crypto," Slinger mentions. "Good one. Subvocal mic, too," he adds, with a warm smile. Which vanishes as he peers at the screen, transforming to a scowl. "What the hell?" He tilts his head. "Maybe… somebody's casting for a play, and this is their idea of a funny way to do it?" he suggests. "Nobody would really take out an ad like that… complete with a name like that?" he asks, looking at the others.
But as more of the story unfolds, he clears his throat, nods. "Maybe an ad for a brothel. But it makes sense to check it out," the youth agrees, drawing from his cancer stick as he leans back. "Any info about the place itself?"

Alice smiles, and the paint just stretches the grin across her features, even though her aura is bleeding pissed, but she slightly calms and actually considers these things that Armando said. She leans slightly in his direction, and she stage whispers, "Thanks for understanding." and then winks with one of her raccoon-style maked-up eyes. She sits back up and starts calming some more but then looks to Darius and bares her teeth slightly but without growl. Alice glances to Slinger, "Scweet!" and then she looks to the info presented, mulling over it a bit before stating, "Might be fuzz tryin to kill bad magic. Though, that only gets the retarded ones and leaves the super smart ones to evolve."

AliceID says "Like freaking Pikachu."

Dream nods a little, "Normally, I'd leave it be." She admits, "But, last night, Mr. Grey and I encountered something rather nasty in the sewers, and I've heard that Aztechnology have been making strong moves. Paranormal animals have been attacking their competitors in the region, they've expanded into Japan, they've got some sort of meteor -thing- going down, and…"

She shrugs, "Like I said, normally I'd ignore it, but I don't like so much happening so fast. My friend wasn't able to get much info about the place, other than that it is privately owned, and the power and utilities are relatively stable for a Warrens property. We might be busting in on any number of innocent things, on the other hand…"

Armando nods then. "I will be willing to assist." He says, turning his smile back to Dream. "Tell me what you wish to do."

All this stuff is news to Slinger. "Whoa. Back up a moment. What's this about Japan and a meteor?" Anything that Aztechnology is doing cannot be good, and Slinger has more than one reason to have a personal dislike for that particular nation-corp. "Aztechnology. Evil today… For a better tomorrow," he quips, mocking their corporate slogan which is familiar from their numerous trid commercials. "You think this is tied in with it, somehow? They tend to like the whole virgin sacrifice thing." He grimaces.

Alice mentions, "Ready to shoot some bitches, sure, count me in!!!" offered with a big grin. "Freaking Mexicants." she appends offhandedly, though there really was no hate associated in her aura when she says that.

AliceID looks to Armando, "No offense senor."

Armando is nonplussed. "I am Castillian. Not Aztlanner."

Dream grins slightly, "I am, though."

Darius clears his throat, "The place is in the warrens. Even if it is a Harmless joke, I am sure somewhere right now, someone is being kidnapped by some ganger hoping for a reward for his catch. We should act quickly."

AliceID gives Armando thumbs up with her right hand and to Dream with her left!

Slinger nods firmly. "Indeed. Rules of engagement?" he asks, as he takes one final drag of cancer, crushes it out. "I got transport for whoever needs it," he adds. "Got my gear with me out in the SUV. Along with transport for whoever needs it. Except I can only carry one troll," he adds apologetically, glances around. None of that particular branch of metahumanity seems to be part of this.

"Also, have we considered astral recon?" the youth asks, offering it as a suggestion. "I'll volunteer for that."

Darius nods at Slinger, "I believe that examining the place astrally would be a good first step. If it is anything… nefarious, signs of taint should be obvious."

"I need all the help I can get." Alice tells Slinger. How true that is.

Dream nods vaguely in Darius's direction, before looking to Slinger, "It's… a lot of stuff in the past week or two." She says, by way of explanation. "There's been a few meteor strikes, some of them in Aztlan. And yesterday, I believe, they took out a Japanese subsidiary company." She sighs slightly, "I'm honestly not sure how we should go in. Astral recon could be useful, but it might tip them off if they are ready for it and they are really nasty. It might be worth asking around the area to see if they know anything has changed…" She shrugs, "I'm really, really hoping that we'll get in there, and just find a bunch of ghouls with a weird fetish, or an organ legging ring or something like that."

… It might say something about what Dream fears, that these seem like the nicer alternative.

Alice creates a tight O with with her lips like a mime would do, then she stops completely and watches and listens, but hey, at least she is quiet.

"Not real thrilled with any of those options," Slinger points out. He pauses, then nods. "I can usually stealth through wards pretty well, but I'm not /always/ successful," he admits. He reaches for his cigarettes, lighting up another one of the things, sucking deadly smoke into his chest. "Willing to try if you want, though."

