A Day in the Life: Ratblast

GM: Patient
Players: Simone/Gretchen
Summary: A day in the life. Gretchen stumbles into a disturbed devil rat nest while exploring the Warrens and takes to the rooftops to seek shelter. It turns out, devil rats can climb fire escapes…


The Warrens have always been a hard luck area; Luck's hard to come by, and it's usually lucky if its not harder. Something between acid rain and snow is slowly falling from a sky the color of TV static, crackling forks of lightning lazily brushing from poison thickened cloud to cloud. Down below, of course, the below freezing temperature and the atmosphere has done its own work in depressing the populace. People just seem to move slowly, when they move at all, clustered beneath ruined awnings and fire barrels. This particular street isn't all that populated; Anyone who has a place to go is there, now. Everyone else is trying to keep warm, freezing to death in an alley, or busy causing trouble. Some entrepaneur has a sewer grate open, digging deep into the rotting veins of an unkept shit-tunnel just to try and find something like a fresh water pipe. Well, fresh-ish. If it's brown, drink it down, if its black, send it back. There's even a few gangerss hanging on the corner, sharing a joint and grumbling at one another as they hold this corner down for the fam, giving the stink eye to anyone passing through with even the slightest bit of color. One with a bit higher spirits is busy adding to the 'decor' of graffiti on the side wall. Generations of scratches and re-tags has left this a mural worthy of a entimologist, if one can peel back the changing layers of slang and symbolism to see how it evolves.

In other words, a perfectly normal, depressing day for Denver's damned. For the moment. For now.

The only color Gretchen sports is the olive drab of her military surplus parka. She's a small figure, so keeps her head down and shoulders drawn in, with hands buried deep in her pockets. Her hood is up, and her face is obscured by goggles and a breather mask, and she wears black thermal leggings with a pair of jean cutoffs over them, and low-heeled ankle boots with thick, cable-knit legwarmers. Her breath 'Vaders' through the mask slightly as she makes her way through the neighborhood, scouting for her own section of unclaimed wallspace to work on a mural of her own, should the mood strike. If not, she still enjoys exploring, so long as her anxiety doesn't get the best of her.

Gretchen has no affiliation with Los Reyes, and frankly doesn't want to start. She makes her best attempt at blending into the background as she passes. She does lay a hand on the grip of a pistol in her generous jacket pockets, just in case.

One of the gangers gives the woman a once over - but she's just a face in the multitude, even if she's a bit better prepped for the nastiness of the Warrens. He briefly glances along the boots - likely comparing their size to his own feet - before he goes back to shooting the shit with the other of their trio. It's just too damn cold and too damn slush wet to get his blood up for a round of taxing. And that seems to be the general consensus all around, people just busy huddling beneath whatever they can find and wait for the sun to return. There's a lot of wall to do a mural on - just have to find a spot one doesn't mind scratching someone else's work. And watch the gang tags!

Which is when there's a low pitched whine from the open manhole that the 'home-made entrepreneur' had gone into; It starts down low, rattling the marbles of pavement, snatching the attention of those still conscious. And then it begins to climb in pitch until its like a kettle going off, loud enough to make the bent and corroded metal sing.

And just as suddenly it cuts off. The low murmur of conversation from the gangers at the corner halts in confusion, even a few of the motionless lumps in alleyways raised from their deathly slumber in confusion at the sudden noise. Which is when the ground shudders just enough to be felt through the soles of one's feet..

The German girl's curiosity is piqued, but self-preservation is still a primary concern. With that in mind, she swings her head around to try to spot a decent vantage point from which she can observe the horrifying manhole where the gangers won't also have a view of her. She scans up the nearest structures, checking for perches, but would settle for a doorway alcove in a pinch.

There's plenty of places to the discerning German eye. From crumbled archways to broken windows, alcoves, old balconies from days of glory long bygone. Gretchen has a plethora of places to choose from! It all depends on how much time she wants to spend getting up and about! … And potentially taking her eye off the horror hole or whatever's going on down there.

Gretchen carries on at the same pace, but upon turning a corner just out of sight of the LRD crew, she turns on her heel to keep a close eye on the screeching pit of doom.