Armando gestures to Darius.. "Magic." A gesture to himself… "Stealth and recon, perhaps more carnal issues." A pause as he looks to Slinger… "Big magic." A gesture to Dream… "Human Resources." Then to Alice. And her face paint. And her attitude. And her insulting demeanor. "What can I count on from you?"

Alice looks to Armando and then smiles, "Carny fun tim… oh for work. Uhm, ass kickery! Some pistols and stealth and… some more ass kicking!" she offers and then also adds, "Sometimes coniving! But, that is extreme case scenario type deal, man. Lots of painting and I break dance, too!"

AliceID says "I also am down with the clown and I know tons-a-languages! Yeah!"

Armando shakes his head slowly. "Indeed."

AliceID adds, "I also kick spirit ass!" she admits. Hey, that might be helpful?

Slinger leans back in his chair a little, shrugs. "This is gonna be all stealthy, and yeah, there might be spirits," he agrees. "So yeah, let's do this."
Slinger takes a drag from his cigarette, inhaling deeply. "So. Astral recon. Yea or Nay?" he asks Dream. She's paying the bill, she gets to call the shots.

Alice looks to Slinger, "You can do eet." she says Water Boy movie style.

Armando just looks at Alice like she's crazy; because she probably is, or at least; she missed the last 90 years of cultural memes.

Dream hesitates for a moment, and then shakes her head a touch. "We should perceive on the way over." She says, "But, I don't want to risk anything happening to you if we can't back you up or get you out of there, it should be pretty obvious if there's anything really bad going on, and if there isn't… then we need to go in and send a strong message not to do this sort of thing again." She does look very serious as she adds. "But only kill them if they are -seriously- nasty, alright? If it's a kid playing a joke or an advertising campaign or something stupid, nobody needs to die."

Darius glances at Alice, "I'm going to require a little more professionalism to be able to work with you. It's nothing personal, but everything I have seen of you so far indicates that if we encounter any danger, you are going to get us killed or seriously wounded."

Alice winks to Armando… again. Then, she looks to Dream and smiles and then says in a quiet secretive tone, "I got Cerberus… Gel on the fly, baby!" Then, when Darius adds his two cents, Alice looks over at him with a straight line expression again. She says nothing at all, but begins a staring contest.

Armando stands up then, offering Dream a nod, and a smile. "It has been a pleasure my lady, but I cannot in good conscious take your job, with the painted lady as an asset. I feel it would end poorly and your money would be ill spent on failure and frustration. Either that, or I would, in a moment of quiet and solitude, snap her neck."

Slinger nods. Then reaches into his pocket, pulls out his keys, and tosses them to Armando. "You get to drive the 'burban," he tells the man with a friendly smile. He chuckles. "Just because she's tongue-in-cheek on occasion doesn't mean she's not professional. I'm a smartass, but I get the job done, da?" he asks, in imiatation of Dumah's accent.

He scowls, though, at Armando's comment. "Damn. Now who's gonna drive my rig?"

BEEEEEEESYYYYYYYDE is in the HOWASE! That's what suddenly goes through Slinger's mind, even as he says the words. And he grimaces.

Darius isn't about to get into a stupid staring contest, "Are we clear?" He asks of Alice then. Of course, then Armande leaves.

Alice snaps her gaze toward Armando and then glares about the neck snap commentary, but then looks over to Slinger and lightens up slightly, letting out a slow and even breath. She glances between Darius and Armando, "Leave! Me an him will get it done." she says and motions between Slinger and herself!

Dream hesitates for a moment, and then shakes her head. "Wait." She says, looking to Darius, and then back at Alice. If anything, the poor girl looks absolutely baffled. "Wait, look." She sighs, "My worry, is that we could be running headlong into a secret Aztechnology facility, full of hi tech security and blood magicians. If that's the case, I need a good team, and… well…" She looks seriously at Alice, but it's clear that she's apologetic, "If you can't stay serious, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. I'm sorry."

Alice points quickly toward Dream, "The boss's word is the only word. Everyone else can fuck themselves. But! She is the Johnson!" and with that, Alice stands up and then looks to Darius and Armando, "And neither of you!" Alice actually moves out of the space of the table and chair and then settles the chair back under the table like people should do. She tsks!

Armando leans over then, taking Slinger by eh shoulders. He places a kiss to each cheek. "Be well, my friend, and try not to let the child get you killed. It would be very problematic, and then who would I get to help decorate my villa?" He asks with a light, already-forgotten-about-offerign-to-snap-someones-neck tone. When Dream speaks, he turns then, to give her attention.