With one of the most interesting things to happen in the area for the past few days - everyone's feeling the pinch of the seal as the nuyen dries up, after all - the LRD splinter finally decide to go investigate. Which gives Gretchen plenty of space to assume her corner, to watch that manhole. A few of the wiser bums dust off their blankets and begin moving the other way; 'Interesting' in the Warrens is just another way of saying 'lethal'. After all, 'THEM' is 'interesting'. It doesn't mean you want to meet 'THEM' on a whim. The faint rumble slides beneath street once more, and Gretchen's goggles catch it on thermo;

Heat. A -lot- of heat rolling out of storm drains near her ankles. That warning's the only one she'll get to move her feet before steam blows out, hot enough to broil. The storm drains pop one by one like hell's tea kettle right towards that open manhole - which blows out a billowing cloud of high pressure, super heated water. While it definitely takes care of the chill problem, there's another issue when the rolling clouds of steam begin to darken an already depressed street.

Namely, the scrambling, mad screams of -animals-. High pitched wails of pain and squeaking from the epicenter of that mess, but the hot clouds are staggering her goggles ability to make out anything in the roiling mass of heat. Of course, the half aborted chatter of a cheap subbie and the yells of panic and pain should give her plenty of idea as to whats happening.

The screaming of animals (rats?) sends shivers down Gretchen's spine, and with a quick tap on her goggles she disables the thermo filter and anxiously begins to search for a means of gaining some height above street level in case a geyser of waste water erupts, or worse. Her boots slosh through the mess of acid rain and snow as she turns indecisively to find a likely point to climb.

Gretchen's indecision comes to a screeching halt as she fixates on the fire escape as the supposed 'best option.' She jogs the distance to it and tries to assess its sturdiness, craning her neck to peer upward. With a glance over her shoulders, she even goes so far as to grip the lowest section of the ladder and gives it as hard a yank as she can muster, just to see if any of the bolts holding it to the wall give way.

The sound of pounding feet - A few homeless staggering past her as fast as they can go stumble, with pain maddened rats crawling about them. Biting and clawing and screeching in blind animal panic. But that glance over her shoulder is just enough to show her what's coming, as a brief curl of cool air wafts the rolling steam cloud aside for a moment.

The street is moving. Heaving and twisting. It takes a moment to realize those are -rats-, big fat Denver rats, with a countless parbroiled Devil Rats waddling in the screeching rivulet of teeth and claws like icebergs in a sludge river. They're pouring out of the accident sight in droves, driven mad with pain, steam still coiling off their partially cooked hides. Even as she watches, one of the gangers is dragged beneath this stampede of pests with a yell - the lump quickly growing smaller as more and more vicious and rabid animals cross over where he once was. Rats and Devil Rats aren't that dangers - in ones or twos. This looks like a whole branch of the deep delving monstrosities was driven to the surface. They're flooding outwards, crashing into doors and overturning fire barrels, biting and tearing into anything they come across blindly. Corralled only by the walls of buildings on either side of them;

And coming for -Gretchen-. The ladder rung she tugs on groans even beneath her mild strength, bending slightly as rust flakes rattle off of it.

Stability be damned, it's time to climb. The sight of the parboiled monstrosities drives Gretchen upward, rung by rusted rung aiming for the first balcony of the fire escape… Her breath heaves in Vader-esque hisses through her mask as the chaotic scene erupts all around.

The first of the screaming, pain panicked monstrosities brushes along the fire ladder as Gretchen climbs - the rungs groaning and ringing with every step. But as she finally reaches the first balcony, there is a loud *PING* from the bolts in the acid rain scoured brick work. And then another, the entire structure shuddering and lurching slowly as the oft abused and neglected braces begin to let go.

And because bad luck always comes in droves, the sound draws the attention of a few of the pale, seemingly skinned creatures that are the Devil Rats. Pale eyes turn upwards, blindly finding the bottom of the ladder. Escape! Escape from pain! Claws begin scrambling as they paw their way upwards, taking their own personal swarm of rats with them with hateful screeches. At the very least, however, she's avoided the majority of the swarm now filling the street below with half-cooked and pissed off flesh. Only to come across a -new- problem. What she can climb, -they- can climb…

"Holy shit," Gretchen cries out as the rats turn their grotesque attention on her, and regardless of the ladder's dubious structural integrity, she commits to the climb. Unfortunately, the sewage-slick creatures seem to be fairly adept climbers in their own right, and altitude doesn't seem to be enough of a deterrent, nor does the pain they must be enduring from being partially cooked by the eruption of high pressure steam. She clambers up the rungs between balconies as quickly as her arms and legs can carry her, only taking the briefest of glances down to ensure the swarm behind her isn't on the verge of devouring her feet one by one. Reaching the roof level, she hurls herself over the low wall and checks to see if she made much distance from the nearest of the devil rats.