Slinger lifts a brow, listening, but offers no comment at the moment. This is entirely between Dream and Alice, at this moment. As Armando offers him kisses, Slinger tenses a little, uncomfortably, and whispers something incomprehensible back, before he laughs and adds, "You don't want me decorating it, trust me," Slinger drawls lazily, trying to break up the tension.

You sense Slinger's voice is teasing. "Ew! Old-people kisses!" He's just giving you a hard time.

Darius nods his head then, as Alice makes her way out. He doesn't seem particularly… bothered that she's leaving, one way or another.

AliceID has not left yet, just put her chair in!!! ALICE IS STILL HERE!!!

Dream nods to Alice, "I am sorry." She says, looking back to Darius, and taking a deep breath. "Thanks for your time, but, I think…" She looks to Armando, nodding a little more, "It'd be for the best, if you'd leave. Mr. Grey is my support in this, and I need him to feel comfortable." She had watched the display of affection between Armando and Slinger carefully. "I think it's fair to say Armando is… fairly comfortable too." She looks back to Alice, and gives a little shrug. "I'll definitely keep your number, if I come across something more relaxed, though?"

Alice snorks about Mister Grey, "He is an arrogant bastard rat, but good luck with him ma'am." She tucks a hand into her camo jacket pocket… but then extracts an actual pen, and she grabs a napkin and then jots down the number on the papery thing. Apparently, she is in no hurry to leave right now. "Huzz freakin ahh…" and then she gets all done writing, and her writing actually does not look too horrible. Alice pushes the napkin across the table with her fingertips and then grins, "Call me sometime! Any any any time." Then, Alice turns toward Slinger and says to him, "Preeshiate chew, again. Thanks, yeah."

AliceID looks to Armando and then says to him, "You dunno fuck! I am a magic ninja, whut?!" and then she moves to find herself a different table and then grins to whatever wait staff or maybe even grins at the menu itself.

Dream takes a few deep breaths, shaking her head slowly. "Right." She says, slowly. "Where were we?"

Clapping her hands together, she straightens up. "That was it, yes. We're going to scout out the place directly. Those of us capable of it will Perceive in order to try and see if there is any real magical danger involved, and Armando will sneak in after that to see if he can find anything, right?"

Armando nods then, reaching back and straightening his pony tail. "Of course, miss. I'm sorry for the unpleasentries. I simply abhor rudeness."

AliceID glances all around and frowns because there is no food to be had here! She coughs once into her fist and then glances over toward Armando and then says to him, "Yep, me, too!" and then she turns and actually finally gets to the door and walks her ass out unless anyone decides to roast her for dinner.
Darius nods, "Sounds like a plan. I don't have Masking, myself, so it may be ebst for us to hang back and allow Slinger to move in astrally." he comments. He shakes his head at Alice, and says, "I feel sorry for the girl. People like her wind up dead or in corporate-owned holding facilities. And frankly, I'm not certain which I'd prefer."

"I do." Dream replies, coldly. Then brushes her hair back with one hand, slipping her pocsec back into her pocket with the other. "I think it'd be best if we were all close, though. Perhaps if we take the van, and Slinger had a look around if it doesn't look like he's going to be seen. The last thing I want is for him to wind up stuck without any of us being able to get in to help if necessary."

Armando's HUD activates. With a mental thought he selects audio input and mutes Alice's soundpattern. He miles to Darius then. "The nature of the shadows is very Darwinian. Were I a less polite, respectful man to my host.." A nod to Dream… "I may have simply proven natural selection's case. But I am a polite, respectful man and I have no desire to require the Good Lady to incur cleaning charges."

AliceID stands outside and calls Miranda, "Uh, yeah, I need a ride, babee." *pause* "Nope." and then she hangs up and slides the phone away, waiting. Eventually, after however long it takes, the brown haired elf will drive up and then Alice will get into the Americar with her, and that ends Alice!

Darius nods his head, "An advantage of magic. Less messy." He comments, and then to Deam, "I believe one of us will drive his van there, and he will astrally project ahead of us."

Dream smiles softly, "It's appreciated." She says, setting down her empty coffee cup. "That'd be sensible." She admits, nodding along a little, she stands, adjusting her heavy coat carefully. "Hopefully, this is all just a massive overreaction." She admits, "But. I suppose we'll find out sooner or later."

The night is getting on, by the time the intrepid Runners slide out of the cafe, and into Slinger's van. The gloom of night is starting to descend, and the heavy heat has given way to an oppressive, muggy gloom. The destination is quite some way away, and as the van rumbles along closer, the streets become noticeably more empty…

The hair on the back of the neck might prickle… despite the heat, Dream has goosebumps.

"Not too far to go now." She murmurs.

Darius take shis own seat in the back of the van. he takes a moment to make sure he has his gun, check, loaded, check, monowhip, check. He brushes his suit down, then, and settles in for the ride.

Even within the van, as his astral form slides from the physical, it's obvious that something is wrong here. Not, necessarily, from the immediate background count. Smoke curls from the streets of Denver, and it pools here thicker than some areas, but thinner than others. Obscuring, but not choking.

But in the distance, it's clearly visible. Indeed, the real question is- how did such a thing go unnoticed for so long?

Red smoke clings to the outside of the target building, pouring off in waves of pain, terror, and fear. The red mingles with the black of the general malaise of the Warrens streets, pungent and cloying with its taste.

The building itself is not impressive, really. A ramshackle two story building that would serve as a sizeable residence for a family of four, or, more likely here, a cramped quarters for a family of twelve. What is eerie, is the absolute lack of any other immediately visible living forms. Nobody in the nearby buildings, no rats in the sewers or even bugs in the air…

But the walls of that foreboding place ripple with thick red nets. Astral barriers, constructed to keep people from seeing in… or out.

The inside of the house is practically a charnel house. Or at least. It was, that much is clear. What is also clear, is that the wards on the walls have begun to degrade. Not much, yet. But as he gets closer, it is obvious that they haven't been maintained in a few weeks.

Lounging indolently in the living room, apparently watching a trid, if the posture is right, is the owner of the house. Or at least. Something that is wearing his shape. Inside a human-shaped silhouette of force, ripples and boils a mass of crimson, all rending fangs and the -feel- of the hunt. Predatorial and horrifying.

What is also quite clear, is the fact that the monster has a link to the house. This choking fog of pain and horror is oozing from it, linked to the walls, and down into the basement. Its influence bound and slithering through the place.

Slinger looks at the thing /just/ long enough to actually figure out what it is — and then starts checking the rest of the house, carefully avoiding the room the thing is occupying. This thing is /nasty/. And dual-natured, duh. Not a good thing. IT doesn't look friendly, at all.

The house is almost entirely bare, no living thing in sight… until something tells Slinger to look down.

And down is quite another story indeed. In the basement, there is a large stone altar. The incredible thing being, he shouldn't be able to -see- the large stone altar in the astral plane. Given the massive amount of energy bound up into it, it is clearly linked to the monster upstairs somehow. Perhaps some sort of focus which is allowing it to maintain the link to the house…?

It also has a beautiful elven woman bound to it. Her aura, however, seems faded. As though sucked out from within. She is terrified, mundane, and scared.

Slinger returns to his body, awaking with a start. His super-hero mantra is enflamed. Angry. He relates the information to Armando, Darius and to Dream in quick, rapid fire words.

Darius pales at the description, and sits back. "Blood magic. Specifically, a free blood spirit. That alter is it's… spirit focus. Its link to the world. We'll need to destroy it, or it will simply come back. If there is one aspect of magic I did not want to study this closely, it is blood magic." he mutters. Darius, the man of Snark, genuinely disturbed? What is the world coming to!?
Dream pages: It's probably a blood spirit. Very nasty, very powerful thing. That it doesn't seem to have anyone nearby controlling it is -very- strange, and might be a sign that it is something more powerful than the norm. Normally, they -have- to be within a certain distance of a living person.

Dream visibly blanches at the description given, and she looks between the trio slowly, Darius's burst of snarling explains far more than she could have supposed, and the girl nods slowly, "Thank you." She says to Slinger. Genuinely, truly grateful. "If you hadn't been here… there's no way we could have found out so much so quickly, we could have killed it now, only to have it come back in the future!" She takes a deep breath, looking between the others, slowly. "So. The question is… how do we proceed?"

Armando narrows his eyes, but says nothing for the moment. He glances to his watch, then to Slinger. "Time is of the essence." He says, moving in to the back of the van and pulling out his duffle bag. "Background aura should sheild me somewhat." he says, pulling out a mat black suit of environmentally sealed armor… Very very professional looking. "I'll need more time than Slinger. But we will get her out."

Dream hesitates for a moment, "I don't suppose you brought any explosives, did you?"

"Yes." Says armando. "I can be very rude when required."

Darius answers that, "We get in there, get her out, and destroy that spirit. If it comes to it, I can travel to the metaplanes and hold it off there."
Dream phews, "Well, that makes things easier…" She says, looking to Darius, "Between us and Slinger, we could probably distract or disrupt the spirit long enough for Armando to get in and plant the charges, and get the girl out."