The entire structure is shaking and shuddering by the time Gretchen reaches the top of the roof - and when she throws herself over, the last support lets go with a torturous shriek of metal. The fire escape parting ways with the building at last, briefly balancing like a strange art-deco metaphor of a bent strand of grass standing from the ruins of Denver's Warrens. Most of the rats shaken off to fall, screeching and twisting, to the deadly mass below. But two devil rats make the last leap, trying to catch the edge of the roof -

Claws scratch briefly for purchase-

And both fall down, disappearing beneath the waves of their parboiled cousins while the steaming geyser below slowly begins to die off. It would appear - for the moment - that Gretchen has outrun death. A gnawing, clawy sort of death.

The instant Gretchen hits the roof, her hands fumble in the pockets of her coat to withdraw a can of spraypaint and a lighter, ready to cast flames at any of the beasts that may make it up to her perch. Her breath is heaving and adrenaline surges through her veins. She risks a glance over the roof edge after scanning the rooftop in case the rats have come up from some other point.

From her vantage atop the roof, Gretchen can - at last - take a bit of a breather to watch the mass of rats as they slowly begin to ween off. Finding their blind rampage shepherded by the natural flow of the streets around them - of course, the building Gretchen climbed atop of is still in the 'hot zone', as it were. The air is muggy and hot still, with Denver's depressive weather chill having yet to reassert itself. But as she watches the flow, she can note the twist as a small arm of it went into the building beneath her. Following open doors of panic, fleeing bums escaping their own deaths..

And that leads right to the dull, scrambling sound of claws coming up the stairwell towards the open roof access. No longer blindly running, but still maddened by pain. It's lucky the other two rats didn't make their leap - or she might not have noticed she was about to be pincered.

At the sound of the scrabbling claws of the mutilated monsters below, Gretchen sprints to the roof access door and begins trying to figure out how to barricade it for all she's worth…

The rooftop - a get-a-way amour for those who just don't care anymore and want to feel anything besides hunger and desperation - is filled with a single soggy, stained mattress and a few broken bits of wood. To make matters worse, the door is off the hinges. It's just leaning against the entrance, enough to keep (most) of the acid rain from coming down the steps. But it appears adrenaline has kicked Gretchen's head into full gear - Zip ties take care of the hinges, and a kick of broken pieces of wood will keep it from tipping loose. Although even as Gretchen lights the hissing, sputtering flare and duct tapes it to the spray can, she can hear the first scrabble of claws against the wooden structure. The flickering red flare light glinting off tiny, mad eyes from cracks in the door, glimpses of bared, broken teeth from a large devil rat. Tiny, vicious claws poke through the holes and beneath the door, scratching and tearing, another loud hissing sound joining it from the other side. From mad with pain to mad with hunger; Devil Rats are known for being voracious at the best of times, after all, and more than one metahuman has had a pet (or a child) disappear into their slavering mouths.

When it doubt, eat and breed.

Gretchen rips the duct tape holding the flare to the paint can with her teeth before tightening it with a final pull and pressure with her fingers. She then strikes the flare to trigger a shower of sparks…

As the rats' muzzles start exploring the makeshift barricade, the German girl wedges the can in between door and frame, sparks pointed inward, then bolts toward the weather-soaked mattress. She heaves it up and props it against her shoulder to serve as cover. A snap of the wrist plants a Morrissey in the palm of her hand and she frantically starts to take aim on the can of white Krylon.

The bullets ping and smash through the weakened door, striking sparks off the spray can as tiny clawed hands try to twist and pull the unknown item through. Likely out of the blind instinct to either eat it or nest with it. There is a sudden absence of sound as the can ruptures; A moment of liquid time when a -WHOMP- of concussive blast hits Gretchen behind the moist, thick and stained mattress.

And then fire pours out and over, hot enough to singe eyebrows to ash. The entire building shudders with the hit, bits of masonry pinging the heaving streets below, while bits of door (and wet rat) patter softly around Gretchen's rooftop. Fire burns low along the walls and stairwell - turning the instinctive tide aside for now.

And down below, the last of the rats is finished fleeing the broiling geyser of steam. It'll take a while before someone up stream kills the pressure to this area - just another water pipe that the Warrens won't have and no one will fix. But at the very least? Gretchen has survived.

And alas, whatever was left on the bodies of the fallen below was either taken by scavengers or the rats themselves. Or it's possible they didn't have much to begin with, being bums.

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