Darius nods his head, "Thankfully, if we manage to destroy the alater, the spirit will dissapate immediately. Although, I don't see it being very cooperative."

Armando pulls out a pair of pistols, then a trio of clips. One painted green, he puts back. One painted gold, he examines for a moment. Anyone astral will see the bullets as astrally active. "Yes. We can do this."

Dream nods slowly, and stands up. Checking her own gun. Not that it would do any good, really, but just because it made her feel better to have it on her. "So, Slinger, do you want to try and go in through the back? We can then come in the front."

Armando slides clip, gold, in to one gun, a clip, red, in to another. These he puts in to hoslters sculpted in to the outside of the armored suit he's donning. "I will be on channel XXXX. Callsign is Phantasm. Slinger, astrally shadow me. Handle the spirit if you can, otherwise I'll shoot it." A pause as he looks to Dream and Darius. "You two, go high, keep the beast off my ass." He says, settling the helmet over his features. "I am decidedly glad we lost the loud ninja. This would be problematic to work with.

Darius nods his head, "I can't imagine a job I would actually want to bring her along to. Maybe entertainment at a children's party." He smirks. That's lifted the look of terror from his face a little. "Right. We'll just… fight the blood spirit." he murmurs then. Glancing to Dream, he says, "Let's hope we can stop this thing. I swear, Insect Spirits in the Sewers, and now this. This is certainly ane ventful city, magically speaking."
Armando nods to Darius… "Whats your sidearm?"

Darius draws it and shows Armando. It's a Morrisey Elite.

Armando rummages in his bag, finding a standard heavy clip. He tosses that over, painted gold. "Incase your magic is less than desired."

Dream doesn't seem to find much amusement in that, but straightens up nevertheless. "Twisted beings." She mutters. Shaking her head slowly. "I don't know what has brought all of this out, but, really, it isn't important. We'll deal with it." There's a moments hesitation before she asks, "Could I get some of those? If the disruption is high… bullets might actually be more effective than magic."

Armando eyes the clip. 2,000 a bullet. They arn't cheap. The clip he just tossed Darius was worth his pay from the run. He doesn't hesitate though, reaching in for his last clip and tossing them to dream. "Get the job done."

Darius nods his head, his eyes glazing over as he glances at the bullets. "Huh. I've always wondered how these are possible. I guess study is something for another time, though." He comments, removing the plain clip from his pistol, and slotting the gold clip in. He re-holsters it while they drive. "I wish I'd gotten around to enchanting my monowhip." He murmurs.

Dream nods, "Alright. You two had best find a way in… when you have one, let us know through the comm and we'll go in through the door." And, like Darius, she switches the clip for her gun. A rather more modest Predator.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "Commcheck"

Commlink-mr. Grey> Darius says, "Loud and Clear."

Dream does flash a smile to Darius, and a wink. "I have some thoughts. But you wouldn't like them~."

Commlink-Dream> Dream says, "Working, I think."

Armando stands then, checking his systems. Internal air… sensors… good. Good. Good. "Alright. Slinger, on me in the astral, you two, get ready to deploy." he says, moving to the side door. He steps out, eyes the building… and then simply dissapears from physical view as his ruthenium cicks in.

Darius finally arrives, makes sure his firearm is concealed, adjusts his tie, and then straigthens out his suit. "So. We're going with the Jehova's Witnesses guise?" He asks.

Dream smiles slightly, "Well, why not?" She asks, straightening herself up as she walks towards the front of the house. In her armor, and with her sidearm at her hip, she's markedly more conspicuous than her ally. "I wonder if he's heard the Good Word."

Armando moves over to the back door, examining the door. Ahh, good old civilian lock technology. He practiced on this back in the Academy. Actaully… he thinks he may have helped design this lock. His right hand splits open, revealing the tool kit. The plate pops off, then the circutry is bypassed before a quarter minute passes.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "Lock bypassed. Entering house."

Commlink-Dream> Dream says, "Okay, lets move."

Armando opens the door then, carefully, examining the door and its frame for traps, tricks and other such issues that might explode and make his day a very poor one indeed.

The spirit, entirely unaware of the fact someone is coming in from behind, is focused on the pair of impudent mortals in front of it. Having absolute faith that there is no reason for it to play things subtle, the monsters reaction is as immediate as it is terrifying.

The door opens, the tall man opens it, and explodes into a swirling mass of blood and fangs, with two piercing red orbs in the center. The scent of blood and death is heavy and thick in the air, and the disguise that it had been wearing… is cast aside like so much fancy dressing.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "In the kitchen, headed downstairs. Wards on the walls have been scratched out. Somone summoned, had the summon get out of control."

Commlink-Dream> Dream sounds noticeably less confident. "This is about what I expected."

Commlink-mr. Grey> Darius says, "That's probably the body he's occu- HOSH-"

Commlink-mr. Grey> Darius literally drops the comlink.

Moving now with the speed and alacrity granted by the dangerous situation, Armando bounds through the kitchen. The details are recorded in to orientation system and brought up on his HUD. The room resolves entirely in his vision as the door is examined. He trusts the mages to be doing their job and prays slinger is with him as he shoulders the basement door off its hinges.

Dream has seen something -like- this before. Admittedly, never so close and personal, and even more admittedly, never so loud. But. On the other hand. She'd known what she was walking into. She's scared, but, mercifully, she doesn't wet herself. The gun does feel -heavy- in her hand, though. She'd only shot at gangers before, and this was a bonifide magical horror from beyond.

She raises it, nevertheless, and squeezes the trigger. Hoping to whatever God might be listening (and when the Psionicist is doing that, doesn't that really say it all?), that there hadn't been a mixup and the golden bullets really would bother the horrific -thing-.

Darius is taken aback by the spirit creature, and drops his radio onto the ground, having been speaking into it just moments ago. His hand snaps into his gun's holster, in his jacket, and he pulls the thing out. He fires off two shots at point blanc range at the creature, managing to send ripples of bullet-energy through its astral form, and tear it apart. He re-holsters the gun.

The Blood Spirit swirls and parts, the shot from Dream goes straight through, without so much as touching the monster. Darius's shots, however, are much better placed and where they slam into the vengeful spirit, large chunks of red mist burn away, melting into nothingness. But, though the second shot especially hit much of the center mass, the Spirit remains standing, and if it is at all concerned by the damage it has taken, it makes no sign of it.

Instead, a torrent of bloody smoke pours into the doorway, covering both mages easily in a wash of noxious fumes and choking smoke. Dream stumbles back a step, hacking…

The basement, where the intrepid duo are infiltrating, is poorly lit, only by a single flickering flame. The altar, however, is clearly visible. As is the very pale and drawn elf woman tied to it, covered in dozens of tiny lacerations, though none of them are bleeding…

Bounding off the stairs, Armando's right arm reaches down to his thigh, unsheathing a matte-black Cougar fineblade. The diakoated blade parts the fibers quickly. "Stay still. We are here to assist." He murmurs in Lakota. He knows he looks a fearsome sight, looking like a ninja in combat armor approaching her with a blade. "Stay calm and we will be gone soon. My friends are handling the beast."

Slinger moves in as well, guarding Armando while he cuts the woman free, keeping watch in the astral as well as the physical. Once done, he'll take the woman, using a spell to Levitate her toward the nearest escape route. She is not bleeding at the moment, so he can heal her once she's clear of the danger…

Focusing its power, the Blood Spirit seems to expand and grow, darkness spreading from its form as it turns to the man who had so successfully hurt it. Attempting to force a sheer wash of fear and terror into his form. Alas, the spirit of Mr. Grey stands too strong against that, and the monster is unsuccessful- just the regular terror it inspires will have to do, it seems.

The woman comes around only falteringly. She's obviously been through a terrifying ordeal, and is fading in and out of consciousness even as she's cut from the altar, "Are you here… to just make it… quick?" She replies in her native tongue, a slightly disturbing amount of hope in the tone.

Luckily, the exit isn't going to be too hard to get to, at least in theory. Just back up the stairs and out through the kitchen!
Armando mutters as he cuts the final cut. "No. I am here to return you to the sun." He murmurs in Sioux. "YOur people have not forgotten you. Take heart, and go with the flying elf."

The invisible flying elf, one might observe. Or fail to observe. Slinger isn't carrying her; instead, he's casting Levitate to carry her, leaving his hands free while he moves up the stairs. His gun is out, but his bullets are generally less lethal than a simple look from him.

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Tell her she'll be floating."

Armando murmurs… "He is a mage and will be levitating you. He is a friend. Do you understand?" He asks, moving now to unpack the brick of explosives.

The woman makes a happy, weak little sound in response. From the looks of her, she's only barely aware of the world around her, but seems happy with floating. She hadn't been bound in the most comfortable position; feeling was coming back to her extremities.

Armando moves now, confident that Slinger has his back and that of the woman. He has complete trust in that elf. The satchel is brought forth and from that he withdraws a brick of plastic explosives. His Orientation system works overtime as the math co-processor and the Encephalon cranial computer does the math for him, crunching numbers. The router sends the data to his imagelink, giving him a heads up display of information.

Setting the timer for 30 seconds, Armando eyeballs the room then places the charge in the most advantageous position he can find, calibrating the reverb to see how it brings the main supports down.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "Withdraw if possible. 30 seconds to detonation"

Commlink-Dream> Dream says, "You don't need to tell me twice."

Head ringing from the foul gas of the monster, and horrified at the fact that it didn't -look- like it was going to go down any time soon, Dream backs up out of the doorway again. Still doing her best to keep its attention on her, though, she doesn't really trust herself to take another shot. She's no marksman, and her head -hurts-.

So how do you keep the monsters attention on you rather than think to turn around and notice the people sneaking to kill it from behind? Well, she vaguely remembers reading that Blood Spirits like it when their prey is boring and doesn't move at all, so, she does her best to hold very very still. That will totally cause the Spirit to pick her above everyone else, right?

Upon getting the go-ahead on the radio, Darius will flee as well- no use wasting good bullets on a spirit that's about to explode, anyway. Here's to hoping it doesn't kill him before the bomb goes off.

The Blood Spirit is quite happy that Darius seems intent on fleeing- seems that the power was more successful than it thought! After all. That just left Dream. Who is standing there, looking at it. Hurt as it is, the Blood Spirit needs to make a decision. Finish the meal downstairs, or try and claim another now. Being greedy, it decides to go for the latter option, spewing a second bout of hideous poison gas at the young mexican, who again stumbles backwards, coughing and hacking, though this time, the red face is notably more worrying, and tears are streaming down her cheeks.

Slinger is moving fast, navigating corners with his twin levitation spells, while he moves up the stairs and then through the kitchen, taking advantage of the open door. Invisible mage, moving stealthily, and only after he is sure the way is clear does he bring the woman's floating body up behind him.
He darts out the back door, and immediately heads almost straight upward, using the roof of the house as cover from anything trying to attack him, or the woman.

The Blood Spirit, determined on pacifying its next meal, repeats the trick one more time. And this time, Dream goes down. Lungs give out, and her head hits the floor hard. Pow.

The Blood Spirit coalesces and swirls. It might be pretty certain that nobody is around, but it never pays to be careless, and as tempting as it is to eat Dream in the middle of the street, it could extend the process and have much more fun if it tied her up in the basement too! Soon, the large, orange-haired man from earlier is standing in the doorway, casually walking over at his own pace to pick her up.

Time keeps on ticken ticken ticken.. in to the future…

Time is of the essence. He knows Darius is down (Or at least off comms). There's a blood spirit up there. Dream has been off comms for 4.2 seconds (Which isn't long, but for Armando, it's an eternity.). Lord only knows whats happening up there. He watches Slinger leave (on ultrasound!) and makes his way out of the basement at full military speed. Alacrity, dexterity, grace, he has all those things. But even better?

He's got a HUGE fucking gun. The Ruger Thunderbolt clears the holster as he shoulders the kitchen door open. Now he sees the team, such as it is. Dream in the street, the man-thing walking for her. Darius slightly out of his Field of Vision. He slides to a halt just as the spirit turns to look his direction. He can see the confusion on its face, the way it just sort of 'huh's for a moment.

"I'm from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I'd like to tell you about god."

The gun reports three quick bullets, a six thousand nuyen payload, but one that is well spent.

Slinger is outside at this point, and moves away from the house, before describing a more leisurely arc downward, aiming for a place where he can heal the woman of her injuries. He doesn't get to hear the most awesome quote ever as he circles around toward the SUV, hitting the keys in his pocket absently as he moves. Though he does take the added precaution of making the woman invisible. He hates it when the neighbors watch and see too much.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "Teammember down, Slinger, middle of the street. Grey, report operational status."

Commlink-mr. Grey> Darius through Dream's radio, "Dream's down. I got her. Lungs are burning, but should recover. I'm taking her to the van."

One of the unspoken downsides to being a being of quicksilver thought? You get to switch emotional states ridiculously quickly.

For instance, one second, the Blood Spirit was about to get a delicious meal of Dream (Mexican food, it's spicy and good!), and then, it hears something running up through its house. Annoyed, it turns.

That is a very big gun. Hah! Fool! Mortal weapons are of no concern to—

Wait, the bullets in these guns actually hurt.

And he wants to take it to a church?

The last thoughts which pass through the spirits mind are, perhaps the first time any blood spirit has ever thought such a thing-

"They ALWAYS call when you sit down for dinner."

And then it explodes, violently, in a shower of blood.

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Meet you there. I should be able to Heal her."

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "But we gotta motor. Don't wanna be here when this thing blows."

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "24 seconds to showtime. I'll make my own exit, slinger, get the truck, get the non-coms out of the zone."

Moving rapidly, Slinger descends on the SUV, pops all the locks and arrives probably roughly the same time as Darious does. Once the back is open, Slinger maneuvers the woman inside, then climbs in himself — and drops both sustained spells. « Armando, you drivin' again? »

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "No, I'm sort of dirty."

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Crap. That means I have to. Got it."

Slinger /was/ going to actually Heal the woman, but instead he swiftly climbs up toward the cab, slots the keys, starts the vehicle — and accelerates away from the situation as fast as he can. "Get the back door!" he calls out to Darius, realizing that it hadn't properly shut all the way, so quick was his haste.

Dirty doesnt' start to cover it. Armando is covered in blood… spirit. He comes charging out of the house, his image link counting down the timer. He takes off down the street, trying to get 5-6 houses down, maybe find a good puddle or a hose. Goddamn this would stink. If he was on external air.

Darius pulls Dream into the back of the vehicle, and then places his hand on her chest- safely away from any danger areas, right in the middle of her clavicle, and his palm glows. Thankfully, there is very little lasting damage, and he clears what he can out of her lungs. "She's just choked- no real damage." He tells the others.



The explosion starts underground, so there's no blossom of fire into the sky. What there is, is a deep rumble, but, contained as well as it is, the explosion is funneled inwards, and takes out the foundations, as well as ensuring that the altar itself is shattered into a thousand pieces. The building collapses in on itself, burying the remains in a small mountain of wood, brick, and rubble.

And from the rubble there is one last, desperate, and quite obviously pained howl… which fades away into nothing. Almost immediately, those people currently astrally aware, would feel some of that nastier background pain and anguish fade away into the ether.

Slinger makes sure the windows are up. Debris raining down on the SUV shouldn't damage it, but you never know. The paint job is new, after all. "You think you can heal her?" he asks Darius, once we're in motion, heading back to the rendezvous point."

Darius shakes his head, "I've healed what little physical damage there is, but mostly she's just unconscious due to lack of oxygen. She'll be fine in a few hours. I'll take her somewhere safe."

Hose hose hose… dear god, get me a hose. ARmando bounces over house after house, looking for a hose. Nope. No hose. He eyes one house and debates breaking in.

Slinger smirks. "There're two women back there with you," he points out. "One has been Healed. The other has not."

Finding a fire hydrent ruptured by the blast, Armando approaches. Oh dear god, thank you. Armando steps in to the water stream, letting the ichor drain away. With that, he will make his way back to rondevoux with slinger.

Commlink-Phantasm> Armando says, "I'm clean. Wouldn't mind a ride."

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Yeah, will pick you up. Seriously, nil sweat on the upholstry. B-Syde scotchgarded it.""

A few hours later…

Dream has had an interesting two days, to say the least. Yesterday, she was shot for the first time and fought -something- horrible in the sewers. Today, she was reduced to hacking up her own lungs and almost dying nastily at the hands of something which, well, it's best left unsaid.

Waki, for that is the name of the Sioux elf who had been saved by the team, is extremely grateful for her safety. A worker in one of the seedier parts of the Warrens, the last thing she remembered, was being bludgeoned over the back of the head some time this afternoon. Large sections of the torment and torture are, mercifully, blank. Though she'll feel brittle for some time, in a few months, she'd be perfectly alright, and it would be one more horrifying ordeal to be put behind her.

Dream, of course, was very, very grateful to the team for her swift rescue and recovery. It's the payout which would take a little while longer to work out.

Dream had come prepared to pay out the maximum she could afford, though. And she will give the agreed payment to Armando and Darius. Taking the time to thank all three of them profusely for their help…

And tonight, the streets of Denver are just a little bit safer. One more murderous threat taken off the streets.

Armando takes the credstick, offering a nod of his head. He deposits the stick in to his own accounts, then resets it for 8,000 nuyen. He offers the chip back to Dream. "Keep it."

Dream is pretty surprised, but… she's certainly not going to turn down the money. "If… you are sure." She says, smiling, despite the headache that was going to linger for a little while yet. "I really do owe you one, though. Thanks."

Armando nods to the woman, a slight bow from the waist now that his armor is long gone and his guns are hidden. "It was a pleasure, Miss. Do give me a call if you ever wish to visit Madrid."


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